Food and Drink hmm... thoughts

Christians are Bad Tippers

Photo by garryknight via Flickr
Photo by garryknight via Flickr

The other day I was reading Steve Dublanica’s blog, Waiter Rant, in which he had a post entitled “Who are the worst tippers? Essentially, Steve was querying his reading audience… people who make most of their money from tips… who are the worst tippers.

And the comments were revealing.

There seem to be two kinds of bad tippers in the United States.

  1. People from countries where they don’t tip.
  2. The after church crowd.

But the worst? Sunday Church goers who sit for hours and hours and leave 3 bucks on a $40 bill.

What does that say about believers that we think so little of the people who serve us that we, as a people group, are known as cheap?

‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25:45

Let’s review. Here’s a link to some tipping ettiquette. This is what is expected, to not do at least this is rude.

If you are going to go to lunch after church and hang out for an extended period of time, it is also customary to double tip on your table since the server is actually losing another table because you’ve stayed so long.

Let’s presume that we, as a people group, are doing this because we just don’t know any better. But now that you know that “we” are known as bad tippers, I’d hope “we” adjust our behavior accordingly. I’d hate to presume that we really are cheap jerks!

Church Leadership

Podcasts for Preachers


Since April, I’ve been a regular commuter using San Diego’s excellent public transit system. Essentially, it takes me an hour to get to work and I use this as me time. While walking, riding my bike, standing on the platform, or riding the trolley I am typically listening to music or podcasts.

My weekly repertoire includes exactly zero “Christian” podcasts. (Unless you count my own!) What I’ve found that I enjoy listening to most are shows that tell stories really, really well. The other day it hit me that some of the shows I listen to every week would actually be excellent to listen to for those who craft messages each week.

So, here’s my list of shows I’d recommend preachers listen to in order to sharpen their delivery: (add you own in the comments)

1. This American Life. I’ve joked around in saying that Ira Glass is the best preacher in America. Clearly, Ira is not a pastor– he’s Jewish. But TAL regularly tells the best stories out there. The pace, the clarity, the way that the commentators often get out of the way and allow the subject to speak. If you are serious about crafting an oral story… you need to list to this show.

2. 60 Minutes: Listen to the audio version of this show. (Available on iTunes) This show is always good on TV, but there is something about listening to it as audio only that makes it better. I love the manner in which they track a story. Almost every story uses the same pattern but it never gets old. Also, I love how they tease the stories up front to keep the listening intruiged. The worst part of the show is Andy Rooney. But just hear him as the old man who grabs your hand every week and annoys you.

3. The Moth: I love this show for two reasons. First, it’s first person stories. Second, it’s a single story per episode. These are stories told live on their mainstage in LA or New York. If you like to integrate testimony into your messages, this will help you.

4. This I Believe: More stories told in the first person. This concept has been around for decades and has captured the core beliefs about famous people, everyday people, and people in-between for that entire time. Essentially, people write an essay about something they believe to be true and then perform it in their own voice.

5. TEDtalks: If you had 18 minutes to present your life’s work, what would you say? This is the premise of TED.  This is like the Willow Creek Leadership Conference for everyone else. Each week you’ll see a well-known person make the presentation of their life.

What would you add to this list?

I think evangelicals are just coming back to the concept of story. For whatever reason we’ve gotten into a habit that preaching ought to be a lecture instead of a story. But with our cultures fascination of story, many leaders are seeing that in order to preach into people’s lives they have to be a better storyteller.


The Evangelical Swing

democrat republicanWith just a few months left until the general election the talking heads are busy hypothesizing about minutia. Of course the truth is that both the McCain and Obama campaigns are largely on hiatus. They are fund raising and building networks while Americans enjoy the summer.

I think the media is doing their best to keep this race interesting. In fact, most people believe it will be a blowout. I think we’re talking Bush vs. Dukakis numbers for Obama in November. Bush won 80% of the electorate in 1988 and I think Obama may win more than that.

Here’s why I’m predicting a landslide. (Please note, I’m not “endorsing a candidate.” Truth is, I’m voting for GW Bush. He bought my vote again!)

  • The pendulum is swinging. The more McCain tries to appeal to conservatives the more the swing voters realize he’s not their guy. Americans wants a more liberal president… McCain is pandering to the wrong people.
  • Abortion means nothing in this cycle. Pro-life people, like myself, recognize that if Bush couldn’t move legislation on abortion no one can. Plus, both candidates are pro-choice so we are left to pick the less of two evils.
  • Obama owns the green crowd. Green is the biggest marketing term of the year. McCain is big oil and Obama is big green.
  • It’s an age thing. You’ve got a young candidate talking about change and an old candidate saying “stay the course.” Which message appeals to voters under 30? Have you seen the numbers from the primaries? People under 30 will vote in 2008.
  • Obama has a recession proof message. The worse the economy looks the more he can say, “Do you want to keep doing what we’re doing? Then stay republican!
  • Obama owns the web. I’ve long said that the candidate who masters the web in 2008 will take the White House. Look at McCain’s website and then look at Obama’s.
  • Obama owns the unions. Let’s face it. In states like Michigan, New York, and Ohio that matters.
  • Young evangelicals are disavowing the politics of James Dobson. Check out this site, In fact, I said the same thing on March 17th, 2007. He’s not my guy, hasn’t been my guy for a long time. While Dobson isn’t endorsing McCain just yet, it’s not like Dobson is going to endorse Obama!

In 2000 and 2004, the media said that evangelicals like me elected George W. Bush as president. It’s my prediction that a massive shift will happen in 2008 as young evangelical voters decide they are ready to cease single issue voting. And the truth is, once you get to non-abortion issues that evangelicals care about… the pendulum will shift.