Tag: Culture (home)

Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirit are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.

permalink source: Mary Ellen Kelly
tags: Logic, Culture

THREE CHURCH GROWTH MYTHS by guest columnist John C. LaRue, Jr. Do you need alarming statistics to motivate your church into being more evangelistic? I hope not. There's already plenty of evidence to indicate that many people still need to be evangelized, so there's no reason for exaggerating. That's why I'd like to dispel a number of myths currently being circulated. Myth #1: The percentage of adults in the United States who attend church is decreasing. (See statistics below.) The fact is churchgoing in America has been very stable for 60 years. True, according to the Gallup Poll, church attendance surged in the 1950s and trailed off in the 1960s to an average of between 40 to 43 percent. And it's true that in 1996 only 37 percent of those surveyed by Gallup said they attend church weekly -- the lowest percentage ever recorded. But in 1999 - - the last year for which statistics are available - - 43 percent of Americans said they had attended church in the past week. So church attendance actually increased by 16 percent in just 3 years. Myth #2: More churches are closing than opening every year. Actually, there are more churches in the United States now than there were 20 or even 100 years ago. According to yellow pages statistics there are currently more than 350,000 listings for churches in this country compared to about 300,000 twenty years ago. This growth in the number of churches reflects the growth in the U.S. population during the twentieth century. Perhaps this misperception arose because there has been a dramatic decline in the church-to-population ratio in the past century. According to the "1993-1994 Almanac of the Christian World" there were 27 churches per 10,000 people in 1900 compared to just 12 churches per 10,000 people in 1990. However, churches are getting larger. Church growth expert Lyle Schaller reports that various denominational records indicate the average church size has tripled in the past century. So even though there aren't as many churches per capita, many people are attending larger churches. Myth #3: Conversions to other religions and dropouts from Christianity are escalating. (See statistics below.) The truth is, according to Gallup research, the number of Americans who describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians has grown dramatically in the past quarter century -- especially in the 1990s. In 1976, 34 percent of Americans were classified as evangelicals. Twenty-five years later, in 1999, this number was up 12 percentage points to 46 percent. In conclusion, be cautious with reports that cast church growth statistics negatively. Try to step back and get the whole picture. We already have adequate motivation -- a biblical mandate -- to go into all the world with the gospel until Christ returns. And the fact is regardless of upward or downward trends there are plenty of people left that need the good news. About the Research Gallup statistics in this report come from "Emerging Trends," a monthly publication of the Princeton Religion Research Center utilizing the research facilities of Gallup International. Most studies from which these statistics were generated consisted of nationwide random samples of 1000 adults in the United States between 1939 and 1999. John C. LaRue, Jr., is Vice President of Internet Research and Development for Christianity Today International, and Your Church Special Report columnist. To reply, write: Newsletter@LeadershipJournal.net 60 YEARS OF STEADY WEEKLY CHURCH ATTENDANCE Year % 1939 41 1950 39 1955 49 1962 46 1967 43 1972 40 1977 41 1980 40 1985 42 1990 40 1996 37 1999 43 EVANGELICALS ON THE INCREASE Year % 1976 34 1981 38 1992 36 1995 41 1999 46

permalink source: Church Leadership Weekly (Christianity Today)
tags: Leadership, Culture

In the twentieth century, the secularists, still living off the spiritual capital of Christianity, often pretended to chide Christians for having invented the term "secularist," a term which, they said, was devoid of meaning. Their leaders knew very well, however, that secularism, like any other parasite, derives its sustenance from the object on which it feeds, and so they were rather pleased when milquetoast Christians timidly offered, as a definition of secularism, "living as though God did not exist." What Christians should have called it was, rather, "a contemptibly fraudulent way of living on the cheap, by reaping the maximum fruits of Christian effort, while contributing the minimum effort of your own." When secularists accused Christians of "living in the past," the Christians ought to have retaliated by pointing out that secularists were "living off the past." By the time they got around to doing so, however, the majority of secularists had become morally incapable of seeing the point.

permalink source: James McGregor, From a Christian Ghetto
tags: Atheism, Culture

************************* SHORT BIO ON DYAN CANON ************************* Birth name Samile Diane Friesen Date of birth (location) 4 January 1937, Tacoma, Washington, USA Attended the University of Washington, Seattle, but didn't graduate. Spouse Stanley Fimberg (1985 - 1991) divorced. Cary Grant (1965 - 1968) divorced, 1 daughter. Perhaps best known for her trademark curly blond tresses. Cannon starred in the pop-culture classic “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” in 1969 and her received her third Oscar nomination for 1978’s “Heaven Can Wait,” opposite Warren Beatty. Cannon’s most recent film credits include “Drop-Dead,” “Out to Sea” (1997, starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon), and the comedic mystery “8 Heads in a Duffel Bag” (1997), where Cannon starred opposite Joe Pesci as a recovering alcoholic. Her additional film credits include “Revenge of the Pink Panther,” “Deathtrap,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” and 'That Darn Cat' (1997) 'Drop-Dead' (1998) and the upcoming television movie, “My Mother, the Spy.” Currently, Dyan Cannon stars as the vivacious and free-spirited Honey Bernstein-Flynn on NBC’s mid-season comedy series “Three Sisters.” Honey is a yoga and meditation enthusiast, as well as a die-hard Laker fan, whose open relationship with her three grown daughters -- played by Katherine LaNasa, Vicki Lewis, and A.J. Langer -- is unconventional and often outrageous. For a more detail biography: http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/dyan_cannon.htm ************************* DYAN CANNON'S INCREDIBLE INTERVIEW WITH LARRY KING Monday, April 23, 2001 on CNN ************************* LARRY KING WAS BLOWN AWAY Larry King opened his interview with Dyan Cannon by saying, "Last Saturday night, my producer, her husband, the wife and I went out to Studio City here at CBS Lot in California to see an amazing thing: Dyan Cannon perform a kind of service... A lot of people watching this. In fact, standing room only, people outside ... what is with the God thing? What happened to you? You're a Jewish person." After much laughter Dyan Cannon responded, "You know, you come to point in your life and you say, I want to be happy and I'm not happy, and I really want to know what real love is. That's how it started with me, my search for love." HOW GOD'S PARTY BEGAN Cannon does not call what she does a church service, but rather, "an outreach... called GPDC, God's Party With Dyan Cannon." It started in her house which it quickly outgrew. So she called the president of CBS, Michael Klausman, and made arrangements to lease the CBS lot to hold the party there two times a month on Saturday night. The party consists of singing with a band and a time of healing. It's been going on for 3 years. Large numbers of people come. It's standing room only. Many can not get in DYAN EXPLAINS HOW PEOPLE ARE HEALED One of the unique features of God's Party is when people are prayed and healed. Dyan Cannon claims that God has healed many through her. Larry King was most fascinated by this. DYAN EXPLAINS THE NEW BIRTH. "All you have to do is say yes. Yes, Christ, I will receive this love that you have taught me about. I'll receive it in my heart say yes just as I am right now, I don't have to lose weight or gain weight, get a job or lose a job, or do anything. I can, just right this minute, say "come in to my heart." I have been so hungry for love, I have been so thirsty I have been so needy, I have been at point of death ... just come into my heart." HOW MARIJUANA ADDICTION BROUGHT DYAN TO JESUS "I was addicted to marijuana. I would have to have a puff off a joint before every take. I'd run out to the bathroom and come back... Well, I just said I need help and I have to do this and I knew I had to do it. I'll tell you what happened. I was going to go make a film in Greece and in Greece, if they caught you with this much marijuana, they threw you in jail, no questions asked, and I was trying to stuff it in my deodorant bottles, you know, in the bottom of my deodorant because I thought they'll never look in there. And I thought, what I am doing? Is this thing bigger than me? Yes, well, I need help with it." And so she turned to God and opened her heart. BEAUTIFUL MUSIC Dyan Cannon has made a bold step. She has come forth in a public way to proclaim her faith in Jesus Christ as a Jewish Christian. Her God Parties are an explosion of that faith with balloons, streamers and beautiful music. Her bottom line is to help others know the love of God. I thought this was a tremendous thing for Dyan Cannon to do. There are lots of people of faith in Hollywood, but few share in a public way as Dyan Cannon did. As you watch the video clips (http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/dyan_cannon.htm) notice how Dyan seems to use laughter to mask her nervousness, and yet at the same time project a strong sense of confidence. I also thought she did an excellent job in not using religious language, and how she included a kindness toward people of other faiths. Here is a woman on a mission. Her life will never be the same again. FOR SOME AMAZING REAL VIDEO CLIPS OF THIS INTERVIEW: http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/dyan_cannon.htm Several videos located in middle of page to bottom Also you will find info on how to get the full transcript and a complete video tape of the Larry King show. Also check out all her films on video.

permalink source: Hollywood Jesus
tags: Evangelism, Culture

Edward Gibbon, author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, has attributed the fall of the Empire to: 1. The rapid increase of divorce; the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society. 2. Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and circuses for the populace. 3. The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting and more brutal. 4. The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy was within, the decadence of the people. 5. The decay of religion--faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people. Edward Gibbon.

permalink source: Edward Gibbon (from a sermon illustration website)
tags: Culture, America

“If you’re doing what you see everyone else doing, you’re not right with God. Does that surprise you? Our missionaries are a cross-section of our pastors, and our pastors are a cross-section of our society. That means whatever’s wrong with our society is in our church, too.”

permalink source: Paul Brannan at So Mo Dist Council Missionary Training 8/21/2001
tags: Ministry, Culture

Whilst you are divided betwixt God and the world, you have neither the pleasures of Religion, nor the pleasures of the world, but are always in the uneasiness of a divided state of heart. You have only so much Religion as serves to disquiet you, to show you a handwriting on the wall, to interrupt your pleasures, and to appear as a death's-head at all your feasts, but not Religion enough to give you a taste and feeling of its pleasures. You dare not wholly neglect Religion, but then you take no more than is just sufficient to keep you from being a terror to yourself, and you are as loth to be very good as you are fearful to be very bad.

permalink source: William Law (1686-1761)
tags: Sin, Culture

We are not only to renounce evil, but to manifest the truth. We tell people the world is vain; let our lives manifest that it is so. We tell them that our home is above and that all these things are transitory. Does our dwelling look like it? O to live consistent lives!

permalink source: J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)
tags: Simplicity, Culture, Ambassador

We have all been inoculated with Christianity, and are never likely to take it seriously now! You put some of the virus of some dreadful illness into a man's arm, and there is a little itchiness, some scratchiness, a slight discomfort -- disagreeable, no doubt, but not the fever of the real disease, the turning and the tossing, and the ebbing strength. And we have all been inoculated with Christianity, more or less. We are on Christ's side, we wish him well, we hope that He will win, and we are even prepared to do something for Him, provided, of course, that He is reasonable, and does not make too much of an upset among our cozy comforts and our customary ways. But there is not the passion of zeal, and the burning enthusiasm, and the eagerness of self-sacrifice, of the real faith that changes character and wins the world.

permalink source: A. J. Gossip, From the Edge of the Crowd [1924]
tags: Evangelism, Faith, Passion, Culture

Do spiritual people live their faith? Bob Thomas, Daily Journal March 12, 2003 As the season of Lent begins, millions of Americans re-examine their spiritual health. I think this is an excellent season for churches to diagnose their spiritual effectiveness. What percent of your church members would say they are "spiritually committed," with an "inner peace from God" whose faith has given them "hope, meaning and purpose in life," yet who also feel "the need to experience spiritual growth" in their daily lives? Remarkably, a new Gallup Poll reports that 79.8% of Americans would say yes to these questions which measure an "Inner Commitment" to God, a vertical relationship with Him. Now a tougher yardstick which measures an "Outer Commitment" of faith. What percent of your church members feel God is calling them "to be involved in the lives of the poor and suffering," who actually give their time "to serve and help others," whose "first priority in spending money is to support the work of God," and whose friends and neighbors would affirm that your church members truly "love God"? Nationally, a big 69.5 percent of Americans would say that their faith is being lived out in service to others. Would seven of 10 of your church members agree? Probably. In fact, among weekly church attenders, 91 percent have the Inner Commitment, and 85 percent are living their faith in service. But among those who rarely attend, only 53 percent feel the same spiritual commitment to God and 41 percent live to serve others. "These findings are thrilling," said George Gallup Jr. in a press conference this week. "We now have a measure of the relationship of the love of God and love of neighbor. These factors are more important than any economic or political factors. What drives this country is faith. And the deeper the faith, the greater the impact in one's life." Religiously inactive people would probably disagree, and would predict that relatively few active believers are also living their lives in service to the poor and the suffering. Of course, we have all known people who say they love Jesus, but who are more self-indulgent than serving. However, hypocrites are the exception to the rule, according to America's first "Spiritual State of the Union 2003," a new poll by the Gallup Organization and the Center for Research on Religion & Urban Civil Society at the University of Pennsylvania. Next year and in subsequent years, there will be a similar "Spiritual State of the Union," released at about the same time the President delivers his State of the Union address. However, when Rev. Scott Jones, pastor of Grace Community Church in Tempe, AZ, worked with Gallup to develop a deeper measure of the spiritual maturity of Christians - the results were not so encouraging. While 75 percent believe in the God of the Bible and that God is involved in their lives, only 42 percent say they "take unpopular stands when my faith dictates," 34 percent "have an inner contentment even when things go wrong," 28 percent regularly study the Bible and a slim 22 percent assert, "I control my tongue." Also, only 44 percent hear God calling them "to be involved in the lives of the poor and suffering" and "allow other Christians to hold me accountable for my actions." A mere 31 percent say their "first priority in spending money is to support God's work." It gets worse. Only a fifth of Christians keep their "composure even when people or circumstances irritate me," and a thin 19 percent think they are known "for not raising my voice." Scott Jones asked 30 key questions of his own congregation, developed with Gallup, to measure ten core beliefs, ten core practices and ten virtues. What he found was that the professed beliefs of his church members had very little to do with their Christian character. "It is easy to believe something, but is harder to put it into play," he says. "What's needed is spiritual transformation." To promote that he scrapped his sermon focus. "We were answering questions that no one was asking," he confesses. "Why are so few sermons on practical issues?" He created a "Spiritual Formation Calendar," and began preaching less on what people should believe, and more on how they should become more patient or gentle, for example. Would you like your house of worship to ask probing questions on the spiritual health, practice and virtue of your church members? It might make your sermons more relevant! Michael McManus is a syndicated columnist and a weekly contributor to The Daily Journal. He may be reached at 9311 Harrington Drive,Potomac, Maryland 20854.

permalink source: Daily Journal of Kankakee, IL
tags: Hypocrisy, Culture, Spiritual Formation

THE REAL JACI VELESQUEZ Jaci's decision to step into Hollywood and the criticism it has invited. by Jonathan McKee "Mommy, why are we burning Jaci's poster?" "Because Jaci's the devil! As soon as we finish, we're going to burn all her albums just like we did that brood of Jezebel Amy Grant!" Jaci Velesquez, whom you may know from one of her three platinum albums, six Dove Awards, 16 #1 radio hits, or her recent hit "You're my God" off her "Unspoken" album, is taking as much criticism as the Dixie Chicks after the release of the film "Chasing Papi." However, Jaci won't be responding by showing up naked on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. Instead, you'll see her completely dressed, representing Christ with her music, representing a wholesome family image for Pepsi & Dorito's, and impacting Hollywood with her lifestyle. 23 year old Jaci has faced criticism before, but all the "hype" really began when her movie emerged with her playing the role of one of three women who are pursuing a young man named Papi. Unfortunately the film has been chasing Christians away from the box office because of "objectionable" material, including a scene that made the trailers where all three women show up in lingerie or nighties to impress Papi. I thought it would be cool to hear first hand from Jaci about the situation. JONATHAN: Jaci, thanks for taking time to talk with me today- I really appreciate you opening up like this. I think some people would like to hear your heart. JACI: Jonathan, I really appreciate you doing this because, (sigh) you know it's been a hard road going through a lot of the storms that we went through when it came to the movie. JONATHAN: I bet it has been, and I want to hear about that . . . but first, congrats on the Pepsi thing. You're replacing Shakira? JACI: Yeah JONATHAN: Did she get caught drinking Coke or what? JACI: I don't know. But they said they wanted a clean family moral image with ethnicity. JONATHAN: So did you shoot the commercial yet? JACI: We shot the commercial a couple weeks ago and then we shot all the press stuff. JONATHAN: So, being the Pepsi girl, can you get as much Pepsi as you want to drink now? JACI: Yeah. Actually I can. JONATHAN: That would be so cool! JACI: It's pretty bizarre. JONATHAN: You don't look like you drink a lot of Pepsi. Are you sure you're not . . . maybe you should be the Pepsi One girl or something like that? La Chica de Pepsi Uno! JACI: (laughing) Actually, what they have me doing is walking around holding Doritos and Pepsi. JONATHAN: (laughing) Sounds like my kind of work! JACI: I've been eating Doritos my whole life . . . JONATHAN: Now do you have to be careful what soft drink you drink when you're out? JACI: Never can be seen in public drinking Coke. I cannot. I can't even drink Aquafina or anything. JONATHAN: Will you drink Diet Pepsi, Pepsi or what? JACI: I drink either diet Pepsi or Sierra Mist or Pepsi Blue, Pepsi One . . . if a picture came out of me drinking something else, I'd be gone! JONATHAN: Absolutely! Well, the thing that is so cool is that your career has totally taken off. JACI: Yeah, a lot of the opportunities that have come across the table have been because of this movie. Maybeline, Pepsi, the Jeep Cherokee . . . JONATHAN: Do you get a Jeep Cherokee? JACI: No, I wish! JONATHAN: What? You get Pepsi, but no Jeep? JACI: No Jeep. JONATHAN: Do you get as much Maybeline as you want to wear? JACI: Actually yes. JONATHAN: Ah, the perks. Well, as I researched every interview with you, a lot of people were critical of you, some downright cruel. But it didn't look like these people had talked with you? JACI: It's the weirdest thing. If people actually talk to me they usually write positive articles. But if they're just writing about me, they're usually pulling facts from who knows where. JONATHAN: I hear you. Well, when I started reading some of what people were saying, I had two thoughts: 1) Some of these people are pretty judgmental, even cruel, and 2) I would like to hear Jaci's side on some of these issues. For you it must be awkward because you know exactly what's true and what's not. For me and for your fans, we are trying to determine what to believe and what not to believe. JACI: Well, I know some of those things that you read. And- it's funny- I made a promise to my family to NOT read what people were saying on the internet because they (my family) saw things and realized that if I read it I'd be really discouraged. But I see some of it, like the Focus on Family film review and when that one guy (Kevin McCullough) insinuated that my mom was money hungry- trying to make her child a star. JONATHAN: That article was harsh. JACI: Well, he doesn't know me. And the truth is- my opinion about all of that is- say what you want about ME. Because I bargained for that. I mean, I knew that when I came into this and when I chose to do the movie that people were going to say horrible things about me. Because they don't understand me. But just say it about ME. JONATHAN: It must be incredibly complex- incredibly difficult as a Christian trying to decide whether it's worth it getting your foot into Hollywood. Especially knowing that when you, living your life under a microscope, make that choice there will be repercussions. How do you handle hearing that criticism all the time? JACI: You know, it's really painful for me. Because you know- I don't hear any criticism from the world. The world is like, "You're a Christian? Okay- well, do you want to do the Warren Brady show? Do you want to be our spokesperson? Do you want this role?" JONATHAN: I read all your interviews . . . the Latin world and the secular world out there all know that you're a Christian. And when they talk to you- you always end up talking about your faith in God. That's an incredible open door. They think you're an angel. But a lot of Christian's think you're the devil! JACI: That's so true. JONATHAN: I'm not sure where the role of the "Christian critic" is. . . but I figured that if I had questions, I'd ask you myself. JACI: I understand why people have questions. I was in a movie that had nothing to do with God. It was just a corny romance, a film that was actually really clean. But I feel like we (Christians) create our own subculture and we don't ever infiltrate pop culture with the light of the Lord. JONATHAN: Some of your fans are confused though. Because even though the film is clean in the world's mind, it might not be the kind of stuff we want our kids watching. A fan wrote a letter to a friend of mine who does media reviews. And this letter might be a little hard for you to hear- but I think he asks good questions that might be valuable as you make choices in the future. He says: "I hope that Focus on the Family's film review is way off base. . . Jaci's website justifies her presence in the movie by pointing out what a terrific witness she has been to the cast and crew. She also says she consulted with her pastor and family to make sure she was answering her calling. How can a "jiggle" movie be part of her calling? Roger Ebert says it "looks more like a fashion show by Victoria's Secret." He also says Jaci and the other stars of the movie are on display, "in a way that would make your average Maxim reader feel right at home." I've got to do damage control with my kids now. I need to explain the time we spent at a Jaci concert, singing along with "God So Loved the World," and "I Get on My Knees." I've got to talk to them about the stupid decisions we make, and that even people we admire make stupid decisions. I've got to re-review the lyrics on Jaci's albums with them, and talk about how important our words are (and try to minimize Jaci's actions)." - A Fan- How do those questions make you feel? I mean, do you think that in the future, as you look back, you'd do the Patricia role again? Or do you think you should come out and explain it before you do it- because I don't think people are satisfied with the answers they've been hearing on your fan site, etc. JACI: It was a really hard choice. But you know what? Parents have to decide their convictions and what the convictions of their families are. I can't be the one to decide for their convictions. I have to act on my convictions and I have no problem with what ended up happening in the movie. Because I felt like it ended up being a good story, it ended up being a story of, "I learned my lesson." JONATHAN: Everybody who reads this is going to take the one sentence you said about you "having no problem with what ended up happening in the movie" and they're going to come back and say, "She came out of a door wearing lingerie! Are you saying that's okay?" JACI: My opinion is . . . I was playing a role! That wasn't me. I'm a Christian and I don't date a guy that looks like that. And when I fall in love in my next movie- I'm not really in love with that guy, I'm in love with my real love in my real life. I'm able to enter this world as a light and hopefully I can change these people that are key people in this industry and then . . . hopefully I can be the actress that does the "Sweet Home Alabama's," the romantic or fun little movies that you want to watch with your families. JONATHAN: And right now you're trying to just get your foot into Hollywood? JACI: Exactly. I have no right to ask them to change everything for me. They'd be like, "Who are you? We can get someone else to play that role." Yes, it does hurt my feelings that people have to do damage control because of a choice I've made, but the truth is, if this is the wrong choice by some standards, why did God give me a peace about it. I don't question God's will in my life, I just sometimes question whether it was the easiest way or not. But see, this is the problem. I have no problem watching films like "Legally Blonde," and "Sweet Home Alabama." How hypocritical is it of us to say it's okay to sit down and watch it but we're not allowed to act in it because we're Christians. JONATHAN: So you feel that some people are saying, "How could she play in 'Chasing Papi?' By the way- did you get our tickets to 'Matrix Reloaded?'" JACI: Exactly. But then if a Christian plays that part- it's "OH MY GOSH!" Yet we have no problems sitting down and watching it. The reason I know this is because I DO HAVE a problem sitting down watching that "Goldmember" movie or "American Pie" . . . I didn't even see that movie because I would have a problem watching that. JONATHAN: But don't you think that line exists of roles you would and would not take? JACI: Definitely. JONATHAN: And that line exists somewhere between Polyanna (Wow, I'm really dating myself) and "American Pie?" JACI: (Laughing) Yes. Do you remember that film "Just Married" with Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy? JONATHAN: I missed that one. JACI: Well, I turned down the role of the girl that leads him away from Brittany Murphy. This girl meets him at a bar and leads him away . . . I turned down that role because I felt, you know, I just can't picture myself doing that. JONATHAN: Well how do you go about deciding what roles to take? Because on one hand you're saying, "I can't tell Hollywood that," but on the other hand if they offered you the next role in "American Pie III," you're saying, "I can't do that!" Where do you draw the line? Where does it become NOT worth getting your foot into Hollywood? JACI: It becomes not worth it when I'm compromising my personal convictions. JONATHAN: Well how does this happen, because obviously, hopefully, you wouldn't show up at your real fiancé's house wearing lingerie, when you're not married yet. So how can you say- "well that's a role I could play, but yet I can't play a role where I'm naked or . . ." how do you decide that line? JACI: I think that I have to say, "I'm playing a role- this is pretend." And what is the end result of this role going to be. And if the end result is me ending up in bed with somebody, then that's not good. But if I'm playing a role where I'm madly in love with this person and we end up almost doing something where I would have regretted it later, but there's redemption in the end, then that's something else. Because the character is learning a lesson. In "American Pie" you're not learning lessons. It's just crude humor. I want to be part of films where you learn a lesson. Even if I'm playing the role of a girl who gets pregnant when 16, who later realizes, "Wow, that was really dumb. I could have ruined my whole life." And then she becomes someone who ends up working with teenage kids and helps them through the same problems because of the problems she had to go through to get to that place. JONATHAN: That sounds like a good film. JACI: Do you know what I mean? I want roles that have redemption. JONATHAN: So, your saying this role (in "Chasing Papi") wasn't the perfect role that you would have chosen, but at the same time, you feel it was a foot into Hollywood and, for you, it wasn't crossing the line. JACI: Exactly. It was a door that got opened. And now I'm getting tons of opportunities. I've got meetings all week with an incredible studio that is opening doors. And then you can work your way up to that place where you can say, "I'm not going to do this! Change this!" But until then I've got to decide, "What can I feel comfortable going to sleep with at night?" "What can I be comfortable with my pastor watching with his family?" JONATHAN: And that's a tough call to make. And I think it's easy for us outside the situation to look back at the film in 20/20 and say, "I wouldn't have done that!" and then start shelling you with criticism publically. But we all have our opinions and we definitely do not all agree. I mean, my oldest daughter is 7 and, you know, I wouldn't bring her to "Chasing Papi." JACI: And that's your call. The film is PG. That's parental guidance suggested. JONATHAN: Well, I think we as leaders are called to be above reproach. Does it mean that you try to please everybody all the time? No, that's not the answer. Because that's impossible. But does it mean that there are fans, teenagers, kids that are out there watching me and that's important? Yes. I can't help to think of something Marshall Shelly from "Christianity Today" said to me as we were talking about this conversation that you and I were going to have. He had a theory about this- he wondered if people were confused because what you (and other cross-over artists) have been giving the public up till now is very different from what you're trying to sell now. You're trying to mix two incompatible elements. You made a name as "a worship leader," one who turns audiences' thoughts Godward. You portray yourself as authentic and transparent in your devotion to God. Now that you show up as a Christian working in the secular entertainment industry. That's a noble calling too (despite what Falwell says), but blending the two roles publicly is like mixing salt and incense. Those are two very different functions. JACI: I can see that. JONATHAN: One is "sacred" and "holy" and "set apart"--the impression given is "You can see right through me and all I want you to see is Jesus." The other role is "acting." "I play a different role in different situations." In that role you're not transparent anymore, you're just putting on a show. Hopefully using discernment in the roles you choose, and being good at what you do so you're a credible voice for Christ. So when people see you now they might be confused. Which is the real Jaci? Is she the worshipful singer now, or is that just another acting role she assumes for a while, like the lingerie-clad Patrica? Do you think it is possible to do "authentic" and "actress" at the same time? Or do you need to make a switch? JACI: You know what. I'm telling you. It would just be so much easier if I just stayed in the walls of the church. And even though I get criticism even when I'm just doing Christian music, at least it would be easier and no one would have any of THESE questions, right? But I want them to see that we're not weird, we're not condemning, we're not legalistic. I'm not going to condemn them, I'm not going to be legalistic. I'm just wanna love them and show them that when they have one of those days of just wondering and longing and going, "Why do I feel lonely in this world?" that there's God and that they have hope because there's love and hope in Jesus Christ every second of the day. My calling is very simple and very evident. He has called me into two different kinds of worlds. A world of glamour and spotlights with so much darkness. This world includes the Latin music world, a world where women almost have to show their body to get any respect. JONATHAN: It's an unavoidably sexually charged atmosphere. JACI: Definitely. That's just the way it is. And then he's also called me into the world of singing Christian music. I can't even imagine singing pop music. JONATHAN: Everyone predicted you would go pop next. The Christian critics are saying, "She's going to crossover." But then you come out with the album "Unspoken" which is a very Christian, worshipful, very real album where you are vulnerable and honest about your need for God in your life. The very fact that you came out with this album says a lot. It shows where your passion still is. And that's why I personally wondered if you were rethinking the acting thing. Because I think it's hard to do both. I think it's hard to be the worship leader and then turn around and say, "Now it's time to play Patricia" or whoever. JACI: I have a couple more roles coming up that I'm trying to decide whether they're okay. And my whole battle is, I'll be honest with you, I'm not sure I want to act anymore because I have people like that Kevin McCullough bashing my family. He talked about my mother like she's some adulteress. People just know what happened when my parents broke up. She was NOT in the wrong. JONATHAN: This is the same Kevin McCullough that said "But when the industry's No. 1 icon of all time (Amy Grant) leaves a wake of destruction of two families to justify her own illicit emotional realities, it's not surprising that rising stars are beginning to say to themselves, 'hey, I can do what I want and nobody will say boo about it.'" (newsmax.com, April 24, 2003) Of course Kevin is saying "boo." You know when I first read this article I thought, "that was unfair." But I think your fans also felt, "I hope this isn't true." Because some of the things he said made me wonder. Like for instance. He ripped on your stand for abstinence saying that it was the "strangest promotion of abstinence I've ever heard." Was he there to see you that day? JACI: I don't remember meeting him. I don't even know who he is. I can't believe that he even went on to question my sexuality. JONATHAN: Well, he said that when you appeared you were asked about abstinence. He said, "Her answer was strange, convoluted and confusing." Then he quotes you. "Well, you should save yourself for marriage," she stated, "but God does forgive you if you mess up." Then Kevin says, "WHAT? That's the strangest promotion of abstinence I've ever heard." Jaci, what was your abstinence message that day. JACI: My abstinence message is always the same thing. That I believe in sexual abstinence because I believe God has called us away from sexual immorality. I mean, it's not easy in this day and age. Let's face it. I mean, in my relationships I've been in, it's not easy to NOT have sex. Let's be honest. JONATHAN: Yeah it's very difficult. JACI: My message is always, "So wait until you're married." And he didn't finish quoting me because what I always say is, "But if you have messed up know that God forgives because God is full of Grace. But from this day forward you can save yourself." JONATHAN: He made it sound as if you gave a very watered down message, leaving a way out for students. Grace is an essential part of an abstinence presentation. Ask Pam Stenzel. JACI: You know, my whole thing with that is, I'm still a virgin. And it's totally by the grace of God. I've always dated Christians, I've always dated people that know where I stand as a True Love Waits sex person. JONATHAN: Your virginity speaks loudly to a lot of young people today. Jaci, thanks so much for having this conversation. JACI: Thank you Jonathan. JONATHAN: I know that you're just in a tough, tough situation living your life under a microscope. And you've got some stuff to think about here. You're a leader, you know you're being watched and it's not an easy situation. You've got to make this decision between opportunities to represent God in a dark world, and "where can I walk and not cross the line." I don't envy your situation. It's a tough one. But I appreciate you talking with me and sharing your heart with us. JACI: Well thank you. I really appreciate you. You've got a good, good head on your shoulders and I trust your opinions. You seem very open minded but yet very aware of God's word. I respect that because it gets very frustrating to be constantly involved with people that can't see past their own front door. JONATHAN: I appreciate that. Thank you. Let's both keep this stuff in prayer. JACI: Thanks Jonathan, I will. JONATHAN'S FINAL THOUGHTS Whether we like it or not, Jaci's Hollywood roles, her Pepsi deal, her Maybeline deal, and her influence in the Latin market are putting her in the presence of more people in the world. These people are getting to know Jaci and are saying "What's different about Jaci?" My prayer is that as she rubs shoulders with people around her in the next few years, people won't see Jaci, people will see God in Jaci. Then they will say, "Hey that's what I would like to be. Jaci's got something." Her co-stars will come up to her between takes and say, "What is it that I see in you that's different?" and she'll be able to live I Peter 3:15 which is, "Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks the reason for the hope that's within you." What so many of us forget is, "How is anyone ever going to ask that question of me if they don't see the hope that's within me?" The encouraging thing I've been seeing in Jaci is that everywhere, especially in the Latin industry, they're asking, "What is different about this girl Jaci- there's something there." And they end up asking about her hope and she has a chance to talk about Jesus. That is what makes her presence in the world a good thing. It doesn't mean throw out discernment, but it means it's an open door to good conversation with people in Hollywood and people in the world that so desperately need Jesus. Even if we don't agree with every one of her choices, we should continue to pray for her as she makes these tough situations in her near future. And we should continue to pray about the decisions WE make daily, the movies we watch, the stuff we allow into our lives. And most of all, we should pray that people see "the hope" within us. God Bless, Jonathan McKe

permalink source: Jonathan McKee, The Source For Youth Ministry
tags: Discernment, Evangelism, Culture

During the darkest hours of World War II, Britain faced a critical shortage of silver for the war industries. Informed of the crisis, Winston Churchill asked if there were any possible sources of silver, however remote. The answer came back: Yes, the churches, cathedrals, and abbeys held beautiful, sterling silver statues of the saints. From Churchill came the now-famous reply, "Well, it's time to put the saints into circulation!" And so they did. Citation: John S. Barnett, "Saints in Circulation," Discipleship Journal (March/April 1986)

permalink source: Winston Churchill
tags: Evangelism, Culture

THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF `JOAN OF ARCADIA' Here's a list of guidelines, created by producer Barbara Hall, that the show's writers must keep in mind while penning their scripts. 1. God cannot directly intervene. 2. Good and evil exist. 3. God can never identify one religion as being right. 4. The job of every human being is to fulfill his or her true nature. 5. Everyone is allowed to say ``no'' to God, including Joan. 6. God is not bound by time. This is a human concept. 7. God is not a person and does not possess a human personality. 8. God talks to everyone all the time in different ways. 9. God's plan is what is good for us, not what is good for him. 10. God's purpose for talking to Joan, and everyone, is to get her (us) to recognize the interconnectedness of all things -- i.e., you cannot hurt a person without hurting yourself; all of your actions have consequences; God can be found in the smallest actions; God expects us to learn and grow from all our experiences. However, the exact nature of God is a mystery, and the mystery can never be solved.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Theology, Culture

Early in the 20th century, French painter Georges Rouault gave people a new way to see Jesus. Using layer upon layer of luminous colors and bold black lines, he brought biblical themes to life on his canvases. His shockingly powerful images expressed his profound personal faith in a living Jesus. Though highly skilled and trained in the popular styles of his day, he turned his back on artistic fashion to provide fresh perspective. Because Rouault saw beyond the accepted pictures of Christianity, he exhibited his work with other creative, cutting-edge rebels. His incandescent images of Christ healing the lame and feeding the poor were (and still are) hung side by side with landscapes by Henri Matisse and abstracts by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. During his 60 years as a working artist, Rouault depicted many subjects, but his favorite by far was the face of Jesus. His studio overflowed with hundreds and hundreds of portraits of Christ. When asked why he was so obsessed with painting Jesus, his answer was, "My life's goal is to paint a portrait of Christ so moving that whoever looks on it will be immediately converted."

permalink source: Steve Sjogren, Dave Ping, Doug Pollock, "Irresistible Evangelism," Group Publishing (p. 109); submitted by Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois
tags: Evangelism, Jesus, Culture, Art

In medieval Europe the government learned they were out of silver and could not make any more coins. An order was given to search the land for silver. The only silver to be found was in cathedrals as statutes of saints. The order was given - 'take them, melt them down and put the saints back into circulation.'

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Holiness, Money, Work, Culture

Paul read pagan poets. In his writings he quotes Epimenides of Crete (Titus 1:12), Aratus of Cilicia (Acts 17:28) and Menander, author of the Greek comedy Thais (1 Corinthians 15:33).

permalink source: "Persecution In The Early Church," Christian History no 27
tags: Apologetics, Culture

A List of Actual Quotes Taken From the Directions and Mission Statements of Organic Products Belonging to My Vegan Roommate. BY KATE BROWN - - - - "For us, it's about a deep respect for the herbs we share with you." "May each cup bring us in touch with our inner faith, and may its authentic flavors remind us of the wisdom of Ganesha." "With this, every human being created on God's spaceship Earth can evolve united." "Discontinue use if rash or irritation occurs." "Made with 71% organic ingredients!" "Migratory waterfowl: not only are the majestic flocks beautiful to behold, they provide natural fertilizer." "Help unite mankind, or we're wandering clowns!" "Inspired by a conversation between the program's co-founder and gang members." "The present never ages. Each moment is like a snowflake." "Persons with allergies to the Daisy family may be sensitive." "To simplify and enjoy life more, mix 1/2 oz. with 2 gallons hot water." "We have succeeded in liquefying crystal deodorant stones, which are 100% effective." "Don't drink soap! Dilute! Dilute! OK!" "This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration."

permalink source: McSweeney's
tags: Culture, Postmodernism

"most Americans feel the same way about hockey as they do conservative Christianity: they want for it to exist as long as they never, ever have to encounter it." http://www.collegehumor.com/?update_id=158

permalink source: College Humor
tags: Apologetics, Culture

When I was chairman of the national Youth for Christ I asked a young man why they were trying to destroy the traditions of the church with contemporary music and casual dress, he replied "Mr. Smith, we are not trying to destroy the traditions of the faith but we're not willing to perpetuate them without the experience that created them." Excellent answer.

permalink source: Fred Smith, Breakfast With Fred
tags: Culture, Postmodernism

<img src="http://glenandpaula.com/quotes/uploads/1106724636scott-mutter-churchaislelg1204.jpg" width="385" height="600">

permalink source: Scott Mutter "Surrational Images"
tags: Church, Evangelism, Culture

Any proponent of “historic” corporate worship will have to answer the question, “Whose history?” Much of what is called “traditional” worship is very rooted in northern European culture. While strict contemporary worship advocates may bind worship too heavily to one present culture, strict historic worship advocates may bind it too heavily to a past culture. . . . A refusal to adapt a tradition to new realities may come under Jesus’ condemnation of making our favorite human culture into an idol, equal to the Scripture in normativity (Mark 7:8-9). While contemporary worship advocates do not seem to recognize the sin in all cultures, the historic worship advocates do not seem to recognize the amount of (common) grace in all cultures.

permalink source: Tim Keller, "Reformed Worship in the Global City", Worship By The Book
tags: Worship, Culture

A pastor goes back to seminary to see what the tests are like nowadays, and he finds out the questions are exactly the same as when he went through school. He asks the professor, "Why are the questions the same? Hasn't culture changed remarkably in the last few years?" The professor responds, "The questions are the same, but the answers are different."

permalink source: anonymous
tags: Ministry, Culture

We would find the ancient Greeks a strange people indeed. They were courageous and bold to a fault, but they were also heartless and cruel. They slaughtered one another in trivial wars. They were superstitious and fanatical. They knew they were vulnerable, but an inner demon drove them into battle. With only swords, shields, and pikes to fight with, they inflicted catastrophic and terrible cutting wounds on one another. The Greeks had little in the way of machinery, except to besiege cities. Yet they unflichingly slaughtered one another in the name of honor. The strong man prevailed. All others were left for dead on the battlefield. The Greeks directed their strength and energy into making war. Then they sat around their campfires and recited stories about the heroes of old. Because the Greeks had talented poets and artists, they were able to create from their bellicose and unpitying society an imaginative culture that impressed itself upon many later generations. The Romans were much like the Greeks, but the Romans established a peaceful empire built on the concept of law and order. They built aqueducts to bring water into their cities and built roads to carry their civilization to the ends of their empire. The Greeks had only heroes, who with a sense of honor laid waste to their cities and engaged in perpetual conflict unto death.

permalink source: Norman Cantor, Alexander The Great: Journey To The End of the Earth,172
tags: Culture, Antiquity

Americans today are divided over two different views of humanity. One group insists that the family, headed by a man and a woman, is the primary unit in society, the family's freedom from state coercion is a primary imperative, and heterosexual love is a sacred experience. The meaning network for this group links human specialness, heterosexuality, Christianity, family, and patriarchy in a coherent and meaningful structure. The second group sees the individual as the primary unit, personal achievement as salvation, sex as a natural, not a sacred, experience, and rationality based on science as the basis for decisions. The meaning network for this group combines the individual, rationality, achievement, sexual pleasure, egalitarianism, and science.

permalink source: Jerome Kagan, An Argument for Mind, 160
tags: Culture