Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Counting Sheep At Church

Yes. I'm going to attempt to blog about everybody's favorite topic, religion.

Monday night I went to New Birth (NBMBC) to check out a special invited guest speaker. His name is Ravi Zacharias. He is a world rekown Christian apologist and evangelist. Google him.

Anyways, he spoke at NBMBC and the topic was The Good, the Bad and the Power of the Media. Overall dude was good. I wasn't necessarily blown away because he didn't say anything that my dad father hand't told me before. I'm convinced that I've inherited my natural skepticism, story-telling and occasional long-windedness from him. All good though.

But yeah, Zacharias broke his "danger of the media" down into three areas:

Problematic Induction-meaning that most info is presented in the form of a lie
Devestating Seduction-meaning that overt sexuality in the media, mainly pornography, tears households apart
Inevitable Reduction-meaning that media reduces your intellect to the point that you either don't believe in anything any more or trust the television to tell you what to do.

I came to the lecture ready to take notes, but when I looked at my notebook at the end of the night, I realized that I hardly took any. Why? Because I already kinda knew what dude was talking about. But, still, overall, the lecture was cool.

Afterwards they opened the floor for questions from the crowd and that's when I realized...

People in the Body of Christ are sheep, for real. These folks asked the dumbest questions possible. I know that sounds mean, but I'm sorry, they were dumb ass questions. Half of them were asking questions that Zacharias already addressed in his lecture. I'm assuming that his vocabulary threw them off, making them think that he was "deep" when really he was saying very basic things that anyone with two eyes, two ears and a brain in between them should already know. The other questions were so dumb that the panelist themselves had a hard time answering them, because, they were so asinine that they were beyond answer.

These people were basically going up there wanting to be told what to do. Which is what happens when you only go to church on Sundays or only crack open your Bible when you're at church. It ain't like when you go to church on Sunday that you get to raise your hand and ask a question or make a comment. You're basically just sitting there listening to one dude talk for two hours. If you don't read for yourself at home or on your spare time, you're going to become a sheep the same way that people who sit at home and watch TV all day become sheep.

But yeah, back to what I was saying. The people in the crowd who were mainly NBMBC members showed how sheepish they were last night, which was a let down. This was one of the few settings at church where people could actually spark dialog and none really went down, because not many had anything thought-provoking things to say.

But, one of the main things I kept hearing audience members ask and speak on was "how can I spread the gospel" or "how do we bring back wholesome television" or "how do we get rid of evil" i.e. sex and violence.

I wanted to get in the question line and make suggestions to these folks, but I couldn't because by the time I got up to get in line, one of those three-piece suit with the ear piece wearing brothas smiled and said "no more questions."

But, since I'd been talking a couple of people ears off all day about what I saw last night, I figured I'd share it here...

If the body of Christ really wants to make an impact on society they have to sharpen their tools and change how they do things:

First, they need to stop selling every damn thing. Everything in the body of Christ is FOR SALE. While all of the "evil" stuff is FOR FREE. Case-and-point. I can't lie, I don't make it church EVERY Sunday. Sometimes I don't wake up in time, other times, I just don't feel like going and I'll read at home. Everyonce in a while I'll watch it on the internet via StreamingFaith.com.

Now say if I didn't catch the service on Streaming Faith for whatever reason. Would I be able to go back and watch it? No. Why, because its only streamed. I can't email a link to anyone or anything, its gone. I can't download it and email it. Its not embeddable to put on my blog or others. If I didn't see it, its gone. Well, not completely...I could spend about what $5-$10 on the CD/DVD of the service at church.

On the flipside of that, the media content that the church says is destroying and perverting the youth is available 24/7-365 FOR FREE EVERYWHERE. If I miss the online premier of the latest NSFW music video at 10pm tonight? That shit is gonna be waiting on me when I get home. Ready to be embedded, emailed and tweeted. And its going to be sitting there every day after that.

I've seen that some churches are making their sermons available for MP3 download, but just like iTunes, they are for sale. On the flipside of that (not trying to call the man the devil) I get at least 2-3 new FREE Gucci Mane or Lil Wayne songs emailed to me daily.

The only thing free about church is the actual act of going. Everything else cost. I feel that if they want to make this impact that want to make so bad, they have to get with the times and stop selling everything all the time. I'm mean even Jesus himself wasn't cool with that (Matthew 21:12)

Secondly, I heard people blaming the media for what's wrong with the world, due to the images and messages they put out. The only suggestion they could come up with for combating this was to protest. Protesting only goes so far in my mind. At the end of the day, you need money to fight any kind of war, whether it be intellectual or physical.

If the church has a problem with Trojan condoms, Victoria's Secret or whoever else having commercials playing at times that their kid may see it, then they need to start buying advertising too then. Some may feel like that's "feeding the devil" but I disagree. Protesting the TV station, or even the companies advertising don't do nothing. All they do is find another way to get the message out. If they want to make and impact, start using some of the money they generate via tithes, offering, book sales, DVD sales and conference ticket sales and start buying up some advertising spots. It ain't like they have to pay taxes on their income.

Granted, I've been in the media for less than a decade, but I've gathered that media companies are loyal to whoever is paying the bills at the end of the day. If Def Jam is buying ads at a magazine, then dammit, you're gonna see some Def Jam artists all throughout the magazine. If Gospocentric Records or whatever church decided to start buying ads at some of these mags, I doubt that the higher-ups in the organization are gonna be like "nah, go'on somewhere. we don't accept that Jesus money."

The third thing I gathered from attending this lecture is that alot of people in the body of Christ confuse being "good" with being "christ like." Every other person that went up to speak complained about not enough "wholesome" or "good" or "christ like" television being available. The truth is, there's plenty of that stuff available, but no one, including them, watches it...because its usually corny as hell. Or shied, just flat out loony and terrifying.

I think I'ma stop now. I started on this blog yesterday and forgot whatelse I was going to say. Plus, the third thing, I probably need to develop my thoughts a little bit more before I speak on it.

But, I'd like to hear what you have to say, if anything at all. If ya'll know of some places doing the things I mentioned, by all means share the knowledge. Peace.


CoCo said...

I have this conversation at least monthly. Seriously, the holier than thou are sheep. They think if they pay their tithes they don't have to do anything else. Like paying for Creflo Dollar' Rolls Royce is going to give them salvation. Meanwhile it's a hella lotta people in church struggling to make ends meet and the church ain't doing shit to help them. They offer money management classes when people come looking for help. I'm like dude, they don't have money to manage. These same people pay tithes every Sunday and when push comes to shove the church has absolutely nothing to give them in return. All they say is God will make a way. Believe God will make a way. I don't trust these mega churches at all. I feel like Religion has become the most profitable business venture you can have. People will pay for anything "christ like" That's why they can sell their sermons online and all that other nonsense. It's gotten out of hand. The worshipers worship the messenger more so than the message otherwise they would see right through this bullshit.

Robin Marks (2LIveAndFLy) said...

Hey great post man. I hate the mega churches. It even seem like the amaller churches strive to be on the level of the mega churches and that disturbs me. Church is a bidness now.

San Jose, CA said...

So . . . lies and blatant sex breed apathy and ignorance (shocker), according to the mega church speaker, and Mr. Garland says the church – if it wants to actually make moves – needs to fight fire with fire by competing in the market via free sermon broadcasts (similar to Gucci Mane pitching his latest songs) while also combatting the alleged sinners with its own untaxed commercials on TV and airwaves.

I agree. It's also funny that Jesus essentially gave the finger to the establishment (i.e., the Roman Empire and his Jewish brethren in bed with the government who he realized had fallen asleep) that these sheep shave their wool for every day by not asking question.

Great post and stellar insight. Godspeed.

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Bayan The One said...

the reference to Matthew 21:12 is dead on point
i don't see how someone who does what Jesus opposed to can be his representative and that's relevant to probably any –°hristian confession

i relate to your experience of the audience as sheep (which is how by the way christians r seen within Cristianity: there's a sheppard-minister and congregation-sheep)
and i do cuz working for outsourced tech support i encounter this kind of dumbness day in and day out, not only the questions at times are outrageously dumb, people are lazy afraid or incapable to make their own decisions, they ask questions that imply giving them explicit answer as to what their choice should be, that's crazy

Big Rome said...

I thought this post was about sleeping in church. I definitely used to do that when I was younger! lol

But, for real though I can't seriously accept Christianity anymore because I see through all the bullshit. I've realized you don't have to be overtly religious to be a "good person". IMO, some people turn religion for false hope.

CHICAGOrilla said...

MG you are my dude for real!

We already know that majority of the Body of Christ are sheep. Most take Bishop @ his word w/o researching anything for themselves

I will say this though in reference to churches selling vs giving content away for free. If the church makes content available for free w/o it genuinely connecting to an audience does it make any impact. Also content is a source of revenue for a lot of churches. I have no problem with churches generating revenue. (I'm sure most people thought Deacon Hunter should give that fish to the homeless instead of selling it at times too). I would like to see more churches reflect the current trend in this 2.0 era and become more efficient at spreading content/ messages virally. and that does mean they would hav e to make them free/ embeddable.

Overall though I loved the article and your insight/ perspective on things

Jay Smooth commented on something similiar awhile back

404 said...

My my my.....Very interesting perception on your behalf. I feel that had the guest speaker been at a "public" location like the dome or the civic center it may have produced a crowd of people with varied ideas and beliefs. As long as they didn't preceed the announcement with some shit like...."Bishop Eddie Long and NBMC presents......"...that woulda been a no go. And true indeed most christians are sheep and seem to be being led to the slaughterhouse (Royce da 5'9 is the ish) but I digress. IMO, the sheep were asking the questions because they are being taught that intellect and church cannot co-exist. Which is bull shit. As human beings we have the power of thought, and most just go with the flow to follow tradition. Be a free thinker. New thought.

If you're ever in the SWATS stop by Hillside. We meditate, speak words of encouragement and positive affirmations. No laying of hands and folk fallin out in the aisle. It's come as you are so they don't make you sit in the back cause you have on jeans. No communion on first Sunday makin you miss the first half of the game. Just love and light.

Good read king.