the scam of evangelism

i never know who does it, but someone adds my name to silly email lists that for what ever reason there is, i can not get off - and "1000churches" is the one i have been most recently added to - and when i got to "unsubscribe" i am not given that opportunity - but i am able to add my name to other needless email lists - and that is always exciting - but this time, this email list actually gave me something to think about - oh, and not in a positive way.

you see, they are hawking "double your church membership" in just one short year - or less - and they have the "proven" system to do it - and for $37usd you can have the system also - what a deal. here is what this system will help you do:

--A comprehensive, proven, winning church attendance program that will keep them coming back!
--Powerful, winning church growth ideas, tips, and strategies gathered from highly successful ministers, church planters, and congregations!
--Methods and techniques easily adaptable to nearly ANY congregation or religious tradition!
--Learn how to achieve speedy attendance growth
--Discover the secret of retaining their attendance and participation once you’ve gotten them in the door
--Uncover the secrets to a good (attendance-boosting) church service
--How to make the most of your Sunday School
--How to recruit the best leadership for your church
--Includes sample letters, forms, and mailings for your direct-mail attendance campaign
--Exclusive access to a members-only website with even more resources
--And much, much more!

what i find so interesting, and so hurtful, is that in no place on the entire long drawn out website does it speak in any way shape or form of helping the hurting, loving the unlovable, caring for the homeless, the sick, the hungry - no place does it speak of helping people live a life in christ - it talks about members, money, man-power and building programs - most of which are reasons i left organized religion -

when i get emails like that, and i visit sites like these i am reminded of all the garbage and the lies being tossed around churches today - it hurts to know that people who call themselves "church leaders" would do such things to the church - people who use and abuse the church at massive levels.

the best part is - "this is a special offer and usually sells for $147 - but if you act now you can get this wonderful deal for $37" wow, an offer this good must be too good to be true :)


the tune of a collective ass

i have a confession to make, i did not go to church this week - and i do not feel bad about it either.

i am tired of hearing the crap from the front and seeing nothing getting done. let's be honest, we talk more about doing, and we spend very little time actually doing. i know, i spoke the crap and to be honest very few in the church actually did anything - i think many people who claim to be a follower get lost between the desire to help and the desire to sit on their collective asses and play a tune - and i think the time has come to stop making excuses about it and own up to it - and then make a real decision to make a difference.

i believe, collectively, christians talk a good game, seldom play the game and when they do play the game they desire to change the rules to fit their needs at the time - let me make this point, collectively, the "christian church" claims over 6 billion members - ok, and we still have poverty? we still have homelessness? we still have starvation? we still see only those "true republicans" as "true christians?" we still do not get the idea that we are suppose to make a difference in the world, not become part of the world?

i am confused at churches that spend more on the up-keep of a building, then they do on feeding the hungry in their community. i am lost to explain churches that have more people on staff "doing programs" then they have "doing ministry." i am bewildered by a church that would point people to government programs instead of going that extra mile for those in need. i am hurt by a church that would pay their pastor [and a pastor who would accept the pay] more then the income of the average person in the church. i am tired of churches that scream and lick their own "wounds" while letting the world around them fall apart.

i have a confession to make, i so dislike what i see the church has become - country clubs for the rich, or social clubs for the middle class - when a person makes a selection to join a church because "business will do better" we have lost our place in the world. when collectively we are unable to serve the communities around us, we have lost the right to claim any place in that community. when we "preach the gospel according to the political party" we have lost creditability with those who believe we should be different. when we ignore the words of jesus the christ, we share our faith with the world around us - the problem is, we share an empty faith based on "winning souls" and "keeping up with the church next door."

we can actually make a difference if we just came together as a "kingdom of God" and saw how working together can make a difference - think of the possibilities we could offer the world is we stopped thinking about our buildings, our stained glass, or pew cushions, of brass name plates and if we focused on just one issue - one problem - think of what we could do if we mobilized hundreds of millions of christians - we could stop civil wars, we could bring water to dry lands, we could cure aids, we could actually make a difference - if we just got past of petty differences, focused on the task we could change the world - in one generation we could actually make a bigger impact on the world then all other generations past - we could do this, but for that to happen we need to be a unified collective voice - willing to place ourselves second, and others first - are you ready?


book review: static, by ron martoia

1598592149 Static
Author: Ron Martoia

ok, here's the deal...[well, kind of the deal] i need to be honest and open. i am not big on reviewing the works of others. when i am asked to do so my first reaction is to run and hide. i am the king of skeptics and always want to come off with some negative crap about the book - being a skeptic is my default operating system - but i have to say, i liked this book. i like ron and consider him a friend and i like "Morph;" but i need to go deeper with this and say that with all honesty i loved Static. while i would admit to being a bit more on the edge then ron, i found his desire to go deeper into helping reshape words and ideas to be very helpful. where i would have trashed the idea, ron takes phil into a deeper place and that is very cool - i found ron's interaction with friends [phil and jess - runner] to be one that echoed many a conversation [excluding the running part, i do not run]. in fact, i would say i found it insightful at times. ron's daring to take on some words and ideas that are the foundation of the church, dust them off, kick them around and breath new life into them and then have them come to life in narrative is exciting. while this is no simple task, it is one that truly needs to be taken on - and while others are doing so, i think ron moves out ahead of the gang with a readable, easy to grasp book that is well worth the $15.00 - this book needs to be on your desk - if not, at least keep it where you do the most reading.


a story of creation

i have never been impressed with some of the translations of scripture that we have. many who translate carry a political agenda that seems a bit out of touch with me - this agenda can be found in the king james, the niv and so many others. for example, the king james version translates the word "scheol" as "hell" when it is speaking about "bad" people, and as "grave" when it speaks of "good people." it seems a bit sided to me. while i would never think of myself as a hebrew scholar, i felt a desire to "reword" the opening of the bible - while i would never say i was a poet, i did want to give it more of a "poetic" feel.

i am a believer that the bible should open with the word "God" - because everything that flows from the bible, flows from God. with that as a "guide" i give you the "first account of creation." as a little side note, i also hate the way the bible is numbered - i do not care what anyone tells me, there is no reason for the numbers. so, here is what i think the opening of the bible should be:

A Story of Creation:

God, because of infinite love, in the beginning of known time decided to separated the heavens and the earth. To see all that there was in this great void, God's being moved all along the void, moving over all that was and would be. In that, God took the formless, chaotic darkness and with words, created something out of nothing

On the first day of God's creation, God said, "illuminate;" and there was great illumination. God saw the illumination of the sun and of the stars filling the void and God knew it was good. God called the illumination of the sun, " day," and the illumination of the stars was called "night."

On the second day of God's creation, God said, "separate;" and with that an expanse formed which separated water from water; water above the expanse and water below the expanse. God called the waters above the expanse "sky" and the water below the expanse was called "sea."

On the third day of God's creation, God said, "land;" and with that, the waters below the expanse moved and gathered. out of that, dry land appeared. God looked upon the land and the waters, God called the dry land "earth" and the waters God called "seas." God was very pleased and knew the next step was at hand. So, on this third day of God's creation, God said, "life;" and with that word, the earth brought forth all forms of plants, grasses, trees, plants, herbs, fruits of all kinds filled the earth.On the forth day of God's creation, God said, "seasons;" the light which God created as defined by the sun in the day, and the stars at night began to move as to collect time in its path - each day would give in to a weeks, weeks in to months, months in to years and to the passing of different seasons. God knew this would also be good.

On the fifth day of God's creation, God said, "water-life;" and with that word all the life of the two waters came into being - birds filled the sky and fish filled the seas. Everything that swims, swarms or flies was created. God was greatly pleased, and God's spirit moved among them and God blessed them and they moved about the whole planet. God saw the life and was greatly pleased.

On the sixth day of God's creation, God said, "earth-life;" and with that word life sprang-up all over the earth. all the animals of dry-land came to being; all things that walk, run, climb, herd, or slither were created; both warm-blood and cold-blood were created as God desired. On this day, God also created a life that God took special interest in and God called this life "human." God endowed the human with the special gift of being in God's own image. God created humanity, and gave humanity the responsibility to care for all that God had created before God created humans. God told humanity to care for and help all the living creatures of this world. God told humanity that all the plants were created for them to eat. God told humanity to oversee everything, and bring forth descendants who would help care for God's creation God saw that all God created was good, and God was pleased. On this day, God had finished all the work of creation.

On the seventh day of God's creation, God rested from all his work. God blessed the seventh day. God made it a Holy Day