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Archive for the ‘biblical worldview’ Category

LETOURNEAU

Good Morning America on Yahoo has a story titled “Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau, Vili Fualaau Detail Their Path From Teacher-Student Sex Scandal to Raising Teenagers.”  Its a story about a female teacher who got involved in a sexual relationship with her underage students and their interview 18 years after making national headlines.  With the rising tide of female teachers having inappropriate relationships with their students this is relevant and it is worth the time to look at the story and reflect upon it from a Christian perspective.

The article begins as such:

When Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau was forced to go public in 1997 with an affair she was having with her former sixth grade student, Vili Fualaau, after she became pregnant with his child, it was the teacher-student sex scandal heard around the world.

At the time, Mary was a 34-year-old, married teacher in Seattle, who already had four children of her own. Vili was just 13 years old. Mary was arrested and served seven and a half years in prison.

Today, Mary is 53 and Vili is 31. The couple is still together and are about to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. The two daughters they have together are now teenagers — older than Vili was when the affair started.

Mary and Vili sat down for an exclusive interview with Barbara Walters to talk about how they managed to stay together all these years, despite their very public and forbidden relationship.

“If it wasn’t strong enough in the beginning, it wouldn’t have carried through those years,” Mary told Walters.

First off I’m going to say it straight up.  Mary was married when she began the relationship.  She broke her marriage, wronged her husband.  This is adultery and a sin before the Lord.

Secondly I suppose one’s immediate reaction would be “Wow, this relationship lasted so long!”  If we use the same train of thought as those who want to legitimize homosexual “marriages” and relationship because some homosexual couples have been together a long time no doubt the conclusion of such line of reasoning applied here is that there is nothing wrong with an adult pursuing romantic and sexual interests with minors.  Frightening.

Thirdly, from what we can gather from this Yahoo article, Mary is unrepentant.  This is collaborated by the account of her continuing the relationship despite court order, her willingness to divorce her husband and the persona that she is happy that she’s have him.  Note what she says when asked about her guilt:

When asked if she felt guilty or disgusted with herself for having the affair, Mary said, “I loved him very much, and I kind of thought, ‘why can’t it ever just be a kiss?'”

There is the danger of an ethic that believes that when something feels good it must be right.

Fourthly, I think reading the ending of the article is very illuminating.  Mary and Vili can be sexual libertines all they want and try to be self-righteous about it but having children changes things.  It reveals deep down they don’t really believe that their own lifestyle is right.  Pay attention to these words:

Audrey graduates from high school this coming June, and will attend community college in the fall. Georgia is a sophomore and a cheerleader. Both sing in their high school choir. Their parents are very protective, and Vili said he has warned his daughters against having boyfriends.

“The reason for me telling them that was just from, out of experience,” he said. “A relationship could lead to something that you think you wanted back then. You don’t really want it, maybe, years later.”

If either of their girls did what they did, if they came home one day and said they were sleeping with their teacher, both Mary and Vili said they would be shocked and upset.

“I don’t support younger kids being married or having a relationship with someone older,” Vili said. “I don’t support it.”

The whole thing is insightful.  Just so you don’t miss it I thought this part was the bombshell: “If either of their girls did what they did, if they came home one day and said they were sleeping with their teacher, both Mary and Vili said they would be shocked and upset.

Fifthly, you would think that the double standard and inconsistency of Mary and Vili is something important enough to be emphasized in the Yahoo article.  The title has no indication that it is on the editor’s radar.  Typically in journalism the important information is presented earlier in the article rather than later.  There are no hints throughout the article of Mary’s and Vili’s inconsistency that led to the ironic ending.  I think this is very telling of the lens that Good Morning America sees this story.  And how they see the news.  There is no neutrality–even in journalism.

I hope and pray the two would come to see their sins for what it is and repent unto the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Abner Chou

Pay attention to the name Abner Chou as I believe he will be more well known in the larger Evangelical world of Scholarship in the next few years.

Abner Chou is Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s College and Seminary. From what I understand he turned down his college acceptance to Princeton or some other Ivy League School to attend the Master’s College.  After the Master’s College he went on to the Master’s Seminary where he completed M.Div., Th.M., and Th.D.  This year he was a speaker for the Truth and Life Conference and was a seminar speaker for the Inerrancy Summit.  He is currently working on an exegetical commentary on the book of Lamentation for Logos’ Evangelical Exegetical Commentary.

Dr. Chou recently spoke at the Seminary’s Chapel from Acts 17 on the subject of the need for Christian Intellectual Engagement.

I’ve halfway through the video.  What is your thoughts on the message?

 

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question mark

I haven’t been able to blog as frequently or be online as much as I would like with our blog series on worldviews, movies and comics given how things are with ministry this past week.  A few days ago I wrote a post “Pursuing Worldview Apologetics and being Culturally Informed Without Compromise” (read that post before this one for context).  I enjoyed the edifying and challenging conversations with our friend Tiribulus on our comment section for this series and his comment for that particular post stood out so I will be sharing them here.

His comments touched on the issue of whether or not we should watch everything in order to engage with the world.  I think his comment is helpful in terms of what to do when a nonbeliever in an evangelistic dialogue reference ungodly movies that Christians shouldn’t watch, or even movies and other cultural references that a Christian might not know about.

My original comment that he is responding to:

SlimJim says: ” To love them also mean you want to know where they are coming from; it means listening to them. As you listen to them you will hear what “their own prophets” and poets might say.”

This is his comment:

THAT, is the key in practice. I don’t need to participate in their cultural idols. THEY can tell me about them. And they will.

If one had never seen even a single television show or movie in their entire lives, their witness is not hampered at all. In fact, I say, and so does 1st Corinthians 1, that It’s greatly enhanced.

Say somebody brings up some famous cultural figure assuming you’ll know what they’re talking about.
===========================================
Them: – “well, you know like [the guy in the movie] was saying in the scene when they were in the strip club discussing business”

You – “I haven’t seen that one, sorry”

Them – “ok, then another illustration might be where [in the some tv show] the women is lamenting her past talking about all the pain she has suffered”

You – “I haven’t seen that either. Actually I don’t have a tv.”

Them – “you don’t have a tv” (watch the SHOCKED look on their face)

You – “no sir, I don’t.”

Them – “Why not” (shocked look turns to genuine curiosity)

You – “well, it got to the point where I couldn’t tell God how my walk and service to Him was being helped by having one. I rarely go to the movies either. Same reason.”

Them – (they usually won’t know what exactly to say to that)

You – “but that ok. You can tell me about it and how it speaks to you about life and why it discredits Christianity”
==========================================

They will.

Not only do you NOT have to participate in their worldly carnal media culture to converse with them, but THEY themselves will tell you what it personally means to them. It’s all about THEM. Not YOU being a culture savvy hipster.

 

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I have been evangelizing on College Campuses for the past fourteen years.  It’s an environment that provides a wonderful opportunity to employ Christian apologetic.  I must admit though that the older I get the less frequent apologetics comes up compared to my younger days of being a rabid cage stage Presuppositionalist.  When apologetics conversations do occur I notice that most of the time I’m not necessarily dealing with the nitty gritty detail of some obscure historical point of Christianity or area of science.  What I have found instead is that practically most of my discussion often occur at the level of worldviews.  Apologetics’ discussion concerning worldviews seems to pay greater dividends at the end of the day because: (1) everyone has a worldview, (2) most people’s rejection of Christianity is driven more by their ultimate commitments rather than serious, rigorous research in a specialized field of study (3) and of course, lest we forget, one’s presuppositions shapes how one determine and dismiss what are evidences.

While discussion of worldviews can easily become abstract sometimes illustrations are helpful to get the point across.  Movies are often invoked by those whom I am witnessing towards.  For some reason when I talk about metaethical issues the person of Joker gets brought up more than anyone else from Popular Culture.  I have taught apologetics in Christian setting where believers have also brought up Joker.  Somehow he pop up during worldview apologetics’ discussion!  Perhaps the allusion to Joker has something to do with young Millennials with their Graphic Novels and Netflix and how the Joker appears to be an ungodly incarnation of certain non-Christian ethical systems.

Given the fact that nonbelievers sometime allude to certain films and entertainment characters does that necessarily mean we must watch every movie and read every comic book to fulfill some kind of prerequisite in order to effectively evangelize the unbeliever?  My answer to that would be no.  In an earlier post, “Is it ever appropriate for Christians to view sexual sins in film?” I argued that Christians shouldn’t compromise their sanctification in the area of entertainment.  With the instance of Joker, I haven’t read enough comic books to know first hand but I think I can say not all of those movies and comic books are sanctifying; even if theoretically they are not all bad, it might not be the best use of time to become an expert on Joker in order to evangelize and speak to our age.  The same concern applies to other Pop Cultural figures.

Nor do I believe we should be ignorant about Pop cultural references such as Joker.  I think there is a way where we can be biblicalengaging, and informed in our cultural apologetics while achieving that without sacrificing our sanctification on the altar.  How can we hold on to these four highlighted aspects without compromise?

  • First, to be biblical means one must know the Scripture well–and know it well in its application as one’s worldview.  The Bible should shape one’s outlook of life–for instance, the Word of God should shape one’s view of ethics, sin, man, God and Salvation, etc.  The Word of God should dictate our norms.  It should also dictate what we should and shoudn’t do in terms of entertainment.
  • Secondly, to be engaging means practically loving the person you are witnessing to.  You must love them enough to be concerned for their salvation.  This is the existential aspect we can’t neglect; after all, no Christian wants to be labeled as the guy who only wants to argue but not care about people’s soul.  To love them also mean you want to know where they are coming from; it means listening to them.  As you listen to them you will hear what “their own prophets” and poets might say.
  • Thirdly, our engagement with the lost and our desire to see them get saved compels us to be informed.  We want to handle our unbelieving friend’s perspective accurately and not misrepresent them.  This might require further understanding of the situational context of their cultural allusion.
  • Fourthly, one way to not compromise our norms while also being informed is to see what other informed social critics have to say about a particular pop figure or cultural phenomenon.  I think one doesn’t have to experience every form of media and entertainment to critically reflect upon it as a Christian.  An example of how a Christian can be informed and reflect critically without “seeing” something is with the current crisis with ISIS.  You do not have to watch the beheading of 21 Egyptians or the burning of a Jordanian pilot to be informed about it; one can find detailed written analysis of the videos, scholarly evaluation of it’s meaning, purpose, etc.  If one put the effort one might find in-depth evaluation of ISIS militarily, geo-politically, economically and theologically.  I can’t imagine many people looking down on someone who is informed about ISIS while making the deliberate choice of not watching ISIS’ sick videos.  To demand that one can only intelligently talk about something through the experience of watching it it is really a form of audio-visual Gnosticism.

Be on the lookout for reviews, critical essays, editorials and documentaries as aides.  Even when a film or comic is appropriate for a Christian to enjoy I still find interacting with such resources from a Christian worldview can at times be insightful.

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50 shades of grey liberals

True story.

On the one hand, Christian wives submitting to their loving husband is bad.  <Insert Marxist, neo-colonialism psycho-babble>.  Therefore it is oppressive.

On the other hand, one must be open minded about ungodly man manipulating and forcing a woman into unwanted sexual situation and that it is….okay?  <Insert discussion of sexual “liberation” and free from Victorian era Morality>.  Therefore 50 Shades of Grey is great?

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Danger1

Here are some Christians resources and essays speaking out against the book and the movie titled “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Poem: One Shade of Red

Issues of Abuse, Consent, and Rape in “Fifty Shades of Grey”–This documents quotes from the actual book that shows pattern of abuse.

Fifty Shades of Grey’ and the Annihilation of Christian Women’s Innocence by Worldview Weekend

The Truth About 50 Shades of Grey by Christian Action

Fifty Shades of…Absolutely No Way by Amanda Christine

Fifty Shades of Genesis 3:16 over at Practical Theology for Women

Fifty Shades of Nay: Sin Is a Needle, Not a Toy from Desiring God (thanks to “Dying Daily” for sharing this)

NO GREY AREA by Kevin DeYoung

“ONE SHADE OF WHITE” by JD Bloom

Fifty Shades of Shame — The Evolution of Pornography by Al Mohler

Fifty shades of don’t have sex outside of marriage

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Is Every Shade of Evil

Fifty Shades: A Sexual Assault on Your Daughter by Kirk Cameron

50 Shades of Grey – What’s The Fuss? over at God or Absurdity? Blog

NOW THAT THEY’VE BOUGHT THE TICKET

REJECTING THE INDUSTRIALIZED SEX OF ‘50 SHADES OF GREY’ by Joe Carter

Verbal Pornography by Defending Contending Blog

50 Shades of fairytales

Lust or sacrifice over at Mustard Seed Budget Blog

Why “50 Shades” is not the same as biblical submission | Denny Burk

FIFTY SHADES, TWILIGHT, AND TEACHING YOUNG WOMEN TO DESIRE ABUSERS

Is This For God’s Glory And Honor?

Fifty Shades of Grey? It’s Really Just Black and White by Sola Sisters

To the women of America: 4 reasons to hate 50 Shades of Grey by Matt Walsh

When Black-and-White Becomes Grey | The Cripplegate.

A Parent’s Survival Guide To ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

Christian Grey: Why Women Everywhere Want This Man

50 Shades of Compromised Witness

I also want to add the following:

“If you love… you will hate and hurt?” by Rob Barkman.

While the last one is not talking about the movie, I think it is relevant since Rob does a good job Biblically answering the silly view that the one you love you must hurt.

Are there other links you found helpful that you want to see added to this list?

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Hitchcock's Villains Murderers, Maniacs, and Mother Issues

Eric San Juan and Jim McDevitt.  Hitchcock’s Villains.
New York, New York: Scarecrow Press, 2013. 196 pp.

My wife and I have recently become fans of Hitchcock’s films so it was a delight to stumble upon this book in the library.  I didn’t read this book because I am somehow morbid but because I think Hitchcock understands the depth and quirks of depravity more than most film makers in his life time and even film makers today.  One thing that I appreciate about his film is how his villains are believable (not a cookie cut-out that is standard in many cheesy films); and if they are unbelievably horrendous, there is still something about them that reminds us of their humanity.  For me being reminded of the humanity of Hitchcock’s villains doesn’t necessarily mean we should always sympathize with the villains (although sometimes Hitchcock does want us to go down that road) but the fact that they are more like us than we realize brings us to the uncomfortable realization that everyone’s sinful nature can make us depraved monsters, a truth that we might not like to admit.  Ultimately I enjoyed Hitchcock’s film and this book for its observation that leads me to think more deeply of the Christian doctrine of total depravity.

This particular book is a collection of short chapters that explores Hitchcock’s themes in the way he portray his villains and also analysis of specific antagonists in his films.  I’ve enjoyed the book’s analysis especially with how the writers point out things I missed when I watched them.  I was blown away by the book’s take on the film Veritgo and the thesis that the protagonist Jimmy Steward is really the villain in the film.  Vertigo is one of the more stranger films that I didn’t know what to make of it when I first saw it but after reading the book I do see the authors’ point that Jimmy Steward is really not the ex-detective police hero that the beginning of the movie made him out to be, especially with how controlling and selfish he is later in the movie.

Another aspect of the book that I appreciate is the exploration of Hitchcock’s fear of authority throughout his life that comes out in his film.  In several films the police are not necessarily the villains but they are not necessarily friendly either.  At times they can go after the hero in the film, mistaking them for villains such as in the movie Stranger on the Train.  Having friends in law enforcement I think it is unfortunate that at times Hitchcock can present a far more sympathetic villain than he does of authority and those who enforce laws.  At the same time I can appreciate Hitchcock’s observation that those who uphold the law are not perfect either, with their bumbling around and at times being down right wrong.

I wished the book could have explored more on the villainy of ideas.  This constructive criticism is not meant to fault the book but also a compliment for the author’s approach of Hitchcock’s work from the angle of how ideology produces villain.  Their discussion left me hungry for more exploration of this theme since I believe worldviews, philosophies, and various “isms” can produce moral monsters from what seem to be every day people.  I appreciated the chapter that looked at this theme in the movie Rope.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the book.  I have seen most of the films the authors discussed with the exception of two; it made me want to watch other films that was briefly mentioned but it also made me realize there are certain films that I’m glad I haven’t watch yet nor plan on watching because of how twisted it is.  In some instance I believe it’s better not to watch it being act out before one’s eyes.  I do recommend the book.

Purchase: Amazon

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