January 22, 2021

The Internet Monk Saturday Brunch: 2/28/17 – Pancake Day Edition


”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”

BRUNCH UPDATE: Just in time for Lent, President Donald Trump has delivered his own Sermon on the Mount. You gotta read this.

• • •

This just in…

We discovered the incident President Donald Trump was talking about when he said there was terror in Sweden last week. Thank God, only a few flapjacks were injured.


Speaking of pancakes, Tuesday is Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day), time to fill up on all the fattening stuff you can before the Lenten fast begins on Wednesday.

Here is a breakdown of ten celebrations around the world and what they’ll be eating and drinking on this annual day of indulgence. Hey, toss me a Moon Pie while I wait for my Shark & Bake sandwich to finish cooking, will ya? Pretty sure I’m gonna find space for a paczki in the morning too.

Well, it’s time for flapjacks, tomfoolery, and more reflections on what’s happening in this crazy world. Welcome to Brunch!

Here’s a politician in Sweden who gets it…

A Swedish politician is pushing to give employees an hour-long paid break to go home and have sex.

Per Erik Muskos, a member of the Swedish Social Democrat party, made the proposal during a council meeting in the northern city of Overtornea.

Mr Muskos said he’s backing the measure because he believes midweek sex breaks will improve wellness and boost childbirth in the northern region he represents.

“Childbirth should be encouraged,” he told the Stockholm-based newspaper Aftonbladet.

“When sex is also an excellent form of exercise with documented positive effects on wellbeing, the municipality should kill two birds with one stone and encourage employees to use their fitness hour to go home and have sex with their partner.”


But then, on the other hand, some negative news on the same subject. Fox reports that one presumably healthy habit might be putting a crimp in the ol’ romance…

A study from the University of North Carolina published this month in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that men who exercise intensely may have a lower libido than men who exercise moderately or lightly.

Researchers polled more than 1,000 active men on both their workouts and sex lives. Participants were split into groups by duration of exercise, intensity of exercise and libido levels. When the groups were compared, researchers found that those who reported light or moderate workouts were more likely to report moderate or high libidos than those who reported intense workouts.

Authors caution that the study was self-reported — which means the data relies on participants to be truthful and self-aware — and doesn’t show that exercise causes a low libido, but rather that the two are correlated.

I hear the caution, but still, why not play it safe? There is good reason I don’t exercise.

If you’re going to work out, this is how I suggest doing it. You know this guy gets all the lovin’ he wants…


The Oscars are on Sunday, so there’s still time to stream the nominated movies, read reviews (links below), and fill in a winning ballot at the New York Times. Any favorites out there?

This year’s Best Picture nominees are:

Speaking of movies, a new salvo was launched in the creation wars this week by Del Tackett of the so-called “Truth Project” (a Focus on the Family ministry that promotes “Christian worldview” teaching). A one-night movie event was held to show “Is Genesis History?” at theaters across the country.

Here is the trailer for the film, and it moves me to throw out a challenge today to our iMonk community —

How many holes can you find in the arguments of this film just by watching the trailer?

Come one, come all, and let’s have a field day with this one over brunch. Folks, these people are serious. There is an entire segment of the church which wants us to believe that the Bible is a book of science, that no discovery can contradict its scientific teaching, and that we cannot trust what humans have discovered over centuries from the Book of Nature. Their position insults both the Bible and the serious practices of the scientific community, and it makes the church into a legitimate laughingstock in the world.

As for me, I’ll stick with St. Augustine on this one: “It is thus offensive and disgraceful for an unbeliever to hear a Christian talk nonsense about such things [i.e. things in nature], claiming that what he is saying is based in Scripture. We should do all we can to avoid such an embarrassing situation, which people see as ignorance in the Christian and laugh to scorn.” (The Literal Meaning of Genesis)

I invite you to poke as many holes as you can find in this trailer today. In Christian love, of course.

Another icon of evangelicalism’s spiritual-commercial-industrial complex is closing its doors.

Two years ago, as Daniel reported on Saturday Ramblings, Family Christian Stores filed bankruptcy. Now, the 85 year old business has announced that it is closing.

According to Religious News Service: “The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company employed more than 3,000 people in 240 retail sites across 36 states. It was considered the world’s largest retailer of Christian-themed merchandise.”

We have a couple of FCS stores in our area, and I think the only time I’ve been in any of them in the last ten years was to buy some disposable communion cups and a few baptismal certificates.

I remember when these kinds of stores began to proliferate (the ones I knew were mostly independent). It was back in the day when “Jesus Music” filled the air and we, as young “Jesus People,” were enthralled to go to a place where you could put your hands on Christian books and discover Christian popular music. Those were the days when I thought Keith Green was a profound theologian, and when Phil Keaggy’s monster guitar solos were a guilty pleasure. I was seeking out books by authors like Watchman Nee, trying to figure out if the charismatic movement was truly of God or not, and being intrigued (and not a little confused) by end times teachings. Back before “the Christian Right” or even the “Moral Majority” stole the attention of Christians, before “church growth” and before the culture of evangelicalism became a “thing” in the U.S. We were just a bunch of kids in jeans, playing guitars, and hungry to study the Bible.

Some might say evangelicalism “grew up.” I tend to think it just got swallowed up by another culture.

What a long and crazy ride it’s been.


Why don’t Baptists do Lent?

Evangelicalism: What will become of us?

What’s a fair salary for the pastor?

Is it okay to leave a church over worship style?

Can Tom Wright save Christianity?

What’s it like to be a Muslim at a Baptist university?

Why might watching The Shack be an unwise and even sinful decision?

For me, the best news of all this week is…

Oh, and you want more good news? Stop the presses. The Album of the Year has arrived, and I’ve been swooning over it all week.

Alison Krauss released her highly anticipated record, Windy City, last Friday, and I am completely smitten. A departure from previous Krauss bluegrass-style offerings with her band Union Station, Windy City is an old-fashioned record with modern sensibilities, a lush country album of covers with impeccable arrangements that perfectly complement her angelic voice. The ballads are achingly beautiful, the uptempo songs clever and fun, the whole atmosphere resplendent with warmth and feeling.

Did I say I love this album?

Here’s the track list (some versions of the album include extras):

  1. Losing You
  2. It’s Goodbye And So Long To You
  3. Windy City
  4. I Never Cared For You
  5. River In The Rain
  6. Dream Of Me
  7. Gentle On My Mind
  8. All Alone Am I
  9. Poison Love
  10. You Don’t Know Me

Here are some reviews:

If anything is going to top this as my favorite recording of the year, it’s going to have to be utterly transcendent.

Here is Alison Krauss’s cover of Willie Nelson’s “I Never Cared for You” from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.


  1. Dang! The Genesis film was last night (February 23)! Guess I’ll have to continue in my delusions until the Special Encore showing March 2.

  2. Saw Genesis is History last night. I think it would make a great drinking game: everyone takes a shot after each logical fallacy.

    • The statement near the conclusion makes it clear none of this is about neither science nor truth but political and moralistic power. I would love to see a formal decomposition of this movie.

    • Sounds like a surefire plan to get alcohol poisoning… 😛

    • The movie keeps referring to Genesis as an eye-witness account. How is that even possible?

      • God saw it, He dictated what happened to Moses, Moses wrote it down. Problem solved.

        • You would think God could have dictated that first hand account in less…mythological terms. That is an important point when deconstructing this movie: they are emphatic that meaning of words matter, e.g. “day” means “day”. But when it comes to day four, when sun, moon, and stars are created (yes, sun created after the earth, which is hard to explain in context of Keplar’s law), words suddenly need interpretation (the sun and planets were there day one but hidden in clouds, etc). To be consistent, day four activities begin with the same command as the previous events: “let there be…”, not, suddenly the sun and stars were unveiled. The description of a flat earth mounted on pillars under a solid dome seems to be skipped entirely. And the movie bounces from claiming that Genesis is not poetry similar to other creation stories of the Middle East, but then immediately describes the words of Genesis in poetic terms. There is ceaseless begging-the-question and circular reasoning all delivered with the confidence and boldness of a used car salesman.

          It’s actually easier to read Genesis without the Young-Earth “paradigm” (another key word from the movie). Day can mean day, pillars can mean pillar, etc, because they are props for the amazing narrative, not the main points themselves.

    • I’m going out to dinner with some friends tonight, trying to at least rebuild a bridge to some former church members. I know they will have seen this, and they will have loved it, and it will come out. I don’t know how I’ll respond yet.

  3. About the Oscars for Best Picture: Last Saturday I went with a few friends to watch four of the best Pic nominees. Tomorrow, Saturday, I will watch the other five. last week “Manchester By The Sea” made me want to open a vein, it was so depressing. One friend said that it was “Good Will Hunting” 30 years later…without the good feeling!

    Fences was a Denzel Washington tour de force that left the audience scratching their heads as to what they saw. Viola Davis was THE star and deserves best supporting actor.

    “La La Land” was Hollywood’s self reverential homage to itself. The story line was fine, if a bit of a downer, but the singing and dancing was something I could have accomplished with a few months of training. The exception was the cameo of John Legend performing. Ryan Gosling was over his head but Emma Stone knocked it out of the park with her performance.

    The crowd pleaser was “Hell Or High Water” with Jeff Bridges vying for Best Supporting Actor. Chris Pine and Ben Foster were great in their roles as brothers trying to right a financial wrong by illegal, yet sympathetic, means, and the story was a rip roaring action fest with a few startling twists of plot. I’ve seen it three times and enjoyed it each viewing. Despite my enthusiasm, I admit that it is only a nominee and will not win Best Picture.

    Tomorrow we will see “Moonlight”, “Lion”, “Arrival” (which I’ve already seen), “Hacksaw Ridge” (also, already seen), and “Hidden Figures”. Ten hours + in a movie theater, but no one will ask me what I thought was the best. That is for Hollywood to decide. 🙁

    I won’t be watching Sunday night because of the inevitable political blather that will accompany the acceptance speeches.

    • I really liked “La La Land.” It ended up having more depth than I had anticipated. My wife and I discussed the idea “can a person recognize and change a path they will later regret before it’s too late” for quite a while afterward.

      Saw “Lion” last week. Great movie!

      • They should have just scrapped the “musical” part of it. I’m just not a fan of weak voiced singing and mechanical dancing.

      • My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed “La La Land”. I’ve been very surprised at the backlash against it. We both dance, and we saw it on New Year’s Eve, so maybe it’s just framed differently in our minds. I can’t say whether it’s the best movie of the year, but at the very least it’s a worthy contender.

      • Saw it twice. First with my wife, then took my parents. Second time I got all choked up. Led me to thinking about Gods kind providence in our lives and so on and so forth. Excellent movie!!

    • I loved “Fences,” because of August Wilson’s beautiful writing, but mainly because it’s a story about human beings. The characters do good things and bad things and they have victories and tragedies that are enormous in their world, but are probably invisible to everyone else. And their lives aren’t symbols or lessons as much as they are examples of the human condition.There aren’t too many movies that manage that.

      As for “Manchester by the Sea,” a friend commented that it’s one of the few movies in which we see someone who makes a bad decision, causes a devastating tragedy, and doesn’t get over it. The people around him try to get him to rejoin the world he used to live in, but that’s just not possible, he can’t ever go back. It’s very sad, but I appreciate someone telling the story of how not everyone overcomes tragedy and moves on. Or to put it another way, even if your sins are forgiven, it doesn’t mean that the consequences disappear. You still live with that.

      • I have to admit that I didn’t fully understand the main character played by Washington, and maybe it will take another viewing to catch it. I could REALLY relate to the two sons and their troubled relationships with their father. I just wish that the younger son had done what dad did to HIS father. At least it would have been a cleaner break.

        I hate it when Denzel plays a jerk!

        I WILL admit that I really enjoyed the film making craft put into Manchester. It was a beautiful film and the emotions were painfully raw. But I have decided to come at movie viewing as a work-a-day person who finished the work week with a wife, a pizza and a couple of beers and a movie from Red Box on a Friday night. This is why I hated the movie. After struggling with work all week long I just don’t want to come face to face with more depression. And I still maintain that in a few years you will find this film in the bottom of a bargain bin in a Dollar Store.

        • I reviewed Manchester here, and felt I needed to see it because of the work I do. I went, fully understanding that it was about profound grief and that it wasn’t going to be a popcorn movie. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how much we laughed. There is a rich humanity to this movie that I found compelling.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      The only one I saw was Hidden Figures. I really, really liked it.

  4. Lenten season: every year I say I will try to observe the tradition of Lent, but every year I lack the will to do so. I guess my years as a Catholic poisoned me in this respect.

    • now, now, OSCAR,
      Lent has become a little ‘c’ catholic thing ……. just keep Lent in some way that is meaningful to you personally

      • I always try to tell myself that I am going to prepare my heart for Passion Week and Easter Sunday, but as a member of an evangelical church (Nazarene) the significance of this time in the church calendar is usually not observed, so the only impetus for observance would come from my own decision. Lent is barely ever mentioned and Passion Week is distilled into a Thursday Night service where the crucifixion is recalled and everyone leaves the building in silence. Sunday is a “Woo HOO! He is RISEN!” service and then things return to “normal” the next week.

        In reality, Easter holds little significance with me other than just a passing acknowledgement of the Resurrection.

    • I never really observed Lent as a Roman Catholic growing up, aside from going to the the Ash Wednesday service with my family, who, despite their irreligion and nominal Catholicism, loved to have those ashes smudged on their foreheads. As an adult, when I became Episcopalian, I took many stabs over the years at getting serious about Lent with fasts, prayer, intentional acts of charity, etc., but just never really got into the habit. Now in the latter part of my fifth decade, I’m at a Lutheran church where I go to the Ash Wednesday service and the Wednesday night Lenten services with my wife, because she is the church musician and I’m in the choir, and that’s it. I wasn’t poisoned against it like you were, oscar, it just has never taken with me; I guess I don’t have the determination for asceticism; I guess that’s why I’ve also been a failure at the game of life

  5. Jon Bartlett says

    Why might reading Challis be an unwise and even sinful decision?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      “””My foremost concern with The Shack…”””

      … is how do you make a movie from a book where NOTHING HAPPENS!

      On the other hand, the only reason I would ever read Challis is when he is linked to from IM. And I still didn’t make it to the end. So… don’t review it already; you seriously wrote an article about something you aren’t going to do? [bang-head-on-table]. Oh, right, that whole culture is about tedious explanations of why not to do things – how could I have forgotten that?

      • “God is not like a human being in any way that can be explained by presenting him in an embodied form.”

        Yeah, right. And that’s why the Incarnation is a “theological fallacy” and “possibly sinful”? Heck, we can’t have God the Father going around and representing Himself as human, now can we?!

        …spoken unto us in [his] Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds; who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power,

        (I quote the ASV because where else will you find the word “effulgence”?)

        Tim Challies reads more like a mullah than a Christian. But, he still got his page views up–and that without reviewing The Shack.

        • Challies needs a good talking to from Karl Barth.

          • This got me curious, so I did a quick Google search. Challies has tangentially mentioned Barth several times in his blog – mostly as an excuse to link to this second-hand “analysis” of Barth by D A Carson (tl;dr, Barth was a smart guy who said some interesting things, but he denied inerrancy so he’s a loon)…


            That post also includes a reading list, only one of which is actually Barth’s (a readers digest like condensation of Church Dogmatics). The rest are all evangelical critiques of him.

            See? THIS is why it’s sinful for me to read Challies. 😛

            • A title of one of Barth’s later books, The Humanity of God, should suffice for getting an idea of how he would respond to Challies.

        • Clay Crouch says

          Tim Challies talks, reads, and blogs in an echo chamber, and given the 20+ million copies sold, I wonder if there’s a just smidge of envy.

        • “God is not like a human being in any way that can be explained by presenting him in an embodied form.” So someone in Hollywood reads this and thinks, “This’ll make a great movie!” Shouldn’t movies be about, I don’t know, embodied things?

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Remember that Libyan-sponsored biopic of Mohammed from 30-40 years ago?

            When the number-one taboo in the production is that the main character can never be shown or his voice heard on-screen (extended to his immediate family), it kind of limits your movie-making options.

        • He seems to abhor the idea that “Pageviews are the currency of the Internet and as a blogger I am supposed to base my decisions on what will maximize them;” but then goes on to write the piece anyway. If he really feels so strongly about The Shack‘s movie adaptation, he should have ignored the release altogether.

          By the way, I also live in Ontario and the press/blogger preview was practically in his backyard. He might not have liked the movie but he could have gone purely on the basis of the film’s significance. Instead, he skips the event on the basis that it’s a newly-minted sin.

          In moments like this I keep coming back to the Life cereal commercial, “We’ll get Mikey to try it; he hates everything.” There are a great many Mikeys in that particular tribe.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says


          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Instead, he skips the event on the basis that it’s a newly-minted sin.

            You expect anything different from a CHRISTIAN(TM) movie review?

            Other than maybe an itemized list (with occurence counts) for each and every SIN committed onscreen?

        • That Other Jean says

          (I quote the ASV because where else will you find the word “effulgence”?)

          Well, there’s Gilbert and Sullivan’s _Mikado_. Is this close enough?

          “The sun, whose rays are all ablaze
          With ever-living glory
          Does not deny his majesty
          He scorns to tell a story.

          He don’t exclaim,”I blush for shame
          So kindly be indulgent.”
          But, fierce and bold in fiery gold
          He glories all effulgent.”

    • Because he stokes my already overwrought tendency to get argumentative and shouty.

    • “Is Genesis History? comes to theaters on February 23, and I’d encourage you to find a theater near you. Take the family—the older children, at least. Watch it, discuss it, and consider its claims. I think you will find it challenging, compelling, and convicting.” – Tim Challies.

    • It would be a sinful waste of time, because I could be reading something well and interestingly written. Life is too short.

      • My thoughts exactly, Robert F.

        • Could be applied to here

          • +1, W!

            • And yet, here you are.

              • Just because I need to remind myself Bob which I have been doing from time to time and the reminder will stick. .

                Thank you

                • w, I don’t know what it is you’re reminding yourself of, or what you might be seeking that you’re not finding here. But the drive-by insult that you executed a few comments above actually hurts, in case you didn’t know, and even if it wasn’t directed at me, but at iMonkdom in general. It came out of nowhere, and it’s impossible to know what prompted it, because you give no specific reason. It’s just — BOOM! — and you speed by. Why?

                • You’re just a phone call away from some help. This site is not a therapy group.

                  • Just one more. How is it you haven’t said something rude to others on here that IMHO have said extremely questionable things. Maybe in a couple of weeks I’ll stop back to remind myself.

                    • Clay Crouch says

                      I’ve seen nothing but kindness after kindness expressed to you since you showed up a year or two ago, especially by Robert F. Maybe a two or three week hiatus would help you get your mind right.

                  • Nice. ….so much an answer which I expected from a Jesus follower and such expression. I never said anything wrong in what I said just expressed what so many do. I remember how people are when they think nothing can hurt Thier bravery. Clay you as always are reinforcing what I actually need. Hey that’s a nice coat you’re wearing

  6. So Family JesusJunk Stores are closing. I feel for the employees, but I can’t say I’m disappointed otherwise. Those places were an abomination.

    I’d ask if they were having closeout saless, but I already have more than enough Bibles, and I can’t think of a single other book they’d carry that I would want to read.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      The Grand Rapids labor market will eagerly absorb the local jobs lost. I am sorry for the employees losing their jobs in depressed places – but the closing of Family Values Propaganda Market is a good thing, IMO. Good riddance.

      > I can’t think of a single other book they’d carry that I would want to read.


      • Dan from Georgia says

        We have one of the FCS’ in my former home town of Fayetteville, GA. Went there a few times per year to purchase a few things (please don’t flame me for that!). Anyways, here are a few of my gripes against the store that make me not miss them in their demise:

        1. Their pushing more purchase options when you are at the register. No, not talking about all that cheap christian crap like Testamints or religious trinkets, but having the store associate barrage you with a long list of things they suggest you purchase in addition to what you are already purchasing. It’s called “Upselling” and I know from reading somewhere else on the interwebs that in some cases people’s jobs depend on how much they upsell.

        Worst example: Wife and I were in line about a year ago at the F’Ville, GA FCS, and the overly-excitable guy at the front of the line, apparently either a new convert or someone returning to the fold (you all know this kind of person, the person who is so hyped up spiritually that they overshare with everyone in line how they were into drugs and rock ‘n’ roll and all that), was talked into signing up for some kind of online Bible study the store associate was pushing that day. So the rest of us in line had to wait an additional 10 minutes or so while the store associate went through all the motions of signing this guy up to a Bible study that I can almost guarantee you he is no longer using. Grrrr.

        2. Testamints and christian/religious trinkets galore, especially at the checkout register.

        3. Segregation of gifts geared towards blacks (music, gifts, trinkets) from everything else.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          3. Segregation of gifts geared towards blacks (music, gifts, trinkets) from everything else.

          I remember Dake’s Annotated Bible had a LOT of commentary praising & teaching “GOD’s Principle of Segregation”. Over and over, but heaviest in Leviticus.

          It did not surprise me to find that Dake hailed from the Former Confederate States during the heyday of Jim Crow and the Second Klan.

    • And I wouldn’t even want to read most of their Bibles: the moms’ Bible, the hunters’ Bible, the teens’ Bible; who knows, there’s probably a veterinarians’ Bible, with a fur cover, and a surgical techs’ Bible with attached rubber gloves.

    • Yeah, I am not sorry to see the Family Christian book stores close. So much “Jesus junk” made in China; candles with Bible verses, straws in the shape of the Jesus fish, sox that have some religious symbolism, and a few cheesy books but very little that is truly theological. The clerks were always waaaaay too happy acting and, yes, the up selling was incredibly annoying. The last couple of Bibles I bought for gifts, I got online just to avoid the bookstore.
      I am also bothered by the people on Facebook who are so sad for the clerks who will be out of job. Well, I am sad for them too, but hey, people lose jobs every week and I almost never see these same people posting anything about being sad for the people at the local plant that closed, or secular bookstore that closed, or the local drug store which in my very small town was just announced to be slated for the corporate ax.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > and I almost never see these same people posting anything about being sad for the people at

        This! It is yet more just being sad when something happens to YOUR PEOPLE.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I almost never see these same people posting anything about being sad for the people at the local plant that closed, or secular bookstore that closed, or the local drug store…

        Those were HEATHENS in the SECULAR World.

  7. I’m looking forward to the paid 1 hr break so I can go home and shag the missus. Yes, the proposal is quite utilitarian…

  8. Adam Tauno Williams says

    > The Soul of Evangelicalism: What Will Become of Us?

    Wow; ahistorical nostalgia and missing-the-point much.

    “”””…. it was socially engaged as a piety-based and evangelism-based movement. The skinny jeans crowd today seems more often than not allergic to piety-based, evangelism-based activism. I’ve been told again and again that it’s form of “evangelism” is deed-based not word-based. . That is a failure of nerve and it is failure to be evangelical.”””

    Piety based social engagement … yeah, that is called *not* social engagement. And word-based is courage but deeds are a failure of nerve? [also: nice touch with the name calling while talking about piety].

    Whatever will save the soul of Evangelicalism – it won’t be this kind of thinking.

    “””words like sanctification – growth in holiness – and holiness itself are heard only in a small circle of the Neo-Reformed””” What??? I think he needs to get out more; these ideas are alive and well outside of the “small circle”. But I doubt he will like sanctification and holiness talk in proximity of talk about redemption, hospitality, and generosity.

  9. senecagriggs says

    Science versus Scripture?

    Many people doubt Scripture, I doubt science.


    An amazing thing about Scripture, it never goes away, it never changes.
    Conservative Evangelicals believe it is “Spirit breathed.” – i.e., the Creator of the Universe who never lies, is never wrong, gave us His Word using the personalities of men to convey to us what is true.

    And what of the institutions that attempt to water it down? They appear to fade away.
    And what of the institutions who believe it from “Genesis to maps.” They continue on.

    There are individual Evangelical institutions that fail but another one promptly pops up.

    A lot of people are quite proud they have moved on from the conservative faith. But just where have they gone? Nones?

    What hope is there in that?

    • Ok, *why* do you trust Scripture and doubt science, and *how* did you decide between them?

      No more free passes. Lay out, explain, and defend your assertions.

      • seneca griggs says

        Eeyore says:
        February 25, 2017 at 8:44 am
        Ok, *why* do you trust Scripture and doubt science, and *how* did you decide between them?

        No more free passes. Lay out, explain, and defend your assertions.

        VERY SIMPLY Eeyore, we have centuries of unchanging scripture. We appear to have only decades of unchanging science.

        My apriori – Scripture stands the test of time. It is not written that you have to have a doctorate to understand it [ though certainly it makes it plain that we see thru a glass darkly ].
        God created a man called Adam, and out of him, a woman/partner called Eve. They were real people and from their coupling does all of mankind come.
        He tells about Himself. He lays out why we exist, our past and our future. He alone is Creator God.

        I do hold to the five “Solas.”

        • Your a priori is that Scripture is a book that is designed to give “scientific” facts and that no subsequent discovery can contradict it.

          This is the presupposition to which I object, seneca.

          • +1

          • senecagriggs says

            Your a priori is that Scripture is a book that is designed to give “scientific” facts and that no subsequent discovery can contradict it.

            This is the presupposition to which I object, seneca.

            My a-priori is that Scripture is Spirit breathed – God doesn’t need to update the version.

            He got it right the first time – no new “discovery” can change that.

            • Klasie Kraalogies says

              You completely misunderstood the point. And something tells me you will continue to misunderstand it even if an angel will appear to correct you.

              Yes, that was intentional.

            • Guess that means you still believe in a flat earth covered by a solid dome with windows, through which God pours the rain and snow. I’m happy for you, seneca. And really, there’s no use you coming around with your fingers in your ears, saying “Bible, Bible, Bible” over and over again. It doesn’t lead to good discussion. As I understand it, the Bible was meant to encourage discussion, not close it down.

          • +2

            “Scripture doesn’t change”??

            Do you live under a rock, SenecaG?

        • We have centuries, nay millenia, of changing *interpretations* of Scripture, which practically is the same thing.

          Also, building off of what Chaplain Mike said, the folks back when the Scriptures were written did not need doctorates, because they were steeped in the culture and symbology of their times. We are not. And we cannot assume that they understood these things as we do, because they were not enlightenment rationalists. Your assumption that they were is the problem here.

          • We have centuries, nay millenia, of changing *interpretations* of Scripture, which practically is the same thing.

            And that’s just nowadays. Weren’t there different factions operating in Jesus’ time, each interpreting differently? And here comes Jesus offering a different way…and arguably Paul an even newer way…where did all those other factions go? Did Jesus’/Paul’s interpretations survive because they were “more” right? Or because *hand wave* Jesus is God? Or were they picked up by some powerful leaders who exposed them to other leaders and eventually became solidified as a national religion?

            …incidentally, who ‘owns’ Christianity, so to speak? Is it a Roman religion? German religion? American religion?

        • It is not written that you have to have a doctorate to understand it [ though certainly it makes it plain that we see thru a glass darkly ].

          We just needed Augustine, the Creeds, Luther, Calvin, the Wesleys, Darby, Scofield, and LaHaye to explain it.

          lol, it certainly did feel like you needed a doctorate growing up in dispensationalism.

          You know, what’s funny to me is that the so-called ‘liberal’ or progressive views of Scripture…actually seem to make it much more simpler to understand and easier to see. Sure, it still takes education (gotta know how to read, gotta know the geographical area, gotta know history) to properly understand, but so does everything else in life.

          The idea that the Bible can be picked up by anyone and read and immediately understood 100% correctly…that’s a bizarre faith statement that has no basis in reality.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            We just needed Augustine, the Creeds, Luther, Calvin, the Wesleys, Darby, Scofield, and LaHaye to explain it.

            Don’t forget Hal Lindsay, Papa Chuck Smith, and Bill Gothard.

          • “The idea that the Bible can be picked up by anyone and read and immediately understood 100% correctly…that’s a bizarre faith statement that has no basis in reality.”


    • “A lot of people are quite proud they have moved on from the conservative faith. But just where have they gone? Nones?
      Dones? What hope is there in that?”

      Because Christ was much more generous and understanding with doubters and pagans than He was with overconfident religious types. That much is evident from a plain reading of the Gospels.

    • I see the evangelical relationship with Scripture as very similar to when you start dating someone, and you’re more in love with your perfect imagination of who they are than with the actual person. The only way the relationship grows and deepens is if you stop trying to force the person to live up to that image, and get to know them for who they really are. Conservative evangelicals treat the Bible with extreme disrespect in the process of trying to twist and manipulate it to make it seem clearer, simpler, and more directive than it actually is. (For example, subscribing to a “direct dictation” theory that is nowhere supported by Scripture itself.)

      I went through a period in my life when I read through the Bible three times in one year, trying to find a way of reading Scripture that was more faithful to what Scripture claims itself to be, rather than what modern evangelicalism wants it to be. I now believe that the reason God gave us Scripture was not just to tell us what to believe, but to teach us wisdom by inviting us to join in the cross-century conversation that is represented in Scripture. So I for one feel that questioning Scripture allowed my faith to deepen and allowed me to fall in love more deeply with God and with God’s Word.

      Doubt is not the enemy of faith; it is absolutely essential to Christian growth. Anyone who never wrestles with doubt will just be stuck in an immature, juvenile way of relating to God forever.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      I for one would like to see those huge pillars on which the world stands. It would be really nice if they turn out to be elephants after all….

    • Hm. And here I, after growing up in inerrancy and the KJV Only movement, seriously doubt Scripture because I’ve seen just how changing it can be. Science at least admits when they’ve been wrong and is continually improving. Scripture…we’ve always been at war with eurasia, and you just didn’t understand or have the right key (inerrancy, spirit-filled, biblical, bible-believing, leader, prophet, hermeneutic, etc) to unlock the gnosis.

      No, I think I’ll keep doubting scripture and the liars who use it. Science will continue to be more honest and forthcoming. And the two will forever be in battle.

      It wouldn’t have to be like that though if conservatives weren’t so hellbent on maintaining their personal interpretations.

      ..great way to start off a saturday, i need coffee…

      • Stuart, I know you have strong feelings about this, but “scripture and the liars who use it” goes a bit overboard, don’t you think? A lot of people turn to the scriptures, a lot of us find great help and meaning in doing so, and not all of us are “using” it to advance an agenda. Certainly even many of those who do “use it” are well-intentioned and should not be categorized as “liars.”

        • …absolutely, fair and good pushback, thank you. It’s difficult at times for me to separate out the LaHayes and Scofields from the ones who genuinely do love scripture and want to share and teach it, but don’t realize that they have been led astray or are wrong. The good hearted ones.

          No, I do not believe that all people who love and use scripture are liars. Far from it. But I do know many who have and are, and I need to keep them separated better.

      • Well I might agree to some extent but not as far as Mike said. Everyone on a journey even those that hurt us as what point would be a cross. Wish I had what it would take to walk beside a Judas and never say anything and actually love him. Sadly I hunt for such and it eludes me almost daily just driving a highway where the rudeness of human beings totally amazes me. Yet he saw something and I keep looking and forgiving as best able, Do you find Stu that this can be so hard and if so we have something in common.

        • Sorry as to what Mike said some people actually are liars and only repeat what other liars have said and then point to mentors as a way to make them look not like liars. They seem to have no mind of their own.

          Down further Stu a comment if it sounds like I’m a nut……. Okay you are welcome to call me it.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      “…I doubt science”

      …he writes on a device and propagates through a medium that are built based on modern physics…

      • I wish there was an interactive graph or chart somewhere where you can highlight scientific advances, and pull them away, and see what dominos fall or are lost.

        Like carbon dating. What if you could isolate carbon dating, and “remove” it, and then you see the ripple effects of losing things like duct tape, microwaves, and sonars. Right there, losing carbon dating, we’d lose quality Canadian comedy television, the 50s convenience of meals in front of tvs, and we’d have lost a world war to submarines.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Then travel is very dangerous – one should avoid automobiles, trains, and airplanes. All of them are constantly using sophisticated math derived from that dubious science.

    • The problem is with reading as literal something that was intended to be symbolic from a culture that talked with euphamisms and symbolism. A minister I one had gave a great talk on how the creation story was never written to be literal, specific details on how God created the universe, but was written to uplift the Hebrews as they were captives in Babylon. It was a way of saying that God is the stongest, not the Babylonian gods. So, to take it as literal details on creation is inaccurate.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I understand the final form of Genesis 1 is structured as a PARODY of the Mesopotamian Creation Myths, with a couple of real zingers:

        The Sun, Moon, and Stars on Day 4 — only called “The Greater Light” and “The Lesser Light” because any local name for “sun” and “moon” were actually the names of the local Sun God and Moon God, with the stars mentioned as an afterthought. In Babylonian mythology, the mightiest gods were the Stars, with the Moon being a lesser god and the Sun the least of the gods.

        And Man as the final (and most important) step in Creation, the keeper of the cosmos/temple. In Mesopotamia, the gods created humanity as a last-minute afterthought, just so there would be someone to worship them and flatter them and make sacrifice to them. Nothing more; later on the gods would attempt to wipe out humanity with a great flood, literally on a whim because all the incoming prayers and devotions were getting to bother them.

  10. After reading Challies review of the Shack, his major (and only) objection is this movie is a violation of the second commandment – graven images and all that. And in Challies view, he would be in violation of this commandment if he viewed the movie.

    As I was reading his reasoning, I couldn’t help but wonder if he ever saw the Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ? Or the more recent movie Reason. Or if he has some artwork of Jesus Christ displayed in his office? Or maybe a painting of a descending Dove in the hallway of his Church? Or If he ever set foot in an FCS and gazed at said artwork – cheesy as it may be? Has he ever refused to set foot in the home of a friend because of the presence a picture of Christ? What about boycotting the annual children’s nativity play?

    All of this to say, there may be many reasons to not see the Shack, but being in violation of the second commandment seems a bit of a stretch. I suspect there is something being left unsaid in Challies reasoning.

    Take a look at a different review. Not an endorsement per se. However, this is a review that puts forth an opinion laced with some insight and some risk. If only Challies would take that chance.

    Shack Review by Bp. Robert Barron

  11. Andrew Zook says

    Evangelicalism – What will become of us?
    Before reading it, I’ll riff on just that question… In my neck of the woods, it’s pretty clear what it Has become. It’s joined the you-know-who cult… and that is going to be its legacy for some time to come. Where it exactly ends, I don’t know, but most of it is seated on the train with ticket stamped…

  12. Should Tom Wright save Christianity?

  13. I haven’t set foot in a Christian bookstore in twenty years. I won’t miss them when they go.

  14. From the article “Can Tom Wright Save Christianity?”….To quote McGrath once again, “If N.T. Wright is right, Luther is wrong.”

    CM, just curious if you see the situation as this black and white or not? I, personally, have appreciated Wright a lot (especially in his ideas about God’s Kingdom) but never came to this conclusion. Admittedly, I might just lack the theological prowess to understand the subtleties of some of what is implied by some of his teaching.

    • No it’s not black and white, imo. It’s not that Luther got it wrong. He was applying the gospel to the situation in his day. It’s that many of us got it wrong in failing to see that Luthers work was an application of the gospel and not the gospel itself.

    • I wonder if it would be more accurate to say that if Wright is right, then Calvin got it wrong?

      • I think the church began getting it wrong fairly early, when it de-Judaized the faith.

        • How could they avoid de-Judaizing the faith, when they came to believe so early in replacement theology, that the Church has replaced the Jewish people as the inheritor of God’s promises? Doesn’t Wright’s own partial Preterism play into that, when it sees the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 CE as God’s judgment of the Jewish people? Traditional partial preterism has historically been the source of much of the Christian theological justification for the oppression of Jews down through the centuries.

          • Yes, but I don’t think Wright really falls into the “preterist” camp. He is looking at the narrative of Israel, which interprets such events as “God’s judgment.” But “judgment” as he understands it, is not God bringing the hammer down on Israel. It is the natural outcome of what Israel pursued; Israel reaping what she has sown. He doesn’t believe the church has “replaced” Israel, he believes Jesus has fulfilled the mission to which Israel was called. Now everyone, Jew and Gentile alike is invited to share in the benefits. Unfortunately, as you say, the church turned to the Gentiles to such a degree that they left Israel off the invitation. Indeed, they intentionally excluded them in many ways and turned the party to which all are invited into a violent mob against the wellspring of our faith.

            • I know that Wright wants to take the hammer out of God’s hands, and makes all the difference for his partial Preterist position to be consistent with a humane view of the continuing existence of the Jewish people, and of all non-Christian peoples. But getting that hammer out of God’s hands, there’s the rub; many, many people want that hammer to continue to be there. This would be a considerable piece of good work, and if Wright could pull it off, we’d all be deeply indebted to him; but I remain skeptical.

              • “But getting that hammer out of God’s hands, there’s the rub…”

                Indeed. But Wright did it for me, with the very first 2 books of his that I read (“Following Jesus” and “The New Testament and the People of God”).

                Wright would be very uncomfortable with the notion that he might “save Christianity”. I think Wright’s greatest contribution is that he takes us back to the beginning of Christianity and helps us see what the first disciples came to see in their C1 Jewish context. And this looks a lot different than most current iterations of “church”.


                • Hey Dana! Just to let you know I am reading Wright very slowly & giving myself time to let it sink in. I agree with your conclusions, as you know.

            • He doesn’t believe the church has “replaced” Israel, he believes Jesus has fulfilled the mission to which Israel was called.

              Honest question: where in Scripture can we find this “mission”, where is it defined, when was it written down, and what was it’s purpose?

              The mission of Israel seems to me to have always been one of those “everyone just knows” ideas in christianity but I’ve never seen it actually spelled out, unless backwards.

              • Most of us have found it in God’s covenant with Abraham, that his seed was to bless all nations (Genesis 12:1-3), reiterated in Moses’ words to Israel at Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19:5-6 — “Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation.” These words suggest Israel was to serve a priestly role in the world, mediating the relationship between God and the nations. Also, there is the theme in Isaiah 49 and in the other “Servant Songs” of Isaiah that Israel was God’s servant, called as a “light to the nations.”

                That’s a few examples.

                • Helpful, thank you…when were these written? We can’t assume chronologically, literally before the nation started…were these written during Exile to remind people what their purpose was?

                  • The final editing of the Hebrew Bible likely took place during/after the Exile, but as to when these specific texts were first written, I’m not sure.

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                      Here’s my theory:

                      I suspect they were originally oral tradition (the Old Old Stories) and were probably first written down around 1000 BC, when the Jews adapted the Phonecian idea of the alphabet. When the Babylonians knocked over Israel & Judah, the written versions were mostly destroyed and they had to reconstruct them in Babylon. During this process, they edited the Old Stories into their final form we have today. Including reconstructing Genesis 1 as a parody of the surrounding Babylonian Creation Myth, styled for maximum contrast between the two to make their point.

              • The Hebrew nation was to bring the nature and loveliness of God to the whole world. That which they kept failing to do as Jonah who wanted the city destroyed but God was different. Pharisee’s by that time wanted to be totally separate and that’s why that part of the Temple which Jesus overturned the tables which was the part of the Temple for visitors widows and orphans as a part pf the 3rd year of the tithe was pushed out because they were robbing God of the time He wanted to spend with them. It wasn’t money or anything to do with it. Malachi was saying the same thing. It just isn’t that hard to understand except now we see it thousands of years later.

                King Solomon the man with so much wisdom…… So funny….. needed to be with a 1000 women to figure it out that it was meaningless….C’mon after a 100 or even 20 it would have been obvious. Addiction anyone????? Jesus said even King Solomon in all his glory didn’t dress as fine as a Lilly in the field. Kind of thought he was making fun. Our widom is not like His and He tells us so because we are not the beginning and the end. Have confidence on your journey Stu because it is yours and no one elses and what you think now will not be 10 years from now God willing.

          • How could they avoid de-Judaizing the faith, when they came to believe so early in replacement theology, that the Church has replaced the Jewish people as the inheritor of God’s promises?

            Hm. Rabbit trail follows:

            Jewish people = nation, ethnic group. They were in a covenant with their God, got promises and benefits. You were almost always born into it and received it, sometimes you could enter in as a “gentile”.

            The Church = association, society, non-ethnic group. I lack the word, but it’s not a nation, it’s a association of people united around an ideal/person. By choosing to join, you enter into a covenant with God, maybe get promises and benefits, you are never born into it (play along), you must always enter into it willingly, there are no divisions like ‘gentile’.

            So…is Christianity a replacement theology? Any more so than Judaism replacing the religion of Canaanites? Was it a natural progression? Is it something new? From a national ethnic religion to a religion open to everyone regardless of background that has no borders.

            • Well, it would all be moot, Stuart, if the Church hadn’t used its position of social dominance to brutalize the Jewish people throughout nearly two millennia, justifying it with scriptural texts and replacement theology, and if the Church could be depended on never to do that again. But it did, and it can’t.

            • Remember, Stuart, that for almost two millennia, most people did not choose to join the Church; they were born and baptize into it, and their status as Christians and as citizens of the nations they belonged to were validated by the same documentation: their baptismal records, held by the Church. Throughout much of history, religion and national identity have been conflated and overlapping for most people, not just the Jews.

              • Yeah, I’m using very 21st century understanding, trying to avoid that and congregationalism and the like.

              • Rob what does the churches less than honorable have to do with it as we ignore the positives and pour all the negatives out like they have to do with Jesus. I wonder the need to bash and come after as that this might have a way to avenge us and what exactly is that saying.

                He said I will and He kept His promises as He does today and where does such a thing lead us but to a hope. I might squeak by but by is by. My hope….Don’t care if I’m in the back as someone has to be there and my friends just might be too. Wait….friends Hmmmm…. Marv on sin city and Brad on fight club and that’s a little of me and who here could understand it???? I’m not as indestructible as Marv but is that the best you got does stick to my mouth. It is wonderful Bob that this is good for you and my comment reflects what you answered Stu in your first.

            • Because they were not baptized, Jews were not considered in many Christian countries to be citizens in any full sense, if at all. They were Jews, in religion, ethnicity and nationality; that’s what they considered themselves, and that’s what they were considered by the surrounding Christian society.

        • Replacement theology makes the Jewish people obsolete at best. And replacement theology and Partial Preterism are inextricably bound together. If the Church is the new Israel, wherefore the old one? I don’t see how it’s possible to avoid the development of antisemitism without placing the Jewish people as firmly in the center of God’s promises today as before the destruction of the Second Temple. If they are not, as they are now, just as much God’s people as the Christian church, then we end up going down the same paths today as we did yesterday. Salvation is from the Jews, not the Church, and Jesus Christ is as much a Jew at this very moment as he was two thousand years ago. If he weren’t a Jew now and then, he could not be the redeemer of the world.

          • The Jewish people or the Jewish religion? It might make a national ethnic religion obsolete, but how can it make a people group obsolete, unless that is literally their sole defining characteristic?

            I don’t want to be insensitive, but I do want to discuss this.

            • It made the Jewish people obsolete from the perspective of the dominant Christians. As to whether Judaism is religion or ethnicity, the distinction has not been of much use to Christianized and secularized Jews when the antisemites came looking for them throughout Christian history.

          • Was Judaism a religion that united (let’s say 12) different tribes and ethnic people groups under one banner? Or was it (or was it both) a national ethnic tribal religion, a way for them to say “only we are good, only we are saved, only we have God, and if you aren’t us, you don’t have any of these things”?

          • Burro [Mule] says

            Second Temple Judaism was far more polycentric and diverse than Judaism is today. A good number of Jews living in the time of Christ and the Apostles saw Jesus as the Messiah, but their voice all but completely drops out after Acts 15.

            So, yeah, Replacement Theology. I don’t see any way around it. Once again, there is a lot of excluded middle between the book of Hebrews and the Tsarist pogroms.

            • Actually, contemporary Judaism is very diverse; it has no centralized institutional authority. The national rabbinic leaders of some countries only resulted because the Christian princes demanded such authorities to hold accountable for the whole Jewish community in their realms.

              • Goatse McGoatface says

                Israel has a chief rabbinate…

                • That holds no religious authority over Jews outside Israel. Worldwide Judaism defers to no central body or individual in religious matters; there is no equivalent of Pope, or Ecumenical Council, in Judaism. Practices are extremely diverse, as are theological positions and approaches.

      • I would say that Calvin was HALF right…

  15. I don’t care about his stupid and hilariously uninformed statements about Sweden, but our POTUS’s declared war with main stream journalism is an existential threat to our democratic institutions.

    • More and more, the current message reminds me of the Dreyfus Affair in 19th century France. Two sides, each with their own media, their own facts, and absolutely convinced the other side were traitors and/or undermining the foundations of the nation.

      This will not end well.

      • Mess, not message

      • I don’t consider the so-called Mainstream Media (journalists) “my side”. I don’t buy, and haven’t bought, their slant(s) on many subjects, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I’m aware of their bias, and of some of my own. But I would see an existential threat to our democratic republic in any president, left or right, who wants to ban anonymous sources for journalistic reporting, who calls journalists who don’t support or cheer-lead his words and actions the “enemy of the American people”, and who is freezing out/punishing those news outlets that criticize his words and actions by excluding them from official press conferences. I think I’m actually not on either side, but if you think that I am, could you tell me where I should stand so that I’m not?

        • I wasn’t trying to fit you (or me either for that matter) into one camp or the other. Your comment just catalyzed something that has been brewing in the back of my mind for awhile.

          • It’s an important point, and I’m not trying to dismiss it. When things become highly politically charged and polarized in a society, and the middle-ground becomes a terrain of tactical warfare for both sides, how does one avoid being drawn into one of the two polarities? Did Bonhoeffer fail to do this when he participated in an attempt to assassinate Hitler? Did Franz Jagerstatter fail to do this when he refused to serve in the German military during WWII, having had personal visions that led him to reject the Nazi cause as a “train going to Hell”? Is neutrality a worthy goal in all things political, and does it actually exist?

            • More to the point, does enough common ground always exist between opposing factions for them to make common cause, as long as they keep dialoguing, or is their a point at which that no longer becomes possible, or desirable?

              • Look, I accept that elections have consequences. I have lived long enough to see multiple swings between left- and right-leaning ideologies in power. I am willing to accept that, having won the elections, “conservative Republicans” (a slippery term but I’ll grant it for the sake of argument) will probably have their way on a number of issues in the near future. What I don’t accept is the effort to shut down dialogue, no matter who is doing it. If such efforts continue to be advanced, dialogue will become protest, protest will become angry protest, and angry protest will lead to all forms of violence. Perhaps that is the way it must be. But I will keep trying to talk us out of it.

                • Sorry I missed this for today’s Brunch. This is really, really funny.



                  The Lord is my shepherd. OK? Totally. Big league. He is a tremendous shepherd. The best. No comparison. I know more than most people about herding sheep. And that’s why I won the election in a landslide and it’s why my company is doing very very well. Because He said, “I’m with you, Donald. You will never want.”

                  So we were on this green pasture by the still waters and He said, “Lie down.” I said, “Lie down?” He said, “Lie down.” And He made me lie down. Right there in the pasture. So I lie down. People are so surprised that I lie down — “Oh, he’s lying down.” But He’s my shepherd. Great shepherd. Not just good. Great. It was right there that I thought, “This is going to be a tremendous golf course. Terrific greens. Plenty of water. And it is. Everybody who plays it comes away saying, “That is the greatest course in the entire world.” Everybody.

  16. Goatse McGoatface says

    Now spot the logical fallacies in N.T. Wright.

    Mainline Christians need YEC fundamentalists in order to make themselves look rational by comparison.

  17. Driving along the freeway minding my own business, a billboard caught the corner of my eye: In the Beginning God Cheated. Wow, I thought, an alternate view right out in the open. On closer inspection it turned out to be another salvo in the creation wars and I had misread “created” as “cheated”. Speaking of cheating, I see a couple of images in passing from the trailer showing the Earth as spherical, which just goes to show that no one gets it all right.

    • ” see a couple of images in passing from the trailer showing the Earth as spherical, which just goes to show that no one gets it all right.”

      Because, as Sir Bedevere proved to King Arthur’s satisfaction, the Earth is banana-shaped. 😉

  18. That Allison Krauss clip is lovely. I’m glad to see that she has some outward-focused energy these days. On “Forget about It,” her voice was so subdued I couldn’t hear it on my car stereo, however high I turned it up. Who were the backup singers — were they the Whites?

  19. Could you re link the link on leaving church because of worship style, please? It kept popping up the same as pastors salaries.
    I don’t have time to read more, but the. N.t. Wright link was, as always, great!

    • Will do, and sorry. Should be good now.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        I find it interesting that the writer feels the necessity to immediately follow the statement that it is OK to leave a church over worship style with the clarification that he isn’t saying that you must do this. The clear implication is that he believes his readers have an understanding that anything that is permitted is mandatory, so he needs to clarify that this is the true, at least in this case. This is an implicit assumption of strong legalism.

        That being said, the rest of the piece seems straightforward. The version you will find in some Lutheran churches is the church that does a liturgical service by default, but will dump it on any Sunday when some shiny object presents itself. These typically are churches that never went all in on the Church Growth movement, but have a vague feeling that perhaps they should have. The version back in the day was Youth Sunday. This was invariably dreadful, but had the benefit of being rare.

  20. Richard Hershberger says

    The interesting part to me in that linked piece about Lent is the citation of Matthew 6:16-18, about not looking dismal while you fast. The way this snippet of text is used is completely typical of how people misuse the Bible. A snippet is found that seems to support whatever argument you want to make, and that is that: God said it, and that is good enough for me! Two things, though:

    That exact same passage is part of the Ash Wednesday liturgy. The implication seems to be that all those people doing Ash Wednesday aren’t aware of that text, so having brought it to their attention, there is nothing more to discuss. When we consider that it is in fact brought to their attention every year just before the ashes are imposed, it is clear that more discussion is necessary. How to those churches that do Ash Wednesday reconcile the practice with this text? Once you have the discussion you might conclude that the argument for not doing ashes is stronger. But without this discussion this is simply a case of mistaking your interpretation of scripture for the Word of God.

    Second, that snippet is part of a larger block of text in the Ash Wednesday lectionary. It begins with Matthew 6:1, which states the theme: “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Modern American Christianity is decidedly enthusiastic about practicing piety before others: Tim Tebow, anyone? Any suggestion that piety should be a private practice is roundly condemned. This, however, is a full fifteen versus before the snippet quoted against Lent, so it might as well be in a different galaxy. Proof texting doesn’t allow for an entire chapter of scripture to have a thesis statement followed by specific examples. Reading it that way is dangerously close to “interpretation” and we can’t have that!

    • Richard Hershberger says

      I meant to add that in fairness, the writer of the piece concludes that doing Lent is a good idea. But not because he refutes the proof text argument, but because he believes the benefits overcome this objection. This is either an incoherent argument, or an implicit rejection of argument by proof text. I don’t know the writer, so I can’t say which it is.

    • I’m not sure a one-day practice of a particular traditional ritual violates the Scripture in question.

  21. Geoff Downs says

    The President is right on two issues, there is an enormous problem in Sweden with immigration…car bombings , kids being killed in grenade attacks against rival immigrant gangs, riots etc. Second the media is the enemy of the people in that it has been reduced to merely a propaganda wing for the Democrat Party. They refuse to report on issues that contradict their agenda and paint everyone and everything that opposes leftist ideology in a negative light.

    • No gray in how you think, eh?

      This is the problem with today’s political discourse. It’s all or nothing, my side or yours with no room for actual discussion or any nuance.

      Sorry, I can’t accept your statement because it’s simply not human and doesn’t fit the realities of life in this world. Life is not a game between political black and white positions. It’s people of all different ways of thinking learning to listen and work together for the common good.

    • THIS type of stuff is what I had in mind when I mused about the Dreyfus Affair above…

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      The problem is that you, and many like you, have sold your mental capacity to Big Brother.

    • The media is not the enemy of the people IMO but Mr. Trump is quickly leading to the destruction of the United States as we now know it.

    • This is the part I don’t understand: if “the media” doesn’t report these events, how do you know about them? You know about them, because “the media” does actually report them. Which “alternative” (right-wing or left-wing) news sites have actual reporters collecting information? They are mostly re-distributors, they take news that has been reported elsewhere and organize it according to their own priorities. That’s not bad in itself — every trade publication does something similar to reflect the concerns of its readers. However, it is a problem when they convey the idea that they have some hidden information that no one else will let you see. That’s not true.

      Of course there are many events that occur and that no one photographs or writes about. But that’s a different story.

      By the way, my bias is that I’m Italian-American, a classic category of bomb-throwing, violent, criminally-inclined, disease-bearing, ignorant immigrants. Look at the old-timey news media and you’ll see that the public was well informed about the sort of people who ought to be sent back to their own country: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/30/opinion/the-first-global-terrorists-were-anarchists-in-the-1890s.html

  22. Richard Hershberger says

    Alison Krauss: I have all her albums, or if I don’t it was through oversight that will be remedied. That being said, she has since the late ’90s varied between bluegrass and more pop-inflected albums. I don’t regret purchasing any of them, but it is the bluegrass albums that get my repeated playing. This new one seems to be of the other sort. I will buy it, and I fully anticipate that I will enjoy it, but I suspect it won’t end up in heavy rotation on my CD player.

  23. Richard Hershberger says

    McKnight on the state of evangelicalism: he distinguishes between doing God’s work and working on “global justice and water and infrastructure.” That other stuff is nice, he seems to be saying, but don’t let it get in the way of the real work of church planting. This, it seems to me, profoundly misses the point. I suspect that it even misses the point on its own terms. If the church is seen to be performing good works while others are not, people will notice and respond. Sadly, most non-Christians today don’t associate the church with good works, and while they aren’t entirely right about this, neither are they entirely wrong.

    • I am more and more of the mind that one of the main problems in the Church in America is that good works are no longer seen as something Christians do as an outgrowth of the love they experience in God or that they are done because they are the right thing to do, but as marketing tools to get people to buy into your brand. Why do we do good works? Because if we do it to the least of our brethren, we are doing good to Christ himself. But the church has become a brand that we are trying to sell above the noise of all the other brands that are out there. Too often, I think, when that doesn’t work, we just try to destroy the other brands instead of looking deep inside for our own motives.
      Far too often, when we feed the poor, it’s so they see what great people we are and will want to join us, not because Jesus tells us to feed the poor. Why do we expect to get something in return for our actions?

  24. My statements aren’t human? What does that mean? The truth remains that immigration in Sweden is a disaster and that the media is a watercarrier for the left. You ridiculed the President for making a true statement .

    • No, I criticized you for having no capacity for dialogue. And whatever “truth” there might be to the president’s statements, it is swallowed up in partisan bullshit.

    • So, your side always tells the truth, and the other side always lies? Nothing in the middle? At all?

    • Ah, the “truth.” Only your perfectly fair-minded, unbiased position is the possessor of “truth.” Even though there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary (including the country of Sweden itself and those that live within it), you’ve dug your feet into the ground and already made up your mind on the matter. I know this might sound crazy, but humans are actually not omniscient. You declare things though as the utmost authority and source of absolute Truth. Everyone else is just flat-out wrong and ought to see things exactly your way. So yes actually, your statements are not human because they contain literally 0% empathy and 100% inerrancy.

      “They refuse to report on issues that contradict their agenda and paint everyone and everything that opposes leftist ideology in a negative light.”….isn’t that hypocrisy?

      • Turn it around now David and then you get a light as to what you really see.

        • I’m not claiming to know all the details on the situation in Sweden, all I know is that there is credible evidence on the opposite side of the argument. Everything is not black and white in the world. I’m willing to listen to others and hear their position, but not when ultimatums are made.

    • It’s not the media’s fault that reality has a liberal bias.

    • I’m not denying that there’s a clash of cultures going on in Europe, but as for the media, I remember back when Fox was rather anti-Trump. Then, all the sudden, it was pro-Trump 24/7. In other words, money changed hands. The Murdochs might not have liked Trump, but they understand $.

    • Weird that most Swedes don’t see it that way.

  25. On Muslims at Baylor,

    In regards to student groups (and there are no Muslim student groups),

    “Zakzok would like to add one more organization to the list: Project Nur, a student-led initiative meant to build acceptance for Muslims and prepare future leaders in social justice.”

    The leader of a current student group, the Young Conservatives, stated

    “Because of Baylor’s diversity and inclusiveness, Young said he does not think Project Nur needs to have a chapter on campus. “I have numerous friends from other religions, including Muslims. They never told me that they felt unwelcome.””

    which doesn’t seem to be a good reason not to have the group.

    I note one other item of news is that a native born US citizen was stopped for a couple of hours and cross-examined on his religion, Islam, when re-entering the US. Now there are reasons for detaining US citizens returning (smuggling, lost passport) but asking questions on their religion should be out-of-bounds.

    • Quick followup, strictly speaking she wants a non-religious group since all Baylor religious groups must be Trinitarian Christian. Project Nur is interfaith “Project Nur is a student-led initiative advocating for social justice by empowering responsible leaders to cultivate an environment of acceptance and mutual respect between Muslims and all communities.”

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > They never told me that they felt unwelcome.

      Because that is how it works… People who do not believe I will listen to them will always take the time to tell me what they think. This is a ridiculous statement, and when I hear that I assume the speaker is being knowingly dishonest.

  26. The hatred and intolerance exhibited towards those with differing views on this site are appalling. Coupled with the foul language of it’s religious leader compel me to take my commenting elsewhere. Christopher Hitchens was right about you liberal Christian types. Goodbye.

    • “its”

    • Geoff, I apologize for offending you. As for the use of that particular word, when I was young, I once expressed surprise when an older mentor, a deacon at his very conservative Baptist church, used a form of that same word. But he had grown up on the farm, and he said to me, “Son, I don’t take the Lord’s name in vain, and I don’t use vulgar sexual language, but shit is shit.”

      As for your comment, I don’t see “hatred and intolerance” in these discussions. Vigorous debate, yes. Does it sometimes cross the line? Occasionally, but we do try to moderate that and I think we’ve been pretty successful. And calling me this site’s “religious leader” goes a quite a bit beyond my role here. As for “liberal Christian types,” I’m bemused at that description. We have a pretty broad representation of traditions and perspectives here. It is true that I have taken some strong stands against what are often termed “conservative” positions, such as inerrancy and young earth creationism. But I do so as one who loves the Bible too much to see it hijacked by political agendas. Who’s the real conservative?

      Sorry if you go. You are always welcome.

    • Huh? That came out of nowhere. I thought we were going to have a discussion, not many followup single comments. That’s disappointing.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > Hatred?


      • Just as our President does, the commentor has made disagreement equal to hate. This is what we’re dealing with now, in the Oval Office and on the streets.

    • As is typical for a conservative, you deliberately choose to conflate “disagreement” with “hatred” so you can pretend that it’s ok to refuse to engage with viewpoints other than your own. Don’t apologize, Chaplain Mike. People who willfully disconnect from reality need to be called out, not catered to.

    • Gentle disagreement is not the same as hatred and intolerance. Go to the comments sections of the various news sites for examples of hatred and intolerance, from both sides.

      But we do live in a time where any disagreement towards a certain leader is automatically “fake.”

    • Burro [Mule] says

      There are people on this board who disagree with me not gently, but sharply, yet I have no doubt that they would cross town to pull my car out of a ditch.

      If they didn’t use the opportunity to lecture me about the error of my ways, I would be disappointed.

      Your views probably align more with mine, but I think I’d leave you in the ditch.

      • I would gladly pull and serve you a beer before telling you how wrong you are to your face, lol

        And THAT is how proper society and discussion is done! Plus after a beer or two we are all friends and telling jokes anyways.

        • I would never do that Stu especially not to me who has put down a 100 beers a day just to keep my lips wet in between shots. It’s okay with friends though as I am sure another round would be in order.

      • LOL. That’s what AAA’s for.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says

        Of course we would Mule. Of course we would. And have beer afterwards. Unless you insisted on drinking Budd lite or some such abomination. Then I would put your car back in the ditch. Upside down. 🙂

        • Burro [Mule] says

          I like Pilsners actually. Sweetwater in Athens has a good one, but any of the old stalwarts would do just fine; Pilsner Urquell, Beck, Amstel, even Stella Artois.

          There is a soft spot in my heart for a bottle or two of Stroh’s Light, a bag of Jay’s Ranch Herb Potato Chips, and a televised Pistons game.

          There are so many more things in life that matter more than theology or politics.

      • Mule, family is family. Family invest in each other.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      I always find it funny how people will tolerate religious, ethnic or racial hatred, even promote it, but draw the line at a minor swear word.

      We will destroy people’s lives, but we will do it politely, sittint in our drawing rooms. Shades of 1845 there….

      • Last time I checked, b.s. is not even a swear word, just a little crude. I think Dante used its Italian equivalent in the Inferno.

        • And Paul may have used its equivalent in Phil 3:8.

          It’s certainly less vulgar than Ezekiel 23 and the excretory language used by some of the Prophets.

      • Racial hatred
        …….Oh my

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        We will destroy people’s lives, but we will do it politely, sittint in our drawing rooms.

        In my experience, Narcissist Manipulators and Sociopaths are always SOOOOO Polite. To the point that Polite = Sociopath.

  27. Burro [Mule] says

    1. I won’t see either The Shack or the Genesis movie, nor do I want to mask my disinterest in either with any political or religious objection. We are heading into Lent, starting on Monday, and the Lenten movie rotation is going into effect:

    The Cross and the Switchblade
    The Island
    The Song of Bernadette
    Tokyo Godfathers
    Brother Sun, Sister Moon
    Luther – [Ralph Fiennes]
    Babette’s Feast
    Spitfire Grill
    Groundhog Day
    A Night on the Galactic Railway
    The Mission

    These movies have proved useful in preparing the ground for repentance and self-examination. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

    2. Re; Trump and the media. Even Fox News was telling me on Nov.5 that Clinton was going to win. 4Chan said Trump would take 300+ electoral votes. I believed the media. Oh, poor dumb me. Now Univision, who used to be pretty fair and impartial during W’s and smilin’ Barry’s administrations, has gone full Wm. Tecumseh Sherman on Trump, and is locally reporting every single deportation, complete with weeping family.

    I don’t think Trump is averaging as many deportations as Obama did on a weekly basis, but they have turned out to be just as propagandist as Mother Jones when a dog of theirs finally made its way into the fight. I guess it was inevitable. So, I don’t fault people for choosing their information sources. Tell me who you believe, and I’ll tell you what you believe.

    PS – Hardly anybody wants to talk. Everybody wants to scream.

    3. NT Wright may just save conservative Protestantism, if he could get enough people to listen to him. That would be achievement enough. If he could destroy the bug-eyed pissed-off God of the popular Protestant imagination, he would be doing Christendom a great favor.

  28. A pastor’s salary.

    Within 10% of the MEDIAN of the church membership.

    More or less and they will find it hard to socially interact with the membership. Of course more and more evangelical pastors seem to feel that’s not a part of the position.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Gotta keep up with the Furticks.

    • Yes, I’ve seen this. Pey the pastor crap and then wonder why he isn’t 100% in on every fundraiser, social activity, or whatever else the church does that costs money. And then complain he isn’t supportive.

  29. Geoff Downs says

    I know I said I was taking my commenting elsewhere because of the abusive attitude I received from many here (Robert F, Stuart, Mule, Chaplain Mike and others ) but reading the Saturday comments here makes me feel like the old man looking at Kramer’s portrait in the Seinfeld episode…”.it’s loathsome but I can’t look away “. I have been reading I Monk since Michael Spencer started it and have enjoyed it immensely. I understand people have differences of opinion, but to be castigated and called inhuman and then told I would be left in distress on the side of the road if my car broke down because I don’t hold the same views as some here(thanks Mule). Thanks guys . I’m no troll , I don’t spend my time looking for fights on the internet but I think it’s wrong that President Trump is criticized for everything all the time just because ,and for no other reason than just to find fault. It’s also wrong to pigpile on me because I don’t hold the left leaning beliefs of many here. Chaplain Mike , I’m not here to make trouble. Thanks , I’ll be reading again next Saturday. See Ya

    • Thanks, Geoff. And, by the way, I didn’t call you “inhuman.” I said your comments weren’t “human” in the sense that I thought they reflected a kind of current day social media vibe that just repeats people’s views on things according to the party line without really engaging in person to person dialogue. As a result, statements are made that have no actual basis in fact or evidence, such as “the media is the enemy of the people in that it has been reduced to merely a propaganda wing for the Democrat Party.” This is merely overblown rhetoric. First of all, there is no single “the media.” Second, such a statement does a severe injustice to the thousands of reporters and journalists out there who are trying to find the truth and write about it accurately. Third, it also insults the American people and suggests that they cannot discern when they are being propagandized.

      BTW, I am critical of President Trump not because he is a “conservative” or is advancing a “conservative” agenda. I have consistently opposed him because I find him totally unqualified and unfit for the highest office in the land. And in my view, he is proving that more and more every day.

      • Burro [Mule] says

        Are you willing to give him the time that it took smilin’ Barry to grow into the job?

        I remember scratching my head when he took off on his health care crusade early in his presidency. I was out of a job, and so was 1/3 of the country, but he just HAD to get health care out of the way first.
        Trump’s never run anything this complex before. I believe he’ll hit his stride, and when he does, I predict he’ll surprise a lot of people. He will never be open borders, which is what a lot of folks here seem to want, although I can’t for the life of me figure out why, but I think he’ll be far more moderate than the doomsayers in the streets think.

        • Burro [Mule] says

          PS – I can see where the idea comes from that CNN, MSNBC, CBS, Time Warner, and the NY Times were like a domestic RT. They made it pretty obvious who they wanted to win.

          When it served their purposes (ratings), they were glad to report on the antics of Trump-the-Bozo. Now they’re pimping Beelzetrump for the same reason.

          Meretricious bastards.

        • Hit his stride? Well, he’s certainly improving his golf swing, since he’s spent so much of his first month as president on the links down at Mar-a-lago. Every weekend, I believe. He’s got his priorities in order. Learning the ropes of a gargantuan government takes second fiddle to time on the green…or campaigning for 2020.

        • But then, as he’s said, he doesn’t need a lot of information or study to master a subject; he just depends on his hunches, which are always so amazing and so accurate you wouldn’t believe it. By now he is no doubt already an expert and master at governing the US, at least according to his own estimation, and what else counts? Time to look to 2020, and return to the golf course.

        • And why worry anyway, when good ole’ Steve Bannon is there in the shadowy corners of the White House to make sure nothing goes awry? Let ole’ Stevie do the studying; he’s good at that.

    • Geoff, For my part I apologize if I’ve insulted you, today or any other day. I don’t remember having done so, but maybe the lack of memory of having done so is due to oblivious carelessness on my part. I can’t promise to never be critical, but I will do my best to avoid insults; let me know if you feel I’ve gone over the line, and I’ll try to pull back.

    • Hey, Geoff~ Listening to a wide variety of well-seasoned observers of the political and current events scenes, the one common observation that I hear from them all over the past half year is that they have never ever in their whole life seen anything like what is going on now. I concur. This would be an indication, perhaps, that no one knows for sure what is going on, and that wisdom would dictate a wait-and-see mode while things sort themselves out. Not everyone is willing to admit they don’t know all the answers. Not everyone is capable of stepping back and observing themselves and noting the presence of anger and an underlying fear strong enough to make rational thought impossible.

      This is not the first time that humanity has been thru these changes. It does appear to be the first time that we are going thru these changes with the available help of the internet. We are getting ready to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the last time we went thru such momentous changes, and we had the printing press to help us then. This seems to be a lot bigger than that, and a lot more unstoppable, however it sorts itself out. I am most hopeful that we are in process of being set free from dark forces beyond our ken, but who knows. Yes, the Bible does say that love wins, but we may not be quite there yet.

      Five hundred years ago not everyone could read or afford all the information that was being published. Everyone here, by definition, has the ability to access every bit of information that is available to you or to me. Not everyone chooses to do this. I am more and more looking on this situation as parallel universes. Probably the majority of people here regard their perceptions as reality and expect everyone else to see the same thing, are upset when they don’t. Mystical tradition and quantum physics tend to regard this thing we see surrounding us as an illusion which is shaped and determined by our particular background and desires and proclivities. Seems to me as good an explanation as any for why two people can look at the same thing and come up with wildly opposite interpretations of what they are seeing.

      What I do know is that in all these opposing viewpoints, trying to combat an emotionally held point of view with logic is an exercise in futility. We’ve been featuring lately a lot of orthodox scientific explanations for a particularly perceived material reality in the attempt to dissuade those whose whole fabric of life rests on different perceptions within a different level of spiritual development. Makes me want to say, hello, is anyone home? You are threatening these people’s lives and you want to have a rational conversation? That’s a small can of worms compared to dealing with those who gravitate to central control rather than self control, whether of the far right or far left, which you might have figured out by now aren’t extremes on a straight line but meet in the circumference of a circle

      How to deal with all this? Realize that arguing is useless except for those who get off on arguing as a sport, and especially when you are dealing with ideology. Try to stay as informed as possible from sources that seem to be closest to your observable reality, but keep a saltshaker handy. Question EVERYTHING! Use your God-given discernment and please don’t confuse that with your intellect or your ego. Be willing to admit you may be wrong. Pray for wisdom and protection for our leaders and for the highest good of all concerned. Pray a blessing of God’s light for the highest good for your perceived enemies. Speaking of which, those people your mention as abusers, Robert F, Stuart, Mule, and Chaplain Mike, are about as different from each other as it is possible to be this side of the Luciferians. You and I undoubtedly have our differences, but I would hope we could sit down over a beverage of choice and explore them for the benefit of humanity and the planet. Peace! ~Charley

      • Amen Charley. I don’t think this is really a conservative vs. liberal issue. I think it’s being portrayed that way as a way to manipulate people. In fact, I think the real issue is does he have a personality disorder or not, is he using the American people for his own profit or not, etc. The Rogue POTUS Staff twitter account has some interesting views to the chaos going on behind the scenes.

  30. thunder and lightening
    our cat skulks to the window
    transfixed by nature

  31. Ashes to ashes, funk to funky…


  32. As of 8PM 224 comments have been posted to this here site and so my comments at this point seem kinda superfluous. But what the heck…

    I thought MOONLIGHT was transcendent and beautiful. Humans being human. Oh friends in all this pointlessness and waste all we have is each other. Why isn’t that enough?

    Yes Genesis is science – for 2000 BC. Walk outside, what do you see? You stand on a flat plane, overhead a luminous dome. We should not criticize the ancients for their commonsense perceptions. But for we who live in the 21st century THERE IS NO EXCUSE.

    For Trump the words of Neil Young-

    I never knew a man
    could tell so many lies
    He had a different story
    for every set of eyes.
    How can he remember
    who he’s talkin’ to?
    ‘Cause I know it ain’t me,
    and I hope it isn’t you

    -“Ambulance Blues”

  33. Looks it it was a very light hearted and easy going Saturday brunch today. ?

  34. 🙂

  35. I find it interesting that this post featured two “christian” “movies”. The first film is dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with a certain dearth of critical thinking skills. Ironically, so is the second. Perhaps this means something.

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