The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: November 17, 2018

Flowering Kale on an Icy Day (Nov 2018)

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: November 17, 2018

We’re less than a week from Thanksgiving and soon we’ll be moving into the Advent season. Here in central Indiana we had our first ice and snow event this past week (see the picture above), which was relatively minor and its effects soon melted away. We’ve had the fireplace going to keep off the chill. Things just keep getting browner and grayer around here, but at least we have good things to look forward to. Next Saturday, we’ll probably be eating leftovers and soaking our feet after Black Friday shopping. I’m getting hungry already. So, let’s Brunch!

• • •

One of God’s best comforters…

Comfort dog Cubby, a 4-year-old purebred golden retriever from Fort Collins, Colo., rests under the table at the La Quinta Inn in Newbury Park, Calif., after a long day of comforting victims of the wildfires in southern California. (RNS photo by Cathleen Falsani)

• • •

R.I.P. Stan Lee…

Stan Lee obituary

Flawed people, great power clashed in worlds of Stan Lee’s creations

The superheroic story of Stan Lee — in pictures

‘Nuff said: Words of wisdom from Stan Lee

Stan Lee became my hero by reinventing the hero

• • •

And now…a panda playing in the snow!

• • •

People the English language isn’t rich enough to describe…

Alex Rawlings has written an intriguing article at BBC called, “The 10 personality traits English cannot name.” Rawlings says: “My recent book, ‘From Amourette to Żal: Bizarre and Beautiful Words from Around Europe’, explores some of the words that other languages have, but that English doesn’t. The following 10 words, for example, describe character traits and behaviours that may be familiar to us all, but that the English language struggles to succinctly express.”

Here are a few examples from the article. Go there to learn more interesting words that are just beyond our ability to describe using the King’s English.

Sortable / Insortable [adjective] – French

There are certain people in your life, such as friends or relatives, who you would rather meet up with at home than in public. Maybe it’s just that every time you go out with them for a meal they end up causing some kind of scene like striking up conversation with the couple in the corner who just want to be left alone, arguing with the waiters, or asking you about your personal life in a very loud voice around others. The French language describes those people as insortable, which means ‘un-take-out-able’.

However, those people that you would like to be seen in public with and that don’t manage to humiliate you so badly, are the opposite of insortable. They are sortable, or ‘take-out-able’, because you want to parade around with them everywhere

Γρουσούζης (groosoozis) [noun] – Greek

It doesn’t matter what they do. For some reason, some people just seem to bring bad luck. They’re the kind of people whose toast always lands buttered side down. They’re the kind of people whose phones miraculously die, even though just a second ago it said they had 51% battery left. Whatever they touch seems to break instantly, and worst of all, there’s practically nothing they can do about it.

The Greek language doesn’t try in vain to rationalise this predicament any more than it should be. Instead, it simply places those who find themselves in it into a category of their own. A γρουσούζης (groosoozis) is not just someone who is a bit unlucky sometimes, but someone who is a magnet for misfortune.

Pantofolaio [noun] – Italian

Some people may enjoy leaping out of bed at the crack of dawn, putting on their running shoes and kicking off their day of spectacular productivity with a pre-work workout. For others, though, their day may never quite reach these heights of activity. Instead they might choose to roll out of bed at a more leisurely hour. And then, once they’re up and about, the only type of footwear they would ever choose to don would be a pair of comfortable slippers, which they’ll happily walk around their home in all day, before they take them off again to go back to bed.

Those people who are so lazy that they just spend all day lounging about in their slippers are known as pantofolaio, which essentially means a ‘slippers-person’.

• • •

Photos from the week…

In this aerial photo, a burned neighborhood is seen in Paradise, California on November 15, 2018. – The toll in the deadliest wildfires in recent California history climbed to 59 on November 14, 2018, as authorities released a list of 130 people still missing. (Photo credit JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Helen McCrum holds a 100th anniversary of World War One flag as volunteers draw depictions of those killed in World War One, as part of Danny Boyle’s Pages of The Sea celebrations, on Murlough Beach in Newcastle, Northern Ireland, November 11, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne – RC19BE86EB90
A young girl brushes off snow on the Fearless Girl statue in lower Manhattan on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in New York. One of the first big storms of the season moved across the eastern half of the country on Thursday. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
The 2018 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, a 72-foot tall, 12-ton Norway Spruce from Wallkill, N.Y., is craned into place, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in New York. The 86th Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremoN.Y. will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 28. (Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer)

• • •

They drank the Kool-Aid…

In November of 1978, I was a newbie pastor, having served my first church for a grand total of less than two months. I was a month away from being married. My understanding of the world was meager. One of the first awakening experiences of my emerging adult life was trying to fathom how nearly a thousand people following a religious leader could do the unimaginable.

On Sunday, November 19 that year we were at my future in-laws’ home listening to the radio as news reports were coming in from a far away jungle place called Guyana. A large number of bodies had been discovered in a settlement there. In addition, a congressman who had gone there to investigate reports about a cult there was reported killed. Over the next hours and days, a horrific picture emerged. We learned about the Rev. Jim Jones, who had led a large group of followers from California to Guyana, where they had established a settlement called Jonestown. On November 18, 1978, Jones convinced, and in some cases, forced more than 900 of those followers to drink Flavor-Aid laced with cyanide in a mass suicide he called a “revolutionary act.”

  • In Indianapolis, Jim Jones was a Methodist and Disciples of Christ minister.
  • He graduated from prestigious Butler University.
  • He was the first director of the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission.
  • He moved to California, and by 1973 almost 3,000 people were members of his congregation.
  • In 1975, Jones was named one of the top 100 most outstanding clergymen in the nation by Religion in American Life magazine.
  • In 1976, Jones received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Los Angeles Herald newspaper and was appointed chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority.

By 1977, however, a group called Concerned Relatives was becoming more active in raising alarms about Jones and his church, reports of mistreatment at Peoples’ Temple were spreading, and Jones moved to Guyana with about 1,000 followers. Just a year later more than 900 of those people were massacred by their leader, who himself died of a gunshot wound to the head.

By the end, in November 1978, Jones’ attitude towards his followers had changed. In the early stages of his ministry, when actually great things were often being accomplished, he thought of himself as the shepherd guarding his flock. More and more over the years, as his paranoia increased, as his drug use increased, he began to think of himself at war with almost everyone else in the outside world – the United States government, all kinds of secret forces. He believed – he talked himself into believing that at any moment he would be attacked, he would be brought down. And he passed this along to his followers.

At the end, he saw himself as a general. And his followers were his troops. And when Jones made the decision that there must be one last great gesture so that his name would live in history, his example would live in history, that would require the deaths of his followers.

• Jeff Guinn, The Road to Jonestown

• • •

New Knopfler…

I’m in the early stages of listening to Mark Knopfler’s ninth solo studio recording, Down The Road Wherever. So I don’t have much to report yet, other than what I’ve heard so far is classic Knopfler narrative magic.

Here’s one of the cuts: “Good on You Son”

163 thoughts on “The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: November 17, 2018

  1. According to Hal Lindsay, Jesus’ first words to the apostles after his resurrection were, “Be very afraid!”


  2. I especially remember when he got blindsided by the Second Russian Revolution. (And he wasn’t the only one; the SRR block-obsoleted most every ST future history and near-future Technothriller.)

    Except Lindsay responded in a true Soviet manner, about how he NEVER said Gog & Magog were the USSR.


  3. The maniac and his many followers on social media are obsessed with the current POTUS as God’s anointed; that’s just a fact.

    “God’s Anointed” or THE Second Coming of Christ?
    These days it’s REALLY hard to tell.


  4. IHOP is just Bad Craziness all around.

    According to a quick search on them over at Wartburg Watch:
    * Christ cannot Return unless enough Christians pray in the proper way (isn’t that a definition of Sorcery? Let the Sorcerers working magick in unison speak the proper incantations…)…
    * “Bridal Identity”, which historically has meant introducing highly Erotic vibes into spirituality (“Jesus is my EDWARD Cullen — SPARKLE SPARKLE”)…
    * Prophesying(TM) nonstop with about the same success rate as National Enquirer’s year-end psychics…
    * Whose Head Apostle routinely ascends to Heaven to speak with God in person…
    * Who claims IHOP’s Real True Christians will be “like gods” after the Second Coming (which their devotions/magickal workings will force God to bring about)…
    * And they claim credit for the Second Coming of Trump.

    30+ years ago, I used to work at the HQ of the other, more familiar IHOP, and their top management was nothing to brag about, either. But this is Way Beyond Dilbert.


  5. Fast forward to D. T. and you find an inexperienced American president fawning all over Putin, Kim Jon Un, Erdogan, the Saudi Crown Prince, and that crazy dictator in the Philippines, ad nauseum . . . . .

    Chaplain Mike once described DT as “Not an evil man so much as a SMALL man.” As in too small for the office he holds.

    Fanboying all these Strongmen fits in with a “small man”. Do you remember a Seventies pop psychology called “Transactional Analysis”? Its NYT Best-seller “I’m OK, You’re OK” had a companion volume “Games People Play” that coined the term “Mind Games”. One of these mind games was “Tough Guy”, where a small/weak man will fanboy REAL “Tough Guys” to show “Me Tough! See? See? See?” The usual examples were hanging out with Gangsters, whether Mafiosi or street thugs. Another is “Stolen Valor”, i.e. claiming to have been a Green Beret or Navy SEAL. And I see this pattern in DT fanboying Tough Guys like Vlad Putin, Kim Jong-whatever, the Saudi Royals, or the Filipino guy who (like Tough Guys) brags about personally killing people.


  6. American Christianity(TM) has this track record of jumping on the current bandwagon going “ME, TOO!”

    Usually around the time that particular bandwagon jumps the shark and begins its death spiral.


  7. One problem: this Trump who is has his finger on the REAL nuclear button, and he is not showing a lot of signs of stability these days, so some of us are worried

    Remember what Hal Lindsay REALLY did:
    He took the mainstream trope of Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War (TM) and Christianized it as Inerrant End Times Prophecy, “History Written in Advance”. This spawned an attitude I called “Christians For Nuclear War”, i.e. “It’s Prophesied! It’s Prophesied! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! RAPTURE! RAPTURE! RAPTURE!” But Be Not Afraid; if You’re REALLY a Real True Christian, God will Beam You Up to a Catered Box Suite in Heaven the insant before the warheads detonate, and you can watch and laugh and Praise God as the world burns.

    THAT was the Gospel According to Hal Lindsay, Inerrant SCRIPTURE(TM). Christians for Nuclear War faded away after the Second Russian Revolution ended the Cold War (but took a while to do so); now it’s back in full force. Back during the elections that put this Second Coming of Christ in the White House/Trump Tower DC, I kept hearing about Christians who voted for Trump BECAUSE he would fulfill End Time Prophecy (a la Lindsay) with his REAL nuclear button — Look up and hold your Rapture Boarding Pass, because Prophecy is being Fulfilled. I have been trying to track down the source of this, but the Internet is a BIG place with a low signal-to-noise ratio.


  8. Many of the students are not in line with the official positions of Liberty or Falwell. Many have protested. There is hope in the young yet. But the Liberty University, at least in its official positions, is an evil parody of what Christian education should be.


  9. so, HEADLESS, maybe this latest crazy stuff from the Prophet of Trump being promoted by the head of Liberty University falls into place among the all the chaos of Hal Lindsay’s imagination.

    One problem: this Trump who is has his finger on the REAL nuclear button, and he is not showing a lot of signs of stability these days, so some of us are worried

    I had always hoped that the Chief of Staff was positioned in a way by the Pentagon to watch over our country and keep Trump from doing the crazy with that nuclear power . . . it gets harder to hope, but do we not have cause to be concerned?

    Liberty University? I had thought they were working towards some real credibility. I had hoped so because three sons of a dear friend graduated from there, as my friend worked herself sick to provide for their tuition . . . that family alone deserves better than what is happening to that school.


  10. I can affirm that my Methodist friends are among the best Christians I know. They are very committed to helping those in need in our community and they do this with generosity and love and faithfulness. Beautiful people!!


  11. In the U.S., Roman Catholicism is shrinking as quickly as any other other mainline. For many sociological purposes, Roman Catholicism is a mainline in the U.S., and certainly it is so in terms of loss of members. I can’t speak to Eastern Orthodoxy; I have no idea if it is losing members, gaining them, at what rate in either case, or holding steady. In the U.S., it seems to me that Orthodoxy is a tiny statistical blip on the screen, and it’s hard to imagine it being anything else here. I’m not sure it is statistically significant.

    Outside the U.S., the story is very different, and the causative factors driving membership are different as well. Many of the international relatives of what we call mainlines are doing very well (outside Europe and some of its worldwide societal progeny), gaining members, just as the Roman Catholic Church is. Once again, I don’t know about Orthodoxy; my thinking it is that is robust in some of its traditional regional strongholds, but not in others; that in some of the places where it is strong in membership, many of those members are nominal ones, for the most part secularized.

    All this to say that in the U.S. your charge against the mainlines that “there is no there there” would probably be made by the majority of disaffiliating Roman Catholics (a large number) against Roman Catholicism; by the majority of disaffiliating Eastern Orthodox against Eastern Orthodoxy. Outside the U.S., again apart from Europe and its societal inheritors around the world, your charge is not applicable, because of general church membership growth. That may be because many of the mainlines outside the U.S. are more traditional and conservative; in many places, that is no doubt a contributing factor. My only point is that what you are really talking about is American Christianity in its various forms; and when it comes to American Christianity, for a growing number of Americans not only is “there is no there there” a charge as likely to be made against Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy as the mainlines, but along with it the charge that “what is there stinks, and is bad.” You overlook, and as a result underestimate, the relevancy and frequency of the latter charge.


  12. On the leftist revolutionary side of the scale:
    “I believe we’re the purest communists there are.” – Jim Jones.

    Jim Jones believed that mainstream and evangelical Christianity was too segregated. (Over 68% of the cult members at Jonestown were African American.

    His combination of socialist/communist governance and racially inclusive approach made big fan out of the American left.
    – At the national level he had personal support from Mondale.
    – At the state level, Gov. Brown, and speaker Willie Brown supported him.
    – At the city/county level in San Francisco, he had the support of both Moscone and Harvey Milk, who told Carter that Jones was ” a man of the highest character,” and stating that Temple defectors were trying to “damage Rev. Jones’ reputation” with “apparent bold-faced lies”.

    I’m not saying this to denigrate the left; after all it was Congressman Ryan who busted it open.
    I’m saying that in hindsight, it is easy to overlook the character flaws of someone who shares your political values.


  13. I have a lot of shall we say “Esoteric Knowledge” about fringe subjects. (My introduction to UFOlogy was through the Adamskyites, i.e. the Original Space Brothers Saucer Cult, at age 15, simultaneous with discovering Star Trek. What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been…)

    I had heard of the Bo-Peepers previously, and when I saw the TV Guide ads for “The Mysterious Two”, my first reaction was “Bo and Peep! It has to be Bo and Peep!”


  14. Headless U Guy, Did they all have on new sneakers, perhaps on when they found them? Talk about true believers.

    And five dollars plus change in their pockets (pay phone and cabfare).
    And “Away Team” patches on their identical clothing.

    But they were also a weird variant of a Rapture Cult. As a survivor of The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay, the parallels leaped out at me. Here’s the last paragraph of Chapter 6 of UFO Religion by Gregory L Reece describing them:

    The teachings of Heaven’s Gate did not differ all that much from the teachings of other contactee organizations nor for that matter of the Adamski-era contactees themselves. However, in place of the openness to others that is a common theme espoused by those claiming contact with extraterrestrials, Heaven’s Gate was a closed society suspicious of the external world. In place of the kooky fun of most contactees, Heaven’s Gate was deadly serious. Unlike Ruth Norman’s transformation into a galactic queen upon the death of her beloved Ernest, Herff Applewhite never recovered from the death of Bonnie Lou Nettles, Bo had lost his Peep and did not know where to find her. Shaved heads led to castration, which led to suicide. Unlike most other contactee groups and practically all of the individual contactees, Heaven’s Gate found little that was good in human nature, little that could give them hope. What hope they had was thought to be coming from above, a starship in a comet’s tail. They had given up on transforming the world; the best they could do was to escape it.

    Sound Familiar?


  15. I often hear the phrase ‘the Bible clearly says’ followed by someone’s opinion of what is a translation of a translation of sacred Scripture;
    I remember when “The Bible Clearly Said” the world would end in Global Thermomuclear War before 1988 and that the Demon Locust Plague was “clearly” helicopter gunships packing chemcial-weapon “tail stingers” and piloted by long-haired bearded Hippies.

    (And before anyone goes “That”s Not Scripture, that’s Hal Lindsay”, I need to remind you that Late Great Planet Earth was considered Inerrant SCRIPTURE by Evangelicals in that day, word-for-word from God’s Lips to Lindsay’s typewriter. I’ WAS THERE.)


  16. Hello Burro,

    I’m not sure.

    One ‘theme’ in Doug Coe’s ‘The Family’ was that the REAL power for Christians was to forget about ‘the poor’ and go after those in power who were ‘real’ leaders: people with money, ‘strong’ leaders, but not necessarily the ‘good’ guys . . . . examples were brought up about those who could effectively ‘control crowds’ like Hitler as a prime example of a good leader, in short demogogues and autocratic strong men

    Fast forward to D. T. and you find an inexperienced American president fawning all over Putin, Kim Jon Un, Erdogan, the Saudi Crown Prince, and that crazy dictator in the Philippines, ad nauseum . . . . .

    you have to at least WONDER if there is some ‘influence’ on Trump that connects up with Doug Coe’s theories . . . . 🙂

    who knows exactly what is going on? But it makes an interesting ‘theory’ of sorts, because the Vereide/Doug Coe/Rushdoony stuff keeps showing up in a different setting or costume, but it’s plain old ‘dominionism’ warmed up and served again, no mistake about this


  17. and he’s thoroughly supported by Liberty University and Jerry Falwell, Jr as well as other evangelical leaders.

    i.e. all Evangelical Leaders to whom Donald Trump IS The Second Coming of Christ.

    (Reminds me a lot of Lewis or Chesterton’s statement that sorcerers bargain with dark spirits because the dark spirits have a rep of Getting Results.)


  18. Because there’s no there there.

    I almost dread saying this, Seneca, but you and I are of a mind on this. Fundamentalism/Calvinism is where the Catholic Mind exists in Protestantism. For all their liturgical contortions the ELCA, Northern Baptists, ECUSA, RCA, PCUSA are basically latte-and-a-croissant-and-the-New-York-Times-on-Sunday-morning. Like the guy in the bar who poured a whole pitcher of Bud Light into the urinal saying ‘Why bother filtering it?’, most people losing their faith just proceed straight to the Nones and Dones these days.

    What I don’t understand is why, why why why the Orthodox and Catholics want to emulate moribund mainstream Protestantism so badly.


  19. Have I misunderstood also, senecagriggs?

    My own understanding is that the diversity among Evangelicals is due to the various emphases and interpretations of sacred Scripture that are man-made. . . .

    I often hear the phrase ‘the Bible clearly says’ followed by someone’s opinion of what is a translation of a translation of sacred Scripture;
    and often that opinion differs from the opinion of another Evangelical brother (or sister) of a different community of faith . . . .

    I do see that IN sacred Scripture, there lies the power to draw people to Christ, but even ‘mainline’ and Catholic, and the Orthodox know that to be true.

    My concern is this:
    how can a person who claims to be a Christian evangelical have a view of Scripture that causes him to treat others poorly? I’m thinking of Paige Patterson’s poor treatment of certain women in the Church for which eventually, he was held to account; but in the meantime, he trusted his OWN emphasis and interpretations of some verses in a way that was not in agreement with the Royal Law of Christ. . . . .

    Multiply the tendency we have of seeing through our own lenses millions of times, and no wonder we have so many diverse viewpoints concerning Scripture among Christian people . . . . . but it’s the times when our viewpoints DIFFER from the teachings of Our Lord, that we have fallen into trouble along the way. . . .

    your thoughts?


  20. I would like your opinion/assessment of the Mainline Churches descent

    “Mainline churches today remain diverse but tend to share a cluster of overlapping values: They may endorse same-sex marriage in the church, hold more lenient views on extramarital sex, confess less exclusivist views of eternal salvation, and focus more political efforts toward Christian social relief rather than Christian moral teachings; many mainlines have formal fellowship agreements with one another.

    These churches are dying off at a very quick pace. Within the Presbyterian family, the “mainline” Presbyterian Church (USA) is shrinking while the “evangelical” Presbyterian Church of America is growing. Within the Lutheran family, the “mainline” Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (yes, the “Evangelical Lutherans” are mainline, not evangelical; one of many absurdities in religious verbiage) is shrinking rapidly while “evangelical” Wisconsin or Missouri Synod Lutherans are either holding steady or shrinking slowly. Within the Methodist family, “mainline” United Methodists are shrinking while “evangelical” Free Methodists are holding steady. Both sides of the Baptist family tree are shrinking, but the mainline side is shrinking faster.

    WHY are the Mainline Denominations shrinking so fast?

    From vox-dot-com


  21. If you wish to understand the Evangelicals StuartB, you’ll recognize their emphasis on Scripture. That’s what divides them from the Mainline and other groups

    Scripture can NEVER be one’s undoing. It’s no sin to focus your life on Scripture. It what God calls us to do.


  22. Schaeffer had roots in fundamentalism. The Presbyterian group in which he was first involved was a breakaway fundamentalist branch. He was with Carl McIntyre, the notorious fundamentalist and anti-Communist. Schaeffer orginally went to Europe on a fundamentalist mission — to dissuade pastors and church leaders from the “heresies” of Karl Barth. When I heard him speak in the early 1980s, he railed on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and, of course, those were the days in which he was leading the charge for Christians to take part in the culture wars.

    I owe a great deal to Schaeffer, who was able, especially in the 1960s and early 70s, to challenge the lack of love and anti-creational separatism in evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity, especially as it impacted seeking young people. But let’s admit it, he was a fundamentalist at heart.


  23. It’s not like I can crow triumphalistically. For a large and growing number of people, the voice of Orthodoxy on social media is the self-ordained anti-Semite Brother Nathaniel.

    This despite being anathamatized by every canonical and semi-canonical Orthodox group in existence.

    Some people just know where to blow on the fire,


  24. JB:You have dug your hole so big and your unwillingness to see the absurdity of your comment IMO is truly sad–you say you do not know what brimstone is–ha ha.

    I think you told absolutely how you feel about California and especially San Francisco.

    What has a Muslim got to do with your comment?
    You owned your comment and I will thank you for that.


  25. In Evangelicalism; it is the theologians that have the most influence. Charismatics are not big on theology so they have leaders/”prophets” that can make a significant but transient splash, but their influence tends to be shallow where as the respected theologians input is far more lasting.

    The Mark Taylors come and go but the impact of John MacArthur and others like him, [ Piper, Mohler, Dever, Schreiner, Carson, George, Grudem, Keller, J.I. Packer, NT Wright and R.C. Sproul ] will still be felt decades after their deaths.

    WHY? because the Evangelical theologians have pinned EVERYTHING on Scripture – that will never fade.


  26. Sorry to disagree, but I’ve read all–or nearly all– of Schaffer Sr’s. books and I do find his perspective to be that of a “soft-Fundamentalist”. For me, a major trade mark of Fundamentalism is Inerrantist and “harmony” reading of scripture. Another mark of Fundamentalism is the “Soterion Gospel”, the personal-salvation-project approach to the Gospel…which imo makes CRU essentially Fundamentalist.


  27. INC;

    It is not focused primarily on building congregations but rather on spreading beliefs and practices through media, conferences and ministry schools.
    It is not so much about proselytizing to unbelievers as it is about transforming society through placing Christian believers in powerful positions in all sectors of society.
    It is organized as a network of independent leaders rather than as formally organized denominations.

    IOW, a “Christian” form of Wahhabi-ism…


  28. Sorry dude, this Methodist can testify that Methodism is about as mild-mannered as they come. I’d day there is something else going on than Methodism.


  29. At least it was enough to put some checks and balances in place since the people of my former party aren’t trying to stop whatever disaster Trump is up to at any moment.


  30. What in the Methodist system produces “crazy theologies”?

    I don’t know.

    Methodism >> Something >> Look at this list.

    What’s in between?


  31. Really?

    Ok, I guess. No, I don’t know. That’s why I’d like to discuss it. Why did all these various movements and theologies come out of Methodism. What inherently in Methodism sparked off these things? Or did they?

    Of course “idk”. Would you like to play as well? Help me out here.


  32. Thank you, DANA

    I’m not familiar with Schaeffer Sr. other than knowing he was associated with Carl MacIntire long ago at the dawn of the ‘religious right’.

    The person(s) who frightened me the most among ‘dominionists’ were Vereide and Doug Coe. I have also read about Rushdoony to my horror.

    I appreciate you giving me this information, as I found Schaeffer’s name in a quote and had not researched him per se.


  33. SMH.

    Assuming that all you say is true (which it isn’t), your conclusion still comes down to “idk”, but thanks for playing!


  34. I have several friends with CRU (Campus Crusade). I wouldn’t classify them, the organization, or the late Bill Bright as fundamentalist. I have also read a number of Francis Schaeffer’s books. I don’t see fundamentalism there, either.


  35. “The Mysterious Two”! I thought I was only one who remembered that “made for TV” movie from the 70s. I actually found it on DVD at some point. I’ll have to dig it out and watch it again. In this case fantasy was much much preferable to the reality.


  36. Headless U Guy, Did they all have on new sneakers, perhaps on when they found them? Talk about true believers. At least the Jones nutso followers got some Kook Ade out of the deal. And to think, my wife would not let my kids have Kool Ade because of too much sugar, she would not be a Jones follower for sure.


  37. I will stand by my extremely witty and obviously absurd comment not think for a moment that anyone would take it seriously or even worthy of comment. Of course, I was being a smarty pants or a dumb, or what ever. I do not think the people in S.F. are in danger of facing the gallows but they could be in trouble if they hang around too long. I have helped in making a mountain out of a molehill but enjoyed it.

    By the way, I am not even sure what brimstone is and if by some chance it hit S.F. I will feel terrible, but I am not going to worry about it. The Muslim probably would not like my sense of humor any as it is fundamental flawed and we need to stick to the fundamentals.


  38. So INC is essentially Plymouth Brethren for American Fundamentalist Evangelical Charismatic GenXers, Millennials, and GenZers.

    Remember, Plymouth Brethren aren’t a denomination either. Yet look at how they have damaged the world through their networks and thoughts.

    …though they did give us a young band from Ireland who said “no” to their demand of “you can’t be christians and play rock music”.


  39. I think INC is a separate movement, but not sure there isn’t overlap. INC makes its home on social media platforms, including Youtube, and disseminates its ideas, teachings, and community using that means.


  40. Gallows humor is only appropriate for those on the gallows. Since your butt is not in danger of being burned, you don’t qualify. It’s that simple.


  41. Now that I’m no longer on mobile, I’d start here –

    And then here –

    We’ve covered Jim Jones…

    Then of course the State of Georgia and probably many others –

    And this was mostly Baptist but was also a large component –

    Then this group too, which birthed Jack Hayford and Billy Graham and so many

    oh, and this as well, which eventually birthed dispensationalism

    So really, we’ve got a pretty strong unbroken line between some of the craziest ideas and theologies and heresies, ANE, global flood, pentecostlsm, Keswicks, holiness movements…etc etc.

    I’m NOT saying this is the Methodists fault. I admit the quad, and most of what the brothers did. But there is something, something, in their system or waters or whatever, that has led to a lot of this excess and issues. Idk what it is, but there is something.


  42. Robert F./ mot , Well, you guys surprised me. Wow. Seriously? I will let it go, but Really? Ok, I have contacted God and asked him no fire or brimstone on San Francisco as we are in the New Testament age. I think it is going to be okay. I think God knew I was kidding but I wanted to make sure, in case he was reading the blog here.


  43. When more of the votes are counted, the blue tide rises. It doesn’t need to be dramatic to be significant and long lasting, that’s for sure.


  44. Maybe not a Blue Tsunami, or even a Blue Wave–I think of it as a creeping Blue Tide. It didn’t look all that high on election night, but it just keeps getting higher and higher, quietly, We can finally make a difference in government!


  45. Christiane,

    I don’t know about the others, but Francis Schaeffer was no fundamentalist; he was Reformed, and a Presbyterian. He leaned fundamentalist at first, but was severely burned by some in that movement, and between that and his love of art and music, his views were very much moderated by the time he was in his 40s, and he did not believe in establishing a theocracy. I’ve read nearly all his work, and though he admired Kuyper and read Rushdoony, he had no inclination whatsoever to “achieve world domination by taking over key sectors of society such as government, along with business, media, and education”.

    Like disciples of Origen and Calvin – some of the people who became the “-ists” in later years – it sounds like those people who were attracted to The Family ran with the teachings in ways the originators of those teachings would have disavowed. Sharlet has done good reporting, but sometimes he overlooks things due to his own bias.



  46. You have a very strange sense of humor. I think you are trying to deflect IMO your unfunny comment. I am going to guess you learned that from the current president. He would be very proud of you.

    And yes my comment to you was a very serious one!!!


  47. Exactly how does one take “Do not worry, fire alone will not destroy San Francisco, it will be fire and brimstone” figuratively, JB?


  48. mot, Really? Seriously? Talk about taking things literally. By the way, I am not against heart transplants so I approve of T. Bennett , leaving his heart in San Francisco. Perhaps someone left their sense of humor and perspective in San Francisco.


  49. That’s the point. A significant part of what calls itself evangelicalism now is nothing you’re
    familiar with. And you’re style is waning, while theirs is waxing.


  50. The fact that Jerry Falwell Jr. is huge supporter of Mark Taylor, and that Taylor styles himself as a Pentecostal prophet all the way, and that Liberty University assisted in the making and advertising of Taylor’s film, should sufficiently answer that question. Jerry Sr. and Jr. are quite different in this respect. Things are changing, have changed, though you are unaware, and perhaps in a direction that wouldn’t sit well with you.


  51. oh HEADLESS,
    just thinking about these ‘The Family’ guys gives me migraine . . . .

    and it explains WHY so much of the connecting web of groups that tie up into the ‘Bethel’ prophet Mark Taylor is ‘secretive’:

    the old ‘Family’ WAS secretive, but very involved in politics at deep levels

    This is profoundly unwholesome ‘dominionist’ stuff . . . . get on Bethel’s site and take a good look at their ‘don’t misunderstand’ sections and your blood runs cold from the cult-like darkness of it . . . whoah!


  52. I consider that another attempt at Self-Medication in Secret, just like Ted Haggard out-Fred Phelpsing Fred Phelps while doing rentboys under the table.

    Because of your position and reputation, you cannot admit to breaking your tribe’s biggest taboo, so you self-medicate in secret by encouraging yourself to be as fanatical and fiery an upholder of that taboo in public.

    Honor-Shame Culture; “If Nobody Knows of My Sin, I Am Not Shamed.” And bottling it up like this keeps anyone from finding out. Until one day it all blows sky-high.


  53. Okay, you’re probably right. It just felt good to do a little crowing instead of letting the POTUS and his brasher supporters do it all. Mea culpa.


  54. Yeah, but it’s certainly not the evangelicals that I know. He’s the spawn of the charismatics – very light on theology and doctrine, heavy on experience.


  55. Given the chance, they think they would do a better job.

    Where have we heard this one before?
    “But This Time We WILL Achieve True Communism! Because This Time The Right People (guess who?) Will Be In Charge of The Party!”


  56. Orange county with over 3 million people and San Diego county with over 1 million have traditionally been Republican but less so now and the Central Valley (including Butte county where the fire is taking place) and northern California are Republican though since they are relatively lightly populated don’t have much clout.


  57. It wasn’t a “Blue Tsunami”; that just makes you sound like a Libertarian crowing over “the Great Libertarian Tsunami” of a Libertarian being elected third assistant dogcatcher in Hooterville.

    2018 was a slightly-larger than normal midterm election pushback.


  58. I’d friendly suggest you study up on them and know precisely what your neighbors and young people actually think and follow. Choosing to be ignorant about who is who and what is being said is a luxury and your choice.

    We can only keep warning so many times, and can only hear back “never heard of this in MY circles!” so many times.


  59. Just like the Massachusetts Puritans, whose whole career was a “Book of Exodus & Joshua: the Live Role-Playing Game”. They were God’s Chosen People(TM) who alone had the One True Faith(TM), in Exodus from Egypt (The Romish Popery of the Church of England) settling in The Promised Land (Massachusetts/The New World) to build their Godly Covenant Society (as outlined in Leviticus). A Promised Land that even had Heathen Canaanites (the indigenous tribes) already there. At which point, they LARPed from the Book of Exodus to the Book of Joshua — “GOD HATH SAID!”


  60. Heaven’s Gate was originally known as “The Two” or “Bo and Peep” after their two founders. In their original form, they were a type of “Saucer Cult” called a “Contactee Cult”, based around a “Contactee” (in this case two contactees, Bo & Peep) channeling Ascended Masters from Outer Space.

    The Bo-Peepers were considered the all-time WEIRDEST of saucer cults, and spend their first few years roaming nomadically across the country picking up recruits like some sort of Okie CoGs. Then somehow they got their “mythology” fictionalized on-screen as a made-for-TV movie titled “The Mysterious Two”.

    Then Bo & Peep renamed themselves Do & Ti, Peep/Ti died, and Bo/Do renamed them Heaven’s Gate and started using his real name again. They ended up an ascetic (to the point of castration) monastic Rapture Cult whose Ende became Nigh with the Hale-Bopp Comet.


  61. From that article, INC Christianity = Backstory to The Handmaid’s Tale.
    Like the Moonies, they’re after Political Power from Day One, because “GAWD SAITH!”
    Their leaders are known as “Apostles”, which brings to mind something my writing partner told me:
    “If you run into a preacher who titles himself ‘Apostle’ or ‘Prophet’, RUN!”


  62. Oh My Goodness!!!!

    that link, Robert F.?

    I found this:

    “”One INC leader we interviewed summed it up this way:

    “The goal of this new movement is transforming social units like cities, ethnic groups, nations rather than individuals…if Christians permeate each mountain and rise to the top of all seven mountains…society would have biblical morality, people would live in harmony, there would be peace and not war, there would be no poverty.””

    I’ve seen this before:
    it’s the old Vereide/Doug Coe/’the Family’ stuff . . . .

    ” . . . a vision of achieving world domination by taking over key sectors of society which include government.[51]
    In a 2008 promotional video, “Reclaiming 7 Mountains of Culture”, YWAM Founder Loren Cunningham describes a vision he shared along with the late Campus Crusade For Christ founder Bill Bright and late Christian theologian Francis Schaeffer, in which Christian fundamentalists could achieve world domination by taking over key sectors of society such as government, along with business, media, and education . . . . ”

    Believe me, this is weird stuff, very political, very ‘secretive’, very worshipful of authoritarian leaders, and not the ‘nice guys’ either . . . . admired for their POWER to control (Doug Coe mentioned Adolf Hitler in that group, for example) . . .

    these people may ‘use’ the name of Jesus Christ, but they do not honor His Ways, no . . . . they are looking for domination and control

    am wondering now about Trump’s seeking to buddy up to the dictators of our world, if he has been influenced by the Vereide ideas made popular through Doug Coe and ‘The Family’

    Doug Sharlet exposed these guys some time ago and the tentacles had already ran deep and silent inside the halls of power


  63. Once again: ?. As someone who served on staff of six United Methodist churches (one for almost 22 years) in two different states and worked at two schools in the Wesleyan tradition, I truly don’t understand.


  64. Robert F./Senecagriggs— I learned in college and believe in to be true , whatever happens in California and NYC is a harbinger of changes coming to land in between. I have found that to be true, so I agree with you. What has changed in California since Reagan and Pete Wilson? Demographics, that is what has changed California, not issues , not policy but ethnic , gender, sexual and racial id politics. There is no stopping the demographics that was set in place by the 1965 Immigration Act that changed America coupled with the influx of illegal aliens.
    No sour grapes for me. Robert F. I feel anxiety and a sense of sadness for the generations that follow but they will never know what they never know, it will be their norn.
    I am at an age and position in life , where I can say I have got mine , as Headless Guy always proclaims. I am not trying to protect my self interest or even my immediate family as we will be okay as things stand now and in my and perhaps my sons lifetime. Of course , that is up to God hoping that he that giveth does not take away.
    Personally, I think it is good for Trump to have a stated, formal opposition such as the Dems in Congress instead of the incompetent RINO’s were did nothing for two years. At least the Dems are honest. The establishment is happy for sure, nothing will change. The Koch Brothers are the big winners so far tax reform, prison reform and still open borders.

    When. not if , Florida or Texas, turn blue, again not issues, demographics , then the Republican Party will be as effective and have the same future as the Whigs. Trump may win in 2020 but a battle won again not the war. I am at peace personally but feel concern for the nation. It is like watching a loved one drinking themselves to death or being hooked on drugs. You cannot help people who will not help themselves.

    The only thing I like about Gavin Newsome is his ex wife but here I am talking about legs again. Legs have been a sore subject for me the past year


  65. Robert F,

    Since it first became a state, the viability of the state of California has been most threatened by those who wish to divide it. Read “partition and secession in California” on Wikipedia. Our ballot 2 weeks ago had a blank space where “Proposition 9” was supposed to have been – a judge threw out the initiative, another plot to divide California (into 3 parts, I believe). It’s nuts.

    The NPR outlet in Ashland OR calls itself Jefferson Public Radio, somewhat but not completely tongue-in-cheek; serious people (and others) in so. OR and nw CA have been calling for the State of Jefferson to be established for about 75 years.



  66. JB shows who he really is when he wishes for such disasters from God. Yes, we thankfully live in New Testament days.


  67. Robert F. Glad you are doing well and still have a leg to stand on. The sucky part is recovery and I hope yours is fast and you have mobility . It is terrible when the Rusty hits the fan unless you are behind the fan but I seldom am. I had a great support system except for my leg,
    I tried to get a leg up on the situation but could not. I told my wife I would not stand for it but had to remember I could hardly stand. My wife threatened to take my scooter away so I would come crawling back.
    Tribute to Joey Hunter 5th grade comic, What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef. What do you call a dog with no legs? Does not matter , he can’t come anyway. Joey Hunter’s act was so good in fifth grade , they kept him over another year.

    When I had my leg in a cast , I could not help wife with the housework======I could not lift my leg up , so she could vacuum under my chair. What has 100 legs and 4 teeth, 50 people at the methodone line at the rehab center.

    These jokes above may be real Rusty but remember there is no cover, no minimum. When they were fixing my leg, many told me if I was a horse they would “put me down” aka kill me, I was always worried that a veterinarian would show up when I was alone.


  68. You wrongly discount the power of social media platforms in the new era. That is a mistake. It is arguable that without the existence of Twitter, the current POTUS would not be POTUS. Religious movement can bypass local church and church institutions. That’s what INC Christianity does.


  69. I didn’t know who Stan Lee was until this week, but I do know that The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride at Islands of Adventures in Orlando is incredible.


  70. Pentecostalism and Liberty? Are you sure? Liberty has historically been associated with the Independent Baptists. Has that changed?

    [ Independent Baptists appear – at least to me – to be in decline over the past 3 decades or so.]

    Haven’t seen a “leisure suit” or bad comb-over in the pulpit for more than a few years.


  71. No. Some of this may be a product of my upbringing. My parents are committed Christians and politically conservative, but not really involved beyond the local church. I’m more informed than they are, but basically the same. Much of the craziness others on this site went through I never even heard of before coming here. That’s not to say that other’s in the churches I have been a part of haven’t heard or gone through some of that stuff, but at least in the Southern Baptist Church I’m in now, many don’t even know who Al Mohler or Russell Moore are. I’m pretty sure they don’t know much about other denominations either.


  72. Robert F., Pentecostalism is its own unique religious group. They DO have a history of some strange leaders [ from my Evangelical perspective ]. We ALL know Falwell of course – Mark Taylor? not so much.

    I have followed the Charismatics over the decades. Quite a range of churches within the Charismatic world. Quite a range of practices. However, I have not followed them as closely as I have the Evangelicals; of which I am one.

    Brownsville, Toronto, Bethel Church, Holy laughter movement, – I’ve more or less followed them all.

    You [might ] be surprised by the size of my “bubble.”

    If Mark Taylor speaks at a Gospel Coalition conference or Together for the Gospel or the Shepherds Conference in Socal, or the SBC conferences, then I will think he is a significant voice in Evangelical
    Circles. Otherwise – no.


  73. I’m not sure who posted the first Trump-mentioning comment, but let’s be fair. CM posted an article about the dangerous interface of religion and politics, including conspiracy theory mongering and apocalyptic frenzy. We are still dealing with these same issues and dangers in America today. How does one discuss that without discussing the political figures who the fanatics claim as inspiration?


  74. I don’t know, but look at the fruit. Centuries of it. I want to know why, and why it’s so much more prevalent than other traditions or methodologies.


  75. Exactly. Obama was president of the people he was castigating and ridiculing, and that should’ve been enough to stop him from saying that about them.


  76. I mentioned Trump because he figures greatly in the prophecies of the dangerous religious fanatic I was talking about. He even titled his book “The Trump Prophecies”. The maniac and his many followers on social media are obsessed with the current POTUS as God’s anointed; that’s just a fact.


  77. But JB is probably just pissed that a blue tsunami destroyed the Republican Party along with its few remaining stronglholds in CA this election season, and it’s because they wouldn’t separate from Trump. Sorry, JB. Remember that old Obama saying you’ve trotted out now and again in the last year or so: Elections have consequences. And one of the consequences of the election of Trump is the total destruction of the GOP in CA, which is a harbinger for the rest of the country. No sour grapes, now, JB.


  78. Robert F wrote:

    “Jim Jones and Jonestown are examples of just how bad American religion can get.”

    I always enjoy reading the Saturday Brunch comments. One thing I do for my own entertainment is to see how many comments it takes in a thread until the name “Trump” is mentioned. In this thread (excluding comments on Robert F’s recent medical procedure, and I glad you are doing well, Robert) it took 3 comments.

    I think the Saturday Brunch should do a special series.* At the website, there is a list of the top 10 Most Evil People in History. I think we should take the men on this list (and they are all men) and see what they have in common with our current President. Here are the names:

    1) Adolph Hitler (that should be easy)
    2) Joseph Stalin
    3) Osama Bin Laden
    4) Vlad Dracula
    5) Mao Zedong
    6) Pol Pot
    7) Justin Bieber (probably put on the list in jest, but you could make an argument for his inclusion)
    8) Kim Jong-Il
    9) Heinrich Himmler
    10) Genghis Khan

    *Not a serious proposal. Have a sense of humor, people!


  79. There are plenty of Pentecostal churches in my area, but I don’t really know much about what is going on in them


  80. I think Pentecostalism currently has converted what were formerly fundamentalist institutions. Liberty University is an example. I don’t think it’s as easy to see in the American landscape as a separate phenomenon from evangelicalism as in other parts of the world, but it’s there and growing by leaps and bounds. It’s using Youtube as in internet platform to get out its gospel, and as a staging ground for its conspiracy-prone, radicalized message.


  81. I tell you, many American Christians love the smiting, genocidal god of the OT. Some of them even want to exercise the same commandment of herem that Israel failed to thoroughly execute. Given the chance, they think they would do a better job.


  82. yes! I did. . . . thanks for catching that

    I’ve not heard specifically about Mark Taylor until today, but he must be an evangelical fundamentalist Trump supporter on steroids . . . . my goodness!

    too ridiculous for serious consideration . . . . but that’s what they said about a Trump candidacy for President

    the sheer maliciousness of his kind of thinking floors me


  83. Really:Fire and Brimstone for San Francisco? I hope you had tears in your eyes when you typed that. Who else will get this sort of judgment?


  84. The growth of fundamentalism and Pentecostalism isn’t the growth of Jesus Christ or the Kingdom of God in earth. It is fundamentally anti-gospel and love to the core.

    It’s the growth of the scared, the tribal, the backslidden, the hypocrites, the genocidists, the yahwists, the zionists, the anti intellectual, the fearful and scared and bullying and regressive.

    Of course it’s growing. The pendulum is swinging back to the right. It’s no indicator of truth or love, it’s evidence of darkness pushing back the light.

    Rage. Rage against.


  85. … American evangelicalism is actually several different though overlapping worlds, and that people occupying one of those worlds may not be aware of what’s going on in the other ones.

    I’ve noticed that, too. I’m not at all aware of what’s going on in pentecostalism, but painfully aware of the reformed / complementarian movement among baptists, and the shift among Southern Baptists in the past 20 years that is now affecting churches in New England. Some of my friends have no clue about that.

    You’ve said that pentecostalism is the fastest-growing branch, but here on the coast of Maine you wouldn’t know it. Religion is a little chill here anyway, but the activity that I’m aware of seems to be the “revitalization” of baptist-like churches, all in step with the reformed baptist movement coming out of the SBC.

    In Latin America, pentecostalism is very popular and fast-growing. But the missionariess I’ve been around are more in the baptist camp, whether ABC or independent. In conversations, some of them have two main complaints: 1) The Roman Catholics (good luck with that one) and 2) the Pentecostals or Assembly of God (again, good luck). They never seem to lament the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, who also have a large presence. Maybe those groups aren’t taken seriously.


  86. Because it’s fundamentalist, animalistic, appealing to the base and poor, and heartens back to a pre enlightenment ethos. Same old, same old.


  87. It is bad, but your question was of systemic failure. That won’t happen. This season will pass, there are sufficient resources to continue.


  88. Blaming Methodism for Jim Jones and other unnamed “crazy theologies” is a really big reach. By the way, Marshall Applewhite of the Heavens Gate cult studied at a Presbyterian seminary and was music director at a Presbyterian church.

    I always knew that you couldn’t trust Presbyterians.


  89. Michael Z. Do not worry, fire alone will not destroy San Francisco, it will be fire and brimstone. San Francisco is so expensive now that you cannot even find a good lot there anymore. However there are plenty of guys who will offer their daughters, or so they claim, to strangers. Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco but I hope he took his lungs.


  90. Christiane, I think you mean Moral Majority, and although it’s defunct it lives on otherwise. The “silent majority” was Richard Nixon’s base, or so he thought.

    I never heard of Mark Taylor until today. I hope he hasn’t got too much traction, but with social media it doesn’t take long.


  91. I disagree with the premise presented in the 10 Personality Traits English cannot name. Insortable, groosoozis, pantototoliaio can be summed up in one efficient English word which is Rusty. My cousin Rusty when I was a kid was the worst , he was a nightmare spoiled only kid. My brother and I got stuck with him often.
    Though the years whatever situation , person or event that happened that was stupid, negative or inexplicable we just used Rusty to describe it. O.J Simpson pulled a Rusty, G.W. Bush foreign wars was a Rusty decision, Brenda Sniipes competence level is Rusty level, I smell a Rusty, I have to go take a Rusty, We sure Rustied that up, shows the wide range of the descriptive power of the word Rusty. I am now giving the world permission to use the term Rusty to use as they see fit. WWRD, What Would Rusty Do? that would be easy, nothing.

    Rusty had a heart attack several years ago. In a final Rusty, he had his services on a day when my brother and I had a major Key West fishing trip planned. Had to go to funeral as my Mom and Aunt were still alive at that time. We got Rustied one final time. My brother was going to speak and say Rusty never looked better but he was cremated so we did not want to pull a Rusty.


  92. A lot of people are getting hurt bad, not just by flames but by smoke-polluted air. Imagine all the homeless and other poor people trying to breathe without masks they can’t afford or find.


  93. Christiane, I’m beginning to see that what we call American evangelicalism is actually several different though overlapping worlds, and that people occupying one of those worlds may not be aware of what’s going on in the other ones. Reformed and/or Baptist evangelicals may not have a good view of, or care much about, what’s happening among the Pentecostals, even though Pentecostalism is the most dynamic, fast-growing, radically political and conspiracy-prone of the three.


  94. I hope you’re right. Do you have much interface with the Pentecostal side of evangelicalism? I’m beginning to think that it’s a very different world from the Southern Baptist and Reformed overlaps with evangelicalism, and that there might not be much interface between the different ecclessial worlds you occupy. Some of you seem to be oblivious to what’s happening in Pentecostalism, which you know is a very powerful and popular movement in American Christianity.


  95. These kind of policies are almost entirely local, not state. Which is possibly even worse as local government and unpopular-but-necessary-decision are not often concomitant – – – local elections, things like township or city commissioner, are decided by elections which have astonishingly low participation, so the crazies and the grumps are inordinately powerful


  96. No, the state of California alone is the ~5th largest economy in the world with one of the busiest sea-rail ports in the world. They’ll be OK.


  97. Ditto to that, I’ve never heard of him either. Of course I’ve heard of Jerry Falwell Jr., but his word has never pulled much weight in the churches (Southern Baptist) that I’ve been a part of. I don’t doubt what you say about what Mark Taylor as far as what he is preaching. But I do think you are a bit too worried about the amount of influence he has.


  98. A long time ago, the ‘silent majority’ rose up and infested our country with a political-evangelical alliance that was anything BUT silent . . . .

    and the overflow of fear-mongering from this lot has infected our country with deep divisions . . . . I would be hesitant to tell any person to ‘be silent’ in such a setting, because we need to KNOW what it is that the Dominists are going after and we see this in Taylor’s call for Trump to declare martial law, and we must respond from our collective strength of moral conscience in spite of the accusations to ‘keep quiet’ . . . .

    the only reason to be silent and look away is ‘fear’ and we saw what happened in other countries when people of conscience remained silent in the face of the worship of malicious authority . . . . I think we know how that story ended, so we have no choice but to stand up, and speak out, and vote, and resist the darkness because, since Charlottesville and since the babies torn from their mothers arms, we know what is going down and we have no excuse but to confront it for what it is


  99. My understanding is that proposals have been made, even unanimously, to help with this problem, only to be vetoed by the Governor.


  100. Ever heard of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell, Jr.? Big time supporters of Taylor. This support is on the side of evangelicalism that merges with Pentecostalism, which is far bigger than your Reformed side merge with evangelicalism. Your positioning is small fry in terms of the overall evangelical/Pentecostal movement, and I don’t think you get outside your bubble much to see what’s happening on the other ecstatic side, do you?


  101. “Huge following among American Evangelical Community?” Never heard of Mark Taylor until your post. I’m thinking you are over-estimating his following among the American Evangelical population.


  102. thank God for all the Cubby’s and the Bei Bei’s of this world . . . . when nothing makes sense anymore in our troubled midst, they are there by the grace of God to bring joy and comfort to our hearts . . . . we need them more than we know

    “What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.”
    (Chief Seathl, 1854)


  103. I was in San Francisco last week. I had not grasped the sheer scale of the fires until we were approaching the airport and I looked out the window and saw a wall of smoke stretching clear to the horizon, so thick you couldn’t see the ground. At times the visibility was only a couple of miles, and there was yellow soot / grime on everything. It really did feel like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie.


  104. Yeah well Yahweh commanded his people to slaughter, but her, and massacre, every man woman and child, because they weren’t us and not part of his tribe he randomly chose. If the child was dead they wouldn’t cry.

    Glory. Amen. Hallelujah.


  105. Why is about Methodism that has led to so many crazy theologies and messed up people. It has birthed so many evil, wicked movements since it started. Is it from the roots it was formed from? Idk.

    I’m attending the Liturgists Gathering in Minneapolis this week, at a historic Methodist church. It’s beautiful. The building is beautiful and the people of the church seem loving and affirming and Christ like. But I know there is blood on those walls. Maybe they can wash it away in time.


  106. Yes, opioid addiction is widespread among those who listen to the pundits. One of the most influential early pundits, Rush Limbaugh, was himself addicted to opioids for a time, and arrested on drug-related charges, all while he was broadcasting, and occasionally calling for the arrest and incarceration of illicit drug users and traffickers ; there must be others we don’t know of.


  107. I think the ‘drugs’ are involved at a very seminal level.

    Think about the radio pundits who are extreme far-right ‘think tanks’ for the masses of red-state followers who identify as ‘Christian’. These famous pundits contribute to the anger and fear and conspiracy theories.

    Are some of these most famous pundits not victims themselves of serious drug addictions?

    Paranoia is one symptom of alcoholic psychosis, and also of other severe drug addictions . . . . when the victims of these addictions become the ‘leaders’ of far-right thought for their masses, is there not some transference of the effect of drug use on the thinking of red-state Christian Trump followers???

    Paranoia is a sympton of mental illness and it requires treatment. But when people are in a bubble, isolated and concentrated, as were the followers at Jonestown, we might have behaviors that are irrational, such as the ‘preaching of the Word’ side by side with some of the worst fear-mongering and I’m sorry to say, the drug-fueled fearfulness of the extremist pundits may very well win out over 2 Timothy 1:7, you bet:
    “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

    Dominionism? Is it on the horizon?
    somewhere in a border camp tent cage, a three-year old refugee child cried for his ‘pa pa’ and was not comforted


  108. The municipalities in California are slowly updating tjier policies [although this is very late in the game]. So, someone learns. BUT most land is outside municipalities, in townships or unincorporated areas – not much hope there [ ‘Merica! ]


  109. RIP, Stan Lee. The only comic character I loved more than Spider-Man when I was a kid was Charlie Brown. Back when the Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” movie was first released, I surprised my wife by singing along with the Spider-Man theme song during the end credits. She couldn’t stop laughing.


  110. I’m sure the Dutch could teach us a thing or two about wildfires, but will we ever be willing to learn? We’re cowboys, remember; we learn the hard way, or not at all. I’m betting on the latter in this case.


  111. +1000… and we’re so arrogant about our “way (land use, trans. healthcare, on and on) as well… most everybody I know would say with a straight face that america does most things better than everybody else; and that these tragedies are just God’s will and way of making us even better…


  112. And if anybody wants to accuse me of politicizing the Saturday Brunch, just realize that what made Jim Jones especially dangerous and deadly as a religious figure was the way he used conspiracy theory and leftist politics to intensify the apocalyptic religious mentality of his followers; and that the same thing is happening on the American Christian right today, as evidenced by Mark Taylor and Jerry Falwell, Jr., among many others. They are the ones politicizing religion, actually radicalizing it, and they need to be called on it, every day and constantly by other Christians.


  113. When it comes to American land use and transportation policies we can learn from pretty much ANYWHERE; we are so very very bad at these things. We would be better off I believe, with little to no exaggeration, to fire everyone involved in our policies and cut-n-paste in the policies from a random somewhere else. Ugh.

    Perhaps there are multi-dimensional aliens who inserted the American continent into the world so they would have a place to run an experiment on how badly a nation of sentient beings could actually be at land-use policy. Every weekend they gather to watch the updates and place wagers on which completely irrational decision will blow up next – like a kind of morbid sports betting.


  114. And there is more, much more, that Taylor has said. He’s all over Youtube, enormously popular among Pentecostals, and he’s thoroughly supported by Liberty University and Jerry Falwell, Jr as well as other evangelical leaders. Look for yourself; people need to know what’s going on in the American religious world at this time. The cancer of bad religion, spiked by conspiracy theory, is metastasizing. Almost Stage 4.


  115. Take a look at this “Fireman Prophet”, Mark Taylor, who claims that God in prophecies told him that he had ordainedTrump to be president, to declare martial law, to put his political adversaries in concentration camps; who claims that a secret military tribunal, under Trump’s control, already exists, that it tried and condemned John McCain, who was executed as a result and did not die of natural causes; and then realize that Liberty University and Jerry Falwell, Jr., give full support to Taylor and a film recently made about him. For his part, Falwell has said that the former attorney general, Jeffrey Sessions, should rot in jail, along with others, for recusing himself from the Mueller-Russia investigation and thereby allowing it to go forward. Realize that both Taylor and Falwell have huge followings among the American evangelical community, who they, along with others, are politically radicalizing every day.

    Then ask yourself: who supplied the drugs, and who’s going to supply the Kool Aid?


  116. That link about Mark Taylor is about the most explicit example I have seen of the principle of the modern American right wing that every accusation is a confession.


  117. Jim Jones’ craziness indeed seems to have surfaced with his drug use; but American religious craziness now seems not to require drugs.


  118. The photos of the California fires are so sad. The buildings wiped away while the immediate adjacent trees remain topped with green. And we will likely rebuild the same thing, yet another cycle of rinse-n-repeat. 😦


  119. It is a nasty web; and there are good reasons the CIA was prohibited by law in 1977 from recruiting missionaries and clergy, something against which the CIA has protested before congress many times.

    That era [1960s – 1970s] suffered doubly so due to the addition of drugs into mix. At least we have managed to, mostly, move beyond that.


  120. I’m home and recuperating. Things seem to be going well, Susan, but naturally enough not as quickly as I would like them to. Thanks for your prayers and concern.


  121. Jim Jones and Jonestown are examples of just how bad American religion can get. A significant aspect of the phenomenon that led to Jonestown is the way Jones used politics to whip up a state of sustained paranoia among his followers and control them. In Jones case, the politics used were on the leftist revolutionary side of the scale. But today, we have a couple of religious figures,like Mark Taylor, from the other side of the scale,with large numbers of followers and powerful supporters, who are giving clear signals that what they are leading their people to is something even worse.


  122. The known death toll is up to 71 and the number of missing is now over a 1,000 though I hope many of the latter list are just misplaced. The smoke is irritating throats and more in the SF Bay area and causing cancellation or postponement of many events (including the Big Game). The air pollution is by all accounts worst in the Central Valley. Several SF museums are open for free this weekend so, for among other reasons, people can be in relatively clean air. At least one winter homeless shelter is also opening early so the homeless can get out of the smoke at night.

    And then there are the fire fighters who risk lives and health including the large number of California prisoners (men and women) who work for $1/hour but are unlikely to find a job as a firefighter after prison (most fire departments bar former felons).


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