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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Al Mohler on ADHD

The most recent post by Al Mohler on his blog is so poignant and concise, that I felt it is best to just include it in its entirety:

When thinking of signs of our times, consider this advertisement from a Nebraska newspaper. The ad was brought to my attention by a helpful listener to the radio program.

Now, let’s think carefully about this. Can’t sit still? Can’t play quietly? Loses things? Does not seem to listen? Has difficulty paying attention? Is fidgety? Honestly, do you know any 6 to 12-year-old children who do not fit this description?

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Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw.  All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?”

But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.” -Matt 12:22-24

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a wedding for one of my dear childhood friends, and in the process visited a church I had been looking forward to for a while.

During the sermon, Pastor John emphasized the transformation that occurs in the life of a believer.  What was at one time a source of pride becomes a source of shame.  What was previously esteemed becomes unfit even to mention.  The list is long, and may include financial success (greed), past relationships (immorality), desire for independence (selfishness), video games and entertainment (irresponsibility), and so on.  It brings me to tears to think of how twisted  sin is, and how it distorts our thinking.

How does this relate to the passage from Matthew?  The more I consider the fight for truth, the more I realize that there is a supernatural, a spiritual war going on.  This isn’t the problem between understanding the differences between prespyterianism and lutheranism.  This isn’t about believers discerning proper doctrine.  This is about the devil blinding the eyes of unbelievers.

Consider this: How far fallen must we be to call something evil which is good?  When it is a bright and beautiful day outside, what kind of temperament would be required to curse the day as miserable?  At the furthest extreme, how could someone call the Son of God a minion of the devil?  Think about it for a second.  They didn’t lack teaching.  These were pharisees, and their shortcoming was not that it was not properly explained to them.  They were deceived so that they actually believed good to be evil.

As I was considering a few topics upon which to write, I kept coming back to this idea.  There is probably no greater reason for my desire to enter into full time ministry than simply that I’ve experienced a transformation and having stepped out of darkness and into the light can see darkness for what it is.

It drives me to tears, but more importantly it drives me to pray.  Lord, open the eyes of the world that it might see your good works and praise You.

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The faculty at The Master’s Seminary are in the middle of their annual faculty lecture series, this time entitled “The Truth about Homosexuality.”  If you’ve ever wondered what more there is than simply “the Bible says that it is sin” or perhaps you aren’t even convinced that much, then you might be interested to check it out.  I’d recommend starting with John MacArthur’s introduction.

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Quarter-Life Crisis

While not an authoritative post on the subject, I was pleased to see the topic brought up in a recent Boundless article, which I’ve cleaned up a little to present below.  Hopefully it should stimulate some thought.  All too often we stop at labeling or categorizing instead of digging deeper to find find the root or cause.  And here this article gives a good perspective on what might really be going on in our (my) hearts.  Then, we must make our own personal application and resolve to do something about it:

Briefly, the quarterlife crisis hits people sometime after college and before they turn 30 when they realize that, well … life is hard!  Tim Elmore, a protégé of leadership guru John Maxwell, says “It’s 25-year-old people who are seeing counselors and therapists because they haven’t yet made their first million, haven’t yet found the perfect career or the perfect mate,” Elmore explained. “It’s self-imposed stress and pressure.”  This age group, dubbed “millennials” by demographers, are “much less attuned to reality” than previous generations, Elmore said.

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Religion and Culture

Not everything is at is seems. The latest post by Simon Cozens makes an interesting observation while explaining the use of a religious symbol on walls. This is a good illustration of the importance of truly understanding a culture when doing missionary work.

Occasionally in Kyoto you will see, stuck into the walls of a house, little Shinto torii gates, like this:

Torii act as the gateway between the sacred and the secular worlds. They symbolise “there is a god enshrined here”. I have a mental image of missionaries wandering around Kyoto doing prayer ministry and casting out the evil spirits from these gates in the walls. I am absolutely sure this has happened.

But again this is nothing to do with religion. It’s once again to do with peeing. Drunk people pee against walls. But even drunk people have reservations about peeing on something that appears to be sacred, even if actually it isn’t.

Culture is a really complicated thing. For those of us who don’t completely comprehend a culture, we can jump to some fantastic conclusions, especially where religion appears to be involved and we get all touchy about stuff. I bet we probably teach new Christians to avoid stuff that’s completely innocuous, because some missionary fifty years ago got the wrong end of the stick and nobody ever checked it out. So whenever a missionary tells me something about a peculiar Japanese religious practice, I’m not going to trust them. I’m going to go and actually ask a Japanese about it. Odds are good it’s actually something to do with peeing.

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So much can be said about Christians and media, and truthfully a lot more has been said that needs to.  Here are a couple more thoughts, largely in reference to a follow up post at Christ and Pop Culture.

Rich, thank you for interacting with my post and for some of your insightful remarks. I do wholeheartedly agree with your conclusion, and that in fact we need to dialog and encourage thoughtfulness among our people in all areas of life.

However, I do have a few objections in general:

1. I’m not advocating a media-fast or complete avoidance. Let’s interact with our people at this level, but let’s not leave them there but encourage them beyond entertainment.
2. I’m mostly speaking to sexual promiscuity on the screen. Violence and sinful attitudes can be dealt with separately. I don’t know of any men who would claim to be able to see pornography and not be tempted.
3. We are not called to balance the good with the bad. One moral theme does not redeem a raunchy movie.
4. Remember, there are always alternatives, and let’s not assume our people will always choose worse alternatives.
5. Sin on the screen in many cases is temptation to us, so willful exposure to such sin is not wise.

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As usual, Albert Mohler has the pulse of society, or at least reads those who do.  His latest blog entry is entitled “The Loss of Vocation and its Recovery — The Listening Heart.”  Here are some excerpts:

The concept of vocation — in the theological sense of a calling — has all but disappeared from contemporary society.  The late Professor A. J. Conyers blames this loss on the rise of confidence in personal autonomy and an absolute demand for personal choice in all dimensions of life. (more…)

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