Saturday Ramblings: August 13, 2016

Complete Rambler

Welcome to Saturday Ramblings for August 13, 2016.

Since we looked at the restoration of Elvis’s BMW last Saturday, it made we think, “Surely I can find some pictures by someone who restored an old Nash Rambler!” And that’s when I found Dave Simley’s post, showing how he brought a 1953 Nash Rambler Custom Convertible back to life. It’s a good read, with lots of great pictures, a few of which we’ll show you here today.

While on a hunting trip in Montana, Dave spotted an old car behind a building on the edge of Glasgow. When he went back the next year, he contacted the owner and, after assuring him he was buying the car to restore it, bought it for $1000. He picked it up in the spring of 2009, took it home to Fargo, and worked on it for several years. You can see the finished result above — a real beauty. Below you can see a few of the photos he took as the work proceeded.

Original car as found sitting in Montana complete with bullet holes in the door
Original car as found sitting in Montana complete with bullet holes in the door
Back in Fargo, the work of dismantling the car begins
Back in Fargo, the work of dismantling the car begins
Reassembled and almost ready for paint
Reassembled and almost ready for paint
New interior complete
New interior complete
Waiting for hubcaps, with the Continental kit on the back
Waiting for hubcaps, with the Continental kit on the back

Great work, Dave! I admire those with the talent, skill, and patience to take on projects like this and bring them to completion.

Looks like a great little car in which to take a ramble. Let’s go!

• • •



In the Rio Olympics, two American individuals gained extraordinary attention and acclaim this past week: Michael Phelps and Simone Biles. Both have people talking about them in “best ever” terms after their achievements.


Phelps’s tally of medals as of this writing? — 4 golds in Rio, 22 golds in his career, 26 Olympic medals overall. Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post writes of him:

He is a graybeard in swimming terms, someone who could gather people round and tell stories of how things once were. Yet he touched the wall and won the 200-meter individual medley Thursday night at Olympic Aquatics Center, and when he did the result of a race that might have been considered in question only two minutes earlier was instead etched on the granite tablet where all of Phelps’s accomplishments seem to be recorded, because they are all historic.

Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Images
Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Images

As for Simone Biles, Katy Waldman at Slate writes:

Saying Simone Biles was “the favorite” to win the women’s individual all-around competition at the 2016 Olympics is like saying the Earth is favored to rotate around the sun. At an elfin 4-foot-8, Biles towers above every other gymnast like a glittery skyscraper. The 19-year-old American came to Rio having racked up three consecutive world championships. Her seemingly effortless performances in qualifying and the team finals—where she led the U.S. to gold by a comical margin of more than eight points—solidified her status as an athlete apart.

In replying to those who tried to compare her to other Olympic athletes, she said, “I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps,” she said. “I’m the first Simone Biles.”


Jalue Dorjee, now 9 years old and preparing to embark on an epic adventure, is believed to be no ordinary boy.

portland-press-herald_3608851The Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote about Dorjee when he was a 4-year-old:

According to the highest authorities of the Tibetan Buddhist order, he is the reincarnation of the speech, mind and body of a lama, or spiritual guru, who died in Switzerland six years ago. Jalue is said to be the eighth appearance of the original lama, born in 1655.

His discovery in 2009 is considered an honor and a blessing for his working-class parents. But it comes with a hefty price. Jalue (pronounced JAH-loo) is their only child — their everything. This week, he turns 5, a critical marker on his predestined path. In just five more years, he will leave the familiarity of his parents’ home in Minnesota to live and study in a monastery in India.

A series of dreams and divination practices led his parents and Tibetan Buddhist leaders to conclude that Jalue was indeed a tulkus (a reincarnated lama). On Jan. 6, 2009, a letter arrived bearing the seal of the the Dalai Lama, officially recognizing the boy as the reincarnation of the lama known as Taksham Nueden Dorjee. In a second letter, the Dalai Lama gave Jalue a formal lama name — Tenzin Gyurme Trinley Dorjee.

Jalue’s father says he realizes that he is raising a lama for the 21st century. A tech-savvy spiritual leader who can easily communicate with people in the West and East. Yet someone also fully versed in the wisdom and practices of Tibetan Buddhism and able to teach those concepts to others.

On a crisp fall morning, Jalue looks the part of a boy in two worlds. He practices reading Tibetan words, sitting on his lama chair at home. He is wearing a yellow “Highland Hawks” T-shirt and red flannel pajama bottoms, his favorite colors, and the ones that lamas wear exclusively.



It might not seem to fit the image, but more than 4000 people in San Jose, California have no place to call home. And San Jose tops the list of the state’s cities with homeless people living outdoors, about 70 percent. Ironically, Santa Clara County, where San Jose is located, also has the nation’s highest median household income; nearly half its residents earn more than $100,000 a year, mostly at high-tech companies such as Adobe, Cisco and eBay, which are headquartered in the city. (Google is nearby in Mountain View and Facebook is in Menlo Park.) San Jose’s median home price was $980,000 last year. And 16 percent of its residents are among the nation’s top earners.

Until two years ago, the nation’s largest homeless encampment was San Jose’s “The Jungle,” a 68-acre camp where more than 300 resident stayed until the city evicted them and barricaded the area. Now, Scott Wagers, a 50-year-old Disciples of Christ minister, and Robert Aguirre, a homeless advocate, make regular rounds in their beat-up RV called the “Mercy Mobile” to remote areas where many of the homeless have been exiled, delivering food, water, clothing, and other needed supplies.

Wagers and Aguirre know this is a mere band-aid on a serious problem. So, every chance they get, they bring people from the community along with them to make the plight of the homeless folks in their area better known. They have few good words to say about the tech giants and major companies who they feel are at least partly responsible for pushing lower and middle class people into poverty and have since mostly turned a blind eye to their desperate situations. But perhaps some are starting to take notice.

The behemoths may be slowly awakening to the reality. Last month, Facebook agreed to construct 1,500 new housing units, of which 15 percent will be reserved for low- and middle-income residents, regardless of whether they work at Facebook.

That’s just a drop in the bucket. But it’s a start.

Meanwhile, Wagers will continue his Mercy Mobile rounds.

He’s committed to giving the most politically powerless class of people in America a voice.

“I’m not a socialist or a capitalist,” Wagers says. “I’m a Christian. And this is shocking to me. What’s our role as Christians? ‘What you did to the least of these you did to me.’”



I read two reports this week, the first of which caused hope to surge in my heart.

REPORT ONE: Despite the constant drumbeat of bad news from the media these days, relentlessly exposing us to violence and conflicts, Angus Hervey at reports that, “We are experiencing one of the least discussed, yet most remarkable cultural shifts of all time: war, one of our species’ most abiding and defining social practices, is at its lowest ebb ever.”

Source: Global Conflict Tracker (2016)

I encourage you to read the entire article, because this seems so counter-intuitive in a year when fear-mongering has almost become an Olympic sport. Here are a couple of paragraphs summarizing the data:

…as Joshua S. Goldstein and Steven Pinker point out in a recent Boston Globe editorial, our obsession with these stories blind us to a far greater truth. Outside the Middle East, war is effectively disappearing. In Nigeria, Boko Haram is on the retreat from many of its home terrories. In the Central African Republic, a newly elected government has brought genuine hope for lasting peace. In Ukraine, a shaky ceasefire is holding despite partial flare ups. We have short memories too. We forget about the wars that ended recently in Chad, Peru, Iran, Sri Lanka, India and Angola and have forgotten earlier ones from a generation ago in places like Greece, Tibet, Algeria, Indonesia, Uganda, Ethiopia and Mozambique that killed millions of people.

The world was a far more dangerous place when you were born. Death tolls from wars in the 1970s and 1980s were 4–5 times higher than they are today. We are, despite reports of religious and political insurgencies, despite high-profile terrorist killings and unrest in various corners of the globe, living in the most peaceful era of our species’ existence. The world is getting less violent; we’re just more aware of the violence that happens, thanks to the mass availability of information. And unfortunately, the media and our politicians use that information to make it look as though we’re doing worse than we actually are.

The second report I read was not so sanguine.

REPORT TWO: From two articles, one in Esquire magazine, the other in The New Yorker

landscape-1470863306-baltimore2In Baltimore, a city that is 63 percent black, the Justice Department found that 91 percent of those arrested for discretionary offenses like “failure to obey” or “trespassing” were African-American. Blacks make up 60 percent of Baltimore’s drivers, but they account for 82 percent of traffic stops. Of the 410 pedestrians who were stopped at least 10 times in the five and a half years of data reviewed, 95 percent were black.

And that’s just the top line.

Not only are the numbers staggering on their own, but the report makes clear that the numbers the BPD reported have all the legitimacy of a floating crap game. For example, in 2014, the BPD recorded 124,000 stops but an in-house audit found that officers finished 37 reports out of a sample group of 123 stops. The corruption runs so deep beneath the numbers that it appears that there isn’t anything there except the corruption.

The New Yorker piece reminds us this is not the problem of one lone city. “But the most striking part of the report on Baltimore is the extent to which it is interchangeable with the reports on race and policing that have come out of Chicago, Cleveland, Ferguson, and Newark in the past two years. The reports were most often the product of a particular outrage that had initially been met with official denials or understatements, and then with grudging acknowledgment of wrongdoing, followed by a federal examination of what went wrong.”


Ok, so we have evidence that humans were present in South America nearly 15,000 years ago.

We also know that a land corridor was formed when huge ice sheets melted in western North America at about the same time, opening up a possible migration route from Siberia through to Alaska and into the continental interior. So people came over the Bering Land Bridge during that time and began to settle the Americas, right?

ajhewsdb9s04ykz1pabnHold on. Not so fast. An international team of researchers led by Eske Willerslev from the Natural History Museum of Denmark has concluded we have our math wrong.

You see, here’s the problem. Even though the land corridor opened up in that time frame, it remained free of vegetation and animals for thousands of years and was thus unable to sustain a human migration until around 12,600 years ago.

This means they must’ve taken another route—and that route was likely along the Pacific coastline. These early North Americans made their way past the ice sheets by either walking along the ice-free sections of the coastal beaches, or more speculatively, by sea travel. Importantly, the authors of the new study say the ice-free corridor could have still been used as a migration route by other Asian settlers, particularly the Clovis people who entered North America between 13,400 to 12,800 years ago.

…This research suggests there could have been two separate migration thrusts into North America, the first along the Pacific coastline around 15,000 years ago, and the second one when the ice-free corridor became habitable and human-friendly, around 12,600 years ago.

But this new data presents another intriguing possibility. Perhaps there was only one single migration wave along the West coast, but once the ice-free corridor became habitable, these early settlers started to make their way northwards through the corridor all the way back into Alaska.

To be sure, this discussion will be continued…



In case you didn’t hear about it, Gaye Clark recently wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition called, “When God Sends Your White Daughter a Black Husband.” (Although she took down the piece, you can still read it at this link.)

Marriage_FeatureClark had good intentions and thought she was being open-minded, but, man did she raise a ruckus! Although I would not call her piece “racist,” I do think it displays a certain tone-deafness (a critique others offered as well) and an assumption of white perspective and privilege that just did not come off well.

In the aftermath, I think things were handled fairly well. To Clark’s credit, she removed the article and expressed her regrets. To TGC’s credit, they addressed some lessons they recognized needed to be learned from this experience.

TGC editor Jason Cook (who is black) held a podcast discussion in which he admitted TGC could have done things differently. The Washington Post summarizes his acknowledgments:

First and foremost, Cook said, the site would have been better off inviting Glenn’s mother to co-author the piece to bring in perspectives from both families and both races.

Cook also acknowledged readers’ concerns about Clark coming off as a “white hero,” saying it “probably wasn’t the best for the main discussion of such sensitive issues.”

“There are a lot of things we could have done better, and we’re going to learn from this,” he said. “We hear our brothers and sisters, and we respect that.”

nash-logoTODAY IN MUSIC:

We cannot talk about the Olympics in Rio without sampling some Brazilian music, which is an integral part of the host country’s culture.

The New York Times published a good article to help us do this: “The Essentials of Brazilian Music for Olympic Listening.” I encourage you to take some time this weekend to go to the article, where you can enjoy listening to the music they call “casual and seductive on the surface, ingenious and multilayered within….”

For our part here at Internet Monk, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the music of Brazil than by posting a video of the incredible Gilberto Gil, one of Brazil’s most influential musicians of the past 50 years.

You can read an overview of Gil’s story HERE, a story not only of music, but also of social activism and political involvement in his beloved country.


96 thoughts on “Saturday Ramblings: August 13, 2016

  1. Chap Mike,

    Sorry to bother you, but just wanted to report that the RSS Feed version of this article had viagra ads etc hacked into the bottom…


  2. Robert – yeah, i know better than to responds to posts that are basically troll-bait, but sometimes i give in anyway. Even though the internet isn’t exactly a place where soft words turn away wrath.

    Oh, btw, all of southern PA (including south-central) was KKK territory, not so long ago. You might check the name Lily Belle Allen on Google. The Philly area is also famously (infamously?) racist – i wonder if part of that is related to the fact that immigrants from Mediterranean countries were treated pretty much the same as black folks during the early 20th c. …


  3. As to the mother with the black son-in-law:

    Of course there is a lot of racial prejudice still hidden in her words. That is quite clear. But we also have to realize that relinquishing racial prejudice is very often a journey. She has taken some steps – and good for her. But she is not at the end yet. As long as she continues.

    As an ex-South African, I have seen and experienced this many times. It takes time to overcome the nastiness of generations. We should continue to push for it.


  4. That is always the case with “one idea” theories. Reality is complicated.

    Look how many migration and racial theories for turned on their head once we could actually look at DNA, for instance.


  5. @Dana,
    Your mom’s family came from relatively privileged northern Italy; both my mother’s and father’s families came from the south, Reggio, Calabria in my father’s case. Perhaps the poverty of the south, including poor education (my Dad didn’t even get the equivalent of grade-school education), can account for some of the difference between your experience and mine. I confess that my family was generally not very serious about practicing their Catholicism, on either side, although their were exceptions; and my own relative freedom from overt bigotry (I would never claimed to be completely uninfluenced by it) was the result of my public school education in American history (which I fortunately took to heart), reinforced by my less influential Catholic religious education.


  6. 1) The San Jose situation is the expected outcome of a rapidly evolving technological world, where value is placed on skills that a majority does not have…

    Straight out of Eighties Cyberpunk SF:
    * The massive (and ever-widening) gap between Rich and Poor,
    * The Technological Elite with their heads so far into Cyberspace that Meatspace never existed,
    * The Meatspace losers hustling around the edges…


  7. I agree that it is a choice for some, at least in the Portland area. It’s part of the Portland “culture”.

    Portland is Portland.

    Ever hear about a TV show called “Portlandia”?


  8. @One More Mike,
    “The South” is a state of mind. I see a lot of Confederate flags here in Lancaster County, PA. Also, until a couple decades ago, the KKK apparently had a big presence in this area, at least according to what I’ve heard.


  9. It might not seem to fit the image, but more than 4000 people in San Jose, California have no place to call home. And San Jose tops the list of the state’s cities with homeless people living outdoors, about 70 percent. Ironically, Santa Clara County, where San Jose is located, also has the nation’s highest median household income; nearly half its residents earn more than $100,000 a year, mostly at high-tech companies such as Adobe, Cisco and eBay, which are headquartered in the city. (Google is nearby in Mountain View and Facebook is in Menlo Park.) San Jose’s median home price was $980,000 last year. And 16 percent of its residents are among the nation’s top earners.

    And the two are connected.
    The reason there are so many homeless in San Jose (and Silicon Valley, and the Bay Area in general) is that house prices are so high nobody except the one-percenter Rich can afford to live there. I’ve heard stories about fifty-mile (80km) commutes because nobody in the service sector (including storefronts, cops, and fire department) can afford to live any closer.

    And of the utter indifference of the six- and seven-figure High Tech workers to anyone outside their Social Media Cyber-clique — there was a TIME article a couple years ago on it where protestors were blocking luxury commute company buses for high-tech workers whose only reaction was to snap selfies and shots of the mob on their thousand-dollar smartphones and upload them to MySpace or Twitter with texts about “Look what’s happening in Meatspace”.


  10. Baltimore’s been weird for a LONG time.

    According to “Annotated Jules Verne: From the Earth to the Moon”, Baltimore was known in the 19th Century as “Mobtown” for its local custom of frequent riots. When the country split, it was infamous for Confederate sympathizers — Lincoln had to be sneaked through the city on the way to DC for his inaguration because of an assassination plot. So I’m not surprised to hear of “all the damn confederate flags everywhere” — it’s an old old tradition in Mobtown.


  11. Clark just did the old “open mouth, insert foot”.
    She wasn’t the first to do so, and won’t be the last.


  12. numo, I should say, I’m learning to leave such comments alone, not writing off the commenters. I have myself been guilty of such disgusted dismissals, and certainly don’t want myself to be written off by others because of it. But engaging with such comments now seems like an exercise in futility to me; instead, I’m trying to monitor myself for similar ways of thinking and talking, and preempt them before they solidify and make an appearance.


  13. numo,
    In my experience, those who express their disagreement with others in language expressing disgust have usually adopted an attitude of self-righteousness; they don’t intend to enter into debate or disagreement using point-by-point arguments, only to dismiss the arguments, and arguers, with which they disagree, usually by criticizing them in personal terms. Reasoned responses are useless, and usually result in more personal attacks. I’m a slow learner, but I’m gradually learning to leave it, and them, alone.


  14. Yeah, Heather, it’s pretty hard to be around and the whole thing has left me feeling sick to my stomach. Feels like things took a bad turn and not much to be done, but that may just be a reflection of the bigger mess at hand in the world at large. Hang in there. God is good.


  15. “It uses one single idea to explain almost everything, and itis written by a scientist trying to talk about history. They very rarely end well.”

    Jared Diamond makes that mistake a lot. His book “Collapse” was the same way.


  16. Yes. The insularity of religious traditions like this one provides much space for hidden and suppressed forms of abuse to occur. I see something similar in the insularity of many Amish communities. There is a terrible need for more transparency, more sunlight.


  17. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll look them up. Check out firehydrant dot org it has a lot of history, background, dating techniques, and most importantly of all, photos.


  18. Look, I’m not sure what you’re ticked about, Heather, but i don’t think it’s got much to do with the actual people who post here, or even with their views per se.

    If you feel ok about joining thd convo, that’s cool. And if not, not. But there’s really no need to slap labels on any of us.


  19. “Importantly, the authors of the new study say the ice-free corridor could have still been used as a migration route by other Asian settlers, particularly the Clovis people who entered North America between 13,400 to 12,800 years ago.”

    Any word from Ken Ham? Maybe “god” created the Asian migrants to only appear to have migrated 7,000 years before the YEC timetable. Maybe, like Ham’s truthiness on the speed of light, the migrant’s speed was instantaneous and only appears to have taken place 12,000 years ago. This stuff is so bizarre, I don’t know how to be facetious about it. Oh, right. Scientist lie. That’s the ticket. (SMH).


  20. I couldn’t agree more, Charles! The arrogant hostility that makes many posters here simply glow with their own sense of virtue is not really evil, just ignorant and very self-indulgent,, I guess. But it smells pretty awful.


  21. Dr. F., to be blunt, I find her racism, with which she is struggling, much less offensive than your self-righteousness, with which you are not struggling in the least.


  22. Nice! I sort of restored (more like fed it steroids) a ’01 XJ. I just picked up a ’77 E24 that runs great; I just need to do some bodywork and tinkering and it is a gem.

    Brianthedad, that is epic! Look up the New Albany IN Vintage Fire Museum. I am friends with the director. They might like to chat with you.


  23. I don’t think it was a confession of racism; I think it was a confession that she disliked the idea that her daughter might love a black man. That is the outworking of racism, not racism itself. The racism was shot through all her words, phrases, assumptions, and paradigms. I don’t believe she ever confronted her racism, and I believe her “epiphany” is couched in racist rhetoric. In a way, it makes it worse, because I believe she has convinced herself that she has changed or something, and she ultimately hasn’t – at least not in this article.


  24. I’d prefer to imagine a third alternative.

    My question to you: can a fascist world be truly peaceful, or must it institutionalize and routinize societal violence?


  25. That doesn’t slter the fact that there are still extremely serious problems, or the bad word choices and general tone of the article. Not one iota. (And i can pull out my “back in the day” csrd, too.)

    Not only that: David Duke is running for the senate, and the KKK and American Nazi Party are pro-T. Looks like “the day” is still with us.


  26. Yes. There’s a docu about several young people who were declared to be tulkus when they were dmall, titled, well… Tulkus. I haven’t seen it, but there are some clips available on uTube. Similar things happen to the little girls who are declared to be “living goddesses” in Nepal. I think in some ways they have it worse – nobody wants to marry them, nobody much wants anything to do with them for the rest of their liv3s. (They are aged out via stsrt of menstruation.)

    But i ferl for all of these kids. There’s at leadt 1 docu on the gitls, iirc,possibly more.


  27. For those of you pointing the racist finger at this poor woman who poked the hornet’s nest with a stick in her TGC article, I would say you ought to thank God, or even your lucky stars, that you were not dealing with these matters fifty or sixty years ago, maybe thanks for making you majority while you’re at it. If she is a racist, we need to come up with some new word to describe those good old boys who firebombed the Freedom Riders bus down in Alabama and beat any escapees with pipes. I hardly know what to think of those so quick on the trigger with the “R” word, but the word “lockstep” pops up. This would be a good chance to make hundred dollars bets as to whether the young man in question considers his mother-in-law a racist. But then of course he doesn’t have the advantage of being white, so what would he know? Well, I’ll give the finger pointers what I give the author of the article, well-meaning people trying to do what they think is right as best they can understand it. There’s worse.


  28. I restore old fire hydrants. Certainly not as complicated as restoring automobiles, but finding the old brass parts or chains, removing the layers upon layers of old lead paint, researching the original colors for the particular city, seeing the old casting marks from the turn of the 19th century, restoring it to its original glory? That’s good stuff right there.


  29. Oh, Oscar, I know other ethnicities can be just as isolated in their views. In a lot of cases, they’ve had to be. Black people weren’t legally allowed to mingle with white people in many places for many years, but who made those laws? So, the isolation of some ethnic minorities was forced on them, not self-induced. That makes a difference.

    In the end, my comments were about this particular author and her article, which I just found surprising in its naïveté in 2016.


  30. No. Sorry, but I have to argue against GG&S. It is a very poorly source book that is not taken seriously by many historians. It has a good intention, but is a classic example of a couple of bad trends in pop history. It uses one single idea to explain almost everything, and itis written by a scientist trying to talk about history. They very rarely end well.


  31. I actually agree with the “retitle” given to the Clark article — but I don’t agree that the article was racist. The article is about, yes, how she was racist, how she dealt with that, and how she is getting over it.

    How is a confession of one’s past racism, itself racist? I’m just not seeing it. Like Tom, I found the article difficult because of the christianese, and I also note she is trying to talk to others who share her former views in a way she thinks they might understand — because these people tend not to respond well to outright condemnation. Maybe that is part of the problem–the lack of outright condemnation. But she does recognize that she has to change something.

    I don’t know. Yes, she was forced to confront and try to move beyond her bigotry. Isn’t that a good thing for someone to write about?


  32. “Considering her geographical (sp) location (Augusta, GA)……” I’ll just paraphrase a discussion Andrew Young & Julian Bond were having with a local (DC/Baltimore) PBS interviewer a few years back (sorry, I can’t find this interview anywhere or I’d post the link) ….”all racial progress in this country is being made in the south. The student body presidents at UGA, USC, and several other colleges are African American. More big city and small town mayors in the south are African American. African Americans are making more real progress in politics, education and business in the south than in the north.”

    That “southern racist stereotype” is too easily tossed off and taken for granted, even by southerners. I wont put up with it anymore, and prefer to let my fellow southerners/Georgians quoted above speak to this. They have a lot more credibility than I on this subject.

    I’m a native Georgian living an hour from Baltimore. This would be an all right place to live if it weren’t for all the damn confederate flags everywhere. And this aint even the south!! (if N.T. Wright can use the word “Aint”, so can I)


  33. The problem in dealing with homelessness begins with considering the so called homeless as a monolithic group. In fact there are many subgroups, and perhaps the first division might be to distinguish between the voluntary and involuntary homeless. We think no one would choose to live off the grid, but as you point out, Chris, it ain’t so. That pointed out, people in this situation may be mentally ill, addicts, victims of the Great “Recession”, single parents with nowhere to turn, criminals, predators, or just plain dysfunctional. There are groups of self-sufficient retirees living in RV’s and trailers in their own camps who are technically homeless in the sense of a permanent address, so that can be done, given an income Speaking of which, that RV in the photo could easily house ten folks, twelve if they got along with each other okay. I’m guessing it sits parked and empty most of the time.

    Coming up with an answer of providing people with a house seems laughable to me. Maybe for a few, but houses need upkeep and repair and maintenance and utilities paid and taxes paid, not to mention the unexpected, and most of these people don’t have a job nor any way to get or keep one, other than those with the occupation of panhandler. Would you hire someone living in a cardboard box? I did hire a girl once with no place to live who I let stay in a trailer until she got back on her feet. Some of these people are the aftermath of Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam War and War on Poverty, both of which were lost, and which together wiped out much of a generation, left us still paying the price. At least we could read about that if we don’t remember it, and figure out that handing someone the keys to a new house may not solve their real problems but only make them worse.

    We could improve the situation if we collectively wanted to. We don’t. As long as it’s not in my back yard, I have problems enough of my own. I heard a story in Chicago about the old woman who showed up every day in front of Macy’s dressed in old clothes and sat in a chair begging from the elite clientele until 5:00, when her chauffeured limousine arrived to pick her up. Apocryphal? I dunno, but such stories help us turn a blind eye. They’re all the same, those people.

    It would help to spend money on sociological and psychological studies to sort some of this out. That might cost the equivalent of a house or two if you could find honest academics. If we can spend money on refugee camps, seems like we could do the same here on what basically are just that, At least provide tents for those that want them, clean water, sanitary facilities, basic food, security against predators, while trying some triage to figure out just who needs immediate help and who can get by. For a start you need a place where no one is going to kick you out if you don’t cause problems. I dunno. Maybe just creating Rio de Janeiro slums that don’t go away. Jesus said we always have the poor with us, but that didn’t stop him from helping. As far as I can figure out, he gave alms, not houses. This ain’t easy.


  34. On a lighter note, I restored a 1973 Landrover Series III a few years ago. This was the first time I had done anything like that and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Not to over-spiritualize the mundane (if anything is mundane) I sensed that we all have something inside of us that makes us want to fix this rusty, broken world. We are in the business of bringing redemption to a fallen world and I thnk that can spill over into restoring old homes, cars, and just plain fixing things that “ain’t working right.”

    Now, if I can convince my wife to let me get another restore project, I would love to do it again.


  35. Robert,

    it’s my mother’s side of the family that is Italian – from Piemonte. Half of my female relatives, both here and in Italy (I got to meet them when I studied in Germany in college) are strawberry blondes. My mom happened not to fall into that category; she had light olive skin and black hair. She and my dad married in December 1941 – dad was already in the Marines, and there was no opportunity or time for them to go to Kansas to meet his family before they married. When they finally were able to go, it was clear to my mom that she was being examined to make sure she qualified as “white enough”. The crazier aspect of that is that my dad’s family was Catholic, and he told me that when he was growing up, the only people who were thought to be “lower than a (N-word)” were Catholics.

    I had a different experience growing up being close to my mom’s side of the family. My Italian relatives (and their community in general, though not always) were very accepting people – in large part because they took their Catholic faith very seriously. They cared much more about how hard a person was willing to work than skin color.



  36. 1) The San Jose situation is the expected outcome of a rapidly evolving technological world, where value is placed on skills that a majority does not have. It is a pity that we are only just coming to terms with it. Why does it seem so challenging for America to use its success and wealth to raise the quality of life for all citizens?

    2) The Balmer situation is sad – never lived there, but lived a stone’s throw, and the city is bad off. That being said, the idea that one can tell a story about race by comparing % police interactions with % race makeup is laughable to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of modeling. The real divide in Balmer – and pretty much every metropolitan area – is socio-economic. And because black Americans often come from poverty, the system ends up being racially discriminatory, no matter the persuation of any individual officer or police force. Stop and frisk, anyone? While we need to see the systemic racism in this country addressed, it is almost entirely the manufactured product of economic and social policy. Let’s not pretend that the troubles the black community faces are the product of the David Dukes of the world. Oh no, we had better rather look in a mirror. It doesn’t take a racist heart to support economic and social policy that severely hurts others.

    3) Sorry, but Gaye Clarke’s article was racist. Period. And TGC’s editorial team is at best clueless. The article should have been titled, “How my Daughter’s Relationship Forced me to Confront my Bigotry.” I am not one likely to give Gaye the benefit of the doubt on this one. Just because she doesn’t know she’s a racist, doesn’t make it ok. And don’t get me started on TGC. Their characterless buffoonery continues apace.

    4) I wonder if Jalue will ever wake up one day and think, “Man, what a load of crap I’ve been led to believe!”


  37. By the way Suzanne, I didn’t think your comment was harsh, just a little light on “grace”. That’s Ok, I have a habit of being les than crystal clear myself.


  38. I agree that it is a choice for some, at least in the Portland area. It’s part of the Portland “culture”. At the same time I know also that most wouldn’t choose to live this lifestyle. I believe the majority, though, of homeless folks suffer from mental illness, drug addition and abuse of one variety or another. The best we can do is be with them as much as we can. To hear their stories. Be their friends regardless of how they got there. This is not easy, I know. It requires much grace and patience from us “responsible” folks. But I think it’s what Gods Kingdom is all about. God help us to help them.


  39. One other thing Suzanne. It isn’t just WHITES who are insulated from “otherness”. Blacks are ALSO imbued with certain cultural prejudices and biases when it comes to race. Some of it is based on experience, but a lot of it is based on learned, or peer related opinions.

    I get this from my son-in-law who has, unlike his siblings, ventured out into the wider world and can see the retrograde attitudes his family has concerning the white world. Now, if a WHITE person were to suggest this they would be slammed for being a racist, but can I call my son-in-law racist for his OWN observations? This whole discussion SHOULD cut both ways, but in today’s media influenced society it appears that being human and imperfect can only be attributed to one race…WHITES.

    So, when I see my son-in-law do I see a black man? Sure, because that is always what my eyes inform me, but after identifying him as my daughter’s husband and a family member that color distinction disappears.

    I also have a Mexican friend with whom I have worked for over 40 years, and do I identify him as a Mexican? Absolutely! But the warm feelings of friendship make that distinction irrelevant. We can even joke together about the prejudices our respective ethnicities may have.

    Also, in my extended family there are other blacks, Mexicans and even a Guamanian. Family get togethers are a real mélange of cultures, a far cry from my upbringing in the big city were we identified a race by a crude invective.

    I see that woman as someone who is “in process” when it comes to race, and over time it will begin to bleed into her attitudes about African Americans as a whole, making some culturally based impressions irrelevant. We may call her “clueless” or “tone deaf”, but in doing so we take away the possibility that she is moving from one paradigm to another.


  40. I, too, must admit to being befuddled by the reaction to Gaye Clark’s article. Perhaps she could have chosen different words at times, but I admire her honesty and courage in discussing a subject which is still touchy even among evangelicals. In terms of being tone-deaf, Ms. Clark’s article pales in comparison to TGC council member Albert Mohler’s introduction of C.J. Mahaney at April’s Together for the Gospel conference. Mohler’s introduction mocked the victims of the child sex abuse coverup scandal at a Maryland church that Mahaney formerly pastored.

    I couldn’t help but notice that TGC closed the comments section for the audio response to the article. While they may have stopped cranks from posting nasty responses, they also shut themselves off from feedback which could be potentially helpful and useful. I hope they reconsider.


  41. I am in no way callous toward homelessness generally when I say that for a portion of the young hippie types it’s cool to be homeless. It’s a badge. It says you don’t play the Man’s game. You’re rugged and adaptable. You live on your terms. I’ve seen it in San Jose, Portland Oregon and Austin. One kid had a sign in Portland that as much as demanded a $10.00 minimum donation. I looked him right in the eyes and reflexively laughed before I knew it. We both knew what I was laughing about. He wasn’t offended but rather completly dismissive of me. I know everyone has a story and most are not pretty but I have little sympathy for what appears to be a lifestyle choice that is being fully embraced as opposed to a difficulty of life that’s being worked through. It may sound judgmental and to an extent it is but when I see it I can’t come away thinking otherwise. When I read about homelessness in San Jose it was the first thing that popped into my head.


  42. Concerning the Gospel Conspiracy, oops, Coalition piece on interracial marriage, my take on this is colored, oops again, by my own experience of starting off my first marriage with my wife, who was black, afraid that her father was going to burst thru the door at any time and kill her. In retrospect, I was not clueless, but I was naive enough to believe that love, or possibly in this case ultra infatuation, conquers all. I read the original article expecting (prejudging) to fault the editor for not catching egregious racial blunders. I didn’t find any, altho in context I might have changed the expression “paled in comparison”, which I found amusing.

    Yes, it would have been a lot better to have balanced this article out with an equal perspective of What Do You Do When Your Son Marries a White Girl? That would have been far more instructive and educational in a real way. They could still do this. Let me assign blame here. First off I blame the politically correct programmed extremists who raised a such a ruckus over a fairly innocuous article. Secondly I blame The Gospel Whatever for caving and withdrawing the article, altho if the flak was hitting the newlyweds, this might have been needed. I do hope they were given the opportunity to approve the article before publication.

    But my main portion of blame is called forth by the culture and beliefs surrounding this whole brouhaha. “For years I prayed for a young man”; “hadn’t counted on God sending an African American”; “I could only smile at God’s plan”.
    Obviously every step of our helpless lives, every breath, is under the giant thumb of God, and this whole sorry mess is all God’s fault. The buck stops there. All I can add is a note of condolence to the probably bewildered couple and a recommendation to catch one version or another of the old song, “Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do”.


  43. A lot to unpack here:

    I believe that Clark wrote with the best of intentions, and I commended her in my first post for reaching the point in which she was able to accept her daughter’s partner. I also believe that she is still in the very early stages of learning and, as such, was not ready to write this article and share this advice. She probably would have had no way of knowing this, but any responsible publisher should have known. Given that TGC took down her article and managed to track down one of their Black editors to do a podcast which suggested some much better alternatives within the space of a couple of days, it appears that TGC had the resources and the capacity to exercise a little more wisdom. I’m not that concerned about Clark; I am incredibly critical of TGC.

    Also, believing that distinction of racial identities don’t matter really is problematic. As a Black man who has had to experience some of this stuff first hand, and has had his identity shaped by and in a world that still sees me as a Black man, someone looking over or past that, even with the best of intentions, does me no good, and can cause serious harm on a lot of levels.

    I reiterate, though, that Clark is not the big problem here. TGC is.


  44. You have some points, Jon, but what saddens me is the ongoing separatism and isolation of the white evangelical world from life as it really is and has been for some time. White people like me often come across as clueless because we really are, living in the sanitized white bubbles that we think represent the real world.


  45. I’ll jump on the land bridge story and leave the racial and war stories alone. There are two books I’d recommend that really shed some light on how this may have worked. The first is The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry by Bryan Sykes. Although he spells his name incorrectly, like the sausage and not like the cool grandad whose name appears above, it is a very well documented and interesting book. He used mitochondrial dna and specific markers in particular groups of people to track human migration down thru the ages. Very cool stuff. The second book is Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. He deals with how the migrations and the resources available to the migrants set the stage for development of technologies that allowed certain cultures to dominate and prevented others. It explains quite well how accidents of geography determined expansion and dominance of cultures and disputes the old arguments of race and cultural superiority.


  46. > “Considering her geographical location…”

    Ah yes. She’s southern. That explains it.
    If only she wasn’t so latitudinally challenged.


  47. Robert, I can understand your disappointment, but we have to deal with reality and not the way we wish things were. This author wasn’t personally opposed to interracial marriage, but also wasn’t expecting it in her own family. She admitted to her own need of adjustment and gave Christian reasoning for why this shouldn’t be a problem for Christians. Most of the criticism she has received, and received gracefully, seems to come from people assuming meanings behind her words that may or may not be there. This issue is there, whether we want it to be or not. She wrote from her own experience to try and help, and some of those who claim to be so keen on racial reconciliation reacted completely without grace.


  48. I fear for this kid, being sent to a monastery so young, with his family so very fsr away. There are manynreasond, but sexual abuse of kids in the monasteries is certainly high on the list. A number of young tulkus who have left the system have spoken up about this, but there is considerable pressure against them and anyone else who makes public remarks on the topic.


  49. Oscar, I wouldn’t say enlightened, but observant. I certainly did not grow up in an enlightened family. I vividly remember my grandfather looking through my parochial HS yearbook and counting the number of blacks in the senior class and making comments. And he didn’t call them blacks and the comments were not pleasant.
    I know where this woman comes from. I’m about the same age. But at some point, you look around and realize that maybe what you were taught as a kid was false. You observe. You become self aware. I applaud that she has made this discovery about race but am surprised that the thoughts she expressed never seem to have occurred to her in all her years of life until her daughter fell in love with someone of a different race. So, her article comes across as clueless. At least it did to me. Maybe it’s just the way she wrote it. I apologize if you feel I was harsh.


  50. Point acknowledged. I work with a black woman who has real issues with black men dating or marrying white women; from what she has told me in our conversations, this seems to be a not uncommon feeling among black women, who interpret a black man being romantically involved with a white woman as a negative judgment against their own value.

    But it doesn’t neutralize the overall affects of white privilege in the wider society, or the history of racism behind it and the present societal landscape shaped in its wake. For crying out loud, this very week there was widespread and largely uninformed discussion about why many black people can’t swim, discussion triggered by a black American Olympians swimming victories. Short answer: they weren’t allowed in public pools for many decades, they still don’t have access to pools in many neighborhoods in which they live, and they certainly don’t have access to the kind of pools that a hopeful Olympian would need to practice in. Whites do as a result of white privilege.


  51. I was raised in a bigoted white Italian-American family; not that my family had much personal experience with black people, or much to do with them, but they interpreted what they saw in the media in a prejudicial way, and this was backed up by the strand of racism they inherited from their Italian peasant roots. I think I have patience with those who struggle with this, and know that they are not always hateful people. It’s a matter of coming to recognize the common humanity one has with people of other ethnic origins, along with the different circumstances and opportunities and experience.

    But racism is one of the central heresies condemned by the New Testament. That the American Church in many places is so behind the rest of the society in coming to grips with its racism is alarming, and calls into question whether it really is the Church of Jesus Christ.


  52. To some of us, it’s shocking or just disappointing and sad that there are Christians “still struggling with interracial marriage”. Of all people, Christians should least need to be brought up to speed on this subject; that it’s not so, and has never been so, in our country highlights a serious deficiency in the practice and character of Christianity in America. Given the New Testament witness to the ethnic division-destroying work of Jesus Christ in the calling of the Church, racism is one of the chief heresies, a denial of the wholeness of Christ’s body in the Church, but it is not considered as such by far too many American Christians. How is it that secular Americans are ahead of the Church in respecting the integrity of a central New Testament teaching and article of faith?


  53. The younger generations seem to have a mantra of “non-judgemental-ism”, except when it comes to something that challenges their under-developed sensitivities.

    Clark’s article strikes me as a person talking themselves off a ledge and having to use “Biblicism” and Jesus talk to do so. Considering her geographical location and her apparent intimacy with the Evangelical Circus–I can appreciate her “self-ministry” in this area.

    As a person in the 6th decade of life, I must admit that “My name is Tom, and I’m a recovering racist.”
    (As is, at best, just about EVERYONE of my age.)


  54. Suzanne, I think that you are being too hard on her and, possibly, expecting others to have your sensibilities. I wrote my comment about my daughter who married a black man but the moderator didn’t see fit to allow it to post. Too bad, because it gave another perspective to this scenario. It is really easy to snipe at someone elses experience from the safety of your keyboard. Was she tone deaf? Only if you expect people to be as “enlightened” as yourself.


  55. Cluelessness? Yeah. Here in the Bible Buckle of Lancaster County, PA, it’s not unusual to hear white people refer to black people as “colored”; and it’s not just older folks using the term. The movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” was made 50 some odd years ago; that an article like this one, which might have been titled “Guess Who’s Joining the Family”, could be written today is a sad reminder of just how little things have changed since then.


  56. It’s good to see that there are some middle-class Christians to whom the homeless are not invisible and unimportant. As the fissure opening up in the middle of the middle-class continues to widen, we can expect that there will be more, not fewer, indigent and/or homeless in our country.


  57. The article struck me as very, very tone deaf for want of a better phrase. Statements like thiis stand out: “Before the wedding I reached out to Glenn’s mom, Felicia. As we sat and talked about our children, we realized we have similar hopes and dreams for them.” My first reaction on reading this was “Duh!” Had this never occurred to her before she actually talked to a black mother. What did she think? Black mothers have completely different hopes and dreams for their sons & daughters? Would she even question what hopes & dreams a white fiancé’s mother might have for him? It would seem not. “Remember heaven’s demographics”? Again, as though it just occurred to her that, great goodness!, all the people inhabiting heaven won’t be white!! And she has to consciously consider that because until now, she never has.
    Maybe she’s just a lousy writer and did not get her point across, but as a similarly aged white woman, I found the article fairly dripping with white cluelessness. It read as though she just discovered that black people face things like racist Uncle Fred every day, that they do the same things we whites do every day like working, worshipping, and loving our children, and is amazed by all this. Wow.


  58. It seems that most people are criticizing Clark based on what they think are the intentions of the article or of the particular statements in the article. For example, you stated that she shouldn’t have said that he ceased to be a black man to her and became a beloved son. I don’t think she had any intention of saying he has actually stopped being black, but that the distinction no longer matters to her. Whatever his race, culture, or experiences, he is now a beloved son to her. This doesn’t deny his “blackness” any more than a black person no longer thinking of me as white would deny my “whiteness”. And I don’t think the intention of her article was to say “Look at me and how enlightened I am”, but rather to speak to other parents who might be struggling with interracial marriage and show them why as Christians that shouldn’t matter. The over the top negative reactions she received showed a lot more about the people criticizing her; they can’t actually handle an honest conversation and are looking for offense under every rock. If we are going to have actual conversations about race people are going to have to stop looking for offense and learn to respond or even correct without personal attack.


  59. Yes, TGC seems to have made the big mistake here, and most of the criticism should be directed at TGC.


  60. So, most of the responses to Clark’s article ranged from “okay, that was a little tone deaf” to “you have summoned up the great demon of racism and nothing short of being drawn and quartered in the town square, followed by being eaten by a pack of wolves, will satisfy how offended we are” (that last one might have been a little hyperbolic, but not by much).

    Let’s grant that 53-year-old Clark had been raised in a profoundly racist culture, in which interracial dating was considered a violation of God’s laws because Black lives were considered less valuable, less intelligent, (insert racist assumption here). That’s what she learned and was expected to affirm for decades. Let’s also consider that, when confronted with a modern-day Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner scenario that forced her to break with those prejudices, she was still doing so from a mindset that had been trained in racist ideology and theology. The fact that she was able to get to this point where she was able to articulate her support for her daughter and her partner was amazing, and I don’t want to take that from her.

    However, she is still very much a baby in terms of how she views Black people and interracial relationships. For example, Glenn didn’t “move from being a black man to beloved son”; he didn’t stop being Black at all. He brings all the experiences, cultural identities, etc. of a Black man into her family. If her acceptance of the marriage requires her to erase that part of his identity, then she’s going to have a lot of work ahead of her.

    Again, though, she is new to this, and as such, is probably not in the best position to give advice on something as complex as “White parents’ reaction to Black man marrying White daughter in society which structures itself on racism.” Clark meant well, of course, and she probably has no way of knowing this, but someone at TGC should have known it, and thought of a better way to publish her revelations. Cook’s podcast (highlights mentioned above) had some profoundly better options which TGC could have taken and didn’t. The criticism of Clark was a little unwarranted, given how new she is to this issue. The criticism of TGC, however, in throwing a novice out to the wolves, could be much stronger.


  61. How do you factor in the aggressive signals of expansionism recently given by Russia and China when making such a map? Or the worldwide movement away from democratic institutions, and toward strong-men leaders and xenphobic nationalist parties? Not factoring these in gives a false picture. To say that the there are fewer outright wars in the world, and to say that the world is generally less violent or less dangerous, is to say different things that should be measured in different ways.


  62. It saddens me that systemic racial injustice is still so rampant in the country, and that police cover-up of the degree of that injustice in their departments is so widespread. It seems that it’s not just a few bad apples, as we’re often told by police officials and spokespeople. Perhaps the worst corruption and abuses are committed by a few; but it seems that the circle of protection closes around these few, which involves larger numbers in cover-up and secondary corruption. Healing and reconciliation will not occur at the deep levels necessary while lies and abuses of a systemic nature prevail.


  63. Maybe I’m tone deaf on this also, but I fail to see in Gaye Clark’s article what raised such a rukus.

    I’m automatically repelled by ANY John Piper quote, and the christianese is off-putting, but I have seen those kinds of responses that Gaye described.


  64. The world was a far more dangerous place when you were born. Death tolls from wars in the 1970s and 1980s were 4–5 times higher than they are today.

    Recent performance is NO guarantee of future results. Factor in civil strife, potential conflicts, and economic stagnation, and I’d say the world is MORE dangerous now than it has been since the 1930s.

    Besides, that “peace map” left out Yemen, where the ‘ceasefire’ is being honored more in the breach than the observance.


  65. I have a personal perspective on the white girls, black husband issue.

    My daughter had always dated non-white guys, mostly because young white guys routinely reject white girls unless they are thin and “pretty”. My daughter is 5’9″ and close to 200 pounds. she is not obese, but has a physique that her doctor termed as “powerfully built”. Wide of shoulder and narrow of hip, she had the physical attributes of many athletes, except for the fact that she had no interest in athletics. I had hoped that she would have an interest in softball since she could “kill” that ball, sending it at high speeds to the outfield wall. But, no. She preferred hip-hop music and boys of either Mexican or African American heritage. They paid attention to her, and she responded.

    After some really scary experiences, she settled down with a Marine who is African-American, moving to Fort Worth to be a live-in girlfriend. Needless to say, we were distressed, not because of race, but because of the lack of commitment and the 22-hour drive from San Diego.

    Eventually, they married and had a little girl, our first grandchild. Marvin is a decent guy with ambition that I didn’t have at the same age and they will be moving in with us this December when he gets out of the Marines.

    One would think that being white my wife and I would have some issues with the racial aspect of the situation. And to be honest, we DID, but not because we thought that she was marrying out of her race, our concern was how SHE would react to her new husband’s family’s reactions to bringing home a “white girl”. Our concerns were validated when Marvin’s mother called her a “white bitch” and made disparaging comments about us living in a “big house” in California. We live, by the way, in a 922 square foot, two bed, one bath condo with no garage. “Big house” indeed!

    To be honest, we still have some work to do in becoming more sensitive to the racial difference, but the biggest problems have come not from US, the white half, but from the other end, and it is purely racial in nature. So, you see, whatever “white privilege” we supposedly enjoy has been overshadowed by racial animus, not of our making.

    There is much more to the story, but this is sufficient to get my point across.


  66. A co-worker is celebrating because Fiji where she was born just won its first Olympic medal ever, gold in rugby sevens by defeating the UK 43 to 7.


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