Thursday, May 28, 2009

RE-POST: Destroy The (Christian) Subculture!

I've come to the conclusion that the Christian Subculture is evil. I want to destroy it. I want to choke the life out of it and watch it die. I want to strip the skin from its bones, shake the life out of it and break it into tiny pieces.

In the past I've written articles that express the dangers of the Christian Subculture, and it's no secret that I cannot stand Christian Radio, and have zero tolerance for "Jesus Junk" such as sanctified breath mints or t-shirts that christianize popular logos and advertising (see "Bud Wise Up" or "Lord's Gymn" for example).

A lot of my passion for this is connected to my desire to see this world changed from within. My blog name, "Subversive", is a metaphor for the coming of the Kingdom of God here and now. The Christian Subculture hinders the breaking in of the Kingdom. It inhibits the Gospel message. It paralyzes the followers of Christ by isolating them from the people they are supposed to love and interact with on a deeply intimate level.

I now realize that my passion for deconstructing the popular "Churchianity System" extends far beyond mere dislike. As I begin to fully understand how insidious it really is, I have resolved to dedicate myself to its demise. I am now fully convinced that someway, somehow, the entire thing needs to be knocked down with a very large hammer and burned into oblivion.

I have always wanted to host a "Burn Our Christian Crap" session where attendees could bring the symbols of their involvement with the Christian Consumerist Monster and we could all stand around and sing "Kumbaya" together while we tosssed our "Lord's Gymn" tees and "Carman" Cd's and other idols to materialistic spiritualilty into a giant bonfire (an obvious homage to those horrible youth group parties where teens were forced to burn their Van Halen records and Rush albums, because they were "secular").

I've come to the radical conclusion that there is nothing secular. There is only the world we live in. This one, right here (look around you...yeah, that world), and nothing more. God created the entire world, and it's a fallen world I agree, but there is no "Sacred" or "Secular" division to this world, other than the artificially constructed one we've created to keep ourselves safe and comfortable and far away from "those evil sinners over there".

Another big revelation for you? We're all sinners. You. Me. That guy over there. Yeah, we're all evil. We all need Jesus. Not just those who don't attend your church or who vote Democrat or who read Harry Potter. All of us. Look it up, it's in the Bible.

So, at the moment, all I have is the fire in my gut, the passionate resolution in my belly, that I hate all things "Christianese" and I long to assist in the complete demolition of this man-made evil.

I'm not exaxtly sure how this all actually works out to in the real world, but let me be clear; I am NOT advocating the wanton destruction of Christian bookstores; I am NOT organizing petitions to shut down Christian Television (although I'd probably sign a petition if someone sent me one); I'm not calling for people to light torches or assemble in protest...but maybe it would be good idea if we just simply tried to escape the pseudo-reality of Christian Subculture? Maybe we could just start living in the real world, as followers of Jesus, without seeing those imaginary boundary lines between "Us" and "Them"? Maybe we could talk to people and befriend them, and love them, regardless of whether or not they were Christians? Maybe we could stop seeking comfort and shelter within the invisible walls of our own safety zones and start realizing that we live in this world, the real world...the ONLY world, and begin living as Salt and Light to those around us?

Jesus prayed for us, those who would follow after Him, in this way:
"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one."(John 17:15)

See, it was never God's intention to take us out of the world we live in. Why have we decided that it's ok to take ourselves out of the world?

Paul the Apostle also agreed on this point when he wrote,
"I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world." (1 Cor 5:9-10)

Have we left this world for some virtual, "Clean World" where everything is Christian? Do we have to get our Christian Milk from a Christian Cow? Do we have to freshen our breath with Christian Mints? Do we have to drink Christian Soda and bowl at a Christian Bowling Alley?

This idea of withdrawl from the culture is evil. It is not God's plan for us. It is the fruit of our own sinful, selfish desires to be safe and comfortable, and in some cases to make money and perpetuate an industry. It is demonic, and it hinders the Gospel message by isolating the agents of change (you and I) from those who need "the hope that lies within", and I want nothing more than to see it die a horrible, agonizing death so that God's people can begin to learn what it means to be human and start relating to other human beings who are sinful and hopeless without Christ, just like everyone else.

The Christian Subculture is essentially a wall that we build to keep ourselves from the world. Like the Berlin Wall, or the Great Wall of China, or Hadrian's Wall, or the wall between Palestine and Israel, it is an artificial border designed by us, the supposed followers of Jesus, in order to isolate us from the ones we are commanded to love.

Jesus would want us to smash down that wall. It's the same wall built by the money changers in the Temple at Jerusalem which kept the common people from entering the house of God. Those systems were also man-made. Those systems also invovled making a buck on the sale of faith and the commercialization of God's name.

I'm not sure where to find the hammer big enough to knock down this wall we've built, but I long to find one, and when I do I will let it swing.

[Article originally appeared on the Subversive Underground E-Newsletter-August 13, 2007]


Anthony Mathenia said...

In the beginning Christianity was a distinct, separate culture. The problem is not that there is a culture but rather what the culture is based around. As you point out in your article, the modern Christian subculture runs along the lines of Jesus-fying worldly clothing, as opposed to being clothed with Jesus himself.

Anonymous said...

Blast the 'thing' into orbit!

It hinders the lost, the broken, the poor and the needy coming to Christ because they will not go to church because they know they won't fit in. They know they cannot play the church game, they know they will be patronised judged and found guilty - they know they are hopeless sinners and church people are good and holy.

The bar is too high for them.

I spend my time with so very many people who are crying out for Jesus - but I can't think of one church where I can take them and they will be treated fairly with compassion and encouragement in a non- judgemental way.

Sad but true.

Keith Giles said...

Jules - I'm sad to hear that there are no churches in your community where the lost and broken are welcomed. I dearly wish we could be with you and help support and love these friends who need a place where the people of Jesus love them too.

My article here is not about the Church per se, it's really more about (in America) the Christian commercialization machine that brands a "Jesus" onto lollipops and foam missile guns (I'm not joking) and Christian breath mints, etc. and the culture of "us vs them" it creates in the minds of Christians.

Yes, as a result (or in addition to this), many churches here are also not very welcoming to the poor or the addicted or the prostitute, etc.

I'm praying that God would help you to find (or build) a community of faith in your town where everyone is welcome and loved.


Red S Tater said...

What wall?

All are welcome at our Church... are you suggesting that some Churches don't welcome non-believers, outsiders and newcomers? That Churches don't reach out to their communities in meaningful ways like bringing food when a family was involved in an accident and the wife couldn't cook, like providing coats for families, school supplies... all kinds of things.

I don't know what kind of churches you'all have out there in California that are all walled up, but they don't sound like the Churches in the rest of the country.

Red S Tater said...

Faith... you have been sold a bunch of baloney about "the church game".

Come to Oklahoma or Colorado and pick out a nice church, they will welcome you in no matter what your socio-economic or other status and make you feel as much a part of the family as you desire.

Keith Giles said...


I know it may not be your personal experience, but many, many Christians and non-christians I know via the internet, all over the world, are experiencing something else.

Julie (faith) is in England. Her story would, I believe, make you weep.

I have welcomed families into our house church who do not feel welcome or loved at traditional churches for a variety of reasons--they are poor, they are on welfare, they are single moms, they are divorced, they have addiction issues, they don't speak the "Christianese", etc.

Also, the "wall" I speak of in this article is the one we Christians build around ourselves to keep ourselves "safe" and the dirty, evil, secular people outside.

It is real and it is disgusting.

Anonymous said...


While I feel that your article is right, what more can we do than what we have been doing? (Loving God and Loving others) I've been reading a book called "God is back" in which the main topic is a resurgence of religion based on capitalistic ventures in other countries through the "American Dream". While I don't feel that any economic system is perfect I think that when you attack people for selling "Jesus Breathmints" (I prefer Bhudda Breathmints myself) I find it hard to argue that they can't do that. Aren't they simply trying to make money like other people are? They had an idea, and chose to go forward with it. Yes, they are using religion and Christianity to make some money. I really have to question this huge wall you talk about dividing us from the "world". Honestly, to me, a breathmint is a breathmint. I'll prob buy the cheapest, or the best tasting one. I can go into a Christian bookstore and look at all that crap and feel a little angry that a Jesus quote is on a Khazoo or a color by number Jesus picture, but I don't think I'll ever feel the need to stop it like you have. I seriously encourage you to read "God is back". It's opened my eyes to how Christianity is spreading in other countries and while I'm not always happy about the way it is spread or under what pretenses the spreading is being done. It is being done, and sometimes, even the right way.

-Isaac Smith