December 1, 2020

Saturday Ramblings: October 22, 2016



This summer I had the privilege of attending a luncheon at the home of the Archbishop of Indianapolis, Joseph W. Tobin. Our mutual friend John Armstrong had arranged for a number of religious leaders and ministers from around town to meet together to discuss the topic of missional-ecumenism in our city. I truly enjoyed Fr. Tobin’s hospitality and his easy manner which made us all feel welcome and able to participate freely in the discussion.

Tobin came to some public attention last year when he led the local Catholic church in opposing Gov. Mike Pence’s call to ban Syrian refugees from Indiana.

Just recently, he received big news. On October 9, Archbishop Tobin issued the following statement:

Early this morning I learned that Pope Francis had appointed me to the College of Cardinals. I will formally be installed in that service in a ceremony in Rome next month. I will continue as the Archbishop of Indianapolis. I have come to love deeply the people of the Catholic communities of central and southern Indiana and count as a precious blessing the numerous friendships I have with civic and religious leaders throughout the state. I ask all people of faith to pray for me. I hope this new responsibility will make me a better servant of all Hoosiers. I also offer my prayers and support to the other Cardinals-elect, especially Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago and Archbishop Kevin Farrell, of Dallas, who was recently appointed to a new position in Rome.

You can read more about his lifetime of ministry and service at the links above.

Fr. Tobin will make a trip to Rome on Nov. 19 when the Pope is scheduled to elevate the new cardinals at a formal ceremony.

Congratulations for this honor and for the ongoing ministry of soon-to-be Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, our Rambler of the Week.

• • •


This presidential election campaign has been filled with so many attacks and so much vitriol, that the entire country is feeling the heavy mood of negativity. With that in mind, we’d like to offer an alternative candidate today who can lift our spirits and bring the sunshine back to America again.

In today’s talk, our candidate shows a depth of humility and vulnerability rare seen in U.S. politics. My fellow Americans, this man is worthy of your vote on Nov. 8.

Note: I’m sorry but this video has a feature that continues to play other clips after this one. Just hit stop.




• • •


Here’s a Cubs fan I’m pulling for. Your hopelessly devoted (to the Chicago Cubs) Chaplain has been waiting 60 years for his hapless baseball team to make it to the World Series. But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to 101-year-old Virginia Wood. She’ll be 102 next month, and what she wants most for her birthday is to see her favorite team win a championship for the first time since 1908.


Wood attended her first Cubs game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field in 1924. She was 10 years old. As an adult, she would go as often as she could, especially with friends after work on “Ladies Day” when they could attend free.

“When people didn’t stay for the whole game, we’d all move ourselves down a little closer to the front as far as we could go,” Wood says.

Wood saw lots of games but no championships. The Cubs last won a World Series in 1908, but Wood dismisses the idea of a curse holding the Cubs back. She says she knew a championship would come eventually, and she is convinced this is the year.

“Oh, I’m counting on them going all the way, absolutely,” she says.

Virginia and I and a host of others will be on pins and needles as the Cubs face the Dodgers in game 6 of the National League Championship Series tonight at Wrigley Field. This past week, when Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers pitcher, and Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs hurler, last met, most of us chewed our fingers down to the knuckles watching an excruciatingly tense game that the Dodgers won 1-0. I know Randy Thompson is pulling for his Dodgers, but Virginia and I are hoping the Cubs don’t get “Kershawed” again this evening.

Meanwhile, Cubs fan and funnyman Bill Murray did this.

• • •

There was a major attack on the Internet Friday. Here are excerpts of the New York Time’s report of the massive “distributed denial-of-service attack, or DDoS.”

cyber-attackMajor websites were inaccessible to people across wide swaths of the United States on Friday after a company that manages crucial parts of the internet’s infrastructure said it was under attack.

Users reported sporadic problems reaching several websites, including Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb, Reddit, Etsy, SoundCloud and The New York Times.

The company, Dyn, whose servers monitor and reroute internet traffic, said it began experiencing what security experts called a distributed denial-of-service attack just after 7 a.m. Reports that many sites were inaccessible started on the East Coast, but spread westward in three waves as the day wore on and into the evening.

And in a troubling development, the attack appears to have relied on hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices like cameras, baby monitors and home routers that have been infected — without their owners’ knowledge — with software that allows hackers to command them to flood a target with overwhelming traffic.

…Dyn is one of many outfits that host the Domain Name System, or DNS, which functions as a switchboard for the internet. The DNS translates user-friendly web addresses like into numerical addresses that allow computers to speak to one another. Without the DNS servers operated by internet service providers, the internet could not operate.

In this case, the attack was aimed at the Dyn infrastructure that supports internet connections. While the attack did not affect the websites themselves, it blocked or slowed users trying to gain access to those sites.

Mr. York, the Dyn strategist, said in an interview during a lull in the attacks that the assaults on its servers were complex.

“This was not your everyday DDoS attack,” Mr. York said. “The nature and source of the attack is still under investigation.”

Many are warning that this is only the beginning.

• • •

✑ Phoenix Preacher calls out Saeed Abedini. Michael Newnham nails it in his piece critical of the released Iranian hostage/domestic abuser/”pastor”.

On his blog, Newnham had faithfully called us to pray for Saeed when he was imprisoned in Iran. Millions of Christians did so, interceding for him, his release, and his family. Thankfully, he was set free and came home to the U.S., to the cheers of many, including Franklin Graham, who had also been a huge promoter of the American pastor. However, during all of this it came out that Saeed and his wife Nagmeh had serious marital difficulties and that he had been emotionally and physically abusive toward her, one time serving a 90-day jail sentence for domestic violence. The couple eventually divorced.

So, has his return and all these changes indicated that it might be time for solitude and self-reflection on Saeed’s part? Unfortunately, no. He continues to make public pronouncements as a “pastor” and is even soliciting financial support so that he can continue his “ministry.” Michael Newnham is right. This is unwise at the very least.

192On his Facebook page, “Pastor” Saeed Abedini says that a woman could not be elected President because that would be giving her “headship”.

He does allow that a woman can be in “leadership”.

He has not yet explained the difference in any coherent way.

Coherence is not his strong suit.

He is still being held up by Charisma ragazine and other Christian “news” outlets…in Charisma, he says he’s not endorsing a candidate.

On Facebook, he comes out loudly for Trump.

He also says that he has been in a constant battle with the “spirit of Jezebel” since coming home.

Of course he has…

Of course, Saeed claims that everything he says is biblical.

Therefore, you should be one of 200 people who will commit to twenty dollars a month to support him… after two weeks, he’s only 180 people short.

Evidently, the Franklin Graham gravy train has had the wheels come off…

Before you commit to giving Saeed twenty bucks a month…perhaps he should answer how he’s still in the ministry when he’s absolutely disqualified biblically from the pulpit.

Ask him how a woman is unqualified to be president, but a man with an unbiblical divorce and an arrest record is qualified for ministry.

Ask him how a man that refuses to answer for his past or present sin to the Body of Christ is fit for ministry.

Ask him…better yet, ignore him.

• • •

Ballot initiatives we’ll be voting for/against in 2016. In addition to voting for officeholders in this years elections, voters across the U.S. will be faced with making choices with regard to more than 160 ballot initiatives. Here are some of them, as reported by Robert Schroeder at Market Watch:

  • c4876a_f04cc5f4a143cd88843c076387809828-jpg_srz_980_650_85_22_0-50_1-20_0-00_jpg_srzMinimum wage: There are measures to boost the minimum wage on the ballot in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington. And in a referendum that may prove to be the bane of South Dakota teenagers, voters in that state will decide whether the minimum wage should drop by $1 an hour for workers under the age of 18.
  • Plastic bags in California: In 2014, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the country’s first statewide ban on disposable plastic bags. On Nov. 8, Golden State residents will vote whether to uphold the law or throw it out. The law bans single-use plastic bags and also lets grocers charge customers 10 cents for paper bags or reusable plastic bags.
  • Marijuana: Voters in nine states get the opportunity to legalize marijuana. Five — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — have ballot initiatives to legalize pot for recreational use and four — Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota — for medical use.
  • Taxing tobacco: Voters in four states will consider increasing tobacco taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: California, Colorado, Missouri and North Dakota. And smokers should be prepared for a hefty increase. In Colorado, for example, the tax would go from 84 cents a pack to $2.59. The median state tax on a pack of cigarettes was $1.53 as of January.
  • New Jersey’s casino question: Atlantic City’s casinos have gone through some very trying times, with the Trump Taj Mahal earlier this month becoming the latest to close its doors. Now, voters will get a say on adding two casinos elsewhere in the state. If voters approve Public Question 1, notes Ballotpedia, it would end a four-decade monopoly in Atlantic City.

In additional measures, porn actors in California could be required to wear condoms during filming if Prop. 60 is approved. Several states are voting on additional gun control measures. Here in Indiana, we’ll be voting about establishing a constitutional right to hunt and fish, while in Oklahoma they will vote about whether to add a “right to farm” provision to their constitution. Minnesotans will weigh in on creating an independent board that will set the pay of their legislators.

For a comprehensive run-down of this year’s ballot initiatives, go to Ballotpedia.

• • •

✑ As we get closer to the election, here are some wise and helpful words from Elizabeth Mangham Lott at Baptist News Global.

In the midst of this tremendously difficult season, it is easy to forget who we are and give into fear. The campaign season may have gone off the rails, but we don’t have to follow. As people of faith, we must pay attention to the voices and teachings that are shaping our minds and realities. In the Church, the teachings that inform our lives are not the ones that make us more afraid but the ones that that make us more generous. More trusting. More hopeful. More loving. More compassionate. We must pay attention to what is manifesting within us and what we are releasing into our world. Are we becoming angrier? More anxious? More hostile? Less trusting? More afraid? There’s a pretty good chance that those are not the ways of God.

When we are stepping forward in truth, we are braver, kinder, stronger, more fully alive and more fully ourselves. We remember that the image of God is within us and within all those whom we meet. When we are on the Way of Christ Jesus, we are extending the same grace and peace to others that has been extended to us. Even in a frightening and divisive political season, the words we profess as followers of Christ are true. Especially now, the world needs us to grow more fully into the Spirit ways of peace, love, joy, kindness, goodness, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. If all of that sounds like too much, let’s at least agree to start with the kindness part.

• • •



• • •


3520581061_513a46b869_zWhat does the “Enneagram” have to offer Christians?

Is this what churches should say to gay members?

Should you let your dog lick your face?

Are we actually living in the Matrix?

Why has Wayne Grudem reversed his position again on Donald Trump?

Why is Texas capping services for special education students?

Why have the NFL’s early season TV ratings declined?

How has the church helped you?

• • •


Some of the finalists in the 2016 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.







  1. first!

    With the time difference

  2. I voted early.

    Stuart Smalley might make a good Senator.

    On a related note Sheriff Andy Taylor was twice elected Sheriff in Mayberry as a write in candidate. Our Sheriff’s race here was uncontested so I wrote Andy in for that.

  3. One news source said that the web attack and shutdown was retaliation for or a protest against the continuing “imprisonment” of Julian Assange – I.e., it was a pro-WikiLeaks effort.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      By the time we conclusively know anything the media will have moved on to another story.

    • It was clearly a secret test of a new tool the Federal Reserve has developed in order to boost the economy. When the internet is shut down, worker productivity (GDP production per hour worked) rises measurably. 🙂

    • I’m not a hacker nor do I play one on TV but in my darker moments I think that a complete shutdown of the internet might be the best thing that could happen to the human race.

  4. I stopped watching NFL games awhile ago, because there is hardly any game to watch. What with the official time outs, commercial time outs, halftime, quarter time outs, play review time outs… if it takes 3+ hours of real time to play 60 minutes of game time, *you’re doing it wrong*.

    • Andrew Zook says

      Those are all good reasons and reasons I pay 0 attention to the game, especially the time sap it is… But an even bigger clincher dawned on me during one of the most recent super bowls… (the only one I watch anymore because it became a church social) Here it is: the players don’t “really” play the game. The coaches do – a few paunchy old to middle aged, mostly white guys stand on the sideline or sit in a booth and basically decide everything that’s happening on the field. The players just follow orders… Someone could design robots someday, costume him in gear and the game could “played” exactly as it now – and you’d hardly know the difference… its very feasible because of the coach/coordinator-feeding-input nature of the game… a perfect model of all top-down authoritarianism and ironically very un-american in setup… no thanks. bye bye nfl/ncaa/”amateur” hs concussion ball…

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      I attended a professional basket ball game a few years ago. Occasionally there were guys playing basketball; otherwise there were a lot of people sitting in a stadium.

      I no longer go to any sporting events other than hockey.

    • Agree. The NFL has slowly been killing their product. The entertainment value is rarely worth the cost – I just catch the random clip on ESPN and call it a day.

    • Randy Thompson says

      Regarding the fact that a 60 minute football game takes three hours to play: My wife, if I’m watching the end of a game, will ask, “How much time is left?” Answer: “Two and a half minutes.” Reply: “Oh, 45 minutes football time.”
      That usually comes with a scowl and a roll of the eyes. (She insisted I add this last sentence.)


      Some years ago, I got to go to a Patriots game, and even got to see the game from one of the luxury boxes. I was stunned to see that virtually everything that happens at the game has a sponsor. I decided then and there that if I ever become filthy rich and can buy commercial time for NFL games, I will see to it that “Depends” becomes the sponsor of the coin toss, somewhere.

  5. I love the fox and chipmunk pics!

  6. The Enneagram of Personality: I participated in it a couple decades ago, but didn’t get anything of long-lasting value from it. But frankly, it triggered my ingrained antipathy to being pigeon-holed by any exhaustive psychological profiling system, so maybe I wasn’t the best or most open-minded participant. Since taking it I’ve learned that it’s never been scientifically tested, because its categories are so vaguely defined that it resists such testing, i.e., it’s unfalsifiable. I know that the Roman Catholic Church is highly critical of it, despite the fact that many Catholic monastics have a fondness for it. Hey, it it works for you, good; it was a waste of my time, and money.

    • Anyway, it seems that there are people out there who are trying hard to “break” the “Matrix”, as yesterday’s cyber-attack evidenced, and they are getting nearer their goal….

    • The CT article says that the Enneagram is an “ancient model”, but the evidence shows that the system was created by a couple of 20th century occultists, who ransacked some ancient religious literature for a couple of categories they use for different purposes in their completely new typology. Nothing ancient about it.

    • Christiane says

      in the counseling profession, personality inventories can be ‘helpful’ but they are not THAT definitive, and only add to a body of information from other testing of an individual, plus interviewing . . . . . you wouldn’t want to just take one kind of personality inventory either …… try several different kinds, if that is something that interests you, and then see how they compare (or contrast) …… it’s kind of fun IF you don’t take it all so seriously

  7. Re: Mr. Musk’s near certainty that we live in the Matrix: Even genius billionaire’s may hold the most extremely irrational beliefs; I’d even say that they’re more prone to such beliefs than the rest of us.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      The guy is steaming towards to nut house.

      We live in a non-level-zero reality. He wants to build the Union Pacific Railroad To Mars. Reports are that he has been sleeping in a bag suspended on a wall on the Tesla assembly line to keep an eye on things. Tesla Inc. has been churning through upper management like a meat grinder. Not to mention his vomit comet [aka the Hyper-Loop; which is not a loop, but a perfectly straight line with no intermediary stations….]

      Aside: Tesla’s recent “profitability” is the result of selling CO2 credits on California’s market-place. They flooded the market with them to pad the books and the value of CO2 credits has tanked. I realize that Tesla is a sacred cow for many people – – – but it doesn’t look promising.

      We have a lot of evidence this year that being a bajillionaire surrounded by yes-men is not good for one’s mental health.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Whatever you can say about Elon Musk (who has been written about extensively over at Wait But Why), the guy does NOT think small.

    • Unlike the plain, sensible common sense idea that a magic man in the sky had to arrange for his son to die but then get better so that you can live forever in a magic land where you will be happy forever?

      • Touche. In my own defense, though not in the defense of all Christians, I will say that my own faith lacks the strong element of paranoia present in Musk’s.

  8. Should I care why Wayne Grudem has reversed his position again on Donald Trump?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Who? … No.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        WAYNE GRUDEM GO WAYNE GRUDEM(TM), Mighty ManaGAWD(TMM) and More Calvinist than Calvin’s wildest dreams. There’s a LOT of coverage about him scattered through the archives of Wartburg Watch & Spiritual Sounding Board, none of it good.

  9. it’s just a photo
    but the wide-smiling white owl
    compels my smile too

  10. It’s probably more unhealthy for the dog than the human.

  11. jovial Budai
    in Chinese takeout’s window
    blesses passersby

  12. Randy Thompson says

    As to alternate presidential candidates, I’d like to put forward Vermin Supreme, who was running for president during the primary here in New Hampshire.

    He will pass a law requiring everyone to brush their teeth, and he advocates zombie apocalypse awareness and funding for time travel.

  13. I absolutely support a group’s right to enforce its own boundaries, and there shouldn’t be anything especially surprising about a church creating an in-group identifier out of sexuality. But at some point, Christianity in general and conservatives in particular are going to have to just admit that they are wrong about sexuality.

    • If they apply their policy across the board on their beliefs on sexual sin, then the stuff in th article seemed fine to me. They specifically made their stand because he was sexually active in a way their beliefs didn’t allow for, and he had made a decision that was what he wanted to continue to do. The article made it clear case of action choices and intentions for more in the future, not orientation. So as long as they kick out their unmarried heterosexual couples too, no problem. I think free-church style church membership is an awkwardly blunt church discipline tool, but what else do they have?

      The bigger question for me, though, is in the face of a lack of belief in same-sex marriage, what support have they built in for gay people who follow their rules?

  14. Why is Grudem flip flopping again? Well for starters, he hasn’t really got any business having an opinion, as even a cursory examination of his “political” writings show. This has nothing to do with his positions, and everything to do with a level of ignorance that even a cursory Google search could solve. He has a habit of just spewing his feelings as if they were based on research or facts. Second, someone wise once said “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Now I don’t want to be guilty of affirming the consequent, but it seems likely to me that Grudem’s recent instability (and spin, if you read his latest) is the product of double-mindedness.

    • senecagriggs says

      “Why is Grudem flip flopping again? Well for starters, he hasn’t really got any business having an opinion, ”

      I’m guessing that’s your opinion. I’m also guessing you don’t actually know Wayne Grudem.

      I see no reason why Wayne Grudem should’t have an opinion.

      • I have an opinion as well, but that begs the question as to whether other people should care one whit what that opinion is.

        If Wayne Grudem has the electoral clout of a decent condo organization president in Broward County, it might be worthwhile knowing what is opinion of Donald Trump is. Otherwise, nah.

        • seneca griggs says

          Actually Mule, the fact that his opinion is being noted by the commentors on this blog belies your statement that “he has the electoral clout of a decent condo organization president.’

          Obviously people DO care about his opinion, unlike the proverbial condo association president.

      • Of course it is my opinion, and if you finished reading my comment you would see that it is a sound opinion based on a critical analysis of the facts. It’s actually quite fun to have a thoughtful and reasoned opinion; you should try it sometime.

    • He economic analysis and other point really indicate he is fitting his analysis to the conclusion.

  15. Hey CM, in case you weren’t watching, 🙂