In today’s news of Megachurch Pastors Behaving Badly, we turn our attention to Gateway Church in the north Dallas area.
It is no secret that most of American evangelicalism looks to the wealthy upper/middle professional class as the engine that drives its growth, and has shaped itself around the priorities, needs, interests, and desires of this class. Yet few if any churches would ever state this intention as baldly as associate pastor Bobby Bogard of Gateway Church did when addressing a conference of church leaders earlier this year. Courtesy of Warren Throckmorton, you can watch his speech or read a transcript of his remarks. Here is a money quote:
We’re always asking ourself, who is are target? Who’s our bullseye? Do you know who your bullseye is? Your bullseye, not that you’re not gonna reach all people, because we’re gonna reach all people. We’re gonna be all things to all people, to reach all people. But there’s something that God has gifted you with. There’s a Grace Lane that you have. And that Grace Lane is directed to a bullseye. And who is your bullseye? Who are the people God’s called you to reach?
And so, as we look at our bullseye, God has called us, to reach professional people. That’s our bullseye. We’re still gonna help the down and out. We do it every week. We’re still gonna help single moms. We do it every week. We-we’re still going to uh, look and help marriages and blended families. We’re gonna work through their issues. But our bullseye is the business professionals. Matter fact, in one of our depart- we have a whole department that’s built towards reaching business people. I’m talking about people with influence and large capacities of wealth. That’s our bullseye because we feel like that’s something God’s graced us to do. And if we can reach our bullseye, it will create a ripple, if you will, so that we can reach the others more effectively.
Bogard mentions that Gateway has a whole department dedicated to reaching business people. This post, also from Warren Throckmorton, provides more detail on those efforts.
And today we move from the absurd and outlandish to the just plain wack.
Question, which you have probably never considered before in your life: If you are attracted to women but not to women with penises, are you bigoted? More to the point, are you transphobic, or as this person would say, “cissexist”? Take a gander at this, if you dare. If you can make it through the whole thing and follow the logic here, you have my undying admiration.
Also along this vein (sort of): Allow me to direct your attention to Skeptic Magazine, which recently got a hoax article published in a peer-reviewed academic journal. The article was entitled “The conceptual penis as a social construct”. The authors stuffed it chock full of complete nonsense and left-wing academic jargon and then proceeded to get it published in the journal Cogent Social Sciences. One can only hope that the authors are successful in their stated goals of reining in the excesses of left-wing, postmodernist academia, especially in areas like gender studies.
Today we move from the repulsive and bigoted to the absurd and outlandish.
Jim Bakker was a big-time televangelist back in the 80’s who wound up going to jail for screwing his followers on bad real estate deals and getting it on with a church secretary. ICYMI (that’s “In Case You Missed It” for those of you who are not millennials or otherwise familiar with the ways millennials express themselves via texting/social media): Bakker is now back in active ministry. That is, if selling prepper food and survivalist gear to suckers who can easily be convinced that the world is going to shit any day now is what you fancy as active ministry. Feast your eyes on a clip from his show this past week, courtesy of the good people over at Right Wing Watch, in which he oh-so-creatively connects the dots between attacks on the Lord and His anointed Donald Trump, the closing of Barnum & Bailey’s circus, the Manchester bombings, and the collapse of the “Hillary Steps” at the peak of Mount Everest.
Thank you so much, Jim Bakker, for returning to active ministry. Now my blog will all but write itself.
If you’re looking for more evidence as to why Christianity and evangelicalism are now on America’s shit list, I am more than happy to oblige.
Pastor Keith Gomez of Northwest Bible Baptist Church in Elgin, Illinois, argued in a recent sermon that, basically, black people are better off now because of slavery: if not for slavery they “would still be in Africa with a bone in their nose fighting lions”. Feast your eyes on this video clip of the sermon in question:
There are no words. Just sit with that, people. And if it doesn’t break your heart, then get alone with God, get on your face before God, until it does.
A couple of years ago we noted that Jim Bakker was back on the scene. Bakker was a big-time televangelist back in the 80’s who built a huge ministry and saw it all go kablooey in a cloud of scandal and intrigue and Jessica Hahn and air-conditioned doghouses and layers upon layers of Tammy Faye’s makeup.
Bakker is back in active ministry–that is, if peddling all manner of end-of-the-world survivalist gear is what strikes your fancy as active ministry. He has a TV show where he specializes in attempting to convince people that some sort of apocalypse is imminent and you’d better buy his prepper food to get you through. Lots of it. As in, like, TONS of it.
But the apocalypse prepper food market is a tough market to be in. Even with lots of people running around out there who watch religious TV and can easily be convinced to buy lots of that sort of thing. So how do you get by? Simple: You do what Bakker does. You play Chicken Little. You make everything into a ginormous crisis. You get up there and tell people that Obama/gays/ISIS/terrorists/etc. are taking over and you’re gonna need to hole up in your bunker with lots and lots of his prepper food to get you through. I mean, with the world going to shit and all, who DOESN’T need a 7-year supply of nonperishable food?
Admit it, people: You thought I was kidding about that.
But Bakker has a problem. You see, his guy Donald Trump just won the election so all is hunky-dory now in evangelicalism and especially in his region thereof. So how do you get by in the apocalypse prepper food market when your boy is now in charge of everything and you no longer have Obama/the gays/etc. to blame for the coming apocalypse? Well, these guys are nothing if not resourceful and you just know they will figure something out. Bakker has: Demonize all of Donald Trump’s opponents and make them as big and bad and scary as possible. Last week Bakker had end-times author Joel Richardson and disgraced ex-FBI agent John Guandolo on the show to discuss recent anti-Trump protests. Guandolo got up there and said that all the left-wing activists, including the Black Lives Matter crowd, are working hand-in-hand with jihadists, terrorists, and other unsavory characters and that their activities are “planned and funded by enemies of the United States.” Richardson, not to be outdone, said that Satan himself is involved in the protests. He tied it to Psalm 2 and contended that the nations, the Gentiles (his terminology) are raging against God himself and His anointed, Donald Trump. You can watch it for yourself below, courtesy of the good people over at Right Wing Watch:
Millennials: The greatest regret of your existence is that you never got to experience the original Jim Bakker Show in all its sordid glory. Never fear, I am here to fill that void in your existence and remedy that deficiency for you. Feast your eyes on this clip from the original Jim Bakker Show in which Tammy Faye presides over a dog wedding:
ICYMI: Last week a group of professors at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary tweeted a photo of themselves dressed up gangster style. This sparked a backlash on Twitter as people called the image offensive, tone-deaf, and racist. SWBTS president Paige Patterson felt compelled to issue a lengthy apology which included the following quote: “As all members of the preaching faculty have acknowledged, this was a mistake, and one for which we deeply apologize. Sometimes, Anglo Americans do not recognize the degree that racism has crept into our lives.”
The photo in question is below:
If you want “offensive, tone-deaf, and racist”, I’ll tweet Blazing Saddles. The entire movie.
OK, I get it. Racism is real. It has crept into all of our lives to some extent or another, in ways we can’t even notice.
But come on. Being offended at this is like being afraid because you saw Left Shark and thought you were looking at an actual great white shark.
People, the world has come to a very dark place if we cannot laugh at something like this oh-so-hopelessly pathetic attempt to imitate black culture by a group of old white seminary profs.
You probably never suspected that such a thing could exist, yet here it is. Feast your eyes on this gem from televangelists Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis defending their use of, and need for, private jets:
BTW: That Scripture the guy is getting ready to quote when the video cuts off is Amos 6:1: “Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come.” I do not think it means what he thinks it means.
ICYMI: Carrie Underwood put in a surprise appearance at Passion 2017 this past week, taking the stage with David Crowder to perform her 2014 country/gospel hit “Something In The Water”. Never ones to let an opportunity to promote their culture war agenda and generate publicity for their pet causes go to waste, the American Family Association published an open letter to Passion founder Louie Giglio expressing their concerns over Underwood’s appearance. Why? Because Underwood has come out publicly in support of gay marriage. AFA does not. ‘Nuff said.
Some choice quotes:
I was very frustrated that you would allow her to help lead thousands of people in worship. My frustration quickly turned to disappointment and then to sadness. Carrie Underwood encourages and supports homosexual marriage which the Word of God does not…
With the many Christian artists who believe and teach the full counsel of God’s Word available to lead worship at Passion, why would you choose one who publicly states homosexuality is not a sin?…
The Word of God is not a preference, but principles God has spoken. God is right about marriage and Carrie Underwood is wrong.
As Christians it is our calling to show love and care for the real, flesh-and-blood people in our lives. This is not that. It is fixating upon a minor point of Scripture and making it suddenly the linchpin of faithfulness to God’s Word (The Bible is clearly against homosexual behavior yet devotes an astonishingly small percentage of text to it–priorities, people). It is reducing the Word of God to a list of principles and the people around us to nothing more than right or wrong in relation to said principles. Especially if said people are LGBTQ or have ever had a kind word to say regarding those who are LGBTQ.
For your viewing pleasure I have linked the video of Underwood’s performance below:
Yep: this happened.
A Chicago elementary school pulled out of hosting a Christian haunted house which would have depicted the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. It also would have depicted a botched abortion, the Charleston massacre of last year, and other such scenes. According to the promoter’s Craigslist listing (that they’re advertising this thing on Craigslist gives you an idea what kind of outfit we’re dealing with here), visitors would “encounter individuals who will make choices. The choice is life or death; sin or salvation; heaven or hell.”
You can read the full story here.
ICYMI (that’s “In Case You Missed It” for those of you who are not millennials or otherwise familiar with the ways millennials express themselves via texting and social media): Tim Tebow has signed with the New York Mets and is now attempting to work his way up through their farm system.
After a recent game, Tebow was signing autographs when a fan collapsed from a major epileptic seizure. Tebow stayed with him and prayed with him until help arrived.
Not content to simply report the story and let an opportunity to promote their theological outlook go by, Charisma jumped all over it:
Tebow sprang into action and laid hands on the man, praying for his healing and comforting him until paramedics arrived.
The violent seizure reportedly stopped moments after Tebow prayed with him. The miraculous healing had many people take to social media expressing their amazement at the power of prayer.
You can read the full story here.