Archive for the 'Entertainment' Category

The NFL’s blind eye and divine healing #NFL #domesticviolence

September 21, 2014

Of course they knew all along. How could anybody not ingest and understand the decades of scattered arrest reports and other public misconduct perpetrated against by women by the NFL’s finest. You would have to be a complete out-and-out moron not to realize that there is a serious problem, except that management did not consider the assault of various wives and girlfriends to be much of a problem. For the men at the top, it’s just another day at the office.

They are damn good at making up excuses too. Boys will be boys. If we ask men to play with intensity, they are going to play with intensity. This is what winners do; they win. And the best of all: most of these women like to be knocked around anyway. Oh yeah, there is nothing quite as fun as an evening at the Emergency Room. A broken nose, some missing teeth. Now tell me. Does life get any better. This stuff is so rich, the guys in charge might actually believe it.

Since I have not played in competitive sports, this is surely an opinion to which I am not entitled. How could one not admitted to the special Sunday afternoon priesthood possibly understand the needs and the pressures. The NFL pretense of ignorance just will not do, especially as we observe the deliberate provocation of violence for the sake of winning and building ad revenue.

It is a good thing to see that the players are (with some exceptions) also knocking each other senseless. Those concussions are making you crazier than you already are. Maybe the brain damage is part of the anti-social conduct. Seriously.

Let’s not fool around with this. The fans are every bit as guilty as the management and long past time for Christian fans of the National Football League to stop supporting the oout-of-control cry babies that are determined to have their way no matter who gets hurt. There are probably some Christian high schools that could even learn a lesson here. The lousy misdeeds of some players is part of man’s rebellion against God.

The physical assault against another human being amounts to vandalism against God’s own icon. Man is created in the image of God and such mistreatment as what is done by the athletes is absolutely forbidden. The second great sin recorded in scripture is Cain’s anger with Able, an evil emotion that led to the first murder. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus forbids anger and speaking harshly about another. That kind of conduct keeps the offender from being heard by God.

That NFL players should not hit women ought to be obvious. They should not hit anybody, nor even give a home to hateful thoughts. Their problem is the very human tendency to believe that the individual is in charge of his own life. It denies the possibility of a higher power working in our lives. It is dangerous to be humble, kind, and generous, but that is what Jesus demands. I have a hard time with that and the only solution is a genuine life-changing repentance. That would demand a gentle manner, turning the other cheek, protecting the weak, and giving up the mega paycheck. What a terrible trap.

And it is not only a few NFL players that must undergo the real change. Each of us, including women, must fight the tendency toward egotism and greed.

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Robin Williams, suicide and Hell #robinwilliams #suicide

August 12, 2014

Two close friends have committed suicide, so this is no theoretical conversation to be conducted over cigars and Brandy. The wounds are still very raw. Knowing that I can never “recover” from another’s final act of desperation has taught me the depth of suffering that must be experienced by those who end their own lives.

Our society takes questions concerning life too lightly and suicide is generally seen as one more private decision for which each private and sovereign individual has exclusive responsibility. If that is the way you see it, no amount of argument is likely to prevail against so mighty a fortress. Before I give this to you straight, let me urge you to read every last word. This is no easy thing and I do not approach it lightly, nor in the spirit of judgment.

Suicide is a grave public sin. It is an offense against God’s generosity and an insult to those whom we should hold dear. According to the authoritative 1662 edition of the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer, those who have laid violent hands upon themselves are not to receive the public funeral service of the church which is due believers. Such persons are denied burial in a church graveyard. When I was in first grade (1956?), the parent of a fellow student died. There was never another word said, but I learned later that the secrecy surrounding this death was because it involved suicide. There was once a very strong public attitude opposing this awful act, but we have changed.

You are probably saying right now that you are mighty pleased that our attitudes are much more enlightened and that we are not bound by the cruelty of a previous time. You are, to some extent, correct in your understanding. Let’s walk through this and sort things out.

The Prayer Book editors were correct to put a high sanction against the taking of one’s own life. They did not know it all, however. There are real facts concerning mental illness that are known and understood. To sanction a formerly depressed member makes as much sense as punishing somebody for having diabetes. There is a pastoral issue at work here and things will get a little dicey. Somebody who is known by his clergyman to be under a doctor’s care, getting therapy or taking drugs is plainly ill and entitled to the public rites accorded to those who are joined to the Body of Christ. While that probably does not apply to Mr. Williams public profession (I am deliberately being excessively generous), It could. His medical situation certainly tells us that the decision-making process was not working correctly.

Murder-suicide is another area and you can probably imagine how one might want to escape responsibility for taking life. No person who has done such a thing should receive a funeral or burial by the church. How can one say that the departed is laid to rest “in sure and certain hope” of the resurrection, except that they do not believe the words in the first place. Let us be clear that a minister may conduct services designed to comfort family and friends of non-believers and those who have committed serious public sins, but they should not pretend that the deceased is a believer or commended “in sure and certain hope.” As the church enters a difficult phase, it is most necessary to publicly profess the apostolic faith and to maintain integrity.

No matter Robin Williams’ attitude toward God, the Lord above is full of grace and mercy. None of us are fit to judge another person.

Duck Dynasty and the Kingdom of God #DuckDynasty #A&E

December 20, 2013

Phil Robertson is a broken human being and the Duck Dynasty is the feeble creation of human hands. I am certainly not a good person and do not enjoy authority to pass judgement on Robertson or his critics. Still, Christians must be discerning. Perhaps my small voice might add something to the larger conversation.

If one is a public person, there is a fundamental decision. Do you serve the interests of management, consultants and advertisers, or do you serve the truth? There can be a big difference and sometimes it comes down to a balancing act. Let me tell you, based on personal experience, that telling truth can have dire financial consequences.

Some have said that A&E, which owns the DD brand is demonstrating “courage” in the handling of Robertson’s recent comments. Nonsense. A&E is playing the same old “CYA” game that powerful people who love power more than anything else always play. Yes, Phil Robertson should have been more circumspect on his views on sexual relations and race. On the latter he and Paula Deen from Food Channel are living in another planet. Honest. I am sure that Phil’s friends all shake their heads in total disbelief when he unloads that crackpot stuff about the “old south.” You can never change the attitudes of people from this generation.

My parents raised me to be a bigot. I was explicitly taught that African-Americans are inferior and should be kept separate from the white race. My Catholic school education overcame that. I should add that my father hated the “n-word” and would have never used it or allowed it. He also detested people who used that kind of inflammatory rhetoric.

I grew up in the “old south” and would have bitterly resented being shoved aside to only certain areas of public accommodations and generally excluded from the possibly of economic advantages. Yes, there were black professionals, but that was the exception to a hard rule of wrongful discrimination.Phil is from the rural south, where black people suffer right along side of their economically deprived white brothers and sisters. He is completely lost on the more complex urban issues of race. We should show a little mercy.

Robertson is feeling some (unfair, I think) discrimination today and I know he does not like it one bit. The experience will probably be good for him. Do not expect him to change. Truth is, society needs Neanderthals to serve as a kind of marker of the boundary between ordinary stupidity and indecency. Now,  let’s get on with the part that will cost me.

Yes, homosexuality is a sin. So is greed and envy. Sit down for this. Anger and hatred are just as sinful. All of these separate us from the love of God. My sins, if we were to stack them up, would reach all the way to heaven, Practically speaking, this means that all the people who live from sunrise to bedtime hating President Obama are teetering right along the edge of the Lake of Fire. Jesus speaks specifically about the connection between hateful speech and murder and he found zero distinction (Matt 5:21-23).

As the Creator of all things, Jesus is generous in the way he approaches sinners. That sets a good example for all of us. I am convinced that Jesus would personally minister to gay folks today (of course, as our King ruling from the throne of David in heaven, he does!) and he would never display an ounce of homophobia, because that is sinful behavior that makes if impossible for a Christian to have a civil conversation with homosexuals.

Phil Robertson needs to work on his spiritual generosity. Some may be quick to suggest that I am misstating the orthodox Christian position and nothing could be farther from the truth. I am not entitled to decide who gets the good news of salvation. Every believer is under a serious obligation to bring Jesus’ message to all people, including the ones we don’t like. If Phil is going to make himself a Bible-thumping example for America, as he claims, then he will need to know more about the scriptures, God and the neighbors whom he has been called to love as much as himself. No Christian is able to rightly say which people will end up in Hell (which is a real place with really bad weather).

Finally, most of the people who have been hardest on Phil Robertson are a bunch of bullies and intellectual lightweights. At the core, Robertson holds the exact same opinion as Pope Francis. Furthermore, concerning his awful lack of charity towards others, Mr. Robertson has a God-given right to make a fool of himself and A&E should bring him back immediately. Same thing goes for the Food Channel. Free Paula Deen!

Big Brother 15: guilty pleasure or morality play? #BB15

September 20, 2013

True confession time. While I was taking my final academic classes for a MMin, teaching an Old Testament continuing education course, team-teaching an adult-ed class on the 39 Articles, and helping a friend start a new Anglican church, I spent far too much time following the CBS  dirt-cheap summer replacement for something that might require paying real writers and performers, “Big Brother.”

I would like to take just a moment to condemn the racist, sexist, homophobic and totally uncivil behavior displayed by the “house guests.” Do you see my finger wagging? I’m serious about this! Something better be done about this right now or I am coming down with the belt! Do you understand me?

WHEW! That feels better.

It looks like some things have happened to several of the cast members. Third-place (zero money!) Spencer from Conway, Arkansas is fighting for his job at Union Pacific because of his trash mouth, and probably most of it has to do with his unspeakable commentary in the “off” hours concerning women. Runner-up GinaMarie ($50,000) got the ax from East Coast USA Pageant. Andy,, who won the whole shootin’ match ($500,000) is in trouble with the Du Page University on account of his allegedly racial slurs. Aaryn supposedly was terminated for her awful comments on anybody different from Aaryn. You see, I follow this nonsense.

It would be more comfortable to just push the blame off on my lovely bride, Marie, but it would be a lie. She tempted me, but I fell. There is something hypnotic about bad behavior. To face this a bit more directly, it can be a dangerous thing to let this kind of stuff inside one’s brain. I claim to be no better than the men and women on the tube.

I feel sorry for the cast members who have paid the price for giving voice to evil thoughts. They are being punished because commercial enterprises do not wish to offend anybody, not for any moral shortcoming. In other words, it is acceptable to hold the worst opinions of other people, and even to act on them, but it is never permissible to speak what is in your heart. Do whatever harm you wish, and remember to be deceptive as well.

God created men and women in his “image and likeness.” Humans reason, communicate, and seek to control. These are the God-like functions that set us apart. Because every one of us possess some divine characteristics, it is never acceptable to attack another person. It is equally wrong to go off on a group. Those targeted classes are bound to be different, disadvantaged, worse off, poor, or despised. The creator addresses this directly with the nation of Israel as it wandered in the desert. Moses says more than once in Deuteronomy that the people of Israel should remember that they were aliens in Egypt. We have no lasting city on earth but we are looking for an everlasting city (Heb 13:14).

The answer is to change our minds. The attitudes of hatred and rejection toward Muslims, homosexuals, people of different races and religions, and the just plain different are rebellious against God’s desire to build a people for his eternal kingdom. We are not entitled to speak ill of God’s other children. End of story.

How Will We Know Whom To Hate If The Media Don’t Tell Us? | The American Conservative

May 2, 2013

Rod Dreher is a brilliant blogger and today he approaches a topic I find to be of the highest order, the poisonous atmosphere of public discussion. How is a Christian to live in a culture so saturated with hatred and fear? Here is a short segment and a link to the entire excellent essay.

The world is always ramped up to high drama. I told him that a decade ago, when I would get on cable TV from time to time to talk about issues, I learned quickly that the media didn’t want to have an actual discussion; they just wanted people on to yell at each other, and to repeat talking points. This is a cliché, I know, but when you actually go on those shows, and see how it so often (but not always) works, you understand that the cliché really is true. Passion sells. Passion retains viewers. Passion gets eyes on the webpage (and shame on me for falling for the bait, e.g., yesterday’s post about that jerk who wrote the “I hate my unborn twins” piece for HuffPo). The thing is, passion is so easy to gin up when it’s based on fear and hatred. It’s a lot harder to get people passionate about faith, hope, and charity, even though that’s what most of us crave, and need as much as we need the air we breathe.

How Will We Know Whom To Hate If The Media Don’t Tell Us? | The American Conservative.

Reflections on worship music from “Bill in the Blank”: Why I’ve Stopped Singing in Your Church

December 29, 2012

To be candid, I know how to behave in your church. I’ve been raised in it my entire life. So I know how to fake it when necessary. Lately, it’s been very necessary when the music is playing and we’re supposed to be singing, you know, to God. Frankly, I’m tired of it. Maybe all the “seekers” are enjoying it, but I’m finding it hard to sincerely engage in anything resembling worship.

Instead of feeling the joy of joining with other believers in offering praises to the Almighty, I often feel insulted, bored, and disconnected from 2,000 years of worship history. And just when I think that maybe it’s just me having a selfish and sinful attitude — a very real possibility — a flamboyant electrical guitar solo breaks out. I’m left deciding whether to waive my iPhone and buy the t-shirt or just shut up and go home.

 

Why I’ve Stopped Singing in Your Church.

So you STILL think God is a merciful God?! « A Miniature Clay Pot

July 21, 2012

I have deliberately avoided comment on the Colorado shootings, but this comes from somebody there and (so far as I can tell) it says the kinds of things Christians should believe and teach.

(Maybe, just maybe God spared my life because He loves YOU and wants you to hear this..He wants you to believe that He loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son that if you would believe in Him you would have eternal life.)

So, you still believe in a merciful God?”  Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way.

Yes.

Yes, I do indeed.

Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.

 

So you STILL think God is a merciful God?! « A Miniature Clay Pot.