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21 Responses

  1. Terry says:

    Rather than just being that guy who showed up one day, I thought I would introduce myself. Seeing the film Jesus Revolution had me digging around the internet for the real CC history and I somehow found this site. For a few months I was just a lurker.

    I got saved at 13 in 1974, just as the Jesus Movement was hitting the Midwest. By 1979 (it’s a long story) I became a part of Keith Green’s Last Days Ministries. My brother and I were the artists who produced The Last Days Newsletter. This was where I met my wife (Keith’s secretary), got married and became a father for the first time. We left in 1987 when LDM was going through a split and moved to the San Fernando Valley where my wife’s family lived. A year later I was art director at Maranatha! Music, followed by creating music covers for Frontline Records in 1995. A decade later I was art director for Purpose Driven Publishing from 2004-2005.

    I’ve lived in north San Diego County since 1998. Although I’ve never been a regular at a Calvary Chapel, as a church board member and small group leader, I’ve seen how the CC influence permeates evangelicalism here. The fundamentalism behind a Hawaiian shirt, the anti-intellectualism, the Zionism, the Pre-Trib eschatology and odd Hebrew Roots movement teachings are all part of the religious culture one encounters here on a daily basis.

    What I’ve found on Phoenix Preacher confirms everything I’ve seen and felt in my interactions with CC. Related to this, over the past decade I’ve reconsidered a lifetime of held theological views, which I’m sure has come out in my comments. I’m not sure if I deconstructed or reconstructed, but by God’s grace I’m still here and I believe.

    Anyway, I’m so glad I joined the conversation.

  2. Michael says:

    Terry,

    We are really glad you joined in…I’ve enjoyed your participation here.

    We probably have more connections in common than I can say publicly…have undoubtedly encountered many of the same people for good or ill.

    Your assessment of the “movement” will ring true to many…

  3. Officerhoppy says:

    Terry
    Loved reading your “bio”. Interesting that you are an artist (illustrator?). That’s what my brother does. He was nominated for a Grammy for the album Paradise Theater” by sticks.

    You might enjoy looking at some of his work @ chrishopkinsart.com

    Love to see some of your work.

    Chris moved from illustration to fine art several years ago.

    Thanks again for telling your story

  4. Terry says:

    Officerhoppy – Your brother’s work is impressive, and shows that illustrator conceptual thinking. really nice stuff.

    I’ve worked mainly in marketing and graphics, but still play around in fine art:
    https://www.instagram.com/terrydegraff/

  5. Officerhoppy says:

    Saturday morning musing

    As I have walked the halls of Christianity for 53 years I’ve noticed an interesting dynamic.

    There seems to be a popular Jesus that many Evangelicals worship but there is also the historical Jesus that isn’t quite as nice.

    To the popular Jesus people, every good event that happens in life is a direct act of God. Whether it be an apparent answer to prayer, a financial gift, or any thing that has a positive outcome they say something like “Isn’t God good”.

    But when things aren’t as pleasant, they are silent

    Scholar Claudia Setzer in her article “The many faces of Jesus” makes this observation: “ The historical Jesus and the Jesus of the early church bear little resemblance to one another. Even more tenuous is the connection between the historical Jesus and later Christianity. The flesh and blood Jesus of the late 20’s of the first century gave way to the reinterpreted Jesus and interpreted Jesus of the ‘70’s and 80’s and was superseded by the ‘Christ of faith’ of the latter church”.

    Seems to me the popular Jesus people follow a Jesus who is more human than divine. He comes off as the perfect model or example of humanity for all to worship or strive to be like as opposed to a Savior who rescued humanity of the bondages of depravity

    They will talk a lot about the crucifixion and the horror of the cross. But his death often times is seen as nothing more than the beginning of humans becoming better people.

    If we lived the sermon on the mount, we’d have the answer to the prayer Jesus taught his disciples “thy kingdom come they will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.

    The popular Jesus is the Jesus followed and worshipped by many MAGA Christians. They act as if God’s primary work is to prosper them and America through economic and military strength. This isn’t the Jesus I read about in the scriptures.

  6. Officerhoppy says:

    Terry
    Nice work, pal!

    Loved the sketches

  7. Terry says:

    Officerhoppy – My brother became a Hallmark Illustrator for 20+ years and retired 10 years ago to pursue landscape painting. Unlike me, he’s earned the title real artist. Here’s a link:
    https://www.larrydegraff.com/works

  8. Officerhoppy says:

    He does nice work too! Amazing

  9. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    I don’t have the link directly to share but former MH co-founder Mike Gunn did a vodcast I’m going to get to about why he didn’t contribute to the CT series. He noted that a lot of people he knew from the Mars Hill years opted not to talk to Mike Cosper or go on record. Yep, I know. I mention it because it’s linked in the following post. SOmeone has declaimed that livestream isn’t church and your pastor isn’t online. Easy to say in Arizona but livestream is how some of us pulled off church for years during the WA state covid lockdowns. More to the point, a guy who preached to most of his dozen campuses via DVD a week after he did his sermon comes off like the pot calling the kettle black about live stream. Something Mike Gunn pointed out about Mark is how “present” he is and how many U-turns he did when his own circumstances change. That’s the thing I”ve noticed, too, over the last twenty-five years and I can’t help but think Mike saw it even more with Driscoll than I ever could.

    https://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2023/09/today-mark-driscoll-tweets-that.html

    I’m reading Philip Ewell’s book on white supremacist defaults in music theory education. We differ on a few things but objecting to the white supremacist default of 19th century Germanophile art religion in classical music is ultimately not one of them. 🙂

  10. Em says:

    Oficer Hoppy @10:07 AM
    AMEN! ! !

  11. The New Victor says:

    I came here to ask if watching Jesus Revolution was worth my time. On related note, I watched the kids all day on mommy’s time while she attended a Life Surge event. I abstain from commenting upon her life (NOMB), and am happy to get any extra time with our kids. From the clip she posted on the Facebook, she purchased the $397 ticket to be by the stage :^p

    She thanked me for watching the kids and I replied no problem and left it at that.

  12. Michael says:

    TNV,

    Lots of former CC people liked it…I haven’t and don’t intend on seeing it.

  13. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    to demonstrate (at length!) I’ve been more in the music, music history and music theory wheelhouse since the big 2014 closure … if anyone wants to read about an obscure Bohemian guitarist composer this weekend I have got the post for you. 😉

    https://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2023/09/an-analysis-of-matiegkas-op-17-sonate.html

    It’s the 250th anniversary of Wenzel Thomas Matiegka’s baptism (birth suffices) and I couldn’t resist doing ultra long-form write-ups on each of his sonatas, a project that will doubtless sprawl into 2024.

    Back in my Pentecostal dispensationalist youth I didn’t think I’d be around long enough to have discovered Matiegka’s music or write about it. I’m hugely grateful an AG youth pastor in the Willamette valley introduced me to non-dispensational interpretations of Revelation and I’ve been an amillennial partial preterist for decades since.

    I wanted to get into visual art and comics when I was a kid but swiftly discovered I didn’t have the eyes for it and then things got worse. Switched to music in my teens. I wasn’t going to become the next Hayao Miyazaki anyway.

  14. Officerhoppy says:

    Found this interesting from Carey Nieuwhof on reasons why people are leaving Christianity. Kinds aligns with Michael’s post on the pastoral Exodus

    1. Overfocusing on Content at the Expense of Connection

    Let’s start here.

    In the early days of the pandemic, as almost every church pivoted to online, there was a lot of experimentation with different forms of ministry and connection.

    Then a lot of churches abandoned experimentation in favor of adaptation.

    Soon, most churches gave up doing almost anything other than streaming Sunday services or offering them on demand.

    Yes, groups ran in the background, and a few other endeavors were attempted, but for most churches, the innovation stopped.

    It’s like the old obsession with church attendance has become the new obsession with content consumption.

    The problems associated with that are many.

    First, people can get great content anywhere. So they do.

    Second, what your church has to offer that others don’t is connection – a real relationship.

    Content alone won’t build the future – connection will.

    Moving forward, rethink what you’re doing online to make it more about connection than consumption.

    Connection leads to community and relationship – with God and each other.

    Moving forward, make the goal of digital content connection, not consumption.

    I’ll have a lot more to say about this in future posts, but let’s leave it there for now.

    2. An Obsession With Attracting, Not Equipping

    It’s great to get a lot of views, but the deeper question is, what do those views produce?

    In the same way, a lot of us (myself included) love to see a full room. Watching your view count can be a great dopamine hit (for more on what triggers you and why you love full rooms/large views/record stats, read this).

    It’s just so easy to focus on attracting, not equipping. And that has seemed to be a quick snap back for many church leaders as they have tried to fill up their less-than-full auditoriums during 2021.

    To some extent, the pandemic-era church revealed what we had produced: lots of attenders who, once the pattern was interrupted, stopped attending.

    It was easy to assume we had cultivated devotion, but instead, we’d really created attendance habits that quickly dissolved once the pattern was interrupted.

    To reference the over-used proverb, perhaps we took too many people fishing, but never taught them how to fish.

    For years here, we’ve discussed the need to focus on engagement, not attendance.

    In the digital disruption that’s changed so much, the focus has to shift further from engagement to equipping.

    With more people moving than ever, the rise of location-independent churches, and the fragmentation that digital options create, it’s almost like you have to view the people you reach like a teenager who needs to learn to cook, clean, and budget before heading off to college.

    Disciples who know how to follow Jesus endure much better than church leaders (priestly, pastoral, or celebrity) who get discipleship wrong.

    And, of course, that makes engagement even more important. Engagement that leads to connection, that leads to community, that leads to equipping.

    That was kind of the mission all along, but the recent crisis has brought it into even sharper focus.

    3. Christian Meanness on Social Media

    2020 and 2021 may have been the years when almost everyone considered deleting their social media accounts. I know I did.

    I searched for the right adjective to describe the tone of Christian posts I’ve seen, and the best one I could come up with was ‘mean.’

    What many church leaders forget is that whenever you post, the world is watching.

    That jab you took at someone you don’t like. That right hook you threw at someone who’s different than you. The cynical/angry/sarcastic rant you posted thinking you told everyone what they need to know.

    You know those posts? The ones that get commented on and shared because the internet likes anger?

    Those posts.

    I’m guessing it leaves non-Christians wondering why Christians are so mean. At least, it leaves me wondering that.

    The unchurched are watching. And listening. And for the most part, you don’t even realize they are. But your profile is public. And they know. They’re connecting the dots.

    And maybe, just maybe, while they’re watching and listening, they’re walking away.

    2020 was not the Christian world’s finest hour on social media.

    Time and time again, when the world needed love, Christians gave it judgment.

    It’s not our job to judge the world. It’s our job to love it.

    Ultimately (and this is my challenge to myself), any tone issue isn’t really a tone issue: it’s a heart issue.

    Because out of the overflow of your heart, your mouth (and fingers) speak.

    When our hearts heal, the church will heal.

    4. Making Politics and Ideology More Important Than Theology

    I wonder if years from now we’ll talk to people who bailed on the church and realize the exodus during the pandemic and early post-pandemic era wasn’t medically induced, but politically induced.

    More than any other year I can remember, the evangelical church became inflamed politically and ideologically. Regardless of which direction you lean, it wasn’t pretty.

    Having lived and led in a post-Christian culture for decades now (Canada), my experience is that people who show up at a church in a post-Christian culture (which America is quickly becoming) aren’t looking for my political views or ideological bent – they’re looking for God.

    My hope is that Christians look, live, and sound much more like Jesus than the political candidate of their choice.

    The last vestiges of Christendom may be slipping away in America. And that’s not fatal to the church. Not in the least.

    The church was the church long before Constantine and has often been at its best when the culture is indifferent or hostile to it.

    It allows love, compassion, generosity, mercy, self-discipline, and self-sacrifice that characterize authentic Christianity to shine.

    And, contrary to what many believe, that is in abundant supply in many – if not most churches.

    The collapse of Christian culture should bring out the best in us, not the worst.

    What many church leaders are about to face is this truth: Unchurched people aren’t looking for Christendom. They’re looking for Christ.

    I pray they find him in our churches

  15. Terry says:

    Good article. There will be a lot of post mortem forensics after the great de-churching in America. We may not have experienced anything like this in our country before, but this has happened a lot historically around the world. As in Elijah’s time, there will still be those prophets who didn’t bow the knee to Baal.

  16. Officerhoppy says:

    Memories of 9/11 22 years later

    22 years ago today, I was flying home from St. Louis when the planes flew into the trade towers. We’re we’re grounded in Denver with no way home. As it is in the “fog of war” there is much confusion. There were reports of other planes having been hijacked in the Midwest. So for several hours, before I could get to a phone, my wife and kids were not sure if I was safe or not. When I finally called there were tears of relief.

    I spent two days in a hotel room outside of Denver and watched over and over again, the planes used as bombs—fly into the towers. Al I could do was weep.

    I was unable to get a plane ticket home, or a train ticket. Tried to rent a car but there were none. Attempted to rent a U-Hal. No luck

    I was, however, able to rent a car as long as it didn’t leave the Denver area. After two days, I told the manager that I needed to get back to Salem and help my church navigate this horrible event. He said yes, but that his boss said I needed a $500 drop off fee. Normally the drop off fee was $100.

    The guy paused and said “I can’t do that to you. It’s $100. Now get out of here!”.

    So I drove all night and the next day. All thru Wyoming, people stood at the overpasses waving American flags.

    When I pulled into the drive way of my home, a large American flag was draped outside our 2nd story window. Strange, cause I didn’t think we owned one.

    My wife advised it was the flag given to my WW2 veteran father at his funeral.

    For a moment, I was angry. Then I thought, my dad would have been proud of my wife

    I will never forget that day

  17. Em says:

    I was sleeping when the tone of voice on the radio woke me up. I got on the internet…… pretty grim

  18. Em says:

    Officerhoppy @ #4
    I have had two Christian women insult me…. one accused me of lying and the other, when we sold our house said, “Well, we won’t have to be “nice” to each other any more!”

  19. Linn says:

    Officer Hoppy,
    Not a word has been said at my school today about 9/11 or Patriot Day. I did mention to my classes why I wore red, white, and blue. I’m not wanting to publicly chastise the instigators, but remember those who died, most who were only in the wrong place at the wrong time. Remembering helps to prevent future incidents, too.

  20. Em says:

    Linn……
    AMEN< AMEN< AMEN

  21. Dan from Georgia says:

    If anyone here remembers or was a fan of Mylon LeFevre, Christian musician…he passed away on Sept 8 at the age of 78.

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