Tough times, and we're hunkerin' down

Since about 2008, the Door website, like the rest of the country, has been out of a job.

We know what it's like, waiting in those labor pool lines on the corner in the blistering sun, hoping we'll get chosen, scrambling for spare change to help pay for server hosting. Helplessly watching spam messages pile up in the comments section.

We were finally forced to collect our jokes, photos, videos and other claptrap and transfer to a cheaper host, one with a single, bare lightbulb over the sink. It's hard to be funny in this environment, so we're just leaving everything as-is -- a static site in which many of the bells and whistles don't work. Yes, you can still buy something at the Door Store. No, you can't leave a comment.

Once we're puttin' on the Ritz again, we'll let you know.

Why Benny Hinn Became Our Wacky Neighbor

By John Bloom

If you drive west from Dallas, through the neo-moderne lunarscape of a pod city called Las Colinas, past a massive international airport on a denuded prairie, into the warren of faceless office buildings that make up cosmopolitan Grapevine, you'll never find Benny Hinn.

He wants it that way. The nerve center of his worldwide organization is tucked away in a group of cheap white nondescript buildings that look like the kind of domiciles favored by Mafia fronts on the wharves of New Jersey. Inside, several dozen employees process an estimated $100 million per year in donations from people who believe in Hinn as a sort of Elmer Gantry for the 21st century. (Obviously they didn't read the novel.)

Now go the other way, into the cul-de-sacs and barrios of deep East Dallas. On a dead end street next to a nursing home, in an expansive two-story house once owned by the Dallas mob, the Trinity Foundation works 24/7 trying to find out just how much money passes through Grapevine, where it comes from and where it goes, running undercover operations, infiltrations, spying, surveillance, the cultivation of disgruntled ex-employees, and even going through Benny Hinn's garbage in an effort to . . . well . . . to make him prove he's not a fraud. READ MORE...

05.20.2008 | Comments(407)


News From The Doorkeeper

John Bloom's picture

Christ, That Hurt

Okay, obviously nobody can resist a video of uber-atheist Christopher Hitchens being waterboarded. Vanity Fair has apparently resorted to making bad YouTube videos in order to promote itself–in this case, the Hitchens article “Believe Me, It’s Torture.” But I have questions for Christopher, starting with: Do you always get waterboarded by guys dressed up like cat burglars? Hitchens ShowerAnd couldn’t you just climb onto the board? Why do you have to be bound like a paralysis victim and then lifted on and off it? Did you get waterboarded while drunk or something? Come to think of it, maybe you could have lasted more than 10 seconds if they’d used vodka instead of water when they were sprinkling you out of that Clorox bottle. And that’s another thing: it looked like they sprinkled about, oh, two fingers of a shot glass worth of Evian water through a towel. Is that really all it takes? Maybe I’m in favor of waterboarding after all. You think you’re drowning but there’s no way in hell you could even get wet. Those who’ve watched the video know that Hitchens was given a safety word if he wanted to abort the demonstration, but contrary to rumors on the blogosphere, that word was not “Jesusislord.”

Anglican Steel Cage Death Match Might Be Postponed


They won’t be singing Kumbayah this week at the Lambeth Conference, the every-ten-year meeting of the entire Anglican communion, especially since 200 bishops will be boycotting the event, including my recent dinner companion, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, who used the word “apostates” to describe some of his fellow clerics at the recent Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem. The conservatives all but admitted they held GAFCON to intentionally upstage Lambeth, declaring themselves a “church within the church” that was tired of complaining about liberal doctrine that the church leaders are obviously loathe to change. But N.T. Wright, the respected Bishop of Durham who’s on the short list to be the future Archibishop of Canterbury and who once made the mistake of giving an interview to the Door’s own Becky Garrison, called the GAFCON movement “strange in form and uncertain in destination,” and encouraged the renegade bishops to reconsider and bring their “rich experience and gospel-driven exuberance to the larger party where the rest of us are working day and night for the same gospel, the same biblical wisdom, the same Lord.” Some of the conservatives will indeed show up at Lambeth, but they don’t wanna sit next to the gay guy. And the Archbishop of Canterbury appears to be floating a last-ditch effort to make the theocons happy: he’s creating a cadre of “superbishops” to supervise churches that object to being led by a female–because, oh yeah, there’s that problem, too, the fact that 14 years ago the Anglicans started ordaining women and now they’re about to have the first female bishops. No wonder several of the Anglican dissidents were recently seen darting in and out of offices at the Vatican. In 1994, 500 Anglican priests became, overnight, Catholic priests. Benedict is hoping for a new harvest. And, by the way, the first superbishop was created in the 1970s, by Monty Python.

Barack Loves Jesus Again

Obama Glory

Uh oh, Barack Obama was using the phrase “personal commitment to Christ” last week, and we know what happens when the Obamameister starts getting all evangelical on us–he ends up interpreting scripture. Fortunately, he hasn’t given us any more exegesis lately, but he did come out for expansion of the Bush administration’s faith-based programs. Would that be the same programs that, uh, were roundly condemned as failures after special assistant to the President Doug Wead was drummed out of the White House for making secret tapes of the Prez? Yes, they would be, but that had nothing to do with the original vision of the programs, as Jim Wallis of Sojourners explained in a virtual endorsement of Obama during the same week that Obama’s handlers explicitly stated that they were seeking the support of the “religious left.” They were seeking it, by the way, in Zanesville, Ohio, hometown of Zane Grey, holder of the all-time record for novels made into movies (over 200), and not a member of the religious left. If this goes on much longer, Obama will be in danger of saying something akin to Howard Dean’s comment in 2004, when asked what his favorite New Testament book was. If you’ll recall, the answer was Job. There wasn’t much spin for his handlers to put on that one.

Last Time the Romans Showed Up, the Trojans Lost

The Popemobile is in Australia this week for World Youth Day, and our sources in the Anglican church tell us that there’s an organized effort to drop condoms on the Pope’s head. So far there have been no papal condom showers, but if they do go through with it, I hope they’re not ribbed condoms. After all, he’s an elderly man.

07.21.2008 | Comments(38) | All Posts By John Bloom
Skippy R's picture

The Olympics, and achievement just out of reach

Before our morning Bible study some of us walk up to the local coffee shop, bypassing Starbucks. We're friends with the owners and the staff and we've been walking up there almost every day for a decade. READ MORE...

08.20.2008 | Comments(8) | All Posts By Skippy R
Joe Bob Briggs's picture

Why Whipkey Whipped Out a Whangdoodle in Weld

Joe Bob Briggs
Founder, Focus on the Dysfunctional Family

On a hot morning last June, Catholic priest Robert Whipkey was jogging naked through Greeley, Colorado–it’s not clear whether he was wearing his clerical collar, but that might look kinda cool–and a cop arrested him for indecent exposure even though he explained that he didn’t want to get his clothes sweaty and it never occurred to him that anyone would actually see his whangdoodle at such an early hour (4:30 a.m.). When Whipkey later explained to a Weld County jury why he had whipped it out, they convicted him in about, oh, 20 seconds. At sentencing he faces up to 18 months in prison, where clerical genitalia is frowned on.

07.01.2008 | Comments(18) | All Posts By Joe Bob Briggs
Bob Gersztyn's picture

Dan Green Is Dead

Dan Green was one bad ass mofo, and now he’s dead. He told the doctors at the VA hospital to go f--- themselves. They wanted to poke him with scalpels and IV’s. So he refused to cooperate, and he died. He was 74, weighed about 160, and stood five foot six, with a short-cropped buzz cut on a clean-shaven bullet-shaped head. READ MORE...

06.30.2008 | Comments(36) | All Posts By Bob Gersztyn

Stained Glasses - 2008-06-30
READ MORE... 06.29.2008 | Comments(6)


Your Guide to Contemporary Christian Music

By Dale Peterson

Thank you for choosing to worship with us today. If you are from a church that uses traditional hymns, you may be confused. Please take a moment to read through this guide to contemporary Christian music.

In our church you will not hear "How Great Thou Art," "Wonderful Grace of Jesus," or "Like a River Glorious." (Generally, hymns that have words like “Thou” are not used. They are too archaic and are normally replaced by words like “awesome” and “miry clay”). READ MORE...

06.19.2008 | Comments(282)

Noah's Blog

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4
Rain.

07.09.2008 | Comments(109)

Joe Bob Parties With the Atheists
By Joe Bob Briggs

The biggest security guard I’ve ever seen in my life–this guy could work for Blackwater, and he’s got the coiled listening device spilling out of his left ear to prove it–has parked his burly self squarely in front of me, making it clear that I’d best slink back against the wall while the Rock Star of Atheism makes her entrance and a hundred entranced admirers take a collective breath, not quite believing they’re in her presence. READ MORE...

05.30.2008 | Comments(103)

Loving Harry
By John Bloom

Harry Guetzlaff–the puckish Managing Editor of The Wittenburg Door, who died Sunday morning–spent his whole life searching for unconditional love. He was a romantic in the old-fashioned sense. READ MORE...

07.13.2008 | Comments(85)

Todd Bentley Fires Blanks in Texas

By Danny Gallagher

DENTON, Tex.--The University of North Texas "Super Pit" indoor stadium is packed to the nosebleed seats with people hoping to see a knee to the stomach, a poke check to the ribs, or the classic swift kick to the cojones–because they all know that mega-evangelist demon stomper Todd Bentley is IN THE HOUSE for one night only. READ MORE...

07.22.2008 | Comments(313)

Chinese Christians' Olympic "degree of difficulty" rated at 9.7
By Skippy R.

(Crossposted at www.baptiststandard.com)

China's Olympic Games began in Beijing in venues choked by smog and under the shadow of a crackdown on human rights and religious freedom.

The Chinese dazzled the world with an impressive and often intimidating opening night display of pageantry and technical flash. READ MORE...

08.20.2008 | Comments(64)

Victorious Secret: Lingerie for Overcomers
By Skippy R.

Victorious Secret bills itself as "The Lingerie Line for the Overcoming Woman"

And it is the "premier and dominant" producer of Christian-themed apparel in America, and maybe in the universe, according to the company's innovative founder, Veronique Wisteria.

08.30.2008 | Comments(54)



By Jamie Crossan

  • Prisons would be renamed "Love the Sinner Hate the Sin Tough Love™ Community Intervention Centers."
  • Coveting your neighbor’s ass would be a capital offense.
  • The Bible Belt would be replaced by The God Delusion Neck-tie. READ MORE...
  • 07.08.2008 | Comments(106)

Benny Gets an A, Kenny Gets an F
By John Bloom

The big surprise from the Grassley Six progress report yesterday was that Benny Hinn–not known as the most transparent guy in the world--decided to step up and give the senator what he wanted.

Senator Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, released an extensive statement revealing, among other things, that he had never heard of the “prosperity gospel” until he started this oversight investigation last November READ MORE...

07.07.2008 | Comments(58)

Mark Driscoll Kicks His Own Ass

By Jesse Benjamin

Mark Driscoll, Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, took a dramatic stand against girly men at a Pastor’s Conference in Houston last week.

The conference, called “re:tool and re:load,” previously billed as “jesus 2.0,” featured speakers from around the country with the stated focus of “Making the Gospel and Missiology Relevant to Post Modern Culture.” Speaking at the last session of the conference, Driscoll focused his three-and-a-half-hour talk on the need for pastors to be more alpha. READ MORE...

07.01.2008 | Comments(448)

Virgin Mary Found on Back of Grand Theft Auto

By Danny Gallagher

After spending more than three hours in line outside of a Gamespot in Rockford, Illinois, hoping to buy a copy of "Grand Theft Auto IV" so her son would have "friends," Jane Wallach made a startling discovery.

The game she purchased had an image of the Virgin Mary plainly visible on the reflective side of the disc. READ MORE...

06.30.2008 | Comments(302)

Today's Theologians Rock With the Oldies

By Becky Garrison

Christian publishing needs to be relevant for the New Millennium, so we decided to see what might happen if some of today’s best-selling authors re-wrote the Christian classics. READ MORE...

06.29.2008 | Comments(16)


Dog the Bounty Hunter Speaks

Door Exclusive: The Dog’s First Interview Since He Was Muzzled

We love The Dog. When Dog the Bounty Hunter was kicked off the air by the A&E Network for using the n-word, we thought it was a bad call and said so. We think, in fact, that Dog the Bounty Hunter may be the best reality show in the history of that much maligned genre. READ MORE...

06.25.2008 | Comments(110)

Bo Diddley on The Bible

“It’s Like a Map That You Get From Here to Chicago” READ MORE...

06.10.2008 | Comments(71)

A Chat With Peter Rollins, Postmodern Barroom Philosopher
READ MORE... 03.17.2008 | Comments(51)

"This World is not My Home"

The Wittenburg Door Interview: Larry Norman

Issue #33, October-November 1976

02.29.2008 | Comments(33)

Quotes: John Fischer

Issue #33, October-November 1976

John Fischer is a musician's musician. He sings, writes, and performs, accompanying himself on both the guitar and piano (not at the same time, however). READ MORE...

03.03.2008 | Comments(165)

Heavy Theological Dude Mistakenly Talks to Us

The Wittenburg Door Interview: N.T. “Tom” Wright

By Becky Garrison

12.17.2007 | Comments(76)

"No Nation Is Christian" (and Phyllis Tickle Knows)

“Nobody in his or her right mind would want to be a member of a socially acceptable religion. It's very dangerous for the soul.”

By Becky Garrison

11.29.2007 | Comments(35)

Same Kind of Different As Me

One was a modern-day slave and then the toughest con in Angola Prison. The other was a yuppie art dealer. A violent miracle and a tragedy brought them together in eternity.

By Bob Gersztyn

11.19.2007 | Comments(30)

Rob Bell on Sex, God, and Sex Gods

By Flip Blaney

It's 8 p.m. on a Monday night in Rocketown, Michael W. Smith's Christian Nightclub/Skatepark in downtown Nashville. The club is packed, sold out with a line snaking around the corner. READ MORE...

11.14.2007 | Comments(154)


Do They Believe? Do We Care?
By John Bloom

Eighteen intellectuals talk about God--wait, let me correct that--seventeen intellectuals and Jane Fonda talk about God in Do You Believe?: Conversations on God and Religion (Vintage, $12.95) READ MORE...

06.11.2008 | Comments(49)

What If Jesus Told You to Have More Sex?

By Becky Garrison

After becoming ridiculously popular on the indie film festival circuit, Forgiving the Franklins comes to DVD today READ MORE...

05.19.2008 | Comments(82)

Holy Blood, Holy Vodka Bottle

By Heidi Martinuzzi

Ever since Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code turned the New Testament into a source of endless tabloid headlines, we're used to this sort of thing, so you probably won't be surprised when I give you the what-ifs from the Bruce Burgess documentary Bloodline, opening Friday: READ MORE...

05.08.2008 | Comments(55)

How to Make Your Passover Meal Last Three Hours Longer

By Jennifer Morrow

Why is this night different from all other nights?
On all other nights we eat either leavened bread or matzah; on this night, why only matzah?
On all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs; on this night, why only bitter herbs? READ MORE...

04.22.2008 | Comments(38)

Stein Nukes Dawkins, Then Freaks Out

By Heidi Martinuzzi

Richard Dawkins is going to be very sorry today. There's a moment in Ben Stein's new movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed that the revered biologist is not going to like at all. READ MORE...

04.18.2008 | Comments(138)

Rolf Potts: Traveling Mercies

By Kristin Van Tassel

"Historically, Western tourism is the legacy of the Christian rite of pilgrimage." READ MORE...

11.11.2007 | Comments(2)

Apocalypse Now in Islam's Holiest Shrine
By John Bloom

The Siege of Mecca by Yaroslav Trofimov. Doubleday, $26, 301 pp. Publication date: September 18, 2007. READ MORE...

11.21.2007 | Comments(37)

Skippy at the Kimbell: Where's the Cross?

By Skippy R

The first Christian "art" must have been the fish symbol that believers could trace in the sand to covertly identify themselves and then immediately erase. READ MORE...

02.21.2008 | Comments(22)

Preaching Till It Hurts

Hard As Nails

Reviewed by Becky Garrison

Entering the auditorium of St. Gabriel Catholic School in the same neighborhood of Queens that spawned Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays and Malcolm X, I couldn’t keep my eyes off this urban punk doing pushups and rapping at the top of his lungs. READ MORE...

12.18.2007 | Comments(30)

Master of the Temple Describes a Fragile Paul

The Gospel According to Paul: The Creative Genius Who Brought Jesus to the World by Robin Griffith-Jones. HarperSanFrancisco, 2004, $16.95.

Reviewed by John Bloom

Robin Griffith-Jones, an Anglican cleric known for his wit and good humor, is Master of the Temple Church in London. READ MORE...

12.13.2007 | Comments(120)


October 19, 1745
Swift Death Mask
Jonathan Swift's death mask
Photo by Becky Garrison

Lemuel Gulliver, I.P. Bickerstaff, and M.B. Drapier, all names used to disguise the identity of Anglican priest Jonathan Swift as he lurched from woman to woman and parish to parish, were all laid to rest at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin when the world’s foremost Christian satirist (our favorite kind) expired at the age of 77.

June 30, 153

Baby Shop - Nazareth
Baby shop in Nazareth
Photo by Becky Garrison

Within three generations of the crucifixion, the town of Nazareth discovered Jesus Tourism.

June 20, 1157

The assembled clerics at the Council of Reims determined that the only sure way to deal with suspected heretics was by facial branding. Ouch.

June 19, 1637

pulpit rock
Photo by Becky Garrison.

Baptist preacher Roger Williams, seeking land where free-thinking Christians could live in peace, purchased Prudence Island (part of modern-day Rhode Island) from Sachem Canonicus, chief of the Narragansett Indians, for 20 fathom of wampum and two coats. Even if the Indians knew they could one day own the bed-and-breakfasts on the island, they wouldn’t have sat through another sermon.

May 11, 1825

tract society
Woodcut by Anderson from
The American Tract Magazine, 1825.

American Tract Society, Garland, Texas.

The American Tract Society was founded in a four-story building at 87 Nassau Street in New York, quickly becoming America’s leading charity and distributing 35 million evangelical books and tracts in its first decade. The theory was that if we could wipe out vices like gambling and alcoholism and sexual license, all of which get in the way of conversion, then the nation would become overwhelmingly Christian and the passions of the underclasses could be kept under control. The society, after 183 years of continuous pamphleteering, is now based in Garland, Texas, and is on the verge of finally eliminating every vice.

June 27, 1844

smith lynch
Martyrdom of Joseph and Hiram Smith in Carthage Jail,
Tinted lithograph by Nagel & Weingaertner,
after C. G. Crehen, 1851 Library of Congress.

Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, and his brother Hiram were killed by a lynch mob in Carthage, Illinois. The mob leader tried to behead Joseph, but was thwarted, so he shot him instead. Two years later the Mormons would abandon their settlement at Nauvoo, Illinois, and under the leadership of Brigham Young, migrate to Utah, where beheadings were less common. READ MORE...

11.21.2007 | Comments(1)


General Motors, once the symbol of American industrial might, is now 1/25th the size of Toyota, and smaller than Bed Bath & Beyond.



Disclaimer

02.11.2008 | Comments(67)

Ambulabam praeter asylum insanarum personarum otro die, et omnes aegrorum clamabant, "Tredecim! Tredecim! Tredecim!"

Saepes erat altior quam super videri, sed lacunam parvam in tabulis vidi et pervidi cavum videre quid accideret.

Qui nothus cum baculo me in oculo fodit.

Tum omnes inceperunt clamare, "Quattuordecim! Quattuordecim! Quattuordecim!”

God's Profits

When Sarah Posner speaks, The Door listens. No journalist in America is more wired when it comes to understanding the political landscape and how it intersects the worlds of televangelism, the prosperity gospel, the Republican Party and the (ahem) banking system. Three of the targets of her latest book have already invaded the presidential race (Copeland, Hagee and Parsley) and others are sure to follow. You won't really know the players unless you know this book first.

Get it at Amazon