- 2015Aug 17
I’m offended! Hey…in today’s culture, that should grab EVERYONE’s attention! There should be a legion of corporate executives with somber faces, ready to apologize for whatever offense may have rankled my sensitive sensibilities!
So WHY am I so put off? Well...you may have seen that recruitment video for a University of Alabama sorority? The one where dozens of beautiful young women frolic before the camera in various outfits? It’s been the fascination of NBC’s Today Show for nearly a week now, and we’ve heard the outrage from feminists, the diversity police, and others who were OFFEN-N-NDED by the video. The university was pressured to take it down, though the production still plays as “B-Roll” every few minutes on “Today.” You know why I’M offended by this spectacle?
Because I’m simply tired of people being “offended” by everything. And, I’m wondering who gets to choose what “offends” all of “us” in the first place.
For example: Katie Yoder, a staff writer for the Media Research Center, online at NewsBusters.org, reported August 13th that—out of 243 hours and 30 minutes of network news shows—the so-called “Big 3” have only covered the Planned Parenthood scandal for 23 minutes and 32 seconds. 23 minutes, out of 243+ HOURS of news coverage! Digging deeper, the MRC found that the networks played the controversial videos in question for a grand total of 1 minute and 13 seconds of those 23 minutes, and that none of the graphic images were displayed. ABC News hasn’t played a single SECOND of the undercover videos. Maybe if “Caitlyn” Jenner made a cameo appearance in them, we might see more from David Muir.
The Rising Generation is already tuning away from network television at a record pace. How about you?
- 2015Aug 10
Can you believe that the conversation is STILL going on over Donald Trump’s vile comments about Megyn Kelly? Who’d have thought that, in this very SEN-N-N-SITIVE culture, it would EVER be possible for a Presidential candidate to call women “pigs” and worse, yet stay atop the national polls?
I believe this is indicative of a much larger problem we face as a nation. It’s more than just the coarsening of our national conversation. It’s WHY such trash talk is so acceptable to so many. Media types like Howard Stern and Bill Maher set the bar low, and people like Jon Stewart crawled under it. Yes, THAT Jon Stewart. I know we’re supposed to say nice things about him, as he retires from his Comedy Channel program, “The Daily Show.” Sure, that program captured a lot of millennial and Gen Y viewers, in fact: “The Daily Show” was the news source of choice for an entire generation. (That alone should send a chill up your spine!) But what Jon Stewart and many of his contemporaries did was to make cynicism and sarcasm the leading cultural indicators of honesty. Huh? Track with me on this. Ask an unchurched member of the rising generation whom they believe is being more honest: a well-scrubbed pastor in a pulpit, or a cursing, free-wheeling comedian on TV. I’m betting most would say the COMEDIAN, because in their version of “reality,” people who swear and laugh at the expense of others are “real,” while people wearing ties that are saying things you don’t want to hear, are mere “phonies!” It’s twisted, for sure…but Donald Trump, to millions of Americans, is more “honest” because he says horrible or insulting things! It’s all part of what I call post-postmodernism. A generation rails against the institutions—the beliefs--of its parents and grandparents, before personally rejecting those institutions…THEN, intentionally takes the time to run those institutions into the ground. We see it happening with a generation of churched kids who reject, then eviscerate, the faith of their parents. And now, we see it in the mocking words of a so-called grownup whose personal ambitions outweigh the dignity of others, and the process of choosing the next leader of the free world.
So what is “real and honest” to you? If you’re a Christian, I dare say it should be whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—you should think about THOSE things. Sure, many will think you’re a hopeless Pollyanna, but… strive to be an encourager; speak of positive, uplifting things…reject the smarmy, nasty speech and attitude of this present age. You might not change the world, but you’ll know just a little bit more of the peace our Lord intends for His children to enjoy.
- 2015Mar 10
I remember a pastor who always wrote in the front of the Bibles he gave to others, “Prayer and this book will keep you from sin. Sin will keep you from prayer, and this book.” So true! The secular culture wars against God’s Word, and battles to keep us from it. And, where millennials and Gen-Xers are concerned, it seems the culture has gained a lot of ground. Pollster George Barna does a “state of the Bible” survey every year, and what he learned in 2014 was startling. No surprise that skepticism toward the Bible continues to rise. But, for the first time since Barna’s tracking began, Bible skepticism is in a tie with Bible engagement. That means the number of those who are skeptical about the Bible and its contents has nearly doubled from 10% to 19% in just three years. This is now equal to the number of people who are Bible engaged—those who read the Bible at least four times a week and believe it is the actual or inspired Word of God.* Drilling deeper into the growing cohort of Bible skeptics, Barna found that two-thirds are 48 or younger—GenXers and Millennials. They are twice as likely to be male than female, and are the most-likely segment not to have attended church (87%), and they’re 63% of all people who did not pray last week.
One could fill a day with speculation about why younger generations are rejecting the Bible. Certainly, modern “tolerance” throws a shadow of doubt on anything making a claim of truth. Post-modern attitudes cast the church and its homilies as part of the murky past that must be rejected or replaced. And without a doubt, the narcissism of the age has compelled us inward, in the search for meaning. But we’ve been identifying such suspects--and railing against them--for decades. It’s way past time to offer a solution, and that answer is balance.
In a well-meaning, but desperate attempt to “right the ship” of the Christian church, we’ve proposed—and attempted—quite a few things. We’ve deconstructed, then re-constructed, the way we “do church.” We’ve moved from preaching and teaching the Bible, toward practical life instruction and “worship experiences.” Those who used to attend Bible conferences have moved toward Christian concerts, and many who enjoyed great Bible instruction on the radio have migrated toward Christian music stations with upbeat DJs and entertaining stories.
Don’t get me wrong—practical life help is part of what you should expect from church. Dynamic worship is an important part of sharing our lives together in the body of Christ. Enjoying Christian music is key, but if you’re not in the Word daily, you’re dead in the water as a Christian. We must never replace real Bible study with any crowd-pleasing, temporary fixes. Nor should churches become so focused on doctrine and instruction that they neglect Christian service, worship, and relationship.
Anyone who loves Scripture knows that the Bible is far from being a mere set of rules written by men, or the history of a people who lived and died long ago. The Bible is the heart of God, a suitor that pursues you relentlessly. Get to know His heart (as He already knows yours), and you will grow to love Him…as He already loves you.
*Barna.org: “The State of the Bible—6 Trends for 2014”