Jesus Needs New PR

Jesus Needs New PR


Mark Driscoll & Jay-Z… yo!

Last week Seattle’s self-proclaimed BEST PASTOR EVER declared on Facebook that he went to see Jay-Z while in New York City and he was currently listening to Jay-Z music. The update was pretty simple…

It’s a Jay-Z soundtrack kind of day. Watched his NY show this weekend – I know he says bowling words but man the guy is a genius

And then Mark’s followers–mostly young hairless reformed boys–went INSANE–more than 400 comments insane.

Bobby commented… I think if you knew what he was actually rapping about, you wouldn’t want to promote him. Besides, he plainly says on talk shows that he doesn’t believe in Jesus – or the Bible – thus, not God either.

Angie wrote, Mark, I just lost a bit of respect for you. And then 8 people “liked” her comment.

Chris took it to the next level with his comment: Watched a lot of porn for 24 years. I know they were having elicit sex, but they were so beautiful and good at it.

And then Ryan added… He calls himself J-Hova which mocks our almighty Jehova-God. He promotes evil and ungodliness. Yes his musical skills are out of this world, however I wouldn’t call him a genius nor promote him.

Then Jane summed it up… I’m not pleased, but I’m just a sinner, so what matters is…is God really pleased with you listening to this stuff? Seems highly unlikely.

Of course, Mark’s faithful came to his comment rescue…

Greg wrote: Don’t worry about the haters Pastor Mark…

Jeff said: Sometimes Christians make me sick.. hypocrites and legalists. God will spit you out of his mouth and say He never knew you Laodiceans. (SIDE NOTE: Anybody want Jeff as Facebook friend?! Not me.)

Zach chimed in with… This kind of honesty from clergy is refreshing. Also, Jay-Z is tremendous.

Jessica offered her thoughts… Good heavens you guys. No wonder so many people hate Christians. I get it if you just don’t like Jay-Z but all the other shit… Really guys? (SIDE NOTE: And then Angela snapped back at Jessica: why people hate Christians?? Really?? I didn’t know we were here to please people?? I am here to do my best to please God.)

You get the picture, right? It was 400 comments of back-n-forth anger/support that became almost humorous. And sad. And I suppose warranted…

My thoughts…

I have mixed feelings about this honestly. I have zero problem with Pastor Mark listening and enjoying the lyrical genius of Jay-Z. So in the context of whether or not Christians should listen to Jay-Z and the like, I don’t care… not in the least…

However, in the context of “Mark,” I have to question how a pastor can rage against movies like Avatar and Twilight and then casually mention he went to a Jay-Z concert…

Again, I like Jay-Z. I went to see Avatar. And I think Twilight sucks… but I saw it. For me, it isn’t a God question… it’s a Mark question…

Is Mark being inconsistent here? Is the content in Avatar or Twilight worse or “less godly” than the content that Jay-Z puts into song?

I guess what I’m saying is that, in relation to Mark, I see both sides… which is why I think it’s stupid when pastors rally against pop culture. You rarely win.

What do you think?



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John Emery

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:25 pm


Genius. I love how the comments are mapped out like this! It makes it EASY to realize how ridiculous it all is. And I agree with you. THIS is really about THAT. It has nothing to do with Jay-Z, Avatar, or any other MMA references mid-sermon. It’s about consistency, and if he’s got a flock of tens of thousands following, he should try to figure out where he really stands on these things.

Great find, great thoughts, great post, man!



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Mack

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:25 pm


*Insert joke here about complementarianism and “99 Problems”*



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    Ben of BenandJacq

    posted December 6, 2010 at 1:34 pm


    Dang it, you beat me to the 99 problems punch line. well played.



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    Grace

    posted December 6, 2010 at 8:41 pm


    I chortled. Well played indeed!



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    Matt Parker

    posted December 13, 2010 at 7:01 pm


    This is the key to why Christians need to understand the likes of Jay-Z more. He’s not even talking about “bitches” in regards to women but problems.



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April L.

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:26 pm


I think you hit the nail on the head. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him listening to Jay-Z. But how can you preach (angrily, no less), not to see Avatar because it’s evil and pagan, but have no problem with Jay-Z? Inconsistent, yes. And it wouldn’t bother me near as much if Driscoll wasn’t so adamantly vocal about what everyone else shouldn’t be doing. And of course, people who are fine railing against Avatar and Yoga see those criticizing Jay-Z as legalists. “Legalist” has just become a word we throw around that means, “anyone who is more conservative than I am.”



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    Brad S

    posted December 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm


    Couldn’t have said it better myself



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Wes

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:26 pm


Of course Mark is inconsistent. He wears tight, trendy designer t-shirts and criticizes others for not being manly enough.

Case Closed.



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    Grace

    posted December 6, 2010 at 8:42 pm


    Don’t forget his carefully coiffed and gelled hair! He’s a big hypocrite. Or just stunningly lacking in self-awareness. Possibly both.



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    Matt

    posted December 7, 2010 at 6:56 am


    I also find it interesting that his version of manhood is essentially douchebaggery to the extreme. Not how it should be.



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Carole Turner

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:28 pm


All legalistic people are inconsistent because it’s not possible to not be under that pressure. I am not shocked at this at all. Grace to all.



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John

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:29 pm


Both are unbelievably sexist. This works for me as an explanation.

Even better? Reading comments about how “God wouldn’t be pleased to know” Mark is a Jay-Z fan.

I always thought God was a Taylor Swift fan, myself. Given Jay-Z and Kanye’s beef with everyone from Dubya Bush to Swift, I imagine God wouldn’t be pleased, now would he?



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Mark

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:30 pm


Driscoll should have just claimed he was doing research. It works every time a preacher is caught with porn on his laptop’s hard drive.



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Ben of BenandJacq

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:31 pm


So what you are saying is…

You’ve got 99 problems, but Mark listening to J-hova aint one?



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    Matt

    posted December 7, 2010 at 8:27 pm


    Weak effort.



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Brandon Gradelle Smith

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:31 pm


I think you hit the nail on the head, MPT. I didn’t know how I felt about it but you put my feelings to words. I don’t mind if Christians listen to Jay-Z or not, but with all Mark speaks out against, him going to one does seem very hypocritical at worse, confusing at best.



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Jonathan

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:35 pm


Sometimes people oppose what’s popular to get more attention. Whether that’s rejecting what’s popular to like (Avatar, Twilight) or embracing what’s popular to reject (Jay-Z).

Personally, I think Jay-Z is guilty of portraying himself as a god. I’m not sure whether his bold rebellion is safer or more dangerous that other celebrities who might not make their stance so clear.



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Rodnesha

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:35 pm


wow good insight – hmm! It’s surprising to me that given his comments on other things he does listen to Jay-Z… but like you said, that I think is a Mark choice. I’m not gonna question his salvation because of it, otherwise I may be in trouble for going to see Sex and the City 1 and 2 (though I consider both ventures a loss for Jesus and myself… while 1 was okay, 2 was certainly 2 hours I’ll never get back). So, all that to say it is surprising, but I mean… that’s your conviction MD. It wouldn’t be the first time, however, I’ve heard him say something to the contrary of what I’d expect. I still think he’s a great pastor and teacher. But until further notice, Jesus is my guide-post so Mark can listen to Jay-Z all the live-long day if he chooses. And if God has something to say about it, I’m sure it will come up! Get a grip folks!



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T.J. Schley

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm


Well said. I am somewhat of a fan of Driscoll and normally roll my eyes or get frustrated with people who simply rail against his admittedly odd statements/antics, but this point is well made.

I would say in the very least it is inconsistency. I am with you in that I have no explicit problem with a Christian partaking of any of those activities (Jay-Z, Avatar, okay, maybe Twilight is questionable Heh Heh), but I do think there needs to be a consistent approach to the way any individual Christian approaches various forms of culture.



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chris

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:43 pm


I think your statement about it “being stupid” when Pastors rally around pop culture is the best way to sum up this entire discussion.

The thing in question for Pastor Mark is will his support of Jay-Z cause someone else to stumble/sin? (1 Corinthians 8:9, 13) It’s a hard question for believers to grapple with, especially in the shadow of a generation that can share what they “like” with the world in less than 140 characters. Can Driscoll listen to Jay-Z and not sin? Yeah, it may be hard depending on the sin he struggles with, it can be a genuine liberty that he can experience free from sin. But that’s between Him and God. Yet when this interest becomes a public endorsement for the person who struggles with lust or hatred, it becomes between Mark, God, and that person.

This is the fine line that a pastor/leader/believer walks. Your judgement decisions become public when you post every little thing you like for the tweeting/liking internet world to see. It’s like having all your “followers” over for dinner and letting them into your fridge to see what you “like to drink.” You may not drink to get “crunk”, but you may open the flood gates for that person who’s struggled with drinking to get drunk.

Thanks for the post.



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Dave

posted December 6, 2010 at 1:53 pm


You have all hit the issue on the head. I don’t think it was a matter of what he listened to but I think it caused confusion because of his stance on not watching Avatar or Twilight or reading The Shack but then talking about listening to Jay-Z. You have to be so careful if you pick something in particular to rant on because then people are going to hold you to it in other areas of entertainment. If you tell people don’t read “The Shack” because of the misrepresentation it gives to the Trinity but listen to someones music that has some definite anti-Christian themes that is going to cause confusion at the least and definitely bring out the haters.



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ChadJ

posted December 6, 2010 at 2:01 pm


For those that follow @PastorMark on Twitter, I think he’s just getting ready for the main event: #DaddySeXMas



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Jenn

posted December 6, 2010 at 2:08 pm


We are all inconsistent. It is just frustrating when it comes from someone with a public profile. I like Jay-Z, I like a lot of music I know some of my Christian friends wouldn’t like – but I don’t have people following me around looking to me for spiritual leadership. Does that make a difference? It shouldn’t but quite frankly it does. So dear Pastor Mark, please consider all your actions – you might like Jay-z but you hate on yoga etc, and as a whole make women feel like little more than servants – that is your choice. However, please pause a little longer next time to consider your family in Christ. I know we’re dysfunctional more often than not but we are still trying to be in this together – somehow.



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Jace

posted December 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm


Did Driscoll ever actually say “You shouldn’t watch Avatar?” I know he said it had strong pagan “demonic” themes and to be aware of the content, but I don’t recall him saying specifically “don’t watch Avatar.”

As far as I’m aware, the same goes for Twilight, though he did say Stephanie Meyer’s books were inappropriate for young teenagers, he didn’t say that they were something an age appropriate person had to avoid.

The mischaracterizations of Driscoll’s yoga quotes to get quick and easy blog hits across the interwebs is fairly absurd as well.

This doesn’t change the fact that Mark has obviously made very strong arguments against Avatar, Yoga, The Shack, or whatever his flavor of the month of is, and yet there seems to be some form of inconsistancy when it’s held up against his longrunning disdain for the majority of Christian music over his preference for secular tunes.

Driscoll is and will always be a controversial character, but I think when people avoid the soundbites and listen to him in context, he makes good points more often than he chokes on his ankle.

This case is fairly cut and dry though, and though I can appreciate the frustrations against his music choice, I think it’s being blown out of proportion.



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Zack

posted December 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm


ULTIMATE QUESTION: Would it be ok with Pastor Mark for a stay-at-home dad to listen to Jay-Z while doing yoga??



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Jimmy S. Oregon

posted December 6, 2010 at 3:00 pm


As said before me, It’s about consistency not Jay Z. I can hardly add any comments because so many nailed it already including MPT! Nailed this one Matthew!



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Gary Durbin

posted December 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm


All I can say is “ditto, Matthew Paul Turner, ditto.”



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Phil

posted December 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm


It is semi double standardish, but then I have my own so who am I to judge?



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Charlie's Church of Christ

posted December 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm


I think this could be a case of the power going to his head – thinking it is up to him to decide what is okay and that which is not. One of the perks to being an “authority.”



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    Matt from OH-IO

    posted December 6, 2010 at 4:01 pm


    maybe, it is inconsistent but at the same time, I find it hard to believe he was saying he liked a rapper because he was on a power trip at the time, but, then again, it sure is possible.



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Matt Bush

posted December 6, 2010 at 3:49 pm


I got 99 problems being elect ain’t one! Just saying.



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Jace

posted December 6, 2010 at 3:59 pm


Driscoll just posted a blog post about the whole JayZ… thing

http://bit.ly/ghvVEq



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T.J. Schley

posted December 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Nick

posted December 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm


There have been some claims of “hitting the nail on the head” in this thread. I don’t think anyone here did. The good news is that Pastor Mark just posted an article on this topic for all the errant hammers.

http://theresurgence.com/2010/12/06/why-christians-go-postal-over-facebook-jay-z-yoga-avatar-and-culture-in-general

Excerpts:

“For those who are familiar with my ministry, this all may seem very confusing in light of comments I have made on other cultural issues. For those who have raised objections and questions in a gracious manner, with all sincerity I want to say thank you! They help me learn how to articulate more effectively my deeply held biblical convictions about Christ, Christians, church, and culture. They help me learn and grow, which I appreciate and need.”

“The God of the Bible is a sender by nature. He is a missionary God who has sent his people into the world since Abraham. In the Old Testament he sent prophets like Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah, and Jonah over cross-cultural boundaries. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to live as a man, in a particular time and place, with a particular people as a missionary in a sinful culture. The Father also sends the Holy Spirit to Christians so that we, like Jesus, might also live as missionaries in culture. The gospel that portrays this most clearly is John, where Jesus says roughly forty times, “The Father has sent me,” and then says in John 20:21, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

As a missionary, I do not view culture passively, merely as entertainment. Rather, I engage it actively as a sermon that is preaching a worldview…”



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T.J. Schley

posted December 6, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Chris, the hairless & reformed?

posted December 6, 2010 at 5:26 pm


I apologize but I don’t believe this a good point or nails anything. The consistency argument is one that is broadly based on assumption. It’s assumed that the guy is cherry picking what is acceptable.

Matthew, I love you brother, but you’re just assuming that there is some ill-motive to this guy’s ministry. Primarily based on your, albeit assumed, disagreement with it. To point it out as, “He’s inconsistent, therefore he’s wrong” puts you in the same boat. You’re a popular blogger. I’m sure if I wanted to take the time I could find inconsistencies in what you do and say.

This is how damage is done to fellow Christians and how a 400 comment thread is created.

If you really want to speculate on Driscoll’s inconsistency, let him explain it:

http://theresurgence.com/2010/12/06/why-christians-go-postal-over-facebook-jay-z-yoga-avatar-and-culture-in-general

BTW, I’m moderately hairy.



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Brandon Smith

posted December 6, 2010 at 6:19 pm


Driscoll just posted a blog on this. Pretty interesting. He qualifies a lot of the statements about his views on Jay-Z, yoga, and Avatar. What do you guys think? http://theresurgence.com/2010/12/06/why-christians-go-postal-over-facebook-jay-z-yoga-avatar-and-culture-in-general



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Brandon Smith

posted December 6, 2010 at 6:25 pm


Driscoll just posted a new blog on the subject, addressing his comments on Jay-z, yoga, and Avatar. Makes a little more sense to me now. What do you guys think? http://theresurgence.com/2010/12/06/why-christians-go-postal-over-facebook-jay-z-yoga-avatar-and-culture-in-general



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Dianna

posted December 6, 2010 at 7:22 pm


Everyone else said a lot of the same thing about consistency here (irony, no?), but I’d like to take it a step further. I think a lot of the controversy here also stems from the undue burden we place on pastors. He’s expected to be this super human, consistent in his beliefs 100% of the time. That is a burden placed on him by both his own teachings and those of his congregations. Listening to music of which his persona would dictate disapproval, and having the announcement of that be SUCH a big deal is evidence of two things: 1. His own inconsistency within his message that borders on legalism, 2. His congregation expecting faaaar too much of him.

I don’t blink when people like MPT, Derek Webb, David Bazan, etc, swear or do things that are not traditionally evangelical because they have done a great job convincing me that they are human by having humility about it. I’m thinking particularly of Derek Webb, who is quite open about how he presents himself and how his spiritual struggles go. If he swears (like he did last week when he tweeted that “Beyonce is a badass”), I don’t blink because he has a persona of consistent inconsistency, if that makes sense. He is always inconsistent with what we would imagine an evangelical to be, and is adamant that his audience not mistake him for Jesus.

Driscoll does not make the same distinction. He says to his flock: “I have all the answers. Come, listen to me.” I get the sense from him that any real confession of “not having all the answers” is merely lip service to the idea – he seems very afraid to admit when he doesn’t know. As a result, he builds himself up, his congregation expects so much of him, and then when something as simple as tweeting “I went to a Jay-Z concert” happens, everything falls down around him. Both Driscoll and his congregation expect him to be this perfect example with all the answers, which is why it’s so devastating when he’s inconsistent.

Solution: Don’t pretend to have all the answers, and people will like you more. My atheist friends love it when I admit that I don’t know something, not because of gleeful triumph at having won an argument, but because it proves to them that I am a real person with real faults and problems, and yet I still have faith. Maybe if more evangelicals were genuinely able to admit not knowing something, it would be less of a problem when they act like humans.



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    John

    posted December 6, 2010 at 8:03 pm


    Love this comment. So well thought out, and so true!



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    April L.

    posted December 6, 2010 at 10:04 pm


    This comment is full of win.



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Grace

posted December 6, 2010 at 10:02 pm


He’s a hypocrite, plain and simple. There are no set guidelines other than whatever “Pastor Mark” thinks.

I think it’s also worth noting the racial dynamics around Christian objections to rap. Rap gets subjected to a level of scrutiny and condemnation in (mostly white) conservative evangelical/fundamentalist circles that’s intense even in the context of Christian pearl-clutching over “secular” music. I’m reminded, for example, of comments I read a few years ago criticizing John Piper for having a Christian rapper perform at his church because rap is a musically inherently incompatible with worshiping God. Like rap is literally an unholy style of music. Absurd.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the circles Driscoll runs in are rife with subtle and often not-so-subtle racism against people of color and black people in particular.



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    Grace

    posted December 6, 2010 at 10:05 pm


    And I think Driscoll’s comments on Avatar and yoga have racial undertones as well. It’s only since leaving the church that I’ve realized how incredibly prejudiced it is to call non-Western religions “demonic.”



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    Dianna

    posted December 6, 2010 at 11:39 pm


    I was trying to figure out how to respond to both these comments, then I realized they were the same person! So, Grace, I agree with you!

    I wanted to include something about racist overtones in my original comment, but didn’t really have room, so I’m glad you said something. There’s a HUGE problem with racism in the American evangelical, fundamentalist movement these days, and it goes back for ages. My father was a radio DJ in college at the local Christian music station, and he had explicit instructions not to play anything that sounded remotely “black” – and this was smack dab in the middle of the Civil Rights movement (1968-72).

    And not only do Driscoll’s comments on Avatar have racist undertones, but the movie itself does (white he-man coming in to save the natives, anyone?). Driscoll’s comments just take that trope further by saying that engaging with the “natives” in any way is “demonic” and “bad.” Ugh.

    So, yeah, high five!



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      Grace

      posted December 7, 2010 at 10:31 am


      There’s a HUGE problem with racism in the American evangelical, fundamentalist movement these days, and it goes back for ages.

      *nod* and white evangelical denial over continued issues with racism in the church is even more pronounced than among the general public. It’s like people believe that centuries of preaching the natural and spiritual inferiority of non-white people can disappear in a matter of a few decades. But part of the problem is precisely that evangelicals often choose to be deliberately ignorant of or minimize the role that the white church in America had in perpetuating and supporting racism.

      And not only do Driscoll’s comments on Avatar have racist undertones, but the movie itself does (white he-man coming in to save the natives, anyone?).

      Oh yes. The movie itself is incredibly racist. Which, as you say, makes Christian critiques of it because of it’s “favorable” portrayal of “natives” and their religion especially alarming and depressing.



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LRA

posted December 7, 2010 at 12:44 am


(1) What is all this 99 problems talk? I guess I’m too far removed from Christian subculture now to actually be in the “know” anymore.

(2) What is wrong with Avatar? Seriously. What is the beef there? And does this “pastor” have the same beef with Dances with Wolves?



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    steviusthedevious

    posted December 7, 2010 at 1:51 am


    it’s a reference to an album jay-z did with linkin park – ‘i’ve got 99 problems but a ______ ain’t one’



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    Dianna

    posted December 7, 2010 at 2:47 am


    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwoM5fLITfk (language warning for those who don’t know what this link is)

    2. He saw the whole “earth connection” thing in Avatar as demonic.



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Charlie Chang

posted December 7, 2010 at 8:06 am


Stuff like this makes my head hurt.



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Heather

posted December 7, 2010 at 9:43 am


At the request of someone else, I just finished listening to Mark’s sermon where he blasts Twilight on being demonic. I agree AND disagree with some of his comments. In trying to formulate my opinion, I ran across this post…and my opinion came to mind in YOUR words: “However, in the context of “Mark,” I have to question how a pastor can rage against movies like Avatar and Twilight and then casually mention he went to a Jay-Z concert…” It does seem double-minded! But I’m sure his blasting of Twilight but condoning listening to and going to see Jay-Z will be justified in one way or another.



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    Sarah

    posted December 8, 2010 at 2:14 pm


    I also went and watched that clip, and as someone who has read the books (more than once) and been involved in the fandom a bit, I have to say that I found his remarks to be completely idiotic, ignorant, and offensive. First he puts Twilight into the same book with books with questionable titles (I haven’t read those, so I will refrain from commenting on them), making them bad by association. Then he says that the books aren’t good for pre-teens, but then goes on to accuse mom’s who read them (and apparently this includes all mom’s) of being pedophiles for lusting after a seventeen year old boy (though he later admits that the character in question is actually 108, but who’s counting?), which is a total character assassination. Then he complains about the story like of a 17 year old girl (actually, in the books she’s 18, nearly 19) of marrying a (108 year old) vampire and having a kid and asks the audience if they think this is a good idea, which indicates that he has absolutely no clue how the genre of Urban Fantasy (or any other kind of fantasy or sci-fi) works. I mean, I watch Star Trek, that doesn’t mean that I’m thinking that one day I will be able to fly on the Enterprise.

    Oh, and the author is a Mormon, and the idea for the books came to her in a dream, which is a lot like Joseph Smith and Moroni! Give me a break. I’m having flashbacks to the anti-Harry Potter nonsense of 5 years ago.

    Yes, abstinence is in the books, but that’s not the only reason why Christians should accept the books. The books also have extensive (well, extensive for books aimed for pre-teen girls extensive) dialogue about the soul, death, and sin. The vampire refuses to have sex with the main character before marriage because he’s concerned about her soul and he doesn’t want to mark it with sin. Oh, and one of the other vampires is overtly Christian, and a completely sympathetic and respectable character. There’s not too many of those around. I wonder what Mark would say about those things. Oh wait, it’s obvious he never actually read the books. Never mind.

    Hey, I have an idea. Christians really shouldn’t talk about things they know nothing about!



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      Dianna

      posted December 8, 2010 at 7:52 pm


      I agree that Twilight opens up discussion between parents and daughters/sons, and can be a useful tool as such. But I hardly think it is good. I, personally, would not let my younger cousins read the book (if I was the one in charge) not because of the vampire content, but because of the abuse, the degradation of females, and the really, really bad writing.

      1. Both Edward and Jacob are incredibly creepy and abusive. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s signs of domestic abuse, Edward fits the characteristics of an abusive man: Look at you or act in ways that scare her; Controls what she does, who she sees or talks to or where she goes; Makes all of the decisions; Acts like the abuse is no big deal, it’s her fault, or even deny doing it (“If I didn’t love you so much, I wouldn’t act like this…”); Threatens to commit suicide; Threatens to kill her; Tries to isolate herfrom family or friends; Damages property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.); Pushes, slaps, bites, kicks or chokes her (dude, the honeymoon?); Scares her by driving recklessly; Forces her to leave her home; Prevents herfrom calling police or seeking medical attention; Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles; Accuses her of cheating or is often jealous of her outside relationships (that’s copy and paste [with some adjusting for tenses] from the NDVH). It doesn’t matter if Edward’s a vampire – he’s still horrendously abusive. Not to mention, our other option is Jacob, who practically rapes her in Eclipse.

      2. Bella has an extremely low opinion of herself. Notice that she almost never talks about her relationship in a positive light. It’s never “I want to be with Edward.” It’s “I can’t live without him.” It’s a slight semantic twist, but it’s there, and it’s important. It teaches girls that they have literally no identity outside that of their husband. Bella takes ONE DAY to fall in love with him, and latches onto him like a puppy. She has no feminine identity of her own, is not allowed to make decisions in the relationship, and never once sees herself in a positive light. THAT’s our heroine? Ugh.

      3. The writing is plain out awful. Check out reasoningwithvampires.tumblr.com for numerous, numerous examples.

      Overall, I hardly think Christians “should accept the books,” to quote you. While Driscoll is way off in preaching about something he knows nothing about (and committing various fallacious arguments along the way) that does not mean the books are at all healthy for a teenage girl or boy to be reading. The conversations about souls/death/heaven etc are hardly philosophical in nature, are a very tiny part of the entire book, and are rendered moot by the conclusion. That’s hardly enough to justify the assault on the sensibilities of the reader.

      Sorry, Twilight is something I feel strongly about. I’ve read all four books (the first one multiple times) and written papers on the topics. So many people just whitewash the books, and that shouldn’t happen.



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        Sarah

        posted December 9, 2010 at 3:12 am


        I’ll just respond point by point (and hopefully with less typo’s, my typing runs away from my mind sometimes!)

        1. I’m reminded of an interview with Stephanie Meyer where she relates her encounters at booksignings with grandmother’s buying the books for their granddaughter. “I want her to date a boy just like Edward!” they say. To which Stephanie Meyer responds, “you do realize that he’s a vampire, don’t you?”

        And that’s how I feel about the list from the NDVH. They only tell a part of the story of characters who are far from perfect people. Yes, Edward drives fast, but he slows down when Bella asks him too. Edward has a temper, but he never hits a person because of it. What happened on the honeymoon is exactly what Edward warned Bella would happen, but he went ahead with it because Bella asked him too, and afterwards he goes out of his way to keep it from happening again. Yes, Edward is jealous of Jacob, but in the end he says that if Bella chooses Jacob he will let her go, no questions asked. And I don’t know exactly how one kiss equals rape. Sure, Jacob is manipulative, but he pays for that manipulation in the end. As for the rest of it, Bella leaving home, Bella getting hurt, etc. most of that is her own doing or her own decisions, all stemming from the simple fact that dating a vampire is dangerous for one’s health, thank goodness the real world lacks vampires! Oh, and I think the books makes it clear that suicide is a bad idea, so I’m not sure why that’s in there.

        And antiquated gender roles? Ridiculous. Considering that Edward is supposedly a century old, he’s downright progressive. He protects Bella because, honestly, Bella can’t fight off bad vampires (or new werewolves) by herself. She’ll die in a second. The female vampires in Edward’s family are right there in the midst of the fighting, there’s not even hint that they should stay home and be quiet. I’m sorry, but I hear this argument a lot, and I think it’s total nonsense.

        2. Bella’s character growth is a complicated subject. Yes, she starts out with low self-esteem, but then most teenage girls do, especially those who don’t have many friends and who move to a different state in the middle of High School. Yes, she is mostly a passive player in the plot throughout the books, but as Stephanie Meyer herself says, in the fourth book Bella moves from being the pawn to being the Queen. She literally “saves the day” by herself, along the way disregarding Edward’s wishes (interestingly, she asserts her right over her own body), and striking out on her own to ensure the survival of her child. I think that qualifies as an independent and feminine identity quite well.

        3. Lots of books are poorly written. My favorite genre is high fantasy and sci-fi, so I can honestly say that Stephanie Meyer is far from the worst published author out there. For that matter, lots of people take issue with JK Rowling’s writing (with good reason).

        I’m not exactly sure how you think the theme of the soul is rendered moot by the conclusion. Sure, Bella becomes a vampire, but that doesn’t mean she loses her soul. I never said that the discussions of the soul and sin were extensive, but as they stand they do delve deeper, in a very sympathetically Christian way, than 99.9% of other published fiction out there. If Christian’s were smart, they’d use that to start discussions with teenage girls about their own soul, and the issue of sin and mortality. Whereas bashing it and calling it “devil-worship” would render all the discussion possibilities moot. Simply, popular culture doesn’t throw us that many bones, ridiculing the few they do throw us is stupid.

        I realize you have a strong opinion on this, but I have also read the books, and clearly have quite a different opinion. All I ask is that Christians stop jumping on the “new popular thing” and unthinkingly find any way to denigrate it under their heel in some sort of “we know better!” superiority trip.



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          Dianna

          posted December 9, 2010 at 4:53 am


          This is likely frustrating for other commenters because we’ve kind of gone far afield, but I don’t want to let this one die. I’ll try to keep the same numbering system.

          1. Edward being abusive: Being a vampire does not excuse everything he does. He detaches the battery cable from her car so that she can’t go visit her best friend. He sneaks into her room at night, WITHOUT HER PERMISSION, and watches her sleep – and he does this BEFORE there was any remote threat on her life, before they were even in a relationship. That’s just plain out creepy. Speaking of creepy: there’s also a disturbing father-child element to the relationship: He frequently treats her as a father would a daughter, even going so far as to rock her in the chair she was rocked in as a baby. It’s positively Freudian (I did an entire paper on the Freudian elements in Twilight for a graduate class – the thing wrote itself).

          As far as Jacob goes: He may not outright rape her, but it is sexual assault. He coerces her into kissing him, and then refuses to let go, long after she tries to pull him away. See chapter 23 of Eclipse:

          “I could feel his anger as his mouth discovered my passive resistance. One hand moved to the nape of my neck, twisting into a fist, around the roots of my hair. The other hand grabbed roughly at my shoulder, shaking me, then dragging me to him. His hand continued down my arm, finding my wrist and pulling my arm up around his neck. I left it there, my hand still tightly balled up, unsure how far I could go in my desperation to keep him alive. All the while his lips, disconcertingly soft and warm, tried to force a response out of mine.”

          If that’s not sexual assault, then we have a problem with our definitions of sexual assault.

          2. You are reading into what I said an argument that I did not make. I did not say the book reinforces antiquated gender roles. I said that Bella has no identity apart from her man. She may be “equal” to Edward (at least by the end when they’re both vampires, which is the biggest effing cop out I have ever seen) but she is no way allowed to have an identity that is separate from him, and he ensures that. Look at what happens in New Moon when he leaves – she basically goes catatonic with no emotion for SIX MONTHS. And at that point, they had been together for, what? Four months? Five? That’s an unhealthy level of devotion, especially for a 17/18 year old girl. The suicide thing isn’t seen as bad – it’s her way of trying to get closer to him! I mean, come on! Not to mention, she CONSTANTLY speaks in negative terms. It is never: “I love you” positively; it is almost always the negative “I can’t live without you.” That’s signaling a level of dependency that is really dangerous for teenage girls to admire.

          Speaking of gender, however: Other female characters in the series make it pretty darn clear that any female who strays from the path is less than human, less than equal to her male counterparts. The werewolf, Leah, is seen as less than because she is no longer fertile, no longer able to reproduce. For her, she is somehow no longer a woman simply because her period stopped (see Breaking Dawn, chapter 16). The phrase used is even “Was it because she wasn’t female as she should be?” She is no good because she’s a “genetic dead end.” Her role, as a woman – not as a werewolf, but as a WOMAN – is to pass on the werewolf gene. To have babies. And this is our independent female? The one who phases is constantly tortured by the fact that she can’t pass on the genes? Apparently a woman who decides not to have progeny is not a complete, genuine woman – we are unable to be have identity separate from our lady parts. Really?

          3. Seriously, go visiting the Reasoning With Vampire website. It’s an English major reading Twilight, and picking apart the poor sentences. She’s about halfway through the first book, and she has pages and pages of errors, lazy writing, misused words, poorly constructed sentences, lack of consistency within the text, and the themes that are evidenced throughout the books. It’s a fascinating read – S. Meyer does not know how to properly use a comma, frequently uses words that do not work in the context, or belie a different connotation than the one she means, and frequently tells instead of shows. Not to mention her plot is completely paper thin – the climax of Breaking Dawn is one of the most disappointing scenes I’ve ever read in literature. There’s also the fact that the novel doesn’t even work within its own constraints – when you set up a make believe world with special exceptions, those exceptions should be held to for believability’s sake. She ignores characterization that we’ve been told over and over again when it’s convenient to the plot – at one point Bella skips down the stairs. Really? With as clumsy as she supposedly is, I can hardly believe the image of her skipping. Bella is also supposedly weak – we’ve been drilled over the head with that over and over and over – and yet, when she’s being transformed into a vampire (DURING THE PROCESS), she suddenly gains oodles of self control against unbearable pain? What? Meyer also fails in consistency on her vampires over and over – Edward has no bodily fluid to speak of, but he still gets Bella pregnant. In fact, vampires themselves having sex makes no sense in Stephenie Meyer’s world of vampires, at least not until it’s convenient to throw out all the characterization of vampires that we know of up until that point.

          I actually wasn’t sure I was going to respond to this comment until you took that swipe at JKR. Meyer can’t hold a candle to JKR. Rowling’s characters are consistent, they build upon consistent themes, the rules of magic stay the same throughout each book in the series. Rowling also knows how to write battles, how to show, not tell, and how to create characterizes that function as real, three-dimensional people to the point that people cry when they die. She builds an entire world, has it stay consistent within its own confines, and weaves together bits and pieces of plot that pull from all the way back in book 1 – when you look back over the series, you can see clues and hints to things that don’t actually get answered until much, much later. Does she have her problem spots? Yes, of course, every writer does. Is she consistently better than Stephenie Meyer in plot, characterization, and overall writing? Heck yes she is.

          This comment is far too long, and for that I apologize. I just couldn’t let this one be.



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          Sarah

          posted December 9, 2010 at 6:31 am


          Yes, we quite disagree, because I view all your examples quite differently.

          Edward breaks Bella’s car because he’s afraid that her friend will kill her (yes, he is also jealous, and a hypocrite, but he’s not completely off base). If I know someone who is about to go see someone I think it highly dangerous I would break their car too if I thought it would keep them safe.

          I will sometimes sit on my husband’s lap when I have a good cry. I don’t know what that says about me.

          Suicide? Bella never tried to commit suicide.

          As for the kiss, after the part you quote Bella kisses Jacob back and realizes that she does have feelings for him. All the characters later realize it was all a bad idea. But we all make mistakes, no?

          Leah, oh Leah. Leah thinks that she is barren, yes. But I dare say that her comments are well in line with what any woman would say when she realizes that she can’t have children. Even if that wasn’t their main goal in life, they still mourn the loss and feel that something special has been taken away from them. Her response is not ideal, but it is authentic.

          Co-dependency? Yes, I suppose there is a bit of that. One of Bella’s character traits it that she is not exactly human, even before she becomes a vampire. Being absolutely committed to relationships is one of them (echoing the vampire trait of lifetime devotion to one’s mate). But in the end she makes an independent decision about who she wants to be, human with Jacob or vampire with Edward, and it’s clear that she is able to choose either way. So, yes, there is some of that, but it’s not like she doesn’t seriously entertain other options.

          And the last book does have numerous problems. I’m the first to admit that. But I stand in the minority proudly and say that I LIKED the Merchant of Venice-esque finale. It was completely in line with the rest of the books, and it was a welcome relief from the smash and grab let’s kill lots of characters in a big battle and see who wins! climax that is so incredibly tiresome and overdone. Yes, I am looking at JKR, who also can’t write believable romance if her life depended on it. Meyer’s execution leaves a lot to be desired, but for a part of the blame we can also consider the editors at her publishing house, who clearly even had problems doing the typesetting. Sure, it’s far from perfect literature, but let’s not lose the forest for the trees. I mean, I can also raise hackles by commenting on CS Lewis’s ability to write fiction, but suffice to say, I won’t be flushing his books down the toilet because I find them (quite) less than perfect.

          So yes, we clearly disagree about some of the points in the books. But I want to offer my own perspective on the points you raised. I dare say that you (and by this I mean most detractors of the books) don’t like the books for reasons bigger than just that you think they showcase an abusive relationship. I think there is a cultural aspect of being uncomfortable with a truly feminine super-hero. Think about it, what if the gender roles were reversed? How would that change how the books are viewed? Why is it that hero-boys like Harry Potter are popular, but there is nothing like that admiration for stories about hero-girls? Ach, that’s a whole other can of worms, and one I’m not really capable of exploring fully, but I just wonder….



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          Dianna

          posted December 10, 2010 at 12:50 am


          I’m leaving this argument alone after this, but I’d just like to point out that there are a lot of feminine heroes in YA literature better than Bella, ones who would be much, much better role models for, say, my niece. Examples:

          -Hermione Granger
          -Luna Lovegood
          -Ginny Weasley
          -Molly Weasley
          -Katniss Everdeen (from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins)
          -Tally (from the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield)
          -Lucy Pevensie (Narnia)
          -Jill Pole (Narnia)
          -Mary Lennox (from The Secret Garden)
          -Nina, Avery and Melanie from The Bermudez Triangle (by Maureen Johnson)
          -Lyra (The Golden Compass Trilogy)
          -Melinda from Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson)

          Heck, the girl from Forever by Judy Blume has more personal agency and autonomy and heroism than Bella Swan. We are hardly wanting for strong female leads, and we certainly don’t need one who has no identity apart from the man she’s with.



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lisa

posted December 7, 2010 at 10:23 am


It’s simple:

Mark is trying really hard to feel cool, Yo! (ALways has)

Oh, and he’s trying to distract us from the fact that he’s queer.

My related post here.
http://wp.me/pri9O-Sg

HAHAHAHAHAHAaaaaa
Crunk.
:D
love it. funny.



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    Grace

    posted December 7, 2010 at 10:36 am


    There are constant homoerotic undertones in much of what Driscoll says about “manly” men. And yea, a lot of overcompensation. I would be far from shocked if he was gay or bisexual.



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Nick

posted December 7, 2010 at 11:05 am


There are a lot of claims of ‘nailing it’ in this thread. Unfortunately I don’t think anyone did. For all of you errant hammers – as well as those who are curious – Pastor Mark posted an article yesterday about this very topic.

http://theresurgence.com/2010/12/06/why-christians-go-postal-over-facebook-jay-z-yoga-avatar-and-culture-in-general

Enjoy.



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    Grace

    posted December 7, 2010 at 8:40 pm


    He makes a very poor case for why listening to Jay-Z is missionary work but doing yoga can’t be, or for why he can’t trust his congregation to apply the supposedly rigorous teaching they’re getting at Mars Hill *for themselves* and figure out what’s dangerous and what’s not *for themselves*. Why does he need to scream from the pulpit about how Avatar is demonic? Is that helping with missionary work? Is Eurocentric, racist, dismissive commentary about “natives,” or the Hindu or Muslims faiths, helping with missionary work?

    I think Driscoll needs to go back and read the part of the Bible that says “To the pure all things are pure.”



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      Mark W

      posted December 11, 2010 at 4:18 pm


      Grace,

      You may want to re-read his article because I don’t believe he’s saying what you’re accusing him of saying:

      “I recognize that Christians will have different personal convictions in matters of culture and I welcome those differences that are not sinful, because what pleases God is unity, not uniformity… So, while I would reject yoga because it is a Hindu worship act, it is possible for the Christian to redeem some of the exercise principles, as my friend, Rose, extols. Likewise, it’s not a sin to watch a film such as Avatar, enjoy the technological mastery, and learn about how to tell a great story. But, it is imperative for a Christian to not embrace the blatant pagan worldview that does not distinguish between Creator and creation, upon which the entire storyline of the film is constructed.”

      I’ve listened to the sermon where he talks about Avatar and I don’t remember him making any negative remarks regarding the natives (at least as far as their “native-ness” was concerned). Driscoll’s objection was to the anti-Gospel spirituality presented by the movie.

      I also don’t think it was wrong for Mark to say that the Hindu/Muslim faiths are demonic. Would I open a conversation with a Hindu or Muslim person with a statement to that effect? No. But is it Biblically true and therefore relevant for a pastor to teach to his congregation. I believe so.



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        Grace

        posted December 12, 2010 at 10:31 pm


        I read what he said, and I understood it. He pretty clearly says that yoga can be redeems as an EXERCISE – which he knows perfectly well is not all yoga is for many people. When he screams from the pulpit that Avatar is the most satanic thing he’s ever seen and calls yoga demonic, he’s NOT letting his congregation think for themselves about whether it could be acceptable for them to view the movie or participate in yoga. It’s nice that he thinks he can rewrite his comments retroactively, but there’s absolutely nothing in his original comments on Avatar that jibes with the idea that it’s ok to appreciate the story, or the beauty and technical skill that went into Avatar. In fact, he says: “The whole thing is new age, satanic, demonic paganism, and people are just stunned by the visuals. Well, the visuals are amazing because Satan wants you to emotionally connect with a lie.”

        So I’m skeptical of his representation of himself in this recent post given how extreme his comments on Avatar were. Would you really think your pastor would consider it ok for you to appreciate the skill behind a movie he believed to be the most satanic thing he’d ever seen? Please.

        In his rant on Avatar his dismissive comments were about “primitive” cultures – not “natives” but pretty much the same thing. There’s a whole long history of that word being used to prop up imperialism and Eurocentrism, and Driscoll’s words fit right into that tradition.

        You’re as free to believe that calling Hinduism and Islam demonic is true and right as I am to believe it’s Eurocentric and racist.



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          Grace

          posted December 12, 2010 at 10:32 pm


          typo – “redeemed,” not “redeems.”



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Christian

posted December 7, 2010 at 11:55 am


I like Mark… somewhat. But it’s this simple – the more stuff you find to harp on the more opportunities arise for you to be inconsistent in your own behavior. Whether you are being inconsistent in your mind or not, your haters won’t be kind enough to all you to sidestep something so “blatant”.



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ShackBibleGuy

posted December 7, 2010 at 12:34 pm


I think Mark’s Calvinism works against him here. If part of humanity belongs to God and part of it doesn’t, then it makes sense for him to oppose ‘secular’ things. But then in his gut, he finds beauty here and there in the admittedly murky waters of Jay-Z. So it’s got to be a hard line for him to walk, dividing such things into his categories of good and evil.



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Sean

posted December 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm


I am kind of in love with the phrase “bowling words” used in this article. The perfect phrase where you want to reference foul language but at the same time want to set yourself up as so quaintly innocent enough as to think that bowling, the slice of Americana that it is, is kind of out there for you.

Sadly, Google gives me no reason to believe that “bowling words” is in wide (any) use.



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Jake

posted December 7, 2010 at 9:02 pm


Why don’t we spend more time preaching about Christ and him crucified for all our sin? 1 Corinthians 2:2. and stop worrying so much about what kind of music people are listening to? Music is not inherently “christian.” It doesn’t have a soul. People are Christians. We are justified and made righteous by the cross of Christ. Not the kind of music we listen too.



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Fivebares

posted December 7, 2010 at 10:22 pm


This one is pretty easy. His explanation of what he thinks about Avatar was nowhere CLOSE to what he actually said in the sermon referencing Avatar. Driscoll thinks he can constantly just smooth over all the inconsistent crap he says by throwing up a blog post every few months that says, “If I could take back some stuff I’ve said, I would”…Well, how about giving us some examples of things you wish you could take back, Mark? If he really meant it, he’d be offering pretty regular apologies. He’s putting his foot in his mouth too often to be doing it any less regularly. He’s constantly telling people what they should refrain from to be more godly, and yet when it comes to living it out in his own life, we rarely get an apology from him for all the stuff he admit “happens” but won’t specifically list so that we know he actually means it. Every mega-pastor thinks they’ll be the one to be able to withstand the crushing burden of their own pride. And not one has ever done it. Driscoll isn’t the first, and he won’t be the last. But crap is he ever annoying…



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Matt @ The Church of No People

posted December 8, 2010 at 6:15 am


See, that’s exactly what I was thinking. Shouldn’t all of Mark’s faithful followers be confused by the inconsistency? Don’t see Avatar, but Jay-Z is okay. Mark, wouldn’t it be easier on your flock if you just told them to not see or listen to anything!?



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centorian

posted December 8, 2010 at 11:09 am


We all pick and choose our “holiness”…. however, teachers do incur a stricter judgment both by God Himself and the church.

Just another case of Mark being stupid.



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Lukas

posted December 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm


I personnally listen to Jay-Z, as I do for Wu-Tang. I like the music in the mouth. I’m French Canadian, so I don’t get a 100% of what’s being said. But as a pastor, hypocrisy is not what should have been in his mind on that very moment where he claimed having bought tickets, listened to Jay-Z crazy style, yet out of God’s thought, praised him as he was a menestrel of high ranking; hypocrisy is not at all what I was expecting.

As a literature student, I read all sorts of things. Disgusting, a bit erotic, very violent, atheistic, misleading, yet this remains fiction on the first level of understanding. But Jay-Z is a preacher that missed the opportunity to take his God-given charisma and intelligence to lead God’s troops.

In any way, Driscool failed to apply a very simple principle: don’t mislead people less intelligent and discerning than you. Yes, for his high-seen position, it’s terrible, but he can’t go back now.



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Kathleen

posted December 9, 2010 at 8:39 am


and he almost had a stroke/ seizure warning people to stay out of “THE SHACK”! Have you seen that one on youtube? Thought he was going to pop a blood vein in his head. I bet more people came to
know a loving God through that book than any so called “Harvest Crusade”. It is so confusing the sacred cows we choose.



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