Must Read Monday: Award Announcement, New Show Launch, The Oscars, and Increasing AutocracyMarch 5, 2018
National Religious Broadcasters’ Radio Program of the Year
We are so honored to announce that The Reconnect with Carmen LaBerge was awarded the NRB’s Radio Program of the Year. This award goes to “a radio program that impacts the listener by being compelling, relevant, informative, personable, and entertaining, while demonstrating an authentic Christian faith.” Our prayer is for God to be glorified and his people edified. Pray with us to that end as the show is being relaunched today. You can listen to all past episodes of The Reconnect with Carmen LaBerge here.
Connecting Faith with Carmen LaBerge
Today is the relaunch of The Reconnect with Carmen Christian talk radio show as Connecting Faith with Carmen LaBerge through the Faith Radio Network. Every weekday from 1 – 2 pm ET Carmen takes the headlines of the day and reconnects the eternal to the everyday, bringing the mind of Christ to bear on the conversations of the day. To find out how to listen live daily or subscribe to the podcast, visit here. To get the latest content delivered to your inbox weekly, subscribe here.
Movements toward Autocracy
In the past week, the ruling Communist Party in China announced it was eliminating the term limit for the office of President. Thus allowing for the sitting President, Xi Jinping, to remain in the position indefinitely. And the sitting President and Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, is headed toward re-election to another term resulting in the equivalent of a life appointment. North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, will serve as leader of that nation for his entire life. There is no process for his removal nor replacement.
All three of these countries are currently nuclear powers, have strong allegiances to one another and very much dislike the United States of America. U.S. sanctions are in place against Russia and North Korea and the President’s new tariffs are designed, in part, to sanction China for its unfair trade practices. They are all three officially atheistic and autocratic and in the case of North Korea, a dictatorship which imprisons, starves and violates the basic human rights of its own people.
And yet, reports indicate that Christianity is thriving in both China and Russia and that the underground church in North Korea is also growing. Think about that for a moment. With all the freedoms we enjoy, Christianity is threatened. With all the restrictions under which people strain in these autocratic nations, Christianity is thriving.
Let us be praying for our Christian brothers and sisters today who live under totalitarian regimes, dictatorships and the constant threat of persecution. (For more on the persecuted church, see our series here.) Let us advocate for diplomatic talks that would denuclearize the Korean peninsula and let us not encourage a new cold war with Russia. Let us instead be people who pray for peace and work as peacemakers in the culture and generation where we serve as Christ’s ambassadors. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).
What we watch matters and what we award matters. We bear a great responsibility as cultivators of the culture of which we are a part. Every time you click, post, stream, watch, and buy a ticket to see a movie or show, you are fertilizing the growth and promoting the fruit of that particular work. If we don’t like the unrighteous fruit the culture is producing then we have to change how we consume what is now offered and we have to advocate and support the efforts of those seeking to produce and distribute high quality projects that promote goodness, beauty and truth.
Until then, let’s talk about what won last night. The coveted Oscar for Best Picture went to The Shape of Water, which features a trans-species relationship between British actress Sally Hawkins, who plays a mute cleaning lady in a relationship with a mysterious river-dwelling creature. This film provides Christians the opportunity to talk about what it means to be distinctively human.
God made human beings on purpose and for a purpose. We were designed to be in relationship with God and with one another. And in relationship to animals, which are clearly described in the Bible as not including humans, we are stewards. We have a God-given dominion over the birds of the air, the creeping and crawling things of the ground and yes, the fish of the sea. The sexualized relationship between a human woman and a sea creature in The Shape of Water should provide ample opportunity to talk about the need to redeem the good gift of sex and sexual expression and the need for a restoration of boundaries that reflect what is good, beautiful (life-giving) and true.
The Oscar for the Best Foreign language film also opens the door for Christians to bring God back into the conversation today. A Fantastic Woman, which features a central performance by transgender actress Daniela Vega won the Oscar for Best Foreign language film. The film follows the struggle of Marina, a trans woman, to be accepted for who he is after the death of a lover.
Confusion abounds on the subject of what it means to be, by God’s intentional design, male and female. Christians can get equipped to be light in this conversation in Andrew Walker’s book: God and the Transgender Debate. Listen to our interview with him here.
Ryan T. Anderson has recently released a book on the subject as well: When Harry Became Sally – Responding to the Transgender Moment. We must speak the truth but we must do so in ways that honor God’s desire that all would be saved, redeemed, restored, reconciled to a right relationship with Him, themselves and others.