‘Save me’- religious reality TV…

Saw this the other day- still not sure if it is a hoax.

Volunteers might have just missed the deadline, but you never know- drop him a line…

The bloke behind all this is Jim Henderson (no not that puppet bloke- his name was Henson.) I liked what he claims as his ‘mission’- 

The Three Practices of Otherlyness (the Way of Jesus.)

• Be unusually interested in others

• Stay in the room with difference

• Refuse to compare my best with your worst

Quite how this will work out on TV remains to be seen. Not sure it will ever air on British TV anyway- if it comes to a screen over there- let me know!

Which does bring to me again the question of the Great Commission for we followers of Jesus. Most of the Christians I know have given up on selling religious product- in fact, perhaps we have gone in the opposite direction entirely. Refreshing then, to read this via Jim Henderson’s blog- 

The old paradigm of presenting a case and demanding a verdict just isn’t working anymore (and nobody is doing it anyway). So what DOES work? And how can we get more people engaged with the process of spreading the Gospel?
Here’s what I’m banking on these days: Listening. Hearing their story. Finding out what God has been up to in their life and (gently) calling their attention to it. Becoming a safe person for others to share their doubts, fears, anger and distress with regarding life. And then, in that kind of context, being asked to share YOUR story (which is simply what Christ has done in your life), and in that context HIS story (as simply as you can). An invitation to follow Jesus may or may not fit that initial conversation. But we should be ready for it just in case, I think.
So, I am suggesting we give up the obsession with making converts and start getting serious about calling others to join us as disciples (students) of Christ. That process is messy, hard to “count”, and unpredictable. But I think it’s more like what Jesus was asking us to do in the “Great Commission”. So the short answer to your question is, “Quit doing that. Make disciples, not just converts.”
Yes, I think I can go along with that!

12 thoughts on “‘Save me’- religious reality TV…

  1. Hi Chris,
    It’s always about spreading the gospel isn’t it? Which is all about spreading the news of the 3 card trick (as you put it). Which is all about salvation or otherwise.
    In other words, most people (Westerners) know about the 3 card trick, or if they don’t then they’ll soon get to hear about it when the gospel is spread to them. They’ll get to understand what the game is all about. They’ll see a church and some services which seem a million miles away from their life and they’ll think that the deal is this – if you adopt these irrelevant/disconnected church services with music you don’t like. If you do the 3 card trick, then you’ll be saved. The alternative is a horrible eternity in a place called hell. So what’s it to be?

    Then people think fairy stories. They think, if there is a G-d (and you say He’s all loving) then how can He start sending people to a fiery death just because I didn’t do a 3 card trick one day? It’s all just old-fashioned fairy tales. We’ve got science nowadays.

    Science – The broad message
    This is the message which science tells the population through tv programs, radio etc: We’re nearly there, we’ve nearly solved everything and know how it all works, just give us a bit longer. Everything is explainable, it all started from a big-bang randomly. You’re just here by chance, “good isn’t it?”.

    Materialism
    Science, which is all about the material, now has many answers. It can fix many diseases and it looks like we’ll soon be able to fix cancer, for example. Through science people are living longer and more comfortably. Science is the answer, you need look nowhere else. Religion is for when you feel sorry for others, in the meantime, just go out and take what science and materialism has to offer. Join the gravy train, take a ride and enjoy what materialism has to offer while you’re here.

    This is the general picture the developed world presents. Presented with it, the general population naturally chooses the most attractive option. Spreading the gospel simply puts into juxtapositioned contrast the two alternatives. Stating what “Jesus has done in my life” can simply be taken as a random fluke (just like the big-bang).

    Against the backdrop of an increasingly developing (materialisticly) world, one which is improving apparently due to advances in science, the gospel seems an irrelevant anachronism. Rather than the gospel, what is needed is a radical change to science and to the culture of materialism. This will then reveal the truths of the gospel; it’s not random, the soul is everything, you have a purpose, a gift of eternal life, you are loved by the Creator… As me for details.

    Carl

  2. See, if there really is a G-d (there really is actually!), either
    1) He doesn’t actually mind too much about all the different religions, none of them are totally correct
    2) At some point, if the differences between religions become important, or if mankind looks like it’s going to destroy itself or
    3) Perhaps it’s just a species maturity thing, then
    A unification thing might start.
    I see that it’s not just the religions that are disunited, but also knowledge (or science) which is helt bent on denying Him. I say, if He’s there (if He is Truth) then science will find Him.

    I see the unification of science, religion and G-d. No-one will seriously deny His existence. The different religions (different from even what they are now perhaps, but united in the same G-d) will be different paths to greater spiritual understanding. Gone will be the myths, the stories of devils and of endless hells for all those in the ‘wrong’ religion (how awful a concept). Why isn’t there a true religion which actually doesn’t judge AT ALL. And allows all other religions and never even thinks that they might be going to hell. What a horrible thing to think. How awful of ANY RELIGION to allow such divisive thoughts.

    IT IS WRONG.

    Where am I going to find G-d friends with visions like this?
    I want to feel G-d’s love in my life now.
    I want to feel Christians being christian towards me, even though I speak of future visions and not historical interpretations as they do. All I seem to find is people who expect me to toe the line with conventional perspectives.

    If He is there (He is actually), if science does finally admit that, having explored all other possibilities, His presence is the best explanation for everything then don’t you think it fitting that there would somehow be some natural unification of the monotheistic religions.

    If G-d is love, then how can He possibly be one-sided religiously? Does G-d have a religion? Doesn’t He just love all of His creatures?

    Carl

    • Hi Carl, I’m so sorry you feel so frustrated about this subject! Not unusual. I think everyone follows what they feel comfort with and God certainly does NOT expect us to toe a line in line with our individual comfort zones. However, a book which I have recommended before (which is a Cathilic book) does bring comfort in the correlation between religion and science..the writer is highly respected and educated. Also in the comfort of faith, which supercedes all arguments and which Jesus and all the preceeding prophets before him spoke about. The phrase ‘leap of faith’ is really a positive message and in my experiance is a huge help against all adversity (and there is plenty of it in life)
      God Bless
      Nik

      • PS Please do not feel that because I am promoting a Catholic book I am in any way attempting to ‘convert’, I just think it’s a great book, I also read books about Buddhism book this Christian book is more relevant in a Christian society (in my view). Although we are practice as Catholics my son goes to C of E school (which I fully support) and my 2 year old attends Evangelical nursery. I discuss religion with friends of different practices, if I can. The sorrow if it is, they are few and far between.

  3. Thank you for noticing my little project. I appreciate your curiosity and openess to Save Me. It is definitely not a hoax. Im attempting to re introduce jesus to his natural habitat – ordinary non religious people. It is quite a challenge but one I enjoy attempting. Auditions are still open. I need very very certain fundamentalists who believe God wants them to save as many people as possible. ANY religion welcomed to participate.

    BTW – when you mention a Catholic book per science and theology you wouldnt be referrging to Chardin would you?

  4. Hi Nik,
    Sorry for the late reply I didn’t see the usual notification. Anyway, I’m not sure where you’re coming from with your advice. You see I am a fully, totally, absolutely committed G-d person. I KNOW He is there. I know His presence THROUGH science and through personal spiritual experience.

    I also know that one day science will discover Him incontrovertably (i.e. with great big metaphorical signs).

    There are two things however, which play a big role in my life. One is the fact that science doesn’t YET see Him. The change will involve acceptance of a new physics paradigm which they may start to think about when they don’t find the Higgs Boson at the LHC by Christmas. So on the science front I can’t yet argue with anybody (so I’m alone).

    On the personal front I had a series of personal traumas which have resulted in a loss of just about everything, including friends (I am all alone), and some brain function. I am having to start life afresh.

    I would expect local Christians to be understanding and compassionate, but I am losing my ‘leap of faith’ in humanity, not in G-d! Perhaps, as some have said, I am expecting too much of others. But when one has nothing is ‘anything’ too much? Perhaps it’s my understanding of human psychology, perhaps it’s some missing brain function that makes me expect too much. I just want community, friends with whom I can share.

    I don’t want G-d! I’ve already got Him big, big time. What I want is Christians to be Christian as I would expect them to be and as I try to be.

    On the religion front, as I said above, I’ve seen the future of science (I’m an electronics engineer), so I think I’ve seen how religions no longer compete with one another, but how science may take over to some extent, providing some categorical truths.

    What I seek is G-d’s love THROUGH/with people. I have received too much of it personally, I can’t cope alone. There are times when I wander across the room with my heart beating with joy and excitement, but absolutely no-one to share this all with, or bring me down gently. So then I get really (angrily) frustrated! (That’s funny though, isn’t it? – I’ve lost everything (house, money, friends, job, part of brain function. But I walk around overwhelmed with joy!).

    I just want to SHARE.

    I also want to do good works, which I will, it just takes time to sort out.

    Anyway there’s plenty there for you to read for now. Thanks for replying.

    Carl

  5. Hi, thanks for the reply, and good luck on the mission…I usually get very blank faces whenever I mention religion to general people in general conversation, I feel many people are sceptical and quite negative. The book is ‘Reasons to beleive’ by Scott Hahn. I can’t see Chardin mentioned in the notes, but one of the beginning chapters lists the most distinguished of historical scientists as Catholics, or Christians, and gives some arguments as to why science and religion are together as opposed to being in opposition to one another. This is not a technical book but is a compelling and ‘easy’ read. Kind Regards, Nik

  6. Carl, so sorry for all your losses, and glad you have God and happiness in that, i hope you can find some kindred spirits nearby that can give you some kinship. I didn’t mean to patronise you or offend you. The book I talk about is just a good book to read (Reasons to Beleive, by Scott Hahn…people are going to start thinking I’m getting royalties off this!). I am not very educated in science, but I get scared, when the likes of Stephen Hawking proclaim that the universe would have happened without God, that this just confirms what I feel is what the majority of people indifferent to religion or spiritual life, want to beleive. God Bless

  7. Nik,
    (Warning – I am unconventional – both religion and science)
    Outsiders would find it difficult to understand, but there is much wrong with science at the moment. What is wrong is fundamental. What is wrong is contradictory. What is wrong is shown through maths. What is wrong is ambiguous and paradoxical. Science does not admit its fragility to the general public. They blunder on, spending billions on LHCs as if oblivious to the significance of what these inconsistencies and paradoxes are telling them – THEY’VE GOT IT FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG.

    So yes, when Hawkins makes pronouncements without mentioning these huge caveats, he is wrong to do so. And when governments back science (through grants and law) without understanding these caveats they are wrong to do so – because Joe public starts to accept what science says.

    You mention religion though. There is a very big difference between G-d and religion. There is G-d. Religion is mankind’s route to understanding the not-understandable. Popular western religion does this through formalised, structured belief systems with listen-to-me classes handed down through ambiguous books for the last 2,000 years. So ambiguous are they that they have caused professor (of Theology) Bart D. Ehrman to reject entirely the bible based on its inherent inconsistencies.

    The general population is then forced to compare these rigid inconsistent belief systems along-side a system (science) which is apparently objective, independent, respected by authority, and comes with few explicit caveats. It’s obvious which one is ‘reasonable’ and which one is ‘old-tosh’. It’s obvious which one they will go for if they want to appear ‘modern’ and ‘grown-up’. But of course its the structure of our society which has really primed them to think that way. And it is this which WILL change one day.

    But in the same way that science will change and society will change, I think so will religion. When it is no longer a question of G-d or no G-d, no longer a question of belief or atheism, and it is accepted that the question really is “How on earth did He get there then?”, then the debate will be about HOW to do G-d.

    For my part, I follow the best example given to mankind. Orthopraxis rather than Orthodoxy.

    Carl

  8. I hope so, by whatever route is possible. I agree about the mixed messages recieved from the bible, but hope that those who do want to receive the message of God read it with forgiveness for human interpretation of the truly wonderful example God wants us to follow. There is lots of stuff I question, and in tough times question more than others. But can’t ignore the clear instruction I feel is bein given. Was trying to find a reading from mass a few weeks ago, and with my fuzzy brain, can’t remember who the writer was, a but it was not a disciple. He said that his life was hard, he was miserable because he was a laughing stock because of beleiving in the Lord. He wanted to deny his belief to make his life easier and to be accepted amongst his peers. But he just could not do it, and was compelled to deliver his beleifs despite all. I think whatever route you find Him through is a good route. It’s hard to share the message though, in a way that people want to listen to.

    • Dearest Earthma,

      I think that you shouldn’t worry too much about spreading the message. I think you should be like an open door. You should do the works of love and compassion and then gently wait for others to question you. Your message will then spread gently and softly, like Jesus.

      G-d bless

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