Friday Night Lights

I got in a little while ago from doing another night as an extra in the stands for “Friday Night Lights”. I always enjoy doing it – though I much prefer the days we shoot location scenes, which are usually indoors and only 4 hours or so (plus it’s easier to see yourself on TV when the show airs!) But it’s an easy $56 (plus about $13 tonight for overtime), and very interesting to get to watch all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes.

Nola is going with me on Saturday; we’re going to be “churchgoers” – not exactly a stretch. This is the last week they’ll be shooting, until the writer’s strike gets resolved. I hope the show makes it; it’s a blast to do, and the cast and crew are genuinely nice people, from the PAs to the principal actors. In my opinion, the show really captures what Texas high school football towns are like, good, bad and ugly, without glorifying the bad or over-romanticizing the good.

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I Should Have Known

One thing I’ve learned about standing before a group of people (in my case, youth) and opening the Bible and teaching from it, is that very often God gives me the chance to “put my money where my mouth is”, so to speak. Last Wednesday, we looked at being thankful, especially “in everything” (1 Thess. 5:18). We talked about why we don’t do that, and how to overcome it. I proposed that when the hard times in life come, we tend to lose the perspective that God is sovereign. His sovereignty does not mean only that He’s “big enough” to handle anything that happens; it means that nothing even happens apart from His perfect will. To depict Him only as some kind of incredibly talented, supernatural multi-tasking manager that can fix anything that comes along is not a biblical view of God.

I also suggested that we tend to forget that God is not only sovereign, but He’s righteous – that everything He does is right, whether we understand it or not. Because He is omniscient, just, and omnipotent, His will and actions are always perfect in every way. Even when life hurts, we can take comfort in knowing that He is righteous.

And wouldn’t you know it? The very next day, I get the opportunity to practice what I preached the night before. And actually, I’m glad, because I’m finding out that it was right. I’ve had the opportunity to be worried and fretful, but I’ve also reminded myself that He is sovereign and righteous, and realized that this is above all else an opportunity to glorify Him, which is the most important thing. The problem is still looming, but it’s O.K., because He is sovereign and righteous, and does all things well.

The Modesty Survey

The Modesty Survey

More Youth Have Negative Views of Christianity

Only 16 percent of non-Christians in their late teens and 20s say they have a good impression of Christianity, and one of the most frequent criticisms is that the church has made homosexuality a bigger sin than anything else, according to a recent study by The Barna Group.

A “growing sense of disengagement and disillusionment” has caused sixteen- to twenty-nine-year-olds to “exhibit a greater degree of criticism toward Christianity than did previous generations when they were at the same stage of life,” Barna said. In fact, the research indicated the age group is “more skeptical of and resistant to Christianity than were people of the same age just a decade ago.”

Common negative perceptions that today’s youth have, Barna said, are that Christianity is judgmental (87 percent), hypocritical (85 percent), old-fashioned (78 percent), and too involved in politics (75 percent).

“Today, the most common perception is that present-day Christianity is ‘anti-homosexual,'” Barna said in a September 24 news release. “Overall, 91 percent of young non-Christians and 80 percent of young churchgoers say this phrase describes Christianity. As the research probed this perception, non-Christians and Christians explained that beyond their recognition that Christians oppose homosexuality, they believe that Christians show excessive contempt and unloving attitudes towards gays and lesbians.

“One of the most frequent criticisms of young Christians was that they believe the church has made homosexuality a ‘bigger sin’ than anything else,” the news release said. “Moreover, they claim that the church has not helped them apply the biblical teaching on homosexuality to their friendships with gays and lesbians.”

Barna found that youth who hold such opinions of Christians actually are more connected to Christianity than some might think. The typical non-Christians in the survey said they have five friends who are Christians, more than four out of five have attended a Christian church for at least six months in the past, and half have considered becoming a Christian.

Pastors backed up Barna’s findings about the declining image of the nation’s most popular religion as half of those asked said “ministry is more difficult than ever before because people are increasingly hostile and negative toward Christianity.”