Category Archives: Questionable

Foiled Again!

International House of PrayerTo all you IHOP denizens who have subscribed to CBB in hopes of cashing in on FREE food during my visit (May 26 – June 3) in the spirit of the famed “Cheesesteak Challenge” –

We’re gonna need some creativity to make this work.

Perhaps a member of the Sanhedrin could figure a solution.
The IHOP started as 10 trailers smacked together

You can read about the original challenge and my first visit to the firetrap glorious “IHOP 1.0” in 2002 in this post. Basically it rocked, except that no one wanted to talk much due to a 40 day fast from food, meetings, conversations, and other legitimate forms of recreation as I recall. I thought that was fairly cool and intense and understood the premise of what they were up to “in the grace of God”. To foster goodwill and friendship upon my arrival, I announced a Special Dispensation of a Culinary Challenge.

“Problem”:

It seems that I’m yet again arriving just in time for another 40 day fast (I hate when that happens 🙂 ). If I read my special bulletin correctly,

“We will be launching this [40 day] fast with a worldwide simulcast on God TV on May 26.”Lou Engle

Well golly if that ain’t the day the good folks at Southwest drop me off in KCMO. I find sometimes that Lou’s communications are sometimes contradicting, and sure enough, earlier in the bulletin it describes the fast commencing May 28 in the evening, which is Monday night.

So I need some counsel here. I’m too lazy to track back 40 days from 7/7/7 on my calendar, and even if I did, my accounting will pale against whatever the official dates are.

Question: Can we figure out a way to make this work? There are 2 possibilities:

  1. IF the fast starts on Monday pm, the Challenge will occur before Monday evening, which works fine – The Challenge is ON!
  2. If it starts upon my arrival Saturday pm on the 26th, the challenge would likely consist of a trip to the local juicing bar or a pathetic cup of steaming brown liquid. I do not expect such an offer to tantalize any savvy CBB reader. This original Challenge is much too grand to work even under “Daniel fast” guidelines!steakjoint.jpg

However I can all but guarantee that if any of you came to Philly, there would not be any fasting mandate whatsoever to prohibit the gluttony and dullness of spirit that comes from a cheesesteak. If there were, I am sure this city would not be leading the nation in murder rates.

OK, so please somebody find out the scoop here. I don’t want to encourage anyone to stumble over food here, so before further Challenge announcements, I need proof of the correct dates.

Anyone with an acceptable suggestion that would appeal to people within the cultural bounds, let me know!

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!

Thoughts on the ‘Hoff

The Glory of the ‘HoffMy friend Molly has written an endearing acrostic to honor her personal feelings toward this great American actor and singer.

I could not resist the urge to warn her of a certain Internet Rumor with its origin back in the mid-90’s. I think many of the arguments have stood the test of time, personally.

Hoff is the AntiChrist

The teaching is, “David Hasselhoff is the AntiChrist… and I have the Proof”. It uses numerology based upon the Revelation of John, and Psalms 37 (who knew “Baywatch” was in Psalm 37?) to prove these diabolical truths.

Now I don’t hold an M.Div or anything, but I take all such teachings seriously!

Hassling the Hoff
I also am pleased to say that I ebayed Season I of Knight Rider yesterday afternoon for total sum of just $17.50. Now I will finally get to find out who shot “Michael Long” and of the mysterious origins of KITT.

“Global Warming” – Followup

Global WarmingThanks for the dialogue, fellow bloggers (or wordcasters).

The Mont-ster responded with some extra commentary you might have missed, and I’m taking the liberty to put below:

Ideas have consequences. At stake here are huge economic issues that effect multiple nations. Radical environmentalism lionizes the peasant life because it has a minimal “carbon footprint.” So they seek to degrade or hamstring the economy of the industrial West and halt economic development in third-world nations — all in the name of saving the planet. As I mentioned in my own post on global warming, this kind of thinking actually causes further suffering in developing nations NOW…

This comment helps me understand the justification for the outcry from fellow conservatives. Obviously we all want to stand up for the truth, and I had figured many are concerned primarily about popularizing information that may have little evidence for it (other than subjectively correlated data, backed by unanimous Hollywood support, the american media / celebrity machine, and plain old peer pressure).

However I need to hear more than a reaction against something, which is what my recent experience of the overall buzz is about. This buzz had nothing to do with the fine bloggers I linked to in the previous post, but much more to do with hearing various tired rantings from radio, news, and pulpits. This triggers all sorts of stereotypes from my experience and can lead to a hastily written blog.

I appreciate the Mont-ster for zooming out of the culture war part of the controversy and showing how a potentially false assumption can lead to unintended further suffering of innocent people.

I would like to clarify that I do have respect and appreciation for those who have researched and bucked the peer pressure on this issue, to give us their concerns about this.  Unfortunately for me, I sometimes succumb to the dis-service of droning all the technical sounding stuff out after awhile.  And I wonder what the other lost people out there are thinking with all this passionate and sometimes terse debating going on. So that led to my rather unorthodox theory about leveraging all this apocalyptic talk toward evangelistic purposes.

I think there is room for both approaches, even by the same person. I suspect that perhaps 1 in 4 people possess the intellectual fortitude plus the love for civil debate on this issue, and I’m not including myself in this number! An open debate about “Global Warming” is similar to debating apologetics or other rhetorical topics. We absolutely need to be able to give sound reasons for what and why we believe things. If somebody isn’t up for another global warming debate, we switch hats and ask them why it’s so important to them and what they plan to do about it. Then if we have any rapport with them, we can find out what they plan to do regarding their own mortality.

Assuming my subjective estimate above is close to accurate, 3 of the 4 are going to tune out of the debate if they are not interested or able to keep up with it, or have already made up their mind, or perhaps were “out-debated” the last time and have a wound from it. For the people out there that can’t figure out why certain people wouldn’t do something do save the earth, I’m suggesting we draw the parallels about figuring out why people won’t do something to try to save their souls. Perhaps this way our “net” will engage more of the “fish” out there.

The fellow bloggers were extremely gracious to me, and I owe Dave and Brent an apology for the originally callous tone of my post, and arbitrarily linking their blogs to it. I’m slowly growing in my Online Emotional Intelligence and empathy for the feelings of other bloggers. Pinging other blogs can have the effect of alarming the ping-ee especially if the blog doing the pinging is not careful to properly justify the pinging in a balanced light. These blogs really can end up maligning, misrepresenting, or undermining others’ work through a sloppy ping. And for a more established blogger, pinging is often an annoyance rather than a compliment if the ping is not well thought out.

So anyhow, Earth Day is coming up April 22. I found out something we can all be excited about  – a rumor of FREE ICE CREAM at Ben & Jerry’s. I just checked and there IS free B&J scoops given out 5 days previous, April 17. It is Ben & Jerry’s anniversary… er, the anniversary of the founding of the company called “Ben & Jerry’s”.

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.

Another Cheesesteak Post

OK, Twice in the past week I have compromised on my cheesesteak principles.

1. Ate “Steakumms” (homemade steak sandwich) on Friday evening. This is a yummy treat but I conclude does not pass the ACE (authentic cheesesteak experience) test.

2. I went to a place after church today that sells cheesesteaks along with pizza, and other hoagies and such. The company I was with was top notch (friends of mine from church), I must say. I have realized that there are many places in this region and city that sell cheesesteaks but not exclusively. They will sell you something that looks just like a cheesesteak, and smells like a cheesesteak, but the result just isn’t the same.

It is important to note that ACEs have several characteristics noted in other posts. If an establishment is lacking in 3 or more of these features, the cheesesteak product is inferior.

So the result is the same – heartache, or just heartburn. Not a real cheesesteak.

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!