The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: January 19, 2019

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!

• • •

Holy McJesus!

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 Michael Brice-Saddler reports in the Washington Post:

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…

Gentoo penguins relax in the cool temperatures at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium in 2016. Sphen and Magic, the newest penguin couple in the aquarium, are fostering an egg together.

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.”

Nellie Boles tells their story at the New York Times:

Magic, a 3-year-old Gentoo born at the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium, is excitable and playful. He chases after toys and anything that shines. He greets visitors.

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)…

Times Square, aka Longacre Square, c. 1895
Central Park, 1859
As evidenced by this view toward Wall Street, it’s hard to overstate the devastation wrought by the blizzard of 1888, an onslaught which started on March 11 and lasted most of three days. It caught the Northeast by surprise at the tail end of a balmy weekend amid a mild winter. It killed more than 400 people from Maryland to Maine, half of them in the New York area, while paralyzing commerce and grinding daily life to a frozen halt. It wasn’t just that the roads and rails were choked with snow; the innumerable fallen telephone, telegraph and electrical lines left crackling hazards hidden beneath the snow while disabling communication — for regular people, for brokers and markets, and especially for the railroads, which relied on the wired telegraph to dispatch trains safely even in mild weather. That cut off the supply of food, forcing some New Yorkers to cook frozen sparrows they scrounged from outside their front doors.
Near City Hall, sometime before World War I
“Storm Played No Favorites with Men or Beasts,” an editor wrote in 1914 as part of a winter-misery photo spread titled “New Yorkers Playthings in the Blizzard’s Grip.”
In January of 1909, when this undated photo first ran in the newspaper, “snow tickets” referred to the pay-per-load voucher system through which the city compensated the on-call army of subcontractors who cleared the majority of New York City’s streets in a snowstorm.

• • •


If Your Church Doesn’t Have an Elaborate System of Wires to Make Your Pastor Fly, Is It Really Even Church?

How was service this weekend ?

A post shared by churchoflaugh (@churchoflaugh) on


112 thoughts on “The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: January 19, 2019

  1. Christiane, After 24 hours, more details and videos of the encounter have surfaced, and the young man in question has spoken, and spoken eloquently, in his own defense. This may be one of those instances when we saw what we were told to see in the encounter, and on the basis of incomplete evidence, and rushed to judgment. I’ve been aware that some people are manipulating media perceptions in very dishonest ways on both sides of the political partisan divide; in this case, it may have been so manipulated by people who call themselves progressives. I have to withdraw judgment, and wait for more details.


  2. I tend to think such attitudes and behaviors are learned at home. And where were their school chaperones? They certainly did not go to the Life rally without adult supervision, so where were the adults? I mean, those kids reminded of the kids in The Lord of the Flies working themselves up into a killing frenzy.


  3. The withdrawal is not necessarily economic. People can work the jobs they have.You might want to read the book.I don’t think he advocates what you think he advocates.


  4. it’s not only gone viral, it’s now on national news, MAGA red hat and all

    that kid is in trouble


  5. nope, Biff

    we took their land from them; then we put them on reservations on bad unproductive land

    our gov’t mistreated them, and at one point, tribes were given blankets infected with smallpox on purpose and it destroyed many innocent lives

    for many Americans, when they do those DNA tests, they find some American Indian DNA is a part of who they are . . . . . we should be proud of that connection, to have ‘roots’ among the people who lived here first in freedom before we came to take it from them


  6. Hi Robert F.
    YES, I saw them . . . . and they’re Catholic high school kids, too

    boy, are they ever going to get it when they go home . . . what kind of Catholic school is that ????

    someone at that school needs to answer for the behavior of these students, and the students need to apologize and GO TO CONFESSION . . . . like NOW

    Sister Ruth at my old high school would have killed them. May God rest her soul.


  7. people are needing baby supplies, diapers, etc. also . . . . lots of young families are in need . . .


  8. But if he remains three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet.

    The Didache, chapt. 11


  9. Now the rot of Trumpism is affecting Catholic young people also:

    the Church has some work to do because someone at that Catholic school dropped the ball and these kids need straightening out quickly

    some have said ‘throw them out of school’, but I think the school needs to look at its own self as to what happened there and take stock of what messages are being given to young students . . . . if any of the kids in MY old Catholic high school behaved this way, the nuns would have seen that they NEVER did anything like that again . . . what a miserable witness that school sent to DC for that rally

    hate spawns more hatred, but that Trumpism infects the young is too much to tolerate


  10. CB, According to the fact checking sites I’ve looked at regarding this, your claim that Australia has the most generous refugee program in the world per capita is incorrect.


  11. One person on Twitter made a great point and said that the boy’s smug look is the look of a zealot. That little fool (the teen) doesn’t realize that he’s going to be outed soon on social media and that this is going to haunt him for a long, long time.


  12. Exactly, and that does make Christians look good, or well, better, at least. No, we’re not going to go kill people who offend us.


  13. Dear Robert, unfortunately you are lacking quite an amount of information in regard to Australia’s approach to refugees. It’s and not enough room on this forum to provide an informed response. However, suffice it to say that Australia has the most generous refugee program in the world, in terms of per capita. These are those people found to have a genuine case for resettlement, unlike those who self-select and try to come by boat. We have and continue to debate our policy, however 1200 deaths at sea and traumatised children means that our border policy of no resettlement in Australia if you come by boat, has worked as the illicit trade of people smugglers has been broken. We don’t discriminate in terms of country of origin, if you come by boat, no entry. BTW Australia provided refuge for Vietnamese fleeing the communist regime at the end of the war, they were welcomed and have proven themselves to be ideal Aussies.


  14. Christiane, have you seen today’s story about the teenage boy Right-to-Life marchers in D.C., many wearing MAGA hats, taunting an older Native American man who had been there attending the concurrent Indigenous Peoples march? Just shameful, but not surprising in a country where the president makes joking reference to one of the most horrific historic massacres of indigenous people (Wounded Knee) just to ridicule a political adversary.


  15. I don’t have the resources to withdraw, and neither do the vast majority of Christians in the world. The Benedict Option is a solution for a class of affluent First World Christians who have options, and for that reason is partial and fragmentary; it is not for me, or most other Christian around the world, who cannot afford the option.


  16. what state was it did ‘Big Butter Jesus’?

    we have a lot of McJesus types here on television starting with Pat Robertson and including many of the crazies who use ‘preaching’ as ‘entertainment’ on television

    not sure who is the worst of the lot, but there is plenty of examples to go around

    we Catholics had our own troubles: the anti-semitic, fascist-embracing Father Coughlin in the 1930’s who later was pro-Hitler and pro other demogogues
    “In January 1934, Coughlin testified before Congress in support of FDR’s policies, saying, “If Congress fails to back up the President in his monetary program, I predict a revolution in this country which will make the French Revolution look silly!””

    ‘course he wasn’t a ‘typical’ Catholic, thank God, but he had a following for a time and it hurt the Church’s witness in its day

    seems like what was old is new again . . . . not knowing our past, we repeat it, again and again


  17. The goal of the Benedict Option is a strategic withdrawal in order to embody a more faithful engagement with the world. The escape you speak of is not a reading sustained by a close reading of the book. Take a look at the missional engagements recommended therein.


  18. Not to save the world, no, but to live in a way congruent with Christ’s Incarnation into it, rather than escaping from it into gated religious communities. But none of that really concerns me, in any case; since I’m not affluent enough to buy-into Dreher’s Benedict Option ghetto, I’ll have to be one of the those that make up the newly defined class of Christians that are Left Behind when the Benedict Option enclave gates close at night.


  19. No serious person has called Rod Dreher a “Prophet” and he certainly does claim the title. And he apparently is a White Evangelical Separatist even though he converted to Christianity as a Roman Catholic, and is now an Orthodox Christian. You might check his ecclesiology before you connect him to your own Evangelical Bogeyman. You admit he never states his belief in a persecution complex yet the book is objectionable because you somehow just know it is what he believes in his heart. The rest of your complaint is that he did not write the book you say he SHOULD have written, which like everything else you have said is not about the book at all. Not sure what you think of Dreher’s argument and evidence because your judgement of the author seems to get in the way. Sniff test indeed


  20. They really do. This just shows the rot at the core of evangelical culture.

    By the way, you can pat yourself on the head for being right back then.


  21. They have taken The Mark of The Trump on forehead AND right hand.

    That’s what has always gotten me about Trump-vangelicals. How Born-Again Bible-Believing Christians(TM) become the most FANATICAL of Trump Fanatics. Like those who Take The Mark in bad Christian Apocalyptic. You know, where once the Mark goes on the markee instantly becomes fanatically-loyal to The Beast unto Death (and beyond).

    In my time in-country (during The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay), I often committed the Unpardonable Sin of doubting their History Written in Advance (i.e. all the Christian Apocalyptic tropes and shticks). I got patted on the head with SCRIPTURE(TM) — “GOD Shall Send Them Strong Delusion, That They Shall Believe a Lie. Tsk. Tsk.”

    And now these same Christians act just like the Marked Beast Worshippers in their REAL Scriptures (Late Great Planet Earth, Left Behind, Four Blood Moons, etc), following, worshiping, and marveling “Who is Like Unto The Trump? Who can stand against Him?”


  22. > If a book sells does it prove by virtue of its sales the failure of its argument?

    It most certainly denies the appellation of “Prophet” from its author, yes. We were not talking about “validity”, we were talking about the claim of being a Prophet. Obviously many best selling books contain valid claims.

    > The Benedict Option may not be a great book but the assertion that Christians
    > are all under persecution it does not make.

    That assertion is the very foundation of the Benedict Option. He always avoids directly declaring his persecution complex, but that is the undeniable root of what is essentially White Evangelical Separatism. Whenever Mr. Dreher is pressed on how the economics of his proposals could play out, or be available to anyone other than the privileged and affluent his go to response is always: ” I am going to need to do a lot more thinking on and investigation of this point”, and has been for years. Somehow he never seems to get around to that part; that should have been the first part, and it certainly should have been resolved before be wrote a book.


  23. One word came to mind when I saw that clip: self-glorification. (I did debate if that was one word or two.)


  24. I don’t disagree with you. I’m not sure what your reply means. Did you mistake the word martial in my reply for the word material? Surely you’re not saying that I need to carry a sidearm when I offer someone a cup of water!


  25. They also say, “Our God Don in heaven, holy is your name, for yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever.”


  26. Congrats! As a fellow author, I can appreciate the journey to get to this point! I just had my first short story published, and received my first royalties. I hope to have my two-book sci-fi series out soon, too!

    I’m a baseball nut. Used to play APBA (the DICE version) all the time. I’m a stat nut. Bill James is god. All that. Looking forward to reading this.


  27. The Browns winning would be much more of a sign of “something.”

    The Pete Rose prophecy… like, Why would God choose Pete Rose as a sign for something?


  28. The Didache had something to say about prophets who ask for money.
    This klepto-vangelism is what it is, and people will always be taken in by it.
    And while you listen to that blasphemy,, don’t forget to. buy your end times
    food buckets so you can eat like kingz while your neighbor starves.


  29. Ronald died for the sins of man?
    More like many have died for him,
    afterr lliving the gospel of cholesterol.

    I just don’t get the point…
    How an the epitome of capitalist McD culture
    be any sort of social critique of it?


  30. So you want us to pat ourselves on the back, and point out how superior our religion is to Islam, or how cowardly artists are for not attacking the Koran in a similar way for fear of retaliation? Do you want artists to be afraid to offend Christians? Thank God those days when artists were afraid to offend us are over….more or less, and at least for now.


  31. I remember what happened. But I don’t see what that has to do with this discussion. Are we to pat ourselves on the back for not torching McJesus? And you think there aren’t some Christians out there who wouldn’t do it if they could pull it off? Many of them live in the southern United States.


  32. Does a sniff test engage the thesis of the book or the evidence produced therein? If a book sells does it prove by virtue of its sales the failure of its argument? The Benedict Option may not be a great book but the assertion that Christians are all under persecution it does not make. The caricature is apprently as casual as the sniff test.


  33. You really have to ask that question? Check what happened to Charlie Hebdo and what didn’t happen to McJesus.


  34. He’s suspect in my opinion if he is being fiscally rewarded.

    Much like the Benedict Option’s persecution complex . . . as the book rests at the top of the New York Time’s best seller list for several weeks. Yeah, must be rough, speaking that truth.

    All this fails the most casual sniff test.


  35. Yep. So often Natural Law seems to be Legitimate when arguing AGAINST something; but somehow NOT legitimate when arguing FOR something. So obviously biased; let’s just get rid of it.


  36. When I think of a prophet I think of someone who is sort of tormented by the message of the Holy Spirit and compelled to express it. The prophet’s life is sacrificial, almost as much curse as blessing. It is a weighty responsibility. Now how about me shallowly judging a book by its cover but any “prophet” who has that much time to spend on his look is just a little suspect. That hair is something. Still, he’s probably right about Charlie Hustle. When Pete goes into the Hall I’ll be looking for fire and brimstone.


  37. > but its means for realization are not martial,

    I consider offering a cup of water to the thirsty man to be ultimately physical.

    What else is the mans of its realization?


  38. Headless U Guy, Because that would take real courage as the artist that would draw a picture , even a respectful one of the prophet would face serious consequences. If the statue of Ronald McDonald on the cross was at a private, non public financed , customer or donor based museum that is one thing and freedom of speech. When it is displayed at a public funded museum different influences prevail.
    That being said the safest place in the middle east for Arab Christians, in fact all Christians is Israel. Do the mass media and artist deeply respect the teachings of Islamic faith because they truly respect their religion or is it out of fear. Ever hear a comedian that will blast Catholics, Jews, Evangelicals and any organized religion really make an Islamic joke about their rigid beliefs.

    I envision a SNL skit where there is a Taliban strip club where the men go to see the women in burkas flashing nose, maybe ear lobe or toe for a buck. No the great speak truth to power people mean that they will play it safe but pretend they respect Islam more than any other religion. There is only one God and the mass media will help be his messenger, well certainly not offend his followers as they respect different cultures that might kill them.


  39. I don’t argue that if other animals do it it’s okay for humans. But those who are morally opposed to human homosexuality routinely trot out the argument that it is against nature, or contrary to natural law. They should stop using an argument that has no reasonable foundation.


  40. The idea that anyone wants to appeal to animal activity as “proof” that supports whatever behavior they are advocating is bizarre to me. If we go by that then we might as well chalk up incest as natural behavior or eating our young. If you want to argue that something is moral you should probably have better arguments than “Well animals do it!”


  41. And Jesus was a political being too. The Kingdom of God is political through and through; but its means for realization are not martial, nor is it compatible with politics that utilize martial means.


  42. “Seriously Critique”?

    They’ve already anticipated you.
    “Serious Critique” = “FAKE NEWS!!!! ALL LIES FROM THE PIT OF HELL!!!!!! PERSECUTION!!!!!!!!”
    The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.


  43. I recommend categorically rejecting all “natural law” arguments. It is Whoo Ha and Hand Waving.


  44. > 1. Eliminating the automatic 501(c)(3) non-profit organization status for churches.

    I am on the board of two 501(c)(3) organizations. And I support the elimination of non-profit status across the board; it is more trouble than it is worth for ~90% of organizations, and it creates a great poop pile of societal ills. Just get rid of it.

    > 2. Seriously critique the CEO corporate management paradigm

    Can’t see than happening. 😦 The Strong Leader is as American as Apple Pie and Traffic Congestion.

    > 3. Seriously critique the concept of church worship as infotainment

    I am confident this problem will eliminate itself.

    > 4. Seriously critique the idea that bigger is better.

    I am Optimistic. This critique, across the board, is well underway in the Zs and Millenials.

    > 5. Don’t be so frikkin’ gullible!

    The Boomers are dying off at ~10,000/day in my state. If re-sent/retweeted/reshared “fake news” statistics are any indicator this will really help – – – old people are the gas in the engine of nonsense and falsehood.


  45. 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…

    He’s taking his Pastoral Sabbatical in Florida, where the Pastor for the HBC Franchise Mega has been fired to make room for The Great One. Sounds like a bugout to me. And as for the Franchise Pastor? He Outlived His Usefulness to The Superapostle.


  46. 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.

    Is that “prophet” or “Hipster of Hipsters”?
    All that’s missing is Ironic Jewelry Ironically braided into his Ironic beard and Ironic man-bun. (And an Ironic vape inhaler…)

    (I’m posting this from a hotel Internet room in San Jose. Silicon Valley Snob Appeal.)


  47. > for whom their religion was just an identity and not an active part of their life.

    Polls of all variety depend on Self-Identification. There is a good argument for that: if HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people identify as X then THEY define what X means. Not some pastor. Not some Theologian. Not some Academic. If an individual or some type of institution, is not in agreement with that definition then they must, if they care at all about intellectual legitimacy, divest of that label. If they choose not to then they ARE consenting to that definition.

    > We’re in a social climate where for many people, “liberal” or “conservative” is their
    > *primary* identity

    Nah. I do not accept this rank ordering of identities that is currently in vogue, especially among pastor types [trying to excuse themselves from the frying pan]. I do not accept this because it relies on the old – and false – notion that people operate from some “worldview” or enumerated Values. People don’t work that way.

    People have ALWAYS, and always will be, POLITICAL first; because politics dictates their expenses, their income, how their neighborhood looks, how they move around, etc… Pastor’s may delude themselves that they, or Religion, were ever first – they never were – certainly not in the Modern age. One requires a very coarse undetailed knowledge of history to believe such a thing.

    Religion is a POLITICAL act. Apolitical Religion is an contradiction.

    Conservatives have turned toward a Far Right Vision, so this truth is more manifest, but it has always been, and always will be.


  48. It is a visually beautiful photograph, with theologically meaningful and not gratuitously disrespectful implications. The only way it is disrespectful is in the way the Incarnation itself is — an affront to pious religious expectations and proprieties.


  49. Sphen and Magic: one more piece of evidence, to add to all the others, that homosexuality is not unnatural. Of course, those opposed to homosexuality will be quick to insist that there is a difference between what is natural and natural law, the latter only applying to human nature. But in their search for arguments against homosexuality they almost invariably slip into vague and ill-defined pre-modern ideas about both nature and human nature. We’ve learned from evolutionary biology that the world of non-human nature and its development, including with regard to natural qualities, characteristics, and behaviors, is on a continuum with the world of human nature (including morality), not in a discreet compartment set apart from it. To learn about the animal world is also to learn about the human world; as a result, any attempt to bifurcate moral thinking into completely discreet human and non-human categories, and to segregate it from matters of shared human and non-human biology, is bound to distort one’s conclusions, as it indeed has for centuries and millennia.


  50. According to Christianity Today, a large fraction of that 81% (at least a third to a half) are actually not regular church-goers. In fact, there’s a clear trend where the more often someone who identifies as “evangelical” attends church, the less likely they were to vote for Trump. In other words, the “evangelicals” who voted for Trump tended to be people for whom their religion was just an identity and not an active part of their life.

    We’re in a social climate where for many people, “liberal” or “conservative” is their *primary* identity, and all other identities shift in order to line up with what someone’s political group expects. Thus, for example, many people who are conservative will identify as evangelical even if they don’t attend church. (And, conversely, many liberals who attend evangelical churches aren’t comfortable calling themselves “evangelical.”) That may be skewing the statistical picture significantly.


  51. I don’t expect anyone to buy it just because the author comments on a blog you read, but I can promise that if you are interested in baseball, particularly its history and rules, this is a book that will not only interest you, but is entirely unlike any other baseball book. I backed, quite by accident, into a topic that has never been addressed.


  52. “…understanding and addressing these recurring patterns…”

    Ok,how about –

    1. Eliminating the automatic 501(c)(3) non-profit organization status for churches. They should be able to qualify but only after they can justify they deserve it by making their finances public and reporting their financial activities to the IRS like everyone else.

    2. Seriously critique the CEO corporate management paradigm. This quickly opens itself to abuse and the creation of cults of personality which seem to go against the very foundation on which the church was originally organized. (Remember the concept of the community? The body of Christ?)

    3. Seriously critique the concept of church worship as infotainment. This breeds a passive attitude among the congregation who become not a community but an audience. See #2.

    4. Seriously critique the idea that bigger is better. How can you have a true worship community when you don’t know most of the folks in the community? See #3. (What you wanna bet that many of the members of the church had no clue any of this was going on before they read it in the papers?)

    5. Don’t be so frikkin’ gullible!

    How’s that?


  53. McJesus just looks like bad art to me — that’s the basis I would criticize it on. Not every so-called artist is capable of work as profoundly powerful as Serrano’s Immersion (Piss Christ), though many think they are.


  54. I.e., nobody outside the circus tent knows or cares.

    Which is, as you say, “kinda comforting” when talking about “Prophet Shamp”, but scary when talking about Mark Taylor/ the Trump Prophecies, and his followers: look at what’s growing in the dark!


  55. She could have used her broadway career, cast in the muscial Wicked, as an outreach opportunity.


  56. I suspect there are many people using the Evangelical label do to historical connection, they haven’t yet let it go. Applying it to themselves no longer means anything.


  57. “””Are evangelicals as monolithic a group as election exit polls suggest, “””

    Yes. 81%. Next question? [eiiiiighty onnnne percent – – – that is an INSANE number]

    “””the term “evangelical” is limited to white believers, “””

    Yes! It is! Ugh. Writers trying to slam White Evangelicals into clearly distinct other groups so it can then be exclaimed how diverse they are. White Evangelicals are so clearly, profoundly, distinct on multiple axis. Oil and water This trying to find a hair to split gets tiresome. The amount of time and e-ink spent trying to”understand” or dissect ~6-15% of the population…. or trying make that 6-15% larger in order to justify writing many many BLOG posts about the white people within that larger group… sheeesh.

    Heard a hilarious riff on the Incredible Importance Of Strange White Folks this week, it was great.


  58. > And it gives Christianity, and religion in general, such bad press

    You can take some solace in that the Evangelical Circus is now so marginal that very few people who aren’t looking will even be aware the guy exists.

    Especially with the decline of the printed press – which reliably had a “Religion” section – the entire sphere exists in near isolation from the Normal world. Which probably enables such sores to fester untreated.

    You can disgrace mega-church pastor after mega-church pastor, but even the mega-churches aren’t mega-enough to break out into the stream Normals read.

    It’s kinda comforting. Kinda.


  59. Judging from the comments, it sounds like lots of folks over there don’t see themselves fitting fully into any of the five categories. Personally, I’d peg myself in 4, drifting into 5.


  60. The “Prophet” Shamp story is a real knee-slapper. You can’t make this stuff up. At the same time, it is sad that many gullible and often not wealthy marks are being separated from their money by this con-man. And it gives Christianity, and religion in general, such bad press before a Western population that is already rapidly losing interest in both.


  61. I totally agree with your condemnation of the Trump administration’s, and by extension the U.S.’s, policy toward migrant/asylum-seeking families coming across the U.S.- Mexico border, Susan. That we are just finding out that the family separation policy was even more extensive than previously reported makes it all the more shameful. As a country, we have much to answer for; the lack of attention to this story over the last months, after it fell out of an initial intense but short-lived 24/7 news cycle, is an indictment not just of Trump administration policy but of the values of an apparently apathetic American populace.

    At the same time, let’s acknowledge that Australian immigration policy with regard to refugees, and specifically the “boat-people” from Southeast Asia, has not been an enlightened or humane one either. The history of Manus Island is just one glaring example of a policy that has become increasingly harsh in the last decade-and-a-half. While the White Australia policy was officially dismantled half a century ago, Australian immigration policy still is unofficially biased against certain ethnic groups arriving as refugees. The inhumanity of Australian immigration policy regarding “boat-people” refugees does not get as much international media coverage as American policy, but it is just as bad, and maybe even worse, in certain respects.


  62. Pete Rose getting into the Hall of Fame would indeed be a sign of… *something*.

    However, I still stand by my exegesis that the Abomination of Desolation is the Browns winning the Superb Owl.


  63. I can only pray and ask IMonkers to do so also. A combined effort of prayer please.
    We have here a very few refugee children in a camp and every effort is being made to remove them. I am more hopeful of these children than forTrump’s captives.

    Jesus weeps every day.

    So should we weep on their behalf.
    All of God’s Children must be released regardless of their parents religion or political affiliations.


  64. Thank you, Susan.
    Apparently the numbers of refugee children taken away from their parents is much higher than reported at first, and records were not properly kept over names of children and names of parents.

    In my opinion, the abuses of taking young children away from the arms of their parents is the greatest moral failure of the Trump administration. Please pray for the children who suffer still. I can’t believe this happened in my own country, but it did. It did. The same viciousness that produced the abuse of these children is also behind the abuse of thousands of workers in the government who are not being paid by order of Trump who apparently cares less, because he said ‘they will adjust’. Does he not care also that our American people have children to be cared for? And that paying workers justly is a part of that caring?

    Susan, thank you for thinking of us in the midst of your own difficulties. Sending hug. God Bless!


  65. I am sorry if because of the heatwave which envelopes my country this week/month that I don’t identify with the cold experiences you manifest as the world view of the present day.
    I long for the brief snow we sometimes get in winter.
    We are roasting and aching for a cool breeze. Our dams and river dry up, fish die in rivers, crops fail, potable water is shipped to towns whose reliable water has dried into a muddy flat. Sheep, beef and native animals sucked down into the mud. No water for them, they die.
    Crops fail.

    Our country is not a third world country relying on aid. We are a developed 1st world country. Our citizens are fed, housed and educated as well as the best of countries. Maybe better than most. I have relatives and friends in UK, USA, New Zealand. I can make comparisons.
    We just are a country not prepared for the tragedy which is climate change. Much of the world denies climate change. They must live on another planet.
    Your view is not paramount as to the weather situations throughout the world at present.
    I dare not mention climate change, but I have, a bridge too far I guess.

    I was listening to a scientist today who gives humanity two centuries before we die out because we didn’t address climate change today,

    Lord help us and give us ears to hear you,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: