Posts Tagged ‘bible’

In Hollywood, where doth my help come from?

“Christian Movie.” It’s a phrase that has plagued both Hollywood and the Church for decades because the two sides don’t really talk, even if there was the awkward Thanksgiving dinner.

Separate: The two don’t have an inkling enough knowledge of the other to understand what the market demands. Together: Former “celebs” who get real with Christ are considered sellouts because the first that happens is TBN fawns all over them and gets them preaching.

So, what does it mean to be a “Christian Movie”? Is it focus on the “Greatest Story Ever Told,” because honestly, if you have seen the movie (aside from the meaning, people), it really is not the greatest. Not even Top 10.

The one that changed Christian film making was not “The Omega Code,” which looked like the IRS came and repossessed the movie set halfway into the film. No, it was “The Passion of the Christ.

Real. Violent. Authentic. Visceral.

And an A-list celeb created it, without the aforementioned megalomaniac drool from Paul and Jan. Then, of course, that A-list celeb went off the deep end and offending every Jew, black person and woman on the face of God’s planet. So much for his clout. Next?

Sure, Kirk Cameron made a nice swim through a resurrection (of his career) but that was short-lived, and short-marketed. “Fireproof” was nice, really nice, but it lacked the big Hollywood backing.

No one was really 'running' from the Church to catch this one

Recently, Disney saw a glimmer of hope in this once forgotten Christian market, and put out a movie that had all the makings of the next great “Christian Movie.” To use the introduction from a riveting BrandWeek article:

On the face of it, Disney’s feel-good drama Secretariat seemed to have all the makings of a hit with the God-fearing crowd: Its writer and director are devout Christians, it opens with a lengthy Bible quote, it uses an earnest spiritual tune at a key emotional moment and it’s uplifting. Then there was a specific marketing campaign to the faith-based audience, spearheaded by filmmaker Randall Wallace, who has legitimate street cred in those circles.

Quick show of hands for all the Christ followers who saw this flick? Yeah, me neither.

This is a movie that supposed to be the feel-good hit of the summer and Hollywood was counting on the Church. Only, it wasn’t marketed to the Church, so who knew?

Therein lies the rub.

The Church either goes one way or the other when it comes to movie selections:

  1. We are either incognito at Rated-R flicks – Groucho Marx glasses and all – and only be seen watching Pixar movies with the kids.
  2. Or, we go see any horror or drama made with a staunch “So what” to anyone in the Church that has an issue with your film-viewing pleasures.

Then there are those in-between who really want to see God show up in films outside of anything dealing with the crucifixion, resurrection or anything starring Charlton Heston.

Why? According to this story, Christians aren’t as naive and sheepish as Hollywood thinks:

Any movie that has a happy ending or a hopeful message gets peddled to Christian leaders and faith-based media. That crowd may be conservative, but they’re not dumb, said entertainment industry veteran and marketing consultant Mark Joseph.

“The traditionalist audience is far more savvy, post-’Passion,’ and is tired of being told that ‘Polar Express’ or ‘Rocky VI’ are actually allegories about Christ,” said Joseph, also a film producer who’s worked on The Passion of the Christ and other marketing campaigns. “This group is suspicious of Hollywood.”

Not only is this group “suspicious” of Hollywood; they are also lazy to demand otherwise from it.

Yes, I paid good money to see “Inception”, “Iron Man 2″ and “Robin Hood” this summer. And why? Because I am a child of God that can see a movie that doesn’t exalt Christ and still find pleasure in it. Sure, I wish it mentioned, alluded to or flat-out praised him, but if it doesn’t, I’ll go for a gripping storyline and stimulating writing any day.

And no, I didn’t pay a dime to see anything else from TBN studios, the “Veggie Tales” movie or “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry.” Why? Just because the American Family Association gives it two crosses up doesn’t mean it’s good; it just means it’s sanctified.

Jesus made the ministrel of music. We should own it.

Amen!

It’s the same old problem that has plagued Christian music and fashion. We demand quality too.

When the world had old-school hip hop, the Church had D.C. Talk. (Sure, later came DII, SFC, PID and Freedom of Soul… but toby Mac and the guys pretty screwed that up for the rest of them). When the world had friendship pins, Swatch watches and Coca-Cola shirts, we had cheaply made Garanimals with an icthtus emblazoned on the crest.

Sigh.

In short, just because you have a fish on your business card, doesn’t guarantee me doing business with you. It only means I am leery of you because you expect a hand-out or a hand-up. We need to earn our keep in Hollywood, and not be afraid of the backlash just because we admit we love Jesus in public circles.

It’s happened with music (e.g. Hillsong, Mercy Me, David Crowder, anything alternative that has made the crossover, and on and on and on). Now, it’s time to stop trying to remake the Passion and just get passionate about evangelism with a great movie.

We need to vote with our dollars, in addition to our prayers. (And please, we do NOT do that).

So my definition of “Christian Movie”? It’s a great movie that happens to talk about Christ and sticks to the meaning of his message.

You know, rather than a lukewarm message of love and hate, right and wrong with a crappy script, a couple of has-been actors and something that goes straight to DVD cloaked as a movie.

Think about it people. When we demand more, we will get more. Peace.

Jesus would have blown out Rev. Terry Jones' flame, not reward him with a car.Back in July, we sprawled all over this Wall about some sanctimonious loon who decided it would be a grand idea to burn a wheelbarrow full of Qu’rans in an effort to talk smack about Muslims on September 11.

Never mind that only an underground stink tank full of extremists committed those heinous acts on that fateful day. Mr. “Too Stupid to Read the Paper” decided burning their holy writ was precisely how to keep demented Muslim Jihadists down to a calm sense of being.

Yeah well, he was sorely mistaken as the entire country not only told him just how stupid he was, but that there could be a slight attempt to bomb his Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla. like Hiroshima. In short, he realized not having a high school education was too much to overcome, so he better keep the gig he has.

Qu’ran saved. Muslims relieved. Christians have chalked up another reason why the world hates us. Until this thanks to CNN Belief Blog.

It seems “Reverend” Terry Jones since deciding to no burn a Qu’ran, has deserved some love. Aaaaaaaaaaaand tell what he’s won:

The Rev. Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who caused a firestorm last month when he came close to staging a public Quran burning, is getting a new car courtesy of a New Jersey dealership. In the run-up to the planned book-burning, Brad Benson Hyundai in New Brunswick offered Jones a vehicle if the pastor backed down on his threat.

A car. A friggin’ car?! Seriously?

I adore Jesus and stand up for disenfranchised folk of other religions in the name of witnessing and good form, and run out of gas on the freeway. This jackleg fool gives the entire Body of Christ a bad name and is bribed with a new car to stop… if even for a while.

Let’s keep it classy New Jersey.

“We heard on the news that he was going to burn the Quran,” Benson Hyundai general manager David Canton told CNN on Saturday. “He stood up to his end of the bargain and we’re standing up to ours,” Canton said.

MEMO to Mr. Canton: Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

Now he has something shiny to tow that chuck of crap around

You reward this waste of space for sardonic behavior, and why? Because you are wholly empathetic to the plight of innocent Muslims in America? Of course not. Dude knew this idiotic offer would make national news, so he’s getting a little love.

Thing aren’t that great in the automotive industry lately. So, that’s nice. Live to threaten another day.

Hey, car salesman? You know what people think of Christians by-and-large thanks to this turd? Well, you are not doing any favors for your industry with this novel marketing effort either.

Shoot, I didn’t burn a Qu’ran? Wanna’ hook a brother up with a new Sonata? I’ll be happy to be your personal journalist for a year for that magnanimous of an offer.

And just so we are fair, Jones said that he will donate the car to a Muslim charity. Because it’s not like extremists in the Muslim community have ever used cars for evil intentions.

Funny how the world keeps going ’round, huh?

Watch it and that mark may end up on your forehead

The Pew Forum has done it again with their latest in a series of polls that show the dumbification of America.

Just when we think this country is full of Kumbaya singers, universal proselytizers and everyone reading the same page on religion, we discover that people of faith, in essence… can’t friggin’ read!

Or if they can, their rote memory skills need some serious prayer, as seen in USA Today by the great Cathy Lynn Grossman.

The new U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, released today by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, finds that although 86% of us believe in God or a higher power, we don’t know our own traditions or those of neighbors across the street or across the globe.

There lies the rub. The words “God” and “Christian” are about as homogenized as anything on the dairy shelves. Any schmo with a lick of scruples and an inkling of interest in you know, not burning in a liquid furnace of lava, hell flames and demonic drones, says they believe in God.

And that, by proxy, makes them a “Christian.” Unfortunately, it means nothing to more than half of the people with that card in their pockets. More about that in a moment. First, the key findings from the 3,412 dolts surveyed who know nothing about religion:

Doctrines don’t grab us. Only 55% of Catholic respondents knew the core teaching that the bread and wine in the Mass become the body and blood of Christ, and are not merely symbols. Just 19% of Protestants knew the basic tenet that salvation is through faith alone, not actions as well.

Basic Bible eludes us. Just 55% of all respondents knew the Golden Rule isn’t one of the 10 Commandments; 45% could name all four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

World religions are a struggle. Fewer than half (47%) knew that the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist; 27% knew most people in Indonesia are Muslims.

This is a problem. You have to study for a drivers license, to pass a spelling test and to learn how to operate any one of your kids’ toys, but anyone can be a “Christian.”

There’s no connection to Christ, no relationship with the Lord and absolutely no personal zeal to tell people about why being a Christian is so important to them. And why? Because they aren’t one.

What would happen if God has a computerAnd that’s why them taking this test is stupid. Where’s the litmus test? Oh yeah, in the answers of this survey.

Moreover, it’s the who in the survey that’s more telling. It seems if you have an angst against this “God” guy everyone loves to follow like some hack on Twitter, you research the most about him to debate his sheep. Example A: Atheists and agnostics did the best on the survey with 20.9 correct.

There’s more than power in the blood of the Lamb, there’s a lot of ignorance too. Example B: Black Protestants only got 13.4 correct, second to last to… wait for it… Hispanic Catholics at 11.6 percent.

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God.’” (Matthew 4:4 NLT)

Sure, it’s nice to go to church and see your friends then go to Luby’s. But there is a world dying out there while some of us are busy taking surveys. What happened to the passion of learning God’s Word? How far have we departed from the Bible and into the country club known as “Church Lite”?

I suppose as long as there are surveys, we will continue to find out. Unfortunately for those of us who mean it when we follow… um, what’s his name again?


TV is changing the world, but is it changing the Church?

If you’re a football fan, you may have seen the megalopolis Jerry Jones erected in Arlington, Texas (outside of Dallas).

Some say it’s because God deserves a sanctuary that large to watch his favorite team. Others believe it’s some sort of obfuscated version of overcompensation. And then there’s that amazing video screen. Lord have mercy, it’s huge. And unfortunate.

Imagine sitting anywhere facing the sideline. Of course, you pay $400 for a glorified nosebleed seat and you are faced with two choices – watch a bunch of guys who look like ants on the field of green below or gaze upon the wonderment of a 159′ x 71′ TV screen. In HD, no less.

You bet you are watching the TV screen. Who wouldn’t?

You get back to your car and feel like you have lost five pounds. Your pants fit the same. You still look a little bloated in the cheek. And those $18 nachos you threw down your gullet didn’t help your GI tract. Then it dawns on you, with parking, eating and the seat costs, you are out close to $600… for watching TV. Think you’re going back after that epiphany? Me neither.

Considering that realization, I was reading the greatness of CNN Belief’s blog and found a nice opinion piece on a horse of a different color; yet, with the same flashy saddle - TV watching in church.

People listening to their pastor preach on Sunday morning may now ask a question that no one has ever asked before: Is this live or is this on tape delay? They are pastors like Rev. Ed Young, senior pastor of Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas. Young broadcast videos of his sermons from his “mother” church to other congregations in Texas and even one in Florida.

Beam me up, Scotty. With the rapid growth of churches these days, the need for TV screens is a must because there is always that one seat in the back behind a structure beam. Well that, or some oblivious woman with her “crown of glory.”

However the issue is with the satellite congregation. Ostensibly, they are watching church on TV. Sure, there’s a live worship team and the occasional assistant pastor edifying folk and making announcements but when the senior chieftain takes the stage, it’s showtime. The lights dim, the crowd quiets and on goes… the TV?

Has this become the pseudo-church? We all experience fellowship of a different ilk watching a game and grubbing down on BBQ fresh off the grill at a friend’s house. So why can’t this be the same? Simple – it’s not.

That power you experience from above is not the satellite

Church is not meant to be entertainment. It’s a hospital for the hurting, a refuge for those reduced to tears. Church can be a fun, a blast even, but when the saints go into screensaver mode instead of the monitor they are watching, we have an issue.

Geoff Surratt, author of “The Multi-site Church Revolution,” said at least 3,000 churches nationwide use some variation of high-def video to spread their pastor’s Sunday morning sermons. Some broadcast hologram images of pastors that float suspended in the air behind the pulpit, while others project images of ministers on large video screens. Some sermons are broadcast live, while others are pre-recorded.

Even worse, “pre-recorded” church. What’s stopping people from mailing it in from Netflix or peeping TBN and DayStar for church? Who needs a church building anyway when you have DVDs and iSermons, right?

The Bible clearly shows that if we have fellowship with God, then we should have fellowship with his people. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Facebook is fun but a little disengaging with all that poking going on. Twitter is great to follow other people’s conversations (even though most well-known Christ followers don’t follow back). However, what is so social about social media is that it has limits in its socialism.

Can’t the same be said about satellite churches? You are together in the company of believers, but then again, not so much. Everyone is watching the TV, separate from any attachment and once the TV turns off, they all go home. Just as if they hit the remote control.

And if you don’t believe me… didn’t the Word become flesh and dwell among us? It wasn’t transmitted in HD. You know, like a football game.

The P.C. Express continues in an concentrated effort to rid the world of a God that spoke his mind back in the day, had any sort of opinion of social issues or you know… could have a gender.

Forget the family. Make it one room fits all.

And to save space, the Scottish Church now has one bathroom

First, there was the “Genderless Bible,” which started the debate that Jesus died for all kind – not mankind, just all kind. Ridiculous. And now, we have the deranged actions of the Scottish Episcopal Church in which the slew of female priests are getting miffed about all the personal pronoun usage going one-sided when discussing God as a “he”.

The Telegraph (UK) discusses this new – and mildly defective – form of worship, which removes words such as “Lord, he, his, him” and “mankind” from services, has been written by the church in an attempt to acknowledge that God is “beyond human gender”.

The controversial changes were discussed at the church’s General Synod recently. The minutes of the synod reveal that female priests had asked why God was still referred to as a man. The altered version of the 1982 Liturgy sees masculine pronouns removed when they refer to God and the new approach has even been extended to humans. For example, the word “mankind” has been taken out and replaced with “world”.

Man. Woman. Pat from SNL?

I suppose Pat moonlights in Scotland as a priest.

Seriously?! This milquetoasting of the Scriptures is allowed to exist. I get a slew of politicians doing their best not to upset their constituents, but to have this bastardization of deity to exist within the walls of the Church is appalling. It’s heresy.

And guess what female priests of Scotland? This is going to put quite an increase in his testosterone. There’s more…

Direct quotations from the Bible have been spared change, because of a reluctance to interfere with the word of God. However, the blessing at the end of services has been changed by some ministers from “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” to “Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier”.You know, I once heard that if someone performs a task, they liked to be thanked for it. Tsk. Tsk.

“The changing of God language is a little tricky,” admitted Rev Darren McFarland, convener of the church’s liturgy committee. “We are not saying God is not masculine. God is also feminine. The problem is trying to use human language to describe the indescribable.

What’s interesting is he could be right… but I am fairly certain they are not that smart to be this mischievous. The Hebrew and Christian scriptures have  traces of maternal imagery that have not been overridden by the patriarchs. This includes breast and nursing imagery, of which even the title of God used in Exodus 6:2-3.

Did you know (because I know these old sods didn’t) that El Shaddai is traditionally interpreted as the Almighty, but may be interpreted as the Many Breasted One from the Hebrew word shad, meaning breast, instead of using the Akkadian word shadu meaning mountain.

See, how can God send his son here to be touched with all of our feelings, if men and women feel differently?

Maybe, because HIS characteristics are to fully understand both men and women. We are made in HIS image, after all… or should we redefine that one as well?