December 27, 2012
Have we lost all sense of "sin" in our culture and in the church?
The product placement bell gets a name on this week’s Phil Vischer Podcast, and Phil, Skye and Christian explain how they all know each other. They discuss Atheist comic strips, and try to help Skye come up with a new name for his book. They discuss a new Christian “sexy” t-shirt company and, in general, Christian merchandise. Phil debuts a new segment called “Phil has a bone to pick!” and the first segment features Santa Claus and Mercedes-Benz, and our culture’s tendency to glorify sin.
December 21, 2012
The "Christian leaders" in the media don't speak for me.
Since the world is supposed to end today, I want to share some thoughts before we all go. First, let me establish a couple of my personal beliefs. I am a believer in Jesus Christ. I believe what the Bible teaches about homosexuality and the sanctity of life. Now let’s get to the unvarnished truth.
This may not go over well with some, but hey, at least we’ll have a conversation piece for our last day. After watching an interview by a person speaking for our Christian religion, I was less than blessed. He subtly blamed the gays, iPods, computers, evolution, and the fact that God is not in our schools for the shooting in Connecticut. I was compelled to distance myself from him as quickly as possible. It’s a feeling I have had many times over the years when our so-called “religious leaders” make accusatory remarks about entire people groups. What’s worse is as much as I want to distance myself from the remarks, I can’t because we are still tied by the Christian religion. I can’t because the people these leaders attack hear only their view of my God. And so, like an unwilling hostage in a cruel game, I catch the heat from those far from God because they assume I hold the same position.
Sure these leaders make a few decent points, but then follow it up with a very misguided missile of fault. When high profile leaders do things like this, I feel like I’m with a crazy uncle who makes ignorant comments while you’re helping him shop. You have to stand behind him and mouth, “I’m so sorry. He’s old and bit crazy. He means well.” So to my gay friends, scientists, iPhone users, and others he blamed for the HORRENDOUS killing spree by that mentally ill young man, I stand here mouthing a few words of apology to you. And while I’m at it, maybe I could talk to my own fellow Christ followers as well.
Continue reading They Think We're a Hate Group, & They Might Be Right...
December 20, 2012
Evil is real. The world is broken. That's why we need to recapture the truth of Christmas.
In a special episode, Phil discusses the events in Connecticut last week in the light of Christmas, and he explains how the tragedy illuminates what even Christians have lost from the Christian narrative and from Christmas itself.
December 17, 2012
Christian leaders seek to comfort in the aftermath of the massacre.
Mark Galli from Christianity Today reflects on the death and life of innocent children, concluding they "are not alone—nor without hope."
Did you rewrite your sermon for Sunday in light of the shooting? Max Lucado told CNN that pastors will be "scrapping their scheduled Sunday sermons." “You have to address it - you have to turn everything you had planned upside down on Friday because that’s where people’s hearts are."
Ed Stetzer from LifeWay Research outlines three ways Christians should respond to "the horror of a broken world."
Mike Huckabee responds to criticism over his remarks linking the shooting to the secularization of America's public square. Another conservatives, Peter Wehner, who worked in the George W. Bush White House, called Huckabee's remarks witless, theologically confused, flippant, and offensive.
Continue reading Responses to the Sandy Hook School Shooting...
December 13, 2012
These are the high holy days of consumerism, but what do we mean by that term?
**SPOILER: This podcast contains a discussion of Santa Claus, and therefore may not be appropriate for children.**
This week’s podcast opens up with a discussion of gender stereotyped pink Legos, and whether or not churches should encourage belief in Santa Claus. They crew then discusses the difference between consumerism and consumption. Skye then explains how churches have a tendency to commodify the Gospel.
December 10, 2012
Have Americans started to accept gay marriage, and what does it mean for the church?
It isn't news to anyone that Americans' views about gay marriage is shifting. Last month three states decided by popular vote to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples, and now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear two pivotal cases about gay marriage which could settle the legal issue in the U.S. for good.
Do these political victories, however, signal a shift in the views of the general population? According to a new set of polls by USA Today/Gallup that appears to be the case. 53% of Americans now support extending the same legal rights to married gay couples. Among 18-29 year olds, the support rises to 73 percent. Only one age group, those over 65, retain a majority who do not favor same-sex marriage. This fact led conservative commentator George Will to say, "Opposition to gay marriage is literally dying."
Among the minority who still oppose same-sex marriage, most cite religion as the reason. This raises many important questions for the church.
Continue reading The Gay Marriage Mandate?...
December 7, 2012
Only 52 percent of Americans think clergy are honest and ethical.
According to a new Gallup poll, most people trust their pharmacist more than their pastor. The survey rated the "honesty and ethical standards" of 22 different vocations. Nurses came out on top with 85 percent giving them "high/very high" marks on honesty and ethics. Pharmacists ranked at 75 percent.
What about clergy? Only 52 percent said they were highly honest. There is a silver lining--this latest number is 2 percent higher than a similar poll from 2009, which marked the lowest level of public trust in clergy in 32 years.
Other professions that ranked higher than pastors for honesty:
Who came in last? Car salesmen beat members of Congress for that honor. Although with the fiscal cliff looming, Congress has a good shot at retaking the title of least reliable and honost profession.
December 5, 2012
The Easter Bunny, Christian values, and Pat Robertson.
Pat Robertson slams the young earth theory, Two and a Half Men star Angus T. Jones slams his own show after becoming a Seventh-Day Adventist, Phil Vischer slams a new film about Santa and the Easter Bunny, and a preacher slams VeggieTales for teaching values more than Christianity.
December 3, 2012
Why are political and religious leaders giving up on creationism?
In the aftermath of the presidential election, many conservative Republicans are doing some soul searching. Are they out of step with most Americans? Have they been pulled too far to the right by their base? And are the culture war issues that have kept evangelicals in lock-step with the GOP for the last 30 years now doing more harm then good?
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is already testing the waters for a run for the White House in 2016, recently did an interview with GQ where he was asked about the age of the earth. Rubio ducked and dodged and finally said, “I’m not a scientist, man.” Mr. Rubio’s non-answer puts him at odds with last year’s slate of Republican candidates. Eager to win conservative Christian voters, many of them spoke openly about their distrust of evolution.
Rick Perry made headlines when he called evolution “a theory” with “some gaps in it.” Ron Paul was an outspoken creationist, as was Rick Santorum who garnered the early support of evangelical leaders. Mitt Romney, who ultimately became the Republican candidate, took a middle of the road stance saying he believed God created the universe, but he also said, "evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body."
Continue reading Is Evolution a Must-Win Issue?...