A trillion dollar tip

To say I’m not a fan of the Way of the Master evangelism methodology is an understatement. The name is misleading – unless by “Master” they mean Kirk Cameron or Ray Comfort. Because Jesus didn’t evangelise the way they suggest you evangelise. I share their enthusiasm for the great commission, and for looking for opportunities to evangelise, but to suggest that all proclamations of the gospel should begin with a proclamation of the predicament that requires the gospel is a little misleading (check out their “how to botch an altar call” article.

I don’t like their methodology. I’d say that for every one person they lead to the cross they’ve turned away significantly more by the way they present the message. They’re seasoned with hot chilli, rather than salt.

And perhaps the bit I don’t like most of all is their money tract. Used by cheap Christians instead of tipping all over the US. It’s products like this trillion dollar bill that make me glad I don’t live in the states, because I can’t imagine having to try explaining the lack of monetary tip to the waitress who has done a great job of serving a customer only to be left one of these in the place of actual money:

You can’t pay for your groceries with one of these – and yet there are bozos out there (and I’ve spoken to a few Christian waitstaff who have been given these) who leave these as a substitute for a tip. Perhaps because they’ve actually bought each Trillion Dollar Bill for $5. Here. Buy some of my fake money for $5. That’s a get rich quick scheme.

Ray Comfort suggests that this note is actually a “light hearted way to get the message across” – which it could potentially be, if the message on the back was an invitation to start building a relationship with a church that teaches about Jesus. Instead the blurb on the back reads:

“The trillion-dollar question: Will you go to Heaven when you die? Here’s a quick test. Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything, or used God’s name in vain? Jesus said, “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Have you looked with lust? Will you be guilty on Judgment Day? If you have done those things, God sees you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous adulterer at heart. The Bible warns that if you are guilty you will end up in Hell.”

That’s the opening. Now. It’s all true. And they do get to Jesus. Eventually – but who is going to keep reading? I know one guy who was converted reading some tracts, but only after he’d spent so much time with the lady who gave them to him that he thought “maybe I should read that stuff she gave me”…

Here’s where the blurb goes next.

“God, who the Bible says is “rich in mercy” sent His Son to suffer and die on the cross for guilty sinners. We broke God’s Law, but Jesus paid our fine. That means He can legally dismiss our case. He can commute our death sentence: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Then He rose from the dead and defeated death. Please, repent (turn from sin) today and God will grant everlasting life to all who trust in Jesus. Then read your Bible daily and obey it.”

God loves you. He paid the price. Turn to Jesus. Trust and obey. Great. That’s the gospel. (though it does have huge potential to become pretty legalistic, doesn’t it? Is daily Bible reading really required for those who trust in Jesus?).

There is just so much wrong with the strategy behind this. It completely fails to understand the importance of medium in presenting a message. It’s just awful. How any Christian can not see how important and related medium and message are when we worship the Lord Jesus, God’s word become flesh, is beyond me. If that’s not a case of medium and message being all wrapped up together I don’t know what is.

The problem isn’t just “strategic” – in reacting against something bad (sloppy presentations of an “all loving God”) these guys have gone to the other extreme. And I’d like to see a passage in the Bible where Jesus deals with an outsider by treating them as an outsider. I’m writing an exegesis paper on the story of Zacchaeus today, where a corrupt outcast meets Jesus, who doesn’t turn to him and say “Zacc, you’re a horrible sinner and you must repent before I’ll have anything to do with you.” No. He says: “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” And then Zacchaeus responds by repenting. I just don’t get the “way of the master” part of the act of handing out fake money that tells people they’re going to Hell.

Serving the waiters

Christians make terrible tippers at restaurants. Especially when they leave fake money evangelism tracts.

It’s when I read stories like this that I am glad tipping at restaurants is not part of Australian culture. And I don’t have a ‘Jesus Fish’ for the same reason. Being a public delinquent in your car is bad enough – without telling everybody that the guy who just cut them off or glared/honked at them is a Christian.

In Justin Taylor’s post he shares some “tips” for how restaurant visitors can provide a positive Christian interaction… how do you reckon these would go down in Australia…

1. Be friendly. Tell them you will be praying before your meal, Ask if you can pray for them. If body language, tone of voice and time permits, ask if there is anything specific.

2. Pray for them.

3. Leave a good tip.

Footy tipping tips for people who have no interest in the game

Some would say that speaking without thinking is fraught with danger – not so, says I. Footy tipping on instinct is a sure fire way to the top of the office tipping charts – but which instincts do we trust – and where do we turn a blind eye?

In my day to day conversations with people from all walks of life – be it the traditional office “water cooler” conversation, or random eavesdropping via discretely planted listening devices I’ve discovered a shared concern regarding footy tipping protocol and how to “back a winner” – While I have a proven track record as a failed tipper – more inclined to tip with heart than head, I am a trained observer and have kept records of a number of successful oddball methods guaranteed to spice up your weekly efforts.

The Inter-Mascot Blood Bath

Method One is the much maligned but highly successful strategy of imagining each match as a death match between mascots. This approach has anecdotal supporting evidence (some would say circumstantial) when it comes to the plight of the aptly inept South Sydney Rabbitohs. (A bunny of course is unlikely to experience success against anything but the most out of comfort opponent, unfortunately the Canberra Carrots missed out to the much more intimidating Raiders.

What must be considered at this point is the “home field” advantage – a Shark (Cronulla) does not enjoy the biological advantage over a tiger (West Tigers) on land that it would in an aquatic setting, while in reversed circumstances the tables turn somewhat – this is a vital consideration when entering your tips. The Storm obviously have a natural advantage over all but the Titans (who enjoy some godlike control over the elements) – however some storms are less serious and deadly than others and certain teams enjoy natural protection (the Eels, Sharks and potentially the Knights – provided their armour is stainless steel – a must for modern chivalry. The electrical conductivity of stainless steel is an issue which would require a more scientific mind). Under this methodology “human” teams (Knights, Raiders, Cowboys, Warriors, Titans) have an advantage over most other teams at home – however will probably struggle when it comes to those who can attack unseen in their home territory (Dragons, Eels, Sharks, Panthers, Bulldogs, Tigers… potentially the Broncos – although stampedes are rare and rodeo related casualties are rarities these days). The Sea Eagles can attack from the air with sharp talons and beady eyed eagerness, but even the humble Bulldog could cause them great pain in confined spaces. The Rabbitohs and Roosters will be lucky to win a game – but that’s probably a fair reflection of reality.

So for Round 1:

The Storm should blow the Tigers away

The Broncos will buck the Cowboys in a bruiser

The Warriors will harpoon the Eels

The Sharks will snap the Panthers

The Sea Eagles will peck the eyes out of the Raiders

The Knights will cut the Bulldogs to pieces

The Dragons will roast the Titans

The Roosters and Rabbitohs will haplessly wander around until either the bunny develops Monty Pythonesque properties or the Roosters get their talons in…

Until next time – happy tipping.

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