The Ramblings Of John Campea

Life Beyond The Movies

One of the most disgusting

One of the most disgusting things I have ever seen
I came across the ABC news show NIGHTLINE last night, and saw one of the most disheartening sights I have ever seen in regards to my faith. It was the story of the National Evangelistic Preaching Competition being held at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Yes, you heard that right… a PREACHING COMPTETITION. The story followed a few young white men as they went through their respective State competitions all the way to the nationals.

As if the very concept of this wasn’t sad enough, watching the story just made me want to cry. All the “competitors” were up there in their $500-$1000 suits, carrying their $100 gold lined black leather bound Bibles, clean cut with enough hair product to render the Hulk paralyzed and preaching with a southern drawl (even the ones who offstage didn’t speak with any accent whatsoever) that had images of Jimmy Swaggart dancing through my head.

Then there was all the verbal nonsense about how all these boys were “Ordained by God to preach” or “Called by the Lord to preach the word”. I read one parent talk about this special calling in his son this way: “Mark comes from a wonderful youth group filled with great godly boys, but ask anyone and they’ll tell you that there has just always been something special about him.” I’m so tired of this westernized concept of a spiritual caste system. Oh, God loves all Christians equally, but if you’re RREEEAAALLLYYY special, God will put a call on your life to preach. Good grief, someone pass me the Pepto Bismol. The last time I checked the only questions Jesus is going to care about on the last day are: “Did you feed me when I was hungry”, “Did you clothe me when I was naked”, “Did you visit me or comfort me when I was sick or in prison”? But now I’m just rambling.

The WORST part of the whole thing for me was this: Nightline says it wants to “do more of the untold human interest stories in the huge Evangelical Christian demographic in America.” Personally I think that’s great! However, for the millions of people who saw that show last night, and have no contact with anyone in Christian circles, their concept of what a “Christian” is, has now been molded in this horrific image. Christians are a bunch of wealthy, suit wearing, slick talking, gel using, southern drawl talkin spiritual elitists. I’m suddenly terrified to tell people I’m a Christian now. I’m afraid they’ll instantly associate me with the image they saw on that television last night.

Maybe I’m just rambling. Maybe I’m just an angry person. Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I’m only saying all this because I haven’t been able to sleep in almost 3 days and I’m grumpy. But I have to tell ya, stuff like this really leaves me with a sense of despair and disillusionment about “the church”. Is what I saw on TV last night really what Jesus died for? I guess a bunch of people at Bob Jones University and around North America would say “yes”.

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June 21, 2003 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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