Jesus Needs New PR

Jesus Needs New PR


A church in Tulsa called “The Guts” (yes, the Guts) is currently featuring it’s annual Christian outreach called NIGHTMARE. Here’s the link to the promo….

But what was disheartening for me was watching the YouTube clips of those who experienced Nightmare.

Like this one…


Did you catch the part where the boy talks about it being “nasty watching a girl get raped” and then the subtle giggle from the girl in the middle.

And then the girl on the right says, “But at least it’s teaching us a lesson.”

How old are these kids? 8? 10? Maybe… (the girl in the middle might be older… but still… )

You can watch all of the AFTER NIGHTMARE videos here.

I know these kinds of things produce “souls saved,” but what else do they produce? Does your church do a “haunted house”? Would you let your kid go to this one?

**UPDATE**Oh, and I rethought the title after I posted it… but it was too late for my Tweet feed… it was a bit demanding… sorry about that…. :)

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posted October 8, 2010 at 3:44 pm

A church sponsoring anything that simulates a girl getting raped is abhorrent. And if the girl is supposed to be under 18, it could quite possibly be illegal depending on the community’s decency laws.

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    posted October 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    I fully, FULLY support this comment.

    DISGUSTING. Rape isn’t a punchline or a scare tactic, it’s a real problem that sadly, something like 1 in 6 US women will experience in her lifetime. I’m so grossed out by these itty bitty kids being exposed to that.

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      posted October 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm

      I’d also like to note that sadly, knowing Jesus will not keep you from getting raped. And I feel like that’s the logic being set up here.

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    posted October 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    This is far worse than any of the Hell Houses they have here or Devil’s Hayrides or pretty much anything… I’d rather watch a Saw movie… With kids…

    The issue being kids can laugh off “horror elements,” but when such things are presented as the truth by role models and, forgive me, fear of going to hell if you don’t do what we tell you by authority figures? Well, this wouldn’t be the first time THAT “type” of christianity backfired. Badly.
    I felt to not use the capital C.

    To the person who commented as to the girl being raped and legal issues. It’s not a Community Decency issue. It’s a Criminal one. Simulated Rape is on the books for a reason. Call the Police. If there is ANY evidence that the girl WAS or REFERRED TO as being under 18, then it’s a Felony and possible Federal Crime. Call the FBI or DOJ. Seriously.

    Have Protestants learned nothing from the child abuse scandals of the Catholic church? I’m not even 100% sure, but it very well could be child abuse forcing them to watch that. Forced? Well, see Paragraph one.

    I may have to stop reading things. The more I try to get closer, the more I see that makes me question all of it. It’s been a long journey…

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posted October 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Being from Tulsa I know all about Nightmare (and from the church “Guts” not “The Guts” 😉 ) I’m not disagreeing at all. Not only do you “Get the Hell scared out of you” you get badgered by the workers afterwards. No matter what you say they say “Well, are you sure you’re saved”? “Oh, you’re the youth pastor? Well that doesn’t matter, are you sure you’re saved?” Now I haven’t been in a few years so it MAY be different but doubtful… Just my opinion

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    posted October 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I also forgot to add that from past experience they don’t actually show someone getting raped, its usually noises, the graphic stuff is “shadowed”. However, they used to have a gang scene with gang members cursing at people. The pastor said that’s how it was in the real world so that’s how they’ll portray it. Different things work for different people but I think they cross the line…

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    Anna C

    posted October 8, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I’m from Tulsa, too and I used to go to this church and all my siblings would work the Nightmare. One year, I worked the “salvation line,” so Cody, I’m sorry if that was me that badgered you that year. :-)Every year after that, I would have to come with a very convincing argument that I was saved so the prayer people would leave me alone. Finally, I would just ask them to pray for my family members and unsaved friends, which they were usually happy with.

    I haven’t been in years, but I know people who still go to Guts (cousins, friends) and work the Nightmare and love Jesus very much. Tulsa has a lot of complacent Christians and a lot of people who call themselves Christians who have never met Jesus. This makes me wonder if the Nightmare has become more of a production and event than an outreach.

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posted October 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm

as a kid, my church ran the best haunted house every year. it was a blast. but rape depictions? good god, no.

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posted October 8, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I have heard churches state Christians shouldn’t participate in Halloween or go to haunted houses because they open themselves to the demonic and evil. But it is ok to open our children up to the evils human beings do. Using fear based evangelism is not the Gospel of Christ.

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posted October 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm

There’s a hellhouse here in Nacogdoches (home of Rick Scarbrough!)this year. Maybe I should live blog it!

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posted October 8, 2010 at 7:11 pm

You should all watch Hell House. Whats most interesting about the movie is something I watched in the DVD extras. The roles for all the “sinful” people were cast immediately, however, they had to recruit someone to play Jesus. Says a lot about the psychology of the event, namely, that is fun to be sinful and boring to be Jesus. Isn’t that the truth!

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posted October 8, 2010 at 8:25 pm

There aren’t so many of these up here in the frozen northland. I used to think there weren’t any, but apparently some grown folks in a couples group at our church are going to one in the area as a social outing. I don’t know if they actually like it, or if it’s some kind of sociological inquiry, but either way, I’m passing on it.

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posted October 9, 2010 at 12:56 am

This American Life did a great story on Hell Houses in one of their shows last year:

These sorts of things disturb me.

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posted October 9, 2010 at 8:57 am

At first I wanted to mention that kids that age are dealing with these issues everywhere. I work with a life pregnancy center in a small town in Ohio, and in a year we will see easily 100 girls in the 10-12 age group, so issues like this DO face kids in this age group, they just do.

But, at further thought I will say that, I have no idea how it would help to depict this at a church for kids to watch, I could be wrong, but I would not see the benefit in it at all.

And no, I have 3 daughters and none of the three would ever be attending something this.

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Aaron Paulley

posted October 9, 2010 at 9:18 am

I ran a similar outreach at my church called “Hellstop,” but we would never have dreamed of depicting a rape; that’s insane. The point of these types of outreaches are to get the visitor to think about life after death, not the horrible things that could happen to you during life. We depicted the aftermath of a drunk driving accident.

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posted October 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Sorry. I did not realize I was replying to people by accident as opposed to the article. First day with the new brain…

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Charlie's Church of Christ

posted October 10, 2010 at 4:15 pm

so the christian method is sheltering for 10+ straight years and then expose them to everything in a one hour span???

yeah good method…

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posted October 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I would like to add two more exhibits
1. John is horrified. He just found out the local state college won’t accept him into grad school. It seems the Christian college he attended was not regionally accredited. His diploma from Baby Jesus University is practically worthless. John once had a full scholarship to a secular college while he was in high school, but he was afraid they would force him to learn about evolution, so he turned it down.
2. Rachael is a divorced mother of two. Rachael works two jobs to support her family. And she barely is getting by. Her ex-husband is as broke as she is. So the child support checks come intermittently. He also lives about 2,000 miles away with his common law wife and their two children. Her ex might as well not exist.
When Rachael was a teen, she never liked school. But that was okay. She would always hear in her small Baptist church; that the most important thing good Christian woman could do was to become a wife and a mother. No mention of college.
It wasn’t uncommon to hear her say “Why do I need to learn math or history? I just going to get married and have babies.” So almost right out of high school, Rachael fulfilled her great commission, got married and got pregnant. Ten year later she was a divorced single mother living with her parents, with a limited education and no job skills.
It’s been a lonely and hard life to for Rachael. She hasn’t had a date in years. It’s hard to found a quality man who would marry woman with no job skills and two kids. Just ask Susan Smith.
And now Rachael just found out her oldest teenage son just got a girl pregnant.
Both these stories are true (names have been charged).
Churches should be more concerned about the hell their children could get into in this life, due to bad life choices, often enabled by church.

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Carole Turner

posted October 16, 2010 at 2:38 pm

My daughter and her friends went to something like this last night called “99”. It wasn’t at a church, rather a parking lot of an abandoned movie theater.

I have also had friends that in the past worked in these as actors.

I don’t have a problem with any of the scenes depicted by actors in these walk through theaters, cuz’ it’s acting, everyone that enters knows this. These walk through experiences are all about salvations, they attempt to scare kids into getting saved, or at least making them think about Heaven and Hell, and that’s not so bad. Kids see WAY worse on network television and haunted houses. The church is just taking advantage of the Halloween induced fascination with fear at this time of the year. It may produce shallow results, I’m more inclined to think that, but I don’t feel there’s any harm in it.

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