Category Archives: attendance

…then why doesn’t it work?

 

“Give your life to Jesus and you’ll never be alone again”

Or any other variation of that exact pitch. The promise that God in your life is going to make all the difference. The promise that he has the perfect spouse for you, the perfect goal or job in life or even health and wealth if you play your cards right.

The idea that making a spiritual alliance with the creator of all existence will somehow solve your deepest inner dilemma’s once and for all. Always with the disclaimer that it won’t be easy all the time.

And that’s only the starter kit. After that we have plenty of groups and programs to help you on your way to finding whatever it is you’re looking for. Prayer meetings, soaking sessions, seminars on the gifts of the holy spirit, preaching¬† and teachings on whatever we can construct out of the bible, and if that doesn’t work we’ll build on top of what was already built on top of that. Weekends where one church visits another one so you can all mingle. Weekends where we’ll tell you to be guilt free while at the same time telling you what a horrible sinful abomination of a creature you are.
And have you heard of our special one on one spiritual/therapy hybrid sessions?

Also, if you stick long enough with us you can even aspire to become part of our team.
You’ll fly like an eagle distributing pamphlets, praying for people, operating lights and sound, being on stage giving a pre-made preaching or even, yes you guessed it, doing the dishes and cleaning the toilet for the glory of God himself no less.

It doesn’t matter what you want to do in life we’ll try to make it work…just as long as you try to become like us.

And whatever you do, always say Jesus is the best thing that ever happened to you.
Did I say Jesus? I meant to say our church.

What more can we do to sell our Lord and savior, I mean Church, I mean product to you today?

*applause*
What a sales pitch huh? All of this buzz and activity around this cute and innocent idea they’re trying to sell. And surely it must work because these people are highly motivated.

Lets get back to the title. Then why doesn’t it work?
Why is it that after years and years of this crap I’m right now in a place in life where I’m putting the pieces back together again after leaving the aforementioned circus behind? Why is it that I am seriously considering getting some professional therapy to help me through the damage that’s been done by this sort of malarkey?
Why?

And please don’t tell me I didn’t try hard enough. Just don’t.
You can’t promise a God and a church that will take care of everything eventually and then shove it all in my shoes, that’s not fair by any stretch of the imagination.
That sounds more like a cheap scam.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not knocking theism of any kind. We’re all entitled to experience the contemplative journey that lies behind that door if we so desire to and I feel we have a right to pilot that one ourselves as well in a healthy way.
But organized religion is just a scam, it’s just another way people found to exploit one of life’s wonderful innocent things and turn it into yet another gaping wound.

It’s the market place where a certain Nazarene once got quite angry.

Aftersale nightmares from the divine

“Your call is verry important to us, please hold”

“All our staff are currently occupied, please hold”

And it goes on and on like that, phonecalls that get dropped. People that finally do get someone on the line might get treated snarky, or have to settle for some feel good answer without really getting a solution for their problem. Please hold, …please hold. Those that do get a solution might find that it’s only a temporary fix that only ties them over for a little while. Meanwhile it’s beeing advertised everywhere that customers get miraculous aftersales and customer service.

And the company hasn’t got a clue why business isn’t doing that well. They just can’t seem to figure it out. There’s plenty of complaints going around and the individual establishments of the franchise have mixed responses ready. Some try to take them to heart and make an honest investment from their own local budget in order to do what they can. But there’s others who just collapse under the negativity and give up. And who can blame them? The guidance from above seems diffirent for every other individual store, like every establishement is dealing with a diffirent ceo entirely.

There’s even rumours of some getting ridiculous budgets that they spend on frivolous and vain advertising without really doing anything for the customers.

And the customers themselves they either give up or have to weed through the forests of diffirent franchises and establishements until they possibly find a good one that fits them and is nearby. And then it’s only a matter of time and endurance to see how long they’ll be tolerated once real problems arise.

“Your prayer is verry important to us, please hold”

“All our blessings are currently occupied, please hold”

And that’s how I feel about God lately sometimes. The head of a company that suposidly has the best product out there. Eternal life… and it comes with amazing benefits. They suposidly would help you get your life on track and have the right things show up on the right time. A job, a spouse, great health benefits, financial aid,…everything you can think off should be covered. Or atleast that’s what they, the church, sometimes advertise.

And the truth is most of the aftersales go nowhere. Prayers don’t get heard, get brushed off with some feelgood “oh but God loves you” answers. The gospel is beeing preached everywhere but nobody really seems to know what it is anymore because everywhere you go it’s diffirent. And ofcourse every single branch of the company claims their’s is the real product that has been blessed directly from God himself…then why don’t the other ones get the same one? And why do the results all seem the same?

If God were the head of a company and the company would be church(advertising) and the reality of answered prayers (customer service/aftersales) I imagine it would be a nightmare. It would be a miracle by itself that this company would even exist. There is no authority from above because the churches just don’t seem to listen or want to walk in line. And customers just give up in droves because they get tired of waiting.

Waiting for healing, waiting for a spouse, waiting for their needs to be met with something other then a one size fits all feelgood answer.

Has God taken a long vacation? Or has He given up? Maybe he decided only to help customers that have a positive attitude in a move highlight the succes stories and try to save budget on lost causes.

I don’t know anymore… lately I’m trying to revise my faith from all angles because it just doesn’t add up anymore. Trying to drop the westernised tendencies from the christian faith is really difficult beeing born and raised european. And I can’t find real closure about the idea that God is all powerfull, all knowing and all capable. Yet sometimes it seems like he just leaves people to their own devices or lets them be struck by bad luck over and over again just because…

That can’t be the reality of a loving God. But I also have no peace with the idea of a God who is just absent. He created existence for us and just sort off took off a while aggo.

Yes you can call it a crisis of faith, or maybe it’s a formative time. It just doesn’t add up sometimes…

And before anyone tells me “God’s dead get over it”. That’s really blunt and somewhat disrespectfull of what I’m going through. And eventhough I fully understand there’s plenty of christians who try to do the same to non believers by trying to prove them right over others. That’s not an answer you should force on anyone going through this. Just like nobody should try to force faith on anyone else. I’ve had that happen to me… I’ve learned now to never try that on anyone else. Existentialism is something that should be approached verry carefully and with the utmost respect for the individuals expierience.

Anyway try to be nice out there to eachother, life itself can be painfull enough sometimes without people making it a living hell for eachother.

Angryfish

(disclaimer: don’t get me wrong, there are some things in my life now that are SO good, it makes me say “there must be a God”. There are other things I’m still waiting for as I keep trying…and it makes me bitter.)

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.

The good old days

I was reading this post by Ben Irwin

http://benirwin.me/2015/05/21/6-ways-mainline-churches-should-respond-to-decline/

And it trigered something in me. Memories of young people sitting in a living room just having a good time and enjoying just talking about God, just dreaming up ideas about how we could take the gospel to the people.

Heck we’d even delve into a little prayer and God permit a little prophecy on the side from time to time. It all seemed to innocent and refreshing.

And as time passed we moved onto the next place, where we even got to have our own little rock concerts…well the music wasn’t quite where it needed to be but hey, atleast we were jamming for God and it was still fun and exciting. There was even talks of taking our worship to the bars, to the people on the streets…

I was a brand new christian myself and as such kind of naive. I really felt like this could be the direction for my life for a while. I was genuinly excited for the adventures to come.

And then it all came to a screeching halt. Rock music had to make way for more prayer meetings and more bible studies. …But instead of hanging out and talking about life and God like we did in the beginning, now we all of a sudden had dvd’s and programs. A bit more stern and robotized. Just a little bit more…controlled into the directions they wanted.

And word got out of our new little church group so other christians started joining up. People that were tired of those old conservative chruches who we’re just aching for something new. We welcomed them with open arms and hearts…because hey, no way our church would become stale and boring like those others right?

How wrong I was.

It quickly became apparent that our church became nothing more then a group to drop of christianitys local misfits and youngsters. And an easy place for passer throughs to quickly get some worship going until their travels took them to their next destination.

I stopped going little by little. Every time I got rejected by yet another christian girl it was just another shove out of the door for me. Everytime I had to explain these people how good quality music is not made the way hillsong and the likes do it…another shove out of the door. The more mainstream church culture became the focal point of it all. And the more this little group seemed to tap into the mainstream chruch culture the more it died for me.

Until there came a point of total disconnect and bitterness.
I almost forgot there used to be good times. I did bring it up a while aggo but was met with “oh but in order to grow we have to let go of the past”…how beautifully quaint and empty.

They have their bigger location now, and they have their weekly attendance showing up…good for them. But one by one, all of the people that made this church what it is today are packing their baggs and leaving. That should mean something. That should raise some allarms.

But the “leaders” won’t even show the common courtesy of asking why. Sad. Verry sad.

So if you’re like I was back then. You’re part of a small group of christians and things are genuinly fun. It adds to your life when you hang out with these people and you look forward to the next meeting.

DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN!!!!!! => TO KEEP IT THAT WAY <=!!!!!!!

I know the pastor, leader, or whatever he calls himself would love bigger attendance and a bigger building to justify bigger tithings to be paid. But trust me, it’s not worth it. Because the good and innocent times you are having right now…will die a slow and painfull death.

And you may think your churchgroup is going to be diffirent and that you and your friends will stand the test of time. And you may, if you keep your eyes open and your senses sensible.

But don’t let it be ruiend…for the love of a donut DON’T aspire to become the next Marshill, Hillsong united, … or whathaveyou kind of church. Keep it small and innocent.

People say showbizz will kill you once you get too big… church is not a hair diffirent. Not a SINGLE hair diffirent. If not worse.

This is angry fish…also a bit bitter now.