Cross Gender Friendships

Juliet Lapidos of Slate magazine has been writing a series on Friendships Between Men and Women this week. I highly recommend it. Especially, if you enjoyed Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions: Engaging the Mystery of Friendship Between Men and Women by Dan Brennan. Haven’t read it yet? What are you waiting for?

Seriously, the subject of Cross Gender Friendships is becoming a hot topic even outside of Evangelical Christian circles. Get in on the beginning of a trend…You heard it here first!

Published in: on 09/30/2010 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

President Obama’s Christianity

For a while, President Obama’s religious affiliation has been in question, mainly by people who don’t like him or disagree with his policies. In response to a question directed at him, President Obama gave his answer. He stated that he was a Christian and gave an explanation of how he made the choice to become a Christian. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be good enough for some. Groups like the American Family Association are not and never will be happy with someone who doesn’t agree with their political agenda. Too bad, salvation is by faith and not by political beliefs.

The problem with many Christian organizations is that they establish both a statement of faith and a statement of politics. Go against either one and there is a good chance you will be named an unbeliever or a heretic. Those who make accusations about another’s faith based on politics fail to look at the 12 disciples. The spectrum went from a conservative (Matthew, the tax collector)  to a radical (Simon the Zealot). Matthew worked for the government a despised government I might add. While Simon wanted to throw the Romans out. Yet, Christ embraced both as part of His inner circle. There’s a lesson there if we bother to listen.  Christians can disagree on political views and still accept each other as Christian. Our political discourse has become decidedly uncivil. The biggest contribution that we can make is to foster civility in our public debates.

Published in: on 09/30/2010 at 7:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Seek and You Shall Find….Maybe

There’s a new search engine that has started that is aimed specifically at Evangelical Christians. It’s called Seekfind.org . Seekfind front page includes the Bible verse where the creators got it’s name. If you guessed Matthew 7:7 you’re right!

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).

Seekfind’s mission statement is very simple and concise:

The mission of SeekFind.org is to provide God-honoring, biblically based, and theologically sound Christian search engine results in a highly accurate and well-organized format.

The truth is that the sites that are listed are pre-selected. So, when you search on a term like the Republican Party or Democratic Party the party listings do not come up. Rather, the number one  listing is (for both) is an organization called Probe Ministries. Instead of sending you to the appropriate site for whichever political party that you are interested in you get sent to an organization that will tell you their opinion of the parties.

What REALLY ticks me off is this is done so that you, the searcher don’t have to be offended (think) about the subject that you want to search on.  Funny, that there is a “safe-search” feature on Google that stops most offensive material. The safe search feature, however, doesn’t do your thinking for you. Too bad that so-called a Christian search engine has to edit political views to fit a rather narrow standard of what they consider to be “Biblical”. Slanting the facts does a disservice to those using the service as well as Christianity as a whole.

Published in: on 09/25/2010 at 9:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Reading For the Blind Wasn’t Like This When I Did It

When I was college, several lifetimes ago, I was a DJ at the college radio station where I attended, WRKC-FM. WRKC aired a program from 10am to noon called the Radio Home Visitor. RHV as it is known is designed as an outreach to those who in Luzerne County, PA who are visually impaired. I was a reader on and off for the show for the 4 years I was at King’s College. RHV’s mission is to read the daily newspaper (a day late) emphasizing non-breaking stories. Weddings, funerals, birth announcements, Letters to the Editor are the staples of the program. The main purpose was to keep the visually impaired up on the types of news that just isn’t available from other sources, making sure that all of those everydaybits of information are available to them.

It is with this background that I read with interest the following story via NPR. “Just How It Sounds: Reading ‘Playboy’ To The Blind”.

By day, Suzi Hanks is a DJ at a classic radio station in Houston, Texas. It’s what she does after work that makes people’s ears blush.

Hanks volunteers with Taping for the Blind, an organization that makes audio recordings of popular books and magazines. When she started the gig three years ago, they put her to work reading pet publications.

What I found to be the most interesting part of the story is that Hanks actually describes the photos as part of the reading. While reading for the RHV I don’t remember describing all that many photos even if they went with the story. Of course, the photos that we had available for description wasn’t quite as interesting as those in Playboy.

Reading through some of the comments on the NPR site and Facebook page, it seems that there are some who object to Playboy being read for the visually impaired.  Although I don’t read Playboy, I really don’t have any objection to having it read. People with impairments and disabilities have sex lives as well. Their spouses have to be very special people because of some of the impediments that the disabilities can present. Why not?

If you do follow the link to the NPR story, do listen to the story. There are some edited samples of her describing the photos. It really does help to flesh out the story.

Published in: on 09/19/2010 at 9:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Coming Soon!

October 1st, there’s something new a comin’

Keep looking here for hints.

Today’s Hint:

It’s fun!

Published in: on 09/19/2010 at 8:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Fear Factor

Listen to the news for even a short time and you’ll hear a long list of things that we are told that we need to fear. Crime, the economy, politicians, job loss, Muslims,al Qaida, and oh, did I mention the economy? While many items on the list are things that we should be aware of and in some cases even concerned about, fear is not the correct response.

Fear is actually a very complex set of psychological and physiological responses. God designed fear for the times when your life is in immediate danger. Say, when you are being chased by a wild animal, or you’re trying to avoid being hit by a car, or even trying not to hit someone with your car. Fear causes what is known as the “fight or flight” reaction. You brain tells your body of  immediate, life threatening danger, your body responds by dumping adrenaline into your blood stream. Adrenaline causes your heart rate to go up, your mouth to turn dry, and a whole bunch of other reactions that help your body escape (or minimize) physical harm. Being in a constant state of  fear is detrimental to your health. Without going into all of the gory details, being in constant fear causes your blood pressure to rise and can contribute to heart attack and stroke.

Fear also gets your attention and keeps it until it goes away. When you are fearful, the threat is the only thing that you will pay attention to. Consider if your car starts to skid,  you’re certainly not going to pay attention to what is playing on the radio!

It’s the attention getting function that politicians, pundits, and the media like about fear. It seems that the more frightened and fearful you become, the more that you listen to their message. Since, September 11,2001 the fear factor has been in full swing. By getting us to be fearful, both Liberals and Conservatives have grabbed our attention and made us afraid. Afraid of another attack, the other side, al Qaida, the Taliban, Islam, and whatever else they can think of. Fear boosts their ratings, it drives elections, and gives pundits something to talk about where no knowledge is required.

What is disturbing to me is the amount of people, who claim to be Christian, who fall into the fear trap. The amount of confessing Christians who are convinced that some sort of tragedy will occur if the wrong person is elected, if a particular bill is or isn’t passed. One thing that I have noticed is the number of Christians who are fearful of what is  occurring. In any case, fear is not the correct reaction for a Christian. We are told in the Bible that we are more than conquerors and yet we act with fear. It astounds me that the same people who will post Bible verse after Bible verse will also talk about how we should be fearful of whatever political circumstance happens by. For those who are Christians, don’t let the spirit of fear influence your life.

Published in: on 09/19/2010 at 7:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Talking About Dying

Lost in all of the drivel that passed for debate in the public discussion about health care is a serious  discussion about end of life issues. Oh please, I’m not talking about the silly idea about “death panels”. Rather a serious discussion about how each of us handles end of life issues. In other words, how we will spend our last earthly days.  The discussion went off track when there was a proposal that the government would be willing to pay for patients to talk to their doctors about end of life issues. Which is too bad since end of life issues should never be swept under the carpet.

There’s an article in the Huffington Post on how to talk to your doctor about end of life issues. It is an excellent article whether you are facing a terminal diagnosis or not. Many of the suggestions in the article can apply to discussions that patients should have with doctors from the start. My favorite suggestions on her list are:

Make a list of everything you want to discuss with the doctor ahead of time — all your questions and concerns.

Take charge of the conversation. DO NOT let the dynamic be that of a one way conversation between a demi-god doctor and his or her patient. Doctors are neither gods nor magicians.

After having a mis-diagnosis almost kill me, I can attest to the fact that you do need to be in control of the conversation about your health. It is your health.

Published in: on 09/05/2010 at 9:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Atheist Song

One of my favorite blogs is Matthew Paul Turner’s Jesus Needs New PR. There are times when he finds material that is just so great, so funny that it is worth passing along. Here is a Steve Martin video called “The Atheist’s Song- Firts Hymnal For Atheists

Thanks to Matthew Paul Turner.

Published in: on 08/26/2010 at 9:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Church vs Strippers

I’ve been following the story of New Beginnings Ministry in Warsaw, OH vs. Fox Hole Club a strip club. New Beginnings has been protesting in front of the club for about 4 years to get the club to close. Recently, the ladies of the club and the owner have been sitting in front of the church during Sunday morning services.Here’s the latest on the failed meeting between the owner and the pastor.  This reminded me of a story that I heard about 12 years ago.  I understand the story to be true, it was told during a church growth seminar by the District Superintendent of the denomination which was involved.

The story takes place in a town in Southern New Jersey. This particular church had gone through a split. There were about 10 or so members that had stayed with the Assistant Pastor. They met for prayer every Monday morning. Around the same time an adult bookstore opened in town. This became a matter of concern and prayer for the small church. Some wanted to stage a boycott of the bookstore. Others wanted to petition the elected town officials to see if there was something that could be done. It was decided not to take action, but to pray for the week and seek God’s will. The week went by, and they met the next Monday for prayer. One of the members of the group said that he felt God was leading him to do something totally radical. This member had a landscaping business, he would offer to do the landscaping at the adult bookstore. He felt that this would give him contact with the owner and he would let God use that contact.

The landscaper approached the bookstore owner with a deal he sorta couldn’t resist. He offered to do his landscaping for half the price of what the other business was dong it for. The only restriction woud be that he would not enter the store to be paid, the owner would have to come outside to pay him.

Time went on, the landscaper did excellent work, the Monday morning group prayed for the owner every week without fail. Whenever the landscaper picked up his payment he would tell the owner that his church was praying for him although he never “witnessed” to him. The landscaper also invited him to the prayer meetings.

One Monday morning the adult bookstore owner showed up at the prayer meeting. When I heard this story, it was described as he burst into the meeting. He said that he couldn’t take it anymore and he became a Christian. A couple of months later, the bookstore was closed and the owner became a member of the church.

To get back to the New Beginnings story for a moment. There are times when I believe that we fail to show the love of Christ to those we want to witness to. The question that I have for Pastor Bill Dunfree of New Beginnings is this: Which is more important, getting the club closed or ministering to the owner and the employees? Ministering might just do both.

Published in: on 08/23/2010 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Speech and Consequences

The First Amendment took another hit last night. Dr Laura Schlessinger has decided to end her show so that she could exercise her First Amendment rights. Not that she hasn’t been exercising her First Amendment rights all along by broadcasting a daily radio show where she gives opinionated opinions on subjects that have nothing to do with her PhD in  Physiology. Dr Laura just doesn’t like the fact that people can organize against her opinions by boycotting sponsors and protesting to her syndication network. Schlessinger has decided to use books You Tube, her blog, and her website.

I hope that she shuts down her comment fields on her blog and You Tube channels because the Internet can be much more brutal than any advertiser boycott. She will be able to control it to a point, but once it goes viral, she will lose whatever control that she thinks that she has.

The biggest lesson that Dr. Laura can take away from this is that free speech goes both ways. She can say whatever she wants and we have the right to comment back. That is what free speech is about.

Published in: on 08/18/2010 at 8:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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