“Experience Jesus!” With First Church of the True Christians

Yeah, we got a new summer series put on by Pastor Bates starting up this June at the First Church of the True Christians.  Lots of banners, mailers, radio ads and other promotional material on-line and elsewhere.  Should be an exciting series.

Pastor Bates wants us to “Experience Jesus!” with him and his church.  The series promises to help you get in touch with your inner child, to know what “true freedom” really is, to realize your best financial potential through tithing as a “child of God in America today”, to see how God has blessed America in the past and continues to bless America today, and as a bonus, he will offer a marriage enrichment seminar which features a raffle drawing that promises to send one lucky couple to Paris, France!

Pastor Bates’s series promises to be an “exciting study in God’s Word” that will develop in you “practical skills for Christian living” WHILE having a good time!

(Pastor Bates hopes to draw crowds through the lean summer months when church attendance generally becomes a lower priority for the masses.  There will be Vacation Bible School, a church picnic, a Fourth of July for God-n-Country Christian concert with fireworks to follow, and a huge back-to-school bash at the end of the summer series.)

First Church of the True Christians employs the services of Pastor Bates’s own “Pastor Bates Mega-Church Revival Specialists” marketing firm (which is staffed by no less than seven marketing specialists drawn from elite marketing firms around the nation and a team of product placement engineers).

Pastor Bates has also shrewdly thrown the weight of his church and marketing firm behind Rich Whiteman, the rising star candidate in the Republican Party, running for a seat in the United States House of Representatives after it was suddenly vacated by the elderly Stoney Hart when he fell ill with cardiac complications last Winter.

All in all, it should be a win-win strategy for the pastor, for the politician, the marketing firm, the church, and, of course, Jesus!  Please plan to attend First Church of the True Christians this summer where you will find a very uplifting summer series, and where you get to “Experience Jesus!” with us.

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5 comments

  1. clashofcashntrash · 8 Days Ago

    Rare form, X.

    I think I know that series. I tried getting involved in that church, but its hard mixing oil n water… wealth and poverty. But I did really benefit from getting in touch with my inner child. I’m still having a Purpose Driven Life too.

    Good one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · 8 Days Ago

      I have wondered about writing my own series called EXPERIENCE JESUS WITH…

      with Peter, James, and John, with Jairus, with Mary and Martha, with Zacchaeus, the blind man healed twice and so forth.

      It occurs to me that we think of phrases like “Experience Jesus” and just assume we know what they mean. But if we had a series at our church called Experience Jesus, whatever else we say about it, it will NOT be the same … or even like… the experience some of these disciples had.

      And why not?

      Think of Jairus humbling himself to ask Jesus for a favor! He only became so humble out of shear desperation. This guy would not follow Jesus for directions to the post office, but when his kid got sick… he bit the bullet and took a chance. And there he is seeing all these broken, needy, sick people pressing in on him and his entourage… all those smelly desperate people, so broken and shameless… and Jairus having to wait while Jesus tends to an unclean, bleeding woman who is not fit to enter the camp and God’s presence! And while waiting, word comes… it’s too late! Not only have you risked it all, Jairus; you have made a fool of yourself too. And that lowly woman got in the way… and… and … and…

      And Jesus increases the pain, the shame, and the despair by telling him she is not dead yet!

      Really. Sit with that. Even the funeral director and his entourage think its ridiculous and laugh at Jesus for saying it. But Jairus faces this shame, pain, and despair with Jesus and finds his reward!

      Does ANY of that sound like your experience? Where you go to church???

      Like

  2. laceduplutheran · 6 Days Ago

    I find it amusing that the church has these series and marking things to talk about experiencing Jesus, without actually experiencing Jesus. Experiencing Jesus would mean getting out of the building. It would mean that when Jesus encounters us, our lives are changed in ways we can’t imagine. It would mean that we actually start following what Jesus commands us to do, not just sit around and talk about it in the comfort of our pews and middle-class homes so we can feel good about ourselves. And don’t get me started about the marriage of religion with politics and politicians (the empire). Too often so many think that the church is just an extension of other things, like politics. Instead, the church is something different – it is based on faith and trust. It is based on following Jesus. But hey, I get it – that message doesn’t sell. Instead the message that sells is the one that tells the hearers that they don’t have to respond or have their lives changed. Instead they can be the saviors of their lives and can save others too. Unfortunately, this is what passes as gospel for many Christians. Yet, they have never actually heard the Gospel. When they do, they won’t like it and many will walk away from it. But there are some who will hear it and it will transform them. That’s what keeps me going.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · 6 Days Ago

      Thanx for this response!

      Matthew, it is clear to me that you and I have been sniffing out some of the same rats in the basement to exterminate. There are various ways to term them, explain them, analyze them and so on, even if we approach with difference in nuance. Religion and politics… Empire… Allegiance… so on and so forth…

      I am glad to have a kindred spirit who sees these things, and that I am not as alone as if frequently feels like.

      I think it was about a dozen years ago that I read a little book that trashed my life. It was written by Walsh and Keesmaat, both strudents of N.T. Wright, and they analyzed a particular epistle with a particularly edgy application process that really opened my eyes to both Jesus and “the devil” in the here-n-now with tremendous force on my life. I was so deeply disturbed, and I was already one thinking Christianity as it is expressed in the West and in modern times needed disturbing.

      I don’t really read fiction… love it, but I bet I can count the number of novels I read in my life on both hands. However, I did read Chaim Potok’s The Book of Lights when I was in school, and I was fascinated by these Jewish mystics in seminary who would stare into the light … be it the light bulbs in their favorite deli or into the setting sun… and contemplate God. I sensed they were seeing something I wasn’t.

      Well after reading Walsh and Keesmaat, I remember sitting in my favorite café with a friend and suddenly I saw it… I said, “In the empire, everyone WANTS to be branded!” And sure enough, kinda like Potok’s mystics, my friend and I began pointing out all the people in the café who were wearing logos on their clothes or tattoos.

      I mean, why does a guy need a tee shirt that says LEVI’S??? I could understand it if the blue jeans say it, but why the tee shirt too? Why do I need a tee shirt that says Miller Beer? Isnt it enough that the beer can says it? Why do I need a tattoo that says Harley Davidson? I can understand it if the bike says it, but why does it need to be on my skin too???

      The “EMPIRE” … oh the EMPIRE… and to start talking about empire in this mystical way is really off putting. I mean, if I were not already initiated, I would think it is a kook’s game. And the fact that I use this language and see it this way tells me that I am a kook in the eyes of my fellow brandees!

      And branding is only one small piece of the whole picture.

      But it shows something important that has bearing on all the rest – including religion and politics and sports and all the rest…

      The principalities and powers are insidious! They creep in our hearts and minds and cloud our judgment and make us drunk on their spirits. They rob us of our capacity to even sense them, like a lobster in a pot slowly coming to a boil. And even that sinister idea is both the stuff of reality and high drama fiction at the same time. I mean, did you ever see Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Thank God that is just a movie, huh? Or is it? Just a movie???

      There is a lethargy within the lethargy.

      All that said, though, there is more to it all than just seeing devils. There is also seeing Jesus – for WHO HE REALLY IS.

      And this too is for kooks.

      I never forget the old, old (don’t know your age, but guessing this is before your time) Cheech n Chong skit where they do an audio play of a random street corner in San Francisco. There is this idiot religious nut, a freak, on the corner nabbing every passerby saying… Excuse me sir… sir.. Have you heard the word of God? Ma’am… how about you? Have you heard the word of God??? I desperately don’t want to be that nut, nor to even be confused with that nut. But I sense it is a shame I must embrace. Not to actually be the shallow nut, but to allow them to be with me and me among them.

      Messiah’s in Jesus’ day were a dime a dozen. Seriously. There were a lot of them. I presume many, if not most, were sincere in their claims. They WANTED to be the man God would call to save his people, and they wanted others to follow them in their calling. By far, most, if not all, died at the hand of Rome (including Jesus!) and were relegated to the “failed messiah bargain bin” or what we today would call “messianic pretenders”. Even Jesus falls into that same bin, and if you think not, you are not disturbed enough YET! However, he was vindicated by God and raised by the Spirit with resurrection from the dead, the main thing that sets him apart from the others! So, it means that if I chafe at my neighbors for muddying the waters of following God, well, I am in good company.

      In my view, these observations either drive us to despair (yes even Christians) OR they drive us into worship with fresh trust and deeper insights. And I think it is important for us to spend a good deal of our time talking about those kinds of things too…

      However, not for this post presently.

      Thanx again for playing!

      X

      Liked by 1 person

      • laceduplutheran · 6 Days Ago

        Awesome stuff X! I’m right with you. You are not alone. And yes the empire is deep – so often beyond what people even notice. I really only noticed it when I loved away and then saw it from a distance. And then when I came back it bothered me so much because I could see it up close – but those around me couldn’t. It was their normal, why would they see anything weird about the empire being like a black hole. Yet, our job is to proclaim a different empire that makes different claims on us with a different result. Often people are too afraid to be open to this, but we still offer this. Because we can sing for joy with those that are changed by this message. Keep the faith. It’s worth it.

        Liked by 1 person

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