September 21, 2020

Saturday Ramblings: February 6, 2016 – Superb Owl Edition


Gail and I are taking our classy red and white Metropolitan to the airport this morning for a little sky rambling down to Clearwater, Florida to snatch a few days of R&R.

I hear there’s a big football game on the other coast this weekend and we’ll probably watch it. Being from Indianapolis, we have a fond spot in our hearts for Peyton Manning, who may be playing the last game of his remarkable career. We wish him well, and hope most of all for a good game.

Since it will be the 50th edition of this game (which is only allowed to be mentioned by name by those with the correct corporate licensing), we know this “Superb Owl” will be a spectacular extravaganza of an affair, with a halftime event on the scale of the Olympic opening ceremonies. As always, we’ll keep an eye out for the best commercials. And we’ll be most grateful to have something to talk about besides the election year.

Most of all, I’m excited that fresh seafood and salt air will be on the menu at the Superb Owl buffet this year!

Time to ramble!


sports_nflmore01Gotta start with the commercials, right?

We are told that a 30-second advertisement for Superb Owl 50 is selling for as much as $5 million this year, and here are a few of the teasers that have been released. We start with a T-Mobile ad that references some of the best known ads of the previous 49 years.

How many can you spot?


Amazon will be in on the fun, with ads featuring the Amazon Echo starring Alec Baldwin (and including a nice dig at Tom Brady).


And, as we all know, beer is the engine that drives American sports. I’m sure there will be loads of ads for it. Here’s the smart-alecky Shock-Top commercial for Superb Owl 50:

sports_nflmore01How many times have I wanted to do this!

From the Miami Herald:

Cop-CarIt unfolded like a routine Miami traffic stop: a car pulled over for speeding, followed by a stern lecture on responsible driving and traffic safety. The alleged offender questioned whether he was really speeding but, thinking it best to move on, apologized and promised to slow down.

Now for the twist: it was the police officer accused of speeding. And he was pulled over by a civilian.

The scene played out in three cellphone videos posted on YouTube Friday by someone named Claudia Castillo, who identified herself as the driver. Filmed from the driver’s seat, the videos chronicle her pursuit of a Miami-Dade police squad car and the unidentified officer at the wheel.

“The reason I pulled you over today,” the woman said to the officer after he walked back and leaned his head into her open passenger-side window, “is because I saw you, since Miller Drive when you were first jumping onto the Palmetto, and you were pushing 90 miles an hour.”

…“I just wanted to know: what’s the emergency,” she said as she filmed the officer.

“Um, I don’t know how fast I was going,” the officer said. “But I can tell you this: I’m on my way to work right now. I don’t believe I was speeding.”

He said he only pulled over because he thought the car chasing him had an emergency of its own. “Everything fine?” the officer asked.

“Everything’s fine,” the woman replied. “It’s your speeding.”

With that, the officer opted not to fight the speeding charge. “Well, then I apologize,” he said. “I’ll be sure to slow down then.”

That wasn’t quite the end of it. The officer asked if she wanted his name or badge. “No,” she said. “It’s just that I think that we all should set an example.”

“I agree,” the officer replied. “Take care. Be safe.”



After Iowa, increased scrutiny on Ted Cruz…

John Fea, whose book is one that we are using in our Tuesdays series on Civil Religion, has written an article in the Washington Post, exploring presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s “domininionist” Christian vision for America.

When Cruz says he wants to “reclaim” or “restore” America, he does not only have the Obama administration in mind. This agenda takes him much deeper into the American past. Cruz wants to “restore” the United States to what he believes is its original identity: a Christian nation.

But before he can bring the country back to its Christian roots, Cruz needs to prove that Christian ideals were indeed important to the American founding. That is why he has David Barton on his side.

For several decades Barton has been a GOP activist with a political mission to make the United States a Christian nation again. He runs “Keep the Promise,” a multimillion-dollar Cruz super-PAC. He’s one of Cruz’s most trusted advisers.

Barton is the founder and president of WallBuilders, a Christian ministry based in his hometown of Aledo, Texas. He writes books and hosts radio and television shows designed to convince evangelicals and anyone else who will listen that America was once a Christian nation and needs to be one again.

…Barton’s work is an important part of Cruz’s larger theological and political campaign to take back America. If Barton can prove that the United States was once a Christian republic, then Cruz will have the historical argument he needs to sustain his narrative of American decline.

Cruz wants Americans to believe the country has fallen away from its spiritual founding and he, with God’s help, is the man who can bring it back.

Foundation of sand, and one shouldn’t trust the building, right?

Apparently, Cruz is scary enough to people like former President Jimmy Carter, that he told the British House of Lords he’d rather have Donald Trump, if it came down to it.


sports_nflmore01I respect Russell Moore, who in my view has taken a number of eminently sensible positions on various issues as president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the political arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. And even when I disagree with him, I find him to be agreeable rather than abrasive.

But now Jonathan Merritt has raised the question: “Does Russell Moore really represent Southern Baptists?”

As president of the ERLC, he has refused to budge on cornerstone conservative positions such as opposition to gay marriage and abortion, but his approach is noticeably different from that of his predecessor. His rhetoric is more winsome, his positions are more nuanced, and his statements are often laced with pop-culture references.

But Moore has also taken surprising positions on other issues, even placing himself at odds with some of his fellow conservatives. To wit:

  • The ERLC hosted a 2014 conference on homosexuality that reasserted the organization’s opposition to LGBT marriage and same-sex relationships. But at the conference, Moore denounced ex-gay therapy, which has been widely discredited due to its ineffectiveness and the psychological damage it causes participants.
  • In the 2015 debate over whether the confederate battle flag should be removed from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol, conservatives in the South were conflicted. Moore was not: “Let’s take down that flag,” he wrote.
  • At a Southern Baptist missions conference last summer, Moore interviewed some of the leading Republican presidential candidates. Some conservatives were upset that Southern Baptists Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz were not invited, while Hillary Clinton, a Methodist, was (though she declined).
  • When many conservatives called for a boycott of all Syrian refugees to the U.S., Moore signed a letter asking Congress to “reject damaging changes to the U.S. refugee resettlement system that would cause the life-saving program to grind to a halt.”
  • Most recently, Moore has opposed Donald Trump’s bid for president. Moore did so in the opinion pages of The New York Times and on social media, among other places. Recent polls indicate that a third or more of white evangelicals support Trump — more than any other candidate.

In the end, Jonathan Merritt thinks most Southern Baptists may appreciate and support Moore and his new-fangled ways. Nevertheless, they’re not called “Battlin’ Baptists” for nothing. The road will never be smooth for anyone who speaks for this diverse group of independent-minded and opinionated people.


sports_nflmore01Lent begins this week.

The penitential season starts on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10. Western Christians around the world will participate in several weeks of spiritual reflection and discipline in preparation for Holy Week and the Easter feast.

But Pope Francis reminds us that all the discipline, sacrifice, and “giving up” in the world won’t mean a thing if it doesn’t lead to serving others.

Pope Francis has asked us to reconsider the heart of this activity [fasting] this Lenten season. According to Francis, fasting must never become superficial. He often quotes the early Christian mystic John Chrysostom who said: “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”

…So, if we’re going to fast from anything this Lent, Francis suggests that even more than candy or alcohol, we fast from indifference towards others.

In his annual Lenten message, the pope writes, “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.”

Describing this phenomenon he calls the globalization of indifferenceFrancis writes that “whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades.” He continues that, “We end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.”

sports_nflmore01That means, of course, that Tuesday is Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras — a day of feasting, frivolity, and fun before the long penitential Lenten journey.

One thing we don’t often think about is how all the Mardi Gras reveling affects the kiddos. Thanks to the New Orleans Moms Blog, now we know. Go there to see fourteen more examples of what kids are saying about this adults-only day.




sports_nflmore01And now, a bit of baptismal joy. Here’s a wonderful report of a recent baptism in the Jordan River from an Anglican pastor.

I love this story! It’s spontaneous, delightful, and spiritually encouraging.

DSC00901 (1)A surprise baptism at the original site of the Lord’s baptism  (Mark 1) created an international incident yesterday…and a glimpse of the age to come.  Here is what happened.
I am leading a tour of 30 adults through the Holy Land. Our bus pulled up to the newly renovated site commemorating the Lord’s baptism by John.  It is also the place where Joshua crossed over the Jordan into the Promised Land. It is called Qasr el Yahud.

I led our group in a very Anglican-style service of the renewal of vows.  In other words, people only would get “slightly wet”; bits of the water from the Jordan would be sprinkled on their heads. I prayed over 29 of the 30 pilgrims words that would recall the vows and promises they made or that were made for them years earlier: “Remember that you are baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”  Then I would anointed their head with a dab of oil and say, “Remember that you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever.”

That is what was planned…and it seemed to be going very, shall we say, liturgically. But at the end of the proper service one man from our group came forward and said, “I want to be baptized; I have never been baptized and I want to be today.”

I looked at him and asked him if he could agree with the vows and promises of a Christian.  Would he renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil and turn to Jesus Christ as his Savior; and promise to follow and obey him as Lord?  He said, “Yes.” And I said, “Let’s do it!” I told him to take off his shoes and his sweatshirt. As I took my off shoes he said, ‘Why don’t you just let me get in by myself? I don’t want you to get wet.”  I said, “No one is ever baptized alone. I’m going with you.”  And with that, the two of us got into the frigid, muddy water.

Without hesitation, he broke the formalism of our Anglican style liturgy and rolled himself in under the cold water. He was totally immersed.  He sprung up from the water heaving in and out with deep breaths; he went ‘all in’ under the water.

The moment he came up, a group of nuns from Lebanon and Egypt who were standing on the opposite shore of the river…in Jordan…another country… not 10 yards away…began cheering and singing Amazing Grace.  We joined them in singing.  We all realized that we were part of a spectacle we would never forget. Christians from around the world separated into two countries by a river, but joined together in Christ over that same river as one brother came into the fellowship of our common Lord who had been also baptized in that same river.   One man went under the water of baptism and when he emerged, a cloud of witnesses from across the nations and over the world gave thanks to God.


sports_nflmore01FINALLY, this week in music

On this week of the big game and the big party on Tuesday, I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather hear than some classic New Orleans jazz, and no one represents NOLA better than Satchmo himself, Mr. Louis Armstrong. A poor boy from a rough neighborhood in New Orleans, Armstrong grew up to become one of the most beloved musicians of the 20th century.

Here he is with a group of friends, playing “Basin Street Blues” back in 1964.


Man, that Satch could play!


  1. I asked a Trinidadian co-worker if she and her family would watch the big money-making football game this weekend. She said, “No. American football is barbaric.” I nodded in agreement and smiled. Enough said.

    • As opposed to, say, rugby? 😉

      But I agree – all the blasted commercial interruptions are indeed barbaric. 😛

      • Commercials are the only good reason to watch the blasted game.

        Oh, wait…now we can get previews of the commercials on the internet. Never mind…

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Commercials are the only good reason to watch the blasted game.

          Puppy monkey baby…
          Puppy monkey baby…
          Puppy monkey baby…
          — what I had to wake up to on the radio the morning after

          But Super Bowl Sunday had one advantage — went out for pizza around 4 and the streets were straight out of The Omega Man.

          Puppy monkey baby…
          Puppy monkey baby…
          Puppy monkey baby…
          — now I gotta get that earworm out of my head…

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Within minutes of posting that, I got the Death Wish Coffee commercial (the Viking ship one) inflicted on me.

      • Tivo is a great way to watch such a game. Especially now that they have Quick View. This allows you to speed up recorded items by 30% and still get reasonable voice. Plus it makes for some interesting views of plays.

        I figure I’ll start watching it an hour or two after the game starts.

        • I have TiVo as well, and other than my home team, I watch ALL games that way! And when you skip through commercials you are done in just over an hour.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Tivo is a great way to watch such a game. Especially now that they have Quick View. This allows you to speed up recorded items by 30% and still get reasonable voice. Plus it makes for some interesting views of plays.

          Makes for some interesting views of “other subjects”, too. My old Dungeonmaster told me once that for laughs he used to watch porn flicks on Fast Forward. Incredibly insane.

      • I’m a fan of neither. Rugby does look bloodier, but the heads of its players don’t take anywhere near the impact that American football players’ heads do. Therein is the the barbarism.

        Anyway, I shall be gleefully tuned out of the whole thing this weekend.

      • I’m glad that I’ll have nothing to do with the Big Game this weekend. Aside from the fact that I do view it as barbaric, it also bores me to tears. This is how much it bores me:

        • Andrew Zook says

          Wish I could do the same… at my church it’s a social thing one must do now every year (and the majority of my immediate family feels the same way, even though all of us could care less about the sport… especially its commercials riddled telecast)

          • You could pretend that you were abducted by extraterrestrials and taken to the Mother Ship for a few hours. I think that would work.

  2. Dan from Georgia says

    Go Panthers!

  3. Dan from Georgia says

    Cruz/Barton/”Take Back ‘Murica!”/Dominionist Theology….puke.

    Return ‘Murica to it’s Christian beginnings….that include slavery?


    • More to the point, Barton writes make believe and calls it history. You would think that after two world wars and then the cold war we would have a slightly firmer grasp on propaganda, but I guess if a person wants to believe something you can’t make them think critically.

      • The mythical past is not amenable to facts or history. It has its own resistant power, a religious power.

      • I forget who said it, but there’s a saying… You can’t reason a person out of a belief they weren’t reasoned into.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says


        • brilliant comment, EEYORE . . . wow!

        • But is that really true?

          I accepted evolution because I studied it enough to find out it’s obviously true. I even remember the moment when the light bulb went off. I had the same reaction that Huxley did. Of course!!!! Once you understand it then it makes perfect incontrovertible sense.

      • He does what many in the YEC camp do. If the evidence doesn’t match the narrative then ignore the evidence. Or claim it to be false.

        • In many, the stubborn holding to an understanding of the Genesis creation stories as history is the most powerful example of clinging to The Mythical Past, and related to other forms of the same thing, like clinging to the idea of a national Golden Age in former times. They go hand in hand, or iron fist in iron fist.

        • On the other side, many progressives and intellectuals hold onto an equally pernicious idea of The Utopian Future, usually in the form of some kind of socialism; the huge national experiments in revolutionary ideological Communism that occurred in the twentieth century, with all their attendant horrors, provide examples of just how wrong this tendency can go. It also is grounded in religious impulses.

          • Thank you, Robert, for saying that. It is also instructive that many Christians think that “Each according to their abilities, each according to their needs” is a quote from the bible. Karl Marx!

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            One looks to a mythic Perfect Future, the other to a mythic Perfect Past.

            Identical beneath the opposite surfaces, and forever at each others’ throats To The Death.

          • That Other Jean says

            Unfortunately, returning to the Glorious Past or bringing about the Utopian Future always seems to mean being terrible to people in the Dismal Present. Neither side seems willing to pull together in Doing the Best We Can in the Now.

          • “From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs” is not in the Bible, but it is a lot closer to the ethos of the Bible than “God helps those who help themselves” is… which, BTW, is also not in the Bible. 😉

          • I don’t want utopia. I’s settle for Finland.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Unfortunately, returning to the Glorious Past or bringing about the Utopian Future always seems to mean being terrible to people in the Dismal Present.

            The Perfect Utopian Omelet always requires smashing more and more eggs. La Republique of Perfect Virtue always beckons from the other side of the “regrettable but necessary” Reign of Terror.

            And as for returning to the Glorious Past, what do you think today’s Islamic Civil War is all about?
            “As it was in the Days of the Prophet…”

          • Finland sounds good to me. Very big social safety net, government-guaranteed high-quality standard of living, longevity, coffee aplenty and tolerable food (we won’t talk about the creamed fish). I also hear it has plenty of old people (50% of the population over 50 years of age) like me, so I’d feel right at home.

          • Fr Stephen often quotes Stanley Hauerwas, who was his Master’s Advisor at Duke, the gist of which is: once you start making yourself responsible for the outcome of history, you have agreed to do violence.

            I think this pertains to both the Dominionist Right and the Utopian Left.


          • Dana, If you make yourself responsible for the outcome of history, you’ve agreed to do violence on a grand scale; but if you pay taxes, you’ve agreed to violence done on your behalf in the most banal ways. I’m afraid that I pay my taxes, and my hands are not clean.

          • Finland has a very high rate of alcoholism, too. It’s got a difficult climate, and extremely short days in winter.

            I have a friend who lived in Helsinki for many years. She misses many things about it, but not the drinking, or the businessmen urinating against buildings, etc.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Return ‘Murica to it’s Christian beginnings….that include slavery?

      But for HEATHENS only.
      (And the slaveowners/Commanders of Holy Gilead get to define “Heathen”.)

  4. Russell Moore opposes Trump? What a left-wing radical. How did half of those litmus tests become “Christian” issues? The Chrysostom quote could be used here: if your politics have no advantage for others, what good are they? How do Christians “win back America” when its politics are so marginalized to a pocket of uttra-right wing extremisists? It is not indifference but fear-driven narcissism isolating us from the real problems and pain inflicting the world.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > How do Christians “win back America” when its politics

      Meh. Simple answer: They don’t. But the sinking of the ship is going to be a loud and unseemly event. The damage to the “Christian” brand is going to be immeasurable.

      > It is not indifference but fear-driven narcissism


    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      How do Christians “win back America” when its politics are so marginalized to a pocket of uttra-right wing extremisists?

      The Coup, followed by The Cleansing.
      Just like Iran. And Talibanistan. and ISISstan.
      “GOD HATH SAID!”

      • Same as with Moses and Aaron. Or Joshua. Or Josiah. Or probably the early NT church. Or the apocalypse Jesus.

        History repeats and we forget who the losers were.

    • Cedric Klein says

      Yeah, so “one-third of Evangelicals support Trump”? That meants TWO-THIRDS DON’T!
      Just like liberals/Democrats act like Trump, with about the same amount of polling numbers,
      represent Republicans/conservatives, when the problem really is that the Conservative &
      Moderate Republicans actually have an excess of good candidates divvying them up.
      (I’m supporting Rubio, myself. But only because Paul and Kasich are done with.)

      • In a general election which may feature Michael Bloomberg as an independent candidate (who will likely take the lion share of the moderate votes), the outcome may come down to which extremist candidate on either the left or right has the most votes – regardless of whether or not either side represents the majority of Americans. Then factor in voter apathy and intimidation causing many to sit out this election. It is more than Plausible that Trump may be the next president. If Hillary is smart, she should be wooing Bloomberg as a running mate.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      How did half of those litmus tests become “Christian” issues?

      A lot of the Evangelical Circus is Litmus Test after Litmus Test to see who’s Sheep (MEEE!) and who’s Goat (YOU!). Some on pretty tangential subjects. Who’ll notice a dozen or so more? On unrelated subjects?

      • Hi HUG,
        I have noticed that on some Southern Baptist blogs, a lot of attention is given towards DECIDING who is a ‘real Christian’ and who is not. I’m not sure, being Catholic of how this ability to judge others is gained among SB’s, but they claim to have it and use it in the same way a country club decides who is ‘worthy’ to come among them and join as a member. It’s a very exclusive activity. To me, it’s judgmental without having the actual authority to point the finger, and so it must be done by people who are exclusively and ‘in-group’ who support one another’s judgement on ‘the others’. Can I understand it? No. Not in the light of the four Holy Gospels, no.

        Where some Southern Baptists depart from judgmentalism seems to be when they have an epiphany of what it means to be members of the larger Body of Christ . . . for these people, it is like they have a different outlook on all Christianity than the outlook favored by their more fundamentalist brothers and sisters in the SBC. Just my opinion, but arrived at after some years of observation.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          I have noticed that on some Southern Baptist blogs, a lot of attention is given towards DECIDING who is a ‘real Christian’ and who is not.

          In practice, the Sure Sign of a Real True Christian(TM) is “Whatever *I* Do that YOU Don’t” and The Unpardonable Sin is “Whatever YOU Do that I Don’t”.

  5. I am sure Mr Cruz’s idea of what constitutes a “Christian” nation differ vastly from mine. Much like I’m pretty that the Mullah’s in a place like Iran’s vision of Islam differ vastly from many of the people that live there.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > the Mullah’s in a place like Iran’s vision of Islam differ vastly

      Yep. That is why the Mullah performs his own litmus-test on the candidates, determining who is permitted to participate in elections.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “Wallbuilders” — building walls to keep out those Heathens.

  6. Adam Tauno Williams says

    Last years super-bowl commercials were disappointing. I hope this years are much better.

    My favorite super-bowl will always be the one where the power went out. Come to think of it … their half-time performances have been plagued with technical issues as well: messed up audio, parts of the stage/platform not lighting up, clothes falling apart…. Is there a secret cabal of Nerds-n-Geeks quietly sabotaging the ultimate Jock event?

    • I’ve been unimpressed by the commercials the past few years, usually left thinking “Wow! Your company spent millions for THAT?” And thinking I should have gone into advertising.

      My Big Game watch will be interrupted by Dowton Abbey. I don’t care who wins, and living in IN, I guess I should be for the Broncos & Manning, but I am weary of hearing that Manning is so good and pure that his next stop will no doubt be canonization.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        I don’t even know who is playing? :). Except from this post that it must involve someone named Manning. My news filters may have reached near perfection!

        I work in IT – I realize I should have gone into marketing every time I see checks written to SEO fraudsters, who come in with data so obviously cooked it wouldn’t deceive the most rural backwoods detective. But the suits lap it up like dogs at a trough full of cream. I love data, that’s my jam, and every time I have to deal with SEO people a little bit of my soul dies.

        • *cough*

          Internet Marketer here who does a lot of SEO. Who also hates a lot of SEOers and some of the processes, to be fair, lol.

          What’s your main issue with SEO?

          • My main issue is how they guarantee that they will get your page(s) up to the first page of a Google search. They never talk about your content.

          • Hit Post too soon.

            To them it is all about gaming Google search algorithms. Not about putting out content people might actually want to find.

          • Those are bad SEOs. First step is to never promise front page or top rankings or whatever. Stupid. Good SEO is about creating good content for users first, search engines second.

            Here’s an example from a previous job of mine at a furniture company. All the buyers would write product descriptions like “this red leather piece is exceptional and comes in multiple colors”. That tells google jack about what it is. Is it a sofa? a bed? does it fit a living room? Sure, a person may read that and look at the pretty picture and put two and two together, but it won’t help a single PERSON searching google for “red leather sofa free delivery” or whatever.

            Makes sense?

            Sounds like you’ve been around some idiots.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Remember that Mad Men was set among Marketers. The SEOs of their day.

  7. I listen for the
    words,and I feel the water,
    in the falling rain.

  8. Ironically perhaps, I would support Trump over Cruz as well (this is one of those theoretical worlds that only resides in philosophy class and entails all democratic candidates dying together in a plane crash). Trump is a megalomaniacal, brash, crass master of performance theater, but in office he probably wouldn’t be much more than a colossal embarrassment. Cruz, on the other hand might actually get stuff done. And that is scary.

    • Much as I dislike the Trump persona, I’ve come to the same conclusion you do. Trump is essentially mindless; Cruz has ideas: that’s what makes him dangerous.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Other than a couple of HOT issues I suspect Trump may be the most centrist candidate on the roster. Bluster aside heis policies would likely be very pro-establishment wall-street friendly.

        • Adam, I think you have a better grasp on the Donald than most here. In all the drama and angst, the Republicans already have 0% chance of winning the presidency, no matter who they front. They might better be planning for 2020, in case there turns out to be a 2020. At this point I would put ten bucks on Joe Biden being the last one standing when the dust has settled. He is treated as a compromise buffoon by most, but might surprise folks in the way of Harry Truman or Jerry Ford. I know that Denver is playing because I listen to a Denver radio station, KUVO. The other team I had never heard of before. Maybe the election would go better if it was run like this game which can not be named.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > you have a better grasp on the Donald than most here

            Maybe. 🙂 Or not. I will say that there is a strong tendency of Religious People – including here to a degree – to view gash darn everything though lenses of extremism; both from an extreme position (often without awareness/admission that one’s self holds to what are Extreme positions[*1]) and through Extremeism Phobia (interpreting other people’s actions as stemming from [hidden|secret|repressed] extremism).

            [*1] **self-identification** as a Centrist/Moderate, often while decrying overall ‘radical’ direction of society… so what does Centrism even mean?

            Political and civic discussion among the religious can be *exhausting*. Something about religion makes many people believe they have license to redefine words in their own terms. Also the historical grudge matches are a bigger deal than with the non-religious; at least in my experience.

            > They might better be planning for 2020

            Nah. My take from Republicans I talk to is the the process is not controlled in any such fashion. No strategy; it is running wild.

            > I would put ten bucks on Joe Biden being the last one standing when the dust has settle

            I would LOVE an opportunity to vote for Biden. Not going to happen. He is out; I am confident he will not return to public service, at least not at the Federal level.

            > He is treated as a compromise buffoon by most

            ‘the public’ may love to hate him. But he is a really smart, honest, – and moderate[*2] – guy.

            [*2] An actual, as in median political positions, moderate. Not a somebody-near-my-position-and-thus-moderate-because-I-self-declare-my-position-to-be-moderate moderate.

            Disclaimer: I am Left, not moderate. Although there are others on the Left would would accuse me of being a LINO [Left In Name Only], and a “stealth moderate”. 🙂

    • And if we’re lucky, Trump might get frustrated or bored with the job and quit after 12 months or so. What was it C. S. Lewis said about altruistic religious tyrants being the worst…?

      • Found it!

        “of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” – C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock

        • If memory serves me, in this essay, Lewis was not talking about “religious” tyrants, but about the “enlightened” tendency to see criminal activity as the result of mental illness, and to think that “cure” rather than punishment is the correct goal of the criminal legal process. He was quite clearly referring to theories of criminal justice that developed in modern secular states, theories which remove the moral dimension of crime, and interpret it as sickness instead. I think this particular quote does not apply to Cruz, since in his religiously inspired political vision morality and punishment of trangressors would play a big role, indeed, and “cure” a very little one.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            this particular quote does not apply to Cruz, since in his religiously inspired political vision morality and punishment of trangressors would play a big role, indeed, and “cure” a very little one.

            After all, God hath no reason for existence other than to PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH!

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            If memory serves me, in this essay, Lewis was not talking about “religious” tyrants, but about the “enlightened” tendency to see criminal activity as the result of mental illness…

            But the underlying dynamic of Enlightened Activists and Church Ladies is the same:

            Punish and Purge enough and Presto! Perfect Utopia!
            With your Morally Superior selves on top Holding the Whip to keep everything in Perfect Moral Virtue.

        • Careful now, that quote could be applied to our current president. And Bernie?

          No matter who wins the presidency, they can only accomplish little without the agreement of congress. That goes for Dems AND GOP!

          • Yes, Lewis in that quote was referring to “progressive” busybodies rather than traditional tyrants. He intensely disliked the “nanny” state, which he saw regulating everything down to and including the height of the fence in one’s own yard; he also disliked its tendency to see its citizens as not being morally free agents, but wards instead.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > including the height of the fence in one’s own yard

            Which is the function of Zoning Ordinance, not Nanny Statism. Exerting influence though local government is scandalously easy; as, in the vast majority of places, is getting a Special Use Permit exempting someone from an ordinance. If you bother to ask the Zoning Office why a given ‘stupid’ rule exists they often have a shockingly common-sense answer.

            Much like Lewis’ accounts of family, particularly relating to women, his commentary on Politics makes abundantly clear his lack of experience or in-depth knowledge with these categories of life.

          • @Adam, I didn’t say that I agree with Lewis; I don’t. But the context of that quote has nothing to do with “religious tyrants”, and Lewis’ intent and purpose in writing the essay should be respected, even where we disagree with him. He shouldn’t be made to say something he wasn’t saying.

        • Gosh, people seem awfully anxious to turn that quote away from application to conservative and political ends of the spectrum. As Han Solo might have said, “Must’ve hit pretty close to the mark to get them all riled up like that, huh, kid?” 🙂

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > awfully anxious to turn that quote away from application to
            > conservative and political ends of the spectrum

            Yep, deflection. The adult equivalent of shouting “You too!”.

            The inverse is not much applicable to the United States, which has a completely limp Left, with little resemblance to the post-war Left in England. Find me a Marxist in the United States… once someone goes to Marxism you know they outside the orbit of modern political reality; other than history and theory classes at university Marxism is as much a relic as the steam-powered automobile.

          • @Eeyore, I don’t agree with many of Lewis’ political and social views; some of them were troglodyte. But he was most definitely not talking about “altruistic religious tyrants” in that passage, as you say he was, and it’s inaccurate to typify his words that way. That is not what the text is about; you are quoting him out of context.

          • I’m not quoting him out of context – I am applying his principle to a wider context. I think it fits. Do you think it doesn’t?

          • He was emphatically not speaking about “religious tyrants”; you’ve extracted his words from their original context to apply them as you see fit to current events. That may be common practice in the world of evangelicalism, but it’s not good scholarship.

            And, no, I don’t think the principle he elucidates fits this situation, since he is writing against secular concepts of enlightened criminal justice, and whatever we may call him, we could never call Cruz enlightened. Agree with him or disagree (and I do both), Lewis is not speaking to the situation at hand in this essay, and he is not establishing a principle that fits this case. He was not writing about “altruistic religious tyrants”, as you said he was.

          • If we were to apply your rule, then we could not apply the principles of anything outside of the narrow contexts of their original intent. And if you don’t see the possible application of Lewis’ words to Christian Dominionism, all I can say is that I hope you never have to have the truth of the comparison brought home by reality.

        • We’re from the conservative big government, and we’re here to really help you. Trust us.

      • Omnipotent moral busybodies applies as much to the more “progressive” wing of politics today as it does to any of the moral majority right wing.

    • That Other Jean says

      Under those circumstances, and only those, I’d agree with you. If we couldn’t get the election postponed due to unprecedented catastrophe, so the Democrats could pick new candidates. But then Obama would get to stay in office a bit longer, and the Extreme Fundies’ heads would explode.

    • Not exactly, Dr. F. It’s something the people lo Louisiana went throgh in the David Duke v. Edwind Edwards election. ..

  9. RE: Russell Moore. His irenic nature, while attractive, hides some of the more bizarre – and unethical – positions he holds, including a resounding endorsement of patriarchy (by that name – I am not putting words in his mouth). That being said, the idea that Southern Baptists might balk at his positions is distasteful, especially when one considers that the last chair of ERLC was a blatant racist. Maybe if Moore wore a white hood to work his own people would appreciate him more.

    • Southern Baptists are a large group and no doubt one could find some, maybe even many, who disagree with Russell Moore on various issues. Why that would be distasteful is kind of confusing unless you know the reasoning behind why they disagree. Quite frankly what is really distasteful is the last sentence that you wrote.

      • Seems pretty accurate given both history and modern predilictions for race with all the shootings and events that have been going on.

        Does it hit a little too close to the truth to be uncomfortable?

        • Stuart, there is certainly history involved that the SBC shouldn’t be proud of. And no doubt there is still racism to be found in SBC churches. But to insinuate that they are all just closet klan members is about as well thought out as claiming all Muslims are open or closet terrorists. People here often criticize evangelicals for being biased against entire groups of people based on the actions or words of a few. This is exactly what this comment did against the SBC. It isn’t about being too close to the truth. It is about judging millions of people that you don’t really know.

          • Well said, Jon. Your comments above sound reasonable and sober. I think you’re entirely correct.

          • I agree Jon.

          • Sorry, Jon; I would challenge you to think a bit more critically within the context of the linked article that I was responding to. Imagine the following exchange:
            “I find people who support Pol Pot distasteful.”
            “How dare you judge! You can’t know that unless you know why they support Pol Pot!”

            Yeah; nope. Ethics doesn’t work that way – never has. The article makes the claim that the majority of SBCers don’t support Moore’s ethics, even though those positions are Christian (and reasonable to boot). If the article is accurate, then it would be intellectual suicide to pretend that we have to withhold ethical judgement of the positions outlined in the article. It goes without saying to anyone with even a brief introduction to argument that not everyone who attends an SBC church disagrees with Moore or supports the unrepentant racist Richard Land. So please don’t ignore the ethics aspect (it is the ERLC, after all) and jump straight into creating broad-brushes and artificial natural classes so that you can dismiss my concerns without engaging them.

          • And excellent points and argumentation on your side, Dr. F.

            I feel like a ping pong ball.

          • I’ll accept your challenge. The article reports that there are bloggers who claim that Moore doesn’t represent the majority of SBCers. Merrit gives a list of positions from Moore that could be controversial, but doesn’t actually quote any of the direct disagreements those bloggers have made. Merrit himself doesn’t see much to it, as he says, “I’ve been around Southern Baptists long enough to know controversy when I see it. This is not one. It would be more unusual if Southern Baptists weren’t griping. While the digital age allows both bloggers and Pulitzer Prize-winning writers to post their views online, not every opinion writer is equally influential. Don’t confuse the gripes of crazy Uncle Carl with a family feud.” I would wager that the majority of the SBC doesn’t even know who Moore or those bloggers are. Now, even if the majority of SBCers disagree with Moore on a number of those issues, how does that automatically make them just a bunch of bigots? What are their arguments, why are they disagreeing? The article doesn’t say. Without more information the type of supposed ethical problem you gave in your example about supporting Pol Pot doesn’t even exist in this situation. You labeled the entire SBC racist based on nothing more than a bunch of “ifs” and “maybes”, and somehow I’m the one creating broad brushes.

  10. The baptism story is the best thing I’ve seen in months. That image will be with me and prod me along for a good long while.

    • I saw the story as a microcosm of the whole Church gathering at the river . . . wonderful story, wonderful images.

  11. I think about Cruz and I know that I would not want to live in his vision of a ‘christian nation’ . . . I think I would work for change back to our American values and if it was no longer permitted by the Cruz regime to do this, I would go underground to support a nation free of all things extremist fundamentalist hiding under the guise of ‘Christian’.

    In our American culture, a man like Cruz can rise by “fooling some of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but he can’t fool all of the people all of the time” and believe me, his recent dirty tricks have outed him to all of the people . . . anyone who can support the Iowa sneaky behaviors is not someone we can trust to hold the sort of power our nation welds in the world . . . we need stable, honorable leadership. Cruz is not that.

  12. Pray that no GOP candidate accumulates 50% of the delegates. A brokered convention in Cleveland will result in someone NOT named Trump or Cruz as the candidate. After listening to endless media polls and seeing the results of ONE Caucus in a backwater state and people have allowed themselves to jump to the worst conclusions. I have one word of advice: Tranquilo!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Remember, all the breathless hype is coming from Political Junkie Fanboys.
      No different than the ones with team-painted faces packing the stands at the Super Bowl.

    • >>A brokered convention in Cleveland will result in someone NOT named Trump or Cruz as the candidate.

      At this point some one named Rubio. But if you are praying for a Republican candidate to have a prayer, better pray that the Dems allow Billary to run, and that ain’t going to happen either. Stay tuned.

      • Trump vs. Sanders in the general election. Say what you will about it’s other implications, it would NOT be boring.

  13. Explaining Domionism to evangelicals and most fundamentalists gets me weird looks. No one could possibly believe that, they say. You are making it up.

    People don’t realize what Cruz actually believes. They just hear “most Christians support him”. And uncritically accept that.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      No one could possibly believe that, they say. You are making it up.

      Until they’re in The Handmaid’s Tale for real.

      Nobody could possibly believe what that loudmouth Austrian with the funny mustache said he would do.

      • Nobody knows about that book. Nobody. I didn’t even know about it til a year or two ago, and I have yet to read it.

        Much like 1984 or Brave New World, if it ever got onto the evangelical consciousness, it wouldn’t be understood.

        Or understood wrongly, like Fight Club.

        • Wow. Good point with Fight Club. I remember Driscoll quoting it positively like it was a manliness manifesto or something, when it is actually an Oedipus tale about a mal-adjusted modern males with unrestrained thumos. I forgot about that meme.

        • A whole lot of people know about The Handmaid’s Tale, Stuart – but mostly, the people who ought to read it don’t know either that title or don’t read much of anything that comes from the wider world, or both. Anyone who worked in a bookstore when it 1st came out will recall that it was a bestseller. But that was a while ago.

    • >>People don’t realize what Cruz actually believes.

      Cruz is a master at masquerading as an Evangelical. The end justifies the means.The positive response to him is loud enough to cover up the fact that it is a minority of the populace at large. Even the Republican higher ups don’t want him in the race. He’s scary but he can’t possibly win.

      • Explain to me how Cruz is not an Evangelical. He’s got me fooled!
        Are you saying he can’t possibly win the GOP nomination, or he can’t possibly beat the Democrats? I don’t think he is the most electable GOP candidate (I think Rubio would have the greatest mass appeal), and his Southern drawl would definitely hinder his popularity.

        • Cruz has more in common with Mike Bickle, Lou Engle, Kenneth Copeland, Rick Joyner, Todd Bentley, Benny Hinn and the like. In fact, he’s directly related and has gotten their laying on of hands and blessing. Just like Palin did years ago.

          Now, if you want to claim all those names, the Hillsongs, the Bethels, the IHOPs, etc, are mainstream Evangelical, by all means.

          • Well if that list is not mainstream Evangelicalism, their primary customer base most certainly is. Unless you consider Pentecostalism a separate category, which some do.

            Which one is Cruz related to? Even Trump has gotten the “laying on of hands and blessing” from similar ilk. It isn’t an expression of his theology. It is shameless pandering for votes, nothing more. As a Southern Baptist, Cruz can’t openly endorse much of that crazy and expect his own tribe to support him.

        • Miguel, you speak as if you were familiar with dominion theology, and it may even appeal to you, but I don’t think you grasp how despotic it is at base, much more aligned with the Islamic State in its lust for power and control rather than the more ordinary lust for profit and pleasure. As far as I can tell, Cruz is a true believer in this ideology and that’s what’s scary. If it was being done cynically for political gain only, that would just be business as usual. If someone is enforcing God’s will as they see it with lethal force, time to run, and there may be nowhere to run. Naturally you don’t disclose how far you are willing to go until you are in control. Read between the lines. National and International Socialism are more up front than dominionism. Theocracy run by human beings with a lust for power. Scary.

          It is not impossible for Cruz to win the nomination, tho highly unlikely. There is no way he could win the election other than outright and widespread voter fraud, and that’s not going to happen now to that extent. The Tea Party is a minority and a dwindling one in spite of all the loud outcries. I agree with you that Rubio could draw the most votes of any present Republican candidate, but not enough to get elected unless possibly running against Hillary, and that isn’t going to happen either if things continue as now they are lining up. I project the same with Sanders, Rubio could beat him in a two way race, but it won’t happen.

          If the Donald does not get the nomination, he will simply run as an Independent, with no chance of winning, but siphoning off enough votes to insure Rubio could not win either. The Republican higher ups know this. They are between a rock and a hard place with no way to win this time around. Keep your eye on Joe Biden.

          • Charles, I am very familiar with dominion theology, but no, it has absolutely no appeal to me. Lutherans have a two kingdom theology, as I’m sure you know. But dominion theology seems to be a very Evangelical/Fundamentalist hobby horse. I don’t think it gains much traction in Christendom outside their ranks (not since Medieval times, anyways).

            You make some interesting and plausible predictions. We shall soon see if you are right! I personally suspect that Trump is bluffing. He won’t waste money on something he knows he can’t win. Rubio’s youth and ethnicity would get the appeal of young, new voters who vote celebrity status and are ignorant of the candidate’s actual position on most issues. But but I would buy tickets to watch Cruz debate Sanders or Clinton. Yeah he believes some scary stuff, but he knows how to argue strategically. I personally don’t think his dominion theology will be given much traction if he were elected anyways.

    • Really, fundamentalists give you weird looks? I would expect more of the “yeah, and what’s wrong with that?” look, seeing as how dominionism is most popular with them.

      • Depends on the fundy. Dominionism seems very popular in the PCA. Not so much the IFB.

        • The PCA, really? Rather surprised by that. But they’re a pretty small group, I don’t think most mainline or confessional Presbyterians have time for that kind of nonsense.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Because Dominionism means THEY get to Hold the Whip and those Sodomites and Heathens get to Feel the Whip. Forever.

  14. Let’s see, comments from today’s Ramblings are basically bash Cruz, bash Trump, bash Russell Moore, bash the Super Bowl, bash the ads, bash people who quote C.S. Lewis out of context, bash, bash, bash… Heck, *I’m* now even caught up in the bashing!

    Yawn. Wake me up when the Ramblings become silly and joyous again.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      Bash you!

    • Maybe you’d like to wake up before then, so you don’t miss the bashing of heads that will happen tomorrow.

    • Help me understand what exactly it is you are criticizing here, Rick. For as long as I’ve been reading iMonk (about four years), the Saturday Ramblings have had lots of argument and debate, some of it cordial, some of it less so and even rancorous, along with whimsy, and pathos as well. Was there a time before I started reading when everything was sweetness, harmony and joyousness? Was there no disagreement and criticism in the good ole’ days? Was everything silly and joyous? Please direct me to one of those posts of yore, so I can see what I’ve been missing; it sounds great (I think)!

  15. So, CM, is Gail a stewardess or were you just passing the time waiting for her? Buncha blessings on your getaway!

  16. Dan from Georgia says

    Who here has been bashing the Super Bowl?

  17. Dan from Georgia says

    I must have missed your SB diss. No worries!

  18. I respect Russell Moore, who in my view has taken a number of eminently sensible positions on various issues as president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the political arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. And even when I disagree with him, I find him to be agreeable rather than abrasive.

    I agree, 100%. Though I haven’t followed him too closely, I find him very reasoned, sensitive, and articulate, which is rather exceptional from the SBC. He wrote the best stuff on the Lord’s Supper I’ve ever seen from a Baptist. Why he plays second fiddle to Mohler is beyond me, he is a much more persuasive leader. While many older diehards in the SBC may not agree with him, the type of leadership he is giving better represents younger Evangelical believers, who I think grow weary of fundamentalist culture warring, and may be the key to keeping younger leadership thriving in the SBC. I’ll be very surprised if he never becomes SBC president.

  19. Getting up early,
    but the darkness that’s outside
    is also inside.

  20. In these last days all you have to do is pray