Xian Movies Suck

So today I came across the Facebook page and trailer for a new Xian movie – David and Goliath.

It’s horrible.

Of course, the producers are bemoaning the fact that Hollywood rejected the movie because it contains too much God.

Phooey.

Hogwash.

What a load of crap.

The trailer shows one of the worst movies EVER MADE.

Bad acting. Bad casting. Bad cinematography. Bad writing. Bad EVERYTHING! No wonder Hollywood doesn’t want to touch it.

I don’t want to touch it. I don’t want it to be remotely associated with my own faith.

Let be honest. All Xian movies suck.

Once upon a time people of faith put out quality material in the artistic world. Now we settle for cheap knock-offs….

Truly, I cringe every time I hear about a new Xian movie being produced. The faithful rally and proclaim, “Let’s show the world that we can make quality entertainment, too, but without all that nasty worldly stuff! Let’s go support this film!”

The problem is that we can’t make quality entertainment. Not really. We end up coming up with cheesy and trite art that doesn’t really MOVE anyone. Sure, the faithful will love it because they’re supposed to. There’s nothing else out there that presents our particular worldview, so it’s this bunk or nothing. Every time a new one comes out I hope and pray that it will be good. Not just a heartwarming, family-friendly film, but GOOD cinema. Hasn’t happened yet.

–  Left Behind (any of them)

Facing the Giants

Fireproof

Courageous

One Night With the Queen

The Book of Daniel

Son of God

None of these would be what I would call compelling art. I wouldn’t call them art at all.

I don’t want to hear, “This is a great Xian movie.” That’s a backhanded compliment. Why can’t we simply make good movies?

I know, I know. It’s tough to be a Xian in a business like Hollywood. Even Kevin Sorbo complains about how being a Xian prevents him from getting roles. That’s funny, ‘cause I thought it was his acting that did that.

I long for the day when Xians can lead the forefront in the arts. We’ve become so focused on the content – making sure the message supports conservative Xian values, that we’ve lost sight of the artistry.

It wasn’t always this way. People of faith used to produce quality art. Whether it be C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, or J.S. Bach’s Magnificat in D, we used to care about the quality of art.

Now we get bad movies and an endless supply of Amish romance novels.

Barf.

Will someone please step up? Are there any artists out there who can say, I’m a person of faith and I’m not going to settle for putting out crap.”?

That’s the person I want to make the next Xian movie.

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Dear Oprah, You Make Me Want to Barf

The Anon Church


That may be a little extreme. I don’t actually feel a gag reflex to puke. But that’s the emotion (and it’s a REALLY strong emotion) I feel reading about your upcoming tour “The Life You Want.”

It’s not that I have a problem with empowering people. I think it’s a good thing to help motivate people to be the best they can be. Even the Apostle Paul (he wrote bunch of stuff in the Bible) once wrote:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called…

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Dear Oprah, You Make Me Want to Barf


That may be a little extreme. I don’t actually feel a gag reflex to puke. But that’s the emotion (and it’s a REALLY strong emotion) I feel reading about your upcoming tour “The Life You Want.”

It’s not that I have a problem with empowering people. I think it’s a good thing to help motivate people to be the best they can be. Even the Apostle Paul (he wrote bunch of stuff in the Bible) once wrote:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

Here’s the difference between a your empowerment and what Paul is talking about: you want people to get better to live a better life for THEIR glory. You even say, “Take your glory and run!” Um…what? Paul wants people to get better and live a changed life for CHRIST’S glory.

You are ME-CENTERED.

Xianity is CHRIST-CENTERED.

This tour is just another in a long line of scams on humanity. It plays to our instinctual drive to be successful. But success isn’t the goal of humanity. And, contrary to what you, Joel Osteen, and others teach, success is NOT possible for everyone.

The Bible (that’s the book that Xians from era to era and culture to culture agree is the revelation of God to humanity) makes it quite clear that sometimes bad things will happen even to the best of people.

Jesus (he’s the ONE the Christian faith recognizes as God-incarnate, the Messiah and Savior of humanity) said:

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

It’s not about “The Life You Want.” The Bible notes:

Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand. (Ecclesiastes 5:15)

There’s so much more than living your best life now (that sounds so familiar – it would make a catchy book title). Our best life now means nothing because this life ends. What really matters is living life now with eternal focus. That means we take the focus off of us and put in on Christ and his kingdom.

It saddens me that many Xians will be sucked in to your scheme. Many will be fooled into thinking that you have the ticket to a happy and fulfilling life. Your pseudo-spirituality will sucker a lot of shallow people who don’t realize that Xian faith is exclusive to Jesus; that life will have ups and downs; that good and faithful people will sometimes live hard and crappy lives and die broke.

Yeah, you make me want to barf.

So until I’m blue in the face I’m going to tell Xians that this is hogwash. My hope is that there are enough of us willing to spread the message that your message stinks.

Sincerely,

The Xian Satirist

Hobby Lobby and Taking a Stand for Faith

The Bible Blotter

Hobby Lobby

You must be blind and deaf not to know about what’s going on in the Supreme Court today. Well, perhaps you’re just not plugged into the news. At any rate, Hobby Lobby is going before the Supreme Court to argue against the Affordable Care Act’s “Contraceptive Mandate.”

Basically, Hobby Lobby is saying that they are religiously opposed to providing types of contraceptives that work after conception. The government is going to try to force the issue saying that corporations are not individuals and cannot use religious belief to opt out of the government mandate.

The argument brings up a whole host of issues, but one of the primary issues is this: How do Christians behave in the middle of culture that is becoming increasingly hostile to Christian faith and practice?

I concede that not everyone believes the way I do. Some don’t see the contraceptive issue as a religious issue.

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Do You Struggle With Misplaced Guilt?

I’m happy to be bringing you a three-part series from my buddy Preachers Kid Probs.

Originally when I wrote this I had written a post that was around five pages. While I don’t mind reading, I do mind reading my writing because- at least to me- it proves John Calvin’s thoughts on reprobation correct. So in order to save you the perpetual boredom of having to read bad writing I thought it best to break this all up into 3 parts and look at misplaced guilt, misplaced blame, and how we should deal with those things. Today, though, I wanted to talk about the original focus of this article: misplaced guilt.

If you’re anything like me, there are some nights that you lay awake in bed, unable to sleep, and find yourself mulling over the day and feeling guilty about something that you had witnessed or heard. Recently a close friend told me about a situation in her life that she felt guilty about and in the course of our conversation we both came to the realization that her guilt had been misplaced. Even more than her, though, I realized that I had a lot of misplaced guilt in my own life. I’m talking about walking in guilt for something that happened to you that you had little- if any- control of.

My senior year of High School I chose to hang out with a friend who I shouldn’t have been hanging out with in the first place. I had gone over to her apartment after baseball practice with the wrong intentions and she and I ended up watching Saved By The Bell until close to midnight. Nothing bad happened between her and I, but my heart wasn’t in the right place. I got a call from my dad telling me that I needed to come home sooner than later because our next-door neighbor had killed himself earlier that evening. The police and coroner were still in our cul-de-sac when I got home and had been taking statements and what not from various neighbors. As I was talking to an officer, I asked what time they thought he had taken his life and I found out that it would have been after I had gotten home from practice on a normal day.

My heart sank; I thought that if I had been at home I might have been able to keep him from killing himself. Had my heart been in the right place, I would have not been some place I shouldn’t have been and legitimately there might have been something I could have done. Whether that was his wife not finding him in the backyard or being able to save his life- I won’t ever know. Until the other night, I had lived with the guilt that I was somehow involved in that man’s suicide. As I talked with my friend, I told her that you couldn’t feel guilty for someone else’s actions. You can grieve for them or with them, but you cannot take on guilt that you do not have.

For a while I had blamed the girl for that night. For a while I even blamed the man who took his own life for putting me in the situation where I felt guilty. I realized that I was placing the blame on everyone but me. Do I blame myself for the situation? In some ways I still do. I’ve come not to blame myself for not being there, but rather I’ve come to blame myself for allowing my heart and thoughts of indiscretions consume my actions to the point that when this unfortunate and heartbreaking event happened, I was taking guilt upon myself for what happened.

You want to talk about misplaced guilt? The man that was blind from birth knew all about that. The Pharisees and all the townsfolk said that either he had committed some sin or that his parents had committed a sin so egregious that God struck this man with blindness. When Christ passed by him, “His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:2-3) The guilt this man had carried his entire life was misplaced. Later on in this story, Christ heals the man of course, and though others try to remind him of his guilt the man chooses to follow and worship Christ entirely guilt free.

When you live with guilt that isn’t yours it weighs you down. Think of it like this: all of the sudden you take on responsibility for a transgression that you didn’t commit and have no way to get it off your chest because it was never yours to begin with. It’s like taking someone else’s shift in addition to your own and only getting paid for your own shift.

Christ tells us “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) Christ came into the world so that we could walk in his grace unburdened by guilt- both our own and others.

Take a second to make a mental inventory of the guilt that you have in your life, if it is truly your own, make amends where amends need to be made and sing in repentance to Jesus Christ. Should you find that you’re carrying someone else’s yoke, take it off. Cast off the shackles that bound you to stones that were never yours to begin with. Christ died so that you may be free and not a slave to misplaced guilt. There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain!

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

 

Related Post:
Do You Struggle With Misplaced Blame?

How to Get Money From God

You can’t.

Sorry.

Today I actually heard a Christian minister say:

If you give money to God, He’ll give money to you. NOT so we can get rich, but so that we can live generous lives & be a blessing to others!

Boy that sure makes us feel good, doesn’t it?

It’s a promise of getting money (which we all love) and it comes our way when we first give money to God.

Here’s the kicker – the part that makes us feel better about the whole exchange is that the money that God gives us needs to be used to bless others.

Everyone got that?

Give money to God. God gives money to you. Go and bless others with what God has given you in return.

Here’s the thing. IT’S GARBAGE! TOTAL BALONEY!

Boy, this really got me steamed up today.

There’s no equation by which we can coerce God into giving us cash. Moolah. Greenbacks.

I know plenty of righteous poor people who give to God and never get money in return. God’s not a bank paying you interest on your investment.

Telling people that if they give then God will give back is ludicrous.

“But Pastor, what about the poor woman who gave her last two coins?”

What about her?

That’s a great story, but the point is not, “Give to God and he’s gonna give you more in return.” There is no Heavenly CashBack Plan. The point of the widow giving is about the heart of the giver.

Jesus says, “So what if you give a little out of your abundance? Look at this poor woman who gave a lot out of her poverty!” Her heart was in the right place – not because she wanted God to return her money ten-fold, but because she prioritized giving to God above everything else. She gave until she had nothing left to give.

What a heart.

I’m not there. I haven’t met a whole lot of people who are. But shouldn’t that be our goal? Can we grow and mature and get to the point that we’re willing to commit to God 100% of everything we have and everything we are?

Jesus said, “The poor you will have with you always.” There’s not divine get-rich plan. Giving to God may get you no earthly reward. Don’t believe anyone who tells you differently.

At the same time, when we cultivate generous hearts then we reap unseen rewards. We may never experience them in this lifetime – but that’s not the point.

So examine your heart and your motivations for giving.

You won’t earn money back. But how’s your heart?

American Jesus Madness Bracket Update!


While the voting will continue through the night, it seems plausible that we can call a few victories in the American Jesus Madness Bracket. While we wait for the official call from Zack Hunt, here’s what seems to be happening:

Diogo Mordalo (Son of God) DEFEATS Jeffrey Hunter (King of Kings)

Willem Dafoe (The Last Temptation of Christ) DEFEATS Robert Powell (Jesus of Nazareth)

Ted Neely (Jesus Christ Superstar) DEFEATS Brian Deacon (Jesus, 1979)

Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) DEFEATS Jeremy Sisto (Jesus, 1999)

Integrity DEFEATS Mark Driscoll

Rachel Held Evans DEFEATS Every Calvinist Dude on the Internet

Mark Sandlin DEFEATS Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

Gay Wedding Cake DEFEATS Christian “Persecution”

Pope Francis DEFEATS Every Pope Ever

Stephanie Drury & Matthew Paul Turner DEFEAT Christian Culture

Coloring Book Steven Furtick DEFEATS Real Life Steven Furtick

Nadia-Bolz-Weber’s Tattoos DEFEAT Albert Mohler’s Suits.

Reality DEFEATS Ken Ham

STILL TOO CLOSE TO CALL:

Christians’ Old Love for Duck Dynasty VS. Christians’ New Love for Matthew McConaughey

Greg Boyd VS. Assault Rifle Jesus

Nicolas Cage’s Left Behind VS. Kirk Cameron’s Left Behind

If you have not yet voted, go on over to theamericanjesus.net and cast your vote now!

From an Anonymous Pastor’s Wife

Today’s post is a guest writer. She’s a pastor’s wife (not my wife) but wishes to remain anonymous. So have at it, my friend!

All I learned about people, I’ve learned at my first church as a pastor’s wife. And I’m still at my first church! It’s a mid-sized church with a wide spectrum of different types of people. Families with small kids, families with older kids, single parents, elderly widows and widowers are just a few of them. I love that about our church. Actually, the thing I love most about our current church is its people.

But it’s also the thing I dislike the most. With the good church members, comes a small number of not-so-good ones. And when I say, “not-so-good,” I’m not talking about their salvation. That’s between them and God. Below is a list of the types of church members I’ve come across at my first church as a pastor’s wife.

The Bum Kisser – This person thinks that the more they schmooze the pastor, the more rewards they get in heaven. It’s not true, so please stop giving my husband Elvis figurines.

The Power Player – This is the person who knows everything, but not only that, wants to be in charge. They spend a lot of time behind the scenes planning and “leading” things before the pastor is even made aware. And when The Power Player’s influence is in jeopardy, they will immediately be the cause of conflict. Warning: This will be the first person to befriend you when you start at your church and will be the first to want you to leave.

The Hero – This is a very manipulative person. This person loves subtly (or not so subtly) influencing others to believe what they believe about everything going on, attacks the staff behind the scenes, delights in the destruction and then swoops in to fix everything. This is the most dangerous person in the church. My only (unfunny) advice about this person is to keep them close. You can’t change them, but you should be aware of what they are doing at all times.

Old Sweetie – This person is usually a woman, but I’ve come across a few men like this too. They are always sweet and always encouraging. They’ve been in the church for a long time. Just make sure you give her a hug EVERY Sunday, or you’ll hear about it for the next 6 months.

The Checker Upper – This person has no life. Their happiness depends on calling to make sure the secretary is answering the phones and that the pastor is in his office at precisely 8 am. I would suggest calling him at 5 am on a Saturday just to make sure he’s in his bed sleeping.

Money Bags – This person (or couple) gives a lot of money to the church. There are actually sub-types of these. One of them gives willingly (there’s no problem with these types) and the other uses it to get what they want out of the church. For example, the second type won’t allow the pastor to change out the medieval lighting fixtures because they’ve always been there. Maybe we should eat giant turkey legs at the next potluck?

Repeat Ricky – This guy tells you the same jokes every Sunday. Just laugh at them. It makes him happy.

Helpless Harry – This guy (or gal) sees a problem that needs to be fixed. Doorknob isn’t working properly? No problem for Helpless Harry. He’s happy to call the pastor 3x a day until the pastor fixes it.

Miserable Mary – She is miserable. She thrives on it. Don’t try to cheer her up. She’ll get more miserable. And she’ll like it.

Not all of these people are “bad” of course, and we have many members, including the above, who we love dearly. My husband jokes with me that in all of his 20 years of pastoring, he’s never come across so many difficult personalities at one church. I just tell myself that it’s God’s way of preparing us for our future in ministry together.

If there is anything I could ask our current church it would be, “If you knew your Pastor’s Wife was learning how to be a church member from watching you, would you still do things the same way?” Truth is, I hadn’t been to church for 14 years prior to marrying my husband. So not only was I new to the PW thing, I was new to the church thing, too. My advice if you’re a church member is to love your pastor and his family. Even when you don’t agree with him on some of his decisions. That’s what God has called us to do as followers of Jesus Christ. (Mark 12:30-31)

Can a Xian Publicly Ridicule Other Xians?

laugh

So the other day I was tweeting a string of jokes under the hashtag DricollSchoolOf Ethics:

Before long, an atheist/former pastor who follows me jumped and thought I was acting inappropriately.

The 140 character limit on Twitter makes a pretty bad place for debate or in-depth discussion, but I did want to take time to address the issue.

1. The Bible DOES talk about handling grievances privately between individuals. The biblical guidance for such behavior is between people who have a damaged relationship. The goal of going to the “brother” is so that relationship can be repaired and restored (see Matthew 18 as an example).

2. The Bible DOES give us multiple examples of Jesus (and others) calling out poor behavior in a public setting.

– Upset with money-changers taking advantage of worshippers, Jesus tears through the temple flipping over tables and whipping men with a cord.
– Upset with the super-religious, John the Baptist calls the Pharisees and Sadducees “you brood of vipers.”
– Upset with the super-religious, Jesus calls them “you brood of vipers.”
– Jesus repeatedly publicly calls out religious leaders as “hypocrites.”
– Paul has to call out Peter for his poor behavior regarding unfair treatment of Gentiles in the church.

While not every instance of publicly calling someone out in the Bible is a mirror image of today’s situations, there is still a strong case to be made for publicly addressing and calling out religious leaders. Jesus himself used sarcasm and satire to drive his point home.

Publicly tearing people down for no reason but to hurt is never right. Using sarcasm or satire to drive home a point about the behavior of religious leaders is well-supported in the Bible.

What do you think? Where should we draw the line between private and public rebuke?

How to Write a Good Subtweet

Before we begin, you gotta know what a subtweet is. The word is a shortened form of “subliminal tweet.” Simply put, it’s tweeting about someone without using their name. Subtweets are behind-your-back-but-in-your-face comments. A bad subtweet will leave no one guessing what you’re talking about. A REALLY good subtweet will have multiple people wondering if you’re talking about them.

Then you need to understand that the subtweet genre is really geared towards tearing people down behind the veil of obscurity. When you think that so-and-so is being a total dipwad you might tweet about his behavior attitude without using his name. Then if you’re ever questioned on it you can always fall back on, “I TOTALLY wasn’t talking about you!”
Anons often use subtweets to deliver satire and sarcasm. I myself use irony, sarcasm, & ridicule to laugh at myself and people of like-minded faith. I don’t subtweet to be mean. I do it (usually) to make a point. That being said I think there are some elements to writing a good subtweet.

1. Purpose. A bad subtweet exists only to destroy someone – to vent your animosity without having to admit you’re upset. A good subtweet exists to drive home a point, a joke, or a moral.

2. Timing. A bad subtweet will follow IMMEDIATELY on the heels of the person you’re talking about. There’s nothing “sub” about that. If you’re going to take that route you might as well address the person directly. The best subtweets leave a little bit of gap between the original tweeter and your own follow-up. It makes the intended recipient a bit more vague. Now it could be anyone.

3. Content. We’ve all seen some subtweets that get VERY specific. “You think XXXXX but you’re a dummy because XXXX.” Not very smooth. The best and funniest subtweets are those that can stand alone as real tweets. What I mean is this: if someone who didn’t know you well read your subtweet would they think it’s directed at someone specific or would they think it’s merely your own content? The best subtweets are those that are often mistaken for regular tweets. I’m tickled when I subtweet someone and others favorite and retweet it. The subtweet takes on a life of its own. It is no longer about me and the person.

4. Examples: Here are some of my recent subtweets:

 

There you have it – the good and the bad. The bad subtweets bring people down. The good subtweets make people laugh and/or think. And, while many of us have probably had a combination of both, we can always strive to do better.