Tea Partiers are closet Darwinists

September 14, 2011

Here’s the evidence: (Click for link)

In fairness, there only seemed to be a few boors who were cheering at the thought of leaving the uninsured to die without medical care.  There was a good deal more audience support for Rep. Paul’s suggestion that neighbors, friends and churches would pay for care in the absence of government assistance.  That might be true in Paul’s case, and in the case of most of us reading this post.  But, what about those without such a safety net? 

I guess that’s why the “virtue of selfishness” espoused in Ayn Rand’s writings seems to resonate more with this crowd than do the teachings of Jesus – despite their claims to the contrary.  While they may not want it taught in schools, it looks like they are rather fond of Darwin’s idea that only the strong will (should?) survive.



January 4, 2010

“Kairos” is an ancient Greek word meaning the “right or opportune moment.”  Kairos is also the name of the adult Sunday School class that I have been teaching in my church for the past several years.

When I agreed to start teaching the class, I had no idea what “kairos” meant.  I also had no idea what I was doing.  I did know, however, that I had some big shoes to fill, as I was succeeding the much-loved and respected wife of one of our ministers.  She (hi, Beth!) was a gifted teacher in her own right and no slouch in biblical scholarship, and was leaving the class only because her husband had been called as senior minister by a church in another city.  Prior to Beth’s leadership, the class had been taught by two different UVa professors, one of whom had ministerial experience, and both of whom went on to teach at Christian colleges after leaving Charlottesville (at which both have since won teaching awards). 

What in the world was I thinking?  Caught me in a weak moment, I guess.

That was in 2005.  Fast-forward to 2010.  With my English major, law degree and grand total of one undergraduate religion class on my Sunday School teacher resume, I still feel woefully underqualified to be leading the class.  Yet, I look forward to teaching every week.  The class is thriving, our roster is growing, and the biggest problem that I generally have is in cutting the lively discussion off in time for people to make it to the 11:00 worship service on time. 

While I wish I could chalk it all up to my exhaustive scholarship, insightful messages and witty repartee to class members’ questions, I cannot.  It all comes down to the fact that we simply have an extraordinary group of people who gather together every Sunday morning.  At first blush, our class might seem to be a fairly homogeneous group.  For the most part, we tend to fall into similar educational and economic brackets – much like the city of Charlottesville itself.  Dig under the surface, however, and the differences begin to appear.  Some in our class grew up in church, two were preacher’s kids, and one has an M.Div.  On the other hand, others were raised in the time-honored Poinsettia and Lily tradition, attending church only on Christmas and Easter, and some were raised in families that didn’t go at all.  Some have well-worn Bibles and can cite chapter and verse, and some are still finding their way.  We have Democrats and Republicans, hawks and pacifists, firmly committed and open seekers.

What binds us, and what brings us all together every Sunday morning, is a respect for each other, a willingness to share our thoughts, and an honest desire to know more about what it means to be, and to live as, a Christian.  With those dynamics at work, the class cannot help but be successful, underqualified teacher notwithstanding.            

“Kairos”, therefore, is an apt name for our class.  Sunday in and Sunday out, we gather together for 45 minutes of “opportune moments” in which we are united by our commonalities, and by our God.  It is a blessing that I for one do not deserve – but such is the nature of grace.

6 Things

June 25, 2008

I’ve been in a blogging drought lately.  If good intentions counted for anything, I’d be on my second or third book by now.  But, they don’t, so I’m not. 

To break the dry spell, I’ll hit each of the 6 topics in the masthead – family, faith, politics, current events, career, and outdoor adventures. 

Family first.  As it should be.  On Sunday we took our 3 girls up to Pennsylvania for two weeks of summer camp.  We couldn’t be any more pleased with this camp.  The girls love it, and have a wonderful experience there every year.  That said, while they are away my thought patterns tend to run something along the lines of how-are-they-doing-what-are-they-doing-will-there-be-any-letters-in-the-mailbox-today-how-many-days-before-we-pick-them-up.  I should really be a joy to be around in 3 years, when our son is old enough to join them.

Faith.  There’s an interesting flap brewing between James Dobson and Barack Obama. It seems that Dobson has taken issue with a 2006 Obama speech in which Obama pointed out that Leviticus suggests that slavery is acceptable but eating shellfish is sinful. Obama also noted that Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount isn’t exactly in line with Defense Department policy. Expect finger pointing and mischaracterizations to ensue – on both sides.

Politics. Obama has asked his contributors to help Clinton retire her campaign debt. Sorry, no can do.

Current Events. George Carlin’s passing over the weekend reminded me of going over to my neighbor’s house to listen to his new Class Clown album. As the album was released in 1972, this meant that I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 years old at the time. Suffice it to say that my friend’s parents ran a somewhat looser ship than mine did.

Career. I learned today that a former colleague has moved his family to one of the area’s most exclusive country club communities. His reputation, at least when I worked with him, was that of a mediocre performer who exceled at playing the corporate game. I’d like to be able to congratulate him on his success and move on, but this is going to take some time to digest.

Outdoor Adventures. I sent out my annual email to organize a whitewater rafting trip to the Gauley River. I have a talent for making things more complicated than necessary, and I did a bang-up job this time by inviting input on changing some of the aspects of the trip. I wish I hadn’t opened that Pandora’s box because predictably, responses are all over the map. It’s hard enough to find a weekend that suits everyone; I can’t imagine what possessed me to add additional variables to the mix.

Well, that’s it. All 6 topics covered. I’ll try for a less disjointed post next time.

What is a Baptist?

February 19, 2008

I am a Baptist.  I was born into the Baptist church, I made a profession of faith and was baptized when I was a teenager, and my family and I spend our Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings with a warm and loving Baptist community of faith that has a heart for authentic worship and needs-based ministries. I value the traditional Baptist distinctives of soul competency, church autonomy, the priesthood of the believer, and the separation of church and state. Being a Baptist is a part of my identity, and I do not apologize for it.

However, there are those who feel that I should.  For them, “Baptist” is a pejorative label.     

In the recent New Baptist Covenant convocation in Atlanta, John Grisham explained why this belief exists. He also explained why it is important for critics not to paint with too broad a brush. Watch this video. Then move on to Jimmy Carter’s, and Tony Campolo’s, and William Shaw’s. Even Bill Clinton’s.

You just might find that “Baptist” does not mean what you think it does.

The Big One

August 19, 2007

Have you ever had a worry that nagged at you night and day, never completely leaving you, to the point where it colored your entire perspective on life?

And have you ever found out later that the worry was completely baseless?

I have. 

If you have as well, read this.


June 16, 2007

As I write this, my 13 and 11 year old daughters are at a “lock-in” at our church, along with a couple dozen other middle and high schoolers.  It’s nearly 3:30 a.m. and I’m up at this insane hour because I just got back from helping chaperone for several hours.  Everyone was still going strong when I left, and all were having a great time. 

I’ve always respected those who are gifted in youth ministry.  The energy, creativity, and patience required is formidable.  I’m thankful that we have two youth ministry interns who seem to have what it takes.  I sure don’t! 

I know I’ll be dragging tomorrow, but I can only imagine how my girls are going to be once the sun comes up and the sugar-soda-excitement rush wears off.  Oh well, we’ll all muddle through.  I’m just so grateful that they have this youth group to bond and grow with as they find their way in this very complicated world.  I feel badly for kids who aren’t so fortunate.

Last PACEM Post

February 14, 2007

My Sunday School class* had dinner duty for PACEM last night. A couple class members did the shopping (for 60 people!) on Sunday afternoon, a couple more spent most of Monday doing the cooking, and then the entire class, most of whom had their young children in tow, showed up at church on Monday evening to set up and serve. Everyone was eager to help out, as evidenced by my youngest daughter wielding a jello ladle in each hand.  jello-girl.JPGHow’s that for multitasking?

Several snippets of conversation that I had with our PACEM guests have stuck with me:


The man who, after meeting my youngest daughter, proudly told me that his own daughter would be turning 1 on Saturday.  I didn’t ask for details, but a tinge of sadness colored his fatherly pride.           

The man who took me aside to tell me that one of our church members, who was at a nearby table playing UNO with several PACEM guests and two of my daughters, was “the best lawyer in town.”  I knew from my experience as an attorney that he was right.

The man whose eyes lit up while watching my 3-year old son and his friends play with their Matchbox cars, and recounted his long ago and far away boyhood memories of his own extensive Matchbox car collection.  I imagined that little boy of 40 years ago, and wondered about the bumps in the road that he had encountered in the years since.   

There but for the grace of God….

*My Sunday School class is called the Kairos class.  “Kairos” is Greek for “the appointed time in the purpose of God”, the time when God acts.  Appropriate for last night, I think.