In this edition: Antonin Scalia, Monty Williams, Pope Francis, Donald Trump, Jennifer Lee, University of Florida, Black Panthers, Beyonce, Super Bowl, William J. Kirkpatrick
1. When the news broke this week that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died, I remembered the day I had the opportunity to spend a little time with him. Sometime around the turn of the century, Scalia was in my city for a speaking engagement at the local university. He stayed at the hotel of which I was a manager.
When he checked in to the hotel, a large feminist group showed up at the hotel to protest Scalia. The protesters attempted to block the entry to the hotel and were harassing hotel staff and guests alike. The police arrived as did our security personnel. I informed the leaders of the protest that they could not block the entry.
At one point, one of the main leaders rudely asked, “Where would you like us to stand?” I responded, “I’d like for you to stand about two blocks away.” She didn’t think my response was funny. She dragged a policeman over to me and repeated the conversation. The policeman muffled a chuckle and told the lady that the group would have to move so as not to block the entry way. Finally the police were successful in moving them back.
A few minutes later, I was in Scalia’s room to inform him of the crowd and plan another route to get him out of the building. I remember how unfazed he was and how unconcerned he was for his own well being. We spoke for a bit. His speech was subdued and he was extremely kind and gracious. He did not have to bellow for me to realize I was in the presence of a giant of a man.
2. Monty Williams, a coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA, spoke at his wife’s funeral. She had been killed in a car accident. His words demonstrated the glory of God in the midst of tragedy. Here is the video of his speech. It’s only a little over 4 minutes in length. If you haven’t yet, take the time to watch.
I want to highlight two of his comments. The first speaks of the certainty of heaven for the child of God, We didn’t lose her. When you lose something, you can’t find it. I know exactly where my wife is.
The second echoes the words of a post I recently wrote titled We Don’t Do Anything. Williams said, I enjoyed being with my wife. I enjoyed being with my family. And most of the time, we didn’t do anything.
3. Pope Francis questioned whether Donald Trump was a Christian. His evaluation was not based on theological reasons but because Trump has proposed building a wall on the border between America and Mexico. The Pope indicated that a Christian would not build walls. This from a pope who heads up the Vatican church-state that exists with a wall of defense around it. This from a pope who indicated that he was not to judge people in the LGBT community who identify as Christians.
4. Jennifer Lee is a professor at the University of Florida. The professor has a class communication policy that demands the use of “inclusive language”. Students are docked for using words such as boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, mom and dad. Apparently these words are not inclusive in a day in which gender identifiers are considered out of vogue. Other stories recently trumpet the end of gender specific pronouns like he, she, him and her. We have also been introduced to words like wusband which combines the words wife and husband for same sex marriages.
The policy states, “any behavior or language that makes others feel unsafe or unwelcome in this classroom can and will not be tolerated.” Well, professor, your behavior and language makes students with a Christian view feel very unwelcome. By your own rule, this should not be tolerated.
This fallen world is spinning out of control.
5. Invoking the memory of the Black Panthers by Beyonce at the Super Bowl did not foster any improvements in our nation’s racial divide.
6. I rediscovered a great old hymn this week. It fits perfectly with the Prodigal Pilgrim theme of this blog. The hymn is titled Lord, I’m Coming Home and was written in 1892 by William J. Kirkpatrick.
I’ve wandered far away from God, Now I’m coming home;
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod, Lord, I’m coming home.
I’ve wasted many precious years, Now I’m coming home;
I now repent with bitter tears, Lord, I’m coming home.
I’ve tired of sin and straying, Lord, Now I’m coming home;
I’ll trust thy love, believe thy word, Lord, I’m coming home.
My soul is sick, my heart is sore, Now I’m coming home;
My strength renew, my hope restore, Lord, I’m coming home.
*** Jaunt is a semi-regular feature that gathers some short thoughts on things I have recently encountered. The name comes from a newspaper headline during my high school football playing days. After scoring on a 32 yard run that won the game, the newspaper ran the header, Gantz TD Jaunt Lifts Chiefs.