christianity, Christians Gone Wild!

Prosperity Flakiness

If you’ve read my stuff for any length of time, you’ve no doubt caught me defending the message of prosperity being taught in some Christian circles today (and on TV), and encouraging you not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak.  However, after a recent event at Books-A-Million, I’ve come to realize that maybe my exposure to certain teachings in this doctrine have been limited.  I don’t watch Christian TV (TBN, etc), and my views on God’s plans for prospering his people have largely come from my own study, and from my pastor.  Because my Pastor is so Biblically sound, and makes so much sense, I assumed everyone else did as well, and were being unfairly criticized due to the loud, but few, flakes out there.

Maybe I was wrong . . . I overheard an apparently lonely, middle-aged, obese man acosting a Books a Million Employee in between the Christian Section and the Comic Books (I was in the Comic Books, thank you very much).

Fat Christian:  “Churches have really gotten away from reaching out to people and from being mission-oriented, and instead have built large mega-churches”

Employee:  “That’s right.”  (While putting books up on the shelf)

At this point, I thought the Fat Christian might be a good Christian, and was making a point about Charitability.

Fat Christian:  “But God doesn’t want to make us rich just for Mega-Churches, he wants to make us rich so we can use our mega-churches to reach out to people… tell them how to become rich also.”

Employee:  “Uh…Yeah, God wants us to help people.”  He was clearly uncomfortable, and left a sitting area and walked to my aisle in the comic books…Fat Christian followed

Fat Christian:   “People think that we’re preaching that we’re all supposed to be like super-rich billionaires, but I don’t think that’s really the case.  I think God just wants us to be well off.  God may not give me millions, but I could sure use 100,000 or so!  God wants to give his people money, so that while everyone around us is losing their jobs, and getting their homes repossessed, we can come right in and buy them up for really cheap.”

The Employee the left and the Fat Christian followed close behind, clearly ambivalent to the fact that the guy just wanted away from him.  I finished making my comic book selections and went to other side of the store, with a new understanding of why Christendom, at large, hates the prosperity preachers.  Jesus wants us to teach people to be rich, so we can really screw the people who are already victims of the predatory bank lending.  YAY JESUS!

Sheesh.

christianity, Christians Gone Wild!

You can be a Christian for only $12.99!

Ever since W.W.J.D. bracelets, it seems that enterprising people have sought to capitalize on naivete of Christendom.  What would Jesus do?  Probably he wouldn’t wear a bracelet that cost $5 and tauntingly remind people to consider what Jesus would do in any situation.

I recently stumbled across this lovely site on the internets that portrays just how far that rabbit hole goes.  Seriously?  Is there no limit to what people will make?  I suppose though, they wouldn’t make it, if crazy Christians wouldn’t wear it!  Since I was…oh…16 or so, I have eschewed all forms of Christian apparel.  It’s typically tacky, and mostly self-righteous and condescending.  When it’s not those, and strives to just be humorous, it mixes in a good bit of heresy as well.  In the case of the image to the right, it also infringes on a trademark.

A few more examples of some of the worst Christian paraphernalia the net has to offer:

Again…copyright infringement seems to be a meaningless phrase to Christians.  I wonder how many Christian musicians are pirated on the net.  Once I heard a waiter say you can always tell the Christians groups at the restaurant, because they only want to know what they can get for free.  Shameful.

A spoof on (RED) the charity that fights against AIDS?!  Seriously?  Who would wear that?  Do they have no shame?  I don’t even know what else to say about this disgusting and flagrant self-righteous piece.

I’ve noticed for years and years a disturbing trend in churches to copy and imitate the world in order to feel “relevant.”  Did God not give us imaginations?  Even if you’re not original enough to come up with something on your own, why must you copy the worldliest things out there?  It happens in Christian music all the time, and along the same lines…in Christian retail, it seems they also make tackier and stupid imitations of other worldly things.  Worse, here is another example of just stupid theology.  “Satan got Punk’d”  What does that even mean?  He’s still controlling and influencing the world…so it would seem that if anyone got Punk’d, we did.

One of the weirdest and scariest examples of this is the new world of Christian emo.  Seriously?  How can a Christian be depressed, hate the world, and dress like a tranny?  W.W.J.D.?  He would not wear black fingernail polish.

In a strange example of Christian greed, www.wearyourfaith.com wouldn’t allow me to use some of their images claiming “Copyright.”  Not only do they not own the art on the shirts (they’re available in many other places) some of their art itself is copyrighted.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, and is only indicative of the larger problem of Christianity attempting to become more “worldly” in order to feel like people can relate, when the truth is…”why become a Christian if my life is no different afterward?”  Christian skater tv shows (Thank you Alec Baldwin), Christian punk rock, and pastors riding motorcycles around their sanctuary.  There is no holiness and sanctification in the body of Christ today.  That will draw people.  Lifting up Jesus instead of skating or other worldly influences will draw people to God.  We have that in writing:  “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32.

Christians Gone Wild!

Pat Robertson shows true colors – 700 Club renamed 666 Club

It has taken me the better part of the day to pull my jaw back up off the ground, but I have gotten around to making a comment on this.  I’m flabbergasted.  Pat Robertson has thrown his endorsement behind Rudy Giuliani.
I’m no huge supporter of Pat Robertson…he’s had his share of looney moments, but I’ve always assumed him to be relatively harmless, and probably with his heart in the right place.  Apparently I was wrong.  I have to throw my support behind James Dobson, when he said that if Rudy wins the GOP nomination for 08, I will sit out an election, for the first time.  Robertson has typically been a staunch conservative…wasn’t it Robertson who claimed that God was going to destroy America soon, just a while back? 
I suppose he’s best known for…well…being well known.  I believe the current ABC Family cable channel used to be own by him.  I could be wrong.  Either way, he’s been on TV forever, and has done quite a bit of fund raising for missions work.  He’s well known and respected in his fair share of Christian circles…which makes this all the more dangerous for conservatives and Republicans as a whole.  Republicans largely sat out the last election, because they had left their conservative base. . . what were we supposed to vote for?  I want to vote AGAINST abortion…I want to vote AGAINST gay marriage.  Giuliani has his strong points on the war and national security…but I’m not going to base my vote on that.  We’re in Iraq.  We’ll be there for awhile longer.  There are tons more issues to discuss for the upcoming election.  Especially the things that Bush promised, but pooped out on.  Anyone remember tort reform?  Tax reform?  Social Security Reform?  All amazing ideas…but long since forgotten.
What is it that a Christian should support in Giuliani?  I can’t see anything.  Mike Huckabee seems to be the best bet, from a Christian perspective.  He’s not a front runner, but he could be quickly, if we would all have courage in our convictions and stand up for what’s right!
Christians Gone Wild!

Sin in the Church – So What?

I’ve found myself, as I’ve progressed hastily through my mid and late 20’s, using the lamentation that many generations before me have used:  "Kids these days!"  And as a father myself, I must admit I’m scared to death of when my darling 3 year old girl hits the teens.  This little girl who clings on me when I leave for work, and can entice about anything in the world from me, no matter the cost, with a snuggle and a simple, "Daddy…please?" will soon be one of "those kids."  God help me.

I understand that the world is getting worse, and will more than likely continue to do so until Jesus returns, but I’m confident that there is a way to raise children to love God more than boys.  To understand and live in holiness.  To resist sin.  And to chop off any boy appendages that get too close to them.

While I believe that many a problem today comes about as the result of our hippy-trippy society that doesn’t teach respect of authority, I think that quite a bit of blame lies on us…christian parents, and the churches our children grow up in.
 
Perhaps we adults, we leaders in churches, are so eager to compromise our own convictions with worldliness that we have opened the floodgates of hell for our children.  Uh-oh…the reformists may start calling me puritanical here.  Should I calm down?  Seriously, though, I have faced more harsh rebuttals from church-going Christians for daring to criticize the first church of Harry Potter than from non-Christians.  And why?  Are we not all convinced that true witchcraft is wrong?  Would any of us skip with glee if our child came home with some candles and drew a pentagram in the living room and began chanting?  Can we not all agree that Satan is wiley, and often entices even our young people with things that seem fun and harmless, only to draw us deeper into sin that can devour our lives?  Think of Joe Camel, luring young kids to smoke.  It seems to me, that we "christians" are not only willing to compromise with the world, but jump at the chance to sell our own holiness, and our children out for something fun and "cool." 
 
One quick trip to any children’s or teens’ sunday school room will confirm what I’m alluding to.  There is little taught on sin in modern churches.  Even churches that have not embraced the damnable seeker-sensitive movement have still fallen prey to the seduction of compromise.  And I suppose it is quite difficult for an allegedly mature Christian to teach his or her sunday school about fleeing even the appearance of evil, when they are not willing to give up the sin in their own lives.
 
Unfortunately, children follow example much more often than teaching.  This has bred the atmosphere existent in many modern youth groups and churches… kids who believe it’s just fine to have sex before marriage, lie, cheat, drink, even do drugs…because they still believe in God.  Of course some of this comes from "teenage rebellion," but how much could be quieted if we bothered to sit down and explain sin, the consquences of sin, that we reap what we sow.  Yes, if you repent and come back to God, you will be forgiven, but you’ll never get back that part of your heart your lost with your virginity.  It will be quite some time before the people who know you from the bar will even listen to you witness about Jesus.  Sin takes…period.  And God’s forgiveness does not give you a free ticket out.
So, if you happen to read this, before you even comment to tell me how legalistic, or stupid, or close-minded I am, be open-minded enough to examine your own heart, your submission to God.  Get rid of sin in your life, and let’s redeem the next generation.  Let’s help teach them that there really is a difference between right and wrong.