Well, now that I have rejoined the blogosphere, I plan to return to my former practice of writing the Cultural Thermometer each week. If you are new to our blog, let me explain the Cultural Thermometer to you. In the Cultural Thermometer I will link to some interesting articles that I have read throughout the week and, as I have time, give some brief comment on them. I hope, in doing so, to point to some interesting articles but more importantly to challenge those who read these posts to think critically and biblically about what is going on in the world in which we live.
I think I am going to add a couple of other categories into the cultural thermometer as well. I am going to add a link to ” audio link of the week” in which I will point out something cool I found and listened to that week. There is so much amazing free audio on the web today, it really is incredible–there is tons of great material out there that we can be listening to in order to equip ourselves for the Lord’s use! so as I find useful audio links, I will include them. Also I think I will include a link titled “great blog post of the week” in which I will provide a link to the best blog post that I read that week. Alright enough of all that, I now give you this week’s Cultural Thermometer:
1. Schools replacing parents as moral guide: Given the recent legislation against home schooling in California, this article from The Guardian seemed an appropriate article to mention. The article reports that schools are increasingly replacing parents as moral guides for children. John Dunford, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders rightly said that, “Schools can’t and shouldn’t replace the role of parents . . . It’s perhaps a sad indictment on the present age that we accept the need to help parents to play their part – to rediscover what being a parent means.” Though this article addresses schools in Great Britain, I can’t help but think that many of our children in the states are not learning their moral foundation at home either. This article ought to challenge us as Christians to teach our children the Bible–so that they are not under the false impression that the society we live in defines our morals. This is another sign that we desperately need to teach our children the moral foundation found in the Scriptures!
2. Ranting on the Pew Statistics: Warning this article contains some perverse language! You have probably already heard about the recent results of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life which claimed that “Twenty-eight percent of American adults have left the faith in which they were raised, switching to another religion or no religion at all, according to a national survey of religious affiliation.” While I think these statistics are deceivingly presented (as this “switching” includes changes in denomination that may not be all that significant), I do think that these statistics are worth considering. Thus I have linked to this article from the San Francisco Chronicle, in which Mark Morford rants about the Pew statistics and gives his vision for religion in America.
One of the more interesting statistics included in the Pew Forum was that 78% of Americans claim to be Christians. This brings me to the one part of Morford’s article that I rather agree with, here is Morford’s response to the statistic that 78% of Americans are Christians:
I’m not buying it. I suspect a huge chunk of respondents merely check the “Christian” box for lack of something else, because they felt they needed to choose something, even though they don’t actually follow Scripture in the slightest, but since they’re not technically atheists and they’ve never really ventured out on a unique spiritual quest of their own, they merely choose “Christian” as the default American position, the fallback, the safe bet, sort of like checking “average” on a customer satisfaction survey or saying “fine” when your barista asks you how you’re doing today. Thoughtless, automatic, convenient.
I can’t help but worry that Morford is on to something here. Does this describe the Christianity you see in America? What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.
3. With the support of this pre-nup, I thee wed: This article, also from the Guardian, reports that couples in Great Britain are signing prenuptial agreements with greater and greater frequency before getting married. Here is an excerpt:
Lawyers are seeing a rush in demand; according to James Pirrie of the family lawyers’ group Resolution, the increase in pre-nups has been ‘tenfold in the past two years’. The reason is a growing distrust in divorce in general and the courts in particular following a high-profile run of big-money divorce cases.
Given that I have been blogging on divorce and remarriage, I thought this article was appropriate ammo for the Thermometer. This development is further indication that we as Christians must be firm in what we believe about divorce and remarriage–so that we can be salt and light in a world that is increasingly distorting the institution of marriage.
4. Audio Link of the Week: Adam and Eve Before and After the Fall: The Impact on Marriage. This clip is Dr. Thomas Schreiner lecturing at a collegiate conference that Southern held in 2002. Given that I am blogging on marriage, I thought it appropriate to link to some audio that addresses the theological foundation of marriage in Scripture. Dr. Schreiner is an astute theologian and just a generally great guy–this clip is easy to follow and Dr. Schreiner rightly reveals how the New Testament teaching on marriage is strongly rooted in God’s pre-fall purposes for marriage and how marriage for Christians ought to be a picture of the redemption and restoration that has begun in Christ! As all the clips I link to will be, this lecture is absolutely free to download!
5. Great Blog Post of the Week: There Will Be Blood and Postmodernism. I know I know, I shouldn’t include an article from my own blog in the Cultural Thermometer, but I DID NOT WRITE THIS ARTICLE, my good friend Tyler did and it is a great article and I highly recommend it to you. There Will be Blood is a fascinating movie and Tyler does an excellent job of addressing both the impressive and disturbing aspects of the movie. In this blog post, Tyler does an excellent job of analyzing the worldview implications behind this very dark movie. While I cannot recommend the movie to you, I do highly recommend Tyler’s article to you, even if you have not seen the movie.