Posts Tagged ‘accountability’

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote on the Wall about a quaint church in Beaumont, Texas making international news by calling themselves, “A bunch of jerks.”

They addressed the hypocrisy among the faithful, the stigma in the Church and the elephant dropping bombs in the room.

If it ain't broke, buy another one.

It was a bold move because the biggest cause of Atheism would be Christians who do not reflect Christ. Great idea, right? Apparently so, because it’s been cloned according to the Christian Post.

A megachurch [NorthRidge Church] in Southeast Michigan is making a lot of people uncomfortable with its new billboard campaign that proclaims that the church is for hypocrites, losers and liars.

Well, of course, they are making a lot of people uncomfortable… the formula worked once before. Why not do it again?

“The reality is all human beings are the same. They’re flawed. We’re all the same inside [the church] and outside. We too are failures, losers, … hypocrites,” [Pastor Brad Powell of NorthRidge Church] continued.

“Jesus didn’t put up higher fences in heaven to keep the bad people out,” he said. “Rather, Jesus came down to earth and dwelled among the people. When you look into God’s word, He never turns inward. He turns outward.”

Don’t get me wrong… he’s right. Regretfully.

However, just because the word changed from “jerks” to “hypocrites,” does not make this an original idea. There’s no such thing as an original idea anyway, but at least give it a few months before you poach it?!

It’s no secret I don’t have much affinity for stereotypical Christian marketing. I mean, how difficult must it be to take a well-known brand and make an evangelism hack job out of it?

Christian marketing usually means copied marketing.

Oh. The scripture. That'll make us forget about the familiar logo.

Consider God: There was nothing but his idea. He imagined with vivid detail, molded the earth with complete ingenuity and relished in the unique nature of his creation.

He didn’t copy a logo. He didn’t “borrow” an invention. Everything he did was an original.

And that’s why it baffles me that marketing and advertising professionals who love the Lord and have dedicated their lives to him can’t at least go about their trade with a tad more originality.

Brands like ‘Not of this World‘ have taken what ‘Affliction’, ‘Silver Star’ and ‘MMA Elite’ has done for the mixed martial artist crowds and brought it to the Church. Bravo.

And then, there is the status quo that believes take what is known, plaster a verse on it and call it “divine providence.”

We can do better. We must do better.

Pastor Brad (imagine, he doesn’t like being called that) understands this whole “jerk” thing is lightning in a bottle. Everyone is looking at this. Everyone appreciates this. Because everyone agrees with this… except for the folk who are this.

A thought for all pastors: Be unconventional. Be daring. And most importantly, try to be original. You tend to make more news that way.

Just ask the little church in Beaumont, Texas about that one.

How I missed this one in the Christian Post, Wall Watchers, I have no idea… but back in later July, an esteemed junior college or remedial high school Augusta State University threatened one student, “Change your Christian beliefs or you won’t graduate.”

Jennifer Keeton, 24, has been pursuing a master's degree in school counseling at Augusta State University since last year, but school officials have informed her that she'll be dismissed from the program unless she alters her "central religious beliefs on human nature and conduct," according to a civil complaint filed last week.

Seriously… any more questions about my theory on Christianity being the only legalized and unprotected prejudice?! So, there has to be a catch for a school to go Orwellian in the middle of a semester, right?

Jennifer Keeton, 24, has been enrolled in the College of Education’s School Counselor masters degree program since fall 2009. She has expressed her Christian beliefs in class discussions and written assignments, but it was her views regarding gender and sexuality that irked faculty.

And there’s the rub. Talk Jesus and we will tolerate your inane blather. Debate gay rights and off with your head!

So, here’s this post-grad student – who incidentally is PAYING MONEY to attend this institution of higher education – that stated in a regular class she believes that “sexual behavior is the result of accountable personal choice rather than an inevitability deriving from deterministic forces.”

Ostensibly, the whole “Homosexuality is a lifestyle, not a state of being” thing.

Then, the school administration channels Harvey Milk and hurls the book at her… the pink one laced in nice chiffon.

Keeton was notified that she would be asked to participate in a remediation plan. Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley, an associate professor who also oversees student education and discipline, explained that the faculty wanted to see Keeton’s writing skills improve and that they are concerned with some of her beliefs and views pertaining to GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) issues.

Has anyone cared to tell Ms. Anderson-Wiley that they are concerned with her blatant anti-Christian attitude? Of course not, because that would unconstitutional and unethical. But tell a student to go to summer school for gay sensitivity training and it’s just another dutiful day at Augusta State.

Americans have free speech and freedom of religion, unless that American is Christian and then your speech is subject by any idiot with a weed against God and your religion is held under a magnifying glass thanks to the public sins of a misdirected few.

What’s more aggravating is… you guessed it… where are all the Christians to say anything about it?!

The cross connects us... so why aren't Christians more connected.

Is there nothing that will unite us?

Say what you will about the GLBTQABCDEFG community but they are amalgamated and refuse to let anyone talk noise about them. Name a sociological group of people and nine times out of ten, they stick together like a family should.

However, welcome to the Church where we eat our young and treat the accosted members of our group like bastard children at a family reunion.

Anyone see a problem with this? Pastors? Body of Christ? Is this thing on? [Crickets].

“A public university student shouldn’t be threatened with expulsion for being a Christian and refusing to publicly renounce her faith, but that’s exactly what’s happening here,” said David French, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund. “Simply put, the university is imposing thought reform.”

Yes indeed.

This story is national news. It is a clear attack against Christianity. And an egregious attempt to side step the U.S. Constitution. So, let’s try this again… do you care? If so, contact William A. Bloodworth, school president through his office at:

Judy Cooke ,
Assistant to the President
Rains Hall
706-737-1440
jnmorris@aug.edu

Or, for starters, tell your pastor. I double dog dare you because trust me, folks. And for the hate mongers, save your innocuous, non-sequitur comments. I don’t have a problem with gay people having equal rights. Everyone in this country is protected by the same freedom as I am. Only show people that disagree with you the same friggin’ courtesy! And Christians are the hypocritical ones?!

This is just the beginning and if you don’t learn to say something now, you will get trampled upon in the future. If I am going to get smashed, I am doing it swinging for Christ.

The Bible says, “With God all things are possible.” It’s such a shame that these days without God’s people, that’s hard to come by.

When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them. (Acts 2:1-4 MSG)

Yeah, those were the good ol’ days, eh?

Today, the church spends cash, not time, to muster God

Courtesy: Jews for Jesus

Folk gathered together. In one accord even. Ready to worship God just because he is God.

They were not concerned about what tunic to wear in case “that saint” sees them. They did not get all up in a stiff wind when Captain Christian walks by and does not call on them to be the fill-in usher.

No, these were people who loved Jesus because he loved them, didn’t have sins in the closet (largely because they didn’t know how to hide them) and most importantly, discovered that it didn’t matter what song was playing softly in the background, they could still press in and experience Christ.

It seems people are spending all kinds of cash to bring God down to their level instead of time in prayer to get the Church to go up to his level. That should not be. Big churches are nice only if they can be broken down one small church at a time.

These days? Not so much.

People are pretentious, megalomaniacal, self-centered and disinterested in dealing with common prayers. And those are just a smattering of today’s megachurch pastor. Let’s not discuss the “Sunday brunch attending, no manners having, get on my last nerves being” saints just warming a pew. Lord have mercy.

There are some that desire to touch the hem of his garment still, which is why, according to this story in the Denver Post and Yahoo! News, some folk are leaving the church and deciding to be the Church elsewhere.

Megachurch, meet microchurch. Growing numbers believe the tiny house church, also called a simple church or an organic church, might be the mightier transformer of Christian lives. A recliner becomes a pulpit. A sofa and some armchairs serve as pews… The key element is that the group is small enough for everyone to participate fully and to connect intimately. In this, the new followers believe, they are like the earliest Christians, who also met in small groups in homes.

See through a brand to get to the man Jesus

Go to the Golden Gates! Not the Arches.

To many Christians these days, size indeed does not matter. And egos are still in check. People no longer want to sit in a cozy chair and hear about Jesus. They want to get involved in a group and experience Jesus!

They aren’t interested in “Mr. Megachurch’s Ego Boost Tower of Babel.” They believe they have as much right into the Holy of Holies as the guy with the stained collar does. So why not demand it, or better yet, change your surroundings to demand it? Many already are, but why now?

Religion surveyors, theologians and other experts say millions of American adults are experimenting with new forms of spiritual communities. Many are abandoning traditional church because, among many reasons, the Americanized church has become, for them, too corporate and consumeristic.

Odd, isn’t it?! America sits through church on Sundays minding their watch religiously. And why? To get to Luby’s.

Sunday is not about an embrace; it’s about a brand. Worshiping God is not about the music carrying you into heaven; it’s having a concert with eardrum splitting decibels so loud, you can shout to heaven.

There are ATMs in churches. Starbucks in churches. Merry go rounds in churches. And I get it, so spare the rhetoric of “we need to attract the lost before we bring them to Jesus.” Yes, but you are allowing the church to do all the work.

Get that? “WE bring them to Jesus.” Not the church, not the church’s accutrements, not the megachurch pastor’s whimsical way with ministering the Gospel. All that is fluff. It is about you getting off your blessed assurance and making the invite.

Perhaps that invite would be easier to someone’s living room than a nouveau riche ‘Upper Room’? Who knows?

“It’s kind of seen as an alternative or radical kind or approach,” [Reggie McNeal, church consultant] said. “An increasing number of people are saying that they don’t want to go to (any) church so there better be a way for church to just be where people already are.”

By and large, folk are tired of being fake and wearing a mask. They already do it to work, around “Friends” and even at home. Let us begin to be real at church and if you can’t, perhaps you should consider finding another place to worship.

Only understand this: There is no perfect church, only a perfect Jesus. Serve wherever. Worship whenever. Pray however. But, for the love of God, if you can’t do any of that in the privacy of your own home, church is nothing but lip service.

Spare the Carmex, folks and get real with Jesus!

That sound you hear is millions of Christians staring at their Thomas Kinkade tchotchkey-du-jour in their house and hurling a plate of nachos at it. CRASH!

Thomas Kinkade gets his own picture - a mug shot

Looks like that 'light' is shining too brightly into his bloodshot eyes

Yes, it’s true. The great talent. The anointed vessel. The child of God Thomas Kinkade, affectionately known as “The Painter of Light,” evidently had a mind that went dark when he took the wheel while seriously under the sauce, thanks to FOX News:

Police initially pulled over the Mercedes driven by artist Thomas Kinkade in the city of Carmel last weekend because the car didn’t have a front license plate, Sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Richards told The Herald.

Police then detected the smell of alcohol and conducted a sobriety test during which Kinkade, 52, “displayed signs of impairment to the officer,” California Highway Patrol spokesman Robert Lehman said.

Doh! Seriously? What’s this dude thinking? I’m sorry but he’s a painter. Did he think “Don’t you know who I am” would work, because odds are if you must ask that question, they probably don’t know who you are.

MEMO to the Man in the Mug: You’re Thomas Kinkade, not some frat boy on a two-day binge. What are you doing? Yes, Jesus forgave you the minute you began sipping but there are many holders of your precious, illuminated artwork that may have forced them to forget you.

Toxicology tests are still pending, but take a gander at the beleaguered artist here. Although he appears a few fries short of a happy meal, this guy can throw down on a buffet, and that means he gets thirsty.

Yes, he was hammered. Yes, he will try to fight this. Yes, he will blame medication. And no, many folk won’t believe him.

Thomas Kinkade and a roll of toilet paper. Funny stuff.

Thomas' believes in the rock and his name is on the... what again?

In fact, in a Christian book store in my fare burgh, would you believe his art was “taken to the back for business reasons?” Yes way. Christian folk can be some of the most narrow-minded, yes? Too bad I love them. Many folk think I am a tool as well.

Kinkade’s art has now slid down the value meter and could end up as Exhibit A if he just ignores this ever happened… that is, until we get a nice discount.

God’s people are far from being perfect, but you have to be smarter than that to cover up for your own humanity.

Poor guy. What kind of picture does this paint for “America’s Most Collected Living Artist”? My guess it looks like a Picasso right now.

Imagine: You are not one of those hypocritical nutbags who picket abortion clinic and fancies the occasional bombing, all under the guise of God’s love.

Instead, you are a nun… who is the administrator at a hospital… and one of your patients is 27-years-old, pregnant and about to die. The catch? The delivery of the fetus will kill her.

As children of God, we are taught to value life. Now, you either value the one dying on a hospital bed or the one said fainting soul is about to deliver.

Confused? Watch the tape from CNN:

Nevermind WWJD for now. What would you do?

The local Catholic diocese knew what they would do – they excommunicated the nun “automatically.” There’s the love of God for you. Keeping it classy, Phoenix Catholic guy:

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, indicated in a statement that the Roman Catholic involved was “automatically excommunicated” because of the action. The Catholic Church allows the termination of a pregnancy only as a secondary effect of other treatments, such as radiation of a cancerous uterus.

Listen, I despise abortion and I think most girls and women who get them flippantly do so without considering the grave consequences, the impending guilt and the fact that they are just using a doctor’s tool as after-the-fact birth control for a casual night of having fun in most cases.

Exception? Meet the golden rule. At least where narrow-minded Catholic bishops are concerned.

The battle for human life isn't always an easy one to explain

Sometimes, you just want to run head first into the sign, right?

Here lies a woman with her entire life in front of her, and with a cancerous uterus that is choking that precious life out of her. She is pregnant and if that baby is born, it will do so without her mother from day one.

Did Sister McBride make the right decision? Did she pay little regard for one life to save another? Do you even care because all you hear is “Blah blah blah… abortion… blah blah blah.”

On one hand, you have the hospital – a Catholic hospital – backing Sister McBride’s decision:

“In this tragic case, the treatment necessary to save the mother’s life required the termination of an 11-week pregnancy,” hospital vice president Susan Pfister said in an e-mail to the newspaper [USA Today].

Then, we have head of the local diocese who could care less:

“I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese,” Olmsted said in a statement sent to The Arizona Republic. “I am further concerned by the hospital’s statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother’s underlying medical condition.”

Sister McBride had to make a split-second decision despite the scowl of her boss upstate. She didn’t have time to consult her Monsignor in a time of despair. She couldn’t say 18 rosaries before the baby time of gestation was up. The clock was ticking and two lives were in jeopardy.

She made a choice, and for that moment of sheer anguish, she was given her walking papers and kicked clean out of the Catholic Church. Nice.

Never mind the theological impunity Catholics believe they have to kick a child of God out of his or her home. It’s wrong, but blame anathema I suppose?

Would God ever disown a child who has accepted the blood of Jesus? No.

Believing this stance was probably too wussified, the Pontiff’s bible architects of the Middle Ages believed the Papacy should exercise the right to oust someone from the graces of the church because of a grievous slip-up. And the rest is history.

So, um, who is excommunicating all the predators inside the Catholic Church? No one, you say? Moving on…

Father Kevin O’Rourke, a canon lawyer at Loyola University in Chicago, is familiar with McBride’s case and say it is “very unusual” for a nun to be excommunicated. He says, “In order to have an excommunication be valid, the person has to act out of deliberate desire to violate the law…there has to be malice involved.” O’Rourke says there doesn’t appear to be malice involved in Sister McBride’s decision.

If you are so hell-bent on bashing this woman, then show me the malice in this story.

She’s not one of those twisted counselors who guide a 16-year-old girl away from parental reason just to have a “simple procedure.” This is a nun caught in a metaphysical tug-of-war and I don’t think you will hear any arguments from the woman whose live she saved as a result.

Yes, the agony of losing a child is beyond something to bare. Tell that to the girl’s parents who would have lost their daughter if the baby was delivered. No one wins.

The moral of the story is: there are no moral absolutes here. As Christians, we have to accept shades of gray, don’t we? Because if you can color this story in only black and white, I would like to introduce you to a spiritual box of 64 crayons and abruptly stick your head in the sharpener.

There is no right or wrong in situations like this. 50% of the people affected will be hurt and offended. And only one person gets blamed for it.

However, instead of cloaking the nun in the arms of a loving Savior, for whom she has dedicated her entire adult life; the Catholic Diocese would rather use said arms, wax WWE and clothesline the hell out of her.

Now that was a wrong decision. Think anyone is going to hold the Bishop accountable? Meh?

Sister McBride is taking her exile in stride by taking the high road – no comment, no post thoughts. Although she is no longer considered “Catholic”, she is still very much “Christian.”

And isn’t that what really matters?