Sunday, January 28, 2007

How to tell when you have the wrong pastor

1: Your minister has no tact and either embarrasses you in front of the entire congregation or smiles surreptitiously at the deacon or the assistant minister whenever he sees you. Also...if your minister gossips.

2: Your minister steals or forgets to return the tapes, books, CD's, and DVD's you've lent him, or pockets the check with your tithe (or offering) know the one...when you accidentally wrote the check out to him instead of the church.

3: Your minister says racist things as if they were Biblical. Indeed, your minister IS racist and all the visiting ministers who visit your church share his racist opinions.

4: Your minister is too busy to speak to you. He says things like, "Don't you have a friend you can talk to about this?"

5: Your minister thinks the gospel is about telling people about their sins instead of telling people about God's love and mercy through Christ.

6: Your minister hangs out with the richer, smarter, more influential people more than he does anyone else.

7: Your minister has a strong agenda and 50% of his sermons are propaganda gearing his listeners toward the same sexual, political, or social agenda. In fact, he twists all Bible sermons into his agenda. And your minister hates you if you disagree with him on his agenda.

8: Your minister doesn't understand that the Bible is the Living Word of God. He either thinks "the Bible is just a book like any other." Or he says thinks like, "why do people read the Bible so much? Reading it once is enough." Or your minister believes the Bible is the word of God but simply doesn't read it. He spends more time on the internet, or watching TV, or talking to pals on the telephone.

9: Your minister is way too young but thinks he's the voice of wisdom.

10: Your minister doesn't realize that the word "minister" means to serve. He walks about as if He's Christ himself.

11: Your minister is very jealous of the teaching/preaching/healing/comforting gifts of other people in the congregation.

12: Your minister is cruel. This kind of minister often prides himself/herself on her adherence to the Bible. They will say to a perfect stranger: "Don't you know you'll go to hell, you horrible sinner?"

13: Your minister lusts after men and women in the congregation. Often the lusting isn't apparent except to the one being lusted at. My husband was often the object of the lust of a gay minister we had. Very uncomfortable.

14: Your minister is petty, bitter, cynical, and vaguely psychotic. This kind of minister is often divorced, has an issue against women, and spends most of coffee-hour mocking his ex-wife.

15: Your minister has gotten too used to your distress and simply doesn't try to help you. This isn't really noticeable in a large church but if you're in a small church (less than 50 people) and you've been sick for a long while and the minister hasn't gathered people together to pray for you in a prayer session...then it's time to worry.

Of course, you might be the only one who actually notices these the best thing is to keep your mouth shut...and slowly leave the church if the minister doesn't change...when you can't take it anymore.

Wind Follower June 2007 Juno Books
carole.mcdonnell (at) gmail (dot)com

Saturday, January 27, 2007

My favorite peoples

I don’t know what it’s like to live in a country of homogeneous people. I’m from the United States, a North American, born in Jamaica in the West Indies but raised in Brooklyn and New York. I’m a multiculturalist at heart. And I have certain multicultural tendencies. For instance, I have favorite "peoples" – that is, there are certain tribes of the world that I love, that I tend to click with really well.
First, in no particular order, I’ll tell about my top favorites: African-Americans, Hispanics (especially Puerto Ricans and Cubans), Jews, Italians, Irish, Native Americans, and Arabs.
Now, for my favorite people: Jewish People.
I suppose that should be the case because I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. Lots of Italians and West Indians there too. The funny thing is that Jewish folks also like me. It’s a lucky thing because sometimes a person is on the outside of a group looking in. Many minorities, for instance, look up to the larger white culture or to the White Anglo-Saxon culture. Sometimes they even lust for the other cultures at the cost of denying our own culture. That’s why there are such slang words as bananas, apples, oreos (where are minorities are one color on the outside and another color on the inside.)
But self-loathing aside, it’s wonderful when one likes one’s own people and also like other people. And it’s especially good if one is liked by people in the other group.
The City that now exists, the city of heavenly Jerusalem is my true city. It’s of all those who love and rely and trust in Yahweh. We live on earth now. But the City now exists – according to the New Testament, according to Jewish writings in and about the Torah. I know some Christians think that when we die we go into soul-sleep but they’re mistaken. The city of God is alive and well. As are all its citizens on earth and in heaven.
However, some folks on earth are not of that city. Indeed, they often hate people who belong to Shiloh’s great city. This annoys me because I’m also a citizen of earth – for the nonce– and I don’t like being hated. But what really upsets me is when people from God’s city – those of us who call that great city "home"– hate the people in the world, or have prejudices against certain people. And I especially hate it when people hate Blacks (the ethnic group I belong to) and Jews (the ethnic group which is my favorite people)
It is good if we have a love for our own race –there is nothing wrong with that and Blacks have had to deal with a lot of self-loathing because American society has told us to hate ourselves, our skins, etc. All races have been chosen by God for specific reasons. African-Americans are called to do something great, I’m sure. The Jews are called the Chosen People because God chose them to bring His word and His savior to the world. And other ethnic groups also have chosen destinies.
But we must not hate our brother – whether he belongs to our ethnic group or not. If we do not love our brother whom we have seen, how can we love God whom we have not seen?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Okay, about Isaiah Washington's slur against his co-worker. The "f" word. It's pretty rude to say anything that will hurt a colleague or an entire group of people. He shouldn't have said it. That said, folks in hollywood DO seem to get upset over certain kinds of prejudice while they indulge in others. And they DO seem to pick on certain folks more than others. For instance, if a black person does something socially unacceptable, the media treats it as if it's the crime of the century. Their attitude reminds me that racism in the supposedly liberal media is alive and well. We must not forget that most of these media folks probably had childhoods where they didn't really know any black people. They may have microphones in their hands and they might be pontificators but at heart they are not socially-educated about racism and its subtleties. They DO believe that black women and men are touchy and overly-sensitive and apt to go overboard emotionally. That's their deep-seated idea but they don't realize they have it.

They also are unaware of their prejudices against non-normal physical attributes. Of course they are all into beauty and cosmetic surgery and looking good for the cameras. But it goes even further. For instance, on idol chat, Rosanna and Kimberly were mocking Justin Guarini's afro, comparing his hair to Bozo the clown. On E's commentary on the golden globe fashions, the hosts -- and Miss Jay a black person with transgender issues should know better-- got a lot of laughs mocking Vanessa Williams and Will Farrell's hair. Why? Because of the afros and curly hair. Why should curly hair and afros bring knee-jerk laughter? Yet, all over television there is a continued mockery about afros which shows that subtle racism is still alive.

On American Idol, Simon Cowell (or the producers) always set up fat or disabled people or oddballs as a butt for laughter and Hollywood poo-poohs their cruelty but don't really fire any one. Nor do Hollywood execs fire people who mock are disdainful of Christians and Catholics or fat people.

Ah yes! They are pretty sneering about Christians. I can tell you all the types of Christians who pop up in TV shows: the innocent indoctrinated not too bright young girl with simple faith. The intellectual who leads those with simple faith but who tolerates their beliefs because they're obviously not as deep as he is. The innocent searcher who grows to realize his religion is too old-fashioned and intolerant. The crazed abortion-clinic bomber. The deluded believer who believes God actually guides him and talks to him. The cruel judgemental evangelical with no sensitivity to other people who thumps his Bible. Ah I could go on. So, yes, there is a bit of imbalance there about how "offended" Hollywood gets when certain groups are picked on.

Ah brothers and sisters! We can do nothing about the world, but we can do something about ourselves. As Christians we mustn't pick and choose what offends us. The world can do that. Not us. Some of us don't get mad when another denomination is picked on, but we get mad when our denominati0n is mocked. Some of us get mad when Christians are slammed but we don't mind when Blacks or Jews are picked on. Let us search our hearts. Remember what the apostle John said, "if you don't love your brother, you are a murderer. And no murderer has eternal life" That's pretty clear. We Christians are often ready to put Christian homosexuals in hell, why aren't we just as willing to put Christian racists in hell? The blood of Jesus covers every sin.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Musical Cues

Musical cues

One of my pet peeves in movie-viewing are musical cues. You know what I mean: the music that cues you to what the main characters are feeling. Whether a rising swelling, sweet, horrifying, throbbing, musical cues are placed in films and TV shows to help us see the character's heart. Without musical scores --or even laugh tracks-- a movie or TV show might fall flat.

Often, however, the cues go overboard, giving us knee-jerk disdain (making us hate, mock, or pity people for no good reason except that some musical chords or melody have been added to train us to hate, pity, or mock. Musical cues are also used for knee-jerk sentimentality. Often --usually-- it is used when the writing hasn't been strong enough. The swelling crescendo pops up and suddenly we think of a character as noble. Or the tinka-tinka of a playful melody is added to a scene and we think of a character as childlike.

It's a wonderful and manipulative art form. And I'll allow that most art forms --especially drama-- is manipulative. But what really annoys me is when the cues are used to tell us that a person's viewpoint on a particular issue is the right viewpoint, indeed THE right view for ALL viewers everywhere.

We Christians have seen television drama or comedy shows where some "liberal atheist intellectual thinker" is having a discussion about a spiritual point (or with a Christian) and although the atheist's thinking is stupid and worldly and not that deep, suddenly the simple intrusion of a musical cue tells the viewer know that the atheist intellectual thinker is Solomon himself -- so wise in his worldly disdain for religion.

Every abortion discussion I've ever seen in a film has musical cues to let the viewer know which side has scored the enlightened point.

I don't know what we'll do about this kind of thing. All we can do is train our children to understand that just because the music tells us to feel one way about a scene we are not required to accept the music's dictates. Feeling is a choice, and a character isn't right just because the music tells us he is.

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