With imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I decided to emulate my favourite online humour website – Cracked.com – and do some list style humour. After seeing some pretty crazy Christian videos online lately I thought about doing something along the line of a “The 6 most ridiculous things done in Church”. However after pouring through the many many offerings of Youtube I found myself less amused and more saddened. After watching the 6 videos I chose I started to feel that a more appropriate title would “6 Videos that would convince an outsider that Christianity is a scam”. You may not agree with that assessment my gentle reader but to me, these videos all point to some serious problems within the Body of Christ. It is then juxtaposed between satire and sorrow that I present the following in no particular order:
1 – The Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey
This video clip really caught me by surprise. It’s not that I’ve never seen church folk retool secular music into worship music before. No, despite often declaring Satan to be a copycat who is forever offering counterfeits to the great things of God, Christians have often and without a blush of irony, brought “worldly” things into the church. The thing is though, they usually at least attempt to (awkwardly) “Christianize” it first at least – for a great example see this worship leader’s rather painful attempt to squeeze the word “Jesus” into the lyrics of “You spin me round”. Not here! The motto at Morningstar Ministries must be “Go big or go home”* because they don’t even opt for one of those songs that is about someone’s girlfriend but could sorta be about Jesus too. No, they whip out the freakin Hokey Pokey and they do it with a straight face (though I’m not ruling out that this was some sort of elaborate prank on the congregation). My problem here is not simply with the practice of lamely copycatting secular media in the church. I really hate the way that things that are clearly not spiritual are treated as if they are deep wells of spiritual wisdom. This video demonstrates incredibly well that you can get away with anything in church, no matter how obviously ridiculous, as long as you claim it has spiritual significance. After all, who can prove you wrong? It’s not as if anyone can actually look into the spiritual realm and call shenanigans. It kind of reminds me of this one time in church when there was a fashion show on stage. Only it was presented as “Not a fashion show but a parable told by prophets”. To me however it just looked like all the good looking people on the worship team strutting their stuff to Number One Crush by Garbage (there were some Bible verses on in the background at least, but still…). Of course, I acknowledge I could be mistaken. Maybe the Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey really does have magic healing powers. If I ever saw the HGHP heal anything other than non-specific aches and pains – like say blindness or pneumonia for instance – I will take it all back.
2 – The Christian Side Hug
This video is why I hate Poe’s Law. Everytime someone posts this video there is always some debate whether this is meant to be a joke or not. Honestly how could you tell? Either way it shows conclusive proof why Christian Ministries need to stop attempting to be “cool” and “relevant” because they tend to end up being neither. Whoever wrote the lyrics to this travesty obviously didn’t have a clue what a “roughrider” was for one thing… I for one tend to think that this was not meant as a joke. After all, the side hug is a very real Church phenomenon. But let’s say for the sake of argument that this was only a misguided attempt at humour by some Christian Youth Ministry. It really changes nothing. As the proverb goes, “Many a truth is spoken in jest”. Even if this was done jokingly, it still highlights some of the incredibly unhealthy attitudes in some churches regarding relationships and sexuality. Notice how in that song it is the girls with their dirty sexy bodies who are to blame for dragging virtuous young men into the seedy world of hugging? As a student I also saw first hand the damage such all-touching-is-bad dating policies could do. You tend to end up with either a church full youngsters riddled with deep shame and guilt for the imaginary sins of hugging and kissing or thanks to a strong “Christian courtship” program you could end up with a church full of single 30-somethings who are too dysfunctional to date anyone.
3 – Tokin’ the Ghost
Now while this video may seem like an obvious joke, the unfortunate truth is that the “New Mystics” are very real and draw a sizable following. I would like to state categorically that while my profile description mentions my leanings toward Christian mysticism, I am in no shape or form affiliated with these guys nor would I wish to be associated with them. While these guys may seem like an extreme fringe what they do here is something you may find in a great many Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, namely the practice of taking one or two (or half) verses from the Bible and then using that to build a teaching/theology completely different from all orthodox doctrine. Makes for some very entertaining, albeit nutty, sermons!
4 – The Holy Ghost enema
I considered using some footage of Benny Hinn here as the man is a goldmine for strange Christian videos. He even has some videos of his ministry mixed to “Let the bodies hit the floor”! But then I thought that was just too darn easy and I went with this video of his wife instead. “What is wrong with that video?”, you may ask me. (If you did, I guess my follow up question would have to be “Are you kidding me??”) This video – as well as most of the rest here – shows a very disturbing attitude that reminds me a bit of the story of the Emperor’s new clothes. What Mrs Hinn (and the others here) is doing is making her words reproof proof. See if you think what they are doing or saying is ridiculous then the problem is you. You aren’t spiritual enough, you are too cerebral, too religious, too uptight, you are the one who is out of touch with the Spirit of God. If what they are saying seems senseless then it is only because you are the one that lacks sense. Maybe it’s just me but I see a very obvious problem with having an attitude like that…
5 – The Piano Prophetess
Where does one even start on a video like this? It kinda makes you miss the Old Testament days when there was actually a penalty for making BS claims and passing it off as the Word of God. This is a problem I have with a lot of what passes for prophecy in the church today. There are lots of ecstatic utterances, wild, completely unrealistic promises are made and then… Well then nothing tends to come of it but that doesn’t even slow these prophets down. They get to carry on consequence free. I always wonder why no one ever seems to follow up, why no one ever calls them on all the promises (from GOD remember!) they proclaim that come to nothing. This one is actually worse than most, she is asking for money (lots of it) based on this alleged “word”. Again, if it turns out I am wrong about this and Christians really do become the Lords of all Media™ (media, media, media, media, media, media) I will apologize most humbly.
6 – The Cancer Pastor
As you can see I saved the worst for last. This whole incident was just a new level of reprehensible. However I don’t think it happened because Christians are too gullible or too easily emotionally manipulated. Honestly, I believe any group could have been taken in by a guy like this. After all, he wasn’t some sleazy conman who worked his way into their ranks, he was a trusted member of the group since childhood. He had everyone fooled, who could have seen this coming? But really, it was because of porn? Porn made him do it? Seriously? James Dobson would be proud I guess but honestly you can’t blame porn for every bad thing you do. On the other hand, remember what I said earlier about the unhealthy attitudes in church toward sexuality and the damage it can do?
This little sampling reminds me of a Woody Allen movie quote:
“If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up.”
*It may be an unofficial motto but still. They didn’t just get a building for their church, they got themselves the old PTL compound! When Rick Joyner allegedly went to heaven he didn’t just get an anointing from God, he got the mantle of the Apostle Paul! These guys don’t screw around!
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