Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Sorry, I haven't been around here often- not that I haven't wanted to post anything, I've just been busy.  You believe me, right?

Well, I'm back into the blogging business, so look forward to more regular posts from yours truly again.

Now to do something about that spam...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

CCSG Chapter 9: Christian Entertainment and Bookstores [Part 2]

This is a continuation of my previous post on the topic.

Again, if you are interested, read about this series of posts here, The Christian Culture Survival Guide.

I left off last time talking about Christian movies and music, and today I'm going to talk about Christian television.

I used to watch the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which is a 24-hour, 7 days a week Christian programming network.  There are Christian made for television movies, televangelists, televised church sermons, Saturday morning Christian cartoons, weekday night "pledge infomercials", etc.  I even remember a few of the televangelists that had regular appearances, such as Rod Parsley, Joel Osteen, Dan and Paula Crouch, T.D. Jakes, Ed Young, John Hagee, Eddie Long, etc.

Although these people have a great number of Christian fans, they are not without ridicule.  Many of them are known for their "prosperity gospel", and Joel Osteen is the biggest culprit.  As a matter of fact, I recently saw a Rapture Ready forum post talking about the man, and how he has been sent from the devil himself to preach a false gospel.  Of course, if you take a look at his main points (graciously provided by one of the forum members), they are:
1) Have a positive attitude toward ourselves- (because sin is so offensive...we all have such beautiful potential yaknow)

2) Develop better relationships..(but he fails to mention the only relationship that has the capability to produce change and better "us"es....Hmm...Jesus ...)

3) Embrace where we are: ( yes, and if we listen to him, we most likely are on the wide road leading straight to hell..how caring of him)
Joel Osteen actually preaches that we should develop better relationships, have positive attitudes, and embrace life... If you ask me, he's way better than anybody else on the normal broadcasting schedule.  He doesn't sound half bad, considering the fact that he's often roasted for cutting out a lot of the Jesus crap from his messages (although, not entirely God-fluff free).  At the very least, he's better than this guy.

To cut the crap, TBN was founded by Christians Paul and Jan Crouch, and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.  It now seems that it is run by Paul and Jan, since you see their faces the most (perhaps I may be wrong, since the last time I spent too long in this channel was a while ago).

Here is the Mr. Turner's four ideas to help TBN (since I have to bring this back to the book somehow):

1.  Lose the wig.  (Just look at that photo).

2.  New musical talent.  (Seriously, I never even heard of the people who used to play music on this network, even when I was a Christian.  And they were bland.)

3.  Less crying, and more compelling storytelling.

4.  Encourage to give, rather than guilt.  (This is a huge criticism of televangelists).

There you have it.  That's pretty much what the whole chapter comes down to, since the end is just a short couple of paragraphs talking about Christian bookstores, and a list telling you what you can do with all of those "WWJD" bracelets you have.

There is one thing I do one to quote (for the sake of quoting, really), and it's the third item on the chapter's last list (which is three Jesus branded crap that Christians would have been better off never creating).

Right below the "Test-a-mints", and Jabez crapolla, just to leave you with something to think about, here is...
3.  The "Fish Eating Darwin" car decal - Everywhere you look, there's a tan mini-van with the "Jesus fish eating the Darwin thingy" pasted on its bum. Why did we lower ourselves to the standards of evolution? [Pg. 130].

Saturday, December 26, 2009

CCSG Chapter 9: Christian Entertainment and Bookstores [Part 1]

Read about this series of posts here, The Christian Culture Survival Guide.

Christianity is an industry, as well as a religion.  I'd like to say it began a while ago, when people first started to sing in churches; the music that was played was considered Christian, and fit enough to grace the ears of the Almighty one.  Or, perhaps it started in art (but then again, many will be quick to note that the reason for this was that those with the money to fund artistic endeavors were also those preaching and serving in the pews).  Or maybe the Christian industry is really a relatively recent thing, something that was brought about by the rise of television and radio.  Christians now have their own brand of everything, really, and no doubt this helps Christians to stay in their own bubbles and never come out.

When you go to watch the television, there are channels such as the Trinity Broadcast Network that plays exclusively Christian programming all day, every day.  Their is even a version of this channel aimed at the more youthful Christians, JC-TV, that is pretty much a Christian MTV.  Speaking of music, there are Christian music record labels aimed at providing Christian only content, and rightfully so.  With the hash of Christian fundamentalists claiming that the world belongs to the devil, no wonder Christians want to reside within their on circles.  The world is a scary place, and these good Christian labels are here to help discriminate between what belongs to Satan, and what praises God.

Hell, there are even Christian movies too (ones you don't really hear about), and don't get me started on the horde of Christian books as well.

But I do agree that these Christian directors, producers, publishers. are allowed to create films, music, and books for whatever public they want; it is their right to do so, and I do not want to take that away from them.  I really don't mind much, actually.  I'm sure if I were a Christian trying to abstain from the evil of the world, I'd be particularly set on only watching, reading, listening to Christian media.

Mr. Turner, the author of the book, discusses how Christianity seems to be a few years behind its contemporary secular partner in the entertainment industry.  He also makes the point of saying that Christian products are not usually creative, harping on other avenues for inspiration.  The end result is usually corny.

A big message in the book to Christian entertainers (the musicians) is that just because you're Christians does not mean you can't go out and have a blast... or something like that.  Really, saying "Praise the Lord" and the like every five minutes gets boring.  Christians are humans, and they want to enjoy those twenty-five dollars they spent to go to your concert.  (Of course, who can blame anybody for buyers remorse after listening to "Open the Eyes of My Heart", and "How Great is Our God").

According to Mr. Turner, here are five ways of making yourself a better Christian entertainer: 

1.  Remember your audience

2. Remember your budget

3.  Remember your story

4.  Remember your reason

5.  Remember your creator
    Really, it all sums down to "Put God first", which of course is what every good Christian should do.  And not just in music, but movies too!

    Here is Mr. Turner's five five must-dos when watching a Christian movie:

    1.  To make the time go by quicker, watch it with a Christian friend. 

    2.  Even though you know you could make a better script, refrain from stating the obvious.

    3.  Have a strong drink ready, and by strong drink the author means coffee.

    4.  Look past the shitty action scenes.

    5.  Make the last few minutes optional.

    I appreciate the fact that this Christian author decided to poke fun (albeit while being truthful) about the Christian movie industry.  How many of you have read "Left Behind"?  We all know Kirk Cameron as the washed out teen actor from Growing Pains, who now assists Ray Comfort in promoting his Way of the Master television program, and the crocoduck myth; however, Kirk Cameron was one of the stars of the movie rendition of the Left Behind series, which you can view a trailer of by clicking here.  He also starred in the movie "Fireproof", which has a cheesy website by the name "Fireproof my marriage" that has all sorts of articles that you can use to protect your nice Christian marriage... but that's besides the point.  These two movies by Kirk Cameron are obviously tailored for Christian audiences, and even within that circle only cater to the fundamentalists (or those who like watching crap films).  Sure, these movies may not have completely flopped, but that's only because there is a great many people who do not want to leave the bubble.

    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    Merry Christmas

    To get back into the Christmas spirit, I am going to re-post a video from AronRa (a YouTube user) dealing with a twist on an old Christmas classic!

    (Of course, it's still Christmas Eve where I live, but perhaps some of you have already opened and shared some gifts.  Then again, not all of you probably celebrate Christmas, in which case, have a safe December, no matter what you do.)

    Man commits suicide to be with his son

    Apologies in advance, since this post wont be such a happy, joyous one- and on Christmas Eve, no less.  I feel inclined, however, to share this article.

    A man has committed suicide in order to be reunited with his dead son, who died due to an automobile accident.
    Kelly still blames herself for the fatal smash on the A81 Glasgow to Aberfoyle Road.

    She was driving a Vauxhall Corsa with Connor in the passenger seat. They were following labourer Allan, who was carrying relatives in another car as they drove to Loch Achray to let their son try out his new fishing rod.

    But Kelly lost control after hitting a pothole. The Corsa smashed into a Volvo and rolled down an embankment.

    Connor was airlifted unconscious to Glasgow's Southern General where he was put on a life support machine.
    The article states that the death of the boy was brought upon by the head injuries he sustained in the car crash.  This is obviously tear jerking in itself, and I couldn't imagine the pain endured by both the mother and father; it's obvious they loved their son very much, enough to want to follow him into the afterlife and take care of him.

    If you're like me, you don't believe in the afterlife.  While there is no evidence that really disproves any notion of the afterlife, the burden of proof lies in those who posit that there is such a thing as the afterlife; in other words, this is the only life we're guaranteed.  This makes the story all the more tragic.
    "While we sat we had talked about who would go with him if he died.
    "Allan insisted I should stay to look after our 13-year-old daughter Lauren and he should go.
    "He went into the family room and took a cocktail of tablets and tried to take his own life that night but nurses found him and he was saved."
    But, several weeks later, Allan was found dead after strangling himself with a dog leash at a relative's home.
    Shop worker Kelly, of Dennistoun, Glasgow, admitted that both of them had struggled to come to terms with losing Connor.
    She added that their love for their daughter was the only thing that kept her going.
    She added: "We were both tortured by Connor's death .
    "We tried to carry on for Lauren's sake but it all got too much for Allan. When I heard he had died too, I screamed for about five minutes but then I felt a strange sense of comfort knowing that Connor wasn't alone any more.
    "I went to see his body and he was smiling and looked at peace and contented for the first time since Connor died.
    "I know that when he shut his eyes and died he knew that he was going to see Connor again.
    This leaves me at a crossroads.  On one hand, I advocate that we as humans should recognize truth, and try to rid ourselves of any superstitious beliefs in order to satisfy the desire for a more realistic, and better society.  On the other hand, these people actually found comfort in their belief that their son would not be alone.  This comfort is found in religious believers of all stripes as well, who have found joy in the fact that maybe they're not alone.  But then I read this:
    "She has been the strongest out of all of us and I am very proud of how she has coped with all this.
    "I feel bad for her because I still can't face putting up a Christmas tree as it just makes me upset.

    "The sense of loss doesn't seem to be getting any easier. My heart is still breaking for my lovely wee boy.
    Nothing has been solved.  The truth is, not only have they lost their son, but they have lost their father too.  Sure, magical thinking can provide comfort for the moment, but it's not long term- and it isn't true comfort in the sense that it has any merit to it.  The belief in superstition made this story only all the more tragic.  In times like this, what one should not dwell on unsubstantiated thoughts of the afterlife, but rather continue to trudge on (for their sake, and the sake of others).  I don't mean to sound harsh, since the mother and daughter have been charitable in their reactions.
    Since the double tragedy last year, Kelly has focused her energy on raising cash for the Southern General and the air ambulance.

    With the support of her daughter and best pal Kevin Brannigan, 23, she has raised thousands of pounds for both causes.

    Last week, they staged an original version of the Cinderella pantomime, penned by Kevin, starring family and friends, for 200 people at Bambury Centre in Barrowfield, Glasgow, in memory of Connor. They raised more than £600.

    It was such a success that Kelly, who starred as Red Riding Hood, and Kevin, the Fairy Godfather, are planning to hold another night after the New Year.
    The pair also held a charity dance, which raised £5000.

    Kelly said: "The hospital staff were wonderful, so thoughtful and caring. They do such an amazing job. I want Connor to be proud of his mum and helping others makes me feel closer to him."
    This is much more productive than taking your own life. Sometimes life is a struggle, I know, but the ability to continue forward in good faith (used loosely) is better than committing suicide.  It breaks my heart that this family has since lost two people, but as one reader puts it:
    FatherTed13 wrote:
    This is such a sad sad story. And proves that religon is a curse.

    This young man killed himself so he could be with his son, nonsense.

    All he has done is end his suffering, and in the process double that of the living.

    A better tribute to his son would have been to stay healthy and look after the rest of his family.

    I know i have been through this.