Friday, April 19, 2019


     Is Jesus our example for being in the world but not of the world?  Are we following the lead of our Master or the misguided ideas of men?

     Jesus connected with, ate with, associated with and ultimately ministered effectively to unbelievers. Jesus did not wall Himself off from society and sit around with like minded people complaining about the sin of others.  Jesus went out and made meaningful relationships.  

              What opportunities might we not even be aware of as we live in our little church bubbles, believing attending services once or twice per week is somehow serving God?    

      As I get older, and hopefully wiser, I begin to rethink some convictions I formerly held.  As a pastor, I have had the honor of performing wedding ceremonies. I have not performed many weddings and have chosen to not perform some along the way.  

       I generally shied away from performing weddings for those who do not consider themselves believers in Christ, thinking, you do not want God part of your daily life, but you want Him to bless your marriage?  

       I think I may have missed a great opportunity and also may have misunderstood the reason so many unbelievers seek out a minister for major life events like weddings and funerals or why so many who do not regularly attend church or synagogue do so on high holy days such as Christmas, Easter, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.  

       Is it possible America has been conditioned, inadvertently by pop culture, to seek out clergy for specific events or major religious holidays?

       To test this hypothesis, one only need to look at Hollywood's formative years.  Originally, in the earliest years of the 20th century, movie makers began producing films for American audiences.  Soon, Eastern European immigration began to change the Hollywood landscape.  Many immigrants who came to Hollywood in order to make films were non religious but of Jewish heritage.  Over time, the movie industry began to make not so family friendly films. 

         By the early 1920's, Catholic leaders set ups advisory boards to oversee content in the film industry, but much of the advisory board's regulations were ignored.  By the early 1930's, film industry profits were in sharp decline as families stopped attending movie houses.  By the mid 1930's, the Catholic led advisory boards were able to influence the content of new films, resulting in more family friendly fare, which rescued the film industry by, once again, boosting ticket sales.

        Hollywood was influenced mainly by Jewish and Catholic filmmakers and executives.  Interestingly, Judaism and Catholicism are both representative theocracies. God established Israel as a representative theocracy at Mt Sinai.  God set up a system where the common man experienced God through proxy.  The prophet took the Word of God and brought it to the people while the priest  took the prayers and sacrifices of the people and presented those to God.

           When Jesus died on the cross, His sacrifice granted access to God the Father, meaning we no longer needed a human representative between us and God: Ephesians 2:18  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. Both Jew and Gentile now have access to God through the shed blood of Christ.

             Somewhere along the line, the Vatican missed this concept and created a Christian version of a representative theocracy.  The Roman Catholic clergy fulfilled the role of both prophet and priest as the sole representative, both man to God and God to man.  Much of this was changed during the Vatican II Council in the mid 1960's, but prior to Vatican II, Catholic doctrine taught only a priest could interpret scripture and the priest provided absolution through confession. 

             Because Hollywood was run by those who held to a representative theocratic view, the concept of coming to God through a human mediator or hearing from God through a human interpreter has been deeply embedded in our entertainment.  This is not some great conspiracy, merely a byproduct of the religious views of the early Hollywood establishment.  American culture has mistakenly elevated clergy to the position of the average man's connection to God.  

            I discovered this truth when I began to give a different response to people who asked me to pray for them.  I am not really sure why, but instead of just saying. "sure, no problem" as I was accustomed, I began saying, "I will pray for you if you promise to also pray about this situation."  The response I got was so unexpected.  Most people who do not go to church or have a sense of a relationship with God seemed surprised I would make such a request.  I was surprised by their surprise!

              It would appear most people want to connect with God on some level but the idea of a personal relationship seems to elude many.  In fact, many mistakenly perceive a barrier between them and God, not realizing there is free access through the shed blood of Christ.

              This is why those outside the church or synagogue seek out clergy for weddings and funerals.  People want God's blessing on marriages and want to ensure loved ones are sent on to the next world by a qualified representative of God.  

              This is why Christmas, Easter, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah are the most attended services of the year.  These are the times people are conscious of God's favor. 

               This is why I am changing my perspective, and practice, concerning weddings and funerals.  These are opportunities for evangelism to people who may never, otherwise, seek out clergy.  

                The task of the church should be to encourage people to connect with God on a personal level, to disciple believers into spiritual independence, and ultimately move them into serving according to their gifting and calling.  

              You do not need the pastor, priest or rabbi to go to God on your behalf, you have access to the Father through the Son.  God wants to hear from you.  God wants you  to know Him on a personal level, not for you to merely know about Him based on what someone tells you.  

                  Let's help others connect with God on a personal level and support the work of the Holy Spirit in one other's lives. Be available to help someone connect with God, don't allow anyone to make you the connection.

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!



  1. Very thought-provoking! Certainly says a lot about our culture. I've always thought its ironic fascination with church traditions was odd and presumed it had something to do with that "fantasy" experience (especially with the wedding industry and bridezillas).

    Great article!

    1. Thank you! I am sure it is far more complex than just Hollywood, but the film industry certainly has a tremendous influence over society