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battlecry


i read a fascinating article today in rolling stone magazine. i have to link to it because i would love to know what anyone else thinks about it. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/14021621/teenage_holy_war
basically it is about ron luce and his organization called battlecry, which is a militant fundamentalist ministry aimed at teenagers. the article is of course slanted, being that it is published in rolling stone. but it is also very interesting.
the most fascinating part of the article, to me, was the telling bit about how the library is never open at the complex. the exhange of ideas isn't too important to these folks, clearly. what is valued is answers. not questions, but answers. a pre-made worldview complete with passionate anger towards the culture, while mimicking the culture in almost every way imaginable.
i am not ashamed of Christ. But i am very often ashamed of Christians. When people find out that i am a Christian and, worse, a pastor, i don't want them associating me with this.
lord, have mercy.

Comments

cathyq said…
Ok. I have to really question any article that says that "Jesus is really pissed." The most alarming part though is the miliary imagery and language. Too much violence has been done in the name of God throughout the millennia. Where is the love? Where is the "Love your neighbor as yourself?" Yes, we are to put on the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation and use the sword fo the spirit, but I'm pretty sure these are metaphors! Geez. I guess the message isn't so bad, but I certainly question the format.
Seth Gardner said…
WoW! Them's fightin' words! It is unfortunate that this organization is misdirecting the passion and conviction of these teenagers who undoubtedly desire to have an impact in our world. I was just in the middle of reading Don Miller's "Searching for God Knows What" where I stumbled across an appropriate response. He writes, "In my opinion, if you hate somebody because they are different than you, you'd best get on your knees and repent until you can say you love them, until you have gotten your soul right with Christ."

"I can't say this clearly enough: If we are preaching morality without Christ, and using war rhetoric to communicate a battle mentality, we are fighting on Satan's side. This battle we are in is a battle against the principalities of darkness, not against people who are different from us. In war you shoot the enemy, not the hostage."

Thanks Greg for bringing this article to my attention. After reading this article, as skewed and biased as it may be, it brings to light the reasons why so many people are turned off to many Christians. A sad but true fact of the state of things here in America today. If ever there were a time to pray for our leaders...
edrew85 said…
Man, you hit the nail on the head. This stuff scares me a lot, and I can definitely relate to not wanting to be associated with some other Christians.

I think that's at least a little of what led me to my post today on questioning and figuring it all out... maybe it's nice to have it outlined the way these guys in the article do, but I think I'd rather think outside the box at least a little.

I hope you are well, thank you again for all of your thoughts!

Eric
Rick Durrance said…
I am learning that warfare is indeed an appropriate lens through which we follow Jesus Christ and through which we navigate our lives. I recommend Robert Webber's "Ancient Future Church" as a helpful source on the real battle that we find ourselves in and the real and true victorious Jesus Christ that we serve. As much as our generation and older and younger generations are "turned off" by this type of language, it is real and sobering...
Having said that, the key is the "weapons" of our warfare as the people of God - and understanding the battle lines - the enemy: World, Flesh AND Devil...
I am sort of a "distant" acquaintance of Ron's - via my friendships with many of his past and current associates, and his wife was a fellow classmate of mine at ORU...
My concern is that Ron is indeed partly right: we are at war! My deeper concern is that we as followers of Jesus Christ take up His cross and truly follow Him and use the weapons He has ordained for us to use - the armor in Ephesians speaks of salvation, truth, peace, faith, Spirit and righteosness...; the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self control; the weapons of war that Paul calls the Philippians to in chapter two are the weapons of humility and unity - of love... All are in the context of a community of faith marked by the "cross-life" - a true, whole hearted, sacrificial obedience to Jesus and true and genuine love of neighbor as a result.
right battle, wrong weapons? I don't know... But we are at war.
Rick
greg. said…
rick,

i'm just not seeing it. i need you to love me here, and help me understand the warfare metaphor. i feel like if paul wanted to use war as a central metaphor for the living out of this Way, he could have easily done that, especially in letters to churches that were really struggling against persecution. instead, we only have the one reference that i know of in ephesians 6. having it mentioned once doesn't make it a central metaphor for me. and, i think further study on that passage may yeild some interesting results...

you mentioned the fruits of the spirit as weapons in our fight. since when has fruit been a metaphor for battle/war/fighting? fruits are symbols of growth and nurturing and gardening and fellowship (eating together), not killing and beating and destroying and winning.

i think in an age where war is not hand to hand, but miles away and impersonal, we have to be really careful about the war metaphor.

not because we are uncomfortable, but because Jesus didn't live it out.

i remember the first followers of Jesus were looking for some war imagery. they wanted a jesus who would, at the very least, use some war metaphors with them, incite the people to a political fury against rome. they wanted a battle-mouthed jesus. but he wouldn't deliver. over and over again he wouldn't deliver. he was gentle instead. he was peaceful instead. he was sacrificial instead. he was LOVING instead. he would not speak of battle. the only times i can find him expressing anger (which seems to be primary in luce's organization) is not at the culture at all! he isn't angry about the roman belief in gods (those immoral pagans! damn them!) no! he was angry at the religious leaders who were intolerant and using their power as a way to protect power. if i am going to believe ron luce that jesus is pissed, the only one i can dare to believe he is pissed at is me. because i am often a pharisee. but i can't speak for the rest of the world.

do i think suburban middle class christianity is perilously and dangerously shallow and weak and me-centered? absolutely. do i think that cutting up mannequins and chanting "cut the concubine" is a good resolution? absolutely not. do i think developing an anger bordering on rage at the culture is a good resolution? absolutely not.

so, i guess i would disagree. i would say wrong battle. for our struggle (not war, not fight, not battle) is not against flesh and blood...

let me hear back from some of you with your thoughts on this. am i just a christian sissy afraid of the war metaphor?
amanda w. said…
The war metaphor/rhetoric/reality or constructed reality or whatever you want to call it: It's violent. It's hostile. It's divisive. It's antagonistic. Of course, Luce knows this and that's (at least on some sublevel) his point, but I think the rhetoric is hate-filled, and frankly I think that's the furthest thing from Jesus' message.

But then, I'm a pacifist myself. Wait, though, wasn't Jesus a pacifist too?
Rick Durrance said…
I love you, Man!
I'll have to get back to you next week on this. But, believe me, I have felt (and still do feel) all the things you have expressed in your response!
Where I (we?) get tripped up on the warfare mentality is associating too quickly with the rage that is all around us - in this lost and broken world - and therefore not wanting to be identified with anything that smacks of "battle imagery." It makes sense - and is what I meant by "right battle/wrong weapons." Again, between now and a longer response from me, if you get a chance, pick up Webber's book - I think you will find it quite refreshing!
Ricky D
Emoly said…
I'm going to admit something here: I read the post, but never got around to reading the article (new computer, lots of catching up to do). I think I should have.

That's where I just came back from with our Jr. & Sr. High youth groups! We went to Detroit to "Acquire the Fire". The youth groups have gone for the past several years. I was warned that it is much more conservative then the UMC, we did hear a little bit of the conservative crap, however on the whole, I felt that their message (the battlecry, I have a voice) was a good one. Especially for some of our kids. I can't believe I didn't make the connection before I left!!!

I do not recall Ron saying that, "Jesus is pissed". He did say we [Christians] are fighting a battle against the media, MTV, Hollywood, etc. And by using your voice, you can tell them to stop the violence, the language, and share more love.

At least that's what I got out of it. The Jr. high leader and I are going to re-address the group in two weeks and talk about the conservative messages we heard (mostly about Ron saying, "the gays have a plan". Our church has several gay ministries, and we want to make sure our kids know that UMC's message is Open hearts, minds and doors) and about the different denominations that were there and how they experience God (lifting up their hands during prayers, our kids were doing the same and we want to make sure that they were doing it because God was lifting them up, not because someone else was doing it) and we're also going to work on our praying as a group because as we discussed, our kids will not pray, ever and we want to change that using the "their voice" theme and try to help them break out of that afraid-to-pray-in-front-of-my-peers shell.
Emoly said…
Greg, I found an article that talks more about the "War" and "battle cries" that we are hearing. I'm hoping it's available at the website. I have a hard copy if it's not and will gladly send it to you if you're interested in reading it. The website is
www.thejournalofstudentministries.com

the article is called "Mourning Over Youth Ministry 'Battle Cries'" by Steve Argue

Hm, is that his real name? Anyway, I picked it up at a youth specialties day seminar that I went to, back in March. It has a publish date of Nov/Dec 2006. I just really thought you might be interested to read yet another point of view on this topic.
greg. said…
emily, thanks. i'll have to check out the article. i think its great that you are going to follow up with the kids. i think that is crucial, because most of what i would consider 'real' ministry occurs within the context of relationships, not in a charasmatic speaker up on a stage ranting and raving about 'having a voice.' the power of ministry is in loving people, and that means more than talking/preaching to them. take it from a preacher!

greg.

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