Temptation is cool these days. You didn’t realise that? Sure it is. Every second ad on TV wants you to give into temptation. Giving into temptation is what all the cool kids do. Temptation leads to all the fun stuff our parents told us not to do. So, what’s your temptation?
Why does a good God allow suffering in the world? It’s a question that comes up time and time again. As people who live in a fallen world, we are constantly confronted with tragic events. Why do good people die? Why are we attacked by natural disasters? If there is a God, why isn’t he doing his job? Why does he let bad things happen if he’s all that he’s cracked up to be?
Everyone struggles with this issue, Christian or not. We want someone to be held accountable for things that go wrong. As a Christian, it can be difficult to reconcile the God of love with the God who allows evil to exist in this world. What if there was a book that could explain this? What if there is a book that could help us understand who God is and what he has done? If only there was a book that could clearly explain God. The Shack is being put forward as the solution. The Shack is being put forward as a great way to understand God. Unfortunately, The Shack should not be a place you go to for answers.
The Rapture has happened. All of the Christians have floated up into the air, leaving everyone else behind. And to be honest, those who are still here kind of like it that way. But something is happening. Things are changing. Pagan magic is starting to have real and obvious affects. Black winged angels in army gear are patrolling the streets. And dogs are starting to talk. Welcome to the world of Therefore Repent!
Wall·E ( 2008 )
Can Pixar do any wrong? Sure, not all their movies have been smash it out of the park huge, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a terrible Pixar movie. These guys get it. They’re not just pumping out movies because the market demands kids movies several times a year. Pixar are creating movies that are for people of all ages. My wife and I went to see Wall·E at the movies last week with no guilt or shame. We weren’t too adults sneaking into a kids movie. We were two adults enjoying a movie that was appropriate for all ages. Even better that it had a cute robot in it.
I’m preparing to give a kids talk at Church on Sunday morning. I’ve been ask to give a talk on Zacchaeus aimed at 5 year olds. I love giving kids talks. It’s a great privilege God gives to tell young kids about the God who loves them. And the great thing about kids talks is that they’re great for adults too. Everyone has different learning styles, so the very visual, simple talk with one big point can really make an impact. But sometimes, as is the case with this talk, as I prepare I find myself with great illustrations that aren’t appropriate for the audience. Usually they’re too obscure or aimed at too young an audience. This time though, the illustration I thought of was too old for my audience. I doubt many 5 year olds have heard of Ben Folds.
If it wasn’t for Magnums, ice cream would just be for kids. Thanks to their clever marketing, Streets were the first to make it acceptable for a grown up to walk down to the corner shop and fork over more than $2 for an ice cream. And it’s a good thing too, because as much as I love a Paddlepop, it’s got nothing over an Almond Magnum.
The Magnum adds have always been a bit provocative. Their previous ads have featured the Seven Deadly Sins and the temptation of Adam and Eve. Most of their ads could double for advertisments for phone sex lines. They’re not very subtle. And their current campaign isn’t going to change that. Do you worship Magnums? If you don’t, the current campaign is telling you that you should.
I love paintball. If it wasn’t so expensive, I’d be playing a lot more. I’ve got some great stories from “out on the battlefield”. Every time I’ve gone, it’s been because of a celebration, usually a bucks party. There’s just something inherently right at shooting your mate with high velocity paint balls the week before he’s about to be married. As I was walking through the shopping centre the other day, I saw a stand for a paintball company selling discount games. Yep, that will sure get my attention. But what caught my attention even more was the kinds of events they suggested you could have at their paintball course.
What? We’re celebrating divorces now?
High school is hell. That was the initial premise for Buffy The Vampire Slayer. A weekly horror show set in a school. A teenage girl facing all the problems of adolescence, as well as fighting vampires and other assorted demons and monsters. It’s a great show and a particular favourite of mine. And yes, Oz is my favourite character. Great dialogue and strong characters makes this a must watch show. But is it responsible for driving women away from Christianity?
Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)
Starring Sean Penn, Phoebe Cates, Judge Reinhold
Have teen comedies really changed so little in 26 years? Change the fashions and the soundtrack and this 80s classic would not rise an eyebrow amongst the multitude of high school sex comedies released today. But Fast Times came out in 1982. You gotta give it credit.
Warning: Following link contains coarse language.
Cracked has a shot at Jesus and Pop Culture right here.
Here’s a thought. How about Christians spend less time protesting things that may or may not be unscriptural and inevitably turn people AWAY from Jesus, and more time telling them about the Christ who saves? You know, just a thought.
Starring Ellen Page and Michael Cera
I’d heard a lot about this movie before watching it. It was apparantly a big hit among pro-lifers. Dealing with the theme of teen pregnancy, this movie is pretty topical. Well, as topical as a movie about teen pregnancy can be – there’s been pregnant teens ever since there were teenage girls… In what light does this movie show this theme and is it the uplifting cautionary tale that I’ve heard it is meant to be?
The passage was Galatians 6, where I encouraged the congregation to “Be Excellent To Each Other”.
As a Christian, I want to make use of every opportunity to evangelise. I want everyone to know about what Jesus has done for them and that they too can be one of God’s people. And as a youth minister, I am especially interested in going into high schools and reaching those school students who don’t know him. But the question is: how do I do this in the most effective and appropriate way? Some people think Exo Days are the way to go. But as I discovered whilst listening to Triple J news this morning, not everyone is happy about this.
I was never a fan of the original Beverly Hills 90210. As a teenage boy, I guess I just wasn’t that into a show designed for teeny bopper girls. It was a big show in the day, setting the tone for many teenage dramas over the last (almost) 20 years. So of course, they’re bringing it back. Proving once again that Hollywood has no new ideas left, here comes Beverly Hills 90210: The Next Generation or more simply put 90210.
Last Christmas, I had the privelege of preaching at our Church’s Christmas Day service. Me, being a guy who doesn’t know where the box is half the time, let alone think inside it, thought I’d be a bit creative with my sermon choice. So instead of preaching from one of the accounts of Jesus’ birth, I preached from Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. I’d hoped to upload the sermon mp3, but some how I’m missing a huge chunk of it. So here is my best attempt to present my sermon in written form.
There aren’t a lot of prominent Christian characters in Australian (fictional) TV. We don’t exactly have a lot of Seventh Heaven‘s or Touched By An Angel‘s. We don’t even have a Vicar of Dibley. But we do have Home and Away‘s Geoff Campbell. Played by Lincoln Lewis, he’s the sheltered Christian kid who’s been introduced to a world that he doesn’t quite understand. He struggles to maintain his faith as he is tempted by the two greatest lures for the Australian male – girls and footy. What does Geoff tell us about being a Christian in 21st century Australia?
Three months down. I wasn’t even sure I was going to make it past three weeks when I started. Thanks to everyone who has dropped in and read one of my articles. Why don’t you introduce yourself to me in the comments section? I’m really keen to find out who is reading this site and what brought you here. I met someone in the real world a few weeks ago. The next day I added him to Facebook. He let me know that he’s been following Pop Culture Christ for months, but didn’t make the connection when he met me in the real world. So shout out and let me know who you are!