City Business Church

It is not by grace that one enters the kingdom of heaven, but by tithing. - Damazio 3:16

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Location: Washington DC, United States

Monday, December 27, 2004

Killing It

I think its time to end this blog. When we started this blog, my brother wanted to be like Martin Luther. I wanted to be Jon Stewart. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, we stopped sounding like Jon Stewart and started sounding like Lars Larson. As such, I think its time to stop. Let me close by saying thankyou to everyone who read the posts and commented. I have discovered a lot about myself and about how the church deals with dissent. I had a lot of fun writing the different posts. And as me and the Pope are eight-year veterans of the homeschool movement, look for homes-cool blog at a computer near you. Take Care Justin Morton justin.morton@gmail.com

West Campus FAQ's

(These are real questions and answers from City Bible's website.) Why will people come to the new West Campus? Krispy Kreme donuts have just opened a new store by our house! I don’t have to go to Seattle or wait until someone brings me these unique and wonderful delights! It’s a new store, but it’s offering a brand that I know about and trust. This is how we see our new location. We are a trusted “brand” of church with 53 years in our city. We have a proven message, a proven track record, and we will serve the West Campus exactly how we serve here. The difference will be that people can come and will come because it is closer to where they live. We will reach people who would not otherwise drive the distance to our NE location. (Does anyone know if they include Jesus in their brand?) Where will my tithe go if I attend the West Campus? The same place the tithe goes for those attending the East Campus. We are one congregation rather than two seperate churches. (Thank God, I was worried it might go to the poor.) Read the first answer again. They compared their church to a Krispy Kreme store. Krispy Kreme sells donuts; what are they selling? Jesus?

Sunday, December 26, 2004

A Merry Candlelight Service To You All!

This Holiday season more than most has forced me to reflect on many things, some of those things have come as quite a surprise to some of the people I care for the most. I've learned recently that like oil and water, my family and communication are relatively similar. I hope to see all of that change here soon, I know that at least the wheels have already been set in motion for that to begin to happen. I'm positive that I'm no "church brat" nor am I in any way "bitter" as I have been so accussed of thus far. In fact, I thought I had some very insightful information on how the modern church in America could more effectively reach this generation. I grossly underestimated how staunch and stubborn one church could be, I guess. Should that stop me from thinking or talking or writing how I believe? No. I'm held accountable for my actions and the church is held accountable for theirs; I can no more control what they do with this insight than they can control what is said here in this web log. Does it surprise me that such common sense be met with great resistance? Again, no. I know for a fact that some church-goers choose their local church based on who has the best worship or the best Christmas program, and CBC is all too aware of that themselves. It doesn't surprise me that as they unfolded their 4 part plan during the Forward Together program, two of the four items were aimed purely at attracting other Christians from other churches. The other two more practical items on that list, Evangelism and Retiring the Church Deficite, appear to be mere footnotes or selling points to suckers like me. Yes, I pledged! Not much in their economy, but to me it was a sacrifice. What sold me was the order in which the list was pitched: 1) retire the deficite 2) refurbish the campus 3) simulcast 4) evangelism. Now my first clue that they would not deliver on all four points should have been the fact that evangelism, whatever that means to them, came in last. As it turns out, the satellite service was Frank's baby, it was his way of finally "planting" a church without losing personnel or revenue. All coins now found their way into the same coffer, without him having to lose any control. Believe me, I've seen the Extreme Makeover: Sanctuary Edition and it's sort of tacky and technologically over the top! Just what are those phallic pillars of light? Perhaps a tribute to 9/11, maybe? I guess we'll see if the other 2 most important items on the list ever reach completion, but it looks unlikely. Lost in all this is the very reason for the church itself. Why do we go? What is our goal? Who is it for? Is it really a social club for us members only, like a religious Red Hat Society? Heavens, no! Church is many things to many people, but at it's core it is designed equip Christians to go into all the earth and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them the life of Christ, his teachings, the Gospel! When it becomes about anything other than that, there needs to be a reckoning and then a turning back towards the face of God. I'll end this entry by telling a story that my pastor recently told us. There was this new pastor of a young church and his worship pastor. The pastor had heard of this church in one of the poorest areas of LA that had the most tremendous and annointed worship. He sent his worship pastor to go check out this fabled church in Englewood to report on what he saw. He saw a church that was uptempo and rockin', but he discovered when he arrived that the pastor of this church was in the middle of a building project and construction had already begun. He decided to go see this site and catch a glimpse of the vision this church had for this area. What he found shocked him! In the middle of this God-foresaken neighborhood, filled with highrise one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments with boarded-up windows he saw the framework for a $56 million dollar church facility being erected. It made him weep, then it made him righteously angered and he wondered, with all those needs surrounding them, how could they consider building such an elaborate temple. This is an extreme microcosm of a nationwide epidemic and we as the church of Christ ought to strive for something more. Our city of Portland is dying from the inside out and the answer to it's problems isn't more gadgets or programs or conferences focussed on feeding our already fat faces, the answer is simply Christ at work in the heart of the lost. Delivering Christ to those masses requires no overhead whatsoever, it does however require that we occassionally sacrifice lunch plans with friends to live missionally and take Christ from our pew to the outside world. God bless!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone is having as wonderfully awkward a Christmas as megachurchsurvivor. I also tend to agree with Mega that "we just scratched the surface". So, I do not think I am done quite yet. I may have one or two more posts in me.

Friday, December 24, 2004

We just scratched the surface!

It can't be over! We didn't even get to talk about Presbytery or the Toronto Blessing or any other wind of the Spirit that P.F. has gone chasing after in an effort to keep up with the Jones' found in the pages of Charisma Magazine. Oh well, maybe I'll just have to hang on to my "...I see you getting married someday, Oh handmaiden of the Lord" jokes. I bet if they sell one of their $3500 robotic stage lights on eBay they could still have time to make someone's Holiday really special, but then that's just the practical side of me thinking out loud. Merry Christmas everyone!

The Shepherd Has Left The Sheep

Now that reformed Pope is leaving I feel as though I have lost my spiritual covering. How can I blog with a clear conscience without appointed covering? Some things just simply should not be done. So, it is with some sadness and some relief that I also must bid you adieu. It’s good to know there have been no fist fights, no lawsuits and no bloggers hacking their way into CBC’s plasma screens and posting the address to this site. This blog has raised many emotions in me. Anger, Frustration, sadness, delight etc. Some of the comments were insightful and amusing others were downright insulting. Before leaving I would like to take one last shot at stating my thoughts. Perhaps one thing that needs to be said is that there is no doubt in my mind that CBC does many good things. I have heard some great teaching there on marriage, parenting etc. Remember too that the Old Testament law came directly from God, and it accomplished many good things. It got people eating healthy, giving generously and so forth. But, as soon as the law was emphasized to the exclusion of Christ, the law itself became the oppressor. It always left people feeling that they were not trying hard enough, not doing enough and not giving enough. And so it is today. Even the best team ministry, church planting, money giving and city taking teaching in the world will only result in oppression if it is not motivated by and brought back to the person of Christ. If the message is shifted away from this over to money, or character training, or political influence, City Bible Church like any other religious structure will become a means of oppression. All the good character and discipline in the world will not make for a lack of emphasis on Christ and the cross. Even if this blog is utterly wrong and the message of tithing, faith harvest and Malachi's curse are 100% biblical, these teachings, if allowed to encroach on the preaching of Christ will only bring people into dead religion. Whether this is the leaders intent is really not the point, it is the inevitable result of moving from the core Christian message. The consequences of such an error are larger than we realize. Some of the harshest and most hurtful words Jesus ever spoke to one of his disciples came about when Peter belittled the need for the cross. “He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan…’ ” (Matt 16:23) The only time Jesus turns to one of his own and addresses him as Satan was over the issue of the necessity of the cross. Sure Peter was well meaning, he was looking out for Jesus, he did not want to see him hurt. The lesson seems simple to me, anyone who does not see the overwhelming need for the cross is ultimately motivated by evil. I will hesitate and stop short of categorically stating that this is where is CBC is at. I’m not sure that I have the right to make such a judgment call. However, what I am saying is that when financial giving and political influence is emphasized more than the person Christ and the cross it is time to stop and ask ourselves some hard questions. Thanks for reading, over and out.

Thank You. I'm Out

I feel that the purpose of this site has been achieved. It was never meant to be a large debate, but simply a forum to call attention to a problem with today’s mega church. I believe that has been accomplished. Whether this was the right avenue or not I don’t know, but I do believe that God has used this site. I hold no bitterness in my heart for anyone @ CBC. I have spoken with many of my friends there and those that actually listened to what I was saying know this is true. Please continue to think about everything you are being told and run it through the Bible. Do not be afraid to call attention to problems that you see, but be open to criticism. We were never trying to “bring down” the church, that was not our intention. If you find truth in the words and songs written here, please don’t run from your church. Try to make a change. Even if they ignore you or tell you to go talk to Lanny, there is always room for you to grow in your faith by stepping out and doing the unpopular. To the leaders @ CBC I would like to say, even if you hate what we do, even if you truly believe that we are tearing down the church, and even if you believe that we are doing the work of the devil, it would be foolish for you to ignore us. This clearly is an issue that strikes a cord with your membership. Look at the counter at the bottom of the screen and you will see that people are interested in this. Continue to preach on giving, it’s a Biblical principle after all, but maybe it’s not the most important thing. If you want to see your congregations truly blessed tell them to give to the poor. This is what Jesus would do. God doesn’t need their money, but do you? Be open to criticism, after all no one is infallible, and the next time someone questions you, stop reaching for your book on “Submission to Authority”, listen to what they have to say, and try to grow. Thank you to all the contributors who have made me laugh. Someday we should get together and write a book. “The prayer of Jabez” was a big hit, how about “The curse of Malachi”. Sounds like an instant classic. I would like to hand out some awards for the best lines written. The THITHY for best song goes to……….Finally Home for his work on “Here comes Satan Claus.” Best Sarcastic Line goes to……. White boy. It was a tie between “It was Monday and I couldn’t even find my Bible” and “THE CURSE OF MALACHI WAS UPON ME AND MY HOUSEHOLD . . . AAAAAAAAAARGH!! Best serious line….. Catalyst for his “If the church is the Bride of Christ, then the bride is having an affair with a guy called "money".” Best story goes to…………Finally Home in “I’m Finally Home” Best Song (espanol) …………….Titho Navidad. Good work virGENmary. Best Quote………………"Poo, I love you. I love Poo." Best line by a dissenter……………. 4 Bitter Boys Best Article goes to………………….Zach Dundas for The Big Bible Blog Battle Best Response to a comment...........megachurchsurvivor with "Anonymous, I applaud you and your bravery! It takes courage to use your real name like you've chosen to do, though, I don't for the life of me know what your parents were thinking at the time of your birth." As I hand out these “Titheys” I realize that there are way to many funny things to comment on. It has been a great time. Next time around we can tackle “Church vs State” and the “NO TITHE LEFT BEHIND ACT” Thank you. I'm Out. -Johnpaul Morton mortonjp14@hotmail.com

Filter

Due to the many requests by contributors and readers, I have removed virGen Mary from this blog. While I found his postings amusing, many others did not. And since at this point, I still might have two friends at City Business, I thought it would be best if I removed him now. Also, I guess now would probably be a good time to explain something about the Morton boys. You know that filter in your brain that keeps you from saying stupid things… Yeah, we don’t have one. When God was handing out filters he accidentally skipped us. (I think he gave them all to our sister, because she doesn't say a word). When something pops into our head, we just blurt it out. Sometimes this works and a statement is met with laughter. However, more often than not, its met with shaking heads, a disapproving stare, and an exasperated mother screaming “What were you thinking?” And, you know what, that in a nutshell is also how this blog got started. I suggested starting a blog making fun of City Business and my brother said “excellent idea.” Yada, yada, yada... three weeks later I’m arguing with people in the comment section over the role money plays in church management. Oh well… Finally, let me say that in the interest of keeping Virgen Mary happy, I kept three of his funnier song. Because, although they may offend some, I really really like “Catalyst got run over by a Lasit.” Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Titho Navidad

For all of you who are bilingual out there, here is a little espanol for you to enjoy. Titho Navidad Titho Navidad Titho Navidad Titho Navidad Prospero Ano y tithoidad. Titho Navidad Titho Navidad Prospero Ano y Tithoidad. I wanna wish you a Merry Tithe I wanna wish you a Merry Tithe I wanna wish you a Merry Tithe From the bottom of my wallet.

It's beginning to look a lot like Faith Harvest

It's beginning to look a lot like faith harvest Ev'rywhere you go; Take a look at the east side, glistening once again With plasma screens and espresso machines aglow. It's beginning to look a lot like faith harvest, Tithes in ev'ry bowl, But the prettiest sight to see, is the offering that will be On the domes front door. A bunch of silver and gold, at the churches bank Is the wish of Dougie and Frank; members that will not talk and will not think for themselves Is the hope of Dougie and Frank; And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for this blog to finally end. It's beginning to look a lot like faith harvest Ev'rywhere you go; There's a tithe in every service, one in the west side as well, The sturdy kind that doesn't mind the overflow. It's beginning to look a lot like faith harvest; Soon the tithe will start, And the thing that will make Frank ring is the tithing that you bring Right within your wallet.

Catalyst got run over by a Lasit

Catalyst got run over by a Lasit Walking home from blogging Christmas eve. You can say there's no such thing as Dougie, But as for Joel and Jesse, we believe. He’d been drinkin' way too much egg nog, And we'd begged him not to go. But he'd left his medication, So he stumbled out the door into the snow. When they found him Christmas mornin', At the scene of the attack. There were hoof prints on his forehead, And incriminatin' dollar marks on his back. Catalyst got run over by a Lasit, Walkin' home from blogging Christmas eve. You can say there's no such thing as Dougie, But as for Joel and Jesse, we believe.

I suppose I deserve this

You start a blog making fun of a church, and then invite a bunch of your friends to join, you're going to get posts which you think cross the line. I didn't think I really had a line that someone could cross, but apparently I do. And somewhere, between Mission Statement and Ramblings, I stopped being a funny blogger and became a babysitter. Whatever, I guess I'll just try to stay on top of it. But please contributors, we are attacking a mindset, not the people themselves. The minute you resort to attacking people personally, you discredit whatever message you are trying to convey. And Reformed Pope is the only person to have his name published publicly, so he gets all the grief. And then I get the grief... and then my mother calls.... and it's just not worth it. (This is way too much work) (And I think this blog just jumped the shark.)

Verse of the Week (Dec 23rd)

1 Timothy 5:19-20 (New International Version) 19Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.

Ramblings

I don’t know where to go from here. For me, this blog has accomplished everything I had hoped it might accomplish. I’m tempted to follow George Costanza’s lead and say, “Thank you. I’m out.” Just leave on a high note. But I figure, the church can not go forever without asking for money. As one member told Reformed Pope the other day, “You are mocking our core belief.” The church truly believes that if you keep giving them money, God will bless you. Maybe? I don’t know. Job gave a lot of money, and God gave him hemorrhoids. (Don’t you think that when Job finally got to heavan, he was like, “Uh, God. Next time you plan on proving a point to Satan, could you please just pick an Angel or something. You were killing me down there.”) I’ve always admired Job’s faith and his commitment to God. Despite being penniless and flirting with death. Did he respond in anger? Did he say, "Lord but I tithed. I gave to Faith Harvest." No, he simply said: “Naked I have come from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” I always thought the Church should have preached that verse a little more. I think that is a more responsible attitude to have toward prosperity. Maybe God will bless me and give me millions of dollars, maybe he won’t. But I will continue to love Him and serve Him no matter what. I don't really have a point here, other than to say, I guess I'll keep blogging...

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Willamette Week readers

I would like to welcome all readers referred here by Willamette Week. This blog started out as a sarcastic look at how often City Business Church preaches about giving money. I am reposting an old classic to get you into the spirit of Christmas. God Bless and Enjoy. Special Edition Holiday CD!!! Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to present you with the first of what I am sure will be a long tradition of Christmas albums designed by City Business. Each CD comes with a pledge card you can use for your extra holiday tithing. And don’t forget there is still time for that extra Christmas blessing. Immerse yourself in the true meaning of the holidays with these wonderful songs of merriment. 1. Little Tither Boy 2. O Holy Tithe 3. God Rest Ye Merry Businessmen 4. O Come All Ye Faithful Givers 5. What Tithe Is This? 6. It Was Simulcast Upon A Midnight Clear 7. Tithers We Have Heard On High 8. Joy To The West Side 9. I’ll Be Home For Faith Harvest 10. I Saw Three Checks Come Mailing In 11. Rockin Around The Tithe Bowl For a nominal fee the sheet music to Here Comes Satan Clause can be yours. Now, there is no need to drive a stake in your yard or anoint your doorways with oil from the Holy Land. If you want protection from Satan Claus simply purchase our CD for $20 and play it where ever you go. In case you are not familiar with this holiday classic, we have provided the lyrics for the first verse absolutely free. Here Comes Satan Clause. Here Comes Satan Clause. Right Down Satan Clause Lane. If You’re Not Quick And Tithe Your Money It’ll All Go Down The Drain. It’s Your Fault. You Put A Cap On God. Your Blessing’s Out Of Sight. So Get Your Checks In. Don’t Question Us. This Time, We Know We’re Right. So don’t delay. You can purchase your holiday CD in the City Business Gift Shop. They are located between the Louis Vuitton Bible Covers and the Limited Edition City Business Starbucks Coffee Mugs.

Why we blog

As we now have eleven contributors on this site, I would like to explain why we are all here. Blog is short for web-log, and a web-log is basically just an online diary. A place to record your thoughts. It's just that with this blog, our thoughts are more specific and focused on how we feel about CBC. Each of our contributors has had significant experience with City Business Church. Some of it good; some of it not so good. This blog is merely a forum for us to express how we feel about some of our experiences with this church. The best example of what I’m talking about, is the post right below entitled “The day I robbed God.” I thought the post said a lot about the dangers of preaching the law, as opposed to preaching Christ’s message of grace and compassion. In closing, let me say that the contributors all represent a specific age group. A very sought after age group for advertisers, actually. And an age group which is leaving CBC in droves. Why do you think that is?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Day I Robbed God

Back in early 2001 times were tough. This particular day spirits were exceptionally low. I had a crappy job, I was depressed, it was Monday and I couldn’t even find my Bible. My wife and I were financially strapped. I was earning very little and the stress was taking its toll. Despite my situation, I was a tither to the core. Come hell or high-water that 10% found its way into the offering basket. The magic 10%, my church believed in it, my pastor preached it and I put it into practice. I also went the occasional extra mile with my open-hearted gifts to missions. I won’t even take blogging space to mention my generous gift of $200 that I made to faith harvest that year. Due to lack of finances I couldn’t afford to take my wife out and my 2 credit cards were maxed out. Something had to be done. So on that life-changing Monday after years of faithful tithing I abandoned all good conscience and took the plunge. We decided to lower our monthly giving to the church down to a measly 3%. That’s right folks, a whopping 3%. That’s a full 7 less than 10. Finally the fateful Sunday arrived. I walked through the doors to the sanctuary with my head held low; feeling the kind of shame only a non-tither could feel. With fear and trembling I dropped the check into the offering bucket and tried not listen to the passionate requests from the pulpit for more money. I was well steeped in the doctrine of tithe, and was well aware of the consequences of forsaking such important New Testament…uuuh I mean Old Testament teaching. Here’s mine and yours favorite Bible verse: “Mal 3:8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. 9 *You are cursed with a curse…*” And boy did I ever know this teaching. You better obey this one or you will have robbed God and unfortunately find yourself under Malachi’s curse. It was well known to all that this sneaky curse had leaped the pages of the Old Testament, made its way right passed Christ, the cross, the new covenant and found itself a staple teaching in the American Mega-Church. Damn curse, it’s unstoppable! And so I awaited my punishment. For a month I slept with one eye open. I knew it was coming, I just didn’t know when and how. I waited and waited . . .and waited. About a month later at about 3am my wife and I lay peacefully asleep in bed. Suddenly an intensely loud crash filled the air. I sat straight up in bed, eyes wide open, convinced that judgment had finally caught up with me. THE CURSE OF MALACHI WAS UPON ME AND MY HOUSEHOLD . . . AAAAAAAAAARGH!! But, my fellow bloggers do not be afraid, neither be thou dismayed, it turned out to be a false alarm. Some intoxicated driver had lost control of his car and ended up hitting the side of our apartment. No one was hurt. In time, despite the occasional nightmare of God showing up demanding back payment plus interest, I felt pretty good. I got a better job and paid down the credit card debt. These days I even give pretty darn close to 10%. Not sure what this story really proves, but it is interesting to note that the only change that giving only 3% had on me was that I had 7% more to spend on bills. Funny how that works.

Faith harvest no no more like Frank's harvest

Because the ushers bring such an enormous amount of cash to scroog, CBC has decided to create a new policy. It is TIP YOUR USHER! you have heard right tip your usher is now in effect. Now just because there a little pushy with the tithe bowl and they like to flash there six shooter alot don't feel pressure. because if you dont have cash that's fine that's fine they would be more than happy to take your credit card and print you out a receipt. some people might think that this is crazy, but I say SIGN AT THE X.

Defense of Honesty Coalition

Following the recent success shared by the Defense of Marriage Coalition comes a new coalition for the pastors of Portland to join. It seems we've successfully eradicated homosexuality by virtually making it illegal to be a homosexual. We started with a goal to eradicate the most notorious sin on God's hierarchy of sin list, and I think we succeeded brilliantly! We've opted to ignore infidelity, divorce, pornography, incest and abuse as threats to the marriage covenant and chosen to concentrate solely on those tens of gays and lesbians who for some reason want to get married. Yep, the Defense of Marriage has come and gone now that the threat is finally over, and we heterosexuals can finally get back to what we do best, breaking half the marriage covenants we enter in to. Now comes a new coalition to join. The Defense of Honesty Coalition. That's right lying, cheating and all other forms of dishonesty will not be tolerated! We will start by taking all the pastor's names and the name's of their churches, then we'll publish them in the Oregonian so that liars know which congregations they are not welcome in. Then we'll send out spam and junk-mail to all our church members asking them to support our coalition and our measure with monetary donations (don't forget to still give to Pay if Forward Together Campaign, Faith Harvest and your tithe). If we come up short on funds we'll just ask pastors to dip into the churches piggybank and maybe we'll take a $200,000 "loan" from CCLI, that we'll be sure to pay back, because there's a lot of revenue to made in founding coalitions. Once we've made liars feel just about as awkward and unwelcome in our sanctuary as possible, we'll begin with anti-liar rallies to really drive home the point. Once we've legislated our brand of righteousness and imposed it on this unbelieving world, we'll retreat to our sanctuarys and wait for them to pour in by the thousands. We here at the Coalition Foundation truly believe that if He were alive and walking the Earth today, Jesus would join one of our many coalitions, because He feels as strongly as we do about those disgusting sinners...those dirty, dirty sinners!

Lets get this clear.

If you want to write about the posters on this site. That is fine. We will allow comments, with in reason, that bash us. However, we will not allow anybody talking about anyone's children. (Just for the record, Mom, it was not my children being mentioned.)

Time to hear from The REAL Church Gal

Well, I have decided to speak out . I wanted everyone who knows me to understand where I stand on this whole thing. I didn’t want there to be any question about what I think, and I don’t want people out there saying poor Tanell , or this must be so embarrassing for Tanell , or just wondering where I stand. Let me tell you myself

I stand PROUD!!! I’m proud to be a Morton. I am so proud of my husband and my family. I think the Morton boys are wonderful, and HILARIOUS!!( Even though their approach might not be the approach I would take.) This may come as a surprise to some people because most of my life I would say I was a follower. But in the last year and a half I have discovered something amazing! I have a Mind!! WOW, and its all mine! I can think for myself!!! Hallelujah Praise the Lord!! I have been freed from just believing what I’m told is “the right thing.” Now I know that it is ok to question things , and there is an amazing book I can go to, to help me find the answers I need. (that book is called The Bible.) Now I have to admit that it is much more challenging to have to find things out on my own instead of relying on my family or pastor to tell me how I should live. If you haven’t ever tried it I highly suggest it ,it has completely freed me. And as a wise man once said it has taken me off the roller coaster ride Christianity and I ‘m now secure in my salvation. Now I would like to address one other thing. I think that it is amazing how upset and how personal people are taking this. Don’t get me wrong, I was upset when I read all the comments attacking my family, but that’s all it was, just a little upset. I believe that when you become so hurt to the depths people are getting hurt by this that there might be an area in your life that maybe you should take a better look at. Romans 1:25 tells us that idols are not sinful things but good and basic things elevated into being ultimate things. Verse 25 says ,they worshiped created things rather than the Creator. When we look to things or people for meaning in life , or our sense of worth or to make us righteous, I believe that becomes our savior or our Salvation. I just think it might be good for the people who are so hurt by this to check their heart and see why this hurts you so deeply. I am in no way am saying that I don’t struggle with idols in my life, I do very much so, but I’m not to proud to ask God what my idols might be and to work on changing that in my life. In a bible study that I am in I have found that these questions are great questions to ask your self to help recognize an idol in your life. “To who or what do you look to for life- sustaining stability, secretly and acceptance?...What do you really want or except out of life? What would really make you happy? What would make you an acceptable person? Where do you look to for power and success? These questions can really make you think about weather you serve God or idols, weather you look for salvation in Christ or in false saviors. That is all I really have to say. I think that this is a way to get things out there and to make people think. It is truly sad that some people have taken it so personally. Proud Morton, Tanell

I will not be redefined

Lately, there have been a lot of comments about meeting with church leaders over coffee. From what I hear, City Business leaders think Christ is most powerful whenever there is a strong aroma of French Vanilla in the air. The French gives Christ his strength and the Vanilla gives him his spirituality… …at least that’s what I’m told. However, no matter what they think, this conversation is never gonna happen. At least not with me. I spent four years attending the high school on the hill, and as such, I have a little experience meeting with church elders. You circulate a petition demanding they fire the principal for his incompetence, and it pretty much guarantees you a one way ticket to the church offices. On the other hand, you drop the word “porn” during a high school graduation speech, and it guarantees no one ever speaks to you again, but I digress. For those of you who are unaware, let me give you a rundown of how a typical meeting with the church leadership goes. Upon hearing of your transgression, they will promptly call you into their large conference room. You will walk into the room alone, a little nervous, and regretting every sin you’ve ever committed. You will also notice six or seven elders on one side of the table and you on the other. (Church leaders also believe in safety in numbers. Its just a smart concept.) They then sit you down, calmly explain what you have done wrong, how much you have hurt them and how badly you need to repent. Next, because it must be written in the church leader handbook, they will tell you how much they love you. This is always an unnerving experience for a young kid; being surrounded by 40 year-old men professing their love. In fact, I will go so far as to say, it is the most awkward situation in the world. And by the time it is over, you are sweating fiendishly and frantically searching for the nearest exit. So you panic, you promise them whatever they want. You apologize. You swear you’ll never do it again. Yes, you’ll join a small group. Yes, you’ll raise your hands more during worship. You want jumping up and down during cool worship songs. I’m your man. Call me tigger. I don’t care, JUST GET ME OUT OF HERE! Because what generally follows can only be described as the most homoerotic experience of a young man’s life. In closing the meeting, they will decide to pray with you. (You can’t close a meeting without prayer. It’s in the Bible, I’m sure). And someone always suggests, that to really get the full affect of the prayer, they should lay their hands on you. So, there you are. 15 years old, just trying to make it through the tough teen years, and you are surrounded by eight older men, all with their hands on you, speaking in some crazy language. I promise you, there is less sexual tension in a gay bar, then at that particular moment. And that my friends, is why I’m not sitting down with anyone for coffee. I’ve had my gay quota for a lifetime, thank you very much. (of course, not there’s anything wrong with that.) Now, in the interesting of avoiding a lawsuit, let me say that I am not suggesting any of these men did anything wrong or even acted inappropriately. I am just saying that what passes off as earnest prayer, often turns into a ridiculously uncomfortable situation. So again, I'm not having coffee with you.... …of course, if you offered to buy me a beer... well... that’s a different story….

I need to clarify

On 12/4/04 I posted a comment called TITHE STRONG. In this post was a quote from Church Gal saying “I'm not satisfied doing it my own way, I'm not satisfied to 'Do Church' and walk away. That's why I wear my TITHE STRONG bracelet. It makes me feel better about myself. " -CHURCH GAL (a 5 year CBC survivor)

I thought that it would be obvious that the comment was clearly a fabrication from my mind, but it appears as though some people took it seriously. Allow me to clarify. Church Gal does not own a Tithe Strong bracelet. Tithe Strong bracelets do not exist. I wrote that quote.

Happy Birthday

I would like to wish the mole a happy birthday. Today is her birthday and she is 14 years old. If you see her around, please give her your best. Happy Birthday Mole.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Monday Mole Update

Our mole went to Church on Sunday, and she told me they actually preached about Jesus. Several members of the congregation were shocked to hear a sermon about Jesus. Leading to this exchange between two members of the church: Member #1: (whispering to friend) Whose this Jesus they’re talking about? Member #2: Uh, I think he has something to do with Christianity or something like that. I don’t really know though, since this is the first I’ve heard of him here. Member #1: Well, what am I supposed to do with all my money this week? No one has told me to give it to them. Member #2: (shrugging) I don’t know, I suppose you could spend it on yourself. Member #1: AND GO TO HELL! No way. (preaching continues) Member #1: (leaning back over to her friend) You know, when I’m eating at a restaurant and I get a free meal, I usually just give the waiter a really good tip. You know to compensate for the free meal. Member #2: Yeah, so. Member #1: Well, since I guess the sermon is free today. I think I might just tip the usher. Member #2: Good idea. [Editors Note: I owe this idea to The Holy Trinity (of blogging).]

DIARY OF A DEAD SOLDIER

We would like to thank Church Gal for releasing this letter to us. It was her last contact with the Reformed Pope, before he past away. Please send your prayers and support to her and her family at this difficult time. Catalyst was right. The proud soldier is dead. I appreciate all the support that you all have given me over the past few weeks but I regret to inform each of you that it is over. It is finished. Anonymous was right. CBC was right. And according to one pastor, out of the 395,000 churches in America 390,000 of them believe the way CBC does. How could I possibly think that I had received some sort of special word from God? It was foolish and prideful. CBC doesn’t preach “give to get”, they simply preach the Word of God. Give and God will give back to you. That principle is undeniable. I clearly caused a lot of people pain and anguish, people that love me so much that my actions brought them to tears. To each of those people I would like to say………………………… “No”. Do you really think that you can manipulate me into running? No. Do you really think that you can guilt me into stopping? No. (sing this next part) No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no God’s not dead, but he’s alive. God’s not dead, but he’s alive. God’s not dead, but he’s alive and I feel him all over me. I feel Him in the street, I feel Him in the air, I feel Him in this blog, yes I feel Him all over me. No, no, no, no, ….(fade song out slowly) I am sorry that you think this is tearing the church apart. I am sorry that you don’t understand my sarcasm. I am sorry that you refuse to accept that there might be some truth to what we have been saying. But most of all I am sorry that you take yourself so seriously. Lighten up. You might find life to be a bit easier to handle if you can laugh at yourself. “I saw three checks come mailing in” that’s funny, but maybe you don’t get it. “I saw three ships come sailing in” is a Christmas song. We changed the words. Hilarious. I’m laughing right now as I write this. My heart is light. I would like to sing another song. Everyone join in. BE BOLD! BE STRONG! For the Lord thy God is with thee. BE BOLD! BE STRONG! For the Lord thy God is with thee. I am not afraid, no, no, no. I am not dismayed no, no, no. I’m walking in faith and victory, COME ON, I’m walking in faith and victory for the Lord thy God is with me. (end song) This is where I get serious. I do not want this site to cause bitterness in anyone’s heart. That truly is not my intention. My intention is not for people to leave CBC. My intention is to cause people to think about what is being said. Question everything, and run it through the Bible. Your faith will grow, and you will be blessed. It does not matter which church you go to. There is no perfect church. Everyone, everywhere take the time to stop and run things through the Bible. If you are struggling with bitterness, go and reconcile it. If you hear something that doesn’t sound right, don’t be afraid to ask questions. And for goodness sake, everyone, lighten up. What happens when a church won’t let it’s members question anything? The congregation becomes totally dependant on their pastors for everything. They look to them for complete guidance and they lack their own personal convictions. Imagine what happens when that pastor is not around? This is a dangerous road to walk on. Pastors of this nation, I challenge you to encourage your congregations to question your teaching (Ombudsmen of America unite). Let them dig into the Word of God to study what you are preaching. How harmful can that be. On a more personal note, I really struggled with what the right response was going to be. I was uncertain whether our use of sarcasm was an appropriate way to raise questions in the church or not. After much deliberation I decided that there are many ways to communicate your thoughts, and my generation really responds well to sarcasm. There for I shall continue in my ways. A blog is nothing more than an online journal. Please understand that this is simply a few men’s opinions. I encourage you all to question everything that we write. Criticism is appreciated as much as support. The important thing to me is that we are all thinking about what we really believe. Catalyst, hand me my sword.

Quick Break

Honestly folks, we're running out of tithing jokes. We've got a couple more ideas but it looks like they are going to take awhile to formulate. So, while we work on our next idea, here is an interesting article in Time Magazine about blogging efforts across the nation in the last year. I noticed some interesting parallels between a lot of the national blogs and our blog.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

A fast from tithing

This may be hard to believe, but here at City Business (the blog) we actually support tithing. We believe tithing teaches the importance of making sacrifices and helps support your home church as well. We also believe that CBC is a good church. (well, at least I do) And we believe that the members of CBC are compassionate, caring people. (well, most of them) We just believe their teachings on wealth and giving are not Biblical. As such, we are asking all City Business Church members to take their upcoming tithe and instead of sending it to the church, we are asking that they send it to the Portland Rescue Mission or another worthy charity. We ask that you do this, until the CBC pastors and leaders acknowledge their teachings on money are inconsistent with the Bible. Editors Note: I would feel really hypocritical asking people to give money, if I myself wasn’t giving. So although I haven’t tithed in probably five years, tomorrow, I will be sending a check to the Portland Rescue Mission. I received a rather nice Christmas bonus last week, and the least I can do is share some of my blessing with others. I’m not saying this to toot my own horn. I’m just practicing what I preach. Here is the address to the Portland Rescue Mission: Portland Rescue Mission 111 West Burnside St. Portland, Oregon 97209 Phone: 503-227-0421 Fax: 503-227-1126

Whose budsman? Our budsman.

In a recent comment, one of our faithful readers (olderwiserha) recommended that the church establish an ombudsman position. This way the church would have someone to serve as a liaison between the congregation and the pastoral staff. Specifically Olderwiser said, “The pastor could use an ombudsman who takes peoples comments good and ill, directly to him. The ombudsman’s loyalty is to the church and therefore equal to both the pastor and the congregation,” I thought this was an excellent idea, and I looked up the meaning of ombudsman on www.dictionary.com: An ombudsman is A man who investigates complaints and mediates fair settlements, especially between aggrieved parties such as consumers or students and an institution or organization. I believe this is a position that could be very beneficial to CBC. The elders would have a mediator to listen to greivances, and the congregation would have a person to whom they could air their complaints. Complaints like, “Ummm, pastor, you have spent the last eight years preaching on tithing. And I want to say thank you for that. But, uh… I get it. I tithe. Now please, for the love of all that is sacred and holy, could I hear a sermon on Moses or maybe even a minor prophet like Ezekial?” For what its worth, I think this blog is serving as a kind of ombudsman, in the sense that we post complaints and the church leadership reads them. But if we are acting as an ombudsman, then we are the worst ombudsman in the world. A good advocate does not mock those whom he is attempting to represent. And so today, December 19, 2004, I nominate Olderwiserha as official CBC ombudsman. He is a thoughtful man, who will represent both the congregation and pastoral staff with humility. I think you could learn a lot from him. I hope you take this suggestion seriously. (If you are having trouble locating Olderwiser, I suggest you begin by searching every convenience store in a five mile radius of North Portland. I suspect you will find him hunched over a pinball machine, with empty cartons of chocolate milk strewn about the floor beneath him. Wait a few minutes and inevitably you will see him bang the side of the machine and mutter to himself. “This game is ridiculous.” And then, recognizing that the Pinball Gods are no longer shining on him, he will begin yelling over his shoulder at the cashier. “The magnets on this machine are way too strong. Its impossible to win.” I offer this story just to say, keep him away from the pinball machines and you should be alright.)

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Merry Christmas

I am going out tonight. I have a Christmas Party to attend, and I plan on celebrating by emulating Christ’s first miracle. If I am silent tomorrow, you know the reason why.

Pope Update (Circling the Wagon)

I do not want to say this blog is retreating, but we are definitely regrouping. It has been tough to witness a member of our family so greviously injured. But the outpouring of support has been overwhelming. And fortunately we have been able to recruit a couple new bloggers to take Pope’s place while he recovers. I am happy to report that Pope is slowly being nursed back to health. He is still fading in and out of consciousness, but I have our best bloggers by his side. We have made sure that whenever he starts twitching and reaching for that check book to make a daily tithe, there is always someone there to remind him that Salvation comes through Grace and not through tithing. It is a slow process, but I am confident he will be fully recovered in time for next weeks blogging blitz. In addition to the new bloggers, we have also recruited a couple of new moles who will be monitoring the service tomorrow. They have been instructed to note if the words “tithe” and "blessing" are uttered more than the customary 30 times. We expect to report back sometime early next week. In closing, I want to thank all of our readers for your prayers and encouragement. Without your help, this blog would not be possible. Here is a Bible verse to sustain you through tomorrows fund raising sermon. Pope, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. – 1 Timothy 1: 18-19

Pope - RISE UP AND WALK

In honor of the truth, we are taking a stand by going on a hunger strike..... no that won't work I've tried fasting, but wine on an empty stomach? What shall we do? I know............. "WE WILL GO ON A TITHE FAST UNTIL THE HARASSMENT OF REFOMED POPE ENDS!" Signed, Former Cup Bearer & Fedup95

Friday, December 17, 2004

Man Down! Man Down!

Well foks, we took a hit today. Reformed Pope has been attacked. And I blame myself. Its my fault. I never should have sent him up there alone. He went up to face the leadership of CBC, all by himself. But he was fired up, he was studied up, and he was ready to go. He had his Bible. He had his beliefs. And in the past two weeks, I had noticed a change. At some point, I think he really started to believe he was Martin Luther. All day today I awaited his call. What happened at the meeting? I needed to know. I spent the whole day staring at the phone. One o’clock became two o’clock, became 3. Still no phone call. No update. I started to panic. I called his wife. Is he still alive? What happened? She had no answers. Finally around 4:00 I got a call. Folks, the proud soldier that woke up today, taking on a Church that acts more like a corporation than a ministry. That proud soldier was dead. What spoke through the phone was a wounded warrior. A scared man. They had got to him. They had manipulated him. “WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU!”, I screamed. “They threatened me and they told me I hurt them,” he responded. “Of course you hurt them,” I screamed back. “THE TRUTH HURTS!” I yelled a little longer but couldn't rekindle his fire. Because it was his conversation, I’ll let Reformed Pope blog the details of his talk with the elders. But sufficed to say, he is having serious reservations about continuing this blog, and he may drop out. Before I go, let me fill you in on something. Pope is my younger brother. For twenty-six years we’ve been brothers. We grew up home-schooled kids in a tough urban neighborhood. And the two of us have run away from more fights than Ghandi and Mother Theresa combined. We’re good kids, who don’t really want to fight. Well, I love the Pope and today I'm picking up his sword. And I'm fighting for him I’m not running, and I’m not stopping. No matter Pope’s decision. I’m sticking around to see this thing through. Call my parents, City Business. File a lawsuit. This is a righteous anger. And for once I’m not backing down. You are the antithesis of Christ’s message. Christ spoke about love and compassion. You speak about riches and personal glory. You threaten anyone who disagrees with you. You are wrong. Your message is wrong. And you need to stop.

A Heart for the Saved

(This post is written in response to a comment left under “Let’s Talk About Sex”. I apologize for the length of this letter, however I lacked the time for brevity.) Anonymous, sweet anonymous, you have me at a disadvantage. I don’t know who you are, but that will not stop me from telling you how I feel. I would like to address each of your comments. Regarding “tearing down the Body of Christ and their brothers and sisters in the Lord for their own amusement”. This is not only for our amusement (although it is hilarious). We want to reach our generation of “Christians” and this is an excellent forum to do so. Please understand that our issues are still legitimate even if they are written through sarcasim. As far as singling out one church and one pastor, I would like to acknowledge that there are many churches through out the U.S. that have these same problems; however CBC is the church that we know. It is important to understand that there are problems @ CBC. This is not bitterness, but experience. You mention “right or wrong” and I would like to ask you if you meant that? If your pastor is preaching something “wrong” (such as putting a cap on God) do you really believe that you should accept it? Both Mormons and Jehovah’s Witness’s believe in Jesus, but I imagine you believe their doctrine to be false. If your pastor is perverting the Word of God, how does that make CBC any different? Here is some personal information for you…. I tithe. Regularly. I believe that God will bless those who give. I think that if you attend church that you should show your support and tithe to the church. 10% more or less, I don’t care. God will take care of you. I don’t believe that you can put a cap on God. He can bless you regardless of how much you give. Let’s be careful not to define “give” as “money to the church” and “bless” as “money from God”. Your pastor once said that nobody would want to go to church if it were in an old warehouse, with no heat, and a lousy sound system. That is why I left your church. I realized it was more about the show than about Jesus. Have you ever been to my church? If so what did you hear that you disagreed with? I would love a chance to address it. When I first changed churches I had a lot to work through, but I found that this new church ran everything through the Bible. Bible first, image last. I pulled my head out of my ass about 1-1/2 years ago when I left CBC. (I hope you don’t feel too much condemnation for using the word ass. I took no offence to it.) Bitterness destroys the bitter. I know this because I once was filled with bitterness and hatred. I can admit that I hated CBC and its pastors. That hatred absolutely destroyed me. I became depressed, but through the Grace of God and with the help of my mother and Jack Lou man (whom I have a great amount of respect for) I was able to get past my issues. God freed me from bitterness and hatred. Still I never felt at home. Something was wrong. I thought that I was the problem, but I knew that I was not being fed @ CBC so I left. That decision has changed my life. I know feel so passionate about the Grace of God. I feel secure in my salvation for the first time. I stepped off the roller coaster Christianity and found a safe place to grow. Do not think that I am asking you to leave CBC. If you feel God has called you there then that is great, but please take the time to run everything they say through the Word of God. If something does not line up, call them out. Do not be afraid of what people will think. I am not trying to hide behind this site. Please feel free to call me to discuss this further. I don’t know which friend I have disrespected, but I believe that I have found freedom and would love to share it with you.

This Week in Blogging

It has been a rather tumultuous time here at City Business (the blog). The real church (CBC) leadership called Reformed Pope yesterday, and he has scheduled a meeting with an elder for this afternoon. I’ll let him blog that conversation later. Also, a reporter from Willamette Week called to discuss the blog, and he may put a blurb about us in an upcoming edition. (I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll probably end up as the Rogue of the Week.) We are also receiving a fair amount of criticism, which is to be expected. However, the majority of the critics don’t attack the message of the blog, but attack how we are spreading our message. I am not sure this blog has a message, but if we do, it is that there are some inconsistencies between the what the Bible preaches about money and what a certain “large breasted church” preaches about money. So when yelling at us, please acknowledge this. We do not expect to change anyone’s mind. And we do not expect to change what the church preaches. (though that would be nice) But we do hope to shine a little light on a church mentality that we do not believe is Biblical. Finally, let me thank all of our supporters. It is always nice to know that others feel the same way you do. And from the response we are getting, there are an awful lot of you out there. Thank you. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. – 1 Timothy 6:10

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Bible Verse of the Week

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!” John 2:13-16 Here is Reformed Pope's Translation: When it was almost time for NW Breakthrough Conference, Jesus went up to City Business. In the parking lot he found men charging $20 for parking, and others selling sweatshirts and water bottles. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the domes; he scattered the cash of the parking attendants and overturned their orange cones. To those who sold shirts he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"

Another Christmas Classic

Due to technical difficulties, a few of our up and coming bloggers were unable to post their latest offering on the front page. They were relegated to the "overflow" section of this blog. Well, at City Business Church there is no "overflow" room, there is only the main sanctuary of blogging... the front page. So with great fanfare, allow me to introduce our three newest bloggers: fedup95(i still have my rock somewhere), virGENmary, and NON Tither (CBC's most feared). I am told they refer to themselves as The Holy Trinity (of blogging). And without further ado here is their latest offering: Twelve Days of Christmas (revised by the leader on the holy hill) On the twelfth day of Christmas my tithers gave to me: Twelve interns serving. Eleven pastors hyping. Ten Lords a weeping. Nine coffees selling. Eight pledgers pledging. Seven tithing sermons. Six cameras rolling. Five GOLDEN RINGS (no need to change that one) Four hawaii vacations. Three plasma screens. Two atms. AND A BRAND NEW WEST SIDE FOR ME!

I tithed to CBC and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

Tickets to NW Breakthrough - $75 Parking @ the conference - $20 Water Bottle w/CBC logo on it - $2 Knowing that the hype only last 2 weeks - Priceless

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Praise the Lord and Call the Tow Truck

I was perusing the new conference hosted by City Business called NW Breakthrough. And apparently, the church is holding two, back-back conferences during the second week of March with several outside speakers leading the event. (Interesting side note, the website address for the conference ends in a dot-com and not a dot-org, like the church itself.) Now we’ve discussed this before, but there seems to be a lot of money to be made with these conferences. The website says there is a $75 registration fee. So, if there are two conferences, the auditorium holds roughly 3,000 people… well, let’s see you take 75 multiply that by 6,000 (# of people attending both conferences) and you get… …carry the one… …you get… Oh my God, you get $450,000! That’s almost HALF A MILLION dollars in one week. Where is all that money going? I mean, I’m sure the speakers are great. But no way seven speakers are taking all that money. Really, what are they gonna do with the money, buy another Laser Beam? But here’s the best part. Not only are they going to take in a ton of money in profit, but they are also charging for parking. That’s right, you have to pay $20 to park at the church. And its not like MAX goes up there. So, you’re not gonna have a choice but to pay. I guarantee its only a couple of years before they’re selling “Jesus Tithes” t-shirts out in the parking lot. I guess my question is, when Jesus got mad in the Temple and over turned the money tables… …ummm, well, why do you think he got mad?

Online Taking

About Online Giving Why give online? 1. Convenience - by giving online, you won't have to remember whether you gave from your last paycheck or need to send your offering by mail if you happen to travel. -That works. I don't travel, but I like convenience. 2. You will help the church - by giving online, the administrative work to process your offering is greatly reduced. -OK, I'm all about helping the church administration. 3. Increased faith - by giving regularly online, you are making a simple faith statement about your finances. God honors that kind of faith! -What the eff? God honors that kind of faith? I suppose regular check writting tithers don't quite have the same level of faith. Imagine if the woman with the 2 copper coins went to CBC. "Well, yes it was nice of you to give your last 2 coins, but if you had been giving all along you wouldn't have been in such poor shape to begin with". City Business Church recommends the prudent use of credit cards. Please take care to remain within your financial means.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Mole Update

I apologize for the late update, but I have been off putting contacting our mole in part because I am a little scared. The mole's mother found out about this blog and is not particularly happy with it. She thinks its immature and a waste of time. (No argument here.) Also, as the mole's mother is my own mother, I really didn't want that awkward exchange where I call asking to speak to the mole, and my mother answers and tries to make small talk. Leading her to ask, in that ever so sweet voice she uses whenever she knows I'm doing something she doesn't approve ov, "So... ...what are you up to?" and "Have you been doing any writing lately?" Its just a conversation I don't need to have. Nevertheless, I have a blog to update and a public to inform, so putting on my bravest face, I covered the receiver of my cell phone with my shirt and proceeded to call home. (I'm not sure if covering the receiver really disguises your voice, but I figured now was the best time to try.) Luckly for me, the back-up mole answered the phone and not being the brightest person in the world, I was able to convince him to let me speak to the varsity mole, without tipping off our mother. Anyway, the mole didn't go to church on Sunday. She had a piano recital. To make matters worse, she didn't seem all that concerned. So, for all you readers counting, that's strike two. And if I call next week and our mole still hasn't attended church, then I'm finding a new one. Which is probably a good thing for me, as it will make Christmas that much more relaxed.

Special Edition Holiday CD!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to present you with the first of what I am sure will be a long tradition of Christmas albums designed by City Business. Each CD comes with a pledge card you can use for your extra holiday tithing. And don’t forget there is still time for that extra Christmas blessing. Immerse yourself in the true meaning of the holidays with these wonderful songs of merriment. 1. Little Tither Boy 2. O Holy Tithe 3. God Rest Ye Merry Businessmen 4. O Come All Ye Faithful Givers 5. What Tithe Is This? 6. It Was Simulcast Upon A Midnight Clear 7. Tithers We Have Heard On High 8. Joy To The West Side 9. I’ll Be Home For Faith Harvest 10. I Saw Three Checks Come Mailing In 11. Rockin Around The Tithe Bowl For a nominal fee the sheet music to Here Comes Satan Clause can be yours. Now, there is no need to drive a stake in your yard or anoint your doorways with oil from the Holy Land. If you want protection from Satan Claus simply purchase our CD for $20 and play it where ever you go. In case you are not familiar with this holiday classic, we have provided the lyrics for the first verse absolutely free. Here Comes Satan Clause. Here Comes Satan Clause. Right Down Satan Clause Lane. If You’re Not Quick And Tithe Your Money It’ll All Go Down The Drain. It’s Your Fault. You Put A Cap On God. Your Blessing’s Out Of Sight. So Get Your Checks In. Don’t Question Us. This Time, We Know We’re Right. So don’t delay. You can purchase your holiday CD in the City Business Gift Shop. They are located between the Louis Vuitton Bible Covers and the Limited Edition City Business Starbucks Coffee Mugs.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Let's talk about sex

I actually want to talk about bitterness, but sex is so much more intriguing.It is real easy for everyone to dismiss everything that is said here by playing the bitterness card. However if you actually took a moment to reflect on what is being written you might find that what first seemed bitter is actually sweet. For those of you who find sarcasm offensive here are the points we are trying to get across. 1. City Business Church is preaching a twisted version of truth from the Bible. 2. Tithing to the church is not the only way to get a blessing from God 3. God can bless you, even if you never tithe. 4. Forward Together is nothing more than a manipulation campaign to expand the kingdom of City Business and not the Kingdom of God. 5. Having money means nothing in the eyes of God. (Although, I did hear He just get a new Louis Vuitton handbag... sorry I can't help myself. I made it through 4 points with out sarcasm.)6. You can drink and still go to heaven. You can smoke and still go to heaven. You can curse and still go to heaven. You can write a sarcastic blog calling out the hypocrisies of church and still go to heaven. I think by now you are starting to get the point. If not let me sum up... It's not about your image. It's not about what your church says is right and wrong. It's not about how much you give. It's not about you at all. It is all about Jesus choosing to save your [my] sinful soul. Am I being funny now?

I'm Finally Home

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Finally Home. Initially you might be wondering how it could be that I was given this peculiar name. Indulge me for one moment, and let me take you back to the autumn of 2001. It was a crisp night but I was warming myself in City Business’s gym. That is about all I was accomplishing as City Christian’s Basketball team was, yet again, getting blown out and there was nothing of value to be seen except the unusually long comb over the head coach was sporting. Deciding I would warm my belly as well, I began to walk toward the run down, ecoli infested, chicken shack, of a concessions stand. Passing many a stuck up nose and a couple of gap commercials I was caught by an arm on my sleeve. Lo and behold, it was City Business’s finest. "Well, well, well", said his voice. How are you? Now let me pause here for a second. Everyone who has been asked this question knows it is only a formality, it is not a sincere inquiry to the state of one’s health, but I found this to be remarkably true in this case. “I’m fine” I said. And then it happened. The conversation that was about to unfold and would later give me my name. His eyes looking passed me, as if a potential tither was behind me; he said “When are you coming home?” For those of you who don’t know it had been about a year since I had left the Business and was very much enjoying my new church. What does one say to such an inquiry? I had nothing. I am not the world’s most confrontational person so, much like Mary, I pondered all of these things in my heart waiting for just the right time to vent. That time has indeed arrived. I have many thought I would like to share with you, but I felt a little history would help explain. So there you have it, my history; the sad state of affairs that have led me down the path of bitterness. In all reality I am not bitter at all but find that this blog eats up a lot of hours at work so here I am. I’m Finally Home.

Laser Light Show

Word on the street is that City Business is now using a Laser Light show during its service. Apparently someone forgot to tell them that the 90's were five years ago. I half expect the pastor to come out wearing parachute pants, and the youth pastor to start wearing overalls, with one strap hanging down. Maybe all the kids can start wearing their clothes backwards, you know like that new cool group Kris Kross. (City Business gonna make you 'jump jump', Tithing gonna make you 'jump jump'.) Ten years from now, they'll probably start filming their own "Reality TV" show, you know because that'll be the cool thing to do. Oh well, at least they're not wasting their money on stupid things like helping the poor and preaching the gospel.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Mini Sermon

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." - Matthew 6:19-21 I'll be honest and admit, I don't really understand this verse. I never quite got the concept of "building up treasures in heaven", since the whole point of heaven is that everyone is equal and possessions no longer matter. So I'll give you my flawed interpretation of this verse. I've always believed that Christ is telling us not to strive for earthly things like cars, houses and other such bling. Instead Christ is telling us to seek eternal qualities, like grace and compassion. Christ is more concerned with how you treat others, then what car you drive or what clothes you wear. Because cars and clothes will fade, but compassion and grace will last a lifetime. And that wraps up today's "mini sermon". As always, remember that in general I don't have a clue what I'm talking about. So take from it what you will. God Bless.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Happy Birthday Jesus

This just in. You only have 2 weeks left to get in your holiday tithe and still receive your Christmas bonus blessing. According to published reports, God the Father is offering a special Christmas blessing on all holiday tithe. He has raised his blessing rates by an additional 5% to honor His Son. But remember you have to have your tithe in to City Business Church by December 24th to qualify. CBC wants to make sure that no one misses out on this special offer (Forward Together gifts also apply). P.S. We also are looking for information on stolen blessings. Some members are claiming that they have not yet received the blessings we promised them for their faithful giving. These tithers claim that Satan Claus has been claiming their blessing. If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Satan Claus please report it to the church office.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Running Diary of Gen Church Sermon

This is my running diary of last weeks Gen Church Sermon. The sermon is entitled,"Generation Church Culture Part 4". I missed the first three parts, but I've got a feeling I'll still be able to pick it up in the middle. Pressing play and here we go: 8:20 - Pastor just asked audience how many people love the bible. You hear a faint "Woohoo" in the background. (I'm gonna see about getting him an audition for Saved Part 2). 8:22 - Mentions Willamette Week article. I'm getting excited. Will he read the Abercrombie section? 8:24 - Excitedly reads this quote from the WW article. "Portland's Christian soldiers may seem queer, but they're here. Get used to it." Did I hear that correctly? I think he just called himself a queer? And how did I miss that quote. I apologize to all my blogging fans for missing that one. (5 minutes into this sermon, and I know its gonna be great). 8: 25 - "This paper is so big its like an octopus, eight arms." - This must be some tithing humor. 8:30 - Of course he skips over the Abercrombie quote. I should've known. 8:35 - He just yelled out "Greater is he who is in" and then the audience yelled back "Me". Did it again. And, yes he did it again. Can't believe it, he did it again. Now he's doing it and screaming "Oh" after they say "Me". Just yelled, "Someone needs to get into the Bible." (Forget sequal to Saved, this guy could be the whole movie himself. He's also really supporting my hype theory.) 8:37 - Erik and Natalie are getting married. Natalie has huge wedding book she carries everywhere. Editors note - Erik needs to rethink the marriage. 8:40 - Just used a "talk to the hand" joke. Apparently pastor didn't get the "Its not 1995" memo. 8:42 - His jokes are bombing so bad, he's asking the audience if they're doing okay. One girl in the front row is giving him the only courtesy laugh, and she sounds like she's getting hoarse. Someone better pick up the slack. 8:50 - Starts talking about Pilgrims and their look. Mentions high school Pilgrims. Pulls random kid out of audience and says kid is high school pilgrim. Mentions that the Willamette Week article calls the youth group an Ambercrombie youth group. Says this is what makes the youth group so different. (Pastor must subscribe to the, "Any publicity is good publicity" motto, at least me mentioned the Abercrombie section, and Abercrombie & Fitch makes you different? Different from what? Gap, Banana Republic, Nordstrom?) 8:51 - "Pilgrims can even look different. Pilgrims can even be from a different country." Sounding incredulous, "Pilgrims can even be women." (Wow, he just offended everyone who isn't an American male. This is really quite impressive. And he has an odd obsession with Pilgrims.) 8:53 - Acknowledges that the rapture might not come for another 5,000 years. (First statement, I've actually agreed with. Good for him.) 8:55 - Acknowledges that he shouldn't have taken his wife to youth camp for their honeymoon. (Second thing I agreed with.) 8:58 - Tells story about his young daughter on vacation at Disneyland and how much she loves Winny the Pooh. The whole time at Disneyland she's carrying around a pen and paper looking for Pooh's autograph. Time comes to leave, she still hasn't found Pooh, and so she starts screaming, "Pooh, I love you." (This is actually a really cute story. But if you happend to walk in and missed him talking about his daughter, you would just hear the pastor screaming at the top of his lungs, "Poo, I love you. I love Poo.") I'm telling you, this stuff writes itself. 9:00 - Finishes up with a bunch of nice stories about martyrs. (I really liked his Pooh story, and after that, I kind of feel bad for making fun of him. I don't think he's the greatest speaker, but he sounds like a good father. I'm starting to become sentimental. I probably shouldn't have drank that fourth glass of wine.)

Thursday, December 09, 2004

We Listen So You Don't Have To

Well, they did it. I didn't think it was possible, but mark this down in your calendars folks, City Business gave a complete sermon without ever once mentioning the word "tithe". I listened to the entire sermon, and did not once hear the word. I'm not really sure what the sermon was about, since I was only listening for a couple of words. But it sounded like their was an Alter Call, and some people raised their hands asking for more wisdom in their life. So, all in all, I'd give it a B. Not too shabby, City Business. You keep this up, and we're gonna have to find something new to blog. (But I'm pretty confident you'll come around.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Do you think he tithes?

I bet this guy attends City Business.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

This isn't funny

I may want to expand on this later, but real quick, let me ask you this... Does your church tithe? Should your church tithe? Should City Business Church tithe until it hurts? All the scriptures that I have read or heard talk about giving/tithing to God. Most of it talks about sacrificing animals or spices or your children perhaps. Now it has become about giving money to the church. Are the church and God one and the same? (Does anyone actually believe that the church is God???) So, if your church tells you that the only way for God to bless you is if you give at least 10%, wouldn't that mean that the only way for God to bless the church is for them to give the same? Why is it so hard for me to believe that they apply the same rules to themselves?

Monday, December 06, 2004

And on the eighth day, God created Visa.

Apparently last Sunday, City Business was in rare form, promising riches if you tithed and curses if you didn't. After listening to the sermon, one quote in particular stood out to me. Do you realize that in the Old Testament if you used your tithe for personal needs, God himself would charge you interest. 20%. That's a lot of interest. Here are three observations. 1) I wonder if the pastor realizes that in the Old Testament God permitted parents to kill their children for being disrespectful and that God commanded the Israel army to invade Jericho and kill every man woman and child. Please tell me which Old Testament scriptures to follow and which ones to ignore, because I always get confused. 2) Why can't you use your tithe for personal needs? What if you have a lot of debt. You're saying God would rather have you give your money to him, than pay off your debt. I think you should honor your debt first and then give to God. But what do I know. 3) If God charged 20% interest, he must be in cahoots with my credit card company. That seems kind of greedy. What does God need that much money for? Oh wait, he doesn't. His poor servants on earth need it.

Monday Mole Update

As I no longer attend City Business, I decided I needed someone to regularly visit CBC and update me on the newest fundraising scheme. This evening, I contacted our mole in the hopes of getting a synopsis of Sunday's service. Well, apparently she spent Saturday night at her best friends house and their family went to Northridge Community Church, so she didn't have a CBC update. (She also wasn't too enthusiastic about being a mole. But I convinced her that moles are cool. I think she's coming around to the idea. ) Anyway, I asked if I could speak to our back-up mole, but he was practicing the piano and under strict instructions not to leave the living room. So, unfortunately, there is no update. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure the sermon went something like, "If you don't give my church money, God won't bless you." So I don't think we missed much. Perhaps next week, our mole will actually attend CBC, and we can get a more thorough update.

Verse of the Week (Dec 6th)

1 Timothy 6:9 (Revised Standard) 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Church Drinking Game

It has been a while since I have voluntarily attended a church service. I simply find church boring. Despite the really "cool" worship leader and the trendy coffee shop in the lobby, three minutes into the sermon I am inevitably searching for that perfect sitting position where I can sleep off my hangover. However in the Spirit of Christmas, I decided I to try and renew my interest in church by incorporating a new game during the City Business service. Here are the rules: Every time I hear the words "tithe" "give" or "blessing", I'll take a shot. Depending on whose speaking, I should be wasted by the time the introduction is over. (For those also looking to play, this game works best if you start playing after the church takes communion. Just snag one of those small little cups, and start pouring.)

Saturday, December 04, 2004

TITHE STRONG

"Yellow wakes me up in the morning.

Yellow gets me on the bike every day.

Yellow has taught me the true meaning of sacrifice.

Yellow makes me suffer.

Yellow is the reason I'm here."-LANCE ARMSTONG (a 7 year cancer survivor)

Fellow Christians, throw away your Live Strong bands. Support BWAP and see a miracle. It's time for TITHE STRONG bands. These powerful yellow bands will discreetly show other Christians that you tithe. What a great way to get your reward here on earth and not lose it in heaven. Each band costs only $1.00 and is Tithe deductible. These bands are guaranteed to increase your faith. Here is a personal testimony from a TITHE STRONG supporter.

"I'm not satisfied doing it my own way, I'm not satisfied to 'Do Church' and walk away. That's why I wear my TITHE STRONG bracelet. It makes me feel better about myself. "

-CHURCH GAL (a 5 year CBC survivor)

If you feel that God hasn't blessed you lately then you need TITHE STRONG.

Call 1-800-PHARISEE for more info.

BWAP

Well, I broke down and told Church Gal about our idea for this site. She quickly reminded me that I was a Christian. It's not exactly clear what that means, but she didn't ask for divorce papers so I'll assume she's alright with it. I told her we were just a small part of a group with a higher purpose. We call it BWAP (Blogging With A Purpose).

Seek First

I wanted to start the day with something funny. Instead, I listened to Living to Honor God Pt 2 by Frank Damazio. This was his sermon from last Sunday which can be heard online @ http://www.citybiblechurch.org/ I have spent the morning tearing my clothes and pouring ashes on my head as I weep out side of my local Starbucks. These poor poor people. How has money become everything to them? According to Frank, if you don't tithe at least 10% of every check you get, then you put a cap on God. God simply can not bless you. He is powerless to bless you. Sure, God created the heavens and the earth. Sure, Jesus was born of a virgin. Sure, He sacrificed his Son to die on a cross. But, if you don't give to the local church, then despite the desires of God's heart, HE can not bless you. You have taken the power from God. (Let’s hope that Satan doesn't find out about this).Now, I know that God will bless those that give, but it never says that He will bless you with more money. And why is the only way to give through tithe to the church? Let’s see what my friend the Bible says… Matthew 6:19-22 and 31-33 19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."

Bible Verse of the Day

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." - Matthew 19:24

Friday, December 03, 2004

Double Elder

It appears as though someone has infiltrated the core of City Bible Church leadership with the intention of destroying the Forward Together Campaign. This Double Elder has thrown a wrench in the plan. Lets Recap step 1: Retire the debt- $2.75 million It is only wise in our present economy and for the future of our church to reduce our debt greatly or to retire it totally. We will save thousands of dollars in paying the debt off and using this money for CBC ministries. (http://www.citybiblechurch.org/Content/ContentCT.asp?P=188) Somehow (probably through the guise of being a wealthy businessman) this spy convinced the Church to spend $4.7 million more. This is what the latest newsletter had to say: West Campus Purchased by City Bible Church It’s a miracle we ever got into this property being the 31st group to pursue it! God’s hand of favor gave us the open door to lease at a miracle low payment of $10,000 per month. We now have purchased the property at $4.7 million,... Wow, what a great way to stretch the faith of your members. I can see it now.... Hello, East Side. I know we told you that we were only going to need $2.75 million to pay of our debt, but we felt that did not stretch you enough. Why not make it a cool $7.45 million, and lets watch God do a miracle in you. Double Elder I don't know who you are, but this has got to stop.

Generation Hype

In January, City Business will throw its annual Generation Unleashed Conference aimed at hyping up young Christians all over the Northwest. The conference is basically a call for all young people to go back home and take their schools for Christ. This usually just translates into all the kids going back to school and annoying their friends even more. Having attended this conference several times in the past, we are reluctant to poke fun at it. Because, while it has little to do with Christ and more to do with hyping up young people, it is still a relatively harmless event. And probably one of the few activities at City Business that doesn't involve giving all your money. That being said, on the website there are several quotes from former conference attendees. We suggest you read through all of these comments, and play a couple of games we like to call Spot the Homeschooler and This person doesn't get out often. However, our favorite quote comes from a Washington Youth Pastor named Rick. He expresses his gratitude saying, "Thank you so much for the inspiration, encouragement and the kick in the pants!" Ah yes, Rick. For us that was every day of high school... every single day.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Abercrombie and Jesus

There was a recent blurb about our favorite house of worship in Wednesday’s Willamette Week. The article is an expose of today’s Evangelical Christian, and the reporter trekked up to City Business to get a first hand look at today's Christian youth. Here is our favorite paragraph: On Wednesday nights, City Bible Church--a huge Northeast Portland complex topped by twin tan domes on the flanks of Rocky Butte--hosts Generation Church, a raucous service aimed at kids between 12 and 24. On a recent Wednesday night, about 550 kids crowded City Bible's basketball court. They looked more likely to mob Abercrombie & Fitch than start "a Bible revolution," which is what Doug Lasit, the black-T-shirted youth pastor, called for. We're not exactly sure what a "Bible revolution" actually is, but we're pretty sure it has something to do with tithing.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Forward Together

The ultimate goal of this blog is to keep an eye on a certain large breasted church in NE Portland. As our former youth pastor used to say, "There is a big eye in the sky watching everything you do." Well, City Business, say hello to the big eye in the sky watching you.

Mission Statement

To be the Martin Luther of this generation of believers. (of course without all the training and schooling and stuff).