Posts Tagged ‘universalism’

I once heard a sage pastor, who was a bit of a chauvinistic dinosaur, say when “edifying” the ladies on dating:

I have a prophecy – if the barn needs paint, break out a coat and get busy!

While the gasping and swooning was inaudible, many men were sitting in their seats and biting their lip until blood came out their nose. Ah, church. Ain’t it grand?

Look Ma, no swine. (Courtesy: AFP)

Look Ma, no swine. (Courtesy: AFP)

I was reminded of that rotund pearl of wisdom when I read this atypical story on Yahoo! about “religiously correct” make-up and a possible spiritual conversion.

For Muslim women who feel they are violating Islam’s teachings by using skin creams with alcohol and pig residues, Layla Mandi [pictured] has the answer: religiously-correct “halal” cosmetics. The Canadian makeup artist who converted to Islam is marketing cosmetics called OnePure, which she says have the luxury feel of international brands minus the elements banned under Islamic law.

For those not in the know, Kosher is to Jewish what Halal is to Muslim. It’s more than preference; it’s dogmatic law.

That said, why for, Mandi? (By the way, is it just me, or does this Muslim adherent look like some hottie outside of any beach town in the states?)

“Muslims don’t want to go around and pray five times a day having pork residues on their body,” said Mandi, in her early thirties and swathed in a slim black abaya, or cloak, with wisps of blond hair sticking from under her head scarf. “I came to the Middle East to learn more about people’s needs. Most were pretty shocked when I told them there were pork products in their skin care items so they were very interested.”

I realize it seems like she is saying there are Muslim women bathing in pickled pig’s feet, but to them, it’s the same as some Quranic women who just feel the need to douse a little foundation underneath her Hijab.

Suffice to say, this is big news in the world of marketing to Muslims, and considering the economy, good times for make-up manufacturers and the aforementioned direct sales syndicates. Again, what took so long?

I have been cooking with Morton’s Kosher salt for years, but I don’t think My Fair Lady smells bacon when she dabs on a little lipstick.

Moreover, how long is it going to take all those home-schooling mamas at church peddling Mary Kay and Avon on the side to start adding “We’re little piggy free” to all their make-up baskets?

And then there is the issue of yet another ridiculous, and soon-to-be-waaaaaay-overused PC term. Anyone catch that diabolical moniker? “Religiously Correct.” Oh. God. Help. Me. Please.

You know, let’s not stop there. In the spirit of dare not offending any religious follower, adherent or believer, how about:

  • Bovine-absent hamburgers for your favorite Buddhist. Sure, they call those vegans but let’s not worry about that right now.
  • Tantric-lite sleeping aides for that slumbering Hindu in your family. Let him or her get that Yoga on and feel refreshed once euphoria is reached. Namaste.
  • Something all of us could enjoy for a week or two, the acclaimed demon-free days. That’s right, just live without the temptation to visit ne’er-do-well Web site or charge the emergency credit card into a third-world credit rating.
  • For your friendly neighborhood Rastafarian, try the latest in marijuana-free brownies. Because when you need to cram for the next exam, why just have hippie lettuce rolled up in a fatty when you can tap into your inner Betty Crocker and get your baking on?

And for those of you needing something a little closer to the vest, wait… there’s more:

  • Condemnationally correct Baptists
  • Alcohol-correct Catholics
  • Musically included Church-of-Christs (real word?)
  • Follically and hairstyling correct Pentecostals
  • Financially correct Evangelicals (with a special emphasis on megachurch pastors and televangelists)
  • And for a bonus, just in time for Christmas, Universalism… with limits! Go figure?!
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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.

Please. You think I'm going to use a beefcake picture?

Please. You think I'm going to use a beefcake picture?

[Editor’s Note: Now work with me, Wall Watchers]

It’s baffling how Americans – nee, the new politically correct Christian-Americans – idolize anyone solely because they put out a decent movie every couple of years.

Take Mr. Angelina Jolie, otherwise known as one Brad Pitt.

Sure, there’s the greatness of “Se7en,” “The [severely underrated] Assassination of Jesse James” and the great “Fight Club” (“With a gun barrel between your teeth, you speak only in vowels.” Classic.)

But then there’s bewildering moments on film such as “Meet Joe Black,” “Cool World” and “Freddy’s Nightmares.” (Yes, he was in this miserable flop.)

But now, we have the reason why he should not be exalted above anyone or anything – or anyone in Hollywood for that matter – because he is one seriously flawed individual in need of a Savior, like us all.

BILD: Do you believe in God?
Brad Pitt (smiling): No, no, no!

BILD: Is your soul spiritual?
Brad Pitt: No, no, no! I’m probably 20 per cent atheist and 80 per cent agnostic. I don’t think anyone really knows. You’ll either find out or not when you get there, until then there’s no point thinking about it.

Okay, unbeknown to him, this isn’t that funny. And what’s with that jacked-up spiritual math?!

So, he basically could care less if there is a God, but when really pushed to talk about 20 percent of the time, Brad isn’t quite convinced God exists?! Huh?

This sad commentary (as he was ironically shilling for his latest flick… as in the real meaning of the word, Man without a father, as in God.” It’s a blog, you never know what you have to explain these days… but there’s your payoff) creates one question for me.

Since Brad is apparently open to all religions, how come a Mormon missionary, J-dub and his Watchtower pamphlets or a tempered street corner, pentecostal preacher hasn’t gotten a hold of Brad by the nap of his neck?!

If that happened, he would be surprised to find out he and Jesus could be “Friends” after all. (Thought I forgot about that one, eh? Thank My Fair Lady for that lovely pop culture reference.)

There’s an axiom in Latin that makes the unlearned think of taking a night out to the club:

Audio. Video. Disco.

Compliments to the Australian Herald

Compliments to the Australian Herald

Believe it or not, that’s not about some multimedia experience. It means, “I hear. I see. I learn.”

Well, in today’s fast-paced society hungry for a theological fix, most folk aren’t as concerned about church as they are viewing Jesus on TBN or Daystar, hearing him on a Hillsong CD or their sacred iPod or clicking a God clip on YouTube.

(Because, it seems most folk ain’t going to Tangle… just sayin’.)

Needless to say, there is a lot of hearing and seeing going on, but perhaps the learning could improve just a skosh.

Evidently, that report got back to the Holy See because Pope Benedict XVI it’s presumed the only dumb ones are the young ones… and where are they hanging out these days? Online.

First, it was their own search engine. And now, the Papacy has gone buck wild by creating its own Facebook page, Pope2You.net.

And since there are about one billion Catholics on earth, Il Papa figured it would be a great idea if they could all come to him for a change, including a holy YouTube page, sacred iPhone apps and a WikiCath page.

So, why all the tech geek in the Vatican? Ask the Catholic News Service:

It’s an effort to allow younger generations find a “simple, fresh site to work as a hub from which users can find some new ways the universal church is present in the digital world.”

Seeing how things have been iffy for priests to get online in the past years, it’s commendable that the Pope is cool with this effort.

But hey, as long as there’s a massive firewall, some beefed-up Norton antivirus or, at the very least, has hired Robert Langdon to help out with the new symbols Pope B16 will encounter.

You know, items not in his lexicon like “LOL,” “411,” “WTF” and of course “MSG” (and no, that’s not Chinese take out).

Huzzah. Hope this works because form what I have heard, seen and learned about the propensity for old dogs to attain new tricks is um, “2G2BT.”

This story from Religion News Blog is not only whimiscally written but unbelievable to read.

scientology-bartIt seems there is a big networking, glad-handing soiree called the “Scientology Flag World Tour,” which of course will be held in the nestling bosom of the Hollywood Hills.

Anyone remember being a Cub Scout and then an uncomfortably named, “Webelos”? Before you are ready to become a Boy Scout, you perform a ceremony where you receive the “Arrow of Light”, cross a bridge (supposedly into manhood) and ta-dah, dawn the khakis.

OK, now that you have the visual…

The Scientologists took on that ceremony – only a bit more cultish, a lot more secretive and just flat-out weird. Evidently, the “Flag Tour” is nothing more than a membership drive for those who are just enamored by the Hollywood celebs acting like they go to church, and allows them to get really baked and brainwashed.

So, they need a recruiter. Someone to spark an interest in the feeble-minded. A notable celebrity, but who… [cue harp music and click play]

bart-on-youtubeYeppers. That’s Nancy Cartwright, voice of Bart and all-around dunderhead shilling for Scientology over the phone and online.

When the message leaked out on the internet yesterday, Ms Cartwright’s bosses at The Simpsons had — as Bart might say — a cow. Although the details of the actor’s contract are not known, it is thought that the copyright of Bart’s voice is owned by Twentieth Century Fox, part of News Corporation, parent company of The Times, and therefore cannot be used without permission.

She is trying to get folk on the Dianetic mailing list interest in going through the study and ritual of becoming an Operating Thetan VII (which she, Tomcat and Travolta is), and can “operate independently of her body.” Yeah, Dianetics. It really is science… FICTION!