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About that touching story making the rounds…

You’ve probably seen the story of Pastor Jeremiah Steepek, who went to the church at which he was guest speaking disguised as a homeless man. It’s very convicting and whatnot. And completely made up.

This is not Pastor Steepek, who doesn’t exist.

Dear people, stop making stuff up and stop stealing stories.

Because the real story is more interesting. The real story is that of Rev. Willie Lyle, a Methodist minister in Clarksville, TN. In response to a dream, he lived on the streets for 5 days and then shared his experience with his congregation.

Various psychological factors such as anxiety and stress can also lead to chronic super viagra generic pancreatitis. Extensive research has helped us discount cialis correct this assumption. If they are taken for long period of time, then you are suffering from erectile dysfunction. levitra online Your body needs histamine viagra prices in usa in order to control and calm agony. I encourage you to read the whole thing. It’s filled with lots of interesting details, like the stacks of paperwork one assistance center wants homeless people to fill out and the teenagers who treated him with respect and love. And it is a challenge, much more than the fake story. And contrary to that story being passed around, the church didn’t make him sit in the back or ignore him:

Early morning on June 23, Willie lay under a tree on the church lawn covered up by a big overcoat. He still had not shaved or combed his hair. He wondered how many people would approach him and offer him food, or a place to sit inside an air conditioned room, or just see how they could help. Twenty people spoke to him and offered some type of assistance.

The sermon title was “The Least Used Parts of the Body” and based on I Corinthians 12:12-15. According to Pastor Lyle, “Often the least used parts of the body are the ones that mean the most, like our heart and mind. We need to understand that there are no small or least used parts in the body of Christ.

“Too many of us only want to serve God one hour each week. That doesn’t cut it. That is not God’s plan.”

While he preached, his daughter-in-law cut his hair and his daughter helped shave off his scruffy beard. He changed shoes, and beneath the overcoat, he was wearing his Sunday clothes. He put on a tie and his suit coat, all the while continuing to preach his message. Before the 200 people gathered that morning, he went from looking like a homeless person to the new pastor of the congregation.”

It’s a beautiful and important story, and lies and “enhancements” don’t help at all.

(Just a tip: do a quick internet search or check out Snopes or Hoax-slayer or something similar before you share. . . anything. There are a lot of liars out there.)

5 responses to “About that touching story making the rounds…”

  1. carrie Avatar

    I think it might be interesting to unpack why the lie resonates with people. I’m a smart lady and I bought it. Maybe that says something about me, but I’m betting it says something about christians too.

  2. marcia Avatar

    I think this is evidence of the epidemic of emotional manipulation which plays itself off as the Spirit of God. When God speaks, he is not interested in convincing or manipulating your emotions. His word is TRUTH, and if you are convicted by the truth, then you simply have a decision to make and a an action to take. Sadly, our culture (and the church) has become filled with those who want their ears and emotions “tickled.”

  3. April Avatar

    Confirmation bias, schadenfreude, the willingness–even eagerness–to believe the worst about those with whom we disagree. These are all human traits. You see it in the fake stories passed around by Christians, too.

  4. Dana Avatar

    I think it says something about the way gossip spreads. When you hear something from a trusted source, your skepticism is low and you believe what they tell you. Even when they’re just passing along a linke they got from someone they trust who got it from someone they trust. It resonates with your worldview somehow, maybe, but you don’t question it because of the perceived source. It only takes one person in a circle of friends to pass it on without checking, and chances are, no one will.

    1. April Avatar

      I think there’s a lot to that, which is why these things spread so fast on facebook and via email–among “friends” or at lease acquaintances. Personally, I’m developing a belief that the common human trait is gullibility.

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