Today's Theologians Rock With the Oldies06/29/2008
By Becky Garrison
Christian publishing needs to be relevant for the New Millennium, so we decided to see what might happen if some of today’s best-selling authors re-wrote the Christian classics.
The Pilgrim's Progress (as walked again by Emergent Village)
As I power-walked through the maze of the missional mall, I lighted on the food court wherein was a Starbucks, and I went into that place for a Grande Fair-Trade Latte with a whisper of cinnamon: and, as I sipped, I plugged in my Mac and began searching for a generative friendship. I blogged and twittered until behold, I saw a Phd. candidate with a godly goatee, winking right at me, wearing a faith-faded “The Church Basement Roadshow: A Rolickin’ Gospel Revival” organic cotton T-shirt, surrounded by bags from Abercrombie & Fitch, the Body Shop and the Gap, a laptop perched on top of his perfectly creased khakis and a copy of The Audacity of Hope peeking from a Borders bag. I looked, and saw him put down the laptop and open the book with his well manicured hands, and read therein; and, as he read, he wept, and trembled; and, not being able longer to contain, he burst out with childish glee, “Emergents Endorse Obama!”
The Confessions of St. Augustine (reinvented by Creflo Dollar, with inspiration from Fred Price and Kenneth Copeland)
Late have I loved Me, O Lord; and behold, Thou anointed me and I increased, and there I rewarded Me. I was about me when I did pray to Thee. I didst bless, and beg, and increase my riches. I didst pray, and preach, and collect my fees.
Thou didst motivate me, and I yearned for my reward. For Thyself I hast paid me, And restless my bonus be until in Thee they donate with ease. Late have I loved Me, My ministry ever divine and ever Mine. Thee hast burst my bank asunder; for unto thee will I ask for another praise offering.
The Revelations of Divine Love (as re-interpreted by Thomas Weeks III)
This is an Assault of Love for Juanita Bynum, my Suitable Helper, adorned with spiritual slaps or punches of prosperity. Of which the first is of the rule of thumb, which was debunked as a misguided myth by unworthy women, and restored through my godly wisdom, with many fair showings of blessed beatings in public: in which I beat off the evils of Eve through the use of sacred sticks, each one smaller in diameter than my manly thumb.
Genesis 2 (as retold by the editorial board of New Press)
Thus the partisan progressives and the politicians were elevated, and all the handful of them.
And on the seventh day select partisan progressives submitted eight books which they had written; and they talked on the seventh day about all the meetings which they had made.
And the Tides Foundation funded the seventh day, and sanctified it so that these mighty mavericks could promote all the social justice actions which they had created and made.
These are the generations of the partisan progressives and of the politicians when they were elevated, in the day that the New Press reclaimed the Spiritual Left, And it found adamant activists from the hatred for the Religious Right, and edited their PC prose, and adamant activists became actual authors.
And the New Press planted a publishing line, and there it put the activist authors whom it had published. And out of this generative garden made the New Press to grow every piece of prose that is partisan to the core, and leaning to the left; the book of liberal life also in the midst of their peaceful ponderings, and the book of knowledge of justice and tolerance.
And the New Press took the activist authors, and put them into the arena of partisan politics to pimp them. And the New Press commanded the authors, saying, Of every book of my publishing line thou must freely read: But of the tree of the knowledge of justice and tolerance, thou must memorize: for in the day that you forget our mighty manifesto, you will surely perish.
And the New Press said, It is not good that activist authors should be alone; I will make faithful followers for them. And on the Internet, the New Press googled every blogger on the left, and every noted left-winger on the air, and brought them unto the activist authors to see if they would promote them: and whenever the activist authors spoke, they claimed to speak for all believers. And the activist authors spoke before CNN’s Compassion Forum, and to the Christian conference circuit, and to every malleable media source that would reply, but for these activist authors there was not found an entry to the White House.
And the New Press caused a deep sleep to fall upon Americans of all faiths, and they slept: and New Press took out their backbones, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the backbone, which the New Press had taken from the faithful, they gave to the activist authors to prop them up before the pandering people.
And the activist authors said, Americans are now bone of my backbone, and faith of my faith: they shall be called religious relics, because they surrendered unto us. Therefore shall an activist author envision an America where loving your neighbor is the law of the land, and push for a radical version of Shalom: and America will be a partisan progressive playground.
And they all were all-stars in the faith, the partisan progressives and his politicians, and were not ashamed.
The Dark Night of the Soul (as re-written by Joel Osteen)
Into this dark night, God wants you to do big things. God wants to let in the light, so you can be filled with abundance and all the riches of the world. Although you engage in small-minded thinking, God wants to enlarge your vision. He can supernaturally turn your life around. Never, ever think of this dark night again but focus on living your best life now.
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola (re-imagined by Dr. James Dobson)
To have the Godly will in which we ought to have to make the church militant,
Let the Fundamental Rule be obeyed: To be right in everything, we ought always to hold that the world in which we live is black and white, as the Religious Right so declares it, believing that between the White House, the Congress, the Supreme Court, and Our Party, there is the same Spirit by which we govern and which directs us for the sake of ourselves. Because by the same Spirit and our Lord Who gave the Ten Commandments, our Christian nation the United States is directed and governed.
The Imitation of Christ (reinterpreted by Paula White)
“Ye who follows Me, walks not in darkness,” says I to my fans. By the blood of Christ, we are reminded that his thorns are but a symbol of debt, poverty and lack, for that Christ took on for us so we could live voluptuously and free from all debt. Let your chief effort, therefore, break the curse of poverty.
My teachings on wealth are more excellent than all the words of Christ, for we now have direct access to the holiest of holies. Now there are many who say they worship Christ often, but they remain poor because Jesus said don’t pray to me. I am but the first fruit. He is not the only begotten son of God but our high priest. He became poor that you might become rich and come into your own priestly anointing.
Mere Christianity (reworked by Bishop John Shelby Spong)
I now dismiss that part of Christianity where I differ most sharply from all orthodox teachings. There is no vice of which every man in the world cannot enjoy; which leaders in the church loathe when they or someone else pursue the pleasures of this life; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that that they are engaged in “sin.” I have heard Christians confess their faults for they are in need of a savior since they are but fallen creatures. I do not think I have ever heard anyone who was not a Christian accuse himself of these faults. In fact, I have very seldom met anyone, who chose to follow my teachings, who showed the slightest interest in creedal confessions. Whatever diminishes my enjoyment will be called evil, and whatever enhances my pleasure will be called good. Anything that gives me a sense of my own worth and dignity is worthy of validation.