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CJ Mahaney offers his tips on how to watch the Super Bowl, including how to be discerning as you watch the game, as well as offering a prediction.
Today The Baptist Press ran an article (be warned, if you read the article, the language is explicit) by Don Hinkle about The Bott Radio Program’s decision to interrupt one of its programs mid-show out of concern that the featured guest, Pastor Mark Driscoll, might respond with inappropriate or vulgar comments on the syndicated show “Family Life” hosted by Dennis Rainey. The reason for the concern was the topic: sex. For those of you unfamiliar with Driscoll, he was labeled as the “cussing pastor” in Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. This decision is newsworthy because the national radio program has an audience of over 40 million people in 10 states. Bott Network founder Dick Bott made the unilateral decision to pull the interview mid-show as well as a scheduled second interview out of concerns “of what he saw as Driscoll’s penchant for using vulgarity in his sermons, especially his questionable interpretation of the Song of Solomon in a Nov. 18, 2007, sermon preached in Edinburgh, Scotland, and subsequently in a multi-part series entitled “The Peasant Princess.”
This is where the “news” in Mr. Hinkle’s article ends and the propaganda begins. Read the rest of this entry »
Several days ago I began to compose a post about Jon and Kate Plus 8. I have to admit that I’ve been disturbed by the fact that so many Americans, including professing evangelicals, are being “entertained” by a marriage so clearly in crisis – a marriage that appeared (at least to me) to be in crisis long before the allegations of infidelity surfaced. But I’ve hesitated to post simply because I don’t want to be guilty of unfairly judging a situation that I really only know about through slick editing and gossip magazines.
However, today I read an article by Christianity Today that I found extremely compelling regarding the lack of discernment Christians apply to anything that “smells” Christian. The best parts of the article is that it forces us to evaluate whether or not we ask the right questions in our entertainment choices, whether or not we possess godly discernment to sniff out sinful patterns long before we get to accusations of sexual immorality, and why we aren’t willing to apply the ethics of Jesus to life. I encourage you to read it carefully. I think you’ll be challenged – without actually having to throw Jon and Kate under the bus in the process.
The bigger government gets the more likely it is that religious freedoms will be limited. This may appear to be a sweeping generalization, but take an historical look at any major civilization and the more government involved itself in the everyday affairs of its people, the more personal and religious freedoms have been limited. A test case in this country would be parental rights vs. school jurisdiction. More and more government is deciding what is best for our children, not parents. For example, consider that text books in California promote homosexual orientation as normal, even though many parents have protested this blatant sexual propoganda and promotion in public schools. Yet parents have no right to refuse that their children receive teaching (in public schools) from pro-homosexual literature. Another such example are the recent felony charges brought against Colleen Hauser because her son Daniel, who has a form of Hodgkins lymphoma, refused to undergo chemotherapy for his treatment. There may certainly be ethical and moral considerations in this particular case of more significance than I have time to discuss, but the point is this: Is it the right of the government to determine whether or not a person can and should receive medical treatment, particularly when the patient is refusing such treatment, and the guardian consents?
The most recent example of how the government is encroaching more and more upon our personal liberties happened this week in San Diego, California. Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary have been told that they cannot invite friends into their home for bible study – unless they are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to San Diego County. The reason: their gathering is a violation of county codes that require permits for religious assemblies. They received a citation for “unlawful use of land” and are now considering a lawsuit in federal court.
The First Amendment states that the government may not prohibit the exercise of freedom of religion. This bible study is in the Jones’ home – on property that they own. I seriously doubt that if they were hosting a large social gathering on a weekly basis there would be any such complaint from the county. This is certainly a situation to watch with interest, because how it unfolds will have far-reaching implications in the future for all home religious gatherings.
John Frame has posted some helpful questions to ask when evaluating film choices.
In my discussion of film and culture, I identified the general thrust of modern secular liberalism and its antithesis with Christianity. My reviews will deal with those themes in general. Here I wish to be a bit more specific. What follows are certain questions that are always in my mind when I go to films. I would recommend that other Christian viewers ask the same questions. I will not go through this whole list in each review; I will only discuss the ones I think most important to the particular film.
1. Who wrote the film? Who produced it? Who directed it? Do we know through the writings and previous work of these people anything about their philosophy of life? The previous works of actors are also important. Actors contribute much to the quality of a film, little to its fundamental conception. But actors do tend to sign on to projects with which they have some ideological affinity (assuming financial rewards are not otherwise determinative). Mel Gibson almost never takes on films with a heavy sexual element; Mickey Rourke almost always does. The presence of certain actors, granting that they sometimes go ”against type,” can tell you something about the message of a film.
2. Is it well-made, aesthetically? Are the production and acting values of high quality? These factors may have little to do with the “message.” But they do tend to determine the extent of the film’s cultural impact, and that is important for our purposes. If a film is well-made, it can have a large impact upon the culture for good or ill. (Of course some bad films also have a major impact!)
3. Is it honest, true to its own position? This is another mark of “quality.” Generally speaking, an honest film, regardless of its point of view, will have a larger cultural impact than one which blunts its points.
4. What kind of film is it? Fantasy? Biography? Realistic drama? Comedy? Obviously each film must be judged according to its purpose and genre. We don’t demand of a fantasy the kind of historical accuracy we demand of a supposedly literal biography. Read the rest of this entry »
Russell Moore posted an insightful article about the potentially devastating impact that unsupervised and unfiltered text-messaging may be having on the souls of pre-teen and teenagers. Moore writes:
A pre-teen or a teenager with unrestricted cell-phone usage (or Internet or television consumption) is being placed in a very, very difficult place of temptation. The company of that young man or woman is now away from the scrutiny of parents, and is now left only to his or her discretion or conscience. Are there some young Christians who can handle such? Of course. Should you assume your child is one of them? Your Father is more careful of you than that.
Moore’s point is helpful. Cell phones themselves, and the easy-access world of text-messaging, aren’t inherently sinful modes of communication. They can, however, become a toxic host for an abundance of sinful habits. Read the rest of this entry »
As if the sickening holocaust against childhood that we call a woman’s prerogative and personal choice doesn’t offer enough evidence that children are increasingly being seen as the great inconvenience, perhaps the latest assault on the gift of a fruit-bearing womb will persuade you that society is nurturing a culture of hatred towards children. Jonathan Porritt, who chairs the Sustainable Growth Commission in Great Britian, says that families that choose to give birth to more than two children are “irresponsible” and create an “unbearable burden on the environment”. He also states that “curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming”. Talk about an inconvenient truth.
John Piper has an excellent article about the parallels between the crash of USAir Flight 1549 and the inauguration of Barack Obama.
The “miracle on the Hudson” and the “miracle in the White House” are not unrelated. God has been merciful to us as a nation. Our racial sins deserved judgment a thousand times over. God does not owe America anything. We owe him everything. And instead of destruction, he has given us another soft landing. We are not dead at the bottom of the Hudson.
Abortion is one of the most polarizing issues in America. For many evangelical Christians, this is the defining issue in any political election. Interestingly, President-Elect Barack Obama is the most staunchly pro-choice advocate ever to ascend to the Presidency. No candidate, whether elected or not (not even Sen. Hillary Clinton), has vowed to defend the rights of women to abortion as ferociously as President-Elect Obama.
But if abortion is such a wedge issue in American politics and morality, why is it that Barack Obama made so many inroads among evangelicals in light of his stance on abortion? Read the rest of this entry »
Tony Woodliff writes a response to a Washington Post article about atheist and/or agnostic secular humanists seeking community in groups that look pretty similar to the community that is supposed to be found in the Church. The goal of such communities is the pursuit of a life of good works without the dogman of faith. While interesting, Woodliff’s most compelling commentary is reserved for the contemporary Church, which is so many cases embraces the dogma of faith without being characterized by good works. The irony here is that “faith without works is dead”. Woodliff asks an important question:
Whose souls are more in jeopardy? The humanist thirsting for God may one day find the living Well. But what of the self-satisfied Christian who ignores the wounded in his own congregation? By faith we are saved, yes, but faith without works is dead. Who will break open the whitewashed tomb?
Lord have mercy on all we who mumble prayers without lifting a finger.