July 02, 2006
by: jovial_cynic

The "World Overcomers" Assemblies of God church in Memphis, Tennessee apparently has too much money. Even on their website, they've got a rotating image in the upper left which goes through some of the things they've added to their facility with all of their money. Among them are a bowling alley, a basketball court, tennis courts, a gym, a swimming pool...


I emailed the church to ask them about the facilities... I wonder if they'd give me a running tally of the cost of all the facilities they've set up.

Nevermind the poor, the needy, the tired, the hungry... after buying all facilities shown on the church's page, they still had a surplus $260,000 to spend on a seven-story "christian" statue of liberty that's supposed to remind me people of our country's religious heritage.

Oh, and nevermind the second commandment either, which should be inscribed on the tablets the statue is holding. One of the articles states that only the Roman numerals (how appropriate... theocracy, anyone?) are posted in place of the commandments themselves. I suppose it would have been odd to erect the statue with the "no graven images" commandment in full view.

UPDATE: Apparently, the "Statue of Liberation Through Christ" has it's own webspace. And from there, you can give the church even more money by buying "Statue of Liberation Through Christ Merchandise." It keeps getting better, folks.
np category: religion


Luke said:
You're right on bro. I remember attending a church in Seattle (Korean) with my friend Irwin. During the english service they went over the building budget and announced plans to build a wood floor basketball gym with a running track above the perimiter of the gym among other amenities most people rolled their eyes at. It's pathetic when Christian's fail to understand that this life isn't about erecting monuments to ourselves or our comfort but to reach out to those in need (James 1).

Let me know if you ever get a response from the AG church. And remember, "Christians shouldn't have sex, it might lead to DANCING!!!!"

July 02, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
Yup. Check out the update to the post; you can now buy Statue *merchandise*.
July 03, 2006

Becky said:
Well, I think she's beautiful. I might even venture to say a prophetic symbol . . . I can envision someone else having a vision of a "statue of liberation through Christ" and others standing behind it. I might even be one of them. There's nothing idolic about it. As long as it's not being worshipped. The Bible is full of symbols, I think that's all she is, a symbol that reminds us of where we've come from and offering hope of where we hope our country returns to.

Earlier today this whole blog reminded me of a verse . . . Remember when David was selected to be king? What did the LORD say to the prophet Samuel? He said to not look at the outer appearance, the height, etc. of the others. He said that man looks on the outer appearance but God looks at the heart.

Here you are looking only at the outer apperances. But do you personally know the church members? Do you know their hearts? Have you a personal relationshp with any of them? Then how can you judge? You are passing judgement just based on external things. God may judge them for materialism or not being good stewards of tithes and offerings, or whatever he deems . . . but he also weighs the hearts. I am more concerned about my own heart and that I don't criticize, that I don't judge, lest I also be judged.

We should be seeking unity not division. We should building up not tearing down.

I would be very careful in your endeavor to hold the church accountable that you also guard your heart and motives. I see where you are going and I do agree we should be faithful stewards. At the same time, calling someone out on a website isn't neccesarily holding them to any degree of accountability. Prayer and direct communication are best.

July 03, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
There are incidents where Paul (New Testament writer, for folks that don't know) calls churches out on their crap even when he personally wasn't there to visit the church yet. He did it out of love, and he did it to correct. But he certainly didn't hold punches. That said, I think that judging the outward appearance is absolutely the correct thing to do.

God's message to Samuel was not to judge the outward appearance, but the circumstance was the exact OPPOSITE of what's going on here. David, the *least* of his brothers, was unexpectedly chosen from among them to be king. To hold this analogy true to my situation, I would have to find some "little" church and say that it's worthless, only to have a prophet tell me that God plans to do great things, and not the other way around.

Furthermore, Jesus called out pharisees on their crap, and he did it in front of them, and he told his disciples and followers when the pharisees were not around. If modern church leaders are analogous with pharisees (and I strongly believe that they are), I think that pointing out the obvious errors are the *right* thing to do.

Lastly, if you follow my posts on the horrendous union between the church and the republican party, you'll see why I hardly believe that unity is appropriate. I think that the "religious right" is a tool of dischord, division, and chaos. I think the religious right is a weapon of mass destruction.

July 03, 2006

Cadizle for rizzle said:
I think the statue is a great piece of art and should be used in good purposes, for instance I have a peice of art in my room. Its a quarter stick of dynomite. But seriously if I were to destroy what they have created how would the church react because they slave and spend so much effort on vanity that they think they can trick people into christianity with culteralizing and not contextualizing. How does a statue save people from sin and death. Its not even the point of the statue but what motives do they have when irraticating such a community with statues and all the entertainment christains need to steer clear of experiencing relationship with not believers to share the gospel. By being in the world and not of the world we seem to have our christian church and a sort of place where we want to bring people into our "click" instead of going out and reaching people real needs. Also Im out of been and dont feel like driving to the store so im frustrated. Later dudes.
July 03, 2006

Becky said:
I hear what you are saying . . . at the same time, however, I don't quite see how you are an apostle . . . Apostles are usually identified by signs and wonders, among other things (like severe beatings) . . . they are not just missionaries, but those who hold apostolic annointing. . . . Calling someone a pharisee is a very strong judgement to make against them. I think all too often people look at "the Church" and cast stones at her before looking in a mirror. We are all part of the body, we must look at ourselves first--and take ownership of our faults as well.

Regarding calling someone out from a distance, my understanding was that most of the time Paul couldn't personally visit churches because he was behind bars. Otherwise, I don't care if Paul did it or not, in our society today it's considered passive-aggressive behavior and not a healthy form of communication.

Finally, I don't see anything wrong with moral government theorists. If it weren't for them we may not live in such a free society. From a non-Christian perspective, the economy would go downhill if it weren't for hardworking moral Christians contributing back to society, and that is something an old supevisor (non-Christian) told me. She said that even though she personally wasn't a Christian, she was still a Capitalist and glad she lived in a Christian nation. I thought that was a good witness to her (how hardworking and "moral" Christians could be--the good ones anyway) . . .

July 03, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
I don't think I'm an apostle. But I think believers are supposed to judge one another. And in the case where I believe hypocracy and materialism has spread into the church, I'm going to call the church on its crap. I think that churches, functioning as organizations, have a greater responsibility than an individual... and I think that today's western churches have failed.

Incidentally, I did contact the church and am awaiting a call back. You can see in my original post that I contacted them *before* I posted. Nothing passive aggressive here.

You can go both ways with the moral government theorists, so I don't think that it's reasonable to say that we might not have a free society if not for them. Moral government theorists are what supported the Roman theocracy, the Inquisitions, and laws in Alabama prohibiting the use of "sex toys," which is an absurd abuse of political power.

The connection between capitalism and christianity is found in protestantism, where the culture of the believers was that one found their worth in the work they did. That bred the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality, which is exactly why a works-based theology is so prevalant in the west. I'll start a new post regarding all of that, because while I understand that people are very *comfortable* in the US, I hardly think that comfort is a reasonable Christian objective.

July 04, 2006

Luke said:
I have to agree with Jovial Cynic here. God has called us out of the world. We are called to keep each other accountable to the standards God has set forth. That REQUIRES us to judge one another. We know this by overt scripture calling for it, and the apostles' (most notably Paul) example.

What the bible refers to is Christians judging the world; that alone is for God to do. Becky the whole notion of 'judge not lest you be judged' was used incorrectly in one of your last statements.

I'm not sure where you were going with the 'passive-agressive' comment. It is a misnomer to think that Christian's are subject to the ever-shifting standards of what the world considers socially appropriate. Remember the world also calls Christians hate-mongers because we do not kow-tow to much of the pop-cultural gay agenda. Because we oppose many of their beliefs we're magically hate-filled, instead of what they would call themselves in the same situation (i.e. conscious objectors, open-minded, etc...).

Jovial Cynic is pointing out an obvious absurdity in the church's conduct. They're resembling more of the world than what we're called to do. That IS for us to judge and critique, otherwise we'd all just do what was right in our own eyes and no one could say anything because then they'd be..."JUDGING!!!"

July 05, 2006

Tim said:
Does this statue relate to widows or to orphans?
July 07, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
That $260,000 statue totally represents taking care of widows AND orphans, man. Orphans and widows NEED statues to remind them that God loves them.
July 07, 2006

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