Hip Hop + Basketball = Urban Ministry

Great post on Baptisttwentyone.com about using hip hop and basketball as a means of reaching people. The idea: When we took that drive back in the summer and observed this sub-culture we recognized immediately two predominant things that interested them: basketball and hip hop music. We knew that we had the facilities and guys who could connect with these young men through basketball. We said, “This is out there but what might really be cool is a hip hop service of some kind with open gym afterwards…” The young men: They were 19-29 year old young men who play basketball nearly every single day, wear baggy clothes strategically placed to show off inked skin, work (or don’t work) part time to support various addictions, go from relationship to relationship sometimes producing children, and are heavily influenced regardless of race by hip hop music. These men, we recognized, may be directionless…

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Jesus Made Me Puke

Yeah, you read that title correctly. Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine published an article called Jesus Made Me Puke where he goes undercover to a church retreat in Texas to get a look under the hood of evangelical Christianity. Here’s the accompanying photo. Of course, while we are told to respect all religions and are spoon fed this “all paths lead to God” nonsense, Christianity is routinely treated with ridicule and contempt. Taibbi could have gone to a church with some intellectual credibility, but he rather chose to go to the Christian circus that epitomizes evangelical cheese just to watch the Charismatic chaos. He wasn’t disappointed. Stay with me, I’ll get to the puke part in a minute. Here’s the drill: he pretends to be a seeker and attends Cornerstone Church’s Encounter Weekend. That’s John Hagee’s church, and he is a Christian Zionist who wants to fast-track Armageddon so…

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Real Man Candidate #3: The “Jackass”

Johnny Knoxville first splashed onto the scene in the MTV show Jackass. The title pretty much sums up the show. This show is by dudes and for dudes. I can’t think of a single girl who likes it, so I’m making Johnny Knoxville my Real Man Candidate #3. If you’ve witnessed the whole YouTube culture of guys almost getting killed because they were doing something stupid on videotape, this is where it all started. For example, This guy broke his neck jumping off a roof onto a trampoline. [Disclaimer: This video is painful just to watch. If you get queezy, just skip it. I’m not condoning this, but you just need to see the idiocy for yourself to appreciate it.] The problem is misplaced courage. Courage is indeed masculine, but when teenage boys with too much time on their hands get their hands on a skateboard, camcorder, and a Jackass…

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The State of Black America – According to Bill Cosby

Barack Obama’s candidacy and his speech on race in America have brought America’s original sin and subsequent racial issues back to the front of our collective conscience. This is good and healthy for America. Too many white Americans (myself included) have little idea of what is going on in the African American community, while assuming that since we in the Civil Rights Era there is no more work to do. In the very near future, my family will be moving to Cincinnati to plant a new church. Our desire is to begin a church that will specifically embody the gospel in its racial makeup. Is this possible? “No, it isn’t,” I have been told recently, because I’m white. A white person told me this. I also spoke with an African American pastor in Cincinnati, who told me “Yes, it is possible.” His reasoning? Because I’m white. How can my whiteness…

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Real Man Candidate #2: The Euro-Man

Man Candidate #2: The Euro-man Specimen: David Beckham His case: 1. He’s British, so he’s got a cooler accent than you. 2. He can “bend it.” 3. He sports the combo blow-hawk (bleached faux hawk). 4. He’s richer than you. 5. He plays football (in the USA, we refer to this as “soccer”). Euro-men prefer sports of sophistication and dignity. In other words, if its European, its cool. Summary: David Beckham is the quintessential Hollywood image of pure and undefiled masculinity. This brand of manhood exudes a powerful image: money, sex, athletic prowess, European sophistication, style, and trans-Atlantic condescension. He gets paid $250 million dollars to show America how Euro-men roll.

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Real Man Candidate #1: Confident, Bold, Assertive

No one seems to really know what a real man is anymore. How many times have you seen this template for a commercial: 1. Man is inept and goofy 2. Wife/girlfriend is intelligent and articulate. 3. Man does something childish and stupid, gets himself into trouble. 4. Woman calmly resolves the situation while rolling her eyes at her man. Men of passion, conviction, and integrity still grip us. Some of the most successful films of the past decade have been tales of men displaying uncompromising heroism. Young men are especially hungry for role models because the genuine article is so rare. So I’ve decided to spotlight some role models in the coming weeks, both good and bad. First at the plate: Jim Elliot. Jim Elliot wrote this in his personal journal on March 22, 1947: “I lack the fervency, vitality, life in prayer which I long for. I know that…

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The World Needs Strong Men

Nancy Gibbs published this article in Time Magazine called “Affirmative Action for Boys.” She ackowledges the problems that college admissions departments face in trying to maintain a balanced boy/girl ratio in their freshmen classes. In an effort to achieve this, some “colleges are quietly stripping the pastels from brochures and launching Xbox tournaments to try to close the gap in the quality and quantity of boys applying.” The unintended and unfortunate consequence of progress regarding women in society has led to men more and more finding themselves somewhat useless and unmotivated.

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