January 24, 2021

Saturday Ramblings: March 19, 2016


Thomas B. Jeffery in his first automobile (1897). He was still making bicycles at the time.

Today, we look at the origins of the Rambler automobile.

Rambler1902The Thomas B. Jeffery Company (he of Rambler bicycle manufacturing) began building one-cylinder Ramblers in a converted 19th-century bicycle plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin. By the late 1890s Jeffery, along with his son Charles, was smitten with the notion of building automobiles so he sold his interest in G&J Manufacturing (bicycle manufacturing), bought the old Sterling Bicycle factory along Lake Michigan and, in 1901, began production of a runabout he called the Rambler.

That first Rambler was similar in design to other early motor cars such as the Oldsmobile Curved Dash. It was a simple “buckboard” chassis with a steering tiller and a small engine mounted behind the seat. (Son Charles had experimented with two radical improvements, a front-mounted engine and a steering wheel but he couldn’t talk his father into adopting them until later.)

By 1914, the cars Jeffery made were quite sophisticated and luxurious. Jeffery died in 1916 and the children renamed the Ramblers, “Jeffreys” in his honor.

Thomas B. Jeffery was a ramblin’ man. Let’s join him today. Time to ramble!

• • •

037073-black-inlay-steel-square-icon-transport-travel-transportation-car10-sc44logoGothard update

According to Religious News Service, the organization Bill Gothard founded received more bad news this week.

Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles has lost its membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, which gives accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations.

Its membership was terminated last Friday (March 11) for failure to comply with its standards for governance, according to the ECFA website.

The loss of accreditation is yet another setback for the Institute in Basic Life Principles. Eighteen people are suing the Oak Brook, Ill.-based institute, and Bill Gothard, its 81-year-old founder, for sexual harassment.

037073-black-inlay-steel-square-icon-transport-travel-transportation-car10-sc44video-undefined-29DAB25500000578-491_637x357Tullian update

Tullian Tchividjian’s trials continue.

Tullian, who had been involved in a scandal involving marital infidelity has been participating in a restoration process at Willow Creek Presbyterian Church in Winter Springs, Florida. This included a position in which he was working at the church.

But news came this week, that information about an additional, previously undisclosed affair has come to light, leading to the church firing Tullian from his position.

Last week, a ministry he founded, called Liberate, was relaunched. Those at the ministry said the former pastor’s restoration process was going well. However, four of the nine board members resigned this week in the wake of Tchividijian’s firing.

Tullian asked people to pray for all involved:

“Nothing grieves me more than the fact that people are suffering because of my sins, both in my past as well as in the present,” Tchividjian told CT. “I want to be perfectly clear that I take full responsibility for this. Please pray for those who are most deeply effected and please respect their privacy,” he said. “God knows how sorry I am for all the damage I’ve caused and the people who have been hurt. Please pray that the good work God has begun will be carried out to completion.”

037073-black-inlay-steel-square-icon-transport-travel-transportation-car10-sc44Logo_Wide_retMark Driscoll update

On Easter Sunday, The Trinity Church in Phoenix will hold its first service, and Pastor Mark Driscoll will be at the helm.

You can visit the church’s website and learn all about the total vision HERE.

I found the following goal and list interesting, given the past history we all know.

Jesus tells us to “Love one another” and at The Trinity Church we aspire to do that.

Our prayer is that the following will serve as a guide and encouragement to the kind of family we want to become at The Trinity Church.

  • ???? Pray first
  • ???? The pedals on our bike are Bible teaching and relationships
  • ❤️ Loving relationships are the mark of good theology
  • ???? Fun is fundamental
  • ???? Build people up, don’t beat people up
  • ???? God is our Father and we are a family of multiple generations
  • ???? Children are a blessing
  • ???? We do things with excellence or we don’t do them at all
  • ????‍????‍????‍???? The family that serves together grows closer
  • ???? Nothing beats people meeting Jesus
  • ???? Vision requires provision

037073-black-inlay-steel-square-icon-transport-travel-transportation-car10-sc44Trump and the evangelicals updateRepublican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Dordt College, on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Sioux Center, Iowa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

One of the big news stories of this election year has been the support Donald Trump has received from those who identify as “evangelicals.”

Now, some have disputed that many of these folks are actually evangelicals, but there have been some voices from true leaders in the movement who have recommended that conservative Christians should support Trump if nominated. For example, Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas (12,000 members), appeared at Trump rallies earlier this year made comments indicating that he would back the businessman.

“I am not officially endorsing any candidate but I was happy to pray at Mr. Trump’s events on Saturday in Iowa and also to introduce him,” the pastor said. “And frankly, I would not have done that if did not believe that Mr. Trump could be a very effective President of the United States.”

Jeffress said that, despite potentially not being the strongest Christian in the field, there are many believers who see Trump as having the capability to take on Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

“There are many Christians who would say that while Donald Trump may not be the best candidate to lead Bible studies in the Oval Office he very well may be the candidate that has the best chance of beating [them] in November,” the pastor told the Post. “I don’t believe a Christian has to sell his soul to the devil to vote for Donald Trump.”

Jeffress continued, ”I think electability is a very important issue because quite frankly, I don’t believe our nation can survive either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.”

But in an article this week, another evangelical pulled no punches in trashing Trump. Félix Cabrera is the pastor of Iglesia Bautista Central, a Southern Baptist congregation in Oklahoma City. He thinks if the nation were to elect Trump, it would indicate that God is casting down judgment upon our nation.

Donald Trump is racist, nativist, xenophobic, fascist, classist, narcissistic, arrogant, disrespectful, irreverent and a man without God. A self-proclaimed “Christian” who has said he never had to ask God for forgiveness.

If he has the “evangelical” vote it is because this sector which calls itself “evangelical” has not been born again, nor does it know the God of Scripture.

It is impossible that Donald Trump is a Christian with such an anti-biblical and immoral speech, including challenging God. Nor are those who follow him true Christians. You are what you worship. If you call yourself “Christian” and follow this individual, you need to repent.

My conclusion is that Donald Trump has awakened the “sleeping giant” of this nation — that racist, nativist and exclusivist feeling that dominated the United States of America for years. With the argument that we should make America “great” again, Trump has sold a “hope” to make America white, narcissistic, exclusivist and racist again.

If that is the position of those who follow and vote for him, do not “Christianize” your racist, nativist, narcissistic and exclusivist arguments. If you like the people of Israel, want another Saul, again, you are within your rights, but do not forget that you will have to face the consequences.

Each debate, caucus and state election process that I see reminds me even more the words of John Calvin:

“When God wants to judge a nation, he gives them evil rulers.”


037073-black-inlay-steel-square-icon-transport-travel-transportation-car10-sc44Free Willy update

Sea World announced this week that it is ending its Orca breeding program.

Danny Lewis reports the story at Smithsonian:

It has not been an easy few years for SeaWorld. After a series of high-profile protests following the 2013 premier of the documentary Blackfish, SeaWorld has fought against allegations of inhumane conditions and abusive treatment of its 23 captive orcas. Last November, the company announced that it will phase out its once-popular “Shamu Shows” by 2017—the same month that legislators in the California House of Representatives proposed a bill banning orca breeding throughout the state.

“Times have changed, and we are changing with them,” SeaWorld wrote in a statement. “We love our whales and so do many of our visitors and this is about doing the best thing for our whales, our guests, our employees and SeaWorld.”

Sea World stopped capturing orcas from the wild a long time ago, so the ones currently at the park will be the last generation to live there.

037073-black-inlay-steel-square-icon-transport-travel-transportation-car10-sc44Shoe technology update

Man, what I would have given to have had these when my kids were little.

Meet E.A.R.L., Nike’s newest self-lacing shoe.


037073-black-inlay-steel-square-icon-transport-travel-transportation-car10-sc44Christian humor update

Always on the lookout for good humor about the Christian world, I’ve been having a lot of fun lately reading articles at The Babylon Bee: Your Trusted Source for Christian News Satire.

Here are a few of my favorite recent headlines:

And just to give you a sample of the well-written satire at The Babylon Bee, let’s take a closer look at the last story in that list:

SUN VALLEY, CA—John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church and president of The Master’s College and Seminary, has made a lofty promise to his congregation. He has reportedly committed to building a 20-foot thick, 30-foot high concrete wall around the entire perimeter of the church campus in order to keep out charismatics that might otherwise infiltrate their ranks.

“I will build a great wall, God willing—and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me—and I’ll build it very biblically. I will build a great, great wall all around our campus–and I’ll make the Pentecostals pay for the wall. Mark my words,” MacArthur was quoted as saying Friday.

It was during MacArthur’s keynote speech at his Shepherd’s Conference last week, hosted by GCC, he unveiled the first details of the massive structure. “These little lines all up on top of the wall? They’re 50-caliber Browning machine guns,” he intoned proudly. “When you factor in the barbed wire, 24/7 guard patrols, and boiling hot buckets of tar kept at the ready, there’s no way the strange-fire-starters are making it through. They’ll be slain alright, but not in the Spirit!”

The estimated cost for the project exceeds $700 million, a cost MacArthur states will be billed directly to various charismatic organizations.

037073-black-inlay-steel-square-icon-transport-travel-transportation-car10-sc44This week in music

It is Holy Week in the Western Church, and time to listen to one of the greatest works in music history: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.

Today, I offer you something a little different than our normal brief one-song video. In the NPR series, Milestones of the Millennium, they put together a terrific “Visitor’s Guide” to the SMP. This is an extended program, and I give it to you today as a gift for the entire time of Holy Week.

Take some time throughout the days to come: listen, learn, and enjoy the glories of some of the greatest music ever composed.

And all in service of the cross.

Note: In commemoration of Holy Saturday, we will not publish Ramblings next week.


  1. Amen! to Rev. Cabrera!

  2. James the Mad says

    And in the latest on Tullian, the four remaining board members have dissolved Liberate Network and cancelled the 2017 Liberate Conference, for which they will be offering full refunds. Per their own words it has come time “for Liberate to come to an end.”

    • James the Mad says

      And that should have been issued full refunds, not offered.

      The actual statement on their website is: “Those that had registered for the conference will be issued full refunds as soon as possible.”

    • I can’t not hear this as Liber8 from Continuum. I’m not sure I’d want those refunds. 😉

    • The news about Tullian Tchividjian saddens me. I hope and pray he steps out of the public eye for an extended period of time and does the hard, difficult and painful work he needs to do. At least this time he took responsibility for his actions rather than blaming his wife.

      However, I’m also surprised the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) allowed Willow Creek Church to give Tchividjian such a prominent position so soon after his initial fall. One would think the PCA would have learned a lesson from the initial fall, rise and second fall of former PCA moderator Skip Ryan. Just as Tullian Tchividjian has a lot of work to do, so does the PCA leadership.

      • I’m not excusing anything Tullian did, but was it really a “prominent” position? It sounded like it was working behind the scenes at Willow Creek, helping out with stuff inside the church. That struck me as a pretty reasonable way to give him a job during rehabilitation, but maybe I’m missing something.

        • It certainly seemed prominent when Willow Creek hired Tullian Tchividjian. In fact, they went out of their way to assure everyone his hiring wasn’t a return to ordained ministry. Hindsight is always 20/20, but it would have been better if Tchividjian had been less visible while going through the church disciplinary process.

  3. MacArthur has since decided to forget about building the wall around his church. He now has told the congregation that he is going to focus on winning Charismatics over to his theology. He said he will win so many of them over that the people in the church will be tired of winning.

  4. Presenting the Mark Driscoll five-step plan to get people to attend your church on Easter.
    [1] Create a church.
    [2] Gather a big following and become nationally known through controversial, graceless preaching.
    [3] Unfortunately due to said gracelessness, create a dysfunctional leadership structure and make the church implode. Move three states away lest you personally encounter any of those church members whose faith you shipwrecked. (’Cause that’d be a little awkward.) But hey, the church you created is now five churches. Makes you a church planter!
    [4] Confuse (or get others to confuse) time off for rehabilitation. Besides, King David didn’t need any rehab after murdering Uriah, did he?
    [5] Then take advantage of the notoriety gained from #2, and go right back to #1.

    Ah, if only this were a Babylon Bee article.

  5. Re: Pastor Cabrera’s words about Donald Trump and those who support him: I’m uncomfortable with the terminology that the Pastor uses. I fear that it is the terminology of absolutes that has partly led many self-described evangelicals to support Trump, that has led them to see Clinton and Sanders, and liberal/progressives in general, as such an unmitigated evil that anything, including Trump, would be preferable. That language has also provided cover behind which many of them hide from themselves and others the extent to which their choice of Trump is really motivated by a nihilistic ressentiment at having been displaced from the center of cultural influence and power they once occupied, or hoped to occupy. With the best of intentions, I think Pastor Cabrera’s language deepens that absolutist mindset and feeds that good/evil dichotomy, and extends that self-deception; it exhibits part of the problem.

    It is, nevertheless, time to get out the big guns against Trump, and I’m glad Pastor Cabrera makes clear the side that he is taking. But it is the side that any clear-thinking ethic, not just a sound Christian ethic, should take. Trump is a gargantuanly dangerous populist narcissist, whose narcissism is big enough to do the work of his underdeveloped ideology. If he ever get his hands on the levers of real power, the power to govern and rule, his toxic touch, his manhandling, will change the shape of those levers forever. Now is the time to do all one can to prevent American history from turning into a channel that will amplify manifold America’s worst tendencies, and strangle its best. Now is the time to speak out against Trump in strong terms.

    • Yes. I have been told far too often by other Christians that one cannot be a Christian and vote for a Democrat because the two are incompatible. I’m not sure Trump has any real political affiliations,but I can guess he’s astute enough to understand that this no Democrat ever mentality is out there and that is why he’s running on the GOP ticket. I believe he can win, too, which scares me.

      • More and more, I’m coming to see that, in their promiscuous use of the terminology of Good/Evil, Sin, Authentic Christianity, Righteousness, Repentance, etc, Christians falsify the landscape of choices that exist before us in any matter, serious or trivial. Using the same terminology, and thinking in the same terms, the best they are able to do when they come to recognize truths, like the one Pastor Cabrera has, is flip-flop into a morally diametrical opposition, thereby perhaps avoiding making a mistake in the present choice, but setting themselves up for future errors by seeing things in the same persistent pattern of yes/no dichotomies. Seeing things in this way necessarily blinds one to the nuanced character of reality as it exists, and hampers the ability to develop a mature and sober ethic, which always involves seeing things as they really are.

        But I wouldn’t underestimate the degree to which many Christians are opting for Trump as a result of ressentiment, and the furtive operations within themselves of the Will-to-Power. Many Evangelical Christians are horribly bad psychologists, especially when it comes to understanding their own motivations; if they paid a little more attention to what they could learn from Nietzsche, that Anti-Christ, they perhaps would understand themselves better. But then, psychology is of the Devil, isn’t it? If I didn’t want to avoid the trap I delineated above, I would almost say the opposite: lack of psychology, as it pertains to understanding especially oneself, is of the Devil.

        • The Will-to-Power is stronger than the will-to-survive, according to Nietzsche; under certain circumstances, a human being would sooner be destroyed, would sooner destroy herself, than surrender power. Witness the evangelical support of Donald Trump; witness the white working-class support for Trump, both of which are willing that the nation, and themselves, be destroyed by their support of an obvious liar and power-hungry, narcissistic demagogue than that they lose power to others. Like giving the finger to the other riders while you wrest the wheel from the driver and turn the bus over the side of a cliff.

          To all thus afflicted by the desire to destroy rather than give up power, I wish I could say: Remember Jesus, remember the way of the Cross.

    • John Oliver launched a massive barrage against Trump last month (LANGUAGE ALERT for those sensitive to profanity)


    • Jesus says it best: Take the log out of your own eye before you take the splinter out of your brother’s eye. Something for those who would vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders to think about.

      • Thing is, many Christians believe they have gotten the most important, biggest log out of their own eyes by converting to or believing in Jesus, and now they primarily have to worry about getting others to do the same. They think they can see clearly now, because they’ve taken care of The Sin Issue; they don’t recognize that the words Jesus says in the Gospels about logs and eyes continues to apply to themselves. Those words continue to apply throughout our lives. Actually, we never succeed in removing all the logs from our eyes; blindness to the reality of our own continued impaired vision, thinking we see 20/20 when we continue to have many blind spots, is the most dangerous blindness of all.

      • And is it so hard to consider that God does not prefer one candidate over another? Or that he prefers none of them? Who’s to say that the whole election process is ungodly? And yet, those who firmly believe in God as micromanager (praise God! I found a good parking spot!) fervently believe he loves our system and has the right candidate picked out. Oh, if only he speaks loud enough for us to figure it out!

    • Dr. Fundystan's iPhone says

      Yes. As well, this nonsense language of “god’s judgement” is tiresome. Apparently politician and pastor are the two career fields where one is not expected to engage the brain before engaging the vocal folds. Cabrera and Trump have more in common than not.

      • But it has tremendous historic precedent, from secular abolitionists like Frederick Douglass to the more vehement abolitionists among pre-Civil War clergy.

        I think Cabrera is drawing from that, unwieldy though it is…

        • Hmph. I’m not the kind of person to ignore shoddy thinking and frenzied emotionalism, even if it results in a position I agree with. I don’t want to be harsh with the guy, but he obviously lives in a completely different world than I do. On the other hand, I won’t turn away allies in the stand against Trump!

          • Dr. F., agreed on some of Cabrera’s ideas, but I’m so glad for allies! None of us can expect 100% agreement with each other in this fight. I think Cabrera’s understanding of the problems posed by Trump and his followers is painfully accurate. I’m sure many RC priests are taking a similar stance, but they’re not getting any press, afaik.

            Also, 150 years ago, the Irish were, along with black people, the baddies in the eyes of militant nativists. And most of thd Irish in question were Catholic, as with most of the Latinos that Trump has bern vilifying. It’s the same script, just slightly updated. Am sure the nativist back thrn could proof-text chapter and verse in support of their cause….

    • Robert, while i agree, it is rare to see an evangelical standing up to what looks to be a homegrown fascist movement in such an uncompromising manner. It takes no little courage to do that. So, while i disagree with some of Cabrera’s framing of the issue, I’m very grateful that he’s spoken up on this. I fear his might be a lone voice, in the wilderness, per American evangelicals. And i would very much like to see/hear Anglo evangelicals standing up to Trump and the hatred he’s stirring up.

      Cabrera’s rhetoric is pretty well identical to that of anti-slavery preaching and much writung in the 19th c., actually. Fwiw.

      • I don’t disagree with you, numo. I’m glad the pastor spoke, rather than not doing so; and it did take courage. But I do wish Christians in general would get out of the habit of framing discussions in these terms. It impoverishes, and impairs, the ability to respond to the real world in realistic, sober ways, and it establishes a narrative that leads to big mistakes further on up the road.

        Btw, my understanding is that by no means all, but quite a few evangelical leaders have a negative view of Trump. Of course, they’re probably putting their money on Cruz, because he makes the right Christian noises, and how much of an improvement would that be?

        • A negative view: like Falwell’s son? / sarcasm

          More seriously, the Falwell family has never made any secret of their fusion of religion and state. Back in the late 70s, The Old Time Gospel Hour was wall to wall flags/militant nationalism.

      • Numo,
        If you want to see anglo evangelicals standing up to Trump you should go read Denny Burk’s blog or Russel Moore. They have been constantly doing it.

    • I think it is true the Republican party is in this mess partly in its use of false dichotomies and fallacious ultimatums of good versus evil. The Republican party is to blame for letting it become controlled by huckster entertainers like Limbaugh who use fear and intimidation to gain a following. They set the stage for Trump, who has out-gamed them all. Republican voters have been indoctrinated to make emotional, angry, fear and guilt driven decisions based on propaganda and conspiracies. If they start now to reverse this, it will take at least one generation before they once again have votors who can make personal, fact-driven decisions. But that is not what the “conservative” one percent at the top wants; they can’t win elections without a mindless puppet army voting in agendas which preserve their power and wealth. They just want once again to be the puppet master, not Trump. Yes, insert balanced “liberals are just as bad” qualifier, but there really is no comparison to the mess in which the Republican party finds itself right now.

      • Let’s face it, the Republican party is dying, and the emergence of Trump may be it’s death throes. You’re spot on in observing that the monster Republican leaders created in order to control large blocks of voters has now reached a power that they cannot control.

        I have believed since 2008 that the Republicans can never win a presidential race again and Trump has not changed my mind about that. I don’t see him (or Cruz or Kasich or Ryan) beating either Hillary or Bernie. And if he can’t pull it off, they will have to spend the next 4 years getting the beast back in the cage, which will split the party and bring about its demise.

        But even if I’m wrong and we end up with Trump in the White house and a Rep. controlled legislature and SCOTUS, the pendulum swing back to the left after 1 term of an unchecked Trump will be so massive they will never recover.

        • 2008 was a nail. The Tea Party was a nail. Trump is another nail.

          There may be one final nail.

        • Actually, the Republican party is surging in primary participation as a result of Trump. Rather then undermining their membership, at this time it has more people identifying as Republican than ever. The number of angry rednecks he has dog whistled has completely overturned their demographics. What happens in the aftermath of this is anyone’s guess, but I’d wager it nearly impossible to unify the group. I say the tea party should break off and go Libertarian, rather than trying to hijack the GOP.

          • Agree. But I think the wildcard in the deck is Citizens United. Until it is repealed, I believe the GOP will continue to splinter. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the GOP convention is contested (nor will I be surprised when the GOP leadership decides to use propaganda to call it “open” instead of “contested”), and I wouldn’t be surprised if as a result, the GOP went away. We probably need to abandon the two party system anyway.

          • But how much does it really matter?

            Local stats. Wake county, NC, (population 1 million), net changes in voter registrations 2012 to 2016. All numbers approximate based on my memory of a few days ago.
            D 1700
            R 500
            L 2000
            Unaffiliated 40,000

            State wide numbers are similar but not quite as large for the U’s.

      • I consider myself mainly Republican, but I’ve hardly recognize the party anymore. The last several presidential elections were theirs for the taking if they’d offered up a reasonable candidate, but they’ve failed miserably to offer up anyone worthy of pulling in fence-sitters, for many of the reasons you mention. When the party became mainly focused on shock-jock reactionary right-wing nonsense, they went off the rails.

        • Josh in FW says


        • The Republican party of this decade has no relationship to the Republican party prior to the Reagan White House. More’s the pity.

          We need some more *viable* parties with electable candidates. I bet a new, kinda centrist “republican” party would draw a whole lot of people who are fed up with ghe hijacking of the R party by people like Cruz and Trump.

    • Burro [Mule] says

      I agree with you, Robert. Manicheeism, as I have said before, is the true American civic religion. Those who have read it tell me you can see that clearly in Moby-Dick, a literary work which, they say, if you read it together with Leaves of Grass, will give you a thorough scan or our nation’s spiritual DNA.

      I imagine it would take greater, if not courage, then at least recklessness, to admit that one favored the Donald on this board than to oppose him. Don’t worry. I’m not going to do it. Despite my own nativism, sexism, and racism, and my unfeigned delight in der Trumper’s tweaking the noses of people whose noses badly need tweaking, I can see very clearly that access to the levers of power, so carefully augmented during the W administration and left judiciously untouched by Barack Obama, would be disastrous in the hands of a man who has no real sense of civic duty and cares for nothing but his own power.

      If I have to, I will vote for that execrable sack of sewage Hillary Clinton, the worst vote of my entire life, and wait another four years. The forces that produced Donald J Trump will not be assuaged in a Clinton administration. They will ferment. Maybe eventually they’ll produce the Cornelius Lucius Sulla I’ve been waiting for.

      • Josh in FW says

        You might have convinced me to vote Hillary rather than stay home.

        • Burro [Mule] says

          I may stay home, and drink a lot, and smoke my last Cohiba.

          In my state, my vote will scarcely matter.

          If by some freak of blind luck an honorable man like Bernie Sanders wins the nomination, I’ll vote for him, but the black Democrats don’t seem to care for him. I blame blacks for Hillary, and the feeling is not pleasant.

          • Believe it or not, I’ll have to hold my nose to vote for Hillary, which will really be a vote against Trump, if he’s the nominee. I dislike her immensely.

            While you’re blaming blacks for Hillary, I’m blaming working-class whites for Trump; it’s not a pleasant feeling, either.

          • Christiane says

            ah, BURRO,
            i understand what you mean by ‘in my state my vote would hardly matter’, but our votes come to us at such a heavy, heavy cost . . . all those flag-draped coffins home from the wars, those body bags, those soldiers with missing limbs . . . a price was paid for our privilege to vote

            we can’t really every say even one American vote ‘would hardly matter’ . . . it has been dearly paid for

          • I say that as a person who lived and voted in Florida in 2000.

          • Christiane says

            Hi BURRO,
            Florida in 2000 . . . yep, now I see

      • I question anyone who says they are capable of 9/11. If that’s some nod to total depravity or something, that’s utter bs. No, not everyone is capable of 9/11. It’s utter bs to say “there but by the grace of God go I” to such things. NO. You are not capable, and few are.

      • That Other Jean says

        Cornelius Lucius Sulla? Make war against the government, get all the political power in your own hands, give it back to the aristocrats, then retire? Why would you want that? Don’t they have enough already?

    • I really like this phrase: “amplify manifold America’s worst tendencies, and strangle its best”

      This nicely puts what scares me about Trump (and frankly Cruz, for that matter). But I sometimes wonder if that ship has already sailed, and if we’re just electing leaders who are reflective of what we’ve become as a people.

    • “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)

      And of course, anyone who’s read the whole Bible knows that that commandment, in slightly modified forms, is repeated over and over throughout the Law and the prophets. I suspect that any support Trump gets among evangelicals is due to evangelicals being woefully ignorant of Scripture, and having pastors who do nothing to address that ignorance.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        Not that this is anything new. Quoting that verse has always been a sure sign that the person speaking votes Democratic, which in turn has since the Reagan administration been a sign that this person is not an Evangelical. That verse is one of many that is to be discreetly overlooked. It is only addressed if pressed, and then only to explain how this has nothing to do with actual people nowadays. This from people who go on about how they take the Bible seriously while those people who vote Democratic don’t. feh

        • Richard, i think black evangelicals are, for the most part, using this verse and others like it. Understandably so – just as they have generally supported Democratic candidates.

          • Richard Hershberger says

            My bad. I was using ‘Evangelical’ as shorthand for “White American Evangelical Protestant.”

    • I’m no fan of Donald Trump, but I think Félix Cabrera went overboard in attacking Trump’s supporters so harshly. Cabrera’s caustic attack is similar to one launched by Rachel Held Evans in January. Perhaps if Cabrera, and Ms. Evans, were wiling to take a good look at the legitimate grievances of Trump supporters rather than brutally castigate them, they might understand why he’s received so much support in the primaries and caucuses to date.

      As it now stands, Cabrera’s attack is just as likely to backfire as those launched by Mitt Romney, Michael Gerson and other prominent member of the GOP establishment. And in the end, the GOP establishment and its many failures helped contribute to Donald Trump’s rise.

  6. Run Bernie, RUN!!!

  7. Dr. Fundystan's iPhone says

    1) ECFA is already a joke, so not sure this matters.
    2) I feel bad for Tullian. Actually I don’t. He made choices; he needs to own them. But at least his church and network didn’t sweep this under the rug. Must not be SBC.
    3) Sounds like Driscoll learned something. Or at least learned what people want to hear.
    4) When are evangelicals going to stop thinking stupid about politics? Don’t blame God for a Trump nomination. It is the natural consequence of the democratic process. What’s next, blaming God for tornadoes? Oh, wait…
    5) with the advent of the internet, I hope we see less and less animal captivity. Why visit an animal in a cage, when I can watch it in real time in its natural habitat?
    6) it’s like reinventing Velcro and charging a fortune for it.
    7) The prevailing feeling I sense when I hear MacAurthur rant is that of fear. Maybe these charismatics have got an experience of God that John never will.
    8) Bach is still the king. When I finally start my metal band I’m going to name it Sons of Bach

    • Only an evil god would judge a nation by giving it evil rulers. Blaming God for a Trump nomination is senseless. The most for which we can realistically blame God is that he made us so that we each participate in all the others’ existence and actions and their outcomes, for weal and woe.

      • “Only an evil God would judge a nation by giving it evil rulers.”

        Really? Then the God of Israel described in the Old Testament is definitely an evil God? I don’t think so, Robert. Go back to the drawing board, study the history of Israel’s kings, and re-think your statement, which – pardon me for saying so – is rather arrogant. What I hear you really saying is,”If I were God, I would do things so much differently, so much better.”

        • I’m not a biblical literalist, I don’t hold to the belief that everything the Bible says about God, and every way it describes him, is true. I don’t even believe that Jesus was infallible in his pronouncements, or that the Gospel gives us the unaltered words of Jesus. We exist together, before the ever present risen Jesus, responsible to each other and God for our moral decisions and their outcomes; we cannot avoid that responsibility by recourse to ancient texts, and we should not attribute to God our own imperfections and weaknesses, as the Bible and traditions sometimes do.

      • Robert, I’m not sure i follow your “evil god” line of reasoning here. Perhaps it’s more like God permitting people to have what they want? (Though admittedly, not all of them – but violent rhetoric generally leads to violent actions, and i don’t think God can just stop people from seizing what they want – however, who is judged? Isn’t it those who do wrong, and not the innocent?)

        These questions are very hard, but I do not think God showed himself to be “evil” during the Nazi regime. However, what did happen raises many pretty much unanswerable questions. I do think that the Germans *could* have stopped the rise of the Nazi party, but they made the wrong choices, over and over again.

        • Of course, the crux of the moral problem, the problem for theodicy, is that those who are not guilty suffer from the choices of those who are. I mean to say that this has to do, not with God’s judgment, but how God has decided to make us.

          We exist in and as a “community of being”, as we used to say at the Zendo; we are so constituted that our actions and their results are not limited to us, nor are those of others limited to them. God designed existence to have this characteristic in its totality; in that sense, he designed a world where the innocent would necessarily suffer with the guilty, and at the hands of the guilty. God bears responsibility, is “guilty”, for this design.

          But one wonders: how else would God have designed creation, except that we have impact, for good and evil, on each other? I think we presume far too much when we think we have any concept of the contingencies God would have to deal in to create; and we put too much weight on God’s character and creativity being centered in brute power, rather than the power of self-giving love.

          Though our scriptures and traditions are loaded with this language of judgement of nations and peoples, and the Gospels have some of those words coming out of the mouth of Jesus himself, I think we should stop seeing such outcomes as God’s specific judgment against peoples (including the innocents among them). We participate in each others weal and woe, and actions; God made us that way, and we have made ourselves into nations and ethnicities.

          • I think we should stop seeing such outcomes as God’s specific judgment against peoples (including the innocents among them). We participate in each others weal and woe, and actions;

            If we are indeed participants in each others’ actions, then indeed there is no such thing as an innocent person (excepting One).

          • Eeyore, And can one turn such a statement into a theodicy that justifies the killing of infants, since they are not innocent, in one of those judgments that God unleashes against nations through the evil leaders he inflicts on them? Perhaps, but it would be morally bankrupt, putting theological logic before the existential reality of innocent suffering, however relative that innocence might be.

          • I’ll put it simply: despite all the words of scripture and traditions to the opposite, I don’t believe God punishes, or judges, nations, or individuals, for that matter. He forgives; the judgment and punishing, to the degree that the words are meaningful, is in the forgiving. And Jesus is the incarnation of that divine forgiving.

          • Burro [Mule] says

            I think a case can be made for God being in favor of nations and ethnicities, and of their being a gift of God as a comfortable halfway point, a resting spot between the atomistic individual and the Trinitarian oikumene of unity-in diversity-diversity-within-unity Christ is destined one day to rule over.

          • if ever there was innocent suffering, it was Jesus. I don’t know what to make of it existentially. I can only worship in His presence.

            You are obviously one of the Divine Masters, Robert, so much more advanced than the rest of us.

            Jesus died and rose again for you, too.

          • @Mule, Yes, I think nations and peoples can be looked at as blessings; I don’t think that God would use them as an occasion to curse or judge, ever. We do that to ourselves, the innocent among us included.

          • Which, in turn, raises the problem of a God who seemed totally unable or unwilling to “control the message” prior to Jesus’ incarnation. I may be the son of Enlightenment rationalism, but I still get nervous when things start getting into “I’m right and EVERYBODY else who came before me is wrong.” That way lies too much of American religious madness…

          • God did not “control the message” before or after Jesus’ incarnation; he did not, after all, write the New Testament, or the other traditions. I’m not saying he ever did; you said that.

          • @ bt, dt: Why the sarcasm? Surely you know that many other Christians share my perspective, so it’s not like I came up with it out of whole cloth.

          • Burro [Mule] says

            @RobertF re:bt;dt

            Abandoning Biblical literalism and not having a magisterium to replace it with tends to make one’s own moral instincts the touchstone of interpretation. Or worse, the Spirit of the Age.

            I know that because I am that. You’re lucky that enough fellow Christians agree with you to make you James Pike instead of Arthur W. Pink.

          • @Mule:

            I’m aware of the dangers of making one’s own, or the Spirit of the Age’s, moral instincts the touchstone of interpretation; I’m also aware of the danger of making the moral instincts of former ages the touchstone of interpretation, whether by way of a magisterial authority posited to scripture or an extra-scriptural institution.

          • Robert, an authoritative text isn’t the moral instincts of former ages. It is timeless teaching that has been held consistently through the ages.

            You have not answered Mule’s charge, because you cannot. “Biblical literalism” is a straw man and a false dichotomy that can be whipped out to excuse anything we don’t like. Traditional hermeneutics are not that simple, unless you’re a backwoods fundamentalist. There’s a whole history of diverse interpretation to be interacted with, and some remarkably consistent threads to be found throughout.

            Would you give magisterial authority to God himself? How exactly would you expect Him to use it? He can either communicate to us in the pages of scripture, or he can speak to you in a voice in your head. One of these is more rational.

            If the text itself is so suspect, or guilty until proven innocent, what is even the point of it at all, except to cherry pick when we need to justify ourselves? No, such an attitude towards the scripture is an expression of the deification of our own will to power. There are plenty of other books that would serve that purpose just as well.

          • @Miguel,

            In order to communicate a text with magisterial authority, God would have had to speak through the voices in somebody’s head, whether they knew it or not. I don’t believe he did that in the case of the Bible, either Old or New Testaments, and I don’t believe he does that today.

            The authority that the Bible, and the NT specifically, has is the authority of a community that has been privy to the saving acts of God in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. When I hear the OT (actually don’t read it much; I hear it more often), I listen for the presence of the forgiving and reconciling Christ in the sometimes harsh text. Call it cherry-picking if you like; that doesn’t bother me, because I’m not on a quest for orthodoxy or correct systematic theology, or certainty.

            As far as I’m concerned, the NT, from beginning to end, is the witness of a community that has known itself as forgiven and reconciled to God, each other, and all humanity, in the presence and power of the risen Christ. I accept its authority as a human witness to that event and experience. I don’t think the experience of the risen and living Jesus can be teased out from this experience of reconciliation; they are of a piece. I don’t think the words and actions of Jesus as reported in the NT as a whole are as central to Christian belief as the witness of the Christian community in those texts to the risen, living and reconciling Jesus; I take it that the NT in its entirety is an extended commentary on this founding experience. I believe the authenticity of the Church’s witness to the risen, living and reconciling Christ, though I don’t believe in the infallibility of that witness.

            As someone who has always been aware of my own tendency toward alienation from God, humanity, and creation, I value the testimony of the New Testament to the presence of the risen, living and reconciling Jesus. It corroborates some of my own experiences, and has convinced me that the living Jesus is with me in my life, in the world, and in his community of witness that we call the Church. I further believe and value that in the Church, Jesus has created a new community that is meant to practice forgiveness and reconciliation in a world that prefers to count coup.

            So, I continue to ascribe to the Bible, especially the NT, a unique place among other literature; if I ever lose faith in the trustworthiness of the NT’s witness to the reality of the risen and living Jesus in its time and ours, I will no longer ascribe special status to it. No special inspiration, infallibility or inerrancy is needed for me to continue in my faith.

          • In order to communicate a text with magisterial authority, God would have had to speak through the voices in somebody’s head, whether they knew it or not

            You’re saying either it’s verbal plenary inspiration, or none at all. There’s plenty of other theories of inspiration to chose from. Hebrews 1 says that God spoke to us through the prophets. But if you don’t believe that, even though the text claims it, how is that unlike wishful thinking and more like faith?

            is the authority of a community that has been privy to the saving acts of God in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

            …whose authority is only valid to you as far as you agree with their claims? That is the opposite of authority.

            I listen for the presence of the forgiving and reconciling Christ in the sometimes harsh text. Call it cherry-picking if you like

            No, that is actually closer to what you might call literalism. Jesus literally said, on multiple occasions, that the text was completely about Him. Therefore, how you are listening is a traditional approach to the text that lets the text dictate the terms of interpretation.

            I’m not on a quest for orthodoxy

            Yes, you are. You totally are. You just aren’t buying anyone else’s wrong version of it. If truth were not a concern to you, then you would be more ambivalent towards the inspiration of the text. It could be, it might not be, it doesn’t matter either way. But you are asserting that it is not. It is disingenuous to draw lines in the sand and then hide behind a pretense of ideological ambiguity. You ARE certain that the text is not infallible.

            the NT, from beginning to end, is the witness of a community that has known itself as forgiven and reconciled to God

            I doubt many would say it isn’t at least that.

            I don’t think the words and actions of Jesus as reported in the NT as a whole are as central to Christian belief as the witness of the Christian community in those texts to the risen, living and reconciling Jesus;

            Rising, living, and reconciling are not the words and actions of Jesus? What else was he allegedly doing or saying in the Gospels? Oh, right…. “Do unto others…” Yeah, legalistic, religious pharisees probably just came up with that one. Seriously, though, you’re trying to boil all his words and actions down to their central essence. Why then would you be suspicious of the very words that support that essence?

            I believe the authenticity of the Church’s witness to the risen, living and reconciling Christ, though I don’t believe in the infallibility of that witness.

            But how do you know you can trust any of it at all? Why should I? By what criteria can you accept its witness to some things concerning Christ, and not others? How is that not creating your own version of Jesus? Is the text only true to the extent that it corroborates some of our experiences? How is that not utterly relativistic?

            in the Church, Jesus has created a new community that is meant to practice forgiveness and reconciliation

            I really doubt you would come up with that idea apart form the text. You must confess that you allow it to shape the beliefs you ascribe to. Why must you insist on putting it in a straightjacket?

            if I ever lose faith in the trustworthiness of the NT’s witness to the reality of the risen and living Jesus in its time and ours, I will no longer ascribe special status to it

            But why is Jesus so important? You cannot answer that question without relying on what the text teaches.

            You’re trying too hard to be the polar opposite of the fundamentalist boogeyman. Instead, you wind up foisting an unreasonable set of rules and restrictions on the text which create contradiction. Why cannot you just assent to the trustworthiness of the entire text, and just leave room to grow in your understanding of the passages you’d rather consider “fallible human opinion?” Does it have to be wrong if you don’t like it, or can we not have at least a little room for “I don’t know” in our theology, that leaves a wider tent to explore various understandings of difficult passages? It seems you are too committed to your certainty there.

          • I really don’t have the time to respond to all of your points, Miguel. So I’ll respond to the one questioning why I think Jesus is so important: Because the entire NT was written by a community that had come to the sudden conviction that it was the risen Jesus, whom they had known during his mortal lifetime, who extended forgiveness and reconciliation to them, along with hope and new life. The wrote the all the New Testament documents on the basis of that conviction.

            This is how I experience and understand the NT, and Bible. I understand that my perspective may disqualify me as a true Christian in your eyes, but there it is. I can’t make myself into what you seem to think is acceptable.

            You think I don’t qualify for Christian credentials; I think I do.

          • And this, @Miguel: A couple of times in the last year, my wife has said to me that it has become very difficult for her to read the Bible. Things she used to think she understood (as a fairly literalist reader) no longer make sense; she comes away from Bible reading shaking her head, uncomprehending and unedified. She feels lost.

            More and more it becomes clear to me that any god who expects his creatures to make sense of the existence he has bestowed, to get their beliefs right according to some system or group of texts, would be asking too much; if that’s what he requires, then he is no god of grace.

          • Clay Crouch says

            @Robert F: Please tell your wife that she is in good company and not to lose heart, but keep the faith.

          • Robert – i have a lot of fellow feeling re. your wife’s concerns. Ever since being kicked out of an evangelical church, i find it vety hard to read the Bible in a religious or devotional manner, for the same reasons. (Though I’m fascinated by certain parts of it from a literary standpoint.) And a lot of my own shell shock comes from being hammered over the head with literalist proof texts. As opposed to engaging with parts of Scripture in – and as – prayer, and as passages are dovetailed in the lectionary.

            But the problem for me noe is that the mental/emotional exhaustion engendered by the 1st approach really hinders me from engaging in the 2nd.

            However… i know that stepping away from things thst no longer make sense has bern very helpful. Your wife needs a break, and in time, I’m sure she will havd new reference points and insights. But i do feel for her: “nothing makes sense” is a tough place to be.

          • Robert, I never questioned your “Christian credentials,” only your internal consistency.
            “Credentials” is a ridiculous way to look at Christianity anyways. The only qualifications you need are sin and resistance. I’m going to go out on a limb here and wager that you qualify by those two standards (though I occasionally have my doubts 😛 ).

            As far as doctrinal precision goes, the apostolic litmus test is very simple: “Jesus is Lord,” and “He is risen from the dead.” I’m very certain those are the center of your faith, so relax, I’m not your own personal inquisition. I just think your approach to scripture is very self-contradictory.

            Yes, many things in the Bible are very hard to read, and even harder to understand. My thoughts on that: Avoid those parts. Seriously. Canon within the canon: Not all parts are equally important to all people. IMO, the vast majority of lay persons need nothing more for devotional reading than the Psalms and the Gospels (and those have plenty of enough challenges right there to last a lifetime or 20). I regularly encourage people beginning to develop spiritual disciplines to start there and stay there as long as possible.

            Leviticus, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Thessalonians, and Revelation are not necessary devotional material. The vast majority of Christians who ever lived did not even have these scriptures to use devotionally. Their devotions were mostly memorized prayers.

            God isn’t looking for us to get our theology perfect and make sense of everything. That isn’t what the Scriptures are about. They are an invitation to us to trust Him in the midst of our uncertainty. When you quit looking at them as the schematics of the universe and focus on, as you say, encountering Christ in the text, the things that we get hung up on tend to seem reduced in significance.

            If something in the Bible is difficult or troubling, the answer isn’t to just write it off as a mistake. We’ve got to accept that God can be a difficult and troubling person, and that’s ok, because we don’t have to understand him. We just have to look to Jesus. Why does the snake bite? Why does the bite hurt? Why are there snakes? Why do they kill people? The Bible isn’t meant to and does’t really try to answer these. As a means of grace, it only holds before us the snake that was lifted up, that we might mysteriously find our healing in looking to Him.

            To say the things that trouble or perplex us in scripture must be errs it to cling to our certainty of the universe as we understand it and a God who is beholden to our standards. I’m comfortable with being uncomfortable, leaving room for mystery, uncertainty, and interpretative plurality. When it comes to the God of the whole Bible, I’ll take the real deal, even if He scares me to death, for though he slay me, I will yet see his goodness in the land of the living.

          • Miguel, You’re a good man; I like you.

            And you’re right in many ways, about me, and other things. I am not internally consistent in my understanding of what it means to be a Christian, or how the Bible is authoritative for Christian faith and understanding. I don’t expect that I will ever be able to cobble together a consistent understanding of my own; and I don’t expect that I would understand or recognize another person’s internally consistent position on these things if it came up and hit me in the head. So I see no alternative to trusting that it will be alright, that God’s mercy and love far outpace any expectation he has that I should understand something consistently, and that grace will be the last word when all is said and done.

            But I will ponder the things you’ve said in my heart.

      • Or…and go with me on this one…

        God doesn’t elect kings or rulers.

        And why should he. He gave us free choice and dominion over this earth.

      • Evil rulers are a punishment to a nation, either way. God is at least judging to the extent that he permits us to do it to ourselves and does not intervene.

        Conversely, though, good government is a gift from God. Now if only he weren’t so stingy with that one.

      • jazziscoolithink says

        The whole unsolvable problem that theodicy seeks (and always fails) to address stems from the Hellenistic–not biblical–idea that God is omnipotent. Could it be, as Paul says, that God is weak, weak in a way that cannot and should not be reinterpreted into strength/power/omnipotence? Could it be that there is something uncontrollable in the very nature of existence? You’d have to throw out the whole–also unbiblical–idea of creatio ex nihilo. But that’s not too difficult; just read the first creation account literally.

      • I’m a little surprised that you are getting pushback on this, Robert, since it logically follows. Evil rulers are evil because they do evil deeds against others. That is why they are called evil. If God puts evil rulers over people, then God is the author of evil. And this isn’t even new. Averroes nailed this one 700 years ago.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          It goes against people’s idealistic flowers-and unicorns theology. That is why they don’t like it.

          Logic is an unapologetic tool…

    • ECFA is already a joke, so not sure this matters.

      Good point. ECFA and its president, Dan Busby, were named as co-conspirators in a racketeering lawsuit recently filed against Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner over financial contributions to Mars Hill Church. Any credibility ECFA gained in kicking Gospel for Asia and the Institute in Basic Life Principles out of the organization was pretty much destroyed by that lawsuit.

  8. Gothard and Tullian and Driscoll, oh my!

    • Christiane says

      I still can’t put Tullian in the same boat with Gothard and Driscoll. I’m not sure exactly ‘why’, but my discernment holds me back from comparing him to those two. I’m not excusing Tullian. But he is NOT the same as they are, in a way that gives me more hope for him. Don’t ask me to explain my thinking here. I couldn’t even begin.

      • I feel the same way. Tullian did wrong, but in the context of teaching and personality that was healing (to be fair, it was still woefully celebrity driven, like most American evangelicalism). I feel like Tullian was much closer to being a “real” pastor than Driscoll, and Gothard…I don’t know what he was.

  9. Josh in FW says

    I’m not a fan of Trump, but if the choice ends up being Trump or Clinton I honestly don’t know how I’ll vote. I’m not sure which would cause more long term damage. It’s interesting how the noise of Trump has provided so much of a distraction from the crimes of Hillary Clinton. It’s almost as if they are working together.

    • Hillary promises more of the same (slow-motion economic decline and political deadlock); Trump offers a “strong-man” cutting through the Gordian knot but at the price of the constitutional system as we know it.

      In the words of Gozer the Gozarian, “CHOOSE THE FORM OF THE DESTRUCTOR!!! CHOOSE AND PERISH!!!”

      • Josh in FW says

        This is why I’m considering not voting for Pres. for the first time since I became eligible to vote 21 years ago.

        • Cop out. Support a third party. There’s plenty of causes more worthwhile than the ones likely to win.

          • Josh in FW says

            3rd party is same result as not voting. I’ll vote for the other offices, but still unsure/undecided on President

          • Josh, I’ll counter you…

            Voting for a 3rd party is NOT the same as not voting. It’s saying, “I support this person.” Do not fall for the weird mindset that voting for someone/anyone who’s not a Dem or Rep is like not voting.

          • It will have the same effect only in terms of who actually sits in the office. But nonetheless, it shows support for the third party. They know they’re never gonna win. They run anyways to promote their political ideas and agendas. If Trump gets the GOP ticket, and all his dissenters vote 3rd party, that is going to register as the most support they have ever had. It would utterly spank the GOP for being so foolish, and could potentially put a smaller party in the running next time around.

            Give your vote to the guy who most deserves it. If we’re getting a schmuck anyways, the vote count for the noble underdogs gives them the chance to keep fighting. Enough people get sick of getting stuck with schmucks, and they don’t have to stay the underdog forever.

          • Agree 100%. Voting for a 3rd party will have an influence on future elections.

          • Josh in FW says

            Ok, point taken. I was emoting. I agree that choosing an alternative party candidate will register my viewpoint. I’m still hoping for s brokered convention that results in a candidate other than Trump.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        “more of the same (slow-motion economic decline and political deadlock)”

        More of the same sounds pretty good to me: certainly better than the likely alternative. The economy has been growing slowly but pretty steadily under the current president. Historians will recall that it was under the previous guy that the economy crashed. (This is in a similar vein to the controversial claim by historians that the previous guy was president on September 11, 2001.) Historians will also recall that the guy before that (aka Clinton’s husband) presided over eight years of peace and prosperity. Remember the talk back then of the realistic prospect of paying off the federal debt? (No? You don’t? Weird, what with the media being infamously in the bag for the Democrats.) Not balancing the budget: paying off the debt. There were hand-wringing think pieces about how T-bills are vital to the modern world economy, and how awful it would be if the Treasury weren’t issuing them. Thank goodness his successor saved us from that fate by cutting revenue while increasing expenses.

        As for political deadlock, I don’t believe in giving in to extortion. The Senate Republicans are currently protesting that Obama is fulfilling his constitutional duty, while assuring us that they will steadfastly refuse to fulfill theirs. This is not a reason to vote Republican.

  10. Mark Driscoll probably hasn’t yet seeded the new church board with his spineless lackeys. Once he has, his true self will once again be revealed.

  11. Rubio inserted an note-worthy qualifier in his concession speech this week. He said “We live in a republic and our voters make these decisions”. He didn’t say we live in a democracy. The difference is that certain conservatives interpret the constitution to mean the will of the people can be short-circuited. By whom? Well, the wealthy landowners, who in there mind were the only ones who were meant to have voting rights in the first place.

    • Josh in FW says

      At this point I’m hoping the more level headed voters at the convention will be able to nominate someone other than Trump.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        That would be fun to watch. I remember as a kid being lectured about how amazing it was that I could watch the nominating conventions on television, and how as a participant in American democracy I should watch them. Even in my youth I figured out that no actual decisions were made at the conventions, and what actually went on was stultifying political posturing. I later on figured out that the conventions had at one time been genuinely important events, and that those lectures were outdated holdovers. So seeing a convention where something important actually occurred would be quite the novelty.

        It is entirely likely that Trump will have a majority of delegates going in, with said delegates bound in how they vote on the first ballot. The trick is that the convention sets its own rules, and these can be changed, even before the first balloting. So the rules could be changed, releasing those delegates. A free-for-all would follow. The interesting thing is that I haven’t seen any analysis of those delegates and how they feel about the various candidates. Traditionally they tend to be local party functionaries, with a trip to the convention a reward for their service. This would tend to suggest that they would favor more establishment candidates, but so far as I can tell no one really knows.

        Oh, and if the party establishment does this, there will be riots. Trump has pretty much promised this.

  12. On MacArthur, I’m shocked the wall is only for the charismatics. The Babylon Bee needs to do more research, because JMac would surely have a wall for the Catholics too, and maybe even one for Billy Graham with his heretical talk of a wideness in God’s mercy. And likely also one for Christian psychologists and psychiatrists. The list could go on, but it gets either ridiculous or depressing at some point and I’m not up for that early on a Saturday, so I’ll just wish everyone a late happy St. Patrick’s day. Cheers and thanks for the rambling.

  13. If the Ramblers hadn’t been renamed “Jeffreys” in honor of the man who opposed the steering wheel, they might be known as General Motors Corporation today

    >>The pedals on our bike are Bible teaching and relationships

    That statement from Mr. Driscoll has a red flag waving with the word “teaching” as opposed to Bible study. Mr. Driscoll would do well to read Without a Vision My People Prosper. A few quotes from the book: “My goal is to have no goal. My vision is visionless. I be. We be. That’s it.” “We simply get together to worship, fellowship, gather around the Bible, help those who need it. That’s it.” “What I am searching for is a way to do community that isn’t burdensome to people. but in fact is an expression of freedom and love.” “Question everything.”

    Even Mr. Driscoll couldn’t top the blather here today directed at Mr. Trump. The man is a master at what he does. Everyone here firmly believes that he is trying to become POTUS. I give him a 9 in a field where everyone else is 7 at best and the average has been more like 5. And this is only the first act. All the ducks are in a row. Quack, quack, quack!

    • Oh, Charles, I don’t believe Trump actually wants to be POTUS; I believe he wants to be at the center of a never-ending show in which he commands all the attention instantly and irresistibly. POTUS would just be his stage, and more and more erratic and destructive actions his acting method.

      • I’ve thought that, too, Robert. That once he’s in office, he would have to continually up the ante to keep everyone focused on him. and him alone.

      • >>I don’t believe Trump actually wants to be POTUS

        Well, Robert, he’s certainly got your knickers in a twist as if you do believe it. Here’s a little tip: When you see a magician waving his left hand around, immediately look at what his right hand is doing. Here’s another tip: If it bothers you to have someone wanting to be the center of a never-ending show in which he commands all the attention instantly and irresistibly, try resisting giving him all your attention.

    • I don’t know exactly what Trump wants, but living here in the Rust Belt, I think I have a pretty good idea what his supporters want. They want their jobs back. They want their lives back. Trump (and Sanders!) are the ones pointing out that globalization, so eagerly entered into by the ruling class of both Republicans and Democrats, has been the death knell of the American working class.

      While the media (which is on the side of the elites, don’t kid yourselves about that) focuses its horror on Trumps nativist, racist statements, Trump’s supporters are hearing his remarks about Nafta and free trade agreements. If you listen to one of his entire speeches you’ll see that most of his talks are about bringing back the wealth to the working people who built this country, who were and are trashed and ridiculed by the elites of both parties. But I’ll bet that virtually everyone here who loathes and trashes Trump does so because they’ve heard, not a speech of his, but the cherry-picked excerpts from The Media.

      Being a white college graduate, I should be all for my fellow elitists, but my grandpa spent his life as a union organizer. I’m disgusted with the way both political parties, and The Media, have distanced themselves so much from ordinary working people. Now come Bernie and Donald to smack America upside the head, and I say good for them. I voted for Bernie in the primaries, and I may sit out the general for the first time in 50 years.

      • The local Teamsters is supporting Trump. I can’t really blame them; the Democratic party has been making promises to the unions for years, and delivered exactly nothing. Of course, this is because our labor laws are hopelessly out of touch.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          Without disputing the underlying point that the Democrats have a poor history of performing for labor, it isn’t quite exactly nothing. Look at the current makeup and rulings of the NLRB and compare it with that of eight years ago. It isn’t splashy, but a lot of the good things coming out of this administration are happening at the agency/bureau level.

          • I don’t want to ignore some of the good that has happened, but NLRB couldn’t find their derrière with both hands. Farris-Browning was the worst ruling since NRLB was founded, and will result in years of contested contracts, court cases, and will end up being stricken (probably at SCOTUS level) and end up reducing labor rights in the long run.

            To be fair, the union(s) I work with are hopelessly out of touch, and must share the responsibility for their failure. All the board members are old white men (except the one old white woman, who is wife of the President…yeah)? A lodge model…a lodge model??? This isn’t the 1960s, folks! They need to move toward a subscriber model that is largely cloud based. The last voters meeting they had was on a Saturday morning, and involved voting on a proposal for the next contract negotiations (i.e., a Big Deal). Only 40% showed up. So there is plenty of culpability on both sides, but I do understand why they would support for Trump (I mean, as much as i can understand anyone supporting him).

      • >>I voted for Bernie in the primaries, and I may sit out the general for the first time in 50 years.

        Heather, there’s over half a year left and this thing is changing daily. I’ve never seen anything like it. I expect it is going to be looking entirely different by next November with much drama along the way. When history looks back on this you are going to want the totals to include your part in this, whichever column you might want to reflect one more affirmation, however it turns out. And there are more than two choices, including write in. You don’t get to say, “Don’t blame me, I stayed home.”

        In the Michigan primary anyone registered to vote can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary. I voted for Bernie figuring that it would be my one chance in life to vote for him and against she who can not be opposed, sort of a two-fer. It was pretty much a symbolic gesture on my part, and lo, Michigan trounced the Screecher. I try to stay on top of things, but I definitely did not see that one coming. Not often is there occasion to be proud to live in Michigan but this was one of them, and as it turned out I was part of it.

        • Very good for you, Charles! That was a delightful win, wasn’t it?

          Yeah, I’ll probably go ahead and vote in November. Can’t hurt, might help.

      • Patrick Kyle says

        Both political parties have consistently lied and profited at the expense of the middle and working classes. Those days are coming to an end, one way or another, and you all are right to be afraid. It won’t be pretty. I am well traveled outside the leftist echo chamber and what I see would cause your hearts to melt. There are many that believe a civil war is likely and are preparing accordingly. Meanwhile the shrill speech and recriminations of the establishment, both Dem and Rep, are making the divides worse. In collusion with the MSM they are spreading fear and panic in both wings of our bi-factional ruling party. What those on the left and ‘centrists’ don’t realize is that the rhetoric of racism/white privilege has ceased being effective in preventing the middle class from acting in it’s own interests. This rhetoric is at best seen as a lie used to further separate the country into factions, and at worst a tool to ransack the white middle class. (Say and believe what you will. This is how a significant number people view it.) People are tired of it and more and more are violently so. The GOP needs to be careful. If Trump wins in the primary race and they steal the nomination from him, it will become very ugly. It will be a long and violent summer.
        I live in Southern California, and for the first time since I moved here, we are SERIOUSLY considering a move to the mid west. Someplace nice and quiet away from major metropolitan areas. This is not the place to be when the SHTF, and that is looking more likely with each passing week.

  14. Great ramblings today, CM. Nice mix of topics.

  15. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Félix Cabrera is the pastor of Iglesia Bautista Central, a Southern Baptist congregation in Oklahoma City. He thinks if the nation were to elect Trump, it would indicate that God is casting down judgment upon our nation.

    Haven’t we heard eight solid years of the same Special Revelation about Obama?

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