The St. Edmund Tent Revival Wednesday, Jan 27 2016 

IMG_0323I got a kick out of a Catholic youth evangelist/missionary who came to school today to raise Christ’s appeal to our student body.  He preached in a robust style, much like I’ve known from Baptist preachers.  At one point in his discourse, he asked if any one in the audience had been to a tent revival, for he had preached in such.

I raised and waived my hand, the only hand elevated in all the mainly Catholic assembly.

The preacher remarked how rare in a Catholic audience that anyone had been in a tent revival!  He never assumed that I wasn’t Catholic!

No matter, though.  The young man’s pathos and sincerity raised the rafters of the school gym as young people responded to truth.  Not Catholic truth or Baptist truth or any other claim to truth: Just the simple truth of the Cross.

There was no tent over the gym.  But revival fell!

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For the Sake of the Kingdom? Wednesday, Jan 20 2016 

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Any school whose logo displays the cross is held to a higher standard of sportsmanship!

For the Kingdom’s Sake: Calling for Christ-likeness from the Bleachers

In my daughter’s senior year of high school softball, Eunice High hosted _____ Christian Academy in a non-district game.   I don’t remember who won the game, because the score and the events that took place on the field were not that memorable.  What was memorable, and sickeningly so, were the cheesy cat-calls, the degrading names, and the rude insults the _____ players’ parents in the bleachers hurled at the Eunice softball players on the field.  Grown-up parents!  And worse, grown-ups representing a school that proclaims the title “Christian” in its school name.  That show was one of the most shameful displays of sportsmanship—or the lack of sportsmanship—I witnessed in over 20 years of regular attendance at high school and junior college athletic events.

I don’t mean to condemn that school particularly, and for all I know, the climate at _____ may have improved—I don’t mean to drag the school’s name in the dirt over something that happened so many years ago.  Regardless, though, the issue the episode illustrates remains as crucial as ever for any school that wears the label of “Christian” or “Catholic” in its school name.   Christ’s Kingdom and its followers’ witness is ever on trial before a worldly public that loves nothing more than to criticize and demean the schools’ Christian nature.  For that purpose, church leaders and school administrators at Christian schools should consistently endeavor to orient and indoctrinate students and parents to standards of sportsmanship that are consistent with Christian values.

A few simple, practical measures can be implemented to ensure that Christian school supporters don’t embarrass the Kingdom.

  1. Clergy and athletic directors could speak at Booster and spirit club meetings regularly about the importance of sportsmanship. The role of clergy is critical, because they speak with God-given authority. Coaches are influential, too, because fans respect their leadership.
  2. Coaches should have parent sportsmanship orientation meetings at the beginning of every season for every sport. The coaches and their staff can stress the importance of Christ-like conduct at athletic events, at home or on the road, reminding parents and players’ family members who attend games that critical eyes are watching and critical ears are listening!
  3. Home games of the Christian school should always begin with prayer given over the stadium or gym public address system. For road games at public schools that don’t have opening prayers, Christian school coaches, players, and parent followers should meet on the parking lot or outside the game venue when they first arrive to have prayer and to remind parents and players that the school’s standards for sportsmanship are Christ-given, not man-given.

If such simple measures were enacted, Christ’s Kingdom on earth would be advanced.  No, it won’t solve the problems of the world or convert the pagan world to Christianity, but the parents, boosters, and players of the Christian schools’ teams will glorify God’s name.  That’s what we’re called to do!

Amen?

Yes, amen.

My Favorite Show: The 10:00 News Friday, Jan 15 2016 

IMG_0303As we grow older, so do our tastes.

For example, many years ago (more than I care to recall), the 10:00 news was boring.  I would rather watch grass grow.

Now, the late news is my favorite show.  The weather at 10:07 is the climax.

What happened since oh, so many years ago, to alter those tastes?

I think I’ll plead “momentary inconvenience” to avoid contemplating an answer to that question!

Meanwhile, “Shush!  The weather’s on!”

Chivarly is not dead! Sunday, Jan 10 2016 

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No damsels in distress at this party: Quite the opposite.

This weekend, I was pleased to take my mom, my aunt, and my wife all out together for lunch at my favorite oyster joint in Covington.  The holidays are over, but the trip yesterday was a holiday make-up since we didn’t make the Covington run between Christmas and New Year’s.  The ladies took a pretty picture, so I decided the occasion was worth commemorating in a post.  And, of course, the oysters at the New Orleans Food and Spirits restaurant were tops, as usual.  A good (and tasty) time was had by all.

Three “Daze” of Mardi Gras Wednesday, Jan 6 2016 

I wrote this piece with English IV as an effort to acquaint them with the dreary five-paragraph college theme essay.  I’m not a fan of the genre, but since the form is still current among many who teach freshman comp, I want them to thknow and master it.

Growing up in Louisiana has afforded me a rich variety of memories from Mardi Gras “daze.”  Over the years, from Canal Street to the Cajun prairie, I have alternately run and run from the celebration.  If I had to choose three of the most memorable highlights of Mardi Gras past that contribute to my current disregard for observing the holiday in any traditional sense, I would name these: (1) as a child, going to Canal Street with my family for the Rex Parade; (2) as a high school senior, an incident where one of my buddies spent the morning in the ER at Charity Hospital; and (3) a masked rider in Patassas scaring the daylights out of my five-year old daughter.

My earliest memories of Mardi Gras are from the early 1960’s when Daddy would load up the family in the Ford station wagon and take us to Canal Street.  In those days, the parades were more family-oriented (except for the ones on Bourbon Street—Daddy never took us to those venues!).  We had family fun, yelling “Throw me something, Mister!” to the float riders who threw beads and trinkets to the parade-goers along the route.  I wish my Mardi Gras memories would have ended there, because those were the last days of innocence.   My next two memories are not nearly so pleasant.

The second memorable Mardi Gras experience came from my senior year of high school.  I went to hang out on Canal Street for the parades with a gang of work buddies.  Everything was going well until one guy from our group got into a scuffle with another parade-goer over a string of beads they went to pick up off the street at the same moment.  My buddy gave the beads over right away, not wanting to fight, but as he turned his back, the other fellow knocked him in the back of the head hard enough that my friend fell face-down on the street.  He ended up spending Mardi Gras in the emergency room, which dampened the experience for all.

My third most memorable Mardi Gras experience came many years later along the Cajun prairie parade route in Patassas.  I was guiding a newspaper reporter friend from Mobile, Alabama, so he could take pictures and get interviews for a feature article on Cajun Mardi Gras for his newspaper.  My little daughter was a long, too.  As we stood alongside the route, one of the masked Mardi Gras riders, meaning to be funny, hopped in front of my daughter and exclaimed “Boo!” as he snatched the Raggedy Ann doll she clutched.  The rider meant no harm, but in his drunken foolishness, he didn’t realize how much he terrorized that poor little girl.

So there: three memorable Mardi Gras experiences.  One pleasant, the other two not so much.  What’s the end result, then?  I don’t run Mardi Gras!  I appreciate the two-day school/work holiday as a couple of days to chill, to sleep late and sip coffee for as long as I want, and then to run to Laffy to goof off and shop.  In a manner, I love Mardi Gras, but probably for non-traditional reasons. ☺