News Commentary: Hilton Sex Scandal

Today the Star Tribune posted another article regarding sexual impropriety and scandal. This time it involves Hilton Executives who reportedly had an orgy in a Hilton banquet room that ultimately led to two employees leaving or being terminated from employment. Unlike the recent Metrodome incident, this incident involves people in positions of corporate power engaging in recreational sex but also using their power to dismiss those that had a problem with the event or refused to go along with the event.  The event would be considered similar to the infamous Vikings “Love Boat” the difference being the location.  This is a another example of folks who ultimately have deep emptiness turning to sexuality and substances to satisfy themselves with momentary pleasure.  It also displays what can happen when positions of power give individuals perhaps a sense of entitlement and invulnerability. 

       In terms of entitlement, it seems that when people attain levels of power it is often followed by several indulgences that often accompany the increase in power.  The more money and more you have, you have more access to whatever you want.  At some point, individuals can reach a point where they believe they have the right to do whatever they want.  In terms of this Hilton executive scandal, it can be viewed as they run the Hotel, they can do what they want within the privacy of their Hotel. If they want to use one of their banquet rooms for a party that devolves into a drunken orgy, they have that right.  Ultimately it becomes a viewpoint that these people in power view the power as giving them the right to do whatever they want and whatever anyone else thinks is irrelevant because they have the power and authority.  This kind of mindset can be seen here or anywhere any type of scandal rises to the surface.

      These people in power can also exhibit a sense of invulnerability.  It is a matter not only that they can do what they want, but that no matter what they do they can overcome any consequences.  Some people reach a level of influence, money, and power that they reach a point where there is no fear of consequences.  Perhaps years have gone by doing the exact same thing and no one complained or had any problems.  The longer a person goes without facing consequences or only receiving minimal consequences, the concern over consequences diminish.  However, there is a Biblical principle based on Numbers 32:23 that your sins will find you out.  Ultimately, no one is invulnerable to consequences.   Each of us sooner or later will face consequences to what we do. 

       And in reality, it is not just people in power who exhibit tendencies toward entitlement and invulnerability. Each of us in our own self focus exhibit both.  Anything that happens or reported we all have the capacity to do.   We all have selfish pursuits and things we feel we have a right to have and often do things thinking that we won’t face consequences.  Often times we do not, but ultimately there comes a time when the consequences occur.  If not in this life, then certainly in what comes after death.

      There is only one answer that gets us away from self centered pursuit.  There is only one way for ultimate freedom from the eternal consequences of our selfishness.  The answer is the Gospel. The answer is accepting Jesus sacrifice as taking on the consequences of our own selfish actions.  Only in Jesus is there freedom and true peace.  Yet, in this day and age not only is there a lack of regard for the temporary consequences of this life, but no consideration for the eternal.   Where are you today?  Are you caught up in your own pleasures and distractions.  Are you any different then the people being reported on in the article?  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  Please consider your eternal position and let Jesus pay the price for you.  Turn from your selfish pursuits and turn to Jesus.  It is worth it.

The Myth of United States as a Christian Nation

Many proclaim that the foundation of the Country of the United States of America is Christianity and it was foded based on Christian principles.  However, if you examine history you will find this to be an unfounded statement.  Granted, the United States of America had many Christian influences, but the foundation of the country was based on people of varying beliefs coming together and compromising toward a set of laws that form the Constitution of the United States of America. 

     There are some people within the Church in the United States who view the country as the Christian equivalent of the nation of Israel to Jews. The arguement is that the United States of America has lost its is moral foundation and if we stopped abortions, returned prayer to school, stop gay marriages, curtail illegal immigration, and teach creationism in the schools all would be right.  Such a concept is misguided. Now all the above are good, moral things, but returning to such moral laws will not change what is at the heart of the problems in this country.

     This country was actually founded on individualism.  Individual rights trump all.  Each person has the right and ability to grow within the context of the laws legislated.  The moral changes to this country were not a deviation from the foundations, but really just where the founding principles of the country essentially lead, greater emphasis on self. 

      It is also worth noting that if all the immoral laws in this country were changed, it would not change the emphasis on self.  Take a look at prohibition for example. This is a good, moral law with many good reasons to prohibit the sale of alcohol.  It was though short sighted, because there was no change of heart or desire for alcohol, it simply grew an increase in illegal activities. 

     A push for a change in moral laws does nothing to change the hearts of people.  Rather, people still pursue what they choose, regardless of consequences.  Now that doesn’t mean moral laws serve no purpose.  It is a matter that the salvation of this nation is not about a change in moral laws.  It is essentially about whether each individual surrenders to God or keeps pursuing their own kingdoms and agendas. 

    Politics is all about increase power bases.  It is about who gets the say in the laws.  We all vote on what we think is best for us and our kingdom and our own perception of what is beneficial.  The myth of the United States of America being a Christian nation serves ultimately to sway votes and to increase power bases.  If someone feels a particular political persuasion is more righteous because of moral footings, they are mistaken.  The end result can be seeking after a political messiah who will right the wrongs. 

     On both sides of the political spectrum, a messiah is essentially what people are looking for. Someone who provides political answers to what they perceive are the problems, when the politicians are simply doing what they can to ensure they obtain position and power.

     So what is a Christian to do.  I believe a Christian needs to remember again that our citizenship is not of this world.  We are Ambassadors for Jesus.  In the United States of America, we get the right to vote for a select group of candidates.  I encourage all to vote their conscience regarding the varied political views, but make no mistake. United States of America is not a Christian nation and a return to moral laws is not the real change needed.  People need to be able to move beyond themselves and surrender to the King of Kings, Jesus.  There are and will be many fine sounding political answers to problems in the world. They will all be flawed and answers only temporary.  I encourage folks to stop focusing on looking for political answers and rather find ways to draw others unto Jesus.

Movie Commentary: Bella

From time to time on this blog I will make comments on movies, television shows, or other culturally significant issues. When I make comments on a movie I am not going to censor content. So if you do not want content spoiled it is best to read my thoughts after viewing said movie.  If I think a movie is not worth viewing I will state so up front.

            This weekend I watched the movie Bella with my wife and mother.  I had heard good things about this movie and heard it had a strong positive pro-life,  even pro-God/Christianity message. 

            In watching the film, I found the message to be rather straight forward. In terms of the message of the film I found it to be a mixed bag.  On the positive side, the movie definitely has a strong pro-life message. It stresses the importance of relationships and the value of life.  I did find the movie to contain more elements of kharmatic thought over essential Christian themes. 

            The main character essentially saves the life of a child, in essence undoing the life he cost.  It came off as promoting the good done to replace the bad. Some elements of it would seem to fit into an episode of  My Name is Earl without the humor. 

            It do admit that the movie does have a strong positive message. It does a good job of showing a character moving beyond being wrapped up in self and reaching out to others but again it comes off more as kharmatic versus essential Christianity. The main character even is shown with a guru-like, messiah type persona. Perhaps you could stretch the presentation to have allegorical references but the essential themes of the film do seem to fit kharmatic line of thought.

            In terms of the pro-life message I did find it to have value. However, I look at the content of the film and the emphasis on the life of the child and I see the persistent cultural theme of having a child is the apex of humanity. The film does a good job of contrasting selfish pursuit versus looking out for others. However, I do not see complete selflessness in the film. 

            The film did have some moments referencing God, including a blind-man interacting with the two main characters with a sign behind him stating “God made me blind so that I might see” (any errors are do to my faulty memory.)  If anyone who reads this blog and has different thoughts please share them. Am I missing something in this film?  Is the value of this film simply the pro-life message?  I would appreciate any comments.