Archive for February, 2014

It can happen here

February 19, 2014

By now, most people have heard about the tragedy at Union University in Jackson last week.

Olivia Greenlee, a senior at Union, was found dead from an apparent gunshot wound in her car on the Union campus. See story in the Feb. 19 issue of the Baptist and Reflector.

Three days later (Feb. 15), Jackson police arrested another Union student (Charles Pittman) in connection with Greenlee’s death. He has been charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence, according to news reports. Pittman also served a Tennessee Baptist church in Alamo as a youth pastor and children’s minister.

It’s the kind of story you would expect to hear at a major state university in New York or California, not on a high profile, private Christian university campus in the South. Too often we think a major tragedy only happens far away. That simply is not true. It can, it does, and it will happen again in our own back yards. The only question is “when?” The events of last week at Union are just another reminder that “bad things do happen to good people” regardless of where they are. Christians aren’t immune from a sinful world.

Union President David S. Dockery and the entire university community Union have handled this tragedy as well as or even better than could be expected. No matter how much “crisis” training you receive, nothing prepares you for something of this magnitude.

I encourage Tennessee Baptists to continue to pray for the families affected and everyone on the Union campus in the weeks and months ahead. This tragedy is not something you will “get over” soon, if ever.

The only thing we can hold to is the promise found in John 16:33 (KJV), “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”

A refreshing attitude

February 6, 2014

Bryson Allen-Williams is one of my favorite players at the University of South Carolina and he has never played a down.

What’s more, he may or may not become a great player, but I have the utmost respect for this young high school football player from Georgia.

Allen-Williams officially signed with South Carolina on National Signing Day on Feb. 5. He had been committed to the Gamecocks since last April.

For those who follow college football recruiting, a commitment a year ago means absolutely nothing until the player actually signs with the school on National Signing Day.

So naturally, players change their minds all the time. South Carolina had several players who committed to other schools who changed their minds and switched to USC at the last minute.

Allen-Williams had numerous opportunities to change his mind. He was recruited by the University of Alabama, which had the number one recruiting class in the nation according to most sources, but turned them down.

He was strongly pursued by his home state school, the University of Georgia. In fact, it appeared that as recently as Monday, Feb. 3, he might change his mind and commit to the Bulldogs. He watched the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 at the home of Mark Richt, the head coach at Georgia. They made a strong push for the high school linebacker.

But on signing day, Allen-Williams committed to the Gamecocks.

His rationale? He told The State newspaper in Columbia, “I gave my word.”

Wow, how often do you hear those words today from mature adults, much less a teenager who hasn’t even graduated high school?

Allen-Williams’ decision and statement should be an example for us as Christians. As Christians, our word should be as good as any signed contract. Scripture reminds us in Matthew 5:37 that our “yes should be yes and our no, no.”

Bryson Allen-Williams may become a superstar in college or he may be a total flop. Regardless, he will have my respect for remaining true to his word. May his tribe increase.