Posts Tagged “focus on the family”

2012 Year in Review: The Good

This is the first or last post of our “2012 Year in Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ridiculous” series. 2012 wasn't all bad; let's take a look at how.

The London Olympics

London got a third turn to host the modern Olympic Games in 2012, and they did an outstanding job. The facilities were all first-rate. The opening and closing ceremonies both set new high bars, being spectacular without being cheesy. Security was also successful, with no violence or terrorist acts being committed during the games. Of course, seeing USA sitting atop the medal board at the end was an added bonus.

The only thing about the games that I would change would be the coverage. I'm not going into full #NBCfail mode, but they should have found a way to televise the games as they occurred, while still preserving their prime time “here's what we think you want to see” coverage. Rio lines up with the US, so that shouldn't be an issue as much; evening events can be broadcast live if they wanted.

Eat Mor Hate Chicken

In July, Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy, son of founder S. Truett Cathy, mentioned in a Baptist Press interview that the chain was supportive of the traditional definition of marriage. Judging from the reaction, you'd have thought that he had just introduced the new spicy sodomite sandwich! There were calls for all sorts of punitive actions against Chick-Fil-A, from boycotts to denying future permits. They also were attacked for giving charitable donations to "hate groups."* So why is this on the good list?

This is here because of what happened next. A groundswell of support arose for the purveyors of fine non-cow products, culminating in “Chick-Fil-A Day,” where every single restaurant had lines around the block as people came out to show their support. The protests two days later paled in comparison to the outpouring of support for the stand the Cathy family was willing to take. Meanwhile, many in the gay community “came out” (sorry, couldn't help it) in support of the restaurant, citing its employees' respect for every customer, and others spoke highly of the environment as an employee. Chick-Fil-A fought back against the “you donate to hate groups” charge, and the official boycott effort went by the wayside.

In a year where “same-sex marriage” won at the ballot box, and religious groups failed to get the government to amend “health care” requirements that violate their religion, Chick-Fil-A was a nice bright spot of support for traditional marriage and the right of business people to share their beliefs.

* Just a note, activists - if you call Focus on the Family a hate group, you really should educate yourself, and close your mouth so you don't completely destroy your credibility when you figure out how things actually are and start making sense.

MSM Exposed

Mark it down - 2012 proved that the mainstream media now makes no attempt at objective reporting. From the debate moderators, to the selective coverage of the party conventions, to the complete dearth of investigative reporting on Benghazi, it's like they just quit trying. When comedians other than Jay Leno are writing jokes about you, you've become a parody of yourself; and, when Jon “I can cuss, 'cause I'm edgy, but they can't broadcast it” Stewart makes more sense than you do, you are an embarrassment to the craft. But, these two facts have become so self-evident that even the American people can't miss it.

The bias is not the “good” part, but sunlight is the best disinfectant; the exposure of it (and embracing of it) is why this lands on the good list. Some journalists are starting to get it. While Jake Tapper (of ABC News in 2012, of CNN this year) has been the fairest MSMer for a while, this year saw many reporters, including CNN's Anderson Cooper, asking tough questions and refusing to allow dodging. Special recognition also goes to Univisión for their debate questions; the English-language moderators could learn from you.

Maybe we're almost to the point where liberals will actually see why criticizing “Faux News” with supporting links from The Huffington Post and Mother Jones aren't that convincing. And there lies the rub; you shouldn't restrict your reading to either “side.” Read the editorials with which you disagree, as well as the ones you like. Compare story selection among several news sources, and if there is a story missing, find out why. We have the tools now to easily do it, which may be the best part of all of this. You can be as informed as you want to be.

Family Time

This past year was a great year for our family. In January, February, and March, we were able to do quite a bit of snow skiing. I and my two oldest sons conquered several black diamond runs and couple of double-blacks; I learned the trick to moguls (ski the tops, not the groove in between them); and even my 7 year old found blue and a couple of black diamond runs he could do. We're looking forward to more of that in the next few months, as our favorite ski area is ready!

In September, we were finally able to take a family cruise where one of our stops was letting our sons swim with stingrays in Grand Cayman. Michelle and I had done that back in 2006, and wanted them to experience it. We also visited Jamaica, where we had a surprisingly good time, and I celebrated my 39th birthday in Cozumel, Mexico. We got to cruise with the same couple with whom we cruised in 2006, and they also brought their family; it was great to spend time with them.

When we got back, we prepared to move. After living on a military base for nearly 10 years straight, we now have a place to live off base. Great friends here in Albuquerque got transferred overseas, and we are able to live in their house. It was a great blessing; we had begun to outgrow our current house. It is definitely nice to have a separation between “work” and “home” now; plus, now I'm not the guy who lives on base, who gets the calls to do stuff “because you're already there.” Win-win!

Finally, in November and early December, our family was able to participate in Hoffmantown Church's production of The Story, a dramatic musical presentation of the Christmas story, starting with creation and ending with the resurrection. We had never done anything like it; we usually were not around for it. But, since we were, we signed up. It was amazing! At the first rehearsal, I was not quite sure it was all going to come together, but each time, things got smoother, and by the time our final dress rehearsal came, we were ready. There were 450+ volunteers who worked, and over 6,500 people saw it. We are really looking forward to next year.

 

Of course, the 2013 production of The Story is still 11 months away; there's a lot of 2013 between now and then. I hope that I have much trouble narrowing down the few things to include in this post next year. Happy New Year!

On Men and Women

Last week, Focus on the Family had a very rare 3-part series called “Thriving as a Modern-Day Woman.” Now, you may be thinking, why am I listening to a program on how to thrive as a woman? Well, the name of the episode is taken from the book Thriving as a Modern-Day Woman, written by Shaunti Feldhan and Robert Lewis. Robert Lewis is also the author of Raising a Modern-Day Knight, a book about raising sons; it draws parallels among the current time, the time of the knights, and the Bible. So, there's the hook. :) If Robert Lewis is involved, I'll listen.

The discussion was interesting, but as I was listening (as a non-woman), one thing became clear. Guys, we are the ones who can enable our wives to thrive. Women have a great ability to see what's done, and what isn't. If “what isn't” falls under something we should have taken care of, but we aren't doing it, she's going to either nag us to do it, or she'll just do it herself. Neither of these helps her focus on what she should be focusing on, nor is it very productive.

So, what things “should” she be focusing on? I love Dr. Juli Slattery's hosting technique; invariably, she'll ask the question, “Well, what does this look like?” The point is that this may be all over the map, depending on how the couples relate to one another. However, it is based on roles set forth in the Bible, on how both a husband and wife are on the same team, and are happiest when they are filling these God-given roles.

But, enough babbling from me about it - go listen for yourself; it's an hour and a half well-spent. For bonus points, put this on your portable audio player and go walking while you listen!

Focus on the Family - “Thriving as a Modern-Day Woman” - (no longer available for download)

My FLR 30-Day Challenge

The results are below, but first, the set up…

January 5th, 2010 was the first day back to work for me after the new year. I decided to put the radio on 91.5, which is our local Family Life Radio station. They were advertising a 30-Day Challenge - listen only to that radio station for 30 days. At the time, I didn't commit to it, but I thought “Eh, I'll give it a shot.” I only drive about 10 minutes one way to work, but driving home at lunch and back, then home for good in the afternoon, we start getting into some real time. At these times, they are generally playing music, or the DJs are discussing the topic of the day. A few weeks in, I befriended Dan Rosecrans, the local morning host, on Facebook. (He just recently got a national show on Sundays, playing praise music; congratulations, Dan!)

They also have talk programs. At work, I generally listen to podcasts or music from my computer, as I can't just tell people “Leave me alone - I'm listening to my radio program!” At my wife's suggestion, I subscribed to Intentional Living. They were doing a series of “If I Could Do It All Over Again” shows on different topic. Those weren't really doing much for me, and I asked my wife about her experience. She suggested I wait it out, as it was a show that she really enjoyed. She was right; I now wholeheartedly recommend it. I also, through driving my oldest son to scouts, heard Focus on the Family's daily broadcast. I wasn't new to FOTF at all, but I heard part of a show that interested me, and subscribed to their podcast as well. Their feed has about 4 months of recent episodes, and they have been hitting home runs every week! So, even when I wasn't listening to FLR, I was listening to a few of their shows, in a way where I wouldn't miss any of it.

The results…

The first week, it actually seemed like more things were going wrong than right. Work was stressful, home was stressful, and I wasn't handling it well in either place. Over the next few weeks, though, I began to have peace. The problems didn't go away, but I now have peace within them. More challenges have been thrown at me, and I'm not going to air a dirty laundry list, but in all of it, I have a peace about everything that is going on. Of course, that doesn't mean that I'm not trying to work through the problems and make them better; but, when I do what I believe God is telling me to do, I don't have to stress about the results - those are His problems now.

Even now, just shortly removed from them, I can see where some of these challenges (even those in the first week) have worked together for good, to help me address struggles that I've had as long as I can remember. 2010 is going to be an outstanding year, and FLR is a resource I'm going to keep.

The Vendetta

V for Vendetta, the latest film from the brothers who brought The Matrix to the big screen, hit theatres this past Friday. The movie has generated hyper-hype from both the left and the right. I had the occasion to view this film on Friday, and I'll have to say that the film did not live up to the hype on either side. This is a good thing - because of this, I found it to be a very entertaining film.

The plot can be spun to sound like the most rabid anti-Bush conspiracy theory out there. The scene is 20 years after 9/11, where the U. S. has collapsed, and Britain has been overtaken by a Christian government whose iron fist looks similar to that of the former U. S. S. R. The state-run television station spins the news the way the government wants, and their city-wide surveillance and announcement system makes Britain's current CCTV setup look amateur. The government has imposed a militant Christian law, in the mold of some of today's current militant Islamic countries. Of course, though, the entire government is corrupt - their Christian beliefs are only used to keep the people in fear. (I'll stop there so as not to give up the plot for those of you who may wish to see it.)

Enter “V”. He is inspired by Guy Fawkes, a 16th-century man who was arrested while trying to blow up Parliament. Throughout the film, we come to understand V's motivation for planning to do what Guy Fawkes could not. The government consistently refers to V as a “terrorist,” which is a term he embraces as well. This does not deter him from his goal, however; it only emboldens him as he goes on not only the populist “vendetta” of blowing up Parliament, but a personal vendetta against those who are responsible for his motivation.

Given what I've laid out above, it's not a stretch to think that it's a commentary on the Bush administration. (As a matter of fact, the original book could not have been - it was written in the late 70's about Margaret Thatcher's administration in Britain.) But, as a Republican and a fan of the Bush administration, I wasn't offended by the plot line. Apart from the “conservative” label of the oppressive government, there was no resemblance to the Bush administration (or the Clinton, Bush, or Reagan administrations). Maybe, if you believe every one of the paranoid conspiracy theories, and if you assume that anyone with an (R) beside their name hates everyone except heterosexual white people - just maybe you might be able to see some of our country's leadership in the fictitious British government. Personally, I don't think that our country would ever get to this point - the people would rise up long before that and squash the totalitarian regime.

Again, if you haven't seen this film yet, be careful about following these links - some contain spoilers…

On the left, the commentary has been just atrocious. In particular, I saw an MTV News special called “Unmasked” (link is near the top of the first page), in which Gideon Yago and Natalie Portman interviewed some young people about the film. These kids had swallowed the liberal ideology hook, line, and sinker; and Hugo Weaving's (Agent Smith from The Matrix and Elrond in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) views were even worse. In Natalie Portman's defense, she said that she didn't think the film, even with it's updated screenplay, was necessarily a commentary on any particular administration; rather, it was an illustration that unscrupulous people on either side of the political aisle could create problems. On the right, we've got lots of hyperbole as well. I remember hearing about this movie over 3 months ago, as a “here they go again, glorifying terrorists” type of report. More recently, Townhall.com's Megan Basham (who, by the way, I normally agree with - and, I love the fact that she's a movie critic whose last name sounds like “bash 'em”) has a scathing review of the film, where she decries the glorification of a “terrorist”.

One review I've read that pretty much gets it right is the one from Focus on the Family's Plugged In online magazine. Their review of V for Vendetta gives a plot synopsis, and lists both positive elements (which he does pick up on) and content that parents may find objectionable (this being a somewhat intense R-rated movie, there is some of that for them to chroincle.) The reviewer also brings up some good points about both the implications in the film, and the questions that it raises. My kudos to Adam Holz for a great open-minded review of this film.

For me, what I took away from the film was… well, ... nothing new. The story was interesting, the movie was well-done, and the special effects were pretty cool. But, as I said, the government was such a caricature of any conservative government that I would support that I didn't identify myself (or my political beliefs) as being part of the villainous government. This government really looked like the U. S. S. R. to me; and who wouldn't support someone who was fighting for the overthrow of that type of oppressive government? Yes, V (the character) has some issues, especially with his personal vendetta against those people who had abused him. Their murders were little more than vengeance killings, and aren't right at all.

To say something along the lines of “One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter” is flat-out wrong. You're only a freedom fighter if you're on the side freedom. The terrorists that attacked our country on 9/11 were not fighting for their freedom - they were attempting to instill terror in us. The colonists in this country who threw the Boston Tea Party were considered terrorists by the British empire - were they wrong to stage this demonstration of their belief that taxation without representation is wrong? V certainly doesn't have all the answers - but the questions it raises are important ones, and ones that we all should ponder - especially in our current world. Do we have the fortitude to stand up against a government like that? Should we?