Saturday Ramblings: June 4, 2016


All aboard! Hop on the Rambler tour bus and let’s go look at some sights from this past week. For all practical purposes, summer is upon us, and it’s time to hit the open highway with a group of friends to see what we can see.

Let’s ramble!

039057-green-jelly-icon-transport-travel-transportation-school-busmcquilkin-wedding2Rest in peace, Robertson McQuilkin.

McQuilkin was the former president of Columbia Bible College, but in my mind he will always represent one of the greatest love stories of my lifetime. We wrote about it here on Internet Monk in a post called, “It’s not that I have to, it’s that I get to.”

In 1990, after serving twenty years at CBC and eight years before he was due to retire, he stepped down in order to care for his beloved wife Muriel, who had Alzheimer’s disease. In doing so, he went against the counsel of many friends and colleagues, who thought he should find someone else to care for his wife so he could continue his important role as a public Christian leader.

McQuilkin would hear none of it, saying:

When the time came, the decision was firm. It took no great calculation. It was a matter of integrity. Had I not promised, 42 years before, “in sickness and in health . . . till death do us part”?

This was no grim duty to which I stoically resigned, however. It was only fair. She had, after all, cared for me for almost four decades with marvelous devotion; now it was my turn. And such a partner she was! If I took care of her for 40 years, I would never be out of her debt.

Robertson McQuilkin cared for his bride until she died in September, 2003. Now they both rest in God’s care and await the day of resurrection.

039057-green-jelly-icon-transport-travel-transportation-school-bus103684838-GettyImages-537495540.530x298Flooded France.

The waters of the Seine River rose to their highest levels since 1982, creating havoc for commuters and forcing officials at the Louvre Museum to take measures to protect many masterpieces of art. According to the NY Times:

Some 150,000 artworks in storage rooms, and an additional 7,000 pieces in galleries, were deemed vulnerable to flooding, and many of them were moved to higher floors starting on Thursday evening.

Museum officials activated a flood-protection plan established in 2002. The plan includes, among other things, an inventory of all works that would need to be transferred to upper floors of the museum and plans to slow the spread of any water entering the museum.

The waters were expected to crest today at over 21 feet.

039057-green-jelly-icon-transport-travel-transportation-school-busimprecatory-696x366Brilliance from The Babylon Bee:

Adult Coloring Book To Feature Favorite Imprecatory Psalms

GRAND RAPIDS, MI—Featuring such favorite verses as “O God, break the teeth in their mouths,” and, “May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow,” Zondervan’s new Coloring the Imprecatory Psalms adult coloring book is set to be released this summer.

The exquisitely illustrated black-and-white pages will feature beautiful, inspiring art along with a selection of Psalms that wish a bloody and horrifying death upon the Psalmist’s wicked foes, according to Zondervan’s press release Monday.

“Coloring has been shown to both engage the mind and relieve stress and anxiety, and coloring illustrated Bible verses can help believers recall and meditate on Scriptural truths,” the press release read, in part. “In this new book covering the imprecatory Psalms, Christians can also color violently bloody scenes of death and destruction while praying that God’s judgment would fall upon their enemies.”

The book will be available at Christian retailers nationwide, though it will not be for sale to consumers under 21 years of age, due to graphic content.

039057-green-jelly-icon-transport-travel-transportation-school-bus_89876137_903e33e1-538b-40c1-b319-4697e4086e40The nation of Japan was riveted by a news story last week.

It seems that 7-year-old Yamato Tanooka was misbehaving while his family was visiting a forest in northern Japan. So his mom and dad thought he needed a lesson. They made him get out of the car and then they drove off. When they returned, he was gone. They initially told authorities that their son had disappeared while they were picking wild vegetables, but then admitted they made him get out of the car and then left him behind “as discipline.”

The boy was missing for nearly a week, despite a massive manhunt involving hundreds of people and search dogs. After being abandoned, Yamato had walked for several kilometers when he found an empty hut in a military drill area and entered a door that had been left open. The longhouse-style hut had no heat or power and no food, but Yamato huddled between mattresses on the floor and drank water from the solitary faucet outside the hut for several days, local media reported.

Upon his safe return, his father was contrite: “We have raised him with love all along,” said the father, Takayuki Tanooka, fighting tears. “I really didn’t think it would come to that. We went too far.”

Child welfare advocates say that Japan is behind most other countries in the West when it comes to protecting children, and perhaps this story and the national attention it received will be a wake-up call.

039057-green-jelly-icon-transport-travel-transportation-school-bus57515cb04A unique team will compete at this year’s Olympics.

This year, for the first time in Olympics history, a team of refugees will participate.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency explains:

Since the modern Olympics began in 1896, over 200 national teams have vied for glory at the Summer and Winter Games. Now, for the first time, a team of refugees will compete as well.

The International Olympic Committee today announced the selection of 10 refugees who will compete this August in Rio de Janeiro, forming the first-ever Refugee Olympic Athletes team. They include two Syrian swimmers, two judokas from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a marathoner from Ethiopia and five middle-distance runners from South Sudan.

“Their participation in the Olympics is a tribute to the courage and perseverance of all refugees in overcoming adversity and building a better future for themselves and their families,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “UNHCR stands with them and with all refugees.”

The initiative comes at a time when more people than ever – 59.5 million at last count – are being forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. The squad representing them in Rio hopes to give the world a glimpse of their resilience and untapped talent.

I encourage you to go to the UNHCR site, where you can read about and watch video profiles of each of the ten athletes.

039057-green-jelly-icon-transport-travel-transportation-school-busMy favorite sign of the week.

The moment I first rambled past this sign, I knew it was SR material:


You mean…I can live in a trailer, and be able to walk to both Wally World and Mickey D’s?

“Lord, let your servant depart in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation…”

039057-green-jelly-icon-transport-travel-transportation-school-busBooks Announcement #1

Today, I am announcing the release of two of the three books I’ve been working on this past year, published by Twenty-Third Publications. These are two “booklets” actually, one designed as devotional material for someone in the final stages of life, and the other a book of encouraging thoughts for caregivers.

The third book, the main volume called Walking Home Together – Spiritual Guidance and Practical Advice for End of Life, is now at the printer and will be released soon, and you’ll hear about it as soon as I know anything solid. Until then, here is the press release for the booklets. You can also access them (as well as books by Jeff Dunn, Lisa Dye, and Damaris Zehner) at the Twenty-Third Publications website. They are also available for pre-order on Amazon.

Mike Books Release

039057-green-jelly-icon-transport-travel-transportation-school-busFinally, this week in music

I’ve had one album playing on my iPod all week: Mary Chapin Carpenter’s new release, The Things That We Are Made Of.

Here’s a live performance of one of the album’s delicately beautiful songs by one of my favorite singer-songwriters on the Diane Rehm Show. You can listen to the entire show HERE.

65 thoughts on “Saturday Ramblings: June 4, 2016

  1. +1

    CM, even the little bit you’ve shared about your experience with hospice on internet monk is helpful. I look forward to reading your book.


  2. My first thought is that its actually a pretty good arrangement.

    -The place looks clean
    -You can eat out
    -You can reach a large store containing a small grocery store with such essentials as apples and cheddar cheese
    -You can reach these things when your car won’t start
    -McDonalds and Walmart prevent the types of neighbors who drive the rent up


  3. I wish I were a disciplined enough pray-er to assure you that I will pray for you, your son, this young man and his family for the foreseeable future; but I’m not, and I wouldn’t. I can tell you, however, that at this moment I’m praying for all of you; in your pain, grief, perplexity you belong to that great company of humanity, stretching back to the beginning, who have shared the mourners’ bench with you. God be with you.


  4. Irony, Robert! Tension! You merely mention the mosquitoes, subtly referring to psalms imprecatory.

    Bless their tiny little hearts. God made ’em.


  5. No permit needed, as long as you don’t try to put a Lava Lamp with it.

    Still in awe about Dan’s report on Liberty University two Saturdays ago…


  6. CM, let me add my congratulations and best wishes for your books. I don’t know what percentage of counties in this country have hospice care, but I’m guessing it’s pretty high by now. These books ought to be a blessing for both those on their last roundup and those taking care of them. I would say that your impact on the world at large is already making a difference by maintaining this site, which strikes me as a full time job, nevermind the rest. When all is said and done, your contributions to the hospice ministry may well outweigh what you do here. I’m hoping that there is something like a training text book for chaplains of all stripes in the works. Many thanks for your dedication and hard work!


  7. Several days ago my son’s very close 23 year old friend, who has been suffering from depression shot himself in an attempted suicide. The bullet passed through his right temple and exited through his left. Amazingly he is still alive and is currently lying in a hospital room, unconscious and unable to breathe on his own. At times he has been responsive, yet the doctors hold little hope for his survival, as they have not been able to get his brain to stop swelling.

    As I glanced at the titles of the Chaplain’s publications, I couldn’t help but wonder what words of comfort, if any, could I offer this family? The best I can come up with is I’m so terribly sorry. And grieve with them silently. And I find myself praying for him (Adam) and his family almost constantly. My son has had what I guess are typical feelings. Why didn’t I see this coming? Could I have done something? He has taken it upon himself to assist the parents in whatever way he can. Perhaps his way of dealing with his grief.

    I’m not sure why I am posting this. It weighs heavy on me and maybe this is my way of dealing with what I can only describe as a feeling of helplessness. But I would certainly appreciate your prayers for this young man and his family.


  8. I LOVE Mary Chapin Carpenter. For our wedding, I arranged her version of “Grow Old Along With Me” for our college friends to sing in four parts. I discovered later it was by Lennon about Yoko, which for us was ironic on a few levels.

    She’s the kind of songwriter you can’t not respect. Everything she sings is worth listening to. I have old VHS’s of her on “Austin City Limits” I periodically revisit.

    I always felt bad, though, for her live guitarists who had to sing loops and echoes, when they performed the song “I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend.” I thought their lot so hilarious, we made it the closing theme song to our annual coffeeshop fundraiser. I sang it with gusto, because, hey, it’s New York, and it’s legal!


  9. For the record, I love McDonalds and Wal-Mart and would love to live there. I would prefer to drive my gas guzzling pickup rather than walk though.


  10. No, you’re not a cynical curmudgeon. There does appear to be an attitude of, “Well, THIS (insert fad here) is hot, let’s tap into it!” I imagine Jesus would be rolling around in his grave, if he was still there.

    Which begs the question, what things within the Christian publishing world actually aid someone’s spirituality, and shouldn’t they focus resources on those things?


  11. I third that! I am so glad your writings are being published; they will be comforting and inspiring people beyond the (wide) borders of Internet Monk.


  12. This is the leftover American Dream after the more affluent constituency has gentrified the better stuff


  13. I heard Rhem’s interview with Mary Chapin Carpenter, and the live performance of the song; what a poignant, and finely crafted, song. What an artist. Amazing.


  14. When we talk about epidemics, perhaps we should note that there is an epidemic of refugee-ism in the world today, and it seems to be getting worse. I expect that Christ is to be found most readily among the refugees of this world, even if we aren’t.


  15. I don’t like boxing, and don’t know squat about boxers, but Ali was bigger than boxing, bigger than his circumstances, and a man of great, and frequently tongue-in-cheek, spirit, as well as courage. RIP, Muhammad Ali.


  16. In Murica, the working lower middle-class and poor, of whatever color or ethnicity, can afford only Walmart and McDonald’s; while their betters in the upper-middle and upper classes, and the intelligentsia, can afford pricey locally sourced and grown products, or pricey imports, can you really blame those who have fallen on hard times for making a virtue of necessity by acquiring a taste for shoddier things?

    Btw, why is it okay to make fun of those who use electric scooters because they are struggling with physical challenges? Oh, I forgot: many of them are overweight, and the overweight are the last socially sanctioned and politically-correct target for shaming in Murica today. Never mind that obesity is largely a malady of the poor and working-classes, and likely has its causes in socioeconomic disadvantages; and never mind that obesity, like alcoholism, is now considered by the medical establishment to be a disease rather than a vice. Hell, we still need someone not of our kind to ridicule, don’t we?


  17. Yeah, commenting on Jan Crouch is kind of like trying to make a joke about Trump. The reality is already so bizarre that it’s hard to top it. Still I pray Gods mercy and grace in Christ for her.


  18. Love today’s SR!
    I will definitely order those two books–should be so helpful since really this is greatly needed, and look forward to your third when published.
    Love the ‘love story’ as so often these are not elevated so others have can read and reflect, and live our own. Great reminder for every day living, too.
    Was in Paris just prior to the bombings, it’s our one of our favorite go-to’s, so sad to watch the floods. Hard to imagine sitting here in desert-y California–along with the Texas floods, etc…we have no idea. It starts raining here and everyone wants to head for the hills….seriously, folks? It’s a sprinkle–my sprinklers put out more water than our rain showers do!
    Thank for pointing out the Olympic addition–will be watching.
    Yes, Suzanne, I, too, remember Cassius Clay–does that make me old, or do I just feel old because I can remember?
    Ditto–appreciate the political-free zone this AM….esp since Cali is voting this Tuesday! Watch and wait….?


  19. Awwww…I was hoping there for a second that the Psalms coloring book was real. But Zondervan would never use a word like “Imprecatory” in a title. Let’s see if we can help.

    Cursing With Colors


  20. Yes, the McQuilkins’ are definitely an excellent example for the church to reference itself to.


  21. LOL!
    All kidding aside, gotta say I don’t get the adult coloring book thing, but I REALLY don’t get the adult Christian coloring book thing. Babylon Bee jokes about it, but the Christian coloring books are out there for real. Is there anything out there someone won’t slap the word Christian on to make a couple of bucks? Or am I becoming a cynical curmudgeon?


  22. I’m heartened to see that new Olympic team. What a great way to say, “You figure, and we see you.” And to acknowledge so clearly the reality: if it is a common experience to be part of a nation, there is also always been a tribe of those disposed.

    Reading the profiles, as my coffee slowly jogs me awake, my first thought was, “What is wrong with the sport of Judo, that the two Judo competitors appear both to have been near-slaves to their trainers? Then I realized that both athletes were from the Congo. Oh. Yet one more story highlighting how difficult things are in that country. Lord have mercy.


  23. Thank you for the original story on Mr. McQuilkin. I remember choking up a bit when I first read it. I hope I can serve my wife to the same extent he served his wife.

    No mention of Jan Crouch’s passing? The story on her in the Babylon Bee had a picture of her that I at first thought was a puppet from Team America World Police. (But then realized was an actual photo and was bothered even more…)

    Congratulations on your books, CM!

    (And +1 on keeping this ramblings a politician free zone)


  24. Thank you for not including any references to Trump, Hillary, or the Bern! It is a much-appreciated absence!


  25. The beauty of the McQuilkins’ mutual devotion brings to mind a letter written by Tertullian to his wife (circa 202 A.D.):

    “” How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice.
    They are as brother and sister, both servants of the same Master. Nothing divides them, either in flesh or in Spirit. They are in very truth, two in one flesh; and where there is but one flesh there is also but one spirit.
    They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another.

    Side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another, they never shun each other’s company; they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts… Psalms and hymns they sing to one another.
    Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. Where there are two together, there also He is present, and where He is, there evil is not.”


  26. ” . . . ‘This was no grim duty to which I stoically resigned, however. It was only fair. She had, after all, cared for me for almost four decades with marvelous devotion; now it was my turn. And such a partner she was! If I took care of her for 40 years, I would never be out of her debt.’
    Robertson McQuilkin cared for his bride until she died in September, 2003. Now they both rest in God’s care and await the day of resurrection.”

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this, Chaplain MIKE.


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