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As of yesterday, though, the most recent entry was from January 14. But then today, I dropped the Big One.
As we say at Gut Check Headquarters / Pastor Zach’s Basement (while adjusting our wigs and looking deeply into our own souls in the mirror), It’s on now!
The aforementioned Big One:
If you want to know how it all ends . . .
Dear reader-slash-footsoldier in the Gut Check Army,
Yes, it seems that we let this project go by the wayside, as if this serialized end-times thriller is now as irrelevant as The Late Great Planet Earth. But things are not always as they seem.
True, we did have a bit of a lag there—so much so that we're having to re-work the clever “whoops, the Mayan calendar really runs out in 2011” sub-plot—but we’ve also been working on this project behind the scenes. There are now four more chapters, each building this story to a ludicrously dispen-sensational climax.
Where are these chapters, and why aren't they posted, you ask? Because we’ll be wrapping this story up as a committee in the next few weeks (somewhere in a smoke-filled back room or spark-and-steam-filled alley) and offering the whole deal as an e-book for, oh let's say, three bucks.
Stay tuned at www.gutcheckpress.com.
Honestly, this thing is a hilarious collaboration and it’s getting funnier as it gets more absurd. I’ll let you know when it’s all shrink-wrapped and ready for delivery to your Kindle or Nook.
Just how reformed do you think you are? With clarity of insight that comes only from firsthand experience, the authors of Kinda Christianity take on their own cultural-theological movement, offering tips and tricks for all you New Calvinists. From what to wear to who to marry (and how to court them) to what to read, Ted Kluck and Zach Bartels help you work out your reformedness with fear and trembling.
Today, an audio interview with me and Ted is up on the one and only PyroManiacs blog. Click here to check it out.
Click here to see the book’s homepage (and blog).
Click here to buy the book on Amazon (paperback or Kindle version).
Remember when the Left Behind novels were big? Yeah, me too. As a Christian who holds exclusively to doctrines not dreamed up in the last 175 years, I found them incredibly embarrassing. I listened to the first four of them on my Walkman (because I was hammering traffic counting hoses into the road for a living and, having already exhausted all of my good books on tape, started borrowing from others), and spent the duration keeping score between three teams: Bad Theology, Bad Story Telling, and Downright Boringness. (Bad Theology won by a nose.)
Well, it's been almost fifteen years since they made a splash, but some of us still aren't over it. And so, my wife Erin, my buddies Ted, Brad, and Ronnie, and myself have started the serialized dispensational end times blog-novel, Beauty and the Mark of the Beast: A Dispensational Thriller.
Why even bother to parody a genre that peaked in 1997, you might ask?
There are several valid answers to this question, as follows:
1. We’re a little bit lazy. When you parody a living, growing, changing phenomenon, you have to stay on top of the latest developments. And it pays to work fast in such circumstances. Having already done satires of more recent phenoms (e.g. the emergent church and the New Calvinism), we thought we’d take a little break and just kick a dead horse while it’s down.
2. It’ll be back. Soon. Mark my words. Then we’ll appear to be way ahead of our time.
3. To us, pop dispensationalism kind of stands in for everything that’s tacky, embarrassing, and mockable about modern day Evangelicalism.
Click the graphic below to be raptured away. Comment. Subscribe. Repost/tweet. Etc.
- Audio book, Facing Tyson: Fifteen Fighters, Fifteen Stories (due out next month, in conjunction with WAC Productions)
- Younger, Restlesser, Reformeder, our follow-up to Kinda Christianity, wherein we satirize smug, self-important young Calvinists (read: us)
- A cookbook, entitled Saucy Broad: A Culinary Manifesto of Hope
- A book about predestination by a brilliant young Baptist minister (not me).
- A book about Christian music by Ronnie Martin of the always-cutting-edge Joy Electric
- Five other projects in various stages of completion, including one by me.
We are proud to present the first offering from our new line, Gut Check Smackademic, Everybody Can Change: A Critical Cinematic, Philosophical, Socio-Political, Theological Literary Analysis of Sylvester Stallone’s Seminal Work, Rocky IV.
Click here to download this brilliant piece free of charge! And don’t forget to leave glowing feedback about the paper below.
In the spirit of second chances, I have below reproduced the paper I presented, and will soon be sharing the graphics-heavy lesson plan for the advanced emergent course.
Grand Rapids has been the building site for many of the bedrock houses that comprise the skyline of Christian publishing: Zondervan, Baker, Eerdmans, that one guy who writes his own tracts and then hands them out on college campuses and calls all the girls whores and then gets eggs thrown at him and says, “Oh well, they spit on Jesus too,” Kregel. And while each of these has made its own contributions to the church, to biblical scholarship, and to the reading world at large, they all lack a certain boxing-glove-logo-ness. And where the aformentioned have fallen short, it is this paper’s contention that Gut Check Press excels—not only in the literal boxing glove present in its logo, but also in the literary punch-in-the-face that Gut Check Press offers its readers via their “pull-no punches, blow-your-skirt-up, break-your-shin-bones” style of books—books that would not sit well with the Amish Girl fiction enthusiast or even the world of Christian mens’ literature and its ever-popular “Ten Steps to a Good Public Cry” genre.
In short, Gut Check Press is in another class altogether. Perhaps an analogy would be apropos here: David C. Cook (the man) is to Mickey Rourke as David C. Cook (the publisher) is to Gut Check Press. Gut Check would make Davey go buy it a Rockstar energy drink and fill Gut Check’s car up with gas. Premium. GCP has no inexplicably British Jesuses, no voluminous ruffly dresses, no endless self-exploration and accompanying discourses about how you “feel” and the “journey you’re on.” Also no fainting.
Take, for example, Gut Check's first publication, Kinda Christianity: A Fair, Organic, Free Trade Guide to Authentic Realness, a 62-page epic of missional proportions, packed with sardonically irreverent satire, dazzling gray-scale graphics, and endlessly useful information for the aspiring emergenteer.
If ever a popular work filled a scholarly void, it is this one. After all, while there has been a glut of recent books that lay out for the reader an emergent worldview and theology—books like A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren, A Christianity Worth Believing by Doug Paggitt, and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne—these books are, as the addage goes, fish. And while fish may be delicious for a moment (provided they weren't caught by a commercial vessel), they will soon leave one famished and trolling the streets for more, harder fish. Only Kinda Christianity teaches the reader to cast the line of incarnational community into the depths of the wildly diverse sea and reel in endless bucketsfull of genuine authenticity.
As would be expected with such a groundbreaking work, it has not landed unnoticed. The press has taken notice. And not just the blogosphere, but, like, the legitimate press—the Grand Rapids Press. Front page of the religion section, above the fold. Win.
The retail world has taken notice, as evidenced by this very event. Not only did Kinda Christianity reach the top 1% of 1% for sales on Amazon.com, the last week of April and first week of May, it is also available in stores. Two stores.
And of course, the academic world has taken notice. At the 2010 meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Sacramende, the Rev. Dr. Michael E. Wittmer presented a paper entiteld “Gut Check Press: It's Legiznit, Brah,” in which he concluded, and I quote, “What Karl Barth is to neo-orthodoxy and Benny Hinn is to TV preachers, what Voltaire is to the Enlightenment and Pat Robertson is to the leg press machine, what Schleiermacher is to Classical Protestant Liberalism and Brian McLaren is to the Emergent church (or the other way around, I can't really tell the two apart anymore), so Ted and Zach are to to the fiercely orthodox, thirty-something, Calvinistic, cigar-smoking, boxing enthusiast set.”
Actually, there wasn't really a paper. And there is no such city as Sacramende. But what if there was, right? Right?
In conclusion, we submit as incontrovertible fact that only one publisher has brought you a book parodying the emergent church and an audio book about Mike Tyson. Does that make Gut Check Press great? Does it make it an Amway-esque empire worthy of your fear, love, and devotion in equal proportions?
- I have removed the “Link Within” (aka “You might also like...”) widget because it linked all of my 100+ posts to the same five random articles. Why? I don't know... So, goodbye Link Within. Better luck next time.
- Kinda Christianity is now avaiable on the Amazon Kindle. So...ya know...if you have a...Kindle, then...um...buy it. The paperback is now on Amazon UK as well--for all my British readers.
- I've made some updates to Pastor Zach dot Com, including an archive of Calvinati.com (which I finally mercy-killed) and a video page...
- ...which includes the new teaser trailer for our web series Pastor Zach’s Basement! This is the stuff dreams are made of; don’t miss it!
- Ted Kluck has procured some golf clubs for us to use this summer. Neither of us golfs, but we’re going to hit a nine-hole course soon a la Mikey and Peter Gibbons on Swingers. Any golf advice?
- And speaking of Ted, he’s headed to the Moody Pastors Conference, which I had been intending to attend with him, but a couple things fell through (on Moody’s part, not mine) and I am not going after all. I do attend at least one conference per year, which now leaves me wide open for 2010. Anyone know of any good conferences on the horizon that I should check out? (Remember, I’d rather chew on a broken-glass-filled dead rat than go to anything “Purpose-Driven,” “Missional,” or “Seeker-based.”)
My Home Page
Everything you've never wanted to know about Pastor Zach (and had no desire to ask...)
- Zachary Bartels
- An award-winning preacher and Bible teacher, Zachary Bartels has been serving as senior pastor of Judson Baptist Church for nearly a decade. He earned his BA in world religions from Cornerstone University and his Masters of Divinity from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He enjoys film, fine cigars, stimulating conversation, gourmet coffee, reading, writing, and cycling. His writing, with its combination of clean prose, tight action, and cutting humor, has been highlighted by The Grand Rapids Press, www.speculativefaith.com, uber-popular blog TeamPyro, and elsewhere. His next two books (both supernatural suspense novels) will be published by Thomas Nelson and will hit stores in October of 2014 and July of 2015, respectively. He lives in the capital city of a mitten-shaped Midwestern state with his wife Erin and their son.
Click here to buy the emergent satire Kinda Christianity, written by Ted Kluck and myself.
Click here to buy the new satire Younger, Restlesser, Reformeder by Ted Kluck and Zach Bartels.
Click here to buy my novel, 42 Months Dry.
Click here to snag our end-times thriller satire, written by committee (only $2.99).
- ▼ 2012 (15)
- ► 2011 (20)
- ► 2010 (33)
- ► 2009 (49)