Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tolerating The Intolerant; Why ESPN Is The Real PC Bully


This is an opinion piece I wrote for my buddy Dan at Stronger Christian. Please click through and visit his site.



This week ESPN, the global sports and entertainment giant, once again showed its idiocy by firing Hank Williams, Jr. over comments he made on FoxNews. Williams compared a golf outing between President Obama and House Speaker Boehner as a similar pairing of Adolph Hitler and Benjamin Netanyahu. The idea of Hitler and a powerful Jew playing golf juxtaposed with a Democratic President and Republican leader is a bit extreme, but certainly not a fireable offence.

But this is the fate of the culture left to the devices of Political Correctness. When the pc crowd "outlawed" the use of certain words and phrases as "bad taste", we merrily went along for the sake of the victims of certain slanders. "Why," we reasoned, "WOULD someone want to hurt the feelings of that small person by calling them a midget? SHOULDN'T we call them vertically challenged?" It seemed sensible at the time. If the label "handicap" was hurtful, why wouldn't we say that they were physically challenged instead? Perhaps it was more fitting to refer to a blind person as sight challenged, and to drop the word retarded from our vocabulary in preference to mentally challenged. My point is not to say that these changes were not compassionate or eagerly received by the individuals affected, but that this opened a door that has allowed the "tolerance at all cost" crowd to gain a strong foothold in the culture. And, it seems apparent that this has become circular in its practicality, as it is becoming increasingly offence to many to be referred to as challenged.

This is in similar vein to the race designation of Black Americans, which progressed from Negro to Colored to Black, and now to African American. Many who fought for the change from Negro to Colored now find the designation Colored offensive itself. Not that I blame them. I have been called Racist (because I don't like Obama) Redneck, (Because I am from the South) a Jesus Freak (Because I am) and White. Despite the fact that I am more .......wellllll.....peachy. I think I should be called a Person of Non-Color. Come to think of it, I'm white in the winter, tan in the summer, blue when I get cold, green when I get sick, and red when I stay in the sun too long. Maybe I'm the one who should be called colored!

The real problem with all of this PC nonsense is that it has opened the door for an Über-tolerance mood in the country. It is intolerant for Hank Jr. to use the words Obama and Hitler in the same sentence. (By the way; shouldn't Netanyahu be the REAL offended person by that comment?!) But it is not intolerant of ESPN to castigate him as some Redneck Hillbilly. It is intolerant of anyone to criticize the President or his policies. You are either a racist (if you're Peachy) or an Uncle Tom (Hello Mr. Cain) if you're Black. It is inconceivable that you just disagree with the man's ideology. And the real point; It is intolerant for a Christian to be intolerant.

Unfortunately though, that is exactly who we are as Believers in Jesus Christ. I don't like it. It doesn't make me happy. But it is THE core truth that all of Christianity rides on. The doctrine is known as The Exclusivity of Christ. You see, it does not matter if Jesus was born of a virgin, or that He lived a perfect life, or that He died for sins, or that He rose from the grave, or that He ascended to Heaven, or that He sent a Helper. If Jesus is not the exclusive way to the Father, none of that matters, because I could simply find someone else to get me there. Jesus said of Himself that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He also said that no one would get to the Father EXCEPT through Him. He, therefore, is exclusive, and we, therefore, are intolerant. We are intolerant of others saying they can get you to heaven. We are intolerant of those who say there are many paths to heaven. And we are intolerant of those who say it does not matter because all good people go to heaven.

In our culture today, Political Correctness has become more than a feel-good, compassionate ride to acceptance. It is the vehicle used by the BHL's to usher in an age of tolerance, where everything is tolerated except intolerance itself. But, these folks are wolves in sheep's clothing, for they have become the ones who are the most intolerant of all. Which is to say that they have become intolerant of everything that disagrees with them. Hank Williams, Jr. may have made a bad analogy, but where has all the tolerance gone? In the end, it seems to me that ESPN is the real PC bully.

Friday, October 7, 2011



Ministry can be difficult. It’s very much like being in the military (I can attest to that also) because you start getting Christmas cards from Allied Van Lines. When the moving company knows your first name, you’ve moved around some! It’s not really been that bad, we’ve been here in Cassatt for three years now, and we were in Kentucky for five and in Middle Tennessee for seven. But the names and faces are starting to pile up.

My “best” friend is and probably will always be Tracy Ponder. Trace and I have one of those relationships where I can go for years and not talk to him , yet with the next phone call we are back in rhythm, talking (as Patty says) in our own language. (So does Luke and Will; have their own language that is. Maybe it’s a guy thing.!?. Hey Tracy: Andithadsevemheads! Andlilbittyfeets!)

I have made several really good lifelong friends over the years. Tony Higgins, Kelly Cotton,  and John Wynn are all men I could call if I needed and they would be there for me, and they could do the same with me.

There is another name to add to the list; Roy Broughman. God put Roy and me together at a time when we both desperately needed each other. We both needed intellectually stimulating conversations. I love these farmers that that I pastor without equivocation, but a discussion on the ramifications of particular redemption on our soteriological urgency ain’t gonna happen in our conversations.  But now Roy is the one with Allied Van Lines in the parsonage driveway. So once again I guess I’ll have to keep my epistemological arguments about open theism to myself. (But I’ll tell you that I don’t like it!)

Roy is headed to the Promised Land…the Land Where God’s Glory Dwells…The Land Of The Shekhinah Glory…otherwise known as Georgia. Maybe God will see fit to put us close together again—preferably before we no longer have a need to discuss eschatology. In the mean time I give to Roy the greatest advice possible: you must learn a few things from my sagely wisdom on all things Georgia.

 1) Just say, “Go you silver britches” occasionally in your sermon and you’ll do fine. (i.e. “And in Luke 14:36 Jesus said, ‘For Florida is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill!  Go you silver britches.’”)

2) Do not wear anything orange. If you have any orange clothing, burn them at the state line.

3) In Georgia, especially where you are, a “mess” is a good thing. If you hear, “Preacher! We brought you a mess of peanuts,” don’t panic. That’s actually the good ones.

4) No. All of your deacons are not pig farmers. When they gather together each Sunday and talk about their Bush Hogs, they are referring to machinery. A bush hog is not actually a pig, but an extra large mowing device.

5) In South Georgia there is this terrible thing known as “Oyster Stew.” DO NOT BE FOOLED! You will be told it is a tradition. You will be told it is comfort food. You will be told it is delicious. The fact is that it is the equivalent of boiled snot served in that congealed liquid from a can of Vienna sausages. If you are offered oyster stew you must act quickly. Feign a ruptured appendix.  Lie on the floor and twitch your right leg and cry out, “Myrtle!” Keep this up until the ambulance arrives. Once you are cleared of the scene, have the EMT’s drop you off at the nearest Texas Roadhouse.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Betty Crocker And Jesus: The Secret Is In The Mix


The story goes that back in the 50’s, Betty Crocker began to sell cake mixes in the now famous red box. They developed a mix that only required someone to add water and bake. Apparently, it bombed. No one bought this easy-to-use mix. So the company did some market research, and found out that people didn’t buy the cake mix because it seemed too easy. Surely something that just takes water, consumers reasoned, would be dry and tasteless. Also, researchers discovered that people wanted to feel like they had to play their part to make the cake “homemade.” So, armed with this knowledge, Betty Crocker changed the formula to require that an egg and oil be added in addition to the water. And, you guessed it — it was a huge success! As Paul Harvey would say…The rest is history. No, wait…Paul Harvey would say, That was the rest of the story. Right? Hmmmmm??? Anyway…

My take is that many people think that way about our relationship with the Lord—that our relationship with God works like that second cake mix. God does most of the work, but we have to do our part and then we can know that we’re right with Him. The process of salvation is just too dang simple for some people. “Just Add Jesus” makes us uncomfortable. We need to add two freshly cracked good deeds and a ¼ cup of our own sanctification, and then the mix will come out OK. Otherwise, we’re afraid it just won’t work.

But the truth is that the secret is in the simplicity. No works. No deeds. No religion. No rituals. Just add Jesus. Over a billion satisfied customers later, the process still works. Just ask the Philippian jailer. He asked Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” There you go. “What must I DO to be saved?”
Paul gave him the simple secret of a successful mix; “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” Acts 16:31 (NKJV) emphasis mine.