The Research Is In: Americans Love McDonald’s More Than Jesus

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[An expansion on Wired’s excellent article theorizing about the biggest business partnership since Johnson & Johnson…]

As Phil Cooke put it, there’s no question that McDonald’s restaurants have enormous influence in our culture. Some sources indicate that Ronald McDonald is the most widely recognized name among small children, and when the sign says “billions served” you can count on it. That kind of influence in the culture is the Holy Grail for business leaders.

While we’re talking about Holy Grails:

Any American who has traveled more than 10 miles from their home has seen the ubiquity of McDonalds outposts with their own eyes. If ever asked to opine on the matter, I would suggest that in the U.S.,  there are few institutions with greater reach than Ronald McDonald.

And I would have been very, very wrong. There is a statistic provided by The Barna Group that is startling, and has sparked a fascinating theological debate (yes: Jesus and Ronald are at it again…)

According to the Barna Group research:
For every McDonald’s in America, there are roughly 19 churches.

McD-v-God_pieChartQuoting David Kinnaman of Barna Group:

“Think about that for a moment: If there are 19 churches for every one McDonalds, why does the church today have so little influence in our culture?  Obviously its not just a numbers game, but when it comes to “presence” the church should have a much greater influence.

“The comparison was very striking to me. What about you? Why does the church have so many “offices in the field,” but has so little influence in the culture?”

This is wandering deep into apples-and-oranges territory, but if we put aside our own beliefs and biases we can ponder a profound question: what does all this say about the United States and what we’ve  become?

 

Discuss. Then a quick poll question…

 

Next slide, please:

 

Exhibit A:

Studies Show American Kids Recognize Ronald McDonald More Than Jesus

 


 

Exhibit C:

Report Says Americans Love One Brand More Than All Others:

Did you guess ‘McDonalds’?

 


 

Michele Bachmann’s Politics Conflict With Basic Christian Values She Claims To Embrace

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From Michael Gershon’s blog at The Washington Post online

 

Michele Bachmann screamingMichele Bachmann is a candidate of whopping internal contradictions.

Earlier this month, I heard the Minnesota congresswoman give her Christian testimony at a church service in Osceola, Iowa. She told the story of her father leaving her mother, of the economic struggles her family faced, and of the encounter with God she experienced as a teenager. Her tone was direct, non-political and obviously sincere.

A few days later, at a campaign stop in Iowa, Bachmann was asked by a Latino college student what she would do to help the children of undocumented immigrants.

The presidential candidate responded: “Their parents are the ones who brought them here… They did not have the legal right to come to the United States. We do not owe people who broke our laws to come into the country. We don’t owe them anything.”

Bachmann is not just making a political point but a moral argument. She asserts that children — who have committed no crime themselves — should be denied assistance because of the legal status of their parents. Her point is made without qualification. It doesn’t matter whether the children of illegal immigrants are hungry or sick. This standard rules out everything from emergency room treatment to elementary school education to prenatal care for the unborn. Bachmann’s pro-life convictions, evidently, only apply to children covered by a green card.

It is difficult to determine what tradition of moral reasoning Bachmann is drawing upon. Her argument seems to involve a mix of extreme nationalism and utilitarian lifeboat ethics. Christian morality, in contrast, affirms that human worth is intrinsic and universal. Men and women are created in God’s image, which is equally present in every tribe, race and nationality. Governments have a responsibility to honor human dignity in the application of law, even when it comes to noncitizens. Children, along with others who are particularly vulnerable, have a particularly urgent claim to care and protection.

These beliefs do not translate easily or directly into specific immigration policies. Nations have the right to control their borders and enforce their laws. But when it comes to human beings — and especially when it comes to children — it is never permissible to say, “We don’t owe them anything.”

Bachmann’s candidacy represents a digression in the quality and seriousness of evangelical political engagement. It is difficult to imagine Mike Huckabee boasting of his indifference to the health and welfare of children, whatever their background. Even Pat Robertson, running for president in 1988, would have balked at such callousness.

Holy BibleBoth men would have been too conscious of the warnings found in Matthew 25, where Christianity’s founder defines the proper Christian attitude toward the hungry, the sick, the prisoner and the stranger. “Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these,” he said, “you did not do for me.”

Bachmann holds her faith deeply and understands its political implications poorly. Her campaign is increasingly discrediting to causes — including the pro-life cause — she seeks to serve.


Read more from Michael Gershon at The Washington Post Online…


David Lose: 4 Good Reasons Not to Read the Bible Literally

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By David Lose, Christian theologian & author of ‘Making Sense of Scripture’:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-lose/4-good-reasons-not-to-read-bible-literally_b_919345.html

David Lose writes… Cards on the table:
1) I read the Bible — not as much as I should, I’m sure, but still pretty regularly. Moreover, I get paid to talk about the Bible with folks all across the country and have written a popular book to help people read the Bible with more confidence and enjoyment. So, you could say, I’m a pretty big fan of the good book.

2) I was a little shocked to discover that three in ten Americans read the Bible literally. That is, about a third of the American populace takes everything the Bible says at face value, reading as they would a history or science textbook.

3) I don’t read the Bible this way, and can’t imagine doing so.

Click here to see four reasons why… (according to David Lose…)

Harold Camping Rapture Prophecy causes problems

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The Haddad children of Middletown, Md., have a lot on their minds: school projects, SATs, weekend parties. And parents who believe the earth will begin to self-destruct on Saturday.

The three teenagers have been struggling to make sense of their shifting world, which started changing nearly two years ago when their mother, Abby Haddad Carson, left her job as a nurse to “sound the trumpet” on mission trips with her husband, Robert, handing out tracts. They stopped working on their house and saving for college.

Read the full article in the New York Times