Archives For Sarcasm

Rumour has it, if one follows Warren Throckmorton @ Patheos, that celebrity pastor, Mark Driscoll and his team of occasionally competent researchers, ghost writers and editors, has a new book coming out from passive-aggressive publisher, Tyndale House. (Not to be confused in any way, with non-passive-aggressive Tyndale House in Cambridge, UK.)

Driscoll & Co.’s new book is apparently called “The Problem with Christianity.”

MeWhich reminded me of the famous GK Chesterton story of when The Times asked a number of writers the question, “What is wrong with the world?” and GKC’s rather perfect response was “I am.”

Perhaps Driscoll and Co. will surprise us all with a book that won’t require grand research or worries of proper attribution — because, when one opens to Page 1 of the new Tyndale House book from New York Times best-selling author, Mark Driscoll, the reader will discover the book has a single word response to its title, The Problem with Christianity — “Me.”

One Ed to Rule Them All

kinnon —  May 17, 2012 — 12 Comments

As I look back on my over half-century of existence I note a number of Eds in my life.

The first, from my childhood, the dreaded Phys… Phys Ed, that is. Though tall for my age, I was almost a year younger than most of my class confreres and my co-ordination so reflected. Phys Ed is not a name I remember fondly.

And then there was Drivers’ Ed. I believed Mr. Drivers’ Ed when he told me, “You do know they will fail you for going too slowly, don’t you?” So, after taking his advice to heart, I guess I was a little shocked when I failed my license the first time.

Mr. Kinnon, your son handles the car very well but he does 30 MPH everywhere. Around corners. In reverse. Through a school zone. Twice.”

My adult life was not particularly Ed-free, but I didn’t really become concious of the plethora of Eds until I entered the wonderful world of blogdom. (I’ll leave E.D. out of the discussion, if you don’t mind. Though the final Ed might bring it up as is his wont.)

My friend, Ed Brenegar was an early blogging comrade. A consultant to both church and business, Ed is one of the good guys.

Ed Cyzewski was next up in the pantheon of Eds. Introduced via his Coffeehouse Theology book, I’ve come to enjoy Ed’s writings at In A Mirror Dimly.

And then there’s Ed Stetzer. Missiologist, Church Planter, Researcher, Author and more. He even has his own Wikipedia page. With a double doctorate, and double Masters degrees one might expect Ed to be more than a little intimidating. But dang it, he’s just a very nice guy. (Though you won’t catch me arguing with him… much.)

But all these Eds, as wonderful as they are (except Phys of course) pale in comparison to the one ED.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemensch.

Give it up for, ED YOUNG JUNIOR!

Ed Young Pastor Fashion

Go to any Christian dictionary and right beside the word AWESOME, you’re going to see a picture of ED YOUNG JUNIOR with his big, shi… err… pearly-white grin.

And it’s not ’cuz ED YOUNG JUNIOR is the Senior Pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church Grapevine TX and all its many satellites. It’s not ’cuz he is MR CREATIVE PASTOR. It’s not ’cuz he has the coolest French-made jet (that most of his parishioners knew not about until some nasty TV station broke the story). It’s not ’cuz he tried to spend 24 hours on the roof of his church in bed with his wife. (Where I’m sure he would have talked about E.D. had he had the chance.)

Nope! What makes ED YOUNG JUNIOR the mostest, awesomest ED ever… Pastor Fashion.

PURE.

BRILLIANCE.

I don’t know about you, but most of the Pastors I know just aren’t the kind of fashion plates for the Kingdom they could be. (Yes Toronto Pastors Darryl Dash, Dan MacDonald and Barry Parker – I AM looking at you. Come on guys. Spend a little time at Pastor Fashion. It’ll do the rest of our eyeballs good. And Hyatt and Fitch. I’m not even going to bring you Americans up. Oh. Wait. I just did.)

ED YOUNG JUNIOR goes where lesser Eds fear to tread.

Yup.

Spanx!

Forget those fad diets that leave you craving a Cheesburger, Fries and a Coke at 11pm most nights. Spanx will give you the kind of control you’ve been missing. (Please note: This is not to be construed as medical advice. Consult your doctor before getting spanxed. Void where prohibited by law. Your mileage may vary. Batteries are included – from ED YOUNG JUNIOR, of course.)

And so to the Lessor Eds. Since the odds of you ever being as AWESOME as ED YOUNG JUNIOR, we kindly ask that you stop referring to yourselves as Ed.

Edward, Eddie, Edster, Edit, even Ward are fine.

But WITH ONE ED TO RULE THEM ALL, we’d really rather you not to try to confuse us by using ED YOUNG JUNIOR’s first name.

Man, I just love this American Christianity thing!!!

Let me just say, right up front, I’m pretty sure the Devil made me write this post. (In fact, he almost made me wright “right” for “write” just to discredit me further. So. All spelling and sintax errors are the devil’s fault.)

William Blake once beautifully asked,

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?

But no rich poetic metaphor from our brother, James MacDonald.

No. For him, simple hyperbolic prose, “Congregational Government is from Satan.”

He advances his argument under the sub-headings, “Congregational Meetings are Forums for Division,” “Voting Is Not Biblical,” “Eldership Is Sometimes Unpopular,” “Congregationalism Crushes Pastors,” and “Priesthood Not Eldership of All Believers.”

And, of course, what “biblical” argument for authoritarian leadership structure would be complete without a quick prooftext shout-out to Hebrews 13:17 – Obey your leaders and submit to them…

Searching his blog, it appears that Brother James is not quick to exegete Mark 10/Matthew 20 – no doubt that whole “servant leadership” thing is so social gospelish.

I have neither the time, nor the inclination to take apart what appears to be a largely proof-texted eisegetical argument on James’ part but perhaps an “…is from Satansynchroblog might be in order.

Let me suggest some possible titles – all biblically prooftext provable,
The American Megachurch is from Satan.
The Executive/Business Pastor Position is from Satan.
Celebrity Church Leaders are from Satan.
kinnon.tv is from Satan

I’m sure you can come up with more.

In my never humble opinion, the bottom line problem with the church in the West is not church governance. As I have pontificated here ad nauseum, the problem is discipleship and the lack thereof in the church.

The Great Commission is to “go and make disciples.” It isn’t to build big churches or large platforms for big egos. Nor is it to command and control the congregation for the “sake of the church.” Disciples are made in direct personal relationship with the discipler. If the church was creating actual disciples I wonder whether we would need to worry about church governance.

And. Just for the record. In my late middle age, I would have to say that, assuming real discipleship, I'm most comfortable with an episcopacy.

UPDATE: Please read what is effectively Part 2 of this post, The Devil's Advocate.

UPDATE 2 : Please read WTH's post on this James MacDonald story.

_________________________________________________

For further reading of my thoughts on some of what's covered here, you might like (or intensely dislike):
Jesus & MegaChurch Pastors, A Few Questions
Why Aren't Big Name Christian Leaders Decreasing
Confronting Idols & Making Discples (video with Chris Wright) 
More Disciples, Fewer Leaders, Please
More Disciples, Fewer Volunteers, Please
Leaders Lead, Disciples Disciple

WhoWins

I find this confusing.

And please don’t read this as a defence of Charlie Bell or Rob Sheen or whatever strategy of Winning of which one wants to write.

But.

Isn’t it a little weird that TULIP-waving Calvinists get all bent out of shape about a book that denies the eternal flames of hell? (I should say "apparently denies" – haven’t read it and I doubt I ever will – I’m no fan of Charlie Bell or Rob Sheen or whatever his name is)?

One goes so far as to dramatically state,

…The theology is heterodox. The history is inaccurate. The impact on souls is devastating.

If depravity is total.  If election is unconditional. If the atonement is limited (to whom it applies). If grace is irresistible. And the elect were predestined from the foundations of the earth.

Then.

How in hell can the impact of a book written by a “rock star” Christian minister 'devastate souls'?

Doesn’t a TULIP-loving Calvinist believe that those whom God forechose and foreknew will be saved regardless? Or am I missing something in their theology?

One would think Arminians like me would have more of problem with the impact of books by Charlie Rob Sheen Bell than those who believe God only Wins those he pre-chose to be his prizes.

If I were even more of cynic than I already am, I might think that certain folk are being paid by HarperOne to keep the CharlieRobSheenBell controversy as front and centre as possible. It will certainly help book sales, n'est-ce pas?

(Please note: I not only love all the Calvinists I know, I greatly like them and enjoy their company – whether virtual or in the flesh. Even if some of them might believe my Arminianism could confine me to the eternal fires of hell.)

Just what one needs. The week of Christmas, no less. And a 55 year old, Canadian white guy attempts to write a blog title, gansta-style.

Epic Fail as my adult children might say.

But.

The ridiculousness of the title just seems to fit the topic.

3D-1.jpg

Last week I posted Narnia & the Evil Penguins – A Holiday Special Event! It was an intentionally over-the-top look at what might be the next "big thing" in over-produced Christmas church events.

I should have known that Junior Ed Young, he of hating sheep stealing, jet-hiding, jewellery-taking, bank account wanting & hip-hop stylin' fame, would fulfil my "prophecy" right before our very eyes.

My buddy, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, DM'd me with this Dallas Morning News story on Fellowship Church's 3D Christmas Extravaganza. From Fellowship Church's website,

This Christmas at Fellowship Church, we’re taking our celebration to another level! We’re going to discover something beyond special. We’re going to uncover something more than spectacular. This year, we’re going to experience something supernatural!

I'm not really sure that 3D technology is supernatural, but if Junior Ed says so, perhaps it is. (And yes, they really used the hackneyed "to another level" line.)

Now according to the Dallas Morning News, brother Young acknowledges that "It's a little cheesy, but cheese works." Ed would know, eh.

In an interview last week, Young said he learned that the Church by the Glades in Coral Springs, Fla., would be using 3-D for Christmas services this year, and decided Fellowship should follow suit.

Young is known for attention-grabbing strategies, including challenging Fellowship's married couples to have sex each night for a week to strengthen relationships.

Church-by-the-Glades-Win3D.jpg

I'm surprised that Ed didn't offer people the chance to win a 3D package like Church by the Glades. How cool is that!

Come to one of C-by-the-G's 20 services and you could win a 46" Samsung 3DTV, a 3D Blu-ray player and 2 pairs of 3D glasses. (And not the cheesoid paper glasses that Jr. Ed was handing out.)

I can't believe that Bestis MegaChurch, Evah, Indianna hadn't thought of this – come to church and YOU COULD WIN!!!. Of course, there's always Easter.

Now, Young Ed wants everyone to know that they didn't waste too much money on the 3D production. No way, man. Frugal is the Fellowship Church word. Especially when there are megachurch expenses to be taken care of – including paying for the care and feeding of the 8.4 million dollar Falcon jet which Ed needs for his "ministry".

According to the DMN article,

Fellowship bought 28,000 pairs of 3-D glasses, but rented cameras for the videos, and spent about $8,000 overall to create the special effect.

8 grand. Really? An illusionist would call that misdirection, an erudite individual – prevarication, but let me call it what I know it to be – the end product of a bull's bowel movement.

ag3da1-1.jpg

Imbi and I do have some experience with 3D production. One of our clients builds the technology for a complete 3D production facility, not including cameras. And last year, in Las Vegas, we shot with a Panasonic prototype of their new 3D camera, the AG-3DA1.

It's quite possible the camera rentals were 8 grand, but the increase in production setup and shooting time, the increase in editing time and software upgrades (the Cineform 3D plug-in – most probably what was used by the FC editors, is $2,995 alone) and the upgraded/replaced video projectors would be substantially more.

3D-GLASSES-ON-FELLOWSHIP-CONG.jpg

But, hey, at least they got to produce really cool 3D dog videos,

The third (video) re-created a real-life episode from last Christmas, in which Young's dogs got into the living room and tore up gift packages.

And dogs ripping open Christmas presents in 3D is just such a powerful metaphor for the reason we celebrate the season, eh,

To Young, taking advantage of the latest 3-D craze is just another way to reach people who might not otherwise come to church.

"Christmas is the best time of the year for people to give God a shot," he said.

Especially if you can give God a shot in 3D. Ed puts it all in perspective,

"What a great opportunity for the church," he said. "3-D is so hot."

I can only imagine how people left the service and rushed out to the nearest Best Buy.

</snark>

Would someone please tell me how, when the Saviour of the world chose to arrive in the humblest of manner and location, Christians think technological extravaganzas provide the best representation of the birth of Christ?

In case you've forgotten, Luke says Jesus was born in a place where animals were kept and our Lord's first bed was a feeding trough for said animals.

Yet, this week, in hundreds of churches across North America, thousands of person-hours and millions of dollars will have been spent to tell a story that bears little resemblance to the event that changed history.

But, at least Fellowship Church ended their service with Silent Night – because, as we all know, child birth and animal shelter are always quiet, n'est-ce pas?

UPDATE: The guys @ the BHT reminded me of Ross Douthat's column (which I read via the NYT Google Chrome app on the weekend).

Douthat's column title: A Tough Time for Believers. He says this (which fits the above so well),

…the once-a-year churchgoers crowding the pews beside them are a reminder of how many Americans regard religion as just another form of midwinter entertainment, wedged in between “The Nutcracker” and “Miracle on 34th Street.” [emphasis added]

Or perhaps comparing Tron in 3D with Ed Young's 3D dogs.

Posts that inform this one:
What is What – What you win them with is what you win them to.
For Some, The Gospel Really is Hollow, Gram!
Willow de Soleil, Cirque de Creek – Cirque de Soleil vs Christmas. Cirque wins.
Dave Fitch's When is a Story Not a Story – Willow Creek and Acrobats on Christmas Eve
Church of the Little Rascals

Holy Spirit on Extended Vacation

kinnon —  December 1, 2010 — 9 Comments

UPDATE: Robin Dugall furthers the conversation.

I confess that I have grown tired of those folk who want to tell us how the church has gotten just about everything wrong for the past seventeen hundred years – and somehow they are the ones who now see clearly.

It's as if they think the Holy Spirit has been on an extended vacation.

Door-w-woodgrain-copy--cropped.jpg

I was scanning Twitter yesterday morning as I prepared to head off to St. Paul’s for the 11am service when I stopped my scan on this Tweet:

Preaching Luke 8 where Jesus ministry grows so large his own family can’t get an appt. Myth Jesus was more accessible than today’s pastor. [from @pastormark]

Now I, for one, would suggest it might be a tad dangerous to compare your ministry to that of Jesus, but since @pastormark opened the door, I think I may just step through it.

Let’s begin with the presenting 137 character symptom. Jesus’ mother and brothers “can’t get an appointment.” Actually, if you read some of the background in Mark 3, you’ll note that Mary and Jesus’ brothers thought he’d lost his mind and were attempting to take “charge of him.” But @pastormark appears to be responding to the criticism that people think Jesus “was more accessible than today’s pastor” and says that’s not true because Jesus ministry had grown “so large” not even his blood relatives could get near him. Therefore, since @pastormark has a big ministry like Jesus, people should not expect him to be accessible. Not even his mother and brothers. Even if they think he’s nuts.

Alrighty then.

If you big ministry guys are going to use Jesus as your model for ministry, I have a few questions. (Actually, I have lots of questions, but I’m only going to ask a few. Because I know how busy you are avoiding appointment requests from your mother and brothers.)

Question-Mark-02.jpg

BUILDINGS: The first one would be around buildings. Jesus didn’t have one. Well. That’s actually not true. The Temple was his Father’s but he just didn’t use it. Why not? Why didn’t he just set up there and have the crowds come to him? Think of the ministry he could have built right there in the place of peace – Jerusalem. People would have come from miles around to hear him preach. Think of the healing services he could have led.

MULTI-SITE: And think of the multi-site opportunities. Now, I recognize the technology was not in place to project Jesus onto screens in synagogues throughout Israel but this was the Man who walked on water, God Incarnate. Nothing was too hard for him. But. If he wasn’t comfortable showing his power by doing that, he could have hired Scribes to write down his words and hired assistants to preach them in the other locations the next Sabbath or Wednesday night. So, why didn’t he?

MONEY: With his gifting, think of the kind of money he could have raised from his growing audience congregation. Tithes and offerings would have been HUGE, don’t you think? Especially with his healing gifts. But I can’t find anywhere in the New Testament where Jesus got into truly effective fund-raising. Why not?

MEDIA MINISTRY: Where are the people planning the events? Jesus arrives at the well in Samaria and only meets ONE WOMAN. What’s with that? Where was the advance team? Where are the marketing pros getting the Jesus message out in advance? Where’s the drama team preparing to illustrate the message? Where are the graphic folk making the story-telling banners? Nowhere to be found in the New Testament. Must be an oversight.

MUSIC MINISTRY: Where are his minstrels? The Temple was known for killer horn players, harpists, lutists and percussionists. But Jesus didn’t have any on his team? And even if he refused to use the Temple, the minstrels would have helped him draw a crowd as he wandered the highways and byways of the Middle East, right!? They could have set their Jesus-promoting lyrics to the latest rhythms and melodies of the current Roman hits. So, why no musos?

TRANSPORTATION: And what’s with the walking around? I realize limos, Land Cruisers and Lexus sedans were not available, but surely Jesus could have had a rather nice coach pulled by four white horses – perhaps with a tasteful, yet subtle, ministry logo on the side or where we’d hang a license plate. Heck, if today’s megachurch pastors can justify flying First-Class, why didn’t Jesus travel in the style appropriate to him? This is all so confusing.

CONFERENCES: I’ve searched the New Testament high and low and can’t find Jesus doing a single conference. Sure, it would seem he had a number of rather large unplanned events where thousands showed up, but by and large it seems he spent almost all of his time with a small group of people – pouring his life into theirs. And how did THAT work out for him? Think of what could have happened if he’d gathered all the rabbis together and spoke to them in one place. Just think of that!!

THE CROSS: Never mind.

So. Recognizing how busy most megachurch pastors are, I’ll humbly stop there. The rest of you might have some questions you want to add in the comments.

After the megachurch leaders are done with their mothers and brothers, perhaps they could drop by for a moment or two and explain things to us.

I wait with bated breathe.

Missional® Level® Marketing®

kinnon —  February 20, 2010 — 31 Comments

'Cuz some of us little people need to make money from this missional marketing thing, too.

Leave a note in the comments if you want me to sign you up.

Many territories still available, but don't delay. Spots are filling up quickly.

MLM-presents-Missional-Shampoo-2
Note we no longer support Emergent® Level® Marketing® – market's gotten a wee bit too small and rather over-saturated.

Facebook’d Narcissism

kinnon —  December 4, 2009 — 16 Comments

Facebook-dNarcissism.jpg

This isn't the first time I've received one of these messages from Facebook in my email. And each time they crack me up.

The message appears to say;

I want you to become a fan of Me.

Now. I'm not inferring that Brother Jim's a narcissist. I don't know him that well.

But.

We've gone from being Facebook friends to him now wanting me to become his fan.

And.

That's no way to build a friendship, Jim.

Sure. I recognize that evil Facebook forced you to stop adding friends after 5,000.

Quelle domage, dude.

And now if I want to hear from you, I'll need to become a fan.

But.

Really.

Can anyone have 5,000 friends.

At least in the friend definition of friend.

And did you ever truly want to be my friend.
[Short pause to get sobs under control.]

Or.

Was this just a way to add me to your audience.

Two Things!

Win500dollarsComiq.jpg

First, the Hanster pointed to this wonderfilled story where at Lighthouse Church of All Nations YOU COULD WIN $500 dollars if your seat number is drawn from a bag during the service. Two other lucky contestants congregants each win $250.

(Pastor) Willis concedes the cash prize is a gimmick to fill the pews. But he's unapologetic about the plan, because it's working. On a typical Sunday, his church draws about 1,600 people to its three Sunday services. But since the money giveaway started, about five weeks ago, the congregation has grown to about 2,500 each week, he said. The money for the giveaway comes from the church offering. [emphasis added]

Meanwhile, friends 'n' neighbors, in that severly underchurched area, known as Dallas/Fort Worth, First Baptist in Dallas is building "a $130 million expansion featuring a 3,000-seat worship center." [via] And one of the important things being solved by this $130 million expansion, PARKING!

Q: Will parking be improved?
A: Parking is an absolute priority in the plan.

FirstBaptistDallasArchitectsmall.jpg

Oh. Oh. And they've got a glowing cross, with a shallow pool, for…? I guess it's to remind them of Golgotha… or maybe not.

At the heart of the campus will be a towering stone water tower topped with a luminescent cross. The shallow pool at the bottom will be surrounded by green space, providing a common area for downtown residents and guests.

ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS. Are you people out of your frakin' minds.

Let me put this into perspective. I have a friend (from Texas no less) who builds 800 seater churches in East Africa for $60,000 US – with the local parishioners coming up with between 25 and 30% of that budget. (The church building budget when Imbi and I had our class in Kenya produce a video for them back in '02 was $50,000). They also build schools, orphanages and hospitals for the same kind of reasonable prices – using all East African labour and materials.

Which means, for one GREEN 3,000 seater church in the truly underserved Dallas market, we could build over TWO THOUSAND 800 seater churches in East Africa. First Baptist's decision makes complete sense to me – especially when you consider,

The design is filled with messages about our church. The glass, the water, the light and the spaciousness of the plan speak of openness, transparency and spiritual refreshment. In a way, the glass walls have an evangelistic effect: people walking by have a view in from the street and feel drawn in. The glass also unifies the architecture of the church by extending the aesthetic started by the Criswell Center, which was built in 2006, and thus capitalizes on our $50 million investment in that multi-purpose facility. As for long-term cost, modern technologies allow vast use of glass with surprising energy efficiency.

One might think all these asshats clowns took me seriously when I wrote this.