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Defiance Family Fun Fest: Local Evangelicals Use ‘Fun’ to Evangelize Children

children choosing christ tent

If there is one thing I’ve learned about Evangelicals and conservative Christians, it is hard for them to get together and just have fun. Everything is a means to an end. It’s hip now for several local churches to go out in the community and “help” others. Dressed in their matching church advertisement shirts, out in the community they go to do good works for Jesus. Why is there a need to advertise the church or hand out printed materials with the church’s name on it? If it is all about Jesus, why not do these works anonymously? Instead, these social outreach programs are used as a means to evangelize and attract church members. While they certainly do some earthly good, the grand goal is to win souls to Jesus and increase the church roll.

Years ago, the churches I pastored sponsored numerous fun events for local teenagers. From all-nighters at the YMCA to roller skating and bowling, we would design activities sure to draw local teens. During every event we would have a time when we gathered everyone together and preach the gospel. You see, fun was not the objective, salvation was. Teenagers endured the preaching and high pressure evangelism because they knew that fun awaited them just beyond saying the sinner’s prayer.

Last Saturday was the inaugural Defiance Fun Fest. According to the Defiance Crescent-News (behind a paywall):

Several Defiance area churches are partnering with Ravens Care of Defiance to present the first ever Family Fun Fest, Aug. 1 from 4-7 p.m. at Diehl Park in Defiance…

Family Fun Fest is an opportunity for families to spend time together enjoying food, fun and friends, all for free. The event has been underwritten by the Defiance Police Officers Association, First Federal Bank, General Motors Defiance Casting Operations, Johns Manville, Midwest Community Federal Credit Union and The State Bank.

The idea started when Pastor Rick Rufenacht of First Church of God in Defiance talked with other pastors about working together on an event that would minister to people in the Defiance community. His church had done a similar family event the past six years, but he was looking for a greater impact on Defiance.

“I had attempted to get some pastors together to talk about doing ministry together and what that might look like,” said Rufenacht…

…Katye Katterheinrich, director of Ravens Care, loved the idea of a family event.

“There are so many adult events in our area, but this is an event geared toward families, and it’s free,” said Katterheinrich. “There are a lot of families that don’t get to go on vacation, that don’t get to go to the pool, that don’t always have these kind of opportunities. Ravens Care is supported by area churches, so working together on a family event with the churches, is really natural fit.”

Pastor Max Begley of Second Baptist Church in Defiance, is pleased to be a part of this event and the spirit of cooperation that has grown among the churches and with Ravens Care.

“Each individual church may not be able to do a family festival by itself because it may be limited by resources, so by coming together, we can do something better together that has a greater positive impact on the community,” said Begley. “Because Rick and his church had already been doing this, we agreed to work together to build on that, and once we did, it started coming together quickly.”

Several of my grandchildren attended the event.  According to the newspaper, Fun Fest included:

…large inflatable attractions, Zorbs, hot dogs, popcorn, sno cones, cotton candy, games, crafts by Lowes of Defiance, a karate demonstration, a demonstration from Iron Faith Fitness Center of Defiance, a photo booth, Defiance firemen and fire trucks, Defiance policemen and cruisers, Defiance County Sheriff’s Office, DARE and K-9 dogs.

What’s not to like, right? Sounds like a lot of fun and the proceeds went to support Ravens Care, a “Christian Ministry dedicated to meet needs in the community that are not being met by other agencies.”  I am all for any “ministry” or program that helps the least of these, but  works of charity should not be used a means to evangelize non-Christians. While Ravens Care, as far as I know, does not evangelize those they serve, the Family Fun Fest did.

Children were able earn coupons/tickets that could be turned in for rides on the inflatables. Guess what one of ways was that children could earn tickets?  Attending a gospel presentation at the ” ‘Choosing Christ’ tent for kids, (a program) designed to allow kids to learn the gospel message.” Hey kiddies, want to earn some tickets so you can go play on the big, fun rides? Just sit here and let us tell you about Jesus. As any adult who was evangelized like this as a child will tell you, what’s a little preaching and praying when you get to play games and do fun stuff when you are done. Dear Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I know you died on the cross to save me from my sins. Come into my heart and save me. In Jesus name, Amen. Tickets please!

I did a cursory Google search for the Children Choosing Christ tent and I found out that this tent is used to evangelize at NW Ohio fairs and special events. While I was unable to find out what group or person owned the tent, I was told that the preaching in the tent was decidedly Evangelical, geared to evangelizing and converting impressionable children. In any other context we would consider such behavior predatory and harmful.

John Piper and Satan: Equating Homosexuality with Enslaving and Raping Girls

satan

The supernatural monster who orchestrates the kidnapping, enslaving, and thousand-fold drugging, selling, raping, and killing of girls around the globe, is the same one who has masterminded the murderous cultural delusion — from the highest court to the lowest porn-flick — that the practice of sodomy is delightful, not deadly. John Piper, August 3, 2015

Charismatic Calvinist and Christian hedonist John Piper recently said Satan, a fictional being from the Christian Bible, is out to deceive and destroy the masses. But praise be to Jesus, we have John Piper, former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, watching out for us and ever ready to let us know what this fictional Satan is up to.

Like many fundamentalists, Piper is enraged over the recent U.S Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. What this decision has done is flush out the homophobes and bigots. Unable to contain their outrage, preachers such as Piper expose for all the world to see the hate that lies underneath their theological beliefs:

Lie: “. . . the practice of sodomy is delightful, not deadly.” Behind all the relational descriptions of so-called same-sex marriage is the unspoken fact of “anal or oral copulation,” and in particular, “copulation with a member of the same sex.” That’s the dictionary.com definition of sodomy.

Someone will say: Choosing that word signifies your belligerence toward people with same-sex attraction. No, it signifies my hatred for what can destroy people with same-sex attraction. What destroys people is not same-sex attraction, but the lie that same-sex copulation is delightful, and not deadly.

What is truly belligerent is the promotion of shameful acts as beautiful acts. Belligerent is the right word, because the Bible says that you should “abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11). So those who encourage the indulgence of these passions (whatever they are) are making war on souls — they are literally belligerent.

The word sodomy has two advantages: it refers to the act of same-sex copulation, not same-sex orientation; and it still carries the stigma of shamefulness. Those who love people with same-sex attraction should want to preserve the stigma of shameful practices which destroy them — just as we should try to preserve the stigma of stealing and perjury and kidnapping, and fornication, and adultery. It is a gracious thing when a culture puts signs in front of destructive behaviors that read: Don’t go there; it is shameful.

…Lie: “. . . the practice of sodomy is delightful, not deadly.” The second word in this sentence that may be twisted is “practice.” When the Bible links “men who practice homosexuality” with “thieves,” and says that neither will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9–10), it is important to note two crucial things.

One is that the warning is not sounded against those who are tempted to steal, but who practice stealing — thieves. Similarly the warning is sounded not against those who are tempted to practice homosexuality, but against those who actually do practice it. To be sure, there are all kinds of inward heart-lusts that are sinful, but the focus here is on the practice…

…Lie: “. . . the practice of sodomy is delightful, not deadly.” The third word in this sentence that may be twisted is “deadly.” I am not referring to AIDS or to hate-crimes against people with same-sex attraction. I hate hate-crimes, and I would love to see a cure for AIDS. I am not talking about the painful fallout of sodomy in this world — as real as that is (Romans 1:27).

I am talking about “the second death.” All unforgiven and unforsaken sin is deadly in this sense. It leads to the second death. “As for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8)…

While Piper would like to be thought of as a man who desires to love homosexuals all the way to Jesus, his insistence on using the word sodomy reveals what he really thinks about homosexuals. He knows this word  is patently offensive, yet he uses it anyway. How then is John Piper any different from the Phelps clan and Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas? Just because Piper doesn’t stand of a street corner with a sign that says God Hates Fags doesn’t mean he disagrees with the sentiment.

Piper, like the Phelps clan and Al Mohler, is a Calvinist. The Calvinist God has the world divided into two categories, elect and non-elect, saved and lost. Since Romans 1 intimates that homosexual behavior is a sign of a reprobate mind, why not just come out and say God Hates Fags? Instead, Piper pretends to have love for the sodomites’ souls, deeply desiring to see them come to Jesus:

…In other words, not all practice of sin excludes from the kingdom of God. “All sins will be forgiven the children of man” (Mark 3:28). The sins that exclude from heaven are the sins we keep on pursuing without regarding them as God-dishonoring, and without seeking forgiveness through Jesus, and without making war on them as the enemies of our souls….

…For all those who trust in Christ, Satan is disarmed (Colossians 2:15), because the only thing that condemns us in God’s court is unforgiven sin. And in Christ, sins are forgiven (Acts 10:43). Satan’s accusations against Christians come to nothing. “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” (Romans 8:33).

Therefore, we have the happiest and most horrible news in the world. In Christ there is light and freedom and life. Outside there is darkness and bondage and death. Failure to name the beauty of the light and the dreadfulness of the darkness is an abdication of truth and love…

According to Piper, there will be no homosexuals in heaven. Since our eternal destiny is predestined by God and no homosexual shall inherit the kingdom of God, doesn’t this mean God predetermined that the homosexual would have same-sex attraction?

Piper may say he loves the sodomite, but his theology tells a different story. Surely Piper would agree that the Christian should love what God loves and hate what God hates. Does God hate homosexuals? Does God hate same-sex anal sex but not heterosexual anal sex? Does God hate same-sex oral sex but not heterosexual oral sex? Why does God hate the one and not the other?

Here’s what I think. John Piper is a 69-year-old man who can’t wrap his fundamentalist mind around two men loving each other and desiring to have sex. Like many men of his generation, the very thought of homosexual sex repulses him, and since it does this means God also must be repulsed by it. The Bible gives Piper cover for hating what he can not or will not understand.

Like others of his ilk, Piper thinks “sodomy” is akin to “kidnapping, enslaving, and thousand-fold drugging, selling, raping, and killing of girls.” Here’s an educated man who can’t qualitatively tell the difference between two people of the same-sex loving each other and enslaving and raping girls. I am at a loss as to how to respond to such stupidity.

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On the Road Looking for God’s True Church

I am always on the lookout for church signs or public advertisements of Evangelical/Fundamentalist/Conservative Roman Catholic belief. What follows are a few photographs I shot while traversing the back roads of Paulding, Defiance, and Hancock County. Enjoy!

proud american christian

This person is a PROUD American Christian, as is Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

forbidden fruit

Photograph of Ottawa Missionary Church sign in Ottawa, Ohio. I have previously posted a photo of this church’s sign.

improvement

Photograph of Melrose United Methodist Church sign in Melrose, Ohio. My first response to the message, improvement begins with I? So does intercourse and intoxication.

jesus reason for season

Jesus is the reason for WHICH season? It’s against the rules of engagement for the War Against Christmas® to put up such a sign before Thanksgiving!

woe to those who call evil good

Sign in front of rural Hispanic church. It is safe to assume that this message refers to the recent U.S. Supreme Court  decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Holy Spirit Tells Jeremiah Johnson That Donald Trump is the Trumpet of God

donald trump

According to the CHARISMA website, Jeremiah Johnson is a prophetic minister. In other words, God talks directly to Johnson. Johnson, an elder at Heart of the Father Ministry in Lakeland, Florida, recently heard from God about Donald Trump: (link no longer active)

Trump shall become My trumpet to the American people, for he possesses qualities that are even hard to find in My people these days. Trump does not fear man nor will he allow deception and lies to go unnoticed. I am going to use him to expose darkness and perversion in America like never before, but you must understand that he is like a bull in a china closet. Many will want to throw him away because he will disturb their sense of peace and tranquility, but you must listen through the bantering to discover the truth that I will speak through him. I will use the wealth that I have given him to expose and launch investigations searching for the truth. Just as I raised up Cyrus to fulfill My purposes and plans, so have I raised up Trump to fulfill my purposes and plans prior to the 2016 election. You must listen to the trumpet very closely for he will sound the alarm and many will be blessed because of his compassion and mercy. Though many see the outward pride and arrogance, I have given him the tender heart of a father that wants to lend a helping hand to the poor and the needy, to the foreigner and the stranger.”

Well, one thing is for sure…Donald Trump is a blowhard, the next Herb Alpert of God’s brass band of fools.

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Dear Mrs. Evangelical, If Your Husband Has a Porn Habit It’s Your Fault

symptoms of porn addiction
Does this describe you? Then you are a porn addict!!

Just when I think Evangelicals have run out of ways to blame women for the weaknesses of men, I stumble across another “blame the woman” article. In an article titled What Women Don’t Understand About Men Who Struggle With Pornography, Jennifer LeClaire, senior editor at Charisma Magazine, interviewed social researcher Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross, the founder of xxxchurch.com:

Charisma News: What do women not understand?

Feldhahn: In general, women are largely unaware of what men are confronted with every day in this culture. Because we are wired differently, we don’t realize that when a man sees a woman who is dressing to overtly draw attention to a good figure, it creates an instant sexual stimulation and temptation in his brain. Even if he doesn’t want that to happen!

And many men make rigorous choices every day to look away, and take those thoughts captive. They fight down the temptation to look, and to let their thoughts go in sexual directions. But other men have gotten pretty weary of the struggle and have made poor choices. And they feel shame that they are trapped, are hiding it and don’t know how to get free.

Charisma News: Why will a woman’s ability to understand help solve the problem of porn?

Feldhahn: In my research over the years I’ve seen that if a husband is struggling with just being visual in this culture, or is actually struggling with porn in some way it is almost impossible for him to get free of it if his wife doesn’t understand or if she doesn’t see why he would even have this temptation, and isn’t supportive of him as her husband. If she’s condemning and furious instead, it certainly may be an understandable reaction—but it definitely won’t incentivize him to open up. And a man needs to open up, to get help.

Gross: We tell women that everything from everyday visual temptation all the way to hard-core porn use will only become more of a problem when it is hidden. Men have to be willing to be vulnerable and open. We have to be willing to bring stuff into the light in order to work on it.

Some men do talk about it with other guys. But in this book, we share with women that the only way a man is going to be willing to talk about it with his wife, is if it’s safe. And it is only going to feel safe if she can talk about it with him, without freaking out. But right now many men assume their wives will freak out, so they stay silent. So they stay trapped. I’m not blaming women for this, mind you. The guy should be willing to open up to other guys. But all too often, his wife is the only person he shares his heart with. So in practice, this becomes the one area that he doesn’t talk about with anyone.

Feldhahn: I’ve heard many a man say he wouldn’t dare to talk about this with his wife … but only because “she wouldn’t understand.” I haven’t found a single man who has said he doesn’t want his wife to understand. Most men said if she could somehow understand, he would actually love to know that she was on his team. That he could talk to her. That this stuff didn’t have to be hidden anymore. Honestly, that is huge.

Gross: Think about the vast difference it would make if men didn’t need to fight this battle on their own, in the dark. If they could talk about it with their wives. Getting women up to speed on this and enlisting them as partners is critical…

Once again, it’s up to a woman, a man’s wife, to help a man find the “victory” over porn. Few within the Evangelical community bother to ask if porn addiction is even a thing. Like with any behavior, someone can become obsessed and it becomes some sort of addiction. However, most men are able to look at porn without any deleterious effect. Evangelical men are told viewing porn is a sin, a habit that can only be broken through the mighty power of Jesus. Perhaps, it’s religion that’s the problem. Instead of lading guilt and fear of judgement on the heads of men, how about telling them that it is healthy and normal to view adult pornography?  At the very least, couples should have a frank, open discussion about pornography and sexual expectations. If the person’s spouse is OK with them viewing porn, and yes women watch porn too, then they no longer have to slink off to the darkness of the closet with their iPad so they can watch the latest video on YouPorn.

Puritanical morality continues to drive the debate over pornography and behaviors traditionally labeled sexual sins. As a result, both men and women often feel guilt and fear when engaging in behaviors the Bible and Pastor Bubaloo call a sin. This leads to an unhealthy view of sex and marriage and often leads to mistrust in a marriage.

Notes

When I use the word porn, I am referring to adult pornography that is recorded by consenting adults. I am a libertarian when it comes to sexuality. What consenting adults do in private is of no concern of mine, nor should it be the concern of the government.

I consider marriage to be a contract between two people. Each party must agree to the sexual parameters of the marriage. For example, a wife might say, I have no problem with you watching porn, but don’t expect me to be a sexual gymnastics performer. A husband might say, if you want to watch Magic Mike down at Chippendale’s, that’s fine. Just don’t expect me to bust a move like Magic Mike.

Get Right With God,Consult the Bible When Making A Decision, and Keep America Communist Free,

Now that’s a headline. What follows are photographs I shot while out and about in rural NW Ohio.

get right with god

High Resolution Photo

I found this sign along U.S. Hwy 127 south of Sherwood, Ohio.  Recently, the Defiance Crescent-News featured an article written by Isaiah Ross about this sign:

Along U.S. 127 and Paulding County Road 424 is a cross that simply states: “Get right with God.” Amid word that the beloved cross would be removed, the past few weeks have been filled with heated emotional debate.

The cross was to be picked up by the American Sign Museum located in Cincinnati, whose founder Tod Swormstedt said the acquisition was supposed to be a birthday surprise from his girlfriend, Nancy Herbert. Herbert’s friend Cate O’Hara was heading up to Bryan with her daughter when she noticed the sign off the side of the road. O’Hara, knowing Swormstedt’s involvement with the American Sign Museum, contacted Herbert to inform her of the cross. The surprise was reportedly ruined when Swormstedt was notified of it after a local newspaper ran a historic account of the cross last week. However, Thursday morning, he received news that the sign was no longer available for pickup.

The cross was placed there by Rev. Harrison Mayes around 1966 in his journeys throughout the country. Mayes took to working in the coal mines at a young age, and when he was a young man, an accident caused him to be trapped in a mine. He prayed and prayed to God, vowing to live the rest of his life in God’s service if he survived the predicament.

His prayers were answered. Mayes made it through to fulfill his side of the covenant, so he took to his bike and used his building skills to construct, paint, and place his signs where he saw fit.

Through the course of his life, Mayes made many signs, each of which is large enough to be easily seen and read from the road. All of them share a similar message of being prepared and getting saved. Several signs stand erect in the greater region around his home in Fork Ridge, Tenn., but they are present in 22 different states. Some are as far north as northwest Ohio, where locals have seen the Cecil area cross and one that used to be near Antwerp before an accident destroyed it. As he knew his days were coming to a close, he began writing on his signs where he wanted them placed, in hopes someone would continue the efforts of his lifelong promise…

Across the road from the Get Right With God sign I found this billboard:

decision to make

High Resolution Photo

Isn’t it good to know that the Bible is a one-stop shop for all your decision-making needs. Need to decide what to make for dinner? Check the Bible? Need to know if brown shoes go with blue slacks? I’m sure that the billboard owner has a more spiritual intent in mind, something along the lines of getting saved.

Tuesday, Polly and I drove to Fort Wayne to attend the Dayton Dragons vs. Fort Wayne Tin Caps baseball game. I’ve been battling an upper respiratory infection for the past week or so, and by the time we got to the stadium I was in no shape to sit in 93 degree heat and watch a game. So we turned around and came home. Here’s a sign I photographed on a country road outside of Antwerp, Ohio.

keep america communist free

High Resolution Photo

Ah yes, Joseph McCarthy lives on.

Please click the high-resolution links to see photo full size. Most photos on this site are resized to 600×400, resulting in 60-90% reduction in size. This reduction flattens and softens most photos. I hate it, I mean I really, really, really hate it, but you’d hate it even more if I uploaded all my photos as shot and it took 5 minutes for the site to load. If you would like to save, print, or use one of my photos, please use the high-resolution photos. Any noncommercial use is permitted.

 

Pastor Bo Wagner Says A World Governed by the Bible Would be Wonderful

atheists read the bible

Bo Wagner, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, Mooresboro, North Carolina, thinks the world would be a great place if everyone would just read the Bible and put it into practice:

The guidance found in the Bible does not work. Not because it is flawed, but because it is no longer even known. Society seems to have latched on to exactly two words from the Bible — “judge not” — and appears fairly oblivious to everything else within its pages.

That is a shame, because the counsel of Scripture actually does work when it is known and applied. And that brings my mind to an intriguing question: What if everyone knew about and applied the actual words of Scripture?

What if, for instance, every time someone is offended over a flag or a symbol or a mascot or some unintentional slight, we taught and applied the words of Psalm 119: 165: “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Can you imagine the blessing of a society that is no longer professionally offended at almost everything?

What if each and every time a white who is racist against blacks or a black who is racist against whites had people of their own color quoting the words of Acts 10:34-35 to them: “God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Can you imagine how quickly racism would go away if people used the words of Scripture to confront racists of their own color?

What if nations, especially ours, were forced to live within their means by a country full of people demanding adherence to sound scriptural principles of money management, such as having to live on a budget rather than on credit? Jesus said in Luke 14:28-30: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”

If people of every creed and color and political party refused to ever elect anyone who ran a nation on credit, imagine the fiscally sound country we would have to leave our children and grandchildren.

What if every preacher suddenly remembered that one of his jobs is to do as God commanded Isaiah in Isaiah 58:1: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”

Every preacher in the Bible, Old or New Testament, Jesus included, preached against sin. Jesus told a woman involved in sexual sin to “sin no more.” Imagine how clean and right our society could be if preachers stopped behaving as celebrities and instead started crying aloud against sin again.

What if every Christian started obeying Psalm 101:3: “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” What if they turned off every filthy commercial and refused to shop at business who use them? What if they ceased to look at any form of pornography? What if they refused to allow impurity in their hearts through the eye gate? How much more power of God would be upon us.

And what if every Christian started living as if he believes that Jesus actually could come back today? He told us in John 14:3: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” How “Christ-like” would Christians actually be if they lived every day with the realization that it could be today?…

Wagner, a professor at Carolina Bible College, an unaccredited King James-only institution, thinks the Bible is the cure for what ails us. If we would just start reading and obeying the King James Bible, all would be well. Wagner thinks the controversy over racist mascots, the confederate flag, and the Black Lives Matter campaign could easily be solved if those who are offended would just stop being offended. In other words, let the racists do what they want. Wagner thinks that if more preachers preached against sin, there would be less sin. How’s that working out? In uncounted Baptist churches known for their stand against sin, accusations of sexual misconduct, theft, and child molestation have been levied against pastors, choir leaders, deacons, Sunday school teachers, and everyday, run-of-the-mill Christians. It seems that the word of God provides no inoculation from sin. If Christians can’t/won’t live by the teachings of the Bible, why should the rest of us?

I seriously doubt Wagner wants non-Christians to just pick up the Bible and start reading it. Doing so would likely lead people to believe things that Wagner and his fellow Evangelicals consider heretical or sinful. Incest, rape, polygamy, murder, genocide, and slavery, to name a few, find support in the book Wagner wants everyone to read. I suspect what he really means is that he wants everyone to read the Bible through his Evangelical interpretive grid. Just reading the Bible without wearing Wagner Interpretive Glasses®  is not advised.

I actually agree with Wagner. I wish EVERY Christian would take the time to read the Bible from cover to cover. With a skeptical, critical eye, every Christian should read every word in the Good Book. Don’t ask a religious leader to guide you. Just read it. Don’t try to parse it though a particular sect’s interpretive lens. Just read it. Make a list of the things you didn’t know were in the Bible. Make a list of things that don’t make sense or offend your moral sensibilities. When finished, take your double-sided ten-page list to your pastor and ask him to answer your questions. Tell him you want answers, not faith.

And let the fun begin . . .

Notes

Carolina Bible College is affiliated with Macedonia Baptist College (link no longer active) and Bright Light Baptist Church. I found the websites for these entities not only to be poorly designed, but quite confusing. While Carolina Bible College does offer a handful of on-site classes, everything else is done through correspondence and online.  Undergraduate work is $15 a credit hour, postgraduate work is $30. The school offers up to 64 credit hours for life experience. The fee for life experience is $7.50 per credit. You can find the college’s handbook/catalog here (link no longer active).

Word of Mouth Publishers (link no longer active) is the publishing ministry of Bo Wagner. According to the ABOUT (link no longer active) page, Wagner has a doctorate from Carolina Bible College.

Bo Wagner Twitter.

Friendly Atheist article on Bo Wagner.

Roll to Disbelieve article on Bo Wagner.

2012 Shelby Star article on Bo Wagner.

Why Catholic Millennials are Leaving the Church

catholic church

Millennials, those born between 1981-2000, (there is some debate over the exact time frame) now ages 15 to 34, are less religious than their parents and grandparents. Why they are remains a subject of intense debate. Regardless of the reasons why, millennials are less likely to be a part of an organized religion than earlier generations. According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, nones, those who are not affiliated with any religion, continue to increase numerically. 55 million Americans are now a none.  Granted, this is still a small percentage of the total U.S. population, but 34-36% of millennials are a none, compared to just 17% of their parents and 11% of their grandparents.

While the media tends to focus on millennials leaving Evangelical sects and churches, the Catholic church also has a millennial problem. Kaya Oakes, a writer for Religion Dispatches and a one time atheist who returned to the Catholic church of her youth,  had this to say about the Catholic church and millennials:

A new survey from Catholics for Choice on the opinions of Catholic millennials as regards doctrinal issues might make the church’s traditionalists want to brace themselves. But its findings are also somewhat unsurprising to anyone who spends time around younger Catholics, whose political and social leanings mirror the open-minded stances of their increasingly non-religious peers.

Birth control and abortion, arguably the Catholic church’s most contentious issues, are not always perceived in a negative light by young Catholics. Among those polled, more than half say abortion should be legal in “almost all” or “most” cases, and 31 percent say it should be legal in “just a few” cases. Only 17 percent say it should be illegal. 78 percent say birth control should be included in insurance coverage, no matter where a woman works.

In spite of the widely mocked Catholic Vote video of young people “coming out” as believing that marriage is between a man and a woman, marriage equality is embraced by Catholic millennials. 69% “strongly” or “somewhat” support legal same-sex marriage.

In the wake of the firing of multiple Catholic school teachers who are openly gay or lesbian or married to a same-sex partner, and the ensuing grappling over Catholic teacher contracts that explicitly prevent teachers from being open about their sexuality, younger Catholics have chosen the side of the teachers. 71% say Catholic schools should not be able to fire teachers for being LGBTQ. On gender in the church, Catholic millennials follow similar thinking, with 75% supporting women having an equal role in the church.

Pope Francis is popular among young Catholics, with only two percent having a negative view of him. But the American church hierarchy is not looked on so kindly, and there is an increasing emphasis on a separation between politics and religion. A full 80 percent of respondents said they felt no need to follow the bishops’ advice when it comes time to vote, and 77 percent said Catholic politicians were under no obligation to follow the bishops either.

They are also opposed by a wide margin to bishops withholding communion to the divorced and remarried, those who support legal abortion, and those who support marriage equality.

What’s missing from this survey, however, is the question of church attendance. How much are these Catholics who disagree with and question church teaching are actually showing up? Christian Smith, the head of the National Study of Youth and Religion at Notre Dame, says the situation with Catholic millennials participating in church culture is “in fact, grim.” Only 16% of millennials self-identify as Catholic according to Pew. That 16% is the group the church is struggling to hold on to.

So if they are increasingly choosing the liberal side in the culture wars, are they really still Catholic?…

…What is clear, however, is that the more young Catholics start to embrace marriage equality, safe and legal abortion, access to contraception, and the liberal side on many other issues in the culture wars, the more of those same Catholics will also drift away from a church they perceive as incapable of change.

Perhaps they’ll attend mass on occasion, and perhaps they’ll still call themselves Catholic, but in many ways, their faith will be a loose garment rather than a straightjacket.

growth of religiously unaffiliated 2014

age breakdown nones 2014

Songs of Sacrilege: Jesus is My Friend by Sonseed

This is the fortieth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Jesus is a Friend of Mine by Sonseed, an American Roman Catholic pop band formed at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn, New York in the late 1970s.

Video Link

Lyrics

Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
I have a friend in Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.

He taught me how to live, my life as it should be.
He taught me how to turn my cheek when people laugh at me.
I’ve had friends before, and I can tell you that, He’s one who will never leave you flat.

Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
I have a friend in Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.

He taught me how to pray, and how to save my soul.
He taught me how to praise my God and still play rock and roll.
The music may sound different but the message is the same.
It’s just the instruments who praise His name.

Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
I have a friend in Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is a friend of mine.

Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is a friend of mine.

Once I tried to run, I tried to run and hide.
But Jesus came and found me and He touched me down inside.
He is like mountie, He always gets His man, and He’ll zap you any way he can.
Zap.

Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
I have a friend in Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.

He loves me when I’m right, He loves me when I’m wrong.
He loves me when I waste my time by writing silly songs.
He loves me when I’m quiet and I have nothing to say.
He’ll love me when I’m perfect if I ever get that way.
Whooo!

Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
I have a friend in Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
I have a friend in Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
J-J-J-Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.

Songs of Sacrilege: Spirit in the Sky by Gareth Gates

This is the thirty-ninth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Spirit in the Sky by Gareth Gates, an English singer-songwriter.

Video Link

Lyrics

When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that’s the best
When I lay me down to die
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go to the place that’s the best.

Prepare yourself you know it’s a must
Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die
He’s gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go to the place that’s the best.

Never been a sinner I never sinned
I got a friend in Jesus
So you know that when I die
He’s gonna set me up with
The spirit in the sky
Oh set me up with the spirit in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go to the place that’s the best
Oh

Set me up to the Spirit in the Sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go to the place that’s the best
Goin’ on up to the Spirit in the Sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go to the place that’s the best
Go to the place that’s the best
Go to the place that’s the best
Go to the place that’s the best.

Songs of Sacrilege: Leper Messiah by Metallica

This is the thirty-eighth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Leper Messiah by Metallica.

Video Link

Lyrics

Spineless from the start, sucked into the part
Circus comes to town, you play the lead clown
Please, please
Spreading his disease, living by his story
Knees, knees
Falling to your knees, suffer for his glory
You will

Time for lust, time for lie
Time to kiss your life goodbye
Send me money, send me green
Heaven you will meet
Make a contribution
And you’ll get a better seat
Bow to Leper Messiah

Marvel at his tricks, need your Sunday fix
Blind devotion came, rotting your brain
Chain, chain
Join the endless chain
Taken by his glamour
Fame, Fame
Infection is the game, stinking drunk with power
We see

Time for lust, time for lie
Time to kiss your life goodbye
Send me money, send me green
Heaven you will meet
Make a contribution
And you’ll get a better seat
Bow to Leper Messiah

Witchery, weakening
Sees the sheep are gathering
Set the trap, hypnotize
Now you follow

Time for lust, time for lie
Time to kiss your life goodbye
Send me money, send me green
Heaven you will meet
Make a contribution
And you’ll get a better seat

Lie
Lie
Lie
Lie
Lie
Lie
Lie
Lie

Songs of Sacrilege: Holier Than Thou by Metallica

This is the thirty-seventh installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Holier Than Thou by Metallica.

Video Link

Lyrics

No more!
The crap rolls out your mouth again
Haven’t changed, your brain is still gelatin
Little whispers circle around your head
Why don’t you worry about yourself instead

Who are you? Where ya been? Where ya from?
Gossip is burning on the tip of your tongue
You lie so much you believe yourself
Judge not lest ye be judged yourself

Holier than thou
You are
Holier than thou
You are

You know not

Before you judge me take a look at you
Can’t you find something better to do
Point the finger, slow to understand
Arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand

It’s not who you are it’s who you know
Others lives are the basis of your own
Burn your bridges build them back with wealth
Judge not lest ye be judged yourself

Holier than thou
You are
Holier than thou
You are
You know not

Yeah
Who the hell are you?

Hey you

Holier than thou
You are
Holier than thou
You are

You know not
Know not