Church History Post…Super-sorry!

A friend of mine is working on a paper for some class she’s in.  The paper’s point is to list the ten people the writer of the paper thinks have been most influential in “church history” from 100 AD up until today.  Being a Bible College paper, there are some names she pretty much has to use or it looks like she hasn’t been listening, whether she wants to include those name or not, ha ha.  But since I’m not a student in that class, I’m able to pick people who aren’t listed in the syllabus…so I’m going to do that, just for fun.  Here’s my ten, in no particular order of influence.


  1. John Calvin. — I am by no means a Calvinist…but there’s no denying Calvin’s impact on the church.  He’s most famous for talking about predestination (as it applies to Heaven).  Entire church movements are named after him.  You’ll find Calvinists in pretty much every denomination (including the “non-denominational” churches).  His impact was huge.
  2. Jacobus Arminius. — Calvin’s counterpart.  He was vocal in voicing the other side of the story, arguing staunchly against three of Calvin’s “five-principles,” most notably registering his strong disagreement with the concept of predestination.  Pretty much, in this day and age you’re either a Calvinist or an Arminianist, even if you don’t know those names.  Can’t have a list like this that includes Calvin without also including Arminius.
  3. Barton W. Stone. — I am part of the “Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement.”  Barton W. Stone is the “Stone” in that…  (Though it is worth noting that any of the men involved would be shocked and offended to know that a religious movement had been named after them, thereby causing most of us to simplify it to “Restoration Movement.”)  You may notice as you get further down that I do not include anyone by the name of Campbell.  That’s mostly because there were two Campbells (a father and son) and I forget which is which, but also because I only really feel it necessary to have one representative of the early days of the Restoration Movement on hereand Stone fits the bill as well as either those guys.  Stone is most famous for describing the plan of salvation in five steps, using the fingers on one’s hand to remember them.  So…there’s your representative for my (more-or-less) “tradition.”  🙂
  4. Mother Teresa. — I mean…come on.  It’s Mother Teresa.  I don’t need to tell you of her personal sacrifice and life’s work.  I’m not sure where she stands in respect to the rulebook, but if the Catholics don’t make her a Saint, I’m sure God will of His own accord.
  5. Pope John Paul II. — (I had to resist the urge to add “Electric Boogaloo” to his name, there.)  John Paul II was an amazing Pope and man.  I’m not Catholic and don’t really put much theological credence on what the Pope says…but John Paul II lived an amazing life of faith and devotion to helping people.  Apart from having been the only Pope to widely acknowledge and apologize for the Catholic apathy to the Holocaust (thereby admitting that Holy Mother Church had MADE A MISTAKE!), John Paul went out of his way to serve people.  A Pope is supposed to be protected by armed guards at all times.  However, John Paul would often sneak out in the middle of the night, dressed in plain clothes and do benevolence work, usually not identifying himself as Pope.  He was an amazing, progressive leader the likes of which I’m not sure the Catholic Church will ever see again.  We need people like John Paul II, regardless of with which religion or denomination he affiliates himself.
  6. James Dobson. — Let me state this upfront…  I do not like James Dobson.  I find him personally objectionable on almost all levels.  I think his treatment of any version of a family that does not meet his “focus” criteria is shameful.  I think his abuse of the pulpit to spread a political agenda is inexcusable.  I think the fact that he and his “Focus on the Family” cronies have organized picketing at funerals (for God’s sake!) is damnable.  I think his haircut is stupid.  I think his suits are cheap.  I don’t like the person he is, nor the media notoriety that he has attained in recent years…and that’s exactly why he’s on this list.  Anyone who can stir up that much trouble is certainly note-worthy.  And let’s face it, if not for the black sheep, we wouldn’t recognize The Lamb.  In that sense, church history owes Mr. Dobson a huge debt.  He shows us Jesus every day by giving us a living example of what He would NOT do.  …but he did write some good books in the 80s and 90s.  I’ll give him that.  (Sorry to anyone that offends…but it wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t express my opinion.  To be fair, there are some issues on which I agree with Mr. Dobson…but the man has done some things that I just can’t get over and for which he has never even attempted repentance.  If it helps, I’m sure he wouldn’t like me much, either—and rightly so.)
  7. Billy Graham. — I have some minor theological issues with Billy Graham’s teachings…but name me one person over the age of about 18 who hasn’t heard of him.  He’s made a HUGE impact on the church via his “crusades” and has taken the Gospel to countless people.  Whether or not I always agree with his methods, what he does works on a massive scale, and I respect that.  Countless lives have been changed via the “crusades” (which is really a terrible word in the post-9/11 world, I guess…but right on…) and his work will be talked about for generations to come.
  8. Martin Luther. — Okay…someone would have led reform and nailed a thing to a door if Martin Luther hadn’t done it…but he did it.  He’s pretty much responsible for all of the non-Catholic faiths existing today, which though it may be a mixed blessing in some respects, is certainly historically HUGE.
  9. Constantine…or any of the “church fathers.”  Whatever…take your pick.  One of them needs to be here, and I like his name.
  10. Lottie Moon. — As any good Baptist will tell you, she was a pioneer in missionary work, having spent about 40 years ministering to the Chinese (in the late 1800s, mostly).  She’s pretty much responsible for the Baptist church having a solid foundation for sending out missionaries because of her unprecedented work (I mean…a female, Baptist, church-leading missionary in the 1800s?  Whodathunkit?), and to this day the Baptist Church takes up annual donations to the Lottie Moon Fund, named for her.  A true missionary pioneer.


So that’s my ten…one really noticeable exclusion that many would argue is Martin Luther King, Jr.  I have limitless respect for Dr. King and I recognise his work in the church, especially in turning blacks toward Christianity and away from the Muslims…but I mostly think of him as a political figure.  If it makes you feel any better, I only bumped him because I felt like I needed a “church father” on the list…so don’t blame me.  Blame Constantine.  🙂


If I were able to add someone I personally know, by the way, it’d be Larry Doggett.  I had the pleasure of serving alongside Larry when I worked at Ferguson Christian Church.  I continue working with him today (but not there or in the same capacity).  He’s a good man…but he was also a missionary (along with his wife, Nancy) in the Congo for about 25 years.  They paved some MAJOR way for mission work in Africa, and if nothing else are notable for having brought the FIRST printing press into the Congo.  They survived wars, invasions, any number of personal crises, plane-crashes…you name it.  The only reason the Doggetts aren’t in the history books is because they don’t particularly WANT to be.  But, if we’re talking about walking, talking, living representatives of Christ, Larry and Nancy rank pretty high on my list.  (They’ve also left a legacy of their work, now having children and grand-children who are grown adults, active on the mission field doing pretty much the same work they were doing 25 years ago.)






Current Listening:

  • The re-mix of Pearl Jam’s “Ten.”  I’ve gotta say, I prefer the old mix (which the band has always thought sounded “too 80s”).  The new mix brings out a LOT of mistakes and inconsistencies.  Apparently, there’s a reason they had so much reverb on the first release.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a completely passable mix…but I don’t think I would have fallen quite as supernaturally in love with this version as I did the original mix in the 90s.  Sounds more like a rough-mix that they didn’t have time to properly “treat” and just sent out for mastering.  I’m not saying that’s bad…I’m just saying that’s what it sounds like.  🙂


Lots of stuff up in the air…let’s do it randomly.

  1. EXCELLENT Drive-By Truckers show this weekend at The Pageant.  Patterson was back to full health and they sounded awesome.  Not my favorite show I’ve seen them do (that would be the previous one where they were in on Leap Year in 2008), but a great show.  Sat next to a guy from Iowa who drove down for it.  Didn’t know him, but we got along famously, even though in real life we’d probably never be friends.  We were united by our love of DBT.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…only music can do that.  Bought myself a hoodie…it was the only thing at the merch booth I didn’t have yet.  🙂
  2. I’ve been getting good buzz from the folks who’ve been downloading “Out from the Light” from the Internet (I’m not sure it’s up everywhere yet, but I know it’s on iTunes, which is what most people seem to use).  That’s kind of cool.  If you hand someone a CD, they’re kind of obligated to get back to you and tell you what they thought about it, but in the download-world, they aren’t obligated to do hardly anything…and to hear back from people completely unsolicited like that is really cool!  So far, the buzz is great.  I hope people continue liking it as much as I do.  (Check my website for a lot of new “OFTL” related content in the near future.)
  3. Thanks to the few of you who’ve been asking about my health as per my recent posts.  (Found out someone reads my blog that I didn’t know read it before!)  🙂  I’ve been feeling better, I think.  I still feel like I COULD get a cold at any minute, though.  That’s probably just allergies and the fact that I don’t sleep…but still…throat’s a little scratchy and I’ve had a little bit of labor breathing when I’ve been doing anything active.  So that could easily be a cold finding its way to the surface…or, y’know…emphysema…whatever.  Plus, I’ve got a little bit of a toothache, which is usually emblematic of a cold for me.  My sinuses swell and my teeth hurt.  But here’s hoping it’s just the pollen.
  4. The weather’s been nuts in St. Louis the past week or two.  Been near 80-degrees some days, then on Saturday night it SNOWED (of course on a Saturday when it wouldn’t get anyone in town the day off, ha ha).  I like cold weather, so I’m not complaining…but still, there’s just been a bizarre mix of stuff going on in the skies these days.
  5. On Saturday, after the DBT gig, we were walking back to the car and passed a hot dog vendor.  That’s a relatively new thing for the town.  Only been around (to my knowledge) for a year or so in that area.  We stopped and all got hot dogs.  They were awesome…which leads me to the following hypothesis… 
  6. There’s a lot of talk (and that’s all it EVER is) in St. Louis right now about revitalizing the city.  Of course, every group thinks they have the answer.  The town-planners want to remodel all of the buildings.  The baseball park wants to bring in some big corporation to build “Ballpark Village.”  The Christians want to build churches.  The Jews want to build churches.  The Muslims want to build churches.  The atheists want to tear down the churches and build parks.  The Parks Commission thinks we have perfectly good ones now that just need better publicity…etc…  None of that is the answer.  If you want to save this city…  Hot dogs.  Put a bunch of hot dog vendors out there, give 25% of their earnings to the city, and suddenly you’ll have all the budget you need to build or unbuild whatever you want.  If times are good or bad or if the market’s up or down…people will ALWAYS pay $3 for a hot dog on the street.  I’m not wrong.
  7. My back’s been feeling a little better lately (dangerous words…don’t want to jinx it).  I haven’t popped any Ibuprofen (Advil) in about three days.  That’s good.
  8. I’ve been obsessed with getting some lobster or crab lately.  I wanted a lobster tail with a steak about a month or two ago and I never got it.  So I’ve been trying to fill that void with fillet-of-fish sandwiches from McDonalds (AWESOME promo campaign going on right now, by the way!), fish and chips from Jack in the Box, and I’m even thinking of going to Long John Silvers tonight (which is always bad on my stomach because of how greasy it is).  One begins to wonder if the Ameristar still does those seafood-buffets anymore…and if so, why I’m not there right now.
  9. I bought the third season of “The Venture Bros.” on DVD this weekend.  I love the commentaries, but there’s a BIG lack of other special features (bunch of deleted scenes,  most of which are in pencil-drawing form…and I don’t care about deleted scenes even when they’re not irritating still-drawings).  Nonetheless, I’ve laughed hard enough at the commentaries that I can’t complain about it.  One odd feature, though…the DVDs are completely uncensored.  All of the curse-words they “bleep” on the TV airings are present, as are all of the usually boxed-out body parts.  To me, it’s funnier with the censoring left in tact…but whatever.  Still a great show.
  10. Next week is Lab Week at the college, where the students all go off and work on projects.  That makes my job a little easier, but a lot lonelier.  I’ll have a few workers buzzing about the place doing a work-project…but they’ll all be busy and I won’t really have a ton of time to shoot the breeze with them or anything.  Still, it’s good for the kids, and it gives me the chance to catch up on some statistics and whatnot.  It was always one of my favorite things as a student (even though it meant I’d be working FAR harder that week than I normally did) and I’m sure it’s still just as gratifying for at least some of them today (one would hope for “most”).

I’ve got more…but 10 is enough.  Hope you enjoyed that.  We’ll try to focus tomorrow.

“Out from the Light” on iTunes

Okay.  All of youse guys who don’t use Rhapsody or Napster now have no excuse.  🙂


My new record “Out from the Light” is now on iTunes for $9.99 (not bad…to get the physical CD on my website, you’d have to pay about a buck more, due to shipping).  So…now you can download that, if you’d like.


Also, check this week for lots of OFTL content (mostly words).  🙂


Current Listening: Nothing right now…but a little later tonight, I’m heading out to see the Drive-By Truckers for the seventh or eighth time…I’ve lost count!  🙂

Songs in the Word of F

Here is a playlist I threw together off the top of my head of entirely songs that contain the “f-word.”




  1. “The Fish Cheer” – Country Joe McDonald
  2. “Longshot” Aimee Mann
  3. “Star, Star” – The Rolling Stones
  4. “Reframed” – The Headstones
  5. “OK?” – Live
  6. “Wot Kinda Man” – Queensryche
  7. “Porch” – Pearl Jam
  8. “Cynical” – Extreme
  9. “Room 712, The Apache” – Michael Penn
  10. “I Can Tell Your Love is Waining” – Slobberbone
  11. “Working Class Hero” – John Lennon
  12. “Changes Come” – Over the Rhine
  13. “Bodies” – The Sex Pistols
  14. “Rotting Out” – The Descendents
  15. “Angels Come to Comfort You” – Black Francis
  16. “The Southern Thing” – Drive-By Truckers
  17. “Long Time Coming” – Bruce Springsteen
  18. “Who Are You” – The Who

A Legacy of ROCK!

Going to see the Drive-By Truckers on Saturday with my dad and brother.  (I can’t remember if my sister-in-law is in on this one or not…I know at one point Dave was saying he thought it’d be cool if she could go too, but I don’t really know how that worked out.)  Anyway…


The three of us (and often a fourth or fifth) used to go to shows together a lot when I was a kid (and teen).  Then we kind of stopped, mostly because Dave and I started going to more club-shows for bands Dad’s never heard of and/or doesn’t like.  Going to a theatre, auditorium, or stadium show became a rarity, and even when it did occasionally happen, it was still often a band dad didn’t want to see.  He did go with us to see the Van Hagar reunion in 05-ish (04?  Can’t remember exactly), but that was the first time in a long time and the last one until Dave and I (mostly I, thankyouverymuch) talked Dad into seeing DBT last year.  That was kind of cool.


Following is a brief list (and I’m sure I’ve missed more than a couple) of acts I’ve seen with my dad and brother over the years–not counting opening acts.  Kind of an amazing list, when you think about it:


  • REO Speedwagon (at least twice)
  • Styx (before Dennis DeYoung got kicked out)
  • The Who (a few times)
  • Drive-By Truckers
  • Eric Clapton (like the night after Stevie Ray Vaughan died, incidentally)
  • Billy Joel
  • Elton John
  • Van Halen (three or four times)
  • Kiss (twice, I’m a little embarrassed to say…once without makeup, once with during the first farewell tour…cough…)
  • Technically, we were all AT a Rolling Stones concert, but Dad had better seats than Dave and I did.

And like I said…I’m missing at least a couple (perhaps Dave or Dad could refresh my memory in the comments).  Of course, I’ve seen many more bands than that both individually and just with Dave…but those are at least the major ones the three of us have gone to together.  Still…pretty cool list…and I’m looking forward to adding another DBT show to it this week!