December 12, 2017

Church Signs: Goodwill (?) toward Men

By Chaplain Mike

Alert iMonk community member Austin spotted the following sign in Georgia, advertising a non-denominational church’s seasonal sermon series.

Ah, ’tis the most wonderful time of the year. Peace on earth, goodwill (or ?#!%) toward men.

Comments

  1. The only ?#!% he kicked, that I know of, were the religious zealots who were whitewashed walls, claiming to be of God but living a farce. In my impression his view towards the garden variety sinner, was one of great compassion and concern. Maybe they should hang the sign inside their church rather than out on the street.

  2. Every Biblical scholar worth his salt knows “carpenter” is a mistranslation of “MMA fighter.” Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall KICK ASS!!!

    • Matthew Peak says:

      Uh … how about:

      Blessed are the Smiths & Wessons for they shall be called the guns of God.

      Grief, I’m pretty conservative but to me that sounds just so wrong.

    • Reminds me of an interview I saw last year on a Seattle channel. A local community church which was making cage fighting the center-piece of their ministry. After the sermon, they pulled back the folding chairs, dropped the cage and the men beat the hell out of each other. The pastor’s point was, that society has lost the art of teaching men how to be men. Modern men have left the Christian model of manhood and taken on a humanistic, sissy form of being a man . . . which (the enduring catch-all phrase) “isn’t Biblical.” Their ministry was to teach men of God how to be “Warriors for Jesus.”

      It also reminds me of the opening chapters of Yancey’s book the Jesus I Never Knew. He describes how we want to re-create Jesus in the image that we are most comfortable with, rather than the historical Jesus.

      • “we want to re-create Jesus in the image that we are most comfortable with, rather than the historical Jesus.”

        Sigh…this is exactly what it is

        • There’s nothing new under the sun, is there?

          A hundred years ago Jesus didn’t seem manly enough for the then-modern American man either, so they transformed Him into an in-your-face, alcohol-free, red-white-and-blue bruiser of a salesman. See Billy Sunday, et. al. Still, you can’t beat the parody in that superb commentary on American religion, Lewis’s Elmer Gantry.

        • Let’s see one of those cage fighters voluntarily subject themselves to mockery, beating, whipping, and death on a cross. Most criminals were dead before they even got to the cross. Whose the sissy now?

  3. 2nd rule of church growth movement
    – have a sermon series title that draws a crowd, regardless of whether it is consistent with historical Christianity.

  4. one more Mike says:

    I hope there’s going to be a live manger scene with the same theme!

  5. The slogan they are parodying (“veni, vidi, vinci”) was a famous dictum of Julius Caesar. So I think just as “Jesus is Lord” is an implicit dissing of Caesar, this church is going to be proclaiming that Jesus is Lord, and the systems of this world and the malevolent spiritual powers behind them are not. No doubt, this church has been strongly influenced by N. T. Wright’s Jesus and the Victory of God.

    That’s the best I can do in giving them the benefit of the doubt.

  6. Clay Knick says:

    Obviously, something was lost in translation.

  7. The NEXT time He comes…He is going to kick some butt.

    The 1st time…He came as a Lamb to slaughter.

  8. Melanie Stanley-Soulen says:

    Also disturbing to me is YOUR use of “men” which excludes, harms and demeans the “rest” of us.

    • Matthew Peak says:

      Actually, I see the use of the word “men” as automatically inclusive of both sexes. In God’s economy one cannot be excluded since Adam came from God and Eve from Adam. They are both “Man.”

      If there is any exclusion, harm or demeaning I would say it is found in the curse sin rather than the Biblical use of the word “men.”

    • Apologies, Melanie; no intent to offend. I just wanted to use the most familiar translation of Luke 2.

      • “Peace on earth and goodwill to men.”

        But wasn’t this one of those changes done in the KJV. I understand that it was mostly “Peace on earth to men of good will” before that.

    • Peace on earth and goodwill to people. Hmmm.. Points for alliteration, but not quite as endearing for it’s lyrical quality.

    • I think Melanie may have forgotten to put “/sarcasm” at the end of her post.

      At least … I hope she did.

      • You just can’t be too sure these days. The PC police are out in full force.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          And in an age of extremes, as far out as you get to be sarcastic or funny, there’s going to be some True Believer who’s twice as far out as you, and Dead Serious.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Melanie, in Classical English mixed or indeterminate gender defaults to male.

      Much less awkward than the “Global Replace String ‘man’ with string ‘person'” you get today.

  9. Colossians 2:14-15 (New Century Version)

    14 He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross.15 God stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority. With the cross, he won the victory and showed the world that they were powerless.

    The ?#!% he kicked…was Satan’s and all his cohorts…unfortunately the whitewashed walls that stood in the way received a rather good ?#!% kicking as well. As for those of us that remain, it behoves us to remember…

    Ephesians 6:12 (New Century Version)

    12 Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.

    • And how does “kicked ?#!%” communicate in any way whatsoever HOW Jesus defeated the powers?

      • Exactly. In Colossians, Paul says Christ “disarmed” the powers and authorities through the cross. It wasn’t that He triumphed over them through a show of brute force, but, rather, He let them exhaust all their violence and hatred on Him until there was nothing left at their disposal. That is the irony of the cross – Christ wins by losing and demonstrates that in the Kingdom, weakness is stronger than strength. It’s still quite an offensive message to many people today.

  10. Matthew Peak says:

    I am sympathetic to the spirit behind kicking @$!&, as there are some @$!& I would like to see kicked.

    However, Jesus’ defeat of sin and the devil was powerfully subversive. The defeat that the devil suffered was in the full realization that it is Christ and not sin that ultimately reigns, making the devil look like a damned fool (no wonder Revelation says woe to the inhabitants of the earth).

    Christ has always reigned and ruled. His victory is in conquering the lie that man rules instead of Him. It is that timeless message that reveals His goodwill towards men, that He seeks to liberate them from the devil’s lies.

  11. Well, there probably was a lot of ?#!% on the stable floor around the manger. Mary and Joseph probably not only kicked a lot of it, they were probably sitting in it. Probably won’t see that in any live manger scenes this year.

  12. Very cool sign.

    Aren’t we supposed to be cool?

    (NUS)

  13. Maybe it was just one of those “sentence enhancers” that Sponge Bob and Patrick use.

  14. Maybe in a spiritual sense He kicked ass, but to be more realistic, and closer to the reference quote, it should probably say “He came, He saw, we kicked His ass and He still conquered.”

  15. You know, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little…

  16. To state the obvious, it seems like a statement which advocates violence. Jesus as the shunned, mocked, rejected misfit who comes back and kicks collective butt seems like an endorsement of behavior seen at Columbine. This is why Jesus commanded, “do not judge”, because our sense of judgement equals revenge. I don’t think we can fathom what true justice is. In a biblical sense, justice is defending the helpless, lifting up the weak, and caring for the widow and ophan, but such talk will get you on Glen Beck’s hit list. No, justice is killing people or running your opposition into the ground.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      No, justice is killing people or running your opposition into the ground.

      That kind of comes with the territory when Justice — or anything else, for that matter — is reduced to and defined in terms of Power Struggle.

      Because Power Struggle only has two end states:
      1) MY boot stamping on YOUR face.
      2) YOUR boot stamping on MY face.
      And the only way to avoid (2) is to make sure of (1).

      “For the hearts of Men are easily corrupted, and the Ring of POWER has a will of its own.”

  17. To me, this sign is a window into American Evangelicalism’s tragic continuing loss of the mystery, surrender and paradoxes that are central to faith. As followers of Christ, we win by losing, gain by giving, get wisdom by the seemingly foolish, and ultimately live by dying. I don’t know. Maybe it’s not cool or “relevant” to help people live quiet and sover livesa life of faith and service and witness wherever weare and whatever ourcircumstances. But it sure seems like it’s needed.

    It also signals a certain driven restlesness that at times reaches the point of being unhealthy and obscures the rest and peace of a settled faith. (I see this iin other areas as well. For example, I heard from pastor’s wife recently that her calendar is booked through the middle of next year. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t see the advantages of that level of planned busyness).

    And to top it off, these great losses go largely unnoticed.

    • “For example, I heard from pastor’s wife recently that her calendar is booked through the middle of next year.”

      John, just the thought of that makes me feel panic.

  18. “A cruel age may picture God more cruel than itself, and to a generation lusting for power God may become a supreme tyrant. Thus religion may become the sanctification of human imperfections.” – Reinhold Niebuhr, from “Does Civilization Need Religion”

  19. Hate to break it to you, religious people, but the tilt of the Earth’s axis and the reduced incidence of solar radiation is the REAL reason for the season.

    • Reason? I thought reason was bad. 😉

      I have to hand it to the James Randi Educational Foundation for coming up with the slogan, “A season for reason”. I think Acura is ripping it off for their year-end sales ads. Even atheism is not immune to holiday commercialism.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Reason? I thought reason was bad.

        Only if you’re Mohammed al-Ghazali or one of many Pastor Billy-Bobs.

        I’ll stick with Chesterton’s Father Brown:
        “You argued against Reason. That’s bad theology.”

  20. Wait a minute . . . “ass” is three letters, but there are definitely four symbols up there . . .

    Does “butt” have to be censored too?

    You know it’s an epic fail when someone tries to impress people by using profanity, but is too sheepish to come out and say it!