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Category Archives: News stories

Disney is redefining the family

‘Beauty and the Beast’ Features Disney’s First Gay Character – While I am not surprised by the headline and the story, I am disappointed.

“Beauty and the Beast” to feature an “exclusively gay moment” – Professor Denny Burk of Boyce College offers his take on this issue.

Even though I’m not surprised by this, I am disappointed by it. My own children were delighted by the live-action Cinderella that came out in 2015. It was really well done. For that reason, we have been looking forward with great anticipation for another well-done production. But if these reports are true, we won’t be seeing this one.

The reason is very simple. I am not going to let a movie studio communicate to my children that sexual immorality is “normal and natural.” This movie will no doubt be packaged in a narrative and a production value designed to capture their imaginations, and it will do so in a way that conceals a false and destructive message. To let them see this material would go against everything that I am trying to teach them about the good, the beautiful, and the true. If these reports are accurate, this movie would powerfully subvert that effort.

We have to be constantly vigilant about what stories capture our children’s imaginations—even stories from places like Disney. In fact, I should stipulate, especially from sources like Disney. As one friend put it to me:

We don’t allow Disney into our house, except for the older stuff. They are wicked engineers of the imagination. The corruption of the best is the worst.

My friend’s point is a simple one. Our minds and our consciences are shaped more by the stories that frame our experience than by anything else. The story-tellers, therefore, are the “engineers of the imagination.” They can influence and shape us for the good or for ill. They can either reflect or deflect our moral imagination from the true story of the world—and there is but one true story. Virtue involves not only knowing that story but understanding all of life within its frame of reference.

This decision by Disney is one more example of what Tim Jack used to say, “Why be surprised when the world acts like the world?” I’m sad, but not surprised. It certainly colors my expectations for the movie and might influence my decision whether or not to see it in the theaters.

 

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2017 in Culture, Movies, News stories

 

Strange cargo

Our daughter in New Zealand sent us a link to a news article making the rounds in NZ. It seems Kiwi’s are rather inventive about moving. They strap swingsets, couches, and trampolines to the top of their cars. You can read the full article, Swingsets, couches and trampolines – more pictures emerge of Kiwis’ unorthodox transport options.

It reminded me of some pictures a friend in Russia sent me several years ago. It was the Russian version of a Ferrari – a car with a horse on/in it.

horse-in-car horse-in-car-2

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2016 in Fun, New Zealand, News stories, Russia

 

Moral Dilemmas

How can/should a Christ follower vote in the upcoming presidential election? Here are three recent news articles that make it difficult to support either candidate.

Speak Truth to Trump: Evangelicals, of all people, should not be silent about Donald Trump’s blatant immorality, by Andy Crouch in Christianity Today. While the title of the article aims at Donald Trump, the author also points out Hillary Clinton’s pursuit of “unaccountable power through secrecy.”

Dear Beth Moore: Thank You For Calling Out Male Church Leaders On Donald Trump and Sexual Assault, by Jenny Rapson in foreverymom.com

A friend posted the above article with this note, “Still… we speak. It pains me that our two presidential candidates actively engaged in the destruction of women by sexual assault. Trump by perpetrating it and Clinton by standing by while she knew it was happening and then covering it up. The sentiments in this article should apply to all people who disregard the conduct of the presidential candidates.”

WikiLeaks Dump: Top Clinton Aides Mock Catholicism, Evangelical Christianity

As Christ followers, we have a very difficult choice. Much to pray about.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2016 in Culture, News stories, Politics, Prayer

 

Are you outraged?

Two weeks ago (or several years in terms of news cycles) NFL San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to sit during the playing of the National Anthem. Since then, other sports stars such as NBA star Stephen Curry and soccer player Megan Rapinoe, and others verbally applaud and or sit/kneel along with Kaepernick. The NFL Seattle Seahawks are considering a team unity protest to show their solidarity with Kaepernick.

On the one hand, the response to the issue reminds me of Peter Finch’s “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” speech in the 1976 movie, Network. His character, Howard Beale, expresses his outrage on live TV and tells his viewers to stick their head out the window and shout along with him. The next scene shows a city block of apartment dwellers doing just that.

On the other hand, I find it both interesting and sad in how the focus of the issue has changed. Initially, Kaepernick was protesting what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States. The uproar had to do with whether or not people thought his actions were disrespectful to the flag. Now however, the issue is on free speech and whether or not an athlete or anyone else has the right to speak their mind.

Personally, I was put off by his actions. I agree that an athlete or anyone else has the right to speak their mind. The manner in which he did it was disrespectful, at least in my opinion. As Christ followers, we are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and season our words with grace (Ephesians 4:29).

What gets lost in the media haze is: (1) Is there a problem of injustice and inequality in America? and (2) How can we deal with and fix the problem? I believe the answer to the first question is, Yes, there is injustice and inequality in America. The answer to the second question, however, will not be found through donating the proceeds of jersey sales or roundtable discussions. The answer will only be found by coming to Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, it is not a simple matter of injustice and inequality. The root of the problem is sin in the heart of each and every person. True equality is only possible when the problem of sin is addressed. It is only through Jesus Christ that we become sons and daughters of God on equal footing. Neither a social protest nor a social program will fix the problem. Only the gospel can make a man or woman new from the inside out.

“for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28).

 

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2016 in News stories, NFL, Scripture, Videos

 

Another non-apology apology

The exploits of Ryan Lochte have been well chronicled over the past week. Unfortunately, he became more infamous for his behavior out of the pool than famous for his accomplishments in the pool.

In reading his apology, I was more surprised by what he didn’t say than what he did say. He led off by stating,

Lochte apology 1

He apologized for “not being more careful and candid.” He didn’t apologize for vandalizing a service station, lying to cover up his actions, leaving town to avoid facing the consequences, or waiting to come forward until his teammates were able to leave the country.

His apology went on to say,

Lochte apology 2

Lochte didn’t apology for creating the traumatic situation. Instead, he shifted the blame to the security guards for stopping the vandalism and for the station attendant asking him to pay for the damages. He played the victim card and called it a “traumatic” situation “with a language barrier – and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave.”

He closed his apology by stating,

Lochte apology 3

His last paragraph sounds curiously like, “Stop calling attention to my sins and let’s go back to talking my athletic achievements.”

While he said, “I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons,” it has the feel of when parents caught me doing something wrong and asked, “Are you sorry for what you did or just sorry you got caught?” His apology has the ring of the latter rather than the former.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2016 in Culture, News stories, Quotes, Sports

 

Religion in the news

Three news stories about religious issues caught my eye this week. The first two are ones I’ve followed with great interest. The third one struck me as amusing because of the reasons given for the decision.

Preserve Faith-Based Higher Education – “Yesterday, the presidents of California’s faith-based higher education institutions received news from Kristen F. Soares, president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU), about Senator Lara’s intent to amend SB 1146 to only include disclosure requirements and add a new item requiring institutions to disclose reasons for student expulsions to the California Student Aid Commission. He intends to inform the Assembly Appropriations Committee of these amendments later today. Pending review of this new language, Biola will change its position on this legislation from “oppose unless amended” to “support.” Biola has long held to the importance of transparency in explaining their policies and the reasons for them.” If you’ve been following the story, this is very good news and cause to praise and thank God.

First Russian Charged Under Controversial Anti-Missionary Law – “A Krishnaite in southern Russia’s Cherkessk has been charged under the “Yarovaya Law” for handing out religious books on the street, the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis reported Thursday. This is the first time that charges have been pressed under the anti-missionary part of the controversial law.” And so it begins …

Cannes Mayor David Lisnard Bans Burkinis on City’s Beaches – The seaside French city of Cannes has banned burkinis, full-body swimsuits worn by some Muslim women, from its beaches. Mayor David Lisnard cited the recent tragedy in Nice and a subsequent attack on a church in Northwest France in an ordinance forbidding swimwear that doesn’t respect “good morals and secularism.” While I’m sensitive to the concern about terrorism, I found it amusing that swimsuits and beaches are places for “good morals and secularism.” With logic like that, France is on its way towards a similar law like Russia prohibiting beach evangelism.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2016 in Culture, News stories

 

Packing so much into a short time

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”  Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Jon, thanks for posting this quote. It sums up the news over the past few weeks.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2016 in News stories, Quotes