Tuesday, June 24, 2014

All Around the Web - June 24, 2014

Denny Burk - The poignant truth about Andy’s dad from “Toy Story”
If you pay close attention to Pixar movies, you may notice that filmmakers are intentional about what goes on in the background of their stories. They seem to be dropping hints that imply a backstory to the main story that you are watching. Speculating on the backstory has become somewhat of a parlor game for some. Jon Negroni has devoted a whole website to it. But the fascinating thing is that some of the observations he’s made are not wholly fanciful but are quite compelling.

Recently, I happened upon Negroni’s theory about what happened to Andy’s dad in the Toy Story movies. We see Andy’s mother but never his father. Not even when Andy is leaving for college does his father make an appearance. Why isn’t he ever there? Apparently, he didn’t die because his picture is not among the family photos framed on the stairwell. A missing picture does not imply death but abandonment. Andy’s mother is also seen without a wedding ring, which also suggests a recent divorce but not a recent death. That would explain why Andy’s mother was moving the family to a smaller house and buying a puppy. Negroni lays out the entire case on his website, and I think it’s compelling.

Russell Moore - Could the Persecuted Church Rescue American Christianity?
I was distracted at the Baltimore Orioles’ game the other night. At the end of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), my wife and I joined friends at Camden Yards, but a new friend with us there in the stands kept driving my attention to a jail cell overseas.

A few hours earlier, that new friend, Naghmeh Abedini, had joined me on the platform of our gathering of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. I called the SBC to stand with her husband, Saeed, an American citizen who is imprisoned in Iran for his evangelical faith. As we ate hamburgers and watched umpires call balls and strikes, I wondered what was happening, at that very moment, to Saeed. Was he being beaten? Was he, like Paul and Silas of old, singing hymns behind the bars?

I couldn’t help but wonder if we were living a parable.

Albert Mohler - Baptist Polity and the Integrity of the Southern Baptist Convention
The Southern Baptist Convention meeting last week in Baltimore was, in itself, a lesson in Baptist polity. The organizational structure of the Convention is directly drawn from Baptist principles, and those principles have been adapted to meet the new challenges faced by every generation.

In the last generation, the Convention responded courageously to the challenge of theological compromise, asserting both the right and the responsibility of the Convention to require confessional fidelity and theological integrity of its seminaries, mission boards, and other entities. That process culminated in the Convention’s revision of its confession of faith, The Baptist Faith & Message, in 2000. That revision included a clear statement of biblical inerrancy and a host of other truths that the Convention urgently affirmed.

In this generation, moral issues also require clear action by the Convention. Most urgently, the issue of homosexuality and same-sex relationships demand attention. In this case, the Convention’s confession of faith is very clear — it affirms marriage as the union of a man and a woman and it affirms the sinfulness of same-sex behaviors.

Eric Metaxas - Men Who Serve and Protect
We’ve discussed the cultural attacks on men many times before on BreakPoint, how pop culture is fond of portraying them as over-grown adolescents, or worse, as sadistic and violent haters of women.

Sure, some men have given women reason to fear. Most recently, we witnessed Elliot Rodgers’ murderous rampage against women at UC-Santa Barbara. But as we struggle to understand this violence, we need to make sure we are looking at all the data.

Writing in the Washington Post, sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox examined the research on violence against women and came to a striking conclusion, one that upends a politically-driven cultural message.

Wilcox agrees that some men do pose serious threats to women, of course; but others—a specific category of men, actually—are “more likely to protect women, directly and indirectly, from the threat of male violence.”

Who are these great protectors? Married biological fathers.

Leadership Network - 9 Fascinating Facts About People Who Attend Megachurches
  1. Nearly two-thirds of attenders have been at these churches 5 years or less.
  2. Many attenders come from other churches, but nearly a quarter haven’t been in any church for a long time before coming to a megachurch.
  3. New people almost always come to the megachurch because family, friends or coworkers invited them.
  4. Fifty-five percent of megachurch attenders volunteer at the church in some way (a higher percentage than in smaller churches).
  5. What first attracted attenders were the worship style, the senior pastor and the church’s reputation, in that order.
  6. These same factors also influenced long-term attendance, as did the music/arts, social and community outreach, and adult-oriented programs.
  7. Attenders report a considerable increase in their involvement in church, in their spiritual growth, and in their needs being met.
  8. Attenders can craft unique, customized spiritual experiences through the multitude of ministry choices and diverse avenues for involvement that megachurches offer.
  9. In many ways, large churches today are making good progress in reaching people and moving them from spectators to active participants to growing disciples of Jesus Christ.

Hollywood Reporter - World Cup Ratings: USA-Portugal Tie Is Most Watched Soccer Game in American History
A draw might be frustrating to fans, but Team USA's strong showing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup continues to be a cause for celebration at ESPN. The cable network hit another World Cup ratings high on Sunday thanks to coverage of America's 2-2 tie with Portugal.

After network-best overnight ratings, the network averaged 18.2 million viewers for the game. Not only is that a World Cup best, it's a soccer best. It marks the sport's most watched game in U.S. TV history, easily eclipsing any non-football telecast for ESPN.

It surpassed the previous record of 17.97 million viewers set in 1999 by ABC's coverage of the Women’s World Cup final between USA and China.

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