Spiritually speaking, positive changes are Happening

Friday, May 9, 2014

I have noticed a trend that seems to be heading in a more positive direction.

In all appearances, it seems to have began with the hit movie, "God's Not Dead."

At the same time, the movies "Noah" and "The Son of God" made the big screen. Granted, these two movies had their share of criticism, but the point is Hollywood is making positive adjustments in making movies that many conservatives have been asking for.

According to Jim Denison of the Denison Forum, two television projects are being developed looking in the the silent years of Jesus, the years between his 13 and 30th birthdays.

Fox is developing "Nazareth," a TV show which follows the formative years of Jesus' life. Lifetime is developing "The One," a TV movie which is described as "a coming-of-age story exploring Jesus' early life and formative years as he comes to learn he is the Son of God and is destined for greatness."

Of course, the Bible says nothing about these "silent years" in our Lord's life. But with Bible-themed projects drawing record viewership these days, it's not surprising that producers would try to film even the parts of Jesus' life for which we have no record.

I have no idea what the writers of "Nazareth" and "The One" will make up to tell the story of Jesus' "silent years." At the same time, I'm glad there is such interest in Jesus that shows and movies about him continue to be produced. More books have been written about our Lord than about any other figure in history. What does this say about him and about us?

This past Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, upheld the right of local officials to begin meetings with public prayer.

In a brief filed on Aug. 2, 2013 in Town of Greece v. Susan Galloway and Linda Stevens, ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara defended the upstate New York town's practice of allowing rotating, voluntary prayers before council meetings and explained the Coercion Test:

"At the time the First Amendment was adopted, the countries of Europe each maintained their own preferred 'Establishment of Religion,' which meant an official government religion enforced by laws requiring attendance at the official church, regular contributions to it, and other preferences in law for members of that church. These establishment policies all involved government coercion to force citizens to support the one favored church.

"Almost all of the American colonies had such establishments as well, with legal compulsion or coercion as their hallmark.

"These practices, and anything like them involving coercion in regard to religion, are what the framers meant to prohibit in adopting the Establishment Clause, for this is what an Establishment of Religion meant at the time. They did not mean, however, to prohibit any voluntary, public, religious speech, or religious expression or symbolism, which do not involve any such coercion."

In the majority decision, Justice Kennedy wrote:

"The inclusion of a brief, ceremonial prayer as part of a larger exercise in civic recognition suggests that its purpose and effect are to acknowledge religious leaders and the institutions they represent, rather than to exclude or coerce nonbelievers."

With all the national attention looking to Jesus, our risen Lord and Savior, what are we doing locally.

Last week, many communities across our nation participated in the annul National Day of Prayer.

For several years, a number of local churches met together at the McCrate Family Park to hold such prayer meetings. We did not do that this year. Regardless of what our belief system is, or our opinion of those that participated in the passed, the point is we met and prayed collectively for our community, and our country.

Yes, I know that people of faith can and do pray in their homes and pray in their churches, which is great! However, that one day of praying outside in a community park did set an example of the body of Christ coming together.

So I guess, a challenge is for you and I to be more determined to pray."The New Testament scripture, Philippeans 4:6 reads, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God," and remember "God's Not Dead!