Before we get to the main festivities, I have two bits of internet housekeeping.
Vote for Mugs Cafe daily to receive a $5,000 grant! tmblr.co/ZxHB9viqEA6CMichael Carpenter is the Church Planter/Pastor of a new work here in Little Rock called The Church at Argenta, which is the plant of a couple of local SBC churches. I met Michael through Ed Stetzer, and he is both not like me and just like me.
— Michael Carpenter (@miccarpenter) April 16, 2013
Michael is bi-vocational, and his other vocation is MUGS CAFE. It's Michael's way of living in the community he is evangelizing. And: like any new business, it needs the right starting push.
You can give it that push by clicking through the above tweet (or right here) and voting for Mugs Cafe -- one a day, every day, until May 6th when voting closes. It costs you nothing, and could win Michael the commercial refrigeration case he needs for the sandwich bar.
The other piece of housekeeping is to one-up Ed Stetzer by linking you to the new album by @EmmanuelMN
Thanks David! RT @davidcrosbyjr: @emmanuelmn song on iTunes "Strong to Save!" is awesome! bit.ly/Strong-To-SaveThe buzz is that it's "pretty sick," which I think is how the kids these days say it's enjoyable and satisfying. Kids these days ...
— Emmanuel (@EmmanuelMN) April 16, 2013
Lastly, it takes me about 15-20 minutes to drive to work everyday, and the same to come home. Occasionally I use that time to catch an especially compelling podcast, like the new one from The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals called "the Mortification of Spin." It's criminal that this podcast only comes out once every other week, but as a free service of the proprietors of Reformation21.org, it's worth every second and always worth the wait.
What I'm blogging about is how I spend the other 9 days going to and from work -- which is to listen to secular talk radio, specifically the News, and then on the way home NPR's "All Things Considered." The sharper implements in the utensil drawer will have noticed the distinction I have made there, because there's bias, there's MSM bias, and then there's NPR -- which is, on most days, the most self-involved demonstration in any medium of how the secular cultural forces in the US view themselves and the world around them. Sometimes I wonder if these people ever leave the studios they broadcast from -- because the lack of interaction with actual people who do things for a living during these two hours is staggering.
For me, it's an education regarding the unadulterated secularism and unvarnished idolatry of the world. I can hear things on NPR no one else would ever dream of saying out loud, so when it comes to talking to a person in fact about any of these subjects, I have already heard the worst and most offensive interpretation of the issue via NPR. The odds of being shocked by someone's secularism, then, is greatly reduced.
this transcript of a story from last wednesday.
If you don't have 2 minutes, the Hopi Indians are apparently a great example of Is 44:12-20. Their religion includes a kind of mask-making, and the masks are called "katsina" masks. Apparently if you wear one, you become a katsina spirit.
Now, bear with me, because that's not really the part worth fretting over. Of course the Hopi believe that. I think you can't be Hopi unless you believe that -- they actually distinguish themselves as the civilized ones, and all other people as uncivilized. So this religious devotion to the Katsina spirits, the iquatzi beings embodied by the masks, is essentially Hopi.
This is also not the part worth fretting over, but it is the main conflict here: they want the artifacts housed at the Neret-Minet Auction House, which include some of these masks, to be shipped back to them immediately, and for the auction house to abandon an upcoming auction of the items, er, um, friends and spirits because, undoubtedly, they are stolen.
When were they stolen? That's omitted from this story.
Now look: what is actually the troubling part of this story is this here:
BREUNIG: Where a Westerner would see it as an artwork, the Hopis see it as something much more and something that cannot, cannot be sold in this way. It is incredibly painful for them.
MORALES: And that's why the Hopi Tribal Council recently talked to reporters. They wanted to put public pressure on the auction house. Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa says taking these items off Hopi land is against tribal law. In essence, they're stolen.
LEROY SHINGOITEWA: Today, if I was to go downtown of Flagstaff and go into any one of the churches and take a figure of Christ or a cross or whatever and go outside and use it for a fence post, in this country, I would be prosecuted immediately. Our dilemma is that now, we're working in international waters.Now, let's at least understand the good Chief Shingoitewa's point here: he wants other people to respect his religion. For my part, I think I don't have to believe his religion in order to say, "well, if you want to believe that, I can't stop you."
[thx Bev] I'll leave for another day. My point in mentioning it is only to say that nobody is violating my conscience toward the Cross and its image by buying one or selling one -- and to say otherwise is, at best, hyperbole.
And having said all that, that is still not the biggest tall tale in this complaint. Let's be honest: the images of those things considered sacred by the group broadly-considered as "Christian" are not hardly never desecrated or mocked. Jesus winds up on South Park often enough to put this claim to bed forever -- and to mention all the far-worse desecrations of Christian iconography and statuary which can easily be found in a quick internet search causes the claim by Chief Shingoitewa to be lacking only a laugh track to indicate it is a cheap punchline and not a real plea for civilized people to come to their senses.
It's actually a little terrifying to me that somewhere they are going to spend time in an international court asking the question, "are these artifacts property or gods?" They are most certainly not gods, however earnest the Hopi may be. And to take those claims seriously ...
... look: for the sake of this discussion, what the people at NPR want us to suppose is that every religious claim is of equal sociological value, and of equal truth value. And ironically: they want those claims in this case to be worthy of international intervention in order to validate those claims in preserving the traditions and culture of an otherwise-minor nation of spiritists.
My suggestion is this: when NPR takes the claims of any Christian, or any Jew, or any inherently-Western person this seriously and soberly, I'll be willing to give the Hopi and his friend the mask a fair hearing. Until then, let's please not pretend that the secularists at NPR give a second thought to the lie in their right hand. Their only purpose is to pretend to be multicultural and informed when in fact they have simply denigrated every religious claim to utter tomfoolery by elevating this one to artificial seriousness.