Posts Tagged ‘pentecostal’

Watch it and that mark may end up on your forehead

The Pew Forum has done it again with their latest in a series of polls that show the dumbification of America.

Just when we think this country is full of Kumbaya singers, universal proselytizers and everyone reading the same page on religion, we discover that people of faith, in essence… can’t friggin’ read!

Or if they can, their rote memory skills need some serious prayer, as seen in USA Today by the great Cathy Lynn Grossman.

The new U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, released today by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, finds that although 86% of us believe in God or a higher power, we don’t know our own traditions or those of neighbors across the street or across the globe.

There lies the rub. The words “God” and “Christian” are about as homogenized as anything on the dairy shelves. Any schmo with a lick of scruples and an inkling of interest in you know, not burning in a liquid furnace of lava, hell flames and demonic drones, says they believe in God.

And that, by proxy, makes them a “Christian.” Unfortunately, it means nothing to more than half of the people with that card in their pockets. More about that in a moment. First, the key findings from the 3,412 dolts surveyed who know nothing about religion:

Doctrines don’t grab us. Only 55% of Catholic respondents knew the core teaching that the bread and wine in the Mass become the body and blood of Christ, and are not merely symbols. Just 19% of Protestants knew the basic tenet that salvation is through faith alone, not actions as well.

Basic Bible eludes us. Just 55% of all respondents knew the Golden Rule isn’t one of the 10 Commandments; 45% could name all four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

World religions are a struggle. Fewer than half (47%) knew that the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist; 27% knew most people in Indonesia are Muslims.

This is a problem. You have to study for a drivers license, to pass a spelling test and to learn how to operate any one of your kids’ toys, but anyone can be a “Christian.”

There’s no connection to Christ, no relationship with the Lord and absolutely no personal zeal to tell people about why being a Christian is so important to them. And why? Because they aren’t one.

What would happen if God has a computerAnd that’s why them taking this test is stupid. Where’s the litmus test? Oh yeah, in the answers of this survey.

Moreover, it’s the who in the survey that’s more telling. It seems if you have an angst against this “God” guy everyone loves to follow like some hack on Twitter, you research the most about him to debate his sheep. Example A: Atheists and agnostics did the best on the survey with 20.9 correct.

There’s more than power in the blood of the Lamb, there’s a lot of ignorance too. Example B: Black Protestants only got 13.4 correct, second to last to… wait for it… Hispanic Catholics at 11.6 percent.

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God.'” (Matthew 4:4 NLT)

Sure, it’s nice to go to church and see your friends then go to Luby’s. But there is a world dying out there while some of us are busy taking surveys. What happened to the passion of learning God’s Word? How far have we departed from the Bible and into the country club known as “Church Lite”?

I suppose as long as there are surveys, we will continue to find out. Unfortunately for those of us who mean it when we follow… um, what’s his name again?


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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!

Unfortunately, June was a slow month for the spirit of God in the cameo department.

As we have come to notice on the Wall, at least once a month, God, Jesus or even Mary decides to show up in front of some folk in terms of cheetos, bathroom tile or a tub of pizza sauce. Why? Just because they can and it’s good for kicks on home movies.

Jesus as found on Google Earth

On Google Earth As It Is In Heaven

That said, he had to show his face in a big way. I mean, huge. And he didn’t disappoint as we see in the Telegraph (UK) and a fable discussing Google Earth:

The resemblance was found by a 26-year-old man as he used the mapping website to look for holiday destinations. Zach Evans, from Southampton, spotted the outline in satellite pictures of a field on farmland near Puspokladany in Hungary.

“I’m not a religious person looking for images of Mary or Jesus in everything, but this is obvious.”

The aforementioned sightings of deity is easy to point a Pentecostal finger and crack jokes, but this?

Well, let’s just say there are aliens who wish they could Da Vinci crop circles this good.

Cloud shadows? Topography issues? What do you see?

Whatever it is you are looking at, admit it… you’re going to check out Google Earth right after this. Perhaps these oddball sightings create a skosh of faith. Regardless, you’re still looking.

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.”

As people traipse into Lent, they do so considering a sacrifice. For some, it’s the booze. For others, it’s the smokes. For me, it would have been pizza. I mean, brother is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

Hence, it makes sense to me that of all places God Almighty would make a monthly special cameo appearance, it would be in a quaint pizzeria in Scranton, Penn.

Just ask the chosen employee Mary Louise Salerno about it… and surely, she’s United Pentecostal, COGIC or perhaps even Church of God. Yes?

Ms. Salerno was at Brownie’s [Pizzeria] and talking with her granddaughter, 23-year-old Jackie Krouchick, while she made a pizza. Her granddaughter is a single mother who she said is struggling through tough times. Ms. Krouchick told her grandmother she worried she was losing her faith.

As Ms. Salerno poured tomato sauce from a white plastic bucket, she urged her granddaughter to keep believing. That is when she saw it, the image of a man with long hair and a beard in the leftover sauce.

Well, at least Jesus knew to show his mug in the leftover sauce. Surely, our Savior thought to avoid the lunch rush, right? And good for him too because otherwise this sacrosanct meal would have been just another pie. Of course, my initial concern would be for the second coming to not be so messy.

I mean, pepperoni stuck in your teeth as you approach the Pearly Gates is enough to make Peter do a spit-take. Well, maybe that’s just me.

For the viewing pleasure, please enjoy the video… yeah, they took a video of the sauce bucket before Ms. Salerno gave “her permission” more than a day later to clean it out. You know what they say, “Godliness is next to cleanliness.”

Masonry shout out to Another Brick in the Wall, A Little Leaven for the divine inspiration.