Humble Dogs

That they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts. Matthew 13:15b

Archive for the category “Television”

Oscars and the Church

Did you watch the Oscar Presentations last evening?
The Academy Awards are the premier entertainment event of the year. According to http://www.mediamarketjournal.com/, “Time-adjusted ratings have come out and it shows more of the same–pretty much flat numbers overall. The viewership was 39.4 million which was up 4% with less than 1% shrinkage in the 18-49 demo year-to-year as that rating currently stands at 11.7.

Who do you glorify? God or entertainers?

Who do you glorify?
God or entertainers?

-What standards does the Academy Awards nomination committee set?
-How much does the Oscars influence the Nation’s entertainment viewing?
-How much does entertainment influence the Nation’s attitude toward God and morality?
-How much has the Church been influenced by: Entertainment? Advertising? Fashion?
-How do we draw the line between glorifying entertainment and glorifying God?

Twenty years ago, John Piper pondered these questions.

Has the Church Been Disarmed by the World?
December 9, 1992 | by John Piper | Topic: Education

Reading 1 Samuel 13:19-23 this morning caused me to ask if the church has been disarmed by the world through becoming too dependent on the world.

19 Now there was no smith to be found throughout all the land of Israel; for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears”; 20 but every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle; 21 and the charge was a pim for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads. 22 So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan; but Saul and Jonathan his son had them. 23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.

Evidently the Israelites had allowed themselves to lose all their own blacksmiths to the Philistines. Now they had become accustomed to depending on the Philistines for sharpening all their tools.

This had not seemed a problem in peacetime. All seemed well. But in wartime there were no weapons and the Philistines had, in effect, disarmed the people of God because Israel had come to depend on them for all their sharpening.

Is this a picture of the church’s dependence on the world in many ways? Some are perhaps innocent enough—like sewer and water and light and a lot of other shared services and commodities. But the weapons of our warfare are not like that. The issue is truth and values.

Has the church become dependent on the world for the sharpening of the mind and the spirit? Which in fact only looks like a sharpening if we see life as a time of peace. But it is really a dulling and a disarming if we look at life as a time of spiritual warfare for the minds and hearts of men.

We have come to depend on the world for most of our education and most of our leisure and entertainment and most of the interpretation of the news and events of the world. In doing so I wonder if there are any weapons left?

It raises for me the question of schooling for God’s people. And all the dimensions of information and opinion and entertainment and advertisement that shape our minds. How shall we have ourselves well-armed if the Philistines have taken all the blacksmiths and made us depend on them to sharpen all our weapons?

Pastor John
By John Piper. ©2012 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org

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God Has Made it Plain

“…What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse” (Rom. 1:19-20)

I highly recommend the PBS program Earth From Space which aired last evening on most PBS channels.

For all who missed watching last night, it is available for direct viewing.

Earth From Space

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/earth-from-space.html
Earth From Space
Detailed satellite images reveal the web of connections that sustain life on Earth. Aired February 13, 2013 on PBS

Program Description
“Earth From Space” is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine “waterfall” off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the sun’s heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.

None other than Divine creation could have designed such an amazing life sustaining sphere. Although the program does not directly say so, it is plain to see; This is not by cosmic accident!

Rants of a Christian Enviromentalist

I am an environmentalist. I believe all people have a role to play in protecting the environment and the eco-systems we live in. Even more so for us who claim a dedication to Christian principles. We were created by God to be stewards of all He created.

Earth

View from Space

Genesis 1: 28; And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth”.

It is that word, “DOMINION”, which means REGENCY. God granted us regency in His creation. We, mankind, are to, use the land, the seas and all God has abundantly supplied but, we are to watch over it, take care of it, and return it to Him unsullied. God has asked us to be conservationists, environmentalists, ecologists and take care of this earth. Perhaps, at least in part, it is our failure to look after this earth that the final act of the creation story is to create a new earth, one fit for His Holy Kingdom.

I will admit, I get very judgmental over environment issues, especially towards those whose authority is to look after the affairs of our Country, Province/State, or community. Yes, I am referring to politicians  I live in Alberta, Canada and I realize that even though I am retired, much of the benefits I enjoy come from the resource revenues created by the Oil Sands industry. Some call it the Tar Sands, probably a more fit name but, that is another debate.

The last thing I want in this matter is to have the Oil Sands shut down. That would serve no one. What I would like to see is proper management applied to this resource. Both the Federal and Provincial Governments know the problems with pollution, they have conducted numerous studies, they know the solutions and yet due to heavy lobbying pressure by the oil companies involved, they choose to do nothing environmentally constructive. They boast about the monies the project brings in, they spread economic fear that unnecessary meddling will create economic disaster.

What I don’t understand is why the laws to protect the environment and ecology which are already in place are not enforced over the industries involved with the oil sands.

Several months ago a government authorized study conducted by the Univ. of Alberta confirmed that pollution, directly attributed to oil sands operations, is having a detrimental effect on the environment and the ecology in a wide path, mainly east,(prevailing winds) surrounding the Fort McMurray, Wood Buffalo region. These reports were not released to the public and scientists who worked on the report were put under gag order. The report was eventually leaked by a subordinate several weeks later.

I wrote to my Member of Parliament, Blaine Calkins, on this matter and received this reply:

Dear Mr. Tilley,

Thank you for your letter concerning the recent study done by Environment Canada that confirmed the studies done by Dr. Schindler.

As Environment Canada noted in their report, the levels of containments found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development. Consequently, Environment Canada has decided to do further tests in an effort to better understand the levels of contaminants in the Oil Sands area.

“…the levels of contaminants found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development.” Of course they are consistent – they are the same contaminants blown there by winds coming off the oil sands.
In other words; “We will continue to do nothing.”

I also asked him about the ‘Gag Order’ muzzling the UofA scientists, he replied:

With regards to your comments about monitoring reports being kept secret, and scientists being ‘gagged’, it simply isn’t happening. The process of making reports public is not new, and has not been changed by our Government.

OK, Let’s hear from the scientists themselves after the report was leaked. Watch the following news video.

Government Hides Proof of Oil Sands Contamination
http://www.albertaprimetime.com/Stories.aspx?pd=4450

Original Air Date: Monday, November 05, 2012
The public is learning Environment Canada knew of oil sands contamination and muzzled its scientists. What fallout will those revelations cause?

We speak with David Schindler, international acclaimed and outspoken environmental biologist from the University of Alberta.

Tar Pit #3

Tar Pit #3

This week a new report was released by Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario This time the report was published directly to major news sources. This report confirms the findings of the previous UofA reports of last November.

Oil sands development polluting Alberta lakes: study 
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/oil-sands-development-polluting-alberta-lakes-study/article7014184/

Oil Sands Polluting Area Lakes 
http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/393673-report-oilsands-polluting-area-lakes

Oil sands pollution ‘clearly evident’, government-funded study says 
http://business.financialpost.com/2013/01/07/government-funded-study-concludes-toxic-hydrocarbons-from-oil-sands-pollute-lakes/

Margaret Munro, Postmedia News | Jan 7, 2013

Leading federal and academic scientists have uncovered “compelling” evidence that Alberta’s oil sands operations have been sending toxins into the atmosphere for decades.

Industry’s role as a decades-long contributor of PAHs to oil sands lake ecosystems is now clearly evident
The team has found “striking” increases in contaminants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at the bottom of six lakes up to 90 kilometres from the massive oil sands operations in northeastern Alberta.

PAHs began to climb in the lake sediments in the 1970s and are now up to 23 times higher than 1960 levels. It says the increased PAHs coincided with oil sands development and the compounds have a distinct “petrogenic” fingerprint different from PAHs generated by natural phenomenon like fire.

Levels of the toxins have almost tripled since the 1960s in Namur Lake, the most remote lake tested. It is about 90 kilometres northwest of oil sands operations in a provincial park known for its fishing. The PAHs are up to 23 times higher in the other lakes, which are within 35 kilometres of the oil sands operations.

“Given the planned expansion of the oil sands, the trend will likely accelerate in future,” says co-author John Smol, a Canada research chair in Environmental Change at Queen’s University.

Government and industry response is; “that many pollutants found in the lakes and rivers of northeastern Alberta are naturally occurring and leached from the bitumen deposits themselves.”

In other words; “We choose to do nothing.”

Back to Beginning – Christiane Amanpour

Last night I watched the ABC News special “Back to the Beginning with Christiane Amanpour
“takes viewers on the ultimate road trip traveling to the lands of the Bible to explore the fundamental roots of three religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the powerful stories that inspire billions.” It is touted as “Friday’s #1 Show”

I have always appreciated Ms Amanpour as a reporter and journalist as she usually brings a new perspective to current events. On this documentary though, I feel she totally missed out. Nothing original, nothing new. To me it was just the home movie of a families vacation through Egypt and Israel with a few stops along the way. I turned it off before the end.

Her primary message seemed to be how historical evidence did not match with many of the Biblical accounts. Most Christians, possibly Jews and Muslims as well, know this already and their faith is not based on the absolute accuracy but, the message the Bible expounds. What most researchers find and are amazed at is how often the historical and archaeological evidence proves how accurate the Biblical accounts actually are.

How many non-believers and skeptics will be turned off religion by her documentary?
Was that her reason for making this report, disprove the Bible or make it repugnant?

Ezra Levant and Sun News

I am not a regular viewer of the Sun News Network but I will often flip to see what they are commenting on during commercial breaks. Most of the reporters and journalists are generally good and give fair and honest reports. Then there is Ezra Levant. The first time I heard him, I thought I had tuned in to Fox News by mistake. Levant needs to take his twisted, ultra conservative, one sided agenda to Fox and play to the all the little minds who love to gobble up and feed on his type of garbage.

He loves to take sound bites from interviews with people he doesn’t agree with and totally twist them out of context. On Elizabeth May he says;
“Elizabeth May is likable enough, but her recent comments are more of her off the wall, delusional speech.”
“Elizabeth May does not know what she’s talking ABOUT!”

Sorry Ezra, but it is you who hasn’t done the research.

Here is some of what Ezra Levant says on the pipeline hearings;
“Opening Gateway hearing to ‘anyone’ — literally any person, any child, any foreign citizen — just a waste of time, money
The only question is whether Leggett is naive, incompetent or biased against the pipeline.”
“Some of the forms have been faxed in. They helpfully have the fax signature stamp at the top of the page, showing which foreign-funded lobby group is working to gin up names.”
“Those foreign billionaires are getting their money’s worth — they’ve managed to delay the hearings by a year before they’ve even started.”

“What a fool. No court would permit such a gong show. And Leggett has court-like powers.”

On the Gateway Pipeline he says;
“Obama may not want our oil, but let’s not sabotage ourselves”
“Our choice has to be to putting Canada’s interests first. We should do everything we can to press Obama to approve Keystone XL. But we’ve got to work on Plan B: Finding other markets for our oil.”
“Which is why the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline is such an obvious answer.”
“It would be a win for Canada. And a win for the communities in B.C. ravaged by anti-logging extremists who killed their lumber industry. International lobby groups such as Greenpeace, along with billionaire foundations from the U.S., drove thousands of British Columbians out of work, and destroyed dozens of towns that depended on forestry.”

No Ezra, What killed the forest industry is exporting to countries who are allowed to buy raw logs instead of processing them in Canada and selling the lumber. The number of jobs in BC from the pipeline, perhaps 40, max.

This is Ezra Levant who claims; “Global-warming, a sham”. “Evidence gathered from torture is sometimes necessary to protect lives.”

If you really want to listen to or read some of his mostly trash for yourself – Ezra Levant

Get 1 FREE

Buy 1 get 1 Free

Buy 1 get 1 Free

We have all seen similar advertisements like the one on the right. A product hyped as something you can’t do without.

Buy 1 Get 1 FREE!
Just pay shipping and handling.

They are appealing to basic human senses, something for nothing.

But Wait!

There’s MORE!!

Appeals to our senses of curiosity.

It is one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book. Surprisingly, it still works. And works well.

Lately marketers, especially on TV have added a twist. Up selling 4-6 items at one low price – just pay shipping and handling. Usually around $6.00.

Sounds a fair deal.

Have your credit card ready and call 866-_____ Very often you are paying for the call. The marketer receives a percentage. Between $4 and $10.

Before you can ask what the final costs will be, they have got your phone number – placed you on their suckers list, plus you have given them your credit card number.

Now you are about to find out those shipping and handling charges have added up to $36.00, sometimes more plus the price of the item, usually $19.95 or $24.95, plus the phone call of $8.00 – $20.00 and the final result is $74.90 + tax.

Not much of a deal is it?

Here is some interesting reading: Deconstructing “Buy 1 – Get 1 FREE!”

Employees Needed

Seeking the person who is willing to work a minimum 1 hr. per day for a large national corporation and pay for the privilege of doing so?
Apply to any television carrier in your area.

Each time you watch 3 hrs of television, that’s 1 hockey game, you have sat through and watched at minimum 1 hr of commercials during that time. The TV producers will even hold up the game, TV timeouts they are called, so that they can run the ads. Fair enough, some one has to pay for the air time, but, did you turn to that channel to watch commercials or watch the game? The commercials are deterrents to your enjoyment of the game and therefore the viewer should be compensated for his time. Since we pay the carrier, Direct TV, Bell, Rogers, whomever, to deliver that program, why then should we not be compensated for the time spent watching the ads. The producer is getting paid, let the advertiser pay the carrier to deliver their ads to the viewer. Why should the viewer pay twice?

Does the post office require the receiver of mail to pay for another stamp? NO. Does UPS expect to be paid by both the sender and the receiver? NO. Why then for TV? It’s just another product. I wouldn’t mind paying for the product commercial free, but even pay for view has those commercial time outs and includes subliminal advertizing.

What adds insult is oft time the carrier owns both the program or the rights to and the network you are watching. That is triple payment.

What I’m really waiting for is the television carrier who offers free satellite TV. The first carrier to do so will capture near all the business and force the TV networks to pay the carrier to include their stations. It will happen some day. Just not soon enough.

Advertizing is everywhere and people are just not willing to show their displeasure even when they pay to watch it. Purchase a video and the very first thing you see is advertizing. The producers of the video are being paid twice. So bold are they that they have even made it so that you can’t skip or fast forward over the commercials. Yet very few people complain.

A question – Would you be willing to trade in your digital wide screen TV for a 30″ analog without commercials and no carrier fees?

Interesting reading on advertizing – Why Americans Hate Advertising “Sixty percent said their opinion of advertising “is much more negative than just a few years ago.” It’s always been negative. Why should anyone like advertising? It’s a tax you pay to be entertained.” “…life in the early 21 st Century can’t be lived without continuous obeisance to Mammon.”

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