pecaspers: a Blog in transition

September 12, 2012

Tallassee Ministerial Alliance – Prayer for Our Enemies

Filed under: Culture,Ministry,Politics — pecaspers @ 12:53 PM
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On September 11, 2012, the Tallassee Ministerial Alliance and members of our community gathered to pray as we remembered the tragedy of eleven years before. I had the honor of leading the prayer for our enemies. As acts of terror and warfare still fill global headlines, please pray along with those who gathered that day. We prayed:

Our Father in heaven, You are the mighty Maker of heaven and earth. You scattered the nations at Babel, and you called out Abraham to make a nation of his descendants and to bless all the nations of the world through his Seed.

God, in Christ, You became that Seed of Abraham, and by your perfect life, death, and resurrection you became the ultimate Blessing to all nations–the Way to a restored relationship with You for all mankind, for anyone who will repent and believe.

We confess that our hearts do not always reflect Your heart. I’m sure some of us here today have sinned against you by things we’ve done or said against people who consider themselves enemies of the United States of America. We do pray that You would cause any attempt to attack our homeland to fail. We do pray that you would bring an end to the governments and organizations who seek to destroy both Americans and the United States of America herself.

But God, help us to always remember that this country is not our home, that the United States of America is not the Kingdom of God. Those who crashed planes into symbols of our national pride and identity are under your wrath–I am sure–but they are there because they sinned against You, not us.

Forgive us for any time we have wished death or suffering on men and women created in your image. Forgive us for thinking that we are somehow superior for being born in this country and not the Middle East, Northern Africa, or somewhere else. Forgive us for every failure to extend hospitality, kindness, friendship, and especially the gospel to Muslims, or to those we assumed were Muslim, or to anyone else we considered “not one of us.”

Father, by Your grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit, break our hearts for our enemies. So, standing before You based only on Your goodness and the faith in Christ we have by Your grace, we pray for our enemies as you taught us to.

We ask for your gospel–the good news of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone–to spread like wildfire across the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Central and South Asia.

We ask for You to call out missionaries from our churches to take the gospel to those who have no access to it.

We ask for you to continue to reveal yourself to Muslims through visions and dreams. We ask that you would change the hearts of American Christians so that our own churches would be welcoming to the millions of people who come from nations without the gospel, that we would share with them Your goodness and love, that they would see how their sin has separated them from You, that we would explain clearly how in Jesus Christ You gave the answer to our problem, and that people from all over the world might repent and believe and join the fellowship of our churches. Oh that our churches would look more like people from every nation, tribe, and tongue gathered around your throne and less like country clubs and family reunions.

We ask for you to raise up leaders from our churches to start new churches here in America, especially in the major cities where the nations have come to us.

We ask that you would bring to salvation would-be terrorists so that their fervor could overflow to eternal life for many just like you did with the Apostle Paul.

Your will be done. Your Kingdom come. Forgive us our failures. Use us for Your glory. We pray these things in the Name of Christ and for His glory among the nations…even ours…even our enemies. Amen.

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June 22, 2012

A Preemptive Word on the SBC Annual Meeting

What follows was originally composed as my contribution to the Tallassee Ministerial Alliance column in the Tallassee Tribune. This is the article before I or the paper’s editors cut it to fit the allowed space. I wrote it prior to the SBC Annual Meeting and it–as far as I know–appeared in the paper on Tuesday, June 19, the first day of the actual Convention.

I am a Southern Baptist. (Curious about what that means? Look at the Baptist Faith and Message tab on http://www.sbc.net.) This week, thousands of Southern Baptists are gathering in New Orleans, La. for the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Because of this, you will likely hear many things in the news in the coming days about what Southern Baptists are saying and doing at the Convention. I beg you, please don’t judge us too harshly.

I’m always ashamed of some of the ridiculous things that come out of the Convention. I can tell you that someone will say something stupid about alcohol, race-relations, politics, environmentalism, homosexuality, the King James Version of the Bible, and many other issues of both major and minor significance to the general population. Media outlets will handle these things with differing degrees of malice or kindness depending on how they prefer to spin things. You need to understand that the Annual Meeting operates as an effectively open forum for anyone sent as a messenger from a Southern Baptist church. Just because someone says it at the Convention doesn’t mean much. Just because the SBC votes for or against some statement doesn’t mean that all Southern Baptists now agree on that issue–many Southern Baptists can’t even agree on what it means to be Southern Baptist. Most importantly, remember that every fifteen second sound bite you hear coming out of my SBC brethren has been ripped out of a greater context.

What you probably won’t hear much about is the real reason that Southern Baptists convene. The SBC exists so Southern Baptist churches can cooperate together in fulfilling the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus says to His followers, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age,” (HCSB). Though we do much else, the SBC ultimately exists for the primary purpose of sending missionaries to all nations (read “nations” as people groups with distinct culture and language, not politically recognized countries) for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus.

A disciple is nothing less than a person who has been baptized–identifying with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, resurrection–and is being taught to obey all that He commanded. The only reason one gets baptized and seeks to learn and obey is because he or she believes the gospel. Simply put, the gospel is the good news that God exists and He is good, that all mankind has rebelled against Him in sin, that Jesus is God-become-man who suffered in our place the punishment for our sin so we could have a relationship with God, and finally that we are all accountable before God to turn from all our own attempts to please Him and rely solely on what He has already accomplished in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So remember, don’t accept the spin the talking heads on cable news and internet bloggers will put on the SBC Annual Meeting. Feel free to ask of what you hear, “How does this serve to advance the gospel?” But before you throw stones at me and my SBC friends, ask the same question of every aspect of your own life. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory,” (1 Corinthians 10:31, HCSB). Oh that we would all be all about the gospel for the glory of God. You are welcome for all the opportunities to bring this gospel naturally into your conversations with your lost friends, relatives, co-workers, and complete strangers that our Annual Meeting will provide you.

Addendum: I am happy to report that I was largely wrong in my expectations for the Convention. I watched/listened to the vast majority of the meeting via live streaming and didn’t hear nearly as much nonsense as expected–hardly any at all, in fact. The importance of the gospel and our Great Commission was this year’s main focus, but Fred Luder’s election as our first Black president is what seems to be getting all the press. That’s pretty good, I’d say.

March 8, 2012

What Do You Want To Be?

Filed under: Culture,Ministry,Possibly Prophetic — pecaspers @ 9:08 PM
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“No one ever says, ‘I want to be a junkie when I grow up.'”

That was the punch-line of a public service announcement intended to keep kids off drugs from years ago. That PSA started with images of a ballerina and other typical childhood dream jobs with children’s voices saying what they wanted to be when they grew up. Then you see someone running from and caught by the cops in slow-mo, and you hear the line above. It’s a pretty clever commercial, but it’s probably lost on most of its target audience.

You see, if you want to be a ballerina, a firefighter, a school teacher, an astronaut, or whatever, then you have to work at it. You go to school, you practice, you go through training, you discipline yourself or submit to an authority who disciplines you, you make sacrifices of your time, all so that you can be the thing you are striving toward. The clever twist is that it is the same with being a junkie. A drug addiction is expensive, takes up a vast amount of the addict’s time, will cause certain relationships to be cut off, and typically progresses from so-called gateway drugs to substances most readers wouldn’t know exist. It takes commitment to be a junkie; the obvious problem being that it is a chemical dependence driving the commitment, and it’s not one drug users think about ahead of time.

However, nobody just starts free-basing heroine. Similarly, no one who tried out as a walk-on at Auburn University or the University of Alabama would become the starting quarterback having never played football, or even worked out, a day in his life. So what’s this got to do with the Christian life? As D. A. Carson puts it, “People do not drift toward holiness.”

And so I ask: what do you want to be? Do you want to be a godly man or woman? Do you want to be a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ? Do you want to be an encourager to those around you? Do you want to be a good wife or husband? Do you want to be a mentor to the leaders of tomorrow? Do you want to be a helper to the helpless? Do you want to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom? Do you want to be like Jesus?

No one ever says, “I want to be CEO Christian when I grow up.” (CEO Christians are those people who attend church on Christmas and Easter only.) No one ever says, “I want to be a bitter deacon who makes life hard for the pastor when I grow up.” No one ever says, “I want to be the old woman responsible for stopping every potentially great move of God in my church with a furrowed brow and the words ‘We’ve never done that before.'”

What are you doing to become what you want to become? What are doing to keep from becoming something you would never want to be? What are you doing to keep your church from being just another stagnant and declining North American church? What are YOU doing to make the transition from where you are to something greater/bigger/better/more glorious?

…or do you just want to be wasted?

December 19, 2011

Red and Green

Red and green are the colors of Christmas. Red because of the bloody reality of a virgin birth, because of the bloody reality of a death by crucifixion, because of the blood of the lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Green because of the new life which Christ came to bring, because of the eternal life that he paid for with his death, because of the promise of a life that never withers and never fades and never ends–evergreen.

Red and green are the colors of Christmas. Red because of the oppressive debt you’ll incur buying toys your kids won’t appreciate but will break in a couple of weeks, because of the hue of your screaming daughter’s face when she doesn’t get the pony she wanted, because of the color your son will see when he shoots his eye out with his new BB gun. Green because of the money you’ll spend on presents and food and cards and decorations, because of the envy that drives so much of your children’s wish-lists, because of how sick you are from all the constant go-go-go of the holiday season.

Red and green are the colors of Christmas. Red because that’s the way your eyes will look the morning after you get too deep in the “Christmas cheer” at that party. Green because that’s the way your face will look after you expel some of that same “cheer” singing carols into the porcelain megaphone.

Red and green are the colors of Christmas. Red because that’s what color Santa Claus wears. Green because that’s what color Christmas trees are. Why does it have to mean any more than that?

We’re all going to be donning lots of red and green in the coming days. In fact, your decorations have probably been up for weeks. The question we need to ask ourselves is what sort of red and green are we using. What’s your red and green mean? But wait, you can’t answer yet. You have to wait until it’s over.

I doubt there is anyone reading this article who is saying to himself or herself, “I’m only celebrating commercialism, greed, and over-indulgence this December 25. It’s got nothing to do with worshiping Christ.” However, the truth is that there is often little proof that we did otherwise when we look back after the day is gone. So I challenge you not to think too highly of yourself but to consider yourself, and how you celebrate this Christmas, with sober judgment (Romans 12:3). Let us examine ourselves, and how we celebrate this Christmas, to see if it puts on display our faith in Christ and the glory of God (2 Corinthians 13:5).

How will you celebrate the coming of Messiah this Christmas? Will you gather in worship with your church? Will you take your visiting family members with you to church? Will you give generously to help people in need? Will you read the story of Christ’s birth from the Bible? Will you spend money you don’t have to give presents to people who don’t really need them? Will you keep your family away from church because Christmas inconveniently falls on a Sunday this year? It’s not what you say about Christmas; it’s what you do that matters (James 2:14-16).

Red and green are the colors of Christmas. What kind will yours be?

October 31, 2011

Halloween and Christmas

Filed under: Culture,My Life in General — pecaspers @ 9:16 PM
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I was in Wal-mart when they started putting out the Halloween costumes a month or so ago. Then I rounded a corner and found myself faced with Christmas decorations. I’ve become accustomed to the Christmas stuff coming out before Thanksgiving, but to see Christmas lights, ornaments, and garland already gracing the shelves before the leaves had started to turn was a little bit of a shock. Yet that’s not the point of this post.

I love Halloween. I’ve always loved it. It’s mostly because I love to dress up in costumes. (What? That’s not weird. It’s not like I go to conventions or anything…but maybe that’s because I lack the free time and disposable income…I digress.) Halloween is also the holiday I’ve had the most success with over the years; I can’t think of any major heart-aches or social breakdowns associated with my Halloween history. And then, of course, there is all the candy. That’s why it bugs me when Christians get so down on Halloween and people who celebrate it.

My Halloween philosophy: I celebrate Halloween like everyone else celebrates Christmas.

By “everyone else,” I mean anyone who isn’t a devoted follower of the Christ whose birth Christmas commemorates. For most people, they completely neglect the fact that there is a specifically Christ-focused meaning behind Christmas. (Don’t give me that whole, “Christmas is only a pagan holiday!” crap. Read up on some real church history before you echo the oft-repeated errors you’ve heard.) I realize that Halloween came about because of a intermingling of European
pagan spiritism and pre-Reformation Catholic Christianity. It can’t be avoided that present-day Wiccans and other neo-Paganists have adopted Halloween as their holiday. I don’t care much about that just like I don’t get all frenzied up about ousting Santa Claus from Christmas. I like costumes, candy, and parties.

You see, most people don’t care that Christmas is about the actual birth of God as a human child so that He could live a sinless life so that He could die as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of all humanity so we could repent and believe the good news. Most people just like getting dressed up, getting/giving gifts, and going to parties. Did you see the Christmas episode of Glee last year. The Jewish characters, the atheistic characters, the characters with no discernible religious beliefs, everybody celebrated Christmas. Have you seen the movies that come out in November and December–[Insert Character here] Saves Christmas, A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas, etc. Contrary to all the “Happy Holidays” hullabaloo that surfaces every year, most everybody loves Christmas. Why can they all enjoy a Christian holiday without serving Christ, but I’m supposed to shun a holiday with no basis in reality?

What do I mean by no basis in reality. Well, lost souls don’t really wander aimlessly on All Hallows Eve. The demons aren’t really on the prowl looking for goodies and causing trouble the night before All Saints Day. Satan has no greater power this night than any other. Hell is no nearer to Earth on October 31. I get to enjoy Halloween because at its foundation there is only folk-lore and superstition, and those things aren’t even what the holiday is about anymore. Ask any six year-old, Halloween is about costumes and candy. I don’t have to believe in those other things to enjoy putting on a costume and eating candy. If everyone else gets to swap presents and go to Christmas parties without believing in–or even considering–the TRUTH of Christ, then I see no reason I can’t enjoy Halloween.

The vast majority of people in my culture don’t think of Halloween as having any religious significance. No non-Christian is going to look at my enjoyment of Halloween and say, “I can’t believe you like costumes and candy, you hypocrite. I hate your Jesus because of you.” What’s sad is that the conflict about Halloween always seems to come from Christians. Isn’t it a bit…well, hypocritical to demand that schools have fall parties and harvest festivals because “we” disapprove of Halloween and then cry “foul” when other people demand that schools have winter festivals and holiday parties because they disapprove of Christmas?

Maybe I’m wrong. What do you think?

September 11, 2011

9/11 for the Tallassee Tribune

It’s Sunday night, September 11, 2011 as I write. It’s Tuesday or later when you’re reading it. It was Tuesday on September 11 ten years ago. I don’t know what the Tallassee Tribune had in it that day; I wasn’t a Tallassee resident back then. I was a student at Auburn University, and I remember that day in more detail than any other day in my life. It’s safe to say that you probably remember that day with graphic clarity as well. My facebook feed attests to this as it is currently populated by memories, pledges to never forget, and references to that day which changed this nation forever in many ways. Back then, there was no facebook, no Twitter, and texting hadn’t truly gone mainstream. In 2001, most of us still got our up-to-the-minute news from old-fashioned T.V. and radio.

Among the teens I know, they don’t remember much. They were in second grade or younger, but even they knew something big was happening. Many of my peers’ accounts follow this pattern: I was in class when somebody told us that planes had flown into the World Trade Center. Some classes were canceled, some were held in defiance of the terrorists’ intention to disrupt our lives, but Auburn University gave everybody a free pass to skip class if they chose as I recall. I was in the Auburn University Marching Band then; that was the only class I went to that day. Almost all of us came, but no one seemed to know what to say when we got there. We began practice by playing the national anthem, and then we rehearsed because we had to be ready for pre-game and half-time on Saturday.

Everyone everywhere seemed to be struggling with the dual realities that things were never going to be the same, but things had to get back to normal even if it was a “new normal.” In the wake of 9/11, people flooded into churches. People wanted hope, comfort, to mourn, maybe just to not be alone. Whatever the case, they came. Some were coming back, others for the first time. Some thought 9/11 was going to propel us into an awakening of the gospel across our land. That’s not what happened.

Part of that “new normal” was the same spiritual complacency that we had before. The people who had run to the Church for various reasons, all left for one reason, the same reason that people usually leave the Church. They didn’t know God. They came to a church to meet some need–maybe it was met, maybe it wasn’t–but eventually they stopped coming because nothing held them there. That is a far greater tragedy. People came into our churches and did not hear the life-changing gospel and were not everlastingly introduced to the one true and living God. Equally condemning is that many people have come to our churches for years because some need is being met other than their need for a saving relationship with the Creator.

The reason any Christian church exists is to make disciples of Jesus Christ by baptizing them in His name and teaching them to obey everything He commanded, which includes that they themselves are to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). That is our purpose, and we might as well close our doors if reproducing disciples are not being made no matter whatever lesser good we might be doing. On the 100th anniversary of 9/11, all those people who poured into our churches will be dead. It won’t matter what we did for them if we did not simultaneously introduce them to Christ. A man who turned to the church and found momentary comfort but did not repent and believe will be no better off than one who turned to alcohol.

———-Above Is the First Draft, Below Is the Draft I Submitted———-

It’s Sunday night, September 11, 2011 as I write. It’s Tuesday or later as you read. It was Tuesday on September 11 ten years ago. I don’t know what was in the Tallassee Tribune that day; I wasn’t a Tallassee resident back then. I was a student at Auburn University, and I remember that day in more detail than any other day in my life. You probably remember that day with graphic clarity as well. My facebook feed attests to this; it is currently populated by memories, pledges to never forget, and references to that day which changed this nation forever in so many ways. Back then, there was no facebook, no Twitter, and texting hadn’t truly gone mainstream. In 2001, most of us still got our up-to-the-minute news from old-fashioned T.V. and radio. We stayed fixed on them for days because we didn’t know what else to do.

In the wake of 9/11, churches were flooded. People wanted hope, comfort, to mourn, maybe just to not be alone. Whatever the case, they came. Some were coming back, others for the first time. Many thought 9/11 was going to propel us into an awakening of the gospel across our land. It did not. Part of the “new normal” was the same spiritual complacency from before. The people who’d run to the Church for various reasons all left for one reason, the reason people usually leave the Church. They didn’t know God.

They came to church to meet some need–maybe it was met, maybe it wasn’t–but eventually they stopped coming because nothing held them there. That is a far greater tragedy. People came into our churches and did not hear the life-changing gospel and were not everlastingly introduced to the one true and living God. Equally condemning is that people have come to our churches for years because we meet a need other than their need for a saving relationship with the Creator, and too many of us are OK with that.

The reason any Christian church exists is to make disciples of Jesus Christ by baptizing them in His name and teaching them to obey everything He commanded, which includes that they themselves are to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). That is our purpose, and we might as well close our doors if reproducing disciples are not being made no matter whatever lesser good we might be doing. On the 100th anniversary of 9/11, all those people who poured into our churches will be dead. It won’t matter what we did for them if we did not simultaneously introduce them to Christ. A man who turned to the church and found momentary comfort but did not repent and believe will be in hell with everyone else who did not.

There’s plenty of retrospection going on, and rightly so. But we in the church need to look forward and to look to Christ and His purposes. We sing, “This is my Father’s world, o let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.” ‎Greg Key, a youth pastor friend of mine posted this on his facebook wall: “We are no closer to Jesus now than we were 10 years ago.” I fear he is right. But what will you do about it?

February 1, 2011

We Can Be So Stupid Sometimes (vol. 2)

I receive emails from AFA (American Family Association), mostly because I want to know what ridiculous or hypocritical thing “Christians” are upset about currently. (I put Christians in quotation marks not to signify that I doubt the faith of members of the AFA, but because I think it is patently false to say that what the AFA represents is a truly Christian response to the world around us.) I’m all sorts of tempted to jump on a number of soap boxes here. However, I think it’s better that I just let the AFA’s latest email and my response to it speak for itself.

[This is where the text of their email begins.]
Subject: The Home Depot doubles funds to gay activist group
January 31, 2011

Dear Paul,
The Home Depot Foundation funnels money to gay activist groups.The Home Depot, through its Foundation, is now matching donations by its employees to further homosexual activism.

GLAAD (a politically active gay group) announced on its website that The Home Depot has agreed to match all contributions made by company employees, despite a company policy to the contrary.

The Home Depot policy states it will not match funds to “political groups” or “groups that have a primary focus of changing laws.” GLAAD is heavily involved in promoting same-sex marriage.

GLAAD and The Home Depot make is easy for company funds to “Go Gay!”Through its “Matching Gifts” program, The Home Depot is willing to violate its own policy to help promote GLAAD’s top agendas – homosexual marriage and more gay characters on prime-time network TV.

AFA is asking you to join a boycott of The Home Depot until it agrees to remain neutral in cultural issues.

TAKE ACTION
1. If you have not done so, sign the Boycott Pledge at BoycottTheHomeDepot.com.
2. Call your local store manager. Let the manager know that you will not be shopping at The Home Depot until the company stops supporting the homosexual agenda. You can find the number here. (click “Store Finder”).
3. Print the paper petition and distribute it at Sunday school and church.

Take Action Now Sign the Boycott Pledge Now!

It is very important that you forward this alert to your friends and family members.

Sincerely,

Tim

Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association

[This is where their email ends, followed by some other info and links. If you don’t trust me, you can view the email on the web at http://action.afa.net/email/online.aspx?cid=1216&mid=21995980&tid=aa&utm_source=smAFA&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1216]

[This was my reply…which I doubt ever gets read or responded to. But a brother has got to try.]

Dear Tim,

Your stated goal for the boycott of Home Depot is that they would “remain neutral in cultural issues.” For any thinking Christian, it is evident that they have already met your desire. According to Home Depot’s gift program policy, they match gifts to ANY 501(c)(3) charitable organization. That’s about as neutral as it gets. According to the way the IRS defines such organizations, they are “charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals.” Unless I’m wrong, AFA is a 501(c)(3) and is therefore just as eligible for matching gifts as GLAAD is. Neutrality is achieved! You win. Now, let’s stop being contentious in the public square with those who need to hear the Gospel.

In grace and peace,

[That’s it.]

What do you think? Should Christians spend their time, resources, and energy on changing the culture of our country? Or in this case, should we attempt to counteract the time, resources, and energy others spend on influencing our culture in an ungodly direction? I think we can be both personal evangelists and culture warriors, but I know it’s a lot easier to boycott, wear t-shirts, and send emails than it is to sit down and share the gospel with someone. And I think that we (or at least those who claim to be motivated by the same beliefs we profess) sabotage our efforts at the latter by being perceived as doing too much of the former.

January 5, 2011

A Resolution, and a Remark

Filed under: Culture,My Life in General — pecaspers @ 12:13 PM
Tags: ,

I am resolving to post something to my blog at least once a week. Here is “something.”

This post inspired by a Hearitfirst.com “Question of the Day” on facebook:The soap opera “All My Children” premiered on ABC in 1970. Do you have a favorite soap? (We promise not to tell.)

Soap operas have begun dying out. NBC only has one left, CBS still has two, ABC still has three, but Guiding Light and As the World Turns were canned in 2009 and 2010 respectively. The fade out is expected to continue in years to come.

I got sucked into Days of Our Lives for a while when I was a teenager because my older sister watched it. I got into All My Children for a while in college because my TV would only pick up ABC and I wanted something to watch while I ate lunch.

I’m glad to see them go. Soaps were pretty much the lowest form of entertainment our culture had to offer for many years. They played into our base desires for (especially in bored housewives) scandal and sexual fantasies. However, I’m sad that the reason soaps are dying is that we have so many “Real” people to watch throwing their lives away. The American media is making a transition here, but it’s more about switching to a more cost-effective format–unscripted “reality” doesn’t need a staff of writers–than it is about providing a higher-quality content.

What do you think about it?

September 4, 2010

…we can be so stupid sometimes…

Below is the text of an email a well-meaning Christian sadly forwarded to me:

While millions of Americans struggle to keep their homes and jobs, President Barack Obama can’t give your tax dollars away fast enough.

August 26, 2010

Dear XX-name-deleted-to-protect-the-guilty-XX,

According to the Associated Press, the Obama administration will give away nearly $6 million of American tax dollars to restore 63 historic and cultural sites, including Islamic mosques and minarets, in 55 nations. See the State Department document here.

This is an outrage! Our country is broke. And can you imagine what the ACLU and others on the secular left would say if these monies had been spent to repair Christian churches? They would be screaming “separation of church and state!” Funding Islam on foreign soil with American taxpayer money? Not a whimper.

The latest taxpayer givaway includes $76,000 for a 16th century mosque in China, $67,000 for a mosque in Pakistan, $77,000 to restore minarets in Nigeria and Mauritania, and $50,000 for an Islamic Monument in India.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. program to restore Islamic and other cultural sites in other countries is taxpayer money well spent.

Take Action


Ask your representative to immediately condemn this waste of taxpayer dollars and begin an investigation into why American taxpayers are footing the bill to rebuild Islamic mosques overseas.

It is very important that you forward this alert to your friends and family members.
American Family Association | P O Drawer 2440 | Tupelo, MS 38803 | 1-662-844-5036
Copyright © 2010 American Family Association. All Rights Reserved

Here is my well thought-out and researched, somewhat satirical response:

According to the State Department document found here, the Obama administration will give away nearly $6 million of American tax dollars to restore, conserve, document, and educate people about a wide variety of historically significant cultural treasures in 55 nations, including a significant number of ancient Christian sites.

This is an outrage!  Our country is broke, but more importantly about two thirds of the global population has never heard the gospel.  Can you imagine what true Christians who are passionate about the Great Commission could do if only they had been allowed to give those same dollars to living Christian churches instead of the government spending it on crumbling buildings?

What is only slightly less outrageous is that some Christian groups are circulating articles that would lead people to believe that a large portion of the $6 million is going to restore ancient Islamic sites.  In fact, there are only five (5) projects on this year’s list specifically relating to Islam: two mosques, two minarets, and one Islamic monument.  These projects total $271,691, a mere 4.56% of the funds doled out in this U.S. State Department fund.  On the other hand, there are nine (9) ancient Christian sites being preserved or restored at the total cost of $1,119,524, that’s 18.78%.  The largest price tag of these is $625,000 for the 11th-Century “Church of the Holy Redeemer” in Turkey; that’s more than twice what is being awarded to all five Islam related projects combined.

This program dates back to 2001.  In 2007, under the Bush administration, your tax dollars were spent on four Islam related sites–that’s only one less than the current administration.  I don’t recall anyone making much fuss about it then, however.  Find more information on the program here: http://exchanges.state.gov/heritage/afcp.html

I’d appreciate it if you’d pass this on to everyone who mentions this issue in the next few days.

Below are the projects relating to ancient Christian history taken from the document linked to at the beginning of this article.
28. Macedonia: Conservation of Early Christian Frescoes from the Episcopal Basilica at Stobi – $72,600
30. Romania: Restoration of a 13th‐Century Fortified Church in the Transylvanian Village of Moardas – $39,185
31. Russian Federation: Restoration of the Late 17th‐Century Church of the Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign in Dubrovitsky – $81,990
49. Bolivia: Restoration of 17th‐ and 18th‐Century Colonial Chapels in Curahuara de Carangas – $41,079
52. El Salvador: Restoration of the Early 20th‐Century Cathedral of Santa Ana – $43,430
53. Guatemala: Restoration of the High Altar and Cloister of the Late 18th‐Century Convent of La Merced in Guatemala City – $94,827
56. Nicaragua: Restoration of the Mid‐18th‐Century Church of Mary Magdalene in Totogalpa – $90,243
58. Peru: Restoration of 17th‐ and 18th‐Century Paintings from the Compañia de Jesus Church in Arequipa – $31,170
61. Turkey: Conservation of the Remains of the 11th‐Century Surp Prikitch (Church of the Holy Redeemer) at Ani – $625,000

Total going to conserve or restore ancient church buildings: $1,119,524

August 5, 2010

The Tragic Comedy of Rape

Filed under: Culture,Ministry,My Life in General — pecaspers @ 12:38 PM

It all started with this:
Woman Wakes up to Find Intruder in Her Bed

…That started getting re-posted, commented on etc. until it was the #1 video on YouTube.

Then came this (and others like it)…
BEST Don’t Hate Reupload Remix

That was fun… Then, I remembered that it all started because somebody tried to rape a woman.  So I feel bad for Kelly Dodson that her tragedy has turned into Antoine’s instant fame.  I also feel sad for our culture because we are all so desensitized to evil that (1) the editor for that news program thought it was a good idea to include so much of Antoine in the two-minute story, (2) the internet population elevated the clip to viral status, and (3) many others have made goofy little music videos out of it.

There is a rapist on the loose in Huntsville, AL…and we laugh.

Then there’s this:
Overnight Internet Sensation Reacts to New-Found Fame

Forgive my confusion, but did she say that Antoine is the victim?  Because I think it was Kelly Dodson that was in the process of getting raped who is the victim here. Thank you, Antoine for fighting him off. Weird as it feels to say it, Antoine is the hero; he’s not the victim.

And I’m not saying that he doesn’t have the right to say whatever he wants to say.  I’m just wondering if that same story could have been covered with more focus on Kelly than her…um…unique…yeah, unique brother.

Oh, wait:
Family Reacts to Finding Intruder in Sister’s Bed

I confess, the first time I saw Antoine, I laughed a little inside.  Then, I remembered that the occasion for his ranting was the attempted rape of his sister.  It stopped being funny.  Perhaps what I don’t understand most about this is how so many of my Christian friends–not just church goers, but mature Christians who practice spiritual disciplines and teach others and share the Gospel–are yucking it up with the rest of the world.  I guess this is what conformity looks like.  I repent.

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