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News That Illustrates: March 12, 2012

Lady Gaga Still Lives With Wounds
Lady Gaga is adored by millions of people. She's on the top of Forbes' list of most powerful people in the world. And yet she's still a broken, wounded soul just as all of us. Here's an excerpt from a recent interview with Nicholas Kristoff from the New York Times: "I was called really horrible names very loudly in front of huge crowds of people, and my schoolwork suffered at one point. I didn't want to go to class. And I was a straight-A student, so there was a certain point in my high school years where I just couldn't even focus because I was so embarrassed all the time." Kristoff added that her scars haven't gone away. Lady Gaga continued: "To this day, my closest friends say, 'Gaga, you know, everything's great. You're a singer; your dreams have come true.' But, still, when certain things are said to you over and over again as you're growing up, it stays with you and you wonder if they're true."

PREACHING ANGLES: Brokenness; Rejection; Self-image

The Sabbath Trumps a Basketball Tournament
Here's a moving, preachable story about keeping the Sabbath or playing a basketball game. The article reported: "The Robert M. Beren Academy, an Orthodox Jewish day school in Houston, won its regional championship to advance to the boy's basketball state semifinals this weekend in Dallas. But the team will not make the trip …. The Beren Academy players observe the Sabbath and do not play from sundown on Fridays to sundown on Saturdays. Their semifinal game is scheduled for 9 p.m. Friday." So, rather than play on the Sabbath, the school chose to withdraw from the tournament. The head of the school put it this way: "The sacred mission will trump excellence in the secular world."

PREACHABLE ANGLES: Commitment; Sabbath; Worship

The Faith of Whitney Houston
Here's a powerful interview with the man who led Bible studies with Whitney Houston. For years, Jetro Da Silva, a professor at Berklee College of Music, also served as Ms. Houston's intercessor, friend, and keyboardist. Da Silva said that she was a woman of prayer who "knew the Lord on a personal level" and was always "growing and learning." But he also acknowledged Houston's battles with alcohol and drugs. Here's an especially interesting quote: "There was a lot of stress placed on her from many spectrums of life. But again, many of us in the Christian family are in constant trouble. The only difference is that we are not in the spotlight." Perhaps Houston's beautiful and flawed faith in Christ is best summed up in the Latin phrase from Martin Luther—Simul Iustus et Peccator or "At Once Justified and Sinner" (also commonly translated as "Simultaneously Sinner and Saint"). In the end, doesn't that describe all of us?

Ted Turner's Love Life—It's Complicated
You've probably seen the Facebook relationship status known as "It's complicated." Nobody epitomizes that better than Ted Turner, the media mogul and billionaire founder of CNN. After his third divorce in 2001 (to the actress Jane Fonda), he now spends one week each month with his four girlfriends. He doesn't have to worry about the girlfriends bumping into each other, since he can shift them around between his 28 homes. When asked if his girlfriends like this arrangement, Turner said, "Sort of." During the interview Turner also confessed that he's considered suicide. He said: "I've thought about it and decided against it—in the past, not recently."

PREACHABLE ANGLES: Commitment; Distractions; Marriage

Practicing the Fine Art of Lament
Here's a fascinating story about allowing people to grieve and lament in the midst of pain and loss. In the wake of the newest wave of high school shootings (this time in Chardon, Ohio), the Her.meneutics blog explores how to own "redemptive grief." It's a wise article, filled with quotes and resources about grief. The author asks, "When it comes to grief, then, what else can we do (in addition to interceding) on behalf of those who find themselves in the midst of it, while also understanding that grief doesn't have a definite timetable? We can offer the continual and long gift of our presence and service to those who are grieving."

PREACHABLE ANGLES: Grief; Lament; Sadness

"The Leadership Is in There"
It's almost time for "March Madness" again—that crazy binge of college basketball. As a prequel, this past week during the closing seconds of the West Coast Conference championship game featuring Gonzaga and Saint Mary's, Gonzaga was down by three points in the waning seconds. Then Elias Harris, who had been cold all night, hit a game tying three-point basket with two seconds left. That basket energized Gonzaga and had the potential to deflate Saint Mary's. Saint Mary's Coach Randy Bennett said it was important no one panicked after Harris forced overtime with the huge 3. "People ask what did we say after they hit that shot? We didn't say anything," Bennett said. "We played good defense and they hit a tough shot. I don't have to coach leadership. The leadership is already there." Saint Mary's went on to win the thrilling game, 78-74. Bennett's last comment is insightful and has some good possibilities for preaching on leadership, mentoring, discipleship, possibly even the work of the Holy Spirit. Special thanks to Jim Stochl for this preachable angle on a news story from ESPN.

PREACHABLE ANGLES: Holy Spirit; Leadership; Mentoring

William Hamilton, Who Said "God Is Dead," Is Dead at 87
William Hamilton, the retired theologian who declared in the 1960s that God was dead, died on February 28th at the age of 87. (It's funny how God seems to outlive all the people who have declared his death.) Hamilton created a firestorm of controversy when he was featured on the cover of Time magazine for his "radical" God-is-dead theology. Hamilton put it this way: "The death of God is a metaphor. We need to redefine Christianity as a possibility without the presence of God." Hamilton was trying to wrestle with the presence of God in light of horrific suffering, but I'm not sure how you redeem the presence of suffering by proclaiming the absence of God.

PREACHABLE ANGLES: Atheism; Death; Suffering

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