Category Archives: culture

Is the Mars Hill Church board lying for Pastor Mark Driscoll? Or just using weasel words?


Contrast this excerpt from the New York Times (which deals with formal charges against Pastor Mark Driscoll, filed by 21 former pastors in the Mars Hill Church organization) 

In a written statement, Anthony Ianniciello, Mars Hill’s executive pastor of media and communications, said, “We take any complaint or allegation against Pastor Mark and Mars Hill very seriously, and everything is and will be examined by several governing bodies.”

He also pointed to a statement the church’s board issued last week, saying, “The attitudes and behaviors attributed to Mark in the charges are not a part and have not been a part of Mark’s life for some time now.” [emphasis added]

 — With the following excerpt of the formal complaint filed by those 21 pastors formerly in Pastor Mark Driscoll’s organization –

Mark Driscoll excerpt from formal charges

So, what have we learned?

We’ve learned that the church’s board thinks Pastor Mark Driscoll’s subhuman behavior has been submerged “for some time now.”

Meanwhile, the small above portion of the formal charges extends from far in the past through May of this year.

So, one side says Mark is a bullying jerk today, and the other side seems to be saying Mark hasn’t been a bullying jerk for a while, “for some time now.”

What does “for some time now” mean, and why did these allegedly godly men float such an ambiguous phrase?

Does it mean the board is lying on Driscoll’s behalf?

Does it mean the board members are trying to mislead anyone who would care to read their statement?

Are they using the phrase “for some time now” to give themselves an “out”?

For example, “We weren’t lying. We didn’t specify a particular length of time, so we’re cool.”

What is it that they say about the bad apple spoiling the bunch? Has Driscoll turned his entire board into replicas of himself?

Just remember — weasels use weasel words.

And weasels are more successful in politics and business than, say, those lame “let-your-yes-be-yes-and-your-no-be-no” types.

Whatever the reason behind such a vapid phrase, the church board should now be as discredited as Driscoll himself. The entire Mars Hill Church experiment deserves no greater regard than the sleaziest TV preacher’s donation hotline.

After all, Driscoll has plagiarized and bullied with the intent of maintaining a reputation as a godly man.

No sane person would stand by him. Even Tim Keller, quoted in the New York Times article, has been hit in the back of the head by discernment — after the fact, of course, as discernment never happens when anyone needs to avoid danger.

But what special powers of identifying danger after the disaster. Wow. That’s somethin’.

Kind of like Sovereign Grace Ministries, Inc., which allegedly had no discernment about pedophiles operating in their midst for years and years. I’m sure the Holy Spirit was awake and all, just not inside all those Specially Anointed Godly Men With Spiritual Authority Over Your Life.

I know, I know, I’m missing the real takeaway points here:

  • Might makes right
  • Will to power

Got it.

If only Driscoll were in elected office. Then he would face jail time. But since it’s Christianity, someone eventually will give him a pulpit again, along with more mechanisms to screw people.

It’s easier to forgive than to discern the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Oh praise the Lord and pass the bottle. I could be referring to Pepto Bismol, so you can’t say I meant alcohol — see, I can even learn from Mars Hill Church’s board.

Pastor Mark Driscoll

Plagiarist. Bully. It’s all about the Anti-Jesus.

Mars Hill Church staffers get six bully-free weeks; God has no comment


Today, Pastor Mark Driscoll announced he will be taking a six-week break from leadership at Mars Hill Church.

Thus, staffers, pastors, and elders have been provided, temporarily, with a bully-free environment.

But, as Driscoll has noted before, he is the brand, so who knows if the church, or God, can survive without him.

Heaven’s press officer, noting the Almighty’s long-standing bias toward Western Christianity, said The Lord will not be commenting on Driscoll today because this is his (relatively new) day of rest.

The press officer added that ever since America invented armed drones, God delegates the smiting of brown people during His nap times and vacations.

Pastor Mark Driscoll teaches you how to slander!


In this free document made available through the generous support of Warren Throckmorton, you’ll learn all of Pastor Mark Driscoll’s techniques on how to slander!

Pastor Mark Driscoll

Pastor Mark Driscoll

Below, you’ll find just a few quick tips and highlights from a manuscript compiled by 21 former pastors who didn’t want these nuggets of wisdom cast aside.

This collection is sure to become another Mark Driscoll New York Times Bestseller.

In these Driscoll originals, you’ll learn how to…

promote yourself

“You think you’re the Resurgence. But, you’re not the brand. I’m the brand!”

Stick to your convictions

“I don’t give a shit what you think.”

exercise strong leadership

“…his fat ass is not the image we want for our church.”

Take real action

“I’ll tear his church down brick by brick.”

And there’s more! Download the Formal Charges document today — and start learning Driscoll’s ruthless, self-promoting, anti-ecumenical, corporate approach to faith.

Remember — you must increase, and everyone else must decrease!

Justifiable skepticism: What did C.J. Mahaney really know, and when did he really know it?


As the Associated Baptist Press reported last week,

A former youth worker convicted of sexually abusing boys in the 1980s at a Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Maryland was sentenced Aug. 14 to 40 years in prison.

Nathaniel Morales, 56, was found guilty in May of abusing three boys from 1983 to 1991 while working in youth ministries and leading Bible studies at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Md.

The article ended with this note, which refers to Sovereign Grace Ministries founder C.J. Mahaney:

Leaders of Covenant Life initially said they had no knowledge of any abuse until many years after it occurred when an adult who had been victimized as a child came forward. During the Morales trial, however, Grant Layman, Mahaney’s brother-in-law and a former pastor at the church, testified that he knew of allegations against Morales 20 years ago but did not call police. [emphasis added]

That highlighted segment is exactly what casts suspicion on C.J. Mahaney. As Billy Graham’s grandson Tullian Tchividjian said back in May,

“Give me a break. These people, they’re family. Of course he knew,” Tchividjian told The Christian Post. “C. J. was, for many years, the micro-managing head of the organization and nothing happened under the umbrella of Sovereign Grace that he wasn’t made aware of, so for anyone to say, ‘Well he didn’t know,’ that’s totally naive.”

A separate civil lawsuit against Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Inc. (SGM), and affiliated ministers and churches, was filed last year.

The civil lawsuit named Mahaney and nine others individuals as defendants. (Morales was not named as a defendant in the civil suit.)

The primary accusation against Mahaney and the defendants is that they covered up sexual abuse and failed to alert police.

However, additional ministers are part of the plaintiffs’ stories of sexual abuse as detailed in the lawsuit.

Unfortunately, as the Washington Post reported back in June,

The claims [in the civil suit] have been dismissed largely because of statute of limitations reasons, but the lawyers have appealed and want to bring the claims back into play.

The details of the suit are graphic and disturbing. I could only read the first 18 pages of the 46-page suit before I had to stop. The particulars are disturbing and degrading.

The alleged perpetrators were involved in ministry. It’s the stuff of horror movies: How could such demonic animals touch a Bible or tolerate worship music?

I guess a crucifix is no match for a vampire.Lord_Vampire

Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) and its affiliates have been accused of more than sexual abuse, but accusations of spiritual abuse are less likely to wind up in court or receive coverage in the mainstream media.

But the chronicles of spiritual abuse have been documented and discussed on the website SGMSurvivors.com, which has archives going back to November 2007.

The founders of the website say they did not have an especially bad experience in their SGM-affiliated church, but they began to realize “SGM saw itself as set apart from the rest of the Christian world.”

SGM has been called a “cult” in at least two reports by WJLA, an ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C. (see here and here).

SGM-let_the_right_one_in02

A frame from the horror film ‘Let The Right One In.’

 

For Resurgence and Mars Hill Church, ‘unity’ is the new ‘touch not my anointed’


Here’s a screen grab of a Resurgence email I received Tuesday:

An email from Mars Hill Church and Resurgence (screengrab)

From an August 19, 2014 email sent from Resurgence, a ministry of Mars Hill Church.

Good, healthy unity and community are great practical analogies for Trinitarian theology. Love one another, someone famous said.

But like anything else that proceeds from the mouth of Pastor Mark Driscoll these days, one must consider the context of what is being said, and, unfortunately, suspect something other than God is motivating the message.

That’s because Driscoll has been caught in numerous instances of plagiarism, and 40-plus elders and many congregants have left the Mars Hill churches during the past three years, and former Driscoll associates like Ron Wheeler and Mike Anderson have revealed shocking information about working with the pastor.

So I find Driscoll’s appeal for “unity” to be little more than the manipulation of a biblical text for the purposes of keeping more people from leaving his church.

In several books detailing abuses of power and cult-style leadership within churches, authors have pointed out a biblical passage that has been manipulated by pastors and ministers:

“Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.”

The passage, found in the Old Testament books of First Chronicles and the Psalms, has been used by pastors and self-anointed prophets to maintain an unassailable control over their congregations and rebuff any critique.

Among the dozens of books analyzing that type of manipulation, I would most strongly suggest Twisted Scriptures by Mary Chrnalogar, By Hook or By Crook: How Cults Lure Christians by Harold Bussell, and Churches that Abuse by Ronald Enroth.

Now the questions for long-suffering members of Mars Hill churches are clear: Unity at what price? Dwelling together at what price?

 

As PM David Cameron admits James Foley’s executioner might be British, BBC’s 2006 series ‘The State Within’ comes to life


The BBC reports British Prime Minister David Cameron

has said it looks ‘increasingly likely’ a man thought to have been involved in a US journalist’s beheading is British, as UK police try to confirm the militant’s identity.

With that, I can’t help but think of my end-of-summer Netflix binge on the 2006 BBC series The State Within.

To me, The State Within was one part Homeland, one part House of Cards, and one part speculative fear of a sinister military-industrial complex that could straddle the Atlantic, with a foot in Washington, D.C., and a foot in London.

The series’ premise somewhat reflects today’s acknowledgment by Cameron.

In the series’ first episode, a British national, converted by Islamic extremists, manages to get an explosive device on a passenger jet and trigger its countdown via laptop just before the aircraft taxis for takeoff.

When the device explodes, the aircraft is above a busy D.C. roadway. Everyone on the aircraft, and several people in cars on the roadway, die.

Eventually, investigators realize the suspected bomber is a British national. The tensions between the U.S. and the U.K. build with dramatic effect.

Yet the 2006 series hinted at an underlying anxiety echoed in today’s comments from Cameron, who said, “This is not a time for a knee-jerk reaction.”

In other words, just as Jason Isaacs‘ character, Sir Mark Brydon, British ambassador to the U.S., must try to quell rising anti-British sentiment in The State Within, today Cameron tried to prevent it from starting.

The BBC report suggests Cameron is working hard to keep Great Britain from becoming associated with violent Islamic extremists — and to prevent British citizens from becoming enemies of the United States and the news media.

He also said the government would “redouble” efforts to stop Britons travelling to fight in Iraq and Syria.

Islamic State using cult brainwashing techniques


On NBC Nightly News this evening, Richard Engel interviewed an Belgian ex-soldier who rescued his own son from the grips of the Syrian militant group called Islamic State or Isis.

The ex-soldier’s son thought he would be helping Muslims, apparently in a charitable capacity.

But the Islamic State slowly drew the son into its agenda.

In the Nightly News report, the ex-soldier was shown making an incremental step toward Engel.

“You know, inside, step by step, they change the minds,” the ex-soldier said.

That could be a succinct explanation of how numerous cults, of many different stripes, turn recruits into foot soldiers, whether figuratively or literally.

I’m hoping NBC News will post the interview on their website.

Postscript to ‘the reality of pastoral gossip’ — a personal experience


After my sarcastic post a couple of days ago, I want to share a personal experience to demonstrate just how reckless some Christian pastors can be.

Some Christian pastors.

I started college at Western Carolina University, where I spent two years, Fall 1987 through Spring 1989.

(My first year, I was in Reynolds dorm, which had the advantage of being an older dorm with larger rooms, and the disadvantage of being pretty much at the high point of campus, and at a far edge.)

At the beginning of my freshman year, I attended a church and got involved with its college group.

I met a guy I’ll call A.J. Somehow we became buds, which was somewhat odd: I was a white freshman and he was a black upperclassman. (I try to remind myself that some churches can level social hierarchies and open racial barriers.)

Eventually, A.J. started to open up to me, and he had some real hurt and confusion.

He had shared some personal, private difficulties with the pastor of the church.

The conversation was supposed to have been in confidence, but the pastor told some other people on the church staff.

I realize I don’t know exactly what his difficulties were. I realize sometimes a private confession is scary enough to warrant alerting others. Ultimately I just don’t know, but I tend to doubt A.J.’s difficulties warranted sharing. Maybe they did.

Either way, the violation of trust did significant damage to A.J.

He started dropping by my room in the late afternoons and evenings. He would ask me, again and again, “Why? Why did he tell others?” Why, why, why.

A.J. was astounded, hurt, confused.

I was only 18 years old. With a September birthday, I had begun my freshman year as a 17-year-old. I knew less than nothing.

I tried to help A.J., lobbing weak suggestions at his grieved face, nothing I said finding purchase. He was going in circles, we were going in circles, stuck on the question of why the pastor had violated his trust.

My church back home was loosely affiliated with the church near campus. So at times, I even tried to play the pastor’s advocate. But A.J. would reason back at me — to him, there seemed no justification for the pastor to divulge the details of his conversation.

So many conversations. Then, A.J. disappeared for a while.

I welcomed the break. I couldn’t help him. All he did was talk and talk and share his misery. The relationship was becoming a burden to me. I didn’t want him to show up.

Right before he disappeared, I remember passing him in a dorm common area. He was shut down, turned inward, mumbling to himself, yet walking with purpose. It was strange, but he kept walking, and I didn’t want to get into another marathon conversation.

I later found out why he disappeared for a while. He had been in the hospital. He had tried to kill himself.

The night I had seen him mumbling to himself, he had taken a bunch of pills. Later that evening, he had placed his thick leather belt around his neck and tried to hang himself from the bunk bed in his dorm room.

I can’t say with any certainty that the pastor’s gossip, that his violation of confidence, was the direct cause of A.J.’s suicide attempt. He was already struggling. But the pastor’s gossip made it worse.

All this and the recent Ron Wheeler letter regarding Pastor Mark Driscoll makes me wonder what a good pastor really is.

Does a good pastor say the right doctrinal things?

Driscoll has been saying the right doctrinal things for his Reformed circles.

A.J.’s pastor was saying the right things for his church circles.

Does a good pastor have the right leadership skills?

Driscoll has had very good leadership skills for corporate America. He could get a legit NY Times bestseller by writing about gaining and keeping power.

A.J.’s pastor was dominant enough in his church circles to maintain a leadership position and a mantle of authority.

Yet what once grew later fell apart.

I thought, in the Christian faith, what genuinely grows never falls apart.
 
Ministeries falling apart, individuals falling apart
 

‘Just no': Viewers wish Chris Matthews would ‘suffocate on his white privilege’


Colin Foote Burch:

THE ONLY REASON this is funny? Because Chris Matthews is a consistently sanctimonious, more-righteous-than-thou parody of earnest, in-crowd, Northeastern liberals.

Originally posted on Twitchy:

“I’m a white guy,” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews for some reason chose to clarify Monday night as he returned from a week away to host “Hardball.” His “crazy defensive whiteness syndrome” was too much for some viewers, though.

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10 of Robin Williams’ Funniest Moments From Johnny Carson to His USO Tour


Colin Foote Burch:

Brilliant, hilarious, politically incorrect — an excerpt of Robin Williams at “Inside the Actors Studio.”

Originally posted on TIME:

“Comedy is acting out optimism,” Robin Williams is supposed to have said. That quote may be true or apocryphal, but as a comedian who became an Oscar-winning actor, he would know.

While Williams became better known as an actor, stand-up was his entrée into life on stage. His sets were fierce and fearless and wildly spontaneous, veering away from established routines at the drop of a hat, or the sight of a pocket camera, into new, hilarious territory. His jokes ranged from the oddball (“Do you think God gets stoned? I think so … look at the platypus”) to the quotidian (“The first time I tried organic wheat bread, I thought I was chewing on roofing material”) to the political (“You could talk about same-sex marriage, but people who have been married say ‘It’s the same sex all the time'”) — and he tackled all of them with the same…

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The reality of pastoral gossip, or, Pastor Mark Driscoll trains you in godly leadership


One of the great things about Christian leaders is their example.

You can learn from their examples. You can follow them as they follow Christ.

As Ron Wheeler notes in this open letter to Mark Driscoll, one trait of a godly leader is the ability to hold private disdain for those with whom you work in ministry.

Wheeler writes,

But then I listened as you slandered and maligned the men and women we worked with behind their backs -who though we didn’t agree with some of them theologically- were wonderful people, and never deserved to be spoken of, or treated the way you did. People who I know would have considered you a friend and have no idea how you really felt about them. I have personally tried to go back and apologize to people who were “kicked to the curb”, along the way, and yes, I do feel I was complicit to your actions; guilty by way of association and being silent.

For that, I could not be more sorry. [emphasis added]

Clearly, Ron Wheeler is bitter because he is not able to experience the freedom and grace to slander and malign others.

(I admit I have failed to understand freedom and grace so my faith is shaky. I realized if you tell me about someone else, you’ll probably tell someone else about me. Christianity is, more often than not, the last place for sharing personal matters. Just go to secular psychologists for confession — they have solid ethics.)

Another thing Wheeler failed to learn from Pastor Driscoll’s godliness is the wisdom of Machiavellian political maneuvering.

Again, Wheeler writes,

Then you involved yourself in our Eldership in a most irresponsible and reckless manner. In hindsight, it never should have gotten to that point, and I accept full responsibility for that, but what I needed was trustworthy, Biblical accountability, and instead I got slander, threats, and verbal abuse. We had good elders who were caught between a pastor dealing with personal and familial sin, and an outside accountability that was reckless, irresponsible and ultimately had a destructive influence on a once unified eldership. I know it all now. I’ve read the communication you had with the other elders behind my back. Ugly, slanderous, defaming lies, Mark. I thought you were my brother and you treated me like scum.

On March 17, 2005, I sent a letter of grievance to the Board of Acts29, asking them to address what I had come to realize over time, were serious character flaws of yours. I made the case that Biblically you were unfit and disqualified as an Elder. A case based off long established patterns of pride, lack of self-control, sexually vulgar and slanderous speech, exaggeration that bordered on deception, gossip about others and confidentiality issues. An excerpt from that letter stated: “The fact that Mark is an incredibly talented leader and charismatic personality, cannot in any way substitute for the simple Biblical requirements of being Christ-like, much less the qualifications of being an Elder. I can make a Biblical case from Titus regarding his being overbearing, quick-tempered, self-controlled, upright, and holy, as well as 1 Timothy regarding being above reproach, self-controlled, respectable, not quarrelsome, and a good reputation with outsiders”.

Not surprisingly, we got a response letter from the Board of Acts29 informing us that they would accept our resignation from Acts29, as we had made our continued participation in the network contingent upon their dealing with your issues. Apparently, they lacked the fortitude and resolve to deal with your out-of-control behavior, and so became complicit themselves. How the board of Acts29 abdicated their responsibility in this, is beyond my comprehension. In addition, I was heartbroken as there were so many guys in the network that I loved. Guys that I came to miss dearly over the next few painful, depressing years. You asked me not to contact any of the guys and be “divisive”. I never did, you know. When I finally did just recently, I discovered that you had completely misrepresented what happened in my situation. Thus, what I had seen you do to others, finally came full circle around to me. It sucked. I didn’t like it at all. [emphasis added]

Before I get to the Mark Driscoll Leadership Tips we can draw from this passage, I just want to thank the Lord for the way the Holy Spirit has led Pastor Driscoll and the members of Acts29 in Christ-like behavior, wisdom, and discernment. I’m grateful that the evangelical flock can look up to these men of character, integrity, and timely insight. I’m glad all those prayers for Driscoll and Acts29 were fruitful. We’re blessed because all that time in The Word bore fruit.

Now, the tips we can learn from Driscoll’s godly leadership.

One, if you feel like you’re called by God, tell any lie you feel necessary to protect the manifestation of that calling. Can I get an Amen? The manifestation of your calling is yours at any cost — because Jesus paid ALL costs. That is grace and freedom, bro — the will to power must also be the will to maintain power.

Two, when in a pinch, work your network. That’s why you go to conferences with members of the Evangelical All-Stars on the speaker lists. You’ve gotta have friends and connections. Look, say what you want about the Roman Catholics, but they’ve got this down-pat. How else do pedophile priests face accusations only to get new jobs in other parishes? They’ve got a killer network, man.

But as a Protestant, you accept no earthly authority — remember that. Say to yourself, “I accept no earthly authority.” It’s far more meaningful than that silly “Jesus prayer” repeated endlessly by Eastern Orthodox monks. You accept no earthly authority. When you face accusations, you just cash in your networking chips.

This method worked wonders for C.J. Mahaney, who got his famous pals to ignore concrete evidence and declare him righteous. They might as well have said, “He’s so well-networked with us, we can’t imagine him doing anything wrong.”

Books that can help you become a godly leader like Mark Driscoll

the-prince
Because “it is better to be feared than loved.”
Pastor Mark Driscoll certainly has been feared.
 
The-Art-of-War
“Appear weak when you are strong, strong when you are weak.”
That could be Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Ministry Motto. It’s also could be the recipe for both false humility and bullying.

UPDATE: PLEASE ALSO SEE “POSTSCRIPT TO ‘THE REALITY OF PASTORAL GOSSIP’ — A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

I. Am. Not. Anonymous.


Colin Foote Burch:

If you haven’t read this open letter by Ron Wheeler regarding his past experiences and close relationship with Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church, you really must read it.

Originally posted on ronwheelerjr:

Dear Mark Driscoll:

You were once one of my closest friends.

You were once my trusted mentor and benefactor.

You were once someone who preached the Gospel with a fierce and captivating passion and purity.

You were the one who inspired me to be a preacher… a church planter.

In 1996 I was working as a missionary in West Africa when my mom sent me a recording of you speaking at the Northwest Christian Education conference.  I was intrigued, captivated, and a bit disturbed by what I heard. You deconstructed my tidy neat little worldview and described the church as a mission outpost that exists between the gospel message and various cultures.  That message convinced me that I could be a missionary at home, and so I returned.

I started attending Mars Hill with my family, driving an hour each way from Mount Vernon down to Seattle.  Mars Hill was…

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Southern Christendom, as it was in the 1980s, is now, and evermore might be


Walker Percy knew how to capture the South, as well as American culture, within his characters and stories. In this passage near the end of his 1987 novel The Thanatos Syndrome, Percy’s narrator observes Southern-fried American Christianity through his wife and his region. I dare say his observations seem fresh today:

Later Ellen experienced a religious conversion. She became disaffected when the Southern and Northern Presbyterians, estranged since the Civil War, reunited after over a hundred years. It was not the reunion she objected to but the liberal theology of the Northern Presbyterians, who, according to her, were more interested in African revolutionaries than the divinity of Christ. She and others pulled out and formed the Independent Northlake Presbyterian Church.

Then she became Episcopalian.

Then suddenly she joined a Pentecostal sect. She tells me straight out that she has had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, that where once she was lost and confused, seduced by Satan and the false pleasures of this world, she has now found true happiness with her Lord and Saviour. She has also been baptized in the Holy Spirit. She speaks in tongues.

I do not know what to make of this. I do not know that she has not found Jesus Christ and been born again. Therefore I accept that she believes she has and may in fact have been. I settle for being back with us and apparently happy and otherwise her old tart, lusty self. She is as lusty a Pentecostal as she was a Southern Presbyterian. She likes as much as ever cooking a hearty breakfast, packing the kids off to school, and making morning love on our Sears Best bed, as we used to.

She loves the Holy Spirit, says little about Jesus.

She is herself a little holy spirit hooked up to a lusty body. In her case spirit has nothing to do with body. Each goes its own way. Even when she was a Presbyterian and I was a Catholic, I remember that she was horrified by the Eucharist: Eating the body of Christ. That’s pagan and barbaric, she said. What she meant and what horrified her was the mixing up of body and spirit, Catholic trafficking in bread, wine, oil, salt, water, body, blood, spit — things. What does the Holy Spirit need with things? Body does body things. Spirit does spirit things.

She’s happy, so I’ll settle for it. But a few things bother me. She attributes her conversion to a TV evangelist to whom she contributed most of her fortune plus a hundred dollar a week to this guy, which we cannot afford, or rather to his Gospel Outreach program for the poor of Latin America. I listened to this reverend once. He’d rather convert a Catholic Hispanic than a Bantu any day in the week.

She has also enrolled Tommy and Margaret in the Feliciana Christian Academy, which teaches that the world is six thousand years old and won’t have Huckleberry Finn or The Catcher in the Rye in the library.

At least it’s better than Belle Ame, and the kids seem happy and healthy.

But I worry about them growing up as Louisiana dumbbells.

I might have held out for the parochial school, which was good, but it folded. The nuns vanished. The few priests are too overworked to bother. Catholics have become a remnant of a remnant. Louisiana, however, is more Christian than ever, not Catholic Christian, but Texas Christian. Even most Cajuns have been converted, first by Texas oil bucks, then by Texas evangelists. The shrimp fleet, mostly born again, that is, for the third time, is no longer blessed and sprinkled by a priest.

Why don’t I like these new Christians better? They’re sober, dependable, industrious, helpful. They praise God frequently, call you brother, and punctuate ordinary conversation with exclamations like Glory! Praise God! Hallelujah! I’ve got nothing against them, but they give me the creeps.

– Walker Percy, from his novel The Thanatos Syndrome (1987)

Republican Group Rolls Out Fake News Websites


Colin Foote Burch:

Supporters will be angry. Opponents will chuckle. This propaganda campaign might backfire and lead a few voters to the other side.

Originally posted on TIME:

The National Republican Congressional Committee is getting into the local news business — at least until the midterm elections are over.

The NRCC has released a line of websites to attack Democratic candidates that have the look and feel of local news websites. The sites have names like “Central Valley Update” and “Augusta Update.” A box at the bottom of the page indicates the website is paid for by the NRCC. Some two dozen of the sites are now live.

“This is a new and effective way to disseminate information to voters who are interested in learning the truth about these Democratic candidates,” NRCC spokesperson Andrea Bozek said of the new line of sites. “While Democrats would rather hide their candidates and their reckless agenda, we believe voters deserve to know the facts.” Bozek added that the websites are not illegal.

The group drew criticism earlier…

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Speaking Out.


Colin Foote Burch:

An insightful, sober-minded assessment, from which I only excerpt small pieces (the entire post is available below):

‘And we’re not going to be just talking about Christians today, either. This is another one of those “human nature” things that don’t necessarily just happen in religion. But we will start there today.

‘When a group member (like a Christian) acts out, the first thing “the tribe” does is assess the seriousness of the charge. Is the charge, whatever it happens to be, serious enough to warrant ostracism? …

‘If the wolf’s predations get exposed (and that’s a big “if,” since many of these wolves’ prey refuse to entertain the idea that their shepherd is actually a wolf at all), there’s a good likelihood that the sheep will be castigated and shamed for objecting to there being a wolf in their pasture–and some of folks doing that shaming and castigation may even be some of those sheep.’

Originally posted on Roll to Disbelieve:

(Content notice: Religious abuse, and atheists being raging misogynists.)

In the wake of the Mark Driscoll fiasco, the Christian policing act has already begun. And I wanted to spend a little time today sharing why I think this policing act needs to stop, and why the fallout of this drama is such an important indicator of a group’s health and potential usefulness to humanity. And we’re not going to be just talking about Christians today, either. This is another one of those “human nature” things that don’t necessarily just happen in religion. But we will start there today.

Tróndur í Gøtu raises the hammer of Thor again...

Tróndur í Gøtu raises the hammer of Thor against the arrival of Christianity in the Faroes, on a 2000 stamp (Photo credit: Wikipedia). OH DON’T WE WISH THIS WERE TRUE.

When a group member (like a Christian) acts out, the first thing “the tribe” does is assess the seriousness of the charge…

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