Memo to Church: Please Don’t Bring SexyBack

The only thing scarier than watching this Christian version of “SexyBack” was the realization that the church in question is only a two-minute drive from my parents’ house. I sometimes get gas at that Jewel Express…

I had a public dialogue with one of the pastors in that video (the one at the 0:50 mark) a few years back — and even talked about the church in I Sold My Soul on eBay. In fact, a misleading, full-of-error, pro-Creationism pamphlet that he wrote was the focus of one of my first posts on this site. Clearly, I’ve been missing out on a lot by not going back there….

For what it’s worth, I like the idea of a group of people performing random acts of kindness. Watching the video, though, it just feels like a promotional tool for the church and not a reflection of something good they were actually doing. No doubt they’re kind people, but if the camera turned off, I don’t think they’d be acting the same way.

(via Christian Nightmares)

  • http://www.stumpanatheist.com Rev. Ryan Benson

    Pumping gas and serving muffins to suburbanites on their daily commute? I don’t think that’s what Jesus had in mind…

  • MutantJedi

    Sorry, 40 seconds in and I’m too scared to watch more.

  • http://randomatheist.blogspot.com/ RandomAtheist

    Wow, thanks for sharing this, I think I’ll add it to my blog as well because this is EXACTLY what makes me twitchy about Christians. The line “them other people don’t know how to behave” is interesting. Gee, I wonder who they’re referring to. And the feet washing is just CREEPY. I hate feet, so that doesn’t help, but seriously? Here’s an idea. You wanna go do service to get your brownie points in heaven, you wanna go be last (so you can be first-again there’s an ulterior motive), take that credit card of yours into the scary part of town, and spend all that tithed Jesus money on a few hundred bus passes, some groceries/clothes/bills/whatever for the underprivileged, non-WASPy ‘people of lower society”…you know…kinda like JESUS supposedly did hmmmmm? Handing latte’s and Twinkies to commuters in their SUVs, and filling up their massive gas tanks? Nope, that doesn’t really work as true service.

  • http://shatternicely.com Charity

    Yes, the thing I miss most about being a Christian is the hip pastors trying to be relevant to today’s culture. *groan*

  • A

    Thou shalt not co-opt the Timberlake.

  • http://www.atheistsofflorida.org EllenBeth Wachs

    I made it to the washing feet. Creating a music video to push washing feet at a shoe store or serving cookies to random strangers is not MY idea of helping people in need or doing random acts of kindness.

    How about using that motivation to actually do something effective? I would not eat anything a total stranger handed to me and I certainly wouldn’t want him washing my feet.

  • AMW

    A very self-serving view of “service”–kinda like the “Gimme gimme gimme” of the “prayer” of Jabez.

    Oh, yeah, and squeegees work best on windows with a bit of soap and water–I guess those “pastors” didn’t want to soil their tuxes (did they mug a wedding party for wardrobe?).

  • Jude

    They’re obviously trying to be funny. And in a way, it is funny to see these few guys dressed up “singing” a song. It’s also disingenuous of us to say that they probably aren’t this “serving” in real life. The megachurches grew in part from providing this same kind of “service.” In reality, I knew quite a few amazingly kind, giving people in the church I grew up in–but they were all women.

  • Carlie

    What you said in the last paragraph. I love the concept of being nice to people and giving little things to make their day better. However, I’d much rather people were doing it because they like people, rather than just because their imaginary friend told them to and they think they’ll get their own ‘blessings’ if they do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    Is it just me or was that whole thing plain creepy? Especially the foot washing. I wasn’t even that woman and I felt sexually molested by some dude with a foot fetish just watching the creepy thing.

    For what it’s worth, I like the idea of a group of people performing random acts of kindness.

    I don’t. I don’t trust it and this video shows why. People who purposely set out to do random acts of kindness are neither random nor kind. Real random acts of kindness are just done because you happen to be in the right place at the right time and just can. You don’t go around doing some phony baloney thing, saying look at me, look at me.

    And, man, all those ugly dudes trying to look sexy, ugh. Am I the only one that thought the one sucking the twinkie in whole should have been done by a woman? You know, since Christianity’s opposed to the gay and all?

    But, hell, if you’re in the neighborhood take the free gas. (There is no fucking way in hell I’d trust the free food.) Or maybe not.

    There’s never been a time I didn’t regret taking Christian charity. They act like you owe your nonexistant soul for it. I’ve had individual Christians very sincerely do kind things for me but Christian organizations, from small churches on up, accept their charity and live to regret it. They hound for that pound of flesh they want tithing to them for the rest of their natural born days. My daughter’s been working for Catholic Charities for a year now and I still don’t trust them.

  • Mox

    I guess I’m just not their target audience, but I found that whole video creepy and completely missing the point of random acts of kindness.

    Didn’t see any serving done in a soup kitchen, didn’t see any of them helping to build a house or handing out blankets, no reading to children at the library or anything else that I’d associate with Jesus. I did, however, see that someone who owns a $35,000 Infiniti get a free car wash though. I saw a women outside a retail shoe store getting her feet washed, and the houses in the background looked fantastic. It’s easy to “serve” people who don’t need it. Make the followup video in an inner city that really does need random acts of kindness and I’ll be impressed.

  • Erp

    The foot washing comes straight from the gospel of John (chapter 13) where Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. At that time as far as I know the feet washing wasn’t unusual except that it would have been done by a slave, servant or a junior member of the group not by the leader. Some Christian churches (Catholic or other liturgical) still do it on the Thursday before Easter and some substitute washing each others hands instead of feet (either on all or a symbolic 12 people by the minister).

  • Silent Service

    Can’t watch the vid now, but the bald guy looks like Pugsley (all grown up). Is that Gomez clear in the back? Where’s Uncle Fester?

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin, Critically Skeptic

    Yea – feet washing made sense back in Biblical Israel (sandals, dusty roads. You’d get to town with your feet caked in dirt, nasty.) Not so nowadays with shoes and gravel / concrete / asphalt everywhere.

    It seems to me like a ploy ‘Hey! Look! We’re doing nice things!’ which is good, but these are the same people who will turn around and tell us ‘You’re all going to Hell where you’ll burn for eternity in torment and agony.’

  • nankay

    I just threw up in my mouth a little.

  • phileotruth

    @”Friendly” Atheist,

    It appears that your blog singles out Christianity more than any of the other numerous religious faiths in the world. Could it be that you recognize that Christ is indeed the true God and therefore becomes the object of ridicule?

    Christians are not perfect, the Christ is. Christ alone is perfect and He alone merits our faith, obedience, and worship. By His grace a sinful person is called out of the darkness of that sin into the marvelous light of His salvation. The Christian is truly the object of envy, even if in our own sinfulness, we falter in our witness before unbelievers. Positionally, God has judged us to be righteous and declared us to be His own. Other religions, admittedly, do not have this assurance because they deny the self-disclosure of who and what Christ Jesus is at various points.

    So for the church, with all of its flaws to be the object of scrutiny and ridicule by atheists (even “friendly” ones like you), it is an honor. Obviously you are not wasting your time mocking those other religions whose founders and figureheads are still dead and in their graves. Christ is indeed the true God, otherwise a blog like this would not waste its time attacking a straw man (although some of the posts seem to set the church up to be that straw man).

  • Jon Peterson

    I wonder very strongly whether the entire video isn’t staged. I mean, obviously the rooftop scenes are, but it’s possible that the “random acts of kindness” were legitimate (in that the recipients had no prior knowledge of the video).

    My fear though, is that the recipients were actors themselves, and most likely also members of that same church.

    I’ve seen a lot of “charity” from churches, and for some reason, it’s extremely rare for a non-Christian to benefit (unless it’s a unique and separately-funded outreach program aimed at converting)… but they sure like to speak all highly of themselves for it.

  • Rieux

    Could it be that you recognize that Christ is indeed the true God and therefore becomes the object of ridicule?

    That must be it. The overwhelming power and level of saturation Christianity enjoys in the nation Hemant lives in couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it.

    Christians are not perfect, the Christ is. Christ alone is perfect and He alone merits our faith, obedience, and worship.

    Do tell!

    But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

    – Jesus, in Luke 19:27

    I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

    – Jesus, in John 15:6

    But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    – Jesus, in Matthew 8:10-12

    The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    – Jesus, in Matthew 13:41-42

    Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. … And these shall go away into everlasting punishment.

    – Jesus, in Matthew 25:41, 46

    And that servant [slave], which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

    – Jesus, in Luke 12:47

    And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as [Jesus] sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
    And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
    And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

    – Mark 14:3-7 (italics added)

    And from thence [Jesus] arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

    But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.

    And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.

    And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

    - Mark 7:24-30 (italics added)

    So above we see Jesus promising genocide; shrieking hellfire and brimstone (and he does that many, many, many more times in the Gospels than you see above); condoning slavery; displaying a notably arrogant callousness toward the poor; and finally harboring deep racist resentment, under which Syrophenician Greeks are “dogs” unworthy of healing.

    You can keep telling yourself that that guy is “perfect” and that “He merits our faith, obedience, and worship.” Some of us are merely a little less craven:

    Now here is a curious thing. It is believed by everybody that while [God] was in heaven he was stern, hard, resentful, jealous, and cruel; but that when he came down to earth and assumed the name Jesus Christ, he became the opposite of what he was before: that is to say, he became sweet, and gentle, merciful, forgiving, and all harshness disappeared from his nature and a deep and yearning love for his poor human children took its place. Whereas it was as Jesus Christ that he devised hell and proclaimed it!

    Which is to say, that as the meek and gentle Savior he was a thousand billion times crueler than ever he was in the Old Testament — oh, incomparably more atrocious than ever he was when he was at the very worst in those old days!

    Meek and gentle? By and by we will examine this popular sarcasm by the light of the hell which he invented.

    - Mark Twain

  • http://thesnideatheist.blogspot.com the snide atheist

    Clueless losers making asses out of themselves in the name of religion. Basically, an average day.

  • http://www.oldearthaccretionist.com/ Old Earth Accretionist

    hehehehe… I think I prefer the “I’m Bringing Stickleback”

    But I have a tendency to love the nerdy song parodies… or really just nerdy songs in general.

    I agree with the other comments, though… the “random” acts of kindness were definitely aimed at the upper class, which is fine, because everyone needs some kindness in their lives, but it would have been nice to see them thinking about people who were maybe less fortunate than themselves too… oh well, maybe they thought that wouldn’t make as appealing a video…

    Also, it might just be because of my own neuroses but I think random people washing my feet would be creepy…

    The best, random acts of kindness I’ve seen lately (via the internet rather than real life) come from the vlog brothers who, as part of the initiative to “decrease world suck” took to “positive pranking”

  • Danielle

    lol, that foot washing part was creepy.

  • http://www.meaningwithoutgodproject.blogspot.com Jeffrey A. Myers

    Wow, that was disturbing. Foot washing? Really? In a post-sandal society that isn’t kindness its freaking creepy.

    As has been discussed ad nauseum, Atheists are more moral than Religionists. And we do so for better reasons. Dedication to human progress rather than fear of the invisible sky man’s wrath.

    @ Phileotruth

    The fact that much of the material and discussion here involves Christianity is simply because Christianity is the dominant religious institution in the United States. It in no way indicates that Christianity is the true opponent or worthy of any special consideration. Your fairy tale’s popularity in no way makes your particular tale of the invisible sky fairy either true or plausible.

  • Alex

    but if the camera turned off, I don’t think they’d be acting the same way.

    Really? And here I was thinking that they would continue to go around town in waiter’s outfits while spouting very bad hip hop :P

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    @phileotruth,
    When Christians leave the U.S. Constitution and the public education system alone, we’ll stop mocking them.

    Until then…

    “…now go away or I shall taunt you a second time-a!” – John Cleese, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    I did like the head buffing. ;)

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    @phileotruth,

    You are wrong about one thing. Jesus was not himself perfect. He did at least a couple of things wrong in his life.

    1. He cursed a fig tree in a season where it wasn’t expected to produce figs. So therefore, he was at least once a bit rash and let his temper get away from him.
    2. He cast demons out of a man and let them go into a herd of pigs. If he was perfect, he would have cast the demons out in such a way where they wouldn’t have entered the pigs. Poor pigs. I guess Jesus just didn’t care about the pigs. Well, no-ones perfect…
    3. At a wedding party, he noticed that they had run out of wine and the guests started to complain. He then turned water into wine and everybody was happy again. It would have been better, though if he could have turned the water into wine before people started to complain. Weddings go much smoother without the stress of running out of wine and I’m sure the wedding party would have liked to avoid that drama.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    @Jeff P,
    Actually, he wasn’t perfect because he wasn’t even real. :-)
    This is no different than those arguments I used to have have (Okay, dammit – I STILL have) about which comic book character is best…Batman or Superman.
    P.S. Batman is better…

  • Chester Bogus

    Batman all the way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    Erp, we know from whence it came. You don’t have to tell us. It’s still creepy. But now I’m also wondering why you’d assume we didn’t know the reference just because we pointed out the fact that it’s creepy.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristopherTK ChristopherTK

    I went to a wake at Parkview and I would be happy to never return. Mass consumerism of fantasy practiced as a false reality.

    And the traffic is terrible!

  • Chris

    Christianity gets talked about here a lot because that’s the plague we have in the U.S. I think most atheist don’t believe in the Christian god,nor any of the others.
    This video was hard to watch! I got about 1/2 way through and couldn’t take it any longer!!

  • http://www.oldearthaccretionist.com/ Old Earth Accretionist

    @phileotruth

    It appears that your blog singles out Christianity more than any of the other numerous religious faiths in the world. Could it be that you recognize that Christ is indeed the true God and therefore becomes the object of ridicule?

    Hehehe, by that logic any idea that is ridiculed a lot must have more merit than those that are not ridiculed at all… so the existence of gravity must have less merit than Sasquatch sightings… It is suddenly all clear to me! I have been looking at the world all wrong! I should judge ideas based on mockery levels rather than on an observational basis!

    The reason most western-based atheist blogs will talk predominantly about the flavours of christianity more than other religions is that christianity is the dominant religion within the region. Because it is the dominant religion it means that members of that religion are the most likely to confront and or attempt to convert atheists within this region. This means that most of our experiences of religion are based off of interactions with members of the various splinters of christianity, and therefore we have more context for discussing christianity than other faiths, but if you read more you will find that a fair number of other faiths are talked about as well, just on a scale proportional to their prevalence and vehemence within the western world.

    Obviously you are not wasting your time mocking those other religions whose founders and figureheads are still dead and in their graves.

    Again, hahahahaha. I always love the twisted logic that allows some people from one religion to mock the beliefs of another religion and still manage to maintain incredulity and disbelief that someone would dare mock their own (and by love I mean shake my head at). What makes your faith any more reasonable than those of other religions? Because a book and authority figures taught you so? You mean exactly the same way the followers of other religions learn and come to know that their faith is more true than your own?

    And last I knew Jesus wasn’t wandering around anymore… so he isn’t really still alive, even if you believe the story of his existence… the idea that believing in a resurrection lends more credibility to your religion than those religions that simply believe in the existence of a god or gods, doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny.

  • PhileoTruth

    @Jeffrey A. Myers
    Christianity may arguably be America’s dominant religion– and you benefit from the liberty that this country has afforded you to speak out against its dominant religion. But I ask, would you be so liberal with your criticisms/scoffing of the dominant religion if you lived in a Muslim country? Would you risk being deemed an “infidel” and worthy of death? Or if you lived in Haiti, where the dominant religion is voodoo, would you risk being hexed by a shaman because you derided his faith? Be honest, is not Christianity just an easier target to prop anti-God rebellion against?

    I propose that most people who oppose Christianity do so for lack of fear that its adherents will avenge the honor of God.

    @Jeff P
    You allege that Jesus had a sort of “temper tantrum” (which is a total misreading of the Scripture) and that He was guilty of the social impropriety of forgetting to bring the wine. You miss the fact that He performed the miracle of converting water into wine. No one has been able to do that before or since! Christ’s anger, if anything, is the only true righteous indignation. For even Pilate said that he could find no fault with Christ. Christ was indeed sinless.

    Your unbelief in His sinlessness only justifies you in your rejection of His atonement for your sin. Unfortunately, in your unbelief, you are choosing to stand in your own righteousness (for obviously, by your assertions, you are more righteous than Jesus) rather than accepting His righteousness. God will ultimately punish sin. You will bear the guilt of your own sin before God as you reject His only provision for your sin to be atoned: Christ Jesus.

    @Godless Monster
    You lack fear that Christians will avenge the honor of the name of God. Is it not that because we serve the true and living God, we entrust Him to avenge Himself?

    Note: Christians have a voice and are the beacon of God’s light to a society in spiritual darkness. The further away you expel Biblical morality from society, the more sinful, selfish, and self-destructive it will become. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord (Psalm 33:12).”

    As in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, the rampant nature of sin and the lack of godly people in that society was the reason God ultimately destroyed it (Genesis 18:20-19:17). My point is: be careful about wishing away Christians, for God may be withholding His judgment upon our society for the sake of His children in its midst.

    @atheists
    Do you deny that Jesus of Nazareth existed? Jesus of Nazareth attested to the existence of God. Jesus claimed also Himself to be God incarnate. Do you deny that the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ? Is not the Jesus of the Bible the same as the Jesus of history?

    Thank you all for your replies.

  • PhileoTruth

    @Old Earth Accretionist,

    Yes, absolutely, the resurrection is the proof of Christ’s deity. Buddah, Mohammad, Anton LaVey (Satanism), and all the other founders of religions are still in their graves and awaiting judgment day. Christ, not only rose from the dead, but appeared to numerous witnesses for days before publicly ascending into the heavens. Who else can this be spoken of?

    The resurrection from the dead was not an afterthought of Jesus. That was not a happy surprise but part of His predictive prophecy– that He would be crucified and that He would rise again the third day. Even the greatest of stuntmen can not pull off a resurrection after a legitimate, public death and burial. The prophesies happened as He stated.

    Moreover, Christ was born of a Virgin. There were numerous prophesies throughout the Old Testament that pointed to the One who would come as the Messiah (Christ). Among them was that Christ would be born of the seed of a woman. Thus, Christ was born of Mary, who at the time was a virgin. The founder of Buddah, Mohammad, LaVey and all the other founders or figureheads of religions have two earthly parents who sexually reproduced. Jesus the Christ’s uniqueness and divine claims are well-established on many levels.

    Christ’s birth, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension were of public record. Are they not historically verifiable and thus credible?

    You deride me “because a book and authority figures taught you so”, when you yourself are no different. Your unbelief is as informed by books and “authority figures” who deny Christ as my faith in Christ is informed by “authority figures” and the holy Bible. By your derision of me, are you suggesting that you are concocting your own new form of unbelief without the influences of others? What uniqueness do you claim that you should have no “authority figures” or books upon which to base your unbelief?

    Have you investigated the truth claims of Christianity or how the historicity of the Bible?

  • PhileoTruth

    @Old Earth Accretionist,

    I apologize for my question, “What uniqueness do you claim that you should have no “authority figures” or books upon which to base your unbelief?” I was trying to make a point but perhaps the wording came across more aggressively than I intended.


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