WHY I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

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Why I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

By Mario Murillo

“Here in Britain, it is more likely that people would deny they went to church even if they actually did, on the grounds of embarrassment. To say you’re religious in Britain is to risk excluding yourself.  When Tony Blair was Prime Minister, and a rare question arose about his religious views, his press secretary said firmly, “we don’t do God,” and refused to answer.”

This is an excerpt from the preface of Unapologetic, the ground breaking volume by Francis Spufford.

This paints a bleak picture of soul winning in England.  It also explains why Islam has made so many inroads in London.  Moslems are not ashamed to speak out, nor are they embarrassed by their faith.

This blog is not a rant against Islam, nor is it a call for Christians to seize the White House. It is a call to take a hard, honest, deep look at what is a snapshot of our immediate future.

Soul winning is now a hate crime in England and the trend is growing here.  There is a rising tide that calls for Christians to “keep it yourself.”  This argument is being put forth by a strange Confederation of voices.  Atheists want us to hold our peace because we are irrational and a threat to human progress.  Secular progressives condemn us as hating the poor, the homosexual and women.  Many modern pastors, including the Pope have asked Christians, “to tone it down.”

There are millions of innocent bystanders who hear the message of Jesus maligned every day.  They are caught in the middle between those who, out of hatred, tell lies about the gospel, and those that present an incomplete gospel out of embarrassment.Berkeley Campanille

The answer is not to tone down the Gospel, it is just the opposite: It is time to turn up the true Gospel. By being exposed to the real message of Jesus presented through Spirit-driven vessels, those millions who are stuck in the middle will experience history’s most pleasant surprise.

Everyone that knows me well knows this very singular fact about me: I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  But why am I not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

To answer that, you must see the different path this ministry has taken than most evangelists that you have ever heard of.  It seems that Christ went out of his way to plunge us in the deep end from the very beginning.

While others have been called to areas of America that are sympathetic to Christian values, we have always been cast into locations that are hostile, atheistic, immoral and highly intellectual.

While still in high school I preached in the Haight-Ashbury; ground zero for the love and peace movement in San Francisco.  The ministry went from the frying pan into the fire by moving to Berkeley California during the antiwar demonstrations. We were planted there for the next ten years.

For a great part of the early ministry I rarely stood before an audience that actually wanted to hear what I had to say.  You could say that God sent the worst equipped person to convert the best armed opponent.

We do need not to present any further evidence than this to show you the power of the gospel: If there was a flaw in the message, any fantasy whatsoever, the crucible of Berkeley would have blown it to smithereens.

Our first building copy

Instead, at each point of challenge something from out of this world would step in and move the ministry forward.  The least likely would be converted. A greater proof still is the fact that we had not a clue about what we were doing and yet our numbers kept growing.

We were one of those rare ministries in history where the new converts could explain what God was doing better than we could.

Paul said he was not ashamed because it was the power of God.  That is exactly what it was for me…the power of God doing the impossible.

When the words should not have been there they were.

When the money could not have been there it was.

When the method had no business being effective it was.

But finally and foremost, the Gospel proof was the power it put in people.  They who hated it were transformed; they who had no power to stave off addictions were resurrected.  In short, all who tasted the power of the Gospel had an engine installed that became an impetus to loving and positive choices.  That is why I am not ashamed nor will ever be ashamed of the most awesome message mankind has ever heard!

Piers Morgan and CNN Plan End to His Prime-Time Show

Piers Morgan and CNN Plan End to His Prime-Time Show

FEB. 23, 2014

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Piers Morgan, shown in 2011, is British and struggled to connect with American viewers. The ratings for his live program suffered. Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

There have been times when the CNN host Piers Morgan didn’t seem to like America very much — and American audiences have been more than willing to return the favor. Three years aftertaking over for Larry King, Mr. Morgan has seen the ratings for “Piers Morgan Live” hit some new lows, drawing a fraction of viewers compared with competitors at Fox News and MSNBC.

It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate — the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt — and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial. After all, the people who tune into a cable news network are, by their nature, deeply interested in America.

CNN’s president, Jeffrey Zucker, has other problems, but none bigger than Mr. Morgan and his plum 9 p.m. time slot. Mr. Morgan said last week that he and Mr. Zucker had been talking about the show’s failure to connect and had decided to pull the plug, probably in March.

Crossing an ocean for a replacement for Larry King, who had ratings problems of his own near the end, was probably not a great idea to begin with. For a cable news station like CNN, major stories are like oxygen. When something important or scary happens in America, many of us have an immediate reflex to turn on CNN. When I find Mr. Morgan telling me what it all means, I have a similar reflex to dismiss what he is saying. It is difficult for him to speak credibly on significant American events because, after all, he just got here.

I received a return call from Mr. Morgan and was prepared for an endless argument over my assumptions. Not so. His show, he conceded, was not performing as he had hoped and was nearing its end.

“It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” he said, adding that although there had been times when the show connected in terms of audience, slow news days were problematic.

“Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it,” he said. “That’s run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”

Mr. Morgan said that his show, along with much of the rest of CNN, had been imprisoned by the news cycle and that he was interested in doing fewer appearances to greater effect — big, major interviews that would be events in themselves. Although a change has long been rumored, it was the first time that both he, and the CNN executives I talked to, acknowledged that his nightly show was on the way out. Plans for a replacement at the 9 o’clock hour are still underway, but Mr. Morgan and the network are in talks about him remaining at CNN in a different role.

Mr. Zucker, the former chief of NBC, inherited Mr. Morgan from Jonathan Klein, his predecessor, but it is now his problem to fix. In the year he has been there, CNN has introduced promising shows around the edges and will be unveiling documentaries along the lines of the very successful “Blackfish” to run on Thursday in the 10 p.m. hour.

But the chronic troubles of prime-time remain. Sometime before the network “upfront” events in April, when advertisers buy commercial time for the fall season, Mr. Zucker needs to signal how he will fix CNN’s prime-time problem, and that begins with Mr. Morgan, whose contract ends in September.

Mr. Morgan has some significant skills that do translate across platforms and cultures. While working as a newspaper editor and television personality in Britain, he was involved in a number of controversies, but he developed a reputation as a talented, probing interviewer. In his current role, he has shown an ability not only to book big guests — former President Bill Clinton, Warren Buffett, the real Wolf of Wall Street among them — but also to dig in once they are on set.

“I think I can credibly do news and the ratings reflect that, but it is not really the show that I set out to do,” he told me. “There are all kinds of people who can do news here. I’d like to do work — interviews with big celebrities and powerful people — that is better suited to what I do well and fit with what Jeff is trying to do with the network.”

Old hands in the television news business suggest that there are two things a presenter cannot have: an accent or a beard. Mr. Morgan is clean shaven and handsome enough, but there are tells in his speech — the way he says the president’s name for one thing (Ob-AA-ma) — that suggest that he is not from around here.

There are other tells as well. On Friday morning, criticizing the decision to dismiss a cricket player, he tweeted, “I’m sure @StuartBroad8 is right and KP’s sacking will ‘improve performance’ of the England team. Look forward to seeing this at T20 WC.” Mr. Morgan might want to lay off the steady cricket references if he is worried about his credibility with American audiences. (His endless trolling of his critics on Twitter did not exactly help, either.)

People might point to Simon Cowell as a man with an accent and a penchant for slashing discourse that Americans loved, but Mr. Cowell is dealing with less-than-spontaneous musical performances, not signal events in the American news narrative. There was, of course, the counterexample ofDavid Frost, who did important work in news, but Mr. Frost did popular special reports and was not a chronic presence in American living rooms.

Mr. Morgan, who was chosen in spite of that fact that he had never done a live show, had the misfortune of sliding into the loafers of Mr. King, who, for all his limitations, was a decent and reliable stand-in for the average Joe.

In a sense, Mr. Morgan is a prisoner of two islands: Britain and Manhattan. While I may share his feelings about the need for additional strictures on guns, having grown up in the Midwest, I know that many people come by their guns honestly and hold onto them dearly for sincere reasons.

Mr. Morgan’s approach to gun regulation was more akin to King George III, peering down his nose at the unruly colonies and wondering how to bring the savages to heel. He might have wanted to recall that part of the reason the right to bear arms is codified in the Constitution is that Britain was trying to disarm the citizenry at the time.

He regrets none of it, but clearly understands his scolding of “stupid” opponents of gun laws was not everyone’s cup of tea.

“I’m in danger of being the guy down at the end of the bar who is always going on about the same thing,” he said. He added that he was sure there were plenty of people in the heartland angry “about this British guy telling them how to lead their lives and what they should do with their guns.”

In the current media age, no one is expected to be a eunuch, without values or beliefs, but Mr. Morgan’s lecturing on the evils of guns have clanked hard against the CNN brand, which, for good or ill, is built on the middle way.

We don’t look for moral leadership from CNN, or from a British host on a rampage. Guns, along with many other great and horrible things, are knit into the fabric of this country. There are folkways peculiar to America that Mr. Morgan is just learning, including the fact that if you want to stick out, you first have to work on fitting in.