My latest article is up on the Covenant Eyes blog: When it Feels Like You’ve Been Irreparably Damaged by Porn
Game of Thrones is arguably the most popular and successful show on television. A big reason for its popularity is the gratuitous nudity it’s become famous for. People will rush to defend these displays for the sake of art, yet the producers know that sex, not art, is what sells. Listen to a Game of Thrones director, Neil Marshall, quoting an unnamed show producer on the Empire.com Podcast:
This particular exec, like, took me to one side and said, “Look, I represent the pervert side of the audience. Ok? Everybody else is the serious drama side. I represent the perv side of the audience, and I want full frontal nudity in this scene. So you go ahead and do it.”
This was followed by chuckles and laughs shared between Marshall and the podcast host, both men.
Our culture is a cesspool of objectification of the female body. Women aren’t seen as human beings, but as objects to be consumed by men. You see the end result of this in the millions of broken hearts, despairing headlines, and addicts trying to find their next and bigger fix. Yet we let the cycle continue by gorging on the gratuitous objectified bodies of Game of Thrones and many other porn outlets, acting like we can have the best of both worlds: enjoying the instant gratification of sex way outside of how God designed it, without it having any effect on our life, relationships, and the fabric of society as a whole.
Read more from Noah Filipiak on Game of Thrones at the Covenant Eyes blog: If you’re watching Game of Thrones, you’re watching porn.
I’ve ripped on health & wealth theology (also called the prosperity gospel) for a long time.
What I’d like to do here is slow down and examine the intent behind health & wealth theology, what parts are true biblically, and what parts come from reading the Bible incorrectly.
When the New Testament gives verse after verse promising Christians we will suffer, and most of the early Christians did suffer and die for their faith, beating up on the caricature of health and wealth theology has always felt too easy. That caricature being something along these lines:
If you start this video from the beginning you’ll hear the theology that goes along with these sort of antics, which is essentially that you have to give money to the church (and already very wealthy pastors in a lot of these cases) in order to get blessing, a.k.a. money from God in return. So this brand of health-and-wealth theology serves as a get-rich-quick scheme to pastors and offers God as a slot machine to churchgoers.
So this brand of health-and-wealth theology serves as a get-rich-quick scheme to pastors and offers God as a slot machine to churchgoers.
I’m beginning this article with the worst (and most notorious) form of prosperity gospel so you can see why it’s been so easy to beat up on it using basic and obvious Scriptures. But this type of caricature is not the whole picture behind health and wealth theology. Let’s first look at where adherents of H&W theology draw from in Scripture, followed by looking at a more complete way of understanding these texts.
The video above covers the “wealth” side of health and wealth, with the other side being “health.” This one is more self-explanatory, that God wants you to be healthy, and has a lot more New Testament scripture to back in up. These Scriptures focus around the miraculous healings Jesus and his disciples did and how healing is listed in the New Testament church’s spiritual gifts inventory in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. Another vein of New Testament scripture you will find prosperity preachers using are New Testament verses on prayer where it makes it seem you can demand something of God by having enough faith, and he must give it to you. So you demand money or health, and he must give it to you. Continue Reading…
This is a follow-up to a post I wrote yesterday about the city of East Lansing, MI banning a Charlotte, MI farmer from their farmer’s market because the farmer won’t allow gay marriages to be held at his farm. (The Charlotte farmer is suing the city of East Lansing)
Via a helpful Facebook conversation about my article, I found the crux of the debate revolves around if providing a marriage is a business service or not. The “pro East Lansing” side feels the Charlotte farmer is denying gay couples a business service in the public business sphere by not allowing them to wed on his property so he is guilty of discrimination.
1. If the farmer was unwilling to sell vegetables to gay couples, then he would be guilty of discrimination
If the farmer was unwilling to sell vegetables to gay couples, he would then be guilty of discrimination and the penalties therein. As a farmer, his business in the public sector is farming. In this case with the farmer’s market, it is selling vegetables. He is not denying gay couples the right to buy his vegetables, nor is he denying Muslims, Hindus, or people having sex outside of marriage the opportunity to buy his vegetables either–all groups of people that a Christian would theoretically not allow to marry on their property because they don’t align with a Christian / biblical sacred wedding ceremony.
2. A wedding is a sacred worship service, not a public business service
I would never expect a Catholic Church, Jewish Synagogue, or Hindu Temple to allow me and my wife to marry in their building, or on their members’ private property. The reason for this is because all of these groups see a wedding as a sacred worship service, something that is uniquely derived from their faith and religious tradition, not as the legal or business transaction which many in secular society see it as today. I have officiated many weddings, but no one would call me a bigot if I was unwilling to officiate a Hindu wedding. This would be the same as asking me to worship Hindu gods in my Sunday morning church service. Hindus have the full American right to worship their gods, but the day the government comes in like the Gestapo and tells me that I too must worship those gods in my church, or in any part of my life, is the day American freedom dies at the door.
It’s not just about “gods” in the traditional religious sense, it’s that these wedding ceremonies are worship services for each of these religious groups. The Catholic Church has every right to not allow me a Catholic wedding because I’m not Catholic! I don’t ascribe to their beliefs about theology, God, the Church, and so on, and a wedding under their authority means we have both agreed this is the direction I and my spouse are living and pursuing. It doesn’t mean we hate each other, far from it, but to say they must officiate my wedding is illogical and very un-American. All of the same holds true for gay weddings, which I treat the same as I do two heterosexual people having sex outside of marriage. The fact that two people have not agreed to follow the Bible’s design for sex does not mean that I am a bigot toward them, but it does mean I’m not going to hold the Bible over their marriage, which is the only thing I can do as a Bible-believing pastor when I officiate a wedding. Like Hindu gods, the way we live out sexuality is a god as well. I can’t “bless” a wedding like I carry magic pixy dust around in my pocket and I choose who to throw it on, I can only pray over (and “bless” in that sense) a wedding that is in line with the God I’m praying to (in line with God’s design for sex and marriage laid out in the Bible). It would be a lie for me, and for the people getting married, for me to try to be so inconsistent before them and before God. It would be as strange as singing Sunday morning worship songs to Krishna in my church.
In this East Lansing farmer’s market example, it’s like East Lansing heard that the Hindus wouldn’t let me do my wedding on their property because I’m a Christian and now have banned the Hindu farmer from their market because of it. That would be indefensible discrimination against that Hindu farmer, which I feel they are doing to this farmer from Charlotte. They are discriminating against anyone who doesn’t hold to East Lansing’s religious views of marriage.
East Lansing, MI is a very progressive city, priding themselves on inclusivity of all viewpoints and all types of people. The cardinal sin in a progressive culture like East Lansing is to say that your view is the only correct view, and that others are wrong. And it’s even worse to then take action against groups that you disagree with.
Country Mill Farms in Charlotte, MI has been banned from the East Lansing Farmer’s Market because they won’t perform gay weddings in their backyard in Charlotte.
The worst form of bigotry certainly comes when people are killing others because of their views or identity. ISIS comes to mind, as do the Crusades, as does slavery of African-Americans and genocide of Native Americans. Second to taking another’s life is taking their economic opportunity. Slavery and subsequent Jim Crow laws are the glaring example here–centuries long economic deprivation of a people group that has profoundly shaped our country in the worst way.
So here is the city of East Lansing, discriminating against a Charlotte farmer who believes that marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman. East Lansing is saying, “If you don’t agree with our views, you are wrong, and we will block you from economic opportunity because of it.” Continue Reading…