christianity theology


I briefly met someone recently who was supervising a group of youth who were attending the ‘Get Smart’ conference in Auckland, NZ.  He asked if I had been attending the conference.  When I said no, he replied, “Oh man, it’s great.  We were just there and when we left things were still going.  Carnage, man.  Just carnage.”

I was genuinely confused.

“Carnage?” I said.

“Yeah man,” he replied, “Carnage.  Kids everywhere.  All over the floor.”

I — having realised now that I had (unfortunately) learned a new piece of spiritual mumbo-jumbo jargon — bit my tongue.

I’ll keep this post short and to the point.

I see no reason whatsoever to believe that people rolling around on the floor in ecstatic states of consciousness is anything close to the kind of human behaviour that moves the heart of God.  I have no reason whatsoever to endorse or support such behaviour, much less encourage it.


19 replies on “‘carnage?’”

carnage huh? who would have thunk it… it never ceases to amaze what people will do and then claim it was the will of God.

Good point Dale! So funny how we start them at a young age to buy into an outward expression of “Christianity” that the Lord has no desire for in our lives. “The Lord looks at the heart” I believe is what the Scriptures say. But how can you tell your buddies about what’s going on inside quietly? It’s much more cooler and looks better on a brochure for “Carnage.” I think we can make some money . . . “The Carnage Tour 2008, with Dale Campbell.”

Cheers Damian.

Thanks Chris. To be fair, I suppose we all have the tendency to assume God wills (wants) what we’re doing… :)

Heya David. Thanks for the comment! I’m up for the 2008 Carnage Tour. When do we start raking in the tithes? :D Yeah, it’s hard to judge someone’s motives, but I do find it interesting how people feel the need to ‘share’ the various kinds of experiences they’ve had…

Sharing is fine, but I reckon all the hyperbole probably leaves the average jo bloggs thinking God isnt interested in them or isnt real because they havent had some impressive, far out supernatural experience. I suspect that those who do share often feel a pressure to ‘measure up’ to the wow factor and so add a bit of ‘carnage’.
Real life stuff like ‘today I stopped and put the toilet seat down cos I’ve learned a bit about caring for others through my attempt to follow Christ’ then becomes a bit like ‘so what’. I suppose you could add that your wife came in and fell over on the floor in fits of shock… ; )

“carnage huh?”

I am so unhip and uncool. But even when I was young I dated a girl who went to a church where behavior like this was the norm. I didn’t see the value in it then either.

Haha….I love it. Thank you for being so short and sweet. I couldn’t agree more!

(I wonder how the featured posts are chosen at – this post was selected for the ‘religion’ category – and boosted my visits – cool)

oh heck… I’m going to have to revise my plan for your church youth camp this weekend…

I was planning for some good old rip-roaring carnage with kids sprawled out everywhere as I brought the fire.

I was hoping for a breakthrough of the weighty weighty, thick dripping honey presence of the glory realm…

What am I supposed to do now? It’s only a few days away and only just now do I find out you’re not cool with carnage.


Where do we draw the line?

Church is full of weird behaviour. I seem to recall that David was said to have lost all dignity when he was praising God. Some pretty routine church behaviour (at least at my church) like raising your hands and closing your eyes is downright bizarre to some outsiders.

What is the principle that justifies David’s behaviour but distinguishes the ‘carnage’ at Get Smart?

I would like to emphasise that this is a legitimate question; I go to a pentecostal church, and have no problem with raising my hands and closing my eyes, but I am highly sceptical of the jumping around that goes on (only in fast songs, of course) in places like this. I find the latter behaviour contrived, but I find the former easy to accept as a genuine. Am I not being inconsistent here? Am I not subjecting others to a different level of scrutiny to that which I subject my own behaviour (which you referred to in comment 4)?

Good comment Joe,
(long time no comment!) :)
I do recognise the tendency to simply dis-like what you’re not used to. That happens often.

On the dancing-David example, I’m not sure how it would translate to our modern church-gathering context (if we should even try to do so). You’re not silly, however, to ask for a ‘principle’ to distinguish between different types of behaviour…
For me, I think we are emotional beings, so we should be emotional. I think the extremes to avoid are emotion-less on one hand, and emotional-istic on the other hand. In this sense, churches at both extremes can be seen to claim a false superior spirituality.
The “emotion-less churches” claim it by way of ‘not getting caught up in all that nonsense’, and the “emotional-istic churches” claim it by way of quite explicitly claiming that churches that aren’t like them are ‘dead’, etc.
Then there are the rest of us who struggle to know what to do with our music times, having a variety of people in our congregations – some who would lean towards one extreme and some towards the other…
I think music is packed with the potential (not always realised, of course, for various reasons) for spirituality. Music ‘moves’ us – and this ‘movement’ is spiritual in a beautifully human way – this is seen in every single human culture. I get nervous when this beautifully human thing is over-spiritualised, and becomes ‘the’ thing… etc.
Ok I’m rambling… thoughts?

First time comment actually. Ha. Maybe I should get a less generic handle.

The only unifying principle I have ever been able to apply that enables me to avoid the sense of spiritual superiority is: If your reaction/behaviour is genuine, go for it.

It is pretty pluralistic. Some stuff will not be appropriate, but how do we determine that without assuming spiritual superiority? I suppose an objective standard would be a solution, but who wants to standardise worship?

Of course, I tend to impose my own version of what is ‘genuine’ onto others, but I can at least remind myself that it is not my place to say anything.

As an aside, my goodness am I sick of the superiority. As I said, I go to a pentecostal outfit, and I just cringe when they kind reference more traditional worship practices with a knowing chuckle. I particularly hate the unspoken, but obvious, assumption that traditional is equal to ‘dead’. Where do we get off doing that? Don’t we realise we are just creating a fresh set of traditions and rituals for ourselves?

Likewise, I take offence at those who regard the congregation I attend as a bunch of loons. That’s not really accurate either. At least, I’m pretty sure I’m not a loon.

It’s funny how we talk about the music moving us. Should it? Is it enough just to like a song or find that the lyrics have something pertinent to say? What should be driving our behaviour?

Hmm. Perhaps I’m just restating my previous post.

Thanks Joe,
Yeah, when I say that ‘music moves us’, I’m certainly not suggesting that it should drive our behaviour! :) I’m just referring to the fact that music is an intrinsically human thing (every culture, every people-group, etc.).

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