Friday Challenge — Spiritual Obstacles

spiritual-obstacles-ahead

Spiritual Obstacles

Spiritual obstacles are an independent, fundamental Baptist staple for some very good reasons. One is that literally anything can be declared a spiritual obstacle. This gives IFB preachers a place to hang any of their particular theological idiosyncrasies. Related to this is the ease with which legal solutions can be prescribed. Third, by their willingness to harp on such drivel, IFB preachers can reinforce the social cohesiveness of their particular sect by assuring hearers that they won’t hear such preaching elsewhere… Well thank God for that!

‘Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us’ [He 12:1].

Who is to say what particular sin entangles us. Moreover, even if it isn’t a sin but only an encumbrance, you must still cast it aside. No, that isn’t responsible exegesis. But so long as people don’t know the difference, I can ‘preach’ it without being challenged. Just obey and be blessed…

spiritual-encumberance-animated

So let’s talk about hands and eyes, young people! Where do they go? What do they do while there? What do they think about afterward? A bit uncomfortable? Then you know you’re doing wrong!

Friday Challenge — The Real Obstacles:

Dale Fincher’s article at Soulation speaks of a woman who ‘longed to experience Christianity in a healthy way,’ but couldn’t read her Bible. Why? All she could hear was ‘my old pastor’s voice.’

That is truly sad. And it probably happens in IFB sects more than one might suppose. Yet I suspect that few independent, fundamental baptists hear sermons on IFB pastors being spiritual obstacles. But maybe that was your experience, or the experience of someone you know.

Either way, today you can sound off on this ironic situation in which your local IFB pastor or sect was that encumbrance to your walk with Christ.

Friday Challenge: Fundamental Oddity

Because We Like the Attention

Oddities, Odysseys and Absurdities

There’s no denying that Christians have done some bizarre things. Whether it is building a great statute of Jesus, or threatening to throw oneself out of a tall building unless peoples send money, or building a replica of Noah’s ark, there seems to be no limit to the strange things Christians do. At some point, one wonders ‘why.’

Today’s challenge is to name a truly prize-winning, eye-widening, jaw-dropping, fundamentalist oddity that leaves one standing in wondering befuddlement. Feel free to provide and comment on the rationale for the Oddity.

As an alternative, you can also make submissions for the Odysseys and Absurdities categories. Same rules apply. Have fun!

Fundamentalist Iconography — Friday Challenge:

Saint Ted Cruz Iconography, God's Own Politician
When God wants you ‘in,’ but you’re the least popular guy in Washington

Cruz ‘n Iconography

Christian iconography belongs to Eastern/Orthodox Church tradition. I’m no scholar of art [or anything else], but I believe this is a fairly common format. I’ve seen the Evangelist John portrayed this way. Sometimes, the book displays the words of John 1:1 in English, Greek or perhaps Russian.

The rules for making icons are rigorous; but if obviously satire/ridicule, Ted Cruz’ image enough conforms to iconic tradition to suggest that the creator of this [undoubtedly computer] ‘icon’ may have meant more than a joke. If it is a joke, then it is a serious one. Perhaps the incongruity of angry protestors and the ‘iconic’ serenity of the saints is the punchline.

Why, Pray Tell

What motivates someone to put in this thought/work to create a Ted Cruz ‘icon?’ The problem is that with so many ridiculous assertions to endear him to his Fundy followers, it’s hard to say. Consider these gems:

‘If the slaves were never freed in the Civil War, you have to wonder, where would Obama be today? Certainly not the White House, not in the capacity he’s in. And you have some in America that think that might not be a bad thing.’

‘There is no place for gays or atheists in my America. None. Our constitution makes that clear.’

Or perhaps it was this brilliant use of taxpayer money…

Google ‘controversial Cruz quotes,’ ‘crazy Cruz quotes,’ ‘dumbest Ted Cruz quotes’ or Ted Cruz pretty much anything and you’ll get a gazillion ‘hits.’

Friday Challenge

Which brings us to today’s Friday Challenge: What are the best Ted Cruz quotes you can find to explain why someone may have created that icon.

Have fun! Oh, and remember that although Ted Cruz will undoubtedly be in Cleveland next week, he isn’t going to be nominated for anything. Perhaps at the end of the day, Ted Cruz isn’t sufficiently crazy.

Friday Challenge: Provide Examples!

nothing-in-common

Example is Important!

We’ve all heard that sermon! Set a good example, be a good example, etc.

Remember those picture puzzles? Two pictures are presented. They are very similar, but as you study them carefully, you begin to notice subtle differences. The ‘challenge’ was to find as many ‘differences’ as you could.

Today’s ‘challenge’ has but one picture. But in it are both Christ and the church. They are SUPPOSED to look the same. In reality, they seem to have very little in common.

Today’s challenge is to illustrate differences between Jesus and church. Examples:

Justice or No?

Jesus’ ministry manifesto proclaimed release to captives, restored sight to the blind and freed the oppressed, etc. That is, justice!

But church is often reactionary and is an obstacle to justice. Some churches opposed slavery, but others supported it. Ditto on civil rights in the 60s.

We’ve heard, ‘all [or the best thing] we can do is save souls and hope people act better. The pictures of Jesus and the church are more than a ‘little’ different … Jesus says ‘yes’ to justice. The church … well …

Here is another example of differing pictures.

Church and Kingdom

Church:  Kingdom is future and Jesus will bring it when he comes. Your concern is the build the church. So get busy!

Jesus: I will build my church, but to YOU I give the keys of the kingdom.

See the difference? Somebody gets church and kingdom backwards! Anyway, this challenge is to provide examples of the cartoon’s point.

Have fun!

Friday Challenge–Memorable Church Signs:

Church Signs -- How much 'Truth' is Enough?

Church Signs

Church signs can take on a life of their own. Some are actually memorable. They stay with you for decades. One I remember long term said:

Jesus is cookin’ and  th’ devil is done!

Another turned up years ago at my own church. It was posted the Sunday of July 4th, and it said:

God HAS blessed America. Let America bless God.

Some are clever, some are silly, some are thought-provoking, and some are insulting. Some are short on truth, and some may speak more truth than the public wants to know.

Today’s Friday Challenge is to post some church signs that are truly memorable. You may submit lines you recall from signs you saw in the past, or you can use Google Images to locate some winners. Have fun!