Monday, January 08, 2007

Misrepresenting God

Here is some more from Donald Miller in Searching for God Knows What. Here he talks about media heads who claim to represent God, but in actuality, are misrepresenting him. He tells the sad story of the conman Robert Tilton (you may recognize as the "farting preacher") who was outed for collecting money from sweet (yet stupid) little old ladies to fund his greed. He goes on to say this:

The real thing that made me sad that day was that God, who I think is quite good, was being misrepresented so terribly in the media. I realize it isn't popular to say such things, that as a Christian writer I should keep my mouth shut and kiss everybody's butt, but it is difficult to do so when there are so many media-savvy idiots pretending to represent Jesus. just this morning I watched a fellow on his Christian talk show talk about what we should be doing in Iraq, how we should be starving out clerics and sending more troops to shoot more bullets and drop more bombs. He's a preacher, for crying out loud. Why doesn't he just tell people about Jesus?

If I weren't a Christian, and I kept seeing Christian leaders on television more concerned with money, fame, and power than with grace, love, and social justice, I woulodn't want to believe in God at all.

This could not come at a better time, with 'ol Pat Robertson again making all Christians look like idiots and predicting a major terrorist attack this year. Thanks for the kind words, Pat. Way to stay positive.

Seriously, though, why isn't the Christian message in the media balanced? We seemed to have somewhat balanced political banter, why can't we have balanced Christian banter? Why are the Christians you see on TV all the time the weirdos?

I have a theory, of course. The Christians you see on TV tend to be in the prosperity class of ministers (i.e. those who believe that God wants you to be healthy and wealthy). That message preaches much better to Americans, sadly, than the true Gospel, where Jesus basically says, "Come, follow me. Everyone will hate you, and you will have to give up everything, even your own life, but you will get fulfillment through me, and your life will not be boring." As Donald shares when he speaks, take Peter for an example. He owns a successful fishing business. Jesus calls him out of that to follow him around confused for a few of years. Then Peter denies him and generations read about it. Finally, he and his wife get crucified upside down (according to church tradition). come on and sign up, y'all. That won't sell as many prayer shawls on TBN.

I understand that my thoughts on this are all over the place. I am basically just ranting. In the end, the point I want to make is that Christians in the media have been misrepresenting God for years, and I, for one, am sick of it. May we never give into pop Christianity. May we never comprimise the message to what is easy and comfortable. I choose to follow Jesus, for He is my reward.


Joel Maners said...

Last month I went to see the movie Facing the Giants after several friends told me what a great Christian movie this was. I took my daughters to see it and I was a bit surprised at the message. After we left the theater I asked my kids, "What was the message of the movie?" My youngest daughter replied, "If you stick with God, you'll eventualy get everything you want." She got the message loud and clear. "But is that really true?" I asked. "Was anyone closer to God than Jesus? What did he get?" I wanted them to know that the Gospel was not about getting what you want. I am continually amazed at what Christian people believe the message really is.

Anonymous said...

you guys seem to be pretty smart, I would like you opinions, why do so many "christians" seem to put on a happy face when they go to church? I have a problem with trusting people there because they seem fake.They're always happy and live like God has given them everything. Is It me, or are most church goers posers?

Nick said...

Interesting question Anynymous. I think you are partly right. Some Christians do live out the old joke of the family arguing on the way to church. Then, when they get to church, everyone puts on a happy face until after church, when they get back in the car, and the dysfunction starts right back up. There is no question that some Christians live like this.

However, I don't think this is the majority, at least in my circles. If you met me at church, you would think I was happy, hopefully not in a fake way, but in a genuine way, because I am happy. God has given me so much and I'm thankful. It is exciting to be a part of his plan. I would like to think that most Christians are like that as well (genine in a way that shows), but I'm scared to think that many may be "posers" as you say.

Thoughts, anybody? Let me know your responses to this, anonymous.