Archive for October, 2010

Qawah; “wait for it”

We had a great lesson this morning about the value of waiting. The original Hebrew word in the Old Testament, Qawah, translates as wait, hope, and trust. Thank you, Jeff McMillon. Solid message, and important to remember as we trudge thru tough days.

It was only after we started the drive home and heard about the lunch plan that today’s Lyric Vault Moment developed. Thank you, Sherry, for the home cookin’, and Alan Jackson for your Southern Wisdom interpretation of Qawah:

‘Cause where I come from
It’s cornbread and chicken
Where I come from a lotta front porch sittin’
Where I come from tryin’ to make a livin’
Workin’ hard to get to heaven
Where I come from

And by the way, lunch today was delicious. Well worth the Qawah….



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 I was flipping channels on the TV early this morning, and the cable programming guide said Mythbusters was on, but instead, what I saw on the screen was deep south minister Charles Stanley.   I’ve watched and listened to Mr. Stanley before on occasion over the past 25 years, and was  not that interested this morning.  I flipped to next channel, and it was Joel Osteen’s program.     There’s an exercise in contrast for you: one man has a large, static, full color map of the World behind him, and one has a large bronze hollow globe spinning behind him.    And I was expecting Mythbusters…

 One man is in a fully lit room, and often has camera cut aways to many of the faces of the people listening to the message, and the other has the frequent cut-away to the massive packed house dimly lit auditorium he is speaking to, with a distant background view of the well-lit stage containing him and the aforementioned spinning globe.   And, most importantly, one had his Bible open and quoted from it often; the other did not.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with everything Mr. Stanley has to say, and both of these guys found a way to ask for money inside their programs this morning.     But Stanley’s message was pointed this morning: “You cannot out give God“.      Osteen was on his traditional point, God wants you to prosper.    There is that contrast again: You and God trade positions in the sentence placement, but which takes the place of prominence, the object of the sentence, in each?

My Bible does not tell me that God promises prosperity.    And, as we’ve thought about before here in our earlier consideration of Mr. Osteen and the late Mother Teresa, how can I believe in a God who wants me to prosper, but is content with those who love and serve Him around the globe suffering in poverty and distress?       Blessings, cursings, callings, and obligations in life do not equate to the message of Prosperity Theology.     Just ask Job about that.    Would we love God for nothing?     I sure hope so.    I have a lot to learn and improve my practice on in this arena.

Mr. Stanley has been preaching the same way for decades.     Mr. Osteen has only been pushing the prosperity plow for but a few years, with his daddy setting the congregational table before him.    Our friends, the Mythbusters, have been the cult stars of Discovery for a few years as well.

This brought up an interesting thought: what about a Mythbusters episode where our cable TV scientists experiment with pushing two televangelist preachers off large arena/sanctuary type structures.       I wonder which of the two discussed here would bounce the highest?    My bet is on Mr. Stanley.    Just sayin…

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…the Dutchman needs a captain. 

Part of the problem, part of the solution; how do I deal with everything that happens?

I hate washing the dishes.    Correction, I used to hate washing the dishes.   It seems that now I hate the presence of dirty dishes in the sink more than the effort required to clean them off and load them into the dishwasher, and it’s not that hard.     Get to it, get it done, and move on to bigger and better things.    Now, if only I could get my kids to feel the same way and adopt the same mentality.     But that’s just it: the Dutchman needs a captain.

In our mythical movie world example, the Flying Dutchman was charged with ferrying souls from their earthly existence to a better place.     It had a role, a charge, a task: to improve the situation.     Our task is not much different.

But how did the Dutchman’s captain, the notable William Turner, get to the place of leadership?    He had to cut out his heart; in a manner of speaking, he had to die to himself.   Better yet, for analogous purposes, he needed help from his friends to make the decision.    He had to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to help the ones he loved.     And now, his legacy is forever set.

But are we part of the problem, or part of the solution?    Or, both?    In our simple example of the family kitchen, and a sink full of dirty dishes, I eat there just as often as the rest of the Bing family.     My cereal bowl from the morning takes up every bit as much room in the sink as my son’s bowl from the afternoon snack bowl of frozen deliciousness consumed in world record time.     We all have a job to do.

How about other types of messes?    Getting along: at home, at work, at church?    Working thru tough issues?     Fighting off temptation?     Helping those who need our help?    We have a role, a charge, a task; to improve the situation. 

Galatians 6:2-3:  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

So, who are we kidding tonight?    Ourselves?   Who am I kidding?    Who are you kidding?    Are we making an effort?    Are we making a difference?       Part of the problem, part of the solution…. the Dutchman needs a captain.

If you will excuse me now, I need to stop by the kitchen on my way to the DVD player.     I’m feeling a little pirate spirit in me tonight…

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A lyric vault moment to follow the photo montage of the weekend.

Falling back, and getting away, is good for the heart, good for the soul, and good for the family.

A good friend starting his own family was espousing the value of the lyrics to this tune, so we’ll share them now.

Let love work, for you and yours…

It don’t have a job
Don’t pay your bills
Won’t buy you a home
In Beverly Hills

Won’t fix your life
In five easy steps
Ain’t the law of the land
Or the government

But it’s all you need..

Love, will, hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm

And I’ll, be, my brothers keeper
So the whole world will know
That we’re not alone

It’s waiting for you
Knockin’ at your door!
Every moment of truth
When your heart hits the floor
When you’re on your knees then…

Love, will, hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm

And I’ll, be, my brothers keeper
So the whole world will know
That we’re not alone

This is the first, day of the rest of your life
This is the first, day of the rest of your life
‘Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It’s gonna be alright, s’gonna be alright

Love, will, hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm

And I’ll, be, my brothers keeper
So the whole world will know
That we’re not alone


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     As evidenced by the entry picture, the family of my birth, the Binghams of the 60’s and 70’s, made Lake Tenkiller a destination long before Jeff met Sherry.     It was a great place to get away.   A place to play.    A place to make friends.    It still is.   I don’t even recall the guy’s name that is with me in this picture, but I thought he and his David Cassidy t-shirt were great.

The current generation Binghams, the family of my girth, returned tonight from our “Fall Back/Fall Break” recurring pilgrimage to Lake Tenkiller.   As we were driving into the area a couple of days ago, one of the kids was heard to say “I love this place”.    And there you have it: a “Perfect Ten(killer).    The perfect place to escape; to get away; to be together as a family.     A place that requires no agenda or itinerary.     There were no David Cassidy t-shirts to be seen, but plenty of parents and kids, each sharing the moment, as was our crew.     Maybe the Jonas Brothers have replaced David Cassidy and the Partridge Family in this current generation, but I digress.

I learned long ago, as a participant and before becoming a director, that kids do about 5 different things on a trip like this

1) They eat

2) They argue with siblings

3) They play

4) They sleep

5) and, on occasion, they throw up…

…and the cycle simply starts all over again the next morning, with only the parents the worst for wear, and we would not have it any other way.

That’s really all there is to this entry:  Take time for each other; close ranks; fall back.   Enjoy the moments; enjoy the years.     The moments turn into years all too quickly, and your love and memories will be the great reward, unless you happen to find one of those David Cassidy t-shirts for sale at EARC.    If you do, you’ll most likely know where to find me…

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There is a great scene, one of many, from the classic John Wayne 1960’s era movie, “The Alamo“; “The Raid for Cattle”. Historically inaccurate, to a degree only Hollywood can deliver, it made for good drama in the middle of an already great movie.

It seems our heros were running out of food in the mission, turned fortress, and decided to sneak out one night, under Davy Crockett’s leadership, and steal hundreds of cattle from right under the Mexican Army’s nose. Now why, you may ask, after enduring days of siege would a carefully planned raiding band go into the heart of the enemy camp just to steal a bunch of cattle, when they could have used said raid to inflict massive damage to the enemy and flee for safety in the dark of night, living to fight another day? You will have to ask the director that one. I guess they had a hankerin’ for a steak dinner.

As our heros were returning to their broken down fortress on the Texas plains, their bovine bounty in tow, a carefully orchestrated progression of defensive ramparts was presented by another of our heros, Col. Travis. As each defensive line would execute their shots, his orders repeatedly rang out “close Ranks; fall back”.

There’s a lesson here for us, amidst this Hollywood hoopla. Close Ranks – Take risks for one another when there’s a need; come to the aid of of one another when peril awaits; stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder, when defending a position is necessary. And, lest we forget, don’t neglect the need to Fall Back, when the moment calls for it.

The oldest daughter came home tonight from college, the whole mile or so from that distant locale, to enjoy a couple of days of Fall Break R&R with the family. Time to fall back and close ranks.

Daylight savings time will be ending soon. We often question this annual right of passage, but I find value in making a point to “Fall Back” when the darkness is closing in. Mornings become brighter, and we all catch that small dose of “gaining another hour” in our hectic life, borrowed though it may be.

So, it’s time to be off to pack for a little time at the lake with said College escapee. I should remember to pack the Heinz 57: there may be a raid for cattle ahead…

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Last Week was the “ladies auxiliary” garage sale in support of the university with which I work.    The night before the big event, late that night, a friend and I were delivering some priceless items (one man’s trash is another man’s treasure?) for sale the next day, and doing a little shopping of my own.

I picked up the two gems pictured here for the sum total of one U.S. Dollar.    What a steal!    The book was an interest point, as I’ve been part way thru the audio book for UNCHRISTIAN already, but the porcelain nativity was a bit of a joke – something for my desk – a “conversation piece”.

As I was pondering the next morning over the subtle “spiritual dichotomy” of these two purchases, UNCHRISTIAN, the book, and a Nativity sculpture set, I ran across the following blog post forwarded via a friend’s Twitter account.

Talk about “spiritual dichotomy”….What makes us do what we do?    What makes us think some of the things we think?     Say some of the things we say?    What would Jesus do?  I love reading Donald Miller, as well, but often find him unorthodox and challenging to agree with.

 I don’t have many answers here, but was left to think by the concepts in this piece.    And think we should: Exercise discernment.



I bought Donald Miller‘s book A Million Miles In A Thousand Years for my wife recently…at Barnes & Noble – across the street from my local LifeWay store. I think I was too hard on them.

I planned to buy it at LifeWay but when I pulled the book from the shelf I discovered that it – and every book by Donald Miller at the store – comes with a slip of paper tucked inside, a note instructing me to get extra info on Donald from the cashier before making my purchase. So I did. The extra info turned out to be a warning which read, in part:

We want you to know that the authors of books marked Read with Discernment may have espoused thoughts, ideas, or concepts that could be considered inconsistent with historical evangelical theology.

On LifeWay’s website the following further explanation is given:

We at LifeWay Christian Stores are dedicated to providing biblical solutions that spiritually transform individuals and cultures.

One way you can grow spiritually and intellectually is through reading. And whenever you read we encourage you to read with discernment, asking God to reveal His truth to you as you read…

At the time the warning bugged me enough to send me across the street with my money. It shouldn’t have. Now, I like the warning. I like it so much I wish it accompanied every purchase.

Just Say No…I Mean, Yes…I Mean, No

LifeWay warns Miller’s readers to exercise discernment because it believes his books to be inconsistent with historical evangelical theology in some way, yet instead of refusing to sell them, LifeWay chooses to profit from what it alleges to be heresy(ish). That seems a bit like Nancy Regan going into the crack business. “Just say ‘No.’ First one’s free.”

But more odd is how LifeWay is defining “historically evangelical theology.” Actually, I’m not sure how they’re defining it.

What definition both condemns Donald Miller as a heretic but approves the writings of Joyce Meyer and John Hagee?

What History?

It’s historical fact that Christianity was almost entirely led by pacifists for the first three hundred years of its existence. Should LifeWay then carry books written by soldiers, books endorsing America’s wars, books by Oliver North, for instance? I mean, I don’t have a problem with General Colonel North, who knows hundreds of ways to kill any man who has a problem with him, but Tertullian wouldn’t agree with the guy.

It’s historical fact that for most of Christian history individuals did not ask Jesus into their hearts or “accept Jesus.” Should LifeWay carry books and tracts that communicate personal salvation in such non-biblical non-historically Christian terms? Would home churches that existed before Rome’s building projects scratch their heads at books on institutional church administration as well?

Is “historical” Christianity the stuff that happened after Constantine…or after Calvin…or is it after D.L Moody?

And what historical evangelical theology is communicated by paintings of cottages printed on mousepads, and t-shirts that print scripture pulled from context across an American flag, or keychains or romance novels minus the sex?

Save Me From Myself

I was too hard on LifeWay. Or at least hypocritical. Anyone not exercising selective discernment may cast the first stone. Anyone?

Truth is we all do what LifeWay appears to be doing here. I do this.

I read certain books fearfully, prayerfully, critically while others get a pass. I breeze through them with my heart and head wide open and unguarded. This guy is dangerous. That one not so much. Because he thinks like me, I guess.

This assumes I think like God, or that God thinks like me – that I’m not a heretic, that I don’t need God to protect me from myself.

LifeWay’s right: We need a warning alright. And the one they distribute with some books is a pretty good one to start with. Maybe they should stick it in every book. Or, better yet, print that advisory on a massive banner and hang it outside every store:

We want you to know that everything in here might be wrong. Exercise discernment.

I’d like one to hang up at my concerts:

I want you to know that everything I’ll sing and say tonight might be wrong. Exercise discernment.

And one for my church:

We want you to know that everything taught and sung here today might be wrong. Exercise discernment.

And of course one for this blog:

I want you to know that everything I write might be wrong. Exercise discernment.

Everything. Not just Donald Miller. Because, well, is selective discernment inline with historical evangelical theology?

Categories: Featured Posts, None
Tags: Christian industry, church history, Donald Miller, LifeWay, marketing, non-violence, theology

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