The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: October 17, 2020

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: October 17, 2020

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Cartoon of the week

Joe Heller Copyright 2020

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

The Best Live Animal Feeds from Around the World

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.

The Embrace by Sergey Gorshkov

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

Photo by Noah Seelam/AFP

From NYT: In India, where throngs admire President Trump, one rural farmer worshiped him like a god, praying to a life-size statue of Mr. Trump in his backyard every morning.

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.

They come to Redding from all over the world for instruction in faith healing and raising the dead. They often approach strangers in local parking lots, businesses and hospitals offering prayers.

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.

Read “The Fundamentalist War on Wokeness Is a War on Christian Love.”

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

148 thoughts on “The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: October 17, 2020

  1. We have an outdated saying in England about someone being as ‘black as the Ace of spades’ – I wonder if it’s from the same source.


  2. And for some reason, Christians seem to be especially prone to buying into Q-Anon. As they’re especially prone to taking the Mark of the Trump. Maybe Christianese culture “grooms” them for such things? Maybe it’s a Gospel of Culture War and Spiritual Warfare, a Grand Unified Conspiracy of DEMONS and WITCHES under every bed, after Our Christian Children? Fear Manipulation until someone comes along who’s better at it than even Pastor Superapostle?


  3. Many evangelicals focus only on individual sins, not even wanting to address the sinful nature that leads to those sins.

    The Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation is a very self-centered/selfish Gospel.
    “I’m Saved! I Got Mine! Sucks to be You – Have Fun in Hell!


  4. 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.

    We seem to have answered the question posed by that Country/Western song “Where the F is My Jetpack?”


  5. With his army of True Believers, militias, and newly-appointed Loyal judges (including the most recent on the Supreme Court), what makes you think he’s going to lose? No matter which way the vote goes?

    And after that comes The Storm — “Where Go We One, So Go We ALL!”

    “President for Life — We really need to try that here.”
    While the Christians chorus “AAAAAAAA-MENNNNNN! AND HIS KINGDOM SHALL HAVE NO END!” in Praise and Adoration.


  6. It’s a racial slur referring to Black people. It may be an Americanism, and perhaps a bit antiquated and thus currently mostly unused in the odious lexicon of racial slurs. But it is not good.


  7. I completely agree. It doesn’t label all whites racist – but will point out that most whiles, if not all, gain from a systemically racist system. Thus we may gain from racism inadvertently, & if we know this & choose to do nothing to change this, we become complicit.

    I’m going to be honest, I think it’s often easier for women to spot this as we’re used to functioning in a system which prioritises men, in ways that are often impossible for them to see. There’s been a few books that have pointed this out recently & it runs true for things like medicine, where various treatments that have only been tested on men have been used for women with no additional thought for the differences on women’s physiology & endocrine systems, & car seatbelts & safety measures, designed for people of average male size & physique.

    It’s very interesting stuff as it’s so illustrative of the ways black people get forgotten – for example medical students only being taught what various disease presentations look like on white skin. I’ve done it myself, I missed seeing that a friend’s adopted child had Downs Syndrome because he was a black Ugandan & I didn’t recognise the facial signs I normally do on white kids.


  8. I agree.

    Education also helps if done right – the ‘black kid as Being Up to No Good’ is part of a long standing racist trope where black children are treated as adults far far earlier than white kids, & ascribed all sorts of adult motivations & actions not actually appropriate to their age. My experience of this comes from child protection where it becomes abysmally clear that black girls are often considered fair game sexually because somehow they innately have a ‘more adult sexuality’.


  9. I’m a morning late with the Brunch and have only read through the section This week’s episode of…”Chaplain Mike: Would-be Handyman”.

    I do this kind of stuff for a living…general handyman, remodels, just about everything “normal” people can’t or won’t do themselves. I must say that your experience isn’t much different from mine except that I’ve encountered those parts problems many more times than you have. The one exception is that I’d likely have the right tools. My work truck is a 1990 Dodge B350…it’s a mobile tool box.

    Don’t beat yourself up, CM.


  10. The mythic heroes are not uniting, but dividing the people of our country. We do not agree on who they were, and in the light of historic illumination more than a few of them look more villainous than heroic.


  11. That’s just it isn’t it? Like the Pilgrim Fathers… they didn’t come to New England to escape persecution. They came because they wanted to persecute “in peace”.

    The issue is that people confuse being free from persecution and discrimination with having the freedom to persecute and discriminate.


  12. The god who is always one Divine temper tantrum away from destroying everything and casting everyone except his Special Pets into Eternal Hell.


  13. We are all off in the lifeboats to our country club in the sky, so let’s trash the place before we leave (and don’t forget to bring the popcorn for while we get to watch all those Other People burn).

    The popcorn will be provided for you in your Heavenly catered Superbowl suite on the 50-yard line.

    Armageddon – The Ultimate Spectator Sport!

    “And I will be laughing as the world burns.”
    — some commenter circa 2005 who got banned


  14. They say they trust God but they want to help him.

    Doing what God would do if God only KNEW What’s REALLY Going On…


    — radio preachers of the late Cold War, using that same Isaiah for the “God Saith”


  16. Just the latest incarnation of “Christ Is Coming Soon (any minute now) and It’s All Gonna Burn!”

    If the world ends tomorrow (any minute now) and It’s All Gonna Burn, WHY BOTHER?

    Ever heard of “The Death Bet”?
    “Everything’s gonna go all to hell, but I’ll Be Gone By Then So That’s YOUR Problem!”
    The Christian equivalent is “The Rapture Bet”.


  17. And if we destroy our mythic heroes, who will replace them?
    Paris Hilton? Kim Kardashian? Donald Trump?


  18. You make me think of the scene in David Lean’s film Dr. Zhivago where the zealous revolutionary says something to the effect of:
    “It’s the system Lara…”
    “people will be different after the revolution…”


  19. Is CRT correct? Not always. What in particular do you have in mind? As far as whiteness goes, your answer shows the whole problem with collective guilt. So some old white supremacists talked about whiteness and suddenly it is something that all whites are guilty of? I hadn’t even heard of the term until it was used by the woke folk, and I’m pretty sure the definition they give it isn’t the one the white supremacists did. “we whites” are not a monolithic group, obviously. So blaming all whites for the actions of some is as morally wrong as blaming all Muslims for 9/11.


  20. Eyeore: If we do not vote Trump and his kind will stay in power and continue to divide Americans. I do believe in prayer and voting .I am praying for a Blue Tsunami in all elections on 11-3-2020. and I voted to hopefully make this a possibility.


  21. And it’s possible that maybe God is calling us to just that. I’m sure that if payback is exacted, there won’t be neat delineations made between Republicans and Democrats, or evangelicals and main-liners and Catholics. It may be that it is just our turn to suffer without regard to relative individual guilt or innocence in the present moment. If so, so be it. I will certainly not be one of the tidal wave of first-time gun owners who have in recent months been among the hordes who have emptied gun stores, despite the exhortations of some of my coworkers to do just that. Those who live by the sword shall die by it.


  22. Lol! I guess that’s true. I honestly wouldn’t care if the Lincoln Memorial were torn down, frankly. Our heroes were not really heroes; as a Christian I should know that already.


  23. “Vote, if you can in good conscience.”

    And if I chose to vote for people who advocate for racial justice, is that not as good or better than just praying? That is the OP if I remember – that collective responsibility and action is required in this situation. And yes, we may technically be “not guilty” of all of the things that are being accounted for now – but neither can we say we haven’t benefited from the sins of our forebears either. Sometimes, the children’s teeth ARE set on edge when the fathers eat sour grapes (especially if they deny that they are just like their fathers).


  24. And I think that’s the root of a lot of this angst – that we’re afraid we’re going to get paid back in the same way we’ve been dishing it out for centuries. The question is – what if that is what God is calling us to?


  25. “What do you consider a legitimate source?” – an actual paper or presentation by an actual CRT scholar. No second-hand media reports, and certainly nothing from Fox/Breitbart/ad nauseum.

    “I didn’t just make up the statement that denying you are a racist is actually proof that you are a racist.” – I’ve covered that angle in numerous other replies here, so I won’t go over it again.

    ” I detest racism. I want to help the poor. CRT is not the answer, in fact, it will make things worse.” – Is CRT correct, or not? If it is (and given the statistics of the disparities between blacks and whites on any socioeconomic measure you care to pick, it sure seems that way), then any individual aid (commendable as it is) is inadequate to the ultimate task at hand.

    “CRT uses the term whiteness to describe oppression and a host of other awful behaviors.” – so have white supremacists over the centuries. White *is* a racial term because *we* whites, not CRT, made it so.


  26. I can totally relate to the mower fixing timeline. I am fairly adept at handyman type stuff, but regardless of skill level the first rule is that you will almost always encounter something unexpected, and sometimes multiple unexpected things.
    Nice to know I’m not the only one that kind of thing happens to.

    Also, on the JMac stories, I’ve been following the guy off and on for years because I have a family member who is deep into following his cult, and I have to say nothing surprises me anymore, though it does seem to get worse and worse. Disgusting, but not surprising.


  27. Eyeore, I am extremely doubtful that the powerful will ever repent of their injustices to others. It will be interesting to see what happens when the Republicans and the 81% of evangelicals lose their power and hopefully will not get it back for a long time. They should not be sure that those they have trampled upon the last 4 years will not treat them in the “christian” manner they have treated any ones other than their kind. Something about payback is _ _ _ _!


  28. At 2:26 p.m. I listed some things we could do and for which we could advocate. Thereto I would add: Prayer. Constantly turning to God. Doing the good that is in front of us. Treating everyone we meet with dignity and respect. Vote, if you can in good conscience. Serve real people in the community. (That’s a big reason why I’m a substitute teacher; the pay isn’t all that great, and sometimes I come home and cry on my dog, but I believe I have some love to give to those kids.). Listen more than talk. Weep with people. Sincerely beg for forgiveness of specific wrongs. If Christians especially, no matter their skin color, did these things, “institutional injustice” would all but disappear. And I’d ask your friend, “What are you waiting for, and what do you believe would be a way I could serve you?” I’d hope for some concrete answers, actionable things, not a slogan.

    The line runs down the center of every human heart, and there is no other way to address it that will produce lasting good.

    Eeyore, I believe the theology of Eastern Christianity, with its emphasis on ontology rather than legal standing before God, goes right to the center of this and gives a basis for those actions, for human beings to actually act humanely in love toward one another and creation, not simply to rely on a sort of pounding of a moral sensibility into someone so that they finally “behave.”



  29. A San Francisco school district is considering renaming a school named after this same Abraham Lincoln, because during his life he held racist views. The recommendations for changing names of numerous schools in the district have been developed partly in response to CRT.


  30. I just got back to the computer, and I get tired of trying to answer things with the phone.
    1. What do you consider a legitimate source?
    2. I don’t keep a notebook of everything I see that I disagree with. Do you?
    3. I am responding to what I have seen in the media, on twitter, and in blogs both from people who approve of CRT and those who are critical of it. Maybe I don’t know the academic definition of CRT, but I am responding to what I’ve seen at the popular level. I didn’t just make up the statement that denying you are a racist is actually proof that you are a racist.
    4. CRT uses the term whiteness to describe oppression and a host of other awful behaviors. I have heard people say that whiteness has nothing to do with being white and is not a racist term. Yeah right, and pigs fly. I’ve seen a video of some sort of diversity or racial sensitivity training where a black woman tells a room full of white people that white people are not quite human, and she wasn’t joking. How is this any different than white supremacists view of black people? This type of language leads to nothing good.
    5. I detest racism. I want to help the poor. CRT is not the answer, in fact, it will make things worse.


  31. Perhaps. But if you do, you should be both extremely cautious and be proactive in aggressively dealing with the problems that CRT points out. Because CRT *is* correct, and many of it’s critics *are* racists. And if you stand too close to racists, you’re going to get associated with them.


  32. Ah, c’mon, Mule. You’re free now to dislike anybody you want to, and you will be free to do so in the Great Liberal, Multicultural Future. You just won’t be able to keep the people you dislike from shopping in your store, sitting next to you on a bus, using the same restroom you do, and all those other things that were often done to people with the approval of State and Federal laws in the past.


  33. I looked it up. There are no Fedrally-recognized Native American tribes in Maryland. Most of them were gone by the end of the 18th Century. The closest I could come was Virginia’s Pamunkey tribe–but their language is extinct. We have done, and continue to do, very badly by our native peoples.


  34. When you’re predisposed to accept authority and/or believe that children are being harmed, and believing makes you part of an “in crowd” who has special knowledge, it’s possible that you can buy into QAnon. Also, maybe it’s the pace of life, or a failure of schools to teach critical thinking, or sheer boredom–but a whole lot of people have decided to let other people do their thinking for them. Combined with the ridiculous falsehoods of QAnon, that’s bad news for the Republic. Thinking people need to condemn this garbage, loudly and often.


  35. “Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray — that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said f[our] three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether”” A. Lincoln, 2nd Inaugural Address


  36. Ok then – what exactly do you counsel? More waiting? More “go slow”? As one minority aquiatence of mine likes to say, “How much longer do you expect us to wait?”


  37. No, but neither are they an excuse to hobble attempts to rectify historic wrongs before the attempts get started. And know this – the changes are coming whether we want them or not. Women and minorities are done waiting for us to get comfortable with change. And another historical tidbit – for many people with power and privilege, any movement towards equally is perceived as nascent persecution.


  38. Dear Eeyore, your good and right intentions are limiting your vision and your ability to reason. Learn from history – pendulum swings are not usually what they are hoped to be.



  39. And as I said a little earlier, I think there are already signs of that happening. But I’ll leave it at that; this is not the forum to make headway on such a discussion, and I’m frankly not up to the task at this time.


  40. This.

    There is only one entity behind such a slaughter – the one whose only delight is to lead human beings to death. Yes, there is a great danger – for our whole society, including to those whose wrongs we are trying to address.



  41. I accept your objection to the use of the word “woke”, and much of the general outline of what you say. But I think that to say that all those offering critiques of some of the facets of something like CRT should be assumed to be guardians of and apologists for systemic racism is wrong, and will lead to the demonization people of good will who agree with many of the particulars of what you’ve said.


  42. Again, atomistic individualism is our problem, here and now. When the pendulum swings the other way, we can deal with that problem, then.


  43. Christ tells us to love everyone. I don’t know what else to tell you besides that. If you’re so insistent on not liking those people, you’d be well advised to take it up with Him.


  44. A bachelor’s degree today, with an average annual cost of 26K for a public university, can’t hold a candle to a public high school diploma from the mid 70’s.


  45. Inherited and collective guilt/responsibility can be a dangerous thing. During the Russian Revolution, it led to the wholesale slaughter of not only the aristocracy, but their children and the household servants as well. Whole classes of people have been offered up in death, along with anyone who objects to the offering, to the god of collective guilt.


  46. Statistics prove that systemic racism *is* a problem still in this country. The case has been made. We just don’t want to pay the piper.


  47. Don’t particularly want to0 here about Cyrus right now, not after seeing those awful coins.
    Wouldn’t mind the real one, however, if Xenophon’s biography was accurate


  48. After we pay up, will we be free not to like them very much, or will we have to be armpit buddies at gunpoint?


  49. Apples and oranges.

    In stock fraud cases I assume tortious activity has been proven on the part of some actual person. I can think of nothing more certain than that black people are owed SOMETHING for their treatment, but damn! if the Devil ain’t in the details.


  50. “But even to bring up the question, or any of a number of questions like it, is purportedly evidence that one is racist.”

    This is kind of like the concept of “states rights”. A decent enough principle in theory? Yes. Bur unfortunately, it was used for over 150 years as a code word for “don’t let the federal government prevent us from discriminating against Blacks”. So whatever good was behind the dictionary definition has been lost. Same thing here – the ones howling the hardest about those questions *are* racists. That’s unfortunately going to tar anyone else who brings up the subject.

    This is the price we’re going to have to pay for ignoring this problem for 160 years. Unfortunately. Best thing to do is suck up and pay it.


  51. Do we therefore not enforce reparations in stock fraud if the fraudster doesn’t want to pay? Of course not. Just because it would negatively impact us is no reason to cry “voluntary only!”


  52. Love the Three Stooges meme. A then-independent San Francisco TV station used to run Three Stooges videos in the late afternoon, after I got home from Elementary school and was doing my homework and waiting for dinner. Some of them were entertaining; I especially liked the one where they helped their overweight female friend become a singing sensation.

    On the topic of racial reconciliation, I’d love it if all Christian churches could cooperate enough to have a national time of repentance and an actual rite of same before God and all our fellow citizens for the evils done to First Nations peoples and Africans imported for slavery. Then we Christians would have to advocate for schools that actually educate, job training and placement for all, an end to food deserts and doing things like putting various chemical plants next to economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, and social systems – including much exhausting volunteer work – that support the families we say we want to remain intact. I’m not holding my breath that Christians on an institutional level of any size will actually do these things. Which is why the only answer, at least right now, is on a person-to-person level, beginning with me.

    And I stand with Robert F. Classical Liberalism is becoming increasingly illiberal and intolerant; Kendi’s brand of “antiracism”, for example, is nothing but reverse racism (which he admits) and doesn’t do a thing to change hearts and work real repentance and contrition. Nearly four years ago I would have dearly loved to go to the local women’s march held right after DT was sworn in. I went back and forth with myself about it and came to the sad conclusion that, given the make-up of the group putting it on, had I shown up with a Whole Life Ethic poster, I would have been run out on a rail. So much for welcoming diverse opinions. I do indeed have some level of fear that, in the current climate, if I, for example, want to keep my job as a substitute teacher in the public schools, I will be required to believe certain things I don’t believe, things which have nothing to do with how I treat students in the classroom while guiding them through the teacher’s lesson for the day. It’s one thing to rightly advocate for fair treatment for all. And… do we really want to live with the level of thought policing that’s already in evidence in some academic institutions? But even to bring up the question, or any of a number of questions like it, is purportedly evidence that one is racist. As long as people take that tack, we will be talking past each other and forfeiting the things that would give a ground for real “progress”.



  53. That’s being a bit harsh.

    Of course, it’s always been my contention that since most Protestants don’t have a sacrificial sacramentology, they don’t technically WORSHIP anybody, even God.

    But I don’t want to go down that path right now. I just admitted to my wife how I voted, and now she won’t talk to me.


  54. No. We should be at the forefront of GIVING reparations, but there the law of not letting the right hand know what the left hand is doing militates against the desire to make sure Whitey pays his bill.

    Once again, the much-maligned Fundies and Evies are better givers, and the Progs and Rainbows more strident in demanding that someone give.


  55. This is where bad exegesis that departs from the Hebrew/Jewish understanding of much of Scripture leads someone. It’s founded in a certain other interpretation of Scripture – at the very bottom, it cannot imagine what it would mean of God is truly Good.



  56. “””Only the right wing anti-equality people ever use the work “woke”. It is essentially a derogatory term for decency, kindness and empathy. “””

    Pretty much true. I’ve also heard BIPOC use the term, usually in an ambivalent way.

    “””The extent of domination by some cultures over the last 500 years over the majority of the others is mind-boggling,”””

    Yep. The scale of domination possible in the modern world is unrivaled in history.

    “””To decry efforts to normalize relationships, to deconstruct power structures, and to recognize the pain of peoples, as “oppressive wokeness” is not merely ignorant, It is evil.”””

    Agree. It is participation in uninformed punditry, at best.

    “””Maybe some others here can lookup how to say good morning in the language of the First Nations of their area?”””

    Ojibwe: Mino gigizheb
    Potawatomi: Mno waben


  57. No kidding. Just read Isaiah. God sends the Assyrians to spank some Israeli butt before smacking them for getting too full of themselves.

    God is also not above using people “outside His kingdom” to save those inside. See Cyrus.

    Bottom line: never put God in a box. He doesn’t really like boxes.


  58. empathy: to suffer ‘with’ . . . . if that is ‘wokeness’, a lot of fundamentalists are deeply in need of it . . .
    Kyrie, Christe eleison

    “‘ By the wide coast, she looks about and thinks way too long, too much. As time passes, so much changes, into that which no man has yet seen We’ll leave tomorrow night, let’s not head the dark clouds gathering above. The sea comes unto land; I write in black sand my secrets. And as more moments pass, she feels it now – too much. She gives out her hand and says so much. Cries, but never gets an answer. . . . “


  59. > The skate park looks like a hit.

    With angelic grace, of course. Not a syllable of profanity uttered.


  60. “Maybe some others here can lookup how to say good morning in the language of the First Nations of their area?”

    I can’t. They were driven to cultural extinction back in the 1740s, before any preservation of their language. 😦


  61. Those that have supported Trump are sure going to have lots of explaining to do about injustice when he and many many other Republicans go down with him in about three weeks. They sure seem to support his injustices and dare to ignore what the Bible and especially Jesus have to say about being about of the injustice. “Believers” have laid down with this very fleay dog and are full of his fleas IMO.


  62. I think we are seeing some of those consequences already. For instance, respected liberal professors being sidelined at universities because they won’t agree with all facets of CRT.


  63. I said we should not refuse to act on present evils due to overworrying about the secondary consequences of acting on the present evils. For most of the world industrial revolution, the climate consequences weren’t clear. Once those consequences became clear (in the 70s and 80s) it became a present evil.


  64. That is what has led to the environmental disaster we are facing. Industrialization and modernization were after all designed to deal with only the dangers and needs at hand in mind.


  65. We have to deal with the dangers at hand, not the dangers we fear will come by too aggressively dealing with the dangers at hand.


  66. Miyo kikisepayaw!

    When I grew up in South Africa in the apartheid years, we had language instruction in 3 languages: Afrikaans, English and Sepedi. The latter concentrated only on very basic phrases etc, and was compulsory from grade 5 to grade 9 only. But we still got the instruction – and I still remember the essential phrases: Dumela ma! Dumela ra! Wena o kae? Ke gona, wena o kae?

    The simple act of acknowledging someone in their own language means a lo – especially if it is the previously (and likely currently) oppressed peoples.

    I see complaints about wokeness here. Some observations:

    Only the right wing anti-equality people ever use the work “woke”. It is essentially a derogatory term for decency, kindness and empathy.

    The extent of domination by some cultures over the last 500 years over the majority of the others is mind-boggling, especially once one actually investigates history. Recently a friend of mine, a libertarian to the core, told me how shaken he was when he looked at George Washington’s record, including his own words and policies, on aboriginal people. Now imagine being an indigenous student, learning this, and living in a state or capital named after such a man. And Washington is a milder example. For instance there is currently a worthwhile effort to rename some bird species that were named after supremacists and racists of the worst kind. And of course, the right-wing brigade shouts about wokeness and political correctness and what not till you can sail a boat in their spittle.

    Of course this is not merely a white vs others issue. Right now we are seeing concerted efforts to destroy the ethnic identity of numerous people in East Asia. We see the attempted extermination of indigenous people in the Amazon by thugs, with the tacit support of a right wing demogogue. And we see the looming, potential regional conflict in the Caucasus, because of the political maneuverings employed by Stalin nearly a century ago.

    To decry efforts to normalize relationships, to deconstruct power structures, and to recognize the pain of peoples, as “oppressive wokeness” is not merely ignorant, it is the express desire to maintain racial power and prolong oppression. It is evil. Or, to quite another item on the Brunch, it is sin. Even if some of the “woke” go a little far.

    I started with saying good morning in Plains Cree. Maybe some others here can lookup how to say good morning in the language of the First Nations of their area?


  67. Burro, when you casually drop a racist slur into the middle of your comment, the only thing I want to say in reply to it is that racist slurs are racist.


  68. Re; the black kid.

    Really, what it boils down to is everybody’s (black and white) tendency to view the black kid as Being Up To No Good and the white kid as Just Being A Kid. That’s as evil an attitude as you can have, but it’s hard to get rid of. One or two lonely voices sharing how they managed to move away from Ground Zero on this would be immeasurably more helpful that a chorus of harpies shrieking about how awful you are.


  69. “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” — Friedrich Nietzsche


  70. Yes. We also need to clear that out of the development of Enlightenment ideas into expanding forms of liberalism, the rights of the individual against the needs of the community came into tension and bold relief. If the rights of the individual are neutralized by the needs of the community, as is a real danger with some evidence already on the ground and apparent in identity politics, then eventually unless one submits to the doctrine of the community’s needs in all things one will become endangered in many ways.


  71. One is applauded, and the other is excoriated.

    Honest, though, we are in new territory here. My zip code used to be primarily African American, and was into being the cool old white guy who could hang with the spades, but now it has lost almost all of that identity, replaced by a melange of peoples, tongues, and customs. Even my neighbors Hiram and Yolanda look a bit confused at what has happened.

    Its gonna take more than a few unattended churches with rainbow banners on the front lawn to turn this into what our commissariat want it to be, although my deepest suspicion is that they could care less all long as everybody voted the way they wanted.


  72. Not God’s requirement that chafes, but HR’s.
    Unless you think they’re one and the same.

    Knowing you…


  73. This works diachronically, in time as well as degree of propinquity. When you expect that the End of All Things is about Three Weeks Away, even the War Monkey can get with the program to look after others as he does himself and his own.

    The longer the New Regime lasts, the more the War Monkey notices that even in the Workers’ Paradise or the Tausend Jahre Reich there are some few who benefit and those many who pick up the tab. If Jesus had stuck around, maybe He would have been willing to be the clearinghouse for all of these disputes, but no, He said “it is necessary for you (all) that I go away”.

    As long as you could reasonably expect to be beheaded at random because of your baptismal status, I imagine it was easier to maintain this familial ethos.


  74. Well, to be honest… Enlightenment thinking and much of classic liberalism *was* used in the service of racism. We need to be clear about that.


  75. That’s the risk necessitated by any dealing with embedded evils. Even John Wesley, while decrying the violence and ndiscriminateness if slave revolts, said that the oppression of slaves ultimately justified them. Either we deal with our faults up front and with humility (we didn’t), or we have harsher judgment foist upon us by the hand of history (and God). Again, my recent readings of the OT prophets make this principle painfully clear.


  76. Amen and amen. They say they trust God but they want to help him. I truly believe change is coming.


  77. Pretty much every human society is “communist” on the smallest scale and “capitalist” on the largest scale. That is, in any healthy nuclear family everyone “gives according to their ability and receives according to their needs,” which is the classic Marxist definition of communism. The degree of “communism” decreases as you widen the scope to extended family, friends, communities you’re a part of, your neighborhood, your city, and so on.

    So, what really happened in the early church is that people felt themselves to be family and acted accordingly. That’s “communism” in a sense – but not in the political sense. The political *idea* of communism is that you can tell an entire society to act like they’re family, and the political *reality* of communism is that that idea never comes even remotely close to working, and often just gets used as a smokescreen for oligarchy and totalitarianism.


  78. I guess I’m lucky in that my job subsidized a lot of critical thinking and research skills, but given how “cynical” of mainstream sources these people are, you’d think they’d put even a microscopic bit of effort into vetting their own sources?


  79. The identity politics of CRT is playing the same game as the identitarianism of white nationalism, from the other side of the continuum.


  80. There’s actually two distinctions that evangelicalism fails to make: not only between individual and collective sin, but between sins (particular sinful acts an individual or community commits) and sin (the underlying brokenness and corruption that leads us to commit sins). Many evangelicals focus only on individual sins, not even wanting to address the sinful nature that leads to those sins.

    So, for example, if a police officer shoots an unarmed black kid, evangelicals may be able to see that particular act as a sin, but they are unable to recognize that it might be driven by the officer’s sinful, racist attitudes, and they also won’t be able to see that it is part of a sinful pattern in society that is being driven by institutional racism.

    This is part of a broader pattern where the moral logic applied by conservatives focuses entirely on the level of labeling individual actions as sinful. The idea of sin as something more than just the actions and choices of an individual is often not something that even enters the awareness of people in a conservative setting.


  81. I don’t know about other social groups, but for my co-workers QAnon is not a fringe. I am so sick of hearing it. What is worse is that my co-workers are highly educated, yet they believe “I read it on the Internet”


  82. Please, please excommunicate me! I will wear it as a badge of courage against the current Tyrant and his never be critical of him supporters.


  83. If progressives have their way, all of higher education, corporations, schools, etc. will be infiltrated not only by anti-racists, but by the MeToo movement too. At that point not only will men no longer be safe to make racist comments in those settings, but they won’t even be able to harass and abuse women. We might even reach a point where adulterers are no longer excused and defended with “boys will be boys” language. And if the progressives *really* get their way, we may be headed toward a future where those places no longer have room for *any* sort of perpetual adolescent. If that happens, it will be a grim day indeed for a lot of Americans. Horrifying.


  84. The problem with most criticisms (and some applications of) CRT is that they don’t really deal with it actually says – they just, either pro or con, use the term as a brickbat to score rhetorical points.


  85. > In CRT if you’re white you’re a racist and always will be

    Sorry, no. You haven’t read a serious text concerning CRT.

    CRT does not say “you’re a racist”.

    You are not even getting CRT’s definition of “racism” correct.


  86. As an example, though I’m no fan of Amy Coney Barrett and would prefer that she not become a Supreme Court Justice, to accuse her of racism and colonialist oppression, as Ibram X. Kendi and other influential and prominent proponents of CRT have, because she and her husband adopted Black children seems racist itself, and the result of a clearly illiberal view of humanness and humanity.


  87. The fact that even qualified criticism of CRT is construed as racism and results in the critic being labeled as racist is alarming. And it is alarming to me because it is illiberal. But CRT seems to claim that liberalism itself is racist. As a liberal in the classic sense, I don’t know where that leaves me, but I suspect it leaves me open to being accused of being racist if I’m white (I am white), or to being the tool of racists and oppressors if I’m not.


  88. You are right, in that Marxism and communism are not one and the say. The earliest Christian church was organized as communist–nearly explicitly so, but that the word did not yet exist–but this does not imply the superstructure of Marxism built atop the underlying idea.


  89. In CRT if you’re white you’re a racist and always will be, no matter the repentance or restitution. If you deny you are a racist, that is proof you are a racist.


  90. The evils that the Russian Revolution reacted against were real, but the overreaction to those evils resulted in evils of its own. And although what I’m about to say will make me less liked on this board, I’m now recognizing echoes of that kind of overreaction to real historical and current evils coming from the progressive side of politics and culture in this country. It is for the most part at present not using hard power to implement the developing woke ideology and orthodoxy, but it is using capitalism against itself in the laser-like new forms of social media based boycott — sometimes called cancel culture — that has resulted in it having extraordinary and quickly growing influence and power among educational and business institutions, as Jon pointed out above. I will still be voting to unseat Trump and Senate Republicans in this election, but after that, if they prevail, I will be keeping a watchful eye on how the Democratic Party deals with the more radical demands of woke orthodoxy. I’m especially concerned with the way wokeness in its reaction against real evils committed by whites and white societies against people of color now and in the past seems to reify whiteness in ways that reinforce racialist ideas in an almost metaphysical way; the result is that to be white is to be guilty by definition. That is an extremely illiberal idea, but then there are those among the woke who say that liberalism itself is an ideology of oppression against people of color.


  91. “””Conservative evangelicalism’s war on “wokeness” is based on the simple fact that America is changing and they cannot handle the change. “””



  92. IOW, CRT points out the transgressions. As Christians, we can offer the reconciliation and redemption. Rather than fighting against CRT, why aren’t we at the forefront of calling for change and reparations?


  93. “discerning the difference between those who promote Marxist narratives….”


    NO, this is not a problem.

    This reminds me of the people going on and on about the Occult during the Satanic Panic. All of which were either making stuff up whole cloth or merely referencing pop-culture.

    These people afflicted with Woke Fear have no idea what Marxism is, have never read Marx, have never talked to a Marx scholar.

    If this is a problem for someone – they are ignorant and should not be listened to.


  94. And he always has been. Theological outrage and hard-nosed dispensational fundamentalism has been his brand from day one.


  95. “In CRT there is no grace, no redemption, no real reconciliation.”

    The biblical pattern is that redemption and reconciliation come only after repentance and restitution. And you can’t have repentance without an acknowledgement of the transgressions. And as pointed out elsewhere here today, not all transgressions are individual.


  96. > It’s been around six thousand years or so–that’s all–and it may last a few thousand more

    Ok, take this as true.

    And it lasts a few thousand more years; how many generations is that?

    The suffering, the lives, of those generations is irrelevant?

    I am woke to the truth that John MacArthur is a dick.


  97. Conservative evangelicalism’s war on “wokeness” is based on the simple fact that America is changing and they cannot handle the change.

    This is also what is happening to the GOP as well. Just look at how the GOP has rejected the move to become more inclusive.

    America is becoming “browner”, less Christian, more urban while “conservative American” is growing whiter, older and more rural.

    Demographics is king!


  98. And why is it a problem? Even this author’s critique of “wokeness” is silly.

    Being “woke” is being Aware, “wokeness” has another name: empathy.


  99. I’m sure I’ll be the lone voice in this wilderness here today, but wokeness, CRT, identity politics, whatever you want to call it is a much bigger threat than any little Qanon conspiracy group going on. I read Michael Bird’s piece yesterday, it was a very good example of taking on a strawman. Justice is good. Helping the poor is good. But not everything that claims to be doing those things is good or actually doing those things. In CRT there is no grace, no redemption, no real reconciliation. Guilt is based on color, not on character or actions. It divides rather than unites. It holds people accountable for things they never did, and declares people victims for oppressions they may have never suffered. It takes away the individual and only allows for (their) view of the group. And it has been adopted in many of the major institutions in our society. It will only make racism and racial tension worse.


  100. Seeing as CRT and wokeness have already infiltrated basically all of high education, major corporations, public schools, and government office diversity trainings, yes it would be a thing.


  101. I think it’s a growing panic that the curtain is being drawn back on the way we profit from the systemic injustices being perpetrated, and that the recipients of said injustices are tired if putting up with it – and some of the former folks want desperately to end the discussion.


  102. Are you “woke”? Excommunication.

    Vote Democratic? Excommunication.

    Pro-choice? Excommunication.

    But racism? Q-Anon? Favoring the rich (boy did James have some harsh words about that!)? Welcome with open arms, brother.

    I’ve been reading the OT prophets lately, and it has both helped, and NOT helped. It’s helped in the sense that the parallels between ancient Judah and Israel, and American evangelicalism, couldn’t be clearer. It hasn’t helped because it’s also clear that many Evangelicals are no more interested in repentance than Judah and Israel were. The end of Jeremiah is particularly depressing. Even after the fall of Jerusalem, the re-exile to Egypt, after everything Jeremiah warned them about came true, he gave one last call to the survivors in Egypt to repent. They basically said, “#### you and #### your God, we’re keeping our idols!” (Jeremiah chapter 44 – read it yourself and see if I’m exaggerating.)


  103. “discerning the difference between those who promote Marxist narratives and those who simply want to take scripture seriously.”

    This can be tricky. There is a reason the earliest Christian church was communist. There also is a reason that this lasted until about Tuesday a week after Pentecost, but that reason is not that those early Christians took a harder look at scripture followed by taking it more seriously.


  104. Individual vs. collective sin: The word “sin” is used in two ways, which are often conflated. There is sin as an act, and sin as a condition: a state of being. Some older texts called the first sort “crimes.” It is a pity we don’t do this anymore. Many statements about sin don’t really make sense, if you only consider sin an act. Born into sin? What does that even mean? Yet it makes perfect sense when considering sin as a condition. And playing my Lutheran card, both sinner and saint also makes perfect sense. Contrast this with the classic Evangelical question of “Have you been saved?” If a person is either a sinner or a saint, full stop, then all sorts of wackiness inevitably follows.


  105. It’s the logical outcome of a gnostic apocalyptic theology that relegates everything physical in this age to the fires of coming judgment.


  106. it does sound like it, yes

    no mercy ever in that realm of the ‘wrathful god’ of the ‘saved’ where their viscious ‘heaven’ sounds a lot more like hell


  107. Regarding the position of the California pastor (who shall go unnamed)-
    “…the fact that God has renewed creation in Jesus and intends to renew it from top to bottom in the end should have immediate implications for our care of the planet. If someone gave you a wonderful painting to decorate your home, it wouldn’t be very respectful if you used it as a dart-board, or as a chalkboard for the kids to draw on. And if someone said that didn’t matter because the original artist would come one day and mend it and clean it up, you might think that wasn’t the point. But that’s how we have often treated God’s good creation. The more we know about how our planet works, the more we see just how badly we, its present caretakers, have been looking after it.”- NT Wright.

    Also, Michael Bird, as usual, is right on. Here is more likeminded pushback as compiled by John Fea:


  108. “The earth … is a disposable planet.”
    This boils down, as ever, to:
    “I got mine, so **** you!”
    We are all off in the lifeboats to our country club in the sky, so let’s trash the place before we leave (and don’t forget to bring the popcorn for while we get to watch all those Other People burn).


  109. Thank you for the Glen Gould. Bach. Fugue in E Major.
    I love the way we can hear him hum through the piano dialogue.
    He does the same in other performances.
    Makes the performance so personal. The llstener can feel they are there with Glen and sit beside him as he plays the Master,
    I am sure I will fish it out of my huge CD collection tomorrow and put Glen Gould in my daily play list again.
    I am so old fashion I still rely on my CDs for all my best music loves.

    Youtube and or other downloads have their uses but CDs will for me be the best way to appreciate the best of master performances.
    (I will not mention my Vinyls. Two cabinets of them too. I am spoilt for choice.Vinyls have such clarity.
    Sometimes better than CDs.



  110. The problem with the Jet Pack as a piece of technology is that it either works perfectly or it kills you. It’s hard to imagine a plausible malfunction scenario that doesn’t result in a fatality. (Perhaps if it simply failed to start up but then you get killed by the guys chasing you with guns.)

    That Siberian Tiger is magnificent. It would almost be a privilege to be eaten by such a beast. Almost.

    Well now we know there have been at least two people who think Donald Trump is a god.

    Would “wokeness” or “Critical Race Theory” even be a thing without the Right whipping up a holy war against it? Just how woke do you have to be to not want to get shot by some trigger happy cop?


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