Category Archives: Offensive

MySpace part Deux

Under the “Missing The Memo” Categorymemo

I made the mistake of “devil’s advocating” myspace as an extremely imperfect means of staying connected with friends, in a previous post. For this stance, myself and another commenter on another blog (an outstanding blog) were rather vigorously challenged for our worldly-sounding stance by the majority of that blog’s commenters (mostly like-minded prayer missionaries).

The episode ended when my myspace password was hacked by a pornographer who sent porn spam bulletins from my account to All my “friends”, including former pastors, long time worship leader heroes, some of which I had just met. Some of my heroes actually wrote me to warn me of what was happening, which was mortifying! I felt so bad!

I figured that’s what I get for advocating such a smut-friendly site, and backed off the issue. Actually I changed my stance on it from one of tolerance to basically cursing the day Myspace was born and calling it the “spawn of satan” in my meta-tag for the post.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I got my Joseph Company / IHOP newsletter, inviting me to visit their myspace page. Lo and behold, not only is there a JoCo page, but also an (official?) IHOP page, and even their emerging Forerunner ministry school/seminary has a myspace page, which is probably the first seminary to have a myspace (cool/not cool?!?).

Was I the only one trying not to pay attention to the Victoria’s Secret ads that consumed about 92% of the banner time last week? Needless to say, I didn’t get the memo.

For the record, I think the decision to venture onto turf where millions of people already are is shrewd, despite my unforgiveness toward myspace. Use what people are using, and hopefully change the system in the process – would it be so hard for the millions of myspace believers to give “Tom” some better marketing ideas for our niche community?

However one caveat: ministry myspace administrators, a word of advice – DON’T GET HACKED! Have a damage control plan in place when this happens!

I’m Still Praying for Ted

While looking up the right hyperlink for yesterday’s post on Global Warming, I found this article written 4 years ago by Ted Haggard, the recently deposed past president of the NAE.  I confess I need to pray more for this guy than I have been, but reading this article was pretty amazing. He got the picture, and it’s amazing how much of an indictment it is against the politicized American church, as well as his own scandal a few months ago. I’m amazed that he had the guts to be so blunt about the state of things.

His article is called, “Maybe We’re Not Christians”. It definitely describes “Christians Behaving Badly” and offers some ways to change this! Here’s an excerpt:

…our words fall short when our marriages don’t work, our children are wild and disobedient, and we refine the art of giving and receiving money to the point that we could qualify as the experts in greed that Peter warns about in his second letter (see 2 Pet. 2:14).

We have a credibility problem. We have some wonderful churches, but increasingly, people do not seek to be connected.

We have some outstanding para-church leaders, but others are seen as self-satisfied right-wing crusaders who wouldn’t hesitate to banish the Supreme Court, establish a Christian theocracy, and use the power of the state to force the non-compliant into godly living.

While I’ll admit I’m currently more on the “right” than I ever have allowed myself to be, I appreciate his words here. We need to take out the beam in our eye, then we can present the truth of God with the heart of God. Gotta have both for it to work.

My Obnoxious Thoughts on Global Warming

global warming OK, I can’t stand it anymore, all this blogging about global warming!

[See the following fine blogs for some additional perspectives:
Mont-ster Report, Steeno, Sliker ]

Cutting through all of the political stuff from both sides inside and outside the church, here is my take on it:

It is a unique opportunity for… Evangelism.

Huh!?! I hear a Scooby Doo noise in the background somewhere…

Here’s what I mean –

Global Warming is a rare topic for westerners whose lives are generally consumed with the here and now, or future plans and ambitions. In the age of Bono, Jolie, and USA for Africa (OK, wrong decade for that), I will also add good-natured humanistic endeavors to this list. The Global Warming topic is special because it gets people thinking about DEATH and MORTALITY.

1. mortality of the environment
2. mortality of themselves
3. the need to do something about it
4. the salvation of the earth

I don’t care to join the debate on either side. I’m sick of missing an enormous opportunity to steer the rare fixation of human mortality into a logical segway into our spiritual condition.

Example:
1. When the earth is allegedly destroyed and our cities turn into Atlantis, what will happen to your soul?

2. If someone had a provable, foolproof solution to our environmental issues, would you be willing to consider it, even if you had to admit you were wrong in your beliefs and change your behavior?

3. Even if we solved the earth’s problems but you died instead, what would happen to your soul?

4. If someone had a way for you to be released from the consequences of your mistakes and moral regrets, would you be willing to consider it, even if you had to admit you were wrong and change your behavior?

I would suggest that instead of ranting about the Global Warming hoax, that we put on our thespian cap and pretend that it is a viable option, for the sake of maintaining some sort of bridge for the Gospel. If people see Christians trying to steward the earth wisely, perhaps they might be more inclined to consider the infinitely more important issue of their own mortality, which Jesus died to do something about. Perhaps this is one reason why the NAE has been emphasizing their controversial “Creation Care” practices. To me it is well worth it to give a little for the sake of building a bridge for a much more important conversation… about one’s soul.

But you say, “the truth must prevail. We will not compromise on the truth.” And you’re probably right on this. Keep fighting your battles on the public arena, but I suggest we use the opportunity to talk about what really matters – eternity.

Alms for the Homeless: Don’t Try This at Home

Work for FoodAfter my slot at Temple last Friday, I was driving through the back street of Philly when a most surprising thing happened:

I got to buy lunch for a homeless guy.

Now it has been about 4 years since the last time I was able to do this, when I lived in Cleveland. Now Cleveland is a much smaller, friendlier city, and I came close to perfecting a technique on how to separate the “sheep from the goats” in the panhandling arena.

Now because I am a follower of Christ, I take his words seriously regarding giving to those in need – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the incarcerated. I do not need to be of a particular political persuasion to have compassion for the poor. So when someone asks me for food on the street, I attempt to take them up on it. It is just so fun to buy lunch for someone who is hungry, because it is better to give than to receive.

And it can be a lot of fun too. I remember a game show called “SuperMarket Sweep” in which people have to stuff lots of food in their shopping cart. What I do is a pathetically scaled down version of the “bonus round” of that show. Without being disrespectful of the person I am helping or their plight, thinking of this interaction in terms of a game show helps me maintain an upbeat persona that assists in maintaining gentle control over the whole situation.

Unfortunately, there is a high proportion of people who choose their words rather sloppily, for when I take them up on their request for “food”, they flip-flop on me and expect “money for food” or “money” or something like that.

This guy, Lonnie, was soliciting “food” from a row of cars I was behind at a stoplight, which is a common occurrance in Philly. An effective means of fundraising for many seemingly legit organizations too. Very hard for motorists to avoid them.

Anyhow, he asked for food at my window just as the light turned green. I was running out of time, fast. I realized that I might have an opportunity on my hands to provide for the needy and even that it could be an “angel” (see Hebrews). I want to be faithful in my almsgiving, and took him up on it.

“GET IN THE CAR!” I said.

(Disclaimer: I am obviously very unique in this view. This is potentially dangerous. However I drive a 17 year old Honda and realize the key to panhandling situations is to 1. take control nicely of the situation and 2. allow the other party to be free to decline their original offer at any time, while 3. confessing Psalm 91 often)

So I took him to a tiny Philly corner market and announced to him that I would buy him all the food he wanted there, up to $10 worth of food. He immediate counter-offered to simply subcontract the allocation of these funds, to which I referred back to his original terms of request, “food”, and told him it was his decision whether he wanted food or not. Also I mentioned that I am not actually in control of the money, it is not “mine”, I am just a steward of it. I think he may have been annoyed by this, but he was the one who got us into this situation.

As we walked to the end of the block upon parking, he again attempted to solicit funds for cigarettes and a fake Rolex that was being sold on the corner. Again I referred to the original verbal terms of our agreement.

Here is where it got interesting: in Cleveland everyone, male or female, who I bought food for knew what to get: the Rotisserie Chicken! It made sense when I thought about it. Well remember, this is Philly, home of Rocky. I underwrote a gallon of milk, coke (a 2 liter of it), and 2 cartons of raw eggs. I thought “how is this guy gonna hard-boil his eggs?” But then I remembered that Rocky DRANK the eggs.

Lonnie only used up about $7 of food, and I attempted to avail him of the full amount. Turned out that he made a last attempt to cash in for the $3 that he didn’t use but it was too late and outside the terms of our deal.

The low point of the interaction was that he refused my offer to pray off his nicotine addiction. I said “I don’t mean to be disrespectful of your struggle, but I will pray for you and believe that God will break off the need for cigarettes”. He didn’t take me up on it, but I went ahead and prayed for him behind his back anyhow.

In my car at the next light, I turned my head toward a building and read the engraved words, “A HOUSE OF PRAYER”, zoomed out and it was a beautiful church with that verse on it. Go figure!

Everyone’s Mad @ Pat: 2007 part 2

pat2.jpg(Pat Robertson has predicted a disaster for 2007, and it has ticked most of us off… here’s why I recommend some restraint to the blowback, continued from yesterday)

Living in a rather pagan environment a couple years ago I was forced to begin appreciating the 700 club as the lone source of any sort of news from a moderate to conservative perspective. I had to leave my annoyances of Pat at the door, and start actually appreciating much (not all) of what he’s done. Until then, I was fairly ticked at the occasional predictions and controversies.

The other thing that happened was that, in a move that boggled the minds of many people, one day either Pat, his son Gordon, or Terri called out a word of knowledge about God healing someone with 3rd degree burns. Turned out that the person was a 3 year old girl whose family I knew – actually I rented a floor on their house for a year. That day new skin began to form and the girl didn’t have to go through with a graft. She was also able to go to Asia with the family on a missions trip months later.

I’m not going to put myself in a position of knee-jerk criticizing someone God is using. Even though it puts other believers in a tight spot when a talking head says something controversial or tactless, I try to resist making the kinds of instinctive judgment calls that happen every time the press jumps on Pat.

Funny how they never mention anything about Operation Rescue, which is giving out many tons of food, supplies, and medical care somewhere in the world today.

Everyone’s Mad @ Pat: 2007 part 1

pat.jpgPat Robertson has managed to tick off CNN, Fox, Channel 10, all major secular outlets and a majority of Christian bloggers yet again.

Yesterday he predicted disaster for the US in 2007 on the 700 Club. Unfortunately I didn’t watch the video but I surmise based on what is Not being reported that his tact is improving dramatically.

Recall the prior comment regarding Chavez being “taken out” that offended so many. Or the commentary regarding Ariel Sharon, or whatever it was that it may have been before that. He’s getting better! No person or people group was maligned here. The sound bites on TV news just might have removed any sort of context or condition on what he said. Anything this guy says is front page news.

In part 2 tomorrow I will explain some events that cause this resolve.