One of my favorite bloggers shared a good one this week.
Trevin Wax gave commentary involving Ellen Degeneres’ remarks of being friends
with former President George W. Bush. Check out For
Jesus’ Sake, Be Kind.
Has W become the favorite among the former U.S. presidents?
On more than one occasion, he is seen being friends with Michelle Obama. He had
a silly moment with a raincoat during President Trump’s inauguration ceremony.
Now, he is seen at a Dallas Cowboys game eating peanuts and chatting with
By the way, I actually met President Bush a few years ago
and got my picture taken with him. It was at a dinner in Tulsa that I had the
privilege of being someone’s guest in attendance. Mr. Bush took pictures with
every attendee, myself included. When I went to introduce myself to him,
telling him my name is Chris Doyle, his response was, “Dole, how are ya?!”
2. Mohler warned by
Canadian government over his report on gender identity
Transgenderism continues in the world today and especially
as a major topic in the courts. This week, a Texas father was blocked by a jury
decision to prevent him from stopping his 7-year-old son from a “gender transition.”
The transgender issue is becoming troublesome. I suppose,
those who are of adult age, have become legally accepted today. My take is I
will be kind and respectful to all people, just what Trevin Wax was emphasizing
in DHD topic 1, and that includes transgender people.
I would even respect a transgender person to the point that
I would call them and refer to them by their desired pronouns and other words
that reflect gender (such as “ma’am” or “sir”). The point is to be kind even
when I may not support or agree. Kindness and respect can still be
demonstrated. And if such a person gains your trust through showing kindness,
who knows what the Holy Spirit may do.
Back to the Texas case, I am sad for this father. This is a
sad situation. Check out Albert Mohler’s Thursday edition of The Briefing
to get his take of this ordeal. He opens his report with the words “horrifying”
And keep listening because Mohler said he was “contacted by
Canadian legal authorities and warned” that if he did not remove a transcript
of a previous Briefing report he gave about a transgender case in Canada, he
could face legal action.
“…Jesus didn’t follow the
prejudices of his day regarding gender and ethnicity. On the contrary, he
lifted up and honored those the culture marginalized. Surely this was part of
his appeal. People used to being dismissed, ridiculed, and rejected were suddenly
talking with someone who both saw them and loved them.”
Two of my favorite takeaways
from Dunlop’s article are:
1. “A good question
has multiple right answers, it’s clear, and it’s simple to ask (if it’s too
long for you to ask it without looking down at your notes, it’s too long). A
good teacher will include at least a few of these in a class, especially at the
beginning when people need to be lured into engagement with the material.”
2. Don’t be embarrassed if you can’t remember someone’s
name. “Model humility and ask them their name.” Unfortunately, I do this way
too often—forgetting someone’s name.
5. J.H. are important
I heard this earlier this year, and I finding out that
Sooner fans find it as fascinating as I do. So I thought I’d share with you.
The University of Oklahoma claims seven national
championships in football. In four of these titles, the Sooners were led by a
quarterback with the initials J.H.
Jimmy Harris was the Sooner quarterback for the championship
years of 1955 and 1956. Jamelle Holieway quarterbacked the Sooners to the 1985
national championship, and Josh Heupel led OU to the 2000 national
In case you didn’t already know, OU’s current quarterback
this season is named Jalen Hurts.
I conclude with another sports-related topic. The Washington
Nationals have 2-0 advantage in the World Series, with Game 3 against the
Houston Astros happening this evening in D.C.
The Nationals have quite an impressive story this season.
They started poorly, with a 19-31 record. They also traded away the face of the
franchise, Bryce Harper, before the season. But now, the Nationals are in the
driver’s seat toward winning the World Series, possibly sweeping the Astros.
I wonder if the Nationals could inspire another professional
team in another sport that recently traded away its face of the franchise and
appears to not have a good start of the season.
In other news, I work my first regular season Thunder game
I’m covering two of the hottest topics in this week’s DHD.
The NBA-China issue, with specific points relating to LeBron James, and
churches and religious institutions losing tax-exempt status if they oppose
Here we go!
1. NBA-China issue
In case you don’t have all the facts about this recent fiasco,
Aaron Mansfield offers a
great recap, detailing all the relevant events, including the Hong Kong
protest, Daryl Morey’s Tweet, China’s backlash, NBA’s response, LeBron’s
Mansfield’s concluding paragraph is correct. NBA
Commissioner Adam Silver is in a “precarious position,” wanting China’s
business while also handling the powerful country’s social record.
Now, let’s look at some relevant commentary.
2. Tramel’s excellent
Berry Tramel did not hold back when he gave his perspective on the NBA-China issue. On Silver’s original comment on Morey’s tweet, Tramel said it was “the weakest bunch of crap anyone has written,” and he especially calls out the NBA’s protesting the City of Charlotte’s bathroom ordinances and threatening to not allow the city to host the NBA All-Star Game, proving the league’s hypocrisy when it comes to political issues.
Tramel also provided a lesson of how
China has a dictatorship-run government. I was impressed with Tramel’s article
and applaud him for being political, especially when he admits he doesn’t like
to be political.
Lamenting LeBron’s loquaciousness
When it appears the NBA-China issue
may have subsided, the league’s most popular player heaped some coals on the
fire earlier this week.
LeBron James is taking a lot of heat
for criticizing Morey’s tweet. One comment in particular was James’ saying
Morey should have “waited a week” to post his support for Hong Kong.
USA Today published a sarcastic response to James with this conclusion: “Not supporting other Americans who exercise that same freedom because it might personally inconvenience you for a few days overseas, LeBron, is without question the most disgraceful moment of your career.”
As hard-hitting as that last comment is, the USA Today article doesn’t take the cake to what the Babylon Bee posted. If you’re not familiar with the Bee, it is a parody news website that offers humor (sometimes biting humor) relevant to current events.
The Bee was pretty bold in displaying this headline: “LeBron James says Rosa Parks’ Bus Protest ‘Could Have Waited a Week.” Ouch!
Finally, Albert Mohler gave his perspective in his Oct. 17
edition of The
Briefing, regarding James’ pitying how Morey’s tweet caused the all-star
and the NBA to pause its financial success involving China:
“The background of that is the fact that people are now suffering oppression in Hong Kong that the Chinese Communist Party in China is breaking its promises of semi-autonomy with Hong Kong, the fact that the Chinese regime is now abusing human rights at the scale of millions, evidently in the view of LeBron James, that pales over against any interruption in the business model of the NBA.”
4. Take away
The next three DHD topics deal with the recent uproar that
was caused directly by presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke who declared
emphatically that churches and religious organizations that do not approve
same-sex marriage or adhere completely to LGBTQ standards should have
tax-exempt status removed.
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern
Baptist Convention offered a great explainer
this week about tax exemption for religious organizations.
The piece quotes Russell Moore who said about O’Rourke’s
declaration, “Tax exemption for churches is not a ‘reward,’ but a recognition
that the power to tax is the power to destroy. And, indeed, with these comments
Congressman O’Rourke threatens to destroy every church, synagogue or other
religious institution that does not adopt his viewpoint on sexual ethics over
and against their own traditions and authoritative texts. That is not the
5. Mohler on
candidates and LGBTQ
The Tuesday, Oct.
14 edition of The Briefing is a required listening or a must-read when it
comes to understanding the ramifications of the push by the democratic
presidential candidates of tax-exemption removal for churches religious
Every single point Mohler gives is important. He did a lot
of work in this presentation, especially the breakdown of each candidate’s
viewpoint on this issue. I especially appreciate how he calls out Elizabeth
Warren’s smugness and comments on her bold remark “If you don’t hold the view I
hold on same-sex marriage, you’re not even worthy of anyone marrying you.”
Mohler’s take on Warren’s antics and the support it drew
from those attending the event, “It should tell us a very great deal that that
is now an applause line with millions and millions of Americans. If you are not
in support of same-sex marriage, which after all has been around legally in the
United States for four years, then you are so backward that you don’t even
deserve to be married yourself. No one should want to marry you.”
6. Christian colleges’
response to threat tax-exemption removal
I have mentioned before that I appreciation Sarah Eekhoff
Zylstra’s writing. Every time I go to The Gospel Coalition’s website and find
one of her articles, I’ll read it immediately. She never disappoints me.
Zylstra did an excellent job in interviewing many Christian
college president to get their response to the possibility of their respective
institutions of higher learning facing no longer being tax exempted.
One of the best comments in the piece is from Covenant
College president Derek Halvorson:
“We aren’t going to
compromise on clear biblical direction with regard to matters like marriage and
sexuality. It’s important for students to see that, and to recognize there may
be costs associated with being faithful.”
It’s a super-fast edition of DHD this week. By the time many
of you are reading this, I will be in St. Louis, visiting family for an
extended weekend. I’m writing earlier than usual and not as long.
1. Caleb’s first race
The Baptist Messenger
has been keeping up with Caleb Freeman’s progress since his major accident in
Dec. 2017, which resulted in Caleb suffering from severe brain injuries. The
last article the Messenger featured was on Caleb
being honored at an OU basketball game, earlier this year. But do a search
for Caleb Freeman on www.baptistmessenger.com
to read all the reports.
Earlier this week, Caleb ran a 5K with his track teammates
from Newcastle High School. Multiple news reports covered his accomplishment.
It also was featured on NBC Nightly News. More updates can be found on the Pray
for Caleb Facebook page.
Praise God for what He is doing through Caleb’s life!
2. NBA and China
I told you I was going to be fast. So here’s my take on the
NBA-China issue. I support Houston Rockets G.M. Daryl Morey’s tweet message.
Apparently, I’m not alone because political leaders on both sides of the aisle
are also speaking in support of Hong Kong. Check out this
article by Josh Wester to get a great summary.
3. Thunder thoughts
I’m working a Thunder game tonight (Thurs., Oct. 10), but
what I’ve seen of the Thunder so far is interesting. In a brief summary, the
team is not as flashy but appears to be competitive. Of course, who knows how
long Chris Paul and other current Thunder players will be on the roster later
I’m sure I will say more later.
4. IMB Sending
I wrote an article for the Oct. 17 edition of the Baptist Messenger about the
International Mission Board Sending Celebration that will be at Oklahoma City,
Quail Springs Nov. 12. Be on the lookout for it.
Save the date for that November Tuesday night!
5. DeYoung on Luke
I read a great commentary by Kevin DeYoung on Luke being an
evangelist to the rich. It’s a great perspective. Check it out here.
6. Walker at the fair
Walker Moore, longtime columnist for the Messenger, offered a great chronological
breakdown of one of his days serving as a chaplain at the Tulsa State Fair. It’s
a great read!
The biggest news in social media this week is the hug in
court. Of course, it involved more than that, but as Baptist
Press reported on Oct. 3, “18-year-old Brandt Jean offered forgiveness and
Christ to Amber Guyger, the woman convicted the day before of murdering his
older brother Botham in 2018.”
For this week’s DHD, I give six aspects involving this
dramatic, unexpected scene in court.
1. Courtroom forgiveness
I will go over what Jean said to Guyger, but what is at the
heart of this scene is what nobody ever expects to happen in a courtroom trial.
A victim or a family member of the victim forgives the accused.
It’s a powerful moment and difficult for humanity to fully
comprehend. However, this is not the first time forgiveness in a major public
court case has been offered.
Rachael Denhollander gave a powerful statement during the Larry Nassar trial early last year. This is the case of the former USA Gymnastics doctor who sexually abused hundreds of young gymnasts.
“I pray you experience the soul-crushing weight of guilt, so
you may someday experience true repentance and true forgiveness from God, which
you need far more than forgiveness from me — though I extend that to you as
well,” Denhollander said to Nassar during her testimony.
Many also remember in 2015 when members of the Emanuel
African Methodist Church Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. forgave
shooter Dylann Roof for the lives he murdered during a church service.
2. Asking God for
Jean displayed wisdom and humility when he spoke to Guyger
in court this week.
“I forgive you. And I
know if you go to God and ask Him, He will forgive you,” Jean said during
the sentencing hearing. “I love you just like anyone else. I’m not going
to say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did, but I personally want
the best for you. … I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing
that Botham would want you to do.”
If you are familiar with 1
John 1:9, you can hear Jean reference this verse when he spoke.
Jean presented the Gospel this day, not only to Guyger, but
to everyone in the courtroom and to anyone watching the video. Who knows who
was influenced by the Holy Spirit through this moment?
3. Forgiveness in
And then the hug. Jean asked the judge if he could hug Guyger, asking “Please, please?”
We don’t see the judge in the screen but hear her reply, “Yes.”
Jean comes down, and it’s apparent how much Guyger desires
forgiveness and to be consoled.
For me, it was hard to only watch the video once.
4. ‘He was taught to
Baptist Press also reported comments from Jean’s mother,
Allison, who said his forgiveness is a reflection of his upbringing.
“What my son did was a true reflection of what we’ve practiced all our lives. That’s what he’s been taught, to forgive,” she told NBC 5 after a Wednesday worship service at Church of Christ Dallas West where Botham had been a worship leader. “My son (Brandt) is 18-years-old, and he will have to live with the loss of his brother for all his life, so he needs to move on. I think that was the beginning of the cleansing and a new beginning.”
This demonstrates how
important it is for children to be raised in church and to be taught Christian
5. Those who misunderstand
Many have spoken against what
happened in that Dallas courtroom. Many have offered different interpretations
of Jean’s act of forgiveness.
What I know is Jean
demonstrated Jesus Christ, and just as Christ forgave many, including me, we
should do likewise. That’s all I will reflect from this moment, nothing else.
6. The judge’s presentation of the Gospel
And then, to top off the
unconventional courtroom events, Judge Tammy Kemp comes over to offer Guyger
her Bible and then shares the powerful message of John 3:16.
This video from Court TV is
an amazing presentation:
I decided to have this week’s DHD focus on Ken Burns’ phenomenal eight-part documentary series “Country Music.” I watched each episode over the last two weeks and was amazed how well it was presented and by the education it offered. I said earlier this week that “Country Music” is so good it should be worth getting college credit hours after watching it.
Here’s six takeaways I got after watching “Country Music.”
There are many who were instrumental in founding American Country Music. Ken Burns did about as good of a job as anybody would in highlighting the major contributors. But all country music experts will say country music got its origin from The Carter Family and Jimmie Rogers
The Carter Family, made up of A.P, Sara and Maybelle, brought the Gospel Music flavor to country music. Jimmie Rogers was responsible for the bar songs and the more secular sounds.
They were presented well in the series, and I enjoyed
learning about the Carters’ and Rogers’ influence.
2. Hank Williams
“He made you think he was singing straight to you,” said
Bill Malone, country music historian, about Hank Williams.
“Hank Williams had the guts to put into words what we were
all thinking and feeling but were too embarrassed to say,” said Fred Foster,
Country music started with mostly positive messages in its songs. The first one to sing about “real life” was Hank Williams. He put country music on another level and helped usher in the “Golden Era” of country music.
He lived a rough life and had a turbulent marriage with his
wife Audrey. Many of his sad songs came from his life experiences. Many will
say they related to Hank’s music. Everybody will say country music owes its prominence
to Hank Williams.
3. Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton’s life was another great presentation in the
series. One of the most significant element in the whole production was Dolly
Parton sharing how she wrote “I Will Always Love You,” which gained recent fame
by Whitney Houston in her movie The
Parton said she wrote the song as a negotiation piece with Porter Wagoner who had Parton as a regular performer in his TV show. Parton wanted to do her own thing, and Wagoner would not let her.
What amazed me about how Parton handled this issue is she did not get aggressive or difficult. Instead, she wrote “I Will Always Love You” to help resolve the conflict with Wagoner. The first time Wagoner heard the song, he conceded and gave Parton his blessing to move on.
The documentary then showed Parton’s first performance of “I Will Always Love You.” Whoa! This definitely succeeded Houston’s connection with the song.
4. Kris Kristofferson
There are so many fascinating stories in the series, but one
that was a major education for me was Kris Kristofferson’s life. I had no idea
how much influence he had in country music. I learned he was responsible for
writing “Me and Bobby McGee,” which was made famous by Janis Joplin.
Kristofferson was a Rhodes Scholar with an education at Oxford and was an army officer. But he gave all that up and moved to Nashville to become a janitor at a recording studio. From there, he wrote many songs that blew people away.
5. Dramatic deaths
The deaths of the prominent country music performers are
sprinkled throughout the series. Hank Williams’ tribute was powerful, as the
Burns’ series ended that episode with granddaughter Holly Williams singing Hank’s
song “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”
The coverage of Patsy Cline’s death was very emotional. Next to Dolly Parton singing “I Will Always Love You,” this segment is the most memorable.
And then the scene of Vince Gill singing at George Jones’
memorial service… oh my!
6. Gospel is needed
I can’t help but think how much the Gospel is needed in the
lives of many in country music. I almost think of how sad the Book of Judges in
the Old Testament is when I reflect on some of the people mentioned in this
Many, I’m sure, are or were Christians, and there is a glimpse of the Gospel, especially when Holly Williams mentioned how her grandfather knew about the redemption that Christ offers, which led to him writing “I Saw The Light.”
But I am also convicted of knowing I need to be more active
in sharing the Gospel with people and knowing how so many need to know about
the powerful mercy and grace of Jesus Christ.