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Friday, January 25, 2008

FLAMETHROWER: TV Christians who don't "get" it ... yet

Yesterday I read a story on WorldNetDaily about a new TV show called Flamethrower, on the Faith TV network. The show describes itself as "The View if it was produced by Ann Coulter. Four panelists, all young men and women, all four believe in Judeo-Christian values, all four want political change and none of them are afraid to say what they think."

For this week's show, they had scheduled to broadcast a segment where the show's creator, Molotov Mitchell (already I've got a baaaaad feeling about the nature of this series), devours a cookie emblazoned with the frosted visage of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. The whole thing is apparently meant to be a stunt intended to offend Muslims, particularly since according to Islamic tradition images of Muhammad are forbidden... which has always struck me as funny 'cuz how do we know what Muhammad looked like, anyway?

Here's a pic of "Molotov" Mitchell committing sacrilege while satiating his sweet tooth...

However, in the wake of the initial report about Flamethrower's show this week, Faith TV has now pulled the plug on the segment. "We're not going to air it," said the president of the network. "We feel this program just goes beyond the bounds of good taste."

I agree. And I say that as a follower of Christ myself.

"Molotov" Mitchell told WorldNetDaily that "Islam is not even a religion... It's an ideology of 'might makes right' disguised as a religion." I don't disagree with Mitchell on that point at all. And without elucidating further (because it would take way too long for this kind of post), I'll even say that there hasn't been a worse cancer upon human history than Islam. It is collective madness at its most destructive.

But how is Christianity any different from Islam, when its own adherents stoop this low? Can somebody please tell me how, precisely, the Flamethrower team is furthering Christ's love toward others by doing this kind of thing?

Does the Flamethrower staff believe that Muslims are too far beyond the love of Christ that they cannot find redemption?

Let me be clear on this: Islam is a "religion" that cannot be reasoned with. When coupled with unbridled power, it has invariably become the most bloodthirsty cult in human history. There will never be "peace in the Middle East" between those of the Judeo-Christian persuasion and the Islamic mindset. Heck, there can't even be peace among Muslims themselves per their religious traditions: witness the civil war that would break out in Iraq if the United States were to pull out. Which is probably the biggest reason we should have never involved ourselves in that fraud of a country anyway, but I digress...

"Join us or die!" is the Islamic cry. But don't Christians do much the same when they demand that we "join us or burn in Hell"?

Do we try to convince others of Christ because we sincerely love them and are legitimately concerned for their eternal destiny... or do we try to win others to Christ because of our own ego? Because if we can "get more people" to join with us that this somehow validates our creed, when we should be content and motivated by nothing more than the grace of Christ that has saved us.

I don't think the Flamethrower crew understands what it means to be serving the cause of Christ, at least not when they attempt cheap stunts like this. But I don't think they are past understanding. I believe they can learn and grow from this, and come to realize that to follow Christ and present Him to others means that our actions are graced with humility, rather than confronting those apart from Christ with blunt-force trauma.

Why should the rest of the world be convinced of Christ, then? When the Flamethrower staff does stuff like this, it only exhibits before everyone else that they don't have anything different to show for their faith than what the rest of the world presents. We as Christians are supposed to be in this world but not of this world... and when we do things like this, we only demonstrate that we haven't died to this world's ways in the least bit. Christ just becomes another idol for conquest... exactly like Muhammad.

I wouldn't be writing this if I didn't know what it's like to be a Christian such as Mitchell and his compatriots. Years ago, when I was new to the faith (and a bit younger than the Flamethrower panelists) I too was "full of spice and vinegar" as they say... and I was eager to put it to use for my new faith. To show that I was a good and sincere Christian.

Among other things I told former United States Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, to her face, that she was a "murderer" for her support of abortion. Heh-heh... I'd love to see the Flamethrower crew top that one!

But all the same: it was a wrong thing to have done, and a few years later I apologized for it in an op-ed piece in my college newspaper. By that point I had come to realize: this kind of confrontation isn't what being a follower of Christ is about in any way whatsoever. Not when it comes to trying to persuade others about the truth of Christ within us, anyway.

There's not much else that I know to say about the matter other than this: Flamethrower's staff no doubt feels a sense of purpose and power with what they are doing. I absolutely know, because I've had that kind of high myself. And it's something that I have sincerely come to regret. I would save them the shame and guilt that might not come today, but will certainly come years from now, when they realize that they had talent and opportunity to demonstrate Christ in a loving way... and instead they turned Christ into a weapon of hurt and spite.

Maybe this is how you fight a "cultural" war. Maybe this is the temporal realm's way of fighting to "change the world". But I don't care much for changing the world anymore. I'd rather change people's hearts. And so should the staff of Flamethrower.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate this post, because it touches on a man-made facet of Christianity that I call "mainstream Christianity" or "media-worthy Christianity" (defined as "The only Christians that liberal OR conservative media choose to put on TV or in newspapers are the ones that can do the most damage to true Christianity").

In my early teen years, I developed a strong distaste for "flamboyant conservatism". At the time and on until I was twenty, I was going to church with several people who believed in a ... more aggressive approach in getting "the cause of Christ" out to the world. And it's always abortion and homosexuality that they get aggressive about. (I will say, they never reached a Phelpsist level of aggression, but then again, I remember one or two of them praising Phelps' efforts.) They wanted marches and pickets and sandwich boards and whatever else they could think of to be an thorn in the side of the "Liberal Machine". I really have a problem with that. Not to say that I don't have very strong opinions about either subject; of course, I do, but when a Christian goes out of their way to cause a problem, what sort of witness does it give? I had become fairly "apolitical" over time because I was bombarded by the idea that Christians have to vote Republican. I knew it was ridiculous then, and even more so now, but I was so put-off by their belief in this ridiculous notion that I didn't want anything to do with politics whatsoever, and deliberately ignored all of it, making my first opportunity to vote in a major election kind of pointless. It still bothers me because I'd allowed myself to get so out of touch that I just wasn't familiar enough with the choices to even form a semi-educated opinion, and it became a vote for the lesser-of-two-evils for me.

It's fair to note that my pastors at the time were wise enough to not involve the congregation in those types of activities (marches, pickets, etc.), knowing that the cause of Christ isn't calling the abortion-bound girls 'whores', but showing them that Christ died for their sins, regardless of they what they were.

Anyhow, when I stumbled onto your blog last Summer, read your "About Me" section and continued following the posts, I was pleased to find that there are other Christians in this country (and I'm sure the world over) that are comfortable and knowledgeable in the political realm, but haven't forgotten that the root of Christianity will always be Christ and His death, burial and resurrection. The fact that you take the time to write blogs about it is very cool. The church I'm at now is full of people like that, but I'd started to wonder if there were any other voices crying in the wilderness. Thanks for showing me that there are.

Anonymous said...

Quietly, Molotov enters the room with a cookie in hand…

“I’ll bet Elijah loved the Muhammed Cookie episode…” he quips as he takes a bite.

The room gets quiet. Someone turns and calls him a bad name. A chorus of voices chime out in agreement.

“You’re not representing real Christianity!” someone cackles.

“Yeah,” a man in tweed follows. “Jesus was love, not a bully!”

“Wait, maybe he’s trying to tell us something…” a heavyset woman wonders aloud.

“Shut yer trap, Della!” the man in tweed snaps. “Real Christians do things our way. There ain’t no message, just a bad joke!”

Della sheepishly sips her glass and looks away.

Molotov shrugs and leaves.

As the door closes behind him, the men in the group sniff in satisfaction.

“What a twit!” the man in tweed guffawed. The room erupts in laughter. Everyone joins in. Suddenly, a muslim walks into the room and detonates.

The End