Friday, October 26, 2007

Dade County Firefighters

So I just got back from Hawaii. After a thorough evaluation of the sun, the surf and the girls; I feel like I can give an honest opinion about it. I recommend it.

My brother needed to go to his friend's wedding in Maui, so I flew the two of us out there for a week. The wedding was nice, outdoors, and pretty. It was followed by a luau.

It got me thinking, I've been to quite a few weddings in my day, in fact for a while, it seemed I was a professional groomsman. Some of these weddings were fairly memorable, bizarre even. Every wedding has components that are the same: the vows, the jitters, the stress, that one overlooked detail. However, there is one thing that has been unique in my wedding experiences, or person, I should say. I'll call him Jack Havoc.

It was a summer wedding in Texas. It was actually the first time I had been to Texas. If you're going to visit for the first time, July probably shouldn't be your first choice. But I didn't have a choice. No one consulted me on the best time to have their wedding in Texas. As luck would have it, the wedding, which would be a three or four day affair for those of us participating in it, fell over the July 4th weekend.

I flew into the Dallas Fort Worth airport. I was one of the first of the groomsmen to arrive. I was greeted by the groom and his future father-in-law: Jack Havoc. I learned that we would have to wait several hours, since the next groomsman was returning from overseas and would not arrive until then. Havoc decided that a dollar movie might be a good way to pass the time until the next GM arrived. His choice was "Crocodile Dundee goes to L.A." In retrospect, that really should have been the first warning sign. After the movie, we picked up the other GM. He was a friend of mine, and it was good to see him.

The two of us rode in the back seat while Havoc drove us back to the community I'll call Southland, Texas. It was a long drive, so the two of us began to get acquainted with Havoc. He does search and rescue. That's what he does for a living. Whenever there is a natural disaster, he goes overseas (if the disaster if overseas) and conducts search and rescue operations. Obviously this is an admirable venture and we commended him for it. However, Havoc didn't always have his sights set on starting his own search and rescue outfit. For a while, he just wanted to join up with one that was already in progress.

That didn't work out, for reasons far more devious than you can imagine.

Havoc had been down in Florida a few years back, trying to help out on a search and rescue operation. There were other groups there conducting the operation, he was pitching in where he could. The most dominant presence was that of the Dade County Firefighters. So Havoc thought it was his answer to prayer. He didn't need to start his own organization, he could just join up with the Dade County Firefighters. He eagerly began to inquire about enlisting with these fine search and rescuers. That's when he began to realize that something was amiss.

No one could tell him how to join, or give him any specific details of any kind. Everyone was evasive, suspicious even. After all, what search and rescue outfit wouldn't be interested in having the likes of Havoc on their team? Well Havoc is no fool, he began to put the pieces together like a precious mysterious puzzle. That's when he noticed that all of the DCFF carry Glock 9MMs. Which, according to Havoc, is odd. Apparently they're the only search and rescue team in the country that carries Glock 9MMs. Apparently they're the only firefighters in the country that carry Glock 9MMs. It didn't make any sense. To emphasize how little sense it made, he repeated it to us many, many times.

I truly wish that you could hear his sharp, gravelly drawl. He speaks very quickly when he gets excited, and he is always excited when he talks about the DCFF. And from my experience with Havoc, the DCFF are pretty much only thing he ever talks about.

"And that's when I started to realize, they look like DCFF, they act like DCFF, but they're not. They're CIA black ops! Only firefighters in the country that wear Glock 9MMs on their hips. So I started asking questions, and then I started asking more questions. They got nervous, but no one would give me any answers. So I finally told them that I would expose them, that I would bring a whole news crew and everyone else down there the next day and expose them. Cuz I knew what they were, CIA black ops.

So the next day, I rounded up some news crews and brought them down. The whole operation was gone. They had packed up and disappeared like smoke in the wind. Everything…gone. The just vanished in the middle of the night cuz they knew I was coming."

Now, I've had a lot of interesting conversations with a lot of interesting people. I can honestly say, this is one of the very few occasions when I had no idea what to say. Because the only thing you really can say, is "so…you're crazy, huh?" But you don't want to say that to the nice man that is driving the car you are in, whose home you will be sleeping in for the next three days. So we smiled and nodded. I'm good at that.

Surprisingly enough, Jack lives in the middle of the woods. His home was surrounded by grass two and a half feet high. He took us inside and gave us the tour. Since we were the first to arrive, we would have our choice of sleeping arrangements.(This is something you will want to remember, if you ever have to stay with a survivalist, get there early, so you can pick the least uncomfortable place to sleep.) There were two bedrooms, small but sufficient rooms with beds. Then he lead us outside, to a rather spacious deck, with two very comfortable looking hammocks. I have to admit that I was tempted by the hammocks, I've always been a big fan of hammocks, and would have one in my own home if there were room. While I was pondering my extreme fondness of the hammock, I happened to glance up and notice the largest spider I have ever seen. They do say everything is bigger in Texas, but this beast was enormous. And while I'm not afraid of spiders by any means, I'm not really looking to snuggle up with any at night. At that point, I decided to pass on the hammock, and the spider.

He led us back into the living room. I was pleasantly surprised to happen upon the pool table in the living room. Perhaps the next three days wouldn't be that bad. Then I noticed that none of the pool cues had tips on them. Havoc pointed out two rather large, comfy looking, leather recliners that could also be used for sleeping. These also seemed like reasonable options to me. I like large leather recliners, and I can sleep on almost anything. (I actually slept on the floor in EMR for a year. Just me and a sleeping bag.) But I still decided to sleep in one of the rooms, in a bed.

As I settled into my room, two things struck me as odd. The first being that my door didn't have a latch on it. The second being that it was uncomfortably warm in the house. Don't you have to have air conditioning if you live in Texas? As it turns out, none of the doors in the entire house have latches on them, including the bathroom. And Havoc has air conditioning, but he doesn't use it. Since he spends so much time in Venezuela or wherever the hell else he goes, he doesn't want to acclimate to such pleasantries. This is also the reason the hot water heater is turned off.

Some of the other GMs started to trickle in, picking their various places to sleep. Havoc realized that his yard needed some attention if the wedding party was going to be there all week. So he put on his best cut-off jean shorts and started to mow the lawn (if you can call it a lawn, a rather large thicket would be more apt), in all of his shirtless glory. Since the grass was nearly three feet high, this took some time. He had to go over it several times. I don't know if you have ever mowed grass in Texas, in July for several hours, but it tends to induce some serious perspiration. I think Havoc is a sweater anyway, but he was glistening like a hairy roast pig by the time he came in. Those little cutoffs were a few shades darker.

So he stowed the mower, and entered the living room in all of his glistening, dripping beauty. Then he grabbed a powerade and retired to one of the large, comfy, leather recliners. I could hear the leather begin to adhere to his skin. Then he took a nap for two hours. That's when the Macman made a very serious mental note to avoid the large, comfy, leather recliner at all costs.

The bridesmaids were coming over later. We were excited about that. It meant that Havoc might turn the air conditioning on.

We tried to play pool for a while. I'm not a good pool player anyway, so watching me play with tipless cues is just ridiculous. But at least it gave me an excuse. Havoc busied himself making a large barrel of powerade, in preparation for the girls' arrival. One of the other GMs broke one of the hammocks, it turns out he weighed too much. I was glad I didn't take the hammock, because maybe I weigh too much. Then the last GM arrived. We'll call him Dinger. Dinger finally settled on the large, comfy, leather recliner. None of us said a word. I did cringe as I watched him settle in.

The wedding process continued as most do: The bride freaking out, the men getting stuck with silly tasks, like making tiny bags of potpourri, etc.

I knew I was going to have to spearhead any bachelor party activities. Christian bachelor parties are always such an interesting thing to try and plan. Some of them turn out really, really cool. A lot of them turn out really, really lame. I knew we wouldn't be able to do anything grand, but we could at least try to keep it from being completely lame. We discussed different options. I had made friends with a gentleman, who was engaged to one of the bridesmaids, Mike. He is still one of my very good friends. I was in his wedding later. So Mike and I and a few others tried to brainstorm. I got the feeling, that some of the GMs were concerned that I might try to take the bachelor party in a tawdry direction, since I was obviously the one with the least scruples. (Some of them were later taken aback, and confused when I presented the groom with a gift to enhance oral sex. Either they didn't understand how it would work, or they didn't know what oral sex was.)

The bride had presented us with many threats, concerning anything we might physically do to her future husband. It's hard to take those kinds of threats seriously, particularly when they are coming from 110 lb woman, regardless of how fiery her southern temper may be. However, we did rule out anything that would permanently maim the groom, as well as anything that would visibly disfigure him for the ceremony, such as shaving one of his eyebrows off. Something less visible, that was another matter all together. So we began to scheme, every good GM knows that he should try to make the wedding's eve a memorable one for the groom. This should be a time of joy, anticipation, bonding, camaraderie and embarrassment.

We had fireworks. Big ones. It was, after all, Texas. I also suspect that Havoc may have a bunker built under his house, stocked full of a veritable potpourri of weapons, explosives, and various types of armaments. I don't think all of the fireworks we set off that evening were legal, not even in Texas.

After the fireworks, we discussed the possibility of having a large bonfire. Really, what says male bonding like a huge fire? But it was still July in Texas, and as much as I like playing with fire, really none of us would have gone anywhere near it, since we were already a little uncomfortable in our air condition-free arrangements.

Some drama ensued. The bride started freaking out, and the groom wound up spending most of the evening on the phone, trying to calm her down. I don't remember why she was freaking out, but I do remember that it was really stupid. We all thought the same thing, even though none of us were saying it:"…man, this is only the beginning of a really, really, long time." Actually, I probably said it to one of the other GMs. After the groom had pacified his future wife, we gave him our gifts, told him how much he meant to us, the usual GM stuff. By the time we finished with the gooey stuff, it was midnight.

That's when we heard it…

A crazy mechanical scream tore through the woods, a crazy scream that can only be one thing. We stared at each other in disbelief and amazement for a moment, incredulous. Then we all hurried outside to confirm our suspicions. And there was Havoc. It seems Havoc had overheard us when we discuss the possibility of building a bonfire. Well you can't have a bonfire without wood. Where does wood come from? Well trees of course. Which was why he was out in the middle of the yard, wearing a coal mining helmet, to illuminate his handiwork,, going to work with the chainsaw. The tree must have been 75 feet tall. We all just stood on the porch staring at this madman, and his gasoline driven appendage, as he attacked his foe. None of us could speak for a moment. What do you even say about such a spectacle? If it had been anyone other than Havoc, none of us would have believed it. But by this time, we knew the man was capable of almost anything.

We made our way back inside, still a little stunned. A few minutes later, the chainsaw halted, and we listened for the prey to finally fall. Quick steps crossed the porch and Havoc burst into the room:

"She started to turn in the other direction. Didn't expect it. Couldn't finish. You boys should probably move your cars, don't know….a strong wind could finish her off."

Why is it, that when such men apply gender to a nemesis, it is always female?

The GMs that had driven, scrambled out to move their vehicles out of harms way. Havoc proceeded to tie a rope to the tree, to "secure" it. We still had to drive under the tree every time we came or went.

The rest of the week went about as expected: lots of nerves, lots of crying, lots of the drama that comes with every wedding. Plus a little extra drama, just because.

As the week went on, things went as could be expected. The pool cues continued to be cueless, we continued to drink a lot of powerade, Dinger continued to sleep in the large, comfy (tainted), leather chair. Havoc wrangled one of the bridesmaids into watching a disaster video he had taken. Basically it was just hours of flooding….hours. Havoc narrated all of the flooding for her. The poor girl was too polite to pull away.

We learned to deal with the inconsistencies. We figured out how to turn on the hot water heater. We learned how to deal with the heat and the latchless doors. We even learned how to deal with the toilet with the seat that would fall down while trying to take a piss (it's called the derringer hold, it lets you keep one hand free.). And at the end of the day, we at least had a memorable time. From what I understand, Havoc has only gotten crazier.

But weddings are never about the wedding party. And if nothing else, this story should be a reminder, that the reason we go through these types of ridiculous situations (although, hopefully yours won't be quite this ridiculous), is because our friends and their happiness are worth it.

Sigh…Always a groomsman, never a groom.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Super Preacher

On October 31st, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg. This document was Luther’s bold response to years of oppression by the Catholic Church, gross misconduct, and the sale of indulgences. It is the spark that ignited the Protestant Reformation.

Luther was fighting for what he believed was right, as he is famously quoted as saying, “It is unsafe and dangerous to do anything against one’s conscience. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. So help me God. Amen.” He was fighting for key ideas, ideas that continue to shape the Modern Church and Doctrine:

Sola Scriptura- The Bible alone is our ultimate authority.

The Priesthood of all Believers- the equality of all men before God and the Law.

Faith is a gift of God.

These are powerful ideas that rocked the very foundations of established religion. They even contributed to the creation of representative government. They undermined the Catholic Church’s stance that the Church alone could read and interpret Scripture, as well as the Church being the source of Law.

The eventual result, thank God, was greater freedom. A better understanding of Grace and the acknowledgement that all believers have direct access to God through his Son, Jesus. This is the true beauty of the Gospel. The incarnation of Christ and what it means for us as Christians.

As Christians, we have the opportunity to have a relationship with the Divine Creator of the Universe. The Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Lord God Almighty. We could spend our entire lives simply trying to comprehend the magnitude of Who He is, let alone the fact that He is not only willing to have a relationship with us, but that He wants to.

Christianity is the only religion in the world in which the deity pursues us. This is the Gospel.

Since its inception, the Gospel’s primary forum has changed its shape time and time again. From the socialistic early church, based on charity and community, to the Crusades, to the abuses of the Catholic Church in Luther’s time.

Look at the Church today, particularly in the United States. Look at how far we’ve come. We are no longer the hate mongers of the Crusades. We are no longer the petty Corinthians. No, we build cathedrals with hundreds of millions of dollars. We have exciting preachers who dazzle us with untold revelations and miraculous works.

Ten thousand, twenty thousand, even thirty thousand member churches! Television stations, universities, political action committees! The signs, the wonders! Our preachers fill the halls, wall to wall. They bend our minds around the mysteries of Scripture that we could never unveil ourselves.

These men (and women) are attractive, stunning even. They tan, they bleach their teeth, and their wives stay fit and trim (some have their own clothing lines). They are captivating speakers, they have funny stories, sad stories, stories to fit every occasion. They can take us fast, they can take us slowly, they can take us high, only to take us low again. Then it all comes together, and we are amazed.

They heal, they prophecy, they stun. Some don’t even have to lay their hands on you, they can simply touch you with their $5,000 suit, or merely blow in your general direction. The production values are high, the musicians professional and the lights and cameras are right on cue. Surely, great revelation, deep spirituality, and the Holy Spirit fill the room.


Why do “God’s Generals” continue to embarrass us? They are some of the most public of our representatives, the leaders on the frontlines who proclaim the Gospel more loudly than anyone else. Every week tens of thousands of faithful listeners tune in, turn on, and listen raptly to every word they have to share. Their ministries continue to grow, they are always building a larger sanctuary, adding another satellite station, and beginning a new program. They command the attention of so many, they hold such status, they help so many. Right?

Which raises the simple question, why do they continue to fall, these Super Preachers?

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
Matthew 7:15-23

They cheat on their wives.
The commit fraud
They do drugs.
They hire prostitutes.
They steal money.
They bastardize the Scripture in the name of revelation.
They are greedy and covetous.
They breed hatred and condescension against the ignorant sinner.

Every time one of them takes a tumble, the fallout is painful. They have forced themselves so far into the public eye, that everyone is watching them, center stage, as the scandal unfolds. The Church receives another black eye. Thousands lose their faith, and unbelievers become inoculated against ever believing in the Scripture.

It breaks my heart.

The Gospel is only contingent on one man, Jesus Christ.

God calls us to spread the Gospel, not to build larger buildings. He calls us to feed the hungry and minister to the poor, not promise untold riches to the downtrodden if they would simply part with their last dime. That’s what con artists do.

God calls us to be humble, not to build an empire unto ourselves.

You rarely hear about them. The real Generals. That’s because they are too busy carrying the lame to safety, to stop and tell a reporter how much they’ve done for the cause of Christ. I’m talking about the Bill Wilsons of the world, who would rather stay out of the spotlight. Who are more comfortable in a flophouse than they are in a first-class cabin.

It seems that the Body of Christ is experiencing some surgery, that the Almighty is in the process of separating the wheat from the chaff. I thank God for it, and I welcome it.

The next time you begin to declare that something is an attack from the Enemy on God’s Anointed, please consider, that they may not be so anointed after all. God is still sovereign, and no one can touch his truly Anointed unless He allows it.

But we are not blameless. We have come to them, these charlatans with itching ears. We have demanded what we want to hear. The production values, the emotional highs, and the exclusivity of their “special revelations” have fed our egos. They have stroked our pocketbooks and whispered gently in our ears, but we have asked for it.

While I despise these men and the mockery they have made of the Gospel, I am equally angry with those of us who demanded a golden calf. So they built it.

The true Gospel does not need to be made more exciting. It does not need man’s help, and it does not need to be dressed in the finest linens. And that is the real tragedy, that we would be so quick to accept any counterfeit that comes in a shiny box.

Have we forgotten so quickly?

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?
5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
I Corinthians 3:1-15

Maybe we haven’t come nearly as far as we would like to think. Have we really been so proud, that we thought the Gospel was adequate, it just needed a little dressing up? We would simply fill in the gaps? We have not evolved the Gospel, we have gilded a precious jewel with garbage and declared it “better.”

The reason we have these “Super Preachers,” is because we have demanded them, like the Isrealites demanding a king. And we should repent.

The Gospel is rarely discovered in a building made of gold glass and bright lights. It’s found in a quiet and dark closet on one’s knees.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Other Blogs Concerning the Oral Roberts Scandal

I'm not the only one blogging about this:

The Mo'Kelly Report: Former Oral Roberts University Student Speaks Out

Also you should check out:

They are organizing a virtual protest. They also have the most documents and video concerning the entire fiasco.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Christians and Our Love of War Rhetoric

A while back, I penned a few thoughts about one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller. If you've never read any of his work, I recommend him. I realized the other day, that I've never put anything about him on this blog, so I thought I would share it with my GH readers. I think you will see why I appreciate him so much.

So I've been reading and rereading the same books since Christmas. I went to the bookstore intending to perhaps pick up some good books for my family as gifts. And I found some really good books, books that excited me, books that would have made excellent gifts. But I always run into the same dilemma when I go to buy books for people; I worry that they will read some sort of implication into the gift.

If I buy my brother a book about getting closer to God, should he think that I have perceived some sort of problem? If I buy my mother a book on prayer, will she think that I've been timing her morning devotionals….and they are a little shorter than they should be, at least for any real woman of God? Of course, my family is probably not that paranoid, or sensitive, or petty. But since I am prone to being paranoid, sensitive, and petty; it is easy for me to imagine others being so. I can't buy people Christian books, I always feel like I'm handing them a diet book. I might as well just save the $18.95 and tell them that they're fat.

So I bought the books for myself. I always do. And I was right, they have been amazing. I bought one by Brennan Manning, author of the "Ragamuffin Gospel" and one by Donald Miller, author of "Blue Like Jazz." If you haven't read "The Ragamuffin Gospel, " you really are doing yourself a disservice. They should make anyone that wants to call themselves a Christian, read it before they are ever allowed to claim any such thing. I also recommend "Blue Like Jazz," but I like the book after it much better. So much so, that I have decided to share an excerpt.

The following is from Donald Miller's "Searching for God Knows What." It really is worth owning, and hopefully this small portion will encourage you to do so. This portion if from Chapter 12: Morality. This is not the beginning of the chapter, I'm actually picking the text up as Miller is reflecting on a rather frustrating interview with a conservative, Christian talk-show host:

…..To be honest, I think most Christians, and this guy was definitely a Christian, want to love people and obey God but feel they have to wage a culture war. But this isn't the case at all. Remember, we are not elbowing for power in the lifeboat. God's kingdom isn't here on earth. And I believe you will find Jesus in the hearts of even the most militant Christians, moving them to love people and it is only their egos, and the voice of Satan, that cause them to demean the lost. What we must do in these instances is listen to our consciences and allow Scripture to instruct us about morality and methodology, not just morality.

Paul was deceived when he persecuted Christians, thinking he was doing it to serve God, but God went to him, blinded him, and corrected his thinking. After this, Paul loved the people he had previously hated; he began to take the message of forgiveness to Jews and to Gentiles, to male and to female, to pagans and prostitutes. At no point does he waste his time lobbying government for a moral agenda. Nobody in Scripture who knew and followed Jesus wasted their time with any of this; they built the church, they loved people.

Once Paul switched positions, many people tried to kill him for talking about Jesus, but he never lifted a fist; he never declared war. In fact, in Athens, he was so appreciated by pagans who worshipped false idols, they invited him to speak about Jesus in an open forum. In America, this no longer happens. We are in the margins of society and so we have our own radio stations and television stations and bookstores. Our formulaic, propositional, lifeboat-territorial methodology has crippled the kingdom of God We can learn a great deal from the Apostles. Paul would go as far as to compliment the men of Athens, calling them "spiritual men" and quoting their poetry, then telling them the God he knew was better for them, larger, stronger and more alive than any of the stone idols they bowed down to. And many of the people in the audience followed him and had more and more questions. This would not have happened if Paul had labeled them as pagans and attacked them.

A moral message, a message of "us" versus "them," overflowing in war rhetoric, never hindered the early message of grace, of repentance towards dead works and immorality in exchange for a love relationship with Christ. War rhetoric against people is not the methodology, not the sort of communication that came out of the mouth of Jesus or the mouths of any of His followers. In fact, even today, moralists who use war rhetoric will speak of right and wrong, and even some vague and angry god, but never Jesus. Listen closely, and I assure you, they will not talk about Jesus.

In my opinion, if you hate someone because they are different from you, you'd best get on your knees and repent until you can say you love them, until you have gotten your soul right with Christ.

I can't say this clearly enough: if we are preaching morality without Christ, and using war rhetoric to communicate a battle mentality, we are fighting on Satan's side. This battle we are in is a battle against the principalities of darkness, not against people who are different from us. In war, you shoot the enemy, not the hostage.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Letter to the Regents

In lieu of the recent scandalous lawsuit, the Board of Regents have invited ORU alumni to share their thoughts on the school. I have chosen to take them up on their offer. The following is a letter I wrote to the Board. If I receive a reply, I will post that as well.

To: Mr. George Pearsons
Chairman of the Board of Regents

Dear Mr. Pearsons and other Regents,

You have invited ORU alumni to offer their opinions on the current situation at the University, particularly with Mr. and Mrs. Roberts. I welcome this opportunity, and pray that you actually take the time to read and consider my thoughts. You have to understand, it is difficult for any alumni to believe that the university cares what they may have to say, since it only expressed disregard for us the entire time we were there.

Please don’t dismiss what I have to say, simply because I may sound like one more bitter student, who didn’t have enough fun while he was there. This is not the case. I am writing today because I care so much about the University and it’s well being. I think you will find that most graduates have nothing but hope for the school, but have no respect for the Roberts family.

None of my fellow students are surprised by any of these recent developments.

I was privileged to attend ORU for six years, and it was a tremendous time in my life. So many of the teachers there had an incredible impact on my life, so many of my fellow students became lifelong friends. It was a very, very worthwhile experience.

I didn’t mind the rules so much. I knew what I was getting into. The regulations of the university aren’t a secret. I had attended Christian schools my entire life; rules and Christ-centered education were not new ideas to me.

However, this is not to say that I wasn’t surprised by what I encountered at the university. The entire six years that I attended the University, I was constantly presented with the idea that the University had no respect for me. That it did not care about me, my opinions, or anything I had to say.

The school would occasionally ask for input, but unfortunately, this seemed more of a tool to pacify the students than to actually create change. I pray that is not the motivation behind your request for our opinions now. There has never been an open dialogue with the school on any topic. Ever. Not in my experience. My six years was filled with frustrating episodes involving the administration buffering the gap between them and the students, with well-meaning “mid-levelers” who didn’t have any actual answers to anything. They could simply listen to any frustration the student might have, and then explain that they “understood why we felt that way.” Over and over again, this was the only response I was ever able to get. After a while, any student realizes that there will never be any actual change,

Did you know that there are entire internet communities dedicated to the frustrations of graduates? I’ve been a member for years. We all found each other, and we lament what the school could be, but what we fear it will never be, because true change is not allowed. Because the types of changes we were looking for, required for the administration to actually respect the students, and we fear that will never happen, not as long as the administration is headed by the Roberts family and their cohorts. We believe the Roberts do not respect us, not because they have met us, evaluated us, or have any just means to do so. They have just decided that they know better than we ever would. We do not respect the Roberts because we have heard the things that come out of their mouths, the silly things, the unbiblical things, the frivolous things, and the downright stupid things. We have seen the way they treat us. This is the basis for our conclusions.

The following are some items that have lessened our respect for the Roberts family, that we experienced while I was a student there, or we all heard, but the University would refuse to address. It was presented over and over again, that God’s Anointed needn’t explain himself. Sometimes he would simply say that God told him, so that we couldn’t question. But if they would have simply talked about some of these things, the University would have been a much healthier place.

1. No one believes Dr. Hultgren’s doctorate is real. We think it is a honorary doctorate that the university gave him, and that he was simply brought in as a prophet to tell us that Richard heard from God. Yet, everyone refers to him as “Doctor Hultgren.” This isn’t the type of thing that raises the credibility of an ACADEMIC institution.
2. Richard got his doctorate from his own university. There are too many rumors that they had to fudge his credits with work at the TV show just for him to get his Bachelor degree. Then he got his doctorate from his own school? Who was grading his papers. Also, no one thinks he wrote his own papers. Would you give RR a bad grade?
3. His doctoral status is exacerbated by his apparent complete lack of actual theological training.

Please allow me to pause to share one of my frustrating experiences related to this:

One day in chapel, Richard and Lindsay were preaching, coming down hard on sin, the way they love to do. Preaching against the world and what not. Then Richard opened his Bible and read from Leviticus, explaining that it meant that tattoos were forbidden by the Bible. He followed it up by explaining that it was directly applicable to our lives today, and if we got tattoos, we were in direct violation of Holy Scripture.

So I went back to my dorm, and read the same passage he quoted. To my surprise, the Very Next Verse commands not to shave the beard or cut the hair.

As I am sure you know, male students are not allowed to have long hair, or grow beards. It was quite the quandary for me, as you can imagine. My choices were to believe the President of my University, the one with his doctorate, that this verse in Leviticus is still directly applicable to my life today, or not. If I chose to believe him, then I was in violation of the Holy Scripture by simply obeying the rules of his university.

We don’t respect the Roberts because they don’t hesitate to say Scripture means something, or God told them something, regardless of how true it is.

I was a student when Lindsay Roberts had her revelation about the word “Yahoo” being Hebrew for “God is able.” Then the little girl died. It’s a sad, sad story, but also significant of the Roberts family, their grasp of Scripture, and how well they hear from the Lord.

4. I was there when Richard Roberts declared that God told him to build a student center. I was there when he told us that it would be done in four or five years. This isn’t simply a bad idea, it’s something he declares that God told him...... GOD. Visit campus, there is a desolate, fenced in memorial that Richard does not hear from God, and that he is a liar. Because there is still nothing there. I think we know how false prophets were treated in the Bible.

5. I was there when Richard explained that God told him to institute a curfew for men. Of course this was after it was too late to withdraw from school and go find one that treated us like adults. Why did God wait so long into the semester to tell Richard this? The strong rumor is that the real reason the men needed a curfew was to avoid the NCAA title 9 violation fines. But as always, there was a never a dialogue about it. We were simply told what God had decided about the matter, and then told to take it up with HIM!

6. I was there when Pastor Schuler was pushed out. Anyone who knows that man, knows the Holy Spirit it on him. I new that was the beginning of the end.

7. The blatant and extreme nepotism demonstrated towards their daughters. Find anyone who was an RA for one of their girls. Or, simply go look at one of the “dorm rooms” outfitted for a member of the Roberts family. I can assure you, my dorm room didn’t look anything like it. But the Roberts family is so disconnected from reality that it does not even occur to them as inappropriate. Of course their daughter gets a really nice private apartment room in her dorm. She’s a Roberts.

The Government departments and the Theology departments have been making progress in a way that made me proud to have ORU on my resume. The Philosophy program was growing, sending undergrads to get their masters. The Gov. dept. was gaining a reputation for turning out some of the most well trained students in the country. And now both departments have been sliced and diced, crippled beyond repair. And once again, I find myself ashamed of my school, and for one last time, feeling very aware that they do not respect the students in any way.

Finally, why is the only university in the world that preaches “seed faith,” nearly 75 MILLION dollars in debt??

It breaks my heart.


The Glass Hammer

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