January 15, 2021

Saturday Ramblings 8.27.11

This is the “batten down the hatches” edition of Saturday Ramblings. If you are living on the east coast from North Carolina upwards, read this quickly, and then go get ready for the big blow. And let us know if you are in the path of this great storm. We will be praying for your safety. (That includes you, JoanieD, and you, Ted in Maine.) For the rest of us, let’s ramble.

Sigh … here we go. Rocky Twyman, founder of the Pray at the Pump movement and the Pray Without Ceasing political party, has come out to declare the earthquake along the east coast this week is a warning from God for the president and Congress to create more jobs. Of course. How silly of me to have missed that sign in the Bible. Now where was that? Oh yes, the book of 2 Opinions.

Meanwhile, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. suffered several million dollars in damages thanks to the earthquake. The church has been in a financial crunch for some time, and the damages were not covered by insurance. Perhaps Rocky Twyman can convince the president to start his jobs program by fixing up the National Cathedral.

Is America truly more religious these days, or is it just a mirage created by our reaction to political candidates? As we get ready to enter into another presidential campaign, don’t take offense if we here at the iMonastery give a collective yawn. Still, there is some political stuff that is Rambler-worthy.

Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, has some direct questions to ask of the presidential candidates regarding how their religious views would affect their administration. Perhaps what bothers me most are John Hagee’s comments. Ah, what a year we have to look forward to.

Let’s leave Washington, D.C. behind and travel to the Kentucky where Thomas Merton was a monk until he died in 1968. Merton was a progressive in his day, but George Weigel thinks if Merton were alive today he would not be in that same camp. Weigel thinks Merton would be counted among the Catholic neoconservatives of today. Personally, I think Merton was in his own camp all along.

From the “can’t we all just get along” department, Paula White is suing a former staff member of her Church Without Walls for, among other things, “stealing members” from her church.  Honestly, I cannot make this stuff up.

Those who are another year older as of this last week include Isaac Hayes; Connie Chung; Robert Plant; William “Count” Basie; Wilt Chamberlain; Henri Cartier-Bresson; Gene Kelly; Vera Miles; Galen Rowell; Keith Moon; Kobe Bryant; Cal Ripkin, Jr.; Monty “Let’s Make A Deal” Hall; Sean Connery; and Alex Trevino.

Those who are in the path of Hurricane Irene want nothing more than to see it pass as quickly as possible. In honor of their desires we bring you this number by a sober-looking Eric Clapton, circa 1982. Enjoy.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZm96PKwtHc&feature=related’]


  1. I always thought that Presidents and Congresses ought not be creating jobs, but getting out of the way of those who REALLY do create jobs.

    I do hope that the President creates one new job in November of 2012 for some unlucky stiff.

    • Matt Purdum says

      Steve, if you mean that Obama and the Democrats are placing too many “regulations” on business, the fact is that one of the functions of government is to restrain evil, and greed is an evil. Throughout history, the rich have insisted that they are above the laws that govern the rest of us, and that any impediment to their exploitation of employees and consumers is “tyranny.” The rich had the same complaints when slavery, child labor, and share cropping were outlawed, and when laws were passed to insure the meat they sell us isn’t spoiled and the cars they sell us have brakes that work..

      • I would jump into this but we’d be seriously off topic.

        • It’s Saturday. Rambling IS the topic!

          Here’s what the apostle James has to say, chapter 5:

          “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! Look, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.”

          • Matt, many of us who are FAR from rich feel strongly that this president’s policies are hurting the small “Mom and Pop” businesses in America who can no longer hire those they would like to, increasing unemployment.

            Setting up the straw man arguement of the evil rich and the pious and downtrodden “others” is really just silly and not very true at all.

            In addition, someone who encourages the murder of the unborn cannot care very much at all for the “little guy” and the helpless, can he?

            Let’s stay away from the political mud-slinging on this site. People of good will have different takes on politics, but comparing the burden of endless federal regulations on businesses to slavery and child labor is more than a bit of a stretch, my friend.

          • Amen, Ted. Whatever policies are or aren’t adopted, we have to remember how God sees the issues of poverty and justice. Pattie, I sympathize with and understand what you’re saying — these are hard times for small business, and many of the policies that smother small business are inexcusable. But I would hate to think that the book of James, or Matt’s assessment of mankind’s tendency toward the sin of greed, was “political mud-slinging.”

      • sarahmorgan says

        If we’re going to drag the Seven Deadly Sins into the discussion (“Greed is evil”), I would venture that we not forget that Envy is evil, too. :-p

        • Amen.

        • Let me get this straight–you are suggesting that those who criticize rich people must be motivated by envy? Would you suggest that the one who said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of needle than a rich person to get into heaven,” is guilty of the sin of envy?

    • Ok, but even if we all agree that the central job of government is to fuction as regulators/gatekeepers to restrain evil (i.e. legislate morality), then it is still appropriate to critque the efficiency of their efforts.
      Right now, more Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined.
      So eventually if you have a government of regulators that exceeds the size of what they regulate, and survives by taxing what they regulate, eventually there may be nothing left to regulate.

      • Josh in FW says


      • Matt Purdum says

        Yet, thousands of businesses continue to operate and make billions in profits, despite being “strangled” by government regulations. One major retail chain I have worked for — they need to remain unnamed, but they are typical of many — has cut its sales-floor work force by 60% in the last five years. They profit millions — the execs party regularly in Aruba and Grand Cayman. Yet employees are overstressed — now doing the work that two or three employees used to do — that is, twice the work for the same pay, in effect a pay cut — and customers can’t get good service. This company fails to create jobs for one reason — greed.

        Now, as for Obama being pro-choice and thus against the little guy, I’ve long maintained that if conservative republicans were truly pro-life — as they’ve been telling us for over thirty years now — they would work to increase wages and strengthen unions, so that working men and women could actually afford to raise families, so that we could build a culture that nourishes family and family life. Instead, Republicans pander on the issue, offer the quick fix — put women in jail — and do nothing but keep wages low and weaken unions, making it harder and harder for working people to raise families, and in fact increasing the abortion rate. You can say you are pro-life all campaign long, but if your policies result in more abortions, then actions speak louder than words.

        And hey, love to all! Good place here to discuss things without acrimony.

        • Oh boy, I was thinking about having a “Politics Week” on Internet Monk sometime this fall. I’m trying to determine whether I am actually up for it or not. Hey Jeff, maybe I’ll leave that to you in October, OK?

          • Mike, I don’t know how you could possibly be up for a politics week, especially with reasonable people like me saying things like this:

            Hey, Matt, you said the magic word: “if conservative Republicans were truly pro-life…”

            I don’t think they truly are, and they don’t really want Roe v. Wade overturned. Because if it were overturned (and it won’t be, after nearly 4 decades, so it’s a safe bet) they would lose that trump card at the voting booth that they have with Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, conservative Catholics, etc. So they’ll continue to make noise but not much else.

            And yes, there may well be effective ways to reduce the amount of abortions. But they’re not trying very hard in that department either. Abstinence only, anyone?

            Downright cynical (I mean them, but anyone may feel free to pin it on me too).

            And yes! Love to all, and have a safe hurricane.

        • Matt,

          What Republican (or pro-life Democrat for that matter) has advocated putting a woman who has an abortion in prison.

        • I just read an interesting statistic. In 2001, W’s first year in office there were appx. 320 abortions for every 1000 births. In 2008, there were appx. 285 abortions for every 1000 births. So, after 8 years of Bush economic policy the abortion rate was down.

          One of two explanations.

          1. Impoverished conditions drive pregnant women to have abortions. So, the Bush economic policies must have lead to less poverty.

          2. Impoverished conditions have nothing to do with abortion, in which case it’s irrelevant whether or not the Bush policies lead to more or less poverty.

      • There are definitely two sides to that argument.

        In particular, a lack of regulation and government oversight contributed in a huge way to the banking and housing collapses.

    • Unlucky is right, for this is a stiff-necked people

      • Oh, I’d have to say more than two! I am not a republican, for the record…I am registered as an independent and have a very strong libertarian streak. Essentially, I believe that regulating moral issues is the job of faith-based organizations. Regulating the law of the land falls to the government. {And pretty much never the ‘twain shall meet!] The feds should guard the borders and manage interstate and international trade and banking; all else that truly needs gov’t belongs to the states and local governments.

        I know that this may make me an oddity here at IMonk, but I think the Lord was right about rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.

  2. The photos from the national cathedral are heart-breaking.

    • I was stunned by the earthquake. I’m a native Californian and experienced many. When it hit I didn’t know what to make of it. Earthquake..? Washington, D.C.? Impossible I thought…. I still couldn’t believe it. It took 3 hours to get home becuase of how the transportation infrastructure was affected. All the while I wondered who would pop up on TV and say, “This quake is God’s punishment of the United States for engaging in, _________”

      So now that we have that behind us, Hurricane Irene is coming next (gulp…) 😯

      This is going to be my first hurricane. I got bottled water, did the laundry so I’ll have clean clothes, and am cleaning the dishes right now. A lot of people I know are nervous and anxious about all this. I hope this storm deteriotates and dissipates. I’m worried about so much…how this will effect the bad economy, those who are alone, poor and homeless, military, police and fire first reponders, etc.. When I was at Wegmans getting supplies for the possibility of losing electricity people were hoarding. They would bring out one pallet full of cases of bottled water and people would descend on the pallet and grab the material and in a few seconds it would be gone.

      I have no idea what to expect. I hope for the best but as I type this I am nervous. Some of the people I was speaking to earlier today at work are nervous, and my parents are anxiously watching all this from California.

      What I do hope is that if some fundegelical clown (use your imagination…) takes advantage of this suffering, anxiety, pain, etc.. and uses it for some theological stunt, put down, or demonization (ie Katrina, 9-11) I’m hoping that other evangelicals or other Christians will call them on the carpet, and rebuke and correct them. That seldom has happened in the past. So I guess when September 11 happened…it really was the fault of gays, feminists, and liberal leaning voters like myself.

      • If you live in a house with a yard, gather up your shovels, axe, chain saw, whatever and put them in the house. You may need them and have a tree blocking access to your typical storage space.

        If you have lots of trees over your house put a few changes of rough wear clothes in a trash bag in another area of the house so when a limb puts hole in your roof over your closets you’ll have something to wear for a few days.

        If you have EVER had any issues with water drainage get up a check it out every few hours and maybe be prepared to go out and break up a pine straw, leaf or similar dam that may be attempting to flood your house. Got the badge for this one.


        Here in Raleigh we’re just going to get wet with some high winds. But the outer banks may be arranged a bit differently some Sunday morning. Which is normal no matter what the developers want to think.

        Of course there are fear that lower Manhattan and other areas of NYC including the airports may be under water. That’s will be a bit of a mess.

        If you have gable vents on the eaves of your house go check the attic after the storm to make sure you don’t need to dry out parts of your attic before it molds/mildews.

        Doing the laundry first is a good idea. Before we got caught by Fran in 96 my wife was washing clothes much faster than they were getting dried the night before. So we woke up to no power and 80% of our close wet. 🙁

        • David-

          I live in a condo complex on the 3rd floor. My biggest concerns are:

          1. Going without power for a few days
          2. Having flying debris hit the window
          3. A tree (or one of them) around the parking lot getting loose in sogy ground and hitting my car. I just paid it off a couple months back.

        • David..

          So far I still have power. It;s windy and raining hard….

        • Does anyone ever pay attention to what he says? An Orlando hurricaine several years ago, according to him, was payback for the rainbow ‘gay pride” flags that were hanging on downtown streets. (The city no longer allows private groups like PFLAG to purchase and display flags since this occurance.)

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Then there was the naked guy in New York who went off his meds and on a nude stabbing spree through his apartment building screaming that the earthquake heralded The End of The World and/or was God’s Punishment on Us…

    • Here’s what they are saying about Irene hitting the D.C. area. The Washington Post also is having good coverage on top of WTOP. ABC 7 is also good. http://www.wjla.com/


  3. So if I have serious heart burn over the changing theology of the Anglican Church and the National Cathedral was a leader in these theological changes…

    Is it wrong of me to not want to contribute money to repair it.

    • Still a free country, the last time I checked.

      But if you see beauty or art defaced or damaged and that alone doesn’t move you, then I would be worried.

      • The cathedral is beautiful. But I really disagree with the goals of the occupants. So why should I help them rebuild?

  4. Dan Crawford says

    George Weigal believing Merton would be a Catholic neo-con would no doubt greatly amuse the great monk. Weigal of course stands for the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor, the social darwinism of “Catholic” politicians, and there is not a war in the past quarter century that he has not supported. Merton’s faith was orthodox and he was committed to the social teachings of the Catholic Church – in fact,, radically committed to justice and peace. For Weigal to make such a foolish claim suggests how desperate certain Catholics are to sanctify their own unorthodox – one might say un-Christian – social philosophy.

    • That article had begging-the-question written all over it. I haven’t read much about his view of progressives, but I have read plenty on his view of the heavy-handed authoritarianism of the Catholic church and how it stifled the monastic movement in the U.S. which started after WW-I.

  5. Thanks, Jeff, for your concerns over Ted and myself being possibly in the path of Hurricane Irene here in Maine. Ted is more at risk than I am, though, as he is right on the coast. I am in the hills and the hills always knock down the impact of the hurricanes. But we do have extra water and we have a gas generator that we can kick into service if we need it to run some things. When Maine had the big ice storm some years ago, we were lucky not to have lost power whereas many people went a couple weeks without it.

    I hope all goes well for you, Eagle, with the storm and for the rest of you in its path.

    • Joanie, the eye of the storm should be closer to you in western Maine than to me (after it passes over my sister in western Connecticut), so watch out for trees. David L’s suggestions above are good.

      We expect to get a lot of southerly wind off the ocean, followed by southwest wind as the thing moves into Canada. I’m enjoying a day off after bringing lobster traps in from exposed areas for the past three days. Beautiful here on the coast right now, some fog though from the tropical moisture starting to show up. Calm before the storm. Some boats out today still bringing in traps to be on the safe side.

      A lot of small boats have been hauled up, forcing an early end to the summer; others moved to safer moorings, and the ol’ Hope should weather it just fine on her mooring. Insured if not.

      More concerned about the maple trees over the house. Hurricane Noel dropped one on my truck a few years ago.

      Again: insurance.

      But, Joanie, you’re in good hands. Any medical emergencies in your town may be assisted by my daughter M who is training in FM hospital. Look for a tall skinny girl, dark-blonde curly hair and she looks like me.

    • Hi, Joanie, my comment has been stuck in moderation since 10:47.

      Jeff? Did you get blown away with Dorothy and Toto?

      Auntie Em! Auntiee Emmmmm!!!

    • Saw by our news that three people (to date) have died/been killed because of Irene.

      How is everyone coping? If the power is still on, that is. Prayers for you all!

  6. On july 4th weekend, I heard a pastor talk about hurricanes. If it goes out to the Atlantic it is because of prayer and turning to God. If it hits the U.S. it is because of sin.

    Of course he said this right after Alabama got hit by tornadoes, I guess we Alabamians had too much sin in our lives.

  7. How silly of me to have missed that sign in the Bible. Now where was that? Oh yes, the book of 2 Opinions.

    Thanks Jeff…..I love laughing at 6:30am! That was great!

  8. You know, at this point, we should just assume that after any natural disaster that receives significant media coverage, someone will identify it as God’s judgment. Japan’s earthquake and tsunami was a judgment for the Japanese emperor having relations with the sun goddess. (Which, by the way–who the $*%& came up with that?) Haiti’s disaster was because God doesn’t like voodoo or something. And anything without an identifiable cause defaults, of course, to gay people.

  9. Also, the haircuts and clothing in that video are terrifying.

  10. Let’s not forget that Pat Robertson has told us that the crack in the Washington Monument from the earthquake is like the curtain tearing at Jesus’ crucifixion, and a sign that America’s greatness is waning.

    Ooops, sorry. I mentioned Pat Robertson.

  11. Speaking of Robert Plant, has anyone heard of the new super-band, Them Crooked Vultures, with John Paul Jones on bass and David Grohl on drums, and Josh Homme on guitar? Jones has never sounded better.

  12. His love is a hurricane? Really?

  13. That Paula White story – WOW! First and foremost it is just downright sad. It does beg the question; how do steal members from a church with no walls?

  14. Have you heard Tom Waits’ screaming drunken take on Good Night Irene?

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