This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
that it’s not just lying around somewhere in your bathroom or lining the litter box. A fairly big assumption, I’m sure. Anyways, we are back! Right? Aren’t we, Yo? Uh, Yo? We’re back… Huh, what? Oh, sorry, I…wasn’t paying attention…too busy trying to get past this one level on Gears 3. So, what are we doing? Oh right, the next edition of Static. Truth be told, I’m actually pretty excited about this issue as we tackle two of the church’s favorite punching bags in recent years: the Harry Potter and Twilight series. Wait… why are we doing that Bekah— isn’t it just going to cause trouble?
Issue #2 September-November 2011 PUBLISHER Connection Communications DIRECTOR Brian Nixon EDITORIAL Bekah Hanson | Editorial Director email@example.com Joan Polito | Associate Editor Nancy Reimann | Associate Editor Jerry Rood | Associate Editor Yo Snyder | Associate Editor CONTRIBUTORS Caleb Chavez | Misty Foster Matt Gentry | Will Hall Bekah Hanson | Leigha Harvey Nate Heitzig | Skip Heitzig | Stevo Jeter Jesse Lusko | Justin Marbury Denver Miller | Jerry Rood Dominic Sedillo | Kay Snyder Yo Snyder DESIGN Khanh Dang | Design Director Brandon Lopez | Jr. Designer ADVERTISING Darren Arnold | Sales Director firstname.lastname@example.org Reoyne Cook | Account Executive email@example.com Nate Stokes | Account Executive firstname.lastname@example.org DISTRIBUTION If you are a retailer and would like to carry Static Paper, please contact: Joan Polito email@example.com 505.344.0880
Yep. (Remember those Muppets that said ”yep yep yep” all the time? Oh, sorry—got distracted thinking about them.) Of course it’s going to cause trouble. Sheesh. That’s exactly why we’re doing it. You know: vampires, wizards, magic. They’re all Stuff Christians Love to Hate (hope that wasn’t copyright infringement, Mr. Acuff. Plus, I said ‘love,’ not ‘like’). We’re trying to stir everyone up in time for the Holiday Christians Love to Hate: Halloween.
Mmm…Halloween…uh, I mean Fall Festival…er…I mean Harvest Fest…uh, whatever it’s called, it generally means lots of chocolate. Yum *smack* any holiday that gives you free chocolate can’t be all bad, which is also the question we ask about these two cultural phenomena: Are they all bad? 100%? Is there any way for us as Christians to discuss them in such a way as to point people back to biblical truth? Yeah, it’s good stuff you don’t want to miss (like free chocolate on…October 31).
When I was like 6, my Grandma said I must be a pagan because I loved to dress up for Halloween so much. Oh, sorry—off track again. Darn you, Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest and texting: I can’t focus on one thing at a time anymore. Hmm…good topic for a future Static. See? See what I mean? Ok. Halloween. Vampires. We’re gonna take a look at lots of things this season brings, and see if we can make any sense of all the controversy. I’ll be back. I’m gonna go watch Walk the Line.
Speaking of that, we have an exclusive interview with none other than Johnny Cash. No, seriously, you’ve got to check it out. It was amazing. It involved time travel, quantum physics, and the space/time continuum, all to bring you an interview with The Man in Black. I tell you, it’s one of the most exciting interviews I’ve ever done (and the most time-traveling I’ve ever done for an interview. Previously, I hadn’t done any.)
Check out our article on children and human trafficking—it’s much closer to home than you can imagine. I think that’s about all I can handle concentrating on right now. Not to mention, Joaquin Phoenix is singing ”Folsom Prison Blues” in my head. So… why don’t you people start reading Static and I’ll get back to what I’m doing. Enjoy! Till next time: I’m out.
And I’ll get back to liberating the human race from the Locust and Lambent Horde with dudes with biceps as big as my waist (and they need those incredibly big muscles to carry their incredibly big guns, but that still doesn’t explain why they don’t have necks). So enjoy this issue of Static, and remember: When you’re done, it makes for some great paper airplanes.
4001 Osuna Road NE Albuquerque, NM 87109 1.800.922.1888
All Scripture, unless otherwise indicated, is taken from the New King James Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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by Caleb Chavez
the mix gameroom & skatepark
Think: What are middle and high schoolers doing these days? If you’re a parent, what were you doing in middle school and high school? Today, the playing field for young adults, and where and how their time is spent, is broader than ever. And reaching out to youth is harder than ever. The distractions media pushes are extreme: violence, sex, drugs, partying…. The influence of culture is at an all-time high. Do we value our youth today? Do we care about what they value? What are their morals and ethics? Are we creating environments where youth are held accountable? Environments where they feel safe and where God’s ministry takes place? The MIX Gameroom & Skatepark on Calvary’s campus is an amazing environment for young people. Over the last couple of years, it has been progressively, actively getting youth involved in church—in a whole new way. The MIX Gameroom & Skatepark. Why the name? We asked ourselves a few questions: What are kids interested in? What are they involved in? What’s getting their attention? The definition of mix from onelook.com is ”to bring or combine together; to mix together different elements”: video, photography, music, sports, equipment, food, video games, and socializing. The primary ministry of The MIX Gameroom & Skatepark is one-on-one, personal relationship evangelism. The staff and leaders invest time building relationships every week. Kids will talk when they are engaged in an activity. We use these opportunities to talk and listen to them one-on-one, speaking biblical truth into their lives. Through these relationships, conversations open up: deep conversations about life and death and everything in between. The gospel was intended to be spread from one person to another— one life to another. The MIX Gameroom & Skatepark has a little something for everyone. For starters, the skate park is the smoothest, best-built concrete skate park in New Mexico. Not to mention one of the safest: Waivers and helmets are required and the whole facility is staffed. The gameroom is also state-ofthe-art: Hosting two gamer corners (one with a 54” big screen and an XBOX 360, and another smaller screen with a Wii), both have plenty of games and controllers. All games are approved by the staff. A
If you’re a parent, what were you doing in middle school and high school?
pool table, ping-pong table, foosball table, and many board games are always available. We have plenty of comfortable sofas, tables, and chairs to chill and talk. There are cubby holes to put your belongings in, and safety is monitored by security cameras. It is our goal to provide a positive, productive, drug-free, safe environment—where ministry can take place. We want to share Jesus with youth. Through The MIX Gameroom & Skatepark facility, a number of other ministries have evolved: SkateChurch is a weekly Bible study that meets every Tuesday from 7-8 pm. SkateChurch is geared toward the truth in the Word of God and how it impacts the skater personally and relates to the current skate culture. Everyone is invited to attend, skater and non-skater, young and old. Ollie: Prayer Group meets every Tuesday, 15 minutes before SkateChurch, at 6:45 pm. When performing an ”ollie,” both
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the skateboarder and board leap into the air, remaining in contact throughout the jump. It’s a fundamental trick in skateboarding, as so many other tricks depend on it—like the ”kickflip” and ”heelflip.” The ”ollie” is often the first trick to be learned by a new skateboarder, and typically takes considerable practice to learn. Ollie: Prayer Group invites leaders, interns, and students to pray and lift up to the Lord our SkateChurch, skate ministry, The MIX, and the secular skate culture. Just like an ”ollie,” as the skateboarder lifts off the ground, we lift up our prayers to God. Just like an ”ollie” is a fundamental trick in skateboarding, prayer is fundamental to the Christian faith. Just like an ”ollie” takes considerable practice to learn, we have to take the time to practice and put prayer into action. Drop In: Skate Outreach is a monthly outreach where we go out and drop by a local skatepark to show and share the love of Christ. We show the love by the way we live our lives, the words we use, and the way we act. We also do skatepark clean-up: picking up all the trash at the local public parks. We barbeque hot dogs and give away free bottled water. While doing so, we invite everyone to SkateChurch and engage in conversation to build relationships. Skateboard Competitions are on-campus outreaches. Imagine a fish bowl with fish jumping in. Skateboarders want to skate— and they want a platform to show off their skills. It never hurts to win a prize either. Hosting skateboard competitions draws skaters to church, many who have never before been on church property. A gospel message is presented and the skaters are challenged to evaluate their lives. Skate Missions happen outside the church walls. We show and share the love of Christ on extended one-to-two-week trips on the road, hitting up public skate parks. Skate Missions not only challenge the lives of the Christian skaters on the trip, but everyone we come in contact with. The goal of Skate Missions is to be the light in a dark world. As Mark 15:16 says, we ”go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Concerts The MIX Gameroom & Skatepark hosts and partners with Static Radio to provide amazing free concerts. Music plays a huge role in youth culture. It’s our goal to have a positive influence on what young people are listening to. Girls Only @ The MIX takes place the last
The primary ministry of The MIX Gameroom & Skatepark is oneon-one, personal relationship evangelism
Thursday of every month from 7-9 pm. Girls of all ages are invited to attend. (We kick out all the boys!) The night begins with a short devotional, followed by an activity, and then free time. The girls have a chance to skate or just hang out in the gameroom. Friday Night Vibe In the summer months when school is out, The MIX hosts Friday Night Vibe, a night where kids can come chill and have a rocking good time. It’s either themed or there is a planned activity. Gamer Ministry is a relatively new idea we’re working on. How can we use the gamer corner or video games to share Christ? It’s a work in progress—and we hope to launch something next year. The MIX Gameroom & Skatepark has a full snack bar and skateboard shop. So if you want a fun exciting place to chill—come check out The MIX. The MIX Gameroom & Skatepark is located at: 4001 Osuna Road NE Albuquerque, NM 87109 505-338-0181 themixabq.org facebook.com/mixabq
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by Bekah Hanson
That would make you 23. If you were born then. In ’88, people quoted Dustin Hoffman’s role in Rain Man almost daily: ”I’m an excellent driver.” ”I get my boxer shorts at Kmart in Cincinnati.” ”Three minutes to Wapner.” And I’ve just realized that some of you have absolutely no clue who Wapner is—Google it. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is established—creating the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States. Which is important. Because I was raised Lutheran. CDs outsell vinyl records for the first time. Super Mario Bros. 3 is released in Japan on October 23. On June 6, three giant turtles are found in a Bronx sewage plant. On June 8, Nippon Airways announces that painting eyeballs on jets cut bird collisions by 20%. And in July, WYHY radio offers $1 million to anyone who can prove Elvis is still alive. Acid-washed jeans. Denim jackets. The California Raisins. The Wonder Years. America’s Most Wanted. Roseanne. And Poochie: a white dog with pink ears and paws that wore a pair of purple sunglasses and could do extraordinary things—like drive a car and talk human. (I’m fairly sure it was a sports car.) Roy Orbison dies. George H.W. Bush defeats Michael Dukakis in the presidential election and brings aboard Dan (”I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix.”) Quayle. Oh, and believe me, while you’re out there Google-ing Wapner, check out the articulations of our former Vice President.
“‘To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor” (Psalm 39:4-5). Let’s live each day as if it’s our last—for His glory alone. P.S. In ’88, the antidepressant Prozac was introduced. And that’s a plus. Right? Ok, ok— you don’t have to glare at the paper that way.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 made its television debut on November 24. And if you’ve never watched this ingenious cult comedy, I view you with both awe and contempt. Check it out on YouTube. Harvard University patents a genetically engineered mouse on the same day that Sonny Bono is elected mayor of Palm Springs, California—coincidence? Just saying.
I remember 1988. And I’m reminded how quickly our lives go by. As David wrote: ”LORD, make me to know
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By Yo Snyder
I THOUGHT I’D LEFT HIM, BUT HE HADN’T
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Johnny Cash is known for many things. He’s known for wearing black. He’s known for his distinct voice. He’s known for hanging out with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. He’s known for being one of the youngest living inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame. But how much do we actually know about Johnny Cash? Who is the man behind the legend? Well, there’s really only one way to find that out: time travel. Using cutting edge technology, we were able to combine a flux capacitor with an old phone booth, thereby making it possible to drop in and have a chat with Mr. Cash. Unfortunately, he was rather busy and—along with the surprise of doing an interview with some random person from the future—he was rather distracted. So although it wasn’t the most coherent of interviews, it did reveal many interesting nuggets about the man we all know as the legendary Johnny Cash.* *(For the record, this is an entirely fictional encounter. We don’t have a flux capacitor—or even a phone booth—and time travel is still theoretical. Obviously we didn’t actually talk with Mr. Cash: He died in 2003. But all of his responses are actual quotes taken from various sources and weaved rather seamlessly together for our historically fictional interview.)
GOD’S GRACE IS ALWAYS ENOUGH, IS ALWAYS AVAILABLE, AND CAN ALWAYS BRING US PEACE.
STATIC: So after a rather eventful trip through
the space/time continuum (so many colors), we’ve arrived here in the past to talk with none other than Johnny Cash.
CASH: Against a stagnant status
ment? What effect has He had on your life?
CASH: Hello, I’m Johnny Cash. STATIC: Yes, I uh…you know, I already men-
quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas.
CASH: The Master of Life’s been good to me.
STATIC: Speaking of the church,
tioned that to everyone. But whatever, I get it— that’s kind of your thing, isn’t it? Well Mr. Cash, I must say it’s a great honor to be here in…um, whatever year we happen to be in…and to have this opportunity to actually talk with you live. Here at Static Radio, we’re all very big fans, so we’re pretty stoked to get this interview rolling. I have to admit (and this doesn’t happen very often) that I’m a little flustered to be here with you. I hardly know where to start with our interview.
how did you encounter God and what has He meant in your life since that moment?
He has given me strength to face past illnesses and victory in the face of defeat. He has given me life and joy where others saw oblivion. He has given me new purposes to live for, new services to render, and old wounds to heal. Life and love go on—let the music play.
CASH: There was nothing left of
CASH: The best way to say anything is just to
STATIC: Ah. Yes, good point. Let’s start with
your iconic look. While many bands in my time like to dress in black to look rebellious and edgy, it wasn’t quite as much of a trend in your day… or, uh, I mean…today. So why do you wear black so often?
me. I had drifted so far away from God and every stabilizing force in my life that I felt there was no hope. My separation from Him, the deepest and most ravaging of the various kinds of loneliness I’d felt over the years, seemed finally complete. It wasn’t. I thought I’d left Him, but He hadn’t left me. I felt something very powerful start to happen to me, a sensation of utter peace, clarity, and sobriety. Then my mind started focusing on God.
STATIC: Let’s talk about your music for a moment. Why do you play music the way you do? What’s the motivation for the direction of your music?
CASH: I haven’t had any particular direction in
my music. I just do it the way I feel at the time.
STATIC: Well, whatever you say about your
musical direction, it’s definitely working for you, or at least it will in the future…and in the past [laughing]. Am I right?
CASH: (Silence) STATIC: (nervously tugging at collar) Ahem…
right…well…What do you like to sing about?
STATIC: Why do think that
happened? with God.
CASH: I love songs about horses, railroads,
CASH: I wore black because I liked it. I still do, STATIC: Rebellion? Against what?
CASH: My arms are too short to box STATIC: Hmm, never quite heard it
put like that; but an accurate description of our condition, I’d say. So what has God meant to you since that mo-
and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion.
land, judgment day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, discrimination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak, and love. And mother. And God.
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STATIC: Wow, that’s quite the…uh…eclectic…um… wide range
I DON’T GIVE UP BECAUSE I DON’T GIVE UP. I DON’T BELIEVE IN IT.
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of topics, isn’t it? Lots of…um…lots to sing about in that list, isn’t there? So what would you say is your defining characteristic?
CASH: You can ask the people around me. I don’t give up. I don’t
give up…and it’s not out of frustration and desperation that I say I don’t give up. I don’t give up because I don’t give up. I don’t believe in it.
STATIC: Don’t…give…up. Right, got it—got that written down. You
repeated that a few times there, so I figured it was important and I should write it down. What would like to be remembered most for?
CASH: I just want to be remembered as a good daddy. STATIC: Hmm, that’s interesting. Wasn’t really expecting that sort
of answer. So our radio station targets youth. We want to encourage them to live faithful lives and to be world-changers for God’s kingdom. What message could you share with the youth?
CASH: It makes me so mad that some people underestimate the
wisdom and energy of young people. All because they don’t look the way older folks think they should look. I’m working on a song about it. Maybe some of those closed-minded people will realize long hair and tattoos don’t mean they should be ignored. Closedminded people are part of what’s wrong with this world.
STATIC: You know what? I’m just going to put that young people
shouldn’t underestimate what God can do in their lives. I think that’s sort of what you were driving at there. So we have time for one parting thought: What would you like to share with everyone?
CASH: If you don’t get outside every day, even for a minute, you STATIC: Well thank you for your time, Mr. Cash. It’s been a real
have not appreciated what God has done. It makes you grateful for our surroundings, and it starts your day differently. honor to chat with you and I apologize if this interview seemed a little scatter-brained. I believe that’s what time travel can do to you—makes your thoughts like scrambled eggs.
CASH: I do believe the sum extent of the messiness, disarrangement, disorder, and dirtiness of your room is equal to that of your brain.
STATIC: Clean…up…room. Got it. I’ll get right on that when I get
back to the future. Thanks again for your time.
EPILOGUE: It’s kind of fun to put together an interview like this:
gathered from various, random quotes that Johnny Cash made throughout his career. But all joking aside, he really was an influential figure. His music helped shape much of what we call rock and roll today, and his influence still has an impact on the contemporary Christian music scene—far more than I’m sure he ever imagined. He’s also been an influential figure in life. He was a man whose heart always chased after God, but he also encountered plenty of trouble in life—much brought about by his own choices. Yet through it all, he showed us that although we’re far less than perfect, and although we may screw up over and over, God’s grace is always enough, is always available, and can always bring us peace. He also demonstrated that God’s love is far bigger than the troubles of this world, and the more we press into that love, the more rest we’ll find—even in the face of a troublesome world. There haven’t been very many like Johnny Cash. We look forward to meeting him when God’s children are finally reunited in heaven.
by Leigha Harvey
Does anyone remember the 90s?
You know, the age of Beanie Babies, flattop haircuts, and when the Disney Channel was actually good? Well, Static Radio does (or at least one or two of us DJs). That’s why there’s an entire specialty show called Total Recall Live devoted to reliving this era every Friday from noon to 1 pm on Static. How does TRL work? As you might guess from the name, it’s a live hour-long show hosted by the amazing Adri, who plays the greatest hits of the 90s—and takes your requests. During the show, you can hear songs from bands like dc Talk, (who changed the Christian music scene), Third Day, Sixpence None The Richer, Code of Ethics, Delirious?, Audio Adrenaline, The Newsboys, Petra, and even some occasional Carmen. The genius behind TRL? Adri is no stranger to the 90s. She says, ”They were my middle school and high school days when I used to have a Reality Check cassette tape that I would blast on my way to volleyball practice in my purple Ford Tempo, because my car didn’t have a CD player.” In some ways she’s kind of stuck in the 90s, as you can tell from her current car (not to be confused with the Tempo): a bright green 1999 Ford Mustang. All of this makes her the perfect person to guide your trip back to the 90s every Friday. What’s her mission for the show? ”People have memories, good or bad, that are associated with music and songs. And I want this show to bring back the good memories for everybody.” Who doesn’t love a good memory? So, if you’re ready to relive the days that gave us TV shows like Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Home Improvement, and if you occasionally find yourself trying to wear socks with sandals (on behalf of everyone who knows you—please don’t), or one of those elastic bands covered in obnoxious, brightly colored fabric—(Scrunchies: Some fashion trends should remain dead), then please, instead of damaging your friend’s good opinion of you, just tune in and reminisce with Adri on Total Recall Live. Check it out Fridays at noon on Static Radio and make sure to request some of your favorite songs on the Static Facebook page— even though Facebook didn’t exist in the 90s.
I want this show to bring back the good memories for everybody
Total Recall Live with Adri is a throwback 90s show featuring all your favorite bands like Reality Check, Miss Angie, The O.C. Supertones, Five Iron Frenzy, and more! Listen every Friday from noon–1 pm. Send your requests Friday morning by posting on our Facebook page or by email. Grab your lunch, bring some friends, find your Tickle Me Elmo, jump into your DeLorean, and get ready to go back in time!
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by Stevo Jeter
My life before becoming a Christian was amazing.
Not what you normally hear? Think about this: Someone else fed me, clothed me, and changed my diapers. Truth be told, I grew up in a Christian home and asked Jesus to enter my life at the age of 6 at a Psalty convention (he was a popular singing songbook character, long before Barney came along). I wrestle with that ”conversion,” considering that during the teen years of my life I rebelled and did a lot of stupid things. However, I look back and see God’s hand always at work through some of the more ridiculous situations I found myself in. As for where I had to get to before I truly surrendered myself, that’s a different story altogether. As I said, through my teen years I did a lot of stupid, sinful things and believed I was invincible. Like a lot of people, September 11, 2001 reminded me of my mortality. I was at the airport that fateful morning and will never forget that day (few people will). I believe that was the starting point toward something greater. If that wasn’t enough, a few months later my grandmother and a dear friend of mine passed away on the same day. My grandmother had been a big part of my life since I was little, because my dad died when I was only 6 years old (that’s a whole other story in itself). As for my friend, he went out to a concert, had a few drinks, went home, and never woke up. Because my dad died when I was so young, I didn’t really have to face his death— but these two deaths hit me hard. At that time in my life, a great friend had been inviting me to church and I remember racing to his church, bursting in, and falling to my knees. A couple of guys at the church prayed with me that day; and that started my life surrendered to Christ. I wish I could say ‘‘and Stevo lived happily ever after”—but that would be a lie. After my initial moment of surrender, I began getting involved at my church. I joined the worship team. I met my beautiful wife. I got my dream job. My wife and I had two incredible children. But at times, I was incredibly selfish and had some horrible falls. Wait, what?! I came to Christ with the assumption that my life would be perfect. That receiving Christ meant I would have a life filled with a house, a wife, kids, and a dog. That those things would be so fulfilling, I would never struggle, get knocked down, fall into temptation, be broke, deal with depression, or the slew of other lies I let myself believe. Unfortunately, when this life didn’t fulfill me, I turned to past sins that I believed would. I think there are a lot of Christians who become complacent by taking everything they hear as gospel, forgetting to go back to God’s Word. Romans 12 tells us to be ”transformed by the renewing of our mind.” How often do we read our Bibles? There is a lot of junk bombarding us from all sides; some even from the pulpit. If we’re not careful, we’ll become ensnared by it. ”30 Days to a Happier You”, ”Be the Best You NOW”—it’s all you, you, YOU! A lot of ”self-help.” We forget that Christ called us to live selflessly. I can recall many times in my life where I allowed my circumstances to dictate my life. If something went wrong, I was quick to fade back to stupidity—because I forgot the very key truth that my life is not my own (see 1 Corinthians 6:19). There is a way to avoid those pratfalls, and it’s actually pretty easy (although it does require dedication and discipline). Two things in particular come readily to mind: time spent in the Bible and accountability. Accountabil-
ity is something I didn’t have much of in my life. We need those around us that will call us out on our crap and ask us the hard questions. We also need to be honest with the fact that we all battle with different sins in our lives. Just because we have surrendered our lives to Christ doesn’t mean we won’t face struggles. I remember thinking that as a Christian it wasn’t OK to speak up that I struggled with lust. I was worried what my friends would think if they knew that I (a Christian), was dealing with sexual temptation—and losing the battle. I will never forget the day I went to my wife, my pastor, my friends, and my family, and shared my sins. I was terrified about what would happen and had so many assumptions as to how the conversations would go. I was especially terrified to speak to my father-in-law; I was dumbfounded when he wrapped his arms around me, cried, and prayed with me. I felt foolish
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IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH A HIDDEN SIN IN YOUR LIFE, OR YOU ARE IN A PLACE WHERE YOU FEEL LOST RIGHT NOW, DON’T FALL BACK INTO YOUR FILTH. FALL TOWARD CHRIST.
for keeping it hidden and wished I had spoken out earlier. We can’t be afraid to be accountable to one another. Satan likes to make us believe we are alone in our struggles. There was a time when I believed no one would understand what I was going through because no one faced the trials and temptations I did. But Scripture tells us that ”no temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV). Nothing you go through is a curveball to God. Nothing you are going through is new to Him. How refreshing to know that we serve a God who not only understands, but provides a way through every situation. Of course, if God throws you a rope, it’s still up to you to catch that rope and climb. If you’re struggling with a hidden sin in your
life, or you are in a place where you feel lost right now, don’t fall back into your filth. Fall toward Christ. God reminded Jeremiah: ”You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV). God wants to know you. Maybe you feel like you’ve tried, but are tired of failure. Have you sought God with your whole heart? Have you given Him every aspect of your life? Jesus said in John 17:3, ”Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (NIV). I bring up this Scripture specifically because it’s so powerful to me, and encompasses everything. Here’s the deal: The word know used here in the original language is the same word used in Genesis 4:1: ”Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain” (NIV).Your relationship with Jesus Christ should be deeply intimate: getting to know the God of the universe who created all things and wants to
have a personal relationship with you. What better way to get to know him then by digging into His Word and seeing all of His promises? Seeing what a life fulfilled truly looks like? You must remember this: Jesus loves you so much that He gave up His life—so that you wouldn’t face the eternal consequences for your sin. One of the last things Jesus told His disciples before He was arrested was this: ”I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). Yes, you will have trials. No, everything won’t be all unicorns and rainbows—which actually sounds really super unappealing. But take heart, Jesus conquered this world. And if you let Him into your life, He will bring you peace.
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by Nate Heitzig
God’s will is perfect, and no plan of ours can improve upon the plan of God.
The other day, my wife and I were watching a TV show called Most Shocking, which chronicles the most outrageous stunts and accidents caught on camera. After watching the show for about 30 minutes I found that one question resounded through my mind over and over again: What are you thinking? I have discovered that oftentimes we ask God this same question: ”What are You thinking?” Sometimes the decisions God makes and the directions God leads us in don’t make sense! But this brings up some valid questions: Does God still speak to us today? Is He interested in what happens to us as individuals? Is it possible to know what He has in our future? Can we actually know the will of God? These are all very important questions, and in truth, they are not easily answered. But we all need guidance concerning the great questions of life: Who should I marry? Should I make a certain move? What ministry does God have in mind for me? I wish that I could give you an easy ”1-2-3” method that I, through study and divine insight, discovered on finding the will of God in every situation. But in my 20+ year walk with Jesus Christ, I have found that the will of God happened more as I took simple yet profound steps of faith—trying to live through putting the principles of Scripture into practice. In answer to some of those questions, the answer is a resounding yes! God does speak to us today in very real and vibrant ways— and He does have a unique plan and purpose for our lives. As a matter of fact, just as God led men and women in Scripture, He wants to lead us as well. The problem we face is the constant barrage of voices urging us to move this way or that way: the voices of our friends, our own consciences, our boyfriend or girlfriend, our parents, the devil—and the voice of God. Unfortunately many of these voices which claim they can bring happiness will simply lead us astray. We need to know, understand, and follow God’s will and way for our lives. Jesus said, ”My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Could that be said of our lives? Are we hearing His voice, knowing His will, and following it? Perhaps God seems silent, like there is no direction, no guidance, no revelation: just an icy silence. Perhaps one thing God is waiting for before He reveals the specific plans that He has is for us to act on what He has already clearly revealed in Scripture! Sometimes people ask me what the will of God is and they say things like, ”Can you pray for me? I’m trying to decide if it’s the will of God for me to move in with my girlfriend.” Yet the Bible already tells us to abstain from all appearance of evil, flee from sexual immorality, and live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. The point is this: Oftentimes God’s will is clearly stated in the Bible—we just don’t like the answer! We need to keep in mind that His voice is always to be associated with our welfare. God’s will is perfect, and no plan of ours can improve upon the plan of God. We only see bits and pieces; He sees the whole picture. We see only fragments of the past and we measure things by the narrow horizon of our current circumstances. He sees past the present and the future, and measures its total context as related to eternity. He sees when, where, and why things happen to us and how they touch the lives of others. I bring this up to point out how easily we—with our finite wisdom and limited knowledge—could find ourselves actually praying against the will of God, even though we think we’re ”looking out” for our-
I HAVE FOUND THAT THE WILL OF GOD HAPPENED MORE AS I TOOK SIMPLE YET PROFOUND STEPS OF FAITH.
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selves and others. For instance, if you were Joseph’s mother surely you would have prayed that he would be kept safe from all harm. You would have questioned whether or not God was paying any attention when he was mistreated by his jealous brothers and sold into slavery. Or had you been Moses’ mother, how your heart would have broken when you saw your son raised in Pharaoh’s courts instead of your own home. And had you been Jesus’ mother, imagine the anguish you would have felt to see your precious Son whom you nursed, nurtured, and loved hanging crucified on a crude wooden cross. How easily any mother would have prayed that these things would never happen—yet they did. But these were not mistakes or oversights or indifference to the prayers of those who only saw it from a limited point of view. These events were God’s will. Had Joseph not been sold into slavery, he would not have been able to save thousands of lives—most notably his own family. Had Moses not been taken into Pharaoh’s court, he would
have missed a vital part of his training to lead Israel out of slavery. Had Jesus not been crucified, we would have all remained dead in our trespasses and sin. So let’s understand that God knew and still knows what He is doing. That’s why it’s always wise to preface our prayers with ”Not my will but yours be done.” Let’s not be afraid to completely surrender to the will of God for our lives. So there you have it: the principles of knowing the will of God. Now you might say, ”But you didn’t give us any ‘1-2-3’ steps to follow. Or even a special will-ofGod dance or prayer!” No, I didn’t—because God rarely works that way. What we need to do is to prepare the ground of our hearts for the seed of His will, by acting on what is revealed in Scripture. Let’s dedicate ourselves to Him, not conforming to this world’s system of thinking, but instead being transformed by the renewing of our minds—as we search the Scriptures to find what He has already clearly told us (see Romans 12:2).
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behind the curtain
WHAT CAN WASH AWAY MY SIN? NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS; WHAT CAN MAKE ME WHOLE AGAIN? NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS. OH! PRECIOUS IS THE FLOW THAT MAKES ME WHITE AS SNOW; NO OTHER FOUNT I KNOW, NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS. FOR MY PARDON, THIS I SEE, NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS; FOR MY CLEANSING THIS MY PLEA, NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS. NOTHING CAN FOR SIN ATONE, NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS; NAUGHT OF GOOD THAT I HAVE DONE, NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS. THIS IS ALL MY HOPE AND PEACE, NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS; THIS IS ALL MY RIGHTEOUSNESS, NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS. NOW BY THIS I’LL OVERCOME— NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS, NOW BY THIS I’LL REACH MY HOME— NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS. GLORY! GLORY! THIS I SING— NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS, ALL MY PRAISE FOR THIS I BRING— NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS.
WORDS & MUSIC: ROBERT LOWRY, IN GOSPEL MUSIC, BY WILLIAM DOANE AND ROBERT LOWRY (NEW YORK: BIGLOW & MAIN, 1876)
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by Bekah Hanson
HOW MANY OF US CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT EVERY SINGLE DAY, IN EVERY SINGLE THOUGHT, WORD, AND ACTION WE ARE UNCONDITIONALLY AND IRREVOCABLY SHOWING OUR LOVE FOR JESUS CHRIST?
FORETHOUGHT FROM AN OUTSIDER
For those of you that don’t know Bekah, she’s out of the ordinary. She’s a cross between a rebel and a Bible-carryin’, Christ-lovin’, feminine, tomboy skater. She often visits my office because it’s a quiet place to read and edit. When she came in carrying Twilight, I thought for sure she had lost a bet. Not only was she not carrying it like most Twilight groupies do—like a cherished piece of art—but instead like the book itself was a vampire to beware . In protest, she explained her next assignment was to read the book (on her vacation, she strongly repeated several times) and report back on it for the next Static Paper. She made sure to tell everyone in her path, including the poor checkout guy at Target, how much she was going to loathe reading this book. My empathetic response to my friend was, ”Better you than me.” She glared; I laughed. As she opened the first few pages, she was actually shocked to find that the front page had Scripture in it. She was confused. How can this book about vampires begin with Scripture? ”It’s the basic good versus evil premise,” I replied. It wasn’t shocking to me because most secular books throw Scripture around without significance. She pressed on. As she made her way past the Scripture and into the first few pages she did so as a child grudgingly doing chores, all the while wishing they were playing outside instead. She read for a while and then decided to leave. As she left, I yelled out, ”Have fun!” She glared; I laughed—and I thought to myself, She’s going to like it. -Misty Foster
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OK. So I just got back from Target with my brand new copy of Twilight...
BEFORE (29 July 2011)
It’s sitting on my desk. I’m staring at the cover. (By the way, while I was at Target I made sure to tell the cashier dude that I’m reading this book for work. Not because I want to. Yeah, I made it pretty clear.) Anyway, back to the cover. Pale, white, ashen arms holding out a bright red apple. Hmm? Seems familiar. Like maybe—Adam and Eve getting us all thrown out of the Garden?! As you can see, I’m totally against this whole vampire cult craze. Despise it, in fact. How can we possibly redeem vampires within our Christian worldview? Impossible, I say. Probably not even the apostle Paul would’ve attempted it (of course, that’s my personal speculation). Let’s flip to the back cover— since I’m not allowed to actually start reading this ”spectacular” novel (rolling my eyes) until I’ve finished writing my ”Before” section. So… back cover: ”About three things I was absolutely positive.” Is it the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Yeah…that’s a no. ”First, Edward was a vampire.” And I care why? ”Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how potent that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.” Right. Her blood. Not the blood of Jesus Christ. ”And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.” Now that gives me pause. Because how many of us can honestly say that every single day, in every single thought, word, and action we are unconditionally and irrevocably showing our love for Jesus Christ? And then the back reads: ”The Twilight Saga: The Worldwide Phenomenon.” Ok, whatever. Back to the vampire obsession raging through our society right now. What does Scripture say about this? I’m just going to look at two references right now. (You can look them up on your own. Go ahead. Put this down. I’ll wait.) One from the Old Testament (Leviticus 17:10-14) and one from the New Testament (John 6:53-57). So what conclusions can we draw? God clearly doesn’t want us drinking blood—unless it is the sacrificial and redemptive blood of Christ. (I’m not going to get into the whole transubstantiation debate. Google it if you’re interested.) Now, here’s my own personal anti-Twilight list: • Why waste your precious time on earth as a child of Christ reading this garbage? Can you find nothing else to do? To read? To participate in? (See 1 Corinthians 6:12.) • Why open a door to the occult? (This is like the old marijuana argument. It’s a gateway to other demonic activity. You can put down your Ouija board now.) (See Ephesians 5:11.) • Why become obsessed with worldly phenomenon? (See John 15:19.) • Why open your heart to any form of evil or wickedness? (See Proverbs 4:23 and Psalm 141:4.) • Why compromise? Why become friends with the world? (See James 4:4.) Oh, and I’ve got a bunch of others, too. But I’ll stop—and pray. Then I’ll start reading. Talk to you when I get back from this horrible journey… Jennifer Aniston”). In fact, Twilight depicts a high school beach party scene that included ”sandwiches and an array of sodas.” Wow. That’s a party I wouldn’t have been at in my high school days. Back then, no weed + no beer = no me. Second, there was a lot of sarcasm running through the story. ”My mother is part albino.” ”I don’t see how that is any of your business. Stupid, shiny Volvo owner.” ”Stupid, unreliable vampire.” Yeah, I know. Out of context these really don’t seem quite that funny—but trust me, they are. I liked how Meyer intertwined the seriousness of Bella and Edward’s relationship with typical, high school cynicism and drama. Finally, I liked that Edward treated Bella with respect—and respect totally atypical of today’s American culture. There is an overt thread of the importance of self-control throughout Twilight; again, a virtue very much lacking in 2011. Perhaps girls reading the series will hold out and think twice about their boy-choices. Respect and self-control: They’re important. So I’m a little shocked. Normally, I’m pretty dead-on when I make up my mind about something. And I wasn’t the least bit interested in vampires—clearly. I’m still not. But the book was well-written—as I said—and creative. The new twists on the old myths helped, too. All in all, at least the kidlets aren’t out there reading poorly written garbage. But garbage nonetheless? I plead the fifth on that one. I’m running really long for a book review, so I’ll close it up. The biblical points above still stand. Did I learn anything from this book? No. Was it edifying in any way? No. Did I enjoy reading it? Yes. Does that mean you should read the book? ”It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment” (Philippians 1:9 ESV).
AFTER (19 August 2011)
I was right! I knew it. Hated it—with a passion. Sadly, I’m joking. I actually enjoyed reading the book. Meyer hits her tween target headon with a rather tame and wholesome love story, considering the other options currently on shelves (or Kindles). Twilight was an easy but very well-written summer read. So why exactly did I like this book? First, the relationship between Bella and Edward was real. It was palpable. I was right there with them the whole time. But most importantly—it was amazingly chaste. In the world of Christian double-standards (think: ”I’m anti-Harry Potter, but this weekend I’m going to watch the new movie with raunchy sex scenes starring Ashton Kutcher and
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by Denver Miller
ho cares about the earth if it’s just going to burn in the end? What’s the point of going green? I was one who carried this type of thinking, but recently I’ve begun to see that I was wrong. This is one extreme, but on the other side there is the extreme of worshiping the earth. So is there a balance? Can we expect any results from this balance? Two verses come to mind when dealing with this issue. Psalm 24:1: ”The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness,” and Psalm 115:16: ”But the earth He has given to the children of men.” From these two Scriptures, we can conclude that the earth is the Lord’s by creation, but He has given us the responsibility to nurture it. Whenever I’ve been given something to care for, I do exactly that. I don’t abuse it; I treat it like it belongs to someone else. The earth is the Lord’s and He has given us the task of caring for it. Unfortunately, it seems that the secular culture is doing a better job at caring for God’s creation than the church. There seems to be a group of people (”Tree Huggers,” ”Granolas,” ”Greenies,” ”Nature Lovers,” etc.) that are on the forefront of creation-care. They are doing our job—but with
I’M IN THE PROCESS OF BECOMING A ”TREE HUGGER FOR CHRIST.”
the wrong motives. Rather than doing it because God has entrusted it to us, they are doing it to protect ”Mother Earth.” They represent the other extreme: worshiping creation rather than Creator. Today, the church’s goal is to be culturally relevant to all ages and demographics, through all avenues. I love the idea of meeting people where they are at, with whatever they are doing, and introducing them to Jesus. Look at 1 Corinthians 9:19-23: For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are
without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you. After reading that Scripture, I’m in the process of becoming a ”Tree Hugger for Christ.” Why? I do it for the gospel’s sake: that they may become partakers of it with me. I’ve begun by simply recycling as much as I can, hoping to build relationships with those I otherwise had nothing in common with. The fact is that everyone needs Jesus, and I want to do my best to reach them without compromising the truth. So if we can introduce people to Jesus by engaging them in what they are already doing, the gospel can be spread that much more effectively. So will you consider ”going green for the gospel”? Is there another avenue you can think of to reach people where they are? Any way we can, let’s introduce people to Jesus— and spread His glory.
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by Jesse Lusko
he gruff and unmistakable sound of Jack Black’s voice still occasionally bounces around my head: ”Well, you think you’ll be just fine without me, but you’re mine—you think you can kick me out of the band?” It was 2003 when School of Rock hit theaters, but the hilarious, off-the-cuff words are still burned into my mind: ”Well there’s just one problem there. The band is mine. How can you kick me out of what is mine!?” As ridiculous as the picture might be, at times, those words apply so perfectly to Christ and His people. Colossians 3:4 tells us that Christ is our life: not simply that He gives life, but that all of our vitality is drawn constantly from His person. He is our life. But, in spite of this, we try to operate without Him: Days go by where we think nothing of Jesus. His reality is abandoned. Bible studies take place with an abundance of Christian facts, but lack the finality of Christ. We can pray and witness and sing, maintaining all the appearances of Christian religion, with the reality of Christ completely neglected. We frequently fail to realize that without Him we can do nothing. We forget that He is literally a person—that in the realm
IT’S LIKE WE HAVE GOSPEL AMNESIA
of heaven He is, at this very moment, exalted and glorified, in blazing radiance—and that we will soon stand before Him. Revelation 3:20 is often referenced in evangelism, with Jesus standing on the outside, knocking to come in and dine: ”Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” What is fascinating is that those words were spoken to a church! A church who thought itself ”rich, wealthy, and having need of nothing” but was shown to be ”wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (see Revelation 3:17). The truth is that, in our self-reliance and
pride, we ”kick Jesus out of the band”—when it’s His band! In these moments (or days, weeks, or months) of self-sufficiency, we grow stagnant, lukewarm, and are shown to be lifeless and miserable. Peter said that if we lack spiritual fruitfulness it is because we have become shortsighted and have ”forgotten that we were cleansed from our old sins” (see 2 Peter 1:9). It’s like we have gospel amnesia. Our entire lives must be wrapped up in the gospel. The message of the cross is not simply an entry point to the Christian life—it is the whole of Christian life. If we change our minds, and instead remember how desperate we really are, the more Christ will be exalted. The more often we see that nothing good dwells in our flesh, the more we will treasure our forgiveness in Christ. The more often we meditate on Jesus, the more we will magnify Him. When we come to terms with our inadequacy, we will invite Jesus back in as ”head of the band,” be found complete in Him, and begin to, as Mr. Schneebly would say, ”Live hard core.”
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I always wondered where the fourth person came along to establish a marriage. Adam and Eve were married, but there was no ceremony or priest or anybody like that— it was just a pact between them and God. When did it become necessary for a fourth person and a ceremony to happen in order for a couple to be considered married? Great question. I am a pastor and do ”officiate” weddings. So I write as one who is an example of the ”fourth” person in the question you’ve asked. Here we go. The history of marriage, as you have pointed to in your question, is almost as old as creation itself. In the Garden of Eden, we see God establishing the first and most central of all of His social institutions: the family. Genesis 2:24 records, ”Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Fast-forward to Jesus’ earthly ministry and we find Him confirming God’s role: ”Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:9). With this backdrop in mind, we move on to the question at hand. It’s clear that a man, a woman, and God are necessary for the covenant of marriage to be
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with Justin Marbury
It wasn’t until the 10th century AD that weddings took place in the church
established. But what about the ”fourth person”? Early on in Old Testament times, God established the pattern that a witness would be necessary for a person’s testimony to be verified (see Numbers 35:30, Deuteronomy 17:7; 19:15). It makes sense, then, that Jews would involve witnesses in the testimony of two people entering into the marriage covenant before God. Early on, this ”witness” was the family, friends, and community. During the intertestamental period and New Testament times, when the synagogue took prominence, rabbis began ”officiating” weddings. But it wasn’t until the 10th century AD that weddings took place in the church—with the pastor officiating the ceremony. Today, in the United States, we have two authorities that intersect when it comes to marriage: the church and the civil government. As a pastor within the church (the body of Christ),
I have been given the mandate in Scripture to ”shepherd the flock” (see 1 Peter 5:2). As part of this mandate, I bear witness to the biblical covenant that two people who stand before me at a wedding are entering in to. I am not part of the covenant—I am there simply to make sure the covenant is explained and understood. In regard to the civil government, we as Christians are bound by Romans 13, where we understand our mandate to submit to the authority of the state and, in this case, its establishment of marriage (as long as the civil government doesn’t establish marriage contrary to God’s law). This is why we utilize the marriage license created by the state. In summary, the ”fourth person” functions as a witness and a source of accountability— an earthly authority to keep marriage sacred. Thanks again for asking a great question, and may God richly bless your studies! Pastor Justin Marbury teaches ”Aletheia 101: Christian Worldview Studies” on the campus of the University of New Mexico. For more information, please contact Calvary of Albuquerque at 505.344.0880.
by Bekah Hanson, Kay Snyder & Yo Snyder
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View from a Guy:
YO: Twilight: Over 100 million books sold and over $790 million grossed at the box office so far—with two movies left. It’s safe to say it’s a cultural phenomenon. It’s also safe to say that I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why tweens, teens, and their moms (does that creep anybody else out besides me?) go crazy for this series. I mean, it’s just more vampire and werewolf stuff, except now they’re kind of nice ...some of them...and apparently they all fall in love with the same girl and exchange longing (but mostly chaste) looks with her. Yet somehow this whole thing has become a worldwide phenomenon. So is it just because the movie’s got hot guys in it—or is there something more? Does this fad (I hope that’s all it is) indicate something deeper? After all, these are supernatural creatures that are exchanging longing (but mostly chaste) glances with a mere mortal female. So does the Twilight fascination indicate a spiritual longing—one that isn’t being met?
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HOW MANY OF US AVERAGE JOES COULD EVER LIVE UP TO THE IDEAL OF THESE RIPPED, CHISELED, BROODING, GOOD-LOOKING GUYS?
First, let’s clear up a little something. While girls may love Twilight, it’s fairly common for guys to comment on how dumb they think it is. Here’s the reason for that: Secretly, guys are kind of intimidated by Twilight. Why? Because those hot dudes in the books and movies are stealing all the women! How many of us average Joes could ever live up to the ideal of these ripped, chiseled, brooding, good-looking guys? And on top of everything else, they sparkle! And not just any kind of sparkle: ”It’s beautiful, like diamonds” –Bella from Twilight. Really? Diamonds? A girl’s best friend? How is any guy going to compete with that? I have three women in my house, and I can tell you that girls love things that are sparkly. And if it looks like diamonds, well...game over, man. How can guys ever hope to compete with that? Of course none of us really want to admit any of this, because after all, it seems silly to be intimidated romantically by supernaturally, unnaturally hot guys that sparkle like diamonds in a fictional movie and book series. But it’s the truth, and I just thought you should know. However, I think this Twilight phenomenon also highlights something else: a desire and longing in the souls of not just women (although Twilight demonstrates this longing most acutely in women), but one within us all. It’s the desire to be loved. To be truly, wholly, completely, passionately, fiercely loved. That’s what draws women like moths to a flame to Twilight. Edward is a fearsome creature. He tells Bella that everything about him—from his good looks to his manly vampire smell, from his speed to his strength—all of it is designed to enable him to be the perfect killer. That’s scary. That’s unpredictable. That’s mysterious. And all of that is something women find kind of thrilling (I guess it’s part of that whole women go for the ”bad boy” thing). But in spite of all of his fierceness, Edward is very tender, very protective, very passionate, and very honorable. His desire is for Bella—and only Bella. Because of his total devotion to her, he keeps his fierceness under control. Very appealing. What girl wouldn’t want a powerful and mysterious, kind but passionate, strong but caring, supernatural creature to love and care and woo and protect her? Millions of books and millions of dollars at the box office, (and the several billion dollars romance novels bring in annually), certainly seem to suggest there’s some sort of unfulfilled desire out there. I once read that the best form of apologetics (and yes, this does relate, so stay with me) is to make someone wish something is true—and then show them that it is. Okay, but how does that apply to Twilight? Actually, it’s very applicable because women everywhere are desperately wishing that the romance in these stories was true. The fascination, and even obsession with Twilight and other series like True Blood (a much darker take, but many of the core elements are similar), show that people desperately want the kind of adventure and satisfaction that comes from being loved—passionately loved—especially when it’s a mysterious and powerful, but compassionate, supernatural being who loves you. That’s exciting stuff. Twi-hards want it to be true—and it is true. What!? Yup, all true. You can be loved by a supremely powerful, mysterious, supernatural Being who is also very kind, compassionate, and protective of you. In fact, this Being loves you with such deep passion, with such utter commitment, that He was willing to sacrifice everything—including His very life—for the love of you. And yet...women just don’t swoon over the Bible. Everything they find intriguing and emotional about in the Twilight series are but shadowy reflections of the reality we can all enjoy. Most flock to the fiction instead of to the fact. Why? Well, there are probably plenty of reasons, but for us as Christians, let’s just ask ourselves a few questions, like: How can we better demonstrate to Twi-hards and True Blood fans and everyone obsessed with the occult that the love they are looking for can be found, experienced, and enjoyed? It’s readily available through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gospel is an amazing story filled with enough passion and love and supernatural mystery to compete with any Twilight novel. How can we help others understand that an omnipotent, supernatural Being who is powerful, mysterious, and at times a little scary (ever read the book of Revelation?), has a passionate desire to care for, protect, and
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PEOPLE HAVE A DEEP DESIRE FOR LOVE IN THEIR LIVES. GOD CAN MEET THAT DESIRE.
love each and every one of us? For one, we just need to start sharing that story, and how that story has changed our lives. And we need to share it as the passionate, exciting story it really is—not like it’s something we read in a textbook. It’s an exciting life, following Christ, or at least it should be. Is that what people see; is that what they hear when we talk about it? Truth is, the more we experience the reality of that excitement and passion in our daily walk with Jesus, the more it will draw others to what they’re looking for in all the wrong places. So, after taking a closer look at Twilight, it’s safe to say I know two things: I cannot compete with sparkly hot-looking vampires (even if I wore glitter body paint), and people have a deep desire for love in their lives. God can meet that desire. So many are seeking it in fiction—let’s help them find it in the reality of a relationship with Jesus.
Hey, guys: Instead of mocking Twilight or feeling intimidated by the vampire hotties, what you really need to do is rent the movie, grab a pencil, a notebook, and some popcorn—and take notes. Because Edward Cullen is the epitome of what every girl wants. relationship and the incredible respect Edward shows for Bella. It’s not something we see a lot of anymore—unless you’re hanging out with the Amish.
BEKAH: I agree. And I think a lot of it has to do with the largely chaste
KAY: He’s viciously protective of Bella, and he honors and respects
AS THE FATHER HAS LOVED ME, SO HAVE I LOVED YOU. ABIDE IN MY LOVE (JOHN 15:9 ESV).
her by never allowing himself to get into a situation where he might be tempted to defile her. You see where I’m going with this, right? A girl’s desire is to know that their guy will go out of his way to keep her safe and pure. To win a girl’s heart, a guy must treat her...well, like Edward treats Bella.
BEKAH: But the girl has to do her part in the relationship, as well. If
you’re not dressing modestly or acting appropriately, you’re throwing temptation in the face of your guy. And that’s just not cool. Because later you’ll complain that he’s not respecting you.
View from Two Girls:
KAY: From the beginning of the Twilight craze, I never understood the
infatuation girls had with Edward Cullen, the vampire in the series.
KAY: It’s unfair to expect a guy to have vampire strength to resist
BEKAH: Actually, I could—right away. After I read the book, his re-
spect for Bella was largely irresistible. And then there was that whole dangerous rebel angle. I haven’t seen the movie, though, so I can only describe what my mind conjured up.
the temptation to dishonor you if you put yourself in a bad situation. Instead of berating your boyfriend for not being more sensitive, grab your Bible. Because while no human guy can measure up to Edward Cullen, Jesus Christ can—and does. He is strong, supernatural, viciously protective of you, and loves you more than you can imagine. And best of all—He’s sparkly, too:
KAY: Well, now that I’ve actually watched Twilight, I can say that I
understand the fanaticism. Although he’s a vampire, Edward Cullen is the epitome of what every girl wants—and I’m not even saying this because he sparkles like diamonds in the sunlight.
HIS COUNTENANCE WAS LIKE THE SUN SHINING IN ITS STRENGTH (REVELATION 1:16).
BEKAH: I didn’t really like the sparkly diamond part all that much.
Once again, rebel + respect = ruh-roh. At least for me. No need for sparkles. Although, I grew up as a competitive figure skater. Maybe all that glitter and whatnot lost its effect on me. I do wonder why guys are so intimidated by the series, though.
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by Skip Heitzig
oday’s fascination with the occult— sorcery, magic, witchcraft, vampires, and evil spirits—tells me something disturbing: The enemy of our souls is hiding in plain sight. The devil sometimes strives to make us believe he doesn’t exist. Or he distracts us from the truth by appealing to our desire for possessions, sex, thrills, fame, drugs, etc. Basically, he does whatever it takes to keep us from recognizing our need for God. But now he seems to be advertising his presence. The demonic is everywhere in modern culture. Books, movies, TV shows— all exalt dark themes and moral ambiguity. Vampires are now ”romantic” figures. Media featuring magic, sorcery, and evil spirits is now ”harmless entertainment.” Satan works to blur the distinction between right and wrong. He disguises himself as an ”angel of light” and goes about his true business of deceiving people (see 2 Corinthians 11:14). You see, people realize there is a power above themselves. Some want to be connected to God, to know the creative and sustaining Power behind the universe. But some settle for a counterfeit. The trouble is, they don’t realize what they are opening themselves up
SATAN WILL ALWAYS OFFER HIS COUNTERFEITS, HOWEVER HE CHOOSES TO PACKAGE THEM
to. As the Bible says: We are not fighting against flesh-andblood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12 NLT). Occult expert Steve Russo writes, ”If Satan can get you to believe a lie—like he doesn’t exist—then he’s able to do what he pleases, and you’ll never blame him, fight him, or keep your guard up, watching for his subtle methods. You may have no clue that there’s a silent spiritual battle going on all around you, but that doesn’t mean the battle doesn’t exist.” I know these things from personal experience. When I was a teenager, I experimented
with the supernatural. I was in a very dangerous phase in my life, and what I dabbled in was, literally, demonic. I tried self-hypnosis and astral projection, or ”soul travel.” And, because at that time I believed in reincarnation, I experimented with ”spirit writing” to get information about supposed past lives I had lived. My experiences were powerful, exhilarating, and frightening. I discovered that these experiences with the ”wrong side” are real. The ”authorities of the unseen world” and the ”evil spirits in the heavenly places” are real. And they are powerful. But they didn’t lead me to truth. I was being deceived, as I eventually understood. When I invited Jesus Christ into my life at age 17, I experienced a love for God and a peace that I had never known before. And I realized the real identity behind the drugs and the experimental spirituality that had been part of my life—the father of lies (see John 8:44). Bottom line: Satan will always offer his counterfeits, however he chooses to package them. But true peace and true contentment are only found in Jesus Christ.
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by Yo Snyder
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PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DRESS UP. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GO TRICK-OR-TREATING. WHY NOT FIGURE OUT WAYS TO REEL IN THAT OPPORTUNITY TO LET JESUS BE MAGNIFIED?
people come here, they hear the gospel. Whether it’s bands that play or whether there are tracts that we pass out. We really see it as an opportunity to let people know about Jesus.
October 31. It’s a calendar date that many Christians dread for a wide variety of reasons. Some dread it because it’s such an “evil” day. Some dread it because others frown on the fact that they think it’s a “fun” day. And still others dread it because they tire of the constant debate over what Christians should do with this day. To help you get a good perspective on it, we asked a few pastors in town to share their thoughts on Christians and Halloween.
From Matt Williams of City Church of Albuquerque
My approach to Halloween in regard to mid-school and high school youth ministry might not be what some people would expect from a youth pastor. My view is that when it comes to how a family wants to celebrate each holiday, it’s a parental decision. I am not the student’s parents, I am their pastor, and I believe that my role in a family’s life should allow me to bring them closer together and closer to God. If I put myself in a position where I am getting between the parents and their kids, I am causing division and breaking the trust of the parents. For this reason, if a student starts asking me about Halloween I will always refer them to their parents and let their parents make the call. However that being said, I have a few exceptions to the rule (there are always exceptions): 1. Satanic activity: If the family is a bunch of witches and warlocks, I will break my rule. If the family is actively pursuing satanic worship or taking any ”childish activities” to a serious level, I will get involved. 2. If the parents want to come and talk to me about it, I will gladly share my views and at the end of the day, I will support their decision—assuming they don’t fall into the category above. 3. If the student is over the age of 18 and not living in their parent’s house, I will share my views with them.
From Skip and Lenya Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque
LENYA: I love that God has plans for us, but sadly, in this world, a lot of people, the world system itself, the enemy, and all kinds of marketing have plans for us, too, and I think they market Halloween so much to our kids. It’s really tough to avoid it. You can’t miss it. PASTOR SKIP: And they start it in summertime. They’ve already got stuff up. It’s summertime for us and we’re seeing Halloween advertised. LENYA: That’s right. You see costumes out already and the kids want them. How do you maintain your Christian point of view in the midst of a holiday that doesn’t seem very Christian? PASTOR SKIP: I first say to parents that they should not overreact to this holiday. But they should respond. Let me explain what I mean. If we could see Halloween as a redemptive opportunity, a way to take the idea of people dressing up and celebrating, but teaching [our children] to do something different—use it to evangelize rather than ostracize people. They should use it to reach out. People are going to dress up. People are going to go trick-or-treating. Why not figure out ways to reel in that opportunity to let Jesus be magnified? To not run away from the darkness but to turn on the light? LENYA: I love that some of my friends still open their doors to trickor-treaters, but they have tracts. And they’ll put something in with the candy about Jesus, as well. I think that’s a nice way to do that. And I really love how our church celebrates the harvest season more than we celebrate Halloween. So kids can dress up like a Bible character and come and enjoy a time that’s more focused on the Lord of the harvest. PASTOR SKIP: Right. We tell people to dress up as Bible characters. I think, though, we have to be a little more specific and say dress up as a redemptive Bible character or as an edifying Bible character because after all, the devil is a Bible character—and a lot of kids go, Here I am. I’m the devil. You know what I love is that we make sure that when
From Pastor Gordon Smith of Heights First Church of the Nazarene
At HFC, we see the Halloween season as merely a fantastic opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a church, our primary form of outreach is to do a Harvest Walk and Celebration. We ask the adults in our church to bring candy to share and we line up in our foyer or gymnasium and have our children walk around collecting candy. We also have games for the kids and a free meal for families to share. We do this primarily to create a safe environment for the children and to invite families from our surrounding community. This past year, our teens dressed up and went door-to-door passing out various Halloween tracts, which is a great way to share the gospel. On a personal note, one cannot ask for a better witnessing opportunity than during the Halloween season. Since the issues of death, evil, and hell are so regularly talked about, it becomes far easier to share the truth of God’s salvation through Christ, who has made death lose its sting and stomps on the power of evil and hell through the cross and the resurrection. All in all, besides Christmas, there is probably no other time of the year that gives us such a tremendous opportunity to be ambassadors of Christ.
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the good news
by Yo Snyder
”What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4-5 NIV).
In Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, the heroic Autobots are once again fighting against overwhelming odds to defend humanity and freedom. Sam, one-time Autobot ally and hero of the world twice over, is doing something a bit less glorious: looking for a job. However, he’d rather be fighting side by side with the Autobots, because he wants to do something important—he wants to matter. We all want that, don’t we? We want to matter somehow…some way. We try to matter by being important, or being rich, or being successful, or being talented. Sometimes people even try to matter by doing evil. The good news is you don’t have to try to matter in this world because you already do: You matter to God. In fact, you are so important to Him that He sent Jesus to suffer on a cross and die a brutal death, all to pay the price for your sin. Jesus conquered death itself when He rose from the grave so you could have eternal life—because you matter to God. He loves you so much He wants to adopt you as His own child through Jesus: That’s how much you matter. You don’t have to prove your significance or importance and you don’t have to fight giant transforming robots to show you matter. You already do: to the God of the entire universe.
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The good news is you don’t have to try to matter in this world because you already do: You matter to God.
One of the best indicators of the quality of an album is how it affects you. The new August Burns Red (ABR) record, Leveler, definitely does. In fact, it completely messes with your mind.
The first thing it does is take over your imagination and nerves, because the moment the first song, ”Empire,” starts playing, you feel like you’re standing in the room with the band. You may have never actually seen them live, but listening to the record you can sense the sweat flying from the drummer’s brow as his sticks break the sound barrier, feel the furious race of the guitarist’s fingers, and see the veins stand out on the lead screamer’s neck as he roars into the mic. Just listening to the talent that pours from your speakers makes you want to lock yourself in your room to practice for another 20 years—even if you don’t play an instrument. Through the songs on this album, you get a taste of what it feels like to really play. This record takes you places: from a western movie to the battle between you and your personal Goliath. In the first single, ”Internal Cannon,” the soundtrack for an old western is condensed down to a mere 3 minutes. The song starts off with typical ABR headbanging fury, before heading south of the border for a little salsa flavor that spices things up to a level that includes a Santanainspired guitar solo. Does it work? Most definitely! The song ”40 Nights” has a drive that focuses on standing up and facing your demons—a theme that’s echoed throughout the album. One of the wonderful things about ABR is that lead singer Jake Luhrs’ screams are understandable. This works especially well on an album filled with lyrics that pack a punch—and a message. Most of the songs deal with the constant fight against the darkness that surrounds us—both in the world and our own nature—and how hope and faith in God and His grace is what’s keeping us from losing the war. The title track, ”Leveler,” reflects on just how close we are to crossing the line: ”My heart thirsts for vengeance, but my Father has taught me forgiveness. If I had not decided to follow Him, I’d devour you like a lion, leaving your bones out to dry. ” This is an album that was truly worth the two-year wait. In fact, this is such a well-done record that it feels like there are two albums in it. One is completely instrumental and tells its own story, but when you add the lyrics, you get a new adventure. This is basically a ”Choose-Your-OwnAdventure” book in musical form. You never know where you’re going to end up: it could be at a show or a place of spiritual change. One thing is for sure—it’ll be worth the trip.
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This record takes you places: from a western movie to the battle between you and your personal Goliath.
by Leigha Harvey
by Bekah Hanson
49% OF COMMERCIAL SEX BUYERS SURVEYED IDENTIFIED THEMSELVES AS CHRISTIANS. That 12-year-old you see on the street corner every weekend? The one you refuse to make eye contact with? That could’ve been you. When you were nine, your father could’ve abandoned you and left you alone with your drugaddicted mother. Your mom’s next boyfriend could have sent you out to earn money on that same street.
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Child trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. According to ”A Heart for Justice,” a website dedicated to spreading awareness about modern-day slavery and human trafficking, there are 2.5 million child sex slaves in the world today—some as young as 4 and 5. But how does this affect the Land of the Free? Do we need to worry about what’s going on here at home? As I spoke with Tish Goff, founder of Five Stones International, I found out the answer is a resounding yes. I ASKED TISH IF SHE COULD START OUT BY EXPLAINING A LITTLE BIT ABOUT FIVE STONES INTERNATIONAL. ”Five Stones International is a faith-based, not-for-profit organization. We are dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by human trafficking. We’re barely a year old at this point, but we’ve had the opportunity to assist—in small ways—two young women who were rescued locally from sex trafficking. We’ve also been raising awareness through presentations to small groups and churches.” WHAT DOES THE NAME FIVE STONES REPRESENT? ”Our name comes from the story of David and Goliath. As we were learning about the human trafficking issue, we realized that it’s huge. It is so huge that we felt we were facing a giant. It’s overwhelming and frightening, and that can paralyze us. Especially because we think, Oh well, I don’t have anything to offer this issue. We’ve tried to do those things that seem logical and rational for a new non-profit to begin: ‘Hey, let’s get some business cards.’ God said, ‘No.’ And I realized that we were putting on the armor of Saul and it didn’t fit. God said, ‘No, go with what I’ve already given you.’ And so we walked to the stream and chose our five stones. That’s really our message for the body of Christ: There is some way that God has equipped you and gifted you that you can use toward accomplishing justice.” The ”Five Stones” are awareness, training, outreach, advocacy, and restoration. I ASKED TISH HOW HUMAN TRAFFICKING AFFECTS OUR SOCIETY. ”People created in the image of God are being bought and sold like mere products. I think what we don’t understand is how we contribute to human trafficking. Open up your pantry or walk around your house: Many of the products in your home are tainted by slave labor. At this point, it’s just woven into the fabric of our existence. Whether it’s the young men in Africa who are enslaved to pick cocoa for our candy bars or young women enslaved in nail salons, brothels, or strip clubs—we need to keep our eyes open to this issue and respond as God calls us to act.” Indeed, we are called to act: ”Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed, but they have no comforter—on the side of their oppressors there is power, but they have no comforter” (Ecclesiastes 4:1). TISH READ ME SOME STATISTICS: • There are 27 million slaves worldwide • About 17,000 people are brought into the United States every year for exploitation • Human trafficking is a $32 billion-a-year industry • 100,000 American children are lured into commercial sexual exploitation each year • It’s estimated that two children are sold every minute worldwide • The average age of entry into commercial sexual exploitation in the United States is 12 According to ”A Heart for Justice,” there are more slaves today than
People created in the image of God are being bought and sold like mere products.
For more information on Five Stones International, visit their Facebook page: FACEBOOK.COM/FIVE-STONESINTERNATIONAL Or their website: FIVESTONESINTERNATIONAL.ORG For more information on A Heart for Justice, visit their website: AHEARTFORJUSTICE.COM
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BE CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR PEERS. SEEK TO LOVE THEM COMPASSIONATELY—WITH JUSTICE AND MERCY
ever before in human history. Information shared by Five Stones International states that recruiting by pimps commonly occurs in schools, hallways of court buildings, foster homes, bus stations, group homes, homeless shelters, malls, parks, and bus stations. The majority of men who buy sex have a girlfriend or a wife and 49% of commercial sex buyers surveyed identified themselves as Christians. Even more startling is an excerpt from a book sold on Amazon.com entitled The Pimp Game: An Instruction Manual (Royal, 1998): ”You’ll start to dress her, think for her, own her. If you and your victim are sexually active, slow it down. After sex, take her shopping for one item. Hair and/or nails is fine. She’ll develop a feeling of accomplishment. The shopping after a month will be replaced with cash. The love making turns into raw sex. She’ll start to crave the intimacy and be willing to get back into your good graces. After you have broken her spirit, she has no sense of self value. Now pimp, put a price tag on the item you have manufactured.” WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE AN IMPACT IN A LASTING WAY? ”Connect with an anti-trafficking ministry or advocacy group. There are so many: International Justice Mission, Shared Hope International, Free the Slaves, Love 146. Young adults are in a good place, especially for domestic minor sex trafficking, for keeping their eyes open. Learning more will help you take action even in small, everyday choices like which brand of chocolate or jeans to buy, or which nail salon to visit. Young women need to understand the tactics of traffickers to keep themselves safe, as well as to recognize indicators of trafficking among their peers. Maybe you’ve got a girl sitting next to you in math class—and you can just tell something’s wrong. Perhaps her clothing changes all of a sudden or now she has a lot of expensive stuff: jewelry or a new cell phone. Students have a kind of an ”in” that other people do not. Just what they hear and see among their peers can be helpful. If we can get young adults aware of this issue and they make their peers aware of the issue, maybe young women won’t be so easily lured into commercial sexual exploitation. If you see red flags, speak to a school counselor, pastor, or teacher. Be concerned about your peers. Seek to love them compassionately—with justice and mercy. Those peers who are in your classrooms that no one else seems to care about: Be willing to reach out to them. Befriend them. Become invested in the lives of those who are vulnerable.” Let’s take a closer look at the girl on that street corner next time. After all, isn’t this what God asks of us: ”And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 ESV).
i Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation: Deconstructing the Demand for Sex
by Matt Gentry
(Static Radio) is celebrating our 36th year on the air—36 years! We signed on the air in 1975 with bell bottoms, platform shoes, and a light, contemporary Christian music format under the backing of the newly formed Christian Broadcasting Academy. The vision of CBA was to train Christians for careers in secular and religious broadcasting. Today, Static Radio continues to train and help send out Christian broadcasters from all walks of life to make a positive impact on our communites. Throughout the years, KLYT has been digging the trenches to positively impact communities throughout New Mexico, and our course has never changed. Things have tried to blow the station off course, but it
has always maintained its focus: to impact the lives of the youth of New Mexico and beyond. Since the beginning, KLYT (Static Radio) has relied on the gifts and contributions from local businesses and listeners. We need your finacial support. I love this station and know firsthand how it impacts people. The times have changed, our world is changing, the economy has definitely changed—but God hasn’t. He is still using this radio station to change lives. We are still making an impact. We are still digging the trenches. Not necessarily the way we used to, because the landscape is always changing, but our focus remains the same. Support Static Radio financially—and pray for us. Anyone in ministry can tell you that we’re front-line fighting out here and it’s not easy. Life isn’t easy…but neither is playing the bagpipes.
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by Will Hall
many indie bands in the market today, Anchor & Braille is a semi-acoustic side project created by Anberlin’s lead singer, Stephen Christian, in 2004. Anchor & Braille started as a secondary outlet for Christian to funnel his song ideas that he knew Anberlin would never be able to use. The music is far more relaxed and the songs have a softer feel than Anberlin’s material, using acoustic guitars, keyboards, and computers as main instruments. Christian was more comfortable using Anchor & Braille to employ his more personal lyrics because the listener base was so much smaller than Anberlin’s. Although Stephen Christian is the only official member of Anchor & Braille, Aaron Marsh of Copeland contributed a lot to the
2009 album Felt. Marsh both produced Felt and helped with some of the instrumentation on the album because this was Anchor & Braille’s first use of a full band. Static Radio currently features the song ”Like Steps in a Dance” and it has been widely accepted by our listeners. While Christian continues to maintain Anchor & Braille, much of his time is devoted to Anberlin’s constant touring schedule. The best way to keep track of Anchor & Braille is by following their Twitter account: @anchorbraille. Currently, the band is working on writing a new album and will appear at a few scattered shows this summer including the widely known Cornerstone music festival in Bushnell, Illinois.
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1. From which platform does the Hogwarts Express leave the King’s Cross train station? 2. What kind of Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavor Bean does Dumbledore take from Harry in Sorcerer’s Stone? 3. What chess piece does Ron fall to in Sorcerer’s Stone to give Harry the checkmate advantage? 4. Frank and Alice Longbottom were the victims of which spell? 5. What is Fred Weasley’s code name on Potterwatch, the clandestine radio program that “tells the news like it really is”? 6. How many Sickles are in a Galleon? 7. Who betrays Dumbledore’s Army and informs Dolores Umbridge of the secret meetings?
What Do We Do With Harry Now?
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1. 9 8/4 2. EARWAX 3. THE WHITE QUEEN 4. CRUCIO (THE CRUCIATUS CURSE) 5. RAPIER 6. 17 7. MARIETTA EDGECOMBE
So it’s all over. The final Harry Potter movie is here and the worldwide phenomenon is going out with a bang. The film broke records before it even released, and ended up having the biggest opening weekend of all time. It’s hard not to be a little awed at what this franchise has achieved in the past ten years: keeping the same cast, consistently improving in quality, and finding ways to appease book fans and new fans alike. But now that it’s all over, we’re faced with an interesting question. Now that we know the whole story of Harry Potter’s journey, what do we do with him? Back in 1997, an unknown author by the name of J.K. Rowling introduced her character named Harry Potter. Whether she knew it or not, she was about to change the world. When Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (changed here in the U.S. to The Sorcerer’s Stone) released in the United Kingdom, it was the first step for the boy wizard to become a pop-culture phenomenon—and one of the most popular literary characters in modern history. The books have sold over 450 million copies worldwide, hold several records for being the fastest-selling books in history, and were translated into 67 different languages. In 2001 the first movie was released, and its modest $300 million plus-run was just the first drop in the bucket for a franchise that has grossed over $5 billion thus far. Of course, all of that success hasn’t come without controversy. From the very start, there were some concerns with the wizarding world of Harry Potter—especially among conservative Christians. The magic and witchcraft in the books and movies? Concerns. A boy learning to become a wizard? Would this encourage impressionable young children to pursue the same thing? There were concerns that it made something the Bible takes
by Bekah Hanson & Yo Snyder
very seriously—magic and witchcraft—look like harmless fun, undermining the Bible’s authority on that subject. All are valid concerns, and they’ve been addressed again and again over the past ten years; I’m sure they’ll continue to be addressed in years to come. Now that we know the whole story, what Harry’s journey was truly about and what sort of character he truly is, what do we do? Harry Potter, as the chosen one destined to defeat the evil Lord Voldemort, willingly lays down his life and sacrifices himself in order that others may live. The only way Voldemort can be defeated is if Harry is killed—not an easy thing for a young man to contemplate. Nevertheless, he walks into the Forbidden Forest willing to die so that evil can be defeated. And that’s what happens. Harry is killed—but the story doesn’t end there. Following an afterlife encounter with his mentor and friend Dumbledore, who helps him understand there are greater things in this world than just magic, he is resurrected. Ultimately, Harry defeats Voldemort and saves the world. Any time something like this happens in a story, it’s typical for Christians to point out the biblical parallel and the Christ allegories of such characters. With its themes of the importance of love—true, sacrificial, selfless love— and deeper magic, what should we make of this boy wizard? Can we now say, “Though the Harry Potter series isn’t overtly Christian like The Chronicles of Narnia, it’s on equal ground spiritually with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy”? Or do we continue to debate whether or not it violates biblical mandates on sorcery and encourages young people to become witches and wizards? The truth is that the lasting impact and legacy of Harry Potter has yet to be assessed. Time will tell if he’ll be remembered as a pariah promoting the occult, or as another classic figure in popular entertainment who echoed Christ. Figuring out what to do with Harry Potter has never been easy. It’s stirred plenty of discussion, division, and controversy over the past decade. Now that the series has ended, will it change opinions and sway convictions regarding who Harry really is? Is he Aslan or Maleficent? It’s hard to miss some of the biblical parallels of Potter’s journey, so what do we do with Harry now? Was it a good ending with redeeming value—or should we just let the debate finally die?
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Banter What Is: The Mix Gameroom & Skatepark Flashback: 1988 The Sound: Johnny Cash The Show: Total Recall Live Testify Renovate Behind The Curtain Kindled: Twilight Aim: Going Green For The Gospel The Thought: Kicking Christ Out of Christianity The Heart The Edge: Hot Vampires & Spiritual Longing The Source: Hiding In Plain Sight The Beat: Thoughts on Christians & Halloween The Good News Sound Check: August Burn Red The Movement: 2011: A Sex Slave Odyssey The Jocks: KLYT (88.3 FM) The Underground: Anchor & Braille The Guide
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