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The good clean entertainment of Star Wars...

Here's a recent tweet from Rian Johnson, the director of the next Star Wars transcendental meditation:

JJ Abramas, directed, wrote, and produced "The Force Awakens" and is one of the largest contributors to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. An occasionally-observant Jew, his submission to the Torah seems absent when, at this past Thursday's Oscar Wilde Awards, he had this to say about the future direction of the Star Wars juggernaut: "To me the fun of 'Star Wars' is exploring the possibilities, so it seems insanely narrow minded to say that there wouldn't be a homosexual character in that world."

This is our entertainment, and we feel magnanimous when we give our preacher thirty-five minutes each week to undo it.

HT J. Moore

Star Wars: what Disney left behind...

Put to the side his "white slavers" remark, it's interesting that George Lucas's main objection to Disney's continuation of the Star Wars franchise is their departure from central plot he had built the franchise around:

It's all about generations and it's about, you know, the issues of fathers and sons and grandfathers... (Interview of Lucas by Charlie Rose)

Ask us your questions...

In a few short months, and a couple of long ones, there's going to be a gathering of old friends at Clearnote Church, Bloomington called the Homecoming. You might think you know everything about Clearnote, but don't be too sure. Take some time to watch the following video and ask us your obvious questions. You can send them here. Jon and Nathan are committed to getting you the not-so-obvious answers to your obvious questions. And, who knows, we may all learn something along the way.

A response to Brian McLain's review of American Sniper...

Here's an excellent response to the review of American Sniper which I linked to in the prior post titled, "American Sniper on American manhood..." This response to the review is by graphic designer Kevin Hilliker who serves as an elder at Providence Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Pittsburgh...

American Sniper on American manhood...

A PCA pastor who did several tours over in the Mideast forwarded this review of American Sniper by Brian McLain. Another brother wrote an excellent response to this review and I hope to be able to publish his response here, also. Anyhow, Brian McLain begins his review:

Thinking back over Clint Eastwood's film-making career - particularly the later years - there has been a reccurring theme of fathers abandoning their children.

A few paragraphs into the review, McLain...

Because I'm a comedy writer...

I realized some time back that the comedians we love and watch are perfectly described in Scripture as "scoffers" and "mockers". I was browsing the internet this evening when the point really hit me in the gut in a passage from the Wikipedia entry on Seth MacFarlane. For those who don't know, Mr. MacFarlane is an "actor, animator, comedian, writer, producer, director, and singer," and he's responsible for shows such as Family Guy and American Dad. Here's what Wikipedia had to say about his September 11, 2001 brush with death:

Pleasantly surprised by Kony 2012...

(TB: this is a guest post by Pastor Lucas Weeks) 

Three weeks ago, Invisible Children, Inc released a video entitled Kony 2012 about Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army in central Africa. (If you haven't heard about the Invisible Children, or about Joseph Kony, you can check out the back story here on Wikipedia.) The aim of the video was to raise awareness about the conflict and about the children that suffer in its wake. The movie has garned lots of attention, including over 17 million views on vimeo and many millions more on youtube. It has even been called "the most viral video in history". Not all the attention has been positive, though... 

Yah yah dumpsterhood...

You the best, Jonathan. Great clip. (TB)

"Important fantasies we can escape to..."

(Tim) With sincere apologies to all the wee ones and their mothers, I think Disneyworld is too similar to hip preachers with full-service video venues to take the children for a visit. Really, do you want Disney's moral and spiritual authority to accrue to our Evangelical/Emergent theme parks?

Taryn Simon is a photographer...

Wheaton's Rob Bell and Bilezikian's Bill Hybels; and a warning against idolatry...


RobBell:1 (Tim: For days now, I've received more recommendations of this video clip than I can count. Thanks to all of you. In a little while I'll post more on it, but first this. NOTE: This post has been changed to correct my error in saying Pastor Bill Hybels went to Wheaton College. His mentor has been now-retired Wheaton Bible Prof. Gilbert Bilezikian, but that relationship began when Bilezikian was teaching at Trinity College--not Wheaton.)

On MSNBC, Martin Bashir does the nasty job the elders of Mars Hill Church apparently can't summon the courage or insight for. He takes Pastor Rob Bell by the scruff of the neck and peels his adverbs off his verbs and nouns long enough to expose the deceptions that make him so much money. Bell's nothing more than a peddler of emotive words and idolatrous images, but many are fooled. His toxins go down smoothly and Baylyblog's warned readers against this hireling time after time.

Pastor Bell's the product of Wheaton College. Take a look at the job Wheaton didn't. Or maybe did?

When I first entered the ministry, there was another gifted prophet prophesying against the parts of historic Christian faith he judged old and in the way. His name was Bill Hybels and he studied under Gilbert Bilezikian at Trinity College (now Trinity International University) just prior to Bilezikian moving to Wheaton's Bible Department. Christianity Today fawned over Pastor Hybels, too, and my church mailbox was filled with offers to "Rev. Timothy Bayly" promising if I sent my money to one of Pastor Hybels' corporate enterprises, some of his churchly success might rub off on my ministry. Then maybe I could afford a similar campus, staff, hairdo, glasses, and jet. Think of it--my own private jet! Then I could pick up and minister internationally. Maybe even galactically!

Rob Bell's wood, hay, and straw...

(Tim) Rob Bell's got some really cosmic bad karma. During our new member class here at Church of the Good Shepherd, Pastor Dave Curell uses Bell's video Bullhorn Guy to deconstruct pomo churches and pastors, showing the souls in each class...

Blow some bubbles and dry your tears..

(Tim) In connection with an old post, son-in-law Ben writes: If people thought the world of Avatar was painfully beautiful and were saddened by the thought of never being able to travel there, maybe they should blow some bubbles and dry their tears.

The cosmic killjoy...

(Tim: this from Pastor Dave Curell on the ClearNote Fellowship Blog)

...There’s always that one guy who not only attacks the morality of

the film, but also claims an absolute authoritative

understanding of what is morally acceptable. He doesn't simply imply

that, in his view, something is right or wrong, but he claims his view is the authoritative view. And by this piece of chutzpah,

he becomes the worst of the killjoys—the dogmatic one. Why? Because his

conviction calls into question every piece of entertainment we consume. Nothing's sacred or safe any longer. Seriously, if he casts down Avatar, won’t Star Wars soon fall along with


Christians hate such killjoys. They're cosmic bummers.

Why doesn't someone throw them down a well. (read the post)

"'Pocahontas' with blue people..."

(Tim, w/thanks to Nate P.) Avatar short and sweet.

Avatar: "All creation groans..."

(Tim) A friend writes: "These are actual quotes from people who have seen Avatar":

QUOTE: After reading though all 50 pages and debating if I should say

anything, I have decided that I will step up. I too have felt...different after watching Avatar. When the last scene

finished it felt like I woke up from a wonderful dream. At first I was

excited and full of energy but then I started to realize that none of

it was real and that I would never be able to visit Pandora or the

Na'vi. I have been feeling rather down every since and not much seems

to make it feel better, I just hope that it will leave in time. I am somewhat relieved to see that I am not the only one. It was

embarrassing for me to feel this way about a movie when no one else

around me felt the same. I constantly think about the movie wherever I

am, and doing so just makes everything seem so gray and sad. As dorky

as this sound there have been times where I just want to cry ><


do you guys also get the thoughts of sucidal? i dont mean to sound

creepy or emo...

The Gospel according to James (Cameron)...

Avatar is Cameron’s long apologia for pantheism — a faith that

equates God with Nature, and calls humanity into religious communion

with the natural world, (leading us to) collapse distinctions at every level of creation.

                                         -Ross Douthat in the New York Times

(Tim, w/thanks to Mick) About twenty-five years ago, Mary Lee and I took in Dustin Hoffman's Tootsie with a sister and brother-in-law. The movie infuriated me, but my loved ones thought I was psycho. "It was funny!" they announced triumphantly.

Yes, yes; of course. But the meat sandwiched between the humor was toxic.

"The message was sex doesn't matter until body parts touch," I said. "The only time there's anything yucky about Hoffman playing the woman is when his body is about to be touched by the man who likes her. Which is to say, the only barrier left to the complete normalization of homosexuality is body parts that still don't quite fit together. Androgyny has carried the day except in bed."

Of course I convinced no one. Overreacting I was. Couldn't see the joke. Taking life just a little bit too seriously.

But that night I had a vision of the tsunami about to wash over us...

From one Christian monarch to another: amusing ourselves to Hell...

(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) If you want to begin to understand our day--the switch of the central currency of cultural engagement from the Bible to moving pictures, the use of film clips in Gospel preaching, the building of congregations around virtual images of themselves on the movie screen each Lord's Day employed by men like Mark Driscoll and John Piper, and the gift our head of state and his wife gave the Queen, recently--only two things are necessary: first, read the Second Commandment; and second, read Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.

And while we're talking about the gifts the monarchs exchanged...

Wilson vs. Hitchens...

(Tim w/thanks to Lucas) No, not that Hitchens, sillies; this one. Watching this trailer for a soon-to-be released documentary of the debate last year between Doug Wilson and purported atheist, Christopher Hitchens, I thought back to a conversation I had with longtime Village Voice columnist, ACLU board member, jazz expert, and one of the two or three best essayists against euthanasia, infanticide, and child-slaughter in our land, Nat Hentoff. He was in Madison for a speaking engagement and, being active in Presbyterians Pro-Life at the time, I asked Mr. Hentoff if he'd be open to an invitation to debate an abortion advocate at our Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly?

Quickly, he said "Yes," but then inquired, "Why would you want me?"

I responded that I thought he'd be perfect because he'd speak from the same presuppositional basis as our denominational leaders.

Another part of our conversation that sticks in my mind was Hentoff saying, "Every atheist should be pro-life because life's all we have."