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"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hey kid, how 'bout some fire with that brimstone?

This article arrived in my mail box this morning, which I found worthy of special note.

The research was done by the "Barna Group" which is, I believe, a conservative-based organization in California.

Which makes this statement even more interesting: "The anti-homosexual perception has now become sort of the Geiger counter of Christians' ability to love and work with people," he said.

Hmmm . . .so what's the next evangelism strategy, you think? Acceptance of LGBT people? Nah! Too radical.

Hang on! I've got it. Here's an idea: Let's develop some sort of 'Covenant' membership - with the 'real' Christians - those who are able to sign on to all of the strict, traditional, fundamentals of Christian doctrine - getting top shelf membership cards.

We'll call them 'the elect.' (That's 'reasserter' in Kendalland. It's 'hyper-Calvinst' with The Bullies. AKA 'the orthodox' or 'conservative' or 'evangelical' in the Network, CANA, AAC, ACK, and all the other spinter groups which I call 'QRSTUVWXYandZ'. AKA 'neo-Puritan' 'Evangelicals' in some corners of HOB/D.)

Those who can only sign on to three-quarters or more of the doctrines can be, ummm . . . how about 'the chosen'? (AKA 'Camp Allen Bishops' and/or 'Windsor Bishops' for the Kendall Elves and The Bullies. See also 'splinter groups' above. AKA 'Conservatives' in some corners of HOB/D.)

Those who can only sign on to half or more of the doctrines can be, . . . . ummmm . . .how about 'the faithful'? (AKA "The Movable Middle" on both sides of the church aisle. AKA 'Moderates'on HOB/D.)

Those who can sign on to less than one fourth of the doctrines can be, ummmmm . . . how about 'the seekers' or 'Christ-followers'? (Or, in Kendalland 'reappraisers'. For 'the Bullies' these are 'the apostate' and those who have 'walked away'. AKA 'Progressives' for some on HOB/D.)

Dual membership will also be offered. Those who can sign on at any of the above levels but have the ability to hold their personal beliefs in tension with those who disagree with them can be, ummmm . . . Ah, I know! "Traditional Anglicans." (AKA 'Mature Christians')

Different levels of membership will carry different privileges. You know, sort of 'upstairs / downstairs maid' sort of thing. Some will go to Lambeth and have seat, but no voice. Others will go and have seat and voice. And, then . . . .

What? What is that you asked? Didn't Jesus say, "And I, when I am lifted up, I will draw all to me?"

All? That means absolutely everyone?

Oh. I see. Never mind.

Here's another idea: Why don't we all just live the gospel?

That's an evangelism strategy that's been drawing all people - including young people - to Jesus for centuries.

Christian image is turning youths off
Web Posted: 10/12/2007 08:04 PM CDT

Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service

Young people have graded Christianity, and so far, the report card doesn't look good.
Majorities of young people in America describe modern-day Christianity as judgmental, hypocritical and anti-gay. What's more, many Christians don't even want to call themselves "Christian" because of the baggage that accompanies the label.

A new book based on research by the California-based research firm the Barna Group found that church attitudes about people in general and gays in particular are driving a negative image of the Christian faith among people ages 16-29.

"The Christian community's ability to take the high road and help to deal with some of the challenges that this (anti-gay) perception represents may be the ... defining response of the Christian church in the next decade," said David Kinnaman, Barna Group president and author of the book, "UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity."

"The anti-homosexual perception has now become sort of the Geiger counter of Christians' ability to love and work with people," he said.

The findings were based on surveys of a sample of 867 young people. From that total, researchers reported responses from 440 non-Christians and 305 active churchgoers.

The vast majority of non-Christians — 91 percent — said Christianity had an anti-gay image, followed by 87 percent who said it was judgmental and 85 percent who said it was hypocritical.

Such views were held by smaller percentages of the active churchgoers, but the faith still did not fare well: 80 percent agreed with the anti-gay label, 52 percent said Christianity is judgmental, and 47 percent declared it hypocritical.

Kinnaman said one of the biggest surprises for researchers was the extent to which respondents — one in four non-Christians — said that modern-day Christianity was no longer like Jesus.

"It started to become more clear to us that what they're experiencing related to Christianity is some of the very things that Jesus warned religious people about," he said. "Which is, avoiding removing the log from your own eye before trying to take the speck out of someone else's."

Kinnaman said some Christians — including those in the entertainment industry — preferred to call themselves "followers of Jesus" or "apprentices of Christ" because the word "Christian" could limit their ability to relate to people. Even Kinnaman, 33, described himself as "a committed Christ follower," though he has called himself a Christian in the past.

In addition to reporting on the negative statistics, Kinnaman used the book to also give advice — from himself and more than two dozen Christian leaders — on new approaches.

"Our goal wasn't simply to say here's all the problems, but to hopefully point a way forward," Kinnaman said.

"When Jesus pursued people, he was much more critical of pride and much more critical of spiritual arrogance than he was of people who were sinful. And today's Christians, if you spend enough time looking at their attitudes and actions, really are not like Jesus when it comes to that."

Megachurch pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., used the book to say he hopes the church will become "known more by what it is for than what it is against.

"For some time now, the hands and feet of the body of Christ have been amputated, and we've been pretty much reduced to a big mouth," Warren wrote.


Mike in Texas said...

Elizabeth, This link may work better.

psalm37 said...

Elizabeth, for what purpose did Jesus draw people to Himself?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hello, Anonymous (in this particular incarnation, "Psalm37),

Well, you know the old expression: "If you've got to ask the question, you probably shouldn't."

Why don't you tell me what you believe is the purpose for which Jesus drew ALL (you missed that) people to Himself , since that's the real meaning beyond your post, now isn't it?

Unless, of course, you're trying to trick me into answering you with something you can take out of context or misquote to the Bullies.

Nah. You wouldn't do that, now would you?

That's one of the oldest tricks in the book - the BIG book that is. You know, Holy Scripture?

PS. I love Ps 37:29.

God Bless. Have a great day.

Jim said...

"live the gospel"

Well there you go, another radical voice. Where do you get off with that sort of women's lib liberalism? :-) Next thing you know you will want to help the poor and end war! Proof if we needed it that we cannot be ordaining women and especially lesbians or gay men.

All they do is preach that love and charity stuff instead of making everyone be like God's chosen white men.


Yeah, seriously, we could try that. But we may have to admit that working our passage to Lambeth is and will remain sinful exploitation. And we may have to pass on tea with the other Elizabeth. Of course, I should rather have tea with you, so that is not exactly sacrifice for me or some others.


psalm37 said...

Elizabeth, have I been ugly or mean to you even once?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...


Why not just say what you mean and want to say instead of asking questions that require, in and of themselves, a separate essay?

Your questions reveal more about you than you know.

God's blessings on you this day.

Bill said...

Elizabeth, The “tricksters” are always trying to get someone to misspeak. I’m always reminded of Mark 7:5 when I hear them doing it.

“So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not live* according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?’ 6He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 7in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.”
8You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.’
9 Then he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition!”

The word hypocrite seems appropriate here as well. They always seem more interested in the letter of the law rather than the spirit.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...


I'm not sure what distresses "Psalm 37" more - that I won't answer her/his questions or that his/her motives are so transparent.

So, now we deflect the whole situation with "But, I was just asking a question! When have I ever been mean to you?"

As if my refusing to engage with an anonymous person asking a specious quesion is mean-spirited.

Oh - BTW and FYI for future reference - in case I haven't made myself crystal clear in previous posts:

I refuse to take any one's questions seriously when they come from an identity which is hiding behind the cloak of anonymity.

psalm37 said...

What would a person have to do to satisfy your requirements for posting? And if I am not welcome to post, please say so. I will not press the issue.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...


Obviously, you meet the requirement to post here as I have posted every single one of your contributions.

I hope it is obvious to you that you are welcome to post here, as you always have been.

If you want to provide an answer to your own question(s), or remark on something I have posted that offers a different perspective, just send it to me and I will post it - as long as it does not contain profanity or harmful, mean-spirited messages.

However, if you want me to take your questions seriously, you must reveal your true identity in the same way that I have revealed mine.

You must also understand that I am under no obligation to respond to your posts.

I may simply post it here and open it up for responses from other readers.

I hope this clarity is helpful to you.

God Bless you this day and always.

Manny Publius said...

I struggle with this very thing in my faith walk. It is painful to hear Christ's call to an institution peopled by those who would rather I disappear...or worse yet, get "cured." Some days, I want nothing more than to throw myself at the foot of the cross and cry out for an answer. It is my "spiritual wall." Yet, I do not walk away.

My answer, the answer that swells my soul with hope eternal is this. If my faith is contrary to so many, how do I deny what I know to be true? How do I deny the faith that I have been gifted with in favor of the stirrings of mere mortals? It is not their church. It is not my church. It is God's church. I have been called to be a part of it by a power greater than any that can be found on this earth. I have been invited and it not up to the other dinner guests to deny my invitation. The host has spoken.