Sam Harrelson





Should Americans buy Hauwei phones?

The Mate 10 looks like a pretty amazing device and I’ve wondered at times whether I should pick up a Hauwei device to make sure I’m staying on top of things. Last week, U.S. intelligence officials warned citizens about buying devices from Chinese companies such as Hauwei and ZTE over concerns that there are potential “back doors” allowing for the Chinese government to eavesdrop on Americans. Given all that we do on our mobile devices in 2018 (I literally run my company from my device), it’s easy to see why there might be concern.

However, the U.S. government hasn’t put forth any evidence of tampering or back-doors and Americans who do own devices from these companies haven’t been able to detect any intrusion or suspicious traffic. I’m not asserting that the concerns over Chinese devices isn’t warranted but I have wondered all week whether these warnings were a result of politic-economic motivation.

Great write up by Jerry Hildenbrand here:

Huawei is the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world behind Samsung and Apple. It is also the ninth largest technology company (by revenue) worldwide with 180,000 employees and an average annual revenue of $78.8 billion. In other words, Huawei is as “big” a company as Microsoft. That’s good news for Huawei, and usually seeing a company move up the ladder to challenge the market leaders is good for consumers, too. Officially, Huawei is a subsidiary of Huawei Investment & Holding Co., Ltd. in Shenzhen, China and that’s where the real issues the U.S. has with Huawei start.

Source: The U.S. government’s beef with Huawei isn’t really about phones | Android Central


Sumer and the Modern Paradigm

Modern artists discovered Sumerian art between the world wars, at a time when British and American archaeological missions were working in southern Iraq. But archaeologists like Leonard Woolley, head of the mission in Ur were less fascinated by their finds. They considered Mesopotamian art inferior to Egyptian and to Graeco-Roman art and thought Mesopotamian iconography was an expression of a violent culture. Sacrificed bodies found at the Royal Tombs of Ur were the proof that the Bible was right about the Mesopotamian barbarism.

Source: – ANE TODAY – 201802 – Sumer and the Modern Paradigm


School Shootings in America Since 2013

Since 2013, there have been nearly 300 school shootings in America — an average of about one a week.

Source: School Shootings in America Since 2013


Baptist Fields

“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make any sense. The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.”

Rumi

The painful truth the Illumination Project uncovered in their long discernment process is how silent our churches are when it comes to what is life and death for real people in our pews. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach of most of our churches toward LGBTQ Christians leaves them in the shadows, if not in the dark. If we want CBF to be a bright light on the spiritual equality of all Christians, that light must begin to shine more brightly from our CBF congregations. CBF would not have to parse its hiring policy so carefully if our churches did the hard but liberating work of the gospel where Baptists know it matters most.

Source: Illuminations: Spiritual Equality of All Christians – EthicsDaily.com


“Celebrate Valentine’s Day without compromising your Christian faith on Ash Wednesday”

My advice is that American Christians have much bigger issues to concern themselves with than whether or not they can reconcile Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, so stop taking yourself so seriously…

On Feb. 14, many Christians face a dilemma as they try to reconcile their faith with the traditional celebrations of romantic love. How exactly do you observe Valentine’s Day on the day Lent begins, marking the season of atonement leading up to Easter?

Can you be a believer and still celebrate with champagne and chocolate?

Source: Valentine’s Day 2018: Celebrate Ash Wednesday without sacrificing faith — Quartz

Here’s a post from the New York Times entitled “Eat, Pray, Love: An Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day Dilemma“.


Show and Tell: Handling Art at the Wurtele Center

My time with the incredible finds from Dura Europos at the Yale University Art Gallery are some of my fondest memories…

Walking alongside the shelves, one can step from intricate African sculptures to ancient Greek vases to Chinese porcelain to a collection of Picasso ceramics. Opposite the entrance and behind glass display cases are a series of white, metal sliding shelves. They are filled with, among other things, wooden staffs, tea cups and wall fragments excavated from Dura-Europos, Syria.

Source: Show and Tell: Handling Art at the Wurtele Center


Thinking Baptists: CBF’s Illumination Project Recap

Merianna and I released a new episode of our rebooted Thinking Baptists podcast last night reflecting on our own personal feelings about the CBF’s Illumination Project as well as our own viewpoints regarding church policies at the institutional and local levels…

The Rev. Merianna Neely Harrelson and The Rev. Sam Harrelson break down this week’s release of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Illumination Project report from their own perspectives.

Source: Thinking Baptists: CBF’s Illumination Project Recap


“What is the spirit saying here?”

Good reflection by Julia Pennington-Russell here on the CBF’s Illumination Project work as well as moralism, legalism, and theopolitics regardless of denomination:

And many, maybe most, CBF churches are so anxious about jeopardizing a fragile harmony that they avoid even the mildest conversation about human sexuality, even as their LGBTQ brothers and sisters suffer outside the gate. What is the Spirit saying here?

Source: Illuminations: The Healing Space between “Good” and “Bad” | CBFblog


CBF’s New Hiring and Personnel Statement

Here are results from the 18-month long Illumination Project that the CBF launched to address its controversial anti-LGBTQ hiring policy back in 2016.

Thomas and I did an episode of Thinking Religion last night to share some thoughts if you’d like to know where I stand.

To reflect the practice of most of its congregations, the procedure states: “Among other qualifying factors, CBF will employ persons for leadership positions in ministry who exhibit the ideals set forth in our hiring policy, have gifts appropriate to the particular position and who practice a traditional Christian sexual ethic of celibacy in singleness or faithfulness in marriage between a woman and a man.” For other positions on the CBF staff in Decatur, applicants will be considered who meet the qualities set forth in the new hiring policy, including Christians who identify as LGBT.

Source: CBF Governing Board receives Illumination Project recommendation, adopts Christ-centered hiring policy | CBFblog


“Did they worship this car?”

“He wondered what aliens might think if they ever came across the Roadster drifting through space. After all, SpaceX packed other weird items in the car, among them a small toy Hot Wheels Roadster (complete with a miniature Starman) on the dashboard.

“Maybe [it will be] discovered by an alien race, thinking, ‘What were these guys doing? Did they worship this car? Why do they have a little car in the car?'” Musk said. “That will really confuse them.”‘

Source: Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster Is Headed to the Asteroid Belt