Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bush Reaches Out to Church Growth Experts

The Bush Administration announced that it has teamed up with church development expert Kennon Callahan to develop a new strategy for the war in Iraq. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been working closely with Callahan for several weeks using the methods Callahan pioneered in the 1980s with his book Twelve Keys to an Effective Church.

Gates said, in an interview on Meet the Press, that “discussions about Iraq always begin with ‘what’s wrong with Iraq?’ I realized this was the wrong tact. Callahan encourages us to begin with our strengths. He asks, ‘What’s right with Iraq?’”

Said Callahan, “Surely, many excellent mistakes were made in the first years of this war, but hope is stronger than memory, and there are plenty of reasons for hope.”

Gates and Callahan quickly discovered that Iraq already has many God-given assets, including some significant relational groups (Shi’a, Sunni and Kurds), open accessibility (particularly its porous borders with Iran and Syria), and adequate parking. The country can use these assets to grow forward its mission.

This is not the first time the Administration has turned to a church growth expert for assistance in Iraq. Shortly before the war began in March 2003, presidential advisor Karl Rove and megachurch pastor Rick Warren wrote a book titled The Purpose Driven War. Initially, it was a big seller, but sales fell off quickly when the war turned sour.
Gates and Callahan are also planning to write a book to chronicle their journey together and to help other war czars achieve success. Twelve Keys to an Effective War is due to arrive in bookstores this Fall.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

2007 Readers' Poll Results

The first ever Aldersgate Gazette Readers’ Poll has concluded, and the results are both startling and disturbing. Mental health experts brought in to analyze the data agreed that the Gazette readership, as a whole, suffers from a number of psychological issues, probably brought on by their mothers.


The results in this category were as expected. For example, out of the 3,635 surveys received, more than 88% of those who responded were Hindu, owing to AG’s enormous popularity in India. The other major religious group represented among Gazette readers are the “Snake Handlers,” at about 6%. Since these churches are largely independent, this category includes a wide variety of theological perspectives, though all Christian. The two Roman Catholic Snake Handlers who filled out the survey were included in a separate category.

The remaining religious groups, all registering at 2% or less, were primarily Protestant Christian denominations, Wiccans, Dead Heads, Eastern Orthodox, Rastafarians and Democrats.


Nearly half of all respondents listed “clergy” as their occupation. This, according to experts, is particularly troubling, since these readers are highly unstable. The next largest category was “Satan’s assistant” at 22%. These respondents are the most well adjusted of all. The others were “education,” 10%; “other,” 8%, “student,” 7%; and “Elvis impersonator,” 4%.


The editors were also surprised at how readers learned of the Gazette. About 75% first heard about the Gazette because they saw the URL written on bathroom walls or carved into toilet seats. As a result of this finding, the staff canceled all of its print advertising and gave every janitor in North America an AG tee shirt. More than 15% of readers heard about the Gazette in a voice from God.


Virtually all respondents said, if they had a million dollars, they would “blow it on hookers.”


Of popular songs that should be converted to hymns, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the big winner. Two-thirds of respondents said this Nirvana tune should add life to 21st Century churches. The “Macarena” by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Los del Rio was the number 2 choice. Other songs mentioned included “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” “Whip It” and “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).”


The most controversial category asked for God’s biggest mistake to date. The winner, by a narrow margin, was “llamas,” narrowly beating out “comb-overs” and the “designated hitter.” “Zoroastrianism” and “free will” also received a healthy percentage of votes.


The 2007 Readers’ Poll gives the first clear, comprehensive look at people of faith in the United States and India. It is a ground breaking study, and provides sociologists enough data to keep them employed in the coming year. The editors wish to thank all of the loyal readers who took the time to fill out the survey. If you were one of those who did, please see a psychiatrist at your earliest convenience.

Look for the 2008 Readers’ Poll next May.

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