Monthly Archives: August 2015

Good flock, wicked sheppard.

Holy moly, what a title!

Alright grab a spoon, lets digg in. Now before you think “Oh boy more assisination of character of mister mc-pastor face, just find a better church or don’t go at all already”. I do want to note that I do this because I want to heed people from damage that’s been done to me.

You’ve heard it before that a warned man is worth two. I actually hate that saying, it’s so old fashion and it always seems to be used in a context of “I told you this, now respect my superiority”. At any rate I’m going to be a hypocrite and tell you some stuff now. (you can respect my questionable superiority if you want to afterwards…I wouldn’t recommend it though).

I’m in a time of winding down from a church community that, I dare say so myself, helped build from it’s early days. I was a young naive believer that attented every service and gave it my all. And it’s the first time I’ve come across this situation. Friends of mine that are in the same boat, or rather used to be, have more expierience and aren’t as suprised at all of this as I am.

They kind of treat it as “oh well, lets move onto the next one until that crashes and burns”. And I understand their sentiment and point of view at this, since most of them have been raised christian. I wasn’t in a sense that my parents never forced me anything in terms of believing this or that, or going to church. We just live life and make the best of it. Which looking back now, I might as wel have kept on doing eventhough I did learn allot during my stint with christianity. A lot of things about forgiveness, and for those behind the pulpit the words “practice what you preach” comes to mind. And also a lot about how you don’t run a community, learn from the mistakes of others so to speak.

Here’s some of those mistakes:

-Keep it human/keep it fun:

From time to time I’d try to break the mold a bit by having a little fun…which was frowned upon because church is serious business and all fun is off the devil. For example one time I brought a watering can to church (an empty one) to use during prayer as we “poured the holy spirit” onto someone. Nope, they didn’t like that.
Or the time I’d show up to church wearing bearface slippers…Nope, they didn’t like that.
Or whenever the preacher asks a question towards the crowd, regardles of the question shout back “Jesus is the answer, it always is”…try it you’ll get some hilarious results and make the congregation realise how futile most of the preached material really is.

-Show some gratitude:

This one goes out to the pastors, deacons, …anyone who feels like they somehow need to have a title of some sort pinned on themselves. This one goes out to all of you, but especially pastors and similar types of leaders. If the people from church help out with something, no matter how small or insignificant. Say thanks every once in a while.
I can’t tell you how many times I spent my valuable free time setting up sounds systems for church, trying to get their podcast recording working, picking up a mixingdesk, dropping in on a instrument when the “oh so stellar” worship team isn’t complete. Only to get the stink eye from the pastor when the music actually started getting some feeling to it. Or even just cleaning up without them asking me for it, locking the door behind them and turning off the lights….All of that stuff without a single sign of appreciation. The congregation ppl are nice, but the ones in charge…that’s a diffirent story. And that seems to go for most christian organisations around here. Grumpy people with a feeling of entitlement.

-“your flock” is more important:

Another one for the leaders. I’ve seen it up close, the sweet and innocent christian couple that wants to build a christian community. They cared, and gave it their all trying to help people from their worldviews and beliefs, and regardless of what those beliefs are, I can atleast appreciate an honest effort to help others. But…

As the community grew into a church, they wanted more connections to other churches, to other leaders, preachers, programs, networks, events, …
And the time spent on the local people made way for some sort of delusion of rockstardom within this subcommunity. Where they’re too busy sucking up to that one big shot pastor from france, or the united states…or they’re suposed to be atleast…meanwhile I saw what’s his face trying to act natural and a false prophet. At any rate, if you wanna serve your people…serve your people. Building a network and reputation by sucking up to the big shots should be the verry least of your worries (take a BIG note here all of you evangelical/charismatic pastors).

-Challenge ideas:

Don’t swallow just anything your favorite pastor/ suposed friend preaches. Challenge him, let him know you’re watching his steps and taking note of his theological views while critically analising them. Anyone who’s standing behind the pullpit week after week quickly finds himself running out of material and that’s when they turn too:

-Copying from other preachers their books. And if you know christian literature from the christian bookstore you know it’s lazy, unimportant bullcrap that’s there just because.

-Making up their own stuff as they go allong, and usually it starts with something small to break the mold but as they gotta have a little shock value every once in a while they up the crazyness of their statements…until they run into a wall when you confront them with it.

-Everybody is awesome:

I’ve seen it plenty of times, the people who live their live more “on fire for the lord” or “christian” … in other words people who live like christian versions of Ken and Barbie. Tend to get more “real” friendship from the church leaders (even if it’s little real to begin with). The guy who gets hung over every once in a while gets the pitty friendship until they start feeling like “dang this guy doesn’t seem to wanna change”. If you don’t see the pastor hanging out with a hooligan of some sort…avoid this church. If you see the pastor only high fiving Ken and Barbie couples, that should set of your bullshit detector.

-Go play outside with the other kids:

And finally if the church isn’t capable of going outside and beeing among “the world” without beeing awkward about it. Or if they can’t go out and actually do a humanitarian act of selflesness every once in a while, call them out on it. The world has had enough of religious hypocrites and so have I.

In closing, don’t get too attached to churches, they are bound to dissapoint and fall appart after a while anyway. Probably God’s way of saying “this shit ain’t healthy, move on and try again”.

This is Angryfish guy saying

poodlepoops…

because why not.

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Things that I do like, for a change.

So instead of trying to rip church culture a new one, lets be positive about the future.

I haven’t gone to any church meetings in about a year or so now and it’s been pretty uplifting to be honest.
My life is getting back on track, I’m starting to feel confident about myself again, heck I’m even getting over my anxiety attacks little by little. Life is good man :D. Not to mention I seem to be more popular with the ladies again. I’m not a full on ladykiller womaniser (yet?) but it sure feels great throwing flirty smiles back and forth again. Just to give you an idea, not long aggo it would be throwing gazes of death and despair around. Because that’s how I felt inside,…thus scaring all the skirt away.
At this rate I just might find that ever so elusive “her”. And finally, the idea of killing myself is far off into the distance.

Well now ain’t that sweet? So just to celebrate here’s a list of things that some christians out there are doing that I do like. If you are like me, fed up with church, you struggle with believing because you actually ask questions and you really hope for church to lose it’s …*hack*… churchyness then this is a list for you.

1: Pastor Bob Beeman and his Sanctuary ministry.

This guy I can’t even begin to explain. I know him personally and he was there for me in some of my darkest times. He got to see me at my most christianese, awkward, on the edge of insanity phase. And he little by little talked me out of it. Thank God he came allong otherwise things might have gotten ugly.

Other then that he feeds the homeless on a daily basis, spreads the gospel in a verry human and unchristianese way. And whenever the christian metal world does something huge, chances are pretty big he’s involved somehow. (like he was around when that all started even).

http://www.sanctuaryinternational.com/
http://www.pastorbobbeeman.com/
http://thebridgebunch.com/ (donations for this one right here are always a blessing for the poor)

Ok now Bob gets spot number 1, because he deserves to be there, the rest of these are in no particular order.

2: The Bad christian podcast

I discovered these guys not too long aggo because they did an episode with Peter Espevoll, the singer from extol. And I’ve been listening to their stuff ever since. These guys are funny, down to earth, they have interesting guests. And they know how dire the church situation is. They’ll also talk openly about what life on the road with a band is like (which I also find interesting). And they have interesting conversations about all kinds of stuff surrounding old bible belt christianity versus newer upcoming kinds of christendom and other cultures. Theres some episodes on here that make my lip tremble because they sometimes say things that make me go “finally someone understands me!”.

http://badchristian.com/podcasts/

3: Drunk ex-pastors

Haven’t really dived into these guys yet, but I do intend to do so. Interesting story behind these guys, they’ll talk about pretty much whatever the twist is that one of them is a catholic and the other is an agnostic and both have roots in other parts of chrisitanity. And to make stuff even more interesting is that they drink during the podcast (here the church christians go “WHAT?!!” and the non church ones go “And?”).

http://www.drunkexpastors.com/

4: God without religion

This is a nice story actually. About a year or so before I met Bob Beeman I was part of a certain christian metal forum. And it’s the kind of…let me put it this way.
Christian metal in the states started back in the 80’s and there was some really good stuff there. Some diehard devotion to it and it was alive. Think of bands like stryper, bloodgood, whitecross,…
And eventhough they’re not always my cup of tea I do have huge respect for these guys because they did pave the way for the huge and diverse christian metal scene that we have today. With it’s glorious moments and also little shortcomings. At any rate, theres a part of christian metal that is still stuck in the 80’s and their theological mindset with it (the fans that is). Before mentioned forum was a prime example of that. It was always bickering and fighting about scripture this and practice that… and as I have a pretty humanist approach I was a little out of place. Until one kind stranger sort of picked up on that and decided to send me a book as a gift. He sent me (all the way from the usa) “God without religion” by Andrew Farley. I can not recommend this book enough. I hate the idea of promoting christian literature, because usually it’s just more feelgood hoggwash by either Joyce Meyer or Joel Osteen. But this book got me thinking and opening up a little.

Shortly after the guy left the forum (or he got kicked off) and I never got to thank him. This was years aggo and still to this day I can’t help but feel like…that’s one of those things God did in my life. So if you’re out there dearest stranger who sent me this book, know that I’m ever so gratefull. You helped me steer my life in the right direction.

http://andrewfarley.org/

5: Heart of the matter

Wow this one is a ride. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this guy but I’ve been watching pretty much every episode since. Shawn McCraney was raised Lds (that’s mormonism if you didn’t know) and left that behind to become a christian. The thing is, what made him leave mormonism he also finds in christianity. So he’s picking appart both and trying build something from the ground up, no religion, no systems but truth. Lot’s of things to learn from this show and Shawn’s always a pleasure to watch.

http://hotm.tv/

6: John Crowder

I was all over this guy once I discovered him, nowadays I’ll check him out every now and again. There’s like two sides of this guy that we get to see. One side is wildly spiritual, controversial,…pretty much everything that put’s a church building a flame. And the other side is a nice scriptural teaching.
I like the latter better from this guys. When all of the crazy calms down I do really appreciate what this guy has to say about art, genuine expressions of God and love, music, …

http://www.thenewmystics.com/

I’ll leave the list at this for now and update it as I discover more. If you have suggestions that might suit my taste please leave them in a comment bellow 🙂 (maybe they’ll make the list eventually)