Saturday, May 21, 2011

Do We Need More Medieval Sex?

Medieval sex is simply getting ridiculous. And I didn't really understand what it was all about until yesterday. I had a “moment of clarity” (so to speak) after getting really mad at HBO. And please understand that I am no prude. I am a recovering porn addict so I have seen it all. But I never understood why that world is invading the other ones, until today. Here is my journey.

I really wanted to watch the miniseries called “The Tudors” when it first came out. But I didn't. It is currently being reshown on BBC America, so I set the DVR to record some episodes. I had heard great things about it from friends whose opinions I trust. I have always thought that was an interesting time in history. As a Catholic boy, I took Sir Thomas Moore as my patron saint at my confirmation. And have many times scratched my head in amazement at Henry VIII's quest for a male heir. Cromwell, Boleyn, Mary, Elizabeth: all fascinating people. So When Showtime came out with the series, I couldn't wait. Well, this series is excellent; all except for one thing: the gratuitous sex scenes. I am sick and tired of having to fast forward past a scene because of some naked wench in Henry’s room. Yes, we know that he was a total horn-dog. But the 1966 movie “A Man For All Seasons” portrayed all his iniquities without having to show any of it. Do we really need to have bare butts to get the point? I understand that sex sells. But geez! What is it selling for Showtime? So I moved on.

I also couldn't wait for the Showtime series called “The Borgias” to air. Again, an amazing time in history. And one to really chagrin the Catholics. So I taped it. And this is one great series. It is sit on the edge of your seat intriguing. And very well written. But here we go again: gratuitous “T and A”. This story could easily have been told without having to show all the forbidden sweaty humping of the monarchy. Good Grief! Yes the pope was a letch. But to constantly have naked nuns fluttering out of rooms in a convent ticks me off. Where do the Skinemax after dark B-movies end and prime time soft core porn begin? Yes, this is in prime time. I got angry because I had to have a trigger finger on the remote control. Ridiculous! I remember when what was sexy was what was NOT SEEN. The imagination is far more stimulating that the eye. Yes I'll probably watch the season finale this weekend. But with the papacy at a falling point, why spoil the moment with boobs?

 I was already miffed because “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena” on Starz was nothing short of porn. The little I saw left me angry. I had anticipated seeing another version of “300” or “Gladiator”. Instead I got male penises and full on lesbian action. Why should I have to watch guys kiss in order to get my fill of testosterone-laden gladiatorial arena battling? Yes, Rome was decadent. But the 1960 Stanley Kubrick, Kirk Douglas, Lawrence Olivier version of “Spartacus” didn't have to push the envelope in order to tell this great tale.

Today was the final straw. I started watching HBO's new series “Game of Thrones”. I was excited to take certain aspects of medieval castles and jousting; and merge them with a science fiction fantasy genre. And I wasn't disappointed. Strong characters and well written plots merge with kingly honor and deceptive power struggles. But dang it: why do I have to watch the queen do doggie style sex on her wedding day. Seriously! Everybody holds their meetings in a brothel in this series. What? That's right. Any time the characters want to meet, there are naked whores flittering about. And it is just pathetic. Because their nudity adds absolutely nothing to the story except for puerile titillation. How did Peter Jackson do it with "The Lord of the Rings"? Those were fantasy movies that won every major accolade and made gazillions of dollars; all without one single act of oral sex. What are you thinking HBO?

Where is the clean "guy stuff"? Where is the gruff series where a man can be a man without having to battle waves of lust? James Bond had plenty of sex. But we never had to actually look at his wiener or some trollop’s buns.

So here is where my moment of clarity came in. I wondered what kind of market these shows were serving. What is their niche? I mean, come on: anyone can get plenty of hard core porn on a computer, I pad, or smart phone for free. And if a man wants to see people having sex, HBO probably isn't his first outlet of oculary delight.
Why interject all the sex into a television series where it serves no purpose other than to get a man's motor running? And then I got it. It is all a part of a master plan where the lines between right and wrong are getting blurred. A man can truly tell another accountability partner that he hasn't looked at porn. But in reality, he is simply watching a male oriented television series and getting all the mental fantasy fuel he wants. It's safe, easy to click away from, and deliciously deceptive. Or so the lie will whisper. How far we have come from the boobs in “Braveheart” and the one sex scene in “Band of Brothers”. It's just plain sad. I noticed it in Fox's O'Reilly Factor when they showed the same bikini clad clip of Carrie Prejean over and over. I quit watching Bill. And it is everywhere, on every channel, and at every media outlet. Who knows what the future holds. Maybe we will finally beat Rome during the time of Caligula as the most sex-laden country in history. But then, HBO will probably make a miniseries about us.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Only 11 Days Left To Get Free Stuff From Deceived Christians

Well, if you believe the people at Family Radio, the world is going to end in 11 days. And unfortunately, there are thousands of Christians who are buying into this theory. The best news report I have seen on these false prophets was on NPR. Here is what they had to say. Make sure to listen to the 6 minute audio report on this page.

Apparently, these people have taken what they consider to be the the date of Noah's flood and added seven thousand years to it to come up with the date of the “rapture”. So at around 6pm on the day of the 21st, there is supposed to be a giant earthquake which will start at the Pacific rim near Australia and move across the whole Earth. Then Jesus will appear to take up the church in a “rapture” and leave everyone else here in a giant chaotic state to fend for themselves. And if you believe any of that, I have a bridge to sell you. What they don't realize is even the Bible itself puts the date of the flood at 2348 B.C. For them to say that the flood was 7,000 years ago shows they have not done their homework. Here are some things you need to know about this end time delusion that has swept the hearts and minds of many of God's people.

First of all, even the pastor himself had an earlier date that came and passed without the church being taken. It was supposed to be September 6th, 1994. That passed. Suddenly he remembered that he had not read the book of Jeremiah? So with egg on his face, I mean with the Holy Spirit on his head, he came up with a new date of the 21st of May 2011. Remember the ones in California who “knew” that the date of the “rapture” was in 1988. That was based on Israel becoming a nation. They gave away all their earthly possessions. Then they stood naked on a mountain waiting for Jesus to give them their “robes of righteousness”. Imagine their shame as they left the mountain broke and naked. And these Family Radio knuckleheads will do the same.

First of all: There Is No Pretribulation Rapture! People like Tim LaHaye have done the church a great disservice by writing those “Left Behind” books. My wife loved the books and read them all. She is a big fan of the storytelling but thinks that they are scripturally unsound. I think they are pure evil. They perpetuate a false teaching that the antichrist will take full advantage of in the future. The rapture theory was not taught by any of the greats of the faith like Knox, Huss, Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, or Wesley. The Bible is clear that Jesus only returns once, not twice. Here's what the word says:

“They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:10-11

In the same way means IN THE SAME WAY. Not a partial touchdown. Not a fly-by to scoop up some Christians. But he comes back exactly like John saw it in Revelation 19. Read it for yourself. And when does he come back? When do we meet him in the air? The Bible spells it out:

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “ O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 1 Cor 15:50-58 NKJ

So when is this trumpet? When do we meet the lord in the air? Easy, it's the last trumpet as shown here:

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thes 4: 13-18

Jesus comes at the LAST TRUMPET. In Revelation 8:8 there are seven angels with seven trumpets. Read what happened while the first six blow theirs. Because the seventh doesn't sound until Revelation 11:15. Does any of this look like the rapture these deceivers are trying to sell you? Of course not. Here's all you need to know.

1. Jesus said it best when the subject of the end times came up. His disciples asked him when would these things be and what would be the sign of his coming and of the end of the age. His response was this: “Beware that no man deceive you”. Mat 24:3-4. He knew that deceivers would abound and deceive many. Even the false prophet looks like a sheep but speaks like the dragon. And,

2. If you know anybody who belongs to the Family Radio cult, they are giving all their money and possessions away. This is an excellent time to pick up a car or a house cheap. And you have 11 days to score some serious deals before they all figure out they have been duped and want their stuff back.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Matthew 24:36

Monday, May 02, 2011

Ropin', Burpin', Praisin', Fartin', Fellowshippin', and God

What an interesting weekend I had. I was invited by my friend Lyndy Phillips to go to a men's retreat in Oklahoma. I attend a nondenominational church here in Dallas. And the retreat was sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. So that means I got to walk among 3,000 Southern Baptist men from all over the state of Oklahoma. The retreat was titled “Men Rewired”, and it took place at possibly the most gorgeous area of that state: Falls Creek Conference Center. I have been to the Arbuckle wilderness on other occasions. And as I rode through the mountains and trees, it was hard to believe that I was in Oklahoma.

What an amazing time. And there were three amazing take-aways from the weekend. Those of you who are Baptist will probably smile. Those who are not will scratch your heads.

1. It's all about the altar call! Their services were amazing. But each one ended with a request for men to become honest with themselves about their own spiritual condition. And it's if not good, “Come on down” to make it right. They would keep their “invitation” open for an inordinately long period of time. It was as if the longer they played the music and tried to coerce sinful men to leave their seats and journey forward, the more men would finally succumb. That is strange to me. I don't see Jesus doing that; or Paul for that matter. I am a very big fan of accountability and the confession of sins. (James 5:16). I also understand how much faith it takes for the power of God to move in a tangible way. Remember the woman who pushed through the crowd to touch the hem of his garment? (Mark 5) Even the prodigal son had to make the first motion of a trip home before the father ran to meet him. But to think that the Holy Spirit can't tell a man to get the porn off his computer or quit stealing from work from his seat in the auditorium makes me wonder. I guess it's just a Baptist thing. I'm not sure if it worked or not. Because the throng of men heading to the stage were a perfect mix of pastors who were asked to pray for people, and men who were coming to repent. So I guess it was a safe way for a man to confess and repent: look just like everyone else heading to the stage.

2. Keep those hands down! I admit it: I'm one of those types of people who get so lost in the praise of our great and glorious God that I simply must raise my hands in worship. But apparently the Baptists aren't. Imagine 3,000 men singing to some of the most anointed worship music ever. Then imagine only 6 or 7 raising their hands up to God in celebration. Yep, that's right. As I raised my hands, the older gentlemen next to me look at me as if I had just got off the mother ship from Venus. He had one of those “you ain't from around here” looks on his face. It was funny. Why are some men so afraid to freely worship God? Remember when David danced before the Lord with all his might? And his wife despised him in her heart. Why? Yes all things must be done decently and in order. ( 1Cor 14:40). And more churches are falling into the “slain in the spirit” and “holy laughter” trap. But Geez! Can't a man with a Skoal ring on his jeans and a big belt buckle take a minute to raise his hands to his King?

Here's where it gets good. We sang a song where the lyrics were “I'll stand with hands high and heart abandoned. In awe of the one who gave it all”. I thought that surely if the lyrics dictate a raised hand, they would comply. Nope! Never! I guess standing stoically like a rock is good enough for grand pappy, and it's good enough for them.

3. Man up! The third thing that came out of this past weekend changed my life. One of the featured speakers was Michael Catt, Senior Pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia. If you are not familiar with them, they make Christian movies. They did “Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof”. And I was lucky enough to get to watch their newest movie to be released in September: “Courageous”. How I managed to fight back the tears while sitting among dusty cowboys is beyond me. This movie is great! Check out the trailer.

I found this trailer on YouTube and called to Jayne to come in and watch it. I teared up as it played. And I had already seen the movie. This is one powerful movie. And it strikes right at the heart of what is wrong with the church today: men are weak and women have to take the wheel. I love my children more than anything on this earth. And I have some deep issues of regret that I wasn't a very good father. Maybe that is where all the emotion comes from. And this movie will do the same thing to you.

So I guess my big “A-ha” moment came as I thought about this past weekend. I realized that as dads, we want our children to raise their hands to us, but we don't raise them to our heavenly Father. We want our children to come to us freely, and without coercion. But sometimes we need to get hammered with endless stanzas of "Have Thine Own Way" before we move to our Father.  We want our kids to crawl up into our laps, but we keep God at a distance. It makes me disappointed and a little hurt when I only get occasional communication from my kids (usually via Facebook or text), yet that is the way many times I communicate with the one who knew me in the womb.

So here are my lessons from the Okie weekend. Be free with your praise. Tell your Father you love Him. Watch “Courageous” when it comes out. And lastly, MAN UP! Just be a freaking man! Stop being weak. Get right with God, and then stay right. Cover your wife and kids with blessing and praise. Stay tuned for more thoughts from this last weekend.