Category: popular culture

NOT SURPRISED #4 – Conservative US Bishops Don’t Like This Pope (VIDEO)

Pope Francis tweaked conservative Catholics this summer with this quote

Il Papa is at it again.

His latest journey into tweaking-off conservative Catholic faithful comes from an interview you can read here.

His point was to say that the church has made too much of it's business about hot-button social issues. He shares his fears about it in this excerpt:

The church can share its views on homosexuality, abortion and other issues, but should not “interfere spiritually” with the lives of gays and lesbians, the pope added in the interview, which was published in La Civilta Cattolica, a Rome-based Jesuit journal.

“We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel,” Francis said in the interview.

“The church has sometimes locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,' Francis said. “The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials.”

I suppose there will be more overly critical and unecessary reactions to this latest interview. After the dust-up caused by Francis' words above, @CardinalDolan tried to blame the media – and obfuscate the Pope's obvious inclusive overtones:

But, as usual, the press predictably brought these weary issues up, and have given them more ink than any of the other noble themes that rang through Copacabana Beach. It’s not the Church that is obsessed with those topics, but the media!

Oh, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, I would point your attention to the above excerpt from the Holy Father.

By and large, modern Christians cannot stand when their beliefs aren't trumeted from the tops of the tallest towers by those in power. But when their own guy starts to undermine their own schtick, they come out with an impotent fury unmatched by modern humanity.

This guy had some harsh – and slightly creepy – words about the Pope, himself:

The other thing I want to say though, is that I'm a little bit disappointed in Pope Francis that he hasn't, at least that I'm aware of, said much about unborn children, about abortion, and many people have noticed that. I think it would be very helpful if Pope Francis would address more directly the evil of abortion and to encourage those who are involved in the pro-life movement. It's one thing for him to reach out and embrace and kiss little children and infants as he has on many occasions. It strikes me that it would also be wonderful if in a spiritual way he would reach out and embrace and kiss unborn children.

What's clear is that Pope Francis isn't going to stop speaking these types of truths any time soon. I'm waiting for the time he decides to say something that tweaks liberals – or everybody – off. I also await reports on how he's handling ongoing child sex abuse scandals. However, I am pleased with this Pope so far.

And as for the reactions of people like @CardinalDolan and the like:


Are App Developers Persecuting Christians?

The iPad Mini

I love my iPad!

Here's a list of things I do with my iPad: prepare my sermon, write my sermon, deliver my sermon, waste time, return parishioner emails, waste time, chat with ministerial colleagues, complete seminary assignments, run a Facebook page dedicated to expressing United Methodism through the meme, and waste a little time.

With all the things I get accomplished on my iPad – including, admittedly, wasting just a smidgen of time – I completely forgot that Satan was also working on my iPad.

I forgot, that is, until Tim Challies reminded me. Mr. Challies is a Christian apologist in the reformed tradition. I am familiar with his work from the time I spent listening to something called Wretched Radio. This radio show – hosted by someone called Todd Friel – is also commanded by an understanding of God in the reformed tradition.

The show grew out of a ministry headed by Kirk Cameron (yes, that one) and a New Zeleander named Ray Comfort. Essentially, they believed it was their mission to seek out those who knew the least about their faith, and call them “lying, thieving, blasphemous adulterers at heart.” Di-rect quote. It also made nearly everyone look like a biblically illiterate nincompoop.

They are also big fans of Ken Ham – the Creation Museum guy. Which I hope, one day to visit – sarcastically, of course.

Essentially, for those not familiar with reformed theology and what it is, nothing has value if it didn't come directly from scripture.

And that's about it.

Anyway, Mr. Challies article got my attention. In his “Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Apps?,” Challies gives a short-if-unhelpful review of some of the most content-rich, premium apps for your moblie devices. Including The Elements: A Visual Exploration (a very visually and intellectually stimulating look at the Periodic Table of the Elements) and Poems by Heart (an app that helps you memorize poetry).

His argument goes like so many others who can't seem to find enough of their faith being mirrored back to them in the popular culture. First, God isn't given any credit in any of the more scientific apps. Second, Christian app developers aren't doing enough to honor God. His closing arguments go like this:

People are increasingly gravitating to their tablets to learn new things and to discover new experiences. Yet the best of the apps are not achieving the best of purposes in directing hearts and minds to the God who created and sustains it all. Christians should be the ones leading the way in exploring the planets and the atoms; Christians should be the ones exploring God's gift of music and language. I want this to be a call to Christian app developers to explore, exploit and master this new medium. Look at these apps, and see the possibilities!

He says this as if Christians are always ready and willing to explore science in the way God designed our brains to discover things we don't yet fully understand.

The most troubling aspect of Mr. Challies article is the fact that he believes that if it isn't directly attributed to God, it (whatever “it” might be) is automatically “the Devil.”

That's not how “it” works.

One of our most sacred duties is to praise God whenever we can. However, the fact that our iPad apps don't directly attribute anything and everything to God is no indication that “it” is of the Devil.

Personally, I believe we too often use the Devil as a crutch to excuse away our smaller or more incredible personal failings.

So, you might notice the title of this post has very little to do with the content of it. Essentially, Mr. Challies article does the same thing – which is why you're reading this article now.

And now you're done:)


Here’s a Hamster Engulfing an Entire, Tiny Ear of Corn – Just ‘Cause (VIDEO)


I don't know if this is cute, gross, weird or all of it.

Either way, enjoy!


Idolatry! Little Boy’s Hideous Prayer to Barack Obama! (VIDEO)

Now that I have your attention, let me ask you a question:

Why did you click on this link?

If you are a Christian and clicked this link because you wanted further confirmation of the evil or destructive person you believe the President of the United States to be, than let me do some iron-sharpening for you.

First, here's the video in question:

The first time I was made aware of this was a Facebook post featuring a story from The Christian Post, an online, Christian news source. They recently published a story featuring an interview with myself and Joel.

Well, on Sunday, this little boy's mother posted this video under the title “Prayer for President Barack Obama.”

Dijya catch that? “For,” not “to.”

This boy's mother posted a video for herself, her family and her social media circles. Presumably, she posted it because she thought it was sweet that her son would think to pray for the President of the United States.

However, this little boy said a prayer and addressed it to the wrong person.

So, Christian America – mostly white, Christian America – has a collective freak-out. Forgetting that they've probably laughed at a YouTube video of a little white child botching a prayer, but in a cute way. Because this is a prayer for – not to – this POTUS, then it's the “America needs to repent because this child proves all the worst things I've created in my mind are true” meltdown.

This video will be everywhere soon. Rush Limbaugh will play it on an endless loop and remember his United Methodist roots, only so long as he can deride the president. Sean Hannity will devote an entire television segment to it. FOX News will feature it every hour for the next two news cycles.

All because a mother thought a video of her son praying was cute enough to post to YouTube.

Christian. Yes, you. Please do your soul a favor and not lose your mind over this.

Who knows who might take your next YouTube video out of context?


First “Juicy,” Now “Matthew 5.7?”

At least it doesn't say Juicy

A former Victoria Secret model has had a conversion experience. That's good news!

The bad news? Her new clothing line puts Bible verses on little girl's butts.

This story is about Kylie Bisutti's efforts to remain relevant in the fashion industry, after she gave up her lucrative modeling gig for a pursuit of God. Again, good news.

By now, you've probably seen the glitch in the design of these clothes – designed with the school-aged girl in mind. Much like the sweatpants emblazoned with the words like “Juicy” across the wearers rear-end, the clothing is designed in such a way that the viewer is reading a Bible verse that ends on someone's rear-end.

Forget the onging debates about Christian modesty – which treat men like mindless sex machines and are helpful in very few ways – it strikes me as just, plain tacky.

Let's hope they fix that particular glitch in the line.



Video From The Pastor’s Office #14 – “#TheBible & Schools”


Expect one or two more episodes to relate back to this miniseries, but here's my first episode having to do with The History Channel's The Bible. The producers wrote an op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal about the Bible being taught in schools. Here are my thoughts.

Billy Graham Sells Out Before Checking Out – Mormonism No ‘Cult’

I don’t mean to sound crass, but Billy Graham is suffering from a long list of ailments that may soon “call him home.”  But before he does that, he needs to help a Mormon get elected by selling out his long held beliefs. NOTE: This is not an anti-Mormon post.  I don’t care about the

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If Jesus is Greater Than Religion, Church Renewal is a Much Bigger Job

I never see a viral video until long after it’s popular, or the “virus” has been treated. However, I found one–which is to say one of my professors introduced it to me–that has truly convicted me.  Actually, it confirmed a very recent conviction I have been feeling.  Let me explain. I am taking a class

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Is Beyonce A Feminist Icon?

*Editor’s Note: Beyonce Knowles and I share a birthday–an exact birthday.  So–according to my calculations–I know three people who share the exact same birthday.  Myself, Stacey Byers (with whom I went to school) and Beyonce Knowles.  #carryon In the run up to the 2012 election, I have to resist the temptation to go full-bore into

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American, Justin “Nordic Thunder” Howard, Takes the 2012 World Air Guitar Championships

  The London Olympics may be over, but American dominance of international competitions goes on. Finland hosts numerous international contests that you've never heard or cared about. Here is this year's winner of this one:    

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