This Is All Sorts Of Feucht Up

Alright.

It’s 4:25 am.

I am very close to retiring any hope for a regular sleep schedule this year.

The last few months, I’ve been tossing and turning my way well into sunrise at which point I usually give up and put on a pot of coffee.

Earlier this evening, I dutifully took my melatonin gummies and resisted the urge to take advantage of the night’s quiet to do some writing.

Until I ended up on Twitter and saw this—

If you have no idea what you just watched, you’re probably better off.

The blond guy swaying his guitar like he’s trying to engage a distracted audience at an open mic in Nashville is Sean Feucht. He’s hosting a worship set at the site of George Floyd’s memorial in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A google search lists him as a politician but his Facebook page presents the following bio: “Sean Feucht is a husband, father, missionary, musician, artist, speaker, author, activist, and the founder of multiple worldwide movements.” According to his website, one of those is Hold the Line, “a political activist movement seeking to rally the global church to engage in their civic duty – to vote and stand up for causes of righteousness and justice in the governmental arena.”

We’ll get to that.

I first crossed paths with Sean’s er, sphere of influence let’s say, because of Bethel. Bethel is the more commonly used name for of The Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California. At its core, it’s a Christian evangelical ministry dedicated to teaching the Word of God while also training students to heal by faith, evangelize, prophesy, and raise the dead on occasion.

The school isn’t accredited but it promises toequip you to walk in the gifts of the Spirit, prepare your noble character, and empower you to follow Jesus as He moves powerfully on the earth today” for a cool $5250 in tuition per calendar year.

Molly Hensley-Clancy shared a comprehensive report describing what the environment is like for students at Bethel that will captivate your curiosity whether you’re religious or not.

She writes: Globally, Bethel Church is mostly known for its Christian worship music — songs that tend toward the bland and inoffensive, but are wildly popular. Justin Bieber once told Cosmopolitan that a Bethel track called “No Longer Slaves” (now at 34 million YouTube views) was in his iPod’s top three most-played, along with Lil Wayne and Drake.

Her use of Bieber’s name is a shorthand to communicate how exceptionally popular Bethel is. They’re right up there in the collective identity of the American Christian with Hillsong and Chick-fil-a. You’d be hard-pressed to find a contemporary evangelical church in the U.S. that doesn’t sing their lyrics on Sunday morning.

As a result, I found myself playing their songs on rotation for years.

I moved on from their music around the same time I stopped attending church but I remained grateful for the many tunes that fostered intimacy in private moments of prayer.

My relationship with worship music has became a lot more fraught ever since I saw this photo.

Pastors, worship leaders pray for Trump in Oval Office amid ...

Bethel publishes a catalog of popular Christian artists including Jenn Johnson, Amanda Cook, Cory Asbury and several others. Many of whom are featured here during a “faith briefing” with Trump at the White House on December 6th, 2019. Sean Feucht, the blond touching him, joined Bethel’s collective in 2016.

I would going to say this picture appears innocuous at first glance, but that’s not true. Perhaps it would be if it had not been shared on the heels of Trump’s Muslim ban or the peak of his family separation policies at the border, but it was.

Then there were the series of videos where a few guests awkwardly yet enthusiastically shared their excitement about “so many good things happening out of this [White] house.”

Andy Rowell, an Assistant Professor of Ministry Leadership at Bethel Seminary in Minnesota, communicates the message these leaders (who are usually apolitical on their social platforms) are participating in here:

…the strategy is to sell these worship leaders (who have big Instagram followings) with a one-sided “Look at what Trump is doing for evangelicals!” so that they then turn and communicate to their fans: “President Trump and his administration are people passionate about worship and prayer, just like you! And therefore, you should defend President Trump and try to see the good in what he does. And you should vote for him!

Many in the faith community were disturbed by the optics of aligning the most influential names in a Christian music to a spiritually-bankrupt administration. The campaign to promote propaganda further co-opting faith in exchange for political power was far too obvious.

And it took place just 3 months prior to the election Feucht lost as a Republican candidate for California’s 3rd Congressional District.

His website offers no information on where he stands politically. A glance at his Twitter and Instagram however makes it clear.

At a time when most of the world is reflecting on justice work and muting themselves on social in order to amplify the voices charging forth the largest Civil Rights movement in the last several decades, Feucht has focused his energy on “exposing” the Black Lives Matter movement instead.

Here’s another tweet where he shared a doctored screen-grab as if it were real. Although people were quick to point out it was manipulated with a scene from the film World War Z and not actually footage from a protest, he left the picture up which makes the irony of the words attached lead you to wonder whether he’s participating in some kind of performance art.

After all, why would he 1. irresponsibly tweet this without realizing it clearly has “World War Z —Official Trailer” at the bottom of the image and 2. not delete it when he’s politely been asked to multiple times?

But as I fell further into his content, it became obvious he invites controversy and goes so far as to court it by posting things like this—

My general approach to Bethel, and I guess by extension Sean Feucht, has been to ignore them up to this point. After all, we’ve seen this play out over and over.

Public figure stirs dissension then victimizes themselves at the alter of the conflict they’ve exploited.

But when I saw the video of Sean Feucht playing Sunday morning hits on rotation at the site of George Floyd’s murder, I couldn’t ignore the harm this man is doing to the Minneopolis community and the memory of George Floyd in the name of Christ.

Feucht is treating a pivotal (and may I add fragile) moment in our country’s history like a photo opp, much like his hero in chief.

DJs and MCs local to Minneapolis who were offering prayer and community at the site of Floyd’s memorial were forced to end their sets because Feucht’s speakers were louder.

Why is it that whenever the evangelical Church has a chance to show up for the Black community, we play a sanitized church-appropriate chorus over their cries for justice?

This week, Feucht has used his platform to promote empty, performative amends between strangers with different skin colors while elevating his image as an activist without actually having to put in the real work. Instead, he’s lazily using Christianity to protect a system built by white supremacy while inherently benefitting from it. He’s using his platform to promote himself as an arbiter of reconciliation when we are experiencing anything but. He’s left the gaslight on.

Photo courtesy of @emmalouiseri who was present for Sean Feucht’s set.

One might wonder where Feucht stands on, you know, the work that disbands our country’s school to prison pipeline or strengthening inner-city commmunities with more resources or holding cops accountable when they use undue force to murder a man over a counterfeit bill. But he’d much sooner lie about why he was disinvited by school administration from hosting an event at North Central University.

What Feucht fails to get is Minneapolis is not a third-world country he can exercise his toxic savior complex on.

To add insult to injury, he’s censored everyone that has respectfully asked him to read the room by deleting their comments from Instagram or blocking them on Twitter.

A lot of the captions for his Instagram posts from Minneapolis have the phrase “CHANGE THE NARRATIVE”. And he’s doing that, in plain sight.

But what else might one expect from the guy that published his campaign logo over an image of Martin Luther King Jr. and then used it to condemn *checks notes* abortions?

I’m honestly annoyed I even have to spend energy checking this guy. This blog was not created to check middle-aged white Christian men demonstrating bad behavior.

Yet I am so disturbed by this disproportionate and self-indulgent response to the murder of George Floyd that here we are.

In February, Feucht told The Reporter, “I don’t look like a politician, and I’m not running as a politician… I’m running as an outsider…I don’t owe anybody anything.”

But as a professing Christian leader, he owes the Church accountability.

Feucht’s alignment to Trump has always been about an exchange of power: access to Sean Feucht’s evangelical following in return for being the man at Trump’s arm. As much as he might reject the notions that he IS a politician, reality doesn’t exist in a siloed vacuum we can protect with a block button.

In reference to his failed Congressional campaign, Feucht told the Washington Examiner he imagines future activists thinking, “If this long-haired, 36-year-old millennial guy can do it, then I can do it.”

The danger is that others like Feucht will.

Author photo

Author: RJ Bohyn

My name is RJ, I'm a writer and consultant local to Orlando. If you're reading this, you've arrived at the corner of the internet I've cultivated to share life, a journey of faith, style, and just about everything in between with those generous enough to read.

Leave a Reply

  • I called Sean out weeks ago for exploiting racial trauma, and he blocked me ASAP. I am sick by this dude, so thank you for speaking out. Don’t stop, but unfortunately his following just sees this as “persecution” fueling his blind zeal to do more.

  • Well this is a sad misrepresentation of reality. Jesus paid a high price for His church to love each other well, this is an injustice to that. The comment in support of abortion shows a clear lack of clarity to moral reality. I saw an hour long video of that worship event and several people were receiving prayer and embracing other races in reconciliation. They were largely embraced and no matter the sad heart that wrote this thinks, God’s heart was rejoicing over the true ministry and love that happened there, likewise He weeps over the division being spread in articles like this and over attempts to justify abortions.

  • Thanks for an excellent report on someone I know nothing about, but know his loyal follower. . . Who may actually be worshippers. Christian- eese cannot sugar coat American Idol to become Christian Idol. . . An idol is an idol. I have to check myself from time to time, to honor the power of music and all the arts, recognizing the gift with out idolizing the artist.

    Meanwhile, or kindwhile, I’m wondering if there has been any investigative journalism around this statement that “Trump’s been so good to evangelical”. I honestly don’t see that, but maybe there’s a fact checker who could enlighten me.

    I’m working three jobs and balancing Elder care with preschool care while avoiding the virus and localizing my food sources. . . So any help on this topic would be great.

    Thanks again,
    RJ

  • RJ, This article was not about abortion, so what do you say to people like Joshua, who play a “Trump Card” in order to avoid the subject we are on. It’s that divide and conquer mentality leveraging an over simplified persecution complex again. The “victimization” mentality interupts SO many important discussions. Let’s find a meme, a comeback that names it and stops it. . .can we?
    PS Josh, do you realize you changed the subject we were on and brought up a show-stopping conversation stopping interruption? Please consider joining the conversation and staying on topic so we can learn from your experience, too.

  • Hi Ruth Ann, I appreciate your thoughtful comment and inquiry here. First off, kudos on your commitment to all of the different priorities you’re facing right now. Working three jobs while taking care of family sounds nearly impossible and in response to your question about resources, please feel free to email me to discuss the types of resources you’re looking for and I’ll do my best to connect you to anyone that can help.

    Er, Trump’s “been good to Evangelicals” by introducing legislation and an administration that will always capitulate to Evangelical interests in order to maintain political power. Unfortunately this comes at the expense of individual rights and (in my humble opinion) negates the free will God gave to us.

    As far as Joshua’s comment goes, it is accusatory and brings nothing to the discussion at hand. I don’t feed the trolls.

    Be well!

  • I get it. I’ve watched musicians, interviewed them, took care of them for nearly 2 decades. Some worshipers are musicians, some are just worshipers, some become idols, some already are their own idols (or at least being on stage for them is). When you’ve seen and met enough musicians, you can sort of feel this happening or just see it. Some people need attention, need their voice to be heard, it’s like a void. No matter how much God is in front of them or not, or talked about or not. A good test of a musician (worship leader, even pastor) is, when the lights are off, are you still going to play? Sing? Lead? Preach? If no one is looking at you, is it going to sound the same? Anyways.. I had years of thoughts on this.
    I stopped the radio show a few years ago. I didn’t like current “Christian” music anymore (not ACC nooooo), and to be able to have all music, all the time online, was too much. No one to curate it other than ourselves? The last year of the show I focused on 40s/50s black gospel music and really enjoyed learning about it as I played it. Definite different time and heart. Anyways, I blather on.

  • Very well said. It’s easy to get caught up in this. I applaud your critical thinking and important message about white centering and the white savior complex.