Wednesday, December 30, 2009

#107-Spoons/Mafia- AKA Socially Constructed group mechanisms to help us flirt

So I just got back from my own district's holiday youth convention...

There were four observations (only one of which will be discussed at length):

 1)Someone pointed out to me that with the bombarding of elevators all of us pentecostals do at the beginning and end of services at these conventions/conferences, the elevators become ridiculously overcrowded. This person posited that we should propose the banning of mixed-gendered elevator riding in consideration of the vast amounts touching that is inevitable in these lengthy elevator rides.

2) Neo-McCarthyism is alive and well in our ranks. Complete with a reminder that what some of those heretics consider "a new way" is nothing new at all. It is then asserted that the speaker has been around for a long time and the "new way" is old and comes up again every ten years or so.

3) There is nothing that draws an apostolic audience into a sermon more than having the preacher stop his talking point mid-sentence, look over the crowed and walk away from the pulpit to emphasize that what he is saying is intended to be very important and climactic.

4) Games to kill the boredom during conferences during the late hours of the night...which also allow for flirtatious undertones without the awkwardness....

One of these group games that is played at conventions/youth group game nights is called mafia. If you do not know about it, I apologize. It is a kind of detailed specific game so I won't even attempt to retell them here. Just know kids love it, and it is kind of cool, and people die in it.

(read more about it here:

The other popular group game at such events is called Spoons...

It revolves around cards, plastic spoons, and perhaps most suspiciously, it includes a lot of hand touching....

So much hand touching I refuse to play it...

And it's allowed at your conventions and conferences....

If you want to know where sin starts between male and female, it is not in the backseat of the teenage boy's car....

it starts at youth convention in a game of spoons and one hand slapped of a male upon the hand of another innocent apostolic female...

EndNote: Apologies for the lack of posts lately....Some of you readers may know (or not know) that I am a full time long-distance student at UGST (urshan graduate school of theology)...and 3 times a year I have to travel to St. Louis for short term courses that are still really intense....and before you go to St. Louis you have to basically cram a semester's worth of papers and book reading into 4 I am in the heart of reading/paper writing darkness right now....will post when I find the time....


Happy New Year....

I know I have offended many and have been liked by even less, but I have really enjoyed doing this blog for the last 4 months and getting to read your suggestions and talk with you via e-mail/comments....

And now here is me in my ugly christmas sweater...and also after my decision to retire from smiling in photographs...

Monday, December 21, 2009

#106-Going to the Bathroom during church

How many churches would have been lit on fire in boredom during church had it not been for the saving grace of the opportunity for a bathroom break during church?

But yet, to you "ole faithful bathroom," I thank you for the opportunity for a break from the church madness. Without you, my only other outlet from the church service would be to text which we all know is worse than chewing gum during church.

Of course, we must be willing to accept that roughly 60% of bathroom breaks are done in vain during church times.

I make no qualms about it...there are many a occasion (though not all) wherein after offering, i take off down the middle aisle to my own place of solace and silence, otherwise known as the church bathroom. At this church bathroom, usually nothing efficient happens, save a washing of hands and a rearrangement of a rogue piece of hair on my head.

While we bathroom-break-takers-during-church participants are ragged on on occasion when a pastoral rant is called for, we will take the anonymous jabs in exchange for those precious moments where we are not restricted nor burdened by the church pew/chair in front of us.

Of course the awkwardness comes for those who attend smaller churches wherein the difficulty is not in the bathroom break itself, but rather it is the awkwardness of re-entry into the service post-bathroom break where if one opens the door at the wrong time, the whole church will hear the creaking of the church doors, and turn their head around to see that you have disrupted the flow of the God-moving service.

Of course guy bathroom breaks are not why this topic is so infamous amongst apostolics....

The Female and the church Bathroom

Girls love going to the bathroom. And they love going to the bathroom in pairs.

If there is one thing I want on my tombstone when I die, it is the above sentence.

First off, I don't know why girls have to go to the bathroom in pairs...Do they need to help each other in the bathroom? Are you that lonely that you need someone to talk to? Are you that worried that you might fall in the toilet?

Truth is, I have no answer. And I have asked many girls this question and they have no answer...

How does this relate to this topic of the post? Well, girls don't just love going to the bathroom during church...they love doing so in bunches and mobs and whatnot...

Have you ever noticed that when musicians leave the platform they are miraculously gone for ten minutes on end? Well they are taking a bathroom break. And for some reason, it is well accepted in church circles that musicians are afforded the privilege of an extended 5 minutes to the normal 2-4 minute bathroom break that is customary. And what do they do during these extended breaks?

Well I think the answer to what girls do in the bathroom and musicians do in the bathroom during these breaks is one in the same:

They party and gossip and take pictures.

Seriously, the first thing a church should do if they want to slow down church gossip is get rid of the girl's bathroom.

As for the party? I really can't tell you much because I have never been invited. But it's a conspiracy of mine....girls go to the bathroom in pairs or more in order to bring an instant party to the sink/mirror. For what good is a party if just one person attends?

And as for the pictures...

My goodness...

I would venture to say that a good 50% of facebook pictures taken in front of a mirror are done at church during church bathroom break time. Nothing says like "Getting some God at church" than taking a narcissistic photo of oneself in a mirror.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

#105-Cardboard Testimonies

For those who do not know what cardboard testimonies are...find someone who sends tons of e-mail forwards of anything that resembles anything inspirational in a Christian sense...

If you still don't have such e-mail this video provided by our mothership of a church...the Pentecostals Of Alexandria...

For a better resolution version of the video from a church of a different breed, please visit... If you're church hasn't had this happen at your church, please show this video to your pastor and demand action. It is only you who has such power....(it's happened at my church of 102 people).

And seriously, dare I say this is one of most brilliant inventions of Christian culture mash-up madness ever?

First notice the background's usually the same song in every one of those videos...."How He Loves Us" which can be read about in more specific details here. But in summary the song is so inspiring in it's lyrical beauty and harmonious symmetry that even Charles Darwin himself would probably cry in hearing this song in spite of his atheism.

Second, is more of a question...what is the significance of the cardboard? Anyone got a clue? I mean it is tantamount to the whole process....It's has even a 50% stake in the title ownership of the thing...Why not "Dry Erase Board Testimonies?" Because I hate the feeling of drawing on cardboard with marker. It's one level short in my mind of scratching your fingernails against a chalkboard.

Third, with the musicians playing their song to the fullest capabilities, the cardboard testimonies allow for all those who are envious of the musicians' spotlight on the platform week after week to have their own 5 second of fame on the platform, and they do not even have to have a microphone to their face! What brilliant strategy...

Lastly, and perhaps most obvious, the concept involves personal testimonies. And if you have been in this pentecostal tradition for any amount of time, you know the power and popularity of testimonies. Go no further than our most recent youth congress or General Conference, where 4 services combined were dedicated to simply telling testimonies of others (although if I had a voice, it got kind of monotonous after a while and eventually  the testimonies kind of lose some of their impact after seeing and hearing about several dozen in a row).

All in all Cardboard Testimonies is so perfect in it's effectiveness in church because it combines two of the most emotional heavy trends in our church: "How He Loves Us" and personal testimonies. A cardboard testimony is bound to conclude in emotional cataclysmic awesomeness.

(Special thanks to one of my favorite online friends, who I have never met, Hayden Foster for this recommendation.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#104-The Holy Ghost Hangover Look

Being drunk in the Spirit is one of our bold trademarks of our Apostolic Identity. Sure it may not be precisely us who has that Holy Ghost overflow from week to week, but when the Lord reigns during service, and that Sis. So-and-So "gets it" with a loud shout and a dance to boot, we smile at God's working power. Of course there are those awkward times where the "HG Dancer" dances right up in your you give him/her room to claim even more HG dancing territory? Do you block her in, informing her that while her HG dance is welcomed, it's not a free pass to scurry about the altar? But then again is that like denying the Holy Ghost itself the room it desires?

Sorry, about that rant that has only 10% relevance to this post....

Anyways...what about those moments when you are drawn in at the alter? They may not be as common as the one or two at your church who consistently "get it" but there comes those joyous occasions where the Good Lord beckons you to "come hither" into his presence...

Usually it starts with repentance and then you feel the burn in your heart....

And then you're hooked....

Before you know it, you are in the rare but wonderful "HG INTENSITY ZONE." These moments tend to happen at congress or camp, but on occasion they occur at your home altar as well...

And then after being in this "HG intense state" for an indeterminate period of time, you peel your eye lids open....

and to your shock/joy/horror you realize you are the only one at the was over a quarter past forever ago.

And then you resurrect your body to walk out of the sanctuary...

But as you gaze into the eyes of on-lookers and the shock on their face, you realize....

You have  gone through a rare Holy Ghost metamorphosis. You feel like the wind has been knocked out of you. Your eyes are bloodshot....You have the Holy Ghost hangover look

And what you deem as shock in the eyes of the onlookers is rather looks of envy, because nothing says you have just had an encounter with the G-Man upstairs than the Holy Ghost Hangover look/mood that you are reflecting...

Of course if you are on the other end of things, as the onlooker...The Holy Ghost Hangover does appear rather bizarre. You don't quite look like a zombie, but you don't exactly look "intoxicated." It looks like you went to take on the town for the evening and instead the town ate you alive....Your shirt's untucked with inside-out pockets accompanying (Does God turn your pockets inside out in prayer without your permission?!?)...

On the inside the Holy Ghost receiver feels like they have won the lottery. On the outside it looks like the Holy Ghost receiver had not only lost the lottery but was given the sole burden of paying off the lottery to the actual winner. But because they couldn't afford to pay off that lottery, they were beaten senselessly for the entire night by a pair of Bitter Irish Farmers post-potato famine (circa late 19th century) armed with this weapon:

Monday, December 14, 2009

#103-Modest Swimming

Growing up Apo there was always one risquĂ© summer recreation which youth groups as a whole participated in: swimming with all their clothes on. A while back an email circulated titled “you know you’re Pentecostal when…” and I was shocked that “you have the ability to swim across a pool with Olympic prowess despite having on a jean skirt” was left off.

There were two types of churches in the district I grew up in:

1) The church that strictly forbade “mixed bathing”
2) The church that condoned supervised “mixed bathing” as long as everyone was modest.

Of course modesty entailed some criteria:

White clothing was strictly forbidden.
Everyone prevented immodest suctioning of clothing by wearing so many layers that you weren’t so much swimming as you were simply trying not to sink.
Jean skirts were worn, preferably ankle length, which made paddling with your feet into a cardio workout that rivals P90X.

Perhaps this article should be added to "the slippery slope argument", due to the fact that modest mixed bathing always led to immodest mixed bathing, which led to Trinitarian baptism.

Monday, December 7, 2009

#103-Praying to God to send you "the one."

There's famous motion picture entitled The Matrix which has Neo, the main character, discovering if he is the long awaited "One" that the world has been waiting for to set it free from bondage. Most people equate Neo to a messiah of sorts, but I see Neo as a symbol of something more realistic in all of our lives...Here's a conversation that I will base my theory on:

Neo: What is happening to me?
Morpheus: You are the One, Neo. You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you. 

Neo, in the Matrix is a symbol for that future spouse we and our parents have all been praying for since our youth...
Okay, well I gotta feeling that this post applies more to apostolic females than apostolic males, but I am sure we all love praying to the good Lord to send us "The One" unless of course we have already found him/her...

To use an example I am going to out my older sister a bit (she does frequent this blog)....

Well when my older sis got married, my mother was head over heels...because Apostolic mothers want nothing more than to see their child pass on those apostolic genes to their grandchildren through the bonding of an apostolic male and apostolic female in holy matrimony....
And apostolic mothers OBSESS over this stuff....And what do i mean obsess?

Well you know when your parents teach you to do your bedtime prayers? Like thanking God, and repenting for your sins, and what not? Well at the age of 5 my mother started incorporating the praying for my sister's future husband bit as required segment of my sister's bedtime prayers....(and my mother's own prayers as well)...

It was a huge deal....

so then when my sister  got that ring on her finger ("if you like it you should put a ring on it!") from a delightful apostolic man, my mother got to exclaim to anyone that would listen that she had been praying for him since my older sister was 5 years old.

Oh what a testimony!

But my sister's testimony is not an exception amongst apostolics....It's the rule.....

For now adays before we are to learn to pray as teeny-tiny children, our parents are interceding to the Lord to send us "the One."

Except there is a downside to this whole thing of trust in Godly providence....

The females start getting visions in their head when they perform these nightly prayers...

Priority number 1: He needs to be a preacher.
Priority number 2: He needs to look like this:
Priority number 3: He needs to have a sense of humor.
Priority number 4: He needs to be good looking (uhhh....wait...i already said that? well let's put it in again to be safe)
Priority number 5: He should not have to "pass gas" ever.
Priority number 6: He needs to have a good walk with God
Priority number 7: He needs to be able to cry during the Notebook....

Well, the good news for us guys is once this vision is created in the head of the confused adolescent, it's all compromise from there!

And all the guys are asking for  is:
Priority number 1: A female who is okay with us passing gas in front of them

well that and everything that is described of a good wife in Proverbs 31, such as...

"13 She selects wool and flax 
       and works with eager hands.
 14 She is like the merchant ships,
       bringing her food from afar.

 15 She gets up while it is still dark;
       she provides food for her family
       and portions for her servant girls.

 16 She considers a field and buys it;
       out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

 17 She sets about her work vigorously;
       her arms are strong for her tasks.

 18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
       and her lamp does not go out at night."

 I do question at times that in regards to a future husband/wife, that some of us are pursuing God for the purpose of Him to be our divine matchmaker...

And this is all swell...but the difficulty can come when God doesn't send us "The One" at the exact time we want, or doesn't provide the kind of "One" that meets up to our expectations...

And when this happens...well, it must be God's will that we look elsewhere to find that "One." As Abraham sent his servant back to Nahor to find "the One" for his we must find "the One" in other pastures...

Or you could always go the other route, and just let God's chosen "One" for you mutate and transform to coincidently fit the exact profile of the New Church Girl/Guy at your church/nearby church that you just met at a youth rally....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

#102-The Platform

Let's get it right. It's 'platform.' God forbid if anyone were the victim of a Freudian slip and let 'stage' come out instead. 'Stage' implies that the Holy of Holies of this dispensation is nothing more than a place to allow centrally located carnality to reign. That instead of it being an elevated, anointed chunk of the sanctuary for the purest of worship to spring forth for the glorification of God, it's a place for people to put on an entertaining show for the glorification of themselves. And that's a no-no. ::shudders at the egregiousness of mistaking The Platform for a mere stage::

There are several observations I'd like to make with respect to Apostolics and their relationship with The Platform:

1. There is a difference between Regular Standards and Platform Standards.
Ma'am, you wanna come to church wearing a skirt so short that it reveals the beginnings of your kneecaps? That's all right. You can even sign up to be a Sunday School teacher with a guilt-free conscience. Flaunting slivers of kneecap is okay for Sunday School teachers because they fall within the realm of Regular Standards. But do you think you're going to set one high-heeled foot on The Platform to sing? Psshht. Girl, saddown! A sliver of kneecap = the lowest form of debauchery on The Platform. Kneecap slivers send the wrong message when you're on The Platform. We're supposed to be representing Christ up there, for crying out loud! Sir, you wanna come to church sans tie? That's fine and dandy. You can even help out in the sound booth since nobody pays attention to you back there anyway. Regular Standards are fine back there. But do you have service leader aspirations? Fool, saddown! Without a tie, you can't even think about The Platform. We're supposed to be ambassadors for Christ, for goodness sake. And have you ever seen an ambassador without a tie on? Hellooo? Didn't think so.

2. Though the Church belongs to God, The Platform belongs to the Pastor.
Sample of Pastor Smith's Sunday night message:

"We are the Church-ah! This ain't Pastor Smith's church-ah! This is Gawd's church-ah! It belongs to HIM! And He's comin back for his Bride-ah! A church without spot or blemish-ah!"

5 minutes later . . .

"Now, you can't come before Gawd Almighty just any ol' way. There are some churches out here -- even UPC churches, in our own organization! -- who let their people get up here carnal and in the flesh wearing jeans and open-collared shirts like they're goin' to a barbecue. But not on MY platform, no sir!"

3. The Platform is not a place to play around on.
After church, there are two kinds of kids: the ones who are required to stick by their parents, rain or shine, and the ones who are allowed to run free. Though the No Fun Police inevitably tut-tut the free spirits as they roughhouse in the sanctuary and play hide-and-seek between the pews, the general church populace usually tolerates them with slight smiles and knowing head shakes. But if one of the free runners is observed taking their playfulness onto The Platform, a collective gasp is heard. We all know that post-church platform trespassing is the first step on the road to backsliding. Observing such a travesty brings out the No Fun Police in us all.

Moses, prostrate before the burning bush, tread holy ground. Apostolics, those who are up to par, tread The Platform.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

#101-The Bathroom Door Argument

When discussing biblical principals with secular individuals it often becomes difficult to employ scripture in the conversation as a justification for Apo-Pento principles. Often the creative mind is forced to seek an extra-biblical reference point by which to illustrate our reasoning.

Such tactics have been used in the debate against homosexuality by declaring that those types of relations are not found in nature and henceforth are un-natural.

So when discussing the often hotly debated pants-vs.-skirts topic of apostolic women we find ourselves in a corner, against the ropes, taking blow after blow from the opposing forces of this world who seem to believe that it’s justifiable that women wear sin bottoms (pants).

And just as we’re about to hit the mats, we rise like Mike Tyson in the third round match against Holyfield and theoretically bite the ear off our opponent with the declaration: “If you think that it is permissible for women to wear pants then explain to me why every bathroom door in the world illustrates them with a skirt on!”

Alas! Victory is ours! We thank heavens for the graphic designer who once penned the silhouette of a feminine figure, a-line skirt in tow. For without this wondrous illustration we’d be left in our corner, as a proverbial Mills Lane raises the battered glove of the pro-sin-bottom secularist in triumphant victory above us.

But he shan’t. Not today.

Not until our opponent thinks to beg the question: “But in that same picture you reference the female has not only cut hair, but a shaved head. What of this?”

Let’s just pray our worthy opponent never has this light bulb sparkle above his battered head.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

#100-Halloween and Sleepovers: Giving apostolic females an excuse to pour make up on your face

Okay, I could have opened up my facebook to any teenage apostolic girl's profile and find at least 10-500 pictures of her dowsed in make up at some private gathering.....but i don't out my facebook friends like that...

But I am sure each one of you has the same kind of friends...use those friends and the pictures I am describing as your frame of reference....


But for adults in the world, all Halloween is becoming is an excuse for adult and/or teenage females to dress like whores. Whether it be a the whore nurse, whore angel, whore witch, whore high school student, or whore pirate...All of these costumes are popular amongst the secular ladies because they provide the minimal amount of clothing to be required by law without being cited for indecent exposure. They usually entail an incredibly short skirt, a low hanging top, and some terrible whorish looking leggings/stocking...Of course to top it off, all of these costumes entail Hooker Boots.

Well, our fight for apostolic identity has fended off these demon costumes for the time being. However, our ceremonial Halloween contradiction comes in the use of girls thinking it's suddenly okay to douse themselves with make-up (devil's paint). As if Halloween was the one day a year where the Holy Ghost made a voluntary exit out of our lives all for the sake of having a good time....

Please understand, I am not a legalist when it comes to make up whatsoever (my sister wears fake-up (cover-up))...I just find it laughable when girls who think it an absolute sin to compromise their facial integrity to the devil's paint, think it permissible when others aren't looking or with the Halloween exception....

More popular in our ranks than halloween as an excuse to wear make up, are sleepovers...

Where girls tempt the whims of fate and break-out their secret make-up kits all in the name of good clean fun...They tell their parents that the kit is the teenage equivalent of kids playing "House" or "church." But what really happens is a giant game of "How hot would I look if I backslid?"  

And usually the answer is "Not very hot"....because if there is any genre of female who does not know how to put on make up or understand the concept of moderation and restraint when using make up, it is the female apostolic. 

The Horror
Now someone somewhere once said that Girls will be girls. And I understand that. Girls like to have their moment in the sun and Halloween and sleepovers are one of those moments.

And I am completely understanding of this....But my one question is...

Why in God's green earth do you need to post pictures of these "moments" on facebook? 

You wouldn't go to church or walk out in public with the make-up what is the difference between making these pictures of your girly time public for your facebook friends to see?

I am wholly convinced that it is getting to the point where people aren't dressing funny and putting on a horrendous amount of make up anymore just for the sake of having a good time and laughing at each other. Rather, girls and guys a like are dressing funny and putting on a horrendous amount of make up just so they can get their cameras out and take dozens of narcissistic pictures and post them on facebook just so other people can see how good (or ugly) they look when they put on make up....

Speaking of which...

Ladies, stop with the duck face:

#99-Not Facial Hair

"Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about."
                                                       -G.K. Chesterton

I heard this parable once about a 6 year old girl who asked her dad the S-E-X question. Her dad was silent. He then asked his daughter to help him by carrying his suitcase out to his car as he left for work. His daughter walked across the room to the suitcase and tried picking it up, but the suitcase wouldn't budge. She tried lifting the suitcase again, but this time with more effort, yet once again, it was clear that the child was no match for the weight of the suitcase...

The child whined to her daddy that the suitcase was too big for her to carry, and only someone as big as her dad would be able to lift it. Her dad responded, "that's right. And just like you will only be able to handle that suitcase when you are older and bigger, there are also certain questions that are too big for you handle at your age, but when you are bigger, those questions will be light enough for you to carry. And that question you just asked me is one of those questions that is too heavy for you to handle at this time."

The child understood.

Practically Speaking

When I was a child, I asked questions that weren't too heavy for me to lift. They just simply ticked people off. One time I made a Sunday School teacher cry when I asked if God can do anything. She said yes. I then asked if He could make a rock big enough that he could not lift it anymore.

The next question I asked was why women were allowed to talk in church when I Cor. 14:34 and I Timothy 2:11 expressly forbade it (bonus points for it being in the new testament).

But the one that I actually really wanted an answer for....Why can't guys wear facial hair in church?

The standard answer was a half-mumble and ultimately was left with..."Someday you'll understand."

Well I'm 24 now and I think i finally understand....

The typical response goes something along the lines now adays of how in the 1960's, facial hair became a sign of rebellion, and thus we forbade it. And now we just don't want to offend the older generations and the culture they abide by.

I completely agree. If  I must die to my beard wishes in order to please the concerned eyes of the elders, I submit.

A secondary response goes something along the lines of asking if you would go to a job interview with facial hair. And then linking church to a job interview.....

Righty Right....Nothing like letting a job interview be your frame of reference for how your church is to be run...

The rebellious may point out that since we are a holy people who go about our lives with distinction from the world and distinction in gender, what better way to show gender distinction than to let men grow facial hair...

They may point out how in II Samuel 10, how a bunch of Israeli soldiers had their beards cut off from their enemy which was a point of humiliation, and how David would not allow these soldiers back in camp until their beards had grown back...but really who is David really that we need to be applying his precedent?

But as anyone can see, the points of both sides of whether or not facial hair should/ should not be allowed are very conflicting but valid. And I, as a tormented son of the age, want nothing but the truth....

So the same question i asked as a kid of why we couldn't have facial hair in church still arises in my conflicted mind to this day....

But loyal reader and disloyal enemy alike, I believe I have found the answer....of why facial is in no way a good idea for us as Christians representing Christ to the world....

And it revolves around this simply, cliche question....What would Jesus Do?

And aye friend, you may think that Jesus would have had a beard. You may even think that Jesus did have a beard. And while I do not deny this fact, I think our true precedent for Jesus and facial hair should come to the only verse we have about Jesus and facial hair: A prophecy about Him in Isaiah 50:6 that informs us they his beard was plucked by his persecutors. So we know that Jesus had a beard....

But we also know that while He was on the cross, He did not have the beard....

So then the question comes my friend which precedent of Jesus are we to follow?

Jesus with a beard, or beardless Jesus?

And as you and me both know, the cross is our mission, for we must lose our lives and pick up the cross in order to be saved (Matthew 10:38), and with the cross as the height of all Christianity, we must follow the example of the one who stood on that cross...

And of course, it was Jesus without the beard who stood on the cross....

And therein my friends is our answer to why facial hair is a sin....

And also rumor has it that witches themselves understand that there is power behind having your face shaved....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

#98- A: New Church Girl Theory (NCGT)-aka New Church Guy Theory. B: New Convert/Church Transfer Theory (NCT/NCTT)

Addendum: The first part is more intended for more of my apostolic peers of dating age (or perhaps if you are married, reflect back on those days when you were in hot pursuit of fellow future Wives and Husbands at youth rallys and in church and what not)

(Please note, in all of the below, the New Girl theory can be changed to the New Guy Theory)

I remember being in fourth grade and we had just gotten back to school from Christmas break and the whispers were making their way around the hallways: There was a new girl in our grade. And she was not just any new girl...she was hot! And as we anxiously waited for our own-first hand testimony of this rumor, we ate up every word from each person who confirmed the reports that we had heard of her attractiveness. Of course there were the naysayers who said the new girl was "alright" or "OK" but who were they to have an opinion anyway?

And then we saw the girl...and the reports were true...she was fantastic! Instantly the new girl was the prize of our grade who every guy wanted to call his girlfriend but were just too uninformed on how exactly to make this happen. She was the hot product for the remainder of the year. And then when we arrived in middle school she was quickly categorized from "hot" to "to be determined" with 40% of all females in the grade on account of the giant grab-bag of girls from all the different elementary schools arriving at once without order. This melting pot going into middle school is one of the most conflicting times for an individual as not only does the individual notl know where they think they stand amongst their peers, but they also don't know who is cool and who is not, and no one wants to pursue the opposite gender below their own social status in their grade. By the second semester of sixth grade the hot new girl from fifth grade was categorized to subpar. All of this without her looks changing that dramatically. What gives?

We may also use this scenario in a more generic sense when literally all four of the hot girls in our elementary school were suddenly downgraded to "kinda cute" after the "To be determined stage" simply because these girls really were not that hot after all. The girls who were once considered hot were easily overwhelmed by the girls who were either a) hotter than those girls or b)new girls

It was only in the context of our aesthetically deprived elementary school were the kinda cute girls considered hot. Hotness is truly relative. And lucky for the "kinda cute" girls, the "hot girls" niche was completely empty for them to fill in elementary school. It was once new girls were introduced into the picture as well as genuinely better looking girls then the "Hot girls" were instantly downgraded to their proper place in attractiveness...

This brings us first to the biggest theory: New Girl Theory-(can be used for guys as well)-New Girls look better than old girls (and we are not talking age). It's kind of like the University of Michigan Law School application where the school adds 25 points to the application simply for being african-american. If you're a new girl, you just automatically have a better chance of being attractive. This means new girls who are kinda cute can be considered hot. Hot girls who are new are considered Supermodel hot. And average new girls are upgraded to being cute.

In such scenarios, no one thinks to test the personality, intellect, or even history of the New Girl (she could be hot, but she could have a lot of baggage). Everyone treats the new girl as if she was a brand new barbie straight out of the package handed to us directly from God....

What this means: If you are new to a setting (if you are the new girl or new guy)-Find your spouse as quick as possible, because unless you really are divine, your attractiveness is going to go gradually down as you stay around longer in the setting (the carbonation will eventually go flat)

As to the New Church Girl Theory (NCGT)-the term we use for someone benefiting from this theory is "Church Girl Hot." such as...

A: Did you see Jim's girlfriend, she is hott.
B: No, she is just Church Girl Hot.

For the NCGT, when a girl or guy walks into church, that girl/guy is instantly considered attractive in some form (unless they are suffering from some bizarre bodily abnormalities). Church and church culture can get pretty monotonous. So when a new girl walks into church, instantly one's pituitary gland creates a remarkably large amount of endorphins in relation to this new female. This process causes your brain to tell you "yo, that female is someone new and could very well be our next future spouse, so we better get a closer look. And until you have had enough time to fully evaluate this possible future spouse, we are going to make her way more attractive than she really is as to cause you to pursue her with all your energy."

The NCG also benefits from a lack of resources of datable girls in the church. So instantly, any form of the opposite gender is going to be an infinite attractive difference than what existed previous her entry into church....or any other words: Your brain has evaluated every female within the church culture and has decided that none of the females are marriage (or date worthy) so any kind of female is better than no datable females....

And this is how we arrive at both the New Girl Theory and the New Church Girl Theory.

New Convert/New Church Transfer Theory

The New Convert Theory or New Church Transfer theory is pretty self-explanatory once introduced to the New Church Girl Theory. Except this theory doesn't take the New Person/Family at church down to an attraction level.

 Simply put everyone loves the new family or couple who transfers from the "Got too conservative/liberal of a church down  the road" to your church, the family who moved because of a job transfer or the new convert in your own church. They're not only a sign of the oncoming revival your church has been anticipating for so long, they are also a mode of validation of your own theology and church in a way, because if they are willing to put 10% of their income on the line and spend it at your church to hear your pastor every Sunday, your church must be doing something right.

But the New Convert/Church Transfer is something so precious. You may not even talk to the new people or you may do so with a over abundance of enthusiasm, but whatever the kind of interaction, you just don't want to ruin them. At the same note you don't want other people in your church to ruin them. You don't want anyone to tell them about standards for the time being as to offend them right out of church. You also don't want them to get the impression that everyone in the church is like crazy guy X who is a very-close talker and talks about weird stuff and greets you with a very over-enthusiastic "praise the Lord." You don't want to pollute the newbies minds as to see them leave the church as quickly as they arrived.

With that said, they are ultimately like a new car that has it's own unique smell for the first year or so after you get into the car (bonus points if it's leather). You really enjoy the novelty of the newness of both the car and new family. But after a while something in your brand starts taking both for granted and you just get used to the smell of the car/look and behavior of the new family and suddenly they aren't so new.

In the new car that turns old, it in a way goes from being something new and different to something that becomes a part of you as the driver and thus something that is a part of you does not have a separate uniqueness to it. In the same way, you get used to the new convert in your church. After a while it's like they have molded into an actual old pillar of the church as you yourself have been for far too long. You know longer see their opinion so precious since most likely their opinion is just like yours as a member of the church fully molded and joined together.....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

#97-Having a discussion of when it's the right time to start listening to Christmas Music

Okay, very briefly, I have heard more conversation of when is the right time to listen to Christmas music this year, than I heard of actual Christmas music all of last year. And it's annoying...

Here's the solution:

November 1st-Thanksgiving-It's a gray area. There is no absolute answer about this one. Postmodern young people like myself love gray areas, so the grayness of whether or not Christmas music is okay starting the day after Halloween until Thanksgiving is up for your own personal subjective opinion. And it's up to you to apply your personal opinion in truth. Just don't dare make your personal opinion absolute dogma that other people need to follow and try pulling some random verse meant for poetry in Psalms as a reason God doesn't like you  to listen to Christmas music this early. It's okay to say you have personal convictions that are not in the bible. Just don't get mad when someone who does not have the same personal conviction does the thing that you think God told you was wrong.

 Romans 14/ I Corinthians 8 says whatever conviction we have, follow that conviction unto the Lord, and whatever freedom you have found in Christ, be free in Christ. Stay true that what God has shown you. This means that if you have a personal conviction that Christmas music is wrong during the above time slot then don't compromise. Take the hard-line stance and get along with it. Please don't judge the other weaklings in the process who cannot hold out until the end of November and choose to start listening the moment someone flips over the calendar from October to November. At the same time, don't give in and compromise the truth which you have inherited from older generations after a week and a half into November simply because you saw someone who sings on the church platform drive into church blaring Christmas music. And no, it does not mean the person who listens to church music earlier than you think appropriate has any less of an anointing than you who holds harder convictions.

As for your November 1-Thanksgiving Christmas music listeners, Don't flaunt your newly Found freedom. If you know your brother thinks it is a conviction to listen to such music, don't go blaring the music while you are in that person's company. If you do, it will confuse them and cause them to gossip about you and the liberties you are taking. In short, your freedoms are becoming a stumbling block to others.

Thanksgiving-December 1-Everyone knows it's not a sin to start listening to Christmas music during this time. The minute thanksgiving dinner is over, you are free to listen without hesitation. However, we know that there are some in other churches who take the hardline stance and do think it's a sin to listen to Christmas music before December 1st. Your pastor does not listen to Christmas music during this time as to not offend the other pastors in the area, and he is completely okay with you listening to it though.

December 1 (The Old Guard)-Thank you for carrying on the tradition of the Christmas music of past generations. Without you our denomination would not be able to celebrate the Christmas season like Apostolics do. Without your convictions of trying to be safe rather than sorry when we pull out our Christmas music, our Christmas time would be as muddled looking and bland as those charismatic big building churches down the street who probably started listening to Christmas music at the Fall equinox at the end of September. Perhaps without you, we would be referring to Christmas as X-mas (*gasp*).

But folks, from one early-Christmas music listener to fellow Apostolics, I want to say that I am only listening to it in parts (no more than 15 minutes a day). I am showing some restraint, although I must say that restraint has slowly been slipping a little more every day. But it is nearing Christmas season when we call can celebrate without hesitation, so let's be glad!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


On the eve of this most tragic evenings, at the dawn of the theatrical release of the newest Twilight installment ("Emperor's New Moon"), I thought it best we pay homage to the one of the most confusing infiltrations of Apostolic culture since Whitney Houston did the Preacher's Wife....

First, let me be the first to say that I have never seen Twilight. I am not fond of vampires. I am not fond of vegetarians. And I hate people who sparkle when the sunlight hits them. I am therefore am especially not a fan of vegetarian vampires who sparkle in the sunlight.

Personally I would have been satisfied with the whole "romantic-vampire" genre being retired after the atrocities of Interview with the Vampire/Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie)..... But hey, who am I to judge?

That said, I have some distinct memories when Twilight first entered the apostolic scene: First, it had come on the heels of the conclusion of the Harry Potter saga, and we all know a primary purpose of the Harry Potter series was to compromise our precious apostolic truth by polluting the minds of our innocent youth through tales of witchery and sorcery and emo-looking boy witches.

That said, the question was, while Harry Potter was an obvious taboo for Apostolics all over, was the swithcheroo of witches for effeminate vegtarian vampires a simple subversive satanic ploy to imprison the minds of our dear children all the more so? After all what is wrong with vampires? And Romance? But we all knew what was really happening, the devil was in the details, and the details was Edward Cullen. 

Of course ultimately, we came to realize that in terms of morally, there was nothing wrong with Twilight. The ones who seemed to consider Twilight bad in a spiritual sense were probably the same people who thought the Lord of the Rings trilogy as demonic (despite it being a very Christian story by a very Christian author)....

Another hilarious observation was for the first few months after the movie came out, there was the distinction between the true elitist Twilight fans who actually read the book by Stephanie Meyer (complete with weird chess piece cover) and the the bandwagon fans who were satisfied with the movie alone. It was like the book readers were completely embarrassed by the amount of mass popularity of Twilight so they had to find someway to separate themselves and that arrived in the form of something to the effect of "the book is sooooo much better. I don't even think Edward Cullen is that cute."

That said, 
So what IS so fascinating about the storyline about the movie and apostolics? Sure it maintains worldwide success, but Lord knows that it has been surprisingly successful amongst apostolic females everywhere.

So what is up with the popularity? 

To be fare and balanced (like Fox News (chuckle))..... I have decided to let a self decribed twilight fan, Rachel Tripolone all the way from Sydney, Australia explain why she believes the Twilight series so popular amongst our endearing Apostolic young ladies who strive for nothing but God's will in their life (including prince Charming):

Well the very fact that it is more of an impossible romance story than all about fangs and blood… although there are vampire themes. It’s a boy meets girl story with a supernatural twist. Plus there are moral and social lessons to be learnt from Twilight; lessons such as accepting the ‘different’ kinds of people in our social networks/lives and rejecting the 'different' people that aren't helpful to our journey. Also, they take a totally different approach to being a Vampire. I mean, they’re vegetarian vampires for crying out loud.  This family of Vampires chose not to eat humans in order to eliminate any stereotype of traditional vampires as blood sucking monsters.

Plus, I think it’s the theme of a Bad vampire guy who’s not really a bad vampire at all… he’s a good vampire!So I guess… the girls are attracted to guys that seem bad or that were bad… and now are good. (I suppose that’s what the apostolic girls want in an apostolic man) If that makes sense? Girls feel a certain sympathy towards Edward as he didn't have a choice when he became a vampire. PLUS, there's another character (jacob Black - he's a werewolf) which makes this an interesting, yet twisted, love-triangle; and let's face it every girl wants to be fought over by multiple of guys.

Apostolic girls enjoy it because I guess it’s more about the lack of sexual themes/scenes that are ‘normally’ in a love story. There are also references to abstaining while in the relationship- so I guess that’s always a brownie point with Christian Girls. (Why do you think the Jonas Brothers are also a big hit?)

However, to set a myth straight, Twilight does not specifically say that Edward Cullen is a virgin, although the author depicts this character to be ‘old-fashioned’ and he declines Bella’s invitation to make babies before they are officially married. :) Which suggests that the fictional male character also has the utmost respect for the female character hence their love is stronger and more passionate without making love in the end book, once they are finally married (Sorry to kill it for you readers).

At that note the dear friend decided to go on a one sentence tirade of how absurd it was that I could blog about a film/book that I have never watched/read, but yet I could form concrete cynical opinions about....

And I guess there are some things each one of us would rather stand ignorant of and as a result be judgmental over without ever actually understanding that thing. I simply chose to be ignorant of sparkling vampires...

In conclusion: Edward the vampire is so popular not just because of his devilishly good looks but also because he has a heart and has some strong personal standards that he will not compromise. Now if only he was called to be a pastor, and then we'd end up with the perfect Apostolic-guy...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

#95- Using "apostolic" and/or "pentecostal" as adjectives to decribe arbitrary nouns

 Housekeeping note:  First, expect to see posts from a 4th blogger on the site...Kyle Brown. I don't know much about him but know that he will be a valuable voice within this community complete with snarky commentary on anything you may witness at your local church culture..

to the post...

The following is quoted directly from a friend ...

Using the words "apostolic" and/or "pentecostal" as adjectives to decribe arbitrary nouns as if declaring something "apostolic/pentecostal" increases the overall value of that thing.
For example...Apostolic worship, Pentecostal singing, or We're going to to to the restaurant to eat "apostolic pentecostal" style....
Apostolic pepsi
Apostolic clothing
Apostolic pentecostal marriage

Also:  sometimes words like "charasmatic", "baptist", "secular",  is used as an adjective to decrease the value of a noun.
For example a preacher may, when trying to probe for a clap or amen, say....  I know i'm not in a "Baptist" service tonight!
Or, someone describing someone's look may say... She dresses like she's "Charasmatic", she needs to get a more "apostolic" wardrobe...

I am completely on board with this one...essentially the terms "Apostolic" or "Pentecostal" are becoming trump cards to maintain a mysterious kind of  superiority over other kinds of competing mechanisms, be it contrasting old fashion Apostolic preaching with  the dullness of a methodist lecture, an Apostolic hair style with a kind of secular looking hair style, or even contrasting Apostolic mountain climbing with secular mountain climbing (see picture)....

If you ever want to win an argument...simply talk down to the opposing argument as being "Charismatic" and maintaining that your argument is the "Apostolic way"...which really means that if Paul were here to do, he would be supporting you in an argument over the other argument, no matter how much actual scripture is mentioned....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

#94-E-Mail forwards about naive and/or dying children, courageous soldiers, and how atheists are kicking God out of America

I don't understand this phenomenon and it's been around since the beginning of the internet...

Basically all these chain e-mail forwards look like are old geocity websites made into an e-mail complete with a handful of useless GIF images of angels.......

As referenced in the title, all these chain-emails revolve around is either

  • A story about a child dying with cancer whose life can be saved by every e-mail you forward, 
  • A cute story of an innocent child having a distorted perception of the world that makes you say awwww (such as a child giving blood to someone in need but thinking the giving of the blood would actually kill the giving child).
  • The dangers of universal health care.
  • A story that quotes a letter from a soldier in Iraq about how sick the soldiers are of the liberals who hate George Bush and how appreciative the soldiers are of support and how they love America.
  • A story about how a law is being proposed that will take even more prayer out of schools, God out of the pledge of allegiance, how Obama is a socialist, and how the Founding Fathers wanted everyone to have the holy ghost, and how the government is trying to ban bibles everywhere.
  • A completely illogical argument about an atheist professor bullying his students only to be completely embarrassed. (quite similar to the equally false story about Einstein calling his atheist teacher out about Evil being the absence of God argument)
In response to these E-mails you are asked to show your support for either dying children, childhood innocence, America, the American flag, the soldiers who risk their lives in Iraq, and God. You are to offer such support by forwarding the e-mail to an X number of recipients.

If you do not forward such e-mails you are supporting cancer, killing children, supporting terrorism, and hating God. If you are not the solution by forwarding the stories, you are part of the problem by not passing the stories on.

But really what all this amounts to is that there is a giant conspiracy theory for God-hating democrats to take over the world and they do this by killing as many soldiers as possible by allowing terrorists to roam Iraq and America freely and also kill as many children as possible by forcing them to stop praying in school and start receiving universal health care that in reality gives them cancer and autism by all the needles that are given through this universal health care.

And all of the above make the e-mail forwarder feel that it is their sole responsibility to save America and God by obeying the forwarding demands of the e-mail.

It does not matter if the stories are completely made up (who cares about, we are going to believe them true and thus allow these e-mails to create a false sense of paranoia in our lives about the ever-increasing reality of the destruction of God in our century....and we're going to do our part....Just click Forward to everyone in your addressbook....

What I ultimately want to know is who is the creep writing these emails? What sick and twisted condition are they in to actually get a kick out making up a story about how Janet Reno thinks Christians are in a cult  Who thinks of these things? And will the world actually explode if all the email forwards stop?

And if you are one of those e-mails forwarders who spends your mornings and afternoons dropping off and picking up your kids from school, and in between you are reading and forwarding stories sent to you from your Aunt Martha who really thinks all the internet is good for is for e-mailing forwarded advice to you is, please stop....

There is nothing worse than having to take a few seconds out of each and every day to open up a forwarded e-mail about some missionary who is in a prison from some foreign government and to scroll down and to see that if I don't witness to my friends about this missionaries story, then I will find out that when I get to judgement day I will find out that God stopped forgiving my sins....

Monday, November 9, 2009


Handkerchiefs may seem like an insignificant church extra at first glance (unlike ties and, in some places, pantyhose) but, in fact, they are used for several holy, distinctly Apostolic purposes. Here are three of the most significant reasons Apostolics like handkerchiefs:

Wiping Off Preacherly Sweat
The true worth of a message is measured by the amount of sweat produced by the deliverer. Especially if it's a convention speaker. C'mon. We Apostolics know good and well that if going to a convention, especially if we had to travel a little ways to get there, we didn't go to hear some man (and it's always a man, unless it's Ladies' Conference or something) give a calm lecture. We went to hear the preacher preach. Youknaaimsayin? And when the preacher preaches, really preaches, there will be stomping, there will be yelling, there will be heavy breathing (directly into the mic), but most of all, there will be sweat. No preacher worth his salt would dare grace the hallowed platform without his handkerchief to whip out to mop his brow in medias res.

The Wave Offering
Before the preacher gets into the message, a holy hush may wash over the congregation. More often than not, it's in the wake of a song that "ushers in" the spirit of worship. (Note: Fast songs usher in the spirit of praise, slow songs usher in the spirit of worship.) After a few spiritual shivers, the service leader or the preacher himself may give a general call for a "wave offering" unto the Lord. Since it's unlikely anyone would have barley sheaves or hunks of ram shoulder on hand to wave around in the air, most people will just move their hands to and fro. But the truly sanctified among us who are prepared to do wave offerings the right way will pull out handkerchiefs. There's just something about waving around a white handkerchief that makes things more dignified and righteous.

Hankies for the Sick
And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them (Acts 19: 11-12).

Some of us do exactly what this scripture says and send handkerchiefs to those who are sick. In my neck of the woods, we anoint them and pray over them first (a slight addition to the Acts account) and off the sanctified hankie goes to do its thing. (Though we know it's not the handkerchief itself that has any power . . . right? . . . right?)

Handkerchiefs, may you assume your rightful place among needful Apostolic church paraphernalia.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

#92-The Early Approacher

The sermon is wrapping up. The preacher has asked you all to stand. He’s making his final comments and…what’s this? It appears conviction has settled upon the audience to such a great degree that one young chap can no longer wait. He goes for it. He slowly makes his stride toward the altar as the preacher continues. And then another. The another.

All the while you’re left standing in your pew pondering. “Do I go? Do I stay? Do I wait for the official call? I don’t want to look backslidden, but I don’t want to look over eager either. What to do, what to do.”

Such instances regularly occur at convocations where numerous church congregations are gathered together, but not necessarily in every church on and individual basis. The over-enthused young gentleman is not a novelty of every church, like the sleeper, but he does exist in one out of three, at least.

From whence does his charisma/enthusiasm come? Is it a desperate conviction laid forth by the Word that just went forth? Is he hoping to catch the gleaning eye of potential future mates in attendance? Is he slow? One may never know the reason for the early approacher’s early approach but we do know this: he, not the preacher, decides when the altar call will be, and this right is to be cherished.

(Side note: Joel said not to be too sarcastic or demeaning, as my humor tends to be quite confrontational, but I can’t help but ask the reason for the following:
WHY is there always one young lass who always lays down at the altar? Everyone else knees or stands but it seems there’s always one overly dramatic boy who can’t touch Heaven without his face three inches from hell. Maybe it’s just a local thing, but I’ve always wondered, because I never really have the desire to sprawl out on the floor, but maybe that’s just me. Any opinions?)