Church of Christ

Inside Higher Ed does best job of explaining a college president and a controversial meal

Inside Higher Ed does best job of explaining a college president and a controversial meal

When I was in Tennessee two weeks ago, one of the fun things my daughter and I did was wade among some cotton plants, which we had not seen since we'd moved to the Pacific Northwest three years ago. You see them all the time in the Volunteer State this time of year. They’re kind of pretty, actually, if you don’t cut yourself on the sharp bracts that result when the boll has burst open and dried.

Even so, they can serve as an inexpensive table centerpiece were you trying to entertain a crowd, which is what drew me to the news about the president of a Christian college in Nashville who did just that.

But the black students who were his guests one night felt the cotton arrangements were a racist statement, according to the New York Daily News.

But note: If you look for any hints of the religious background of this Nashville college in this story, you will find none:

A dinner intended to give African-American students at a Tennessee university the opportunity to discuss their experience at the private liberal arts school left attendees shocked after tables were decorated with cotton stalk centerpieces.
Lipscomb University president Randy Lowry invited black students to his Nashville home Friday night for a dinner, but many of the students deemed the tableware and menu offensive.

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Merle Haggard's Church of Christ mama tried to raise him better, and he embraced Jesus as Lord

Merle Haggard's Church of Christ mama tried to raise him better, and he embraced Jesus as Lord
Despite all my Sunday learning
Towards the bad I kept on turning
Till Mama couldn't hold me anymore
And I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole
No one could steer me right but Mama tried, Mama tried
Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied
That leaves only me to blame 'cause Mama tried
— "Mama Tried," No. 1 hit by Merle Haggard released in July 1968

Merle Haggard's friend Johnny Cash only sang at San Quentin State Prison in California.

Haggard — who died Wednesday as he turned 79 — actually served three years at San Quentin on a burglary conviction and spent his 21st birthday in solitary confinement, as The New York Times pointed out in today's front-page obituary.

Cash's performance prompted Haggard to form a prison band, noted the Los Angeles Times:

This real-life narrative would become a classic trope of country music. “Mama Tried,” considered by some critics to be Haggard's greatest song, is a fairly straight autobiographical account of his road to San Quentin.
Its indelible chorus — “I turned 21 in prison doin' life without parole” — exaggerates his sentence; paroled after less than three years, Haggard was able to unfurl his musical gifts under state supervision.

Reading mainstream media coverage of the county music legend's death, I see no mention of his self-proclaimed Christian faith. Did I miss this anywhere?

But the New York Times does reference Haggard's religious upbringing:

Merle Ronald Haggard was born on April 6, 1937, in Oildale, Calif. His first years were spent in the abandoned boxcar that his father, James, a railroad carpenter, had converted into a home for his family. James Haggard died of a stroke in 1946, after which Mr. Haggard’s mother, the former Flossie Mae Harp, a strict and pious member of the ultraconservative Church of Christ, took a bookkeeping job to provide for her three children.

A strict and pious member of the ultraconservative Church of Christ. Please, tell me more.

On the one hand — as a lifelong Church of Christ member — I kind of understand what the irreligious and radically liberal Old Gray Lady is saying.

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Believe it or not: a holy ghost in New York Post exclusive on Jeffrey Dahmer's killer

Believe it or not: a holy ghost in New York Post exclusive on Jeffrey Dahmer's killer

On its front page Tuesday, the New York Post touted an exclusive interview with the fellow inmate who killed serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer two decades ago.

Yes, I know it's shocking to hear that the Post produced a piece of tabloid journalism. And somewhere today, a dog bit a mailman.

But stick with me for a moment, and I'll explain my reason for highlighting this story. There really is a GetReligion angle. Promise.

First, let me share the Post's graphic lede:

Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was done in by his uncontrollable lust for human flesh, the man who whacked him in prison 20 years ago told The Post, revealing for the first time why the cannibal had to die.
Christopher Scarver — who fatally beat the serial killer and another inmate in 1994 — said he grew to despise Dahmer because he would fashion severed limbs out of prison food to taunt the other inmates.
He’d drizzle on packets of ketchup as blood.
It was very unnerving.
“He would put them in places where people would be,” Scarver, 45, recalled in a low, gravelly voice.
“He crossed the line with some people — prisoners, prison staff. Some people who are in prison are repentant — but he was not one of them.”

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A Scottish tabloid libels the Churches of Christ

Tabloids will always be with us. Few will admit to taking Jesus-shaped potato chips, astrology, Elvis and UFO sightings and Kardashian stories printed by The National Enquirer, the Star, The Globe, the National Examiner and the Weekly World News seriously — but American Media Inc. does quite well for itself by feeding the guilty pleasures of the American public.

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Guess which sin makes church discipline newsworthy?

Every week, in churches around the world, Christians engage in a peculiar practice in which they confront and correct fellow believers on a range of issues, which are often lumped into a general category called “sins.” The process for this practice was first outlined by a popular religious leader named Jesus and recorded in a book known as the Gospel of Matthew:

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