So the other day I watched a free online premier for a new Christian video series called BASIC. Sadly the free, full length video is no longer available but you won't have to simply take my word regarding the content as I did find a copy of the audio here. The first thing that struck me was how incredibly alike this video seemed to the NOOMA series by Rob Bell. The similarities soon became even stronger and I started to suspect that the presenter of this series, Francis Chan, was a really big Rob Bell fan because he was downright channeling the man. In all fairness, I probably can't judge since I've only seen the one video but to me it seemed that Francis here would like nothing better than to find Rob and skin him so that he may wear him and be him!
Anyway, apart from that it wasn't bad. The theme of this particular video was "follow Jesus" and it made some very good points, for instance that we needn't debate how to follow Jesus since it should be obvious - just look at what He told you to do and then do it. But then, about 8 minutes in, things got iffy. The conversation turned from "how do we follow Jesus?" to "why should I follow Jesus?" The first answer he offered basically came down to "Because it's totally a privilege that Jesus even lets you follow Him so you should, like, totally do it!". Somehow I doubt that would convince a skeptic. He probably guessed as much because then he sheds his Rob Bell impression completely and tells you that you need to follow Jesus because Jesus is one scary dude!
Here is why Francis says he follows Jesus, because Jesus promised to return one day and judge the earth and according to the Book of Revelation, this judgement is going to be pants pissingly terrifying (I may be paraphrasing here). To illustrate, he quotes from Revelation 6:15-17:
"Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
He points out that Jesus often spoke of Hell - more often that He did of Heaven - and concludes that you should follow Jesus because He is a powerful Being and you want to be on His side because you wouldn't like Jesus when He gets angry! So really, according to this video it's a case of follow Jesus or else!
This was a moment of epiphany for me! He was completely right, I was using all the wrong criteria in deciding what to believe and who to follow. Obviously one should follow the one that scares you the most.
Therefore, thanks to Francis Chan, I now follow Xipe Totec! I'm a little confused as to why I seem to be the only one though, Pastor Chan made a good argument though for some odd reason he claims that he is following Jesus because "what other choice do I have?" Seriously? Have you even looked at some of the other deities out there? Did Pastor Francis even consider deities like Set or Kali? I did and there sure are plenty of powerful beings out there you don't want to be on the wrong side of! In the end I settled on Xipe Totec because honestly, just look at the guy! He invented war! Jesus wants you to give Him your heart (metaphorically) - Xipe Totec literally wants you to give him (the still beating) hearts of other humans! Jesus wore a robe, Xipe Totec wears flayed human skin* - you tell me who you find more fearsome. I just hope my new lord will forgive me for not offering him any freshly removed human hearts, flayed skin and human blood as sacrifice. Sacrificial pyramids just take time to build thats all. Perhaps I should have started with arrow sacrifice or a fire pit instead...
|"Our lord the flayed one"|
I must admit though, sometimes I do lie awake at night wondering if I made the right choice. Especially when I consider the incredibly cruel punishments Zeus enjoys dispensing. Don't get me wrong, hellfire is very scary! Somehow having a a giant bird eat out your liver every day for all eternity sounds worse! I guess it's because the flames of Hell just never end, its the same thing for every second of eternity. But when you are chained to the rock waiting for the bird to come for your freshly regenerated liver those few hours of dread filled near normalcy just sounds even more excruciating somehow...
*Funny enough, according to Wiki, it seems both could heal you if you touched it.