The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: October 17, 2020
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Cartoon of the week
Wise word of the week…from Richard Rohr
Over centuries, we became very used to equating evil with individual “sins” and we lost a sense of its collective nature. The word “sin” often serves as a label applied to various cultural taboos and expectations, frequently having to do with purity codes. That seems very different from the real evils destroying the world! Of course, moral development and impulse control are important individual disciplines, but the conflation of personal sin with the source of evil is a terrible misunderstanding which has led to tragic consequences. Perhaps so many of us stopped using the word “sin” because we located it inside of our own small, cultural categories, with little awareness of the true subtlety, depth, and importance of the much more devious concept.
…We are all guilty with one another’s sin and not just our own.
We are all good with one another’s goodness and not just our own.
Sighting of the week…
For the second time in six weeks — Look! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! — no, it’s a guy with a jet-pack flying near Los Angeles International Airport!
China Airlines reported the sighting last Wednesday seven miles northwest of the airport. The jet-packer was flying at about 6,000 feet. On August 30, another sighting saw a man with a jet-pack cruising at 3,000 feet. The FAA is, of course, concerned.
We here at Internet Monk have discovered the flyer’s identity, but shh! don’t tell anyone.
Really, really bad teaching of the week…from he who must not be named
I know I said I would not give a certain “pastor-teacher” from California any more space here, but recently he said something so blatant and utterly wrong in the name of Christian doctrine that it just has to be called out. Here’s an article that critiques what he said.
And here is a portion of what he actually — I wish I were kidding — put out there as accepted “biblical” teaching:
So I believe we are charged to treat responsibly all the wonderful resources God has given us. But that, in fact, has very little to do with the environmental movement. The environmental movement is consumed with trying to preserve the planet forever. But we know that isn’t in God’s plan.
The earth we inhabit is not a permanent planet. It is, frankly, a disposable planet–it is going to have a very short life. It’s been around six thousand years or so–that’s all–and it may last a few thousand more. And then the Lord is going to destroy it.
I’ve told environmentalists that if they think humanity is wrecking the planet, wait until they see what Jesus does to it. Peter says God is going to literally turn it in on itself in an atomic implosion so that the whole universe goes out of existence (2 Peter 3:7-13).
This earth was never ever intended to be a permanent planet–it is not eternal. We do not have to worry about it being around tens of thousands, or millions, of years from now because God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth. Understanding those things is important to holding in balance our freedom to use, and responsibility to maintain, the earth.
Recommended viewing of the week…from David Attenborough
Wash that horrid teaching you just read about out of your brain and fill it with something that is both profoundly alarming but also a message of hope — if we humans will listen.
Link of the week…live animal feeds
Photo of the week…
Sergey Gorshkov was awarded the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Adult Grand Title award for this incredible photo of a Siberian tiger deep in a Russian forest, rubbing against a tree and marking her territory.
This week’s episode of…”Chaplain Mike: Would-be Handyman”
[Theme music plays with voice-over…] Welcome to this week’s edition of “Chaplain Mike: Would-Be Handyman,” the show where we talk about a project Chaplain Mike took on, and you get to vote on whether or not his sanctification survived it.
[Cue Host…] Hi. You know the story: Chaplain Mike is not handy. After all, he is…uh…a chaplain. Chaplains don’t even fix other people, much less inanimate objects. Today we’re going to look at a recent project he had to do and, after hearing it, we’ll ask you to weigh in on whether you think the good chaplain was able to keep his cool or if he lost his Christian testimony.
CM had a day off and chose to do a simple task: replace the blades and mower belt on his lawn tractor and grease the fittings on the deck. Here’s how it went. As you’ll see, this time it wasn’t his own lack of handiness that caused problems — thank God that didn’t come into play much, or this day would have really been a doozy.
- Estimated time of job: 60-90 minutes
- 11:00 am — CM removed mower deck and began to remove blades.
- 11:30 — Realized he didn’t have the right tools to remove blades
- 11:30-1:00 — Round-trip trek to home improvement store to purchase tools.
- 1:00-1:30 — Back home – removed and replaced blades. Turned mower deck over, cleaned it, and removed pulleys in preparation for installing belt. Noticed a part that was broken on the deck. That’s right, time for another trip…
- 1:30-2:00 — Went to local dealer (15 miles) to get part. Found out they did not have part in stock. Said another store had one, they could get it here by Friday. CM said he would drive to the other store and pick it up. Store 45 miles away.
- 2:00-3:30 — Drove to other store. They brought the part out. It was the wrong part. Clerk looked up the right one. They didn’t have one in stock. But CM’s local dealer, where he had gone earlier, had four. They had looked up and sent the wrong part number. And, it’s back in the car…
- 3:30-4:30 — Drove back to first dealer (45 miles, again). Picked up part.
- 4:30-5:30 — Drove home, installed part and belt, greased and reinstalled deck.
- Total time: 6.5 hours; Total miles: 150; Total extra cost: $150
[Cue host…] Well, there you have it folks. Another simple handyman job that became an all-day comedy of errors. How did Chaplain Mike handle it? What do you think? Was he able to keep that calm, gracious demeanor he tries to exhibit in his work? Or did frustration boil over, with ugly results?
We look forward to your comments. Chaplain Mike will reveal the answer later in the day. Until then, thanks for watching “Chaplain Mike: Would-be Handyman.” [Theme music plays, fades out]
Quote of the week…about Christians and QAnon
At CNN: “Right now QAnon is still on the fringes of evangelicalism,” said Ed Stetzer, an evangelical pastor and dean at Wheaton College in Illinois who wrote a recent column warning Christians about QAnon. “But we have a pretty big fringe.” (emphasis mine)
Oddest story of the week…from India, where Trump is worshiped
His village’s headman said that the young farmer, Bussa Krishna, had been drawn to Mr. Trump’s “straightforward ways and blunt speech.”
When Mr. Trump announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus, it devastated Mr. Krishna. The farmer posted a tearful video on Facebook, in which he said: “I feel very sad that my god, Trump, has contracted the coronavirus. I ask everyone to pray for his speedy recovery.”
He stopped eating to show solidarity with his idol’s suffering from Covid-19, his family said. He fell into a deep depression. On Sunday, he died of cardiac arrest.
This week’s conversation over coffee with Jesus
Karma of the week…where’s all the faith healing?
A few weeks ago, we mentioned a story about Sean Feucht, the Christian musician who has been traveling around the country holding “worship” gatherings in direct defiance of Covid-19 warnings and regulations in various cities.
Now, we read this story about Bethel Church, where Feuch is a member, which is currently dealing with a Covid-19 outbreak.
Now, state and church officials are asking the student body of more than 1,600 people at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Shasta County to lock down at their homes and apartments after 137 students and staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The cases represent 10 percent of Shasta County’s total infections so far.
Bethel Church and local health officials say the Redding megachurch is taking steps to limit the outbreak from spreading. But health officials worry the dozens of new cases could set off a wave of infections in this conservative community where a group of activists has angrily pushed back against COVID-19 restrictions and the local health officer has received threats for enforcing state mask mandates and business closures.
You might think a school that specializes in “instruction in faith healing and raising the dead” might be able to avoid a simple little virus, don’tcha?
This week’s best response to conservative evangelicalism’s war on “wokeness”
Australian Bible scholar Michael Bird has written a pointed critique of evangelicals who have been decrying “wokeness” and its supposedly deleterious effect on churches and the faithful proclamation of the gospel.
To start with, Bird reminds us that he lives “in Melbourne, comically known as Melbingrad, one of the wokest cities in the world, where the Government is so progressive it makes California look like Alabama.” By experience, he knows the kind of “wokeness” that is characterized by “progressive authoritarianism,” based in radical identity hierarchies and promoting divisive racial politics.
However, Bird takes conservative evangelicals to task for not discerning the difference between those who promote Marxist narratives and those who simply want to take scripture seriously. He suggest the critics of “evangelical wokeness” may have other agendas that even they themselves may not be aware of.
The whole anti-woke and anti-critical race theory trope strike me as not so much interested in opposing progressive authoritarianism and its divisive racial politics, as much as it serves to deny ethnic minorities have any grievances and white churches have any responsibility to do anything about it.
In my mind, acknowledging the reality of racism, discrimination, and injustice – whether historical, cultural, institutional – and determining to change it, does not require adherence to a Marxist narrative, or becoming Woke. Rather, it is the outworking of the liberal political tradition rooted in a Christian worldview where everyone should have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities. Where, to quote George Washington quoting Scripture, “Everyone will sit under their own fig tree and no-one will make them afraid.”
…So don’t buy into the lie that acknowledging a history of racial injustice and prioritizing the pursuit of racial justice is wokeness. Don’t buy into the lie that all social justice is driven by Marxist ideology. It is not! It is what the prophets commanded, what Jesus expects of his followers, what the church has accepted as normal, and what constitutional democracies with a Christian heritage should aspire to, not in spite of, but precisely because of their Christian heritage.
Music of the week…from the incomparable Glenn Gould
Fugue in E Major from The Well Tempered Clavier Book 2 – BWV 878