By now I’m sure you’ve heard that Pope Benedict has announced his resignation.  What you may not have heard is that shortly after his announcement, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome was struck twice by lighting!  Check it out:

I can’t quite decide what to make of all the speculation this has generated.  On the one hand, I think its a little sad:  the quite conservative leader of the Roman Catholic Church resigns (something that hasn’t happened since 1415) and all many people can say is “Whoa!  Lightning hit that big church!  God must be ticked!  Ha ha ha!”  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised:  jokes and mockery have replaced intelligent discourse in the world to a frightening degree.

On the other hand, I’m intrigued by how many people who have posted this video or commented on it seem to be genuinely wondering if God actually did strike the Basilica with lightning in order to display His displeasure.  That surprises me.  I mean, sure, back up a couple of hundred years and almost everyone would have assumed that this kind of thing would have signified an act of God, but the naturalistic worldview that supposedly predominates today chalks it up to the Basilica being the tallest building in Rome.  Yet even in this modern, skeptical climate there seems to be a profound desire to find meaning and significance behind things that we’re told should be written off as random natural processes.

I’m not saying God’s actually angry at the Pope for resigning.  I’m just saying it’s very interesting how many people would love that to be true…not necessarily because they’re mad at the Pope or even the Catholic Church (though I’m sure that’s true for some) but because they want God to care enough about our little corner of the cosmos to be happy or angry about what happens here.

It gets lonely out here, hurtling through the chilly dark huddled desperately around an unremarkable star.  We long to know that we’re not alone and we’ll take such assurance wherever we can find it.

Too bad we don’t look for such assurance where it can really be found:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,

that whoever believes in him shall not perish

but might have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world

but to save the world through him.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned..

John 3:16-18



If you haven’t seen this ad yet, you need to take a couple of minutes right now and watch it:

I can’t believe how much press this commercial has gotten, but I’m thrilled that something like this has overshadowed the shallow garbage that companies like tried to shove down America’s throat.

What really interests me, however, is why this “God Made A Farmer” was so popular (although not everyone thought it was so great).  I think there were several factors.

1.  It had genuine substance.  It talked about something that matters, even though it’s a thing that most of us don’t have a lot of exposure to.

2.  It appealed to that part in all of us that longs to know that we are leaving a legacy that matters.

3.  On the technical side of things, it had visuals that were viscerally engaging, but didn’t distract from the voice-over. That’s a welcome relief from the rapid-fire image bombardment that most commercials subject us to.

4.  It talked about God!  Regardless of the liberal and atheistic agendas in theis country, the average citizen of the United States believes in God (the latest statistics suggest that only .7% of Americans identify themselves as atheists).  It was nice to see a commercial that acknowledges this oft-ignored backbone of our culture!

That’s what I think.  Why do you think it was so popular?

Oh, and check out the full text of the Paul Harvey speech featured in the spot here.