Christianity Music Sex and sexuality Sport USA

Whose Empowerment?

I realize this is almost blasphemy for some – but I’ve never really been able to get into American Football. It’s always struck me as a poorer version of rugby, complete with lots of body armour, glitz and plenty time for adverts. However I realize that for some the Superbowl is one of the most significant events of the year – even some churches rearrange their evening’s services – if they have them!   It is certainly a significant event for advertisers and the TV companies – a half time 30-second Superbowl TV advert costs over $5.5 million.

There is also the tradition of having a half time show. For many musicians this is the peak of their career. Last Sunday’s halftime show sponsored by Pepsi was headlined by Shakira and Jennifer Lopez – it was according to some a 15 minute celebration of Latino culture and female empowerment. I was intrigued by the fuss and decided to watch it. It was both a waste of 15 minutes and to be honest a degrading and demeaning experience.

Of course it was well produced, theatrical, energetic and indeed, skillful. But it also included lots of simulated sex, pole dancing and crotch grabbing. It’s fascinating to watch the double standards of those who complained about Donald Trumps’ comments on grabbing, but who celebrate this as empowering.

super-bowl-halftime-show-afp-768x511The message being sent to young girls about empowerment and how to obtain it, is a message that men who abuse girls/women will love. You have to behave in this way – and we will pay you to do it. You dance and gyrate for our entertainment – we will call it empowering and lo and behold we get what we want. It’s all about power, money and lust.   Perhaps all that needs to be said about this ’empowering’ spectacle is that this was a show that Harvey Weinstein would have loved.

Watching those who boast about their MeToo credentials jump through intellectual and moral hoops in order to justify this exploitative sleaze is pathetic and depressing. CNN in their article opine – “The Super Bowl reveals nothing about the reality of American life. It’s a glorified commercial.” But maybe that’s the point?  Maybe the reality of American life is largely a glorified commercial?   Watching much of the political, entertainment, sports, and corporate scenes one can be forgiven in thinking that is the essence of what is wrong with US society.   Perhaps even the Church gets caught up in this commercial culture – where everything has a price and nothing has value?

All of us, wherever we are in the world, have particular difficulties and burdens to bear as we seek to live for Jesus in the midst of a confused and corrupt world. I am thankful for our Christian brothers and sisters in the US who are living faithful life’s following Jesus in the midst of a Babylonian culture which condemns MeToo behaviour on the one hand, and celebrates it on the other. Lord, have mercy.

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18 comments

  1. “Maybe the reality of American life is largely a glorified commercial?”

    Today, I woke up at about 5:20 AM, went for a run and ate my breakfast (bowl of oatmeal, but that’s neither here nor there) before getting ready for work. I had meetings in the morning around 8:30 and 10:00 AM. After working for a little bit longer, I went home for lunch (I live in a medium sized, but beautiful city where my home isn’t too far from my office) and had a piece of salmon with broccoli. I’m currently taking a break during my work day to catch up on current events and read your blog post.

    I live in America, and I live a normal but very blessed life. I watched the super bowl with friends on Sunday (my wife and I brought homemade pretzel bites with spicy mustard), and we also didn’t like the half time show, but loved the sport. This is the life of millions across the US. What makes you think this is a glorified commercial? This is the problem with our media and entertainment networks that rule everyone’s screens. They haven’t the slightest clue what every day Americans are like. It’s why Donald Trump is our President and it’s why Britain left the EU.

    Americans are very normal…hard working, family loving, some (unfortunately not enough) God fearing, and we wish to be left alone by our Government. We don’t all live in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or Los Angeles (cities I’ve actually never been to). I attend a small but conservative episcopal parish (Shocking, I know. Some actually are still practicing and trying to live faithfully) that doesn’t have the guitars and light shows like many of the grand, new, hip churches (we aren’t perfect but we try). All this to say, stereotypes aren’t always true. There may be some truth to American life being a glorified commercial, but it certainly isn’t for the everyday American.

    I didn’t read the CNN article, but for the first time in quite a while I agree with one of their headlines. The Super Bowl is a glorified commercial and doesn’t represent the typical life of an everyday American. But we do love our football, just like the Europeans love their football. In fact, the Super Bowl is very similar to the Champions League final…

  2. American football is still advert driven drawn out nonsense but more worryingly is someone who conflates trumps actions to the antics of the half time show.
    Yet again you seem detached from reality and the same for others who criticised the show but had no similar comment on last years half time event.
    And to mention Harvey in this context. Your moral compass is truly skewed.
    Maybe you should make some effort to understand the issue of equality before posting or should we still think a women’s place is in the home.
    You’ll be telling me next that people who dress provocatively encourage sexual assault.
    Why do the religious seem so wary of sexuality from grown women?
    On a separate issue your posts lately have been very long and full of items I have issues with but how can you reply to a ‘Gish gallop’ if you haven’t got all day.

    1. Thanks Matt – lets go with each of your points.

      1) Why do you think it is ok to equate Trump speaking about crotch-grabbing and Shakira doing it?
      2) Why would I comment on last years event? I didn’t watch it….and I tend not to comment on things I have not seen.
      3) Harvey Weinstein specialised in the abuse of women and used his power to display women in the entertainment industry for his own pleasure. Powerful men encouraging women to do that at the Superbowl is exactly what this is about. Your justifying it suggest that the moral skewing is elsewhere.
      4) Who said a woman’s place was in the home? And what is equal about women being paid to gyrate before men? Perhaps you need to look up what equality means yourself?
      5) If people dress provocatively – as you put it – who or what are they provoking? And whY?
      6) Why do secularists think that ‘the religious’ (who are they?) are so wary of sexuality from grown women? Why do you seek to exploit women?
      7) You don’t have to read my posts and you don’t have to respond….but I hope that the ones you do read are enlightening for you!

  3. https://lifesitenews.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=3b519162c561a81f1ee4736a3&id=3f11dab483&e=4b2a00da1d

    The indoctrination of young children continues; Sesame Street is going to have an episode with a drag queen. Sign here to ask them to pull the episode.
    BBC teach, which is used in schools (primary) also have some shocking and what I would call, explicit, and frankly cringeworthy programmes.(gay/trans headteachers and youth workers answering children’s questions about sex and relationships). One episode even had a ‘g’ for guidance on it warning me (a 50 yr old mum) of sexual content, when it is a program aimed, and using 9 + yr olds! Don’t the BBC get the irony? What are they doing to our children, it’s pure sexualisation and wrong.

  4. I think this article is stating the obvious about the denigration of female standards by females which in a darkened world doesn’t seem to be obvious very much any more. There was a male TV sports reporter on Australian morning TV who stated that there was too much skin and flesh at the half time performance. It was reported ( which is the sad part) that the respectable looking female TV journalists laughed him down which is really an indictment of the pressure they feel to conform and go along with these showbiz standards (surely they do not believe this is edifying for women).
    I feel for the comments of C Saunders about the BBC warning adults of sexual content in their children’s shows!
    In this context, I would also exclaim ” Lord, have mercy”

  5. Conversely: why are people roaring indignation about women grabbing and exhibiting *their own* bodies, while celebrating a President who boasts of “grabbing” other people’s? In a culture where wives can be as readily replaced every few years with a newer model as cars, with or without their consent?
    One of the things I like about you is your recognition of the devil’s bargain US Christians appear happy to make, where they seem willing to justify any other sin at all if they can only ban abortion – something that would be much less common in a society that actually welcomed children rather than seeing every pregnancy as a private self-indulgence and a burden on everyone else.
    Lewis once said that Satan was perfectly happy to use pride to drive out other sins, because it would be trading the cure of a cold for a dose of cancer. Seems to me there is something very similar going on both in the States and here – only the “one big thing” we think is worth accepting *anything* to get differs.

    1. “…while celebrating a President who boasts of “grabbing” other people’s?”
      He doesn’t boast of that. Rather, he boasted (past tense) about it in 2005, and has since apologised. As Christians, we should forgive when people (truly) repent, rather than hold it over them. Of course I can’t say whether his apology was genuine, but I should give him the benefit of the doubt.

      Given that, what sins are those Christians you mentioned are willing to justify? Just because many Christians support Trump doesn’t mean that they justify everything he has done wrong in the past (or might even still do wrong).

      1. When David repented of “grabbing” someone else’s wife – and it’s very noticeable that even God’s own writer shows no interest at all in whether *she* minded God’s Anointed ordering her up like a takeaway pizza – we got Psalm 51 as evidence. And even then, though God admitted him personally back to grace, neither he nor his family escaped deadly political and personal consequences.

        Does Donald Trump come across to you as a man who will, or even wants to,
        “…do justice, and to love kindness,
        and to walk humbly with your God?”

      2. It seems that you are trying to find an excuse to criticise Trump. What are you expecting? That he will write another psalm to show that he’s changed? That someone should die as a result of his actions? (Keep in mind too that David didn’t just “grab” someone else’s wife—he had her husband murdered first, which nobody has suggested Trump did.)

        Are you suggesting that Trump hasn’t suffered politically from his actions?

        Regarding your final question of how Trump “comes across”, my answer would be a (qualified) “Yes”, given his support for religious freedom, the unborn, him acknowledging God, etc. But of course I don’t know him personally, so it’s hard to say for sure, but given the demonisation of him by the mainstream media, I think he’s doing rather well.

      3. “It seems that you are trying to find an excuse to criticise Trump.”

        That is called mirroring: it seems to me that you are eager to excuse anything he says or does, provided he does one or two things you badly want.

        Thankfully there is only one Judge: and those who vote will have to account there, not to me, for their choices and the reasons they make them.

        ” (Keep in mind too that David didn’t just “grab” someone else’s wife—he had her husband murdered first, which nobody has suggested Trump did.)”

        Wrong: he only had her husband murdered at the point where doing so would conceal his original misdeed. Those who know they can openly sin with impunity, and enable others to do likewise, have no need to resort to murder.

        “Are you suggesting that Trump hasn’t suffered politically from his actions?”

        Are you suggesting he isn’t President, and almost certain to win another four years of increasingly unrestricted power?

        “Regarding your final question of how Trump “comes across”, my answer would be a (qualified) “Yes”, given his support for religious freedom, the unborn, him acknowledging God, etc.”

        Do you believe he would still do so if those were not the beliefs of those whose power and support his own rests on? Or that he will lift a finger to feed those “unborn” once safely out of the womb? Or protect the “religious freedom” of anyone who isn’t at least nominally “Christian”?

        “given the demonisation of him by the mainstream media, I think he’s doing rather well.”

        “The mainstream media” pretty much “demonise” everybody sooner or later – not least those who have previously been their darlings, as our Lord Himself can tell you. And “the voice of the people” voted Him down when they got the chance.

        I am quite sure you will get the President you want: only God can tell if he will be the one you deserve. And we over here will have to dance to his tune, without even the privilege of voting either way.

        Be thankful you are free to make that choice.

      4. “…it seems to me that you are eager to excuse anything he says or does, provided he does one or two things you badly want.”
        On the contrary, I didn’t want Trump to be president—I didn’t think that he was a suitable person. But he’s earned my respect from what he’s achieved and the direction he’s going. One aspect of that is how he’s hit back against the irrational left-wing media that demonises and maligns him at every turn.

        “Wrong: he only had her husband murdered at the point where doing so would conceal his original misdeed.”
        Your’e correct. I had the order wrong. Nevertheless the point stands that he also had her husband murdered, something Trump hasn’t done.

        “Those who know they can openly sin with impunity, and enable others to do likewise, have no need to resort to murder.”
        Of course Trump is so scrutinised now that I can’t see him being able to sin with impunity. He’s already been punished even for things he hasn’t done.

        “Are you suggesting he isn’t President, and almost certain to win another four years of increasingly unrestricted power?”
        Of course not, but that doesn’t answer my question.

        “Do you believe he would still do so if those were not the beliefs of those whose power and support his own rests on?”
        I don’t know for sure, but how much is he doing those things to appease those his support rests on, and how much is he doing them because he wants to and will be able to given those who support him? There have been plenty of politicians—I’ve heard David speak of one or two—who didn’t do what they thought right because they were not prepared to stand up to the mob. For all I know that support allows him to do what he knows he should do.
        But I think that’s some of the difference between you and me. If I see Trump doing something good, I’ll support him. If you see him doing something good, it seems that you assume that it’s for the wrong reason.

        ” “The mainstream media” pretty much “demonise” everybody sooner or later – not least those who have previously been their darlings, as our Lord Himself can tell you.”
        No, they don’t. The mainstream media very much supports those on the left and demonises those on the right. Sure, there will turn on someone they previously supported if that person opposes their views, but that’s about it. The media never turned on Obama, nor even Bill Clinton, playing down and excusing his abuse of women.

        “I am quite sure you will get the President you want: only God can tell if he will be the one you deserve.”
        We don’t have presidents in Oz.

        “And we over here will have to dance to his tune, without even the privilege of voting either way.”
        That’s the fault of your first-past-the-post voting system.

      5. “One aspect of that is how he’s hit back against the irrational left-wing media that demonises and maligns him at every turn.”

        If there is one politician on Earth who can’t hide behind this excuse, it’s the one who constantly pours out a stream of bragging, insults and open threats under his own name and on his own account.

        Read it and you will see the man in his own words. When he shows you what he is, to cite a famous quote – believe it.

        “Of course Trump is so scrutinised now that I can’t see him being able to sin with impunity. He’s already been punished even for things he hasn’t done.
        “Are you suggesting he isn’t President, and almost certain to win another four years of increasingly unrestricted power?”
        Of course not, but that doesn’t answer my question.”

        How can you hold these two together? “Punishment” doesn’t usually involve becoming the most powerful man in the world, able to speak and act more absolutely than any monarch ever did.

        “But I think that’s some of the difference between you and me. If I see Trump doing something good, I’ll support him. If you see him doing something good, it seems that you assume that it’s for the wrong reason.”

        I remain unconvinced you would take the same generous attitude to another, less partisan to your taste, alternative – even if they did just one good thing you approved of.

        “The media never turned on Obama, nor even Bill Clinton, playing down and excusing his abuse of women.”
        Never heard of Fox News? And I don’t think Trump has anything to learn from Clinton (who was no favourite of mine and should rightly have lost his job for lying to the Court, whatever one thought of the underlying events) about “abuse of women”.

        “We don’t have presidents in Oz.”
        My apologies: you are the first serious Trump apologist I’ve met who isn’t one of his voters.

        “And we over here will have to dance to his tune, without even the privilege of voting either way.”
        “That’s the fault of your first-past-the-post voting system.”
        Older democracies are finding it literally impossible to change, since those with the power to do so are precisely the ones who relied on it to get to that position and remain there. Justin Trudeau scored a serious black mark with both me and my son (who can actually vote there) reneging on that promise to change.
        Later democracies – especially those with Constitutions written in the wake of war or revolution – tend to have other systems, not always imposed. It will be interesting to see what happens in Scotland if they really do go it alone.

  6. Thank you for your articles and faithfulness. I am a 58 year old American woman and I agree with your assessment of our culture, football, and the halftime show. Our culture is rapidly devolving. I also understand many varied opinions about Donald Trump. He’s not my first choice, but so far above Hilary Clinton. I don’t like his style, but I like his policy choices and that he is a voice for the unborn and the innocent. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world, and at times I have to be a pragmatist. I will continue to pray for my family, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and have faith that God will triumph in the end.

  7. “The message being sent to young girls about empowerment and how to obtain it, is a message that men who abuse girls/women will love. You have to behave in this way…You dance and gyrate for our entertainment – we will call it empowering and…we get what we want. It’s all about power, money and lust.”

    That is the truth. It has been that way since long before you (and I ) arrived on Earth. Christianity teaches that we are made in God’s image and therefore already empowered. Outside of Christianity, empowerment must be earned. It is bestowed by human beings who have power (money and position). Women who don’t know this truth must cater to the lusts of powerful humans to gain a faux empowerment.

    Gaining the approval of men is easy. All you must do is lose your self.

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