The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: January 19, 2019
What are you doing out there? Come on in out of the wind and snow and join us for Brunch! We have hot chocolate, tea, and coffee, and plenty of food to warm and fill you. Here in the northern climes we’re deep in the bleak midwinter, and a nasty snowstorm is making its way across the continental U.S. as we speak. Let’s take a break from the bluster and enjoy some time at the table together. Welcome to Brunch!
• • •
Somewhere, Michael Spencer is laughing his head off…
It’s a home run. It’s an absolutely perfect confluence of topics for the iMonk, who loved to laugh about the evangelical circus and who lived to enjoy Cincinnati Reds baseball. At Right Wing Watch, Kyle Mantyla reports:
Self-proclaimed “prophet” Charlie Shamp appeared on “The Jim Bakker Show” today, where he recounted a divine vision he claims he was given in which God told him that former professional baseball player Pete Rose will be forgiven and inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a sign of the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
Shamp claimed that he was “taken in the spirit” and brought to a stadium which began to shake, where he was told by God that such an event will take place at some point in the future and that it will be a sign of revival. Shamp said that God then took him back to Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California, when it was hit by an earthquake during the World Series in 1989, which was also the year in which the gambling scandal involving Rose was revealed, which eventually resulted in Rose being banned from baseball and deemed permanently ineligible for the Hall of Fame.
Shamp then claimed that God took him to another stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he “saw a man standing in red.” (Rose played for, and was manager of, the Cincinnati Reds for a large part of his career.)
“I said, ‘Who is this Lord?’” Shamp recounted. “He said, ‘This is Peter to me.’ He said, ‘This man was a past time hero of America,’ and I said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’ And he said, ‘Pete Rose.’ He said, ‘1989, there was a massive scandal that took place with Pete Rose.’ He said, ‘And even to this day, he has not been allowed to enter into the Hall of Fame.’ But he said as a prophetic sign, he said that the Lord will redeem him and allow him to be forgiven and enter into the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
“It will be a sign,” Shamp proclaimed, “that those that have been away from the Lord, that were playing in the game, they were on the field but they were taken out through scandal, the Lord said that, ‘It will be a sign that I’m returning.’”
Of course, Jim Bakker “verified” the truth of this prophecy by exclaiming that Pete Rose had once sent him a signed baseball and he had never told anyone about it. What a coincidence!
Oh, and make sure you take a good look at this prophet dude’s picture. Wow.
This one’s for you, Michael!
• • •
The Haifa (Israel) Museum of Art has been displaying a sculpture called “McJesus,” which is designed to be a critique of society’s capitalistic culture.
Despite the fact that the sculpture has been up for months and shown in other countries without incident, Israel’s Arab Christian community has protested and called for the sculture’s removal.
As reported by the Jerusalem Post, one protester told Walla news that he thought the government was ignoring complaints because Arab Christians are in the minority in Israel, making up a small percentage of the country’s population.
“If they put up [a sculpture of] Hitler with a Torah scroll, they would immediately respond,” the protester told the Israeli news outlet.
The museum, however, says that removing the artwork would undermine freedom of expression. It has since hung a curtain over the entrance to the exhibit and put up a sign indicating that the sculpture is not meant to be offensive.
“This is the maximum that we can do,” Tal told the AP. “If we take the art down, the next day we’ll have politicians demanding we take other things down, and we’ll end up only with colorful pictures of flowers in the museum.”
There has been another protest about this artwork, and it actually comes from the artist who created it.
Jani Leinonen, the Finnish artist behind “McJesus,” told the Jerusalem Post that the sculpture was displayed against his wishes. He said he wants it removed from the exhibit because he supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, better known as BDS. The Palestinian-led initiative calls for boycotting Israeli goods and services to pressure Israel to end its occupation.
• • •
Australia’s gay penguin parents…
A remarkable nature story from Australia came to light this week.
Young, inexperienced penguins, when they become parents, apparently aren’t very good at it. They get distracted from their nests, go to play or to take a swim, and as a result, the eggs they’ve laid get cold and are not likely to hatch.
However, in Sydney Australia where this young penguin colony is, there was one penguin couple that is different. Their names are Sphen and Magic, they made the biggest nest, and they diligently sat on it, keeping the eggs warm.
What’s the catch? Spen and Magic are “gay” — two male penguins who have taken to each other and have become a “couple.”
Sphen, who is 6 and from SeaWorld, is taller and has a bigger beak. He’s quieter, more serious and less interested in toys and humans.
But it was clear early on what Sphen and Magic were doing when they met one summer day at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium.
First, as is the Gentoo way, they began to bow to each other.
They brought each other carefully selected pebbles for the nest they hoped to build together. If either had not been interested he would have rejected the pebble, pushing it away with a beak. But each admired the pebbles he was brought.
Ms. Lawrie described it as “consent.”
Then they started to sing. Standing close together, they sang to each other until they had learned each other’s voices.
“You would see Magic standing in his spot looking for Sphen, and he would call and Sphen would come running over and give Magic a little bow and sing as well,” Ms. Hannan said. “They’ve chosen each other. That’s it. They’re bonded now.”
Others in the colony of 33 penguins were still flirting. Younger birds tend to take a little while to choose their partners.
“They were recognizing multiple different bird calls and bowing to different individuals,” Ms. Hannan said. “We saw none of that behavior from either Sphen or Magic. They weren’t interested in other birds in the colony.”
And so it was no surprise that the two began preparing for an egg.
“We knew they would start picking up stones,” Ms. Hannan said. “And we knew they would build the best nest.”
When the egg came, Sphen and Magic each took turns sitting on it for 28 days.
Read more about their little one “Sphengic” and the way these two devoted penguin parents are nurturing him by clicking on the link above. It is truly an extraordinary tale.
• • •
Another megachurch leader steps aside…
From RNS: Pastor James MacDonald will take an “indefinite sabbatical from all preaching and leadership” at Harvest Bible Chapel, the influential Chicago-area megachurch he founded more than 30 years ago, as the church seeks to address continued criticism alleging a culture of intimidation and little accountability for its leadership.
The move comes a week after Harvest dropped a defamation lawsuit against two bloggers, their wives and a freelance reporter, following a court ruling that documents subpoenaed in the case could be made public.
On Wednesday (Jan. 16), Harvest Bible Chapel’s governing elders announced on the Harvest website a “peacemaking process that seeks both reconciliation and change where needed.”
In a statement included in the announcement, MacDonald said, “I am grieved that people I love have been hurt by me in ways they felt they could not express to me directly and have not been able to resolve.
“I blame only myself for this and want to devote my entire energy to understanding and addressing these recurring patterns.”
• • •
Historic blizzard photos from New York City (New York Times)…
• • •
HEADLINE OF THE WEEK: