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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 

Sacramental Radio?

On the AM dial, 1210 comes in as KPRZ (which is to be pronounced "K-PRAISE"). This channel of Christian Radio has come up with a new (to me) slogan to promote itself: "Here's the KPRZ promise: listen to K-Praise just three hours a day and your walk with God will increase." That's right. For just three hours of your listening time, the station guarantees greater sanctification. But that's not all. I've also heard them promise improved relationships with your parents, a more dynamic relationship with your spouse, etc. The model and ratio are straight from many of the fat supplement commercials they advertise: you give us x number of hours, and we guarantee you these stipulated results.

Now wouldn't this match nearly sacramental terms? Hasn't listening to the radio become a means of grace? What I find so surprising, however, is the near ex opere operato status of this blank check. There's nothing about faith or obedience on the part of the listener. Nothing about being a Christian, merely a blanket appeal to anyone with ears. There is certainly nothing about faith in the work of Jesus.

While there's a lot to say about this, its getting late, so let me surmise this: this actually isn't a sacramental view, but I'm afraid its not for the wrong reasons. I think if pressed, no one at the station would actually admit that listening to their programming would give grace. However, I do think they would honestly and earnestly contend that their broadcasts do help people become better. In other words, I'm afraid that people aren't becoming closet sacerdotalists, but rather that they don't think we need grace anymore to get better; we just need better advice. And that, of course, is the Pelagian position.

Thoughts? Is this a helpful/correct analysis? Have you heard similar things? What is really being meant here?

[theology] | [radio]

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Brilliant brother! Hope your doing well.


Really good stuff.

Yes, I have heard your analysis before…in my own head. I have often thought about the irony of what is happening when one consumes Xian forms of entertainment in general: they seem to be “getting religion” in their car and “getting entertained” in church. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? But what can you expect when the operating principle is “be of the world but not in it”? Seems sadly consistent.

But I think you may have meant hearing these sorts of messages from broad Evangelicalism, to which I also have to concur hearing it before. How can one not? It is everywhere.

You are right that when pressed the purveyors of the message will not own up to selling indulgences (or means of grace). But that is to be expected since people know the right answer to a loaded question.

Excellent thoughts!

I'm just wondering, though, if maybe it is just as simple as crappy theology. Let me explain. Why do I give sermon CDs to people, or tell them they should listen to this or that song? I do it, and I think you do it, because you believe it will help in the fight for joy. I'm pretty sure that the CDs and the songs have done just that on occasion. Does that mean we both think them means of grace? Well, I don't think we think that, if we do we should stop. But I do think these CDs and songs help us to want to exercise them more.

When I listened to Ferguson on the Marrow, I wanted to pray and read my Bible more. But the linchpin, I think (and this is where the crappy theology part comes in) is that I also wanted to exercise the public means of grace more. I wanted to be in Church.

So I tend to think that this whole radio station thing is just the ol' privatization and subjectivization of religion. It makes people think that the private feelings they get in their closet is the gauge in their Christianity. Therefore, they continually have to intrude into those things they've not seen, make statements they probably don't even believe but have never really thought about and play with people's emotions through their modern day pipe organ, all to make the closet more meaningful.

So I'm not sure that they don't think people need grace to get better. It seems to me that they just don't know what grace is or how it ordinarily gets to people.

Enjoyed this post...and I'm glad I'm not the only one who has these thoughts :-)
It seems to me like the focus is definitely on morality and "becoming a better person". Do x and you'll get x results becomes a rule or a system that people can live by, instead of living by a Person, who doesn't always do things the same way every time. What works for some doesn't always work for others - so how can they guarantee our spiritual reactions? I see your point, Ben Dahlvang, and some things can bring us closer to the Lord, but I also think we need to be careful that we're looking to Jesus to be changed and not a method or book or certain music or even a set of theological beliefs. Our Christ is living! Again, thank you for your thoughts, brothers.

So I often believe that this entire airwaves station issue is just the ol' privatization and subjectivization of religion. It creates folks believe how the non-public emotions they get within their closet could be the determine within their Christianity
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Transplanted from the artic blight of Minnesota to the sunny paradise of SoCal, I am attending school and learning to say "dude." I like to think of myself as equal parts surf rash, Batman, heavy metal, Levinas, poetic license, and reformational. Other than creating blund blogs, I enjoy reading, sporting, and socializing with serious and funny people.
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