Archive for December, 2008
While poking around the internets, I found this description of the International House of Prayer:
This March, at a “Passion for Jesus” conference in Kansas City sponsored by the International House of Prayer, or IHOP, a ministry for teenagers from the heavy metal, punk and goth scenes, Engle called on his audience for vengeance.
The call for “vengeance” also made me giggle a bit. Lou as the leader of a goth movement calling for vengeance - makes sense to me.
December 23rd, 2008
Thanks to all who gave their two cents (plus some) in breaking down the early draft of theCall’s press release related to the fiasco Newsweek published last week. It was all seriously helpful feedback! One point of clarification that you probably didn’t know - Lou had already, earlier in the week, released a short statement calling on believers to cancel their Newsweek subscription. Thus, the call to do so had to be in the longer press release. I did appreciate some of the perspective on that point, however. So what happened?
Well, much to my surprise, our p.r. firm loved the press release as is. So, in an unexpected turn of events, the early draft became the final draft instantaneously. The p.r. firm didn’t change much - they shortened the opening paragraph and added a phrase (that I asked them to remove - because it was dorky, not because it was controversial) before punching up the end a little bit. Hopefully, if you see it somewhere printed over the next week, you’ll appreciate the minor addition they made. Or not.
As things currently stand, however, they have blasted the press release out to wherever public relatations firms blast out press releases. I don’t really know how any of that works, but I do know that, supposedly, the Wall Street Journal has shown interest thus far. We shall see. Either way, it was an interesting experiment in “social press releasing” with all of you - and the glory for me is that, for now, only Lou’s name is on the document. He’s already done one radio interview related to it (yesterday, can’t remember the show).
Meanwhile, I get to stay in my cave and fast and pray. So back to the cave I go.
December 16th, 2008
Submitted for your approval, here is an early draft of a press release that TheCall will be releasing through our P.R. firm that Lou Engle and I wrote early yesterday:
This past week, the editors and publishers of Newsweek magazine made an unfortunate decision to brazenly relegate the vast majority of American citizens who believe in the traditional, biblical view of marriage to, quoting its Editor-in-Chief Jon Meacham, “intellectual bankruptcy”. Newsweek’s attempt to simultaneously tear down the veracity and relevance of the holy scriptures while appealing to those same scriptures to build its case for homosexual marriage is not in and of itself a shocking act. The intellectual dishonesty of these writers and editors is clearly on display in their work and the statements they have made surrounding their work. Thus, we are neither afraid of nor troubled by their submission to the national conversation on this issue.
No – what we are troubled by is the confidence that a failing institution had in publishing such a seemingly bold statement. Newsweek’s economic struggles and loss of subscribers have been well-documented as of late; in taking this stand, Jon Meacham in particular seemed overconfident that he and his constituency are on the winning side of history. In the long view of history, the very scriptures that Newsweek magazine looked to trivialize in their article prove who is ultimately on the “winning side” of this argument. As our friend Jim Garlow has said repeatedly, the Bible ends with a wedding. The manner in which the Bible comes to a glorious conclusion demonstrates the sanctity by which our Creator holds this most sacred of unions. The Apostle Paul spoke of this institution and the manner in which a healthy, vibrant marriage between one man and one woman has continually served as a metaphor for God’s relationship with His people in Ephesians 5:25-33, a passage that Lisa Miller, the author of the Newsweek cover essay conspicuously overlooked in her research.
Some have asked why we care so much about this issue, and why we are taking such a bold stand to oppose homosexual marriage in America. It is because we hold the institution of marriage in such high regard related to its sacredness to our God; yet we also recognize that this very sacredness has left the institution of marriage open to assault from its very beginnings, going back to a garden thousands of years ago. The culmination of this assault on marriage, according to the prophetic scriptures that describe the days ahead, is to try to eliminate this institution altogether (1 Timothy 4:3). The current zeal to redefine marriage is the latest stage of this assault. The strategy of those who are looking to redefine marriage is two-fold: to first frame homosexuality as a racial issue rather than a moral issue and then to establish rights for homosexuals as the true moral issue of our day. Thus there is more than the biblical definition of marriage at stake – but the very definition of what is sin versus what is righteous before our Creator.
Therefore what is troubling is clear: not that Newsweek magazine is taking the “lead” in defining both morality and marriage in America; again, an organization struggling for its financial survival rarely has the stomach for such risks – no, it is troubling that they feel confident that the majority of America agrees with their stance and their definitions of marriage and morality. If this is true then our nation has taken a dramatic and unfortunate turn that has devastating consequences for American culture in the days to come. For if sexual orientation and desire can be classified under the framework of “race” – if we define desires in a manner beyond what our Creator intended without any scientific evidence that such proclivities are genetic – then we open up a proverbial “Pandora’s Box” for such an argument to be applied to all manner of desires under the false mask of “genetics” or the “Creator’s design”. We pray that the vast majority of Americans that have continued to hold the line on what is marriage, what is moral, and what is so clearly part of the created order and the Creator’s design will stand fast against this blatant assault on truth.
As such, we are asking all who desire to stand for truth and righteousness to say, “No!” to Newsweek magazine’s attempt to reframe and reshape scripture for their own self-seeking purposes and to immediately cancel their subscriptions. The American people have a historic opportunity to show Newsweek magazine that its arrogant overconfidence in gauging the opinions of the people is greatly misplaced.
It’s about 33-50 words too long, and a few of the phrases need too much explanation / clarification to hold up - but it gives you a better grasp of what is on our minds related to this week’s Newsweek cover essay.
What do you think?
December 13th, 2008
Honestly, it came from me self-reflecting a little bit after spending the last three days sick and thinking about the latest Newsweek cover story. You would be surprised how much time I’ve spent thinking about it. Not in the “wow, that was well-written, it made me think about the issues,” kind of thinking. No, it’s been more like, “How can I most effectively and efficiently deconstruct the most irresponsible piece of ‘journalism’ I have ever seen in all my limited years of studying and reading old media.” Many of my posts work like that - where I will stew and think for days before writing (or not writing) my thoughts on something.
On this matter, however, I want to do more than “write down a thought or two” - I want to declare war on a magazine that has so blatantly declared war on me. I have never, in my life, seen a more obvious attempt by a mainstream news magazine to delineate between “us” (the right thinking, clear minded media type) and “them” (the neanderthal bitterly clinging to religion and guns) as I saw this week in Newsweek magazine. From the first line, “Let’s try for a minute to take religious conservatives at their word…” (emphasis mine; meaning, I’m not a member of whatever club spawned this article) to the Editor’s note: “Let the letters and emails come.”
As a religious conservative, I’ve now seen a mainstream magazine feel safe enough with its constituency economically to “take me on.” This does not make its ideas or presentations bold, noble, or heroic - mainstream media are hardly capable of such financial risks - no, this means that it (the editors and publisher) believes that the ideas presented are safe for publication; controversial yes, but economically safe - and that its views are the new social norm for the day. I think, sadly, that they are right.
And this answers the comment that I haven’t responded to yet - the one that asked me why, when it comes to issues like gay marriage, do I care? I care because of precisely what I just articulated - the redefinition of social norms under the banner of civil rights, which is a dishonest and intellectually inferior position masquerading as a just and noble cause. Once that redefinition takes place, and the lines that were once clear are at once redrawn, the future for my children suddenly takes a darker turn; for the precedent set in these arguments is one we will be hearing again, I can assure you. I have to end here - but this isn’t the last of what’s on my mind related to what I consider one of the most ominous signs of our time that I’ve seen in quite a while.
December 11th, 2008
When it comes to writing for this space, it’s interesting to me how much I am engaged in the process of writing more than I actually write. For those of you who are new to reading my work here, you’ll find that it makes me somewhat of an unconventional “blogger”. Why? I find that what I do in processing ideas internally is what actually drew people initially to the blog format. In other words, the original “genius” of blogging was the unconventional manner in which writers would process “out loud” in putting their thoughts and ideas on the page, often before really thinking them through or testing them. Thus the “comments” and dialogue that followed became more lively and conversational in tone versus the traditional “thumbs-up!” or, “great stuff!”.
The old-school “blog” felt like the older-school barber shop.
Of course, I’ve never approached blogging that way. When I posted my first articles here a couple of years ago, most of the comments that came back were, “Wow, like your stuff - but it’s so long!” and, “Man, you break the blogging rules - try breaking up your posts into shorter nuggets!” What few anticipated then was that the desire for “short” was knit to the desire for on-the-fly ideas and snippets that could be assimilated quickly - if at all. Thus the general phase-out of “blogging” as the primary 2.0 format by which people socialize and engage in conversation on the web - hello, Facebook and Twitter!
Most people crave touch points and relational “handles” by which to grasp and connect, even in small ways, with people they have various amounts of affection for. The quick “hit” of a tweet or a status update scratches the itch of feeling like you grasp the flow of someone’s life without having to do the work of actually engaging them in dialogue. It gives us a way to scratch the voyeuristic craving that blogs initially fed at some level. Blogs were the web version of the reality show - Facebook and Twitter have brought the show to the next phase because of the speed and pace at which both feed the 24/7 desire of the human mind and heart to be engaged in something quasi-informational and relational.
The blogs that still remain as influential, the ones that have stayed relevant, are the ones that were never designed to be a running diary or provide a short-burst of a conversation topic. The ones that remain are those whose only currency is the provision of ideas and the exploration of concepts that one could not typically make apart from a collaborative effort. That’s just a fancy way, of course, to say that the blogs that are still going strong “bring something to the table” that most could not provide on their own: insight, perspective, information, or opinion that helps fuel the trafficking of ideas.
This is not, however, an apologetic for the blogging medium or is it really meant to offer perspective on the future of blogging in general. To be honest, I have never cared about the “trend”, nor have I looked to capitalize on anything related to the blogging genre. It took me a while to warm up to this format - until I discovered what a helpful resource it could be for me to exercise my writing muscles and really write things people cared to read. Coming off of the publication of End Times Simplified in 2005, it was clear to me that I had to grow as a writer.
Thus it is with far more confidence that I shape Signs of the Times as I labor for clarity and readability. I have three years of regular writing under my belt, and the process of engaging with folks on the other side of these articles has really helped me shape and craft my ideas and bursts of inspiration. I’ve been able to explore ideas that I normally don’t have an avenue to express - particularly in the political realm, though, of course, that part of my life is changing a bit. Though I have been an infrequent visitor lately, I am reaffirming my love of this medium as a place to craft and express the many things that are churning within me.
All of this flowed from my own musings on the process of writing, and how much I think about this space - even when the articles and postings are scarce. Here on this site, if an idea makes it to the proverbial page it is because I’ve really thought it through and felt enough about the concept or idea to get it out there. Every once in a while I will be informational, but that has always been reluctantly on my part. Every once in a while I will be humorous, but really I have found that my voice is strongest here when I am being earnest, forthright, and sober in my approach. Here, I am a watchman - not a satirist.
This has been my approach - stew on an idea, think it through, and if it has “life” on it then write it down and see what happens; if not, set it aside. This has led to less frequent posting, longer posts, a less “conventional” web voice - all of which has surely cost me a little bit in terms of readership. Again, I haven’t really cared for that line of thinking anyways. I’ve only and always wanted to, in this space, express my longings and observations about God, His word, and the times in which we live (hence the name and the tagline). I will continue to do so.
I write this mostly for those who are newer who haven’t been following as long as some of you that have been tracking here for a little while. Hopefully, this will help you get to know me a little better and follow along related to the “why” behind the “what”. As one who has always been fascinated by “process” and how things work, this was also a mostly personal, self-analytical, and probably too self-important glance at what I’m doing here. I hope it served its purpose.
Signing up again to write,
December 11th, 2008
Signs of the Times handout? Done. 150 chapters on the end-times? Check. Most commonly asked questions on the end-times 2.0? Helped with a few of those. Book of Revelation outline? Pretty much there. After today’s eight hour final burst, the weight of these documents is behind me…for now. So I plan on enjoying that “for now” for all it’s worth!
Now that I’m a free man, I plan on exercising that freedom to write some things and answer some comments. There’s a lot on the ol’ mind besides researching genocide statistics over the past 100 years, I can assure you. You’ll have to get the handout to connect with the last sentence, but other than that, happy snow, Kansas City friends!
December 9th, 2008