Fishy?

jesus_fish_car_emblemToday, not for the first time, I was cut off in traffic and rudely signaled by a person with the “Christian” symbol on their car.

I was not going slow. I was actually above the speed limit but apparently not fast enough, in the right lane, for this soldier of Christ.

Ladies and Gentlemen. If you are going to put a piece of plastic on your car to make some kind of statement about your supposed spirituality then please be mindful that you are anonymous and it is not your good name that is being slandered by your behavior.

Act right.

Be kind.

Lose the plastic. Your life of Christ-likeness will be a much bigger testimony than the piece of signage on your car.

I really think folks do it just to proclaim whose side they are 0n in the culture wars.

By the way, I find the Darwin fish-eating symbols to be even more offensive and idiotic. What is your point? that you are smarter or some other conceit? that symbol has only one purpose. To offend and belittle.

Back to Christians.

Either be perfect or take the fish off the car. At the least try to obey traffic laws and common decency.

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Why I Don’t Enjoy (Most) CCM

singing1I have had friends ask me why I don’t like contemporary Christian music.

Several reasons.

1. I am an old curmudgeon.

2. Most of it is not very good.

3. Much of it is just an attempt to copy other popular music.

4. The big, real reason – WHO IS THE CENTER OF ATTENTION? WHO IS THE FOCUS OF THE PERFORMANCE?

How many times have you heard a performance in a church and the histrionics of the performer are what is the main thing in view?

Hey, if you want to be Beyonce’ or Britney Spears or David Cook then by all means go for it.

Just don’t do it where I’m trying to worship.

 

PS

I have friends and relatives, one in particular, that play and in Praise and Worship bands. I have no doubt at all about this friend’s sincerity and heart for the Lord.


The Magic Bible (or The Bible is Magic)

neon-bibleJohn Dennis has written one of his typically astute posts on his “If”  blog.

This one is concerning bibliomancy (Notice the other superstitious and occult references on the same page in the online dictionary).

See it here : JohnDennis on “If I Could Just Find The Right Verse”.

While he deals in a pointed and hilarious way with this superstition I would like to add my own 2 cents. (That and $6 will get you a cup of coffee.)

How many times have you sat through a sermon or teaching while the speaker was lifting bits of scripture here and there to make a topical point?

I have no real beef with topical preaching/teaching but I do insist that if you are going to take this hodge-podge method that it:

1. Support a solid biblical concept/truth.

2. That the lifted scripture not be out of the context of where it is in the narrative of the bible.

The bible is not magic.

God is not the big Make-A-Wish-Foundation in the sky. (Wonderful organization here on Earth.)

Study your bible. Read it like a book not a dictionary or as an unrelated bunch of quotations.

John 3:16 makes a statement alone that is consistent with the overall message.

Be careful that you don’t apply the magic method to Matthew 27:5.


Tolerance?

Something from Texguy.

Tolerance?


Murder in the White house

I wanted to be on board with the new president but infanticide is more than I can stomach.

I thought about showing graphic baby murders but my sense of decency won out which is more than I can say for the murdering abortionists.

The kicker is that its not even ideological for them. It’s all about the money.

Murdering babies.

The Vatican reacts here.


Alone amongst millions

fear_poster_medToday I read an extremely intersting post from the very excellent www.internetmonk.com site entitled Is This the “Better World” You Were Talking About?”.

The question is posed if in today’s media saturated world are we better off than say 50 years ago?

I responded on Mr. Monk’s site but would like to respond here as well with my story.

When I was a boy in the 50’s and 60’s we of course had television but it was in no way the center of our lives. Nor was radio.

What we had were neighbors, friends and relatives.

What we had was a true sense of community.

A typical Summer evening was spent with all of the adults gathered on the front porch and in the yard of my grandparent’s home. Nothing was organized people just showed up.

The adults would talk.  They would talk sometimes about world or national events but mostly the conversations were about local subjects.

The high school football team, crop and livestock prices, local politics, church, people who had died were sick or were born.

The talk was of people and events that they knew and affected the daily life of each one.

Even thought there was a television set in the house it was never turned on during these times. The adults found it noisy and distracting and the children had better things to do.

Important things like catching fireflies, seeing the new calf, playing kick the can or  thousand other things that kids can do when their imaginations are given free reign.

The adults gathered there all raised me and my brothers and my cousins and my friends. I had the accumulated wisdom of not just my parents and grandparents (a time machine back into the 1800’s when they were born) but the extended family and their friends. Mrs. Clinton was certainly right about a village but I think she did not mean what I mean.

This all seemed to have started in the early 60’s when President Kennedy was assasinated and we were glued to the tube for days at a time. Then the media circus of the Beatles. Vietnam was brought into our homes in living color.

However, the whole tenor seemed to change with Watergate. No longer did journalists seek to just get the facts and report the story it became more about the “gotcha” factor.

So is the world better?

No!

Today we hardly know our relatives much less our neighbors. I read an article in the newspaper this morning (there’s a shocker) about a man whose neighbors had lost their home in foreclosure and he never knew until they were packed up and gone. he didn’t really know these people at all but wished he could have at least given them someone to talk to.

Today we live in virtual isolation in these 3 bedroom prisons of our own doing. We sit in our homes and offices quaking in fear from the latest panic foisted on us by the media.

It’s not even the media’s fault. Oh, of course they are to blame for giving in to our worst inclinations (my how the world could use Edward R. Murrow) but we have asked, pleaded for the shallow blather that we get. And I’m not even discussing what passes for entertainment I’m talking about the “news”.

There are those lonely voices crying out such as Wendell Berry and Rod Dreher but their voices are lost in the clamour.

I don’t think we can go back. We can try but we are a nation and world of self imposed agoraphobics.

The loss cannot be measured. When we lost our community we lost part of what being human is. Perhaps we are on the cusp of a new humanity but it looks very much like the world of “THX1138” or “Brave New World” and I don’t really want to be a part of it. I guess it’s good that I’m on the downhill side of my 50’s.


“Christian” infotainment

heavenly_choirFirst a disclaimer.

I am not a fan of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music). I do not read very much Christian fiction. I have read “The Shack” that’s about it.

I am a curmudgeonly baby-boomer.

My tastes are not the final arbiter of what is good or not. Listen to or read whatever you like.

OK.

Newsweek reported last July that Christian entertainment (music, books, tv and movies) has become a billion dollar industry.

CCM alone accounted for $747 million in sales or 7% of the entire American music industry and it’s growing.

Since I don’t listen to this music or buy these books I suppose it’s possible that some good music and writing has crept in. Actually, I don’t listen to music on the radio at all because radio in 2009 radio is horrible with just a few exceptions of roots based music.

So what is my problem?

First, the music is just not very good. I realize that the level of writing and musicianship has improved but it is still generally sub-par. I think that most CCM artists really want to be mainstream bands or singers. This is a broad stroke of the brush but I think that the music and the record speaks for itself.

Second, I detest the “Jesus is my best freind/boyfriend” genre. Jesus is Lord of the Universe, the Great I AM, The Word, the Alpha/Omega. You get the point.

Third, the chanting reminds me of my hippie days when we would hang out with the Krishnas while they chanted the same phrase over and over until they were in some kind of mindless bliss. Is this what we want as believers?

Alright, I know that when Charles Wesley and others were writing that the music was probably viewed as too far out and hip for the day. I get that. but, at least these hymns had some theological weight to them.

Just look to something that you might consider lightweight like “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”.

 

Hark! the herald angels sing, –
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’ angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest heav’n adored:
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the favored one.
Veil’d in flesh, the Godhead see;
Hail, th’incarnate Deity:
Pleased, as man, with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail! the heav’n-born Prince of peace!
Hail! the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the sone of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

The Incarnation, The Trinity, Salvation. Wow!

The literature I will leave for another day.

If any of you think you can turn me on to somebody who not only has something to say but in a compelling piece of music then by all means please do so.

Chrisitan entertainment has become BIG business. Just like the churches that support it. I’m sure they would have loved it in Laodicea.