© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.
The following sample comes from the third chapter of the book Apathetic Christianity – The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity. If you like it, please pass along this link to anyone else you know who might me interested and inspired by the message of this book. Thank you for your prayers, patience, and support!
For more excerpts and to address any formatting issues with this one (blog posts/emails can sometimes be thoroughly mangled in transit), please feel free to head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com. There is a lot of info on Apathetic Christianity posted there, along with clips and previews from other R3V Press releases.
That said, and without further delay, here’s your sneak peek at Chapter 3, “Flu-Shot Jesus: Candy Christianity’s Magical Superpal”:
FLU-SHOT JESUS: CANDY CHRISTIANITY’S MAGICAL SUPERPAL
Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
~ John 5:28-29 (bold emphasis added)
“God’s not mad at you.”
~ Tyler Padgitt (nothing bold to emphasize)
“…American Christianity has designed itself as self-help therapy with a little Jesus thrown in. [It] has become nothing more than another vehicle for you to feel good about yourself, and I’m telling you: You will ‘feel good about yourself’ all the way to Hell.
This is not funny. God is the judge of all the earth and He will do right. And if you continue on this quest for [your personal] significance, He will do what is right. He will view you as a rebel…He will consider you an enemy and He will judge you.”
~ S. Michael Durham (bold truth emphasized)
On March 11, 2011, in what has come to be known as “The Great East Japan Disaster”, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake – the most powerful ever known to have hit Japan – struck off the coast of Oshika Peninsula. It produced a catastrophic tsunami. Within minutes of the tragic event’s opening act, the modern age of instant access and free flowing information made its presence as plain as the quake itself. Videos streamed from cell phones and Twitter feeds relayed details in near real-time. The Japanese Apocalypse seemed to have its own Fox News theme music before the buildings had even stopped shaking.
Adding to the horror of an already catastrophic event, the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant was compromised and ultimately failed, prompting Japan to declare a state of emergency. European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, in an address to the European Parliament on March 15, described the event as an “apocalypse”.
In the wake of all of this, Western media seemed to be conflicted as to how serious the nuclear portion of the earthquake disaster really was. Some predicted doom, proclaiming imminent meltdown at the failed Fukushima facilities, while others treated the whole nuclear part of Japan’s trouble as no big deal at all.
Nothing to see here…and, heck, the radiation might even be good for you. (It worked wonders for Godzilla, after all.)
Environmental activist groups suffered little of the “conflicted” affliction that had beset the media, however. They rocketed into action, protesting the evils of nuclear power almost as quickly as Fox News had the Japanese Apocalypse theme music up and rolling.
In the midst of all of this, I was living in Seattle, wondering, among other things, who was right on the nuclear analysis. Was the cloud of leaked radioactivity that was heading across the Pacific really the black hand of death that some were painting it to be, or was it the practical equivalent of a mass of airborne vitamin C as some extremely pro-nuke types seemed to imply?
While I had never really been a vitamin supplement kind of guy, after reading up on the situation I decided that it might be a good idea to start down that path, what with the black cloud of nuclear powered death heading Seattle way and all. So off to several downtown health-food-ish stores I went, picking out what was my first official collection of daily vitamins not to be found in a cheeseburger, pizza, or some similarly bachelor-friendly bit of culinary wonder.
It was a few days later – well into establishing my new daily vitamin routine as a habit – that I noticed something peculiar while perusing the aisles at the local Safeway. Something very peculiar…
I was happily be-bopping along, pushing my cart along ahead of me, when I noticed something green. A whole lot of green, actually. There was lettuce, celery, cucumbers, apples. There was a jar of pickles. And around the green were splashes of strawberry red and banana yellow. Very festive, I thought, but also very…weird.
What made all of this more than a little odd was that these natural shades of green, red and yellow were all in my shopping cart. Apparently, I had just happened to go about the process of shopping in auto-pilot mode and, for the first time in my life, I had only fruits and vegetables in there. I was stunned.
I even stopped in the middle of the realization to snap a picture of the cart with my iPhone.
This was a big deal.
Before any Greenpeaceniks or McDonald’s Haters out there who happen to be reading this get too awful excited, rest assured (or disappointed) in the fact that, before I left Safeway on that day, I had added Cheetos, Twinkies, and a handful of other “normal” items to my haul. Still, the whole thing represented quite a shift.
I finished that weekend on a true, first-time-for-me surge into healthhood. It felt good…at least in my mind…at least for that weekend.
Three days into this vitamin and vegetable fueled approach to life (combined with my already established routine of walking 10+ miles each day), I felt invincible, or at least on the verge of it.
Then, on Day Four, my magic carpet ride to healthiness crashed, and hard, with me coming down with the most annoying conflagration of respiratory and digestive disorders that I can remember facing at any one time. It was ridiculous.
Of course, I instantly blamed the vegetables. And if it wasn’t the vegetables, it had to be some weird sort of chemical reaction that occurred when vegetables were combined with vitamins. Yeah, it had to be one of those two things.
Having been blessed with good health (if I take Tylenol more than twice a year, it’s an “off year” for me), I was so certain that the switch from health-light to health-heavy intake would bump me up to the next level that I couldn’t even imagine the opposite outcome as a likely outcome for anyone taking this route, much less the one that I would experience.
Yet there it was – my vitamin and veggie packed body was as bad off as it’d been in years – decades, even. The Greens had lied. The Health Nuts were just plain nuts. The more I type, the sillier I feel for having ever even entertained the notion that they were on to something – anything – good.
I should have known better.
And why fiddle with a smoothly operating machine like my largely taco- and Dunkin’ Donuts-fueled self, anyway? My lifelong strategy of creating a personal biological environment so overtly hostile to potential invaders that no germ or virus with even the slightest sense of self-preservation would dare even consider trespassing on – or in – my turf, had clearly worked. And well. For years and years and years.
Then I bought the lie; the veggie and vitamin lie.
Apparently, I had to learn the hard way.
In all seriousness, while health food and vitamins are actually wonderful things, and maintaining our bodies is an important aspect of our fidelity to and glorification of God, there is no doubt that fallen men and women are very susceptible to deception; particularly deception that has already proven popular with others. Promises of an easy path to a wonderful destination are quite naturally a great temptation to us, and all the more so when we see friends and family stampeding in that direction.
Cheap + Easy = Red Flag
“The greatest heresy in the American Evangelical and Protestant church is that if you pray and ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart, He will definitely come in.”
~ Paul Washer
“The sinner’s prayer has sent more people to Hell than all the taverns in America.”
~ Leonard Ravenhill
We love beautiful things, and that tends to be good.
We also love easy things, and that tends to be bad.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the enemy would aim to craft a counterfeit of the most beautiful thing (Christ) by attaching a perverted version of it (or Him) to our inherent love of ease.
What could be more appealing than a Jesus who has only your happiness in mind? What could be more attractive than a Jesus who lives only to serve your desires right where they are? What could be more wonderful than a Jesus who conforms his will to yours and uses all of his power accordingly?
How about one who will give you all of these things – fulfill all of your desires – without expecting anything of you or even slightly nudging you to change anything at all? In other words: A Jesus who doesn’t judge, or, as Tyler Padgitt likes to say, a Jesus who “isn’t mad at anyone.”
What self-centered rebel wouldn’t want a “savior” who saves them from Hell and from any pressure to change or conform to any standard outside of their own?
Sound too good to be true, non-believer?
This “savior” is very real…at least in the minds of men. He feels good. Very good. Sinfully so, some might say. And you can find him headlining every Sunday in the auditoriums of American Churchianity. He loves those big stages, and he knows how to play a crowd. He’s been perfecting his game for thousands of years.
Enter: Flu Shot Jesus.
The Problem with Imaginary Friends
“When people say, ‘I believe in Jesus’, look them straight in the eye and ask, ‘Which one?’”
~ Walter Martin
…he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”
~ Mark 8:27-29
In America, practically everybody knows Jesus. And most claim to like the guy or even love him. And how could they not? After all, this Jesus that the typical everyman in America seems to regard highly sure has all the right positions on all the right issues, including:
- Jesus knows that men and women are basically good. Sure, they mess up sometimes, but nobody’s perfect, Jesus understands this, and he just wants to help people do better by guiding them from mediocre to good, good to better, and better to best.
- Jesus is love – with love meaning whatever you want it to mean, so long as it requires of Jesus that…:
- …he’ll never personally punish/discipline you.
- …he’ll never be angry with you personally.
- …he’ll never “force himself” anywhere that you don’t want him to be.
- Jesus just wants you to let him help you. He respects your authority over your own life and would never even think of transgressing on your autonomy, but he would really like it if you’d choose to let him in the door, so to speak, so he can make your life better.
- Jesus, if you’ll just let him “into your heart” (whatever that means) and say one time a few key words, will stamp both your Get Out of Hell Free and Free Pass to Heaven cards…simultaneously! These stamps never expire. They seal you entirely and allow you to go about your business as before without worrying at all about where you’re going when you die.
- Jesus will demand nothing of you after you vote him in as savior. He’s just happy to have you and has no serious expectations beyond that. That’s just the kind of Jesus that he is.
If there’s one thing that comes through with crystal clarity where the nature of this Jesus is concerned, it’s that he is all about you.
He submits to your will. He is there to help (and never punish or criticize). His only real aim is to gently encourage you toward your best possible life, both here and hereafter.
How cool is that!
Now this is a Jesus that sells! This Jesus has real appeal in a culture like ours. He is imminently marketable; just seems to “sell himself”, so to speak. He seems to have it all – everything attractive and good to offer with none of the drawbacks.
Kinda like Coke Zero.
But this Jesus does have one little problem – a single lingering issue that does tend to paint all of this theoretical wonder in a different light. You see, unlike Coke Zero, this Jesus doesn’t actually exist.
(Chapter continues in Apathetic Christianity: The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity, available at FireBreathingChristians.com.)
© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.
For more excerpts and other cool things, head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com.