Thursday, November 3, 2011

Weddings do not make a Marriage

Kim Kardashian is getting a divorce. After just 72 days of marriage that began with a wedding estimated to have cost $10 million, Kardashian is divorcing Kris Humphries, citing "irreconcilable differences."  How exactly one can determine that differences are irreconcilable after only 72 days, is beyond me. Either something truly awful was revealed on the honeymoon or Kim Kardashian really is as superficial and vapid as she appears on T.V. 

I regularly hear, "Marriage is a sacred union." By a casual look at the news, i find it difficult to reconcile "sacred union" with a spectacle costing millions and with the resulting marriage only lasting 72 days.  If actions speak louder than words, and there is not more to this story than presently known by the public, then Kim Kardashian's marriage was not sacred.  Marriage is not, in and of itself, holy.  Some alliances can be unholy, even an alliance going by the name "marriage."

If marriage is holy, Indiana woman Linda Wolfe, who married (and divorced) 23 times, should probably be beatified. No one does holy that many times! St. Francis couldn't compete.

Britney Spears married Jason Allen Alexander. That marriage lasted 55 hours, and her record label later released a statement claiming that the whole thing had been "a joke."  If a wedding can be a joke, then it is not necessarily sacred. If marriage can be a joke, then marriage is not, by definition, holy.

A married couple may feel that they've been blessed to find one another, they may experience their wedding as a spiritual event, and they may even understand their marriage as a sacred institution.  But marriage, in and of itself, has never been sacred.  All marriages are not Holy Matrimony.  

Marriage is a tax shelter and a smart way for a couple to combine assets. It is certainly a civil institution. In Kardashian’s case, it appears to be a good way to make a quick $8 million. The wedding was said to have cost $10 million, but grossed $18 million in sponsorships. In Kardashian's case, it also appears to have been a good photo-op.

Marriage as an institution, in and of itself, is not sacred. Love is what makes marriage holy. But, not any ole kind of love.  Romantic love is fleeting.  Lust is even more fickle.  Steadfast love, committed love, is what makes a matrimony holy.  The promises one typically makes at a wedding are meant to ensure that the love in question is not merely of the romantic or erotic variety.  Many take the vows of marriage, however, not as the most sacred promise they are likely ever to make, but as audible window dressing for the photo shoot.

Today, the NY Times printed a story about a photographer who was sued by a groom. Written by JOSEPH BERGER and Published on November 2, 2011, the Times article begins: “Of all the many things that make up a wedding, few are more important than the photographs.”


There are many things that make up a wedding, but if the photographs count as one of the most important elements, then let’s not use the word “holy,” or “sacred” as an adjective to describe it.

Many spend hours, beginning in childhood, planning “their big day.” It is an event focused solely upon them. It involves everyone they know. A birthday comes close, but is not generally as costly or as well attended or (generally) as frequent. As a social occasion, a wedding is “tops.” It doesn’t get any better than this. The flowers, the dress, the tux, the reception, the photographs--none of these “essential elements” of a wedding-as-social-occasion will make a marriage holy.

Berger, in the Times, writes: “Long after the last of the cake has grown stale and the tossed bouquet has wilted, the photos endure, stirring memories and providing vivid proof that the day of one’s dreams took place.”

“One’s dreams took place.” You’ve got documentary proof that your dreams of your “big day” were actualized. If the purpose of a wedding is to actualize one’s dream of the ultimate social occasion, then photographs to document the moment are certainly among those most important elements. If you are going to spend all this money on a “moment”--you want some proof that it actually happened and is not merely a memory that may fade. Did that really happen or was it just a dream? When you spend that much money on a party, you may want to re-live it from time to time. Photographs make that possible.

Social occasions may or not be holy or sacred. Either way, photographs are immaterial. Photographs are not going to make it holy. For Holy Matrimony, you do not need a photographer. Contrary to popular opinion, photographs are not among the most important elements for Holy Matrimony. In fact, they don’t even make the long list of important elements. Photographs of the wedding are incidental to and unnecessary for Holy Matrimony.

The photographer that got sued did not miss the joining of hands and the giving and receiving of rings. The photographer did not miss the exchange of vows. The photographer did not miss prayers said for the couple. The photographer did not miss the blessing that was pronounced by the cleric. The photographers had missed the last dance and the bouquet toss.

The disgruntled groom is seeking $48,000 to re-stage the event, ostensibly to get photographs of a dance and a bouquet toss. The photographers have spent $50,000 on legal fees defending themselves and it hasn’t even gone to trial yet. All this for what? Why is it so important? I can assure you that it is not because without photos of the bouquet toss, the marriage would not be sacred.

To understand the difference between marriage that is truly holy and marriage that is not, is to understand why Kim Kardashian's wedding was probably never holy, and why countless couples around the world, who love each other despite spending far less than $10 million on a wedding, create something that is truly priceless.

In Kentucky, we don’t allow same-gender couples to marry. Kentuckians were worried that doing so would “undermine the sanctity of marriage.” Kentuckians are, however, fine with no fault divorce. Apparently, getting a divorce with ease does not undermine the sanctity of marriage.

Adultery, I also note, is not illegal in Kentucky. When the amendment in question passed, my wife was heard to say: “Same-gender couples are not a threat to my marriage. Single, heterosexual, young women could be.” She proposed that a constitutional admendment making adultry a felony would do far more to protect the sanctity of marriage than prohibiting other couples from marriage.

I suspect that what undermines the sanctity of marriage in our culture is weddings. We confuse weddings with marriage. We should leave the wedding-as-spectacle to those who may one day find themselves a king or a queen. Leave the dreams of being a princess or prince for a day behind. You will never be able to compete with Charles and Diana on the extravagance of your “big day.”

Essential elements for a Holy Marriage: (1) a couple, (2) vows of life-long commitment exchanged, (3) steadfast love, (4) prayers and or blessings for the marriage, (5) and lives lived fulfilling the most important promise you are ever apt to make.

Dresses, flowers, rings, receptions and even photographs are optional. They may even undermine the sanctity of your marriage and you may want to avoid them. They are not evil in and of themselves. All can be said to be “nice.” But, if you equate “Holy Matrimony” with a wedding spectacular, then they all can be a distraction to what is really most important.

I note that the groom who sued the wedding photographer is now divorced. The law suit has lasted longer than the marriage. The bride has even left the country. More focus on the marriage and less on the wedding, might have helped. For marriage to be holy takes intentionality. Its easy to get distracted by the paparazzi.

My advise, elope. Quietly take care of the legalities required--i.e., a marriage license. Bride and groom and two of their closest friends then gather in a place the couple finds holy, exchange vows, pray for the strength and the wisdom and the courage and the patience required to fulfill those vows. Have a cleric pronounce God’s blessing upon the marriage. Leave, resolved to live a life fulfilling the promises you made. Forget the flowers, the photographer, the caterer, guest lists, and seating charts. Don’t make Kim Kardashian’s mistake.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Southern Baptists in the News

In responding to the question of whether or not Mormonism is a cult, Richard Land calls Jehovah's Witnesses a cult.

“I wouldn’t call it a cult but it claims to be Christian and isn’t. It’s theology is like a cult but socially and culturally it doesn’t act like a cult.” In that way, he says, it is more “mainstream. They don’t withdraw, they don’t live in communities, they’re not like Jehovah’s Witnesses or James Jones.”

See his Washington Post interview.

Al Mohler calls Mormonism a "false gospel."

“Here is the bottom line. As an Evangelical Christian – a Christian who holds to the ‘traditional Christian orthodoxy’ of the Church – I do not believe that Mormonism leads to salvation...To the contrary, I believe that it is a false gospel that, however sincere and kind its adherents may be, leads to eternal death rather than to eternal life."

See the “blog dialogue” sponsored by the Web site

For the "official" position you can view "In the Name of Jehovah" on the Jehovah's Witnesses; “The Mormon Puzzle" on the Mormons.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Southern Baptists Changing their Name

From Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, 1600:

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

"What's in a name?" The good bard was of the opinion that what matters is what something is, not what it is called. In addition, I suspect that what a thing is may effect how we feel about a name.

Kentucky Fried Chicken (according to its public relations firm at the time) was trying to get away from the negative implications of the word "Fried"(see Peter Keegan article in "Nation's Resturant News" 25 February 1991)and began to advertise itself as KFC and now is migrating to KGC (Kentucky Grilled Chicken). The connotations of the word "Fried" changed over time. What once was a good marketing moniker, became a public relations nightmare.

Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright said this week "There are not a lot of folks in New York City interested in going to a Southern Baptist church, or in Cheyenne, Wyoming, or Boise, Idaho."(see USAToday article at So, he announced they were exploring a change of name.

Why, I wonder, would people in New York, Cheyenne or Boise not want to go to a "Southern Baptist" church? Is it "Southern" that offends and if so why does it offend? Is it Baptist that offends and if so why does it offend? Southern Bapitsts have had 166 years to develop their "brand." Why change the name?

If it is because their actions have been so offensive that they have given "Baptist" and/or "Southern" a bad name in places like New York, Cheyenne, and Boise, then any new name, over time, will develop equally negative connotations.

I note that Kentucky Fried Chicken has started grilling chicken (changing their actions) to coincide with their name change. Will Southern Baptists change, becoming less "baptist" or less "southern?"

Baptists of other stripes and Southerners as well, might well be pleased that the words "Southern" and "Baptist" will no longer be associated with this particular group of Christians. Perhaps those words, in so far as they have developed negative connotations in places like New York, Cheyenne, and Boise, will be born again, washed clean, made new and given a new life. As a southerner and a friend of baptists, I can hope.

But, I wonder, would Southern Baptists, by any other name, smell as sweet?

Note: Since the initial PR release, it has been conjectured that the real reason for the Kentucky Fried Chicken name change was the word "Kentucky" not the word "Fried." Nonetheless, the current move to "Grilled" is certainly and obviously an attempt to supplant "Fried."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Quote of the Day. File Under "things that make you go hmmm..."

“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

--President Eisenhower (a Republican) to his brother Edgar on November 8, 1954.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tweeting in Tongues

If only i had the spiritual gift of glossolalia, i could start a new twitter account--tweeting in tongues. The Rev. Juanita Bynum II is posting in tongues on Facebook. Recently she posted:


here is the link to her Facebook page.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Perry on Evolution

"I hear your mom was asking about evolution," Perry said today. "That's a theory that is out there -- and it's got some gaps in it."

Perry then told the boy: "In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution. I figure you're smart enough to figure out which one is right."

Yep, that's how schools work. You tell kids some things that are true and some things that are made up and you trust that the children will be "smart enough" to figure it out. "America's first three presidents were George Washington, John Adams and the Green Lantern. Good luck on your AP History test."


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Religion &Taxes

Sightings  8/18/2011
Religion and Taxes
-- Alexander E. Sharp  
The deficit and budget battles in Washington make clear that the divisions between us are deep, even spiritual. The fight is not over the size of the deficit, nor even about expenditure cuts. It is about taxes as the lifeblood of government.
Why are taxes so important? The playbook is no secret. Grover Norquist, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform and the driving force behind the “no-tax-increase” stance, said it over twenty years ago:  “Our goal is to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bath tub.” The way to do that is to cut taxes.
The George W. Bush administration supported this goal. It happily organized the political religious right concerned about social issues: pro-choice, sexual orientation, sex education, and school prayer. Many of the religious right feared that secular values were eroding their fundamentalist reading of the Bible. Their numbers swelled Republican ranks.
Those seeking to limit the size of government surely continue to welcome this faith-based support, but they now have a new moral underpinning: Ayn Rand as their resident philosopher.  We do not need to tackle her 800-page novels to get her message. The title of one of her shorter essays says it all: “The Virtue of Selfishness.” In it she writes, “Altruism is incompatible with freedom, with capitalism, and with individual rights. One cannot combine the pursuit of happiness with the moral status of a sacrificial animal.” For her, the Great Commandment to love your neighbor is tantamount  to “moral cannibalism.”
Michele Bachmann brings another clear spiritual perspective. She received her legal training at Oral Roberts University School of Law. The curriculum was based on Christian Reconstructionism, which argues that “God granted certain jurisdictional authority to the government, the church, and the family—therefore any government action exceeding its God-granted authority is in violation of God’s commands.” Under this view, it is not within the government’s “authority” to take care of the poor.    
Recalling her own family’s struggle against poverty as she was growing up, she has said, “We had our faith in God, we depended on our neighbors, we depended on ourselves, and we just did without… And we were just grateful for what we had. We knew that one day things would be better than they were. And God was faithful, and they were better.”
Her view of government, perhaps shaped by her law-school training, may explain her questioning of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in a congressional hearing over federal bailout programs. She asked, “What provision in the Constitution could you point to that would give authority for the extraordinary actions taken by the Treasury since March of ‘08? What specifically in the Constitution?” In the current Iowa primary she is calling for the abolition of the Departments of Education, Energy, and Commerce: “Wherever we can cut and abolish, we should cut and abolish.”
Those who believe government has a role in providing society’s safety net think it is essential to give a hand to those whom society counts least. Protestants for the Common Good, for example, supported the recent tax increase in Illinois because we were both saddened and shocked at the cuts in human services. Aid to children, the elderly, the mentally ill, and the disabled has been reduced by $3.1 billion since 2002 and $600 million in the current year alone. 
Protestants for the Common Good believe that freedom exists in two forms: we are free from loyalty to anyone or thing other than God; and we are free for the opportunity to serve all whom God loves. We are free to care for, and love, others. That’s what our faith calls us to do.
The political religious right may argue that they want the same things we do.  But they would say that it is freedom from government that makes it possible for people to flourish.  The best way to help others is to get government out of the way. 
Those who are for smaller government rarely express  concern for people in need, even though almost twenty percent of Illinois children live in poverty, only about half of the people who need treatment for mental illness receive it, and after health care reform, there will be over 700,000 Illinoisans without health coverage. 
Those of us who think government is central to establishing community and serving others have been enablers in this debate. We have not insisted that the political religious right, and those who oppose raising the debt ceiling, explain why the current deficit is so high. We have not pressed for a public discussion of how the economy performed under the tax cuts and financial deregulation starting in 2000. How can the views of Ayn Rand be reconciled with Jesus’ concern for the poor?
There is no Christian answer to complicated matters of public policy, but there are spiritual values that should inform how we think about such questions. They are expressed as ideology and pursued through politics and the media. But they have an underlying spiritual basis that is as profound and explicit as it was at any time in our national history. 
Sarah Posner, “The Perry vs. Bachmann Primary at Liberty University,” Religion Dispatches, July 11, 2011.
The Rev. Alexander E. Sharp has served since 1996 as the founding executive director of Protestants for the Common Good, a faith-based education and advocacy organization in Illinois. He received his M.Div. from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1996 and has a Masters of Public Affairs from Princeton University.
In this summer’s Religion and Culture Web Forum: What does religious education look like in the globalized realities of the 21st century? This was the question put to a distinguished panel at the recent meeting (May 22-28, 2011) of the International Association of Black Religions and Spiritualities (IABRS), an organization that “represents the religions and spiritualities of darker skinned peoples globally.” This month, we feature the response of Dr. James Massey, the male Dalit (India) delegate to the IABRS. Dr. Massey argues that peace among the world’s religions will require finding not only a “common ethic” (per Hans Kung), but an “appreciation of differences.” To both these ends, Dr. Massey calls for “re-looking at the religious traditions.”
Sightings comes from the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Very Short Introduction to Millennialism

Harold Camping predicted the “End of the World” twice before his latest prediction. Thanks to his billboards and other marketing expenditures, his predictions receive a great deal of coverage in the media. To the unitiated, his understanding of the timeline of the cosmos can be bewildering. Knowing a bit about the tradition from which he is speaking is helpful in that regard.

The early church, from the time of the persecutions until the third century, widely held the belief that Jesus would return to earth to reign for a thousand years—a millennium. Further, because this earthly reign was the period of time between Christ's ascension into heaven and the moment when Christ "will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead," it is sometimes called the "interregnum."1 A version of this view is also now often referred to as "historical premillennialism" because it understood Christ to come before the millennium.2

With the passing of time, Christianity became the established religion and persecutions ceased. With the ending of the persecutions, a literal view of the thousand year reign of Christ on earth was slowly replaced with a symbolic view.3 In this novel way of thinking about the millennium of Christ's reign on earth, a thousand years did not have to be a literal thousand years, but was, rather, a very long period of time. The millennium in one way or another referred to the reign of Christ in the present age and denied a subsequent interregnum between this age and the age to come. This view, or several variations of it, were standard theological fare between the third century and the reformation. This view became known as amillennialism. Augustine was the most famous proponent of this understanding of the interregnum.4

At the time of the reformation, theological reflections on the biblical notion of the millennium multiplied. By the turn of the twentieth century, three different understandings had gained the attention of theologians.

Baptist theologians make a useful study. At the turn of the twentieth century, there were still many amillennialists, such as Baptist theologian Ε. Y. Mullins.5 But there were also those who believed that the return of Christ would happen at the end of a thousand year reign of peace—these theologians were called postmillennialists. According to postmillennialists, the world was ever drawing closer to becoming the kingdom of God. Political and social reforms, and the effect of evangelism and mission, were ushering in Christ's millennial reign on earth. Baptist theologians B. H. Carroll and A. H. Strong were postmillennialists.6
At the end of the nineteenth century, postmillennial thinking was so popular among Protestants in general (and not just Baptists) in the United States that a new magazine for Protestant ministers was named The Christian Century. But the optimism of the postmillennialists was shattered against the historical reality of the twentieth century. Two world wars and a depression in the first half of the century led to a rise in yet another school of thought on the meaning of the millennial reign of Christ—dispensational premillennialism.

This form of premillennialism believed also that Christ would return before, not at the end of, this special millennium. Unlike the postmillennialists, who believed that the world was improving, premillennialists believed that the world was devolving into chaos. The condition of the world was to continue to grow worse until God would have to intervene and Christ would then return. The experience of many in the early twentieth century seemed to indicate that the premillennialists, not the postmillennialists, were right.

The Baptist minister W. A. Criswell, a student of E. Y Mullins, was such a dispensational premillennialist. Criswell followed the teachings of C. I. Scofield, the author of the popular Scofield Reference Bible (first published in 1917). Besides dividing up history into a number of distinctive dispensations, this view proposed the novelty of a pretribulation "rapture" of Christians out of the world to avoid persecution to be followed by yet another coming of Christ in judgment to the world to establish the millennium. It also especially emphasized the millennium as the reign of Christ during the millennium with Israel, not the church. Criswell was instrumental in popularizing this form of premillennialism among Southern Baptists.
Around mid-century, a recovery of the earlier historical premillennialism also was occurring. Prominent exemplars among Southern Baptists were Dale Moody and Wayne Ward, long-time professors at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The distinction between these two variations of premillennialism is significant enough that one way of analyzing the ecclesiastical politics of Southern Baptists in the last quarter of the twentieth century is to divide the parties according to whether they were dispensational or historical premillennialists. By the end of the twentieth century, premillennialism of one kind or another dominated Southern Baptist theology.

For many Christians, however, the categories of amillennialism, postmillennialism, and premillennialism, have lost their effectiveness. The categories are mired in a theological debate that seems irrelevant at the beginning of the twenty first century. For many, the most popular of the options is biblically and theologically bankrupt, but not for Harold Camping. Camping, a dispensational premillennialist, is now predicting the “End of the World” (i.e. “The Rapture”) on May 21, 2011.


1Referencing the epoch as the "interregnum" highlights its "earthly character." It is the epoch of the "not yet." It is not the "new heaven and new earth." This "here and nearly-now" aspect of the interregnum is important later in this essay because of its strong earthly referent. The new heaven and the new earth, according to the biblical context, are such transformed states that such an eschaton must serve a different doctrinal function than the interregnum.
2 For a helpful introduction to the various views and their historical context, see Stanley J. Grenz, The Millennial Maze: Sorting Out Evangelical Options (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992).
3 As will be seen later, the heresy of chiliasm may have been a factor in the spread of the symbolic reading of the millennium.
4Tyconius, a Donatist, is perhaps the earliest proponent of a spiritual understanding of the millennium.
5E. Y. Mullins' student Herschel Hobbs was also an amillennialist. Hobbs was the principal author of the 1963 "Baptist Faith and Message," the official statement of faith of the Southern Baptist Convention.
6 It is interesting to note that while differing interpretations of the millennium were ripping apart some denominations, Southern Baptist amillennialists and postmillennialists seemed to cohabitate in mutual respect and regard.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The End of the World

"Its the end of the world as we know it...and I feel fine." REM

Great reflection on the "May 21, 2011" "end of the world" by my Church History professor, friend, and former Dean of the Divinity at Wake Forest University.

My sermon for Sunday is based on Bill's reflection. His reflection is better than my sermon. Read it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jesus Wept

...There are some griefs so loud
They could bring down the sky,
And there are griefs so still
None knows how deep they lie,
Endured, never expended.
There are old griefs so proud
They never speak a word;
They never can be mended. --May Sarton, “Of Grief,” Selected Poems of May Sarton (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1978), p. 77.

Jesus wept. --The Gospel According to John, Chapter 9.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Arguing with God

Arguing with God can be a sign of faith. On Ash Wednesday I mentioned my professor, Karen Joines. Dr. Joines loved the story of Abraham arguing with God. He taught me to love it.

Abraham was the first in a long line of people of faith to argue with God. When we argue with God, rail against God, we’re searching, again, for the “God beyond God,” (to borrow a phrase from Paul Tillich) the God that no longer makes sense, the true God that’s left after all our images are shattered.

In the story, God declares his intention to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness. Abraham, the text says, “stood before God” – as friends stand before each other and are free to question one another. He asked God, “Will you destroy the innocent along with the guilty? How can a righteous judge act unjustly?” Here is the conversation between Abraham and God:

-- Will you really sweep away the innocent along with the guilty? Abraham asked. Perhaps there are fifty innocent within the city, will you really sweep it away?

-- Yahweh replied, If I find fifty innocent in Sodom, I will bear with the whole place for their sake.

-- Abraham then spoke up and said: I have ventured to speak to my Lord, and am but earth and ashes. But please listen. Suppose of the fifty innocent, five will be lacking – will you bring ruin upon the whole city because of the lack of five?

-- God replied: Okay, I will not bring ruin if I find there forty-five.

-- Abraham kept on with this line of questioning: What, O God, if there are forty?

-- I will not destroy for the sake of the forty, God answered.

-- How about thirty?

-- I will not do it if I find thirty.

-- Perhaps then there will be twenty?

-- I will not bring ruin for the sake of the twenty.

-- Pray Lord, said Abraham, do not be upset if I speak one more time. What if there are only ten?

-- God answered: I will not destroy for the sake of ten. (Genesis 18:22-33)

Abraham thus began a long, noble tradition of those who have engaged in passionate argument with God and others about justice – Moses, Jeremiah, Amos, the Psalmist, Job and on to our century, Eli Wiesel, Martin Luther King, Jr., Marian Wright Edelman. In Jewish and Christian tradition Abraham is called “Friend of God.” Only a friend of God can stand before God and argue.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dirtballs, each and everyone

Karen Joines told us we were Dirtballs. Dirtballs, each and everyone of us. We thought we were created just a little lower than the angles. He reminded us to show some humility.

Professor of Hebrew, Dr. Joines, dissected the creation story for us. God took some dirt; breathed on it and made man. Dirt + God's breath = you and me.

I think of Prof. Joines on Ash Wednesdays. "Remember you are but dust and to dust you will return," he says. We read Psalm 51 as a prayer on Ash Wednesdays and thus pray to God, "take not your breath (spirit) from me." Without the breath, we are but dust. On this day we remember our mortality, our utter dependence upon the divine, and we are reminded, as Prof. Joines would say, "to show a little humility."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Great podcast at This American Life on "The Invention of Money" Really well done.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's Sad?

Anonymous said...
What is sad? I don't think I undestand. Are you saying it's sad because people don't trust knowledge more or because they don't trust knowledge enough?

JANUARY 4, 2011 7:15 PM


Sorry, my caption was cryptic. I meant that it made me sad that religious leaders have acted in such a way as to make others not trust us. Politicians and Religious Leaders are the least trusted. Makes me sad.