Welcome to our weekly Brunch, and thanks to Pastor Dan for holding the fort for the past few weeks.
This weekend marks the end of the Easter season with the celebration of Pentecost. Michael Spencer called Pentecost “The Third Great Day” and said of it:
The clear purpose of Pentecost was to bring into birth a new people of God, the beneficiaries of the ministry of the one mediator between God and man and all that he accomplishes in his life, death, resurrection, ascension and session. Pentecost is not a show or the dividing of the church into a spiritual competition between those with spiritual gifts and those not yet blessed. Pentecost is the creation of the people of God that scripture has always looked toward, from the covenant with Abraham until the consummation in the Kingdom.
The celebration of Pentecost should be among the church’s most important days because everything that it means to be the church- election, inheritance, salvation, empowering, community, mission, hope- all comes in the Holy Spirit that is poured out on Pentecost. Let’s reclaim the meaning and significance of this day, and make it a day that belongs to all Christians as our joyful, common birthday.
HAVE YOU HEARD?
Not long after I go to bed penning these thoughts, a cute couple is going to have a little wedding over in England.
I’ll let others report on the couple, their families, the wedding itself, the crowds of onlookers, the gazillions of people around the globe who’ll be tuning in.
I’m most interested in some of the Weird Royal Wedding Souvenirs you can pick up.
As a nod to Meghan’s American background and Harry’s fiery red locks, we’ve married lean British pork shoulder with American Mustard and Sweet Ginger.
We know there’s going to be street parties, BBQs or you might fancy creating your own wedding-style breakfast on the big day, complete with a slice of ‘toast’ to the happy couple.
DUMB AS A ROCK
Alabama congressman Mo Brooks is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
One might wonder why.
On Wednesday, at a hearing titled “using technology to address climate change,” Brooks began by raising a broad question about rising ocean levels to the witness panel.
Philip Duffy, president of Woods Hole Research Center, said in response to the question that “the last 100-year increase in sea-level rise, as I mentioned earlier, has clearly been attributed to human activities, greenhouse gas emissions.”
Brooks interjected and rephrased his question again, asking if there “are other factors.”
“What about erosion?” Brooks offered during the exchange. He added: “Every time you have that soil or rock, whatever it is, that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise because now you’ve got less space in those oceans because the bottom is moving up.”
Duffy responded that he did not believe that explained sea-level rise.
“I’m pretty sure that on human time scales those are minuscule effects,” Duffy said.
Brooks then moved to ice levels and asserted that Antarctic ice is growing, to which Duffy responded that satellite records have documented “shrinkage of the Antarctic ice sheet and an acceleration of that shrinkage.”
Brooks wrapped up his questioning by saying he had heard differently from NASA, and said there were “plenty of studies” showing an ice sheet increase in Antarctica.
“I’ve got a NASA base in my district,” Brooks said. “And apparently, they’re telling you one thing and me a different thing.”
Rocks. In the head.
Could someone please find Rep. Brooks a remedial middle school science class?
One of the most influential writers in my lifetime passed away this week at age 88. And so we pause our Brunch to say farewell to Tom Wolfe, leader in the “New Journalism” movement and author of such iconic American books as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stufff, and Bonfire of the Vanities.
Wolfe began working as a newspaper reporter, first for The Washington Post, then the New York Herald Tribune. He developed a unique style, incorporating literary techniques — interior monologues, amped-up prose and eccentric punctuation. It was called the “New Journalism.”
Tom Wolfe coined such phrases as “radical chic,” “pushing the envelope,” and “The ‘Me’ Generation.” And he was known for his dapper sartorial style.
Lev Grossman, book critic for Time, said of Wolfe: “He was an enormously forceful observer, and he was not afraid of making strong claims about what was happening in reality. He did it well, and eloquently. And people heard him. And they repeated what he said because he was right.”
That was the case for Ohio native Ben Bender at his local course, Green Valley.
Armed with his trusty five-wood, the sprightly nonagenarian sent his tee shot over the lake at the 152-yard par-three third hole, and watched with delight as it found the green and trickled into the cup.
A former three handicapper, Ben had played golf for more than 60 years without making an ace.
On the day in question he began with an eight at the opening hole and followed that with a seven. But then came the third hole and the chance to write the figure ‘1’ on his scorecard.
“I’d come close to some hole-in-ones, but this one was level on the green before it curved towards the hole and went in. I was in awe watching it,” he said.
It proved to be one of the last shots he would strike – as he decided to hang up his clubs that very day.
“I played a few more holes, but my hips were hurting and I had to stop,” Bender said. “It seemed the Lord knew this was my last round so he gave me a hole-in-one.”
Here is one great story from the land down under…
Australian native James Harrison, who has donated blood every week for 60 years, saving over 2.4 million babies in the process, is hanging up his “golden arm” for good.
The 81-year-old has become known as the “man with the golden arm” because his blood contains disease-fighting antibodies that have been used to develop an injection called Anti-D, which helps fight against rhesus disease.
Anti-D is given to mothers whose blood is at risk of attacking their unborn babies, according to the Blood Service. The illness can cause anemia, enlarged liver or spleen, and in worst cases, can result in brain damage or even death in newborns. The condition, called Haemolytic Disease of the Newborn (HDN), is developed when a pregnant woman has rhesus-negative blood (RhD negative), while the baby she’s carrying has rhesus-positive blood (RhD positive).
A mother who has been sensitized to receive rhesus-positive blood during a pregnancy with a rhesus-positive baby may produce antibodies that destroy her unborn child’s “foreign” blood cells.
Because of Harrison’s blood, more than three million doses of Anti-D have been issued to Australian mothers with rhesus-negative blood since 1967, according to the release from the Australian Red Cross.
Upon making his final blood donation this past Friday, Harrison put out the challenge to the Australian community to beat his record – Harrison has donated over 1,100 times.