On the Derailing of Lance Armstrong

Culture
Armstrong tweeted this picture after being stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles.

Armstrong tweeted this picture after being stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles.

Good article on Lance Armstrong:

Fraud torments a soul, even when the soul isn’t aware of the torment. Biblical examples abound. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) seemed to have no clue that their guilt was catching up to them before it did with abrupt finality. Zacchaeus (Luke 19) had to be pulled from a tree by Jesus to be confronted and come clean about his fraud. When Oprah asked Lance if it felt wrong, he said “No. That’s scary.” Scary indeed. 

Read it all.

Turkish Delight Was Almost Cheesburgers?

Culture
by TheMightyQuill

by TheMightyQuill

Hollywood simply didn’t “get” Lewis, his books, or the people who loved them. Douglas Gresham, Lewis’ stepson, fought against efforts to “update” Lewis’s tales.

These included replacing the air raids with earthquakes and having the Pevensie children ask for cheeseburgers instead of Turkish delight. No, I am not making this up.

Read the whole article at The Christian Post

Apple and Idolatry . . . and Apple is Not Alone

Culture, Idolatry

The BBC ran a program the other day (unfortunately not available in the U.S.) called Secrets of the Superbrands.  In this program, Apple fans were shown images of Apple products while an MRI was being done.  And what was the interesting result?  “They found brain activity that mirrors how a religious person’s brain reacts when presented with a picture of their chosen deity.” (source)

Should this suprise us?  Is this unique to Apple?  I don’t think so.  I think this is actually how things have always been.  

Do you recall Isaiah’s striking picture of idolatry in Isaiah 44?

Isaiah 44:14–17 (ESV) 14He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” 

Do you see the striking picture?  “The rest of it he makes in to a god, his idol, and falls down to worship it.”  How foolish we are!  Maybe we don’t carve many physical idols these days, but let us not be deceived into think that we aren’t still creating idols.  It is not just Apple.  As one commentator says:

Implying that Apple fandom equals zealotry may be attention-grabbing (and does indeed make me want to watch the program . . .), but the neurological similarity isn’t surprising or particularly novel. You could almost certainly make the same observations about Red Sox fans, Twilight groupies, Van Halen lovers, Ducati collectors … the list goes on, and whatever object of desire makes your heart pitter-patter will resonate in the neural patterns of your gray matter. (source)

If you are interested in seeing a little clip from the BBC documentary, check out BBC Three Looks into ‘evangelical frenzy’ over Apple.

And yes . . . by the way . . . I do have an iPhone, wouldn’t mind having an iPad (or a MacBook Pro for that matter), and I am not sure how well I would do on the same MRI.

Thoughts for Election Day

Culture, Life
Here are some helpful thoughts for election day from a book by Carl Trueman, called Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative.

 

“Politics in a democracy is a whole lot more complicated than either political parties or your pastor tell you it is; treat it as such–learn about the issues and think for yourself.”

“When it comes to listening to the news, Christians should be eclectic in their approach and not depend merely on those pundits who simply confirm their view of the world while self-evidently using terminology, logic, and standard rules of evidence and argumentation in sloppy, tendentious, and sometimes frankly dishonest ways….”

“Now, let me go on record and say that I am happy enough not to be walking around, looking like an extra for a low-budget movie about Elton John’s early career; I enjoy having nice, new things and not being stared at for all the wrong reasons as I walk down the street.  My point is rather this: be aware that not all the effects of capitalism are unconditional goods, consistent with the gospel and with the Christian mind-set; we need to be as self-aware of the impact of this way of life as that of any other.”

“Christians are to be good citizens, to take their civic responsibilities seriously, and to respect the civil magistrates appointed over us.  We also need to acknowledge that the world is a lot more complicated than the pundits of Fox News (or MSNBC) tell us.  We must never engage in the kind of inappropriate behavior of those who carry around pictures of our appointed leaders as criminals, or who scream mindless abuse at those with whom they disagree.  Christian politics, so often associated now with loudmouthed aggression, needs rather to be an example of thoughtful, informed engagement with the issues and appropriate involvement with the democratic process.  And that requires a culture of change.  We need to read and watch more widely, be as critical of our own favored pundits and narratives as we are of those cherished by our opponents, and seek to be good stewards of the world and of the opportunities therein that God has given to us.”

“We need to avoid this marginalization of the voice of Christians in politics by realizing the limits of politics and the legitimacy of Christians, disagreeing on a host of actual policies, and by earning a reputation for thoughtful, informed, and measured political involvement.”

Glenn Beck and the Gospel

Culture, Life

Interesting article over at Moore to the the Point about Glenn Beck’s recent speech.  The best part of the article had little to do with Beck or Mormonism . . . it was a poignant point about American Christianity.

“Too often, and for too long, American “Christianity” has been a political agenda in search of a gospel useful enough to accommodate it. There is a liberation theology of the Left, and there is also a liberation theology of the Right, and both are at heart mammon worship. The liberation theology of the Left often wants a Barabbas, to fight off the oppressors as though our ultimate problem were the reign of Rome and not the reign of death. The liberation theology of the Right wants a golden calf, to represent religion and to remind us of all the economic security we had in Egypt. Both want a Caesar or a Pharaoh, not a Messiah.

Leaders will always be tempted to bypass the problem behind the problems: captivity to sin, bondage to the accusations of the demonic powers, the sentence of death. That’s why so many of our Christian superstars smile at crowds of thousands, reassuring them that they don’t like to talk about sin. That’s why other Christian celebrities are seen to be courageous for fighting their culture wars, while they carefully leave out the sins most likely to be endemic to the people paying the bills in their movements.” 

Read it all.

Two Articles in Preparation for the Super Bowl

Culture, Life, Theology & The Bible

From C.J. Mahaney, “Thoughts on Super Bowl XLIV

Given my love for sports I have an obligation to publish a public service announcement to prepare you for the impending Super Bowl…

O-V-E-R-R-A-T-E-D

The Super Bowl is the most overrated sporting event in the history of all sports, dating back to the very first Olympics. The NFL thinks so highly of itself, the Super Bowl is assigned Roman numerals.

Yet despite the hype, year after year this game rarely delivers. With few exceptions, most of these games are neither exciting nor memorable (unless your team is participating). With Peyton Manning and Drew Brees in the Super Bowl, there is at least a chance that Super Bowl 44 will be entertaining, but I doubt it.                    –read the rest of the article here

From Kevin Deyoung, “A Simpler View of Sports

Like most Christian men I know, I have a love/hate relationship with sports. I’ve played sports–in high school, in college, and on the side–and I’ve been a fan of sports my whole life. I love it when my teams wins. I feel pangs of sorrow when they lose. I love the conversational fodder sports has provided thousands of times for me and my brother and my dad. I love the way sports gives me something to talk about with the majority of men in my church, many boys, and a not few women and girls.

And yet, I recognize sports talk is only the shallow end of the pool. More than that, I am fearful of the place sports can occupy in my heart. As a pastor, I want the folks in my congregation to give their lives for something more meaningful than youth soccer leagues and the triumphs of fandom. I am not blind to the idolatries of sport and the failings of sport stars. But, still, I am a huge sports fan.

So it was with interest that I read the Christianity Today cover article on “Sports Fanatics.” In this lengthy essay, Shirl James Hoffman, an emeritus professor of kinesiology at UNC-Greensboro, sets out to prove “how Christians have succumbed to the sports culture–and what might be done about it.” I was hoping for an article that took a fair look at the world of sports–the good, the bad, and the ugly. What I got was something like this, but not quite: an argument that, on the one hand, affirms sports as “derivatives of the God-given play impulse,” and, on the other hand, argues that Christians should get rid of football and take up swimming.                       –read the rest of the artcle here