I grew up when Diff'rent Strokes was a popular television show. That's no big deal unless your last name is Willis. To this day I still hear those famous words popularized by Arnold: "Whatchu talkin bout Willis?" Usually they are uttered by someone looking at me as though I may have never heard it before. Yeah, right! Well this blog is what I (Willis) am talkin bout...my thoughts, observations & opinions. Enjoy...

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Expanded Bible New Testament

I'm at Ollie's in nearby Hampton the other day and checking out their books (as I usually do). I came across The Expanded Bible: New Testament and remembered looking through it a few months ago. The price was right as it usually is at Ollie's so I picked up a hardback edition. I think many of you would enjoy this presentation of the New Testament. It's underlying text is the New Century Version (slightly modified I think). Now normally I wouldn't recommend this translation but in this format I really like it. The NCV is a "dymanic" or "thought for thought" translation and long way from the NASB, ESV, NKJV or even the NIV for that matter. Yes it's easy to read, but that's not enough for me. In this format howveer it is full of "notes" within the text itself and it is much more than a plain NCV. Think of it as the old Amplified version but MUCH better IMHO. You'll find brief comments, literal, traditional & alternate renderings, references, etc. in a well done approach. Some how a nice balance is struck here - not to much, but fairly hefty nonetheless. The NCV is in bold font so you can read it fairly easily if you don't want to read every additional word in between. It's actually pretty easy. Reading it out loud you'll sound like a teacher interjecting relevant information as you're reading. I suggest you consider it as a resource. You can get the PDF for free here

That's what I'm talkin bout!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Read John

I've been in a sermon series for a few months now based on the Gospel of John and I'm loving it! I know I'm the guy who thinks whatever book I happen to be studying at the time is the greatest ever, but John is truly TREMENDOUS! You can't read John and straddle the fence on the divinity of Jesus Christ (1:1,2,14a: 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.). You can't read John and suppose that all religions are the same (14:6: Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.). You can't read John and conclude that Jesus was just some good teacher doling out several catchy & memorable sayings (8:24: I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."). John's Gospel is uncompromisingly in your face stuff and it resonates deeply in me with every passage. So, take a few minutes and feast on the life of Christ as recorded by the apostle John.

That's what I'm talkin bout.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I haven't been political lately, but...

I'm wondering. I'm wondering where all the anti-war protesters have been. I recall a particular vehemence and passion in protesters back during the Bush (#2) administration that seems to have diminished. Where is the hollyweird crowd? Where are the musicians? Maybe I've just been missing them (I don't pay much attention to them). And where is all the vitriol for President Obama over not bringing the troops home? President Bush was bellitled regulary & with much fervor - we all know that. I say this as someone who pulled for Ron Paul and as someone who was not in favor of invading Iraq in the first place, so I'm not a GOP/Bush apologist. I just find it curious that much of the anti-war fury has subsided eventhough the war hasn't.

I guess one might also note the GOP's ground troops & talking heads are suddenly concerned about the swelling of the federal government. The political door swings both ways for sure!

That's what I'm talkin bout.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Some Answers

Here are some very brief answers to my recent interview. I was interviewed by a neighbor for an assignment in a Religion class at nearby CNU.

1. Do you believe the Bible literally?

Literaly is a loaded word. I believe the Bible is Divine revelation and is true. Some things in it are literal; some are figurative, etc.

2. Do you think we (the U.S.) should attempt to get other nations to embrace our form of Goverment?


3. What are your views regarding separation of church & state?

Keep them separated. I  would also note that we have freedom OF religion & not freedom FROM religion.

4. Do you believe your religion is the only correct one?

Yes. Jesus' subsitutionary death is the only means of salvation from mankind's sin (& coming punishment).

5. Who would you prefer handle benevolent/charity type efforts - government or private organizations?

Private orgnizations.

6. How do I feel about religious "hot button" isues like homosexual marriage, abortion & stem cell research?

-Homosexual marriage - incompatible with Christianity.
-Abortion - takes an innocent life.
-Stem cell - not sure, but think we can find others sources rather than cells made available from abortions. Would like to avoid a potenial supply & demand system here.

Do you address social/political issues at church?

Not much really. This can cloud our true focus. I'd prefer to keep the main thing the main thing.

What Happened to the Comments?

I recently moved to the DISQUS comment moderation system. I have been inundated with spam lately. Anyway, DISQUS adds some features & controls I like, but it has resulted in the disappearance of the old comments here WTBW? I'm in the process of trying to retrieve the old comments, but I haven't heard back form the DISQUS folks yet. Hopefully, I can still get them back and haven't lost them permanently. We shall see.

And it also allows me to dispatch one incessant jackass who cannot understand that his comments are not allowed here.

That's what I'm talkin bout.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


"Hey, you're a pastor, right?" That question came from my approaching neighbor as I exited my car yesterday afternoon. He attends CNU & was working on an assignment for a Religion class. He needed to interview a "cleric" and you know me - I'm definitely a cleric! (lol) He recorded our interview with his spiffy green IPOD Nano (nice). Anyway, he asked a series of very interestig questions and I rambled off my answers. Here is the gist of a few (answers not included)...
  • Do you believe the Bible literally?
  • Do you think we (the U.S.) should attempt to get other nations to embrace our form of Goverment?
  • What are your views regarding separation of church & state?
  • Do you believe your religion is the only correct one?
  • Who would you prefer handle benevolent/charity type efforts - government or private organizations?
  • How do I feel about religious "hot button" isues like homosexual marriage, abortion & stem cell research?
  • Do you address social/political issues at church?
It was a really good conversation and I got to proclaim Christ. I could tell we had a lot in common at least politically. He's a Republcan moving toward Libertarian (like me). He's a Political Science major (I was too before switching to the most intellectually demanding major: Sociology!). He's a CNU student and I'm an alumnus. We supported the same candidate for Governor here in Virginia and, right now, we have the same mayoral candidate's sign in our respective front yards. There was much more, but the sum of the discussion was better than the details. How cool was it to have a college age guy sit in my living room and discuss with me the important issues of our day? VERY COOL. Now I need to figure out how to make that happen again.