Quick religion hits

Will science solve the mystery of “distant healing”:http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=00000000007,00000001331,0,0,1,0? Perhaps we should ask the authors of “this blog”:http://www.sadlyno.com. I’m often excited when I see spirituality and science coming together in the news, especially since spirituality is hard to study. (How do you measure spirituality? I know there are instruments, but sheesh. How do you validate such an instrument?) I do have my limits, and I don’t think we’re ready to study distant healing yet.

Violence in Sri Lanka “continues”:http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=00000000001,00000001334,0,0,1,0. Here’s “more”:http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=00000000001,00000001335,0,0,1,0.

It might not mean a thing. But then again “it might”:http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=00000000001,00000001332,0,0,1,0.

And, finally, we get to budding “WingNutDaily”:http://www.wnd.com star “Jim Rutz”:http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=44760. Does anyone take this column seriously? (Think about the “answer”:http://www.sadlyno.com.)

bq. Last week’s column was only my fourth for WorldNetDaily, and already I’ve been tagged as anti-church, anti-Bible, and, shall we say, remarkably retarded. Now I suppose I’ll be called a fifth columnist.

Or someone who’s been drinking a fifth?

bq. Ah well, at least it’s free publicity. And they always carefully cite WorldNetDaily.com, even if it does come out spelled WorldNutDaily sometimes. But the thing that pains my tender, delicate feelings is that none of these ruddy idiots have shown any sign of getting within 50 feet of my book.

That’s WingNutDaily. And I have gotten within 50 feet of your book, but it made my stomach hurt. That was the longest belly laugh I’ve had in a long time.

bq. How can I spread the “odious heresies” they accuse me of if they don’t buy my book? They just don’t understand the system. So let me spell it out for my devoted antifans: Hey guys, if you don’t buy ??Megashift??, I’ll go flat stony broke, and then you won’t have Jim Rutz to kick around anymore! (sniff)

Ah, poor thing. Let’s give to the “Buy Rutz a Big Mac” fund, just so we can kick him around a little longer.

bq. … First, it’s not about church growth, though my statistics do show that Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism are doomed to museum status, possibly in your lifetime.

Your statistics also show there’s an army of zombies in Africa awaiting God’s command to attack, which as been building for 20 years. That really lends a lot of credence to your other statistics.

Second, it’s not about miracles, though it does contain enough well-attested resurrections and other stunning acts of God to make a staunch atheist foam at the mouth and stomp.

What it’s really about is the biggest reversal in human history. Seventeen centuries of suppression are coming to a well-earned end. A new freedom and empowerment are starting to shatter custom’s rusty chains.

The only stunning act I see here is that someone would write this kind of drivel. But anyway, I challenge you to show me exactly how the last 17 centuries have been oppressive to Christianity.

Welcome to the new Christianity

What? You say you kind of liked the old Christianity? Well, if you did, you’ll love the new one.

It’s got exactly the same set of beliefs, but a structure and dynamic that are poles apart from tradition-encrusted Churchianity, whose tacked-on flaws can be seen from orbiting spacecraft.

I really don’t know what to say to this. It’s exactly the same, except it’s … different?

bq. It also has some improvements: no sermons, no expensive buildings, and no sitting in silence because of your second-class status. Sound heretical? Then please note that all these practices are imports from the ancient pagan world, and none of them are recommended or even mentioned in the New Testament. Not once. So who’s the heretic here?

Filthy pagans gave us Jim Baker and Ted Swank!

bq. In fact, forget everything you ever knew about church. Picture this: It’s Saturday night in your living room – or Sunday afternoon at your dinner table – and about 15 of your friends are sitting around having a good time. (Kids drift in or out, depending on whether a topic interests them.)

Oh, can we? Can we?

They’re telling stories, sharing their lives, and talking about great stuff they’ve experienced and learned recently.

They’re also opening up their Bibles and discussing parts of it, helping each other apply it to their lives. And when someone is having a problem – with health, money, anything – the others may gather round and pray for him or her, usually placing their hands on a shoulder or head. At the very least, they offer encouragement or insights. And once in a while, especially near the start or end, everyone breaks out in a song. (If you think Hollywood musicals look really hokey when that happens, well, get used to it!)

And this tranquil scene is interrupted when a fight breaks out over whether the New International Version, New International Version Second Edition, or New Internation Version Second Edition Revised is the correct version of the ??Bible?? to use. The pies that your quiet, submissive wife made for the event are turned into ammo for the bloodiest food fight ever. The kids are laughing, the adults are screaming, and you are tearing your hair out. And then everyone turns around and looks aghast at you. You don’t understand why until you catch a glance at yourself in the window and realize that you’ve lost your disguise. You’re really Ann Coulter!

bq. If you and your friends aren’t exactly upper middle class, you’ll have some financial emergencies now and then. And you’ll often decide to pass the hat, or tap into the group’s kitty.

No big deal, just once an hour or so, like when the grocery bill turns out to be $25. Sadly, you have to put back the Marlboros, except that your friends chip in because you’re having a bad day. Again.

bq. Even children get in the act pretty regularly. I have a friend named Jeanne … who once was out running, and fell and shattered her ankle. She was facing an operation and a long recovery at best when she visited a home church here in Colorado. When she asked for prayer, a 2-year-old boy named Moses came across the room and wrapped his little hands around her ankle. Instantly, she felt all the bone fragments snapping back into place. In house churches, things like that do happen.

Then Moses’s mother came in yelling after him to put the hammer away and _never_ get it out again!

Everyone dives in. In fact, if a wallflower is sitting in silence, someone will notice and encourage the sharing of what’s on his heart. No one is restricted … unless you count the occasional motormouth who simply has to be reined in. But hey, God loves gasbags, too.

… In a simple church (home-based and open) you’ll have your own weddings, baptisms and funerals. That’s because your people are proactive, changing from spiritual consumers to spiritual producers who will overcome the world – not by force, but by their faith.

Really? God loves ??The Wallflowers??. I’ve never heard of ??The Gasbags??. What do they sing?

So we come to the end of another simple column with meek Jim Rutz. Next week: the gasbags burst, sending a strange smell into the room. People get rid of it not by The Force, but by their faith.

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