Wade Burleson on Abstaining from Tea Drinking

This ongoing attempt by the SBC to get the message out there to everyone everywhere that it is a sin to drink alcohol at any time, in any place, for any reason, is one reason why I am REALLY glad that I am not a Baptist.

In response to this Wade Burleson is proposing a resolution that tea drinking should also be condemned as sinful.

This would be frightfully funny, except that I seem to recall that over a century ago evangelicals were using precisely the same arguments to condemn the drinking of tea and Coke.  Many of these same prohibitions are preserved to this day in many quarters of Mormonism.  [If anyone out there with a more thorough knowledge of American church history could back me up on this, or set me straight if I am wrong, that would be greatly appreciated.]

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Told Ya: The Hot Seat Becomes the Empty Seat

Well, I’ve found that it actually feels pretty good to say “Told ya so”, so I will try it again.

Nebraska fired Bill Callahan this weekend.

Ole Miss fired Ed Orgeron.

Dennis Franchione is gone.  He resigned from Texas A&M, presumably just a couple of days in advance of his own firing.  (And what do you know–he didn’t need a secret newsletter to announce it to his own boosters.)

Told ya.

The Bulldog Tooth Bonus Feature: Is Les Miles Going to Michigan?

Absolutely.

Les Miles has dismissed as speculation reports that he would be the first person Michigan approached if Lloyd Carr was gone at the end of this season.

But you must know and understand, O best beloved, that you are to always believe the opposite of whatever a coach or university official says in the media.  For instance, last year Nick Saban said that he would not be going to coach at Alabama, and there he is at Alabama.  Also last year, LSU athletic director Skip Bertman publicly denied rumors that he was planning to take over as baseball coach after the firing of Smoke Laval.  And then it came out that Skip Bertman had been secretly making arrangements to put together a staff so that he could in fact do that very thing.  The LSU chancellor said “No way”, and only then did Skip Bertman go out and hire another coach to fill the position.

Now Les Miles is saying that he is comfortable at LSU and wants to stay.  So you can be certain, O best beloved, that even at this very week, and day, and hour, and minute, Michigan is talking to him about the position.  And if Michigan makes him and offer, he’s there like white on rice.

Atheist Alert…New Movie Coming!!!!!

I hear there’s a new movie about to come out that promotes atheism to young people.

The Golden Compass is the first book in a trilogy by author and noted atheist Phillip Pullman, a book all about what a blessed place the world would be if we all just got rid of religion and lived lives of unrestrained sexual pleasure.  The movie version of this book is coming out in December.

I still remember all the craziness of evangelicals jumping all over Da Vinci Code last year.  I am relishing the prospect of sitting back and watching the craziness that will ensue as the time gets closer for this movie to come out and the evangelical world starts to get all geeked up about it.  Anyone up for another round of “Angry Christians Hate Your Movie!!!!!”

I may be back with more of my thoughts on all of this in a few weeks when my classes wind down for the semester.  Until then, I will leave you with Michael Spencer’s take on it.

And here is Peter Leithart on the movie.  Judging by what he has to say, it seems as if there isn’t going to be much here for angry evangelicals to get all geeked up about.  Think this might be a repeat of DVC last year, when the whole evangelical world got geeked up over nothing?

It’s About Time…

Last week one of the top congressional Republicans launched an investigation into several well-known TV evangelists, including Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn (and his brand new Gulfstream IV too), and even our very own Creflo Dollar and Bishop Eddie Long.

Here is a copy of the letter that Iowa senator Charles Grassley sent to Joyce Meyer.  Go to the last page and see some of the items that Joyce Meyer is being asked to account for.  Jeez-loueez, that $23,000 marble-topped commode could sure buy a lot of textbooks and ramen!!!!!

Well, Creflo Dollar and Bishop Eddie Long ain’t too happy about this.  Creflo has gone to meet with the lawyers and they may just come back with the age-old defense that Grassley’s request infringes upon their precious First Amendment religious liberties.

Man, please.

I would love to vent some more about this, especially as a college student with rather limited financial resources.  (Boy, wouldn’t it be nice to come to class in a brand new Gulfstream IV!!!!!  Mr. Hinn, could you hook me up?)  But part of my role as a college student involves extensive amounts of classwork, papers, projects, etc. so I have to keep it short.  So in lieu of my own comments, I will send you to others who have written more extensively about all this.

Here is Bill Kinnon’s take on the situation.

And here is Dan Edelen’s take.  I appreciate the references to Mr. Creosote in this one.  For some of these televangelists, I think this is perfectly fitting.

On an unrelated note, I think Auburn is going to win this week.  Georgia has more to lose.

Told Ya: Interesting Developments at Willow Creek

I am not one who gets much pleasure out of habitually saying “See?  Told ya so”.  (Those of you who have been tracking with me for a while can feel free to draw your own conclusions about the veracity of that statement.)  But when this interesting little news item came out of Willow Creek last week, I couldn’t help it because it goes right along with what I’ve been saying in the Fight Club series, especially the piece on spiritual formation.

Willow Creek did a multi-year study a couple of years back because they wanted to find out which of their programs were the most effective in leading people to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.  The findings from this study just came out not too long ago, and boy were they ever surprised!!!!!

You see, Willow Creek’s approach to discipleship all along–and the approach now utilized by almost all of evangelical Protestant-dom–has been:  We put on the programs.  People participate.  They mature spiritually as a result.

Of course, it is questionable to assume that spiritual formation and spiritual maturity will be automatic as a result of participation in a church program.  And now there is empirical research which shows that this is not the case; that spiritual maturity is not an automatic result of program participation.

There is a human component to the process of spiritual formation.  There are things which God has promised to do for us, and there are things which we must do for ourselves.  Our spiritual development is largely determined by the degree to which we attend to those things which are in our power to control; particularly the degree to which we take responsibility for who and what we allow to influence us.

Yet we as evangelicals are notorious for projecting the message that spiritual formation is all about what God does on the inside of you.  That all you have to do is accept Jesus Christ into your heart, and He does all the rest.  In light of this, it is not surprising that we have drifted toward the mindset that if we create programs and people participate in them, then spiritual maturity and life change are automatic.

Told ya, people.  And now I’ve got the empirical evidence to back me up.

Further reading for those who are interested:  Michael Spencer talks about his take on discipleship from his experience in Southern Baptist discipleship programs.  And Amy Welborn gives her take on the issue as a Catholic.