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

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

City Business Internet Scandal

We were scheduled to post the second greatest blog of the year today, but in light of the recent “City Business Internet Scandal” I feel there are more important things to cover. That being said I wanted to put a link to all of CBC’s websites so others could take the time to go through and “audit” them for accuracy. http://www.citybiblechurch.org/ http://www.eternityproduction.com/ http://www.mfi-online.org/ http://www.portlandbiblecollege.org/ http://www.citychristianschool.com/ http://www.citychristianpublishing.com/ http://www.starbucks.com/ Take the road less traveled. 11/30 UPDATE: This is really amazing, I just got a letter from the president of the internet thanking this site for our diligent search for honesty. He wanted me to pass along this message: Dear bloggers from City Business Church, I greatly appreciate your quest for honesty. There are so many websites our there that try to cut corners on pay sites. Thanks to you, the internet is now a safer place. Keep up the good work. Remember, only you can prevent internet fraud. -President of the Internet.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Case of the Website Violation

This blog's favorite sleuth, Henry Straforelli (or"Joe Hardy" as his close friends lovingly refer to him) recently discovered a violation within the Eternity Website. Using clues he located from the donation section of Eternity's Website, "Joe" was able to determine that Eternity used 2checkout to accept "donations" for their services. Unfortunately, this was in direct violation of 2checkout's own payment policy which clearly stated that "The following Products and Services CANNOT be sold: firearms, pornography or donations." Joe quickly contacted his Brother in the Lord "Frank (Johnpaul Morton) Hardy", and they set out to solve the case of City Bible's Missing Morals. Thankfully, for us readers, it was a relatively easy case to solve. Frank and Joe both sent emails to 2checkout alerting them to the apparent violation, and 2checkout sent the boys back a case number: 3059-QWEY-5316. This morning the Hardy Boys received an email proclaiming "Action will be taken." And now Eternity's Donation site is down. As City Bible's Blogfather "Fenton Justin Morton Hardy", I would like to send my thanks to these two valiant amateur detectives. Thank you for keeping City Bible honest, and keeping our internet safe from unscruplous businessmen.

Friday, November 25, 2005

#3

This next blog needs no introduction, will everyone please rise and welcome the THIRD GREATEST POST OF THE YEAR: Who Burns First What amazing timing. Right when I’m posting CBC’s top ten list from "Who Burns First" they release an updated version for 2006. Good news for Samuel John Klein it looks like Catholics have dropped from the list and have been replaced by the dreaded Non-Tither (CBC’s most feared).Here is the new list for 2006: 1. Irreverent Bloggers 2. Gay's (w/aids) 3. Non-Tithers 4. The Poor 5. Aaron Tuck 6. People who drink alcohol in public places* 7. Pregnant Teens and their promiscuous partner. 8. Feminists 9. Those who voted NO on Measure 36 10. Democrats *There is a slight loophole for drinkers. If you only drink on vacation, preferably while you are out of state, you will be exempt from burning. This rule does not apply to other area’s (i.e. – If you get pregnant out of state, you will still burn)

Coffee Bible Church

I copied this from CBC’s bulletin last week. It was written by Pastor Frank and I have done nothing to change it. TODAY’S THOUGHT Starbucks has become one of the world’s best retailers of the $3 cup of coffee. Many of us make our morning pilgrimage to this Temple of Java. Having spent our $3 to be awakened by the aroma of the caffeinated black stuff, we’re not appalled that we just spent that much for a cup of hot liquid - we’re actually grateful that it’s a part of our life. The Starbucks culture has become a significant part of the relational infrastructure of our society. Meeting friends, hanging out, spending time with people oftentimes involves, “let’s grab a cup of coffee.” The fact that coffee and relationships have joined forces in modern day America is perhaps not so coincidental. Starbucks has positioned itself as a Creator of Community. When we look at Acts 2 we recognize that God intended that His spiritual family would be the Creator of authentic and true Community. God’s interested not just in what we get done – but in how we build up the people around us. Perhaps that’s why Jesus reported to the Pharisees that the second commandment was as important as the first – love your neighbor. Take some time this week to read Mark 2:1-12 and explore how four friends intentionally built community. This “Thought” pretty well sums up all of Pastor Hank’s sermons. He spends the first 2/3rds rambling about his own personal thoughts, the last 1/3rd telling you what he thinks the Bible says, and the final 1/8th (he always goes over) giving you a scripture to look up on your own. Now, if your church was call City Damazio Church or Frank Temple, then it would be appropriate to follow such a pattern. However, when you call yourself City Bible Church, you certainly mislead your members. City Bible Church you are a fraud and I demand that you now change your name to “City Not-so-much-of-the Bible Church” …Am I missing something? Does the Bible say to “Honor thy Father and thy Coffee Bean”? Can “Barista” be translated to “Elder”? Was Jesus’ first miracle turning water into a caramel macchiato? Is heaven really a Low Fat, Extra Hot, Hazelnut Latte? Does Frank actually own stock in Starbucks? Now that I’m thinking about it, in the last 6 months I’ve heard 2 sermons that revolve around Starbucks… and when you read the profiles of the Generation Unleashed leaders they list their favorite coffee drink? Is that being “relevant” or are they a little obsessed? You know, all this time I’ve thought I was upset with CBC for their teaching (or lack there of), but now I realize what it really is: I’m a Coffee People kind of guy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

MERRY FRANKMAS

For those of you who were concerned about having to spend this Christmas @ church, I have good news: CBC has decided to cancel church (read: close business) for the weekend of December 24th and 25th. Apparently they decided that business would be slow that weekend and so it would be best not to bother. Ok, so maybe they aren’t into celebrating birthdays, right? Except, it wasn’t that long ago that I remember being stuck in a rather long service celebrating the birth of Frank. This thought led me to believe that while Jesus is the reason for the season…He isn’t the reason for CBC. And now we sing… The first Christmas song of the year: WE WISH YOU A MERRY FRANKMAS we wish you a merry Frankmas we wish you a merry Frankmas we wish you a merry Frankmas and a Damappy new year a Lasit we bringto you and Louman a Lasit for Frankmas and a Damappy new year we wish you a merry Frankmas we wish you a merry Frankmas we wish you a merry Frankmas and a Damappy new year

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Is that one word or two?

LT's back. He has some good thoughts. And at one point, I found myself thinking, "Oh no he just didn't." It has been some time since I visited the site, but a few friends urged me to read what was being said about PBC lately, so I took the bait. As some of you may know, I have been gone from PBC since the middle of May. There is no need to rehearse the events that led to me being laid off or to try and interpret all the reasons behind the decision. I am very happy attending Gresham Free Methodist Church today while making my living working for a couple of universities. There are many things I could say about the twelve years I served at PBC but, at fifty-six years of age and having perpetrated my share of damage to people during my years of ministry, I have neither time nor energy to entertain a new round of hard feelings. One thing I have learned: I’m dumb enough to overlook my own hypocrisy when criticizing others at times, but I’m smart enough to know that bullshit is one word. This brings me to the first point: some of you have legitimate complaints but about others I am not so certain. Perhaps you should search deep in your own hearts to discern which category you belong to before logging on. My wife and I have experienced pain at the hands of religious zealots too. But I prefer to focus on the many happy memories I gained from sharing a small portion of my life with intelligent and precocious youth and with whom I believe are positive contributors to this world. I also have good friends at PBC, including Dr. Asplund and Lanny Hubbard and others. I happen to know that their hearts are always turned toward the students. My second point addresses the rest of you who have raised legitimate concerns over hurts you received while at PBC. I can only say that I am truly sorry. Please accept my apology as a former representative of the teachers and administrators who hurt you. I also ask any person to forgive me if I intentionally or unintentionally hurt you during your time at PBC. I can only hope that you are able to deal with your anger and use whatever experiences you have had in life to reconstruct something worthwhile for yourself. I wish you all the best for the future. LT

Monday, November 21, 2005

#4: THE FOURTH GREATEST POST OF THE YEAR

Since we can’t make it to every CBC service, we occationally have to imagine what it was like to actually be there. This is what catalyst has done. #4 is hillarious. Sunday, June 05, 2005 Overheard Today is the day that City Bible spoke about women being elders. Here is how I imagine the sermon went. Good Morning, everyone. As many of you know, today we are going to discuss the ordination of women at City Bible Church. I am well aware that the Bible says some specific things about women, and that's why the leadership and I have prepared a special presentation to help you grasp this complex Biblical issue. First, we are now selling new Bibles in the bookstore for $49.95. These new Bibles are interepreted by Kevin Connor and edited by Lanny Hubbard. We call them the KCV version of the Bible. And yes, the teachings of Christ are in red. As is Malichi 3:8. My step-father informed me that Christ meant to speak Malachi 3:8, he just forgot. For those of you who can't afford this new KCV version, I am going to ask you to take out a ball point pen. Something permanent and indelible. Okay, everyone cross out 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.... well, better yet, just cross out that entire chapter. We're not gonna be needing it anymore. Thanks... Okay.. well that settles that. Great. Now we're all on board. Oh and before I forget, we have bussed in some gays for us to pray for. What's that? Oh, no, no, no, they're not practicing homosexuality, they're gays who don't want to be gay. The only sin we tolerate at this church is pride. What's that? Another question? Ummm, well yes the Bible does say some things about women. But we've crossed those verses out. What's that? "God doesn't change." No, you're absolutely right, God doesn't change, just the Bible. Okay. Great... well everyone open your Bibles to Malichi 3:8.....

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Prayer Walk

Here is another thought from our favorite ex-PBC student. I'm just getting to some of these postings, but I have an experience I wanted to share from a group called "Main Street" that was started by CBC in 1997. This isn't about a "prayer tunnel" but along the same lines. I volunteered to be on the prayer team down at Main Street, and we were supposed to go on a "prayer walk," which to me meant praying silently while walking. Kind of like meditation while on a hike or something. Well, I was mistaken! The group going on the prayer walk through the PSU park-blocks pulled out a map. Then, they asked who would like to lead the prayer walk. I said I would, but then the leader of this group told me that I didn't have any experience with "spiritual mapping." I didn't know I had to have experience, or I wouldn't have applied for the job, but whatever. Anyway, the "spiritual mapper" prayed over the map until the Holy Spirit told him where we were supposed to walk. Then, we had to stop in front of certain buildings that he felt led he was supposed to pray over. One building that was owned by PSU was supposedly previously inhabited by a molestor according to this "spiritual mapper." I'm not sayin' any names. The "spiritual mapper" asked that we start praying against the spirits from the person that used to live there. I got scared. It was dark & there wasn't much light around. Plus, the way these people were talking scared me. So, I just fell behind the other prayer walkers and went home--I don't think they noticed that I wasn't with them when they got back to Main Street. To be honest, that was my last time going to Main Street. I was unqualified to pray, because I hadn't been trained to be a "spiritual mapper."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Please Read Responsibly

I wrote this as a comment under the last post, but thought that it deserved a closer look. I am providing a link to The Rick A. Ross Institute for the study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements. Now just to clarify, Rick may study “Cults”, but I am only interested in his work with “Controversial Groups and Movements”(wink). If you would like to check it out yourself go to http://www.rickross.com/. Let’s look closely at what Rick has to say about “Controversial Groups and Movements”. I’ll write the warning sign in black and then rate City Business Church in red based on the following scale of 1-10 with 1 being Completely Safe and a 10 being Definitely Unsafe. At the end we will look at their score and decide if CBC is a “Controversial Group or Movement”. Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader. 1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability. 8 2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry. 10 3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement. 6 4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions. 7 5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil. 10 6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances. 10 7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader. 2 8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough". 10 9. The group/leader is always right. 10 10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible. 4 If your group/leader scored: 1-25: Your group/leader is basically safe, and you should continue to listen and learn from them. However, you are looking at this test so there may be some reason for concern. Always use your best judgement when following a religious group. 26-50: Your group/leader probably won’t be making you drink any cool-aid soon, but probably isn’t the greatest person to follow. Begin considering other options for fulfillment, and keep out a watchful eye. 51-75: Your group/leader is dangerously close to unsafe. You will probably begin noticing them ask for large sums of money, and perhaps even rolling out a “plan” to look to the future. Be very concerned about the direction of your group and NEVER give then any money. 76-100: Get out now. This group/leader is not using concerned about you or your family. They only care more about themselves and their personal goals. Do not go to them for advice, they words will likely be misleading. If at any time they talk of mass growth, report them to the proper authorities immediately and NEVER EVER give them money. For immediate help please seek professional care at a website such as www.citybiblewatch.blogspot.com. According to my results CBC scored a 77. They are definitely a “Controversial Group”. Get out now… Disclaimer: The ranking system was created by City Business Church and has no affiliation with Rick A. Ross or the The Rick A. Ross Institute for the study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements. City Business Church is a fictional organization. Any resemblance to a real group/organization is completely coincidental. At no time during this post were the writers accusing anyone of being a cult. The CBC blog should not be read by pregnant women or anyone operating heavy machinery. Please Read Responsibly.

Monday, November 14, 2005

And they wonder why their church is shrinking?

I just received an email from an ex-PBC student. She gave me permission to share her email. Her thoughts are honest and revealing. I always enjoy meeting others who have left City Bible and share similar feelings. I find her testimony incredibly inspiring. This is the type of honest emotion you rarely see from the pulpit, and it makes me glad I started this blog. By the way, I sort of think a blog should be started about PBC. There are a lot of people that I know (myself included) who left PBC in a haze and then got f*cked up when they had to deal with reality, after being told they "had a destiny." I now know that those who "had a destiny" were those who were related or children of MFI pastors. I for one was told that PBC had accredidation w/ PSU, but when I transferred to PSU, they only took two 'F's I got from PE, thanks to STeve Cole. So, I started from scratch...two years at MHCC, and then two years at PSU. I took those F's and put straight A's against them, and graduated with a 3.8GPA from PSU with a degree in English. I have a lot of issues with PBC AND CBC. What was amazing to me is that I thought all these years that I was completely alone in my thoughts on CBC. I used to count the number of Sundays that came and went that neither Frank NOR Jack would crack the Bible. IT was all about the prophetic and saying whatever the Spirit told them to say. I was looking for something a LOT more grounded. I ended up hanging out with Mult. Bible College students, and when I told the Wager's that I was considering transferring to Multnomah Bible College, because they had an excellent missions' program, they scoffed at me and told me they disagreed with my decision, and if I chose to do that, I would no longer be 'under their wing.' Anyway, I left CBC, no one noticed or cared, and I am sooo much happier now. I met my husband at Biddy McGraw's Irish Pub, and we are doing great. My husband doesn't have a religious back-ground at all, and so many times, I've felt envious of him. He is so much more open-minded & carefree about spirituality & churches in general. Me...I've got a big chip on my shoulder, and any time I go into a church that reminds me of CBC, I can't wait until the service is over. I think there are so many of us out there that have our religious beliefs & spiritual values, but do not want to be a part of the corporate church--and, CBC is a prime example of this. About a year ago, I went to a bridal shower for this girl I know & Glenda Malmin was there. She used to be my 'mentor' at PBC. This is how the conversation went: G: "Hi K, What church are you going to?" K: "I don't go to church." G: "You don't go to church?" K: "No." G: "Comeon, Angie. Let's go into the kitchen." They turned their backs on me right then and there. Well, anyway, I commend you for having the guts to take a stand & speak up for what you believe is right. So many people up on the hill & those who have left have never done that. Nothing will ever change unless people speak up & those up on the hill take accountability for their actions.

#5 "Dear LT"

As usual, the funniest posts mention my family. Dear LT, Here @ City Business Church it only takes one comment to make you a member of the family and so I am wondering if you wouldn’t mind helping me clear up a few things. On Sunday I had a conversation with my mother about Christian prayer lingo. For those of you who don’t know my mom, I would describer her as a Moaner-Groaner with a touch of Quaker-Shaker. To say the least she knows how to make a scene in church. Her latest craze is 24 hour prayer and worship which she experienced on a recent trip to Kansas City. On her return she ran right out bought a new stereo system and filled it with cd’s from whatever church in Kansas City she was at. Her plan is to have praise and worship music piping through the house 24 hours a day; I’m not sure how that’s going to go over with the fam, but she’s gonna try it. Anyway, my brother Jesse and his should-be fiancé Andrea were listening to the cd’s and they noticed that the person praying was asking for God to “turn hearts like channels of water”. This sparked our conversation in which we had to ask, what does it mean to “turn hearts like channels of water”? Discussing this quickly led to “gap standing”, “bridge building”, and “hedges of protection”. And, let’s not forget about the “river”. You can wade, jump, step into, and drink from “the river” which appears to have something to do with “ocean’s of love”, but we’re not sure how they’re connected. It seems to me that all to often people just go with the flow (apparently down the river), and rarely stop to ask the all important question: “WHAT???”.I’m going to give that a try: 1.What is the “gap” and why are we standing in it? 2.How many “rivers” does it take to make “oceans of love”? 3.Is the “bridge” for crossing the “gap” or the “river”? 4.Are we really supposed to “drink” from the same “river” that we just jumped in? After about 30 minutes of discussion with my mother here’s what I understand. The gap is the space between sin and righteousness (man and God). The bridge crosses that very gap; and no one knows where the river flows, but if you see it, be sure to jump in. I actually think it helps explain the Trinity. Jesus is the ultimate “gap stander” (her words, not mine), the Holy Spirit is in the “river”, and that leaves God to tend to the “hedges”. Which leads me to my next question: How much protection does a hedge really offer? Can you picture Satan gathering an army of demons, preparing for an attack on an unsuspecting Christian, when suddenly he hears: Demon: “Um Lucifer, I think we’ve got a problem”. Satan: “Yes Rage, what’s the matter” Demon: “We couldn’t get him” Satan: “What do you mean ‘you couldn’t get him’?” Demon: “Well, Lust, Envy and I were right on his tale when suddenly… he ran across the bridge, jumped into this river, swam right past your gap, and then dove behind that hedge for protection.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Enough Crap!

Sure, we could all start putting up links to Frank’s latest sermon or TBN’s giving hotline or Pat Robertson’s latest mistake, but I’m ready to move on to something worth reading. Here is a link to an article written by our friend Pam Hogeweide about what is happening in today’s church. http://www.off-the-map.org/idealab/articles/idl0511-1-empty.html The article is titled “Why does the church feel empty” and it is worth reading. I’ll leave you with a teaser quote: “Christ summed up all the mystery of religious philosophy and kingdom culture with the simple message of Love God and each another. And that is what I hear in the words of so many disillusioned Christians around me – a hunger for Jesus and community.” Thank you Pam, we appreciate your thoughts.

Pat's Power

Since every blog I visit has posted this article about Pat Robertson, I suppose we might as well get in the act as well. Apparently, Pat thinks God will judge the town of Dover, Pennsylvania for voting the wrong way. Must be nice to be Pat. And here via The Moderate Voice , a pastor blogs his thoughts about Pat's comments. The post is titled: Sorry, Pat I just don't buy that The best quote is here: The God I know in my life and the God I preach from the pulpit looks nothing like the God I hear Pat Robertson talking about. My God is the Beloved and does everything out of and for love, not out of or for control. Control has to do with certainty. The God I see in the Bible is the God who is always surprising us with grace. good times... good times...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

IRS pulls Church Tax Exempt Status

We've been discussing taxes and whether pastor's pay them. (They do.) When I came across this link, of a church that had its tax exempt status pulled for speaking about politics. Best Quote: The IRS notified the church of the investigation in a letter that cited an Oct. 31, 2004, sermon by Pastor Regas called "If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush." Church leaders say they have done nothing wrong. (So much for free speach.) For my money, churches should pay taxes, and churches should be free to speak about political candidates. Of course, if I was given the choice between paying taxes or speaking about politics. I would promptly shut the hell up.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

#6 “I LOVE POO”

Clearly anytime you can capture Dougie shouting "I love poo" you'll make the top ten. This is one of my favorites. Here we go with #6: 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 he 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.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Pastor Salary

There was an article in the Washington Post discussing the annual salaries of pastors and nonprofit CEO's. (Odd comparison, since I think pastors and ceo's serve two completely different functions, but whatever) Read the article here: When Pay Seems to Charitable And here are the best quotes: I love my large church, even though, with more than 7,000 members, I often have to worship from an overflow room. But there is one bothersome downside of attending a megachurch. You're often put in the position of defending your pastor's personal finances. In a look at pastoral pay, including housing, the National Association of Church Business Administration found the average annual salary to be $91,200. The low side in the survey was $13,700 a year, and the high was $249,600. ($91,200 seems like a lot of money to me. But maybe I'm naive.) And here's the author's conclusion: I've never looked at what kind of car my pastor drives, nor do I care what it is. When I give, I look at whether the charity, church or pastor is meeting the needs of the people and communities being served. I think that's a good mentality to have. I just wonder whether the church is really meeting the need of the community. I'm skeptical.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The 7th Greatest Post of the Year

One year ago when we started this blog we felt like we needed an inside source for all our gossip. This role fell on our sister Angela and she became know as the Monday Morning Mole. Unfortunately, our Mole wasn’t very good about details. Most conversations went like this: “How was Church?” – “Fine” – “What did they talk about?” – “I don’t know.” – “If we paid you would you start taking better notes?” – “Leave me alone.” As you can see this became very difficult for us and so we were often forced to make things up (it’s funnier that way anyhow). That is how this next post was formed. From Monday, December 20th, I give you #7. 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).]

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Price Has Already Been Paid

The “Eternity” play is now showing at your local CBC campus and I wanted to share a few excerpts from their website http://www.eternityproduction.com/index.html and then give a few thoughts of my own. For those who don’t know, "Eternity" is a play where they show people dying and going to either heaven (if you’re a good person) or hell (if you’re gay). It basically uses scare tactics to get people to the alter. Yes, it’s effective for short term results; NO, it’s not effective for long term goals. Fear only motivates for a short time; people get numb too quickly. With that in mind, here’s what they have to say: They said: “Eternity" is an intense dramatic presentation of the Gospel that shows the reality of life after death... Heaven or Hell. RP said: Really? Maybe a better title would have been “Heaven’s Gates/ Hell’s Flames”. They said: City Bible Church determined to better impact their community for Christ. In 1996, Senior Pastor Frank Damazio and Pastor Ed Schefter set out to develop an outreach that would win souls by activating the local church. As a result, Eternity was built to be a relevant and hard hitting ninety-minute stage presentation to preach the gospel of Christ. RP said: Let me re-write this accurately: City Bible Church determined to better impact their community for Christ and make a little cash on the side. In 1996 Senior Pastor Frank Damazio and Pastor Ed Schefter stole an outreach that would win souls by activating the local church. As a result, the play "Heaven’s Gates / Hell’s Flames" was renamed "Eternity" and they’ve been taking credit for it ever since. As you can see, not only do I think “Eternity” is a waste of time; I also think it’s a plagiarized waste of time. Now, what does the Bible say about stealing? (Exodus 20:15 Thou shalt not steal). But, I suppose if you change the music it’s not really stealing. Isn’t that right, Ed? For those of you interested in learning about the real “Eternity” please visit http://mze.com/heavensgates/ For those of you not wanting to waste your time; please don’t visit either site.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

City Bible Mart

With CBC announcing their plans to launch 9 or so new stores, what message does that send to the other local pastors? “Attention Bob MacGregor, Senior pastor of City Harvest Church in Vancouver, you’re not doing a good enough job. We’re taking over” “Attention Ted Roberts, Senior pastor of East Hill Foursquare Church in Gresham, you’re not doing a good enough job. We’re taking over” “Attention Ray Cotton, Senior pastor of New Hope Community Church in Clackamas, You’re not doing a good enough job. We’re taking over” “Attention Dr. James Martin, Senior pastor of Mr. Olivet Baptist Church in North Portland, You’re not doing a good enough job. We’re taking over… actually… no… we won’t be going anywhere near North Portland. Carry on. ” Seriously, is this the formula set up by Christ? Is this the way an “A2” (Acts 2) church would act? Did Paul go around acting like Wal-Mart and pushing existing churches out of “business”? I don’t think so. Shame on you City Bible Church, shame on you. I for one would like to treat them like a large box store and start a petition to “Keep City Bible Out of Vancouver”. I may not be a local resident, but I’ll be the first to sign. KEEP CITY BIBLE CHURCH OUT OF VANCOUVER, WA 1. JOHNPAUL MORTON 2. ________________ 3. ________________ 4. ________________