The Saturday Internet Monks Brunch: June 8, 2019

US World War II veteran Tom Rice, foreground, takes part in a parachute drop over Carentan in northwestern France as part of D-Day commemorations on June 5. (Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

The Saturday Internet Monks Brunch: June 8, 2019

More on Franklin Graham from Paul Wilkinson:

A massive exercise in spin? Later this month ” 3,235 boxes of paper items, 1,000 scrapbooks of news clippings dating back to the 1940s and more than 1,000 linear feet of videos, cassettes, reels, films and audio” which “documents the life and ministry of evangelist Billy Graham” will “no longer be housed at Wheaton’s highly regarded Billy Graham Center Archives.” The boxes are on their way to North Carolina, where a Wheaton College history professor notes, “The so-called (Billy Graham) Library is not a library…It has no archives. It has no archivist.” But it might be worse than that. Religion News Service notes,

Their fear: that this move is part of a bid by Franklin Graham to control his father’s legacy and make it more closely echo his own conservative political and theological agendas. They worry that Franklin Graham may deny access to the archival materials to scholars and others who don’t share his views or who are unwilling to promote what one called a “sanitized history” of the evangelical movement.

• • •

Allied forces soldiers during the D-Day landing operations in Normandy, north-western France, June 6, 1944. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

• • •

How crowded is it on Mount Everest?

According to CBS News:

The Nepalese government has removed just over 24,000 pounds of trash from Mount Everest, according to the Associated Press. During their cleanup of the world’s highest mountain, cleaners also uncovered four dead bodies.

• • •

British troops land on the beaches of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944, marking the commencement of D-Day. (Photo: British Ministry Of Defence via EPA-EFE)

• • •

Farewell, iTunes.

iTunes changed the way we accessed music, as Kevin Roose says:

iTunes entered this world 18 years ago as a “digital jukebox” that let users import their favorite CDs, organize their libraries and burn custom mixes. It then became a music store of its own — a magical, one-click emporium where 99 cents could get you almost any song under the sun. Steve Jobs heralded its birth as the dawn of a new age of media consumption, one in which consumers would own the digital rights to their own music.

…I’ve come to think of iTunes as a core piece of what I call the Middle Internet — the period between the Wild West days of Napster and the hyper-centralized era of Facebook and YouTube.

It was an era of clean, well-lit marketplaces where people could buy things to listen to, without worrying about buffering or corrupted files. It filled an important technological gap in the period when lots of people had internet access, but few people had smartphones with data plans capable of streaming high-quality media on demand.

And it was a time when people actively curated their own online media, rather than having it algorithmically spoon-fed to them.

But nothing gold can stay. And in the early part of this decade, subscription music services like Spotify and Pandora, which offered an all-you-can-eat bacchanal of music for a monthly subscription fee, began to eat away at Apple’s advantage.

…Since we’re among friends, I can be candid: ITunes didn’t age well. In recent years, it had become a bloated, buggy nightmare. Apple crammed more and more into iTunes — movies, TV shows, podcasts — until the whole thing was slow and confusing.

…But let’s not remember iTunes as the mess it became. Instead, let’s remember it as it once was: a revolutionary product that transformed the music industry, ushered in a new model of digital ownership and tamed a messy, chaotic part of the internet by building something simple and elegant to replace it.

• • •

Canadian soldiers land on Courseulles beach in Normandy as Allied forces storm the Normandy beaches on D-Day. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

• • •

As awkward as it gets…

This cringe-worthy clip moved Costi Hinn, nephew of world-famous prosperity preacher Benny Hinn and author of God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel: How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies,” to write an opinion piece at RNS called “Why I Used to Believe in Prosperity Gospel like Kenneth Copeland believes.”

Why would someone believe the prosperity gospel?

For starters, it’s pretty attractive to outside eyes — once you get past the whole issue of it being damnable “heresy.” Quite honestly, at the core of who we are as people there is something that wants to believe the prosperity gospel is real — or at least the benefits of it.

Wealthy preachers like Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, Paula White and my uncle live like rock stars in multimillion-dollar mansions, drive luxury cars, fly in private jets and do it all using donations from their faithful followers. Let’s face it, the prosperity does look pretty good!

This twisted version of Christianity promises that Jesus will make you healthy, wealthy and happy.

The heartbreaking reality of the prosperity gospel is that by the time you reach the top of the pyramid, you’re still empty. Many preachers spend the better part of their ministry exploiting people to have it all, only to weep with regret decades later when they realize they’ve got a date with destiny coming for them.

• • •

US soldiers of the 16th Infantry Regiment, wounded while storming Omaha Beach, waiting by the chalk cliffs for evacuation to a field hospital for treatment. (Photo: US ARMY via EPA-EFE)

• • •

Mark Galli continues his excellent series on Evangelicalism.

And in the third installment, I came across this sentence, which to me signifies the very best evangelicalism offered me in my life:

Evangelical faith soon became characterized by a lively, personal relationship with God, grounded in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, with a deep and abiding trust in the Bible as God’s personal Word to us, with an active desire to spread this gospel to others.

As all of you know, in my own journey I found that this was fantastic, as far as it goes. But it’s simply not enough (for me at least) to encompass a lifelong journey of spiritual formation. Without the ballast of history and tradition, a more robust ecclesiology, an openness to sacramental reality, a willingness to discuss and accept different understandings of scripture, and deep roots in creation and genuine humanism, evangelicalism will inevitably produce shallow and immature results.

• • •

American troops wading from landing craft toward Omaha Beach, under fire of German artillery.CreditRobert F. Sargent/U.S. Coast Guard/The LIFE Picture Collection, via Getty Images

• • •

What I’m listening to…Patty Griffin

The wind blows down hard in the night
The ghosts of the brave and the damned
Howling their song, locked in their fight
Over every inch of this land
Over every inch of this land

American World War II veteran Gene Neeley walks through the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, in Normandy, France. (Kiran Ridley / For The LA Times)

100 thoughts on “The Saturday Internet Monks Brunch: June 8, 2019

  1. Somewhere between Billy and Franklin, the sheer nastiness and the sellout to politics grew exponentially.

    There’s a reason “Rags to Riches to Rags in three generations” is a folk proverb in both English and Chinese.


  2. My grandad didn’t make it to Europe via DDay. He went up through North Africa and Italy.

    By way of Operation Torch, Kesserine Pass, Tunisia, Sicily, and Anzio instead of Normandy.


  3. More accurately, “snippets whose ‘plain meaning’ is always to YOUR advantage and convenience.”


  4. Steven King had a fun description of Southern Gothic in one of his two non-fiction books — Danse Macabre about the horror genre in general.


  5. That clip of Copeland I found literally terrifying. There seems something seriously, seriously wrong with that man.

    I only saw the still from it, and with that pointing finger and grimace Copeland looked like the bottom of the Uncanny Valley. Something Other pretending to be human and not pulling it off. He looked like a CGI-animated psycho-villain.


  6. Agreed, Christiane.

    Ted, it is a VERY difficult show to watch. I’m not certain if I’ll follow this season or not – particularly b/c Margaret Atwood’s own follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale is being published in a couplemof months, and I’m much more interested in seeing how she finishes the story she created than i am in watching the egregious, painful abuse and degredation that the show depicts. It’s emotionally overwhelming at times, and certain episodes last season went *much* too far, imo. I don’t know how certain cast members are able to deal with the actual trauma that playing certain scenes must, to a degree, cause them – because certain things are FAR too realistic for comfort.

    I’m not sure that the plot won’t just be more of the same, and for no seeming reason – partly b/c the plot has meandered all over the place and I’ve yet to see anything truly hopeful for the women trapped in Gilead.

    It’s also far too close to Rousas J. Rushdoony’s version of Dominionism for me to feel like “It could never happen here.” With that, I’ll close, as i don’t want to get into a thing about how the show all too accurately mirrors the rise of certain reprehensible groups in public life. It’s a frightening time.


  7. A picture of the “Billy Graham Library Charlotte NC” at the top of one of Prof. Fea’s posts on the subject reminded me of nothing so much as a Disney or Ark Experience Theme Park.


  8. One of my writing partners (the self-educated son of an Allentown steelworker) had an uncle at Omaha Beach, piloting a Higgins Boat. According to my source, he said “I saw more men die in one day than I ever knew lived on Earth”.

    Another uncle (the black sheep of the family) almost lost a leg at Anzio. A third was as Saipan and Okinawa; he would talk — a little — about Suicide Cliff on Saipan, but NEVER about Okinawa.


  9. Library is not a library…It has no archives. It has no archivist.” But it might be worse than that. Religion News Service notes,

    Their fear: that this move is part of a bid by Franklin Graham to control his father’s legacy and make it more closely echo his own conservative political and theological agendas. They worry that Franklin Graham may deny access to the archival materials to scholars and others who don’t share his views or who are unwilling to promote what one called a “sanitized history” of the evangelical movement.

    So there will be Nothing that can conflict with the Official Story of Comrade Billy Ogilvy, Hero of The Party.
    Long Live Big Brother.

    Was it Wurmbrand who said “Communists like their Heroes to be dead. That way they can’t contradict their Official Story”?


  10. Franklin Graham messing with Billy’s archives makes me crazy. This sounds like something that would happen in
    the Soviet Union or China — rewriting history to fit your ideological point of view.

    Thank God for Religion News Service. Anyone wanna bet what CT will say about it — beyond a perfunctory
    reporting of it? Let’s hope enough folks will find this ethically and morally repugnant.


  11. poor Kenneth Copeland who thinks he ‘needs’ a private jet to do the Lord’s work

    “Take no bag for the road, or second tunic, or sandals, or staff, or private jet; . . . . . ” oops


  12. Also, for whatever it is worth, I think that “Thrivent” is a stupid name. It’s a good organization, but when they merged they went with a name that sounds like it came out of a focus group or some branding guru.


  13. That would be a really interesting and useful article, with the proviso that you make it clear that you are trying to improve communication, and aren’t telling the Lutherans to stop using these words. “Grace” is absolutely baked into Lutheran theology. “Holy Spirit” long predates Brother Martin. And consider that “E” in ELCA. But an explanation of why we sometimes talk past each other is a good idea.


  14. Note there are multiple issues here:
    1. Requiring for 501c3 status that churches, mosques, etc file 990 forms detailing income, expenses, and the total compensation of certain employees (highest paid and those in charge). Note that 501c3 status allows donations to be deducted by the donor
    2. Allowing tax write offs for donations even though the gift is being used to keep certain recipients in a lavish lifestyle.

    Personally I think religious organizations should be required to file form 990 if they want donations to them to be tax deductible. Religious organizations could opt to forego 5013c status, put them in a new status X, but, donors to them could not write off their donations. I would also query whether X orgs should get property tax exemptions or similar benefits. And their ministers certainly shouldn’t get their housing allowances tax free (this should probably apply to all religious organizations, put them on parity with other non-profits in this regard).

    I hope most mainline churches would be ok with revealing what they would have to on a 990 form.

    UK I note is phasing out the church exemption from being registered charities and having to file (previously they only had to file if making more than 100,000 pounds).


  15. So much for tenure.

    Part of the scandal of her dismissal is that she wasn’t even a bible or theology prof. She was political studies.


  16. I wish there were some way of honoring real ministerial service that is not connected to all the ‘other’ issues that have arisen that make people crazy about their tax dollars supporting ‘those jerks’.

    We need our ministers, priests, rabbis, and imams . . . . even just granting special parking places for them at hospitals is an example of an appropriate ‘thank you’ for their services . . . . and when there is a terrible community tragedy, these care-givers (which they are) come out and freely give their time to help wounded communities with counseling and ‘being there’ for people. That’s worth something in our culture. Those ‘other’ issues have ruined much for clergy, but they still are much needed and relied upon, especially during times of stress. So what can be done for their sake that IS ‘the right thing’?


  17. It was also b/c she quoted the Pope ( blanking on which one, though) about Judaism, Xtianity and Islam all being followers of the One God, albeit with different beliefs about who he is.

    Since many – far too many – evangelicals still associate the RCC with, oh, the antichrist and the devil, it’s sickening but not surprising that they acted the way they did toward Dr. Hawkins.


  18. women do have a gut reaction to that series, Ted

    there is too much ‘truth’ in the series for it not to dredge up different negative emotions in women, which I guess is kind of cathartic, if not therapeutic . . . . . hard to ‘explain’ rationally


  19. Billy Graham started out with the Red Scare as part of his shtick – it took a few years before he ditched it.


  20. “Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks,
    I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.”

    (Flannery O’Connor)


  21. right now, in THIS country, ‘Christian’ has a political connotation that is frankly ‘not Christ-like’ in the eyes of many

    the web was woven when Republicans co-opted the word ‘Christian’; and then Trumpism took over the Republican Party, ergo the whole meaning of the word ‘Christian’ is now gone side-ways and upside-down and if you are asked, ‘are you a Christian?’, you stop and set them straight, which means you explain you are a follower of Christ without the baggage of ‘the annointed Trump’ around your neck

    strange days, these

    not so different than when the American flag became the sign (worn as a lapel pin) of support for the Viet Nam War and the opposition began to burn the American flag . . . . it was still everyone’s flag, but it had been ‘co-opted’ and became the emblem of something that meant death of thousands of our soldiers many of whom had been drafted . . . .

    these times pass, but there are scars we carry, like the residue from the Civil War which still haunts the South


  22. Richard,

    Thank you for the insight. As a recovering fundamentalist/recovering evangelical/recovering prosperity gospel, I often misinterpret mainline vocabulary. For example, if I hear grace I hear neo-calvinist Baptist, if I hear Thrive, I hear prosperity gospel. If I hear Holy Spirit, I either hear speaking in tongues or enabling to live a prosperous life. I have thought about writing an article for ELCA on how words have meanings for recovering evangelicals.

    Which reminds me, I need to find a red shirt for tomorrow.


  23. I’m a Gordon grad, but a lot of my professors were Wheaton.

    Wheaton really blew it a few years ago when they fired professor Larycia Hawkins for wearing a hijab in solidarity with Muslim women. Ostensibly, the grievance was because she had said we worship the same God, but I know darned well it was the hijab. Angry donors cracked down.

    And I think Wheaton students missed a cue by not wearing hijabs themselves in solidarity with Professor Hawkins.


  24. Thrivent comes from ethnic mutual aid societies. These often were intertwined with the church of whatever ethnicity is under discussion. When I was a kid there were the Lutheran Brotherhood (Germans) and the Aid Association for Lutherans (Norwegians, at least at first). They merged in 2001 and changed the name to Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. At this point the Lutheran identity is a bit thin, as they dropped “Lutheran” from the name in 2014 and, at least in principle, market to Christians of any flavor. The ties you see are left over from the old days, when the AAL or Lutheran Brotherhood showing up at coffee hour was a routine. I remember as a kid the Lutheran Brotherhood paper napkins. I don’t know how much this still goes on nowadays. I got my financial guy in just this way, but that was about fifteen years ago.

    I think you are misreading this to take it as prosperity gospel. It is life insurance, with other financial services added on later. It is mostly a bog standard financial services company, but not-for-profit, and with some residual Lutheran attachments and with service elements. It also, for what it is worth, is more reputable than most.

    Elitist view of the prosperous helping the under-served populations? I suppose so. It is worth noting first off, though, that this is pretty much the opposite of the prosperity gospel. But it also is a peculiarly negative way of looking at it. The richer are called to help the poorer. How would one do this in a non-elitist way?


  25. Beyond his evangelistic preaching, B. Graham kept his thoughts mostly to himself. What we know of what he kept inside comes mostly from those who heard him talk and act in unguarded moments. If you had turned B Graham inside-out, I think you would have gotten Franklin. But that’s just an opinion, of course.


  26. Somewhere between Billy and Franklin, the sheer nastiness and the sellout to politics grew exponentially. Billy Graham may have been prejudiced and nasty in private, but not in public. He was political, but not wholeheartedly partisan, like his son. I was/am not a fan, but Billy was a better person, and a better Christian, than his son has turned out to be.


  27. Pray for Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, recently arrested in Russia on phony drug possession charges, interrogated/beaten at Moscow police headquarters, and now in hospital in Moscow. His crime? Doing his job by investigating corruption on the part of one of Putin’s political cronies. May Mr. Golunov survive to love his family and follow his vocation another day.


  28. A unique, larger-than-life individual and musician who could only have been made in America; a phenomenon to rouse ones failing patriotism.


  29. I’m not much of a B. Graham fan, either. I suspect that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.


  30. Yes, it’s possible that there was a stipulation in the donation agreement that allowed F. Graham to claw it back at will. Even if that’s the case, it doesn’t excuse Wheaton, since they shouldn’t have accepted the donation on such conditions — what respectable academic library would?


  31. Really good brunch and comments. Thanks to you all who make it happen!

    My grandad didn’t make it to Europe via DDay. He went up through North Africa and Italy. What few stories he told were softened a bit, I believe, for young ears, but I’ll always recall his stories of being dive bombed by Stukas while firing at them with his Garand. “Did you really think you could shoot it down with a rifle, grandpa?” “What else were we going to do, keep hiding in the hole waiting to see what happened?”

    That was indeed the greatest generation.


  32. I loved Billy Graham. He preached Jesus Christ and Him Crucified to millions of people world-wide, and pointing them towards Christ changed many of their lives for good. So he wasn’t a ‘perfect’ person? Maybe, as he sojourned into old age, he changed? Whatever imperfections he had, he offered himself as a servant of the Word and I believe that the Good Lord used him to help others.

    I have heard the ‘stories’ of anti-semitism and of unfortunate political connections and it hurts to think that he was involved with that; and what his son has become is sad to see for many who respected his father and his mother, Ruth, by all accounts a faithful woman.

    OTH, I have in my memories stories he told in his sermons, heard when I was young, that helped change the way I saw things and those memories are dear to me. I don’t remember him preaching hatred for people who were ‘different’, no. That was important. I guess some evangelists fell into that big-time, the ‘hate’ thing, but I don’t he preached self-righteousness or hatred. I have no doubt he is with the Lord and at peace. I don’t doubt it for a minute, and I’m Catholic to the backbone, so it’s a matter of ‘trust’ that he was called by God to preach ‘The Story’ and God’s good servant was called home to Him and is at peace.


  33. They’ve been playing a lot of his stuff on WERU the last couple of days. Just heard “How Come My Dog Don’t Bark When You Come Around.”


  34. NUMO! Good to see you.

    I was wondering how Franklin Graham could have got his hands on Wheaton’s archives. There must have been a clause to that effect in the collection’s agreement, or else Graham has way too much clout, as you suggested.

    Off-topic, but The Handmaid’s Tale is back on the air. Haven’t seen this season’s first episode yet. Can’t watch it with the wife around, she gets the creeps. Will have to wait til she’s out of the house.


  35. In various ways, i see Wheaton College regressing. There’s certainly a lot good going on at Wheaton still and some excellent professors. I should stick up for my alma mater. But nah….


  36. Mike, you’ve said here and in the article you linked to that you don’t believe in the full autonomy of the local church. But autonomy may be one of the defining points in what’s becoming evangelicalism.

    The term “Local Church” is right out of the 9Marks playbook. Denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention may belong to the 9Marks network, or adhere to a similar format, but outside of the SBC a lot of people are quite pleased that they belong to an “independent, non-denominational church.” While they may be independent, they often imitate reformed SBC churches and 9Marks.

    Following 9Marks, or a new-calvinist format, their elders have the last word on authority. They will pay lip-service to sola scriptura for authority, but their elders alone interpret scripture. At least in the SBC there may be some denominational accountability (or do they call it an “association” as the ABC does?).

    In your other article you mentioned the benefit of bishops. Not telling you anything, but this comes from the Greek episcopos (literally overseer, and etymologically the origin of “bishop”). But when I’ve pointed out that episcopos can be viewed as more of a bishop than an elder I’ve been told, No, it more clearly means Elder, because clearly that is how they ran things back then, and we must be biblical. “Bishop,” I’m told, is a more Catholic or Episcopal (there’s that word again) concept and we will have none of that sort of thing here, thank you very much.

    Or words to that effect. Bottom line: Two legs Bishops bad; four legs elders good. Don’t let’s be papist.

    Here in Maine the ABC has apparently abandoned the office of “Area Minister,” typically a pastor himself but who would travel to other churches throughout the year to offer support from the association.

    As well as abandoning anything that resembles bishops, this movement has thrown the Priesthood of the Believers under the bus for the Priesthood of the Elders, and elders in the “Local Church” at that. Accountability from outside the walls be damned.


  37. Agree; the religious non-profit exemption needs to end, as soon as possible.


  38. Yep.

    I use Liferia which is a client RSS reader; I think I have about ~150 feeds now. It is pretty much the entirety of how I read on-line content.

    Without Facebook and Twitter as the auto-curator the Internet is a very different place than most people experience.


  39. Thanks for this Larry, and I agree. I don’t know much history, but am learning some things from what my parents and their parents and siblings have experienced. My late father had three brothers, two of who went to Korea, and only one came back. It was fascinating and sobering at the same time to learn where my uncle faced combat and died in Korea.


  40. Billy Graham collection: – His books, pronouncements are not “ex-cathedra.”

    Maybe Franklin wants to sell them on E-Bay.

    I can’t get excited about this either way.


  41. Baptism, marriage, communion – However we are not very formal in the term “sacraments.”


  42. I used to be a museum professional, working in an archive.

    I have ***never*** heard of anyone doing what F. Graham has done – no library, academic institution or museum worth its salt would ever allow anyone to “take back” all or part of a donated collection in this way.

    Either Graham has major supporters on the board of trustees, or he paid off Wheaton and its board, or both.

    Normally, it would be just about impossible to get all or part of a collection back legaly. The amount of money plus time in court plus legal wrangling would be pretty much akin to what happens in Dickens’
    Bleak House, where the chancery court proceedings and legal fees consume every last penny of the plaintiffs’ inheritances.

    As for the ethics – in this case, lack thereof – in allowing FG to do this – the whole things is an ethical nightmare . And extremely stupid, into the bargain. Clearly, FG must have FAR too much clout there, which speaks volumes about Wheaton as a whole – and none of it is good.


  43. A more robut ecclesiology, also, as I said before, includes an ecumenical spirit. When people stop saying to me, “I’m not Catholic, I’m Christian,” then I’ll know that evangelicals have developed a more robust ecclesiology.


  44. “This goes to leadership as well. I believe the NT and early church encourages us to think of a leadership level beyond the local pastorate — an apostolic or bishop level. The senior pastor dictatorships and “elder rule” focus of so many evangelical churches has no accountability outside of themselves. That is not to say that denominational structures always fare any better, just that I think it is always wiser to have vital larger connections with authority relationships and structures outside our own individual kingdoms.”


    My church is elder led versus “shepherd led” – we are a part of a denomination in which individual churches are relatively autonomous – we have a district superintendant but he does not function as a bishop or archbishop. If I have to chose a polity, I go with elder led. They are the ones on the spot; in our church, they can only serve 6 consecutive years unless there was an emergency. I prefer a group to 1 all powerful pastor/leader. The congregation has the deciding vote whether or not a man will be allowed as an elder.

    Our denomination does NOT think we are the truest version of the catholic church [ not R.C. catholic ] but we reflect our upbringing/history and tradition in ways in which we are most comfortable.

    In our denomination, no one names themselves as an apostle or archbishop – often seen in the more charismatic/pentecostal settings.

    There is NO perfect polity but I prefer a council of peers to one single voice.

    I less then enamoured of the current Pope, but I had great respect for Pope John and Pope Benedict.

    Bishops, arch-bishops, apostle and popes tend to be politicians instead of servants. There are exceptions –

    The Orthodox Church is currently led by Bartholomew – First among equals with the senior patriarchs. [ I had to google this tidbit. I know little about the Patriarchs though there was, as I recall, some serious infighting in the last few years. But they are also sinful humans.

    The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton was elected to serve a six-year term as ELCA presiding bishop at the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Pittsburgh. Bishop Eaton served as pastor for congregations in Ohio and as bishop of the ELCA Northeastern Ohio Synod from 2006 until her election as ELCA presiding bishop. Her experience in local ministry and issues of global concern reflect the ELCA’s commitment to working as a partner and influence across denominations, faiths and organizations as a church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. Meet Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton.


  45. Another relic from the hey-day is blogs like Internet Monk. They were a wonderful idea of open RSS feeds where communities could freely discuss. Now, Fork-Book, Twitter, and other proprietary silos have all taken over with their machine learning algorithms feeding people only the information they agree with.

    I am using feedly these days, one of the last holdouts of the RSS days. I jokingly say they will take my RSS feed out of my cold dead hands.


  46. Those who were alive and adult then are dying. I suspect Queen Elizabeth is one of the few world leaders (if not the only one) present at the commemoration who was in the military (Auxiliary Territorial Service) during WW2 (though not until after D-Day and as a woman would not have been deliberately sent into combat). Also as heir presumptive of her father and over 18 likely knew more than most about what was happening when D-Day actually happened.

    My own mother, who was a child in Sussex, can remember the Canadian troops encamped in the fields near her house (she also remembers one of the first V-1 bombs, it landed a week after D-Day, that blew the windows out on the side of the house facing the bomb [which included her bedroom]).

    Also I suspect that the prosperity gospel people like Philippians 4: 15-19


  47. >It rea depends on how to view the ELCA emphasis on ‘service’.Is it a modern intertwining of prosperity gospel or it a more traditional elitist view of the prosperous helping the under-served populations.

    Gee, neither one of those alternatives seem attractive.


  48. >There seems something seriously, seriously wrong with that man.

    Since the beginning crazy and bad religion have always been close traveling companions.


  49. I may be seeing it more at the local level, as the marketing of “Thrivent Financial” is heavily intertwined with teachings on service. As a recovering evangelical, I have found this intertwining between “Thrivent Financial” and the ELCA strange. It really depends on how to view the ELCA emphasis on ‘service’. Is it a modern intertwining of prosperity gospel or it a more traditional elitist view of the prosperous helping the under-served populations.


  50. Mainlines and the Roman Catholic Church would not willingly agree to it either. They’d fight it tooth-and-nail. When they had to make more appeals to congregants for more donations, it would be another nail, maybe the final one, in the coffin of their rapidly declining membership rolls, and they’d be negatively affected before the evangelical megas.


  51. In the U.S. and Europe, yes; but throughout the Third World it is tremendously popular and spreading like wildfire, particularly in its Pentecostal/Charismatic form. I think an evangelical mentality even permeates what we call mainline Protestantism in the Third World. Visitors from our companion sister Lutheran parish (which has thousands of members, and hundreds of children in its Sunday school) in Tanzania describe church services much more like evangelical than traditional Lutheran worship, and speak much more like evangelical Christians than Lutherans. They also are aggressive in seeking converts, and appeal to prospective converts in a style very much shaped by evangelical conversion models.


  52. Your non-denominational church considers Holy Communion a sacrament? If so, is that the only sacrament or are there others?


  53. All that is fine in terms of the local congregation. Add to that a stronger connection to the broader church, which others are commenting about this morning. I don’t believe in the autonomy of the local church — we’re part of a broader, deeper, richer family both in our own communities, around the world, and throughout history. The evangelical church largely ignores this. Here in America at least it is entrepreneurial, like a self-enclosed small business enterprise, rather than the “catholic” church we confess in the Apostles’ Creed.

    This goes to leadership as well. I believe the NT and early church encourages us to think of a leadership level beyond the local pastorate — an apostolic or bishop level. The senior pastor dictatorships and “elder rule” focus of so many evangelical churches has no accountability outside of themselves. That is not to say that denominational structures always fare any better, just that I think it is always wiser to have vital larger connections with authority relationships and structures outside our own individual kingdoms.


  54. Not holding mine either. Church leaders like the lack of government accountability; congregants like the tax write-off (although with the new “tax reforms”, that’s much less a thing for lower and middle income givers).


  55. I fear our young people aren’t learning enough about our history, especially during that era. So few World War II veterans are still alive. I hope their great-grandchildren will be more receptive to hearing their stories.

    Both of my grandfathers were too old to serve in WWII but one of my great uncles was in the Navy during that time, serving in the Pacific Theater. He never talked much about the war. My mother, who was a teenager during WWII, told me quite a few stories of her experiences during that time, including her family putting black curtains in the windows at night. She also had quite a few stories about wartime rationing of so many commodities that we take for granted today. Would today’s Americans be willing to make those sacrifices if needed?


  56. The basic elements of the church’s life are:

    Apostolic teaching with a focus on the resurrection of Jesus (Word)
    Sharing a common life together (Fellowship)
    Sharing sacramental meals together (Table)
    Sharing in liturgical prayers together (Prayer/Praise)
    In the church’s common life together:

    They practiced generous, sacrificial giving to meet needs (Love)
    They gathered in formal and informal settings (Congregation)
    They practiced their faith publicly as well as privately (Vocation/Mission)


    Pretty much describes my local church – we have public prayer versus following a specific prayer book but congregational prayer is never optional.

    Otherwise, this is what my Evangelical church is like.


    Anon wrote: “‘more robust’ means people don’t need to get off on being self-righteous jerks and hate-mongers”

    Dear Anon, who are we talking about here?


  57. Approaching ecclesiology as more than trawling the New Testament for snippets that can be interpreted, if you don’t look too closely, as supporting the way you wanted to organize the church anyway.


  58. “ballast of history”–Understanding that Christianity is far older and richer than whatever slice of tradition you belong to. This is my definition of being education: Understanding that the way they do things where you come from is not the only–or even necessarily the best–way to to do things. The study of history is one way to become educated. This has particular relevance in the context of American Evangelicalism in light of American Evangelicalism’s proclivity to repeatedly reinvent heresies, often in the name of being “conservative.”


  59. The solution to the Prosperity Gospel remains the same. Revoke automatic 501c3 status for churches. Make them report their finances and justify their tax exemption. What honest church body would oppose this? Not holding my breath.


  60. Vw bugs gifted, pool boys, Millionaires Club. t’s all out there and they make it so easy to take pot shots. I like Mark Gallis quote. So easy to forget the good evangelical Christianity has been and so many faithful people. The Holy Spirit still works through the Bride. If Rachel Held Evans convicted me of any of the beams in my eye, it was to speak the truth. In love. Still working on that last part.


  61. Here’s one of the things it means: American Evangelicalism is a tiny minority view of the Church.


  62. This is what I fear… There may come a day when these materials are taken out of the barn to be archived and shelved. There may even be a curator hired. But FG will remain the curator of his father’s legend, and have final say of what becomes public and exercises editorial control. He owns the brand now. I see a lot of contractual restrictions on the horizon. I hope it doesn’t devolve into the sort of ancestor worship like the North Korean dynasty.


  63. FUNDAMENTALIST evangelism has a core set of ‘values’ among which are fearfulness of ‘wolves’ and wanting to keep ‘pure’ and not mix with the wrong sort and self-righteousness towards ‘those other sinners’

    it’s not a pretty picture, no

    can get extreme in ways of patriarchy and child discipline, and much presence of abuse in churches and families

    extremely political and controlling mindsets

    ways of ‘doing church’ – entertainment to bring crowds and money in, ‘showmanship’, centered on preacher, little participation in worship by congregation, shallow music ‘modern’, exclusive and controlling , membership contracts, power struggles, trouble over finances by keeping secrets from donors, etc. etc. etc.


  64. Copeland et al:
    ‘used car’ salesman syndrome . . . . . bottom feeder scam artist syndrome . . . . so unwholesome as to be grotesquely fascinating


  65. ‘more robust’ means people don’t need to get off on being self-righteous jerks and hate-mongers

    Michael did a good job writing about this


  66. Seneca, if you’ve been reading Internet Monk over the years, these are all the things Michael and I and the other writers have been writing about. I was thinking, after I wrote this list today, that I might do a series on these characteristics in the near future. Until then, I suggest you just review what we’ve been writing about for the past 20 years.


  67. If you don’t like Franklin consider the dust up with Mark Galli defending James McDonald. You can read about in on Wade Burlesons blog.


  68. Franklin will find a lot of material in those archives which will make his father more useful to him.


  69. I never used iTunes; but that period (2000-2010) of its hey dey was, IMNSHO, the noon-tide of The Internet. A period of really interesting ideas, bold attempts, and the time when a lot of software really worked – [after the ’90s when a lot of stuff didn’t work so well]. When The Cloud came along it broke the Economics of software development [*1], and the movement of everything into hyper-proprietary silos began. I will raise a glass to the Client-Server and Peer-to-Peer Internet today, you were an ambitious place.

    [*1] And I do mean broke. The great majority of Cloud companies still aren’t in the black, but run on a unfathomable network of private sector subsidies [aka: Venture Capital].


  70. And if you told them that their theology has so much in common with the New Age, they would pitch a conniption fit.


  71. I am disappointed at the lack of knowledge of D Day and history in general. Copeland interview proves P. T Barnum right. Prosperity preachers never reference NT but stay in the OT. However the DDay guys paid the price so we can all have freedom in speech, thought and action, we owe it to them to be informed citizens.


  72. Thanks CM for the D-Day pictures. My mom’s father is buried in France. He will killed in the Normandy Invasion.


  73. The terminology and spiritual attitudes dovetail in many ways with the fantastical ideas of what used to be called New Age religion, which was mainstreamed concurrently with this kind of Christianity. Now New Age ideas are so mainstream that there is debate about whether the term New Age is even apt; same with how in the public mind Prosperity Gospel ideas are considered just plain old Christianity.


  74. Digging deeper into the Graham archives story does not improve the perception of Franklin’s actions. The “library” on-site in NC is more of a hagiographic museum than a real library. The new “research library” the archives will supposedly end up in isn’t even off the drawing board yet – meanwhile, all the material being moved from Wheaton will sit in storage. And the library bookstore?

    “In Ruth’s Attic, the library bookstore named for Graham’s late wife, customers won’t find those authoritative biographies of Graham by Martin and Wacker on any of the shelves.

    “I’m not seeing either one of them in our inventory,” said the bookstore clerk, who instead recommended Graham’s autobiography, “Just as I Am.” The bookstore has many copies of all of Billy Graham’s books, as well as Franklin Graham’s latest, “Through My Father’s Eyes.””


  75. The Copeland video is strange but normal for him, but a subtle version of it is now mainstream. Words like “Thrive” and “Hopeful Expectations” are considered mainstream, even in my current home of the ELCA.

    A generation ago, Christianity according to Chip and Joanna Gaines would have been considered creepy, but it is now very mainstream.


  76. C.M., what is a “more robust eccesiology?” as compared to Evangelical eccesiology?


  77. “Without the ballast of history and tradition, a more robust ecclesiology, an openness to sacramental reality, a willingness to discuss and accept different understandings of scripture, and deep roots in creation and genuine humanism, evangelicalism will inevitably produce shallow and immature results.”

    C.M., what does this actually mean?

    For instance, what is a “more robust ecclesiology?”


  78. That clip of Copeland I found literally terrifying. There seems something seriously, seriously wrong with that man. I would not want to be in a room alone with him, and what church services led by him might be stirring up in people is a deeply scary thought.


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