January 24, 2021

Saturday Ramblings: March 5, 2016


1894 Men’s Rambler Model 16

With spring just around the corner, we’re going to feature a different kind of Rambler vehicle for a few weeks, just to get us inspired for the warmer weather and outside activities to come.

1893_rambler_catalogue_2The American Rambler brand started, not with automobiles, but with bicycles that were manufactured by the Gormully & Jeffery Mfg. Co., in Chicago from 1878. Back then, not only did G & J manufacture and sell bikes, but the company also operated “Bicycle Riding Academies” in various cities so that potential customers could try out Ramblers and learn to ride them.

The handsome men’s Rambler bike above is a vintage 1894 Men’s Rambler Model 16, first restored in America and then taken to England for final restoration. You can read about it and see lots of detail pictures at Rambler Bicycles and Motorcycles, the blog of the Rambler Owners Club. On the right, you can see a picture of its prototype, from the 1893 Gormully & Jeffery catalogue.

It was in 1900 that Jeffery and Gormully sold their interest in their bicycle company and bought a factory in Kenosha Wisconsin. There, they began making automobiles.

And we’ve been ramblin’ ever since.


DSR_BikeIcon_CircleWhat happens to old subway cars?

Over a period of three years, photographer Stephen Mallon captured a series of pictures to document the unusual methods that New York City uses to dispose of its subway cars. When you look at them in chronological order, at first you might be put off. You see, NYC loads barges full of their old cars, takes them out into the ocean, and dumps them.


You might be thinking, “That’s a horrible idea! Now we’re polluting the ocean with a bunch of environmentally unfriendly vehicles!

But wait. Take a look at the next picture of one of these cars at the ocean’s bottom, taken ten years later.

Over time, every surface of those subway cars gets covered in life, creating an artificial coral reef system. Every metal pipe, edge, ridge, and corner provides surface area upon which coral can grow. So, rather than destroying the environment, these old cars have enhanced it. The process of creating artificial reefs is a great help to restoring areas damaged by human activity. Way to go, NYC! This is a wonderful example of good stewardship of creation.

DSR_BikeIcon_CircleThe strange story behind a favorite tea.

Back when I was coming of age, quite a few hippies were finding ways to introduce products compatible with the “flower-child” ethos and lifestyle. One such guy, Mo Siegel, started serving something unheard of back in 1969 — herbal tea.

Mo and his friends took to hiking up into the Rocky Mountains and they harvested enough herbs for 500 pounds of a blend they called Mo’s 36 Herb Tea. Another blend, a sleep-conjuring tea made of chamomille, spearmint and other herbs soon followed — they called it “Sleepytime.” It wasn’t long before Mo and his pals went to the bank to get a loan for a new business, “wearing jeans, smelling of herbs, and armed with Tupperware containers of Mo’s 36 and Sleepytime blends.” They called their company Celestial Seasonings, and it became the largest specialty tea company in North America and a huge contributor in making “health food” a successful industry.


Why “Celestial” Seasonings? Well, one of the founders had taken that as her “flower name.” But there is another reason as well, according to Megan Gillar at Van Winkle’s.

Mo Siegel and John Hay, two of the founders, were avid believers in a new-age bible called The Urantia Book, which followers call “an epochal revelation authored solely by celestial beings.” The book touches upon everything from mind control to a eugenics plot to eliminate the “inferior races” of our great nation.

The Urantia Book, a 4.3-pound, 2,097-page tome, published first in 1955, is a modified Seventh-Day Adventist text supposedly communicated to an anonymous man in a trance by aliens. In reality, it was likely authored in the early 1900s by a psychiatrist named William Sadler who used it as a vessel for his racist ideas. (You can download the entire thing for free: Because the Urantia Foundation asserts that its authorship is superhuman, an Arizona court ruled in 1995 that it’s not protected by copyright and is, thus, in the public domain.)

In her article, Gillar tells how Siegal and his partners based their company and the way they did business upon The Urantia Book. And Siegel is now the president of of the Urantia Foundation and hosts a weekly study group at his house. And she includes recent quotes from the Foundation that give evidence they continue to hold and promote many of the racist and eugenics views their founding text advocates.

Mo Siegel retired from Celestial Seasonings in 2002, and it is unclear whether or not The Urantia Book holds any sway over the way the company is run now.

However, next time you take a soothing sip of that Sleepytime Tea, you might remember that the guy who invented it believes in things that’ll give you nightmares.

DSR_BikeIcon_CircleA humble act of service (and why don’t churches do cool things like this?).

Arun Rath at NPR introduces us to six seniors at Roxbury Latin boys’ school in Boston who volunteer to do something quite unusual for teenagers. They volunteer to be pallbearers for people who die alone and for whom no next of kin was found. Many are buried in graves with no tombstone, in city cemeteries.


The students, dressed in jackets and ties, carry the plain wooden coffin, and take part in a short memorial. They read together, as a group:

“Dear Lord, thank you for opening our hearts and minds to this corporal work of mercy. We are here to bear witness to the life and passing of Nicholas Miller.

“He died alone with no family to comfort him.

“But today we are his family, we are here as his sons

“We are honored to stand together before him now, to commemorate his life, and to remember him in death, as we commend his soul to his eternal rest.”

Each of the young men in turn read a poem, verse of scripture, or passage about death. Emmett Dalton, 18, reads “A Reflection On An Autumn Day,” which ends “death can take away what we have, but it cannot rob us of who we are.”

Mike Pojman, assistant headmaster at the school and senior advisor, was inspired to start bringing students to these funerals by a similar program at his alma mater, St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland. He turned to a local funeral home Lawler and Crosby — which is one of the very few funeral homes in the state that steps in to help with these kind of burials. “It’s the right thing to do,” says funeral director Robert Lawler. “You know, you can’t leave these poor people lying there forever.” In fact, on occasions when no family members or volunteers are available, Lawler goes to the grave himself to offer prayers.

But what a wonderful, sobering, instructive, and life-affirming thing it is for all involved when students like those from Roxbury Latin take part.

Working together to provide simple, quiet, humble service.

For those who can never say thank you.

Can you say “Jesus-shaped”?

DSR_BikeIcon_CircleThe most distant galaxy yet seen.

Newsweek reports: “On Thursday NASA and the European Space Agency released the ultimate photo throwback: an image of the farthest galaxy ever seen. A red dot above the big dipper, the spot is 13.4 billion years old, putting it just 400 million years after the Big Bang, mere minutes on the cosmic clock from the start of the universe.


“The new measurement breaks a record set in 2012, when the telescope captured a dwarf galaxy that was 13.3 billion years old. And it positions us at the end of the dark ages and the start of the reionization era, the moment when the first galaxies formed out of a fog of hydrogen gas.”

I can’t wait to tell my friend, Ken, so he can make space for a new exhibit in his museum.

DSR_BikeIcon_CircleStinking, selfish, small.

Well, at least give him credit for eating his words. “The negative reaction to the clip from last weekend’s message is entirely justified. Heck, even I was offended by what I said! I apologize,” said Andy Stanley.

In his Feb. 28 sermon, Stanley, whose church averages over 35,000 attenders each week on six campuses, dissed about 90 percent of the churches in the U.S. and those who attend them.

Andy_Stanley_On_Air_FinalWhen I hear adults say, ‘Well I don’t like a big church, I like about 200, I want to be able to know everybody,’ I say, ‘You are so stinking selfish. You care nothing about the next generation. All you care about is you and your five friends. You don’t care about your kids…anybody else’s kids.’ You’re like, ‘What’s up?’ I’m saying if you don’t go to a church large enough where you can have enough Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to separate them so they can have small groups and grow up the local church, you are a selfish adult. Get over it. Find yourself a big old church where your kids can connect with a bunch of people and grow up and love the local church.”

“Instead… you drag your kids to a church they hate, and then they grow up and hate the local church. And then they go to college and you pray that there will be a church in the college town that they connect with. And guess what? All those churches are big.”

Andy may have apologized (and I fully accept it), but I guarantee this kind of thinking is not at all unusual among church-growth enthusiasts.

DSR_BikeIcon_CircleTwelve steps to healing our land.

Pastor Steven Andrew of USA Christian Church [note what comes first], and author of ‘God’s Plan for the USA’ is asking everyone in the USA to repent of national sins from now to May 5, 2016, which is the National Day of Prayer. To help us, he has given us a prayer that is a checklist of twelve national sins from which America needs to repent.

“Humbling ourselves and following God is top priority for the nation,” Andrew said.

I thought we’d look at them today and comment on the twelve he’s chosen, then compare Andrew’s list of national sins with lists that you come up with. Here’s his list:


If you were to put together a list to help you offer repentance for your nation (I’m assuming we’re not all from the U.S.), what would be on it?

DSR_BikeIcon_CircleToday in music: Love those jangly guitars.

One of my favorite sounds in pop/rock music is that of the “jangly” guitar. If you follow the link in the title, you will find a great article about how the Rickenbacker guitar changed music back in the 1960’s and helped create a “jingle-jangle revolution.”

4585418119a2d57584dc76495466d479The Rickenbacker 360-12 was the most revolutionary design, with a headstock that featured tuning pegs for all 12 strings in an ingenious set up with six in standard position and the other six facing the back of the neck, so that a guitarist could tune it much more easily. This model also reversed the previously traditional arrangement of placing the treble string of each two-string set above the bass string. These features, along with its sound, made it the most successful electric 12-string ever – it remains so – and the gold standard for instruments of the type. In the early ’60s, these guitars cost (in today’s money) the equivalent of $2,750 for a 325 and $3,800 for a 360-12. They were worth it.

When the Beatles gave us their Mersey beat, John Lennon was playing a 1958 Rickenbacker model 325 (he later added a 1964 model). The Rick has been referred to as the Beatles’ “secret weapon”; George Harrison’s 1963 12-string 360 model is the source of the compressed, ringing chime that is the signature sound on “A Hard Days Night,” “Eight Days a Week,” “Ticket to Ride,” and numerous album tracks, including his own “If I Needed Someone.” Paul McCartney played a Rickenbacker 4001 bass on their 1965 American tour and much of their middle period music, like “Rain” and the “Magical Mystery Tour” songs and videos. If Rickenbacker had made drums, Ringo probably would have played them. The guitars’ special sound was not lost on other British bands; the ones that had the biggest impact were probably the Searchers and the Who. “My Generation” was recorded with Pete Townshend playing a Rick, as well as “Substitute” and several other early Who tracks. Bassist John Entwistle also played a Rick bass, and a number of Townshend’s axes were shattered to bits at the end of the incendiary band’s early shows (a thought that almost draws tears). The jangling chimes on several Hollies tunes bear the unmistakable sound, as well as “As Tears Go By” by the Rolling Stones.

The Brits were still setting the pace when Dylan went electric in 1965, and folk-rock music became a commercial sensation. And again, right there, in the middle of it all was the Rickenbacker sound. One of the most influential American bands of the decade, the Byrds, played Dylan songs and modeled their instruments directly on the Beatles, building the sound on their first several albums around Roger McGuinn’s Rickenbacker 360 12-string. “Mr Tambourine Man,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and other songs were big hits, and were widely imitated. Other pop bands soon followed suit; the Turtles recorded another Dylan folk song with the Rick sound and scored a hit with “It Ain’t Me Babe.” Simon and Garfunkel put out “The Sound of Silence” in 1964 on a folk album that flopped; in mid-1965 a chiming, Rick-sound guitar track and echo effect were tacked on (by someone else) and it went to number one. No surprise. A similar approach was done on “I Am a Rock,” built on a 12-string riff, and it became a number three hit.

Here is a contemporary version of the jangly guitar sound by Jackson Browne, who updated his 1967 song, “The Birds of St. Mark,” when he found a guitarist who could replicate the sound. In concert, he dedicates this song to The Byrds, prime early purveyors of “jingly jangly” guitar rock.



  1. And speaking of bikes at the turn of the century, did you know that Wilbur and Orville Wright started out as bicycle manufacturers? Studying human flight was just a hobby that grew into an obsession and, well, let’s just say we don’t honor them today for their two-wheeled efforts.

    • You’re right, Oscar — the Wright brothers’ transition from bike to plane was the original small step for man / giant leap for mankind.

  2. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    However, next time you take a soothing sip of that Sleepytime Tea, you might remember that the guy who invented it believes in things that’ll give you nightmares.

    Don’t know about the “give you nightmares” part; from online information summaries, Urantia Book sounds like a typical “Weird Religion” tome of its time. There’s always someone claiming some special revelation or channeling some entity with the REAL scoop on Jesus and Life, the Universe, and Everything, from Space Brothers to Ascended Masters. Usually “Everything you know about God and Jesus and the Spiritual Realm is wrong and Here’s the REAL Scoop.” (i.e. some 3000 pages of mind-numbing mystical philosophy that puts True Believers into ecstasy and everyone else into a coma.)

    • I’ve never read the Urantia Book, I doubt if I could lift it, LOL. I understand Kerry Livgren of Kansas was once enamored of it before he became a Christian. It was one stopping place on his pilgrimage to Christ.

    • Somebody better alert Pastor Andrew. Wouldn’t want to be “helping the ungodly in business”, now would we? 😛

      • Just one of many parts of that list you have to deep dive into the Old Testament to justify what you already choose to believe, lol.

  3. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Pastor Steven Andrew of USA Christian Church [note what comes first], and author of ‘God’s Plan for the USA’ is asking everyone in the USA to repent of national sins from now to May 5, 2016, which is the National Day of Prayer. To help us, he has given us a prayer that is a checklist of twelve national sins from which America needs to repent.

    As expected, his list includes Abortion, Homosexuality, and Taking Prayer Out of Schools. Other than that, everything very generic. Very predictable. At least he only mentioned Homosexuality once (with some of these guys it’s nine out of ten points), and didn’t mention Evolution once (unless that’s folded into “Taking Christianity out of Schools” which usually means “school prayer”).

    • other sins he forgot

      We haven’t protected our border and made Mexico pay for it.

      We’re talking to the commies in Cuba now.

      We’re letting too many Muslim refugees in here.

    • Hmmm… “Repent of false gods.” Excellent! Let’s start a list!

      Lack of compassion for our fellow sinners
      Tolerance of violence


      What? What did I say?

      • Robert F says


      • Michael Z says

        Yes, given America’s history and its present state, racism definitely belongs at the top of the list. I’d also add:

        Worship of human celebrities (including celebrity pastors)

        The idolatry of security (believing that any means, including torture and war crimes, are justified if they will keep us safe)

        Worship of guns (putting our trust in them to save us an protect us)

        Glorification of sex (treating it like the most important thing in the world)

        Glorification of violence (portraying it as something masculine and heroic)

        Idolizing youth (and treating the elderly as if they’re worthless)

        “Defending” our religion by persecuting others

      • Patrick Kyle says

        ‘Hypernationalism’ Translation: Any kind of positive feelings toward the US; not being strident enough in loathing your own country.

    • How about

      Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

      Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Danbury baptists


      Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

      Matthew 7:4-5

    • Doubting Thomas says

      In C. S. Lewis’ time there were people who advocated repenting of national sin. He said it is bitter to repent of our own sin, and delicious to repent of our neighbors’ sin.

  4. Robert F says

    The story about the students who honorably bury the remains of the indigent and alone is very moving and inspiring. God bless and be with them and their beneficiaries.

    • Christiane says

      Hi ROBERT F

      that story brought me to tears . . . their prayer is so simple, yet profound in the way that only simplicity can be . . . I like to think of the lasting impact of their ‘work of corporal mercy’ on the lives of these young men . . . may God bless this work

      why don’t some ‘churches’ do things like this? . . . ‘works’ is not cool to some among them and the word ‘mercy’ is not a word you hear spoken in those ‘churches’ . . . (sorry, I rant, but I’ve just read the Deebs latest posting over at Wartburg Watch and I am on fire . . . I’ll go out and roll in the snow before I post any more comments 🙂

    • Purdue University or one of the Catholic churches connected to it does this, too. My son-in-law is getting involved. Pope Francis in his emphasis on mercy this year is reminding people of the corporal works of mercy, one of which is burying the dead.

    • Agreed. Beautiful story. Thanks CM.

  5. melissatheragamuffin says

    The church I attend is small, but about 30% is under 10 years old. One week when the kids were being particularly noisy during coffee hour another adult complained about it. I told him, “That noise is the sound of a promise – a promise this church will not die out.”

  6. Regarding Stanley’s church, here’s a side of megachurch-dom that isn’t often discussed.

    You see, I live not three miles from the church’s NorthPoint location in the northern suburbs of Atlanta.

    Quite unusually, it’s not really visible from the road, so I never even knew it was a big church, let alone part of the biggest church in the US, even as I drove past it on the way to work every day for a whole year.

    Have I ever been invited by anyone who attends the church to drop in? No. Have I ever heard anybody at work talking about all of the things — good or bad — that the church is doing? No. Does it seem to exist at all apart from those who attend? It would seem not. To repeat: I only live a few miles away.

    Maybe I’m holding such churches to a higher standard than I would those horrible, tiny churches with no more than 200 members in them, but it would appear that size has nothing much to do with interaction with the larger community after all — especially if you’re half of a childless couple like me.

    • I never even knew it was a big church, let alone part of the biggest church in the US, even as I drove past it on the way to work every day for a whole year… it would appear that size has nothing much to do with interaction with the larger community after all

      Count yourself blessed that you don’t live next to it. Most big churches I attended over the years had torturous relationships with their near neighbors, especially over traffic and parking issues.

      And Mr. Stanley… At least my seminary taught me that humans are built so that it’s near impossible for us to have meaningful connections in any group larger than 150 or so people. What did YOU learn in your ministry training?

    • What is it with the obsession—or lip service—for “the local church?” Stanley, like others, pushes big church yet insists on the value of “local church.” Does this exist inside a megachurch? Does it depend on a megachurch? Why does he bad-mouth small churches yet praise “the local church?” What is the definition of “local church” among the new calvinists? Do they own the local church? I’m confused.

      • Ted,
        I don’t think Andy Stanley has anything to do with Calvinism.

        • Once again I assumed too much. I keep hearing the term “local church” as if it’s on par with “traditional family values” or “nuclear family unit,” now considered articles of faith. I first heard it from Mark Dever, and now it’s popping up everywhere. What exactly is meant by “local church?”

  7. Wow just wow. I am glad that Andy Stanley did apologize but I suspect that his words are how he truly feels because it coincides with much of what he has said and written about churches and growth. As the pastor of a small church (under 100) that is seeing growth especially among families with youth, according to Stanley I should be turning these people away and sending them to a “big” church.This shows off one of the problems in modern evangelicalism when pastors of “big” churches with lots of exposure are able to assess the worth of the rest of us. And when these assessments are made it is done on a basis that has nothing to do with God’s Word.

    • Randy Thompson says

      I was thinking much the same thing, although I don’t “follow” Stanley (or his ilk).
      It’s sad that what we most regret saying is probably what is most self-revealing.

  8. You like jangle, CM?

    I’ll give you jangle.

    Honestly, if I have 10 candidates for the perfect pop song, these two are very high on the list.

  9. “However, next time you take a soothing sip of that Sleepytime Tea, you might remember that the guy who invented it believes in things that’ll give you nightmares.”

    There is something uniquely duplicitous about that, without even getting into what evangelicals believe already giving me nightmares. It’s back to the world view fallacy. What one believes is not necessarily qualified by what one does, and contrapositively, what one does is not justified by what one believes. The idea that an atheist is immoral because he or she does not believe in a god is this type of fallacy. The idea that a “Christian” politician can be trusted is equally fallacious. It touches on the political nightmare we are facing: how did good, bible-believing, god-fearing, “moral” leaders endorse Trump for president? How is that a logical outcome of a Christian “World View” or the contents of the bible? People can achieve great things and commit horrific evil, despite their personal belief systems.

    How did “Left Behind” come from a mind saturated in the bible? That is an even more disturbing question.

    Isaac Newton believed in what now would be considered New Age. That does not negate his laws of physics.

    • Robert F says

      Right. John Harvey Kellogg also believed in eugenics, but that would never stop me from eating the cereal he and his brother invented (if I liked corn flakes).

    • Robert F says

      I don’t drink tea, and so I don’t drink their tea. If I did, I’d be concerned if I knew they were promoting eugenics today, and using proceeds from the sale of their teas to underwrite those views; but I can’t hold them responsible for irresponsible, erroneous and immoral ideas in a text that inspired their business a generation ago, ideas that they don’t promote or hold to. The Bible contains irresponsible and even immoral ideas and teachings; people have justified the most heinous crimes against other human beings on the basis of some of them; the Urantia Book would only be a Johnny-come-lately in comparison, even if a few people were taking all its teachings seriously.

    • Agreed. I love Sleepytime tea and wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to buy it. I just found the combination of soothing tea and abominable alien doctrine irresistible .

    • The relation between what a Christian believes and does in my opinion should not be non-sequitur, but sadly, it is. At least I hope the stupid, egregious things endorsed by the American evangelical industrial complex have nothing to do with the bible. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking and the atheist are right: the greatest evils of human history were inspired by religion and not atheism.

    • Corn flakes were invented because a guy thought, or so his prophetess told him, that bland foods cure men’s imbido thus they won’t want to lust. Silly, but ok.

      Reagan and his followers have almost all believed in End Times Dispensationalism and nuclear war before the return of Christ. Along with the idea of a literal nation of Israel.

      Now tell me which has had a greater impact on the world? lol

      I get what you are saying, but there’s boundaries.

      • Again, it’s non-sequitur. It shouldn’t be, but it is. What Kellog or Segel believed didn’t negatively impact the world. Dispensationalists wishing for thermal nuclear war? Yes, that has impact on the world. Can they actually cause nuclear war? I think not. Is that twisted wish-fulfillment rooted in scripture or the historical Christian faith? Hmmm. I’m hoping that, too, is non-sequitur. If they claim to base that wish-fulfillment on scripture, then they are heretics – as much as we can’t use that word anymore.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Corn flakes were invented because a guy thought, or so his prophetess told him, that bland foods cure men’s imbido thus they won’t want to lust. Silly, but ok.

        Then how do you explain the gallon-sized yogurt enemas?
        (They didn’t call him “Crazy Doc Kellogg” for nothing…)

  10. So, Mr. Stanley…what do I do with my extremely introverted child who prefers NOT to connect in large groups? He doesn’t want to connect with a bunch of people, he develops deep connections with one or two. Smallness suits him well. Do you want to know what would happen if I drug him to a larger church? I’ll tell you, because he is the echo of me. In a large group he will feel unconnected, outside the circle. He will head off to college and immediately drop out of church because what a relief it is to not have to try to connect with so many people. And eventually, maybe he will find his way back. Or, he could go to a small church, like my husband did, and form those meaningful connections that carry him into adulthood, a mentor that kept in touch with him for years, friends who formed bonds by being in a youth group of less than 10, a church where he is still known when we visit years later.

  11. The tea is awesome. As I understand, they are a great employer. They even have an awesome gift shop you should check out the next time you pass through Boulder, Colorado.

    • I have fond memories of Red Zinger, served loose-leaf in little screen strainers by my girlfriend’s mother alongside the woodstove back in the ‘seventies. I don’t think they make it loose anymore. The bags may have reached a bigger market, but they lost something in quality.

      Disclaimer: my girlfriend’s mother was a lapsed-Catholic, lesbian, liberal-voting artist (and you know what artists are like), so her judgment in tea becomes highly suspect; and Celestial Seasonings therefore BLACKLISTED to any bible-believing Christian.

      But I sure miss that loose-leaf Red Zinger. And I miss her too (the mother that is, not the girlfriend).

      • I still have red zinger, mandarin spice, and sleepytime tins, Ted, with the original package art on them — I bought them round 35 years ago. I love them and use them around the house, even though their paint is getting chipped. Really, while the tea is good, I like the art more!

  12. Christiane says

    list of ‘national’ sins . . .

    we ALL know that through the lack of mercy of Michigan’s state government, the children of Flint MI are being poisoned . . .

    there are solutions which have not been funded

    whose ‘problem’ is it to solve? . . . Flint ? the state of Michigan ?

    when you realize the extent of the damage being done to American children out of greed, you might want to raise this issue up there as a ‘national sin’ . . . or even consider arresting and prosecuting those officials who ordered the fiasco in the first place and THEN knowingly refused to do anything to alter the consequences . . . the prosecution of those who harm children knowingly just might prevent more of the same activities in other red states

    • Funny how greed is almost never mentioned in scathing speeches or sermons. But doesn’t the Bible say that the love of money is the root of ALL evil? Greed has undoubtedly ruined more lives than a couple of married gay guys ever could.

  13. Small church vs big church. I go to a smaller church (500-600 members, not all active) A big problem for us is that members visit the big church on vacation or when visiting relatives or just because they want to, they come back home, and wonder why we aren’t doing all the cool stuff that big church is doing. Why can’t we have services on Wednesday and Saturday and 3 times on Sunday? Why can’t we have a praise band? Why can’t we have video screens with enlightening & interesting video effects during the sermon? Why can’t we have kids church so our kids don’t get bored and do we don’t have to deal with them during the service? Why? Because we have 1 pastor, a part-time music director, and a part-time secretary. We can’t compete with the mega church model but so many don’t understand the resources, organization, and time it takes to keep something like that going. They see it and it’s engaging; they want it and are dissatisfied when they don’t get it instead of thinking about what they can do to contribute to what they have and embrace their smallness.

  14. Stanley’s comments were obviously propaganda. He has a vested interest in his brand. And yet…his words fit childhood me to a “T”. I HATED the tiny, boring churches filled with old farts and dumb that my parents seemed attracted to. At the time I would have absolutely told you that hauling us off to those hell-holes was selfish on the part of my parents. I was shocked, reading through the ramblings, to realize that I still harbor resentment over those wasted Sundays. That is just my personality of course, but there is enough truth in Stanley’s observation to give pause I think.

    and why don’t churches do cool things like this? Because I think that misses the point of what a church is and does. My take is that the church is where one goes to receive the means of grace in order to go out and live life. So a Christian burying the waifish dead is doing his good works, and doesn’t need a church brand or sanction to do so. I suspect maybe our economic assumptions in America control far too much of our subconscious narrative.

    • “I suspect maybe our economic assumptions in America control far too much of our subconscious narrative.”
      Yes, I’m pretty sure that this is true.

  15. The bicycle I assumed was contemporary and it is quite amazing how little has changed in over 120 years. Closer inspection does reveal an elegant steam punk brake, but no one would give a second look if you rode it today, other than perhaps admiration. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if it was mine, I would put tassels on the handlebar grips. And a rubber bulb horn.

    • And clip playing cards to flap against the spokes? That was the ultimate of cool when I was a kid. 🙂

      • Yes. but not as cool as dismounting while coming to a stop in a controlled skid. which I don’t recall seeing any girls doing at the time. This hopefully impressed any girls watching, but if so it got zero results. Today girls could probably do it better than I ever did and I wouldn’t dare try any more.

    • They just don’t make bikes that gorgeous anymore. Best “Rambler” pic yet!

  16. Dana Ames says

    I can’t think of any place in the Gospels where Jesus calls nations to repentance – or in the rest of the NT, either. The record of God calling Israel to repentance in the OT was meant for something other than what that pastor, and others who believe the same way, think it was meant for. God has constituted his People without reference to the modern State (his nation without borders, if you will…), and it is each person who needs to repent. Yes, we have connections to and responsibilities toward one another – and people like that pastor get things very confused about how that is supposed to look. It’s supposed to look like the students at that Latin School. (I bet it wouldn’t take much digging to find a Catholic – ancient Church – connection… Start with the name of the teacher’s alma mater. There is also a Russian monastic saint, Daniel of Pereyaslavl, 1400s, who was known for doing the same.) Fr Stephen often quotes Stanley Hauerwas on how those who want to take charge of the outcome of history have, by doing so, agreed to do violence. We American Christians of all stripes just don’t think about the ramifications of what we say we believe.

    BTW, Scot McKnight wrote a very good little book on fasting. He looked at all the places in scripture that discussed fasting, and their contexts, and discovered that fasting was ***never*** done to get God to change his mind about anything. Fasting was always a bodily response to death, either a done deal or as an immanent threat – who feels like eating, anyway, in those circumstances? Great connection to Lent, the days when we contemplate our alienation from God, our Life, and how contingent on him is our life and everything about it.


  17. Lisa Dye says

    Thank you and Amen to the six seniors at Roxbury Latin boys’ school in Boston and their corporal acts of mercy. I am inspired and moved. Last year, I read a story about a woman local to me who has found a similar calling quite by accident. When a baby was found dead in a dumpster and no family connections could be made, she asked officials for permission to give her a burial. That one act has blossomed into many more. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

  18. I just learned recently that the National Prayer Breakfast is actually a byproduct of The Family. Wouldn’t that raise red flags for most churches? Or does the magical word prayer blind them?


  19. OK…seriously? This is a debatable topic?


    “Triclavianism is the belief that three nails were used to crucify Jesus Christ. The exact number of Holy Nails has been a matter of theological debate for centuries.”


    course if all those monks were brewing beer, needed something to talk and fight about i guess…

    • Triclavianism is the putrid offshoot of a depraved mind; Lucifer farted, and the wind became Triclavianism. Quattroclavianism is the only Real Truth!

      Sorry, just practicing my middle-ages German monkery. Now off to quaff copious quantities of beer…

  20. The article on the Urantia Book says it is “a modified Seventh-Day Adventist text . . .” This didn’t seem right to me and so I read the whole article and dug around. It is my view that the author of the article, Megan Gillar, has some good information but is biased and a bit sloppy. Implying that the Seventh-Day Adventist is behind this strikes me about as valid as saying Presbyterians are behind Donald Trump. It is true that some of the people involved were Adventists.

    I hadn’t checked out the Urantia Book since 1969. The only follower I’ve ever met was a good-natured guy named Bob who called himself Strider, and his main goal in life seemed to be to stay stoned. My assessment then and now was that it was somewhat interesting but wasn’t worth the time and effort needed to study it. It’s comparable to the Bible in length. Adherents have included Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jerry Garcia, tho I don’t know that it has any special appeal to guitar players.

    A passage from the book I found interesting: “To ‘follow Jesus’ means to personally share his religious faith and to enter into the spirit of the Master’s life of unselfish service for man. One of the most important things in human living is to find out what Jesus believed, to discover his ideals, and to strive for the achievement of his exalted life purpose. Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.” You might differ, but I would rather share a beverage with someone espousing this than a fervent Dispensationalist.

  21. Robert F says

    A long time ago, I realized that my mind lacks the ability even to have a proximate apprehension of the vastness of our universe. This most recent entry for the most distant galaxy ever seen just adds one more bit of vastness to what was already incomprehensible to me, and actually beyond my ability to imaginatively enter and explore. I’m afraid I’m a most earthbound creature, imagination included.

    • Donalbain says

      Nobody’s mind can really grasp the scale of the universe in either direction, up or down. Our brain evolved to be able to have a good idea which berries to eat, and that liobs were bad news. The fact that we can make measurements about galaxies and black holes is astonishing, asking to be able to grasp it as well might be a bit greedy!

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