When Chief Sinners Become Moral Guardians…

I’ve been reading a book by Gregory A. Boyd called Myth Of A Christian Nation. It addresses how the (largely evangelical) church has attempted to use political power in order to advance a ‘christian’ worldview. Boyd, a pastor, challenges the idea that America is (& was) a Christian nation, & points the Church towards Scripture to find out & to reclaim what our real mission is: the message of the cross (not the sword,) & the message of Christ’s love for us. AND every other human being on the planet.

Today’s reading was from the chapter “When Chief Sinners Become Moral Guardians” – it addresses the problems that result when the church takes on itself the role of being the “moral guardian” of a nation, community, or culture…

A few highlights in the form of quotes from this chapter:

  • As people called to mimic Jesus in every area of our lives, we should find it significant that Jesus never assumed the position of moral guardian over any individual, let alone over the culture at large.
  • When we assume the role of moral guardians of the culture, we invariably postion ourselves as judges over others.
  • When the church sets itself up as the moral police of the culture, we earn the reputation of being self-righteous judgers rather than loving, self-sacrifical servants.
  • When people assume the position of moral guardians of the culture, they invite – they earn! the charge of hypocrisy, as all judgment, save the judgment of the omniscient & holy God, involves hypocrisy
  • Throughout history, the church has proven itself to be a very poor moral guardian. Whenver the church exercises the power of Caesar to enforce its doctrine & convictions, the result has usually been at least as bad as any non-Christian version of the kingdom of the world.
  • An interesting & thought-provoking read, for sure…

    Lies, Damn Lies, & Statistics or Why Christians scare people in this & other countries…

    A snippet:

    Evangelicals Behaving Badly with Statistics
    Mistakes were made.

    by Christian Smith

    American evangelicals, who profess to be committed to Truth, are among the worst abusers of simple descriptive statistics, which claim to represent the truth about reality, of any group I have ever seen. At stake in this misuse are evangelicals’ own integrity, credibility with outsiders, and effectiveness in the world. It is an issue worth making a fuss over. And so I write…


    Why do evangelicals recurrently abuse statistics? My observation is that they are usually trying desperately to attract attention and raise people’s concern in order to mobilize resources and action for some cause. In a world awash in information and burdened by myriad problems, some evangelicals may justify the problematic misuse of statistics to get people to pay attention to what they think are good causes. But this is inexcusable. Such desperation, alarmism, and sloppiness reflect the worst, not the best, in evangelicalism…

    Read the whole article HERE

    You can also revisit what THIS BLOG said about the rampant alarmism last January – if you get lost, read the day one, day two & day three posts.

    I thiink I’ll do a series on this one. Alarmism. Statistical abuse. Christian Marketing. Might be fun.

    More good news…

    Repent…Jesus Christ will judge you?

    What the heck?! I’m on the list.

    NOTE: Mr H wanted to know if the picture above was taken of the guys who yell the “good news” at UNR. Answer is no, but this picture is of the UNR campus visitors, though while they were blessing UC Davis with their presence & their message.

    Friday musings…

    You may have noticed the football news of the last week – Dallas Cowboy’s football coach, Bill Parcells, announced his retirement after 19 years as a head coach in the NFL (Google: Parcell’s Retirement for more on this…) Chief among reasons for the retirement was that he was tired – not so much physically, but mentally. Too tired mentally to be able to make it through the grind that is a 12 month, 365 day, 20 hour/day job.

    Some had speculated that having to deal with Terrell Owens had played a role in Parcell’s retirement, believing that T.O.’s on-the-field inconsistency (15 dropped passes, most in the NFL this year,) coupled with his griping about how he was not being thrown to enough (though he had over 150 passes thrown his way,) on top of his much chronicled off-the-field issues, had driven Parcells from the game. He denied it. Bob Knight’s Take

    Today, I was watching the NFL Network, as I am want to do occasionally, esp. on my day off. One of the regular segments is hosted in a barbershop by Deion Sanders. Reference: Barbershop: the Movie The premise of the segment is that the gentlemen (the barbers & their clients) debate current events happening in the sporting world, mostly about the NFL. Today, Bill Parcell’s retirement was discussed by the guys in the shop – & Parcell’s retirement was seen as a positive for T.O.’s football career; it was stated that Parcell’s had been overtly working to keep T.O. from achieving to his potential. Really? Some other gems:

    “Now that Parcell’s is gone, T.O. gets to be himself.”
    “hopefully the next coach will make sure that T.O. gets utilized like the player he is” instead of “being neglected and stigmatized.”
    “I’m not saying it’s a racism thing, but you know…”

    Racism? When is refusing to give special treatment to a jerk, racism? Is it when the people having the discussion are of the same color as the misunderstood athlete? Under what circumstances, if any, would T.O.’s behavior be considered inappropriate? Are we really believing that the Man is still keeping T.O. down & is responsible for the kind of year that T.O. had? It seems way too easy to play the proverbial race card anytime someone of color does something dumb & their coach (or someone else who is of another color) calls them on it. It is merely a way to avoid personal responsibility, & ends up distracting us from situations where real racism is happening. Please.

    The highlight of the segment for me was when Deion Sanders referred to the upcoming Super Bowl, where both of the teams have “African-American” head coaches. This means that the winning team of Super Bowl XLI will have an “African-American” head coach. One of the barbers snorted & replied: “African? Don’t give me African. They BROTHERS. They BLACK!”

    Nicely stated.

    An Interesting Read…

    Perusing the Drudge Report, & a link from a link led to the following…

    Our culture — both in the media via programmes such as Sex and the City and in everyday interactions — relentlessly puts forth the idea that lust is a way station on the road to love. It isn’t. It left me with a brittle facade incapable of real intimacy…

    Times Review


    A study that proves what we’ve suspected all along…

    “Not only do the incompetent reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it.”

    –Justin Kruger, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, and David Dunning, professor of psychology at Cornell University, on people who do things badly but think they do them well, New York Times, Jan. 18.

    The Hypothesis:

  • incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill.
  • incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others.
  • incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy.
  • if they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.

    The results:
    Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Meanwhile, people with true knowledge tended to underestimate their competence.

    APA Journal Well worth the read.

    Or, you can take a look at the WIKIPEDIA article.

  • Baseball Musings…

    Bonds ESPN Article

    I love baseball – watching a game in person, the sights, smells, & sounds, accompanied by the PacBell/SBC/AT&T food & beverages menu (nachos, garlic fries, quesadilla, dogs, Gordon Biersch) is at the top of my list of favorite experiences. My next favorite way to experience baseball is listening on the radio – some of my earliest memories are hiding under the covers with a transistor radio (btw: the size of 3 iPods stacked together,) listening to the play-by-play of some really terrible Giants teams in the 70’s & 80’s.

    So, I’m pondering the most recent news out of baseball… as if the ‘allegations’ of steroid & HGH use were not enough, now it has been revealed that sometime last year, Barry Bonds tested positive for amphetamines. Using speed is illegal, even in baseball, though the usage of greenies had long been winked at by MLB, with the understanding being that with the travel & game schedule being what it is, the only way for players to be able to be physically ‘up’ for the games was to use artificial means. Baseball passed a rule against the use of greenies, & has included the drug on a list of banned substances that they test for. Greenies Story

    One of the things that is not supposed to happen is the release of the name of the accused in the event of the 1st failed drug test. But, because its Barry Bonds, the info is leaked. Kind of like the ‘sealed’ grand jury testimony that leaked containing the revelations that Bonds had been using 2 substances, The Cream & The Clear given to him by his trainer, Greg Anderson.

    Why the incoherent ramblings this Friday morning? I’m in mourning. Mourning, because it ticks me off that with only about a month until pitchers & catchers report, that baseball has been reduced to sensationalistic sound-bites full of allegations & accusations, with the press playing the protagonist… the same press that trumpeted McGwire & Sosa’s chasing of the Maris record as “the salvation of the game.” Too bad.