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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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh NB:
great post. It's like Scarlett trying to get Rhett back into her pants and having to wear Miss Ellen's portieres as a hoop skirt. Since Li'l Lisa ain't giving anything remotely interesting to work with, you are to be commended. You turned her ratty ol' drapes into a pageant gown.

Money quote:
"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."

Your perseverence in the face of adversity reminded me of the following:

"When God gives you AIDS, make lemonAIDS." --Sarah Silverman

And that's just what you did.

Have a great week!

September 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, let's clarify what "denomination" means: It means MORE THAN JUST BAPTIST.

I'd LOVE to see Lisa pulling all that "I met Jesus, let's hug each other" crap in a Catholic church. The nuns would smack her for blasphemy.

September 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see, Blair is famous and probably going to Heaven, and you're a nobody going nowhere. Add it up ... this is meaningless, you're just being an asshole for the sale of smelling like shit, eh? I couldn't even finish reading this, I'm outta here.

September 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ, Jesus got her with a friggin' doughnut? That's all it took? Talk about a cheap date.
Man, and she's so hot to trot: "Sharing Jesus was my life and I did it as often as I had opportunity" Damn, she shares like a bunny rabbit.
I don't know, who can blame her. I've always had the hots for Jewish guys too.

September 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blair is famous and probably going to Heaven, and you're a nobody going nowhere.

Because God only bestows fame and fortune upon the worthy; case in point, Paris Hilton. Perhaps Lisa can share that news with Ken Lay when she gets to Heaven.'re just being an asshole for the sale of smelling like shit, eh?

For the "sale" of "smelling like shit?" How much could I earn? I mean, us Godless types need to make a living any way we can (see above point).

I couldn't even finish reading this...

Nor proofread it, apparently...

September 11, 2006  
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May 05, 2014  

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