Wednesday, December 07, 2005
It is my opinion that Danny Rennels, executive director of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, made the correct decision to not allow Tucker Brown to participate in the next playoff game. I offer two reasons to support my opinion.
First, Tucker Brown kicked an opposing player in the head, which is a clear violation of of the rules of football. In accordance with the OSSAA rules, he should not be allowed to play in the next two games. It doesn't matter what anyone else did in the game, the yellow flag was thrown on Tucker. He should take responsibility for his own actions. He had no control over what the opposing player did to him. He did have control over his own actions He had the game won. He should have sucked it up forgot about what the other player did to him.
Secondly, I am convinced that Danny Rennels was correct to support the decision of the officials. I know Danny to be a man of impeccable integrity. I have known him almost forever. He knows right from wrong. He graduated from Hammon High School, the same school from which I graduated. My trust in Danny Rennels isn't based on the fact that we graduated from the same school. Rather, it's based on the fact that he is willing stand for what is right. He said, "...The rule is indisputable. If you kick someone ... you sit out. It's just that simple."
That Danny's stand isn't pleasing to Governor Brad Heney or some people in Shawnee is beside the point. Right is right. And wrong is wrong. Danny knows what is right.
I hope the high court stands with Danny Rennels and the OSSAA. I hope Tucker Brown and his coach/father learn a lesson from this event...
Thursday, November 24, 2005
According to the GoVeg.Com, there are 300 million turkeys raised and killed for their flesh every year in the United States, the same of which have that no federal legal protection. The really sad part of the story is that these same turkeys, most all of them I'm sure have souls, have no religious protection. Who knows how many of those 300 million turkeys will be predestined to end up in the hell of an oven only to be served on a platter to the devils who celebrate Thanksgiving? Where, oh where, is the god of turkeys in this travesty?
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Well, it's now official. There will be no more moderate Baptist churches (i.e. CBF friendly churches) in the Missouri Baptist Convention. Thanks to Bruce Prescott for pointing me to this article. According to the article, changes in the convention's rules now require members of the state organization be aligned with the Southern Baptist Convention only. The rules also established a credentials committee that can investigate churches to determine if they meet that criteria.
Local church autonomy is out the window for Southern Baptists in Missouri. Roger Moran, Paul Pressler, and Paige Patterson are probably beaming with pride. The fundamentalists are firmly in control of all the churches in the state convention. And absolute control is what it's all about for these men and the fundamentalist leadership in Missouri.
Ralph Sawyer of Wentzville, the new president of the MBC said, "I've never seen such a unity." Yeah sure, Ralph, you're going to always get unity when you have absolute control after you've kicked out all the opposition and those who disagree with you. It doesn't take a Missouri mule to figure that one out.
Paul Berner, a messenger from Cedar Ridge Baptist Church on Table Rock Lake, and an active Baptist since 1941, said he thought the reason there was so little dissension was that few of the churches that disagree with the direction of the convention attended. Said Paul, "They are the ones that pulled away, that don't believe in the Bible all the way." Yeah sure, Paul, you and the fundamentalists are the only Baptists left in Missouri who actually "believe the Bible." Baloney Cheese fourteen times over!!
Now that Missouri Southern Baptists have taken this action, look for Oklahoma to follow suit. And it could happen in less than a month. What makes me think Oklahoma will probably be the next state to affect something like this? I think this because the MBC Executive Director, Dave Clippard, went to Missouri from Oklahoma. Jordan essentially got the MBC job for Clippard. In doing so, he was exporting a brand of Southern Baptist fundamentalism that thrives on absolute control. Clippard went to Missouri in 2001 and the MBC has regressed into radical fundamentalism under his leadership. Clippard's style of leadership is a lot like that of his former boss.
I think the MBC is the first domino to fall. It will set off a lot of other dominos, with Oklahoma possibly being the second domino. There's a lot of open hatred by Oklahoma Southern Baptists toward the CBF and Mainstream Baptists. I suspect that Louisiana will be the third and other state conventions will follow suit. This is truly a sad time for Southern Baptists everywhere. Most rank and file Southern Baptists have no clue about what their leadership has gotten them into. What a shame it is that Southern Baptist fundamentalists actually believe they're the only people who believe the Bible. If it weren't so sad, it would be downright humorous. They have their heads in the sand...
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
In Osage County, fifteen miles west of Pawhuska, there is a lonely grave with a cross headstone and metal fence around it. The grave is that of Johnny Clare, a cowboy who worked for a physician in Pawhuska. At the head of the grave below the cross is a cast-iron plaque which reads:
May 1890--May 1910
Cowboy employed by Dr. Hall
Thrown from his horse
and Killed at this spot
According to lore, Johnny was alone and chasing an outlaw steer in the open prairie. He managed to rope the steer, but after lassoing the animal, he was thrown from his horse and killed. A cowboy by the name of Dwight Barnard found Johnny dead in the tall bluestem grass of the open prairie. Standing nearby was his horse and the steer. The horse and the steer were tied together by the rope Johnny had used.
A small group of friends decided to bury Johnny at the spot where he was killed. As they were preparing to bury him, a tinker drove by. The tinker provided the canvas covering of his tinker's wagon as a covering for the cowboy's body. Ninety-five years have passed and the lonely gravesite is still visible from from the highway.
Cowboy poet, Larry McWhorter of Weatherford, Texas wrote this poem about Johnny Clare.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
After a year of being out of active ministry, I became the pastor of a small ABC church in Watonga, Oklahoma. I am blessed to serve this church and have grown to dearly love the people I serve. God has richly blessed me and the church. This past June, I had occasion to attend my first national ABC convention, which is held biennially (the ABC-USA Biennial). I am at home among American Baptists churches because they are, as I am, moderate Baptists. The happiest years of my ministry have been the last two and a half.
I went to Denver in June knowing there was a movement that would attempt to change the denomination. I half expected to see a floor fight wherein the fundamentalists would raise a nasty fuss. That did not happen. There was some hall-talk that the fundamentalists might attempt to impose their views on the denomination. Been there and done that on far too many occasions.
For me the highlight of the biennial was the message given by the Dr. Roy Medley, General Secretary of the ABC-USA. His message was powerful and prophetic. He warned the denomination to resist the temptation to fracture and separate. The moderates wanted all ABC churches to continue to work together despite their differences. The fundamentalists did not feel they could work cooperatively with those who did not excommunicate churches that were welcoming and affirming. Homosexuality was the hot button issue.
In his plea to the denomination Dr. Medley said...
Small souls? Small souls! Today I learned that there is an entire region that is preparing to split from the denomination. They're doing this all because they could get their selfish ways at the Biennial. The region (ABCPSW - American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest) is going to leave the denomination. Evidently, fundamentalism's powerful influence caused their souls to become so small that they cannot work with those who do not agree with or conform to their views.
"We stand at a crossroads... In our world, the path of radical discipleship -- the path of radical love -- is the road less taken. We dare not choose another. We dare not choose the wrong road ... The road that leads to separation. That choice will certainly unite you with like-minded people but will give you small souls and make you comfortable Christians."
My soul is sad to see these small souls leave the denomination. But fundamentalism does that to folks. I can't understand it. I can't understand how people can bow to the influences of fundamentalism. In my mind, fundamentalism is pure evil. Radical fundamentalism in anything fosters evil. Radical fundamentalism in religion always ends with legalists attempting to superimpose their wills upon others. Fundamentalism seeks to control. This is true in politics. It's true anywhere.
Small souls... A small number of small souls among Southern Baptists took over and ruined the entire denomination. The Southern Baptists of today are but a shell of their former self. They have isolated themselves from the rest of the world of Baptists. They are arrogant in their small souls. Now a small number of small souls in the ABC are leaving the denomination. That's sad. Perhaps it's better that they leave than transform the entire denomination into small souls as did the Southern Baptists...
Monday, September 12, 2005
I thought about writing a blog about 9/11 but couldn’t think of anything original or intelligent to write. After reading the paper, listening to the news on TV & radio, and reading 41 Baptist bloggers, I didn’t find a thing new or enlightening that had been written or said about 9/11. It’s 9/12 and I still don’t have anything original or intelligent to write in memory of 9/11. I doubt that I’m capable of writing anything like that, but a few dumb thoughts do come to mind.
I am not encouraged by propensity of many to blame President Bush for the screw-ups in the aftermath of 9/11. Lo these four years and a day after the fact, many people are coming up with wild conspiracy theories about what happened on 9/11. I have friends who espouse conspiracy theories about 9/11. They are convinced that the President knew about 9/11 before it happened. They are convinced that the President and high officials in the White House are complicit in a cover-up operation about 9/11.
The problem I have with the conspiracy theories is that those pushing them are confusing propaganda with facts. I'm not convinced that propaganda and fact are synonymous. Allow me to offer a couple of examples of what I mean.
1) In the 40's, 50's & '60's there were legions of people who believed that flying saucers were real. Many of these same people gave so-called first-hand accounts about being abducted by space-aliens in these flying saucers. They wrote gobs of books declaring all of this stuff to be "fact." It was simply propaganda because people wanted to believe that flying saucers were fact. To my knowledge none of the flying saucer stuff has ever been proven to be fact.In my honest opinion, the propaganda of the 9/11 conspiracy theorists bears striking resemblance to the two examples given above. If these conspiracy theories turn out to be true, I'll grovel and repent in sackcloth and ashes. Meanwhile, I'm considering them to be mere propaganda.
2) In the 60's, 70's, & 80's, fundamentalists like W. A. Criswell, Paul Pressler, Paige Patterson, William Powell, and many others were spreading propaganda about the SBC seminaries being over-run with liberal professors. They also spread propaganda about the denomination drifting radically toward liberalism, calling it fact. We know now (as many of us knew back then) that this nonsense was only so much propaganda. There was no fact to the propaganda that the seminaries were riddled with liberalism, or that the denomination was drifting radically to the left.
I want to ask my friends what they are going to do if the conspiracy theories turn out to be false? Or what if they never prove the propaganda to be fact? Also, what would they do if they turn out to be true? Nothing is going to change. Those who perishd on 9/11/01 will never be brought back to life. Those people are history. Furthermore, there's nothing they can do to Bush and his administration. He'll serve out his term and will fade into history just like all the other presidents of the past. Seems to me that the 9/11 conspiracy theorists are wasting time and energy on something that gains nothing for them.
The conspiracy theorists will go down in history just like the flying saucer believers. They will eventually be relegated to the fringe in history. In the end, they will be a flash-in-the-pan element in society just like the flying saucer people. That's my own personal opinion...
Friday, September 09, 2005
Help Katrina Pets Purchase Rhinestone Collars 20%I'm a pet lover. There are three cats that live in our house, two of which are more than 10 years old. My daughter raises and shows high-dollar Australian Shepherds. There are probably few people who love pets more than I do. But one thing I know, pets are not in any way, shape, or form, members of the family. Not my family any way. They are pets, not human beings.
We create custom crystal (australian crystals) dog collars for your pets. We will donate 20% of all sales this week to Katrina pets that were abandoned/lost/found/injured. Email for more information!
Which brings me to the point. Somewhere along the way, there are a lot of people who have some seriously misplaced priorities. The people who are willing to die for their pets aren't thinking straight. People who tag along behind people-rescuers just to save dying peoples' pets are seriously misguided. And people who take advantage of major catastrophes (like Hurricane Katrina) to sell rhinestone pet collars but are willing to give only 20% of the earnings to rescue animals are, in my opinion, idiots. In the scheme of things, when it comes to saving life, do pets qualify as being important as human beings? Is pet life equal to human life? These people who are so dedicated to saving pets ought to give their energies to save people, not pets. They ought to use their resources for saving human live, rather than pet life.
Call me hard-hearted, but I don't know of a single pet that ever lived that has a soul. None of the cats (Bennie, Kiki, & Girlfriend) that live in my house have souls. Not one of the fine dogs in my daughter's kennel has a soul. If I were caught in a catastrophe like Katrina, I would hope like crazy that people would rescue me first. When it comes to giving energy to save life, I want all that energy directed toward saving human life. Forget the pets. Concentrate on saving the people. When the people are all saved, then and only then, spend energy to save the pets.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Check out the photos by clicking here...
The world's highest hill, (elevation 1,999 ft above sea level) is located just west of Poteau in LeFlore County. The world's largest peanut is located in Durant, one block east of the Bryan County Courthouse. No wonder outsiders call Oklahomans a bunch of hillbilly nuts...
For a view of these odd "biggest" items, click here...
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I am most proud of my collection of Oklahoma county courthouse photographs. I have traveled slightly over 3,000 miles of Oklahoma roads & highways to collect these photographs of myself in front of 71 of the 77 Oklahoma county courthouses. I have them listed in two formats. One is an alphabetical list format. The other is a "click-on-the-county" format.
I offer a disclaimer that some of the photographs are less than desirable. I struggled with lighting and/or obstacles. Some of the courthouses are behind trees that prevented my capturing a decent photograph. Others were surrounded by buildings or were too close to other buildings, making it difficult to get a full frontal view of the courthouse. Some of the photographs were taken early in the morning or late in the evening, and I was forced to take photographs facing the sun. I'm not a professional photographer, thus these are by no means professional.
Beneath each photograph, I have included a thumbnail sketch of the location and history of the county. I copied information directly from George H. Shirk's handy little book, Oklahoma Name Places. Below are links that will take readers to my collection of county courthouse photos.
For those of you who might be interested in trivial stuff related to Oklahoma, I say enjoy. This is an ongoing project because I will continue to add information to my page...
Click-on-the-County View of Oklahoma County Courthouses
Alphabetical view of Oklahoma County Courthouses
Monday, September 05, 2005
In the scheme of things, I'm sick and tired of the bickering and blame game stuff. Everybody seems to be blaming the President for not taking charge. If they're not blaming the President, they're blaming the Mayor of New Orleans, the Governor of Louisana, FEMA, the National Guard, as well as various and sundry other political officials. The Liberal politicians are blaming the Conservatives. The Conservative politicians are blaming the Liberals. Everyone seems to be blaming someone else for being inept with his or her responses to the disaster...
In the scheme of things, if everyone would stop the childish blame game stuff and concentrate on working together to get through this disaster, we would all be a whole lot better off. I have no answer for the misbehavior of the looting mobs that roam the streets of New Orleans. I don't know what can be done about those evil people. But I do know that there has been far too much political blaming and the country is going to ultimately suffer for it...
In the scheme of things, I can't contribute much to alleviate all the pain and suffering. Yes I can pray for the well being of those who are suffering. I do that with a broken heart. I can pray for strength on the part of those who are helping. I do that with all my heart. I can pray for wisdom on the part of those who are leading. I do that with all my heart. I can generously contribute a measure of my small retirement resources toward helping the needy. And I do that with a glad heart...
In the scheme of things, my little church can't do much to help the suffering. We are a small struggling Native American church out in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma. But we're doing what we can. On the seventh day after Katrina hit New Orleans, I stood and preached to a congregation of ten people. I preached from the account where the small lad gave Jesus the five loaves and two fish (John 6:1-13). From that small contribution from an insignificant little boy, Jesus fed the 5,000 that were gathered there on the hillside. Believing that Jesus uses the small to make great, I asked the congregation to contribute something to help the suffering in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. I committed a week's salary from my church earnings. I challenged my people to contribute what they could. From the eleven people present in our sanctuary Sunday morning, Watonga Indian Baptist Church raised $175.00. We are going to send our contribution to the ABC-USA's One Great Hour of Sharing. In the scheme of things that's probably not even a nanosecond of a millisecond of the hour...
In the scheme of things, $175.00 isn't very much. It doesn't even represent a grain of sand on the vast seashore of all the money that has been/will be raised for this disaster. But for us (WIBC) that's a pretty significant offering, considering that we are basically poor people in the scheme of things. Our offering will never be noticed in the long run. But we have done something. And we did it from our hearts in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ..
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I ran across this church sign in Haskell County, Oklahoma. Interesting...
Does God sit around on the clouds of heaven thinking up answers to prayers no one ever bothers to ask? I seriously doubt it. If God simply waits for people to pray and then gives answers, he can be manipulated. The God I worship and serve isn't one who can be manipulated by the whimsical desires of humankind. The quote on the sign above has a high sounding ring to it but the theology is off the mark. Sometimes church signs can offer interesting quotes that contain bad theology...
Monday, August 22, 2005
Apparently the SBC is moving toward pulling the WMU into the fold with the ladies kicking and screaming. Never mind the fact that since 1888, the WMU has been an auxiliary of the SBC. Since the beginning of the denomination, the male dominated SBC has refused to allow women to have a voice in denominational affairs. Women could not be messengers. They could not vote. If that weren't enough, they had to organize the WMU in the basement of a Methodist church down the street from where the convention was being held. Women were not allowed to serve as messengers in the denomination until 1918! In this way, the SBC leaders were able to control the women and keep them under their thumbs.
So all these years since 1888, the women of the SBC have done their thing as an auxiliary of the convention. In the last 50 years, the denomination essentially had no control of over the WMU. The WMU has always been a cooperating auxiliary. Their mission has been --and still is-- to educate and inform the denomination about missions. Included in that mission is a mechanism for raising money for missions worldwide. Were it not for the work of the WMU, Southern Baptist missions would not be where it is today.
Now denominational leaders are "considering" a deal to "invite" the WMU to become an entity of the denomination rather than an auxiliary. Control is the name of the game with the fundamentalist SBC leadership. For the past 26 years, the SBC has been on a ruthless campaign to possess absolute control over the denomination. The problem is, however, they cannot have absolute control over the women until them manage to get the WMU to become an entity of the denomination. If and when that happens, Baptist women in the SBC will be set back a century. Currently, the SBC cannot control the WMU.
I'm no longer a Southern Baptist, so I have no voice in the matter. (Heck, even if I was a Southern Baptist, I would have no voice because I'm a moderate and the opinions of moderates are not welcome to the fundamentalists). When the Southern Baptist Convention "considers" anything, you can just about call it a done deal. My sincerest hope is that the WMU will thumb their collective noses at the fundamentalist leadership and refuse the "invitation" to become an entity of the denomination. The invitation is nothing more than devious ruse to bring the women under their absolute control.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
1. When preaching sermons, attempting to impress people with biblical language and hermeneutical skills bores them more often than not. Most people could care less about how much you know about biblical languages and proper hermeneutics. They want to hear what you have to say about life where the rubber meets the road.
2. Having all the answers to all the questions makes one a know-it-all in the negative sense. Nobody knows everything about every subject under the sun. Most people don't know everything about any one subject. Pretending to know everything about anything is ridiculous.
3. "Going-along-to-get-along" never brings peace of mind and/or soul. I spent years going along to get along while pastoring SBC churches. I regret doing that now because I never had much peace of mind or soul when I did.
4. Yielding to power-mongers (i.e. blindly following them) will get one trampled under foot 98.6% of the time. Power-mongers want bootlickers. They need them. It satisfies their ego to have people they can control.
5. Failing to take a stand on firm convictions does not lead to peace or to peace of mind. Failing to take a stand on firm convictions makes Joe Smoe a weakling.
6. Standing on firm convictions may get one fired and/or excluded but it leads to peace of mind. Three years ago I was both fired and excluded. I stood firm on my convictions about the Baptist Faith and Message and denominational politics. I was excluded from the SBC, but today I have a peace of mind that passes all understanding.
7. It is impossible for a pastor to lead a church, preach sermons, and minister to people in a manner that will cause everyone to love and respect him. Those who think they can lead everybody to think good of them are fooling themselves.
8. Avoiding conflict is impossible. Peace at any price is foolish. As a child I was taught that Jesus turned the other cheek and was expected to do so to in order to avoid conflict. But turning the other cheek doesn't always work. Conflict can, and will come. Jesus didn't avoid the conflict by succumbing to the Pharisees. He got in their faces.
9. Avoiding the pain of conflict is impossible. Those who don't feel pain in the midst of conflict are not facing reality.
10. Fundamentalists (of any stripe) are untrustworthy. They are devious. They lie. They steal. They are unbending. They seek absolute control over others. They are holier than thou.
Friday, August 12, 2005
While there may be a few Indians somewhere in the world who feel that Indian mascots are hostile and abusive, I've never met one. I have Native American ancestry, grew up in Oklahoma, attended public schools in a town that is 50% Indian and played basketball for the mighty Hammon Warriors, who have four state championships and two runner-ups to their credit. Whites and Indians in Hammon have always supported the Warriors, who many times were dominated by Indian players. Indians in my hometown are proud of their mascot. I am a pastor of a Native American Baptist Church. Of the five churches I have pastored in my ministry, three have been Indian churches and two were Anglo with an Indian minority. I have never pastored a church that did not have Indian members.
In Oklahoma, a huge number of the schools have Indian mascots. Virtually all of the major all-Indian schools in Oklahoma have Indian mascots. We have the Bacone Warriors in Muskogee, the Sequoyah Indians in Tahlequah, and the Riverside Indians in Anadarko, to name three. Anadarko is proclaimed as Indian City USA. The Anadarko High School mascot is the Warrior. I have no idea what percentage of Oklahoma schools have Indian mascots, but I would guess that roughly 40% of the schools have some form of an Indian mascot. When the NCAA, dubbed by one writer as being the Naturally Clueless and Anal Alliance, finishes with the NCAA schools, look out high schools, they’re coming after you.
My hope is that the white guy General Custers of the NCAA will come out on the losing end of the next Battle of the Little Bighorn. Better yet, may the Florida Seminole, Chief Osceola, drive his spear right through the rear end of the Naturally Clueless and Anal Alliance...
In my humble opinion, my radical environmentalists friends are blowing mostly hot air. Count me among the nay-sayers because I'm inclined to agree with Steven Milloy of the Cato Institute, who declares that the Global Warming proponents are practicing/believing "Junk Science." If I end up eating words, I'll deal with that when the time comes. But mostly, I'm not alarmed because the earth's heating and cooling cycles have been around for millions of years. These cycles are likely to continue for the next million years or so. I'm sure intelligent minds will figure out how to deal with whatever temperature changes that occurs over the next millennium. I'll be long gone to heaven by the time that occurs. Or perhaps the "junk science" will be proven wrong by then...