The other morning I turned on Good Morning America to watch some morning news. As they were returning from commercial break, they ran a short snippet of one of Lady Gaga’s music videos acting in a way that was beyond PG-13 to put it kindly. I thought for sure the show’s hosts were going to talk about how appalling this was and how it is being exposed to our children. However, it was just the exact opposite. The show’s hosts came on happily talking about how great a performer she is and that she was going to be on the show performing live for a free concert. Most of the audience cheering in the background were little girls.
I’ve seen Lady Gaga now a couple of times making appearances on some other morning news programs and other shows like American Idol. I can’t speak for her talents because I’ve never really listened to her singing, but her appearance and provocative fashion and dancing I would say are always well beyond a G, PG, or TV-14 rating. She may have the right to freedom of expression. But when the form of expression surpasses a level of decency, morals, and ethic and is marketed toward kids, it has to make you ask, Really?
For years now, I’ve seen R-rated actors portray characters on various children’s shows. For example, the narrator’s voice for the Thomas the Train kids TV series has been George Carlin, Jerry Springer, and Alec Baldwin. Really? Is this the best Hollywood could find to market to children? Most young children wouldn’t recognize these names. So why would producers spend the extra money to hire these celebrities?
As adults, we may recognize George Carlin as the infamous comedian for making popular the 7 dirty words. Or how about Jerry Springer as the king of trashy talk shows. Other voices I’ve seen over the years on children cartoons on PBS, Disney, and other kids’ channels have included Cheech Martin, Gilbert Gottfried, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Michael Myers, Jack Black, and so many others.
If you think about it, most of us probably wouldn’t allow these people to babysit. Yet we invite them into our homes every time we tune in to any of these shows or plop in these popular DVDs.
I came across these videos that are great reminders of what Christmas is all about. It’s so easy for us to get lost in the marketing, celebrating, presents, giving, eating, caroling, parading, movie watching, and all the rest of what has come to be the secular meaning of xmas. Xmas has become just that. We’ve evolved into a society that has X’d out Christ and replaced it with ourselves. So as we celebrate this year, let’s remind ourselves to slow down and be grateful for the mercy given to us by the gracious gift from are Most High.
Here are a couple of great clips to watch and show the family of the real Christmas story.
The Paradox of Christmas:
Retooning the Nativity:
Jesus and Santa:
On a recent episode of “The View”, apparently Bill O’Reilly offended a couple of the host ladies for stating that the 9/11 terrorist acts were done by Muslims. The ladies argued that it wasn’t Muslims, it was “Extremists” that killed the Americans and then stormed off stage.
So what is an Extremist? Webster’s dictionary defines an Extremist as “advocacy of extreme measures or views,” and extreme as “going to great or exaggerated lengths.”
How does one become an extremist in their faith? Is it that they live and obey the teachings, practices and principals of the founders of the religion? If so, then what is the argument presented by these ladies?
The founder of Islam is Mohammed. The founder of Christianity is Jesus Christ. It is my understanding that Mohammed killed or at least gave instructions to kill. Jesus did neither. I have read by some Muslims that Mohammed killed in self defense. Jesus ordered Peter to put away his sword in self defense on the night of His arrest.
Because I believe in the Bible, believe in Jesus as my Savior, believe in Creation and the Creator, believe in Hell, believe in separation from God through sin, believe in the 10 commandments, believe in His resurrection…does this mean I am an extremist? I often wonder for those who have never studied Christianity, if they interpret a Christian Fundamentalist as someone who is living and obeying the laws of the Old Testament only. Wouldn’t that then make me a Sadducee or Pharisee instead?
For an interesting article of the differences between Mohammed and Jesus, see here.
In today’s USA Today, there is a large article on a survey done by Baylor University. The premise of the survey was to get an understanding of how Americans view God to be.
9 out of 10 Americans believe that there is a god. But of those, how do they view god? The survey categorized 4 categories describing god based on the views of how people view god:
– Authoritative (28%)
– Benevolent (22%)
– Critical (21%)
– Distant (24%)
* The remaining 5% they categorized as Atheist / Agnostic
Personally, I would have liked to have seen additional questions in the survey to identify if their god is the Biblical God. Perhaps questions like:
– Do you actively read the Bible?
– Can you site scriptures for each response provided?
I would imagine that the majority of those 9 of 10 people replied to the survey questions about who / what is god with statements that began with “I think that god…” or “I believe that god is…”. It’s one thing to say that there is a god. But it’s a completely different question if they can identify that god with the God of the Bible. In other words, how many people base their views of what the Bible says about God versus those who have made up their own image of a god.
The Bible says, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” and “I will give You all this domain and its glory”.
How great does that sound? The prosperity gospel at its finest. Just beware. Be like the Bereans, “for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11.
If you don’t already know who said the first 2 scriptures quoted above, study chapter 4 of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
How many times will you share your faith with a stranger tomorrow? How many times would you share your faith tomorrow if I gave you $1,000 for every stranger you share your faith with ? Which is the greater motivator, God or money?
My thought of the day…
When you read a letter sent to you from a loved one, what is your frame of mind before you open the envelope and begin reading it? You may know their whereabouts, their circumstances, health, financial situation, family problems, struggles, and on and on. The words in the letter are much more meaningful because you may have a better clue as to the reason, the urgency, the encouragement for writing you. You have a better idea as to what the impact is to you, how you can help, how you should respond.
When you read the letters of the New Testament, do you commonly go through the motions of reading the verses? Do you just try to find a meaning for the verse(s) as it applies to your life situations? Or do you take the time to really understand why the author was writing the letter. What was their motive? Where were they writing from? Where were the reciptients? What did they fear?
Although the authors died almost 2,000 years ago, try getting to know them as much as possible and the timing and situation that they wrote it. And since you are reading the letters as more of an interceptor then the actual recipient of the letter, get to know the recipients. The verses than have so much more impact to your life and walk with Christ.
Yesterday, I went to CNN.com to get my news to balance out the fairness after reading FoxNews.com. I came across a commentary posted by a Christian blogger who was given a spot on CNN.com. I found it interesting that CNN would actually give a space to Christian commentary.
The article’s writer gave his opinions as to why Christians are jerks online. If Christians are to love thy neighbor, why oh why then do they act like jerks online? You could probably replace “jerks” with self-righteous and still have the same point made.
I suppose his points were valid. He explains how Christians hide behind an online identity, making it easier to be more blunt, especially since you may not know the readers. He also explains that for many it becomes an idol in nit-picking the little things that annoy us as Christians.
So why can we be jerks online? Here are some of my thoughts in no particular order:
- Young in our Christian life – You’ve heard the saying, once a ____ always a _____ (fill in the blank with anything). Although, that may not necessarily be true, there are some habits that are harder to get rid of than others. I’d like to think that as a Christian, I am repenting of all my sins and bad habits, but in reality some are still lingering. Luckily I have people in my life to remind me of them.
- Not all christians are Christians – Many people in and not in church will claim they are Christian, yet know nothing of the Gospel, much less Grace. They may find themselves compelled to show the errors of others’ ways. So it’s not fair really to stereotype Christians and lump all christians together.
- One bad seed can damage a whole crop – All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. This “all” includes Christians. There will be those who are prominent and well known Christians who will stick their foot in their mouth on occasion. How about giving them some grace too.
- Excited to share with others – As Christians we desire for everyone to realize God’s glory and are excited to share it with others. Blogging or chatting online gives an easy platform to share opinions. It allows us to be bolder and braver than what we would normally share face-to-face. But nonetheless, we want to share what we’ve come to learn about ourselves in hopes others don’t make the same mistakes.
- Truth hurts – What one persons sees as “jerky” may in actuality be the truth. Pointing out a flaw in an individual or a society is rarely ever politically correct.
- It’s not a Christian thing – So why are Christians singled out? Any time I have ever commented on a non-Christian blog or YouTube, I immediately get barraged with hateful emails and replies with so much vulgarity it would make George Carlin cringe. It is a challenge to maintain a nice attitude on a blog site when someone attacks you in such a way.
What are some of your thoughts?
Interesting article in today’s WSJ regarding who understands (or doesn’t understand) the policies facing our country. Conservatives? Liberals? Who do you think?
I recently had a talk with someone who was reading a book to scientifically explain Genesis and how the first days of creation were not literal days. One of the arguments was that the sun wasn’t created until the fourth day so there really couldn’t be morning and night. Later as I tried to find useful information to send him, I found that the commentary in my Bible wasn’t exactly good either. If I remember right, the commentary said that of course there had to be a sun for there to be morning and night, but it was too hazy to really see much light. Hmmmmmm. That still didn’t sit well with me. What kept coming to my mind were all the references of Light (capital “L”). God is Light – both spiritually and physically. No one could look upon His face because of the sheer brightness. But what really hit me was in studying Revelation 22:5, “And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them, and they will reign forever and ever.” Don’t you think that the God who can create life from nothing can also create light without a sun?
I always struggle with finalizing a blog. Someone else always seems to say it better than how I would say things.
But as I was reading through Philippians today and came across 1:23-25, Paul talked about looking forward to Heaven yet realizing there is still more he had to do on earth. He says, “But I am hard pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.”
In reading these passages, it made me ask myself, is this the meaning of life? Is this why we are here? We are to appear as lights in the world holding fast the word of life (Phl 2:15-16).
So let us spend our time here on earth focused on Him, worshiping Him, loving Him, and serving Him by being of the same mind as Christ, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose, doing nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind, regard for one another as more important than ourselves by not looking out for our own personal interests, but for the interests of others.
This is may so much easier said than done.
I later came across this video on YouTube called “We Are Here” which I thought was interesting given the state of mind I was in after reading Philipians: