As we prepare for Thanksgiving Day, here are links to a number of articles on thanksgiving that I’ve collected over the past few years. Most of them are from Christian sources; some are from secular sources.
The Evangelical Theological Society after Obergefell | Denny Burk “The ETS in recent years has shown little interest in drawing more boundaries or in a strict enforcement of the current boundaries. If that situation holds, shouldn’t we expect more presentations from members affirming gay marriage? I guess we’ll see. In any case, ETS 2015 seems to have been a watershed moment for the marriage issue.”
TRIGGER WARNING: Hurtful and offensive video ahead.
Those of you who watched the video, did you survive? Or was it too traumatic for you?
If so, I’m sorry. Instead, why don’t you watch something much less hurtful and offensive – like, say, 50 Shades of Gray or Reservoir Dogs, or The Life of Brian, or The Last Temptation of Christ?
What am I talking about? Read the full story here, but in summary, the biggest cinema chains in England (representing 80% of all cinemas) have decided to ban a one-minute video showing different people each reciting a line in the Lord’s Prayer because it “could cause offense to those of differing political persuasions, as well as to those of differing faiths and indeed of no faith.” This, despite the advert being passed uncut by the British Board of Film Classification and given a “safe for children” certificate, as well as receiving clearance from the Cinema Advertising Authority.
Even new atheist, Richard Dawkins, says it should be shown, saying, “I strongly object to suppressing the ads on the grounds that they might ‘offend’ people. If anybody is ‘offended’ by something so trivial as a prayer, they deserve to be offended.”
And, wait for it, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, said he was “flabbergasted that anyone would find this prayer offensive to anybody, including people of no particular religious belief.”
When was the last time Christians, Muslims, and Richard Dawkins agreed on something? Eh, maybe time for some second thoughts?
Ironically, the advert was scheduled to be screened before the new Star Wars film – a film which has spawned its own religion with 177,000 claiming Jedi to be their religion in the 2011 British census! Apparently, the Jedi religion is fit for the cinema, but the Christian one is not. As Giles Fraser said:
They say that people might be offended by the Lord’s Prayer. But for years now we have been told by secularists that religious people have to stop being so easily offended when their faith is challenged. And I agree. But secularists have to stop being so easily offended too. “Don’t impose your religion on us,” they shout. Well, it’s no more of an imposition than all the other advertisements we have to put up with.
This is a revealing and worrying insight into the anti-Christian prejudices of those who control much of the media in the UK. For too long, the advocates of multi-culturalism and political correctness on both sides of the Atlantic have used their power to silence the Christian voice in the public square. Let’s hope and pray that, as is happening in America, events like these begin to expose the cowardly and bigoted agenda of secular humanism and that Christians will be emboldened to speak out and speak up again.
One thing’s for sure, in God’s good providence, far more people have already the seen the Lord’s Prayer video than ever would have, had the hyper-sensitive censors not intervened. In other words, despite the devil’s rage, God’s kingdom is coming, and God’s will is being done on earth as it is in heaven. “For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”
Five Mistakes Pastors Make On Social Media | The Exchange: Marty Duren This goes too far, but still worth hearing the challenge: “A pastor who is not on social media could be compared to a pastor not using the telephone, computers, or microphones when they preach. Social media gives each pastor the equivalent of their own TV station, radio station, and printing press. This is one area of our culture pastors cannot afford to sit-out. The potential reach of social media is far more than the average pastor will person ally minister to personally in their lifetimes.”
Five Ways to Dramatically Improve Personal Productivity “Have you ever sat down at the end of a long day and thought, ”Man, I did a lot of stuff but I didn’t get anything done.” Days like that are no good. But weeks like that are even worse. There’s a big difference between getting things done and getting the right things done.”
The Need for Illustrations in Preaching by R.C. Sproul | Ligonier Ministries Blog
“That which makes the deepest and most lasting impression on people is the concrete illustration. For Luther, the three most important principles of public communication were illustrate, illustrate, and illustrate. He encouraged preachers to use concrete images and narratives. He advised that, when preaching on abstract doctrine, the pastor find a narrative in Scripture that communicates that truth so as to communicate the abstract through the concrete.”
Paul’s Seminary Epistles | Acts 29 “Sometime over the last few years, I started referring to Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus as the Seminary Epistles. I knew that this short three-book series is, of course, usually called the Pastoral Epistles, but I also noticed that, while Paul’s tone and content are clearly “pastoral” in the broad sense of that word, he is nevertheless dealing with the work of training and equipping young pastors to serve congregations. Sounds like seminary to me.”
“Are Colbert and Maher opposites? In some ways. Yet, they’re also of a similar, rare ilk. In an age dominated by relativism, they are two men with the gumption and conviction to try and convert one another. The exchange should be studied by a church which finds herself in a similarly awkward, tense cultural moment. Now, more than ever, we need to be reminded that the motivation of our faith is still love, and the content of our faith is still “foolishness to the Greeks.” May we not resolve the cultural tension by changing the subject in the name of peace. Rather, may we invite all those who scorn and laugh at us into Christ’s banquet hall. In other words, may we learn from Stephen Colbert how to be better, more loving fools.”
Here’s the trailer for a superbly-produced new film on the life of John Knox. If you’re in the US, you can order the DVD here for the pre-order price of $15.99 (price goes up after Thanksgiving Day). Elsewhere, you can buy here.
“Knox” is a 77 minute film looking at the life and legacy of Scotland’s controversial 16th century Reformer John Knox who celebrated his 500th birthday in 2014. It incorporates interviews with some of Scotland’s leading experts, along with a dynamic array of animated reconstructions, while the main story is related by Scottish actor Philip Todd. “Knox” was largely filmed in Scotland but they followed in Knox’s footsteps to film as far afield as Frankfurt and Geneva.
In addition to retelling Knox’s story, the film focuses on the core issues of Knox’s message which ensure he continues to have real relevance to the present time. They explore some of the controversies of Knox’s own life and try to analyze what it was that made him so powerful in his generation.