ORU response

We needed a local opinion column for today’s paper, and I updated and tweaked my blog post about televangelism for use as a column. I got a great e-mail this afternoon from a much more recent ORU grad who had found the column online. He agreed with it, and — sadly enough — offered his own confirmation of at least some minor aspects of the allegations against the Roberts family from things he’d seen or heard about as a student.

This was a reconnection of sorts — even though we were 20 years apart at ORU, he’d worked on the campus newspaper during his tenure, and during that time he had run across some of my old “Speed Bumps” humor columns, as well as the 1984 April Fool’s issue which I supervised. The campus paper sometimes does profiles of successful alumni, and he took it upon himself to interview me. I found out from his e-mail today that when he tried to reprint some of my old material to accompany the interview, standards had changed — a few jokes I had gotten away with in 1983 and 1984 were no longer allowed in 2003 and 2004.

Meanwhile, I also swapped e-mail this week with Bill Meenk, the old campus chaplain with whom I reconnected back in May. That led to Bill reading the column as well. He praised it, although he also offered his positive experience as the second surgery patient at the City of Faith, and his belief in the holistic, prayer-plus-medicine approach which it was supposed to have represented.

Door editor on NPR

Robert Darden, the editor of the Wittenburg Door, has been, to quote an e-mail he sent me, “very involved with an effort to save the fast-disappearing recorded legacy of black gospel music.” His day job is at Baylor University, and he’s established a project at Baylor for this purpose.

Well, to mark the 75th anniversary of the song “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” Bob will be on the NPR show “Talk of the Nation” Monday at about 2:40 p.m. Central time (3:40 Eastern). His segment will last until the top of the hour. Tune in, or listen online at your convenience, won’t you?

Madeleine L’Engle

The Wittenburg Door interviewed Madeleine L’Engle twice, once in 1986 and again in 2000. Neither interview seems to be online at the moment; I will try to keep an eye on the site and if they post one of the interviews in recognition of her passing, I will link to it here.

I hadn’t written anything for the Door in quite a while, due in part to a big misunderstanding, but I’m back in the mix now and reading a book by a potential interview subject. I’ll let you know if something develops.

I wish we’d all been ready

I agree 110 percent with Gavin in being troubled by our occasional obsession with the rapture. As a Christian, I think it’s imperative for me to make every moment count, to live as if Jesus were coming back at any moment. He could be here tomorrow, or we could have another 100,000 years. But it’s not necessary or desirable — or possible, for that matter — to figure out in advance God’s plan for the end times, and anyone who tells you they know exactly how or when it’s going to happen is selling you a bill of goods. There are some Bible scholars who claim that the book of Revelation, on which much of this speculation is based, isn’t even supposed to be about the end times, but rather was John’s attempt to write a symbolic message about the occupying Roman forces while he was in exile.

I’m constantly amazed that some of the same people who were absolutely sure they had end-times symbolism all figured out in the 1970s — and were proven completely wrong by the breakup of the Soviet Union — are still making a living peddling their latest versions.

Anyway, Gavin linked to this, which absolutely made my day:

Doug Marlette, R.I.P.

I was shocked and dismayed to learn this morning that the great cartoonist Doug Marlette was killed in a car crash while I was in Bolivia. I don’t take the Nashville paper any more, and it had been a while since I kept up with “Kudzu” on a regular basis, but it had been one of my favorite strips. Marlette was both a comic strip artist and an editorial cartoonist.

The appearance of Rev. Will B. Dunn, one of the main characters in “Kudzu,” was based on the Rev. Will Campbell of Mt. Juliet, a friend of Marlette’s who, if I recall correctly, actually officiated Marlette’s wedding.

Marlette was a great talent and will be missed. Here’s an interview he gave to The Wittenburg Door.