Category Archives: Christian Media

Christian books, tv, radio, and webpages, and how they tie into ministry.

OCC Ride FaithFest Winona MN August 26, 2017 (updated)

FaithFest Winona MN 2017 Aug 26

Schedule



 


 

Motorcycle Raffle

The multiple award winning paint work of the RIZEN bike will be at FAITHFEST!
Come see it ride in the OCC Rode, and then be on site in the afternoon at FAITHFEST


Musical acts at FaithFest

Marissa and Mariah
FB https://www.facebook.com/Marissa-Mariah-1643466782606755/


Knights of Levi
Stuart, FL
https://www.facebook.com/knightsoflevi/


 


Breakthrough
Northfield, MN
https://www.breakthroughrocks.com/
https://www.breakthroughrocks.com/epk
FB https://www.facebook.com/Breakthroughrocks/?fref=mentions


Michael Reed Band
Waterloo, IA
http://www.michaelreedband.com/
FB https://www.facebook.com/michaelreedband/?fref=mentions

 


Ignescent
Chicago, IL
http://www.ignescentmusic.com/
http://www.ignescentmusic.com/listen/
FB https://www.facebook.com/ignescentmusic/


In The Verse
Wisconsin


https://www.facebook.com/pg/INTHEVERSEBAND/



Light45

Rochester, MN
www.light45.com
https://www.facebook.com/Light45Music/?fref=mentions


Remedy Drive
Nashville, TN
http://remedydrive.com/
https://www.facebook.com/remedydrive/
http://remedydrive.com/album/405818


Directions

 

Ponderings on “The Shack” Film

So I watched The Shack last night… what a fascinating film. Unlike a lot of films which go off into lala land theologically or others in trying not to offend go Christian cliche crazy, The Shack dived in with gusto. Granted, as an act of fiction, there was a fair bit of creative license, but in general, I found nothing worth getting bent out of shape over. Alas, I can understand that others may well have a bird, as films generally do drive public theology… and if that happens, significant challenges to some belief structures may come about, and most certainly questions, perhaps uncomfortable ones will be raised.

One of the biggest issues and an overwhelming theme presented in the film is theodicy, (the problem of evil). In a nutshell, if God is all good, and God is all powerful, then why does evil exist? This is an uncomfortable question… the scriptures are really dim, so glossed over responses like Genesis 50:20 which really don’t address it at large are pretty typical. Such works in Sunday school… being most youngsters aren’t going to get hit with a need for that question straight on, and even if they do, the glossed over stuff is likely enough for them to get by. The challenge is that outside of Sunday school, and more typically later in life… that question can become very real, with the most common results being to reject God’s goodness, His all powerful nature, or even His existence.

It is a tough question… theologians have been pounding on it for centuries and a number of theories are possible, most with a heavy dose of philosophy, most remaining within the bounds of the scriptures, and only a few going off into theological lala land. Craig Smith presents a list of common theories, as well as where he felt “The Shack” aligned.  I agree with his conclusion that “The Shack’s” means of addressing the problem of evil seems to fall within the confines of scripture.

One of the most visible controversies is how the trinity is portrayed. While I agree with the objections as concerned trinitarian heresies… I’ll counter this with the fact that its really really easy to slip into such when trying to explain it, even more so when you step away from the creeds of the early church. I remember a buddy doing a survey of US evangelicals years ago… 70% proudly proclaimed they were trinitarian and in the next question denied Mary as the Mother of God. Now, some might argue this is being too picky… but then again, Nestorianism was named for this heresy. Thus, when The Shack steps into Patripassionism (that the Father died on the cross) and a form of modalism (when the Father changes persons)… is it really that huge a deal for a fiction film?

the trinity
The Trinity in a graphical representation

Granted the trinity is important, and that deviations from such have historically proved problematic. Ie the early church dudes mostly wanted to keep folks on the right path as illuminated by the scriptures when they identified these heresies. And yet, theology should be accessible, but egads, we’ve got a kazillian latin word combos and names to identify said heresies. Add in that today’s average Christian’s doesn’t even participate in Bible studies, I don’t know what the answer is… but I do know its pretty easy to end up with a lot of glazed eyeballs if discussions get too deep in this.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1617 - 1682<br /> The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities ('The Pedroso Murillo')<br /> about 1675-82<br /> Oil on canvas, 293 x 207 cm<br /> Bought, 1837<br /> NG13<br /> http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG13
The Pedroso Murillo

Another controversy was the use of an African American Woman, A Jewish Carpenter, and an Asian woman to represent God and a bit later a Native American. Since we are created in the image of God, trinitarian issues aside, I see nothing wrong with this representation. God is not male nor female and exhibits both gender attributes. Casting an old white European dude as God and a European Jesus and leaving the Holy Spirit as a dove while perhaps traditional in some sense, would not have really aligned with the scriptures or history. I think character representation was a great call. I also think it really cool that Sarayu, a Hindu name which means flow / wind was also brilliantly chosen to say nothing of the fact that the Holy Spirit is of the female gender from a linguistic pov.

 

An interesting thing to ponder with the film is the almost exclusive  focus on God’s love leaving His wrath and justice aside. Consider the following bits:

  • We were never put on this earth to judge. We were put on this earth to love and find joy. Evil wins when we judge.
  • “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.”

Such has echoes of the Christus Victor or even Eastern atonement theories… and while scripture supports many atonement theories, some in the US often only ascribe to one, namely PSA (Penal Substitutionay Atonement). Ie, Christ’s bearing of man’s sins takes the punishment for them and sets the believer free from the penal demands of the law: The righteousness of the law and the holiness of God are satisfied by this substitution.

This will cause conflict, as some in the exclusive PSA camp integrate it with the Gospel itself, completely ignoring the other major theories of atonement. In such a worldview, “The Shack” would be presenting a totally different Gospel. So yes, some heartburn over this within the exclusive PSA camp is going to happen…

The thing is, atonement theories are a complex and somewhat tricky thing to get ones head around. In isolation, its easy for a single theory to put God in a box by selectively downplaying parts of scripture counter to its focus. Such happens whether its Ransom, Satisfaction, Christus Victor, PSA, Moral Influence , Recapulation, Scapegoat, Government, Eastern, or any of a multitude of minor theories. Folks digging into this may well find its a fruitful experience as their worldview will expand, but its likely to be uncomfortable for some.

Theology aside, the Gospel in and of itself is pretty simple and readily accessible to all. Paul hits on this pretty explicitly in 1 Col :15-23

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[g] your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

 

Contextualizing Biblical truths through stories and even film to make them accessible to the masses is a very good thing as it can bring new people into the fold, it can encourage those already in the fold, and it can even bring about greater depth through the discussions that result. Its a film which is well worth seeing.

7 Rants and 3 suggestions on Church Website Design

1. Churches often no longer take out ads in the newspaper, or the yellow pages, as they can use the web for free or little cost…so why dont they publish the times of their services, AND keep them up to date? It does no good for a visitor to show up on Thursday, only to find the summer schedule does not include Thursday services.

2. In looking at church website source code, SEO is anathema, yet no ecumenical council has ever ruled on it. I think church sites are the only ones who like to rank way below spammy type community info sites. It does not take a SEO consultant to build a SEO friendly site… google is your friend and works for free… plus some of your youth if given the task can often run with things as well.

3. A Church is a place you visit in 3d, but you may choose to use google maps to assist. A 25 mile error in location is not acceptable, nor is a virtual church located in the middle of a ravine. Google maps is not infallible nor inerrant.

4. I understand the need to maintain some level of privacy online… but for sure, not to include at least the city where the church is located is anything but helpful. And yes, the spam community sites already have your street address, as does the phone company listing. Be upfront with your location, make it easy for people to find you.

5. Showing photos of kids on your church website can make it seem more inviting. However, there are seedy types online.. if you wish to use children in your church website photography, find a photoshop guru, to remove identifying features. A bit of blurryness here or there is understandable. Some sicko stealing a childs photo off of a churches website is not.

6. Navigation should be simple… if you use a third party to provide your bulletin listings or sermon podcasts, make sure folks dont get lost in la la land trying to navigate to it, or worse now that they want to check you out further and visit in 3d, they find that your church site has disappeared into the ethernet never to be found again.

7.Flash can be very artistic and cool, but too much can crash older machines… do you really want to shoot potential visitors in the foot, as they dont have enough computing horsepower? Also, avoid platform specific messages. Ie getting a “this website is best viewed on IE6” or a scrambled text/graphics on a phone browser is not cool.

Some suggestions as to how to improve your websites ministry.

1. If you are into contemporary Christian music, then tell me about it. If you are into big time organ music, tell me about it. If you are into Gregorian chants, I want to know. If your pastor does a 3-5 minute homily, tell me about it. If he does a 200 minute exposition, tell me about it, same with the stuff in the middle. Often times folks look for a particular worship style, either as an attraction, or as a detraction. Save them time, tell them upfront, and if you have both, let folks know that as well.

2. Be proud of your beliefs… do you focus on the kingdom of God on earth more than the eternal one, or is the focus the reverse, or are they balanced? Are you into hellfire and brimstone, or feel good positive thinking? Is the prosperity Gospel preached, or one of humility and sacrifice? Often times a plain language approach is more inviting than a more rigorous, albeit more theologically correct method. By the same token, dont use canned belief text or gadgets, especially if your theology is counter to them. Ie, a Lutheran church should not have a 4 spiritual laws widget on its website.

3. How do you view children? Are they an integral part of worship or are they split off into their own groups? Do you have unique ministries apart from worship, ie childrens, youth, young adult? Tell visitors what you are up to. This is not high tech intellectual property you must keep only within the circle of bonafide members.

Stewardship of the Articulating Truss

There was this amazing articulating truss…filled with lights, and then on command, the motion controllers would change if from a horizontal beam of stage lights to this incredible beautiful cross. An amazing piece of art made of winches, super genie lifts, and a likely, nearly a literal ton of aluminum.

My friend Brent thought such was overkill city and a waste of God’s money. He thought the art, while incredible cool just didnt warrant the expense… and no doubt this was a spendy piece of stage gear. Then again, Brent was no fan of pipe organs either. He used to say, in 2000 years archeologists will dig up our cities and think we worshiped gods of pipes! They would find these buildings which appeared to be worship type facilities everywhere, and then inside would be this pipe god. Then again, Brent was more than a bit of a character.

I’ve often thought back to those days… two young idealists, how we saw what the church was, and how we thought it should be. Over the years, I’ve sort of changed my tune a bit. On the one hand, if its an issue of providing food, shelter, or clothing to the least of these, or spending money on art, I’ll always defer to the least of these.

Otoh, God granted amazing skills of art, design, music, graphics, drama, etc to His people, and for us to simple hide them away as they are deemed too expensive, and not worth pursuing for God’s purposes just doesnt seem right either. It would be a poor use of ones talents, to only utilize such in the realm of the secular. I often think of the wise men bringing expensive gifts to Jesus in very humble surroundings. I think of the expensive perfume that Mary brought to Jesus. Most certainly such was not seen as wasteful in their eyes, but rather a way of bringing glory to God.

As such, my current tune is along the lines… does it bring God glory, or does it detract and focus more on the artist. Ultimately, I guess thats become my default thinking on a lot of art type stewardship issues over the years, bearing in mind any immediate needs should come first.

The question then becomes… what happened to the big massive Christian productions? Where did the genie lifts, the pyro, the automation and such go? Its rare to see such displays of stage art anymore. Even in my day, our base overhead just for transport was $1000/day, throw in a equipment rental, plus upkeep, a couple semi’s, a large crew, and the dollar figures really skyrocket. The end result pretty much means, that apart from the logistics issues (ie if you fly your truss at 40 feet in the air, a small church is out of the question) but with a multithousand dollar overhead charge to cover every night, either A, you have a big underwriter to cover said costs, or B, your music and merch sales cover the cost, or C, ticket prices/donations cover the cost. Pretty much for B and C, the only way it works out ok is that the audience must be substantial. Being B has really crashed due to the massive changes in the music world (piracy, plus singles, rather than whole albums) C ends up being the predominant method of providing operating cash flow, and even that only works for huge names if one has a high overhead cost.

Beyond the stage art thing… even the costs of carrying a live band anymore are often prohibitive. In addition, a 1-5 man singing group can fit in a lot more places, then a full band, even if its just a drummer, bass, keyboard, and a couple guitarists. As a result, tracks tend to predominate among many… which I must admit, I generally find a turn off.

That was, until last night… I attended the youth mass (I know, at 45 I’m way too old, and no, it wasnt too loud) and after which was a concert put on by Christian Crossings, a local southeast MN band. It was super cool that the mass had just under ~100 or so folks, but not so cool that so many of the youngsters left after mass. They missed something amazing.

I’ve played large venues, and small ones, and the small ones by far are the hardest. Yes, it would be the same message of Christ, and yes, we were still gung ho for Jesus… but I must admit a certain lacking when crowds were under 50. Then again, I was a young guy back then.

Anyhow, these guys from Christian Crossings were amazing. They didnt have an articulating truss, nor lights, nor even a massive sound system. They didnt have a live band, nor massive choreography, nor a huge crowd, but they had the message of Jesus, they had the Holy Spirit, and while one not to get any too excited anymore, the atmosphere was electric. It was especially cool, that most of their songs were theologically on the mark, rather than the typical lame theology of so many contemporary tunes. They connected with the kids, the adults, and yep, even me, the old codger. In fact, I’d say I’d prefer that type of engagement even over the beautiful art of motion/light control of years gone by. Sure I miss the stage art of old… but if there is a choice of one or the other, I’d go with something like saturday, over the most massive shows of old.

Which brings me back to the stage art, the articulating truss, and stewardship. I dont think such has necessarily ended. Most certainly art very much belongs in the Christian community, as it has throughout the centuries. The question more so becomes, how best to approach stuff from a stewardship point of view. In a lot of ways, with todays materials and technologies, despite drastically lower operating budgets, stage art indeed may come back. I think its more so a question of when, rather than a question of if. No doubt, it will be smaller and more portable, ie the days of semi trucks full of stage gear are over for the most part. Size on the other hand, is not the issue, as much as it is service to God, and giving Him the glory.

Lame Theo, and Jesus is my Boyfriend Music

I’ve often wondered why so much of the music on Christian Radio has pretty bad theology, why in some cases, its seriously lacking in artistic content, and far too often its boring and repetitive. I came across this fascinating discussion on Shaun Groves blog, and I think it provides some potential answers. I’ve copied parts of the blog, and some pretty insightful comments below.

I believe putting a gaggle of white conservative Christian women around age forty in a room to register their immediate approval or disapproval of a minute long (or less) musical clip only leads radio program directors to choose music of tomorrow that sounds just like the music of yesterday: all that’s being tested is familiarity. Different loses. Same wins.

I’m saddened by the state of Christian radio today–so much so that I’m seriously considering leaving Christian radio period. At least the general market/secular stations are honest about what they do–trying to earn money and make a profit…. It’s deception. Are we in it for the money or are we in it for the opportunity to show Jesus to a dying world? I’m almost to the point of thinking that I can show Jesus better while working at a secular station than at a Christian station. My point in this is that Christian radio, unfortunately, is no different than secular radio in its procedures, methods, and ways of doing things. It’s all about the money.

I think those in Christian radio have a responsibility to their listeners to give them not only what they want, but also what they need.  I’m sorry if this sounds like a cliche, but I doubt that Jesus or His teachings would have tested well in our control groups (“eat my flesh… drink my blood” anyone?).  At what point are we just tickling the ears of our listeners and fattening them up on Christian junkfood that clogs their spiritual arteries.

The gospels end with a commission.  Yet we are notoriously reluctant to answer that commission ourselves or support those who would.  We only support what we benefit from, what we enjoy, what gratifies us.

Whats interesting, is this was written in 2006…. and now in 2009, the whole Christian Radio domain is undergoing massive shrinkage. The soccer mom audience support is decreasing, the whole industry is changing. The fellow the blog article initially was about is no longer with powerhouse Salem Communications. The GMA is even shrinking…. Its no longer business as usual.

Does this mean programming changes? Thats a toughie… as if the market shrinks enough, it will reach the point where its no longer sustainable. Of course, which demographic would come in to pick it up… And if no one does, perhaps the big conglomerates may start selling things off just to survive.

That might well open the door to a new type of radio ministry, or should I say, a return to the old style locally owned, labor of love of Jesus type ministry. Ie, the 2 guys with a love for Christ in an old RV or trailer, who barely can cover their electricity… but make darn sure the Gospel is preached, not just to 3%, but to as many as possible.

Safety and Comfort (lyrics)

Safety and Comfort (lyrics)

A church of believers it is…

Not one of servants, although there may be some.

Not one of teachers, no students come.

Not one of seekers, as they are barred from the door.

The verse of the lukewarm seems oh so relevant.

———— Chorus ——–

I had high hopes, yet things move so slowly.

I really thought this was the call.

Yet, I found no sacrifice, no service, no danger at all.

Escape and family tradition reign.

They put up barriers to Christ, and lock the door.

———— Chorus ——–

I honestly thought I could make a difference…

Instead, they demand it safe and comfortable

The cost of discipleship is too objectionable.

No leading required, they just need the pulpit full.

What signs did I miss, where is the door.

————  Chorus ——–

The sandles are shaken, a new call awaits

Lord Jesus, prepare the path, and heal my soul

The Gospel is preached, the bell tolls

Its not safe, its not comfortable, Jesus is here

He set me free, I am no longer captive.

—————–

 Chorus…

Safety and comfort are paramount.

Where is ministry, when ears only want tickling?

Can the Gospel still be heard, despite the bickering?

Shall I shake my sandals at the door?

Safety and comfort are paramount.

******************

Not exactly the type of tune one would use in worship, but sadly the tune often felt by recent seminary grads sent to dysfunctional congregations.

To some extent, such can be self fullfilling prophecy. Ie, if one views ones congregation as dysfunctional, it likely will be, and a look in the mirror is needed. Yet, to deny the fact that there are congregations from hell is a serious dis-service as well. There has to be an element of realism… and hopefully one will identify such, well before the newbie pastor ends up either so disillusioned and shredded, they quit ministry entirely, or worse.

Concepts for this came from a kazillion pastor’s I’ve know over the years, and as of late Pastor Joelle’s and Father A’s blogs.

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
fandango
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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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.

So I ordered Mark Batterson’s “Wild Goose Chase”

I received an Amazon gift cert last year, and have been waiting for the right book to use it with. Normally, I pick up used narrow market theology texts for pennies on the dollar, but the WIld Goose Chase sure looks to be something well worth buying new, especially with a few other things going on.

In the past couple weeks, there has been a real mass of book reviews on the Wild Goose Chase, an amazing example of viral promotion, which I will share with author friends. Having read close to 20 reviews, I had a pretty good feel that this book would be good. Then add in the free chapter available, and the decision was made.

One super cool review was on MMI, what I found especially cool was the discussion on the theology of the text. Some very good comments were made, both pro and con… Its not a hard core theological text, and some liberties with scriptural interpreation were made, at least as alleged by one commentator, and the resulting discussion proved very fruitful. Not only as concerns the text, but also Biblical interpretation.

Yet another factor was Fr Keefe’s homily where he talked about Jesus sending out the 12, and when a call is presented, how we should respond. It tied in very much to “no longer walking away when God opens the door”, ie, when the door is opened, God will provide. The waiting game until everything is they way “we want” is not how God works, and that He provides. That really resonanted with Mark Batterson’s description of the cages we put ourselved in.

In addition, the books discussion of being dangerous for Christ was pretty applicable. Prior to my resignation, falling into a status quo modus operandi was always a concern. Stepping out, and starting online interactive ministry, is scary. Opening up small groups for recovery over a range of non-mainstream topics takes me out of my comfort zone as well. Yet God doesn’t call us to a place of safety and status quo, but to reach out to to the world. It is going to be in an interesting time for sure.

Lastly, one of the super cool things I saw in the blog carnival reviews, was that the books were always passed on to others. I actually have a fellow in mind, and if he has not yet read this… he will be getting it next. If he has, I’ll run a blog comment contest such as others have done.