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HOLLYWOOD JESUS
NEWSLETTER #29
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HJ News#29 Main Page
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This page was last updated November 25, 2001

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Main Topic:
THE REVISION OF JOHN 3:16
IN CHRISTIAN POP CULTURE

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AMERICA FROM A NEW ZEALAND OF VIEW
Subject: Newsletter_29_Revising.John_3_16
Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001
From: Norman

I would like to say as a non American in general I agree with what you say. I am a Christian and I live in New Zealand. You will find it on a map east of Australia.

I have not read or heard anyone in NZ say that the US got what it deserved but myself like a lot of others cannot see why the US was so blind that they could not see the hatred many countries have towards the US because of its incredibly nationalistic policies which assume that the US is always right and that they are Gods official agents in the world.

Here a fundamental tenant of Christianity is that we should love our neighbours as ourselves. That we should treat people like we would want to people to treat us. This idea seems to be unknown in the US and this causes great amazement here that a country where an extremely high percentage of people go to church that this commandment of Christ is ignored or at best watered down.

The comments by your President on the Kyoto agreement incensed many people outside the US. He said that he would not sign any document the disadvantaged US business. This was very selfish. When Regan was in power the US was the only country in the world not to sign the Marine Resources treaty. Why? Because it would disadvantage US business.

The US uses something like a third of the worlds energy. How do Americans justify that?

Madeline Albright described the deaths of an estimated half-a-million Iraqi children as a result of Western (US led) sanctions as a 'price worth paying'. Neither the Government or leader of Iraq has changed their policies so why punish people who cannot change anything?

For years the US has backed dictators because it was claimed that they would give a country stability. With stability would come better trading conditions for US business. People who opposed these dictators were branded communists. The US trains and uses terrorists all over the world. Are the people they kill worth any less to God than US citizens? What is special about American citizens?

The US does not seem to have faced up to the fact that they trained the Taliban and that as recently as May this year they received a large financial grant from the US.

Where is or was she Christian outrage at the US supplying biological weapons during the Iran-Iraq war?

NZ has had bad relationships with the US for many years as a result of our non-nuclear policy. Should this happen in a democracy? Why are Australian and NZ farmers practically forbidden to export meat to the US inspite of the World Trade Organisation policy that such restrictions are illegal?

The US while claiming to be a Christian country shows little evidence of being so unless there is something in it for themselves. Blaming God for what happens is a way of letting the US not face up to the real issues which I believe are not religious at all but examples of human greed and selfishness. Of dismissing the views of others as of no consequence.
Norman

Response: Thank you Norman. I really appreciate your insights. We in the US are often short sighted. So thanks again for your insight. -David

DOOMSDAY CHRISTIANS ARE SPOILED BRATS
Subject: Newsletter_29 _Feedup_with_Dooms_Day_Predictions
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: I Utley

I thought your words about the WTC tragedy and the Fundamentalist Christian response were apropos. John 3:17 clearly states that God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. Christians have twisted God's message and now promote a message that describes God as this cosmic bully who beats you into submission to Him through judgment, tragedy and pain. That's bullshit.

Most importantly, Christians forget a fundamental message in scripture. God does not discipline those who are not His children. Hebrews chapter 12 says:

5: And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? -- "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. 6: For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." 7: It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8: If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9: Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10: For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11: For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 12: Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13: and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14: Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Consider the lack of logic in what some Christians teach. They are like a bunch of little whiny kids mad about the fact that their friends get away with stuff that they get spanked for. It is like whining to your father about spanking you for stealing and replying "My best friend from next door Bobby steals and you don't spank him!" His natural response, as is God's, "Bobby is not my child. But you are. My children do not steal. I see to that."

The sad thing is, all the while, Bobby is looking at the relationship you have with your Dad and longing for a father who would love him enough to teach him right from wrong and discipline him to help him know the boundaries and become a better person as well as protect him from the evil in the world. Even sadder, you have been adopted by your loving father and you know that if Bobby knew enough to just ask, your loving father would adopt him too. Yet sadder, your father encourages you to let Bobby know that if he wants, he can be adopted too, but you are so stuck on yourself that you see to it that you never mention it or all you do is talk about how your father is such a strict disciplinarian but you never mention the unconditional love he has to offer.

Christians are so f**king spoiled and selfish!
--I Utley

Response: I like your relational analogy. Very good. -David

THANKS
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: "Mike Furches"

David, I receive numerous newsletters and many I just delete. Yours I read from cover to cover or from top to bottom. Again you make me smile, laugh, cry, and pray. I thank you for your courage to stand for truth and dignity. Can't say for sure but I betcha that the Lord is pleased a great deal with your work. Keep it up and keep on sharing the truth. Feel free to use if you want on the newsletter site.
God Bless & Thanks for helping keep me focused.
Mike Furches

Response: Thanks Mike, I always appreciat you. -David

GOD'S BUISNESS
Subject: Newsletter_29 Feed up with Doom_Day Predictions
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: Kevin

We should let God do Gods business. ( ie. Dooms Day.)
Kevin
http://community.webtv.net/KevinKunz/JESUSTHEWAY

A FUNDAMENTALIST SPEAKS
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: Dave

Hi David. A friend just forwarded your newsletter to me and I just wanted to say a few things in response.

I do consider myself to be a fundamentalist evangelical Christian, and I take no shame in that. I believe that moniker says I believe in the fundamental purity and infallibility of God's word, the bible.

I don't believe that Osama Bin Laden is a fundamentalist Muslim. I believe he is a rogue muslim, and has bastardized the religion in the same ways a David Koresh, a Jim Jones, or even the KKK does or has done.

I do believe we are called to tolerate people, but not to tolerate all that people do. Tolerance has been co-opted as a catch phrase to paint those with a different moral stand as intolerant, hateful people. God calls us to love everyone, but hate sin, or to put it a different way, be intolerant of sin. I must acknowledge I am a sinner and cut the rest of us sinners some slack, but it in no way does that mean I should embrace other's sin as being acceptable, or having an 'I'm ok - you're ok' attitude.

Is this the message of the first portion of your newsletter? Please clarify for me if possible. As for Hollywood censoring itself, well that's a little curious. I am privy to some of the editorial decisions we are making with our movies, but more intimate with how we're changing our publicity of our movies and how the MPAA and the networks are forcing a change in the publicity of our movies.

Thank you for your words. If you have time for some clarity then I would appreciate it.
Sincerely, Dave Theriault

Response: "Love the sinner and not the sin" is a good motto. I like tough love. And yes Bin Lauden is off track and dose not represent the Isalmic view -thank God. -David

COMING EVENTS
Subject: Newsletter_29_Hollywood_Censoring_Hollywood
Date: Tue, 06 Nov 2001
From: Teresa

David I can see both sides. I dont want to seem like one of those people who straddle the fence. While I agree that we are a great nation, it was Billy Graham himself who said " If God doesnt judge America soon, He'll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." We live in a country of untold freedom, but we've been afforded that freedom from having a relationship with God. How can we expect to reap the benefits of his love, but disobey his commandments. It's not just America under judgement, it's the whole world. America is just in the spotlight right now, but if you look around you, who's hands are clean? All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. I'm not trying to spread gloom and doom, but the rapture is a real event that will happen and the battle of Armegeddon is a real event that will happen. There are events that will proceed that battle and we may be living in that time that sees these events come to pass. I watched "The Seige" recently. That movie, although made more than 3 years ago, was so prophetic, it was eerie, I actually thought of you as I was watching it. I will check out your review of it later, but I wanted to let you know how I felt. I enjoy your website and you are doing a good work, but the bible is clear about the fate of this world. Yes, God wins in the end, but all the in between is not pretty. Keep up the good work. thank you and God bless you.
Teresa Bourn

Response: I wish I had reviewed The Seige. -David

JOHN 3:16
Subject: Newsletter_29 Revising John 3:16
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: Kevin

BLASPHEME
Kevin

HJ RECENT ISSUE
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001
From: "Tracy Simmons"

YOU ROCK!!!
thanks for saying it out loud.
- Rev. Tracy Simmons
Anchorage, AK

FALWELL AND OTHER COMMENTS
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Tue, 06 Nov 2001
From: Price

Mr. Bruce,
I don't agree with Falwell. I thought his words were extremely harsh. Indeed, I would say if there is any blame to be laid on anyone other than the terrorists, it's actually to be laid on Christians. It's certainly not anyone else's fault but our own that people don't have Jesus as Lord of their lives. How should I expect them to be saved if they have not heard the Gospel?

And now, for your comments toward love.

Yes, everyone who's ever read the Bible would concur. "God is Love!" Well amen!

However, some people, in their quest to evangelize the touchy-feely let's-not-judge-others world, have completely forgotten what else God is.

He is a JUDGE as well.

Are these events a definite act of judgement? You know what, God only knows, and I say leave it up to Him to say. But, just as one should not say "This is God's judgement, arrrh, we're all gonna dieeee, lesbians and baby-killers first," one should ALSO not say, "God will not judge us this way, and anyone who says He will should go stuff their face in a toilet. And since God is Love, by George, let's all band together and listen to that annoying 'Smile on Your Brother' song! Yeehawwww, start the hoedown."

Maybe this is the beginning of the end. Maybe this is when God pulls the plug and removes the lamp stand from us because we have left our first Love. When we have become neither hot nor cold but just lukewarm, when He will spew us from His mouth and say, "By George, what was that? I was expecting hot water in this cold winter of a world, but what did I get? I got cruddy lukewarm. Who put snow in My hot water?!"

***Disclaimer*** Slight exaggeration of all statements involved. ***Disclaimer***

But I'm sure that a learned man such as yourself sees that He has no real reason to spare anyone. I'm sure you've read, as I have many times, "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do these things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them." Romans 1:20-32.

Just as with Solomon, when he left the covenant he made with God, and worshiped other gods, therefore God had no reason to keep up His end of the bargain, and was no longer bound to blessing Solomon's descendants forevermore.

If we don't keep our end of the bargain, God has no reason to hold up His end of it, and by golly, I'd say He's got every right to do whatever the smeg He feels like. And if He wants to, if He decides to change His mind, and do things not according to the Bible, more power to Him, it's His prerogative.

But you know He won't. He's too good for that.

Oh how I hope He takes us away. I rather do hope this is the end.

You know, for too long we have allowed ourselves to be tainted by the world, when the Bible says, "Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God. And ye shall keep my statutes therefore, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you." Leviticus 20:7-8. As well: "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation. Because it is written, Be ye holy: for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:15-16. This leads us not only to Leviticus 11:44, where God speaks of not defiling our bodies with unclean creatures, but also to Leviticus 11:45, where He reminds us of when He brought us out of Egypt, not only literal to the Hebrews of this period but also figurative to modern Christians as well, for Egypt symbolizes the world around us. It says: "For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy." As well, Leviticus 19:2: "Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy."

He states repeatedly throughout the Bible, "Be ye holy! Set apart, sanctified, for Me, for I am your God, I am Jehovah Elohiym, the Self-Existent, Eternal, and Supreme God. I am the Self-Existing and Eternal One Who brought you out to be your Supreme God."

I love movies. My favorite is Frequency. No better story of the redeeming (I hesitate to use the word "redemption") of the lives of a father and son. And the fact that it routinely involves baseball and the World Series surely doesn't hurt. (Gotta have that baseball.) But some movies, movies I've loved, are just filled with the most awful language, the most terribly sinful situations. That's not holy. I admit it: I bring judgement down on myself: I've not been holy in my thinking, more than once. Twice maybe? Okay, three times, but no more.

That's a joke.

And sometimes, Mr. Bruce, sometimes it just doesn't pay to go see a movie where maybe there are nice parallels betwixt Christian life and the movie. Sometimes, I'd say it's a coincidence. When the parallels and allegorical twistings get all muddied up with horrid language and stupid nudey scenes and impure things, we align ourselves therefore with the world and GASP may I say it? Is it allowed in this tolerant world to say the word? The devil.

I apologize if anything I've said angers you. That's not my intention, I only wish as your sister in Christ to gently correct you on some matters. Okay, now I've rambled and groused, so here you go, I'm pushing send. And I don't care if you publish this on your site or not. But if you do, just block out my email address.
Thanks.

Response: You are welcome. I appreciate the time you took to respond and post your thoughts. -David

TIMELY WORDS
Subject: Newsletter_29 Revising_John_3_16
Date: Tue, 06 Nov 2001
From: Tammy Herring

Thank you for speaking out about intolerance in the Christian community. Unfortunately, I was introduced to the Christian faith by a fundamentalist church I attended as a child. The negative attitudes and focus on evil, sin, and punishment followed me into adulthood and made me a very judgmental and unloving "Christian." Only recently (within the last 5 years) has the true message of Jesus penetrated my heart and set me free. In the midst of an emotional and spiritual bankruptcy, I experienced the pure GRACE that Jesus offers, and I will never be the same again. As followers of Jesus, we need to also dispense grace and not judgment to a hurting world.
Thank you again for your timely insight.

Response: You are so right. Thank you for sharing your journey, I appreciate that. May God continue to bless you. -David

I AM A CHRISTIAN, BUT...
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: Chris Utley

...it's ignorant views like these that have make me ashamed to call myself a Christian. i'm sick of so-called Christian leaders and their BS! God is not pleased with these ignorant comments. yes He allows suffering and there are times when He does deal with us harshly because of sin. but the events of 9/11 were one group's act of HATE. we as Christians are supposed to combat hate by sowing seeds of love and peace. but instead, these "Christian leaders" are sowing the same BS hatred that Bin Laden and his followers are showing. and all in the name of Jesus? i think not. HE said that the world will know we're His because of OUR LOVE.

To any non-Christian who reads this message: don't let Falwell and Pat Robertson and all these people convince you that Christ doesn't love you. He does. Jesus specializes in taking broken people and making them whole. He doesn't just heal bodies...He heals broken spirits. He comforts people who's parents have abandoned them for making different lifestyle choices. He's a Father to men who's fathers constantly judge them. He's a mother to those who's mothers are too preoccupied with "church stuff" to really love them and minister to them. He loves punk rockers. He loves gangbangers. The world and church people may call you a slut. He'll love you and restore you to a radiant woman again. i just want to let you know that He does love you and it's His pleasure and desire to come into your heart. and He will teach you who He is and what He wants you to believe. i know Jesus for myself. the church taught me a few things but the real stuff that i KNOW about Jesus, He taught me Himself. and i just want to share that with you. Falwell and all those guys are judgemental idiots. Jesus is love. let Him love you.
Chris Utley

Response: Thanks Chris, I appreciate your words of healing, compassion and love. There are many who can not understand the love of God because of the intolerance of certain Christians. I hope many will understand the depth of feeling behind your words. -David

PRAY!
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: Kevin

We should Pray that The LORD'S will be done!.
- Kevin

AGREE WITH CHRIS WEIGEL
Subject: Newsletter_29
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: Paul H

Hi David
I'd like to briefly say that I agree with Chris Weigel's comments in reponse to your article. The doomsayers have little to recommend themselves, and John 3 v 16 is absolutely central to our message to the world. It's a terrible thing that the gospel has been misrepresented in this way by Christian fundamentalists. However, I would like to advise caution about thinking that a nation has no need of repentance. If God's chosen people in the Old Testament were called to repentence again and again, then why should America, or the United Kingdom (where I live), or any other great nation for that matter, have no such need? I believe that freedom of speech is a good thing too; but just because intolerant fundamentalists (Christian or Moslem) are pointing their fingers in the wrong direction, doesn't mean that we can assume that our nations are off the hook in living up to the high standards of God's social justice that Isaiah, Amos, Micah and others preached about incessantly to Old Testament Israel. I don't believe that our sophisticated systems of government make our society any less in need of God's grace and forgiveness than Israel were.

CS Lewis claimed that "suffering is God's megaphone to a deaf world". Personally, I struggle with the idea that God would cause suffering for whatever reason, be that in allowing his wife to die of cancer, or allowing national tragedy to be brought about by evil men, but I think he has a point. I gather that part of the reason that this is a confusing concept to modern minds because of our secularized understanding of cause and effect. There are passages in the OT where a tragedy is said to have been brought about by "the enemy" - i.e. the devil - in one chapter, and by the Lord in the next - this was not a contradiction in Hebrew thought, since all of history, good and bad, was interpreted in the light of God's sovereignty.

I was helping at a camp last summer, and I had asked one of the kids to say a bit about why he came to camp - he came out with something unexpectedly profound. He said that his best friend had died in a car accident a couple of years ago, and so he became a Christian, because he had 'no-one else to get angry with'. To me, this was an unexpected testimony to the difficult fact that God chooses to use bad situations, often involving the suffering of innocent people, for good ends. Events that might be expected to alienate us from God end up bringing us closer to him. The Gallup statistics you quoted are very encouraging for the same reason - I think events like this help people to realise how much we all need to rely on God. So I think we are repenting, and I hope and pray that this continues.

A friend of mine wrote another thoughtful article on the events of Sep 11, which is worth reading - http://stocki.ni.org/news/items/item-207.phtml (It's a great website, by the way, quite similar in outlook to HJ. I can't think of anyone less 'fundamentalist' - I hope HJ readers would enjoy his site).
Keep up the good work
- God bless Paul H ***

There's no man so wicked he cannot come home
Nor so good he passes each test
- John Hiatt

Response: Thanks Paul for your thoughts. I really like the story of the boy who became a Christian (turned to God) because he had no one else to be angry with. -David

VERY GOOD POINT
Subject: Newsletter_29 Revising John_3_16
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001
From: Philb

I won't be cancelling my subscription. I think you bring up a very good point. The intollerance of our well meaning but off base brothers and sisters needs to be pointed out. How brazen for someone to suppose that they could announce the Judgement of God Almighty on New York City. I forget that the rest of our communities are so much more in tune and in line with the Scriptures. Get a clue Wilkerson. God is wanting none to perish but all to come to eternal life. Remember He loved us knowing we'd choose sin. He loves us with no conditions. It's not "Change your ways first, then I'll love you." Lucky for me, and all of us.

Response: Ah the whole concept of Grace (Unmerited favor and love) is wonderful. -David

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