Power Point, Boring Churches, It’s all about Jesus, Church Quitters, No Community, Selfish Preachers, Churches As Stalkers / (Re: Why Some Drop Out of Church)

Power Point, Boring Churches, It’s all about Jesus, Church Quitters, No Community, Selfish Preachers, Churches As Stalkers / (Re: Why Some Drop Out of Church)

(Link): How Power Point is Ruining Higher Ed

That page has one slide with screen shots of various tweets by various college students complaining about their professor’s over use of Power Point, including:

    -Being a college professor would be easy. Read off a Power Point you made 10 years ago and give online quizzes with questions you googled.

    -College basically consist[s] of you spending thousands of dollars for a professor to point at a Power Point and read the bullets.

    -I hate when a professor makes class mandatory and reads straight from the Power Point instead of actually teaching… I can do that at home

There are many reasons I no longer attend church and am not eager to ever go to another one ever again, and that is one of the reasons.

Church is boring. (And it’s not personal; churches tend to be impersonal.)

I feel that is a perfectly legitimate criticism of church: church is boring.

I am not saying that from a bratty, entitled, immature, 10 year old kid mentality.

Do not misunderstand. I am not arguing that the only thing a person should look for is entertainment at church.

There are already too many churches today that try to draw in crowds by entertaining them with rock bands, coffee shops in the church building, and gimmicks, primarily the moronic “seeker friendly” churches. That is not what I am advocating.

I’ve read criticisms of the present church model that argue church as we know it today is not how it was when Christianity first began. The first churches were groups of Christians sitting around in someone’s home discussing God, singing hymns, sharing each other’s problems … everyone was invited to participate in those meetings.

A “church service” back at the start of the Christian faith did not consist of one guy at a podium reading verbatim from the Bible, or, in the case of seeker friendly churches, one guy at a podium spouting off personal anecdotes and funny one-liners and pep talk advice while the congregation (the captive audience) sat there in silence.

By the way: the “worship” part of evangelical / Baptist church services don’t uplift me. They consist of people looking straight ahead at a big screen with text on it that is very repetitive. Some people (though this is rare at Baptist churches), put their hands up and wave them around.

I have never felt moved during these music segments at church, and I abhor them. I wish churches would drop the music segments – at least the ones where the entire congregation is expected to participate.

The music sections where some lady or guy stands at front and sings while I sit and listen don’t bother me as much. I don’t like the parts where myself and everyone else is commanded to get on their feet and sing along to words on a big screen.

I am not against music in and of itself, I am saying it feels out of place during a church service. I’ve never felt closer to God during the music part. I don’t see how me mumbling a few simplistic lines from a song honors God.

If anything, the music bits make me feel MORE hollow and empty, because there is this expectation by other Christians that you’re supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy and so, so close to God during the music, or you’re supposed to be basking in the greatness of God, or whatever.

I look around in some churches I’ve been to during the music bits (including one large, non denominational, charismatic church) and see some people with eyes closed, arms uplifted, swaying back and forth. Those types look like they are really getting something from the music.

I hate the music segments. I’m always waiting for them to end the moment they start.

At any rate, church is boring and impersonal.

I am not a supporter of shallow sermons and a rock band – the gee whiz environment that is prevalent in 90% of American churches today. I am not arguing that the antidote to “boring church” is to inject more excitement via rock bands and more coffee shops.

At the same time, though, I have been to one or more earnest churches where the preacher basically reads straight from the Bible – and that is boring. I can do that at home.

I can read the Bible myself and sometimes do, even in the midst of my agnosticism and trying to figure out if I want to remain a Christian at all anymore. (I should explain I don’t read the Bible nearly as much as I used to. I only read very small portions now, every so often.)

I am literate. I am college educated. I can sit at home and read the Bible, I don’t need some guy at a podium on a Sunday morning reading 90% of the Bible to me.

Even the churches that make entertainment a basis bore me. I’ve been to a few Baptist churches, large ones, that have gigantic video monitors and rock bands, with a preacher making jokes and pop culture references in his sermons, and I was still bored out of my mind.

One of the reasons I get bored at church is that there is no “back and forth.” There is no room for me to participate. I am not able to enteract with the pastor or other people. (This is the opposite of my issue with music segments: I prefer to sit out of music performances at church. I hate participating in music at church – but I do want to participate in lessons.)

For those of you who say that is what Sunday School is for – no, that has not been my experience.

In most Sunday School classes I have visited, there is already a pre-planned curricula, a published workbook from “Lifeway” that the class’s Sun. Sch. teacher reads from, or uses as a guide.

It’s not that I object to some pre-planning. I am not saying that use of a guide or workbook is necessarily wrong. If you are a Sun Sch teacher who wants to come up with a plan or topic for the class to discuss beforehand, I am fine with that to a point.

What I don’t like is an hour-long Sunday School class that is 95% a teacher reading from a Life Way workbook, and not much more.

Continue reading “Power Point, Boring Churches, It’s all about Jesus, Church Quitters, No Community, Selfish Preachers, Churches As Stalkers / (Re: Why Some Drop Out of Church)”

Your Preacher Sucks – and People Have a Right To Say So And Explain Why

Your Preacher Sucks

Did you know that your preacher is not God?

Did you know that the New Testament says that Satan poses as an angel of light?

Did you know that the New Testament makes reference to wolves in sheeps’ clothing, that is, false teachers who infiltrate the pulpit and churches, for the express purpose of fleecing the flock, getting rich, or taking sexual advantage of the ladies, or for pushing their false doctrines? Yeah? You were aware of all that?

There are sure a lot of Christians on the internet who don’t act like they are aware of any of this.

Because as soon as anyone says anything critical about a preacher or that preacher’s theology, no matter how politely said criticism is stated, sooner or later, a follower of that preacher will show up on that forum, blog, or site to leave a message – varying from very nasty, downright hateful, to a more chiding tone of, “You’re being such a meanie, Pastor John Doe is such a gawdly man, how dare you criticize Pastor Doe! Who do you think you are?”

It makes me want to barf.

No man – NO MAN – is above criticism, and I don’t care if it’s a famous preacher or who it is.

By the way, this blog post also serves as as reminder about internet safety.

Continue reading “Your Preacher Sucks – and People Have a Right To Say So And Explain Why”

Jesus Christ was not afraid to meet alone with known Prostitutes / Steven Furtick and Elevation Church Perpetuating Anti Singles Bias – ie, Single Women are Supposedly Sexual Temptresses, All Males Can’t Control Their Sex Drives – (but this view conflicts with evangelical propaganda that married sex is great and frequent)

Jesus Christ was not afraid to meet alone with known Prostitutes / Steven Furtick and Elevation Church Perpetuating Anti Singles Bias – ie, Single Women are Supposedly Sexual Temptresses, All Males Can’t Control Their Sex Drives – (but this view conflicts with evangelical propaganda that married sex is great and frequent)

Christians believe that all single women are sexual temptresses and that all males, single and married, Christian and non Christian, are all rapists if given the right opportunity (ie, being left alone with a single woman).

These stereotypes are isolating to single females who get lonely for platonic companionship and fellowship, and create sexual hang ups in single males.

What I find so strange is that Jesus Christ is recorded in the New Testament as meeting alone (or sometimes in groups) with KNOWN prostitutes, or with women of known sexual histories, shall we say, such as the woman at the well who everyone in town knew had five live in boyfriends – that did not stop Jesus from talking to her, yet married evangelical, Neo Reformed, fundamentalist and Baptist preachers today, and even male lay persons, are afraid to be alone with a single woman in an office for a chat or for a cup of coffee.

Or, how about this example (Luke 7:36-50), here are excerpts:

    When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

Jesus was not afraid to talk to female sexual sinners or have them touch his feet, so why on earth are so many conservative Christian males and females hung up about males being alone with single Christian females, or paranoid about “how it might look” to other people?

Jesus did not care how his hanging out with people who were considered to be sleazy in his day might look to the religious types, observe (from Matthew 11):

      18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’
    19 The Son of Man [Jesus] came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Because Jesus was not paranoid about how meeting with prostitutes, women with disease, single women, or whatever, might look to the religious, neither should Christians use this as an excuse to neglect meeting the needs or fellowshipping with single women.

Furtick and his church also dabble in another gender / marital status stereotype I’ve been meaning to call out in its own post for months now: that of assuming all single women are harlots who bang every man in sight, but all married women are totally dis-interested in sex and have to be cajoled into having sex with their spouses.

Here are the excerpts from (Link): On God’s Stage: Elevation Church:

    by EMILY HARRIS, page 2

The fun times and start-up spirit have led some to think Elevation is socially liberal, which it’s not.

The church, following the belief that God reserves sex for a husband and wife, has strict protocols.

Married staff members “should not be alone with members of the opposite sex,” the staff handbook states; riding in a car or visiting someone’s home qualify.

Pastors cannot provide pastoral care to the opposite sex alone at the office or anywhere else, and follow-up sessions with a married person must include the person’s spouse.

All Elevation pastors are male. Furtick brought in Ted Haggard, a onetime megachurch pastor who lost his position after a gay prostitute scandal, to speak about his intensive Christian therapy that helped him identify with heterosexual feelings.

Furtick said the “real hero” of the story was Ted’s wife, Gayle Haggard, who also spoke. He praised her for standing by her husband, inviting her to explain how she did it.

In September 2008, as part of a series called Visionary Love, Dream Sex, Furtick, then 28 years old with bleached-blond highlights, encouraged men not to keep sexual secrets from their wives and for wives to give their husbands “consistent sexual access.”

Wearing a shirt bearing the word Savage, Furtick told couples not to wait but to invest in their marriages that moment with date nights, discussion, and regular sex.

(Single women were also addressed: “You’re worth the wait. Keep your spring on lockdown.”)

Acknowledging that the recession, then fresh and full-force, was keeping many couples from indulging in an evening out, Furtick made his giveaway reveal.

And all that protocol of how and when singles of the opposite genders may meet or talk is doing is further marginalizing and stigmatizing single females and singlehood itself. It is NOT noble, cautious, or wise, it is discrimination, and it is rude.

These sorts of assumptions about the genders – that all single females are sluts and are easy (and that the married ones are prone to stray) and that all men are sex obsessed, rapey rapers actually plays a role in why evangelical Christians either don’t get married until much later in life or not at all – because these teachings make the genders scared of each other and keeps them apart.

I also find this “keep married men away from single ladies” teaching somewhat amusing (in a twisted way) because it works against another trope in evangelical fairy tale land: that if you stay a virgin until marriage, then marital sex will be regular and teriffic.

If married sex is so great, if married people are supposedly getting their sexual needs met and face no temptation to fornicate, why the hell bother with this other teaching that tells Christian males to stay away from un-married Christian females? If you’re getting regular, hot sex from your Christian hot wife, you should not be the least tempted if a single woman who looks the spitting image of model Cindy Crawford prostrates before you naked.

So which is it, evangelicals, which stereotype do you wish to keep, because they don’t both work.
Either it is:
1. single women are tempting enough to make you, a married man, cheat on your wife, so stay away from single ladies (which is the line you need to tell married men so they won’t have extra marital affairs)
~ or ~
2. married sex with your wife is so hot you won’t feel the need to stray with an unmarried woman ever (this is the line you need to tell teenagers so they they will want to stay virgins until marriage)

Regarding this comment by Furtick:

    (Single women were also addressed: “You’re worth the wait. Keep your spring on lockdown.”)

That was what I used to believe. I wanted to get married and have sex. I’m over 40 and still a virgin. If you’re a 20 something virgin, just remember, if you follow that ‘trust Jesus and just wait’ rhetoric, you may end up in my situation: not married and no sex past 40. (No, it wasn’t worth it.)

—————–

Additional posts about this subject on this blog:

(Link):  The Islamic Billy Graham Rule – Unmarried Muslim People Are Punished For Being Alone Together

(Link):  Affairs Don’t Start with Texts – via guest authors at Tim’s blog

(Link): Christian Teachings on Relationships: They’re One Reason Singles Are Remaining Single (even if they want to get married)

(Link): Reclaiming Stolen Friendships – a blog post criticizing the Sexist, Anti – Singles Christian Billy Graham Rule

(Link):   Discipling Healthy Male/Female Relationships in the Church Part 1 by Wendy Alsup

(Link):  Non-Romantic Nearness, The Billy Graham Rule, and Pope John Paul’s Friendship With a Married Woman

(Link): Christian Stereotypes About Female Sexuality : All Unmarried Women Are Supposedly Hyper Sexed Harlots – But All Married Ones are Supposedly Frigid or Totally Uninterested in Sex

(Link): When Women Wanted Sex Much More Than Men – and how the stereotype flipped

(Link): Christian Gender and Sex Stereotypes Act as Obstacles to Christian Singles Who Want to Get Married (Not All Men Are Obsessed with Sex)

(Link): No Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity and Sexual Purity (they attack both)

(Link): Marriage Doesn’t Necessarily Guarantee Great Sex or Any At All

(Link): More Married Couples Admit to Sexless Marriages (various articles) / Christians promise you great frequent sex if you wait until marriage, but the propaganda is not true

(Link): How Christians Keep Christians Single (part 3) – Restrictive Gender Roles Taught as Biblical

Regarding this next link:
And the article above says Furtick went to this guy’s church precisely to support him in the aftermath of the wife’s affair!!!!
(Link): Christian Wife of Kinda Famous TV Preacher Guy Committed Multiple Affairs – He tells congregation at church service

(Link): New Study Released: Cheaters: More American Married Women Admit to Adultery (links)

(Link): Married Christian Couples and Sexual Sin, More Examples – and Women and Porn

(Link): Married Christian Preacher and Mistress Try to Kill Wife – Married Christians not more stable, mature, or godly than Singles

(Link): Married Women Engage in Sexual Sin – and most men in denial particularly Christian conservatives

Radical Christianity – New Trend That Guilt Trips American Christians For Living Average Lives

Radical Christianity – New Trend That Guilt Trips American Christians For Living Average Lives

Radical Christianity: what an annoying trend. I hope it dies a quick death. We have pastors who are telling Christians unless they intentionally seek out to live in dire poverty or move to Africa to hand out Gospel tracts, they are not being “radical” enough for Jesus, they are taking Jesus for granted, or are being selfish.

I touched on this issue briefly in regards to preacher Kyle Idleman of “Not A Fan” book and television show fame in (Link): this post (under the heading “Guilt Trips or Condemnation For Not Being Super Christian”).

I have since come across a few web pages and radio shows about it. Here they are:

(Link): Here Come the Radicals!

by Matthew Lee Anderson

David Platt, Francis Chan, Shane Claiborne, and now Kyle Idleman are dominating the Christian best-seller lists by attacking our comfortable Christianity. But is ‘radical faith’ enough?

Online radio show, about one third into the program (you’ll have to sit through 15 to 25 minutes of the host talking about some guy named William Tapley before getting to the specific segment, called “The New Legalism“):

(Link): Radio Show: The New Legalism (from Fighting For the Faith, A Pirate Christian Radio Production)

(Link): The New Legalism, by Anthony Bradley

How the push to be ‘radical’ and ‘missional’ discourages ordinary people in ordinary places from doing ordinary things to the glory of God

Excerpts:

MISSIONAL NARCISSISM

There are many churches that are committed to being what is called missional. This term is used to describe a church community where people see themselves as missionaries in local communities.

A missional church has been defined, as “a theologically formed, Gospel-centered, Spirit-empowered, united community of believers who seek to faithfully incarnate the purposes of Christ for the glory of God,” says Scott Thomas of the Acts 29 Network.

The problem is that this push for local missionaries coincided with the narcissism epidemic we are facing in America, especially with the millennial generation. As a result, living out one’s faith became narrowly celebratory only when done in a unique and special way, a “missional” way.

Getting married and having children early, getting a job, saving and investing, being a good citizen, loving one’s neighbor, and the like, no longer qualify as virtuous. One has to be involved in arts and social justice activities—even if justice is pursued without sound economics or social teaching. I actually know of a couple who were being so “missional” they decided to not procreate for the sake of taking care of orphans.

Excerpts from “Here Come The Radicals” by Matthew Lee Anderson:

The five components of “the Radical Experiment” may not seem that radical; they’re more like basic Christian discipleship. But they struck a nerve at the church and beyond. Forty families and singles committed to moving into a disadvantaged area of Birmingham. As one attendee told me, the news created something of a reputation for the church. “People still ask me,” she said, “whether I go to that church where people are moving into the most dangerous parts of Birmingham.” And the message spread well beyond the city of 1 million. After Platt released Radical in May 2010, it spent more than two years on The New York Times advice best-seller list. Three years later, it’s still on CBA’S (formerly Christian Booksellers Association) best-seller list.

…. At the heart of Platt’s message is his claim that we mistakenly turn the “radical Jesus of the Bible … into the comfortable Jesus of 21st-century American culture.”

He warns that the culture of “self-advancement, self-esteem, and self-sufficiency” and our “individualism, materialism, and universalism” have neutered American Christians’ witness and blinded us to widespread global poverty, an orphan crisis, and the massive number of those who still have never heard of Jesus.

Continue reading “Radical Christianity – New Trend That Guilt Trips American Christians For Living Average Lives”