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Church Hoppers to the Rescue!

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Time was, church hopping was deemed a bad thing. Reflective of much else in our American culture, it represents a consumeristic approach to church. The idea being that if the service at church A was too long, church B was right down the street. And if that didn’t work out, well there’s always the tried-and-true-blue Methodists.

Or no church at all.

In fact (sorry, I’m not going to back this up with statistics. If you want stats, read Kinnaman, or Barna), more are indeed leaving the church now than ever before. It’s deemed boring,  irrelevant, or folks are just too busy to bother. FOOTBALL!

Three guys from North  Carolina aim to put a stop to that by flipping the script on what church hopping is. In fact, that’s what they call themselves, the Church Hoppers. Because that’s what they do: hop from struggling church to struggling church to help them reach souls for Christ by shoring up their foundations.

Who are the Church Hoppers? Kevin “Rev Kev” Annas, Larry “Doc” Bentley, and Anthony “Gladamere” Lockhart. Between the three of them, these gentleman bring decades of both ministerial, and business, experience to the table. Their focus is three-fold:

Systems

Business

Sales/Marketing

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Can you guess which is Rev Kev, Doc, or Gladamere?

In other words, in Star Wars terms, they bring balance to the force. Because it’s their contention that a church out of balance in any of these key areas is like a two-legged stool: bound to fall. In this way, they’re like the A-Team. If yours is a struggling church, if no one else can help, and if you can find them… I kid. All a church has to do is call. (But seriously, don’t you think “Hannibal,” “Murdock,”and “Faceman” would be better nicknames than “Rev Kev,” “Doc,” and “Gladamere?” To me, Rev Kev sounds like a moniker that either a DJ, or longhaul trucker, would use. And Doc? He was Snow White’s dwarf buddy. Don’t get me started on Gladamere. Is this a concatenation of “Vladimir” and “glad?” If so, Maxwell Smart says, “Missed it by that much.” Gladamere… It just kind of prances off the tongue).

I of course kid, but as marketing experts, one would think that they could come up with better nicknames. All of that aside, and in consideration of the age old question:

Does the world really need another reality show?

The answer is a resounding no. The world doesn’t need another reality show. It never needed any in the first place. That said, does Church Rescue deliver the goods? The answer, my friends, is a resounding “Yes!” These dudes, despite their problem nicknames, put the real in reality! How do I mean? Let me put it this way: have you ever seen a headstrong, take-no-prisoners, my-way-or-the-highway pastor own up to his junk baggage on national T.V.? If you watch this show, you will. You’ll see that, and more.

What you’ll see is three guys who help a church become more relevant without compromising the message. And that, Regis, is my final answer.

So tune at 10 PM EST/PST tomorrow night, Monday, November 11th to the National Geographic channel and see for yourself.

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The Jodi Arias Prison Book Club

Nota bene: if you’re not fond of gallows humor, I respectfully request that you simply stop reading now. Seriously. Today’s post is not for you. Please visit instead the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

Also, please understand that I’m in no way making light of the tragic death of Travis Alexander. He didn’t deserve that. No one deserves that. Jodi Arias committed an atrocious, evil act.

Without further ado:

You are perhaps familiar with the novel, and subsequent film, The Jane Austen Book Club. It is, as its title suggests, a work about a book club discussing the works of the late, great Jane Austen. She of the acerbic wit and adroit social commentary.

In a sense, I believe that Jodi Arias is similarly possessed of a certain genius.
A dark gift, if you will.

Else, why would she, on the stand, as she plead for her life, state that one of her great reasons for living is to teach reading in prison?

Mull that over for just a second. Jodi Arias wants to teach other inmates how to read. And lead a book club.

Exclusive to RandomlyChad, is the following proposed reading list (from the soon to be formed Jodi Arias Prison Book Club):

1. No One Gets Out Alive.

2. Helter Skelter.

3. The Silence of the Lambs.

4. The Shining. (“Here’s Jodi!”)

5. The Stranger Beside Me.

6. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. (because we’ve got to have some Austen, folks).

That’s just the first six months, folks. Other possible books include the entire Ann Rule library, Papillion, and Martha Stewart Living.

————–

Hopefully, my point is clear; namely, just how ironic is that Arias feels, at this point, that she’s qualified to lead anything? To my mind, it’s entirely in keeping with the character she’s displayed throughout the entire trial. The hubris, the arrogance, boggles the mind.

I’ll leave you with one last thought:

As she was relating the reasons why she thought she would be allowed to live, Jodi indicated that she would never have children. She was lamenting that fact.

But I say thank God for that!

What do you say? How ironic is that she thinks she should be leading anything?

What the Walking Dead Gets Right

In writing this post, I’m looking at the popular T.V. show The Walking Dead through the lens of a Christian worldview. You may ask what does a Christian worldview has to do with a zombie show?
Fair question.

I’ve long held that fiction in general, and horror/supernatural fiction in particular, owes its popularity to the often unacknowledged longings of the heart. As Pascal said, “the heart has its reasons that reason knows not of.”

In this context, take that to mean that our hearts acknowledge, even long for, the supernatural despite our scientific reason decrying it. There is a reason that the novels of Stephen King have been perennially popular; aside from writing crackerjack stories, believable characters, and often white-knuckle plots, his stories are replete with the supernatural.

This resonates with our deep hearts. And horror stories in particular are often morality tales–a sort of What Would You Do? (ABC show with John Quinones) from hell. The point is that horror stories acknowledge the reality of an often supernatural evil.

In fact, I would venture to say that all of the stories we love have a villain we love to hate. Why is this? Because our story has a villain.

Which brings me to The Walking Dead. The shows creators/writers don’t necessarily intend to present things from a Christian worldview (probably quite the opposite–that the living are now in a hopeless situation); however, they live in the same world as you and I. As such, they can’t escape a fundamental fact of reality: we live in a world at war.

Like Rick Grimes in the pilot episode, we are all of us born into a world at war. And like him, we are often dazed, confused–comatose, even–until Christ bids us wake. The zombies in the show are, to me, a physical manifestation of a spiritual reality: demons are real (they also serve as adroit social commentary on unchecked consumerism, unrestrained id, the sin nature let loose).

But we don’t like to talk about that in this enlightened 21st century, do we?

Folks, all I’m saying is that there is a spiritual reality that we often poo-poo to our great detriment. And this reality is the truth behind the books, and shows, we love.

How about you? Do you read horror, or watch The Walking Dead?

Sound off in the comments.

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