The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: September 8, 2018

Sept Road 1 (2018)

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: September 8, 2018

Of all weeks, I hereby declare this week’s brunch a NO-TRUMP ZONE.

I would like to enjoy my brunch in peace, thank you.

Welcome to September in the Heartland…

We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.  (Henry Rollins)

Click on each picture for a larger image.

This is hilarious…

Celebrating one of my greatest baseball heroes this week…

From Forbes

Cal Ripken set a record 23 years ago today [Thurs, 9/6] that will probably never be broken again.

On Sept. 6, 1995, Ripken broke the consecutive games played mark set by Lou Gehrig. The Orioles’ star played in his 2,131st consecutive game — eventually, Ripken’s streak made it to 2,632 straight games — and it was an event that took the baseball world by storm.

…Ripken hit a home run that night as the Orioles beat the Angels. After that, life went back to normal. Ripken just kept on playing. That’s why so many people related to his streak. Ripken did what so many in America do on a regular basis — he got dressed and went to work every day. That’s all. Nothing more.

The way Ripken ended the streak in 1998 also was very much in his style. He simply walked into then-manager Ray Miller’s office on Sept. 20 before a home game with the Yankees and said something to the effect of “it’s time.” Miller knew what that meant, pulled Ripken from the lineup, and the streak ended. In the end, Ripken said in an interview for the book that there was no magical formula. He just wanted to play, something his father taught him the importance of.

John MacArthur doubling down…

According to Relevant, about 4000 pastors and leaders have signed a statement called “For the Sake of Christ and His Church: The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel.”

A couple of weeks ago I suggested that Johnnie Mac doesn’t get it, that his head is stuck in the sand of separatist fundamentalism, that he is ignorant of history and how Bible-believing Christians have sought to apply the gospel to all manner of social problems in order to promote justice and peace, and that, ironically, this supposedly most “biblical” of preachers ignores large swaths of the Bible that urge nations, leaders, and people at all levels of society to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.”

Furthermore, MacArthur’s “gospel” is, to me, not very good news at all because it fails to acknowledge the ultimate purpose of Christ’s coming, which is not to make people fit for heaven but to inaugurate the restoring of all creation under God’s just rule.

Imagine my joy when I found out his position had been enshrined in a statement, and that thousands of Christian leaders were endorsing it.

The ultimate problem with MacArthur and his crew is not their view of social justice. That’s just another issue to confront for these people who think the faith is all about battling for Truth™ with their noses stuck in the Book.

For further reading: “Battle Lines Form Over Social Justice: Is It Gospel or Heresy?”

(Quantum?) Questions of the Week…

For Mike the Geologist: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

More for Mike the G: What does quantum theory actually tell us about reality?

Can you affect another person’s behavior with your thoughts?

Why did this person leave “the cult of ‘calling'”?

How did Michigan become the epicenter of the 20th century Modernist architectural movement?

Why aren’t we eating more insects?

Why don’t Protestants talk more about demons, exorcism, spiritual world?

How did a Confederate memorial become a multiracial worship site?

No place like home…

From Insurance Journal:

A pair of ruby slippers used in “The Wizard of Oz” and later stolen from a Minnesota museum were recovered in a sting operation after a man approached the shoes’ insurer and said he could help get them back, the FBI said.

The slippers were on loan to the Judy Garland Museum in the late actress’ hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, when they were taken in 2005 by someone who climbed through a window and broke into a small display case. The shoes were insured for $1 million.

The FBI said a man approached the insurer in summer 2017 and said he could help get them back. Grand Rapids police asked for the FBI’s help and after a nearly year-long investigation, the slippers were recovered in July during a sting operation in Minneapolis.

The FBI said no one has yet been arrested or charged in the case, but they have “multiple suspects” and continue to investigate. As they unveiled the recovered slippers at a news conference, they asked anyone with information about the theft to contact them.

“We’re not done. We have a lot of work to do,” Christopher Myers, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota, said.

…Rhys Thomas, author of “The Ruby Slippers of Oz,” called the slippers “the Holy Grail of Hollywood memorabilia.”

“They are maybe the most iconic cinematic prop or costume in movie history, and in fact, in cultural history,” Thomas said. “They are a cultural icon.”

Thomas estimated that this particular pair could be worth between $2 million to $7 million. He said it’s not clear in which scenes they were used, but he was “99 percent” sure that they appeared in the film.

Thomas said the slippers then went unseen for 30 years until Shaw, acting as a middleman, bought them for someone who intended to sell them to the late actress Debbie Reynolds, but Shaw ended up keeping them and often loaned them for exhibits.

Urban free-soloing, anyone?

From The New Yorker. Go to the link to read the rest of the story about this fascinating climb.

At twelve-forty-five on Thursday night, unable to sleep, the climber Alex Honnold got out of bed, picked up his backpack, and walked across the street from his hotel in Jersey City, New Jersey, to a sixty-nine-floor luxury apartment building called the Urby. Honnold hid his Candlewood Suites room key and his flip-flops under a fence. “Hope no one takes them,” he said, shrugging. He ate some dark chocolate, “to get amped.” Then he grabbed hold of a grate at the base of the building and, with no fanfare or dramatic final words, began heading up the building’s “northeast ridge,” as he called it, without a harness or rope.

A boyish thirty-three-year-old Berkeley dropout who often sleeps in a Sprinter van, Honnold had donned brand-new climbing shoes and applied chalk to his large hands. It had rained a few hours before, and the forecast was only getting, in his words, “more grim.” He added, “If it starts to rain again, I’ll just knock on a window, you know, and get the resident to call somebody.” Rappelling back down wouldn’t be an option. Climbing this way, without safety gear, is called free soloing. Honnold is the greatest climber of this kind in history. He earned that title last summer, when he free-solo climbed the three-thousand vertical feet of El Capitan, perhaps the most famous and beautiful rock face in the world, in less than four hours.

This Week in Music: My two musical “Apostle” Pauls…

In my lifetime, two men named Paul have been apostles of music to me: Paul McCartney and Paul Simon. Both have had careers that have spanned my lifetime and created a soundtrack for my life. And amazingly, both are still at the top of their game when it comes to songwriting and performing (though Paul Simon has announced he’s hanging the touring part up).

Both of these Pauls released new albums this week — McCartney with new material, and Simon with completely reworked classic songs that he felt could be improved and released for a fresh hearing. Here’s a taste.

120 thoughts on “The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: September 8, 2018

  1. The formal name for this is “Thought Aversion Failure”.

    My go-to type example is “Blue Monkey”, a short-short (now called “flashfic”) by Manly Wade Wellman. (Not public domain and the current copyright holder’s known to be aggressive, so I can’t provide a link. If you can scare up a copy of the collection “Who Fears the Devil?” or Night Shade Books’ “Owls Hoot in the Daytime (and Other Omens)”, it’s in there.)


  2. Like one editorial described Perpetually Offended Activists:
    “Exquisite Sensitivity towards any slight to themselves (real or imagined), coupled with utter insensitivity to how they could harm anyone and everyone else.”


  3. I had an analogous “weird shit incident” in my college days, too. Too long to go into here, but it involved a couple gamers in the local FRP game club, a behinder effect, getting hit with a Fear spell IRL, a prayer meeting with some other of my buds, the “weird shit” shutting down hard, and an aftermath which may or may not have put one of the more “involved” guys in the hospital. Bad Craziness.

    Some years later, I adapted the situation into a contemporary-supernatural FRP game scenario for an abortive scenario-pack project. So something came out of it.


  4. The Adversary tempts, slanders and condemns in secret, rather than wandering round with great big horns and a forked tail; cheesy Hammer horror films are not a good guide on spiritual matters, in my view.

    “You can do more with one Suggestion spell [on the right target] than a dozen Fireballs.”
    — Old School D&D proverb

    And this also dovetails with the two classic Archetypes of The Antichrist: the Fanatic Persecutor and the Slick Deceiver (who work really well as a tag team). These days, the Slick Deceiver is conveniently forgotten (hits too close to home?), leaving only the Fanatic Persecutor.


  5. Yet another corollary which flows from a Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation.


  6. MAKING all things new.
    Not destroying all things and laughing as it all burns.

    It’s hard to be a Creative in a church environment where God comes across as the Enemy of all Creativity.


  7. For the record, better Trump than MacArthur.

    “So do I root for Lord Voldemort or King Joffrey?”
    — quote from a magazine in my shop’s break room, about a situation where EVERY side is a real piece of work.

    P.S. Google “lord voldemort or king joffrey” and you get some serious crazy skubalon.


  8. My writing partner (the burned-out preacher) told me about run-ins he’d had with some sort of Mighty Spiritual Warrior type; according to him, MSW was so far gone that if a light bulb burned out, MSW would probably open his Bible and start rebuking the Demon of burned-out light bulbs. Well, MSW was doing his own Deliverance Ministry, casting out Demon after Demon after Demon.

    Until the day MSW ran into a REAL one.
    Anyone remember the Seven Sons of Sceva?


  9. I’m very glad you can afford Spanish shoes, j.b. I belong to the class of people who can only afford prices for shoes and everything else that can be found at places like Walmart; I’d prefer Spanish shoes, since EU Market goods are the best in the world.

    I think this whole issue is the endeavor of a person to counter-troll another person, of utmost national and international prominence and power, who ruined his career and had him blackballed by Twitter-trolling a nonissue into a national controversy. There is nothing disrespectful in kneeling during the national anthem, except that the powerful person used his power to generate publicity to make it seem so; but in generating publicity, that person has provided a platform for the one he sought to ruin to become a folk-hero, respected by millions for counter-punching a Samson. He who lives by the sword shall die by it.


  10. Hi Robert F. , mot, The sneakers in my closet are from Spain but of course you are correct about where most sneakers come from. The issue to me that Nike is promoting itself as a promoter of social justice where they could make a big difference if they took a real stand on a real complex issue. I have no problem if people decide to buy Nike or whatever as I am a free market guy.

    I am a strong supporter of fair trade that would get us on the road to stop the exploitation of third world country labor that you correctly cited.

    I think this whole issue is a self promoting endeavor by a person who was on the way out but now will prolong his presence and make money off a legitimate issue that he could have addressed in a more effective and enduring manner but that would not get him in a nation wide major ad campaign.

    Sorry, I did not respond earlier, just reviewing the brunch comments as I cannot sleep.
    As usual the brunch comments went all over the place but that is good. have a good week. Thanks for the reply

    I was born in a cotton mill village, remember the “South” was the first China. Think of Sally Fields in Norma Rae but she was better in Smokey and the Bandit.


  11. I saw that on the news. I guess it’s possible, but how does someone confuse another person’s apartment with their own? I wonder if she was drunk.


  12. I suspect that being sexually assaulted would go a considerable way toward making a woman a “radical feminist,” particularly considering the way too many victims of sexual assault are treated.


  13. This! There are a lot of people who want to be told what to think, so they don’t have to figure it out for themselves. I don’t think it’s stupidity, necessarily, but a search for certainty.. It seems to be a frequent characteristic of Fundamentalist Christians.


  14. Not just shoes–most, if not quite all, of the clothing for sale in the US, except those made by your personal tailor, are made in low-wage factories in third-world countries.


  15. Yes,Patricamc-I am one of those liberals because I insist on true Christian compassion. If this means that i get thrown out of the “christian” circles I have a part of-so be it.


  16. John, let me summarize what my understanding of the Gospel is. As I said in the post, it involves “the restoring of all creation under God’s just rule.”

    1. The Gospel is the announcement that Jesus has become King, that God’s rule has been inaugurated in the world through Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, and that through Jesus, God is making a new creation.

    2. The personal implication of this announcement is that you and I (and anyone) can be made new and become part of God’s new creation by trusting Jesus.

    3. The broader implication of this announcement is that God is making all things new, and that we are called to participate in the process of making all things new.

    That means that matters of “social justice” are not outside the realm of the gospel. We might debate how to deal with some of those issues, but to exclude them from what the gospel is about is to have a gospel that is too small.


  17. Is not imbibing Demon Rum a Gospel issue?

    It sure is! Anyone imbibing Captain Morgan instead of REAL rum is putting their soul (and their tastebuds) in great peril. 😛


  18. Watching MacArthur’s peeps viciously attack IMonk back in the day really soured me on their whole project. :-/


  19. It’s only a few who fail to do what is right.

    A few criminally brutalize, that’s true; but quite a few more cover-up or keep silent to protect the few who do.


  20. For the record, better Trump than MacArthur.

    Not profound, I know. But, thinking about MacArthur upsets me more than thinking about our President (which also upsets me).

    It seems to me that subculture evangelicalism is always tethered to its fundamentalist origins, and has never really made the break, nor can. To paraphrase Proverbs, the evangelical dog seems doomed to return to its fundamentalist vomit. That’s Proverbs 26:11, for those of you who want/need a prooftext!

    I shall spend the rest of the afternoon trying very hard to forget John MacArthur.


  21. My wife is one of those who can sense evil. Her ability was more acute when I first met her; after long years of living with me, it has become dulled, no doubt from overexposure to my morally mixed-bag of a soul, but she still has it and it occasionally kicks in strong.


  22. Your condemnation of NIke, which is legitimate, applies to 99% of sneakers sold in America. Whatever brand of sneakers I buy, I would be participating in the exploitation of cheap Third World labor, brought to you by too-free market capitalism. It’s a problem with poorly regulated capitalism, which always exploits the global poorest of the poor. That statistic applies to all shoes sold in America, not just sneakers. I bet you have them in your closet, j.b.


  23. In all the controversy, you never hear that Kaepernick is an evangelical Christian whose many good works are motivated by his faith in Christ. Well, he is, and they are. I think that’s important to know, as important as it was to know about Tim Tebow.


  24. Seek and ye shall find
    . . . . except that He is outside the gate sitting among the lepers, changing their bandages, and if a person wants to have a ‘personal’ relationship with Him, a person might need to go out of their comfort zone

    ‘selflessness’ as ‘relationship to Christ’ doesn’t compute in the fundamentalist world, no


  25. So Mrs. Bullard in fifth grade Sunday School taught us (me) that the Gospel was the good news, we thought that was great that we understood Greek, that God had sent his Son, Jesus so that all who accept him as Savior will find salvation . I am paraphrased Mrs. Bullard but Corinthians 15 1-4 sums it up.

    So is everything now a Gospel issue. Is Gospel now an adjective? What is the working definition of social justice and who makes the call? If I am against an issue that the “church ” agrees with am I not following the Gospel.

    I think we need to define what the heck we are talking about as I was pretty sure at the time that the Gospel was for all but we had to accept and build our lives on it as individuals.

    Is being pro life a Gospel issue or is being pro abortion a Gospel issue. Is moving our embassy in Israel a Gospel issue or political.

    Would ethical issues be a better word, knowing that our ethics is based on the Gospel and the teachings of the Bible?

    Is asking that my power company have government regulations to serve all in their service area a Gospel issue. Is buying a Nike shoe a Gospel issue or not buying one?

    As usual John Barry is Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, perhaps influenced by a demon of songwirters or singer Ella Fitzgerald or even Rob Stewart.

    In any case the only demon I know for sure that was in John Barry was Demon Rum. Any Nation Welcome but Carrie. Many times a young John Barry forced out demon alcohol by regurgitation without the help of anyone.

    Is not imbibing Demon Rum a Gospel issue? Everything and anything can be a Gospel issue and that is the Gospel. Forget the first two lyrics of the song John Barry is just Bewildered.


  26. Sobering experience, Seneca. Thanks for sharing it.

    –> “I asked him one day, ‘What does satan want?’ He replied, ‘He wants me to kill myself.’ I thought that was probably true.”

    That would seem to match with what we believers believe. I mean, if Satan’s ultimate desire is to separate us from God, right. He no doubt thinks death will do that.


  27. Here’s what I’ve approached people on the subject:

    1) I don’t own a pair of Nikes, so I don’t care what they do.
    2) Do you own a pair of Nikes? If so, you have a choice to make: is what they did a big enough deal for you to buy a different brand? The go ahead and do it.
    3) If you don’t own a pair of Nikes, you also have a choice: either ignore it, because you don’t own a pair anyway, or if you support what they’re doing, then go ahead and buy a pair.

    It’s that simple folks!


  28. I just read that story. They need to throw the book at that cop. Imagine if cops were allowed to enter residences, fire away and kill folks, then claim, “Oops, not my residence, thought they’d broken in”?


  29. Bitter radical feminists! Man haters who fight against the God-ordained male (well, white male) entitlement! (Disclosure: the vast majority of guys I know are great, respectful guys and not phony Christians like MacJerk).


  30. –> “We deny that a person’s feelings of offense or oppression necessarily prove that someone else is guilty of sinful behaviors, oppression, or prejudice.”

    Says the man ready and willing to take offense at anything he deems counter to his document…


  31. I think what is being protested are cases of REAL abuses of authority. For example:

    body cams will help make the cases for police who are doing their jobs well and most are . . . . is it only always a racial issue? no, not always
    Most people try to do the right thing. Some ‘lose it’. Those who don’t cooperate with the police deserve to be arrested, if they have done something wrong, but in the case of the Utah nurse, she was obeying her hospital’s policies.

    It’s a good thing that many of our police officers are former military men, because it IS a war zone out there and they are under a great deal of stress and deserve our support. It’s only a few who fail to do what is right.
    Thank God for body-cams.


  32. –> “Well it’s nice to know there is something the Catholic Church addresses!”

    ZING! Great line, best of the day, maybe!


  33. I like what one minister once said, that there are very few mentions of the devil in the OT because God wanted the Jews to take responsibility for their own actions and not say, “The devil made me do it.” On a related note, a friend once said that Satan made our former pastor have multiple affairs. My response was that no, he got himself into that mess by his own free will and ego.


  34. I’m aware that there’s a controversy with his being in Nike ads, but with, ahem, all else going on this week, I’ve reached my bandwidth for caring, so I’ve just had to write this off, whatever’s going on.


  35. It‘s part of the “personal relationship with Jesus,” which drives me batty since I think it sets believers up for a sense of failure. You mean Jesus didn’t personally appear during your daily hour-long quiet time aided only by Lifeway-approved materials? Well, you’re clearly doing religion and not a relationship. Run immediately to the nearest bookstore and buy something from a Christian publisher because that’s how you fall for a marketing scheme, I mean, achieve a personal relationship with Jesus. Amen.


  36. I agree. Reason: take a look at this wording:

    “. . . we deny that the postmodern ideologies derived from intersectionality, radical feminism, and critical race theory are consistent with biblical teaching”

    I would say that for white far-right conservative males, what passes for ‘radical feminism’ is any time a woman stands up and tells the truth about what she has been put through by some jerk in ‘authority’. All I can say is that the ‘Me, too’ Movement is about a half-century too late.


  37. John Crist and Trip and Tyler – what a combination. John’s stuff is great, and Trip and Tyler have done some great Christian comedy videos too. They also did this classic: A Conference Call in Real Life.


  38. I kept anything by Barkley and Lloyd Ogilvie, former Senate Chaplain and in my opinion, one of the best theologians out there. His books are fabulous, but his videos are extremely dated.


  39. “I’ll stay with the Church, thank you all the same, even with all of it’s difficulties, because it still has more heart for the poor than any ‘compassionate conservative’ is allowed to muster in our present times.”

    I was just thinking the other day how in this day and age of extremism, showing and insisting on true Christian compassion gets you labeled “LIBERAL!”. Also, just because you insist on people being treated humanely doesn’t mean you approve of them breaking the law. But, try telling that to (self-redacted by commenter).


  40. A young man who was a 2016 graduate of my alma mater, Harding University (high on the list of Southern private conservative schools), was shot and killed in his own apartment two nights ago. He was a great singer and even led the chapel singing. It breaks my heart. He worked at Price Waterhouse. He was black. The shooter who mistook his apartment for their own was white and coming home from police duty. Things like this are what motivated Kaepernick in the first place, I think.


  41. “We deny that a person’s feelings of offense or oppression necessarily prove that someone else is guilty of sinful behaviors, oppression, or prejudice.”

    I’ll bet MacArthur’s not a fan of #metoo.


  42. I did a similar cull years ago, and have continued to pare back by small bits since. I have essentially settled on a handful of authors…

    C S Lewis
    Leslie Newbigen
    Stan Hauerwas
    Jerrum Barrs
    Jacques Ellul
    T F Torrance
    John Polkinghorne
    Phyllis Tickle
    Pascal and assorted commentaries on the Pensees
    And a smattering of other books on various subjects.

    Dunno how “evangelical” most of these folks are, but they seemed the most worth keeping. 😉


  43. Hello Adam,
    I know that there are many compassionate evangelical people out there, but the jonnie-mac types are making it harder for them to ‘come out’ . . . .

    but for those brave enough to do it, even in the face of the almighty jonnie, I can refer them to a VERY biblical passage that celebrates ‘justice’ by no less than the mother of Our Lord . . . it’s in the Holy Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 1, and is known traditionally as The Magnificat, or simply ‘Mary’s Canticle’, this:

    “The Canticle of Mary.

    46 And Mary said:
    “ My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
    47 my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
    48 For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
    49 The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
    50 His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him
    51 He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
    52 He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.
    53 The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.
    54 He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy,
    55 according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

    Here’s to the dispersing of ‘the arrogant of mind and heart’ and the coming of God’s mercy to ‘the lowly’ 🙂
    I like Mary’s version of the ‘Good News’ far better than jonnie-mac’s version of his gospel, primarily because her version honors Our Lord’s Coming as a ‘turning point’…1.0..……0……gws-wiz…..6.A7Hw9Sab4oU


  44. On a personal note, I cleaned out a 30 year long collection of evangelical commentaries and books. They are almost all gone now. II took them all to a used bookstore, didn’t get much out of them. The process was emotionally painful, but gratifying. It took me 15 years in the evangelical wilderness to finally get to this point.

    So, what did I keep? My C.S. Lewis collection, but I don’t consider him evangelical. I kept several perspectives on the Psalms. I kept a 1800s collection of Old Testament books (CHM) from the Plymouth Brethren tradition, I find their perspective on the old testament interesting. I may give them away if I found the right person who will find them interesting. I kept my newer collection from Eastern Orthodox writers and Ancient Fathers, and I kept some catechism and prayer books from Catholicism and various mainlines.

    For me now, I will probably only keep books that help with the ascetic traditions.


  45. Oh my, I can’t even begin to respond. Thank you for reading the whole thing so I didn’t have to. I am in shock, it was much worse than I thought. If imonk folks wanted to, we could quote any number of bible passages and Christ teachings that refute each point, but must of us are over that. It isn’t worth responding to.


  46. My dad has a favorite saying…

    If one person calls you a horse’s @$$, ignore them.
    If two people call you a horse’s @$$, take a long look in the mirror.
    If three people call you a horse’s @$$, get yourself fitted for a saddle.


  47. It’s not so much as people are stupid – they just want Answers. Simple, unequivocal, propositionally True Answers. And once they have those Answers, they don’t want any revisiting of the original questions.


  48. Robert F. I am sure Nike will provide an anti American sticker as soon as their third world slave labor supply chain finds a way for it to pay millions to their execs and multi millionaire spokes people who are for social justice in USA but not so much anywhere else. That is speaking truth to power. How bold and brave of Google, Apple, Nike, Twitter and all the other social justice/human right advocates to stand up to China and all the other human right abusers.

    Sell shoes made by Indonesians who make 82.00 dollars a week for 250 dollars, Just Do It. Have multi millionaires who work for a company defy their company, irritate or insult most of their fans and use that to promote your product , Just Do It.

    Bold, Brave and Committed in the USA but not so much anywhere else. This is like Paris Hilton complaining about her life tribulations to a tire changer , working for minimum wage.

    Nike is betting on the China consumer market .


  49. Re. The John Crist video, Andy Stanley wrote on Twitter:

    “Yes, that’s really my son.
    No, I’m not offended.
    Yes, John is a friend.
    No, not all preacher’s kids are comedians…but they could be.”


  50. Doesn’t “compassionate conservative” capture it perfectly?

    “Compassionate” – I am virtuous because I FEEL BAD about bad things.

    “Conservative” – I do not believe anything should, or even can, be done about bad things. Bad things happen, that’s just how it is.


  51. I salute the integrity of Kaepernick for his moral AND patriotic position. Better on your knees protesting something unfair to support our American freedom to protest openly any day than to feel bullied and compelled to ‘obey’ that which is blatantly un-American in it’s challenge to our Constitutional rights as citizens of this FREE country.

    Kaepernick IS a brave American hero. Full stop.


  52. ‘jonny mac’ or whatever his call sign is, being a devout ANTI-Catholic, seems to have finally responded to the Church’s Compendium on Social Justice, this:

    I’ll stay with the Church, thank you all the same, even with all of it’s difficulties, because it still has more heart for the poor than any ‘compassionate conservative’ is allowed to muster in our present times.


  53. Much of this rests on their diminished to skeletal concept of guilt; just as they find the very simple distinction between being-a-racist and racism unfathomable.

    It may be that many people are, or become, Fundamentalists for no other reason than that they are stupid? I do not want to believe that; yet there are things like this. It is a very stupid document.


  54. Sigh. Yeah, I was letting slide the parts of this that read like a particularly juvenile screed.

    I mean – – – “We deny that a person’s feelings of offense or oppression necessarily prove that someone else is guilty of sinful behaviors, oppression, or prejudice.” – – – nobody ever seriously asserted that was true. People say this kind of thing when they find people are FREQUENTLY offended AT them; it is a nice way to side-step self-reflection. If dozens of people tell you are are jerk, then maybe … ?


  55. “Subsequent generations share the collective guilt of their ancestors only if they approve and embrace (or attempt to justify) those sins.”

    The Pharisees should have used that defense against Jesus when He berated them for honoring the dead prophets. Somehow, I doubt Jesus would have been impressed with them, and no less unimpressed with this modern iteration of the same dodge.


  56. I think Protestants usually end up in a Catholic priest’s office asking for help in cases of ‘demonic possession’.
    No kidding . . . . and it is firmly advised that the prayers of ‘The Rite’ be said ONLY by a priest, for the safety of all present.
    For a lot of people this ‘possession’ stuff is a ‘joke’, until it isn’t; and then they usually come to the Church for professional help.


  57. Good news, Susan.

    We are anticipating a hurricane on the east-coast USA next week . . . . . so the big wind is on its way and is supposed to make land on the 20th which is the day I take my son and his fiance to the airport to leave for Greece. What could possibly go wrong? 🙂

    Glad you are getting some relief. You deserve a break from all the troubles.


  58. Large portions of the statement are a blatant defense of white supremacy. For example:

    “We affirm that some cultures operate on assumptions that are inherently better than those of other cultures because of the biblical truths that inform those worldviews that have produced these distinct assumptions.”

    “We deny that a person’s feelings of offense or oppression necessarily prove that someone else is guilty of sinful behaviors, oppression, or prejudice.”

    “We further deny that one’s ethnicity establishes any necessary connection to any particular sin.”

    “We further deny the legitimacy of any charge of sin or call to repentance that does not arise from a violation of God’s commandments.”

    “Subsequent generations share the collective guilt of their ancestors only if they approve and embrace (or attempt to justify) those sins.”

    That last one is particularly ironic, found in the midst of a statement which seems to have been penned, in large part, as a defense of racism.


  59. Maybe because these things show that communal/cultural factors often outweigh individual factors – and Covenant/Adamic theology aside, all these guys are modernist individualists to the marrow.


  60. > Where is that idea emphasized in Scripture like we emphasize it?


    > But I’m open to correction

    In the end it is not even truly possible to argue with a word salad, which is all “intimacy with Jesus”.


  61. Well, yeah, that’s because you have some standards! 🙂

    Modernist is absurd, the McMansion subdivisions are a true abomination.


  62. “””We deny that Christian belief, character, or conduct can be dictated by any other authority, and we deny that the postmodern ideologies derived from intersectionality, radical feminism, and critical race theory are consistent with biblical teaching.”””

    Huh. So, any bets on whether or not he has any idea what any of those terms mean?

    He denies “intersectionality,”? That is a s-w-e-e-p-i-n-g-l-y wide category.

    Are these things inconsistent (???) with biblical teaching because they are simply other than: “sit down and shut up?”


  63. Strange, but the idea of shipping water by rail was not that long ago viewed as absurd, it would never be cost-effective. These days a Water Train seems less crazy [especially now that trains ~3 miles long aren’t that uncommon,

    Would you like a delivery of 7,333,519 gallons? With water prices inching very close to the $0.01/gal mark, that’s worth $733,351. Not quite there yet – but getting close.

    7M gallons is equivalent to 1 inch of rain over ~260 acres.


  64. Figures.

    I mean, you are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine. I hope the coffee is ready soon.


  65. > 1) not the same skills that make actual good leaders


    Competent people are boring and their sentences are too long.

    > 2) often paired up with sociopathy

    Nah, that’s the description of effective leaders, who tend to be incompetent.

    Rare, and very precious, is the effective leader who recognizes his incompetence and knows to listen to his competent advisers – and shorten all their sentences.


  66. The skills that gather followers and give the appearance of empathy are 1) not the same skills that make actual good leaders, and 2) often paired up with sociopathy.


  67. I agree, partly with the author of “Why did this person leave “the cult of ‘calling’”?” but as of late, I’ve really begun to struggle with the near universal, evangelical dogma that it’s all and only about “intimacy with Jesus…” Where is that idea emphasized in Scripture like we emphasize it? (Gospels/Epistles) I see exhortations to follow/obey Jesus but not individualized intimacy with Jesus. (granted some form of intimacy may follow obedience/following of). But I’m open to correction on this point.


  68. Well… there is actually a sidebar to that, and it’s the small question of how it is that we allow ourselves to be saddled with the most unsuitable people to hold leadership roles in our respective countries. Johnson is one example, but we have the man running Brexit (who gaily admits he han’t even read half the documents his department has issue), the Northern Ireland secretary who had no understanding of the political realities of Orange versus Green, and the man whose cuts left our courts broken and our prisons bursting, and then was promoted to run transport.

    Ad of course the Church (which is of the world, but not in it) suffers the same problems – the pastor who doesn’t care about his congregation (that’d be you, Mr Osteen) is a familiar trope.

    What happened to competent people?


  69. How did Michigan become the epicenter of the 20th century Modernist architectural movement?

    To which I can only respond, as a Michigan native: I am so very sorry, apologies all around.

    I’d rather live in/look at an honest modernist house than a McMansion ANY day. 😉


  70. I saw one incident second-hand in college that has always stuck with me. Some of my fellow freshmen in the off-campus dorm decided to play around with a Ouija board. (Despite my believing/pretending I was a skeptic, I got the heebie jeebies and wouldn’t join in. One of the girls who did, however, was convinced that she was being contacted by the spirit of her ex-boyfriend who had committed suicide. And apparently wanted her to join him. To say she was traumatized would be a prize understatement.

    Are there other explanations for what happened besides the work of supernatural evil? Probably. But following Pascal, I wouldn’t bet my life/soul on them. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio…”


  71. The best they can do is grudgingly concede social justice isn’t the worst hobby you can have, so long as it doesn’t get in the way of anything important.

    And they might not even have gone that far if not for the avalanche of verses about caring for the poor. :-/


  72. > How did Michigan become the epicenter of the 20th century Modernist architectural movement?

    To which I can only respond, as a Michigan native: I am so very sorry, apologies all around.

    When spare money encounters egos stupid ideas are the natural result. So we ended up with a lot of buildings which do not age well, are expensive to maintain, expensive to heat, even more expensive to cool, and provide that unique cramped corporate feel [Hey, Mr. Wright never designed a doorway you couldn’t bang your head on].

    I am so sorry. Again, my apologies.

    The swagger of these “superstars” [aka tools] did provide excellent cover for the nakedly racist and brutaally classist “urban renewal”. So I apologize for that too.

    The end of the article is perfect: “””The front door was boarded up with rotting plywood. The decaying art piece off the freeway was for sale for $900,000. I got back in my car and left.”””

    P.S. There is a well preserved shrine to Mr. Write only a couple miles from my home. It is an excellent example of terrible awkward pretentious design. You can pay to take a tour, it will make you appreciate your home, assuming your home was not designed by an over paid ego-maniac.


  73. As an unabashed Evangelical, I certain do believe there are demons and that satan prowls the corridors of this world but that he is restrained within the parameters God has set.

    Over the years, I have run into people who, it seemed to me, could sense evil – thankfully I do not have that gift.

    I recall talking to a teenage boy who had decided to pursue satanic powers with some of his friends. They tried to burn down a church, they also sacrificed a cat. Somewhere after these things he began to get increasingly uneasy and tried to back away from what he and his friends were doing.

    I asked him one day, “What does satan want?” He replied, “He wants me to kill myself.” I thought that was probably true.

    I think maybe you can cross a line – but I’m not sure. I’ve just never had any interest in attempting to do so.

    [ In answer to your question, I have no idea what became of that kid. But you always wonder. ]


  74. > “Why Don’t Protestants Talk More About Demons, Exorcism, Spiritual World?”
    > Hmmmm…maybe because it makes them sound even more batsh*t crazy than they already are?

    You are on to something there!

    I don’t talk about that kind of stuff.

    My question is: “What’s the point of talking about it?”

    Aside: the number of mentions in Scripture is pretty scant.


  75. I wish we could expand CM’s declaration at the beginning of the post to cover the entire U.S. I want to get one of those symbols he uses throughout the post as a bumper sticker for my car.


  76. A convenient abbreviation of the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel would be: “God doesn’t give a **** about social justice, neither do we, and you shouldn’t either: so long as you aren’t gay or an uppity woman you’re fine.”
    The best they can do is grudgingly concede social justice isn’t the worst hobby you can have, so long as it doesn’t get in the way of anything important.

    “Why don’t Protestants talk more about demons?” Good question. If you are looking for the work of the tempter, you don’t have to go much further than the prompting behind this statement. Fundangelical Protestants don’t stop banging on about demons everywhere, in my experience: the problem is the demons are always in other people, or hiding elsewhere. That the demons they see in everyone else might be sitting on their own shoulders whispering lies doesn’t seem to occur to them, and they fall into the trap pretty much every time. The Adversary tempts, slanders and condemns in secret, rather than wandering round with great big horns and a forked tail; cheesy Hammer horror films are not a good guide on spiritual matters, in my view.


  77. I considering buying a pair of Nikes this week. It would be my first pair ever. Kudos to Kaepernick, now one of my favorite evangelical Christians.


  78. In much of the rest of the world,”excessive and unhealthy interest” is very common; in the U.S., we are equally adept at both disbelief, and unhealthy interest. We like excessive polarity in our extremes, in many things, the spiritual among them.


  79. some Protestants don’t talk about it and others don’t talk about anything but. Mainstreams don’t and Born-Again Bible-Believers see DEMONS under every bed. All or Nothing.

    “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” C S Lewis, *Screwtape Letters*


  80. I wish I could package some of the excessive rain we’ll be getting here in the next week and send it to you, Susan. You would make good use of it there; here it’s dangerous surfeit.


  81. Fascinating articles on Quantum Physics, Mike. Thanks for including them. But Scientific American got it wrong about Newton, according to my source. He was a proponent of wave theory. The Dutch physicist, Christiaan Huygen was the proponent of particle theory.


  82. “John MacArthur doubling down…”

    Speaking of so SPIRITUALized there was no room for reality…


  83. This Week in Music: My two musical “Apostle” Pauls…

    Reminds me of one gamer whose D&D pantheon included “St Paul, St George, St John, — and St Ringo”. Guy was madly in love with his own Cleverness.


  84. “Why Don’t Protestants Talk More About Demons, Exorcism, Spiritual World?”

    More like some Protestants don’t talk about it and others don’t talk about anything but. Mainstreams don’t and Born-Again Bible-Believers see DEMONS under every bed. All or Nothing.

    During my time in-country, I got immersed in what Carl Sagan called “the Demon-Haunted World”. Everything so SPIRITUALized there was no room for reality.


  85. If anyone still wants to talk about blond-haired jackasses…

    …there’s always Boris Johnson in the UK…


  86. Isn’t it ironic, what happens when someone tells you not to think of an orange — uh, I mean a pink elephant?


  87. Well it’s nice to know there is something the Catholic Church addresses!

    I can just hear all those priests and bishops saying that the devil made them do it.


  88. “Why Don’t Protestants Talk More About Demons, Exorcism, Spiritual World?”

    Hmmmm…maybe because it makes them sound even more batsh*t crazy than they already are?

    “It’s something the Catholic Church addresses…”

    Well it’s nice to know there is something the Catholic Church addresses!


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