What’s the Real Message?

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This picture was posted on my friend’s Facebook wall and showed up in my news feed.  Her comment is at the top of the photo.  She lives in Massachusetts and these were scattered along the shoreline.  What kind of message is being sent about Christianity by this?

Update:  I just sent my friend the link to this post and she added more:

Had to love the rhetoric on the back too….. But what struck me was the message “don’t litter” and then they dropped these all over the ground/ water.
Do as I say, not as I do….. That’s the message I got.

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Screen shot 2013-09-29 at 10.17.19 AM

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Correction:  Online friend lives in Mass not Jersey.  Oopsie!

47 comments on “What’s the Real Message?

  1. So anti-pollution (e.g., anti-litter) laws don’t apply to Christians? That seems contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

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  2. Hold on just a minute folks. Back up the trolley. Yes, it’s a cheesy track and the time for leaving cheesy tracks ended about 35 years ago. But let’s not assume that whoever had them just tossed them on the ground. That’s unlikely. You can come up with half a dozen other ways this happened. How about this- Ray and Kirk were passing out tracts. They both approached a mark. They both started asking questions at the same time. Neither one would shut up. They started yelling at each other. Then they each started accusing each other of breaking one of the ten commandments. Meanwhile the mark grabbed the tracts and ran, tossing them in the breeze. It could happen.

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  3. Let’s sing!
    “Throw another tract on the fire.
    Cook me up some cockamamy scheme.
    Go out to the park and grab a mark and reel him in.
    Then come and mend my faded ol’ blue jeans…”

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  4. That is some good lyrics there Gary….

    Can we not go where the Spirit leads when it comes to being a witness- pulll…ease……?

    Furthermore, people are more skeptical today then they were back several years ago. These tactics don’t work. Sending out tracts like this make people wonder what is in the Christian Churches water faucet.

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  5. Shannon,
    I clicked your link and perused the list of tracts until I saw one that looked interesting. It was scientific facts. I read most of it and it was very comprehensive. It was a lot better than I thought it would be. I was pleasantly surprised.

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  6. Gary, I am thinking they fell out of a helicopter when Ray and Kirk were coming in for a witness fest along the shore and it banked a hard right and they fell out.

    I am thinking there could be a plausible explanation involving a pick up truck, too.

    Perhaps the tracks should read: Don’t litter on purpose.

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  7. Way of the Master tract? I could write one of those…

    “You worthless worm, God hates you! Are you scared yet? Did I make you cry? Jesus begrudgingly died in your place – and he’s full of anger and disdain for us all! Now jump on that hamster wheel and prove to Todd Friel, your Holy Spirit, that you are a real Christian! And remember: anything less than perfection proves that you belong to the devil!”

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  8. That sounds like some good comedy relief right there!

    I have a whole bunch of old tracts in my closet, the rejects from my old stash. Not really sure if I should just go ahead and throw them away like I wanted to, or what. I used to bring carefully selected ones with me everywhere I went, because at one time all I cared about was “evangelism.” Left them all over the place – in restaurants, inside random pages of books, in cars if a window was down etc. Not saying God never uses tracts, but the entire thing really started to bother me, so…stopped carrying them.

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  9. I have similar experiences, Oasis.

    I have friends who believe in them. They include them with their check when sending in bills (do people still really do this?), leave them on public transportation, hand them out with Halloween candy. Hmm . . . maybe that’s why I dislike them – – I got less Halloween candy?

    No, probably not, but for me, tracts are cold, heartless, no connection. It seems like a lazy way for those who are afraid to talk about God in person. I just do not like that kind of thing. Have a relationship with me if you want to share something so deeply personal as your faith.

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  10. Julie Anne, yeah, exactly how I started to feel, too – and almost apologetic, leaving them here and there, being all sneaky and creative about it, while knowing how offensive (and “ineffective”) it was.

    Another thing that personally bugs me about some tracts: They are so manipulative. Manipulation is part of much of evangelism in general. Example: I remember being in Tokyo on a mission trip. We were to hold up signs that offered free English lessons. Well, what was the English dialogue about? The Christian faith. We were supposed to indoctrinate them without them ever realizing what had happened. I absolutely hated that. The people we met were smart enough to know what was going on after a minute or so. The moment their expressions changed as they began to suspect what we were doing always made me cringe. It seems much more honest to do what one missionary did later, when he went back there alone: He held up a sign that offered free Bible study! I think that was a great idea – he respected the people enough to be honest about his intentions, a kind of “here is what you get” friendly approach. That way no one was taken off guard, or tricked. And there really are people out there who want to study the Bible…

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  11. Yeah, Gary, that science one wasn’t bad. I see now there are two Beatles tracts. LOL

    Oasis said, “Not really sure if I should just go ahead and throw them away like I wanted to, or what.”

    See my “swinger” comment earlier. (You can tell how old that story is by that word!)

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  12. You’re safe, Julie Anne. I don’t believe in the Illuminati…hehe!

    Shannon, yeah, I heard a similar story once. I guess if the ones in my closet are at all useful, they’ll do better in the trash than being hidden away!

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  13. Is “swinger” an outdated word? What’s the modern version? It drives me crazy how I will say what seems to be an ordinary word to me and now my kids will tell me what the current meaning is – lol.

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  14. Then there were the Harold Camping “Does God Love You?” tracts. They were passed out by the millions, literally. People stuffed them in return envelopes for all their bills, gave them to all store clerks in checkout lines, and of course you could leave the ones in Spanish in hotel rooms when you checked out so the maids could be saved. They went on mission trips all over the world and passed them out by the millions in large cities in whatever language they needed to. Stateside, some people spent 8 hours every Saturday passing them out in shopping malls, train stations, at sporting events and concerts.

    And… I never met a single person who converted or came to our church because of a tract. But “it got God’s word out.”

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  15. I won’t even tell you how long it took me to get rid of all the evangelism paraphernalia it seemed I was always finding in random boxes in my many moves in the last few years, but I think I might have gotten rid of all them…. at least I hope so…. The thing is – they know those tracks are going to end on the ground, shouldn’t they at least be biodegradable? Since they have some sort of plastic in them to make them untearable – it really is bad for the earth. So much for being “good stewards” of the earth.

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  16. Julie Anne: “Is “swinger” an outdated word? What’s the modern version? It drives me crazy how I will say what seems to be an ordinary word to me and now my kids will tell me what the current meaning is – lol.”

    I haven’t heard it in years so I assume it’s outdated. It sounds so 1970s to me. I don’t know what today’s equivalent word would be though.

    Oasis, I wonder if it’s one of those urban legend stories we’ve all heard in church and believed them to be true at the time. Like the long-haired sloppily dressed young man years ago that came up the aisle and sat cross-legged at the front of the church and the usher came and sat cross-legged beside him. Look it up now and he’s a guy with tattoos and piercings.

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  17. A somewhat more recent term is “player”. “Swinger” usually applied to a couple who did not restrict their sex to one another, but engaged in swapping and participated in swinger parties, where people hooked up with whomever else was there. “Player” could be a single or a member of a couple who is always “on the make” for a sexual encounter, but whose partner may not be aware of the player’s playing.

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  18. Swinger? Player? Would there be anything wrong with just using the old words? Adulterer. Adulteress. Fornicator. Guess those words aren’t prettied up enough.

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  19. People identified as “players” were typically always on the lookout for a quick sexual encounter with any willing partner, usually op sex. Most of the “players” were males and generally willing to lie to get laid.

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  20. Oh, I didn’t recognize it. So, it’s WOTM, huh? My friend also mentioned that it’s not even biodegradable – that it’s some kind of plastic.

    If it’s plastic (and judging from the reinforcing bands around the “Tear Here” indicator, it CAN’T be torn up. Nice trick.

    Note the guilt-trip inducing text below the “Tear Here”.

    And “Going to Heaven” (Flutty Cloud Heaven?) instead of God bringing Heaven down to Earth and dwelling among men.

    Swinger? Player? Would there be anything wrong with just using the old words? Adulterer. Adulteress. Fornicator. Guess those words aren’t prettied up enough. — Gary W

    No, those words are now Christianese and ONLY used in Christianese. I know of no one except Preachers Screaming from Pulpits a la Fred Phelps who uses them any more. They became archaic as English (fastest-mutating of any human language) changed over time and fell into disuse — except for Preachers Screaming into bullhorns. Nobody likes a religion with people screaming.

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  21. Gary, I am thinking they fell out of a helicopter when Ray and Kirk were coming in for a witness fest along the shore and it banked a hard right and they fell out. — Lydia

    Anyone spot a Gospel Blimp overhead?

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  22. Steve,
    I visited his radio station on Hegenberger and offered to install carpet. He had me install the front reception room. Then I got the tour and I saw the old ladies who decide on the music they play. It was a wee bit creepy.

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