Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ergun Caner Removed as Dean of Liberty University

Most people I know personally, don't know who Ergun Caner is and probably have only heard about Liberty University.  They don't know about any of this controversy, nor do they give a hill of beans about it.

I met Ergun Caner at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma's State Evangelism Conference last January.  He seemed like a nice guy to me.

I first heard about him and his brother, Emir, back in 2002 or 03, when I attended a Global Impact Celebration at Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, when I was home on furlough from the IMB.  I was impressed when I heard one of them (I can't remember which) speak. 

Ergun's story is that he converted to Christianity in high school after having been trained in Turkey as a youth Islamic Jihadist.  His testimony in January was spellbinding and funny.

It has recently been alleged that many of the things he claimed may not be accurate.  In fact, it appears that he was raised in the US by a Christian mother and grandmother.  It appears that after 9/11, he fabricated a fantastic "testimony" that was used to sell books and book speaking venues.

Some bloggers have condemned him without a trial; others have sung his praises from the rooftops.

What these two groups of bloggers have in common is a mutual disrespect for each other as evidenced by the name calling and un-Christ-like accusations.

Frankly, it is embarrassing and shameful.

In any case, Ergun Caner is no longer President and Dean of the university.  He is being retained as a professor.

The official statement from the university says,
After a thorough and exhaustive review of Dr. Ergun Caner’s public statements, a committee consisting of four members of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees has concluded that Dr. Caner has made factual statements that are self-contradictory.

However, the committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager, but, instead, found discrepancies related to matters such as dates, names and places of residence.
The interesting point of the statement is that he "made factual statements that are self-contradictory."

This is a point of contention between the two sides.

The side that blindly follows Ergun says that they amount to no more than mis-statements.  The side that blindly disregards (for lack of a more accurate term) Ergun says that it is polite way to say that he lied.

I neither blindly follow Ergun or blindly disregard Ergun, but to me, there is no way in the world that any reasonable person could rationalize the testimony he has told as being simple "mis-statements."  To me, this is absurd and irresponsible.

I sincerely hope that Ergun Caner comes clean with the incredible claims he has made and is reconciled with the multitudes he has seemingly deceived.   Just as much, I sincerely hope that the two "sides" are able to moderate their emotions and begin to treat each other like brothers and sisters in Christ.

As I said in a comment on another blog, I don't have a dog in this fight.  But that is what this thing has degenerated into - a dog fight.

The worse part about it is that there are many lost people watching how Christians treat each other when they are in disagreement.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, THE WORLD IS WATCHING.  Please act like saved people instead of lost people.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Robbers Cave

On our return trip from Dallas, Sally and I stopped at Robbers Cave State Park, near Wilburton, OK.  Sally told me that her grandparents took her and her brother, John, here when they were kids.

Sally at the entrance map

I'm glad they told us what we were looking at!

Rick at a cave entrance

Rugged Oklahoma wilderness

Dallas Historical Plaques RE JFK

Click to Enlarge Photos to Read

National Historical Place

Events of November 22, 1963

JFK Assassination Map

The Shooter's Window

From this window in 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy.

There is now a museum in the former Texas School Book Depository, called the Sixth Floor Museum.

Downtown Dallas

JFK Memorial

Inside the JFK Memorial

Dallas Country Criminal Court Building where Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald

The "Old Red Courthouse"

Gargoyle on old courthouse

Dim Sum!

For those of you who don't know what Dim Sum is, please see this Wikipedia link.

For those of you who are blessed to know, let me tell you about our Dim Sum experience this weekend in Dallas!

We found the Kirin Court Chinese Restaurant in Richardson.

Sally and I were extremely pleased to see that it is an authentic Hong Kong style restaurant; it is even on the second floor!  They even have push carts!

If you are fortunate to find dim sum in the US, it usually isn't any good.  However, our experience here was worthy to be mentioned on this blog and to be recommended to anyone in the Dallas area. 

Most of the dim sum was comparable to what you'd find in a good restaurant in Hong Kong.  The portions were big and it was all fresh.

Once it got busy, you could close your eyes and imagine that you were enjoying dim sum somewhere in Kowloon.  We were very impressed!

The most interesting thing, however, was that we were offered ice water as soon as we sat down and most, if not all, of the waitresses spoke English.  I was pleased to speak Cantonese with quite a few of them, though, and caused quite a stir doing so.

The Wedding

I was so excited to hear that Tiffany and James were engaged to be married.  I have known them both since they were two years old.

I'll post a couple of pictures here, but here is the link to the photo album I created on Facebook.

Video of Grassy Knoll

Here is a short video of the area around where President Kennedy was shot.

The Grassy Knoll

Saturday morning, before the wedding, I took Sally to Downtown Dallas to see where JFK was assassinated.  Neither of us had ever seen it, but both wanted to.

The "Grassy Knoll"

Texas School Book Depository with shooter's window highlighted

Plaque on the building
(click to enlarge to read)

Location of second shot marked on the street

View of Elm Street looking away from the School Book Depository

Sally and I standing just above the "grassy knoll" with shooter's window visible between our heads.

Fun in Big D

Sally and I took a trip to Dallas this weekend.  The purpose was to go to a wedding of a couple, both of whom I've known since they were two years old.

We found a Middle-Eastern restaurant in Richardson.  It's called Afrah.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who happens to be passing through.

The humus, tabbouleh, and lamb were out of this world. The Shish Tawook (Chicken Kabab) and beef kababs were decent, but not as good as Chez Abou's in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

I also had Baba Ghannouj, but since I really don't care for it, I shouldn't comment too much about whether I liked it or not.

The people were friendly and you were welcomed by the owner at the door.

We ordered WAY too much, but it was really very good!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fun in Branson

We took a little trip to Branson last week.  We stayed at the Yellow Rose Motel, which I would gladly recommend to anyone.  It was clean, quiet and affordable. 

We arrived before check-in time, so we headed over to Montana Mikes for lunch, then on for a quick round of putt-putt.

We had such a fun time in the motel pool, in fact, we spent the rest of the evening there.

The next day, Friday, we loaded up and headed out to Silver Dollar City.  The crowds weren't bad and it wasn't stiffling hot.  We really enjoyed ourselves.

Sally & Emily rode Wildfire

Sally and I enjoyed our time together.

Good Grief!  Isn't ONE Rick enough?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Christians Arrested at Muslim Festival in Michigan

I didn't think, honestly, that I'd be living to see this in my lifetime, but I am wrong.  Christian preachers have been arrested in Dearborn, MI, for preaching the Gospel at an annual Arab gathering.

Muslims, apparently, comprise nearly one third of the population of Dearborn with calls to prayer broadcast over loud speakers.

For the story, see their website,  You sure won't see it on CNN or CBS.

Video here.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

End Times in Action

Well, it looks like religion is becoming one, ushering in a "one world religion" as eluded to in the book of Revelation.

As of today, Claremont Seminary, Claremont, CA, has introduced  clerical training for Muslims and Jews, as part of their regular theological cirriculum.  They hope to add training for Hindus and Buddhists in the near future.  Here is the LA Times article for more detail.

The school is one of thirteen associated with the United Methodist Church.

Considering their rich theological heritage, dating from the 1890's
they should know better!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Jackpot! Update

I received my manuscript back from Dave Scott, my friend who has been editing it.  I drove to Vinita last Tuesday to pick it up.

I was very happy to find that a major re-write wasn't required!  In fact, most of the corrections concerned deleting superfluous words, correcting punctuation, and some minor "clean-up" of ideas for the sake of the story flowing.

The only criticism (constructive) came when he suggested that I add four or five chapters, utilizing an omniscient narrator to further develop some supporting characters that the first person point of view wouldn't be able to accomplish.  We discussed this because Dave said, "as a reader, I really wanted to know more about these characters."

So, with that, I have completed the clean up and the first of four or five additional chapters.

I'm hoping to be in a position to seek literary representation by the end of this month.

In the meantime, please support me and this work by becoming a fan of the main character, Owen Rigsby, on Facebook at  You can also follow Owen on Twitter at

Thanks for your encouragement; it really means a lot!

June 8, 1974

The eighth day of June in 1974 was a day that started like any other.  I remember it quite well, however, because of what happened later that day.

It was barely a month before my 10th birthday, and we lived in Sapulpa, OK.  Our home was in a fairly new addition, Southern Hills, also called "Ford Hill" because Ellis Easterling, the local Ford dealer, was the developer.

I'm fairly sure it was a Saturday.  Our family had gone to John F. Lahon Furniture in Tulsa to buy some kitchen chairs.

On the way back home, the sky turned green.  I remember being scared of the weather, even though I didn't really know what was going on.

When we arrived home, we hurriedly put the chairs in the house then got in our car and drove to Pleasant Manor Nursing Home, where my grandmother was administrator and part owner.  Only being nearly 10 at the time, I wasn't aware of all that was going on, but we were told we were going to "calm down the residents".

I remember talking with them and playing the piano for them.  I remember the storm being quite severe outside.

Finally, calm returned and so did we. 

At home, we found our boat and playhouse both turned over.  The trash cans had been blown into the street.  Mother had a fake tree on our front porch (a "poodle" tree) and it was blown over as well.

A tornado had gone through.  We were very fortunate.  Less than a mile from our house was my elementary school, Lone Star.  It took a direct hit from the tornado and completely destroyed part of it, especially the gym and cafeteria.  The classroom in which I was to have sought shelter had been completely destroyed, with the heavy cement blocks all falling inward where my entire class would have been hunkered down.

Repairs went on all summer and school started a little late that fall.  I remember waiting in line for the cafeteria.  The line stretched into the gymnasium.  The floor was still buckled and twisted, rising more than 10 feet in the air.

In October or November of that year, I found one of the letters of "Lone Star" that detached during the storm.  It was all the way out by the road, in the edge of the fence.  I remember taking it to our principal with an air of accomplishment.  He thanked me and told me that it would save them having to completely re-do and re-order the words for the name of the school.

So, for 36 years now, June 8th has been a significant date for me.  I'll always remember it as the day the tornado destroyed my school.