Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Shackles!"

Originally posted July 6, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion is an ongoing feature in which we dissect and discuss former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel's online journal entries.

This week, Lisa ambushed us with another Coffee Talk entry a mere four days following the last one. Girl, we can't keep with that! You gots to keep it on the slow if we're going to keep this as a feature (which is never a sure thing, by the way, but you knew that).

The latest Coffee Talk entry is all about something called a Living Proof Live event with someone named Beth Moore. (Oh. Since this is a blog, we're supposed to provide you with a link so you can put this crap in context. Fine. Click here if you want to know what it's all about. Clearly we don't recommend it.) Lisa traveled to Oklahoma City where she was met by her friend Priscilla (of COURSE she has a friend called Priscilla) and Prissy's husband, Steve.

Priscilla and I climbed into the back of their SUV and started talking nonstop, pausing only long enough for a Subway sandwich.

Yay! Paragraph two and already an SUV and fast food chain mention! This is going to be good, kids.

When we got back into the car we popped in the DVD, "Glory Road." What an awesome movie. You must rush out and rent it to watch as a family. This was the first time I've ever watched a movie in the car. Now I know how my kids have been living! It was so much fun and made the trip just fly by.

Please realize here that we have two adult women watching a DVD in an SUV, ostensibly being willingly chauffered by one of the women's husbands.

When they finally got to Oklahoma City, presumably after they made Steve drive around until Glory Road ended, they checked into the hotel.

After a quick rest and another Subway sandwich with our friends from LifeWay, we walked over to the arena.

Jesus! Subway is making a keeeelling with these broads. By the way, has Lisa been in for a physical lately? Between Chick-Fil-A, Cafe Tu Tu Tango and all this Subway, we're beginning to become concerned for her health. We think it might be...weird.

Because Priscilla and Beth are good friends, we were invited backstage to pray with Beth and the Living Proof Live worship team before the event started. Oh my goodness, I was sooooo intimidated. I was so scared I was going to have to pray out loud in front of them. I mean really, first there is Beth, who can probably drink a cup of coffee with anointing. Then there is Priscilla, who prays with such authority that she could be reading the phone book and people would get saved. Not to mention Travis Cottrell, the worship leader. Just being in the same room with him made me want to lift my hands, fall to my knees, and dance before the Lord all at the same time.

Beth can "probably drink a cup of coffee with anointing"? We have to assume here that "anointing" is basically Christian Splenda. Right?

Blah blah Priscilla. We sooooo already hate her.

But who's this magical Travis Cottrell?

Ahhhhhhh. OK. We sooooo get it. This is a worship group for women and gays. Well, you take the good, you take the fags...

Some praying began in the arena. And then this...

There were hands lifted all the way to the ladies seated in the "third heaven" balcony. Beth was boogying in the front row. I was on my face half the time. And that was even before the girls broke into "Shackles!"

Whoa. We're trying to piece together what's happening here...

So, we got ladies lifting their hands skyward. Fine. Understood.

We got Beth dancing. Ew, but whatever.

We got Lisa on her face. How's that? Was she kneeling so much that her face was touching the floor? Or was she trying to dance (a la Beth) and falling? We honestly can't figure this one out. And it's really, we just got bored of trying.

Finally, what's this "Shackles!" business??? Is that like the secret Godword? When you're full up with the spirit, do you just scream "Shackles!"? That's cool. We'd just now like NB readers to know that when you're full up with the crap from this site, feel free to yell "Jamboree!" That's our secret Crapword. We'd never assign a word as seemingly confining as "shackles."

To be honest with you, I could have hopped back in the car and driven back to Dallas after the worship and been full. I mean, I love Beth and all, but I came to meet Jesus and He showed up before we even got to see what Beth was wearing and how she did her hair.

Um, duh, everyone knows Jesus is an early bird. He's Jewish. (Oh, hush. We can say that—we have the official Stamp of Ajewval.)

But, I'm glad I stayed.

Us, too. Us, too.

Beth was amazing. (BTW, she was wearing a very cute shimmery/leathery white jacket with Capri jeans trimmed in lace with half of her hair pulled back in a large clip.)

BTW, thanks for the post-Jesus'-arrival fashion report.

ABTW, what in God's name is going on with Lisa's hair? It's in an uncomfortable in-between place, as far as we can tell, and we'd suggest a decision be made toute suite. God doesn't like an indecisive disciple, Lisa. Don't be an indeciple.

Following this account of what's generally happening at the Living Proof Prayathon, we get into the personal praying shit, which comprises the second half of this Coffee Talk entry. No surprise there, obvs, but, in order to keep you from killing yourself, we'll try to highlight the important parts. You know, the ones where she talks about Tucker and "Blair."

...she challenged us to ask God in which area do we, deep down inside, where our heart is ailing and our mind is racing, most not trust God. I thought of one, and then another, and then one more.

Great. A fuckin' holy trinity of thoughts. She couldn't have had just one thought and then duck out for a McGriddle. Oh, and can one "most not trust" someone else? Whatever...

The first one was my fear that Tucker would choose the lure of the world over a life wholly submitted to Jesus.

Wait. "Wholly submitted to Jesus"?!?!?1?!? Tucker, dude, the next time mom's away? Run! Like the wind! Don't look back. Just get out of there. We had no idea this was an all-or-nothing deal. Well, we did but didn't. You know? Sorry. But for real. Your mother is clearly insane. You need to get out of there. You can come stay with us. Please bring Casey.

Beth challenged us to ask ourselves what we are afraid of, and what would happen if God didn't spare us from that fear. Would we trust Him to take care of us in the midst of the pain? So, I asked myself, if I could handle that. I was able to answer that I could honestly trust God with Tucker's future. Oddly enough, I have a deep peace about him choosing the Lord. I realized my fear would be that he would stray first and then people would be able to say, "See, that stuff Lisa has been preaching about doesn't really work after all." Deep down inside, I was afraid of, both being raked over the media coals, and also tarnishing God's name.

1.) The media and its coals are not interested. (BTW, this is not media.)

2.) Like our therapist says, you are allowed to feel two things at once. (BTW, we're really bad at that.) Lisa, Tucker can pretend to be devoted to Jesus to make you happy whilst also pursuing a normal life to make him happy. It's OK. It's normal, even.

If we must continue...

The other area I realized my heart aches the most and my mind obsesses over is my weight.

So, apparently Haven and Clancy are A-OK in the Jesus department, which makes us disappointed in both Haven and Clancy. Tucker, you're our only hope, dude. Seriously.

Again, upon honest reflection, I discovered that I think I would be okay being a bit frumpy if it were just me as the wife of Steve who adores me regardless, and my kids who already know I'm frumpy from the inside-out. I feel like my weight might be distracting to the people I have the privilege of ministering to who only come in the first place to see "Blair." Again, I thought I was not being a good steward of the platform God has given me. Plus, I really wanted to wear great outfits and feel good about myself in them.

OK. We'll give her this one. We'd probably gasp if we saw Whelchel in person and she was not the svelte "Blair" we're so used to. Yeah. Being a fatty's no fun. Look how skinny Jesus was...

Good luck with this one, Lisa. You know, if you can't lose the weight by yourself, there is a group that helps people like you.

Finally, the third area Lisa's concerned with is her ministry. That makes one of us.

Moving on, let's see how Lisa plans to remedy her issues...

Well, in regards to Tucker, I wrote him a letter and asked him to forgive me for not trusting his own personal relationship with God. Other than some non-negotiables required to live in our home, I was going to trust him to make good choices and when he made mistakes to trust him to learn from them and experience, first-hand, God's mercy and grace. If I truly hand him over to God then God won't be disappointed in me for being a terrible mother and it is up to Him to worry about everyone else's opinion.

Wouldn't you KILL to know what the non-negotiables are in the Whelchel household? And wouldn't you KILL to see them all being ignored while mom's away in Oklahoma City?! God, we're almost curious enough to email Tucker at his myspace account to try to convince him to keep his own diary. But that might constitute a "bad choice" on his part. God damn it, Whelchel. Always one step ahead. You terrible mother.

Now, about the weight. The truth is, I've made some choices and I'm choosing to not second-guess them. Because of my foot injury, I can't jog, walk, run, or play racquetball like I used to. I could go to the gym and get on the elliptical but I just don't want to give that amount of time and we don't have the room or the money to buy one for the house.

Jesus wha? Jesus who? Don't want to give that amount of time? Not enough money to buy your own? Come awn! Because of experience, we are expert at calling out laziness, and this, dear former child star, is laziness. All you needs to do is go to the gym for 30 minutes a day to make a difference. God will allow you that time to exercise, Lisa. We promise. And, if you can afford a gym membership, hon, you can afford to buy an elliptical trainer for your home.

Now that my kids are older, I have the luxury of spending a bit more time in the morning with the Lord than when they were little. I could give part of that up to go to the gym, but I'm not willing to. God loves me the way I am and if He wants me to lose some weight then in my weakness He can make me strong. I am willing to work at it.

OK. Much clearer now. The bottom line is that the weight is only an issue until Lisa realizes she's not willing to do anything about it. Apparently God will accept her the way she is, but he will not accept her going to the gym every morning instead of talking to Him. Well, in that case, right now God wants us to drink 43 dirty gin martinis because he'd like us much better completely drunk. We likes this method of problem solving! We likes it a lot!

Oh, hold on...

Granted, I am a Type-A personality. So, I don't really run the risk of being irresponsible and undisciplined and calling it "just trusting God." If anything, I would tend to err on the side of a works-driven, pull-myself-up-by-my-bootstraps, "just do it," mentality.

Hmmm. Yeah. Well, we can throw a bunch of words together to justify a completely nonsensical way of thinking, too, Lisa:

Granted, we have type o+ blood. So, we don't really run the risk of being irrational and unconscious and calling it "just having a drink because God said it was OK." If anything, we would tend to err on the side of a non-alcohol-driven, lie-down-wherever-there's-a-plush-surface, "just take it," mentality. But a drink usually helps.

C? EZ.

In talking about the plans for her ministry, Lisa says...

Sure, I would love to be a bomber pilot and see the power of God explode on the scene and the shrapnel fly all across the USA (and the Wal-Mart bookshelf.) But, if God wants me to be a mid-range missile and keep my focus on ministering to moms with practical encouragement then I'm not only going to be content, I'm going to thank Him for that gift. How shallow of me to feel shallow just because I'm not some great Bible teacher.

How shallow, indeed.

More importantly, what is up with the God-as-missile imagery? That couldn't have anything to do with our current administration, could it? Missiles, Wal-Mart and Jesus... You know, this is the most insightful, observant paragraph Lisa has ever written. Kudos, Lisa. Ku-dos.

She finishes the entry with this...

What is that "Thing" you have the hardest time trusting God with? Once you've identified your "Thing" or "Things," how would you live if you truly trusted God? For me, that is a choice I have to consciously make everyday, sometimes many times a day. How about you? Can God be trusted? Even if He doesn't spare you from your fears? Now, can you live like you believe that? I'll be praying for you. Will you pray for me, too, my beloved sister?

These questions are all very interesti...WHO YOU CALLIN' "SISTER"?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa, honey, if people came looking for you as "Blair", then they ain't looking for your spiritual side. And Blair was always a bit hefty herself. Lisa, honey, you are Welsh, and if my eyes don't deceive me, there is a fair amount of Mexican blood as well. You have done an admirable job of staving off the gene pool so far, but it will catch up to you. We all get old, it happens to the best of us. Your huge challenge in your middle age will be to accept that you can't remain perfect forever, and the fact that you have an ego problem that is counteractive to your profession as a Christian. The ego problem is the biggest one to overcome.

December 15, 2007  

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