Seizing an Opportunity

The AP has reported that the City of Grambling, home of the Grambling Tigers football team which was coached by the legendary Eddie Robinson, has asked the NCAA to vacate some of Joe Paterno’s wins. Joe Paterno had 409 victories. Eddie Robinson had 408. The city did not specify how many wins should be vacated nor which wins from what seasons. They just think “the record should be associated with someone who had the character of Coach Robinson.”

I’m curious if the city of Grambling would have petitioned the NCAA if Eddie Robinson had, say, 243 victories? Is this about Joe Paterno’s lack of character or is it all about bragging rights? It smacks of a publicity stunt more than concern for what happened at Penn State, which, as it turns out, tarnishes the image of Grambling. And that is something which Eddie Robinson with his great character would surely be against.


“You Didn’t Build That”

If you haven’t seen or heard this quote yet from our president, you should know that both sides of the aisle are responding to it inappropriately. It occurred in a speech in VA. Here is the entire text. Many, many people have jumped on the line, ripped out of context that says, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.” There’s even a website.

So, three questions for those who like to repeat, repost, and defame our president with this line:

1. Did you read the entire speech?

2. Do you understand why context matters?

3. Why didn’t you quote this line from the president in the same speech: “when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative”

By the way, that line is also taken out of context, too, but that doesn’t mean that the other side should start quoting that either. Truth is always to be fought for and preserved regardless of how badly we want to win.

But the other side of the political aisle has also made a folly. On Obama’s Truth Team website, they claim that the that in his quote, clearly refers to roads and bridges, not business. They are wrong. After listening to the speech, I would agree that is what Obama meant, but the grammar certainly does not refer to roads and bridges. Grammatically, that refers to business.  A mistake? A poorly written speech? Maybe, but let’s put the-need-to-defend-or-defame-at-all-costs aside and speak the truth.

The Honor System

I’m intrigued by the honor system. As a former school teacher, I dealt with this issue on a daily basis. I didn’t find it hard to apply this on an individual level. Just because some kid would display dishonesty on an assignment, doesn’t mean the rest of the class suffered. But this photo is on a different plane.










If the cold cash disappears, who do you blame? Doesn’t everyone suffer, especially the owners who would then, I assume, have to have someone present. Wouldn’t this hinder the cultivating, tending, keeping? Wouldn’t this then lessen other’s enjoyment? Thankfully, there are still places in the world where this system still works and thrives, even. I wonder if this sign would work in downtown Dallas? What about rural Kansas? A suburb of Atlanta?

Book Review: The Rise of Evangelicalism

I am a sucker for footnotes. So much so that I find myself rather pessimistic about the veracity of someone’s claim if they don’t tell me where I can go and see some proof. Therefore, I loved Mark Noll’s The Rise of Evangelicalism. While by his own admission, this walk through much of the 18th century’s wrestlings with its religious direction is by necessity incomplete, Noll provides ample opportunities to follow up on the personalities, places, movements, and thoughts of the time.

And therein lies the problem with the book. How do I have the time to read all those other books I now want to read—feel I need to read to better understand where I came from as an evangelical? And where do I get the money to buy all those books?

Thankfully, Noll does a great job of detailing the main movements and moods of the time to paint a picture of a rapidly transforming society in terms of its religious understandings, especially in relation to the church/state issues of the day.

As the subtitle suggests, Noll spends a great deal of time tracing the impact on the rest of the Atlantic world of three men: Edwards, Whitefield, and Wesley. But the book does not avoid how these men were impacted by their environments and others, especially the Moravians impact on Wesley himself.

Noll deals with the early European and American environments that lead to the revivals of the 18th century and then how these revivals lead to both the unification and diversification of the evangelical movement. He also deals with how the new view of the self in relation to the church affected those on the margins of society, spending a good deal of time discussing evangelicals relations to slaves, the slave trade, and the issues of justice and the impact on society.

21st century Christians need to know where we come from, why we do what we do, and what the church looked like before our “style” of Christianity came into vogue. Noll does a fine job of painting this picture and helping the reader to see that church has not always been done the way we do it now. Hopefully, this can be helpful for us to see that our individualism and what’s-in-it-for-me mentality are relatively new phenomena that were birthed in the desire to reform the state church in the 18th century. For good or bad, we are left with this legacy that gathered steam and became known as evangelicalism.

I will refer to this book again as well as make use of his extensive bibliography in further study of this era of American history. For those who are interested in learning more about Edwards, Whitefield, or Wesley, this would be a fine primer.