News That Illustrates: December 17, 2012
Budweiser Says, 'Silent Nights Are Overrated'
In another insightful column, Russell Moore asks, "Is the Culture at War with Christmas?" He points to a recent Budweiser ad that brazenly stated that "Silent Nights are Overrated" and an high-end outdoor grill ad that read: "Who says it's better to give than to receive?" On the one hand, Moore notes that nobody in the Middle East would run an ad during Ramadan that read "Fasting is Overrated." But that misses the point. Moore encourages us to get over our offense and outrage at our neighbors' shallow understanding of the real meaning of Christmas. Instead, Moore argues that we have a perfect opportunity to lovingly "engage our neighbors with the sort of news that shocks angles and redirects stargazers and knocks sheep-herders to the ground. That it seems increasingly strange is all the better—because it is strange."
PREACHING ANLGES: Christmas; Evangelism; Witnessing
How About a Whiff of Pizza Hut Perfume?
Here's a great way to set up a sermon on the gifts of Christmas. The folks at Pizza Hut asked, "Do you like the smell of a box of Pizza Hut pizza being opened?" Of course you do. So now Pizza Hut Canada is giving away 110 bottles of cheesy cologne (no pun intended). White Castle offered a limited edition of slider scented candles. (A Twinkie scented perfume doesn't exist—at least not yet.) And for that really discriminating gift-receiver you can always check out this new coffee made from real elephant dung. Seriously, Black Ivory Coffee offers elephant-processed coffee for $50 a pop. But wait, Blake Dinkin, the guy who developed the coffee, explains the beauty of this gift: "When an elephant eats coffee, its stomach acid breaks down the protein found in coffee, which is a key factor in bitterness. You end up with a cup that's very smooth without the bitterness of regular coffee."
PREACHING ANGLES: Christmas
The Top 10 Things You Can't Have for Christmas
The folks over at Gizmag have made their annual list of fabulous gifts that are probably out of your price range (so sad!). The list includes a limited edition (there are only 30 of them) two-wheeled Lamborghini bicycle for a mere $26,000. Then there's the $200 million Wally Island, a super-yacht that's been compared to a small mobile island. Or try out theHubolt Big Bang watch which includes a white gold case studded in an incredible 1,282 grade A diamonds. It retails for a mere $5 million. And don't forget the $11,000 Blossom One coffee machine which features integrated Wi-Fi, a 1.3 MP camera for scanning QR codes of special brew recipes, a choice of mahogany, walnut, sapele, teak or zebra-wood finishes and, as one might expect, high-end build quality. O, yea, and it also makes coffee.
PREACHING ANGLES: Christmas; Consumerism; Gifts Not Bad—$1 Billion in 15 Days
What was "one of the most significant entertainment events of the last six years"? According to the New York Post it was the release of the video game "Call of Duty: Black Ops II." In the 15 days since it launched, the game has hauled in over $1 billion. In addition to the sky-high sales numbers, players have logged over 150 million hours of play on Xbox and PlayStation Network. In other words, through a huge team effort human beings around the world have combined to spend 6¼ million days worth of time playing a video game (and they accomplished all of that in a mere 15 days).
The Mayan Apocalypse Draws Near
Get ready, folks. The Mayan Apocalypse is coming to your neighborhood—on December 21, 2012, to be exact. It will inaugurate a new age of spiritual transformation or the catastrophic end of the world. But according to a fine article by James Emery White, this is no laughing matter. White notes, "[In Russia] a huge Mayan-style archway is being built—out of ice—on Karl Marx Street …. In a blog post on USA.gov, it was announced that the 'world will not end on December 21, 2012, or any day in 2012.' Why the declaration? Apparently NASA officials are getting messages from children as young as 11 who say they are ill and/or contemplating suicide because of the coming doomsday." It's a great story to set up a sermon on New Year's Day or the spiritual transformation offered every year because of Jesus' birth.
PREACHABLE ANGLES: Christmas; New Year's Day
David Brubeck: 'God's Love Made Visible'
For six decades David Brubeck, who died at the age of 92, helped make jazz popular again. According to The New York Times, Brubeck had a long list of accomplishments: the first jazz album to sell a million copies, the second jazz musician to be featured on the cover of Time magazine, and the famous song "Take Five." Brubeck also took a strong stand against racism in the early 1950s (his bassist, Gene Wright, was black). But, unfortunately, many news outlets failed to explore one of the most prominent forces behind his music—his Christian faith. Brubeck was a devout Roman Catholic. After he had completed one of his musical pieces, his wife turned to him and said, "No, you haven't finished it." He said, "Well, what did I leave out?" His wife said, "God's love made visible. He is invincible." So Brubeck set out to create music that would make God's love visible. Not a bad goal for any Christian in any profession.
PREACHABLE ANGLES: Calling; Call; Vocation; Work
A Thief Repents Here's a tender story about someone who experienced a genuine change of heart. According to the New York Post, in early December someone swiped a kettle from the Salvation Army in Broadman, Ohio. But apparently the thief repented. The charity received $130 and an apology note. The note read, "Here is the money I took plus money for a new kettle and bell. Please forgive me."
PREACHABLE ANGLES: Remorse; Repentance; Restitution