Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

I haven’t done much global warming stuff recently.  There is only so much you can respond to Al Gore & Co.’s misinformation and political spinning (is he still using NASA’s old temperature numbers, or the revised/corrected ones?).  But here is some good stuff found in the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society– stuff you won’t find in the NY Times or ABC News.

The article was written by David H. Douglass (professor at the University of Rochester), John R. Christy (professor at the University of Alabama), Benjamin D. Pearson and S. Fred Singer (professors at the University of Virginia).  They insist that evidence indicates many assumptions about global warming and CO2 are flat out wrong.

1. The observed patterns of temperature change can best be explained by solar variability, and don’t fit the greenhouse model predictions.  Dr. Douglass indicates “The observed pattern of warming, comparing surface and atmospheric temperature trends, does not show the characteristic fingerprint associated with greenhouse warming. The inescapable conclusion is that the human contribution is not significant and that observed increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases make only a negligible contribution to climate warming.”

One of his co-authors, Dr. John Christy, added: “Satellite data and independent balloon data agree that atmospheric warming trends do not exceed those of the surface. Greenhouse models, on the other hand, demand that atmospheric trend values be 2-3 times greater.

“We have good reason, therefore, to believe that current climate models greatly overestimate the effects of greenhouse gases. Satellite observations suggest that GH models ignore negative feedbacks, produced by clouds and by water vapor, that diminish the warming effects of carbon dioxide.”


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I read the first chapter of Ed Welch’s book Running Scared this morning.  You can read chapter one for yourself here.  He talks about how we don’t need to be taught to be afraid.  From our earliest days we know fear.  How we respond to it changes over time, and with our own experience.  There are some scary experiences we enjoy (amusement rides, scary stories).

He talked about how fear is used by others.  Many of the old fairy tales use fear to teach moral lessons.  When we hit our teens we move from story to movie.  Horror movies enter our experience.  He seemed to think they didn’t involved morality.  I disagree.

I think horror movies are often/usually morality plays.  At least the ones I am familiar with are.  The hero/heroine is the person of some moral virtue, the voice of reason & courage (there is no courage without the presence of fear).  In the early Friday the 13th movies, it was the promiscuous, foolish or wimpy kids who got killed.  In a sense, their death is an intrusion of the eschaton for their foolishness or evil.  In Aliens we see another theme, the guy YOU want to see killed.  Paul Reiser plays the man who betrays the whole team.  He wants to bring the alien back to Earth to study it (he takes the place of the android in the original). 

The morality play is even more explicit in the I Know What You Did Last Summer series.  A group of young adults cover up an accident, and are then slowly killed off.  In the original Saw (I didn’t see any of the others), he is exacting his own form of justice against people who did something wrong.  They ‘deserved’ to be caught in his trap.  Fear is used to communicate that wrong choices have worse consequences.

Fear, of course, ends up being a really bad motivator.  But it is the easiest to use, so it is quite popular (it is used by politicians, the media and zealots of all kinds- they want us afraid of Islamic domination, global warming, health care crises, and the list goes on).  The possible price of promiscuity merely in terms of health should frighten people to keep their flies zipped.  Most of those nasty viruses can go through latex, folks, including the one that causes cervical cancer.  But the promise of fleeting pleasure overrides people’s common sense and they place themselves at risk rather than pursuing fidelity and monogamy.

Love is a better deterrent.  Most who live monogamous lives of fidelity do it because they love their spouse (present or future).  Jesus says, “If you love me, you will obey my commands (John 14).”  Love produces obedience- disobedience reveals that we love something else (usually ourselves) more than we love God.

This is not to say that fear does not exert control over our lives.  It does all the time.  Some of those fears are reasonable (though we may exaggerate the possibility of it transpiring).  Some people are afraid of losing their jobs, losing a big game, being in a car crash or robbed, etc.  We can become obsessed with these realistic fears.

Some of our fears are unreasonable.  Some people are afraid of clowns, or being abducted by aliens.  Not reasonable, but still life dominating.

So while fear does not usually motivate moral choices, it does motivate choices.  I’ve known people who married their spouse because they were afraid no one else would ever ask.  We are all, to some degree, wrestling with fears.  What are you afraid of?  How does it shape who you are, or what you do?

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Considering Iron Man

Not sure what to make of Iron Man.  I didn’t think Michael Keaton would work as Batman, and was wrong.  Robert Downey Jr. as a smart alec Iron Man?  We’ll see.

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24 Trailer

Just in case you happened to miss it somehow.  A shocking turn of events in what could be a great season of 24 as Jack is back.

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The lawsuit against the Knicks is revealing the seedy underbelly of sports and subcultures in an interesting way.  It has, as others have noted, been buried under the Patriots cheating controversy.

But we find that an even bigger double standard exists regarding language used to describe people- at least in the mind of Isiah Thomas.  He explains his sad double standard here.  Where is the outrage that destroyed Imus (trust me, I’m no fan of his)? 

That African-American women should take abuse from African-American men, but not caucasian men, is quite ridiculous.  Where are the feminists???? 

HT: CelticsBlog

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This the end of Velvet Elvis.  The final chapter is called Good.  And the point is the church should be doing good in society.  Rob Bell wants nothing to do with Christians who retreat from society, focusing on getting to heaven and “saving souls.”  In some ways, Rob provides a good critique of much dispensational thinking.  As usual, Rob seems to provide an over-correction.

Rob does a great job of laying the groundwork for the fact that Jesus will be restoring creation (Romans 8).  Our personal salvation is a part of this cosmic renewal Jesus has begun, which will be completed when He returns.

What Rob neglects is that while we await His return, those who die in Christ are in heaven with Him.  And they shall return with Him to renew the heavens and earth, which shall be our dwelling place with God forever (Revelation 21-22).  He lays this out as the expectation of the prophets in the Old Testament.  Paul’s eschatology is not a departure from OT eschatology (2 peoples => 2 destinies).  Rather, we join true Israel (not replace) in receiving the promises.

There are some “interesting” statements made.  Things that would make the Scriptures unclear to most Christians, and lead some in unhealthy directions.

“Jewish writers like John did things like this all the time in their writings.  They record what seem to be random details, yet in these details we find all sorts of multiple layers of meaning.  There are even methods to help decipher all the hidden meanings in a text.”

Hidden meanings…. dangerous stuff in my mind.  His footnote brings us to Matthew’s genealogy.  There he develops this numerology deal with David’s name in Hebrew (the numbers add to 14, which is how many people make up each section of the genealogy which is supposed to shout “King, King, King” to us.  Most people will go “Cool, I didn’t see that.”

It is not hidden.  Matthew’s Gospel starts with saying Jesus is the son of Abraham and the son of David.  He is the fulfilment of the promises given to these 2 great men of faith.  He is the long awaited Seed who will be for the blessing of the nations, and the King to sit on David’s throne.  It is right there in plain sight, for all to see.  And those themes (expansion to the Gentiles and Jesus as King) run all the way through Matthew’s Gospel.  No secret knowledge necessary to understand some hidden meaning.

It is this promise to Abraham that is important in understanding some of the implications of election.  Problem is, Rob ignores the issue of election for salvation (which is the context of most of the statements concerning our election).  He majors on the minor theme of how we are to be for the blessing of the nations.  Christians need to hear that message too, so we don’t run and hide from society.  We seem to forget that the early church entered a very corrupt society and transformed it with the gospel.  The early Christians took care of the poor and abandoned (as Julian the Apostate noted and applauded).  They saw this as a function and picture of the Gospel.  They did not separate this from the Gospel of salvation.

Sadly, Rob would appear to do this (as the Social Gospel did years ago taking Sheldon’s In His Steps too far).

“And this is because the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join.  It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display.  To do this, the church must stop thinking about everybody primarily in categories of in or out, saved or not, believer or nonbeliever.  … To treat people differently based on who believes what is to fail to respect the image of God in everyone.”

We are to love all- even our enemies.  But family ties being greater responsibilities.  We see this in Paul.  A person who calls themselves a Christian must provide for their family (1 Timothy 5:4-8).  We are to do good, especially to those in the family of believers (Galatians 6:10).  This is a function of our adoption into God’s family.  We should treat all people well, and our family in Christ better.  All people are made in the image of God, but some participate with us in the blessings of salvation.  This is the kind of neglect of God’s whole counsel that irritates me.  By flattening it out, Rob can mislead people just as much as those he is reacting against.  This is what I mean by over-correction.  If your plane is off course, you correct it so it arrives at the proper destination.  You don’t just yank the steering column hard in the other direction and pray for the best.  That is dangerous, not just for you but all those following you.

So ends a book that says some great things, and some really bad things.  Discerning people can identify both and benefit from the good things.  But Rob’s intended audience would appear to be people who don’t have the ability to discern those things.  And they will suffer for it.  And that is sad.

Repainting Mission from the Great Commission => Creation Mandate (reversing the progression of revelation)

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CavWife and I actually saw this on a date while on vacation.  I’ve been meaning to review it, but.. time slipped away.

You can read my previous thoughts about the character hereJolly Blogger had some thoughts too.  Now, to the movie.

Since it has the same director as The Bourne Supremacy, it has the same style- odd angles, quick cuts, close and tight during unorthodox fight scenes.  It has the same thin thread of a plot line so you feel some of the same confusion as the characters.  Apparently, in an interview in ETW, Damon reveals that they were continuing to write the script (not re-write) during production, so no one really knew what was going on. 
They also took a more minimalist approach to Bourne- he has few lines.  He just seems to think more.  In the first movie, he discovered he was an assassin.  In the second, he apologizes to the child of his first victims, and kills those responsible for sending him into action.  In this movie, he seeks to discover how he became who he is.  This takes him from London to Paris, Morroco and finally to New York to meet his ‘maker’.

They use some tried and true formulas- good CIA vs. bad CIA as Bourne relies upon some familiar faces to accomplish his goals.  In the process, they make lots of allusions to Abu Grahib and government conspiracies.   ZZZZZZZZ.  Well, it captures the mood of Hollywood regarding current events.

It is about a man trying to regain control over his life.  In some ways he could be seen as trying to stop the perpetuation of evil (there is a new generation of improved assassins being produced), and hold people accountable.  He may be moving beyond vengeance and the lonely, existential man that predominated the first 2 films.  The ending also leaves open the possibility for another film- but where would Bourne go from here?  Good question.  I hope they let sleeping dogs lie- and let a good triology remain just that.

As usual, the credits roll to Moby’s “Extreme Ways”, though it is re-mixed.  It is a great fit for a Bourne ‘theme’.

But the movie is still a adrenaline ride, and enjoyable despite the political musings.  You will be on the edge of your seat through most of the movie.  It isn’t an award winner- but it is a great ride.

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Considering the ELCA

Bradley Schmeling is a pastor in the ELCA.  He was recently defrocked for breaking the celibacy rule for homosexual pastors (whether male or female).  Well, the national assembly overturned the ruling, allowing the Atlanta pastor to return to his pulpit.  It is a sad day for Lutherans, as they chug further to the left, following the trail blazed by the PC(USA) and Episcopal Church. 

As much as denominations like the CRC don’t want to admit it, denominations that begin to ordain women as elders and pastors have ended up fighting over these issues within a generation or so.  Once the authority of Scripture is compromised in the issue of women’s ordination, it continues to be compromised in other areas regarding ordination.  It is not a matter of causation, but correlation.  The causation lies with the departure from Scripture in governing the church.  It just seems that women’s ordination is usually the first domino to fall.

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Boston.com’s most e-mailed article today is about Baby Einstein.  I guess you could say it’s about too much of a good thing, though I hesitate to call Baby Einstein a good thing.  One of the key phrases is “hours per day”.  I can’t conceive of sitting our daughter before the tube for an hour, much less hours.  Parents uses these videos to babysit their kids rather than interacting with their kids.  Our daughter watches maybe one a week.  It is nice that they sometimes have the sign language.  I think what this study shows is that kids need personal interaction (helps develop a greater vocabulary than watching the same videos ad infinitum) and to move around so they don’t, as the article says, become Baby Homer Simpsons.

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Hmmmm.  Their initials are all JB.  All three come from very different time periods but still captivate audiences today.  In an interview regarding the last of the Bourne triology, Matt Damon didn’t have anything nice to say about the first JB- Bond.  He called him misogynist and imperialistic.  So I got to thinking.

I grew up watching James Bond movies.  I think the first one I saw in the theatre was Live and Let Die over 30 years ago.  He was, as noted, a product of the Cold War and has lots of Cold War cynicism.  He loves his country, loves sex and loves dispatching bad guys.  He doesn’t quite fit Damon’s sensibilities.  I don’t blame him- I don’t want to defend Bond’s womanizing ways.  Austin Powers started as a playful nod to all that was Bond before degenerating into ever-increasing crudity.

The Bond franchise got a much needed shot in the arm with Casino Royale (reviewed here).  It sought to explain the man- his cynicism and womanizing.  I see it as the inevitable and necessary hardening of his heart to cope with what he has to do.  It doesn’t justify it- just explains it.  Bond is not a virtuous man, but one who is defending his country.

I read the Bourne books in the 80’s, and really enjoyed them.  Jason was more a product of the 70’s with its suspicion of the government.  He’s a typical anti-hero: an individualist who really only cares for himself.  He’s not cynical, but paranoid.  He is faithful to a fault, pining for the woman he loved.  Unlike Bond, he does not descend into womanizing.  He does not protect our freedom, but pursues his own.  He’s not looking for solutions, but answers.  He is the existential man.

Then there is Jack Bauer- a product of 9/11.  Unlike Bond, he does not enjoy what he does.  Unlike Bourne, he does not fight for himself but for his country.  He is a man of honor, who sacrifices himself for others.  He is not suave, but often brutal.  That is because he knows many thousands or even millions may die if he fails.  He is driven in a way that Bourne cannot understand.

Three ‘heroes’ that have captivated audiences.  Three very different men reflecting very different eras.  Three men driven by different motives.  Three men who should cause us to ask questions about ourselves.

1. What effect does what I do have on me?

2. What effect does what I do have on others?

3. Is it all about me, or am I willing to sacrifice for something greater?

Here is what I’m thinking.  I enjoy the action found in (some) Bond movies, and the Bourne movies.  But I’m stirred by Jack Bauer’s self-sacrifice.  While Bond would retreat to booze and women, and Bourne would seek safety, Bauer would try to save me even at the cost of his life.  This is why Mark Driscoll wonders if he’s a type of Christ.  This is why Bauer beats them both, hands down.

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What, you may ask, are standards and practices?  Well, those are the TV execs whose job it is to try and understand and apply the FCC rules in a very liquid environment so they can avoid hefty fines when they goof.  Entertainment Weekly had a very interesting Q&A with some of those execs.

They are frustrated with the new environment.  They point the finger at the FCC.  “”The arbitrariness, the lack of clarity is creating a chilling effect,” says one.”  But the real culprit here is cultural change.  Culture has expanded the range of meaning for many words, making the job of a S&P exec difficult.  Some people think in black & white terms about some words (suck for instance- I’ve had a few conversations about that one), and have trouble recognizing the expanded use for that word or term because of what it meant years ago.  So, a show uses it one way, but you know someone will call regardless.  Will enough call to get fined?  Depends on who you offend.  And another cultural change is e-mail, where you can now alert thousands or more people about something you heard or saw on TV that offended you.


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I’m a bit behind on my magazines, so I read CT’s review of The Secret today.  I hadn’t heard of this book, and haven’t read this book.  But the description was shockingly similar to Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now.  I suspect they just completely removed anything having to do with God, or at least the Christian God since one of the contributors is “a non-aligned, trans-religious progressive.”  Here is what the review says is the secret purported by the book and promoted by Oprah:

“The secret is simply the ‘law of attraction.’  Think about wealth, and you will become wealthy.  Think about that new car, and it will come.  Think about getting a good parking spot, and one will open up.  Think about your ideal weight (really, dwell on that number, write it on your scale), and you will attract that reality.”

How does this work (where they differ from Joel Osteen)?  “Thoughts are magnetic, and thoughts have a frequency.  As you think, those thoughts are sent out into the universe and they magnetically attract all like things that are on the same frequency.  Everything sent out returns to the source.  And that source is you.”

Therefore, we bring our bad circumstances on us.  I should have meditated on my congregation growing to 500, 500, 500…….. and it would have happened.  Who needs to worry about evangelism, discipleship programming, planning good worship services.  Just think it into being!  Yeah, that is essentially what Joel Osteen is saying, but throws in “the favor of God.”

Since they are “trans-religious”, they use the Bible, but the book often misquotes or misinterprets it (hmmm, sound familiar?).  Like Osteen, this is a book that attracts people obsessed with themselves (according to the Bible this is pretty much all of us, but it is considered sin not virtue).  Such a view, self-obsession, is the polar opposite of the “righteous man” we find in Scripture.  There we see a person who sacrifices greatly on the behalf of those in need.  But, “What (the popularity of) The Secret reveals is that many people are desperately unhappy.”  Sadly, they are not finding their joy and delight in the glory of God in the face of Jesus.  Instead, they are seeking it in earthly treasures that rot, decay and dwindle in value.  We are a people going far astray, falling for the Big Lie.

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What should a Christian think about sports?  Are they a good thing, or a gigantic waste of time?  Is competition good, or a problem, for Christians?

These are not unimportant questions.  Many of our children are involved in organized sports.  They watch professionals play on the weekends.  They read the magazines, collect the cards and play on Playstation and Nintendo games.  Many adults also play on softball teams, watch games etc.  Sports bars do a good business here in Winter Haven.  I’ve seen sports addicts.  Sports play a huge role in our culture and our individual lives.

I began to wonder what it is that draws me to sports.  I like to play, and watch sports.  I follow my old home teams.   What keeps me interested?  I was watching Sports Century one night on the ESPN family of networks (my favorite channels).  They were doing a biography of the Kid, Ted Williams.  Suddenly it hit me- glory!

What I mean is this- I watch for those moments of glory when an individual or team transcends the ordinary limits of humanity and does the extraordinary.  We live constantly running up against the limits of our frail humanity.  We are unable to do many things we wish we could do.  We fail, we struggle and we feel beaten down.  Jobs that go no where; computer crashes; car problems… all these are evidence of the Fall and a constant reminder that life is not what it was intended to be.  We were supposed to subdue the earth, and rule it as God’s vassal kings and queens.  But we have been plunged into futility by Adam’s sin.  We eat, but only through toil and the sweat of our brow. 

In sports we see a stage upon which this grand struggle is played out.  Most of us have experienced the disappointment of striking out, grounding into the inning ending double play, missing the free throw that could tie the game or missing a crucial putt.  But I’ve also felt the unbridled joy of hitting the game winning homerun, hitting the 3 pointer at the buzzer to win, and bowling my personal and league best on the way to a championship.  Those are moments when it all comes together and we experience something of our original design and purpose.  We were made for those moments!

So we sit and watch- hoping to catch that glimpse of glory.  We waited for Jordan to hit a last second shot, his last shot (we thought) as a professional, to win his 6th championship.  We cheered as Big Mac and Sammy chased Roger Maris’ single season home run record.  We wait for someone to break the .400 mark in a season for the first time since the Kid did it 60+ years ago.  We play, not just to win, but to accomplish the extraordinary.  Those moments bring tears to my aging eyes because I see a momentary glimpse of what we were meant to be.  I see what we one day will be.  I hunger for glimpses of glory to keep me going through the days filled with frustration. 

Yeah, some people take this too far and ignore their spouse and children.  Yeah, some athletes betray the public trust and play for money instead of championships (fans don’t cheer your paychecks, just your accomplishments).  Yes, some of us are big kids who never learned to handle losing well.  But that’s no reason to reject sports and competition altogether.  The good is greater than the temptation.  Glory.  It is under appreciated in our day.

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“If we do not strike at the first risings of sin, we are going to end up going places and doing things that we never thought we would.”  Wayne and Joshua Mack, A Fight to the Death

If we do not kill sin, it will kill us (John Owen) for sinful desires war against us.  They lie, promising us life, but only deliver fleeting pleasures before we taste the dust of death.

I guess I see this process taking place in the life of pro wrestler Chris Benoit.  If you asked him, even last week, “do you see yourself murdering your wife, putting your finishing move on your 7-year old son until he dies and then committing suicide?” he’d laugh at the absurdity of it all.  But he went somewhere he thought he never would.

The details of this sad story are more than bizarre.  They did find anabolic steroids in the home.  He may have been involved in the Albany County, NY case concerning steroids.  He and his wife considered their son small for his age and needle marks indicate they may have given him steroids.

Steroids offered Benoit the strength necessary to attain fame and fortune.  He was about 1 inch shorter, but 40 pounds (of muscle)  heavier than me.  He was a year younger.  In an earlier court document requesting a divorce, his wife reported his income (2003) as $500,000/year.  He lived in a $900,000 home.  He won the World Championship.

He got what he wanted, and ended up a place he never wanted to be.  He didn’t leave a note, so we don’t know why he did this.  We could speculate (was she divorcing him?  was the story line at the big show going to result in him being marginalized?  paranoid?) but it doesn’t change the fact that he ended up someplace he never wanted to be, doing something he would never dream of doing.  Sin appeals to us- but if we don’t kill it, it will kill us and possibly others in the process.

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(I originally wrote this in 1999/2000 or so.  I’m pulling out some old work that I found interesting)

I grew up watching professional wrestling.  It was a reflection of our nation’s experience.  The good guys reflected the oppressed groups in our nation (Chief Jay Strongbow, Pedro Morales, Ivan “Polish Power” Putski), or our allies.  The bad guys were from our political enemies (the Iron Sheik, Nikita Koloff), or deranged lunatics (George “the Animal” Steele).  The good guys were actually good.  They tried valiently to wrestle by the rules and display good sportsmanship.  But the bad guys were really bad, breaking all of the rules and eventually provoking the good guys to take matters into their own hands because the ref usually missed the infractions or was powerless to do anything about it.

It was a morality play, pure and simple, teaching us that sometimes good people are forced to fight fire with fire, but only if provoked.  The US saw itself as the good guy forced to take action to counteract plots by the Communists or dictators because the UN refused to act.  On an individual level, most Americans were seen as basically good, law abiding citizens who could strike back if provoked.  We tried to do the right thing, but those darn bad guys made life tough for us.           

“It’s the morality play of the 90’s” declared wrestler “Chris Jericho” on an ESPN special.  He spoke the truth.  In the 90’s there are no longer good guys in wrestling.  There are only not-so-bad guys.  Everything has turned to shades of grey instead of being black and white.  People cheer according to charisma, theme music, alliance or success.  If a wrestler is successful, he is worthy of a following.           

This is the epitome of post-modern, and post-Christian (though modernity and Christianity are not the same), ethics.  The point is gaining power.  Those in power have free reign to do as they please.  If you can outwit those above you, you are to be cheered.  We only boo the horrible authority which tries to oppress the freedom of the individual to make his/her own way.  Success is all that matters.  If a President is successful, he is worthy of a following regardless of his personal and legal conduct.  Charles “Please Quote Me” Barkley has made it known, “I am not a role model”.  He rightly points to parents and teachers, but refuses to accept personal responsibility for being a good citizen.  That’s for “other people”.  Celebrities are somehow exempt from moral standards, even if they are parents and teachers (politicians or pastors).           


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The purpose of pornography is to make money on lust.  I came across a few strange items this week on the issue of pornography.

1. ABC News had an on-line story & video about a dad’s “dream come true“.  His daughter is using her gifts to make the world a happier place as a porn star- Sunny Lane, the “Shirley Temple of Porn”.  He and his wife are her agents.  Yep.  Oh, they fast-forward the sex scenes on their daughter’s movies, but they think this is GREAT.  They save her costumes and label them to be able to auction them off later.  It is all about money, and the exploitation of their daughter.  Parents are supposed to protect their children, not encourage them and facilitate moral bankruptcy.  If my daughter chose to do this, my heart would break.  I’d love her still, but that is precisely why my heart would break.  The girl I love is descrating the imago dei for money…

The parents claim that watching porn was how they stayed monogamous.  Guess they missed that teaching of Jesus that lust in the heart is sinful too.  No wonder they have such a strange view.  They view her on-screen romps as “dates”.  But there is no heart intimacy, so her heart won’t get broken.  All the while she’s killing her soul.


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This picture from the Boston Globe is from an Episcopal Church in Framingham, MA.  It is one of the churches in the U2charist movement.   Here is a summary of what it is like:

“Sometimes, Blair and company remove a few pews to make room for “people to cut loose and dance. We call it our mosh pit.” At this service, congregants grooved in pews or poured into the aisles.

“Each song takes the place of a hymn. Between prayers, the breaking of bread, and the exchange of the peace, Blair talked about the Millennium Development Goals that were adopted by the United Nations in 2000 to eradicate poverty and global AIDS by 2015. Bono is ambassador of the international campaign.

“Throughout the service, a slide presentation displayed statistics and photos of children and families suffering from HIV and lack of drinking water. Blair dashed up and down the center aisle, dancing and encouraging people to make a difference — by helping to sponsor a children’s playground in Africa that has rides that pump water to the community, for example.”

I am a U2 fan- and appreciate their Christian witness.  But… I’m not excited about this.  First, most of their songs are not worship songs.  They are from a Christian worldview, but that does not make them appropriate for worship (exceptions would include ’40’).   If we are singing songs about social justice, disconneted from the Gospel, we lapse into moralism (which is not U2’s intention, I’m sure).  Churches do need to address issues of social justice and compassion.  But we need to do this in a way that is built upon and furthers the Gospel.  We need more preaching that does this very thing (and Tim Keller is a model for us all in this regard).

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RR Poll Results

I occasionally fill out the polls on Road Runner.  One caught my eye today on attendance at worship services.  Nearly 76,000 people responded.  And essentially Road Runner users are not very interested in worship.

34% attend worship services weekly.

8% attend occasionally.

 58% seldom or ever attend worship services.

I wonder if this is representative of society in general.

The next poll is whether or not you attended worship this week.  Although only 38,000 people replied, the numbers were about the same.

33% yes, and 67% no.

Yet, 49% are members of a church or synagogue.  Hmmmmm.

Yet, 48% consider religion very important.

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“There is nothing new under the sun.”  Or out of Hollywood apparently.  Lots of movie ‘franchises’ are on their 3rd go around.  I’m looking forward to Spider-Man 3.  I’ve really enjoyed them thus far, and Tobey Maguire is the perfect unassuming Peter Parker struggling with the price of his gifts and responsibilities.

I’m not as excited about Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End (already?) since Dead Man’s Chest was so very long and uninteresting.  Not to mention inappropriate for children, to whom it was marketed with special fast food meals and toys. 

I’m slightly more interested in Shrek 3.  Loved the first one.  The second had some really funny stuff, but increased the ‘not-really-for-kids’ humor.  The commercials for the new one focus on the scatalogical.  I’m sure Michael Myers can do something else.  It seems Shrek may be taking the same road to vileness that Austin Powers did.

But there is more…. Matt Damon is back for the 3rd time as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum.  I suspect we’ll see that, CavWife has enjoyed them.  He’s also in the 3rd installment of the buddy pics, Ocean’s Thirteen.  ZZZZZZZZ.   But Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker will be back for a 3rd round of chop-stick comedy in Rush Hour 3.

I didn’t think Morgan Freeman was the star of Bruce Almighty, but he revises his role in Evan Almighty.  Jim Carrey made the movie, so I expect this one to stink mightily.  Also up is a sequel to the underwelming Fantastic Four called Rise of the Silver Surfer.  Wait, didn’t we already have a comic book hero this summer?

But we also have the long-awaited 4th installment of the Die Hard series, Live Free or Die Hard.  It may even have 4x as much cussin’ as the original.  But could you really out-do Die Hard with a Vengeance with Samuel L. Jackson providing profanity supplements.  And not to be outdone, the 5th installment of Harry Potter.  He’ll probably keep his clothes on for Order of the Phoenix.

Sadly, Michael Moore is back with Sicko.  Please…. go away.  This might be a great summer to enjoy global warming outside playing ball or riding bikes.  That’s if the northeast, and other parts of the country, can dig out of the snow in time for this summer releases.

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It’s Official!

I am not Dannielynn’s father.  Whew!  Nor is Howard Stern, who is certainly bumming.  I figured that since he kept fighting the DNA test.  I think he and I may be the only 2 heterosexual men who didn’t sleep with Anna Nicole Smith (okay, I exaggerate).  He is heterosexual, right?

Perhaps now this circus sideshow can go away and we can focus on more important things- like baseball and Jihadists.

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