October 16, 2003 Neil Postman dies

I learned about a week ago that Neil Postman has been ill and died 10-6-03. Though I disagreed with him on many things, he was an innovative but accessible scholar who was critical but not dismissive of technology.
Allegedly, Neil Postman hated jargon and once said something akin to, "If you want to learn to write well, read good writing and avoid French theory."

So we both hated buzzwords like

Anomie- "normlessness", people who do not conform to our norms

Commodity fetishism- Marxist theory of a society in which relations among people take the form of relations among things

Structuralism- A theoretical grid through which behavior, institutions, and texts are seen as analyzable in terms of an underlying network of relationships, the crucial point being that the elements which constitute the network gain their meaning from the relations that hold between the elements.

Problematizing- Viewing in yet another way

Television is our culture's principle mode of knowing about itself - and this is the critical point- how television stages the world becomes the model for how the world is properly to be staged. -Neil Postman in Amusing Ourselves to Death

Grace, Wisdom And Beauty You May Enjoy, But Beware Pride Which Alone Can Tarnish All The Rest

(Inscription of the Wall of the Great Syrian Castle Crak Chevallier.)

October 15, 2003 So... Madonna is telling me something is wrong?
American Life

Do I have to change my name
Will it get me far
Should I lose some weight
Am I gonna be a star

I tried to be a boy
I tried to be a girl
I tried to be a mess
I tried to be the best
I guess I did it wrong
That's why I wrote this song
This type of modern life
Is it for me
This type of modern life
Is it for free

So I went into a bar
Looking for sympathy
A little company
I tried to find a friend
It's more easily said
It's always been the same
This type of modern life
Is not for me
This type of modern life
Is not for free

American life [American life]
I live the American dream [American dream]
You are the best thing I've seen
You are not just a dream [American life]

I tried to stay ahead
I tried to stay on top
I tried to play the part
But somehow I forgot
Just what I did it for
And why I wanted more
This type of modern life
Is it for me
This type of modern life
Is it for free
Do I have to change my name
Will it get me far
Should I lose some weight
Am I gonna be a star

American life
I tried to be a boy
Tried to be a girl
Tried to be a mess
Tried to be the best
Tried to find a friend
Tried to stay ahead
I tried to stay on top
Do I have to change my name
Will it get me far
Should I lose some weight
Am I gonna be a star
Uh, uh, uh, uh

I'm drinkin' a soy latte
I get a double shotie
It goes right through my body
And you know I'm satisfied
I drive my mini cooper
And I'm feeling super-duper
Yo they tell me I'm a trooper
And you know I'm satisfied
I do yoga and pilates
And the room is full of hotties
So I'm checking out their bodies
And you know I'm satisfied
I'm diggin' on the isotopes
This metaphysics shit is dope
And if all this can give me hope
You know I'm satisfied
I got a lawyer and a manager
An agent and a chef
Three nannies, an assistant
And a driver and a jet
A trainer and a butler
And a bodyguard or five
A gardener and a stylist
Do you think I'm satisfied
I'd like to express my extreme point-of-view
I'm not a Christian and I'm not a Jew
I'm just living out the American dream
And I just realized that nothing is what it seems
Do I have to change my name
Am I gonna be a star
Do I have to change my name

October 14, 2003...Hey SPCA, the Chickens Benefit from the Gospel

Bible Translators Become Chicken Liberators

Michael Ireland, ASSIST New Service

Bible translators have empowered tribespeople in Ghana to understand their own constitutional rights -- which now means that fewer chickens are being ritually slaughtered. In a people group in northern Ghana it's obligatory for each person to give a chicken for sacrifice to the ancestral spirit.
October 13, 2003 More Cut Capo Stuff

My brother Neil adapted the swf's I posted for easier printing into gifs and posted them at a site at his church...enjoy them... Hey Billy Foote is coming to Paducah...check out his site.

Another logical fallacy from Crosswalk and a teachable moment

Fishing for men- it's not about using the right bait folks- I remember the brewhaha when a former pastor advocated using a program as bait to lure people to church and then sneaking the gospel in on them. The evangelical bait and switch, I call it...here's another story that falls down the same rabbit hole.

Baptist Church Expelled for Baptizing Homosexual Couple

Jenni Parker, Agape Press

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has expelled a Cabarrus County church for failing to repudiate the lifestyles of two homosexual men the church had accepted as members and subsequently baptized. While the Convention has previously ejected three of its churches for ordaining homosexual clergy or blessing homosexual unions, the decision to kick McGill Baptist Church out of the state's largest religious body marks the first time the Convention has targeted a church for discipline simply for choosing to tolerate openly homosexual individuals in its congregation. The Convention's action was based on a 1992 policy that forbids churches to exhibit "public approval, promotion or blessing of homosexuality." In a comment to Associated Press, the Convention's leader, James Royston, called an openly homosexual lifestyle "un-Biblical and therefore un-Christian."

But according to AP reports, Rev. Steve Ayers of McGill Baptist claims his church never asked the men if they were homosexual. "Jesus told us to fish for people," Ayers says, adding, "It's not our job to sort the fish. He'll take care of any sorting."

So is this true? Problem with this assertation is that it totally misses Jesus' point. It is the dragnet of the gospel is what we are fishing with- the good news if apprehended transforms people and shakes them to their core when they receive it. If the change is not there by fruit and deed, not just declaration, then you haven't been fishing for men in the Biblical sense. And they have not been caught.

Fishing in Jesus' day was with a dragnet and did not use bait. You cast the net, snagged the fish and dragged them onto the boat. They would fish all night and cast out nets and drag in what they could. They then had to sort out the good fish from the bad fish So forget about the deceit and manipulation of baiting the lost or thinking that we are called to get them to join the church... repentance is still the hallmark of the redeemed.

Apparently this pastor quoted above needs to check out the parable of the dragnet in Matt. 13:47-50 Interesting- the word that is used by Jesus when he said, if Ibe lifted up I will draw all men to myself the word draw is the same one as drag. There is a compelling aspect to the gospel. It is the same idea of drawing water from a well.

Ponderings on Purpose and Hope
One of the things that you realize quickly is that when you are a photographer you do not appear in many of your own pictures- it is such a hassle to set up a timed shot and run to get in front of the camera- and there is something a little narcissistic about self portraits in general, IMHO...here are spitritual implications to this as well- to examine yourself properly you have to be able to not focus on yourself- it is a paradox.

Just like we cannot tickle ourselves, it is nearly impossible to see ourselves for who we are without our "self" getting in the way. One way to take an image of yourself is in a mirror- and God's mirror is His Word.

We have a hard time judging whether we are doing the right thing, especially if we are aeware that our very hearts are deceitful. Most of us have times of doubt as to whether how we are spending our lives qualify us as good stewards. Most limit this to a view of their checkbook- American preachers are at fault for focusing almost exclusively on this- While this is not unimportant, the true spiritual capital of the universe is human souls, not the greenback dollar.

The one answer to the burned out used up life is that the very life you have invested is the means by which God ordains that you make much of Him. That is what it is all about- that we show the world that we treasure him by not treasuring the things of the world. That His way is a more excellent way and He is the reward thereof. We make much of Christ when we respond in his power and by His Spirit to a fallen world and see that our otherwise puny insignificant life can make an eternal difference- one heart at a time, one obedience at a time, one declaration of His glorious worth at a time.

I want to be a part of a church that knows what is real- that making much of Jesus may mean making little of ourselves, and not pursuing success, power and influence. This is biblical holiness. It is the high moral ground of spiritual community that is missing in so many fellowships.

Holiness is sort of a mystery to us. It does not mainly have to do with good versus bad or being better than someone else- Kierkegaard said that purity of heart is to will one thing. It is of the ancient idea of things set apart for spiritual purposes and are no longer available for profane ones. It is equivalent to taboo- one cannot touch or use this because it is set apart-sacred to a "god".

Holiness has more to do with dedication. Goodness is its by product of dwelling richly in what you are dedicated- in this case to whom- for we are set apart for a person. For his Name's sake we are set apart to him and from anything that inhibits your purpose.

It is obvious that the church is not holy in the sense of being morally pure. We still desire holiness to be manifested in it since God created it for a purpose. Church is both a goal towards which we try to move by grace and a dedicated community always remembering, always conforming, always reforming by the spirit to that dedication.

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