Archive for August 25, 2008

I have often imagined what a moment in time with Billy Graham would be like.

I know both of his publicists, as well as several folk that has spent many hours with this great man, but I am usually the one with an e-mail or driving the car.

So, I will just have to utilize those memories as my muse for now. In doing so, after reading this story in Christianity Today – the latest in the Billy Graham big screen movie debut series – I am sitting back, laughing out loud and envisioning what Thanksgiving 2008 at Billy Graham’s house will be like.

You see, this farce of a film that was reportedly produced without the historic evangelist’s consent and features a bit actor from shows soon to be released on Lifetime and Cartoon Network, is now working on splitting up the family:

“I don’t want to say anything wrong about my brother, but I just don’t see it the way he does,” Gigi Graham, the oldest of Billy Graham’s five children, told Christianity Today. “Franklin called me and said he thought the movie was dorky. But I think it’s good and positive, and I think it honors the Lord and my mother and daddy.”

So there, Frankie! Why not just come out and say, “I know you are but what am I!” You see, this sibling rivalry does have a reason. Gigi is actually a consultant for the movie and doesn’t have beef with the movie. Franklin, on the other hand, could barbecue an entire brisket with the angst he has against this film. And although Billy has made no public statement, Franklin and one of his publicists have been quite verbose about the DVDer, movie.

[BGEA publicist Mark] DeMoss also noted a scene where young Billy faints at the hospital when he learns that wife, Ruth, had given birth to their first child, Gigi—when in fact, Billy had been preaching in Alabama at the time.

To which, Gigi retorts in that snarky “Daddy, he hurt my feelings by looking at me funny so go take away his XBOX or something” fashion:

“People need to remember that the movie is fiction based on fact,” Gigi Graham said. “Daddy was not at my birth, but who cares?” Gigi Graham, who has seen the movie about 10 times, said filmmakers were simply injecting some humor into the scene.

And the hits just keep on comin’. Wall watchers, get your popcorn ready because it seems the headlines on this film are much more exciting and melodramatic than the actual movie will be. Good times indeed.

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They got a divorce. They are no longer under the same roof, church or otherwise. They realized one spotlight wasn’t big enough for both of their egosTHEM, them is what I meant to say. They both have more plastic on their face than in their wallets. They still share the same last name (Hey, Vickie Winans has a career from using a former surname).

And now, they are both publicly backing a presidential candidate as seen in OneNewsNow.com. How sweet, still united after all these years.

Are you kidding me?

According to Federal Election Commission records, Paula White gave Obama’s campaign $2,300, while her husband donated $2,000 to Obama’s White House bid.

I guess not. Well, that’s nice. While you have a church that prides itself on being racially diverse, politically diverse is out the window, huh? Do you understand the great responsibility you have when you took the job as “pastor.”

You are to direct people in the ways of the Lord and endorse the Bible. If you fancy politics, join a freakin’ school board and get involved in your community. If you Democrat or Republican, so what. If you are either in the face of your church, shame on you.

The only issues you should be publicly advocate is what God says about anything. Get your church to vote, sure. But for whom? Who cares. That is your opinion, and the Bible should not be subject to what you opine. Pray for direction you two… for your way to the ballot box, that is. Otherwise you could be pummeled black and blue. Or at least you should be.

This is a post of a personal nature, but one that HiScrivener (hiscrivener@yahoo.com – some folk just don’t like posting comments) has received ample questions about, “Can a Christian enjoy MMA and still feel like that is a biblical thing to do?”

[Shout out to my man, Mike, who writes on a blog of a more serious nature but is a sterling MMA fan in his own right and is largely the impetus behind doing a post on this issue.]

In a word, Y.E.S.!

The Wall has chronicled a couple of posts on a terrible incident involving a former UFC champ and a lighthearted, jammin’ post on Jesus not tapping, but this is not a story in origin, rather from opinion (And a bricklaying shout out for MMAWarehouse.com on the pic.)

To the haters and legalists, do you enjoy those football games on Sundays after you race home from Sunday service? If you answer, yes to that, then riddle me this? What happens to end a play? Some 6’4″, 210 lb. dude yanks a flag out of the wide receiver’s back pocket? No, he hurls all his weight at the catcher and tackles him so hard he feels it the following week!

And what’s not that violent about that? How about the quarterback who gets hit so hard by an oncoming freight train known as a pass-rushing defensive end that he gets a concussion? All the while, you jump out of your seat, cheering and wailing at the top of your lungs (unlike you probably do in church) and possibly using your Bible as a coaster.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Cowboyser, football too. But I also fancy the friendly confines of the Octagon as well. And so what? Is this a sport Jesus would have watched? I don’t know, but then again, I don’t know how he would feel about most of the sports today. Heck, he seemed to be more of a wildlife kind of guy, so perhaps he would have spent his free time watching Animal Planet.

So… MMA? WWJD?

Isn’t that what this is all about? Some pastors run from this issue. Others embrace it and create men’s fellowship night around PPVs.

If these UFC combatants publicly exclaim a true faith in Jesus Christ (not the ubiquitous Grammy acceptance speech, “I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior, without whom this wouldn’t be possible. What, what.”), shouldn’t pastors laud them for proclaiming Jesus after a win and give UFC a chance?

No sport is perfect (save maybe Baseball, IMHO). After a bone-shattering tackle, there isn’t a quest to lay hands for a faith-healing, but there could be prayer on the field. And so, during an episode of “The Ultimate Fighter,” one may catch a few eff bombs being launched and others refraining from it because it’s not with his faith. This is not a Christian world, folks. We should just strive to be the image of Christ in this world for everyone to view, enjoy and want to emulate.

That said, why can’t I be a child of God and enjoy some raucous UFC? Serious christians like the aforementioned and great Matt Hughes and Quentin Jackson are highly visible and successful in the UFC. Isn’t that grounds to celebrate the free pub for Jesus in the sport, rather than turn up a nose and around your back on those that appreciate it?

It’s the bridge between the art of pugilism that used to be found in boxing and the melodrama scripted in wrestling. This is a sport that keeps it real, is sanctioned by each state its in, heavily monitored by referees who don’t allow anything to get out of hand, entertainment at its peak and oh yeah… every once in a while, if you are watching, Jesus is glorified.

Pastor, if you are toying with this, I DOUBLE-DOG-DARE YOU. I assure you it’s not hooliganism and thuggery. It’s sport, much like the games you watch on the weekends. People of all kinds watch it, salty language can happen and violence could ensue.

But wasn’t that Jesus dealt with back in his day as he walked the streets?

You would be amazed the viral marketing for your church, public invites of first-time guests and the fellowship men can have while huddled around a TV yelling for a kimora or a noma plata can be pretty exciting, and sanctified all at once. Not a bad way to spend an evening, eh?

Now back to the news.

Over the past few days, the Wall has chronicled one of the worst frauds in Christianity as Michael Guglielmucci – creator of the amazing song “Healed” and two-year combatant of an “aggressive cancer” – lied about the whole thing.

Now, the world knows why.

In an article in Australia’s Adelaide Now, we learn about a decade-long fight not with cancer, but with porn… and THAT’S why he created this lascivious legerdemain – to PAY FOR IT!

Mr Guglielmucci says the reason behind his fictitious cancer story was to hide his 16-year obsession with pornography. “For over 16 years I have struggled with an addition to adult pornography as a result of this secret life of sin my body would often breakdown… I’d report the cause of my symptoms simply as illnesses and I’ve thrown my life into a ministry for many years trying to compensate for my sin.”

Hey Michael, stay classy. You know, this just renders me speechless. And that’s saying something considered my knack for vociferousness and punditry.

He tells the world he has cancer, sings beloved worship but rakes in donations all in an effort to pay for three-minute webisodes and filthy chat. Are you serious? Now that’s a spiritual tug-of-war of the highest order. And now, because his spinal tap shows YELLOW, he has his parents – founders of the church in which he sang that song – talking first, cringing from a broken heart and a shattered story.

Sharonne and I witnessed these episodes and pained and wept over his suffering. Michael wrote the song Healer because he wanted God to set him free from his addiction but hid it behind the lie of a fabricated illness. Once he had started down this track he felt he couldn’t stop so he continued to act out this sickness, feeling he had gone too deep into the lie.

I can’t begin to tell you how much this is hurting us on the inside. A few weeks ago Mike had a dream of Jesus on the cross looking down on him saying, ‘the truth will set you free’ and so he decided to confess and bring everything out into the open.

Well, it’s out there all right. Even Guglielmucci has released a statement and granted an interview, and it’s not much better on the ears:

“This is who I am … I’m addicted to the stuff, it consumes my mind,” he said of pornography in his first interview on Today Tonight since the story was first revealed on AdelaideNow last week… “I’m sick and this is why I had to come up some sort of explanation of what was happening in my body.”

“I’ve been hiding who I am for so long. I can honestly say to you that the last two years have been hell for me physically, emotionally, but I never sat down and said … let’s try and fool the world.”

Guess what, slick. You did, and in the process, gave a middle finger to the faith of millions around the globe. People gave you their money, prayers, intercession… and oh yeah, more money. It was all in an effort to see God glorified and you healed. And for what? Your jollies? Why not just take your gi-tar and panhandle at the town square? At least then you aren’t messing with the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE, just yourself.

So, now you are stripped of preaching credentials with the Australian Christian Churches [Down under’s version of the Assemblies of God], brought shame and humiliation to your family’s church and STILL a porn addict. You may be good at writing worship, but a terrible gambler.

“I’m so sorry, not just for lying to my friends and my family even about a sickness, but I’m sorry for a life of saying I’m something I’m not … from this day on I’m telling the truth.”

That’s refreshing. Because I pretty much think you will HAVE TO in order to comply with the cops and the soon-to-come HUGE law suit coming to your front door. The saints will be paid back. The Church won’t let you back in a pulpit. And worship leaders everywhere are scrapping “Healer” from their playlists.

Your parents may be handling this on the up-and-up, but you Mike, are down-and-out. Get healed yourself. That’s the thing about the Church, they strongly believe in forgiveness. Who knows? Maybe that should be your next song.