Documentary: ‘Marjoe’

31 07 2010

‘Marjoe’ is a 1972 American documentary film produced and directed by Howard Smith and Sarah Kernochan about the life of evangelist Marjoe Gortner. Marjoe was a precocious child preacher with extraordinary talents, who was immensely popular in the American South. His parents earned large sums of money off him up until the point he outgrew his novelty. Marjoe rejoined the ministry as a young adult solely as a means of earning a living, and not as a believer; he spent the next several years using his fame and status as an evangelist to defraud a small fortune out of individuals both through tent revivals and televangelism.

Eventually, Gortner suffered a crisis of conscience and decided to renounce his ways, offering the documentary film crew unrestricted access to him during his final revival tour, repeatedly admitting on camera that he was a con-artist and revealing the tactics used by himself and other evangelists to swindle money from people.

The film won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.



Some resources that support the notion of Christian non-violence

21 07 2010

Jesus’ Repudiation of Old Testament Violence

What would you do if someone attacked your family?

Does following Jesus rule out serving in the military?

Does the Bible teach total non-violence?

OT Violence and Christian Behavior

More articles by Greg Boyd here.

Boyd doing some Q&A about his upcoming book ‘The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Reinterpreting Divine Violence in the Light of the Cross‘.

Click here for some good (GREAT!) books about this topic.

Christian (Worship) Music

21 07 2010

Christians & the 4th of July

5 07 2010

I pledge allegiance…

“Another civic holiday is upon us, the Fourth of July, and churches all across America will once again bear witness to whom or to where their allegiances lie. It is impossible to walk away from a study of Revelation without engaging questions about empire and the church’s collusion with her. At nearly every turn in Revelation we find John, the Pastor, asking his churches, “Where does your allegiance lie? With Rome or with the Lamb?” As we approach the Fourth of July churches across the nation will have a choice to make. They, just like the people of John’s churches in the 1st century, will have to decide where their allegiance lies. People in pews throughout America will be asking, “Isn’t it OK to offer just a little offering to the country? Isn’t it OK to pledge my allegiance to something other than Christ just this one time? What’s so bad about that?” Again, John’s answer, if we are to take the testimony of scripture seriously, is NO! You cannot serve two masters, John would tell us. Our allegiance is either to the Lamb of God or it is to something else, something John describes as a beast, the whore of Babylon.

Life in the 1st century for a Christian was not particularly easy given this context. It is quite natural for the people to ask their pastor, John, “What if we just offered a small offering on our way out of church to one of the temple gods? What if we just attended a festival now and then honoring Caesar? What if we just blended in a little bit, offering some small example of pietas so that we don’t get in trouble with Rome?” Their pastor is uncompromising in his answer: NO! In fact, he calls the entire system that is trying to seduce them into thinking they are safe under it’s wings a beast from the pits of hell – a drunken, blood-thirsty whore who cannot and will not give life but only death and destruction. It is a beast that has come from hell and will return there. As such, he warns his flock in the seven churches, “Come out of her!” There is no refuge there, John assures them, only death. John’s thrust throughout Revelation is an attempt to shock the church out of her complacency while also reassuring them that God, not Caesar, is on the throne.”

Click here to read the rest of this article.

The Birth of Two Kingdoms: A Fourth of July Reflection

“In Colossians 2:7 Paul encourages Christians to be “rooted and built up in [Christ] and established in the faith.” The American Patriot’s Bible, edited by Gerald Lee and published by Thomas Nelson, connects this verse to part of a speech by John Quincy Adams, America’s sixth president, concerning the significance of the Fourth of July. Adams says that “next to the birthday of the Savior,” the “most joyous and most venerated festival” is Independence Day. For “the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior.” Indeed, Adams contends that “the Declaration of Independence…gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from heaven at the birth of the Savior….” The birth of America, in other words, is the beginning of the fulfillment of Jesus’ mission in the world.

Several things are interesting about this passage. For starters, it’s a little surprising that the Fourth of July beat out Easter for second place in Adams’ rating of “venerated” holidays. One might have thought American Christians would find Jesus’ resurrection a bit more “venerable” than the fact that we violently emancipated ourselves from British rule. In fact, while I fully appreciate that many Americans are grateful to no longer be subject to the throne of England, I’m puzzled about how the Fourth of July could appear anywhere on a Christian’s list of “venerated” holidays. How can a holiday that celebrates one group of mostly professing Christians violently overthrowing another group of mostly professing Christians be venerated by people who are called to love their enemies and to be peacemakers, even if they happen to find themselves on the side that won?”

Click here to read the rest of this article.

This July 4th, Let’s Celebrate Interdependence Day!

Patriotism can be a dangerous thing if it leads to amnesia about the dark patches of our nation’s history. And it can leave us shortsighted if our nationalism prevents us from seeing pain or hope beyond our borders. As an American, and especially as a Christian, I am convinced that a love for our own people is not a bad thing, but love doesn’t stop at borders. Love is infinitely boundless and all about holy trespassing and offensive friendships. It’s not about being anti-American but about being pro-world. It’s a beautiful thing to realize that we need each other and that we are not alone in the world.

Click here to read the rest of this article.

Why Christianity and the ’4th’ are Incompatible

“I believe we cannot justify glorifying the ‘winning’ of our independence from our friends across the pond. How can we celebrate that we killed thousands upon thousands of people because they were taxing us without giving us representation in parliament? As Christians, we need to recalculate our past and allow the gospel to be critical of certain things we now celebrate. Is it honorable to kill because people don’t like being taxed? I think the Jesus who says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Click here to read the rest of this article.

Dialogue, via email, between Shane Claiborne and Jim Brenneman about Christians and nationalism, patriotism, etc.

“Our world is so saturated with the fusion of nationalism and faith. The flag is on many church altars. And our money says “in God we trust”, while our economy reeks of the seven deadly sins. With this fusion of God and country, places like Goshen are bastions of distinction — where we are reminded that our bible does not say “for God so loved America” but “for God so loved the world.” The absence of the U.S. flag and anthem at Goshen should always remind us that we have an allegiance that runs deeper than nation or country.

The god of the national anthem may be the god that we called upon when we took this land from natives and developed it with kidnapped Africans, but it is not the God I know or that I see in Jesus.

It strikes me as such a contrast to the beautiful words of Jesus in the sermon on the mount commending us to love our enemies, the beatitudes blessing the peacemakers and the meek and the merciful, the prayer of our Lord teaching us to forgive as we want to be forgiven, and the fruits of the Spirit that include things like gentleness, kindness, and goodness.”

Click here for the rest of this convo.

Christian Politics: Why do we have such a pessimistic view of government?‘ by Greg Boyd

GREAT sermon by Greg Boyd – ‘The Cross and the Sword