Hi, I'm Steven Kozar, the guy behind this blog...
My hope, with this blog, is to be the "pied piper" who says to the confused, hurting and/or frustrated people in the church: It's okay to question the things you're hearing from the "Evangelical Industrial Complex." I hope I can help you to filter through all the shallow and confusing things you've been told, and to help you come to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Yes, we are ALL messed up sinners, but the church is supposed to be the one place where we hear the truth-God's Word-and are set free by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is a detail photo of that painting with a penny on top, to show the amount of detail in my paintings:
As you can see, I like
Details, Clarity, and Accuracy.
I'm not a professional writer or blogger, but I'm just as passionate about God and the study of God ("theology") as I am about my art. I've put my (borderline) OCD to work over the past decade trying to figure out what's going on in the church today. And I'm shocked and disgusted by the sorry state of Christianity in America: megachurches being run by megalomaniacs; heretical teachings being passed off as just "another way of looking at it;" sorcery, divination and demonic activity being called "holy spirit"... the list of examples could go on and on. Btw, when I say "Evangelical Industrial Complex" I'm not referring to actual orthodox Evangelical beliefs, I'm referring to the super pastors and celebrity authors (and the giant "Christian" publishing and television business) that have rejected Biblical beliefs and have added man-made teachings.
This blog was, first of all, a place where I could share some of the helpful websites, articles, and videos I'd discovered, and easily share them with others. This will continue to be something I do here.
Secondly, I wanted an outlet to share the ideas that I had been writing, and I will be posting my own articles here on a fairly regular basis.
This whole journey started when I started reading along in my Bible while the sermon was being preached at church. I've been a musician in various "praise bands" for many years, so I've been to a million services-and listened to a million sermons.
This is a photo from a church website where I used to go about seven years ago...That's me playing electric guitar on the right side of this photo (you can't really see my guitar).
When I decided to critically examine everything I was hearing at church and then compare it to the Bible, my whole world changed. I discovered that what the pastor said and what the Bible said were sometimes two different things. The Bible truly is God's Word, but it must be correctly interpreted and taught-period. Whenever I discovered that it was being taught incorrectly I left that church-period. I'm not ashamed to say I went through a period of "church-hopping" because I was seeking a church that emphasized God's Word above the teachings of man. I don't play in a praise band anymore, by the way; I'm very happy to sing hymns accompanied by a big beautiful organ.
Here's me with one of my "online mentors" Chris Rosebrough (This is when we first met in person, and I had just given him a print of my watercolor):
Here's me and my pastor, Joshua Janke, from Risen Savior Lutheran Church; although he's much younger than me, he's the most knowledgeable, trained and qualified pastor I've ever had! (Plus, we joke around a lot):
Here's me with Craig Parton, from Issues, Etc. and The International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights, where I studied in July of 2016:
Here's me with Pastor Jeremy Rhode at Chris Rosebrough's house the night before we had the 2016 Pirate Christian Radio Conference:
Starting in 2016, Chris Rosebrough, @Aspree and I have been collaborating on some of the Fighting for the Faith episodes. We call these "Pirate Gang Conversations." Here's a photo of Amy and me:
Lastly, here's my best friend and wife of over 30 years, Paulette:
This blog was originally just a little outlet for me to say something (to a very tiny audience), but now it has gotten tens of thousands of views after Chris Rosebrough invited me to be part of Pirate Christian Media. In early 2019, I turned The Messed Up Church into its own website because the blog format here was too limiting for all of the content I had compiled, plus there are new things I want to do on my own website. My all-new website is a more complete version of what I started here at Pirate Christian Media, but I will continue to do stuff here with Chris Rosebrough.
Here's the program of Fighting for the Faith from December of 2015 where Chris did a full interview with me.
The way I see it, the church is not suffering for a lack of information-it's suffering because very few Christians are even looking at the information that's available. All it takes is the correct starting point to discover the error in today's teachings.
If your starting point is here: "my pastor is really nice (or smart, or tells good stories, or whatever) so I will just trust what he says" then all the information on earth is useless. But if you start here: "I'm going to find out for myself if this is true; I'm going to study God's Word for myself and I'm going to find the very best teachers" then a whole new world quickly emerges (and it's kinda scary at first). When I discovered all the other believers who were reaching similar conclusions as me (or who were, at least, asking the same questions as me), it gave me hope and encouragement. I hope that, ultimately, that will be the result of everyone visiting this site.
Please turn off the TV, turn on your brain and start reading the Bible for yourself! Do your own research and ignore what "the group" is saying. Being a follower of Jesus is truly anti-establishment; and the "American Evangelical Industrial Complex" is not the true church (it's The Messed Up Church).
May God bless you as you seek to know Him!
By the way, the (sometimes) snarky sarcasm is my way of grabbing people's attention and getting them to think. Sorry if it offends you-I'm actually a pretty nice guy (most of the time).
Also, I am not writing for theologians (I'm not qualified for that)-I'm mostly trying to write articles that will challenge people's assumptions and cause them to want to learn more; please check out the many highly-qualified pastors on piratechristian.com for more extensive learning.
Check out the new and improved: The Messed Up Church website!