Sunday, June 26, 2011

Africa - It's HUGE!!!

In about 2 1/2 weeks, I will be travelling to Swaziland with some students and adults from our church, our area, and other areas of the US to serve the orphans there. Then, later this year, I will be taking two trips to Ethiopia to make our adoption official and bring our beautiful little girl home. Having never been to Africa, it's a bit of a whirlwind, but an exciting one. I will be logging lots of frequent flyer miles and getting lots of books read on my new Kindle.

As I think about the time I will be in Africa, I can't help but remember this graphic. It shows exactly how big Africa really is. It's stupid big!

Click on the image for a bigger version.

When you consider that 33% of the people living in this enormous continent suffer from malnutrition... And only 50% of Africans have access to hospitals or doctors...And the average life expectancy of Africans is 41 years...And that one in six African children die before the age of five...When you take all of that into consideration, you can't help but come to the conclusion that the Church has a BIG job to do! How will we bring life and light and help and healing to this hurting continent?

What do you think?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Christians in the Media

I just got done watching Easy A with Emma Stone. It's about a girl who lets a little white lie about her sexual activity slip, which ultimately unravels her life. I won't give it a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down because I thought it was decent movie, but had a lot of undesirable language and content in it.

So if this isn't a movie review, what it is? It's a commentary on the portrayal of Christians in movies. In this movie, there was a group of Christians led by Amanda Bynes' character. Their primary part in this movie was to be the judge, jury, and executioner of Stone's character because of her alleged promiscuity. As I watched the movie, I got angry about how the Christians were portrayed. My first thought was that we Christians need to do a better job representing who we are so that the world will see the love of Christ in us. For years I have defended the media thinking that if we did a better job as Christians, we would be portrayed in a more favorable light.

However, as I thought about it more, I do now blame the media. I think about the Christians who have been portrayed in the media: Fred Phelps (the God Hates Fags guy - sorry about the term, but that's what his website is called and what he is about), Harold Camping (the guy who predicted the end of the world in May - the world looks pretty good, having ended and all), preachers who fail, etc. And then I reflect on the scores of Christians who are doing good things in the world: TOM's Shoes, the A21 Campaign, IJM, and the teenagers I had the privilege of hanging out with for a week serving the poor of Chicago. Where is their press? Why no news stories about them? While I certainly don't think we as Christians are doing a perfect job of representing who we are, I do think we are doing a much better job than the media would like you to believe. For some reason, the media likes to give us a one-sided view of the way Christians behave. Is it because there is some big media god out there pulling the puppet strings? Or because people in the media have been hurt by Christians? Or something else altogether? I don't have the answers; I just know it bugs me to see such a biased view.

What do you think? Why are Christians portrayed in such a manner? Comment and let me know...