THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH
”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.”
Chaplains will accept your gracious offer too!
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FAITH AND FOOTBALL
It is the first weekend of the NFL football season — college football kicked off last week — and Christianity Today just ran a timely article about the intersection of Christian faith and this popular U.S. sport.
Paul Putz and Hunter Hampton note that Americans’ enthusiasm for football and angst about the game’s violence has always been a part of our national discussion. In their words: “Sportswriter John Tunis declared in 1928 that football is ‘at present a religion—sometimes it seems to be almost our national religion.’ In that decade, too, renewed efforts to reform football reached a fever pitch.”
Christian leaders took part in these discussions.
Some Protestants, especially “muscular Christians” like Yale graduate and University of Chicago football coach Amos Alonzo Stagg, saw nothing wrong with the physicality of the sport. Indeed, football’s defenders often cited the prevalence of pious “praying” players as evidence of the game’s compatibility with Christian morality. But many Protestant leaders denounced football’s brutality. Charles Blanchard, president of Wheaton College from 1882 until 1925, took this view. He placed football in the same category as gambling and hard liquor, and viewed the sport not as a heroic, manly game, but a savage sport inhibiting students’ development into productive and civilized men.
After an extensive discussion of various Christian perspectives on the game, Putz and Hampton conclude that football will probably always be a matter of debate among Christians, as some will question the ethics of the sport itself and its place of prominence in American culture, while others will take the more “evangelical” approach of trying to take advantage of its popularity to advance the faith.
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BUT BASEBALL’S STILL THE BEST…
It’s also the best part of the baseball season, as teams race toward the playoffs. But here’s a story that will warm your heart at any time.
Watch the video, and read about it HERE.
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WINDOWS OF HEAVEN OPEN FOR INDIANS’ FANS
Speaking of baseball, the Cleveland Indians are on a remarkable winning streak. A local window dealer decided in July (when the Indians were not doing so well), that if the team won 15 straight games, he would give his customers their money back for their purchases during the month.
Well, it happened. Thursday evening, a number of representatives from Universal Windows Direct and their customer gathered at Progressive Field in Cleveland for a watch party as the Indians played the White Sox in Chicago. The result? Over 200 customers received nearly $2 million back because the Indians beat the Sox for their 15th win in a row.
The company insured themselves in case the Tribe came through. Good thing.
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THE LAST NAZI HUNTERS?
“Since 1958, a small department of Germany’s government has sought to bring members of the Third Reich to trial, writes Linda Kinstler at The Guardian. “A handful of prosecutors are still tracking down Nazis, but the world’s biggest cold-case investigation will soon be shut down.”
Each year, the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes sends six investigators around the world to find surviving members of the Third Reich. Their goal? To bring murderers to justice. “Their goal is to find the last living Nazis who have yet to be indicted and might still be able to stand trial,” Kunstler notes.
The fact that it is still functioning, nearly 60 years after its inception, is a testament to the gravity and horrific nature of the crimes Hitler’s minions committed. But the Central Office’s work is now winding down.
Central Office prosecutors unearth the names of about 30 living perpetrators per year. Their cases are then handed over to regional prosecutors, who usually spend another year conducting follow-up investigations and deciding whether to take the individuals to court. Since the start of the 21st century, this work has led to six prosecutions, but in the media, every case has been called “the last Nazi trial”, as if writers, editors and readers all hope the label will finally prove to be true.
Today, the youngest suspects are 90 years old, and most were low-level Nazi functionaries: guards, cooks, medics, telephone operators and the like. The defendants tend to die during the lengthy judicial process, so the odds of conviction are miniscule. Partly as a result, few Germans know the Central Office exists, and many of those who do tend to view it with ambivalence. “It is hard for people to see what exactly the point is of putting a 90-year-old in jail,” Pendas said.
Others, however, see the Central Office’s work as essential to the ongoing work of never forgetting the past and, indeed, of continuing to learn more about what happened during those terror-filled years. In addition, with the reemergence of nationalist sentiments in Europe, some see the work as part of continuing fight against Holocaust deniers and xenophobes.
I highly recommend this fascinating article.
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PRAY FOR THOSE IMPACTED BY IRMA
Hurricane Irma continues to hurtle toward Florida’s doorstep, threatening to ravage the state with destruction not seen in a generation.
As the weather forecasts and warnings from officials grew increasingly dire, hundreds of thousands of people across Florida fled their homes before the rapidly closing window to escape Irma’s wrath slammed shut. Forecasters said Irma, a hurricane of remarkable size and power that already has battered islands across the Caribbean, would approach South Florida by Sunday morning and is likely to slam into its southern tip before tracking north across a heavily populated area.
“It’s not a question of if Florida’s going to be impacted, it’s a question of how bad Florida’s going to be impacted,” William “Brock” Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Friday at a news conference.
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THEN THERE IS THIS BLOWHARD…
“So there is a desire to advance this climate change agenda, and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it. You can accomplish a lot just by creating fear and panic. You don’t need a hurricane to hit anywhere. All you need is to create the fear and panic accompanied by talk that climate change is causing hurricanes to become more frequent and bigger and more dangerous, and you create the panic, and it’s mission accomplished, agenda advanced.
“…Now, my theory — and it’s only a theory — is that because of the biases, because of the politicization of everything, because you have people in all of these government areas who believe man is causing climate change, and they’re hell-bent on proving it, they’re hell-bent on demonstrating it, they’re hell-bent on persuading people of it. So here comes a hurricane that’s 10 to 12 days out and here come the initial model runs, and if it’s close — sometimes it’s not close, sometimes the hurricane will turn to the north out in the mid-Atlantic and there’s no way you can fake that. But if, if they are going to approach a hit on the U.S., you will note that early tracks always have them impacting a major population center.
“…I’m constantly on guard against it. I’ve lived here since 1997, and I have developed a system that I trust, my own analysis of the data.”
“May as well go ahead and announce this,” he said. “I’m not going to get into details because of the security nature of things, but it turns out that we will not be able to do the program here tomorrow. … We’ll be on the air next week, folks, from parts unknown.
Exclusive video of Rush Limbaugh fleeing Florida after calling Hurricane Irma a liberal hoax. pic.twitter.com/PZcloMao4n
— Rex Huppke (@RexHuppke) September 8, 2017
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BAD TEACHING, GULLIBLE CHRISTIANS, REAL WORLD CONSEQUENCES
Larry Bates told listeners of Christian broadcast programs that they should buy gold and silver coins to give them financial protection during a supposedly looming religious and economic collapse termed “Mystery Babylon.”Trusting Bates’ status as a former Tennessee lawmaker and believing he was an honest Christian man, hundreds of people sent him money, and waited for their shiny coins to arrive.
So many times, the coins never came.
Bates was sentenced Tuesday to more than 21 years in federal prison for leading a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that prosecutors said defrauded more than 400 people from 2002 through 2013.
Bates, his two sons and his daughter-in-law were convicted in Memphis federal court in May of wire and mail fraud. His relatives await sentencing.
U.S. District Judge Sheryl Lipman ordered Bates, 73, to repay more than $21 million to victims. A large number of those victims were elderly Americans who lost life savings and the ability to pay for health care, prosecutors said.
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THIS WEEK IN MUSIC…
I’ve begun to shift from summer to fall in my music listening, and I think I’ve found my autumnal album for 2017 — and strong candidate for record of the year — A Deeper Understanding, by The War on Drugs.
Here is one of my favorite cuts, called “Pain.” In another song, they sing about living “between the beauty and the pain.” That’s as good a description for autumn as any I’ve heard, and the entire album carries that poignancy.