From Righteous to Ratchet – Your Christian News Roundup…

Hello World,  meeks

Every once in a while so many Christian news stories cross my path that I cannot devote a singular blog post to any of them…I MUST include them ALL…What you will read next ranges from righteous to ratchet…Some of the stories may inspire you and some may just cause you to shake your head…All of them are worthy of perusal to read on…

1. Jeremy R. Meeks aka Fine Felon aka #FelonBae aka Dreamy McMug Shot has been blowin’ up the Innanet since the Stockton, California Police Department posted a mugshot of the 30-year-old felon on its Facebook page on Wednesday. The picture of Meeks, who was arrested for felony weapon charges, was posted as a part of the department’s Operation Ceasefire enforcement mission. Little did the department know this post would have fired up a viral storm of women from all over the world declaring their “admiration” for the blue-eyed, gun-toting, practicing Christian of seven years…At least, that’s what his sister said…Yes, the fine felon is also saved… Hallelujah! Say Amen! LOL…Read more at The Christian Post…

EphrenTaylor2. There is almost nothing more unsettling than a Christian crook…especially one that that uses the church to steal money…And then again, the first treasurer of the church, Judas, was a Christian crook and stole money…Thankfully, there is one less Christian crook stealin’ folks money through the church…It was announced last Tuesday that Efren Taylor II was arrested on a federal indictment…According to an article on ABC News, “some congregants from some of the most prominent mega-churches, including Bishop Eddie Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., and Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Texas, turned over their life savings to Taylor. The DOJ claims that more than 80 people from Georgia alone lost more than $2 million because of Taylor’s scheme.” I don’t want to judge, but I have to wonder did the Holy Spirit tip any of these Christians that this man was a thief…What about the gift of discernment?

3. While Actress Meagan Good was promoting the movie “Think Like a Man Too,” which came out this weekend, she also discussed her forthcoming book with husband DeVon Franklin, a minister and vice president of production for Columbia Pictures, entitled “The Wait” on Jimmy Kimmel…Good and Franklin waited until they were married to have sex…Simultaneously, Good has been criticized for her sexy attire and belief that Christians can be sexy…Rolling Out has a new interview with Good in which she fleshes out her belief…Do you think that Good can promote being sexy yet advocate being celibate unless married at the same time?

book4. Apparently, Frank Schaeffer, son of famous American evangelicals Francis and Edith Schaeffer who founded Switzerland’s L’Abri, is now an atheist who believes in God according to his new book “Why I aAm an Atheist Who Believes in God,”…I actually enjoyed Schaeffer’s book “Crazy For God” in which which he reveals his conflicted views about the church…but now he is saying he is an atheist?! That’s just asinine…Read more at The Huffington Post… 

5. In other atheist news, “Tim Lambesis, lead singer and founder of Christian metalcore band As I Lay Dying, recently confessed that he and other members of his band had become atheists but kept claiming to be Christians so they could keep making money selling records to Christians,” according to an article on The Christian Post…Lambesis, who was recently sentenced to prison for attempting to order a hit on his estranged wife (Yes, I actually typed that), said that most Christian bands he met had similar beliefs!!! Again, I’ma need my fellow Christians to pray for more discernment…Tim-Lambesis1

church6. In positive Christian news, have you ever heard of the new GSN dating show “It Takes a Church” The show, hosted by Natalie Grant, debuted earlier this month…Here is the description from the website : Each week, IT TAKES A CHURCH visits a congregation from across the country to surprise one unsuspecting single with the news that they’re about to be saved from the dating world. The church’s Pastor will task their congregation of cupids, to find the best possible matches for the dater, but in the end, our single will decide which suitor to put their faith in. The congregant who brought the chosen suitor will make a difference to their church by winning a donation on its behalf. The new show already has a lot of fans including Gospel Artist Donnie McClurkin…Here is Elev8’s article about the new show…

7. President Obama showed up in the most unlikely way at the The Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference on Friday…According to TIME Magazine, “small figurines of Obama’s head, first spotted by the Huffington Post‘s Igor Bobic, were placed inside the urinals in the mens’ restroom outside the conference hall.” One has to wonder what faith these attendees have if they allowed such a filthy and degrading depiction of our nation’s president to be a part of the conference? urinal

 

 

 

 

 

Any thoughts?

 

When Religion & Politics Collide…(Are you watching the debate tonight?)

Hello World,

First of all, are you watching the debate between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney tonight? This is the first of three debates between Obama and Romney leading up to the election on Nov. 6 …And if you live in Georgia, please remember that Oct. 9 is the deadline to register to vote if you plan on voting in the upcoming presidential election…Below are the details for tonight’s debate courtesy of 2012presidentialelectionnews.com.

Topic: Domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: University of Denver in Denver, Colorado (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Moderator: Jim Lehrer (Host of NewsHouron PBS)

The debate will focus on domestic policy and be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate.

The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.

Although the United States of America aims to separate church and state, that seems to go out of the window during election season…so I have decided to post some of the interesting stories I’ve seen on the Internet that highlight the collision of religion and politics…

1. “Churches using ‘souls to polls’ to rally vote”  by Curt Anderson of The Associated Press

2. “Jim Lehrer: Ask Mitt Romney if He Stands By Mormonism’s Views of Women” by Stacy Solie of The Daily Beast

3. “Jesus Could Be Their Candidate and the Republicans Would Still Lose” by Frank Schaeffer of The Huffington Post

4. “Seriously? Some Black Christians Waver Over Vote” by Associated Press

5. “NAACP working to protect churches following 2012 election” by Sy Becker of 22 News WWLP.com (VIDEO)

6. “Church Endorsements and the IRS” (VIDEO) by Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly on PBS.org

7. “Preachers telling blacks not to vote is sinful” by Bobby Ray Sanders of the Star-Telegram

Any thoughts?

 

Crazy For God?!

 

 

Hello World!!!

 

It’s my first post, yeah!!!

 

Okay, back to business…

 

     “Crazy for God.” When I first saw this title in an Asheville bookstore just over a month ago, I knew I had to at least stop and take a look at the book.  After I got closer to the book, read the subtitle of the book and thumbed through its pages, I knew I had to buy the book. Once I got back home to Georgia later that evening and started reading the book, I knew I had to write about this book and some of the concepts that were presented in the book in my first post on this blog.

 

     The full title of the book is “Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as one of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take all (or almost all) of it Back.” It is written by Frank Schaeffer. Now there is some great dish on some of the Religious Right that we are familiar with this in country, which may be compelling information as we are in the midst of a vigorous election cycle, but that is not really why I found this book so compelling. (If you want to get the gossip, you’re going to have to buy the book. J)

 

     Frank Schaeffer is the son of famous American evangelicals Francis and Edith Schaeffer who founded Switzerland’s L’Abri, an idealistic community that attracted spiritual seekers from all over the world – a kind of Christian hippie community. Essentially, his parents, who are now deceased, were missionaries, and Schaeffer reveals much of their lives as well as his own in the memoir. The premise of the book is that his “parents’ call to ministry actually drove them crazy.” “I think religion was actually their source of tragedy. Mom tried to dress, talk, and act like anything but what she was. Dad looked flustered if fundamentalists, especially Calvinist theologians, would intrude into a discussion and try to steer it away from art or philosophy so they could discuss the finer points of arcane theology.”

 

     I am a Christian. I am also the daughter and granddaughter of ministers. I have two to three uncles (depending on who you ask in the family) who are ministers. Growing up in Christianity, I felt attracted to it and repelled by it at the same time. And sometimes I still do. I love the Jesus that is presented in the Bible, but sometimes Christians can seem crazy or just plain weird. According to his book, Schaeffer and I are “kindred spirits” in that he was both attracted and repelled by Christianity. Schaeffer does a good job of presenting some examples of some crazy and weird Christians. And he also discusses some Christian concepts that nearly drove him crazy as well.

 

     I heard about witnessing all of my life, and apparently Schaeffer did too. Here is an excerpt of his take on witnessing. “Everything we did was to be a witness. (To ‘witness’ was to ‘share Christ.’; in other words, talk about your faith in hopes that you would convince the other person listening to convert. To witness also meant to live in such a way that people would ‘see Christ” in you and want to convert because your life was so admirable.) People’s eternal destinies hinged on a word or tiny event, maybe on no more than an unfriendly look. Even an improperly served high tea on Sunday afternoon could send someone to hell.” He essentially said that his parents’ instruction about witnessing made him second guess his every action from eating to playing with his childhood friends and their eternal consequences.

 

     Okay, I don’t know anything about high tea, but I, like Schaeffer, have always been instructed since I was a child that I am to live my life as a witness of Jesus Christ so that others people would be inspired to convert to Christianity. Wow! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone (including myself) watching me all of the time. Although I have been consciously trying to live as a Christian since 1996, I still mess up a lot, and sometimes, I mess up in a big way, so if you’re looking at my life as a roadmap to Heaven, be prepared to make some hellish detours from time to time. A friend once told me that she admired my faith in Christ. I asked her to explain more. She said that sometimes she could almost see an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other shoulder. She said that sometimes I listened to the devil, but I eventually listened to the angel. I smile every time I think about her statement. So at best, I am a witness to earnest imperfection.

 

     Another persistent theme in the book is his parents’ visible struggle between living what they thought a Christian life should look like or the bohemian existence which is what they really wanted to live. In the book, Schaeffer describes a girl named Lynette who gave up dancing to be a Christian and how his mother rejoiced when she heard the news. However, in her old age, Schaeffer’s mother loved to dance to that “jazzy music” [that was] banned from our home when I was young: if we were changing radio stations and hit upon any of the tunes she sings so gleefully in old age, Mom would turn off the radio with a snap and reproachful stare. In the early unreconstructed fundamentalist years, Mom always said ‘Real Christians don’t dance. It isn’t pleasing to the Lord.’”

 

     I have felt this tension as well. As a child, I somehow got the message that dancing in general was not encouraged, and in particular, dancing to secular music was frowned upon. That message is one of the reasons that I resisted the whole Christian thing when I was in college. I just couldn’t see myself not going to parties and shakin’ it  fast and watching myself, ha,ha! I know that being a Christian involves self sacrifice – that theme is throughout the Bible. But thankfully, according to my relationship with God, that doesn’t mean that I have to give up listening to secular music or dancing to it. It is so irritating when I come across Christians that feel that you should never listen to secular music. On any given day, I may be blasting Canton Jones or Lil Wayne in my car. And as an artist, I feel that that I have to have the freedom to explore any avenue that I may find interesting. (Of course, there are exceptions, e-mail me if you want to know more.) I really don’t feel that God wants to squelch that impulse within me.

 

 

     And what about religious paraphernalia? Some of it is downright weird Schaeffer talks about some of the paraphernalia sold at a booth at a Christian Booksellers Association convention years ago. He described items at the booth which were “copied from the secular world, but made bizarrely religious.” He described the “evangelical version of the ‘Budweiser’ towel, a rip-off of the then-popular Budweiser commercial ‘This Bud’s for You!’ There was a lookalike beer on it with two crucified hands and the logo, ‘This Blood’s for You!’ being offered at the convention. It was very popular.” How crazy is that?

 

     And to be honest, sometimes I really cannot stand to listen to some Christian songs. Apparently, Schaeffer has experienced the same distaste for some Christian music. “I wished God had never made any men or women with a ‘ministry in music.’ I wished he’d strike them all down so I’d never have to spend another minute listening to another fat lady (even the men were ‘fat ladies’ to me) sing another Jesus-is-my boyfriend song to synthesized violin playback.” I’ve experienced that same phenomenon in which people (in particular women) try to equate their relationship with God as a relationship with a spouse or boyfriend. When I turn to the empty side of my bed on some nights, I am not thinking that Jesus could be my man. That’s ridiculous! Can I get an “Amen!” from my saved, single and smart ladies?

 

     I really enjoyed reading this book, and I could pull out more points, but I don’t want to seem like I’m bashing Christianity. I love God with all of my heart, soul and mind, but I’m not “Crazy for God,” thank God! Any thoughts?