Thursday, March 21, 2013

How to Create an Atheist: Step 1

About a Week and a half ago, I posted a teaser blog about an upcoming blog series.  I called that post:
If you have not read that post, please take a look at it.  If you have and want to refresh your memory then go take a 2nd look.  This will be here when you get back.

I presented the idea that the church has some responsibility in the creation of many of today's modern Atheists.  I have defined and discerned 6 things that church people do that cause people to turn away from the faith, from the church and ultimately from GOD, and if we follow these steps verbatim and exactly then we can create valid and fortified Atheists.  So without further ado I present the beginning.  The proverb says that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.  So I present to you Step #1 in creating an Atheist


I want you to notice a couple of things that this first step does not say.
ONE: it does not say claim the name of Christ.  There is a difference in claiming the name of Jesus and claiming the name Christian.

TWO:  It does not say don't claim the name Christian.  It says don't be obnoxious about it.

EXAMPLE.  I remember one of the first seasons of a little know and somewhat successful show called Survivor.  For those of you who don't know this is a show that takes people from all walks of life and places them on a island and says survive, and we will watch and be entertained by their antics and issues.  Well in this particular season there was an African American lady (I don't remember her name nor do I care to) who was a "christian".  I put that in quotation marks because of how she used that title.  She was loud about being a christian and would say things like "I don't do that beccause I'm a Christian"  which is not bad, but she also said things like "You shouldn't do that around be because I'm a Christian!"  and "I'm a Christian you better do _________"  or "I'm a Christian so____!"  Every time she spoke she was flaunting in everyone's face that she was a Christian.    It was almost like she was using the name Christian to exert conrol over the people on the island.  As a believer myself I enjoy seeing other followers of Christ on TV and in reality shows and I enjoy seeing them do well in these circumstances, but this woman was annoying the begeeses out of everyone.  I wanted to do more than vote her off the island, I wanted them to throw her in the ocean and let her swim back to civilization.

It is this type of force that has caused the Church to have a bad name and it is what I call OBNOXIOUS.

John 13:34-35" A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

exerting force upon people to get them to get them to follow your religious ideas is not loving one another!

I see this type of manipulation throughout society. So I present to you a list of christians that are obnoxious and annoying.

First there are the Political Christians. These are the people in politics who have taken the label Christian and placed it on their cause. They are not out to further the Kingdom of God. They are out to further their own political agenda. They use the name of the Church and the name Christian to bend the will of the people to their side. Usually they only seem to want to promote themselves and could care less about the people they are trying to help.

Then there are the Cathartic Christians. These are the ones on TV who seem to have an emotional existential reaction everytime they even hear the words Jesus, Christ, or Amen. They have the distinct ability to cry on cue and seem to have some sort of catharsis every five minutes. They are running on emotional highs and look at you funny when you don't have the same reaction.

Then there are the Bully Christians. These people want to force you to live life the way they live it and force everyone to follow their strict interpretation of the teaching of Scripture. (which by the way their teachings are not always accurate.) We will talk more about these people in Step 2.   

This list is by no means exhaustive. These are just some examples of Obnoxious Christianity. I am sure you can come up with others on your own.

The one thing we need to remeber is what the name Christian means. This is the definition taken from

Chris·tian (krschn)
1. Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
2. Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus's teachings.
3. Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.
4. Relating to or characteristic of Christianity or its adherents.
5. Showing a loving concern for others; humane.
1. One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
2. One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus.

Wiki answers (which is probably not the best source but I like this response) says of the origin of the name Christian.

Christian means "Christ-like." That is the origin of it. The early Christians were noted by their neighbors to be like Christ, so they called them Christians. The Bible states that they were first called Christians in Antioch.

Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

We are called Christians because we claim to be like Christ. If we are going to claim to be like Christ we should strive to be like Christ. In reading the Gospels, Jesus was an annoyance, but he wasn't annoying. He was a stumbling block for some, but he wasn't obnoxious. He was the humble servant who showed the way of Love.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him athe name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ isLord, to the glory of God the Father.

Phillipians 2:1-11
Remember you are the only Jesus some people are ever going to see and the only Bible some people are ever going to read. Are you going to be obnoxious and chase people away by forcing your religion upon people or are we going to be true followers and disciples of Christ, and win them with the true Gospel of Christ.


Hair (the Theolobster)


Thursday, March 7, 2013

How to Create an Atheist in 6 Easy Steps!

I went to a prominent Christian College in Tigerville, SC.   This was a place where the motto was "Where Christ Makes the Difference."  It was a world where Christianity was accepted, and embraced. There were people praying on the streets, in the parking lots, in classes, in chapels, on the fields, in dorm rooms or wherever it was possible.  There was never the question of the existence of God, nor was there ever the question that Jesus was the Christ.  There was no doubt.  The idea that God didn't exist was almost foolhardy.  It was like telling the elves in the North Pole that Santa Clause didn't exist, or the people in the White House that there was no president.  It just didn't happen.  Almost everyone I went to school with is now serving in some form of ministry whether it is professional, part time, or volunteer.  Everyone I know of of course except for this one guy I know of who graduated the year after me.  I befriended him on a social networking site and have discovered that he does not believe as he once did.  In fact, he has gone the extreme other end of things.  His postings and statuses center around atheism.  My friend who went a Christian College is Now an Atheist?!

This bothered me for some time.  I had to ask myself some questions.  What happened to him to make him not only renounce Christianity, but renounce the whole idea of God altogether?  What did he experience to undergo such a drastic change?  Then I had to ask:  Is he the only one?  Have others gone down a similar path, and if so why?  I then started mulling over the possible causes, and I had to ask did the church do something to help him decide there was no God?  and if so what?

I started pondering this and sought guidance on the internet, in other experts both Christian and non to discover what might be going on to encourage atheism. During this quest I encountered several other people, students at the university where I am a campus minister, who claimed that they were once completely involved with their local congregation or parish and were fully immersed in their religious practices.  They grew up believing there is a God and did not question His existence.  Now that they are being weened from their parents, they are questioning not only their religion and their parents' faith, but whether this God they so vehemently believed in actually exists at all.  So I started to look at the church and see where we have gone wrong.

I made a few discoveries of How We as the people of God have turned people not only into non Christians, but into Atheists. There are certain practices and habits that have permeated our churches and our religion that have allowed this problem to fester and grow.  I have found that there are 6 things that we as the the church do that have led to this birth of Atheist, and over the next several blogs we will investigate it, and maybe we will learn something together.

 I call this How to Create an Atheist in 6 Easy Steps, and if we as the church will follow these steps then we can have bonafide atheists.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Calling

I have a friend in Northern Ireland who runs a ministry called Project Evangelism.  He is an amazing man by the name of John Moxen.  He has been doing ministry there for about 40+ years.   He has spent his entire ministry working through the strife and animosity between Catholics and Protestants in the area.  He has outlived the hatred and destruction and has a ministry that is respected and effective.  He says that he has never asked for money or for things, but God has provided what he needs through other people and other means.

I have tried to do my ministry this way, but I have been most unsuccessful.  For those who may or may not know I am a support raising missionary.  I am currently serving as the campus minister on the campus of Widener University in Chester, PA.  (for those of you who do not know where that is. It just outside of Philly (or Philadelphia for you who still don't know.))  Widener is a private institution with an enrollment of 6,600 students, and within those 6,600 students there is only one Christian student organization.  That is the small group called LOGOS.  I am the teacher and guide to these students.

LOGOS started with one student who wanted to change her campus.  With her help we gathered several more.  As of 2012, we have 15+ students actively participating in faith life on campus and sharing their faith with their fellow students.  There is still much work to do much that needs to be accomplished.  As I said there are 15 students actively involved.  There are 6,585 that are not.   I know I cannot reach them all, but I can sure try.

the Students of LOGOS
The problem is, and the reason for this particular blog is that recently I have hit some financial setbacks.  Let's face it, this economy is tough and it ain't getting better.  I understand this, but I know that my God has not abandoned me and my ministry is worth continuing.  The problem is I cannot do it without asking for help.  If you have read this far in the blog please consider supporting me in my ministry.  I am issuing what I call the
2:2 CHALLENGE.  It is a means for me to raise my support and to let the world know what I need to survive the next year and semester.  This is how it breaks down:

I have two categories that I need help in.

 First one is monthly support.  I am looking to raise $2,000* in monthly support.  That means I need people to pledge an amount of money to send in monthly to the North American Mission Board earmarked to me and my ministry.  You would become my monthly partners in the work that God is doing on the campus of Widener University.  Although I would love it if someone could do the whole batch alone, I am hoping and praying for many people to join in and help.

20 people @ $100 dollars a month
10 people @ $200 dollars a month
50 people @ $40 dollars a month
100 people @ $20 dollars a month
200 people @ $10 dollars a month*

It is not that outlandish of a request.  This money will allow for the continuation of a growing and flourishing ministry on the campus.

The second part of the 2:2 CHALLENGE is for those people who cannot commit to monthly support, but want to give something.  I am also trying to raise $2000 in one time gifts*.  Again I am not asking for all of it from a single source.  The same breakdown as before applies no only with out the monthly comittment. It is a one time gift of $50, $100, or $200 or whatever the Lord lays on your heart.  This money will help me catch up on some bills and provide meals for me and my students and will help fund a much needed trip to South Carolina to see my family and connect with some ministries down there and do some more one on one fund raising.

I do not ask for money very often, and this Challenge is only the beginning of what is needed.  I was raised that you worked for what you get.  I am working hard doing the work of God on the Campus.  I am seeing lives changed, students finding the value in the word of God, connecting to missions, and uniting with a form of church that is both missional and functional.  Many are incountering the Word of God for the first time and are coming to a faith that encourages them and challenges them to reach out beyond themselves.  I am working and asking the Lord to provide.  Perhaps he has called you to help with that provision.  I have included a link to my online giving account.  That will take you to a page that will give you more information about me and my ministry.

Answer the 2:2 Challenge online giving

Please click on it and see what it is all about.  Please pray and let God lead you.  Please consider supporting this ministry.

If you need more information or want to talk to me email me at or find me on Facebook

thank you and Shalom
Michael Hair Kelley
the Theolobster

*Every contribution is made through the North American Mission Board and is tax deductable.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Christian Reality TV? the next evangelist

In my patrolling of the internet and Facebook, I stumbled upon an interesting series called the Next evangelist. I am not sure how I feel about this particular series. For those of you who do not know, and I am sure that there are many out there, this series is a venture of the Christian community into the world of modern reality television. (I use the phrase modern because if you think about it Christians invented reality TV when we began airing church services on networks, but I digress, that is another topic I have yet to flesh out.) Anyway The Next Evangelist is promoting itself as a way to find the next great national speaker and evangelist comparable to Billy Graham and Martin Luther King Jr. I kind of like the concept, but still am not sure. (This coming from the guy who presented an idea similar to this in jest during several conversations, but I called it Last Preacher Standing.) I see potential good things that may come out of this and I see some troubling sticking points.

One of the Good things I see is that someone has acknowledged that there is a need for a strong voice in this world for Christ, and is trying to do something about it. The voices of King, Graham, Sunday, Edwards, Wesley, and other great men and women of God are fading fast from the public ear. They have become relegated to quotes in books, sermons, and random pointless facebook postings. Their words have been diluted by our culture and often misused and misquoted. Instead of calling the people to repentance, they are cut and pasted to make us feel good about ourselves. There is a need for the voice of God to be heard again on a large scale. It needs to come from some source that the people will actually hear and listen to. I think we have several preachers on the public scale who don't say what needs to be said and hide the Gospel in a story and a smile, or they have said what needs to be said in such a way that they have become a nuisance a caricature of what a true evangelist needs to be. Usually filled with anger and wrath of God yet missing the passion and love of God. So yes there needs to be a voice that speaks loudly and with authority to call the world to repentance.

Another Good thing is that the founders of this site are trying to draw attention to the social problems of this nation. A post on their facebook page says: "One of our goals with the show is to address the big problems we see in our society...the ones nobody wants to discuss." There are many ideas as to what these big problems are, and they are right, there are a lot of things that the church has handled wrong and other things to which it has turned a blind eye. So much so that the world thinks that we don't care about certain issues and are an annoyance concerning others. It may be good to show the church that it should be caring about the world around it and should see things through a different perspective.

Now for the possible problems with this approach. These are simply some questions that come to my mind when I place some serious thought on this subject:

1. Will this approach be viewed by the world and the church as a satirical commentary saying that those Christians are once again taking something that was created and popularized by the world and trying to jump on the bandwagon for attention and credit?

2. Is a competition really the best way to achieve their goals? I have seen competition shows, and the prize is not as important as winning. For instance the Bachelorette becomes less about forming a lasting relationship with a beautiful woman and more about beating the rest of the guys and shaming them. My problem is will the message of the Gospel get lost in the egos and personas of the preachers who are preaching the Gospel, and this event becomes more about the participants trying to outdo each other to eliminate their "competitors," ignoring and using the masses of people who need to hear the Gospel for their own edification.

3. Is this Spirit led or human led? Is this how God will choose the next prophet for this country? God has done stranger things and have chosen lesser men in more unique ways. I think of Amos the farmer, Jeremiah the priest, Hosea who married a prostitute, David a shepherd, John the Baptist who lived like a wildman, Peter a fisherman, Paul who was set to kill all Christians, Matthew a tax collector, and the list goes on. Time and time again God chose men in unique ways to do what needed to be done. Is this just another one of those ways?

Regardless of the good things and problems, I am going to keep my eye on this venture called The Next Evangelist. It may be that God has a plan to do something great with it, or it may flop and never become more than an idea. We shall see.

Until next time
the Theolobster

check out their website and see what you think:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

40/40 Day 40 Twas the night before Easter...

Twas the night before Easter
and all through the church...

That does sound like a good opening to a poem.  Perhaps I will write it someday, but not today.  Tonight we are preparing to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Tonight is technically the last night of Lent and tomorrow for all of you who have put off something is the day you can celebrate having done it and you can eat your carbs, your sugar, carnivorous meals of meat and poultry.  You no longer have to deny yourselves caffeine and coffee, and all sorts of things that we have put aside for spiritual renewal.  That is of course if you want to.  It is also the time for those of us who have taken on something for Lent to take a break and a respite from doing whatever it is.  That is of course if you want to.

Tonight is the last blog I have to do in a row.  I don't have to schedule time in my day to blog whether it be in the evening which has been my habit, or the morning which has been my intention.  However, the habit has been formed.  I will want to blog.  I need to blog.  I will limit my blogging to a minimum of one or two a week and possibly more if the spirit moves.  I have learned through this that I can express myself online and that there are some people out there in the world who will read it and not comment directly to me.  Some have given me "likes" on facebook and have agreed with what I have to say.  So this is a valuable habit and growth point for me.  That is what Lent is all about, adding valuable habits and room to grow in you walk with Christ.

As I sit here typing my last blog of Lent, I am reflecting on the apostles, and what they must have been feeling on that Passover Saturday.  They had just witnessed the death of their Messiah.  Oh the questions and doubts that were going through their minds? They knew that they were safe from being touched or killed on that Sabbath day, but what would the next day hold?  Would the Romans be looking for them?  Would the Sanhedrin want them dead as well?  What was going to happen to them?  Was Jesus really the Messiah?  If so then why is he dead?  What do we do now?  Everything they had lived for and were chasing after was now gone.  They sat and were probably in despair this day, and they could do nothing about it.  It was their Sabbath.  It was Passover.  They were limited on where they could go and what they could do.  All they could do is wait.

We know the end of the story.  We know what tomorrow holds.  We know what Easter holds.  They did not. We must remember that when the world seems darkest and everything is blowing up in our face. God has read the end of the story.  He knows what tomorrow holds.  He has seen the empty tomb and He has seen light at the end of the tunnel and it is not a train.  It is HIM.  So tonight rest in the peace of God and know that He has it all under control.

The Theolobster

Friday, April 6, 2012

40/40 Day 39 Concerning Good Friday, Easter Eggs, and Veggie Tales

Today is the 39th blog.  Today is also Good Friday.  As a church the Foundry hasn't always done events well. We have always had problems connecting people to the next event or getting them to come through the doors of the church. We have tried several techniques of meeting the same people, talking to the same people, inviting folks from the same area, having the same type of events that attracted people the first time.  They have not always worked.

This week we have finally have some success in connecting people to our programs.  One person in particular, was the campus safety guard at Widener who was posted at the corner of fraternity row which was next to the Lathem Hall which was where we had our Redemption program.  He spent a majority of his time that night listening to our program, and watching the presentations.  He connected with us and we connected with him.

Today we had our annual Good Friday Easter Egg Hunt in Hepford Park. .  This event brought about a hundred or more families, (I am not sure if anyone actually counted).  It was an amazing event with photos, 1800 plastic eggs, and the Chic-fil-a cow.   We had invited the Security Guard, John, to bring his son and family to join us and this morning he showed up.

Well this afternoon we had a movie and a lunch. We invited the kids that came to the Easter Egg Hunt to come to the movie.  We had lunch provided by Chic-Fil-a, and the movie was Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie.  We had about 50 people including kids, families, and students.  Among this conglomeration of people was John our Campus Safety friend and his family.

Easter Sunday we are having a pancake breakfast and worship.  We invited John and family to join us.  Let us hope he comes.

There are a lot of things we can do to affect and minister to the community.  We can do a big event every now and then.  We can provide occasional blessings for them, and we can have minor contact with them, but these are only dressings of the wounds of life, or just casual contact.  These may reach people eventually and plant seeds of truth and love, but it is in the everyday and more than casual contact that we actually reach people.  It is about forming friendships and community.  The church was built by Jesus and his Disciples in friendship and relationship.  The people Paul reached were done through relationship.  We have to make true and lasting connections with people.  We have to go to where people are and invite them into our family and our lives.  That is what we are doing with LOGOS, and what we are doing with John.  We will continue to try to do this with the rest of the community.

I pray that we will learn from our successes and our failures.

The Theolobster

Thursday, April 5, 2012

40/40 Day 38 Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday whichever you wish to call it.  As I have said before, I do not come from a liturgical background, and I do not have a tradition of celebrating any of the days of Holy Week.  However I have recently participated in several services centered around this Maundy Thursday idea.

The first was several years ago.  The concept then was to commemorate and teach the arrest, betrayal, and death of Jesus.  There was no Good Friday service at this church nor a community Good Friday service.  I am not sure that they do that in the south. This service sparked emotions of despair and hopelessness.  It was designed to leave us with the feelings that the disciples and apostles must have had on the day that Jesus was arrested and killed.  I am not sure if that is right, but it was one of the most powerful and thought provoking services in which I had ever participated.

In my current church setting we began discussing the Passover meal that Jesus and his disciples ate.  For several years we talked over the images of Christ in the Passover meal.  We learned that the Jewish feasts all predict and image Christ's coming and sacrifice, from the spotless lamb, to the blood on the doorpost, to the matzah that is made with holes and stripes and is broken.  Even the juice/wine and the cups have special significance and meaning.  It is a celebration and a commemoration of the plight from Egypt and the death, burial and Resurrection of Christ.

Tonight we had a full Seder service (my first one).  We did the whole meal and interjected the Christian symbolism into it.  We talked about what it meant and what it means.   We will continue to do this and celebrate it.  I am waiting to take the next step.  I would love to sit in on and participate in an actual Passover meal with an authentic Jewish family who know all of the secrets, rites and rituals and who perform them as they are meant to be performed without explanation.  While what we did tonight had its merits and was well accepted and informative.  I think an actual Passover meal would be an unique and powerful experience.

One more note about tonight.  Our church, The Foundry Church in Wallingford, PA,  has many different ministries going on.  We have several Bible studies that happen at the church as well as on Widener Universities campus, and not all of the people come together or even meet.  There are some people who only come to Tuesday nights at the church.  There are others who only come on Thursdays, while others we only see on Sundays, and the college students only come to things on campus or are directed to them.  Tonight we had people from all portions and parts of our ministries.  We had about 30 people with representatives from all our ministries.   It was a true representation of our church and good view of what the Church and body of Christ is all about.

Anyway the point is no matter how you commemorate this day.  Whether it is with a dark ominous and foreboding service, or a family seder meal, or just a worship service, this day is a day that deserves notice and a day that sparked the change in the world.  Remember that Maundy Thursday leads to Good Friday which leads to Resurrection Sunday!

Hair the Theolobster