Monday, December 20, 2010

On a Less Uplifting Note

This video shows members of one New Mexico church standing outside another, bellowing threats into their microphones. A scuffle ensues. The Body of Christ is wounded, not to mention embarrassed:

What we don't get is why. What's going on here?

The story is reported by a Roswell teevee station, but not very clearly, and we still don't get it. Oh, we get the part about these guys being jerks -- it's clear enough -- but the details elude us. Here's what we do know:

1. Old Paths Baptist Church has a snappy website, but otherwise promises, in so many words, "that old time religion." It uses the King James translation only, believing that "all other versions have Satan's fingerprints." (Take that, Hell-spawned NIV). It is "unregistered," which tells us absolutely nothing. Its pastor, Joshua De Los Santos, has been out of jail for almost five years, and will have his college diploma someday soon.

2. Church on the Move is much older, having come to Roswell in 1994. By these standards, it is practically St. Catherine's Monastery. It also has a snappy website, which offers
  • a casual atmosphere
  • today's music and media presentations
  • a message relevant to your daily life
  • an amazing children's ministry
  • friendly, smiling faces who will greet you and help you find your way around
The website hints that the church may have some doctrines, but doesn't actually say what they are. For that, you either take a class or listen to the podcast. But, honestly, they seem like nice enough people, in a kind of Saddleback-y way.

So what did they do wrong? Our guess is that used the wrong Bible translation. We're thinking Eugene Peterson. Which is, basically, an express bus on the Highway to Aitch-Ee-Double-Hockey Sticks.

Or, maybe, this:

3. Who cares about the actual facts? Old Paths just won itself a whole lotta publicity, Westboro style. And we helped. Damn, they are good at this.


LoieJ said...

I'd have an awful hard time belonging to a church where there is nobody behind the scenes who could pull the hook around the neck of the pastor if he/she was taking the wrong path. Do the more organized Baptist churches have anything to say about all the groups that use the word Baptist? I traveled recently in NC, which was full of Baptist churches, sometimes 3 in a tiny town (also penetacostal and a few other groups, but not too many catholics.) I was told that sometimes a "church" actually consists of a family. Yes, I believe the spirit leads, but which spirit?

Anonymous said...

You cannot possibly expect consistency from fantasy.
There is absolutely nothing new in people saying that their invisible friend is the only real invisible friend and that they are the only one who knows his inaudible will.
You want to live with nonsense; this is what you'll get.

Father Anonymous said...

Well, now Dr. Dawkins has been heard from.

Seriously, though, there is an element of truth to this remark. Most readers are familiar with the 30 Years' War, in which vast amounts of blood were shed over fairly modest doctrinal differences among Christians.

Readers are also, no doubt, familiar with Stalinist Russia, in which even larger amounts of blood were shed over modest doctrinal differences among secular and supposedly scientific atheists -- the fact of which suggests that the root problem is not with invisible friends, but with human nature.

What fascinates me, as I reflect upon this, is the failure of KOB, the television station. They have the video, and they report a scuffle, but they never tell us what the (ostensible, other-than-sin) cause is. It's like writing about the 30 Years' War without mentioning the Reformation.

Anonymous said...

I don’t like to generalize, but I’m going to do it anyhow…doesn’t it seem a lot of fundamentalist Christians are those who are brought back to the “path” after having descended into a life of the sinful and lawless? A lot of the more “open minded” Christians tend to be those who grew up in the faith…granted, we’re not saved by virtue of our familial heritage, but there are many, many people who are faithful AND who grew up in faithful families – oh, and they don’t tend to be the crazies?…just saying. It’s like you have a personal revival and become all theologically conservative and doctrinally orthodox…

Karin said...

Hey, this is Roswell, NM. Funny stuff happens there. 1947?