October 2002

Formations lesson for Oct. 20: When God Remembers

October 4 2002 by T. Wayne Proctor , Exodus 2:16-25

Formations lesson for Oct. 20: When God Remembers | Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

Formations lesson for Oct. 20: When God Remembers

By T. Wayne Proctor Exodus 2:16-25

We serve a God of the "second chance." We make a horrible mistake. Some of our friends shun us, and some write us off as a failure. Then God gives us a second chance, and God makes something good come out of our disappointment.

Moses' sin of killing the Egyptian was indeed a horrid crime. He had to leave Egypt.

Perhaps you, too, have had to leave Egypt, not knowing where you might find home.

Even Christians can make a mistake which causes them to believe they've nullified their usefulness to God. But then God moves us to a different place.

God moved Moses to the wilderness known as Midian. What looked like a desert became an oasis, a refuge for him.

Just as you've been to an Egypt, you've also been to a Midian. It wasn't the place you thought of choosing, but it was the place God sent you. God used that Midian experience as a time of valuable spiritual growth.

Yes, sometimes life breaks us down, and it takes the miracle of God's grace to put us back together in a different, yet better way than we knew before.

The prophet of Midian Reuel (Jethro) was a godly man. He was a tribal leader, a man who had earned respect. He also was a man of wisdom and one who had a positive, lasting impact upon Moses' life, like the father he never knew.

One of the attributes of a great leader is the ability to see potential in others. When Moses aided his daughters, he knew this "Egyptian" was special. He welcomed Moses into his home and later extended the privilege of being in his family.

Later in scripture we see the Midianites listed as enemies of Israel, but here Moses finds a home, a place to build a family and grow as a man.

The rescue There are a number of "well" stories in scripture. Abraham's servant went to a well where he met Rebekah, who would become Isaac's bride (Gen. 24:10-17).

Then Jacob met his future wife, Rachel, at a well (Gen. 29:9-12).

The well was a vital place. Tribal families lived or died by the availability of water from the well. Most wells, like this one, were community wells. Several families depended upon its waters, and sometimes the more forceful got the greatest benefits.

Water was precious and Reuel's animals must be watered. Therefore, Moses' action was more than a display of chivalry - it was a rescue from danger and injustice, literally a "salvation" event.

We see many facets of the rescue experience in this passage. Reuel's flocks and daughters are rescued by Moses. Moses himself is rescued by Reuel. Moreover, at the end of this passage, we see the hand of God preparing for a greater rescue, with Moses as his chief leader.

Because of its interrelatedness to the themes of this passage, we also need to remember the great "well" drama of the New Testament, Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman (John 4). This meeting at Jacob's well prompted a significant salvation event for the people of Sychar. It too dramatized God's acceptance of a people who were different and who could have been rejected.

The reward Moses likely had the appearance, the accent and the style of an Egyptian, but he had the action of a man of character.

Reuel rewarded Moses, and in return, Moses rewarded Reuel. God gave Moses a second chance, and He used Reuel and his family as an instrument of acceptance.

What happened in Moses' past was not significant to them. What ultimately mattered was the Moses they had met, not the Moses who had lived in Pharaoh's luxury.

As we reflect on this passage, let us reflect more on the nature of God than on the actions of Moses.

Most people are capable of a few good deeds. Some are capable of many good deeds, but we serve a God who looks deeper than deeds.

Let us remember that God is salvation and all of His provisions are acts of His grace and love.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
10/4/2002 12:00:00 AM by T. Wayne Proctor , Exodus 2:16-25 | with 0 comments

Fit to be tried

October 4 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Fit to be tried | Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

Fit to be tried

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

The accompanying editorial suggests that church members encourage their ministers to improve their health by losing weight and gaining better fitness.

I'll do my part by offering an added opportunity for accountability.

Nearly two years ago, I announced in this column that I was overweight, out of shape and determined to do something about it. I invited readers to guess when I would reach my target goal, and the simple accountability of public knowledge helped me lose almost 40 pounds and gain a boatload of energy.

It's time for me to confess that I fell back into some sloppy eating habits (namely, like a pig eating slop), and almost 12 of those pounds have returned. I can feel every one.

Tommy Yessick says that every pound of unnecessary fat requires 200 miles of blood vessels and capillaries. That means my heart is now pushing blood the equivalent of an extra cross-country trip with every beat.

No wonder I'm so tired.

I hereby declare my intention to honor God in my body by eating smarter and exercising longer. My goal is to drop the extra weight before the end of the year, despite the considerable obstacles of Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas goodies.

I trust you to help keep me accountable.

And, I invite others who want to shape up to join me in the arena of public scrutiny. Send in your name and your goal for the next three months, and I'll publish it.

Reach your goal by Dec. 31, and we'll celebrate in print. I'll also send you a Biblical Recorder desk clock/calculator/calendar to help you determine how many miles of capillaries you've rendered unnecessary.

My address, phone number and e-mail address are all listed in the masthead below.

You may think this idea is crazy, but I think it's fit to be tried.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
10/4/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

Getting your preacher in shape

October 4 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Getting your preacher in shape | Friday, Oct. 4, 2002
  • If you're about to bring up something that you know will raise the minister's stress level, consider whether it's really necessary. According to fitness guru Tommy Yessick, high stress enlarges the adrenal gland (which increases the level of stress-inducing adrenaline), shrinks the thymus gland and lymph nodes (which fight disease), and suppresses the immune system. Not to mention causing ulcers, gastro-intestinal problems and loss of sleep. Some stress is unavoidable, but much of what ministers typically deal with is really unnecessary.
  • Encourage your ministers and their spouses to attend a good workshop on positive ways to manage stress or improve fitness. Pay all the expenses and volunteer to keep the kids.
  • Have realistic expectations of your ministers, and communicate them clearly.
  • Find caring, nonjudgmental ways to encourage your ministers to attain healthy fitness and weight levels.
  • Give ministers permission to take care of themselves. Pastors and other ministers often feel guilty if they aren't out taking care of the flock for 12 or more hours every day. Encourage them to spend some of that time getting the exercise needed for self-care.
  • Buy the ministers and their families a membership in a local health club, and offer to meet them there.
  • Alternately, pay for them to participate in an educational/telephone support health and fitness network like Intervent (www.interventusa.com), which has an excellent program.
  • If you need to talk to the pastor or other minister, invite them to go for a walk while you talk.
  • Give your ministers adequate vacation time, insist that they take it, and make sure they pack their walking or running shoes.
  • When Christmas comes and you're thinking about taking cookies or candy to the ministerial staff, consider substituting a basket of fruit, athletic socks or a new warm-up suit.
  • Be a good example - get yourself in shape and brag about how much better you feel.
  • Find 10 people who will pledge $10 for missions (or the building fund) for every pound the pastor can lose in a designated period, and make a win/win game of it. Ten pounds could mean $1,000 and a healthier pastor.
  • If the pastor tends to be long-winded, make a rule that he can only preach one minute for each push-up or sit-up he can do in one set.

    Okay, the last idea was a bad one - nobody tells a preacher how long he can hold forth. But you get the idea.

    Be cheerful. Be proactive. Be supportive, and I believe most ministers will respond positively to your care and concern.

    If enough of them get physically fit and emotionally relaxed, maybe ministers can get off the "bad risk" list.

  • Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

    Getting your preacher in shape

    By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

    The Biblical Recorder has carried recent articles about insurance premiums for ministers. They've skyrocketed.

    We've also published articles showing that ministers tend to be overweight, over-stressed and over 35.

    That tells us something about why the insurance rates are so high.

    Responding to a request from the Baptist State Convention's (BSC) Executive Committee, business services director Ed Wiggs surveyed a number of health insurance providers. He got the same answer from each of them: experience has proven that ministers and their families are high risk. The companies prefer to avoid doing business with ministers at all, and charge higher rates when they do.

    The good news (to the ego, at least) is that the insurance industry puts ministers in the same professional category as medical doctors, lawyers, engineers and architects. They all tend to work long hours, have high stress and get little exercise on the job. The long hours impact home life, adding stress to family members, as well.

    The bad news is that ministers get the high stress of those professions, but not the high pay that usually goes with it.

    Add in the weight and age factors, and you can see why the insurance companies consider ministers and their families a bad risk.

    But the risk doesn't have to be so high. Annuity Board president O.S. Hawkins says more than half of the health insurance claims through the Annuity Board are for preventable diseases.

    Wiggs said the BSC plans to address the problem by encouraging ministers to improve their health and lower their stress.

    Maybe churches should take a more active role, too. Some may fear the subject of health and fitness is too sensitive or personal to bring up, but genuine concern for the ministers and their families is appropriate. How can church members help them to minimize their stress and maximize their fitness?

    Here are some scattered thoughts.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    10/4/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

    Who runs the church?

    October 4 2002 by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer

    Who runs the church? | Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

    Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

    Who runs the church?

    By Jim Royston BSC Executive Director-treasurer

    The research department of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention has now established something virtually every minister and lay church leader has known forever. As reported by Associated Baptist Press, the LifeWay study discovered that the "Who runs the church?" question perhaps divides Baptist congregations more than any other single issue.

    Of course, the real issue is control. Bottom line: Who's in charge? When a dispute arises, who generally wins, and who loses? Who stays and who has to leave? Do substantial numbers of members join other churches or is the pastor (and/or other staff members) asked to find employment elsewhere?

    In most cases, according to LifeWay, the issue is authority. Although we generally talk about "the authority issue" related to the pastor, it is a layman's problem as well. Many young seminarians have discovered the "patriarch and matriarch" rulers solidly present in their first congregation. In fact, smaller churches with a higher turnover in pastoral leadership are probably more likely to suffer from lay authoritarianism than larger, longer-staffed congregations.

    The arguments are painfully familiar. The laymen accuse the pastor of being a dictator, always demanding his way and being insensitive to the needs of the congregation and community. Pastors see these laypeople as obstructions to progress, out-of-step with the changing needs of the church community - or simply, instruments of the devil sent to test one's spirituality. Both sides often duel with scripture passages to underscore their point of view.

    In a Baptist church, the one able to garner the most votes wins. In reality, neither side really wins and both sides lose a great deal.

    The notion that a pastor should run the church, usually something identified with fundamentalist groups, can be found almost as often among moderate and even liberal congregations. Either way, unchecked pastoral authority is a disaster waiting to happen.

    The issue, according to the experts, is more about leadership skills than theological stances. Arrogance knows no theological, ideological or political boundaries. There is no shortage of self-centeredness among clergy or laity; fundamentalists, conservatives, moderates or liberals. This one cannot be blamed on "the controversy." It is neither the result of the "fundamentalist takeover" or the "conservative resurgence."

    LifeWay's church-conflict mediation specialist, Bob Sheffield, points to insecurity as a root of the problem. "The more insecure a person is, sometimes the more authoritarian he has to be. If you're secure, you can allow people to be involved in decision making."

    Jan Daehnert, director of minister/church relations with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, claims the problem does have a theological dimension. "We've never known how to reconcile the role of the pastor and the role of the layman in ministry." Noting that the Protestant Reformation was never fully completed, Baptists "have kept some of the old Catholic church tendencies of clerical superiority."

    Wayne Oakes of our pastoral ministries team sees pastoral mentoring as part of the issue. "Many young ministers select as their role models other ministers who have been successful in building large congregations. Unfortunately, the style that works with a large congregation does not work with a small to medium size church. His role model, from his experience, may even suggest that the pastor must be more of a CEO-type leader. The minister, seeking to give the best leadership possible, mistakenly adopts this model only to face the pain of rejection and termination."

    What are the answers?

    Texas' Daehnert notes that perhaps some of us are locked into an Old Testament view of the pastor as prophet-priest-king rather than Jesus as the Good Shepherd. You lead, not drive, sheep.

    My personal opinion is that in far too many cases the lack of a loving relationship built around trust undermines congregational health. Pastoral care, proclaiming the gospel and mentoring disciples will earn all the trust a pastor needs.

    After all, the church - your church and my church - does not belong to the pastor or the people. Neither should have ultimate authority over the other. The church belongs to God. And, too often, we forget to invite Him into our most critical deliberations.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    10/4/2002 12:00:00 AM by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer | with 0 comments

    Dead Sea or not the Dead Sea?

    October 4 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

    Dead Sea or not the Dead Sea? | Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

    Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

    Dead Sea or not the Dead Sea?

    By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

    When shopkeeper Khalil Iskander Shahin, better known as "Kando," presented ancient fragments of parchment and bone to Paige and Dorothy Patterson, he said they came from Qumran, where virtually all of the texts discovered were written in Hebrew.

    No one had made a serious effort to read the fragments until recently, however. After the Pattersons granted the Biblical Recorder permission to photograph and publish pictures of the artifacts, we asked experts at Duke University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem to examine them.

    Specialists at both universities agree that fragments are important finds, but question the accuracy of Kando's identification. A preliminary analysis showed that the parchment text is written in an atypical Greek script, rather than in Hebrew.

    Leading Greek epigrapher Hannah Cotton, editor of Scripta Classica Israelica and a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, suspects that the artifacts date from the early second century, A.D. - more than a century later than most of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    The fragments may have come from Nahal Hever or Wadi Muraba'at, other desert caves that have yielded ancient texts. A preliminary examination revealed no clear names, dates or institutions that might give obvious clues to the fragment's background.

    While the handwriting on the parchment is fairly clear, the skull fragment is much harder to decipher, and may include cryptic symbols of unknown import.

    With this publication, the fragments become available for scholarly study. The Biblical Recorder will provide a follow-up article if more information about the text fragments becomes available.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    10/4/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

    Effective churches need to face culture questions, author says

    October 4 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

    Effective churches need to face culture questions, author says | Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

    Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

    Effective churches need to face culture questions, author says

    By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

    BURLINGTON - Churches that want to be effective in the 21st century must decide whether they think culture is a friend or an enemy of the gospel, a pastor and author said.

    Leith Anderson, who has served as pastor of Wooddale Church outside of Minneapolis, Minn., since 1977, spoke Sept. 26 at "Wired 2 Grow," a seminar for church leaders interested in reaching people who wouldn't normally attend church. Anderson is the author of several books, including Leadership That Works, Dying for Change, and A Church for the Twenty-First Century. He also hosts a daily radio broadcast called "Faith Matters."

    About 135 people attended Wired 2 Grow at Integrity Community Church in Burlington. It was sponsored by the Baptist State Convention's missions growth evangelism group and innovative church team.

    Anderson said churches that consider culture a friend or an enemy of the gospel both face dangers.

    Churches that consider culture to be an enemy risk becoming cultic and inwardly focused, he said.

    Churches that believe the culture to be a friend of the gospel face the possibility of compromising to the point of seeing no difference between the two.

    Nevertheless, Anderson said he prefers to see culture as a friend of the gospel. Churches must find ways to engage the culture without sinning, he said.

    "It is possible to love the culture and hate the sin within the culture," he said.

    Anderson described culture as a flowing river.

    "What worked last year won't work this year," he said.

    Churches "need to do the hard work of exegeting our culture," Anderson said.

    He said the apex of a "theology of culture" can be found in 1 Cor. 9, where Paul said that to the Jews, he's a Jew; to the Gentiles, he's a Gentile; to the free, he's a free man; and to slaves, he's a slave.

    Paul "became all things to all persons in order to save some," Anderson said.

    Effective churches must also have an "outreach orientation," he said.

    Anderson cited Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, edited by Ralph Winter, which contends that God withdrew His blessing on Israel because the people wanted to be blessed by God, but didn't want to be a blessing to others.

    "If we refuse to pass it on, there's no reason for God to continue to bless us," Anderson said.

    Anderson talked about how Minnesota, which is known as "the land of 10,000 lakes," defines a lake as having 10 acres of surface area and water flowing in and out. Churches should have a "critical mass" of people and have the blessing of God flowing in and out, he said.

    Churches looking outward are "always thinking things through from the perspective of the person they are trying to reach with the gospel," Anderson said.

    Using 1 John, Anderson applied three tests for Christians to churches. To be effective, churches must have truth, love and righteousness, he said.

    Effective churches must clearly communicate the truth of the gospel, Anderson said. They should also be a congregation of loving people.

    If a church is unloving, people "can sniff that out in four minutes and they're gone," he said.

    Anderson said effective churches also live out what they preach.

    Anderson described six ways church leaders can be more effective.

    Leaders "do what needs to be done," he said.

    "I don't have to be fabulously gifted," he said. "I simply need to do the hard, hard work."

    Leaders need to find out what their church needs to do to fulfill the call of Jesus Christ. If they don't know it, they need to find out how to figure it out, Anderson said.

    "Think it through, make a plan, make it happen," he said.

    Leaders should also live "Christianly," Anderson said.

    Some church leaders keep thinking that if they can just get through an impediment they're facing, they'll be "home free," he said. Instead, they should think of those impediments as "leadership opportunities."

    Anderson gave the example of a pastor who was diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. He told his congregation, "I thought I came here to show you how to live. It turns out, I came to show you how to die."

    Leaders must also have multiple mentors, Anderson said.

    Mentors are people the leader knows well enough to predict how they react to situations they haven't yet faced, he said.

    Anderson said the responsibility for learning is on the learner, not the mentor.

    "Often the ones who are best at this don't know why they do what they do," he said. "We have to figure out how to drag it out of them."

    Leaders need to learn the "leadership context," Anderson said. Church leaders must study the history of their community and church.

    "Leadership never happens in a vacuum," he said.

    Leaders must "beware of the cutting edge," because there's the possibility of getting cut there, Anderson said.

    "I suggest that you don't want to be on the cutting edge, but right behind the cutting edge," he said. "The cutting edge is not always a good thing.

    "Let somebody else test the idea and thank God for them."

    Effective leaders need to trust God for the long term, Anderson said. Churches are often at their best in the seventh, eighth and ninth years of a pastor's term, he said.

    "Leadership is trusting God for what's 20 years out," he said.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    10/4/2002 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments

    GWU president tries to survive grade controversy

    October 4 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge and Steve DeVane , BR Staff

    GWU president tries to survive grade controversy | Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

    Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

    GWU president tries to survive grade controversy

    By Tony W. Cartledge and Steve DeVane BR Staff

    Gardner-Webb University (GWU) President Chris White "did not get off scot-free" for his role in helping a star basketball player remain eligible to play in 2000, the head of the school's trustees said.

    White is trying to weather a growing controversy that has some faculty members, alumni and students calling for his resignation.

    He is facing criticism for telling the school's registrar to calculate Carlos Webb's grade point average in a way that allowed him to play basketball in October 2000.

    The change, White has said, was needed because Webb received bad advice that led him to believe an F he received for cheating in a religion class would be dropped if he retook the class. Webb retook the class but when the F wasn't dropped his grades weren't high enough to let him play.

    After White directed the registrar to refigure the grades without the F, Webb's grades were just high enough to make him eligible.

    The NCAA is investigating the issue.

    Faculty at the school gave White a 63-39 no-confidence vote after news of his actions became public last month.

    The trustees hired an Atlanta law firm to investigate the matter. They used the firm's 140-page report as a basis to affirm White and demote Gil Blackburn, GWU's vice president and academic dean, and his assistant, Phil Williams. Blackburn and Williams, two of White's biggest critics, were reassigned to teaching positions.

    Tommy Hardin, chairman of the GWU trustees, said the trustees did not publicize their actions against White because they considered it a personnel matter.

    "The president did not get off scot-free even though it appears that way," he said. "Trustees placed stipulations on him as to things he would and would not do."

    A trustee who did not wish to be identified described the action as a vote to reprimand White.

    Hardin said Blackburn and Williams were demoted for their role in displaying Webb's transcript at a faculty meeting Sept. 10. That action violated federal law and placed GWU "at risk," he said.

    Trustees did not announce details, but trustee Doris Walters told the Recorder that the votes to demote Blackburn and Williams were "far from unanimous."

    Hardin said GWU had "self-reported" the action to the U.S. Department of Education as a potential violation of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

    Williams responded to the trustees' report in a lengthy statement published by The Star, a newspaper in Shelby.

    Williams takes issue with the report's findings regarding the display of the transcript. He said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that private parties - including students and parents - have no private right of action against universities under FERPA.

    Williams said White had already revealed the most confidential information about Webb's transcript in a newspaper interview and in his remarks at the faculty meeting. Furthermore, the transcript displayed at the meeting was illegible except for the grade point average, he said.

    Dr. Gene Washburn, a retired physician who rotated off the board of trustees last year, said he has gotten numerous phone calls and letters about the controversy. He said that 98 percent of them are opposed to the trustees' action to affirm White and demote Blackburn and Williams. A "large majority" thinks White should resign, he said.

    Washburn, who served as the trustees chairman for about six of the last 10 years, said he has strongly supported White in the past, but thinks White will have a tough time leading the school after all the controversy.

    "I think for the good of the school and his own good to preserve a legacy built up over 16 years, he could do it better by resigning," Washburn said. "But I think it should be his decision and I hate to think anyone would pressure him."

    Baptist State Convention (BSC) leaders issued a statement calling for reconciliation.

    BSC Executive Director-treasurer Jim Royston, BSC President Jerry Pereira, BSC General Board President Dixon Free and Wayne Wike, executive director of the BSC's Council on Christian Higher Education, offered to assist in the reconciliation process.

    "We must always seek the mind of God rather than be content with the mind of the majority," they said. "Too often, pride clouds the vision of even the best of Christian leaders."

    They called on all Baptists and other friends and supporters of GWU to pray and be patient.

    "For with God's help, Gardner-Webb University will emerge a stronger and more united institution of Christian higher education," they said.

    White, who cancelled an interview with the Recorder because of family illness, has reportedly said that he considers the controversy "an attempted coup."

    The Star, which first publicly revealed White's action to have Webb's grades recalculated, reported that White told trustees on Sept. 13 that "in short, he was the victim of an attempted coup, ouster, 'assassination.'"

    The comments were included in a copy of the minutes of the meeting obtained by The Star.

    White said that a "small group of highly motivated and organized individuals are led by 'religious zeal,'" the paper said.

    Faculty members who oppose White have said that he should resign because he violated the honor and integrity of the school.

    Three professors have resigned including John Gardner, a professor of law and grandson of the university's namesake, former Gov. O. Max Gardner. The professor, a former superior court judge, was expected to be instrumental in GWU's efforts to establish a law school.

    Stephen Perry, interim dean of GWU's school of business and holder of the Dover Foundation Chair of Business Administration, stepped down.

    In his resignation letter, Perry said the trustees who supported White "have committed a serious mistake which is likely to have far-reaching consequences.

    "As the NCAA investigation unfolds, I believe that you will come to regret your decision," he said. "The heart of Gardner-Webb University was character, integrity, honesty and fairness ... people who care. You have pierced that heart with the dagger of an obsessive quest for athletic prowess."

    Chris Parsons, instructor of communication studies in theatre and technical director of theatre, resigned Oct. 2, saying he could no longer work for White after four years at GWU.

    "Yes, he's a visionary and has helped the university, but he also has a sense of self that places him above everyone else," Parsons told The Star. "What he did isn't ethical."

    Students protested outside the school's administration building on Oct. 2-3.

    The Star reported that White had to pass the student protesters on his drive into the parking lot at GWU. Like other people driving by, White blew his car horn.

    "I think it is important for the students to express their feelings," White told The Star before going to his office.

    White said the students would not interrupt his workday - no matter how loud the car horns get.

    "I remember my college days, too," he said. "I will not ask them to move. I wish them well."

    The protest started around 7:30 a.m. Oct. 2 with about 50 students walking from the Gardner music building to the Webb building.

    GWU student government president Patrick Woody led students in a prayer and then led the walk to the Webb building. Woody told The Star that he joined the protest because he personally "disagreed with the demotions" of Blackburn and Williams.

    Woody said he was not representing the opinion of other members of the student government. They have not voted on the issue, he said.

    "I've known Dr. Blackburn and Dr. Williams since I was a freshman," Woody said. "They have integrity that is matchless. I disagree that Dr. White was not punished."

    GWU senior Cliff Reavis criticized White for not getting involved with students.

    "I would like to see an apology from White to the students or a resignation," said Reavis, holding a copy of the school's honor code that had been crossed out with an X.

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    10/4/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge and Steve DeVane , BR Staff | with 0 comments

    Treasures and earthen vessels

    October 4 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

    Treasures and earthen vessels | Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

    Friday, Oct. 4, 2002

    Treasures and earthen vessels

    By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

    Few archaeological treasures are more rare, more prized or more closely guarded than the ancient texts of parchment, papyrus and even copper that have been recovered from dry desert caves near the Dead Sea.

    Most ancient inscriptions reside in museums, but a few scraps of written texts from the Judean desert have made their way into private collections, and two of them belong to Paige and Dorothy Patterson. Paige Patterson has been president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary since 1992. Dorothy Patterson is a professor in the school's women's studies program.

    In a mirrored display case in the parlor of Magnolia Hill, traditional home of the seminary president, there rests a fragile papyrus fragment the size of an index card. Beside it sits an inscribed bone fragment that appears to be the crown of an ancient human skull. The Pattersons obtained them from a dealer who said both came from Qumran where the celebrated Dead Sea Scrolls were found.

    Other valuable artifacts share pride of place, including a cuneiform tablet of baked clay from the ancient city of Ebla, possibly 4,500 years old. It appears to be from a larger tablet used by an early Bronze Age student as he practiced writing in Akkadian, according to an epigrapher who verified the tablet's authenticity.

    A smaller, elongated tablet is from Ugarit, where the earliest forms of a phonetic alphabet were invented and written in wedge shapes pressed into wet clay. The thumb-sized tablet originally served as a merchant's bill of lading.

    The display case contains a trove of other intriguing items from the ancient Near East. There is a pottery milk jar from Jericho that may be from the time of Abraham, a miniature statue of the Egyptian deities Isis and Horus from the 26th dynasty (c. 664-525 B.C.), a circular terra cotta jar from the time of Jesus, and a round alabaster box from the Roman period. An assortment of early oil lamps includes simple rounded shapes of pinched clay and a rare, intricately detailed double-lamp molded in the shape of a Roman soldier's feet.

    The collection includes several spear points and arrowheads of bronze and stone, common household items such as a small colander-shaped "bug strainer" of pierced clay shaped to fit in the mouth of a jug, and a collection of bronze pins and needles that may date to 2000-1500 B.C.

    The Pattersons collected the artifacts during the course of 40-50 trips to the Middle East.

    During the late 1970s they lived near Jerusalem for three months while visiting antiquities dealers and acquiring items for an archaeological collection at Criswell College.

    "We knew just about all the antiquities dealers," Patterson told the Biblical Recorder. "There was an elderly Syrian orthodox man named Mr. Kando who had a shop by the St. George Hotel in Jerusalem, not far from the Garden Tomb.

    "Because Mr. Kando was Arabic, the boy who first discovered one of the (Dead Sea) scrolls took them to him. He eventually turned the scrolls over to the Israeli Department of Antiquities - for quite a price - but he kept back at least one jar and a few small pieces."

    The scrolls were stored in large pottery jars.

    The Pattersons visited Kando often in their quest for collectibles, and "He really took a liking to Dorothy," said Patterson.

    "I really wanted that jar for the collection at Criswell College," Dorothy Patterson said, "but he would not part with it."

    Instead, he gave the Pattersons the papyrus and bone fragments for their personal collection as a sort of consolation prize. Kando implied that the writing was a form of Hebrew. He told them the parchment fragment was from Cave 14 at Qumran, and the bone from Cave 22 - numbers that don't necessarily match the system most commonly used by archaeologists.

    The tablets from Ebla and Ugarit were obtained during a trip to Damascus with a group of Criswell College supporters. Patterson contacted Jerry Vardeman, an archaeologist friend best known for his excavations at Halutzah. "Jerry was one of my 'liberal' buddies," Patterson said. "He wouldn't dare buy anything from an antiquities dealer, but he gave me a map leading to a dealer on a back street in Damascus."

    Many scholars are critical of antiquities dealers, some of whom buy and sell artifacts that are removed illegally from ancient sites. When artifacts are removed haphazardly from their context rather than excavated in a careful manner, archaeologists lose valuable knowledge.

    Others argue that purchasing the artifacts brings them to light and makes them available for study, even though the archaeological context is lost.

    "We found the house," Patterson said, "and in a small room on the back side of a courtyard he had a little shop." The dealer offered the tablets from Ebla and Ugarit for sale at a price far less than their value because he could not sell them openly. Patterson's friends purchased the tablets for him as a gift.

    The Pattersons carried the tablets back through Jordan and into Israel without incident. On their return to Jerusalem, a friend who happened to be attending a convention of epigraphers confirmed the tablets' authenticity.

    Following a trip to Istanbul, Turkey, however, Paige Patterson forgot that the tablets he had obtained in Damascus were still in his pockets. As they prepared to leave Istanbul, an airport security guard detected the tablets and instructed Patterson to hand them over for examination.

    The guard was apparently more skilled at military matters than at archaeology. As Patterson remembers it, "He said, 'Rocks?' And I said, 'Rocks!' And he handed them back to me."

    Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
    10/4/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments

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