Today's Word for Pastors...
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Today's Preaching Insight...
In his excellent book The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative (Baker Books), author Steven D. Mathewson says: "While Old Testament narratives focus more on action, the people involved supply the reason for our interest in stories. A rabbinic saying quips, ‘God made people because he loves stories.' Perhaps the reverse is also true - God made stories because he loves people. Our interest in stories rivets us to the characters. We even identify stories by characters' names: the story of Ruth, the David story, and the Judah-Tamar story. Interpreting Old Testament stories requires us to pay attention to the characters and how they develop. Because plot is primary, our analysis should attempt to specify the function of characters in relationship to the plot."
The majority of Americans (62%) believe that the quality of television programming is getting worse yet, the average TV viewer is spending more time than ever in front of the tube, according to a new poll by The Associated Press and AOL Television. "There's a divide between our opinions and our behavior here," said Robert Thompson, director of The Bleier Center for the Study of TV and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. "Americans check off all the boxes on a survey saying TV stinks with one hand, but they've got the other hand on that TV remote," Thompson said. "They're complaining, but they're still watching."
The study, which was based on interviews with 1,204 adults from Aug. 24-26, revealed that 13 percent of Americans watch more than 30 hours of television each week and 27 percent watch at least 21 hours. This shows an increase of five percent from a similar study taken in 2005. Interestingly, those who watch a lot of television and those who watch very little all agree that the quality of programming is declining.
When asked which new shows they were looking forward to watching, only seven percent of viewers could name one. The poll also found that 28 percent of Americans would like to see more news on television compared to 17 percent in 2005. The ABC show, "Desperate Housewives" was seen as "most offensive," getting more votes for unpopularity than even "Jerry Springer" and " South Park." When asked which show they would most like to see cancelled, nine percent chose CBS's "Survivor." The returning show that Americans are looking forward to the most is CBS's "CSI," being named by 47 percent of respondents. (The Pastor's Weekly Briefing, 9-21-07)
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