7 Rules For Children and Media Exposure

Reading Time: 2 minutesAl Mohler has posted a blog entry which suggests these 7 guidelines for handling a child’s exposure to media and parental supervision and oversight. These are very helpful and measured, not too reactionary and quite realistic. 1.  Limit the total media exposure experienced by your children.  The statistic that the average child and adolescent is immersed in the media for 45 hours a week should be sufficient motivation for parents to hit the brakes and gain control of media exposure.  Access to entertainment media should be a privilege earned, not a right assumed by the child. 2.  Do not allow children and teenagers to have televisions and Internet-connected computers in the bedroom.  There is simply too much danger in unsupervised media exposure, and too much temptation in terms of both quantity and content.  No child needs a television in the bedroom, and a computer connected to the Internet is an…

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Choose Your False god

Reading Time: 2 minutesOne of the most refreshingly honest and penetrating albums for Christian consumption in recent memory is Derek Webb’s Mockingbird. This album was marketed using the increasingly popular give-it-to-me-for-free-and-I’ll-pay-what-I-think-its-worth strategy. This was a good move, since most Christian bookstores wouldn’t stock it anyway because it contains such incendiary language as “sex” and “whore” and he dares criticize the Republicans as the Messianic party. Released in 2005, this is during the 2nd Bush term where Republicans appeared poised to rule for a generation. My, how things have changed. There is one stanza from the song King and a Kingdom that sticks out to me: there are two great lies that i’ve heard: “the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die” and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class Republican and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him What I…

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Jesus Made Me Puke

Reading Time: 6 minutesYeah, you read that title correctly. Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine published an article called Jesus Made Me Puke where he goes undercover to a church retreat in Texas to get a look under the hood of evangelical Christianity. Here’s the accompanying photo. Of course, while we are told to respect all religions and are spoon fed this “all paths lead to God” nonsense, Christianity is routinely treated with ridicule and contempt. Taibbi could have gone to a church with some intellectual credibility, but he rather chose to go to the Christian circus that epitomizes evangelical cheese just to watch the Charismatic chaos. He wasn’t disappointed. Stay with me, I’ll get to the puke part in a minute. Here’s the drill: he pretends to be a seeker and attends Cornerstone Church’s Encounter Weekend. That’s John Hagee’s church, and he is a Christian Zionist who wants to fast-track Armageddon so…

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What to Call Hyphenated-Americans

Reading Time: 1 minuteThis oped in the NY Times reveals that the term “African-American” is not a one size fits all category for those who are “black.” The problem is that it is self-segregating based on physical characteristics, not ideology or something more substantial. Beyond this, it isn’t accurate. Let me demonstrate. Pop quiz: How many African Americans are in Dave Matthews Band? Look closely. Answer: there are 5 members in the band. There are two white guys. And there are four African Americans. How is this possible? Dave (2nd from the right) is from South Africa, making him both white and African American. Alan Keyes argues that the label “African-American” only belongs to those who are descended from African slaves. But this does not do justice to African Blacks of non-slavery descent. Unfortunately, any politically correct term can develop pejorative uses over time, creating the ever present cycle of new politically correct…

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Worship Leadership Series (part two): Singing is Commanded in Scripture

Reading Time: 3 minutesIn many contemporary worship settings, the focus of the music appears to be primarily self-expression of one’s relationship with God. While there’s nothing wrong with this, I do believe that it is a misplaced priority. I aim to show in this post that worship music in the church is to be primarily for instruction in the truths of scripture and not for self-expression. Ephesians 5:18ff says this: And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5 is a great example of the purpose that God assigns to singing in his church. The positive…

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Worship Leadership Series (part one): Surveying the Extremes

Reading Time: 2 minutesAlbert Mohler quotes Paul S. Jones, who surveys the contemporary church landscape. It is a hedonistic, narcissistic, relativistic, ‘me-focused’ age, though, is hardly one that should inform and define our approach to God. And yet, it does. We measure our success by numbers, our relevance by how technologically integrated and up-to-date we are, and our worship by how good it makes us feel. In the minds of contemporary saints, hymns clash with the spontaneity, simplicity, and style that have come to rule in the modern evangelical church. I agree with this sentiment. Here’s a sampling from a recent Passion CD (Our Love is Loud) featuring Charlie Hall: Suddenly I feel you holding me Suddenly I feel you holding me Suddenly I feel you holding me. Suddenly I feel you holding me. Sweep me away. Sweep me away. Sweep me away. Sweep me away. Suddenly I feel your hand in mine.…

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Cincinnati, the murderous sexpot

Reading Time: 1 minuteToday, Al Mohler summarizes a new Forbes study which ranks US cities in terms of their sinfulness. Since I plan on planting a church in the Queen City this summer, I was interested to discover two areas where Cincinnati ranks as particularly transgressive. In terms of murders, Cincinnati ranks #7, with 28.8 murders per 100,000 people. Certainly, this is no small contributing factor to the gentrification effort currently underway in Cincinnati’s most crime riddled neighborhood, Over the Rhine. In the last ten years or so, city planners have performed a major surgical strike in the downtown area by clearing out one of the country’s largest public housing projects and have replaced it with multi-income housing. Whether this is a good or bad thing remains to be seen, but that’s where I plan on living. Cincinnati is also a steaming and sizzling lust engine, ranking #8 as the most lustful. Forbes…

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How to Waste $1,000,000

Reading Time: 2 minutesThis article on Chicago Tribune’s website (registration required) describes the ever-expanding pageantry of Christmas productions at the Savannah Christian (mega) Churches where attendees (at $5 a head) get to take a boat ride across a massive lake into Bethlehem, where they mingle with the townspeople who greet them with fresh water, fruit and assorted cheeses. Roman soldiers on white horses lead them along a lighted path, where they encounter the Three Wise Men with a live camel resting at their side. They look on as the archangel Gabriel appears at the Virgin Mary’s home and tells her that she is carrying a child. They watch an evil King Herod, who plots to kill the newborn. Finally, they arrive at the manger, standing close enough to touch the crying baby Jesus. Or try Willow Creek, for example: The Cirque du Soleil-style production at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington features…

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What I’m Learning About Building a Racially Unified Church

Reading Time: 3 minutesI’ve had some interesting conversations lately about Christianity and racial unity. The first was a couple of months ago with a couple who have adopted a bi-racial child. They were part of a church who heavily emphasizes racial reconciliation and shows it with action. This has been a dream of mine, but honestly, until recently, it has seemed near impossible to accomplish. The typical scenario is this: (1) White church wants to be more diverse. (2) They engage in tokenism by hiring a black person to either do music or be a community pastor with emphasis in reaching black folks and trying to get them to come to the white church. (3) He fails. (4) The church abandons the endeavor while patting themselves on the back for trying.