FOR MEMORIAL DAY
From “Sorrowing Spring” by Joel Kurz at Plough
Scarcely has a winter departed since childhood that I haven’t journeyed in my soul to Shiloh, that military park along the Tennessee River where, on April sixth and seventh of 1862, roughly one hundred thousand soldiers engaged in a bloody conflict that claimed nearly a quarter of them as casualties. Each April I am again an eleven-year-old boy transfixed by the vernal landscape, transmuted by the history of great horror.
…How hard it is to know the harrowing hell of war. To really feel with those who fight and kill, who carry lasting scars and live from day to month, from year to decade, in the midst of fear, death, and rubble. Our American battlefields are from more than a century ago. They look so serene and bear no brutal witness. Since all successive conflicts have been fought on foreign soil, we cannot imagine the devastation that is wrought, let alone begin to empathize with those who struggle to live under the steady barrage of bursting bombs and in the dismal aftermath. September Eleventh was but a taste.
…When I return in my mind’s eye to Shiloh, I think what a bitter contradiction it is that a place whose name derives from the Hebrew word for peace should become synonymous with slaughter. In Israel’s ancient history, Shiloh was a place pointing back – and forward – to the Promised One who would bring “the gathering of the people” (Genesis 49:10). After the sanctuary which for three centuries housed the ark of God’s presence was destroyed, Shiloh became a barren waste longing for the reversal of spring. Surveying this Shiloh and our own, like Ezekiel I can see, however faintly, the stirring of bones rising up, flesh being graciously restored, and God’s own breath animating life once more.
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DEAL OF THE DAY
Get your summit coin! We’ve slashed prices just in time for Memorial Day! Get your summit coin here today! Presidents Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un face to face, perhaps for the only time ever! This is a keepsake you don’t wanna miss, folks! Get your 2018 summit coin today for the special price of $19.95!
A commemorative medallion marking the now-canceled summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is drawing ridicule, but one famous coin buyer says the diplomatic setback could help collectors cash in.
Rick Harrison, producer and star of the History Channel’s “Pawn Stars,” says the no-denomination U.S. coin has two things going for it: the president himself, whose profile is featured on the item, and the specter of a once chummy Trump and Kim parting faster than a fool and his money.The medallions — which are not technically coins because they have no denomination, numismatists say — are issued by the White House Communications Agency, a military unit assigned to the president. Shortly after Trump canceled the summit on Thursday, the White House gift shop cut the price of the medallions from $24.95 to $19.95. The website had so much traffic Thursday morning that it crashed.
“I almost guarantee they will sell out of them,” Harrison, co-owner of the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, said Thursday. “Anything Trump sells.”
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BYE BYE WARREN
Evangelical watchdog Warren Throckmorten woke up one morning this week and found that his blog had been removed from Patheos. The host told him his site no longer fit their strategic objectives.
I hope to have more to say about it soon but for now, I can report that I am blogging here now at wthrockmorton.com. Patheos leadership informed me yesterday that my blog no longer fit their “strategic objectives.” Since I don’t know what those are, I can’t say how I didn’t fit them.
In any case, thanks to friend J.D. Smith, the blog was quickly migrated with the content to this ad free site. The downside is that I have been unable as yet to find out from Patheos how to get my comments moved along with the posts.
What a strange turn of events. Patheos was at the center of the Mars Hill Church and Gospel for Asia stories and now they host Mark Driscoll and K.P. Yohannan. All of the those Patheos links about Mars Hill and GFA are now erased. The content is here and archived elsewhere but admittedly, it will be harder to find.
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IN HAPPIER INTERNET NEWS…
The Library of Congress has a wonderful exhibition coming called Baseball Americana.
For those of us who love the game, it promises to yield a treasure trove of pictures and articles about our favorite pastime.
The LOC is publishing a post each Thursday leading up to the opening on June 29, then they will feature posts about different topics related to the yearlong exhibition.
One post featured the soon to be exhibited 1857 “Rules of Base Ball,” which set forth the rudimentary rules of the game. These were ironed out in January and February 1857 at a convention called by the Knickerbockers Base Ball Club in New York City.
Here are a few interesting remarks about the part music played in the very early days of baseball.
No sport has inspired as much music: Pop songs and polkas, quicksteps and two-steps, mambos and marches, waltzes, foxtrots, rags, quadrilles, schottisches, cantatas and even operas have been written in celebration of America’s game.
The Library of Congress, through its copyright function, holds one of the world’s largest collections of baseball sheet music – a chronicle of more than 150 years of passion for the national pastime.
…Most of the music celebrated the pleasures of a day at the ballpark, great players, a hometown team or, as in the case of the earliest known baseball-related composition, a rival club. J.R. Blodgett, a player for the Niagara Base Ball Club of Buffalo, N.Y., wrote “The Base Ball Polka” and dedicated it to an opposing team, the Flour City Base Ball Club of Rochester.
Blodgett’s tune was submitted for copyright registration at the Library on Oct. 21, 1858, and, like many early baseball compositions, was an instrumental.
Those polkas, marches and waltzes fit the social nature of the game in the years just before the Civil War and in the decades that followed, says Tim Wiles, director of research at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Players wore festive uniforms, celebrated at banquets after the game and sometimes staged parades to and from the grounds. The run-over-the-catcher, win-at-all-costs mentality didn’t yet exist.
“To understand it, we need to lose the notion that it was just about beating the other club, which is part of baseball today,” Wiles says. “It was a bit of a celebration – of baseball, of civic pride and also of this newfound leisure activity these middle-class gentlemen in the clubs were able to have that maybe their fathers and grandfathers didn’t.”
The post goes on to describe the further development of baseball-inspired music through the 20th century. It also includes a link to a bibliography of baseball music and songs on the LOC website.
Here’s the 1949 version of “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit that Ball?” by Woodrow Buddy Johnson & Count Basie.
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GET A MOVE ON!
Michael Rotondo lived in a room at his parents’ house for 8 years. Then they finally had enough. After two earlier warnings, they gave him $1100 and this note:
2) Sell the other things you have that have any significant value, (e.g. stereo, some tools etc.). This is especially true for any weapons you may have. You need the money and will have no place for the stuff.
3) There are jobs available even for those with a poor work history like you. Get one – you have to work!
4) If you want help finding a place your Mother has offered to help you.”
Michael still didn’t get the message, so mom and dad took him to court. And won their case. A judge ordered the 30-year old man to hit the road.
After court, Rotondo told reporters he plans to appeal the case and finds the ruling “ridiculous.” Of course he does.
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YIKES! THE WORM HAS TURNED!
Well of course, given the state of the world today, it’s only natural to learn that —
GIANT PREDATORY WORMS HAVE BEEN INVADING FRANCE!!!
The worms are part of a group of predatory species known as hammerhead flatworms, which grow to over a foot long. They prey on earthworms in the soil and produce a potent cocktail of chemicals to immobilize their prey.
Justine and Gros identified three species — which mostly turned up in France’s warmer south — that they now believe have been in the country since at least 1999.
Scientists like Justine are worried about the effects these invasive species can have on local critters. Earthworms are crucial for aerating soil and ensuring agriculturally productive land. When new predators are introduced, like the giant flatworms, it can throw the whole, delicate ecosystem out of whack.
The Hammerhead Flatworms would be an awesome name for a rock band, by the way. And just think of the graphics they could use.
• • •
A FEW NOTES OF NOTE (AND NOT)…
“The U.S. has tried various political, economic, military and propaganda undertakings to hit the Islamic Republic” throughout its four decades, the nation’s top religious leader told a gathering of officials on Wednesday. But “all these plots failed. Like the famous cat in Tom and Jerry they will lose again.”
Farewell Philip Roth.
In the course of a very long career, Mr. Roth took on many guises — mainly versions of himself — in the exploration of what it means to be an American, a Jew, a writer, a man. He was a champion of Eastern European novelists like Ivan Klima and Bruno Schulz, and also a passionate student of American history and the American vernacular. And more than just about any other writer of his time, he was tireless in his exploration of male sexuality.
Shane Claiborne and Christians like him are a danger to our children. That’s why Claiborne received a letter from the chief of police at Liberty University warning that if he set foot on the property, he would be arrested for trespassing and face up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
When Claiborne and other “Red Letter” Christians held a revival in the Trump/evangelical stronghold of Lynchburg, VA, the university and its president Jerry Falwell Jr. banned him from campus, refused to allow any “Red Letter” groups to meet on campus, forbade the student newspaper from covering the event, and did not answer Claiborne’s correspondence. “An organization has a duty to the parents to protect their kids,” said the Rev. Jonathan Falwell.
Only about 350 people ended up attending the revival, including a dozen Liberty students.
Mr. Claiborne still wanted to lead a group onto the Liberty campus and hold a prayer vigil — or at least leave a gift for Mr. Falwell, who had just opened a new $3.2 million gun range on campus. Mr. Claiborne had ready a hand plow that he made from a melted-down handgun, a literal following of the Bible’s instruction to “beat swords into plowshares.”
They decided instead that the Liberty police would not dare arrest an 83-year-old. So that afternoon, the Rev. Tony Campolo, co-founder of the Red Letter Christians, entered the front door of Thomas Road Baptist Church, and left a red box with the bewildered receptionist.
Inside the box, tied with a ribbon, was a stack of prayers, written on index cards, from the participants of the revival.
“Dear Liberty, I am praying for your campus,” said one. “The Jesus in the Bible speaks of love and acceptance. I hope you learn to speak of this too.”
A sobering assessment:
Humankind is revealed as simultaneously insignificant and utterly dominant in the grand scheme of life on Earth by a groundbreaking new assessment of all life on the planet.
The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things, according to the study. Yet since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds.
Paige Patterson is out.
Paige Patterson, who has been under fire for weeks over his past advice to women concerning marital abuse and rape, has been quietly replaced as president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Patterson has been on the defensive since allegations surfaced that he once counseled women who suffered marital abuse to pray for their husbands. The Washington Post on Tuesday also reported an incident in which Patterson allegedly told a woman who said she had been raped to forgive her assailant rather than report the incident to police.
“After much prayer and a more than 13-hour discussion regarding challenges facing the Institution, including those of enrollment, financial, leadership and institutional identity, the Board determined to move in the direction of new leadership for the benefit of the future mission of the Seminary,” the Board of Trustees said in a statement early Wednesday.
The board said it voted to appoint Patterson as “President Emeritus with compensation, effective immediately, which he accepted.” In his place, it appointed D. Jeffrey Bingham, dean of the school of theology at the Fort Worth-based seminary, as interim president.
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FINALLY, A COMMERCIAL FOR INTERNET MONK
As you know, we don’t talk about this much, but we rely on the generosity of our IM community to keep this blog going. It doesn’t take a lot of money each month, but we do have to pay for our web hosting and some security features. Two very small parts of our budget go to obtaining resources that provide fodder for our discussions and, on occasion, gifts for saying “thank you” to some of the people who help us here.
Occasionally our funds get a bit low, and this is one of those times. No pressure, no wretched urgency, but if any of you could spare a few bucks to help us, that would be appreciated. The easiest way to do that is to use the “DONATE” button at the top right of the page. If you would prefer another method, email me.
In advance, thank you.