Eugene Cho

thou shalt not lie about the size of your church

Who’s from Texas?

If you are, don’t take this personally.

I just got back from a short trip to Texas. I was speaking at Catalyst Dallas – a Christian leadership conference. But this post isn’t about faith, leadership, courage, or anything so dramatic.

During this trip, a friend asked me if I’d ever consider moving to Texas.

I…umm…well…umm…uh…

Well, I don’t know much about Texas besides the usual stereotypes. I really don’t have anything concrete to say regarding why I wouldn’t enjoy living there but I think I’ve finally found a reason why I could never move to Texas.

Because, if I did, I would end up going to jail!

Check out this funky story. Texas lawmakers – who’ve been proned to do some crazy things (in my opinion) have made it illegal to lie about the size of your fish via a new law – HB 1806:

A very important bill landed on Texas Governor Rick Perry’s desk yesterday — one that would make it a crime to lie about the size of a fish caught in a freshwater or saltwater tournament. Apparently this is a widespread problem in the Semiautonomous Region of Texas, and one that has lately rocked the world of high-stakes professional angling.

Umm, I feel convicted and should come clean about my fishing tales. I kinda fabricated the below video. I did catch this beautiful bass but caught it about a minute before I got my daughter to hit the record button so I could possibly land my own fishing TV show some day. I just wanted to come clean – just in case Washington enacts a similar law.

So, here’s a provocative question since pastors and churches might be similarly tempted to inflate the “size” of their churches. I can’t speak for other pastors but I certainly do. I wouldn’t call it lying but my wife has been astute to remind me that I tend to always “round UP” my numbers. So…

What if there was a law that pastors and churches can’t lie, fabricate, or round-up their church attendance?

Oh snap. 

Punishable by death via Leviticus? Oh snap x 2. So, 

Here’s the full story (via Gawker):

A very important bill landed on Texas Governor Rick Perry’s desk yesterday — one that would make it a crime to lie about the size of a fish caught in a freshwater or saltwater tournament. Apparently this is a widespread problem in the Semiautonomous Region of Texas, and one that has lately rocked the world of high-stakes professional angling.

Violating this proposed law — which passed unanimously in the State Senate — would be considered a misdemeanor, unless prize money of $10,000 or more is involved, whereby the crime becomes a felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail. The Times spoke with several fishermen, like Tommy Hagler, a fishing guide who claims he’s never once lied about the size of a fish he’s caught: “In this business, you’ve got to tell the truth the whole time and all the time tell the truth.”

It’s been a monumental week for Texas lawmaking.

Heck, this story even made the New York Times. Crazy.

But hey, while we’re boasting about fish, here’s the biggest bass I’ve caught. But here’s some inside scoop about how to make your fish look big:

Instead of holding the fish next to you, you extend your arm completely forward as close to the camera and thus, making the fish “look bigger.” LOL.

So, what’s the “inside scoop” of how churches inflate their numbers?

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14 Responses

  1. Garrett S. says:

    This is kind of awesome. And by kind of, I mean fully awesome.

    In speaking of awesome, the question you posed is definitely a Jesus Juke. (http://www.jonacuff.com/stuffchristianslike/2010/11/the-jesus-juke/)

    Thirdly, lying about the size of the church is like lying about how you go out with a girl you really don’t know: everyone is going to find out and you’re going to look like an idiot.

  2. Daniel says:

    This post is kinda funny and kinda not. The latter because it’s true.

  3. Too bad we didn’t connect in Dallas, Eugene. I had no idea you were visiting my neck of the woods…

  4. gsb says:

    i don’t know about the church generally speaking but the “inside scoop” at quest? don’t just tally what you see but stretch your faith and count all the babies in-utero!….as TWINS! bam! 700 ;)

  5. Tony Lin says:

    I once heard that asking a pastor for their church size is like asking someone for their salary.

    Sociologically, there is some evidence that people lie about church attendance so it’s not just pastors who inflate… parishioners inflate church attendance too.

  6. jeff e. says:

    i was on staff at a church (no q in the initials, so rest easy e.c.) for a pastor who counted attendance on sundays, added it to the number of small groups that would meet during the week, added that total to other meetings (i.e. elders/session/leadership/youth/etc) and would total up that as the number of attendees each week. some of us were being counted 5-6 times per week–maybe more…

  7. [...] R.C. Sproul, Jr. A Moderate Evangelical’s Assessment of ‘Love Wins’ – Carson T. Clark Thou Shalt Not Lie About the Size of Your Church – Eugene Cho Rethinking the Pro-life Label – Stephen Prothero, CNN Belief Blog Franklin [...]

  8. JJ says:

    How about counting the members of the staff and worship team several times? ;)

  9. [...] Cho had a funny and insightful post about pastors lying about church attendance, which he compares to fish stories. It isn’t uncommon in the “church biz” to [...]

  10. jchenwa says:

    I must be Korean because I know what a church is. You man@!

  11. [...] and try as I might, I can’t think of a thing.”Cornel West goes after President Obama.Thou shalt not lie about… Thanks TedMeanderings in the News1. W.W.: “If it turns out that the road to plutocracy is [...]

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One Day’s Wages

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I love my church. So proud of the ways they seek to embody compassion and justice. Some of them were in downtown Seattle this week to demonstrate their solidarity with Ferguson.

I'm in the middle of a 3 month sabbatical at Quest. I'm grateful for this time of rest and rejuvenation...but I miss my church dearly. Can't wait to be back in October. There are some amazingly beautiful churches around the world. Just remember though that true worship begins when you exit the church walls and live out your faith and convictions.

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#seattle 17.5 Year Anniversary!
We still got it. We look gooooood!

Blessed to be back in Princeton, NJ for couple days recently. We had our wedding ceremony in Korea but got "legally" married in the US at Miller Chapel in Princeton Seminary. So, it was only fitting to go back and have my kids take our 17.5 Anniversary  pics. Someday when our kids become adults and they feel like their parents wronged them or neglected them, and they feel like they need to get counseling... I'm going to show them this picture and say, "I HAVE PROOF. WE TOOK YOU TO NYC AND BOUGHT TICKETS TO WICKED ON BROADWAY!" RIP Robin Williams. 
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We need to (re)learn how to be more human. Don't avoid eye contact. Don't hide behind gadgets. Smile often - both to neighbors and strangers alike. Ask about peoples' stories. And listen.

And most importantly, remind yourself that YOU are loved. Not just merely by your loved ones but also by the ONE who created all that is good and beautiful.

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