Ugh

Here’s even more proof of how lame Christianity is. I can’t wait for the “Christian” version of MySpace!

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40 thoughts on “Ugh

  1. I love how the Christian MySpace, says “It’s MySpace for Christians! It’s invitation only!”

    I love Christ with all my heart, but I have to say that I would gladly be on the “bad side” of that protest … I think Christ is more accurately represented in those hearts then in the activities of Luce’s group.

  2. Now that you are an official conference speaker, next year at this event you will be one of the main speakers waving a banner and rallying the youth to battle. I can picture it now…….

  3. Just stopped in from Dan Kimballs blog, Sorry for being uncool, but just because they have a lame internet idea doesn’t go to void lots of good years of Ron Luce’s ministry as some of the commenters seem to suggest.

  4. man. this reminds me of the power team. it always escaped me how a large man tearing a phone book in half or exploding a water bottle with *only his lungs* would draw me nearer to god. maybe it was in the yelling of “jesus!” as they performed their feats of strength…

    anyhoo… if we can give the benefit of the doubt a bit, hopefully there are good intentions behind all of this (which, i suppose, is another issue entirely). there is more than enough illicit sex, violence, degradation, bad grammar, poor etiquette, etc. out there on the web, so maybe this is supposed to provide a “safe” christian alternative.

    this, unfortunately, doesn’t really jive with reality – as many people who have attended christian schools (or gone to church) could tell you, just labelling something “christian” doesn’t automatically make it so.

    which begs the question: given the propensity of many christians to act the same as/worse than many non-christians, how will this xianz site keep it “christian” (and what determines those standards?)… no cursing? no flaming? no smoking/drinking/progressive political discussion? no dancing (like in footloose)?

    maybe i’m just mad that no one will send me an invite :O

    ~~~
    btw, i wandered in via about four different blogs and have enjoyed reading your blog. and, not to sound like too much of a fanboy (but to go ahead and do it anyways), “clarity” and “static prevails” (along with your more recent releases) have made me almost look forward to my hourlong commute 🙂

  5. Jason,

    I don’t think anyone is trying to be “cool” here. I think what’s represented here are just honest reactions to this article. If you read that story and the only negative item you notice is the one “lame internet idea” then I suppose you and I are approaching the article with two completely different set of lenses.

  6. First of all, not to nit-pick, but it is patently unfair to equate the historical & global movement of Christianity with the 21st century American evangelical aberration. Christianity is a lot bigger than that. There are hundreds of millions of Christians throughout the world and most of them take discipleship seriously. Equating the entire Christian movement with this one event is like equating rock music with Milli Vanilli.

    However, worse than the event itself is the city government’s response to it. This is technically a free speech issue, and the government seems to be saying “Free Speech? Not here. Not unless you agree with us.”

    How can San Francisco pride itself on being “America’s most tolerant and progressive city” — and then condemn twenty five thousand locals for voicing their opinion? The whole point of tolerance is that you accept people who see the world differently than you do. But in San Francisco those who think differently (according to the city councilman) “should get out of San Francisco.”

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending the event. I certainly wouldn’t have paid money to listen to two days worth of the mindless and sappy tripe that gets passed off as Christian music these days. I think the money spent on this event could have been more productively channeled elsewhere. But there’s a huge difference in disagreeing with someone and trying to run them out of town. It amazes me the level of intolerance frequently displayed by those who market themselves as tolerant.

    I guess I’ve been spoiled by living in Brasil. While we have violence and poverty to contend with, thank God we don’t have government sanctioned thought police telling us what to think and where to think it.

  7. Call me a strange youth pastor, but how does a bunch of teenagers who are gathering to say “Hey, enough of the porn and negative influences” constitute a bad thing? Why do we make it so wonderful when they stand up for the side of cultural influences, yet bash them when they stand up for their faith? I’ll admit that I have never taken a group to an “Acquire the Fire” event, but I don’t see the problem with this. And just to be clear, I don’t like the Christian “myspace” or the regular myspace for that matter either:)

  8. Zach, since you think the Battle Cry event so lame, this must mean that you think the bands that chose to play there are lame too? Delirious, Toby Mac, and the rest? Are they lame in your book?

  9. I am all for good influences and sound moral judgement but in my opinion, this article is riddled with bad ideas and damaging theology on the part of Ron Luce and the participants of this event. Allow me to elaborate and maybe you guys will at least know where I’m coming from even if you disagree with my position:

    First, the premise of the entire event is flawed. Their rally will do nothing to improve the culture that they are at “war” with. This rally will have zero effect on impacting the world around them. From my perspective, this rally will just strengthen their own seperatists position in regards to the culture. What they are saying is that “they’ve had enough” and then make plans to uproot themselves out of the secular culture and then retreat to their Christian bubble. That’s like going and protesting the United States government while making plans to move to Europe. They can complain all they want, but until there are real and authentic efforts for a solution, their protests will do nothing but damage their standing with those “in the world”. If the culture needs to be improved (which i agree with) then instead of a “rally” there needs to be an effort to integrate into the culture and create something that connects with not just Christians but people from all perspectives. The problem with that approach is that’s it’s a very difficult road. It requires those from Luce’s perspective to be creative, compelling, and intelligent (three things the christian church has a hard time doing in my opinion). If Luce wants to simply protest the current pop-culture while seperating from it, his protest is nothing more than a hallow attempt at prop up his own moral agenda.

    Secondly, I can’t agree with the idea that the Bible is an “instruction manual”. That is so opposite of how I view the Biblical scriptures and I feel holding that view is a poor and possibly very dangerous treatment of the Bible. Very little of the Bible acts as list of do’s and don’ts. Rather than treating the Bible as “God’s instruction manual” I prefer to treat it as a narrative that took place in a specific time to specific groups of people that took place in a specific part of the world.

    Thirdly, what really struck me was this excerpt of the article:

    On one side of the barricade was girl carrying a sign that said, “Instead of porn, show us Godly relationships.” On the other, a woman held one that said, “I moved here to get away from people like you.”

    I agree that instead of porn we need “Godly relationships” but is this rally the path to forging real relationships or is it something else? So far, based on the woman’s response above, it’s not working. Why am I not surprised?

    John, If I showed up on your front lawn and told you that your yard looked terrible and that you should be ashamed of how bad your lawn looks. If I said that your terrible lawn was a reflection of what a terrible person you were, would you take me up on my offer to teach you how to keep it up to my standards? Probably not and I guess that’s my point.

  10. Mark,

    I would not say that those bands are lame, but that they’re decision to play this event was VERY lame. I’m not saying these people are inherently lame. I’m saying their basic approach to being “in the world” is severely flawed and unhelpful.

  11. “…there needs to be an effort to integrate into the culture..”

    The real issue is not what you think, but what God says.

    Romans 12:2
    And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    I Cor. 2:12
    Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

    Eph. 2:12
    Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

    Do you really think that God wants us to integrate into the culture?

  12. I actually realy agree with all your points Zack, I just help put on a 24-7 prayer event this weekend with Brian Heasley that is working in Ibiza, Spain. The party capitol of the world that makes San Fran look like some small town in Wyoming.

    His points were:
    1. Be present in culture.
    2. Don’t be on the attack, but redeem.
    3. Be an aura of love and compassion
    4. Sit at the table with other.

    His ministry is hanging out at the largest night club in the world loving people who are gay, on drugs, having sex in front of him..ect.

    While I do agree with you, I know that Ron Luce’s ministry has had a huge, good effect on youth for a long time. I don’t know much about this event, but I hope he isn’t easily disqualified by people. That would be a shame.

    I guess I was just provoked by the title and quick substance of your post. In hearing your thoughts above, I appreciated how much more depth there is to your ideas. Ideas I resonate with deeply.

    Sorry if I came across snarky in my previous post.

    Blessings to you and your family.

  13. and Mark, we’re not given some licsence to sin as the world does, but Jesus did “come into” the world and had a reputation for hanging out with the worst kind of people and offending the religous leadership. He also calls us to be salt and light in the world. To bring out the God-flavors and God-colors out of the world (the message, Eugene Petersen Matthew 5) The sinners actually were drawn to Jesus….in Mark 3 he says, “what it lawful…to save life or to kill it..”

    Ok sorry I’m done.. This isn’t my blog, and I really am not one to get caught up in these kind of discussions..and threads..Really!!

  14. Obviously we are in the world. I just ask are we to integrate into the world? I don’t have a problem with loving people in the world, but I don’t have to be where they are to do that.

  15. I totally agree with the heart of what Zach is saying. Looking back on almost two decades of youth ministry (yes, I’m old) one of the things that rips my heart out is the difficulty of knowing how to teach kids how to follow Christ in a fallen world. Youth groups become places where you can escape the world – until you graduate. I believe this is why the rate is so high of students leaving the church during their college years. The church has always blamed this on liberal universities, but that is simply passing the buck. We need to take a look in the mirror.

    What are we teaching our students when we have them holding signs in protest of the culture? I’m tired of porn and violence and all the crap that this world exposes my kids to as well, but compassion for broken people is a much better place to start than an event like this.

    Also, I don’t think we should fry Zach on this one. He is simply pointing out an article about an event that he doesn’t believe reflects Christ’s heart. This is not necessarily reflective of Ron Luce’s past — it’s about one event being reported on in S.F.

  16. Zach, I can agree with a lot of what you said. I don’t think the way to change this is to tell people how horrible they are, becuase I agree to people won’t listen. I don’t agree with the agressiveness of the Teen Mania ministries, which is why I have not taken a group to their events in 10 years of Youth Ministry. I don’t believe it is bad or in a bad light for us to stand up and say we are tired of what is going on in the media and in the culture. My view on a rally like this is that it should “fire up” these teens to make the changes in their lives. That might not have been the point of this event, i wasn’t there. I also agree that we cannot and should not live in a “Christian Bubble”. Jesus did not seperate himself from the world, and neither should we. But in reality, we are not as strong as Jesus, and so we need to be able to pull together and encourage one another. I don’t want to see these teens get put down for doing that. It takes a lot for a teenager to stand against the culture and society, I see it everyday. I think we can afirm these teens while recognizing that this event won’t change everything. But maybe it can plant some seeds that will bring out some change.

    As for the Bible, it’s not a set of instructions, but the living, breathing word of God. (Ok, I’ll get off my stump now) 🙂

  17. Mark,

    A broken world is in desperate need of “love” with “skin” on. Words don’t mean much. I hope that you’ll reconsider what it means to love broken people. Jesus touched broken people and I think that is a great example for us to follow.

  18. Mark,

    I don’t think Jesus taught his followers to love others from a safe distance. Is that what you read when studying the gospels? Does Tim Lahaye have his own bible translation that I don’t know about?

  19. I don’t understand what it is you are asking me to rethink. I agree that we are to reach out to those in the world. I agree that Jesus reached out to the outcasts of society. I also see that God clearly states in the bible that we are not to seek to be part of the world. So how are we to seek at those in the world without being of the world? I think that is something that we need to figure out. The bible does say a lot about the Church and the body of believers. It talks about the body ministering one another. The Church does play a role and it is to be different from the world. I guess what I am saying is that I feel as though many feel that the Church is irrelevant and I just don’t agree. Believe me, I see that the Church has many flaws. I just am not sure the way to fix the flaws is for the Church to become more integrated with the world.

  20. I know I am going to get flack for this but there is a lot more to the bible then just “The Gospels.” And the rest of the bible is God’s word too.

  21. Mark,

    First, Let’s use Jesus as an example. When he met with and spent time with a tax collecter, did he then become a tax collector? Or when he hung out with pharisees did that automatically make him a pharisee? Or when Paul spent time in Greece with non-christian philosophers, did he stop being a Christ follower and become one of them? It is possible to be “in the world” but not “of the world”. I think I read that somewhere. Maybe Lahaye left that out too.

    Secondly, you said this:

    “Believe me, I see that the Church has many flaws. I just am not sure the way to fix the flaws is for the Church to become more integrated with the world.”

    I would suggest that integrating or connecting with the world IS the fix. When I suggest that we should integrate with “the world”, I’m talking about integrating with people and their pain. When we integrate with someone, we become united with them as a person. I would never suggest we need to incorporate their destructive behaviours into our own lives. God knows, we all have enough destructive ways than we know what to do with. Instead, we need to reach out to them, be next to them and try to forge a real relationship out of our love for them and for God. Much of the thinking in the evanglical Christian world is counter to this thinking. Instead of meeting people where they are at and showing a genuine interest in their struggle, Christians tell them they are doing something wrong (which could be true, but unhelpful and hypocritical) while maybe handing them some literature or, even better, protesting at a rally. These methods that we see today in the Christian world are simply not recognizable to the way of Jesus. The only time Jesus publicly protests in anger is when he’s calling out religious leaders. He didn’t picket Zacheaus’ house or didn’t picket the business place of the rich young ruler. Instead, he met them where they were at. He took time out of his day to connect with them where they were at and shared truth with them. Stop and think about what would happen if Jesus instead of meeting Paul on the side of the road went and protested Paul’s murdering of Christians with big picket signs and Toby Mac playing live? Paul probably would have tried to kill Jesus for a second time. There is so many examples in scripture where the people of God going out in strange and dangerous places and sharing God’s truth. We cannot hide in the belly of the whale any longer.

    Laura, you’re right. There are more than 4 books in the Bible and thank you for pointing that out. I would suggest though that the Gospels should act as our lens through which we view the rest of the Biblical text. If we are to look to scripture to learn about what the nature of our relationship with world around us should be, do you suggest we look elsewhere before studying the life of Jesus?

  22. Great discussion. Zach, thanks for clarifying your thoughts.

    I do not care much for the “we are at war with the culture” language either because I think it tends to put people on the defensive. In SF, Luce (in effect) called the non-Christians “terrorists” and the protestors called those attending the event “fascists.” Both attitudes are repulsive. It’s Dumb and Dumber Part Two.

    Mark, you spoke against “integrating into the culture” and quoted verses about worldliness. But what is worldliness? It’s not merely hanging out with sinners, because that’s what Jesus did. He wasn’t worldly, but in that sense he intersected with culture.

    I think worldliness is defined by the attitudes prevalent in the world, many of which are prevalent in the American church as well: materialism, elitism, idol worship, condescension, hate, injustice, apathy. These are things that Jesus spoke out against.

    However, in the midst of the Christian rock stars prancing around on stage for their adoring fans, the rampant consumerism at the product tables, and the self-appointed prophets telling the crowd that those who do not think like us are the enemy — one might conclude that the Battle Cry event came to resemble that which it was supposed to be against.

  23. I think that we agree on many points. I agree that many believers are hypocritical and self-righteous. I believe that we need to reach out and love the unchurched. I think we disagree on the role of the church. I firmly believe that church is to be different from the world. I believe that the church is for believers. I believe it is the role of the individual believer to minister to those in and out of the body. I believe that it is the role of the individual believer to be a missionary – in the neighborhood, at work, at school, where ever. I believe the Church’s responsiblity is to feed the believer. I also agree that the only way to make a difference in someone’s life, is through love. Love also may be the only way to make a difference in a believers life too? Maybe blogs about how stupid and out of touch they are is not the way to go? I know that there are a lot of misguided believers. Can we not love them too? And show them another way through the same love and understanding that you want to extend to the non-believer?

  24. Mark,

    I never called anyone “stupid” and I don’t feel that me speaking out on how I feel this rally is a failure consitutes me not “loving” the protesters. Yes, I called their efforts “lame” but I am not saying that they themselves are not worthy of me showing love to them.

    If you are trying to defend this rally, then you won’t succeed with me. If you feel like this rally was valuable, then you and I have two totally different perspectives on how to be the body of Christ.

  25. Mark,

    I totally agree that the church is the hope of the world as it is to be the representation of Christ’s hands and feet in this world. But, if Jesus summed up His theology by saying (in essence) love God and love your neighbor – could this not be the way that the church is to be different than the world. If we really lived this way of life – really touched broken people – really loved people who were not like us – the world would have a radically different perspective of Jesus and His church.

    Let me make a generalization here. American Christianity has adopted a stance of pointing out the way in which everyone is different than us. (denominations/struggles/race)When anyone bases their understanding of others based upon difference, it leads to polarization. Instead, what Jesus brought to the table was an understanding of sameness. I am broken like the people of SF. I struggle. I hurt. I understand why people get divorced because I struggle to understand my wife. I understand why people are trapped in sexual sin because I struggle with lust. I pray that these never become a part of my life, but I am certainly capable of it. So instead of railing on people who are not like me, maybe, in compassion the church could come alongside them – whether they care or not.

    Do we need to make it more complicated than that?

  26. Just stumbled across this (yes from the jimmy eat world boards) and as a Christian youth who’s grown up as a 16 year ol Church leaders son (in what would be considered to be an evangelical church) I thought I may as well add my opinons…

    Basicly I would agree with Zach on this to a point as one thing that most people seem to miss out when thinking about what it is to be a Christian is this:

    Matthew 25:31
    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

    A fairly long passage to quote but very significant, where does it say ‘Judge those who do wrong and end up in prison’ or ‘Wait it out with your christian buddies and you’ll get into Heaven’! The fact it it says to go out of your way to help them … as long as you slip in a verse about how Jesus saved them … NO! It does not meantion that once.

    “And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’”

    Gods family is everyone … the drug addicts, the prostitutes, the least of the least and as followers of Jesus its our job to help them and love them, not condem them or seperate ourselves as a community.

    (Sorry if that was a bit long)

    //Sam

  27. “as long as you slip in a verse about how Jesus saved them”

    Sorry to double post, just pointing out that bit was satirical …

  28. i meant to say this before, but haven’t had a chance to comment until now…

    i’ve really enjoyed listening in on this conversation. i think this is a good example of the positive impact the blogosphere can have in our lives, especially as believers. how many disagreements among christians have we seen (both online and in person) degenerate into angry ranting and petty name-calling, or worse? it’s nice to have this discussion in a reasonable, respectful way…

    moondog: i’ve really enjoyed your insights into this issue – concise, compelling…

    zach: thanks for sharing your thoughts and your heart. i wanted to echo your sentiments on the nature of scripture. i’ve heard my share of “basic instructions before leaving earth”-type messages. (get it? it spells “bible”… *sigh*). it’s silly to think that God’s intention for the bible is to give us a really long to-do list. if that was the case, a nice bullet-point list would do (and we would be happily checking off each point as we climbed higher & higher up the faith ladder). it does make sense, however, for a God who comes to us incarnationally through relationship to reveal glimpses of His heart to us through His interactions with His people in the past. certainly, there is much more to it, but i just wanted to let you know that i hear where you’re coming from…

    i peeked over at the battle cry website and i saw that they are calling their rallies “mega-events”. there is definitely something exciting about having a big crowd – it’s like the difference between seeing a concert with five people or five hundred. i understand the impulse toward these kind of events as well – it’s always easier to put money (and to convince others to give money)toward events/programs, etc. because they seem to have measurable results (e.g., 18,823 attended, 1,500 commitments, 5,000 re-commitments, etc.).

    i worry, though, that sincere christians might mistake largeness/flashiness for true boldness. in a sense, it’s easy to storm the gates and withstand insults and shout real loud. it is much bolder to invest our time, love, grace, empathy, forgiveness into real people in our lives. we’re not likely to grab headlines through this kind of lifestyle, but i think this might be what paul meant when he said to let our gentleness be evident to all (philippians 4:5).

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