Wednesday, September 29, 2010

#195-Facebook Suggestions to join/"like" A Youth Group

An open letter to the Facebook suggestion to join the Ignite Youth Group from that one girl I think I met at youth convention two years ago,

Listen, I know I ignored your request to join your youth group on Facebook. The reality is it's not you, it's me. The problem lies within myself. I take the blame. You have been terrific. However many hours you have been sitting there in my e-mail inbox and on Facebook itself. Dedicated, sturdy, patient.  I feel awful about it. Believe me, I really do. I know it seems like I don't care, but I do. I feel a guilt similar to when a girl comes up to you after church selling various food items such as popcorn in a bucket, fudge, etc... for her school fundraiser to go on the field trip to fifth grade camp. And her mother, the choir director, is staring right at you. Waiting. Waiting for you to pay for some overpriced popcorn that you will never eat. She is making judgements if you don't pledge money. You hate that. You will feel guilty if you don't put an "x" in that box. And you will feel guilty if you do put an "X" in that box, wondering why maintaining a fake friendship with the choir director so you could be in the front row of the choir was worth $17. So you see,  you're not the only one hurting. It's not all about you. I didn't like what I had to do...clicking the "ignore" button. I would like to point out that the "ignore" button is very misleading. I didn't ignore you whatsoever. Rather by clicking the "ignore" button, the click in itself was an acknowledgement of your existence. A salute to you. A salute to America. 

No, let's not make this about me. I can carry on without you. It's you I am worried about. We can work through this. Not together of course. Because we need to get over each other. How do you expect us to get over each other if I am apart of your youth group? Constantly telling me what events you have planned and how you would like a commitment from me to attend. But you should know me by now, all 40 hours or so since we have known each other. I am deathly scared of commitment. That's why I was so hesitant to ignore your suggestion in the first place. Because the "ignore" button means a commitment to being apart. And thus, even if I was apart of youth group on facebook, I would always end up instinctively  clicking the "maybe" option on going to your dinner parties and game nights, which is completely unhelpful, because you have to make plans at how much food you will buy, and maybe's don't cut it. So I am helping you out, don't you see? I am saving you all the future drama and confusion and uncertainty about whether or not I will show up to the events you would have invited me to if we were together. It's for the best for both of us. God told me so.  

I know what you're thinking. You are thinking I led you on, by hovering over the "join" button for a half second with the mouse pointer. I can assure you, for that split second, I was not teasing you whatsoever. My intentions at that moment were sincere. I was honestly thinking about committing myself to your group. But I realized I barely even knew you. I haven't even been to your church!

And don't even bring up that other youth group in your section that I have joined on facebook. First of all, that's not even your business. I am not committed to you, remember? But, I guess I kind of owe you this, for all I've put you through.  The truth is the Ultimate Youth Group has a cute girl that I have had my eye on for a while. Yeah, the one whose status you caught me liking yesterday. She is not stupid! So what if one of her favorite movies has Hugh Grant in it? Okay, two of her favorites have Hugh Grant in it. The dude has a British accent and a smile that would make heartless truckers weep. I guess if there is some departing advice, it is this: if you get a pretty girl in your youth group, people will readily join. You have potential in that one girl in your youth group. She just needs to age a couple years, lose a few pounds and get a new wardrobe. One not replicated from the closet of her mother. I didn't mean that last part. Probably not the best thing to say right about now.

But seriously, enough about the Ultimate Youth Group. I mean, for goodness sake, look at her name. "Ultimate?" That might be the most pathetic youth group name I have ever heard of. Ignite, now that's a good youth group name. It inspires, infers potential, and threatens to be the spark that will destroy the entire town in a forest fire through a revival from God. The revival that has been preached over your youth group for some time now. The one that will ignite the entire church into a city-wide  revival. I believe it! You are a wonderful youth group. I am sure of it. A living testament to the hope that still can be found in the loathsome state of the human condition. Some say the human race is doomed. Diagnosis: Terminal. You disagree. You are the rock that brings an identity to an otherwise dismal existence to a dozen or so miscreant youths, aged 12-21.

 I visited your page a solid 36 hours after you suggested 344 people to join your group to see what you're all about. Who cares that only 17 have taken you up on your advice? That's only 32 less than the "illumination" youth group at the Baptist church down the street from your church. Maybe it's the profile picture. It's not very enticing. You used Comic Sans for goodness sake to write your youth group name in the picture! It's a visual atrocity. I would help you but I'm really really busy at the moment. Yeah, in a meeting. An important meeting. Things are getting done.

Ah, who I am kidding....


Think before you send out these mass invites to join your youth group. Do not tread on us. Inviting yourself to our facebook home page and our inbox. I have friends, and they cut people. Just a little close rip with a knife. To keep you on your toes. No Bloodshed. I will send them to you should you continue imposing your youth group through suggestions and invites.  I doubt a vast majority of those who you invited know your youth group exists, and even less have been to a service. Think quickly. Do us a favor. Only invite people who you know have an association with your youth group. It will take you maybe 10 minutes to go through your entire friend list to decide who should be invited, and when you take the check away from my name to not invite me, you will save yourself one less frustrated person who grimaces when they get the e-mail in their inbox.

I mean,  you "Ignite youth group" are not even the worst one in my mind. There are many invites, from youth groups in different states! States that I have never been to. Why would I like their youth group? Why?!? I am sure each one of them is a great group in their own right. And they probably pray passionately and have great sermons and fun fellowship. But why must we be subjected to your onslaughts of invitations to places that are geographically impossible to be at, even if I left the day before the actual event?

And as for you, nameless female who did the actual suggestion to join your youth group on facebook. I have a bone to pick with you. First off, I didn't even realize we were friends on facebook. Your name was familiar. But I couldn't quite put a face with it. So I found your profile. And thought for a 30-40 seconds, "who the devil is this girl?" And more importantly, why are we even friends on facebook? And then it clicked. I think it clicked. It definitely clicked. But my clicking may be inaccurate in it's memories. The memory was at youth convention two years ago. After the first night's church service. My friend thought your one friend was kinda cute. So a few of us guys gathered around your group in a circle with glances back and forth from each male to each female and back again, making value judgments of disinterest about you all. Truth is, I thought your friend was not even that cute, but my friend, he is always drawn to a new face. I had no intentions to make a facebook friend in this conversation. Let my friend make his intentions known. Initiate potential for future facebook conversations between him and her. We will say our names, you will say your names. Shake hands. Then maybe a few jokes. Stuff we will laugh at that is not really funny. I will grow frustrated because every second in this circle implies one less second spent pursuing the female of my own fancy, but then again, I know i will never have the guts to actually talk to her (and if I do I will say something that rambles out of my mouth and makes no sense). So being this circle is probably better. It allows me to grow frustrated at this conversation but it also delays my inevitable rejection. That girl probably likes John Legend anyways.

After this conversation,  I will forget your name. And you will forget mine. Or you should. But, when I get home, there you are as a friend request in my inbox. You did not forget my name. I accept. I never ignore a friend request. Sure you liked a few of my statuses and even wrote "LOL" on a couple, but that died off eventually because I never reciprocated. Our friendship should have died then. But now! There you are....inviting me to join your youth group. Putting me in a bind. But know, all this built up frustration. It's really not entirely your fault. You were very kind in that conversation two years ago. It's all of those invites to youth events that I will not be at. And suggestions to join a youth group with a name that has something to do with fire and energy. It's them. They have ruined me. Deteriorated my mental health single handedly. They don't tell you about these invites and suggestions when you get the Holy Ghost. They probably should. I bet the world doesn't have it as bad as us in terms of the quantity of these suggestions and invites.

Anyways, I'm sorry about all of this. I didn't know I had this in me either. I wish you the best of luck and everything. Creative ideas for your yearly youth revival and stuff. But i gotta go now. I have some facebook stalking to catch up with. And that daily visit to that one website that shows funny pictures of celebrities that I don't even know what they are famous for or what  movies they have been on. It's a really a big day ahead of me. I might even walk up to the store and get a Hershey's cookie and cream  candy bar if I feel motivated. You are invited if you can drive the 4 hours down here for the 3 minute walk there and back. I probably won't even talk with you though. Just put some money in the offering plate.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

#194-Platform Chairs

Editor's Note: This post is from Slapastolic. You should probably follow his twitter. He is kinda a big deal.

"Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."

- Jesus, Mark 12:38-40

Don't shoot the messenger.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

#193-Honesty (AKA an attempt at describing transparency, but incidentally ended up somehow concluding with a note about holiness).

3 short stories: Disparate and disjointed, but all in the name of unity, harmony, etc...

                      "Confess your sins one to another." 
                                                     -James 5:16

Citation: Semi-longer post like NAYC-version A. Meaning...Page Break!

And a song....a really creepy song with completely Christian message that really sums up what this post is going at (you will be weirded out and not realize how amazing it is until the last's about John Wayne Gacy. Serial Killer. And yes, I swear it's Christian.). Maybe not the song you want playing at your worship service. But hey, when's the last time you heard anyone sing about Song of Solomon for a worship song either?

<a href="">John Wayne Gacy, Jr. by Sufjan Stevens</a>


Preface: If you are not a long-time reader of this site, please skip first paragraph. The opening paragraph will probably make little sense as it is, but make even less sense if you have not been with us since at least February/March. 

    It was a few days after the great pastoral foray of Master Youth Rally 2010. A phone conversation of resolution. An agreement to kind of let the pastor (not my own) speak his peace to me about this very blog. Air his grievances, make suggestions. Improve this blog! He certainly meant well in all his efforts. Someone near to this pastor also tried getting me kicked out of UGST a few weeks previous, e-mails galore. Even to headquarters. All of the e-mails from an anonymous source. His name when he left comments on the site ranged from: "TR" to "anonymous." Intentions were pure though. It gets interesting. So weirdly interesting. Like "this just gets better and better with a dramatic climax through unexpected character twist" kind of interesting. Like anonymous source remained anonymous for a reason. All of it, done with the best of intentions.
                But I will cut to the meat of the matter. On the phone, this pastor who was not a fan of the blog, asked that I keep the matters I discussed on the blog to that of a pastor and his congregation. You know, like keep it on the down low. The stuff I was discussing, he thought were better suited to be handled within church walls, than on some blog site. Apostolic concerns should be left to concerned saint and pastor, and be left there. Walls don't talk. Blogs do. Just keep your thoughts to yourself, you know? He also mentioned that my name was being ruined in the process of writing my blog. If I had any ambition to move up UPC ranks, I  should cease my habit of blog writing at once. I thanked him for the suggestion.

           Now let me tell you about my room, and the giant mess within it. There are musty stenches, faded white t-shirts with yellow pit stains here and there, a gorilla mask on the floor, one soggy towel draped on my desk chair, a few emptied asthmatic inhalers, crinkled underwear, books scattered up the wazoo (because I want you to think I read). Half full mugs with week old coffee on my desk. Capri-sun juice box wrappers randomly thrown below the heaps of dirty clothes that are difficult obstacles to walk around (it's a daily maze of fun I tell you!).

      And all I heard this pastor in the phone conversation saying to me was, "you don't have to clean this mess up if you wan't to. Just do us all a favor and stuff it under your bed for the time being. And certainly don't broadcast your messy room on your blog." (Whoops).

    My friend, Elliott was describing how he requested to step down from his youth team. He hated though, how if he stepped down, everyone would talk. Say it was because he hated standards (It's not about standards). The reality was, he stepped down because he was having these thoughts. Real, honest, sincere, struggling thoughts. That he couldn't deny. They were alive and  demanding action. These thoughts seemed wrong. All wrong. The lies of the devil maybe? No, they were his thoughts.

About these thoughts....

A while back, a friend introduced Elliott to a Southern vixen. She was funny. Like sarcastic funny. Pointing fingers and laughing. Very easy going (she wasn't the "cut your face off with my fingernails when I get fickle" drama). She was also attractive. Sharp eyes, etc... (I would add details but I've never seen the girl to do proper service to a description and I am just trying to add to the image that this girl was a great catch). Elliott and the Southern Belle hit it off and the only thing slowing down a bright and blossoming relationship was the fact that Elliott lived in the Midwest, and the female of note lived in the South (obviously). The problem was she was openly backslidden. A child of the world now. But that's not the end of it. She had a morbid hobby he heard about from a third hand source. She liked taking the virginity of as many innocent UPC guys as possible (UPC being the denomination she was raised in). Seriously, is this not the sickest thing you have ever heard of? It's about absolutely true. She exists. She keeps count.

This was repulsive. Bite your finger as you cringe repulsive. So what does Elliot do? Obviously he should check out. Cease communication. Abort Mission.

But Elliott, our hero, was not eliminating communication. Texting continued. Plotting a possible hang out the next time the female was in town (I KNOW, RIGHT?!? This guy....).

His virginity however was not at stake. He was not going to lose his purity. His V-card would remain unused. No question about that (and if you knew him, he means what he says. Never complicates matters. When he says he will/won't do something, he abides by that verbal declaration. I believe him. You would too if you knew him. For the sake of this story, you should believe him).

So Elliott's thoughts. These terrible thoughts. They were there, swimming in his head. Telling him to text her. Pursue her. She was different! Not like the rest. The v-card was not up for discussion. Not in a million years. But why in the world was Elliott even still playing the game with her?

It was at recognition of this horrible paradox that made absolutely no sense, he realized he was in no position to be a youth leader. He thought he should step down. You may agree.

I Don't.

This, I argue is what we need in our youth groups. No, not those thoughts to continually texting a girl like that. She should not be toyed with. But rather we need the honesty of the struggle. We need to be the example. We need to be transparent. Before our youth especially. Telling them we are broken too. We are like you. We are Sinner. We are weird too. We also sniff our arm pits when no one's looking to make sure we don't have body odor. We are human.

That's not how our leaders are supposed to be though. They need to be cloaked in perfection. Leaders tend to tell the youth they are sinners too. But the difference is, leaders in our movement never say what those sins are. Leaders in their Christianity, must never admit perfection, but rather wallow in the nameless sin. They will sustain everything. We have a tendency to talk about God and at these moments, we forget our humanity. As if Jesus has always been in the sky and to be worthy to talk about him, we must present an image to our audience and ourselves that we deserve to be in that sky too. So we just keep the mess underneath the bed so other's don't see it. What does it matter if it's there? As long as others don't see it. Some argue this deception is a leadership necessity.

I'll tell them of the many stories I hear about where such leaders maintained this "hiding the mess under the bed" perfect image to the congregation, and slowly and surely, since the sins were hidden so well (never cleaned up), the leaders found it acceptable to increase the sin intensity. After all they were pastors. Accountable to no one accept God (Note: I know many pastors who do have accountability partners. Most actually. But at the same time we are in a day where pastors can easily work in their position without having one soul to talk about their messy room with.). Eventually the mess became too big to conceal. It came pouring out. Affairs. Alcohol. Drugs. Child Abuse. Nasty Stuff.

Let me clarify...All of this honesty of struggle that I wish Elliott would remain as youth leader about. Why it's a benefit to us:

Our youth, they see perfect leader. We are so far from perfect. They think they must be perfect too. And they are suddenly, one day in the backseat of a car. Making out. Oh yes, it's happening. You don't know about it. And there is that nightmare come alive. The night where he felt too much skin. Clothes may have come off. My God, the hormones, so demanding.

And there is this one guy finding another guy in his youth group attractive. He doesn't know what to do about it. He will repress it.

Yes, these things happen. They are happening. They know it's not right. They feel bad. "God, I'm sorry."

Tell no one. Maintain perfect image. Feel incredibly guilty when on platform. Sweep it under the rug though.

Backseat of car again. Naked pictures sent in text message. O God no. Yes, it's happening. There is an incident. Call 911. Call Jesus. Something is happening. We need help. Wait, no. That would mean they would be off the platform. People will notice. They will know. They will talk. Dirty looks. Embarrassment. So they choose to be quiet still. Hide the mess. Break up.

Hope to God you can pull through this (You can't pull through this).

QUick call. Hang out. What are they doing in the backseat again? Stupid stupid kids. Loss of virginity.

Tears. Buckets of tears. Now they must tell. that's the only way. Meet with youth pastor. Meet pastor. Meet with parents.

Go to altar. Cry a river like Justin Timberlake once instructed us to do. Get encircled by mass of saints praying demons out of you. Feel the weight of guilt upon you by the number of hands touching you here at the altar. Everyone is watching. Think about going home.  My God, is this life?

Wait three months to feel innocent again. People will start forgetting at about this time. Wait six months  before you can get on the platform. Think about what you have done. Now be perfect. Maintain perfection again. This time tell people it's real. You are perfect.

Oh there is so much of this. So many of us. Lovesick teenagers. We just wanted an innocent romance. Never the backseat of a car. But that's all we got. And we have no one to talk to. Only silent perfection to look at in church, preaching at us. We also have the altar to feel guilt at.

Help us. Seriously, Help us.

(page break. Click "

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

#192-The camera that will take pictures of your fantastic evening hanging out with other Apostolics and later be posted on Facebook (Imaginary Monologue)

Editor's Note: I can't stand the idea of expectations.  Because I am average. We don't exceed expectations. We shoot for mediocrity and kick ourselves if someone applauds us in the process.  (But seriously, thanks for all the compliments, they really did encourage me and if you e-mailed me I am sorry i have not gotten back with you....will do soon). So here is an average post.

This post here, the Imaginary Monologue will be a new on again, off against spin on a post where I present an imaginary monologue from the perspective of a person or item that is liked by Apostolics or integral to Apostolic culture (in other words, it's a fictional telling of what it's like to be "so and so in your church" or in this case what it's like to be a "camera").

Imaginary Monologue from a Nikon: Coolpix S8000 14.2-Megapixel Digital Camera (Pictured) from last Friday's post-youth service dinner/hang out at the Collins Home.

The event is not going as planned. Spirits are low. I am sitting in the dark, saggy,"Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin" (YUCK!)odored abyss that is from the outside, Rachel's hideously glitter gold, pleather purse. The hosts really went all out in this function: They bought those cardboard tasting Little Caesar's Hot and Ready pizzas for only the eighth straight time. Penny pinching cheapskates. If only there was another home that would allow us to bombard them at 11:37 AM with loud voices!

The gossip this week is minimal. Skip Harden did indeed finally break off things with Suzy Jorgenson. She was dating way out of her league anyways. She had to have seen it coming. What did Skip ever see in her anyways? She doesn't even sing! So she prays a little longer at the altar than everyone else, but we all know that's all a show.  I heard Skip is already moved on to Mary Lumpkin. I KNOW! "They would have such cute babies." 

But we can only talk about this for so long. That last conversation was like the third time it was brought up. Yes, that Johnson kid smells bad like usual. I tell ya, it's all the Mountain Dew he drinks. Poor Kid. All he has is his XBOX 360. Who invited him anyways? Kelly?Listen, I admire the charity Kelly, but he in his weirdness completely worsens just how pathetic this party is. I mean, we're Apostolic. Our options are limited of what can define fun. Caffeine is the closest we can get to ingesting mind altering substances. 

Someone tell Danny to stop texting his Ex! He's not going to get over her this way. She is just using him as a fall back when things aren't going well with Marty Belling, although he does have really exotic eyes.

You want to get this party going or what? It's not too late. No, it's never too late when I'm always sitting here in Rachel's purse waiting for her hand to present me to the world like Rafiki presented baby Simba in Lion King. Get ready for it, because we are going to rock some apostolic socks off once I make an appearance. And don't hurry yourselves, because I got all night long. The frat parties will weep in jealousy. Who needs kegs of beer when you have sleek, black, lightweight, 14.2 megapixel me to play with. Did you hear me? 14.2 megapixels! Your eye can't even comprehend that many pixels. It's so many pixels i don't even know what that means!

Ah yes, thanks Rachel. The fresh air is nice. Everyone take those frowns and flip them upside down because I have arrived! And any party pooper is going to have to leave now. I mean business. And by business I mean a casual friday kind of business where frolicking is encouraged, though not mandatory. You can skip too. Because, I am fun! A happy cheery time. 

Look at my extending lens! Yes, the pictures tonight will be fabulous. You want a picture where you are all moving around, maybe jumping in unison, or playing kick the can or something? Because I can do that. Because I am top of the line stuff. Because I have this sweet motion feature that captures athletic motions with precision and without blurriness. I am the future! 

No... Sorry to disappoint you. These pictures I produce will not look professional or "wedding-like." If you want to have that kind of camera, you have to go find that stuck-up, short skirt wearing, self-entitled Canon E0S 7D 18 megapixel SLR. Oh yeah, did i mention she is $1,700? Yea, think twice before asking next time.

But enough about her. I can't even believe I just wasted my breath on her. Back to me. The one who makes a carnival out of this house. I'm not fake like that certain unnameable camera. I'm middle class. I'm real. I was a birthday present for goodness sake. I'm the best bang for your buck with a 1 year warranty at Best Buy. Though I assure you, we won't be needing that warranty. Because I break after 15 months of use...err...I have a motorized lens. That sucker extends itself on Zoom-ins! Never thought you'd see that day did ya? Got red eye in a picture? Old News sister, I can eliminate those without the help of photo shop. And I will tell you when someone has blinked in the shot! I'm talking to you Larry Colson. Yeah, you buddy. I know where you live. We were there 3 weeks ago.

All eyes point to me when I'm in the room, but not like "Oh no, Becky, look at how desperate she looks. She has nothing left to hide" kind of attention, but like Greek goddess gracing you with her presence kind of attention. So diva. I maintain an aura of decency about me. I am the Grace Kelly of cameras. Second place: Laura Bush (don't ask).

Okay, Rachel. Let's get the show cookin...

First, the new guy who no one can decide if he's cute or not. New Guy and Rachel. No, don't ask someone to take the picture Rachel. Myspace angle, just extend arm above your head at a 45 degree angle. Like that. Yes...

BAM! (well it's more of a clicking sound when I take a picture. Not my choice_.

Yes now stare at my screen for 4 seconds. Worship the clarity I provide. Rachel, you see how ugly that smile is? What is that? You look like you're about to swear or something. Apostolics don't swear. But I love the new guy's no-nonsense stare of mystery into the me. I even thought his stare was meant for me for a second, before I remembered I was a camera. What's his name Rachel? Bobby. I like Bobby. Rachel get his number. Before Lindsay Merkle gets wind of him at the next youth rally and goes in for the kill. I can't stand her either. Always going for the good ones. Her Calves are H-U-G-E, HUUUUUUGE! Casually find a  way to tell Bobby about her calves. LOL, and retake the picture you just took of you and Bobby.

I know you got this in you Rache. Stare seductively in the camera. BAM! (click). We got a potential profile pic here. People will talk about this picture! They will say "Who is that guy she is with? Are they dating? Should have chased her while I had the chance." I, your camera, manufacturer of the insta-party, am making a digital Pentecostal celebrity out of you Rachel.

This picture is perfect. And Fun!. Because that is what I provide to parties. Perfection in class, fun without apology. No time for lamentation here. We have the night ahead of us. We are doing really important stuff here. Snapping pictures. Serious Faces. Sexy faces. Funny faces. What's that Kerry? Oh that is funny. Chelsea does look like a giant raisin in that purple dress. Hahaha. I would say she looks more like Grimace from McDonald's myself, but I don't talk. Chelsea should have known better. She already sticks out enough as it is, in her awkward body shape, but this draws only draws more attention. Poor girl, she'lll be the one who is always helping at the church when she is 46, always the first one asked to babysit the kids. 

But she is a great benefit to this celebration of me tonight. She is the ugly friend that makes average girls pretty in pictures. Rachel, take a picture with her. Of course she is going to untag herself when it's on facebook tomorrow. But it's what she gets for having one of those deceiving profile pics that only show a quarter to half of her face. She is quite funny though. What? Too harsh? I am a camera mind you, what do you expect? I see everything. Judge those things accordingly. Fun!

You know what the party needs? Justin Bieber. Yes, put on some Bieber. It's Bieber time everyone. Oh guys quit acting like you hate this stuff. Brad, I just saw you tapping your knee to the beat. Don't think I missed it. Nothing gets by me. I'm a bucket of fun! And ladies, you're crush for him is completely acceptable. It's not weird. He has a driver's license! 

More pictures. More Me! More Oomph! Even a group picture. This is how life should be. Spending your Friday night taking pictures. Us pictures! 48 pictures! Pictures that tell the world that we are a culture of fun and innocence. All so you can upload the pictures on facebook enshrined for the world to look at. Marvel from envy that they weren't invited here. Because this is fun. Exceptional. 

History is being made. Because of Me. We are apostolic!

Justin, stop acting like you don't care and that you are somehow above all of this. Why, you are more like all of this before any single one of us. I know you're secret Justin! That suit that everyone compliments you on...It's from Target. Oh and I will broadcast it if I have to. Just smile for me, the camera. All-knowing, perfect camera. 

Bam! (click).

Rachel, retake that picture of you, Michelle and Keri, will ya? Michelle's double chin is showing. She does not  have a double chin. No, Michelle you are beautiful. You have not gained weight.

This is divine. We have God.

Oh no, Brad and Justtin are talking about the bible. A question about modesty and vanity. Oh no. This is not Good. And I Peter 2? Someone put a muzzle on them. This will be the death of me. I mean the death of fun. It's so cruel. Boys, shut up! There are more important things here than to talk about than God. Come on! Ewww.....

Michelle, you are joining? Yeah, I was lying. You aren't that pretty. You easily slipped on 10 in the past two months. 

Rachel, strike them with your hand or something. Take that mostly empty pitcher of tea and use it as a projectile for Brad's head. Offer them a game of Mafia or something. You can take the pictures while games are played. Indoor kickball! It's kind of retro. People dig retro these days. 

Why are you going to your purse? Your cell phone is in your pocket, remember? Only have like 21 pictures, hardly worth convincing facebook friends that they need to click. 

Fine, put me away. I will be back. And I will have friends. Yea, me and that bottle of Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin lotion from Bath and Bodyworks are not as big of enemies as ye suppose. Yes, I know she was the one who caused my boyfriend, Eye-Lash thinner to break up with me. But times are changing I tell you. We are the future. Cameras. Facebook Photo Albums. 

or not....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

#191 cont.-North American Youth Congress 2009 Version-B

Foreword: I was initially hesitant to write this up because I worried that it would be too redundant, but Joel asked that this post be more analytical than his, so I set out to do that. This post sets out to apply, somewhat awkwardly, a very limited discursive analysis to nayc 2009 and, as often happens when applying theory to something the first time, it bears a host of flaws. That early realization led to me dragging my feet in posting this (it was supposed to be up last monday). As I prayed about how to write it, I felt something telling me not to write it and I almost backed out on Joel. Finally, on Friday morning while praying in the shower (quick aside, anyone else get some great prayer while bathing/brushing your teeth?) I felt released to write it so long as I approached it from a completely different angle. So, that's what I did. That little vignette isn't an attempt to free me from criticism, in fact, I'd be very happy if you did. I only ask that, as with my last post, you take a little extra time to think this one over before you form an opinion.


For all of the attacks leveled at christianity by Friedrich Nietzsche, the majority of which are completely ridiculous, none rang truer than his belief in the centrality of “ressentiment” to the psychology of many christians (found in the second chapter of On the Genealogy of Morality.) Without going into too much detail—I’ll leave you to look it up if you want something more comprehensive—“ressentiment” differs from the English word “resentment” in that, while the latter is primarily an emotion experienced by one individual towards another, the former is actually a process or strategy of disassociation performed by in individual or group.

Rather than face the burdens and strife of existence head on, accepting personally the responsibility for their actions, Nietzsche argued that judeo-christians surround themselves in a protective shield of dissimulation. Negative feelings that originate within the self are too difficult to address directly because they demand that we reassess our views, beliefs, and actions completely in order to alleviate the discomfort. Naturally, our flesh is unwilling to do so; like adam and eve we would rather hide behind an illusion than face our own shortcomings. What Nietzsche saw in christians was a propensity to shunt their negative feelings, whatever they might be and however they might have come about, onto anyone and anything that seemed inherently alien to them. It seemed obvious to Nietzsche that much of the “joy of the Lord” came not from an assurance in God, but in the skillful ability of christians to redirect all culpability for injustices of the world, specifically their own situations, onto those who did not share in their own worldview.

Simply put, christians regularly cast themselves as blameless victims in order to escape discomfort and will go to great lengths to do so—even if it takes creating straw-men oppressors.

The definition of ressentiment used here doesn’t hold 100% true to Nietzsche’s and we certainly don’t have to accept the totality of his philosophy (Lord knows I don’t), nor should we, but there is always a sliver of truth in every observation and I think the dangerous presence of ressentiment in present day pentecost calls for a hard look at ourselves.


As we’ve said countless times, there’s no dispute here among us as to whether God can do miracles any time He so desires—there were doubtless countless lives touched and changed by God in Nashville; we of course rejoice in the works of God at all times. That said, I can think of no better example of ressentiment practiced en masse than nayc 2009.

Joel did a fairly decent run up of what went down, so I’ll cut straight to the point. In the process of exhorting the youth to become radical, the preachers at nayc 2009 very subtly, but clearly, set the youth up against a straw man enemy. It was necessary for the argument to work that the youth in the audience identify themselves as the pure and obedient radicals they were supposed to be and equally important for there to be a negative opposite in the church to contrast themselves to. At one point in the first night’s service the preacher even elaborated on the seedy element in every church who undermined worship and prayer with their negative attitudes and general shenaniganary. Jumping and screaming red-faced, the preacher told the youth that this evil element was the key to all of the UPC’s—and by proxy the world’s--problems.

A Ha, how brilliant! How original! Get a bunch of teenagers and young adults together in a room and tell them that they are basically flawless and that, secretly, there are people who hate them and are out to get them! Brilliant, we all know that teenagers are completely level-headed and that, left on their own, never think that they’re uniquely special, free from blame, or that the world is against them at all! And sure, you’d be incredibly hard pressed to actually find these people in the church who keep you from dancing or worshipping merely by virtue of their presence in the sanctuary, but to quote The Boondocks Gin Rummy, “The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.”

I hope you picked up on the sarcasm in the paragraph above. Teenagers of any faith or creed already practice resseniment very easily, it’s a part of the emotional and rational immaturity that comes along with growing up, but the message of nayc 2009 actually affirmed that self-centeredness and disassociation from personal responsibility. In essence, all youth had to do in order to fly straight, to answer the call of God to change the world, was dance to those hillsong and clc tunes till they’re blue in the face, get “radical” for God at every revival meeting, and presto-change-o==world saved! And somewhere Nietzsche smiles knowingly.

Radical? I wonder.

The very first night session in Nashville set the tone with its message, pleading with the youth that they become radical for God in all phases of their lives. Well and good, except that there was nothing beyond that simple exhortation. We were supposed to become radical in our praise and worship, but weren’t we already? As mentioned above, we were supposed to feel victimized by those faceless detractors among us and worship as a means of fighting back and, indeed, that’s what most everyone assembled in the audience did. They danced and jumped and sang till they were out of breath, and then they milled out of the arena to find somewhere to eat so they could re-energize for the party the next night. Radical? That’s church as usual. Even worse, if you had to wait till congress to praise God whole-heartedly, then you’ve got a whole other set of problems.

Forgive me if I can’t see anything radical about that. This is just my opinion, but let me tell you what’s radical: Danny Rivers’ session at nayc 2007 shocked me. It stirred up feelings inside of me that I didn’t know what to do with—regret, self-loathing, anger, sadness, but not only that, also, hope, excitement, purpose, and urgency. You see, that service was radical, it was hard to swallow, it didn’t end in a party and we didn’t know how to handle it. Judging by the relatively low amount of cooperation in the community service programs that were set up in the afternoon for youth to volunteer in, a lot of us didn’t get it. I’m so blessed, my youth pastor’s wife asked me if I wanted to join she and five other youth (six of us out of a 30+ youth group) and thankfully I listened to the spirit instead of wasting my afternoon.

Along with so many others, I came back from nayc 2007 with something I’d never had before. I’d been to every youth congress since I was thirteen, either as a youth or chaperone, but the few of us who participated came back changed in an altogether different manner than ever before. Among other things, we volunteered to teach Sunday school lessons, collected food, school supplies, and clothing and helped distribute them, volunteered at homeless shelters, and set up a soup kitchen on Christmas Eve. Like Paul, I say these things not to brag, but to tell you that even those actions were not really radical in and of themselves.

In the end, no matter what we did, it was never enough. We never left the homeless shelter patting each other on the backs, thanking God for the great time we’d just had or how awesomely He’d used us, and looking forward to where we’d eat afterward because we simply couldn’t. We weren’t allowed to. Looking into the eyes of those in the shelter, seeing the impossible odds they faced and how small our own intermittent actions were in comparison to their everyday struggles made us reassess how we read the Gospel. What was truly radical was that for the first time we stupid and spoilt children, gluttons feeding on God’s mercy and blessings, saw, only ever so dimly, the Gospel in its actuality.

In this sense, you might understand why we were heartbroken by nayc 2009. It wasn’t only the circular preaching that bothered us, but, even more tellingly, were the ridiculous alterations done to the community service program. Gone was the city-wide community service of nayc 2007, to be replaced by a backpack giveaway. Youth participation was minimized to donating school supplies and bibles for the backpacks, nothing more. Taken in a vacuum, we could perhaps understand the backpack giveaway differently, but when we analyze it systematically as part of the overall nayc 2009 message, it becomes clear that it was a rejection of the previous community service project—and its relation to the overall message of nayc 2007. We weren’t “radical” enough in the previous iteration, we didn’t throw the bible in people’s faces; all we did was show them that we were a part of the world and cared very much about changing it for the better. The earlier effort was too risky, we were helping people, but not talking about Acts 2:38 constantly; it wasn’t clear that people would know that we were christians by what we were doing, so we had to make that obvious by inserting bibles and tracts—what an indictment against us! How could we have let that happen?

Note: I understand that it's very difficult to put together something like a community service program and that there were almost assuredly a mountain of obstacles facing the organizers in putting something together for Nashville. (Stressful preparation for a much much smaller christmas eve soup kitchen taught us that) However, one look at the pathetic, disrespectful spectacles put on by the organizers for the purposes of raising money for nayc events (for example, the terrorist kidnapping skit) reduces sympathy for the organizers by the boatload.

Christian historians will tell you that it was precisely because the early christians helped and cared for their brethren (inside and outside of the church) when no one else did, that they were radically different from the world. It was Christians who stayed behind and cared for the sick and dying during the Antonine Plague in 165 C.E. When friends and relatives abandoned them for their own survival, christians fed and prayed for them. The famous physician Galen, who himself retreated to the countryside in fear of death, remarked in wonder at the christians’ ability to not only survive themselves, but to also nurse the sick back to health. It should come as no surprise that the dramatic rise of christianity in the roman empire took place after the plague passed and news of the miracles spread. You see, they didn’t need to tell each other that they were radical, or make sure the world knew they were by announcing it—it was obvious by the way they lived.

Jesus’ radicality lay primarily in His rejection of the contemporary worldview. He demanded that His followers reject the contemporary language and discourses of the day; His use of parable indicated that the even the way that jews and gentiles around him spoke and thought was useless in fully comprehending His message. This, then, is the locus of our disappointment with nayc 2009. Beneath a veneer of radicalism, but in essence nothing more than word games and onanistic performance, nayc 2009 towed the line and maintained status quo (to borrow that ubiquitous pentecostal aphorism). What this world needs are a people called to God, challenging the man-made systems of control, domination, and oppression. Everything in this world, erected by man and his feeble, narcissistic understanding, is set up to destroy us. Simply going to church and burying our heads in the sand, dancing while the world goes to hell—how could we be so selfish and how could we forget our call? This forced ignorance of the call of God is, I think, the inner turmoil which forces modern pentecostals to endlessly search for straw men and villains on whom they can project that ressentiment. We’re pharisees, not radicals.


I used the word emergent for lack of something more specific, maybe liberals or progressives is better, but, I’ll use it for the sake of brevity. I’ll lay aside the litany of qualms I have with the emergent movement (whatever or whoever it is) to make just this one point: you too share in the same pathologies as mainstream pentecostals. In case you weren’t already aware, though I have no idea how you wouldn’t be, Lloyd the Loyalist is a fake account; it’s Joel writing as an over-the-top conservative reactionary, using hyperbole to show the paradoxical nature of most reactionary arguments and their conclusions reductio ad absurdum. Although I wasn’t in favor of the posts in themselves, it’s Joel’s blog and he has a right to his own creative expression, just as we all do.

Disappointing beyond anything, however, were the reactions in the comments section.
Comments flowed in denouncing Lloyd for his ridiculous assertions and arguing that the conservative cohort back off before it completely destroyed the pentecostal movement entirely. The sincerity was appreciable, but the willingness to attack Lloyd and everything he supposedly stood for is indicative of the same ressentiment on display at nayc 2009. In fact, those comments and that attitude, which I’ve witnessed on more than one occasion, only prove Nietzsche’s argument that christians of all stripes are only too willing to find an enemy to blame.

Just as conservatives paint broad brush strokes against the liberal spooks in their congregation, the more progressive (again, using the term loosely) group rail passionately against a reactionary element in their church more imagined than real. Bearing the same stains of the postmodernism they appropriate so naively and so poorly, this younger group attacks everything around them that doesn't look like them. Like most postmodern writing, there is an aspect of blind revenge underlying in everything they say. It's been said in the comments before that this blog is an attempt to use intellectualism and condescension to dominate others in the church. While I would disagree with that in the context of the blog, it is by and large true of the majority of what is said among the emergent crowd. By that, we've fallen right into the same trap as the conservatives. (I won't comment on the other side of the emergent coin, the empty candle-lit services and outward mimicry of rob bell and mark driscoll)

I must admit that I too share in this; I myself have at times joined in the witch hunt for the church’s problem. Foolishness and vanity. The problem is us, we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and own up to our responsibilities. We’ve got to stop fighting amongst ourselves and, in the process, ignoring the call of God to change this world.

The real issue that we all share? No matter how we dress, how much preach down drugs, sex, and alcohol, and how “radical” our worship services are—we just look too much like the world around us, we’re indistinguishable. Like sheep we play along in the same games, trudge the same paths, and never actually challenge the systems set up to level and subvert meaning in our lives. If we’re honest with ourselves, nayc 2009 wasn’t too much different than this; the main differences being that one has a message that might actually preach (hint: listen to the words at the start of the clip and then watch the place blow up in agreement, a whole audience of sermon affirmation guys/gals).

It's useful to note that by the end of his life Nietzsche basically fell apart. Tormented by the chasm between his own convictions and the reality of his life, Nietzsche became a shell of his former self. Look at this picture of Nietzsche (Picture). His sad state was a result of his inability to live the revolutionary and radical life he wrote about endlessly. I hope that we as a body of believers don't fall to the same sickness, caught between what we say we are and what we actually are.

Finally, nayc 2009 was right in its basic assertion: we’ve got to become radical in order to change this world, but we’ve got so far to go, we have to work together.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

#191-North American Youth Congress 2009-Version A.

Editor's Note:  If there is ever a blog post on here that I invested my heart and soul and actually agonized over, it is this one. There will actually be another, probably more SAL-like post about NAYC 2009 in a few days from Chady. Two posts about one congress? Because I really think what happened there is that important. Like people may have thought it was just another 3 day extravaganza of boys being called to be preachers,  but I thought what happened at this congress was not coincidental. It was rather quite carefully structured with precision.

Sadly, the post here is long. 7 pages single spaced, long. I hate that. Consider it a memoir. The world's shortest memoir. Now you won't hate it's length.  Because of it's length, I have broken the piece up into chapters (1.5 pages per chapter). I have also included it as a downloadable file, click here. Print this if that would help. But anyways, I guess I am kind of asking you to read this one. It's written quite differently, and it way more autobiographical than any other post on here. I didn't like this. But I would explain that using myself in the text is just a tool. I am nothing more than a symbol in the text. Make use of the symbol however you want. 

Lastly, to aid you in the journey of this blog, I am adding an optional piece of music that may play in the background. It's off my favorite artist, Sufjan Stevens' recent EP. It's called "All Delighted People" and is definitely a conversation with God song that is further described as, "a dramatic homage to the Apocalypse, existential ennui, and Paul Simon’s "Sounds of Silence." In short, I suppose you could say that subconsciously, this song was manifesting itself through this essay.

<a href="">All Delighted People (Original Version) by Sufjan Stevens</a>

ALTERNATE TITLE of this post: A transparent rambling of sorts: This is what madness looks like (or “the pangs of disillusionment at the glimpse of a hope misplaced and the cynicism that is birthed as a result in him who is a creep, who is me. And is possibly you).

" hard it must be to live only with what one knows and what one remembers, cut off from what one hopes for!... There can be no peace without hope."

 -Albert Camus

In 2000, someone prophesied that I would be a preacher. Yes, that sounds right. Listen to me. I am great. I have a voice. Let me tell you how it is. Let your ears be moved by my brilliance.

In 2004, I went to college. I drank heavily. I lost religion. Watch me have fun. So many stories of me being awesome as a drunk. I am a circus director.

In 2006, I almost converted to Judaism. It’s in my blood you know? Yes, I am that special. So special. Embracing the heritage. Visited Jerusalem with my Jewish brothers and sisters. Look at me at the Western Wall. On the Temple Mount. So Sacred. So Religious. So Rational. I have the answers. I am wearing a yarmulke. I am a rabbi.

In the spring of 2007, I read Romans. It’s so deep. I understand it. Why didn’t anyone tell me about it? I’m so smart. So kind. I am being led by the Spirit. Everyone look at me. I am starting a Bible study about Romans. Completely separate from any church sponsorship. And people are coming. 20 people (or was it 10?). They don’t have to come. They want to come. I am telling them about Romans. I am a bright shining star. I will be a preacher you know? Yes, a prophet said so. I am also liberal. So hip. So non-conformist. They didn’t tell you? We have all concluded that standards are a trivial matter. We would talk about the insignificance of standards for hours. For days. Listen to me! I am a sage. I have the answers. I will preach to you one day.

THE ENTIRETY OF THE POST IS AFTER THE BREAK. Click "read more."  Or just click here

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

#190-Not Emergents-Part 3-The Deportation and Resettling of our Ejected Friends

Dear reader (saint or heathen), John Paul (hero),

Lloyd the loyalist here with the third and final installment of the "not emergent" series.
We last left off on the modest proposal (see previous two posts for an understanding) with various occurrences to identify the emergents among us. They are not good people.

Once identified they are to be collected (possibly with bear traps.).
Now we take off, with the emergents in the back of vans.
They will be transported.
This will happen.
In the middle of the night.
While the world is asleep, we will be saving the world.
We will take them to the Yukon Territory in Northern Canada where there is nothing but tundra and a few white bears and some seals.

What I describe next, I must admit, is not my own genius that thought up such a function: Rather I saw on the History Channel...err...I mean, read on Wikipedia. It was about Japanese Internment camps during World War II wherein our Great and Sacred Country afforded the Japanese-American citizens of it's land a free vacation at these camps in beautiful and luxurious Utah. The reason for these internment camps was two-fold: Protect the Japanese from potential attacks by ignorant neighbors confused about the Japanese attacks during World War II. Also, the interment camps would naturally prevent potential acts of treason within the US from Japanese-American spies/traitors. The internment camps were for their best interest.

In the same vain, we take the Emergents to the Yukon. They will be deposited one by one in an asylum of sorts that we have constructed from unused funds given to Sheaves for Christ (we may have to eliminate sadly the funding of a position of a missionary or two).

Of course the name "asylum" is taboo. We will have to construct a a better name for appearances sake. I suggest one of the following with the possibility of slight variations...

  • House of Virtuous Women
  • Kirk Cameron Foundation Institute
  • The Shelter of Recovering Souls

In the asylum, the rest of the emergent heresy will be hundreds and thousands of miles away. We will then be free to preach what we have always wanted to but feared our reputation: The gospels.

In the asylum, the emergents will be left to their own demise, whatever that may be. Anarchy will grab hold. We will not stop it. They will probably turn the asylum into a burlesque house. Maybe a house of all-embracing ecumenical acceptance. There will probably be astrology ministers. And Hillary Clinton will be invited to do guest sermons. Abortions will happen. No doubt. Evolution will be taught in the classrooms in the asylum. Harry Potter will be considered an apostle. The communist manifesto will be considered canon. They will baptize (which will be optional), they will do so in the name of 3 gods. It will all be explicit. It will be ruthless. I can see it now.

There will be blood. Human sacrifices. The emergent shaman leaders will be soaked in the blood of their sacrifices. They will choose to wear sack-clothes only. Even though we will provide them full garments (an act of charity). They will do rain dances. Tribal wars are probable.

They have no boundaries. They loathe such a concept. Morality is optional. The only boundary they will have is the ones we have gifted them with: the walls of the asylum itself. Polygamy will be in fashion up there. Child labor too. Child Labor! They will defecate on the pillows they sleep on. Spousal abuse will be frowned upon by not illegal. THEY WILL CLUB BABY SEALS. They will mock speaking in tongues and dancing in the spirit. They will say this looks right.

Do you see this?

Now if you remember the title to this proposed treatise, "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Emergents Amongst Apostolics but While utilizing the Emergents in Such a Way that they Are Beneficial to Our Movement."

You will notice I believe we can make this a benefit to us. The removal of the emergents will be an obvious of a benefit enough. But I think we can use their anarchy of a religion even more to our benefit. So much so that sin will be an after thought in our movement. A faint ghost of the past ("remember a thing called sin?"). Here's How:

1) Have cameras set up in the asylum, let them record the chaos. When our apostolic youth come to the age of adulthood, 18, we will show each one of them, on their birthday, the videos which recorded the defiling ways of the emergents within the asylum. Let them see the carnage. We will tell these 18 year olds that if they reject absolute truth and accept relativism, and postmodernism, this is what they will become. The videos are showing the slippery slope without restraint. The youth will weep. They will never think once about roaming away from this faith ever again. This is good.

2) Of course, within the asylum it is inevitable that a few emergents will see the horror of their ways. They will see the debauchery that is a result of their theological position, and want to exit at once. They will ask to be removed from the asylum. We will adhere to their request. And then (here's the beauty), they will volunteer to function as as living witnesses against the whiles of their pagan emergent past. They will tell the apostolic children and youth pastors that if anyone is considering the emergent path, they must do an about face. They will tell stories and scream loudly. Their eyes will bulge out of their head. This is scary. AHHHH!

It will be like that show in the late 80's and 90's called "Scared Straight" wherein troubled youths visit a prison and a convict who is usually a big black man with tattoos will scare them about the horrors of jail and how their lifestyle will lead to such horrific ends.


And they ran. And they cried too.

The apostolic troubled youth will do the same.

This will be beneficial to us.

In closing, I think the advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious and many, as well as the highest importance. I myself have been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts at how to resolve the emergent problem. I fortunately, on a random March evening fell upon this proposal in my own brain, which was wholly unconventional, but also solid and real. Of little expense and trouble to ourselves.

Now let it be said that I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion as to reject any offer so resolve the dilemma of our age, but I must add that if any proposal is to be considered next to the modest proposal set fourth in the past 3 posts, let it be found equally innocent, cheap, easy and effectual.

Friday, September 3, 2010

#190-Not Emergents-Part 2-How to Find an Emergent without Compromising Your Value System

(The second Installment of a A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Emergents Amongst Apostolics but While utilizing the Emergents in Such a Way that they Are Beneficial to Our Movement.)
"Why of Course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, most common people don't want war. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along.

The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in an country."
-Hermann Goring

Lloyd here, now with my own profile (if you are completely confused, see last post).

To summarize what I stated in the last article, it is this:

There is an EMERGENTcy in our movement. We must recognize it as such and strategize a plan to smother the heresy at once.

Firstly, to get a good profile of the Emergent, know that they are apt to prefer gratifying the lusts of their heart and flesh, OR depressing their adversaries in any way possible. Most of these attacks revolve around utilizing Twitter, blogs (*cough*), or doublespeak from darkened rooms with dim IKEA lights labeled "youth services" or "gatherings" (it is the youth services that I fear most. This machine continues to manufacture the most derelict and imbecile of our movement).

Secondly, before I move on. Let me say, the siege I will propose at the end of this post is not preferable. But it is the last resort. And last resorts are always the most effective. If I were to have my own choice it would be to reduce these men of wit and pleasure (aka the emergents) to a low diet and moderate exercise. Thusly this would ensure that our churches would not become the hospitals which I fear they are destined to become at the rate and trajectory we are on.

Now that said, if I had my ideal choice and had known the state of the Emergentcy decades ago, I would have hesitated not and lived without guilt of conscience to find Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Donald Miller, and Mark Driscoll as children and one by one dispose of them. Not kill of course because that stupid age of enlightenment made execution out of fashion, but rather would have found them in their childhood state and walked up to them and put a giant dog catching net over them and seized them at once. I would have then driven them to the outskirts of civilization: Los Angeles, and dropped them off at a Hollywood cocktail party where they would have been forced to watch the horrible abominations taking place in such parties: cannibalism, tickling w/giant feathers, and listening to the raucous noises of a band called "Megadeath." They would be terrified. I would then explain that if they ever considered writing a book or speaking on a podcast (which they wouldn't even know what this is since they would be kids and thus my words would seem that much more prophetic decades later), they would end up like those Hollywood Philistines. I suspect that they would be so scared that they would fear ever writing a school paper in fear that it should become a book. That is assuming if they ever found their way back home which I would not provide.

But I digress. I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least of objection. But to put my proposal in action on how to rid emergents I must seek a concrete 4 part method on how to identify the emergents among us so as to be able to get rid of them (regretfully, Joel has told me I must confine the actual proposal in action to a third part which will come Monday because of the length of even this post since the emergent crowd likes short sermons, they also can't swallow long posts. But dear reader I assure you it will be worth it).

Ways to Identify the Emergents:

1) All Apostolics born in the last week of July/First few days of August are probably emergent.
Their identity in this regard is the easiest of the 4 methods, since identifying such people is simply a matter of reviewing birth certificates. The reason these dates are so pertinent as a locater of emergents is because these people were conceived during the week of the Devil's Holiday: Halloween (end of July being 9 months after the end of October). Naturally people conceived in such a period have already been fated to be part of the Devil's procession. Of course there is a chance that some have escaped this doom and are born on July 30th for instance and are not emergent, but we must be willing to count them amongst the rest of their lot. Better 9 emergents caught and 1 wrongly charged, than for sake of some principle 1 innocent left free and the 9 other emergents left free as well.

  • Any Preacher who preaches out of Galatians (save the last Chapter). He is emergent.
  • Any Preacher who preaches out of Romans 4, 12, 14. He is emergent.
  • Any preacher who preaches out of I Corinthians 1, 8, 10, 12, 13. He is Emergent.
  • Note: Exemptions to the above three may be taken on a case by case basis, if by chance the preacher preaches a single verse out of these chapters without regard or understanding to the larger context and meaning of the chapter.
The preachers of these chapters will contend they are preaching bible. They are right in a sense. But Paul is writing to churches and therefore he has no concern for salvation or the full truth to be discussed (since they are assumed). Thus the concern of these chapters listed must be received without weight. They are lesser bible. After all Paul wasn't there on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. And thus his writings are less impacting and less foundational because of it. Also be weary of anyone preaching anything out of the second half of Matthew 25.

If we let our churches fall into the hands of emergent ministers, churches will quickly devolve into becoming play houses (where rough housing is encouraged), market-houses, convertible movie theaters, tattoo parlors, and petting zoos in that order of digression.

3) At camps and conventions and congress: Announce a book club where Velvet Elvis, and Blue Like Jazz will be read. Anyone who signs up is emergent. They must be banished.

4) Most efficiently, set an active program wherein we decide to induce a siege of sorts which in it's inception promises to kick down every door which emergents hide behind and lift every rock which they flourish under in it's darkness. In short, at every major youth event (congress, convention, and youth rallys especially) repeatedly for an entire year (this will take persistence with trial and error throughout) we preach topics such as Apostolic Identity, holiness, submission, hair-angels, that story where Moses makes boundary lines around mountains because God said so, and out of chapters emergents fear most: I Corinthians 11, I Timothy 2, Deuteronomy 22:5. And we preach without hesitancy and with the fear of God in us, stuffing it down everyone's throat in the audience forcing digestion. Those who digest willingly will end up at the altar in celebration or in repentance in a realization of missteps.

Those who digest and receive heartburn because of it will end up stubborn and callous to obeying the call of God for repentance of their rebellious ways. And naturally when they altar call comes, they will sit in their pews, indignant about the ransacking of their soul that just took place.

There will also be those who will not repent, and instead of remaining bitter in their pew depart the sanctuary at once during the altar call to make plans for the evening with others like them. They will plot where they will smoke entire packs of cigarettes and curse freely in their "new found religion" at a restaurant or town-square they have decided upon.

In this fraternizing or in the pew-sitting stubbornness, I present to you on a silver platter, the emergents of our movement. There, in the open. Without the realization that in their own rejection of the sermon, they are publicly swearing their allegiance to the Emergent Movement along with the dark spirits of this age.

They are there, in the pews, in the vestibules. We must then make haste and not squander this opportunity to seize them at once. Maybe with a giant net thrown upon them. Or no, we will have bear traps. Yes, Bear Traps! Bear traps will be used (Excuse me but I am in disbelief of the own genius thoughts spewing from my god-blessed brain which I must transmit to you at once). The bear traps will be set up in the area designated for socializing during the altar call. These areas will be darkened so the emergents won't know what they are walking into. And then, SNAP! They will have stepped on the trigger in the middle of the contraption which will have set off the bear trap which bites into the ankle of the unsuspecting emergent. Of course, less violently, one could set up a giant net on the floor and when all the emergents have unknowingly stepped onto the net, a volunteer will hit a hidden which will cause those emergents to be engulfed at once (and not a moment too soon) and elevated to the ceiling trapped in the giant net and for the evening will be on display for the faithful to observe what may become of them if they should reject one or all doctrines of our belief system. Those who sit in pews in anger will be handcuffed by our loyal ushers or lassoed.

All of those incarcerated (by net, bear trap, lasso, or handcuffs) will be hauled off and deposited into a waiting armored van in the church parking lot and then taken to the destination I will speak of in the next post to bring a conclusion to this modest proposal (the destination which will be discussed in the next segment is the most crucial aspect of the proposal. It is there where I will discuss how we can use the hopeless emergent cause to an Apostolic Advantage).

Glory be to God.

Lloyd the Loyalist,
Department of Scorn & Removal

Postscript: Since Joel so unthoughtfully nominated me to have an actual account on this blog, I have opened the floodgates for comments from anyone even without a google account.. Just make sure to number which anonymous you are if you choose such a route (e.g. Anonymous 1, Anonymous 2), and abide by the comment policy that is at the top of this page.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

#190-Not Emergents -Part 1-A Survey

Editor's Note: A few weeks ago I mentioned that some of the topics that would be discussed would be Apostolic Identity, Youth Congress 2009, etc....

Well after that announcement, I was immediately intruded upon by an e-mail from someone naming himself only as "Zorro." And then in a following e-mail as "Lloyd the Fighting Loyalist." He demanded that my blog, in the name of being fair and balanced (which I have never claimed), to allow him the honor of doing a few posts representing the "silent majority" as the "voice of their cause for righteousness." I demanded an article that he would be willing to post as to show that his writing would be anything above subpar. He said he had dozens of such articles, but he was particularly fond of this one. He also asked that I post his picture which he sent (the portrait above). After careful inspection, the picture ends up being a portrait of the philosopher, Hegel with a Groucho Marx nose/mustache mask. Without further adieu (the article is two parts), 

A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Emergents Amongst Apostolics but While utilizing the Emergents in Such a Way that they Are Beneficial to Our Movement.

Gentlemen and Leaders of the Apostolic Movement in these times of Urgency,

I call on you in this hour to fight for your beliefs. Fight with everything you have got, for the sake of your wives and your children, your mothers and your parents. Your arms are defending everything we have ever held dear, and all the generations that will come after us. Be proud and courageous! Be inventive and cunning! 

What are we fighting against you may ask? The Devil? CNN? Osama Bin Laden? Why if you have not a clue to what I am speaking of, it demonstrates the danger you are in for they/it is already blurring your perception, and destroying your spiritual discernment to not even notice the great state of emergency our movement is in. For our enemy is either of the devil, or is on nearly equal grounds. The enemy is the emergents. 

At this very moment my spirit is awakened to know some of them are kicking down the door to an unsuspecting Apostolic Family at dinner...and....Oh God help....Help Them! STOP IT YOU ferrets! CEASE AT ONCE!.....oh's too late...the damage is done. I can discern in my spirit (thank goodness I was not actually there) that the emergents marched into the house of the unsuspecting family and one by one forced each member of the family to read one chapter of the bible from the Message! 

But comrades, it is not too late. We can stop this menace. While I do not know one emergent personally nor have met anyone who has talked to a confessed Emergent in our movement, this is just a testament to how good the emergents are at blending in and keeping their methods underground. Because we know they exist. And they exist all around us. If you hear the words, "journey," "authentic," "walk," "relationship," "cross," "faith," "Romans," "Galatians," "community," in a church or conversational setting, know there is an emergent very near by hiding underneath a rock, laughing and waiting to blow our whole movement up to pieces.

I suspect that while the writer of this here blog conveniently named Sal continually denies that He is a emergent, he does so knowing if he were to come out of the emergent closet which he hides in, he would be publicly shamed and possibly even, yes, he would be forced to walk a plank of some sorts that we would make for him! And at the bottom of the plank he would walk off of would be a thousand Jehovah Witnesses waiting to convert him to their beliefs.

Now for the matter at hand, I have turned my thoughts for many years upon this important subject, and how we may outlaw the emergents from our ranks in an efficient, precise, but politically permissible fashion. I have seen several schemes in recent months trying to do the same. And while I find the intentions pure, they are all horribly ineffective. Most of the failed projections revolve around a failure to calculate the Emergent spirit accurately. It is here I aim to survey these attempts and discuss their miscalculations, all done in an attempt to propose my own hypothesis of how we can rid them from our midst. As someone once said, "Getting rid of lice is not a question of ideology, it is a matter of cleanliness."

Method A

Firstly, as one of the suspected emergents ("Slapastolic" on Twitter), has pointed out, there is a rising trend to have a question and answer session at youth events and conferences. The idea, as I understand is that the emergent menace is seeping into our walls because it offers only questions and never claims "absolute truth." This menace is appealing to our youth because we as Apostolics have positioned ourselves as bearers of "The Full Truth." This is a lofty position to hold, but it is not impossible to accomplish such a claim. The mountains are steep, but that does not mean the peak in the heavens cannot be reached by the children of God we are vis-a-vis Acts 2:38 and tongues and the like. However, by claiming "the full truth" those rebellious children think we owe them answers. Well I would have it known to the whole world that the truth of God is not meant to be eaten by irresponsible swine. The kids are demanding the meat when they should be satisfied with the milk of God and not beg for anymore. Meat increases the risks of heart attacks if not handled properly and in modest proportions. Do we want our kids to have heart attacks by feeding them the meat of truth? NO! So they must learn to be satisfied with the Milk (David & Goliath, Lions, burning furnaces, Boat in a flood, etc...)....

Why dear citizens, having the Full Truth is by no means a pleasure and joy to possess. Rather truth is burdensome and if I could I would unload this burden immediately because it is too heavy for me to grasp. But the Lord is good and he knows what we can and can't handle, and it seems he Has chosen us Apostolics to handle the heaviest weights of conviction: This is the full truth.

Anyways, I am ranting now. Back to the point at hand: These question and answer sessions. They seem to be executed in a manner to show the kids that we have answers. But of course the kids don't actually want answers. They want excuses to jump off bridges and sell crack. And if we don't satisfy their questions (we never will), they will use such dissatisfaction to become our church's emergent bullies. So I have seen the position taken that in the Q & A forums, the moderator decides what questions are asked and then does not allow a rebuttal from the crowd, so it only appears that we are answering the questions, which are pertinent to this time. But the reality is we answer nothing. Because we are too loving to give the children the burden of the full truth. Cue Jack...

With that in mind, we cannot afford to fight our battles with the emergent menace in Q and A sessions. We will lose every time. should we give them the truth, they will devour it without reverence. Further they will say the truth is not enough and find loop holes in scripture which we should never acknowledge when pointed out to us (they are children, remember?!?).

Method B
This one is directed more towards possible emergent licensed ministers.The idea goes that if we make the emergent ministers sign a statement annually affirming their beliefs as our beliefs (holiness, salvation, et...), this will ensure that those who do not believe as we will not sign the affirmation and then will forfeit their right as a minister. While it's very commendable, it's assumptions are flat out wrong. I know of no other way to address it. The emergents are slimy. They are devious. They are liars. And because of this making them sign a document saying their beliefs are as ours when the reality is they are not, is of no consequence to them. They have sold their integrity long ago. We must not assume such honesty lies within their black souls.

Is it no wonder that even plenty of righteous ministers across the country sign the affirmation yearly and agree not to own a television, but know very well they own such a device in their own home. They openly and knowingly violate the condition to be a UPC minister and do not have qualms about it. And these are GOOD MEN. PRAYING MEN. MEN WHO SEEK GOD. If they hesitate not, then do we really think the emergents are going to be any more honest than they in the signing of the document? Of course not. Thus the signing of a document will be of no use here.

Tomorrow we will go more into the dark underworld of the emergent movement and face their critiques of us, which I will bluntly rebuke and show how wrong they are. And then I will propose my modest solution as to rid the emergents once and for all from our movement.

Thanks be to God and God Alone,

Lloyd, the Loyalist.
Department of Scorn & Removal

Editor's note: Part 2 will conclude either tomorrow or Friday (depending on if I can find a computer to post from tomorrow). Also It's SAL's 1 year birthday today. Never thought we would make it this far, but here we are. Thanks for sticking with us.