Some time ago I stumbled upon a painting (I later found to be done by a Mormon) of Jesus holding the US Constitution as if the Founding Fathers did not so much write it as they were handed it by Christ himself. My brief comment about it was welcomed by a very vibrant conversation.
Lo and behold, there is a follow-up to the original painting:
The painting features current President Barak Obama standing on the Constitution and flanked by all the other presidents including George W. Bush who is just over his right shoulder. Click here for a larger, interactive, version of this painting.
What first strikes me about the painting itself (other than FDR standing) is that it is Obama who is standing on the Constitution amidst shreds of paper containing the Bill of Rights. Could we not also put other presidents, like, I don’t know, George W. Bush himself who presided over the near military state as the Patriot Act was signed into law to “protect” the American people while giving the federal government unprecedented power over the populous?
I don’t usually make political comments, but something occurred to me watching the news tonight. Many have talked about the high divorce rates that continue to climb higher. People who are divorced remarry 65% of the time and they have an even higher divorce rate than the rest of us.
Could it be that even with criticism (and perhaps because of it), Newt has achieved the status of the common man? “He’s been there! He understands!”
What a time we live in.
Nearly a year ago I began to follow the moving and shaking that has been happening in the northern part of my state in a booming Christian congregation called Granger Community Church. A typical megachurch, Granger prides itself in being fully relevant to popular culture even to the extent of using Coldplay songs to headline services and basing sermons on popular movies, drawing out “spiritual themes” and applying them to the lives of Christians.
As a testimony to the belief in the method above the message, executive pastor Tim Stevens wrote a book called Pop Goes the Church: Should the Church Engage Pop Culture? to defend the church’s philosophy of taking pop culture as the driving force behind its weekly services rather than the good news of Jesus Christ.
Lacking theological basis, services at Granger lack the biblical substance, giving popular culture the center stage. Granger wrongly bases its success on the number of people in attendance, not on the strength of their belief. For the remainder of this post I will take chapter 8, titled “I’m Not a Theologian, But…” and address each of the ten points he tries to make to justify a position that the church should not only address popular culture, but completely embrace it.
In light of recent conversations and buzz among people in the Christian community regarding problems that really do need to be addressed, it seems all the more important to remember what a gift we have in our freedom of religion.
Back in 2002 a book was published under the title A Vida de Jesus by cartoonist Gerhard Haderer. This a delightful, yet sacrilegious romp through an alternative life of Jesus. Its illustrations are vibrant and detailed as the author takes us through what really happened at his birth, the cutting of the umbilical cord, the horror that the wisemen felt at the crying and wailing baby, to the growing halo around the child’s head. In childhood the young Jesus attracts 12 friends in part because his halo light was great for playing games late at night.
No doubt this was not a biblical account of the life of Christ, nor was it meant to be. It was published and sold in several countries in Europe, including Greece. Not sure if modern Greeks are usually tolerant of religious differences, but they were not pleased with this particular publication. Haderer was legally accused of blasphemy and was handed a suspended sentence of 6 months to boot!
The United States may be wrecked with many problems these days, but fortunately we to not have to live with such turmoil. Even today we read about how North Korea is killing Christians for their faith. This is not a problem of the yester-years, people are continuing to be martyered for what they hold in their hearts and minds.
Take some time to stop and be grateful today.