Sunday, August 4, 2013

Persecution, Now With Choreography

I went to Westside Church today because at least one of their members is an asshole[1].  Their parking lot is huge.

Although, it was still about half the size of King of Kings' lot[2].

I got inside and found that they have a bookstore.  I looked at the children's books, for  "God Made Dad & Mom", but I couldn't find it.  That's probably because it's still too new, but I actually didn't see any obviously bigoted books there.  I did see something that would contradict the idea that only parenting by both a mother and a father is valid.

They even had a secular book[3].

Maybe Jesus wants his followers to read murder mysteries written by regulars on The O'Reilly Factor.

The last service started at 11:11am.  Every other time I've seen Christians use a non-standard number, there's been a stated reason, usually a particular Bible verse.  So far, I've been unable to figure out their reason.

My program lists the pastor as "Dr Curt Dodd".  Well, isn't that fancy.  They've got themselves a guy with some learnin'.  On stage was something I've seen at every other mega church I've been to so far.

All of these mega churches seem to have concert type services.  Christians appear to be drawn to shitty music.  Which, I guess explains the success of Justin Bieber[4] and boy bands[5].

Starting at 11:11 is apparently so important to them, they've got a countdown to it.

It got to zero and nothing happened.  There was pre-recorded music, but music had been playing the whole time.

When someone finally spoke, it was to prompt people to do the "Greet you neighbor" thing where everyone stands up and shakes the hands of strangers.

When the live music started, there was nothing particularly special about it.  They had a piano instead of an organ, and the kids playing guitar & drums had talent, but the music itself was nothing special.  Just the normal shitty music these places always have.

Also not new was seeing people with their hands up in air.  Next to a few of the people doing this was people doing a variety of things, like checking their phone, drinking coffee, and completely spacing out.

A woman near me was having a genuine emotional experience.  She was dancing in manner that was full of emotion, and she struggling not to burst.  An emotional attachment to bullshit is a dangerous thing to have.  When people whose faith is based on emotion loss that faith, it's sure to be a traumatizing event.  If only we could convince church leaders to refer these people to the help they really need, Recovering From Religion [6]and their Hotline Project[7].  But that would cost them money, so they're more likely to scare them into staying.

Speaking of scaring people, the talking portion of the service because with an allusion to the fucking rapture by mentioning Jesus coming back.  Then he introduced communion by telling them to not view it as a ritual.  That makes total sense.  Why see this thing that is obviously a ritual as a ritual?  That would be fucking stupid.

He told them to instead be mindful of Jesus's sacrifice for them.  In other words, "Here, have a stale cracker with some grape juice and guilt."

I'm not sure why he a made a point to state, "This is for believers."  It's not like he knew I was there.  Does he think there are non-believers in crowd[8]?  What does he think happens if a non-believer eats the cracker?  I hadn't planned to go up for it, but he made me consider it.  I didn't go up out of shear laziness (and an aching knee).

Then the part with the theme for the morning, "Remember My Chains".

Photo Credit:  @westsideomaha[9]

This pastor is literally wearing chains.  I guess this is why they call him Doctor.

He talked about how the Christian church has evolved into a sad state.  Aww, what a pity.  If only it were more true.

Next was a lot of talk about Christian persecution.  And with all the talk of this perseuction, not a single mention of the fact that it's other religious people (Muslims) doing more of the persecuting.  He did show a map of where it's happening, and the Google machine is where I found it.

Photo Source:  World Magazine[10]
I'm sure I could spend an entire post debunking this map and the claims in the article as over-exaggerated, but that's for another time.

And what's some Christian talk of persecution without also talk of suffering.  Persecution and suffering[11], Christians 2 favorite topics.

The handout in the programs utilized the same tactic I complained about just a few days ago[12].

It's a clever way to get the people being preached to participate in the preaching, thus making it more effective without them realizing it.  It's something I found to effective teaching technique when I had teachers in school who used this method.

The video he showed, from, featured news reports about Christians being persecuted.  Although, the reports were all from CBN[13], founded by Pat Robertson[14].  Persecution is indeed real a thing.  It's being carried out primarily in Islamist nations. These Christians see it as motivation to fight for Jesus.  I see it as evidence of why religion is evil.

He went on to give more examples of persecution, including a video about Adoniram Judson[15] and some guy attempting to continue his missionary efforts.

Funny that most of these places are dominated by things other than Christianity.  I wonder if there is persecution when Christianity dominates.  I'm kidding[16], of course[17].

Somehow, the talk about their kind being persecuted across the world turned into a choreographed dance.  I wish I was kidding there.

The group prayer seemed much less creepy than it would have been if not for the Prayer Bus people from Thursday dance number about worldwide persecution.

I'll close out the sharing something else from the programs.

And they're not even the biggest church in town.  If Omaha Atheists[18] had even 10% of that budget, they'd be quite a different organization.  And they wouldn't be scaring the shit out of people with threats of Hell, making them feel guilty about an event that never happened, or doing creepy dances around a guy wearing chains.



  1. This was the church where I interviewed for the directories job.

  2. Expect comments from me today, Robert. Can't get enough of your blogs.

    The amount that church makes makes me sick to my stomach. And all to spread "the truth" to more people. Not one charity listed.

  3. If you want to find out where the money is going, ask, we'll be able to tell you.