Wednesday, November 23, 2005

What Number Did I Call?

Apparently, the phone number for our church office is one number away from that of a pregnancy clinic at a nearby hospital. At least 2-3 times a month I get calls from women concerned about their health.

A woman just called me to check on the results of her urine test. We didn't cover that in Systematic Theology. I feel grossly unprepared for ministry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The FCC Won't Let Me Be

We have yet another example of Christians missing the point.

A high school radio station, WAVM (FM 91.7) in Maynard, Mass., faces the real possibility of being shut down because a Christian broadcasting company is trying to muscle in on the school’s frequency. Read the complete story here (requires free registration to read the second page of the story).

Basically, the high school station wanted to increase their wattage from 10 watts to 250 watts. According to the eSchool News article I linked, “According to FCC rules, when a radio station files a petition to make a ‘major change,’ it opens the rights to its frequency to be challenged.”

The FCC granted the frequency to Living Proof Broadcasting, a Christian company. Living proof muscled out a high school radio station. In their defense, they have done nothing illegal. They played by the rules. But even so, they are trying to put an educational radio station out of business. Is that really the kind of example a Christian company should be setting?

I’m not furious at Living Proof. (Don’t get me wrong. I am mad, and I will be sending letters both to Living Proof as well as to the FCC.) But the more I think about it, the more I feel sad for Living Proof.

If I had to guess, I would assume their motivation was simply to get a frequency in Massachusetts so that they could spread the Gospel through their radio station (we’ll save debates about the effectiveness of this for another time). So, if we’re being generous, we could say they were motivated by the Great Commission.

Unfortunately, their actions speak louder than their words. In trying to spread grace, hope and love, they failed to exhibit any of those traits. You can’t really blame them; that’s the example they see every week in church.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

“And I heard, as it were, the noise of thunder…”

I grew up obsessed with end times conspiracy theories. My childhood dreams were filled with the Illuminati, the New World Order and other similar things. The Mark of the Beast (666) was one of the biggest concerns I came across. Everybody was afraid of being forced and/or tricked into getting the mark.

Of course, if you could figure out what the Mark of the Beast would actually be, then you would be able to avoid it. All of the conjecture was centered around the idea that you will not be able to buy or sell without the Mark of the Beast (see Revelation 13:16-18). Depending on who you talked to, that could mean a lot of different things. (Just Google “Mark of the Beast” and you’ll see over 7 million pages devoted to it.)

Most people believed that the mark would appear in stages. There would be a gateway Mark of the Beast, something less oppressive that would dull our conscience, making us easier targets for the Antichrist. One of the most common theories was a fingerprint scanner that would automatically deduct money from your checking account.

It will never happen. There is no way Americans would let anyone have their fingerprints.

The unthinkable has become true.

I was at my local grocery store, when I noticed that they had incorporated Pay By TouchTM technology. All I wanted were some yams. I didn’t realize that I would have to pledge allegiance to the Antichrist to get them. I don’t care how good they are. No yam is worth eternal hellfire and damnation.

Begin the countdown. Armageddon is coming.