Posts Tagged ‘identity’

I know ‘The Writing on the Wall” has carried a headline of shock value once or twice, but this is regretfully a direct quote.

I KNOW! Can you believe someone would have the unmitigated gall to utter a thought like that? Check the story from the U.K. Mail Online:

A South African pastor has provoked outrage after beginning a recent sermon with the claim that Jesus Christ was HIV-positive. Xola Skosana stunned his congregation in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha township with the bold statement, news of which then quickly spread across the country.

Pastor says Jesus had AIDS

What? Jesus was a hemophiliac too?

Keep it classy, Xola. Look, I understand the world is going political correct as some sort of etiquette class, and it seems being gay is trendy, but this is insane.

The Bible says something I think this twit just perverted:
Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. (Hebrews 4:14 – 16 MSG)
You get that, dude? He was tempted with everything, but that doesn’t mean he shacked up with some guy he met at an alternative bar wearing a Village People outfit.
Here’s his explanation. Well, kinda:
Of course, there’s no scientific evidence that Jesus had the HI virus in his bloodstream. The best gift we can give to people who are HIV-positive is to help de-stigmatise Aids and create an environment where they know God is not against them, he’s not ashamed of them.’
Let me get this right. I meet a guy who is suffering from crack addiction and want to witness to him about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Do I start the conversation with an ice breaker like, “Did you know Jesus had powder-stained lips and stole his disciples’ TVs for a quick fix of the base out back of Pilate’s temple? After all, that’s where most of the dregs hung out for the quality scraps.”
Uh, no! So why in the world would you testify to folk dealing with this treacherous disease – some of which got through other circumstances other than the obvious – with Jesus had AIDS?!
Unless you are anointed with CSI superpowers, I would recommend shutting your pie hole and stick with the Beatitudes. Just a thought.

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.

Can you blame this church for calling a spade, a spade. Or better yet, the Church, a haven for a bunch of self-righteous jerks? Not me.

And apparently neither can Christ Covenant Church in Beaumont, Texas – the transparent refuge for a bunch of tools. Well, watch the video. You’ll understand:

Yes. WAY!

For centuries, the Church (yours, mine, just about everyone’s) has been under the collective microscope of every person outside of salvation. And why? The answer is as simple, as it is complex.

Think “The Great Commission.” Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20 ESV)

The problem with this – and Jesus knew it when he put it into motion – is that evangelism is a sales job. We are promoting a better life with Christ Almighty. And the only the runaway sheep can find the shepherd is to follow him… and like-minded sheep.

Remember, sheep follow. And since they can’t physically see Christ, they have to go with the next best thing: Christ followers.

So, what happens if said Christ followers are – shall we say – “a bunch of jerks”? My guess is atheism will go through the roof… oh, would you look at that? It is! And it’s all our fault.

Yes, when Jesus said “Go therefore”, he knew very well what it was there for, only he wanted us to get out of the way. We didn’t, and that’s why thought-provoking churches like this one in Beaumont, Texas are calling us all out.

“Jerks.” Well, we’ve been called a lot worse. Now, we need to fix it and the church’s lead minister has a nice idea.

“How do we tell this community that we want to be different? This is like our mea culpa. We know we’ve failed,” said Chris Beard, the church’s lead minister.

I know. I know. Some of you are too sanctimonious to have this junior-section, Affliction-wearing t-shirt guy speak for you, but unless the lost realize the fraudulent televangelists, the hypocritical pastors, the two-faced Christians out there (and you know who you are) do not speak for us, then evangelism will continue to be a difficult proposition these days.

After all, what is the number one cause for atheism and cynicism these days? Christians. Well, the jerks.

 

A look inside of the Crystal Cathedral

File Chapter 11 and this is what a church probably looks like, from the inside out

News hailing from the Orange County Weekly and Reuters reports what we only knew was just a fleeting moment away: the nation’s first megachurch, the Crystal Cathedral, has filed Chapter 11.

Crystal Cathedral Ministries, founded by Dr. Robert Schuller, best known for its weekly “Hour of Power” television program that it claims has 20 million viewers, listed assets and debts of between $50 million and $100 million each, according to documents filed on Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana, California. Its largest creditors include several U.S. television stations.

What began as a sticky family divorce is now a nasty separation of church and state. Pity.

This is a guy who created more than a trend; he established the genesis of the modern church – run like a business, looks like a corporation and “feels” like a church. Oh yeah, that one.

There is a microcosm forming here, only I wish more megachurch pastors would pay attention the tsunami it is creating. I’ve thought about it, and typed as much for years, but I will cite a source from the OC Weekly instead:

Maybe if Schuller had ditched the endless tours and paid more attention to his church, the Crystal Cathedral wouldn’t be in this situation today. Or maybe he understood that it’s Christ’s message that’s more important, not so much paying bills on time.

MEMO to the Elder Schuller: You know, if  you weren’t kicking your son out of the pulpit, making your church into an Amway convention, skipping town on your bills and deciding the only way to save the place is give those same tired motivational messages (instead of sticking to the power of the Gospel that got you there in the first place), perhaps you would still have a church.

However, there you are blaming the recession or whatever else sounds biblical in the face of a tragic decline in giving and church participation. Take it from all the talking heads on the national networks. These are the days of a persnickety shopper. If you don’t give them a reason to invest their money, they won’t.

Moral of the story? The secondary opportunities that come up as a result of your ministry are just that – secondary.

Tend to the greater vision at hand and all those other things will happen. Don’t worry about sheering out a TBN contract when you should have been tending to your flock. Oh, and your family.

This artist needs to be looking for a plague

Have you ever seen uber-offensive pieces of “art” that completely demeans Christ, and you can’t do a thing about it?

Don’t get me wrong, they are pieces of something but you still can’t bury them.

There are pictures like this mess – not done in fun, not meant to make people think, not intended for the greater good.

These things are done to give the Church a finger and shroud it in art, which is federally protected by the Constitution. I KNOW!

Well, meet one docile lady from Colorado who wasn’t interested in waiting on the vengeance of the Lord.

A woman who used a crowbar to attack an artwork hanging in a Fort Collins, Colorado gallery that allegedly shows Jesus engaged in a sex act told police she drove the 690 miles from her home town in Montana to specifically damage the artwork, The Denver Post reported.

Call it vandalism. Call it criminal. I call it commitment!

690 miles. The woman knew about this “art”, knew nothing was being done and decide to practice some laying on of hands. (You go girl… shhh!)

Kathleen Lorie Folden, 56, targeted “The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals” for religious reasons, according to the arrest affidavit, released Thursday.

Seriously? Well, for her efforts to rid the earth of filth, Folden was arrested by Loveland police Wednesday afternoon at the Loveland Museum/Gallery, faces a felony charge of criminal mischief and a fine of up to $2,000.

You think she was bent out of shape about this mess? Meh.

As she left jail, she declined questions but told reporters, “Just remember, God is real.”
Yes, he is. Praise the Lord. Now while I don’t advocate walking into an “art” gallery and shredding the paint with a crowbar, I do understand. And, would be so inclined to help post bail. You know, just sayin’.