Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why I Hate Crazy Love

During my vacation this weekend, I forgot my Kindle. I was bummed, but I went into a bookstore, and bored with all the magazines, the craft books, the memoirs, I had this appetite to want to read something substantial. The only thing that came to mind was Francis Chan's book, Crazy Love. Go ahead, and think it was the Holy Spirit or whatever, but the only reason I had any desire to pick it up was the cover. In the Christianity section, every book had...

A) Kirk Cameron on the cover via Fireproof taking over about 4 shelves
B) Joyce Meyer on the cover
C) cheesy sunset with a couple holding hands with how to catch a perfect single pastor, or something along those publications.

Yes, I judged a book by it's cover, and the cover may be simple, but after reading the first few pages, it's challenging book already.

On Disturbed Christians, we don't exactly point out how the American church can do better, but how us as Christians can live, be and do better than what the American church has to offer. It's something I've recently struggled with and I'm literally holding it in my hands. After reading, and studying and having my own opinions about what scripture has to say, I'm finally listening to what Jesus has to say about it, and I truly believe He let's Chan speak to a generation that has complete disgust with the church built by human flesh and greed.

So why do I hate this book so much? I hate it because I'm comfortable. I'm comfortable with attending church, a Bible study and just study what needs to be covered in order to live the Bible thumpin' life. I hate it because it challenges that helping takes more than just writing a check or clicking away via Paypal. I hate it because it cuts deeper than what Christian high school camp taught me that summer (and trust, it was a very emotional summer for a poorly behaved 15 year old pastor's daughter). I hate this book so much because I learned everything I learned had a missing piece and I finally found it, now I don't know what to do with it. I hate this book so much is because for the first time in a long time, I can see why I fell in love with God in the first place.

I'm not finished with the book yet. It's a book I was sure I could finish in one night. 186 pages is a good evening well spent, but every time I get to a paragraph, even a sentence in the book that shakes me a bit, I put it down. It stares at me when I pass by it, and when I take it out of sight, I can't stop thinking about it. I shrugged off a lot of pages but then it hits you like a bad itch. You can't scratch it because you have your hands full, but it refuses to get away from you.

I'm sure once I'm done with this book, I will have more reasons why I hate this book and hate Francis Chan for writing it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Won't Be Praying for You

I've heard a lot of people express their outright hatred for "I'll be thinking of you in spirit." No one, after all, does think about people in spirit, and the phrase really makes little sense. It's just polite. I see it as a half truth; kind of like when you say "Hello. How are you?" If you’re like me you probably don't even honestly want to know how they are half the time.

There is a phrase that I do detest; it's the phrase, "I'll be praying for you." It's one thing when you say a half lie that is only bound to Earth, but it's another when you bring an act that should be Holy into it.
That's not to say I think it's bad to pray for something or someone; it is to say that half the time people either say it in vain or at inappropriate times.

Consider this: you’re at church, there's a mother who is telling another mother about how they have a doctor’s appointment and they have no one to pick up their kids, and on top of that they don't have enough money to go to the grocery store; and this is the reply that came from the other mother's mouth: I'll be praying for you.
I have seen this scenario played out too many times. I'm not perfect, and I'm nowhere near a saint, but I don't offer prayers where prayers shouldn't be given. In the case above, a prayer was a nice gesture, but not what this woman needed--she needed someone to pick up her kids, and buy her some groceries.
It disturbs me how many people not in the world, but in our own Christian family hurt and suffer and all people do is say that they'll pray for them.

When there's someone who is obviously suffering, our first thought shouldn’t be about prayer; it should be about love and compassion. Before we get to the prayer part, we should first try and help them with the need part.

If a person wants a prayer, I'll give them one; but before I offer it, I always clear up if that is in fact what they want.

I have heard all kinds of reports suggesting that people who pray live longer lives and our overall happier. This may be, but I don't believe it's prayer that's doing that--I think it's love. It's when the prayer comes from a person who’s not giving an obligatory gesture, but when the person is honestly concerned about their well-being; people are healthier and happier because they know there's people who love them, and they are able to see God in this love.

Every time I hear the phrase abused, all I can think is how much stronger the church would be if people did not ask "Can I pray for you" and asked instead "What can I do for you?"

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Scars of Bullying

I was severely bullied in school. And by "severely bullied in school," I mean that from first through twelfth grade not a day went by without someone either laughing at me or calling me names. I've been laughed at for talking, laughed at for wearing the wrong kinds of shoes, and laughed up for merely walking down the hallway. I've been called "faggot" and "gay" so many times that for a while I thought I really was a homosexual (although I never thought of men that way). I was never beaten up, though; the words hurt more than a thousand punches.

I tried to pretend that the bullying didn't bother me. I wore black, sneered, and stuck up my middle finger at anyone and everyone who dared to look at me funny. But I wasn't fooling anyone. I would eventually break down and cry, and sneak into the bathroom to cut my arms. The scars on my body reflected the scars I felt inside.

And many of my bullies claimed to be Christians. They didn't really act like it though; they were always talking about smoking weed and getting laid. And yet they wore huge crosses and those WWJD wrist bands. Since I didn't really grow up in the Church, I didn't know any difference, so I thought all Christians were judgmental liars and bullies. It didn't help that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell were still the most public Evangelical faces, so that made my disgust for religion grow. If God was just as self-righteous as the so-called "Christians" who treated me like dirt, I didn't want to have anything to do with Him.

And then when I was 17, some one introduced me to the real God. This God wasn't anything like the bullies. This was a God of love, mercy, and forgiveness. This was a God who was saying, "Come home, son. Everything is going to be alright." That was about nine years ago, and in those years there has been a lot of healing.

Although I can't say that the scars have completely healed. There are some people in my life right now who are trying to help me grow as a man and as a Christian. But whenever they speak, I feel like they are just judging me, like the school bullies judged me. Then I get upset and think about giving up on the whole God thing. Of course I could be just overreacting; I'm pretty prone to automatic negative thoughts, always thinking that other people are judging me when they're really not. But when you've been mistreated for so long, and people are constantly pointing out what you are doing wrong (even if they are right), you sort of automatically assume you're being judged.

Well, I know that when this life is over my scars will fully heal. But I do wish they would completely stop stinging right now.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do You Want Books with that Prayer?

Europe is home to the most beautiful empty churches in the world, so someone got the notion to turn one of them into a bookstore. It's certainly prettier than the gaudy vending machine/store in the back of the Notre Dame church in Paris! Read the story here.






Monday, September 21, 2009

The Dan Brown Interview

A few years back, I wrote a faux interview with Dan Brown for the Door Magazine several years ago. It's one of the several interviews included in "Christian Obscenity" (others include that eHarmony guy, Kirk Cameron, Mickey Mouse, and lots more). Since Brown's new book is now out, it seems like no better time than the present to post the interview. Enjoy!


The Man Who Spoiled DaVinci: Interview with Dan Brown


You made Catholics and art critics angry with The DaVinci Code. Your next book will tick off Masons, and, in turn, the power elite. Who's left to pick on?
The animals of Protestants.

Could you explain?
Well, dogs--to be precise. After my next book is published, I'm going to go straight to work on it. It will take place in Mexico City and delve into the brutal world of dog fighting. I believe Christian missionaries started this cultic practice in 102 B.C., and I can prove it if you show me a peso.

How could there be Christian missionaries in 102 B.C.? Christ wasn't even alive yet.
That's part of the conspiracy. Christ only said He died when He did to cover up what He was doing in the year 102 B.C.

Which was?
Training missionaries to go out unto the world and make fighters of dogs.

And all this is proven on a peso?
It is.

What about the peso says this?
I can tell you're intrigued, but I've already said too much. You'll just have to read the book to find out the rest.

And you think dogs will be the ones upset?
Their owners, too--but mostly the dogs. This is where Christians send their dogs when they get old. So naturally the dogs will be mad at their owners.

But it's only the dogs of Protestants?
Yes, of course.

So if Christ was the one who started all of this, then why didn't Catholics or Orthodox believers adopt the practice? They were around long before Protestants.
No, Protestants were around first. They just kept quiet and worked on training dogs. While all those other groups were trying to decide how to make Jesus more likable and marketable, Protestants were busy working on His true message.

Your last book said Jesus married and had kids--not exactly something that other people haven't claimed--but this seems sort of out of the blue. Where did you do the research?
Online. You wouldn't believe how much stuff is on the Internet that you can't find in libraries.

If you can't find it in libraries, then how did it make it online? Where did they get the information from?
It was passed down to them verbally.

So for hundreds of years people passed this crucial information down verbally just waiting for the Internet to be invented?
Exactly.

Why not put it in a book?
That's not how Protestants work. They knew it would be better to spread their message online, so they decided to wait.

And the only proof you have of all this is the peso?
I have lots of other proof. For instance, a dog has two eyes and two ears, which, if you cut them off, you can make a cross with it. Coincidence? I think not. And have you ever seen a dog wag its tail? Christ did the same thing when he waved at people. He trained their tails to do that as a sign.

And is this something all Protestants know, or just missionaries?
It used to be all of them, but the ultra-secret Council of Dog Fight Trainers decided that it would be best to adopt the same doctrine of other major religions for marketing purposes. No one wants to join a church that believes in dog fighting.

Um, didn't you say that Protestants send their dogs there when they're old? They must know something is up.
Absolutely not. Pastors tell them to give them their old dogs, then they in turn send them to their main headquarters, and then headquarters sends them to the dog-fighting trainers. But no one except the dog-fighting trainer missionaries know what's really going on. They just send the dogs there because that's what they've been told.

I've never had a pastor tell me this.
They say it hypnotically--they don't even know they're saying it. And if you ever take your dog in to the vet to put it down, that vet is owned by the church. You just don't know it. Until now.

So why do they still have dog fighting? Why hasn't it got phased out over all these years? There are certainly more profitable things for missionaries to do.
Dog fighting is one of the most profitable organizations out there. They own all kinds of companies. Microsoft, Intel, Ford Motors, Sony--all owned by the dog fighting organization. Isn't it at all odd that all those companies have dog names?

Actually none of those sound like dog names.
In English no, but in Dog Language they all translate to pet names. Microsoft in dog means Fido, for instance.

Don't you get tired of making people mad? Don't you want to write a fluffy book just once to see what it is like?
Most people enjoy the books--they're not mad. They're entertained and they've learned something.

But they've learned something that's not true.
But it is true.

Then why is it placed in fiction?
Because bookstores are run by Christians, and they won't admit their lies.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

In Honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day

Pirate's of the Caribbean Commentary Track, with Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye, and Pat Robertson


Originally published in the September/October 2005 (Issue #201) of The Wittenburg Door (http://archives.wittenburgdoor.com/archives/pirates.html)


FALWELL: Cool beans! Fog. That's a creepy way to start a movie.

LAHAYE: It's very end times-ish. Not bad for a secular film.

ROBERTSON: I heard that one of the assistants to the Director of Photography was a Christian.


FALWELL: That sounds like gossip.


LAHAYE: I agree with Jer on that one ... we better stick to facts.


ROBERTSON: (Snickers) Oh, like you stuck with "the facts" in the Left Behind books...

FALWELL: That song she's singing is very enchanting.


ROBERTSON: I think it's too scary for children under 12. Teens could handle it though—if they're with their parents, of course.


FALWELL: Of course.


ROBERTSON: I never let my children listen to songs with words. Except for John Denver.


FALWELL: John Denver was a very good singer. Of course, he's burning in hell.


LAHAYE: Of course.


ROBERTSON: You know I'm not too sure about this film. It almost seems like that girl is thinking positively about pirates.


LAHAYE: Kids are so wicked today. It's a sign that the end is near.


FALWELL: If it wasn't for those queer little Teletubbies, our kids would be a lot better off.


ROBERTSON: Oh brother—here comes another one of Jer's Telly rants.


LAHAYE: Both of you shut your traps and let's watch the movie.


FALWELL: I'm just saying that kids were a lot less wicked when we didn't have those freaky little puppet fags singing to them.


LAHAYE: And I say drop it. Let's watch the movie.


ROBERTSON: Oh my—now that's definitely not good!


LAHAYE: What? What'd I miss? Darn it Falwell, you made me miss something.


ROBERTSON: That girl—the one that acts like a demon—she just stole the demon necklace that guy was wearing that they pulled out of the water.


FALWELL: They pulled someone from the water?


ROBERTSON: For Pete's sake Jer, keep up—you're so impossible to watch a movie with!


LAHAYE: She definitely stole it all right. Stealing is so wrong. A lot of people don't know that it is, but it is.


FALWELL: This movie reminds me of The Shaggy Dog.


ROBERTSON: The Shaggy Dog?!


FALWELL: You know about the girl who goes to Vegas and becomes a stripper?


LAHAYE: Showgirls?


FALWELL: That's the one. I thought it was The Shaggy Dog.


ROBERTSON: You saw Showgirls?


FALWELL: I had to be able to tell my congregation why it was evil to see it.


LAHAYE: Why didn't you just say it was a porno?


FALWELL: I guess I just didn't.


LAHAYE: Oh no, this looks scandalous. That girl's in bed.


ROBERTSON: Relax, she's fully covered.


LAHAYE: Well, I hardly think we should be imagining any girl but our wives in pajamas.


FALWELL: He's got you there, Patty-boy.


ROBERTSON: I'm not even listening to you. I can't believe you saw Showgirls.

LAHAYE: You know, the girl's dad is wearing a really nice wig.


FALWELL: I had a wig like that once. I read a passage in the Bible that I misinterpreted as saying only bald men will go to heaven, so I cut off all my hair. Then I wore that kind of wig when I figured out that hair was okay with God.


LAHAYE: I can't believe they're showing the girl putting on her dress. Scandalous!


FALWELL: It looks innocent to me.


ROBERTSON: Compared to Showgirls I'm sure it is.


LAHAYE: I suppose since they're not showing anything it's okay for married couples to see. It's better than her prancing around in those pajamas.


ROBERTSON: And it is one of those nice Victorian dresses.


FALWELL: I sure wish women still wore those.


LAHAYE: Now they walk around half-naked in their tight jeans and loose fitting t-shirts. It's a sign of the end. Not that I look at them, of course.


FALWELL : (Giggles) Of course.


ROBERTSON: My son told me a lot of this movie is taken straight from the ride. I'm not seeing it, though.


FALWELL: Ride? There's a ride about this?


LAHAYE: At Disneyland—surely even you must have known.


FALWELL: Disneyland? Do you mean to say that this is a Disney movie?


ROBERTSON: Didn't you see the logo at the start of the movie?


FALWELL: I was making the popcorn. Why didn't you tell me? I can't watch this. I'm supposed to be boycotting Disney movies.


LAHAYE: Roberston and I were talking about that while you were popping the kernels. We thought you lifted the boycott to focus more attention on homosexual awareness of Spongebob.


FALWELL: I did no such thing, and I can watch no more of this.


ROBERTSON: Hey Timmy, ain't that the elf guy from Lord of the Rings?


LAHAYE: Like I'd know. That movie was based on a book by a Catholic.

ROBERTSON: A Catholic? I didn't know that.

LAHAYE: How could you not? All fantasy books are written by either Catholics or witches.

ROBERTSON: He's carrying a sword—this must be why it got the PG-13 rating.

LAHAYE: PG-13? I can only watch G or PG.

ROBERTSON: Wasn't Left Behind: The Movie PG-13?

LAHAYE: I watched the censored version.

ROBERTSON: Well, how about if I just tell you to close your eyes during the bad parts?


LAHAYE: I still have ears.

ROBERTSON: How about you cover your eyes, and I'll cover your ears.

LAHAYE: And what if the world ends while you're doing this? God might mistake that as some kind of homosexual ritual and send us both to hell.

ROBERTSON: Point taken. I'll tell you how the rest of the movie turns out.

LAHAYE: I wish I could have at least seen a few pirates.

ROBERTSON: There's pirates in this movie?

LAHAYE: That's what the title says.

ROBERTSON: I'll have no part in that. Pirates are sinners!

LAHAYE: Arrgh, matey! (Snickers.)


Friday, September 18, 2009

Apparently I am a Commie After All

UPDATE 02/24/2010: I must have misread my results, because today I retook the quiz and came up with "Moderately Biblical World View." I'm cool with being a moderate.

The other day I was browsing around Worldview Times when I came upon this quiz that determined if I had a liberal or conservative worldview. Even though I don't care much for labels--I no longer consider myself a liberal or a conservative or a libertarian or any other political label--I took the quiz.

The quiz started off asking questions about God and the Bible, but then shifted towards politics. Specifically the quiz asked what I thought the Bible said about the role of government, which is something I honest don't know much about. I don't remember anything in the Bible that explicitly said whether God prefers a small government or a big one. The quiz also asked if I thought America's Founding Fathers were influenced by the Bible. That's also something I'm not sure about. I've heard some say that the Founding Fathers were Deists, and other say that while America is not a "Christian nation" (according to C.S. Lewis, a Christian nation requires that all citizens have to be Christians) our Founding Fathers were heavily influenced by Biblical principles when they shaped our Constitution. So for those question, I just put down "no opinion."

Well, according to the results, I am a Communist.

Which is strange, because I read The Communist Manifesto this past summer, and I didn't agree with it. I can understand why so many people got into it. I agree to a certain extent about the eternal struggle between the rich and the poor, but once Marx started talking about doing away with property rights I was like, "You lost me there, dude! I like to own my own stuff."

What's also strange is that Worldview gives you a list of all the correct answers to the quiz. In other words, if you a true Christian you have to be a neoconservative. Which is weird, because I thought being a Christian meant you believed in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and He died for your sins. I didn't know you had to vote a certain way.

But apparently according to Worldview, even though I believe in Jesus but don't vote the way they do, I am Commie.

So, uh . . . workers of the world, unite?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Can the Real Monkey Please Stand Up?

Charles Darwin was not a great scientist in my opinion, which is why it's always odd to me that people see him as such a controversial and threatening figure. I believe in evolution...sort of (if you want to know some of my thoughts on the subject you can see it here).

Earlier, it was announced that a new biopic about Darwin starring Jennifer Connelly would not be released in the U.S. because no distributor wanted to touch it--they are too afraid of crazy Christians, who will no doubt flood any studio who has the guts to not censor the film with death treats and hate mail, and it just isn't worth the hassle.

So if you have an interest in Darwin in states, then I guess you'll have to bootleg. One day I hope people realize censorship never helps any one's cause--it only creates more interest.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Christian Obscenity

Read the book one reader on Amazon said was not "so much humorous as mean and judgemental."

It's called "Christian Obscenity: Essays, Stories, and Other Potentially Damning Ramblings" and it's available for the low price of $10 (which includes shipping), and supports a hungry writer and his wife. It's a collection of what I call "Christian Humor." It's about 1/2 stuff that I previously published in The Door and about 1/2 completely original material. It's filled with fake interviews (including the one with the Christian Porn Star), satire, parody, and fiction.

Those of you with Amazon Kindle can buy it for $1.00.

If you want a physical copy, click the paypal link below or just go to Amazon and get a copy. Additionally, if you buy $20.00 worthy of stuff from my wife's Etsy store, I'll have her include a copy of the book absolutely free! Just make sure and email one of us that you want it...



















Friday, September 11, 2009

More Goodies from Pastor Steven L. Anderson!

Last week Scott wrote about Pastor Steven L. Anderson and his wish to see President Obama die. Well, according to this interview with Sirius radio DJ Michelangelo Signorile, God is like Travis Bickle blowing away all the bad guys with his .44 Magnum:



So let's see . . . aborting babies is murder (which I understand), but killing presidents, gays, and abortion doctors isn't (which I don't understand).

Of course Anderson isn't just about bumping off the nasties. In this video, we learn that according to King James Bible, God is greatly concerned about how men urinate:



So what have we learned today?

1. It's okay to kill gays, abortion doctors, and Democratic presidents.

2. All gays are child molesters, even when they're not

3. God says only real men pee standing up.

Boy, sign me up for this guy's church!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Sabbath Is Greek for Sleeping In, Right?

When I was young, I got into the practice of never doing homework on Sundays; it was the Sabbath (actually, Sunday isn’t the true Sabbath, but it seemed the most practical time to take a day off from school). In college, while working a summer job for a company that rented out space in Disneyland, I had to put this practice to rest. It was a long summer and I swore to God and myself that I’d never work Sundays again when I quit.

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of sermons, but one that I’ve never heard (perhaps I’ve just been in the wrong churches on the wrong Sundays?) is a sermon about the Sabbath. It seems just an unmentioned rule that people are supposed to pick a day in the week and rest, but no one ever puts an emphasis on why. And no one really says what we’re supposed to do on the day—at least no one in Protestant churches; Orthodox Judaism does it much better.

While I never work on Sunday’s anymore, I frequently find myself busy with other things—so much so that it doesn’t seem like a day of rest at all. There’s a reason God says to obey the Sabbath, and it’s not to get extra housework done. It’s for devotion and reconnection.

Today’s a holiday. I have little to do today day; while I don’t obey the Sabbath on Monday’s, the pause makes me wonder why I don’t obey it better on Sunday’s.

The Bible doesn’t clearly define what we have to do on the Sabbath; God doesn’t say it’s the day we spend on our knees praying or doing something else ritualistic. I think God just wants us to pause from the world and reconnect with everything we’ve been too busy to think about with the chaos of the world. The Sabbath should be the day that brings us closest to heaven on Earth. Is that such a bad thing?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Joel Osteen Teaches Us

Hilarious parody of Joel Osteen.



Remember, controlling your weaknesses is a big part of controlling your weaknesses!