Saturday, September 26, 2009

#45 Baptizing With Water From the Jordan River

Baptism is a sign and seal of God's covenantal relationship between Himself and His people. For most white Christian churches, baptism reigns over the non-denominational church's Dedication (a.k.a Baptism 2.0: "all the bless without the mess"). For the churches that go the full nine yards to infant baptism, babies bring an extra level of cuteness to this significant sacrament.

And yet... this special moment is made just a
little more holy when its done with water from the Jordan River. After all, Jesus himself was baptized in this body of water... so it certainly beats that tap water from the church basement that those other mediocre munchkins get sprinkled with.

Furthermore, the Jordan River water's presence in the baptismal bowl grants the proud parents the extra feather in their cap of allowing them to explain the back story of
how this particular vial of Jordan's finest made the trek from the middle east to the middle of the church platform. Ideally, the parents can use the Jordan river water discussion as a spring-board into conversations about their recent trip to Israel. If all goes according to plan, this might even lead to a photo slideshow at the post-baptism family/friend get-together!

Unfortunately, not every parent can make this dream a reality. For those parents who desire to have the increased holiness of the Jordan River water baptism, but are without the financial means to make the pilgrimage to personally pilfer some of that pristine Jordan purity, there's an
entire industry of purchasable Jordan River water at their fingertips.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

#44 Megachurches

White Christians love to be in community with fellow believers, especially on Sunday morning. The explosion in popularity of megachurches like Willow Creek , Mars Hill , and Lakewood enables white Christians to be in community without anyone actually noticing them.

Megachurches lure in white Christians by the thousands with amazing praise bands and dynamic pastors who deliver engaging sermons. However, smaller white Christian churches, disheartened by the loss of members to these megachurches, contend that it is unfair to make attending church an enjoyable experience.

Why would a white Christian want to sit among people they have a personal relationship with and listen to a sermon from some no name pastor when they could be squinting to see a celebrity pastor from nosebleed seating in a 40,000 seat arena? The downsides of such sizable sanctuaries are soon forgotten when it comes time for the donut/bagel/coffee race and the kiss-cam on the JumboTron during the offering.

If your bulletin contains a picture of the winning anthropomorphic breakfast food, you can even cash it in at the megachurch cafe. You might think that a having a restaurant onsite could lead to obesity, but never fear, the white Christians easily burn off these extra calories in the onsite gym or during their two mile walk to their car in the outer reaches of the parking lot.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

#43 Sabbath Observance... of Football

Everyone knows where white Christian men will be on a Sunday afternoons in the fall- on their couch watching football. 

But the 
man-law requiring the sabbath observance of football is much more specific than the simple "watching of the game" clause.  It further mandates that men will "always be accompanied by snacks, meat, and beer."  

Other mandatory compliance regulations for the 2009 NFL season include glorious HDTV and  smiles from all observing men.  Furthermore, a few of the men in attendance of a living room brew'n'view should be wearing football jerseys, and, perhaps most importantly, one of the men is required to hold a football at all times.  The men are permitted to playfully toss the football around the room, just as the
pre-game personalities pretend to do during pop-up promotions during the game.

Interestingly enough, football is the only sport where the observers of the sport hold a ball while watching. You'll never see a tennis fan holding a tennis ball during Wimbledon, or a golf fan clinging to a Titleist during The Masters.  This is because these sports are less interesting to watch- and therefore, less Christian.  There's a reason that football is the only sport played on Thanksgiving- it's the sport for which white Christians are
most thankful.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

#42 Three Point Sermons

White Christian pastors know that they have to keep the sermon short and sweet, due to the one hour time limit imposed on the entire church service. After praise and worship, announcements, greeting, and the offering, the pastor has about 15 minutes, tops.

Before the actual sermon begins, the pastor will start with a joke or personal story to break the ice and then read a few Bible verses. The scripture reading is usually followed by a map of Israel on PowerPoint, to show the exact location of the tree that snagged Absalom’s hair or the cave where David was hiding while Saul relieved himself. The remaining nine minutes leaves just enough time to deliver a sermon consisting of three points.

A three point sermon sounds simple enough, but to the consternation of homiletics professors, many pastors will include multiple points within a single point. This is also very frustrating to the church’s committed note-takers. They are listening carefully for the three points so that they can jot them down on the bulletin before pitching it into the garbage on the way out.

Rick Warren rose to prominence by pioneering a new form of sermon with more than three points. Sermons like “The Seven S’s of Stewardship” and “Eight E’s of Evangelism” blew away the status quo. White Christians flocked to Saddleback Church where they could get three or even four times as many points per sermon as their previous church.

Most are satisfied with the three point sermon, with the exception of white Christian children. To better prepare themselves for the obligatory “what was the sermon about” question from their parents at the dinner table, they would probably prefer a one point sermon.

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