Monday, November 10, 2008

And they wonder why Atheists make fun of us...

As any of the 5 people who read this blog could tell you, I have a big issue with "charismaniac" behaviour. If you didn't spend much time in a Pentecostal/Charismatic church environment that may mean nothing to you. In short this is when Christians do some kind of symbolic act with "spiritual significance". Now I guess I shouldn't be too hard on people as usually this is all pretty harmless. Besides, I actually believe in the power of symbolism. My main peeve is that usually the term "something happened in the spirit" is just another way of saying "nothing happened, but we don't want to admit it". This could take many forms, a popular one is the "prayer walk" which is modelled after the Israelites walking around the walls of Jericho. Big difference of course is that after the Israelites obeyed God and did their symbolic act (here and everywhere else in the Bible), something actually happened. In the Charismatic movement it seems we kind of have the opposite going on - someone says that God says that everyone should do [insert symbolic act of faith] and then God will [insert miraculous action]. But then (in my experience - yours may be different and if so I would love to hear more) nothing happens. If at this point you think someone is going to admit that maybe they didn't quite hear God or that maybe they heard wrong you have obviously never been in a Charismatic Church before! No, at this point you will be told that, sure maybe nothing actually happened here BUT something sure changed in the spirit with the implication that at some point the spiritual change will manifest in the physical. In my experience it rarely does. In fact in my experience there seems to be a correlation between the bigness of the symbolic act and how spectacularly the promised change fails to happen.

A good example would be Benny Hinn's recent tour to South Africa. At one point a special blessing was announced by one of Hinn's co-preachers - for 2 minutes only, everyone who would sow a $1000 "seed" (because God put a special blessing on that number of course) would be blessed with MILLIONS if not MULTI-MILLIONS! Within 24 hours no less! To help with this, there were credit card machines at the ready and everything. A while later, some skeptical pastors who attended the meeting publicly asked in a major Sunday newspaper if anyone became a millionaire as promised. I would love to tell you what the response to that was but its a little hard to reproduce the sound of crickets chirping in text...

Yet now I have seen something that makes all of that seem perfectly sensible. Turns out that some Christians decided the best way to fix the economy would be to...

Pray and lay hands on a GOLDEN CALF????

Apparently, according to the participants:
“We are going to intercede at the site of the statue of the bull on Wall Street to ask God to begin a shift from the bull and bear markets to what we feel will be the 'Lion's Market,' or God's control over the economic systems. While we do not have the full revelation of all this will entail, we do know that without intercession, economies will crumble.”
Are they freaking kidding?? I’m sorry, you can dress it up any way you want, its still God’s people praying in front of a golden calf!! Is this not the one story from the Bible everyone in the world knows about? Sure it is, you even find a similar picture in most children's Bibles and famous art, look its almost exactly the same:

Plus may I remind you that in Exodus 32 (first time this happened - apparently Christians don't read the Bible no more) the people of God weren't looking for a new God - the whole golden calf debacle was just because the people wanted a visual representation of the very God that led them out of Egypt!

When stuff like this happens, don't go whining when the Athiests make fun of Christians - we totally had it coming in this case!

9 comments:

Caron said...

SO very true! Justin Peters is an expert on Hinn.... Watch the video on his site:

http://www.justinpetes.org

He is also coming to S. A. this month!

RandomSue said...

Just really couldn't agree more.

Your blog inspires me to make sure I am not one of those people hurting others in the name of Jesus or donating my resources to someone that is.

As you have said before, there is a big need for critical thinking to be taught to Christ followers.

Thanks for being a forerunner in that very thing.

GumbyTheCat said...

Good post. Funny, and I like the touch of snark.

That Benny Hinn nonsense is shocking... no, it's not. That's the bad part - we expect this from evangelists these days. I had already read the "golden calf" item on Pharyngula, and laughed.

When are these people going to realize they are killing Christianity?

Eugene said...

When indeed... How many times does Scripture quote God talking about how His Name is defamed among the heathens because of what Israel does? Guess the more things change the more they stay the same, God is most often made fun of because of something Christians did...

digapigmy said...

the golden calf idea was priceless. i'm not sure if it's the one story everyone knows, but it sure seems like one story every christian should have heard at some point.

priceless

scoey-d said...

Nice post - like holding a mirror up, hoping beyond hope that someone looks into it to see that the Emperor's new clothes aren't really there. Too many examples of this type of charis-mania, which ultimately seem to be attempts to posture ourselves as 'great men & women of God," to be famous, &/or for personal monetary gain. Ouch.

Also with symbolic acts: in my own life, I think these are points of obedience, not to be declared loudly as though I can assign meaning to what I've done "in the spiritual world." A lot of times, its just for me, & I may not see/comprehend what result there is. And I don't want to apply more significance or notoriety to me just because I did what I thought I was to do at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Because if it really was the Holy Spirit, She'll take care of what the result would be. Sometimes, its just obedience.

Hope that makes sense - I'm flowing from a jet-lagged mind.

Ciao & keep writing Eugene.

GumbyTheCat said...

Eugene, a really funny read:

http://www.theonion.com/content/opinion/im_not_one_of_those_love_thy

Eugene said...

Thanks Gumby, I'm a huge fan of The Onion and that article was pretty good - and a little too close to the truth to be satire even...

RandomSue said...

Louie D, you always make sense to me! I watched you walk this out perfectly today. I cannot thank you enough for your obedience. I am so thankful that you are speaking into my life.

many blessings my friend!