Archive - August, 2008

Offended by the F.B.I.

fbi-tee-shirt.jpg I’m turning into an old man.

This past weekend, my wife and I were out making returns and doing some shopping. We stopped by a dress store (“It’s 40% off,” my wife exclaimed, “we’d be silly not to take a look!”) so Kerry could take a look.

She went to try on some clothes and I did what all men do when their ladies are trying on apparel: Fidget and look awkward.

As I was sitting there, I noticed a young woman go into one of the dressing rooms next to my wife. She went in with a few things and emerged every now and again to hail an unseen boyfriend who was sitting (I assume fidgeting and looking awkward as well) around the corner.

I heard him say a few unintelligible words until finally, after multiple attempts by this young woman (presumably his girlfriend) to get his attention, he lumbered around the corner.

What I saw next, I was not quite prepared for. This guy, maybe 19 years old, was wearing a T-shirt that said the following, “F.B.I.: Female Body Inspector”. Get it? “FBI” – like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but instead his shirt just switched around what the letters meant. Switched to “Female Body Inspector”. Isn’t that just so clever? Forget clever, it was the epitome of good taste!

I was appalled. I mean, a deep disgust for this incredibly offensive means of self-expression. I found myself thinking:

1.) What in God’s green earth would make a person who chose to wear that T-shirt attract anyone else on the planet, much less someone of the opposite sex?
2.) Where are that guy’s parents?
3.) Where are
those girl’s parents and why aren’t they protecting her from a meathead like that?

It was all I could do to stop myself from sneering at this guy and wanting to practice some of my new kickboxing moves on his slightly-tilted, mesh trucker hat-adorned head. But I didn’t. I just uttered a prayer that sounded something like, “Father, bless this young woman with vision and open her eyes to see that she is worth more than a guy who wears a T-shirt like that. And Lord, if you could, let that shirt get mysteriously shrunk in the dryer. Or let it go to the place that all the missing socks in the world go to. Amen.”

If we ever have a daughter, she gets to date when she turns 35. And I get to inspect the wardrobe of her possible suitor. And he cannot own a single mesh trucker hat. And neither can his dad ever have owned a mesh trucker hat. Ever.

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No More Sundays.

Below is a post off of my blog on dmJuice.com. I included it here because I think it could prove valuable for discussion.

I have been thinking about writing a book lately. I would call the book, “No More Sundays” (a play off of the hugely popular “No More Mondays” by Dan Miller).

“What’s behind the title?” you ask. Well, it seems that in my life I tend to segregate what happens on Sunday mornings as “church” and the rest of the week is “not church.” I don’t make these distinctions intentionally, but years of cultural conditioning have programmed compartments in my brain to better categorize this experience called “life”:

Work = Monday – Friday; 9-5pm.
Drive = Right side of the road.
Eat = Three meals per day.
Church = Sometime on Sunday morning.

I have been really challenged lately by some words I read regarding what “going to church” should look like. The author I’m reading says this to some of his friends about what “church” is all about, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. This, my friends, is your spiritual act of worship.” Simple words if I’ve ever heard them.

So back to my book, “No More Sundays”. I am certainly not saying that we should all stop going to church on Sundays. That would be missing the point. Or, as a mentor of mine likes to say it, “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” What Iamsaying is that we need to re-evaluate what we consider “church.” Is “the church” a place that I go to or is the church an identity that I have whether I am in a church building or not? An identity that follows me around in my “everyday, ordinary life”?

I say “No More Sundays” because I am becoming increasingly more fond of resting on Sundays. As in “sleeping in until noon” rest. As in not going to church. As followers of Jesus, we do need to be in communication with other believers; reading God’s word together, worshiping together through music and prayer and the sacraments. This much is true. But does this have to happen on a Sunday morning? What about a Saturday night? A Tuesday night? Or, I don’t know – just throwing this out there – a Thursday night?

I don’t have all the answers so in the meantime, my wife and I are really enjoying our Sunday mornings together. Not to sound trite, but it’s in those moments – resting next to her, making scrambled eggs for her, having a hot cup of coffee in between – that my soul, my spirit, is most at rest. After all, isn’t that what the Sabbath is all about?

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Todd Bentley.

041508 cs ignited2 life I have to admit, I don’t know what to think about Todd Bentley.

If you’re wondering who that is, you can find the Bentley’s website here and the most recent news regarding Bentley here. Long story short, he’s a faith-healer evangelist based out of Lakeland, Fl., and has just recently separated from his wife. The separation seemed fairly ambiguous at first, but “new details” have come out in the last few days (as it seems they most often do in these situations). From Bentley’s website:

“We wish to acknowledge… that since our last statement from the Fresh Fire Board of Directors, we have discovered new information revealing that Todd Bentley has entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff. In light of this new information and in consultation with his leaders and advisors, Todd Bentley has agreed to step down from his position on the Board of Directors and to refrain from all public ministry for a season to receive counsel in his personal life.”

Youtube is aflame with videos from Bentley’s revival meetings. Videos that include Bentley being “drunk in the Spirit,” Bentley kneeing a cancer victim in the gut, and Bentley describing how the Lord told him to “leg drop” a pastor of a church he was visiting. (Full disclosure: Even as I wrote the above sentence, I found myself thinking, “this is absolutely insane. How did we get to this place as Christians where we can attach “…because the Lord told me to” to just about anything and call it legit?)

In my judgment of this situation, I can not question whether or not Bentley loves God and is a follower of Jesus. That is not a call I am allowed to make, nor qualified to do so. What I can do (and what others can do while observing) is evaluate the fruit that comes from Bentley’s life and ministry. A broken marriage, a broken ministry and a giant smear across the face of an already limping Christian body does not sound like any fruit that I would be willing to consume.

I find myself asking, “Why do people do stuff like this?” How is it that someone like Bentley can have such a different view on the teachings and life of Jesus, so different than mine that they almost seem to be opposing? Or even contrary? What do I do with that?

Frankly, this whole situation is embarrassing. Watching Todd Bentley embarrasses me. It embarrasses me because I know that he is the only Christian exposure that some people will ever have in their lives and because of that, they will write Jesus off. Is it right? No, but it’s reality.

I’ll close this post with some words on this Bentley situation from Notes From Off-Center:

Regardless of what one thinks about Bentley’s ‘revival’ — and just so there is no confusion: we think it is an unbiblical, unchristian, an inexcusable display of sensuality vs. Scripture — fact remains that God uses flawed people. If that were not so, there would be no Christian in ministry anywhere.

That said, along with everything else that has been said about this so-called revival, this latest revelation underscores the severe lack of spiritual discernment on the part of Todd Bentley, his staff, the spiritual ‘leaders’ who enabled him, and the the tens of thousands of Christians who keep chasing after false teachers, pretend ‘apostles’ and ‘prophets,’ fake ‘revivals’ and so on.

Mind you, Bentley and his cohorts are people who claim to be visited by angels, talk about their trips to heaven and their conversations with the apostle Paul, and pepper their language with the word ‘prophetic’ — pretending to speak the very words of God into people’s lives and situations.

We have referred to this whole charade — not just Bentley’s show but the entire cast of ‘New Apostolic’ leaders — as a Christian Role-Playing Game that brings nothing but spiritual tragedy.

Our prayer is that these events will act as a wake-up call for many Christians — Todd Bentley included — caught up in chasing after experience.

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Christ and Culture.

I read this the other day in a book that I’m reading. It blew me away. Read for yourself:

“The problem raised by Gnosticism regarding the relations of Christ to religion and of religion to culture became more rather than less acute with the development of so-called Christian civilization. There can be no doubt that medieval society was intensely religious, and that its religion was Christianity; yet the question of whether Christ was the Lord of this culture is not answered by reference to the pre-eminence of the religious institution in it, not even by reference to the pre-eminence of Christ in that institution. In this religious society the same problem about Christ and culture appeared that perplexed Christians in pagan Rome, and similarly divergent efforts at solution resulted.” ((Christ & Culture by H. Richard Niebuhr, pg. 89.))

If you’re a Christian and have ever been perplexed by the Scriptures that call us to be “in the world but not of it,” you are not alone. Seems we’ve always had this problem.

Update: My friend and fellow theologian, Dave, gently corrected me with the following: “I liked your posting this morning, but you ticked a pet peeve of mine… “in the world and not of it” is not actually a scripture. John 17:14-16 is probably closest, but as best I can tell “in the world not of it” was popularized by a My Utmost for His Highest reflection on Galatians 6:14. It might actually originally be a Sufi proverb (Islamic mystics).”

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Social Entrepreneurs.

“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” Bill Drayton, CEO, chair and founder of Ashoka.

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Blasphemous to some, hilarious to others.

Some people might get really upset at this. What with church polity and all.

Me? Well, it should come as no surprise that I find this absolutely hilarious.

Who said poking fun at the way we Christians do church can’t be an enjoyable pastime?

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Facebook + Be Deviant = BeFaceDeviantBook.

Picture 1.pngIf you’re a fan of BeDeviant.com and you’re a fan of Facebook, why not combine two things you already dig on and become a fan of this blog on Facebook? Make sense?

Check out this link and join the throngs of fans of BeDeviant.com over on Facebook… All one of them (as of this writing). Join the party today.

(Mad props to Jake over at JakeBouma.com for hooking me up with this idea. Go visit Jake and tell him Justin from BeDeviant.com sent you!)

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Zach.

Zach de la Rocha, it’s good to have you back.

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