Monday, August 29, 2011

#243-Soul Winner Guilt and Glory

The Guilt
You can already hear it. That altar-call plea for you to go out and bring in the sheaves. Because if you don't, on Judgment Day, your co-workers and your neighbors are going to look at you with wide-pleading eyes, demanding of you, "Why didn't you tell me I needed to speak in tongues to get here?!" Then you'll be left, shrugging your guilt-laden shoulders, hanging your head in shame because apparently, you were too ashamed of Jesus to recount Peter's Pentecost sermon to people. Think you're gonna hear "Well done thou good and faithful servant?" Guess again, playa. The best thing for you to do is start inviting people to church left and right to avoid gettin that spiritual blood on your hands. After all, the Bible says inviting people to church is the first step to saving their souls . . . oh, wait.

The Glory
High-five, dude! Bob from accounting finally gave in and got a taste of that Holy Ghost FI-ya! All those "If you don't pass this message on, you're ashamed of God" chain emails you forwarded to him worked. YOU were the one who invited him to church. YOU were the one who shared Acts 2:38 with him. YOU were the one behind him rubbing his back, whispering holy sweet nothings into his ear as he prayed for the Holy Ghost. It was because of YOU, dawg. YOU should get the credit for this baby. Go ahead and etch another notch in your soul-belt. Pastor's gonna make you saint of the month!

The Real Deal
If one of your neighbors doesn't hear the Word from you, that doesn't mean that your neighbor is going to be lost for all time and it's going to be your fault. God isn't willing that ANY should perish, and if someone hungers and thirsts after righteousness, God will make it His business that they be filled. He doesn't need you to do it. If you fail to fulfill the imperative to share the gospel, He can and will find somebody else. Your apathy is not going prevent the will of God from being done. And if you do share the gospel with your neighbor and he becomes born again, it's not to your credit. God definitely used you, but remember, He's the only one who saves.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

#242 - Calling Contemporary Worship Music "Jesus Is My Boyfriend Music."

Wow. It's been a minute since I've lifted my fingers to post here, but, in an attempt to go back to that old landmark, and since we're talking about praise & worship, I figured I'd throw in my $0.02 (which actually costs more to produce than it's worth but . . . ah, well. Take it up with the US Mint.)

In this conundrum we Aps have found ourselves in, this bitter divide between old-school and progressive (or shall I say "stick-in-the mud, divisive, legalistic curmudgeons" and "bitter, emergent, liberal compromisers"?) one of the many scads of issues up for grabs in an attempt to define who the Real Apostolics are is music.

The more the music reminds you of them old time days, them days when C.R. Dinkleton (because all Real Apostolics have two initials before their last names) would preach up a dusty storm in the buggy heat and tarry in the brush arbor, the more likely you are to be ready when that trumpet sounds.

The more the music relies on acoustic guitar and the lyrics include silly references to Jesus as a lover and wonderful savior who kisses the earth and rains down His warm and fuzzy mercy and mushy grace and blessings, the more likely you're on your way to you-know-where in a you-know-what. Or at least on the road to compromising. And ooh, Lordy. If you're a Real Apostolic, you wouldn't want that. No siree.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#241- The Imperial Praise Team

There are situations and then there are Situations. I think we are dealing with the former here, but I could be wrong.

Once upon a time, the Platform served as the facilitator of the distribution of Prestige within the Church. There was the Pastor. And then the elders. And then the Platform Musicians. While the spiritual demand was not nearly as high for the platform musicians, their place on the platform was a testament to the relentless Ego of men and women to claw their way to fame. If you don't know how to preach in the UPC, dont fear, because you can always  try and become a musician.

There the stakes are much more glorious and far more violent than the tyranny to be a speaker. TO be a UPC musician does not mean you have to be called to it. All that's requested is that you have a drive to be a musical force....

I'm wandering. I will go back. I apologize.

Okay, the point is the Praise Team Man.....

At the likes of Bible Colleges and big churches, there is a healthy bit of competition to look good and sing good so people will notice you. Of course to get noticed you need to be on the platform, singing.....

A hierarchical ladder is thus created within our ranks where the best looking and/or the best singers can sing.

And the Ego's, my goodness.... The Egos of the Platform. You should know about them..... But that's a different post which I will probably always be too lazy to write about....

But there are also people who love worshipping the Lord. I don't want us to forget about them. They exist.

But the real controversy, to me at least, is the decay of the Praise Team as we know it. Traditionally, the Praise Team consisted of 3-4 singers on the platform leading the church in wonderful chorus.

But, alas, we live in a day of tolerance... Where kids are forced to enjoy bike rides with helmets on their head and one can no longer say the word "handicap."  And likewise, within tolerance, there are no winners and losers.... There are just people who really believe in themselves and others who have less faith in themselves..... It is not a coincidence that those who "believe in themselves and chase after their dream" are also ridiculously good looking or gifted with an amazing amount of physical talent.  

The point is, with the rise of a society of tolerance, we have lost the platform to tell people they are bad.

And thus Praise Singers keep singing. Bad Praise Singers. And no one has the guts to tell them to their face, "hey kid, you don't have what it takes." Now I am all for Bad Praise Singers. Give me a team of mutant singers still worshiping God in spite of themselves, and I guarantee you the Holy Spirit will be there because they won't be able to fake God being there. It's a platform of the Talented musicians who try to perfect their craft that I am deeply suspicious of.....

Anyways, in this age where one can't say "Bad is bad" but rather "Bad just means Try harder" the one symptom that goes unchecked is the Ego. Now we have a day where Bad singers think they are just as good as good singers, and good singers just talk behind the back of the Bad Singers smirking at how stuck up the Bad Singer is.

What's the point? Well the analysis above is my one theory for what I observed in a video of youth Congress....

Evidence Here:

 In the above image, there are 10 "Xs." Each X designates a Praise Singer. Now if each X is a Praise Singer, and there are Ten 10 Xs, then if my math is right, there are 10 Praise Singers for the worship service at Youth Congress. That's right, 10 praise singers....

Now, perhaps the need for ten was simple: There were bad praise singers originally, and the only hope of drowning their voices out was MORE PRAISE SINGERS. Perhaps Phil Specter had it right when he invented the "Wall of Sound." The more praise singers, the more that bad disappears.

I highly doubt this theory...... Because I know most of those singers on the platform (if not all) are indeed good singers....

So perhaps what we see, in this age of tolerance,  is the inability for someone to pick the best singers over the really Good singers....

Maybe, but i'm not even convinced of that....

I don't know what's going on, but ten praise singers is definitely not necessary. I can't hear the difference between two voices, let alone ten voices.

Keep in mind that Youth Congress is just an example (which has always had a cluster of singers way beyond the designated four), and that I have observed the trend of the Imperial Praise Team who is always growing in numbers at many churches and youth rallys.

So this problem only results in more questions: At what one point does a Praise Team stop being considered a Praise Team and start being considered a "Praise Choir?" If we have passed that point, then the only reason we still call the Praise Team a "team" is because it still implies a distinguishing of personalities and faces on the platform. Once a choir is formed, the individual identity is crushed to a mass of formless faces. Egos couldn't stand that.

Is anyone else noticing this problem or is this in my head? And if your church needs someone to come in and tell a few girls "hey, I know you mean well, but your voice doesn't mean well to our ears," I am your guy. I will do the job for fifteen dollars flat.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

#240- Finding Boyfriends at Big Church Events

Alternative Title: Kind Suggestions for the female gender on securing that future husband at the ballroom melodramas of our organization (from the perspective of a male).

#1-  No Circus Hats

In spite of precedent this year, and by precedent I mean, Royal Weddings, there are no circumstances in here or in heaven that large and absurd hats would be permissible to wear. Especially when one is trying to keep a boyfriend or look for a boyfriend. Wearing absurd hats, much like absurd head pieces is a simple sign for us men that says "Future Cat Lady." There is a reason the USA revolted against the British almost 250 years ago. And I suspect funny hats are one of those reasons. Don't nullify our revolution ladies. Trust me, you will get our attention  if you wear weird hats to church, but the strare you will receive from us will have nothing to do with a desire to talk to you. Rather we stare at you to burn you at the sake.

#2- Don't obsess over what you wear. We won't notice your clothes.

 So ladies don't obsess over it, if a guy compliments your attire. If this man does compliment your clothes, he is not someone you want to date. Trust me. He is probably gay. Or at least slightly gay. He would make a great friend to have though.

#3-Pray. Just don't do so too loudly.

#4- Be Victorian.
While us Apostolic men aren't romantic knights ready to sweep you off your feet, we still will appreciate you living as if you were from a a period where being reserved and "ladylike" is culturally acceptable. Of course we won't reciprocate the gesture and thus won't end up like the heroes of the Jane Austin novels, nonetheless, we want you to stay back in that past. We highly encourage you to read Little Women. We highly encourage you to watch the Anne of Green Gables series. Transform your lifestyle as outlined in said book aka: Stay quiet and only speak when spoken too (certainly don't talk politics). Just keep your expectations low for the rest of us. Laugh at our jokes. Blush when we make eye contact. Show no ambition.  This is what it is to be a preacher's wife:

"I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

 11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety."  - I Timothy 2:9-15

#5- Wear Make-up. Just don't call it Make up.

Don't make the devil's paint noticeable. Just put enough make-up on so that we won't notice that you are a walking contradiction. If we have to notice your make up, you are an embarrassment. If you don't put on make up, we may get put off by the zits. This is a very thin tight rope to cross, and we appreciate the balancing act.

#6-Be Holy

If you catch us checking out girls in tight clothes  or short skirts, don't be offended. We are only judging those Jezebels. It's nothing against you. Holiness is more beautiful no matter if our eyes tell you otherwise.

#7- Be in Attack Mode

It's the 21st century. Us men hate making the move. Save us the perspiration and ask for our number. Some men probably will get put off by this, but this just proves that said man is sexist.

#8-Ruin the Competition

"Accidentally" pour water on the head of a competing female a little higher in the hierarchy or stick a live blow drier against the hairdo of any girl who may get more attention than you. While said girl may still end up getting more attention than you, their own insecurity will hinder their desire to be in the spotlight or be "available" for pursuit. Remember, "survival of the fittest."

#9- Do Wikipedia research on Books of the Bible
Of course you don't have to read the Bible outside of the simplicity of Psalms or Proverbs, but acting like you read the bible is worth mega-points.

#10-Don't confess your a Bible College Student.
IF you do, we will assume the worst. And if you go to secular college, make fun of Bible College students.

Bonus: Ladies, if you are not part of the Apostolic Ruling class, and thus not "elite" do not be deterred by your lack of fame. The pastor's daughters, the IBC Praise Girls, and the rest of the "in" crowd are plastic. Ruminate this truth. Take aim on them. Steal their men with ruthless cruelty. Break hearts. You are the daughters of God.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

#239- Youth Congress (Again)

Video to prepare for Youth Congress, on the Eve of Youth Congress....

(more posts coming in coming days about youth congress)...