Thursday, April 27, 2006

Mrs. Frankly in Haiti

My lovely wife has been in Haiti since last Saturday helping out at Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. I miss her terribly, but I don't think I've seen her smile this big in a long time. I'm so proud of her!

Notice the drool on her right shoulder? I'm guessing that is the source of the smile as she has been assisting in the birthing center.

You can get more pictures from her trip by clicking here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Vanity Plate Theology

Indiana, like most states, long ago figured out a way to extract more revenue from its license plate monopoly. The "vanity plate" is an established status symbol in the Hoosier state. You can learn a lot from a person’s "tags" as our southern brothers call them. "IAM4IU" means an Indiana University hoops fan is behind the wheel. The driver of the Buick with "IN D CAR" on the bumper would rather be whirling around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway than stuck in traffic on I-465. Or there is my personal favorite (which belonged to my brother-in-law): "4U2NV". And I did, by the way.

I’ll never own a vanity plate, partly because I’m too cheap, but mostly because there isn’t enough room to say what I want. If there were, my plate would read, "RU WHO U SAY UR."

I’ve pondered that question several times in recent days. My musing began when I read about seventy-six year old Floridian Philip Winikoff. Winikoff, who is a used-car shuttle driver for an auto dealership, got hold of an old doctor’s bag and began visiting suburban housewives posing as a physician. Claiming to represent a nearby hospital, Winikoff offered free breast exams. He twice succeeded before being nabbed by police.

Closer to home, a convicted child molester from nearby Ohio attended a handful of local high school baseball games posing as a scout for Indiana University. At one of the games, he managed to obtain the names, addresses, phone numbers, and even the email addresses of several students. While officials say there were no laws broken, I doubt the young men whose information he obtained or their families feel any less violated.

Which brings me back to my vanity plate query: R U WHO U SAY U R?

This is a critical question for every Christian, I think.

If Jesus had a chariot, and if that chariot had a license plate (humor me, okay), R U WHO U SAY U R is precisely what would have been stamped in the metal. To the religious leaders of his day Jesus said:
"You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You're like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it's all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you're saints, but beneath the skin you're total frauds."
And for me, that is the rub. I’m a religious leader, or so they tell me. Am I who I say I am? Too often, I am not, as my children and wife can sadly attest. And yet, I suspect this is the bane of every Christian, for we aspire to be better than we are. We’re reaching for a perfection that is commanded by God ("be ye perfect as I am perfect"), yet is elusively unattainable ("that which I want to do I do not do, and that which I do not want to do I do").

And so I guess I’ll just abandon my lengthy license plate literature for something a little more realistic. Perhaps "IM TRYING." Come to think of it, that just might fit on a plate after all.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Immigration Intricacies

My friend, Mike Kjergaard, re-published an interesting letter to the editor in his blog yesterday. It points out, logically, the fallacy of supporting illegal immigration on the basis that illegals are willing to work jobs the rest of us won't. The problem is, this is not a logical issue.

I've seen Mexican poverty first hand. Working in destitute border towns, it is easy to understand why Pedro and Patricia want to move three hundred yards north so their children and their children's children can have the chance at a better life.

There weren't any immigration laws when European colonists planted their flags at Jamestown or Plymouth. They, like these same immigrants today, simply wanted a better life.

I agree that illegal immigration is . . .well . . . Illegal. But I have difficulty going so far as to say it is immoral. It certainly is no more immoral than allowing our Christian brothers and sisters to endure squalid conditions because they were born in the only area that Santa Ana managed to hang on to when Sam Houston wrested Texas, New Mexico, et al. from Mexican control.

It is not an easy problem, and there aren't any easy solutions because we're talking about issues of the heart.
But, if my kid is living on a dirt floor beneath a cardboard roof and is picking through garbage dumps for food, I swim the river. And, I'm betting you would, too.

Fudge on Judas

My thirteen-year-old son came home from school yesterday asking about "The Gospel of Judas." It seems one of his classmates - a regular antagonist of Christians at Eastside Jr. / Sr. High School - told him about the National Geographic special that aired Sunday night claiming a vastly different historical perspective on Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus.

You can always count on the media to take shots at Christ every March or April, depending on when Easter occurs.

Church of Christ theologian and attorney Edward Fudge has an informative perspective on the "Gospel of Judas" at his website. The National Geographic special proclaimed the document to be "authentic," and for many folks, this translates as "the document is true." More accurately stated though, the ancient text is not a recent fraud. Frankly speaking it is an ancient fraud written, not by Judas the disciple, but by a Gnostic heretic living well after Judas' death. Early church fathers condemned it. At its earliest, it cannot be dated before 150 A.D., well after the apostles' deaths.

To read Fudge's analysis, click here.

Fudge also has an insightful follow up to his original post.

Thanks to Eric Riddle, Pastor of Christ's Hope Church, for pointing out this informative analysis.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I have received some really interesting posts concerning my upcoming sermon series. I would still like to hear your "most irritating thing about Christians." You can click here to post your own comment. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Road to Health

A year ago I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing.

Yesterday I jogged 5,000 meters without stopping once.

I am so grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to become healthy again. My diabetes is under control without any medication. (blood sugar in the low 80s). My resting heart rate is hovering near 60. Nothing to brag about for an Olympian, but mine was in the mid-nineties. Best of all, I am feeling good. Frankly speaking, I never thought it possible. God is good.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

ABC News: One More Reason Not to Watch

The Washington Post is reporting that ABC News producer John Green will serve a one month unpaid suspension following the Drudge Report's publication of a private email he wrote to a colleague. Eager to shame Green, fellow employees allegedly leaked the email to Drudge.

The language he used is hardly incendiary. "In one of the e-mails, written during the first presidential debate in 2004 and leaked to the Drudge Report, Green wrote to a colleague on his BlackBerry: "Are you watching this? Bush makes me sick. If he uses the 'mixed messages' line one more time, I'm going to puke.""

Between you and me, I disagree entirely with what Green wrote. But since when is a private email that is intended to remain between two co-workers fair game to be used in an unscrupulous attempt to pass someone on the corporate news ladder? Last I knew the 1st Amendment guarantees Green to say any stupid thing he wants.

ABC News jumped right in line with the other news outlets that proclaimed a Dutch cartoonist's right to publish caricatures of Mohammed just a couple months back. They were all for free speech then. Apparently they don't extend the same courtesy to their own.

Again, I don't agree with Green, but I do support his right to say it. This is just one more example of why network news has become nitwit news.