Why Buy the Cow…?

If you go to Ted Haggard‘s old haunts at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, you might be able to learn a valuable lesson from Pastor Brady Boyd:

While charismatic evangelical ministers often speak prophetically, Boyd said he is attempting to empower his entire congregation to hear God and foresee their future paths.

Boyd, who became the church’s senior pastor in September, is doing this through comprehensive instruction on prophecy — a first for this church.

Prophecy, Boyd said, is one of his primary gifts as a minister, yet he wanted all church members to share the power rather than relying on one leader.

“I’m going to teach it in a real practical, down-to-earth way so that all of us can apply the gift of prophecy day to day,” Boyd said.

Sure you are…

Ladies, you can step away. This isn’t as important for you:

Boyd said in a lecture that he especially wants the men of New Life to participate in prophetic ministry.

“The power of a father’s word is the single most important voice a person can hear other than God’s,” Boyd said. “That puts enormous pressure on us men,” as leaders of the family.

In case you’re worried that people will misinterpret what they “hear” from God, the church officials will act as spiritual editors:

Although sharing God’s word with each other is encouraged, Boyd said, any rebukes or corrections of members should come only from church authorities.

Boyd and a couple pastor friends are also playing the role of faux-psychic John Edward:

The ministers ventured into the audience for a little personal forecasting — telling one woman she was “at a crossroads” and another man “he was on the right track.”

“I think it’s exciting,” said 34-year-old Julie Neils. “It’s the first time I’ve been to something like this. It’s great to see so many people encouraged in such specific ways.”

Next week at New Life: How to use a Magic 8-Ball.

On the Denver Post’s website, some commenters are trying to explain how “prophecy” isn’t what we think it is:

For those who do not have knowledge on the topic, Prophecy is hearing & speaking God’s voice, not soothsaying. Big Difference. The Prophet’s [sic] in the old testatment, while at times talking about about the future, [were] actually relaying God’s message to the people. This may be telling someone what God wants for them inlife, or how to act in a situation.

That doesn’t make it any more plausible… if you start hearing God’s voice — literally — and acting on it, I’m going to be worried.

We know how that tends to turn out.

It would at least be encouraging if Pastor Boyd plugged using one’s common sense as well.

(Thanks to infideljoe for the link!)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • watercat

    When God’s voice spoke to me, it told me to stop taking acid.

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    Wait.

    What?

    Wait.

    They’re teaching people how to listen to God in their hearts.

    But only the church authorities are qualified to tell them whether they’re doing it right or not.

    Because you have to be instructed by authority how to listen to God in your heart.

    That can’t possibly be right.

    I fear for the planet. I think these people may be in danger of depleting the world’s supply of stupid.

  • Richard Wade

    Greta, fear not, for there is more stupid in the world than all the grains of sand on every beach. There is more stupid than all the drops of water in all the seven seas.

    Verily, stupid is great and mighty and knows no limits. In an infinity of eternities a numberless host of stupidlings could not deplete by one mustard seed the immensity, the majesty, the all of alls that is stupid.

    For stupid was before the beginning of beginnings, and is farther than beyond beyonds and shall be after all hereafters.

    So shall it be stupid, so shall it be dumb.

  • Michael

    This isn’t too far off from the Quaker concept of the Inner Light, which basically explains that God speaks to everyone who makes an active attempt to hear it. Friends’ Meetings (Quaker church) are centered around this concept; instead of an assigned preacher, anyone present who hears the Lord speak to them may stand up and share His word with the other Friends.

    As a practicing Friend, I echo Greta’s sentiments. I find it repulsive that Church officials claim they hold the final say in God’s will. What gives them the right to judge someone’s personal conversation with God, especially if they believe in His omniscience?

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    I made a comic about this kind of thing a while back. Click here to see it.

  • mikespeir

    “This may be telling someone what God wants for them inlife, or how to act in a situation.”

    Let me suggest that it’s likelier to be telling someone what the “prophet” wants for them in life or how to act in a situation.

  • Cindy

    This guy, Brady Boyd, used to be a minister at a church in my town. Thank goodness he’s Colorado’s problem now…….

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    I like to hear stories like this actually. I mean the blatant stupidity and sexism will wake some people up, right? Um, please.

  • cipher

    I think these people may be in danger of depleting the world’s supply of stupid.

    No worries! Einstein said, “There are only two things that are infinite – the universe and human stupidity. And I’m not so sure about the universe.”

    This story doesn’t surprise me at all. It always amuses me that fundies and New Age people dislike one another so vehemently, because they really are just two sides of the same devotional coin. They differ only in a few minor points of doctrine.

    I’ve spent decades listening to fundies say virtually the same things as New Agers. And, today, their culture is rapidly becoming a mirror image of pop culture, albeit with its own revisionist history and science. As long as you remember to append the name “Jesus”, and you make it clear that you still believe that unbelievers are going to hell, you can get away with pretty much anything.

  • infideljoe

    That’s not very nice Cindy. We don’t want Boyd here either. We already live in fundie hell.

    If only we could run our cars on stupid!

  • Alycia

    John Edward is the “psychic”.
    John Edwards is the politician.

  • Adrian

    It sounds merely stupid to think about people actually hearing the voice of God, but it’s actually pretty scary. In “Under the Banner of Heaven”, Jon Krakauer wrote about some people that had some mental disorders and, because of the influence of their church, became convinced that they were hearing God. Not surprisingly, God didn’t just tell them to donate money to the poor, but to beat and kill people they didn’t like.

    When people have some psychiatric conditions, the very last thing they need is someone taking their delusions seriously and encouraging them to think the voices in their heads are divine.

    “Oh no,” you might say, “not in our church!” Oh yes, in your church. If hearing voices is a symptom of divine guidance and not mental derangement, tragedies like this are inevitable.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    Thank goodness he’s Colorado’s problem now…….

    Sigh, take him back? Please…

  • Karen

    I like to hear stories like this actually. I mean the blatant stupidity and sexism will wake some people up, right? Um, please.

    Uh, no. At least, not within the church.

    A prophecy series always increased attendance and interest in the evangelical/fundy churches I belonged to. It is one of those titillating, sort-of-scary topics that people naturally seem to love. They get to participate in some of the thrill of the mystical without the guilt of reading an astrology book or adopting a New Age outlook.

  • Darryl

    I like to hear stories like this actually. I mean the blatant stupidity and sexism will wake some people up, right? Um, please.

    Not the people in the church, probably, but non-religious young people raised with a sensitive discriminatometer who are investigating religion.

    Since no one hears from God (he’s not talking right now), these folks, when they hear something, are hearing from themselves. What this means is that they will likely be conservative in most of the messages from God they speak, and their Bible will restrain their fantasies. You are “at a crossroads,” and you’re “on the right track” are pretty generic, fortune-cookie, palm-reader kinds of pronouncements that won’t do any more damage than the rest of this wacky religion usually does.

  • http://www.skepticalmonkey.com Ted Goas

    Sitting in a church and listening to God speak to you is like sitting in a casino and listening to the voice that tells you to keep gambling. Is that a fair comparison?

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    “Greta, fear not, for there is more stupid in the world than all the grains of sand on every beach. There is more stupid than all the drops of water in all the seven seas.”

    Bless you, Brother Richard. My moment of weakness has passed, and my faith in the stupid has been restored.

    Uh… thanks. I think.

  • Sudo

    Hm… maybe I should work on my cold reading skills and open a church..

  • Sudo

    Double post.

    Why didn’t God tell me the first post went through? Is my sin blocking me from receiving the word? :(