More Internet Insanity
The Internet censoring software, Cyber Patrol is now blocking access to the web site of the American Family Association (AFA). In 1995, Cyber Patrol decided to remove blocking from sites run by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). After protests from the organization, Cyber Patrol removed the block, and a representative from GLAAD joined the board. Shortly thereafter, the board voted to ban the AFA website, saying that the AFA uses harsh language toward homosexuality. For example, referring to homosexuality as "repulsive to Christians."
Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media, charges that the AFA site has been blocked because gay rights groups "are attempting to win the public debate on homosexuality by suppressing information." He argues that while AFA's views are depicted as out of the mainstream, a New York Times poll found that a majority of Americans believe homosexuality is morally wrong.
U.S. News and World Report, February 1, 1999
Taking the Moral Pulse
Theater operator David Crenshaw decided in August that he would take a stand for righteousness and quit showing R-rated movies. Like many, he tended to blame others for the corrosive effect on moral values in America. He decided to trust his economic future with the common people and their willingness to "go for the good stuff."
But the common people betrayed David Crenshaw. Over a period of five months ticket sales plummeted by 40 percent causing Crenshaw to have to start scheduling R-rated films again. Said Mr. Crenshaw, "You can't make people want something they don't want."
World, January 16, 1999
Stigma is Not the Problem
Sociologists and family experts have long surmised that children whose parents divorce would suffer fewer ill effects as the cultural stigma attached to divorce grew weaker. An international study by University of Illinois researchers found just the opposite to be the case.
As expected, the researchers found that those who grew up in intact families reported higher life satisfaction than those whose parents divorced. The findings concerning children of divorce, however, were surprising. The researchers hypothesized that divorce in nations with a high divorce rate would have less negative impact than in countries with a low divorce rate. However, the data showed that children of divorce do best in countries where divorce is less common. The researchers concluded there is no plausible cause-effect connection between the low levels of well being among children of divorce and the stigma attached to divorce in countries with a low divorce rate.
Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1998 (Vol. 60)
A German couple went for a Christmas drive near Berlin and ended up with a big splash. The reason: Their car's computerized navigation system didn't tell them that they had to wait for a ferry. The 57-year-old driver expected a bridge and kept going straight in the dark. So he ended up in the water.
Police say the unidentified man and his passenger were uninjured and the car was fished out about thirteen feet from the banks of the Havel River, six miles from Berlin. "You can't always blindly rely on technology," a coast guard officer said.
World, January 9, 1999
Those who use an inadequate spiritual roadmap may anticipate a bridge, only to find themselves in deep water.
Growing Conservatism Among Our Youth
The current crop of college freshmen is less apt to drink beer, engage in casual sex, or support legalized abortion. This same group is indifferent to politics and keen on volunteerism according to a survey of a quarter-million students. The survey is one of the first indications of the more conservative morals of this generation dubbed the "millennials."
Beer drinking among college freshmen is the lowest in the 33-year history of The American Freshman survey. Slightly more than half – 51.6 percent – say they drink beer, compared with 52.7 percent the previous year and 75.2 percent in 1981. In addition, only 50.9 percent are in favor of keeping abortion legal, compared to 64.9 percent in 1990. A record low 39.6 percent of the freshmen agreed with the phrase, "If two people really like each other, it's all right for them to have sex even if they've known each other for a very short time." This is a decline from the 42 percent who agreed in 1997 and the 51.9 percent who did so in 1987.
The same study shows a decreased interest in politics and an increased interest in volunteer activities. A record 74.2 percent gave of their time last year.
The Washington Times, January 28, 1999
New government statistics show that teens are finally starting to turn drugs off. The documents show that disapproval of drugs is up; that has been matched by a drop in drug use. Officials hope new studies that will chart the impact of the recent anti-drug TV and radio campaign will show even sharper declines in drug use.
U.S. News and World Report, January 25, 1999
The film called Jesus didn't win an Oscar or appear on any top ten list. In its twenty years of existence, though, the Jesus film has redefined "big." Consider these statistics:
• At least 1.5 billion people in more than 220 countries have seen Jesus in theaters, on television, via video, or – still the most common method – watching 16-mm reels projected onto portable screens, sheets, or walls.
• More than 73 million people have publicly declared their decision to follow Christ after seeing the film.
• Jesus has been dubbed into more than 450 languages, making it the most widely translated production in film history. Hundreds more translations are in the works.
• Nearly 2,000 film teams devote themselves exclusively to screening Jesus for people around the world – often in the face of violent opposition.
Says Paul Eshleman, director of the Jesus Film Project, "Our aim is that every person will have had a chance to see the Jesus film by the end of the millenium."
Baptist Press, January 7, 1999
Americans do not think the world is going to end soon, according to a poll of 1,027 adults conducted by Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University. Only 15 percent of those surveyed believe it is either "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that "the arrival of the new millennium means that the world will come to an end." Two-thirds of the respondents believe looming global demise is "very unlikely." Finally, the poll told respondents: "The book of Revelation in the Christian Bible makes a prediction that someday the world will be drastically changed by an act of God. Do you, generally, believe in this prediction or not?" Seventy-two percent said they believe this prophecy, 24 percent said they do not, and 4 percent were uncertain.
The News and Observer, December 31, 1998
New Light from Old Lanterns
Success can go to my head and will unless I remember that it is God who accomplishes the work, that He can continue to do so without my help, and that He will be able to make out with other means whenever He wants to cut me out. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon
A real Christian is an odd number. He feels supreme love for one he has never seen. He talks familiarly everyday to someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of another, empties himself in order that he might be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up. He is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passeth knowledge. – A. W. Tozer
He who is faithful over a few things is a lord of cities. It does not matter whether you preach in Westminster Abbey, or teach a ragged class, so you be faithful. The faithfulness is all. – George Macdonald
No one can expect to understand and receive the holiness of God who is not often and long with God. – Andrew Murray
Kids in Church
A little boy was in a relative's wedding. As he was coming down the aisle he would take two steps, stop, and turn to the crowd alternating between bride's side and groom's side. While facing the crowd, he would put his hands up like claws and roar. So it went, step, step, ROAR, step, step, ROAR all the way down the aisle. As you can imagine, the crowd was near tears from laughing so hard by the time he reached the pulpit. The little boy, however, was getting more and more distressed from all the laughing, and was also near tears by the time he reached the pulpit. When asked what he was doing, the child sniffed and said, "I was being the Ring Bear …"
A little boy opened the big and old family Bible with fascination, and looked at the old pages as he turned them. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible, and he picked it up and looked at it closely. It was an old leaf from a tree that had been pressed in between the pages. "Momma, look what I found," the boy called out. "What have you got there, dear?" his mother asked. With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered: "I think it's Adam's suit!"
In the State Convention Roundup portion of the February/March 1999 SBC LIFE, the Cooperative Program information for the Tennessee Baptist Convention should have read: "Preferred Item: Expanded Church Annuity Plan – $635,125 (cost shared by TBC, 62.5% and SBC, 37.5%)."