TBN, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, is now available on Freeview. I would not pay for such a thing, but wonder what it is like. What have they to say to us? “For you- for life.”

The schedule is the same each day. At 4pm there is “Veggietales”: Join Bob the Tomato, Larry the cucumber, and all their veggie friends. Perfect for young families, this laugh-out-loud comedy seamlessly weaves good moral values into each episode in a fun, exciting…

I put aside my Yuck reflex. The episode I watch retells The Prince and The Pauper, updated- the prince is a pop-star- in a way you might see on CBeebies apart from the American accents. But Bob and Larry top and tail it with heavy-handed moralising- “It’s not good to compare yourself to others, and to want what they have,” intones Bob. It depends what you do with that want, I suppose. Then he quotes Jeremiah 1:5a, which appears on the screen, after a woman croons You see we know that GOD’s word is for everyone….

Before I formed you in your mother’s body I chose you. Before you were born I set you aside to serve me.  Actually, I am not sure that the call of a prophet is for everyone.

“We need to trust God that his plan is the right plan” says Larry. “Always remember God made you special and he loves you very much.”

Much of the programming is of rock concerts. The music is relentlessly optimistic- fast or slow, it is Thank you God for loving me, Everything is alright because God loves us, Jesus came to save, etc. Audiences sway, their hands raised in praise. This could get addictive- a stream of constant reassurance, drawing you in. However bad the World is, God cares, if only you believe enough. I caught a snatch of Joel Osteen, big hair, big teeth, big warm smile, crooning the same message- join a Bible-believing church and have faith. That is, insulate yourself from reality- though he has that get-out clause: if things go wrong it must be your faith which is at fault.

Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Church, originally from Sydney but now with campuses all over Australia and spreading into Europe, preached to the Hillsong Conference 2013, calling his flock into the Mystery of God, the great unknown, following God’s will: like Peter, stepping onto the water when he saw Jesus walking.  He started by shocking me: when John’s disciples buried his head and body, did they dig one hole or two? Who would think of that, apart from Brian? Preaching for fifty minutes, he has little content but much repetition: step into the Mystery where feet may fail. Go when Jesus says go, but how we know it comes from Jesus he does not say. Humans like control and predictability but God is full of surprises. There is nothing boring or mundane about the mystery of serving Jesus.

What service does he expect? That they will found more campuses for Hillsong church, buying buildings, taking new ground, preaching to the hurt and the broken and bringing them in. I disagreed with him about the tongues of angels- 1 Cor. 14:10, Paul values speaking in words but Brian says you can speak God’s own tongue.

I do not find this illusion and rabble-rousing healthy. Brian believes “the writings of Paul are clear” about gays.

9 thoughts on “TBN UK

  1. I really love Vegetales. Yes, they can be a bit ‘traditional’ but have you tried, ‘Lyall, the Kindly Viking’ or ‘Prince Omelette, (‘will he share his eggs with his starving people?’) delivered in a delightfully faux Irish lilt? There is lots of laughter and joking too, which, theology aside, I have enjoyed enormously. A bit too child-like for us these days, alas, but great even so.

    Perhaps if we can perfect the skill of taking from a thing what we delight in, and leaving the rest, there lies the secret of happiness. xxxx 😀


      • Unfortunately, this country is full of poorly educated, ill informed, brainwashed people who live to watch fox news propaganda channel, and feed their souls on the evangelical,single mindedness of these conservative carpetbaggers. They give all of their limited funds to evangelical preachers, and to ultra right-wing candidates of the republican party. The results can be seen now and it can only get much worse the next two years as they now control both houses of congress. Just one of the many things that make this a shittty place to live. Best, Julia in the good old narrow minded state of Texas, USA.:(


        • Welcome, Lisa. It is lovely to have you here. I understand that the median figure for Fox prime-time viewing in 2012 was 1.9m, so a fairly small percentage of the US population. Over here, it is held in derision because of a guest recently stating that Birmingham is entirely Muslim, leading to its joyous mockery on Twitter under #foxnewsfacts.


  2. The most recent evening cable news ratings show fox with a huge lead over cnn and msnbc. Until the “low information voters” figure out that their beloved republicans, that fill them with empty calories, are are actually against them, nothing will change. Liberal strategists figure that since the repubs are running the show for the next two years, they will screw up the country so much, that even the most myopic idiots and losers will be so grievously affected, they will finally figure out their heroes aren’t on their side, Meanwhile everyone will suffer at their tax cuts and deregulation of banking, tax,and wallstreet,will probably send us into another depression. Sorry, but it will probably affect the worlds economy too. 1% of our richest will happily stand by while the world eats dirt. I suggest so start hoarding food.Lay in a good supply of candles and campstove fuel. LOve, Julia


    • Over here, we have an insane extremist party called UKIP, which wants to “move to an insurance based health system”- more expensive, more unfair, poorer results- from our National Health Service. Extreme right wingers are too stupid to see that there are some things better done communally, where everyone contributes and everyone benefits. Unfortunately, UKIP seek to parasitise the disillusionment with the major parties, with the simple, insidious message- “They’re all crap, you’re angry, vote UKIP”.


      • Sounds familiar. Our idiots are considering paying for another “expenditure cut” by reducing or eliminating the Social Security”s payments to the old, disabled, and the “people who are too lazy to work” .Such compassion the rich have for the poor and disabled. And this cut, if implemented, will eliminate my monthly $1000 disability payment. Since I have 2 old cars, I will probably live in one and try to drive the other. Oh Well…. Love, Julia


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