Faith, Media & Culture

Here are today’s dispatches from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

1. Was Robert H. Schuller ousted from Crystal Cathedral Board? From The LA Times: A Crystal Cathedral spokesman on Monday denied reports that the church’s founder, Robert H. Schuller, was voted off the board of directors in a meeting more than a week ago.
“He [Robert H. Schuller] was not voted off the board,” said John Charles, the Garden Grove church spokesman. “He is still board chairman emeritus.”
The church released its statement a day after Schuller’s son, Robert Anthony Schuller, said his 84-year-old father had been ousted because he had proposed adding new members to the board.
“Recently, the board of directors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries voted to change Dr. Schuller’s position from that of a voting board member to the honorary Chairman of the Board Emeritus, a non-voting position,” the statement read…
…For years, the church has been gripped by family discord. In 2006, Robert H. Schuller stepped down from the pulpit and Robert Anthony Schuller took over. Two years later, he resigned and his sister, Sheila Schuller Coleman, became senior pastor shortly thereafter. The church filed for bankruptcy in October, citing more than $50 million in debt.
Comment: The Dallas-like discord within the Crystal Cathedral is sad to see.  As a believer in the power of positive Christianity, I hope and pray all involved get through this storm and emerge stronger for it.  To reference a quote by Robert H. Schuller, may they “turn their scars into stars.”

2. Atheists promote “God-LESS” Fourth of July.From The Christian Post: An atheist group has funded a $23,000 campaign to fly banners across the skies of America on (the) Fourth of July saying “God-LESS America” and “Atheism is Patriotic.”
Comment: As they see it, non-belief  is apparently as American as nothingness and apple pie.

Of course, its worth remembering that  the patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence were anything but Godless. In fact, they believed that all rights stem from and are guaranteed by our Creator.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

It is the belief that human rights stem from God and not government that makes America great.  America is not an atheist nation. It is a historically God-believing nation that recognizes the God-given right of people to believe or not believe as they see fit.

3. How Churches can fight AIDS. Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren writing for CNN:

We’ve learned that any church can provide six essential services in the fight against HIV/AIDS, easily remembered by the acronym CHURCH:

Care for and support the sick. Caring requires no money, just a willingness to offer compassion and kindness.

Handle HIV testing. At the least, churches can encourage members to get tested, with the pastor leading the way. Everyone should know their HIV status.

Unleash volunteers. There will never be enough professionals to fix all that is wrong in our world. The Christian church claims 2.3 billion followers worldwide. If only half could be mobilized to care for those with HIV and AIDS, the fight would look very different

Remove the stigma. It is not a sin to be sick. Jesus never asked a sick person, “How did you get sick?” He asked, “How can I help you?”

Champion healthy behavior. HIV is almost completely preventable. While new reports suggest that accessing HIV treatment at an earlier stage of the illness is a vital way to prevent transmission, the cost may be an impediment. Behavior change will continue to be the most effective way to cut down on new infections.

Help with antiretroviral drugs for HIV patients. The simplest way to cut down on new infections, to help infected individuals live longer, and to prevent children from becoming orphans, is to create accountability with medication compliance. Church volunteers can make daily visits or phone calls, reminding individuals to take their medication.

4. Michele Bachmann talks about her personal Christian journey at Iowa church. From The Christian Post: The words of Minnesota congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann were shorn of political rhetoric as she shared a message of repentance and hope with Point of Grace Church in Iowa on Sunday, reported The Des Moines Register.
On the second day of her three-day, 10-stop bus tour of the state, Bachmann gave speeches at two separate worship services at the evangelical church in Waukee, in which she shared several personal stories, including her own “conversion” and how a miscarriage led her husband and her to provide care to foster children.

5. Checkout The Happiness Project.

6. Comedy Central to roast Charlie Sheen. From The Wrap: Charlie Sheen will be roasted on Comedy Central on the same night that “Two and a Half Men” will return on CBS with Ashton Kutcher taking over for Sheen.
IMHO: Train wrecks aren’t funny.

7. Media Matters’ taxpayer-funded war on Fox News continues.

8. Are Rizzoli & Isles gay? From The LA Times: The first season of TNT’s crime drama “Rizzoli & Isles” featured an episode with the title “I Kissed a Girl.” Its stars, Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander, played on a softball team, shared some intimate dinners, drank wine over candlelight and hopped into the same bed for girl talk…Series creator Janet Tamaro described Harmon’s Rizzoli and Alexander’s Isles as a “power couple” — the center of a buddy drama, one that broke cable ratings records in its debut run and returns for its second season July 11. But the women are not together, as in together…That hasn’t stopped gay pop culture blog AfterEllen from dubbing the show, “totally gay, it just doesn’t know it yet.”…”I hate to disappoint, but these characters are straight,” Harmon insisted. “If we lose viewers because of it — sorry!”

9. When exactly did having no redeeming social value become good? From NewsBusters: On CBS’s Sunday Morning program, as he reviewed the film Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz, film critic David Edelstein applauded the raunchy film for having “no redeeming social value” as he derided “all the hypocritical moralists out there.”
Comment: Ironic, that an excellent show like  Sunday Morning, which has more redeeming social value than most TV programming, would feature a movie critic who decries entertainment of social value.  It inspires another movie idea: Bad Critic.

10. NBC’s 4th of July fireworks tops ratings. From MediaLife Magazine: NBC’s “Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular” jumped to a four-year high to lead the network to a dominating win on a slow holiday night.
Comment: And to the network’s credit, nobody even cut out the line “God shed His Grace on thee” from America, The Beautiful.
Quote of the Day – “The miracle of the practice of gratitude is that it reverses this pattern of looking outwardly for satisfaction, and instantly puts us in touch with all the many gifts and blessings already present in our life. We shift from spinning in perpetual motion on the wheel of seeking happiness from the outside-in to generating happiness from the inside-out.” — Joel and Michelle Levey (Founders of writing for The Huffington Post.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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