Archive for the ‘Idiot Friday’ Category

Typically, when I talk with someone about matters of faith, the conversation ends before I get to the part about breaking baseball bats over my leg, or smashing a pile of cement blocks with my forehead. I suppose if you get deep enough into systematic theology at some of the better seminaries, those topics come up.

To understand The Power Team, you have to forget all sense of logic and … well, even then, I’m not sure there’s a good way to explain The Power Team. Their mission statement includes this: “Drawing people from all walks of life together into one setting, through the use of performing visually explosive feats of strength, by incredible athletes, who share the life-changing message of the cross.”

Uh, OK. I guess I get it: They’re a troupe that uses high-octane entertainment to whip up the crowd, and then at the end of the evening they body-slam them (see what I did there?) with the Gospel. “Look, honey. That muscle-bound guy just blew up a hot water bottle until it exploded in his face. Now there’s a faith I can use!”

Think about Christian believers in a place like Libya or Saudi Arabia, who have to gather secretly and who risk imprisonment and even death for their faith. Think about Christians right now in Egypt, who are living their faith under threat of attack and murder by militant groups. How, exactly, would American Christians explain something like The Power Team to those believers?

I wouldn’t even know where to start. Except to apologize.

However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

Oh, and that one radio minister in Oakland, Calif.

— Matthew 24:36 (2011 expanded version)

It’s been another damage-control week for Christians, after the news media and pop culture have seized upon the predictions of one Harold Camping and his Family Radio Network. In case you’ve been hiding in your fortified bunker and haven’t heard, Camping is convinced the Rapture will happen at 6 p.m. Saturday. He also has a lot of money. So, he’s been buying billboards, radio ads and newspaper ads to warn people.

Not much more need be said about self-appointed prophets of doom with their prophecy charts and mathematical calculations. See our previous post: Say Cheese. Also see: Leeroy Jenkins.

But …

I must have heard or read a dozen conversations this week along the lines of, “If this was your last day on earth, what would you do?” This is not a bad question to ask oneself periodically. Movies like “The Bucket List” have posed it, only with the protagonists given quite a bit more time.

With only one day’s notice, your options diminish.

Would I travel? If I wanted to go anywhere exotic, I’d end up spending the whole day in an airport or on a plane. So that’s out.

Would I make a sign that says “Repent! The End is Near” and hang out at a busy intersection (which is basically what our friend Mr. Camping has been doing)? Nah. What impact am I going to have on a bunch of strangers who think I’m a nut?

Would I go 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu? Only if I wanted to spend my last day on earth in a hospital.

The one-day-to-live question actually may be a better question than the six-months-to-live question. Because it doesn’t allow for any planning, any wild trips to Vegas or Mount Everest, or even any methodical charity. You have one day. The way you’ve lived your life up until now is really all you have to draw on.

Would I spend the day with loved ones, not doing anything crazy or expensive, but just letting them know how much they mean to me? I think so. And I think a lot of other people would, too.

See, if I treat my faith like fire insurance, the one-day question becomes a lot more important than it should. Then I’m thinking: “I’d better use my last day to make up for lost time and get right with God.” Whereas, if I live intentionally and with a sense that, really, ANY day could be my last … then whether I have one day left or 20,000, it doesn’t make a big difference. I’m already right with God. I’ve shared that with as many people as I could. I have cultivated friendships and lived my faith in front of people instead of pounding them over the head with it from a safe distance.

So, yes, I do believe Jesus will return one day, as the Bible says. I also believe Mr. Camping is a nut. But if his doomsday predictions have indirectly caused people to ponder important questions, maybe he’s done some good after all. Even if we’re all still here on Sunday.

One of the advantages of doing a blog on WordPress is that you get stats on site visits. We can’t tell who visits, but we can see what pages people looked at and how they got there.

This week, the following Google searches somehow brought people to this blog:

“planning for overflow attendance at church”

OK, that one I get. I’m sure we were no help whatsoever, but thanks for stopping by.

“ruined casino”

It wasn’t our fault. Honest.

“dsc leg sex”

Sorry to disappoint you, sir or madam. And good luck.

And finally…

“saddam pictures underpants”

Hmm. Apparently, in one post I mentioned both the Iraqi dictator and the greatly unappreciated “Captain Underpants” literary series. Do this Google search and you’ll find … weird photos of Saddam Hussein in his tighty whities.

And now you’ll also find us. Twice.

Melt Nazis at Your Desk

Posted: January 7, 2011 by Jim Killam in Idiot Friday, pop culture
Tags: , , ,

We’re too late for Christmas, but next time you need a little something special for the person who has everything, we can pretty much guarantee they don’t have this. It’s a miniature Ark of the Covenant for the home or office, it’s only $12.95 and the Archie McPhee company promises “you’ll have no more trouble from Nazi archaeologists if you keep your Ark handy.” It’s not intended for children. Later, though, comes the disclaimer, “Wrath of God not included.”

The web page for this fine product lists other products they think we may like, based on this selection. These include not only the Moses Action Figure, but also a latex stuffed rat, horse head wall decoration and conehead mask. This shapes up as one memorable party.

I Resolve …

Posted: December 31, 2010 by Jim Killam in Idiot Friday

Here in the Overflow Room, we don’t put a lot of stock in New Year’s Resolutions. But, with New Year’s Rockin’ Eve coinciding with Idiot Friday, we’ve decided to break with this blog’s long tradition (2010-2010) and set out 10 sample items worth considering for your 2011 to-do list.  Feel free to add your own.

In 2011 …

I will start smoking, then quit.

I will try to read the entire Bible front to back, but probably will stop somewhere around Leviticus.

I will not go anywhere near American Samoa on the second Thursday in May (no particular reason).

I will break Pat Robertson’s world leg-lift record, then brag about it on my own talk show.

I will not utter the word “Smuckers.”

I will finally get that tattoo of a snake on my face.

When traveling in foreign countries, I will insist on being called “Your Excellency” and being carried around on a chair.

My car-repair bills will not exceed the gross domestic product of Cuba.

I will avoid going to the gym in January, until after the New Year’s Resolution crowds thin out.

I will give up liver, Brussels sprouts and turnips. Also beef tongue.

What’s your list?

Idiot Friday: Angels and Snuggies

Posted: December 9, 2010 by Jim Killam in Idiot Friday
Tags: , , ,

So I was working on a talk for church this Sunday, Week 3 of Advent, and I read Luke 2 in the New Living Translation. The angel says to the shepherds:

“And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Except I misread it as: “You will find a baby wrapped in snuggly strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Which got me thinking: Could the Snuggie have been biblically inspired? Could I have stumbled onto material for the next Dan Brown novel?

So I Googled “Jesus” and “Snuggie.”

Here is the search result:

As mentioned before: We call it Idiot Friday for a reason.

Check out the serial number.

My daughter works at a pizza place, and confirms the unfortunate rumor that Christians often are the worst tippers. And, sometimes instead of a cash tip, they’ll say, “And this is for you,” and hand her a gospel tract. Her favorite is the million-dollar bill, designed to look (sort of) like real money, with a portrait of President James Garfield. The lucky recipient is treated to a tiny-print plan of salvation.

Along with using these as cheapskate tips, people also strategically place million-dollar bills on sidewalks, in public restrooms, even between items on grocery-store shelves. Later, someone spots it, momentarily thinks it’s real money, picks it up and looks at it, then slams it back down in anger. It’s not unlike the grade-school prank of attaching a dollar bill to a fishing line and yanking it away just as someone reaches for it.

I haven’t done the research, but anecdotally I’d guess that for every non-Christian who reads a million-dollar bill and feels drawn to Christ, there are, oh, a few thousand who feel more certain than ever that Christians are total loons.

I’m not saying tracts have absolutely no place in evangelism. The better ones (few and far between) can be a helpful tool in explaining the gospel to a friend. But too often they’re used like the military used to use propaganda leaflets – dropping them anonymously from airplanes behind enemy lines.

When people crumple a tract in anger upon receiving it and realizing they’ve been tricked, that’s not the gospel they’re offended by. It’s the delivery.