Sunday, February 28, 2010

This is your life...

First, please read the article that is linked to in the post titled "Youth Ministries: Wasted Opportunities" that is just below this post.

Secondly, for all you statistic geeks or all you people who want to watch a video that once again makes us feel incredibly small, and a mere statistic, please watch the following, catchy video:

JESS3 / The State of The Internet from Jesse Thomas on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Youth Ministries: Wasted Opportunities

"Youth groups that follow the fun and foolishness model of ministry have been an outstanding success—if by success you mean creating at least two generations of biblically illiterate, immature, and conscience-free consumers of American pop culture. As for training up disciplined, mature soldiers of Jesus Christ who possess a comprehensive knowledge of the Scriptures, most evangelical youth groups get an F."

Yep, it's entitled "Time to Dump Youth Ministry" and unfortunately for all of us, it makes some good points. About negligent parents as well.

I've been working with Bible Quiz teams and youth ministries for many years, and it's easy for youth pastors to fill Youth Service time with a solid sermon and little else of lasting value. But then, can we say the same about pastors, and our own adult services? It's not easy to make time for quality Bible training at home or in Youth Service and Sunday school, but let's not blame the kids for not loving God enough if we're not training them in the way they should go.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Elton John, you little rascal...

In today's link at USA Today,  we find one of my favorite musicians of my youth, Elton John, declaring that Jesus was a "super-intelligent gay man" in an interview with Parade magazine.  The famous glam-pop star of /Goodbye Yellow Brick Road/Candle in the Wind/Rocket Man fame provided such hilarity with absolutely no evidence of his enlightened stance, so we can easily just declare the opinion of no factual value and in turn consider it a result of a little bit of Post-modernism nativity and also a loud shout for attention from both Elton John and Parade magazine itself.

In an article about the same famous quote, the author mentions how Elton John no longer likes the concept of "celebrity" because "fame attracts lunatics." I giggled at that quote. Seeming that there is no way Elton John's bold quote about Jesus would ever get any press if it was not for the fact that Elton John is a celebrity, and such a quote about Jesus as the one he provides validates Elton's own proof that when one is famous, you can say things that only lunatics would say and actually get away with it. 

Here here Elton!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Recession? What Recession?

Oh that we all had $1m to spend on a comic book.

I'm pretty sure this symbolizes nothing grander about our times, as this is a record amount in a recessed economy. You'd think they could've cut a deal on this one. (Like get it for $750k.) Still, considering it's 70 years old and in that good a condition, it will only become more valuable.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Live Switchfoot: Pictures and Review

My full concert review of Switchfoot in St. Louis (15 February 2010) is now up on Here are a slew of pictures (of varying quality) of the night, many of lead singer Jon Foreman singing in the audience. Enjoy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Morality: Innate or Culturally contstructed

Dear reader,

Below you will find a half hour audio show from my all-time favorite audio show called radiolab. The half hour below taken from an episode about morality is at the heart of what I want to study further within academia. "How does the brain work with religion?"

The question the clip is trying to get at, is how much of our morality is built in our DNA as human beings and how much is learned through upbringing?

The answer you may think is obviously what is taught by parents, culture, Sunday School teachers, etc...

But this clip suggests some of our sense of right or wrong may be built-in....

If you don't have a half hour, listen to the first ten minutes or so because the questions at the beginning in and of itself is fascinating to evaluate your self with and to ask friends for good rousing dinner conversation....I promise you, you won't get bored of the clip, and you will feel smarter after listening to it.

Here's a Hint: When I first heard the experiment I instinctively said I would pull the lever and push the man. (it will make sense in the clip)....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Modern Day Prophets: Orwell vs. Huxley

Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves To Death is still must reading, two decades after its publication. Illustrating it adds an amazing power to Postman's statements. Kudos to Ego Dialogues for the successfully making these prophecies even more contemporary. (BTW, I happen to believe both secular prophets were correct, as we're living in a weird blend of the two.)

Read the comic, then go read the book. You won't be sorry.

(Thanks to alert reader CD for the link!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Best Ideas are the Simplest

Here's the cleverest music video you'll see this decade.

It's "Her Morning Elegance" by Oren Lavie. (And no, I've never heard of him or the song previous to last night.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Switchfoot: Live in St. Louis!

Wow! Just returned from the best small venue concert I have ever attended. Switchfoot put on an amazing musical performance at The Pageant in St. Looie. (Full review coming soon.)

In the meantime, don't miss this incredible band if they're coming to your city. Their songs of hope and redemption left over 1,000 St. Louisians leaving lighter.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

More Sex on TV: Part 7,648

USA Today, obviously poking about on a slow news day, discovers TV shows that are (once again) overtly pushing sex on television:

ABC programming chief Steve McPherson says he has faced no pressure to edge up content but acknowledges late prime-time slots offer opportunities. "If you can get a loud broadcast-acceptable 10 p.m. show, it's a time to take chances," McPherson says. Moreover, broadcast executives acknowledge that premium-channel and basic-cable-channel rivals are altering the TV landscape.

"We don't want to be out of touch with the way society is going," says NBC's Angela Bromstad. "At the same time, you have to be careful what you put on air."

Me Again: But could this be why overall TV audiences are down? What are the indicators where “society is going”? How do they decide that--using other media desperately trying to retain an audience by pushing sex?

It's time for Christian artists to offer clear alternatives through drama, graphic arts, writing, and music. Create it, and they will come.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Brilliant Christianity

Wow! Talk about being "Wise As Serpents" . . !

After all the controversy of an "Advocacy Ad" promoting an anti-abortion stance by Focus on the Family, with endless pundits and YouTubers sharing their opinions on an ad no one saw but CBS, it turns out the ad was classy, understated, and cute. It completely cut against the supposed humorless grain of evangelical Christianity! Hooray for standing for truth in love.

Thanks to the controversy (that wasn't a controversy), they got way more than the $2million -ish they paid for the ad.

A poor version of the commercial is below, but the full version (& more) is at Focus on the Family's web site.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal blog offers some thoughts on the refocused "Family."

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Super Bowl Ad: "It's a Miracle"

Turns out a church is competing in Dorito's "Crash the Super Bowl" contest & is #2 in the competition! They decided to play off the Resurrection to make a point and get a laugh - and maybe reach the largest TV audience of the year.

Says the Associated Press:

If the church's ad, titled "Casket," is among the top three vote-getters in an online playoff, it will air on Feb. 7 during the Super Bowl. If the commercial ranks in the top three most-popular ads among viewers, it could win its creators either $400,000, $600,000 or $1 million.

For Erwin McManus, Mosaic's lead pastor, the ad competition represents a chance to make his faith relevant to one of the largest TV audiences in the nation when viewers least expect it — and are least likely to tune out.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

"Now You Know What Works on Him"

Robber denied by a shop owner who calls on the Name of Jesus! And it's caught on the store's security cameras!

Unprecedented Super Bowl Ad

I don’t follow College Football all that closely, but even a tepid fan knows the most exciting (and successful) college football player over the last four years has been Florida’s QB Tim Tebow. He led the Gators to two national championships, won the Heisman as an underclassman (for the first-time ever) and a slew of other awards. Turns out he was supposed to be aborted.

Says Sports Illustrated’s Peter King:

“Also, he's an unabashed pro-life supporter; his mother, Pam, was advised by her doctor late in Tebow's pregnancy to abort the baby because it was a dangerous pregnancy. Her refusal led to Tebow's compelling life -- and also to a 30-second Super Bowl commercial by Tebow and Pam (sponsored by Focus on the Family) that will add to Tebow-mania.

On Friday I spoke to Tebow for the first time, mostly about football, but some about the commercial -- and, specifically, what impact it might have, if any, on his draft prospects. I told him most NFL teams like their rookies to be seen and not heard, and certainly not heard in any politically divisive way. And there isn't a subject in this country that touches more buttons than abortion.

What I heard from Tebow was the voice of a kid with convictions, who doesn't shrink from what he believes -- even if it might hurt his draft prospects.

"That's always going to be a part of who I am, and I won't try to hide it,'' Tebow told me from Nashville, where he was working out with Bratkowski, the former Packer quarterback and longtime NFL assistant coach. "A team that doesn't want that shouldn't take me. Pro-life is very important to me. My mother listened to God late in her pregnancy, and if she had listened to others and terminated me, obviously I wouldn't be here. If others don't have the same belief, it's OK. I understand. But I hope they respect that at least I have the courage to stand up for what I believe in.''

Naturally, there’s blowback over the upcoming Super Bowl anti-abortion ad. Says the Los Angeles Times:

“CBS' decision on the Tebow ad comes as networks and TV stations have struggled for revenue amid a weak advertising market. Until recently, networks were routinely able to command higher rates each year for Super Bowl commercials, but that ended with the recession. CBS has been selling 30-second spots in the Feb. 7 Super Bowl for about $2.7 million each -- slightly less than NBC was able to command for last year's game -- and still has some advertising time left to sell.”

Whatever the criticism, Tebow is undeniable proof that amazing future humans are lost via abortion. Some people don’t want that message out. It’s exciting to see some believers are willing to invest their money in their beliefs during the most-watched event of every year.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Alas! No Future Calvin & Hobbes!

Creator of the beloved Calvin & Hobbes, Bill Watterson finally agreed to an interview after a 20 year silence! (Is it coincidental that J.D. Salinger, another literary recluse, just died?)

Sadly, Watterson told The Cleveland Plains Dealer he has no interest in a reunion:

"It's always better to leave the party early. If I had rolled along with the strip's popularity and repeated myself for another five, 10 or 20 years, the people now "grieving" for "Calvin and Hobbes" would be wishing me dead and cursing newspapers for running tedious, ancient strips like mine instead of acquiring fresher, livelier talent. And I'd be agreeing with them.

I think some of the reason "Calvin and Hobbes" still finds an audience today is because I chose not to run the wheels off it."

Art snagged from SpaceCoyote.