Archive for July, 2010

Courtesy: SomethingPositive.net

Acclaimed vampire author and official nocturnal lady, Anne Rice, has denounced her relationship with Christianity via CNN.

Yeah, she was a solider. She hung up her bat wings and affinity for Nosferatu to write about cherubs and “Christ the Lord.” (And it was a nice read.) Alas, things went awry along the way, but what? Rice seemed dedicated to writing about God.

She even penned an autobiography about being “Called out of the Darkness.” So, what gives? The dimwitted “Twilight” and “Trublood” rage call her back to her enigmatic roots?

Before folk get all up in a huff about this announcement not on her website but via Facebook of all things, remember she is an author – a brilliant one. Read the words, not the sentiment:

For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today, I quit being a Christian. I remain committed to Christ as always, but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to belong to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious and deserved infamous group. For 10 years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. My conscience will allow nothing else.

While this is a sad commentary about one’s faith in Jesus regardless of the source, look a little deeper and I believe you will see a trend – an all-too-familiar one to those in the Church who demand more out of God’s children in the face of a world that is beginning to demand less out of God.

Rice apparently wasn’t done explaining her vitriol and basing her discussion, so back on Facebook she updates her status:

My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me, but following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been or might become.

And there’s the rub. God’s children. Again.

Do you understand the shape the Church is in, and how many people warming pews could give a crap less about its bastardized geometry?!

While preachers are gallivanting across Rome with alleged, elicit trysts, butchering the Family Feud in the pulpit and esteemed ministry leaders using the Word of God to jetset and look like ‘Big Pimpin’, the rest of the Church are left to do one of three things without no one caring:

  1. Despite the headlines, the rumors and the glaring facts, continue to press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14 NIV).
  2. Lump the entire Church into one toxic, smoldering pond and figure everyone is the same because of the freaks we see plastered on the Wall (this one namely)
  3. Live like most newly converted Christians with an unnerving testimony or appearance – sit in the back of church, folk point at you and you walk out the back door without no one knowing you left… that is, until you update your Facebook page that Christians suck.

This was the plight of Anne Rice and so, so many more Christians who happen to have one too many body piercings, or have slept with one too many people, or have had one too many abortions, or been to prison for one too many years. In other words, there are one too many people the Church allows to slip right through its pretentious fingers because they don’t add up to what is considered the status quo.

Christians are sheep for a reason

Think about it. We are sheep for a reason.

Just because you meet someone who acts like they have been in the Lord’s way for decades, doesn’t mean you should act that way. Because consider the source… he been in the Lord’s WAY. God can’t do anything through that fool, so find another role model. Try the Bible, not the lectern at [insert a maligned megachurch pastor here] church.

Tell me. Did Jesus sacrifice his entire life for folk that look like the Waltons? The Cleavers? The Munsters? The idiots on Jersey Shore? The answer is yes!

Regardless of your Beverly Hillbillies baggage you bring to God, he accepts you. Despite your brash and offensive expressions, God loves you. And no matter of the amount of black you wear, cloves you smoke and cuss words you dish, Jesus is still there with arms wide open.

Here’s the catch: THEY CAN’T SEE THAT UNLESS YOU TROGLODYTE TWITS DO IT!

Jesus needs all Christians to act like, well, Christ! If needed a fashion police, Mr. TBN Big Shot, believe me, he would hire one. If he wanted someone to hurl the condemnatory Pentecostal finger in someone’s face, trust me, he would give you one first for making a child of his feel like trash.

How many Anne Rices have walked in the front door of the Church waiting for the love of God to envelop them, but instead some shady, ne’er-do-well usher with an utter disregard for the aforementioned agape judges one of these newly crowned saints, looks at him or her through the bottom of that flat, fat nose of his, forces the saint to sit in the back of this monolithic church in shame, and out the back door they leave never to be heard from again?

So, there’s a lot of hype and ballyhoo over Anne Rice “leaving” Christianity, but I contend she was never there in the first place. Largely, thanks to the Body of Christ that never loved on her in the first place.

Sound like anyone you know? Of course not, because most of us don’t know those people were ever there. And if you do have the fortune of meeting them, get to know them. You never know when one of them could write a blog, blast anyone who makes his Daddy in heaven look stupid and puts all charlatans on notice.

Just sayin’

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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!

It was only a matter of time… and that lasted all of a few hours before both Benny Hinn and Paula White denounced the National Enquirer story about those two practicing confidentiality in a confessional and brushing it off as “We just friends.”

Benny Hinn and faith healing

Would be cool if these were outside a Benny Hinn crusade though?

First, let’s take Brother Benny from his website. Wait… I’m sorry? You say he took the response down from his site? Oh, that’s a shame! It’s almost as if he wants us to forget how he dropped the monogrammed Nehru for an open-collared, silk button down freshly exposing his tuft of love and gold chains.

Come on, man! It’s the Internet:

The publication, which is known for its bias against religious figures, misleads readers regarding the ministerial friendship I have had with Paula White for over 20 years… Although I had not seen her for years, she was an encouragement to me and shared helpful advice out of her own painful experience. As a result, I will not deny that the friendship has strengthened, and, while it has remained morally pure at all times, I have enjoyed the company of someone who has also gone through the trauma of a painful and public divorce.

Let’s break this down the preacher-speak for the kids scoring at home:

  1. “The ministerial friendship.” So, let me just tell you that had it not been for TBN, I wouldn’t have dropped two bits of government cheese on her plate. Since she is in my ilk, I’ll let her hang with me.
  2. “While it has remained morally pure at all times.” She’s not my type. I likes my women chubby and really dumb (Exhibit A here). And Paula is nowhere close to being chubby (Exhibit B here).
  3. “The trauma of a painful and public divorce.” Let’s not let the smooth taste fool you, brother. Public, yes. She wanted it that way. Painful, not so much. She dumped Randy’s behind for life coaching. And while he was sick.

And for more from Brother Benny:

And so I am writing to tell you today that I forcefully, categorically, and absolutely renounce the lies that have been spread about me and want to set the record straight with you. There is nothing inappropriate or morally improper about my friendship with Paula White… Paula and I also recognize that being seen in such settings is unwise, and we have independently determined that we will have no further social relationship until such time as my divorce has concluded and only if we feel direction from the Lord to do so.

  1. “Forcefully, categorically and absolutely.” I love it when people put strong superlatives in a written statement, as if the oafs like me who read will put any different tense on the poppycock we are reading. “Oh, he said categorically. I guess I need to grit my teeth.”
  2. “Being seen in such settings is unwise.” You mean, in public, holding hands? Then yes, you’re right. That spirit of discernment is strong.
  3. “We have independently determined that we will have no further social relationship.” Don’t let the scrupulous masses who want more out of their preachers than shady Roman getaways get in your way. You are your own people as you can ‘independently determine’ to do anything. You know, like post statements of apoplexy on the same day, around the same hour. Tell me, do you make a sound when you back up that fast? BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.
See Paula White's defintion of marriage

I always tell women, "Till death do us... oh, nevermind!"

Now that we have discussed slapping someone’s weave, Sister Paula, what say you?

The National Enquirer released the misguided and untruthful article, which falsely characterized my friendship with Pastor Benny as being something that is morally and spiritually inappropriate. The article goes on to suggest that we were having an improper intimate relationship, which is categorically false… As someone who also endured a painful and public divorce, I was able to offer him insight and spiritual encouragement.

  1. “My friendship… intimate relationship.” If they ‘falsely characterized’ your friendship, then saying they ‘suggested an intimate relationship’ goes without saying. But hey, thanks for saying it anyway.
  2. “Painful and public divorce”. Hmmm… where have I have ‘independently determined’ that I heard that before?!

Next?

I publicly profess and forcefully renounce assertions that the recent trip to Italy to meet with Vatican officials suggests that the friendship is in any way improper or morally impure. We traveled independently to the region for respective ministry duties and, while there, spent time together along with others. We were never alone and were in the constant company of staff and other associates.

  1. “Publicly profess and forcefully renounce.” Seriously? Speak simple. You want to sound smart? How about “Brevity is the soul of wit”? A guy named Shakespeare said that. Just sayin’.
  2. “To meet with Vatican officials.” Um, Benny Hinn? I can believe that. In fact, I have no problem believing that. The dude holds global crusades everywhere! Paula White on the other hand? The lady who has a hard time debating a theologian about real biblical issues goes to the Vatican at the Pope’s behest?! Pat, I’d like to buy a clue please.

Anyone can lie about the Word of God. Anyone. To most who don’t read their Bible faithfully (and regretfully), the Scriptures become subjective. In fact, people have become so detached from the Bible that they live vicariously through faith… and through their pastor.

For them, anyone saying “Touch not mine anointed” will cause people to scurry. However, if you read the second part of that verse, “or cause my prophets any harm.”

Here’s the thing: We – the bloggers and journalists that expect way too much out of those manning a pulpit – are not causing them any harm. Their actions do it. Their mouths do it. Their “independent determinations” do it.

This blog was birthed on the premise of the Church needing to read the “writing on the wall.” And if you want more voices to echo that sentiment, may I introduce you to the “Another Brick in the Wall,” “The Acme Arena” and “WOW News” contributors.

There would not be sentinels screaming in the darkness if there were not shady people doing shady things in the name of God. May the ones full of light shine bright, dear Lord Jesus. And may the ones who are just shady stay in the dark. Too many people are hurting because of clandestine preachers who think they can get away with anything.

Those times need to stop. And if you don’t believe me, ask the cracked crew at the National Enquirer. Believe me, there are more of us than you think. How’s that for categorical weave slapping?

BREAKING NEWS 07/27: Benny and Paula respond via website to this story.

BREAKING NEWS 08/15: Benny Hinn admits to an elicit “friendship”?! Enjoy.

Once upon a time, there were two well-known preachers found anywhere on Christian TV.

The first, a rococo guy from out of town who had a flair for the garish and flamboyant in terms of preaching and healing. The second, a confused, opprobrious white girl twice-removed from a trailer park who perfected a panache for ministering to those she considered ‘like-minded’.

Both were married and enjoying making a living on the backs of Christians in need. Life was good. A lot of television. A skosh of megalomania. And egos the size of Solomon’s Temple.

They couldn’t be touched… until their reality check bounced and both were divorced.

He was stunned that this woman that he had grown to adore and tolerate would ever leave him and his Nehru suits. He was internationally regaled, the TBN poster boy and was constantly in the headlines thanks to swindling the IRS out of its cash. What’s not to love?

In fact, he was so perturbed that his betrothed of 30 years would hit the bricks that he made a public plea for understanding, which is so unlike him anyway.

Her story is a little different in that while she was plying her craft to women with “weaves, government cheese and jheri curls” (three words you can hear in any message she delivers), her Camelot was crumbling as the church was very much in debt, her son was following in mom’s footsteps offending intelligent black folk and her husband just didn’t get her act anymore.

Then, word comes out that she is gallivanting around the chitlin’ circuit with a man who truly understands her – Rick Hawkins.  This self-appointed ‘Bishop’ from San Antonio, Texas whoops and hollers just like her and just to a crowd that they are so not like.

They get each other. They find rest in each other. They dig each other… until … (the video is great):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Both preachers were wandering on TBN and Daystar aimlessly in need of a connection. Not the one they daftly exploit with Jesus Christ. No, I mean one of a worldly sense.

And now, reports are they found one… in each other’s arms. Yeech!

Thanks to the (are you ready) the National Enquirer, we find Benny Hinn and Paula White are rumored to be dating! What the what?!

Benny Hinn and Paula White having a love affair?

(Courtesy: National Enquirer)

Hurting. Jaded. And alone. These two dolts find a way to seek God while traipsing off to Rome and playing ‘laying on of hands ministry’?! Seriously? So says the gossip rag:

In a shocking revelation sure to rock millions in the Christian community Hinn,57, recently sneaked off to a romantic Roman holiday in the Eternal City – with another beautiful blonde evangelist!

Well, tap the brakes on the “beautiful” but I get the point.

It’s a proven fact that people in similar industries discover love only there. Be it police officers, lawyers or media types, the intermingling there goes well beyond the water cooler. And now, add to the mix fraudulent preachers?

Let’s keep it classy, gang. America is watching okay?

Now before you go off and tell your pastor of the smut I am extolling, I understand this is the same publication that prides itself on pictures of celeb bumps and stretch marks. However, it is also the sleazy publication that broke a few things you may regard as “news”.

The National Enquirer discovered that Rev. Jesse Jackson had an illegitimate child, that Rush Limbaugh had a painkiller addiction, and most recently that Tiger Woods was having an affair or two. And oh yeah, John Edwards and his love child? Yeah, they broke that too.

So, spare your world the drama of “Oooooo, God’s gonna get him” and stop to consider what if this is legitimate?

Is it so difficult to imagine that two ignominious messengers of God would feel that they are like a castoff from Survivor, banished from the island of all things televangelical, and have no one to preach at that would understand?

Surely, they would call each other and discuss how they are both being investigated for IRS fraud by the government and both have been dumped by their spouse. There’s a common bond there, no?

One thing leads to another and Paula places her “life coaching” on hold to fly around the world with Benny and his sexy coifed hairdo. She needs his attention being twice-scorned herself (and still recuperating from Pastor Handsy noted in the aforementioned video). Benny is an agape wound and Paula’s presence is the Hello Kitty band-aid he so desperately needs.

I’m getting misty just thinking about it.

And before you cast this off without a respected source, The Toronto Star is covering it as well.

Neither Hinn nor White could be reached for comment Friday.

That’s an attempt to uncover a source. As Another Brick on the Wall, Get Religion notes: “There’s a big difference in most people’s minds over ‘reports suggest’ and ‘the National Enquirer reports.'”

Yes, there is. So as many of my beloved colleaguessuggest” better than most, I’ll keep watching the Enquirer’s report until a more respected source follows suit.

Odds are they will be reporting to Benny and Paula “This Ain’t Your Day” again.

Some churches have realized what TBN declared a long, long time ago – let’s just make Christianity one big clique and only talk to other Jesus thinking folk.

I suppose that way, they know they won’t have to roll up their sleeves, get caught up in a biblical debate and won’t get any of that sinner schmutz on their shoes.

A message for all militant Christians

Just Sayin

Such is life for the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., which is the same church that got in trouble for posting a “No Homo Mayor” sign against an openly gay mayoral candidate.

Keeping it classy!

Yep, this is a church whose touchy-feely approach to witnessing has propelled them in headlines because of the huge ‘Islam is of the devil’ sign in their front yard. And to further the conversation of most loving church ever, the pastor, Terry Jones, has a book with the same name.

Theological opinions aside, I’m going to go out on a limb and presume this is not how to change lives and influence people for Jesus.

Anywhoo, this same church has increased their affinity for local Muslims over their plans to host the International Burn a Koran [sic] Day, according to WOW News’ Pew Forum.

We feel, as Christians, one of our jobs is to warn,” said Jones. The goal of these and other protests are to give Muslims an opportunity to convert, he said. In response to the posting of the event on Facebook a little more than a week ago, Jones said that people have been mailing Qurans to the church to burn. He said organizers got the idea, in part, from another Facebook page, called “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.”

To warn? Seriously? That’s our number one calling in life. And even if it was, pastor, what Muslim is going to listen to that “warning”?! Name one… I’ll wait.

No one – Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, et al – wants to be classified as a borderline Satanist. There’s no warning there. That’s antagonism. And then to burn their holy writ? What is this, a filming of “Footloose“?!

Where’s the warning and love of God in that? It’s not there, and although the flame consumption is a skosh prophetic, what affect do you really think you are having on the Body of Christ or the population of heaven with this marshmallow roast? Because the answer is zero.

You are a twit and you’re setting the entire Church look like troglodytes, Pastor Jones.

Don’t believe me? Watch what happens the next time I witness to a Muslim. “So, would you burn my book?” Instead of a chance to pierce someone’s soul with the life-changing word of God, we have to do triage PR because of this dolt’s stunt

Imagine if some Imam were to have a fish-fry with a few dozen Bibles, and then thought to witness to Christians passing by about the love of Muhammad. Who in their right Jesus-loving mind would listen to that guy without pummeling him in the name of God first?

Answer: No one. Which is about how many people this will reach for the benefit of the kingdom.

Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

One way to heaven, as we can see. Unfortunately, this pastor hasn’t figured out how to drive any one there or even give directions. Pity.