Friday, September 23, 2011

What is Being A Christian Really About? Not the Evangelical Sub-Culture

The other day, I got this book from the library, and read it on a lark. It actually is a good way to observe how mainstream evangelicals think, it was written by a man who admits he is in a mega-church. He does seem to love the evangelical world, but some of the parts of the book are ironic and disturbing , one example is where he has a humor quiz, on how "metrosexual" is your youth pastor? It seems he is reasonably wondering why the youth pastors are so busy trying to be "cool" and "hip" instead of teaching the Bible and leaning towards effeminacy? What could this kind of youth pastor have to teach the kids but more error?

The book is odd, in that he does seem to stumble multiple times upon the troubling nature of the sub-culture he is within. You'll see even in his list here, he has the "Believing America is a Christian nation" which has been dealt with on this blog before and others. One I erased to keep this blog at least below PG-13. Here are some examples, you can see this all on his blog.

He has a website, which the book is basically a repeat of, and I guess new things are added all the time.In the book, he points out some of the discrepancies, he sees in "modern Christian culture", and the troubles with being an evangelical Christian. Over all, it really outlines how evangelical "Christianity" has become another mass-marketed consumerist based subculture! Too many have embrace this sub-culture as automatically "Christian" when it is not, it really is just another mass marketed demographic. Why has the evangelical sub-culture become a pale imitation of the conventional mainstream entertainment world? Ever wonder about that? It's like inevitably everything is absorbed by the Borg and corporate sales marketers and then it's all over. It's sold back back to you at twice the price: let's not forget it's not the poor hanging out in these churches, it's the people who can pay $4 dollars a latte and feel comforted by their churches matching their corporate offices and seminars often even in appearance.

Sometimes reading evangelical websites, you wonder where is all the normal individuality of human beings, as the goatees, khaki pants, "what would Jesus do" bracelets or whatever the latest fad is, sullen looking Christian rock bands that all dress alike, "Church should be fun"-ads, wing-covered T-shirts with spidery writing, and rest proliferate? And do not think the fundamentalist world is free of this stuff: even they have their "Martha Stewart on Christian steroids" idealistic marketed "Above Rubies" world of the 1850s married to modern suburbia-gentlemen farmer thing going on.

Along with the marketing, we got the usual sales phrases. Hey marketeers know sloganeering sells and we know in the evangelical sub-culture the phrases are legion, missional, DNA, post-whatever, Emergent, and RELEVANT!

Actually Acuff even covers that word "Relevant" and it's abuses.

If you ever want to really insult a Christian, say the following:

“I don’t think you’re relevant.”

That is our kryptonite. The idea of irrelevance keeps us up at night. Seriously, if someone doesn’t find us to be relevant than we’re probably going to need to fire the worship leader or at the bare minimum get him a pair of white Pumas. Irrelevance is simply unacceptable.

The weird thing though is that in some ways, Jesus was the perfect example of what it means to be “irrelevant.”

I'd like to sit Acuff down, and say you know, these words were invented to SELL to people, sell them a deficient product now called evangelical "Christianity". Be wary of any who 'invent" a new language to reach you, in the UU, I got familiar with the over abuses of words like "post modern", "wholeness", "transcendence", by the late 80s. Maybe this is why I was not so easily suckered having already experienced the abuses of the English language to fool. It's good Acuff at least sees some of the silliness even if he misses the forest for some of those "ironic" trees.

Some things he does hit nuggets of truth on: "why is it ok for Christians to watch violent movies compared to ones with sexual content?" "The hypocrisy of judging fundamentalists for being so judgemental" among evangelicals. Some of his humor does hit on some truths but I found myself feeling sorry for it's author, that he was stuck in the vapid world of modern evangelicalism, where fads ruled and where "Christianity" had become a mass-marketed product in this case for middle class and above suburbanites with a huge prevailing focus on "youth". Perhaps inside, he is getting some inkling it's all so much nonsense.

What is really being a Christian about? Is it looking and acting a certain way? Well we know about what the Bible states that the fruits of a Christian should be, but is it about being "in" or "hip" or "acting happy" number 9 on the list above? No way, those people who strive after those things even if some just do not know and are well meaning, are striving to match a system of man, based on fads, and man's "rules" and what is acceptable.

Jam 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

All we have to do is look at these evangelical churches to see that they make a big thing of what most of us thought we left behind in high school, the desire to be "popular", "shiny" and "exciting". Dumbed down lowest common denominator "culture" has already decimated many aspects of American life, why put up with it in the churches too?

Well it's happened. This doesn't mean being 'culture' snobs, I am not putting forth the idea to replace low culture with high brow culture. Even if a church replaced the bright neon lights and lava lamps with Tiffany lamps and the pews with carved chairs, it's still a misdirection, the liturgicals are already guilty of but this is why we see the Vision Forum and Quiverful love for Victoriana and 1850. The fads and way of doing things in these churches has far more to do with the world and being what the world desires of a "Christian" rather then what God desires. I never understood the human propensity to conform to the point that one became merely a copy of those around them. It's a trap to even want to be in the "in" group. Hate to break it to people but there's many Christians out there who do not fit in the cubbyholes being hewed for them. I like to think of these verses:

1Pe 2:9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

ts 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

I realized with the book "Stuff Christians Like", I didn't like a lot of what the "Christians" out there do supposedly do, homeschooling and being modest, sure, but the rest forget it! A lot seemed vacuous, and about impressing people as to one's own holiness rather then being REAL. Don't feel bad if you do not fit in that world, you are better off, being your own individual as long as you are staying within God's will, and being one of His PECULIAR people. So if someone calls you *weird* for not going to church or standing up against the tide, keep those verses in mind, and stick to what GOD LIKES....


michelle said...

There is definitely a culture or sub culture going on in the U.S. Now, Michelle Duggar is supposedly now a beautiful inspiration for "Christian" women. They and their like minded friends definitely have a brand for themselves now.

Bible Believer said...

I believe there are definitely sub-cultures going on. Christianity like rock music, politics, facets of the art and academic world has been broken down into multiple "marketed" genres! You got the dumbed down mega-church easy-peasy lite evangelical world, the Quiverful-Vision Forum which Michelle Duggar is part of, do not forget Vision Forum gave her a "mother of the year" of the year award and probably a break down of a few others 'Intellectual Calvinists who read the church fathers", etc. etc. It's all about adhering to a "brand" as it were and the Duggars have become a brand on to themselves and a brand for the Quiverful sub-culture. Notice how much focus is on conformity, and 'looks' and the shallow surface of so much.

Anonymous said...

It all turns my stomach. :( Anon. #1

Anonymous said...

I agree about the violence(Genesis 6:11KJ) in movies being accepted. In the early nineties our oldest son was in a Christian high school. One day he arrived home announcing that he had seen his first R-rated movie. Then he told me it was, "Glory" about the War Between the States with Denzel Washington. I do think they should have informed the parents.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the time I took out some books about the marketing industry to children from the library. One book mentioned that the marketers don't like the word "children" but they like the word "kids". That reminded me of Matthew 25:32-33KJ. Since reading that I never say the word "kids" but I always say "children" instead.

Kayfabe said...

Its just like my former Calvarys web site filled with good looking, young, hip and multi racial people when none of them go to that fellowship. Its a marketing concept

Anonymous said...

Whoops--I just remembered that I forgot to answer your ToL PM from a while ago. Very sorry. I know this is all terribly off-topic to your current post...but I would quickly say the tilted cross was very reminiscent of the Templar Knights.

I think I have permanently departed from ToL. Too much nonsense. Too time consuming. Not enough outreach.

Keep up the good work here. There's something about your writing style that is just very, very good. Not to mention the topics you're picking.

Matt TwoFour

Anonymous said...

The propensity to be like everyone around them is a fruit of the flesh man. It's called "emulations":

19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, EMULATIONS, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. 5

This word "emulations" means "an envious and contentious rivalry, jealousy"

In other words, one copies another because they are jealous of what they have, and they do so because they see in their minds the ideal of what they want to be, and if only they were like this, they would be acceptable--to the world. It's a form of covetousness and idolatry. Obviously, one walking in the Spirit would not want to be "like the world" around them, and would seek only to be pleasing to the I AM. Anon. #1

Bible Believer said...

I saw Glory some years ago, yes it had too much violence and death as well too especially for young viewers, I do not think I would like students watching R rated movies in high school as part of a "lesson". Wonder if some public schools are more vigilant about the entertainment then the "Christian schools, "R" rated movies were forbidden across the board in some schools I knew of.

Bible Believer said...

Anon, I know sometimes I wonder about the use of the word "kids", I probably do and have used it myself, but kids is also what young goats are called. I'm not sure if the word was derived from another language though as in the German derived "Kindergarten", but understand your thinking because I have wondered about it too!

Bible Believer said...

Kayfabe, yeah ever wonder why all the church people look like 18-27 year old models? LOL. They never show any plain, or old, or overweight, or people with bad skin,'s more advertising.

Bible Believer said...

Thanks Matt for the compliments and encouragement.

That's OK, it looks we can communicate here. TOL, well let me tell you what I think of that place, "change agents" galore and the one who got you sent on vacation is one of the worse. I go there to read news and that's it now. Remember how in my blog article on "layers of deception", I talk about how they have a net for every layer. That place is for those who have figured out the two party system is a lie but they herd them into the corrals of Zionism, Sarah Palin--well now the new Republican candidates worship, endless deceptive cults--only place I saw with a multitude of Hebrew Roots types and open Kabbalists. It was interesting how there were simply so many rushing to play damage control and "divert" the conversation. Yeah that the blood alone splashed across the Bible was bad with the cross stabbing into it, but yes the fact that it is tilted is another occult sign.

I would stop posting on TOL, it's like the bad Christian message boards, the places are FULL of "change agents" wanting to play corral the "thinkers". They know what they are doing. Hey you ever wonder why that place had multiple open Freemasons on it? And there it is promoting itself as a "Christian board". I read some of your latest posts, many were very good, about 9-11 etc, too bad you were not surrounded by honest people there.

Bible Believer said...

Hi Anon #1,

I was glad you told me about emulations, because it really describes what many are becoming, as the copycats grow in number. "One mind" of the beast. I know on "Christian" message boards it was like talking to the same person over and over. They want to be like each other and for the world to embrace them, and to strive to win the acceptance of man. I only want to be pleasing to God and care about what He thinks. I've never been a person even during my unsaved days, who thought much of cliques, conformity and fads leading the way. Right now, Christians are realizing, we are outcasts to this world, and that's OK, Jesus warned us the world would hate us. It is idolatry, you are right about that. The fake churches want endless lines of pod people who have signed over their minds and hearts to false leaders.

michelle said...

I know conformity is high on the priority list for people in false religions. Even things such as dress are critiqued and regulated.

FollowsTheWay said...

What is "TOL?" thank you in advance

Bible Believer said...

It was a crummy message board, appearing to be for those who were aware of the real deal while preaching lies. I don't even want to give the name, because the less people who go there the better. Trust me you don't want to. I mention my experience there, in blog entry Politics and Deceit.

Bible Believer said...

Michelle, yeah you are right conformity, is the first thing for false religions, watch out when they all dress, think, and act alike, think of even the pictures of the FLSD women with all same style clothes and hair. While Christians are to be modest, some take this into legalism where only certain styles etc, are permitted.

Kayfabe said...

Yeah that whole web site with all the young peeps was Bianca's idea, it certaintly doesn't represent the majority at montebello calvary. Seems like you need to be a republican, say all the cute christian catch phrases, be very superficial in your faith and of course worship your pastor just to fit in.

Bible Believer said...


That last sentence of yours describes way too many churches out there and what is expected.

Even the "be a Republican" thing.

Still remember when I told my old fundie pastor GWB was evil and I would not vote for him and he was part of the new world order and the Patriot Act was tyranny. This guy at least listened.

Makes you wonder why you never find a pastor out there who is new world order aware, I'm not saying they have to preach against Bildenberger every Sunday, LOL or anything like that, but the utter cluelessness is cloying especially when you hear them praise Glenn Beck or the latest Dominionist.

Kayfabe said...

Have you ever seen a video called Millenium 2000? Its hosted by Anthony Hilder, haven't seen it for a few years and I'm sure its not 100 percent accurate but there is a lot of truth in it. A friend of mine gave me the video in the mid 90s and it is a expose on the New World Order. Anthony Hilder has pretty muchh dedicated his life to exposing this and he says that he is a believer

Bible Believer said...

Hi Kayfabe, no I never have heard of that video, I'll check it out later on. There are some who have been warning for years about things.

Leahlive said...

Thank you so much for your blog. It is kind of a life line for me now because I have only been a Christian 5 yrs.(radically saved @ 41 yrs.) but have just come out of the church system completely. Feeling a little lost or something is wrong with me at times but this post has just brought me back to reality. So the fact that I am feeling a little alone in my walk right now, I am hoping that you might hook me up with some places to connect with others doing the same. I would really appreciate being able to have an email conversation with you as well or something where I can chat with you. I just left a group that was "doing a new thing" being out of the church system but had huge conviction happening inside me, so left that too. There are just some things that I don't understand because of not being in the church thing most of my life. Feedback most appreciated.