I don’t floss. Never have. I have been told my whole life that flossing helps prevent tooth decay. All I knew was, it hurt my gums. And my fingers. Plus, it’s gross. Do I regret it? Stare into my complete absence of dental work while I say, “Nooooooooooooo.”Read More
The deer, birds and squirrels weren’t enough wildlife for my mom and dad, evidently. Now the creek behind their house is a duck habitat. With the waterways full again, ducks seem to have found their way to the Texas Hill Country again. (Calm down, all you hunters out there; my mom’s back porch is a strict no-hunting zone.)
Ducks have long served as a metaphor for certain people’s behavior. On the surface they seem to be at complete peace; beneath the water’s surface, though, they are a flurry of unseen activity.
I think churches are a lot like that, too. The average member — somewhat stable in attendance, somewhat lax in activity — is lulled into complacency by the seemingly effortless way the church functions. In truth, they just don’t have a very good insight into the actual goings-on. The elders are meeting with morally compromised teens. The preacher is counseling a couple on the verge of divorce. Three couples are conducting home Bible studies with friends and recent converts. Deacons are smoothly slipping “volunteers” into the various slots for public service.
The efficiency of the machine is no excuse for various parts leaving themselves out, though. It can always run cleaner, quicker, and quieter. “What every joint supplies” (Ephesians 4:16) is the key to the body’s success. More to the point, each individual part is required to work; or else, why be in the body at all?
“The church doesn’t need me,” says the inactive Christian. Well, if you mean we’ll get on fine without you, I’m sure that’s true. But we get on better with you. And you with us. So get in the water and start paddling. You’ll catch on soon enough.
Midge Decter, a writer with whom I am completely unfamiliar, is credited with my favorite quote of the week: “Join the side you’re on.” If that’s a bit too on-the-nose for you, allow me to supply some context.Read More
I am channeling Jude today. The epistler famously wrote of feeling “the necessity” to write how his readers should “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3). His plan had been to write regarding their “common salvation.” Similarly, though not by inspiration, I was feeling the urge to write regarding the strange compulsion toward selfies in our culture (a less noble topic, granted). But amidst my angst, I think I may have found some sympathy. And I find myself writing something quite different from what I had planned.Read More
After spending five football seasons in the heart of SEC country, I have a few suggestions for my brethren. I think they will give you a great deal of peace — and I guarantee they will give your brethren a great deal of peace. And let me beat you to the punch by saying I have been accused of being “as bad as anyone,” so these points are as much for me as for you.Read More
The problem with having a day on the calendar specifically dedicated to the giving of thanks is twofold: one, we are tempted to save our expressions of thanksgiving for “the day”; two, when that day arrives, we wind up repeating ourselves. How can something so sacred be ignored and cliché at the same time? And how do we avoid them both?Read More
I have no particular ax to grind against either Harvey Weinstein or Roy Moore. I’m sure they both have their positive aspects. And I despise the degradation of anyone — young and female or otherwise — being perpetrated by people in power, regardless of where that power is wielded. But I don’t want to write about that today. I want to write about hypocrisy.
What is with college football fans, media and administrations with regard to the firing of coaches? It happened again recently, as Florida residents know. Yet another coach let go before his contract expires — before Halloween, even. You’d think no one had ever lost to their biggest rival by more than five touchdowns before.
I will confess to a bit of bias in the other direction. It’s easy for me to wince a bit when a disgruntled population grows fed up with the status quo and lashes out at the one behind the microphone. Been there, done that.Read More
Mathematician David Hilbert had inscribed on his tombstone, “Wir mussen wissen. Wir warden wissen.” He was German, in case you thought this was going to be a note about typographical errors made in granite.
“We must know. We will know.” That’s the translation, and a powerful commentary on mankind’s need — mandate, even — to advance the boundaries of knowledge.Read More
Why do women cheat on their husbands? Several of them “confessed” in one of those slideshow testimonial things I keep saying I’m not going to click on. Just say no to Facebook, Hal.
Anyway, the responses varied. I was in a bad marriage. He cheated first. I was lonely. I was confused. I was unappreciated. I was drunk. I was sick.
Here are some things I did not see.Read More
Hans Island is a half square mile rock, essentially, in the Kennedy Channel north of Baffin Bay, just northwest of the Greenland coast. It lies directly on the border of the territorial waters of Greenland (which technically is still part of the kingdom of Denmark) and Canada. The two nations have argued for decades about who actually owns the island. In fact, they have been at “war” over it since 1984.
The nature of the “war” will explain the quotation marks.
A wonderful satire website with which I have become acquainted this year beat me to the punch. They said, in far more witty fashion than I could, how tragic events such as the Las Vegas shooting serve as excellent opportunities for us to blame even more the ones we already blamed for the problems we already were whining about. Who’s your bogeyman? Terrorists? The NRA? Minorities? Immigrants? Trust me, you can find a way to blame them. And you probably have already.Read More
Here’s another Gene Stallings story. Apologies if this offends any Auburn people out there.
Coach Stallings took his national championship team to the White House, as is customary. (Or used to be, anyway. Crazy world.) Anyway, ...Read More
Coach Gene Stallings (who was a Texas Aggie long before he hooked up with the University of Alabama) likes to tell the story of a young kicker who was struggling in practice. “Coach, you make me nervous,” he said.
“Son,” Coach Stallings replied, “I’m going to be at every game. If you’re nervous now, you’re really going to be nervous on Saturday.”
The RMS Titanic was the largest ocean liner of its day. It was four times the size of the ships that set the standard when laws regarding lifeboats were written. So the company provided the legally required number of lifeboats when it set off on its maiden voyage in April 1914. There was room on the ship for more, and the company fully intended to supply the “extra” lifeboats when the law required it. But on that fateful day, they knowingly (and legally) set off for New York with one-fourth the lifeboats they knew they needed.Read More
One Christian is determined to find the truth. A second Christian is motivated to defend the truth. Which is more valuable to the cause of Christ?Read More
My retreat from sports has been well documented. I didn’t watch nearly as much football last year as in previous years, and I am sure I will watch even less this year. That’s not a value judgment. This is the value judgment coming up. Brace yourselves.Read More
As I type, my former hometown of Houston is in extreme flooding situations as a result of Hurricane Harvey. And everyone says things are about to get much worse. As is generally the case, people in pain reach out for a face to put on their dartboard of blame. For many, the "winner" is Joel Osteen, pastor of the Lakewood Church.Read More
The tagline was, “25 Dumb Things People Think are Cool.” I was drawn in. The caption led me to believe it would be a list of things that are inherently dangerous, or that are based on pseudo-science. Turns out, as a couple of clicks revealed, it was basically a list of things that many people in our culture like but the one making the list does not like. I really need to spend less time online.Read More
As I left the house this morning, I saw a strange thing. I saw steam rising up from the roof of two houses across the street from me. Nowhere else. Now, I remember enough about high school chemistry to know steam is water in gaseous form; it is normal on hot afternoons after a rain for steam to come up from the asphalt as the heat of the surface essentially boils the water that hits it. But this was morning time — warm, but not unbearably hot. And it was just the two houses, as far as I could tell. (I’m virtually certain the houses were not on fire, in case you were wondering. The thought did cross my mind, though.)Read More