A Medley of Musings

I am willing to confess that my life does not always demonstrate intellectual depth. Before a recent baseball telecast my fellow production crew mates and I engaged in a spirited debate over how many vegetables should be included in the vegetable medley for it to truly be a medley. The consensus was that at least four veggies could qualify but that was borderline. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary was not all that helpful as they defined medley as a “diverse assortment or mixture”. Perhaps they had a heated debate as well around the old lunchroom before deciding on their elusive and safe definition of medley. So as I proceed into today’s musing medley I only promise a diverse mixture. I hope there are no blog versions of lima beans in this mix for you.

  • Dallas becomes butt of national jokes by trying to cover butts

The Dallas Morning News has been covering what appears to be a serious debate over banning men from wearing their pants too low. That’s right ladies and gentlemen…things are so good in Big D that we can now focus on what is apparently one of our biggest problems. Saggin’. Seriously, can there be a bigger problem facing Dallas? For those not as hip as me the definition of sag in the Urban Dictionary is to wear one’s trousers lower than the intended waist line, hence the back of the trousers “sag”.  

Dallas school trustee Ron Price recommended the ban at Wednesday’s council meeting, following through on a plan he announced Tuesday. Mr. Price wants the city to create an ordinance to allow police to cite people who wear their pants too low. “Too low,” he said, allows too much underwear to show. “We have a problem in our city,” Mr. Price said. He ran a slogan by the council that he’s given to the initiative: “Pull it up, or pay up.”

Shouldn’t that be pull “them” up? The other pronoun seems dangerously ambiguous.

Council member Bill Blaydes said some people simply allow too much sag. “It’s … very fast approaching lewdness, and there are laws against it,” Mr. Blaydes said. “To ignore it any further, I think, is going to be a problem throughout this city.” But not all council members agreed. “I agree with Ron Price that it’s disconcerting,” Ed Oakley said after the meeting. “But how do you legislate that? How do you have a dress code on a public street? I don’t know if you can without crossing the line on freedom of expression.”

My take on this? If we can expand the jurisdiction of the clothing police I might be on board. For example, why should young men be ticketed for “saggin” when old guys are free to go “pittin” (pulling their pants up to the armpits)? How about some of the egregious Spandex violations by both sexes? In an earlier post I mentioned that men in tank tops should be outlawed…especially if you look like Fozzie Bear.


How about old people trying to look young and young people trying to look old? I think we should outlaw both when the fashion police hit the streets. Fashion enforcement would seem like a good idea until I get arrested for wearing my holy (actual holes, not religious) Cleveland Browns t-shirt in public.

To solve this drooping drawers problem I have dipped into my nearly 3 decades of parental experience. I am convinced we can stop saggin’ without any legislation or police involvement. If we, the middle-aged and saggy, agree to start wearing our pants to reveal our ancient boxers and briefs then the young men will hitch up their pants immediately. Nothing makes cool disappear quicker than the uncool joining in. So let’s do our part to stop this trend. The movie “Oh Brother, Where art Thou?” featured the Soggy Bottom Boys. Now we can reverse a disturbing trend by forming a defiant group of aging saggers…the Saggy Bottom Boys. You go first.

  • A tragedy on so many levels

The Dallas Morning News also reported the sentencing phase of the trial of Pastor Terry Hornbuckle. This is a devastatingly sad story.

Pastor Terry Hornbuckle’s gospel of prosperity finally took away both his ministry and his freedom, state District Judge Scott Wisch said Monday.  After the pastor was sentenced by a Tarrant County jury to 15 years in prison for sexually assaulting three women, Judge Wisch said the pastor’s fall from grace shows the danger of abandoning Christian self-sacrifice for self-gratification.

“You manipulated … [religion] for the worst possible purpose,” he said.

Mr. Hornbuckle’s Agape Christian Fellowship church was known for its emphasis on financial success, and he bragged about his celebrity friends and influential contacts. Eventually, that turned into drug use, womanizing and rape.

My heart aches for the victims of this man’s sin, for his family, for his church, and for those who were wounded by him. And my heart aches for him. He had a chance to do Kingdom work but instead he did damage. What a tragedy. I visited the church website and looked at Mr.Hornbuckle’s three beautiful children and I thought about the impact on them. The wages of sin are so ugly. There are no winners in this story. The victims face a difficult journey to healing. The sad consequences of sin should make all of us shudder.

Oddly the statement from a district judge sums it up quite well. We all tempt a fall from grace when we forget that this journey is about self-sacrifice for Jesus and not self-gratification. Pray for all involved in this sad story.

  • Me thinks thou dost protest poorly

One of my biggest blogging frustrations is the person who does not read the context of a statement and especially those who lack the humor gene. I think both may have entered into a little exchange in the Religion section of the Dallas Morning News recently. The notes column ran a piece about Jessica Simpson doing a version of “Amazing Grace” at a club in Los Angeles. Here is an excerpt from the article.

You wouldn’t know it to watch her bump and grind on MTV, but Richardson’s own Jessica Simpson is the daughter of a former Baptist minister.

The preternaturally platinum singer may have been returning to her roots last week when, at a Los Angeles dance club, she gave an impromptu performance of three songs from her soon-to-be-released CD, capped by an a cappella rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Her appearance was captured by at least one amateur videographer. Normally, we’re happy to tell our readers how to find such things on the Web, but in this case, our love of that old hymn simply won’t allow it.

Not everything can be forgiven.

I read that and chuckled at the obviously tongue in cheek comment about forgiveness set up by the previous sentence. I found the video at YouTube.com and I understand why the writers love of that wonderful hymn kept him from linking the performance. The writers comment about not everything can be forgiven was clearly a joke. Cue up the angry letter writers. I will not use their names because the point is not to embarrass them personally but to make a larger point.

The level of spiritual immaturity and mean-spiritedness exhibited by whoever wrote the item demeaning Jessica Simpson is lamentable. I would hasten to assure Ms. Simpson that not everyone who bears the name and sign of Jesus is quite so priggish and self-righteous. Jessica Simpson is welcome to come and worship with us on any Sunday. We would be glad to join right in with her in singing “Amazing Grace”!   From a pastor in East Texas

Never begin a letter to dispute someone’s viewpoint by questioning their spiritual maturity. I often get letters from people that start out with “I don’t know how someone who calls themselves a Christian can say that (whatever). It is very difficult to answer that person with a gentle spirit. But I try. Feel free to gracefully disagree. I am not interested in your evaluation of my spiritual condition. And I read the same article and didn’t get a whiff of mean-spiritedness. Would you welcome Roseanne Barr to sing the National Anthem in your church? The comparison is pretty close in the presentation. And as for welcoming Jessica to sing at the church…you may want to require a choir robe. I must commend the outstanding use of “priggish“ in a sentence. Nicely done!

Next letter please…

The exercise of your editorial rights in the last sentence – “Not everything can be forgiven” – must have been done without research or thought. The Bible states in many places that God will forgive. Without forgiveness, there is no hope. And without hope, there is no future. Please remember that we are living in trying times, and people are searching for forgiveness. 
From Tom writing from my own town

A lovely statement but that is not the point of the article. The writer was simply saying that she carved up Amazing Grace. I am sure the religion writer knew that theologically everything can be forgiven (except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit for the spiritual hall monitors). It was a tongue in cheek comment on how badly she butchered this wonderful hymn. I seriously doubt that anyone lost hope over this smart aleck comment.

Others wrote in to argue that Jessica could be forgiven. Great point if that was what the article had actually said. Here are my pointers for effective communication when you disagree with a blogger/writer.

  1. Do not start out by insulting or questioning the writer’s salvation. It is possible to disagree on an issue and both of us are genuinely trying to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Do not use ALL-CAPS to emphasize certain words. This is rude and you are insuating that the recipient is too STUPID to pick up key words unless you HIGHLIGHT them. If you believe the person you are writing to is that stupid…why bother? He or she will be too stupid to understand your excellent point.
  3. Thoroughly read the entire article and context. I often make a statement early that I later demonstrate to be not true or not what I believe. But the spiritual hall monitors read something, smoke begins to emanate from their nostrils, and the next thing I know I have an email assigning my eternal destiny.
  4. Be courteous. I may very well be wrong. I often am. A gentle rebuke may help me in my ministry and walk with Jesus. Calling me a false prophet who will burn in hell will generally not lead to careful consideration of your arguement.
  5. Read other material from the author. You may disagree with me on one issue but realize we agree on many others. Then you can simply pray for my misguided views on the one I disagree with you.

I chuckled when I got this guestbook post from Keith a few days ago.

 I agree with some of your statements, and am not sure about others. I will keep with your site until I decide it no longer instructs me or makes me think.

I am not sure about some of my own statements Keith so we are kindred spirits there. I hope you find enough here to stick around for awhile.