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Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002
From: Elaine Green
To begin with, thank you for all the thought-provoking issues
and entertainment commentary you bring to the world. Your website
is unique and marvelous, and I'm grateful for the work you do
in the Lord's name.
third section of Newsletter #31 struck a very deep cord in me.
I grew up in a small, rural southern church, mostly friendly and
enthusiastic yet worrisome at times. The pastor once expressed
his disdain with teenagers wearing ripped jeans and a few adult
members made their approval known. They also blasted the music
we liked. (Just because a type of entertainment is secular doesn't
mean it's BAD.) Since we, the young people there, wore and listened
to what all the other teenagers did, remarks like that rubbed
us the wrong way. None of us were bad kids, we just looked sloppy
at times! We weren't comfortable with some of the adults because
of their attitudes.
have a problem with such comments being laid down as the law in
places of worship, because not only is it discouraging and maybe
offensive to the people to whom the lecture is directed, but young
people, constantly in need of guidance and support, are going
to shy away from the adults who could act as much needed mentors
to the kids. I'm only 22, not yet an old-timer but past that tender
age where approval is needed from grown-ups even though that need
isn't always voiced. I had some great adults, including my parents,
who helped me with the rough patches. The church can provide this
positive influence, but we have to stop being prejudiced against
the little things that don't matter. I wonder how many would-be
preachers, missionaries and other servants of Christ have dropped
out of God's plans for them because of disapproval from adults.
made me so excited about your website the first time I visited
it was the way you present secular films as valuable lessons to
be learned. What a concept! My sincere prayer is that EVERYONE
who finds your site can learn from it, and learn to look a little
deeper. What's that old saying about judging a book by the cover?
Thanks Elaine, I appreciate your words. -David
know if change is good or bad, but it is so ingrained in the human
condition that it has always been a part of our life. Churches and
church life are expressions of the time and place in which they
exist. Because people change and customs and practices change, so
do churches. Or they die. I doubt that any of us today could relate
to the church life of our own faith from two hundred or three hundred
years ago, any more than they could relate to our churches today.
Churches and church life are a cultural reality as much as a spiritual
Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002
From: Mark Osbun
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002
Organization: Lakeview Free Methodist Church
I think that Christianity HAS to be shown through myth. We humans
have no idea of the immensity of God; how much bigger and "other"
he is. I am thankful for Lewis, Tolkien, and so many others that
have led the way. My own spirituality would have died without
people like them.
Amen! I totally agree! -David
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002
don't think the Bible would back the idea of CHURCH being irrelevant.
Maybe our current FORM of church is, but not the biblical idea
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002
I like your look at pre-Modern vs. post-Modern, and the connection
to the images. And, that you point out that we've "exxed" out
the spiritual world, etc. I agree, even to the point that we "forget"
about the Holy Spirit bcs we're afraid we're gonna "get spiritual"
or something! Heavens to Murgatroid, listen to me, and I'm a Baptist!
there is more to why protestants rejected the icons ... it is
the whole Catholic (pre-protestant) belief in the idea/power of
"saints" (and even Mary)and the tendency we humans have to quicly
make idols out of icons. This can be seen "live" in places like
South America and the Philippines, where animist beliefs of the
past are alive and well in STATUES, icons of the saints and Mary,
etc. Icons in and of themselves are not "evil" - it is when WE
give them more value or power than they own that they get our
minds and hearts off the main thing. And, if I remember my history
anywhere near as well as you do, protestants were SO SICK of all
the crud in the RC church at the time that our rejection of art
and decoration in the church was the result, even in there being
no Jesus on a protestant cross, etc. So, while I think there is
this fear of spiritual stuff in the modern church, it also comes
out of some basic protestant theology about what is an idol and
who is a saint and man's unending tendency to forget God, and
on another topic, does anyone out there KNOW how to talk Jesus
to the current generation - genX and the busters, etc.? I mean,
it seems to me that there can't be a EUCATASTROPHE (or however
that's spelled!) without someone to tell 'em! (see, I'm a boomer
and I am clueless about anything beyond about 1980, bcs I turned
30 then and untrustable!)
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002
born in the late 1950's and early 1960's such as myself were ignored
by the media. We are lumped in the babyboomer group but were too
young to have been involved with the anti-war movement and the
other activities that older group was involved in. The generation
x group which is from 25 to 35 years old needs to grow up. Augustine
was around thirty when he converted to chirst but there were no
special art or music created for him to have become a chirstian.
Generation x like my age group are longer the youngest group around.
I feel that my group were the true lost geneation since the moral
rules started to change for those who were teenagers in the 1970's,
and the media totally missed out on us.
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002
From: James C. Stephens
I don't know who I am presently writing to, but I do agree with
much you say. I personally was a Buddhist prior to finding faith
in Jesus Christ. Since 1984, I have walked with Christ and in
1999, I stopped attending Church waiting upon the Lord for an
answer to our generational dilemma. I read that 30 million Christians
do not attend Church today. Since I stopped attending Church and
started being the Church, I have participated in more fruitful
activity, leading others to Christ, than in my previous years.
Now, I wonder, where do we go from here. I have been asked to
start "A Church" . What does that mean? Everyone seems to have
an answer. But I still have not heard from the Lord on this for
myself and for the small community of lost sheep. I am attempting
to change my language from I go to such and such church, or my
pastor is so and so, he's awesome. Jesus is awesome. I feel that
for the last several years God is weaning my heart from trust
in men, to trust in Him. At the same time He is showing me that
we are to love the Body of Christ in all its myriad sin. He loved
us while we were yet sinners. We are to be like Him.
am happy to have stumbled upon your site. Presently I am working
on a twenty minute presentation for a Hollywood prayer initiative
to inform others about the influence of Buddhism through Hollywood.
Any thoughts? I have seen most of the Buddha films and am interested
in writing something which helps us understand the human spirituality,
but at the same time their determined path away from seeking Jesus
as the only way. Please pray for me. Are you locally based, Los
Angeles area? My family comes from the Motion picture business.
My grandfather James Montrose was a sound producer for the first
talking film at Warner Brothers, the Jazz Singer. My cousin, Tony
Dow used to play in Leave it to Beaver. So I have some vested
interest in seeing my family know Jesus and Him crucified, and
the joy that He has given us in an eternal relationship with Him.
James C. Stephens
Thanks for the wonderful letter. I will pray for your family.
I would love to read your thoughts on Buddhism Please send them
on to me in an email. Perhaps I could interact in that way. I
am in Ashland Oregon. -David
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2002
From: Michael Hermann
wrote: A myth is an expression of something that is "ultimately
true". If we keep this classical definition in mind we will have
little trouble with myth. What is the truth about humanity that
a story is trying to express? What is the ultimate truth a biblical
story is trying to convey, state, make real for the reader about
Jesus or God? These are the helpful questions.
does not mean "untrue", or "false". It is not the same as "mythunderstanding".
You are exactly right! -David
WITH IMAGE AND ICONS
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002
of the difficulty with images and icons, is that, they have been
used for so long to deify Europeans. Christ, Mary, Joseph, Moses,
and the apostles have been depicted as white in the European and
Euro-American churches, when they were not, being of Middle Eastern
and Afro-Asiatic descent. The depiction just became part of the
whole colonialist movement to justify the degradation and exploitation
of people of color. Over time, the political ramifications of
the images overshadowed the spiritual meaning, if spiritual meaning
was intended at all. The icons came to be seen as a way for European
descended people in power to represent themselves as being holy
or powerful and justify their exploitation of people of other
L. D. Waters
This is why we need a diversity of image. As we become increasingly
a gobal village this will naturally happen. Recent images of Jesus
tend to be more international. Celebrate art! -David
FOR BOOMER AND X
-AND THE RENAISSANCE OF MYSTERY AND WONDER
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002
From: "mark storm"
I loved your overview of the limitations of the Modernism zeitgeist.
Indeed, the 'Modern' era (and the Modernism era for most of the
Twentieth Century) discredited Myth vigorously.
every generation is a reaction against the one before it. The
excesses of the Regency 'Romantics' led to the stringencies of
the Victorians. It was the 'Modern' Scientific mindset of the
Higher Critical School of Nineteenth Century Germany that accounted
for the doctrine that the Hebrew Bible couldn't possibly be true
because so much of it alluded to supernaturalism and mystical
events, which they disparaged as 'nonsensical. worthless. foolish.
valueless.. Romantic rubbish!'.
surprisingly, Christians for the last two hundred years have been
at pains to verify the Bible through archaeology and exhaustive
scholarship. And so one can clearly see that these Christians
were fighting their side of the fight within the Positivistic
Rationalism that epitomises the Modernist / Scientific paradigm.
while the Scientific paradigm has allure in its own Grand Aesthetic,
for all their noble purposes, the Christians who embraced the
scientific paradigm (and brought about Creation Science among
other achievements) lost the enigmatic beauty that is specific
to the non-rational paradigm, one best experienced when one perceives
the wonder in the Mystery that is the central truth of the Christ.
all history is a Pendulum of Paradigms. Once Science had developed
to the point where the layman was at a loss to comprehend it -
and in apprehension at its fearsome fruits, such as the nuclear
bomb - it wasn't surprising that a generation would sooner or
later arise who would reject it. Enter the 1960s where Boomers
embraced the mystical and irrational.
the Boomers lost both blessing and birthright. What began so brightly
in the 1960s. such beautiful music!. such glorious, moving lyrics
of truth!. was all lost when the burdens of age crept upon them.
What now can be said for the legacy of the Baby Boomers? Dirty
sex, dirty drugs, divorce and decadence. And no-one feels this
loss of opportunity to redeem the world more poignantly than those
who first cried so loudly "Peace, Love and Understanding".
a legacy of confusion for their children.
where are we now, we poor lost souls of the 3rd Millenium? Are
we to suddenly revert to Science? Will we demand that the paradigm
of Science yield us the fruits of Mammon denied us by the excesses
of the Boomers? Will we chase the fool's rainbow and try to be
will we embrace our parents' rejection of Objectivity - and wallow
in a quagmire of delusion, drugs, irrationality and superstition
for as long as our youth and money last? Or will we be remembered
in history as the Generation who Repaired the World? Will Generation
X be remembered as the ones who paid the bill and did the cleaning
up for the Boomers' party? Will we be remembered as the generation
who balanced the Wisdoms of Science and Mystery? Will we be the
ones who finally learnt the secret of connecting the Passion and
the Prose - the Words and the Music?
doubt it. I think Generation X is too confused, too despondent,
too divided in its voice. Generation X will only claim a footnote
in history as the sad, lost generation sandwiched between the
greater ones that went before and.. after? At best, Generation
X is the generation that knew best what the problem was, but was
exhausted long before its time and robbed of its chances to act
on that knowledge. Yet while I can see no 'Neo-Renaissance' from
my own Generation X, when I look at the generation that is to
come, Generation Y, I have hope. Given the current responses to
The Matrix, Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings - and their positive
reception of the mystery of Christ not least of all (for they
are braver and not yet so cynical as X) I think they might just
be the ones to make it.
assuming... Generations Boomer and X teach them the hard-won lessons
and yield to them the reins of power in time.
Mark you always amaze me. Thank you for you well thought out response.
I am impressed. I have high hopes for Gen Y too. And I agree generations
Boomer and X need to "teach them the hard-won lessons and
yield to them the reins of power in time." At the present
however, Boomers need to pass off to Gen X.
-RESPONSE TO CHRISTINE
Subject: JRR_Tolkien_ is right on
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002
all - loved the movie, loved Greg's review, agreed with the newsletter.
But this is more of a response to Christine's comments than anything
else - although I don't know if she follows this site or whether
she will be reading this or not.
I just wanted to challange you on your understanding of "abstaining
from every appearance of evil" (I Thess 5 v 19-22). To
put the verse in its context, Paul is giving some short advice
on prophecy. He advises us not to stifle the holy spirit or scoff
at prophecy, but test everything that is said. The most direct
and obvious application of his words, then, is to the practice
of prophecy, and to avoiding misinterpretation of it. If anyone
has concerns about the inspiration of such prophecy, thinking
it is of sinister origin, then this appearance of evil should
be avoided by carefully testing everything said.
may disagree with me on this interpretation of the verse, but
this is the immediate context, and I don't believe that there
are any other passages of scripture which emphasize the outward
appearances of doing the right thing - inward motivation and attitudes
of the heart are emphasized more often. If we are going to make
these words into a general principle - that Christians must never
do anything which is subject to misinterpretation by the uninformed
- then we must be careful about lifting Paul's words out of their
original context. This is something to be very cautious of - after
all, the Bible says that "There is no God"
(Psalm 14 v 1), if we are prepared to ignore the context.
If this is to be a general principle, it should be noted that
Jesus was accused of being "a glutton and a
drunkard" (Matthew 11 v 19) by uninformed observers, by
his association with the dregs of society. Jesus stuck to his
principles and his mission, even though he risked misunderstanding
by people who didn't really know what was going on - therefore
his actions are not consistent with this "abstain from every appearance
of evil" principle. This suggests to me that just because people
who haven't read Tolkien think his books are sinister, that doesn't
make him a backslider, and going to see the film doesn't make
people backsliders either.
admit that I am disturbed by society's obsession with all things
occultish, and I want to know why the books on Wicca and Paganism
are much easier to find and seem to be more numerous in my local
branch of Waterstones than any Christian books or bibles. But
it won't help to go condemning excellent Christian authors for
their guilt by tentative association. (If you'd read the books
you would know that Tolkien's "wizards" are not really human practictioners
of the magic arts in the conventional sense, like they are in
Harry Potter, but are mysterious and powerful characters, who
are eventually revealed to be essentially angelic beings). Personally
I think it's good that my non-Christian friends are watching a
film that makes them think about Divine Providence and Human Responsibility.
I'm really glad that the director Peter Jackson really picked
up on that level of the book - I didn't think he would. Just a
little thought - I hope you will give this further consideration.
Yours in Christ Paul Hutchinson
PS Is JK Rowling really a Presbyterian Christian? I enjoyed the
film, but I have to admit to a bit of reserved concern that witchcraft
comes off looking pretty cool and exciting in her books. I'd like
to find out more about her own spiritual outlook, if anyone knows
anything more about her own beliefs.
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002
From: Will VanNatta
I think you raise a lot of great questions. Many of which have
been asked for the past decade by many people in the church. My
question to you is this: " What are the answers to the questions
you raise? How do we as a church, a Christian community, and believers
reach this post modern generation with the gospel in a language
they will hear? "
Will Van Natta
Open the door and let them in. Give them place. Sit back and behold
the move of God. -David
GREAT FELLOWSHIP... ELSEWHERE!
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002
From: Ben Wakefield
I find what you are saying to be very correct. I pastored churches
for nearly thirty years, but finally left due to a serious mistake
I make and found it difficult to minister as a pastor, as too
many wanted to "remember what you did"! I joined a Catholic congregation
and found a place where no one knew or cared what I had done.
I teach a wonderful Bible Study in which adults are come week
by week hungry for signs of God's presence in their lives and
world. I encourage them to see God in everything and everyone,
as this is what the incarnation means. Lewis is right that our
myths always move us. I am grateful for all the ways God speaks
and the many voices God uses to speak to me everyday. If Christians
truly began to understand Scripture they would see and hear God
in all things. I will be reading your site often. Thanks for your
outlook. Many you see and experience God's blessings in all things.
Bless you my man! Bless you! -David
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