Links for Monday, 9 April 2012

What happened to Youth Ministry?
From The Gospel Coalition (emphasis added),

By the 80s the emergence of MTV and a media-driven generation meant church youth ministry became more entertainment-driven than ever. Youth pastors felt the need to feature live bands, video production, and elaborate sound and lighting in order to reach this audience…The message had been simplified and shortened to fit the entertainment-saturated youth culture. By the start of the 21st century, we discovered many youth were no longer interested in the show that we put on or the oversimplified message. Christianity was no different from the world around them. Some youth ministries intensified their effort combining massive hype with strong messages that inspired youth but did not translate to everyday life. We realized we were faced with a generation whose faith was unsustainable.

The result? Per the author, Dave Wright,

First, we moved from parachurch to church-based ministry (though the parachurch continues). In doing so, we segregated youth from the rest of the congregation. Students in many churches no longer engaged with “adult” church and had no place to go once they graduated from high school. They did not benefit from intergenerational relationships but instead were relegated to the youth room.

Second, we incorporated an attractional model that morphed into entertainment-driven ministry. In doing that we bought into the fallacy of “edu-tainment” as a legitimate means of communicating the gospel. Obscuring the gospel has communicated that we have to dress up Jesus to make him cool.

Third, we lost sight of the Great Commission, deciding instead to make converts of many and disciples of few. We concluded that strong biblical teaching and helping students embrace a robust theology was boring (or only relevant to the exceptionally keen) and proverbially shot ourselves in the foot.

Fourth, we created a consumer mentality amongst a generation that did not expect to be challenged at church in ways similar to what they face at school or on sports teams…

For my take, see Christians Need to Stop Making Converts.


Additional nuggets of wisdom for so-called worship leaders
In You are not a Rock Star, Clint Archer offers up some sage advice. Amongst the tips,

The task of the worship leader is to get out the way of worship, and to lift our attention to God. He cannot do this if he is showing off his ability to do a lead break. Worship leaders need to be humble. They should dress modestly. Sometimes musos have a particular look they are going for in their midweek gig. But when they ascend the platform at church, their personal brand is expendable.


October Baby ruffles some feathers, yet hits home
Movie critic Roger Moore seems to think that movies are strictly about entertainment. From his review,

It’s ironic that the studio founded by the son of Hollywood founding father Samuel Goldwyn should be the one releasing “October Baby.” Apparently, the acquisitions department never took to heart Goldwyn the elder’s most famous Goldwynism, about what movies are supposed to do:

“Pictures were made to entertain. If you want to send a message, call Western Union.”


I wonder what Moore thinks about Schindler’s List, To Kill a Mockingbird, Dances with Wolves, or All Quiet on the Western Front, just to name a few. Nah… no message in any of those.

Yet, despite pro-abortion bias, it’s interesting what the New York Times is reporting about the movie. From Film Inspired by ‘Abortion Survivor’ [yes – note the scare quotes around the term] is a Quiet Hit,

As mass entertainment goes, the abortion debate does not typically count as good Saturday-night date movie fare; the subject rarely makes it to the mainstream multiplex. But at a time when the issue is once again causing agitation in political circles, a small film, “October Baby,” about a woman who learns she is, as the movie puts it, a “survivor of a failed abortion,” is making a dent at theaters across the country.

Imagine that.


Can a Christian Vote for Barack Obama?
Simple answer – Yes.

This post, at Conversant Life, seemed to be an attempt to objectively look at the issues at hand, yet fell prey to caricaturizing Republican ideology with,

Why is the party that supports the NRA, increased military spending, decreased economic regulation, and harsher immigration policy still the party most publicly associated with Christians?

Sigh. I suppose I could ask,

Why is the party that supports Planned Parenthood, decreased spending on protecting its citizens, increasing costs to consumers through governmental regulations, and the continued ignoring of existing immigration law considered a viable alternative for Christians?


Speak with conviction!
Featured before, but worth a re-run (this time on Vimeo, with graphics instead of video) HT: Joe Carter.

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.


So, are polar bears here to stay, or not?

Links for Friday, 24 February 2012

NASA thinking about an Earth-Moon-Libration Point 2
Well it’s not quite Space 1999, but pretty cool nonetheless,

NASA is pressing forward on assessing the value of a “human-tended waypoint” near the far side of the moon — one that would embrace international partnerships as well as commercial and academic participation, has learned.

According to a Feb. 3 memo from William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, a team is being formed to develop a cohesive plan for exploring a spot in space known as the Earth-moon libration point 2 (EML-2).


Do you know what a Mainframe is? Well, NASA just shut down their last one


Even more Geek News:  Photos of Mars Landers from Mars orbit


Abe Lincoln (on a penny) to be used as a quick size comparison indicator on the next Mars Rover


NASA taking stock of Eart’s melting land ice
From the 2003-2010 observations,

The total global ice mass lost from Greenland, Antarctica and Earth’s glaciers and ice caps during the study period was about 4.3 trillion tons (1,000 cubic miles), adding about 0.5 inches (12 millimeters) to global sea level. That’s enough ice to cover the United States 1.5 feet (0.5 meters) deep.

Yikes! That’s very unsettling news.

Yet, another report headlines us to the news that Earth’s Polar Ice Melting Less Than Thought. An excerpt (emphasis added),

Nearly 230 billion tons of ice is melting into the ocean from glaciers, ice caps, and mountaintops annually—which is actually less than previous estimates, according to new research by scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Further in the US News report researcher John Wahr states (wisely, in my opinion),

“Even with an eight-year estimate, it’s not clear how far into the future you can project,” he says. “A lot of people want to predict into the end of the century, but I think it’s too dangerous to do that … We don’t have enough info to know what’ll happen. There’s some ebb and flow to these things.”

Indeed, if anyone ever wants to sell you something now based on a prediction of what will happen 100 years from now, you’d better grab hold of your wallet (I think Michael Crichton said that). From the NASA news release, after they’ve admitted the same as the US News report, it reads,

One unexpected study result from GRACE was that the estimated ice loss from high Asian mountain ranges like the Himalaya, the Pamir and the Tien Shan was only about 4 billion tons of ice annually. Some previous ground-based estimates of ice loss in these high Asian mountains have ranged up to 50 billion tons annually.


Imagine if you had some remodeling work done on your home and the contractor estimated it would cost $50,000 but the final bill came in at only $4,000? Well, of course you’d be ecstatic, but wouldn’t you also be wondering why the contractor was so inept? Or what if a stockbroker claimed an investment would return $50,000 but it only came back with $4,000?

Yet we’re supposed to based governmental subsidies, regulations, etc., all on long-range “scientific” esitmates that, quite frankly, are “dangerous” to do.

Rusty Nails (SCO v. 50)

So… how’s that Facebook-led revolution in Egypt coming along?
Richard Fernandez comments on the not only the issues directly affecting Egyptians, but the incompetence in the Obama administration regarding such,

Remember when the Muslim Brotherhood was reckoned to be part of the movement for democratic change in Egypt? That was then. This is now. The New York Times reports that “Gaining Power in Parliament, Islamists Block a Cairo Protest”. Who could have seen that coming?

It’s a sad day indeed when President Obama has to hide behind the comparative resolution of Congress (only when compared to himself) to stiffen his spine. “They’re gonna make me do it!” he says. But the Egyptians have already got his number. They’ve got him figured out. Thus, they are probably betting that the administration will certify that Egypt has met every possible test of democracy and expression whatever they do since up until now he’s never missed a chance to stand up to Congress nor an opportunity to cave to foreign tyrants.


And so goes American prestige


As for the coming Global Warming crisis… oops
From a leading (one of many?) NASA scientist comes the conclusion…

The notion of another Little Ice Age, as happened in the last half of the 1600s, is no longer dismissed.

Dang! I just hate it when that happens!

For more, see here.


Say what?
From one company’s website, regarding a corporate restructure,

In order to maximize [company department’s] contribution to the company’s strategic objectives for cost competitiveness, organizational efficiency, improved margins and continued excellence in execution – as well as to create new and innovative business opportunities, we are pleased to announce our new center-led [department] organization structure…

If such results are truly possible, one has to wonder why such a move wasn’t done long ago?


Racism in South Africa
But not the kind you were thinking of.


Ratio Christi
Looks good

Headlines from the past! Then vs. Now

From way back in the year 2000 CE (which, by the way, converts to AD 2000), the Independent ran the following story, Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past,

Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

Now? From last December, on FoxNews, Anger Rises as Snow, Ice Snarls Britain,

Winter storms forced British government ministers and bank executives to postpone their meeting Monday on the politically touchy issue of bank bonuses. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills did not announce a new date but said it hoped the meeting could be rescheduled later this week.

Forecasters have said Britain is experiencing some of the most severe winter weather in a century, with continued freezing temperatures and snowfall accumulations expected Monday afternoon and evening.

I recall a co-worker telling me a story of when he went on a school fieldtrip, in the late 1960s / early 1970s, to a nature preserve. This time was the genesis of the Earth Day movement, and at this particular preserve the school kids were told of the impending doom that awaited mankind. One statement that remained with him was the admonition / prediction that, if they didn’t take care of the earth, then their grandchildren wouldn’t know what a tree was.

As Christians we should be all about cherishing and managing the environment God has not only created, but given to us to take care of. Yet we should never fall into the trap of thinking we have the power or ability to save that environment – the laws of physics simply prove us wrong. Worse still, we should be wary of ever slipping into a modern-day worship of Mother Earth.

The book of Genesis has made clear where and from whom our environment has come.

Global Climate Warming Change: it’s for the children

Despite the dire predictions of Global Warming proponents, the general public doesn’t seem to be quite so concerned. Rather, the economy, jobs, and terrorism top their list of priorities. Global warming brings up the rear, ranking 21st out of 21.

Even so, the folks at NASA have launched a special website dedicated to educating our children as to the issues pertaining to number 21 (perhaps with the hopes of raising it up a few notches).

Not to worry, though, if you have to put on an extra overcoat this winter. From the Washington Post, “This winter’s extreme weather — with heavy snowfall in some places and unusually low temperatures — is in fact a sign of how climate change disrupts long-standing patterns, according to a new report by the National Wildlife Federation.”

Global Warming quote of the day

In Congress Went to Denmark, You Got the Bill, CBS reports on the cost to taxpayers for the recent Global Warming Climate Change summit in Copenhagen. Not surprisingly, the bill is over $1.1 million, which doesn’t include the President’s staff. However, what I think is the most interesting comment, regarding the trip, was made by Rep. Henry Waxman.

“It was cold… I was there because I thought it was important for me to be there,” Rep. Waxman said. “I didn’t look at it as a pleasure trip.”

Did you catch that? It was cold at, of all places, a summit on Global Warming.


Palin vs. Gore

From First Things, the following quote from Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue,

At its most basic level, conservatism is a respect for history and tradition, including traditional moral principles. I do not believe I am more moral, certainly no better, than anyone else, and conservatives who act “holier than thou” turn my stomach. So do some elite liberals. But I do believe in a few timeless and unchanging truths, and chief among those is that man is fallen. The world is not perfect, and politicians will never make it so. This, above all, is what informs my pragmatic approach to politics.

From The Telegraph, a poem by Al Gore,

One thin September soon
A floating continent disappears
In midnight sun

Vapors rise as
Fever settles on an acid sea
Neptune’s bones dissolve

Snow glides from the mountain
Ice fathers floods for a season
A hard rain comes quickly

Then dirt is parched
Kindling is placed in the forest
For the lightning’s celebration

Unknown creatures
Take their leave, unmourned
Horsemen ready their stirrups

Passion seeks heroes and friends
The bell of the city
On the hill is rung

The shepherd cries
The hour of choosing has arrived
Here are your tools

And to think that Al Gore almost became President of the United States.

The phrase, “dodging a bullet” quickly comes to mind.

Debunking Global Warming Myths

A brand new film from the Cornwall Alliance for Stewardship of Creation entitled Not Evil Just Wrong takes a critical look at the claims made by global warming fearmongers and attempts to separate the facts from fiction. Which is worse: the (alleged) problem or the proposed solutions? Click the video below to see the trailer.

Hat tip: Chuck Colson

Global warming, the complexity explained

From NASA warming scientist: ‘This is the last chance’ to Hot Climate could Shut Down Plate Tectonics, what is one to think about our impending doom from Global Warming?

In the web-radio interview Toward a Sensible Approach to Global Warming, the scholars at Reasons to Believe interviewed environmental scientist Kevin Birdwell.

The interview was well done, with no rash statements made on either side of the issue. Birdwell presented the current state of knowledge, on environmental science, noting that global warming does occur. He also noted that, due to the incredibly complex nature of the topic, we are not yet able to determine to what extent human induced warming affects the environment. Birdwell also stated that simply reducing carbon emissions will not necessarily impact global warming since all particulants emitted, natural and man-made, play a role in “global warming.”

It was good to see Reasons to Believe finally address this issue, which has polarized many within the evangelical community.