Archive for the ‘James Evans’ Category

>James Evans on Pat Robertson

January 17, 2010

>But first:

Last night the Ting Tings were the musical guest on SNL. I “tink” this live performance is better than their video. I hope they don’t take this video down before you get to see it, I got it from Hulu. The Ting Tings are Jules De Martino and Katie White.

http://www.hulu.com/aol/http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eslashcontrol%2Ecom%2Ffree%2Dtv%2Dshows%2Fsaturday%2Dnight%2Dlive%2F3289826738%2Dthe%2Dting%2Dtings%2Dthats%2Dnot%2Dmy%2Dname/embed/13MxFKyoTExcSc0ZeYoOiQ

Friday The Decatur Daily ran this column by James Evans, my favorite Baptist preacher. This one is classic, and I think he wrote it before Pat Robertson made his hateful statement about Haiti.

Pat Robertson dressed as wolf in sheep’s clothing?

At the end of every year, Pat Robertson, television evangelist and founder of the 700 Club, holds a prayer retreat. During these annual prayer meetings, Robertson meets with God, and God tells Pat what is going to happen in the coming year. Of course, someone does not have a very good batting average on these predictions.

For instance, in 2007 Pat told us that God told him that terrorists would launch a nuclear attack against the United States. Because that clearly did not happen, either Pat misheard God, God was wrong, or the terrorists did not get the message. For Pat’s part, he said the only thing he could figure was that people prayed “and God in his mercy spared us.”

This year more gloom and doom looms on the horizon. According to Pat, God is not happy with America. Because we have a propensity to allow abortions, gay marriage and secularism, Pat says, “There’s a cloud of God’s wrath over America.”

Whatever is really going on with Pat’s audiences with the divine — if we want to take the idea of God’s wrath seriously, and we also want to take the Bible seriously — there are plenty of transgressions other than abortions, gay marriage and secularism for Americans to be concerned about.

For instance, let’s think about God’s concern for the weak and the powerless in our world. This is the theological heart of conservative opposition to abortion. But why does their concern always stop with the unborn. How about the already born?

Where is the passionate concern for children who live in poverty and die of starvation in huge numbers every day? And how about the innocent children of Iraq and Afghanistan killed and maimed by weapons of war? If God’s wrath hangs like a cloud over those who inflict pain or allow suffering of the weak and powerless, then there is much for us as a nation to be concerned about.
And why do conservatives twist themselves into knots over gay marriage when traditional marriage is in serious decline? Many heterosexual couples are bypassing marriage altogether.

And don’t blame this on gay people — many of them want to get married! Why aren’t conservative Christians trying to find out why young people have turned their backs on marriage?

And don’t get me started on secularism. When you can’t tell the difference between a rock concert and a worship service, the secular has won — and on sacred turf. Designing worship space that is void of sacred art, music, liturgy or even meaningful biblical content, all for the sake of marketing, is an out-and-out surrender to the forces secularism.

But back to Pat Robertson. Most likely Pat is not listening to God but rather listening to the GOP. He has made himself a mouthpiece for a partisan political group in this country whose only real interest is winning elections. As such, he is willing to distort biblical truth so it supports his political ideology.

And don’t you know God is irked when the profound truths of faith are distorted and diminished for something as paltry as political gain. Talk about provoking the wrath of God.

Jesus knew something about this. He knew about people who wrapped themselves in the mantle of piety but with a far more pedestrian agenda. He knew about those who used the authentic faith of others for personal or political gain.

Wolves, Jesus called them, dressed like sheep.

Contact James L. Evans, pastor of Auburn First Baptist Church, at faithmatters@mindspring.com.

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>Getting Serious About Christmas

December 23, 2008

>Check out Lipscomb Bohemian, a new blog by a visitor to Bessemer Opinions that will feature art and relevant topics.

Speaking of Lipscomb, their Christmas parade was Saturday. Here are a couple of pics…


Fairfield was generous enough to allow Santa to ride on their truck.

Christmas and war just don’t go together, although, as it seems, there is always a war going on at Christmastime. I was listening to Reg’s Coffee House in the car Sunday and heard a song.

I’ve missed Reg for a year or two, and was happy to rediscover him on Live100.5, the best (only) “adult alternative” (whatever that means) station in the area. Listen here (after a couple of clicks and advertisements).

Anyway, Brett Dennen, wrote this song a few years ago, and Reg said he wishes a holiday season would pass without him being able to play this song, but…not this year.

The Holidays Are Here (and We’re Still At War)

Or, the “Shot live by YouTube” version (lyrics are easier to understand):

Why does it seem that a song written a few years ago is still so relevant today? The problems are all still here.

My favorite Southern Baptist preacher, James Evans, wrote this prayer several years ago. Like the song, the themes of this prayer are just as meaningful today as when it was written. It hangs in my house, and has appeared in at least one state newspaper already this year.

Yuletide Prayer
Lord, first of all, thank you for the careful and creative way in which you have designed this world. You have made this planet a marvelous place, filled with life and beauty. It is a privilege to recognize that we humans are a part of your amazing invention.
Having said that, it is necessary to also say we are sorry. We are sorry for our poor stewardship of the Earth. We have not been very careful with the air and the water. We have also not been very careful with certain forms of life. We have acted as if ours was the only existence that matters. Apparently we forgot what Jesus said about you and the sparrows.
We have also not been very good stewards of the resources which sustain life. Many of us living in the developed nations have become a highly acquisitive people. It’s almost as if we believe that the purpose of our humanity is to get our hands on as much stuff as possible. There are many who look to their earthly treasures as the true source of their security and meaning. You used the word idolatry to describe that kind of thinking.

Sadly, our pursuit of things has also created a dismal state of affairs in our relations with each other. We’ve got it all backwards from what you intended. Instead of loving people, as you taught, we use people to get what we want. Instead using things to make life better, we love things and cling to them as if they were life itself.
This tragic reversal has had dire consequences. Our greedy consumption has created a world of poverty for millions — as our wealth grows, so does their poverty. And we keep fighting one bloody war after another, taking the lives of your children, trying to protect our stuff.

In fact, that touches on one of our most difficult problems — our love of violence. We treat violence in our culture as if it were a sacred rite. We believe in violence. We cherish it, we celebrate it. We teach it to our children as if we were passing along a spiritual heritage. We have endowed violence with a trust and a hope that should be reserved for you.

We believe violence can conquer evil. We believe violence can make peace. We believe violence can end violence. You would think that 50,000 years of human experience would convince us otherwise, but not yet.

That is why Christmas is so important. The birth of Jesus represents the supreme effort on your part to reshape our flawed humanity back into your own image. If we would only accept as true the things Jesus had to say to us, what a different world this might be.

Somewhere along the way this Christmas we will hear the words of the prophet Isaiah: “A child shall lead them.” We are drawn to the innocence of the nativity with a sense of wonder and longing. We believe that Jesus is that child.

But he cannot lead us if we do not follow. And he cannot change us so long as we insist on having things our own way.

Help us this year to finally admit that our way is not working and for once, just for once, try doing things his way.

Amen

>Other Writers I Enjoy

September 22, 2008

>James Evans is pastor at Auburn First Baptist Church, and used to be pastor at a church in Pelham…and used to write a column that appeared in the Birmingham Post Herald (back when Birmingham had a morning paper and an evening paper…ah…the good old days).

He still writes a column that appears in various papers around the state, The Decatur Daily (but you have to pay to read the column…who do they think they are?) and The Anniston Star being two.

Evans is the Baptist preacher whose column I read every chance I get.

His latest column is Women, Faith and Politics :

I love the way our current political contest keeps tossing up the most marvelous contradictions for us to notice and enjoy. For example, Christians were urged to pray for rain to disrupt Barack Obama’s acceptance speech in an outdoor stadium. But what actually happened is Hurricane Gustav came and disrupted the Republican National Convention.

And then there is our most recent contradiction — the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate…read the rest .

Another favorite is John Corvino, who writes and speaks and teaches at Wayne State Univeristy in Detroit.

John is speaking at UAB this week, Thursday at 7:30 at Alumni Auditorium (Hill University Center). From the Flyer:

Homosexuality, Morality and Diversity

How does the issue of sexual orientation fit into the general theme of diversity? And how can we talk about these issues without stepping all over one another’s toes? In this program Dr. Corvino discusses how to foster respect for people;s diverse relationships while also respecting deeply held moral and religious convictions – all the while trying to avoid and attitude or “moral mushiness,” as he calls it. He also considers the prospects and pitfalls of analogies between sexual orientation and race, religion, and other diversity issues.

John’s latest column has to to with PDA’s at weddings. That’s “public displays of affection“, not personal digital assistant like the McCain campaign claims their candidate invented, although you should probably keep your Blackberry tucked away at weddings as well.


From Corvino:

Like many gay people, I have a love-hate relationship with weddings. On the one hand, I enjoy any excuse for a party, and what’s not to like about celebrating love and commitment with family and friends? On the other hand…

Well, where do I start?

Let’s face it: weddings can be tense affairs. The gaudy pageantry, the forced smiles, the nosy relatives…there is, in fact, a lot not to like.

This is especially true given the tendency of some marrying couples to want to outdo everyone else by being “creative.” I remember one wedding—a gay wedding, as it happens—where, after the vows, the grooms hopped into a vintage convertible and drove off…

…for about 150 feet, at which point they abruptly reached the end of the property, got out, and walked back. (Not surprisingly, that marriage lasted about two months, so perhaps the short ride was an apt metaphor.)…read the rest.

Make plans to hear John Thursday.