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Thursday Ramblings

I am now officially on vacation. Every time I take time off I wonder in advance if I will spend more or less time researching and writing articles, reading good books and the like. I always have great ambitions but usually end up spending lots of time just being lazy. And isn’t that what a good vacation is all about? So for the next week the posts around here may be the result of lots of hours spent reading and researching or they may be the product of hours spent snoozing on the couch and visiting local tourist attractions. Either way I assume the majority of the readers of this site will also be taking time off so it’s unlikely very many people will even notice! Late-December traffic on the Internet is rarely worth writing home about.

I listened to the first couple of messages in what promises to be an excellent audio series produced by Sovereign Grace Ministries. Entitled In the World But Not of the World, the series examines worldliness and warns against allowing it to infiltrate our lives. C.J. Mahaney opens the series with some initial thoughts about worldliness and then hands the reins to Josh Harris who preaches two messages on the impact of media in the lives of believers. He relates one humorous story in which he went to Blockbuster to rent a DVD and, as he was walking towards the counter, thought to himself, “I sure hope no one from the church sees me.” That’s never a good sign, is it? As Josh says, this is usually a good indication that you should just put that movie right back on the shelf. I think we can probably all relate.

In our local video store, Rogers Video, the kids at the counter recite aloud the movies you are renting. “Madagascar is due on Friday and To End All Wars is due on Saturday.” I have found that a useful guard against renting movies that have no business being in my house. It also guards against me renting chick flicks. I would be far too embarrassed to stand in line and hear a teenager chant, “Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants” is due back tomorrow…”

Harris also relates a story of a young man who went to see a popular movie. After he saw it another man asked him how much bad language there was in the film. The young guy said, “there were five.” So the man took his children to see the movie and found that there were actually closer to eighty. Later he called the young man to task. The young guy, in his defense, said, “There were only five, but they were each said several times.” Harris then asked who is the greater fool - the young man, who feels the movie is acceptable because there are only five bad words (though each is repeated many times), or the father who feels that five bad words are acceptable for his children but eighty are not. Food for thought.

In the subsequent messages Bob Kauflin will discuss music in two sermons before Mahaney returns with a final message dealing with modesty. It promises to be a very good series.

Has anyone else noticed that there is now a Victoria’s Secret commerical that has Switchfoot music playing in the background with little more than a scantily-clad female in the foreground? I suppose this highlights the danger of “selling” your songs to a record label. I am guessing that the band would not have agreed to this. And no, there is nothing wrong with lingerie (I hope) but I do object to nearly naked women strutting their stuff on my television screen.

Speaking of which, Aileen and I have tentatively agreed on a plan of action to get rid of our cable. We’ll keep the television and focus instead on renting and buying good DVDs that are appropriate for the whole family. It’s not the shows on TV that drove us to this. It’s the commercials. We can control what we watch and what the children watch but it is much more difficult to control the television commercials that play six times every hour. So to cable I say, “Goodbye and good riddance. I wash my hands of you!”

I had a lot of time to reflect yesterday and am wondering if I should not have posted the link to the article about Victoria Osteen and her ejection from an airplane. On one hand it may serve to highlight the apparent diva-like nature of the wife of one of America’s foremost pastors. Victoria is also actively involved in Lakewood Church and I do believe that she preaches at some times and so it is appropriate to hold her to a high standard. On the other hand I know that anyone can have a bad day and that we are all sinners desperately in need of grace. Had it been the wife of a pastor I respect who had done something like this I would, I think, have given her the benefit of the doubt and would not have posted the link. Of course I’d say the likelihood of this type of incident happening with the wife of those pastors I much admire is far lower. Still, I am not sure if this is the type of story that is more based on gossip than a story that is important to highlight. What do you think?