13 September 2012

How Cool Can a Christian Be at Harvest Bible Chapel?

The Director of Women's Ministry at Harvest Bible Chapel offered some pertinent and, in the eyes of some professing Christians, controversial thoughts yesterday on her blog, Living With Power. In a post entitled, "How Cool can a Christian be?" Lina AbuJamra opened her post with a picture of a girl whose arm is covered in tattoos. She then wrote:
Christians everywhere want to be cool for Jesus.
It’s like they think if they can blend into the world – look like everyone else, sound like everyone else, live like everyone else – then one day, Bam, they can hit the lost soul with the gospel, and tada, that person will make the leap of faith into an eternity with Jesus.
I’m not sure when being “cool” became the standard of all Christian behavior.
The truth is that the more you think about it, the more you’ll realize that cool and Christian are often mutually exclusive.
In other words, there is no place for cool in Christ’s version of Christianity...
(Source)
She then went on to list four reasons for this statement:
  1. Holiness is not cool.
  2. The cross is not cool.
  3. The disciples were not cool.
  4. Jesus is not cool.
She makes good points. After all, Scripture very clearly states over and over that the cross is folly to those who are perishing (1 Cor. 1:18), that God uses the weak and foolish (read: uncool) things of this world to shame the strong and the wise (1 Cor. 1:27). You can barely skim a Proverb without noting that there are only two choices in this life: God's wisdom or the world's folly, and that the wisdom from above will always appear foolish to a sinful, dying world.

AbuJamra concludes her post: 
I don’t mean to burst your cool bubble, or sound like your standard party pooper, but if you still think you can be cool and follow Jesus, I think you may be confusing Biblical Christianity with your cheerleading squad. 
Don’t. 
(Source
Simple and direct. It was interesting, though, that this was posted just one day after this video was released by The Resurgence:

As you can see, in that video James MacDonald, who is AbuJamra's pastor, boasts about his new Vertical Church tattoo. Opinions about the freedom of a Christian to get a tattoo aside, this, along with some of MacDonald's other recent behavior, may be an action that would be perceived by some as one who is trying to be "culturally cool," the very thing that AbuJamra's post appeared to speak against. 
YouTube screenshot
The irony of this was not lost on some readers of Living With Power, as a comment from "Joe" soon was posted:
Source no longer available
Unfortunately, it was not long before Joe's comments and others apparently were removed and this was left by the blog author as an explanation:
Source
Additional discussion has ensued on that comment string since. Of course, the author of this blog has every right to remove any comments that she finds offensive, inappropriate or unhelpful. As a fellow blogger, I would never deny one this right.

The fact remains, however, that "Joe" did raise a valid observation and a legitimate question. But hey, there's already so many elephants in the room, what's one more?

Further Reading
James MacDonald Gets Inked for the Kingdom?
James MacDonald Proud to Have Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll & Bill Hybels Endorse 'Vertical Church' Book
The Resurgence Revives Rick Warren's Man-Centered Mythology

40 comments:

  1. Oh my, I hope it's not going to be The Catapult for poor Lina. Somebody asked her about that in the comment string and she replied that she didn't know what it was.

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    1. And I hope it will be the catapult. She is in a wrong place and its getting more and more divorced from the Gospel...

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    2. I have been checking the comment string on her post to see if perhaps MacDonald would come to her defense. (He has not.) But it has gotten pretty ugly over there. Comments go up and then she takes them down. It's her blog and she can certainly do that. But it's a shame that she doesn't just deal with the legitimate questions head on. Right or wrong, I feel sorry for her. I am sure she was not prepared for this and she is in a tough spot.

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    3. I just moved to Barrie, Ontario and was checking out the Harvest Bible Chapel here, my Christian friends from my home town warned me that this is a para-cult organization

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  2. "I don't want to engage in a useless discussion on the web"

    so, whenever someone is scrutinized according to honest and courteous forthright questions, it's automatically deemed as "a useless discussion?"

    Joe's comment was not argumentative and graceless> he was simply pointing out her duplicity

    I think Lina was caught in a catch 22

    "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."-Pr.13:3

    "A fool's lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating."-Pr.18:6

    "A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul."-Pr.18:7

    "If you have played the fool and exalted yourself, or if you have planned evil, clap your hand over your mouth!"-Pro 30:32

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  3. Did i hear the video right that James and company are flying to Alaska for the VC Tour?
    Is Harvest paying for this out of their 5G fund with the hope that the royalties that James receives from this book far exceed the amount spent on the promotional tour thus far?
    I am just amazed at the amount of marketing effort made to promote this VC Brand. ... Just like the world...

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    1. You will never know the answer to these questions. The financial decisions of this church are very secretive and controlled by a very small group. Furthermore, if you attend their membership class, you will hear this phrase "The business of the church is not your business." Seriously, that's exactly what has been said to those who have sought to scrutinize financial decisions at Harvest Bible Chapel over the years.

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    2. all of this is paid for by the Walk in the Word Radio Ministry and offerings taken on the tour.

      they have done several tours like this before. no church money is used.

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  4. I believed that walk in the word is folded back as a ministry of Harvest Bible Chapel. You may want to review their last IRS Annual Filing. That would mean that Harvest provides financial backing to this ministry.

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    1. Yes, and it also means that they don't have to be transparent any longer with the money WITW generates.

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  5. Just watched the video you posted. James MacDonald is going to teach about money at the upcoming Resurgence Conference? You mean the guy who lives in a $2million house? Is this a joke? The guy who has reorganized his church to hide his multiple income streams like regular salary, WITW, Churches Helping Churches, and Harvest Bible Fellowship? You can't afford that size of a house without making at least $500k a year. The taxes alone on that place are about $30k a year, and this is verifiable in the tax records themselves.

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  6. This is quite simply an example of doublespeak and of the old adage... do as I ( Lima ) say and not as he ( Limas' tattoed HBC Head Pastor/Shepherd James Macdonald )does.

    After all,... it could cost quite abit to have to actually live up to what she just taught with it exposing the very one who could have her "catapulted" by her agreeing with Joe about her very own standards and words. Limas' baseless charge that commenter Joe was enagaging in "useless discussion", was itself false and truely useless and might I add ...a patently duplicitous comment made by this Living with Power host. She could and should repent and retract her charge toward Joe, but Joe doesnt have the catapult power that James has, so Joe must be silenced.
    Very sad, typical , and an openly transparent compromise.

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  7. What we see in this video is not Christianity at all but very sophisticated financial scam peddling shallow and reduced version of the Gospel for financial gain of the peddlers.

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  8. I used to be a member of Harvest bible chapel for about 3 years. Over the years I have seen some dramatic changes to the church now that I look back. At first they look so subtle almost that you cannot see,I will have to say God has used Harvest bible chapel for my growth and for growing in the wisdom and the knowledge of Christ, and have met so many brothers and have grown close to many sisters in Christ, the time I was there. Sadly to say but after seeing the Elephant 2 Room my convictions were so deep that I could not stay within a church that was not in submission to the Word of God. leaving was very hard for me, After many prayers and tears crying out to God I left Harvest. Looking back now I see how wise the decision was to have left even though the majority of friends there were opposed to what was going on and now left me alone as if I turned my back on God.There are so many questions that I have now looking back at the a 5G campaign and how we would not know the specifics as to were our money was going. Everything seemed so secretive. I pray for others that still attend Harvest, that there eyes would be opened to the truth of what is going on and understanding that the enemy comes as a angel of( light ) realizing so many people have been looking up to Pastor James of a man of no (error) and you( cannot judge him ) as if it was impossible for him to make a mistake. We are talking about HARVEST BIBLE CHAPEL AND WALK IN THE WORD which is such a strong ministry, and now the turns he has taken have left a big opening. For the enemy and his demonic forces to arrive and deceive many with a FALSE GOSPEL of just (loving) and (caring) and( pampering sin) leaving many many led astray. How can people at Harvest not want to be concerned that there pastor is a partner of Rick warren? when he is the part of the( lets all get along we all worship the same God) mentality.... It totally breaks my heart that people would rather believe there pastor rather than the word of GOD its self.

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    1. May God richly bless you and I pray that his unfailing love surrounds you.

      HE is close to the brokenhearted;

      It's called "tough love"-it hurts and there's pain but for righteousness sake we are truly blessed.

      Thanks for sharing your commitment to remain faithful and to follow the Only one worthy of all our love-Jesus Christ; -the path gets narrower and narrower and sometimes we may be all alone and separate from people we deeply care for. But Jesus is always with us "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

      Deu 13:3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.

      Deu 13:4 It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.

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    2. @ AnonymousSeptember 16, 2012 5:56 PM

      Brother, when you are called out you are called out even if it comes to be called out of a fiends who do not see what was given to see for you. Be encouraged on this tough road and you are not alone.

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    3. Anonymous (Sept. 16/5:56), i agree with Desp., you are not alone. There are many of us who have served and worshiped and tithed and lead at HBC for many years, but were shut down when we brought our issues of poor ministry relationships (SF; TDJ; PN; MD; BH) and his poor style/exposition of the Bible. Many of us are still looking for a church to be a part of with our families, but we KNOW that it is better to be church-home-less than to be in an abusive-selfish-man-glorifying-hypocritical place. There is a peace in being away from that illness. God has not forgotten you and He will allow you to heal and find friendships that glorify Him. It won't be because God's glory comes down "vertically"...that has already been accomplished at the cross and at the pentecost. You will find God's glory in the relationships with other believers who do not quench or grieve the glory of the Holy Spirit already in you and them. You'll probably recognize them because they meditate on the Word and have a rich prayer life and have a joy in serving God's people and others. You will know that you really 'are loved". more than a cliche.

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  9. Today (Sunday Sept 16), near the end of his pre-recorded sermon on John 4 (woman at the well) King James said he thinks "tattoos are cool" and if he was younger he would probably get body piercings. Oh my!

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    1. He has become such an embarrassment. Not a role model for my son.

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  10. God bless you Linda thank you!!! looking up those scriptures now!! God bless you sister in Christ :)

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    1. I'm so glad to encourage you and it brings me great JOY to do so. It's because ALL blessings flow from our heavenly Father and we give HIM all the glory and honor for such a privilege. To think that the Lord could possibly use someone like me is so gracious of HIM ♥ Isn't HIS word is so precious!!.. May the LORD be forever praised and may HIS very precious WORD anchor and sanctify you in Christ!

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  11. Poor Lina actually closed the comments section of this particular blog article. I guess she found it too difficult to defend the indefensible.

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    1. Maybe she got catapulted.

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    2. She also took out the part about tattoos.

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  12. Linda is there any way we can keep in Contact? I went to your blog and do not see where I can leave a post at? My name is Robin btw!! blessings

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  13. Robin~ntmubtw you may contact me @ myinnuendo99@yahoo.com

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  14. Tatoos. Cool WOFfriends like Steven Furtick who now preaches at Joel Osteens church and is seen with him on TBN. Going to TD Jakes 35 yr. ministry anniversery party. All of htis is ridiculous.

    Hey JM apologists does it bother any of you to know that while your pastor lives in a couple milliion $ house, your church is close to $60 million in debt right now? Don't believe me? Go up to one of the elders and ask them that question and see how they respond to you. Go ahead. Do it if u have guts. I heard this rumor while I was there so I asked one of them and was shocked by the answer given to me.

    That's what the new 5G campaign is all about. About paying down some of this debt before the church at large finds out how big it really is.

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  15. Lina has a new post today doing damage control for this one. She won't allow comments, however. A pure defense of James MacDonald who is busy with his own damage control via the Vertical Church tour, an obvious attempt to try to undo the damage he did to his credibility and reputation a la Elephant Room 2. Harvest Bible Chapel continues its downward spiral and has become a cult of James MacDonald, not a place where Christ is lifted high.

    http://livingwithpower.org/business-to-address

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  16. I'd like to talk about how much God has grown me under the teaching of Pastor James and in the fellowship of on fire Christ-following Harvest members. I was a sinful, selfish man... profane and walking in defeat related to many sins... even as a member of a great church for 7 years or so prior to coming to Harvest. Now I am walking in victory over habitual sin, walking daily in the Spirit, yielding increasingly and with greater joy to God, and loving Him with all my heart. It's in no small part because at Harvest I am taught WEEKLY to feed on God's Word and live under its authority. Thank you, God for my awesome church and for the ministry of James MacDonald.

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  17. My friend said the same thing when he became a Mormon.

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  18. I have to say, I'm actually curious as to exactly how someone concludes that the experiential aspect of converting to Mormonism is no different from the life changing, God-breathed gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (isn't this a "discernment" blog?), but I don't believe it's wise to engage in a conversation with someone who doesn't use their real name.

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    1. Hi Mike. I was wondering if you were in church this past Summer on June 24? The reason I ask is because its worth pointing out that you are directly disobeying some clear instruction given to you by one of the assistant pastors of your church. Your were told not to post on blogs such as these... at all. Maybe you missed that message?

      Here's a link to more info about it so that you can read a portion of it for yourself - http://bloodstainedink.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/harvest-bible-chapel-is-dissent-the-same-as-rebellion/#comments

      Blessings.

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    2. Dan McGhee, God and His "living and active" word are ALL Christian's final Authority and the overstepping of your church and leaders outside the legitimate sphere of their authority is both abusive and adding yokes of slavery on the necks of men beyond God's authority and freedom we have in Christ. God does not require us to obey leaders outside the legitimate sphere of Church authority.

      Mike Worrell I don't know you and you don't know me. So what do I benefit in warning you except JOY in your freedom to not be enslaved and controlled by MEN. I merely delight in the Lord Jesus Christ who said "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls"~Matthew 11:29--> run to Christ in Scripture. What will this Church and their leaders gain? Mike Worrell, why do they take great pains to make rules that don't even exist and why do they long to spy on this sites freedom? Because they see the FREEDOM this site has in Christ and want to keep you as their SLAVE and apart from knowing the truth..

      Please Mike, get OUT of that Church and RUN far away from them! CONTROLLING people is occultic.. There's nothing wrong with this site except that THEY FEAR the TRUTH will get out and people will finally come to their senses and LEAVE!

      Mar 10:42 "So Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.

      Sincerely in the Love of God in Christ~ the ONLY LOVE that's true, pure, unadulterated and Holy

      Linda

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  19. Mike Worrell, Churches don't save people Jesus does.

    Jesus even said, "He who is not with me is against me and he who does not gather with me scatters". There's no middle ground

    We cannot have both and if you are clinging onto both then my question to you would be have you truly been born again or are you playing religion? And NO I don't know your heart and I’m not questioning your honesty, only your spiritual assessment based on your comment.

    It's a very big red flag for someone to speak the "love language" about Jesus and still not be devoted to him but devoted more to a pastor and Church that is aberrant from orthodox Christianity, the truth and teachings of Christ. To remain in ERROR and under a pastor who is embracing heretics is contrary to following CHRIST who is the HEAD of the Church!

    Jesus even said, "You cannot serve 2 masters you either hate the one and love the other. You are devoted to one and despise the other"

    I would implore you to consider the serious warnings and examples where people actually believed in Jesus and still were not saved and ask why you would still think James is okay. Also, Why would anyone assume automatically that GOD would instigate and bless ERROR? To consign God and thank HIM for a Church that is not obedient to CHRIST is blasphemy.

    John 1:12 "To as many as received him to them gave the power to become the children of God." In becoming a Christian there is Something to be believed and someone to be received.


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    1. Mike,
      I set out to respond to your comment but I cannot say it better than Linda above. Listen to her. She is right.

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  20. Dan, I don't know if I was at my church on June 24th. I go pretty much every week and am in a lay leadership position, and I have never received any "clear instruction" about where I can post online. Why do you know the date certain messages were given and what their particulars were? Do you even go to Harvest? If not, brother (note I said brother; I can disagree with someone without launching into a bunch of hot air imploring them to question their salvation... ppppffffttttt), that's kind of weird, honestly. I can certainly understand it if such a request was made, as I note a great deal of contentiousness, gossip and bandying about of inflammatory language about people that I personally know to be strong, mature Christians here. That grieves my heart, especially when there are truly apostate "churches" and "ministries" that really need to be confronted.

    Linda, I know that churches do not save people... my faith is in the risen Jesus Christ and none other, and nothing but his atoning work can keep me from hell. I want to obey God because I LOVE God, not to earn my salvation or please men. I would be shocked if you could articulate a single matter of doctrine that we are not in agreement about. I won't be back - this is insanity... I plan to be too busy praying, loving, growing, studying my Bible and serving to spend my time slandering fruitful, faithful churches I don't even go to. See you in heaven, believe it or not! I love you all but you break my heart!

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    1. Hi Mike. I appreciate you calling me "brother." I have no reason to not call you the same. No, I don't attend Harvest there in Ill., but I was once the pastor of a HBF church. We removed ourselves from the HBF in January of this year due to the ongoing compromises of JM. His ongoing relationships and public support for men like Steven Furtick, Perry Noble, and TD Jakes were/are significant issues for our Elders. Unfortunately, he has continued to support and promote these men and their ministries, which seems so contrary to all of the things he is apparently saying on his "Vertical Church" tour. Quite frankly, it reminds me of so many of our US politicians who will stand, look in the camera and say one thing, and as soon as the camera is gone, go and do the exact opposite of what was just said. It is inconsistent to publicly, night-after-night, rail on-and-on against the "horizontal" ministry practices and methodologies being employed by pastors and churches across this country, and then turn around and write glowing recommendations on the back covers of the books written by the very men who epitomize man-centered, horizontal, pragmatic ministry approaches.

      Listen, there is a reason that Bill Hybels and Rick Warren can both give glowing recommendations of JM's new book "Vertical." Because it doesn't convict them and challenge them to change their pragmatic, horizontal, felt-needs centered, approach to ministry. It simply offers a "new way" of doing what they have been doing all along, with some simple changes in terminology. Now, the new thing is striving to "bring down the glory" with the same end goal in view - lots of rear-ends in the seats to see the "glory show."

      BTW, the reason that I know of the date of that message is due to be informed about it through the blog which I linked for you to read. Did you read that article? It seems that you didn't or else you would easily understand how I knew of the message since all that info is spelled out in the article.

      Blessings brother.

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    2. Thank you Dan McGhee for your love and gentleness as a genuine brother TO a brother that reflects the beauty of PURITY that our Lord Jesus desires for ALL of His redeemed to have towards one another. we are CALLED to be separate from those "brothers" such as James MacDonald who are leading many down the road of apostasy.

      I used to listen to James MacDonald on my Christian radio. One day, 2 years ago or so, I found out he was locking arms with Steven Furtick and then TD Jakes ~I was stunned and mystified to say the least. I mean how could someone who preaches "sound doctrine" do this way-it was such an enigma? I knew that I had to make a choice and follow God's command to separate from anyone who calls himself a brother according to 1 Cor.5:11. After ALL Jesus Christ has done for me, no way would I mix him with such harlotry. I refuse to listen to anyone (even if he is a brother) who befriends enemies of the gospel like Jakes or Furtick.

      God says "Be ye holy; for I am holy"-1 Peter 1:16
      Jesus said "Sanctify them by the truth; Thy word is truth"-John 17:17

      BE SEPARATE from unholiness or anything contrary to the Sound teachings and instructions in God's word~

      Sincerely in the love, purity and beauty of our Lord Jesus Christ, Linda


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  21. Mike~

    I'm posting this whether you come back or not in hopes to at least benefit others who might read this:

    2John 1:10 is lucid enough and speaks for itself~ "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. 11 Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work."

    James MacDonald has welcomed TD Jakes which is sharing in his wicked work because he brings another teaching-another gospel(denies the Trinity) according to Scripture and teaches the WOF false gospel that is contrary to Sound Doctrine.

    Mike, your dismissive and omissive statements can be viewed as a defense of James MacDonald's purposeful, willfull, and determined rebellion against God's Word. Please don't be surprised when people react to that. Even your last comment is an attempt to minimize Error through omission about James. May I remind you that keeping silent about James' apostasy (as long as James is embracing TD Jakes and Furtick)AND continuing to lend hardy approval of Him and his Church is sin-James 4:17 & Lev.5:1. James has become widely known for his apostasy(it's no secret). Anyone especially all who profess to be Christians - who continue to embrace James and yet remain silent about him are also embracing and embedding his same error "sharing in his wicked work" with Jakes and Furtick which is contrary to sound doctrine. He did not have that repuation foisted upon him, rather he earned it and anyone who continues to embrace MacDonald including you is earning it as well.



    Sincerely Linda

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  22. James MacDonald's answer for getting the tattoo at 51 -

    http://www.jamesmacdonald.com/teaching/audio/what-to-do-with-public-opinion/#divAudioPlaylist-tab

    start at 34:58 mark

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