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"Don’t Be a Pew Potato!"
by Tom Goodman
January 3, 2007

By the time you read this, the game will be over.  What game, you ask?

  • The Texas Tech game that gave Bobby Knight his 880th win?
  • The UT bowl game squeaker?
  • The amazing, amazing Boise State win over the Sooners?

None of the above.  I’m talking about the Ultimate Couch Potato Contest in Chicago’s ESPN Zone sports bar.  Last year’s winner, Jason Pisarik, is back to defend his title.  As I write this, the accountant and three challengers have to sit in recliner chairs in front of a 15-foot screen tuned to college football bowl games and inane pre- and post-game commentaries.  They are allowed a 5-minute break every hour, but otherwise have to keep their stare on a TV screen and get served food and drink.

The only woman in the competition is holding her own against the men.  “I don't know how guys do it,” said Stacy Gleason, a 39-year-old mother of three.  “I’m doing this for girls everywhere who don't get to do this while their husbands morph into the furniture watching sports on TV.”

The last man standing—uh, sitting—gets a prize package valued at almost $5,000, including a 42-inch high-definition television, a recliner, gift certificates, and a trophy featuring a live spud.

Pisarik won last year at the 30-hour mark, but the world record is held by Canadian Suresh Joachim who watched TV for an unbroken 69 hours and 48 minutes in September 2005.

Kind of reminds me of the old definition of football: a game played by a bunch of men in desperate need of a break being watched by a bunch of men in desperate need of exercise.

Reading about couch potatoes got me to thinking about another kind of potatoes: the pew potatoes.  Every church has an abundance of these sedentary saints who do little more than offer commentary on what others need to do.

Make a new year’s resolution that you won’t be a pew potato in 2007!  Get involved in Sunday School or Common Ground on Sunday mornings . . . sign up for a Hillcrest Institute class on Sunday nights . . . attend the “Success to Significance” retreat . . . commit to a mission trip . . . take a volunteer position at church . . . renew your personal prayer life.  In other words, put your Christian convictions to work!

God bless your 2007 with him!


Important Notes

“First Place”—Our New Weight Loss Program.  As someone said, it’s a “live-it” not a “diet.”  Find out more at Herb’s article here.

New “Hillcrest Institute” Classes!  Click here to learn about our upcoming semester of the Hillcrest Institute.  You can register early online!

Links to Your World

If you’ve made New Year’s Resolutions, you might want to read about the most famous resolutions of all time: Jonathan Edwards' 70 resolutions that he used to guide his life.  Find out more here and here.

Time magazine reports on the faith of our late President Gerald Ford in “The Other Born-Again President?

“They writhe and strut, shake their bottoms, splay their legs, thrust their chests out and in and out again.  Some straddle empty chairs, like lap dancers without laps. . . .  They are in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.”  That’s from Lawrence Downes New York Times piece, “Middle School Girls Gone Wild.”  He says, “Suburban parents dote on and hover over their children, micromanaging their appointments and shielding them in helmets, kneepads and thick layers of S.U.V. steel.  But they allow the culture of boy-toy sexuality to bore unchecked into their little ones’ ears and eyeballs.”

From the Hubble:  The ten most amazing space photos in the universe here.

In this article, John Cornwell imagines God’s response to Richard Dawkins The God Delusion.  Clever.

FirstLook is a weekly e-mail service of the Baptist Standard, the newspaper for Texas Baptists.  For a free subscription to FirstLook, visit the sign-up page here.

The Austin American Statesman is looking for your faith stories.  The "Your Words" features, which will alternate with Eileen Flynn's columns, are 700-word stories contributed by our readers and area clerics.  Send yours to

You’ll find other news and opinions at my online journal, “Get Anchored,” including an article about why a Baptist church decided to change its name.  To keep up with the journal, sign up for e-mail updates or assign the feed to your news reader.

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