The Internet Monk Saturday Brunch: 3/11/17 – Lenten Beer Fast Edition


”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”

Welcome to a special edition of the Internet Monk Saturday Brunch. The last thing you might expect to be served at a Lenten brunch is beer, right?

Ah, but this is one of the reasons Internet Monk is such a special place. We know what our readers want and we know how to loosen tongues for good conversation around the table.

So welcome to this Lenten Beer Fast edition of our IM weekly soirée.

According to Crux:

Back in the 1600s, Paulaner monks moved from Southern Italy to the Cloister Neudeck ob der Au in Bavaria. “Being a strict order, they were not allowed to consume solid food during Lent,” the current braumeister and beer sommelier of Paulaner Brewery Martin Zuber explained in a video on the company’s website.

They needed something other than water to sustain them, so the monks turned to a common staple of the time of their region – beer. They concocted an “unusually strong” brew, full of carbohydrates and nutrients, because “liquid bread wouldn’t break the fast,” Zuber noted.

This was an early doppelbock-style beer, which the monks eventually sold in the community and which was an original product of Paulaner brewery, founded in 1634. They gave it the name “Salvator,” named after “Sankt Vater,” which “roughly translates as ‘Holy Father beer,’” Zuber said.

HERE is the account of a contemporary man who tried out the monks’ beer fast for himself.

And so, this fine Saturday, we join him and all the monks in raising a glass to the end of another week in Lent. Welcome to brunch!


Or, as many have sung since…


Leandra Ruiz is crying in her beer. The woman from Harlingen, Texas entered an online contest to win a home delivery from Budweiser driven by their iconic Clydesdales.

Then she gave up beer for Lent. O ye of little faith.

Surprise, surprise, she won the Budweiser contest! And the whole neighborhood turned out as Ruiz watched the impressive horses trot down the street and pull up in front of her home to deliver the prize. As the winner, she even got a ride around the block.

Whaddya wanna bet she broke her Lenten fast to celebrate?


It used to be, whenever one thought of the Chicago Cubs, Old Style beer came to mind, and in Harry Caray’s day Budweiser came to the fore.


Well, last week the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and Chicago-based Goose Island brewery (now owned by Anheuser Busch) expanded their partnership, announcing a Cubs-themed craft beer – the 1060 Wit. The brew will be unveiled on April 10 at Wrigley Field, and will only be available on draft at kiosks around the ballpark and at Goose Island’s taprooms on Fulton Street and Clybourn Avenue.

The press release described the beer like this: It is “inspired by traditional Belgian Wits, using a lot of unmalted wheat along with orange peel and coriander. It’s lightly fruity and a touch spicy with low bitterness that is a natural fit for the ballpark and refreshing on hot Chicago days.”

Doesn’t sound hardy enough for Lent, but in the bleachers? Yeah, I can go for that.


And then there’s this, from the Washington Post:

There’s a craft beer company from Scotland called Brewdog that hasn’t sold any beer yet here in the United States. But it plans to. How to get the word out? Many business owners would resort to the traditional methods like advertising or marketing campaigns. But the owners at Brewdog have decided to do something different to create a buzz and build a community. They’re starting a hotel. A beer hotel.

Located in Columbus, Ohio and conveniently next to Brewdog’s 100,000 square foot brewery, guests at the company-owned hotel called The DogHouse will soon be able to enjoy certain amenities that only super-serious beer loving lunatics will appreciate.

According to the Daily Mail, the hotel will feature a “craft beer spa, complete with hop face masks, malted barley massages, “Hoppy Feet” pedicures, plus hop-infused shampoo and shower gels.” (hop-infused shower gels?). But that’s not all. Rooms will overlook the feeders inside the brewery and there will be mini-fridges filled with specially chosen craft beers…located in rooms and in the showers, of course. The brewery’s finest offerings will be on tap throughout the facility and guests can enjoy brewery tours as well. Oh, and let’s not forget the “deluxe beer-infused breakfasts, lunches and dinners, with beers matched to every course.” Yum. Burp.

I see a possible location for our first Internet Monk retreat!


To cap off our special emphasis today, here’s a ramble through the history of craft beer in the U.S., courtesy of Food and Wine. These are not necessarily the “best” craft beers today, but they represent important developments in the craft beer movement.

Here’s how F&W compiled the list:

To help better appreciate the history of American craft beer, we reached out to 21 experts from across the American beer scene, including legendary brewers like Ken Grossman and Jim Koch, industry representatives like Julia Herz, and veteran writers like Aaron Goldfarb and Joshua Bernstein.

We asked each voter to nominate five to seven American beers that they consider to be the “most important of all time.” The only stipulations were that the beer must have started production after 1960, and it must have met the generally-accepted definition of “craft beer” at the time it was introduced. Voters were limited to two beers from any one brewery and encouraged to diversify their choices across years, states and styles. In the case of brewers, they were allowed to vote for themselves; however, every single beer on this list received multiple votes, meaning a brewer’s self-endorsement only counted if it was seconded by another voter. The final order was determined strictly by the votes received, with the exception of any ties, at which point we used our editorial judgment to determine ranking.

Read the list and see what you think. And then, feel free to chime in. Which craft beer(s) got your attention and moved you to become a fan?


According to an article at NBC News, “Reports of electronic cigarette batteries exploding have been documented across the country. Battery malfunctions have been known to cause burns on the hands and face, fractured bones and even loss of eyesight.”

It couldn’t have happened to a more stereotypical victim.

Stephen Gutierrez is a defense attorney in Florida who was representing a client in an arson case when his pants appeared to spontaneously combust, and he began to feel the heat. He rushed out of the courtroom with smoke pouring out of his pocket, and ran to the bathroom where he emptied some e-cig batteries from his pants and into a basin of water.

[Insert lawyer joke of your choice here.]


One of my all-time favorite stories is Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees, the tale of a shepherd who, day after day, planted seedlings in an effort to reforest an area in the foothills of the Alps. It’s a lovely tale that reinforces the practice of doing small acts of good over a long period of time to accomplish remarkable things.

There’s a young man today who’s taking this story seriously.

Nine year old Felix Finkbeiner was a fourth grade student in Uffing am Staffelsee, south of Munich, Germany, when his class studied climate change. The boy’s attention perked up, and he pursued the subject so passionately that he was invited to speak to the United Nations General Assembly as a teenager.

National Geographic reports that the young Finkbeiner, still not out of his teens, now leads “a remarkable environmental cause that has since expanded into a global network of children activists working to slow the Earth’s warming by reforesting the planet.”

Today Finkbeiner is 19—and Plant-for-the-Planet, the environmental group he founded, together with the UN’s Billion Tree campaign, has planted more than 14 billion trees in more than 130 nations. The group has also pushed the planting goal upward to one trillion trees—150 for every person on the Earth.

The organization also prompted the first scientific, full-scale global tree count, which is now aiding NASA in an ongoing study of forests’ abilities to store carbon dioxide and their potential to better protect the Earth. In many ways, Finkbeiner has done more than any other activist to recruit youth to the climate change movement. Plant-for-the-Planet now has an army of 55,000 “climate justice ambassadors,” who have trained in one-day workshops to become climate activists in their home communities. Most of them are between the ages nine and 12.

Truly, a little child shall lead them.



This old guitar ain’t mine to keep
Just taking care of it now
It’s been around for years and years
Just waiting in its old case
It’s been up and down the country roads
It’s brought a tear and a smile
It’s seen its share of dreams and hopes
And never went out of style

• This Old Guitar (from Prairie Wind)

Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush and Harvest were two of the albums most important to me in my coming of age years. At that time, I spent a lot of time learning to strum and pick my acoustic guitar, trying to write songs, and expressing my own feelings as a youth while “Mother Nature [was] on the run in the 1970’s.”

It was Neil Young’s folky, “pretty” songs that inspired me back then. The intimate poetry of his lyrics, his use of major 7th chords, his vulnerable voice — they all spoke to me in a deeply personal way.

Over the years, Neil Young has continued to produce appealing folk songs, some commercially successful, but others embedded like jewels in his many album releases. Here’s a list of 24 of my favorites from his career. It’s a great resumé.

  1. Expecting to Fly (with Buffalo Springfield)
  2. Tell Me Why (After the Gold Rush)
  3. Only Love Can Break Your Heart (After the Gold Rush)
  4. Helpless (with CSN&Y)
  5. Heart of Gold (Harvest)
  6. Old Man (Harvest)
  7. The Needle & the Damage Done (Harvest)
  8. See the Sky About to Rain (On the Beach)
  9. Borrowed Tune (Tonight’s the Night)
  10. New Mama (Tonight’s the Night
  11. Long May You Run (with Stills-Young Band)
  12. Comes a Time (Comes a Time)
  13. Lotta Love (Comes a Time)
  14. Sail Away (Rust Never Sleeps)
  15. From Hank to Hendrix (Harvest Moon)
  16. Harvest Moon (Harvest Moon)
  17. One of These Days (Harvest Moon)
  18. Dreamin’ Man (Harvest Moon)
  19. Silver & Gold (Silver & Gold)
  20. The Great Divide (Silver & Gold)
  21. The Painter (Prairie Wind)
  22. Falling Off the Face of the Earth (Prairie Wind)
  23. Here for You (Prairie Wind)
  24. This Old Guitar (Prairie Wind)

One of Young’s very best songs from the list is the utterly romantic “Harvest Moon,” from the 1992 album of the same name. Here’s the “Unplugged” version. Love the broom!

118 thoughts on “The Internet Monk Saturday Brunch: 3/11/17 – Lenten Beer Fast Edition

  1. Especially The Anointed of the Anointed, the Trump.



  2. they ought to drink well. Whatever that’s supposed to mean .

    I figure it means The Expensive Stuff.
    i.e. Nothing the Lowborn drink.


  3. Not only do McMansions have 5′ (1 1/2m) deep back and side yards, I’d like to know how any McMansionite plans to maintain that 3500+sf (350+ sm) house. Especially with today’s Built-to-Flip particle-board-and-Styrofoam construction. (Put it up FAST, sell it to the suckers and now it’s their problem.) I have found through experience that 1000 sf (100 sm) is all the house I can keep maintained — what do you do with one over four times that size?


  4. I have an evolving plan for about 2000sf. With the back being a MIL suite with separate entrance that could be locked off from main house. We could rent it out if we wanted. But I’m almost 63 and have watched my parents, in laws, and other age terribly in non 1 floor houses. A duplex in this neighborhood, even if allowed, would bring out challenges and be worth less per sf than a single family unit with a non obvious MIL suite. I’d be going very modern with no “front door and porch” anyway. 🙂


  5. Nope, my folks are from Piemonte – nonna from just outside Ivrea, about 90 minutes north of Torino; nonno from Colloretto Castelnuovo, about 45 minutes SW of Ivrea. (You can draw a triangle connecting the 3 towns; Ivrea-to-Torino would be the hypotenuse.) They grew up about an hour from one another but didn’t meet until they both landed in Montana. Half of my female relatives in Italy are strawberry blondes, as was my mom’s middle sister. It was such a treat getting to meet la famiglia when I studied in Germany in college.

    Ivrea was the headquarters for Olivetti business machines. Bari is more distinguished; they have the body of St Nicholas, in a huge basilica standing since the 1100s. The choir director at my church has family in that area (also his mother’s side) and has prayed for our intentions at St Nicholas’ tomb.

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if you & Robert are related.



  6. David, I think a lot of that has been happening under the radar, whether in many SB C’s or in the SBC itself, because most people avoid church politics, theology and church history. So if a church begins trending along the new-cal route (which I now believe is really the complementarian route) most people won’t notice, or will accept it because their church leaders promote it as biblical.

    The blinders that some Christians have about candidates is unbelievable. Russ Moore is doing exactly what he should be doing, calling out the, uh, inconsistencies in our political leaders and their love affair with Christian leaders. As long as he does this against Democrats, such as Bill Clinton and Obama, he’s golden. But touch not one of God’s anointed Republicans.


  7. Christiane, I think that’s a done deal. But muzzling Moore over ethics-related matters, when he’s president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC, and alienating blacks, is suicide in the long run.


  8. You said, “My house is not worth rehabbing and my current debate is to tear it down myself and build new or just walk away. But I don’t want 3500sf.” Does the zoning in your area allow for construction of a duplex?


  9. > there was no discussion about that

    No sure what there was to discuss. It felt like a schism that has been coming for a long time. I thought it might die down after the election .. . . but things, on many fronts, have only gotten hotter.

    The current political configuration is going to shatter any already uneasy alliance or federation.

    > then the SBC is no longer a church

    I do not understand what this means.


  10. I love bubbling cider! It’s like cold apple soda, but it makes you HAPPY 🙂

    Hard to find unless you get it at a farm stand, freshly made.


  11. I’m just reading the article about the Southern Baptist Convention investigating Russell Moore and I notice there was no discussion about that.

    I’ve been impressed with Moore for the past couple of years and I think if the SBC tries to muzzle him or fire him over his critique of certain candidates and policies, and if it tells black churches to “pack up and leave” if they dissent, then the SBC is no longer a church.

    Have a peaceful Sunday.


  12. Don’t you know that Christ is coming any minute now and It’s All Gonna Burn Anyway?
    Drill, baby, drill,
    Burn, baby, burn…


  13. Yes. But in many ways it created a organized crime as we know it today. And proved that if you restrict something people really want that crime can generate huge profits supplying said something.


  14. Anchor Steam? I remember turning 21. I once convinced a waitress that because it was from San Francisco (I’m from the Bay Area) it is a domestic beer and not imported. So, she gave me the lower price. And the #1 on the list, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, is a couple hours up the road. A long time “cheap volume beer” in my fridge.


  15. All this extolling of how good beer drinking is reminds me of all the blather RC Sproul Jr. did about how Christians should not just drink but that they ought to drink well. Whatever that’s supposed to mean . Now he’s facing felony dui charges in Indiana for driving his minor children around drunk.


  16. As to the woman who won the Clydesdale wagon ride, hooray for her. What grand animals. But the beer she won? I think she’s ok on her Lenten fast. Does Budweiser count as a beer?


  17. I woke up this morning with (I’m not kidding) “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” playing over and over in my head. I can’t tell if I’m a throwback or a thrown-forward given my advanced age and all. Some things, like the Trinity, cannot be explained.


  18. That is a very good article! And I wish I could answer some of the comments lol starting with the very first one

    “Law is not the answer.” Well, that may well depend on what the question is. If the question is what can set man right with God, then you are correct it is not the answer (nor was it ever the answer). Only Jesus can do that, and the government can’t make people accept/believe/follow Him.

    But…a man who perfectly fulfills the Law set man right with God, so…it totally did? But only because Jesus was not born of man, thus didn’t inherit a sin nature (per 4th century theology), and even tho he was tempted (just the same as us, allegedly, and to the exact same degree), because he didn’t have a sin nature he didn’t…tip over into sin? Or something.

    It really starts not making sense the more you think about it.


  19. > Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro.


    > I used to hate beer as well until I cut out sugar and started losing
    > weight, and my tastes changed dramatically.

    I experienced the same phenomenon.


  20. Dana, you and I could be twins separated at birth. A couple of months younger than HUG, and maternal grandparents from Italy. Town of Bari, by any chance?


  21. Nice to see all those Anchor beers on the list. Anchor Steam is the first beer I ever really liked to drink. I’m very particular and can’t usually drink more than about half a bottle. My dad was a big fan – Anchor Steam was his “special treat” drink.

    Boomers as sociopaths? Well, I’m about the same age as HUG – if I remember correctly, he’s older by a couple of months. I think that since there are so many of us, there will be more diagnosed sociopaths in the population sample. But the child-centeredness depends a lot on the family in which you were raised. My maternal grandparents came from Italy in the early 1900s, and my mom came of age in the Depression. There was no spoilage of children growing up in my family, no.




  22. There are some lucky churches who went to the crumbling urban neighborhoods in the 70s and the 80s. Now those neighborhoods are gentrifying, and they’re right at where the white-flight churches want to be.


  23. I think there could be something to it. We are seriously in danger of losing African and Asian megafauna; elephants, rhinos, lions tigers. Sharks are highly endangered. Whales are hurting. All due to man. Can we reverse it in time? Remains to be seen. “There is no general agreement on where the Holocene, or anthropogenic, extinction begins, and the Quaternary extinction event, which includes climate change resulting in the end of the last ice age, ends, or if they should be considered separate events at all.” I wouldn’t lump them together. Primitive hunting bands responsible for extinction; show me some proof, please.

    On another subject; all Imonkers should remember: We don’t buy beer, we only rent it.


  24. > No one wants a McMansion anymore

    True… but they overlook that it may also be there isn’t anywhere to build them anymore… sprawl has a natural limit and we seem to be near it. Eventually the McMansion is too far away from the jobs that make it affordable.

    Around here they tear down 1960s +- 2000sf houses and put up 3500sf units on the same .3 to .4 acre lot. My house is not worth rehabbing and my current debate is to tear it down myself and build new or just walk away. But I don’t want 3500sf. 😦

    > Malls have become ghost towns

    The one next to me is thriving. But they tore down the old big boxes and built a new open air main street kind of place. And it keeps growing with apartments and offices going up around it. But many of the old farts are trying to stop the developments. Especially the office and restaurants next to it. (I’m an old fart in the minority position.) They want the neighborhood to stay just like it was when they bought their house 20 years ago. And prevent owners of open acreage from developing it and ruining the local scenery.

    > Millennials have discovered their kitchens

    This ties back to the tear downs. What millennials don’t want are kitchens designed for cooking meals in every day for hours. With doors to shut it off from the rest of the house. Cooking these days doesn’t require hours per day in a kitchen. And with AC and less stove use you don’t have to keep the heat out of the rest of the house. Now tack on the abandoned by most millennials of things like a formal dining room, small bedrooms only for sleeping, small closets for the few clothes most people used to own, etc…

    The big problem is houses were built with these concepts into the 90s and 00s out of inertial and nostalgia. There are still people who want those houses out of Better Homes and Gardens (but with an open kitchen) but the tide is turning. And this means tearing down that older house.

    > The suburban church should be worried

    But for many more reasons that changes in suburbia. More and more millennials just don’t want to live in that enclosed bubble that many of these churches became.


  25. rhymeswithplague was born in 1941. Which puts him in the group that was still dealing with the effects of The Great Depression. And possibly his dad going off to WWII. That group always seemed very frugal, because they had to be and it stuck with them. Ironic we have so much prosperity gospel going around today. As if being without money makes for poor character, when we Christians ought to know it’s the other way around( from Chesterton).
    Being excluded from the beer I can live with. And with a strong Old-timey Methodist story, you know for us there was a time as tea totalers. And both our fathers had alcoholism. But today we’re a bit…..well okay, alot… snobs.
    And as for music… know I get to a time to be still..and music from back in the day sticks in my head. And usually not the old time hymns but rock. And it’s a little annoying. But I really am over the things from back in the day that I regret .
    Internet Monk designated itself as dispatches from the post evangelical wilderness.
    Checking in here can be…..I say not depressing….more .”he left the depression of his fingers in the soft mud”


  26. Try Guinness or Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro. I used to hate beer as well until I cut out sugar and started losing weight, and my tastes changed dramatically.


  27. I think there is a time in life, usually around age 40-45, when we either develop a taste for good beer, or we don’t. And if that opportunity is missed it is likely that the remainder of life will be somewhat drabber than need be.


  28. P.S. Never was a beer drinker. Can’t stand the taste of the hops, and “unhopped ale” is hard to find.

    Grew up on Italian cooking, so I had a tendency towards wines instead.

    Never tried hard ciders.


  29. Regarding the Southern Baptist Convention, I thought conventions by definition were groups of people who got together over some shared characteristic and wore funny hats and acted stupid. Maybe Klasie can help me out.


  30. Lutherans…
    In Lutheran church potlucks, the most important thing is “who’s bringing the beer?”


  31. Ever heard of “The Sociopath Next Door”?

    For every Sociopath politician, CEO, serial killer, or Lead Pastor, there are thousands who never achieved that Perfect Storm of prominence. They just use and abuse their own little circles without making any splash. Remember, we only hear about the ones who slip up and get caught.

    As for Baby Boomers, as an atypical late-period Boomer (part of the transition zone between Boomer and Gen-Xer), I can attest that like any Idealist generation, Boomers have a higher incidence of Egomaniacs and Sociopaths. Probably from being raised in a child-centered postwar Suburbia culture and starting out at the top of Maslow’s Heirarchy; I understand China is starting to experience similar problems with its “Little Emperors”.

    My DM: “HUG, you’re a Baby Boomer yourself.”
    Me: “That doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
    By accident of birth year, I get lumped in with overripe Yuppies and the biggest generation of perpetual angsty adolescents to come down the chute. You think I like it?


  32. Upthread a ways Adam Tauno Williams said, “I do believe a bit of feeling excluded might be good for the soul.”

    That’s how I feel here today. Just two examples:

    1. Beer has always looked to me like something that has already been through a horse, and the few times in my life that I tasted beer I was not persuaded to change my mind.

    2. I couldn’t list 24 of my favorites from anyone’s career, let alone Neil Young. I sort of remember his name as being part of the group Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, which always made me think of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme.

    The next phase after “a bit excluded” is “a whole lot excluded” followed by “totally irrelevant” followed by “death.” I’m almost there. I will be 76 in another week. I may live twenty more years or twenty more minutes. So I’m pre-Boomer — the oldest of my three children is technically a Boomer (1964) but the younger two aren’t. Still, all three are successul in their callings, seem to have happy marriages and normal children by my standards but perhaps not by yours, not that I care what any of you think. (Hey, I’m old; I get to say what I think.) I have been moderately to severely post-evangelical for several years now.

    Perhaps I should stop checking in here so often. It’s too depressing. Sometimes especially on Saturdays.

    But according to Adam’s way of thinking, my soul is in great shape.


  33. I have little respect for Moore, but the way he is being treated is very telling. We’ve suspected for some time that the powers that be in the SBC are all about artificial unity for the generation of profit. These current developments seem to confirm that suspicion.


  34. My mother-in-law once told a Bob Jones University professor that his freshman Bible class lectures were unbiblical. She scolded him firstly on his lack of respect for the inerrancy of the KJV and then on his admission that alcohol isn’t forbidden in the Bible. His reply was, “are you essentially saying that Jesus died on the cross holding the KJV in one hand and proclaiming that alcohol is evil on the other?” Bet he’s not there any more.


  35. IMO, we are waiting for the next wave of evangelical mission strategy. The Church Growth movement was ideally suited to suburbia, and the result was megachurches. Just as in earlier decades, when small communities thrived, the mainline Protestant churches were filled. Each type of community was congruent with, and to some extent determined the kinds of churches that were formed.

    But what’s next for churches? The answer to that will be more dependent, IMO, on the type of communities Americans form than it will on what today’s churches do. They will wait for the next missiological guru to arise and usher in a new era of adapting to the culture.


  36. The wine at Cana and the last supper was really unfermented grape juice view.

    The Quakers in Britain were fairly early prohibitionists which became problematic for some when the view extended to beer (Barclays Perkins, a Quaker owned firm, was one of the largest brewers in England).


  37. > The question is whether Evangelicalism is generally adaptable, or happened to
    > hit on the right formula for the cultural moment. I incline toward the latter,


    > We right now are watching the experiment running in real time.

    Wait long enough – and everyone will be wrong. 🙂


  38. “Yet evangelicalism/Pentecostalism seems to be thriving in the massive cities of Third World countries”

    To what do you ascribe the rise of the Evangelical churches in the 1980s and ’90s, and the decline at the same time of the mainstreams? Among the innumerable possible explanations are the Evangelicals having superior theology or superior adaptability to be relevant. Evangelicals will naturally favor explanations such as these, and if you accept them then yes, there is no reason to believe Evangelicalism won’t do just fine in the environment of rising urbanization.

    Another explanation is that American Evangelicalism caught a particular cultural and demographic moment. The suburbs were on the rise. The mainlines were institutionally unprepared for this. Their assets were deployed along the older lines: large urban churches, one or two medium-to-largish churches in the county seat, and small rural churches scattered across the countryside. They were poorly positioned, either physically, financially, or culturally, to adapt to the new demographic pattern. This created a vacuum, which the Evangelicals were wildly success at filling. At the same time they abandoned traditional worship forms and replaced it with a new model following the aesthetic of a ’60s-’70s pop-rock concert. This was comfortably familiar and appealing to that generation.

    The question is whether Evangelicalism is generally adaptable, or happened to hit on the right formula for the cultural moment. I incline toward the latter, but then again as a mainliner this is appealing to my personal prejudices, so don’t take my word for it. In any case, there is no need to take my word for it. We right now are watching the experiment running in real time.


  39. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. The path of moderation is the most difficult path for those prone to excess.


  40. The book could be subtitled “the unshack”. But it would have to be written soon for that to work – I doubt The Shack will have much cultural staying power.


  41. “He robbed from the rich and he gave to the poor!
    Stood up to the Man and he gave him one more!
    Our love for him now, ain’t hard to explain,


  42. Good time for a beer post: I just returned from the PDAC Convention in Toronto, the largest Mining and Exploration gathering in the world. And of you know anything about geologists and mining engineers, you would know about their proclivity for beer consumption. I have a suspicion my calorie intake would qualify me for monastic duties….

    But two brews specfically stood out – from the Amsterdam Brewhouse on the shores of lake Ontario:

    The Testify IPA – quite hoppy as IPA’s go, but with a full body of flavour and aroma.

    The other was an Iona – a dark Scottish ale with hints of smoked rosemary. This one was absolutely divine.

    Oh, and the convention was also good. Met old friends, made new ones. New contacts, leads, etc. 3.5 Days among 24000 of “My People ” 🙂


  43. The passage leading from life to death is funnel shaped. This I am experiencing first-hand now as I approach sixty years of age.


  44. The abyss is funnel shaped! :). Sounds like a good title for a book actually.

    I do believe a bit of feeling excluded might be good for the soul – not that is isn’t without it’s own temptations. :


  45. Though I’ve never felt normal, so maybe an outlier to the outlier generation. Maybe my sense of my own freakishness, anything but normal, saves me from my generation’s sense of alienation by an even deeper alienation. The abyss is bottomless!


  46. Then I qualify as an outlier, although one of those without the wealth. No wonder we feel so alienated.


  47. If I could make one request, it would be that I be allowed to make generalizations and snap-judgments without being scolded.

    Please, always use assume the caveat that in any sweeping general statement there are outliers to which the sweeping generalization does not apply, but the ability to make rough generalizations and act swiftly on them is part of what allowed my many-times-great grandmother to avoid a jackal’s belly and eventually produce me.

    We now return you to our reguarly scheduled dramedy, “Life Among The Hominids”


  48. Yes, I am absolutely positive. Humans are troubled creatures – Boomers have some concentrated trouble with a couple of specific things – mostly that They are not Everyone, that They are not the very definition of “Normal” [implicitly implied – Good Successful Normal]. If you are a 50+ year old white dude – you are NOT normal by any definition, even less so if you have wealth. You are an outlier by every measure.


  49. If I could make just ONE request of them it would be to stop speaking in the Universal Voice: “Everyone” and “Nobody” are their favorite terms. It does not invite conversation, to say the least. “Everyone wants…” “Nobody will…” “Nobody does…” “Everyone knows…” Sheesh. Meanwhile there are people right there in the room that don’t, don’t, do, and don’t [agree]. It is just so f******** arrogant – – – and they are 104% oblivious to what they are saying. Then they get all huffy about “Political Correctness” or what-not when people are hostile to them.

    Yes – this phenomenon is **notably** prominent in those of a particular age and color.

    P.S. If you are 50+ years old and white and feel the urge to lecture someone about “Political Correctness”, first ask “Am I a jerk?” Followed by “Could I have expressed that thought without several implicit insults?”. Maybe, next time, do that instead.


  50. > You win some, you lose some.

    Exactly. As long as you are happy with what you are doing, and having a good time with good people – drink up!

    > to my neighbor’s outdoor furnace

    That’s using a renewable energy source! There will always be marketing.


  51. The issue is not so much the Boomers – as it is the Boomers With Money. Which is not most Boomers. But there is an entrenched class with a lot of privilege, and they are not pleasant to work with.


  52. A great many. But which ones? My critique is not of persons of good will making an honest effort to address a societal problem and failing. Prohibitionism was a doomed strategy from the start, but they legitimately did not know that. It is also worth nothing that early prohibitionism was closely allied with abolitionism. There is no division here between heroes and villains, or even the wise from the foolish. My critique is of those who got so caught up in it that they started lying (first to themselves and then to others) about the Bible.

    On the other hand, we now know from experience that prohibitionism is a doomed strategy, yet we have the War on Drugs. We have much less excuse for this than did our forebears.


  53. Boomers as sociopaths? That seems a bit much. Sociopaths tend to become politicians, CEO’s, or serial killers, but that’s a small segment of the population, if influential out of all proportion. Some here would throw preachers in with that mix. I would bet money that the author of this book is a millennial, but I could be wrong. Millennials have their own glass house to live in. I have trouble keeping all these generations straight, but they all seem to be riding in the same handbasket as far as I can tell. With the possible exception of Generation Z, time will tell. While it seems unfair to categorize boomers as sociopaths, on the other hand there’s this strange fixation with Neil Young. There’s just no telling.


  54. Yes, white evangelicalism in the US is a separate case from global evangelicalism. I don’t see how it can successfully relocate to urban centers. But then, it shares this inability with the mainline American churches, and for some of the same reasons.


  55. You are correct, that happens. But it is, by the numbers, isolated to particular places. There is a lot of money around DC and there is replaceable housing stock. That is an uncommon convergence.

    McMabcion America is expensive – cheap to build maybe but the economic payback is low – so you need ambient wealth to keep it going. That is something the east coast has, and some of the new sun-belt south. Much less so in all the rest of America.

    There is also the phenomenon of rebuilding and upgrading middle and inner ring suburbs – which have older often obsolete housing stock – which can look McMansionish, but is more repurposing an existing asset (land value and it’s attached infrastructure). We have some of that here; little WWI & WWiI homes demolished and replaced with new homes. But what is not visible from the outside is that the floor joists of that old home could be crushed with the bare hand [true story, I’ve been in some of them].

    Newer construction will generally be larger as larger ia, ironically, easier to finance. The banks have a LOT to say about what gets built. And thier models always run a decade or so behind the front edge of what the market is requesting. Then you have to add in obsolete zoning requirements [often still hungover from racial districting – which demand larger homes to keep out poor people].

    Housing is a fantastic convergence of so many forces.


  56. During my twenty years in Oregon working in the woods, I planted over a million trees and no one ever asked me to speak at the UN. I would conservatively guess that 100,000 of those trees might be alive today, one of the few accomplishments I can point to with satisfaction, and yes, pride, along the way. We spent over a week being helicoptered in daily to a wilderness area in Washington along with our trees, and it was later wiped out in the Mt. St. Helens blast. You win some, you lose some. At the time I thought I was racking up surplus points for the environment but considering the boxes of catalogs and junk mail I funnel from my mailbox to my neighbor’s outdoor furnace, I may be running a deficit at this point.


  57. Oh, and the beer article is excellent: much better than the usual entry in the genre. The key is that it is a listing of historically important brews, not an opinion piece about which are the best today.


  58. But would the white Evangelicals who sent the church planter REALLY be comfortable or happy with the churches that are happening in those places? Color me skeptical. I have no doubt they would find them to be syncretistic, filled with moral problems and untenable political beliefs. They admire thier “brother and sisters” from afar – just as they do their African American Evangelical “brothers and sistsers”. But there is no true alliance there. White Evangelical radio uses those churches as a stage prop to grant themselves legitimacy as a world wide movement.

    What is happening now in the SBC illustrates this false coalition very clearly.


  59. “they overlook that it may also be there isn’t anywhere to build them anymore… ”

    Come to the DC suburbs and be stupefied. People are buying cozy old one-family houses on small lots, tearing down the old house, and building YUGE houses on the empty lot – houses that practically run up to the property lines, sometimes three stories tall.


  60. “It is tempting to roll our eyes about their efforts, but they had a legitimate point. In retrospect we can see that their strategies were misguided on the practical level that they didn’t work in the real world, but it wasn’t obvious at the time that these were bad strategies. What fascinates me, though, is that it was obvious at the time that this was terrible theology, even treating the issue by the otherwise accepted norms of American Protestantism. Yet they didn’t look back.”

    How many things going on RIGHT NOW can this be said for?


  61. The reality is that next to nobody cares about Theology. People don’t care, it doesn’t? even need a name. The Bible is just something one recruits into your marketing plan to add gravitas – I’ve never heard a public discussion take on theological coherency.


  62. Re: Your last point about evangelicalism’s inability to disengage from suburban culture: Yet evangelicalism/Pentecostalism seems to be thriving in the massive cities of Third World countries….often in malignant forms, true, but thriving nonetheless.


  63. Yeah, this is very sad. I was a bit hopeful that kerfuffle would fade out now that we are where we are. That it has now come to this…. 😦


  64. Get rid of us Boomers and everything will be okay, I guess? The country will return to its non-sociopathic self, and the utopian future will be enabled? Sounds suspiciously like “Make America Great Again”. I don’t buy it. U.S. history tells a different story. If Boomers are especially sociopathic, it’s because American history bequeathed us that legacy, along with the affluence to take it to the limit. I hope the Millennials will do better; but to do so, they will have to break free of the dysfunction of American history, not just the Boomers.


  65. > The Death of Suburbia and the Suburban Church

    Cool, I saw this article earlier this week and saved it to read later – and here it is.

    > And suburbia isn’t exclusively a white domain

    This is true; but you also have rising poverty in suburbia. In many states there is now a higher poverty rate in “suburban” tracts than in “urban” tracts.

    > No one wants a McMansion anymore

    True… but they overlook that it may also be there isn’t anywhere to build them anymore… sprawl has a natural limit and we seem to be near it. Eventually the McMansion is too far away from the jobs that make it affordable.

    > Malls have become ghost towns

    Sort of. There is a clear bifurcation in the data – some malls are thriving, and many are being adapted. You reduce the ridiculous amount of parking [often not even half full on black friday], use that space to build some higher density residential, flip the anchors into market place style shopping, bring in higher end retailers. Its a formula that is working to bring back a good number of malls. If you can connect transit to the Mall Residential you have made a great place for aging Boomers to live.

    > Millennials have discovered their kitchens

    This is my wheelhouse and I have never heard this before. Online sales overall account for ~8% of the market, and have been steady at 8% for several years [it is not, opposite the meme, a booming sector]. Big Box style eateries are primarily located in failing Big Box Sprawl, they sinking with the ship, because the primary customer [21-45] have left the ship, not that they won’t go to BW3.

    > Golf is dying.

    Not fast enough, IMO. Die country clubs die.

    > Corporations want a city address

    It is all about being able to hire high skilled workers. Also access to transit systems – including airports with direct flights – huge draw. That these corporations were ever dumb enough to build offices in the nowhere was the anomaly. I’ve interviewed IT people – they choose where they will work – and they will choose not to work somewhere if it is “three blocks” too far from where they want to live; seriously, that’s a quote.

    > Oil invented suburbia and oil is killing it

    Hmmm, I think it is more time. Roads do not scale – adding lanes does not increase throughput – and people don’t want to travel more than 30 minutes for their job.

    > The suburban church should be worried

    Yes, it should.

    > The church it will need to disengage from suburban culture

    Is it possible? I doubt it. And by “church” we know he means “White Evangelical Church”. But White Evangelicalism = Suburbia = White Evangelicalism = Suburbia; the linkage is existential. If you move Evangelicalism into “community-oriented neighborhoods” I am believe it dissolve/dissipate; or they will be the lady peeking out at everyone through the window blinds.


  66. “What implications might an SBC investigation of Russell Moore have for predominantly black SBC churches?”

    The implication is that it will bring clarity, and this is all to the good. It is considered impolite nowadays to point out that the SBC began life as the pro-slavery branch of the Baptists. It is considered outrageous to suggest that there might possibly be any legacy of this history in the post-racial utopia we today occupy. Hence the benefit of bringing clarity to the situation.


  67. American Protestantism’s beliefs about alcohol in general and beer in particular present a fascinating historical study. Alcoholism has always been a problem, but before the 19th century it was limited by economics. Distilled spirits were expensive, so most people didn’t have the means to abuse them too much. The upper classes did, hence the expression “drunk as a lord,” but that was’t a problem from the American perspective. Then distilling technology advanced with the invention in the early 19th century of the column still. This operated much more efficiently.

    Substance abuse was now within the price range of the masses, who took to it enthusiastically. The early pushback was against distilled spirits alone, and contrasted them with beer’s healthful qualities. This didn’t work, so two strategies were gradually added: the condemnation was expanded to all forms of alcohol, and it was recast from being a health issue to a religious one.

    The latter development is particularly curious, as it was made in the context of American Protestantism that claimed its doctrine was based on sola scriptura. Scripture does indeed have something to say about alcohol: it is quite enthusiastic about it. There are condemnations of using alcohol to excess, but not of alcohol in any general sense. To make this fit with prohibitionism you have to do some heavy interpretational lifting, expanding the bits opposed to excess while quietly ignoring the bits that are enthusiastic about alcohol. How did they manage this? So far as I have been able to figure out, by looking the problem straight in the eye and pretending it didn’t exist. The claim that alcohol in any form was the devil’s brew as adopted as a given, not as a proposition to be tested against scripture.

    The thing is, the prohibitionists were facing a genuine societal problem. It is tempting to roll our eyes about their efforts, but they had a legitimate point. In retrospect we can see that their strategies were misguided on the practical level that they didn’t work in the real world, but it wasn’t obvious at the time that these were bad strategies. What fascinates me, though, is that it was obvious at the time that this was terrible theology, even treating the issue by the otherwise accepted norms of American Protestantism. Yet they didn’t look back.

    The word for this, by the way, is “syncretism.”


  68. I left the SBC years ago, but the investigations of Dr. Moore are extremely upsetting. He is one of the very few who asked honest ethical and moral questions about the SBC embrace of President Trump. It shows how far the SBC has fallen. Not much left now, the collapse happened. It is over. Just like when the Soviet Union collapsed, there was no foundation. The foundation of the SBC is completely gone now.


  69. As far as beer is concerned, for drinkability my vote goes to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. But if I were to heed Luther’s admonition I’d vote for Belhaven’s Wee Heavy Scottish Ale. With its 7.3% alc content and malty rich flavor it more than satisfies and lends to a good night’s rest.

    Good Night!


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