I won, I won…well, sort of.

Jeff held a contest. I got third place!

Several years ago I won a Church of Rhythm CD from a Christian radio station. I knew why Ivory soap floated. I also won a door prize once somewhere, but I don’t remember what it was. Neither of those took a whole lot of talent.

But this contest—this was huge. You can go here to see all the competition I was up against, or you can go here to see the extremly talented people who edged me out. In the spirit of the Olympics, I must say that I was proud to represent my country in this hard fought, emotional struggle.

I want to think my parents for teaching me my alphabet as well as some wonderful English teachers like Mrs. Butler and Mrs. DePriest* who challenged me to grow in my vocabulary. This great accomplishment would not have been possible without people like that. And thanks to Jeff, as well, for spending the time and energy it took to organize, conduct, and judge such a demanding competition.

If I am not blogging for while, it’s because I am busy writing lesson plans for next week and preparing for the classes I will be taking this fall waiting for the late night talk shows to call.

I wonder if Jeff will provide an html code to put on my blog?

*In all seriousness. After 12 years of regular school, 5 years of undergrad, and and 3 years of grad school, those two ladies were two of the finest teachers I ever had. I actually had the privilege of teaching alongside them both a few years ago. I spent a lot of time in high school in Mrs. DePriest’s home. She modeled Christ for all of us who hung out there with her son. They are both retired now, and I hope they are enjoying every minute of it.

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Jesus vs. Michael Phelps

Ran across a bizarre website today thanks to Christian Striver. This triggered the following thoughts (reader discretion advised):

How can he swim in that robe? What’s up with the blood in the water every time you run the cursor over his hands and feet (I know about the crucifixion, but why is he bleeding when out for a swim)? Why does he have a chain in his hand? Could he beat Michael Phelps? I wonder what he’d look like in one of those ultra-fast-space-age swim suits? Could he beat Michael Phelps?

Then I was reminded of a conversation with a student several years ago about the Passion of the Christ. She hated the movie because it didn’t portray Jesus accurately. When I asked her what portrayal she had issues with, she said when he was shown tripping and falling as a boy. At first I thought she was joking, but she was not. She said that since he created everything, he would have known the rock was there and would not have tripped over it. The fall portrays him as imperfect, which he was not.

While an interesting theory, it misses the entire point of the incarnation. God became man, subject to the limitations of the human body. His breath stunk when he woke up in the morning. He passed gas. He got dirt in his eye (no his being God did not allow him to blink at the right time to avoid it). He tripped and skinned his knee as a boy. He had pimples. More then likely he had crooked teeth. He stubbed his toe on the corner of the bed. He might have even picked his nose now and again. And, no, he could not beat Michael Phelps in the 100 m butterfly.

Though he might part the water at the right time and drop him a few feet as a joke.

What do you mean by that? Semantics Part II

We talked about denotation vs. connotation today in English class. It brought my last post to mind. Then I read this post, and it reminded me of this vision statement from the Dismantling Racism Task force of the United Methodist Church’s North Texas Conference (these thought trains can be dangerous):

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the people of the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church seek to fulfill the word of God by committing to the full participation of people of all racial identities including their gifts, their worldviews and their cultures.

I actually had an opportunity to talk to one of the authors of the statement. I asked him if he really thought it was a good idea to fully include someone with Hitler’s worldview. His response: “Well, that’s not what we meant.” Well, that is what it says. Or what about a Muslim worldview. And does full participation mean they can be pastors. Without defining terms, this statement is at best unscriptural and at worst a statement of universalism. 

And what does Pete mean when he says,

[Jesus] would…include anybody who came up to him.

I have read Pete’s blog long enough to know what I think he means by that, and it’s not what I think the North Texas Conference means.  I have been around the Methodist Church long enough to know I really didn’t buy it when I was told, 

That’s not what we meant.

I know that I fail to define terms as well, and now this reminds me to work hard to be clear.

The Shack: Style and Semantics

I have finished listening to The Shack. The recording included an author’s explanation of how the book came about as well as a “friendly” interview (I have also just finished listening to an “unfriendly” interview.) Young answered my concerns about the quality of writing: basically self-published.

As stated in an earlier post, I struggle to comment on the book because I can’t remember the points I wanted to discuss, and I can’t go back and check what I thought I heard (actually, I don’t want to spend time rewinding and hunting, but I could). All that to say, I know some of Young’s theology is suspect, but I also know that he does some other things well. I have thought about commenting on other’s reviews, but you can read those yourself if you are interested.

I do want to comment on one argument in the “unfriendly” interview mentioned above. While Young did fail to answer some of the interviewer’s questions, they also wrangled over semantics. One might say, “We’ll just define your terms and move on.” The problem occurs when someone uses a term differently than how everyone else does. If the majority of Christians use a term one way, and someone else uses the same term differently, confusion can occur. 

When Bultman says he believes in the resurrection, someone might say, “So what’s the big deal?” The big deal is that Bultman does not believe in the same resurrection as most Christians. He believes in a spiritual resurrection. Bultman’s resurrection leaves Jesus in the grave. I can’t reconcile that with 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. 

So we must use care in using our terms, and if we use a term differently than it is normally used, we must define it to avoid confusion at best and accusations of heresy at worst. Young has left himself open to that charge.

1968

I was born in a turbulent year. I didn’t discover this until late high school. Somehow I remained ignorant of the events that rocked the nation that year. Of course, I was small and didn’t watch much TV that first year. Then we landed on the moon the next year, and all that bad stuff was forgotten. Those places—Memphis, LA, Chicago—were a world away from the rural town in NE Texas where I grew up—not too unsimilar from where Scout and Jem grew up—that had less people than my dorm my first year at college . 

Why that background? Today I read this and was reminded of how wonderful my childhood was, how loved I was, how safe I was. I was reminded that despite what goes on around me in my world today, I can offer a safe haven for my children as well. Can I protect them from evil? No, not completely. But I can love them and nurture them in a way that will hopefully equip them to overcome it when they are threatened by it. And to have that opportunity, today, is a blessing. Today, I enjoyed hugging each one before leaving the house. I will enjoy hugging each one when I get home. I will enjoy reading to them (oh, wait, we’ll probably be gathered around the TV watching olympics, the nightly reading being postponed for two weeks), and tucking them in and singing to them and praying with them.

Fear grips many people today. I hope to instill in my children a trust in God to see them through that fear.