Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Pair of Pervasive Myths

I am a somewhat regular reader of, a site dedicated to determining the validity of myths and Urban Legends. The site does a great job of researching and tracking down the origins of these myths to prove their validity or invalidity. Allow me to share 2 with you that I'm sure you have heard in the last year.

1. The Starbucks Myth

It was a few months ago a lady I know was all in a huff because her friend had heard on the radio that some American Troops had asked Starbucks to donate some coffee to the troops. Starbucks response was paraphrased as "We don't support the war and we don't support you so leave us alone!" She began to tell how her friends had already begun to boycott Starbucks for their stance.

There is just one problem with the story...It's Not True! Snopes has traced the original email back to its author and communicated with him. The story is false. We don't know of any request for coffee for troops being made, but if it was, Starbucks would not donate because they have a company policy to only donate to non-profit organizations. They make it clear that they do support the troops over seas and here in America.

2. The Cell Phone/Telemarketer Myth

"Today is the day," she said. "Today is the day that telemarketers are allowed to call your cell phones. But it's okay, I have already registered my number with the 'do not call list'." Had this woman at the conference I was at known that she had been told a false myth, she probably would not have spread a false rumor.

The truth is that there are already FCC laws in place that block the bulk of telemarketing calls anyway. There is no agency you have to register with to keep your number safe, nor is there a deadline you need to try and make. Telemarketers are not coming to our cell phones anytime soon. So, the next time you get one of those email or hear someone talking about it, you can rest easy.

The Pervasiveness of myths in our society is troubling, but so is our willingness to believe them. I am training myself to be a skeptic of almost everything that I hear, because a large chunk of it is bull. It kills me to know that I have circulated myths, even frivolous ones, in the past. I should stand for truth wherever I find it.

Until next time, friends, tell the truth.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

An Interesting Demographic Tool

A number of months ago the Church Relevance blog posted about Yahoo!'s Neighborhood Profiles tool. It turns out it is a very usefull tool. I look at it for a number of reasons, but particularly for ministry purposes and personal curiosity. It covers income, size, weather, cost of living etc. If you are thinking of moving, it is a must.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

So, In The Aftermath...

...Of getting a tattoo, I know that as I show more people, eventually someone is going to make an offhanded comment about "Do you know what the Bible says about getting tattoos?" There are several replys that I could try on, perhaps the simplist being "Do YOU know what the Bible says about tattoos?" In the Old Testament there are 2 types of laws/rules: purity laws and moral laws. The purity laws are things like don't eat pork or shellfish. The moral laws are things like the 10 Commandments. I, therefore, have compiled a list of other rules in the same section of Leviticus that must be true if the verse on tattoos is still binding today. Here are some of them:

Do not mate different kinds of animals. Sorry dog lovers who own a mut. Fluffy has to go.

Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. No planting tomatos and peppers in your garden.

Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. Check your shirt!

Do not eat any meat with blood still in it. Better go well done on all steaks and burgers.

Do not cut the hair on the sides of your head or clip the sides of your beard. Grooming habits back then must have been scary.

Rise in the presence of the aged. A good rule, but we dont stand when they enter the room now, do we?

Do not hold back the wages of a hired man overnight. I get paid twice a month; does that mean the church is sinning?!!

All of these commands come in the same chapter, Leviticus chapter 19, as the verse talking about tatoos. There are also commands that make sense, like do not steal or practice sorcery. But, the reality is that many of these purity codes were to keep the Israelites from associating with pagan peoples who would lead them into idolatry and away from their God. In fact, we see them compromise these many times (Saul and Soloman for example) and they almost always turn to idols. So, we are left to ask some tough questions: which laws are cultural purity laws that Jesus did away with, and which are still true? I think we are best off looking to the New Testament for most of our practice commands, and make wise judgement calls after that. Our conscience as a community will guide us.

Thanks for reading.