If Jack Bauer were a Pastor

I didn’t watch 24 during it’s initial 8 season run. Thankfully I rectified this oversight a couple of years ago by watching all 8 seasons on my Amazon Kindle. It quickly became on of my all-time favorite shows mainly for one reason….

Jack Bauer.

Played by Kiefer Sutherland, Jack Bauer has to be considered one of the greatest heroic characters ever on television. His devotion to his country and his take-no-prisoners approach to bringing down the bad guys caused 24 to be a consistently action-packed, twist-filled hour of television.

Because of this when I heard Jack was coming back I was pretty excited. And 24: Live Another Day did not disappoint. The season finale aired this past Monday and it was one of the best hours of television I ever remember seeing.

In honor of the finale I thought it would be interesting to think about what would happen if Jack Bauer were a pastor. You know, because I’m a nerd. So, without further adieu…

If Jack Bauer were a pastor his congregation would have to….

1. Listen very carefully to his sermons. Jack only said one phrase loudly and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t use it in a sermon. Most of the time he spoke in intense whispers. If it wasn’t for DVR I’m pretty sure I would have missed roughly all of his dialogue this season.

2. Deal with a huffy secretary. Yeah, I’m talking about Chloe, the sometimes great/sometimes annoying Robin to Jack Bauer’s Batman. Can you imagine having to ask her to put something in the bulletin. *eye roll–“Well, I guess if it has to be in there.”*

3. Expect the worst when called to the pastor’s office. On 24 Jack would often get people to talk by shooting them in the leg or otherwise physically maiming them. I can only imagine what he would do in a Deacon’s meeting.

4. Get used to having one of the most annoying pastor’s kids ever. While Jack Bauer may be the best character ever on television, his TV daughter, Kim Bauer, is in the running for the worst. Bless her heart.

5. Wonder when he goes to the bathroom. Once, just once, I wanted to see Jack look intensely at Chloe and whisper, “I gotta go pee.” It never happened.

6. Be ok with either getting killed, half-killed, or kidnapped. Those closest to Jack tend to get killed, half-killed, or kidnapped. That’s a small price to pay for getting to hang around someone so cool.

On second thought, maybe it wouldn’t be such a good idea for Jack Bauer to be a pastor. He probably wouldn’t be a good one.

You know who could be a good pastor? The one you already have.

Whether you consider your pastor “good” or not, I am sure there are things he could improve about who he is or what he does. Why am I so sure of this? Because (as my Dad would say) I are one.

I’m not perfect; no pastor is. Some may say the best way to get a better pastor is to get a new one. I disagree.

The best way to get a better pastor is to pray for and support the one you already have.

I encourage you to do this.

And be thankful that you probably won’t get killed, half-killed, or kidnapped while doing so.

What else would “Pastor Jack Bauer’s” congregation have to do? What are some ways you can encourage your pastor?

 

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Prophetic Thursday: In-Sermon Commercials

Welcome to Prophetic Thursday here at the blog.  Every Thursday I will peer down the pike and try to give you a heads up on what to expect within Christianity in the near and not so near future. To see the previous posts in this series, click HERE and HERE

In-Sermon Commercials

The economy is bad and huge numbers of people remain unemployed along with many others who are considered under-employed; including members of churches.  This is impacting the offerings of churches everywhere.  Many churches have made the decisions to cut staff, lower giving to missions, and drop programs that once touched countless numbers of lives.  These decisions are difficult and are hopefully made only after a great deal of prayer. 

Pastors and church leaders don’t want to make these types of cuts, but they are often left with no choice.  If only they had others sources of income other than ever-shrinking offerings.  Surely some of the mega-church leaders are thinking about this.  Surely some of them are eventually going to come up with a creative solution to this problem. 

Something like: in-sermon commercials.

The sermons of some pastors are streamed live onto computers the world over.  Others are shown live on television or videotaped and shown later.  Some churches have congregations larger than the populations of small towns.  Everyone listening is a consumer of goods and services.  It is only a matter a time before mega-church pastors start getting sponsored by various companies to promote products that match their personality or the personalities of their congregations.

Will this really happen?  Maybe.  And if it does here are a few possiblities:

1.  Mark Driscoll for MMA pay-per-view events.  Mark says that men are made to fight and there is nothing more masculine than putting two dudes together in a cage to see who is better.  “Jesus says to turn the other cheek…but if you want to see cheeks being pulverized next weekend call your local cable company.  Tell them that Mark “Dream Crusher” Driscoll sent ya.”

2.  Steven Furtick for Red Bull.  If Furtick wasn’t a pastor, he would probably be the most annoying personal trainer ever. “HOWWASIABLETOPREACHFOR24HOURSSTRAIGHT?REDBULLGAVEMEWINGS,BABY!WOOOOOO!”

3.  Charles Stanley for Miracle Ear.  I’m not sure how old Rev. Stanley is, but it looks like the members of his congregation are even older. “Listen…now listen…seriously, listen….and if you’re having trouble listening try Miracle Ear.”

4.  T.D. Jakes for Speed Stick.  Jakes sweats more during one sermon than I have in my entire life. “Well, Praise God. I may be sweatin’ worse than Richard Simmons, but my armpits are nice and dry…thanks to Speed Stick antiperspirant!”

5.  John Piper for American Speed Reading Corporation.  “Hi, I’m John Piper and I write a book every 45 minutes.  If you’re one of my many fans, you may be wondering how will you ever be able to keep up.  Let me suggest getting help from the American Speed Reading Corporation.  My writing is most glorified in you when you are most engorged with it.  Don’t waste your life….read faster.”

6.  Joel Osteen for Reader’s Digest.  I’ve heard Osteen called a skyscraper preacher because of the way he stacks one story on top of another. “…and if you liked that story, may I suggest getting a subscription to Reader’s Digest. My Daddy loved it.”

7.  Rick Warren for Remington Beard and Mustache Trimmers.  It has been reported that Warren came out of the womb with a mustache and goatee.  That’s not true, but I’ve never seen a picture of him clean shaven. “There may not be a real purpose for my facial hair, but I like it anyway.  And Remington is the trimmer brand that I trust most.”

I hope that this never happens.  I hope that those who are charged with proclaiming the Gospel never stoop to using their platform in this manner.  But if/when it does, remember that you heard it here first.

(Are there other possibilities that I didn’t include in this list?  Help me out and share them!)

***Disclaimer: This is meant as satire and should not be viewed in any way as an assault on the character and ministry of those mentioned.  Also, I wish my hair was as cool as at least half of these men****

Prophetic Thursday: Becoming Less Hip

Welcome to the first ever Prophetic Thursday here at the blog.  Every Thursday I will peer down the pike and try to give you a heads up on what to expect within Christianity in the near and not so near future.  Can I predict how long I will keep this series going? No.  Can you stone me if these predictions don’t come to pass? No. Do I offer any guarantees?  Um…no.  But I think it will be fun, which is good enough reason for me.

Becoming Less Hip

I’ve never worn corduroy pants because I’m afraid the friction caused by my less than slender legs rubbing together would start a fire in an area that must remain flame-free.  Being overweight is also one of the reasons that I have never tried to wear skinny jeans.  The other reason I have stayed away from skinny jeans is because I am not hip enough to pull it off.  Unless you think someone who played the mellophone in a marching band is hip.  Or owning every Weird Al Yankovic album ever recorded.  Or having at least ten t-shirts featuring cartoon characters.  Or greeting everyone you see by saying “howdy.”

I’m not hip and that’s okay because your hip pastor will soon start becoming just like me.  There’s a backlash brewing against hipster Christianity; an assault on awesomeness, if you will. 

You could partially blame Brett McCracken’s book Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide.  You could partially blame John Piper for being both colossally uncool and immensely popular among the preaching populace.  You could also blame age and the presence of children.  It’s awfully hard to maintain an acceptable level of hipness while watching a steady stream of children’s programming.  Street cred decreases as Sesame Street cred soars.

Just don’t blame me.  I’m here to perform a public service.  I’m here to give you a few ways to know if your pastor is beginning to slide down the slippery slope that will lead him to become Mr. Rogers minus the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

1.  Monitor his mane.  This is the easiest way to spot a pastor in chic-to-geek transition.  If the faux-hawk is flattened and the use of hair product plummets, beware.  Having hair that looks less like Adam Lambert’s and more like Alan Alda’s is a clue that the transition is under way.

2.  Gauge his grooming.   Two distinct eyebrows are nice but unnecessary for those who are leaving the hipster lifestyle.  So are fingernails that would make hand models jealous.  And if you look at your pastor’s nose and it looks like a spider is about to crawl out, you can be sure that the conversion is complete.

3.  Consider his clothing.  If you like having a pastor who wears graphic t-shirts, Diesel jeans, and Chuck Taylors please prepare yourself.  Those styles will soon be replaced by dress shirts, khakis, and shoes from St. John’s Bay.  Picture your high school history teacher or politicians when they try to look like regular people.  Your pastor will soon look just like this.

4.  Listen to his language.  You might grown used to hearing him declare that his wife is hottt or that he just “beasted” this or that, but his vocabulary is about to undergo an over-haul.  Get ready to hear him use slang that was popular twenty years ago and for his pop-culture references to be just at old.  “This passage reminds me of that Joey character from the popular sitcom Blossom.”  Also, prepare for more Greek and Hebrew words.  THEY ARE COMING!

I hope this helps. 

And when you see your pastor ditch trendy clothes for a cardigan and penny loafers remember that you heard it here first.

(Which warning signs did I miss?  Has this started happening to your pastor? Share away!)