Linkathon!

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45 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    America’s Mega Churches in pictures…

    I am wondering if anyone can answer these questions:

    I was looking at, I think it was pictures 6 &12. Do some mega churches have reserved or VIP seating? If so, how would one get such a seat?

    My other question is: Why do people worship in the dark at so many of these places?

  2. Xenia says:

    Happy Saint Xenia of St. Petersburg Day!

    https://orthodoxwiki.org/Xenia_of_St._Petersburg

  3. Xenia says:

    My other question is: Why do people worship in the dark at so many of these places?<<<

    So the power point slides will show up better.

  4. Jean says:

    I saw the Dodge uses MLK speech add. I can’t think of anything done with less taste. Absolutely horrible.

  5. Xenia says:

    Actually, I think they’ve moved beyond power point.

    They have light shows. Fog machines. These effects require darkness.

  6. Dan from Georgia says:

    I posted over at Internet Monk on the modern worship issue…my secret thinking is that some/most of these “worship leaders” should just quit their church positions and become pop stars because that is basically what a lot of them seem to want anyways.

    I am not against using various musical styles in the church, and I don’t think traditional classical music or hymns is the only style of music God wants in his place of worship. What bothers me is the whole person-centered, performance focus of it all.

  7. Duane Arnold says:

    #2 Xenia

    Have a blessed “Name Day”!

  8. Duane Arnold says:

    “Why do people worship in the dark at so many of these places?”

    It’s as much theater as it is church…

  9. filbertz says:

    “why do people worship in the dark…?”

    Their leadership keeps them there.

  10. John 20:29 says:

    #s 8 & 9 – 👍 👍

    and a second to a blessed name day, Xenia

  11. Xenia says:

    Thank you, Duane and Em.

  12. Josh the Baptist says:

    Great video from Gordon Conwell.

  13. bob1 says:

    Yeah, the Dodge ad? Very tacky. Geez.

    I love the interview with John Stackhouse, about evangelicalism. He’s a Canadian with a good “wide” perspective, not just American. Here he nails it — why there’s an ID crisis in American evangelicalism”

    JS: The identity crisis comes from having their identity linked to Donald Trump, of course—which, if you give him 80% of your vote, is what happens. Evangelicals now have to say, “Well, no, we don’t like this and this and this, and we really hate that and that. But we do like thus and so, and we absolutely love such-and-such.” It was far, far easier to just say, “We’re like Billy Graham!” But now we’ve got Franklin and the other members of Trump’s evangelical curia, so it makes the identity question…complicated. on using the term evangelical.

  14. j2theperson says:

    I didn’t find the article about the church ending the stigma of mental health issues to be very helpful. Yes, people have value and, yes, your struggles and weaknesses can be used by God to refine you and help others but does recognizing that actually end stigma? And for that matter should the “stigma” (the specifics of which I’m very unclear on) surrounding mental health issues be gotten rid of? Maybe it exists for a reason. For example, I know many people who deal with various mental health problems and some of them I have chosen to only interact with on a casual level because I know that getting involved more deeply with them is going to involve a lot of time, drama, and energy. Is that stigma? I guess. But I can’t just put myself out there for everybody even if not doing so results in hurt feelings.

  15. John 20:29 says:

    The link to the piece on hell is very good… IMO
    Hell is the best teason i have found for praying for my enemies – “a place you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy”

  16. DavidM says:

    Mega churches: Church #25, CC Fort Lauderdale, and #12, Second Baptist Houston are the same photo.

  17. The New Victor says:

    j2,

    That’s why I have a problem when mental illness is equated with physical illness. Keeping in mind that some mental illnesses are much more severe (Bi-polar is a whole other thing from Borderline Personality Disorder; depression from ASD— prison populations are disproportionately filled with BPD and ASD), cancer doesn’t hurt people. I’ve seen mental illness used as a crutch to hurt others and to justify crime even (domestic violence). The hard part is advocacy and awareness without stigmatizing.

  18. Michael says:

    “And for that matter should the “stigma” (the specifics of which I’m very unclear on) surrounding mental health issues be gotten rid of?”

    Very disappointed to read this here.

    There has been a huge stigma in the church against the mentally ill.
    In many circles it’s not seen as an illness but as a sin problem.

    Calvary Chapels propagated that filth from their flagship and spread it widely.

    As someone with a mentally ill family member,I’m not asking for anything but respect and acknowledgement that sometimes these folks need help others don’t.

    If that’s a burden, they by all means, just ignore them.

  19. John 20:29 says:

    Loong years ago i read a book titled, “Psychiatry and Common Sense” written by a psychiatrist. His thesis was that many people institutionalized back then had skewed their thought processing and just needed detangling and rewinding as it were… now i believe that is true for some, but to deny systemic, chemical and damaged brain function is not accurate at all and modern methods of study verify this…
    Compounding the problem, are the popular teachers who go unquestioned even when they’re teaching without any knowledge…. sadly our (evangelical) churches are infested with irrelevant relevance… errr somethjng. 😳

  20. Tim says:

    @1 – Although we are by no stretch of the imagination a megachurch, we dim the lights for worship, although we leave a couple of small directed lights on the cross in the center up front. We don’t do it for powerpoint purposes, as the projectors can be easily read with the full lights on. (Otherwise, I wouldn’t use it during the message.) Instead, we dim the lights to take the focus off the musicians, who don’t have any lights on them. Thus, only the cross is lit, as well as the words used to praise God.

  21. Nathan Priddis says:

    De-Conversion Storie:
    I felt it was a straw man argument.

    As far as actual deconversions, I wonder how many there are. I can think of one couple, and one individual potential deconversion from my church in approx 12-18 months. But this would be anecdotal observations, because I, and follow pewsitters are so loosely connected.

  22. Oengus says:

    Re: America’s megachurches in pictures

    I was surprised that Greg Laurie’s Harvest didn’t make the list.

  23. j2theperson says:

    ***In many circles it’s not seen as an illness but as a sin problem.

    Calvary Chapels propagated that filth from their flagship and spread it widely.***

    I think it would be helpful if people talking about the “stigma” of mental illness would just explain that that’s what they’re talking about. I know Calvary Chapel held that belief, but Calvary Chapel is not Evangelicalism as a whole is not the American church as a whole is not the Church as a whole. So, it doesn’t seem helpful to talk about this without defining what you mean by “the church” and what you mean by “stigma”.

    ***As someone with a mentally ill family member,I’m not asking for anything but respect and acknowledgement that sometimes these folks need help others don’t.***

    And I totally agree with that. Many Christians totally agree with that. Many churches totally agree with that. It seems odd to me to write an article about “the church” in a generic sense when what she was saying was not necessarily applicable to the church as a whole but, instead, directed more at goofy, increasingly irrelevant sects such as Calvary Chapel.

  24. Dan from Georgia says:

    https://twitter.com/desiringGod/status/960921801382662145

    This tweet form Desiring God, supposedly a bastion of truth, exemplifies that there is indeed a stigma around Mental Illness in the church.

    Sorry Piper, Mahaney, Driscoll, Mohler, and SGM fans, but the more they parrot this crap, and ignore and malign Rachael Denhollander, the less respect they deserve.

    Same to you.

  25. Dan from Georgia says:

    Comment #24 wasn’t directed at anyone here, btw. Just feeling a bit pissy and mad tonight.

  26. Dan from Georgia says:

    Sorry Michael et al for being kind of brash there…I know you know someone who has mental illness Michael, and I know more than a few people, including myself, who HAVE to be on some form of medication for a variety mental illness, and degrees of severity thereof. I don’t know how long I need the meds, but they were a lifesaver for me.

    It’s not only Calvary Chapel that parrots bad counsel in this area, but the Charismatic church practices this shaming ad nauseum.

    grrrrr.

  27. Nathan Priddis says:

    Like these Linkathons. Some weeks it’s a little slow, but overall it’s good stuff. Not often I let other people pick out what I should be reading.

  28. descended says:

    Jean
    #1 I’ve always find it lends to alter one’s state of consciousness a bit, enough to feel the worship band rhythm, to let the music help one emote and experience what some would say is the Holy Spirit. I find the practice unhelpful. I think “worship with your head uncovered” is a direct ammunition against this practice of altering consciousness at all.

  29. descended says:

    #27 ammunition = admonition

  30. descended says:

    Isn’t Reformed Baptist pretty much oxymoronical?

  31. j2theperson says:

    ***This tweet form Desiring God, supposedly a bastion of truth, exemplifies that there is indeed a stigma around Mental Illness in the church.***

    John Piper is a well established jerk.

    My issue with the article is that it was completely vague. It never clarified who exactly it meant by “the church”. I’m coming up on 10 years of not being an evangelical, and it’s amazing how things that evangelicals take for granted are just not a part of my life, so I literally have no idea who exactly she’s directing her article toward. Every church in America? Every evangelical church? A subset of evangelical churches?

    She also never defines what she means by “stigma”? Is it that mental illness is unchristian? Or it’s unchristian to deal with mental illness by something other than “focusing on Jesus”? Is it that christians aren’t welcoming enough of those with mental illness? Is it that it’s wrong to view mental illness as something that is undesirable or that needs to be fixed in some way?

    And, just generally, “mental health issues” cover a wide range of disorders and problems. Depression, bi-polar, autism, oppositional defiant disorder, ocd, paranoia, schizophrenia are all different from each other and each has a spectrum of severity. A church may be very welcoming of a woman with depression that she is getting treated for, and not so welcoming toward the guy with an axis 2 personality disorder he refuses to acknowledge or seek counselling for–and that may not be a bad thing.

  32. Dan from Georgia says:

    j2,

    Thanks for your comments. I resisted treatment for quite a while, and at the time one gentleman questioned me why I wasn’t getting help, and a close friend suggested that I was depressed.. I finally swallowed my pride and fears and got treatments…a medication and counseling. Both are ongoing to this day.

    I dealt with feeling like a loser for a while when I decided to take a med…”Isn’t faith in Christ alone enough? Did God fail in his promises (funny, there is no guarantee of pain-free living if you are a believer)? Maybe I am just a weak person..” Also had to deal with someone who told me not to go on meds because of someone they knew who had a bad time with meds.

    I know more than a few people on various meds for various illnesses of varying degrees of severity. I know people who have attempted suicide, been raped, abused (emotionally and physically), saw loved ones spiral into scary bouts of paranoia and schizophrenia. I think the highest calling we can do with these individuals is to love them, but they also need to be prodded (or confronted) into some help. And of course there has to be boundaries as you stated. Not all of us can handle being in relationship with those suffering. That is reality and people need to realize that.

    And the jerks! Oh, they are out there. For a time I was attending Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, and had a chance to pray with John Piper. I genuinely liked the guy. The Desiring God tweet, although perhaps not tweeted with malicious intent, nevertheless gives the impression that they believe that inward focus is a/the cause of mental illness, and being closer to God is the solution. That doesn’t help those who beat down heavens door in prayer and Bible study and yet still suffer with delusional thoughts, hospitalizations, and cutting, to name a few. Man, I tell you, if it was just a matter of “snapping out of it” or “read your Bible more and pray more” or “you have a demon”, then no one would have the struggles.

  33. j2theperson says:

    I lived with depression and anxiety for years and years. I took medication for a couple years. I found one that maybe helped a little, but the side effects were undesirable. Personally, I found both the “you just need to suck it up and deal with it” responses as well as the “you have a disease you need to seek medical treatment” responses to be unhelpful. I had multiple, long-term, deep seated stressors in my life–or course I was depressed. When those were removed, I was just fine–no medication or toughing it out required.

  34. j2theperson says:

    ***I genuinely liked the guy. The Desiring God tweet, although perhaps not tweeted with malicious intent, nevertheless gives the impression that they believe that inward focus is a/the cause of mental illness, and being closer to God is the solution.***

    I think Twitter is a pretty useless communication tool–at least if you want to talk about anything that has a degree of nuance, depth, or controversy. You cannot hold a reasonable and clearly articulated discussion if you can only do it in 140 character increments.

  35. Dan from Georgia says:

    j2, I agree about twitter…was on twitter myself but saw nothing useful about it. Besides too many people try to destroy others views in pithy statements, with no nuanced discussion like you said!

  36. Dan from Georgia says:

    I also suspect that in my life my depression was externally triggered..and my suspicion is that the triggers were from my younger days. I’m working on other solutions at this time to decrease my med need, and hopefully lose some weight!

  37. JoelG says:

    Good conversation guys. Dan you sound remarkably like myself. I’m on anxiety/ depression meds. Im having a heck of a time quitting my nicotine “meds”. I’m starting counseling tomorrow. I think much of my search for the “perfect” theology / church has a lot to do with my mental issues.

    Thanks for sharing your stories Dan and J2.

  38. The New Victor says:

    I brought up “Christian Counselor” to our pastor once (it was in a small table discussion) and he poo-poohed it such that I think he bought the line that all psychology is junk. Doubtless, there is a lot of junk, but there is a lot of scientifically based psychology based upon clinical research. How to separate that from new-age influenced pscyhology (Jung), perverts (Kinsey), or those like Gardener whose work may have contributed to ruining multiple generations of families vis-a-vis the non-clinical construct of “Gardernrian Parental Alienation.” As my PsyD Christian therapist said, “you have to take a lot of psychology with a grain of salt,” as he referred me to Transactional Analysis (Eric Berne, “Games People Play”).

    What was funny about our pastor is that he brought in John Rosemond, author of “Parenting By The Book,” after our church took the class. The pastor called it, “the best parenting book out there!” Yeah… after having two more years of my kids growing to digest the material, I give it 2/5 stars. Rosemond’s famous for being a psychologist who turned on his profession to “out” the uselessness of it. Black and white thinking is distorted thinking.

  39. descended says:

    Does Rosemont dismiss psychology outright? Or does he state that most of it is influenced by atheists and therefore one should be extremely careful? He does have a point that the standard and practices of parenting – while being more accepting of children as children and knowledgeable of development – parents have seen amorality in their children grow tremendously since psychologists and behaviorists have shared the culture of parenting and education.

  40. The New Victor says:

    I think he does have some good points. The best one was for mothers: you’re not a bad mom if you stop trying to keep up with the other moms by stuffing 10 activities into one week, the related point being that watching your kids do ballet, sports and martial arts every week isn’t the same as spending time with them as a family. I agree with the criticism about the way “grandma” did things. That isn’t necessarily the same as the bible.

  41. bob1 says:

    “Black and white thinking is distorted thinking.”

    I’m convinced that many Christians suffer needlessly because they engage in so much
    “black and white” thinking. I have no evidence other than what I’ve observed from conversations.

    I’ve experienced depression for many years off and on. I believe whatever helps you without violating your conscience is good. I’ve had great success with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). My understanding is that it’s the most-studied and empirically verified psychotherapy out there. I’ve kinda learned it myself but it might work best in conjunction with a therapist.

  42. John 20:29 says:

    #40 – that is some good insight IMV … 😊
    Evidently there is an immunization for STDs that are being pushed now – given in grammer school…. well okay, but doesnt that tell the child, “since we know you will be promiscuous to one degee or another, here is some protection” …?…

  43. The New Victor says:

    CBT helps a lot of people, as does DBT for people suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (like my mother, but I don’t think she ever got DBT… these things only work with a willing patient and BPD is notoriously hard to treat… 10% end up committing suicide).

    @43. You’re talking about Gardasil for HPV. I know the kids’ mom is going to push for this on a few years. In on the fence. Unless you can guarantee you’ll marry a virgin (and are one) it’s a widespread STD which most never show symptoms but are carriers. Unfortunately, it can be spread orally as well (kissing).

  44. descended says:

    Em #43

    He does make some good points that a lot of other secular psychologists agree with, such as “because I told you so” is justification enough for any parent’s reasonable direction.

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