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Thanksgiving Miscellanies

Every year the President of the United States issues a Thanksgiving Day proclamation. The 2007 proclamation is available here.

In related news, I do not know what "makes" Thanksgiving for you, but two things (besides food and family/friends) do it for me. The first is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which I always enjoy watching (it comes on in five minutes!). The other is watching footage of American troops celebrating Thanksgiving overseas and sending greetings to loved ones back home. I cannot imagine what it is like to be in their position, and I truly appreciate the sacrifice they are making–even on Thanksgiving–to serve their country.

I hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving.

4 Sons Give Thanks by Saying Happy Birthday to Their Mother

 As Thanksgiving approaches, one is drawn to reflection of the blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon them. In the life of the Akin family, the top of this list would be the gift of Charlotte Akin. Many in Southern Baptist life simply know her as Danny Akin’s wife, some are blessed to know her deeper than that, but only a select few know her as closely as we do. In April of 2005, J. Gerald Harris wrote a wonderful story on her in The Christian Index entitled “Georgia Baptist Children's Home product, Charlotte Akin, is a woman of grace and charm”. I think that it will give you a small glimpse into why we believe she is so special. November 21st is her birthday and as Thanksgiving draws near we want to express our thanks for her by telling her happy birthday.

In a world where the family is turned upside down, I cannot help but be humbled and thankful for my mother. She has shown love to me even when I did not deserve it. So I am grateful to be able to write a tribute of thanks to her because she is a blessing to all those lives she touches, there is no mother that would be a greater gift to me than Charlotte Akin. Mom it is so hard to express adequately how special you are in my life and in the lives of those who know you. You display so many qualities of godliness and you do this with a humble spirit. I am blessed with the most loving, sacrificial mother in the world. Even as I try to write this I am frustrated because I understand that this note is not enough to show you how truly special you are in my life and I realize how insufficient my words are to express how I feel about you. As a child, I never thought to appreciate the kind of person you were and are, but as I have grown older, I become amazed at your strength, your life, and your love for our Lord. I want you to know that even though you are not recognized like Dad (and I am sure you are glad about this) as a hero to some, you are a hero to your four sons. You really demonstrate what the Lord Jesus Christ can do with a life that submits to Him. I want to wish you a happy birthday and tell you that I love you very much. You are an inspiration and encouragement to me. You are truly a reason to give thanks. Nathan

Mom I want to wish you a happy birthday. You exemplify Philippians 2 better than anyone I know. I want you to know that I love you very much. You truly display Christ-like, sacrificial love. I want you to know that I believe you exhibit Christ-likeness to me as much as anyone I know. In thinking about the blessing you are I am thankful that throughout my life it can be said of my mother that she exhibits “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”. Jon

Happy Birthday Mom. You are the most humble person I have ever known. The joy of Christ is evident in your life. You provide a great example of what it means to be a biblical woman and I hope you have a great birthday! Your devotion to the Lord, care for your husband, and love for your children is honoring to God. Along with Boaz and the author of Proverbs I can say that “all the people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence” (Ruth 3:11; Proverbs 31:10). You have taught all of us boys what it means to follow Jesus. Not a day does by that I am not thankful for the godly guidance you have provided. I love you. Paul

The Lord has blessed my family with the godliest woman I know. She has a servant’s heart and a desire to see people come to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. She grew up in a family where her parents and siblings did not have a relationship with Jesus. I can remember time after time as a young boy watching my mother share the Gospel with her family and them constantly rejecting the message. However, one evening when I was in high school, I was sitting in our living room and my mother walked in crying. So I asked her what was wrong and she told me with tears coming down her face and joy in her heart that her brother David had just recently given his life to Jesus Christ and he had just called to tell her. I realized that evening how blessed I was to have a mother that desired so much to see her family come to salvation in Jesus Christ. God has given her the gift of service and she is always faithful in serving the body of Christ through using this gift. When I was growing up, she was constantly putting her desires and needs behind the desires and needs of the rest of the family. She spent many hours over a hot stove cooking awesome meals for my dad, my brothers and me. Furthermore, she spent many hours driving all four of her sons from one sporting event to the other. I can remember one night as a senior in high school asking my mom to cook me a cheese quesadilla at ten thirty in the evening, within ten minutes she was brining the meal upstairs to my room. My mom did not do all of these things to receive applause, or because she thought we would love her more. She knew that we would love her no mater what. However, she did these things for us simply to serve us and show us how much she loved us. Charlotte Akin is a wonderful woman of God. She loves, encourages and supports her husband very much. She loves, serves, and supports her children, daughter in-laws and granddaughter very much. However, she does all of these things because she loves the Lord Jesus Christ more than anyone or anything in the world. My mother is not only the godliest woman I know, she is also my hero and that is why I smile every time people say that we are just alike. I love my mother very much, and I am so thankful that the Lord blessed me with her. Tim

On this holiday season, I hope you can “count your many blessings”, as the Akin sons hope to do this in a small way for their mother by echoing the Proverbs, “her children will rise up and call her blessed”.

Appreciating Life in the Face of Death

SBC Today has a letter written by a husband to his wife after they recently experienced a miscarriage. It is an expression of hope and an appreciation of the sanctity of life even in the face of death and mourning. Check it out here.

The Best Political Ad Ever?

You can find it here.

Things you wish you never said…

Gardner-Webb University

Just last week, I watched the end of the Gardner-Webb vs. Kentucky basketball game. For the sake of the Wildcats, I was hoping it was an exhibition. Unfortunately for Kentucky faithful, it was not. Gardner-Webb, technically a mid-major conference team (but not even on the list of mid-major teams that would ever concern a team like Kentucky), humiliated the Wildcats. While such a story would be big enough news, I ran across something even more profound (?) in an article about mid-major teams knocking off the big boys. This time the embarrassment seemed to be on the little guy.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram ran an article about mid-major teams. Here's an excerpt from the article.

After beating Kentucky, the school decided it was time to get with the times and establish an Internet site.

"Prior to this week, we never really had any use for a web site," said John Michael Thomas, Jr., the school's president. "Never really got that much attention, and weren't really sure that this whole 'web thing' was going to stick, anyway. So we didn't get around to it."

Before you go to mocking GWU's president as a media neophyte, let me share the rest of the story. The president of GWU (according to their website) is not John Michael Thomas, Jr. The school's website dates from at least 2005, but that is most likely just the current version dating back 2+ years. The athletic department website lists a copyright of 2007 but also appears to pre-date the big win over Kentucky.

For the first time in my life, I actually sent a letter (technically an email) to a reporter about a story. I am waiting to hear back for the explanation. Either way, this one will go down as something you wish you never said. If the reporter is correct, the president of GWU needs to get into the mid-1990s. If the reporter was wrong, he may go back to covering high school basketball rather that mid-major college teams.

I will update the entry when I hear from the reporter.

In somewhat related, SBC-political news, Gardner-Webb is one of 5 Baptist colleges in NC that the Baptist State Convention of NC voted to allow to sever their trustee and financial ties to the state convention.

Another One Bites the Dust…

Belmont UniversityIn case you missed it, another Baptist institution has been lost. Tim Ellsworth reports that Belmont University and the Tennessee Baptist Convention reached an $11 million settlement, which is better than the original $5 million that was offered. I think it is sad to see another university born and raised by Baptists wind up in the hands of another.

You can find the story here. 

Millennials, the SBC, and a Pastor’s Insight

Dr. YorkDr. Hershael York, pastor and professor, just posted an insightful piece concerning the current tensions in the SBC. A lot of it has to do, of all things, with the year SBCer's were born. Dr. York observes: 

Last night CBC's 60 Minutes ran a fascinating piece about Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 1995. Though geared toward their impact on corporate America, I could not help but notice parallels to the current tensions and lines that have been drawn in the SBC. Guys like me, who grew up admiring and emulating the Adrian Rogers and Jerry Vines generation, are stunned by what we often perceive as the disrespect and demands of members of a younger generation who haven't really accomplished much yet. Our jaws drop in disbelief when a guy who failed at a church plant and unabashedly advertises on his blog that he is now looking for a pastorate also feels entitled to publicly criticize successful pastors and denominational leaders and demands a place at the table of leadership. We don't get it when the very ones who are so quick to criticize are themselves so whiny–and sometimes vindictive–about accepting it. Several times I have heard megachurch pastors express shock that though they have been used of God to build great churches, they suddenly feel marginalized and irrelevant in SBC life.

Clearly, this is not your father's SBC.

You can find it here. 


Court Protects Doctor’s Belief Concerning “Morning After Pill”


Good news:

Pharmacists in Washington no longer will be required to dispense "morning-after" birth control pills if they have religious objections, at least for the time being.

Check out the story here.


Vote 2008: How would you vote if both candidates are Pro-Choice?


I graduated from Murray State University several years ago with a degree in Political Science. I must admit, however, that my political zeal has waned in the past few years and even with a presidential election forthcoming I still have little interest. When attending Jonathan’s church a year ago, I heard him make a statement that I fully embraced. He said, “I will never vote for a candidate that is pro-choice.” That is a direct statement. Yet, we are at a point where we might have to put our vote (or not put our vote) where our mouth is. The presidential race might very well end up being a contest between two candidates with weak records on abortion and gay rights. CNN’s website has an article from their religion writer Roland Martin entitled, “Will evangelicals choose Giuliani over faith?” I believe this article is a necessary read for any evangelical.

    Roland Martin explains that Pat Robertson has endorsed Giuliani for president. Concerning this situation Martin critiques, “Evangelicals cursed and screamed when President Clinton had an affair in the White House, but it's clear they are willing to overlook the past marital failures of Giuliani, his fractured relationship with his children and his support for gay and abortion rights when mayor of New York. Those are not the family values they have beaten into the nation's consciousness for nearly 30 years.” Martin believes that Jerry Falwell would have supported Giuliani as well because before his death he stated that National Security was the most important issue, even above homosexuality or abortion. Martin then makes an evaluation of evangelicals that, if true, is most disheartening and appalling, “For years I have maintained that the focus of evangelicals was never really principles of the faith but the Republican Party.” This could be a major indictment against evangelicalism. Let me be clear. I have always voted for the Republican candidate, and I believe the Republican Party (traditionally) has more closely aligned with Christian principles. I do not think there is much to debate here. However, I am becoming more and more disenfranchised with politics everyday and with the Republican Party. This is not because I am shifting towards the Democratic Party, which I still oppose for its traditional outlook on the murder of babies in the womb and homosexuality. This language is harsh, but the murdering of innocent human life is a volatile issue.

    We have a real dilemma facing us as evangelicals. I write this blog partially to give my point of view, but also I want to hear from you. Do you disagree with me? Do you agree with me? How will you approach the election if it is Clinton vs. Giuliani? Do you think our integrity as evangelicals is at stake? Do you think conceding the election will send a message to the Republican Party?

    Let me make clear where I stand. I will not vote for Giuliani, and if the race is between him and Clinton, I will write in a vote for Al Mohler or Mike Huckabee. Let me say that I believe national security is important, but where do we think that our security and hope lie. The Lord told OT Israel repeatedly to not trust in chariots and horses for their defense, but to trust in Him! I would respectfully disagree with Dr. Falwell; we should never sacrifice ideals for safety if we trust in the Providence of God. I believe interaction in the political realm is important for the believer, but I do not think that means we give carte blanche to the Republicans if they reject Christian principles. I think this is a matter of integrity.

    If, as Mr. Martin asserts, evangelicalism is more concerned with the Republican Party than Christian values, then evangelicalism no longer exists. If this is evangelicalism, then I am no evangelical. I hope and pray that he is wrong. I used to hang so much of my hope on presidential elections, I remember as a teenager believing that the world was “coming to an end” when Clinton defeated Bush. I remember Bush defeating Gore and how important I thought that was and believing that all was right with the universe. Given my past mentality, I think my present disillusionment with politics might not be such a bad thing. That does not mean that I will not participate in politics, but it does mean that my hope lies elsewhere. I heard my father say years ago, “My hope is not in Capitol Hill, it is in Calvary’s Hill.” We hope in the King who died on Calvary’s Hill and rose from the dead to make all things right. We long for that day, a day when the murder of babies will not be an issue, and King Jesus will show what real power and justice looks like… and with that day drawing near this Political Scientist (if i can say that) has hope, even if Hillary Clinton is elected President.

Dr. Daniel Akin Endorses Huckabee

Dr. AkinOne of the SBC's most respected leaders (and one of my favorite preachers), Dr. Daniel Akin, recently endorsed Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee. The brief report says that

Akin made the endorsement as a private citizen, telling The News & Observer newspaper that the former Arkansas governor's positions on issues, such his opposition to abortion rights and his support of the traditional family, closely align with his own positions.

You can check out the story here.