Wednesday, November 6, 2013

#279-The UPCI Hates Children

Friend points out through a friend I haven't posted in a long bit.... so let's do it:

In school, gym was my favorite class. I was no jock. I just loved playing sports. I grew up, throughout high-school wearing pants in gym class.

No biggie right? Until you get to high school and guys' testosterone goes all like whoa and I'm the tiniest kid in my grade and i'm the only boy wearing pants during gym class.....

2 + 2 = I'm the target for all sexually repressed bully boys to get at.....

I became "pants boy." I got punched many times over in gym class because I was such an easy target....and yeah I was even "pantsed" to the point that I was stripped down naked in front of my entire class simply because I was wearing pants because of my religious belief.

But as for me, back then, as a confused kid... I thought such a kind of persecution was to be expected in the name of the Lord. Like Jesus Christ Himself you know?

So I learned to keep my tears on hold as the girl I wanted to marry laughed at me as she saw me naked in gym class...just learned to be late to class after gym is all:

Learn to  just cry real quiet in the showers simply because I wore pants... because I was told by my  pastor to wear pants... because that's what his bible told him to do is all....

But all in the name of Christ right? And that's why I could deal with the tears. If Jesus cried for being killed, surely I could cry for having to wear pants, right?

Learned to get a thick skin. Hoped it went away. Never went away. Dudes ask why I never wore pants. Tell them "My God wouldn't let me." They'd laugh and call me "faggot" and then pants me. That was the way man. I was a puny kid. And yeah it was as pitiful as it sounds. You get used to it to the point that when I hear about kids getting bullied I think to myself "I got through it, why can't they?!?" Doesn't make it right....

And yeah... those insults, they never went away in high school. But it's okay... those bullies made me who I am right?

(1868 ad against northerners moving down south)

The KKK started in 1865.

Does the year ring a bell?

And I'm not talking about Lincoln....

I'm talking about when the civil war was won for America. And the South lost. This is when the KKK started.

Except some bitter southern folks with their panties in a bunch started the kkk. Started burning crosses.
And up to a hundred years later were killing black men because AMERICA WAS WHITE ANGLO-SAXON PROTESTANT FORGODSAKES! And when things got strained, they killed black men who allegedly dated white women.

FOR GOD AND COUNTRY?

And I'm not about to compare our age with what has come before us....

But I'm just saying, there were people who thought they were in the right and in God's will within the past century.....

But like.... I have an older sister who has the sensibility to do her due diligence in figuring out what she was supposed to believe and ....

come on UPCI: (from their website)

Boy Scouts of America. As you have probably heard, the Boy Scouts recently voted to open its membership to boys who openly profess to be homosexual. The General School Division oversees our scouting program, and they are working on a suitable alternative for our churches. In the meantime the Executive Board adopted the following statement, which is available at www.upci.org:
"The UPCI welcomes everyone to attend its churches and to participate in worship events. At the same time, the UPCI teaches that sexual relationships outside the marriage of one man and one woman are contrary to God's will. Moreover, the UPCI rejects the belief that people should define their identity by sexual predispositions, temptations, or acts that are contrary to the Word of God. Recently, the Boy Scouts of America changed its policy to provide for the acceptance of members who openly proclaim a homosexual identity, and local troops are required to implement this policy. The UPCI opposes this policy because it categorizes homosexuality as an essential identity, thereby indicating that homosexual activity is an acceptable moral choice for Christians."

And it's cool, real cool to have your own identity:

Boys freak out at boys who wear pants when they think they should wear shorts.

Girls freak out at girls when they should get a hair cut.

Adults freak out a blacks for being sub-human. And then decide to kill them....

Adults make it real understood that if you're a boy and you may like other boys, you aren't welcome here. And if you're a girl who may be likes girls... well screw you! Get out! And if you're parents are in the UPC? Say nothing. Say nothing about what you are feeling in your confusion as a kid. Because if you're a cool kid looking for the truth, you'll be straight!!!! No hurt feelings!. LOL

Commit those kids to a gutter why don't you...Wait no, commit them to hell before they even have a chance to express themselves...

All in the name of the Boy Scouts of America folding on hating on kids who think they may be gay...


Seriously?!? Seriously?!?

Who is the UPC's Jesus at this point? Other than a Jesus whose looking to make money off the failure of the Boy Scout's own homophobia gone-a-wry?

And let's think...

real hard now...

As a kid who grew up in the UPC who got pantsed naked in front of a class of 40 kids as I was called faggot because I wore pants.....

Let's think about persecution....

Let's think about what it feels like... the soar bump in your throat you hold back as a confused 12 year old kid... looking for anyone...trying not to cry

Dear God.. I was looking for love. I was looking for a hug. Holding back that bump in your throat for two years:

And suddenly you're a 14 year old boy who was supposed to be a man but could only give you a choked-up explanation of why I looked like a fool on an 85 degree day all in the name of Christ....

And by the time your 14, you learn to take the punches and bow your head and then nod a little and say.... so this... this is how it goes? The tears are dead by then...

And yeah man, it was embarrassing.... But long-term it was fine. Didn't mind...

And you find out years later.... you got friends who suffered way more than you. Years where those friends couldn't even express the pain that I could express to my youth group.

And these were my best friends. People you could hug and do a jig with and then make fun of each other about without worrying what each person thought....The friends that literally want nothing other than a friday night than to just hang out for the sake of having a laugh and having no worries and just enjoying communion as brothers and enjoying acting as awkward human beings unsure of how to behave as Oneness Pentecostals....

You find out those friends went through a hell of a lot more because they were gay. And grew up in the same denomination that you did. And while I felt bad about myself about  wearing pants when other kids were wearing shorts, my friends were raised being told they were going to hell  forever....

So like when you're out to hurt someone we understand trying to make fun of it...

But when you're a religious denomination representing the truth of Christianity and there on your very website is a paragraph about how you're out to banning confused boys if they think they are possibly gay?!?

And this is why the UPC reminds me of a 13 year old bitter child who realizes that no girls like them.....
Let's be rational human beings? Who wrote that paragraph? And until that paragraph is retracted let's do the UPC a favor and let them know that if they want to go to heaven, they'll have to stop hating on children:

"6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"

-Jesus (Matthew 18:6-7)

Let's extract: If you're a barrier to children finding Christ because you're banning them from a cool kid's group with "NO GAYS ALLOWED!" Then you're probably going to hell... (verse 6)

And if you're getting all pissy and cranky because the world is offending you (e.g. "Gays can get married!), and you react to the offenses of the world... Jesus has an outright "Woe!" for you...(verse 7)

In conclusion: The UPCI is going to Super Hell and in the mean time Jesus is all like "woe! This is some screwed up immature nonsense you guys!"

Because, when you're claiming to be the Full Truth.... there's nothing sadder than turning away gay kids before they even have the chance to be redeemed by that truth. Like why be so insecure UPC? If  our church pastors and ministers are so confident about the efficacy  of their Truth and are secure in their heterosexuality, what does it hurt to have a ministry that openly embraces gay people? It's not like they're going to turn you gay?

But instead you have the UPCI with all it's sassiness wanting to keep the strange face of a homosexual as far away as possible because there's nothing worse than talking to them and realizing that gay people are human too.

Friday, August 23, 2013

#278 -Holy Magic Hair as a cure for the HIV


Last week,  I posted a status about a Youth Congress sermon about the HIV and uncut hair and people thought I was being satirical. And as much as I wish it was a farce, it truly wasn't...

Youth Congress did happen. And by all accounts it was youth congress: Except even more boring. 

However, there was the usual lot of screaming preachers with angry hand gestures. And these preachers talked about how important their beliefs were in spite of the truth: No one really cared except for the kids who were there, and most of them seemed to care too much about the hype and too little thinking about what was said.

Of course there was some fornicating, dancing, and tears.... all expected. All monotonous. All boring.... aka the same thing I predicted about 2011 Youth Congress ended up being very true about 2013 Youth Congress as well...

And all was well with the world....

With the Holy Exception that was James Maroney. It was he who was preaching in his home-state of Kentucky last week. And it was he who had all the expectations of the Youth Congress world fall on his shoulders. It was he who would not disappoint. And by "not disappoint" I really mean it was he who would carry the future of the UPC on his back in one single sermon....

Because from the porch of a plantation (Kentucky being the last state to free the slaves), James Maroney announced that he officially hates the devil:



And that was towards the end of the allegedly inspired and ridiculously obvious content that was preached that night....

The entire sermon can be found here since the embedding is disabled. But if you listen for too long you'll feel your brain slowly deteriorate as if it was watching an MTV reality television show:

But if you want the Sparknotes version of Maroney's entire sermon, realize this is the overall conclusion: 


Unfortunately for Maroney the previous quote from his sermon wasn't the dumbest thing he said. 

He did have far more laughable crap to shoot out of his mouth. In fact he delivered the single dumbest testimony I've ever heard in church:



If you didn't get the above message, here it is:

We have found the cure to the HIV. And lucky for us it has nothing to do with biology or science or the New York Times crossword puzzle. In fact all the billions of dollars spent on HIV research over the past thirty years was totally a non-factor. Because the cure to the HIV you see, was in the hair:

Uncut hair to be exact.

Forget protected sex. Forget abstinence. Forget science. Forget bestiality even.

 The surest way to prevent the HIV and to cure it is uncut hair. 

Problem with the scientific community: They forgot to ask us of Apostolic fame what exactly God wanted the cure to be.  

Because God's answer to the HIV is a bold and proud, loud shout: "UNCUT HAIR!"

And don't call it magic hair. Because it's a medical solution: Just don't cut your hair ladies. And the good Lord, He is with you. (If you're a dude nurse, I'm so so sorry but there's no hope).

James Maroney does not give two flips whether or not you think he's crazy, because the proof is in the pudding. And by pudding, I mean the proof is in the uncut hair...

Forget the fact that this kind of needle pricking thing from an HIV victim happens to nurses over 16,000 times a year. Forget the fact that of those 16,000 nurses who end up pricked with HIV contaminated needles, that 0.45% of all those nurses end up with HIV (source from an ivy league institution found here). 

That means out of 16,000 nurses who run into the problem that Maroney's nurse runs into, only 72 at the very most end up with HIV. 

But Maroney says forget the number crunching FORGAWDSAKES!   Forget the stats. Forget the research. Forget the math. Forget the science. James Maroney has discovered the cure for the HIV apparently.

If James Maroney said it, it must be true, right? It's the uncut hair that saved the women's life. And that's just how miracles work okay?!?

Miracles work at a .45% rate these days. And that's the Maroney MAGIC  HAIR LINE!

It's science. Complex Einstein stuff right here.

And let's forget about how stupid God must be if he's really up in heaven watching all these kids born with HIV in Africa die out simply because they or their mother didn't have uncut hair (2.2 million people die of AIDS annually).

As much as one testimony sounds real cool and can get a bunch of  youth riled up, let's think about the bigger consequences of what this ignorant preacher is saying: It's not about research or science or millions of unjust deaths: It's about the HAIR!



If you didn't catch that, I'm implying that Maroney is a flat out idiot.

The UPC should be ashamed of itself if it doesn't condemn such nonsense. There used to be many ministers in the UPC talking against the Magic hair doctrine and somehow their voices have been silenced in the past years. All the while idiots like Dr. Maroney get to spout their hateful, ignorant doctrines.

Talk to your pastors and let them know that as fun as an uncut hair/HIV testimony sounds, that it's simply hateful and unbiblical. 

And either that Maroney guy goes to hell in his imbecilic Southern arrogance (assuming he doesn't repent for his heresy), or I'm happily whistling my way to hell myself.... Because there's no way a merciful God exists who promotes such self-aggrandizing apostolic identity boasting venom. 











Sunday, August 18, 2013

#277- Half-Church



(credit for post-title goes to someone who probably does not want to be named around these parts)...

What is half-church? Imagine watching a rated R movie you have no business watching while you're parents are asleep. Imagine sneaking into one of those demon-houses aka movie theaters. Imagine all those YUCKY conversations Pentecostal girls have during bachelorette parties. Imagine make-up on the girls and boys listening to some gangsta rap circa 1994...... Imagine swearing when you're angry and fornicating in your car. Imagine all of this... 

and then imagine that God comes and visits you after any and all of these sins and says, "You know what?!? No big deal. Actually, I'm all for your secret sins. In fact, don't worry about hiding it next time. You do you and enjoy it." and then God starts to walk away but right before he heads back up to heaven he turns back to you and says "YOLO!!!!" And he's gone.

And then imagine the feeling you would feel after God told you he was cool with all of those imaginative sins... And then you can begin to understand what Half-Church is. 

Half-Church is in short: In and all boring-to-fun activities that are sanctioned by the church during regularly scheduled church time, but are in fact not church. In other words: Special Church Presentations. AKA "Half-Church."

Examples: 
  • Church picnics. 
  • Bathroom breaks. 
  • Church dramas.
  •  Missionary media presentations with the lights out. 
  • Church naps. 
  • Children's dramas.
  • Kid Choir
  • Promotion Sunday
  • Christmas plays
  • Sanctuary Laughter en masse.
  • The bequeathing of certificates (e.g. baptismal, holy ghost, "Most likely to backslide," etc...)
  • Church softball
  • Changing poopy diapers in the nursery and gossiping amongst the other mothers.   
  • Church Skits
  • Fire Drills (yes, I swear this happened more than once at my old church)
Half-Church is basically experiencing feelings and emotions during church that would normally not be permitted within the perimeters of an ordinary church service And yet because it's Half-Church, you don't have to feel bad for feeling these feelings of joy and relief and comfort. 

Why do we like half-church so much? Because we don't have to bear the burden of trying to Get God. Nor do we have to worry about acting like we're trying to get God. Nor do we have to worry about anyone else much less the time because we're all here and we're all having a great time of camaraderie thank you very much.... 

Unlike talking in church during the sermon, half-church never ever wants you to feel bad for having a good time. Because Pentecostals and Pastor himself can let loose sometimes you see?!? Don't you dare say we ApoPento's don't know how to have fun. Because we do. We have inflatable devises during church picnics!!!

Half-church is a vacation from church during church and it's all authorized by God Himself. And that's why we wild ApoPento's love us some Half-Church.

It's like Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" song except without all the references to sin. 


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

#276- Trying to forget that the music we sing is from someone who is going to hell.


(topic suggested by dear friends)

I am like you. I had that same revelation. It was a very irritating moment of revelation. I was in church when I realized almost every worship and choir song I had been singing was written by someone who does not believe they need to speak in tongues to get to heaven.... and if we're following the logic here, this meant I was probably singing a song that was written by someone who by all accounts is going to hell...

After much headache, here's the five possible solutions you can take to resolve this dilemma...

Options:

1) You can become that punitive cynical Pentecostal who continues to go to church that supports the Acts 2:38 message, but behind closed doors you tell all your friends that you don't believe Oneness Pentecostals will be the only one's saved and that it's not our purpose to judge other people's salvation while here on earth.

Which means = Cowardly Christianity. 

You support a church's judgments about Acts 2:38 but act like it's not as serious as what Oneness Pentecostal preachers make it out to be. In other regions of the world we call this decaffeinated Christianity. I call it castrated Christianity.

It's like those silly UPCers who say cutting your hair is not a heaven/hell issue... Which is dumb. Because if it's a sin like all other sins, it's hateful to pretend like God won't hold people accountable if they are sinning.

Either hair cutting is a sin, and it's a heaven-hell issue OR it's not a sin and if it's not a sin it's absolutely heretical and sinful to make it a standard about holiness.

2) You could reason that while most songs are written by non-Pentecostal worship leaders, it is true that God can use people without the Holy Ghost to write great music that will be used in Oneness Pentecostal churches. In other words, the whole "if God can speak through a donkey" bit....

The key will be to ignore that God seems to have a weird plan where he never bothers to let the non-Pentecostal songwriter that he needs to speak in tongues and yet at the same time never inspire an Apostolic Pentecostal songwriter to write a song that is anything as close to being as good as the music that comes from non-Pentecostal Christian church.

Which means = God is severely misguided about where he's placing his anointing.

3) You could hope beyond hope that Oneness Pentecostals get their act together and actually write songs that are as anointed as the non-Pentecostal worship music. In other words.... music like this.....



Which is just downright encouraging....

Until you realize that this song completely ripped off a country song that has swear words in it.

But we've made this whole point before. (Tell that Haney character that we're on to his shenanigans) 

4) Consider the whole ordeal a test of your faith and/or Satan.

5) Take that thought about non-Pentecostals writing all the music your church uses and throw it into the sea of forgetfulness and hope it never resurfaces. 

It's easier this way.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

#275 - Poop Showers and Prison Beds



Editor's Note: Glen Post!

A little ditty to brighten your day...


I can only base the following on one facility in one state, my home state, so bare with my narrow scope.

Growing up in the Michigan District UPCI one of the highlights of my adolescence was the two hour drive across the state to the middle of East Jabip somewhere, to the ‘Ol Campground.

A glorious beaut’ she was, settled just between Mayberry and Nowhere. I can’t be downwind of an outhouse today without being taken aback to summers getting shocked by the showerheads, sleeping on rusty beds, and the sweet aroma of Right Guard, Aussie and sweat.

That’s just the beginning of the painting. I’m ‘bout to go Rembrandt in this mother...

Our camp was a little bit Heavens Gate and a lotta bit Auschwitz. It sat on roughly 100 acres in a clearing between some railroad tracks and an old creek. It was built sometime between the invention of indoor plumbing and the founding of the Department of Health, which would explain why they've probably never seen the place.

The dorms are two buildings that are built like X’s with a bathroom at the center. Each arm of the X is its own dorm, with North, South, East and West dorms each housing about 50 kids. The boys and girls are next to each other, though separated by a high tech invention called a Rickety Fence.

Sounds fine right?

No.

These things were built over 50 years ago and I’m pretty sure they filmed Shawshank Redemption in them. The beds were donated by Jackson Prison, which is a hop, skip and belly crawl away. Yeah you read that right, the prison there donates to the church because having rapists sleep on those sharp, rusty, chlamydia soaked beds is just inhumane.

However that’s not the worst. The bathrooms. After years of countless conversations about them, I'm almost at a loss for what to say. Almost. 

Fact: The bathrooms are like a Mexican jail, with less luxuries. 
Fact: Enjoy el Prision de Mexico. 

The pipes and septic tank were installed when the place was built (60 years ago). They’re installed in a part of the country that sits below freezing for seven months out of the year, with routinely record snowfalls, torrential storms, all hitting this facility while it sits vacant. Then, it goes from vacant to overrun for about 2-3 months with constant use, if not abuse. The plumbing has become so corroded that after just a few days of use, the toilets literally can’t flush. This means the clogging of the century in the the dorms as well as the tabernacle. The showers in the dorms are lined up with one community drain which would routinely clog when one of the little prick campers thought it would be hilarious to defecate IN the shower (true story, imagine being the camp counselor when a shaking 14 year old tries to figure out the best way to tell you someone just took a deuce in the shower). And the pooping in showers happened annually. No Joke.

One year so many toilets clogged that our youth president had to go into the stalls with a trash can and a plastic bag on his hand and literally dig crap out of the toilets while simultaneously throwing up in the trash can. And the people running the place think this is acceptable.

I could go pages with disgusting stories of the condition of the grounds but I think that little tidbit gives you the idea.

So, if this is the case and the campers sleep and bathe in squalor where does the bourgeoisie…sorry, Freudian…preachers…where do they sleep? Oh they have renovated, clean, pretty cabins that the campers aren’t allowed to go to. (Seriously, if they do an old guy on a 4 wheeler runs them down and drags them back to Skid Row)

But they’re still on the grounds right? Don’t they ever go in and see the conditions?

My first time at camp was when I was 11 years old and it wasn’t until I was 25 and my student pastor basically forced the board to do a walk through that I’d ever seen any of them near the dorms and bathrooms, much less in them.

A few years ago we went from a five-day camp to a three-day camp following the supposed death of some mystery girl in another state somewhere. The reason cited was that she had stayed up all week and had to drive home tired, fell asleep and crashed. I hope this isn’t true and if it is it’s terrible. So after the tragedy we changed the schedule, sending kids home on Friday morning so they wouldn't fall asleep driving. That same year I was told that the real reason for the switch was that five-day camps require a health inspection and three-day camps can somehow circumvent this rule, or at least require a less thorough one.

The implications: It's like cleaning up your room by sweeping everything under your bed in hopes that when your parents walk by with an inspection, they won't bother to actually walk in the room since they don't have reason for concern.

I may be wrong, but I doubt it. So I encourage any readers to comment with how many days your Senior High Camps are just so we can see if there’s consistency. Either way it was mentioned either as the reason or a fringe benefit. Ew.

We hoped that change would come. We hoped that at the end of the yearly camp season the grandiose fundraising effort that took place for camp improvements would actually accomplish what it set out every time to do. The “who will pledge $____” for a generator, a new septic tank, new dorms, dorm renovations, an overflow tent, etc were regular. So we hoped...

However, despite the seemingly successful offerings every year we never saw any money raised actually come to fruition. I was present for the septic tank offering, the new bathrooms, the tent and the generator, but none of this ever came. Even though all the money was pledged.

We did see $25K spent on a glorified jungle gym under the guise of some kind of exercise equipment, because kids go to camp to get ripped apparently. We saw another $50K spent on a ‘Hall of Faith’, aka foyer because what good is a church if there isn’t a big room to socialize and sell ostentatious crap during the preaching?

It was decided one year that enough money had been raised for some bathroom improvements. The improvements? Well, the church handymen got together and decided that putting new toilets on ancient plumbing would help. Guess what? It didn't.

The next genius improvement was decided because there was a 3 foot opening between the bathrooms and dorms. In lieu of this campers could see each other going between the dorms and bathrooms after showering. Since the decision-makers believe we still live in the 40's and horny teenagers don't know what shoulders and knees look like from 50 yards off, a decision was made to build changing rooms in the bathrooms. So, wisely, in the hottest and most humid rooms in Southwest Michigan were built wooden changing rooms. Wood. In a hot, continually wet, place. Brilliant.

The most obvious answer to why the fundraised money was never spent on it's intended purpose is that not enough money was collected. People go pledge all happy-pants when there's an organ thumping a G-Major (apo's love key changes), but forget to check their balance before pledging half their liquid worth. That's not the camp leadership's fault, but waiting for Pastor Billy-Jo's check to arrive, much less clear, is a bad long term economic strategy.

I don’t believe anyone embezzled or stole money from these fundraising efforts. I spent a lot of time at camp and I can tell you the people who run it love camp. They bleed for it. They spend as much time as they possibly can there. They're some of the most diligent, kindest, most dedicated men you'll ever meet. They're full of integrity, they're consistent and they love the kids they work for. They have good intentions and do their best.

But their best isn't good enough.

About eight years ago my church built a new building. They wanted to be smart about their money and the management of the facilities so they formed a committee of a few business owners in the church. Not preachers, pastors or ministers, but business owners. One is a very successful owner of a company who started entry level and advanced to the point that he bought his company. Another owns a successful insurance company. The other one owns malls. Plural. The ministry opened their books and let men who are already successful and experienced with facilities, money and staff management serve as advisors. Instead of thinking “God will tell us what to do with the money,” they humbled themselves and allowed other men with God given talents advise them. And guess what? The place is doing great.

Being a pastor does not mean you know money or facilities management. It doesn't mean you’re a bad person or a bad pastor. What makes a bad person and bad pastor is not allowing more qualified people than you to advise your spending decisions regarding a million dollar facility that you’re ill-equipped to manage. Let the preachers preach and the managers manage.

Waiting for the next retiree who knows how to mow a lawn and change a light bulb to move onto the grounds and ‘maintain it’ isn't enough. Camp gets exponentially worse every summer. When is someone going to be granted control who knows what they’re doing? Hiring the bored old guys and the mentally handicapped to come in and paint and patch the dry wall cracks every spring isn't good management. Hire a contractor  Not the guy from your church who used to do construction part time. (I once went to a camp work day and was literally told to go rake in the woods. If that doesn't tell you everything you need to know about the decision making in the place I don't know what would)

For years now I’ve tossed around the idea of waiting for the end of camp season to roll around and calling the Department of Health and Human Services or Child Welfare and sending them over, but my conscience won’t let me. However, anyone who reads this should feel free. Blame me, I don’t care.

The bottom line is that adolescent kids are sent to church camp every summer and they spend their days begging a PK friend to let them use their shower so they won’t be ankle deep in crap and that’s absolutely unacceptable. It’s time for the leaders to realize they’ll still be leading, even if they’re leading in someone more qualified to audit the grounds.


::END NOTE::
If you are, or you know, a parent sending a child to the Michigan District Campgrounds this summer you and/or they need to make some serious inquiries as to the conditions your children will be subjected to. Go there and see it for yourself, when dropping off and picking up. Take pictures. Have them take pictures. These conditions have somehow come to be accepted as normal. The kids don't speak up because they assume it's supposed to be the way it is. The adults that see it have gotten used to it. Parents end up unaware of the squalor their kids spend a week or two in. Start asking some questions.


Monday, May 6, 2013

#274-The Pray Cry



ApoPento's excel at many fine activities in comparison to other Christians. One of them is crying. We love crying. We need it. It's an addiction. There are five times as many criers per capita within the UPC as there are in other denominations. Some call this the work of the Holy Ghost that other denominations do not experience because they don't have the Holy Ghost. Other, more optimistic people, call the excessive crying "catharsis." Others call this "being a cry baby."

I call it: Being a cry baby with a Purpose!

Feeling bad? How about an altar cry?
Feeling good? Dance, and then cry after excessive energy use.
Have you heard a song that says God wants to kiss you? Have a cry.
Minor chords in the worship song? Close your eyes, look up to the ceiling and have a cry.
Did you touch someone else inappropriately? Have an altar cry.
Did someone touch you inappropriately? Have an altar cry and then blame the dude.
Did you get caught doing something that gets you kicked off the platform? Have an altar cry.
Are you a pastor? Then Don't cry. Be a man!
Are you an evangelist? Passionately cry during the sermon to get others to have a good altar cry.
Are you a woman? Have a cry.
Are you thrice divorced and possibly crazy? Here's an altar cry for you. Once a week, for three straight months.

I remember being a pentecostal youth. I'd go up to those jungle altar calls scared as heck as what I would encounter. But I also knew that if I didn't up to the Jungle-Call, people would like at me as rebellious, which was the last thing I needed.....

So I'd get real pissy that I didn't know how to play instruments to excuse me from the jungle altar call and then slide, all slowly up to the altar, waiting & knowing exactly what was going to come next....

And Boom! The masses were upon, little, confused me. Praying for my breakthrough.

And in my heart of hearts, I would wonder, what can I do to get these weirdo's off me?

True story.

And so like, what can you do when you're surrounded by the Holy Roman Empire of Altar Calls Heroes? How to get these vampires off you....

You could...

Option A) Dance
Option B) Cry
Option C) Speak in Tongues

The weird thing is all three are not equal.

In fact.... If you were to settle on speaking in tongues, it was expected that you add something else into the mix. Some kind of emotion. Because speaking in tongues without emotion made you seem autistic and psychopathic. So you had to speak in tongues and do something else.

The same goes for dancing. Unless you can dance for like 15 minutes straight. If not, prepare to be bombarded again.

Yet, having a good Pray Cry at the altar was sufficient all in it's own. No need to dance. No need to speak in tongues. Just have yourself a cry there and you'll be good... The altar vampires won't deal with you too long after....

But here's where it gets weird...

I remember being at Youth Congress some years back.... and I was a confused, hurt dude. I had just gotten out of a break-up. And I also remember that being all of 21 years old that I knew needed to grow-up and stop caring so much about break-ups. Yet, I had grown up in a religion that coddled emotions and having emotional outbursts....

She broke up with me on the phone just before the night service.

I was hurt. Didn't tell anyone though. Went through the motions during the service. I don't even remember the sermon or who preached it. But I do remember the altar call.....

And I remember just sitting down in my seat and praying real nice and kinda choking up to God about whatever it was that I thought the service was about......

And badda-bing-badda-boom, five minutes later, I'm having a Pray-Cry.

And by now, a pray-cry thing was not to be expected out of me. Since I was 21 and supposed to be all grown up. And yet there I was having a pray-cry and then these peeps starting surrounding me and I'm all embarrassed because I know deep down that I'm just crying because my heart's overly-reacting to a stupid break-up and yet now all my friends are gathered around me using me as their excuse why they don't have to pray since they're so focused on my pray-cry going on....

And thinking about the whole scene made me cry even more.... In fact, I started bawling... partially out of embarrassment. Partially out of break-up.... and partially just because it felt really really satisfying to have a pray-cry right there at that particular service at Youth Congress.....

And like I'm just bawling...rivers, floods, tsunami's... whatever it was falling out of my eyes, it wasn't healthy.

And I keep going. My shoulders trembling... eyes are a wreck...scary red eyes by now.  Hair's messed up somehow. I was a sight to behold that's for sure.... And by now, that creepy youth pastor I had at the time is even gathered above me using me as his excuse to not worry about his own soul, which at the time, was busy trying to collect all the local apo-pretty girls into his hot-tub back home....

Okay, I'm getting carried away....

I guess my point is: I cried a lot and prayed very little that night. It was probably a good half hour's worth of Cry and it was unacceptable. And the thing was, I was doing it for a myriad of reasons... but if I'm being sincere about that moment, it wasn't just "All about God." In fact God and the sad music were the excuse to "let it all out" from everything that I considered stressful in my life.... Sure it was relieving. But I would be dumb to call that a "life-changing moment where I realized God was calling me...."

Except ....

That's what I did:

Afterwards, I told people that "I felt like God definitely had a strong pull on my life now" as a result of that prayer....

(whatever that means)

And when I got back home after congress, that pervert of a youth pastor bragged to my pastor that I had a real time spent with God deep in prayer.....

And my pastor congratulated me on that time where I bawled my eyes out at Youth Congress during a later altar-call pray-time, which caused me to all of a sudden cry again...

But this time was not because he was right to congratulate me.

Rather it was then, with my pastor congratulating me during that last altar-cry that I realized how insincere this whole pray-cry business was....

I realized our pastors were getting reports on how good or bad we were at youth congress based on whether or not someone cried at the altar, even if that youth congress pray-cry was actually due to stupid immaturity  after a minor break-up.

.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

#273- Matt Maddix (And how to sell souls for money)



Editor's Note- When you search Apostolic in Google, this site is the fifth page that pops up. So thank you for continually visiting, even when I'm off in some netherworld totally neglecting my duty to the Truth of the Oneness Pentecostal message. That said, I'm hoping to move up on the list. Not because this site needs publicity or money (since the ads are gone). But because there's some real damaging things going on within Oneness Pentecostalism. Unacceptable behavior and beliefs for sure. The homophobia I've seen on Facebook is shocking. The silliness of this girl has provided me months worth of material to write about:


And then there's the following guest post that I was sent a couple months back which addresses ludicrous behavior of one of the most loved preachers within the movement...

As James Joyce via the Bible said "I'LL PAY YOUR DUES, FATHER, WHEN YOU CEASE TURNING THE HOUSE OF GOD INTO A POLLING-BOOTH."

Anyways, to the post:


Not sure if this hits too close to home for "naming people" - but I was incensed to read a recent Facebook post by Matt Maddix. (I am not his "fan" on FB or in life, but it happened to be shared by someone I'm connected to who is.) The post:




Oh, what "vision map" would that be? Could it somehow be related to the ~$10,000 worth of services and products you sell under your “persona”? We’re talking everything from $1,000 worth of Outreach training sessions to $4.95 to simply hear an MP3 of you with Joy Haney. And while you’re at it, pick up “The Healing Power of Juicing” for the low, low price of $15.00.


You know, back in 1890, some joker used to drive through towns claiming to be 100% convinced that if you drank his snake oil solution, you'd be cured of arthritis, baldness and headaches, too. But he wasn't around for more than a week or two to sit by your bedside. These costly "revival solutions" amount to as much as that. Then the home missions pastor is left behind to wonder why his church is still languishing.

I'm convinced that pastors who are struggling with growth are struggling with relevance. The more I see here on the east coast, the more I find the only growth in traditional Pentecostal churches seems to be found in undereducated communities. Or those who are educated are in a position of rapidly degrading health and desperate for answers from any source. (Note: I’m not talking about those who “grew up in the church”. This is specific to “new converts”.) I challenge you to look around at all your new converts over the last 5-10 years. How many of them had college degrees or successful business ventures before “getting in church”?

You know the old clich├ęs we all heard growing up: those with formal education are relying upon the wisdom of man instead of the wisdom of God. But it's difficult to convince someone with critical thinking skills that much of what defines us as Pentecostals has anything to do with true Christianity when they read their Bibles. The clothing, the scare tactics, the emphasis on speaking in tongues instead of the emphasis on the fruit of the Spirit...it all falls short of the whole picture that is the Gospel. Just like the snake oil salesman preyed upon the ignorant, so our traditional Apostolic churches find success in those who aren't educated enough to ask the right questions.

And since the stance of many Apostolic/Pentecostal churches has been to scorn “secular college” (instead, begrudgingly allowing their kids to attend unaccredited Bible colleges, as if there’s even an comparison between the quality of education of the two), is it a wonder that someone has come along to successfully build a business off the backs of our undereducated pastorate?

So, yes, if I could profit like Mr. Maddix, I’d be “100% convinced” of the success of my revival solutions, too. Because if you can’t sell it to yourself, you certainly can’t sell it to the rubes.






Monday, April 29, 2013

#272-Becoming a Postmodern Relativist when it's Convenient.


Okay: Wednesday, we'll have a gorgeous and scandalous guest post.... A post where SAL sells it's soul and name's names. Tell all your friends.

After that, some posts by Glen. One of them properly scandalous in it's own regard.

 After that, this blog will officially become a TMZ Jezabel and it will tell you outright about a UPC scandalous "rumor" first reported here on the blog...which I was told was not true by the very person it was about. And lo and behold, it's true.... so we get fun times "look at how silly UPCers can be" type blog. Names will be named because, you just stop caring about political standing when you care about truth against insincere rhetoric. Until then... you'll get this post which is more of a rebuttal:

One lovely thing about the UPC is they try their hardest making their belief system as rational and logical as possible. Everything can allegedly be proven. This is obviously a delusional way to go about things, especially when Christianity demands us not to have reason to believe in God but rather a simple thing called faith. But whatever....

Anyways, as much as the UPC means well about the certainty of beliefs, they certainly do a bad job proving themselves when the right questions are asked: You question and they quote scriptures. You show them a verse outside of the scripture they were quoting and they repeat the same verse they just told you but now they are screaming and upset and preaching passive aggressively against you over the pulpit. This is a incompetence 101 but whatever. Basically you realize how flimsy a lot of the logic is that seeks to "Prove" the Oneness Doctrine according to the UPC is absolutely correct. You can choose to focus on the verses they tell you and ignore the rest....

Or you can stop believing their "Full Truth"....

Or you can do what many of the feeble  in my generation have done who wanted to inherit their daddy's church:

Relativise the questions you have. By this, I mean that when you ask the right questions relentlessly without backing down to silly, irrational answers, you'll find this response in the end: "Who can know the mind of God?" or "God's ways are above our ways" or "Great is the mystery of the godhead" or something dumb....

Which basically surmounts to: "I will be logical until you point out how illogical I am being. Then I will excuse my illogical arguments by citing God and his mystery." Which, if God is mysterious in any way, why are we so sure about our arguments in the first place? Shouldn't we then start with God's mystery and then then walk towards answers in sincere humility and uncertainty?

But should you question our beliefs further, you will get this kind of argument:

"Hey Pastor Jim, I just read that women aren't supposed to have elaborate hairstyles in I Timothy 2. Yet I see these chicas all around putting all bunch of stuff in their hair and have elaborate hairstyles."

"Well the key is it's all about modesty. I timothy 2 mentions elaborate hairstyles as being against modesty. And I think our ladies have modest hairstyles"

"But they wear shiny broaches that imitate jewelry and put things in their hair that look like gold or are in fact feathers, which 100 years ago was a sign of economic affluence. All these girls are showing off dude. But they get away with it because it's not around their neck or wrist and that's messed up."

"Well every other Christian denomination fails to uphold these verses... And what we consider "immodesty" is up to each pastor to figure out. The UPC is not supposed to be a policeman over the churches. "

"Yet you say jewelry is wrong? And won't allow it on your platform"

"Because the Bible says it's wrong."

"No. YOU, the human being, just decided what was jewelry and what is not jewelry. This has nothing to do with the bible. You even said your mother-in-law, whose pentecostal, wears broaches and that's why you can't say broaches are a sin...."

"Ahhh.... Well, other people do it to. What we think is a sin is relative. And we presume God will honor what the pastor decides."

"Stop it. You're embarrassing yourself. Hone up or shut up. You claim you're a man of God. I doubt it. But if you are, I'm praying for God to do a little bit better on who he anoints to be pastor. Because you sir, are a mean mean man who likes what he likes and preaches against whoever doesn't live up to your  expectations. "

Basically when your logic and behavior fails.... A UPC pastor will point out that every other denomination fails in their own beliefs. As if that alleviates a pastor's dedication to upholding God's truth and what is written in scripture.

You'll see the most idiotic version of this logic below in all it's reality-

This post is a response to a comment I received several weeks ago when I made a post about how silly some UPCers are when they buy thousand dollar shoes and brag about it over facebook....The replying comment was so mindless and indicative of what's wrong with the Southern contingent of the UPC that I felt obligated to reply...

The commenter name "Apologetics" said:

Your complaints are becoming more weak by the post. Your entire premise could have some merit when it comes to materialism. You are pointing out about how obsessed and wrong someone is for their shoes and how great someone else is for wearing the same ones purchased on the cheap, for the last however many years. All the while, posting from a computer, probably from your parents bedroom, probably making less than 30,000 a year. You most likely own a decent vehicle, are not using public WIFI, and have cable. Costly and material goods do at some point have to be taken in context. Say this man has been saving his change, while you may have been spending frivolously on a latte or sandwich every other day. He most likely has a much greater income than you so your 30 dollar shoes could be the equivalent of her 1,000 dollar shoes. If you walked to the library, used their free wifi, and watched the NCAA tourney from Mcdonalds, and sent all the excess funds to a homeless shelter then you may have ground to stand on. If not, quit whining about someone having something you can not afford when your lifestyle by comparison is just as unbalanced most likely

He replied later to a few well reasoned arguments by other posters but his argument was much of the same solipsistic, vanity-ridden nonsense.

Which, I really do have a sincere, godly conviction against dumb arguments from oafs. These "apologists" tend to act rational and yet, somehow in their weird domain of a mind, justify their irrationality by relativising anything inconvenient to their own Oneness Pentecostalism-so called...

 Here's my response being posted for the first time....


To the sycophant above,

If you are a Christian, and God understands you as a Christian, I renounce my own Christianity at once.

More disconcerting is your inability to interpret my blog post correctly and your lack of intellect such a misreading implies. I am highly concerned about whatever future offspring you may produce in the future.

Your worldview is exactly all that is wrong with American Christianity today. Your beliefs are nothing but a poor, irrational justification for your silly lifestyle. If, you are from Texas or any of the other Southern states that are always fifty years behind history, this makes all that much more sense.

Like the good postmodern you are, you have no conviction. You are willing to make anything relative, including selling Christianity out for a shadow of what it was meant to be.

Because, let’s get this straight: You find any argument that justifies your behavior based on your sense of entitled Christianity.

You based your whole argument of justifying materialism and wealth by questioning the very perception of wealth. What may be excessive to me is not excessive to another. And if I’m following your pathetic attempt at logic correctly: My own lifestyle may be considered excessive to a homeless man (I may be giving you too much credit here because you failed to even follow your own logic to its ends).

Nevertheless your logic fails:

Your essential failure is the fact that you suggest the only people who have the right to condemn your friend for his materialist excessiveness is the man who owns nothing as you say “If you walked to the library, used their free wifi, and watched the NCAA tourney from Mcdonalds, and sent all the excess funds to a homeless shelter then you may have ground to stand on. If not, quit whining about someone having something you can not afford when your lifestyle by comparison is just as unbalanced most likely.”

As if no one else but the lowest has the ground to point out social injustice or religious buffoonery.

As if the only person who can charge a rapist for rape is the rape victim.

As if Jesus can’t help sinners since he also has the benefit of being God and thus isn't as lowly as depraved helpless humanity.

As if no one has any right to say the Nazi’s were wrong unless you were a holocaust victim.

As if the fight against slavery must be fought by the slaves?

Do you understand how stupid and idiotic your argument sounds? And yet you bad people who claim to be Christians use this kind of nonsense all the time to justify whatever it is you guys do in your weird materialist throne-rooms.

And let’s say, your ad hominem fallacy of trying to debase my argument by insulting who I am as a person is correct (which it isn’t), your accusations don’t change my argument one bit. Because unlike you, who has the inane concept of relative wealth all while calling himself Christian, I actually have the Bible as a source of my polemics.

You based your argument in postmodern relativity. I based my polemics in the Word of God. Matthew 25 for instance and much of James concur with my judgments against your friend. These verses do not indict my lifestyle whatsoever. I am innocent according to who the New Testament describes as materially wealthy and therefore sinful.

Further my point was not the pathetic nature of the shoe purchase. Even though, yes, it is pathetic and grotesque in and of itself. My argument. which was beyond your ability to interpret since it wasn't in a coloring book, was that the lady in question was so comfortable with the gift that she broadcasted her excesses through an instagram filter. Instagram being something that I cannot afford since it’s only available on smart phones. Hence my point being not just, "who are we to buy $1000 shoes?" Which is an obvious abomination itself. Rather "How corrupt are we to be okay with buying $1000 shoes and also be proud  enough to broadcast that over the internet?" 

AKA "I'm not only vain and immodest. But I promote everyone else to be envious of my own sinful vanity!!!! #LOL!VALENTINE'S DAY 2013!!!! WHAT'STHEHUSBANDGOINGTODONEXT YEARTOOUTSPENDEXPECTATIONS?!?:-)"

Normally I would recommend a little old encouragement of virtue and advise you to educate yourself by reading or something. Perhaps some Foucault or Althusser would do the trick for you. However, I am readily aware of your limited cognitive capacity to grasp what they are saying. Not to mention that your own argument infers that you are too lost in your own delusional fantasy of a religion to bother about self-education and self-improvement.
But this is all to be expected when the cross is foolishness to the world.

Instead I will proceed with a parade of insults upon you in hopes to busty up your gullies just enough to do something right with yourself for a change:

I must commend you for remaining anonymous. Had you admitted to being a parasite, I would never have bothered to read you comment.

And if by some incomprehensible logic, you are actually human, I must say your cowardice in concealing yourself helped you all the more: Had you revealed your name, we’d quickly have had you locked away in an asylum on account of your undeniable pompous, psychopathic tendencies.

Had you lived before Christ died on the cross, your very existence alone would have been enough to merit God sending a second Flood to annihilate the world all over again.

Your propensity for baroque logic that allows you to do whatever you please, adorned in all its excessive aimlessness & vanity condemns you for the most inner-ring of hell.

You are a caveman. The kind of man-boy who acquires the biggest and most expensive of everything: Colognes, Plasma TVs, toothpicks, etc….Knowing full well that you enjoy the symbol of these things beyond their actual use-value.  For this we’re all laughing at you, your impotence, and your inability to see what’s obvious to everyone (even if you haven’t read Freud):

You are a child in a man’s body, desperate to conceal what isn’t there. You are guilty of overcompensation in the worst way.

With pity,

Joel

P.S. Consider the folly of the 18th century French aristocrats and maybe you'll be saved yet.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

#271-CSI (Christian Salvation Investigators): Speaking in Tongues Edition


Fellow Pentecostals, boys, girls, ghouls, and goblins,

I have written to you today with a pang of conviction inside me. I am urgent. I will not be dissuaded from my mission that will be proposed in full below. Open your ears then and give me a fair listen.

It has recently come to my attention that the decision of where we will spend eternity, be it heaven or hell, is not just based on the decision of God, nor Acts 2:38 itself, nor your own weird desire to be certain about your salvation. No. There is another in our church alters whose very existence is a byway we must all pass if we are deemed worthy of inheriting the Oneness Pentecostal truth. We need this man if we are to be certified within the company of the chosen Apostolic remnant. Because of this man, we will forever be exalted in Heaven for "Getting it Right" as opposed to those other, lesser Christians who have made minor, but grievous errors in their interpretation of the Bible and how to go to heaven.

And while Acts 2:38 doesn't mention speaking in tongues, we know darn well that speaking in tongues is implied in the verse for how else are we to gather "evidence" of the receiving of the Holy Ghost.

With that said, the man I am speaking of, is the Speaking in Tongues Certifier who, gracefully throws his ear towards any mouth that may spew weird mouth noises from their mouth because, only he can verify when tongues are spoken. If the tongues aren't weird enough, who cares? If they sound like a cheap phonetic imitation  of Brother or Sister so-and-so's own brand of speaking in tongues, pay no mind.

Whether tongues sounds "authentic" or gobbely-goo or an off-brand of pig-latin, the point is not the language. The point is that any thing other than english is passing out of our mouths. That's the Holy Ghost, and if it chooses to show-up as an endless, monotonous, one syllable repetitive lip-stammer, so be it. Because the Holy Ghost does whatever it darn well pleases. (Side-Note: Since God and the Holy Ghost are the same thing, can we just call it The God Ghost? Seems way more intimidating).

So that's the preface, man. Don't think for one second that I'm questioning the Holy Ghost here.

What I am questioning is how do we know that the tongues certifiers themselves are so trustworthy in the deciding who did and didn't speak in tongues? Especially when it looks real good to announce someone spoke in tongues, like say, one million Ethiopians, even if  a tongue-certifier didn't hear each Ethiopian speak in tongues, since when you're an english speaking evangelist, any one speaking Ethiopian sounds like speaking in tongues. And there were a million Ethiopians, way too many to hear from, duh!

Question: How can Borat show up to an altar at a camp meeting and be certified as a tongue-speaker by a big-time evangelist? Even when Borat was totally being completely insincere and fake.

I can even remember meeting someone who said they "faked" speaking in tongues because they liked a girl who belonged to the church.

So the issue here, and what I aim to resolve, is proper certification of those who "certify" the speaking in tongues of a possible convert.

Someone who has the audacity to tell a crowd of hopeful apostolics, that, that, just right there, that language that "sounds like speaking in tongues" is not really speaking in tongues. And if they question how the tongue certifier "knows" the person doesn't really have the Holy Ghost, tell them "Because the certifier's Holy Ghost is telling him that the possible convert has a "fake-Holy Ghost" causing them to speak in "fake tongues." And that's sound logic ma'am.

What we need is a team of men, bold enough, to be the gateway to heaven for all who may potentially be speaking in tongues. Someone who can divide a demon tongue from Holy tongues. Someone who ain't scared of having to go through the books of a Church's converts  and be willing to say "No, pastor, you didn't really convert 15 people that year since 6 of them were fakes who never came back to church."

Real certified, tongue-certifying men here. A team or a legion, that's what we need.

And they, the chosen one's will have a prophetic enough spirit to do some Christian Salvation Investigations. A CSI investigation to determine, based on disparate, sketchy pieces of abstract spiritual evidence, whether or not someone has really received the Holy Ghost for all the years they have been going to church, or whether they are deluding the whole church just because they like playing the drums on the platform.

This may cost us some cash, but if we're willing to sacrifice in order to hash out the Truth, it's the least we can do.

Because if speaking in tongues is "The evidence" of the Holy Ghost...then we're going to need confirmed witness testimony that the evidence wasn't fake evidence, since speaking in tongues is so inconsistent in the way it gets spoken from church to church and member to member.

I know you'll do the right thing.

For God & Country,

Joel






Wednesday, March 13, 2013

#270-Materialism... Because you sold God for a pair of $1,000 shoes


I remember when I used to worry about being politically correct about this blog. The sad part is that I still care enough not to use names...

But at this rate, it won't be long...

In the mean time... the picture above was posted on Instagram.

Normally, a picture of shoes wouldn't matter that much to me. Because, girls like shoes and they like really weird, materialist things that do no matter one iota in the kingdom of God. Apostolic girls are weird. They actually think absurd clothing matters. The rest of the world realizes how dumb this idea is, and chooses to apply make-up to just make themselves look better. Yet, Apostolic girls try compensating (horribly) for their inability to use make-up to look pretty by wearing RIDICULOUS CLOTHING AT RIDICULOUS PRICES hoping to look important....

Case in point: The above picture.

This picture from Instagram is a Valentine's treat from hubby to wife...

Isn't that cute?

Except the shoes in question cost over $1,000. 

This is not a joke. I wouldn't have noticed this at all. Normally I wouldn't even know this since I don't have an Instagram. Yet I have considerate friends who know enough to e-mail me about the crisis of shoes and say "Dude, people are doing stupid things and I think you should know..."

Plus, without even biblical insight, my own girlfriend, who is not "Saved" wears shoes from 10 years ago that cost thirty dollars.... and wait for it: She has graduated from Juliard, Yale, and is getting her doctorate at the University of Michigan (all of which are on a full-ride.. but hey, I'm not bragging about things that actually matter)....

And the minister and his wife who were generous enough to provide us with the above picture are both UPC.

And not only did the pastor's wife appreciate the gift (because it's romantic).....but she thought it was completely acceptable to brag to the entire world how shallow and empty she was....

Which is a weird world...

Because if someone gave me a $1,000 pair of shoes, even if it was my wife, I'd disown the giftgiver immediately. If it was my girlfriend, I'd break up with her. No one should ever, ever care about the things of this world so much as to brag about owning a $1,000 pair of shoes that may or may not look fancy and/or hideous when the rest of the third world is in misery and trying to figure out how to install a working water-well in their own town....

 Because, shoes can be bought on the cheap... and Jesus preached opposite of any message that would promote materialistic gifts (because, simply put, it's not biblical at all).....

And yet, the some young ministers in the UPC are so empty of heart and giving and unselfishness  that it finds it right proper to allow a minister's wife to promote her own valentine's gift of receiving a pair of shoes that will be worn on 3-4 occasions completely appropriate for the kind of minister that they want to have within their ranks....

Usually I go in depth about how abhorred behavior like this is, but I won't. Because, if you're reading this post, and thinking it's cool to own a pair of one-thousand dollar shoes, and still consider yourself loving and Christian in relation to the rest of mankind, then I have nothing else to say to you. Because you are a bad person who deserves nothing but the kind of role you play in the story you tell yourself about how God loves you and everything is right and well with the world and no one needs anything outside of a 1,000 dollar pair of shoes to show off to your friends on facebook, so happy to call yourself "saved" with possession of the full truth....

I won't argue scripture to you if you're one of those people (since, like we have Matthew 25 and a whole lot of Paul to argue against you), but I will say... "Get thee behind me Satan..."

Err... I mean... Just how out of touch with the rest of humanity do you have to be, in order to think the above picture is acceptable? And then add in that you're Christian... and it's just an Unacceptable performance.