Southern Baptists

Al Mohler’s approach to politics

Al Mohler is a largely impressive figure. If you haven’t heard of him you should read his blog. You should also read this profile piece (H/T Gary). And especially, I think, these paragraphs about his approach to getting his opinions heard and engaging in the political sphere:

“Mohler is not so much an intellectual or theologian as he is an articulate controversialist, a popularizer and spokesman who has branded himself as one who speaks to and for evangelicals. His multimedia finesse makes Francis Schaeffer appear amateur. His books (one is titled He Is Not Silent, a nod to Schaeffer) rehearse familiar arguments about the importance of maintaining a biblical worldview, and offer little in the way of original analysis—though Mohler is capable of nuanced scholarship, such as the dissection of Barth in his dissertation. Ivory-tower discourse is simply not his primary calling.

Rather, his vocation is to redefine the notion of “culture warrior.” Mohler rejects the clich of infiltrating Washington to take dominion in Christ’s name. “I don’t invest a lot of hope in the political sphere,” he says. “I believe in Niebuhr’s analysis, and then some—evangelicals invest too much confidence in a political recovery that Scripture doesn’t prescribe.” Mohler prefers instead to offer a stream of commentary on a diverse range of subjects, provide the secular media with a consistent evangelical viewpoint, and give constituents talking points to defend the biblical worldview on any subject that might come their way—all while running a seminary and serving the SBC.”

From Sunday School to Jihad

This is a bizarre story, told through some incredible journalism, of a young American man’s journey from the Sunday School rooms of an Alabama Baptist church to the bowels of a Jihadist operation in Somalia.

Here’s an excerpt. It really is worth reading the whole thing.

Despite the name he acquired from his father, an immigrant from Syria, Hammami was every bit as Alabaman as his mother, a warm, plain-spoken woman who sprinkles her conversation with blandishments like “sugar” and “darlin’.” Brought up a Southern Baptist, Omar went to Bible camp as a boy and sang “Away in a Manger” on Christmas Eve. As a teenager, his passions veered between Shakespeare and Kurt Cobain, soccer and Nintendo. In the thick of his adolescence, he was fearless, raucously funny, rebellious, contrarian. “It felt cool just to be with him,” his best friend at the time, Trey Gunter, said recently. “You knew he was going to be a leader.”

A decade later, Hammami has fulfilled that promise in the most unimaginable way. Some 8,500 miles from Alabama, on the eastern edge of Africa, he has become a key figure in one of the world’s most ruthless Islamist insurgencies. That guerrilla army, known as the Shabab, is fighting to overthrow the fragile American-backed Somali government. The rebels are known for beheading political enemies, chopping off the hands of thieves and stoning women accused of adultery. With help from Al Qaeda, they have managed to turn Somalia into an ever more popular destination for jihadis from around the world.

Read the whole thing – and then read this perspective on the story from another guy who grew up in aSoutherb Baptist church – Russell Moore – who provides a handy foil to the gun-toting American redneck type response that would traditionally see this guy as death deserving traitorous scum…

“You and I heard the gospel because of another jihadist’s trip to Damascus. Saul of Tarsus was filled with indignant zeal and, armed to the teeth, he thought he could terrorize the name of Christ off the face of the earth. What stopped him wasn’t a set of arguments. What stopped him was Christ. And the gospel he found on that sandy road was later propelled, through him, across the world right down to wherever you, and Omar, first heard it.”

Salad LOLs

I subscribed to PETA’s media releases recently just for the laughs. It hasn’t disappointed. They’re about to protest the Southern Baptists. They want to convert them to vegetarianism.

“PETA members — including one dressed as Jesus carrying a sign reading, “For Christ’s Sake, Go Vegetarian,” and another dressed as a chicken with a sign that says, “Jesus Loves Me Too”– will bring a pro-vegetarian message based on biblical teachings of compassion to people attending the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville on Tuesday. Other members will hold signs reading, “Thou Shalt Not Kill. Go Vegetarian” and “Blessed Are the Merciful. Go Vegetarian.” They will also hand out leaflets that relate vegetarian living to Christian teachings.”

Seems they’re a little bit confused about the difference between chickens and people. That sentence could be made much clearer with a comma – either after the “compassion” or after the “people”… the easily misinterpreted (if you don’t put too much effort in) sentence pretty much somes up most of my problems with PETA – then there’s the fact that the Bible makes eating meat perfectly acceptable. The fact that meat tastes so good means that God meant us to be carnivores. Surely.

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