Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith square-off over Ferguson and New York

Two days ago, I mentioned Charles Barkley’s recent remarks affirming the Ferguson grand jury’s non-indictment. Since then, fellow commentator Kenny Smith has penned an open-letter that sharply disagrees with Barkley’s strident tone.

Yesterday, Barkley and Smith faced each other on the set of TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” Instead of discussing basketball in the opening segment, they spent about ten minutes talking out their differences. Shaq made some comments as well. Be warned that Barkley has some salty language near the end, so you might not want to watch this one with your kiddos around. Nevertheless, I think it’s helpful to hear conversations like this one.

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Trip Lee, “It coulda been me”

Trip Lee has written a new song expressing how he feels about the recent tragedies in Ferguson and New York (listen above). In short, these events have left him thinking, “It could’ve been me.” No matter what your feelings are about the non-indictments in these particular cases, what Trip is talking about here is absolutely essential. For me at least, hearing such stories over the last two years from brothers like Trip, Voddie, Thabiti, and others has transformed my view of the African American experience. Don’t miss this.

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Toward breaking the impasse in our discussion of Ferguson

In the wake of the grand jury verdict in Ferguson, I’ve seen thoughtful commentators trying their best to do two things. On the one hand, they want to listen carefully to our African American neighbors who experience racial prejudice in their interface with law enforcement and with the criminal justice system. They want to give due regard to systemic racial inequality that still exists in our country. On the other hand, they also want to be fair in their evaluation of Michael Brown’s death and how his death relates to the overall racial disparity in our criminal justice system.

This has been a difficult balance to strike in the wake of events in Ferguson. Some have insisted that Michael Brown’s death is “Exhibit A” of the larger systemic issues in our country. Furthermore, they insist that failure to treat Brown’s death as an exemplar of those issues is a failure of racial sensitivity. And herein is the impasse: Not that people deny the existence of larger systemic issues, but that the shooting of Michael Brown must be viewed as an example of it. Emotions run high as all the pathos of our nation’s original sin come to the surface in these kinds of discussions. And that is why the discussion is so difficult. That is also why evangelicals have even found themselves divided on the matter.

Continue Reading →

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Godless virtue is no virtue at all

I’ve been reading through Jonathan Edwards’ treatise on The Nature of True Virtue. This book can only be properly understood in connection with Edwards’ earlier work The End for Which God Created the World. In that earlier work, Edwards shows that God is the first and best of beings and that the purpose of all things in God’s universe is to glorify God’s own magnificence and goodness.

In The Nature of True Virtue, Edwards argues that true virtue consists in having one’s heart attuned to that great reality—the glory of God. Virtue, therefore, can only exist in those who know and love God above all else. Edwards says it this way,

And therefore certainly, unless we will be atheists, we must allow that true virtue does primarily and most essentially consist in a supreme love to God; and that where this is wanting, there can be no true virtue. -Yale Edition, p. 554

In other words, moral uprightness may be a dim shadow of virtue, but it is not true virtue if it has no respect to God. Only an atheist—or someone whose view of God is so low that he no longer conceives of the true God—can deny that true virtue must be defined this way.

This means that all systems of morality—secular or religious—that ignore God are not truly virtuous. Those who follow them—no matter how rigorously they follow—are not truly virtuous. In short, godless virtue is no virtue at all.

If this is true (and I believe that it is), the implications are staggering.

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Trailer for the new Star Wars movie

The trailer for the new Star Wars movie was released yesterday, and it already has over 13 million views on YouTube. The new series will be directed by J. J. Abrams. The conclusion of the matter: The Abrams trailer is already better than all three of the prequel movies. No kidding. As Darren Franich recently described it,

This is a trailer that features X-Wings, Stormtroopers, Tatooine, the Millennium Falcon, a red lightsaber, and a red-brown desert speeder—it’s like an Episode IV mixtape, “Now That’s What I Call A New Hope!”

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Leonard Fournette blows up an Aggie defender

I haven’t blogged much on football this season, but I’m ending my neglect tonight. And it’s all inspired by a smashmouth play by freshman running-back phenome Leonard Fournette. In LSU’s victory over A&M earlier this evening, Fournette had one run in which he ran right over an Aggie defender. It was positively Hershael-Walker-esque. He blasted the guy. It was painful to watch. See it for yourself above or below. Wow. Continue Reading →

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A few thoughts on Ferguson

I’m reluctant to say anything, so I will say very little. Here are my thoughts on the morning after.

1. We still have race issues in this country. As President Obama said last night, we’ve made progress, but we have by no means arrived. It is an enormous grief that African Americans feel so regularly alienated by police and by the criminal justice system more broadly. It is a great sadness that black fathers have to have sobering conversations with their sons about encountering the police without getting shot—a conversation I never had with my father. As a people, we are not yet what we should be. It does no one any good to deny that. Again, as the President said last night,

Continue Reading →

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Odell Beckham Jr’s catch of the decade

Last night, Odell Beckham Jr. had what many people are calling the best catch by a receiver in a very long time. It was certainly the catch of the day and the catch of the year. But it might also be the catch of the decade and even of the century. The NBC announcer says it’s the best catch he’s ever seen. Continue Reading →

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If you didn’t get the SNL joke, this post is for you.


SNL’s opening sketch has been making the rounds over the weekend (see above). It lampoons the President’s executive order granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. It occurred to me that there are probably countless viewers who don’t get the joke because they are too young to remember the source material for this skit. For those of you who fall in that category, this post is for you. Continue Reading →

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