141 thoughts on “The Inevitable Conversion of Current Events To Tract Fodder”

    1. This article sickens me. How bout making one with a picture silhouette of a preacher with Qaddafi superimposed over it which reads “Break Free!” or “Down with Dictators!” on it? Oh I’m sorry, THAT would be considered offensive to the MOGs then right? Cause we KNOW they don’t exist. So we’ll use someone a lot less “holy” to build our propaganda right?

      At least my tract proposal might have some helpful info in it. πŸ™„

  1. While it is never inappropriate to consider one’s eternal state, it is also never appropriate to cheapen the death of any human by turning it into a cutesy play on words to draw attention to eternity. This is just so wrong on so many levels.

        1. It could say, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” and then maybe, “Pretty sure that means you, Jack.”

    1. Mounty: THANK you. You expressed exactly what I was feeling–and probably much more succinctly than I would have. My own experience with loss has shown me, like nothing else could have, how awfully our society deals with death and with the grieving. While one can never really “get it” without experiencing it, I have to believe we as a culture could go a long way toward being more sensitive.

  2. Tracts are an archaic form of witnessing to nominal Christians. Today’s use of tracts only serves the distributor, allowing them to feel useful in their quest for piety.

    1. I think that is true in general, but we did have a phone call this summer from a church in NC. The pastor was looking for a church for a truck driver from our area who read a tract with his church’s info and made a profession of faith.

      1. That’s not to say tracts are completely ineffective, or that their influence won’t increase back to mid 20th century numbers at some point. But for now, they don’t do a whole lot. So true is this, that the purveyors and creators of tracts have taken to “shock advertising” (todays SFL post and or the $100 bill folded on the ground as examples). When “Shock Advertising” is you main method of reaching your audience, your time is limited and your audience is narrow (see Howard Stern). 1 or 2 success stories about tracts are not enough to make a case for their continued use. And remember, tracts mainly just witness to people who have an evangelical background. So your audience becomes, nominal evangelicals, typically older american citizens, who feel guilty about not having maintained their piety, who don’t mind shock advertising.

    2. I think the current generation in lieu of tracts puts those types of things on their facebook page. They can make the rounds that way (preaching to the choir because very few fundies have facebook friends who wouldn’t already agree with whatever it is they are posting) and feel good about using the evil internet to “evangelize”.

      1. Or their blog. I came across a home decor/DIY project blog by a professional designer/decorator, and discovered after reading a few entries that she is a Christian. She doesn’t overdo it or get preachy–the main focus of her blog is still her design projects–but since I’ve been following her, I’ve seen a beautiful presentation of the gospel on her blog twice. THAT is effective in today’s generation, as opposed to stupid little booklets exploiting people’s fears.

        I can’t picture a fundy doing anything like this because they couldn’t resist preaching non-stop. πŸ™„

        1. Grr. I messed up this comment. I meant to point out that the internet IS a good tool for this generation if used correctly. But that’s not likely in fundydom.

  3. What’s with the “A.D.” here? You mean some people would think that Jobs was around before Christ? Cheap shot, cheaply done.

    (Nothing against the contemplation of eternity, but there’s a right way of going about it. It’s not this.)

    1. Darrell wasn’t saying that people would assume he was alive before Christ, he was just pointing out that the abbreviation B.C. always follows the date whereas A.D. always is supposed to precede the date.

      I’m a grammar Nazi, by the way. :mrgreen:
      (Does that count as Godwin’s law?) πŸ˜†

        1. Ahh. And now I see where I mistook your original post.

          I thought you were asking what was wrong with the A.D. and not wondering why it was there in the first place. I stand corrected. πŸ™‚

    1. When I was at my old fundy church, we were required to go out “soul winning” once a week. One week, I was told by the person I was “witnessing” to that I should be ashamed of myself for intruding into someone’s life to push my religion down their throat. When we finished and returned to the church, I asked our leader what I should have said. His reply? “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.”

      SFL: Totally twisting a Scripture reference to mean what you want, when in reality it means almost exactly the opposite of what you’re trying to say.

      1. Kaje, we had the same crap at my former fundy church in California. There was no other way to please God (as a witness) without participating in their scheduled “T.E.A.M Soulwinning” outreaches, which meant you had to knock on doors. They are quite (wrongly) convinced that cold call door-knocking is a biblical mandate.

        I personally hate it when some stranger knocks on my door, especially one with a religious objective.

        1. They use as their defense of going out two by two that Jesus sent out His disciples two by two. There is a reference in the book of Acts that Paul taught publicly and from house to house. I thought that was why we went out cold calling, but later on as I thought about it, I thought how do they know he wasn’t just going to the houses of the church members to visit them? It doesn’t say they went up and down the street to each house on the block does it? πŸ˜•

        2. @Macushlalondra: Oh, the damage that has been done by confusing descriptive for prescriptive. πŸ™ One of the outgrowths of ignoring things like genre–what type of literature a passage is–or, in too many cases, ignoring *the passage*. πŸ‘Ώ

        3. That was in the “Hobbit”
          Because you got that one thing wrong, I will discount everything you say from now on :-p

    1. Now, I think Darrell is making a point through satire.

      I’ve seen tracts immediately after 9/11 and I’ve seen tracts after the Tsunami and all of those “exploited” the deaths of thousands.

    2. no, it is real. I’ve seen it posted on a fundy pastor’s FB. He shared it from someone else. It had many comments of approval.

      The small print says:
      “WHOSE SOUL IS NOW AWAITING THE 1ST OR 2ND RESURRECTION EITHER PRESENT WITH THE LORD OR IN THE HEART OF THE EARTH/HELL”

  4. In a subtle irony, Steve has got the fundamentalists to pay him lasting tribute in their own slightly demented way. SFL: worshiping men since 1917!

  5. Stuff Fundies Like: Exploring new frontiers of bad taste.

    By the way, can anybody read what the two lines under “1955 A.D.-2011 A.D” says? It’s too blurred to read on my screen, and I’m a little curious.

  6. Should this not be photoshopped by Darrell to make a point:

    Way to go, there, making every fan of Steve Jobs, Mac user, ipod owner, or decent person seriously want to punch your lights out.

    1. If he was a Buddhist, it makes more sense then. As a follower of a false faith and not a Christian, he would be in Hell. What gets me is that people who say they believe in Christ and His teachings get mad at someone saying a professing Buddist is in Hell. Would that not be consistent with Christ’s teachings, I believe it would be. Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” So if you are a Christian this should not bother you anymore than if it pictured Hitler, Pol Pot, or FDR. Just my two cents worth.

      1. I don’t read anywhere on this “tract” (unless it’s the tiny print that no one can read) that says Jobs is in Hell. That’s not the issue here. If you believe Jesus Christ is the way to heaven, as I do, the fact he was Buddhist would cause one to believe that Jobs did not trust Christ for his eternal salvation. Again, that’s not the issue.

        The issue is that they’re exploiting the death of someone that had no part of the faith they are obviously endorsing in this picture. It would be similar to using Hitler, Pol Pot or FDR (your words) to promote a Christian cause. It just doesn’t make sense.

        I don’t think I’m being as clear as I want to be, but the point is, it’s disrespectful to Jobs’ legacy and his family to treat his death so trivially and for a cause he would not have endorsed.

      2. So…you compare Steve Jobs and FDR to Hitler and Pol Pot??? Oh, that’s right, none of them were fundies, so I guess they’re pretty much moral equals.

        Your broken, smashed moral compass is a damning argument against your version of Christianity.

        1. John Smith, are you a dolt? Hitler was a member of good standing in the Roman Catholic church until the day he died, not once during his life was he refused communion. And Roosevelt was an Episcopalian.

        2. Saying that you are a Christian, or even believing it, is not enough to save you, red wards, and that applies to Hitler, FDR, or whoever else. Jesus said that “If you CONTINUE IN MY TEACHINGS, then you are my disciples indeed.” John 8:31

      3. Actually, he just compared ME to Hitler and Pol Pot.

        I am regarded by most people as a peace-loving person who does not even believe in killing animals for food. When I tell spiritually-questing young folks what you have just said about me, do you think this will be an effective witness for you Gospel?

        I guess we’ll find out, because I will be repeating your statement to them verbatim (more hits for Darrell!), probably from now on.

        Keep up the good work!

        1. Deadhead, in terms of Christianity it does not matter if you are the most honest, kindest, puppy-loving person on Earth or if you are the vilest, most sadistic mass murderer ever to walk this planet, if you do not accept Jesus as your Saviour, you will go to an eternal hell when you die. That is what the Bible teaches, like it or not.

        2. I know, and that’s why I left. I want no part of such an enterprise.

          And every time you spell it out like that, uncharitably and ghoulishly proud, someone else leaves.

          As I said, keep up the good work.

        3. Daisy, God will not lose a single person whom He chooses to save. Read Ephesians 1. God is in control of all things.

          Not killing animals for food does not make you righteous. Such ideas are only found in man-made, ascetic, merit-based religions.

    2. Us Americans are so ignorant and completely satisfied, to criticize anyone who will make a stand for the Lord Jesus Christ, and support anything under the sun, Budda for example. In hell you will have all the multi-culturalism you want. This American nation and constitutional form of government was founded by Christians. Separation of church and state is a lie. They want separation of church and state for Christianity, but they are gonna force sharia law down your throat, and you are gonna think that it was the best thing since slice bread. If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant still, if any man be filthy, let him be filthy still, wake up Americans, ye must be born again.

    1. I found the picture with his name and the dates (minus the A.D.). I also found a site selling a tshirt with just the word “iDied” on it.

      So someone put that together with the picture, then added the Bible verse, with the aggressive (and unnecessary) KJV after it, as well as putting in A.D. which is also superfluous. (I’m guessing that the person who did it is annoyed at the increasing prevalence of C.E. in dates appearing in textbooks and news sources lately.)

      1. B.C.E.= Before Common Era

        I got in a fight with an editor over using it in an article… I actually wanted A.D. since the subject was RELIGION, okay? πŸ™„ B.C.E. makes more sense if the subject is international and Muslims/Hindus will be reading your article–many are super-offended by the term A.D.

        But my article was for Westerners! Got edited anyway… no A.D. for me. πŸ˜•

        1. I believe Phelps’s daughter-in-law said in an interview that everyone except Westboro Baptist members will go to hell.

          So that’s considerably more than 99.9% of the people in the world. All but about 30, in fact.

  7. I guess the thing that bothers me most about “Gospel tracts” today, besides the grotesque exploitation of people’s lives, deaths and unfortunate circumstances, is that it is a clear presentation of the fundy assumption that the gospel is not enough; it needs to be dressed up with a catchy story or picture (or cartoon thread) to “save people.” Once again, there’s no place of the Spirit’s working in people’s lives – isn’t God big enough to save who he will without pithy and frequently inappropriate catchphrases? Isn’t the Gospel enough to save all men without playing off someone’s emotions with a tear-jerking story?

    The fundy’s God is so small. πŸ™

      1. Yes, He is. My point was that God can use anything in a person’s life, because He’s God. If He wants to save someone, He will. However, all you’ll hear in a IFB church about passing out tracts is “if you don’t leave a tract for this person, they’ll be in hell” and I just don’t believe that. God will accomplish His purposes, despite human flaw.

        However, I still believe these cheap tactics of exploiting people’s lives and tragedies is inappropriate whether or not someone comes to Christ through them.

        1. Of course, such statements as the one above are why fundamentalists claim that Calvinism kills evangelism; “why be a witness when God will save them anyway?”

        2. Well, I think you put words in my mouth. I didn’t say “not to witness because God will save them anyways” at all. While I am a calvinist, the above statement wouldn’t properly convey my belief on witnessing.

          I am very pro-witnessing (being part of the great commission and all) but my “style” would be considered “lifestyle evangelism,” which is an entirely different debate. Obnoxious and disrespectful tracts don’t give a very glorifying view of the Gospel, in my opinion.

    1. The thing that bothers me even more about tracts is that the only people who communicate their message in this medium in the 21st century are those trying to sell you something. The guys on the Las Vegas strip pimping the strip clubs with their fliers leap to mind.

  8. It looks like a Ray Comfort/Kirk Cameron style tract. They used to put out some pretty bad tracts (and still do). Their “collector’s edition” tract series was incredibly bad. It was all about major disasters in history like the Titanic and other events where thousands lost lives.

    The back of the tract is probably worse.

  9. Totally off topic, but I did actually see a tract I liked recently. Had some nice pictures of the church that was handing them out, and the people that go to the church, the “Romans Road” scripture, and the name and address of the church and a little map on the back. Nice type face, nice brochure type paper, no cutesy little cartoon. It was stuck in our gate. I guess they leave them in people’s gates when the gate is closed, or on the door when no one answers, when they want to “go visiting.” I told my hubby “Well, it’s prettier than a business card.” I think that church could give tract – making lessons to a lot of people…

    1. I still don’t support ANY kind of door-to-door soliciting by churches if it includes knocking on people’s doors, but leaving a tasteful, attractive brochure/flyer type thing for the church like you mentioned is something I think could do good. =) A lot of people want to try a church but just aren’t sure where to go. Our church in our last state would do that before Easter, and the church would overflow from it. A lot of them would even come back.

      1. And I am good with that. I guess I am able to look at a little comic book tract and not have flashbacks, but then when I saw them a kid they didn’t scare me. It’s good to have control of one’s emotional state.

    1. I have yet to see the problem some people have with Chick’s tracts. The ones like “This was your Life” are solid from a Biblical stand point. The main complaint is the use of a eternal life in hell for non-believers, but that is where unrepentant sinners will end up.

      1. The problem is that they distort facts. When you blatantly distort facts to make a point, you just make your point look stupid. The infamous “Dark Dungeons” tract, for example, is a laughingstock in the gamer community and just enhances the perception of Christians as naive, sheltered, superstitious people who see a demon around every corner. A real D&D enthusiast is never going to pick up this tract and think, “This sounds just like my life. Maybe Jesus really *is* better than RPGs.” S/he’s going to think, “LOL, this guy has never played D&D in his life.”

        http://www.theescapist.com/darkdungeons.htm

    2. Jack Chick is **very big** with the goths, zombie-and-horror-comics crowd… he is quite a celebrity, much copied. I hear they even tried to book Jack Chick at Dragon*Con one year, but he didn’t reply to his invitation.

      Many of the young Chick-fans do not realize the comics are supposed to be serious (are they?), or that anyone actually regards them that way. Or Spiderman either. πŸ˜‰

  10. Hours after Jobs’s death was announced, my SIL had this exact sentiment on her FB wall, ending with “where will YOU spend eternity?” She also said his accomipshments amounted to nothing. So she may be the one who amde this . . . I mean, probably not, but I think she’d be a big fan of it.

  11. I personally think (if this is a real tract) that the “Fundies” are targeting Steve Jobs fans. Really think about most tracts you see. There are tracts about alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes and ect., I mean seriously, the list could go on and on, because they are “trying” to reach out to those type of people. Or maybe if they can play on enough people’s emotions, then the Fundies can say they won over half of iphone users to the Lord. πŸ™„

    1. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to simply go out and meet some people and get to know them and actually show them God’s love, though? Instead of staying in your sterile little bubble and passing out a tract that you hope will appeal too them?

      1. Yes, it is much easier to go out and get to know people and let them see the difference in your life, after all it’s God that saves the soul, not me. Besides, for the most part, tracts get used (my own thoughts) as a infomercial on ‘Come visit our church’

    2. They are? You must be kidding… most are so insulting, arrogant and superior, how could they be trying to “reach out”?

      I assumed those tracts were directed at people who could feel superior because they were NOT addicts, prostitutes, etc. Thus, suitably assured/flattered that they are not the worst of the worst, the tract-reader can’t wait to attend church with similar perfect people, who look down on the same lowlifes they do.

      Maybe I was just reading between the lines.

  12. While Darrell has gone on record as not being the creator of this image, it’s still possible that the originator DID do it as a spoof of the kind of cr@p that fundies put out. If, on the other hand, you want a real life example and not a spoof, look no further than the way that Paul Proctor, Ingrid Schleuter, and a host of others exploited the death of Kyle Lake (another Christian, no less) to trumpet their own agendas.

    1. Actually, yes. I was recently informed by a very reliable source that the “i” in front of a word without a space (sorry, couldn’t fine a more concise way of saying that) is indeed copyrighted by Apple. There could definitely be ramifications of violating a copyright if this was printed. I’m not sure if the copyright extends to digital work.

  13. An item appeared on Facebook yesterday, from a friend who happens to be Gay. It is is rather bad taste I guess, but it does make a point. It showed two pictures. The one on the left was of two young men kissing. on the right were children from Ethiopia who were literally no more than skin and bones, begging for food. The caption said “If the picture on the left shocks you more than the one on the right, you need to revise your views on imorality”. What sort of fireworks would happen if that was sent to Fundies?

    1. Paul, both would bother me. The fact that gays are being held up as being a normal way of life, when the Bible clearly states their behaviour is sinful. And these children that are starving is troubling also, the real shame is the fact most of the money and aid raised and sent to Africa ends up in the hands of crooked politicans and local warlords.

      1. Oxfam and Compassion International are two organizations that give real help directly to the ones who need it most. Just in case you wanted to give to an organization that actually does help people.

    2. Both bothered me too, for the reasons you cited. However, the point being made (I think) is that there are other things in the world that are as immoral as homosexuality that many people, especially Christians, ignore completel;y, or even support when it suits them. If people, especially Christians could get as angry about social injustices and other “lesser” (in the eyes of the fundies) Sins, as they do about Homosexuality, a few lives might be saved. And the crooked polititians and warlords might even be ousted…

    3. My former pastor (obviously NOT fundy) posted this on his FB. I was wondering if any of my friends would get it and have enough guts to repost. Now I have to decide if I have enough guts to repost. :mrgreen:

  14. What makes me so crazy about these things and even about some of the responses here is the unmitigated arrogance and pride and that it takes for someone to assume that their faith is absolutely right and everyone else’s is absolutely wrong. Does anyone who makes these tracts ever stop to think of what it must be like for someone to struggle for years or even decades for a genuine understanding of the Divine or of spirituality and then to have that spit upon by a tract or by someone’s flippant response that of course Jobs went to hell because he is a Buddhist?

    Seriously, I can’t get over people who think that out of all the people in all the world, God happened to reveal his truth to *them.* Sure, they have ways of proving the Bible true and that their interpretation of it is also true. I know all of them, I went to Bible College. And I can probably quote more scripture from memory than any ten people in a fundy church put together.

    But for every one of those “facts” I can quote you five from any other religion or sacred scripture that provide equal proof. And people in other religions have religious experiences every bit as meaningful and that feel every bit as true as what happens at any altar call in any church anywhere in the world.

    What kind of arrogance does it take to really believe that out of “all the gin-joints in all the world” God happened to stumble into yours and gave you the one true interpretation to His one true compendium of truth? And if He really were a just and loving God, why would He give you the truth and allow a poor innocent kid on the opposite side of the world be taught that Christianity would send him to hell?

    I don’t ask that anyone change their faith. I just ask that they have the humility that is meant to be one of the “fruits of the spirit” to admit that they might not have the market cornered on the truth.

    And before anyone says it: yes, I am aware that humility is not listed in the KJV as a fruit of the spirit. But I am pretty sure it would be the product of combination of gentleness, kindness, meekness and temperance. And against that beautiful combination, I would have no argument and there can be no law. But there can be plenty of hurt and animosity against the kind of arrogance in this tract and even in some of the comments to this post.

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