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Are Evangelicals Right About TV Programming?

true blood

Dear Evangelical. Sit down. Better yet, go get a glass of Welch’s grape juice, drink it quickly, and then sit down. What I am about to tell you will shatter your world. Ready?

I agree with you. When you say that TV programming and movies are more violent and have more nudity in them than ever before,  I agree. 100% agree. I think, according to your moral code, you have every right to be mad as heaven about all the blood, boobs, and butts (boy that will preach) that are common to many TV programs and movies. Things have changed a lot in recent years. The language, why the F word, the S word,  and GD are common words used in almost every TV program and movie. We are a long, long way from Little House on the Prairie.

I think you have every right to object, boycott, and express your outrage. But, here’s the thing. You don’t matter. First, many Evangelicals seem to have no problem blood, boobs, and butts or F, S, or GD. I know compromising. backslidden liberals, right? They probably aren’t even real Christians. True blue, morally outraged, Evangelicals are a small segment of the total population. Your threats of boycott and picketing and letter writing, outside of getting the Duck Dynasty boys back on TV, has little effect. You need to face reality. I know it is hard. After all you do think that dead people get out of the grave, virgins have babies, and people can walk through walls and walk on water.  Reality is this…the Evangelical demographic doesn’t matter much to Hollywood. They are content to throw Evangelicals a few bones now and again, but, for the most part, WWET, what would Evangelicals think, rarely enters the discussion.

Most Americans now watch pay-TV. With our money we vote for what channels we want and with our remote we choose which programs to watch. Here in good, old democratic America, everyone has a right to turn on or turn off the TV. If a person doesn’t like blood, boobs, and butts or F, S, or GD, they are free to not watch it. There are plenty of programs for you to watch  on TV Land, the numerous Christian channels, and a handful of other channels; programming that is relatively free of blood, boobs, and butts or F, S, or GD.

HBO, Showtime, AMC, FX, or any of the other major networks are not going to cater to Evangelical morality and sensibility. As a demographic, you have little power. Why not start a 24/7 Evangelical entertainment channel? Instead of bitching, moaning, and complaining about Hollywood, invest your money in Christian entertainment. By all means, continue to expand the Christian ghetto.  We live in America where anything is possible, right?

Here’s what I think. Most Evangelicals feign offense over blood, boobs, and butts or F, S, or GD. If their offense was real they would shut their TV’s off and stop supporting wicked Hollywood. Truth is, Evangelicals like blood, boobs, and butts like many of the rest of us. As

But what about the kids, Bruce? V-chip, parental controls, and an on/off button are all at the disposal of outraged Evangelicals. Yet, for the most part, they don’t use them. My children, none of whom are Evangelical, are quite capable of controlling what my grandchildren watch on TV. I do the same when they come to visit my house. It’s really is this simple. Parents, you are in charge. It is you, and you alone, that controls what your children watch on TV. Stop blaming Hollywood for your inability to supervise your children.

Since I am a pay-TV customer, I support the networks I like through paying a monthly satellite bill. Very few people only get their TV programming over the air.  Some day, all TV viewing will be pay-TV. We are rapidly reaching that point. Viewers no longer like watching commercials and pay-TV allows them the freedom to avoid paid commercials every 8-10 minutes. Thank Zeus for the DVR. I support networks like HBO, Showtime, AMC, TNT, USA, and FX, because I like the programming they provide. Blood, boobs, and butts or F, S, or GD don’t offend me, and if it does, I do what every Evangelical has the power to do, I change the channel.

A recent episode of True Blood features a violent scene that takes place at a fundraiser for Republican Ted Cruz. Polly and I found it hilarious. Of course, we are card-carrying liberal heathens, so True Blood’s consistent jabbing at the religious and political right has been fun to watch. In fact, one could argue that True Blood has been a seven season long jab at everything Evangelicals hold dear. Here’s the clip:

Link to video

One man’s funny is another man’s outrage. Again, we vote with our money and we have the power to change the channel if we don’t like what is on. It really is that simple.

Published: July 30, 2014 | Comments: 3

Do We Really Only Use 10% of Our Brain?

Here’s a video by neurologist Krish Sathian of Emory University about the claim that we only use 10% of our brains:

YouTube Preview Image

Video link

Thanks to my friend Daniel Fincke for making me aware of this video.

 

Published: July 30, 2014 | Comments: 2

America Seeks Peace in the Middle East by Supporting Violence

Jon Stewart sums it up well

 

Video Link

Published: July 30, 2014 | Comments: 0

Why THE BIBLE SAYS is Not a Good Argument

know the bible is true

Back in the late 1980′s, I did a lot of street preaching. I would travel to places like Newark, Zanesville, and Lancaster, Ohio and stand on a street corner and preaching the gospel. One time, while I was preaching on the courthouse sidewalk in Newark, two Mormon missionaries came up to me and wanted to talk. I said, fine, as long as we limit our discussion to the King James Bible. They told me that they couldn’t do that because the King James Bible AND the book of Mormon were both authoritative. Because I was unwilling to grant their assertion that the book of Mormon was authoritative, their was no point in them trying to talk to me. The book of Mormon and the King James Bible being authoritative were required presuppositions for them. Without me accepting their presuppositions, no meaningful discussion could take place. So it is with Evangelicals who demand that I accept the Christian Bible as authoritative.

Countless Evangelicals have come to this blog and tried to use THE BIBLE SAYS argument. Bruce, it says right here in Romans, or Genesis, or Jude ________________. They assume (presuppose) that I accept the Bible as authoritative. I don’t and neither do many of the people who read this blog. They fail to see that I have studied the history of the Bible and the claims it makes (or the claims Christians SAY it makes) and I have concluded, based on the evidence at hand, that the Bible is not an authoritative book. At best, it is a collection of books written by men trying to explain their view of world. If Evangelicals understood this, rather than asserting that the Bible is an inerrant, inspired, infallible book, we might be able to have a discussion. But, they pull the Bible out of the bookcase and say (or demand) that it is the book above all books, that it is the truth above all truth, and that every human must bow to its authority. I reject their assertions and do not think the Bible is any more superior or special than Harry Potter or To Kill a Mockingbird.

THE BIBLE SAYS carries no weight with me. Why should I grant the Bible authority? Well, because THE BIBLE SAYS! Exactly.  This is circular reasoning at its best and the reason why it is impossible to have a thoughtful, reasonable conversation with an Evangelical.  Besides THE BIBLE SAYS lots of things that Christians these days are embarrassed about. So, no THE BIBLE SAYS Evangelical is really 100% THE BIBLE SAYS.

Published: July 30, 2014 | Comments: 3

Mark Driscoll’s Words Come Back to Haunt Him

mark driscoll

Mark Driscoll, preaching and vision pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, and the most interesting man in the world according to Mark Driscoll, finds himself in quite a predicament. It seems that Driscoll, using a the pseudonym William Wallace II, engaged in a discussion that highlights how extreme and misogynistic he really is. While his comments are over a decade old, they do provide an interesting, entertaining, and disturbing look into Driscoll’s fundamentalist mind.

Matthew Paul Turner, in a post tilted Mark Driscoll’s Pussified Nation, details how it became known that Driscoll was William Wallace II. I encourage you to read his post. Here’s one page of Driscoll’s comments which, BTW, go on for 140 pages:

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If I was a betting man, Driscoll’s days at Mars Hill are numbered. Either he will enter Christian rehab or he will be forced to out. The problem is, for the church, everything thing they do is built around the man, the myth, the legend, Mark Driscoll. Like the IFB churches of my youth that were built around god-men, mega-churches rarely survive the loss of their god. If they do survive, they are often a shell of what they once were. I am sure there are a lot of good people at Mars Hill. They can show their goodness by tossing Mark Driscoll out on the street.

Published: July 30, 2014 | Comments: 11

Breaking News: Rivers of Blood Prove the Bible is True!

river in china turns to blood

Not really, but I had to get your attention. Many Evangelicals have what I call a newspaper theology. They scan newspapers and the internet for proof that the B-i-b-l-e is true. This is especially the case when it comes to future events (eschatology). I have heard countless sermons over the years that were preached right out of the daily newspaper. None of these sermons proved to be true, but like all newspaper theology sermons, the preachers received a new edition of the newspaper, read it, and found many new proofs that the Bible is true.

The Bible says:

Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river. And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. Exodus 7:17-20

And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. Revelation 16:4

We have a past and future story of God turning rivers into blood. In Exodus, turning the rivers into blood was part of the plagues God rained down on Egypt. In Revelation, we are told that God will again, during the Great Tribulation, turn the rivers into blood.

Now consider this Mashable story out of China:

Locals in the Chinese city of Wenzhou woke up to a mysteriously blood-red river Thursday morning.

According to China Radio International, the river began to redden at 6 a.m. local time, baffling residents who have spent their entire lives in the town of Wenzhou in east China’s Zhejiang Province.

Locals complained that they could no longer fish in the river, though, even if they could, it’s hard to imagine eating the catch.

The river’s color was normal yesterday,” another resident told Shanghaiist. “It’s really scary to see the clear river turned into ‘blood water’ in only a night.”

China Radio International reported that officers from the Wenzhou Environmental Protection Bureau took samples to determine the cause of the alarming color shift. It’s suspected that people dumped red pollutants into the water somewhere upstream, according to Shanghaiist.

According to ABC, Jianfeng Xiao, chief of the Wenzhou bureau, told China News, “We suspect that somebody dumped artificial coloring in the water because he thought the typhoon yesterday would cause heavy rain, and nobody would notice [the color].” He added, “It turned out there wasn’t heavy rainfall yesterday, so the evidence is left behind.”

Xiao said that there is a paper manufacturer, a food coloring company and clothing-maker along the river, though China Radio International quoted locals saying that there are no chemical plants upstream. The bureau is still investigating the incident.

This the third time a Chinese river has been mysteriously “bloodied” in the past three years. In 2012, the Yangtze river in Chongqing turned orange red, and in 2011, the Jian river in Henan Province turned a sickening crimson hue.

How long do you think it will be before someone like John Hagee preaches a newspaper sermon from Exodus 7 or Revelation 16 and uses the China story as an illustration? How long before someone notices that this is the THIRD time this has happened in China in the last THREE years. THREE. THREE. THREE. Surely this is a sign, straight from the three in one, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

It is. Don’t eat the fish or drink the water in China.

Published: July 29, 2014 | Comments: 8

Butler County, Ohio Sheriff Blames Crime Increase on “Illegals”

sheriff richard k jones

Richard K. Jones, sheriff of Butler County, an Ohio county near Cincinnati, recently sent the Mexican government a bill for the costs of housing those who have illegally crossed the border and made their way to Butler CountyAccording to The Christian Post:

“I  (Sheriff Richard K. Jones) sent a letter to the president of Mexico. Gonna charge him for the prisoners that are in my jail; the federal government [then] sends me a letter that I violated a treaty of 1790.”

“I sent them a bill for the prisoners that are in my jail. They came here illegally. I’ve not gotten any money from them but I billed them so much. And I tell you what I got in return. My life was threatened. The FBI called me and told me that there are three sheriffs in the country that were gonna be killed by the drug cartel, and I was one of the three,”

“Here in Ohio, we’re a long ways from the border, but we’ve had horrendous crimes here in this community and the state of Ohio. We had a senior citizen, an elderly lady who was molested by a teenager that came over from Mexico, we’ve had another one that was molested an — 8-year-old girl.”

“We’ve had drugs that are pouring in, more so than before. The government said the borders were sealed and we have been run over by the drug dealers coming to this community. The violence has increased and we are a long way from the border.”

“Now what scares us is what’s coming across the border. I’ve been to the border, I’m on the National Sheriffs Border with the sheriffs. I’ve seen the borders; I’ve seen what comes across the border.”

“We know that there’s people already here that are gonna do harm to this country. They are not gonna fly in and do harm. They are gonna walk in with backpacks. They’re gonna put some dirty bombs together. They’re gonna do something real terrible. It’s too easy. They’re coming into the country; we don’t know who they are, they don’t have vaccinations, our jails are full, they’re hit and run. They are totally out of control and it has gotten worse just in the past 12 months.”

Am I the only one who thinks Sheriff Jones is overplaying his hand and is quite p-a-r-a-n-o-i-d? He sounds a lot like racist, right-wing, Obama-hating shock jock Bill Cunningham. Cunningham has a daily show on 700WLW.

Sheriff Jones provides no data to back up his claim that the Butler County jail is overrun with “illegals.” Evidently, he doesn’t think anyone will bother to look at the Butler County jail roster. I did, and based on the names of the people currently housed at jail, the jail has a very small Latino population. I looked at the names of 826 jail residents and about 60 or so of the names were Latino/Mexican sounding. How many of these 60 or so inmates are in the US illegally? And where is the data that proves that the crime increase in Butler County is directly the result of Latinos/Mexicans who live in Butler county illegally?

As I was reviewing the Butler County Sheriff’s website, it was hacked and some of its page links now redirect to an online pharmacy. I am sure this will feed Jones’s paranoia. www.butlersheriff.org/command/sheriff redirects to:

online pharmacy

Be aware that the previously mentioned Butler County jail roster link has also been hijacked.

Published: July 29, 2014 | Comments: 5

Youth Pastor Brian Keith Smith Arrested for Having Sex with Church Teenager

pastor brian keith smith

Brian Keith Smith was the youth pastor at Journey by Grace Church in Bell Vernon Pennsylvania. I say was, because Smith was fired after being accused of and charged with “aggravated indecent assault of a minor younger than 16 and possession of child pornography, and with the misdemeanors of indecent assault of a minor younger than 16 and corruption of minors.”  According to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette news story by Amy McConnell Schaarsmith:

Mr. Smith, of Belle Vernon, told police he first kissed the teen in or around February 2014, and that between February and mid-July he penetrated her sexually with his fingers on several occasions, exchange oral sex with her on several occasions, and had other sexual contact on at least three occasions in a back room of the church, according to the criminal complaint.

Mr. Smith and the victim also exchanged sexually explicit pictures by text on their cell phones during that period, police said.

During his interview with police, Mr. Smith admitted to having a sexual relationship with the girl, according to the complaint.

According to a WTAE news report:

…The girl said she met Smith when he recruited her for a church group known as the Joshua Project, and she began to exchange text messages with him after she joined the group at the Journey By Grace church on Route 51, according to the complaint.

“These messages consisted of messages regarding church schedules. The victim also stated she would seek counseling from the defendant in regards to personal issues in her life,” police wrote in the complaint. “At this point in time, the victim reported that the defendant began driving her home from church after youth group meetings. The victim stated in late fall of 2013 they began to frequently send text messages to each other. Victim stated that soon after the frequent text messages, the defendant would drive her home. While driving, the defendant would stroke the victim’s face which encouraged intimacy.”

Smith and the girl kissed in February when she was 15, and their subsequent meetings escalated to include touching and then sex acts at the church, police said in the complaint.

In the summer, the girl started going to church with Smith on days when there were no functions, under the pretense of cleaning the church, and they engaged in sex acts in a room near the youth room, according to the complaint.

“The first sexual encounter did, our investigation revealed, did occur at the church itself. Which subsequently occurred multiple times at the church,” said Rostraver Police Chief Greg Resetar. “It appears as if Mr. Smith is a very manipulative person. It appears that he may tend to prey on children that may be experiencing some problems in their life. At that point, he sort of makes his way into their personal life and he encourages this type of activity.”

Smith was interviewed July 18 at the police station and admitted that he and the girl performed sex acts on each other and exchanged sexually explicit photos via phone, according to the complaint.

Resetar said officers are now investigating the possibility that other sexual acts occurred off the property of Journey by Grace.

The complaint says that Smith’s charges include aggravated indecent assault of a person less than 16 and possession of child pornography — both felonies — and corruption of minors, which is a low-level misdemeanor.

An online criminal docket shows that Smith’s bail is set at $50,000 cash, and David S. Shrager is listed as his attorney…

According to both news stories, church leaders took the 15-year-old girl to the police upon hearing the girl’s allegation against Smith. Kudos to the church and its leaders for acting immediately and decisively. However, the WTAE new report states “Smith was previously investigated in another state for a similar case, but no charges were ever filed.” My only question is, did Journey by Grace Church leaders know about this previous allegation? At this point, I am giving them the benefit of the doubt. Since no charges were filed against Smith, the previous allegation would not show up on a background check. I wonder if church leaders called Smith’s previous church and asked for a reference? Surely, one of the questions that should/must be asked is whether there were any allegations of sexual impropriety.

Journey by Grace church is associated with the Free Methodist denomination, a fundamentalist Methodist sect.

Published: July 29, 2014 | Comments: 4