CSI: Cyber tackled the subject of cyber bullying last week in “URL, Interrupted” (S1, E7). The tag at the end was one of the characters leaving a video explaining that words have power. It reminded me of Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
Category Archives: Culture
I must admit I am puzzled by current events. With 1,100+ people killed in an earthquake in Nepal, with California suffering a horrific drought, with rising concerns about the violence of ISIS, I don’t understand all the attention being given to Bruce Jenner. I just don’t get it. It hardly seems newsworthy.
What’s the harm in reading the book 50 Shades of Grey and its sequels? Is it ok to see the movie? Is it really that big a deal?
For those who have read the books (I haven’t) … for those who plan to see the movie (I don’t, though it’s hard to avoid seeing the trailer) … you might want to read Tim Challies and Helen Thorne’s blog post, 7 Lessons from 50 Shades of Grey. It will help you to better understand the impact on your life and our current culture.
In his book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, author James Emery White describes the belief system of those who don’t identify with any particular religion. In pages 57-63, he explains that their system includes three primary concepts—truthiness, wikiality, and mistakers.
- Truthiness: the assertion that we are not only to discern truth for ourselves from the facts at hand, but also to create truth for ourselves despite the facts at hand
- Wikiality: reality as determined by majority vote, such as when astronomers voted Pluto off their list of planets
- Mistakers: to avoid calling ourselves sinners, we’ve become mistakers; to turn everything we do into a virtue where lust becomes “sensuality,” and anger is just “being honest with your emotions”
I found it interesting that this week’s panels in the comic Non Sequitur, the character, Danae, practices truthiness and wikiality. If someone corrects her, then that person is “preachy.” Once again, it demonstrates how comic strips reflect values and culture in a humorous manner.
Can you have a God-neutral faith? Can you have religion without God? Can you have the benefits of church and yet have a hesitant or non-existent faith?
Author T. M. Luhrman, a professor of anthropology at Stanford University, answers all of these questions with “Yes” in her article, “Religion without God.”
She concludes the article with these thoughts,
Religion is fundamentally a practice that helps people to look at the world as it is and yet to experience it — to some extent, in some way — as it should be. Much of what people actually do in church — finding fellowship, celebrating birth and marriage, remembering those we have lost, affirming the values we cherish — can be accomplished with a sense of God as metaphor, as story, or even without any mention of God at all.
Yet religion without God may be more poignant. Atheists trust in human relations, not supernatural ones, and humans are not so good at delivering the world as it should be. Perhaps that is why we are moved by Christmas carols, which conjure up the world as it can be and not the world we know.
May the spirit of Christmas be with you, however you understand what that means.
Ms. Luhrman’s conclusions reminded me of what the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 regarding what will take place in the last days.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be … having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:1, 2, 5)
People try to find meaning in religion and rituals. Yet they completely miss the point that salvation, forgiveness, purpose, significance are only possible through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Blogger Ben Connelly has written an insightful post entitled, “The Most Wonderful Time(s) of the Year.” He points out that in the book of Leviticus, God created holidays and “commanded His people to pause several times each year, simply to feast and celebrate.” He gives several examples of how Christ followers can use holidays such as Halloween, Christmas, and events such as birthdays and funerals to share Jesus with others. “Some of the best chances for mission involve inviting our mission field into our special occasions, and joining theirs.”
In his book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, author James Emery White has one chapter devoted to key components of a church’s ministry that will keep the front door open and help attract the unchurched. Here’s a summary of his principles.
- Friendliness—You must be intentional about the guest’s experience and cultivate an atmosphere of acceptance. “Acceptance is not affirmation, but it is an embrace.”
- Children’s Ministry—Children are the heart of your growth engine. And if nones ever come to your church uninvited, it will probably be for the sake of their kids.
- Music—Music matters, and the key is cultural translation. And remember, there’s no such thing as traditional music.(See yesterday’s blog.)
- Building—From the moment when nones first view the church and its grounds, the initial impression is made; physical surroundings convey strong messages.
- Importance of the Visual—Over the last twenty years we have decisively moved to a visually based world and the church needs to move with it.
Does all this matter? It depends on whether or not you are expecting company.