Interest in Darfur Crisis Heightens in U.S.

Last week, I wrote and hosted a radio show about the genocide in Darfur in the Sudan. There have been some good signs that the U.S. is beginning to take note of the crisis that is unfolding there.

Brownback, Clooney, ObamaGeorge Clooney and his father recently returned from a trip to Darfur, and are making the media rounds trying to focus the public’s attention on the what is happening. On Thursday, Clooney appeared with U.S. Senators Sam Brownback and Barack Obama at the National Press Club. The important thing about this appearance is that it brings together one of the most conservative Republicans in the Senate (Brownback) with a rising star on the Democrat left (Obama). It shows that Republicans and Democrats are united on ending the genocide. Clooney said,

It is the first genocide of the 21st century. The president wants to put a stop to it. Congress wants to put a stop to it. The U.N. wants to put a stop to it. What they need now is the American people and the world’s population to help them, to tell them that it matters that much to us, that it’s that important to us (source: LA Times).

On Thursday, President Bush ordered sanctions against four of the perpretrators of atrocities in Darfur. Continue reading Interest in Darfur Crisis Heightens in U.S.

Lone Survivor of Mine Tragedy Speaks

Randal McCloy, Jr.The Associated Press (AP) is running a story on the lone survivor of last January’s Sago, mine disaster.

The AP has released excerpts of a letter that survivor Randal McCloy, Jr. wrote to the families of his 11 co-workers who died in the accident. The letter not only reveals that four of the men’s airpacks were not working, but it also recalls the final moments of McCloy’s dying comrades.

As time went on, I became very dizzy and lightheaded. Some drifted off into what appeared to be a deep sleep, and one person sitting near me collapsed and fell off his bucket, not moving. It was clear that there was nothing I could do to help him. The last person I remember speaking to was Jackie Weaver, who reassured me that if it was our time to go, then God’s will would be fulfilled. As my trapped co-workers lost consciousness one by one, the room grew still and I continued to sit and wait, unable to do much else. I have no idea how much time went by before I also passed out from the gas and smoke, awaiting rescue (source).

The AP report says that one of the victim’s mothers collapsed and had a minor stroke while reading McCloy’s letter yesterday. My heart goes out to family members who are having to re-live the tragedy all over again, and who are also now learning that the their loved ones might have survived had their airpacks been functioning properly.

David Beamer on the New Movie “United 93″

BeamersDo you remember Todd Beamer? On September 11, 2001, he was the hero who said “let’s roll” as he and a band of other heroes aboard United 93 led the first counter-attack in the war on terror.

I’m sure that you have already heard about the new movie based on the events of that day aboard that fateful flight. The movie is called “United 93” and you can watch the trailers here.

Some have been questioning the timing of the movie and whether releasing such a movie shows disrespect to the families of the victims.

Todd Beamer’s father, David Beamer, weighs in on the debate in today’s Wall Street Journal in an OP-ED titled “United 93: The filmakers got it right.” Mr. Beamer writes: Continue reading David Beamer on the New Movie “United 93″

Tony Snow To Be House-Trainer-in-Chief

SnowWell, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. I’m a fan of Tony Snow, and I have high hopes that he will be great in this very difficult position of White House Press Secretary. I think he’ll be an improvement over McLellan.

Truth be told, however, I don’t think he or anyone else will be able to make nice with the White House press corps. They are like a bunch of spoiled house pets that run around growling at and gnawing on anything they can sink their teeth into. They won’t put their fangs back into their mouths until a Democrat is in the White House. Until that time, Tony’s job is to keep them from tearing up the furnitiure. I think he’ll be able to do that.

Read about it here:
“Fox News’s Snow to Become New White House Press Secretary” – Washington Post

“Tony Snow to Be White House Press Secretary” – Washington Post

(Doesn’t he look like a pleasant fellow?)

Ambassador Tony Hall to Speak Tonight at Criswell College

Ambassador Tony HallFor those readers who are in the Dallas area, I want to bring your attention to a special convocation that will be held tonight at the Criswell College where I teach. Ambassador Tony Hall will be giving an address in the Criswell College chapel that will be broadcast on C-SPAN.

The convocation will begin tonight at 7pm, Tuesday, April 25. Click here for a map to the College. The public is invited to attend.

Ambassador Hall is a Democrat who is a leading advocate for hunger relief programs and improving human rights conditions in the world. He has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. In February 2002, President George W. Bush asked him to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in by Secretary of State Colin Powell in September 2002.

Ambassador Hall has just released a new book: Changing the Face of Hunger : The Story of How Liberals, Conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, and People of Faith are Joining Forces in a New Movement to Help the Hungry, the Poor, and the Oppressed (Thomas Nelson, 2006).

For More on Tony Hall:
“Ambassador Tony P. Hall” – UN Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome

“PROFILE: Ambassador Tony Hall” – PBS

“Tony P. Hall” – Wikipedia

Peace Corps Online

Scratching My Head at Baptism for the Dead

Rembrandt, The Apostle Paul, c. 1657Is it okay for a teacher or preacher of the Bible to admit that sometimes he just doesn’t know all the answers?

This question was impressed on me as I was preparing to teach on “baptism for the dead” this past Sunday morning. This text (1 Corinthians 15:29-34), to my mind, is one of the most enigmatic sections of the entire Bible. As I worked my way through the text, I just could not find much there to help me figure out exactly what the Corinthians were doing.

As I made my way through Gordon Fee’s commentary, it became really clear to me that I am not alone in this predicament (Gordon Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, NICNT, pp. 763-67). His survey of the interpretive options on offer is helpful, and I leave it to the reader to investigate them for himself. Yet even he points out that there are numerous difficulties in interpreting this text.

Continue reading Scratching My Head at Baptism for the Dead