Saturday Ramblings: New Year’s Eve Edition



You, our Internet Monk readers, are our Ramblers of the Week.

Here on the verge of a new year, we prepare to ramble into 2017, and I’d like to hear what you think might be in store for you, or more broadly, what might be in store for life as you know it where you live, work, and play. Some of you may have big plans, while other are just hoping to hang on through another year of wilderness. Whatever it may be, we’d like to hear about it. So here’s a little “Open Mic” for the start of 2017 where you can let us in on your world and what’s happening.

  • What are you looking forward to in 2017?
  • What are you anxious about or dreading?
  • Any major changes in store?
  • Any big decisions to be made?
  • Any new commitments for personal growth you’d like to share so that we can cheer you on?
  • Anything you’d like your IM community to lift up in prayer?

We’re about to ramble into a new year.

And we’re with you and behind you all the way.

• • •


10best-square-photo-648992-s-originalNY Times 10 Best Books…

  • The North Water, by Ian McGuire
  • The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
  • The Vegetarian, by Han Kang
  • War and Turpentine, by Stefan Hertmans
  • At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails, by Sarah Bakewell
  • Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, by Jane Mayer
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond
  • In the Darkroom, by Susan Faludi
  • The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between, by Hisham Matar

Rolling Stone’s 10 Best Albums…

  • Lemonade, Beyonce
  • Blackstar, David Bowie
  • Coloring Book, Chance the Rapper
  • Teens of Denial, Car Seat Headrest
  • Blonde, Frank Ocean
  • A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead
  • Blue & Lonesome, Rolling Stones
  • The Life of Pablo, Kanye West
  • You Want It Darker, Leonard Cohen
  • Jeffery, Young Thug

The New Yorker’s Ten Best Films of 2016…

  • “Little Sister” (Zach Clark)
  • “Moonlight” (Barry Jenkins)
  • “Sully” (Clint Eastwood)
  • “Viktoria” (Maya Vitkova)
  • “Love & Friendship” (Whit Stillman)
  • “Men Go to Battle” (Zachary Treitz)
  • “Wiener-Dog” (Todd Solondz)
  • “Kate Plays Christine” (Robert Greene)
  • “Happy Hour” (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
  • “Knight of Cups” (Terrence Malick)

Also, check out Biblical Archaeology’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2016

And here’s a list of Christianity Today’s top 20 articles of 2016

• • •


jero1Did Jesus read “the Bible”?

Can we evangelize late modern culture?

Why did Southern Baptists change their policy on “speaking in tongues”?

Will “liberal” church attendance spike because of Trump?

Is evangelical support for Israel hurting Palestinian Christians?

Did 2016 Expose America’s (And the Church’s) Fame Addiction?

Why Anglicanism?

What solutions might there be for Chicago’s guns, gangs, and poverty?

Can a faux 1950s downtown sharpen the minds of dementia patients?

• • •


Handbell Wars

NPR’s Planet Money has a fascinating story about the feud between the two companies that manufacture handbells.

That’s right, there are two companies, Shulmerich and Malmark. And the difference between them is a tang. That small difference has led to conflicts and lawsuits.

I think normally when you read about lawsuits between companies, you think that they’re the result of some business calculation, some strategic decision. And maybe that was true at the beginning, but pretty soon emotions got involved. Once you get in a fight like this, once you spend a lot of money on lawyers, it’s hard to give up. The long wars can be the hardest to end, especially if things get personal.

Who would have thought that such a peaceful, serene instrument could cause such anxiety and bad will?

• • •


Franklin Graham will speak at inauguration

RNS reports that Graham will not be making remarks, but will be allowed to read Scripture as one of one of six clergy chosen to offer the invocation, benediction and several readings at the swearing-in ceremony.

What does Graham think about Trump’s election win?

“I think maybe God has allowed Donald Trump to win this election to protect this nation for the next few years by giving maybe an opportunity to have some good judges,” he said.

It’s not the first time Graham expressed his belief God had played a role in the results of the November election. He had tweeted earlier this month suggesting it was God, not Russia, that had interfered with the outcome.

In an interview Thursday, he said he doesn’t know if Russia hacked the election, and he doesn’t presume to know how God works. But he knows God answers prayer.

And, Graham said, “All I know is Donald Trump was supposed to lose the election,” according to projections of the results.

“For these states to go the way they did, in my opinion, I think it was the hand of God,” he said. “It wasn’t hacking. It wasn’t Wiki-leaky or whatever. It was God, in my opinion, and I believe his hand was at work, and I think he’s given Christians an opportunity.”

As if that weren’t bad enough, another person invited to be among the clergy is Paula White, the twice-divorced TV preacher who has been investigated by the U.S. Senate for questionable fundraising practices.

• • •


Thanks to all of you who viewed and commented upon my pictures from 2016 the other day. Your input was helpful in my final determination of my 15 favorites. Here they are:

• • •


Here’s a good song to kick off the new year. It’s one of my favorite songs of 2016, from one of my favorite singer-songwriters and albums of 2016: Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “The Things We Are Made Of.”

Here is “The Blue Distance.” Happy New Year.

168 thoughts on “Saturday Ramblings: New Year’s Eve Edition

  1. “Ireland — land of Happy Wars and Sad Love Songs.”
    (Loud CRASH! from backstage)
    “Another of the Happy Wars — HIT ‘EM AGAIN, PADDY!”


  2. The only thing that would decrease its growing popularity would be if a new legally sanctioned event involving fighters using clubs or knives or some other weapon would come along; then the majority of UFC/MMA fans would abandon it for the more barbaric new entertainment.



  3. Race is a complicated subject, and I will confess to being out of my depths when discussing it. Racial categories are much more social constructed than a biologically determined, though there are biological factors involved. But what’s clear is that whiteness as a racial category is very much a social construct, since whites, among the major global racial divisions, have far more biological heritage from the other categories. So-called whites are a very biologically mixed-up group, with much African and Asian genetic inheritance. Most people would put me, an Italian-American, in the racial category of white today; but 100 years ago, those considered white Americans did not consider my ancestors white. This is only one example of how fluid and socially constructed whiteness is as a racial category; remember also that Germans up until the middle of the twentieth century did not consider Slavs to be of the same race as them. The examples could be multiplied.

    But I have no desire or energy to continue arguing with you. We are seriously, and perhaps fatally, divided over this issue, as is our country. I’m not optimistic that this will ever be resolved, short of the end of the American project.


  4. I feel your pain. My mother loved all children (and even adults) until they disagreed with her. To be her friend meant 100% agreement on everything. So all of her sons split with her as they grew into adults. No one agrees on everything.


  5. Well, maybe no one will even read this…but, I’d like some help/feedback/input.
    1) my son is getting married and I need a mother/son song to dance to (we have a great relationship) and we live on opposite coasts, and I love the woman he’s marrying
    2) struggling to come to terms, if I even can, about loving to worship at my local Lutheran church, esp after leaving evangelical Baptist church, but we’re in the Pacifica Synod which if i’m right is the more liberal of the two, and ordains gays and women….any input, fellow posters?
    3) 2016 was a fabulous year for my husband and I, for our family, for good health outcomes; just still estranged with my mom, as she wants me to be the same person I’ve always been, and go to a good church with good teaching–well, that ship sailed…and she cannot respect our stands.
    4) remaining faithful to solitude and stillness and quietness, knowing that’s where I find my strength, peace, power, solace, in the presence of a holy God.

    I think that it….hate being late to the party:(


  6. Patrick, all I can say is that you talk like a guy who doesn’t talk to a lot of minorities, especially in poor areas. Sure there’s been progress, but to act like it’s all a level playing field now and we all have equal access to the American dream is just patently false.

    This goes for a lot of white folks in my region too, who have been left behind by progress and capitalist greed, as well as our failure to look out for our neighbors. It is as though we’ve reverted to the Guilded Age. It’s not only race, it’s class as well.

    When you add to that disastrous policies like the War on Drugs, which has eviscerated inner city neighborhoods, many minority communities and the folks in them start with several strikes against them.

    There is no panacea, liberal or conservative. There are only local communities who have to decide whether or not they are their brothers’ keepers.


  7. You can think what you want of my perspective, regardless of my Bachelor’s degree in History. The fact remains that black Americans have capitalized on the opportunity open to all US citizens. They own TV networks, (BET) own media empires, (Oprah), own pro sports teams, sit on the bench of the US Supreme Court, are highly talented and paid sports heroes, actors and musicians, and for the last eight years have occupied the White house and office of POTUS. My last boss and friend is an African American who, with only a High School education, earns a mid 6 figure salary. His boss, my old regional manager who is in charge of a region generating $500 -$600 million dollars a year in sales is a black female. Her salary and bonuses are high 6 figure/low 7 figures a year. Black people have reached the highest levels of business, academia, military and government. Are all black people achieving this success? No. But neither is every member of every other ethnic group. It is hard to earn a living and raise a family in this culture regardless of your race or ethnicity, much less achieve elite levels of success. But the opportunity is there for all to improve their lives and the lives of their families. It’s not like it used to be back when there was real discrimination codified in our laws and social mores. Are there still challenges? Yes. But this ridiculous flagellation of white Americans and the US as a bastion of ignorant racism is disingenuous, and a lie. The success of minority ‘people of color’ gives the lie to Robert F’s rhetoric. I find talk like that to be a more humble and subtle version of the ‘White Man’s Burden.’ It’s passive aggressively patronizing. Talk like this doesn’t come right out and say ‘Oh, the poor people of color need our help to do X.” It cuts the other way and says that without whites criticizing and denigrating themselves and constantly putting themselves in check, the poor minorities will not be able to succeed. How is that not racist at it’s core? It took a hundred years to get civil rights for all Americans started on the right foot. In the last 50 years we have advanced light years in integration, equal rights and opportunities. The barriers to full participation by any group have been cast down. So for you guys to sit here and bemoan the horrible oppression of minorities in the US rings hollow to a lot of Americans.


  8. Oh, yeah. If someone got obliterated or just crippled for life by a drunk driver, well “I guess it was just their time.” was a standard phrase.


  9. I was born in 1975 but hey, I wouldn’t mind moving to the 50’s for my final years.

    Since I started this I’ll put this summary up.

    A faux life in the “50s” for dementia patients I can see. For those of use with mental skills, no way. I was born in 54 so I’m mainly talking about very late 50s into the 60s.

    I have no interest in the following.

    Mumps (twice), measles, chicken pox.

    Cars without seat belts plus metal sharp edged dashes. Tires that lasted 10K miles. Inner tubes. Points, condensers, timing lights. Tube radios in cars. Generators instead of alternators. Cars that were rare if they were not in bad shape after 40K miles.

    No AC in most homes / offices / stores.

    Food poisoning due to all kinds of things.

    35K to 45K traffic deaths per year and climbing. Today we have 35K but with 65% more people.

    Racism. Yes it was very real. “They” didn’t show up in my school system until the 64-65 school year. (5th grade for me.) And they are all in the dummy classes. None had made it out of that trap and into the upper divisions even when I graduated from high school in 72. At the time it didn’t seem to matter. It was just not on my radar. Now I know it was they got their start in a segregated school house that wasn’t much better than a chicken coop. And many of the teachers I though of as family friends “knew” they weren’t as smart and so they kept them out of the better more advanced classes. That went on until years after my graduation from high school. I put the likely hood that NO one not “white” for a 10 year period having above average intelligence as well non existent.

    If you’re a woman and not married well there’s a lot of hassle in your life. If you ARE married you can’t go to the bank and just open an account. Your husband has let the banker know you have his permission in much of the country. As to the unmarried you almost have to prove it over and over as everyone will want to know if what you are doing is OK with your husband.

    Have a heart attack. Sucks to be you. Not much they can do. And what they do is in many cases bad.

    Doctors have this thing where they think women should only put on about 8 to 10 pounds at most during a pregnancy. Basically the weight of the baby plus a bit more. Plug many times the woman was put to sleep via anesthesia as a normal practice. Did wonders for some of the babies. NOT!

    Need an ambulance. Call a funeral home. The entire 911 thing we have now was an alien concept. Get yourself to the hospital.

    I could go on but as my grandmother (she who remembers picking cotton as a child for $.01 a pound) used to say. “The best thing about the good old days is that they are GONE.”


  10. ““White” is not an ethnic group.”

    Then why do you use the term in exactly that way? You refute yourself. Your narrative of continued and increasing racism and prejudice is predicated on lumping caucasians together as a separate ethnic group or race, who commit acts of prejudice against people of color. Your statements are nonsensical.


  11. As someone who deals with another wordprocess site with similar traffic as IM, moderation is a big PITA. On the site I deal with there are 1000 to 1500 comments that get blocked without even notifying us. These are based on known spam postings. Then there are another 5 to 40 that get moderated and I get an email. In the email it tells me now many comments are being held. It the number gets over 4 or 5 I jump in and look through them as it means the other two people dealing with moderated comments have gotten behind. And if the topic involves sex or similar, the filtering can get heavy and nearly all comments get moderated.

    The problem is we all have a life. We eat, sleep, take showers, use the toilet, go to the grocery, etc…

    Be polite, just ask. Running a blog can be labor intensive at times.


  12. well, there is a lot of fire in Irish Catholicism, true, but it was always there …….. the Irish being Irish, dont cha know?

    powerful Celtic theology is proclaimed in this Irish hymn from over fourteen centuries ago:


  13. Not sure those “exceptions” actually work as leaders. Ruth? really? Didn’t she marry Boaz who took exceptional care of her?
    Deborah, – a feminist hero for sure.
    Jael? “Newsom and Ringe consider her a survivor caught up in her husband’s politics.”


  14. Exactly what did I say, Patrick, that slandered millions of White people? So-called Whiteness is an almost completely sociological construct, having little to do with genetics and much to do with how power and privilege are distributed among subgroups within and between societies. The fact is that people of Sicilian background like me have much African heritage, and I’m glad of it; Sicilians are generally very genetically diverse. I don’t have any desire to be placed in some bland, all-encompassing category of Euro-whiteness. The rising nationalism across Europe is a repudiation of pan-European identity; would that there were instead a repudiation of the concept of Whiteness, which after all is based on the concept of European ethnic homogeneity. I don’t have a drop of ethnically unmixed blood in me, and neither does the guy that I saw flying the Confederate flag from the back of his pick-up the other day, whatever he may think to the contrary.


  15. Couldn’t agree more: there is only the human race. And there is no such thing as Whiteness, except as a social construct invented by more powerful subgroups to control less powerful ones.


  16. Patrick, I’m sorry, but I find your perspective ridiculous. As I said previously, people like you and I can have little conception of the struggles of those enslaved and counted as less than human for centuries. To equate any animosity they might feel toward privileged communities with the actual racism that dehumanized and marginalized them for so long is ludicrous. Love of neighbor requires that we respect the enduring psychic scars that mark those who have suffered under the abuse of power for so long.

    This, of course, does not mean that all remedies to help our fellow citizens are equally good or effective, but that’s a discussion about practicalities, not prejudices. We’ll never be able to get to that if we spend so much time lobbing accusations. But I’m willing to cut my black neighbors a lot more slack in that regard than the white majority, which has not earned the right to think itself aggrieved.


  17. “High view of Scripture” is a phrase I often see used by persons of the Reformed heresy I mean “tradition”. Don’t really know what it means.

    It seems to me that Jesus’ “high view of Scripture” also empowered him to redact certain portions–as in Luke 4;18-19 where he deletes the subsequent statement in Is. 61 which says; “…and the day of vengeance of our God;”

    Paul had a similar “high view of Scripture”. Notice what Paul redacts from the OT quotes he cites in Rom. 15.


  18. And also yes…Medieval Roman Catholicism virtually ruined Celtic Christianity.

    Yes. Most Roman Catholic fire-and-brimstone teaching and preaching after the Middle Ages was promulgated by Irish Catholicism, and Irish Catholic priests.


  19. I think that song should be played, and that movie shown, at the inauguration! Make the Swamp Great Again! SWAMP THING!


  20. Never said Welfare was the root of all evil. Some of it’s repercussions are counterproductive. Please expound on how the welfare system has helped black families stay together. The advancement of equality and civil rights for the Black community are not helped by blanket condemnations of white people and backhanded passive aggressive comments entirely condemning past generations. (I do not buy into the ‘only white people are racist’ meme.’ Hatred knows no color barrier, and racism and prejudice can be found in any community or ethnicity. So save the speeches about racism requiring cultural power and dominance to be ‘real’ racism. Full stop.) If Robert F said the things he does about any other ethnic group he would be soundly and rightly rebuked. But because it’s about white people it’s ok, and so he impugns and slanders millions of white people without repercussion. Trump’s victory was partly supported by millions of people who tired of being falsely slandered as racist when they clearly are not. That’s what happens when you cry ‘Wolf.’ When every one is a wolf, then no one is. The epithet has lost any real meaning, and serves no purpose other than to cultivate disdain for the term with people on whom it has been misused. It also dilutes the power of the term to combat real racism like the KKK, the Storm Front people and BLM.


  21. Yes Dana.

    What we need to see and witness is a reality that most often escapes us and our neighbors–truth about what is and isn’t “real” and what it is to be Human.

    The substitute I see in our present age is typified by the term “authenticity”, whatever that means….


  22. “Anglican” is not necessarily to be a member of The Episcopal Church. I’m sure you know about the “continuing Anglicans”, who are not “affirming”.

    Yes. Never hurts to be reminded.

    I’ve attended a US Anglican church in Duvall, WA twice. I find the liturgy appealing. However, their misogyny (virtually along the same lines as Piper/Grudem et al) was off-putting as was their Biblicism.

    And also yes…Medieval Roman Catholicism virtually ruined Celtic Christianity.


  23. I’m hoping and praying for a better job in the new year. I will soon mark four years with my current employer, and I’ve yet to receive a raise. Neither have any of my co-workers unless they’ve been promoted. In addition, a colleague who was hired around the same time as me lost her job shortly before Christmas. There may have been a good reason in her case, but that still stinks to lose employment at this time of year. And the news brought back painful memories of my own layoff from my previous employer almost eight years ago. I spent more than 20 years with that employer.

    I’m not sure what other changes there may be unless my landlord, who has dementia, puts the house where I live on the market. I’ve lived here for 15 years and that would be a major change. It might also mean seeking new employment outside the area where I currently live; the only reason I’m making it right now is the rent is cheap by local standards.

    By the way, I have neither seen the supposed top ten films of 2016 nor purchased any of the top ten albums. Not only that, I hadn’t even heard of several of the artists. I must be getting old.

    A happy and blessed 2017 to Chaplain Mike and all my fellow ramblers!


  24. I’d call you an Angry Young Man, but I’m not sure you’re young.

    My ancestors didn’t come to the US until after the beginning of the 20th century, and when they did, they were given the names Dago and Wop by white Americans who considered them to be another race. Now, the ancestors of the same white Americans want me, and other offspring of Italian immigrants, to think our interest is served by identifying with some kind of universal Euro-American whiteness that they’ve conveniently discovered in the intervening decades. Listen, brother Patrick, I’m Sicilian, which means that there’s likely plenty of African lineage in my ancestral family tree, just as those racist whites suspected when my father’s and mother’s families got off the boats. I don’t consider myself to be of the same “race” (whatever “race” is) as you; I agree with your national forbears, who thought my people different from yours.


  25. Just like the end of Atlas Shrugged, when Messiah figure John Galt leads his Faithful from the Gulch and makes the Sign of the Dollar over the world that is now Rightfully Theirs.


  26. That is an interesting article. In some ways, it reads like the guy’s suggestion is for democrats to be “less in love with equality” and “more in love with racism/sexism”. No, I don’t quite understand this guy’s responses.

    Maybe we should let Christians be as Islamophobic as they want. It’s part of their beliefs, right? Freedom of religion. They should be allowed to voice it and be as violent as they want to be. Because who are we to judge their faith? If someone’s religion led them to believe they have a moral duty to kill the outsider and the heretic, we should let them. It would only be tolerant of us.


  27. Your understanding of history is pathetic. Go talk to elders in the black community like I do nearly every week. Then make a simplistic judgment like the welfare state is the root of all evil. You and I have no clue what it means to have a heritage of being oppressed, enslaved, and marginalized for 300 years and trying to overcome that. It’s not “white guilt” — it’s sympathy for a tragic story that is only slowly and agonizingly getting better.


  28. Yeah, back when 90% of black children were born to 2 parent families, as opposed to now where less than 30% of black children live with 2 parents courtesy of the Welfare State. Please spare us the ‘wicked white man’ narrative wherein they are all evil patriarchal racists. My ancestors fought for the Union in the Civil War. My great great grandfather fought with the 1st New York Dragoons in the battle of Appomattox Courthouse and was there for the surrender of General Robert E Lee. Sorry I’m fresh out of ‘white guilt.’ Maybe your ancestors were slave owners and you feel some sort of crazy responsibility for the plight of black Americans today, but please don’t project. I find your racial self loathing to be offensive.


  29. New for the year: husband is retiring in a couple of days, so finances will change. We should be in pretty good shape, about how we are now. We’ll have to get used to being around each other a lot more…

    Other changes: I have changed jobs. Not only is there better technology, but our local hospital and large medical practice are putting the squeeze on doctors to do their own data entry, so after a good run of more than 20 years, medical transcription has come to an end for me. I started college wanting to be a teacher, and decided I can fulfill that desire without getting a credential if I work as a substitute teacher. I can also determine my own schedule. So I have jumped through the hoops the State, County and School District have put up, and have been working as a sub since October.

    Otherwise, nothing major for us. That’s enough. Children will probably be changing jobs and moving around a bit, too. A trip is planned to North Carolina to honor daughter-in-law, who will be receiving her Master’s Degree in Viola Performance.

    If anyone wants to pray that husband and I won’t kill each other now that he will be home most of the time, that would be ok 🙂

    A blessed new year to all.



  30. Stuart, the notion of “hell” as a separate place of eternal conscious torment didn’t become part of Christianity until after around 800-900 AD. A lot of western Christians don’t know about the events of church history, much less the history of doctrine, in addition to the Jewish understandings out of which Christianity arose. Imprecise translation of Scripture doesn’t help, either.

    “Hell” didn’t come along until the newly converted Germanic tribesmen brought that belief about the afterlife with them, and introduced it in Rome when the Holy Roman Emperors sent them, as their best soldiers, to the military aid of the Popes of the day. That belief has never taken hold in eastern Christianity. In the East, God is truly good and would never construct such a place; his project is to make us fully human in the Image of Jesus Christ.



  31. We need to be able to announce actual good news. As Robert and Stuart say, anything with an ECT hell attached aint’ gonna cut it.

    But there is actual good news to be announced. We do need to get back to “the world Jesus and the Apostles were part of” to have a clearer picture of it. Get back behind the Reformation, and behind the Schism, too; it’s there to be found.



  32. Obvious, but skirting the point. If God set the standard of “masculine leadership” and wants it exemplified in our social patterns, why did He start Israel off by choosing the sibling who least modeled that pattern? At the very least, it signifies that God doesn’t view that as an absolute requirement,


  33. How on earth did The New Yorker NOT have “La La Land” in its list of top 10 films for 2016???

    My wife and I saw it yesterday and thought it was excellent–visually stunning, great music, complex characters and great acting. A real change of pace from the Hollywood blockbusters, which increasingly seem to be special effects in search of characters and a plot.

    I hope the New Year, for me, entails a greater capacity for inner peace and quiet.

    Happy New Year to you all!


  34. Jacob wasn’t a female; and his gift was, quite obviously, not outdoorsmanship. But he wasn’t a woman.

    In the providence of God, Jacob He loved, Esau He hated. Why? He never says – though Scripture later says Esau was quite blessed [materially ] in his lifetime.

    It was thru Jacob, however, came the 12 tribes, and then the Messiah.


  35. Lol. As you like. I know you are aware that we don’t have all the empirical facts about the social fallout of the kinds of events we’re talking about, and that we are not likely to ever have them. There is a question of what we think it is wise to risk, given our partial knowledge; I think the risk taken here is unwise and damaging, and will lead to worse pastimes. But then, it’s not up to me; people want it, they have it. As far as I’m concerned, MMA and pornography occupy the same status for me: I would not advocate for their criminalization, and I would never consume them as entertainment.


  36. And you’ll notice, I am not advocating the criminalization of these activities, as they exist now.

    With regard to American football: anybody who lets their child or teenager play football is taking the big risk of their child sustaining lifelong, serious damage to the brain as the result. Perhaps you could find a less damaging way for your child to channel aggression.


  37. I don’t think the small woes of small people like us are small to God, or less important to him than the big public ones. I hope things go well for you this coming year, and every one after that, Ron Avra.


  38. “Anglican” is not necessarily to be a member of The Episcopal Church. I’m sure you know about the “continuing Anglicans”, who are not “affirming”.

    Why Anglicanism? To be able to have a liturgy that is old (dates only to T. Cranmer, c. 1500 AD) and recalls much that is ancient without being Roman Catholic. I was interested for a while, but for various reasons did not end up there – mainly theological.

    British/”Celtic” Christianity owes much to the Desert Fathers of Egypt and really had an eastern flavor until the time around the Viking raids. Before those, the priests and bishops of the British Isles were trained in southern France, which had relatively easy communications across the Mediterranean; there was much influence from the Christians of the eastern Mediterranean areas.



  39. Belief in God is non-falsifiable, so is belief in human love, but I continue to believe in them. I disagree with you regarding this on a value level. Societies exist and sustain themselves on the basis of peace; peace runs with the grain of the universe as creation. Adversaries cannot even come to the place where they face each other without the support of communities where some degree of peace and stability prevail. I repeat: the day may not be far off when these pastimes lead to sanctioned killing for the sake of entertainment. This, as far as I’m concerned, would run against the grain of creation, and could be nothing but morally and socially degrading for a society, no matter how popular and no matter how reflective of one aspect of our genealogical heritage.


  40. The White House connection hadn’t occurred to me, but unfortunately that will go on for three years beyond 2017. My personal swamp will likely be relatively tame.


  41. Okay thanks for answering when it disappeared altogether it was confusing to me. Then it came back. Sorry should have waited more.


  42. Amen. Blessings, I know so many people who have a rich healthy happy life after their divorce; I don’t know anyone who isn’t better off afterwards.


  43. The point of Jesus is that we don’t have enemies anymore. Any enemy we have isn’t physical, but ideas and principalities and spirits.

    These people literally push us back to before Christ, back into tribalism and war and total annihilation.



  44. Jesus ordained the events of history? That doesn’t sound like the Jesus of the Bible, let alone one that was fully man while being fully God.


  45. It’s hard to believe in something that never existed. More and more we learn about the Bible and the world Jesus and the Apostles were a part of, and we see that hell was very much a man-made thing that proved very useful to a lot of people as a tool of control and fear.

    There will arise another hell soon enough to it’s place.


  46. I’m sure some of it is blood lust, but it’s also a mixture of highly technical and competent forms of martial arts. There is an artistry there, a skill, that can be finely displayed in the best matches. The problem with Ronda was she never had any of that: she’d rush in, grab her opponent, and start throwing punches at her on the ground. When she went up against a boxer, anyone with a lick of skill at evading and martial arts, she got beat. Twice.


  47. Trump and MMA don’t mix. Trump and WWE mix.

    There’s a world of difference between the two. Like soccer and football.


  48. I look forward to the second week of January, when people stop putting together end-of-the-year lists and retrospectives, and get back to new content.

    However I don’t look forward to the many Evangelical new-year 21-day fasts which begin before Epiphany ’cause the organizers are clueless these are feast days.


  49. My little village looks much the same as it did in the 50’s with the main highway and main railroad running thru, if you factor in them building the freeway in the 60’s with the nearest exit four miles away, and the railroad now a trail. In the two and a half years I’ve been here, the Lutheran Church, the VFW, and Henry’s General Store have all shut down. Followed soon by the local bank in a month or so. On the other hand, when I went out to get my mail this morning I waved at the passing horse and buggy, which probably wasn’t happening in the 50’s. Don’t know whether or not this is staving off Old Timer’s Disease. Wouldn’t trade places with anyone.

    I have never looked forward more to a coming year. I have learned thru the years not to count my chickens nor hold my breath, but it’s looking good and feeling even better. Part of this is that with these later years I have learned the importance of what you hold in mind and speak with mouth as an essential part of your role as co-Creator of the world you live in. I marvel at some of the worlds created in these pages, but I look back at myself and see those same worlds. Still learning, still often just toughing it out. Wouldn’t trade places with anyone.


  50. But it is, nonetheless, not befitting the nature of humanity as revealed in Jesus Christ. One could formulate many theological arguments. Unfortunately, these never even reach the level of theory, since they are non-falsifiable. An objective assessment of the facts leads us to believe that intra-specie violence is integral to human nature. And acknowledging that fact allows us to improve ourselves collectively. One could argue that violent sport like MMA and even American football are a dramatic improvement in human history, and serves to allow expression of human nature while minimizing any damage to society.


  51. “Dr.” – I’m not one, and neither are the many evangelical “doctors” who got educated at diploma mills
    “Fundystan” – because fundamentalist Christianity is indistinguishable from fundamentalist Islam in presuppositions
    “Proctologist” – because I enjoy helping people remove their heads from their collective arse.


  52. w, I think you are misunderstanding how comments get into moderation. I’m not sure myself, but I don’t think anyone consciously puts comments in moderation. I think the program just does so automatically, partly by random selection and partly based on other factors, perhaps certain words or phrases or signals given by a particular account sending the comment. The it’s up to CM to rescue it, whenever he gets around to doing so.


  53. As I’ve said before, moderation on the iMonk site is a feature of WordPress. I do not have anything to do with choosing to moderate comments unless I let you know ahead of time.

    I myself have had comments held by the filter. It’s random.


  54. I wonder if it isn’t one part archetype of perfect Americana, one part idea of having purpose, and one part memory lane. This would not have appealed to my mom in her particular walk with Alzheimer’s. But, I’ve seen studies on task orientation for early to mid-range Alzheimer’s patents that suggest self-directed purposeful tasks like cleaning, mending clothes, or setting the table decrease wandering, violent outbursts, and general decline in those who are in “nursing homes.” These Montessori practical life activities encourage the patient’s feelings as part of community, helpful, and worthwhile.


  55. Someday soon a new comp awaits hopefully with a good sound card so I can actually hear the music posted. I do tend to wander away from people and things maybe that could change. Someone posted about free will and I actually found I can choose to hope and love although the loving part I’m not sure I could without Christ. Hope is Christ. That line at the end of the Matrix 3rd movie ” because I choose to”. Who ever that was thanks I have changed my mind.


  56. Lucky. I am only 43. I filing for Social Security the first day I am eligible under take-what-you-can-get-while-you-can-get-it. I’ve been saving for retirement since I was 19 – I am counting down the days.


  57. Wow I wrote this thing this morning and it said your comment is waiting moderation. Now it’s gone. I didn’t think I said anything wrong but I guess I did. I was trying to be positive. Am I really that bad. Oh well, I remember once when I tried to pay for some drinks before work and handed the guy a twenty and he hit it with the marker and it turned black. Gave it back and I gave him another and the guy behind me said you never know where a bad day is going to come from. Funny things you remember. Anyways, Have a great day and New year. I’ll be wandering….Wondering. I guess I just don’t know how things work. Communicating wouldn’t hurt so I know.

    The twenty I carry still in a plastic sleeve with a butterfly wing. Little treasures for me. Hope you all find some this year.


  58. You know, w, I never did pray for the guys who knocked me down and out. Maybe it’s not too late, even after all these decades? I’ll give it a shot. We all need to be released from the shackles of the past, whether on the sending or receiving end of the knockouts. Thanks, my friend, for the good word and suggestion.


  59. … and both will be exterminated when Christ returns with All The Raptured (including Velour’s former pastor on his own White Horse) To Stand Upon The Mount of Olives at Armageddon…and send his enemies straight to eternal hell as the faithful Raptured watch from the sky. Why it’s better than…MMA!


  60. I have put on hold collecting my social security – it doesn’t probably benefit me to do this but will benefit my wife if I, as expected, pre-decease her. Our faith is in God, who knows what will happen even today.


  61. And deep down inside the Israelis are no different than the Palestinians. Just pieces to move about on the End Time Prophecy gameboard, just items on the Rapture/Tribulation checklist.

    Israel HAS to be In The Land to Fulfill Prophecy and Trigger (Nuclear) Armageddon, the Palestinians are just the Orcs in Antichrist’s horde, and both will be exterminated when Christ returns with All The Raptured (including Velour’s former pastor on his own White Horse) To Stand Upon The Mount of Olives at Armageddon.


  62. What, with the gentrification about to occupy the White House, we probably should expect an army of Swamp Things, no?


  63. “Whatever your view of the Bible, I have a higher view of Jesus than Fred Clark takes in his article.”

    No, you have a higher view of Calvinism.


  64. Israel MUST be In The Land for Armageddon to go down.


  65. Well, in the Christianese Culture War Bubble, the 1950s ARE the Godly Golden Age when church attendance was at its peak.


  66. This year I vow to go to work 5-6 days a week, putting in 40-50 hours, as much as my health (very good) and my company’s viability (still strong) will allow, as I have been doing for the past 40 years.

    I also vow to ignore much of the alt-left fulminations that proceed from “talking heads” and some “media sources” (mostly MSNBC) as well as those who espouse sentiments on the other side. Instead I will avoid most of the east coast viewpoints which are so foreign to most of the country, even though I live in the “progressive utopia” of California where the middle class is shrinking but, hey, the environment is being protected! Instead I will listen to more music, read more fiction, and spend more time with long time friends.

    My biggest decision this year is if I decide to collect Social Security while I still work full time, or wait another 4 years to claim the maximum when I turn 70. There are a number of pressing financial issues that would be relieved if I collected THIS year but it would be better to cobble along for another 4 years instead.

    We are none of us guaranteed one more day of life, especially as we grow older, so it is important to embrace the good that is in our individual lives and eschew the calls for us to get “worked up” over things not in our control. “In this life you will have tribulation”, and “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof…”

    Happy New Year, and a prosperous one at that, to all…


  67. My plans are to finalize my divorce, travel around the country in my beater car as health allows, visit/interview people, and write two books to publish Creative Commons.


  68. I’m sorry for that Robert things like that leave a scar on our soul. I’m just a big guy and pain isn’t a stranger. I’ve never liked fighting in the least. Something my father pushed early on as he was a fighter and did so because he was very poor and picked on a lot. I heard through his brother he never got knocked down. His head was hard too. Said the last fight he was in he picked a man up over his head and was going to break his back over a footlocker in the service. He put him down and never fought again. I don’t want to kill no one here and I want to leave here not having to do it.

    When I’ve been hit it really bothered me deeply and I found praying for them and asking that they be forgiven really helped me. Had to do it a couple times for the same people but eventually the thoughts I was having stopped


  69. No, Robert, I’m more of an agent provocateur! I love to trip your triggers because they are more predictable than the weather…


  70. I’ve been knocked down, and unconscious, in fights, when I was younger. Once two friends and I were beset upon by about ten belligerent teens (one of my friends had foolishly provoked them) in a mall parking lot; it ended with a shopping cart being hurled on top of my head as I lay prone. It is no fun, and I can’t stand to see people getting beaten up in fights to this day.


  71. I always look forward to your comments. I find you intelligent and insightful. The other day when you commented on Ken I believe I didn’t know if he was new or not so I thought it humorous when using intellectual suicide and the name you use as he might of have thought WHAT. Sorry I didn’t mean harm by my expression it just made me smile. Could use more of that. So does the name mean fundamentalism is kind of anal? Or how were you seeing it when it came to mind?

    Also watching MMA or UFC when I have passed it through surfing I found it disturbing deep inside me and it was like I got worked up and couldn’t calm down. Maybe the draw is along those lines. I don’t watch anymore for those reasons. I have been hit hard and never have I struck back as I am afraid I could really hurt someone. 5% of people killed in a year is done by hands. Being hit isn’t that hard to take its smarts a little but I’ve a hard head. When I don’t go down or move they usually give up especially if I smile. It hasn’t happened that much thank God and when I have had to take action I just wrap them up and say when you stop I’ll let go. Construction sites and bars when I was younger included a large variety of people. It really has toned down a bit since then.


  72. Moving back to the 1950s might not sound that idyllic to many African Americans, especially if they had to live in the 1950s South.


  73. The argument can cut both ways. Without a peaceful hearth to return to, without a human society of cooperation for nurture and sustenance and continuity, the warrior cannot continue to exist, or have anything worth fighting for. In fact, the grain of creation requires shalom as its lifeblood and staple; violence and war are aberrations.

    In any case, this has noting to do with violence as as spectator event.


  74. Notice that I’ve not called for outlawing MMA, though I would call for outlawing death-matches, if they ever became legally sanctioned (which I don’t think is impossible, or even unlikely, at this point).


  75. I would argue that the spectators are morally damaged by MMA, too, as well as the general capacity of the society to embrace empathy. It’s funny and ironic that your arguments sound the ones used by the porn industry to support the relative innocuousness of their business.


  76. Since YOU brought it up, we can expect the president-elect to be the first president to attend an MMA event during his time in office. He loves blood sport, and has even had business involvement with it. And anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that the P-E would gleefully attend a legally sanctioned death-match involving fighters with weapons does not understand the character of this man.

    You had to go and trigger me…I’m beginning to think you might be Alt-Right…


  77. At least it is more honest than politics, WITH the added benefit that the fighters only damage each other whereas in politics the participants damage the audience as well.


  78. BTW, I’ve never actually seen an MMA fight [ including Rousey] – doesn’t appeal to me. I do admit to watching, in the 80s, G.L,O.W. [ Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling ] a short lived T.V. series that was never violent but had it’s own prurient appeal.


  79. I might hazard a guess that most evangelical Christians don’t worry much about how their political support of Israel might hurt Palestinian Christians because most Palestinian Christians are the “wrong kind”: Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic.


  80. Men have always been the warriors – that was a part of David’s calling. Violent warriors have always been required for polite society to survive.

    Gideon comes to mind.


  81. “He is asking us to view the Bible in a way that neither Jesus nor any of his original disciples could have ever understood or imagined.” According to Fred Clark, Jesus had a very limited imagination.

    No, Jesus did not have a leather bound copy of the Holy Bible featuring 66 Books and a section of maps. What he did have was a very high view of scripture; it was his custom to be in the synagogues daily, listening to and taking his turn reading from the Torah scrolls. He also ordained the events of history and told the Apostles the Holy Spirit would lead them into wisdom and call things to their remembrance. The inspired New Testament scripture is The Word of God. “Read the Bible and pray” are the most basic of instructions for all Christians everywhere. To claim that Jesus did not read the Bible is merely playing word games.

    John was shown the new heaven and new earth after the old ones had passed away. Jesus didn’t have to “imagine” what the Bible would look like. He knew each one of us before we formed. Whatever your view of the Bible, I have a higher view of Jesus than Fred Clark takes in his article.


  82. Murder is certainly a human activity. But it is, nonetheless, not befitting the nature of humanity as revealed in Jesus Christ.


  83. Wow, as I don’t know how that works. Really that bad. Never know where a bad day is going to come from. It’s kind of depressing. I must think moderation here and go on to washing my whites. Boy I hate washing whites,all those tee shirts and socks


  84. senecagriggs, In case you don’t know, there’s a huge audience of people who love to watch women fight, and they’re not all men. In fact, many seem to get a prurient delight in watching fighters of either sex bloody each other. It fits right in with the blood lust that has caused MMA to be such a popular spectacle. Don’t expect to see women not getting involved in this stuff, either as participants or spectators. It would run afoul of the proclivities that have made it popular to begin with.


  85. Two protons expelled at each coupling site creates the mode of force, the embryo becomes a fish that we don’t enter until a plate, we’re here to experience evolve the little toe, atrophy, don’t ask me how I’ll be dead in a thousand light years, thank you, thank you. Genesis turns to its source, reduction occurs stepwise though the essence is all one. End of line.


  86. Liberal church attendance spiking after the election of the president-elect? It did after 9/11 too, but that didn’t last, and I don’t think it will this time, either. And all that’s aside from the very anecdotal, and thereby questionable, character of the evidence that it is in fact spiking. I know it hasn’t spiked in my mainline congregation.


  87. Right. My point is, violence is not apropos for either sex. So saying being a violent fighter is not “feminine” is irrelevant to the main point whether there *is* gender-appropriate behavior.


  88. It’s impossible to “evangelize” late modern culture, because most people no longer believe in hell (not really, not for themselves or anybody this side of Hitler and Ted Bundy), and if all you’ve ultimately got is the “believe-in-Jesus-or-go-to-everlasting conscious torment/torture” card to play, you have a losing hand. Among moderns, hell (everlasting conscious torment/torture) has outlived its usefulness. End of story.


  89. Wish I knew or had a plan but I don’t. After last year a continued walk towards the more positive and possibly looking for joy in places I have overlooked because they seemed little. Of course the cats on the mountain and hopefully to start walking it more regularly.

    My son I gave the responsibility to run the everyday activities including handling the money. He said to me the other day I see why you weren’t in a good mood a lot. I have seen the change in him having to deal more with people and I thought he was easy going.

    Stop making people targets. Yep. Where I have gone they called it testimonies. I think you’re right Adam about using the target word. Blessed are the peacemakers. Boy I could use some work there. The beatitudes in general are beautiful and worth the climb in the heart. Sure could use more of heart breaking towards people.

    The tongues thing struck me. I always thought such a thing very personal and have never wanted to talk about it unless someone where to flat out ask do you. I do. Never in public and it isn’t some mystical power of some sort. I have been with people that flaunt it with no interpretation. I stay quiet. Had a friend say it is the least of all gifts. Didn’t answer as the least is good enough for me too. Had another friend say the gifts are for building up the saints. I answered is not the one speaking a saint. I don’t have the answers here just what I feel led to do. Mostly that would be is it’s private and should be kept that way unless the Spirit provides interpretation. I have seen that a few times. Just the fact they made it public leads me to suspicion that they might not know it. Then again not for me to decide.

    Had a friend say once if you have the gift of healing then why aren’t you in every hospital healing people. He said I have the gift of teaching and can do it at anytime I choose. Well I have been there and I wouldn’t declare what I was seeing and hearing a gift. Maybe a puppet of the man that was mentoring him. I can’t go into anymore I just don’t want to start going down long roads that only seem to be negative for me.

    Blessings for all as the calendar slips by this year and it will sometimes fast and sometimes slow. May the slow be of good rest to your souls.

    Lift me up in prayer if you get a chance. I’ll try too with you all. In the capitol of Pennsylvania some guy who is just a w is still trying to love better. Lord have mercy.


  90. What are you looking forward to in 2017?
    My new job. It is a great blessing to have a job you love, with a great boss, and wonderful co-workers. It is not particularly lucrative but it pays the bills, which I am so thankful to the Lord for. And I really like the work and am good at it. It really is true; do what you love and you won’t work a day.
    What are you anxious about or dreading?
    I have two grandchildren, 18 and 20, who need to find their way without going off the rails. Please God, don’t let Trump tank the economy so the kids and grandkids can find work.
    Any major changes in store?
    That was 2016: new job, sold the house and moved to a new town.
    Any big decisions to be made?
    Where to go to church. I am truly in the wilderness.
    Any new commitments for personal growth you’d like to share so that we can cheer you on?
    Where should I serve?
    Anything you’d like your IM community to lift up in prayer?
    Those aforementioned grandkids.


  91. Ya gotta explain that comment to me. Not sure what you are actually trying to say.

    David, of course, could NOT be allowed to build the temple, he had blood on his hands. BUT Acts 13: 36 says,

    New International Version
    “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.

    i.e., God’s will in David’s life was that he would indeed be warrior/king. But there was a cost.


  92. Just like God affirmed David to be the appointed builder of His temple because David was a successful masculine warrior.

    Oh, wait…


  93. > Can we evangelize late modern culture?
    “””Preaching to the will, while bypassing the heart, will not cut it for late moderns”””

    Did that ever work? Has evangelism every been effective regarding those not already biased to accept one’s message? Color me skeptical; the “great revivals”, much talked about, are actually hard to find in history.

    “””Once we’ve made a case for evangelism”””

    Is it just me or does this article fail to do that?

    I am more and more convinced that Evangelism is not only ineffective, it is wrong headed.
    Do not Evangelize, do bear witness. Stop making people targets, that is not Love.


  94. > he feud that escalated all the way up to the Supreme Court!

    That is why the tomato is a vegetable and not a fruit; Nix v. Hedden.


  95. Tonight people in my neighborhood will be shooting guns to celebrate the incoming New Year. Some will celebrate by eating, drinking, lovemaking, and even quiet introspection. But the New Year really always slips in through the back door, while we greet our own memories of its older siblings at the front.


  96. > What are you looking forward to in 2017?

    **ELEVEN** new breweries open in the city next year! Eleven! Excited about that. Including a 7 Monks in the adjacent neighborhood; and we are getting a grocery store. Many things to look forward to in the ‘hoods.

    Also have a new chairperson and other new blood on the NPO executive committee I am on. They will make a interesting, and hopefully successful, year.

    > What are you anxious about or dreading?

    Nothing in particular, mostly about ‘my’ people being reactionary rather than tactical. I think smart people on every side are worrying about that.

    > Any major changes in store? / Any big decisions to be made?

    That was 2015/2016, thank goodness. 2017 looks like riding out decisions made.

    > Any new commitments for personal growth you’d like to share so that we can cheer you on?

    More organization; major projects at work and some healthy issues have left me behind on things. 2017 will be a year of digging-out, I hope.

    > Anything you’d like your IM community to lift up in prayer?

    I need to be a more effective peace-maker; which is not a natural role for me.


  97. Count me among those just hoping to hang on through another year of wilderness in 2017. And who knows, maybe that’s enough?

    A happy New Year to all.


  98. I wish the UFC and MMA in general would die and RIP. Of course I acknowledge that it’s thriving as a spectacle/entertainment (I don’t consider it a sport). The only thing that would decrease its growing popularity would be if a new legally sanctioned event involving fighters using clubs or knives or some other weapon would come along; then the majority of UFC/MMA fans would abandon it for the more barbaric new entertainment. It’s the blood and brutality that make it popular; any fighting event that had a good likelihood of ending in death would leave UFC/MMA in the dust, even as it’s leaving traditional boxing in the dust now.


  99. The article is from Chrisma mag., totally propaganda. I just love one of the sidebar articles; 10 Times God Has Hit America With a Major Disaster After the US Attempted To Divide the Land of Israel. Their politics are showing…


  100. Changes in the last year?

    Well, we moved from NW Arkansas, where I lived since 1972, to NE Tennessee. That move was almost a year in planning–and my fantastic wife worked most of that out very proactively. I just continued to do my work so as to keep the money stream flowing. The transition of my business (home repair, remodeling, handyman) has been more positive than I anticipated (but then, I’m kinda an Eore…). We moved so as to be closer to a couple of our daughters and GRAND KIDS.

    I continue to look forward to the Saturday Ramble, which I find to be the most engaging part of iMonk.

    Happy New Year to all yall !!


  101. Why Anglicanism?

    So as to be a more socially conservative kind of Methodist?

    Looking through the book list showed a mix of authors, everything from CS Lewis to Stanley Hauerwas (an Episcopal), Scot McKnight, and many others of diverse traditions, including diverse soteriological perspectives–some of which are anti-PSA.

    However, I saw no author that is “affirming” of LGBTQ.


  102. The “Craftsmanship” photo…Swedish dove-tail log notching. The first and second generations of settlers moving west used this method. The subsequent generation or two were not as skilled and used a “saddle notch”.


  103. The article about the SBC and tongues is confusing. The Editor’s Note says it’s about events in 2016, but the date of the article is 5/15/2015, and the copyright at the end says 2015, and the oldest comment is “2 years old.”

    So it appears this took place in the first part of 2015, or at least by May 2015.


  104. I surfed from one of the linked CT articles to one about Jen Hatmaker and saw this interesting listing of FB followings;

    Jen Hatmaker’s Facebook Following Is Bigger Than…
    Social media reach isn’t everything, but it is one measure of a leader’s influence. Hatmaker’s 627,000 Facebook likes exceed:
    • John Piper (431,000)
    • Compassion International (401,000)
    • Tim Keller (295,000)
    • Life.Church (215,000)
    • Family Research Council (192,000)
    • Gary Chapman (168,000)
    • Saddleback Church (145,000)
    • NewSpring Church (102,000)
    • Willow Creek Community Church (62,000)
    • Eric Metaxas (57,000)
    • Russell Moore (31,000)

    I know that at our last-and-favorite church (emergent/progressive) Hatmaker is extremely popular.


  105. Rhonda Rousey’s career as a UCF fighter – RIP. A lot of sports pundits had wondered if her first beating would break her. She talked about feeling suicidal after that loss. Yesterday, she lasted 48 seconds. So I think the question is answered,
    May she now find a life befitting her God given femininity.


  106. Hi IMonkers,

    I have read every post for the past 15 or more years. A source of great surprises and good considerations.

    I do not live in the US, no, thousands of miles away, but I share the sentiments posted. You do my soul good.

    We all come from different circumstances but out chief aim is to glorify our Maker and proclaim His Kingdom and Glory to those about us..

    I do not have the profound words some of our fellow IMonkers have but I understand their posts and look forward in 2017 to broadening my knowledge through their postings.

    May I wish us all God’s speed and His Grace be with us all in 2017.


  107. I can really see the old faux town concept working after dealing with my mother in law. She still knows us but spends a lot of time talking about the past. She forgets that most of her relatives, spouse, and such are dead. She has to be told at times we can’t get in touch with her parents anymore. She really enjoys (from what we can tell from surveillance cameras) looking at pictures of things past.

    The only problem with re-creating a faux town is she was born in 1928 and grew up on southern Germany. Ouch. Then married a US Army Lt in the mid 50s and moved nearly every year till 81.


  108. So with the SBC (where I grew up). Did speaking in tongues NOT really end “after the death of Jesus’ apostles.”?

    Are they going to go back and offer posts to missionaries who were in the field and got “fired”.

    Are they going to ?????

    Smells like it’s all about numbers and the SBC was falling behind. And we wonder why the rest of the world considers us nuts.

    So much for eternal truths.


  109. A feast of food for thought, Mike. May I start by thanking you for this Saturday feast, and also by noting (heh heh) that you sort of fell off that never-mention-Trump wagon pretty quickly, didn’t you? That’s OK — when there’s a large orange elephant in the room…

    The Hand Bell Wars story was really interesting, not so much for the bells but for the feud that escalated all the way up to the Supreme Court! Amazing what happens when emotion and ego get involved — and they always seem to, with us humans. I’m on the church vestry, and once cracked wide open at a particularly stupid (so I thought) comment and yelled at a fellow parishioner in her late 80’s. Mea culpa. Also, I’ve played hand bells; they sound lovely. Don’t know if mine had the tang.

    The idea of a fake 1950’s downtown for dementia patients looks interesting. (Though I never saw a “Greengrocer” shop in my life; I thought that term was British.) The “downtown” is much spiffier than my 1950’s downtown in a depressed coal-mining area of southern Pennsylvania — but then, the proposed fake is in San Diego.

    I’ve read only one of the NYT 10 Best Books of 2016: In the Darkroom. I’ve liked Susan Faludi ever since I read Backlash, but Darkroom is a much more personal story, about her efforts to come to peace with a father who in her childhood was brilliant, abusive, and kind of weird. In his 70s, much later than most people who make this decision, her father decided to become a woman, and Susan’s story of this transformation is disturbing and, I hope, atypical.

    Finally, your pictures are awesome; not a bad one among them. What kind of camera do you use? (Sorry if you’ve answered this before.)


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