Posts Tagged ‘redemption’

Evangelical [ee-van-jel-i-kuhl]

  1. adj. Pertaining to certain movements in the Protestant churches in the 18th and 19th centuries that stressed the importance of personal experience of guilt for sin, and of reconciliation to God through Christ.
  2. n. an adherent of evangelical doctrines marked by ardent or zealous enthusiasm for a cause

Amazing how a very popular word, that can be used in two different ways, can mean totally different things.

As an adjective, calling an action evangelical expresses fervor, passion and a firm commitment. However, as a noun, it denotes lukewarm people, phlegmatic expressions and tepid pablum.

You know, “I respect the person but that ‘Aw shucks’ attitude about Jesus is completely annoying.” And then, anyone in the Church rattles off the names ad nauseum: Rick Warren, Ted Haggard, Bill Hybels and Joel Osteen completing the “Non-Prophet Organization” (Imagine my cheesy grin now).

They sell books. They pack stadiums. They get invited to the big boys table at the White House. And they are living large! So, it’s all good, right?

evangelicalbookAccording to Warren Cole Smith evangelical journalist and editor of the Charlotte World (and this article in the Charlotte Observer): “Wrong!”

In his new book, an insider critique called “A Lover’s Quarrel with the Evangelical Church” (Authentic Books, $16.99), Smith argues that many, if not most, evangelical churches have lost their way. Instead of sticking with core biblical principles, rich traditions and church-as-community, he says, they promote feel-goodism, technological fads and church-as-entertainment.

Look out. Warren Cole Smith getting nice with “feel-goodism.” I know I didn’t study that theorem in Seminary, but I’m feelin’ it.

And, along with that new theological bent comes the technology to promote it: Twitter (I think I just threw up a little on my PC thinking of this trend for churches).

I mean, we should all have an elevator speech to witness – keep it simple, keep it sanctified. But, to ONLY do it in 140 characters or less?! That’s not outreach. That’s just plain lazy and saying you witness just for the sake of saying you do. But, that seems to be the trend these days.

Revelation 3:15-16 (NASB) tells us, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot… So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

While you kids are gallivanting around in your Learjets teaching the common man to “become a better you”, “being a contagious Christian”, “having a purpose-driven life” or just doing blow with a gay prostitute while fronting biblical organizations, there is all pomp… no circumstance.

Matthew 28:19 (NKJV) commands us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”

joel-osteen-smileAre you doing that, or just pitching a tent for a day, promoting a cause, pushing an ATM and leaving town to cut bait?

Now, before you consider me to be some reject ne’er-do-well, consider Smith who is about to punk the guy pushing folk to get “their best life now”:

Joel Osteen has a view of the world that you can have your best life now,” Smith said. “If I were going to rewrite Genesis and put (modern) words into the mouth of Satan … I’d put Joel Osteen’s words there: ‘You’re not so bad. You’re so close to being God now. Just a little tweak, a little tune-up, a little bit better. Just follow these 7 rules.’

Since I found this article, I have read this book… twice!

If you believe there is no issues with today’s Church and how they have become the Freudian couch of tomorrow, think again. If you consider how we are supposed to reach the lost, and aren’t, this book makes you think twice and reinvent the way you live a Jesus life out loud. If you think nothing is wrong, then … uh, I don’t know… read the Bible:

“Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:5 ESV).

NOW… go read the book. This is unsolicited but it got my goat. What can I say? Oh wait, scroll up… no “feel-goodism” there. Let’s hope it sticks.

God is about his word. A relationship with Jesus is about faith. But nowhere in the history of Christendom would the early disciples have imagined the phrase “Word of Faith” have created such vitriol and irascible angst.

But then came Robert Tilton who thought it would be a good idea to transform that moniker into a calling card for interloping and pilfering in the name of the Lord. Nice.

Courtesy DMN Photography

Courtesy DMN Photography

So, where’s he been since he was taken away in cuffs and sent to the pokey?

Miami, of course.

And, according to a clever, well-worth-the-read story by Scott Parks of the Dallas Morning News, we take a look into how Tilton is looking for “Success N’ Life” for a third time around.

An indication of just how far below the radar he flies nowadays came in February when a masked gunman invaded Tilton’s beachfront mansion, and the Miami news media didn’t even bother to report the incident.

Yeah, I told you this was good.

I suppose the Miami media (and authorities, if you need them) figures a man who touts to have the batphone to heaven in his friggin’ shower should have received a hit on his hip from the big man upstairs. Only the big man was some fool packing four bills named “Bubba.”

Turnabout is fair play, I suppose.

Oh, save the sanctimony. God is gracious and he forgives anyone for anything at anytime as long as that person’s heart is contrite, broken and full of remorse… not for being caught, but for being wrong.

But, I ain’t Jesus! (Thank God for that. Collective sighs patter around the globe.)

Has he learned his lesson… even after the attempted robbery and kidnapping (his kids were in the house during the botched break-in)? In two words? [No, not those]. Nuh-unh.

After the home invasion, the Tiltons moved out of their 8,000-square-foot Miami Beach mansion and into a South Beach high-rise with 24-hour security. They put the house on the market for $6.9 million.

Sure, because a brother still needs to get his botox on. And it turns out the silver-tongued…er, haired cat is up to his typical bag of tricks.

Still rocking the “God’ll make you rich” scheme, he has a pirated televangelism empire that looks like it is rocking out of his mama’s basement in the Sunshine State. You know, because the dude can’t get a real job vacuuming high-rise condos or something.

Today, Tilton plies his trade on a Web site called streamingfaith.com. On the daily one-hour program called Robert Tilton Live! he promotes his patented Success N Life gospel, which generally postulates that God will reward donors with blessings that far outstrip the amount of the check they send to pastors such as Tilton.

Hey, if those mindless dolts pay it, he will surely keep coming.

So THAT's who he looks like?!

So THAT's who he looks like?!

I suppose the saving grace is this dude isn’t plastering his twisted theology all over TBN, Daystar or the Inspiration Network during prime time. No, even better. Mr. Mountebank [not a real name] is actually airing his drivel on… wait for it… BET during the bewitching hour.

You know, my Dad used to tell me when attempting to curtail my curfew, “Boy, the only thing open at two in the [expletive] morning are hospitals and legs… and I know you ain’t sick. But you about to be.”

And before I have post-traumatic stress memories of thorough butt kickings, I have to tell you the theme of that story. Nothing good can happen at that hour.

That includes false proselytizing, money grubbing and preying on the innocent, downtrodden and heavenly minded. You know, the fake evangelist Modus Operandi. I think there’s a handbook out there or something.

And to better prove Tilton has absolutely no business in a pulpit, broadcast or any other medium, is this:

In addition to their church work, Tilton also owns a publishing company and several other for-profit businesses. Records filed with the Nevada secretary of state’s office in 2006 list Tilton as president, secretary, treasurer and director of Stella Vita International, a multi-level marketing operation that sells nutritional supplements.

Now, I know plenty of God-fearing people who are in direct sales and selling excellent supplements. So, nothing wrong with that. But, talk about mismanagement of perception. (?!?!)

Everyone on earth considers this nimrod to be a huckster, and now he is running a Ponzi scheme. (Please, there is nothing “nutritional” about Tilton or his products). Keeping it classy with “prosperity opportunities”, eh, Bobo?

“I’m not so sure I see the difference,” Tilton was quoted as saying in a 2006 news release. “Ever since I got rid of religion, I’ve had a party with God! And now we’re all going to have a party with Stella Vita” – a quote that would make his lawyer wince.

Nice.

Well, there is so much more I could say, but suffice to say, God is still omniscient. He sees the matters of the heart, and although Tilton is able to weasel his way in to people’s homes still, he will reap what he sows. He is all about “seeds of faith,” after all.

So, to commemorate what a loving, endearing megalomaniac he is in balmy Miami, let’s get our vile of holy water, vat of oil from Jesus’ brow and kick it old school with some of his most famous clips found on the Internet.

Without further adieu, some miasma moments and gaseous glory:

OK, so you put that cryptic “bum-bum-BUM-bum-bum. bum-bum-BUM-bum-bum” Terminator theme music in any movie preview, you will get my attention.

Add Christian Bale to the mix outside of his svelte Batgear and you could have me there opening weekend.

The uh, Jesus-nator?

The uh, Jesus-nator?

Much was my anticipation for the “Sci-Fi Nativity Story” (as Peter Chattaway gaily put it from Christianity Today put it), Terminator: Salvation.

This movie series kicked off with avowed Christian, the great Michael Biehn (also of “The Abyss,” “The Rock,” and the prodigious “Tombstone”) travels back in time to alert John Connor’s mama that a massive, roided-up, Euro-speaking robot is out to get her and make sure she doesn’t birth the savior of the human race… literally.

So, a couple of sequels later of lil’ Johnny is growing in wisdom, stature and favor and here we are, trotting down the Via Dolorosaer, red carpet for the screening of Terminator: Salvation.

Now, while Chattaway makes a really interesting, highly recommended read case for the sacrosanct allegory behind all things Terminator, one thing of note is a quote from director McG, who brought us such genius as “Charlie’s Angels” and “We are Marshall.”

Regarding Terminator Salvation, director McG told mtv News that he and writer Jonathan Nolan were influenced by the stories of Luke Skywalker, Neo from The Matrix trilogy, and Jesus. Said McG, “Here’s a guy who’s saying, ‘Listen to me, I know what’s going on.’ Some people listen; some people don’t believe a word he’s saying.”

I don’t know if McG has ever stepped foot in a church – mega- or any other size – but that sounds just like most places I have frequented on a random Sunday discussing the synoptic Gospels. Odd, eh?

It’s a completely different take on a movie that begs religious commentary but gets none of it.

So, it’s only 10 years from now in 2018,  and the only hope for humanity is John Connor (again, as introspectively noted by Chattaway possesses the same initials as some other savior of whom you may have heard) and some half-breed terminator named Marcus.

**SPOILER ALERT**

Bale does his sub-monotone, gruffy preacher, if-it-works-in-Batman-it’ll-work-here voice and Marcus fights for inspiration and odd body parts not seen in Wal Mart.

It’s prequelish. It’s sequelish. It’s Jerry Bruckheimerish. And it’s open ended-ish.

So, if this movie does have a fifth in its quiver, maybe only the audience will need saving.

For years, certain megachurch pastors – event planners of the lukewarm pablum, if you will – have monochromatically aligned their proselytizing with about as much fervor as choosing the right socks to wear with an Italian suit.

You know, no passion but concerned with the aesthetics of it all.

PD*28795882Anywhoo, a big huzzah to the seeker-sensitive pastors of the world because all the cheerleading you do for a “good life” and a “better you” and the “best energy” God can muster has finally paid off.

Jesus caved in, left the right hand of his father, dawned some Levis and has become your official mascot thanks to bronze statue outside an East Sussex church in England and this story from The Telegraph (UK).

Here hangs our Lord, ravishing with some designer beach-bummin’ threads, hair flailing in the wind and rocking a major three-o-clock shadow.

Looking hot, J.C. Now, that’s my kind of Savior.

[Snap. Snap. Go in a circle. Snap.]

Father [David, of the Our Lady Immaculate and St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Uckfield] Buckley said: “You are always looking for new ways to enrich people in the experience of Christianity and it is good people can be open-minded to appreciate it.

Sounds like a life preserver of spin control out of a reputation downfall to me.

Contemporary clothing. fresh locks, no grooming issues. Ah, there’s the rub.

People are in such a frentic rush to ensure Jesus can relate to modern-day issues that we push the envelope of sacrilege to present a Jesus is feeling a 21st century vibe.

NOW LOOK AT HIM?! Is that how he looked like carrying his hoist beam on the Via Dolorosa? Probably not, but I’m sure folk were complimenting his stylish Birkenstocks along those cobblestone streets.

No, that’s not in the Bible, but then again, neither is most of the drivel the aforementioned Kumbaya Klan shells out on Sundays. I’m just sayin’.

Not too long, we posted a story on the Wall about the fallen, biblical superhero Bibleman and his alter famous ego, Willie Aames.

It seems “Zapped”, “Charles in Charge”, “Eight is Enough” and even those pesky reality shows on VH1 aren’t enough to keep Aames out of the poor house. So sad. So true.

And now, Willie Aames is doing something about it… eh, kinda. He is beginning a national campaign against financial illiteracy. Um, huh?! I love this opening graph by WOW News’ Idol Chatter:

If a friend goes through relationships like toilet paper, would you go to her for relationship advice? If your child-less sibling offers you parenting tips, would you take him seriously? If someone loses their shirt in the stock market, would you let him plan your portfolio?

Willie being WillieSo, next to the “didn’t-really-think-this-through” department is Willie Aames participating in a celebrity boxing match, and if his Bibleman-choreographed moves do his opponent in, he will gladly donate some of the proceeds [as in, a buck fiddy ’cause brother probably needs a new pair of shoes… literally] to his “fight against financial illiteracy.”

I thought that was a good thing, at least last time I visited an acquaintance of mine who currently resides in the nestling bosom of Section 8 housing.

But, if you consider the latest, greatest spokesman to the cause, you would think financial illiteracy was something that just cramps your style.

How about feeding the homeless? Clothes for folk in shelters? You know, something you are terribly close to dealing with instead of something you have been-there-done-that-and-lost-the-tee-shirt-in-a-garage-sale.

Consider Jesus? He knew the people at the world’s largest fish fry weren’t interested in a Jimmy Houston DVD set. They wanted to eat a two-piece with some sweet tartar sauce!

Yet, there goes little Tommy Bradford ready to change the world. However, without a trunk full of Dave Ramsey books, Robert Kiyosaki inspirational tapes and Suze Orman loading up his TiVo, I don’t really understand why in the sam h-e-double hockey sticks Willie thinks he knows anything about financial illiteracy.

At least, other than it exists and his head is full of it. Among other things.

Godspeed, Willie. TV may be gone in your life, but not in your house. Check out Christian TV, dude. You may get some tips there, stay out of the news and live among the normal.

Come experience joy, happiness, patience, grace and a whole lot of laughter the next time you decide on your mission field. You have had several of them. Maybe you need to be fed on one instead of standing in line to lump bread on people’s plates.

Just a thought.