Churches ignoring the digital playground

GILFORD, N.H. -- Everywhere computer professional Brian Heil looked at SoulFest 2011 he saw packs of young people trying to stay on schedule as they rushed from one rock concert, workshop or prayer meeting to another.But first, there was one more text to send, one more Twitter tweet to tweet, one more Facebook status to update, one more snapshot to share, one more YouTube video to upload, just one more connection to make in the digital world that now shapes real life.This year's four-day … [Read more...]

McChurch history 101

In the beginning, revival preachers used their dynamic voices and dramatic sermons -- framed with entertaining gospel music -- to attract large crowds and to pull sinners into the Kingdom of God.This formula worked in weeklong revivals and, when tried, it started working in regular Sunday services. Big preachers drew big crowds and created bigger and bigger churches. Then along came the big media, which helped create a youth culture that exploded out of the 1950s and into the cultural … [Read more...]

Rush Limbaugh, liberal heretic?

The joke was old, old, old and Rush Limbaugh knew that when -- tongue firmly planted in cheek -- he tweaked it for his flock at the Conservative Political Action Convention. So Larry King dies and goes to heaven, where the CNN star urgently asks St. Peter: "Is Rush Limbaugh here?" Not yet, says his host. Finally, their tour reaches heaven's largest room, where a flashing "Rush Limbaugh" sign hangs over a giant throne. King is confused."I thought you said he wasn't here," King asks, in … [Read more...]

Faith and the Russert Test

The politico facing Tim Russert was Vice Present Al Gore and their testy dialogue was one of the memorable moments during the 2000 White House race.RUSSERT: When do you think life begins?GORE: I favor the Roe vs. Wade approach, but let me just say, Tim, I did --RUSSERT: Which is what? When does life begin?GORE: Let me just say, I did change my position on the issue of federal funding and I changed it because I came to understand more from women -- women think about this differently than … [Read more...]

The 30-something days of Xmas

There was a time when Christians did not celebrate a season that could be called the 30-something days of Christmas.In the year of our Lord 1939, the National Retail Dry Goods Association asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving to the next-to-last Thursday in November. This was strategic, since President Abraham Lincoln had proclaimed the last Thursday of the month as the official holiday. This meant that Thanksgiving was occasionally delayed until a fifth Thursday -- a cruel … [Read more...]

FM radio reality in church

The clock is ticking and soon Jeff Crandall while face the challenge of selecting the right music for the Christmas services at High Desert Church.This will be tricky, because Christmas is what the 70-member staff at this megachurch calls a "federal" event. This means that these services will unite worshippers from the three radically different services that are held week after week at this booming congregation in Victorville, Calif., about 90 miles outside of Los Angeles."Christmas may be the … [Read more...]

Hell through the Hollywood lens

LOS ANGELES -- Hell looks really cool, when seen through a Hollywood lens.The good guys in the upcoming thriller "Constantine" do comment on the sulfur smell in the hell edition of Los Angeles and it's a pain coping with all those extra tortured, brainless, flesh-eating demons on the 101 Freeway. But the city still looks like Los Angeles, even after an eternity of hurricane-force firestorms.The other place can't compete, when it comes to entertainment value."The reason why heaven isn't shown as … [Read more...]

Beyond the Baptist boycott

It was a cheesy ad slogan sure to raise eyebrows during the summer battle for the teen-movie bucks -- "Got Passion? Get Saved!"An acidic take on a Christian high school, "Saved!" was crafted to make evangelicals punch their boycott buttons. It featured clean queen Mandy Moore as a Bible-throwing harpy from Hades. Macaulay "Home Alone" Culkin played a hip cynic in a wheelchair who shared cigarettes and sex with the school's lone Jewess. Its all-tolerant God offered a flexible moral code.MGM … [Read more...]


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