Friday Challenge — Reveal Your Secrets!

Hidden Properties -- Reveal your Secrets!
No actual slight to Johnny Hart, Brant Parker, the King, or the Wizard of Id is intended…

Reveal Your Secrets!

Owing to their extraordinary spiritual perception, Independent Fundamental Baptist pastors frequently are able to discern the manifestation of dark powers in surprisingly benign sources …

Friday Challenge:

Where has your [or some] IFB pastor, writer, evangelist or speaker discovered spiritual evil in otherwise unsuspected sources? Have fun!

 

Inaugural Prayers

inaugural prayers

During the revolutionary war, a cleric delivered a fiery message about liberty. At the conclusion, he threw off his black clerical robe to reveal a uniform. He led his congregation out the door to join the patriots in fighting united empire loyalists.

For all the talk about church/state separation, faith leaders and politicians in the US have always looked to each other for support. Of course, that is different from the church forming a constitution or government for the state. It is also different than the state forming a creed or polity for the church. But the symbiosis has always been there.

The coming invocation of President-elect Donald Trump is no different. The word is that there will be a plethora of ‘faith leaders’ on hand to bask in the earthly glory of the event. No doubt, good, ‘separated’ [whatever THAT means] fundamentalists will cheer this as a good thing.

Friday Challenge:

Today’s challenge is to offer a few thoughts as to WHAT should be prayed at the upcoming Presidential inauguration. Earthly power, wealth and glory? Victory and the destruction of all our enemies? The establishment of US freedom/hegemony? Peace and Justice? The grace of God’s kingdom?

Perhaps clergy should boycott the inauguration.

In this context, what does faithfulness ‘look like?’

Obligatory New Year’s Resolution Sermons

obligatory-new-years-resolution-sermons

In fundieland, new years’ resolution sermons are as predictable as a new calendar itself. But in some cases, calendar reading will be more inspiring.

Since IFBs follow no acknowledged liturgy, and since next Lord’s Day is also New Years’ Day, in addition to prayers that Emperor-elect Caligula will make Babylon great again, I expect more than a few IFB New Years’ Resolutions sermons of varying quality will be heard. To my knowledge, there is no exegetical basis for linking calls to deeper commitment to God with the secular calendar. This doesn’t mean that IFBs won’t ‘find’ them.

No IFB pastor I know says that we can be perfect. But I’d guess that more than a few secretly believe we should be striving for it anyway. And as there is always room for progress, so there is always room for ‘guilt’ because we’re less than perfect. So you have a basis for a resolution! And if not for the new year — when? Can you think of a better time?

New years’ resolutions sermons needn’t name specific sins. Hearing the MoG say ‘YOU know…’ is enough to free the imagination to embrace all kinds of resolutions. And if you don’t adopt at least a few, you clearly lack any sense of resolve. So again, And you have a perfectly fine resolution!

A standard Pauline list of vices also gives plenty of material to coax or direct the law/guilt ridden member. And with youths just entering puberty, there is always:

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You’ [Ps 119:9-11].

YOU know…

Oh, and don’t leave out the women either. Some of them can be desperate sinners! Then there are the ghosts of failed New Years past resolutions. Thankfully, IFB pastors will never lack abundant issues about which to make the dirty feel dirtier and the guilty, guiltier.

Friday Challenge:

Since IFB pastors are so good at dishing out new years’ resolutions, they should have some fortitude to hear a few of their own. And since local IFB preachers are often inclined to ‘guide’ you to find the resolutions which must suit you, YOU get to design some resolutions for your fundie pastor.

This can concern professional issues such as how he uses his time, how he practices accountability in the congregation, how he serves God in calling, doing general pastoral work, calling on the sick and dying, ministering to the bereaved, relates to the community, etc. Or address his relationship to his wife and family and/or young women in the faith community.

Also fair game is how gracefully pastor accepts criticism, or whether he accepts criticism, how he responds if challenged on a point of theology or practice or politics. It can even be on how pastor represents Christ to the community, including how he addresses identity issues such as gender, race, origins or employment status.

This year, pastor should resolve …

Let him have it … er … have at it!

Friday Challenge — IFB Honky Tonk

Yesterday’s post resurrected the oft-heard complaint that worldly music is ruining churches. But if drum sets and saxophones are taboo in IFB sects, where CAN we find musical genres that will honor God with holy worship?

I propose that Honky Tonk is one such source of Godly music. Ignore the lyrics and the fact that women have legs, and you get good, God honoring music style performed as special music by many an IFB member, visiting evangelists, fundie school/university outreach teams, and more.

Friday Challenge

Today’s Friday Challenge is to find and post your own example of ‘God-honoring’ fundie music to show the rest of us how God really expects and wants us to worship.

Have fun!

Friday Challenge — Separation by Degrees

separation-are-3-degrees-enough

Defining Separation

Separation is a Bible word. So every Bible believer believes something about separation. But how much separation is enough?

Were fundamentalists everywhere coerced to pick one issue that defined them, ‘separation’ would likely take first, second and third place.

Fundie infighting is well known. So the question of how much separation is enough is far from a purely academic one.

dexter-statelySometimes, ‘separation’ [with implicit denouncement/scapegoating] looks rather like a ploy to mark boundaries of a pastor’s ecclesial ‘kingdom.’ The handsome boy to the left marks his territory every time I take him on a walk. But pastors do it for another reason.

If a pastor can make the ‘compromiser’ stick, the ministry of his ministerial rival will be crippled. This in turn will make the prevailing pastor’s financial future all the more secure. It’s a bit like rival business interests suing over rights to brand a product. The irony is that this itself make the church look … well … highly secular.

Friday Challenge

Today’s challenge is simple: How many degrees of separation is enough.

Do we separate from the unconverted?
Do we separate from the disorderly brother?
Do we separate from the guy with differing views on last things?
Do we separate from the guy who doesn’t do altar calls?

What exactly does ‘separation’ mean?

Have fun!