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Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Anything But God" Church

GodTube-Banned Pastor Tackles the "Anything But God" Church   

An Emmy award-winning pastor who was banned from GodTube has released a book about his “absurd religion,” challenging today’s Christian and Evangelical leaders and churches with the question “Is religion to blame for the current American crisis?”
Though the idea behind My Absurd Religion may itself be absurd, as author Steve Gray himself admits, the Kansas City pastor says his goal is to help people get away from the clutter and get down to where they can really encounter God.
“Writing this book might be the most absurd idea I’ve ever had,” says Gray, who pastors World Revival Church of Kansas City. “I mean, who takes a swing or a punch at their own religion?”
But Gray says he wanted to give readers something more than just a book that “patted us on the back and said ‘Keep going. We’re doing great.’”
People, he says, have to have something more to sustain them and to bring them life.
What people need is to encounter God, Gray insists, an encounter that many churchgoers are not able to experience in most traditional churches and even newer, seeker-friendly churches, which he claims are “trying anything to get people interested.”
“People are going to church and not actually encountering God,” Gray said in an appearance on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s 700 Club. “They’re encountering inspiration, they’re encountering good friends, they’re encountering groups and supports groups but not encountering God.”
Once people encounter God, “gimmicks” and “tricks” are not needed to keep them in church, he added.
In fact, people have grown tired of them, Grey said.
According to The Barna Group, there was around a 90 percent increase in the number of unchurched Americans in the last decade. In 1991 there were 39 million unchurched Americans compared with 75 million found in 2004.
A more recent study released earlier this year further found that tens of millions of people are experiencing and expressing their faith in God independent of any connection to a conventional church.
In his appearance on the 700 Club, Gray claimed that the decline in church attendance reveals the need for churches that are God-centered rather than people-centered.
When the church is one “God would attend, that makes it God-centered,” he explained.
“Instead of making it seeker-sensitive – is this too long, too short, too loud, too much – you get that away. We recreate as best we can the atmosphere of Heaven, biblically speaking. And I’m finding God will attend that, and He comes down,” Gray continued.
With this in mind, the Kansas City pastor says it’s time to step out of “absurd religion” that is “faithless, powerless, pointless.”
“We cannot keep going on with powerless religion,” he says, noting that many people today are weak in prayer, weak in their commitment, and weak in walking with Jesus.
“We need to empower the people and get the blessings of God back down on this country again.”
Aside from his book, Gray has also been addressing the issues of his “absurd religion” through The Steve & Kathy Show, a Christian comedy TV show featuring skits that are often critical of megachurches and the emergent church movement.
One skit, titled “Seeker-Sensitive Mega Church Guy,” which spoofs the megachurch phenomenon in America, has attracted over 49,000 viewers on YouTube as well as a recently-won Emmy award.
Another, titled ''Cheech & Chong at the drive thru,'' has garnered over 95,000 hits over the course of 7 months.
Not all, however, approve of Gray's skits., the highly popular Christian alternative to, banned Gray over the skit titled “Sexy God,” which spoofs popular pastor and Sex God author Rob Bell. Other critics, meanwhile, question whether Gray's methods are much different from those employed by the ones he criticizes.
“Not for the religiously inclined, these spoofs help the American public see through the gimmicks of religion and consider a better way to do church,” the promoters of The Steve & Kathy Show explain in a press release.
Most importantly, however, Gray’s show and new book aim to address the need for people to “connect to the life of God.”
“Everybody deserves to experience the presence of God,” he says.

6 Readers Commented:

  1. Without having read Gray's book, it appears to me that at least one of his observations may be accurate - there is too much focus upon a consumer orientated focus in many of today's churches, and too little focus upon Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.

    Whilst any sensible measures to make the church experience more accommodating are welcome, the bottom line is Jesus Christ is the only thing that matters.

    Christ, and only Christ, should be where the focus is at.

  2. Having attended Gray's church the unspoken teaching is that God can only be, or at least, best be experienced in his own church. That's why he mocks others.

  3. Anonymous06:49

    Mike, that comment about an exclusivity at Gray's church could hardly be true since they have a ministry network that works with several hundred churches around the United States.

  4. I agree with you Andrew just so you know brother, I also just stumbled upon his works.

    Good comment


  5. Wow Mike!!! You sure about that? I cannot imagine any right thinking pastor behaving that way just hope that is not their intention.

    Godbless you Brother

  6. Happy to hear that dear Annonymous so am sure Mike will see that too



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