The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 11, 2018
Greetings from Chicago!
Gail and I are taking a few days to get away and enjoy some of Chicago’s treats, including an evening at Ravinia Festival, the oldest outdoor music festival in the U.S. This was a classical music night, featuring one of the world’s greatest orchestras, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of James Conlon. We heard Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, and Mozart’s Piano Concerto, No. 20. Rain forced us off of the wonderful picnicking grounds and into the pavilion, but that just put us closer to a sublime performance of a perfect summer music program.
We also took in a Cubs game at Wrigley Field on Friday and saw them beat the Washington Nationals 3-2, coming back after having been no-hit for the first six innings.
With all this activity, I’m hungry for some brunch, how about you?
Let’s start the day off with a smile…
The rapper Drake probably never dreamed that his song, “In My Feelings,” would inspire two Indian farmers to dance in the mud — with their oxen.
The song is addressed to a woman named Kiki: “Kiki, do you love me? Are you riding? Say you’ll never ever leave from beside me, ’cause I want you and I need you and I’m down for you always.”
In July, Instagram comedian and social media influencer Shiggy issued what he called the Kiki challenge. Dancing exuberantly, he asked his followers to shoot videos of themselves dancing to the lyrics.
His dance set social media feeds on fire, as people all over the world offered their version of the jig…
…Sriram Srikanth, 27, Anil Geela, 24, and Pilli Tirupati, 28, have lived most of their lives in the village of Lambadipally in the southern Indian state of Telangana. “Feelings” was the first English song Geela ever heard; he says he instantly fell in love with the lyrics. And his and his fellow farmers were definitely up for the Kiki challenge.
Say What? Running out of sand?
If you get a chance to tune in to the podcast from the NPR show 1A, make sure you listen to the one from this past week called, “The Battle for the Beach.”
Apart from water and air, humble sand is the natural resource most consumed by human beings. People use more than 40 billion tons of sand and gravel every year. There’s so much demand that riverbeds and beaches around the world are being stripped bare. (Desert sand generally doesn’t work for construction; shaped by wind rather than water, desert grains are too round to bind together well.) And the amount of sand being mined is increasing exponentially.
Though the supply might seem endless, sand is a finite resource like any other. The worldwide construction boom of recent years — all those mushrooming megacities, from Lagos to Beijing — is devouring unprecedented quantities; extracting it is a $70 billion industry. In Dubai enormous land-reclamation projects and breakneck skyscraper-building have exhausted all the nearby sources. Exporters in Australia are literally selling sand to Arabs.
Beiser’s book is called, The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization, and I’m curious to read it. Who’d a thunk that sand might become an endangered resource?
Italy joining the anti-vaxxers?
It suspends for a year a law that requires parents to provide proof of 10 routine vaccinations when enrolling their children in nurseries or preschools. The amendment was approved by Italy’s upper house of parliament on Friday by 148 to 110 votes and still has to pass the lower house.
How countries around the world try to encourage vaccination
The law had originally been introduced by the Democratic Party in July 2017 amid an ongoing outbreak of measles that saw 5,004 cases reported in 2017 — the second-highest figure in Europe after Romania — according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Italy accounted for 34% of all measles cases reported by countries in the European Economic Area, the center said.
Italy’s Five Star movement and its coalition partner, the far-right League, both voiced their opposition to compulsory vaccinations, claiming they discourage school inclusion.
League leader and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said in June that the 10 obligatory vaccinations, which include measles, tetanus and polio, “are useless and in many cases dangerous, if not harmful,” according to ANSA news agency.
“I confirm the commitment to allow all children to go to school,” he added. “The priority is that they don’t get expelled from the classes.”
Health Minister Giulia Grillo, a Five Star member, said the government wants to “spur school inclusion and simplify rules for parents.”
Bill Hybels’ and Willow Creek’s troubles escalate:
I was a pastor in the Chicago area and attending seminary when Willow Creek Community Church started hitting its stride as the model “seeker-sensitive” church in a new generation of the church growth movement. Many of us remained skeptical of their corporate ethos and mentality, as well as their distinctly non-theological ministry approach, feeling that they might be overly compromising the message of the gospel.
But it could not be denied that the church attracted people, and when I attended one Willow Creek conference, I too gained somewhat of an appreciation of their missional heart, their sincere desire to bring people to Christ, and their desire to build a community that provided for the needs of others.
Nevertheless, I never became a cheerleader for Willow Creek or the model it embodied. In many ways I have viewed it as the epitome of the juvenilization of American evangelical Christianity.
Well, it’s looking more and more like one of the juvenile traits founding pastor Bill Hybels never outgrew was his adolescent lust for the girls. This is ironic given Willow’s history of including women in ministry and leadership in a most commendable fashion. Well, Willow Creek’s troubles dramatically escalated this week, with new and more damning sexual misconduct accusations brought against Hybels. This led to the resignations of the lead pastors and board of elders.
Here are four articles from the NY Times detailing WC’s difficult week”
- He’s a Superstar Pastor. She Worked for Him and Says He Groped Her Repeatedly
- Willow Creek Church Says It Will Investigate Its Powerful Pastor, Bill Hybels
- Willow Creek Church’s Top Leadership Resigns Over Allegations Against Bill Hybels
- How the Willow Creek Church Scandal Has Stunned the Evangelical World
Some fun facts about Chicago…
Chicago’s most well known nickname, the Windy City, was thought to be created by newspapers in rival cities. Several publications used the nickname as a reference not only to the weather, but also to Chicago’s politicians and the bragging habits of its citizens.
- A few notables born in Chicago: Dorothy Hamill, Robin Williams, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Harrison Ford, Walt Disney, Mandy Patinkin, James Belushi, Jennifer Hudson, Hugh Hefner, Terrence Howard, Michael Clarke Duncan, Dwayne Wade, Mr. T, and Shel Silverstein.
- Things invented in Chicago: the zipper, the Ferris Wheel, the Twinkie, the vacuum cleaner, spray paint, the first cell phone, roller skates, pinball, the remote control.
- A few other Chicago firsts: the first skyscraper (the Home Insurance Bldg.), the first automobile race (1895), the first all-color TV station, the first televised presidential debate (Kennedy v. Nixon) was broadcast from here, the first elevated railway (1892), the first blood bank, the first gay rights organization, the first McDonalds restaurant. Chicago is the home of our first African-American president, Barack Obama.
Chicago’s first permanent settler — and businessman — was Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, an African-American from what is now Haiti, in 1779. In DuSable’s home, which he shared with his Indian wife, the first marriage in Chicago was performed, the first election was held, and the first court handed down justice.
- Chicago’s Jane Addams, founder of the Hull House, which was opened in 1889 to aid immigrants, was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
- The first published use of the word “Jazz” was by a baseball pitcher, Ben Henderson, in 1912.
- Historic Route 66 begins its westward journey in Chicago.
- The game of 16-inch softball, played without gloves, was invented in Chicago.
- In the 1920s, Chicago was home to the largest membership of the Ku Klux Klan in the US at 50,000 members.
- Prohibition, or the outlaw of the sale and consumption of alcohol, began on July 1, 1919 in Chicago. This led to a rise in organized crime, and to the career of Chicago’s most famous mobster, Al Capone. Capone is thought to be behind one of the city’s most infamous crimes: the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1929).
- Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901. He studied drawing at Chicago’s McKinley High School and the Institute of Fine Arts.
- The Art Institute of Chicago (my favorite museum) is home to the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside of Paris.
- Cracker Jacks were first introduced at the Chicago World’s Fair.
- In 1900, Chicago successfully completed a massive and highly innovative engineering project — reversing the flow of the Chicago River so that it emptied into the Mississippi River instead of Lake Michigan.
- Chicago was where the first fission reaction was created by a group of scientists working with physicist Enrico Fermi, under the football stands of the University of Chicago’s stadium.
And how could we talk about Chicago without hearing some blues?
A dozen dramatic photos from the California fires…
A Quote from Jon Meacham’s The Soul of America…
I’ve just finished Jon Meacham’s wonderful book, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels. It provides a compelling meditation upon the history of our country from the viewpoint of the divisions that have so often and regularly beset us. It also focuses on the leadership of our presidents in particular and their role in helping us more fully achieve the ideals of our founding principles.
I hope to be reviewing this book soon, but here is an insightful excerpt:
In his farewell address in January 1989 [President Ronald] Reagan addressed himself to America’s generosity of spirit in his evocation of John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” — an image, in a sign of some consistency of thought among those who have led the nation, that John Kennedy had cited in his 1961 speech to the Massachusetts legislature as he prepared to leave for his inauguration in Washington. “I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life,” Reagan said, “but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it.” He went on:
“But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than the oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still….And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness toward home.” (p. 261)