Thursday, April 18, 2013

Griner, Homosexuality, and Baylor's Code of Conduct

Recently, Baylor University women's basketball player Brittney Griner outed herself as a homosexual (http://goo.gl/VALIM). It's probably not a coincidence that she made these statements almost immediately after being drafted as a pro. What I find most interesting in this instance is not her sexual self-identity, but Baylor's response (or lack of response) to it.

The current code of conduct at Baylor includes a statement that human sexuality is a gift from God that has purposes that can only be achieved "through heterosexual relationships within marriage. Misuses of God's gift will be understood to include...fornication and homosexual acts." (You can read the entire document HERE.)

Will Baylor discipline Griner? Slim chance. Too much money involved with this superstar. (As an aside, would the Mormon-based BYU discipline Griner? They recently disciplined an athlete who was guilty of fornication.) Baylor's position will probably be one of focusing on her actions ("We are not aware that she actually engaged in homosexual behavior") instead of her expressed desires. While this would be appropriate on the surface, Griner is nevertheless representing Baylor when she makes such statements. Does the administration at Baylor even address this with her?

In one sense I feel for the administrators at Baylor. Being in charge of any institution is difficult enough. However, it becomes all the more difficult when that institution begins to dismiss the core convictions of its founders in order to remain popular.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Relational Prayer

Jesus wants us to engage not in showcase prayer, but relational prayer. Why? What's our motivation? God's love.



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The Wedding Feast at Cana Explained

The wedding feast at Cana has always seemed mysterious to me, but after I studied ancient Jewish wedding customs, the meaning behind the miracle became clear.





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Monday, April 08, 2013

Quotes from Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)


Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was an exemplary woman and statesman. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours."- in an interview with Women's Own in 1987.

"It is ironic that just when those countries such as the Soviet Union, which have tried to run everything from the centre, are learning that success depends on dispersing power and decisions away from the centre, there are some in the community who seem to want to move in the opposite direction." - in the "Bruges speech" in 1988.

"If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman." - in a speech in 1965.

"My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police." - in an interview in 1981.

"No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well." - in an interview in 1980.

"It’s the Labour Government that have brought us record peacetime taxation. They’ve got the usual Socialist disease - they’ve run out of other people’s money." - in a Tory Party Conference in 1975.


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Monday, April 01, 2013

A Review of "The Bible" Miniseries


Overall, I enjoyed "The Bible" miniseries on The History Channel. I wondered how the producers might squeeze the entire story of Scripture into ten hours of video (with commercials), but they did an effective job by highlighting a limited number of representative characters in the narrative.

The series gave me more than a few moments of clarifying perspective, such as visualizing Daniel's faithfulness in prayer and his friends' experience in the furnace. My oldest son even laughed when he saw the holes in Jesus' hands. He had always assumed that there would be scabs upon the wounds. After all, we get scabs when we get hurt.

The series has faced a relatively minor measure of criticism for skipping certain stories or characters, as well as taking a few liberties with the text. I believe the former criticism is unfounded (something has to be skipped, otherwise you'll have a series that lasts ten months, not ten hours). The latter criticism is more understandable, even though the characters remained true to the spirit of their biblical counterparts.

My prayer is that "The Bible" miniseries may be used by God to draw people to Christ, and I believe that it has and will. We must not, however, be fooled into thinking that a Hollywood production--even a great one--can replace our role as disciple-makers.

Now, on to a few very minor critical observations.... I found it interesting that while most of the series kept away from extra-biblical tradition, the telling of Jesus' story gave a few nods to fictional Roman Catholic Church (RCC) legends.

For example, a female character in "The Bible" wiped Jesus' brow as He carried the cross. This is an obvious reference to the RCC legend of Veronica, who's cloth is said to have received an imprinting of Jesus' face upon her act of mercy. Her action is one of the "Stations of the Cross," which Roman Catholics walk in the old city of Jerusalem. There is, of course, no one mentioned like this in the Bible.

Another fictional license in the series occurred when Mary assists her son in picking up the cross. To me, this was a nod to the idea gaining traction in feminist circles of the RCC of Mary being a "Co-Redemptrix." There is no biblical parallel for this scene. If the Co-Redemptrix teaching ever became official Roman Catholic doctrine, it would do serious damage to one of the major teachings that Catholicism has mostly right: Christology. If Christ is sufficient to save, then He does not need Mary.

As a Baptist, I obviously took note of Paul's baptism by affusion (pouring) rather than immersion. The word means "immerse," and there's nothing in the text that indicates anything other than that. This seemed to be an acquiescence to Christian traditions that don't immerse.

While there were a more inconsistencies between "The Bible" miniseries and the actual Bible, if these are the "worst," then it was a very good presentation. I'm glad it was made.


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