Wednesday, January 25, 2006

NBC cancels prime time blasphemy

Christians of Knoxville, you have much to be proud of today. I am convinced that because of you and teaming millions like you around the country, NBC has cancelled the blasphemous program The Book of Daniel, which glorified ungodly behavior by an Episcopal priest and his family, and mocked the Holy Name and character of Christ Our Lord.

As you will recall, back when the controversy over this prime time fare from Hell began, I called for the boycott of our beloved local NBC affiliate WBIR after station management refused to pull the show in spite of numerous requests to do so from the local community. I certainly wasn’t the only one calling for a boycott, so I believe that the combined efforts of many, not just here in Knoxville, but all over America, helped put an end to this shameful exercise in television cruelty.

I did notice that many Tennessee bloggers who had a link to WBIR in their sidebars removed that link after I called for the boycott. I can’t say whether my calling for a boycott urged them to do this, or whether their anger was ignited the same as mine, but I do know the effort was effective.

For their part, NBC is claiming that the program was cancelled due to poor ratings, not because of the controversy surrounding The Book of Daniel. I don’t suppose the folks at the network stopped to think that the ratings were poor because of the controversy, that there were no ratings because a lot of people were boycotting the show (perhaps even their local NBC station). No…they can’t bring themselves to admit that Christian America united and gave NBC and its affiliates a good whippin’. They were put in their place by a bunch of Christians in Middle America, and it is eating them alive, I am sure.

I am heartened and warmed right down deep in my soul that a few good people out there besides me are still willing to fight the Culture War. The Culture War is more important than any other fight we may wage. The “war on terror” is a fight against militant Mohammedans. The Culture War is the war for the very soul of America. If we lose it, we will lose our country, for blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and cursed is the nation who rejects Him.

As for WBIR, station manager Jeff Lee claims “the system works” and says the show was highly rated here in Knoxville. Based on what happened, I am not buying Lee’s tale. However, WBIR has been restored to its sanity by an executive decision. As a result, WBIR returns to its rightful place today on my blog sidebar.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.


At Wednesday, January 25, 2006 11:04:00 AM, Blogger Kern said...

The controversial aspects of the show may have played a small role in the cancellation of the show. However, from a secular standpoint anyone who watched the show could tell that if viewed even through the secular prism, the show was mediocre at best.

As much as you or anyone else who tosses around righteous indignation about such petty matters as though it's their job would like to believe it's some huge moral victory it isn't. The truth is the show on its face was not well executed, and coupled with a Friday night timeslot when their major target demographic is probably out rather than watching TV, you have the more obvious reason for low ratings.

You imply that it is your belief that "the system works." It's funny how it works when you get your way but it's damaged and broken when other adults might like to have the ability to make informed choices about the programming they watch.

I'm glad you're so proud of being an extortionist. Do try not to break your arm patting yourself on the back for your "victory."

At Wednesday, January 25, 2006 2:09:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Actually, if you had bothered to read the entire post, you would see that "the system works" was a quote from the General Manager of a station here in Knoxville that opted to air the program over massive protests.

Reading in context does help one better understand what one is reading.

Of course, there are occasions when asking certain people on the Left to actually comprehend something may overwhelm their capacity for thought.

At Wednesday, January 25, 2006 6:57:00 PM, Blogger Kern said...

As a matter of fact, I did read the entire post and I know exactly who said it. However it doesn't change the fact that you seem to believe that unless the world decides to fall in line with your narrow minded views there is indeed something wrong with it.

It also doesn't change the fact that gloating is very unflattering, which is exactly what you were doing.

I also admit, I really enjoyed your witty barb at the end. Instead of actually explaining why you think it's not ok for the secular world to tell you how to live, but yet it is ok to work tirelessly to keep other adults who presumably have the right to make up their minds as to what they read, listen to, or watch from doing so.

I am not saying the show was good. Far from it, as a matter of fact. I found the show to be quite mediocre at best. And it would have died a natural death on its own by the lack of viewership. But rather than let it happen naturally, you apparently feel that it's fine to tell reasonable people that they don't have the right to decide what's suitable programming for them to watch. Why is that?

I would find it just as appalling if a group was trying to tell you that they didn't want you reading the Bible in a public place because it might offend someone. My point is that it is a two way street, and that my issue is not whether or not you agree with the show being on or not. I believe that you have as much right to pursue your own course as anyone else even if I don't agree with it.

I guess it was just easier for you to be defensive and presumptious about my stance on the matter of a person's free will in this supposedly free country, tossing out a clever partisan insult rather than engaging in an actual discourse about the issue at hand.

At Wednesday, January 25, 2006 9:38:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Rather than explain Conservative Christian thought to the unconverted (the plain and simple reality is that I am not going to convert you to my way of thinking, if anyone converts you it will be the Holy Spirit. I don't know what you call the spirit you follow, but I am not sure that spirit is holy) it is better to explain why we (Christians) would take such an action against this program.

I don't dispute the right of the producer of THE BOOK OF DANIEL to produce the show. He has a right to express his mind, and to market his show.

We live in a society where we don't have mandatory government broadcasting, which means networks and stations choose what to air and not to air, largely based on what will make money. Radio and television providers live in fear of things that will bring offense, and because of that they often do not allow things to air that they perhaps SHOULD...except if the group being offended is some stripe of Christian.

I don't just say that, I speak from some experience. Having worked in radio for several years, I can tell you that you couldn't get on the air and knowingly say things that might bring offense to Muslims, or Jews, or a particular minority ethnic group...but saying things that Christians might find offensive (such as using Christ's name in a profane way) was tolerated. This is the double-standard we fight. We are quite tired of the secular American world thinking it is okay to offend us, the silent majority, while we, and our concerns, must be silent. We will not be silent...we will fight for the right.

At Wednesday, January 25, 2006 10:29:00 PM, Blogger Kern said...

While I can see where some of the things you mentioned could be a sincere sense of frustration, I think it's difficult to paint everyone who may consider themselves a Christian with one brush. I am as you pointed out, not an expert on these matters. However, I do know a lot of Christians and not all of them took The Book of Daniel to be as egregious an offense as some others seemed to have. Some of them told me they actually enjoyed the show.

I don't claim to be an expert on Christ, but I must say the reactions to the depiction of him on the show really surprise me. The Jesus I saw depicted on the show was kind, non-judgemental, and forgiving even when Daniel made mistakes(and we can all admit he was far from perfect). He wanted Daniel to do the right thing but knew he couldn't force him; it seemed to me that he loved Daniel and just wanted him to come to good decisions on his own. I cannot say what Jesus is supposed to be, but I can say that based on what I remember from going to church in my formative years and what I would hope a savior would be, they could have done a far worse job. Admittedly, many of the situations were far fetched and ill conceived, but I felt that this was more a symptom of bad writing and execution rather than a deliberate attempt to be hurtful.

Whether it is right or not, there seems to be a greater emphasis on Right Wing politics in religion these days, and I think that a lot of the reason that the disconnect between certain religious groups(Muslims and Jews, for example) and Christianity in this country exists is because not everyone who believes in God believes in being conservative, and in some people's minds the inability to separate the politics away from religion causes them to resent anything that is labeled Christian.

I understand your position, though I just as I dislike the fact that some people weren't able to have a chance to see The Book of Daniel to decide its merit, I am equally upset when the ACLU wants to take down a statue of the Ten Commanments at a courthouse. It's not that I have a problem with any one belief system, I just hate to see the interference of any kind of outside group liberal or conservative stepping in to deprive people of at least having the chance to live in their own way. From what I've been told, if people aren't living the right way, it will catch up to them eventually, and there is only one being who can hold them accountable.

I would like to humbly apologize to you for the rude tone with which I began this conversation. I should have tried to open a less hostile dialogue on the subject. It's very easy to forget on paper that one is not merely attacking an ideology, they are attacking a human being with their own values and feelings.

At Thursday, January 26, 2006 10:57:00 AM, Anonymous F.A.T. said...

Here is what I don't understand about the "Culture War" I don't see anything in Jesus' life to suggest that this is what we should be engaged in. Jesus lived under a very repressive and violent society. It is no wonder the Jewish people expected a savior in the mold of Moses who would free them from the Romans.

But I cannot recall one instance where Jesus spoke out about the Roman government. He spoke out a lot about religious hypocrisy, the only real protest that I recall Jesus involved in was more of an in-house problem.

It seems to me that we are not called to save a society, we are called to save people. The way Jesus did. People who are broken and far from God.

So I would love to know where in Jesus' life you see this call to be involved in the "Culture War."

As a follower of Christ I want to know if I am wrong. While I read my Bible I am no Biblical scholar and I have had no graduate level theology training. So if I am wrong I need to know. I need to load up my ammunition and head to the front lines of the "Culture War." But I just don't see that as what Jesus called us to do.

Jesus answered, "My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight, that I wouldn't be delivered to the Jews. But now my Kingdom is not from here."
John 18:36

At Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:36:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Unfortunately, I do not have the time to respond to both of you tonight, but F.a.t., I'll get to you in the morning.

Kern, first of all, I appreciate your sincere apology, even though I do not agree with all that you say. I checked out your blog...if it wasn't so filled with vitriol at every single post (anger is okay from time to time, I think) it would be very good. I have long been looking for an anti-blogger, and the one Tennessee liberal I can think of who kept a regular blog quit keeping hers. (A lot of us think it was a conspiracy...the most prominent liberal and most prominent conservative bloggers in the state quit just as they both began to criticize state officialdom heavily, although they both insist that is not the case.)

The biggest problem I had with Jesus in the show was that he was simplistic and, I felt, was not morally clear. His moral advice was also not consistent with Christ...however, even so, the Jesus of the show did not bother me as much as Daniel himself.

A minister of the gospel who curses, behaves crudely, and seems to condone (he certainly allows for) his family's moral ineptitude is a minister who would bring scandal to many a church. The way Daniel behaved was not consistent with how a minister who is really serious about his calling behaves. Daniel as a character was demeaning to any real and serious minister of the gospel.

One quick note for fat: I don't know what translation you use, but your translation of John 18:36 is seriously watered-down. You might try a different bible translation.

At Friday, January 27, 2006 12:11:00 AM, Anonymous F.A.T. said...

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place." (NIV)

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." (NASB)

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (KJV)

Here are a couple of others. I'm not sure what you think is watered down.

At Friday, January 27, 2006 1:08:00 AM, Blogger Kern said...

Fair enough. Thank you for accepting my apology.

At Friday, January 27, 2006 9:50:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

It is important to remember that the Culture War of which I speak is not a shooting war, but it is a war fought on all fronts to save our culture.

Christ was fighting a culture war from the moment he entered this world, and he was a threat to the established order. Herod understood this, and he tried to have the infant Jesus killed. Herod Antipas understood this when he had St. John the Baptist beheaded. (If Josephus is to be believed, John publically chastised Herod for committing adultery by marrying his brother's wife.)

The religious leadership of Jesus' day was propped up by the Roman authorities, and both Jews and non-Jews of that day understood this, and Jewish revolutionaries were just as opposed to the temple priesthood of that day as they were to the Roman occupation.

We know that Pilate did not want to put Jesus to death. We also know that he did so in the end because, say the Roman accounts, he feared an insurrection. Consider the exchange between Pilate and Jesus that you only quote from in part:

Matthew 18:33-38:

Pilate therefore went into the hall again, and called Jesus, and said to him: Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus answered: Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others told it thee of me?

Pilate answered: Am I a Jew? Thy own nation, and the chief priests, have delivered thee up to me: what hast thou done?

Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence.

Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then?

Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.

Pilate saith to him: What is truth? And when he said this, he went out again to the Jews, and saith to them: I find no cause in him.

Pilate asked Jesus "WHAT IS TRUTH." Pilate did not wait for an answer. Our job is to "testify to the truth." Our failure to do so, our failure to stand up for what is right, means that, as Christians, we will have failed.

The scriptures tell us that if we see an injustice and fail to act to stop it, we will be judged in the same way as the ones who have done the injustice. This is why pro-life people are so passionate and refuse to let up the pressure.

That is also why a lot of people reacted so negatively to THE BOOK OF DANIEL. The injustice that many saw in this was that it is considered okay to put something on television that is offensive to many Christians, but the media heads would not dare offend other groups.

There are MANY injustices in our society we must work to stop, and doing so will anger those on both the left and the right. However, you can't bring the justice Christ called for to any society unless it is a society conducive to Christian justice. It literally took Christians thousands of years to build up such a society, and now it is being torn down in two generations. That is why the culture war must be fought. Regretably, it can still be lost.

At Friday, January 27, 2006 11:03:00 AM, Anonymous F.A.T. said...

To the point of Herod. I think he feared an earthly King that would overthrow him. I don't think his fear was that of Jesus' culture war, I think he feared an actual war where he would be overthrown.

It seems to me that if Jesus was any kind of culture war it was against the church and the leaders of the church (or temple). It was these leaders that he argued with. It was because they kept people out of the temple. Often when Jesus healed people he sent them to the temple, because they had not been allowed in before due to their ailment.

This is what the religious leaders feared. They feared a loss of power that could come if Jesus really meant the things He said and if people believed Him.

I would appreciate a Biblical reference for your statement, "The scriptures tell us that if we see an injustice and fail to act to stop it, we will be judged in the same way as the ones who have done the injustice." Not that I don't believe you that it is there, but I am not completely familiar to what you are referring.

I don't see Jesus fighting against every injustice. Certainly the Jews at least felt that the taxation by the Roman government was unjust. I would tend to agree. But Jesus answered, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s." (Matt 22:15-22) He didn't take to the streets to fight it.

He said crazy things like "love your enemies" (Matt 5:43-48) "turn the other cheek" and "if someone takes you to court for you shirt, give him your coat as well" (Matt 5:38-42)

His messages were radical. They still are. One of the only times Jesus gave a straight answer to a question (by that I mean didn't answer with another question or a parable) was when He was asked what the greatest commandment was. His answer, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Mat 22:34-40)

If as Christians we could get these two down, the world would change.

So I am still open, but at this point I still don't see how Christ was involved in any culture war outside of the religious organization. It still seems to me that his concern was with people and not culture.

As far as THE BOOK OF DANIEL goes I think Christians missed a big opportunity here. This was a chance for it to be acceptable to start the conversation about Jesus. I think that is a shame.

Even if you found the show insulting, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matt 5:11-12)

Why are we so worried about what other people think of us or how some TV show by a non-Christian betrays us?

Anyway, I wanted to say that I appreciate the civility of the conversation. Obviously most peoples beliefs are not easily altered, but I want to tell you that I am open to learning. I am open to being wrong on issues.

I am still not sure what you thought was watered down about the translation I used originally for John 18:36. I'm not sure what the major point you see is between the translations on the issue of this passage. I would be interested in where you see the major difference.

At Friday, January 27, 2006 11:42:00 AM, Blogger Chris Good said...

I honestly didn't read everything above because it's enough for a novel. What I did want to remind us is that as a culture we are a bit backwards.

We worry about TV shows and not about Africa Dieing.

We worry about whatever some big guy said to millions of people, but yet a good chunk of Mississippi and Georgia are struggling to get to the next day and literally have nothing left.

Honestly would Jesus be sitting here debating this show about him, probably made by non christians? I don't think you'd even see him close to it. Probably say something like hmmm...interesting. So are we going to help these people or not.

Within the Christian world I agree that there is a culture war being waged, and I hope Jesus wins in the end.

One more thing, I really can't believe there is an arguement going on right now about bible translations. Honestly is someone implying here that one translation is more bias'ed than the next? Because all translations will have the bias of the person translating it. It's just impossible to remove them all.

At Friday, January 27, 2006 4:21:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

I will have more time tomorrow to respond to FAT, but I thought that I would take just a moment to respond to Mr. Good's assertion that I "worry about TV shows and not about Africa dying."

First of all, welcome to THE WORLD. Its been awhile now, but I have, in the past, blogged about the situation in Africa. If you really want to hear some of my thoughts about Africa (especially Sudan) stay tuned in the weeks ahead.

I think that is not your motus, however. That kind of rationale is what conservatives hear from liberals whenever we have a success on the cultural front...we all of a sudden "don't care" about something that has nothing to do with the subject being addressed. In fact, we do care...we care very much. We also care about our own country and our own back can care about both.

I'd be careful about making assumptions about the things I care that and you'll really get a piece of my mind in these pages about the things I DO care about, as many others have learned! God Bless you.

At Friday, January 27, 2006 6:14:00 PM, Blogger Kern said...

I would tend to agree with Mr. Oatney on this point.

The other day in my haste I wrote something similar about people "not caring". In one's anger, it's very easy to lash out and make generalized statements as I did. If I had thought harder I would have rephrased to say that the priority was skewed. I realize now that it is very short sided for anyone(left or right) to assume that caring about an issue which seems smaller in the grand scheme of things than other issues (ie tv shows to African poverty) is an all or nothing endeavor. I would feel just as bad if someone assumed that because I felt strongly about the Book of Daniel staying on the air that I would not stand behind someone whose religious liberties were being threatened(ie being able to read the bible in a public school).

The truth is I believe we all have a heirarchy of things we deem important. I don't want to speak for anyone, but I could definitely see how if a person did feel strongly about an issue like Book Of Daniel, how they might have it on their radar in the here and now as opposed to the troubles of Africa which are constant.

Sometimes it's easier for us to get into the battles we think we have actually have a chance at winning in the short term.

I don't think any one of us likes the idea of African poverty, but I think most of us can agree that it's not something that any one of us can do alone. We all chip away at the larger problems until they are manageable, but that doesn't mean that we should abandon the smaller ones that we also feel strongly about.

While Mr. Oatney and I are on two totally different pages, I think the good thing about this exchange is that I have learned that I can gain a great deal of respect for a person's convictions, and that a this respect for a person's strong will can transcend ideology.


At Saturday, January 28, 2006 1:43:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Like Kern, I too have enjoyed this exchange. It has not been my intent to change minds, only to open a few. Conversely, I think Mr. Kern has turned over a bit of a new leaf in the process...

That, and I think, agree or not with him, he is a pretty good writer.

I hope that he and all of you continue reading this weblog.

At Saturday, January 28, 2006 1:44:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

FAT-Since you seem to concentrate your entire sphere of biblical exegesis in the New Testament (even though that is only half of the Bible) to the New Testament we will go for some biblical reference.

I think perhaps the most telling passage is James 4:17:

"Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin."

You might say "that's painting with an awfully broad brush," but not really. St. James is indicating to us that we will encounter clear situations in which a wrong is being committed, or could be committed, either by us or by another person, but the action may not be clearly addressed in Church teaching. In this, we must ask ourselves "what is right, what action most falls into line with the laws of a just God," and we must act accordingly.

Therefore, to see an injustice and fail to act would not be in keeping with this apostolic teaching.

Proverbs 21:17 says:

Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.

Now, Mr. Good will be pleased with that passage because it certainly undergirds his views about Africa (a subject which, while important and certainly addressable, had nothing to do with this post...), but it also shows us that we are called to take action when we see injustice, a wrong.

Isaiah 10:1 says:
Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed

In the following verse it says:
To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!

One translation renders it "woe unto those who declare unjust statutes, and rob the poor of my people of their rights!"

It can be argued that the Lord only speaks of the poor here. But there is something deeper. God is showing us that people have both rights and duties, duties we must do and rights we must defend.

I think it pretty much blows your idea that Christ would not advocate social protest or "culture war" out of the water. Were we to think in that way, it is fruitless for Christians to agitate politically or socially for what is right, because there is no clear evidence that Jesus did? If that is the case, Christianity has been in the wrong for 2,000 years. Perhaps Kern believes that, which is his may be that Mr. Good believes that, I don't know. But I assume by your tone that you ARE a Christian, and that means you should know better than that. If you are a Catholic, you should really know better than that.

As an aside: Thanks to all for the wonderful comments, whether I agree with them or not. I encourage you to post comments in any of my posts you might like, even though I may not always agree with you. I might not always have time to answer comments, but they are respected, wanted, and appreciated here.

At Saturday, January 28, 2006 5:26:00 PM, Blogger Chris Good said...

I had a long post prepaired, then erased it. Really I just wanted to make sure we all (and I wasn't saying you...I said we...which implys me) the right focus. I pointed to extremes to suggest that there are larger things that time and money could be spent on. I will try to illistrate with something.

My local christian radio station to which I listen all the time to has a religion desk update every hour. I hear more about selective bad TV shows (when there is filth everywhere on TV), 'Ten Commandments Monuments' and other hot buttion issues than 'How we help our fellow neighbor'

Sorry if it sounded like I was lashing out...I don't really do that, and it wasn't intended. Good Blog discussion though.

At Saturday, January 28, 2006 5:42:00 PM, Anonymous F.A.T. said...

I have a feeling this could go on for a long time. So I will probably stop with this post if for no other reason to let you spend time on the rest of your blog.

Let me also say that I appreciate the conversation and the civility of it. I have to admit than when I read your first reply back about my "watered-down" translation of the Bible I was a little nervous that this might be more venomous. So once again I appreciate the spirit in which this conversation has taken place.

I would totally agree with you that God, through the Old and New Testament (really less than half the Bible, that Old Testament is pretty thick), had called us to take care of the poor. Many times stated as the poor and the widowed. This is a running theme through the book and I have no problem saying that is part of what we should do as Christians.

To me that is still a long way away from any Culture War. And it especially a long way away from trying to protect our reputation from some TV show.

Another issue within this then may be how do we help the poor. Do we seek a political means to our mandate as Christians or do we take it upon ourselves to tackle these issues?

I have a feeling that this is where we start going around in circles, so like I said, unless there is a particular point you want me to address I will stop here, but I will check in our blog and see if there is anything else I can give you a hard time about.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17) OT just for you.

(On a total side note, I may not have quoted anything from the OT, but I did quote Jesus quoting the OT - has to be worth a couple of points, right?)

At Sunday, January 29, 2006 12:16:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

FAT: I agree with you that all of this has been extremely civil, and I appreciate it all. To be honest, I like having all this traffic, it makes me feel like my meager efforts working in this site are not in vein.

FYI: I have several favorite bible translations, and several I do not like.

Let me ask you this: When I say "Culture War" what is it you think I mean?

At Monday, January 30, 2006 9:00:00 AM, Anonymous F.A.T. said...

I just wanted to let you know I will reply to this. This is a great question. I am a little busy right now so it may take me a couple of days, but I will give you an answer.

At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 5:21:00 PM, Blogger John Torkelson said...

A friend asked me to review this argument and check the biblical arguments being made. I will weigh in here personally because I feel mis-interpretations are being made. I mean no offense to anyone, but cannot help, but write something.
First of all, no 'watered down' versions of the bible are being offered here. The NASB and NIV are both great translations of the bible. Chris, while agree with your sentiment about not arguing over translations in this discussion, there are definitly solid criteria for evaluating varying translations of the Bible. Secondly, while I mean no offense, Dave I need to ask your training in biblical interpretation. Your references to Isaiah are used out of context and your comments about one particular verse showing us that Jesus was involved in a cultural war are completely impossible. Isaiah was written way before Jesus arrival here and although its prophesies are fulfilled by Jesus, its original audience was Isreal, not Jews at Jesus' time or us. Therefore to say that a verse there would suggest that Jesus was involved in a Cultural war hundreds of years later is really not possible. Besides, you take one verse out of context and ignore its obvious reference to taking care of orphans and widows, which is a popular Old Testament motif to remind Israel that it was to take care of the opressed or less fortunate members of its nation. It most certainly in no way references our modern rights and freedoms in America.
Another issue I have Dave, is that your responses suggest you may believe that this nation is somehow a modern day nation of God. That is is a "Christian Nation" that has for century been a safe haven for Christians created by God. I don't think scripture supports that view. Referring you back to F.A.T.'s earlier post...Jesus says those who are persecuted are blessed. He also says elsewhere (sorry I don't have time currently to find the reference, but I will if need be) that we should expect to be persecuted because of Him. This does not feel like an instruction to set up a nation where we can be confortable and keep out whoever doesn't fit our definition of a "good Christian."
Finally, I have to say that f.a.t. has actually capture the correct reading of the New Testament here also. Jesus focused on the Religious leaders of his time. He did not ignore Ceasar, but his response to Him was not the same as our current cultural war. He instructed his followers to subvert Ceasar with love and kindness. He instructed His followers to carry Soldier's equipment twice as far as the obligatory mile. He told them to give to Ceasar what was his...not to boycott that tax. His was not a Cultural war in the sense that is being promoted here. The whole point of the Herod and Pilot stories are to point out that Jesus the messiah was not a political saviour as the Jews believed, but was instead here to bring a different kingdom. He was above the political hubbub. He was God. He came with the purpose of redeeming creation.
I hope my writing has not offended. I write with the same spirit as the rest of the this conversation, but had to interject my thoughts.

At Thursday, February 02, 2006 8:03:00 AM, Anonymous F.A.T. said...

When I started to write this I was going to go into all kinds of examples and had this really long post going, but I have decided to try to answer the question as succinctly as possible.

To me the culture war is about trying to change society from the outside in. That is trying to change society from places of power. Political power, boycott power, etc.

Instead, I think we are called to change society from the inside out. To change hearts and minds rather than changing political agendas. If Jesus, God incarnate, could humble himself to be a servant in this world, why do we seek the power of this world?

Jesus never held political office. Was never in a place of earthly power. He said some amazing things, healed a hand full of people then He was gone. I still believe His kingdom is not of this world.

At Thursday, February 02, 2006 1:43:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Using political power is really only part of the culture war...a small part, really. The rest has to do with winning BACK hearts and minds who have previously been lost to the truth.


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