Thinking Out Loud

February 7, 2013

Should the Tip for the Waitress Exceed Your Tithe Percentage?

I Give God Ten Percent - Applebee's Receipt

Q: What’s the difference between a canoe and a Christian in a restaurant?

A: A canoe tips.

The bill for the meal at Applebee’s came with a pre-calculated 18% tip, but you certainly had the option to override it with any tip you chose.

But one customer argued that God only gets 10%, so why should wait staff get 18%.

But then he [update – see comments] she left nothing.

So another server took a picture of the receipt containing the comment.

And the restaurant fired her — really a third party in all this — despite years of exemplary service and management aspirations.

Apparently the customer — who to make matters worse claimed to be a pastor — was outraged when the story went public and demanded that heads roll.  To appease the customer, Applebee’s rolled one head, and lost a perfectly good employee in the process. Not sure I want to eat there again.

And then, the story went world wide. The link I have is to The Guardian in the UK. The newspaper’s online version takes a line from the server, “…tipping is not optional. It is how we get paid;” and renders it as some kind of quaint American trivia headline, “Tips are not optional, they are how waiters get paid in America.”

Excuse me, don’t people tip in Great Britain?

But before we go to far here, are we led to believe that the person who stiffed the waitress really gives ten percent? Because statistics on both sides of the Atlantic don’t support that notion. And if the type of person who does give ten percent is also the type of person who doesn’t leave a tip, personally I would rather they tithed less.

For example: Recently we attended a youth outreach event that is being held in a large restaurant complex and entertainment center. Many of the attendees — in their late teens and twenties — go out to eat afterward and since they are identified as being from the “Christian” event, the last word to them before they are dismissed is to be kind and generous to their servers.

The last thing the world needs is another hot-headed Christian alienating others from Jesus. It might take an army of Christ-followers a lifetime to undo what this person did in just a few seconds.

What I really like about Chelsea Welch’s story is that in the end, she takes the high road, something the customer in the story didn’t do:

As this story has gotten popular, I’ve received inquiries as to where people can send money to support me. As a broke kid trying to get into college, it’s certainly appealing, but I’d really rather you make a difference to your next server. I’d rather you keep that money and that generosity for the next time you eat out.

To see the discussion on Reddit provoked by this, click this link.

Related article at Christianity Today: Why Are Christians Such Bad Tippers?

January 28, 2012

Are These Realistic Expectations?

Filed under: family, parenting — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:44 am

Later today, the Drew Marshall Show is introducing another God-blogger,  Rachel Snyder at The Lazy Christian.  I’m not sure with a blog name like that if Drew is providing role models or anti-role models — a few months ago it was Jamie, The Very Worst Missionary.

Anyway, you can catch the show live starting at 1:00 PM EST (until 5:00) or wait a week and catch the segments from the week before which are always posted on Fridays.    Meanwhile, he’s a sneak peek at something from the Rachel’s blog:

A Short Play by Rachel: Great Expectations

Scene opens on RACHEL and FRIEND riding in RACHEL’S car. They are discussing raising RACHEL’S future daughter.


RACHEL:    I think that while they’re growing up, I’ll have my son open my daughter’s car door for her when we get in the car. 

FRIEND:     Why?

RACHEL:     Well, I want my son to know how to treat a woman, and I want my daughter to know how a gentleman should treat her.

FRIEND:     Don’t you think that’s setting up unrealistic expectations for her?

RACHEL:     In what way?

FRIEND:     Well, not all men open car doors for women. That’s not something she should expect.

RACHEL:     And why not? My husband opens the car door for me. If we teach our son to do it, there are probably other moms out there teaching their sons to do it. It’s those little niceties that make all the difference sometimes.

FRIEND:     But maybe she won’t meet one of those guys. Or date one. You’re setting her up with unrealistic expectations.

RACHEL:     I don’t think it’s an unrealistic expectation. It’s a high expectation. 

FRIEND:     Well, maybe it’s too high.

RACHEL:     And why wouldn’t I want my daughter to have high expectations? I want her to end up with a man who treats her the way my husband treats me—the way a man should treat a woman. I don’t want her to settle for some schmuck who doesn’t know how to treat her well. I wouldn’t raise her to think she should only marry a rich man or someone who falls at her feet. But opening a car door for her? That’s something small that says, “I care about you,” every time she gets in the car. 

FRIEND:     Well. My husband doesn’t do it for me.

RACHEL:     So you think I’m giving my daughter unrealistic expectations just because your husband doesn’t open the car door for you?

FRIEND:     I—I guess.

RACHEL:     Well, he should open the door for you. It’s not that hard. You tell him I said that.

END SCENE.

November 10, 2011

The Hat Debate

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:49 am

I really want you guys, especially North American readers, to click the comment section on this one, okay?

Church has changed a lot in the past 15-20 years.  In many churches, the music rocks, parishioners are dressed workplace casual, people sip coffee during the sermon, and drama often replaces formal liturgy.  A mainstream blogger writes:

There was a time when all men wore hats, they knew how to wear them and they knew when to wear them. They also knew when to remove them. There was a certain hat etiquette that everyone followed. Generally, a man did not wear a hat indoors, and there were no exceptions, except in lobbies or hallways of office buildings. A man could keep his hat on in the elevator, except if a lady were present. A man never — ever — wore a hat in a movie, restaurant or concert theatre. Ever.  Under any circumstances.  Besides, hats were the reason that restaurants, theatres and concert halls had hat checks.  Men were supposed to check their hats at the door.  “May I take your hat, please?”

So what about men (and boys) wearing baseball caps in church?  Traditionally, one removed their hat in formal settings, but modern church services ain’t exactly formal. 

So two questions in particular:

  • Does the rule still apply?
  • Should a church directly confront — as one did here last month — a young man in his 30s over his hat wearing?

Maybe you find this trivial, but take 30-seconds to let your voice be heard.

April 22, 2010

Better Than Roberts Rules of Order

You can’t expect to run a society by the rules of parliamentary debate, but it often seems like a little bit of civility and decency might be in order.   So it seems rather timely that George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation should be released by so many publishers over the last few years.

American kids grow up knowing the rules as part of a penmanship exercise, but the title is foreign to Canucks, Brits, Kiwis and Aussies.

Many different publishers have availed themselves of this public domain title with 24 editions printed since 2002 currently available.

One publisher, Applewood, has the lone currently-available pre-2000 edition in print and markets the book with this history:

“Copied out by hand as a young man aspiring to the status of Gentleman, George Washington’s 110 rules were based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. The first English edition of these rules was available in Francis Hawkins’ Youths Behavior, or Decency in Conversation Amongst Men, which appeared in 1640, and it is from work that Washington seems to have copied. The rules as Washington wrote them out are a simplified version of this text. However much he may have simplified them, these precepts had a strong influence on Washington, who aimed to always live by them. The rules focus on self-respect and respect for others through details of etiquette. The rules offer pointers on such issues as how to dress, walk, eat in public, and address one’s superiors.”

Prices vary from $5.99 US for a simple 52-page edition to $37.95 US for a 180-page edition with commentary.

However, you can actually read all 110 rules at this Wikipedia page (#91: Make no Shew of taking great Delight in your Victuals, Feed not with Greediness; cut your Bread with a Knife, lean not on the Table neither find fault with what you Eat) … though it’s in desperate need of a Eugene-Peterson-Message-style update.   Or maybe they can get James Reimann, the guy who updated My Utmost for His Highest.

On the other hand, KJV-only advocates should feel right at home with the language this title presents.

Better yet, here’s a question to end on:  Do they still teach any of this stuff to kids today?   Maybe we need this to be more than a writing exercise.

Related posts in this blog:  Don’t Blame Seniors (Aug. 2009)

Another reason you’ve heard the word civility in the last few days:  The head honcho of the Assemblies of God removes his name from The Covenant of Civility, perhaps rather missing the whole point in the process.   Read that story here.

June 3, 2009

Twitching, Twittering and Texting in Church

Filed under: Christianity, Church, worship — Tags: , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:18 pm

TwitterI was using that hot new media format called Twitcher in church on Sunday, and was just about to post a Twitch when I noticed the woman across the aisle scowling at me.   Okay, there is no such thing as Twitching (in the media sense) but I thought the post title needed a third element.

A lot of people who Twitter do so in the middle of church services.    Recently Josh Harris posted six reasons why he’s not warm to the idea, but I liked reasons number three and five the best:

3. The most important thing I can do while I’m sitting under the preaching of God’s word is to listen to what God is saying to me. I need to actively engage my heart and mind to receive (Isaiah 66:2). Twitter, can take the focus off of hearing and receiving and and makes it broadcasting and sharing. So instead of my mind being engaged with thoughts of “What is the Word of God saying to me?” when I start “tweeting” my focus becomes, “What do I want to say? What do I want to express? What am I thinking?”

5. Just because something is incredibly popular in culture doesn’t mean we have to accommodate it in our worship. Who cares if the whole world is talking about Twitter? Lost people in this world don’t need to see that we’re current with the latest trend, they need to hear God’s unchanging truth (see 1 Peter 1:24-25). They need to understand that God’s word makes a demand on their life. And they should see from us a reverence and holy awe in the presence of God and his word that points them to the fact that what happens in a Christian church is completely different than anything happening in the world.

Even John Piper joined the discussion, with remarks that included:

…But when you are in corporate worship, Worship! There is a difference between communion with God and commenting on communion with God.   Don’t tweet while having sex. Don’t tweet while praying with the dying. Don’t tweet when your wife is telling you about the kids. There’s a season for everything. Multitasking only makes sense when none of the tasks requires heart-engaged, loving attention…

This is a fragile bond. The fact that an electric cord is easily cut, does not mean that the power flowing through it is small. It produces bright and wonderful effects. So it is with preaching. Great power flows through fragile wires of spiritual focus.    Perfume can break it. A ruffled collar can break it. A cough can break it. A whisper can break it. Clipping fingernails, chewing gum, a memory, a stomach growl, a sunbeam, and a hundred other things can break it. The power that flows through the wire of spiritual attention is strong, but the wire is weak.

Somehow, I don’t think either of these guys will be promoting the book The Reason Your Church Must Twitter.

So where do you stand on the burning theological issue of the week?   And should denominations decide or should it be settled at the congregational level?   Okay, I’m not really making light of this, because I think both Harris and Piper have rightly shown us that this is all a microcosm of a much greater issue; it says what we think about worship, which says what we think about God.

~ HT Randy Bohlendar

Related:  Take microblogging to a new level with Flutter

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