Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rock Stars for Jesus Preach Masturbation
by: slowfo

"Are you ready to preach about masturbation?" This was the question I was presented with recently while on a job interview at a large, up and coming, highly successful church.....and it wasn't a joke. Before I begin with the rest of the story and my coinciding rant/critique, let me first of all say that these "successful" churches led by Daugherty and Ryan Seacrest wanna-be's are actually doing some good things. There are a number of people out there that have been so numbed by the lifeless, judgmental churches of their past that they previously wouldn't have ever darkened the door of a Jesus-following church until the Celebri-Church came and wowed them back to their childhood faith. So the bottom line is that lives are being turned back to the Bible and a faith in Jesus Christ. I get that and am glad for it. It's just not for me like it used to be.

See, I used to work in the mega-church atmosphere and even was a major proponent of Celebri-Church style until I started to realize that it all seemed so people-centered more than God-centered. There's just a lot of ego behind all of the flash that is used to share the message of Christ with this culturally-relevant language that we use now.

Ok, back to the matter at hand - masturbation (and no, that probably won't be the last inappropriate innuendo/pun that I use in this post because frankly, they're too funny to ignore and I'm way too sophomoric not to use them....so I hope it won't rub you the wrong way). The way the interviews work at this church, they fly you in and you check out their worship services over the weekend while getting to know some of their staff. Then on Monday morning, you go through a series of tests (personality, giftedness, even a mini-ACT test). You break for a quick lunch and then it's getting grilled by the panel of staff all afternoon long.

Part of the panel grilling goes like this, "So Joe Candidate, do you think God's given you some gifts to speak/teach/preach? How would you rate yourself?...(Joes grades himself on a 1-10 scale)....Really? Well, you're about to prove just how good you are. Joe, pick a number between one and three....(Joe picks '2')....Two, huh? Okay, each number was a different subject. If you'd have picked '1', you would have chosen Homosexuality; if '3', you would have gotten Breast Augmentation. But you picked '2', which is the subject of Masturbation. So Joe, you've got 10 minutes to put together a 10 minute sermon on Masturbation. At the end of the 10 minutes, you'll pull your presentation out and work it in front of a room of 20-25 staff members and spouses. Good luck."

Here's their idea, the job I was applying for wasn't a preaching job; so if I handled myself too well with this Masturbation topic, then my gift mix would be for preaching and not for this job. They wanted to see me under pressure and uncomfortable while I'm trying to massage a hard message in front of a group of people.

So is this where church staffing interviews have come? When I mix this in with the overall atmosphere of this church, which was filled with beautiful people with Hollywood clothes and hair, it just all gave me a very sick feeling. This didn't feel like a church at all. It felt like a well-oiled financial machine where muscled-up guys and curvy girls could have their own mini country-club and not feel so un-cool about following Jesus anymore. I'm all for good music and effective communication but it just seems to me that the Protestant Church may need to take a step back and think about who or what exactly is getting glorified in this ultra culturally-relevant environment that has been created. If it's all about how cool we can be, then it seems like it's not so much about a God-centered group of people as much as it's all about pleasuring ourselves (and that's 8 for those of you counting at home). Sorry this post is so long but I do feel incredibly relieved now that I've worked it all out (okay 9).


Tyler said...

yes, but can you introduce me to one of these curvy girls?

Agent B said...

Very true - those churches are very people (or "me") centered and less god centered.

And oh yeah, great beat off references.

g13 said...

are you seriously suggesting that Jesus wouldn't wear skinny jeans?

as a friend of mine mentioned last night, it would be better to pick the homosexuality option since the bible says NOTHING about masturbation or breast augmentation.

i cannot believe that so-called evangelical pastors have capitulated to culture to such a great degree. it sickens me to think about sermons that are shaped less by scripture and tradition than by the wind beaten waves and passing fancies of our congregations. this might be what paul was getting at when he warned about preaching what people's itching ears want to hear.

btw - if there was a fourth option, i think the topic should have been rectal exams, since so many people in our audience are confronted with that reality on a yearly basis.

Agent B said...

I wish I was applying for this job.

I'd like to think that during my impromptu sermon/interview I'd build slowly into a climatic spurt of "you're all shallow jackasses and full of shit".

Yeah. I'd get that all off my chest.

g13 said...

cracking me up during a meeting. good form!