See You In Hell: A Look At Brother Jed and Sister Cindy's Hellfire Preaching
Last week at Texas A&M marked the return of the popular college campus minister Brother Jed and his enchanting wife Sister Cindy. I came across them preaching as I made my trek back to the bus stop and was distracted by the enthusiastic swarm of people. I soon realized that the enthusiastic swarm was not there as a faithful fan base for Brother Jed’s lighthearted message (he shares such uplifting things as “You deserve hell!” and “God hates you!”) but more so to entertain themselves by making a mockery of the whole thing. I was almost impressed with how undeterred both Brother Jed and Sister Cindy were by the amount of ridicule they were receiving; instead of cowering away or getting angry at the crowd, they kept emphatically spreading God’s hate as if they were rock stars at a concert. Unfortunately, I entered the scene just as Brother Jed was finishing his damnation pitch. Fortunately, his very entertaining counterpart Sister Cindy was taking his place and I had the pleasure to witness it.
It was impossible not to make fun of poor Sister Cindy. She spoke with such melodramatic passion and ridiculous gesticulations that it took me a few minutes to realize she was being completely serious. She told a story of a college student named Henry who slept with three women and got herpes as a result. After that “herpes Henry” was rejected by his frat friends and became depressed since he had slept with the three “whoremongers” and gotten an STI. From this story Sister Cindy deduced that sex causes depression and suicide. Also, did you know that sex causes cancer in women? Sister Cindy did, although I think she got those statistics from women who have sex in tanning beds while smoking a pack of cigarettes. At one point during her show, a frustrated student stood in front of her, imploring the crowd to disregard their message and repeating that “This is not God’s love,” to which Sister Cindy responded by dramatically and emphatically opening her arms up towards the heavens and shouting “THIS IS THE GOD HATES YOU SHOW!” Interesting title, it sounds like a hit Broadway musical written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. There was also a brave soul who stepped forward and pointed out that in the past interracial marriage was considered wrong. Sister Cindy gazed at this young African-American woman and said consolingly, “don’t worry, race doesn’t matter here. You’re all going to hell regardless of race.” Well, at least God is consistent.
When I had heard enough of Sister Cindy’s rants I meandered over to where Brother Jed was sitting so that I could try to find out exactly why I was going to hell. He was already engaged in discussion with several other people who were trying to convince Jed that God’s love is greater than our sins and that sometimes people sin without consciously shunning God. He of course barely listened and kept asserting that the Bible is a call to holiness (which I agree with) and that after you give your life to God you can no longer sin or else God hates you (which I don’t agree with). Brother Jed also claimed that he never sins anymore which I find a little bit hard to believe. I mean really? You guys don’t sin? Because earlier your wife pointed at me and called me an STD which I find to be both incredibly judgmental and untrue. Besides, they’re called STI’s now; if you’re going to insult me get with the times. Sadly, at that moment Brother Jed was called up for an encore which ended our conversation and I took this opportunity to leave.
On the bus ride home I reflected on the message being conveyed by Brother Jed and Sister Cindy, wondering if they are living out their Christian responsibility as good Christians are supposed to. I came to the conclusion that if that is true then I could never be a good Christian. I don’t mean to condone or encourage actions that I think are morally wrong, but I try not to judge people just because they sin differently than I do. Do I think the way some people live their lives is wrong? Of course. Do I think they are going to hell for it? I have no idea. I don’t make that call, I’m not God. It’s not my place to pass judgment on an entire life because of one action I see. God made us perfectly imperfect and loves each one of us unconditionally, no matter what we do to Him. We should always try harder to be more deserving of His infinite love, but as humans we are going to stumble and fall. Fortunately we have God as a safety net, and He will always be there to catch us and love us as long as we let Him into our life. Ultimately, I just don’t think it’s my place to tell someone they deserve hell. I will explain my opinions and let them know if I don’t agree with their morals, but I can’t in good conscience say that their sin is greater or less than mine or that they are on the road to damnation because I don’t know what’s in their heart. That’s God’s call and I’m not going to take it from Him.
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