Do We Publish Anything With Meaning and Longevity Today?

Edwards Sermons Publication

How much do we write that has meaning and longevity today? While we aren’t, and can’t, all be Mark Zuckerberg (see Mark Zuckerberg and the Biblical Meaning of Success), it got me thinking about the value (and noise) we add when it comes to our photos, videos, and  our writing today. Much like photography when the digital camera boom happened, there was a flood of “uncle Bob” photographers that rushed on the scene, flooding every corner of the Internet with second rate photos. Now 10 years later, photographers, pros and amateurs alike, are adding a staggering 200 million photos to Facebook PER DAY, or around 6 billion per month, and that’s just Facebook, Flickr from February and March 2012, has reached the pace of 1.8 million photos a day, that is up to 28 photos per second in peak times. Same goes with video, YouTube is now receiving 72 hours of video uploads per MINUTE, and I’m sure the same goes with the music industry.

So what about writing? WordPress (the blogging platform of choice for many writers and bloggers, added 937,374 new posts, 1,492,356 comments, & 197,044,567 words TODAY on, which doesn’t even include self-hosted WordPress blogs making that number about double. When you add Twitter in at something in the range of 300-350 million tweets per day, you really start to see the massive amount of data we put out each day. Perhaps volume of information written degrades the overall quality of our writing? Would someone who wrote in the 15-17th century have actually had an advantage to writing in the 21st century? Less noise, less Tweeting, Facebooking, blogging,, etc, would probably have given Calvin or Luther more time to write, and write well, right?

This morning I received a notification from the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale that Wipf & Stock Publication has released previously unpublished writings of a series of sermons preached by Jonathan Edwards between 1737-1738. Here is a man who wrote profusely when it couldn’t be done on a computer. He had to write by hand, and even at that often times he didn’t have paper and had to use any scrap he could locate. In fact, he wrote so much that a whole team and museum of people are still sifting through his writings, trying to compile them into volumes. I wonder how much he could have written in the 21st century world. Maybe it would have been less… and not nearly as inspired as it was?

Letter Explains Mitt Romney for Commencement Speaker at Liberty University

Mitt Romney at Liberty University

Every since Liberty University announced that Mitt Romney was going to be the Commencement Speaker (see also the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, the CBS News, and even the POLITICO) for this year’s graduation class [some] people have been in an uproar (so says the Daily Kos anyway, the people I know had no problem with it at all). Most of the uproar comes in the form of the fact that Romney is a Mormon, and doesn’t align with Liberty’s theological vision, which is correct, he is, and he doesn’t.

Yesterday, the Office of the Chancellor, or Jerry Falwell, Jr. addressed concerns with the statements below. I guess at some level an explanation was needed, but the one presented below is a great example why this is no different than any other speaker Liberty has had in the past. I for one am glad that they have such a wide variety of speakers at Liberty. I’m sure there are those who can shred the theological explanation below, but it’s good enough for me, and it goes beyond just the criticism of having a Mormon speak at graduation, the letter explains why Liberty’s mission statement, to train Champions for Christ, includes welcoming Mitt Romney, regardless of his faith or politics.

Dear Students,

My office has received hundreds of messages from students and 2012 graduates who are thrilled and honored that the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States will be our Commencement speaker. Some graduates have also inquired about Liberty’s policies regarding the doctrinal beliefs of graduation speakers. These same questions seem to surface every spring and I am writing you in response to those inquiries.

First of all, it is important to remember that Liberty actually has two Commencement speakers each year. Long ago, most universities ceased their practice of including a Baccalaureate service during their Commencement weekend, but we have insisted on keeping this service as a demonstration of our Christian commitment to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

This year our Baccalaureate speaker is Luis Palau. Dr. Palau is an evangelist who has preached the Gospel to a billion people. Palau is often considered second only to Billy Graham in his influence for the Gospel, and, as is our tradition, he will be clearly delivering the Gospel at Baccalaureate.

For twenty-five years Liberty has traditionally had leaders from the worlds of politics, business, and entertainment speak during the Commencement ceremony on Saturday. Most of these leaders have not traditionally shared Liberty’s doctrinal convictions. In the last few years, our Commencement speakers have included an evangelical filmmaker (Randall Wallace), a Mormon commentator (Glenn Beck), a Jewish economist (Ben Stein), an evangelical actor and athlete (Chuck Norris), an evangelical – now Catholic – politician (Newt Gingrich), a Catholic commentator (Sean Hannity), a Southern Baptist senator (John McCain), and an Episcopalian chief of staff to President Bush (Karl Rove). In all, at least 20 of Liberty’s 38 Commencement speakers have fit in this category.

My father’s vision for Liberty University was both a theological and a cultural vision. Theologically, it was to found the world’s preeminent Christian university where every faculty member professed faith in Jesus Christ, agreed with our doctrinal statement, and sought to fulfill the Great Commission and live the Great Commandment. Culturally, it was to found a university that held in high regard our nation’s founding principles of limited government, the free enterprise system, and individual liberty. Liberty’s tradition has been to focus on the first part of this vision during the Friday night ceremony and the second part on Saturday morning.

Liberty’s commitment to an annual Baccalaureate service has ensured that we have never held a Commencement that did not include a strong gospel message from an evangelical leader.

I am sure that members of the Liberty University community will treat Gov. Romney with the respect he deserves, regardless of whether they agree with his religious or political beliefs.

When my father traveled the nation speaking at many secular universities, he was often met with boos and hisses by those who held different theological beliefs than he. I am so proud that Liberty students have gained a reputation for treating those whose beliefs are different than their own in a Christ-like manner. You have shown respect to speakers as divergent from Liberty’s worldview as Ted Kennedy, Bob Beckel, and Tim Kaine.

Gov. Romney is a man who has excelled in business, governed a state, and even managed the Olympic games. He has been faithfully married to his wife, Ann, for 43 years, and they have 5 sons and 16 grandchildren. Gov. Romney is a leader of global significance, who might eventually be the leader of the free world, and we are honored that he accepted our invitation.

An invitation to speak at Commencement is not an ad-hoc endorsement of a presidential candidate or even of that particular speaker’s religious or political views. The ultimate purpose of having a prominent Commencement speaker is not to promote the speaker or his views but rather to inspire and challenge the graduates and showcase Liberty and its mission.

My prayer is that having the presumptive Republican nominee as our speaker will cause many who have never heard of Liberty to take notice of what Liberty is doing to train a generation of Champions for Christ. Perhaps, many of them will consider a Christian education over the secular alternative.


Jerry Falwell, Jr.
Chancellor and President

That explanation won’t cut it for some, but for many, no explanation would suffice at all.

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Fall Storms Roll Through Auburn University Today :: Photos

It was a dreary cloudy day in Auburn today, but almost 80*F in the middle of November, until this really fast moving storm system sort of caught everyone saying “what just happened?” These storms have now moved east doing about the same damage as they head towards the east coast. We didn’t have any damage at our place but there was pretty significant damage all around Auburn in the form of downed trees and power lines, some turned over cars, and apparently some damage to Auburn High School and Haley Center on campus. We are thrilled to hear that, so far, there haven’t been any injuries associated with the storm.

The only reason Deb and I happened to be on campus at lunch time today was to get her out of the house for a quick lunch in Foy Hall where they have one of her favorite places to eat. Once the sirens started going off on campus (see a really splotchy video here) everyone headed for the hallways and campus became like a ghost town. It’s just part of living down here in the south, glad no one was hurt. I did however get some photos while we were walking/driving around trying to get home (all taken with my cell phone here). Stormy weather always makes for such great lighting conditions, even if it is just on your cell phone.

Auburn University’s Samford Hall Between the Hedges

Probably the most over photographed spot on the Auburn campus has to be Samford Hall, but for good reason, it has those photographic qualities that stand out from all angles.  This is a little less traditional shot of Samford Hall, which kind of makes it look like a toy train station building.  War Eagle everyone.

Samford Hall and Auburn University in the Snow

Samford Hall on Auburn University in the Snow

Samford Hall on Auburn University in the Snow

Samford Hall on Auburn University in the Snow

Toomer's Corner in Auburn

This was one heck of a snow storm we had today, and I had to go over to Auburn to take some photos of Samford in the snow.  Over the past two days we have had tornado warnings, then 70 degree sunshine, and the very next day we had several inches of snow.  I did manage to get out and take several shots of the snow storm today and didn’t want to put them all in one post so here are some photos of Samford Hall on Auburn University in the snow along with one shot of Toomer’s Corner Drugs as well.

Every time you think you have seen every angle of one building (Samford Hall) something happens to make for a great new and fresh image.  I took these about 7:30am before the snow really got going today, and I wasn’t alone, there were crowds down on campus by the time I got there and I did see that Aubie made an appearance in the snow as well.

It must have been about 8-10 years since it has snowed this much in Auburn so there are a few images of Samford in the snow but I am not sure what the record is for total accumulation, but we came close today.

Michelangelo Creation of Adam Condom Flyer at UGA?

Creation of Adam Condom

The Creation of Adam is a fresco painted on the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo some time around 1511 that depicts the story in Genesis of God breathing life into Adam.  This painting in Vatican City is probably one of the most famous paintings in the world and was restored in the late 80’s early 90’s, and is now being used by the University of Georgia in the form of a flyer tacked up in the students dorms to educate and promote the use of condoms.  All other issues aside, are we to think that university level students are unaware of a condom and its use?

Apparently UGA finished up Sexual Responsibility Week this past week (this is something we are now doing in higher education?) and this poster was created to promote… sexual health and created this STD(?) poster/flyer.  It reads:

Condom Tip #5, Carefully open condom wrappers with your fingers – don’t use a sharp object.

I guess people will use anything now in the promotion of a product, but do we care any more, but this was an ad put out by the University of Georgia, not some marketing group.  There will be no outrage for this because it is not making fun of the Koran, Islam, or the Muslim faith of any kind.  If that were the case, people would be sued, fired, and apologies issued (although I do see that the University of Georgia has since apologized in some manner).  There is just nothing that is out of bounds in the worldly view when ridiculing or making fun of the Christian faith, so this shouldn’t be much of a surprise to Believers.


Creation of Adam by Michelangelo

The Catholic League is none to happy about it and apparently released this statement.

“I hasten to add that the University of Georgia would never choose a depiction of Muhammad to hawk condoms. Indeed, only a few years ago an inoffensive depiction of this Islamic figure in a Danish cartoon led to murder and churches being burned to the ground. One can only imagine what would have happened had he been portrayed pushing condoms to youth.”

Question is I guess, do we really care anyway?  After all, I did find a similar likeness used by the Simpson’s, although they weren’t being portrayed promoting a form of birth control. We know this will never change until the new heaven and new earth are upon us?  A quick scour of the left wing blogs give quite a flippant view, but I haven’t really found to much outcry against such use of the historical painting.  Should we care?

I would hope that our hometown school of Auburn University would restrain from such use but they did feel it was necessary last year to have a gay pride day and parade for Auburn last year, so I guess I would take the flyer over promoting a lifestyle (being that there was no heterosexual pride parade but that’s a whole other set of topics all together).

Being somewhat interested in design and marketing in today’s web 2.0 world, I would love to know what department created this flyer in the first place.  It looks and reads like a 1960’s ad… is this all we can come up with on a University level these days?

I would think at this point the University of Georgia has taken the flyers down from their dorms but if not, I would love to hear from a UGA dorm student or anyone that can email over a higher quality image of the flyer.  If so, send it on to my email address scott.fillmer [at] gmail and I will post it here instead of the one above.

Auburn vs Mississippi State and Rolling Toomer's Corner

Samford Hall Photo at Night on Auburn University

Toomer's Drugs in Auburn Alabama

Rolling of Toomer's Corner in Auburn

This week the Auburn opened the SEC play with the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville, MS.  This was the first away game of the 2008 season, and as expected, the Auburn Tigers played well.  We did not actually make it to Starkville for the game today, but rather watched it on ESPN2 with half of the rest of the country, which made for a real short walk to my bed after the game instead of a very long drive.

Wow, what a game.  This was not a pretty game at all.  Pounding defense all game long and more resembled a baseball game score.  A win is a win, and at least they came away with a win, but it probably won’t do to well in the NCAA polls on Sunday.  Another story from the game was the injury to Brad Lester who was taken off the field on a cart and the update said he had a sprained neck.  Haven’t seen a game like this in a long time, Auburn tried everything they could do to loose but so did MSU, and in the end, the game clock is what won the game.

Although I really do like the idea of the spread offense that Tommy Tuberville (whom I think is probably one of the best coaches ever at Auburn) has brought in, that was probably the weakest display of an offense (on both sides of the ball) that any SEC conference game has seen in a long time.  It is a transition year for the offense, and it looked it, I just hope the Auburn Tiger faithful has the patience to wait it out because in the SEC, a loss is pretty much the season, and next week we have LSU coming to Auburn.  Never a fun game at Jordan-Hare Stadium under any circumstances, but without an offense that can score a touchdown?  Yikes.

The photo above is one I took of Samford Hall in front of the historic sign saying Auburn University, Established 1856.  Probably one of the most photographed buildings in the Auburn area, Samford Hall was built in 1888 after a fire destroyed “Old Main” building in 1887, which sat on the same site, using bricks salvaged by the ruins of Old Main building.

Toomer’s Drugs (located on Toomer’s Corner of course) is another historic landmark of Auburn and a big part of Auburn University.  This photo above was obviously not taken tonight after the game, so why are either photos significant to the Auburn vs Mississippi State football game, well right in between these two buildings is the rolling of Toomer’s Corner (of the Live Oaks).  An Auburn tradition that goes back to the 1970’s (see the live web cam of Toomers Corner here) when Auburn would win away games, students would come down to Toomer’s Corner and toilet paper roll the corner (see Auburn Tigers Football Season at a Glance // 2006).

Now it is done with just about any win for anything, but it generally looks like this:

I admit I could not make the effort to drive down there tonight and take a current shot of Toomer’s corner at 10pm at night when I have to get up early the next day, but I am sure this is exactly what it looks like right now, only the faces are different.  Next week when Auburn plays LSU (and wins) we will be down at Toomer’s corner with the camera to record for history the rolling of Toomer’s corner.

Auburn Tigers Football Practice Report Moves into Full Swing

Auburn University football practice is in full swing now and although the second practice on Thursday was rained out, Friday’s practice looked good from the sidelines, and brought many onlookers and media.

Auburn Football Practice 2008

Auburn Football Practice 2008

Auburn Football Practice 2008

Auburn Football Practice 2008

As I understand it from the OA News and from the Auburn Tigers CSTV the scrimmage on Saturday went well with about 100 plays being executed. The play was closed to the public and media outside of Auburn relations. These four shots above were taken from the end zone of the secondary practice fields on Friday [full gallery here].  Auburn’s next two-a-day is on Monday with the later practice at 5:45pm, it has been a nice overcast day for football, nice for this time of year.

It All Begins With Auburn Campaign Begins in Birmingham

We attended a kick off event a few weeks ago for the 2006 fundraising campaign for the Birmingham chapter of Auburn University Alumni. The event was held at the Barber Sports Museum in Birmingham. The museum was unbelievable. The current display at the museum is 4 floors of motorcycles. The motorcycles are displayed in various creative ways, including some stacked like tonka toys.

This one was probably my favorite.

There were several famous bikes on display. Jeff Gordon had donated a bike to charity and the Barber Museum won it at auction. It was on display as well as this classic from the movie Easy Rider.

Here are some more of the motorcycles that I found impressive or just plain cool.