Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Emotional Manipulation

I was thinking about a preacher I used to know.  Not about him specifically, but about his style of preaching.  He was tall, had a commanding presence, and he was a showman who could hold the congregation in the palm of his hand.  He would always start off with a heart-wrenching story and use that to get his message across.  People responded by giving their money, their time or their lives to his cause. 

"His cause" - the preacher's cause, not necessarily to the Lord. You see, I don't know where any of them stood with the Lord.  Many of them would start off with enthusiasm and then drift away.  Many of them were hurt when they saw the human failings of the preacher and his team.  Many felt used. 
It did not seem to worry the preacher because he could always enlist more followers - such was his charisma, his magnetism to people.

This got me thinking about why I am turned off by that style of preaching and wondering whether or not I am over-reacting.  Preaching that incites a knee-jerk emotional response is not the ideal.  It is not an example that comes from the Bible.  In fact emotional responses are not to be trusted according to my Bible.  The heart is deceitful Jeremiah says in chapter 17, verse 9.  The knee-jerk reaction is like the seed that falls in rocky places. It springs up quickly, because the soil is shallow. But when the sun comes up, the plants are scorched, and they wither because they have no root. That is Jesus' parable, not mine.

He should know.  The crowd welcoming him to Jerusalem were an emotional lot.  It was a great day with lots of cheers and hosannas.  Within days, where were they?  Were they the same ones who yelled "Crucify him!" and who would rather have the murderer, Barabbas, released than Jesus?  Emotional backflips don't get worse than that.

Emotions are great.  They are part of what makes us human.
We just have to be careful about how and when we trust them, especially when someone else has something to gain from our emotional response.

Have you regretted some decisions you've made in a knee-jerk, emotional reaction?
I think we all have those sort of regrets.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sheep in the Bible

I was web surfing in the hope of finding this hymn on a site that would allow me to download it for free.  I was hoping to use it for a devotional segment on Wednesday.  The theme on Wednesday is animals in the Bible and my plan was/is to create a power point presentation with still photos and this great hymn being sung in the background.  I'm sure I've heard of this singer in the distant past, but never heard him sing that I know of.  It's worth a listen.  Meanwhile I think I'll have to check out the Christian bookshop up the road for a CD and go from there.
Click on the link to listen to the lovely old hymn, The Ninety and Nine.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Culture Unplugged Video

I've been pretty slack at posting here. But this video deserves wide distribution. It requires no editorial from me.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My music

When I published this post, I was looking for a way to include the music for "Home Free" so you could hear what a great song it is. Now you can. Maybe not the whole song, but at least you get a taste or maybe I should call it a tease.
I have now added links to some of my favourite music and you can click on the appropriate tune on the RH side to hear it for yourself. Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Emotional fallout

The emotional fall out from the natural disasters that have befallen Australians in the past few weeks have been as variable as the disasters themselves.
With the arrest of an arsonist responsible for one of the fatal fires, anger and hatred seem to be the over riding emotions. That is human nature. People in grief experience anger as well as depression, denial, shock, bargaining and even physical symptoms.
For those who have suffered loss these things are normal and will eventually fade.
I have a problem with the fact that so many who have not suffered personally, and particularly the media, get on the band wagon and incite more anger and more hatred.
  • They don't have the excuse of personal loss to justify their emotive outbursts.
  • It's really a bit selfish too, because it distracts attention from those who need it - the real victims.
  • Instead, those shouting the loudest with the most hateful invective become the focus of attention.
  • And it's counter productive because it gives the perpetrators more fame and attention, even if it is in a negative way.
  • It doesn't help the victims move on either, but keeps pulling them back to the anger stage of their grief.

Doesn't our human dignity mean that, no matter what is done to us, we are not beasts? We don't repay in kind, because that would cause all humanity to degenerate to the lowest level.

We don't treat criminals with sadistic torture (even if we think they deserve it), because to do so lowers us to their level or worse. We are made in God's image, even though a bit tarnished. To act with violence and hatred would be a disgrace to that image, wouldn't it? It would also be to take authority away from God. Vengeance is his prerogative alone. I prefer it that way because only he knows the whole story. Only he is entirely just.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Natural disaster

Fire storms explanation here

Floods explanation here

Droughts explanation here

Crocodiles explanation here

Disease explanation here

This is all happening here in one country, Australia, and only on the east coast. If we look further, there are ice storms and blizzards in the USA, earthquakes in China and Japan, volcanoes in the Philippines, famine in Ethiopia and wars all over the place.

I can't answer why God has not answered the prayers of many in relation to these tragedies and yet he does answer prayer. Why some and not others? I don't know. All I know is that (according to the Bible) :

God does not cause or allow needless suffering;

Satan is the prince of this world;

this world is not our home;

our earthly life is only temporary and we will all die one day and (unless we opt for suicide)

we do not choose the manner of our death.

Suffering in this life is not proof that there is no God

Turn the clock back 2000 years and some of Jesus larger group of disciples (not the 12) left him when the going got tough. Jesus and Peter are talking about the loss of faith of these disciples:

From this time on, many of his disciples turned back. They no longer followed him. "You don't want to leave also, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, who can we go to? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." Then Jesus replied, "Didn't I choose you, the 12 disciples?
John 6:69-70
That's it then. Who else can we go to?
A man made statue, an astrologer, a shaman, a dead ancestor, a dead prophet,
a living God who promises better things ahead,
who has overcome death,
who never breaks a promise
and who has shown us that he knows suffering 1st hand and
through his suffering and death has shown us how much he loves us?
I've made my choice.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wayne Watson says it so well

While I've been on the subject of death and heaven I can't leave it without one more post. My favourite song on the subject is by Wayne Watson.

His song, Home Free, has probably been the most successful of his career. I've used it when I've taken memorial services inside prison. Recently I used it for the background to a power point slide show (Experience Jesus in the the good times, the bad times and beyond the GPS) at a women's camp. I always get asked - Who sings it? Where can I buy it? What is the title of the CD?

At memorial services there was never a dry eye left after I'd played it. The tune is great too. Go and buy it or just listen to it at your Christian bookstore. He has recorded it on a couple of his Cd's. You won't regret it.
Here it is.

I'm trying hard not to think you unkind
But Heavenly Father
If you know my heart
Surely you can read my mind
Good people underneath the sea of grief
Some get up and walk away
Some will find ultimate relief

Home Free, eventually
At the ultimate healing we will be Home Free
Home Free, oh I've got a feeling
At the ultimate healing
We will be Home Free
Out in the corridors we pray for life
A mother for her baby, A husband for his wife
Sometimes the good die young
It's sad but true
And while we pray for one more heartbeat
The real comfort is with you
You know pain has little mercy
And suffering's no respecter of age, of race or position
I know every prayer gets answered
But the hardest one to pray is slow to come
Oh Lord, not mine, but Your will be done
Let it be...
Home Free, eventually
At the ultimate healing we will be Home Free
Home Free, oh I've got a feeling
At the ultimate healing
We will be Home Free
Home Free, eventually
At the ultimate healing gonna be Home Free
Home Free, oh it's more than a feeling
At the ultimate healing
Gonna be Home Free