Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Conflicting engagement.


Here's the thing.

We were going to cover Lisa's September e-newsletter in this space, but something else was brought to our attention. BN reader Kristin sent us a link to an essay Lisa wrote for, a site that describes itself as a "for-profit religious corporation dedicated to building up the Church, which is the Body of Christ." Basically it has Whelchel's name written all over it. The site does. And the essay. Sorry, it's just that we're a little worked up.

You see, Lisa's essay is confounding us for a million billion reasons, of which we'll point out the primary two.

1.) It is 48 words shy of being the exact length of The Brothers Karamazov.

2.) It is unbelievable.

2a.) Honestly. We have yet to read it in order because we can't focus.

Because of the above two reasons (and the unspoken million billion others), we are right now just going to link you to this essay and let you explore it for yourself. We will let you know that it has to do with Daddy but that it makes "When Daddy Fell off the Roof" look like a retarded child with palsy (and not in the hilarious way). Here's a sample quote and then we'll let you go on your way:

"Over the next two years, Steve and I began to spend a lot of time together, and we became good friends. (Interpretation: I was not at all attracted to him.)"

OK. So, before you make one of the most important decisions of your life, we have one question:

Reader, do you take this chance to be completely floored, confused and dumbfounded?

If so, we've ARRANGED for you to say...


Monday, September 25, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Who Killed Lisa Whelchel?"

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.

And "it" continues...

As I was reflecting on the season of my life attending Vineyard Christian Fellowship I was surprised at how little I can remember from these days. It looks like this journal entry is going to be much shorter than the rest in this series.

Which we'll soon find out is not true. It's just "shorter" than last week which means it's not short.

I couldn’t even find many pictures from this time in my life. Weird.


How we do love a good Whelchel "weird." It's been a few months since we got one. So, because we care, welcome back, "weird." We missed you and all the mysteries you so closely guard. You mischievous vixen.

(Oh, and we'll soon find out the "couldn't find pictures" isn't true, either. Of course.)

The years I’m referring to would typically be considered the college-age years, although I didn’t attend college.

We'll just call them the "age years," then.

Oh, and we have an formula that should help with the rest of however many fucking Coffee Talk Companions we churn out in our lifetime:

Homeschool + no college = blatant misuse of commas, hyphens, semicolons, nouns etc.

Things become clearer each week. It's like Twin Peaks. Only more horrifying.

After I turned 18, I was truly on my own completely. No more guardians, I only saw my family when I visited Texas, and my Nanny only accompanied me on trips. (She was my favorite traveling companion!)

(Ours, too! We especially like it when she brought Renee Taylor and Yetta along.)

So, as I’m writing, think of me between the ages of 18 – 22.


I still attended the “Christian Center” church in Texas when I was home but the majority of the time I attended the West Los Angeles Vineyard Christian Fellowship. We met in the local high school and Kenn Gulliksen was the pastor. Although, over the years, Jim Kermath and John Odean were also my pastors.

In our opinion, the Jim Kermath years were the best.

They really signaled a change in the style of sermon. Whereas a Gulliksen sermon was basically to-the-point, it more or less lacked that Kermathian sense of urgency. Kermath really knew how to relate the sermon to your life effectively and honestly. A Kermath sermon was immediate, relevant, and even, dare we say, not without humor. Gulliksen did the job; Kermath honed it.

Don't even get us started on the Odean era.

I guess the most profound influence “The Vineyard” had on my life was in the area of worship. Up until this point, I had been staunched in a solid foundation of hymns. (For which I am eternally grateful.) At the same time, it was like a fresh breeze from the ocean blew in to that high school auditorium each Sunday morning during the worship service.

By the way, the operative words in that paragraph are "influence" and "blew."

I thoroughly enjoyed singing the praise songs. The lyrics were simple, but not simplistic.

That was Kermath's doing. He was a gem, really.


They encompassed deep truths in a very approachable way. For the first time, there was a real sense of personal connection with the Lord as I sang.


I really felt like I was singing to Him, telling Him how much I loved Him, and reminding myself of His greatness and faithfulness.

Kermath, Kermath and Kermath.

There was a real “Emmanuel,” “God With Us,” kind of manifestation that happened because of this new worship style. I understood what it meant when the Bible said that God inhabits that praises of His people. It really felt like He was there in our midst. Now, I know that it isn’t all about feelings, but it sure is nice when it is!

Interesting. Because right now, there's a real "enough already," "please don't use quotation marks when you mean to use hyphens" kind of manifestation happening because of this previous paragraph. It's decidedly un-Kermathian.

This was during the early 80’s, fresh on the heels of the whole Southern California “Jesus Movement.” There was great enthusiasm and excitement in the young people, and this church was FULL of young people. Aside from leading me into a delicious dimension of personal praise, I would have to say that the people were the second greatest impact on my life from this church.

Unfortunately this is where Odean comes into the picture.

We didn't want to talk about it, but there's a reason this "Jesus Movement" (we're about to have another kind of movement if these quotation marks don't stop) caused the church to be FULL of young people. You know, we're loath to imply there's a second meaning to "leading me into a delicious dimension of personal praise," but, because this was at the height of the Odean years, we feel it would be irresponsible of us not to, well, say something.

My friends were my life. I didn’t fly home to Texas as often during these years. I worked all day but my life revolved around my friends from this church. I am so grateful for these on-fire, down-to-earth, in-love-with-God, friends. They were truly my family and support structure during some awkward years.

Yeah, we imagine the whole "Odeal" as it came it be known was pretty awkward. Weird, even. We feel for Lisa, here. We're glad she had friends to help her through this time, even if they were on fire.

As I reflect some more, I also remember that it was during this time, at this church, that I witnessed the power of Christian counseling. One of my friends, Pam Rice, was an “inner healing” Christian counselor.

(We'd just like to point out that Lisa does, in fact, use quotation marks correctly here to point out something that exists as words but not in actuality. Which is interesting in a paradoxical way, as the method by which Lisa learned this usage, homeschool, is consistently referred to as "homeschool" and not ""homeschool."")

I sat in on many of her group sessions and learned so much about the importance of having a Christian counselor. What a loss for people who go to secular counselors and can’t take advantage of prayer and discernment and spiritual warfare and supernatural forgiveness and definitive emotional healing from The Healer.

Oh. Oh. Oh, them's fighting words there, Whelchel. Yes, we understand there was difficult fallout from the "Odeal," and we're glad you got through it with The Healer. But if it were not for our secular counselor and our secular medication and a lot of secular "holy water," we'd probably still be blaming ourself for the deferment of our dreams rather than pinning the blame on mom, dad, Hebrew school and nachos.

Oh, and just so you know, Lisa, we call our guy THE HEALER. Uh huh. We said it.

Actually, for the longest time I thought I was going to grow up and be a Christian counselor after the show went off the air.

Fortunately, she became a Christian know-it-all, which is much better than a Christian counselor.

Alas, we can put together the final equation:

(Homeschool + no college) x Kermath + 3("Odeal") + Christian "inner healing" = Blatant misuse of commas, hyphens, semicolons, nouns + 500(Know-it-allness)

That brings me to the last major influence I can remember from this church.

And that brings us to the last major influence from the gin and Fresca we've been enjoying while writing this. Good night, Topeka!

I personally witnessed the power of God in healing, both physically and emotionally, time and time again. The Vineyard operated under the assumption that God is still a miracle-working God and He is alive and well and moving in power today. The years I spent in this church built a strong foundation of faith to pray big prayers to a big God and believe that He can answer them.

We feel it's important to note that after the Odean years, the Vineyard became an orphanage for sexually abused children. Well, not technically. Just theoretically. (And if you don't believe us, check the Wikipedia entry on it. (Just wait a few hours, please. We haven't had time to create it yet.))

I wish I had more pictures to share of this time in my life. I guess I was too young to appreciate the importance of documenting today for the future.

Well, it sure seems like you're fucking making up for it now, Lisa. Jesus.

At this age I was too busy just living for today – and enjoying every minute of it, as long as I was with my friends.

The moral of this week's entry, then, is that you really need to take the good lemons with the bad lemons and create some kind of lemonade. Sorry, "lemonade." Stir in some "inner healing" and some "Jesus Movement," and you've got yourself quite a "delicious dimension of personal praise" to enjoy in your "Vineyard." And it all can be summed up in one word:


Friday, September 22, 2006

Maybe don't answer the door next time.

According to Merriam-Webster...

Main Entry: op·por·tu·ni·ty
Pronunciation: "ä-p&r-'tü-n&-tE, -'tyü-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
1 : a favorable juncture of circumstances opportunity for rest and refreshment>
2 : a good chance for advancement or progress

As in this Coffee Talk excerpt you may remember from July:

I had the opportunity to meet a fellow Texan, Lou Diamond Phillips.

As in, believe it or not, Lou Diamond Phillips made news today. Apparently he had the opportunity to beat up his wife and go to jail.

As in, given the opportunity, Lisa, what would Jesus think of your choice of opportunities now? Hmmm?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Day by Day."

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 talks more about growing up Christian. Yeah. And it's long. Like, longer than usual. We don't blame you if you give up midway. Or, you can do what we're going to do: drink anytime you don't understand what the fuck she's talking about. (Cursing so early? Yeah, we did it. Filthy mouth is so the new Friday.)

After our little break last week I am ready to resume our mini-series chronicling the churches God has used to shape and mold my life. Unless you are joining me this Monday morning for our first “cup of Coffee Talk” together, then you will recall that in the first installment of this series I talked about being saved and raised in the Baptist Church from the age of ten to sixteen.

Ah! Well, it would have been nice if Lisa had clarified last week that this Church crap was going to be a miniseries (no hyphen required) rather than a movie of the week. But there we go again expecting Lisa to make sense. When willst we learn?

Oh, and if this your first "cup of Coffee Talk," TURN BACK, O MAN!

Let me pick it up from there. I got the part of “Blair” when I was sixteen and for the first year of filming I had a tutor on the set and did my schoolwork with the rest of the girls. My mother heard about a Christian school in Ft. Worth that provided schoolwork in packets that could be completed without actually attending the classes. Perfect!

And just as we open our big mouth to say one should not expect Lisa to make sense, she goes and writes a paragraph that actually sheds light on her psyche. Nicely played.

My mom enrolled me in this school, Liberty Christian Academy, and I finished my sophomore year of high school on the set in California. (I didn’t realize it until years later but the curriculum was, and still is, a homeschool curriculum. So, I guess I was homeschooled before homeschooling was cool.)

Dear Lisa,

Homeschooling is not cool.

5,000,000 socially retarded American children

P.S. Help us.

When “The Facts of Life” was picked up for the second season, I reenrolled for my junior year. Soon after, the actors’ union, Screen Actor’s Guild, went on strike. Since I wasn’t allowed to cross the picket line to work, I went back home to Texas and actually started attending the classes at the school.

These were some of the best days of my life. I got to be a real teenager, go to football games, pizza parties, and most importantly, my high school youth group. (I’ll talk more about that later.)



Because I was home for an extended period of time, I asked the principal if I could double up on the packets, do two years in one, and graduate by May. This eventually enabled me to work all day on the set without having to go to the “school trailer” for three hours every day.

Ew. A little Christ-y suck-up. The worst flavor. Which reminds us, we totally doubled up on Splenda packets this morning, and we totally have a cancer headache. Sucks.

OK. Back to Lisa. Ugh.

The union strike ended up lasting six months! I got to spend the longest amount of time at home since I was 12-years-old. I am so thankful to God for those high school memories I was able to enjoy.

We must admit here that Lisa and we have something in common: we both have six months worth of high school memories. But for us it's because the alcohol has burned away the other 3.5-years' worth. Thank God for Stoli. (We even capitalized God for you here, Lisa. That's how grateful we are. For the Stoli.)

Because I was enrolled in the school, and attending the classes everyday, I was required to attend chapel every Thursday morning in the non-denominational church next-door.

During one particular chapel service I remember the pastor ended his sermon with these words, “So, if you want more of the Holy Spirit operating in your life, come down to the altar.” I must not have been paying attention to the message but these words grabbed me. Of course I want more! I’ve been desperate for Jesus since I was a little girl. To this day, it is very difficult for me to pass up a trip to the altar. God is always working on something in my life.

Sounds like God was working on a Christian edition of The Price Is Right. (Oh, by the way, for a little extra fun, because, at this point, you'll need it (Jesus, we just out-comma-ed Whelchel), insert any chain restaurant's name at the end of "It is very difficult for me to pass up a trip to the altar.")

So, I got up out of my seat and headed to the front of the sanctuary. The pastor laid his hands on me and prayed for me to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and I immediately began to praise the Lord like I never had before. I was so excited. I felt so full of Jesus! I couldn’t wait to get home and tell everyone about what happened to me today in chapel.

We were hoping for Plinko, but we'll have to do with Lisa being manhandled by a priest. Hey, maybe she looked like a boy. (Clergy-molesting-boy joke? Yeah, we did it. 2004 is so the new 2006.)

Oh, and can we make a request? Enough of the getting filled up with Jesus, Lisa. Enough. We just started drinking, and we're already throwing it up.

Oops. I didn’t really understand about the different denomination thing. I thought everybody was Baptist. My friends and relatives soon informed me that I had probably been inducted into a cult. Now I was really confused. It didn’t feel like a cult. I had been worshiping Jesus there every Thursday morning for weeks. I didn’t know what to do.

Drink the Kool-Aid! Drink the Kool-Aid!

So, I made an appointment with the pastor of the church for counseling.

That's like making an appointment with a CPA for a mammogram. In our opinion, of course.

He showed me a few scriptures in the Bible like, Acts 2:17, 2:38-39 and 8:16.

Can someone please tell me how I had been reading my Bible every night for six years and I don’t remember ever reading about this stuff?!

We can! We can! You read the Readers Digest version of the Bible on silent retreats with dogs and phone calls.

That was so easy.

It made perfect sense to me and, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was all about! To me, it seemed to take more work to unexplain the baptism in the Holy Spirit than to simply take God at His Word.

Could someone explain what that sentence just meant? And then unexplain it. You can find us in the corner of the room. We're the one with the bottle attached to our face.

Obviously, this was the first huge thing I learned while attending this church called, “Christian Center.” The second life-shaping influence this church had on my life was sending me out in ministry. My youth pastor, Paul Tedesco, saw the Lord’s hand on my life, my passion for evangelism, and the platform I was given and he invested in my life in a profound way.

Oh, god. We completely finished the bottle of vodka on that paragraph. Fuck. We haven't been booze shopping in a few weeks. Well, certainly we're not going to press on without something.

Unfortunately it's come to this.

Hello, vermouth.

The first thing he did was teach me how to share my testimony in an engaging way. He asked me to bring my photo albums from home. We looked through them and he choose a couple dozen pictures from my childhood, through the “New Mickey Mouse Club” years and up to the current “The Facts of Life” days.

He helped me put together a slide show to accompany my testimony and then he asked the church to allow me to speak during the service one Sunday night.

Damn you, Paul Tedesco! Do you see what you created? Well, besides "When Daddy Fell off the Roof," for which we're totally thankful.

I was awful but I was hooked. From there, Paul became my booking agent and he found places for me to speak all over America. For the next many years, my ministry grew. I would work five days a week on the set and then I would travel to churches to speak, primarily to youth, on the weekends.

Wow. It looks like Lisa took some of the Facts of Life season 7 wardrobe on her weekend speaking engagements.

After speaking to hundreds of youth groups I realized that music was really the language of teenagers. One day I got the brilliant idea to record an album. I couldn’t really sing that well, but that didn’t stop me.

Of course it didn't. She can't really write that well, either, and look what what's being hurled in our direction, week after week after week after week. It never stops. Never stops. Help us. Heeeeeeeeeeelp us.


I called up the head of a Christian record company and asked for an appointment.

During that meeting I shared my vision. My desire was to put all of the messages that I was desperate to share with young people to music and “sing” my talk. I guess he knew that he could fix anything in the recording studio and he jumped on the idea.

We think "fix anything" is a little gratuitous here. After all, the record was released.

I hired a vocal coach, met with songwriters, even wrote a song myself, and recorded an album. From that point, I continued traveling the country but now it was with a band, or at least some really good tracks I could groove to.

"Some really good tracks I could groove to!" Oh, shit. That's totally the "good" in "you take the good, you take the bad." The "bad" is the rest, obviously.

And, yes, you may take a drink.

So, unfortunately there's no copy available on eBay right now, so you won't be able to groove to any of Lisa's tracks anytime soon. However, we have a suggestion if you're desperate: find a cat, jab a rusty fork in one of his eyes, and occasionally shriek words like "salvation, "golden," and "storm" over the ruckus.

It wasn’t until writing this journal entry, and thinking through the influences this church had on my life and ministry, that I saw something significant I had never realized before this moment. Acts 1:8 says, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

We totally met two lesbians named Judea and Samaria this weekend. That's so weird. What's even weirder is that they really didn't mind when we jabbed a rusty fork into their cat's eye and shrieked words like "salvation, "golden," and "storm" over the ruckus. Of course, they were thinking through the influences from the 13 Sidecars they'd had at Henrietta Hudson's. You know, rumor has it they use gasoline in them there.

That is how it happened for me, too. While attending this little non-denominational school, I went to a chapel service at the church, prayed to receive a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit in power, and was sent out in ministry as a witness for Jesus all over America.

If your particular church affiliation doesn’t believe in a separate infilling, in addition to the indwelling of the Spirit upon salvation, please don’t send me an email.

We totally just sent her an email to ask her what the Christ "infilling" and "indwelling" mean.

And, please, please, don’t stop being my friend. I have tons of friends – all of them obviously full of the Holy Spirit, and yet many of us believe just a little bit differently, in this area and even others. That’s okay. At the core, there is no question. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who died and rose again that we might have forgiveness of sins and life eternally and abundantly.

And we believe that vermouth doesn't taste so bad after that paragraph. So there.

So, let’s agree not to get tripped up on this, often divisive issue. I’m simply sharing my story.

OK. The bottle of vermouth is gone. We're going to share our story and tell you we're not afraid to drink the Listerine. Look at what we're dealing with here.

And there is still more to this story.

OK, we're done with the Listerine. Any suggestions?

Perhaps, one of the most important things I learned while attending this church was the importance of community, especially a strong youth group during the critical teenage years.

Other than the Nancy, Kim, and Mindy, I really didn’t have many friends in California.

Poor Nancy, Kim and Mindy. And California.

All of my best friends lived in Texas and were in my church youth group. Surrounding myself with Christian friends certainly spared me from going down some paths I might have regretted later.

What about the paths you've forced us to go down and later regret? Huh? Lady?

Now that I have three teenagers of my own, I can’t thank God enough for the gift of growing up in a strong, relevant, growing, exciting, fun youth group. My heart always revolved around Jesus, but this church enabled my whole life to revolve around Him, as well.

We once ate at one of those revolving restaurants. Highly overrated.

The impact this youth group had on my life was the driving force behind the church we are attending today. (A Baptist church again, by the way.) When we moved to Texas, Steve and I determined that, in choosing a church home, the most important thing was to find a strong youth group our three junior high kids wouldn’t want to miss every week. I’ll share more of the particulars in that story in a future journal entry. I still have two more churches to share with you before then.

We think it's safe to say that after reading that paragraph, we hate religion more than ever. Readers, please forgive us if our next few posts become less and less intelligible and more and more, well, inebriated. It's just that we barely made it through this one. We kind of feel like we've been beaten up by a tornado and forced to watch America's Funniest Home Videos while hanging upside down from a giant strychnine lollipop.

Wow! This was a long one.

No shit.

Thanks for sticking with me til the bottom of the page.

Don't thank us, Lisa. Thank Astor Wines and Spirits.

I’m sure having a good time reliving my life. I hope I’m not boring you. If not, join me next time when I tell you about the church I attended after high school. I can’t wait.

That was just high school???????? Oh, lordy, lordy, lordy, we're totally going to Costco for alcohol. This is clearly going to be rough. We suggest you do the same, too. And don't worry about not being a member. Just jab a rusty fork into the eye of guy at the door while shrieking words "salvation, "golden," and "storm" over the ruckus. (Another freakin' callback? Yeah, we did it. Callbacks are so the new original material.)

Well. Then. Until next time, godspeed.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Spake as a Child."

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.

The Coffee Talk entry this week is entitled "Saga of a Child Star," to which we say...


Of course, in true Whelchel fashion, such an enticing morsel is immediately ruined by, you guessed it, God.

Proverbs 27:7 says, "He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet."

Yeah, we're sure if you unscramble that it makes sense, but we hardly have the strength to decode Lisa's own ramblings.

I read this Bible verse the other day and realized, "That's It!" That is the answer to the question I get all of the time, especially from the media. I'm so often asked, "How come your life turned out so much differently than the typical child star." I actually love this question because it is the perfect set up for me to inoffensively share my testimony.

Memo to anyone interviewing Lisa Whelchel: please do NOT ask her "How come your life turned out so much differently than the typical child star." Thanx.

I simply explain that, in my opinion, it is because we are all born with an emptiness inside. (I don’t go into all of this but I believe that emptiness is there because of the separation between us and our Creator that happened when man first disobeyed and sin entered the world.)

You take the good, you take the sad, eh? Geez. Isn't it enough that we're all born with a creepy umbilical cord attached to our stomachs? Now we have to accept that we're all born with emptiness, too? No, no, no. Our emptiness set in when mom gave away our McDonald's Great Muppet Caper souvenir glasses without telling us.

I was fortunate because when I was a little girl I asked Jesus to come into my heart and fill that emptiness by restoring my relationship with God, my heavenly Father. When I moved to Hollywood a few years later, I was satisfied, content, full. I wasn’t looking for something to fill me up.

Yeah, imagine how we felt when we were looking for something to fill up our Great Muppet Caper souvenir glasses and couldn't find them to save our life.

Most child stars have the money, freedom, access, and opportunity to go down any path looking for something to fill them up. We know that most of those paths end in destruction. I am so grateful to God that this verse was Truth in my life. Because I was full, of Jesus, I was not hungry for the honey the world had to offer.

"Because I was full, of Jesus,..."??? First of all, it's the attack of the fucking commas again. Seriously, if Jesus wanted to really do Lisa a favor, he'd rip that damn comma key off Lisa's laptop. Actually, he'd just rip off Lisa's laptop. But, if Lisa has taught us anything, it's not to be greedy with Jesus. Wait, that's not right. She's totally greedy with Jesus. She's full, of him.


We just threw up in our mouths a little.



My heart goes out to current and former child stars, in particular. They are so hungry, that even what is bitter, even that which they see in the lives of those around them doesn’t satisfy, even those things taste sweet to someone who is starving. Starving for unconditional love, forgiveness, purpose beyond fame and fortune.

We're sure those child stars thank you for your unsolicited...caring, Lisa. But, quite frankly, where were you and Jesus when poor Jodie Sweetin was carving "Michelle was really two people!!!!!!!!" into her skin after a particularly bad meth-induced haze?


I consider it the mercy of God who called me to Himself before He sent me as light into a dark place. By the time I broke into show business at the age of 12, foundational issues were already settled in my life. My identity wasn’t as an actress; it was as a child of God. Therefore, when my television show ended, I wasn’t devastated, wondering who I was and where I was going. I knew that my Father, the King, had even greater things in store for my future.

For the love of fucking god, we honestly thought we might get some dirt on Nancy McKeon's on-set behavior or Tootie's ultimately enormous breasts, but now all we're getting is Lisa trying to tell us her father was Elvis. It's never enough, Lisa, is it? Sheesh.

I didn’t move to Los Angeles to become famous, I was simply obeying God’s call in my life. That made losing that fame easier. I knew that I was to simply obey God’s call for the next season of my life. The money might not be as good, but the benefits would still be more than worth answering the call.

OK, so now she's celebrity Tom Joad. Honestly. Can we get some dirt here????????

I can honestly say that my life has just gotten better and better. Heck, it started out good – I was born in Texas, for goodness sakes!

No, we can't. All we can get is the hilarious occurrence of "good" and "Texas" in the same sentence. God bless her.

I had a wonderful childhood and I met Jesus as a child. What a merciful God to spare me from having a dramatic conversion testimony! Then I discovered acting and found the talents God invested in me and wanted me to reinvest.

Wow. You know, the only celeb we remember meeting as a child was Potsie from Happy Days in the Ft. Lauderdale airport. Which, if we use Lisa's method of reasoning, totally explains why we're 30 and broke. If only we, too, had met Jesus, we could have totally played the black best friend on Punky Brewster. God damn it, Jesus. Thanks for not being on that plane.

Anyone who remembers discovering their gifts and what an impact that encounter has on their self-confidence and purpose knows what an impact this revelation can have on a child. My life was set on the path of the next season of my journey.

Yeah. Pilot season.

Next, I moved to California to become a Mouseketeer on Walt Disney’s “New Mickey Mouse Club.”

Can you imagine getting paid to sing and dance and ride on giant mouse ears down Main Street in Disneyland. God is a good God!

God would be a fucking awesome God if he had made CNN play one of Lisa's puppet shows in real time today rather than that 9/11 coverage (which we have on DVD, thank you very much, CNN).

(Thanks to David at Seattle's The Stranger for digging this most outstanding pic up.)

From there I was cast as “Blair” on “The Facts of Life.” Once again, an embarrassment of riches in so many ways. I had the privilege of going to work every day with three girls who were like sisters and we laughed all day – and got paid for it. If that isn’t evidence of a good God, during seasons 7 & 8 the produces hired George Clooney to join the cast. Now, that is evidence of a good God – and an awesome Creator!!

Well, as much as this totally keeeeeeeeeels us, we kind of have to agree with Whelchel here. Clooney is one of maybe three-and-a-half celebrities we have a semblance of respect for. And he was totes dreamy during his stint at Over Our Heads!

However, we can't totally put our endorsement behind the "awesome Creator!!" tag because if God were truly an "awesome Creator!!" he would never have created Al Gore who would have never created the Internet which would never have given Lisa Whelchel the opportunity to infect the world with asinine phrases like "awesome Creator!!" Memo to Jesus: whilst you're ripping the comma key off Lisa's keyboard, go ahead and get rid of "shift" key and the 1 key. Danke.

After the show went off the air, I immediately got married and had three children within three years.


Sorry. It's just exciting to see daddy. Even when he's not falling off the roof.


Over the next ten years, I was a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mother. Five years ago, I wrote my first book, which launched the current season of my life, writing books and speaking.

And speaking and speaking and speaking and speaking and speaking.

So there, in a nutshell, the course of my life, thus far.

Oh, nice. A haiku.


Dear Lisa Whelchel
English is not your forte, girl
People are dying

I rehearse all of that to conclude with this, my life didn’t begin when I became a child star and it didn’t end when my career ended.

Oh, the haiku was a rehearsal. Well, you didn't get the part. Sorry.


My happiness never has, and never will, be dependent upon my circumstances. My heavenly Father has been faithful when I was making millions and when I lost everything. I felt special when I was on television and when I was stuck at home all day with three toddlers.

Of course. As she's wrapping up this week's eternal diatribe, she drops the "when I lost everything" bomb. Lisa, we beg of you—pleeeeeeeeeeze make next week's Coffee Talk be called "When I Lost Everything." PLEEEEEEEEEEEEZE. And you can even write it in haiku. With ten million billion commas. We don't care. We just want to understand how someone who apparently wasn't spending her millions on cocaine, vodka and/or bailing Todd Bridges out of jail lost everything.

I am eternally grateful that God chose this little Texas girl to fill up with His love, hope, joy, and destiny, and saved me from a life forever looking for satisfaction in bittersweet, temporal, empty promises of happiness.

"Temporal"??? She is really obsessed with Asian culture this week. Jesus.

May I ask you a personal question?


Is your heart and life so full that the sweetest “honey” the world has to offer doesn’t even tempt you?

We said no.

I sure hope so.

We didn't answer.

I’ve seen too many childhood friends chase after bitter things because of a deep hunger. I pray that you enjoy a deep, settled, contentment that comes from knowing you are a child of God who is profoundly loved.


Ess, this post is thankfully over.


H? Because we're spelling "Lisa Whelchel"!



Happy September 11, everyone! See ya real soon!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lisa on...UFOs and Sci-Fi.

For some reason, a parent saw fit to write Lisa to ask her how to handle his/her son's fascination with UFOs:

Dear Lisa,

My ten-year-old son has a fascination with UFOs and space aliens. I know partly this is a boy thing, but I'm concerned about the occult and I'm not sure the best way to talk to him about this topic to steer him away from his fascination. Any advice?

For some reason, Lisa saw fit to respond.

Just this morning as I was reading Randy Alcorn’s book entitled, “Heaven,” I came across the following line, “God has built into us the longing to see the wonders of his far-flung creation. The popularity of science fiction reflects that longing. Visiting a Star Trek convention demonstrates how this –like anything else-can become a substitute religion, but the fervor points to a truth: We do possess a God-given longing to know a greater intelligence and to explore what lies beyond our horizons.”

So, science-fiction is evil because people can develop a nearly religious devotion to it. Which is in no way relative to, say, someone developing a nearly religious devotion to chain restaurants. But it's ultimately OK to want to know what's out in the universe because God gave us that sense of wonder. Alas, curiousity about and devotion to earthly things, like science fiction, is not OK, but the same feelings for otherworldly things are because God is responsible for that kind of wonder. Is that correct? Hmmmm.

You know what can clear this all up? Besides The Elements of Style? The Bible, of course!

The Bible says, “For by him [Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:16 ESV

Well, and maybe it's just us, but Colossians sound like space aliens to us. Just sayin'.

I have no idea if there is life on other planets; but if there is, then how in the world did the devil get credit for it? I’ll tell you how, he’s a thief. Can you think of one good thing God has created that the devil hasn’t attempted to steal, plagiarize, sully or copy? He puts his own sinister spin on it, leaving just enough truth to draw us in, in an effort to entangle us with his lies.

Speaking of the devil, what the devil is she talking about??? Did we miss something, or is it just assumed in Lisa's adulterated branch of Christianity that the devil is responsible for aliens, should they exist? So, just to get our bearings, we've gone in four short paragraphs from a parent asking what to do about his/her son's UFO fascination (which, incidentally, has nothing to do with the occult, something Lisa might have chosen to clear up as long as she was giving advice) to Lisa complaining that the devil steals everything from God. Perfect!

The universe and all that is within it is no exception. Satan is aware of the fact that “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1 The Devil realizes that man will be drawn to explore the skies, even if only in their imaginations. That scares him to death. He knows the Creator is behind the creation so he had to come up with a plan to divert and distract. Enter UFOs, space aliens, extra-terrestrials and anything else that draws our attention away from worshiping God, the logical response to gazing upon His infinite wonders.

Ohhhhhhhhhh. In this paragraph which follows (?) the one above, she explains. Well, "explains" insomuchas she tells us what the devil has to do with any of this. So, not only do UFOs, space aliens and extraterrestrials (which are NOT space aliens, apparently) exist, but Satan's responsible for them. Wow. That's some intense theorizing.

Here’s an idea. What do you think about investing in a fairly advanced telescope, a few illustrated books on astronomy, and maybe even a video teaching or summer camp that focuses more on the science and less on the fiction? Allow that God-given curiosity in your son to draw him into a deeper appreciation for the awesomeness of His heavenly Father, the true Father of the Heavens.

A "fairly advanced telescope"? That is too much. What does Lisa Whelchel know about telescopes? What's a fairly advanced telescope to a woman who stopped for Chik-fil-A before visiting her newly admitted father in the hospital? We think it's pretty safe to say, as evidenced by this specific example and by the entire response, that she knows not of what she speaks. Except for the part about summer camps. She's an EXPERT at places to store children for extended periods of time. Allow us, then, to formulate how Lisa, as a responsible and sensitive adult, should have responded to the initial query:

Dear sir/ma'am,

I am not qualified to answer your question, but I do have pamphlets on approximately 3,284 summer camps.


See? Easy and harmless We'd never answer a question regarding, say, a recipe for a bundt cake because we have no idea how to bake anything. We don't think Lisa should be answering questions about UFOs unless, of course, it's about the one that's going to take her home.

That is all. We have to go check out if the hot guy across the street is home yet. Our fairly advanced telescope is aimed and ready. Cheers!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Jesus Christ Almighty."

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.

I’ve wanted to write a series of journal entries talking about all the different churches I’ve attended over the years.


Take those Klonopins now, people.

What prompted me to write this was thinking about how each church denomination I’ve attended, five in all, have all had such a distinctly profound influence on my life and ministry. I can see God’s hand so evidently as He has used the different bodies of believers to shape me into who I am today.

We can see God's hand, too, believe it or not. Right now it's shoving itself down God's throat. You know, this is the first time we've ever really felt bad for God. Like, really.

My foundation is Southern Baptist. I was saved at First Baptist Church of Lake Worth, Brother George Dixon, pastor.

I remained at this church from the age of ten to thirteen, when I moved to California. Then I joined First Baptist Church of Van Nuys, with Dr. Jess Moody until I was sixteen. (I will talk about the following years in the next installments.)


You know who's gonna need to be saved momentarily? You got it: us. And not just because this Coffee Talk entry is about chuuuuuuuuuuuuuurch and is full of threats about more church talk. It's because this Coffee Talk entry is about 58 paragraphs long. Certainly we're not going to cover them all. We care about us. And you, too. But mostly us.

I had a friend, Lynn Butler, sleepover on a Saturday night. We got to talking about how fun it would be to dress up and go somewhere. She came up with the idea of visiting the little church at the end of my street. That sounded like a brilliant idea to me, so the next morning, we put our dresses on and hopped on our bicycles and rode a few houses down and across the street to church.


I discovered something that Sunday morning that changed my life. They had been serving donuts and orange juice down there every weekend for almost all of my life! I had lived this close and I didn’t know about this!! The next Sunday I thought, forget about the dress, I’m going down there for some more donuts and orange juice.


I kept coming back for more and it wasn’t just for the yummy breakfast. I really didn’t know exactly why, though. All I knew was that every time I walked into that church, I felt like my heart had found its home. I knew what this was what my life was about. My Sunday school teacher explained that what I was feeling was the love of Jesus and I could ask Jesus to come into my heart and take that love home with me.


Geez, we're kidding about all this! But seriously, we hope Lisa also credits Jesus for not only saving her, but for forcing her to experiment with lesbianism, making her fat and putting her body up for sale. After all, you take the God, you take the bad...

Maybe that is why Jesus commands us to come to Him as little children.

Yeah, for Krispy Kreme and STDs. Actually, that sounds pretty good.

Children don’t have to have it all figured out before they respond to His love. Soon, I walked down the aisle, probably to the hymn, “Just As I Am,” and prayed the sinner’s pray with Brother Dixon.

What just happened. Did she get married? Was Lisa a child bride? Is that why she looks 47 years younger than her husband? Well, sometimes. As usual, it's all SO confusing.

Eventually, my whole family began attending church with me. We eventually started a bus ministry. My mom organized the route and taught a little lesson on board. My dad drove the bus and illustrated the stories. I usually entertained with my ventriloquist puppet. And my little brother just enjoyed riding on a bus every weekend. (We felt deprived because we lived close enough to walk to school.)

Obviously let's pay attention to this...

I usually entertained with my ventriloquist puppet.

Once more...

I usually entertained with my ventriloquist puppet.

Oh, man. Oh. Srsly, we'd probably kill an Arab and frame a Jew for it for the possibility to go back in time to see this. If it were a possibility. Which it's not, so calm down!

It's not, right?


I usually entertained with my ventriloquist puppet.

Oh, wow.

When I look back on these days, raised in a Baptist church, I immediately think of three major influences.

Speaking of, we have to go make ourselves a vodka, Jack Daniels and Fresca. BRB.


First, the critical importance of the local church. My whole life revolved around church. I was there every time the doors were open. I went to Sunday school, Sunday morning worship, Sunday night GA’s, Potlucks, Midweek services, Saturday workdays, whatever and whenever.

Lisa, Potlucks is not a chain restaurant. No capitalization!

That is still how I live my life today. All of our best friends are from our church. Our kids volunteer on Saturday evenings, we attend as a family Sunday morning, we have Home Team on Sunday nights, the kids have campus teams at the same time, rehearsal on Monday evening, and then, either play in the praise band for junior high, or attend the senior high service on Wednesday night. The body of Christ is too valuable to take for granted. I am so thankful for life in the local church.

All we understood in that cathedral of a paragraph was "body of Christ." We love when church gets sexy. But we have to assume Lisa, like every white American Christian, is talking about a white body, when anyone with half a brain knows that Christ was a black man. (Anyone with a whole brain knows that Christ didn't exist, but that's another story for another time.)

Another huge foundational principle that I learned in the Baptist church that still impacts my life is the habit of daily Bible reading. Each Sunday morning, I stuck a few coins in the little offering envelope to turn in at Sunday school. I’m a pleaser and list-maker by nature, so the fact that these envelopes had little “to do” boxes to check-off was too much for me to ignore. I read my Bible every night just so I could check the “read Bible daily” box on the outside.

No wonder the fam is staying at a Days Inn when they go on vacation. Lisa's given all her money to Christ. Well, to a small envelope with Christ's name on it. Which anyone with half a brain knows goes to Santa for gifts for children of non-celebs. (Anyone with a whole brain knows that Santa doesn't care about children of non-celebs, but that's another story for another time.)

That habit alone was probably the single most reason I survived as a child star. Even as a little kid in Hollywood, I continued reading my Bible every day. I know the sustaining of that relationship with Jesus kept me from taking more wrong turns than I did.

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If I had to choose the one thing that shaped my life the most because of being raised in a Baptist church, without hesitation it would be the emphasis on evangelism. I knew from the moment I walked back from the altar that the rest of my life was to be about telling as many people as possible about the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

OK, wait. We just had a momentary lapse in alcohol and remembered something. Isn't Lisa supposed to be telling us about the five denominations of churches she's belonged to over the course of her very questionable life? So far she's given us, like, two. We'll go ahead and assume the third is Church's Fried Chicken. Which leaves two we haven't heard about. What gives?

Let's see...

When I returned to school after the summer break, my sixth grade teacher asked each student to get up in front of the class and tell what we did over the summer vacation. I stood up and told how I have become a Christian and if there was anyone who didn’t know Christ as their personal Savior then I would meet them out on the playground to pray with them.

We assume what happened next was that Lisa's teacher, because she was aware of this country's separation of church and state, told Lisa that it's a playground, not a prayground. Unless you're teaching English in China.

Sharing Jesus was my life and I did it as often as I had opportunity. A couple of years later, I was in a musical theater production of “The Sound of Music” in Dallas. After a Saturday evening performance, they invited people to stay for bar drinks and a talent showcase from the cast.

Oh, shit. Usually we hate when she goes off on a tangent. Well, usually we hate when she speaks at all. But this should be good...

When it came my time to perform, I did a ventriloquist routine and told the story of “The Three Trees.” If you aren’t familiar with this story, let me just tell you this much. It is a pretty straightforward gospel message and I was not asked to perform for the next showcase because the theater didn’t sell another drink at the bar after I left.

She is killing us. Keeeeeling us. Honestly, Lisa, if you're reading this, we'll totally book you to do the puppet show here in NYC if you want to. And not just so we can see it, but so our friends can, too. They're all heavy drinkers so it'd be a nice challenge. Email us if you're in.

The next year, when I moved to California to be one of the mouseketeers on the “New Mickey Mouse Club,” I knew that it was a wonderful opportunity for me to fulfill my dream of becoming a child actress, but even more importantly, I knew I was to being sent to share the Light of Jesus in a dark place.

More hilarity. Geez, if Lisa thought the Mickey Mouse Club was a dark place, we'd like to invite her to go out with us to the Monster after the puppet show.

When I got the part on “The Facts of Life” I knew that God was simply broadening my platform so I could tell more people about Him. I would work on the set all week and then, often, travel on the weekends to speak to youth groups. I understood that it was young people watching the show and they may come to church to meet “Blair” and I could tell them about Jesus and maybe they would end up meeting Him that night.

Wow, so she was pushing this crap all the way back then. See, we weren't really sure about that. This post makes it clear now, obviously, but we kind of thought the holy paperboy delivered the Good News Gazette apres-Facts, if you know what we mean. Fascinating stuff, this. And, really, we respect Nancy McKeon, Mindy Cohn and even Kim Fields suh much more now. SUH much more.

I am so thankful for the foundation in my life as a good ol’ Baptist girl. The Lord has led me down many different roads since my days singing favorite hymns like “Trust and Obey,” “This is My Story” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” but my passion for evangelism, commitment to daily time in the Word, and love for the local church is a part of the very fiber of my being. I am grateful for my Baptist heritage.

To be honest, in a way, we are, too. Otherwise we'd be out of a non-paying job. Well, one of our non-paying jobs. Which makes us wonder if there's money in this evangicizing. 'Cause we'll totes sign up if there is, Lisa. We can love Jesus, too. Mom would be so thrilled if we finally dated a Jewish boy.

Interestingly, as a family, we are back attending a Baptist church today, although you have to dig real deep to discover the denominational title and it doesn’t resemble anything like the little church in which I grew up.

Just to clarify, that's not interesting at all.

I’ll tell you all about this church later. In the meantime, I have a few more journal entries to write telling you about the other churches that have impacted my life. Maybe next week.


Guess she realized she didn't honor her thesis. Really, this church talk is so tedious. And incomprehensible. Clearly we have no idea what to make of it—our subpar commentary is sub-subpar this week. And that's not really fair to our readers, Lisa. Really. Just to show you how serious we are, we'll end our commentary with our own prayer:

God, if you're listening, grant us the serenity of photographs of Justice skinny dipping at a family function, the courage to post them and the wisdom to know how hot it would be. Amen.

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