Archive for September, 2012

Are we witnessing the demise of America’s church?

Posted by    |    September 29th, 2012 at 5:40 am

This 200-year-old building was once a Methodist church slated for demolition, but it was rescued from the wrecking ball. The building was converted to a mosque and community center by Bosnian Muslim immigrants in 2008. Photo taken on August 16, 2012 (Credit: Utica Observer-Dispatch / William P Cannon)Will the American church exist in 100 years?  You know about our nation’s atheists and agnostics.  Now we have “ignostics,” people who are ignorant of basic biblical truths.  Fewer than half of Americans can identify Genesis as the first book of the Bible; only one third know that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount; only one half can name even one of the Gospels.

We have “apatheists,” those who are apathetic about spirituality.  Some 46 percent of Americans say they never wonder whether they will go to heaven; 44 percent spend no time seeking “eternal wisdom.”  And we have “exitists”—almost 60 percent of young people ages 15-29 have left active church involvement.  If their children follow their example, what will happen to American Christianity?  This decline is not only among mainline denominations: Southern Baptist Convention membership will fall nearly 50 percent by 2050 if current trends continue.

Read the entire story at Are we witnessing the demise of America’s church? on the
Denison Forum on Truth and Culture

Atheist jewelry skyrockets in popularity

Posted by    |    September 28th, 2012 at 5:40 am

Amy Davis Roth's homemade ceramic line called Surlyramics is shown during The Amazing Meeting convention at the Southpoint Hotel-Casino on Friday July 13, 2012, in Las Vegas (Credit: RNS / Ronda Churchill)Christians wear crosses; Jews wear the Star of David.  What do atheists wear to show the world their (non)beliefs?  You’ve probably seen the atheist fish symbol: a fish with legs and the word “evolve” where “Jesus” goes.  Its maker, EvolveFish, now employs six people and does $500,000 a year in sales.  They market jewelry, door mats, caps, t-shirts, buttons, tie clasps, mints, and even adhesive bandages.  Their “Get Out of Hell Free” cards are perhaps the most controversial item they sell.  Others atheists are wearing jewelry with the capital “A,” “happy humanist” logos, and the like.

Why this proliferation of atheist jewelry? 

Read the entire story at Atheist jewelry skyrockets in popularity on the
Denison Forum on Truth and Culture

Lady Gaga takes on the Pope

Posted by    |    September 27th, 2012 at 5:40 am

Lady Gaga delivers a speech at the 2009 National Equality March (Credit: Ryan J Reilly via Flickr)Lady Gaga is challenging Pope Benedict XVI on gay marriage.  Over the weekend, the pope urged French bishops to fight a law that would legalize same sex marriage in their country.  Now the singer has criticized the pope: “This is not what Christians believe, those who believe in something, that have a religion.  It is the point of view of one person.”

Here’s my question: why is it acceptable for a 26-year-old singer to criticize the pope, but it is not acceptable for the leader of 1.2 billion Catholic Christians to criticize a law that violates biblical morality?  Lady Gaga declared that opposing gay marriage “is not what Christians believe,” fully confident that she is right and that Benedict, one of the most learned theologians in the world, is wrong.

Read the entire story at Lady Gaga takes on the Pope on the
Denison Forum on Truth and Culture

How To Tell If You Need To Work On Your Romance …

Posted by    |    September 26th, 2012 at 5:40 am

In pure Jeff Foxworthy fashion  … 

  • If your “special” restaurant has a drive thru window … you might need to work on your romance.
  • If you bought her Guitar Hero for Valentines Day … you might need to work on your romance.
  • If the only time the two of you go away for the weekend it’s to a deer camp or deer blind … you might need to work on your romance.
  • If your wife wears socks, sweats and an oversized t-shirt to bed on your anniversary … you might need to work on your romance.
  • If the last time you “really” kissed her you were watching a football game out of the corner of your eye … you might need to work on your romance.
  • If you only light candles to cover up unwanted smells … you might need to work on your romance.
  • If you really don’t feel comfortable being intimate if your kids are in the same house, city or time zone … you might need to work on your romance.
  • If the last time she ran her fingers through your hair she was checking for ticks … you might need to work on your romance.
  • If the 3 little words you say to her most often are … “pull my finger” … you might need to work on your romance.
  • If the only time your spouse says to you, “Turn off the lights and lock the door,” is when your parents pull into the driveway … you might need to work on your romance.

These are all in good fun, but seriously … romance never has to fade from your marriage. Romance in your marriage takes work and communication.  God fully intended for you to be married to your soulmate … not just a roommate.  Want some suggestions on how to be romantic? Try this and this. 

Is Islam inherently violent?

Posted by    |    September 25th, 2012 at 5:40 am

Bangladeshi Muslims chant slogans in front a policeman in a protest rally during a nationwide strike in Dhaka on Sunday, September 23. The day-long strike called by 12 Islamist groups are protesting against a US-made anti-Islam film and a cartoon published in a French weekly on Saturday that they say insults the Prophet Mohammad, local media reported (Credit: Reuters / Andrew Biraj)Protests against an anti-Muslim movie have spread to Greece, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.  A government official in Pakistan has offered $100,000 to anyone who would murder the maker of the film.

By contrast, a Muslim leader known as the “imam of the Internet” has called for the violence to end: “Loyalty to Islam and our prophet, may peace be upon him, is better done through explaining to humanity how tolerant Islam is, and not through surrounding embassies.”  Another prominent Muslim intellectual agreed: “The violence must be condemned unconditionally.  To attack innocents, diplomats and to kill indiscriminately is anti-Islamic by its very nature.  Muslims cannot respond to insults to their religion in this way.”

Read the entire story at Is Islam inherently violent? on the
Denison Forum on Truth and Culture

Cancer patient holds off home intruders

Posted by    |    September 25th, 2012 at 5:40 am

Dixon Smith, 63, said he used a shotgun to keep two alleged home invaders at bay on Thursday. (Credit: WOOD-TV)Dixon Smith is 63 years old and suffers from stage 4 lymphoma.  His wife went shopping last Thursday; shortly thereafter two men broke into their home.  He grabbed his shotgun and made them lie down on the floor while he called 911 and waited for police to arrive.  It turned out Smith had tried to help one of the men over the years.  However, he believes the man has stolen cash and Smith’s cancer medication in the past.  He told police he would prefer that the men get rehab rather than harsh jail sentences.

Who has injured you recently?  Who has broken into your life, figuratively if not physically?  What should you do now?

Read the entire story at Cancer patient holds off home intruders on the
Denison Forum on Truth and Culture

Has Chick-fil-A caved?

Posted by    |    September 22nd, 2012 at 5:40 am

The entrance to the Chick-fil-A headquarters in College Park, Georgia (Credit: Mav via en.wikipedia.org)Chick-fil-A is back in the news: a gay rights organization in Chicago reports that the restaurant will stop donating to groups that oppose gay marriage rights.  The company has neither confirmed nor denied the claim.  Instead, it refers to a July statement by which it promises to “treat every person with honor, dignity, and respect, regardless of . . . sexual orientation.”

Some Christians are claiming on Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page that the company “caved” on its morals in order to sell chicken in more markets.  Was a fast-food restaurant right to take a public stand on biblical marriage?  Would Chick-fil-A be right to take a more neutral position on such a divisive cultural issue?  Which stance pleases the Lord?

Read the entire story at Has Chick-fil-A caved? on the
Denison Forum on Truth and Culture

Can God bless a nation that does it ‘my way’?

Posted by    |    September 21st, 2012 at 5:40 am

Frank Sinatra painting from photo of Sinatra in studio by artist Anjin (Credit: Anjin / original location unknown)Elvis Presley’s Bible, containing his handwritten notes and thoughts on Scripture, just sold for $94,600 at auction.  Apparently, Presley didn’t always translate what he read to what he sang.  Consider lyrics he made more famous than when Frank Sinatra first recorded them: “For what is a man, what has he got / If not himself, then he has not . . . The record shows I took the blows / And did it my way.”

What does it say about our culture that “My Way” is considered the most frequently recorded song in history?  Can God bless a nation that does it “my way”?

Read the entire story at Can God bless a nation that does it ‘my way’? on the
Denison Forum on Truth and Culture

Scandal hits the Boy Scouts

Posted by    |    September 20th, 2012 at 5:40 am

The emblem of the Boy Scouts of America is dramatically displayed at the main arena of the 2010 National Scout Jamboree, celebrating 100 years of the Boy Scouts of America (Credit: Daniel M Reck)I’m writing this morning’s cultural commentary from the airport in Amsterdam, where I’m leading a Bible study tour on our way to Italy.  It’s being reported here that a Dutch insurance company has announced a program to cut deductibles for those who quit smoking or take up sports.  It claims to be the first insurer in the world to reward people for a healthy lifestyle.

Our society needs all the motivation it can get.  The Los Angeles Times is alleging that the Boy Scouts have failed to report alleged child molesters to authorities.  A new study indicates that teenagers who send explicit texts are seven times more likely to be sexually active.  A 13-year-old boy in Florida has been accused of beating his two-year-old half-brother to death.

Read the entire story at Scandal hits the Boy Scouts on the
Denison Forum on Truth and Culture

You are poorer than you may know

Posted by    |    September 19th, 2012 at 5:40 am

homeless man sitting on stoop head in arms with all his belongings (Credit: fmalot via Fotolia.com)Our median annual household income has fallen for the fourth straight year, back to 1995 levels.  In other words, the typical America is now making as much money as he or she did 17 years ago.  However, costs have risen dramatically over these years.  I did some research: a gallon of gas in 1995 cost $1.09; now it costs $4.13.  The average cost of a new car in 1995 was $15,500; it has doubled to $30,748 today.  The average new home in 1995 cost $113,150; it is now $263,200, which is actually down from a year ago.

In other news, Israel’s prime minister is calling on America to draw a “red line” with Iran before it’s too late.  And our education system continues to struggle: almost 65 percent of those at four-year schools have no degrees within six years, while two million college students are taking remedial courses to study what they should have learned in high school.

Read the entire story at You are poorer than you may know on the
Denison Forum on Truth and Culture