Showing posts from December, 2010

Had to Share this

Charles Colson is one of my heroes in the faith, which does not mean I always agree with everything he says (why do I even have to say that?  isn't it obvious?  apparently not any more.  Admiration now means lock step agreement, for some reason, as if we can't think for ourselves.)  This was his email of the day from Breakpoint, a good way to transition to 2011.

Live to Serve
A Weary World is Watching

December 31, 2010

Ever since I was a boy, I was driven to serve my country. As a 10-year-old at the outbreak of World War II, I could only dream that one day I could put on a uniform and fight the enemy. But I did what I could. I organized a neighborhood drive to collect scrap metal for the war effort. Before I had reached 40 years of age, I had served as a captain in the Marines and as special counsel to President Nixon.
But besides my country, there was another cause that I served wholeheartedly. That cause was me. power, a great career, money-they were all were mine…

Fantastic Movie Experience

Postscript to "When Will We Ever Learn"

The problem with poking holes in premillenialism is that it puts you in bed with some types that you don’t want to be near.   Nothing in that previous post should be construed as support for replacement theology or amillenialism or some other ‘ism.'  Nothing should be construed as teaching that the Jews are irrelevant to the second coming and end times. 
We want certainty, and we want it about end times.  Why we think we are going to get it is beyond me.  Let’s focus on something Christ said, “Occupy until I come.”  So how do we define “occupy?Some of us define it as “lead a good moral life, pay taxes, go to church on a more or less faithful basis, pursue a career, raise children responsibly, and look forward to retirement.”
Others define it as “put Christ at the center, be a faithful follower, and work hard to bring others to Him or support those who do.”
Others would say it means, “put Christ at the center and end…

My Take on an Old Movie

The other night I watched for maybe the fourth time, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.  I went to imdb to see what other people wrote about it.  And I was surprised to find that none of them dealt with what seemed to me to be an important part of the movie. 
Longfellow Deeds is clearly mentally ill in this movie.  Yes, he is well-meaning, wise in a na├»ve way, but he breaks out into violence and is extremely sensitive.  His behavior is erratic, and he can go into periods of frenzied activity.  In the courtroom scene the psychiatrist goes into detail explaining that he is manic-depressive, and he is at the end of a long period of being unable to speak due to deep depression and institutionalization.
When I saw the movie the first time, I thought, “Yes, that’s exactly right.”  But the movie seems to disregard this information even though it is carefully and thoughtfully presented.  In fact, it is discounted by Mr. Deeds’ pointing out that the psychiatrist doodles and seemingly neutralized by Jean A…

Well, I Guess I'll do the Top Ten Thing Also

In fact, I am going to do two top tens:  for me personally and for "News Stories."  I'll start with the news (not really in order of importance, at least not totally).

1.  Oil Spill in Gulf
2.  Haiti Earthquake.
3.  Chile Miners
4.  Volcano in Europe
5.  Pakistani Flooding
Notice that these were natural disasters, and there were probably more I could put here
6.  Passing of Health Care Bill
7. Change in congress after elections and tea party movement, important because it engaged more people in the political process and that is ALWAYS a good thing, no matter what side they are on.
8.  End of Don't Ask Don't tell and the fact that some people are taking gay marriage seriously
9.  Shift of war from Iraq to Afghanistan
10.  The supremacy of personal information technology (social media, etc.)
11.  (Need longer list)  Economy still a problem and I'm not convinced we get it!

For Me Personally, not in any order either:
1.  Stopping taking two types of medication a…

Just a recap

I just read a post I wrote before the 2008 election.  My feelings have not changed and I was something of a prophet (I am being ironic here).


By Christina Rosetti
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, Whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, Whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Advent Reflections

This will probably be my last significant post for a while.  I have combined several into one.

When Will We Learn

There is word going out that all over the country there are billboards going up, sponsored by an obviously misled but wealthy person, stating the Jesus will return to earth on May 23, 2011.  Somehow the group that person is affiliated with has figured it out mathematically from the Bible that this is the day.  Whether this is the so-called "rapture" or the actual Day of The Lord is not clear.

I have several observations on this matter, most of them obvious.  First, history is replete with accounts of deluded Christians who thought they knew when Jesus would return.  Those incidents just cause nonbelievers (and other Christians) to mock.  Of course, nonbelievers are going to mock at Christians any way, but I would personally prefer it be for the sacrifices we make for the kingdom, not for thinking we know more than Jesus himself, who said he didn't know the hour or day.

One of the most relevant was the Millerites of the 1850s, folks up in New York state who sold all their…

Almost exactly how I feel

This article by Lynne Hybels (of Willow Creek Church fame) resonates with me and a lot of people, but only partially.  Christmastime is special and we can't let it become unspecial.  We just have to find the way that what we are doing to celebrate it is productive and meaningful, not just reminiscent of a hamster running on a wheel in a cage.

I have been noticing a lot of rhetoric about downsizing Christmas, should Christians even celebrate it, etc.  Come on people.  Let your moderation be known unto all men, Paul said.  Not "let your Scroogey abstinence from everything human and fun and celebratory be known unto all men."

Of course, this from a woman who on December 18 doesn't have her tree up yet and has determined not to be guilted into spending money I don't have, even on charities.    But all that will get done.  Perhaps that is the difference.  At 55 (as of yesterday) I reali…

Observation #49

Those Mayhem commercials from Allstate are getting more and more disturbing.


I love the coinage of new words.  My husband just created one just for himself.  He has work apnea.


Something that separates poor public speakers from good ones is transitions.  Good public speakers understand, even consciously or intuitively, that listeners need all the help they can get.  It is vital to give listeners directions on how to listen to one's presentation. 

It starts, of course, with a decided plan that you are committed to following.  It's called an outline.  You may balk at the old "Roman numeral thing."  Fine, but there has to be a way of enumerating points and letting yourself see that some ideas are "main" and others are "minor" or subordinate or explanatory.  Being excessively left-brained, I think in Roman numeral outlines, but understand some people don't (although I don't understand how they get anything done). 

Then the outline has to be pretty well cemented in the speaker's mind.  Not memorized, just solidly clear.  That's why all textbooks rightly say no more than five main ideas or sections.  And that w…

Movie As It Happens

TCM, the only station I watch, is showing Night of the Living Dead, the first zombie movie I ever saw (or will ever see again, if you don't count that one with Will Smith--not sure those were zombies).   It's noteworthy ersonally for many reasons.

1.  It is a classic and didn't take much money or time to make.  Art doesn't have to cost.  It also doesn't have to take a long time to create.  On the other hand, trash can be made cheaply and in a short amount of time, too.
2.  The main character's (victim's) name is Barbara, so that's especially creepy for me.
3.  There is a young African American male in it as the "hero", very rare for then.
4.  The first time I saw it was on Halloween weekend in the 80s.  I had taken my forensics team to a tournament at Appalachian state and we had a party in the hotel room and watched cheesy horror movies.  David Wells, now a lawyer in Chicago, talked me into watching it by telling me what a great movie it was.…

Something to Ponder

I like to reference essays and articles on Christianity Today.  That magazine saved my life; I told Timothy George, one of its editors, that when I met him.  He laughed and said most people complain about it.  Here is one I liked today:

Ravi Zacharias argues that a religion should not be judged by the actions of its followers if the followers are not following the real teaching and example of the religion's founder.  His point is that a lot of people who say they follow Christ do a lot of things that have nothing to do with the example he set and the lessons he taught, so it's somewhat (but not totally) irrelevant to judge Christianity by its supposed adherents.  Essentially, go to the source.

Muhammad heard from the angel and conquered; Buddha sat and meditated; Jesus walked, healed, fed, lived,  walked some more, fellowshiped, died, rose from the dead, walked some more.  People came to him, but he went to them.  I…

Top Ten Ways to Bomb with PowerPoint

1.  Use creative, fancy fonts.  Algerian is particularly good.
2.  Use the slides as your notes for the presentation (i.e., lots of small text)
3.  Put the text over pictures.

4.  Let the slide transitions substitute for oral transitions.
5.  Use automatic timing.
6.  Don't waste time with pictures.
7.  Put several pictures on each slide.
8.  Use graphs and charts with 20 or 30 pieces of information on them.
9.   Use a different background design or color on each slide.
10.  Don't waste slides on things like titles, previews, transitions, or questions for the audience.

Quotes and Quips

Be the change you want to see in the world.  (attributed to Gandhi)

Man in Mae West movie:  I've heard a lot about you.
Mae West:  Yeah, but you can't prove any of it.

A man alone is in bad company.  Jacques Cousteau

Reading the Old Testament

I have to admit that, all things considered, I prefer to teach the New Testament than the Old.  There are many reasons for this preference, some of which I am more comfortable with discussing than others.  The New Testament seems universal to me, global.  The Old Testament can seem very nationalistic, even tribal.  That is not to say it is not universal in terms of human experience or that the narratives are untrue or aren’t great literature.  I am speaking more in terms of the perspective and worldview.
A second reason is that I think many Bible teachers do a poor job at the application.  The lesson behind David’s life events (or any other Bible character’s) is not that we should make the same kind of decisions or actions.  The main points of the Bible stories and characters in the Old Testament is to teach the sovereignty of God in history and the superintendency of the Jewish people to bring Christ to the world; also Old Testament narratives show examples of God’s character.  Ther…

Gotta say it

My husband and I have a fascination for the Billy Wilder classic, Sunset Boulevard.  I love that movie.  It's got to be one of the best ever.  But I imagine it would be an acquired taste for today's young audience because they wouldn't understand the background of the silent film era. You may watch it and think, "Barbara Tucker is a maniac to like this movie."  I'll just have to live with that!

More to the point, I have to say that I am deeply in awe of God's answering our prayers.  My mother, 82, had a hysterectomy two and half weeks ago, and at the doctor today we learned that she is cancer free and not needing any chemotherapy or radiation.

Please do not wonder about the incongruity of these two comments.  It's very indicative of my life.


This is my 451st blog post.

I have been getting a lot more traffic on this blog lately, and comments are coming to my email account, but they are not all showing up on the blog site.  I am not sure why, but I will look into it.  Thank you to the people who are writing.  I am not ignoring you.  If you want one of my email addresses, use 

I look forward to writing more this weekend, but we are in the middle of finals and that is crunch time for college teachers.

Have a super day!

The Help Review

Last night I finished the book, The Help.  A very good read, although it took me about twenty pages to get into it.  I think the biggest problem was that I had accepted the "opinion" that  white person cannot write in the voice of a minority, that to do so was either unfair or would just be ineffective.  However, I had done it in my own novel, and wasn't sure how I felt about it.

Kathryn Sockett, I am sure, has heard that, but she ignored it to a much greater extent than I did so that 2/3 of her very long book is in the point of view of Black maids in the early civil right movement period in Jackson, MS.  It's all in first person, but of three characters, two of them African-American.  I would have preferred it if she had spelled their words correctly, though. 

This may be one of those books that in twenty years will be seen as cloying and dated, or maybe not.  I liked it,  at least the what.  The how I am not sure of yet, although she keeps the point-of-view techniq…

Just Checking In

I have been at the SACS convention in Louisville, Kentucky for the past four days. It was very informative for me since I am the QEP Committee Chair. The QEP is an interesting animal and I will forgo any comments on it until I feel that I understand the process--which might be in July of 2012 when ours is due. In short, I will say that I can see the value of the QEP but I also think it uses up too many resources--manhours, financial, psychological, and emotional. I am not sure a cost-benefit analysis has been done.

If you don't know what QEP is about, don't worry. Nobody but higher ed folks cares.

Louisville is an interesting city. My two colleagues and I stayed at the Brown Hotel, which was quite enjoyable. The Brown was the setting for some of the movie Elizabethtown in 2005. When I walked into the lobby I thought, "I have been here before" and asked if the hotel had been in a movie. My guess was right. That was pretty neat. We ate in the hotel restauran…

Another Day in History

Apparently I am on a history kick. But today is the 55th anniversary of Rosa Parks taking a stand by keeping her seat and holding on to her dignity.

This was not just a "I'm fed up" thing by Ms. Parks. It was a planned act of nonviolent resistance, and she was a member of the NAACP in Montgomery. That has nothing to do with the bravery of the act; to me, the fact that it was intentional and planned makes it all the more courageous. We can do a lot of things on the spur of the moment out of anger that may or may not end up being a good idea.

So be thankful today for one woman's small act could mean so much. They usually do.