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News That Illustrates for Sunday, April 21st - 28th

Bubba Watson's Transformation, the Doggie Juror, and the Kansas City Shooter

Golfer Bubba Watson: The Real Redemption Story
On Sunday, Bubba Watson won the Masters by a three-stroke margin at Augusta National Golf Club. The New York Times reported on what they called Bubba's recent goal of "improving as a person as well as a golfer." The article noted, "Watson has had enough childish transgressions on the course over the years to fill a psychology handbook, including a tirade directed at his long-suffering caddie, Ted Scott, at last year's Travelers Championship, when he made a triple bogey on a hole and blamed Scott for a couple of the club selections. At the end of last year, Watson convened the members of his inner circle and solicited feedback on how to become a better player and person." Unfortunately, the article failed to mention the most important ingredient in Watson's "improvement" program—his faith in Christ. An article on the Billy Graham website gives the real story of Bubba's transformation. Bubba said, "I was so wrapped up in 'Why am I not winning?' It created frustrations in my head and in my life." Now Watson says his main goal is to show the light of Christ to others. Take one look at his Twitter profile and you may figure out what's different about Watson: @bubbawatson: Christian. Husband. Daddy. Pro Golfer. In that order.

PREACHING ANGLES: Growth; Priorities; Sanctification; Spiritual growth

Kansas City Shooter Was Hateful 30 Years Ago
This past Sunday, 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller, opened fire and killed three people in Kansas City. Miller, of Aurora, Mo., was a former Ku Klux Klan "grand dragon." Robert Satloff, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, wrote a fascinating article about Miller in The Washington Post. Thirty-three years ago, Satloff interviewed Miller. At the time, Satloff was an editor for Duke's student newspaper and Miller was running a Ku Klux Klan paramilitary camp in rural North Carolina. During the interview, Miller said he could "sniff out" that Satloff was Jewish (which was true, although Miller denied it). So Miller and his cohorts stuffed Satloff into a steaming car, threatening him with guns before eventually letting him go. Looking back on that experience from 33 years ago, Satloff concluded, "Miller was a rabidly violent, racist anti-Semite when I met him 33 years ago, and apparently he never changed. He always had a gun. Sadly, this time he used it." Sure, that's a tragic story, but I wonder if that could be said of us—"He was a ______ 33 years ago, and apparently he never changed."

PREACHING ANGLES: Conversion; Repentance; Sanctification; Spiritual Growth

Brawl Erupts at Annual Charity Hockey Game
I guess conflict can boil over just about anywhere. Last week during the annual New York City cops and firefighters charity hockey game, a bench-clearing brawl erupted. The score was tied 3-3 in the second period when the violence broke out. According to the New York Post, "Referees struggled to control multiple, one-on-one fisticuffs. Sticks and gloves littered the ice during the incident … The brawl led to a 25-minute delay as equipment was picked up and refs made laundry lists of penalized and ejected players … Despite numerous black eyes and bruises, no players appeared to be seriously injured." Oh, in case you were curious about the charity hockey game, the NYPD won 8-5.

PREACHING ANGLES: Anger; Conflict; Original Sin; Relationships; Sin

Dog Summoned for Jury Duty
The New Jersey courts are barking mad—at least if one recent juror selection is any indication. It seems that a dog in the state was recently summoned for jury duty. The 5-year-old German shepherd's owner was surprised to get any mail in his dog's name, but doubly so when the official document was a summons for the pup, named "IV," to do her civic duty. But the dog's owner, Barrett Griner IV (see where how the mix-up occurred?) took it all in stride by suggesting that "IV" might be really good serving on jury for "a cat burglar case." Griner's humor provides a subtle lesson on how we choose to respond to the daily hassles of life. We can't always prevent mix-ups and incompetent actions from others, but we can choose how we will respond to these annoyances.

PREACHING ANGLES: Attitude; Choices; Mistakes

When It Comes to Bomb "Jokes," Foolishness is Contagious
The unfunny sense of humor of a Dutch teen backfired last week after she sent a tweet to American Airlines posing as an Al Qaida member with "big" plans for June 1st. The teen's subsequent arrest by Rotterdam police (in cooperation with the FBI) wasn't enough to convince many of her peers of the foolishness of making "humorous" terroristic threats, though. Dozens of teenagers have been inspired by the very public social media issue, and have been tweeting bomb threats of their own to the airline … and taking it to an entirely new level. As The Washington Post comments: " …Maybe [the original teen is] just another teenager spewing bite-sized idiocies into the void, like so many teenagers before her. Her copycats, on the other hand, know exactly what they're doing." Folly, it seems breeds even greater folly.

PREACHING ANGLES: Fools; Folly; Wisdom

Comedian Tracy Morgan on "Supersensitivity"and the Power of Words.
Comedian and 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan is learning about the power of words … especially in our changing culture. In a recent interview published by The New York Times, Morgan, taken to task recently for jokes seen as offensive, said: "Nowadays people take themselves way too seriously … . I don't know. Everybody is supersensitive. We have freedom of speech, but you got to watch what you say." His take is a reminder that we legitimately have to be careful what we say … but also that in a supersensitive culture, (to quote Jesus out of context), "Offenses will surely come." We need to be a people discerning in our speech.

PREACHING ANGLES: Culture; Discernment; Offense; Speech; Tongue; Words

The One Strategy to Reach Our Culture
The online forum Canon & Culture had a wonderful short article on what it will take for Christians to engage our cultural moment. Greg Foster writes, "You don't have to do anything to create the expectation that Christians and non-Christians hate each other. That's the default expectation." So what will it take to change this expectation? Foster writes, "Nothing else we do in the public square will work if we don't do everything from a position of love that challenges the deeply embedded assumption that we hate our culture. We must fight, and fight hard, for the great pillars of a morally sound culture: human life, religious freedom, marriage and family, the rule of law, an entrepreneurial economy, and a democratic republic. But any and all such victories will be short lived if, simultaneously with these struggles, we fail to challenge and root out the assumption that we hate our culture." Check out the article and read Foster's practical steps for engaging the alleged "culture wars."

PREACHING ANGLES: Culture; Outreach; Salt & Light

This Guy Really, Really Hates His Job
Finally, here's a story about a guy who needs a new job—fast! According to the New York Post, "An alcoholic Manhattan court stenographer went rogue … during a high-profile criminal trial and repeatedly typing, 'I hate my job, I hate my job,' instead of the trial dialogue … The bizarre antics by Daniel Kochanski, who has since been fired, wreaked havoc on some 30 Manhattan court cases, sources said, and now officials are scrambling to repair the damage." His ex-wife said, "The pressure of that job pushed him over the edge, leading him to lose everything." But Kochanski denied screwing up his transcripts. "I never typed gibberish. I always did my job 100 percent. I was let go because of substance abuse," he said. "I'm in recovery. July will be one year I'm clean." Let's hope so—and let's hope he gets a new job.

PREACHING ANGLES: Job; Pressure; Stress; Work

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