• Ten years ago today, the Indian Ocean tsunami killed about a quarter of a million people. So today is a good day to say a prayer or to light a candle or to write a check, and remember.
• About five pounds when it’s not laying eggs … In high school, we used to try the patience of our science teacher with endless variations of the same old joke. He tended to do a lot of fill-in-the-blank questioning during class, waiting for one of us to call out the proper answer. Sometimes we would. Other times — dozens of times — we would just do the joke. “A henway” or “a matta” or “a ramsay” one of us would call out and he would always, reliably turn around and provide the required set-up. “What’s a henway?” etc.
All of which is to say, I will never get tired of this joke. Well-played.
• This month, the Department of Justice “filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Board of Education for discriminating against pregnant teachers at Scammon Elementary School.” The school has fired teachers for pregnancy. It’s your basic if-you-want-to-keep-your-job,-terminate-your-pregnancy incentive as perfected by corporate America.
But don’t hold your breath waiting for “pro-life” Christians to praise Eric Holder for championing the rights of pregnant teachers. That’s what they’d do if that slogan “pro life” actually had anything to do with “protecting the unborn” and all of that. But as it is, we can expect this measure to be met instead with the usual silence and apathy from the not-usually-silent “pro-life” crowd.
• “The coneys are but feeble folk,” Proverbs 30 says, “yet make they their houses in the rocks.” The creature the King James Bible calls a “coney” is a hyrax. And they may be “feeble folk,” but they can sing like birds (and humans and whales), and when they ride into battle on their war tortoises, they appear quite fearsome.• Tony Burke takes a look at Christmas and Nativity stories in the early Christian apocrypha. Fun stuff. I particularly like this bit: “The Armenian Infancy Gospel, for example, reports that the Magi each saw [Jesus] in a different way: as the Son of God on a throne, as the Son of Man surrounded by armies, and as a man tortured, dead and resurrected.”
• “How much do payday lenders suck?” Charles Kuffner asks. The answer, of course, is more than we can measure by any fathomable metric of suckitude. Texas law protects the poor from debtors’ prison, but payday lenders there have managed to get around that. After they’ve wrung every last drop they can profitably squeeze from their victims, they’re getting them prosecuted and sometimes even imprisoned for what they characterize as check fraud. Ugh.
• Christian leaders, 1 Timothy says, should have “a good reputation with outsiders” so that they do not “fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.” This idea was important in the evangelical church I grew up in. We were told to have a good testimony, to be living witnesses to the good news of the gospel.
Bryan Fischer’s Jesus hates you. Tim LaHaye’s Jesus is a terrifying psychopath. The Jesus of Franklin Graham and Al Mohler and Charisma magazine is kind of a jerk. Good luck trying to witness to a Jesus like that. Lift up that kind of Jesus and you’re more likely to chase everybody away than to draw all people unto him.
But Dolly Parton’s Jesus? Yeah. That’ll preach.