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

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

It's like the Apocalypse... Only Better!

Dear Readers: We are currently trying to re-locate our blog to a different, better domain. Anyway, it is taking us a little longer than anticipated to move the blog, so we may be down for the next couple days. Thus, I ask that you be patient, and let me leave you with a little song to help you with your day: "Have patience, have patience. Don't be in such a hurry. When you get impatient. You only start to worry. Remember, remember. That God is patient, too and think of all the times when others have to wait for you!” Thank you, Your City Business Blogging Team (Does anyone remember what album that patience song came from? It's been driving me crazy for the last 20 years.)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Me. Me. Me again. I am really close on this one.

I listened to Frank's last sermon, and especially enjoyed the segment on "How to Get Married." Frank talks about a girl in the church who asked him to pray for her to find a husband. (Someone pointed out last year that Frank only talks to the pretty girls. I thought it was kind of a harsh thing to say, but then thought about it and was like, "True. True.") So here we have, what I am sure, is a very pretty girl asking Frank to pray for a husband for her. Frank tells her that he can't just pray for any husband, she needs to give him a description of what she wants. He specifies, "The height, the color of hair, the eyes, what he does for a living. I need to know this before I can pray for you." So she tells him and writes it all down on a piece of paper, which Frank keeps in his Bible and prays for every day. (Me giving a dubious look, thinking, "that's kind of odd, but whatever.") Anyway, I was wondering, don't you think that when Frank asked for a description of the guy, he was standing with his fingers crossed, crouched in anticipation hoping she would say, "Ummmm, well hmmm, I guess I kind of want an older man, someone in his 50's. If he had a bit of a lisp that'd be nice. Maybe a guy with salt and pepper hair. If he was the pastor of a large mega-church that would be good too." To which Frank is like, "Yes. I knew it." Hahahaha... ...ahhhh.... I kid. I kid. I'm only joking. Still it would be kind of funny. Also, just want to give everyone a heads up, but we're thinking of moving the blog to another domain name. A place that will allow us more control over the site and content. I hope to debut this sometimes next week. Have a great weekend.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Dooce

Catalyst has a friend visiting from out of town this week, and thus Catalyst is dragging just a little bit this morning. He's not exactly his old perky self. (For some reason, I really enjoy writing in the "third" person). Anyway, there were a bunch of emails I was going to post this morning, but that's just going to have to wait until this headache wears off. So for now, let me share a blog I just recently found. It is called Dooce and is written by an ex-Mormon. The blog itself is pretty good, but her biography is fantastic. Here's a snippet: My parents raised me Mormon, and I grew up believing that the Mormon Church was true. In fact, I never had a cup of coffee until I was 23-years-old. I had pre-marital sex for the first time at age 22, but BY GOD I waited an extra year for the coffee. There had better be a special place in heaven for me. I attended BYU from 1993-1997 and graduated with a degree in English. I firmly believe that BYU is the most horrible place on Earth, worse even than Disneyland. The one skill I learned in college that serves me well now is not how to solve differential equations or how to write a paper deconstructing “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” it’s how to distrust organized religion. I am no longer a practicing Mormon or someone who believes that Rush Limbaugh speaks to God. My family is understandably disappointed. The more I distance myself from City Bible Church, the more I find I identify with ex-Mormons.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Latest Sermon

Here's an anonymous comment about Frank's last sermon. ...pretty interesting... Sorry to interrupt, but I just finished listening to PF's latest sermon. I heard something that I never heard from him, he told the church to by a book on doctrine. I was thinking, nice change of pace, then he recommends only one book and you guessed it , it is Keven Conner's book on basic christian doctrine, and it is available at the bookstore. PF also to said to stop praying generalized prayers because God is to busy for them, they don't move angels, they don't inspire the Holy Spirit, and God has a hard time fulfilling them. I should mention, to be fair, that this was said in the context of praying specific prayers. 1Tim.2:1-2 "First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority," ..... Sounds pretty general to me. I know that there are specific prayers in the word but general ones as well. PF as well wants people to be praying for the singles to get married, he does qualify this by saying you can be single and happy. But he wants you to pray for church congregation matchups. I guess marrying outside CBC is being unequally yoked. Finaly, and I could say more but gotta split, Frank wants you to remove certain words or phrases from your faith vocabulary, ready for this: I can't, if only, I don't have the time, maybe, I don't believe, I'm not sure, and my personal favorite....... I'm afraid. Thank you Frank but I'm not sure that that is biblical, if only you could show me that in scripture I would entertain it, I just don't believe that God would not want me to express my doubts to Him and be honest ie. " Lord I believe but help my unbelief." Maybe you didn't mean that but I'm afraid that it is what you said, maybe next time you could get into the bible for more than 5 minutes on a Sunday morning but I can't believe you can teach an old dog new tricks. :) Let me just say that I love praying for singles to get married. So allow me to link to a newspaper article in the Washington Post, and Reason #93 why Catalyst is still single: Making Marriage (Like) Work: Author says Men can Succeed by treating it like a Job. ...ummm, I've already got a job, and I'm not really looking to work a double shift...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Howard's Response

Howard Rachinski commented on the blog disputing my claim that he hired an "investigator". I want to give him a chance to make his point. Dear Justin & JP, This is Howard Rachinski (really). It has come to my attention you have "informed" your fellow bloggers that I have hired an "investigator". In addition, a few of your bloggers apparently have found it a real delight to take some "shots" at me. How delightful...So...to set the record straight and to help all your fans from getting ulcers, I thought it best to "blog in"...First of all, I have not "hired a PI". In fact, I think that's totally hilarious!!! Whatever could you have been thinking of??? I feel rather sorry that you had to compromise your perspective by spreading such a blatant lie. So, for all those "Howard" haters out there...you are out of luck. I haven't done any such thing. And, Henri, you should know better than that!!! Secondly, to help pacify all those cries of outrage for that "hideous relative connection", my wife's father and Donna Lasit's grandmother are "brother & sister". Oh perish the thought... I can't imagine what all your "outcriers" will do when they discover that we are all related...to Noah...to Adam...Please don't have a heart attack. Thirdly, dear JiminyCricket, ficm, and other "anonymous" contributors, please don't lose any more sleep over my clothes, my hair or my choral conducting. Did that make you really feel better to "diss" me or CCLI? You don't even know me. You don't even know my company. You don't even know how many homes and families we have helped. But, I guess you must have really felt better, huh??? Finally, Justin and JP. I'm surprised. I was one of your "supporters" through Temple Christian, through basketball - giving you encouragement where possible. I'm surprised...because you could help cultivate positive changes...you could make a difference...you could help...So...I'll keep encouraging you to do so...If you, JP or any of your other "contributors" want to talk...let me know...But, please, don't stoop to the lowest possible level of irascibility.You guys are so much better than that!!! The person Howard hired may not have been a "private investigator", but I stand by claim that Howard hired someone to research and investigate JP and I. Also, I've got nothing against Howard Rachinski. I don't really know him. I did play basketball with his son and he was a pretty cool guy. Update 1/24: To thank Howard for offering his opinion, I would like to give his company Songtouch a plug. Last year, when someone told me Howard was starting an online music company for Christian Artists, I remember thinking, "Genius! Why didn't I think of that." There's a reason Howard is successful and it isn't his fancy coat-of-many-colors suit.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Burnside Writers

I recently received a nice email from Jordan Green a writer for The Burnside Writer's Collective. From what I gather, this is a group of Christian writers, who each contribute articles to the website. In perusing their site, two things stood out as most impressive. First, Don Miller's College Bowl picks. He went 7-1, picking Oklahoma over Oregon and Texas over USC. If this writing thing doesn't work out for him, he should move to Vegas and invest his savings in choosing College Bowl winners. (Honestly Jordan, who is Don picking for the Superbowl? Also ask him if I can sneak a peak at his March Madness Bracket. I want a new Ipod, and with Don's inside knowledge, a win is guaranteed.) A second thing that impressed me was Jordan's top 10 albums of 2005, which included Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Illinois. Sufjan Steven's Illinois was the Album of the Year and his song Chicago was the Song of the Year, in my opinion. I would also like to add that Donald Miller's new book about to be released is To Own a Dragon. Go out and buy the book, if for no other reason than it would be nice to see a Christian author sell more books then Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. (Side note: I grew up reading the Dallas O'Neil and Baker Street Sports Club series by Jerry B. Jenkins. I loved them. He just went a little crazy with this whole apocalypse thing.) Lastly, this blog is blowing up with comments, and I just want to thank everyone who reads the posts and shares their thoughts. Your comments are what make tbis blog interesting, thank you.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Testify

Former Bible Temple member R.B. shares her story: I wanted to tell my story...I was a member of Bible Temple from when I was 1 week old until I was 16. We were considered outstanding members until my dad left when I was 13. My mom was ostracized by the elders and congregation for being a fallen woman. My mom finally packed us up and left town, humiliated by BT...we were basically kicked out. No one cared we were leaving. I had gone to TCHS until my the middle of my 10th grade year...I was unprepared for the public school I had to go to until graduation so I didn't fit in. I had been brainwashed for so many years that I married the first guy I kissed because he kissed me, and I barely knew him but I felt so guilty. Turns out he was an illegal alien and I was his prisoner and domestic violence victim for 11 years before I fled and was in shelters for abused women. Do I blame Bible Temple? Absolutely...there is no doubt that is the reason for everything that happened to me. I forgave them all...and contacted my classmates there to tell them I thought about them. Once they found out I too was a fallen woman, I never heard from them again. I am still a Christian but I'm glad I joined the world of real people because now I see what they are truly missing and am closer to God for it. Thanks for listening...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Question

We've been dancing around this question for over a year now, so I'm just going to come out and ask it. Did Dick Iverson make a mistake in choosing Frank Damazio to pastor Bible Temple? FWIW, I think he did.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My American Idol is Jesus

We'll get back to bashing City Bible tomorrow, but it has been getting kind of heavy here lately, and I just want to try to lighten the mood. While I enjoy writing the blog, it kind of limits me to religious posts, when I could easily spend five days a week writing just about TV. My secret: I love TV. I could delve into the strategy behind voting off the cutest chicks on Survivor (I don't get it). Or why Lorelei and Rory are the hottest Mom-Daughter combo in TV history, why Real World/Road Rules: The Gauntlet is the best and worst reason to be on Reality TV (it turns you into an extremely entertaining idiot), and why the greatest interview of all time would be Stephen Colbert interviewing Jon Stewart on the Colbert Report. But I don't get to talk about that, I get to talk about how Doug Lasit is tangentially related to Howard Rachinski. (Me Screaming: Who Cares!!!) This is all to say, I love American Idol. Well. I love the first part of the show, I lose interest when the competition actually begins. Simon has been on a roll, and I am continually amazed at the delusional folks they get to try out: The tan girl was the best. However, of all my favorite contestants on the show, the best has been Jon Peter Lewis from AI 3. So for this weeks shameless plug, JPL has a new single out "Stories from Hollywood". It's actually really good and I've been listening to it all day. You can download it for free here. (it's okay; it's legal) I hope you enjoy the song, and we can get back to debating tithing 10% versus giving out of joy, tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Donald Miller

Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, got some love from the Oregonian this Sunday. (Thanks to Karli for sending this to me.) The article has this quote from Mr. Miller: "I was a fundamentalist Christian once. It lasted a summer." Don's got a new book out called Searching for God Knows What? I haven't read the book, but I have heard that he bashes the evangelical community for buddying up with the Republican Party. It is supposed to be better than Blue Like Jazz. Sounds interesting.

Let’s talk about war and killing.

Guest Blogger and Vietnam War Veteran, Larry Taylor, offers another view on war: Justin made a number of valid points on the recent killing of, presumably innocent, people. Even if they were aiding and abetting our most heinous enemies, it is fundamentally wrong to kill civilians if it can be avoided. In this case, it did seem to be an egregious act that should be condemned by our representative officials and answered by a formal apology with reparations for the surviving victims. Still, I don’t have all the facts. I also agree that God cares for these Muslims. The Incarnation is proof, for Christ “…came into the world to save sinners.” God cares when the “least” of us suffer under the rubric of “just causes.” I cannot imagine God participating in unjust wars. Certainly, Vietnam, and perhaps Iraq, falls into the category of unjust wars. I wasn’t a Christian when I went off to war as a young man. I believe I convinced my son not to enter the service because I know firsthand that war scars forever. Still, no matter how hard I try, I cannot be a pacifist. The dark side of cheap anti-war rhetoric is that war “happens” even when we decide to do nothing. Bonnhoeffer settled his dilemma by deciding to stop a monster from destroying more innocent people. Imagine the guilt of the polish citizens, who quietly minded their own businesses while trainloads of Jews were unloading next door at the death camp! Peaceful protests could not have dismantled the Nazi machine. There is a time to act and a time to refrain. It is just that it is so hard to know when and how to curb evil without becoming part of the problem. Personally, I am praying about our military’s decisions and the victims of this man-made disaster. -LT

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

They Matter to God

I get a lot of grief on this blog for being too negative. Yet... today I have something positive to say. This past Sunday I "experienced" one of the greatest church services of my life. It was the 12:30 mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Northwest, Washington DC. The choir was beautiful and strikingly similar to the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. There was an energy and sincerity in the music that I have not witnessed in a long time. It wasn't a show. It wasn't hype. It was genuine praise. Then Pastor Pat gave his message. Being the Sunday before Martin Luther King Jr's. birthday, Pastor Pat quoted Martin Luther King Jr. He chose MLK's speech against the Vietnam War: Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours. Father Pat then went on to discuss America's involvement in the War on Terror. Last Friday, the US led an airstrike on a small home in Pakistan. The US was trying to kill a key terrorist. Unfortunately we missed the terrorist and instead killed 17 innocent Pakistanis, including women and children. In the darkness of night, we murdered 17 people. And how does the US respond: "We apologize, but I can't tell you that we wouldn't do the same thing again," Senator John McCain. Father Pat ended with this statement, "Those Pakistani's who died. They may not matter to the US Government. They may not matter to you. But they matter to God. God values all life, and those Pakistani's matter to God." And he's right. They matter to God.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Because I don't have a topic

I long ago realized that the primary reason people visit this blog is for gossip about City Bible Church. And frankly, there is nothing I love more than spreading a story or two. On my list of alternative careers, gossip columnist is in the top 5. That said, I do not really have much current gossip to share. Word on the street is that the Asplunds will be leaving the church shortly, but I have been hearing that for years. And frankly, at some point you have to admire their determination. This Father and Son team are solid Christians, and they refuse to bail on a church that has bailed on the Bible and Jesus. I kind of hope they stick it out. There is one little interesting tidbit of info that I recently learned. In the weeks this blog first started, a leader in the church hired a private investigator to find out everything they could about JP and I. Here's the kicker... ...they reportedly paid the person $100 an hour. As you can imagine, I was furious when I heard this. A hundred dollars an hour! I would have gladly told them anything they wanted to know about JP for half that price. And if they had just placed a call to Jonathan Morton (our 12 year old brother) he would have happily told them every dirty little secret for free. And, more than likely, he would have thrown in some extra info about Joel and Jesse, just as a bonus. I just thought this was interesting. We call them out for running their church like a business and they hire a private invesigator. Love It!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

And there are still others out there.

Here's another great comment from, you guessed it, anonymous: I was crying tonight feeling hopeless, when I found your site. Although I think a lot of the humor and comments push things a little bit too far, I definitely relate to the disillusionment. For me, PBC and BT were good experiences, although since I attended in the 80's, a bit too much of a fashion parade. The main concern I had and have is how often we were hyped up about our destiny. I'm from the X'er generation, and I felt like our generation got passed over for the younger set. Eric Knox not being given the youth after Bob MacGregor was reassigned is a perfect example. I agree with the poster who said that only the elder's kids really had "destiny." But, for me the real difficuluty was being in an MFI church for 10 years.It DEVESTATED me. The cult-like symptoms were 10x what it was like at BT. I really believed all of the covering and submission stuff, and geez, I can't even begin to tell my story. What I can say is toward the end, the pastor's wife got mad at me (for going to see her off at the airport) and refused to speak to me for 6 months, while her husband preached about not letting the sun go down on your anger. I'm worked through my anger and bitterness, and am attending 2 local churches but stay the hell away from leadership, and feel very purposeless and destiny-less. Just knowing that other people out there have gone through similar things helps a lot. This is the main reason why I refuse to delete this blog. Comments like this. Anyway, my advice to this commenter: Start drinking heavily! hahaha... ...ahhh, I'm so funny. No, just kidding. Actually, I think you're probably doing the right thing, going to church, avoiding leadership. And trust me, feeling purposeless and destiny-less is something all people feel. It's called "being human". Some people don't find their destiny until they are 40, 50, 60. It doesn't make their lives any less important. So just keep trudging along. And if you get depressed and start feeling down, slip in the movie Wedding Crashers, it perks me up everytime.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

You all get a free pass

The word making the rounds in the blogosphere is that it is now illegal to "annoy" someone anonymously online. On Thursday, President Bush signed a bill into law that makes it illegal to post anonymous messages online that annoy another person. This includes blogs and their comments. And of course, this scares me to death. Because as any long time reader knows, "anonymous" is our most frequent commenter. And if there is anything "anonymous" does really well, it is annoy. But I love anonymous. She/he makes me laugh every day, even when it is Doug's wife. So to clear up any confusion and ensure another year of ridiculous comments, I have this to say to my readers: By clicking on the comment section below, you promise not to be annoyed. No matter how many verses are quoted out of context. No matter how many times "the Bride of Christ" is referenced. No matter how many times you are told you are going to hell. You can not be annoyed. You can be entertained or amused, but not annoyed. Great. That should cover it. Bring 'em on Anon.

Friday, January 06, 2006

2006 Bloggies

This is shameless. But I think it might be worth a shot. The 2006 Bloggies are upon us, and the powers that be are offering awards for the best blogs of 2005. On a lark, I went through the list of categories and nominated my favorite blogs, including: Jack Bog's Blog, Go Fug Yourself, Daily Dish and Undecided Resident. However, for one of the categories I nominated this blog. And that category was "Best Tag Line". Now this is a national award, and I don't think our little blog has a chance. But how great would it be if the winning tagline for the 2006 bloggies was, It is not by grace that one enters the kingdom of heaven, but by tithing. - Damazio 3:16. It makes me smile just thinking about it. So if you have a second, visit here, nominate some of the blogs you read, and nominate us for "Best Tag Line." One can dream.

More Pat

One of my favorite Washington Post reporters, Dana Milbank, held an online chat today. In his lead, Milbank discusses the Pat Robertson issue. I thought his intro was pretty funny: It's been a rough week. President Bush returned early from his New Year's break in hopes of getting 2006 off to a better start with talk about the economy and national security. Instead, Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty in Washington and Florida and will have to pay more than $25 million and spend a decade in the pokey -- even after he helps bring down various congressmen. Ariel Sharon suffered a stroke and is near death. And, after one of the bloodiest weeks in Iraq, the former U.S. commander there, Ricardo Sanchez, says "the country is on the verge of a civil war." But thank God for this: We have Pat Robertson. In addition to his helpful remarks yesterday about Sharon, he started the year off by having a conversation with a highly placed source: The Lord. "Here is what I believe the Lord said," Robertson said on the 700 Club Tuesday, reading from a yellow legal pad on which God allowed him to take notes. "The fall elections will be inconclusive but the outcome of the war and the success of the economy will lead the Republicans in charge but it's going to be inconclusive in this year. But I do believe the president is going to strengthen and that alitos going to get confirmed. I believe another liberal judge is going to retire, step down from the court. We'll have another opening there and the war in Iraq is going to come to a successful conclusion and we'll begin withdrawing troops before the end of this year." Robertson's exclusive with God was a helluva scoop, so to speak, beating both Brit Hume and Tim Russert to the highly desired interview. But, as it happens, the Lord is loosening up some of His message discipline in recent days and is granting a surprising number of interviews. In fact, I have Him on the line right now and He has agreed to answer your questions today, speaking through me. He asks only that you keep your questions civil, so He is not forced to smite any of you.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

There's sin in the camp

In the Bible, why isn't "purports to speak for God" considered a sin? Our favorite reverend is at it again. Update: Here's a link to video of Pat Robertson's speech. (Hat tip: Talking Points Memo) Also, a real quick point here: Just in case Pat wasn't aware. But ummm, God loves Muslims too. He really does.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Happy New Year

I love how no one takes JP and I seriously. We say we're quitting the blog, and everyone laughs and thinks "Yeah, whatever." Nevertheless, my good blogging buddy Chris Snethen is asking for a return, and some of the commenters want more. Thus, while I am enjoying this break, I am also definitely planning on coming back. Though, it will probably be more limited, since I truly enjoy not thinking about City Bible all the time. However, I also really enjoy people's comments, and the fun I have writing everything. Blogging can feel like a job sometimes, but there are also times it can be a blast. So I'll be back. But I need a little longer to just chill and not have to think about poking fun at CBC. In the meantime, here's a quick link for you to have fun with. The City Church in Seattle is planning a church plant on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. If you want a good laugh, read the confirmation section. It's a list of prophecies telling the City Church to move to DC. Good times...