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#JesusMovement#Laurie#JesusPeople

Monday, September 21st, 2020

I was born in 1952 (that puts me at a soon-to-be 68 for those counting. October 9 to be exact. Money accepted. 🙂 )  so I was in my teen years in 1965-1970. I wasn’t very world savvy (translation: not at all) so I knew very little about what was going on in Vietnam. I did not follow the hippie movement; Haight-Ashbury; LSD and the pharmacy; Nixon; Woodstock; Altamont; nor any of the movement called the Jesus Movement (JM). My music at the time was Tommy James and the Shondells, Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons, mostly bubblegum music. But then Tommy James did Crimson and Clover and Crystal Blue Persuasion (still my all-time #1 song). My senses began picking up vibes of another world. I began working and heard about Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Still I had not heard of the JM or the Jesus People. I came from a pretty conservative church. I knew of the One Way sign and once flashed it to a military vehicle in front of us and promptly got back a middle finger. I’m not sure if he thought I was giving him one or if he was letting me know what he thought of Jesus. A rude awakening for sure. I had never heard of Larry Norman, Barry McGuire Chuck Girard and Love Song, or any of the other seminal artists in what was then a fledgling Christian music genre. And I for sure had never heard of Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel, or one of Chuck’s protege’s, Greg Laurie. Too bad. But even then that was West Coast and I lived in PA.

This book, Jesus Revolution, by Greg Laurie and Ellen Vaughn was a great way to do an interstate tour through a state route roadway. I learned about Greg’s early involvement in drugs and the counterculture, but also with JM/JP after God got a hold of his life. But I also learned far more. I love history and man this book gives a breezy, Clif Notes version of the JM. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane-a lane I have no memory of…except some of the world events (which I now know about). But I loved hearing about history and how the JM intersected the world; how Chuck Smith opened his neat ‘n tidy church to the young hippies who were seeking meaning to their emptiness. Chuck pointed them to Jesus. One of those burned out people was Greg Laurie. It was fun reading of Greg’s “rise” from a 17 y/o hippie to preaching at Riverside (an effort blessed and encouraged by Chuck) at the age of 19. God began to use Greg to where they eventually had to begin meeting at the Riverside Municipal Building with no A/C! It was nicknamed the Riverside Municipal Microwave Oven.

This book included stories of Greg; his marriage to Cathe (which is about 8 months shorter than mine); his “rise” as a pastor; his influence in people’s lives; the tragic and untimely death of his son, Christopher, in a car accident; the renewal of his son, Jonathan as a result of the accident; his Harvest Crusades and his move back to Orange County to start a church. It also included some great round-ups of world events during the ’60s-’79.

This was a wonderful book!! If you like history, especially contemporary church history, you will want to get this book. You will not be sorry. It makes me want to read more about the JM and more of Pastor Greg’s books.  And just to be clear: this is not a book going on and on about how great Greg Laurie is. I suspect he would eschew that in the highest order.

Jesus Revolution: How God Transformed an Unlikely Generation and How He Can Do It Again Today

#SoulCycle#Wellness#Prosperity(un)Gospel

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

I’m continuing with my discussion on this book:

Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World

Today’s installment is a bit more understandable than the last one here.  One of the most famous phrases used in today’s world is “It’s all about you.” “Seek your goals. Strive for the best. Do your thing.”  Now, understand I am not against setting goals and reaching for a dream. On the contrary, I think it is important to have goals and a place you want to strive for.

But I hate to be the bearer of bad news: IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT YOU.  No matter what an advertisement may say. No matter what an exercise lifestyle may tell you. Hence, the mention of SoulCycle. It is much more than physical transformation. It is more like a double whammy: material improvement and spiritual transcendence.  You aren’t just pedaling a bike to lose weight and become healthier in the process, but you are pedaling to become a better person. Their moniker: You are a Renegade, a Hero, a Warrior.  That sounds all well and good until SoulCycle begins to be seen as an emotional and spiritual outlet. Yeah…”God is a woman, and she’s a SoulCycle instructor.” Say what?

But it is more than SoulCycle. It is the whole Wellness Culture. Their philosophy can be summed up in a war between the authentic, intuitional self-both body and soul- and the artificial, malevolent forces of society, rules, and expectations. We are born good (Ahem!), but we are tricked, by big Pharma, by processed food, by civilization itself, into living something that falls short of our best life.  Hmmm. Maybe they can get Joel to teach them about their best life being now.  (Yeah…that is snarky…but true).

Folks, if there is ever a sense of hypocrisy, it is in this scene. They tell you things like “You are you.” “There is only one You.” “You are beautiful just as you are.” But then they turn around and offer you tricks (and I might add expensive ones) to better yourself, to make yourself more beautiful (at least according to what they think is beautiful).  The author gives so many different examples of this C**P that I can’t keep it straight. And, of course, neither can anyone else. If this one doesn’t work, I can always try something else. Then I can say, “Hey, I’ve tried multiple diets and they didn’t work. I found myself being like a yo yo until I tried Product XXX.”  And please don’t get me started on WW and its spokewoman! (I’ll reserve what I really want to say).

This whole scheme is what is called New Thought. But like many things,  New Thought is not new, nor is it thought. It’s a bunch of gobbledy-gook dressed up as intellectualism. It is called Transcendentalism (Emerson, Thoreau, and others).  It found its way into religion (I hesitate to say church) through a man named Phineas Quimby until one of his patients and disciples, Mary Baker Eddy,  founded a “church” called the Church of Christ, Scientist (aka Christian Science).

And here is where New Thought gets really warped or is that wrapped into the church world. Ever heard of a man named Norman Vincent Peale? One of his disciples: Robert Schuller?  And then a plethora of others:  Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, the Bakkers, Benny Hinn, and other Word of Faith false teachers; and now the current batch of false teachers (Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Todd White, Bill Johnson (actually all of Bethel), ad infinitum, ad nauseum).

I’m not making this up folks.  And you may think I have an axe to grind.  I guess in a very real sense I do. I see so much damage being done to the proclamation of the Gospel and the spread of the real message of Jesus and His life-giving death on the cross that it turns my insides. Jesus  is not for sale.  He is not some magic genie who can be conjured into blessing us because we declare it to be so.

Discernment. Discernment. Discernment. And do what I John 4:1 says to do: “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

#Magic#Harry#Fandom

Sunday, September 6th, 2020

I’m continuing my series on Strange Rites by Tara Isabella Burton. I’m wading into territory I have very little clue about with this one. I have never been one to indulge in Harry Potter (HP) or gaming.  But I’m also not one who will jump on the bandwagon and say reading HP or playing a game will make your susceptible to witchcraft or violence.  Not that it isn’t possible but I’m no expert in it so I don’t spend much time dealing or talking about it. Definitely not preaching about it.

I used to read a lot more fantasy than I do now.  The Chronicles of Narnia. Lewis’ space chronicles. I liked to read other types of fantasy by Steve Lawhead. But I was never able to get into HP. One of the families here in the church really like it and they asked me to watch a movie to see what I thought. I was bored and after about 20 minutes said, “Enough of that waste of time.” I know I’m standing alone according to stats but that’s me. As for gaming, it never turned my crank. I remember the early Nintendo games. They seem to be like child’s play these days (probably because they are). But I know there are some who spend hours upon hours playing Fortnite and World of Warcraft. I have other things I’d rather do than sit and play on my TV.  But I know some use that as relaxation the same way I use cycling.

J.K.Rowling’s books blew away publication records as did the movies. {Note: she isn’t so popular anymore since she took a side against transgenderism}.  All in all though it doesn’t seem to take much to have something go viral due to social media.  In fact, much has changed since X-Files and Xena: Warrior Princess took center stage on TV. It all comes down to computers and the internet.

But within this craze is an insidious reptile.  Geekdom, bullying, role-playing games with the infiltration of fan communities like Tumblr, FB, and Instagram have blown it all sky high.  It is incredible the “weight” these sites have on pop culture. One pop culture site is HP, and interestingly enough,  after the publication of the last HP novel J.K. has become a lot less relevant. Some of that is because she dared to mess with being “woke.”  The other significant pop culture site is Gamergate.  This phenomena became increasingly more daring in its acceptance of “like” people and its disassociation with “others.” It also became more femininely hostile. I cannot even begin to capsulize its pull.

One of the things I gleaned is understanding authority is undergoing a colossal shift. I think, IMHO, we are seeing that come to fruition in the nightly news of the cities burning because of a lack of respect for authority and other peoples’ things. I agree with a Christian rock band, Lovewar, who had a song titled Keep Your Hands off My Stuff.

I’ll close with the closing illustration from the book. In 1820, Thomas Jefferson, a committed Deist who preferred the teachings of Jesus Christ to the idea of him being a metaphysical savior, created a bespoke Bible. Cutting and pasting the lines from the Gospels that he thought best reflected his vision of Christ, excising those passages (like the miracles) that didn’t quite fit, Jefferson created what might be considered the first fan fiction: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.  Now, we’re all doing the same thing. (p.90).  {My note: it is happening in culture and it is happening in the church}.

Next up: SoulCycle, the wellness culture and the rebirth of New Thought.  This you gotta read!! And here is the book I am reviewing:

Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World