Posts Tagged ‘stereotype’

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.

This is a story with the happiest ending of all.

Once upon a time there was a man named Jesus who came to this jacked-up place to sacrifice his life for mankind.

You see, his Daddy determined a perfect sacrifice is what was necessary to redeem the lives of the rest of us. So, there he was. Resting on the cross, burdened with the sins of every nasty person on earth, asked by the masses, “How much do you love us?”

And he opened his arms t…h…i…s much… and he died.

It was a gift to all of us, but like with any coupon, you have to redeem it in order to reap the rewards. You know, that implies a choice. As in, a choice all of us have to make in order to experience what happened those more than 2,000 years ago.

Fast forward to today and we meet a boy named Barack who completely lied through his grape Kool-Aid stained lips and pearly whites to every child of God he met in order to win their vote. He told them he would go to church for a vote. And that he would talk about Jesus for a vote.

But… not so much. Just ask him, like this chic did.

Seriously. Anyone catch that dazzling epiphany?

I am a Christian by choice,” Obama began, standing beneath a blazing sun, when asked why he is a Christian. “I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead,” Obama said.

“Being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. Treating others as they would treat me. And I think also understanding that, you know, that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility that we all have to have as human beings.”

Man, that’s deep. He may be calling on Jesus, but I call B.S.

Doesn’t he understand this didn’t fool a soul?! He is a Christian… wait for it… by choice. Oh. Oh. Wait. One other thing. He is also subject to… wait for it… by the forces of gravity.

Yes, sports fans. As much as Barack Obama is compared to the Messiah, he really can’t walk on water, doesn’t encounter stigmata or get offended when folk cuss using his name. Yet when confronted by a mild-mannered victims of his romancing swoons of deceit regarding his faith, he issues two half-baked verses and connected them to some universal thought that would make Carlton Pearson shout for joy.

“This is a country that is still predominantly Christian, but we have Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists” and others, he said, adding that “their own path to grace is one that we have to revere and respect as much as our own, and that is part of what makes this country what it is.

Country? Yes. Kingdom of God… you know, heaven? No way.

Someone needs to get a memo to our betrothed president and let him know that Jesus Christ is not a politician. In fact, he could care less. So while Barack Obama is wailing on and on about how folk in this country are singing Kumbaya, he still isn’t any closer to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ unless he stops farting around and gets real.

Choose that… then you’re a Christian. And not one second sooner. That’s no story, Mr. President. That’s real life. Brother.

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!

BP's huge oil spill is about to hit land across the entire Gulf of Mexico

Something wicked this way comes

The Gulf of Mexico is murky, toxic and is literally a sea of despair. The video is harrowing. The threat to the environment, ecosystem and the seafood industry is alarming.

And yet, the silence from the Church on this travesty is deafening!

Why?

Aren’t we to be stewards over this planet? Do we not have dominion over the fish of the sea? Should we not protect the gifts God Almighty has bestowed upon us?

Then why does it seem the Church could care less about the tragic state of affairs in the Gulf of Mexico? As long as it doesn’t affect church attendance on Sunday, you’re cool?

This is far from a “liberal rant,” but rather as a child of God disgusted by his siblings when someone has just whizzed all over the gift Daddy bought me. Make no mistake – that is precisely what BP is doing as long as that spicket can’t get corked 30,000 leagues under the sea.

If you need any tug at your heart, consider these numbers, thanks to Newsweek:

  • 400 different species are being threatened by the oil
  • 7,000 square miles of federal fishing area has been closed because of the spill
  • $14 billion is the price tag of BP’s oil spill… so far
  • 3.5 million gallons of crude oil has been spilled in the Gulf. Helllloooo Exxon Valdez.

And none of that creates a prayer group, a vocal televangelist or even a reporter knocking on the door of any random pastor? Stunning.

An ichthus, a fish for Christ can swim in this oil and make a difference

It's time for us to swim upstream and make a difference

If anyone should be advocating the newly formed “Gulf Aid,” it should be the Body of Christ. We should be first in line to donate resources, offer time and pray for the near $1.6 billion in economy that has stopped to a grinding halt due to this mess. No deep horizons for those small business owners.

Seafood trade – done. Gulf restoration – back to the drawing board. Safety for the ecosystem – not a chance.

Hey, Church? Want a mission field? How’s the gulf sound right about now? You could send a team of volunteers to serve in the Gulf, do your part and help restore a broke, busted and disgusted economic system down there.

Listen, pastor of the Generic Church Assembly. I understand you are all bunched up about the immigration policies in Arizona, the health careless plan of Barack Obama and whatever else your cronies are babbling about around the water cooler, but this should matter to you and your congregation.

Why? Other than the aforementioned reasons rooted in theology, did you know Earth Day was actually not created by the far leaning left, but rather has a little to do with some right standing Pentecostal folks? In other words, God cares about this place so we should too!

Just think… five years after the worst natural disaster leveled the Gulf; the worst environmental disaster is about to topple that distinction. Meanwhile, can’t we at least pray for God’s hand to bring about healing and restoration here?

I challenge you to challenge your pastor about this issue. Folks, we need to pray. We need to take that dominion out for a spin and see what it can do.

And if that’s not enough, we need to do something. At least, that’s what the world would not expect.

I would love to disappoint them. Namely in this case.

P.S. If you know anyone in your church that was chanting, “Drill Baby Drill” during the last election. I would recommend a suggestion for you to said tool, “Go Clean Baby Clean.”

Once again, HiScrivener’s “Legal Prejudice” theory strikes gold with yet another example of how no one gives a flip about offending the Body of Christ. Shoot, stray dogs get more respect and advocacy than Christians do these days.

Jesus Christ in his own talk show on South Park

WWJI? "Who Would Jesus Interview?!"

Exhibit A: The crack pipe smoking crew at Comedy Central… and I used to love this channel, so this pains me.

A couple of weeks ago, the makers of South Park (never seen an episode; don’t care to do so) created quite a kerfuffle when they depicted a search for the Prophet Muhammad. As you can imagine, the Nation of Islam were shouting “Allahu Akbar” to anyone with a fancy title at the network.

According to the New York Times, South Park received a “death prediction” because it’s a huge no-no to have Muhammad on anything except Muslim approved propagandaer, materials.

Now, these are guys on South Park that have very little scruples. Bashing religion is open season over there, but this “prediction” got up their dander.

“After we delivered the show, and prior to broadcast, Comedy Central placed numerous additional audio bleeps throughout the episode,” the message said. It added that the network was not allowing the episode to be streamed on the Web site, where “South Park” shows generally appear after they are broadcast on Comedy Central.

Muhammad wasn’t removed, but his likeness was. A small victory… and so, they have found someone bigger to pick on at the repugnant network. Jesus Christ. In fact, not just for an insulting cameo appearance, but an entire near-sacrilegious show.

According to the Huffington Post, we see Comedy Central is far from done and ostracizing the Body of Christ:

Comedy Central said Thursday that it has a cartoon series about Jesus Christ in the works. “JC” is one of 23 potential series the network said it has in development. It depicts Christ as a “regular guy” who moves to New York to “escape his father’s enormous shadow.”

Although “JC” has been a reoccurring theme in South Park, the fun and yuks will continue if this gets approved as ‘God’ is presented as an apathetic man who would rather play video games than listen to his son talk about his new life. Yeah, because that’s friggin’ hilarious!

And once again, the ONLY God-fearing individual who is saying anything is William Donahue, president of Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights. (And before you complain about what he is – or is not – saying about the outrageous travesty inside the Catholic Church… have you spoke out against this mess. No? Then, moving on…)

“It’s not certain what is more despicable: the nonstop Christian bashing featured on the network, or Comedy Central’s decision to censor all depictions of Muhammad,” he said in the aforementioned link.

Now while the overreaction of death threats is way out of line and nowhere near indicative of what true Islam resembles, I understand the angst and have been waiting… and waiting… and waiting for these high-powered TBN preachers to do something about this. Alas, nothing has happened unless Jan and Paul Crouch are planning on a call drive to Comedy Central in the near future.

No? Moving on again…

So, in an effort to prevent the presumed sandstorm of Christian acrimony, we have this tepid explanation from Comedy Central:

“In general, comedy in its purest form always makes some people uncomfortable,” said Comedy Central head of original programming Kent Alterman.

I get it: The real stuff is always the funny stuff. But there is a line that is not so blurred to some of us who actually rever Christ, holmes.

Comedy Central has crossed that ubiquitous line and the Body of Christ has yet to defend it. Muslims fight for their deity. Scientologists fight each other for theirs. Christians? We just whisper after church at Luby’s and “pray for people to do it for us.”

Here goes nothing: two addresses and please, I’m not asking for chain letters, but forward this on to folk and DO SOMETHING!

  • Tony Fox, corporate communications executive vice president of Comedy Central, can be reached at (212) 767-8746 or tony.fox@comedycentral.com.
  • Doug Herzog, president of Comedy Central, can be reached at (310) 407-4790 or doug.herzog@comedycentral.com.

And when you reply, be sure to let them both know that while the network calls this ballyhoo “comedy”, we – as a united body of believers – will work to make you and your sponsors uncomfortable.

Anyone with me? God, I pray so.