December 15, 2017

A Call For Revolution

It was their sixth annual show, billed as Fight Night VI. The card featured twelve fights, each one three rounds, with each round lasting only one minute. Fighters wore sixteen ounce gloves, but also headgear. The referee had officiated many amateur bouts before.

And at the end of this Wednesday night circus event at a local church here in Tulsa, a young man was dead.

George Clinkscale, a 24-year-old former University of Tulsa football player, died after taking part in the “main event” of Guts Church Fight Night VI. Never mind that Clinksdale (nor any other of the participants, as far as I know) had ever trained for a boxing match. Never mind that the entire event was unsanctioned under Oklahoma law. A young man is dead for no reason other than to try to draw people to a church.

Guts is just like many churches, only more so. They have an annual Halloween event called Nightmare with the expressed purpose of “scaring the hell out of you.” It’s a haunted house where you get preached at after being frightened. Under “Beliefs” on the church’s web site we read that “God’s will for our lives as believers is to become whole and successful in every area of life” and “The actual meaning of salvation is to be complete and lacking nothing; spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally.”

They conduct the “Ultimate Hitman” contest, awarding high school football players who hit the hardest in their games. Really. Here is what they say about it.

The Ultimate Hitman Program celebrates the “Hit of the week” in over 20 local high schools and 4 states around the country.

We send reps to each school every week to give the team a challenging word and award the Big Hitter with a Hitman t-shirt.  Each of these teams have scheduled team nights at our GYC services and we culminate the season with the Ultimate Hitman Awards Show.

Over 2,000 people will be in attendance at this years Hitman Awards as we show higlights in 5 categories with over 25 schools in attendance.  We are changing the culture of High School football – Hit Hard and Love God.

Hit Hard and Love God. Think about that. It’s enough to put me off of my feed for a week.

And the purpose of the sub-ministry of Guts called “sub30,” the host of Fight Night, reads:

sub30 Tulsa meets every Wednesday night on the main campus of Guts Church @ 9pm. It is a college church targeting college students and young adults from ages 18-30. Come out and get a powerful worship set, a very challenging word, and always fun food and events! If you are of age and in the Tulsa area for any length of time you need to visit sub30!

Last Wednesday, the “always fun food and events!” ended in the unnecessary death of a young man. And I for one am completely, totally done with the Evangelical Circus.

That’s it. I want nothing to do with it any longer. And thus I’m calling for a revolution. Will you join me?

I’m not going to waste time bashing Guts Church. Why? What good would it do? I know the choir here at the iMonastery would gladly sing along with me about the ridiculousness of holding such events just to draw people in. We could dissect their belief statement and hold court on their methods. Yet where are we at the end of the day? Guts will still be holding their Ultimate Hitman contest and their Nightmare haunted preaching. I don’t care about them any longer. The revolution I am calling for does not address circus-event churches any more than just ignoring them.

The revolution (reformation?) I propose is this.

First, rediscover the Gospel. Know that the Gospel of grace is not just for our entrance into the “Christian club.” The Gospel of grace is our very life. It is how we are to live every day, every hour, every minute. How do you rediscover the Gospel? You have your Bible. You have books by those who found it and lived it. You have the Holy Spirit of God living in you. Seek it with all of your heart. The journey will take you on a twisting, sometimes dark and often dangerous (to your beliefs) path. As you walk, you will have more questions than answers. But it is the path we each must walk if we are to break away from the Magical Ministry Tour.

As you are journeying to rediscover the Gospel, find other believers who are also on this journey. Yes, this may mean leaving the church you have become comfortable in and seeking one where others are seeking. No, not a “seeker-oriented service,” but seekers walking together in prayer, in encouragement, in commitment. These churches are there, but I doubt you will find them advertised on billboards or giving out awards to boys who hit other boys the hardest. These churches may be large or small, Catholic or Protestant, meeting in a beautiful building or a rented theater. What matters is that those in this church are not looking for entertainment but discipleship.

As part of this revolution, we will stop trying to attract people to church in hopes that they will get saved. (Salvation, by the way, is much larger than just being complete and lacking nothing, but that is a discussion for another day.) Instead, we will pray for those in our families and neighborhoods, our jobs and our clubs, listening the Holy Spirit, speaking into the lives of those who are willing to listen. More than that, we will love those in our lives, showing them the same unconditional love God shows us. When they show an interest in the Gospel of grace, that is when we can invite them to join us in community with other believers.

This involves great vulnerability on our part, and zero circus events to attract attention. It takes nothing to invite someone to “food and fun events;” it takes great courage to open your life to many in the hope that some will be rescued (the true meaning of salvation—but that is a topic for another day).

The other night a young man died in an attempt to attract people to a church. That was totally unnecessary. More than two thousand years ago, a man died so that we would no longer have to play religious games. He opened the door for us to have direct access to God, to live in the kingdom of Heaven right now. His death is enough.

My call for revolution starts now.

Are you with me?

Comments

  1. This is so sad. You are so correct, Jeff. We have to stop the freak show that so many churches have become, but I fear it is much too late, because so many will not see themselves in this.

    • Ah, but if I’m reading Jeff correctly he’s not saying we should expend any more effort trying to stop the freak show. Rather, we write it off and move on. Instead of trying to stop an unavoidable train-wreck we just separate ourselves from it and search for a community of like-minded souls within which to grow and serve.

      And I, for one, am more than willing to sign on for that.

      • Exactly, James. Well put.

      • Separation is impossible James. Sadly many Christinas will be tied to this, in the same manner that many are tied to Pat Robertson although they don’t want to be. And there are plenty of others who have ingested the kool-aide through every method pssoible that will defend efforts like this and continue to crank out “evangelism: methods. They see if as a way to reach out ot the culture. They, like so many other Christians are blind…

        And yet the sad part is that it’s so simple. All a Christian has to do is love. How fricken hard is that? And yet many don’t know how to do that. Instead they participate in crazy stuff like this, or feel like they have to go to Africa, come ot Washington, D.C. and engage in the culture wars, etc.. . The longer I live the more I remain convinced that I’ll live out my days as an agnostic. I don’t see a part of the Christian faith where I belong.

        • Eagle—me neither. I am done trying to find my way in the Christian faith; I just follow Jesus. I don’t know how to reconcile this difference knowing only that I shutter at institutional religion while I find my peace and hope (through even current deep suffering) by clinging to Him and trusting his love for me. I’m not meaning to try to convince you—more wondering if rejection of the institution of Christian religion is the same as rejecting the true Christ. Peace and love!

          • I am right there with you. I’ve given up on organized religion. I was feeling somewhat guilty and despondent until I realized that I still had my Jesus. The night I made the decision and had the realization, I dreamed that I got to the pearly gates and there was a man who looked nothing like most paintings I’ve seen of Jesus. He opened his arms to me and said, “You finally got it right.” That was all I needed.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Remember a few weeks/couple months back?

          As in Mark Driscoll, MMA Cage Fight Fanboy?

      • Well said, James, and Jeff as well. I’m 55yrs old and tired of being primarily against something. If the revolution isn’t more for something (Someone, actually) than being negative, I have no time for it. Also well said: the gospel and true love for others must be at the center of it, or I’m changing the channel.

  2. I’m with you.

  3. I am heart broken. Heart broken for this family, this community, and for the state of the church. This overly testosterone driven pseudo-gospel, is not the good news. May we learn what the good news of Jesus really is. Thank you for writing about this.

  4. Matt Purdum says:

    The whole thing has to be torn down and started over again from scratch. By the whole thing I mean Christianity in America. The Christian-Industrial Complex.

  5. Matt Purdum says:

    Their Facebook page says they offer “Life-Giving Worship.” You’d think they’d have the grace to remove that.

  6. You know the actions by Christians for me reaffrims my agnosticism and tells me why I am not a Christian. In walking away a couple of years back made the correct decision and I can’t stomach Christianity. I feel sick, decevied, mislead, and appalled. But I really don’t see much hope for faith in the United States. I’m ashamed to state that I once was a part of this. This is part of the reason why Christianity is such a cancer.

    Though this time I’m surprised as to who the victim is. Normally I would expect to read or hear about a single mother, an addict of some sort, gay, a person who can’t fit into the church facade (ie. white, shining married couple, with kids, and a mission to Africa under their belt) , etc… I never would have expected it to be a former linebacker.

    You know very little surprises me anymore, and your post reminds me of an event on fundgelical mega church retreat a few years back. This happened once back in 2005,2006 perhaps… They had those giant sumo wrestling figures and two women were strapped in as I recall and were playing it. They were only into a couple hits, and one fell backward and banged here head. She needed emergency medcial treatment and was taken to the hospital.

    So I guess nothing would surprises me….but for me it just reconfirms why I’ve distanced myself and said..”enough” to Christianity. Really…what purpose does it serve? And I’m serioust when I say that…what purpose does it serve?

    • Well Eagle, I think you’re right to be upset about these things. But I don’t think the ultimate fault lies at the feet of Christianity – it’s clear that these fundigelical events have no basis in the Bible. And of course, Christianity in this form is a distinctly American and sometimes charismatic phenomenon, having no real precedent up to the 20th century or so. It’s basically a novelty, and Christianity as a whole shouldn’t be slammed because of the horrible behavior of one particular sect.

    • “What purpose does it serve?”
      Now that IS the question. How about forgiveness of sins? Just a shot. I for one am certainly thankful for that.
      …but if that is something that you don’t need, well then, yeah, don’t bother with the whole Jesus thing.

      • I didn’t find that Miguel. I found condemnation and judgement. I also found a lot of pain and misery. I also found deception and a facade. There is no forgiveness of sins…just a hammer that is used to pound the crap out of you. I know I’m a sinner…but I also leanred that I am not good enough for Christianity. And I value my integrity enough to realize that I am not going to lie to fit in. Christianity can pose a threat to one’s charachter, and I want nothing to do with that at all…..

        • Ok, come on Eagle. It is legitimate to feel anger over stories like this and negative church experiences you have had. I can probably match you for heartache, I’ve been working for the church the last 5 years and its been hell. But that doesn’t make the conclusion rational. George says he loves Jesus. George is a jerk. Therefore Jesus is a liar? Trust me, I believe that you found condemnation instead of grace and forgiveness. But if its not all about the forgiveness of sins, its not Christianity. Period. Just because a church is remotely “within orthodoxy” on paper doesn’t mean it is about the work of Christ. You know enough to understand that a church that expects you to be “good enough” has betrayed the ethos of its founder, who deliberately went out of his way to associate with the worst. American consumer evangelicalism is in desperate need of a reformation, but instead will probably experience a collapse. But there is still hope, the Church will continue to move on, and the mission of Jesus will advance through or in spite of us. Can you really close your eyes forever to all the good that is done in the name of Christ?

          • sarahmorgan says:

            Please be kinder to Eagle….A few years ago I was deeply involved (a ministry leader) in a non-denominational megachurch situation which ended up being grossly spiritually abusive — the ‘church’, leaders & congregants all, were primarily focused on the worship of one’s self, ego, and perceived needs, and I was branded a pawn of the devil for seeking to extol God rather than the church’s leaders. They did a frighteningly thorough job of making me feel condemned, rejected and worthless, even to God Himself. It’s taken me years to get to a point where I could attend any kind of worship service without crying or being depressed all day, and I’m not really completely there yet (I only go to church maybe once a month). One of the things I had to get straight in my mind as part of my healing was the idea that, despite the heavy Jesus veneer over everything, the spiritually abusive ‘church’ was simply not one of Jesus’ churches. It wasn’t easy — it was a hard conclusion to come to, because I had to work through so many angry feelings of why I would even want to continue to worship a God who allows these terrible deceptions in His name to go on without consequence. Yes, I still believe the Church does some good, but (like Eagle, I suspect), I haven’t found much of it where I currently live, and it’s just tough to bear, especially when people’s responses sound a lot like “Get over it”.

          • I didn’t mean to sound harsh, I was pretty sure I validated his frustration. And it sounds like you’ve been through the ringer yourself. But I think I’ve had enough of my share of church grief to earn the right to emphasize with those who desire never to return. I’ve been there, and stuck around for the paycheck alone. Integrity? Imagine being economically forced to go back to that church. I battle bitterness and fears daily. I know what its like to be betrayed by your closest friends and those you have invested in for years. All in the name of Jesus, of course. I’m solidly in the “the church is a whore” crowd.

            But it is another thing to say the entire faith is purposeless and forgiveness of sins cannot be found. The experiences we have had and stories like this have nothing to do with following Jesus and “the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.” I’m not asking too much to distinguish these.

        • David Cornwell says:

          Eagle, you are an awfully good unwilling theologian. Or is the correct word “prophet”? Speak on…May our ears hear.

    • In reading your comments, Eagle, a question occurs to me: Is evangelicalism a normal growth within the body of Christ? Or has it become a cancer, growing uncontrollably and in unnatural ways, having abandoned its intended functions?

      And I find it painful that the question would even occur to me. 🙁

  7. One more point. I just read the Tulsa World article and saw how much the church was in violation of Oklahoma State law. I guess this goes to show that many Christinas do not know their Bible or are familar with Romans 13:1-7 or Titus 3:1…

    • Hey, Eagle — have you heard of the recently released independent film, “Higher Ground?”
      I saw it last week — fantastic acting with Vera Farmiga in the lead role, and also as the director. (View the trailer at the movie’s website). I think it might appeal to believers and agnostics alike, but I saw my agnostic self as the main character begins to doubt her faith.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      One more point. I just read the Tulsa World article and saw how much the church was in violation of Oklahoma State law.

      Already anticipated you, Eagle.

      Ever heard of “What shall we follow? The laws of Men or Word of God?”

  8. …wait a minute…. Up until the part where the essay got serious, I was assuming this was all a mock caricature. I’m still in shock that the described story is real. I wouldn’t believe it if the church didn’t have a website. You’re conclusion is right on, but a story like this pushes one to despair that must be overcome first.

    But then I went and worshiped at my local Lutheran church this morning and found myself surrounded by people on the Jesus mission. We confessed the historic faith and received the sacrament. We read God’s word and prayed for one another. We discussed opportunities to help and serve one another and our community. Later today I met a former member of that church who grew up in it but simply got bored…

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the above mentioned story is easy to find in churches that do not confess the historic faith and recite the creeds in their worship. And it is harder to find these stories in churches that do. Not saying that its the silver bullet, but there is something to be said for the emphasis and focus that abounds in churches where continuity is more important than innovation, and faithfulness over “success.”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      In an Age of Excess, my rule-of-thumb has become “If it’s too far out to be real, It’s Probably Real.”

      Because as over-the-top as you can think of for a joke, there’s probably some True Believer out there twice as over-the-top and Dead Serious. I found that out with the Aslan-is-The-Antichrist radio preacher.

      “The difference between Reality and Fiction is Fiction has to make sense.”
      — attributed to Mark Twain

  9. To think that this afternoon I attended a service commemorating and lamenting the closing of a Lutheran church, while celebrating their 54 years of ministry. This group of lovely people has gathered around the font, pulpit, and table for nearly as long as I have lived, but now have found they can’t “compete” with the show other churches offer. I’m sure there are many reasons for the fact that this church couldn’t make it, and that the church and its leaders over the years may have contributed to its decline. That having been said, how I wish believers would recognize the grace and hospitality available in these small places, stop seeking spectacle, and return to real church rather than these pathetic “ministries.”

    Mainline and historic churches, as Michael Spencer said so many times, it is time for you to step up and offer real food for the hungry.

    • David Cornwell says:

      “Mainline and historic churches, as Michael Spencer said so many times, it is time for you to step up and offer real food for the hungry.”

      Amen. The good news is that some of these churches are doing that now. Or at least that’s the way it seems to me.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      This group of lovely people has gathered around the font, pulpit, and table for nearly as long as I have lived, but now have found they can’t “compete” with the show other churches offer.

      Like Hitman Fight Night…

      “Just like Fight Club, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

  10. Hi all,

    If the Reformers could see any of this, they’d just be standing agast in utter shock and dismay.

    It makes me think of Woody Allen’s comment, “If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

    Given the news, Woody’s comment is quite applicable.

    Yuri

  11. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

  12. I am with you.

  13. Dear Jesus!
    Please save us
    Amen

  14. “As you are journeying to rediscover the Gospel, find other believers who are also on this journey.” And pick up and read Scot McKnight’s latest book, “The King Jesus Gospel,” Eye opening! And encouraging. Discloses our King’s remedy for much nonsense.

  15. Well, my wife and I left our awesome church which we drove over an hour to get to every Sunday. The drive was getting to be too much, we’re too busy with seminary + work, and we’re missing community during the week. We’ve finally started looking for a local church. We might attend a local _____ church, which is literally walking distance from our apartment and from the downtown area where all the action is and people are.

    We visited for the first time yesterday. It was nice, but boring as heck. I am appreciating tradition now more than ever, but this was just stale. And rather than encouraging everyone to go outside and be a part of the massive street fair that was taking place in the community (again, walking distance), we were encouraged to go down to the basement for a potluck after the service.

    I think we might stay.

    • David Cornwell says:

      ” It was nice, but boring as heck. I am appreciating tradition now more than ever, but this was just stale.”

      And that’s the sad thing. Traditional worship does not have to be stale. Neither does it have to be a circus.

    • I should have clarified:

      “I think we might stay” does mean at the church we just visited. We might give it a go, hoping to value our local community and the potential to serve them over “how we would want to be fed” or other such excuses.

      Also, I like to cause trouble 🙂

  16. I am with you, Jeff. It seems that every generation needs another Reformation. It is the same situation that is in the Book of Judges, where the people stray, repent, and stray again. We forget what the Gospel is, and need to return to it. Then next we forget again.

    Instead of forgiveness, churches offer condemnation.
    Instead of hope, despair.
    Instead of good news, bad news.

    It is like this parable Jamie Buckingham told one time of a lifesaving station that went out and rescued people who were shipwrecked on the rocks. It was more tragic when they found out the ships were chartered by the big Inland Club, a group that had been a lifesaving station before the hurricanes forced it inland to safer ground.

    Those rescued were grateful to the Lifesavers, and asked them to teach them how to save lives. Eventually, the lifesaving station became a plush clubhouse which became less and less involved in saving lives. The last two paragraphs of the story I give complete, as we need to remember the tragedy, so as not to repeat it, if we can:

    “At the next meeting the Band divided. One group pulled out, insisting their primary purpose was to save lives, not just mantain the lighthouse and keep the bulb burning.l They agreed among themselves to go down the coast and start their own lifesaving station. THey had done it before, they could do it again.

    As the years went by, I understand, the new station slowly went through the same changes that occured in the old. A huge lighthouse was built with clubrooms, bowling alleys, bingo parlor and paneled study for the Lifesavers. The committed ones finally pulled out and started another station down the coast. Now they tell me, if you visit that coast you will find a number of lighthouses along the shore–all calling themselves Lifesaving Stations.

    Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.

  17. I love what your revolution is, Jeff. Christ is our life, Colossians says. When we let Him live through us, others see Him through a cracked pot. When He is lifted up, He will draw all to Himself. It is our dependency on Him/clinging to (faith in) Him that He desires and that pleases Him. That points others to Christ at their point of need, too.

    I am reminded, too, that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. What Satan means for evil, God means for good. God can make something out of nothing. What’s impossible for us, is possible for Him. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.

    Claiming the promises, He is our shield in these last, evil, days. This is what saints throughout the ages have done. Believing God in a crooked and perverse generation. It pleases Him and points others to Him.

  18. Bill Bright said, “Love, love, love. And when you’re tired of loving, love some more. When you don’t agree with them, you keep loving some more. And when you really don’t agree with them, you love them even more. You just continue to love, love. Make the mark of your life love–than when you die, they will say, ‘Didn’t she love?’ Make it love. Make it all about love.” God is love. 1 John 4:8b

  19. Minor suggestion for correction, the gentleman that died is named George Clinkscale, relevant article for those looking for background here: http://www.chron.com/sports/article/Witness-Clinkscale-looked-panicked-before-bout-2186928.php

  20. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Guts is just like many churches, only more so. They have an annual Halloween event called Nightmare with the expressed purpose of “scaring the hell out of you.” It’s a haunted house where you get preached at after being frightened.

    i.e. Standard Hell House with a different coat of paint.

    Since it’s getting into October (Hell House/Tribulation Trail season), I’m hereby putting in a request for a repost of IMonk’s “Hell House: An Evangelism Eager to Leave” as well as his annual Halloween essays.

  21. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    As part of this revolution, we will stop trying to attract people to church in hopes that they will get saved. (Salvation, by the way, is much larger than just being complete and lacking nothing, but that is a discussion for another day.)

    It’s also a bit larger than a Fire Insurance Policy and Rapture Boarding Pass.

  22. “The journey will take you on a twisting, sometimes dark and often dangerous (to your beliefs) path.”

    Amen – I think many forget this in the “Just accept Jesus and everything will be rosy ” mentality today. Being a christian can be hard and as one grows deeper in that relationship there are two views to what happens next – one is that God rewards you with good health/prosperity/joy and the other is that Satan pays more attention to you and tries to pull you off the path to the Lord. I wonder how many subscribe to the first.

    Agreed that the circus must stop but confess that this is mostly outside of what I have experienced – so I can only comment on what I read here.

  23. A touch of Nero, a little bit of P.T. Barnum and you have a church! Gad Zooks! …have we come full circle from those coliseum days? Sign me up, Jeff.

  24. don’t let the revolution be a one- post-only subject, keep reminding us of it
    (which is to be fair what IM does anyway)

  25. I’m in!

  26. “This involves great vulnerability on our part, and zero circus events to attract attention. It takes nothing to invite someone to “food and fun events;” it takes great courage to open your life to many in the hope that some will be rescued (the true meaning of salvation—but that is a topic for another day).”

    I couldn’t help but think of all the spiritual reasons why these men were involved in this activitity. I am sure that they were all really good and high sounding reasons. At my old church, they used to have this big drama production every other year. It would literally take over the church. Hundreds of man hours and very late nights would be dedicated for each production and participation was mandatory, but it was all for a “good” cause, because in the process of putting on a production, people could develop relationships with one another, they could focus on the gospel message of the drama productions. Think “Rent” with all the words changed to Christian lyrics. It became a monster, but in retrospect, I am again struck by all of the very spiritual reasons why we felt that this kind of presentation was important and essential to our “gospel” message and in attracting young people to the church. In echoing Jeff’s comments, let me also say, that this was all about bringing people to church, because it was only in church, where people could find this corporate experience that was core to them finding the true gospel. In seeking the corporate experience, what it meant “for me” to live for and follow Jesus got lost.

    Another angle to this tragedy, that I couldn’t help but think about, is the desperation of churches in trying to attract young men, and in trying to assert a kind of muscular Christianity and a new Christian manhood. In following up on Jeff’s point, this is an extreme example of something that happens when we too focused on capturing a “demographic.” We lose sight of the forest because of the trees and we lose sight of the gospel in trying too hard to bring in a certain group of people.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Think “Rent” with all the words changed to Christian lyrics.

      I’m trying to. I can’t.

      “I thought I had a most morbid imagination… but it seems I have not.”
      — Aliester Crowley regarding the occult antics of Jack Parsons & L Ron Hubbard

    • Can we go with the Book of Mormon musical instead? ;-P Hasa diga ebowei!!!! 😛

  27. Wow, when I first read this I thought it was tongue in cheek, or something from the archives.

    The truth is once again stranger than fiction….

  28. I, like some of the rest of you, thought this was satire/parody at first. But it’s true and its sickening… I really hope and pray some people at this ‘church’ will start to question – or doubt…

    …”Ultimate Hitman?”… Lord have mercy.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      …”Ultimate Hitman?”… Lord have mercy.

      Standard comeback, Andrew:

      “But Souls are Being SAVED!!!!! If it SAVES Only One SOUL…” 🙂

  29. I wanted to add: I’m with you Jeff. I am done – finished with this circus…and this gives me inspiration to be a little more ‘rebellious’… I like the implication that Jeff and others suggest and here’s how I would verbalize it:

    We don’t have to preach at them or argue or do anything public really… all we have to do is smile, walk away and not participate…
    (I must say though I’ve fantasized about getting a bunch of like-minded people together, making large pertinent scripture signs and standing outside some local mega-entertainment complex in silent protest…the thought of the reaction to being ‘picketed’ like the ‘heathens’ (abortionists, dems, etc) is almost too much for my curiosity – but ultimately Jeff’s suggestion is probably better)

  30. The PBS special on 9/11 raised an important point: religion can and often does result in evil. There are too many examples of this, from crusades, to inquisitions, to reformers massacring Catholic priests, to puritans burning Quakers at the stake. This shouldn’t surprise us. Honestly, we need to look long and hard at this and consider how easily any of us could be enticed by religious zeal to justify evil. This is the why we need a savior. The sinful nature has the Midas touch in reverse, poisoning everything it touches.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      That’s because it ramps up everything to Eternal Cosmic Significance. Eternal Destiny (especially our own) becomes what’s at stake and all bets are off.

  31. Take heart, Jeff. Some of us are out here trying to do exactly what you’re suggesting.
    But it’s a tough sell.
    No bells. No whistles. No big productions or programs. No coddling your self esteem. Nobody to do your thinking or make your decisions for you. No opportunities for stardom or working your way up to king of your own little church kingdom.
    Just open and loving (though always messy) Christ-centered relationships, a sometimes uncomfortable level of honesty and transparency, perpetual status as a student of the gospel with no graduation in sight, and a lot of sharing food around the same table.
    From a marketing standpoint, the free food’s about all we’e got going for us.