September 21, 2020

Saturday Ramblings: February 20, 2015 – Pitchers & Catchers Edition

rambler AZ

1954 Nash Ambassador Custom 4-Door Sedan

ROBERTSNow, these folks have the right idea. Where does any decent, upstanding, red-blooded American want to be at this time of year?

Why, Arizona of course, or perhaps Florida. And for what reason? Why, because it’s Spring Training time. Pitchers and catchers reported this week to their Cactus League or Grapefruit league facilities and next week the position players will join them. Jeff Dunn and I are ecstatic (and really jealous we’re not riding in that Rambler)!

In fact, today is the first day my Cubs pitchers and catchers will work out. However, some of the regulars arrived early and have already begun to practice. On Wednesday, picking up where he left off last season, Cubs hitting sensation Kyle Schwarber did this to a fan’s car in the parking lot during batting practice:


Peter Gesler posted a photo of his broken windshield on Instagram, saying, “Our car is now famous. Kyle Schwarber’s home run in batting practice found our windshield. Everyone took pictures and laughed at the idiot who parked there. I did the same.”

ROBERTSce8d252d-c6ee-4d55-86e8-1677a8fa2227-Charles-RyrieA man who carried a lot of theological weight in the circles in which I walked for many years died this past week. Charles C. Ryrie, who taught systematic theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and served as a dean there, wrote more than fifty books, and edited The Ryrie Study Bible — a more contemporary version of the famous Scofield Bible — died at age 90.

Some of Ryrie’s books were standard fare when I was in Bible college, studying under professors who had gone to DTS and thought highly of Ryrie. He was a good communicator, able to make the complexities of dispensational theology clear and understandable.

Over the years, as IM readers know, I came to see that the whole dispensational enterprise — whether in its “irenic” form as Charles Ryrie taught it or in some of its more popular, quirky, and even crazy forms — amounted to a theological dead-end. Good men like Ryrie, unfortunately, gave this bad theology credibility by their exemplary character and strong gifts.

ROBERTSbill-gothard-founder-of-the-conservative-christian-nonprofit-institute-for-basic-life-principles-resigned-from-leadership-after-allegations-of-rampant-sexual-harassmentAh, another guru from my past, and this one may not be so exemplary. 18 people — 16 women and two men — are now suing Bill Gothard, the 81-year-old founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, and the Oak Brook, IL-based institute itself. Gothard became well known through his seminars and thousands of conservative Christian families have used the IBLP’s home schooling curriculum.

The attorney for the plaintiffs likened the situation to that of Bill Cosby, with more and more people coming forward with similar stories. RNS reports:

The story told in the pleading filed Wednesday (Feb. 17) paints Gothard and other IBLP leaders as manipulative spiritual authorities, groping girls as young as 13 and persuading them to keep the abuse from their parents. The suit also alleges that Gothard raped one young woman. One of the men suing alleges harsh physical punishment and emotional abuse from IBLP leaders. The other alleges that he was molested by a male IBLP counselor, who is not Gothard.

The internet has proven to be an important means of bringing these stories to light. You can read more at Recovering Grace, where the “Bill Gothard generation” tries to shine light on his teachings and practices.

ROBERTSsize_550x415_11224690_897903763629256_241560487325081309_n“We want to give Jesus the biggest ‘We love You!’ from the Church of America we possibly can! We want to declare that He is central in our nation, and that we desire His presence in the midst of all we do.”

Those are the words of Ryan Montgomery, administrative director for David’s Tent, a Christian ministry that is holding a continuous worship service 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the nation’s capital to inspire a revival in the United States. It began on Sept. 11, 2015, of last year and will conclude on election day this coming November.

Montgomery told The Christian Post that the continuous worship service was inspired by King David, ruler of ancient Israel. “We were inspired by the devotion of King David, 3,000 years ago in Jerusalem. He hired 4,000 musicians and 288 singers to minister to God 24/7 for the length of his reign,” explained Montgomery.

According to CP and the David’s Tent website:

…the worship service “is about defining a culture that is centered around publicly honoring Jesus.”

“We want to see worship in public spaces become the norm, not a special event. Amos 9:11 speaks of the restoration of the fallen Tent of David, meaning that a descendant of David would once again be on the throne,” stated the site.

“This is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who has been crowned King of the Ages! David’s Tent DC is a national confession that Jesus is Lord of America and that we receive Him as such.”

Am I just getting old? Why does this just strike me now as silly?

ROBERTSA moment of silence for Harper Lee, who died this week at age 89.

She is, of course, best remembered for writing one of the greatest American novels, To Kill a Mockingbird. In the book’s fiftieth anniversary year, we did a “Writer’s Roundtable” on TKAM. Here’s an excerpt from that conversation:

64295c44-be3d-4a6a-94b2-575d0dfa5247-2060x1236Chaplain Mike: The first thing to be said to this table of authors is that To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most beautifully written American novels. As a writer, what do you appreciate about this book and how it exemplifies for us the craft of writing?

Damaris Zehner: It is a beautifully written book.  It exemplifies the perfect union of style and substance.  So many books are well written but have less than edifying content; others have great plots but have to be read with your teeth gritted to get through the clumsy prose and poor structure.  To Kill a Mockingbird, though, shows us a beautiful story through the window of clear, unobtrusive prose.  Virginia Woolf called this kind of of writing “incandescent” — all impurities burned out, just pure light shining through.

Noel Spencer Cordle: I appreciate that nothing in this book is overdone. In fact, Lee’s style is very simplistic, yet she uses this simplistic style to weave such a beautiful and complex tale. I particularly appreciate her creation of the vivid setting of sleepy Maycomb, Alabama.

Lisa Dye: I admire Lee’s use of similes and metaphors and the poetic sound of her sentences. (“We strolled silently down the sidewalk, listening to porch swings creaking with the weight of the neighborhood …” and ” … the town remained the same size for a hundred years, an island in a patchwork sea of cottonfields and timberland.”) She manages her poetic prose without being excessive or flowery. In fact, she is often blunt and shocking, a fitting trait for a young and tomboyish storyteller brought up by a loving (albeit detached) single father who eschewed southern constraints on females.

Jeff Dunn: I would say that TKAM is the best American novel ever! But if asked to describe Lee’s style, I would be hard-pressed to come up with an answer. She doesn’t really have a distinctive style, and that is a good thing. Her writing doesn’t get in the way of her characters. The characters drive this story, and they come alive from page one. Too many writers try to craft a story rather than letting it tell itself. Lee was able to take herself as writer out of the way and let the characters do their thing.

Joshua Bell: I think the best part of this book is how Harper Lee creates a completely believable world for her characters without going overboard. Harper Lee sets her stage perfectly, nothing seems out of place. By the end of the book Maycomb County takes on a life of its own as we see its many social classes and individual characters in the community and how they interact with each other. Even the characters that play the smallest parts, such as Dolphus Raymond the “town drunk”, never seem out of place.

Lisa Dye: Furthermore, the pacing of Lee’s storytelling fits the time and place – a small, slow, southern town sweltering much of the time in summer heat.

Noel Spencer Cordle: I chose to do my 2010 re-read of this novel in the summer, and I found it to be an excellent choice because so much of the story takes place during the “dog days” of summer. Lee does not have to exert much effort or trump up her writing in order to beautifully capture these classic summer moments in a classic Southern town.

In another post I set forth my conviction that TKAM’s main character, Atticus Finch, is not only one of the great characters in American literature, but also a model of spiritual formation.

Like Atticus Finch, I find myself simultaneously at home and not at home in the community where I live.

And here I must learn to love.

ROBERTS19NJTURKEYS1-blog427“Hey sarge,” the postmaster said in a 911 call to the Hillsdale Police Department. “You’re not going to believe this, but I got a carrier that’s being attacked by wild turkeys and won’t let him deliver the mail.”

No, that’s not a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds, but an actual emergency call placed in Hillsdale, NJ, a quiet New Jersey town that has become besieged by wild turkeys.

Reintroduced to the state in the 1970’s, there are now more than 25,000 wild turkeys roaming the state. The New York Times reports on some of the havoc they’re causing:

…local officials and residents say face-to-face turkey encounters are increasing and can be scary. The postmaster who placed the 911 call in Hillsdale told the police that the turkey situation was “crazy.” “I mean, they’re actually attacking, biting,” he said. “They chase the trucks — everything.” The police sergeant simply said, “Wow.”

Elsewhere in the state, some residents have reported being chased by turkeys.

Perhaps the most alarming scene to be caught on video occurred in 2009 in Cherry Hill, in Camden County, when a mother and her young son were accosted by a few turkeys. In the video, the mother places the boy’s tricycle between him and the turkeys, and they then run off. As a driver comes around the corner, honking the horn to frighten the birds, the mother’s screams can be heard in the background.

Later, the mother is seen running to safety with the boy in her arms.

ROBERTSHere are a few great shots from the annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

Best in show was given to C.J., a German Short-Haired Pointer…


One of the stranger looking dogs you’ll ever see, a Komondor, in the judging ring…


Then again, perhaps it’s the owners who are strange when they do this to a pooch. This is Panda, a Shih Tzu, shown in the ring during the toy group competition…


And, perhaps this Dogue de Bordeaux’s pose says it all: “This is hard work!”


We can’t run anything on the dog show without taking a couple of glimpses at the genius of Christopher Guest, who spoofed the event in his classic movie, Best in Show

The first clip features the incomparable Fred Willard as a commentator and the second follows Michael McKean and John Michael Higgins, who take us behind the scenes with their great idea of a Shih Tzu calendar, featuring the dogs dressed up in scenes from great movies of the 30’s and 40’s. Hilarious.



  1. I am experiencing an ontological crisis. After Trump before a Republican presidential debate audience seeded with Jeb supporters has the fortitude to declare Dubya, the neo-con patron saint, to be a liar, I find myself with conflicting emotions of admiration. There I said it.

    • You’re not the only one… I do not want to see the man so near a public office, but at the same time he’s ripping the skeletons out of the GOP closet and throwing them in the face of those who’ve least wanted to deal with them.

      I have a staunch christian nationalist, Bush apologist acquaintance who a few weeks ago was trying to drum up support for Trump amongst his fellow christianists (“…he gets things done…so what if he’s not as “Christian” as the rest of us…”) This coming from a person who’s spent the last 7 yrs blasting Obama for not being “Christian”…

      Laying that aside, I wonder what this acquaintance thinks now… I assume much hand wringing consternation…

      • He wouldn’t be a legislative puppet, and he would be willing to make deals to get things done. No wonder he is such a nightmare for the GOP. This is seriously messing with me.

        • He would be a puppet of his own vanity and ignorance, as evidenced by his fawning over Putin after Putin flattered him, and his insistence, in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary, that there were hundreds or thousands of Muslims celebrating in the streets of Jersey City after 9/11. He’s anti-vaccination, anti-immigration, a war-monger, pro big-business, and a bigger liar than those he accuses of being big liars. He may serve a good function in highlighting the extremism of the Republican Party, but if he actually attained office and power, he would amplify some of the worst aspects of that extremism to the umpth degree.

          • He’s populist, so he says whatever people want to hear. Who knows what he would really do in office, except tick off establishment Washington. Randian Tea Partiers supporting a populist candidate: it cracks me up. If the fate of our nation weren’t at stake, this is the best entertainment ever.

            Whether he is elected or not, maybe he is the wake-up call to Republicans to clean house of the dead wood, like the neo-cons.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          “Get things done” as in “Get rid of all those Mexicans”?

          (Reason that comes to mind is I had a couple in my family who in 1992 BE-LEEEVED the same thing about their Messiah Ross Perot.)

          And an MSNBC article on one of the coming week’s caucuses/primaries mentioned Trumpistas who thought he was bad for the country but were going to go for him because of (a) “Send Them a Message!” and/or (2) He Liked the Chaos.

      • And my high hopes for Kasich were dashed by his lack-luster appearance on Colbert this week. He seems to perpetuate the stereotype that moderate equals safe.

        • I’m not sure its possible to be a moderate in the GOP any more, at least not an important one. Consider that if this were the 70s, both Hillary and Bernie could successfully run as Republicans.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          He seems to perpetuate the stereotype that moderate equals safe.

          “HE’S MISTER OATMEAL!”
          — KFI afternoon drive-time guys re Bob Dole after the 1996 New Hampshire primaries

          • I voted for Dole. He faced his Trump equivalent with Perot. He represents a Republican party I wish still existed.

            The argument for a moderate candidate has got to break away from comparison with extremists, either looking weak for not supporting the extreme or claiming to be a safer choice to the extreme. Moderate used to mean normal; the extremists were just that: extreme compared to the norm. Then the extremists won the argument by demonizing normal as the problem, and that the extreme was the new normal. (Or in the propaganda spun by Barton, the extreme was always the norm in exile.)

          • “Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.” – Frank Zappa.

            Ironically, the demonizing of the norm started on the extreme left; the extreme right is a strange doppelganger or maybe a lazy copycat.

          • Who is going to call for a deviation from the progressives and the fascists? Why is it such a difficult sell? Turn the bus around before we go over the cliff! Wow. Sounds pretty extremist.

  2. senecagriggs yahoo says

    “stand up, you’re father’s passing.”

    A wonderful moment in a great movie.

  3. And then there’s Jimmy Kimmel’s take on Westminster:

  4. ” ‘He hired 4,000 musicians and 288 singers to minister to God 24/7 for the length of his reign,’ explained Montgomery.”

    What? Is he referring to 1 Chronicles 23? If so, that had to do with preparing the Levites for temple service, to be inaugurated after his death.

    • Typical of American Evangsillycal Triumphalism–an absolute disdain of the via crucis.

      • In other words, don’t bother me with the facts, I have made up my mind?

        • Don’t bother ME, or the Evangsillycal Triumphalist?

          • My apologies. The Evangsillycal Triumphalist – stating as emphatic truth things that just are not so in an end-justifies-the-means vibe. This goes along with comments elsewhere concerning Gothard: just because someone has a biblical answer to everything doesn’t mean what they say is in the bible nor is contextually honest.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “David did X and he was God’s Anointed. IF I DO X (and even more) THEN *I* MUST BE GOD’S ANOINTED!”

      (Start blowing those shofarim…)

  5. That Nash is a beauty!

  6. It’s a cryin’ shame that Ryrie’s–not to mention Scofield and Darby–were ever taken seriously. They should have billed themselves as SciFi writers…

    • What’s funny is that I went to a hyper-conservative Baptist seminary, and even there the dispensationalists had to hide in the closet. Why? Because there just isn’t any rational hermeneutic that works with it. I am not so hard on the crowd, since I think all Bible interpretations are essentially the construct of the theologian and have a teleological purpose that is different from (not necessarily cross-wise with) the original author’s intent, as near as we can reconstruct it. Unfortunately, the teleology of dispensationalism is virtually indistinguishable from a cold-war zeitgeist and as such, virtually irrelevant.

      • Dispensationalism, to be fair, was well-established prior to WWII. But once the USSR was established as The Godless Enemy, and *especially* after Israel became an independent nation again, it took off like a moon rocket (historical pun/analogy fully intended). After four decades of Russia = Gog and Magog and massive hunts for the red heifer (let the reader understand), it became very entrenched in some circles, but the passing of the USSR and the stretching of the “generation that sees these things” (again, ex-dispies will know of what I speak) have stretched the system to the breaking point. It was under sustained biblical and theological criticism *from within its own ranks* by the late 80s, and now only DTS and Pentecostal seminaries still take it seriously.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Thing is, now Islam has replaced the Godless Commies as the Orc Horde of Antichrist.

          Might even be able to take the “200 million man army of the East” title away from Mao’s China.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          the “generation that sees these things” (again, ex-dispies will know of what I speak)

          Hal Linsday Numerology.
          The generation that sees “these things” (the founding of the current State of Israel in 1948) will not pass away before they see My Second Coming. Which since a “Biblical Generation” is 40 years (op cit Exodus), the Rapture WILL happen on or before 1988! “WORK FOR THE NIGHT IS COMING!”

          And the PROOF from SCRIPTURE that Gog is Russia and Magog is East Germany and the 200 Million Man Army of the East is RED China and the Demon Locusts are helicopter gunships armed with chemical weapons and piloted by long-haired bearded hippies… “SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!”

          I will still not look out of a window up at the Eastern sky without freaking out.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      It’s a cryin’ shame that Ryrie’s–not to mention Scofield and Darby–were ever taken seriously. They should have billed themselves as SciFi writers…

      I’ve heard the same thing said about Joseph Smith, whose Book of Mormon DOES follow the tropes of a popular Fringe interest of the time: The Mystery of the Mound Builders, the 19th Century American equivalent of Eric Von Daniken’s Ancient Astronauts. BoM fits into the “Mound Builders = Lost Tribes of Israel” sub-genre.

      And L Ron Hubbard already was a SciFi writer. Though he actually wrote PULP SciFi, a specific sub-type most popular during the Thirties and Forties.

  7. I just don’t know what to say about Bill Gothard… Why did I, at the time, think that what he had to say was important? Was it because I didn’t really know ourselves and he gave us a ready-made identity?

    • He had a “biblical” answer for everything. EVERYTHING. Some folks will always be in the market for that sort of thing.

    • I never got it. I remember heated arguments in small group studies with leaders peddling Gothard.

    • I never attended any of Bill Gothard’s seminars, but his teachings influenced a lot of folks far beyond his ministry. For example, his “umbrella of authority” teaching bears a strong resemblance to similar teachings promoted by the Shepherding Movement, popular in charismatic circles during the 1970’s and 1980’s. It’s also similar to teachings on authority embraced by neo-Calvinist groups such as 9Marks and The Gospel Coalition.

      I hope and pray that the lawsuit plaintiffs are able to find healing and peace, regardless of the lawsuit’s outcome. I have a sneaking suspicion IBLP’s lawyers will do everything they can to see that the suit is dismissed on one or more technicalities before depositions can begin.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        “Shepherding Movement” = a Control Freak’s wet dream. “I OWN YOU!”

      • Quoting a FB friend;

        “Accountability and boundaries do not transform the heart… they’re not capable of heart change, simply containment not transformation.”

        My commentary;

        Accountability and boundaries are useful in keeping us out of trouble but tend to breed resentment, frustration, and ultimately–rebellion.

        Love is the only tool of true transformation.

        ““Love is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth… Love is as love does. Love is an act of will — namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.”
        M. Scot Peck

        Essentially, FundaGothardism is concerned about “Purity”. Interesting how focusing on The Flesh is in reality “living according to the flesh.”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I just don’t know what to say about Bill Gothard…

      Other than he Got Hard over all those young fresh interns with long Navy skirts and long wavy hair?

      (Got Hard, you should have used the string-bikini-and-boobage dress code of Elron’s Commodore’s Messengers.)

  8. On a technical note: That Mulder and Scully dialogue of a few days ago won’t ever quit. Every time I open iMonk it starts playing. I’ve turned the volume down on it, but it still keeps going. I’m getting a little worried about the ghost in the machine.

  9. Richard Hershberger says

    What strikes me about that David’s Tent thing is that it has been going on for over five months now and this is the first I have heard of it. I’m not in their target market, but I usually pay attention to this sort of stuff. Is this really a thing, and I simply missed it, or is this a failed thing with barely anything to miss, but slogging on with grim determination?

    • I think you are on to something Richard. From my experience, many Christians greatly inflate their impact in the world. They are in their secluded Christian circles, afraid to be tainted by the “others” and rim ly believe that the “others” notice. Mostly, they don’t notice. I’ve heard too many Christians railing against an enemy that isn’t there while ignoring those that are right in front of their noses (Bill Gotherd types).

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      What strikes me about that David’s Tent thing is that it has been going on for over five months now and this is the first I have heard of it.

      And THAT says it all about this latest & greatest “Great Movement Of God”.

  10. Best in Show is a good movie but our house favorite is A Mighty Wind. Both movies are from the creative geniuses that brought us This is Spinal Tap back in the day.

    I believe your treatment of the Ryrie obit is commonly known as the back-handed compliment. “Here is a well-responded scholar and educator that did a good job teaching bad theology.” You could have mentioned his death and said something nice, seeing as how IM readers already know how you feel about dispensationalism. IMHO

    • That’s what Ryrie was known for, Clark. He had a dispensationalist study Bible named after him. What’s next – mention Nolan Ryan but not baseball? I don’t think you are making a reasonable request of our good chaplain.

    • Yes, Clark. I have a lot of mixed feelings for people like Ryrie and the professors that shaped me early in my adult life. Looking back, I don’t think I ever bought into their systems – they always seemed too artificial to me – but it took years of study and questioning to figure out why I had to abandon them.

      On the one hand, men like Ryrie set a good Christian example for me, and I don’t ever want to forget that.

      On the other hand, what they taught cost me years of wasted mental energy.

      • >> . . . it took years of study and questioning to figure out why I had to abandon them.

        Years worth the effort, in my view and from my experience. That system makes a great deal of sense if you look at it from within the system without the larger context. It is highly seductive to people operating in fear and anger in relation to life, and answers basic emotional needs at that level. It’s not enough to point a finger and wag it, and that can even reinforce the mind control of that system, which points the finger of unbeliever back at those who disagree. It’s important to know just why it lies outside what Jesus taught.

        A quick question that might get thru to some not totally brainwashed, just where in the systematic theology of dispensationalism do we find the primary teaching of Jesus concerning love given its due other than lip service in passing? Glad you made it out alive, CM.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Spinal Tap of STONEHENGE fame?

    • Clark, yes, say good about Ryrie the man. However, his legacy is a lie.

  11. Re: David’s Tent: Why isn’t walking humbly, loving mercy and acting justly enough, or more than enough? Why is there this persistent desire among some evangelicals to turn Jesus into the biggest celebrity of our celebrity-obsessed culture?

    It’s a futile desire. Getting yourself crucified, and then rising from the dead, not to exact vengeance on your enemies and severely discipline your cowardly followers, but to quietly and gently extend forgiveness and reconciliation to friend and foe alike, is not “sexy” enough for the standards of celebrity cult. It just won’t work; the best you can do is completely deface the character of Jesus to fit the requirements of celebrity, which doesn’t work either. Jesus escapes all such attempts to straight-jacket him, just as he escaped death.

    • Brianthedad says


    • Excellent! But in America, we loooove a winner…

      • I suppose this is why so much emphasis is put on End Times in American evangelicalism, and so much emphasis on the book of Revelation. Winner-takes-all theology, I guess you could call it.

        To be fair to that understanding, there are strong currents of it in the New Testament, especially Revelation, and the earliest Christian community seemed to be in the grip of just such an expectation. That’s one of the reasons I have no sympathy with the idea of uncritically using the early Church, or even the Church in the first few centuries of its existence, as our model for what the Church should be today.

        It’s also why I think Revelation, and all the strands of apocalyptism in the New Testament, should be interpreted differently from most of the ways the Church has interpreted them down through the centuries: such interpretations merely flip Jesus over into being the ultimate winner, rather than the ultimate subvert-er of all binary oppositions of winner/loser, winning/losing. I believe the early Church was wrong in subscribing to such an understanding, and I believe its scriptures are also “wrong” when they subscribe to it (there, I said it: the scriptures are “wrong” in this).

      • *cough*TRUMP*cough*

      • Jesus is Victor, yes; but his victory is not separable from the forgiveness and reconciliation that he extended and extends to his gathered community, and to the community of the world. Anything in our history and current life as Church, or in our scriptures, that separates his victory from the forgiveness and reconciliation that he extended from the weakness of the cross and in the power of his resurrection, is a falling back into categories that divorce power from love and reconciliation. If we retain these images of victory and Lordship, in our scriptures and in our life as Church (and I think we should), it should be as reinterpreted through our experience, and the experience of the historic Church, as those who are aware of having forgiveness and reconciliation extended to us by the risen One whose love is the only power that makes all things new. In this way, the old meaning of victory is subverted, and the new meaning is inseparable from the love of God and the reconciliation always present in Jesus. Our corporate life as Church should always flow from this experience and practices that are grounded in it.

        • >>Jesus is Victor, yes; but his victory is not separable from the forgiveness and reconciliation that he extended and extends to his gathered community, and to the community of the world.

          Robert, you’ll never become a Son of Thunder with that attitude.

  12. Brianthedad says

    I grew up in a sleepy little southern town only a county over from Monroeville. I have family that lived and worked there. My mother in law even has a copy of TKAM signed by Miss Lee. She would come to the annual play from time to time. Anyhow, I have fond memories of summers, with the sound of cicadas and the oppressive heat and humidity, sandlots and swimming holes, disappearing all day with my friends until the streetlights came on. But looking back now, the reality of Maycomb was there. My town was near enough to Maycomb in the 70s and early 80s that the book was not required reading. My first intro to the story was seeing the movie some years later and learning the Alabama connections.

  13. >> . . . Bill Gothard, the 81-year-old founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles . . .

    Basic life principles? A whole institute? I could have saved those folks a lot of money. Just put a sign up over the door, “Love God, love your neighbor.” You wouldn’t even need a building, just the door, perhaps leading into a peaceful park. Watch out tho if you’re sitting on a park bench and this old guy comes along and sits down beside you, puts his hand on your knee.

    • Just put a sign up over the door, “Love God, love your neighbor.”

      Except, there are a lot of folks who are looking for Rules. Not Wisdom.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        “What is not Forbidden is Absolutely Compulsory.”

        The longer the List of Absolutely Compulsory Rules, the better.
        And the Got Hards of the Christianese Bubble are all too happy to provide longer and longer list after list.

  14. Bob Elliott of Bob & Ray died a couple of weeks back at age 92, pretty much without comment. I was half listening to an internet radio jazz station when out of nowhere they played one of their bits and I found myself hysterically laughing as in the olden days. I know they did some television and other live shows but I don’t see how their deadpan humor would work anywhere as well as on radio. Along with Mad Comics, not the magazine, Ray Bradbury, and yes I suppose Playboy the magazine, Bob & Ray with their daily radio show were a huge formative influence on me back in the 50’s. Rest in peace, Bob, well done.

    • Charles – a question about the link that you post, with you comment-name. It takes me to this website – – which offers services as a copywriter, and a knife sharpener, among other things. Does this sound right?

      I guess I was expecting another Christian blog

      • Ben, yes a copywriter and knife sharpener amongst others, but I’m not keeping busy with either and probably should redo that page. Mostly doing it for friends at this point. On the other hand if what I post here could be considered Christian, which some might question, that might bleed over into my writing there on occasion, that too mostly for friends. Haven’t been posting much lately, trying to scuffle up firewood and make it thru the winter being higher on my list of priorities. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Yes to Bob and Ray.

    • Randy Thompson says

      I loved Bob and Ray.

      There was a segment about him on Public Radio a week or so ago, so his passing was noted.

    • Back in high school, a friend and I wrote several “Bob and Ray” type skits in English class. Loved their humor.

  15. Moonlight reflected
    off the grill of my parked car–
    and then there was light.

  16. On C. Ryrie:
    I had one of his study bibles, used it for 15 years. I was impressed with his scholarship, not his Dispensationalism; I left that interpretation in my ’20s, though I couldn’t say anything to anyone about that mental departure, because all my Christian friends still believed in it. I don’t believe they would have “un-friended” me, but I didn’t want to be the object of their pity for not holding to what every Christian believes… Chaplain Mike’s comment includes respect that recognizes the reality that decent, non-nutty people with integrity can still believe a nutty theology. We’re here at IM because we’ve been *there*…

    On looking back, though I always had several different Bible versions that I used for comparison study, I find that I made a different translation my go-to reading Bible every time I had a major change in my theological understanding. After the Ryrie New American Standard, when I was starting to actually question some big things, it was The Message. Things loosened up more for me, and then it was D. Stern’s “The Complete Jewish Bible.” On leaving Evangelicalism, it was the New Revised Standard – which is the version of the compact Bible I take with me when traveling. As I was entering the Orthodox Church, I got hold an “old” RSV edited by B. Metzger; it’s the only modern translation so far that is “approved reading” for Catholics and Orthodox, as well as Protestants. For its outstanding scholarship and beautiful language, I also tracked down an original English edition of the Jerusalem Bible – they are scarce as hen’s teeth, but I got me one – cost me almost as much to have it shipped from England than I paid for the book itself 🙂 JRR Tolkein was responsible for translating the book of Jonah in the original English JB.

    My present go-to New Testament, where I have scribbled all my study notes, is the Eastern/Greek Orthodox Bible NT. The OT (Septuagint) is still being translated and edited; there are good scholars involved, but they’re all working on this on their own time, so it’s taking a while. I have a NETS, which is very good. The EOB will be the first modern English Septuagint translation done directly from the Greek Patriarchal LXX, with the Masoretic and DSS variants in the footnotes, instead of most of our Bibles that are based on the Masoretic text with (sometimes) the LXX variants in the footnotes. No, it’s not the “original Hebrew” (whatever that is) but it’s actually the closest textually we can get to it. It’s what the NT writers quoted; therefore it is of great interest me, aside from being the version the Orthodox Church has preserved.

    Anyway, I had noticed my Bible-changing tendency, but didn’t put it together cogently until today.


  17. Re David’s Tent:

    I think reaching back to Judaism (however a gentile Christian conceives of that) is what sincere Christian people do to find an ancient way of worship – or whatever – that bypasses all that “Catholic Church” stuff they believe hijacked things in AD 100/200/300 (take your pick). These people reject what actually happened as Church history for 1500 years, because it’s the Wrong Church. It also fits in very well with American Christians’ general historical ignorance, and suspicion of “too much education”/scholarship. Although I personally didn’t have a complete bias against history and education, I did buy into it somewhat because the people I trusted, devout Christians who loved Jesus and studied their Bibles, thought that was reality. I believed the hijack theory, and I was also attracted to celebrating the Jewish Feasts, but as fulfilled in Christ, of course…

    I don’t think it’s silly, but I do think its extremely misguided, and based on faulty theology. But there’s faulty theology everywhere, and even extremely well-intentioned people have lots of reasons for talking themselves into it. I’m trying not to judge – as I said, I’ve been there.


    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      And these “Secondhand Jews” (J Vernon McGee’s term) miss the main characteristic of Judaism — the emphasis on Here-and-Now, Live-Your-Life,

      Instead, they end up with “Kosher Calvary Chapel – Have You Accepted Yeshua Ha-Moshiyah as Your Personal Adonai and Savior???????”.

      • Sounds like the Christianese version of “weeaboos,” which I’m sure you’ve encountered in your sojourns, HUG.

        “Have anata accepted Iesu Kirisuto as your personal daimyo and savior desu ka?”

  18. Chaplain Mike, I’m sitting at Field 10 at the fantastic Perfect Game baseball complex in Cartersville, GA, watching my grandson’ s team, LaGrange, play a double-header against Wabash College of Indiana and thought of you. Not exactly spring training with the Cubs but a good substitute. I’m surrounded by Indianans….

    • I’d take it in a heartbeat, Bob. Have fun!

    • Brianthedad says

      Today was evaluation day for the 9-10yr old league my youngest plays in. 100s of kids in the park. The tink! of aluminum bats, the slap of leather, click of cleats. Oh yes. The season is upon us. Soon i’ll be running around shagging stray throws, snapping chin straps for helmets, and doing crowd control in the dugout while yelling out the next three batters in the lineup. It’s even better than when I was playing myself, watching my last kid learn the game.

  19. Loved “Best in Show,” probably third place to “Spinal Tap” and “Waiting for Guffman” in those series of films.

    My favorite bit our of BiS is the Busy Bee sequence…

  20. It’s been over a month, but I’m still mourning David Bowie’s death. I’m surprised at how deeply I’ve felt this; it’s been haunting me. I frequently replay several of his songs in my head over and over, and sing along softly with my memories. There’s a sadness that won’t quit, a real sense of loss, however unreasonable that may seem. But he’s moving from station to station now

    and it’s time to do the only thing we can do for a rocker:

    I’m gonna tell you something I found out,
    whatever you think life is about,
    whatever life may hold in store,
    things will happen that
    you won’t be ready for…

  21. I used to have a copy of Ryrie’s “Basic Theology” and would use it to vet new teachings. It was a very practical reference. Eventually, I realized Ryrie was categorizing as heresy anyone or anything which disagreed with him. It went out the door with thrift store donations years ago. Unfortunately, I never really found a good theology reference since; perhaps that’s because everyone has their theological bend. I’m slowly working through Paul Tillich’s three volume Systematic Theology; practical, it is not.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I used to have a copy of Ryrie’s “Basic Theology” and would use it to vet new teachings. It was a very practical reference. Eventually, I realized Ryrie was categorizing as heresy anyone or anything which disagreed with him.

      A.W.Pink Syndrome with Darby instead of Calvin.

      • From several years back I remember an interview of Tim Lehaye on the Drew Marshall Show. When Drew pushed LeHaye on alternative interpretations of eschatology LeHaye responded, “There is none other.”

        Absolutely astounding. WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot.

  22. Umberto Eco passed away on the same day as Harper Lee. The Name of the Rose is truly a beautiful work. So sad to lose two great literary giants at once.