The current edition of River Region's Journey magazine contains more Christian cultural commentary - in this piece from the June edition, I attempted to tie 3 threads from recent Meeting House programs together, and I hope it gives us all some thoughts upon which to reflect:
Around our house, Tuesday nights had morphed into quite a ritual – dinner in front of the tube, eyes and ears transfixed as the next “Idol” attempted to win the hearts of America. And while I’ve never been so crazy about the name, nevertheless the search for talent, the sense of competition, and the sharp comments of the judges make the program a regular part of life between March and May.
It’s funny what and who society tends to idolize and even place unrealistic expectations upon. I have to admit, as I wrote in my Meeting House blog, the finish to "Idol Gives Back" was absolutely incredible. I was thrilled that the end of the program featured the worship favorite, “Shout to the Lord”, and I wrote this:Yes, it stung that the name of Jesus was edited out of the first line of "Shout to the Lord", but I don't think that changes the meaning of the song to embrace some sort of Oprah-type generic religion…Sure beats some generic, so-called inspirational song like "We are the World".With regard to the choice of "Shout to the Lord" and the editing of the name of Jesus to "shepherd", I think we have to realize that the job description of the world is not to evangelize - that's our job...and we as Christians have been given a great opportunity to talk about the "Idol" show and perhaps get someone thinking about spiritual things and a relationship with Christ.
So, the inclusion of “Shout to the Lord” does not signify some sort of cultural epiphany, but I do believe it recognizes a place for faith in American life. And, I was glad that Jesus’ name was put back in when the contestants sang it the next night. Bob Kauflin talked about the event on The Meeting House and wrote about it on his blog at www.worshipmatters.com.
And, speaking of an “idol” in America and someone who has great expectations placed upon her, a moment about the whole Miley Cyrus/Vanify Fair deal. That high-profile story really gave Christian parents a dilemma – Do you show the pictures or even tell your teen or tween girls about the inappropriate photos that were shot by a Vanity Fair photographer who had a background in suggestive poses for her subjects? Well, I think that the whole situation becomes a teachable moment with our children as we can discuss issues of making right choices. When you get to be someone of Miley Cyrus’ stature, you have a greater responsibility – the stakes are higher, and it’s important that you remember that people are watching. Miley says her faith will keep her from ending up like Britney or Lindsay – let’s pray that she will be a good ambassador for Christ. To her credit, she was humble in apologizing for the Vanity Fair pictures and some Internet photos that circulated.
The practical lesson for each of is that as Christians, we are being watched closely – I just want to make sure that my life is a good representation of His glory…and that’s a great lesson to pass on to the next generation. For some insight, read recent Meeting House guest Kristen Fyfe’s piece, “Miley Media Mania” on the Culture and Media Institute website at www.cultureandmedia.com. Her colleague, Colleen Raezler, highlighted another subject that we can relate to the Miley meltdown - how society is bombarded with sexual messages, as she reviewed Carol Platt Liebau’s book, Prude: How the Sex Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America too!). Raezler, in paraphrasing Liebau, says that, “In consequence we are tolerating, even normalizing, sexual behavior among teens, to the detriment of girls above all.” It’s important that we as parents are cognizant of the messages that are being sent to our young people so that we can help them gird their minds with Biblical truth with regard to what is pure and appropriate.
And, finally, one of our longtime American idols – Oprah Winfrey – has bought into New Age spirituality, which Craig Branch of the Apologetics Resource Center and I discussed on the air. Some of latest higher-consciousness-we-are-all-part-of-God philosophy is seen in books such as The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, who has been recently been featured in web seminars through Oprah’s website. Oprah herself discounts Jesus’ teaching that He is the way, the truth, and the life. Rhonda Byrne (The Secret) and Marianne Williamson (A Course in Miracles) are just two more of the teachers who embrace mystic self-as-God teachings. Truly, everything that’s spiritual is not necessarily Biblical. It’s critical that Christians evaluate what we see and hear in light of God’s word.
Idolatry comes in many personalities and philosophies, but it’s God who is the only One who can fulfill all our expectations.
You can visit the Meeting House website at www.meetinghouseonline.info to learn more about some of the topics being discussed on the program. I attempt to approach a variety of topics, including current issues, from a Christian worldview perspective, and I invite you to listen on Faith Radio and www.faithradio.org weekday afternoons between 4 & 6pm Central Time.