Celebrity

I have felt convicted as of late. It should come to no surprise to any of us that we find ourselves in the middle of a celebrity age. We know far too much about those who pride themselves on being far too rich, far too famous, and far too good looking. If that was not enough, we now have people in our society who are outrageously famous for doing absolutely nothing. The Hollywood culture has somehow and someway figured out a way to celebrate herself while those of us in trapped in the cheap seats cannot seem to get enough of it all. They have far too many award shows to count – several hours dedicated to parading about the stage while they revel in the in how good they are at what they do. They (or their agents) have Twitter accounts just so that they can let us know how interesting their lives are in 140 characters or less. Some even stage relationships, parties, and crisis just to ensure that they get enough publicity just at the right time.

This is really nothing new. There have always been the haves and the have-nots. Their has always been the upper and lower classes. What might indeed not be as ageless is the fact that this celebrity-infatuation has now successfully infected the culture of the Western church. It used to be, at least how I recall it as a child, that Christians used to uphold those actors, musicians, and other public figures who claimed to profess faith in Christ. They used to look at the stars and say, “If only we could have their talents for the Kingdom. Then so many people would finally come to know Jesus.” As if Jesus needs a basketball star to display his love for the sinner. As if he needs a pop star to sing and dance before packed out arenas just so that crowds finally understand Calvary. So many of those athletes, actors, and politicians ended up sharing their testimony, writing their bestseller (or at least hired the ghost writer), and made the charity appearance at that Christian conference only to fall into public disgrace one summer later. Maybe they were not ready for the lights after all? We ended up putting our stock in the celebrity and we were left disenchanted.

Rightfully so, it seemed that the church learned to watch herself. To not look to celebrities for salvation. Sort of. We have since gone another route. A road that I fear might be just as treacherous . . . in time. We have stopped looking to the world for the star. We now create our own. Enter the Icon. Now we exalt our own Christian pastors, teachers, authors, theologians, evangelists, and worship leaders. We even go as far as to create our own factions. We take sides. As if one individual has the monopoly on truth and the other is an outright heretic. We can’t wait to podcast. To retweet. To follow the blog. To watch how our icon will make news. To buy the next bestseller. To attend the next big conference near you. Then there are those that we love to hate. We envy their success. We suspect there is something they are doing that is contrary to the gospel. How else could they be so appealing? Why would our people be going there instead of here? We secretly wait for them to fail. Just so that we can step back and say, “I told you so.”

Don’t get me wrong . . . I don’t blame those who have the platform. I read the books. I listen to the sermons. I am interested in the very latest in Christian thought – both biblically and practically. I want to learn. I want to listen. But like others, I fear that information has become my addiction. I have to step back long enough to admit that there are tendencies in me that wish that I could have their image rather than be created in God’s. There are times I want what they have rather than what God has for me specifically. Influence is not the enemy. Many of these men and women have a voice within cultures that I will never have. They are being interviewed or invited to places where the gospel should and must go. The Spirit of Christ within me needs to rejoice in that fact.

The problem comes when I want what they have just to have it all to myself. The book deals. The congregations. The name recognition. The organization. In fact, the real concern comes when I want what they have without having any real understanding of what it took for them to get there in the first place. The prayer. The training. The relationships. The risks. The time. The patience. The ridicule. The criticism. The doubt. The sacrifice. I see none of that.

Maybe that is the road that I must walk . . . not searching after celebrity . . . but of suffering. One biblical author writes, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:6-11, ESV).

The Kingdom of God has never been about celebrity. Never. Christendom has. The Western church absolutely has. The Kingdom has not. The Kingdom will not. There is only one Center. There is only one Savior. May I learn the lessons of John Baptist. His entire existence was one huge fulfilment of prophecy. His whole life was dedicated to closing out the Old so that everyone could see the New. He prepared. He introduced. He was the one who set the stage for the keynote speaker. The guy who never gets on the poster. John the Baptist wrote the preface. Jesus wrote the book. But there were moments, at least in the beginning, when people wanted John the Baptist to be the Messiah. They asked him. The crowds grew. They chanted his name.

How would I have responded to all of that? If I am told that I am important enough times I begin to believe it. If I hear my name chanted loud enough I might very well come to enjoy it. The more I speak the greater temptation to fall in love with my own voice. That does not mean that I stop speaking. It means that I must continue to become more intentional in redirecting people’s attention to who the real Anointed One is. May I never mistake influence with importance. Fame has nothing on being a follower.

Celebrity

Celebrate

One of my favorite authors and communicators, Jeff Lucas, challenged me greatly in his book titled, “Creating a Prodigal-Friendly Church.” In that work, he wrote, “In our desperation to recruit people for ministry within the church, we must beware lest we devalue what most people do for the kingdom of God outside of the church” (Lucas, 52). He went on to quote Mark Green who suggests, “We can tell what’s important to a church by the heroes that it celebrates and the stories it tells . . . Why are you a hero if you teach a Sunday school, but not if you teach 150 Muslim, Hindu, or secular kids in an inner city school Monday through Friday?” (52-53).

Lucas went on to tell of a British church that hosted a “fair featur[ing], among other things, realtors, policemen and women, a physiotherapist, and school teachers. All were available to talk about what they did with most of their lives. At the end of the evening there was a time of prayer for them all. The next quarter, the focus was on what people did with their leisure time. Elected officers of school PTAs, members of soccer teams, Girl Guides and Boy Scout leaders all shared what they did” (53).

Don’t get me wrong, I love “ministry fairs” (Sundays designated to mobilize people into ministry where they have the opportunity to use their gifts and talents). I have personally been a part of directing such events at both churches that I have pastored. And yet, is that really the mission? Could we not take those events to a whole new level? Why can’t we have the courage to just call Christ followers to three simple actions and three simple actions only? Gather together with other Christians on a weekly basis in worship. Meet in a small group regularly for committed community. Serve somewhere in your local community on behalf of Jesus.

I can’t get away from the fact that most of Jesus’ teachings and miracles happened out in the real world. Yes, he was devoted to the synagogue and valued the temple. But most of his “ministry” was out with the folks. Can we say the same for our modern day churches? Or do we still expect them to come to us? We still attempt to attract rather than to impact.

The bible describes much of what Paul did when it reads, “Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, ‘What does this babbler wish to say?’ Others said, ‘He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities–because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.’ And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, ‘May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.’ Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new” (Acts 17:16-21, ESV).

One of the best examples of this missional mindset would have to be when I visited Rock Harbor in Costa Mesa, CA. Every month they highlighted a ministry opportunity that was already available in their community. They themselves did not create it. Some of the organizations were not even Christ-centered or faith-based at all. They were places where a person could serve and love others on behalf of Christ. The church just make the congregation aware of such opportunities and then said “Go!” Let’s allow God do to the rest as we trust and obey him. It could be Big Brothers, Salvation Army, prison ministries, Little League baseball, food banks, pregnancy resource clinics, etc. The possibilities are really endless. Some are long-term and others are short-term. Regardless – go.

What if we went out of our way to celebrate those types of people? Those who worked on behalf of Christ right in the context of their vocation? Those who served on behalf of Christ with their leisure? Meet a need in your world right now.

Celebrate

Monster

What is the most memorable scene from Shrek Forever After?
Tonight was our youth ministry’s conclusion to the summer series that we titled “Merge at the Movies.” Toy Story 3 taught us that we were created for relationship, A-Team reminded us that God has a plan for our lives, Iron Man 2 was used to show us that our hearts are meant to be letters written by the Holy Spirit, Karate Kid teaches the lesson that our focus needs more focus, and Robin Hood shows us that the church has the opportunity to create a Greenwood-type place of Grace.

The final movie we decided to learn from was Shrek Forever After. This blockbuster told the story of an ogre who was bored with being domesticated – being stuck in the rut and routine of having a wife and children – and thus chooses to make a pact with the evil Rumpelstiltskin. All he wanted was to feel like a real ogre again. Just for one day. The result is that he awakes to find his beloved Far Far Away a twisted mess. Rumpelstiltskin is now the ruler and has dedicated his troops to hunting ogres. To make matters worse, Shrek discovers that in this new universe, he and Fiona (his wife) have never met. One decision and he ends up losing everything. So the movie revolves around Shrek setting out to restore his world and reclaim his true love.

What aspect of faith can we draw from the film? Why is this important?
One of the most heart-wrenching parts of this film was when Shrek discovers that he had lost his wife all for a day of senseless pleasure. He does everything he can in his own power to win her back. He screams, “I know everything about you – that you sing so beautifully that birds explode. That when you sign your name – you put a heart over the i. That when you see a shooting star, you cross your fingers on both hands and squinch up your nose and make a wish. I know you that don’t like the covers wrapped around your feet and that you sleep by candlelight because every time you close your eyes you are afraid you’re going to wake up back in that tower. And I know that the reason that you don’t turn human every day is because you’ve never been kissed . . . by me.” He loved her. But he had lost her. And he did not know what he was going to do to get her back.

The deal of Shrek could very well be compared to the downfall of Samson. This true story took place over three thousand years ago during a period of time when the Israelites were being used and abused by the Philistines. Samson’s life began with a miraculous birth (his mother was barren for several years) and continued with a Nazarite vow. He agreed to touch no, corposes, drink no alchohol, and recieve no haircuts. We sense very quickly that long hair was his strength and women were his weakness.

The bible reads, “After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, ‘Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.’ So Delilah said to Samson, ‘Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.’ Samson said to her, ‘If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.’ Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.

Then Delilah said to Samson, ‘Behold, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound.’ And he said to her, ‘If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.’ So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson! And the men lying in ambush were in an inner chamber.’ But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread. Then Delilah said to Samson, ‘Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.’ And he said to her, ‘If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.’ So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web. And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web.

And she said to him, ‘How can you say, I love you, when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.’ And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. And he told her all his heart, and said to her, ‘A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.’ When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, ‘Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.’ Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ And he awoke from his sleep and said, ‘I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the Lord had left him” (Judges 16:4-20, ESV).

This has to be one of the most tragic verses in all of Scripture: “He awoke from his sleep & thought, ‘I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the Lord had left him” (Judges 16:20, NIV).
He had fallen in love with the wrong type of woman time and time again. He was fascinated with foreign blood with all their pagan idols and loose lifestyles. Delilah was no good and she was set on discovering his secret on behalf of the Philistine leadership. And why wouldn’t she? They had promised her a fortune – over 140 pounds in silver a piece. Samson had embarrassed them for far too long. They wanted to put his muscle to good use – as their slave and sideshow.

So his own wife betrayed him. She searched vigourosly for the answer to the riddle – what would make Samson weak? She tried anything and everything. She started out by tying him up with seven animal intestines while he was sleeping. But he just snapped those intestines like they were twigs. She was outraged. How could you make me look like a fool? Lying to me like that! As if being roped together by intestine is dignified? Then she attempted to tie him up with new rope – which he broke free from just as easy. Now she was irritated, “Tell me!” So she would not quit. She then bound him up in French Braids while he was sleeping – but of course, he pulled his hair loose with little to no effort.

That was the last straw. Now she was going to pull the “love” card. As if all this betrayal was a sign of her affection. Why are you keeping secrets from me? Don’t you love me? She nagged him for the answer day in and day out. And Samson did what he always did. Just like when he saw honey in a lion carcass or a prostitute on the street corner. Anything to make himself happy. Anything to feel better. He gave in. And it would cost him . . . his freedom. His future. His life. Even the nation of Israel would suffer the consequences of seeing one of their judges riduculed and exiled. He told her everything – no razor had ever been used on his head. Simply shaving his head would cause him to lose all of strength. Samson would become no stronger than the average man. So he awoke from his drunken stupor (how else would you not notice that your head was being shaved?) and failed to notice that the Lord had left him. He was left blinded and bound. Tragic.

How have you been “curious” about sin? Taking that grace for granted?
Shrek was curious. So curious in fact that he was willing to give his family up for a day so he could be a real ogre again. So he could really live. Whatever that means. Likewise, Samson forgot that he was chosen and as a result he failed to respond with a grateful and humble heart. He broke his vow time and time again – touching dead animals, drinking alchohol, and cutting his hair – not to mention his sexual sin and legal dealings. For Samson it was always about getting as close to sin as he possibly could. Is that how it is with us? We fail to appreciate the cost of our salvation and what it really means to be a disciple. We ask how far we can go without suffering consequences instead of asking how we can draw closer to the God that we claim to love.

How can we regain the life that we lost? Make things right again?
We can be confident of this: God wants you to return to him even more than you do. It is time to repent – to turn away from our sin and towards our Savior. We must make every effort to take drastic measures and be about the tough decisions so that we trust and obey.

The Philistines had Samson. They threw a huge party so that they might celebrate his capture and flaunt the end of a hero. They just could not help themselves. They called for Samson to come to the party so that the drunks could entertain themselves by mocking him. Even in his blindness, he could tell that he was near the center of the building. He somehow and someway found the two main columns. He cried out for help. He recognized that his strength was never in his hair – but in what the hair represented – faith in God. And God answered. He destroyed the pillars. He brought down the house. He defeated thousands that day – but at the cost of his own life. His greatest accomplishment in all of his humility. This was not how it was supposed to be. But God still found a way.

This reminds me of the conclusion of Shrek Forever After. Shrek says to Fiona, “I always thought that I had rescued you from Dragon’s Keep.” She responds by reassuring him, “You did!” He corrects her, “No, you rescued me.” She brought out the best in him. Even when she did not deserve it. She would not leave him. God will not leave us.

Monster

Outlaw

What is the most memorable scene from Robin Hood? Why?
We are currently taking our student ministry through a summer series on Merge at the Movies (finding faith in film). For example, Toy Story 3 has taught us that we are made for relationship, A-Team was used to discuss the plans that we have for our lives, Iron Man 2 illustrated the idea of God giving us a new heart, and Karate Kid challenged us to have even greater focus.

Then there is the latest Robin Hood film. Following King Richard’s death, Robin Longstride returns to England. While on his trek, he promised a dying knight that he would return a sword to his father and thus runs into Marian Loxley. While all of that is taking place, Godfrey happens to be sneaking himself into the king’s service and thus invading villages under the guise of royal taxes (in hopes of helping the French in a subtle takeover. Robin of Hood has to thus navigate through barons, royals, traitors, and of course the French.

What aspect of faith can we draw from the film? Why is this important?
At the conclusion of the film, Speaking of Robin Hood’s merry men, their forest hideout, and the memory of her father – Marion says, “Greenwood has became the outlaw’s friend. Orphan boys are welcome, there was no tax, no tides, no rich, no poor, and only fair trades at the table. There are many wrongs to be righted in the country of King John. Watch over us Walter.”

These words remind me of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian churches about 15 to 25 after Jesus Christ died, rose again, and returned to heaven. Judaizers were demanding that Gentiles follow Jewish rituals in order to be a part of the church. They were going out of their way in questioning Paul’s viable leadership (accusing him of making the gospel too appealing). He wrote this letter in part to reestablish his authority as an apostle and legitimize the gospel that he preached. He hated the fact that these new converts were being placed into the bondage of legalism (law without any love). He called these believers to place their saving faith in Christ and in Christ alone.

Much like when Paul reminded another church, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast (Eph 3:8-9, NIV). Just as Robin Hood used a rebellion to begin a new movement in the forest, so now Christ is using grace to bring a new community in a world so looking for a place to belong. Paul writes, “Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:23-29, NIV).

Paul suggests that the cross has changed our status from that of slaves to that of sons. We were imprisoned under the law which acted like our guardian. The law attempted to keep us out of trouble by holding us in custody. But those under the First Covenant anxiously anticipated the day that their Liberator arrived on the scene. Paul describes the law as supervising us like an instructor. The Greeks and Romans used to employ slaves as pedagogues (nanny-types) to care of their child from about 6 to 16 years of age. The children, upon turning a certain age, would then be acknowledged as a son. They would be formally “adopted” into the family and thus would take on the name and receive all of their formal rights.

Because of the work of Jesus Christ, we have been given a new and right relationship – from cursed to companionship. The adoption is marked with a new outward sign – circumcision has been replaced by water baptism. This is our rite of passage and confirmation that we are a part of the family of God. This family is not about us versus them. There is now no differentiation between Gentile and Jew, young and old, slave or free, rich or poor. This is the Greenwood of our age. This is what should have been and could have been in the Garden of Eden.

In what ways does your status change need to change view of others?
Like Robin Hood, we have the opportunity to joining in the restoration of a Hero rather than in the corruption of the world.. Like the first followers of Christ, we have the chance to turn the world upside down through truth and love – rather than through violence and trickery. We can and will bring peace in times of war (forgiveness and servant hood).

I think of Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopia eunuch – a visible reminder God plays no favorites (Acts 8:38). Here was a man who was separated by race and class. Physically, he could not be marked by the First Covenant Law. He was an outsider – he might have been so far from God that he was willing to destroy his body to be close to a king. It was to this man that God called out through Phillip, “Come out of death and into life!”

How might we form our own “Greenwood’? Live in undivided allegiance to our King? We can learn from the example of William Seymour and his group of friends who gathered together for five weeks up until April 9, 1906. Compelled by what they saw a pattern in Acts of a visible indwelling of Christ, they fasted for ten days that they would be empowered to be witnesses. Yes, there was an outward sign of an inward work – many of them spoke in an unknown language. But let us also not forget that “band of believers” transformed all racial lines, income levels, and religious limitations. They worshiped together.

They would later discover a building at 312 Azusa Street, in a run-down part of town, and rent that space for a mere $8.00 a month. It was no more a tumble down shack that in the past had housed a church, wholesale shop, a warehouse, a lumberyard, a stockyard, a tombstone shop, and most recently been a stable. They held their first meeting on April 14, 1906 on the first floor by making benches out of planks placed on empty nail kegs. They had no elevated platform because the ceiling was only eight feet high. Seymour spoke behind a stack of empty shoe boxes while keeping his head inside the top one the entire time.

This humble gathering grew in six weeks from three hundred to 1500 people. This gathering intermingled races in midst of segregation and promoted women leadership before suffrage was ever a reality. They would send 38 missionaries in the first six months and fifty nations in the next two years. Their “Greenwood” would result in over 500 million Pentecostals/Charismatics around the world today. What wrongs can we right in our day? May our youth ministry and church answer that difficult and dangerous question with conviction, courage, creativity, and clarity.

Outlaw

Dobson

I would recommend Dr. James Dobson’s “Bringing Up Girls.” I was fortunate enough to be provided a copy in a special pre-release directly from Tyndale House Publishers for review purposes. You can purchase a hardback copy for under $17 at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_8?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bringing+up+girls&x=0&y=0&sprefix=bringing&ih=4_2_0_0_1_0_0_0_1_1.1_80&fsc=4) or directly from the publisher at http://www.tyndale.com/Bringing-Up-Girls/9781414301273.

My favorite chapter was titled, “Fathers and Daughters.” These selected proverbs were compiled or written by Harry Harrison and published in “Father to Daughter: Life Lessons on Raising a Girl.” Here are a few of my favorites:
* Accept the fact that [your little girl] will melt your heart anytime she chooses (Dobson, 99).
* Trust her mom to understand the mystery of little girls. You have yet to figure out the mystery of big ones.
* Never, ever make fun of her (100).
* Remember, teenage girls spend hours in their room doing something. No man has ever really figured out what that something is (101).
* Accept the fact that girls squeal when they’re happy or confused or excited or scared or because they just saw a certain boy in line.
* There will be days when you think you’ve raised an alien. Those are the same days she feels she’s being raised by one.
* Teach her how to be moral in an age that bombards her with sexual imagery and innuendo (102).
* Odd looking boys will start showing up at your house. This is to be expected because adolescent boys are odd looking.
* If a boy pulls up and honks for her, go out and have words with him. Explain that your daughter answers to a doorbell (103).
* Prepare for the day when you’re not the most important man in her life.
* Remember, she will break your heart when she leaves for college. But you will survive.
* In the end, let her go (104).

The Scriptures warn, “Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity” (Leviticus 19:29, ESV). We have not taken this warning seriously. How can we claim, as a culture, to value the equality of women and simaltaneously sell sex in so many ways? How can we say we respect women and continue to treat them as mere objects? How can we take the relationship and commitment out from sex and believe that it means anything at all? I pray for my girls. I hope that God will grant me the wisdom to raise them in a world that has lost hold of true beauty. And I pray, somehow and someway, that Julia and Josslyn will find a way to display beauty in such a way that transforms the surrounding culture on behalf of Jesus Christ.

Official Book Description: “Bringing Up Boys” by parenting expert and best-selling author Dr. James Dobson was, and continues to be, a runaway hit, selling more than 2 million copies to date. Now, Dr. Dobson presents his highly anticipated companion book: “Bringing Up Girls”. Based on extensive research, and handled with Dr. Dobson’s trademark down-to-earth approach, “Bringing Up Girls” will equip parents like you to face the challenges of raising your daughters to become healthy, happy, and successful women who overcome challenges specific to girls and women today and who ultimately excel in life.

Official Author Biography: James C. Dobson, Ph.D., hosts the daily radio program Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson. He is founder and chairman emeritus of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit organization that produced his internationally syndicated radio programs, where he was heard by more than 200 million people every day in 160 countries. A licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child counselor, he is a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. For 14 years Dr. Dobson was an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, and he served for 17 years on the attending staff of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in the Division of Child Development and Medical Genetics. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (1967) in the field of child development. The author of more than 30 books, including Bringing Up Boys and his recent New York Times bestseller, Bringing Up Girls, he has been heavily involved in governmental activities related to the family. He was elected in 2008 to the National Radio Hall of Fame. Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley and is the father of two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and the grandfather of Lincoln. He resides in Colorado.

Dobson