Monthly Archives: September 2008

Fireproof the Movie

A few weeks back, an old friend said hey, you need to check out this movie I just worked on. So I went cool, and proceeded to do some digging.

It opens this weekend, but being Sony thinks it may have a somewhat limited audience, they are not doing a lot of promotion, nor is it going to be in a lot of theatres. Otoh, if the first weekends boxoffice proceeds are high enough, it is quite likely Sony will fire up the promotion engine. Thus, if there is any interest at all, it would be well worth checking out this weekend, rather than waiting.

Its theme centers on a fireman and his wife in the midst of breaking up… and although one might think this is a typical Christian cliche type film, or even a chick flick, butbased upon what I’ve seen, its far from it. In addition, their are a multitude of follow up ministries which are possible… its really up to the local church to take the resources and run with them both from a marriage support pov, as well as a growing in Christ pov. Its a golden oppurtunity imho.

Now, some might say whoa…. this is a preaching film, forget it… but although thats present, I think the film and story line can make it stand alone. I could be wrong… I’d really like to hear the perceptions of a non-Christian on this aspect.

Theologically, its arminian in focus, but it doesnt really seem to dwell on it. In fact, despite a couple theological issues, it has the support of many Catholic churches too.

Over the next couple days, a fair amount of promotion is going to occur on daytime TV. Everything from Dr Phil to Mike and Juliet.

Here in Southeast MN, it starts Friday the 26th showing at:

Rochester, MN Chateau 14 971 East Circle Drive NE
Rochester, MN 55906
Rochester, MN Rochester Galaxy 14 4340 Maine Ave SE
Rochester, MN 55904

For other locations, check the theatre finder.

Now as far as the ministry follow up part goes… I highly recommend you dont read about the following ministry resources until after you have watched the movie. Its a bit of a spoiler in some ways, but not really. I just think the movie would be more enjoyable if one walks in without preconceptions. On the other hand… one could also get more out of it too. Its your folks call.

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Roger on the Lion, I’ll have a bear or two to go

Difficulties, dangers, disease, death, or divisions don’t deter any but Chocolate Soldiers from executing God’s Will. When someone says there is a lion in the way, the real Christian promptly replies, “That’s hardly enough inducement for me; I want a bear or two besides to make it worth my while to go.”

Sayings of C.T. Studd.

CT Studd was a pedal to the metal, full bore dude, sort of like a gung ho marine guy. No messing around, just blast forward and go. Somehow or another we’ve tended to wimp out on the deal…. not sure quite why that is. Some might argue the feminization of Christianity, and perhaps that plays somewhat of a role, but I think using such a description is more likely self-justification, than reality.

Perhaps it is separation from the world, I about fell on the floor over the exit strategy being presented in Albert Mohlers book. Granted, he tends to lean towards peitism and a theology of glory, as contrasted with a theology of the cross, but still the world needs to be engaged. If our faith and those of our children is so fragile that it cant take daily onslaughts from US society, contemporary Christianity, discipleship, and education have much bigger problems, than the most screwball teachings of the public school systems.(and imho… I dont really see much of an issue in the public schools, other than funding, discipline, and bullying). Even a 14 year old should be able to give account of their faith… maybe not with great theological depth, nor the ability to counter atheistic apologetics, but most certainly Christian education oppurtunities abound, both in Sunday school and in the home for preparation to do so. Engaging the world is where its at… not retreating to a place of safety. If Christianity is to be safe and family friendly all the time, it looses a tremendous amount of power. Granted, there are times where retreating and shelter are ok, and actually a good idea… but those times best be in the minority… not something to be striven for on a continuous basis.

Scripture is filled with NSFW texts and stories… things which likely make many a modest person blush if read in mixed company. Yet, Jesus warned us not to cause those young in the faith to stumble, but He also warned us not to keep them from Him. Some churches thus break things apart into childrens and adult services…. I dont think that really was what Jesus had in mind. If anything…. children, Rabbis, prostitutes, fishermen, criminals, as well as John and Jane Doe all came, talked, and shared…. children were not kept from Jesus, but likely they were not kept from pretty intense discussions either.

The discipleship path of a Christian should give them the tools and the power of the word of God, such that a couple bears and a lion, become a a minor annoyance, rather than something to be fearful of. I think we are pretty close to that… but it need to become real, and perhaps that is where the rubber hits the road. Folks dont like to have their faith tested, much less by a lion and 2 bears, but indeed with testing comes growth and perhaps we need to look at that a little more, not sure. God most certainly tests us, but I’m wondering in the domain of discipleship, if we need a little more emphasis somehow on things getting real, perhaps too real.

The Conservative Argument FOR Net Neutrality

The Conservative Argument FOR Net Neutrality | Christian Coalition of America.

Free markets and traditional values are the twin pillars of conservative thought. Ronald Reagan embodied both of these beliefs, and was a master at promoting both of these ideas. However, Reagan fully understood that a reflexive anti-regulatory, pro-market ideology does not always promote the core values of decency and family that are at the foundation of the conservative movement. He believed these ideas must exist in concert, not one at the expense of the other.

Corporate America has one priority: to maximize profits for their shareholders and executives. This is a noble and worthy goal, and has served our country and society well in terms of allocating resources and goods in a productive and rational way. A rational allocation of resources in a market economy is desirable in many ways, and markets unleashed from regulatory burden is usually a given.

Despite holding views antithetical to the Christian Coallition, they have this one right on the money. Financials as a #1 priority are often at odds with deceny, free speech, and even more so ministry.

If something like net neutrality were to fail… only the big dollar outfits and their associated theology would be allowed to operate under a pay for play model. The last thing we need is internet communications dominated by a focus on the family pov, or on the other side of the coin, perhaps the dominant view would be of a non-Christian religion. Its hard to say, other than as the article states, it would be a windfall for pornographers. Diversity is indeed key, and whether than includes Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or other faiths, or holds to US evangelical views, or the views of reconciling in Christ ministries, is not the issue, as much that all can have a voice, without having to pay so much to play, they can no longer continue.

Granted, someone running massive pipes of video and distributed servers such as what was done for the Olympic streams will have a much higher outlay, than the 50 member church running a weekly vlog… but that up to a certain level, things best remain neutral so all can participate, and diversity of faith, morality, and life online can continue to grow and prosper.

On the fairness doctrine and Christian radio

The argument used by many Christian broadcasters against it indeed is a compelling one. Ie, on controversial topics, time must be granted for opposing views… which makes a lot of sense, until one adds in the listener supported aspect. Ie as soon as focus on the family radio ends up having to allow for a program on prochoice views, their support would drop in a huge fashion. Thus, Christian broadccaster’s feelings of paranoia are very much justifiable.

Its not necessarily a theological issue as much as it is a business one. Ie, one can cover all views and engage those one does not theologically agree with… but mere mention of some topics will set off the watchdogs, and with them, funding likely goes out the window. Imagine talking about or reading Ezekiel 23 on Christian radio…. a guaranteed watchdog hit, to say nothing of the FCC fines (for reference Ezekial 23 is NSFW). I’m not sure its a good thing to censor scripture based upon watchdog paranoia leading to funding, although in this extreme case the FCC has the final call.

Ideally, Christian radio should not be just all business and money. It is a ministry after all, but in addition, as a user and licensee of the public airwaves, there is an issue of serving the public, and that is apart from business issues and market demand. Ie, should only the view points of those with tons of cash available be the only ones present on the public airwaves? What if money equates to ear tickling? Or what if errant theology is being propagated, especially so in small markets with only 1 player. Thus, perhaps there is some redeeming value in the fairness doctrine, as it forces many issues out in the open, not just single sided watchdog constrained ones.

Fortunately in our area, its not too bad. Like most Christian radio stations, denominational views outside of the owners own seem a bit lacking which is not so great. In addition, some programs tend to lean towards a theology of glory and are US evangelical focused. Again, not the optimum, but at least Christologically they seem pretty solid. Sadly, there is a distant station which is owned by some type of empire, a whole chain of stations, which airs not only narrow theological views with an emphasis on some far out political positions, but sadly has exceedingly scary emphasis on works based soteriology to boot.  Who knows how many stumbling blocks they put on the air. That is very sad indeed… and again, perhaps the fairness doctrine
just might be beneficial to the kingdom, in that it could result in upsetting the apple cart, that they would be forced to get their act together.

However, there is the issue of what is controversial… and the FCC will see political topics as controversial, but not theological ones. The differences between Rome, Calvin, Arminus, and Luther or lordship soteriology vs free grace, or works righteousness vs justification by faith, sacrements vs ordinances, would not be addressed by the fairness doctrine… despite that in theological circles, such issues are very controversial. Perhaps the issue, is that the average Joe in todays society is unaware of the controversies, or has chosen not to study, not sure. 125 years ago… when churches split over predestination issues, obviously folks had to put in some serious study and questioning. Today, it seems likely few folks could expound on the differences, or maybe folks just choose not to engage, not sure, but things sure have changed.

Just as the average Joes theological views appear to have faded over time. it may well be the fairness doctrine was a good solution for years ago, but not so much today, especially in the listener supported domain. We do have internet radio, satellite radio, podcasting ect, where media channels are for the most part unlimited. Yet, over the air serves a huge segment of the population, many of whom may be limited by the digital divide. Perhaps rather than looking at content, greater regulation as to geographic license ownership may be a solution to provide for some level of diversity. Ie, a limit on the number of stations owned in a market area, and perhaps going so far as to preclude conglomerate ownership in a market with only a single provider. Not sure…

Errant theology propagated over the public airwaves is not cool, yet govt approval of theology puts a huge dent in the constitution, and is not cool either. There has to be a better way… just not sure what it is, especially in light of the digital divide. I sort of think greater diversity in ownership and smaller stations are likely the solution, much more so than the fairness doctrine. That way, even if the most errant theology was broadcast, it is quite likely another broadcaster in the same market has it right, and the local church can step up to the plate to as well.