We have only basic cable and I’m glad. I don’t have a lot of discipline and if I had the history channel or the likes, I would watch way too much TV.
One channel (that collects dust) is the Daystar Channel. It collects dust because I simply can’t stand TV Evangelists. Some people might say that we should give them the benefit of the doubt. But, the whole business (and it IS a business) of TV Evangelists is so despicable that it would be hard for a decent, truthful, pastor to be on TV . . . but it could happen. But it is like saying we don’t give a club of child molesters or terrorists the benefit of the doubt.
One day I was flipping channels and as I crossed the nasty plain of Daystar I saw a lady (later I found out it was Joni Lamb) saying something about David Berkowitz (the Son of Sam serial killer). It caught my attention because I have some (remote) connection to David.
When I was in college, at the University of Kentucky, I was involved with The Navigators and a good friend in the Navs, Jim, had been David’s roommate and best friend when the two of them were in the Army at Fort Knox. Jim had told me the story that David was a faithful Navigator disciple, receiving Christ, memorizing Bible verses, going out on evangelicalism BEFORE he went on his terrible killing spree (if you have forgotten the horrible details rent the DVD “Summer of Sam”). My friend Jim, took David to the airport in Bowling Green, Kentucky, after David finished his Army commitment, so he could fly home. Jim said that the last thing that David said, as he was boarding the plane, was “I’m going to go and turn NYC upside down for Jesus!” That summer he murdered several young lovers before he was caught due to a parking ticket.
Now Joni Lamb’s show had a sensational story about David Berkowitz “Coming to the Lord.” So you can see why I left my TV on that dusty channel long enough to listen to the details.
They had a pastor, who is working with David at a state prison in NY. The pastor tells the story of how another inmate led David to the Lord (this was years after David was a “good” Navigator disciple). In David’s fabulous testimony, he “had never seen a Bible until he was in prison.” What? Never seen a Bible before? How in the hell was he in the Navigators for four years, memorizing scripture, going out on evangelicalism etc and had never seen a Bible . . . except a “Satanic Bible.”
To make a long story short, I contacted Joni Lamb . . . who put me in contact with the pastor in New York . . . who spoke to David in my behalf. He asked David about my accusations (that his testimony was sensationalized and not true). David admitted to the pastor that he indeed had “accepted Christ” with the Navigators and worked with them in the Army, but those were confusing times and if he added it to his story now, it would only confuse the listener.
I hope that David’s story of conversion is true . . . this time. But, the way that Americans idolize anyone (and Christians are the worst to do so) I have fears that David is being held up on Daystar, Focus on the Family even the Gideon’s (who say that their NT Bible in prison was the first Bible David ever read . . . which is NOT true) use his testimony.
But since that day, I’ve listened to a few other televangelists on Daystar and I find it nauseating. They are just like all the other infomercials . . . obviously deception. They have these sensationalized ministries; of healing (I think I saw Benny Henn on Daystar the other day). Yesterday, looking for something besides football, I heard a pastor introduce his guest on his show a man (hmm who just happened to write a book) on how “God not only wants to heal you, but will guarantee you will NEVER be sick again if you follow the plan in the book.” PUKE! Lying for Jesus is the worst kind of lying.
So, where is the most evil place on earth? Is it within a satanic group that does sexual rituals and takes drugs and even cabalism? No. I really think it is things like Daystar and other flakey Christian ministries. Just look at the historic Jesus. Who did he despise? It wasn’t the whores, thieves and murderers. It was the religious people who WERE LIEING in the name of God!
Do you see the great evil here? I mean, when you tell lies wrapped in the gospel, then people find out that they are for-profit lies, then the gospel becomes for them a stumbling block and their souls are lost. That is the great sin.
How did we did get to this point of the Idiocracy of Christianity? I think several things are at play are too complicated to discuss in full here. I suggest the book Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. It is a great historical book that looks at the way that modern American Evangelicalism has turned its back on thinking and education. It started happening in the late 1800s when education was wrongly blamed for the culture turning away from Christianity.
Mixed into that recipe is the End Times consumption that has been endemic in Evangelical circles since the 1800s (second Great Awakening). If Jesus is coming back next year, why the hell am I studying? This is exactly what happened when I was in college and involved with the Navigators. I was literally told (in Dualistic terms) that my “secular studies” were worldly while studying the Bible was spiritual.
The last great failure is the mis-application of the verse “Judge not least you be judged.” This mis-quoted (and almost the most quoted within the Bible belt) because the smoke and mirrors behind which Evangelicals could get away with murder.
The best example that I can think of is our Sunday school director (when I was growing up) was molesting boys left and right. He molested my brother. But absolutely no one did anything about it for 30 years because it was “judging a brother” to accuse the monster of his sins. Everyone looked the other way (as not to be judgmental). The same was true with our pastor who was screwing a co-worker behind his wife’s back and everyone knew it (for 40 years) but “whom am I to judge,” as they would say.
The damage is that this is the very pastor who told us, as teenagers, that we should be caste . . . while at the same time he had a mistress. Do you see, when people find out that the church is a farce, they leave and never come back. This is the great tragedy.
Look how Jesus handled things (before there was an American Evangelical sub-culture). He judged the “righteous” and had great mercy for the sinners outside the church. American Evangelicals do the opposite. They throw stones at abortion clinics, protest gay parades . . . but smile and look the other way at crap like Daystar . . . but judge not least you be judged. Give me a break.