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Monthly Archives: March 2008

I understand the purpose for war.  War is an extension of the state law enforcement except on a regional or global scale.  However, the Iraq war began under a cloud of suspicion.  But that’s not my issue.  I guess my problem or concern with this war is that it seems to me that the United States and her allies will never win this war.  Why?  Because our enemy is not a person but rather an ideology.  How do you kill an ideology – especially when this idea drives people to think it is honorable to kill themselves.  If I have learned nothing else from this nearly 5 year old conflict, it has taught me the power and sway of ideals; yes, ideals truly do have consequences.  In a weird way, this war reminds me of the movie, V for Vendetta, eugenics, the African (Rwandan massacre in 1994) and Jewish Holocausts.

On Good Friday, March 21, I along with 4 other ministers gave a sermonette or devotion.  Mine is given below.  It is based on 1 Corinthians 15 in the Christian Bible.

When my kids were younger, Santa often needed me to assemble my kids’ larger toys.  I vividly remember assembling a red Radio Flyer wagon and tricycles.  The wagon and the tricycles have one thing in common: both have a long rod for wheels.  The rod has a tiny hole at both ends.  Once the wheels are placed on the rod, they are held in place or secured by feeding a hitch or cotter pin through these tiny holes.  These pins gave me assurance that tricycle would be safe to ride; with the cotter pin in place I had confidence that the wagon would hold up and not crumble.

Jesus’ bodily resurrection is like a hitch pin – this historic event gives me assurance that Christianity is true truth in an age of counterfeit gospels.  Without this event, our Christianity falls apart, it crumbles! 

On the Today Show recently, Al Roker (the beloved weatherman), was on the plaza and he approached – with microphone in hand – some screaming college girls who were probably on spring break.  They were standing behind a banner which read, “Can’t have journalism without OU.”  I think OU is for Oklahoma University and its initials (OU) plays off the “ou” in journalism, I believe? However, this banner gave me the idea for this banner: “Can’t have Christianity without the resurrection.”

Without Jesus’ bodily resurrection which was by the way attested by an empty tomb, attested by Peter, attested by James, attested by Paul, attested by over 500 brothers at one time:

  • Our preaching is useless, empty, without a basis; we are wasting our time.  We are liars.  We need to find another calling!
  • Our faith in God is useless, empty, without a basis; we are quite stupid and deluded.  Our faith is all a sham; we’re a joke.
  • We are still in the pitiful state of being in sin; I have no power over sin.  Christ’s death meant nothing, nada, zero!  This means of course that Christ’s pre-existence, incarnation, life, death means nothing, nada, zero!  Big goose egg.
  • Loved ones who died in Christ have perished forever, no hope of seeing them again! 

If hope in this life is as good as it gets or if our best days are behind us, we (Christians) are hopelessly deranged and to be pitied more than all men – including unbelievers.  In other words, if Jesus’ resurrection did not happen pagans are better off than we are.

Yet, the good news is that Jesus’ resurrection did happen.  James is a witness; Peter is a witness; Paul is a witness; over 500 brothers are witnesses; the empty tomb is a witness.  This event exhibits God’s amazing grace in this way – in an age of skeptics and cynics and doubters: I have a blessed assurance, a confidence, a holy swagger – that Christianity is true, God is trustworthy, and my Christianity holds together; it’s hermetically air tight.  The best part? I didn’t lift a finger!  My preaching is useful; my faith is built upon the integrity of God; I have power over sin; and I will see my loved ones again who died in the Lord: Mama Jane (my maternal grandmother), Bobby (my step father), and my paternal grandmother, Willa Mae.

I firmly believe the crowning achievement of Christ’s first advent was His resurrection; without it, the gospel of the Christ falls apart; with it, the gospel of the Christ gives me unbelievable hope, joy and security!

Betty BoopBetty BoopBetty BoopBetty BoopBetty BoopSpending time with family can be a very enlightening experience.   I learned something about my grandpa (Henry S. Bobo) while visiting him in the hospital.  First, let me set this up.  This is the man who:

  • was a star athlete in high school – in fact, he was the starting quarterback for his football team;
  • served in WWII in the Navy;
  • was a self employed and self taught skilled brick mason;
  • built an addition to his home single-handedly;

I learned…that his nickname was “Betty Boop.”  His friends (I guess we can call them that) dubbed him “Betty Boop” because his head was proportionally larger than his body.  Ironically, I called my daughter “Betty Boop” when she was a little girl because of her high pitched squeaky voice.  I did this not knowing my surrogate dad – my dear grandpa, Henry Bobo – was nicknamed “Betty Boop” too.  Isn’t that something?

  1. I mailed two boxes yesterday.  One large; the other small.  I asked for a confirmation signature for each box.  This means that someone at the other end will sign for the package.  The confirmation signature fee for each box was $2 and some change.  I asked the clerk, “it’s the same price regardless of the box size?”  She said yes with a smile.  Then she said, “the bigger box will require a bigger signature.”  I was not amused.  Maybe I am strange or something but shouldn’t the cost be proportional to the size of the box? (On a related issue, I remember sending a letter to my daughter’s high school because I was surprised that to park in the high school parking lot for the year was $100.  I park at the University of Missouri St. Louis for $55 or so per semester; I park at Lindenwood University for a mere $2 per year! I called and spoke with the principal and he told me this, “In general people in West County don’t complain about such things.  In fact, he went on to tell me that I was the only parent to complain.  So, maybe I am odd for questioning the Post Office clerk?  I don’t think so.)
  2. Can we put in place a moratorium on the free gift of ink pens?  Nearly, every place you go, you get a free pen.  Sometimes these little conveniences come in the mail.  Personally, I have enough pens and can’t we be a more creative than this?
  3. If you are in hurry in St. Charles, you might get frustrated.  I am always in a hurry (and sometimes I don’t need to be; but it’s my normal speed).  Nevertheless, St. Charles moves at a slower pace.  On highway 94 example, the posted speed limit is 55 mph in some places, but many drive 45  mph.  Maybe I should learn something from this?
  1. After we (citizens of St. Louis) were dumped on with 10 inches of snow, I am thankful for those mammoth snow plowers.  They make the roads passable.   Yet it is obvious that some of these trucks got too close to some mail boxes because many are leaning.  So, I am curious, will the state or city pay for the repair of these boxes?  A better question is, Will the driver or drivers come forward and admit this issue?
  2. St. Lousians are notorious for asking what high school you attended.  Native St. Louisans say this is a way of locating where you grew up, associated friends, etc.  It is a way of sizing a person up.  I am curious – when people  ask what church you attend is this another subtle way of sizing a person up?

My Uncle Rocky (not sure why we don’t call him Uncle Robert as Robert is his birth name) likes to stir the pot or rather instigate.  The day following my grandmother’s funeral, Rocky (son of my grandmother) and the rest of us – siblings, spouses, etc. somehow got on the topic of the state of Black Americans.  We all agreed that it is quite sad and has reached a crises level.  My uncle asked us all directly – what were we doing personally to help remedy the crises?  My sister who lives in Chicago lives in the inner city; her husband coaches a girl’s basketball team.  I think this is commendable.  This is where I experience guilt because when I think about how I have been so blessed I often ask myself, what can do?  When I was working at Covenant Theological Seminary, I often thought, here’s a place of plenty or “a land flowing with milk and honey”; shouldn’t I take my gifts and help African Americans in famished areas?  Yet I am convinced God called me to serve at Covenant for 9 years.  I did said this to my uncle: I have tutored kids at my son’s school (kids of many racial backgrounds) and I am an active father to my kids.  He was not satisfied with my answer but I explained.  One of the huge problems facing the black community is the severe breakdown of the black family (that’s obvious).   So, if I can be a father to my kids, hopefully in some small way I can begin to reverse this plight.  My kids can model what I have tried to model for them in other words.  At times I am unsatisfied with my own answer, because I experience guilt.  However, my guilt is often assuaged because I am confident of God’s ‘geographical’ call on my life.  Do I appear confused?

My brother and I were born to a teenage mother.  Wanting to be responsible, she had to eventually drop out of high school to care and provide for us.  To say that my maternal and paternal grandmothers played a huge role in my life would be a quarter of the story.  On Thursday, February 28 we said goodbye to Willa Mae Bobo, my paternal grandmother.  She was 83 years old.  She was a hoot!  She was beautiful, smart, witty, stylish and extremely funny.  She played so many practical jokes on my brother and I.  For example, she told us that little people lived in the TV set; these same little people appeared on the TV screen.  Her home was a warm home.  No place was off limits in her home.  Her home was home to so many people.  For a messed up kid, her home provided me with a refuge.  She served us balanced meals: a meat, vegetable, dessert, and a glass of milk.  She is the reason why I love to eat beets.  Grandmother was a good, proud and content housewife.  She got up early in the morning to make my grandpa breakfast and to pack his lunch.  Grandmother was no taller than 5 feet but she made a 10 feet impact on me.  (It’s hardly worth mentioning but grandmother was no saint; she had her share of brokenness like all of us.)  If grandmother were still alive in April of this year, she and my grandpa (who is still alive but extremely weak) would have been married 67 years!  How?  They eloped when she was 15 and he was 17 years old.  Their love for each other is legendary.  It was no surprise to us to hear that when grandpa was sick and in the hospital, grandmother was not by his side but in the bed with him.  The reverse is true – when grandmother was sick and in the hospital, grandpa was by her side.  She was quite a lady!  And they were quite the couple!