Friday, January 9, 2009

Blog Starter Kit for the Self-Righteous

The only people who ever criticized Jesus were His religious counterparts – the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were very jealous of His ministry, His teachings, and the fact that great crowds followed Him everywhere while their own influence was shrinking. The ministry of Jesus threatened their brittle system and they attacked Him for it.

This same ministerial jealously motivates the self-righteous today. Their sanctimonious attitude combined with a lack of influence makes them critical of anyone who is outside their camp. In an effort to help them, I have put together this “Blog Starter Kit for the Self-Righteous."

Here’s how:

1. Quote theologians a lot and become a master at copy-and-paste. It will make you look good by giving people the impression that you are in the same academic arena as these deep thinkers. Having no original thoughts of your own, it will provide you with some “filler” on your site. You can use their opinions to rail against other churches thereby validating your own opinions of other churches. Besides, it will also polarize people into one camp or the other – compelling them to choose sides based upon your favorite personalities – and that’s what you are after, polarization.

2. Quote dead theologians too. Tozer is a good place to start, but if you don’t know who he is, any dead guy will do – especially if they are English or European. It makes you look deep when you quote theologians that no one else has ever heard of. They will wonder in amazement at your connection to these masters of the past.

3. Only talk about theology and pontificate a lot. After all, that’s the only subject spiritual people are interested in. Nobody listens to music, watches TV, has fun, or goes to the movies. And if they do, they shouldn’t. And since modern technology in the church is leading people away from the truth, use your blog and computer (which BTW is modern technology) to rail against the modern culture creeping into churches.

4. Always appear to be pious. Never be personal or transparent by talking about your home, family, hobbies, fears, friends, likes and dislikes. And when you do talk about your failures, use false humility – it makes you look deep. Your blog should focus only on how much you know about theology and how spiritual you are. Try to write in such a way that you sound like you are a cut above the pew level.

5. Take every chance you get to remind people that society is going to hell, nothing can be done about it, and the church is the one leading them there. Don’t be purpose driven, (balancing worship, evangelism, discipleship, fellowship and service equally). Instead, single out your favorite aspect of the Christian life and focus on that. Harp away and let that be your hobby horse. Be be driven by tradition, legalism, polity, your favorite authors, and narrow-minded view points. Be sure to continuously point out what is wrong with America, the church, and pastors. Talk about your church and how it follows the true Biblical pattern while all others do not. Suggest to people that the only way to get to heaven is to follow your version of Christianity, and the rest be damned.

6. Target a church that is more fruitful than your ministry and tell people that the only thing they care about is numbers. Overlook the fact that there is an entire book in the Bible named “Numbers” (and since you don’t know why it was given that name, just ignore it). Overlook the fact that great crowds followed Jesus. Overlook the fact that the early church grew exponentially by multiplied thousands over and over again. And also overlook the fact that heaven will be a crowded place. Keep telling yourself that God is more interested in quality, not quantity. Reassure yourself that you and your other self-righteous cronies are God's true remnant – because it will make you feel better about your low numbers, your slipping influence, your shrinking ministry, and dismal lack of spiritual fruit.

7. Don’t use the word “relevant” in your blog and don’t be relevant in your ministry. Instead, strive to be irrelevant – it’s better. Besides, if you try to be relevant, the other Pharisees will stop reading your blog and you won’t get invited to the 6th annual conference on Theological Hermeneutics and Interpretative Exegesis of Expository Preaching based upon 5th Century Puritan Practices.

8. Since all the other churches are getting it wrong by preaching too much grace and are actually reaching messed up people, focus instead more on wrath, judgment, sin, and hell. That’s what people need – more judgment and less grace. Make condemned people feel more condemned - they deserve it. They made their bed, now make them lie in it. Plus, it makes self-righteous people feel special because if confirms they are not like everyone else.

9. Attempt to explain God by using an acrostic. Even though it is impossible to do so, regular people sitting at the pew level won’t know the difference. You’ll look smart and appear intelligent because you have it memorized and know what each letter stands for. Even though God (the Ancient of Days) cannot be summarized by your neatly packaged sound bites, it doesn’t really matter. You believe it, and that’s all that counts.

10. In the spirit of legalism, be sure to push your ideas on others. Find verses in the Bible that support your view and feel free to use them out of context. Twist the words and tell people that it doesn’t mean what it plainly says, but rather “this is what it actually means.” Use your legalistic views to condemn drums and guitars in the church, different styles of preaching, casual dress, and large crowds. Find verses in the Bible to back up your views about dress codes, and be sure to wear your itchy, polyester suit to church each Sunday so you can prove you are “bearing your cross for Jesus.” Since it’s not enough for you to simply have a personal conviction on these matters, keep looking in the Bible until you find the right verse you can use to push your views on others. In the event you can’t find a Bible verse to quote out of context, just quote one of your favorite authors – it’s almost as good.