July 10, 2020

Saturday Ramblings — August 16, 2014


Hello, fellow iMonks. It has been a sad, scary week in the world’s news. Iraq. Gaza. Ferguson, Michael Brown. Robin Williams. Ebola. Kevin Ward. Ukraine. Suffering right before our eyes on the TV screen and a whole world of hidden suffering we can scarcely imagine. With all the bad news, we’ll seek respite in a bit of humor and distraction today, digging out a few odd and wondrous gems from that little source of information and entertainment we call the internet. We won’t ignore the serious stuff, but heaven knows we need some laughter-medicine too, don’t we? However, I’ll warn you, I’m in no mood to be cute or subtle (or nice) today.

Anyway, I invite you to join me, your grumpy Chaplain, as we ramble through the good and the bad, the silly and the sobering.

• • •

Four-Pillars-Law-Firm-Happy-Sad-Eggs1I know what we need! An app that makes Satan shut up and flee! Yeah, that’ll do it. According to Kevin Winkler, the “Shut Up, Devil!” app is just the ticket to overcome evil. He writes:

screen568x568We activate Scripture as a weapon in our lives when we speak it. In fact, this is the model Jesus used during His temptation in the wilderness. Three times He countered Satan’s temptations with scripture, responding, “It is written…” In other words, “Shut up, devil!” Scripture silenced Satan and forced him to flee (Matt. 4:1–11).

I found speaking scripture crucial to keeping Satan silenced in my life too. My strategy began with note cards on which I penned personalized versions of scriptures relevant to whatever issue I faced. I kept these cards on me throughout the day, intending to speak them aloud as often as I needed. Still, despite my best intentions, I frequently forgot or became too lazy.

With this, I implored God for something more convenient—something always with me that could help me remember. That’s when I received a download from heaven. Over the next day, God revealed to me the blueprints of what is now known as the Shut Up, Devil! app.

Now if we could just airdrop a bunch of these into northern Iraq (along with smartphones, of course), where actual evil is revealing itself with all its might, we could help those folks do serious battle with the devil, IS, and all things jihad.

Sheesh. I think the only “download from heaven” KW received was the anointed trifecta of bad theology, evangelical silliness, and hucksterism.

nfl_a_rice01jr_400x600Four-Pillars-Law-Firm-Happy-Sad-Eggs1Meanwhile, here in the land of the fat and the home of the tailgate, many of us are saving our best energies for that which is truly important — College Football (let us pause for a moment of silent reverence). We’re less than two weeks away from a historic season, when, for the first time, NCAA Division I football will have a playoff system. The final four teams will be decided by a panel of “experts,” one of whom was a surprise choice some football folks didn’t like. That would be former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

Though I disagreed vigorously with many of the policies she represented under President Bush, I have long admired and liked her as a person. But boy, you thought she had a demanding job as National Security Advisor and then as Secretary of State? As we speak, Rice is preparing to tackle (pun intended) the toughest assignment of her life. Rice, now a professor at Stanford and a lifelong football fan, will put her prodigious talents to work on the aforementioned 13-member panel College Football Playoff, Playoff, Postseason, Selection Committee.

Good luck, Madame Secretary. Let’s see, what poison would you pick? Dealing with the aftermath of 9/11 + weapons of mass destruction + the Afghanistan and Iraq wars + trying to find Osama bin Laden? Or duking it out with SEC fans? Yikes.

article-2552005-1B34EBB700000578-754_306x423Four-Pillars-Law-Firm-Happy-Sad-Eggs1Oh, and just for fun, we did have more Ken Ham “news” this week. With tongue firmly in cheek, Bible scholar and blogger Pete Enns imagined a scenario in which “Ken Ham blasts God for not taking the Bible seriously.” Here’s a taste:

In a recent statement from his Creation Museum office, Ken Ham blasted God for “not taking the Bible seriously and undermining its authority.”

. . . “Once you start reading the Pentateuch, you get a clearer picture of God’s unbiblical agenda,” Ham alerted his followers.

“Just look at the laws. In Exodus God says to roast the Passover lamb and definitely not boil it. In Deuteronomy God says to boil it. In Chronicles God says to roast and boil the Passover meat. This is nothing less than a blatant liberal attack on the Bible.” [Exodus 12:8-9; Deuteronomy 16:7-8; 2 Chronicles 35:13]

Enns is making a crucial point with this bit of fun — it’s important for us to deal with the Bible we actually have, not the one we wish we had.

Four-Pillars-Law-Firm-Happy-Sad-Eggs1vicky-beechingYet another CCM artist has “shocked” the evangelical world. Vicky Beeching, a popular writer and singer of contemporary worship songs, came out as gay Wednesday in an interview with the U.K. newspaper, The Independent. I’ve been told that her most popular anthem is “Glory to God Forever,” which is one of CCLI’s top 100 songs.

According to an article in CT, Beeching “still considers herself an evangelical, although she no longer attends charismatic evangelical services and now prefers the more traditional services of London’s main cathedrals.” I’m sure this will give some people ammunition to say she’s abandoned the gospel (Oh my God, not only is she gay, she’s Anglican!), but there is no indication her faith has changed.

Christians had better get used to the idea that a certain small percentage of people in their families, churches, and ministries are gay and stop turning each new coming out into (SHOCKING!!!) headline news, followed by gnashing of teeth, wringing of hands, and casting of stones, ad nauseum.

Four-Pillars-Law-Firm-Happy-Sad-Eggs1Speaking of nausea, it’s State Fair time here in Indiana, time when Hoosier people “let ‘er fry.” With that in mind, let’s run down the five finalists for this year’s State Fair “signature food” award. [See the gallery below — click each pic for a larger image.]

Funnel Cake Ice Cream Sandwich, made by Urick Concessions. It is soft-served vanilla ice cream sandwiched between mini funnel cakes. It’s then topped with powdered sugar and a chocolate sauce.

Colossal Grilled Cheese Sandwich with a Salted Chocolate Caramel Shake, made by the American Dairy Association. It’s three columns of breaded mozzarella with American cheese on sourdough bread. It’s served with a salted chocolate caramel milkshake.

Cheeseburger Basket on a Stick, created by Barto’s Catering. It has seasoned ground beef and sharp cheddar cheese in a hash brown potato ball. It is then rolled in season breadcrumbs and fried.

The Mac Daddy, made by Gobble Gobble. It’s homemade macaroni and cheese topped with BBQ pulled turkey.

Fruit Twister Shake-up, created by Goodwin Family Products. The drink has fresh lemons, oranges, pineapple and strawberries. It’s shaken with sugar or Splenda, ice and water.

Four-Pillars-Law-Firm-Happy-Sad-Eggs1During the Assyrian Empire, the Aramaic language was like English today — a common language that was spoken from India to Egypt. An article by Ross Perlin in Foreign Policy says that a tragic effect of the Islamic State’s persecution of Christians in northern Iraq is the potential extinction of the Aramaic language, one of the three biblical languages and most likely the tongue Jesus himself spoke. This would be a significant historical and cultural loss to the world.

Nearly three millennia of continuous records exist for Aramaic; only Chinese, Hebrew, and Greek have an equally long written legacy. For many religions, Aramaic has had sacred or near-sacred status. It is the presumed mother tongue of Jesus, who is reported in the Gospel of Matthew to have said on the cross: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”) It came to be used in the Jewish Talmud, in the Eastern Christian churches (where it is known as Syriac), and as the ritual and everyday language of the Mandaeans, an ethno-religious minority in Iran and Iraq.

The Syrian civil war scattered inhabitants from locales where Aramaic was spoken and so, “until early August, the best hope for Aramaic’s survival was in northern Iraq, in the diverse North-Eastern subgroup, with its greater number of speakers and its roots in larger communities.” It is feared that the subsequent scattering of these communities from the plains of Nineveh will prove a mortal blow to the language.

Unless quickly reversed, the murderous presence of the Islamic State on the Nineveh plains may be the final chapter for Aramaic. Globally, languages and cultures are disappearing at an unprecedented rate — on average, the last fluent, native speaker of a language dies every three months — but what’s happening with Aramaic is far more unusual and terrifying: the deliberate extinction of a language and culture, unfolding in real time.

Four-Pillars-Law-Firm-Happy-Sad-Eggs1Finally, if there is one thing I have learned as a pastor, and especially as a hospice chaplain, it is that when someone dies, the best comment is no comment.

In the face of death, just shut up. Your opinion, in the face of a tragic suicide, means less than nothing. So keep it to yourself. There is no need to comment. Just mourn. Respect the dead and those who love them.

So I’m going to try and practice what I preach with regard to the sad passing of Robin Williams, who has given me great joy over the years. Rest in peace.


  1. “Christians had better get used to the idea that a certain small percentage of people in their families, churches, and ministries are gay and stop turning each new coming out into (SHOCKING!!!) headline news, followed by gnashing of teeth, wringing of hands, and casting of stones, ad nauseum.”

    Hmm. I didn’t know about this till YOU brought up the subject… It has ZERO impact on my life.

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

      I kind of think this is a selling media thing. I have had several brothers in Christ at various churches who were gay. To be fair, they all recognized the historic Christian teaching that sex is reserved for heterosexual couples, so most of the time the “coming out” was the result of a long time of loving and compassion that led to the kind of space where they were comfortable sharing their burden and asking for help. I think the issue with Ms. Beeching and others recently is that they don’t believe they are sinning. And while I believe that our faith should be expressed through love, the fact is that such a position is a contradiction of the received faith. It may be good, it may be bad, but it is certainly different and new. I expect some kind of backlash.

      • Faulty O-Ring says

        Surely the Protestant view should be that every believer has the right to interpret the Bible for himself…? Talk of a “received faith” veers perilously close to the “church tradition” of the Catholics.

      • “I think the issue with Ms. Beeching and others recently is that they don’t believe they are sinning.”

        Yes, this!

    • As an aside – Tried out that song with our congregation, “Glory To God Forever”, but to be honest, I always tripped over the musically clumsy filler lyrics in the first verse, “Yeah you were, yeah you were…”
      o-BOE he didn’t….
      O-BOE he did!!

  2. Asinus Spinas Masticans says

    Vicky’s not the first a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_of_the_Day> CCM figure to “come out”. She won’t be the last.

    “Christians had better get used to the idea that a certain small percentage of people in their families, churches, and ministries are gay”

    I don’t know where progressive Christians get the idea that Traditional Christians have a hard time admitting that some Christians are gay. The man who shared Christ with me was a homosexual paedophile who struggled all his life with his sexuality. He lost. I wish I had had the spiritual resources to have been more help to him, but he’s in a good place now.

    You’re right, though. We shouldn’t be surprised. My Pentecostal Bible School was chock-a-block with closeted gays back in the 70s. Some of them went on to have successful church ministries, got married, had kids, and wouldn’t admit their true sexuality until the wider culture got more permissive.

    I ain’t gonna be dancing the hornpipe over it, though. I’ll stick with the RC on this. There’s only one sanctioned place for a man’s seed, and I don’t have to spell it explicitly out for anyone. If 98% of humanity can’t keep that rule, and nobody’s deceiving themselves but that it’s a hard, hard rule, well, that’s why Christ died. Confess and forsake, but don’t change the rules. You aren’t doing anybody any favors.

    • I don’t know about “progressive Christians,” but I got the idea to run this today from every “Christian” news outlet and magazine I looked at, that put this coming out on the front page with headlines.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      Traditional Christians? You mean like Orthodox? Or perhaps Copts? How did they come into this?

      • Asinus Spinas Masticans says

        By traditional Christians in this context I meant a wider circle, including anybody who wouldn’t sacramentalize a same-sex union.

        Its a strange circle, as it contains both the Southern Baptists and the Copts. Other circles would include the Copts with the ELCA. Go figger.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          The ELCA doesn’t sacramentalize same-sex unions either. We sacramentalize baptism and the eucharist. Well, come to think of it those are sacraments regardless of our actions or failures to act, so I wouldn’t even count those.

        • You may call me a progressive if you like, since I have a view on the subject at hand that would disqualify from being called traditional, according to your definition. But I’d be willing to bet (if I were a betting man, which I’m not) that I’m more traditional, by the definition of that word you would give in most other contexts, than the Southern Baptists and many others you’re willing to draw into your circle in this context.

          • Asinus Spinas Masticans says

            Don’t think that the irony is lost on me. Neither Rev. Bubba Testosterone nor Father Ouzopinos Misodyse are going to be marrying Vicky and her partner any time before the heat death of the Universe.

            It has always puzzled me why the more liturgical branches of Protestantism are the quickest to capitulate to the Zeitgeist Giant, even anticipating him on occasion.

          • Richard Hershberger says

            I have a prediction: Rev. Bubba Testosterone is going to be doing just that within the next decade. Not every Bubba, of course, but most. (Father Ousopinos Misodyse, I will grant you.) There are innumerable hot bottom cultural issues of the past where the Evangelicals have “capitulated to the Zeitgeist Giant.” Most of these they quietly ignore. From pretty much the days of the Reformation to about a hundred years ago, Sabbatarianism was a huge part of the culture wars. Playing a game of baseball on Sunday was taken as a sure sign of damnation, and illegal to boot. Nowadays, Sunday football is practically the national religion, with Evangelicals in the forefront. More recently, how many people in Evangelical churches are divorced? Or take a drink on occasion–perhaps frequent occasions? Then there are the obsolete hot bottom issues that are now an embarrassment. These the church avoids talking about as much as possible, but if forced to discuss, tell flagrant lies. The recent example that springs to mind is the incredible claim that no church ever supported laws forbidding interracial marriage.

            Sure, you can find that still condemn divorce and alcohol. You can even find churches that seem to take it seriously, rather than as a talking point to be stated then move on. You could probably even find a church that condemns recreational activity on Sundays. I also expect you could find a church that condemns interracial marriage. But none of these are mainstream positions.

          • Some of us see redefining marriage and having the church adopt most of the sexual mores of the culture around it as big issues. Baseball on Sunday, not so much. You are turning legitimate concerns people have about serious issues and comparing them to silly fundamentalist obsessions about card games and drinking beer.

          • flatrocker says

            Sure is alot of straw on the floor with all these strawmen swatting at their brethren..

          • Having to deal sensitively with divorce and being compassionate and not legalistic is one thing – that is something the church has often not handled well. That is still something different from talking up divorce like it is a wonderful thing. Some say, in postmodernist fashion, that we can redefine marriage and sexuality in a radical way, that everything is a social construct that we can reshape quickly and this can only have a positive side and not a negative side. I am skeptical about that. A car that has no brakes or steering might go fast, but it doesn’t sound like progress to me.

          • Faulty O-Ring says

            One day, when I finally realize my dream to become a US TV evangelist, I’m going to push for a constitutional amendment declaring that marriage can only take place between two virgins; anything less cheapens the institution and absolutely must not receive government recognition.

            (Virginity can be tested through dirty jokes that virgins would never understand and hence not laugh at.)

          • Richard Hershberger says

            “Baseball on Sunday, not so much.”

            Sure. But they didn’t see it that way back in the day. But that was quite a few days back that the church abandoned this fight. It is far enough removed that now the whole argument seems quaint, and is easily dismissed. This is, of course, why you chose that of my list of examples of abandoned culture battles. The others are more recent, and therefore less comfortably dismissed.

    • “If 98% of humanity can’t keep that rule, and nobody’s deceiving themselves but that it’s a hard, hard rule, well, that’s why Christ died. Confess and forsake, but don’t change the rules. You aren’t doing anybody any favors.”

      That has to be one of the most eloquent statements on this subject I’ve ever heard. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. America may be noted for a lot of things but quality food isn’t among them – the examples listed prove that, don’t you guys have deep fried butter and Mars Bars as well?? Yuk……. is probably the kindest word I can offer.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      We’ve got great food – this is just part of a long tradition of trying to be as disgusting and off-putting as possible; it is the culinary version of a belching contest.

    • I no longer crave ( or tolerate) funnel cake like I used to, but every year I steal just a little bit from my kids’ funnel cake to sprinkle onto my soft serve ice cream. So I have to admit they’re onto something with that first one because warm funnel cake + soft serve = a little bit of heaven.

      Pretty much every other ‘new’ fair food frightens me, so I’m glad our county fair keeps it traditional. I don’t think we’ll be deep frying butter any time soon. (Because clearly it serves a better purpose being slathered across roasted ears of fresh sweet corn.)

    • Fair Food is a category all its own. Columbus, Ohio has various food festivals like the Jazz and Rib Fest. Yesterday they had the Food Truck Festival on Columbus Commons. It featured over 50 of the finest food trucks in the city for your eating pleasure.

      If you can’t find something good to eat in America, you’re not looking.

    • Faulty O-Ring says

      Surprisingly, new research shows fried Mars bars to be good for you. The two vices cancel each other out or something.

  4. Dan from Georgia says

    I am so coveting that Les Paul Vicky is holding in the photo above! Seriously though, I was just listening to the song “Yesterday, Today, and Forever” by Vicky yesterday on my iPod and I found myself thinking of her in a different light with her coming out news, and then I turned off the song before it was over. I was not too proud of myself afterwards for this action. You may have felt differently, but that is your choice. Anyways, all I can say is I think God still loves her.

    • Yeah, it gets complicated, doesn’t it? I’ll freely admit, if I were a worship leader in an evangelical church, I might pause before having the congregation sing one of her songs in worship (that is, if I knew that people were familiar with her). Mainly because I would wonder if this news would be distracting.

      • We always sing songs written by sinners at our church. 😉 But of course, I have it easy: Most people in my congregation wouldn’t know who she is. But they DO know about Ray Boltz, and that doesn’t stop them from requesting “Thank You” for every pledge drive or funeral. The irony is that homophobia is a real presence in our congregation, but it doesn’t manifest itself in this sort of way. Our people tend to have compassion on gays, and only fear homosexuality as a political cause.

        But seriously, does anybody remember the dustup with the guy “dying from cancer” at Planetshakers? His song “Healer” is a good song nonetheless (as far as CCM pop goes), and many churches continued to uses it despite the scandal. I think it is important to use songs written by people like Vicky and Ray Boltz, specifically because it blatantly confronts that homophobic stereotype provocateurs love to foist upon any Western religion right of center. I feel so terrible that they believed they needed to live a lie for so long, but granted there would have been, and still are now, many lined up to crucify them. I like Vicky Beeching, but her songs are more pop/entertainment than worship hymnody to me (though “Glory to God Forever” isn’t too bad, we use it for our school chapel). Most of her songs are the kind we would use for an offering special. I think I will look for an opportunity to schedule one sometime soon.

        • Dan from Georgia says

          Good points Miguel. I don’t think their songs should be expunged from the church lexicon. Unfortunately, I think it will happen in some churches, mainly because of the “religious right” political thing that you mention. Same thing happened when Amy Grant committed the unpardonable sin of divorce; some stations stopped playing her music, including a well-known CCM station back in my original home state of Minnesota.

          With all that being said. I love Vicky’s voice and I believe she has a strong heart for God, especially after perusing her blog from time to time.

          • Yeah, I wasn’t saying I’d never sing her songs again. I just might avoid them in the heat of the moment. Might be my own aversion to potential conflict coming through. Lord knows I had plenty of it in evangelical churches.

        • Dan from Georgia says

          I came to Christ in the late 1980s, deep into the “James Dobson is our spokesman, the religious right is our platform” zeitgeist. Focus on the Family was THE radio program, and calling your congressman to complain about the latest bill that was going to destroy the family and the church was your commanded duty. Homosexuals were perceived and treated by the conservative church as people less than human. They were truly “different”. They were THE enemy of the Church (oh, and liberals were also).

          It has taken a long time for myself to begin to see others who are different from me as truly human and loved by God, and no less than human, and to let go of the bad influences this Christian upbringing produced in me. I am still changing, and yesterday listening to Vicky’s song and my reaction told me that I still have a long way to go.

          • Dan from Georgia, I apologize if the beginning of my comment below was critical of your struggle in this context. I understand and sympathize with you, and could have said what I had to say without commenting in your direction.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            “Remember James Dobson? Did a lot of good things before fear of homosexuals drove him off a cliff with most of his constituency in the car.” — the original IMonk

        • I guess I view the “Healer” song a lot like I view Mike Warnke: You may like it or not (personally, I think it’s pretty meh), but it has the uncomfortable problem of being based on a lie. That’s a far cry from Vicky or Ray who seem to have written what they did without intent to deceive.

          • No, it actually wasn’t based on a lie. It was a very honest song, crying out to God for help. It was presented dishonestly, as if the help needed was for cancer when it was for a porn addiction.

    • God still loves her, but he won’t listen to her music anymore?

      Welcome to the Anglican Communion, Vicky; we are still struggling with many issues, but there is a place here for you here, in all your humanity.

      • I believe she may have been Anglican the whole time. I’m pretty sure she got her start working with Tim Hughes out at Holy Trinity, Brompton. In fact, I read something about her having pursued a seminary degree. Of course, now she’s discovering the depths of spiritual comfort her tradition affords to broken sinners. I hope she keeps making music, her struggles may bring the best out of her yet.

        • The interview with her in the linked article is very moving, and sad. It seems as if the exorcism that was intended to alter her sexuality more likely contributed in large part to possessing her with a spirit of fear, a fear that added in no small way to the stress that ultimately, years later, triggered that horrible autoimmune disease she has. I hope that she is now being liberated from that fear.

          • I too thought the interview was poignant.

          • This is part of the reason why certain Pentecostal/Charismatic teachings/practices are so harmful. I believe in exorcism. “Homosexuality” isn’t a demon. By the way, this was the similar situation as with the Planet Shaker’s songwriter. He wrote a song about being healed, allegedly from cancer, but it turns out that guilt from his porn addiction was what caused his vomiting and hair to fall out. Of course, the Australian Pentecostal denomination promptly stripped his ministry credentials. There is no room for sinners in that church, it’s no wonder he was both too scared to deal with it and so tormented by guilt over it.

          • I do wish the interviewer had done more research on scleroderma (and autoimmune disease in general). The implication that scleroderma is caused by emotional trauma is way off base, though I’m certain the emotional pain Beeching has experienced (which sounds gut-wrenching) has been a definite stressor. But as the primary cause?

            I say this only because the article is misleading on this point, and perpetuates the idea that some people bring illness on themselves. That Beeching has experienced a tremendous amount of suffering – physical and emotional – is beyond doubt. I wish her well and am glad to know she’s C of E.

        • Btw, I know nothing about her music, nor am I aware of ever having heard any of her songs; I never even heard of her until today.

      • Dan from Georgia says

        I did not take your comment personally Robert F, so no worries. I should have made a statement saying that I will still listen to her music, so I apologize for not being clear on it. Yes, it was kind of a stop-point for me to examine my heart when I shut off her song. Why was I doing that? See my other comment/response to Miguel for some insight.

      • Christiane says

        Hi Robert F

        I loved your Anglican welcome to Vicki, this:
        “there’s a place here for you in all your humanity”

        You ‘get it’.

        The hardest lesson of all to take in is that we ourselves are among those in constant need of Christ’s mercy and forgiveness. If we wish to have grace and the fruit of the Holy Spirit present in our lives, we must honor Him in humility. Out of that humility comes a truth that does not point at ‘the others’, but towards Our Lord Who is Himself both the light and the strength for the sojourn. We are His servants. We are here to serve those who need Him. We bring nothing of value to them but Him, the ‘one needful thing’

        I’m Catholic, and hearing Pope Francis’ words, ‘who am I to judge’ affirmed my faith in humility as a primal sign of the presence of God’s grace in the Church and in its people.

        For the Christian far-right world of Dobson, the Pearls, et al . . . I see a people who ‘look down’ from ‘above’ on ‘the others’, often with contempt masked poorly in the practice of their version of ‘truth spoken in love’, but I cannot see ‘humility’ in them, no. The self-righteousness in their stance overwhelms and fails to honor Our Lord’s lesson to us found in St. Luke 18:9-14. The finger-pointing from on high is not towards Our Lord, but towards ‘the others’ for whom they have contempt and have judged to hell.

        It is my firm belief that those who condemned Christ as THE lens through which all of sacred Scripture is to be interpreted, did so because they needed to get His Words out of the way, so that they could manipulate other scriptures to their own agendas. The result: we have seen it, and it is a mockery of Our Lord’s teachings

        Thanks for extending that welcome.
        I know that we ourselves are AMONG all who need Him. We are not above ‘the others’, but ‘with’ them.

        • A lovely attitude I’ve been blessed to encounter in the Anglican/Episcopal tradition is the presumption that ALL of us are “IN” by virtue of Christ’ action on our behalf. I don’t have to prove it. Jesus proved it. I am encouraged to live into that love and acceptance.

  5. Most disgusting fair food: here at the Ephrata Fair in September we have the FRIED OREO to look forward to. Ugh.

  6. The Islamic State. Terrorism proclaims itself a nation; in fact, it proclaims itself a caliphate. Osama bin Laden would be very happy. His movement is gaining numbers, and energy. He was killed, but he hasn’t been defeated.

    • One of the few things I can think of that is of similar brutality is what the Japanese did in Nanjing all those years ago. That was one major atrocity on the way to another world war. Where this comparison breaks down is that there are many people in the region who are not technically fighters for ISIS but they support what ISIS is doing. I think what we have seen with ISIS is just the beginning of horrors.

      • Something like the Old Testament war of herem has been let loose in the midst of the modern world.

  7. I typically read out the Ramblings to my lovely wife as a Saturday morning ritual. When I told her about the Shut Up Devil app, she grabbed her cell phone and looked it up. She has been screaming with laughter for the past 5 minutes as she reads the comments and feedback for SUD at the Google App store. She says it’s the funniest thing she’s read all week.

    Oh, BTW CM – the app is free, so it may be a bit too much to accuse the author of hucksterism. He’s certainly guilty of the first two charges, however… 😉

  8. “I implored God for something more convenient.” That’s it. That sentence sums up so much about the current state of Christianity. The pre-Constantine Christians prayed for strength in persecution; the next generations prayed for freedom from persecution; and we pray for convenience because we’re too forgetful and lazy. May God have mercy on us all.

    • I think many pray for convenient persecution so they can rail against everybody else and feel superior. Things like “I have basketball practice on Wednesdays when we have church! Oh horrors. Persecution from my coach!” or “The clerk wished me a happy holiday and not merry Christmas! Oh horrors! Persecution from the clerk!” “The gays in my town want equal rights! Oh horrors! Persecution from the gays!” Cry me a river.

      • Suzanne, be prepared for “Rick Perry is being persecuted for standing up for his beliefs!” (He’s been indicted for felony abuse of authority, but let’s see how the spin goes on this one.)

        In the “convenient persecution” department, I’m reminded of a character in a Flannery O’Connor story: “She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick.”

        • Faulty O-Ring says

          I think his “spin” is going to be that veto threats are normal gubinatorial activities, and that Perry will prevail in court. Not that this will help any future presidential run–the broader electorate still thinks he’s an idiot, and I don’t see how he can overcome that.

          • Christiane says

            ‘the broader electorate still thinks he’s an idiot’ . . . 🙂

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            And so another obstacle to Hillary’s Inevitable Ascension has been neutralized.

          • Faulty O-Ring says

            Given that the Republicans are going to produce some candidate or other, I’m sure that Hillary would love nothing better than to run against Rick Perry.

  9. Richard Hershberger says

    No love for Betty Joan Perske, aka Lauren Bacall? But seriously, I am fascinated by how Robin Williams’ death produced an outpouring of quasi-journalistic responses. For an entirely day, Salon turned into the Robin Williams Fan Club. Bacall’s death a day later, by contrast, is mentioned in passing. This is pure presentism. Bacall will be given a vastly greater place in any history of film written a hundred years from now. Even grudgingly stipulating that Williams at his peak was as big as Bacall was at her peak, her career lasted a half century. The last item listed for her in imdb is this year! Oh, and she was a vastly better actor than Williams. Even if she didn’t star in beloved films from our generation’s youths.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      Correction: Bacall’s career lasted sixty years. Ordinarily the ability to do simple arithmetic is my superpower, but not having my first cup of coffee is my kryptonite.

    • Yes, but what has she done lately? That’s all that counts these days…

      • Cedric Klein says

        OK, I heard the same sort of comparisons when Princess Diana had the audacity to die a few days before Mother Theresa. Here’s why Diana & Williams are getting more attention than Bacall & Mother Theresa… a relatively young, troubled life still full of potential is tragically cut short compared to a long full & fruitful life having run its course.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          I think both you and Oscar are partly right, but Oscar more so. I think that had Williams died in some unremarkable way he would still be getting far more attention. I am no youngster, but the Bogart and Bacall movies are from my parents’ generation, while the Williams movies are from mine. As it happens, I personally like movies from my parents’ generation and actively seek them out. Or even older films: Claudette Colbert c. 1930, take me now! But I am unusual. More typical is to assume that anything in black and white cannot possibly be of interest.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          Also, with the Princess Diana/Mother Theresa comparison, it is one thing for the trashy pop culture media to focus on the lurid. One would like (a) to think that the more thoughtful media would look past that, and (b) that IMonk qualifies as thoughtful.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Nanoo Nanoo…

    • Faulty O-Ring says

      Williams’ death was tragic–a suicide–while Bacall was just old. When QE2 dies, do you think people will go crazy with grief like they did for Diana?

    • I wish Bacall was getting more column inches, too, and if we were back in the 1990s, she would have. But Williams’ death overshadows hers due to generational trends as well as the fact that he was bipolar and committed suicide. Bacall was amazing, but her life over the past thirty-forty years hasn’t been lived in the limelight. Williams’ was, pretty much.

      It’s the same when actors and actresses who work mainly in the theater die – Colleen Dewhurst, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy and so many others are remembered primarily for their movie and TV gigs, even if/when they were at their peak onstage.

      • Very much true of another great stage actress, Julie Harris, who got more attention from journalists for her role in the film version of Member of the Wedding than for anything she did onstage – and she was decades and decades out from that role when she died, with an amazing body of stage work to her credit.

        Again, though, she was a fairly modest person and only wanted to be in the spotlight when she was working, not offstage.

  10. Marcus Johnson says

    For those of you who are ready to throw Vicky Beeching’s CD’s into the bonfire, just remember that King Solomon, near the end of his reign, succumbed to worship of the god Molek, which would have meant he engaged in child sacrifice. For Molek worship, this usually consisted of burning children alive while the parent stood by in stoic piety, while drums drowned out the sound of the child’s screams. Solomon’s apostasy created a snowball chain of events that led to a) the split between the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, b) the continued worship of Molek in both kingdoms (even though some kings tried, unsuccessfully, to permanently remove it from the culture), and c) the eventual destruction of both kingdoms.

    Just saying, if you’re tossing around Solomon quotables from Proverbs as your life verses and teaching his life story in Sunday School, yet throwing out Vicky Beeching’s music because she came out of the closet, you don’t have to explain yourself, but you can’t be surprised when people wonder why you don’t or can’t.

    • I’ve always been deeply skeptical of the claims of Moloch’s child sacrifices. It just doesn’t seem all that practical of a way for a tribe (and Moloch worship was apparently tribal) to worship. Ancient tribes flourish with additions (due to being non-urban and agrarian), not the sacrifice of their own children. Plus we’ve unearthed graves of very, very early humans showing great sentimentality toward offspring, even among very early humans. What could possibly sever that link with Moloch worshippers. Now I could believe that perhaps every now and again they had a sacrifice and perhaps it was a sick or defective child that would not benefit the tribe, but I can’t believe it would be expected of every worshipper that they give up at least one child. I’ve always suspected it was propaganda.

      • Marcus Johnson says

        While I understand your questioning of the practicality of those worship traditions, there really is no room for much skepticism on the issue of child sacrifice. Not only do extra-Biblical sources confirm the existence of such sacrifice, but there is evidence of child sacrifice outside of Near East cultures. As for the evidence of sentimentality toward offspring, that does not negate the likelihood of child sacrifice among Bronze Age cultures any more than the existence of male nude sculptures decreases the likelihood of eunuchs.

        I can go into a lot more detail about the practice, but suffice it to say that the insurmountable historical evidence trumps your suspicions.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

          Um, not to mention the mountains of evidence of human sacrifice, including not only children, but young men (presumably the most productive members of society) in mezo-America.

      • Cermak, it likely was “every now and then” as you suggested. No culture could sustain this practice with every family, in every generation. I think it was reserved for extreme times such as famine, disease, or war and as a desperate plea to the god in charge.

        Also, the concept of giving the “first and best” goes way back to Cain and Abel (in Abel’s sacrifice but not in Cain’s) or in the Passover lamb (an unblemished lamb a year old).

        Beyond that, there is no greater sacrifice than giving one’s first born child, and this has echoes in the Abraham/Isaac story and also in Christ’s crucifixion. But the bible refers several times in horror to those cultures who “even sacrifice their children in the fire to their gods,” and commands that the people of Israel shall do no such thing.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

          Ted, I would encourage all of us not to reduce this to a binary proposition. There is a huge difference between “every family in every generation” and “every now and again”. While we can’t know the frequency, we can know that it was an integral part of their religion to the point where it was not only inscribed (proudly?) in their own documents, it was written about by other cultures.

          • I agree that it was integral to their religion, but the question is how often? How long could this have been tolerated if it had been with every family? I assume it was an extreme measure, but that is bad enough.

            There is archaeological proof of infants slaughtered at the neck and then burned, the charred skulls telling the tale. And the bible attests to the horror of it.

            I think the Abraham/Isaac episode was God’s way of weaning the Hebrews from the practice. He brought Abraham to the point of slaughtering Isaac and burning his body, then provided a better way.

      • Cermak, I too think that many claims are grossly exaggerated. It’s sometimes presented in a Chick tract manner for propaganda purposes, as you say, rather than in a more balanced manner. I doubt there’s a single region of the world where human sacrifice wasn’t practiced at some point, albeit in varying forms – like getting rid of unwanted children (very young) by giving them to monasteries as oblates. That practice was halted due to its abusive nature, but I think there are analogues most everywher , if we take the time to look.

        • Should note that the practice of giving children to monasteries as oblates was halted in the early Middle Ages. The term has a different meaning today.

        • numo: You talk about “getting rid of unwanted children (very young) by giving them to monasteries as oblates. That practice was halted due to its abusive nature.” It’s true that the practice was gradually halted, but not because it was perceived as abusive — which is a modern imposition of sentiment on a different age. Monastic reformers got rid of those young oblates in order to restrict monasteries to those who were genuinely called to the monastic way of life. The reformers were concerned with the devotion exhibited by monastics, and everyone knows that kids sent off to — in effect — boarding school are not necessarily going to feel called to holy living.

      • Marcus Johnson says

        Okay, y’all. Somewhere, deeply buried under the digressive discussion and assumptions based on unfounded suspicions, you’ll find my original point. Let’s not go so far down the rabbit hole that we miss the original argument.

        • No offense, Marcus, but claims of “insurmountable evidence” generally are better when details are provided (books, links, what have you).

          I don’t think anyone’s “going down a rabbit hole”; we’re just yakking.

          • Marcus Johnson says

            Several encyclopediae, including the Encyclopedia Biblica and Encyclopedia Britannica, have follow up references regarding child sacrifice.

            A 1966 excavation expedition report by J.B. Hennessey, published in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly

            Morton Smith’s 1975 article, “A Note on Burning Babies,” published in the Journal of the American Historic Society.

            Several other articles on the worship of Molech, published in non-religious historical journals…

            But, really, does any of it matter? If the premise for people’s suspicion is, “Well, I just don’t believe that a culture would engage in such a systemic pattern of brutality against children, and I’ll latch onto tiny, random pieces of evidence that can support my suspicion regardless of the general consensus of the entire academic/historic community,” then offering sites/sources is about as useless as sharing with a staunch creationist sources that conclusively prove the age of an earth that is billions of years old.

            My original point, if you scroll back up to see it, referred to Solomon’s descent into child sacrifice as one of the few historic Biblical details to which both the ultraconservative fundamentalist and the secular historian can acknowledge was a likely event. That reference was only to point out that folks who reject Vicky Beeching’s music because of her recent revelation (I rejected her a long time before, but on the basis of her music not being very good), yet use the Song of Solomon in their wedding vows or Solomon-written passages from Proverbs as their life verses are living a paradox.

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

            Marcus, you had a great original point. And you’re right, the scholarship is essentially monolithic on this one.

          • Marcus, thanks for your reply. I think both cermak and I aren’t necessarily skeptical of the fact that this *did* happen, but of the way some people present it.

            As to your original point, well yes – inconsistency is human, even if nonsensical in these cases, no?

  11. Dan from Georgia says

    Looking forward to visiting the Minnesota State Fair later this month with wife. Plenty o’ food-on-a-stick and TONS of people (almost too many some days – a daily attendance of 90,000 to 110,000!) to dodge. Been to the Texas State Fair also. Very clean fairgrounds. How big is the Indiana State Fair?

    • Dan from Georgia says

      OK, my “clean fairgrounds” comment…The MN State Fair is HUGE! I believe it has the largest daily attendance of any State Fair out there (Texas has the largest total attendance, but they run for 3+ weeks, where the MN State Fair runs 12 days or so). At the MN State Fair, there are so many people there daily that the grass gets trampled down and the crews have their hands full keeping up with the trash bins, whereas at the Texas State Fair, I noticed that the fairgrounds were really clean and trash-free. Anyways, someday perhaps I will visit the Indiana State Fair!

  12. So Vicky Beeching isn’t only coming out as a homosexual but a liar to boot. Let’s all give her an award.

  13. I also noticed the paucity of coverage re Lauren Bacall. Maybe others just assumed she was already dead, like I did. and couldn’t get their heads around it fast enough. No disrespect here, She was married to one of my favorite actors, Mr. Humphrey Bogart (The African Queen!)

  14. I must admit that I am ill-prepared to address homosexuality in my church. This is not for lack of conviction on the subject but for lack of training.

    I recently read that on April 2011 the Williams Institute conducted a research on the number of LGBT in America. Their conclusion is that approximately 3.8% of American adults identify themselves being in the LGBT community. I got this information @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_demographics_of_the_United_States. The same study also revealed that 1.7% identify as lesbian or gay, 1.8% as bisexual and 0.3% transgender. The authors of the study also admit that “…a measurable higher percentage acknowledge having same-sex attraction, or experience, without identifying as LGBT.”

    This study is consistent with other data I’ve read on this subject. In effect, about 4% of the US population identifies themselves as LGBT with a higher percentage saying they are attracted to same-sex people but not identify themselves as LGBT. Not sure what the “actual” LGBT figure is but I would guesstimate somewhere between 5% and 8%. And I would imagine that out-of-the-closet or in-the-closet, this 5% – 8% figure has remained consistent throughout history. The higher percentage of self-identified LGBT folk today is just an indication of a society that has loosened up its taboos in this regard.

    And whereas it’s always good to know these numbers, statistics don’t help me one iota when it comes to counseling someone who comes to me because they have a same-sex attraction. I will not recognize same-sex unions anymore than I would condone adultery; both are clearly a violation of the Church’s teachings. But neither am I happy with pithy statements such as “hate the sin, love the sinner,” which may have some merit but are woefully inadequate in dealing with LGBT folks who are struggling with their faith. Rather, I believe that Jesus came not to condemn the world but that the world would be saved through Him. And that’s the principle under which I’d like to operate.

    So, I believe I would benefit from a good book on this subject, especially one with a counseling angle. And I would appreciate a good recommendation in this regard.

    • But neither am I happy with pithy statements such as “hate the sin, love the sinner,” which may have some merit but are woefully inadequate in dealing with LGBT folks who are struggling with their faith.

      That the rub, isn’t it? I mean, some of the advice used to deal with all sorts of difficult problems is very simple (but not easy) but it doesn’t do much to help people deal with life, does it? We can talk and listen until we’re exhausted but finally we have to face the hard moral positions of our faith and whether or not they can be changed. Some people deal with the that more sympathetically than others.

      In general I would suggest that one of the things we have to deal with in the church is our attitude towards singleness. You don’t have to look far to find single people who feel very uncomfortable in churches that seem to them fixated on marriage and children. Sure, straight singles have a potential way out, but there are no guarantees that a mate will be found. What about people who feel no particular pull towards marriage or who feel a strong call to singleness? The point I am trying to make is, with no particularly respectful or supportive way of dealing with singleness what does the demand for celibacy look like but a life sentence of loneliness and misery? Add to that the [possible] stigma of difference and celibacy looks more like a punishment than a life.

      Which is all to say that I don’t think we have any quick and easy solutions. We may have the right theology but that only goes so far. We have a larger issue to deal with and maybe this one will force us to face it.

      • “The point I am trying to make is, with no particularly respectful or supportive way of dealing with singleness what does the demand for celibacy look like but a life sentence of loneliness and misery? Add to that the [possible] stigma of difference and celibacy looks more like a punishment than a life.”

        This. It also explains the prominence of “conversion therapy” in such circles. If marriage is the default, and only heterosexual unions are allowed, then gays must not only refrain from same-sex activities, but must also actually first become straight so that they can marry.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      “Not sure what the “actual” LGBT figure is but I would guesstimate somewhere between 5% and 8%.”

      My guess is that it is much higher, with the bulk of it in the “B” section. If one accepts (and I do) the model of human sexuality as being a spectrum, with pure hetero at one end and pure homo at the other, then it seems likely (even without assuming a bell curve) that an awful lot of people fall somewhere between the two ends. Someone in today’s culture who is reasonably near the hetero end likely identifies, both inwardly and outwardly, as hetero. This person might occasionally admire someone else of the same sex, but probably won’t act on it. After all, even today there is a significant cost associated with homosexuality, and for someone who is mostly hetero, it simply wouldn’t be worth the hassle. But if the culture shifts to the point where there is no significant cost associated with homosexuality, this would change. The other half is that modern Americans typically have a variety of sexual partners before eventually settling down in a permanent–or at least long term–monogamous relationship, which might or might not involve a marriage license. Combine this with a culture with no added cost for homosexuality, and it would be unremarkable for some of that variety of sexual partners to be of the same sex, even for people who expect to eventually enter into a permanent monogamous heterosexual relationship.

      • Richard, I agree that sexual orientation is a spectrum. When I realized that some years ago homosexuality stopped “bothering” me. Then, when I began doing some reading into sexual practices of the Greeks and Romans I found that our neat categories of homo/hetero just didn’t apply. Then I began questioning our translations that seem to collapse many of those sexual acts into our idea of “homosexual”.

        The Evangelical categories of sexuality are extremely reductionistic and totally miss the point.

  15. RE: The app, “Shut up, Devil!”

    What comes to mind is, “One little word can fell him.”

    I just started using location-based reminders on my smartphone to deliver a “little word” each day when I arrive at the office, leave the office, and return home. One of the reminders says, “Cast your cares on Him.” It’s easy to forget.

  16. Vega Magnus says

    Of course the lesbian musician is what gets the most talk in the comments. It ALWAYS comes back to gay people somehow. Kulture War Forever, Komrade.

    In all seriousness, I have a thought. God’s creation of human sexuality was a mistake. It would have been better for us to reproduce via binary fission, or at the very least, for us to be evolved more directly from monogamous animals. Even if we are to not take into consideration the more blatantly evil acts people have done throughout time that have been driven by sex, like rape, human trafficking, sex slavery, etc, the fact remains that humans are uniquely poorly equipped to adhere to God’s sexual ethic. It goes against the most basic animal instinct we have. Even removing promiscuous people from consideration, many, or perhaps I should say MOST people have sex outside of wedlock with significant others. Of course, in reality, I have the sex drive of any other twenty year-old, so if given the option to eliminate sex, my real life response would be a resounding no, but from a strictly intellectual standpoint, I find it difficult to argue that sex has resulted in more good than bad for the human race.

    • Vega Magnus, there are two things that baffle me more than any other:

      1. Sexuality (not reproduction, that’s a given if life is to continue—but it could have been achieved by other means, as you said).

      2. Language. I mean, think of it—the ability to express ideas from one brain and transmit them into the brain of another person (it’s almost sexual!). And so, the possible extinction of Aramaic is all the more sad, because this language has been expressing in its own unique and rich way for thousands of years.

      • Even more baffling is the fact that the worst act of violence can result in a new life. (I’m not entirely sure of what all open theism entails, but this hard nut makes me very sympathetic to its general thrust as I understand it.)

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

      What are you, a eunuch? From my perspective, sex is the second best thing God invented! 😀

      • Vega Magnus says

        Lol. Certainly not. I’m twenty years old. From a real-life perspective, I think sexuality is brilliant, however, taking things strictly from an intellectual perspective, I cannot see how sexuality is a net positive for humanity given how difficult it is for it to be applied within God’s sexual ethic.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

          Huh. And I thought you were going to ask me what the first best thing God created is 😉

          • Asinus Spinas Masticans says

            beer steamed chili dogs on a crisp November night at a high school football game when your kid’s school’s team is winning.

          • Josh in FW says

            What’s the first best thing He created?

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

            I was going to go with alcohol, but now Mule has me re-guessing my priorities.

          • I don’t know if this is better than beer steamed chili dogs, but the first commandment in the bible is “Be fruitful and multiply.” Genesis 1:28

          • I thought the first commandment in the Bible was, “LET THERE BE LIGHT!’

          • No, it was merely a statement, “Let there be light.” He was talking to himself. Commandments need a commandee.

          • What, he wasn’t commanding the formless and empty earth and the dark hovering over the face of the waters to give up their light? Didn’t Jesus order the wind and the waves, “Be still!”?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        What are you, a eunuch? From my perspective, sex is the second best thing God invented! 😀

        Not if you’ve always either lost out or had your face rubbed in the downside of it.

        In my experience, S*E*X has always been one of the Three D’s — Disgusting, Destructive, and/or Degrading.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Sexual reproduction makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary standpoint. Whereas asexual reproduction (like bacteria) produces “natural clones” with identical genetics, sexual reproduction shuffles the DNA deck with each generation, producing a LOT of genetic variation for whatever selection mechanism determines which of the variants reproduce into the next generation. Where the DNA deck gets shuffled again.

      In asexual reproduction, the only changes to the genome are random mutations; with sexual reproduction, the genome can change with each offspring and generation.

      So sexual reproduction makes a whole lot more sense with Evolution than it does with Special Creation from the dust of the ground.

      • Vega Magnus says

        Yup. But that’s the issue. Sex makes sense scientifically, but once you understand the biology behind it, any value that people add to it, be they religious or not, seems kinda pointless. Sex is fun because it is evolutionarily advantageous for it to be so because if it is pleasurable, more people will do it and more babies will get made. That’s it. So when people say that it’s some super-amazing gift from God or even when non-Christian people craft their identities (Straight and gay people do this. Hell, so do many Christians.) around sex, it is hard to really accept those views as valid, at least, from a detached, strictly intellectual standpoint. I’m severely over-thinking it, and quite frankly, it doesn’t matter because I’m just as much a sexual being as the next person and I will be seeking out a girlfriend quite vigorously when my classes start on Thursday, but sex is still a hard thing to wrap your brain around regardless.

        • You know, there are people who are asexual. Psychologists disagree about the percentages, but some say that 10 to 20% of adults may be asexual, not having strong sexual attraction to anyone of either gender, though many may engage in sexual activity for other social reasons than attraction. These people do not seem to be included in your musings, but they pose a contradiction, and counter-evidence, to what you’re saying.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            I consider “Aces” to be just the opposite end of the bell curve from the nympho horndogs.

  17. “In the face of death, just shut up. Your opinion, in the face of a tragic suicide, means less than nothing. So keep it to yourself. There is no need to comment. Just mourn. Respect the dead and those who love them.
    So I’m going to try and practice what I preach with regard to the sad passing of Robin Williams, who has given me great joy over the years. Rest in peace.”

    Thank you for saying this. I can’t believe all the analyzing that has gone on about RW and his life. He is as we are: human, experiencing every possible emotional up and down and processing some well and some not so well. There have been suicides in our family and I know that sometimes, a person just cannot fight any longer. RIP, Robin.

  18. Very wise, Bella and CM, let’s just shut up about someone’s suicide. Some talking head called him a coward. Why are these people allowed to broadcast on TV? A young doctor, 41′ whom I had seen professionally twice and seemed to be a delightful and caring young man with 5 delightful children shot himself I recently, in my area. I could only weep. Bless his heart. We don’t know. About 20 years ago a Presbyterian pastor in the St. Louis area took his own life just as he was entering the 25th year of his pastorate.in a church filled with members who loved him wholeheartedly. In the next year or two another Presbyterian pastor did the same. He had had a severe accident and could not recover in his own mind. This came to my attention when I read an article in a St. Louis newspaper about the sermon preached by Jerram Barrs concerning these events. He tearfully said that some people refuse to be comforted. Suicide is so horrible, but at least we know they are with Jesus. Barra said that suicide is not a sin in recent theological thinking

  19. Christiane says

    the ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ thing doesn’t work because finger-pointing at ‘others’ who sin is far from ‘love’ . . . it is the kind of thing emotionally sick people do to project their own sin off of themselves and on to someone else . . . this is keeping the negative judgment going but ensuring that THEY themselves are not the targets of the hatred and contempt of the ‘righteous’ few 🙂

    the give-away:
    these ‘righteous few’ only admit those to their world who will also openly engage in ‘finger-pointing’ at ‘the others’

    but watch out if you criticize that ‘finger-pointing’ by the ‘righteous’ . . . you have failed the initiation’s biggest test in doing so, and are excluded from the ‘saved’ and will henceforth be an object upon which massive spiritual abuse will be heaped 🙂

    • Christiane says

      sorry for over-the-top comment, but there is some truth in it after all

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

        I think there may be some truth there, in some cases. But as we often do, we run up against the example of Jesus in his incarnation. Did he love people? Absolutely. He also really hammered some people. In fact, it would be hard to say that he loved the Pharisees – we sort of take that on axiomatic faith. In our own lives I think we should be driven by love, but that doesn’t mean we love sin, or even just wink at it. Sin is wicked for a reason. My two cents, for all they’re worth.

    • Christiane,

      So what you’re saying is, that the ones who rant the most against homosexuality, or promiscuity, or pornography, or child abuse, are often the ones whose mug shots end up on the front pages?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Two words: TED. HAGGARD.

        And there’s a plausible mechanism for this: Self-medication attempts. If someone is pulled in whatever direction and doesn’t want to (cognitive dissonance?), they try to self-medicate/self-treat by ranting and fighting against whatever’s drawing them. Like they guy who quit smoking who’s a Militant Anti-Smoker; Like Rush Limbaugh, Number-One Cheerleader of the War on Drugs while fighting a secret Oxycontin addiction; like Ted Haggard preaching against HOMOSEXUALS before he got caught with a male prostitute.

        It’s especially bad for CELEBRITIES, even Christian(TM) CELEBRITIES. They are held up by their fans/followers as Superhuman Gods, totally Perfect. They can’t unbend or get help or even confide in anyone; all they can do is Preserve Their Image and self-treat/self-medicate in secret. Or their groupies will turn on them.

  20. Like Robin Williams imitation of a hot dog. We would do well to follow suit in so many cases.

  21. *“Christians had better get used to the idea that a certain small percentage of people in their families, churches, and ministries are gay and stop turning each new coming out into (SHOCKING!!!) headline news, followed by gnashing of teeth, wringing of hands, and casting of stones, ad nauseum.”*

    I wonder how many Christians in the above sentence could not have been bothered to wait until marriage to have sex, or got an abortion inspite of being pro-life, or this, or that… Blah, blah, blah…

    Kudos to the person coming out!

  22. Comment deleted. Inappropriate.