Thursday, February 07, 2008

chuck smith, c.s.s.: the lost transcripts

chuck smith, c.s.s.: thank you for calling lightway, how can i serve you?

customer: i recently bought 45 copies of the purpose driven life for a fundraising event at my church and i'd like to return the unsold copies.

chuck smith, c.s.s.: i'm sorry ma'am, we don't accept returns that result from poor sales. we'd suggest selling the remaindered copies at a steep discount or distributing the copies to the homeless community in your area. lord knows the latter group could use a little purpose.

customer: but we sold these copies in order to support a short-term mission trip to the dominican republic. if have to eat the cost of these copies the money will come straight out of our mission budget. can't you make an exception in this case.

chuck smith, c.s.s.: sorry ma'am. our return policy is as immutable as the easily discernible election of God. allow me to commend you, however, for spending a few days of your summer serving the under-evangelized people of the dominican. i've heard that there are still a few barrios on the island that haven't had an opportunity to experience the veggietown vbs or be touched by a pantomimed re-enactment of the passion of Christ this year. thank you for doing your part.

customers thank you for supporting our mission. can we continue discussing the matter at hand?

chuck smith, c.s.s.: no need to do that ma'am. what is written is written. did your team spend your tourist days exploring haiti? last time i visited the cafes of port-au-prince, i was overwhelmed by the quality of service and incredibly low prices. say what you want about poverty, but it sure produces an affordable fine dining experience!
customer: chuck, i'm tired of you giving me the run-around and denigrating the significant sacrifices our team made to share the gospel. let me speak to your manager.

chuck smith, c.s.s.: my manager is going to give you the same story about the returns, but if it's caesar you want... please hold one moment.

hold music: "when i think about my God. i don't have to think about her bod. she might not have hindquarters of glory, but she calls out the name and she knows the story! when i think about..."

chuck smith, c.s.s.: cough, cough. this is mr. manager, how can i help you?

customer: mr. manager?

chuck smith, c.s.s.:
yes, i mean, this is michael, customer service manager. how can i help you?

thank you for taking my call. i would like to return 45 copies of the purpose driven life that our mission team has left over from last summer's fund-raiser.

chuck smith, c.s.s.:
i'm sorry ma'am. we don't accept returns of remaindered copies, but just for calling us today we'd like to offer you free primary shipping on your next purchase of $35 or more. in addition, i'd like to take a minute to tell you just a little about our thursday morning specials. right now we have michael savages' new expose of the obama candidacy, wahhabi in the white house for just $7.99 and john eldredges' eager heart: positioning your wife for passionate rescue for just $5.49. which of these specials interests you today?

no, i'm not interested in any specials and i can't believe your ridiculous return policy. i'm sure that amazon would allow me to return with no questions asked.

chuck smith, c.s.s.:
well ma'am, if you want to do business with the money changers of the world, we're not going to stop you.

this is the last time i will be purchasing from you.

chuck smith, c.s.s.:
thank you for shopping in the light! we'll be sure to forward you the coupon for the free shipping and will look forward to serving you again soon.

Monday, February 04, 2008

overheard: evangelicals a liberal can love

in this morning's online edition of the nyt, op-ed columnist nicholas kristof calls for bleeding heart liberals to reach out and "build a common cause with bleeding heart conservatives." throughout the short piece kristof introduces the readers to the exponential influence evangelicals such as rick warren are having on global poverty initiatives and celebrates - along with so many of us - the long belated death of the religious right.

much like kristof, i am excited by the recent sea change in evangelical priorities and have been both encouraged and challenged by the great work organizations such as saddleback church and the international justice mission are doing throughout the world. however, as a churchman, i cannot help but fear that the leadership in many evangelical churches will utilize the current interest in social justice as merely a means to catalyze "growth" in their attraction oriented churches. if our churches passionately sound forth Christ's call for justice and liberation (see Lk. 4:16-21) but fail to challenge our congregants to realign their economic, social and spiritual lives so that they can act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God, then our sermons and lessons will simply be a sophisticated example of oratory intended to tickle our people's ears.

by God's grace, because of Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit, may the evangelical church not only lift up the call for justice, but live as a people of justice in a profoundly unjust world.

read more of kristof's article here