Media Musings

Remember when the announcement came that some of the proposed appearances for the Superbowl were too scandalous for viewers and were cancelled a few weeks back? Well unless you have been living on another planet- you know some of it slipped by.

I for one still have a some problems with Superbowl parties at churches and after thousands in churches experienced P. Diddy, gaseous donkeys and Janet's striptease, maybe more churches will think twice before engaging the culture in this particular fashion.

Thousands Complain Over 'Scandalous' Super Bowl Show -Charisma News Service

Tens of thousands of viewers, many of them Christians, reportedly have contacted CBS, MTV, the NFL and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), complaining about last Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show -- described by one pro-family group as "an outrageous display of soft-core pornography." Nearly 90 million viewers saw singer Justin Timberlake disrobe pop star Janet Jackson, exposing her breast briefly during CBS' telecast of the MTV-produced halftime program. Sunday's "scandalous Super Bowl halftime show has awakened millions of Americans to the pernicious influence of MTV," Focus on the Family (FotF) chairman James Dobson said in a statement. Dobson added that the backlash over the show is an encouraging sign of "how fed up parents are with the baseness and immorality of popular culture." FotF and other Christian organizations have urged supporters to contact CBS, MTV, FCC and the NFL. CBS faces a FCC investigation to determine whether the Super Bowl show violated decency laws, with potential fines of up to $27,500. "It is even more encouraging to see moms and dads rise up in defense of their sons and daughters to say, 'Enough is enough,'" Dobson said. "That reaction, more than any government agency's action, has the greatest potential to clean up what passes for popular entertainment these days."

February 5, 2004 Da Vinci Code and the ability to Disconnect

I was one of the naysayers that thought the Da Vinci Code would be a flash in the pan like so many other pseudo religious fictional works have been. I have been taken off guard with the (dis)ability of so many readers to disconnect and be unable to reality from fantasy that this fictional work has actually become more influential that even its 32 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller List would indicate.

It inspired a one-hour ABC News special. Along the way, it has sparked debates about the legitimacy of Western and Christian history. Dan Brown's novel claims that "almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false."

The scene was set for the release of the book. We live in a day where very few who came the name of Christ have a legitimately Christian world view. M any modern Christians have caved into the skeptical predilection to contest everything, especially the facts. It is not ususual to hear heresies winked at or even entertained as if Nicea, Chalcedon, Constantinople, and Ephesus never occurred, and to hear the assertions as evidences like this from a discussion site

“…by no means am I a "feminist", yet there are many passages in the Bible that describe God in feminine terms—most notably—Wisdom is described as female. So it is beginning to look to me that the patriarchal culture we live in and the Church supports may actually be out of balance...There are a lot of heretical theories going around these days, of which I do not support, yet there is this little voice … I wonder if the early, early folks got it right … hmmm.”


“There were a variety of Christologies prior to Nicea—idea of all sorts. Let's be honest about that. This article gives the impression that there was total agreement on the divinity and that Nicea simply blessed that—not true—Nicea was forcing a Greek concept onto Hebrew history and it was in a political situation. Sincere and well-educated people throughout history have died over the Trinity issue and many people today can still argue with credibility that there is no biblical basis for the idea of the Trinity at all.”

(The fact that God chose to use the Greek milieu to give operational viability to the New Covenant seems to be lost here. )

These kinds of simplistic notions support the idea that contends that “everything you know is wrong” and reveals a redactionistic bent among the so called faithful, as if God was powerless to guide and inform his church through the workings of history.

The milieu we find outselves in attests to the Biblical and historical illiteracy that reigns in postmodern Christendom. Also to the ability to disconnect from discerning fact and fiction. The postmodern propensity to be able to hold two mutually exclusive precepts in either had and not see the problem is astounding. The church is exercising and abhorrence what is wa classically known as the law of non contradiction. this concept was not a product of enlightenment minds it is as old as Greek thought. Thank God we can read the same Bible that the church Fathers grappled with and guided the early church with by the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

The Church Fathers- Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, and others- gained that distinction not by politcal or popular appeal. They distinguished themselves by their bibliocentric process of discernment that played itself out in the church's first centuries.

Here is a quote from Chris Armstrong’s essay at CT...

“Irenaeus, Origen, and the rest studied the Hebrew Bible (though usually in Greek translation), along with the apostles' documents that would become the New Testament, with an almost physical thirst for God and his truth. They read them in settings marked by worship and the pursuit of holiness. And they believed that as they read and submitted their lives to the Word and their thoughts to Christ, the Holy Spirit was at work to open the eyes of their hearts and to build his church so "the gates of hell will not overcome it" (Matt. 16:18, NIV).”

That is what I want to passionately pursue in my quest to build disciples who share that hunger for truth. The creation of settings that are “marked by worship and the pursuit of holiness” is a daunting challenge but every believer has the privilege to read and submit themselves to the authority invested in the Word of God. To do less is to live beneath our privilege.

February 4, 2004 Google-ization

Google's link to the Julia Fractals sites (mentioned below) brought down at least one site due to the heavy traffic it generated. Google giveth and Google taketh away it seems. Which makes one wonder- should Google need to get permission before inundating a site with traffic?

Staging Experience

From Amazon: "...according to Joseph Pine and James Gilmore, the bar of economic offerings is being raised again. In The Experience Economy, the authors argue that the service economy is about to be superseded with something that critics will find even more ephemeral (and controversial) than services ever were: experiences. In part because of technology and the increasing expectations of consumers, services today are starting to look like commodities. The authors write that "Those businesses that relegate themselves to the diminishing world of goods and services will be rendered irrelevant. To avoid this fate, you must learn to stage a rich, compelling experience."

CT has an interview with James Gilmore, author of The Experience Economy. Gilmore offers up some insight on what drives consumer audiences in the digital culture. The interview itself is sort of a dramatic retelling of the experience of the interview not unlike a threaded chat. His book is not only applicable to experiential marketing which seeks to replace the" benefits and features" approach to marketing but it also has something to say to how many churches are using this approach to attempt to reach the culture it finds itself immersed in today. But can we stage worship experiences?

Gilmore says emphatically at one pont in the interview:" No. Christians can use the principles in the book to succeed in the marketplace, but the organized church itself should never try to stage a God experience...

"Increasingly you find people talking about the worship experience rather than the worship service. That reflects what's happening in the outside world. I'm dismayed to see churches abandon the means of grace that God ordains simply to conform to the patterns of the world..."

CT:"So what happens in church? Are people getting a service, because they're helped to do something they couldn't do on their own, that is, get closer to God? Or are they getting an experience, the encounter with God through worship?"

Gilmore: "The word getting is, I think, the problem with contemporary Christianity. God is the audience of worship. What you get is, quite frankly, irrelevant as a starting point."

February 3, 2004 --It's Gaston Julia's Burthday

In 1919 Gaston Julia theorized what Benoit Mandelbrot later popularized.

As a soldier in the First World War, Julia had been severely wounded in an attack on the French front designed to celebrate the Kaiser's birthday.

Many on both sides were wounded including Julia who lost his nose and had to wear a leather strap across his face for the rest of his life. Between several painful operations he carried on his mathematical research in the hospital.

Here's a link to a page of info and today's Google logo search that turned up lots of beauty...

February 2, 2004

Sent by an actual (not purported) friend.....

These are purported to be actual 2003 newspaper headlines:

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
Prostitutes Appeal to Pope
Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
Miners Refuse to Work after Death
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
War Dims Hope for Peace
If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Enfield(London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
Man Struck By Lightning Faces Battery Charge
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
And the winner is....
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

Is The Bible Sexist?- God's High Calling for Women

Refer to Donald Bloesch's Is the Bible Sexist for a more in depth treatment of what follows...

Note: Most of the scripture cited herein fall into the category of "hard sayings". As Peter referred to- "difficult to understand". They are among the most debated sections of scripture as to their meaning and application. It was once said to me that when you run across a "hard saying" in the Bible- mark it and go back to study it- if you do not like what it says, it is probably saying something especially to you. We are to break ourselves on their hardness, as Jesus is the "rock of offense". Let us approach these sayings accordingly...

1. The world's view of the sexes- cultural ideologies- most people adhere to an inconsistent mixture of these various world views, sort of like picking what seems right from the cafeteria line.

a. Patriarchalism (Tradition rules!)

1. It is woman's role to make the man successful.
2. Headship means that men are to command and women are to follow
3. Subordination equals inferiority
b. Feminism (Not just the radical brand)

1. It is woman's prerogative to realize autonomy,
independence, and self fulfillment
2. Woman's role in life should in no way be contingent upon men
3. Subordination equals inferiority
c. Androgynism (the unisex approach)

1. All humans are a mixture of both male and female elements
and everyone must try to integrate these in their own way
2. The social sciences demand that democracy be the rule in any relationship
3. Subordination equals inferiority

2. The Biblical alternative- cannot be harmonized with the above, even though all the above mix some truth with much error.

a. Kingdom living

1. Emphasizes Christ centered service, not self fulfillment
2. Emphasizes finding your life by losing it in service to others.
3. Identifies with some of the worthy goals of the above related to dignity and justice
b. Men and Women before God- Equal in worth, but distinct in roles, gifts,abilities

1. True community occurs when men and women are united in Christ- the mediator through which all relationships occur.
2. Headship and authority are exercised in self sacrifice for the sake of building up others in a covenant relationship
3. God reveals a functional subordination which in no way infers superiority or inferiority
c. In the Beginning- God's design before the fall wrecked everything.

1. Man is the foundation of human creation, woman its culmination, completion- even in the garden man was not self sufficient.
2. Both men and women are told to fill and subdue the earth- together
3. Fellowship equals partnership- order and distinctiveness must be observed. Man was given prerogative to name the woman.

Three major mistakes (logical fallacies) commonly found in literature pertaining to the role of women in the church

Mistake 1. Submission equals inferiority. The argument goes something like this-
a. Galatians 3:28 upholds equality "There is no male or female IN CHRIST"
b. 1 Timothy 2:12 upholds submission of women to men
c. Therefore one of these verses cannot be true.

Then they say that Galatians is right and 1 Timothy is wrong, or that Paul changed his mind by the time he wrote 1 Timothy. However, Galatians was written years before 1 Timothy.

Does submission equal inferiority? If it does, then Luke 2:51 is also a serious mistake- It says Jesus submitted to his parents. Does this make Him inferior to them? Of course not- the answer to the seeming dilemma is that today's connotations of "submission" in fact bears no resemblance to the Biblical idea of submission.

A working order does not make a person of less value than another. Jesus is submissive to the Father, yet is co equal with Him at the same time. Obedience is a different greek word than submission.

Key word- Hupotasso (hupo= under, tasso= to line up, to get in order, to arrange)to subordinate (1 Corinthians 16:16, 1 Peter 2:13, 1Peter 5:5, Hebrews 13:17, Ephesians 5:21)

Philippians 2:4-8 the perfect example of this.
This is the principle of authority and submission-
**present in the Godhead- 1 Cor. 11:3, Mt.28:18
**present in government- Romans 13:1, 1 Peter 2:13-18

God has ordained by His own nature that distinctives are to be maintained between men and women- and everyone is to submit one to another. The clinging to absolute equality is exactly what Christ did not do in Philippians 2.

** present in relationships- Authority in Christ is the opposite of domination, for a tyrant abdicates his role as a spiritual leader. But the idea of Co-dominion is likewise turned on its ear, and becomes more like co-submission IN CHRIST -Ephesians 5:21. Women stand before the throne responsible moral agents who God does not expect to submit when required to do something that violates His nature in woman.

More about the concept of submission to headship will follow.

Mistake 2- Role definition involves the denial of significance.

This argument goes-
a. 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2 deny women a particular kind of public ministry in principle.
b. Public ministry is significant ministry.
c. Therefore the Bible is denying women significant ministry.
d. Therefore the Bible is wrong because we know that women are significant and do accomplish significant things.

The answer- Not all significant ministry is public ministry. In fact, a case can be made that the unseen, unnoticed ministry that goes on daily is held in higher regard because this kind of ministry produces true humility if done in the Spirit.

The paradoxes of "the last shall be first" and "lose your life to gain it" are exemplified in this unseen ministry. Power is found in selfless service, ambition in sacrifice. In the light of this everything the world knows is wrong. We must throw off the spirit of the age and appeal to "the more sure word". Hebrews 13:17 says we are all (men AND women ) are under authority. It is only true that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world if that hand is that of one of the meek that shall inherit the earth.

Mistake 3- The instructions given by Paul in 1 Timothy 2 were specific to Ephesus because it conflicts with what he had said earlier in his instructions which allowed prophesying by women.

The argument goes-
1. Teaching in the assembly is denied women in 1 Timothy 2
2. Teaching involves prophecy, evangelism, etc.
3. We can see women involved in prophecy and commended for it in other places (1 Cor. 11), therefore 1 Timothy 2 contains no universal command for women.
answer- it cannot be assumed that prophecy and teaching are the same- in Galatians 1 prophets are the mouthpieces of God. There may be prophets who are teachers or vice versa, but these are distinct things. Didasko- teaching- cannot be defined in a way that demands that you dismiss this passage (1 Tim 2).

Key concept- "Assembly" as the setting. A fact that is often ignored completely in the discussion of this passage is that the assembly is the setting for the admonitions in 1 Timothy 2:7 and 1 Corinthians 14:26-40. It does not refer to casual interchanges between men and women.

Paul knew nothing of our church buildings, where one person delivered a "sermon". The dominant setting was the home (a couple of exceptions were the use of Solomon's Portico and Paul's use of the school of Tyrannus). Believers met daily in Mark's mother's home.

A background study of 1 Corinthians 16:19 shows that Priscilla and Aquila hosted a homechurch in Ephesus. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians there, and it may be the church Timothy became pastor of. This passage could be speaking of situations like this- it is reasonable that Paul would forbid a wife teaching her husband in their own home in an assembly of believers. This is just one other aspect of the ongoing debate over 1 Timothy 2. It has probably been the most debated "hard saying" in scripture in this century.

More thoughts about "headship" and "submission"

1 Corinthians 11:3 (in the context of vv.2-13) "head" (greek kephale) Most think this means "man gets the final word" when in fact God always does.Today we read "head" as ruler, leader, chief, boss, connoting "authority over"- this raises several problems if this is a good translation.

1. In the relationship between Christ and God- if God occupies a superior rank to Christ (and He does NOT), this would challenge the classical doctrine of the Trinity. Also the Luke 2:51 problem noted above.

2. If men are under Christ's authority and then women under men we have a situation where women stand only in indirect relation to Christ- this conflicts with the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Some people teach that even a woman's authority over her children is derived from and is on behalf of her husband. The priesthood of all believers does not conflict with a functional order set in creation.

More to come... Am I wrong? Let me know what you think- but reason from scripture...

From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @