January 18, 2021

The Internet Monk Saturday Brunch: 4/8/17


”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.”

Michael Spencer loved to laugh. In honor of the 7th anniversary of his death this week, I thought we’d start today by sharing some of his funniest bits over the years as we gather around the Brunch table today. These are just a few — we’ll find more and share them in days to come.

The Evangelism/Pizza Awards

The 50th anniversary of one of the most productive relationships in Christianity was celebrated this week at Zondervan’s “Youth Ministry Hall of Fame” in Nashville as pizza finally received a long overdue recognition for its contribution to youth evangelism.

…International Missions expert Wilson Larue shared how pizza is revolutionizing world missions. “Pizza is going places that even “The Jesus Film” won’t go. Students in Japanese universities will listen to a Gospel presentation if pizza is available. I believe that one day we’ll see breakthroughs in the 10/40 window because pizza was in there long before missionaries could evangelize.”

Seminars on pizza and youth evangelism brought together veterans of using pizza with ministries looking for new and better ways of utilizing pizza. Some of the seminars included…

“Seekers Pizza.”
“Multiplying Your Free Pizza Ministry.”
“Ethnic and International Pizza.”
“Praise and Pizza.”
“The Praying Pizza.”
“Senior Adult Pizza.”
“Pizza In The Sanctuary: A Guide to Cleaning Supplies.”
“Pizza and the Regulative Principle.”
“What Pizza Would Jesus Eat?”
“Images of Jesus in Pizza.”
“The Anointed Pizza.”
“Free Will and Pizza.”
“Pizza in the Baptistry.”
“Infant Pizza Ministry.”

Confessions of an Egg Nog Addict

But there is a third, much smaller, category containing foods over which I have no ability to reason or resist. Should you wish to make a fool out of me, these are the foods that will facilitate the process. If you want to see a grown man reduced to the level of pure lust, this is the formula. If you want to frighten your children with visions of pure addiction, simply bring them over and set one of these foods before me. Just don’t put it in their hands or things could get ugly.

In this third category of food temptations beyond all reason is egg nog.

Yes, egg nog, that heavenly concoction that appears in the holiday seasons and lays claim on the minds, desires and appetites of those of us who have, after ten months, achieved some balance, sanity and clarity in life. It is entirely possible that one day, Denise will come home and there I will be in the kitchen, propped up in the corner, dead, surrounded by a dozen empty egg nog cartons. Pity me not. It will not have been an unpleasant end, I assure you.

Proverbs for Angry Young (and Older) Christians

He who says “the Bible must be read in context” usually means “If you want to understand the Bible, read it like me.” Therefore, proclaim your authority to your followers, take a new name and wear funny clothes.

Dressing up in church is a sin, unless the clothes are casual. In other words, if you wear a suit, you are a Pharisee, but if you wear $200 boots or anything in American Eagle, then Jesus doesn’t mind.

A Few of the Baptist Holy Days of Guilt and Obligation

  • Mother’s Day. Obligated to go to church with mom and then take her out to a restaurant, which means standing in line at Cracker Barrel for about 2 hours.
  • Any church potluck or meal.
  • Any Sunday that starts a revival (or any Sunday that begins a 40 Days of Purpose if your church dumped revivals.)
  • Any wedding of anyone in your family within 250 miles.
  • Any funeral of anyone in your family within 70 miles.
  • Any school board meeting where creationism will be discussed.
  • Ladies: Any Christian Women’s Conference within 500 miles.
  • Any event involving Bill Gaither Homecomings.
  • Any Olin Mills Church Directory photoshoot.
  • Any church softball game against another Baptist church.
  • Any church business meeting where there’s a chance of a big fight or someone getting fired.


So, police in Northern Wales just ran up a cell phone bill bigger than that of your teenage daughter.

An offender from Llangefni was out on bail as part of a scheme to reintegrate criminals into the community when North Wales Police gave him a phone as a means of staying in contact. Turned out they missed a very important detail: the phone contained a contracted rather than a pay-as-you-go SIM card.

The man removed the SIM card from the simple device and put it into a smart phone that he used to stream video and music. Two other people ended up using the phone, and in six months they had racked up a debt of 55,000 U.S. dollars.

Though this happened back in 2014, the details just came to light through a freedom of information investigation.

Authorities wouldn’t say it, but I heard that the police in North Wales have been grounded to their rooms for a month and given a list of chores so that they could work off their debt.


St. Louis Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is confused. I’m confused. The whole world is confused. We may need to have Mike the Geologist write a Faith & Science post on the physics of this.


Here are three Easter services you might want to consider attending next week (or not).

From “Megachurches Plan Creative Services to Celebrate Easter”

In Canada, Church of the Rock, which describes itself as a charismatic, interdenominational, evangelical church, puts on a full rendition of the resurrection using pop culture icons.

“Nobody on the planet does it quite like Church of the Rock. We have taken the amazing story of the resurrection and have presented it in modern parable form that can only be described as ‘Hollywood does Easter,'” said Pastor Mark Hughes on his blog.

While their Good Friday services are more traditional and centered around the passion of Christ, “Easter … is something all together different,” he described.

In previous years the church has performed “The Wrath of Khan,” featuring the death and resurrection of Captain Kirk of Star Trek, as well as “Pirates of the Galilean.” This year, they are featuring: “Batman and Robin in The Dark Night: An Easter Story.”

From “Easter at the Megachurch”

New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow will deliver the Sunday sermon at the Celebration Church in Austin, TX. The church is building bleachers to accomodate the 30,000 people expected to attend, though parking will not be provided.

Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church (the eighth largest in the United States) will oversee  the “Easter Entertainment Experience” at Saddleback. Last year’s act will be a hard one to follow: it was the Jonas Brothers. It’s rumored that Warren plans on bringing in Justin Bieber this Easter.

Wait, maybe he meant Reinhold Biebuhr.


Oh no. Now you’re telling me there’s a war on Easter?

Should Christians eat Seder meals as a form of Christian worship?

What Should Contemporary Evangelical Christians Think about the Reformation?

Why is this person becoming an Anglican?

What will it be like when Don Rickles enters the World to Come, a.k.a. heaven?

Should Christians drop the language of “mission”?

What does a new study tell us about those who “love Jesus but not the church”?

How is the “travel ban” affecting U.S. colleges and universities?

Is this how human life will perish from the earth? (P.S. don’t tell my wife!)


There’s a fascinating list at Literary Hub, detailing 50 dates on which things have been said to happen in literature.

For example:

  • Do you know on what day Sherlock Holmes got his first case, according to A Study in Scarlet, by Arthur Conan Doyle?
  • When was Alice’s birthday, and what day did she go down the rabbit hole in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll?
  • On what day did George Orwell’s 1984 begin?
  • What date was it when Tom Buchanan took Nick to a party and punched Myrtle in the face, in The Great Gatsby  by F. Scott Fitzgerald?
  • On which of two possible dates did Hagrid arrive to tell Harry Potter he’s a wizard, according to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling?

EMO’S BEST RELIGIOUS JOKE…and a few others

From “The Best God Joke Ever — And It’s Mine!

Emo Phillips, who hails from Downers Grove, IL, where I went to high school, has written some of the best religious jokes around, including the following…

  • When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realised, the Lord doesn’t work that way. So I just stole one and asked Him to forgive me … and I got it!
  • So I’m at the wailing wall, standing there like a moron, with my harpoon.”
  • A Mormon told me that they don’t drink coffee. I said, “A cup of coffee every day gives you wonderful benefits.” He said, “Like what?” I said, “Well, it keeps you from being Mormon …”
  • I’m not Catholic, but I gave up picking my belly button for lint.
  • When I was a kid my dad would say, “Emo, do you believe in the Lord?” I’d say, “Yes!” He’d say, “Then stand up and shout Hallelujah!” So I would … and I’d fall out of the roller coaster!

But Emo’s best religious schtick (ranked the 44th best joke of all time by GQ) is best seen and heard with Emo’s own uniquely quirky rendering.


  1. War on Easter, to quote the article:

    The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, also pointed out that John Cadbury, the founder of the chocolate company, was a devout Christian.

    “To drop Easter from Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt in my book is tantamount to spitting on the grave of Cadbury,” Sentamu said.

    I’m not sure how a egg hunt connects to the religious meaning of Easter. Cadbury was a devout Quaker who don’t celebrate Easter (and in any case the first chocolate egg in Britain was by Fry and Sons [also Quakers] which was later taken over by Cadbury). The archbishop’s predecessors at the time would not have considered either the Frys or the Cadburys fully Christian as they were not baptized.

    • Robert F says

      I wouldn’t be surprised if some among earlier generations of British Christians considered the Easter Egg Hunt itself part of a war on Easter (though they may not have used those words to typify it)…

    • Robert F says

      And aren’t there Christians who consider the use of the word Easter itself to be a war on….what do they call it?…Resurrection Day is the theologically correct term in these circles, no?

  2. Hmmm. Here am about nearly 63 years old and I’ve never heard of this Emo.

    I guess you can learn something new every day.

  3. Ok, I’m #3…I slept in this morning…

  4. The pizza and evangelism axis?

    All I can say is to quote Bill Kinnon;

    What you win them with is what you win them to.

  5. “Baptist Holy Days of Guilt and Obligation” ?

    If the “guilt factor” were eliminated from the Baptist tradition (or any church trad for that matter) how much would “get done”? (I suspect that the elimination of guilt might just eliminate Baptist-ism…)

  6. “What Should Contemporary Evangelical Christians Think about the Reformation?”

    Contemporary Evangelicals actually think?

    (Sorry, couldn’t help myself….)

    • Richard Hershberger says

      The irony of that piece is that he seems not to know that the nailing of the 95 theses on the door probably never actually happened. As a good–well, adequate–Lutheran, I know that the proper response to the topic is to shuffle my feet and change the subject.

    • “Contemporary Evangelicals actually think?”

      Mark Noll, in his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind says, “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”

      Then he goes on from there. I think that’s called a “thesis statement.”

  7. “What will it be like when Don Rickles enters the World to Come, a.k.a. heaven?”

    Hilariously FUNNY. I’m envious.

    I hope Jesus as for a “roast” dinner from Rickles. And I hope it’s video’d so I can watch it when I get there…

  8. I’m glad to know that someone else is an eggnog addict. I am too. And I even supply others. My two cats also like it, and demand some. That is even true when I eat eggnog ice cream

  9. RE: the CT article on “loving Jesus but not the church”…

    Churches need to be able to say to these people—and to answer for themselves—that there is a unique way you can find God only in church.

    I used to think that “unique way” was correct theology. I don’t anymore.

    I don’t think that “unique way” is apostolic succession either. Or expository preaching. Or any number of other things.

    I suspect that “unique way” is self-sacrifical communal love focused on Jesus.

    If anyone finds it, please do let me know.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      I noted the part about the religious non-chiuched having given up on reading “spiritual books”. They should have asked how many had read those books and if they where part of the reason they left? I’d like the hours back I spent reading “spirtual books” [aka white suburban self-help work-ethic propaganda – and mostly badly written]. The Evangelical church was a lot like a book club dedicated to some of the crappiest books ever written.

      Rick Warren should not be allowed near a keyboard.

      • “They should have asked how many had read those books and if they where part of the reason they left?”

        *raises hand*

        If reading theology could sanctify, I’d have a reserved seat next to the 24 Elders and the Four Evangelists. Right now, I am SO burned out on the stuff I can barely look at it. And I still remember most of it off the top of my head anyways, so why bother?

        • >> If reading theology could sanctify, I’d have a reserved seat next to the 24 Elders and the Four Evangelists.

          I keep on reading, selectively, because I am still trying to improve my understanding of where I think the church went off the rails and why and how. I still get catalogs and emails from CBD and still take advantage of their sales on reference books and others that interest me. I totally ignore their best seller sections except to note trends and fashions. The Monastery here is one of the best places I know for trend watching, some dangerous and some hopeful.

    • John Stott, in the opening of his book Basic Christianity, says that young people are often “hostile to the church, friendly to Jesus Christ.”

      I mentioned this in a Sunday class at our church a few years ago because it described me as a young person just reading Stott’s book back in 1979. I met with some resistance that Sunday in 2015 (from our pastor, unfortunately). He said that to be hostile to the church, which is the bride of Christ, is the same as being hostile to Christ.

      Watch for that teaching from others in the church. It seems to be going around, as I’ve heard it since. It could be part of what Michael Spencer meant by “mere churchianity.”

      • “He said that to be hostile to the church, which is the bride of Christ, is the same as being hostile to Christ.”

        Never mind all the times in Scripture where that argument gets made and God (or His appointed representative) blows it out of the water…

      • Ted, yeah, there’s a fine balance, isn’t there? On the one hand to be born into Christ is to be born into a family, and it is hoped that we will learn to love the family, warts and all, just as we learn to love and cherish our flawed biological or adoptive families. But to state it as your pastor did just sounds defensive and argumentative to me, like an angry parent not recognizing that all his ranting toward his teenager is simply driving her farther away from home. It sounds like it’s more about him than it is about real compassion for those who struggle with the church family.

        Unfortunately, I know whereof I speak, both as a father and a pastor. Wish I could have recognized what I’m writing now back then.

        • The church was going through some growing pains at the time. Pastor was enamored of Mark Dever, the 9Marks format, and about that time preached a series on “The Local Church,” anticipating a change in the by-laws to a male-only elder-led government that would have dismantled our accountability structure and funneled authority to three men. This is euphemistically called complementarianism. Ironically, it was presented as offering more accountability, as well as being more biblical.

          My takeaway from all that is that The Local Church(TM) has become a sixth Sola.

          The proposed by-laws failed to pass, thankfully, and a less complementarian, more tepid format has been voted in, more resembling Rick Warren’s than Mark Dever’s.

          Of those closely involved on both sides, self included, ain’t nobody happy. Most people didn’t care either way but wonder where a couple of prominent families went.

          • Sorry situation, Ted.

            When church becomes “whos in charge”, sidelining 51% of the congregation because of biologically defined anatomical differences, and the foundational imperative is being “biblical”, then, that church has become a club promoting a particular brand of Stupid®

    • +1

  10. “the church has performed “The Wrath of Khan,” featuring the death and resurrection of Captain Kirk of Star Trek”

    Um, Kirk did not die in that movie. Hope they get the Easter characters right.

  11. Robert F says

    Sure, spiders could eat all of us. But maybe they don’t like the way we taste…

  12. Richard Hershberger says

    Regarding the becoming Anglican piece, it is not clear, but “Anglican” in the United States context usually is code for “but not those gay-loving woman-priesting Episcopalians!” but rather a splinter group. This makes a focus on “unity” an ironic reason to join. Oh, and tracing its roots to the “early Celts”? Seriously? Is this version of woo woo widespread?

    • Robert F says

      The all-the-way-back-to-the-Celts idea is not uncommon thinking in the Anglican Communion; it’s not just the”continuing Anglicans” who espouse it.

    • It does sound like he joined a splinter group that is not part of the Anglican Communion (except indirectly). The Christian church in England can trace some of its roots back to the Celts in southern Great Britain (the island) living in the Roman Empire who were Christianized likely starting in the 3rd century CE (though I would call them late Celts not early Celts). The disappearance of Roman rule from the island in the early 5th century and the arrival of new pagan rulers (the Anglo-Saxons) didn’t erase Christianity completely but it wasn’t the religion of the rulers (in contrast to Ireland which was Christianized from Great Britain just as Roman rule was ceasing). Both Ireland and Rome later sent missionaries, the first to northern Great Britain (aka Scotland in the mid 6th century with people like Columba) and headed south and the latter (Augustine of Canterbury in 595) to southern Great Britain and headed north.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        I’m not questioning there being a tenuous indirect link between the Church of England and a church whose membership were mostly Celtic of some flavor. This is merely the banal observation that there were Celts who were Christians in the same general geographic area. But what is it supposed to mean that they trace their roots “back to the early Celts and from there to the Apostles that carried the Gospel to them.”? The Catholic church in England explicit did NOT trace itself to distinctly Celtic Christianity. This is what the Synod of Whitby was all about. The English Reformers cited Whitby to make a rather implausible legal argument that the church in England had joined Rome voluntarily and so could leave Rome whenever it wanted to. But this doesn’t mean that the church in England derived from the Celtic church, and it’s not as if the English Reformers changed how they calculated the date of Easter. (The tonsure issue presumably was moot.)

        What is this supposed to mean, apart from a Romantic sense that Celts were cool? I suspect that Celts being cool is all there is to see here.

        • Dana Ames says

          “But what is it supposed to mean that they trace their roots ‘back to the early Celts and from there to the Apostles that carried the Gospel to them.’?”

          I think they are looking for a link to ancient Christianity that bypasses some of the most egregious problems they, as Protestants, had with the Catholic Church.

          You may be remembering that there was a link to ancient Christianity that wasn’t Roman. The Irish priests were trained in the south of France, whose bishops and priests had very close ties to the Christian monastics of Egypt; it was a relatively easy voyage between Alexandria and Marseilles. There is a definite connection there in terms of the “flavor” of eastern monastic Christianity transmitted to the Celtic peoples of Britain, who of course internalized it and transmuted it into something more distinctively “celtic”. When the Irish sent missionaries to Northumbria, those influences came with them, and ultimately contributed to the difficulties that resulted in the Synod of Whitby.

          So it’s not simply that the Celts were cool… but “How the Irish Saved Civilization” is a terrific read.


          • Yes. Sort of the autocephalous Western Eastern wing. Whitby kissed the ring.

          • Very good, Dana.

            Question; Why did God invent whiskey?

            Answer; To keep the Irish (Celts) from conquering the world.

          • Dana, not just that. There was trade in tin between Cornwall and the Eastern Mediterranean from ancient times (tin mining goes back the better part of 4000 years). The whole legend around the Glastonbury Thorn and its relationship with Joseph of Arimathea points to the fact that foreigners came to Britain long before Rome annexed it.

    • Clay Crouch says

      Yes! Or, as I like to call them, Southern Paedobaptists.

    • Richard, I had the same thought reading the article. And yes, the particular branch of Anglicanism the blogger references is very conservative. Simply the use of the 1928 BOP is a tip-off (btw, I like the 1928 BOP because I find it theologically deeper than the 1982 version).

      I’ve twice attended a small local congregation in Woodinville, WA while visiting a friend who lives in a suburb east of Seattle (ST. BARTHOLOMEW’S CHURCH). I could walk to the church in about 30 mins. The experience was enjoyable–people were friendly, the liturgy was deeply inspiring, and it was apparent that the members were engaged in each other’s lives.

      HOWEVER, I will not identify with a church or movement or denomination that closes off leadership/priesthood to women, that make a negative issue of gender orientation, or promote American militarism.

  13. Like David L, I had never heard of Emo Philips either. On one of those related videos that come up after the video you just watched is done, there was a contemporary video of him. He is now a typical looking boomer but using the same shtick and just as annoying. I watched a lot of longhair freaks from the sixties and seventies turn into boomers along the way.

    Those selections of related Youtube videos that accompany what you are watching are influenced not only by what you are watching but by what you have watched, as if Youtube has been peeking thru your window. I’m thinking they would provide a good personality profile, not necessarily closely matching the presented persona. Would be interesting to see what came up for everyone here. Mine included the Robert David Steele Norway interview, Could You Live Without Electricity, and Missouri Amish Store Visit.

    • Those selections of related Youtube videos that accompany what you are watching are influenced not only by what you are watching but by what you have watched, as if Youtube has been peeking thru your window. I’m thinking they would provide a good personality profile, not necessarily closely matching the presented persona. Would be interesting to see what came up for everyone here.

      If you install Ghostery[1] and don’t “trust” a site you get really bland suggestions and ads as the sites and ad networks see you as new to them each time you visit. 🙂

      Unless the site refuses to let you browse. 🙁

      [1]Ghostery blocks most of the web tracking stuff that allows sites and advertisers to keep track of you.

  14. Never heard of Emo and his jokes. I thought they were pretty awful. Michael was a lot funnier when he wanted to be, and more insightful.

    The new study on those of us who love Jesus but not so much those entities that claim to be the local manifestations of the church was pretty accurate. But the CT article sure showed that the church just doesn’t get how they lost us and still wants to blame it on us (the bible requires you to be in community, etc.). There’s no introspection on the part of any of the church leaders quoted by CT, and to me that is exactly the problem. I left not because the church was being the church, but because it wasn’t!

  15. Dana Ames says

    RE: “Love Jesus but not the church.”

    I find it interesting that the demographic with the greatest percentage in the study is white women. If I were still a Protestant, I would say that the majority of churches who claim to stick most closely to the Bible are very resistant to women doing anything called “ministry” except having/caring for children (unless you were a missionary – marrying and having children could be postponed for this reason), and cooking (oh, excuse me, “Hospitality”).

    If one is a Protestant, there is just as much “biblical evidence” to support women in ministry as there is to keep them out; the so-called “complementarians” refuse to see this. Both the keeping women out of ministry and the argumentativeness around marshaling of a list of Bible verses that could support both opinions were large reasons I found myself in the Evangelical wilderness. (In traditionally black churches, it seems that women tend to at least be held in greater honor, and often have more opportunities for ministry that is actually named as such.)

    Beyond the restrictions on women (perhaps tied to them?), the longer I was an Evangelical – even as I was trying to find a way I could remain an Evangelical – the more it became apparent to me that Evangelicalism has no true theology of the Church. And some Evangelical theologians, including Scot McKnight, have actually said so.


    • “Evangelicalism has no true theology of the Church.”

      Hmmm… I’ll have to think on that. I think you’re right, though. Our theology of the Church is complicated, and maybe schizophrenic.

      And Emo Phillips’ joke describes us pretty well.

    • Dana, I appreciate the way you can so easily hand-drive nails…

      I was raised in and stayed in the Church of Christ (Southwestern variety–very conservative) until about age 45. For most of those decades I would have never identified myself as “Evangelical”, mostly because we saw those Baptist and Methodist et al as being on a slippery slope to perdition.

      However, central to the CofC, at least in the past, was a strong theology of the Church. What else would be expected of Restorationist?? However, I came to understand that though the ecclesiology was central, it was flawed and toxic.

      • Dana Ames says

        I hope that doesn’t mean I offended you, Ted… Please forgive if that’s the case.

        I attended the CofC with my husband fairly regularly when we were still “boyfriend and girlfriend”, before we got engaged. It seemed they had their doctrine buttoned down really tight, which appealed to me at that point in my life, and there were some kind people in that congregation. At the same time, it felt like having a really restricted view, like a stereopticon with only a dozen cards to put in it – all in pristine condition, but not very representative of the beauty that exists in the world. What can I say? I was 18, 19 years old and didn’t know how much I didn’t know…


  16. Dana Ames says

    RE: Christians and the Passover Seder

    I understand how Jews could be offended. Even if no offense is intended, it’s really not possible to have a truly satisfying Christian praxis (for those who want a praxis at all – most Evangelicals don’t want a significant Christian praxis – “too Catholic”) by incorporating things from other faith communities. Something happens if one does that seriously. For me, what happened is that after I began praying a few Orthodox Christian prayers regularly, I found myself on the fast track to entering the Orthodox Church…

    For some years as an Evangelical, because of my prior interest in the relationship between Judaism and Christianity, I practiced an individualized version of keeping the Jewish feasts but with a Christian emphasis. I even often cooked the traditional foods for each feast. There is a very real connection between the two, but in my ignorance and immaturity I didn’t understand what that really meant. I think that, for me at the time, keeping the Jewish feasts this was a way of restoring some things that I had given up when I left the Catholic Church for Evangelicalism: a liturgical calendar (the sanctification of time), and a true connection to the ancient Church.

    I think there may be something in some Christians that longs for that sense of sanctification of time, and a more than conceptual connection to the first Christians – again, among those who resist keeping a Christian liturgical calendar because that’s “too Catholic”.

    Even before I entered the Orthodox Church, I found myself keeping the Christian liturgical calendar again as I began reading Christian writings farther back in time, and seeing in those writings what Christian worship and praxis actually were. I haven’t gone back to the Jewish feasts since then. The events celebrated in the Jewish feasts (whether what we call “historical” or not) were types; the realities of those types are found in the events related to Christ, and have been folded into and explicated through the Feasts of the Church, especially as they are kept on the Eastern side.

    Blessed Holy Week and Pascha to all.

    Recommended reading/watching, if you have time and inclination:
    The Pilgrimage of Egeria (at Christian Classics Ethereal Library – ccel.org – they have it as “The Pilgrimage of Etheria) – Contained therein is an eyewitness account of how Christians in Jerusalem in the 5th century worshiped during Holy Week
    Holy Sepulchre, a 3D-journey back in time (on YouTube – no need to listen with sound; there is no spoken narrative)
    A Rite of Passage by Aidan Kavanagh, OSB (.pdf file – this pops up first on a browser search for title and author) – A fictional narrative based on 4th century Christian documentation. (If you were to attend an Orthodox Holy Saturday service in my parish on April 15, 2017, you would actually hear and see much of this…)


    • Dana, your mention of the sanctification of time sounds like you’ve read Abraham Joshua Heschel’s book The Sabbath. If not, it’s time you did. I just pulled mine off the shelf after too many years and I think I’ll get back into it.

      Some gems, from skimming the first chapter:
      — …”time is the heart of existence.”
      — “Judaism is a religion of time aiming at the sanctification of time.”
      — “…the likeness of God can be found in time, which is eternity in disguise.”
      — Heschel talks about “holiness in time” and an “architecture of time” in the seasonal observances.
      — And here he agrees with Jesus, when he says, “The glorification of the day, the insistence upon strict observance, did not, however, lead the rabbis to a deification of the law. ‘The Sabbath is given unto you, not you unto the Sabbath.'”

      I had this in a class in Judaism a long time ago, and now I see how Heschel reminds me of Thomas Merton.

      • Oh! Speaking of Merton: my wife had some thread going on facebook where you were supposed to pick up the book nearest you, go to page 56, and post the 5th sentence on that page. I picked up New Seeds of Contemplation and the appointed sentence was: “It is the peace not of love but of anesthesia.” Far out.

      • Robert F says

        Eternity is in love with the productions of time. — William Blake

      • Dana Ames says


        I have read Heschel’s “God In Search of Man” and some of “The Prophets” but not “The Sabbath.” I fully expect to meet him beyond the curtain – completely impressed by how what he talks about underlies Christian theology, esp after having begun to read N.T. Wright at approx. the same time as GISOM. Heschel so strongly looks toward what it means to be fully human, in union with God. Amazing.

        See, this is part of the final reason that kicked me into the Orthodox Church – the last tumbler to drop into the lock, so to speak: the threads in Orthodox theology and worship that extend too far back to simply be copies of Jewish elements that were somehow purposefully later incorporated into Byzantine liturgy to make it look like it came from Judaism. No, the more I was exposed to Orthodox liturgy, the more the threads seemed to arise naturally out of Jewish worship and expectations, esp with regard to what many Jews understood as what the yearly Temple ritual of the Day of Atonement accomplished – not to mention the huge Passover reverberations of the Triodion (Holy Friday+Holy Saturday+Easter Sunday). See Wright, esp “The New Testament and the People of God” and “The Day the Revolution Began”; see also Margaret Barker; many articles and book chapters of hers on line. It’s not for nothing that it is recorded that “a great many priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6.7). Not a surprising result after the first Christians explained to those priests the fulfillment of all the deep typology in their own ritual.


        • Dana Ames says

          Neither Wright nor Barker is Eastern Orthodox. Wright, of course, is Anglican. Barker, in addition to being an academic, is a Methodist lay minister. Barker did not attend an Orthodox Liturgy until later in her career, after having published most of her work; I read somewhere that she basically came away from it after picking up her jaw off the ground. She has lectured at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary in New York. (She was also invited to speak at a Mormon conference a couple of years ago; she didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear…)


        • Dana,

          Marvin Wilson, my Old Testament prof at Gordon, used to say that along with the Bible, Heschel’s God in Search of Man was what influenced him the most. We used it extensively in a few courses, and The Prophets in a course on Jeremiah.

          Interesting about that seamless relationship between Orthodoxy and Judaism. Marv used to say that he was able to teach more New Testament in his course on Judaism that one might expect because of the Jewish foundation, much of which we’re oblivious to.

          He since wrote a book Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith.

  17. Robert F says

    the ground is still wet
    but the sky is full of stars
    as yet unfallen

  18. Robert F says

    Lest we forget our musical muse on our way through this Lenten season:


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