Tuesday, March 24, 2009


In Brian McLaren’s book “The Secret Message of Jesus”, he relates a true story Tony Campolo tells; "he was in another time zone and couldn’t sleep, so well after midnight he wandered down to a doughnut shop where, it turned out, local hookers also came at the end of a night of turning tricks. There, he overhead a conversation between two of them. One, named Agnes, said, “You know what? Tomorrow’s my birthday. I’m gonna be thirty-nine.” Her friend snapped back, “So what d’ya want from me? A birthday party” Huh? You want me to get a cake and sing happy birthday to you?” The first woman replied, “Aw, come on, why do you have to be so mean? Why do you have to put me down? I’m just saying it’s my birthday. I don’t want anything from you. I mean, why should I have a birthday party? I’ve never had a birthday party in my whole life. Why should I have one now?”

When they left, Tony got an idea. He asked the shop owner if Agnes came in every night, and when he replied in the affirmative, Tony invited him into a surprise party conspiracy. The shop owner’s wife even got involved. Together they arranged for a cake, candles, and typical party decorations for Agnes, who was, to Tony, a complete stranger. The next night when she came in, they shouted, “Surprise!” – and Agnes couldn’t believe her eyes. The doughnut shop patrons sang, and she began to cry so hard she could barely blow out the candles. When the time came to cut the cake, she asked if they’d mind if she didn’t cut it, if she could bring it home – just to keep it for a while and savor the moment. So she left, carrying her cake like a treasure.

Tony led the guests in a prayer for Agnes, after which the shop owner told Tony he didn’t realize Tony was a preacher. He asked what kind of church Tony came from, and Tony replied, “I belong to a church that throws parties for prostitutes at 3:30 in the morning.” The shop owner couldn’t believe him. “No you don’t. There ain’t no church like that. If there was, I’d join it. Yep, I’d join a church like that.”
Painting by Chelsie Carolyn.

4 comments:

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred :)

Wonderful story!

Human beings need attention and love. Many people get into bad ways just to get some attention. Agnes would have got a real surprise of her life. I can imagine how happy she would have been at the singing with cake and candles.

Very often we can do good things for needy people in our own little way by keeping our eyes and ears open.

Very interesting,educative and enjoyable post.

Have a nice day,
Joseph :)

fcb4 said...

one of my favorite of his stories...

Mel said...

Hi Fred, Joseph, and Pastor Eric!

I whole-heartedly concur with both previous commentors... Wonderful story, which has become an instant favorite. I can't wait to share it with my family! :)

It's interesting that you posted this on Tuesday, because that was the day that I walked over to the Spokane Public Library on my break at 10:30 a.m. looking for McLaren and Rollins books. The only one I could find at that time happened to be a book written by Brian LcLaren and, guess who? Tony Campolo! The book is called "Adventures in Missing the Point," and I was up until 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday night reading it because I simply couldn't put it down. You know how it goes... Just one more chapter, just one more page, just five more minutes... Please... :)

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
It is a great story isn't it. I too could imagine the joy, especially having come from a family, or lack thereof, where her birth was not important.
This was a very creative idea, wish I were more that way but my son Eric makes up for me :)
God bless,
Fred


Speaking of my son; yes, so far that is the best part of the book. I love stuff like that. I suppose we all do.
Love Dad


Hi Mel,
Wow, what a great find! Let me know what you think when you're done, eager to find out.
God bless,
Fred