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Thou Shalt Not Eat Jesus

March 25, 2009

Monday, I posted about the many apparitions of Jesus that have turned up across the world. Most of them happened to be in food, since that seems to be what people pay the most attention to these days.

Ashley asked a great question, more clever than even I asked (which is not difficult): what would a person do with the fish stick that bore the very image of Christ? Now that it’s a relic, worthy of veneration, one can’t eat it, right?

Essentially, there has to be a hidden clause in the Bible, an eleventh commandment if you will that governs what to do when God shows up in your oatmeal.

Thou shalt not eat Jesus.

It has to be in there, right? God spends pages and pages talking about what the Israelites could or could not eat. He must have mentioned not eating himself in one of those books no one reads.

After doing some research, I discovered that there are many people who are flaunting the seeming absence of the ‘don’t eat Jesus’ clause. These products truly prove that it is what goes into a man that makes him holy.

Chocolate Jesus
Some Christians try to keep their holidays and children unsullied by such secular nonsense as Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. Including such idols alongside the Savior is just sacrelige. I can respect that. What I can really respect is the parent that gives his child the best of both worlds. Jesus = good. Easter Bunny = bad. Chocolate = good. Jesus + Chocolate – Easter Bunny = good.

My mom actually tells a story about meeting my Dad. He was a young bachelor preacher in a small town, and there were probably a few ladies who were trying to get his attention. Apparently, upon visiting his home, she found a dusty old chocolate Jesus that a spurned female suitor had not purchased but created herself! Dad couldn’t decide what to do with it. My mother told him it was okay to retire it.

Chocolate Nativity Set
For some, the chocolate Jesus just isn’t holy enough. Sure, maybe he’s good enough for Easter, when he’s the only center of attention. But Christmas, well you’ve got Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds, animals, Magi, the whole gang! So what’s better than perfectly arranging this Nativity set, and then going ‘Godzilla’ on the whole thing and biting everyone’s heads off while the family sings ‘O Holy Night?’ Right?

Seems that candy is the most popular food medium to communicate the truths of scripture by, as these two products continue to illustrate.

Bible Jelly Beans and Noah Nuggets
The Jelly Beans get credit for not actually shaping the jelly beans like the people topping the containers. Those have just the right feeling of Sunday School cheapness to be awesome. But did anyone snicker at the second product?
Bible Bars
This is the only product that resembles ‘health food’ that I found. It claims to have the ‘seven foods of Deut. 8:8.’ I didn’t verify that Deut. 8:8 talks abou real food and not plagues and pestilence and curses, so I’ll have to take their word for it that it doesn’t contain those.

The bar also claims to be ‘nutrition, God’s way.’ Though it doesn’t seem to be kosher. At least I didn’t see a ‘K’ on the label. Seems dubious, don’t you think! I don’t know how you combine 7 biblical foods and get something un-kosher. Whatever you’re doing to start with 7 holy foods and get one unholy food can’t be good. Maybe pomegranates and honey are okay by God when eaten seperately, but together is a no-no.

This product makes me think that Christians ought to rename every dish they bring to potlucks to seem holier. A ‘Bible Bar’ sounds like a formerly named peanut butter bar. We need a spread of Christ casseroles and Jesus Rice and Beans.

Sometimes, I can’t settle for Jesus junk food. After all, man can not live on candy alone.

The Jesus Frying Pan
This amazing all-purpose frying pan, like you’ve seen on TV, is embossed with the image of our Lord and Savior. Suddenly, every ordinary, vulgar, secular food is turned magically holy! The pan is great for fried Jesus sandwiches! Some moms try to make ‘Mickey Mouse’ pancakes for their kids. Now you can be a totally better mom with effortless Jesus-cakes!

If you thought that product was amazing, this guy really gets it.

Christian Salt
In the grand tradition the world (and some Christians) have of hating everything Jewish, you no longer have to put up with buying that dang Jew-salt (commonly known as ‘Kosher salt’ by people who don’t watch NASCAR.) For just a few dollars more, you can have ‘blessed Christian salt,’ literally blessed by an Anglican priest, which completely undoes the highly offensive ethnic Kosher-ness of the salt.

Kind of sounds like ‘Dungeons and Dragons.’

Nerd 1: “I deploy my rabbi to attack you with kosher salt power of 1200!”

Nerd 2: “Not so fast. I counter with my Anglican priest with blessing power of 2500! Your salt is converted!”

Nerd 1: “Nooooooo!”

Nerd 2: “Gaaaaaaa!”

Salt guy can finally rest, knowing he now has no products in his home that are produced by minorities or foreigners…

Have you seen any amazing Christian food products? What is the world missing? You could be the next Christian millionaire! (Right behind the salt guy.) Has anyone given you Christian themed food you felt was completely inappropriate, and had to eat it while they stare, beaming at you?

This post is truly proof that you readers have some influence on this blog. Sometimes one of your comments will really strike me, and a post is born!

People love to say that God is everywhere, in the little things.

Ancient and tribal people used to look for God in nature: rocks, trees, animals.

In the Bible, God appeared to people as a burning bush, as a column of fire or smoke, or a mysterious visitor.

Now, we look for God in our food.

In the last several years, we’ve had a virtual renassaince of sightings of Jesus, along with UFOs and Elvis (which I also classify as religious visions.) It started when that woman saw Jesus in a tortilla. Then Christ started making all kinds of appearances: in rocks, tree bark, cereal, puddles, candy. I know we’ve all heard these stories, but I compiled a few photos of my personal favorites. It’s Jesus in toast, a fish stick, and a mildew stain on a shower wall. I guess cleanliness isn’t next to godliness after all. Either that, or Jesus was showing up that guy’s apartment to tell him to clean up his man-cave for crying out loud.

Now maybe Jesus showing up on someone’s toast is pretty weird. But it still seems better than the miracles the Hindus get. One of their gods inhabits a statue of a cow or elephant. What does a deity do when it visits its worshippers in a statue? What wisdom or blessing does it bring? It drinks spoonfuls of milk. What kind of benevolent diety shows up to an impoverished country and then eats the peoples’ food?

After I googled ‘Jesus sightings’ I also did some research, and found that sightings of Satan were much less prevalent. While the Son of God is busy constantly showing up in toast, fish sticks and ravioli, it seems Satan doesn’t even bother to get off his duff to appear in one lousy danish. Doesn’t seem people are watching out much for him anyway. If he’s not going to make the effort, people just aren’t going to take him seriously. But if Jesus can show up in corn flakes, I’d definately be on the lookout for Satan when I pour my Count Chocula.

A God that shows up in my filet-o-fish is the only kind of God I can take seriously.

I guess it makes sense for Jesus to show up in food. People used to excuse themselves from church, saying that they could worship while doing other things – recreational activities. They saw God while fishing on the lake. Since Jesus can’t get most of us onto the golf green on Sundays anymore, he’s got to settle for showing up in a Manwich.

As I saw all the various sightings of Christ that the faithful the world over had been witness to, I got a little jealous. Why hadn’t God appeared to me? It didn’t have to be anything special. Just a waffle or something.

That’s when I had my very own vision.

From this photograph, you can clearly see the two eyes and mouth, complete with a halo encircling the face. It is undeniably Christ, albeit a bit more aghast and less serene looking than in his toastly appearances. But I was a bit aghast too. The Son of God, staring right at me, literally waiting for me to unleash his awesome power! I’ve since surrounded the holy image with candles I purchased from my local ethnic grocery store.

What do you think? Are you a believer? Does God really visit people in ordinary objects? Is it the same phenomenon of people needing God and finding him in everyday life, like tribals worshipping rocks?

The Perfect Bible

March 20, 2009

Know what Americans need? More Bibles.

I set out on a quest for a new Bible. I’ve got my stand-by, an NIV study Bible with my scribbles all over it. It’s pretty rad. But I felt like I needed a new Bible for some reason. It was just feeling a little, I don’t know, stale.

Since it’s been a while since I’ve purchased a Bible, I knew there would be several new translations and versions to choose from that I would not be familiar with. I went to to check out my options.

Amazon came up with 7,183 different Bibles.

7,183 different flavors of God’s Word.

This was going to be more daunting than I had previously assumed. But perhaps you’re in the same boat, trying to navigate the endless waters of niche Bibles. Some tirelessly working marketing team has decided to serve the Lord by identifying, studying and producing a Bible for your specific segment of society, to help God meet your specific needs for the next five minutes! But how do you know which group you fall into? What if you got the wrong Bible? Your needs might not be met! Your Bible might not make you as happy as it’s intended!

The Church of No People Institute for Studying Things has identified some of the most important Bibles out there, and devised an easy system to help you know if God can work in your life through these Bibles by keeping his Word fresh and interesting as it caters to you.

The Message
The Message is a huge phenomenon. Some people love to ponder over the beauty of the details in life. Others just want the gist of things. The Message is the words of scripture, now simplified and re-interpreted for the common person. It may not get all the details right, but it gets the gist of things. God, Jesus, everyone’s here! The Message has been so successful, it’s spawned several new versions of itself, including ‘The Message: Remix 2.0,’ and ‘The Message: Pause.’
Try it if you like: Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a huge phenomenon. Some people love to ponder over the beauty of the details in life. Others just want the gist of things. Wikipedia is human knowledge, now simplified and collectively re-interpreted for the common person. It may not get all the details right, but it gets the gist of things. George Washington, Groucho Marx, they’re all here! Wikipedia has been so successful, it’s spawned several new versions of itself, including WikiNews and WikiBooks.

The Chronological New King James Bible
Maybe you’re the adventurous type. Maybe every day for you is the Renassaince Festival. You fancy long quests and long bows and characters named Longshanks. Perhaps thou believest that surly, crusading pirates are inherently better than ninjas (thou art wrong.) My friend, this Bible was made for you. This ancient tome carries the very legend and legacy of Israel, in the re-edited, director’s cut tale of swords, battles, plagues and fair maidens. And with just enough fancy old-school English-speak, ye truly will raise ye olde chalice and toast this masterpiece!
Try it if you like: The Lord of the Rings

The Regular King James Bible
Some people still go for really old-school. This unedited, un-remixed, un-exciting version of the Bible which shaped our language is no longer than any other Bible, but it feels that way. It’s archaic words will confuse you, forcing you to take twice as long to read it. Only people with true taste for boredom and endlessly exasperating stories will truly appreciate this classic. Verily!
Try it if you like: Pride and Prejudice

The Evidence Bible
Written by Ray Comfort, this Bible promises to dissect each scene of the Bible with meticulous attention to detail. Every trace and every clue is re-examined to prove what really happened in Israel so many years ago. You’ll be uncovering new facts, interviewing new people, finding new clues. This Bible is great to read in a laboratory under blue lights while listening to funky techno-riffs. From the opening bang of creation to the final twist of Revelation, you’ll be on the edge of your seat. This Bible always gets its man. The only thing missing is David Caruso.
Try it if you like: CSI, Cold Case, CSI: NY, Numbers, Bones, The Shield, NYPD Blue, Without a Trace, COPS, CSI: Miami, The Closer, Criminal Minds, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Mentalist or Dateline.

The Green Bible
Maybe you’re feeling a little bit self-conscious around your non-Christian friends. While your progressive-thinking peers are out trying to save Darfur, or at least paying Bono to do it, or reducing their carbon footprint, you’re probably going to some Bible study! And everyone knows what goes on at those things. Christians plot how they can take away everyone’s freedom, elect Republicans, and destroy the earth! You don’t have to tell us; your leather-bound Bible says it all. Why don’t you just get a Bible make of baby seals, murderer!
If your Bible is getting in the way of your witness to your eco-conscious friends, put The Green Bible on your recycled bamboo coffee table. It has no carbon footprint, helps save Darfur, and its cover is made completely out of granola!
Try it if you like: Telling everyone you don’t even own a TV.

Grace for the Moment Bible
Maybe you didn’t get hugged enough as a child. You need some extra love in your life. Despite all the affection and encouragement you recieve from your parents, children, spouse, church and friends, you need just a little bit more. Max Lucado has a Bible for you. No matter what’s going on, Max’s Bible is here to cheer you up. It doesn’t matter what you’re dealing with: slow traffic, an inept waitress, a spider in your house, you can have victory, because there is grace for this moment. And someone in the Bible just might have had it worse than you (maybe.)
Try it if you like: Oprah

The Grandmother’s Bible
It’s your golden years. You’ve worked hard raising a family, and they should be your satisfaction in life. But that idiot son of yours is raising your grandchildren to be a bunch of godless heathens! You need a Bible that helps you pray for your family and this rest of this god-forsaken country before everyone goes to hell! Plus its knitted cover is sure to match that quilt you’re working on.
It makes a great match with The Grandfather’s Bible, with its extra heavy brick-like cover; perfect for throwing at those gat-dang teenagers who won’t stay off your property with their baggy pants and their devil music!
Try it if you like: The Price is Right, but not that new young fella. He doesn’t know what he’s doing up there. And ever since Bob Barker left, I can’t keep that mangy cat next door from violating my precious Toonces, no matter how much I spray him with the hose. Right in front of my house!

What I really want to find is one of those Bibles that blinds me with the light of Jesus when I open it, like I see in all those forwarded emails I don’t open.

For the record, if you care, I prefer the NIV Bible. It has a good balance of literal interpretation, modern language and smooth sentence structure, which is quite a feat. I found in seminary (where everyone used the NAS) almost every time the prof. would point out what the Bible really means (i.e. where the NAS is inaccurate), my NIV would already have the proper translation.

There’s lots of other Bibles out there that remain to be studied. What’s your favorite Bible? Do you own any of these speciality Bibles? Are they actually any good?

Last Friday, we had a little ‘Q’ time, and now it’s time for some ‘A.’ I was amazed at so many of the questions. You all did great (and with your answers too!) Some of them really made me think. A bunch of you sent questions, making for a long entry today, though I tried to be brief. I considered breaking it up into two posts, as I can’t see how I can possibly be that interesting to you, but here they all are, in the order in which they were recieved.

Who posted the best question?

Joanna from Joanna Muses asks:
What song do you like to singalong to when no-one else is listening?

I like to sing hymns, but really obnoxiously. I used to set up the sanctuary for church on Saturdays and would just start ‘singing’ really loud and off-key while no one was there. I always got a laugh out of that. Because I knew the next day, I’d be trying to sing softly because I can’t really sing and not laugh at the showboats who were singing loudly and off-key in front of everyone. How holy does that make me?

Sherri from Matter of Fact and F.O.T.T.S.P. asks:
Do you think your cyber self is more popular than your personal (real-life) self?
Yes. I am an easy going and easy to get along with guy, at least I think so. But I just have a small circle of close friends. I just don’t have access to as many people in person as online.

I.H.S. from Managing the Unmanageable asks:
Do you ever have moments of thought where you say to yourself, ‘I can go to heaven without being a pastor’?
Great question. I am constantly burdened with my responsibilities, ambitions, failings, desires and duties, all of which seem to conflict often. But I haven’t seriously considered quitting yet; I’m not that jaded. I believe I would go to heaven even if I quit the ministry, but I don’t think God has released me to do so. If I did leave the ministry, I wouldn’t be the first or the last person to not live up to God’s direction in life.

Destiny of What? asks:
If you had to choose one dvd to watch for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Destiny responded that she would choose ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ Unfortunately, if my wife and I were stuck on an island with just that movie, I might try to make a break for it and swim.

I love lots of movies – The Shawshank Redemption, About Schmidt, Moulin Rouge, American Beauty, Amelie, and my new favorite, Gran Torino. But if pressed for one today, I just might pick Stranger than Fiction. Just a funny story about a guy who I can really relate to. Plus, the incredible design in the movie was done by a Kansas City based studio called MK-12. I got to see these guys at a little expo, and they are my design heroes. I’m a nerd.

Tony C of Tony C Today asks:
Have you ever belted out the song ‘Natural Woman’ (Aretha style) with complete abandon?

Tony says this is a great way to make his wife smile. While I haven’t done this, my method is to get really serious and sentimental with my wife and see how much of a song I can recite before I get caught (no melody – like I’m just whispering sweet nothings to her)

Me: Cheri, I know I don’t say this enough, but thank you.
Thank you…for being a friend…
traveled down the road…and back again.
Your heart is true.
You’re a pal and a confidant.
And if you threw a party…

Cheri: Stop it! That’s ‘Golden Girls’ you tool!

Katdish from Hey Look, a Chicken and F.O.T.T.S.P. asks:
Are you picturing Tony C in drag, a-la-Aretha Franklin wearing that awful hat she wore at Obama’s swearing in ceremony?

Is that really your question? You get a once in a lifetime opportunity to ask me a personal question, and this is how you spend your chance? No, no I’m not; that isn’t how I spend my time. Katdish, ladies and gentlemen.

Kyle Burkholder from The Post-Karmic Stream asks:
What stickers/decals adorn the back of your car?
Anyone ever seen these sweet European ‘initials’ stickers on cars? They make them for all the countries. There’s a couple of neighborhoods here that have those. Brookside has ‘BKS.’ I actually live in a town called Liberty, so ours is ‘LIB.’ It feels like a pair of Chuck Taylors for my car, it’s just that cool.

I also have a faded seminary parking sticker, which is not nearly as cool.

The OC Josh from Joshing Around asks:
What do you think of the next generation?
You imply by your question that I am too old to be part of the ‘next generation.’

Well I am actually old enough that there are some people younger than me. It will be hard to tell until several years from now. I thought ‘my’ generation was special – anointed by God. But I saw plenty of my friends fall away through college.

That said, the larger generation today (which I think you and I both belong to) I think has some very special and exciting things which will soon become apparent: a great group of people concerned with living in the Kingdom of God today, and bringing it to people like the world hasn’t seen in a long time.

Also to keep in mind is the new generations of Christians that are being raised or converted in other countries…Ah, I’ll have to save that for another post!

Phil Hoover, Chicago from Something to Consider asks:
If you could go to any country outside of North America for a 7-day vacation, where would it be?

I’ve aspired for a while to take a tour of the ancient New Testament cities throughout Greece.

Z from GeeeeeZ! asks:
If you could design your PERFECT CHURCH place, what would it look like?

Depends on the church. If my church, Levi’s House, ever builds a building, I’d like to see it look like a house in Jesus’ day. Stone foundations, plaster walls, a courtyard surrounded by glass (to give the illusion of opening into the building) and tile awnings.

I’d also like to see a church in an arena carved out of a cave. Stone arches, wood beams, dim lighting. Like a catacombs, or the underground churches of Cappadocia, but less adorned.

Marni at Chronicles of Marnia and F.O.T.T.S.P. asks:
Matt, you are a man and therefore wired emotionally different than a woman. Tell me how, as a man, do you relate to Jesus since your emotional attributes aren’t likely geared toward the same things a woman would be?
First, I love interacting with God’s word. I love the inspired beauty of it. I love the poetic ways God has shown his justice, and his mercy. I love how carefully God guided men’s hearts in their writing.

Second, I see the love of God in the wife he has provided me. Unmerited love, that is.

Third, I feel like I relate to Jesus the way his disciples did. He’s a teacher, he’s Lord. I hope he’ll be telling me ‘well done, faithful servant’ one day. I can cry at times, but it’s not a sappy love song with me and Jesus.

Good question. Had to think about that one a while.

Beth at That’s No Me Anymore and F.O.T.T.S.P. asks:
What is your wife’s name and how did you meet her?

That is a true story of serendipity. Let me give you the short version:
I go away to Christian college. I meet Girl (not my wife) there, but we aren’t really friends.
I transfer to State College in Kansas City along with a guy from Christian College as roommates.
One day, I’m driving into a parking lot and catch the eye of Girl driving out.
Me and my roommate become friends with Girl.
Girl and Roommate finally get me to come to Cool Church with them on Sunday nights, even though I already have a church.
Girl introduces me to Cheri at Cool Church, who is part of her prayer group. She’s cute.
Cheri falls madly in love with me. We get married.
I’ll be performing Girl’s wedding in a couple of months.

Ryan B at Crazy Delicious and F.O.T.T.S.P. asks:
If you were a Disney character who would you be and why?

If you had asked my high school friends (who played this game), I was most like ‘Doug’ personality-wise. I know – not technically a ‘Disney’ character, but Disney did buy the rights to Doug, I think.

If I were to aspire to a character? Aladdin. That guy was boss.

Jo from The Jesus Joint asks:
Do certain praise songs remind you of certain times of your life?
Down in My Heart – Sunday School
Change My Heart O God – teenage years
The Lord’s Prayer (with awkwardly long interlude) – Christian College
Praise ‘Medleys’ formed songs which don’t go together – Seminary
Blessed Be Your Name – Cool Church, and present church

Ryan Tate from Tater House asks:
What single piece of encouragment, counsel, or advice has most improved your preaching, teaching, or sharing as a pastor/leader?

Of everything my seminary teachers said, I remember something my Greek and Hebrews exposition prof told us. He said he didn’t want us to remember anything he said. He just wanted us to remember God’s Word. It is ironic that this is one of the only things I do remember, but it makes me realize that people remembering my sermons is not important (that’s futile anyway), it’s changed lives that count.

Shark Bait from Shark Bait’s Reef asks:
Do you find it easier to be a pastor in the real world, or in the blog world?

No comparison. I truly think of you all as my second church. I am so thankful for each of you. I pray for you. I hope each day that I’ll get to interact with a few of you one more time. This blog is a fun way to express myself as if no one will read it, and I’m thrilled that anyone does.

But I’m not your primary pastor. I hope I can lend you some encouragement in your week, but your own pastor has so much more responsibility to and for you. He’s the one responsible to God for your soul, and that is an emotionally draining thing for pastors who take it seriously. I say this while occupying the least physically stressful church I’ve ever encountered.

Joshua Conti from Caffiene Rarely Works asks:
Why do zombie stocks like Washington Mutual still trade?

People who have waited until now to sell their worthless scraps of paper are doing so now so they can claim an official loss on their taxes. The people who are buying them are probably idiots. Or collectors of common stock of extinct companies.

Yes, I am a genius. Also, Google is awesome. Next.

Undying Love from Undying Love asks:
Why is your blog called what it is?
The idea was that I’m a pastor, so on Sundays I have to deliver a message. It will be from the Bible. It will be challenging, uplifting, encouraging, convicting, at least I hope so. But what if no one came to church? I could say whatever I felt like! This blog is that church where no one shows up, and even though I now have you to read it, I try not to think about whether you will like what I say or not. So it’s just me, talking to myself, and you’re listening in.

Just Becca from Taking the City by Surprise asks:
If the entire world was infected by the “virus” that causes zombies, and you had the only vial that could cure it and would only save five people including yourself…who would you save?
Let’s see, Chuck Norris, Milla Jovovich, Bruce Campbell and myself either have extensive zombie repelling experience, or similar qualifications. Jeff Goldblum would have to come along as some kind of scientist who could figure out how to blow everyone up or blast us into space or something.

Justin from Bound Staff Press asks:
If you could eat anywhere or anything what and where would you eat?

Kansas City is a great barbecue town. Sweet and spicy with lots of sauce is our regional style. Arthur Bryant’s is the best. That’s where Presidents eat when they’re in town. Brisket and burnt ends, yeah!

Nicole at Living Under the Influence (of Grace) and Blue Jean Hostess asks:
If you were in a rock band, what would be your role?
That is a tough one, since I am utterly un-musical (outside of Guitar Hero.) I guess keyboard. In our band picture, I’d be the guy looking thoughtfully away from the camera.

Gabrielle Eden from I’m Free Now asks:
How do you find the time to do all the writing on your blog, and how much time do you spend on the internet per day or per week?

I’m used to mental multi-tasking. While working, I alternately mentally prepare for sermons as well as plan out blog entries. So when I sit down to write, it doesn’t take me all that long. No telling how much time I spend online between work and play. Probably an hour or two on weekdays, more if it involves work, but a good deal of it is not as redeeming as blogging!

Helen at Random Musings and F.O.T.T.S.P. asks:
What is your favorite hymn or praise song?
All time favorite hymn: ‘And Can it Be’
Second place: ‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty’

Jamie from Thoughts from a Late Bloomer asks:
If you could be a fruit, what kind would you be?

A banana. I couldn’t live with myself if I were any other fruit. Especially tomatoes…look at them, pretending to be vegetables. I refuse to call tomatoes ‘fruits.’

AmenMom from AmenMom asks:
What’s something unusual or unique about your childhood/youth?

I had a pretty ordinary childhood. Oldest of two boys. Mom’s a teacher, Dad’s a preacher. I was a smart kid and artistic, but not athletic. I did debate and competitive acting in high school. I competed against David Cook of American Idol fame more than once in those tournaments. I was in Boy Scouts for over 10 years. That’s pretty much me!

Uptown Hippie from Uptown Hippie asks:
What is your favorite breakfast food to make and/or eat?
French toast is awesome. Biscuits and gravy is also amazing, but probably my least favorite to make (if doing it from scratch.)

Jeremy Wong from My Name is Jeremy Wong asks:
What are some of your most useless skills that you think are cool and deserve an international following?
I am excellent at playing Super Mario Bros. 3. I won the championship video game tournament at Universal Studios Theme Park in 1989. It was a pretty big deal. They made a movie about it with Fred Savage. Seriously, it’s 10:30 pm, and I’m trying to think of my most useless skills which deserve fame. I am completely average, I assure you, despite the facade of talent I project.

If you made it this far, I salute you! Whose question was the best? Now, go visit a new blog!

Hey everyone. Last week, I was blown away by the response you gave to our celebration of irrelevance, and our list of irrelevant hymns.

Honestly, I was really blown away at how many of you knew of ‘Little Brown Church in the Vale.’

Now I love hymns; I grew up singing them. I also love new music. It pains me to see hymns pushed aside in favor of new music though, when they can peacefully coexist side by side, just like the senior ladies’ quilting club and the youth group at church…Match made in heaven.

But let’s be straight. Some hymns are starting to sound as if they’re about to fall out of their wheelchair right in the middle of the third chorus. The worship leader needs to whisper to the pastor that this hymn has gone to be with the Lord so he can pray and end the service.

But some things, like denim jackets or U2, keep coming back no matter how many times you think they’re dead. They come back into style for a new generation. There’s some hymns out there, even though they seem dead, are about to come back like Lazarus.

Yep, there are some great musicians who are bringing sexy back when it comes to rocking your Grandma’s hymn book, or at least bringing back the lost art of hymn writing. I’m talking, soulful, intense music, not hip hop worship tunes fit for a mix tape. Not every hymn has to be turn into an irrelevant, kitschy relic of the past, and unlike some fashions, chances are you’ll be glad these songs are back again. These guys are doing a sweet job of making all things old new again.

Three Bands Rescuing Hymns from Irrelevance

Robbie Seay Band

Robbie Seay does make these kind of lilting moaning sounds in the mic to fill the empty space in his songs, but man can the guy sing. I heard ‘Jesus Savior, Pilot Me’ and was blown away. What an incredible, original song! Then I look it up and find out it’s over 150 years old, and the original tune is nothing like it’s new incarnation. They effectively rescued this song from the obscurity of the antique hymn pawn shop. Then there’s the new stuff on top of that, namely ‘Beautiful Scandalous Night.’


I’ve got to plug this band, not just because they are a Kansas City original, but they’re dat gum great musicians. They write plenty of non-hymnal worship music. I wouldn’t be surprised if your church has this band’s music in its rotation, even if you’ve never heard of them. Although they don’t really reinvent old hymns, they are prolific when it comes to hymn writing. We’re talking singing the blasted Psalms – it doesn’t get more old school than that! Back when Beethoven was composing his ‘sacred music,’ the old folks in the church said, ‘Bah! The only music God hears is the Psalms, you punk!’ So the Psalms predate the music we think of as ‘old fashioned!’

Jars of Clay

I had written this band off years ago. Seriously, they were the kind of band you’d sort of get teased for listening to in my youth group. Don’t know what it was, they just seemed kind of lame. Then they throw down with ‘Redemption Songs.’ If you think an antique like ‘Nothing but the Blood’ can’t be dusted off and made to shine, think again.

I in no way claim this to be an exhaustive list. If it were, and there were only three bands out there working to resurrect our hymns, I think it would be a losing battle. As anyone who knows me can attest, I am the world’s last authority on music. So let’s hear it. Who else is bringing back the hymn book in a fresh way? What hymns are you still attached to, even though no self-respecting ‘contemporary’ church would be caught dead singing them?

I Fought the Law

January 14, 2009

I wouldn’t be an honest guy if I couldn’t admit to you that I’ve had a few brushes with the law. You see, before I was saved, I was kind of a hellion. I was always up to no good. I even had to go to court once.

Traffic court, yes. But it was real court in front of a judge.

All right, all my experience with the fuzz has been traffic violations. Most of the time, the cops see me rolling in my Ford Escort, and my music’s so loud, and they hating, so they’re patrolling, trying to catch me riding dirty.

Which usually means I have a headlight out or a tag is expired.

I’ve been pulled over five times. Once for speeding. Twice for lights being out, once for expired tags (they were stolen), once for going the wrong way.

And in all of these times, I have never paid a ticket. That’s right, gotten out of it every time.

You might be wondering what my secret is. How do I fight the law, and win? They say women have a few…advantages in these situations, but Christians have just as many tricks up their sleeves. I’ve got a few techniques that I’m willing to share with you to get out of a ticket next time a cop’s getting up in your grill:

Slip Him a $20: I know what you’re thinking. Bribing a cop is illegal! First of all, you should know that in Mexico, it is expected. Second, I’m not talking about real money. Remember those sweet gospel tracts that look like $20 bills? Remember how much a waitress would appreciate you when she picked up what she thought was a $20 tip, and then it turned out to not be money at all, but a tract? Remember how hobos did not come chasing after you with sticks when you dropped this in their paper cups? Works with the cops too. Slip the bill to him. He may be suspicious at first and a little bit hesitant, but when he unfolds it and sees that you’re taking the chance to proselytize him, well, you just bought yourself a cop, my friend

Flash Your Church Membership Card: Just keep your church membership card in your wallet with your license and other cards and pull them all out at the same time. Then sort through them to find your license, being sure to pause for a moment on the church card and say, ‘Oh, that’s not it. Silly me! Ha ha ha…ha.’ Even better, hand the card to the cop instead of your license by mistake. What’s that? Your church doesn’t issue cards to members? Your card is expired? I can hook you up here too. I know this dude who lives with a guy who totally runs a fake church membership card press out of the trunk of his car. These cards are great for buying off cops and getting yourself into church Bingo nights. For $50, the world, and all the bingo you want, is yours, and everything that goes with it…whatever that is.

Have a Potluck Dinner Ready to Go: Let’s be honest. The common wisdom is that police like food. And Christians like food. I think at any given time, somewhere between 70-80% of Christians are on their way to a potluck dinner. And even if you aren’t, just be prepared, because you never know when a potluck dinner is going to break out, or when you’ll need to feed a hungry police officer who’s getting up in your business. Whenever you leave the house, have a bubbly, piping hot crock pot of delicious Christian fellowship hooked up to your cigarette lighter. After all, satan meant that cigarette lighter for evil, but God intended it for good.

The Jesus Fish: I don’t think I really need to say this, but having a Jesus fish, bumper stickers and crosses hanging from your rear view mirror always works. The cop might as well be Dracula. Just grab that cross from your mirror and wave it in front of him. ‘The power of Christ compels you!’

Of course, this is all pointless to say, because I know all of you ask yourselves every day, ‘How would Jesus drive?’

Anyone else have a knack for not paying tickets? Anyone here have a ‘ticket me’ sticker plastered to their foreheads that just attracts every cop on the road? What are your greatest stories of conquest in getting out of tickets?