The Week

August 30, 2006

I just got finished reading through this week’s edition of “The Week”.  What’s “The Week”, you ask?  Only the most thorough, complete and fair publication on the news that’s available anywhere!  It literally covers everything and every subject.  The editorial section is great and this week I was informed that of the over 400,000 subscriptions to The Week, close to 100,000 have come by way of friend or family recommending it.  So, here’s my recommendation to you, my friends and family.  Check it out.  It’s well worth it.

A Star’s Been Traded

July 26, 2006

Well, its official.  Lance Bass of N’Sync fame is gay.  It was only a matter of time, was it not?  Not particularly for Lance, but for this bomb to drop with regards to any one of these acts, right?  Oh, the young hearts that will be mourning tonight.  If a hot guy from a popular boy band comes out of the closet and announces he’s gay, what meaning is left in this thing we call life?  Entire notions of what cute, fun, semi-talented teenage boys who sing and dance on stage are, have been turned on their heads.  What next?  So why write about this?  Well, it struck me as I was reading about Lance’s coming out, that I had heard several people comment over the past few years about Lance’s Christian faith.  Here’s where we get down to the nitty-gritty.  I don’t know if Lance is a believer or not, but what concerns me is how so often Christians react to things like the world does.  When we find out that “so & so”, who’s slightly famous, might be a Christian, we think that the only logical consequence is a mass revival in Hollywood or in Nashville.  “That guy’s our Big Gun; he’s the one who’s going to put Christianity on the map.”  Quite frankly, that’s a terrible idea of Christian influence (see my previous post on Stephen Baldwin).  “The Celeb must win souls for us and we’ll cheer them on from the sidelines.”  Now that Lance is out, you’ll hear the same stuff from the pro-gay folks.  “Lance is our new advocate!  Lance will get us the respect and admiration we deserve.”  Now that “the other side” has taken one from our own “team”, how does it feel to know that in the end, both groups respond in the same wrong-headed manner, for the most part?  If you’re a Christian, it shouldn’t feel too good. 

Why do we need “stars” to convince the watching world that Christianity is valid?  Why do so many Christians place their faith in men rather than God?  I promise you, the world already knows about Christianity.  Yes, Americans do too.  They all live off of “Christian capital”, to barrow a phrase from a wise old apologist.  In other words, they exist because of, and in spite of the fact that they owe everything to God, but fail to acknowledge that fact.  We need God and His word to convince the world that Christianity is true, not men.  Let the world keep that faulty mindset for all the Lance Bass’s who show up on their team. 

Harry Olivieri died this week.  If you don’t know who that is, don’t feel too badly.  He was the brother of Pat Olivieri.  There, now is it all coming back to you?  Well, for those of you still in the dark, try this on: Pat’s King of Steaks.  Yeah, that Pat’s – the one in south Philly, by the Italian Market.  Harry and Pat Olivieri invited what is affectionately known as the Philly cheesesteak sandwich.  Here’s a little history: Pat ran a hotdog stand in south Philly in the early 1930’s.  One day, being sick and tired of eating hotdogs, he sent his brother Harry to get some meat from the local butcher.  Pat took the meat, grilled it up on his hotdog grill, put it on a roll, added some onions and presto!  The “steak” was invented.  As Pat was about to bite into his new creation, a cabbie, who was a regular at his stand offered to pay Pat for the sandwich.  Loving what he tasted and smelled, the cabbie told Pat he should sell these things and leave the ‘dogs in the dust.  An interesting point of trivia – the cheese wasn’t added until much later!  (But it does make them so much better!) 

As I was thinking about Harry’s death and the great Philly cheesesteak, I had to laugh as I pondered all the other types of “philly cheesesteaks” I have encountered and even consumed in my lifetime.  Being from the south (Georgia, not Philly) the stuff that passes for a cheesesteak down there is pretty funny.  Any Joe who’s got some meat, some onions, some peppers and cheese automatically thinks he can make an authentic cheesesteak.  Most are utter failures.  Here’s why.  A true cheesesteak must have these 3 main ingredients: the proper ingredients, the proper way to order, and the proper presentation.  If any of these are missing, then its not a true “Philly cheesesteak”.  Maybe it could pass as a Hardee’s cheesesteak, but not a Philly cheesesteak.  If grease is not your main ingredient in your cheesesteak, its an impostor.  If you’re not hassled and harassed as you order (and if your order is not placed within 15 seconds at the window) then you’re not getting a real cheesesteak.  And finally, if your cheesesteak is not handed to you wrapped in wax paper that’s already soaking from the grease, its not a true ‘steak. 

So, with those thoughts in mind, may I present to you “Jon Talley’s List of the Best Philly Cheesesteaks that you can buy in Center City Philadelphia”.  (I’ve got to be specific about locale, because there are so many good cheesesteaks out in the ‘burbs.)  Drum roll please: 

3.  Pat’s King of Steaks – The Original.  Got to have at least once.

2.  Geno’s Steaks – Right across the street from Pat’s.  This is the place that most folks picture when they think Philly cheesesteak.  Good stuff.

1.  Jim’s Steaks – The “outside” world doesn’t know about Jim’s, but believe me, all the locals do.  It’s fabulous.  When you come and visit the Talleys, this is where you’ll be taken. 

RIP, Harry Olivieri. 

Skate or Die, Bono

July 19, 2006

It appears that the infamous Stephen Baldwin, of the Baldwin brothers clan, has issued an ultimatum to Bono – “Start sharing the gospel with poor Africans, and quit helping them with their debt, or I’ll have nothing to do with you!”  Let me just ask one question: What is this guy thinking?  Of all the people and all the organizations to be knocking, why Bono and his work with Africa?  It seems as if Baldwin would like for Bono to be out among the folks passing out tracts (in Jesus’ name, of course), rather than giving out cups of cold water in Jesus’ name.  Bono’s not doing the really important spiritual stuff, according to Baldwin.  All the while, Baldwin is “Skatin’ it up” for Jesus with his new little niche ministry to skaters.  This type of stuff that Baldwin’s harping on just confounds me.  The bottom line in all of this seems to be that Baldwin has taken American Evangelicalism to it’s logical, albeit, extreme conclusions.  Baldwin’s worldview – “Jesus is my skating partner and he can be your’s too” is simply too narrow.  I understand Baldwin’s concern.  But the bottom line is that his approach to “ministry” and “sharing the gospel” is limited.  He’s taken on the mindset of many young American Christians, which is that they ought to go into “ministry” when they become Christians.  What about Baldwin staying an actor and being a Christian?  He really was good in “The Usual Suspects” – really, he was.  Something about Bono’s approach to “ministry” strikes a deeper cord with me.  Maybe its because I see more of Christ’s life in what he’s doing than in what Baldwin’s doing.  I do hope that the Lord uses Baldwin’s skating ministry.  I can’t be certain about what kind of results he’ll have with that.  Bono’s got a lot of famous people working with him.  I can’t help but think that some of them will be impacted by Bono’s message of grace to Africa.  Not to mention all of the people who will be impacted directly by the debt relief. 

I’ve Moved

July 19, 2006

Physically and technologically.  Why?  First, the house we were living in was sold – too bad.  There goes the free living situation.  Second, the blog site I was using kicked me out, for all intents and purposes.  Don’t ask me how or why, but I couldn’t log on any longer.  So, I’ve moved.  Here we are at this nice, cozy little place, ready to settle in and hang some pictures.  While I find out where all my stuff is, I’ll try and post some links for your viewing pleasure, including a link to my old site.  More to come later.  I’ll try and publish my first “real post” later on.  Oh, by the way, mind the new address.