Monday, September 24, 2007

Old Media, New Media

Wikipedia says...

The old media or legacy media are traditional means of communication and expression that have existed since before the advent of the new medium of the Internet. Industries that are generally considered part of the old media are broadcast and cable television, movie and music studios, newspapers, books and most print publications. Many of those industries are now less profitable than they used to be and this is has been attributed to the growth of the new media.

This division between the new and old media is a hot topic on talk radio. Which seems ironic to me, as radio is an older form of media than TV, and yet they seem to fall in with the "new" media crowd.

I bring this up because of another blurb I read in Christian News (decidedly an OLD media publication). CN reprinted an article from a Roman Catholic publication under the title, "Internet and Blogsphere (sic) Threaten Publications". The RC publication comes to the obvious conclusion that the "print era is drawing to a close" and "magazines... are having a hard time surviving".

CN then adds an editorial comment:

Some spend so much time with their computers that they don not have time to read newspapers and magazines. They believe all they need to know about what is going on in the church and world can be found on the internet. Publications like Christian News, according to them, are no longer necessary. Readers will have to judge for themselves if they find all of the information CN publishes each week on the internet.

I suppose I just find it fascinating to watch the Old Media react to the New. There seems to be some antagonism.

Personally, I read less in print and more on the screen every day. I watch less TV and get more news and information from the net every day. I still pick up magazines and books, and I don't think they will ever completely go away. But I don't rely on them nearly as much as I used to.

And, quite frankly, most of what I find worth reading in CN, I already HAVE read on the internet. Most, but not all.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Issues Etc. Michigan Visit

I've been asked to help plug this weekend's live broadcast of "Issues, Etc." The live broadcast will be held in Dearborn, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit).

Check out more information at The Unknown Lutheran....

Reading the Bible Literally

"I don't agree with people who take the Bible literally" - a common objection of many Burger King type Christians ("have it your way!")

But let's examine this. What are they really saying?

To read something literally means to take it word for word at face value. Like, "I am going to the store today" means, literally, "I am going to the store today."

But, "Go fly a kite" does not mean to literally go fly a kite, but is a figure of speech which means for you to go away.

Sometimes the Bible uses figures of speech. Sometimes it speaks plainly, or literally. And it's important to know which is which! When Jesus says you should hate your father and mother, he's obviously not speaking literally. But when it says he rose from the dead, it is!

Many Christians and sects get into trouble when they interpret passages from the Bible using an incorrect grammatical approach. Literal speech should be taken literally. Figurative figuratively. Apocalyptic, Poetic, Epistlary... all these forms of literature have their own rules for interpretation. Break the rules and you will get the meaning wrong.

This is, unforunately what has happened with many who teach all sorts of wacky things about the end times. They take literally what they shouldn't.

Likewise, many protestants take the literal words of Christ in a figurative or symbolic way, while "This is my body" really means it is, literally, somehow, his body!

Back to the original question. What do people mean when they say "I don't take the Bible literally"? They don't likely mean that they clearly distinguish between Scripture which is and isn't a figure of speech. I don't think this sort of statement often comes from a well-reasoned and researched view of the Bible. In my experience it's a tactic of argumentation meant to eliminate an entire line of debate.

I think what they really mean is, "I don't take the Bible seriously."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Suing God

You've probably seen the offbeat story of the week...

Nebraska State Senator Sues God Over Natural Disasters

Check out the senator with an apparent halo in this photo. (He's the one on the right).

What a buffet of bloggable buffoonery this is. The humorous reactions are almost limitless. My former neighbor, a lawyer, wrote:

Hmmm.....I wonder if anyone will answer on God's behalf or put in a notice of appearance for God? Now that could be interesting.....Maybe the pope or a local priest, pastor or rabbi? Maybe someone will answer and the rest will intervene in the lawsuit.....Maybe an atheist will file a motion to dismiss saying that God can't be sued because he doesn't exist. I wonder who he has served with the lawsuit...or if there will be substitute service on a priest, pastor, or rabbi, etc. As God's registered agent. This could be a good virtual lawsuit. I copied my friend Tom, who is a pastor in case he wants to intervene inthe lawsuit or accept service on behalf of God.

To which I responded with some smart aleck comments about what God must think of lawyers.

Some liberal judge will probably convict the Almighty and order punitive damages.

Don't they also list a defendant's various aliases in a legal proceeding? That list could get long... "A one Yahweh, aka, Elohim, aka, Jehovah, aka, El Shaddai, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor, Holy One of Israel"

Then we could bring in the Trinity. Which person is being sued? If one is sued, are all three sued?

I thought a bit deeper on this, and realized this isn't the first time the Lord has been on trial. I expect him to say even less this time.

I wonder if this story doesn't catch so much attention because it is such a reversal of truth. For in the "cosmic courtroom", we are on trial, God is the Judge, and our advocate (yes, Lawyer) is Jesus Christ. We'd certainly be convicted had he not reversed the verdict at the cross.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Two New Sites

Two very interesting Lutheran sites have appeared.

Lutheran Lucciola
A Lutheran blogger who is a convert from paganism. A very interesting read!
A St. Louis student has set up this site with some really cool design. Not a blog, but more of a resource site for Lutherans. Discussion forums are just getting off the ground. Lots of potential here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Colson on Christians and Demographics

"The Fertility Gap: More Christians on the Way" is a recent piece by conservative Christian pundit Chuck Colson.

Colson is mostly commenting on the effects such demographics will have on the future of politics. But what, also, of the future of the church itself?

Various church demographers have observed the decline of many major denominations - largely because rates of reproduction have declined. I believe this is true in our own LCMS.

If the LCMS, like most conservative Christian bodies, does see an increase in its birth rate (perhaps a big "if", but certainly possible), then we might see numerical growth on a scale that no marketing program had ever dreamed of. Call it "Church Growth - the Old Fashioned Way".

I would be interested to see LCMS demographic information, if anyone has a link....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Forum Letter Summary of LCMS 2007 Convention

Rev. Peter Speckhard, who went to Houston as a reporter for the ALPB, has written an interesting summary of the LCMS 2007 Convention.

I didn't see the outcome quite as favorably as he did, but I appreciate some of his basic diagnosis:

"Yet social issues are perhaps the only area where the LCMS is growing closer to the Roman Catholic Communion. Evangelical Catholics are increasingly outnumbered by the Just Plain Old Evangelicals in the LCMS. The Ablaze! campaign with all its trappings could easily be adapted for use by Baptists, Assemblies of God, and various independent evangelical megachurches, but would stand out like a kazoo in an orchestra pit in an Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or high-church Anglican or Lutheran setting."

Nice analogy.

Also, he observes the "conservative opposition" thinks we have disagreements, while the "moderate majority" doesn't.

I agree with this observation. I therefore wonder: if you think you are agreed, and your wife thinks you disagree, don't you, by definition, have a disagreement?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Church Cancelled. Report to Soup Kitchen.

The LCMS office of Youth Ministry sends out an occasional Email update, which usually consists mostly of promoting their next conference or youth gathering, as well as a list of district youth happenings from around the synod (and sometimes a list of resources). Then they usually include a little selection of quotes and such called "Teens and Trends". Of course, these nuggets vary in usefulness.

I gleaned the following little paragraph from the latest email:

MINISTRY SHAPES FAITH MORE THAN WORSHIP . . . If you want to influence a teenager's faith, have them serve meals to the homeless or do other hands-on service projects. "Involvement in community service is far more significant to the faith development of teens than involvement in worship," says Michael Sherr, one of the Baylor University researchers who conducted the study (Associated Baptist Press, February 8, 2007).

So, here's a note for all the Youth from our congregation: I have decided to cancel church on Sunday. We will instead be meeting at the local soup kitchen. Email me for details.