Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Don Miller’s Response to Pat Robertson

In my last post, I spotlighted Relevant magazine. As a follow-up, I wanted to flag an article I found on the magazine’s website:

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/current-events/op-ed-blog/19845-don-miller-responds-to-pat-robertson

Author Donald Miller wrote an essay a few months ago for Relevant to respond to Pat Robertson’s harsh words following the devastating January earthquake in Haiti. I thought the article was well-written, and I don’t really have anything else to add. I just encourage others to read it. Further, I think the reader comments at the bottom of the page are at least as interesting as Mr. Miller's essay.




Luke 1:78 (Contemporary English Version)

God's love and kindness
will shine upon us
like the sun that rises
in the sky.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Relevant magazine

A while back, I wrote a series of posts associated with the “Culture War.” One post on March 27th of this year spotlighted a Christian resource to cope with that conflict. “Plugged In” is a very modern approach to contemporary problems facing Christians. I like to flag such things because I recognize that non-religious people read this blog. It is important to dispel mainstream stereotypes that Christians are old-fashioned, out of touch with the 21st century, and isolationist. Even the most culturally conservative Christians are often savvy about technology. Many are well-traveled and multicultural. In that vein, I want to blog about Relevant magazine.

I came across Relevant magazine by accident several years ago when I was looking for a magazine to help me pass time as I worked out at the YMCA during my lunch hour. Relevant was in a stack of magazines on a table near the women’s locker room, and it looked a little more interesting than Ladies Home Journal. It turned out to be a serendipitous find, which I’ve shared with several friends.

The magazine was founded in 2003, and is available on-online at: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/. Its tag line is: “God. Life. Progressive Culture.” The articles cover a lot of ground. They appeal to modern Christians who are in-touch with and living in the mainstream culture, but are passionate about making their faith a core part of their lives that is integrated with other facets of their existence. In the past few months, articles have focused on pragmatic issues in helping the people of Haiti after the January earthquake, a nuanced analysis of the proper role of anger in the life of a Christ-follower, and a Christian perspective on avoiding workaholism to take back one’s life from “The Man.”

Relevant is so in touch with mainstream culture that not all of the articles have overtly religious themes. A recent interview with Johnny Depp and Tim Burton focused on their new film, Alice, and didn’t explore spiritual themes. An article on Martin Scorsese seemed to stretch a bit by tracing the filmmaker’s devout Catholic youth and the “divine” themes in his films. The articles in Relevant are written in a hip style and often have a sense of humor. It is not uncommon to see self-deprecating references to mainstream stereotypes of Christians (e.g., as “homeschooled goody-goodies”).

Frankly, I feel a little old when I read Relevant. The target audience seems to be Gen Y, and I’m a Gen X-er. The photographs are of hip-looking young adults with grunge-type style. Alas! I don’t have any tattoos or exotic piercings. The articles and advertisers often focus on finding one’s place in the world, which is typically a preoccupation of folks newer to adulthood than I. Indeed I don’t anticipate pursuing another degree any time soon. And at the present, I’m frankly more focused on my job, husband and kids than dropping everything to go save the world. Maybe when my kids graduate from college and I retire I can take that on. In the meantime, I like to live vicariously through the articles in Relevant. Besides, not all the articles have a clear generational bent. Indeed, the March/April 2010 issue had an interview with Denzel Washington--who is even older than me!

I’ve tried to gauge the political pulse of Relevant’s editors and its readers, but that is tough. Despite the term “progressive” in their tagline, many of the articles reflect a pretty traditional Protestant theological perspective. But there is a much greater emphasis on social justice than is seen in some other (non-Catholic) Christian media. And the articles exhibit a real openness to the world. There is a consistent focus on the plight of human beings in this country and around the world who live very different lives from Relevant’s core demographic. The articles also often feature non-Christians doing socially relevant work of interest to justice-minded Christ followers. Relevant’s articles often reflect frustration and even disgust at comments by people like Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson. But that does not mean the magazine necessarily tilts left or tends to support the Democrats. Relevant seems to strive to be somewhat apolitical in that sense though it often discusses very political topics. That approach has great appeal to me. Jesus did not try to affect his Kingdom through earthly power and human government. It makes me uncomfortable when some Christians try to align the church with a particular political party. That distorts the meaning of our faith.

John 17:14–15 (NIV)

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

Romans 12:1–2 (NIV)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Health Care Reform Debate

I listen to the Diane Rehm Show on NPR some mornings. On Fridays, they often focus on a current event in the "Friday News Round Up." A few months ago, I was listening not long after health care reform had been passed, and the panel was discussing that event. You can listen to the program at the link below.

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2010-03-19/news-roundup-hour-1

It was a particularly interesting show that morning as the panel discussed the controversy that health care reform had provoked. One commentator on the show noted that most Americans support universal coverage. Another (I think it was Juan Williams) noted that the root concern of many opponents of health care reform is the notion of an expansion of government power. I thought that was a fascinating assertion, which rang true with a lot of my own personal, anecdotal experiences in listening to the concerns of opponents of health care reform (or “Obamacare” as they seem to like to call it for some reason).

In conservative Christian circles, I’ve heard folks express fears and frustrations of “big government” on many occasions, but I admit I don’t fully understand those reactions. What link is there between Christianity and a concern for big government, and what does that have to do with a requirement to buy private medical insurance?

To me, it seems intuitive that Christians would want to effect universal health care (or something close to it) because Christ repeatedly taught us to care for the sick (e.g., The Good Samaritan, Matthew 25:31-46, Mathew 10:8). But apparently for some conservative Christians, concerns of big government override concerns for sick people.

In my observations and experiences listening to folks, the concern of big government seems to be rooted in at least two sources. First, some Christians seem to carry forth the pervasive anti-government attitudes of the New Testament (e.g., brutal oppression of an occupying power, corruption and lies of a puppet king, hypocrisy of the local ruling elite, repeated references to tax collectors being among the most sinful in society, savage post-Easter oppression by the authorities). But we twenty-first century Americans live in a very different era than our savior or even his initial followers. Americans are blessed to have representative government. We are not at the whim of an occupying power. Consequently, in my view, the same New Testament anti-government attitudes are just not apropos in the current era. Nonetheless, the experiences of our spiritual forbearers should never be forgotten. They should be an important reminder to us that political power and authority can be misused to oppress sub-groups within a society, and to inflict misery on the vulnerable and the marginalized.

In my observation and experience listening, a second source of Christian concern for big government seems to be rooted in fears about the sanctity of family. In the last century, some Christians have developed a very strong sense of the importance of the family unit in religious faith. In my own opinion, it doesn’t seem to be based entirely on New Testament teachings. Jesus himself seemed to discount the centrality of the traditional family unit and encourage a broader sense of family (e.g., Matthew 12:46-50, Luke 14:12, Luke 18:29-30). But in twentieth century totalitarian regimes where Christianity was attacked and brutally repressed, the family unit was often targeted as a means of religious oppression. In some communist countries, parents were brutally punished for passing on religious teachings and beliefs to their own children, who then were taught atheistic beliefs in state-run schools. At the time, such persecution did not seem to get a lot of attention in the mainline American media, but it was discussed frequently in church communities. Such totalitarian regimes were often successful in breaking the roots of religious faith, and driving a wedge between family members. In my experience, some Christians in the United States still seem to fear government for this reason. There seems to be a lingering fear that our own government will do the same thing; children will be brainwashed against their parents and their parents’ Christian faith. I personally have noticed this fear most among older Christians who lived through the Cold War.



Luke 23:2

And they began to accuse him, saying, "We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king."

1 Peter 2:17

Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Point of View" Radio Program with Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Most evenings as I drive home from work, I listen to NPR’s “All Things Considered” to catch up with current events. But during the semester, several evenings each week I teach late and come home after the news programs are over. Those evenings I typically listen to one of several Christian radio stations, and at that hour they have switched over from music to paid programming by various ministries. I enjoy listening to the sermons given by these ministries. They tend to be more conservative theologically than I am, but I always get something out of the preaching. Sometimes the message will be an encouragement in dealing with life’s difficulties. Other times they will teach on a passage of the Bible, and they might share insights that I hadn’t heard previously. It is always interesting.

A few months ago, I was driving home late and found something new on one of the Christian stations I have pre-programmed on my car radio. Instead of a preacher giving a sermon, there was a new program called “Point of View.” As I listened initially, it seemed to have nothing to do with God, church or Jesus. I was confused for a while. I wasn’t sure if my husband had programmed another station over the old one. Alternately, I thought maybe the Christian station had been sold and converted to a political talk radio format. Turns out I was still listening to one of the local Christian stations that night. A link to the “Point of View” program’s website is below. The tag line on the website is “Defending Faith, Family & Freedom.” However, I did not hear anything about “Faith” when I listened that first night.

http://www.pointofview.net/site/PageServer

When I tuned in to the program that first time, the host (a woman who never identified herself) was welcoming a guest—Jackie Gingrich Cushman, the daughter of the former Speaker of the House. Initially, Ms. Cushman was plugging her book: Five Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours by Newt Gingrich and Jackie Gingrich Cushman. I had frankly never heard of Ms. Cushman before hearing her interview on this program. But I was struck by the audacity of Mr. Gingrich co-writing a book on family. After all, he is the thrice married, twice divorced man, who committed adultery during both his first and second marriages, and famously asked his first wife for a divorce while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. It is clear that we all fall short of the glory of God, and we are all very imperfect beings. As a sinner myself, I don’t judge Mr. Gingrich for his short-comings. I’ve got enough of my own to keep me plenty busy. But I’m stunned at the gall and hypocrisy of writing a book being marketed on some fictionalized notion that his family life is something to be emulated. What is next—a book from Bill Bennett lecturing us on faithful stewardship of one’s financial gifts or a book from Ted Haggard about integrity?

After Ms. Cushman briefly plugged the book on the “Point of View” program that evening, the discussion quickly shifted into a tirade against “Obamacare.” Ms. Cushman spoke about the American guarantee of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and argued the “government take-over” of health care infringed on our liberty. This statement stunned me. I don't understand the characterization of a "take-over" since Congress did not pass a bill with a single payer option. I suppose that a government mandate to carry health insurance coverage could be viewed as a limitation on one’s liberty. But I think it pales in comparison to the significant infringements on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that have been suffered for years by the millions our fellow Americans who have not been able to obtain medical insurance and to receive appropriate medical treatment when they have the misfortune to become seriously ill.

For the life of me, I don’t understand the resistance of any Christians to health care reform. It is a huge source of frustration and disgust to my friends and family who fall into the “progressive Christian” demographic. Christ taught us to care for the sick, and for centuries Christians were often the folks who established hospitals in their communities. I don’t understand how a “Christian” political movement in the modern era has now morphed into a force to fight against structural reforms to ensure more people have access to medical care. What the heck happened?

In listening to the many tirades against “Obamacare” in the last year, my understanding is that many conservative Christians who oppose health care reform are particularly concerned about an expansion of government power. In the abstract, I can appreciate such a concern about government power. But with respect to health care reform, it has not just been a theoretical issue about the proper size and scope of government. The decades long delay in enacting health care reform has had real life, catastrophic repercussions for so many of our fellow citizens. Tragically, people have lost their lives. Families have lost loved ones due to an inability to get proper medical treatment. To me, ideological rigidity has no place in this context because people’s lives hang in the balance. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to have health insurance and/or have not had to endure serious illnesses in our own families are not in a position to make life or death judgments impacting those who are not as fortunate.

When I was listening to “Point of View” that evening, in the context of their “Obamacare” grievances, Ms. Cushman and the program’s host kept referencing “the government” and “they” in ominous terms: they want to impose big government on us, and they want to require us to have health insurance that we don’t want to have. Ms. Cushman and the host spoke as if we lived in some sort of totalitarian state, glossing over the fact that President Obama was elected in a landslide on a platform that included a promise to effect (finally!) health care reform. It is not as if the Democrats seized power in a coup d’├ętat; they were elected by a majority of our citizenry. The health care reform was not enacted at gun-point; this is what “we the People” voted for.

At one point in the program, the host took calls from listeners. The first was a frankly nutty woman who was allowed to ramble for a long time. She shared her theory that the government wanted to control health care to effect policies to reduce human overpopulation. She cited as proof some meeting Bill Gates called of famous rich folks including Warren Buffet and Oprah. Apparently, the consensus at this meeting was there was a need to reduce the number of people on this planet. The caller indicated that this led to the government wanting to control our health care to get rid of babies and old people. I actually was trying to follow the logic of the caller’s passionate concerns, but couldn’t ever figure out the supposed connection between the apparent Bill Gates meeting and the government “take-over” of health care. To me, it seemed more likely that if the government wanted to reduce overpopulation via health care policy, they would continue the status quo since people are already dying needlessly for lack of access to medical care. I was infuriated listening to the caller’s slander, but because of the lunacy of the assertions, I just assumed that the host would provide a reality check once the caller finally stopped speaking. Wrong! The host indicated she agreed with the caller’s views. Indeed, she added that because of the health care reform legislation that had just been enacted, the government would be pushing abortions and rationing end-of-life care to seniors in order to kill off folks at both ends of the age spectrum. Ms. Cushman eventually chimed in that she thought the caller made excellent points. I was incredulous.

The next caller mentioned that according to recent polls, the health care reform legislation was now more popular since it has been signed into law. The caller indicated that Democrats were actually picking up popularity points and the Republicans were now lagging in polls. That caller was abruptly cut off by the host, who suddenly lost her previous enthusiasm. Ms. Cushman dismissed the referenced polls as indicating only that the public was tired and just relieved to have the political fight over.

The other guests that evening didn’t really seem to have anything to do with faith issues, but at a programming break the announcer indicated that the “Point of View” program is a listener supported ministry. “Point of View” seems to be in the same general programming genre as Janet Parshall’s show. But in the few times I’ve listened to Ms. Parshall’s program, she does involve references to faith. Janet Parshall’s programming does focus a lot on political current events, but she hosts a more clearly Christian show. Indeed, I have heard some programs where Ms. Parshall focused exclusively on faith issues and did not raise political ones at all. By contrast, while I was listening to “Point of View” that first evening, I don’t believe I heard even one reference to Christianity or religious faith in the discussion with Ms. Cushman. Indeed, I couldn’t distinguish the program that night from a secular talk radio format. As a result, I was confused as to why it is a “listener supported ministry.” What’s next? Is Rush going to form his own “ministry” so that his show can gain tax-exempt status?

The link below summarizes the program the night I tuned in. I’ve listened to “Point of View” several times since that first evening. To be fair, there have subsequently been references to faith issues. One program was devoted entirely to plugging a software product that enables users to do in-depth Bible studies. However, most evenings I’ve listened to the program, the discussions tend to be focused on political current events. When I’ve listened, there have been some references to faith, but they seem to be only parenthetical and not a primary focus of the show.

http://www.pointofview.net/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=13384





Matthew 23:23-24 (King James Version)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Guest Blogger Reverend Roger McClellan on the Progressive Christian Alliance

In the spring of 2008, four pastors from Alabama, Florida and Georgia began sharing some of their disillusionment with much traditional church structure and dogma. As the discussions progressed, a vision of a different type of church began to coalesce. All of us were drawn to a progressive Christian ethos, and had learned much from our associations with organizations such as The Center for Progressive Christianity and Network of Spiritual Progressives; but we felt that there was a need to transcend the typical definitions of both "denomination" and "network" and not only try to connect Progressive Christians, but also to organize ministries with similar vision even calling ministers and organizing local communities of progressive faith. As a result of these discussions and the perceived guidance of the Spirit, the Progressive Christian Alliance was born.

From the inception of the Progressive Christian Alliance, we have had a vision for reaching out to “the least, the lost, the left behind, and those for whom religion has become irrelevant." We see this position to be very much in line with the teachings of Jesus, teachings that have sadly fallen into neglect. The Church has often become such an institution that it spends more time and resources maintaining itself than reaching into the world beyond itself. As a result we have seen more and more people pushed to the margins and even outside the doors of the church. Progressive ideals or un-orthodox beliefs are unwelcome, as are different cultures or orientations. What remains are many different church institutions ministering to the core groups within their doors, and paying little mind to those outside the doors; those who differ from what they consider the norm.

So, when we in the PCA were trying to paint a picture of our vision; we settled on the following principles:

1. We consider ourselves Christian. We chose this particular and unusual language out of a recognition that oftentimes the institutional church attempts to set litmus tests of orthodoxy or tradition that define what Christianity is to them. In truth, however, no church institution has the ability or right to judge the soul of a person. That right and responsibility lies solely upon the shoulders of God. Therefore, we seek to avoid the traps of orthodoxy and grant grace to one another by affirming that we seek to serve God, and follow our understandings of the teachings of Jesus, to the best of our ability. We seek to judge no one, lest we be judged by the same unfair and inaccurate standards. We embrace those on the margins or outside the margins of orthodoxy.

2. The Progressive Christian Alliance maintains a focus on Social Justice. We believe that the gospel of Christ calls us to minister to the last, the lost, the least, and the left-behind of society, as well as those for whom church has become irrelevant. Jesus and the latter prophets of Judaism speak extensively about caring for the poor, the hungry and the marginalized in society, recognizing them all as God’s creation. Unfortunately much of this focus has been lost in the institutional church as it has become more and more concerned with maintaining its own identity and growth. As a result, the rights of many of God’s own children are widely ignored by those that profess to worship God. We embrace those on the margins of society, as Christ himself taught.

3. We respect theological diversity. Faith is not about concrete answers, religious absolutes, creeds, or dogma. Faith is about the search for understanding, the raising of important questions, the open honesty of having doubt, and the realization that no one has it all completely right nor does any human hold all the answers. Therefore, we recognize and affirm those whose faith systems fifer from our own; recognizing that many streams flow from the same source. Furthermore, we recognize that truth and understanding often are nurtured by the open exchange of thoughts and ideas from diverse sources. We embrace those around us; those on the margins of tradition or practice.

4. We affirm the dignity of all of God’s children and welcome all to take their rightful place at God’s table. We recognize that in Christ there is no gender, no orientation, no nation or race. We are all heirs to the kingdom. Often, the institutional church has sought to exclude those of different race, gender or orientation from participating fully in the life of the church. We find these practices anathematic to the teachings of Christ, therefore we readily and heartily welcome all to their rightful place at the table that God has prepared. While we applaud the efforts of many denominations to formulate inter-communion agreements with other denominations, we feel that these inter-communion agreements do not adequately recognize the value and beauty of diversity. The PCA, rather, practices an Open Communion, recognizing that the Table of Communion is not ours to govern, but God's.

There are also many churches who seek to fully include those of other races, genders or sexual orientations, and we applaud those efforts; but by writing this inclusivity into our organizational DNA, we hope to avoid the political and dogmatic struggles that accompany such efforts so that we can concentrate more fully on the task at hand.Many have asked, “With all of this inclusion, where then is your identity? Simply: that is our identity. Inclusion. A church for those who don’t like church and a church for those who love church but seek to lovingly correct it. We strive to embrace all and welcome all: those pushed to the margins or outside the margins. In so doing, we have our own identity, a church on the margins for those on the margins.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Local Arizona News

I enjoy reading local newspapers like the West Valley View, which reports twice a week on events and issues in the metropolitan area west of the city of Phoenix. A couple of articles from the June 11th edition particularly got my attention, and are relevant to issues discussed in recent blog posts.

One article described the city of Tolleson’s lawsuit in opposition to SB 1070. The mayor of Tolleson was interviewed for the article. It is clear he thinks the new state law is misguided as a policy matter. However, more pragmatically, he is also very concerned that the law is an unfunded mandate at a time when local governments in Arizona are already facing extreme budgetary crises. This is no trifling concern. As some non-Arizona readers of this blog may not realize, the economy in Arizona is horrible right now. Speaking with friends and family in other states, the recession and housing market collapse does not seem to have affected their parts of the country quite as badly. Whether or not one agrees with the policy behind SB 1070, the unfunded mandate concern is legitimate and compelling in the context of Arizona’s current economic slump. http://www.westvalleyview.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=37360

Another article that got my attention was about Margaret Dugan, a Republican candidate for Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. The article described her positions against bilingual education and ethnic studies. The article quoted Ms. Dugan: "Bilingual education is code to teaching kids whose first language is Spanish, to teach them in their native language throughout the day. Well, this is wrong." To explain her opposition to ethnic studies, the article quoted Ms. Dugan as explaining "This curriculum that is being taught down in Tuscon - Raza studies, which stands for 'the race' in Spanish - is teaching our kids they are the victims of this country and that this country really belongs to Mexico and if they rise up and take it back, it will become Mexico again." http://www.westvalleyview.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=37333&TM=55571.57



Psalm 139:14 (New Living Translation)

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Julie and Julia

My husband and I recently watched the film Julie and Julia. We saw it on a whim. Initially, it hadn’t really interested either of us, perhaps because we don’t enjoy cooking. We would never dream of trying to cook something complicated from a Julia Child cookbook! Nonetheless, we found the film charming and quite enjoyable. (OK, maybe “we” is an overstatement. I at least found it charming and enjoyable. But I am happy to report my husband did not fall asleep until the closing credits began to roll.)

For purposes of this blog, I thought there were a couple of themes in the film worth noting. First, with respect to the role of women in our society and a follow-up to my recent posts on feminism, it was interesting to me that Julie and Julia was essentially about a young woman in desperate need of a positive role model and a mentor. The protagonist, Julie, was on the verge of turning 30, and her life seemed to have no real direction. She had a job, but no career. She wasn’t sure what to do with her life. The women in her life were not supportive of her, and they did not provide role models she wanted to emulate. Her mother was perennially disapproving and nagged her relentlessly. Her female “friends” were competitive, career-driven and self-obsessed. They constantly put her down and/or used her. In the film, Julie ends up turning to someone she doesn’t even know, Julia Child, for inspiration and guidance. She reads extensively about Julia’s life, and grows to admire her deeply. Julie writes a blog as she works her way through Julia’s cookbook. Even outside of the kitchen, as Julie encounters difficulties in her life, she begins to look to Julia as a role model. Personally, I found this a little sad because Julie did not even know her role model, and in the end she was trying to emulate someone to whom she ultimately attributed unrealistic, superhuman qualities.

In watching the film, it just struck me how tough it is to be an American woman in the twenty-first century. We’re still in the midst of great societal change in terms of the permissible roles for women. It is pretty confusing. And frankly many of us could use good mentors and role models to help us navigate the challenges. However, it often seems like few of us have really figured things out, and there are not a lot of mentors and role models to help lead the way. Although I personally cannot imagine trying to emulate a culinary expert, I can certainly relate to Julie’s struggles. I haven’t had many female role models who have successfully balanced a happy home life with a demanding career. And I’ve felt uncomfortable and ill-equipped when other women (e.g., junior attorneys when I was in practice, students now that I’m a professor) have looked to me for a silver bullet. I’ve done my best to mentor and give guidance when younger women have sought that from me. But perhaps like others in that situation, I have felt a bit like a fraud because I certainly don’t have it all figure out myself.

Another aspect of Julie and Julia that I wanted to mention involved some of the cultural war issues I’ve raised in previous blog posts. The plots of Hollywood films tend to involve couples at the early stages of a relationship—when they are falling in love and coming together. It is a standard approach that has been followed since the early days of movie making. Very rarely does a film involve a couple that has been married for a while unless they are in serious conflict and potentially breaking up. Occasionally, movies might show a long-married couple with kids, but in those films the married couple normally has just a parenthetical role in a plot that really revolves around the kids. It is rare in Hollywood films to see a story focus on a married couple, who are basically happy and in a long-term stable relationship. Julie and Julia is such a rare film. The protagonist, Julie, is married to a great guy. They love each other, enjoy spending time together, and are basically supportive of one another. They are not perfect, they have conflicts, but the film shows them working them out in a pretty healthy way and being committed to their marriage. Similarly, Julia Child is portrayed in the film as being in a passionate, supportive relationship with her husband. It is odd, but I cannot remember the last film I saw with such positive, realistic examples of marriage. I’m not sure why that is.



Mark 10:7-9 (New International Version)

'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth is an actress and singer from Oklahoma. She is known for her beautiful blonde hair, distinctive speaking voice, and beautiful singing voice. She is a famous Broadway star, but has also appeared in films.

Chenoweth was raised a Southern Baptist. As an adult, she remains a committed Christ follower, but is not committed to one denomination. When in California, she apparently attends a non-denominational church. In New York, she has indicated she attends a Methodist church. She has described herself as a “non-judgmental, liberal Christian.”

In 2005, Chenoweth released an album of Christian music. In support of the album, she appeared on The 700 Club. She later expressed regret for appearing on the program. She indicated that the "Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells of the world are scary."

Later that same year, Chenoweth was dropped from a scheduled appearance at a Women of Faith conference because she had expressed support for gay rights.

More recently, Chenoweth has made news by condemning an article in Newsweek that suggested gay actors could not effectively portray straight characters.

http://tv.yahoo.com/glee/show/44113/news/tv.accesshollywood.com/tv.accesshollywood.com-kristin-chenoweth-slams-newsweek-over-homophobic-article-stars-twitter-praise-actress-stance

Luke 6:37

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”