...thoughts expressed here are not necessarily final.

April 7, 2004 News from around the web

'People' Magazine Spotlights Faith of Christian Celebrities

Charisma News Service

The unprecedented success of "The Passion of the Christ" has prompted a national entertainment magazine to spotlight the faith of several Christian celebrities.

In an April 5 cover story titled, "Does Hollywood Have Faith?" "People" looked
at the beliefs of churchgoing stars, as well as those involved in Scientology
and Buddhism. "This business tests you constantly: the materialism, the price,
the ambition," said Patricia Heaton, star of "Everybody Loves Raymond" who takes her four sons to a Presbyterian church weekly.

Heaton told "People" that the film "jump-started" her prayer life. "I think Jesus is a scary subject. God you can make into anything you want. But confronted [with Jesus], you have to say, 'I believe that or I don't.' It's very powerful.

Court rips AT&T for firing Christian

DENVER, April 7 (UPI) --

Story here

A federal court in Denver has upheld the rights of a fundamentalist Christian who was fired for disapproving of homosexuality.

AT&T fired Buonanno after he refused to sign a "certificate of understanding"
acknowledging he agreed to "value" homosexuality among fellow workers.

Evangelism Catches Up With the Times

Story here

Using Web sites, multi-media, pop culture and edgy language, organizations like
www.relevantmagazine.com and Fireproof Ministries (and its anti-pornography Web
site www.XXXchurch.com) are reaching out to young Christians in more modern ways
than established organized religion ever has.



The Wild West offers a stage for picturing these two types of theology. Settlers and Pioneers use the same words but that is where it stops. To see what I mean--read on. Is this an accurate take on the modern/emerging church? Let's talk about it...

quote: "There are two views of life and two kinds of people. Some see life as a possession to be carefully guarded. They are SETTLERS. Others see life as a fantastic, wild, explosive gift. They are PIONEERS. The visible church is an outfit with an abundance of settlers and a few pioneers. The invisible church is the fellowship of pioneers. To no one's surprise there are two kinds of theology. Settler theology and pioneer theology. Settler theology is an attempt to answer all the questions, define and housebreak some sort of "Supreme Being," establish the status quo on Golden Tablets in cinemascope. Pioneer Theology is an attempt to talk about what it means to receive the strange gift of life and live! The pioneer sees theology as a wild adventure, complete with indians, saloon girls, and the haunting call of what is yet to be."

People Different From Us -News of the Weird April 4 edition

* From a March Boston Globe interview with Morgan Lee, newly crowned Miss Gothic Massachusetts: (asked how she would describe Goth) "It's really a style and a way of thinking. Basically, you're miserable all the time.

(W)e just see the darker side that other people tend to ignore. The most interesting people are always the saddest." (Asked what her boyfriend thinks of her): "He's very proud of me. (H)e's not a very descript person, kind of like an amoeba, but very cultured." [Boston Globe, 3-8-04]

Here's another review of the Passion movie form theooze.- It echoes my contention that we must provide the context for Passion moviegoers who enter the church this Easter.

"Envision a film with only sets, lacking actors, actresses and dialog. You will perceive that the essence of great art is lost without the context surrounding the central figure(s). "

"When stripped of relational framework, films, much like stories and art, become devoid of meaning. A pieta is not a pieta without Mary, and the Last Supper without the disciples is just a single man, eating dinner."

"Sadly, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ suffers this same myopic lack of narrative context."

Christian Movies Earn the Most Money??

Ted Baehr, ASSIST News Service

The spectacular financial success of Mel Gibson’s Christian movie, The
Passion of the Christ, has stunned many media pundits, but this
surprising event has not been a surprise to Dr. Ted Baehr and his staff
at the Christian Film & Television Commission, a religious advocacy
group in Hollywood. “We’ve been tracking the box office success of
Christian movies for many years,” said Chairman Baehr, founder of the
Commission. “Year in and year out, the statistics show that movies with
strong Christian viewpoints make the most money.” The Commission’s
annual study of the major movies released theatrically in the United
States shows that movies with very strong Christian worldviews do much
better at the box office than movies with Non-Christian worldviews. For
example, movies with a very strong Christian worldview released in 2003,
2002, and 2001, such as Finding Nemo, The Gospel of John, the Lord of
the Rings movies, Luther, We Were Soldiers, and Evelyn, earned two to
five times as much money on average in the United States and Canada as
movies with very strong Non-Christian worldviews.

Question: I want to know- what exactly is a Christian movie anyway?

Tozer on the Mundane

And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried
and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary
has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
--Luke 10:41-42

..every real Christian, however practical, is in some degree a
mystic, his mysticism lying on the upper side of his life. He
prays, meditates on spiritual things and communes with God and the
invisible world. Also, every Christian, however he may be dedicated
to the holy art of prayer and worship, must of necessity descend to
work and eat and sleep and pay his taxes and get on somehow with
the hard world around him. And if he follows on to know the Lord he
must serve in every useful way outlined for him in the Scriptures
of truth. To be a Christian it is necessary that he serve his
generation as well as his God.

The big problem is to keep the two elements of the Christian life
in proper balance. Martha and Mary are sisters and we need both....
Today the Christian emphasis falls heavily on the "active" life....
The current vogue favors "Christian action." The favorite brand of
Christianity is that sparked by the man in a hurry, hard hitting,
aggressive and ready with the neat quip. We are neglecting the top
side of our souls. The light in the tower burns dimly while we
hurry about the grounds below, making a great racket and giving the
impression of wonderful devotion to our task.
-The Price of Neglect, 45-47.

The Scapegoat

R.K. Harrison’s Leviticus (Tyndale OT Commentaries, IVP: 1980) is probably a fair representation of how biblical scholars see the problem of defining key issues in interpreting Lev 16. Since there is controversy about definition there is consequent interpretation based on ideology or dogma.

The meaning of this word [Azazel] is far from certain. … The word may perhaps signify ‘removal’ or ‘dismissal’, but since it occurs only in this chapter [Lev 16:8,10 (twice),26] in connection with specific ritual functions, this explanation is both circumstantial and inferential. The AV and NIV ‘scapegoat’, which follows the Vulgate, describes quite adequately the animal that was allowed to go free, but whether the expression le ‘aza’zel can have this meaning is far from certain. The translation of this word has varied considerably, and includes such renderings as ‘that shall be sent out’ (Wycliffe), ‘for discharge’ (Knox), ‘Azazel’ (RSV), and ‘for the Precipice’ (NEB). The idea of ‘precipice’ seems to have been derived from Talmudic tradition, where aza’zel was translated by ‘steep mountain’. The allusion appears to have been to the precipitous slope or rock in the wilderness from which in the post-exilic period the goat was hurled to death (p 170)

Here is a link to Holman Hunt's painting of the scapegoat.


Here's how to pronounce azazel

Azazel is a prominent figure in Satanism and cultic practices, in fact the name has become associated with Satan himself. Ancient Rabbis taught that Azazel was one of the two angels who sired the Nephilim of Genesis 6 (giants in the days of Noah) as referred to in the aprocryphal book off Enoch. Azazel refused to repent, and God hung him upside down in a canyon, bound in chains, where he remains to this day. According to these rabbis that is why a scapegoat is sent to Azazel on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, bearing the sins of Israel. Other rabbis taught that when two angels, Shemhazai and Azazel, came down to earth, they were still innocent. But they were corrupted by the demonesses Na'amah and Lilith. The children they bore were the giants of old, known as the Nephilim, or Fallen Ones.The earliest embellishments of this biblical legend are found in The Book of Jubilees 5:1-13 and 1 Enoch: 6-14. (Note that I do not subscribe to this theory- angels to not reproduce).

The brief article "Scapegoat" in the Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible (Editor, J.D. Douglas, [IVP: 1980, 1988], Vol 3, p 1400) says:

The word Azazel (Heb. aza’zel) occurs only in the description of the Day of Atonement (Lv. 16:8,10(twice),26). There are four possible interpretations. 1. The word denotes the ‘scapegoat’ and is to be explained as ‘the goat (‘ez) that goes away (from azal)’. 2. It is used as an infinitive, ‘in order to remove’; cf. Arab. ‘azala, ‘to remove’. 3. It means a desolate region (cf. Lv. 16:22) or ‘precipice’ (G.R. Driver; cf. NEB). 4. It is the name of a demon haunting that region, derived from azaz ‘to be strong’ and el ‘God’.

Most scholars prefer the last possibility, as in v. 8 the name appears in parallelism to the name of the Lord. As a fallen angel, Azazel is often mentioned in Enoch (6:6 onwards), but probably the author got his conception from Lv.16. The meaning of the ritual must be that sin in a symbolical way was removed from human society and brought to the region of death (cf. Mi 7:19). It is not implied that a sacrifice was presented to the demon (cf. Lv. 17:7).

The message of this type...

comes through loud and clear when we meditate on Christ's work in the substitutionary act of atonement and how it is realized when our sins were imputed to Christ. On Yom Kippur this was foreshadowed when the Azazel goat was sent outside the gate and the second unblemished (tamiym) sacrifice was put to death. What a savior! Christ is our mercy seat.

In the scriptures there is a flip side to this aspect of atonement- In Romans 4 through 8 (especially 6) and 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 and 1 Peter 2:24 allude to and reveal the flip side of that coin of substitution- Christ's righteousness is also imputed to us.

God not only declares us righteous, he makes it to be so- what God reckons to be so is so. While there are "now" and "not yet" aspects to this, (the alien righteousness of Christ alone received through faith alone vesus the moral transformation that God works in us) it remains that the very power of the resurrection is alive in us as we abide in the True vine, being transformed until we see that day of glorification at His glorious appearing (the event, not the book)

Put in other words, our eternal life is not based simply upon the removal of our sins in Christ but also on the positive obedience (righteousness) of Christ reckoned or imputed to our account. In justification, to use an analogy from the life of Joseph, we are not simply set free from prison, but are made rulers of Egypt. I continue to meditate on this aspect of the work of Christ on our behalf as I remember that have followed Christ to the cross, through the grave as I am buried with him, and am raised to walk in resurrection life. That reality check always results in worship, the power to overcome, and the ability to see my life brought into alignment with the plumbline of this truth.

I Am Treebeard



If I were a character in The Return of the King, I would be Treebeard, an Ent and one of the last of the shepherds of trees.

In the movie, I am voiced by John Rhys-Davies.(who also is Gimli)

Who would you be?
The Return of the King Test  with Perseus Web Survey Software


The LOTR boxed set will be out May 25th... To aid in organizing the marathon sscreening at your house, here are a few tips on what NOT to do from Caught at Work Productions:

Stand up halfway through the movie and yell loudly, "Wait...where the heck is Harry Potter?"

Block the entrance to the door while screaming, "YOU.....SHALL....NOT..... PASS!"

Finish off every one of Elrond's lines with "Mis..ter Ander-sonnn."

Dress up as old ladies and re-enact "The Battle of Helms Deep," Monty Python style.

When Denethor lights the fire, shout "Barbecue!"

Imitate what you think a conversation between Gollum, Dobby and Yoda would be like.

In TTT when the Ents decide to march to war, stand up and shout, "RUN FOREST, RUN!"

Every time someone kills an Orc, yell: "That's what I'm Tolkien about!" See how long it takes before you get kicked out of the theatre.

During a wide shot of a battle, inquire, "Where's Waldo?"

Start an Orc sing-a-long.

When Shelob comes on, exclaim, "Man! Charlotte's really let herself go!"

Here's a Russian site that compares Putin and Dobby. It's in Russian so you will have to make up your own captions.

From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/