September 28, 2020

Saturday Ramblings: February 13, 2016 – Valentine’s Day Edition

Pink Rambler

1959 Rambler Rebel V-8 Custom Country Club Hardtop

We’re pulling the pink Rambler out of the garage for a romantic rendezvous this weekend.

Tomorrow is St. Valentine’s Day!

Heart-BeMyValentine-iconAccording to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there are three martyrs called “St. Valentine” who are associated with February 14, the most familiar of whom was a priest in Rome in the second half of the third century.

As for where the customs came from that developed and were associated with his name:

stvalentineThe popular customs associated with Saint Valentine’s Day undoubtedly had their origin in a conventional belief generally received in England and France during the Middle Ages, that on 14 February, i.e. half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair. Thus in Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules we read:

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

For this reason the day was looked upon as specially consecrated to lovers and as a proper occasion for writing love letters and sending lovers’ tokens. Both the French and English literatures of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries contain allusions to the practice.

In honor of this day of love, we’ll be rambling about, passing out valentines to various folks around us, just like they taught us in elementary school.

Come on, let’s ramble and share the love!

Heart-BeMyValentine-iconMy first Valentine goes to…

Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill

These two leaders, heads of the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, greeted one another in Havana, Cuba Friday. This was the first time in nearly 1,000 years that the leaders of these historic traditions had met.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (L) and Pope Francis embrace in Havana, February 12, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (L) and Pope Francis embrace in Havana, February 12, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi

As Religious New Service reports, the meeting went like this:

“Finally,” the pontiff told the patriarch, speaking in his native Spanish. “We are brothers.”

“It is very clear this is the will of God,” the pope said.

“Yes, things are much easier now,” Kirill told Francis.

They then sat down for private talks that concluded with the signing of a joint declaration that made common cause on a number of issues, chief among them appealing for an end to persecution and killing of Christians in the Middle East.

This meeting is a symbol of love on a historic scale, and worthy of our most honored valentine today.

Heart-BeMyValentine-iconMy second Valentine goes to…

Peyton Manning

Why? First, he and his team won the big game last Sunday.


Second, he’s simply a great guy, as revealed in the well-named post, “Peyton Manning Shares the Shocking Reason Why He Loves Jesus, Drinks Beer, and Won’t Pray to Win.” 

Here’s some of his testimony, cited in the article from his book, Manning:

I committed my life to Christ, and that faith has been most important to me ever since. Some players get more vocal about it—the Reggie Whites, for example—and some point to Heaven after scoring a touchdown and praise God after games. I have no problem with that. But I don’t do it, and don’t think it makes me any less a Christian. I just want my actions to speak louder, and I don’t want to be more of a target for criticism than I already am. Somebody sees you drinking a beer, which I do, and they think, “Hmmmm, Peyton says he’s this, that, or the other, and there he is drinking alcohol. What’s that all about?”

Christians drink beer. So do non-Christians. Christians also make mistakes, just as non-Christians do. My faith doesn’t make me perfect, it makes me forgiven, and provides me the assurance I looked for half my life ago. I think God answered our prayers with Cooper, and that was a test of our faith. But I also think I’ve been blessed—having so little go wrong in my life, and being given so much. I pray every night, sometimes long prayers about a lot of things and a lot of people, but I don’t talk about it or brag about it because that’s between God and me, and I’m no better than anybody else in God’s sight.

…Ah, but do I “pray for victory?” No, except as a generic thing. I pray to keep both teams injury free, and personally, that I use whatever talent I have to the best of my ability. But I don’t think God really cares about who wins football games, except as winning might influence the character of some person or group. Besides. If the Colts were playing the Cowboys and I prayed for the Colts and Troy Aikman prayed for the Cowboys, wouldn’t that make it a standoff?

I do feel this way about it. Dad says it can take twenty years to make a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it. I want my reputation to be able to make it through whatever five-minute crises I run into. And I’m a lot more comfortable knowing where my help is.”

I have never put much stock in “celebrity” testimonies, but here is one that is mostly lived, not broadcasted or paraded around. Ask the kids at Peyton’s children’s hospital here in Indy. I join them in giving him a special iMonk Valentine today.

Heart-BeMyValentine-iconMy third Valentine goes to…

Me, Myself, and I

That’s strange, you are probably saying. But after reading Timothy George’s piece, “Same-Self Marriage” at First Things, I thought, “Why not?”

4/November/10, at 11:29 am, black, debra wrote: please put in file folder i am about to create called fo-selfwedding. Dzb from: onlywedding onlywedding [] sent: thursday, november 04, 2010 8:06 am to: black, debra subject: re: a query from a canadian reporter there are two more pictures here. 2010/11/4 onlywedding onlywedding

Chen Wei-yih, who married herself in 2010 in a public ceremony with 30 guests, three wedding dresses, two rings (one bought by her mom, the other bought by Chen Wei-yih), three bridesmaids, three best men, a flower girl, a banquet and a honeymoon in Australia.

 George explains:

Sologamy is the marriage of someone to one’s own self—the his- or herness of it is not relevant, although it seems to be mostly women who are doing it. Apparently Linda Baker was the first person to marry herself back in December 1993. Others have followed suit, including Sara Sharpe, who wrote about her self-marriage in A Dress, A Ring, Promises to Self. And there’s Nadine Schweigert, a thirty-six-year-old-woman from Fargo, North Dakota, who was interviewed by Anderson Cooper after marrying herself in front of some forty of her closest friends. “I, Nadine,” she said to herself, “promise to enjoy inhabiting my own life and to relish a lifelong love affair with my beautiful self.” Jennifer Hoes is a Dutch woman who did the same thing in 2003. Her same-self marriage was the subject of a recent ten-minute documentary by Aeon Magazine.

Wondering about how one might go about this?

Well, ramble on over to “I Married Me,” a resource that provides all you need to make it happen. Here is their pitch:

Self marryYou Are Reason To Celebrate

A roadmap to positivity, our I Married Me kit has all you need to create your own ceremony, including a self-wedding ring, vows and daily affirmation cards.

A self-wedding is a symbolic ceremony–about reconnecting and staying connected with you. Wear the ring to remind you every day to LOVE YOURSELF.

Did you know that micro-moments of positivity add up, creating an upward spiral? Positive mental states can also be enhanced by affirmations and even reshape us over time. A daily practice can help you focus on the good and give you resources when life is tough.

You can be single or in a relationship. You can already be married. Have a ceremony for yourself, with a besty, for your entire wedding party or for a special occasion. Life is short, do stuff that matters.

I deserve a special Valentine today, don’t I?

Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, I love myself!

Heart-BeMyValentine-iconMy fourth Valentine goes to…

Our Three Newest, Spectacular National Monuments

The Mojave Trails National Monument


The Mojave Trails National Monument is the largest new monument, at 1.6 million acres.
Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management

Sand to Snow National Monument

The Sand to Snow National Monument boasts the region's tallest alpine mountain. Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management

The Sand to Snow National Monument boasts the region’s tallest alpine mountain.
Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management

Castle Mountains National Monument

Castle Mountains National Monument connects two important mountain ranges. Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management

Castle Mountains National Monument connects two important mountain ranges.
Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management

Heart-BeMyValentine-iconMy fifth Valentine goes to…

Heather Havrilesky

This Valentine goes to the author of one of the best articles about “romance” I’ve ever read. It’s called “What Romance Means After 10 Years of Marriage,” and it is spot on. I wish every Christian preacher and author who thinks they must help married people with questions about married life would read it and learn how to get to the heart of the matter.

Consider it a Valentine’s Day gift to all you readers out there trying to navigate the marriage relationship.

Lovers for Berggruen (The offering), Chagall

Lovers for Berggruen (The offering), Chagall

Traditional romance is heady and exciting precisely because — and not in spite of the fact that — there are still lingering questions at the edges of the frame: “Will I be enough for this person? Will she stop wanting me someday? Is he as amazing as he seems/feels/tastes?”

But once you’ve been married for a long time (my tenth anniversary is in a few months!), a whole new kind of romance takes over. It’s not the romance of rom-coms, which are predicated on the question of “Will he/she really love me (which seems impossible), or does he/she actually hate me (which seems far more likely and even a little more sporting)?” Long-married romance is not the romance of watching someone’s every move like a stalker, and wanting to lick his face but trying to restrain yourself. It’s not even the romance of “Whoa, you bought me flowers, you must REALLY love me!” or “Wow, look at us here, as the sun sets, your lips on mine, we REALLY ARE DOING THIS LOVE THING, RIGHT HERE.” That’s dating romance, newlywed romance. You’re still pinching yourself. You’re still fixated on whether it’s really happening. You’re still kind of sort of looking for proof. The little bits of proof bring the romance. The question of whether you’ll get the proof you require brings the romance. (The looking for proof also brings lots of fights, but that’s a subject for another day.)

After a decade of marriage, if things go well, you don’t need any more proof. What you have instead — and what I would argue is the most deeply romantic thing of all — is this palpable, reassuring sense that it’s okay to be a human being.

…And now I’m going to tell you my most romantic story of all. I was very sick out of the blue with some form of dysentery. It hit overnight. I got up to go to the bathroom, and I fainted on the way and cracked my ribs on the side of the bathtub. My husband discovered me there, passed out, in a scene that … well, imagine what would happen if you let Todd Solondz direct an episode of Game of Thrones. Think about what that might look like. I’m going to take your delicate sensibilities into account and resist the urge to paint a clearer picture for you.

My husband was not happy about this scene. But he handled it without complaint. That is the very definition of romantic: not only not being made to feel crappy about things that are clearly out of your control, but being quietly cared for by someone who can shut up and do what needs to be done under duress.

…So don’t let anyone tell you that marriage is comfortable and comforting but not romantic. Don’t let anyone tell you that living and dying together is some sad dance of codependent resignation. Our dumb culture tricks us into believing that romance is the suspense of not knowing whether someone loves you or not yet, the suspense of wanting to have sex but not being able to yet, the suspense of wanting all problems and puzzles to be solved by one person, without knowing if they have any time or affinity for your particular puzzles yet. We think romance is a mystery in which you add up clues that you will be loved. Romance must be carefully staged and art-directed, so everyone looks better than they usually do and seems sexier and better than they actually are, so the suspense can remain intact.

You are not better than you are, though, and neither is your partner. That’s romance. Laughing at how beaten-down you sometimes are, in your tireless quest to survive, is romance. It’s sexy to feel less than totally sexy and still feel like you’re sexy to one person, no matter what. Maybe suspense yields to the suspension of disbelief. Maybe looking for proof yields to finding new ways to muddle through the messes together.

But when it’s 10 p.m. and you crawl into bed like two old people and tell each other about the weird things that your kids said that day and laugh and tell stupid jokes and giggle and then maybe you feel like making out or maybe you just feel like playing a quick game of Candy Crush, all the while saying things like, “This game is stupid, it sucks” and “Your feet are freezing” and “My ass hurts,” that’s romantic. Because at some point, let’s be honest, death supplies the suspense. How long can this glorious thing last? your eyes sometimes seem to ask each other. You, for one, really hope this lasts a whole hell of a lot longer. You savor the repetitive, deliciously mundane rhythms of survival, and you want to keep surviving. You want to muddle through the messiness of life together as long as you possibly can. That is the summit. Savor it. That is the very definition of romance.


Heart-BeMyValentine-iconMy final Valentine goes to…

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

…the sexiest and most romantic (in its “heady and exciting” form) couple in 20th century film.

I couldn’t choose between my two favorite love songs and scenes, so I’m giving you both today — a Valentine’s Day bonus.

Have a wonderful weekend.



  1. Self-marriage? And if things go badly, self-divorce?

    • Richard Hershberger says

      Start considering sexual fidelity and the jokes will write themselves.

    • The excerpt sounded a lot like a Joel Osteen sermon to me…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I remember first hearing about self-marriage in some News of the Weird article in the Eighties.

      The exact quote from the bride/groom/both/whatever was “I can’t imagine ever finding anyone else who could possibly Love Me more than I already do.”

      And that says it all.

  2. A ballad for all the Valentinians:

  3. Kirill and Francis concluded the day by signing a joint affirmation against sologamy, using theologically erudite language like “crude publicity stunt” and “dear lord, what a loser”.

    • Better to be abstinent and married (literally) to the Lord.

      As if that metaphor isn’t creepy enough.

  4. No valentine for the pair of black holes that 1 billion years ago decided to forever join together, sending ripples of gravitational love throughout the universe? Come on, what’s sexier than science?

    • I’ve heard that they’re sleeping in separate branes.

    • Yeah, and the event provided evidence of gravitational waves in support of Einstein’s theory of relativity. And not that long ago, we weren’t sure even black holes existed. Now, we watch them collide. I have lived long enough to witness some tragic events, but this makes up for it. And Pluto. And the new planet in our solar system discovered using math. That doesn’t mean I think humanity has conquered the universe; at the moment of our greatest discoveries, we stand at the precipice of our own demise. It’s exiting in a way, but frustrating to think some of our greatest threats are within our grasp to conquer if not for apathy and ignorance.

      • …and water discovered on Mars.

      • …exciting, not exiting.

      • It’s a fascinating discovery. I’m sure it will yield important scientific data, as well as inspiring the imagination.

        But you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near that collision….and in this case I have no idea what the word “near” even means. That collision is a solar system destroyer, a star destroyer, a world destroyer. Galaxies are imperiled by that merging. If that happened “near” our own solar system, it would make our self-destructive tendencies look infinitely paltry by comparison.

        Could it happen “near” our solar system?

        • It so cool. Solar system eating black holes. Who would have imagined this even a decade ago?

          If you gotta go, that’s the way to go out in style: battling the black hole kracken.

      • the event provided evidence in support of Einstein’s theory of relativity.

        I’m torn. On the one hand, the ability to discern all these things from such distances of space and time is incredible.

        On the other hand, if relativity has been confirmed again, then that means that Einstein was also right about the lightspeed barrier. Which means we’ll NEVER be able to go see all this neat stuff in person.


        • I like that the light-speed barrier is confirmed by this. It means that there is actually one absolute in our space-time structure; it also means that we will never be able to carry our own unique form of destructiveness and evil beyond the edge of our solar system with which to infect the rest of the universe. Our hubris is limited by realities outside our control; it’s a good piece of humbling knowledge, if we have ears to hear it.

          • Yes. That’s it. Lol!

            Maybe everything wasn’t created just for us, eh? Maybe God delights in his own creation; maybe he created it for his own contemplation and bliss. Maybe much of it has no utility; why would it? Is the greatness of a work of art defined by its utility? Its utility is to be itself. Maybe he allows us to share in his contemplation of his great work of art, but only within limits; when you are in a museum or gallery, you can contemplate and enjoy a painting, but you can’t walk up to and touch it. Maybe the light-speed barrier is just such a limit; except that it would also be part of God’s art, not made for its utility, but for the way it contributes to the elegance of the whole creation.

          • Beautifully put, Robert, and very true. (Well, I think so, anyhow . . . )

          • ROBERT, I second Damaris . . . your comment was beautiful indeed.

          • Voices From A Distant Star (Hoshi no Koe) is one of the few reasons I am pleased I ever started watching anime at the advanced age of 50.

            It is a romance of general relativity, and it is beautiful for exactly the reasons Robert F spelled out; we are affixed to time as a beetle on a pin, and should be glad to be so.

        • It seems to support the idea of time warp and warp drives, which seems to be the only plausible way to achieve galactic travel.

      • And the new planet in our solar system discovered using math.

        Actually Pluto and Neptune were found to exist due to the way they affected the orbits of more inner planets. Neptune had been seen but it was not realized to be a planet until they started looking for something affecting the orbit of Uranus.

    • The two shall become one…

      I agree though, two black holes merging: it doesn’t get any sexier than that. I mean, it’s not like it was the largest event ever recorded in history, and it’s not like the power output creating the radiation was 50 times greater than all of the stars in the observable universe put together.

  5. I really liked it when fins were in.

  6. I am glad Manning gave money to Riley Hospital, but I have worked in the financial services industry, so it doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies. People will do all kinds of financial gyrations to avoid paying taxes so I see his donation, with his name boldly emblazoned all over it, as less of charity and more a way to make sure he gets a lower tax bill & a higher adulation score. The children of Riley benefit, no doubt, and in a very positive way, but had he given the money without the fanfare, that would have been a great story of pious humility.

    • He actually has a different children’s hospital, named after him, that he founded here in Indy.

      • That proves my point even more.

        • So motives are suspect. Actions are manipulations. And gestures are never what they seem. It’s only about the deduction and write off.

          Start with cynicism and remain jaded. What a dark place to reside.

          • Having worked in the financial industry for a time, you betcha, it’s all about the deduction. We fawn over celebrities who throw some money our way and praise Jesus for giving them all they have when we know only what they choose show us of themselves.
            Who gets my admiration? The nurse at that hospital who is probably underpaid, who is at the end of her 12 hour shift, but still puts in the effort to make sure the patient’s needs are met. Or that cashier who may have been on her feet for hours and has just been screamed at by a customer and yet greets me with a smile and makes my day a bit smoother. Or that flight attendent who calms a nervous or belligerent passenger with professionalism and kindness. The wife who cares for her dementia ridden spouse when it would be easier to put him in a home. If that is cynicism, then yes, call me cynical.

          • When “your left hand knoweth no what your right hand doeth” instead of “blowing a trumpet in the market place, as the Pharisees do”, now THAT is what counts. When Peyton looks at his bank statement and thinks “How can I advance the Kingdom with what I’ve been given?”, now THAT is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.

            The same goes for any other wealthy people who give money to their “Foundations”. They may do good stuff, but it’s PUBLIC stuff. What you do in private is the measure.

          • My thought exactly.

          • But oscar, there are advantages to hospitals, and their patients, in having their institutions associated with a high profile name. It attracts publicity, which in turn attracts other patrons. We don’t know this football player’s motives, or that he let his name be attached to these hospitals for the recognition it would give him; perhaps somebody actually convinced him it would be better for the hospitals if he allowed it.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            +1. No room for hope or mercy in such an outlook; no surprise it all devolves into conflict and angry rhetoric.

        • To be fair, I have never heard any public fanfare or fuss about Peyton’s children’s hospital. Yes, it bears his name, but I couldn’t tell you about even one public event or marketing campaign that has capitalized on Manning’s persona. As far as I can tell it has been a genuine and humble effort to give back and is related to the personal difficulties he and his wife went through with their own child.

          There are a lot of wealthy people doing good quietly and without blowing a trumpet to call attention to it, tax advantages or not.

          • I think I suffer from Manning weariness. In this part of the country, you can’t turn around without someone talking about his nearly God-like qualities (as opposed to Tom Brady who is apparently the embodiment of all that is evil in this world) and waxing on about how terrible it was that the Colts let him slip through their grasp. Maybe he’s a great guy, or maybe he’s a rich jerk with a good PR staff. Who really knows?

          • The Tebow Effect

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      I know how tax-shelters work. But in the end the Jillionaire-Philanthropists could have have done something else; the power was/is theirs.

      I lived in a house in a “ghetto”, not far from “downtown” where as kid I rode my bike through the ruins and broke into empty buildings. When I left college you could drive past *SEVENTY SIX* empty store fronts. Something like three of four businesses sputtered along; the great buildings of the railroad age were either converted to homeless shelters or boarded up. At night , at my home in the “city”, often times I could sit on the porch and it was so quiet I could hear the street-lights buzz [assuming they were all working].

      Then a couple of Jillionaire-Philathropists – very likely with taxes in the back of their minds – looked at the dirt cheap real-estate sitting amongst all that infrastructure – and they did some really stupid and unlikely things: they built an arena, and entertainment venue, and a cancer research center. Then a childrens hospital. They donated money to a nearby university – whose campus sits nowhere, amid corn fields- to move part of its campus downtown. People wondered, like, is this a good idea? This will never work, that city is dead.

      Today…. that arena is one of the highest revenue venues in the nation. The hospital has grown into a massive employment center; the city has to add mass-transit as fast as it can in order to keep up. The entertainment venue is under construction with an addition that will triple in size – and add a ten story apartment building. The residential vacancy rate is one of the lowest in the nation. Unemployment in the metro is somewhere around ~2.5%.

      Yes, the names of those Jillionaire-Philathropists families are all over, on the sides of buildings. Awesome. They could probably name the streets after themselves if they wanted. Did they likely dodge a whole bunch of taxes? Almost certainly – so what? – with a government unwilling to do its job – it is hard to be all that upset about that [they would have just taken the money and used it to repave some useless suburban cal-du-sacs].

      Those Jillionaire-Philathropists can have my valentine. Mixed motives do not bother me; I have outgrown the notion of Purity. One mix of motive may be a much better than another and a gray clumpy mix is always better than a bowl full of apathy or disinterest.

      • That Other Jean says

        Indeed. If philanthropists can’t give loads of money to good causes without fanfare and tax breaks, then I will settle for them giving loads of money to good causes. Help is help, whatever the motive.

      • +1

      • See my post above. What does Jesus say about blowing a trumpet in the marketplace> Sure, they do good, but THAT is their only reeward.

        • At the outset let it be known that I have no interest in, or liking of, American football or its players. I don’t know this particular football player from Adam, and I’ve never seen him do his job; nor do I care to.

          Having said that: Why, oscar, are we in the business of assessing this player’s motives? As long as no laws were broken, and as long as patients benefit, it’s a good thing to make it possible to build hospitals; as to his motives, we are not in a position to know.

          It must be very difficult for famous persons to move in the public square in such a big way as paying for the construction of a hospital without having that known; and perhaps there are advantages for the hospital and its patients in having a celebrity name attached to it. For instance, wouldn’t that give it a higher profile, attracting more publicity and possibly more benefactors to it, given our culture’s obsession with fame and celebrity?

          • Robert, why do you immediately go to where I never led? Are you negating what Jesus said, or are you just disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing? What you SEEM to be saying is that, in the Kingdom, motives do not matter, only results. Or is it that what Jesus said only applies to the Evangelicals you disagree with?

            Quote what I said, EXACTLY, that implied that good works, even with flawed motive, have no reward and shouldn’t be attempted. I know you cannot, because I never said it! Jesus said about those “They have their reward”.

          • oscar,
            Your comment gave me the impression that you were criticizing the football player. If you were not, my apologies; I sincerely have no desire to argue. We just disagree, and let’s leave it at that.

        • Who cares?

          And no, it isn’t.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > What does Jesus say about blowing a trumpet in the marketplace

          And that was 2,000 years ago in an illiterate agrarian world.

          During Christ’s period economic growth was 1-3% ***PER CENTURY***. The *vast* majority of people died within 20 miles of where they were born. The number of professions numbered in the dozens. A disastrous plague killed as many people as …. in 2014 died of *RABIES* in a one year.

          Our world is not that world.

          Charity, and anonymous Charity, is virtuous. One city over a group of bajillionares established a fund to provide every single high-school graduate with college tuition. They are entirely anonymous. You would think it would have rocked the world…. but the impact important, but moderate. Because this world is not the world of 200+ years ago. Today’s world is *LOUD* . And Wealth – an unknown concept in Jesus’ time – is different than money. Wealth has a gravitation effect – it attracts wealth. Concentrations of wealth means employment, lower costs for basic services, and tax revenue of for civil services: police, fire, ambulance, ***SCHOOLS***, libraries, etc… All of which in turn… create wealth.

          Charity is important; but I will make a LOT of Christians unhappy by saying: INVESTMENT IS BETTER. Charity helps, and then the money is gone. Education, Jobs, Transportation, … keep on paying back. And in Christ’s age there was no educational system, having a “job” was barely a concept, and there – effectively – was no transportation. And when you have investment you want to broadcast that as far and as loudly as you can – because that will bring more, people will want ‘in on it’.

          When the first steam engine huffed and puffed the economy of the world changed. Things moved, people moved, and the notion of Wealth entered the world of the every man [after having incubated in the Merchant class for several hundred years].

          • Guess we’ll have to throw out a lot more of the bible because it is 2000 years old. What is the PRINCIPLW that Jesus was getting at in that passage? “They have their reward”!


            YES AND AMEN

      • Adam, are you talking about Grand Rapids? I went there for the first time about a year and half ago and was very impressed with the downtown. I wished I could have had longer to explore. (I was there for a conference at the university you mentioned.)

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > are you talking about Grand Rapids?


          > was very impressed with the downtown


          It was not, of course, just the result of the Bajillionaires. Many people, from all over the political spectrum, worked hard to get us where we are – from where we were. And they did so against a constant chorus of smug know-it-alls and moralists insisting all-was-vanity and nothing would work. Today most of them have converted to the Conspiracy Theorist camp. I look at that as a sign that we’ve arrived. 🙂 Today the struggle is with the problems of success – which are real problems – but much preferred to the problems of deprivation [of course, the Conspiracy Theorists are somehow skeptical of that].

      • Exactly. It is the wealthy donors that keep the local Children’s Hospital running. It baffles the mind that anyone could do anything other than celebrate those kinds of actions. I’m pretty sure the kids don’t care about what motivated the person who paid for their cancer cure. My gosh, how bitter and spiteful such comments sound!

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist, a hateful statement, implying a motive that I never expressed. Quote me EXACTLY and without COMMENTARY!

          • “they have their reward” is synonymous with “well they made their bed”

            It implies, again and again, that their actions are lesser than some “spiritual” action that brings “Kingdom rewards”.

            And that’s utter and total bs, NO MATTER who spoke it first. They. Were. Wrong.

          • That’s the way I read it, too, StuartB; you said it very clearly: “Well, they made their bed…” It sounds like taking potshots at another persons good deeds, and looking for the worst in them instead of the best. But oscar insisted in a comment above that he wasn’t doing that; I suppose I’ll take him at his word, even if that means that I don’t know exactly what his comment meant.

          • Believe it or not, Oscar, I wasn’t referencing any of your comments. I don’t often pay attention to them. How are you with irony?

      • Mixed motives do not bother me; I have outgrown the notion of Purity.

        There is a phrase. “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good/better.”

      • I agree that Jillionaire-Philanthropists can do great things-Carnegie libraries come to mind. Just don’t ask me to fawn over these same Jillionaire-Philanthropists and assume that their motives are of the purest nature, even when they attribute their success to God. Not, especially, when they plaster their name all over their good works.

      • Amen

    • The age of cynicism. No wonder we’re staring down the barrel of an impending Trump presidency.

  7. senecagriggs says

    I loved Heather’s article; forwarded to my young adult kids.

  8. Did you know that micro-moments of positivity add up, creating an upward spiral?

    My God, that actually sounds scary!

  9. I’m afraid that the love, and marriage, my wife and I share is often closer to the “codependent resignation” that Havrilesky criticizes than the mutuality of self-giving that she commends. From the first day, the day of our wedding, things have not been good in many, many ways. That’s because even before we wed our relationship was partly premised in imperfect knowledge of ourselves (mostly my highly imperfect knowledge of myself), and denial of the degree of that imperfection, and even of its existence (again, mostly my denial). Naturally, getting married amplified these problems and imperfections, to a degree that was often excruciatingly painful for both of us. It’s been a rocky road ever since, for the entire 18 years of our marriage.

    I wish I could say that we have made significant strides in overcoming these problems. But I can’t. Every day, as we get older and more physically ill and unsteady together, we contend with these powerful demons, that we lack resources and energy to defeat. We live with this painful imperfection and uncertainty, and frequently still wound each other. As I said, I wish it was otherwise.

    But here we still are. Even this kind of highly imperfect love, that struggles against chronic uncertainty and dysfunction, can be real love; and it can still be enough to hold two people together in a life that’s bigger than their merged problems. I love my wife; I know that she loves me. However imperfectly, with whatever reservations and fears, we are here for each other; and we will be until parted by death.

    • And a very happy Valentine’s day to you both, Robert. Eighteen years is an accomplishment.

    • Robert,

      Your words + Heather’s words = truth. I think it’s both/and. And 1Jn3.2 gives me more and more comfort as the years go by:

      Beloved, we are God’s children now;
      ***it does not yet appear what we shall be,***
      but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

      Very best wishes to you & your wife, Robert.


      • Dana,
        I agree that it’s both/and; I did not mean to deny the truth in her words. Just trying to speak the truth of my own condition, of my wife’s and my condition. I know that there are others out there like us, in the iMonk community; there is hope in their condition, too, and sometimes we need to support each other with words of that hope.

        Thanks for your kind wishes. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your husband.

    • senecagriggs says

      Robert, what a profoundly open revelation. May things improve in the near future.

  10. Romance after 10 years? POSH! Still newlyweds! See what happens after 30, 40, 50 years! My wife and I are working on 38 years, our definition of “romance” has changed a bit, but we both work at it. We are not just “besties” who live together, we are HUSBAND and WIFE!

  11. –> “These two leaders, heads of the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, greeted one another in Havana, Cuba Friday.”

    Isn’t that a bit like matter and anti-matter colliding?! And apparently the world did NOT end, right…?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Or did it take a millennial to realize those differences… meh, not that big a deal. Sometimes humans are kinda slow.

    • LOL! It just occurred to me that the Pope and the Patriarch met for the first time in, well, a very long time during the same week that these gravitational waves were detected flying about. Coincidence?? Oh would I love to be a conspiracy believer right now!

  12. Well, since I became one of the many “bashers” during last week’s Ramblings, let me just say I very much enjoyed this week’s Ramblings. The right tone, the right silliness, avoidance of politics and what we get during the week. Nicely done!

  13. To distract myself from that horrendous Desiring God/Deadpool clusterbuck, here’s an interesting article I found through No Shame Movement.

    tl;dr – how purity culture affects men. answer: badly.

    It’s a good start. There’s a few things I wish the author would flesh out more. For instance, so many pastors and leaders insistence that a married Christian’s sex life, that they are waiting for, will be equivalent to or better than all the sex they see depicted in the secular world. That sets up huge expectations that come crashing down. Another focus should be on the psychological damage done to men who are really into purity culture. They are made to think they are less than worms, to literally go to war with their very bodies, to think any attraction or interest in the opposite sex is LITERAL perversion, especially towards a “sister”. As such, huge expectations and endless depths of shame and self-disgust.

    There’s a lot that could be addressed here.

    • “I learned as a child not to trust in my body
      I’ve carried that burden through my life
      But there’s a day when we all have to be pried loose”
      – Bruce Cockburn, from “Last Night of the World”

    • Desiring God/Deadpool mashup? I’m interested. Of what do you speak?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      It’s a good start. There’s a few things I wish the author would flesh out more. For instance, so many pastors and leaders insistence that a married Christian’s sex life, that they are waiting for, will be equivalent to or better than all the sex they see depicted in the secular world. That sets up huge expectations that come crashing down.

      Not just unrealistic expectation, but unrealistic expectations that the new bride will HAVE to perform.

      Purity Culture boys are bribed to save themselves for marriage with promises of Barn-Burning, Swinging-from-the-Chandeliers Dynamite Married S*E*X every night starting when they say “I Do”. And no matter how sheltered they are, he’s going to be exposed to locker-room talk and going to develop sexual fantasies — especially about all that Forbidden Fruit. And those sexual fantasies are going to grow more and more unrealistic in isolation — as a Pure Christian, he cannot say a word about them to anybody, even to himself. So entropy sets in.

      (Aside: In a culture as erotically-saturated as ours — and Christianese Purity Culture is just as saturated, just in the opposite direction — I’m not sure it’s even possible to get past puberty without developing some sort of paraphilia/kink. Best you can hope for is that your paraphiliae are just embarrassing instead of actually destructive.)

      Then the Purity Culture girl, raised on “Virgin Unto Death”, says “I Do” and is immediately expected to fulfill each and every one of Hubby’s pent-up sexual fantasies, starting NOW. To flip immediately from Virgin Unto Death to his personal sex toy/porn star, extra for kink.

      I cannot see how that combination can possibly work out.

  14. Sigh. Today is not a good start to the day.

    Wartburg Watch has an introductory post about the cult that destroyed my 20s. I’m torn between reading it out of anger and ignoring it entirely to keep healing. This group is evil, still survives under different names, and all who leave it find healing and truth and a crap ton of religious PTSD to recover from. Bury them and let them rot.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      I vote for ” ignoring it entirely to keep healing”

    • “Life could not continue without throwing the past into the past, liberating the present from its burden.” – Paul Tillich, from “The Eternal Now”.

    • DEFINITE trigger warning, Stuart. Best avoid it.

    • Let it go, Stuart. You know the truth already, you are freeing yourself, and you do what you can to help others. You don’t need to stare back down into the abyss.

    • keep turning towards the Light . . . don’t ever look back on the darkness

      in a way, the whole Christian community is injured by that evil, because when the victims of that lot suffer, all Christians suffer with them . . . the Good News is that the whole Church points to Christ and journeys towards Him

  15. First the Bishop of Rome and the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia have never met before (the latter position didn’t exist until the 16th century, but, I don’t think any of the Metropolitans of all Russia before that back to 988 when Russia officially became Christian ever met the Pope).

    Second the joint declaration can be read. Those in favor of church/state separation or allowing legal recognition to same sex marriages won’t be happy about some of the items. They did denounce the violence against non-Christians as well as Christians in the Middle East and North Africa and expressed some support for interreligious dialogue.

  16. early Valentine gift:
    candy and a card from the dog and my husband in that order . . . love ’em both dearly

  17. To give them your life energy does not make a lot of sense other than ego gratification. They become stronger while you become weaker. What’s wrong with this picture? W. W. are specialists in this transaction. Let others do as they may, you have been healing, no backsliding please. Their harvest can proceed without your help. Be blessed, be healed, be made whole and well.

  18. Randy Thompson says

    Yes, yes, Popes and Patriarchs. Black Holes. All well and good.

    But, I am appalled that no one has here made mention of two of mid-20th century America’s greatest contributions to the Universe, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. To listen to them sing (Gershwin, Irving Berlin, et al) and to watch them dance is to experience joy. (Let’s keep gravitational waves in perspective here.)

    • Good stuff, although it doesn’t transport me to the place it does you; but my wife definitely agrees with you on this, not with me. Good stuff, though.

    • I agree, Randy! My father used to sing “Dancing Cheek to Cheek” while he swung me around while I was little. We weren’t Fred and Ginger, but it was fun.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I keep thinking of this verse from an old George Carlin album:

      “Fred Astairs has no hair;
      Nor does a chair
      Or a chocolate éclair”