Dear Lord, Please Make the ChristianMingle.com Commercials Stop (or, my thoughts on week 2 of “The Bible” on The History Channel)

Can we declare holy war on the ChristianMingle.com commercials?

ChristianMingle.com doesn’t elevate dating to holy heights by bringing God into the picture. It belittles God because it uses him to try to baptize what amounts to an online version of The Bachelor.

The whole concept of God taking time out from his busy schedule to match you with the that one perfect person for you is no different from athletes actually expecting God to intervene so they can win.

And isn’t it a bit–I don’t know–childishly self-centered, infuriatingly stupid, utterly non-sensical, to expecting God to steer you to that one special someone, your perfect match, when there are men and women across the world praying that God will

relieve them from starvation,

keep the rapists out of the village,

take the disease away,

give them children,

stop their depressed, suicidal, or anxious thoughts

give them a job, any job,

afford medicine,

etc., etc., etc.,

but the suffering continues anyway?

Yes, those looking for companionship should trust God to give them wisdom and discernment. I’m not cutting God out of the picture. I’m just saying he doesn’t act on cue because a match-making website implies that he does, provided you fill out the right forms and have a valid credit card.

Embarrassing western self-absorbtion. God molded to our image.

O.K. Now I feel better.

Anyway, as for the second episode….generally speaking, it was bad.

One a 1-10 scale–with 1 being “I hate it so much I want to pry my own eyes out of my sockets” and 10 being “Jesus himself couldn’t have done this good a job,” I’m coming in at about a 2. I’m willing to adjust upward .5 to allow for the fact that I am not their target audience. But still, today was tedious and…what’s a good synonym for tedious?

Some things I noticed when I wasn’t dozing off.

* Joshua is short

* They placed the Philistines 100 years after Joshua. Since the Philistine landed in Canaan around 1200 BC, the means the producers hold to the late date of the Exodus (If you need to ask, trust me, you wouldn’t care).

* They spent way too much time on Samson, but it became clear why: they are making him into a Christ figure. Samson gave himself up for his people in accordance with God’s will; he is chained to cross of wood; Delilah betrays Samson to the authorities for money and then feels guilty about it; his mother grieves for him at his death.

* I think the choice of focusing on Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, and now portraying Samson as a Christ figure–and leaving out Jacob and Joseph–suggests that they are emphasizing OT figures commonly thought to prefigure Christ.

* Samson’s first wife was met with disapproval by his mother, but he claimed that his love for the Philistine woman was God’s doing–which looked too much like a ChristinMingle.com commercial to me. (I can’t let this go, can I?)

* I have no more idea why they made Samson black than I do why they made Noah Scottish

Clive “David” Owen

* David looks like Clive Owen

Apart from all the many things you could pick on in this TV series, there is a bigger issue that comes to mind.

As I imagine people watching this show–maybe people unfamiliar with the Bible–I wonder if they are asking themselves, “What kind of God is this, and do I really want anything to do with him?”

And the hard part to explain is that the biblical episodes that the show more often than not gets right than wrong are those parts that depict the Israelites as tribal zealots whose God kills their enemies.

I’m sure this is unintentional, but did you catch the scene depicting the Philistine general praying to his god that he would deliver the Israelites into his hand so he could wipe them out? The Philistines and the Israelites are both portrayed as warring tribes who want to rule by violent means with the  approval an support of their god.

Anyway, I’ve pretty much checked out at this point. I will likely watch the rest to see how they handle Jesus, but my bar is set about as low as it can be.

 

  • David LaDow

    One thing I’ve noticed over these past two weeks is how anthropo-centric this series has been. Granted, the books of the Bible were written/edited in a male-dominated, patriarchal society, and the volume of space dedicated to men does indeed outweigh that given to women in the Bible. Still, no real space was given to Miriam and her role in the exodus. Honestly, I can’t even remember if her presence was even acknowledged last week. Rahab was shown in the Jericho scenes, but I frankly can’t see how they could have ignored her given her relevance to the story. No mention was made, however, of Deborah during the Judges period. Samson’s wife was there, but as you’ve indicated, the focus on him as a pre-figuring of Christ obviously pointed to her being a pre-figuring of Mary, who will be played by Roma Downey, one of the co-creators of this series. All of this is to say that the series seems to either generally ignore women, or acknowledge them when they are serving in motherly roles (as was the case with Sarah and Samson’s mother). I don’t know if this oversight is intentional. For the sake of charity, I will assume that it is not. Regardless, I think the series is both a product of and serves to reinforce a very male-dominated reading of the biblical texts and understanding of the Christian faith. Needless to say, I’m not holding my breath in anticipation of seeing Junia, Phoebe, or Priscilla in the New Testament sections. I apologize for the length of this response. My thoughts seemed to have run away with me.

    • David Evans

      Just to pedantic, you mean “androcentric” (male-centered) not “anthropocentric” (person-centered). Admittedly the former word is not one that comes easily to mind.

  • http://lisesletters.wordpress.com Lise

    A few thoughts here. 1) I do not have access to the History Channel so I’m missing the whole thing and based on your review, I am not crying any tears over it. 2) The Bachelor makes me want to vomit, so I would probably despise the Christian Mingle commercials just as much. However, on your list of “significant” things to pray for, you included a prayer for God to bring children. Well, it’s kind of hard for God to bring children unless you have a mate (or unless you adopt). I have no interest in Christian internet dating, nor am I wasting my life away waiting for my “help mate.” But I am waiting for the Christian community to treat singles better and for people who have been married for some 20+ years to better understand what the single experience is like (and just how hard it is to meet Christian singles when you’re in your 40′s). 3) Did you see “Tree of Life”? The creation montage, which lasts for almost 8-10 minutes is beautiful.

    • peteenns

      Tree of Life was one of the most moving experiences I have ever had! Most of my friends thought it was boring, but I think I need new friends :-) About praying for children, I actually had people in my mind when I wrote that. I wasn’t implying that its a prayer for everyone.

    • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ Tim Chastain

      I also enjoyed the creation sequence in Tree of Life, though I originally saw the film because of my VERY distant cousin, Jessica Chastain!

  • http://lisesletters.wordpress.com Lise

    @ David – I didn’t see your post until after I posted mine. I so resonate with your comments for our culture’s entire study of the bible tends to be andro-centric. Thank you for your astute, sensitive, and feminist observations. A great book on this topic is J. Cheryl Exum’s book, “Fragmented Women: Feminist (Sub)versions of Biblical Narratives.”

  • http://www.tillhecomes.org/ Jeremy Myers

    I can’t watch tv anymore… simply because of the commercials (of all sorts).

  • http://dougandrhonda.blogspot.com Swartzendruber

    Pete notes – As I imagine people watching this show–maybe people unfamiliar with the Bible–I wonder if they are asking themselves, “What kind of God is this, and do I really want anything to do with him?” This pretty much aligns with those who claim that reading the bible is a powerful incentive to consider atheism.

  • Lyndon

    A friend linked me to this, and I don’t mean to be rude, but the condemnation of Christian Mingle’s advertisements is pretty self-absorbed. Why is it legitimate to “pray for children,” but not a spouse? Is it not important unless a person is married? Again, it’s good for people to pray to God to “stop [their] depressed, suicidal, or anxious thoughts,” but it’s not OK to pray for an issue that may be contributing to that in a significant way?

    Not to be rude, but you’re married with adult children. You don’t have the faintest clue what a thirty-something who just buried his mother after she begged him to find a spouse goes through, the doubts about his faith that it may entail. Did he fail his mother by not playing the game? Should he have compromised his morality in that recent relationship he lost? Another would be a woman who desires a good husband but can’t find a long term partner because nobody shares her values goes through. Maybe she should change her moral standards? Her biological clock is ticking, and she won’t have her options much longer. In either case, they may have lost a series of relationships, because they wouldn’t compromise values, and a community focusing on that community and which, at least in name, shares their values may well offer them a greater chance at finding someone than they would have in a bar or even in their church. The complaint itself is a good example of “western self-absorption:” being annoyed with an advertisement during an entertainment program because the ad doesn’t target the viewers’ social bracket then venting that the issue it targets is petty.

    Perhaps, your critique would be better worded if you focused on the fact that it is exploiting the sadness and desperation of singles and using God’s name to christen commercial exploitation of them. It does do that, and people will readily spend a fortune on it.

    • Sarah

      As a young woman who would REALLY like some godly guy to come waltzing into my life, but who also really doesn’t have time/energy for a guy since I’m trying to figure out this whole God thing, Christian Mingle drives me crazy. I stay away from romantic comedies because they feed this false romantic ideal which is impractical and unhelpful. But stupid Christian Mingle keeps shoving romantic stuff in my face with some Christian lingo on there too, just for kicks. Christian Mingle, I don’t need you to keep pushing the lie that every happy Christian girl has a happy Christian guy by her side. GO AWAY!

      • Sarah

        By the way Lyndon, I totally agree with you….the issue isn’t that God doesn’t care about relationships and Christian Mingle says he does….the real issue is that God does care about relationships, and their bid to commercialize and package that for their own profit trivializes who God is and how he works….

    • Ben G.

      Lyndon- I think you are missing the point of this blog. He even stated this- It is not that it is bad to pray for a spouse, this is necessary. Praying for the one that you will be with is what God wants us to ask for, but using a commercial to try and set Christian singles up is no better than as he states it, ” An athlete expecting God to intervene in a sporting event.” Christian Mingle is a way for us to control our own destiny rather than allow God to bring that person into our lives. I think you read over the main point dude

      • DaisyFlower

        Ben G, the passive approach does not bring one a spouse. I know, I was raised to believe that, so I prayed, trusted in the Lord, all the rest of that crap, and I am still single in my 40s. It looks to me like some leg work (such as joining a dating site) is necessary to get a spouse, not “trusting the lord” or “waiting for God to bring that person into your life.” Many Christian women in their 30s today and my age (40s) are single due to these moronic teachings (be passive, pray, and wait on the Lord for a spouse, yada yada)… that, plus many of us were holding out for Christian men, but there are more Christian females than males. At this point, I am looking into dating NON Christian males.

  • http://www.evidence2hope.com Graham

    “This pretty much aligns with those who claim that reading the bible is a powerful incentive to consider atheism”

    I’ve had many atheist friends say that to me, that reading the Bible was a factor in them becoming atheists. The passages they cite are usually surrounding God sanctioning genocide and other atrocities. These are hard passages to deal with and attempts to justify them just makes them even more sure that being an atheist is right; Who wants to worship and follow a God who wipes out an entire culture? I have no issues with a God of justice but where’s the line? That’s the question I’m wrestling with at the moment.

    As for ChristianMingle.com, many Christians struggle with the fact they are single (a late friend of mine really struggled with it) When I was single I was convinced something was wrong with me because I was single. It’s a hard thing to deal with and the church doesn’t seem to be helping matters with their approach (surprise surprise) I think more help and support needs to be provided and not trying to push them in one direction or another but I’m not an expert by any means.

    • Jim V

      The problem with most atheists is that they don’t educate themselves much beyond just reading the Bible straight and then drawing lots of conclusions without context (I’m not saying that Christians do any better, but the atheist is essentially making the same mistake as a fundamentalist by assuming that the Bible stories stand by themselves without ANE context). Anyone familiar with ANE history knows that pretty much all of the ANE cultures thought, prayed and wrote their histories exactly the same way – and in some cases, their reasoning was logical for their own purposes (even though we see it as horrendous). If you consider that so many tribes and cultures were able to survive, revive and take revenge on their conquerors sometimes hundreds of years after being initially conquered, you can understand the logic (even if you don’t sympathize with the morality) of wiping out another people group. The Assyrian, Babylonian and Sumerian history is replete with conquest, defeat, survival for long stretches of time, then rebellion and resurgence. So, the question then changes – it’s not “why would God order them to do something so horrible” and instead should be “why doesn’t God order them to be different from all the cultures around them.” To ask the first question raises the Bible narratives above the culture in which they take place, which is a mistake. While the atheist may still be an atheist at the end the more contextual analysis, at least the analysis is more honest and accurate to historical study.

      • vorjack

        “Anyone familiar with ANE history knows that pretty much all of the ANE cultures thought, prayed and wrote their histories exactly the same way ”

        And yet we’re told that the Bible is holy; somehow set apart from and categorically different from the Annals of the Assyrians or the archives of the Hittites. Is the Bible sacred or profane?

        It’s not just the Fundamentalists. There is a lot of devotional language wrapped around the Bible that will have to be dismantled if we’re to look at it as another set of ANE documents.

      • http://fractalheretic.blogspot.com FractalHeretic

        Jim, I don’t think atheists ever deny the fact that Biblical atrocities make perfect sense within the cultural context. In fact that’s the point. This is exactly the kind of behavior we would expect to see coming from ignorant and savage human beings who were not being guided by any absolute moral authority. A perfect god would transcend human culture, but the Biblical god reflects it.

    • DaisyFlower

      You are totally correct. Most churches either ignore adults singles or the ones who pay us mind run us down, assume we are homosexual, or losers or weird. They will funnel tons of money into young adults singles ministries but do nothing for older singles. If you are older (past the age of 30, 40, 50) and wanting a spouse, it’s left up to you. Christians refuse to pray that God send you a spouse, they will not introduce you to compatible singles they know for a date, so you are stuck having to use dating sites or going to bars to meet singles.

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  • http://lisesletters.wordpress.com Lise

    Peter – Most people in today’s world don’t deal well with slow films without much dialogue but I agree that “Tree of Life” had some stunningly moving moments (and it sounds like the film impacted you in particular). Personally, I thought the beach/heaven scene was phenomenal and all of the actors in the film were luminous.

    Regarding Lyndon and Graham’s comments… Wow. I realize my knee jerk sarcastic remarks were masking hurt (doesn’t sarcasm always?) while the two of you were much more candid and truthful. Lyndon, I am sorry you lost your mother and are carrying the added complications that you describe. I wish you peace and healing. I too have lost my parents. Like your mom, I know mine more than anything just wanted to see me happily married and with children. Up in heaven she probably has some angel committee working on it, although for the kid thing they are running out of time.

    No, the church really doesn’t know what to do with older singles. They do a great job catering to the twenty somethings and get them all married off right away, leaving few people left if you come into the church late in life like I did. And yes, dating in the secular world is a true challenge if you’re to maintain a celibacy. People simply don’t understand that choice and it took me awhile to realize the importance of such a choice.

    But if you’re single, you’re sometimes not included in things and sometimes people don’t want to get too chummy – because well, you’re single and that might be dangerous. And while I completely understand why married people want to draw boundaries on friendships (this is quite important), most of us singles just want to be part of the group, family, whatever.

    Peter, you mentioned that a prayer for children isn’t everyone’s prayer and you’re right. It isn’t everyone’s. But just because you’re single, this doesn’t mean that wanting children isn’t a prayer. Case in point, “Little Women” was my favorite childhood novel and dolls my favorite toys. Likewise, the year I was a nanny for three boys was pure delight. So that I am 43 and have never been married nor have kids is beyond my wildest dreams. I used to feel great sadness over this (and joining a church intensified it). But I simply can’t go there. It’s a waste of my energy, for I believe it is God’s will that I am not – for whatever His reasons. “Why are you not married?” people always ask. “You’re so nice, so pretty, so whatever.” Not my will, God. Yours. Thus, I try to mother all those I counsel and teach and hope to give birth to many books. And now I’ve been utterly transparent and probably TMI for the internet. Sarcasm might have been preferable but this is an important issue and I don’t think Christians talk much about it.

    • Pat Pope

      Actually, it really depends on the church, Lise. I knew a church whose single ministry mainly consisted of middle-aged adults, many of whom were not very young in spirit, so it was not a ministry that was inviting to younger or younger-minded singles. Churches really need to look well at their demographics and respond to them accordingly. You can’t have a singles ministry composed of mostly 50- and 60-somethings who are lonely and expect that crowd to be appealing to 20, 30 and 40-somethings who are full of life and not looking down in the mouth. Some of us enjoy our singleness and frankly, a singles ministry is not something I look to be a part of (mind you, I used to be a director of a singles ministry and my goal was to put myself out of business with the hopes singles would lead rich, full lives and not consume themselves with looking for a mate). But I know that is not reality for everyone and so again, it requires church leaders to look honestly at their singles and their needs and respond appropriately and in ways that does not pander to them but serves to support and lift them up.

  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ Tim Chastain

    Great evaluation Peter! I did not care for last week’s episode of The Bible, but last night’s episode was the pits! It could have been titled, ‘Why Believers Lose Their Faith and Why Non-believers Stay Away’. However, it is no less than what I expected. I am really looking forward to how they deal with the story of Jesus, but my expectations are low. The publicity leading up to the series predicted that this would become the great Bible movie of all time and would far outlast the film classics of the past. Don’t think so!

    ChristianMingle ads really irritate me. It is not the concept of a dating service for Christians that bothers me but the idea they promote that God is trying his best to hook people up through ChristianMingle and that they should follow God’s guidance in this. In my opinion, this is truly using God’s name in vain. We should all be careful not to enlist God to promote our personal causes.

  • Caleb G

    I concur about the Christianmingle commercials. To avoid the commercials I turned down the volume and read some of Eric Siebert’s Disturbing Divine Behavior. Much better use of my time. I find it ironic that some people find this mini-series as objectionable because it is too violent for children. I wonder if those who make such objections have ever read the Old Testament. What they show is tame compared with the details of those stories. I wish all those who claim to be Christians were forced to confront the full force of these passages. Maybe then they would understand why some of us struggle with Scripture and the ways it portrays God. Maybe then they would understand why others reject Christianity because of what is contained in the Bible.

  • Mike

    The ChristianMingle commercials get to me. And I agree with others that the church does not have a great ministry to singles. Given my experience growing up in youth programs, and from what I’ve heard about “ministries” for divorced and older singles, I think the church fails at a greater level to prepare singles for mature relationships.

    Otherwise, I think there is a bit of unintended hilarity going on with the ChristianMingle commercials. There was actually one scene in part II which mashes up a lot of the Samson story: Delilah cuts his hair, Philistines rush the bedroom, bind up Samson, pay Delilah in front of his eyes, and then they gouge out those eyes. Following this scene, it cuts to black…only to immediately advertise ChristianMingle, “Find God’s match for you!”

    As far as the series, I am disappointed in several of the edits of the Biblical narratives that they do illustrate, but can ignore some thinking that, “they want to keep the whole Bible under 10 hours and editors chose this.” But my greater frustration is with the portrayal of those faithful to God. I have no doubt that a mystical experience in the desert would leave anyone shaken. But almost all of the characters that choose to “follow God” are portrayed as 2 dimensional, wide-eyed, blind-faith, do this just because…followers. There are tons of blanket statements like, “We must follow God!” or, “God has chosen us,” or, “It is God’s will.” Where is the development of story that portrays these people as someone crowds would follow? Were they compassionate? Wise? Great leaders?

    And God only seems to talk to people: do this, take the promise land, wipe out the others. In 4 hours of TV, I think I’ve heard 1 or 2 statements by followers that, “God loves us.” But there is little context of who these people are and the God that they relate to. Taken out of the context of the show, I would assume that these are crazy people. The lack of character development seems to portray a follower of God as rather simple minded. That’s one of the more dangerous portrayals that I think people find unacceptable about Christians.

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  • Michael Teston

    Oh my, when I saw the take on Christian Mingle I chuckled. But actually when I first saw it come across the tube I was both appalled and at the same time saying to myself, “Hey, this is where “church-e” has taken us.” This is the logical movement. This is the vending machine god that a young man wrote on his blog about a couple weeks ago. What an indictment on the so called “christian movement” in America. A so called “church” on every corner but unable to create spaces and places where real people meet real people who might yoke their lives in partnership long term. The “church-es” can’t get it done so we have resorted to Christian Mingle. It even sounds bad. And I can just hear it now, “It worked for me.” O dear Lord, work for me today. Boy do we need to be redeemed.

  • Marshall

    “Confirmed bachelor” used to be a euphemism for Gay. We know what you people are REALLY up to.

  • Jim V

    Dr. Enns, you are going to have to put up with this sort of thing more often than not from now on. Remember, it’s not only ANE history that both secular and Christian Hollywood likes to play with. Can any of us remember the historical travesty that was Gladiator (and I loved that movie, but come on, the only thing even remotely related to history in that movie was the fact that it took place in ancient Rome). How about the movie “300,” or “Troy” or “Alexander.” Are any historical movies set in ancient time even remotely interested in history? Angels with martial arts moves, focusing on sweaty muscled men fighting through their enemies – how is this any different than those other “historical” films. I would suggest that these producers probably “get it” – the American audience (secular or religious) couldn’t give two shakes about historical accuracy. History as entertainment is what we want. Why not portray the Bible stories the same way? Heck, Dr. Enns, your scale is based on your knowledge of actual ANE history and the text of the Bible. Where do you think this ranks on a scale of “accuracy” when compared with the other movies I listed above (and I can’t honestly say which I would say ranks as the worst, “Gladiator” or “Troy”). I would say probably a 5 or maybe a 6 relative to its source material. I mean, really, in Gladiator, a cast-out Roman general kills emperor Commodus! For the Republic of Rome! Come on, you don’t get any more fictitious than that! I’m betting that these Christian sponsors thought – hey, if they can remake the Spartans into defenders of democratic life in 300, we’ve got a really low bar to meet!

  • AJ

    I’m not trying to argue, but doesn’t it limit God to suggest His care and work on those bigger problems negates Him focusing also on our smaller problems, like finding a mate?

  • http://www.fidesquaerens.org/blog/ Marta L.

    Does anyone out there know if this is available online anywhere, including somewhere you have to pay for it? I kind of want to watch to see what all the fuss is about, but I don’t own a TV anymore.

  • Peggy

    John Huston’s “The Bible” is better with the stories. He took the part of Noah. I saw this back in 1967 and I still remember the opening sequences of the Creation.

  • Heather

    I don’t expect God to give me a perfect match, or find a mate for me. Historically, however, families and communities helped singles find spouses. In American Western christianity, this is largely missing. I find it a bit disconcerting that a married man who obviously enjoys relative popularity in his circles and succeeded in the quest to find a mate, mocks a website that is designed to help people who need help coming into contact with eligible Christian singles they can date. Dating is not something that you should look down on people for wanting to do – dating is how we find mates, and thus carry on the species. I think you are way out of touch with what 30-something singles want and need, to be so caustic and judgmental just because the commercial doesn’t pertain to you and is annoyingly repetitive.

    • DaisyFlower

      I agree, Heather. I find the Christian Mingle and E-Harmony commercials irritating, but the guy who wrote this anti Christian Mingle editorial must be married himself, he sure finds it easy to mock a tool some singles might need or want to help find a partner.

      When you’re over 40 and desiring marriage, such as myself, you need help finding a mate. Some may choose to use a dating site.

      Many of us Christian ladies were taught when younger (by Christian parents, churches, Christian dating books) all we had to do was pray, wait, and trust on the Lord and PRESTO, we’d get a Christian spouse by our mid 20s or mid 30s. I’m in my 40s and still not married, so that advice was a total sham and lie.

      But then the guy who wrote this page wants to mock people for wanting to use a dating site for help in getting married? I get that his particular gripe was with HOW the commercial was marketing the site, but there was none the less a snarky undercurrent of “Christian singles shouldn’t be using dating sites or praying to God for a spouse, and btw, you singles out there, I got married at 21 to my high school sweetie, neener neener, nah nanny boo boo” attitude to it. I hope he’s nicer in his other articles on this blog.

  • jseski

    ok, full disclosure – I’m a first time contributor & “troll” as far as most internet-geek/guru’s are concerned. I pop on the site a couple times a week & see if there are any interesting articles to get perspective or a different point of view on topics I’m interested in then dash. This TV show was one that I have taken some issue w/and was looking forward to picking up some thoughts & opinions.
    But after reading the both the article & the thread of comments, I’m sorry, I could not leave today w/out comment…

    My first beef is: Peter, were you not given the opp for two articles, so you slammed two completely different discussions into one?? Really makes it frustrating to keep the discussion on track. It’s like you’re asking for distractions like the “work-from-home-make-millions” scammers that infiltrate sites. Anyway, two distinct conversations – 1)Christian mate-finder like/dislike, & 2)the show “The Bible” good/bad/turning-everyday-Joe-Christian’s into atheists one episode at a time…talk amongst yourselves.

    I came here to seek opinions & thoughts on the latter. (I have opinions on the former, but I don’t understand why some get their undies in such a bunch over a for-profit Christian business, they are everywhere & often walk a grey line…now you’ve got me sucked in – different topic for another time, this needs it’s own discussion track. Back to the show…)
    I don’t have an issue w/the graphic-ness of the show, some of the Old Testament stories as we know really were ugly. But it almost seems as the “glorification” or how it’s production almost seems to portray some of the events as proud mis-_(frankly not sure what word exactly to use here)__ of what people felt was “God’s will” is where I see some of the people I work with & friends saying things like: “what the heck! I remember a way different perspective on these stories from the Sunday school days”, ” many of the stories in this show illustrate brutality, mass death, and pure evil done ‘in the name of God!’ – much like radical terrorist groups of today”, and one guy made the comment “all these years I’ve had a simple faith & admit have been more of a casual Christian, but this show has made me think I need to look into this more & see if I’m actually an atheist…I don’t think I believe in a God who commands mass murder with almost a whim like manner”, same guy also made the comment “all these biblical stories seem to have one thing in common; everything was fine then some woman got involved & everything went nuts” (I thought that comment was particularly funny, but it also emulates a few previous posters’ comments).
    It’s also interesting because I think those of us who have studied the Bible & understand the historical atmosphere seem more shocked & appalled by more “minor issues” (really why would it be such a big shocker for Sampson to be black – the bible talks about his “braids”, which could easily be “dreads”, and given the region, the likelihood of black or black-bloodlined individual would be greater than seeing a big blond-haired blue-eyed Swede!).
    I came to the discussion for more of Graham ‘s comments on 3-11, FractalHeretic ‘s 3-14 stuff, & Jim V’s 3-12 post – great perspective on that one, thanks.

  • jseski

    one more quick thought on the online dating thing…
    I will admit that I also found some irony or simply confusion as to how you are utterly disgusted by a Christian-based mate-finding website…yet there are two “hot” (as in active-linked) advertisements for the very same company (assume they payed patheos for the spots) IN your article?!?!??!?

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  • bc

    Thank God someone wrote this travesty of Christian Mingle “USING GOD” to sell their “wares”… I throw up a bit in my mouth every time I hear that woman say ” we would NEVER have met “… I have to MUTE the tv when this INFESTATION comes on. The ONLY way you can absolutely positively say that you would NEVER have met is if you lived your life all the way through, NEVER MET, and then came back to life for a second life. I am INSULTED that they think viewers of the “Bible” miniseries are that stupid and naive. Then to POLLUTE the airwaves with this GARBAGE just because the series is about the “History Channel’s VERSION” of the Bible takes the name of God and puts it right in there with Walmart. GOD DID NOT INVENT COMPUTER DATING. If you are a TRUE BELIEVER in God, and you WANT to meet the love of your life, GOD WILL SEE TO IT THAT IT HAPPENS—-WITHOUT PAYING AN INTERNET DATING SERVICE.

    • Heather

      Yeah, and if God really wants you to reach out to someone in Africa, he’ll send a carrier pigeon to take you there – GOD DID NOT INVENT AIRPLANES.

      I don’t find this a pollution of the airwaves at all – the idea of these commercials is to help Christians see that just “waiting around” while praying and wishing for someone to come alone and thinking that this is somehow “spiritual” isn’t the way to be intentional about finding a mate if you really want one. That just as our society has changed and meeting prospective mates is not as easy as it once was, that there are now new ways to get past barriers and meet people. This is a great idea and I applaud Christian Mingle for the service they are doing for singles in the body of Christ. I’m sure that God *does* use this service for many people. It’s not worth being religiously offended about.

    • DaisyFlower

      @ BC, no God will not “see to it that it happens.” I’m in my 40s, was trusting God to send me a spouse, spent years praying for one, and I never got one. Teaching Christians that God will just send them a spouse if they believe/ trust/ pray or whatever is a lie and a bunch of crap and has led to unwanted protracted singleness for a ton of Christian women in their 30s and 40s today. It’s naive and unrealistic to think just “waiting or trusting in God” will provide a spouse – it won’t. You have to use human channels, such as going to bars, using a dating site, or having friends fix you up with singles

  • Abe

    Dear Lord,

    Please make all the silly popup adds about learning a new language or losing weight on patheos.com/blogs/peterenns stop opening up new browser windows every time I visit the site.

    Glass houses, you know…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Dotson/1298160490 David Dotson

    Meanwhile, those men and women are still starving, praying for children, jobs, needed medicine, etc. Where’s God?

    The question is just a useless as “Where’s Waldo?” Prayer makes no sense in any context, and neither does the all-powerful magician in the sky who is either incapable of fixing any of the problems people pray about or is incapable of giving a shit.

    But don’t worry boys and girls, everything is going according to His Plan.

  • Jill Hill

    The whole idea of WANTING to fall in love is very strange. Most of us find that falling in love isn’t as the result of an effort, but rather is something we find almost impossible to resist. I guess loving someone is a struggle for Christians. Go figure.

    • Lalala

      some might argue that “impossible to resist” indicates lust rather than love. There is a difference after all. Nothing wrong with wanting to enter into a relationship with some sort of thought and a care for whether the person whom you are going to spend the rest of your life with shares your values and beliefs…or lack thereof. Let’s face it passion eventually fades, so there’d better be something else keeping you two together otherwise it’s gonna get ugly.

      • Jill Hill

        Love just happens. it’s not lust. I know the difference between love and lust. So, you don’t think this is weird?: I see someone I am not in love with them, but want to be.

  • Lalala

    Just FYI, “Christian Mingle” isn’t owned or operated by any Christian church anywhere. It’s part of Spark Networks USA LLC,a secular corporate network specializing in niche marketing of all sorts. The assumption they are making is that Christians are watching the History Channel Bible show. Kinda like how beer companies assume people who like beer are watching sports programs, hence the reason beer companies pay the big bucks to advertise during the Super Bowl. Should non-drinkers get angry over that? Mind, I think most dating services are lame (let things happen naturally) but why single one out for ridicule?

  • bbbettybu

    What’s with the latest commercial when the woman says basically that she never knew how incomplete her life was until she met the guy. Now, is this a healthy way to approach a relationship? “I can’t be a complete person without a partner.” Isn’t that one of the reasons there are so many divorces. Because people marry to “complete” themselves. But, what is it that they are seeking for this completion? If you can’t stand your own company, if you aren’t okay alone, if you’re terrified to be alone, if you don’t have a life without the one, then these are all very codependent problems. Be okay with yourself first then look for another as an equal partner.

    • michiganpatriot

      bbbettbu……yes, Yes, YES!!! You’ve got it exactly right!

  • Hannah

    Wow. You are a sad, miserable man who doesn’t know God whatsoever. He is capable of caring about you being single and wanting a spouse AND about somebody starving to death. Christianmingle is a great website for Christians to meet somebody and fall in love and begin a family. STFU. Asshole.

    • Xavyer Rodriguez

      woooow! you are defending cm, a virtual place, But you insult a brother in Christ, telling him “S**U. A****e!!!???
      Should we say amen to that?

      • Hannah

        You can say whatever the hell you want to say. If it walks like an ass and talks like sn ass it is probably an ass. I am honest snd truthful and sick and tired of pious, judgemental, self righteous, critical, whining, complaining, nothing good to say bastards like this yahoo. So unbelievably sick of it so you can stfu as well.

        • jgal

          Honey, your soul could use a little work before you start a family.

          • Hannah

            lol Your soul could take that finger wagging and turn it right back around sweetheart. .

          • Hannah

            You know absolutely nothing about my soul. But thank you for reminding me that people like you need such a soul makeover that you’ll judge people and criticize their own soul without even knowing them. You need to ask God to show you what needs to be changed inside of you before you go around telling other people they need to change. lol

    • guest

      No you are wrong Hannah, Christianmingle is a bad place to find people, most of them are not honest… I met somebody and he was a lair, use drugs and have a crazy girlfriend and he put in his profile that he is honest…

      • DaisyFlower

        You may be partially right, but Hannah’s main point that it’s not mutually exclusive is right on. As a never married, middle aged woman who still desires marriage, I find this guy’s attitude on this blog page that God answering my prayer for a spouse is stupid because God would rather help starving people deeply offensive. Jesus said God notices even the bird that falls to the ground… if God gives a rip about a little bird, yes, he would also care that I sometimes feel lonely and would like a spouse. God’s compassion is not limited to only caring about homeless crack heads or African orphans.

        • michiganpatriot

          Daisyflower…….you have stated twice that you are “a never married, middle aged woman who still desires marriage”. I would like to make a suggestion. Learn to love yourself. Learn to be by yourself and be okay with it. Fill your heart with love for those you are jealous of, such as the crackheads and starving orphans. Find empathy within yourself for others. Find other things to fulfill your life. If you are to one day find that special person you will….most likely in your God’s time, not yours……but I can not imagine a partnership lasting when one partner is so filled with self defeating emotions as you harbor.

          Perhaps it is your God that is preventing you from finding that special person because he knows in your heart that you are not ready for all committing love? You appear, to me, to be filled with too much anger. Let it go.

          Don’t rely on dating sites that are filled with less than honest people. Go volunteer at a hospital…..a Humane Society……a home for wayward children…..Habitat for Humanity……a homeless shelter…..something that sparks your interest. And maybe you will find someone that compliments you. Just stay away from bars and churches.

  • Hannah

    Christian Mingle IS A BLESSING! God has brought so many people together on that website. Be blessed. Don’t listen to negative people. You’ll thank me later. Trust me. Or you can be miserable for the rest of your life just like these people.

  • DaisyFlower

    One reason I find myself leaving the Christian faith after a lifetime is PRECISELY this stupid insensitive attitude reflected in the original blog post that God cares only about select groups (such as those dealing with starvation, hookers, orphans, and homeless men – but not anyone else who is hurting).

    I went through a death in my family that was terribly hard to deal with. When I went to other Christians for help in dealing with the death, rather than the support I needed, I got these dumb ass, insensitive lectures about how crack head orphans in Africa have it worse than me, so I was told in a nice way, in Christian-y langage to STFU and count my blessings and so forth.

    As a never married, middle aged woman who had hoped to marry, I find it very offensive that the blog page here describes my hopes and prayers about this issue (about hoping to get married) as being selfish or stupid or not important because it’s not as severe as “villagers trying to keep rapists out.”

    You may feel better after your little rant against a dating site, but you have made some singles who desire marriage feel cruddier.

  • NOTICE

    take a really good look at how mark looks in those commercials-i think he might be GAY.


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