Archive for the ‘Recent News’ Category

h1

Bono’s Genuine Faith

April 24, 2007

It has been awhile since I’ve been able to blog, and I apologize.  Homework, essays, and laziness do get in the way of everyday or even frequent posting, I’m afraid.  Anyway, enough remorsefulness about the fact that I don’t have unlimited time to blog and to the subject of this post!

Over a month ago (sorry!), I posted my comments and analysis of some of U2’s lyrics from their CD How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.  I was particularly interested in lyrics that seem vaguely spiritual in nature.  I had heard on several occasions that Bono is a real Christian, but I did not know how to verify whether or not his faith is, in fact, bona fide.  Granted, I did know that Bono is actively involved in fighting AIDS and poverty worldwide; I should know, since I own a (Product) Red iPod Nano (which Apple, Inc. produced in order to earn money for the Global Fund which fight AIDS worldwide).  I’m not sure about the exact connection, but I know that Bono is in some way connected to and involved with this Global Fund.  Anyway, the fact remains that Bono is at the forefront of many charitable causes, yet that does not prove his Christianity.

Imagine my interest, then, when I ran across this post at The Point:

You’ve seen him trotting around shopping for Red products with Oprah. You’ve heard about how the Pope wanted to wear his sunglasses. Now you can read about Bono’s very real faith, a faith which he shares so openly and eloquently that he does the very best thing possible–makes non-believers wish for a God like the one he believes in.

The post describes a little more about Bono’s faith and then links to this very insightful article by Steve Beard that takes a closer look at Bono’s Christianity.  I was particularly impressed by the fact that Bono’s father recognized that Bono has a genuine relationship with God, something that his father claims he could never achieve:

At the height of his success and fame, Bono and his father would often go down to a local pub and drink Irish whiskey on Sunday afternoons. On one occasion his father told him, “There’s one thing I envy of you. I don’t envy anything else. You do seem to have a relationship with God.” Bono asked: “Didn’t you ever have one?” “No,” he said. “But you have been a Catholic for most of your life,” Bono responded. “Yeah, lots of people are Catholic. It was a one-way conversation. . . . You seem to hear something back from the silence!” Bono said: “That’s true, I do.”

Bono not only affirms that he does indeed have a personal relationship with God, but in the article he goes on to describe in very clear terms the faith that he has in Jesus Christ.  As I read the article, I was struck by the powerful way in which this mega rock star articulates his faith in Christ, probably even better than I do!  And, while speaking about Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins, Bono demonstrates that he clearly understands that salvation does not come through good deeds.

It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.

I feared that Bono — as many rich people do — was seeking to buy his way into Heaven through his charitable works.  Reading Mr. Beard’s article, however, showed me that Bono does truly understand Christian doctrine and theology in a way that I would never have guessed.  If you still have any doubts about Bono’s genuine faith, I encourage you to take a look at the article I linked to above.  It’s good to be reassured that there are real Christians in influential Christian positions — way to go, Bono!

Advertisements
h1

A World Without America

February 23, 2007

One of my favorite blogs to read is WorldViews, the blog of World Magazine.  I usually don’t like to just repeat stories that I have read on other blogs and websites, but prefer to write my own original content for my blog.  Today, however, I decided that I will repeat a story I read elsewhere…  The contributors to WorldViews linked to a great short video entitled “A World Without America.”  As they wrote in their brief description of the video,

Europeans, especially the British, take in a steady media diet of American-is-to-blame-for-everything. Now media coverage of an ad called “A World Without America” is on the rise.

Quite simply, the video (you can visit its official website here) reminds the world just what kind of a state they would be in if America had never existed.  In a day when America is hated and scorned by so many people, it’s refreshing to see the good that this country has done.  True, the United States isn’t perfect; in fact, it’s in quite a sorry state at the moment.  Remember, though, the good that it has done, and be inspired to make it again what it once was!  You can watch the video below (courtesy, of course, of YouTube).

h1

Wheaton Graduates? Yikes!

February 21, 2007

On Monday my dad brought home a pile of mail which included several old issues of World Magazine.  (What can I say?  Mail tends to pile up when you only pick it up once a month or so…)  Anyway, today I was perusing one of the magazines (the January 27, 2007 issue with Hillary Clinton all over the cover, to be exact) and I ran across an interesting article about “Classroom Christianity” (subscription required).  While I did find the article informative and interesting, this post is not about that article.  Rather, I’d like to draw attention to a paragraph from the article that caught my eye:

Taking a class from Bart Ehrman, for example, could come with risks.  Ehrman, a popular professor who teaches New Testament studies at UNC, recently authored Misquoting Jesus, a textual criticism of the New Testament that denies the Bible’s inerrancy and casts doubts on Jesus’ divinity.  The book was a New York Times bestseller.  Ehrman, a former evangelical who graduated from the Wheaton College, abandoned his Christian beliefs after studying at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Besides being surprised by the oxymoronic nature of the statement that Mr. Ehrman abandoned his Christian beliefs after studying at a seminary, I was somewhat disturbed by the fact that World claims he graduated from “the Wheaton College.”  Now, I know that there are in fact two Wheaton Colleges, one in Wheaton, IL, and another in Norton, MA.  So, before I started panicking over this newfound information, I decided to google Mr. Ehrman and see what I came up with.  The results confirmed my fears, for a Wikipedia article on Mr. Ehrman similarly states that he is a graduate of the Christian Wheaton College.  I, however, do not trust Wikipedia as absolute proof about anything, so I continued to dig.  When I stumbled upon UNC’s web page about Mr. Ehrman, however, the fact was indisputably confirmed: Mr. Ehrman did graduate from the Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL.

I find it rather sad that this man, who has doubtless caused many to question the Bible and Jesus Christ’s divinity through his bestselling Misquoting Jesus, is a graduate of Wheaton College.  Wheaton’s motto is, after all, “For Christ and His Kingdom.”  I’m not saying that this man’s works against Christ’s Kingdom are a result of his attending Wheaton; I would attribute that more to his studying at Princeton.  However, it still doesn’t look too good for Wheaton that this heretic is a graduate of that school. 

This uncovering of a rather uncommon Wheaton grad reminded me of another embarrassing graduate that my older brother told me about when I visited the college.  Upon some more research (isn’t the Internet wonderful?) I discovered him: Wes Craven.  I remembered my brother telling me about a Wheaton graduate who, after leaving the school, went “somewhat crazy” and now makes awful horror movies — not the typical profession of a former Wheaton student.  Clicking on a few of the movies that IMDb lists under this man’s filmography revealed that they are, in fact, not-so-pleasant-looking horror flicks.  Another Wheaton student who went rather strange in the head…

Now, I’m not blasting Wheaton or anything — I know that they have produced myriads of well-educated, strong Christian men and women who have impacted the world positively for Christ’s Kingdom.  I’m certain you could find black sheep from any Christian university; it’s just a matter of looking for them.  Nevertheless, I’m beginning to get a little concerned for my older brother, who is now studying at Wheaton.  I’ll be even more worried if he mentions plans to write books or direct movies anytime soon.

h1

Another C. S. Lewis Movie

February 2, 2007

Anyone who is a fan of the film version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe will probably be fully aware that Walden Media and Disney have started work on the next installment to the Narnia series, Prince Caspian.  This is no surprise — the film is set for a 2008 release.  Having said this, a couple of weeks ago I found an interesting website for reading about upcoming movie sequals and one of the headlines they wrote today surprised me quite a bit.

According to IGN.com, Walden has begun work on a film adaptation (set for release next year) of Lewis’ classic book The Screwtape Letters:

C.S. Lewis may be best known for his Chronicles of Narnia series of books, but with the success of the first Narnia film, it seems Hollywood is ready to start adapting the author’s other works as well. First up: a big screen version of Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters.

I must say I laughed quite loud when I read that.  A movie of The Screwtape Letters?  Of all things!  Lewis wrote many other novels besides The Chronicles of Narnia that would be much easier to adapt into a movie than a collection of letters written by an old, uncle devil to his nephew.  They screenwriters of this movie are going to have to invent a storyline for the movie, I’m afraid.  We shall have to see what the finished result is.  At least the fact that Walden Media is behind the effort gives me confidence that they will make a decent and faithful adaptation of the book.  After Prince Caspian and The Screwtape Letters, though, they really must make a movie of Till We Have Faces.  Now that would be a movie worth seeing!

h1

The Brutalization of Man Is Complete

January 10, 2007

Since the teaching of evolution and naturalism in today’s world reduces man to little more than an ultra-intelligent, furless ape, I have often wondered how long it would be before man was represented with his fellow “brother apes” in the zoo.  Well, it appears that this last stronghold of human dignity has finally been crossed, as noted in this rather humorous story from Reuters:

An Australian zoo has put a group of humans on display to raise awareness about primate conservation — with the proviso that they don’t get up to any monkey business.

Over a month, the humans will be locked in an unused orang-utan cage at Adelaide zoo, braving the searing heat and snacking on bananas. They will be monitored by a psychologist who hopes to use the findings to improve conditions for real apes in captivity.

I found reading this story rather ironic, since I just read the condemnation that Alexis de Tocqueville heaps upon materialists in Democracy in America:

[Materialists,] when they believe they have sufficiently established that they are only brutes, they show themselves as proud as if they had demonstrated they were gods.

Tocqueville goes on to assert how religion is necessary in democratic societies, if for no other reason, to simply remind men of their immortal souls and their basic human dignity.  It appears that the secularism that has been taking over the world has removed religion from men’s minds and, consequently, has made men forget that we actually do have immortal souls.  It would appear that Tocqueville was right after all: without religion in democracies, human dignity is lost.

h1

A Hole God Does Not Fill

December 19, 2006

When Christians are faced with the pain and aching in the world, I think it is safe to say that they usually blame it all on mankind’s fall into sin.  Indeed, had Adam resisted the temptation to eat the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:6), there would be no suffering and hurt in this world, would there?  We would all live in a peaceful utopia, just as Adam did before he made his fateful mistake.  I must agree with the general conclusion that pain and sin are results of the fall and the entire world would be much better off if Adam had resisted the hideously beautiful fruit.  Before sinning, Adam had a perfect relationship with God.  There was no pride, hatred, lust, greed, envy — in short, no sin to separate God from His greatest creation.  In fact, the Bible seems to imply that Adam would walk throughout the garden with God during the “cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8).  Adam probably had the closest relationship a man could ever have with God; while Moses may have been the man closest to God after the fall, a post-fall relationship could not compare to the completely perfect relationship Adam had with God before the fall occurred.  And yet, even in this utopia and perfect relationship with God, all was not well.

The Genesis account is filled with God’s proclaiming His creation good, from the Seas and the Earth (Gen. 1:10) to the trees and plants of the field (1:12).  The crowning moment of creation, however, happened when God created man in His own image and then proclaimed His entire work “very good” (Gen. 1:31).  One can only imagine what it must have been like to be Adam, “born” into a perfect world with God as His Parent, walking with Him as one walks with fellow humans.  What more could one ask for?  God, in His wisdom, saw that all was not good.  Moses puts it this way:

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (NKJV, Gen. 2:18).

Despite his perfect relationship with God and the wonderful world he lived in, Adam could not be complete until God made a helper suitable for him.  There was a “hole” inside Adam that even his perfect relationship with God did not fill.  When we’re feeling lonely or rejected, we’ve all heard the consolation from fellow believers that “only God can fill your heart.”  There’s truth in that statement — one will never find complete satisfaction in even the most wonderful love (a lesson powerfully illustrated in Sheldon Vanauken’s amazing book A Severe Mercy).  It is unreasonable, though, to tell people that God will fulfill their longing for another person to love and cherish; God, in His perfect relationship with the first man, recognized that Adam needed another human to love.  Granted, I’m sure God could (and sometimes does — see 1 Cor. 7:37) take away that desire, but He never fulfills it Himself, for another human was meant do to that.  I like how John Locke put it in his Second Treatise of Government:

God having made man such a creature, that in his own judgment, it was not good for him to be alone, put him under strong obligations of necessity, convenience, and inclination to drive him into society, as well as fitted him with understanding and language to continue and enjoy it.  The first society was between a man and wife…

Now, I realize that what I’m saying here could be misinterpreted to an extreme.  I’m not saying that we should first of all seek love — the Apostle Paul warns for him who is “loosed from a wife” to not seek one (1 Cor. 7:27).  In addition to this, God promises that if we seek first His kingdom, the rest will be added unto us (Matt. 6:33) and that the desires of our hearts can be found only be delighting first in Him (Ps. 37:4).  A tragic and horrifying (if somewhat extreme) example of what results when we seek love above God can be read in this recent story at the LA Times.  (Read the story at your own risk — it can get both sexually and violently graphic.) 

In the end, I’m not advocating the idea that we should seek love above God; that is making and idol of a good thing and will only lead to heartache and problems, as illustrated in the LA Times story above.  Still, it is untrue that God will “fill the hole in our hearts” for romantic love when He is the one who put it there in the first place.  We must seek Him first, certainly, but we must not expect Him to fulfill something He never intended to.  All we can do is trust that, if that emptiness is inside us, He will one day bring the only one who can truly fill it.