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DT: come reap

El Shaddai, El Shaddai, El Elyon na Adonai

Posted on 2005.03.08 at 18:52
How I feel about it all: scaredcreeped out
Soundtrack: Amy Grant - El Shaddai
I don't think this is what Jesus had in mind.

Scary, isn't it?


(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-08-04 00:05 (UTC) ()
It's the politics and hatemongering of some of them scare me more than the actual size of them. I'm sure not ALL of them are dens of homophobic diatribe, but some are.
the day you left was just my beginning
patchfire at 2005-08-04 00:18 (UTC) ()
It's not all about God by any means.

Speaking as a liberal, non-church-going Christian, that's exactly what I dislike about them.

I interpret the Bible quite differently than many people who attend these churches do... but I've also read the Bible in its entirety, something that not all of them do. I've studied it, and I'm confident in my beliefs. But I'd love to actually be challenged, to go to something where it's not echoing the head guy's opinion and interpretation. And megachurches, or 'seeker' churches, aren't going to provide that. They're 'dumbing down' Christ's messages in an attempt to 'reach' more people - but they were actually in the Bible, as they claim, they would see that that isn't how it works. God, according to the Bible, 'puts it on [a person's] heart' to 'come to him' - and yes, the programs may help with that, but it's hard to see, in all honesty, how a softball team (v. common around here, even at non-'seeker' churchs) is going to do that. Not when the message is watered down, and not when the result of trying to 'reach' 'unbelievers' is that the already 'saved' don't grow spiritually...

Agh. I sound like a Bible-thumping fundie! I swear I'm not! But I am strong believer in the autonomy of the local church and the priesthood of the believer, and I feel like these megachurches are not supportive of that.
(Deleted comment)
the day you left was just my beginning
patchfire at 2005-08-04 01:31 (UTC) ()
Not at all! Read away :)
robinhoo at 2005-08-04 14:31 (UTC) ()
PREACH IT, patchfire, PREACH IT! I'm over here with you in the non-Bible-thumping-fundie-yet-believer camp, and I think you've spoken well and clearly.

I grew up Baptist; I have some close first-hand experience with megachurches. They scare me for the same reasons they scare patchfire -- because they utterly dilute and even undermine the message they claim to proffer. They teach their members that there's an easy answer to everything, and that they should never question the foundations of their faith... which, in my experience, is a perfect recipe for shallow, lemming-like mind control, but the exact opposite of genuine faith, which requires struggle and deep doubt and firsthand experience beyond that of motivational speakers and Bible "study" with fellow desperates who just want to feel as safe as they did when they were small children. And I really don't think Morford's far wrong when he suggests that these megachurches may be heralding a sea-change in American Christian practice, or in his comparison of them to Wal-Mart. Just like the evil megastore, the megachurches are obliterating small local congregations, by drawing in younger people looking not simply for spiritual growth, but for a lifestyle wherein they can cultivate constantly the "spiritual high" of youth rallies and contemporary Christian concerts. Smaller churches are being stripped of their numbers, left only with the elderly who grew up in that small church and who have learned, over the course of a lifetime, that a relationship with God is neither easy nor a constant "high."

Make no mistake, though, we've been building up to this for years. People are drawn to what megachurches offer not only because of the glitzy presentation and cult-like group mentality they cultivate, but because their message dovetails with what younger Christians have grown up hearing all their lives. I teach in a seminary; my students are Master's students of all ages, from all over the country, from all Protestant denominational backgrounds. Some come from megachurches, but most don't. And yet when I teach them that we have no evidence to support the historical existence of Moses or Abraham; that at the time the walls of Jericho were supposed to have come tumblin' down (Joshua 6), archaeological evidence from Jericho suggests the city was not then walled at all; or that the story of Noah's flood originated not in the Bible but in the vastly more ancient Atrahasis epic and is disseminated throughout the Ancient Near East, you should see their brains explode. They have no means by which to process these things. Almost instantaneously you can watch them struggle with their first genuine crisis of faith: "Oh, shit, my seminary professor is telling me this! If there was no Moses, how can I possibly know for sure that Jesus died and was resurrected?" Pull out one block from the middle of their faith-structure, and they immediately see how all the blocks are connected and lead straight to the cornerstone of their faith, which is now in jeopardy. And it's all because our churches -- mega or otherwise -- by and large fail miserably in equipping their congregations with the tools for a genuine faith. They don't know how to ask hard questions, how to read the Bible critically, how to find the "truth" that hides inside those structural foundations of faith, whether or not they're historically verifiable. The only problem with megachurches is that they propagate these failures on a massive and unapologetic scale.

Also, and in closing, I have to confess that the song "El Shaddai" makes me scream, because when Michael Card (the original composer) strung together all those Hebrew titles for God, they didn't fit his beat pattern perfectly, so he inserted nonsense syllables. "El Shaddai, El Shaddai, El Elyon na Adonai" -- that "na" means nothing. So the English equivalent is something like, "Glorious God, Almighty, um, lord." You have no idea how many summer Hebrew students I've had who've failed to turn in a night's homework because they sat up trying to translate this song, only to beat their heads against the wall looking for that "na." Grrr.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-08-04 16:41 (UTC) ()
But it has a nice melody and you can dance to it. Okay, you can't dance to it. I think it's heartfelt, though, when Amy sings it. :)

But enough of all that. You make good points and I agree with all of them. *loves*
the day you left was just my beginning
patchfire at 2005-08-04 00:04 (UTC) ()
totally off topic:

1) did you apply for Alice?

2) sign on, y0
my life's so common it disappears
songdog at 2005-08-04 00:16 (UTC) ()
Brings to mind John 2:13 - 16, in a way.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-08-04 00:24 (UTC) ()
Yay for kickass Jesus! It's one of the things I like about him. You don't have to be a wuss to be a pacifist.
undone27 at 2005-08-04 01:43 (UTC) ()
Actually, I think that's exactly what Jesus had in mind here: Matthew 6:5-8

I'm not saying that megachurches are hypocritical, but I personally think they're not set up to be true meditative/spiritual/ministerial communities, which is what "church" is to me, not some enormodome with a full calendar of activities and entertainment, espresso bar and ice rink. *shrug*
Non-Recovering WoW Addict
heinous_bitca at 2005-08-04 03:20 (UTC) ()
Age to age you're still the same, by the power of your name...

Sorry, I think I've got the lyrics right. Been AGES since I heard early Amy Grant...
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-08-04 10:19 (UTC) ()
I used to listen to her a lot back in my Christian days. I still love her early stuff, because I think she actually means what she sings. And it's lovely, for the most part.
One damn minute, Admiral.
trempnvt at 2005-08-04 03:53 (UTC) ()
It's like Saved!
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-08-04 10:18 (UTC) ()
I have to see this movie. Second rec in two days.
(Deleted comment)
peacey at 2005-08-04 11:55 (UTC) ()
I have never understood the need some people feel to be BIG and BOISTEROUS about their faith. To my own way of thinking and, more accurately, feeling, faith and the relationship between yourself and God/Jesus is a quiet, peaceful, still, and very very private thing and extremely personal. I would feel about as comfortable in one of these places as I would at a professional wrestling match. Both seem to be able to whip people up in a kind of mob mentality, which is especially bad when you believe you have God "on your side" and you have the right to judge. Shhhhhh...people...that's His job.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-08-04 16:43 (UTC) ()
And besides, isn't there a verse that says that "His wrath is ever slow to rise and ready to abate?" That and the "Judge not, lest ye be judged. thing.

naadi at 2005-08-04 17:50 (UTC) ()
Oh, I *love* that song so much - haven't heard it in ages. Must find! ^.^
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-08-05 02:27 (UTC) ()
naadi at 2005-08-05 17:20 (UTC) ()
Oh, thanks so much for trying to send me this, but the link isn't working. :(((
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-08-05 22:38 (UTC) ()
Wah. Yousendit isn't making nice. I'll try again after work.
tapped_trish at 2005-08-07 00:44 (UTC) ()
Kind of off the subject here but I have noticed that you haven't used a picture of my gorgeous fiance yet as your icon. Hmm, you love your 1st daughter the most don't you j/k. Love you, Trish
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-08-07 19:01 (UTC) ()
The picture of Mary is my default icon, which is why it shows up so much. I don't have an icon made of Hannah or Caleb yet. This will have to be rectified. :)
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