Thursday, December 19, 2013

All Around the Web - December 19, 2013

Albert Mohler - America and the Culture of Vulgarity—No End in Sight
The collapse of the barrier between popular culture and decadence has released a toxic mudslide of vulgarity into the nation’s family rooms—and just about everywhere else. There is almost no remote corner of this culture that is not marked by the toleration of vulgarity, or the outright celebration of depravity.

Lee Siegel has seen this reality, and he doesn’t like it. “When did the culture become so coarse?,” he asks, adding: “It’s a question that quickly gets you branded as either an unsophisticated rube or some angry culture warrior.”

Siegel wants us all to know that he is neither unsophisticated nor a culture warrior. In his recent feature essay in The Wall Street Journal, “America the Vulgar,” Siegel recites his cultural bona fides. As he relates, “I miss a time when there were powerful imprecations instead of mere obscenity—or at least when sexual innuendo, because it was innuendo, served as a delicious release of tension between our private and public lives.”

In other words, Siegel doesn’t mind graphic sexuality and innuendo, but he wants the public culture kept safe for children, and his children in particular. He opens his essay by telling us that his 7-year-old son recently asked, “What’s celebrity sex?” Shortly thereafter, his 3-year-old daughter was found with a less than appropriate photographic image on mom’s smart phone. “And so it went on this typical weekend,” Siegel remembers, even as he adds that the television in the next room was blaring inappropriate language.

Denny Burk - The Left's Total War on Religious Liberty
This editorial from National Review is wisdom crying out in the streets. It’s just plain old common sense, which for some reason has become increasingly uncommon these days. It takes on two popular tropes from the Left:

1. “Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one.”

2. “How will my gay marriage affect you?”

WORLD Magazine - Custody case brings up father’s rights to an unborn baby | This article raises an important question. Is the unborn child equally the father's? The pro-choice crowd says no. Biology, and I believe the law should, says yes.
A celebrity custody battle over a 9-month-old baby has courts debating whether a fetus is a baby or a part of its mother’s body. The case in question asks whether a mother had the right to move across the country and away from the father while pregnant.

Bode Miller, alpine skiing Olympic gold-medalist, and Sara McKenna, former U.S. Marine and firefighter, had a brief relationship in 2012 from which McKenna became pregnant. Miller claimed McKenna moved from California to New York while pregnant to keep him out of his child’s life. McKenna said she moved across the country to attend Columbia University. She also said Miller initially showed no desire to be a part of the child’s life. According to Fox News, McKenna released a text message from Miller in June 2012 refusing to come to her ultrasound and saying, “U made this choice against my wish.”

But in November 2012, Miller changed his mind. He filed papers with the San Diego County Family Court claiming paternity for the child. Shortly thereafter, a pregnant McKenna left for New York.

Breitbart - Same-Sex Weddings 17 Percent of Washington Marriages
Gay weddings made up 17 percent of marriages in Washington this past year, the first year gay marriages were legal in the state, state officials reported Wednesday.

About 7,071 same-sex couples got married in Washington between December 6, 2012, and the most recent complete month of data, September 2013. There were 42,408 total marriages in the state during that time, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

So far, most of Washington state's same-sex marriages, 62 percent, were between two women.

Mike Leake - 7 Ways Social Media Makes Pastoring More Difficult
Here are 7 ways that Facebook makes pastoring a little more difficult:
  1. Expectations. Your beloved Aunt Gertrude just died. You post of your sadness on Facebook. And only Facebook. Your Pastor doesn’t call. He doesn’t send flowers. He doesn’t respond to your status update. Nothing. What a jerk!!!  Or, is it possible that he simply isn’t on Facebook all the time? Maybe he didn’t see it. Social media has upped the expectations for pastoral response.
  2. Faux problems. People vent about really silly things on Facebook. And they often do it in language that requires a Rosetta Stone program to decipher. All you really know is that person X is fed up with people Y and that they need to mind their own business. So, when a pastor is scrolling through his news feed and sees these little spats what is he to do? Does he call and make sure everything is okay—only to find out that the status was really about the pain of getting onions on your McRib when you clearly said “no onions”?
  3. Public error. Not every church member is theologically astute. Some are baby Christians. As such they are a little quicker to spread theological error—if not outright heresy. So what should a pastor do? If he confronts all of these cute little pictures with terrible theology, then he’s going to look like a self-righteous jerk. If he lets them go, is he protecting the flock?
  4. Pictures. Pastor’s should know their flock. But there are some ways that pastors should definitely not know their flock. Like what they look like in a bikini. You don’t have to intentionally click on these pictures to be exposed to them. You just have to be scrolling down your news feed.
  5. Faux relationships. On social media we get to project ourselves as we want to be. We get to hit backspace when we say something dumb. We can even edit our comments now. That’s not really something you can do in real face to face human interaction. Social media can make a pastor think he knows someone in his flock—but he really doesn’t. He only knows the social media construct.
  6. Time. The pastor goes on Facebook to put an announcement up about the Thursday night fish fry. Three hours later he’s defeated 17 levels of candy crush, owns his own imaginary baseball team, and solved four murder mysteries. Though his sermon will be terrible on Sunday, he at least has rescued several CGI pets.
  7. Terrible counselors. If the pastor is wise and stays off of Facebook for most of his week—he’ll be saddened to know that much of his flock has been seeking counsel on Facebook. Those faux problems and vent statuses will be answered by someone. And there is a pretty good likelihood that they’ll be feeding them full of self-help garbage.

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