Monday, March 4, 2013

The Bible Comes to Prime Time

On Sunday, 3-3-13, the Bible will be featured on the History Channel as a "prime time" 10-part mini-series simply titled, "The Bible". Though not the first time the History Channel has aired programming related to the Bible, the producers promise this one will be different. For, unlike past programs, they have said The Bible is not intended to approach the Bible as an "investigation" or "mystery" as the network has done in past documentaries; but, rather to be a more straightforward interpretation. Hopefully, by straightforward they mean accurate.

I have high hopes that it will be an accurate representation, and after watching the previews, I am actually looking forward to watching this series. However, the viewer should keep in mind it is a docudrama, which means that "artistic" liberties will surely be taken in the telling of the story. In fairness, that is not unusual in historical documentaries and should not be a reason for Christians to become overly alarmed. Unfortunately, how far they go with these liberties cannot be determined until after we have had a chance to view the broadcast.

So, should we be wary? Perhaps, but there are some, seemingly, positive assurances being given that it is not only done well, but is also fairly accurate - at least by Hollywood standards. Producer, Mark Burnett - a very successful television producer of such shows as Survivor, The Voice, Celebrity Apprentice, and Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, to name a few - is saying all the right things on the front end.

He points out their primary reference is the New International Version of the Bible, which he goes on to say is the version preferred by Evangelical leaders. In addition, they established a Board of Advisors made up of Biblical Scholars who provided their insight and helped to assure accuracy. A point Burnett also includes is that they took on this project to provide updated versions of classic older films which dealt with Bible stories, such as the Ten Commandments, but can no longer match the special effects generated in film today. (Huffington Post)

In interviews, he and his wife and co-producer, Roma Downey (who starred in Touched By An Angel and plays Mary in the series) have been consistent in mentioning these details, driving home the point that they want to get it right, while insisting it must also have dramatic appeal and the special effects available today through CGI and other film advances. Both say they grew up with the Scriptures and the Bible is an important to them and they want to pass that along. Recognizing current data indicates fewer people are reading the Bible, they maintain it is their goal to make it more appealing and meaningful to a new generation of readers.

[To help with this goal a website was developed to help Pastors and Churches utilize The Bible series in their ministry. [The Bible Outreach] If you click on the embedded link: "Watch a video from Mark and Roma" you can see a brief clip of them talking about their motivation and hopes for the film.]

Burnett and Downey also claim that they have become deeply religious and this has, in part, led to their interest in this series on the Bible. They have also expressed that they attend Church regularly. Parade Magazine has a weekly feature titled "Sunday With..." which asks celebrities to share information about their personal lives, including what they do on Sundays. In the February 24, 2013 issue, Burnett and Downey stated that going to Church is part of their family's Sunday activities.

Everything sounds good thus far. The producers claim to be committed to the Scriptures, deeply religious and active Church attenders, and to be motivated by a desire to renew interest in the Bible. They further claim, the script is adapted from a translation of the Bible that is widely accepted in the Church and they have enlisted the assistance of a panel of Biblical scholars to serve as Advisors to ensure accuracy.

Catholic, Presbyterian, New Age, or Word Faith?

Even with all these assurances, there are a few things I believe we need to keep in mind as we view The Bible. Let's begin with the producers being deeply religious and committed to the Scriptures. Burnett grew up in England, the son of a Roman Catholic father and Presbyterian mother. Downey is from Ireland and was raised, and claims to still be, a devout Roman Catholic. Regarding Church attendance, she attends Mass at Our Lady of Malibu.

However, while discussing her Catholic faith in a video interview with the Washington Post, she makes some interesting comments about her view of God, stating, "I see God in everyone and in everything [I have heard there are] two points of view - there is no God, or there is only God; and for me there is only God." [Watch the Interview] Such a view is much more in line with New Age theology than with a biblical view of God.

Perhaps she gained this new view of God from her association with her Touched By an Angel costar, Della Reese, who pastors a New Age Church. [Read Crosswinds' Just the Facts on Reese] When Burnett and Downey were married, Reese was the Minister whom they chose to officiate the wedding.

I think, without question, Reese has had an influence over Downey's view of God, and possibly that of Burnett, as well. However, even if she hasn't, Downey definitely has been exposed to the New Age having earned a degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica (USM). (Charisma)

Lest one think this is a fully accredited four-year university with degrees in several schools; it is not. USM only offers an advance degree in "Spiritual Psycology". If there is any question as to whether this is tied into New Age thought one only has to look to the founder of USM, Roger Delano Hinkins, who goes by the name, John-Roger. Hinkins, or John-Roger, is a prominent New Age author and teacher.

Compounding this problem, Downey and Burnett also have become close friends with televangelist Joel Osteen who is a popular Word-Faith television preacher. [Read our article on Osteen] Perhaps, Osteen's influence on Burnett, has led to some of his more recent claims regarding the Holy Spirit and Jesus literally hugging him. Such views line up more with a Word-Faith theology such as Osteen's than that of his Catholic father and Presbyterian mother. (Outreach Magazine)

Burnett's and Downey's friendship with Osteen is such that they have attended his Church and have been guests in his home. Burnett even signed on to do a reality television show with Osteen in 2012. (Wall Street Journal)

This friendship also led to Osteen being one of the Advisors on The Bible series. Which presents another problem; the closest representative this Board has to an evangelical and a Bible scholar is Southern Baptist, Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California. [Click to see a full listing of Advisors]

Bottom line, I think it safe to say that even if Burnett and Downey are Christians, they have been influenced by the New Age Movement and, on some level, exposed to Word-Faith teaching. For this reason Christians should watch this series with discernment, but holding out hope that - whatever they really believe - they truly do seek to tell the Bible story without imposing any theological interpretations or bias. If they do, this could be a wonderful tool for helping to raise a new interest in the Bible.

However, no matter which way it goes, rather than complaining about it, let's use it as an opportunity to start a conversation about the Bible and about Christ. If people watch it, they'll be open to talk about it. Let's be ready to seize the moment to connect in culture and share with those around us, our hope in Christ.

Watch The Bible Trailer

Friday, July 6, 2012

Aliens Among Us

Last week, the National Geographic Channel (NGC) released the results of its "Aliens Among Us" poll. The poll was conducted in May of 2012 and was commissioned to bring attention to the new NGC program, "Chasing UFOs" which premiered Friday, June 29, 2012.

While most of the poll's questions were typical of those asked in other polls regarding the beliefs of Americans concerning space aliens and UFOs, NGC senior vice president, Brad Dancer acknowledged not all the questions were serious; but, some were intended to be fun and to measure the impact of pop culture references on these beliefs.

These "fun" questions included: "Who would better handle an alien invasion, President Barack Obama or Republican Challenger, Mitt Romney?" And, "Which superhero would you call in to fight off an alien attack?"

The more serious questions were consistent with the findings of prior polling related to UFOs in revealing the extent of Americans' belief in UFOs. These findings include: 71% of Americans believe in UFOs, 11% are confident they have seen one, 20% claim to know someone who has seen one, and 79% believe the government has kept something about UFOs hidden from the American public.

Since NGC made this a topic of discussion, we thought it a good time to take a closer look at UFOs in our article, "Beam Me Up Scotty". In the article you can also find the answer to which political candidate and which superhero Americans thought would best lead the charge against an alien attack.

What do you think? Take our poll and share your views about extra-terrestrials.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Muslim President - Really?

I found it interesting that, in conjunction with the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, Public Policy Polling thought it would be a good idea to poll the people of my fair state and those in Mississippi to see where those voting in the Republican primary stood on the President’s religion. They found 45% of those polled in Alabama believe him to be a Muslim and 14% consider him a Christian. His numbers were even worse in Mississippi where 52% of those polled believed him to be a Muslim and only 12% a Christian.

Some question the accuracy of these polls which considered responses from only 600 voters. However, maybe the numbers are accurate. Consider the results of similar polling done by Pew Research among conservative Republicans on a national level. In 2009 they found that 18% of conservative Republicans believed the President to be a Muslim. When taking the poll in 2010 the number was on the rise having increased to 34% of conservative Republicans believing him a Muslim.

Maybe the Alabama and Mississippi numbers just reflect a growing trend to believe or paint the President as a Muslim. Regarding the 2010 polling, Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham said he believed the problem the President was having is that“[He] was born a Muslim and that those religious roots affect his governance today. He said that although Obama says he’s a Christian the “seed of Islam” is in him and “the Islamic world sees the president as one of theirs.”



Recently, Graham was a guest on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and refused to acknowledge the President is a Christian while freely admitting he thought a Republican candidate was a Christian. A week later, Graham apologized stating his regret for “any comments I have ever made which may have cast any doubt on the personal faith of our president, Mr. Obama.”



Prior to his apology, it seems Reverend Graham was simply expressing an opinion held by a significant portion of the population. In fact, the Pew polling in 2010 found that 18% of all who were polled still believe the President to be a Muslim, despite his claim of being a Christian.

It seems odd to me that my fellow political conservatives and fellow Christians who continue to try to paint the President as a Muslim refuse to offer any Christian grace that he might actually be just what he proclaims – a Christian. I know what some of you are thinking – blasphemy; but, really? Is it our calling to go around and question the genuineness of everyone who claims to be a Christian?

I realize some will argue that in this case there is no evidence he is a Christian. Okay, let’s go with that. Perhaps he is not. However, there is even less evidence that he is a Muslim. In fact, if he is a Muslim, he is without question the worse Muslim in the history of “Muslimdom”. I know – not a word; but, you get the point.

Just because enough people polled believe something to be true does not make it true. Nor does something become true if you say it often enough. Perhaps it is time to consider the facts and let go of the whole “Obama is a Muslim” mantra. If you are a Republican, or a political conservative, you have many legitimate disagreements and stronger issues to raise concerning the President and his policies (his “birth certificate” is not one of them).

I do get it that preaching to the choir is a lot easier than actually debating the issues. Maybe, I am even wrong. Perhaps, it is true that if you tell a Republican or political conservative something often enough they’ll believe it, despite the facts. I hope that’s not the case.

That’s my opinion. What’s yours?

If you are convinced President Obama is a Muslim, I would very much appreciate you letting me know the basis for that belief. I am certainly open to looking at the facts. Email me at bob@crosswindsfoundation.org

Friday, May 20, 2011

Where Were You On May 22, 2011?

After the attack on the World Trade Towers, country singer/songwriter Alan Jackson put his thoughts about that day in the song, "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning". As this song depicts, that day surely seemed like the end of the world. All of us can remember where we were as that event unfolded. (Listen to the song at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvj6zdWLUuk)

This week the media has given much attention to a prophecy by Harold Camping that the world will come to an end on May 21, 2011; which is, as I am writing, tomorrow. I couldn't help but think of the contrast of Camping's prediction and the events of September 11.

September 11 really happened. It had all the feel of the end of the world as we knew it. The question Alan Jackson poses is one that still resonates with us today.

Camping's prediction concerning May 21st, does not depict a real event for that day - it is a false prophecy. It has the media's attention today but will quickly fade as the next day begins. Years from now no one will be asking, "Where were you during Armageddon on May 21, 2011?"

This begs the question, why is the secular media bringing such attention to it; especially, when they clearly do not believe it to be true? Some would say it is intended to ridicule or mock Christians; however, I don't think that is the case. More likely it's just economics. End of the world - apocalyptic - prophecies sell. People love a good "end of the world" story.

In other words, it simply boils down to plain old marketing. Don't think Apocalyptic groups are unaware of this fact. Many of them have found that a well devised end-time prophecy actually helps with recruiting. Think about it.

How many people had actually heard of Camping prior to all the attention he is getting from this prophecy. Without question, it has helped him add new recruits, while strengthening the commitment of those who were already followers.

Part of the appeal is also due to these prophecies generally including some guarantee or hope of survival being found only through membership in, or association with, the group. Their leader is the only one who knows the "truth".

While reason might indicate that making a false prophecy should disqualify the leader and be bad for business, that is not necessarily the case. Many groups making a false prediction concerning the end of the world will make subsequent false predictions. The masters at this are the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Even Camping has found a false prophecy is not always "disastrous" and can be easily, even if not credibly, explained away to one's followers. For, on May 22nd, this will not prove to be Camping's first missed prophecy as he had once predicted Christ would return to earth on September 6, 1994.

How should such prophecies be regarded? After all, the Bible does teach that Christ will return. This is a belief that the Church has always held to and proclaimed to be true. In fact, Jesus was pretty clear about his return when he said:

"...about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father". (Matt 24:36)

Seems to me that based on what Jesus said, the only day we can know with certainty is the day he will not return is any day proclaimed by a man as the one on which he will return.

I think it is safe to say we will have plenty of opportunities to ask, where were you on May 22, 2011? I plan on being in Church with my family and later watching an NBA playoff game. My guess is Mr. Camping will not have time for such as he will be busy working on a revision to this latest false prophecy.

My prediction, there is more to come...

If you love these end-time prophecies don't despair more are on the horizon. Next up is the Mayan Prophecy set for December 21, 2012.


Want to know more about Camping and Family Radio. Check Out These Links:
Listen to Harold Camping Defend his prophecy, stating with absolute certainty that things will not be as usual on May 22 which he refers to as the second day of judgment.


  • Brief Overview of Camping in Huffington Post: 5 Facts About The May 21 Judgment Day Predictor
  • Interesting Washington Post Online Interview with Dr. Doug Weaver of Baylor University discussing how Camping arrived at the May 21, 2011 prophecy. Also, includes discussion of other apocalyptic groups: Interview with Dr. Doug Weaver
  • For those who want to know the background on Camping, the following will provide extensive information about Camping prior to the renewed interest generated by the 2011 prophecy: Apologetics Index Harold Camping
  • Finally, here is Camping's website complete with ticker counting down the days to the end of the world. However, with only one day left you better visit it quickly: Family Radio Worldwide

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, and Tornados: Life Lessons from the Back of a Pickup Truck

As I looked at my feet there were literally hundreds of hamburgers and hot dogs. I was in the midst of a fast food junkies’ ultimate burger fantasy. As I stared at all this food and thought how good it would be to reach out and have one, I couldn’t help also thinking that the ones for whom they were prepared would probably much rather be sitting at their own table eating a meal of their own choosing.
Last week as tornadoes ripped through much of the Southeast, my own state, Alabama was especially hard hit. As the rescue and relief efforts got under way I had an opportunity to go into one of the hardest hit areas of my home city, Birmingham.

My friend Andy Jenkins had offered to take me into the staging area of the relief effort, for what he described as a “20 minute” recon trip, so I could better assess bringing in volunteers associated with my group, Crosswinds Foundation. As so often seems to happen when being with Andy, our “20 minute” trip turned into an adventure that lasted more than two hours and allowed me to get much more than just a glimpse of the staging; I was able to see the determination and resolve that is so often found in the midst of seemingly hopeless situations.

Once we arrived on the scene the “recon” quickly ended and I found that we were now “feet on the ground” volunteers. Our task was to help transfer food from the distribution area to a facility that was housing and feeding the residents of the community. Naturally, from Andy’s perspective, this was part of the education process for me; however, in actuality, it was driven by Andy’s unrelenting desire to help those who are in need. (I have found this to be common among many of the hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers in our area.)

Food Distribution to Residents
 So it was that I found myself sitting in the back of a pickup truck with its bed so loaded with hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, and all kinds of snack foods, that there was barely room for me and Andy. And, though we only had a relatively short distance to travel, our trip was being extended by the many detours required by fallen trees, downed power lines, and debris that blocked most of the roads in this community.

Sitting in the back of the pickup truck I got my first up-close look at the damage. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s I worked as an insurance claims adjuster. During that time, I had been on the scene immediately after two hurricanes and several tornados to handle property damage claims. I have never seen anything comparable to what I saw last week. I knew from the images being broadcast by local and national media that the damage was extensive; however, after viewing this area in person, I don’t think any image can effectively communicate, or prepare you for, the extent of the devastation.

Everywhere I looked I saw houses, businesses, neighborhoods – a community reduced to piles of rubble. No structure in the path of this tornado seemed to have been able to hold its ground; no tree – no matter how mighty or large its reach – was able to remain standing; no person could prevail in its wake. Or, could they?

There, in the midst of all the rubble, the fallen trees, crushed houses, shattered businesses, and crumpled vehicles, were people. People who had lost all or most of their possessions but were still there; people who had lost family, friends, and loved ones, but were still there – resilient, wonderful, courageous, determined people, who would not be moved – who could not be moved. While they did not choose for their community to be destroyed, it would be by their own choosing that they would remain there and rebuild it.


Viewing damage from back of pickup truck
 Driving through the area I could hear the chain saws buzzing as I watched homeowners and their families clear their property of fallen trees. I could see neighbors helping one another go through the debris searching for anything that might be salvaged, be it a piece of property, or a treasured memory that could be saved. Others were walking the streets asking if everyone was okay or if they needed anything. How amazing these people were to so quickly have determined to move forward rather than to be defined by this tragedy.

Then I met Patrick. Well, actually I saw him; our formal introduction would come later. At the time he was simply a man in the neighborhood who, upon seeing us, began running toward the truck waving his arms and yelling. As we came to a stop and he drew closer we could hear him saying repeatedly, “We need some water”.

We had a whole truckload of food; but no water since the place we were taking the food already had plenty of bottled water on site. We explained this to him and offered some food but, he wasn’t asking for food – they needed water.

I’ve thought a lot about that. Here he was in the midst of an area where most of the homes had been completely destroyed, there was no electricity, no running water, no air conditioning, no cable, or satellite service – none of the things in life we so often treasure – and all he wanted was water.

We told him that once we delivered the food we would bring him some water. Due to travel conditions it would take us about forty minutes to deliver the food and get back to the distribution center. Upon arrival, we put a case of water in my Jeep to take to Patrick. Andy, who always thinks beyond just meeting the need, also grabbed a bunch of hot dogs and burgers and, as a special treat, some ice cream.

When we got back to the area where we first encountered him, we distributed the water and food. Patrick called out to several neighbors and told them they better come get some ice cream and water. As several folks gathered to get some food, ice cream, or water, we got to know a little of Patrick’s story.

We learned that the home where he was cutting up trees and clearing debris belongs to his uncle. He showed us where he played as a child when his Dad would visit his uncle’s home. He pointed out where the garage his Dad and uncle once worked on cars had stood just days before. Who knew where it was now.
Bob and Patrick with tornado path in background
 Other family members were there helping Patrick. As we talked, we discovered that, among them, only Patrick and his uncle still lived in the community. All the other men came from areas of the city that were unaffected by the tornado (one actually worked in my community which had also been unaffected by the tornado). They were there because, as they pointed out, that’s what family does – help one another.

When you volunteer to help in these areas, no matter where they are in our State, that’s what you hear time and time again. Families helping families to rebuild a home; neighbors helping neighbors to rebuild a community; friends reaching out to friends to move a city forward – that’s what makes a nation great.

I am glad Andy turned my “twenty minute” trip into a learning experience. I am thankful that I got to meet Patrick and his family and to hear some of their story. I am blessed by having seen all the volunteers who are tirelessly serving in areas where they don’t even know anyone, “giving out a cup of cold water”. I am proud of the Church which, despite all its many flaws, often shines the brightest in the face of such disaster and need.

Maybe a lesson we can all take from this is to slow down a bit and take a fresh look at our priorities, at what’s really important. Perhaps we need to find greater pleasure in the basic necessities of life – having a drink of cold water. Or, better yet, to share a cup of water in Jesus’ name.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” JN 4:13-14

You can help with the relief effort in Alabama through the Crosswinds Foundation. Just make your check payable to Crosswinds Foundation and designate it, “Tornado Relief”. 100% of these funds will go directly toward providing for needs associated with the tornado damage.

Mail your check to:

Crosswinds Foundation
P.O. Box 12143
Birmingham, AL 35202

You can also give online. For the next two weeks all online gifts will go directly toward tornado relief unless otherwise designated.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE ONLINE

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"No Te Preocupes" by Jeff Sutherland

“Si me dieras el si!”

Loosely translated this means, “If only she would say yes”. This is the only sentence I learned in my four quarters of Spanish other than, “Donde es el bano?” (Where is the bathroom), and “Yo quiero mas cervasas.” (I need more beer). The latter two, I must admit, were closely connected as part of my college days. The former, however, proved to have much greater importance as it was a sentence I learned while attempting to woo my future bride into marrying me.

Fortunately God in His infinite wisdom convinced my bride to say yes because He knew I needed lots of help staying close to Him. He also knew she needed to be challenged by my foolish ideas.

In addition to my wife, I have also learned much from God through, more than 30 years of toiling in the soil, making sure the grounds and greens at the golf course were in good shape. Recently, I have seen evidence of this as He used my new amigos and fellow workers to teach me and them more about Him and His ways.

I didn’t pay attention in Spanish class but I sure wish I had. I have a desire to communicate with those I work with not just to say, “Be sure and cut the greens on a 10/2 direction,” (referring to the position of those numbers on a clock in relation to the position of the golf green), or, “Watch out, the chainsaw is slipping from the limb toward your head.” By the time my brain comes up with that translation my amigo is comatose and gushing blood and has been transported to the emergency room for an overnight stay for observation.

In fact, it won’t be until I meet him at the hospital the following morning that I will have worked out the translation. There, I proudly announce the warning I should have given the previous day, “Seguir, la motosierra es deslizamiento de la extremidad hacia su cabeza.”

It is difficult trying to communicate a good Christian witness to my fellow workers when we speak different languages and come from different cultures; but I am trying. I have found one way to do this is through first speaking with my actions. For example, they will often ask if I can help them finish raking bunkers or help them move over the weekend. My answer is always, ‘No problem,” a phrase I picked up in Jamaica on our honeymoon.

They picked up on this and I soon found they would ride by me in their golf carts and yell, “No problem!” Sometimes, when I am tired, and having a difficult time pushing a fertilizer spreader or spraying greens for insects in a chemical suit, in the 100 degree heat of the day, they drive by and yell, “No problem,” and laugh hysterically. Not exactly what you might want to hear; but I am finding that God has arranged it so I could spend one on one time with nearly every one of my new friends.

When I need someone to assist me with the spraying, one of them will work alongside me – a captive audience for my communication efforts – while his buddies point and laughingly shout, “No problem!” During our time working together day I would try to learn from them and they would attempt to learn from me. We would see a turtle and I would point and shrug. “Tortuga” my friend would say.

Animals, work and family were easy enough but soon we would move to more complex ideas, concepts and thoughts. On those rare 70 degree low humidity days when the sun rose among the clouds as if God were showing off, we would both look appreciatively at it and reply in unison, “Gracias Dios por un hermoso dia” (Thank you God for a beautiful day).

We would enjoy our days together despite the hard work. Inevitably though, the questions would come. Things like “Why does God allow evil?” “If God is sovereign why are we responsible?” And my favorite, “What is the Trinity?”

Understanding the concept behind the Triune God is one thing. Explaining its mysteries to someone is something else entirely. Doing it with two people who know 50 words in common with only moments at a time for discussion is, in a word, difficult.

Like me, you have probably found that communication can be hard even in the best of situations. Language and culture can certainly become obstacles to overcome; however, we can find common ground to work from.

When the economy began to sour and housing dried up the chants of “No problem!” continued but when layoffs began, unemployment rose, and as the dollar devalued, raises stopped. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the oil flowed into the gulf and onto our beaches. Suddenly, I found these same guys were looking to me for answers. It was time for a new form of encouragement.

It wasn’t enough to be there to help, to support, to talk through problems, encouragement was needed. Real people needed real encouragement because times were tough. Those words came one day through Hispanic friend who spoke the most English – the one who asked the Trinity question.

He realized it is not enough to just say, no problem, because there are many problems. Even if we are working through them, they are still with us everyday waiting to be tackled. He somehow understood not only what I was saying, but more importantly, what I meant. “No te preocupes!” he said. “You have no worries”, he added in translation.

He hit the nail on the head. Those three words moved our conversation from merely talking about things to actually doing something about them. Why is it so different you ask?

No worries, conveys the message that regardless of the problems – and there are many today in your life and mine – I choose to give them to God. It means that I won’t worry about tomorrow because He holds tomorrow and He is in control of my life and all of my problems.

Are there things I could worry about? Certainly, just watch the news for five minutes and any thinking person can find plenty to worry about. Times are looking pretty grim and they appear to be getting worse. But I choose not to spend my time, effort and energy worrying about; rather, I choose to focus on what God has for me to do today: sharing with you, my friends, my amigos, “No te preocupes!” You have no worries except those you choose to hold onto.

No matter what language we speak or what culture we are part of, we can put our faith in Him, knowing that each day He will take care of our needs. He promises He will. Even when problems come, we can live without worries. As the Apostle Peter wrote, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

Now, that’s good news!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Who's Going Out On Halloween

"All Hallow's Even" is upon us or, if you don't speak Olde English, Halloween. October 31 is a day kids love to celebrate, as do many grown-ups. After all, it involves dressing up in a costume and pretending to be someone, or something, else and, then there is candy - lots of candy.

The celebration of Halloween has long been woven into the fabric of our culture. Most Americans can remember selecting, or making, a Halloween costume and going trick-or-treating. Many of us still hold fond memories of bags full of candy being gathered as we ran door to door holding out our container to be filled with those delicious morsels - detesting that one person in the neighborhood who always insisted on giving out "healthy" treats - and at the end of the evening emptying all of it into a big pile to cull out our least favorite brands and then negotiate trades with our fellow trick-or-treaters.

As we got older there were parties to attend, perhaps accompanied by innocent prank or two. But, the reality is, Halloween is about much more than just costumes and candy and it is the other elements, along with its origin, that trouble some people. For example, some pranks/"tricks" were not so innocent and brought out a "dark-side" to Halloween. Particularly notable was during the late 1960s/early '70s when hazardous items began to show up in some of the treats given to children. Another concern that has been raised, particularly by some Christians, is the belief there is a spiritual danger that is inherent to Halloween.

Despite these deterrents, the evidence indicates Halloween continues to be a significant event in American culture. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that Americans will spend 18 percent more on Halloween in 2010 than in 2009. And, this is in the midst of an economic turndown. The NRF estimates include Americans spending an average of $66.28 (Gallup found the average spent on Halloween in 2007 was $52) on Halloween related items.

Recently, I received an email from a national pet store chain offering 50% off "pet" Halloween costumes. If the fact that there is, apparently, a market for Halloween costumes for animals is not disturbing enough - this email offered the same discount on Halloween treats and toys for pets (I find myself conjuring up images of dogs and cats in clown suits and ballerina outfits going door to door with a little plastic pumpkin held in their mouth) and also offered matching costumes for owners, so you can dress like your pet (only in America).

Clearly, one thing Americans are not buying into, as it relates to Halloween, is the idea that one should not participate in it. When Gallup polled Americans in 2006, they found that 64% said they "usually" pass out Halloween treats to children (when you add those who "sometimes" pass out treats, this jumps to 83%); a percentage that has been consistent for several decades. For example, a 1999 poll, Gallup found 69 percent of Americans planned to give out Halloween treats - the exact same percentage found in a 1985 ABC/Washington Post poll.

From the amounts being spent on Halloween, it would appear that Americans have worked out any anxieties they may have had about hazardous materials being placed in the treats. But, what about the religious objections to Halloween - how strongly held are those?

When Gallup polled Americans about this in 2006, they found that only 11 percent objected to Halloween based on religious beliefs. Among those who regularly attend church services, including Evangelicals, 27% objected. Clearly, the overwhelming majority of Americans, including Christians, do not oppose the activities traditionally associated with Halloween.

As in the past, this year will find many, including Christians, who hold or attend Halloween parties and/or take their children trick-or-treating and many Churches will hold festivals/celebrations as an alternative for Halloween. However, while these will typically involve children in costumes and the distribution of candy -lots of candy - Churches tend not to place the "Halloween" label on them; preferring to give them more acceptable titles, such as, "Fall Festivals". However, the reality is, these events simply move the features most often associated with Halloween on to the Church property - "a rose by any other name", its detractors would claim..

Those who oppose Halloween as being inherently wicked and evil, naturally find any celebration of Halloween by a Christian as reprehensible. They would say, "The celebration is rooted in occultism, is a Pagan holiday celebrated by witches, and should be avoided by Christians".

Christians who participate in Halloween celebrations counter, "It is all just in fun and no spiritual connection is being made". Churches with "Fall Festivals" defend them as being an appropriate alternative and an opportunity to make a positive connection with those in their community who attend the event. "People are going to celebrate this day so why not try to capture it in a positive way", they might argue.

As is often true when Christians disagree over cultural influences and practices, factions develop over whether or not one should be involved in those things associated with the celebration of Halloween. As is also true, in many cases, each side has valid points to offer.

Is there an occult, or pagan, dimension to the origins of Halloween? Certainly, there is. It is commonly agreed that, what we recognize as Halloween, has its roots in ancient Britain in the Celtic celebration of the Festival of Samhain, referring to the end of summer. The pagan Celts believed that each year at the time of Samhain the border between this world and the spirit world became thin enough that spirits could pass through and enter this world.

Celts would prepare a place in their homes to welcome deceased relatives whom they believed were good spirits and might visit them from the other side. Some, in order to keep evil spirits from also coming into their homes, appear to have adopted the custom of wearing of masks and costumes to confuse those that were evil.

Naturally, as with any good celebration, Samhain also included food, which is integral to modern-day Halloween. Through the years the other elements and traditions of Halloween that are practiced today, such as jack-o-lanterns; bobbing for apples, etc. would be added. Undeniably, many of them would also have their roots in Paganism, or the occult.

The Church has long recognized this. And, just as today, many in the Church sought alternatives, or tried to capture the day in a different way. Long before "Fall Festivals" the Church tried to give a more Christian emphasis to Halloween. In fact, the Church's influence can be found in the very name itself, a contraction of Hallow (Holy) E'en (Evening), which is what the day before All Saints Day - a time to remember faithful Christians of the past - was called. Protestants would later shift the emphasis from celebrating Halloween on October 31 to the celebration of Reformation Day, in recognition of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation on that same date.

While Halloween has always had some association with the supernatural - be it ghosts and goblins, or witches - it is especially true in modern times. There has been a growing interest in Wicca (witchcraft) in recent decades and those who practice Wicca generally embrace Halloween as one of their high, holy days. Some point to this as clear and undeniable evidence of a religious/spiritual dimension to Halloween.

The debate as to whether Christians should participate in Halloween, or not; the argument as to whether it is an inherently evil day, or simply a secular celebration, is nothing new. What does seem new is that it has become a much more embittered battle. All too often, which side one chooses seems to set the tone as to whether or not those of the opposing viewpoint will accept you as a true follower of Christ - something that is, unfortunately, true of many debates within the Church today. However, where one stands on this issue is not nearly as important as the effectiveness and humility with which we are able to discuss our position with those who disagree.

Whether we want it to be or not, there is no denying that Halloween is one of our nation's most popular celebrations. And despite the evidence of an association with the supernatural and it's identification with Wicca, it is clear that most Christians and non-Christians do not have a problem with it and view it as simply a celebration of the imagination. The overwhelming majority of Americans do not associate it with the supernatural; they do not celebrate it as a part of the practice of Wicca. That's reality. It seems to me that our goal should not be to convince them otherwise but to focus on creatively engaging them with the gospel.

I guess when it comes right down to it, I am Halloween-neutral. I can see good points in both sides of the argument. I think it is good to know the background of Halloween - it is certainly interesting. I agree that Christians should not involve themselves in occultism, or pagan ritual. But, if that is our message it is severely lacking. Unfortunately, this is becoming another case of the culture hearing more about what Christians are against, than what we are for.

No matter how you and I feel about Halloween, the culture is telling us they want candy. When they come to my door to trick-or-treat, I can lecture them on the ills of candy, or I can take care of their sweet tooth. In the same way, I can offer something much more satisfying and substantial, as well - the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Christ.

Whether you should gain this opportunity by giving candy at your door, inviting a friend to a Church fall festival, or convincing someone Halloween is pagan, is not my call. That's between you and the Lord. When it gets right down to it, perhaps the best thing I can do is to try and be more gracious and encouraging with fellow believers as they work through this issue and offer the hope of the gospel to those who do not know Christ.

We would do well to remember that, all too often, the ones who get lost in Christians debating methodologies are "the lost" - those who need to hear the gospel. Now, when that happens, it is indeed a sad trick.

What do you think? Email your comments to:

info@crosswindsfoundation.org

Take our Halloween Poll in the top right column.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost in Lost


Okay, I admit it – I got sucked into Lost. A couple of years ago I watched a few episodes from the first season and got hooked. I went out and bought all the seasons on DVD and immersed myself in the storyline preparing for the new season that year.

It didn’t matter that it didn’t make sense. It was terrific storytelling and we were told the writers had it all mapped out. In fact, it was so well mapped out, we were led to believe, that the season of the writer’s strike, they were upset that some of the plot development from that season would not get in, or would be rushed.

This gave me comfort. So, I could live with my confusion. After all, I knew one day it would all fall into place – the writers had it all plotted out. One day all would be revealed and I would be able to say, “So, that’s why the polar bear was there; that’s where the smoke monster came from.”

So, here I sit after the series finale – my hopes dashed. It turns out it was all a sham. There are no real answers; in fact, it doesn’t appear there was a “real” story. It seemed left open to my, yours, their, interpretation as to what it all meant.

We are left to debate what the smoke monster represented, why the polar bear was there, whether or not anyone even survived the crash. For that matter, was there even a crash at all; or was this just a group of the dearly departed (and we’re not talking airline departure, but deceased) sitting around collectively creating an imaginary plane crash so they could create an imaginary island, ultimately realizing they were all dead so they could move on to the next point?

In the end, this was just an overly drawn out storyline (creatively presented, though it was) to get to a spiritual punch line, rooted in Eastern religions. The spiritual undertones were always there. After all, the “Dharma Initiative” is clearly drawn from Hinduism and Buddhism. So, I am not surprised that the finale would have spiritual dimensions. What surprised me is that the writers decided to wrap everything up in a neat little far eastern worldview that really didn’t say anything.

Among the final scenes in the Church, Jack stands by his father’s casket and behind him is a stained glass window. Each pane contains the symbol of a world religion. The lower left pane is a wheel with spokes (like a wagon wheel), a symbol commonly used by new agers to explain that all religions lead to the same God. The hub of the wheel represents God and the spokes are the various religions. This, it appears, was the secret of Lost.

Recent polling indicates that about 25% of Americans hold some version of this view of religion and God. As such, there are probably quite a few folks who are perfectly happy with the way it all turned out. However, for this viewer, the conclusion was as senseless as the spiritual theories it espoused.

When Seinfeld premiered, we were told it was a story about nothing and we bought into it and enjoyed the ride. Perhaps, if the Lost creators had just told us up front this was a story about nothing I would not feel so much like I had been savoring over a menu filled with wonderful meals, only to be told the kitchen is closed. In such a case, I might be left to try and concoct my own meal with the ingredients available to me, as I have been left to do with Lost.

In the end I must try and piece it all together myself, as must you. No doubt we will draw different meanings and interpretations of the series. And, from the show’s creators’ perspective, I am sure that is okay. After all, the eastern spirituality espoused in the show holds that there are no absolute truths. You have your truth and I have mine.

Make sense? Of course not.

So, in the final analysis we have a group of characters, who may never have been alive at any point in the series, living in an illusionary world of their own making until such time as they can find one another and come to the collective understanding they are all, in fact dead. Upon reaching such point they can then move on with their…er, life – now my head is really spinning – or, next life (can you spell REINCARNATION).

If you haven’t been watching Lost this probably didn’t make any sense to you. Don’t worry, I watched every single episode and, as you can tell, it doesn’t make sense to me either.

For those of you who enjoyed it and love the ending, I am glad for you. As for me, while the journey was quite enjoyable, upon reaching the destination it turned out to be a road that should have been less traveled. Well, that's my truth anyway.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Top Ten Shifts in Faith Beliefs

It is not unusual for someone to ask me what I think are the biggest or most important shifts in faith-beliefs that have occurred in recent years. Answering this question usually leads to an interesting discussion about where we are as a society as regards religious, or “spiritual”, issues. Following is my “Top Ten” list for your consideration and discussion.

1. God doesn’t exist/isn’t real/is dead.
2. There are many gods, or perhaps one God who expresses himself, or itself in many different forms.
3. Many/all religions lead to eternal life, or to the same God – they just have different understandings of who, or what, God is.
4. All religions, basically, teach the same truths, perhaps, with a little variation.
5. The Bible is not God’s word but just another book.
6. Jesus was a great teacher or prophet, but he was not God in the flesh.
7. The universe and man came about through evolution.
8. When a person dies they come back again as another person, or thing, through reincarnation.
9. Man can save himself, or participates in his salvation through good works.
10. There are no absolute truths

If you are interested in reading the statistics behind this list, read our article, Top Ten Spiritual Truth-Shifts.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

To Pray or Not to Pray by Jeff Sutherland

Thursday May 6 marks one of the most controversial days in the history of our country. Doubtful our founding fathers would believe a National Day of Prayer could cause such division among us.

Our first President George Washington pleaded with the colonists to pray for Congress as they established our Constitution. At that writing, Thomas Jefferson was instrumental yet some would say he actually began the argument by writing to a group of Baptists agreeing with them that a separation of civil government from concerns of religious doctrine and practice were important. Jefferson writes: "...I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."

And the battle has raged ever since 1802. No one who reads the Federalist Papers, our Constitution, and other founding documents with a critical eye would say George Washington and the “Freedom from Religion” people think the same thing. In 1776 the fear was that our new government would start a ‘church of America’ forcing the colonists to accept the government’s way of worship.

That is one hundred eighty degrees from what the National Day of Prayer was meant to be. The National Day of Prayer was signed into law by Harry Truman in 1952 and Ronald Reagan made the day a permanent annual event on the first Thursday in May in 1988. Last year President Obama used the day to say, “America is no longer a Christian nation.”

This year the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the America free thought organization filed a lawsuit in Madison Wisconsin arguing the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional and federal judge Barbara Crabb agreed saying "It goes beyond mere 'acknowledgment' of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context," adding in a CBS news interview, the Day of Prayer violates the First Amendment's establishment clause, which bans the creation of a "law respecting an establishment of religion" in the Constitution. She backtracked adding, there was no law preventing Americans from praying or organizing non-governmental days of prayer, and wrote this: "I understand that many may disagree with that conclusion and some may even view it as a criticism of prayer or those who pray. That is unfortunate. A determination that the government may not endorse a religious message is not a determination that the message itself is harmful, unimportant or undeserving of dissemination." View CBS News Story

Crabb also wrote, "it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual's decision whether and when to pray."

Interestingly, according to many church by-laws and beliefs of many Baptists and other denominations today, they agree wholeheartedly with the Freedom From Religion Organization and Judge Crabb.

While at first glance it seems Thomas Jefferson and the first colonial Baptists would agree with the Freedom From Religion Organization, Judge Crabb. Many of today’s Americans including church members say God and government should never mix. Indeed the atheists and agnostics who formed Freedom From Religion believe that religion should not be tolerated in any manner in our society. According to one of their surveys, 22% of 22,000 freshman college students said their preference was ‘no religion’. Roman Catholic was the only higher answer at 26%. So maybe Obama was right in saying America is indeed no longer a Christian nation.

This year’s National Day of Prayer is to be held at the Pentagon where there was a call to invite Franklin Graham, honorary chairman for the National Day of Prayer and son of evangelist Billy Graham. Protests started from Muslim and other Pentagon workers stemming from Graham’s statements following 9/11 that Islam "is a very evil and wicked religion. Adding that "I am not on a crusade against Muslims. I love the Muslim people . . . I want them to know that they don't have to die in a car bomb, don't have to die in some kind of holy war to be accepted by God. But it's through faith in Jesus Christ and Christ alone."

In an interview on Fox News with Gretchen Carlson, Graham spoke openly about his comments on Islam. He made it clear he had nothing against the Muslim people but he did have a point to make with them. He said you don’t have to die in a car bomb or do any other ‘heroic’ suicide. In the Islamic faith you have to be good enough to die or kill others of a different faith to be assured your place in heaven but in Christianity it is very different. In fact it is the only religion where things are the other way around. God sent His perfect Son to die so you, by believing, can be in relationship with Him. You can’t be good enough. He was.

The National Day of Prayer will happen this year. The festivities will be held at the Pentagon but the speakers will be Muslim, Buddhists and basically anyone else except Evangelical Christians, for they are different. Like Franklin Graham, they are cast as being intolerant of others beliefs; claiming that Jesus Christ is the only truth, the only way to heaven. Imagine!

On this National Day of Prayer, say a prayer for our leaders who make decisions for us that they may look to Him for guidance. Pray for our military as they fight for the freedom of, both those who believe in God and those in Madison Wisconsin who believe there should be no religion. Pray for our churches to boldly make a difference in their communities and with their members, growing them to reach out. Pray for our judges who decide how the laws should be interpreted that they know the true Judge and His ways. Pray for our ministries like Crosswinds. They know the power of those prayers.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Whatever Happened to "Merry Christmas"?

As I grow older, I find myself sounding more and more like my parents and those of their generation. I catch myself saying things like, “When I was growing up…”, or “I remember when…”, or “It didn’t use to be this way, why in the old days…”

So, having admitted this, let me say, I can remember when you would go to the store during Christmas and, after finishing your shopping, the store clerk would wish you a Merry Christmas; which you joyfully returned. But, it wasn’t just in stores, practically everyone wished one another a Merry Christmas.

Not today, however. Today I am bombarded with, “Happy Holidays”. And whereas Christmas cards used to proclaim boldly, “Merry Christmas”, now they simply wish the recipient a “Happy Holiday”, or “Seasons Greetings”. Such a generic proclamation could refer to any holiday, or any season.

On this point, Christmas Eve 2002, the New York Times ran an article that included the following observation about this “holiday” season:

“Heaven forbid that anyone mention specifically that what is being celebrated tomorrow is called Christmas. And, for sure, let us not acknowledge explicitly that this is also the season of Hanukkah, Id al-Fitr, Kwanzaa and, lest Wiccans feel slighted, the winter solstice. (Atheists will have to fend for themselves on this one.) Out of fear that someone, somewhere, might somehow be offended, we have abandoned all hope of giving each religious and cultural festival its due. We now lump them all together in a bland generic blob called ''the holidays.''

Many retailers recognize the controversy and rather than step on anyone’s beliefs, they simply display holiday greetings. Merry Christmas has been neglected in our culture for so long that many of us who used to say it find ourselves slipping in the occasional, “happy holidays” without even realizing it.

So, what happened to Christmas? How did we get to the point where it has lost its original significance in the culture, and simply became a “happy holiday”?

The roots of it probably began with litigation filed decades ago on behalf of Jewish plaintiffs, suing for the right to have Hanukkah given the same recognition as Christmas. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is typically celebrated during the Christmas season and, as many cities allow Christmas displays on city property, some Jews believed that a Menorah – a symbol of Hanukkah – should be given equal standing.

Courts began to rule in favor of this and in some cities menorahs and mangers, or menorahs and Christmas trees began appearing together. Naturally, other groups would wanted representation, including atheists, who began suing for the right to display representations that they don’t believe in anything.

A recent example of this is the case that arose out of a display in the capitol building in Washington. The display began as a manger scene and eventually a menorah was added. After a few years the Jewish group, that donated the menorah, seemed to tire of it and quit putting out their Menorah. However, an atheist group petitioned to fill the void and were allowed to place a sign that simply stated:
“At this season of THE WINTER SOLSTICE may reason prevail.
There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

It doesn’t seem like reason is prevailing here. In fact, this whole attack on Christmas seems quite lacking of rational thinking. Consider Jersey City’s attempt to satisfy a court ruling in such a way that would allow the city to continue a decades’ long tradition of displaying a crèche outside City Hall.

“For now, Jersey City has a court's approval to continue its 35-year tradition of erecting a holiday display of a menorah and a creche outside City Hall as long as officials make sure to include Santa, Frosty the Snowman, a little red sleigh and an evergreen decorated with Kwanzaa ribbons… a Federal appeals court panel has ruled that this mix of religious and secular symbols satisfies United States Supreme Court rulings that upheld similar displays in Pawtucket, R.I., in 1984 and in Pittsburgh in 1989.” New York Times 2/19/99

Unfortunately this is not an isolated event. Amorak, NY had a long standing tradition of placing a Christmas tree in a public park. Eventually, Jewish residents thought Hanukkah should also be given recognition and a large menorah was placed to the right of the tree. Then, a couple of years ago, a Muslim resident thought the Islamic faith should also be represented and, you guessed it, a large crescent moon and star (the symbol of Islam) was placed to the left of the tree.

At least the Christmas tree and the menorah are intended to represent something that is actually celebrated during the month they are placed in the park. The crescent moon and star has nothing to do with any Islamic event that coincides with the celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah. Next thing you know, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, and every other religious group will be demanding their religion should also be represented in the park. And, how could they be denied.

Let us not lose sight in all of this, that, as far as Christianity goes, the Christmas tree is not the symbol of our faith or of what we are celebrating. If this is about religious recognition, then perhaps it is time for Christians to exercise their rights and demand a cross be placed beside the symbols of other religions; for as best as I can tell, we very rarely have our symbol represented in this so-called fight.

So, let me conclude by wishing you a hearty Merry Christmas! That’s what we used to say in the old days.

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:8-11
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Compassion Found in Hell?


The other morning I drove past an art gallery a block from my office and saw a huge black sign draped in front of the building proclaiming:

“Even in Hell there is compassion.”

What!! I thought as I did a double-take. Who would proclaim such a message; and, right here in the heart of the Bible-Belt, no less?

Surely, this must be some kind of prank. But, of course it isn’t. The sign was placed there to promote a new exhibit by the Compassion Project. It is the work of two artists who have placed this same message on billboards in several other Southern cities.

Even for those who are not particularly religious this is probably a message that seems quite odd, initially. After all, whether you believe in it or not, everyone knows that hell is a place of pain and suffering. So, on what do these artists base such a positive spin on hell? The teachings of Buddhism; Surprise!

The art exhibitor says they are sponsoring the work in order to promote understanding of a more expansive view of escaping damnation than that offered by the Christian Church. In other words, the message of the Christian Church regarding hell is wrong so one must look elsewhere to find the truth. They have found the Christian view too narrow and restrictive. It needs to be broader for them.

For these two artists, and perhaps their sponsors, the answer is best found in the teachings of Eastern religion. For, in the religions of the East, everyone ultimately makes it (though it may require numerous reincarnations to finally escape this existence).

The placement of such a message, in the heart of the so-called Bible-Belt, indicates a growing willingness for some to believe and promote anything as true; especially at the expense of the Christian faith. Perhaps most alarming, it reveals how our culture has steadily moved away from its Christian roots; so far, that there are those who deny this nation was founded on Christian teachings and principles, in the first place.

Events like these should be a wake up call for the Church to what is going on in our culture. This exhibit and campaign, is indicative of the interest people have in spiritual matters. And, while the culture is having this important dialogue regarding the place of faith and spirituality in one’s life, the Church is noticeably absent from the conversation.

While I strongly disagree with the message of the Compassion Project, they have every right to display it. Likewise, Christians have every right to talk about what we believe. If we truly, believe that Christ is the answer, we must not wait within the walls of the Church building in hopes that seekers will find us. Instead, it seems to me, we should get out in the marketplace and begin to participate in these spiritual discussions.

There is a choice to make. We can look at a sign like this and be critical of its sponsors; or, we can recognize that the fact such a sign is being prominently displayed indicates an opportunity for us to engage the culture on a meaningful discussion of spiritual matters. It is an invitation for dialogue and though that may not have been the artists’ true intent; they have opened the door for the conversation. Knock, Knock!

We'll be covering this in more detail in our next issue of CrossingCurrents. If you are not a subsciber, just click on the subscribe button in the right column. Want to know more about advertising rights regarding one's religious views? Watch our video below on Billboards and Religion.