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Authors by the dozen

"Authors by the dozen" Continued...

Issue: "Summer Books 2002," July 7, 2002

William Murchison is one of America's most celebrated conservative columnists. A longtime staple of the Dallas Morning News, he writes a syndicated column, and the latest of his three books is There's More to Life Than Politics (Spence).

Q: American newspapers tend to be consistently more liberal than the rest of society, even their own readers. Why do you think this happens?
A: The quest for mindless, mushy respectability is all-consuming. Liberalism, for some damnable reason, probably abutting the "niceness" and compassion it supposedly embodies, remains our "respectable" creed.

Q: Do you think America's political culture has influenced Christians?
A: Most unbecomingly it has sucked Christians into its vortex, causing many to set more store by Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly than by St. Paul.

Q: Are you as interested in politics as you were years ago? Why or why not?
A: Less so. Concerning politics itself: Plus c'est change, plus c'est le meme chose; meaning, we don't never get saved by them fellers, do we?

Q: You say you like to cite the text, "Put not your trust in princes" (Psalm 146:3). How come?
A: Politicians, bless 'em, aren't any worse than the rest of us fallen humans. Neither are they any better. That's the problem.

Q: Why do you think Christians and conservatives often complain about the mainstream media, but less regularly work to change it?
A: If you ever figure it out, tell me, and I'll win the Pulitzer Prize for explaining one of the prime sources of conservative/Christian fecklessness in our time.

Michael Medved is one of America's top family-oriented pop-culture critics. His 1993 Hollywood vs. America invigorated the debate over values in entertainment. He remains a prominent film critic and hosts a weekday radio talk show.

Q: Now that Hollywood has had time to digest 9/11, do you think we'll see more patriotic fare in theaters?
A: We already have. What's interesting about that is that many movies that were already in the pipeline before 9/11 seem to address the changed atmosphere after the catastrophe. I'm thinking of movies like We Were Soldiers, Behind Enemy Lines, Black Hawk Down, and other nakedly pro-military movies. Those films were all virtually finished before 9/11, but I think their critical acceptance and general popularity were enhanced because they came out after the attacks.

Q: Your Saving Childhood book talks at length about how American culture drains the healthy innocence from youth. What can parents to do to better protect and support their kids?
A: Very simply: They can remove or at least limit access to television. That's the main thing. It's amazing that most American families give their kids a TV set in the bedroom. That's crazy, dysfunctional, destructive, altogether inappropriate; there's no reason any American child should have a TV in the bedroom, thereby removing any effective parental influence on what he watches.

Q: Many conservatives are so fed up with pop culture's decadence that they all but give up TV, movies, and other entertainment. Do you think this rejection is healthy?
A: I think what's healthy is substituting some of Hollywood's timeless triumphs for the trash of today. The DVD and video revolutions have made available to everyone some of the real glories of American pop culture. There's no reason at all to watch Moulin Rouge, which is decadent junk, when you can enjoy a DVD or a video of Guys and Dolls or The Sound of Music or Carousel or My Fair Lady, just to name a few musical examples.

David Wells has fired up discussion of Christianity, theology, and culture with 15 books, including No Place for Truth and God in the Wasteland. He is the Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Q: Since No Place for Truth came out, have you seen evangelicals restoring their core beliefs, moral vision, and worldview? Why or why not?
A: There are pockets of hope but the larger picture is not encouraging. A recent study by George Barna on boomers illustrates the main problem. In recent years, boomers have been opposed to organized religion but now make up half of the born-again population. What happened? They are consumers, Barna says, and we offered them a deal they could not turn down. For a one-time admission of weakness and failure they got eternal peace with God. That was the deal. They took it and went on with their lives as before. The result is that there is no significant difference between the way born-againers live at an ethical level as compared with those who are nonreligious.

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