Friday, July 15, 2005


Last semester I was commissioned to write a paper for my Advanced Youth Ministry class on the Emerging Church, and what it means for my particular denomination (Southern Baptist). Well, anybody that knows me knows that the paper never got done, although it probably came closer to actually getting worked on than most papers in my Seminary career. Either way, it sparked an interest in whether or not Emerging sensibilities would be the death of my denomination, the reason it became irrelevant, or the Great Awakening. Not that I am drinking the Southern Baptist Kool-Aid, by any means - but being that that's where my roots lie - I'd be lying if I didn't admit to some affinity and no small amount of frustration with them. That being said, I have come across some interesting tidbits as of late that I would like to record here for posterity, so that I can come back to them later. One of them is a really cool article by the young lady pictured, Christi Avant, and can be found here. I'm not sure for how long. It's about being gay-friendly (her words), and very cool - if you're into that kind of thing. For a while I've been really disgusted at how religious folks have treated homosexuals, regardless of where they stand on the rightness or wrongness of the issue.

The second item is this article in the Baptist Standard in which Bill Leonard,
dean of the Wake Forest University Divinity School in Winston-Salem, N.C, mentions that he'd "rather be Baptist in the postmodern period than anything else." It's pretty interesting.

Thanks to Emerging SBC Leaders for the first link, and tallskinnykiwi for the second.

For those of you who have no interest in this stuff - fear not! More mindless, banal, entertainment is sure to follow, in the forms of quizzes, surveys, and song lyrics that I didn't write. Stay tuned! And go ahead and leave your comment on something that was posted previously - I know you've been wanting to.

"Oh, it's already been brought'en!"

"I AM the squad. I mean, God blessed me with some booty-shakin' talent. I gotta get out there and shake it!"
- Jaime Doyle, about her acheivement at cheerleader camp this week

"At Last"

by Phil Harrison

The other day I had a dream.

I dreamt I arrived at the gates of heaven, heavyshut, pure oak, bevelled and crafted, glinting sharp in the sunlight. St Peter stood to greet me. The big man wore brown- a smile set deep against his ruddy cheeks.

"'You’re here," he said.

"I am," I said.

"Great to see you - been expecting you," he smiled. "Come on in."

He pushed gently against the huge door; it swung silently, creakless. I took a couple of steps forward until, at the threshold, one more step up and in, I realized I wasn’t alone. My friends had joined me, but they hovered behind, silently, looking on. None spoke. I realized only I could speak. I looked at them; some were Christians, some Hindus, some Buddhists, some Muslims, some Jews, some atheists. Some, God knows what. I stopped, paused. A hesitant St Peter looked at me, patiently, expectantly.

"What about these guys?" I asked him. "My friends. Can they come?"

"Well, Phil," he replied, soft in the still air, "You know the rules. I’m sorry, but that’s the way things are. Only the right ones."

I looked at him. He seemed genuinely pained by his answer. I stood, considering. What should I do? I thought about my reference points, and thought about Jesus, the bastard, the outsider, the unacceptable, the drunkard, the fool, the heretic, the criminal, and I knew exactly where I belonged.

"I’ll just stay here then too," I said, taking my one foot out of heaven. And I’ll tell you, I’d swear I saw something like a grin break across St Peter’s face, and a voice from inside whispered,

"At last."

Once again, taken from IKON

Monday, July 11, 2005

Buddhist Parable

Translating the Word of God

There was once a young and gifted woman who set herself the almost impossible task of setting up a printing press so that she could translate and distribute the word of God to those in her country. Yet such a task required a great deal of money and so she sold the few items that she possessed and went to live on the streets, begging for the money that was required.

Raising the necessary funds took many years, for a while there were a few who gave generously most only give a little, if anything at all. But gradually, over time, the money began to accumulate.

However shortly before the plans for the printing press could be set in motion, a dreadful flood devastated a nearby town destroying many people’s homes and livelihood. Without hesitation the woman used all the money she had gathered to feed the hungry and rebuild lost homes.

Once the town began to recover the woman went back to the streets in order to start again, collecting for the amount needed to translate the word of God.

More years passed, with the cold winters and rough street life inflicting great suffering. Then, shortly before the target amount was reached disaster struck again. This time a plague descended like a cloud over the city taking the lives of thousands.

By now the woman was herself tired and ill, yet without thought she spent the money she had collected on medicines and spent her time caring for the sick.

Then, once the shadow of the plague lifted, she again took to the streets, driven by her desire to translate the word of God.

Finally, shortly before her death, this faithful woman gathered the money required for the printing press and completed the project she had set herself many years before.

After she had passed away it was said by some that this godly woman had actually spent her life making three translations of the Word, the first two being the most beautiful of all.

Once again, taken from IKON

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Zen Parable

The Moon Cannot Be Stolen

Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing to steal.

Ryokan returned and caught him. 'You may have come a long way to visit me,' he told the prowler, 'and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.'

The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.

Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. 'Poor fellow,' he mused, 'I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

R.I.P. Luther Vandross: 1951-2005


Luther Vandross
1951 - 2005

It finally happened. The greatest male R&B voice of all time has passed on. At only 54 years, he was in the prime of his youth. At last he'll finally have that chance to dance with his father again. In the wake of this tragedy, I predict a population boom 'round about tax time next year. After all, when news of his passing gets around, folks are going to naturally want to start putting on his old CD's and tapes. And you know what happens when you put on some old Luther stuff. I ain't playin'!

Anyway, the other concern I have is this: Celebrities always pass away in groups of 3. Don't act like it isn't true, because it is. Think back - or check your back issues of Entertainment Weekly. Everytime a major celebrity "wins the big Grammy" (you like that one, don't you?), at least 2 others follow in relatively close proximity. I couldn't make this stuff up, folks. Now I'm worried who else it's going to be. I always start to get really protective of my favorite celebs when this kind of thing goes down. I put in a call to the people who handle Adam West (the old 60's TV show Batman), because I think it would be particularly ironic for him to die right now. I should also send some e-mails to all four Monkees, and Billy Graham. I had a letter all written out, and ready to send to Fred Gwynne (
The Munsters, Car 54, My Cousin Vinnie), and then I found out that he had actually died back in 1993. I did love his work, though.

Also - the right honorable Mr. Vandross' website lists him as "The World's Greatest R&B Vocalist". I guess that title's up for grabs, now, isn't it? Don't mind if I do....