120 thoughts on “Hero Worship: Superhero Edition”

  1. That name sounds familiar, but the church doesn’t have any background details about its resident superhero. I’m guessing his secret identity was born out of a childhood trauma

      1. Um. Sorry, but no.

        A “good religious upbringing” does not automatically mean traumatic. Yes, there are plenty of exceptions but I dare say the majority of these kids do not have to face broken homes, molestation, drugs, parents on drugs, and physical abuse.
        I had a weird religious upbringing that was socially impairing in some ways, but by no means traumatic.

  2. His “Super Hide-out” is a single-wide trailer? With loveseat-sized pews?

    (Nothing against single-wides. I’ve spent many a good hour in them, but that’s all the detail you’re going to get. I have secret identities to protect.)

    1. It isn’t a single-wide or even a double-wide, but it certainly is a small building.

      Wonder if SuperNeff’s job description includes shoveling the snow.

      They probably send $25 each to missionaries in various countries, once a year.

      And there’s no way that this small congregation could afford the new building they have planned.

      1. Surely you have not embraced the pastor’s vision!

        If members will come under conviction to give away…I mean, trust gid….with their retirement instead of saving money for their future….well, with gid and good building banquet preachin’… all things are possible.

        1. You haven’t really given until you’ve given sacrificially. And even though your gifts should be free-will, if the Anointed asks for donations and you refuse, that puts you in rebellion and under the curse of God.

          Besides, here we are worrying about food and shelter; where is our faith in God? Why, back in the days of Israel (the O.T. church) Moses had to tell the people to QUIT giving, they were so generous to the Tabernacle Building Fund. We’ve gone a fur piece from them days, Brothers and Sisters.

        1. Big Gary, you wouldn’t think the competition for earning the bragging rights to Smallest Church would be so fierce, but so it is. Just goes to show that people will find *something* to brag about, come hell or high water. If we can’t have the largest, by God, we’ll have the smallest! The True Super-Remnant!

          Oh, and if you really have seen a smaller church, could you keep that info to yourself? This little attraction is the only thing worth bragging about in South Newport. For real.

        2. All 17 residents of S. Newport thank you.

          (Actually, S. Newport is my kind of place. And I always feel like the Lord of the Realm when I’m there, since my last name is Newport. No relation, though.)

        3. I’ve noticed that people, or maybe just Americans, have a tendency to call anything big the world’s biggest, anything small the world’s smallest, anything old the world’s oldest, and so on.

          This comment is the world’s newest.

  3. Deep in the heart of PA lies a town a without a pastor…. Until… Boom! Super Neff!

    Caption from the YouTube page. The poster has three videos, two of which are mog worship. The third tells about how she is called to take the KJV to some poor village. (I assume that, since the school she attended after PCC is a KJV translation to other languages school.)

  4. Did anyone notice that they had to extract “evidence” out of the Old Testament to justify their want for an Mog?

    Interesting.

    It kind of reminds me of the Israelites in the time of Samuel who refused to have God Himself be their king.

    Anyway, glad they found what they were looking for. I hope he’s comfortable on his pedestal, though it does get lonely up there.

  5. Jeremiah 3:15 says, in the NRSV, “I will give you shepherds after my own heart . . .”

    Not pastors. Not MoGs. Not pseudo-Doctors.

        1. Me too. I mean, really, he misses one prayer meeting and the rest of the faithful tell him that the guy they’d been following around, the guy that had been killed and sealed in a tomb, had come strolling in like it wasn’t nothing to it.

          I can just picture his face.

        2. Thomas is one of my favorite characters because he intuitively grasps something very important. The historical reality of a crucified man rising from the dead would change everything. He is not wrong for demanding proof.

        3. Exactly. He realizes that such a claim requires proof, and when he has proof, he does realize that everything is changed. Everything.

        4. Excellent discussion of Thomas by all! I’ve heard people from all over the map be critical of Thomas, and I don’t think there’s cause to do so.

        5. Rob, I agree. For spiritual strugglers like me, St. Thomas is a real encouragement.

          When you think about it, God didn’t exactly make it easy to believe in him. Well, Jesus just showing up to prayer meeting after being buried 3 days could be pretty convincing, but for those of us without the privilege of putting our fingers into the wounds, hearing him speak, etc.–having to base our faith on the accounts of others–I just think God is pretty understanding of those that find it difficult to believe.

          Atheists, agnostics, perennial doubters like me–we aren’t necessarily the From-the-Pits-of-Hell-Evil-Doers many of those with firm faith make us out to be. We are, in great measure, trying to do the best we can with what we’ve been given.

        6. I appreciate that Thomas is included, but I have to imagine the situation: ten of your BEST friends, fellow disciples, all tell you the same thing, and you refuse to believe them! It’s like calling them all liars.

          Nico, sometimes I’ve wished that Jesus didn’t do things in such an understated way! Not just in his after-resurrection appearances, but in his entire ministry. But when I see how the church has catered to power, how it caters to the rich or the popular, I am so filled with appreciation that Jesus never did that! Instead He came to the meek, the poor, the rejects, the outcasts.

        7. St. Thomas has come to be one of my favourites, and to be seen as an admirable person. I don’t think he was really portrayed in a super-negative light in the Bible – he asked questions, he demanded satisfactory evidence, and Jesus provided it. I think that’s a beautiful encouragement to ask questions, when churches so often tell us to just accept what we’re told and not to question God (because that would be unfaithful!11!!!).
          It’s good to be a Doubting Thomas. He tested the spirits, quite literally – “Can I poke you? Yes/No?” :P

    1. To be fair (!), the word Pastor does mean shepherd – in Spanish and Latin. Of course, you are absolutely correct that what an American IFB/Evangelical/etc church member means by “Pastor” has more in common with “King” than “Shepherd.”

      1. I think it’s the other way around. There were shepherds of sheep back in Jeremiah’s time but not “pastors” as we know them. So, the word “shepherd” became part of a pastor’s job description when that vocation developed.

  6. “Super human speed?” On a go-kart?

    The town’s police force better get their radar guns ready!

  7. Hideout, and a church appears onscreen. Well that’s the truth for gundy churches. How many of them house the most horrible sins under the sun? I lost count at 84

  8. Tioga, PA – A truly tiny area, according to Google maps. With two Baptist churches.

    I’m betting there used to be only one. Any takers?

  9. He used to be my youth pastor about 20 years ago. From what I recall, he is a really nice guy. Sort of odd and quirky but nice and sincere.

  10. Oh my goodness! This is so weird because the employees at the gym I go to call me “SpuperRev”. Mostly because I wear a Superman shirt (for irony) and they know I’m a youth pastor.

        1. Ironically? Not really- it’s kind of wrinkly. ;-) Just dug it out of the clean laundry this morning. (I have folding to do.)

  11. This doesn’t bother me; if some people in the congregation made it is a tongue-in-cheek, uh, “tribute” to their pastor for “Pastor Appreciation Month”, it is fine.

    If the pastor directed it and gave himself all of the “super” attributes, that is another matter, but there’s nothing in what I’ve seen to indicate that this was anything other than an attempt to thank their pastor for coming.

    The crickets chirping during “preaching” (vice applause when it changed to “super-preaching”) was pretty funny, I thought.

    This seemed to be merely light-hearted; I didn’t get the idea that their pastor is really worshipped. Obviously, not being there, I cannot tell from a short video clip, but I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Lighten up!

    As for me, there is a huge chasm between people thinking that their pastor is “super” and the pastor demanding that the people call him “super” or treat him “super”.

      1. We Episcopalians don’t have “pastor appreciation month” or anything like it.

        A reception when a new cleric arrives, another when he or she is formally instituted in a parish by a bishop, and a farewell reception when leaving. That’s it.

        I wonder if those “pastor appreciation month” churches pick a 31-day month that has five Sundays.

    1. I’m assuming (incorrectly, most likely) that Pastor Appreciation Month is when all those honorary doctorates get handed out?

      If not, then Pastor Appreciation Month is incredibly superfluous.

      1. It’s when big churches give gifts such as new cars to their pastors. Small churches make videos like this one.

    2. We have a everything-else appreciation day or month… I believe that October is “officially” (per Hallmark) clergy appreciation month.

      Perhaps it is an embarrassment, but it is there, nevertheless.

      I appreciate secretaries (oops; administrative assistants), bosses, firemen, policemen, etc. I don’t have a problem with appreciating my pastor… which is a far cry from the cultic worship that people like Jack Hyles demanded.

      1. I thought that Pastor Appreciation Month was the idea of H.B. London of Focus on the Family. Maybe I was wrong.

        1. According to one website Clergy Appreciation Day was the idea of a lay person to be an encouragement to clergy. He later ended up in prison for insurance fraud or something like that. But, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Maybe HB just like the idea.

    3. except it isn’t harmless. it may have been in jest but it still elevates the man of god. In no way does it help people see the pastor as human. People may be entertained and laugh at it but deep down the elevation of the pastor in most American churches either to save the church from dying, to do all the outreach and activities, or to tell them what to believe is simply being enforced with this video.

        1. Don’t get me started on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day.

        2. Mother’s Day is OK as a secular observance, but churches should not treat it as if it is part of the liturgical calendar.

        3. I grit my teeth and send my 93 year old mother a card. But Mother’s Day is not in the Bible, nor in the Book of Common Prayer.

        4. Dutiful older daughter usually calls. Younger daughter *might* remember to PM me on Facebook- she has 3 year old twins and can be forgiven for this. Son usually forgets completely. He does call if he wants to come up for Mom Food though…

        5. Just like all hallmark holidays…
          I try not to do much for it in my church. But we will hand out carnations after the service.

      1. @Leanne – good points; I suspect it depends on the background of the person. Such a presentation could be quite harmful and set off triggers or warning flags for those who have seen the Jack Hyles cultic behavior. I can see some of the smaller churches of my childhood doing this in all innocent fun; especially if the pastor doesnt’ treat his position like God or the Baptist Pope.

        Thinking about the Pope made me remember a message that was sent to me by a friend; his pastor preached from II Tim 3:16 and effectively stated that the Bible was given to the pastors (the “man of God”) to give to the people; it’s the most un-Baptist message I’ve heard coming from a supposed Baptist. Not surprisingly, my friend’s church is a big follower of JH.

  12. I regret to say that his congregation is significantly larger than shown in the presentation, so I believe they did make the move successfully.
    He had a reputation for being a bit of an all-nothing-type as far as our fundy k12 school chapel speakers…also known for his pink ties and twin whipping posts (sex and music…doesn’t that just speak to the PCC in all of us?)

    1. That was a true shock when I became a Catholic. After 35 years as a Protestant and believing that Catholics never read the Bible, I found that we have at least 3-4 Scripture readings, some that can be quite long, per Mass! Then to find out that many of the prayers, hymns etc are verses of Scripture sung….I was humbled. I was one of the High and Mighty Anti-Catholics that thought they knew everything about the Bible. God has such an ironic sense of humor. I remember saying ” I will never go to a Denominational church again.” Then, He slowly leads me from Fundyworld to Catholicism. That Jesus, he’s such a kidder.

      1. To make it worse–the Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians and some other denominations actually read the same Scriptures each week! The Revised Common Lectionary is used by all these denominations. (There are minor variations from time to time, though.)

        The RC and Protestant Bibles have more than John 3:16 printed in them!

        1. Or Leviticus, for that matter.

          I serve as lector frequently, and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m good at it. But fundy friends and family don’t understand at all. They don’t understand the lectionary cycle, the sermons tied to the readings, or the deep reverence we feel as we hear these scriptures. I don’t read along in the bulletin when they’re being read (when I’m not lector, obviously). I like to listen carefully- there’s a very different reception between reading and hearing. I get more out of it. And I remember.

          Does anyone remember any scripture that is read of a Sunday morning in a fundy church?

    1. This is all some dream you are going to wake from and laughing tell us about tomorrow.

      Then, you will wake up again, and realize that you were dreaming about dreaming! And what you were dreaming about is a cruel reality. Fundy preachers don’t think of themselves as human. They think of themselves as super-human!

      Come to think about it, that explains a lot. No wonder they think they can get away with anything!

  13. Why do people feel the need for a pastor appreciation month? If they’re living right, they’ll show appreciation to their dearly beloved pastor all year long, right?

    When is church custodian month?
    Choir leader month?
    Sunday school teacher month?

    I Cor. 12
    But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.

    1. Excellent point; I don’t know when this was started; I first heard about it about 3-4 years ago.

  14. The best thing about that video was the two seconds of theremin at the beginning. Reminded me more of “Midsomer Murders” than Superman, though. And while Pastor Neff (or his congregation) may think he’s a superhero, his wife just looks super-exhausted.

    Really, that was weird.

  15. Does anyone recognize the hymn music that is in the background? It sounds a little liberal but at least it doesn’t have drums so it must be right.

    1. Did you ever say to him: “I’ve had e-nuff, neff!!! Knock off the hero superiority complex!!!!”

  16. While I agree that the thought-space behind this production is questionable, my first reaction is just something like, “Oh my, how childish.” I can’t honestly imagine putting up with something like this is any context.

  17. I will say this for whoever made the video. He/she/they have a better sense of humor than most fundies.

  18. I can’t do the Star Wars text trick here but I can quote verses out of the blue regarding Pastors as well.

    <b?

    Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

    ?,blockquote>

    Pastor worship is idolatry… period.
    BTDT have the scars to prove it.

    1. I agree Don.

      I’m amazed at how many passages are taken out of context to justify their self-applied authority, and the need for the sheeple to obey without question.

      Of course, passages like you just brought to our attention are conveniently ignored or marginalized. They don’t apply to them, because they certainly are not THOSE kind of pastors…after all.

  19. :-O

    I know this guy…he brought a group of teens every year to the same Fundy summer camp I attended.

    Even when I was Fundy, I always thought he was a bit “detached” from reality. He had this really awkward look and he roamed around the camp like he was disoriented…..anyway…….

    I would feel quite uncomfortable if someone made a video like that about me. Definitely wreaks of man-worship.

  20. I also went to Fairhaven with Super Neff and believe it or not as much of a tool as he seems in this video, he is even more so in real life

    1. But they are! they are! they ARE servants to everyone!

      After all, how would those poor sheeple know what to believe without THEM? Who would they look to for the answers to life’s problems, including where to give their money? Can’t have that going to unworthy causes, you know!

      As long as the flock are devoted to serving them, then they are being the people’s servants, true MoGs.

  21. Did you notice how his wife is leaning in the picture and not standing up straight? And that a confident expression is missing in her eyes?
    Men who are into developing other people instead of themselves will find glory in making others more superior than self. A true pastor (which may make up .01% of pastors) will glory in that people find confidence and security within themselves.

  22. I don’t know… to me it just seemed like they were having a bit of fun… don’t know why we have to be so up tight around here. Seems like we’re becoming the very thing we despise… critical of every little thing we suspect “may” be something we don’t like.

    1. You may have a point. Certainly it is something we need to be warned against. Being hurt does make you focus more on the areas where you were hurt.

      That said, I don’t think so. Yes, they were having a bit of fun. But it was not the teasing sort of fun, nor the self-depreciating sort of fun, nor even the let’s all be happy together sort of fun. Their uplift of the pastor is undoubtedly exaggerated, but it exposes a bit of hero worship, and the focus is entirely on the pastor.

      You know, even Paul put into perspective his work, saying that what he did was nothing, it was God that gave the increase!

      So the warning is appreciated, but I don’t think we are on the wrong track here.

    2. It might have been made in fun, but “Pastor Appreciation Month” was October. If I was a pastor I might appreciate a one-time private showing of this video in church but I would make sure it never got on the Internet. By May the person who posted this would be hearing from me every day to take it down. And I would make clear in the publicly available comments that it was not made by me and that I do not appreciate its being on the Internet.

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