Mike Cope's blog

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Parents Television Council just released their list of the top 10 worse prime time shows for family viewing. Fox dominated the list with six, including the top four. The best programs for family viewing, according to the group, came from ABC and NBC. - - - - "Mental health is commitment to reality at all costs." M. Scott Peck - - - - I spoke in chapel Wednesday on behalf of a new student group at ACU called Awake 3:18. They've taken their name from 1 John 3:18: "Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." They are focusing on the 12 million AIDS orphans in Africa. Specifically, they have targeted one village in Kenya, where they know a woman who is trying to care for all the orphans there. I am meeting more and more students who have no interest in the version of Christianity that is obsessed with fine-tuning obscure doctrinal matters or nailing the perfect worship service. Instead, they are opening their hearts to the mission of Christ in this world. - - - - The full Bible is now out for Today's New International Version (TNIV). I've been waiting for it, and it's what I intend to use. - - - - Today Highland is sending a whole army of middle school students to The Promise. It's a great trip (in a camp-full-of-middle-school-kids-and-tents sort of way!), but we're having to force ourselves not to obsess on the travel part. I hope those fears don't haunt us forever.


  • Maybe the Awake 3:18 vision is the dose of reality we need for the church!

    By Blogger Paul, at 10/21/2005 03:56:00 AM  

  • Hey, Mike -- can you elaborate on what you like about TNIV? I haven't given it a look yet. Would love to know your thoughts.

    Wow -- FOX network has 6 of the 10 worst shows for family viewing? Who knew?!? :-)

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 10/21/2005 04:07:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Thank you for the info on Kenya. Now I know why my daughter, Melissa, called to tell me she was going to Kenya this summer.

    This generation may be influenced by the 21st church becoming less "transactional" and more "transformational."

    By Blogger David Michael, at 10/21/2005 05:00:00 AM  

  • Wow. I'm so humbled by Awake 3:18's mission. I long for a lot of us to become "awake" and stop focusing on all these petty doctrinal issues. (including me)

    By Blogger erinlo, at 10/21/2005 05:45:00 AM  

  • Awake 3:18 is truly awesome.
    My daughter has been on 2 Spring Break mission trips and is organizing another for Grenada this year.

    I truly am thankful my daughter is not bogged down like I was with the externals, instead focusing on the issues of her heart. She is an example to me.

    By Blogger Hoots Musings, at 10/21/2005 06:13:00 AM  

  • We're haunted at our house too, but like Geof said, "We just have to trust." I know we're not supposed to live in fear. How do you teach that to a 13 year old who is refusing to go if he's riding in someone's personal van? But then I read about Awake 3:18 and I see that those students really do get it. No fear - just love. Surely that applies to the Promise Trip too. My prayers are with Sarah today in a big way as she leads these kids on a journey to The Promise.

    By Blogger Candy, at 10/21/2005 06:22:00 AM  

  • Oh, come on! Give me a break!

    How seriously can you take an organization that ranks "American Idol" as its #3 show?!?

    Or elevating a show that is basically a glorified Sears commercial? How damaging is the message being sent that material goods and flat-screen tvs can replace loved ones or bring happiness? [Okay, that's a little harsh, because they do pay off mortgages and stuff, but still, we can't just uncritically absorb those messages.]

    And they obviously don't have a Church of Christ-er on there, or a show about dancing would never have made it onto the list!

    And then they have shows featuring a woman who talks to dead people (didn't Saul get in trouble for that?) and a show glorifying gun violence. Who can honestly say that when they think about Reba McEntire they don't automatically picture her with a shotgun trying to kill those worm monsters in "Tremors?"

    Plus, I just don't trust an organization that makes a Top 10 list with only 9 items.

    By Blogger Greg Kendall-Ball, at 10/21/2005 06:45:00 AM  

  • I have a problem with anyone telling me what is okay for my kids to watch. I make that decision.

    Maybe we need to stop blaming programers for putting the smut on TV and start expecting parents to put limits on what is watched. This is one of the reasons we choose not to have cable in our house. Yes we get TV by rabbit ears. It does still work.

    My thoughts on Extreme Home Makeover: I enjoy the show, but it bothers me the number of times I hear the father's talk about how the show had given them things they never could have done and if it doesn't set up unrealistic expectations for the future for the kids. I also wonder about what would happen if a church ministered in this way, what would the feedback be? Could this be done in a way that is less glitzy yet still reach out to those in need?

    By Blogger Steve Duer, at 10/21/2005 07:48:00 AM  

  • I'm always skeptical about lists like these because I'm always afraid that they are going to promote watered down entertainment with little focus on creativity and more focus on appealing to a wide audience. Translated, "blank television."

    But this list, if taken in the right way, is very useful. They have great shows like "The Bernie Mac Show," and "Everybody Hates Chris" on that list and other shows that can be enjoyed by kids and adults. While I don't agree with titling the other list "the Worst" Those shows are NOT for kids. (Although I've never seen two and a half men, I was surprised that it was on there.)And I've never heard of Family Guy being touted as a family show, as the PTC suggests. Rather it is satirizing "family value" type shows and the stupid cliches of typical, traditional TV, which is why I like it.

    I just hope that the goal of the PTC is to be a resource for parents, not an advocate of doing away with shows that are for adults.

    By Blogger Kyle, at 10/21/2005 07:49:00 AM  

  • I've been using the TNIV for a couple of months, and LOVE it! I first discovered it while reading "How to read the Bible for all its worth", and they highly recommended it there. It's probably the "smoothest" literal translation I've ever read.

    You won't notice a great deal of difference between the NIV and TNIV, but there are some key differences in gender (which I'm sure you've probably read about.)

    The TNIV attempts to be "gender-accurate" (Ex: http://www.tniv.info/bible/sample_resultsingle.php?rowid=47)

    Like anything, some people don't like that, but I find that the change does NOT take away from the text in the least.

    Here's the Translation Commitee's explaination for going that route:


    By Blogger Brian, at 10/21/2005 08:36:00 AM  

  • Matt - TNIV is a much-needed updating of the NIV that was first put in my hands in the 70s. What has received a lot of press is their movement toward gender inclusive language in references to humans -- a movement which more accurately translates the original.

    By Blogger Mike, at 10/21/2005 08:37:00 AM  

  • I don't think The Parents Television Council is *telling* anyone what to watch. They are just giving information and warnings.

    I can't understand why someone who is interested in honoring God and living a life of holiness would want to watch shows like "The Family Guy." I've watched it, and it made me laugh, but it was vulgar, obscene in places, and dishonoring to God. It is my opinion that such shows only contribute negatively to our culture -- making it increasingly vulgar, offensive and rude.

    On another note -- I love the TNIV. I'm using it more and more. I hope to make it my everyday Bible soon.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 10/21/2005 09:01:00 AM  

  • Check out Joe's Wednesday blog at brooklynchurchplant.blogspot.com. Hurrah, Ira!!

    By Blogger Mike, at 10/21/2005 09:11:00 AM  

  • download a free, searchable version of TNIV here.

    I've found it very, very helpful.

    By Blogger Steve Jr., at 10/21/2005 09:11:00 AM  

  • Thanks, Mike, Brian and little Steve! :-) I look forward to checking it out.

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 10/21/2005 09:55:00 AM  

  • I guess if you're like the Boones and only watch baseball in the evenings, prime time ratings really don't matter. It's amazing that my desire to watch TV at all is virtually nonexistent. I'd rather hang out with my kids who have been at school all day! As for the TNIV... I have it, I was just wondering if anyone knows if there is a TNIV Study Bible available or in the works.

    By Blogger Amy Boone, at 10/21/2005 11:27:00 AM  

  • Ditto the positive comments for the TNIV. Been using the TNIV NT ever since it came out and got the whole bible TNIV earlier this year. (I was surprised to see you say that it's "now out" Mike. Admittedly I bought my copy in the UK, but I was sure I'd seen it here in the states a couple of months ago.)

    By Blogger reJoyce, at 10/21/2005 12:37:00 PM  

  • One bit of news that went almost un-noticed by the MSM last week was the announcement by Apple that television programming would be available for online purchase for their new video iPod. This is revolutionary in that for the first time, consumers can completely circumvent the cable/broadcast model of receiving content and get exactly what entertainment they want, when they want it. Remember the days of "appointment TV"? The local affiliates, cable companies, and advertisers are very afraid of where this new model will lead. If you can simply buy Desperate Housewives, why would you want to watch it on broadcast television? Also, if you subscribe to cable television, why would you want to buy a package of channels that they sell which includes programming that you will never watch. You can conceivably just buy the content you want commercial free.

    I'm not saying that the broadcast model is dead, just that it's days may be numbered.

    The question then is, if all content (or at least most) is purchased, then wouldn't that free up the production companies to put in whatever content that they wanted? Sure they would have to rate it much like a movie, but couldn't a production company make R rated material that the public could simply purchase? We are already seeing this with Satellite radio and HBO programs like The Sopranos.

    With the demise of broadcast television, what can groups like the AFA say about content that is privately purchased? I don't think the AFA or any other group will have a strong a voice against such material. After all it won't be free, you'll have to purchase it in order to see it. Up until now, the broadcast model has served as a leash on the mores of television producers. As that leash is diminished, I'm afraid that the moral content of entertainment will continue to erode at a faster and faster pace and shows try to out shock each other with racier and racier content. I hope I'm wrong about this.

    By Blogger Joel Maners, at 10/21/2005 02:15:00 PM  

  • I have been using the TNIV for quite a while, 1st in the NT pdf and then in the entire Bible pdf almost as soon as it became available. I was fortunate to be able to obtain a free printed copy paperback a few months back which I now carry instead of my NIV.

    While I think it still has some of the same translation problems that plague the NIV and most other translations regarding gender, the translators have really taken some big steps toward accuracy with the improved gender inclusive language.

    It is head and shoulders above the rest in readablilty, ease of understanding, and in use of the common modern English.

    Wiley Clarkson
    Walnut Springs, TX

    personal web site: http://www.clarksons.org

    For information on Gender Equality and churches of Christ:

    By Blogger Wiley, at 10/21/2005 08:43:00 PM  

  • I wish I'd known you were speaking in chapel...I was in Spanish chapel last Wednesday, although if I'd caught one of my friends at the right time, I would have been one of those wearing the orange shirts...But anyway, I really posted a comment to tell you that I'm praying for Chris and the safety of all the middle schoolers on the trip this weekend. I'm also praying for you and Diane. May God fill you with his peace and comfort as you trust him in this big way. I love you!

    By Blogger Heather A, at 10/21/2005 08:45:00 PM  

  • Translation beauty is definitely in the eyes of the beholder. The New Living Bible is every bit as readable and true to modern English and gender issues as the TNIV. But personal translation philosophy and other factors direct us to buy or tout what is attractive to us. TNIV is a good choice among several good choices that present the message that draws people to God.

    By Blogger WDS, at 10/21/2005 10:18:00 PM  

  • I agree with WDS re NLT. I've enjoyed this translation for several years now and is the one I usually read at church and small group bible studies. But like all translations, it too contains its own problems and shortcomings. At home for personal study, I usually refer to several translations of the same text to assist my understanding.

    As to the TNIV, I've not given it an indepth look as yet, either. Thanks to the one that posted the url. At first glance, the gender neutrality seems okay in general. However, I'm not sure that it doesn't change some of the basic theological beliefs in some of the passages, but that might be just my reception and perception.

    For the time being, I'll stick with my loved NLT. :)

    By Blogger Kathy, at 10/22/2005 07:12:00 AM  

  • Any "The Message" or Eugene Peterson fans out there?

    :) --Melanie, slightly prejudiced employee of NavPress

    By Blogger Melanie Knox, at 10/22/2005 11:18:00 PM  

  • Mike –
    It was great to read about Awake 3:18. I hope you will keep us posted on their progress. I think you hit the nail on the head with your description of what their goal is – to be a group “who have no interest in the version of Christianity that is obsessed with fine-tuning obscure doctrinal matters or nailing the perfect worship service. Instead, they are opening their hearts to the mission of Christ in this world.”

    That should be the focus of all of us and I think that the use of the word “Awake” in their name is a good little reminder to those of us who sometimes get bogged down with the doctrinal minutae rather than opening our eyes to see what really matters to the Lord; the seniment that is perfectly captured not only John 3:18 but also in Galatains 5:6b, “The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love.” Funny -- I don’t hear any mention of theological debate in either of those passages. I think these kids may be onto something…

    My prayers will be with this group, their work, and others like them. Thank you for bringing them to our attenion.

    By Blogger Tiffany, at 10/23/2005 10:31:00 AM  

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