Posts Tagged ‘David Crowder’

label-maker.jpgNo, I haven’t apostasized.  Like I said last night, I still love God and he loves me.  We’re on good terms.  It’s kind of funny how a lot of my posts begin with disclaimers lately, eh?  Like I mentioned at the end of my last post though, I’ve recently been struggling with how to label myself.  I’m not a big fan of labels because they really only serve to stereotype people.  If we’re being honest though, we are all going to be labled whether we like it or not so I’m at least trying to have some say in what that label is.  No, I’m not ashamed to be associated with Jesus Christ.  I willingly and gladly associate myself with him.  My problem is that by associating myself with Jesus through the label “Christian”, I am unwillingly associated with some people who label themselves Christian that I’m not sure Jesus would want his name associated with.  People who are filled with hate instead of love, and say that they hate in the name of Jesus.  People who judge like they are God himself, able to see straight to people’s hearts and then deal with them accordingly.  People who give Jesus a bad name.

I finished reading unChristian by David Kinnaman a few weeks ago and it just kind of confirmed to me that I wasn’t alone in what I’d been thinking and feeling for quite some time now.  He did a survey, especially looking at the opinions of american youth, and asked what they thought of Christians.  The most common opinions expressed were judgmental, anti-gay, and hypocritical.  These “big three” traits were all opinions of Christians that were held by over 80% of those polled.  None of these surprised me.  Why wouldn’t the world think that these are natural traits of Christians when the only Christians they see or know of are in the media expressing these exact traits: picketing Heath Ledger’s funeral, holding signs up saying “God Hates Gays”, blaming the California wildfires on the acceptance of homosexual lifestyles there, blaming 9/11 on things like legalized abortion and gay rights.  I was reading Tim Kurek’s blog today and he said that when he read the book, “I am reading all these statistics about how people outside our religion (ages 16-29) perceive our faith and it isn’t a good thing. My first instinct when I started reading it was to say “this isn’t accurate”, but then every experience I have had over the past few months has shown the data to be correct. It breaks my heart.”  I totally agree with him that it breaks my heart that this is how Christians are perceived, but to me these statistics weren’t at all surprising because even as a pastor I think this is my perception of a number of people who call themselves Christians.  Yup, I’m a pastor and I’m really struggling to label myself a Christian.  I don’t think I can do it anymore.  Labeling myself a Christian in public closes so many doors and ends so many conversations before I even get a chance to start them.  If people find out I’m a pastor, then they quite often just say something like, “Oh, that’s interesting.  I have to go now.”  I’m not ashamed of Christ, I’m just ashamed of the public persona of “Christians”.

I felt pretty strongly about this before today, and then today it was confirmed to me how urgent it is that I find a new label when I was introduced to the stunning sermons of Pastor Steven L Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona.  Wow.  I saw this video on David Crowder’s blog of his sermon in which he blamed the ills of western society on the fact that men are being forced to urinate while sitting instead of “pissing against the wall” (standing up) as God intended men to do.  Guys who sit down (including other pastors and President Bush apparently) to urinate are only “males” not men.  He got this from an obscure passage in 1 Kings 14:10 where god promised to punish Jeroboam and would cut off all those who “pisseth against the wall”.  This is a King James Version metaphor for men, because they urinate standing up.  Unfortunately, he failed to recognize that those who “pisseth against the wall” were the ones who were going to be punished by God, not the ones that he accepted as examples of manhood as Pastor Steven would have it.  So I did some more research on this guy and found a lot that made me want to either scream, laugh hysterically, or would cause blood to shoot from my eyeballs.  He has elightened essays expounding on important topics such as why the King James Version should be trusted over the original greek, why men cannot become gynecologists because all nudity outside of marriage is sinful (it’s adultery), why all music less than 50 years old is from the devil (because it originated from “ungodly sinners like Little Richard, a sodomite filthy animal”) and yes that includes all “Christian Contemporary” music too, and why bible colleges are anti-christian.  Oh ya, and if you look on youtube you can find his sermon on why Billy Graham is going to hell.  According to Pastor Steve, Billy Graham “will be responsible for more people going to hell than any other man I can think of right now”.  This guy is nuts . . . scarry nuts.  Thankfully, based on pictures of his congregation, it looks like the church consists of his wife, his kids (ya he has kids), and his next door neighbors too scared not to come.  This guy calls himself a Christian.  If I label myself a Christian, I’m lumped in with this nutbar.  Western society would have no reason to distinguish between the two of us.  I can’t accept that.  I won’t accept that.  My best friend Jared and I may have theological differences, but compared to this guy we’re identical twins.

I don’t have a problem with the term Christian itself.  I love being associated with Christ.  The issue is that over time, due to the limitations of language, words can become tainted or even broken to the point that they no longer mean what they used to.  I think the word “Christian” may be broken.  I’m not sure that the label can be again rescussitated in this generation.  There is just so much baggage that accompanies the label that I think it might be time to move on to something that doesn’t kill relationships before they start.

I’ve been thinking of what else I could label myself.  When Christianity was just starting it’s was often known of as “The Way”, and Christians weren’t Christians, they were “followers of the Way”.  I could use this one because it doesn’t have any baggage at all.  Unfortunately, it also holds no meaning in this society either.  If you say you’re a “follower of the Way” most people would likely think you are into some kind of new age mystic cult.  I’ve thought of using the label “Christ follower” because it’s quite straightforward in explaining what it is and not too many people actually have a problem with Jesus, just “Christians”.  I think this is so close to the Christian label though that it’s going to be engulfed in baggage with a year or so though too.  I’ve thought of using Tony Campollo’s new label, “Red Letter Christian“, but the issue there is that I’m not just a red letter Christian; I’m a black letter Christian too.  I believe that the whole of Scripture is inspired and useful, not just the things that Jesus said directly.  So, that leaves me where I’m at . . . looking for a new label.  Let me know if you come up with anything.  I’m open to suggestions.

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Questions?

Posted: February 6, 2008 in Random
Tags: , , ,

question-mark.jpgWell, I’ve been inspired by David Crowder’s blog, and I’m now opening a “Questions” section of my own on my blog.  I realize that he’s far more popular and well known, and lives a lifestyle which people may honestly be interested in, and I also realize that my life may not be nearly as interesting to most nor my opinion nearly as important, but none the less, the “Questions?” section is now open for business.  If ever you have a question you’d like answered, I’ll do my best to answer it.  These questions may be serious, silly, personal, or stupid (yes, despite what your kindergarten teacher taught you, there are such things as stupid questions), but I will do my best to gather the extent of my ignorance and give you an answer befitting your question.  So with that, feel free to leave your questions in the comments section of the “Questions?” tab and I’ll answer them as I have the opportunity.  Think of this your opportunity to ask the questions about all the things that I’ve never shared my humble musings about.