The Search for Online Truth

If there's one constant about technology that trumps all others, it's this: change. We can be sure that whatever technology is cool and useful and popular today will be replaced by something that's cooler, more useful, and more popular tomorrow. It's just the way it is.

With truth it's different. Unless you're a relativist, truth doesn't change. We need to know that what's true today will still be true tomorrow. We also need to know that the content we access, whether it's on a printed page or in some kind of electronic form, is trustworthy.

At ConversantLife.com, we are committed to both technology and truth. We are using the latest technology to present trustworthy content by a team of passionate and knowledgeable communicators, all the while inviting our users to comment and post content of their own in the form of news stories that have faith implications.

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YOUNG @ HEART rocks

From the opening strains of “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” through the rousing finale of “Yes We Can Can,” YOUNG @ HEART makes audience laugh, shout, and celebrate. This inspiring documentary follows the rehearsals of a geriatric choir (average age 80!) in Northampton, Massachusetts. Led with a punk rock ethos by Bob Cilman, the Young @ Heart chorus includes great, great grandparents. It is the most entertaining film I’ve seen in 2008.

Director Stephen George focuses upon the most lively characters in the choir, including 76 year-old, Stan Goldman and saucy 92 year-old Eileen Hall. At the beginning of the film, the camera seems to be laughing at them. Their shouts animate renditions of James Brown’s “I Feel Good” and Sonic Youth’s “Schizophrenia.” Producer Sally George also stages some hilarious music videos to The Ramones’ “I Want to be Sedated” and David Bowie’s “Golden Years.” But soon the satire turns into something far more moving.

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Tags | Film

Weather or Not

During most of the conversations that I have with my grandparents, eventually we'll get around to talking about the weather. This makes sense as my grandfather is a farmer. Although he has sold most of his land and his garden gets smaller every year, he grew up knowing that the elements would determine his family's wealth for that year. The proper amounts of rain and sunshine were required for their crops to flourish. This reliance on the weather was ingrained into him and so even now, all these years later, the outlook for the coming days is of utmost importance.
It seems to me that the same should be true for Christians. The One that we depend upon should be a regular part of our conversation because we know that our future is mediated on His grace. We tend to strive to be intentional about the sharing of our faith and as someone who is one of the world's most reluctant evangelists, I understand this focus.
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Bound Together, Forever: Dating and Marriage

This June, I will be speaking at a conference for high schoolers on sexuality and Christianity.  While I won’t be one of the main speakers, it is a larger conference and I’m excited about the opportunity.

My topic? 

Dating.  Or more precisely, “Maintaining a Godly Relationship.” 

The choice is interesting.  For the better part of human history, those whom we now call ‘teenagers’—13-19 year olds—would have been far more focused on marriage than they would have been on getting into marriage. 

Now?  I have been advised by those whom I trust to avoid talking about marriage because high schoolers aren’t interested in it.

Of course, if I want high schoolers to actually show up to listen, then the advice is sound.

Religion Poisons Everything?

During their Christmas break from school I took my teenage kids to see “The Golden Compass”—a movie based on the popular children’s books by Philip Pullman. In his famous trilogy, Pullman attempts to communicate a decidedly atheistic worldview through a compelling fantasy narrative. The film was fast paced, well acted, and visually splendid so it kept my attention for the entire two hours.

Of course, even though the anti-religious aspects were diluted in the movie, I was busy drinking in all the symbols and the obvious atheistic world view that was being set forth. Over burgers and fries after the movie I asked my kids what they thought the underlying message of the movie was. All three agreed: religious people steal children and then harm them all in the name of what is good; religious people believe unscientific myths and then manipulate everyone and everything in order to protect their myths. I think they nailed it.
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The Beautiful Lives of Our Single Friends

Learning from your friends is one of the joys of life.

Good friends present alternative ways of doing things that challenge our own ideas. Our Wii- centered household must accept friends that have succumbed to the expensive and brutal delights of the Playstation, though we beg owners of the X-Box not to tell us so our friendship can remain intact.

Having more than Facebook friends is vital, because people who really know you, teach you by being themselves. A person can only be himself in three dimensions, since that is the way he truly lives!

When Fred Sanders refuses to glory in a Rossetti painting, I must admit that he knows much more about art than I and remember not to confuse my taste with true Beauty. When Melissa Schubert teaches me about Milton and Spenser, it is a reminder that my learning is never done. Paul Spears gives me wise guidance and teaches me what it is to be a leader by his good example.

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Tags | Single

Wresting With Evil and Hope

Christy Tennant continues her conversation with Makoto Fujimura about the third language…

CT: Tim Keller’s latest book, Reason For God, deals with addressing hard questions that all people grapple with. For example, he delves into the theology of suffering, and all the hard questions that arise simply because “good people” suffer tremendous evil, while “evil people” seem to get off scot free. How does the issue of suffering inform your art?

MF: Tim’s book is apologetical – it’s a resource aimed at defending our faith. But he’s been doing this since the ‘90’s – this book is not just because of “new atheism;” it’s not a response, as much as it is an addressing of genuine questions bubbling in culture for a long time.
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BIOLA MEDIA CONFERENCE--Arriving May 3rd!

The 2008 Biola Media Conference, “BLUEPRINT HOLLYWOOD: Designing fo the Digital Age” arrives Saturday, May 3rd on the CBS lot in Studio City. The BMC is the largest gathering of Christians in film, TV, and new media. It always features top notch speakers and sneak previews of key projects. Last year, we honored Stephen McEveety, producer of Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ and Bella and Erwin McManus provided serious inspiration for artists of all types. This year, the Biola Media Conference moves to Hollywood for the first time--on the New York street set of CBS.

Carbonated Holiness

Laughter is serious business ...  

I recently agreed to write a regular column (bi-monthly) for Christianity Today Magazine. For the March issue, I borrowed a column I had earlier posted here, spit and polished just a touch. It's here -- I'd love to know how you think it came out.

Peace,

CA

Bananas with Larry Norman

For just over a month now I've been trying to come up with a proper response to the passing of Christian rock legend Larry Norman. Nothing's been adequate, so here are some memories instead:

The first time I ever played for a paying audience was as the opening act for a Larry Norman concert at Glad Tidings Church in Vancouver. My teen-aged brother was the concert promoter (now you know how I got the gig.)

To my brother Chris and me (and to many others), Larry was already a legend back then. We'd freaked out to "I Wish We'd All Been Ready", campfired to "Sweet Song of Salvation", felt dangerous and cutting edge to "Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music" and worn out our cassettes to "The Outlaw" and "Why Don't You Look Into Jesus". What blew our minds was that Larry agreed to stay at our house (which was our parents' house), and I have a particularly poignant memory of sitting on our couch watching Sesame Street and eating bananas with him.

Tags | Music
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