The Show Must Go On! “Where My Backup Singers?”

“The show must go on!” may have never been better illustrated than by Patti LaBelle at the 1996 Christmas Tree Lighting in Washington, DC as seen in the video below.

Watch the video, then continue reading.

Throughout the song she brought attention to the problems by mentioning them, rolling her eyes and making faces, humming rather than signing, and complaining. But, … She. Kept. Going.

Question: Was it better for Ms. LaBelle to continue on even though she didn’t have her backup singers, didn’t know the song, and had the wrong cue cards? Or, should she have taken a moment to get organized?

A couple questions should guide us to an answer.

1. What did she intend to accomplish?
2. Did she, in fact, accomplish her goal by continuing on with the show?

Although I don’t know Ms. LaBelle’s goal for that performance, I can’t imagine that the product was anywhere near what she had hoped. Thus, it seams reasonable to conclude that she might have benefited by taking a moment to reorganize. Of course for public presenters – whether in song or spoken word – it is embarrassing to stop when things don’t go as planned. That’s understandable. But, could stopping for a moment to better organize be more embarrassing than the outcome of Ms. LaBelle’s performance? There is a reason it’s on YouTube.

Happy 6th Birthday, Zach!

Happy Birthday, Zach! You are a treasure beyond our greatest hopes. We love you.

The Fourth Man (Dispatches from the Front Episode 10)

The announcement of the latest release in the Dispatches from the Front series, Episode 10: The Fourth Man is welcome news! (Available from Westminister Bookstore by clicking the title link above.)

Among the very best missions video series available is  Dispatches from the Front by Frontline Missions International (follow FMI@Twitter). The intention of the video series is to bring “viewers up-close with sights and sounds from distant corners of the Kingdom.” Why? Because believers “everywhere desperately need a renewed vision of Christ and the unstoppable advance of His saving work in all the earth.”1 To this end, Dispatches from the Front succeeds in every way.

The sights, sounds, and reflective narration are informative, encouraging and challenging because they provide an inside look at real ministry done by real people in real places around the globe.

In this 10th installment in the series, Tim Keesee takes the viewer into new territory: The Middle East.

“He is risen!”—three words that change everything. This wonderfully good news that was first announced to the women at the Empty Tomb is still being declared boldly in the Middle East by the Risen King’s messengers! Dispatches from the Front goes into this region of centuries-old darkness and division that is now overshadowed by the fierce violence of ISIS terror. Yet, the Gospel is powerfully at work in the Middle East, and Christ is building His Church there just as He said He would. Neither the gates of hell nor the gates of Islam can withstand the work of our Risen King! From mega-cities in Arabia to refugee camps left in the wake of ISIS terror, The Fourth Man goes beyond the headlines to showcase the Gospel’s power to save, the mercy and love of believers, and their abiding joy as Christ walks through the fires of persecution with them.2

I have personally watched all of the previous episodes multiple times and have included them in the curricula of my college and seminary missions courses. So, add my name to the long list of enthusiastic endorsements, which include, among others, Tim Challies, Mark Dever, John Piper, Carl Trueman, David J. Hesselgrave, and Justin Taylor.

It matters not whether you are a seminary or Bible college student, a missions pastor, or a lay member of your church that knows nothing about missions, you can benefit from this series.

Dr. Craig A. Dunning, PhD
Lead Professor of Intercultural Studies/Missions
Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary
#GoBBCLife Change U!

The video clip below will give you an idea of what’s inside episode 10.


Paoli, Oklahoma

Welcome to Paoli, OklahomaThirty-nine years ago today, I had one of the most frightening moments of my childhood. I had not yet turned twelve and was riding the Greyhound bus back to Dallas from Oklahoma City.

It was the day after Elvis Presley’s funeral, and I had the bright idea to get a newspaper. I wasn’t interested in reading the newspaper; I thought the paper detailing Elvis’ funeral would be a collector’s item one day.

Since I was traveling alone I rode in the front seat of the bus, opposite the driver. This was not the direct OKC-Dallas route, which I had taken on other occasions; this was the indirect, stop at countless places along the way to pick up and drop off riders. When we arrived at the Paoli stop, the driver announced that we would be stopping for a short break and asked if anyone wanted to get off. No one responded, and the driver proceeded to exit the bus and enter the mom and pop store, presumably to get a cold drink.

A few minutes after the driver exited the bus, I noticed the paper rack outside the store and it occurred to me to rush out and get a paper. Because he had already left the bus I didn’t tell the driver I was going inside, which turned out to be a big mistake. I jumped down from the steps of the bus and ran over to grab a paper and took it inside to pay. Somewhere along the way, the driver and I passed each other. But, I didn’t notice him and he apparently didn’t notice me.

As I was waiting in line to pay for my future treasure, I noticed the bus slowly pulling away from where I had left it. A feeling of horror washed over me as I realized I was being left behind, and I immediately burst into tears AND ran for the bus. (I don’t remember if I left the paper on the counter, or simply took it without paying.)

Thankfully, the bus was slow to gain speed. As it limped forward, I was able to catch it. And by catch it I mean I was able to run alongside it banging on the luggage doors, hoping the driver would hear me and stop. He did hear me, and he did stop. When he opened the door, I didn’t have a chance to be relieved before he started yelling at me. “Don’t ever get off my bus again without telling me!” he shouted. “Get in that seat and don’t get up again!” he added for good measure. Believe me, those thoughts had already crossed my mind, so he didn’t need to rub it in.

I was terrified that I almost missed the bus and embarrassed that the driver yelled at me in front of all the other passengers, but I was relieved to be on the bus and not left in the store in Paoli, Oklahoma … wherever that was, because I had no idea at the time.

It took me a while to stop crying and get a real sense of being okay, but I finally did. Though, I think I’ve been permanently marked by the event because I can’t pass the Paoli exit on I-35 without reliving that event.



Happy 17th Anniversary

On August 7, 1999, at the Temple Baptist Church in Odessa, Texas, Colleen and I promised to take one another as partners in life, for the rest of our lives. Colleen’s brother Shannon walked her down the aisle and gave her away. She’s been mine ever sense, and I’m the better for it.

Craig and Colleen Dunning leaving their wedding reception on August 7, 1999.

Craig and Colleen Dunning leaving their wedding reception on August 7, 1999.

%d bloggers like this: