29 February, 2008

You Write the Satire!

Okay, spare me the "Hey, you're ripping off Purgatorio!" comments. I'm not asking for "captions" but a story for all of you creative thinkers out there. There might be a TSaB out there for the winner.  So take a gander at this lovely inspiring picture and give it your best.

28 February, 2008

Blogging in Tongues Yields Interesting Results

Daytona Beach, Fl - About a year ago Mark Heinburger got "inspired." After a number of his friends started using various free "blog" websites to post occasional thoughts, pictures and even video clips, Heinburger decided that he too needed to join the blogosphere. After searching through several different free blog sites he made a decision to join one. All that was left to do was to choose a theme for his blog and topic for his site.

"I went for a pretty basic theme" said Heinburger. "I didn't want anything too flashy. I've seen so many blogs out there with all kinds of flashy crazy colors and graphics, but that's not what I'm about. So I just wanted mine to be plain with just a few little pictures here in there."

All was going well for Heinburger until the time came for him to actually make his first post.

"I sat in front of a blank screen for several hours" stated Heinburger. "I just didn't know where to begin. As a Christian I wanted to say something important and useful but I've never been much of a writer."

As the time passed Heinburger started a number of different posts only to become frustrated, erase them and start over again. This situation went on for several days until finally, late one night Heinburger claims he received a "revelation."

"I just sat in front of the computer and suddenly the most amazing thing happened" said Heinburger. "I just started typing, just anything, just whatever came to my mind. It just kept coming and coming without stopping. I didn't know what was happening to me."

When it was over Heinburger realized that had typed a rather lengthy post, but with one major distinguishing factor; it was all in "tongues." He quickly posted his words and went to sleep. He awoke the next morning and received quite a surprise.

"I woke up and checked my email to see that I had almost 50 comments on my first post" he said. "I checked my stats and over 2000 people have visited my site in just the day. All of these people were visiting my site and posting their interpretations of what I had written in tongues."

An excerpt from one of Heinburger's post along with an interpretive comment reveals the following.

"skdit bhwosidth sdkh ! weiu ueif ywqplcxnf duwiel! dhsido? sdlkjq0gjn, sdld, tqnod, thewioghs wehros q wepop hfow!"

To which one commenter interpreted.

"The Cubs are NOT going to win the 08 World Series!"

Heinburger continues to make daily "prophetic posts," and his site continues to grow in popularity in the blogosphere.

"This is my spiritual gift" Heinburger went on to say. "I've never spoken in tongues, but I guess I'm called to blog in tongues."

TBNN learned that Heinburger has also been approached by several major book publishers about writing a book entirely in tongues.

27 February, 2008

"What Spurgeon Really Said" To Hit Shelves Soon

Following comments in Monday's story here at TBNN, the author of What Saint Paul Really Said and What Moses Really Saw, N.T. Wright quickly wrote his latest addition to the world of Christian literature entitled What Spurgeon Really Said. Wright's book examines numerous quotes from the famed 19th-century baptist preacher seemingly indicating that he was a Calvinist. Wright argues that even though the mountain of evidence seems to indicate clearly that Spurgeon was a Calvinist, that we have somehow misunderstood what he was trying to say, that statements such as, "That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of all men, and that afterwards some of those very men should be punished for the sins for which Christ had already atoned, appears to me to be the most monstrous iniquity that could ever have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, to the goddess of the Thugs, or to the most diabolical heathen deities." have just been misinterpreted, and that Spurgeon was not necessarily defending the doctrine of particular redemption.

Be sure to pick up your copy of What Spurgeon Really Said today and become even more confused about things that are clear and understandable.

25 February, 2008

Pro-Reformation Posters

After the enthusiastic response to last weeks Anti-Calvinism propaganda posters, TBNN is proud to present our own version of Pro-Reformation posters. Please feel free to post these on your website or anywhere you like. We only ask that you keep our web address on there.



Translation: "You, guard against Arminianism!"




23 February, 2008

TBNN Inside Edition: Elder ADD; Brother OCD

Many of the TBNN readers may have noticed that Elder Eric is no longer writing on Thursdays. TBNN has issued official statements regarding Elder Eric’s “time constraints” and other “obligations.”

But TBNN Inside Edition reporters have obtained secretly taped conversations and copies of certain TBNN personnel files that question TBNN’s public statements.

TBNN Inside Edition may be able to shed a little more light on this previously hush-hush topic.

In secretly taped interviews between Elder Eric and Brother Slawson, Elder warned Brother to “watch your back.” Elder went on to say, “If only I would have thrown in a little Arminian thought.”

The taped conversation, (the rights to which are owned exclusively by TBNN Inside Edition) reveals how Elder, participating in the annual mandatory physical and mental examination for all TBNN employees, was diagnosed with ADD (Arminian Deficit Disorder.)

ADD is only detected through personal interviews. Elder was classified as Arminian-deficit when he was found unable to fully understand and embrace Arminianism.

ADD is most commonly diagnosed in children. Over 98% of children believe that God is sovereign over all things. However, when this condition persists into adulthood, it can cause staring, glaring, and lead to loss of friends. Only 20% of children diagnosed with ADD retain the condition into adulthood.

An unnamed evaluator wrote in Elder’s personnel file “With such a persistent case of ADD, I suggest that Elder be given either a sabbatical or a reduced writing load.”

On the positive side, the evaluation went on to state “I am confident that Elder is not inflicted with the more extreme ADHD (Arminian-Deficit Hypercalvinist Disorder). ADHD impairs normal functioning and movement, rendering the victim unable to get out of bed on most days.

Although some mild cases of ADD have been treated with Calvinix, the scientific field is of the general consensus that no real medical cure is available.

ADD is highly persistent from generation to generation. Yet, 15% of all cases are estimated to be caused from trauma or toxic exposure.

TBNN Inside Edition verified from anonymous sources that this was not the first time a TBNN author’s mental health has been brought into question. Brother Slawson was placed on Saturday duty last year after being diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Calvinist Disorder.)

When asked about his condition, Brother Slawson carefully and methodically placed each of his 10 fingers to the tip of his nose, in turn, stating “Go away OCD” with each touch.


22 February, 2008

"Loster" in Translation

Below you will find an excerpt from Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Now. Below that you will find an English version that has been translated through several languages using a popular online translation website. I suppose the question is whether or not Osteen's writings actually might make more sense when one does this.

Original:

"You, too, may have assumed that you’ve already peaked, that you’ve reached your limits in life, that you will never be more successful. I’ll never achieve significance, do something meaningful, or enjoy the good things in life that I’ve seen others enjoy.

Sad to say, you are exactly right . . . unless you are willing to change your thinking. That’s why the first step to living at your full potential is to enlarge your vision. To live your best life now, you must start looking at life through eyes of faith, seeing yourself rising to new levels. See your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams coming to pass. You must conceive it and believe it is possible if you ever hope to experience it.

To conceive it, you must have an image on the inside of the life you want to live on the outside. This image has to become a part of you, in your thoughts, your conversation, deep down in your subconscious mind, in your actions, in every part of your being."


Translation: from English to Spanish, Spanish to Russian, Russian to English, English to German, German to French, French to English, English to Arabic and finally Arabic back to English.

"We can also assume that you have already reached the optimum level, which reached its limits, and succeed in life. For each case, it is important that we try to do something useful, or enjoy more things in life, I saw the rest of you.

Unfortunately, not only to you ... If it is not ready to accept the change in his thinking. Of this first phase in the life of its Assembly on the expansion potential of substances. Find the best experiences of his life, and now, we should start life seen through the eyes of faith, has risen to a new level. Vidte case has been disconnected. Consultation in his new marriage. The family to prosperity. See dreams happen successfully. Got pregnant and I think it is possible, if it hopes to live.

Pregnant women, and you should have an opportunity, within the framework of living in life, outside of the page. The image must be part of yourself, in his opinion, and he, in your Subconscious, in their actions, which covers all or part of the entity."


21 February, 2008

Warning! Serious Post - Narrow in Theology, Wide in Grace

The Tominthebox News Network has been in existence for about 13 months now. Over the course of this time, I've tremendously enjoyed sharing with you Boxers some of the crazy thoughts that come through my mind in order to, hopefully, make you laugh and think. As I've said before, we try to be purposeful here in what we do. While some of our stuff here has been "just plain silly" at times, I have strived, and I believe Eric and Carlos have also, to in a humorous way make a point. Some of our posts have been "knockouts" drawing links from all over the place with many comments. Believe me, nothing makes me happier than to know that someone spewed coffee all over their computer screen because of something written here. And there have also been "that's cute" days. If you've been a long-time reader, I'm sure you can remember some of those.

If there's one thing that's stood out during this time is that we here at TBNN are unashamedly Reformed Calvinists. We make no excuses for that, as our humor tends to reflect. It would seem that the majority of our readers are also from this "camp" or somewhere in the neighborhood. Yet, we do seem to have even a few non-Reformed readers also. But despite the scale being heavily tipped to one side in our readership, I feel want to take a moment to make a couple of comments.

Two days ago Eric posted his article "72 Bible Verses that Simply Can't Mean What They Say." Let me begin by saying I fully support the article. I'm not about to make an excuse for it. It made a point of exactly what I believe too, that God is sovereign in everything, even the salvation of mankind. But given that we "pick at" Arminianism so much here I want to take a moment to set the record straight about something, so please bear with me for a moment.

I have taken up a motto, as it were, for my life, "Narrow in Theology, Wide in Grace". I am unashamedly "narrow" in what I believe, and my beliefs and convictions are drawn from Scripture. And I believe we should all be "narrow" in our theology. Believe what you believe. Back it up with Scripture. Hold it firmly with conviction. But I was reminded by a friend many years ago that the debate between Calvinists and Arminians is a "family" debate. There are both Calvinists and Arminians that love the Lord Jesus Christ, long to serve him and long for his appearing. If we know the Lord Jesus Christ, rest in him completely and long to please him, then we are united in Christ; we are family. We will spend eternity together in the presence of Christ. Therefore, there must be "wide" grace in how we deal with one another now. This is a family disagreement.

Now, I will continue to be narrow in my theology, and I will also continue to write satire about Arminian theology. But I wanted to set the record straight here. There is no ill will in my intentions, and I will strive to be civil in how I deal with subjects. All "debates" that take place in the comments will be expected to adhere to this standard.

So, that's it. We'll be back tomorrow with something else to hopefully make you laugh. In the mean time, grace and peace.

-Tom

20 February, 2008

Squirmeneutics

squir-me-neu-tics (skwûrm'mə-nōō'tĭks)
n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
1. the science of misinterpretation, esp. of the Scriptures, to such a degree that it causes listeners with any common sense to squirm.
2. misinterpretation of the Scriptures so absurd that it causes one to question whether or not it could possibly be for real.

It's getting more and more difficult to write satire these days. The reason for this is that the world of Christendom at both ends is getting so extreme that I just can't seem to top reality anymore. A week rarely passes where I don't at least get several emails from you, the faithful Boxers, passing along a story, or a video that is beyond anything I could think up. When I write satire I take an absurdity and generally follow it out to its logical extreme. This in turn, hopefully, highlights the root absurdity thus causing the reader to see it more clearly.

And then there's stuff like this video that I've posted below. It needs no exaggeration because the absurd end has been logically reached already. Yes, this is a first for us at TBNN. Normally I just don't link to someone else's stuff, but this is too good (or too bad) to pass up. When I first saw this video I about lost it. I thought for sure this was a joke. Some seminary students, obviously opposed to extreme fundamentalism, post these little You Tube videos caricaturing super-hyper-indy-fundy preachers. But I checked it out, and it's no joke. This guy is for real.

Warning: This video is PG. It uses some old King James language that is generally considered crude today. I believe it's fine for adults, but you may not want your kiddos around when you watch this.

With that being said. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present...squirmeneutics.

18 February, 2008

Pensacola Christian College Releases New Anti-Calvinism Posters


Pensacola, Fl - In an effort to dissuade students from falling victim to "the evils of Calvinism," Pensacola Christian College has begun a new "Hearty Persuasion" campaign against the doctrines. The posters which have been placed all over campus show inspiring artistic drawings of people standing firm for free will against the "heresies of Calvin."












16 February, 2008

Bracing for Effects of the Writer's Strike

Although the writer's strike is over, the major networks will still feel the effects for some time. Yet, little attention has been given to a lesser known non-network branch of the Writers Guild of America South… until now. Some readers of TBNN may unknowingly be familiar with Writers Guild: Branch 316, the branch responsible for all Baptist Lifeway Sunday School lesson material.

"When the strike began last November, we were covered for the December through February quarterly lesson material," said Lifeway spokesman Harold Kanobly. However TBNN has discovered that absolutely no lessons will be available for publication in time for the March through May quarter. An important question arises, "What will Churches do for Sunday School lesson material?"

TBNN interns have been busy this week surveying Pastors, Discipleship Coordinators, and Ministers of Education across the South.

Pastor Wally Pyle of Green City Baptist in Alexandria, Louisiana does not believe there will be a problem. "We stopped ordering Sunday School books for the adult classes several years ago. We only order the teacher's manuals." Adult Sunday School teachers at Green City plan to use the same lesson material as last quarter. "I believe few people will even notice."

Deacon Winthrop Carter of Seventh Cavalry Baptist Church in Pleasant Hills, Georgia seemed more excited about the possibility of teacher growth, "Teachers will just have to think of something on their own beginning in March."

Barney Griffith, in Mayberry, Mississippi has been Sunday School Superintendant of First Baptist Mayberry for the last 32 years. Because of his faithful devotion to counting Sunday School attendees (even determining who has brought a Bible vs. who is just attending for SBC reporting purposes), he has been unable to attend a Sunday School class himself for over 3 decades. Yet, Griffith remains a strong believer that each Sunday School teacher should mention something from the Bible each week.

"We're proud to say that most of our membership does own a Bible," said Andy Floyd, Minister of Education at Dulcimer Baptist Church in Rock Springs, Tennessee. "But they keep it at home." Floyd explained there has been no need to bring a Bible to Sunday School because the lesson books contained the verses in the margin. Since the verses were available on the projector screen during the sermon, there has really not been a need to bring a Bible to church at all. "It's going to be hard to get our people used to the idea of lugging a huge book around in our modern time."

Otis Taylor, mechanical engineer by trade who teaches a class of young couples (21-30 yrs old) at Three Roads Baptist Church in Mt. Guide, South Carolina calculates that the 40 Days of Purpose is almost a perfect substitute for a 13-week lesson plan. "By my calculations, if we cover 3.076923077 purposes each week, we'll have covered all 40 by the time the new lesson plans arrive for the June-August quarter. Practically, if we cover 3 for 12 of the weeks, we can cover 4 during the 13th week. Alternatively, 3 for 11 weeks and 3.5 for 2 of the weeks would also work. Realistically, I will most likely go with a plan of 3 purposes for 10 weeks, 3.33 purposes for 2 weeks and 3.34 purposes for 1 week."

There will also be problems with the children's lesson plans. Branch 316 has also been responsible for writing the line of words at the bottom of the color pages. Past pages that have been colored cannot be reused, so that is a problem.

"We may use some of the books in the library," said Bea Weaver, Children's Director at Good Day Baptist Church in Mattborrow, Arkansas. "There are lots of very good books with useful moral themes. Some are much easier for the children to understand than the Bible." Once in the past when the Sunday School lesson color sheet delivery was delayed, Weaver used The Three Little Pigs. The teachers focused on the verse “running from the big bad wolf.” Teachers explained to the children that the pigs who were afraid were the ones who ran. Those who ran lost their homes. Finally, when the wolf encountered a brother pig who would not run, the wolf lost. Teachers explained that the lesson here is not that the type of house you have is important, but that you should not run.

Note from Dr. Brother Slawson: I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of you who supported me during the writer's strike by not supporting (with too many "comments") the scab who has written in my place since November. You have helped me to negotiate a better contract with Dr. Tom.

15 February, 2008

This Week in Photos 2/15/08


A disturbed Rev. James Huchinson (left) is caught off guard
when Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams makes the
suggestion during a press conference that Great Britain consider
letting Klingons in the country impose the Klingon code of 
honor amongst their own communities.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson makes a prank call to Presidential
candidate Mike Huckabee's office saying "Hey, do you know 
that you're refrigerator is running?  Better go catch it!"

An angry Fred Phelps, while 
speaking at a Topeka city council
meeting, finally gets "fed up"
with the man man behind him 
who kept whispering "Look at
that bald spot!"

Actor Tom Cruise admitted that he overreacted just a 
little bit (seen here) after a reporter supposedly 
questioned the genuineness of his Scientology
beliefs.  Cruise later apologized stating, "It was just...
ahhhh...like, pft...like a ....life, and feeling...i know what 
to do...yes, it's us, it's that it's....ahhh, woah!"

14 February, 2008

Late Post Today

Greetings boxers. I must inform you that there are some changes taking place these days at TBNN. Due to personal circumstances Elder Eric will only be posting on Tuesdays now. I went off and totally forgot about it this week and thus I do not have a post ready. Right now I'm about to head off to teach a class and then we have a regular doctor's checkup to go to. I plan on making a post later this evening (our time here in Russia). Look for a new article today between 12 and 1PM CST in America.

Fear not, I have a new Thursday writer already in mind.

13 February, 2008

Wanted: Youth Pastor

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
To: Claiborne County Herald
From: Calvary Baptist Church, Parker, Georgia
Re: Youth Pastor

The Calvary Baptist Church of Parker Georgia is currently seeking a part-time youth pastor.  We are a close congregation of about 400 active members and a youth group of about 25 students.

Duties will include (but are not limited to) organizing and conducting any and all youth functions, activities and Bible lessons, Sunday Schools and youth choirs.  The youth group currently meets on Sunday nights after our evening service from 7-10PM and on Wednesday nights from 6-9PM. An extra weekly activity is also expected on the weekends.  Planning for these events is absolutely essential, but do not expect any child to tell you they are planning to come until the last minute.  Be prepared also to attend any and all pep-rallies at the local school, all dance team and cheerleading functions, and it would be nice if you showed up at football, baseball, soccer and tennis practices a couple of times a week to cheer the boys on.  It is also expected that you meet with each of the students privately at least once a week for lunch or something.

All activities much be chaperoned.  We prefer the parents to not be chaperones, because otherwise none of the kids will want to come.  You'll need to find creative ways to get non-parents to want to come on the trips and convince the parents that do want to come not to.

Planned activities are expected for any and all school holidays.  A spring break trip is a must as well as a summer conference somewhere at the beach.  You will be expected to emphasize and impress the idea of modesty upon our female students.  Be careful not to tick off the parents when doing this, as some of them might not take well to you criticizing the bikinis they bought. Careful judgment will be needed.

You will also be expected to attend all deacons meetings as well as be on the education committee.  You will want to have a good presence in the church, so it will be important that you also get involved personally in several Bible studies for yourself, and be at any and all church functions.

Oh, and also, the youth choir meets on Sunday afternoons before evening worship.  Our turnout for this group hasn't been good in the past as few of the students are interested.  But we need someone to spark their interests and make them sing well.

Finally, we'll need you to fill in for the pastor when he's out sick or gone for whatever reason. This will mean preaching both Sunday services, and doing some hospital visitation.

The position is roughly a 10-15 hour per week job.  We are generously offering a salary of $18,000.  You will need to find your own medical insurance.  Married applicants will be preferred as the youth minister's wife will be expected to function as a mentor to all of the girls in the group and personally chaperone all trips.  

12 February, 2008

Pastor Admits, "Being a New Testament Church is a Challenge."

EAU CLAIRE, WI - Many people today are tired of the modern church. They want to get back to the bible. Some churches claim to fill this need by calling themselves "New Testament Churches." However, one church decided to go all the way in this endeavor. While they found it to be exciting at times, for the most part they discovered that it was just a pain. Pastor Francis Wiley (photographed here), of Authentic New Testament Lutheran Church (ANTLC), told TBNN that following the New Testament model "is a challenge."

According to Wiley, "A few years ago, we were a typical Lutheran church. There was nothing special about us; we were just like all the rest. Then something amazing happened. First individuals and then the church as a whole began to voice a desire to be like the church of the New Testament. I was initially excited about this. After discussing it for a few months, we decided to go all out. I don't think we were prepared for it."

TBNN has learned that the church leadership was concerned that ANTLC transform into a "good" NT church, and not just change into a "bad" NT church. They wanted to be like the churches in Philippi and Thessalonica, and avoid becoming like the believers in Corinth and Laodicea. In light of this, they decided to change in every way to be like a church from New Testament times. First, they changed their name from Grace Lutheran to ANTLC. Second, they sold their 400-seat building, and purchased a small house (at left) in which to meet. Deacon Philip Sayers said, "It seemed like a really good idea at the time. We saved a ton of money when we bought the new building. Also, it didn't have any modern amenities like running water, electricity, or heat. We thought it would give us a feel for what it was like in the NT. Well, it did that, and a lot of our people weren't too happy about it."

Mrs. Doris Wells, a 30-year-member of the church, complained, "I understand wanting to be biblical, but this is too much. The new building only seats 35 comfortably, but on Sunday we had 247. We were crammed in like Sardines. Beyond that, the pastors want us to eat together after the service - but there is no place to put the food. Also, we don't have anything to heat up the food with! And the worst thing is the little outhouse we have to use. The pastors said that in order to be realistic we would have to use an outside gutter, but the women demanded an outhouse. I guess it's better than nothing."

For others, the real struggle is the language barrier. According to Thomas Dallard, "Even though I like the KJV, I'll admit that Paul wrote in Greek. I have no problem with that. But why do we have to use the Greek in our services? Only the pastor understands it, and not too well at that. Despite this, during our service last Sunday all of the singing and preaching was in Greek. The pastor said it was Koine Greek and not modern Greek, but that made no difference to me. Pastor Wiley even tried to do the announcements in Greek, but it didn't work out."

Pastor Wiley admitted to us that there are some problems that they did not anticipate. "We were used to using bibles. However, the NT church didn't anything more than scrolls of the OT. We compromised on this and allowed our people to use NT scrolls as well as OT. We didn't think about the fact that the scrolls would get so beaten up so quickly. After just one Sunday our scrolls were falling apart. Using the Greek also seems to have been a slight miscalculation."

After a few Sundays of meeting in the new building, several female members of the congregation handed a list of grievances to Pastor Wiley. TBNN received a copy of this list, which you can see here:

-The building is too small and doesn't have electricity.
-The bathroom situation has to be fixed immediately.
-No more Greek!
-No more requirements for wearing robes.
-No more limiting make-up to kohl for eye liner and berry juice for cheeks.
-Men must be allowed to use deodorant!
-Warm water must be allowed for infant baptisms, especially when immersing.
-Bulletins and PowerPoint must return.
-Most important, bring back Children's Church and Youth Group!

With note in hand, Pastor Wiley sadly surrendered, in our presence, to these desires. "Some people say they want to be biblical, but when it comes to making changes, they just aren't willing."

11 February, 2008

TBNN Exclusive, Ark of the Covenant Found!

Call it a modern day Raiders of the Lost Ark...well, not exactly.  According to Pastor Mark Durrant he claims to have discovered the whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant.  Durrant supposedly discovered the current location of the Ark three weeks ago while reading his Bible, when he came across 1 Kings 8:8.  It is in this passage that the story of the Ark being brought into Solomon's temple is told, and verse 8 states,

"And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day." - KJV

"It was that last phrase that caught my attention" said Durrant.  "The Bible says that the staves and the Ark "are there...unto this day.  We take the Bible literally, and that means that to find the Ark of the Covenant all we have to do is go to Solomon's temple in Jerusalem and we'll find it."

Durrant's supposed "discovery" from the Bible passage is born out of a deep convicton that the Bible be taken literally without any historical/grammatical context.  Durrant's church, Mt. Vernon Bible Believers Church, has lived by idea this for some time. 

"We live by the Bible and the Bible alone, not by knowledge" said Durrant.  "We don't need education and all kinds of Greek and stuff to understand the word.  All this interpretation business is a bunch of foolishness.  We just do what the Bible says."

Other interpretations include forbidding a woman to put her hair in a bun.

"We read in Matthew 27:17 where it says '...top not come down'" said Durrant, "and therefore a woman should have no knots in her hair, men too of course."

But Durrant's recent "discovery" of the Ark of the Covenant has prompted a whole list of new "discoveries."  According to Durrant's interpretation of various "unto this day" passages, he claims to now know the location of the heap of stones raised over Achan in Joshua chapter 7, the stone upon which the Ark of the Covenant sat in 1 Samuel 6, and the location of the "field of blood" mentioned in Matthew 27:8.

"We're very excited about all of this" said Durrant.  "My wife and I just got our plane tickets yesterday.  We are headed to Israel at the end of the month to get some pictures of the Ark. According to the map in the back of my Scofield Bible, I should be able to find Solomon's temple pretty easily when I get there."

Durrant has sent his findings to the American Association of Archeologist but he has yet to hear back any response from them.

"Those snobs aren't interested in some serious Biblical study" said Durrant.  "I'm trying to help them out here, but if they don't want to listen to me then I'll just enjoy finding the Ark myself."

While Durrant is looking forward to seeing the Ark he went on to say he had no plans to touch it for fear of being struck dead.

09 February, 2008

Brochure: Ripping Clothes is Scriptural


Welcome to Full Worship

Please allow me to welcome you to Bedazzled Community Church. More than anything, we want you to feel comfortable and free to worship in your own way. While worshipping with us at Bedazzled, feel free to sing, lift your hands, dance, and rip your clothes.


Why We Sing

The Bible mentions "singing" 20 times (NIV). It is scriptural to sing. Very few people have ever complained that we have a song portion of our worship. Singing was very commonly mentioned in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, it's referenced most in The Revelation. We're going to be singing in Heaven so you might as well practice now.


Why We Lift Our Hands

Not coincidentally, the Bible also mentions the lifting of hands 20 times (NIV) proving that the lifting of hands is equally important as singing. Some of our more traditional brothers and sisters that exclusively use the King James Version of the Bible do not understand the importance of hand-lifting. This is understandable, given that the KJV mentions "singing" 25 times, while only mentioning the lifting of hands 13 times. At Bedazzled, we believe time spent singing and lifting hands must be equal. Feel free to worship with your hands lifted in the position of your choosing.


Why We Dance

David danced before the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14) and so will we. We may appear undignified, but we are not here for man. We are prepared to get more undignified than this for the Lord. In the Bible, dancing is referenced 14 times in the NIV. It's referenced 19 times in the KJV! So hop to it! We do not believe uncontrolled flailing of the body is appropriate. Sign up for beginner dance lessons on Sunday afternoons at 4pm.


Why We Rip Our Clothes

More than singing, hand-lifting, or dancing, we at Bedazzled believe in ripping our clothes as a form of worship. Mentioned 29 times in the NIV (32 in the KJV), individuals would "tear," had "torn," or unashamedly "tore" their clothes as a sign of humility. Why not demonstrate your inability to control life? Give control over to the Lord. At Bedazzled, we want you to join us by releasing your pride. Why not participate in an activity that is 50% more important than singing or hand lifting and up to 100% more important than dancing? Sackcloth is available in the foyer for 1st time visitors.

08 February, 2008

Bonus! TBNN Uncovers More Albums

Instead of your regular "This Week in Photos" TBNN is proud to present our latest investigative find.  In relation to yesterday's story about the revival of tacky album covers, TBNN has uncovered these soon-to-be-released records.






07 February, 2008

Christian Musicians Revive "Tacky" Album Cover Art

Oversized pictures, overused fonts, strange song names, bad hair, bad clothing - these were the things that made Christian independent albums so great during the 60s, 70s and mid-80s.  But the trend of "tacky" album cover art dwindled into obscurity as records become less and less used among the general public.  With the advent of 8-track tapes, cassette tapes and compact disks, huge over-designed album covers became less and less of a demand.  

But in an effort to reconnect with the past a number of Christian artists have again revived the practice of designing "tacky" album covers.  With countless editions of shareware drawing software on the market, it seems anyone with an 486DX processor or better can put together a class A, absolutely tasteless album cover
 in just a matter of minutes.

"I remember long summer days at my Grandmothers" said Sachapone Davis, a singer from Memphis, Tennessee whose recently released self-produced album Let Me Tell You About My Friend has sold almost 8 copies over the past 6 months.  "I remember she had just the stacks and stacks of records that I'd look through, all of people I'd never heard of before.  Sometimes there'd be a family all dressed alike on the front.  I remember this one singing duo, it was two sisters.  One was holding a big old bass guitar and the other had an accordion.  It's that kind of stuff that people remember."

Many Christian artists have surmised that the tackier the better.  "When something is just so bad that it's good, people will not forget it" said Bruno Maltise, an indy artist from Chicago.  "People want to see color, big pictures that are just terrible, and every font imaginable."

In order to solve the problem of the limited space available on the front of CD covers, many of the independent artists have resorted to returning to recordings on records.

"Records were the best" said Davis.  "As long as you handled them with white gloves, perfectly got the needle on the record itself and a stiff breeze didn't slightly jiggle the record player while it was going, a record would last up to 9 months.  You just can't beat that kind of quality."

It remains to be seen if the trend will catch on with other artists around the country.  But for now, the few that have undertaken to revive an old tradition are satisfied with the results.

"It's always fun to see people's reactions when I try to sell my records" said Davis.  "At first people think that these are old albums, then they see the copyright date of 2007 and they start laughing."

06 February, 2008

N.T. Wright's Latest "What Moses Really Saw"

From N.T. Wright, the noted author of What Saint Paul Really Said, comes the latest contribution to the "Reformed" world of theology, informing us that what we have understood about Moses all the years has been completely wrong, and misinterpreted.

Wright ask the question "Did Moses really meet with the God of Israel when he received the Law at Sinai?" Wright answers this question by examining a number of phrases found throughout the Pentateuch including the words "received" and "saw."  He also delves into Moses' motivation for ascending the mountain, surmising that his purpose was not so much to meet with God and to receive the law, but to demonstrate to the people of Israel the significance of his leadership.

Wright also takes us into the mind of ancient Judaism, and what a post-Egypt-enslaved Jew would have understood the word "Law" to mean.  Wright's interpretation also helps to further shed light on such events as the golden calf and the significance that the manna turned to worms when it was a day old.  

If you want to get to the true meaning of what Moses really said, then be sure to pick up a copy of this book today.

05 February, 2008

Disciples of Christ Introduce “24 Hour Baptism” Ministry

EVANSVILLE, IN - “We have been inconsistent in our doctrine and practice for too long!” exclaimed Pastor Jacob Harris to his congregation. “We cannot continue to say we believe one thing, but then not follow through with it. That will all change tonight.”

A bit of background may help explain what’s going on at Smyrna Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church. It all began a few months ago when Deacon Jim Vinson approached Pastor Harris about Acts 2:38 (And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” ESV). Vinson wanted to know how Harris best thought that verse should be interpreted.

Harris told TBNN about the conversation. “I simply told him that the verse means what it says. The text is clear. Peter tells everyone that when a person repents and is baptized, then he receives the Holy Spirit. In other words, salvation comes after both repentance and baptism.”

Vinson continued to be confused and asked Harris, “What happens if a person repents, but doesn’t have a chance to be baptized before he dies? What if he repents at church, but dies in a car wreck on the way home prior to the evening service baptism? Is he still saved?”

Harris told us, “I admitted to Jim that this is one of the hard teachings of scripture – if a person isn’t baptized then he isn’t saved. I sure hope this has never happened, but repentance by itself is not enough. Peter told us that we must be baptized or we don’t get the Holy Spirit.”

Deacon Vinson then asked something Harris wasn’t expecting. “If this is true, then why don’t we have a 24 hour baptism ministry in place? I mean, what happens if a person repents at 2 AM? We need to get him baptized as soon as possible. He is in too much eternal danger otherwise!”

Harris immediately realized the inconsistency between his doctrine and practice. He also knew that Deacon Vinson was correct. Their church had a responsibility to get anyone who repents into the baptistery immediately. That led to him saying, “We have been inconsistent in our doctrine and practice for too long!” Harris continued, “Starting tonight, we will be instituting the first Disciples of Christ 24 Hour Baptism Ministry. We will open this up to all people who have repented, regardless of denomination.”

A new committee was put in place that very night. Almost everyone in attendance at church signed up to be part of this new, one-of-a-kind, emergency ministry. The church even agreed to use its van as part of this community outreach.

This is how it works; it is a simple process. Three church members are stationed at the church at all times. The van is always full of gasoline and ready to go. The members wait in a special room, furnished with a TV, couches, X-box, cookies, Coke, and the hotline telephone. The special phone number is 1-800-GET-SAVE(D).

As soon as a call comes in, the members pile into the van, turn on the siren and flashers, and rush to the repenter’s home. They carefully load him or her into the “baptizulance” on a stretcher, and quickly rush back to the church. While all this is happening, one of the pastors is simultaneously awakened by his beeper. Ideally, everyone arrives at the baptistery at the same time.

Once at church, the repenter is quickly submerged, and then is explained the full meaning of what just happened. He is then congratulated by everyone involved on getting saved. There is both a sigh of relief and the thrill of a saved soul once the person breaks the surface of the water.

According to Pastor Harris, “We want to be consistent with and faithful to scripture. We just had to make some changes in the way we do things. This emergency baptism ministry allows us to serve the entire Evansville community because no other churches do what we do. It is quite a rush to get people saved on a regular basis like this.”

04 February, 2008

"Speaker-Sensitive" Churches Growing

Dayton Beach, Fl - Several months ago Meredith Bailer decided that something had to change. At 83 years of age Bailer, a life long member of a local Methodist Church (name intentionally withheld), had struggled for some time ever since her congregation switched to more contemporary worship almost three years ago. 
  
"I didn't mind the music so much" said Bailer.  "I actually liked some of the songs we sang at the church.  But the problem was the noise.  Those big speakers up at the front just boomed and boomed every time they'd play them drums.  And that one fellow on the guitar would just play so loud that I couldn't even hear myself think."

As it turns out, Bailer discovered she was not the only one who struggled with a sensitivity to loud noises.  Not only did a number of elderly members of the church struggle with the noise issue, but even several of the younger members also. 

Bailer tried each Sunday to endure the 2 hour long service at her church.  But several weeks ago while reading her newspaper she saw and advertisement for a new congregation that was forming in the Dayton Beach area called "New Hope Christian Fellowship."  What caught Bailer's eye was that the church touted itself as being "Speaker-Sensitive." 

"That caught my eye immediately" said Bailer.  "I quickly picked up the phone and called to find out more."

Bailer's call was answered by the cheerful voice of New Hope's pastor, Brent Davis.

"Ever since we've put the add in the paper we've gotten literally hundreds of calls from people like Mrs. Bailer" said Davis.  "What's unique about our church is that we are speaker-sensitive, we use absolutely no amplification in our church.  We have a praise band, but everything is 'unplugged' and acoustically driven.  When I preach I just have to speak up.  There are no microphones in our church.  We don't want to be a stumbling block in any way for anyone who would come into the doors of our church sensitive to noise."

New Hope's methodology seems to be successful.  In just three months since the church's founding, its membership has grown to almost 300.  

"I just enjoy it so much" said Bailer.  "I do miss my old congregation, but it's just so much easier to think and worship now without a drum banging so loudly in my ear."

02 February, 2008

Super Bowl News Bites

NFL: “Yes”to Parbar, “No” to Baptist

There was much controversy over the NFL’s demand for Fall Creek Baptist Church to cancel their Super Bowl viewing party in Indianapolis, Indiana. (It’s true, click here.) Little is known, however, of the smaller town controversy in Mize, Mississippi. With a record attendance of 3 on past Super Bowl Sundays, Two-Creek Baptist Church was planning to bring in a projector and broadcast the game. The Baptists’ plans were reversed after receiving their own letter from the NFL demanding cancelation. A local controversy arose when people realized that just a few miles away, At Parbar Westward, an emergent church which was incorporated last October, has plans for a similar broadcast. Parbar did not receive a letter from the NFL. The NFL defended the decision by explaining that it has always had a policy of allowing establishments to broadcast the game if such establishments allow the watching of television and the drinking alcohol in their normal course of business.

Church Leaders Permit Coliseum Celebrations

To: Fellow Christians in Rome

From: Church Leaders

RE: Gladiator Games

Date: February 3, 0079

With the impending ultimate gladiator games scheduled for Sunday beginning around the 3rd hour, some of you may be concerned that participation in the games would not be a Christian thing to do, especially after the toga malfunction several years ago. Church leaders have decided, however, that Coliseum attendance is acceptable. Our absence would be noticed and perhaps lead to discovery of our secret meetings. We do not desire to be obviously vacant from this supreme event. Therefore, we are canceling our usual first day of the week services in order to participate in the ultimate gladiator games celebration, avoiding suspicion. Please be aware that your spectatorship in such games will not be equated as your condoning the slaughtering of animals or the killing of other humans on the first day of the week.

NFL: Thou Shalt Not Promote a Message

NFL assistant council Rachel L. Margolies was quoted: “we are consistent in refusing the use of our game broadcasts in connection with events that promote a message, no matter the content.”

One planned to sit on a pew; the other, a bar stool.

One planned to drink a few Diet Cokes; the other, have several beers.

One planned to sit with his family and friends; the other, with waitresses in bright orange shorts.

Each planned to watch on a 12-ft projection screen.

Each planned to cheer.

Each was prepared to contain emotions if his team lost.

One’s establishment was told to cancel the event.

“Which?” you may ask.

The one that was promoting a message, of course.

01 February, 2008

This Week in Photos - February 1, 2008

Senator and Presidential candidate,
Hillary Clinton listens intently during 
a Sunday sermon.

Ever since young Eric McNally told his friends
he was a Calvinist, he has been the victim of a 
ceaseless stream of taunting and bullying.

Addressing the current "Spiritual Recession"
in the United States, President George W. Bush,
during his State of the Union speech suggests
churches give back all tithes and offerings
to members.

In a rare photo, The Reverend Al Sharpton is
seen with his mouth closed when asked by one
reporter if he thought people could be saved
without Jesus.

Fox News Host, Bill O'Reilly, comments on
his recent reading of Dave Hunt's book What 
Love is This?

Participants pause for a group 
photo during the first annual 
gathering of Unitarian and
United Church of Christ ministers.