Monthly Archives: January 2008

urban christian part two

Bakke is really good:

“Theological talk about the salvation of structures may be nonsense (I must admit you cannot evangelize what you cannot baptize), but if Christians think that social and economic structures matter enough for them to move where they function, they cannot criticize other Christians for working to develop or improve those systems in their communities where they do not function well.”

“So many evangelicals are unreconstructed social Darwinists who believe that only the powerful and the strong should survive. We have seen the large-scale commitment of evangelical churches to a conservative ideology masquerading as theology.”

“Some groups have complete sets of concrete, cultural practices which they regard as almost synonymous with the gospel. Their witness to Christ is frozen into cultural forms with are irrelevant or unintelligible to most people.”

That’s it for now…

urban christian

Lately, I’ve been reading this book by Ray Bakke. Ray’s speaking and writing has shaped me a great deal, and I figure I’d start reading his books again. This book is basically a bunch of transcripts from Ray’s speaking engagements and seminary classes–meaning, it’s really easy to read. I’m probably not going to give any sort of review of the book, but the following quote prompted me to write this post in the first place.

“I returned as a pastor to Chicago in 1965, and just as I came, the church passed me by. It was leaving [the city]. The evangelical establishment fled. They all claimed to have the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and the gospel. But at the same time, they condemned those who had any sort of social involvement. They concluded that the church should not seek to save or renew social structures. The people who make these statements usually live in safe, reasonably healthy communities which benefit their families, precisely because they have good schools, stable economies and decent housing. These are the only people who can afford to say, “Just stick to the simple, clear presentation of the gospel to individuals,” because the traditional social systems are working for them.” (parenthesis and italics mine)

Seems like not much has changed since 1965…

free iPhone scam update!

Wednesday I blogged about yourfreeiphone.com, and how I am practically SURE it is NOT A SCAM; so here’s a quick update. I didn’t mention in my previous post that I filled out the Stamps.com offer. Basically, a subscription to Stamps.com costs $15.95 and mainly allows you to print postage from your own computer (you do this by downloading their software on your computer). It’s pretty pointless if you ask me unless you own a large business and are shipping packages of varying costs frequently. But for a regular guy like me who sends regular mail, and occasionally sends a large package, it seems pretty pointless because I can just go to my neighborhood Post Office and they’ll print postage for me. STILL, that’s the whole point of a trial right?  To see if I like it.  Stamps.com officially has 1 month to convince me!  This is where it gets interesting.

According to YourFreeiPhone.com: “To receive credit (for Stamps.com), you must register for a 4 week trial, install, and print postage. Must remain a member for a minimum of 21 days to retain credit.”

My initial plan was to just register for the trial on Stamps.com and check it out, not expecting any charges.  So, yesterday, I check my bank account… LO and BEHOLD, they have already charged me the service fee of $15!! I immediately go to stamps.com to re-read the terms and conditions. My eyes are drawn to this line: FOR THE MONTHLY SERVICE PLAN AND THE TERM PLAN, THE FIRST MONTH IS NOT A FREE MONTH AND SUCH MONTH IS BILLED TO YOU.

DID I JUST GET SCAMMED?? I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!

Well, NO, I didn’t get scammed. I immediately called Stamps.com and the $15 charge was only the authorization for the monthly service fee and is pending the month trial. I’m still going to check out the service and see if it’s good for me. Quick note on the Stamps.com offer: The conditions state you have to register for the trial, install the software, and print postage. When you register for the trial, they actually give you $5 in postage. So I’m going to print out the postage and see if the service works for me. The terms also say: “All free postage shall expire and be deemed forfeited upon cancellation of your Stamps.com account.”

I maintain the fact that YourFreeiPhone.com is not a scam. All the offers are not truly “free,” but the Stamps one looks ok and is probably worth the trial run. And even if you end up being charged $15, you get $5 in postage, so the net loss is only $10, which is worth it for a FREE iPHONE.

Stop being so skeptical and get with it! Sign up!

YourFreeiPhone.com is no joke… or scam

I actually feel obligated to write this post because there’s too many people thinking I’m getting scammed here. Ok, there’s only 3 people who have told me that as of now, but still…

So, there’s this website called YourFreeiPhone.com that offers you a free iPhone or another reward for filling out one of their offers and then referring more people to do the same. All you have to really do is CLICK HERE, set up an account, go to the “offers” page and sign up for one, then get more people (8 for the iPhone) to do the same, and you’ll get your reward. Let me just stop right here and list some of the objections I’ve received so far…

“It’s a scam! There’s no free lunches in this world.”

Right. I agree. There’s no free lunches in this world, and this isn’t free either. Let me explain how this works for those who don’t know about website affiliate programs. In this technologically advanced world, there are literally thousands of websites out there that offer some sort of goods or services in exchange for your hard earned cash. These websites usually have some sort of affiliate program where if you send them paying customers (typically through your own website), they will in turn send you a cut of their sale. Nike… Amazon… Microsoft… etc., all have affiliate programs. Here’s what Nike says on their website about it’s affiliate program: “Join our affiliate program and earn cash by promoting our brand and products on your site. Every time you direct a consumer from your site to ours, you earn money when that consumer makes a purchase.” It’s really that simple. So, here’s exactly how it works with YourFreeiPhone.com: 1. You sign up with them. 2. You complete an offer (yes, that means spend money, more on this below). 3. When your offer is complete, whatever site you went to will give YourFreeiPhone.com an affiliate fee. 4. You refer more people to do the same. 5. YourFreeiPhone.com gets more affiliate fees. 6. When you have enough referrals who have made YourFreeiPhone.com enough money, they send you your reward.

“It’s a scam! And they’re going to spam you until you die!”

I opened a gmail account about a year ago. Know why? Because my other accounts were getting ridiculously spammed with junk I didn’t want. I thought to myself…“Man, I’m an idiot. I must have given someone my information who is selling it to spammers. Boy, I need a gmail account. That will solve everything.” Wrong again. I have never used my email address for anything in the least bit skeptical, yet my spam folder is FILLED almost every single day. The key word there is “spam folder” because it never gets to my inbox! The filter does a great job at keeping spam out of my inbox. The point of all this? Even if these websites sell your information to spammers, which I really doubt will happen anyway because they’re already making money off you through the offers, you’ll never be spam free. (For all you Calvinists out there – Spam: my inbox :: Sin: my life. Feel free to use that in your TULIP sermons. Hah.) Besides, if this website will really send you a $500 iPhone, bring the spam on.

“But, that means I have to fill out an offer for some hole-in-the-wall website… I don’t trust that.”

Easy. Don’t fill out an offer for anything you don’t trust. There are some VERY trusted sites on their email list, namely Netflix.com and Blockbuster.com (or Gamefly.com if you play video games). Netflix is great because you get 2 weeks free, and then the monthly due is only $5.99 if you decide to continue services. Gia and I love netflix. If you don’t want to continue your service, you really don’t have to at all… I say continue the service! It’s only $5.99 and you’ll be getting movies in the mail. Like I said, some might say “free” on them, but make sure to read everything carefully because I’m pretty sure you’ll be paying something. If you already have Netflix or Blockbuster, there are offers that only include a one time fee — such as Quickbooks, PosterPass (4 posters for $10) or Magazine Burst (subscription for a year to 4 magazines). Quickbooks is offering free software, you only have to pay the shipping and handling (which I assume is $5-$10). For some good financial/budgeting software, I think it’s completely worth it.

If you’re still skeptical, check out this guy’s blog. He’s a youth pastor and has already received an xbox and ipod from the same website. He’s a Christian so you know he ain’t lying right?

So there you have it. SIGN UP and get your iPhone too. But before you do, clear your cookies in your web browser.

UPDATE:  CLICK HERE for my latest update on Yourfreeiphone.com!