stewpotA meme is defined as an element, or a culture, or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means.

It is also loosely applied to events where an image, video, or piece of text is copied and spread rapidly by internet users.

It is the modern version of Chinese whispers, albeit engaging like-minded whisperers, the difference being that it potentially creates a cult following and appeals to people with similar attitudes.

The meme-makers at chookwatcher sites are enthusiastic exponents of this kind of theme-driven gathering.

They defend their meme vehemently by blocking out all and any conflicting influences, thus creating an environment of reinforced compliance in which their meme is incubated and confirmed by those who take full ownership of the premise presented.

Thus they form an enclave, as they develop and perfect an exclusive meme-driven concordat with which to drive their strategic narrative. An anthropologist would call it tribal, and it has, over time, developed identifiable cultural traits.

Creating a culture

A meme is an idea, behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. To thrive and survive is must be honed and cultivated.

A powerful example of this is chookwatcher’s preposterously juvenile claim, recently, that Hillsong was displacing the name of Jesus as they promoted their latest Worship album and Conference titled ‘No Other Name’. The accusation is that ‘No Other Name’ refers to Hillsong and not Jesus.

How did the meme-chasers who regularly comment at chookwatch sites respond to this? Well they supported it wholeheartedly, to such an extent, that, when a couple of people from outside their meme-culture pointed out the basic flaws in their premise, the regular chookwatch clan circled the wagons and began the process of denouncing anyone who would have the nerve to question any of their claims with very loud whoops.

One person who objected to the meme-creator’s claims placed the lyrics of the title song on the comments section, as evidence that the name of Jesus was, in fact, the clearly articulated theme of the song, only to be shouted down by none other than chookwatcher him/herself (site boss chookwatcher has multiple identities, male and female).

So what do the lyrics say? Do they promote Hillsong? Let’s see, here’s a portion of the song for you to examine for yourself…

One name
Holds weight above them all
His fame
Outlasts the earth He formed
His praise
Resounds beyond the stars
And echoes in our hearts
The greatest One of all

His face
Shines brighter than the sun
His grace
As boundless as His love
He reigns
With healing in His wings
The King above all kings
The greatest One of all

Lift up our eyes, see the King has come
Light of the world reaching out for us
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ our God

Seated on high, the undefeated One
Mountains bow down as we lift Him up
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ our God

Find hope
When all the world seems lost
Behold
The triumph of the cross
His power
Has trampled death and grave
Our life found in His name
The greatest name of all

The earth will shake
And tremble before Him
Chains will break
As heaven and earth sing
Holy is the name
Holy is the name of
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

Lift up our eyes, see the King has come
Light of the world reaching out for us
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ our God

Seated on high, the undefeated One
Mountains bow down as we lift Him up
There is no other name
There is no other name
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus

©Hillsong

One name. We discover in this song that this one name is none other than Jesus. You would think that there is enough in the lyric of this song to determine that it is referring exclusively to Jesus. It names Him as our God. Talks about the work of the cross. The King of all kings. The holy name of Jesus. The Light of the world. The reference to ‘no other name’ is found in Acts 4:10-12.

“Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

This, of course, works against the meme-producing chookwatchers who would have us believe that Hillsong doesn’t believe or preach the same Jesus as they do. The song would concern them because it actually preaches that there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved but the name of Jesus.

Does any of the chookwatch clan consider the fact that Jesus is clearly the subject of the song and accordingly reprimand the rest of his/her tribe for following the party line? No, not at all. Same-speak ensues. They stand together as one.

The meme is taught. The meme is caught. The clan is hooked. The die is set. And the meme of the clan, from now on, in their own minds, supersedes the reality of the song content. Add another meme to the narrative stew.

Meme against the published gospel

The meme-soup ingredients, in this example, include an attack on Hillsong for promoting their worship album in New York.

Never mind that the Bible tells us to publish the good news. Chookwatch wants everything run on their terms, so when Hillsong is discovered publishing ‘No Other Name’ and creating news on one of the busiest streets on the planet to gain global attention, they determine in their chook minds that this is too outrageously bold for their liking. This is far too eagle-thinking for a chook in a pen.

Globally promoting the name of Jesus? Who heard of such a thing?

Plus, naming the album ‘No Other Name’ and using it as their campaign headline isn’t good enough for the meme-soup chookwatchers. The title doesn’t mention sin and repentance. Bah, humbug. They want people to know they are sinners going to hell on a shelter-skelter faster than you can say ‘meme’.

To chookwatchers, dark reminders of sin, death and eternal torment are a far greater preaching tool than the name of Jesus, who overcame the power of sin and death, and was sent to deliver us from the prospect of torment. It’s true that eternal separation awaits the sinner who refuses to repent and receive Christ, but we were actually commanded to publish and preach the good news so that we could make disciples, not enemies.

As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
Romans 10:15

The point is that faith in Jesus is the only way home to God for sinners, and, as the song says, there is no other name under heaven by which they can be saved.

The gospel literally means ‘good news’. Good news.

The main chookwatcher is always asking dissenting commenters ‘what is the gospel’? It is the good news, chookwatcher. The good news of glad tidings.

It is clear from their arguments that chookwatchers would rather focus on the sin which destroys than the Son who saves. Or maybe, by creating a meme based on a hyper theology overemphasising sin and repentance they have fashioned a dogma they themselves cannot accept when it is put to them that Jesus has already paid the price of sin, and that we are saved through the preaching and publishing of good news, and repentance is metanoia, a change of heart, mind and direction from darkness to light, and it is the goodness of God that leads us to a godly sorrow and a true repentance that is not repented of.

In fact, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin. We are commanded to preach and publish the good news.

The serial complaint menu

Chookwatchers complain a lot. Although this deserves a dedicated article, we can make a reference to it here as we discuss the creation of memes. They have thrown many an objection into the stewpot. Moaning about Christians is one of the base ingredients for their concoctions.

So, in the example we are presenting here, the chookwatchers hustle their bustles and line up their complaints about the title and presentation of the Hillsong Worship album, determining it must, in some way, be evil, and Hillsong must be a cult.

Then, in the process of analysing everything Hillsong, the pot-stirrers complain that Hillsong, when it is publishing the name of Jesus, or a reference to the Trinity, must really mean something like modalism, or something connected with the papacy, or hooked up with Islam, or pagan, or fascist, or something not nice.

Anything except the truth, which is that Hillsong have actually put out an album which preaches Jesus to sinners in the heart of New York City and tells them He is the only way to salvation and that He has already paid the price of their sin to set them free forever if they will only believe on the name of Jesus. No other name.

Stewing over a hot meme

Then, ignoring the simple reality of Hillsong’s intentions, and cooking up the brew in their hubble bubble toil and trouble huddle, chookwatchers create a fresh anti-Hillsong meme to add to the narrative stew.

Thus equipped, and gathered around the pot, they hurl out anyone from their stewpot café who lays charges that they are sowing discord with seeds of bitter rumours. This they do by verbally slapping incomers the minute they arrive to make a comment to defend Hillsong’s worship songs, or dare to reprove chookwatchers for the unkindness seasoned with innuendo in their attacks on Hillsong members, leaders and churches.

This meme-driven narrative style is evident throughout the chookwatch sites. It is cultish to the max. They have created a community of self-serving antichristian party poopers. The level of screechy complaint is in the high decibels.

I do  not recommend going there, but if you can find a sustained post and thread of joy, friendliness, love, compassion, mercy, grace or merry heartedness anywhere on their three depressing sites please let us know, because the moaning and groaning over there is so intense and repetitive I cannot personally locate a single passage of anything praiseworthy, which, of course, goes against Paul’s admonition to focus on good reports, not bad.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.”
Philippians 4:8

Now if only the chookwatchers could find time between complaints and objections to regard this admonition maybe they’d be able to stop having such a miserable time trying to stir up their narrative stew with added meme ingredients, which is surely doing harm to their own mental faculties, because, as Paul told the Galatians, “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”

Continually sowing discord and complaints, gossip and backbiting cannot be healthy for anyone, least of all those who are pinned to the ground by their loss of flight like these chooks.

There’s too much in Biblical Christianity to rejoice about to allow moaners to get us down. As Paul said to the Philippians, “Rejoice, and, again I say, rejoice!” We even rejoice when our faith is tested. And why not. All of heaven rejoices when one sinner is saved, and there is a new soul in the Kingdom every few minutes. Best to join them and leave the moaning meme stew to the chooks.

The joy of the Lord is our strength.

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