Archives for category: controversy

As Eugene Cho commented recently, it’s altogether too easy to act like a jerk in the name of “contending” for the Gospel.

I think Rob Bell’s characterization of broader American culture is unfortunately true of the church many times as well: “There is this low-grade boiling rage that many people carry around with them everywhere they go.”

[Ironic edit: The aforementioned Rob Bell has become a trending topic on Twitter because of a group of people who are adamantly opposed to him, filled with the typical name-calling, gnashing of teeth, and end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it hysterics typical to such trending topics.]

Apologies for sounding like a stereotypical, institution-suspicious Xer when I say this (but totally not apologizing for still nerding out over The Breakfast Club, as seen in the photo above!), but I am growing weary of the infighting in my denomination. I think we could play a pretty mean game of church insider-bingo with the vocab being thrown around: tall steeple churches, white papers, open letters, angry responses, clarification letters… BINGO!

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I was deeply disappointed to learn (via Eugene Cho’s blog) that Zondervan will no longer continue to publish the TNIV translation of the Bible. I have been using the TNIV in my personal Bible reading and in preaching & teaching in our church community – I am sad both to see the TNIV discontinued and the way in which Zondervan is handling it.

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According to this article at ESPN.com, the LPGA has reversed its planned policy of suspending players who could not speak English:

Facing anger from lawmakers and bewilderment from sponsors, the LPGA Tour backed off plans to suspend players who cannot speak English well enough to be understood at pro-ams, in interviews or in making acceptance speeches at tournaments in the United States.

The policy has generated a storm of bad publicity since it was announced last month

Perhaps this is a testimony to Eugene Cho’s blogging power (and, if so, how can I get him to blog about people sending me gifts of gold doubloons?).  In any case, this is a small bit of good news — even if it takes the threat of sponsors withdrawing financial support and possible legal challenges — that change is possible (although, really, the LPGA should have seen this one coming).

The Olympics are about the bringing the world together in perfect harmony, right? Maybe that was just an old soda commercial.

I have definitely been enjoying these Olympic games — in fact, I might be watching too much. The other day, my daughter identified the Chinese flag without prompting. And she’s never studied flags or nations or anything of the sort in her five years of life. It must be from all the handball, fencing and table tennis I’ve been watching.

The Olympics are supposed to bring us together, to provide a literal playing field upon which nations can come together and forget their differences. And yet, as the headlines of reality remind us, nations still continue to sabre-rattle, posture, provoke and invade one another. Even within the games themselves, we are reminded — despite Visa’s best advertising efforts (“Go World,” to which we respond, “Go where?”) — that we still have a long way to go in understanding one another. A very long way.

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The New Yorker recently ran a cover featuring a cartoon of Senator Barack Obama and his wife Michelle that portrays them as anti-American terrorists. The New Yorker claims that it was drawn satirically, to make light of the ridiculous rumors surrounding Obama (e.g., he’s a Muslim, he’s a terrorist-sympathizer, etc.). Senator Obama’s camp has denounced the cover as “tasteless and offensive.”

I agree with one commenter whose opinion I read on a political blog — this cover fails because genuine satire should not require lengthy explanations. If, for example, the cartoonist had included an image of Rush Limbaugh or some similar extreme right-wing shouting head in the corner, and the main image as a thought bubble, then perhaps the message would be clear: anti-Obama pundits are spreading lies and fear about him and his family in order to further their agenda. Unfortunately, the New Yorker did not do anything like this, and the resulting message is far from clear.

I might have agreed with those who claim it is a tad paternalistic to suggest that the majority of Americans would not “get” the satire on the cover had I not heard a recent piece on NPR about voters who are supporting McCain mostly because they don’t like Obama. One of them insisted on repeating the tired email chain letter lie about Senator Obama being a secret Muslim and being raised in Muslim schools, even after the reporter told her that these were outright fabrications.

I suppose the New Yorker cover succeeds in garnering more publicity for them during this election season, but not much else.

Or, as some might say, free!

Yesterday, Trent Reznor released The Slip, the new Nine Inch Nails album, gratis over at their website. It’s true, ol’ Trent didn’t even include a “pay what you want” option — just download The Slip for free! And, unlike the initial digital release of In Rainbows from Radiohead, The Slip is being released in high quality MP3, FLAC and other digital formats.

According to the NIN website, this free download is for the fans:

thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years – this one’s on me

Is this the new distribution model for music?

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Six students at a local high school that several of our youth group students attend were suspended last week for hacking into the school’s computer system to change their grades and access upcoming test material. This probably would have been a newsworthy blurb on its own and a conversation about cheating and technological security, but the emotional response of the assistant principal of the school has pushed this story to another level.

The assistant principal called this, “Our (worst) technological nightmare” and said, “This case is unique in its depth of complexity and depravity.” Now, of course cheating is wrong, but this response sounds a tad melodramatic. Does the high-tech nature of this cheating make it any worse than old-fashioned cheating (e.g., students writing answers on their palms)?

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