Posts Tagged ‘denominations’

Continuing the visual motif this week, it’s no secret my proclivity for bad Christian marketing.

From pop culture design to denominations, technology to terrible tactics for ministries, we have covered it all… with um, rotten tomatoes and sour grapes.

There are some really bad ideas out there in Christendom. As we have tagged before, it’s shameful that the Church seems to be the bevy of stolen… er, borrowed ideas.

Whether it’s a pastor’s sermon, “CSI: Christ Scene Investigation” or a cheeseball T-shirt swiping a popular logo and “Christifying” it, like “Jesus Christ: He’s the real thing,” real Jesus followers demand more. (And yes, I am considering coining that phrase.)

We follow a guy that had the idea to create the world in six days… and his children can’t do better than that?! I think they can, and have advocated that many times in my fare burgh.

Then I saw this brilliant post on Acme Arena’s Defending. Contending. Aside from the fact it just confirms my albeit jaded thinking, I haven’t stopped laughing about this mess.

Below are some of my personal favorites, but please click on the link and enjoy:

Choo-choo-soul for Christ?

Choo-choo-soul for Christ?

I think the BarackStar will claim copyright infringement

I think the BarackStar will claim copyright infringement

And I just got cross eyed looking at this shirt. Pray for me?

And I just got cross eyed looking at this shirt. Pray for me?

So, if I'm at a loss in the office, can I pray for "Staples"? Anyone?

So, if I'm at a loss in the office, can I pray for "Staples"? Anyone?

And Jesus is my (Patrick) Star too!

And Jesus is my (Patrick) Star too!

This shirt makes me wanna' fling poo as well.

This shirt makes me wanna' fling poo as well.

No child predators there, right?

No child predators there, right?

Does Jesus fart in his car too?

Does Jesus fart in his car too?

Take that, Jordan!

Take that, Jordan!

It’s no secret that folk get uncomfortable when a pastor preaches for the altar call.

I mean, people get all squirmy thinking about the night before at the club and conviction besets paranoia with thoughts like, “I just know Pastor saw me there last night” and “God probably told him I was there.”

Whatever the cause, the effect is people flocking to the stage to get their lives right with Christ. Good times, right?

Funny. I don't see many 'happy' satanists or atheists. Hrm.

Funny. I don't many happy satanists or atheists. Hrm.

Well, not so much according to a recent Pew poll that folk just don’t believe in hell like they used to do.

Only 59% of Americans believe in hell, compared with 74% who believe in heaven, according to the recent surveys from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

That makes sense. Believing in heaven despite a relationship with Christ means you may still get to hang out by the Pearly Gates. No sweat, so back to the crack house you go. However, people don’t want to believe in hell because what if… you know, we’re right and they’re not. Whoops.

So, why aren’t more pastors preaching those cherished brimstone messages of yesteryear? It’s just not “in”?

The Rev. Fred Johns, pastor of Brookview Wesleyan Church in Irondale, Ala., said after a workshop discussion of hell that pastors do shy away from the topic of everlasting damnation. “It’s out of fear we’ll not appear relevant,” he said. “It’s pressure from the culture to not speak anything negative. I think we’ve begun to deny hell. There’s an assumption that everybody’s going to make it to heaven somehow.”

Somewhere, Carlton Pearson is giggling like a schoolgirl who got checked “Yes” in study hall for the quiz, “Do you like me?”

MEMO to pastors: You aren’t denying hell. You are avoiding it. And, inadvertently, leading others to it.

You know dang skippy no one changed the scriptures while you slept through seminary. Heaven is still coming with Jesus, and hell is still a place to get the worst sunburn in history.

This isn’t fashion that is “in” one day and “out” the next. It’s never Labor Day with Jesus and you can wear your whites all year long, brother. So, why?

A-ha! G’head. Admit it, you Caspar Milquetoast clock-punchers. It’s the economy, right?

The more you preach folk at the crossroads of heaven or hell, you are at another crux in the road of getting their tithe or watching that check walk out the door.

Call it what you want, emergent pastorer, psychopablum pulpiteersuh, you know who you are (and we do too).

Exit this post and turn left...

Exit this post and turn left...

From Sheol to Hades, Gehenna to Tartarus. Even “the pit” if that knocks your socks off and gives you reprieve from your pastoral obligations.

Whatever you call it, just beware:

But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away (Isaiah 64:6 NKJV).

I hope that sticks because no matter how good you look on TV, you are only as pretty as the last sinner you yanked out of the muck and the mire.

That’s the evidence of your global ministry – the people.

Maybe that’s why your righteousness should be like “filthy rags.” If you are doing God’s work, you are busy polishing off all the dirt on folks’ lives. Just a thought.

Oh, and if you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, call on him.

He loves you. He died for you. He lives for you now. Forget what you don’t hear in church. Just hear the knock on your heart… and let him in. Peace.

Yeah. It's been awhile since they walked with God.

Yeah. It's been awhile since they walked with God.

Recently, WOW News’ The Pew Forum released a gripping study entitled “Faith in Flux” that is certain to make you scratch your head and wonder just what people have been doing while “walking with God.”

And don’t worry, this is equal-opportunity sequestering. So, first, I would like to get all those who consider themselves “Catholic” to huddle up close to the warmth of your monitor as you see what has been uncovered of your ilk.

Of those surveyed raised Catholic and are now unaffiliated, why?

  • 71% just “gradually drifted away”. Hrm. If only all that Latin and liturgy was more entertaining. It’s not a movie people, it’s God!
  • 56% were not happy with the church’s abortion teachings. Liberalism in the church? Anyone? So the news and Hollywood has more sway than God. Nice.
  • 43% said their spiritual needs were not met. Yeah, that happens when the youth group goes suddenly vacant. (Giggle).
  • 27% advised it was the clergy sexual abuse scandal. And who could blame them?!

What about those Catholics who decided to flip and go Protestant?

  • 70% found a “religion” they liked more. Well, unless they went to Buddha or Mohammed, they didn’t find a religion people. It was more like a denomination shift change during study hall. Oy! Oh, there’s another one!
  • 32% were dissatisfied with the atmosphere at worship services. Um, were you expecting the Pope to break out with the “Top 10 Feng Shui tips to attract more parishioners”?
  • 21% were unhappy with the rule that priests couldn’t marry. Yeah, 100 percent of those results were from priests.

Protestants. Yeah, I’m talking to you, heathens. So, why are you now unaffiliated with the Church?

  • 71% just drifted away from religion. Anyone seeing a trend here? More on that in a minute.
  • 50% stopped believing in the religion’s teachings. And I’ll bet 100% of my rent that it was because of WHO was doing the teaching.
  • 25% were dissatisfied with the clergy over the congregation. So, I guess the other half were asked the question within hearing range of their former pastor. Just a thought.

What about the reasons you joined another faith within the Protestant Reformation… er, another church?

  • 85% enjoy the newer services and style of worship. Anyone still going to argue with Joel, Bill, Ed and the boys? Bueller?
  • 50% were called by God. Hrm. Wonder what happened with the other 50% who didn’t answer the phone?
  • 36% were attracted by a particular minister. See above at 85%.

Now time for the rant:

1. What is with all this “just drifting away”? Do you mean to tell me Jesus went to the cross for people to wake up one day and tell the Lord, “We can just be friends”?! Um, not so much. Regardless if I am one of those once-saved, always-saved folk (and I am… NOTE: John 3:15-18, John 10:28-30 and Jude 24), but I question whether those drifters were ever serious about their relationship with God in the first place.

Scrub your heavenly flubs. Amen.

Scrub your heavenly flubs. Amen.

If you personally discover what it means to be saved, to be redeemed, why on earth would you try something else? Are chill bumps that addictive? Does God really bless you in the club? Wherever they find themselves, the most miserable person in the world is a truly backslidden Christian.

Drifted. That’s a load. The only thing these wayfaring, lukewarm toadstools drifted from is the regimen of being a Christian. Yes, Jesus welcomes you just as you are. But it’s his house now.

Brother… Sister… you gonna’ take a bath to wash off that muck and mire before you step foot in his crib. (NOTE: The slick advertisement in the picture). Think you won’t? Well, um, there’s another place that is a bit more balmy where you can get your ashy feet anywhere you want. But don’t say you weren’t warned.

2. Who are we walking with anyway? Last I checked the noted poem in small churches across the country, “Footprints in the Sand,” the only time we aren’t walking with God is when he is carrying us! Jesus isn’t that interested in people who can’t commit. With all that “spew you out of my mouth” stuff, I figure massaging his tonsils is not where I would be crazy about hanging. Perhaps these knobby-kneed folk didn’t get that far in their personal journey through the Bible?

Whatever the case, if you want to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, look up… not down. Keep your eyes on the ground and you could bump into something that will slam your face hard. You know, like an Episcopal church that says it embraces everyone, only to discover that embrace is a skosh more intense among same-sex groups. Now, now, Jesus loves all people. And there is nothing wrong with a person who says he or she is swinging that way… except for the way you are heading if no one has the temerity to tell you what is really up.

Aside from the analogy, if you are walking with the King of Kings, ask a brother for his sandals. If your feet are hurting that bad and you don’t feel like walking any more, maybe you just need to walk a mile in his shoes.

3. There’s something afoot among Protestants. Now, this is purely subjective because I am one, but what up with those statistics. It’s almost trendy to shop for churches like clothes. “Well, that preacher just doesn’t fit what I need.” Or, “The youth group wasn’t as exciting as an arcade. Let’s go to Dave N’ Busters.” How about, “How come everyone is in these fancy suits? I like my jeans. I’m out.” And then there’s, “Gurl. Look at that heifer in the choir. You know they just keep her in the middle to make the choir look bigger.”

Where are the people? The A/C was too cold.

Where are the people? The A/C was too cold.

Whatever the case, people are transient with their theology more and more every day. Whatever happened with all the biblical analogies comparing us as trees?! If you are going to make a difference in any church, you must set your roots deep. Because lets be honest, churches would be perfect if it weren’t for all those people who walk in there and set down their blessed assurance wherever they feel.

Stay awhile. You will get offended. And if you do… so what? Who are you there to worship? God Almighty or some huckster in a fancy suit?

Listen, here’s where all this walking leads us:

God doesn’t tempt us to sin (James 1:13). He doesn’t even lead us into temptation (Matthew 6:9-13). He leads us through love and grace. If you end up somewhere you shouldn’t be, guess whose brillance you have to blame?

Your apathy brought you there. Your discontent kept you there. Your billigerence prevents you from being welcomed anywhere else.

All that is outside of God. Remember him? Your walking buddy?

Deuteronomy 8:6 tells us to “observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him.”

People can observe. You know, if it’s from the cheap seats. They can even walk, providing they are permitting potty breaks every 10 minutes. But the “reverence” thing. Tsk. Folk have issues with that. Why? We let them.

So I’ll end not with a verse but with a maxim:

Walking with a friend in the dark is far better than walking alone in the light. ~Helen Keller

I… well… you know, I got nothing. That says it all. Happy walking, Church.

Every company is revisiting marketing strategies, PR outreach and advertising budgets. If your income blows, how are you going to get more if no one knows your name.

Kinda’ like the anti-Cheers.

Among churches, there is a trend – if your denomination has the cash, spend it to put butts in seats.

Megachurches don’t have that issue because it doesn’t seem they have an agenda. You know, aside from the sundry few who are looking to fatten their wallets (we know who you are).

But for the mainstream, the monotonous and seemingly, the moth-eaten, folk aren’t interested so marketing budgets are the new investment, the new “building fund,” according to this story by the Washington Times.

The perfect preacherYou have the United Methodist Church pouring $20 million into this country so we can “Rethink Church.”

And then, the Evangelical Lutheran Church is spending a paltry $1.2 million to keep up with the Methodist Joneses with “God’s Work, Our Hands.” (sniff sniff).

But, let’s not forget the rolling stone that began gathering all this moss – the Episcopal Church, who brilliantly deciphered the mysteries of marketing the Gospel into “Get closer to God. Slice Carrots.” Eh… what the… is up with that, doc?

So, why all the cash influx to the American economy and TV sets everywhere?

From 1990 to 2008 alone, mainline Protestants dropped from 18.7 percent to 12.9 percent of the population, according to the American Religious Identification Survey.

People are tired of having to interpret the malestrom created thanks to “religious” versus “Christian.” And the only reason why this is a debated topic is because most people these who call themselves “religious” are not at all “Christian.”

stupidityYou know the types:

  • ignoring most of the Bible to create a personal doxology (cough… homosexuality in the pulpit… cough),
  • using the Bible to get paid
  • and implementing the Bible as a battering ram to hurl people into the pit of hell without offering some of the love in the Good Book.

I wonder if another brick on the wall, “Church Marketing Sucks” has heard about this tempest because it that sound you hear is a large vacuum among advertisers. Suuuuuuuuuck!

So, what is this really indicative of: people losing interest in church or just losing interest on lazy people who don’t want to do everything God recommends?

On the street there is an adage, “Keep it real.”

Instead of trying to be fully versed in scripture for sanctimony, perhaps Christians need to start sagging, beat boxing and tagging other walls (outside of this one, of course) because “keeping it real” seems to be just what the Father ordered.

And it’s free. What a PR guru Jesus is.

Any Catholics sitting on the wall, having lunch and enjoying the sunrise? Well, hold on to your lunchables.

Here’s a news flash for you: Did you know when your priest chants Dominus Vobiscum, et cum spirito tuo,” it really does not mean “The Lord be with you and with thy spirit”?

Dominos DemotivatorNo, really. According to this odd story from USA Today, it actually means, “Jesus, please bring a brother a Domino’s Pizza.”

The recession has a stranglehold on much of southwest Florida, but billionaire Thomas Monaghan’s [founder of Domino’s] vision for the 1,100-seat church and the Roman Catholic school he created continues to take shape, even if construction isn’t progressing as quickly as he had hoped.

Billionaires are a quirky bunch. Some become philanthropists like Gates and Buffett. Others own sports teams like Cuban and Jones. A few more are named Walton and just own half the world’s retail. No biggie.

And then there is this 72-year-old guy who wants to import Italian white marble to build his own church – the Ave Maria Oratory – and a 35-foot-tall sculpture of The Annunciation and place it smack dab in the middle of the Florida Everglades.

Um, wow?!

Don’t even bother asking how many pizzas he had to sell to do that. Suffice to say, there ain’t enough 30-minute deliveries this year to pay for a block of that cheese.

In acres of fields that were just tomatoes and prayer three years ago, how apropos is it that Pizza Guy here has made nothing but sauce… and gave it all to God? It’s more than a church. It’s a whole city he is building with tip money!

Monaghan, who holds the title of university chancellor, figures he’s put more than $400 million of his pizza fortune into developing what he likes to call a “spiritual military academy” amid a new town steeped in conservative Catholic teaching and symbolism.

Well, with the economy not so hot, it’s not like God will take a bunch of pepperoni for this project. So, uh, what does this Catholic church – and whole town – do to promote fiscal responsibility? Avoid the Noid or just… wait for it… Grab that dough?