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Posts tagged ‘Culture’

15
Feb

WHAT is the Most Deadly Virus?

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When I originally wrote this book more than twenty-five years ago, the winds of the “me generation” were blowing a strong and deadly virus through the culture.

The cultural revolution that had taken root in the 1960s was beginning to reach full flower, as seen in the abandonment of traditional values and moral standards in almost every sector.

“Do your own thing” became the slogan that guided choices and behaviors, closely aligned with “I gotta be me!” and “I owe it to myself.”

The virus of relativism was blowing in the wind, along with a virulent secularism determined to propel any remnants of biblical Christianity out of the public square.

It was period of time marvelously captured in a biblical statement that serves as a description slogan for a period in Israel’s history known as the time of the judges: “Everyone did what was right in his (or her) own eyes.”

Even at my most pessimistic moments back then, I would not have imaged that things could or would unravel as quickly or as drastically as they have.

We have experienced a cultural “perfect storm,” due to the convergence of forces such as moral relativism, aggressive pluralism, determined secularism, “do it yourself” spirituality, and libertarian individualism, aided by the technological realities of the information age.

The implications for followers of Jesus Christ are obvious.

We cannot hermetically seal ourselves from the spirit of the age so that we live in splendid isolation from it.

In fact, we must not.

First, our sovereign Lord calls us to live in the world for His glory, and monasticism and isolationism are not biblical options.

Our mandate from the risen Christ prohibits retreat.

Besides, the attempt is futile. There is no place to hide. Virtually every segment of modern culture has become a carrier of values alien to those of the kingdom of Christ.

We confront the open expression of these anti-Christian values in academia, the media or the entertainment industry; commonly in the operations of our daily life that bring us into constant contact with lifestyles we are expected not merely to tolerate or accept, but to celebrate; and less directly in spheres of commerce and technology.

Sadly, the spirit of the age often takes its most deadly form when it is absorbed into the professing Christian community.

Much more than I want to admit, many Christians live, act, and choose as if God’s Word had never been written.

How do we live in a society without fixed standards, a society daily becoming more secular and pagan?

God’s call is clear: “Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life” (Phil. 2:15-17 NASB).

These are important verses.

They remind us that we are not simply to survive the moral confusion and spiritual anarchy that surrounds us, somehow staying unpolluted by the world.

We are also to shine, reflecting the glory of the Lord Jesus to a world that desperately need to see Him.

In other words, we are not just to be good in the midst of evil.

We are not even just to be good for something, serving others.

We are to be agents of our King, pressing His kingdom and its values into our culture and forming communities that are outposts of his kingdom, demonstrating to the world another, and a better, way to live life.  (Gary Inrig, “Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay,” 7-8)

“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike
5
Feb

WHY Should We Pay Attention?

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A U.S. Army officer told of the contrast in his pupils during two different eras of teaching at the artillery training school at Fort Sill, Okla., (home of the Field Artillery).

In 1958-60 the attitude was so lax the instructors had a problem keeping the men awake to listen to the lectures.

During the 1965-67 classes, however, the men, hearing the same basic lectures, were alert and took copious notes.

“What was the difference between the classes of 58-60 and the class of 65-67?” you ask.

The latter class knew that in less than six weeks they would be facing the enemy in Vietnam.

13 “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13; cf. 1 Pet. 5:8; Eph. 6:11).

“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike
28
Jan

Did Jesus Have Feelings?

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IF HOLLYWOOD TEACHES us anything–which is very, very little, it teaches us not to trust how it portrays any real-life character. Writers, directors, and producers all have their personal say in how an individual is brought to the big screen. “Based on a true story” is the motion picture industries’ way of saying:  “We are using copious amounts of creative license and editorial bias to show you what we’d like you to see about this particular person in history.”

I remember reading years ago about the 13th century Scottish hero, William Wallace, often referred to today as “Brave Heart.” Hollywood gave him a rather extensive facelift. Truth be known, the William Wallace of the silver screen and the William Wallace of history are two radically different entities. They ain’t even second cousins.

But nowhere is Hollywood’s disposition towards real people more evident than in the life of our Lord. Cinema and pop culture has morphed Him into a rather stolid, dull, and largely unemotional being. He’s a disconnected, Vulcan-like therapist for broken and hurting folks. What’s worse is that He is depicted as moving in and among the ancient masses with the energy and enthusiasm, forgive me, of a baked potato. You see, Hollywood wants you to think of the Jesus of history as obtuse at best and dull and out of touch at worst. In other words, He is uncaring and irrelevant.

But friends, the Bible shows the Messiah to be quite different from how He is rendered in modern media.

The Jesus of Scripture is a man of intense passion and feeling:

  • Watch Him overthrow the tables of the moneychangers in the temple in Matthew 21. Did Jesus care about sin, hypocrisy and greed?  Was He ever aroused by transgression and iniquity?

 

  • Watch Him shed tears at Lazarus’ tomb in John 11.  Did Jesus feel deeply at funerals or was he an emotional vegetable?  Did He weep or was he devoid of affection?

 

  • Watch Him interact with the crowds of sick folks in Matthew 14.  The Holy Spirit said Jesus was “moved with compassion.”  Does that sound like He didn’t care and that he was unaffected by pain?

 

  • Listen to Him lift his broken voice on Gethsemane’s hill as He pours out his heart to God in Hebrews 5.  The NKJV describes his laments as “vehement” (NKJV), while the ESV describes them as “loud cries and tears.”  Does this sound like a man who is incapable of sensitivity?

Our Lord was no half-human android. He had heart, He felt strongly, and He was passionate!

Give Hollywood its credit. It knows how to appeal to the carnal and it knows how to make (and lose) LOTS of money.

It just doesn’t know how to deal with the real Son of Man.

“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!”  Mike