31 March, 2009

Twitter Church

LONG BEACH, CA - Rev. Daniel Vickers moved to California from Arkansas three years ago. His desire was to plant a church that would reach out to the vast lost population in Southern Cal. Despite his best attempts, Vickers struggled to get anyone to join his church. About six months ago, he realized that he needed to meet the population right where they are.

According to Vickers, "When I moved here, I tried to get people to come to a specific location for church. Nobody wanted to do it. I never even had a chance to do any expository preaching or singing Just As I Am. No one at all wanted to actually come to any sort of gathering. That's when I realized that I needed to contextualize to meet people where they are."

"I needed a new idea. That's when that Facebook guy inspired me."

Vickers dropped actually talking to people and began watching. He quickly found out that people in Long Beach basically don't talk face-to-face to one another anymore. A few use cell phones to talk, but the majority text all the time. In light of this, Vickers decided to plant what he believes to be the first Twitter Church.

Vickers told us (this time excited), "I now share with people all the time. I update my Twitter status at least 4 times per hour. Sundays are when things really get special. I now have a group of people that all watch and read as I update my status repeatedly on Sundays from 11 AM to noon. During that hour, I send hymns and sermon notes via Twitter. We also text on our cells during that time. Last week one person even got saved. Although I don't know who he is or where he lives exactly, I'm thrilled to add one more to the Kingdom.

"We have decided to name our church The Loving Twitter Community Fellowship. This is why we have a heart in our Logo above the Twitter name. Anyway, as we continue to grow we will gradually increase our technological capacity. Over the last three months, we have gone from 1 member (me) to over 700 members. According to the Pew Forum, we are currently the fastest growing church in California, and second fastest in the entire country. Only Lakewood Church is growing faster!"

When asked if he actually knows any of the members or if they ever get together, Vickers replied, "I know them by their statuses. They are constantly telling me how they are doing, what they are doing, who they are with, etc. We don't need to actually get together physically to be a church. The key is that we care about one another, even if we don't actually know what the others look like."

Vickers said that he foresees a time when all church buildings will become obsolete. "When people can stay in touch this easily, why would they want to take the time to get together? Just Twitter - it's that easy."

28 March, 2009

Man Explains How He "Dedicated His Hands" To The Lord

Memphis, TN -- He rises at 5:45 am each morning and begins a process that few could maintain. The routine begins by removing custom fitted lambskin gloves and ends with a light coating of Jurlique Rose Hand Cream. The 18-step process takes approximately two hours and includes a ten minute soak in buttermilk followed by a three minute rinse with apple cider vinegar to remove any remaining dead skin cells.

Why does he do it? Well, Jasper Willington is always quick to answer, "Three years ago, I dedicated my hands to the Lord. Just look at these palms!"

Since Jasper dedicated his hands to the Lord, he has had to give up many things. "It's unfortunate, but I can no longer perform any manual labor with my hands." Jasper has placed himself on a strict regimen that does not allow him to drive, cook, lift, type, mow, button, make the bed, or touch another living thing.

Some may wonder how a human could give up so much. "It's totally worth it knowing that my hands are dedicated to the Lord and the Lord alone. Every time I look at my hands, I think 'thank you, Lord for giving me such hands that I can give back to you.'"

24 March, 2009

TIME Article Impacts Baby Boy Names

As most of our readers already know, TIME magazine has reported that the "New Calvinism" is one of "The 10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now." Whether or not this article is true, whether or not it means anything at all, and whether or not it matters is up for debate. Many Calvinists say that the "New Calvinism" is simply the "Old Calvinism." Many Arminians simply hope all this excitement will slowly fade away.

One unexpected result of the TIME article has been an immediate impact on baby boy names. The research department here at TBNN has discovered that since the announcement of the TIME article, certain names have become much more popular for baby boys almost over night. Conversely, the choice of other names has fallen off dramatically.

The results are as follows (first name, followed by percentage change):

Calvin: +500%

Luther: +200%

Ulrich: +15%

Owen: +75%

Edwards: +150%

Spurgeon: +80%

Piper: +750%

R.C.: +50%

Alistair: +80%

Wesley: -300%

Jacobus: -600%

We are also happy to report that the name "Osteen," which had been on the rise for several years, now appears to have plateaued. No information is yet available as to the effect the new Osteen Bible will have on future baby names.

20 March, 2009

Double-Tithing AIG Exec Has No Regrets

Dallas, TX -- Bill Houser, 47, is one of the AIG mid-level executive who received a bonus last week. A lifelong resident of Dallas, Texas, Houser has dutifully flown home each weekend to attend church at First Baptist Church, Dallas. While there, he has joyfully double tithed on his most recent income.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, tithing is an ancient tradition practiced by the ancestors of today’s Southern Baptist. A person who tithes places 10% of their income into a “plate” at a set time on Sunday morning during a break in the worship service. The tradition has all but completely faded out in modern churches today. A double-tither is an individual who gives 20% or two times a normal tithe. There are an estimated 17 double tithers left in the world today. Houser is one of these 17.

Last Sunday, Houser dropped in an extra check for $160,000 representing 20% of his $800,000 AIG bonus that was contractually authorized to him in Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus legislation. This week, in an attempt to resolve the embarrassment of the $165 million in bonuses agreed to in the stimulus package, the legislative and executive branches of the US have racked up an estimated $212 billion in legal consultation fees, research assistants, opinion polls, television ads, new computers, copy machines, cocktail lunches and brunches, and a proposed bridge to a large “pondering platform” over the Florida Everglades.

The conclusions of their research led the House on Thursday to propose a 90% tax on the bonuses. “We’re almost where we should be,” said a hopeful Karl O’Connor, spokesman for the Marxist Society of America.

Regardless of the unbiased politics as presented here by TBNN, if the 90% tax passes, the mathematics of the situation will leave Houser with a negative net salary after tithe, not to mention state taxes.

“I never have regretted and I do not currently regret double-tithing,” said Houser. “I will continue to attempt to double-tithe on my weekly increases. If I am later robbed, I do not intend to adjust my future double-tithe.”

First Baptist Church Dallas may have a decision to make, however, if the Senate bill today eventually becomes law. A bill currently in the Senate seeks to place a 35% “eternal tax” on the bonus funds whenever they are spent, whether at a grocery store, restaurant, or to a charity as a charitable donation. In the charitable donations case, both the giver and receiver would be slated to pay an additional 35% tax on any donated funds. The “eternal tax” provision then forces the charity to apply a 35% tax to anything purchased by the charity with those funds. If the charity purchases a pool table for the fellowship hall, the pool table would be taxed 35%. In turn, the seller of the pool table would be taxed 35% when paying employees with the tainted funds, etc. etc.

18 March, 2009

TBNN Finally Faces the Music

For over two years now, TBNN has been poking fun at various religious groups. This satire is designed to be good fun. On a few occasions we may have gone a bit too far, but generally speaking it was mostly silliness with some truth mixed in.

Unfortunately, there are those readers who struggle with the concept of satire. Some even get angry at us. What compels them to keep reading and commenting we do not know.

Being fair-minded folk, we at TBNN wanted to give some of the groups who have been on the receiving end of our satire a shot back at us. Thus, we held a forum at a local university and let them make us face the music. One person from each disgusted group was allowed to speak.

The edited transcript (profanity removed from the atheists) reads as follows. The groups are listed in alphabetical order to help you better find whomever you are searching for:

Arminians: "You focus only on the passages that say 'elect' and 'predestine.' Yes, you have the bulk of the biblical evidence on your side, but we have John 3:16. What are you going to do about that?"

Atheists: "You always point to the bible. You can't prove God exists. Despite the fact that the fossil record supports your claims, you can't be right because you are ignorant and stupid! ARRGGHH!!!"

Catholics: "You have no tradition, being just two years old. Therefore, you must be wrong."

Charismatics: "You need to go as the Spirit leads. Yes, we can't explain everything we do. No, we don't usually interpret tongues, but we have the Spirit!"

Cults: "We really are Christians, and we have our own special books to prove it"

Emergents: "Relax. Feel the authenticity. Don't think. Enjoy. Kumbaya."

Episcopalians: "We stand for unity. All you do is tear people down. We, unlike you at TBNN, stand united around the idea of unity -- and some immorality amongst our bishops."

Fundamentalists: "We read the bible and we believe what it says. Interpretation is a four letter word. We just believe it. And we don't drink, smoke, chew, or go with girls who do. And our women have to wear dresses and doilies on their heads, and look unhappy, too."

Health-Wealthers: "God wants us to be happy and healthy. The bible tells us so, somewhere."

KJV-onlyers: "You at TBNN are sons of the Devil, always quoting from the ESV. Those Alexandrian texts are straight from the pit of Hell. When you attack the KJV, you attack Christ Himself!"

Liberals: "The bible is just a book written a long time ago...this is a boring discussion that we thought was settled by German theologians back in the 1800's. It's just a book."

Osteeners: "Let's all just smile, be happy, and go home to our warm houses - and disregard things like sin, repentance, and propitiation."

PC-USAers: "Our average age is not 83! It's more like 71."

Postmodernists: "What is this 'absolute truth' business you guys are always talking about? Live as you want, and we'll do what's good for us."

Southern Baptists: "Why all the food jokes?"

After the forum was completed and much anger was vented in our direction, we realized something interesting. No one proved us to be incorrect in anything we said regarding scripture. Many words were thrown around, but no one had a solid exegetical argument. The Arminian representative tried, but he just kept returning over and over to John 3:16.

So, after facing the music, we felt pretty good. Once angry respondents begin to prove us wrong, then we'll hang it up and go elsewhere. Until then, we'll keep serving up good dishes of (remember) satire.

05 March, 2009

Man Changing World One Facebook Group at a Time

Peoria, Illinois - "I'm part of the solution now," says Peter Cardwell as he proudly opens up his Facebook profile. At just 31 years old, Cardwell is determined to make a real impact for the Kingdom through the use of Facebook groups and causes. From his mother's basement in Peoria, Cardwell rises each morning about 11:00 and spends 12 to 14 hours per day on what he calls his "mission field."

"I started doing this about 2 years ago after I lost my job at Subway," said Cardwell. "I started this group called 'Just Because I Lost My Job, I'm Not Losing Faith' and about 9 people joined, so I began thinking this could really take off in a big way."

After that Cardwell began spending more and more time on Facebook, each day starting new groups and causes, making more friends and inviting people to join his "missionary" endeavors. He now administrates over 4000 groups and has started over 6000 causes. Some examples of his groups include:

The Former Christian Employees of Subway Network - 3 members
Let's Finally Overturn Roe vs. Wade - 6 members
Christians United Against Hugo Chavez - 2 members
Let Your Kids Join Facebook this Sunday, They Need and Deserve It! - 4 members
Believers Who Want to Leave Britney Alone - 75 members

Since he started spending more and more hours on Facebook each day Cardwell has dropped out of church, choosing rather to sacrifice his Sundays in order to spread the gospel.

"I did go to church occasionally before all of this got started, but I really believe that this is my true calling in life" he said. "There's a lot of hurting people out there on Facebook who are looking for a group to plug into. I don't really care if each group doesn't get that big. It's not about numbers."

Cardwell is currently being supported by his 59-year-old mother, Patricia Cardwell, and says that he has no plans to go back to work in the "secular world" anytime soon.

"I'm devoted to this. This is my calling, and I have no plans to quit. You wouldn't up and ask a missionary to Africa to quit what he's doing and come back home to work at McDonald's would you? It's hard work sitting here all day for hours on end with nothing but pizza, fried chicken, Oreos, potato chips and Dr. Pepper to keep me going, but I'm willing to make the sacrifice."

03 March, 2009

Methodist Funeral Home Owner Declares Bankruptcy

ERIE, PA - In a surprising turn of events, a once thriving funeral home has declared bankruptcy. Bob Robbins, the owner of Wellspring Funeral Home, told TBNN, "We used to have more business than we knew what to do with. However, lately we have been struggling a great deal. There just isn't enough money coming in to keep us afloat."

One former employee, who will now be waiting in unemployment lines, filled us in with more of the background information. Tim Emerson, a six year employee of Wellspring, said, "I think this is actually more of a theological issue than anything else. Mr. Robbins attends a Methodist church. Well, about six months ago his pastor was preaching through the book of Ephesians. When she reached Ephesians 2:1-3, his pastor told the congregation that when Paul wrote the word 'dead,' what the apostle really meant was 'dying.' She continued by saying that in order for a person to choose God, they couldn't really be dead spiritually.

Emerson went on, "Mr. Robbins got thinking about this. He told me that he began to wonder if any of the people that we had been burying were really dead, or if they just looked dead but were in fact only dying. Since then, we haven't been able to bury or cremate anyone. As you must understand, that puts a damper on your funeral home business. Since that sermon six months ago, our business has dropped 95%."

We later returned to Mr. Robbins and inquired whether or not he would be willing to bury anyone in the future. He responded, "I realize that I'll have to do that in order to re-open the business. I just don't think I can do it. I just couldn't live with the thought of anyone that I had buried waking up underground."

And yet another American business goes under.