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The Uninformed

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, known as the Day of Infamy, “Man on the Street Interviews” were conducted in rural and urbans areas to obtain the pulse of the American people. The Latin phrase Vox populi literally means voice of the people. This concept has been embraced by comedians, journalism and late night talk shows. Videos from these interactions are often edited to reveal the clueless, unusual and least informed individuals.

When they heard this, they were filled with rage, and they began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Then the city was filled with confusion; and people rushed together [as a group] into the amphitheater, dragging along with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s traveling companions, Acts 19:28-29.

When first century Greeks began to abandon idolatry in exchange for Christianity, local craftsmen began to lose business as customers purged their lives from reminders of their past. In the passage above, Luke describes what appears to be a labor union. The leader of this group starts a chant which begins to be repeated by nearby citizens. After a short period of time, Ephesus was stirred into a frenzy. A mob mentality took over as the curious joined in just to be part of the crowd.

Now some shouted one thing and some another, for the gathering was in confusion and most of the people did not know why they had come together, Acts 19:32.

Apparently, Luke conducted his own man on the street interview. Likely using a short two or three question survey, Luke discovered most of the people in attendance did not know what was going on. Not much has changed over the last 2000 years as a large portion of Americans accept the beliefs, ideas and worldviews expressed by their talk show host of choice. Daily programs like the View often elevate opinions to fact status. Instead of wanting to be educated and informed, a lack of time has increased the number of the uninformed, not testing what they hear with God’s Word, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21.

by Jay Mankus

Whatever Happened to Being Normal?

From time to time, part of my job requires me to test videos to determine if there is a defect within a device, episode or scene.  Over the course of a year, I come across a wide variety of genres from action, comedy, drama and horror.  While I should have observed this sooner, extremes are taking over, especially on reality television.  This makes me wonder, whatever happened to being normal?

My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! – Psalm 31:15

If you believe Hollywood, bad boys are attracting all the pretty girls, you can have your own movie and series if you’re a jackass and the more outlandish you are, sooner or later the cameras will find you.  Maybe I’m just too old fashioned, but some where along the way entertainment in America has gone off the deep end, forgetting the normal majority who make up most of this country.  While it may be boring, not news worthy and uninteresting, the average man, woman and child fly under the radar, giving their all daily.

Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:16.

One of the most underrated messages comes from the 1999 movie October Sky, based on the life of Homer Hickam.  While his dad is portrayed as a jerk at times in the film, deep down Homer’s real hero is his father.  Although the term normal refers to someone who is average, regular and traditional, these individuals are the backbone of America.  Sure, it would be great to strike it rich, win the lottery or become an instant celebrity.  Yet, normal human beings are dependable, someone you can trust in time of need.  Therefore, don’t get carried away by what you see on television.  Rather, be grateful for those who are normal.

by Jay Mankus

Out of Touch; Nearly Out of Time

Late Night Shows and comedy segments often do a Man on the Street interview to get a laugh.  If the topic was the meaning of Memorial Day, young kids would likely reply with selfish comments.   “A three day weekend, time off school, the first day of summer”.  Unfortunately, remembering those who have died while serving the United States has become out of state out of mind.

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth, 1 John 1:6.

The concept of the soul was inspiration for Hall and Oates 1985 song Out of Touch.  Afraid individuals would lose their soul, John Oates etched this chorus: You’re out of touch I’m out of time But I’m out of my head When you’re not around.  This sense of urgency is missing from a generation spoiled by the freedom in America.  As more and more veterans pass away annually, their time has come to an end.

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did, 1 John 2:6.

Spiritually speaking, the church is out of touch and nearly out of time to sway a country leaning to the left.  As hearts and minds embrace secular humanism, who will stand up, blaze a new trail and ignite souls to pursue Christ.  Perhaps, most are still out of touch, distracted by a world gone wild.  Nearly out of time, who will come forth to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

Dating Nightmares

If Solomon proclaimed there is a time for everything, then its important every now and then to laugh at painful memories from your past.  While I wasn’t laughing at this specific moment, my worst dating nightmare could be a classic comedy movie or at worst a perfect idea for an episode in a sitcom.  This memory began on the first day of school, my senior year in high school.  While trying to memorize my locker combination, an attractive new student wandered down the hall, a couple of lockers away from me.  Before the week was over, I asked her out and she said yes; this was the highlight of my weekend.

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, Ecclesiastes 3:4.t

Upon arriving at her home to pick her up, I didn’t realize I had asked Marcia Brady out on a date.  Before I knew it, I was being interrogated like a suspect for a crime.  Questions such as “have you had a speeding ticket in the last 6 months” bombarded like a dodge ball game gone bad.  Thirty minutes later, I was set free, but I felt like I was attending a funeral rather than a date.  While everyone in front of me and behind me at the movie theater were cracking up at my jokes, my date never giggled once.  Upon asking if she wanted to go out for ice cream afterward, she replied with another rejection.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, Proverbs 18:24.

A hand shake later, I thought my nightmare was finally over.  Except in the 1980’s, every teenager went to the mall to socialize and people like me worked at the mall.  Thus, while working Saturday, the next evening, my date from Friday night pranced around the mall with her boyfriend.  Hoping I would see them together, she wouldn’t have to explain her cold reception.  Intervening, my best friend Carl distracted me twice after my shift was over to avoid a confrontation, taking me in a different route around the mall.  Despite experiencing a nightmare at the movies, I did find out what a good friend I had and still have today.  Thus, even in disappointment, God will show you who your true friends are when the nightmare is over.

by Jay Mankus

The Prompting of the Heart

Hollywood has made fortunes making love story films.  While some are comedies, created for a good laugh, every year there is usually one that connects with the human spirit.  Whether its a scene, a similar situation an individual has endured or a real life story, drama has a way of touching hearts, striking a nerve or unlocking the floodgates as tears stream down faces in the audience.

In the book of Exodus, Moses refers to a spiritual prompting, moving someone to give out of the overflow of their heart.  Whether its the sight of a homeless person on a street corner, pictures of a natural disaster on television or guilt from a privileged life without any trials, the heart moves people beyond their comfort zones, Exodus 25:2.  King Solomon compared to heart to a underground springs, bubbling with life, forcing water to the surface, Proverbs 4:23.

According to Jesus, when the prompting of the heart ceases in many, end times are near, Matthew 24:12.  The so what, I don’t care, what a waste of time mentality has spread like a cancer among several communities.  Hate crimes, violence and wickedness are merely byproducts of hearts that have turned cold.  Maybe Foreigner was right in their song, “Cold as Ice,” except in these days you don’t have to break up with someone to witness or be a recipient.  Regardless of how holy Christians claim to be, we all need a spiritual heart transplant, Galatians 5:6, so that the prompting of our hearts will make this world a better place to live!

by Jay Mankus

Hold Yourself Together

 

Before comedy movies like Airplane used satire to elevate stress, the phrase “hold yourself together” has been a battle cry to help people overcome trying times in life.  However, when the world around you is falling apart, how can any soul pretend as if nothing is wrong?  Maybe this is why the scene below makes a mockery out of someone who has lost control of their emotions.

Modern dramas have a new message, one of hope and self-determination with a fairy tale ending unless of course their show get’s cancelled mid-season.  The opposite sex is used as a carrot at the end of a stick, motivation to hold yourself together.  Science fiction, the afterlife and an allure of the dark side have created series like the Vampire Dairies.  Tyler Ward’s song puts a new spin on the familiar expression, “Keep Yourself Together.”

From a spiritual point of you, holding yourself together is impossible.  While the world may call followers of Jesus weak, he is the crutch which props believers up, Matthew 11:28-30.  Sure, faith inspires action, James 2:26, but Jesus is the glue that ultimately holds people together.  Despite resembling cracked vases composed of clay, Jesus is the only substitute which makes people whole, 2 Corinthians 4:7-10.  If you want a permanent solution, Jesus is the answer, John 14:6.

by Jay Mankus

Not A Laughing Matter

Comedy and humor have been turned upside down over the past 50 years in America.  If you examine sitcoms from the last 5 decades, you will find that each entertainer tries to push the envelope a little further than the person before them.  Somewhere between the 60’s and 70’s, Hollywood crossed the line, leaving courtesy, dignity and honor out in the dark.  As cursing, indecency and swearing have replaced natural wit in recent years, the content of most comics is not a laughing matter.

When I read Genesis 9:20-24 today, I was reminded of the days of my youth.  If this event took place in the early 80’s, most of the audience would be in shock, not sure how to respond.  Thirty years later, souls have been desensitized by the acts of the sinful nature, Galatians 5:19-21.  Films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Animal House have stolen the innocence of our children’s generation.  Thus, instead have following in the footsteps of Shem and Japheth, our culture is now laughing with Ham.

It’s only fitting that the father of the Canaanites, Ham, became the thorn in Israel’s side.  In fact, God demanded that the Israelites destroy the Canaanites so that their life style would not corrupt God’s chosen people.  One of Jesus’ disciples has given us a new command today, to live in the world, but not of it, 1 Peter 2:11-12.  God doesn’t want us to become Amish and move to Lancaster or Puritans who isolated themselves from society.  Rather, we need to be salt and light, Matthew 5:13-14, refraining from laughing at inappropriate jokes, yet enjoying good and decent comedy.  I am just as guilty of the next guy or girl, smirking at comments made on talk radio as I drive to work.  However, its time to stand in the gap, Ezekiel 22:30, defending the principles of the Bible, Psalm 1:1-2, by proclaiming this is no longer a laughing matter.

by Jay Mankus

Stirring Up Wars

Not much has changed since the Jets and the Sharks began their fictional turf war over a girl, Maria, in the 1961 musical West Side Story.  Today, anger, bitterness and discord have built up within human beings to create ideal conditions for dissension zones.  Good intentions often fade into the night as roots of bitterness suffocate any thoughts of forgiveness.  As a result, floodgates open up for a culture of bickering and backstabbing.

Beyond the boundaries of Super Powers, factions leave third world nations with a battlefield of broken hearts, fragile souls and shattered relationships.  Hatred has found a home, setting up shop as a spirit of division is holding unwilling citizens captive.  While once foreign, America has open its doors to this nature through reality television.  A generation of Jerry Springer and Jenny Jones viewers have spawned hits shows like Big Brother, Survivor and The Jersey Shore.  Seeking to get rich over night, individuals do whatever it takes, forsaking integrity, to achieve success and victory.

Going unnoticed by those with moral blinders on, the acts of the sinful nature has imprisoned lost souls, Galatians 5:19-21.  Selfish ambition has become their driving force, the wind beneath their misguided wings.  When you add envy and jealousy as fuel to this fire, carnage is aired daily through shows like Bad Boys, Cheaters and Divorce Court.  As long as comedy, sex and violence continue to sell, this process will repeat itself, stirring up more wars.  May God protect the innocent bystanders, caught in the crossfire of this mudslinging.  Pray the words of Galatians 5:16-18 so that this vicious cycle will end soon!

by Jay Mankus

The Nuances of Nihilism

Historians credit the Age of Enlightenment, a period of the 17th and 18th centuries, for introducing nihilism to America.  Nihilism is a total rejection of social morals, believing that nothing in society is worthwhile.  Slipped under the covers through comedy acts, cartoons and sitcoms, naive minds have been convinced by nihilistic propaganda that objective truth no longer exists.  Thus, the nuances of nihilism is near completion, successfully shaping the worldviews of one generation to believe established authority is corrupt and must be destroyed to rebuild a just nation.

On the other hand, I believe nihilism was conceived during the Renaissance, spanning from the 14th-17th centuries.  Christian educators claim the painting entitled The School of Athens by Raphael Sanzio between 1509-1510 served as a theological turning point.  This piece contains 2 of Greece’s greatest philosophers, Aristotle and Socrates.  Christian’s interpret this painting as a transition from the belief truth comes from God above toward a realization truth comes from within.  John Calvin’s theology was inspired by the Holy Spirit to combat this age filled with humanism, naturalism and rationalism.

With an end goal of eliminating God’s existence, atheists and agnostics continue following in the footsteps of Friedrich Nietzsche who boldly proclaimed, “God is dead!”  As the boob tube, social media and college elite drive home their message daily, most Christians are sleep walking through life, disengaged from this spiritual war.  Yet, there are a few still up to this cultural challenge.  Music groups like The Newsboys are carrying the torch against nihilism with their God’s Not Dead tour in 2011-2012.  However, its going to take a radical effort, covered in prayer and led by vision, to take back the lost ground from the nuances nihilism has established.

by Jay Mankus

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