Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Looking back we can only be embarrassed and ask for forgiveness for such open evil. Even worse, the church should hang its head in shame that it took a secular government rather than a Spirit-empowered church to lead the way for the changes we see today.
But as we enter Black History Month, I wonder if we have changed enough since Dr. King’s dream speech in 1963? The answer is not at all clear. It is true we don’t have lynchings or overt segregation, but some believe that racism is deeper and more entrenched than before. Laws have forced open doors but they haven’t changed hearts.
Hearts are changed most effectively and permanently only by the power of God. The ability to respect and love – not just “tolerate” – people who are somehow different than ourselves comes only from one empowered with God’s Spirit. Dr. King understood this and wrote: “Evil can be cast out, not by man alone nor by a dictatorial God that invades our lives, but when we open the door and invite God through Christ to enter. ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me.’ God is too courteous to break open the door, but when we open it in believing faith, a divine and human confrontation will transform our sin-ruined lives into radiant personalities.”
Dr. King was murdered for the sake of a dream that people would someday be known for their character rather than the color of their skin, for their goodwill rather than their race. Every real Christian has a large stake in this dream for it did not originate with Martin. Rather, it is from God himself who said all people are created equal and in his image, that there is no such thing as race in Christ.
Pursue the dream. Intentionally build a relationship with someone unlike yourself. Love them in deed and not just words. Invite them into your home for supper. Play a game together. Become friends. For people who love God the dream of fostering love for our neighbor is not an option – it is a matter of obedience.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Do you remember playing tag as a kid. There was always one person who was faster than the rest of us. If that person got tagged and was "it"; they were so fast that they suddenly tagged you right back. So I am still "it." Bill Williams is that fast. He has posted a tag with the following rules:
Here are the rules: Here is how it works: 1) Grab the book closest to you 2) Open to page 123, go down to the fourth sentence 3) Post the text of the following three sentences 4) Name the author and book title 5) Tag three people to do the same.
This tag is easy so I will hop right to it. The book that is nearest to me is A Theological Introduction to the Book of Psalms: The Psalms as Torah by J. Clinton McCann, Jr. When I open to page 123 and look at the fourth sentence this is what I read see, (part of an exposition of Ps 82)
"The inadequacy of such behavior is also clear in another context, in which God commands the people of Israel to 'do no injustice [awel] in judgement [misphat]' (Lev 19.15). Such behavior is grounds for the conviction of humans as well as gods, and again the rationale centers on the nature of divinity. Leviticus 19, part of the Holiness Code, is governed by the opening exhortation, 'You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy" (19.2); and the recurring motivational phrase is "I am the Lord your God" (19.4,9,12,14,etc). In short, injustice among humans and certainly among gods violates the very nature of who God is and what God wills for humanity."
Psalm 82 is certainly a powerful call to live out misphat as God's people. Certainly those who are called to assure justice (judges, politicians, etc) should have the psalm emblazoned upon their hearts.
Well who can I tag? I could be quick and tag Bill back! But no, I will not do that. How about Vonnie Phillips, Sherry Lollar (newer readers of my blog) and Dee Williams.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
My good friend, and fellow blogger, Wade Tannehill recently "tagged" me on his blog. As I understand the rules of tagging you are supposed to share a few items of "interest" about yourself. Follwing Wade's example I will concentrate on trivia.
1) I have had a variety of jobs in my short life. My first job was working for Krystal's, a hamburger chain in the Southeast. Shortly thereafter, I worked for McKinny Lumber Company and made the huge sum of 4.75 dollars an hour. I worked for FMC in Orlando, Fl and made De-Icers. And I was turned down for a job because I was overqualified. And, ironically, I had an elder once tell me I was "unqualified" for a position.
2) My favorite comic book is Spider-Man. In fact, in the spirit of irrelevant factoids, I confess that I have a Spider-Man toothbrush. And I have a SpongeBob ball and bat in my office.
3) When I was a teenager I did not like preachers. Ithought you had to be dumb for that ... and besides I wanted to be the new lead guitarist for KISS. But who was I to talk about being dumb. When I was "little" I was so dumb that I picked up a jelly fish and it stung the blazes out of me. Talk about dumb!
4) I am stealing this from Wade, but it is interesting, there was a song written about me once. It was called the "Ballad of Bobby V." It is true that the head of that small Bible college I attended did take me into his office one day because he was concerned about my "influence" on the student body. He informed that I was a "guru" (I have never forgotten that word) with some on campus and thus needed to not lead them into the dark side (his thought, my image).
5) I once preached in the same pulpit that Martin Luther King Jr did. It was in the Belle Flower Missionary Baptist Church in Grenada, MS. Belle Flower is the oldest African-American church in Grenada and was a key church in the civil rights struggle for justice. The church was bombed after King preached and there are still black marks on the ceiling from the flames. It was a great honor to be asked to preach there during Black History Month.
6) Finally, I was dating another girl when I met Pamella. But as Great White sang, I was "Once Bitten, Twice Shy." But she thought she did not like me. But I asked her and the rest is history. I did not coldly "dump" ??? but we came to an understanding that we were simply not right for each other.
There you have it. Some very uninteresting and unimportant little known facts about Bobby V. I suppose that I will tag a couple of folks too: David Cook, Ancient Wanderer (who really is a good friend), Steve Pucket and Mommy Ham.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Snow InTucson!! Yep the Arizona Daily Star claims there was "up to two inches" in some places. But at my house it barely covered our pepple lawn. The newspaper also said that "few disruptions are noted." I laughed because I read that sitting in a "Carl Jr's" because it took me over an hour to travel one mile and I decided to pull into the burger joint when they refused to let me cross the bridge over the wash. That is where I encountered the newspaper! :-) It was all slightly humorous.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Proof we were in Texas. Not much to see here ... except the world's biggest cross. Indeed the cross (not far from Amarillo) is a "mecca" for those doing the Stations of the Cross as a spiritual discipline.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Greetings from Tucson. Sorry it has been 17 days since my last post. I did not anticipate it being so long between posts.
But on January 2, around 3 pm the Valentines were done loading a big rig and pilled into a Saturn Vue and a Dodge Stratus. We took a final look at our home, took a deep breath and headed down the road. It was sad to leave Milwaukee. On our first night we did not make it quite to Springfield, Ill. The second night was spent in Tulsa, Ok. The third night was in Tucumcari (?), NM and the fourth in Lordsburg, NM.
The picture you see here was taken of my backyard in mid-December. I understand that it looks pretty much like this still.
Our trek was eventless, thankfully. We had sunshine the entire way except for a short period in Oklahoma. We had loads of fun. We listened to Ella Enchanted and Eragon (actually Rachael read it to me) and jammed to Bachman, Turner, Overdrive to roll on down the highway. We taught the girls how to play Spades in the hotel at night. We got lost in Alamagordo, NM some how but not quite sure how that happened. We got to see White Sands and mountains along the way.
We arrived in Tucson on Jan 6. Here our real adventure began. We were welcomed warmly by Palo Verde. But our furniture was supposed to get here on the 8th and did not show up until the 12th. We are just now getting things set up in a reasonable manner. We had no access to TV or the internet (proves I can live without either for a week or so). The rental agency did not have the wash machine (came with the house) hooked up properly ... we discovered this after Pamella tried to wash clothes. Jack Frost decided make things a little chilly here in Tucson (got down to 20 or so one night) and our pipes froze ... and busted! I would never have dreamed it possible. One adventurous moment took place when Talya found a scorpion in her bedroom and I had to "do battle" with it. I did not know that a scorpion could splatter like that!!
But when I wake up in the morning and walk out my front door this is what I see . . . This picture was taken from my front door step ...
Things are starting to become normal. I have my office some kind of order, though I cannot find the book I want in a timely fashion. I preached my first sermon here last Sunday and left a "sick" impression (I was sick with a cold)! We are excited about the future here. I know that our journey is going to be an adventure here in the land of Saguaros and Scorpions.
Monday, January 01, 2007
Good-Bye to the Land of Beer and Cheese
This is the last blog that will originate from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My emotions are terribly conflicted at the moment: I will miss my family and my adopted city greatly but I am very excited about the new opportunity in Tucson, Arizona. But I owe Southside and Milwaukee a debt of gratitude that I will never be able to repay.
Though this is indeed the land of beer, Milwaukee however, I have discovered, is far more than that. The city parks are magnificent (I know of no city with a Root River Parkway). The Domes, Miller Park, German Fest, Italian Fest, African-World fest, the Public Museum and Art Museum are places of fond memories.
But Milwaukee is really special because it is the home of Southside Church of Christ. Here I have been challenged and asked to grow. Here my family has changed and become more of what our Abba would have us to be. With this family we went camping with at Blue Mound State Park, we played Sheepshead, shot pool, went to concerts, saw the Brewers, Bucks and Packers ... and we prayed, studied and shared the gospel together.
Milwaukee and Southside are not "events" though ... they are people. Great people. These are folks who for some reason have allowed a mediocre preacher the awesome privilege of standing before them and talking about the kingdom of God. They have often surprised me with things totally unexpected. Yesterday, as I closed my lesson from 2 Timothy 2.8-13, "Don't Forget," at the end of "second worship," I was stunned as the congregation started to applaud. It was a very moving moment and completly unexpected. Yes, I will miss Milwaukee. I will miss Southside.
But PaLO VErde is also, I have discovered a people of great love and vision. I believe that God is directing our path to an even grander adventure in Tucson. The cloud moved and our Abba has only our good in mind when he directs our paths. In the last few weeks our new family has been worming their way into our heart.
I pray that God will bless Milwaukee and Southside. I pray he will Tucson and Palo Verde.
No more blogs for another week to 10 days.