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How to Worship
November 3, 2009 5:00 PM   Subscribe

An instructional video on correct worship in the Pentacostal church (SLYT).
posted by Joe in Australia (67 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Those kids are going straight to hell.
posted by GuyZero at 5:03 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


"You can't communicate with God with your eyes open. It's a rule."
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 5:27 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


That was cute. It's nice to see stuff like that not being taken too seriously by people who appear to be nonetheless passionate about their beliefs.
posted by Shohn at 5:32 PM on November 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


After this video the adult leading the youth group will likely then talk about how real worship involves more than just dancing and something something passion and, like, it's okay to doubt, leading up to a Nooma video.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 5:41 PM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


it's okay to doubt

(but not really)
posted by Avenger at 5:43 PM on November 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Having your eyeballs gouged out by an inconsiderate worshipper."

It's funny because it's true.
posted by The World Famous at 5:50 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just sent this to four of my pastor friends. I did warn them not to drink coffee while watching it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:50 PM on November 3, 2009


it's okay to doubt

(but not really)
But Tomas the disciple doubted, and he was the only one who touched Jesus after the resurrection!

So go home kids, construct and deconstruct Jesus in your head over and over and keep coming to Church and keep your spiritual balloon filled!
posted by The Devil Tesla at 5:50 PM on November 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


I worship in a similar way.

This is my church.
posted by empath at 5:51 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry if the sarcasm is a little strong, but it's not everyday that you get to make fun of youthpastory when you've stopped going to church. <3>
posted by The Devil Tesla at 5:52 PM on November 3, 2009


This reminds me of the Amazing Factoid that the Real Stephen Colbert (not the one he plays on TV) is a sincere, serious churchgoer who actually teaches Sunday School. I can certainly imagine him using that as a classroom aid...
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:01 PM on November 3, 2009


I can certainly imagine him using that as a classroom aid...

Not all churchgoers are pentecostals.
posted by contessa at 6:03 PM on November 3, 2009


LOL(with)XTIANS
posted by brundlefly at 6:07 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


This takes me back, especially the kidney stone bit. Thank god I went to youth groups as a kid. How else would I have learned how to act (and how not to act) at rock shows?
posted by es_de_bah at 6:13 PM on November 3, 2009


Having grown up in Southern Baptist churches, this made me LOL IRL.
posted by katillathehun at 6:30 PM on November 3, 2009


Another video of Christian kids having some fun with DV cams.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:36 PM on November 3, 2009


They left out the part about speaking in tongues.
posted by lexicakes at 6:42 PM on November 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Not all churchgoers are pentecostals.

And I wrote what I did knowing that Colbert wasn't. Was I the only kid growing up who got bits of Comparative Religion in my Sunday School?
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:57 PM on November 3, 2009


Wow, I could have used this about 10 years ago when I was totally into that Pentecostal guy. That was one awkward Sunday morning.
posted by desjardins at 7:07 PM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


leading up to a Nooma video.

Wow. This Jesus guy sounds amazing.
posted by philip-random at 7:28 PM on November 3, 2009


Another video of Christian kids having some fun with DV cams.

"Me so holy"?! ....
posted by Monsters at 7:41 PM on November 3, 2009


oneswellfoop: "Was I the only kid growing up who got bits of Comparative Religion in my Sunday School?"

Is that common? I got a lot of comparative religion in Sunday school as a Unitarian Universalist, but I've never gotten the impression that many other faiths do that.
posted by brundlefly at 9:21 PM on November 3, 2009


Okay, the video was pretty funny, and none of this is to criticize the video or the church that made it.

I sure to dislike what's now being called praise music. When I'm back home at my parents' church, I can barely even recognize the service, it's been taken over by this stuff. All the songs are endlessly repetitive and all sound so similar to each other. It's actually kind of hard to discern when one song stops and the next starts, both because they sound so similar and because the music leader runs them together with his improvised sermons over guitar-playing.

Where's the sheet music? People don't even sing along most of the time because they don't know the songs. When I was growing up, church was a big part of how kids learned to read sheet music. (Are kids learning to read sheet music anymore? Seems unlikely, with music programs being cut.) All we have is the words on the screen, and even those don't seem to work, because the song leader apparently never tells the sound-booth operator how many times he'll repeat each stanza. And every song ends with the copyright info, with the date between 1993 and 1997 (the same dates, incidentally, on the old church bulletins shoved into the unused hymnals).

I've recently started attending Salvation Army services, and it's the same stuff there. Nowhere is it more obvious how flat this music falls than watching a bunch of men who've lived hard lives mumbling their way through these songs. I have a lot of love for what the Salvation Army does, but why would a church that prides itself in serving the people other churches won't touch actually go out of its way to sound so suburban?

Man I sound crotchety.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:40 PM on November 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


When I lived south of New Orleans the Pentecostals used to entertain on (IIRC) Thursday nights. A standard rock band, not a choir, guitar solos and the whole bit. It was odd for me to to talk to someone and have them tell me that Katrina was sent by God to New Orleans because of all that voodoo they were practicing and then proceed to rock the fuck out. Their God is very immediate and wrathful. They were unpretentious and seemed genuinely concerned for me. It made me feel protective.
posted by vapidave at 10:52 PM on November 3, 2009


All the songs are endlessly repetitive and all sound so similar to each other. It's actually kind of hard to discern when one song stops and the next starts, both because they sound so similar and because the music leader runs them together with his improvised sermons over guitar-playing.

Sounds like a sure-fire recipe for inducing a trance-state to make an audience more receptive to your message.
posted by empath at 11:05 PM on November 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


oneswellfoop: "This reminds me of the Amazing Factoid that the Real Stephen Colbert (not the one he plays on TV) is a sincere, serious churchgoer who actually teaches Sunday School."

And damn if he doesn't teach it with style.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:58 AM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


They are so totally deleting comments about how cute that one kid is. I know they're showing up; it's YouTube.
posted by mediareport at 5:45 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


.. nice. I LOL'd (respectfully)

The "Baby got Book" video was quite clever.

I can get down with just about anyone who has a sense of humour.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:22 AM on November 4, 2009



And damn if he doesn't teach it with style.


The opening of that video will haunt my dreams for years.


YEARS!
posted by The Whelk at 7:36 AM on November 4, 2009


Where's the sheet music? People don't even sing along most of the time because they don't know the songs.

I was "born again" for a short while, attending a "modern" church whose pastor played guitar and really could sing (having a pastor with no singing skills try to lead a group of by-and-large untrained people can be painful and awkward). But instead of the hymnals I was used to in "traditional" churches, there was a projector and powerpoint displaying the lyrics. I think some of them were even highlighted along with the pacing of the music, so you could keep up. I took my dad to one one Sunday, and he, who I went to church with as a kid, said it felt like a cult. I think he found the level of emotions and the effort to sing along unsettling, compared to the more stoic efforts of the churches he had attended in the past years.

And I thought this would be another one of those Baptazia videos.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:45 AM on November 4, 2009


roll truck roll, I feel you so hard.

I still have the liturgy of my childhood church engraved in my brain, though they brought in a modernized "worship supplement" when I was in high school (man, was it lame how they tried to make "Holy Spirit" fit the same meter as "Holy Ghost") and have long since phased out the old, almost Catholic format in favor of some bullshit modern conversational speech kind of thing. All those lovely, dignified four hundred year old hymns are gone.

If the misogyny and misanthropy of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod hadn't gotten to me first, the death of the Order of Service would have driven me out for sure. I visit my mom's church and watch uptight old white people try to make sense of the loosey-goosey readings and the odd-timed hymns and it makes me long for my Unitarian Universalist home church, where the order of service is almost staid by comparison.
posted by padraigin at 8:01 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have a degree certificate in Worship Leading. (And, I write songs.)

These days, to be in a worship band, you need to be able to read chords as a keyboardist or other instrumentalist. (Or at the very least be able to play by ear.) As a matter of fact, our worship pastor, who himself has several cds of original music out himself and is a songwriter, doesn't read music.

He, and most of us, do have a good ear though. I myself can read music but stink at playing from written music. Being able to read chords is awesome, as it allows me to improvise, etc. and not being limited to the transcribist's idea of how to do the song.

But I did have to take two semesters of music theory for my certificate, fwiw.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:15 AM on November 4, 2009


PS...for those of you who are sheet music diehards, because of copyright rules, buying all that sheet music would be prohibitive costwise. What happens now is we pay licensing (basically the Christian music version of ASCAP/BMI, which prorates according to size of church) and are able to copy lead sheets to our heart's content. When it's cantata time, we are legally required to purchase a crapload of songbooks, etc and it is pretty doggone expensive, especially for a larger choir.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:18 AM on November 4, 2009


One more thing, for those of you who have no clue what kinds of music we might be talking about, check out Hillsong (from Australia) or the Vineyard. Also, Christ for the Nations puts out a lot of stuff...and then there's Desperation Band from New Life Church in Colorado Springs. (I assume you are familiar with them.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:20 AM on November 4, 2009


Was I the only kid growing up who got bits of Comparative Religion in my Sunday School?

If by "Comparative Religion," you mean going through the list of which denominations are going to heaven versus the list of which denominations are going to hell, then you are not alone.

But that was more of a Confirmation Class thing than Sunday School. (Raised as a Lutheran - Missouri Synod...which didn't take, in large part due to that very "lesson.")
posted by malocchio at 8:40 AM on November 4, 2009


PS...for those of you who are sheet music diehards, because of copyright rules, buying all that sheet music would be prohibitive costwise.

Hymnals are what... ten bucks? I'll go you one better - the cyber hymnal. Doesn't include karaoke power-point presentation fer yer jumbotron, though.

lord god please save us from jumbotrons in churches.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:04 AM on November 4, 2009


(I assume you are familiar with them.)

Assume nothing, St. Alia. If it was written after 1920 it's straight from the hand of Satan himself. Copywrite church music, indeed. If God had intended church music to be copywritten He would have issued the apostles DMCA form-letters instead of tongues o' fire.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:07 AM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hymnals are what... ten bucks?

I know this wasn't intentional, but apparently the "pew edition" you linked to has lyrics only. Check out the one-star reviews.

Sounds like a sure-fire recipe for inducing a trance-state to make an audience more receptive to your message.

No argument from me there, I'm well past defending this stuff. But it might give one pause to note that it's the music leaders doing it, not the pastors. These guys didn't go to seminary, they're not accountable to the board of elders, but their impromptu sermons are now a staple in many churches.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:25 AM on November 4, 2009


Affordable hymnals.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:48 AM on November 4, 2009


These guys didn't go to seminary, they're not accountable to the board of elders, but their impromptu sermons are now a staple in many churches.

Like inviting the tent revivalists indoors, eh?

That denominational church leadership is turning to itinerant laity to boost attendance is indicative of one thing: organized protestantism is dying of old age.

This requires more [Citation Needed].
posted by clarknova at 9:59 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Assume nothing, St. Alia. If it was written after 1920 it's straight from the hand of Satan himself. Copywrite church music, indeed. If God had intended church music to be copywritten He would have issued the apostles DMCA form-letters instead of tongues o' fire.

You forgot to say "hamburger."

You know, hymns are purty and all, but I don't think God gave the Wesleys and Fanny Crosby an exclusive contract to write church music. Modern folks are allowed to take a crack at it!

Oh, and roll truck roll, I had to take two semesters of systematic theology along with other classes such as church leadership and Psalms for that little worship leading certificate-and you darn well better be sure any of our worship leaders/pastors at MY church ARE accountable to the pastors and elders. I can't speak for other song writers but MY stuff has to be theologically correct.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:02 AM on November 4, 2009


PS, Baby Balrog, one of the functions of copyright is to keep others from profiting or tampering with your work. I'm not thrilled whatsoever with the present system (and honestly, if someone wants to use my stuff, all they have to do is ask-but it's been explained to me thoroughly why things are the way they are. )
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:06 AM on November 4, 2009


Hey, St. Alia, thanks a lot for your perspective. No foolin'.

Honestly, my beef with praise music has more to do with the music itself and less to do with its theology. It's easy to write off people who don't like it as being fuddy-duddies, when in fact some of the arguments against it deserve a little time. The sum of the tone and structure of the music itself, combined with the way that you're supposed to act while singing it, leads to a culture in which praise is an entirely emotional experience and not an intellectual one.

The thing about the Holy Spirit is that it's there whether you feel awesome or not. People - young people in particular - feel guilty for not feeling the right combination of emotions, so they either fake it or give up.

And the defense that it brings in young people "because that's their language" really breaks down when you deconstruct it. I'm a young person. I go to lots of rock shows. I go to church. But I've never been in a position to decide whether to go to a rock show or church (they don't usually have them on Sunday mornings). And if I ever were, the fact that church has guitars in it wouldn't play into my decision.

I hope you don't take this more disparagingly than it's meant to be. I'd love to hear your music.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:20 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


That was the most depressing video I've seen all year.

It's always a drag when extreme conservatives try to have fun. It either ends up nasty, like that awful hate-mongering Fox News 'comedy' program RedEye, or it ends up quaint and cringeworthy like this video. Either way, it's a scandalous, undignified spectacle, like seeing your grandfather drunk at a party with a lampshade on his head and no trousers on.

This kind of whimsy rings so hollow when contrasted with the things these sorts of churches actually believe. If you truly believe that we are in a demon-filled world on the cusp of the Apocalypse, you should say it straight out, not try to lure people in with jokes and games, only to reveal the grim truth later on. That's fundamentally dishonest - a cheap adman's ploy. Of course, these kids have the joy of 'knowing' that they will go to Heaven, but they also 'know' that millions of nonbelievers will go to Hell. However deserving the unbeliever may be of his fiery fate, there is still something fundamentally indecent about these children's levity. They ought always to be thinking of the unsaved, and this should make them sober and dour, not light-hearted and gay.

The heart-stopping beauty of the young lad in the Aeropostale T-shirt made this video even more depressing. As I drank in his exquisiteness, it struck me that his companions were also beautiful - not as physically beautiful as T-shirt boy, but beautiful simply by virtue of their youth, freshness and enthusiasm. It broke my hellbound heart to think of them wasting so much loveliness on this unlovely cult.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 11:32 AM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's always a drag when extreme conservatives try to have fun.

This statement really bothers me for some reason.
posted by The World Famous at 12:46 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Honestly, my beef with praise music has more to do with the music itself and less to do with its theology. It's easy to write off people who don't like it as being fuddy-duddies, when in fact some of the arguments against it deserve a little time. The sum of the tone and structure of the music itself, combined with the way that you're supposed to act while singing it, leads to a culture in which praise is an entirely emotional experience and not an intellectual one.

To be honest, you and I are not that far apart on this. While I think emotional experience is fine, I do think thought should go into worship as well, and between you and me, so much of what is put out there as worship music is....well, too lightweight. Some of that is fine but such things as the majesty of God doesn't always get communicated as well. And for the record, my son (in his mid twenties) actually prefers more traditional types of worship. Whoda thunk!

(Not to say I can't and don't "rock out" on occasion but as a songwriter I see the notes, the rhythms, the harmonies as just as much a part of the communication as the lyrics. They all need to go together to communicate whatever message the song is meant to convey. So my styles are all over the place....I even did a rap, once. *oh the horror* ...heh.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:25 PM on November 4, 2009


This kind of whimsy rings so hollow when contrasted with the things these sorts of churches actually believe. If you truly believe that we are in a demon-filled world on the cusp of the Apocalypse, you should say it straight out, not try to lure people in with jokes and games, only to reveal the grim truth later on. That's fundamentally dishonest - a cheap adman's ploy. Of course, these kids have the joy of 'knowing' that they will go to Heaven, but they also 'know' that millions of nonbelievers will go to Hell. However deserving the unbeliever may be of his fiery fate, there is still something fundamentally indecent about these children's levity. They ought always to be thinking of the unsaved, and this should make them sober and dour, not light-hearted and gay

You do have a point-but on the other hand, when you have been rescued, you KNOW what you have been rescued from, and you have a message of truth by which other people can be rescued as well-there is great and deep joy in that. (and besides, since when did teenager's'humor NOT be kinda silly/stupid/immature?)

I have no excuse to be dour. I have been redeemed! That's better than Christmas morning times infinity!!!!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:28 PM on November 4, 2009


I have no excuse to be dour. I have been redeemed! That's better than Christmas morning times infinity!!!!

Yes, as I acknowledged in my previous comment, I realize that Christians get a great deal of joy from being saved/redeemed/born again or however the various sects describe it. And I do understand that further joy is derived from the notion of being able to save others. But the fact is, not all will be saved. What of all those who have already died, and are lost for ever?

If a ship sank and half the people on board were saved, we would be thankful and happy their lives were spared. But it would be unseemly to throw a huge thanksgiving party just across the road from the place where the other half were being buried. I hate to say it, but this is what the kids in the video are doing. OK, their joy is so overwhelming that they can't help dancing, even though the graves of the unsaved are under their feet. I understand this. But at least do those eternally and infinitely lost souls the courtesy of performing a dance that is at least a little bit seemly and dignified, not an unbridled tarantella or disco frug. I'm sure the slumbers of the damned are already sufficiently unquiet, without a non-stop teen party going on over their heads.

A truly good-hearted child will find her Christmas morning joy tempered and restrained by sad thoughts for those children who have received nothing, even though those wicked and disobedient children fully deserved the lumps of coal they got in their stockings. In the same way, a saint should never be able to completely forget the souls in Hell, even in her most thrilling transports of Heavenly ecstasy. Therefore, a certain gravity of demeanor should be obligatory for a Christian in a world where souls are lost every second. To be heedlessly gay and too lighthearted is to do the Devil's work.

and besides, since when did teenager's'humor NOT be kinda silly/stupid/immature?

Since when did those whom God has chosen to be his mouthpiece in the Last Days of a sin-sodden planet have the right to act like ordinary children? If these kids can't give up the privilege of being allowed to caper about indecently on Youtube, how will they make the truly difficult sacrifices required of an adult Christian?
posted by eatyourcellphone at 2:43 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know, hymns are purty and all, but I don't think God gave the Wesleys and Fanny Crosby an exclusive contract to write church music.

I know, I know! That went to Michael Praetorius, right?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:51 PM on November 4, 2009


In the same way, a saint should never be able to completely forget the souls in Hell, even in her most thrilling transports of Heavenly ecstasy

I'm sad NOW that people reject what God did for them, and mock and make fun of the One Who died in order to make a way for them to escape eternal doom.

Anyway, read Revelation to see what redeemed people's attitudes toward the fallen will be.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:41 PM on November 4, 2009


But at least do those eternally and infinitely lost souls the courtesy of performing a dance that is at least a little bit seemly and dignified, not an unbridled tarantella or disco frug. I'm sure the slumbers of the damned are already sufficiently unquiet, without a non-stop teen party going on over their heads.

By the way, (and I promise this is not a nonsequitur) have you ever read the story of Michal and David-the part where she looks out her window and sees him worshiping?

You really should.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:43 PM on November 4, 2009


Anyway, read Revelation to see what redeemed people's attitudes toward the fallen will be.

When I referred to 'Heavenly ecstasy' I was thinking more of the ecstasy many Christians (notably Pentecostals) claim to feel here on Earth when they are in some way in touch with the Holy Ghost or other denizens of the supernatural realm. The misunderstanding is my fault. I realized ahead of time that this sentence left itself open to misinterpretation (accidental or deliberate), but I was so pleased with the sound of it, I let it stand.

Let me speak plainly, then. I have no interest in Revelation or any book of the Bible, or in what certain extremist sects make of them. I ask Christians to act with a modicum of decorum in this world, not in any Cloudcuckooland to come. If you seriously contend that millions of your fellow men and women will be burned up in a lake of fire for not believing in your God, you shouldn't get to bounce around like loons on Youtube, or expect to be generally regarded as a bunch of zany fun-lovers. It's nothing to do with God or Jesus, it's just good manners and a sense of what's appropriate.

Be as stark and unadorned as your brutal creed. Don't hide behind wordly pomps like a spider under a flower. If you really believe the crucial, saving choice is so black-and-white, BE black-and-white, like your bleakly-garbed Pilgrim forefathers. Don't try to disorient us with a blaze of false colors. I'm sure plenty of death metallists also have fantasies about millions of souls tumbling into the maw of Satan, but they at least have the decency to look, dress and act like people who believe in gory and cruel things. They're way ahead of the Christians in the honesty stakes.

If you truly believe that the transitory joys of pop music and funny videos and the brief loveliness of pretty boys are all the sinners get before being sent to Hell, give them to us and let us enjoy them - stop subverting and misusing them to get at the minds of other people's children.

The Devil has the best tunes, and he wants them back. We'll leave you your creed, naked and unlovely and coarse; if some foolish innocents are still lured in when you offer the razor blade bare, rather than hiding it in a candy bar or an apple, well at least their heathenish friends and families will have the consolation of knowing they made their choices with their eyes wide open.

have you ever read the story of Michal and David-the part where she looks out her window and sees him worshiping?

Yes, I have, and felt sorry for poor Michal, whose 'sin' was to expect her husband and king not to act the goat in front of all and sundry. If Queen Elizabeth pranced around in her girdle in a fit of religious enthusiasm, I'd expect the Duke of Edinburgh to be miffed, and quite rightly. It is a singularly unenlightening, misogynistic and vicious-minded story.

But as I say, I'm not really concerned with the theological question, just asking Christians to observe, to some extent, the world's little ideas of decency and kindness (we do have some, you know - it's not all blood sacrifices and gay sex).

Besides, David was an ancient Jew, who could have had no conception of Hell as imagined by Jesus or his modern-day followers - despite what Christians claim, many supposedly eternal and unchanging 'truths' took centuries to develop. What would have been appropriate or inappropriate for David has no bearing on the behavior of modern Christians, who belong to an only very tangentially related faith.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 4:51 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Devil has the best tunes, and he wants them back

Most assuredly, that is a lie from the pit of hell.

And, since the Bible says basically that God ordains the foolish to shame the wise, I'll happily dance like David did. Because the path you seem to think Christians should take leads only, like in Michal's case, to barrenness.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:14 PM on November 4, 2009


PS, if you have the time and the inclination to research it, you do know that in the original language the Lord is said to dance over us (the word used implies spinning in joy....)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:17 PM on November 4, 2009


Most assuredly, that is a lie from the pit of hell.

Not a nice thing for a bunny to say. However much Christians might appear to be fluffy bunny-wunnies on top, it's all fire and brimstone underneath, isn't it?

You have a view of the universe as a battlefield where demons and angels contend, where human souls are flung into the fiery pit by Satanic handfuls, where Jesus is expected to gallop over the face of the earth one day on a magical white steed. This epic, blood-soaked, colossally strange vision is always going to clash with whimsical mundanities like perky Youtube teens or a rap-composing housewife. Some things just don't go together; apocalyptic daydreams of blood and fire don't go with cheerful fun and games.

And, since the Bible says basically that God ordains the foolish to shame the wise, I'll happily dance like David did. Because the path you seem to think Christians should take leads only, like in Michal's case, to barrenness.


The Bible says any number of things to encourage its readers to stop their ears up against logic, common sense and human decency.

I know you're talking about barrenness in a non-literal sense here, but I have to say that if Michal was a real person, her barrenness arose from physical causes - either she or David was infertile, or David wouldn't have sex with her. Do you really think babies are a reward from God? That infertility is a punishment? Well, they're not.

A baby comes from the union of a sperm and an egg. God doesn't make thunder or rain or earthquakes either - we found out long ago that all these things are just natural processes. Poor Michal is still being slandered after millennia for the simple 'crime' of not being able to bear children. You want to talk about 'barrenness'? Well, I can't think of any more bleak, desolate, depressing, barren fate than to go down in history as a 'cursed' woman, just because your ovaries didn't work.

So, go on dancing if you must. If you're so indifferent to good manners as to wave your 'salvation' like one of Willy Wonka's golden tickets in the face of those who you believe will soon be crunched between Satan's mandibles, go for it. But don't expect everyone to think 'Oh, what a lovely lady!' or smile indulgently on the lamewad Youtube antics of your teenage co-religionists.

PS, if you have the time and the inclination to research it, you do know that in the original language the Lord is said to dance over us (the word used implies spinning in joy....)

I don't care what the Bible says. I care about religious zealots expecting ordinary social niceties from people they regard as doomed to Hell - which is usually just about everyone. I care about religious zealots dishonestly cloaking their true selves and their true beliefs in the trappings of a culture they really regard as 'fallen' and destined to be swept away by Jesus.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 7:45 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


eatyourcellphone, I don't think you're in any danger of anyone thinking you appear to be a fluffy bunny-wunny. I share with you many of your doctrinal disagreements with the Pentacostal church. But sheesh, chill out.
posted by The World Famous at 7:52 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


This was that rarest of birds, a good religion discussion on Metafilter. I'm going to do something I never do and blame someone's user number.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:10 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


This was that rarest of birds, a good religion discussion on Metafilter

Sorry, I ruined the 'good' discussion by wanting to talk about the horrible and outrageous things extremist Christians actually believe. What a faux pas! I should have realized just how unimportant Christians' beliefs were in a thread about a proselytizing web video.

I wouldn't dream of making a further faux pas by pointing out, for example, that the Australian Hillsong church, whose music St Alia so blithely recommends in one her comments, is incredibly shady and dodgy. It's about the music, man, not about pedophilia or attempting to subvert the democratic process in some unimportant country. That's irrelevant.

I'm going to do something I never do and blame someone's user number.

Personally, I'd blame the vapidity of people who think that a religious group's ability to make a funny video absolves us of the need to ask moral questions about them, but you attribute the failure of this attempt to turn Metafilter into a tent revival meeting to whatever you want.

Anyway, I'll put things back on track - aren't old-fashioned hymns pretty? Aren't you just dying to hear St. Alia's wicked raps? Wasn't it funny when the boy in the video poked the other boy in the eye? I laughed so hard I forgot to think about what those adorable teens actually, you know, believe.

There you go. I'll leave you to your scintillating discussion. I'll go and 'chill out'. After all, I may as well fit as much chilling as I can into this life, before I go to the lake of fire.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 9:32 PM on November 4, 2009


A good rule of thumb for MetaFilter: If it would be boorish to say in real life in a diverse group of cordial, nice people, it's boorish to say in a comment.

I'd blame the vapidity of people who think that a religious group's ability to make a funny video absolves us of the need to ask moral questions about them, but you attribute the failure of this attempt to turn Metafilter into a tent revival meeting to whatever you want.

We're not vapid and we don't think a funny video absolves anyone of the need to ask moral questions. We're just not being boorish. Imagine for a moment that this thread is a nice cocktail party, and read it from beginning to end with that in mind.
posted by The World Famous at 9:44 PM on November 4, 2009


If it would be boorish to say in real life in a diverse group of cordial, nice people, it's boorish to say in a comment.

People who think that millions and millions of essentially harmless people are going to Hell for following the wrong religion aren't nice. They're mean and nasty. I'd rather say boorish things and be tutted at by Mefites than think truly horrendous and wicked things that I don't have the guts to say out loud and in plain language.

Imagine for a moment that this thread is a nice cocktail party

Most nice cocktail parties don't start with the hostess saying 'Let's all gather round the telly and watch this video about people who think you and I are going to burn in Hell for not making the right religious choice. It's absolutely delightful.' If the thing the conversation is about is not pleasant, how can the conversation be pleasant?

Anyway, I was trying to leave so you could all get back to talking about liturgical music and such. Do that instead of calling me back to the cocktail party of the damned when I was just backing out of the driveway.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 10:08 PM on November 4, 2009


Eatyourcellphone, you obviously aren't a believer, so why do you care if we dance?

You aren't our audience, anyway.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:27 AM on November 5, 2009


Oh no, we almost had a religious thread that didn't end up with Christians getting shit on. Good thing eatyourcellphone showed up and turned it all around.
posted by padraigin at 7:26 AM on November 5, 2009


eatyourcellphone: This kind of whimsy rings so hollow when contrasted with the things these sorts of churches actually believe. If you truly believe that we are in a demon-filled world on the cusp of the Apocalypse, you should say it straight out, not try to lure people in with jokes and games, only to reveal the grim truth later on. That's fundamentally dishonest - a cheap adman's ploy. Of course, these kids have the joy of 'knowing' that they will go to Heaven, but they also 'know' that millions of nonbelievers will go to Hell. However deserving the unbeliever may be of his fiery fate, there is still something fundamentally indecent about these children's levity. They ought always to be thinking of the unsaved, and this should make them sober and dour, not light-hearted and gay.

Does anyone have the right to be cheerful then, though? As an athiest, I have the pleasure of thinking that most of the billions of people who've lived before mostly lived short, unpleasant, sickly lives without any kind of afterlife to redeem them. As an environmentalist, I have the additional pleasure of thinking that we've almost certainly already destroyed the planetary environment beyond any hope of repair and even if we haven't, we're too stupid to pull back from doing it. Both of those are pretty depressing, and yet, I manage to stay cheerful most of the time. Ultimately, there's no point in dwelling on the unpleasant truths in the universe that you cannot change.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:29 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Eatyourcellphone, you obviously aren't a believer, so why do you care if we dance?

You really can't understand that non-Christians/non-extremists feel that they can expect very hardcore Christians to observe certain standards?

You say to people 'you are going to Hell for not believing, or for believing differently than me.' It's your right to say so. But this means that you are telling us that many of our friends and relations who have already died are damned and lost for ever.

You want me to picture, say, my Catholic granny writhing on the coals, my dead atheist friend transfixed by demonic pitchforks. (I'll note here that I don't know your particular vision of Hell, who goes there, what happens there, or whether it's an actual physical place. I'm not interested in the particulars, just in the general notion of eternal torment/ultimate destruction for those outside certain boundaries). While this picture unreels in my mind, you want to jump around and make jokes!

Your message is one with vast implications, not all of them comforting to say the least. Yes, I acknowledge your joy at the thought of souls yet to be saved, but you cannot escape the fact that some souls are already lost and many more will inevitably be lost. As this message is the central fact of your existence, I ask you to be appropriately solemn and grave at all times. Many of our more old-fashioned clergymen would concur wholeheartedly with me in this call for Christians to be models of restraint, dignity and solemnity.

You aren't our audience, anyway.

The whole world is the evangelist's audience. Anyway, I didn't barge into some corner of the Christian web and start arguing. This is Metafilter, and we're talking about a church that's set up a proselytizing channel on one of the world's most popular websites. It's in the public realm. OK, maybe these teens shouldn't have cast their pearls before swine like me, but once the pearls are cast, we Gadarene pigs have a right to examine them, to hold them up to the light.

Oh no, we almost had a religious thread that didn't end up with Christians getting shit on. Good thing eatyourcellphone showed up and turned it all around.

I don't know if you regard yourself as a Christian, but I seriously doubt the kids in the video would consider you one. I don't know your individual beliefs about damnation, but I doubt they have much in common with Alia's or the video kids'.

Perhaps you just meant that I derailed an interesting thread about various liturgical trends, in which case you should have said that.

But you seem to be taking offense on behalf of people who probably think that the existence of your church is a national scandal and that you are a Jezebel who is setting up false altars in God's land. To be so willing to see things from your enemy's point of view is genuinely and admirably Christian of you. I apologize for any shit that hit you. It certainly wasn't aimed at you.

Does anyone have the right to be cheerful then, though?

This is a gross oversimplification of my position. I asked for a curb on indecent and tactless displays of wanton glee, not an end to cheerfulness.

Both of those are pretty depressing, and yet, I manage to stay cheerful most of the time. Ultimately, there's no point in dwelling on the unpleasant truths in the universe that you cannot change.

I never asked anyone to think gloomy thoughts exclusively. I honestly don't see where you're getting this from.

Christians will tell you that no mere earthly suffering can compare to the torments of Hell or eternal destruction. This is kind of the point of Hell, actually. Christians believe that our moms and dads and spouses and friends who have died are enduring or will endure various unimaginable sufferings. Because they believe that there is a kind of pain beyond anything that humans can fully imagine, they have a corresponding duty - in terms of merely worldly etiquette - to be more restrained and grave.

I came back to this thread because Alia and Mitrovarr asked specific questions that I wished to answer, and I wanted to apologize to poor liberal padraigin who was caught in the crossfire unintentionally. I'm going away for a weekend of godless fun now, so I promise not to come back to this thread. Bye!
posted by eatyourcellphone at 2:36 PM on November 5, 2009


". . . non-Christians/non-extremists feel that they can expect very hardcore Christians to observe certain standards. . ."

". . . I ask you to be appropriately solemn and grave at all times."

"I asked for a curb on indecent and tactless displays of wanton glee . . . ."

Just thought I'd cherry pick a few quotes from the comment above. That's all.
posted by The World Famous at 2:45 PM on November 5, 2009


eatyourcellphone -- the problem isn't being anti-christian, it's being boring.

We've done the atheist vs christian thing to death here, and it gets tiresome. You aren't breaking new ground here.
posted by empath at 3:06 PM on November 5, 2009


You aren't our audience, anyway.

Let me clarify this statement, since you misunderstood it.

We dance for an audience of One.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:24 PM on November 5, 2009


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