God, the Middle East & the Oscars

Posted on March 2, 2011 · Posted in Current Events

This post is taken from our latest newsletter. The theme of this newsletter is to help people see that God is vitally involved in all that happens in life. So on the surface the turmoil in the Middle East and the Academy Awards may seem to have little to do with each other. But God rules over each and every fragment of life. The solution to the impact of sin is always bowing to the will of God and his Son. In this sense all of life is connected to the plans and purposes of God. Please pass the newsletter along to those you know. It is a great way to know what is going with Shepherd Press and perhaps to gain a new perspective on what is happening in our world.

This past weekend, a rather stunning metamorphosis occurred in the events covered by the American news media—twice. At the end of last week, the situation in the Middle East, and Libya in particular, dominated the headlines. A number of countries in the region teetered on the verge of collapse. Gadhafi’s forces began a cruel and crushing response to civil unrest. The market price for oil jumped upwards in light of reduced production. This led to renewed fears that the price of gas would again exceed four dollars a gallon. Scenes of unrest and violence filled TV screens. Then came the weekend and the Oscars.

Replacing the images of political and physical devastation from the Middle East were images of the moral devastation that is Hollywood. A glittering persona was pulled over the chaos of lives given to the worship of the allure of temporary fame. The very pregnant winner of the Best Actress award basked in the praise of her peers, while at the same time flaunting her disregard for God’s institution of marriage. Children can be conceived and birthed anytime. Marriage can come before, after or never. Aging stars vainly—sometimes painfully—attempted to roll back the clock in their attempts to deny the impact of age. Grace and beauty gave way to gaudiness and immodesty. The news media covered the pre-Oscar activities, the show itself, and then all of the post-award parties, with endless interviews and photos.  From the press coverage, it would be easy to think that nothing else of importance was happening in the world. Then, Monday evening, the attention turned again to the unsettling and shockingly violent world of the Middle East. These two events seem to have no connection with each other. Yet in reality, they are tightly connected.

Missing from both venues was the acknowledgement of God. Putting on political stability will no more solve the problems of the Middle East than putting on an expensive designer gown will justify the sexual sin and lust of Hollywood. In both venues, what is needed is allegiance to Jesus Christ. In both the Middle East and the Red Carpet of the Academy Awards, the lusts of the flesh ruled over the hearts of men. Both of these venues, the Middle East violence and the moral violence of Hollywood, suffer from the same root cause—hatred of the living God. War is preferred to peace, lust is preferred to love. Only Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit can turn hearts away from these selfish desires.

Parents, do not miss these opportunities to show your children the excellent way of Christ. The gospel is the good news that we do not have to be slaves to what we crave. The troubled countries of the Middle East and the tormented stars of Hollywood stand in need of the gospel of Jesus. He alone is the way, the truth and the life.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.