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Showing posts from March, 2014

When Christians Support Porn

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Today, a slickly-produced pornographic DVD will be released in stores all across America—and many Christians will shamelessly purchase a copy. Yes, I’m talking about The Wolf of Wall Street (WoWS). Christian movie critics have praised and defended the film for its so-called strong moral themes. It would seem, according to some, that the inundation of sexual imagery provides a strong enough platform on which to present a worthy cautionary tale.

For many reasons (some of which I have already stated), I have a huge problem with that idea. To quote movie critic Megan Basham,
… there’s something decidedly disingenuous about those responsible for hard-R films like Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street claiming that prolonged, detailed scenes of immorality are actually meant to express disapproval of immorality. Even many in the typically slavish entertainment media chuckled when best actor nominee Leonardo DiCaprio (he of the notorious club-hopping, serial super-model dating lifestyle) said of …

Legalism, Sexual Sin, and My Experience with Bill Gothard

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When Bill Gothard and I posed in front of the camera, I had no idea that I was standing next to a sexual predator. I had just finished two years as a part-time student in Telos Institute International (founded by Gothard), and it was a time of celebration. Fast forward to today, where it has become public knowledge that Gothard has been accused dozens of times over of sexual and emotional harassment. If these accusations are true, which appears likely, it is a tragic series of events. The amount of pain caused by this one man’s abuse of power is absolutely staggering.

Even before now, plenty of people have accused members of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (also founded by Gothard) of legalism and cultish behavior. I’ve even seen many people link Gothard’s sexual sin with the doctrines he espouses. I may not be steeped in IBLP culture, but I am familiar enough with it to ask myself this question: does this devastating news about Bill Gothard nullify my own experience with his …

Is the Bible’s Use of Sexuality R-rated?

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A couple weeks ago, I took the unfashionable position of calling The Wolf of Wall Street an “immorality play.” I argued that a film with such blatantly pornographic elements should be called for what it is: porn. A Hollywood platform and an adult video store are no different if the stories they are selling use the same methods. A storyteller’s methods are, after all, a part of his message—whether he acknowledges it or not.

In the article, I dealt with the excuse that the Bible itself is R-rated. Due to some constructive criticism, I realized my line of reasoning was both incomplete and possibly misleading. I want to be clear and accurate, so let’s revisit the issue.
I didn’t mean to imply that all films with R ratings are inherently evil. I most certainly don’t believe that. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating system is so flawed as to be practically meaningless. Some R rated films are cleaner than some PG rated films. Scripture itself—not the opinions of others—is…

Don’t Be Color Blind: An Interview with Trillia Newbell

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My friend Trillia Newbell knows the term “color blind” is well intentioned, but it might cause us to miss out on the beauty of our differences. She’s written about that beauty in her newly released book, United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity. Shannon and I are looking forward to getting our own copy.

If you care about diversity in the church—or especially if you don't—you could benefit from reading this book.To help motivate you toward that end, I asked Trillia to talk with me about the book and how she hopes it will serve the body of Christ.
Q: There are many in our Western culture who would say, “I’m not prejudiced. Our church may be predominantly one race, but we love everyone. I don’t see a need for reading something like this.” What would you say to encourage someone like that to read your book?
A: A lot of people are thinking we’re post racial, but until Jesus comes back we’re going to struggle with racism. Until then, you should want to know about your brothers and s…