Stinking bodies...

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I will also lay the dead bodies of the sons of Israel in front of their idols; and I will scatter your bones around your altars. - Ezekiel 6:5

Public radio had an interview the other day with an internet prostitute. The program's host was obsequious, treating the sex worker's prognostications with great dignity. One of the worker's predictions was that the future of sex is virtual. She went on about how superior virtual relationships are to marriage or living together because, as she put it, you can't just "turn off" your live-in or husband. He's there in front of you and how do you get rid of him when you want to be alone? But with virtual relationships, it's simple as pie. No muss, no fuss; switch on, switch off.

Now comes George Barna interviewing pastors who assure him the future of spirituality is virtual... 

Christianity Today gives Barna's latest poll the headline, "Half of Pastors Believe Faith Will Become Online-Only Experience."1

During our conversation at the Auburn Avenue conference last month, Jim Jordan indicated he saw no problem with cremation.

So internet prostitutes, Evangelical pastors, and Jim Jordan agree. Bodies are redundant. No exchange of body fluids. No stinky sheep. No smelly breath. No rotting bodies.

When Mark Driscoll and John Piper turned from preaching in person to preaching virtually at video venues, it was hard not to see the many evils that would follow.

I was telling a pastor friend yesterday how Taylor and I had gone to church in Evansville, Indiana, one Sunday, and without realizing it chose a church service that featured a virtual pastor. When it was time for the sermon, the pastor appeared on a huge screen front and center. He was high and lifted up above us and lent a certain dignity—maybe even majesty—to the service that his physical body would have lacked. Anyhow, halfway through the sermon, this fake preacher asked the people "how many of you have...?" At which point most of the congregation cheerfully raised their hands leaving Taylor and his father looking at each other cross-eyed and humming the Twilight Zone theme.

I guess I would have felt better if the congregants had been looking around at each other to see whose hands were up and whose weren't. But none of them were looking around. All eyes were forward, all hands were raised; and I'm sure having such a responsive congregation was a great encouragement to the pastor.

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Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!