It ain’t over yet.

If you’re like me, you’re tired of hearing about Miss California’s answer opposing gay marriage during the Miss USA pageant, partly because this has all distracted from the girl who actually won the crown and who also is an East Carolina student (where I work).

Well, it might last just a little bit longer.

Carrie Prejean is slated to appear in an National Organization for Marriage ad that opposes same-sex marriage. (This is the same group that created the “A Gathering Storm” ad.)

From CNN:

Executive directors and producers of the Miss California USA pageant released a statement Wednesday lamenting that Prejean had taken on such a “polarizing” issue.

“We are deeply saddened Carrie Prejean has forgotten her platform of the Special Olympics, her commitment to all Californians, and solidified her legacy as one that goes beyond the rights to voice her beliefs and instead reveals her opportunistic agenda,” the group said.

I can’t think of a clever way to end this post, so … end.


A safe place for doubters.

“And have mercy on those who doubt” (Jude 22)

One of the things I consistently have to remind myself of is this: The church is not meant to be a place for moral people to showcase their righteousness. It’s for messed up people of all varieties to love Jesus with like-minded friends and, together, be changed by Him.

In short, it’s a place where it’s OK to not be OK.

And that’s not just for Christians who are struggling with such-and-such sin and need prayer support, encouragement, etc. It’s for people who aren’t even really sure they believe this anymore.

A church should be a safe place for doubters.

In John, Thomas doubts the resurrection of Jesus, but the Lord still appears to him. And that’s beautiful: Thomas isn’t buying this thing, and Jesus still makes the effort with him and wants to be around him. Thomas isn’t kicked out of the Twelve or demoted to being a second-rank apostle. He’s still loved even as he’s doubting the One who loves him.

We each need to foster this kind of environment where people’s questions can be voiced without fear of losing their friends or becoming the object of gossip or ill-intentioned “prayer requests”**.

Because someday, you and me might need our brothers and sisters to listen to our questions, too.

**By this, I mean the type of prayer request that someone shares in a group, but it’s really more about talking about someone behind their back than it is interceding before God on their behalf. “We need to pray for so-and-so, because they’re <add vice here>.” It’s really just a way to get around the biblical prohibition against gossip, but anyone who does this shouldn’t think for a moment that God is buying the act.

Man arrested for Tweeted murder threats.

Wired has the story of a man who was arrested for threatening via Twitter to “start the killing now” during those recent tea party protests.

Specifically, he was talking about the protest at the Oklahoma City Capitol Building, and he tweeted that when the cops came around, he would cut off their heads.

Sometimes, there are just no words …

I’m sure this won’t be controversial …

The Salem Presbytery has approved a change in its constitution that would allow gay people to serve as ministers and elders (source: Raleigh-based WRAL). The change isn’t final yet, since the amendment requires the approval of a majority of the presbyteries in the denomination.

So here’s a question: How do we distinguish which sins are enough to bar someone from the pulpit? (I say pulpit and not ministry, because all Christians have ministries wherever they are and none are excluded from that responsibility. We’re a multi-ethnic nation of priests.)

If you say homosexuality is one of those trespasses, then what about lust, which Jesus equated to adultery in the heart? Or unforgiveness? Or greed?

That’s my question. You know where your answers go.

Facebook ‘Causes’ App comes up short.

The Washington Post reports that Facebook’s “Causes” application, through which people can raise money for any number of social issues, isn’t bringing in as much money as other forms of advertising.

Also, score one for traditional methods: Direct mail and fundraising events have been more effective than this online venue.

Only a tiny fraction of the 179,000 nonprofits that have turned to Causes as an inexpensive and green way to seek donations have brought in even $1,000, according to data available on the Causes developers’ site.The application allows Facebook users to list themselves as supporters of a cause on their profile pages. But fewer than 1 percent of those who have joined a cause have actually donated money through that application.

[emphasis mine]

The article also notes that this application is the third-largest of 52,000 applications. Of 200 million Facebookers, “Causes” has 25 million supporters. (Again, these figures are from the Post article.)

Maybe part of the problem is, it’s easier to take credit for supporting a cause on Facebook than it is to actually engage it in real life. You look supportive without supporting anyone. This doesn’t just apply to the “Causes” application. How many people join social-awareness groups without ever really educating themselves on the crisis behind it or using that group as a tool to get involved?

For Jesus chasers, our level of commitment can’t be just Facebook. We can’t stop at announcing what causes we’re for. We can’t just send out invites to our latest events and let that be that (even we can have some success through Facebook in getting people to those events).

We have to be with the people we want to help. You can’t love your neighbor if you’re not willing to be around them, and you can’t claim that you’re pushing back the darkness when you’re nowhere near the fight.

As John put it, the Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood. Tragically, many of us aren’t sure what the neighborhood looks like.

In the beginning, God facebooked.

Thanks to this nifty retelling of Genesis 1 and 2, we can learn how creation really went down … courtesy of (who else?) Facebook.

So if you’re looking for a good laugh, check out the link. If you need a break, you can step outside and try counting to 32,646,251,527,353.

What if Texas left?

That’s the question that Nancy Gibbs answers this morning in this Time piece.

We’d still visit, of course; relations might not be quite as friendly as with Canada, but certainly warmer than with, say, Cuba. NCAA offcials would have to grant an exception for foreign participation in college bowl games, but I’m betting they’d agree. American Airlines might decide to move out of Dallas, but I’d be O.K. with leaving NASA behind and letting Texans decide if they could afford to return to the moon. Border-patrol costs would be steep, but I’m sure Texas’ application to join NAFTA would be favorably received. And it would get a vote at the U.N. and the right for its diplomats to park wherever they wanted on the streets of Manhattan. Texas would saunter into the global community bigger than Australia, Greece or Bolivia.