Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Dare I take a stab at a topic like this on such a serious and theological blog? Oh, I’m sure I can twist it into some sort of theological debate.

Michael Vick. There’s a lot about this situation that intrigues me.

Take R.L. White’s (president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP) suggestion that Vick’s admission of guilt should not end his pro career. Can I just say that I’m as sick of seeing the NAACP stick up for criminals, just because they’re black, as I am of seeing rednecks condemn people, just because they’re black. If something is wrong, it’s wrong, no matter what your skin color. Please don’t be afraid to admit it NAACP, you just lose our respect when you suggest otherwise.

Another thing I find interesting is people’s suggestion that Vick “made a mistake”. A “mistake” is when you respond violently to somebody in a night club. Funding both an underground gambling ring, and an underground dog fighting kennel isn’t a mistake. It didn’t happen accidentally or in a moment of momentary mental lapse. He made a wilful decision to break a federal law. It’s not even like it’s an addiction or that he was desperate for money. The guy has all the money in the world and decided to start up and fund a federal offense.

The third thing I find interesting is people’s suggestion that, once Vick pays his time, he should get another shot at the NFL. Show me another company in the world, as visible as the NFL, that would hire back somebody who’s been convicted of the things Vick’s been convicted of. No doubt, we as Christians should forgive, and society at large should probably forgive once he’s done his time, but to suggest that the NFL should give him a second chance is preposterous. Why should they?

The fourth thing that peaks my interest is the suggestion that dog fighting might be a cultural thing among blacks in the South and that they, therefore, see nothing wrong with it. That one has me listening because, if it’s true, there are much wider implications here.

Since moving to London about three and a half years ago, there’s a term I’ve heard thrown around at churches of diversity, all over the city. That term is “African time”. African time refers to the suggestion that Africans, living in the UK, often have a much more laid back approach to time keeping. Specifically, if something starts at 10:30 a.m. you can be sure that the Africans in your congregation won’t start showing up until around 11:15 a.m. I’d like to say that this is an unfair stereotype, but it actually seems to be pretty accurate. I’ve not only heard testimonial after testimonial, but I also witness it myself every Sunday. In fact, the “problem” is so wide spread that it has even come up in divisional strategy meetings (hard as that is to believe).

My problem is twofold. Number one, I’m an avid time keeper. If something starts at 10:30, I’m there by 10:15. To me, 10:15 isn’t early, it’s on time. So I’ve always struggled with people who show up late for things (I personally find it to be extremely inconsiderate and rude. I also believe that it makes the statement, to the person in charge of planning, that they are not important enough to show up on time for.) On the other hand, is our insistence that Africans change their cultural clock to match ours just an example of modern day colonization? I ask that seriously.

And so these question goes out to my, mostly, white audience. I’ve been meaning to bring them up for several weeks now, but have been looking for a time to do it.

Is insisting that our “out of town” (whether they be Africans or any other nationality) neighbors a modern day form of colonization?

And second, should we have a different standard in the church? In other words, even if we can expect people coming here from other countries to adapt to OUR way of life, is that the approach we should take in our churches or should we be a lot more flexible (I’m steering very clear of the word “graceful” here as to not bring about guilt votes)?

Those are sincere questions. Your insight would be greatly appreciated as I’m very much trying to figure it out myself.

p.s. The song playing to the right is a song called Fieldtrip Buddy by an artist named Matt Alber. I am absolutely cracking up at this song right now.

Comments on "pc"


Blogger Trent said ... (2:46 AM) : 

In Oklahoma it is not the out of town neighbors that have a reputation for a laid back, time insensitive lifestyle. Of course I am referring to native, oops, Native Oklahomans.

In fact they have found a very intriguing way of starting their own gambling ring and keeping the hands of Uncle Sam out of it... Indian Casinos. In fact, Tim, you will be pleased to know that there is now a giant one on I-40 right here in Shawnee.

Recently, a fellow church member, you don't know him, heard of another large sbc church in OKC that was sponsoring a ladies night out to Riverwind Casino in Goldsby.

I have no idea how that relates to your post, but a minute ago it seemed like it did.


Blogger Mel Reynolds said ... (10:58 AM) : 

you are by far, without a doubt, the king of nostalgia.


Blogger Cari said ... (3:28 AM) : 

Time is elastic. That's how it is for some. (ME, sorry...). When I'm late and someone says, "You said 15 minutes," I say, "Oh, I meant football minutes." (Incidentally, Boomer Sooner!!! 7 more days til kickoff!!!)

I agree that time is time, no matter where you come from. If someone says it starts at a certain time, we have to expect people to respect that time. If people who are consistently on time are made to wait for the late-comers to show, well, they don't have the gene that would allow them to process such insult. You'd have your type A folks having strokes all over the place. Then the late comers walk in and say, "Whoa...dude..."

The fact is, your late people don't care so much that they're late, and won't really change unless something changes in them. They are usually ADHD types with a taste for adrenalin, and they make up for their adrenalinless lives by pushing deadlines. Actual fact! You might consider installing bungee jumps in your church.

My college group, God bless 'em, shows up at 9:50 even though the class starts at 9:30. I tried guilt, threats, pleading, and once pretended I didn't prepare anything so I didn't show up. They didn't care.

Trent-that casino has awesome steaks. What night is ladies night? I went to a casino once ever. I put $5 on my card and left with $13. I felt like a winner. Never did it again.


Blogger Trent said ... (4:41 PM) : 

I wish I could say that my refusal to gamble is spiritual. Well, in a way it is, I am too dang greedy to take a chance on losing it. It doesn't help that I have taken classes in statistics, so I know what happens if I am there long enough.


Blogger Sean said ... (5:52 PM) : 

Two ideas:
1st, to say that dog fighting is a cultural issue, so they do not know any better and therefor it isn't as wrong, is as awesomely crazy as a group of people fighting over whether or not to own human slaves because it has been part of their culture. . .
what is wrong, is wrong

2nd, a pastor was recently killed by his wife and another pastor was shot and killed by a person, while giving a sermon, along with 2 others in the congregation. There are protesters all over wherever Vick goes, people screaming about how bad it was that he would kill a dog who didn't perform (historic horse racing) in a violent sport (UFC). While it is illegal, and I do not condone dog fighting, or killing dogs, or gambling on it, but for real?

I feel like priorities are way too out of whack when a person who killed dogs gets more uproar than people who kill people. Yeah, but he is Michael Vick he needs to be made example of. Perhaps a better punishment, would be to remove him from the NFL (good call Tim) and not give him all kinds of publicity so that he can write a book about it later.

anyways . . .


Blogger Larry said ... (11:16 PM) : 

The interesting thing is that we live in a culture where people are famous for being famous. Weird, huh? Never thought about it until sitting with Geoff (Geoffery for those of us who know him well) Ryan over the last couple of days. We never would have heard of this if Mike Vick wasn't famous.

I am not sure why Mike Vick should not be given a second chance. What he did was criminal. So was what the guy hanging next to Jesus did.

As far as the thought it is part of the culture to fight dogs goes, it would be like saying that it's part of a culture to kill your first born, where does that argument go.

Sean makes a great point. We have very little outrage when people get killed, it happens everyday. I am especially appalled that we have not taken more issue in the church with the murder rate in our cities.

Finally, as to not being on time. Who cares? I used to be really crazy about people showing up on time. I think sometimes, we place importance on the wrong things. I love the fact that Africans and other Eastern cultures show up late, but stay a very long time to enjoy relationship once they get there. Ever notice that early showing white folk usually start pacing or tapping their fingers if the event they show up for goes a few minutes past the scheduled time? I wonder, are we more concerned about being courteous and timely or relationships in our culture.

Just some random wanderings..


Blogger tndaustin said ... (3:23 AM) : 

First of all, amen to all the vick stuff. He's a criminal, he shouldn't get his job back, wish he didn't get publicity for it...what color is he? I don't care, he's a criminal.

As for the time, I've got no solution, but I do think it's a good question. How to have a culturally relevant church when your culture is so mixed...good job having mixed culture churches, btw, hard to come by in this country. I think that issues like this are among the reasons it is so hard to find a diverse church. We congregate with people who think and act like us. That's not a bad thing either. Their are African cultures everywhere that start late, have awesome Spirit-filled, long services and there are white, southern baptists having on-time, Spirit-filled (with thier hands at their sides, of course) services that let out just minutes after the Spirit-filled Methodist services. Their are Quakers who meet on time, but don't let out until the Spirit has moved (they may decide to have a wedding in the middle of the service if the Spirit says). Time is certainly culturally connected and to have a diverse church, someone's gonna have to give a little...I hope it's everyone. BTW, I like Larry's last paragraph...are we more concerned with being courteous than we are being relational...I'm sure someone's tapping their watch by now, I should go.


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