December 2, 2020

The IM Saturday Brunch: August 26, 2017


”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.”

August Night on the Front Porch

Sorry to keep harping on the solar eclipse from last Monday, but there remain a few silly examples of Christians and others making use of the heavenly phenomenon that we have to report before we close the topic.


The image above, supposedly of the solar eclipse, was posted by Dan Asmussen. In a Facebook post, he raved “Best photo so far … Not sure anyone can top this one!” His post was shared more than 1.7 million times. Of course, many Christians jumped on this magnificent “evidence” of a sign in the heavens — the eclipse had produced the sign of the cross!, however, discovered that Asmussen’s image was created in 2011 from an image on Obsidian Digital, from the website DeviantArt. Obsidian Digital changed the orientation of the original image of the eclipse by using software to turn it on its side for the cross effect, Snopes explained. As RNS commented, this once, “God” truly was in the machine.

• • •


• • •


I’m not sure this needs any comment. Here is Jim Bakker’s take on the eclipse:

God came to me in a dream and said I should tell the world that I am plunging the world into darkness to remind people I’m still mad at the Obama years,” said Bakker on his online radio show. “Obama legalized witchcraft, sexual deviants getting married and schools started teaching transgenderism.

Bakker said it would take eight years of Donald Trump for America to “get right with God.”

I think it’s time to move on along to something a little less crazy and strange…

• • •


Some of the costumes folks wore last week here in Indianapolis at the 50th Gen Con convention:

• • •


Virgen de la leche, Circle of Gil de Siloe

Jonathan Aigner reports:

According to the Charlotte Observer, Amanda Zilliken was nursing her 4-month-old daughter on the back row of Elevation’s stadium-style seating when an usher illumined her with a flashlight, directed her out of the sanctuary and into [the bathroom].

The volunteer told her that she was welcome back to her seat, “as soon as she was finished.”

Hurt, angry, and humiliated by the experience, Zilliken approached other staff and volunteers after the service, but they were less than supportive.

Elevation did release a statement on the incident, stating that they have no official policy against breastfeeding women. They added: “We have several designated areas for nursing moms at Ballantyne specifically – one private to allow pumping and it’s close to the auditorium for convenience and the other in the actual baby area with a TV to allow mothers to still be part of the worship experience.”

Disappointingly, they did not explain why this particular mom was directed to the place where human waste is eliminated.

Aigner mentions other instances he read about where similar, humiliating instances occurred in churches. Then he launches an eloquent defense of welcoming mothers and their babies into church and not forcing them to leave public spaces to nurse.

You see, my beloved wife is my hero. After nine months of nurturing his sweet little life from the inside, she began doing the same after his birth. While recovering from the major surgery involved in his delivery, she gave more of herself to feed him as often as he needed. Through pain, tears, exhaustion, and spit up, she sustained him on her own for the first months of his precious life.

It was the most selfless, beautiful relationship I’ve ever witnessed. Determined, patient, pure love. I don’t think there could be a clearer illustration of Christ’s love and grace for his church.

So I find it despicable for a representative of any church to try and squelch that relationship, to guilt a mom for feeding her child, to show her the door as if she’s engaging in some sort of histrionic lactation.

He concludes the article by citing an example when the Pope himself, at the Sistine Chapel, openly gave permission to women to feed their babies when hungry. In fact, in the history of the church, some of the most beautiful artistic images of Mary and Jesus portray her suckling him at her breast. In fact, here is a page with twenty such renderings of Mary breastfeeding our infant King. One of the venerable names given to Mary traditionally is “Our Lady of the Milk.” This may have roots in a 4th century grotto in Bethlehem. It is considered sacred because, it is said, while the Holy Family took refuge there before their flight into Egypt, Mary was nursing Jesus, when a drop of milk fell to the ground, turning the cave white. To this day the Franciscans maintain a shrine there called the Milk Grotto. Its centerpiece is the Blessed Virgin nursing the infant Jesus.

The Miraculous Lactation of St. Bernard, Cano

And what shall we say of this painting, “The Miraculous Lactation of St. Bernard”? The artwork depicts the spiritual nourishing of St. Bernard of Clairvaux by the milk of Our Lady. He had a legendary mystical experience in which he prayed before a statue of the Madonna and Child, asking her, “Show yourself a mother” (“Monstra te esse Matrem”). The statue came to life and and squirted milk from the breast onto the Saint’s lips.

Evangelicals may laugh and deride such mysticism, but in my view it portrays a spirituality and view of life much more natural and human than the kind that thinks some kind of holy trauma will occur if they allow nursing in church. Sheesh. Grow up.

• • •


Fascinating article at LiveScience, even for someone as clueless about mathematics as I am.

Scientists recently decoded a clay tablet from ancient Babylonia that dates to around 3,700 years ago, and found that it contains the oldest trigonometric table in the world.

The tablet, discovered in the early 1900s and first interpreted in 1945, has long fascinated mathematics scholars, but they were puzzled by its description of triangles, which researchers recently linked to a type of trigonometry.

These ancient mathematical inscriptions predate the earliest known evidence of trigonometry — thought to have originated around 120 B.C. with Greek astronomer Hipparchus — by approximately 1,000 years, the researchers reported in a new study.

This finding suggests that the Babylonians, not the ancient Greeks, were the first to study trigonometry — the mathematics of triangles — perhaps using it in architectural calculations for constructing pyramids, temples and palaces, the study authors wrote.

…Thousands of years ago, mathematicians in Babylonia used a base 60 numerical system rather than the base 10 system that forms the foundation of modern arithmetic. In the study, the authors used the ancient base 60 system to demonstrate how scribes would have arrived at the numbers that were chiseled on Plimpton 322.

“The tablet not only contains the world’s oldest trigonometric table; it is also the only completely accurate trigonometric table, because of the very different Babylonian approach to arithmetic and geometry,” Mansfield said.

• • •


• • •


At Bloomberg, Brandon Presser writes a riveting piece about how he an accepted an offer from New York’s Plaza Hotel to join its team of butlers, describing a few of the lessons he learned doing the job. At the Plaza, he writes, there is “a coterie of 10 servicemen (and one woman!) who trot around the property’s 20 floors day and night, making sure 282 rooms’ worth of guests feel like royalty.”

Over my short tenure, I delivered laundry to Middle Eastern princesses and fetched lobsters out of wishing wells—and listened to colleagues delight in the oddities of their jobs, from fielding requests for Viagra or comforting a weeping woman over spilled blueberries. Serving the world’s rich and famous, it turns out, plumbs the depths of an alternative universe that readily embraces the absurd without even batting an eye. And that was only the beginning of what I learned.

…One butler told the story of how he was asked to replace all the furniture in a suite because the guest didn’t like the color blue. Another was sent off to scout the city’s reliquaries for a justice of the peace trophy—a prize for a newly minted lawyer. Another arranged for a live tarantula flown in from Africa to be served as a meal. Of course, butlers always deliver with a straight face.

Here is his description of one of the twelve lessons he enumerates in the article:

Bath Time Can Be Awkward

Another common request for the butler team is to draw baths with a signature blend of salt, oil, and roses—especially during the colder months of the year. But the butler’s duties aren’t necessarily complete once the tub is full. Bal, the Plaza’s resident bath-time specialist, said that 95 percent of the time, he’s asked to remain within arm’s reach as bathers suds-up. Most of them, he said, want more hot water or scented oil, and are happy to keep him on hand while they relax in the nude. He is often left to pull the plug from the drain, elbow-deep in leftover water.

It gets weirder. One of my butler colleagues at a previous job in London was asked to ship in and set up a guest’s order of fresh oysters in the bathtub. He diligently filled the tub with ice and laid the oysters out, only to discover that the guest wanted the oysters placed in the tub around his soaking body. Eventually, the client seemed satisfied: He purchased the room next door for his butler so he’d always be near.

• • •


Yes, this is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen…

• • •

GREAT SATIRE (note: this is satire)

There’s a wonderful satire piece at Laughing in Disbelief, satirizing televangelists, the Trump administration, Southern Baptists and otherwise ugly Americans. The piece brilliantly satirizes them all.

I feel the need to let you know that this is satire, because, well you know, enough people thought it wasn’t satire that Snopes was obliged to put up a page reporting that it is, indeed, satire, at least temporarily assuaging the holy furor of non-satirical, clueless about satire, satire-averse white Southern Baptist American Christians and other Church Ladies everywhere. Apparently, they failed to notice that the satirical article itself gives repeated clues and links that say over and over again, “This is satire, this is satire!” And that the site itself is known as a satire site. And that its name, “Laughing in Disbelief,” is a pretty good clue in and of itself that this site will probably include humorous articles that may include satire.

At any rate, here is part of the satirical article people apparently complained about, not getting that it is satire:

Reykjavik, Iceland. See the church? U.S. televangelists cannot preach there. (Note: satire)

Reykjavik, Iceland – This island nation situated in the North Atlantic took a monumental leap forward today by passing legislation banning American televangelists. [click the link to see if this is satire.]

The Icelandic Psychological Defense Act (IPDA) takes effect immediately. No American televangelist may set his or her foot in the small nation of 330,000 souls. No programming by such people may be shown on Icelandic television or played on the radio.

Genesis of the Icelandic Psychological Defense Act

Like most of the world, Iceland is watching the United States of America with growing concern. President Trump won the election in part by blowing demagogic dog whistles so loud even racist German Shepherds across the Atlantic could hear. Many in Iceland wondered if he could’ve won without the support of conservative churches and their faith-based flocks hoping for the biblical apocalypse?

The answer is obvious.

Prime Minister Andrew Kanard touted the IPDA while soaking in one of the many hot springs the country enjoys:

We in Iceland value our relationship with the United States of America. It is a great nation with a history they should be proud of. Currently, however, they seem to off whatever medication their doctor prescribed for them. Iceland wishes to support our friend in need. In that spirit, we are sending teachers over there to educate and assist rural communities infected with ignorance and superstition. What we will not do is allow ourselves to be invaded by that ignorance and superstition which is propagated by televangelists.

• • •


During this week in 1970 £3 would have bought you a ticket for several days of pretty good music — or if you waited until fans tore the fences down, it was all free! It was the Isle of Wight Festival, sometimes called Britain’s “Woodstock.” An estimated 600,000 people attended, topping the 400,000 who partied in the rain in New York. Among the notable performances were Jimi Hendrix’s final U.K. concert before his death a few weeks later. But IOW’s finest moment came when The Who played what may have been their best set ever. Here’s how one person remembers it:

Probably the most magnificent set I have ever seen was perpetrated by The Who. Townshend ambled on stage throwing off waves of channeled energy that were probably just a tiny bit more apparent to those at the front of the stage . Certainly the best little band ever, they were happy , they were together and they were amazing . From two o’clock to after five in the morning they stormed their way through Tommy, some new numbers and the prodigious rock medley that wound the whole thing up. Sometimes you really do come across an experience that will not allow itself to be said in just a few words on paper . For me The Who played what could only be the best set that they’ve ever done , but that’s only for me.

• • •


Please keep in mind those being affected by Hurricane Harvey today and intercede for them to the One who calms the seas.


  1. Cheers to the Babylonians.

  2. Christiane says

    the ENERGY!!!!! Pinball Wizard by the Who . . . . . great stuff

  3. Silver!
    And check out The Who performance at IOW ’69 as well.

  4. Iceland has a total of two Baptist churches with respectively 23 and 24 members (according to the national registry which gives each registered religion a certain amount of tax money per member). They do not apparently get along (judging by a few Wikipedia spats in the Religion in Iceland page).

    There are also other Christians who probably fall within the evangelical camp. There is also the interesting tax dodge of Zuism. This was a registered religion that got taken over and the leaders promised to hand the tax money directly back to their members. As of 2017 it had about 2,845 members. Iceland provides lots of data.

    The Isle of Wight has a present population of 139,800 so having 600,000 people show up would have made things difficult.

    • Christiane says

      I imagine that there may be the same kind of rejection of fundamentalism in Iceland as there is in England in the public square:
      where people would frown on ‘fundamentalists’ dissing minority groups like Muslims, and LBTG folk in their attempts to ‘speak truth with love’, a ploy which would be seen through very quickly by Icelanders who speak plainly to one another without all the ‘Christianese’ white-wash covering covertly contemptuous treatment of ‘those other sinners’.

      Iceland is a highly literate country. And it reportedly has no mosquitoes. 🙂 I might be very comfortable among the tourists there, yes. Hence, ‘bucket-list’, yes.

  5. Check out the price! 3 pounds!

    Yes, praying for all who will be affected by Harvey.

    • US$ to £ in 1970 = $2.40 (ave.)

      • I paid $4 to see Neil Young on his “Harvest” tour with Linda Ronstadt opening back in…gulp…1973. On one of their stadium tours Led Zeppelin created quite a scandal when they charged $12 for a ticket. I think I paid $6 to see Genesis in 1975 on their last tour with Peter Gabriel. The real price gouging started in the 80s. I blame Reagan.

        • “The real price gouging started in the 80s. I blame Reagan.”

          That would have been Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior, Mr. James Watt, who canceled a Washington Mall performance by…the Beach Boys… because they were unsavory and would attract the wrong element.

          Watt then booked Wayne Newton in the Beach Boys’ stead, to ensure a lack of sex, drugs, and rock & roll.

          First Lady Nancy Reagan protested that she and hubby Ronald liked the Beach Boys, as did Vice-President George H.W. Bush, who said the Beach Boys were his friends.

          Mr. Watt was later presented with a plaster foot, with hole in it, by the White House staff.

          For his untimely performance on the Mall, Wayne Newton was booed by an ungrateful and unsavory crowd.

          Note: This is NOT satire.

  6. I understand the legitimate anger about the treatment meted out to the nursing mother (though everything I’ve heard about Elevation and the control freaks that run it suggests it was sadly predictable).

    But I’m sorry, I find the picture of St Bernard just creepy!

    • I agree with both of your sentences.

    • I’m more than a little cynical about the hit piece on Elevation Church. People have agendas – I suspect a couple were at work here. The lady’s agenda and the author’s agenda. Agenda’s should not be confused with truth.

      • Please note that the usher had to use a flashlight to deal with her. Breastfeeding in the dark is a problem how?

      • What’s the lady’s agenda, grigg? Please, spare us nary a crumb of your wisdom.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Mobilization against The Vast FEMINIST Conspiracy, of course.
          Culture War Without End, Amen.

      • What proof do you have of any hidden agendas being pursued in this article? Exactly none. False witness.

      • And your apostrophe in agenda is unnecessary.

      • And what was Elevations agenda?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Every Knee Shall Bow,
          Every Tongue Confess:

          — Elevation Church children’s coloring book

      • senecagriggs says

        Internetmonk is opposed to conservative Evangelicals – are they not? Agenda? That’s pretty plain. Make conservative Evangelicals look bad.

        Elevation Church has lots of enemies – anything to try and make them look bad.

        • It’s hard to *make* someone look bad when they keep doing a spectacular job of it all of their own volition…

        • Well if Elevations church doesn’t want to look bad then asking a nursing mother to leave was rather an own-goal, wasn’t it? What, did they also spot a wounded man on the side of the parking lot and make sure to park on the other side?

          But never mind that: these enemies–does the church keep a List of them?

        • What? Who said we were opposed to conservative evangelicals? That’s ridiculous.

          • I hope that your tongue if firmly planted in your cheek when you say this. Read the comments to the bottom and and check out the vitriol against such folk.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        The lady clearly had an agenda: feeding her child. What a horrible woman! And the writer? Writing about stuff that happened! Fake news! Well, not in the sense that anyone is claiming it didn’t happen. But fake in the sense of inconvenient to some people. Fake! Fake! Fake!

        • And that’s the real rub. Nobody within evangelicalism wants to talk about the general flaws within evangelicalism, since it might very well lead to discussions about specific flaws in their favorite pastor/church/author/politician/singer/theology/whatever. Or especially vice versa. Any criticism is belittled, downplayed, deflected, messengers shot, outside critics demonized, ad infinitum ad absurdum. It’s always Somebody Else’s Fault.

          You can either stay in and go with the flow, stay in and try to change it, or get out. A lot of us here took Option 3. Some here are still hanging strong with Option 1. A few more perspectives from Option 2 might be handy…

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Any criticism is belittled, downplayed, deflected, messengers shot, outside critics demonized, ad infinitum ad absurdum. It’s always Somebody Else’s Fault.

            The Party Can Do No Wrong, Comrades.
            Be On Watch for Traitors and Thought-Criminals!

      • On many sides. Many sides.

      • Sure the woman had an agenda. Her agenda, was to feed her child.

    • senecagriggs says

      Like every church I can think of – ultra-fundy to ultra-liberal, the church is going to go OUT OF THEIR WAY to make sure mothers needs and desires are met. If you think Elevation Church is all about embarrassing nursing mothers you need an I.Q. check.

      The more salient question perhaps is this.

      Do Evangelicals have more problems with “BOOB” than the mainline population?

      Isn’t that the REAL question?

      • senecagriggs says

        “BOOBS”? though grammatically speaking, I think “boob” works in the above statement?

      • Mmm, good. Now lecture me some about the Culture of Life.

      • That is indeed the more salient question.

        And the answer is an unqualified “YES”.

        • senecagriggs says

          Go ahead and qualify Eeyore. I’d like to hear your take.

          [ What I’d really like to know is this; at Chaplain Mike’s non-Evangelical Lutheran Church, when he is preaching, does he invite nursing mothers to join him on the platform exegeting their milk while he exegetes the Scripture?] smile

          • Reductio ad absurdum. Two comment penalty, repeat the down.

          • Why are you fighting today, Seneca? What is it? What’s on your mind?

            • senecagriggs says

              Unthinking knee jerk put-down of the Evangelical Church Stu.

              • Clay Crouch says

                You’re not really helping your cause. What was unthinking about the comments? Was the reporter inaccurate in his reporting? Do you think what was reported didn’t happen? Do you think the young mother went to church that morning with a plan to expose Elevation Church? Maybe you think a mother doesn’t belong in the sanctuary during a service while she’s nursing? Well ok, make your case. Otherwise, you just sound like a crybaby. And everyone knows they don’t belong in church ;0).

              • The knee jerk reaction appears to be not siding and sympathizing with a nursing mom. Why immediately question the motive?

              • Seneca,

                At no point did I express anything against the evangelical church (if there is such a thing).

                But I do have a bone to pick with Elevation, who represent much that is wrong in church behaviours, and who make it impossible to assent to believing in one holy catholic and apostolic church.

                An apology for your slur would be appreciated.

      • ” If you think Elevation Church is all about embarrassing nursing mothers you need an I.Q. check.”

        She was *in the back row*. *In the dark*.

        How can that possibly be read to NOT be a desire to embarrass and discourage nursing mothers? I’d like to know.

        • Who are the real boobs in this story?

          • Back in a former career in software I was working with a small company in Toronto. After a long interview at customs going into Canada over nothing the owner of the Toronto company told me about one of his experiences. Back in one of his former careers he ran a small artsy theater and showed various older films and such. One time he was stopped coming into the country when customs confiscated the film he had with him. He was told to expect to be brought up on charges for importing porn. Then they took the film back to view to get the charges right. They soon came back and told him he was free to go.

            The movie:
            “Bathing Beauties and Big Boobs”.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I once was actually told to my face that breast-feeding was “unnatural”.

      What was the biological purpose of mammaries in the first place?
      Eye Candy and Squeezable Foreplay Triggers?

      Long ago I concluded that Christians are just as screwed-up sexually as everyone else, just in a different (and usually opposite) direction.

  7. “God came to me in a dream and said I should tell the world that I am plunging the world into darkness to remind people I’m still mad at the Obama years”

    Does he realize that even the vast majority of the US, let alone the world, was not “plunged into darkness”, since eclipse bands… oh hell, he doesn’t care. He just wants to vent his political spleen.

    “‘The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?’ declares the LORD.” – Jeremiah 23:28 (NASB)

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > oh hell, he doesn’t care.


      • If the eclipse was punishment for Obama, what is Hurricane Harvey? Must be punishment on Texas for Ted Cruz…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Remember this is the Jim Bakker of Jim & Tammy/PTL.

      Who after he got out of jail for the PTL fraud started selling buckets of Christian Survival Beans & Rice to the Faithful. Stock up for The Tribulation NOW!!! Work for the Night is Coming!!!

      Once a Grifter, Always a Grifter.

      • I think we still have some supplies left over from my mother’s estate. Anyone want some $5 bags of protein powder?

  8. It’s satire but it shouldn’t be. Evangelical leaders should be treated the way we treat the Iranian Revolutionary Guard or Maduro’s rich family.

  9. Bakker said it would take eight years of Donald Trump for America to “get right with God.”

    So, after 8 yrs each of Ronnie, Billie, and Dub Bakker thinks it only took 8 yrs of ‘Bama for ‘Murica to get “not right” with Gawd??

    WTF?? Where do these religion idiots hail from?

    • Well, he said it himself. “Obama legalized witchcraft, sexual deviants getting married and schools started teaching transgenderism.” That SCOTUS ruling REALLY made evangelicals pisses.

      Though I must say, I’m still scratching my head about where he got that “legalizing witchcraft” bit. Anyways, I’m sure Willow and Sabrina were glad to hear that news…

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        “sexual deviants getting married…”

        Teh FAG Card is now officially in play.
        Ever wonder if Fred Phelps’ REAL sin was he was just too direct and obvious?

        “Use only the proper Code Words…”
        — Holocaust (Seventies TV miniseries)

    • With his absolute pardon power, our POTUS will make everything right for all of his corrupt cronies, the way he did for Sheriff Arpaio. God will surely smile.

      • He did the worst thing. Again.

        • He’s dependable that way.

          • Why aren’t more people terrified of what he just did. Why do they keep kneejerking that “barry” was worse. How is any of this acceptable.

            • It gets scarier by the day. The Republican Congresspeople are along for the ride, and/or helpless to stop it. Though they make a tepid objection to his villainy now and then, they watch the polls and see how much support this Dracula continues to have with his “base” of Renfields, and they fear alienating them by too-public criticism of and opposition to him. He’s become a formidable enemy, and he’s figured out a way to quash resistance in his own party. He’s got them cornered; either be his lackey, or be destroyed politically.

              And his Renfields, well, they literally wouldn’t care if his operatives criminally neutralized political adversaries in either party, and then received pardons from him for the crimes. A significant portion of highly energized people in the American populace has been radicalized; they wanted this POTUS, they called him into existence. Their real and imagined grievances called him into existence the way a sucking void in the soul might call in a demon, and now he spends as much time as he can feeding the grievances, until they’ve become out-sized and malignantly autonomous. The facts can’t hold this malignancy in check; it knows no reality beyond itself. He will no more stop using his pardon power to grow his own power than he stopped using Twitter; Arpaio is just the beginning. His Renfields will cheer, and the Republican Party will remain silent, at best. I don’t believe things will go back to normal again, whatever normal is. This is a fight for survival; if the country survives in any morally or socially tolerable sense, it will do so only after a tremendous, life-threatening crisis, followed by an equally gargantuan transformation.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                From a 2009 blog comment over at Slacktivist’s Left Behind critique/snark blog:

                These books were written by and for members of a self-marginalized subculture. One of the core RTC memes is simultaneous belief that: 1) RTC’s are being systematically persecuted by an omnipresent Liberal/Atheist/Gay/Etc. conspiracy that controls everything that matters; and 2) RTC’s have the duty and right to be the omnipresent conspiracy that controls the world (“take America back for Christ”).

                From their perspective, their marginalization is a double injustice. First, that they are being mocked and “oppressed” (They make me pay taxes! Then have the gall to say America isn’t a Christian Nation!). And second, that people are rebelling against the RTCs’ er, Christ’s right to absolute sovereignty over the world.

                As a result, they envy the non-marginalized successful and powerful, and piddle on the floor like giddy puppies when One Of Theirs gets into a position of notable influence in society as a whole.

                And if None Of Theirs is “in a position of notable influence”, they’ve reached the point of adopting one of “the non-marginalized successful and powerful” as One Of Us.

                • The grievances have turned into hatred: of outsiders, of the needy, of other races, of Muslims, of intellectuals and the mainstream media, of experts, of “libtards” and “cucks”, of anything not “based”. Hatred, and the electrifying energy it releases.

              • If Trump hadn’ t been come along, another one have been invented. I see a trajectory here, and more worried about the next iteration.

  10. “Who’s Next” was their best studio album, imo. Every cut was a hit.

    • “Baba O’Riley” is five minutes of pure rock genius. It has been equaled, but never exceeded, by few other rock songs.

  11. these last August nights
    cool as autumn in advance
    just so the years pass

  12. I doubt he cares but there’s another total solar eclipse that’ll cross the US in 2024 (almost as if these things are easily predictable using astronomy and math and arent some sort of surprise nor have anything to do with gods or magic). What’ll that one be a ‘sign’ of I wonder? Skydaddy still gonna be pissed that a black man wore a suit 8 years prior?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > What’ll that one be a ‘sign’ of I wonder?

      Seven years is a long time – especially these days – it is hard to say.

      But then, I’m not a prophet, and God doesn’t come to me in dreams.

  13. “What’ll that one be a ‘sign’ of I wonder?”

    Whatever cultural trend the signreaders don’t like.

  14. Shouldn’t a brunch contain some nourishment? Nothing nourishing here today that I can discern, including the piglet sausages. Especially the piglet sausages. The Who? Really? Gen Con? Why? Joel Osteen? Icelandic satire?

    Sorry, no.

  15. On the whole evangelicals and breastfeeding thing, can we just stop labeling every evangelical church based on the example of just a hand full of churches? How many evangelical churches are there? Thousands probably since all the word seems to mean is non-liturgical and believes people must make a profession of faith. And these churches are pretty much all independent, so it is ridiculous to take a handful of examples and say, “What’s wrong with the evangelicals?” And if an evangelical had made that painting of Mary squirting milk into some preacher’s mouth it would be mocked from here to eternity, but since it is Catholic is shows their spirituality. Give me a break. Just replace St. Bernard with Steve Furtick and tell me how spiritual it is then.

    • Well, there is at least one generalization that can be made about evangelical churches…

      They don’t take criticism well.

    • St Bernard at least gave us an adorably ugly breed of rescue dogs.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > And these churches are pretty much all independent

      Honestly, my reaction is that “independence” is a nice cover for being a cabal of jerks; lots of people and groups try to hide behind independence..

      If a group all refers to themselves as X then they don’t get to cry “independent” when it suits them.

      Evangelicals will certainly NEVER let anyone else distinguish themselves from whatever label they’ve stuck on them; fair is fair.

      Labels have meanings, that is why we use them. If someone or a group doesn’t like the meaning a label has accumulated – they should stop referring to themselves as such. That many groups still today won’t say “I am no longer Evangelical” makes it crystal clear; Independent they are NOT, they are part and parcel, by volition.

      • “Evangelicals will certainly NEVER let anyone else distinguish themselves from whatever label they’ve stuck on them; fair is fair.”
        And we all know that one group of people doing something wrong is perfect justification for another group to do the same thing. That’s what Jesus taught.

        1. Seriously though, the independence is real. And yes it does allow people at individual churches to be jerks without anyone above them who can reprove them or fire them. But there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to Elevate church other than publicly disagree with what they have done. That’s it. They are accountable to no other group, and no other group is responsible for them. And as far as I know, that is true of all churches that are labeled evangelical. So to take a handful of examples out of thousands of churches and proclaim that evangelicals have a problem with it doesn’t make any sense.

        2. What does Evangelical mean to you? What makes a person an Evangelical?

        • Being pissed at Brown vs Board, white flight, being pissed at Roe v Wade a decade after it passes, moral majority, Tina Anderson, being pissed at Bill cuz Monica, being pissed at environmentalism because Gote because Bill because Monica, etc etc

          All I know is, at Charlottesville I saw the mainstream evangelicals marching, and I saw those lukewarm mainlines countering. Not one, not one evangelical church that I know of here said a single word of anything about the victims, and I asked all my friends so got a range of a dozen major network churches.

          Evangelical means what it has always meant.


          • “Evangelical means what it has always meant; Fundamentalist.”

            Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But given the current state of things, there is looking to be less and less “classical” evangelical middle ground between the mainline and the nationalist/fundamentalist churches. The Evangelical Collapse proceeds apace…

          • Stuart,
            Criticize evangelical churches for not being more vocal against white supremacists all you want, but to claim that the white supremacists marching in Charlottesville represents mainstream evangelicals is utter BS. And if that is your honest opinion then having a rational discussion about what is evangelical is not even possible.

            • I would settle for “being vocal”. Not “more vocal”. BEING vocal. None that I’m aware of, regarding the biggest evangelical churches here in Minneapolis – St. Paul, said one word. One word. I’ve checked, I’ve asked. And nothing. Ho hum.

              Evangelicals lost the fight against evolution. They pivoted to suffrage. Evangelicals lost the fight against suffrage. They pivoted to civil rights. Evangelicals lost the fight against civil rights. They pivoted to abortion. They’re losing that fight too. They pivoted to homosexuality. They’re losing that fight too. These are facts, real history. Not my opinion in the slightest.

              Evangelicalism has produced some outstanding believers and citizens despite itself. Good fruit can come from a bad tree, imagine that. But no, those absolutely were mainstream evangelicals marching in Charlottesville. Those were our good southern baptist boys, propped up by their mamas and girlfriends and religious leaders and political talking heads. They demonstrated on Saturday, they sat in the pew on Sunday. They absolutely, 100%, were. Is it a small group that actually showed up and put knees to chest? True. But the breeding ground is there to foster them and create more.

              Let’s start the rational discussion there. Based in reality.

              • Those were not good southern baptist boys. And a good many prominent Southern Baptist leaders did speak out against those marching. Check out Russell Moore and Denny Burk just to get a sample. Some of them may belong to evangelical churches, but they do not represent mainstream evangelicals. That is simply a lie. Some in the alt-right are atheists, do they represent mainstream atheism? No, it is a ridiculous thing to assert.
                As for the things you stated Evangelicals have fought against, in some they have been wrong, in some they have been right. In all of them you will actually find Evangelicals on both sides. There were also Catholics and mainstream Christians who were against those things as well. So again, it doesn’t actually define, what is an evangelical.

                • The majority of Catholics did vote for Trump, I believe. He couldn’t have won without their support.

              • Stuart,

                I don’t know how many “mainstream Evangelicals” were among the white supremacists in C’ville. Certainly there are some who support that agenda. But rational people who study the sociology of white supremacist groups are finding out some interesting (and counter-intuitive) things wrt their religious beliefs.

                “When conservatives disengage from organized religion, however, they don’t become more tolerant. They become intolerant in different ways. Research shows that evangelicals who don’t regularly attend church are less hostile to gay people than those who do. But they’re more hostile to African Americans, Latinos, and Muslims. In 2008, the University of Iowa’s Benjamin Knoll noted that among Catholics, mainline Protestants, and born-again Protestants, the less you attended church, the more anti-immigration you were….

                “… How might religious nonattendance lead to intolerance? Although American churches are heavily segregated, it’s possible that the modest level of integration they provide promotes cross-racial bonds. In their book, “Religion and Politics in the United States”, Kenneth D. Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown reference a different theory: that the most-committed members of a church are more likely than those who are casually involved to let its message of universal love erode their prejudices.

                “Whatever the reason, when cultural conservatives disengage from organized religion, they tend to redraw the boundaries of identity, de-emphasizing morality and religion and emphasizing race and nation. Trump is both a beneficiary and a driver of that shift.”


                I understand the feeling of being betrayed. I think it’s appalling that pastors in your area didn’t speak out against it. My priest did not mention it in his sermon – we always get a homily about the Scripture reading of the day – but in the bulletin he did print a prayer for us to pray to the Mother of God, Softener of Evil Hearts. It’s a good prayer.


            • I’m angry, but more so I feel hurt and betrayed by my fellow evangelicals. How can they do this. How can they go about this. How can they be this way. Have I remained in place while they drifted. Did I drift away from them. I don’t know.

              Heartbroken, disappointed evangelical. I wish I could be with them, but while many don’t know what they are doing, I think many of them truly do and just hide it.

            • Clay Crouch says

              > but to claim that the white supremacists marching in Charlottesville represents mainstream evangelicals is utter BS.

              Maybe not, but mainstream evangelicals gave the country to Donald Trump. That goes way beyond BS.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            And after Charlottesville, I’ve been hearing about another Freikorps-vs-Spartacist throwdown going down in San Fran this weekend.

          • Evangelical means what it has always meant.


            Stuart, an interesting thing: I have a book by J.I. Packer, written in late 1940s, where Packer tries to insist that very thing—that to be evangelical is to be fundamentalist. This was apparently in response to the growing movement at the time, led by Billy Graham, Harold Ockenga, Carl Henry and others, to distinguish evangelicals from the more rigid fundamentalists. Kind of a “seeker-sensitive” effort. Packer would have none of it.

            The trend now seems to be in Packer’s favor, to meld evangelicalism once again with fundamentalism. It’s a pendulum.

      • flatrocker says

        In the words of those two inseparable friends…

        Let’s Be Independent Together

    • Burro [Mule] says

      This is a separate issue from the breast-feeding issue, of course, but on the whole, Evangelicals don’t do ‘Mary’ well. The kerfuffle about the breastfeeding mother and the accompanying Catholic art drove home to me the obvious fact that our Lady suckled our Lord, and likely changed his diapers.

      What an astounding religion Christianity is! No wonder the Greeks thought it intellectually scandalous.

      ‘mother’, ‘mater‘, ‘matter’, ‘materia‘,’material’ – the words are related at the root, at least in English and any other language infected by contact with Latin. I don’t think it works well in the less-infected Germanic languages, where they have that wonderful word “stuff”.

    • Jon, you have a point. But evangelicals, and I have been one and among them my entire adult life, do seem to have some predictable tendencies when it comes to things sexual. Modesty is one thing. Hypersensitivity is another.

      And I agree that the St. Bernard case is over the top. I used it to make a point, not to commend Bernard’s rather erotic mysticism. Somehow, however, there is a more natural acceptance of the body and human sexuality as a normal part of life in this extreme example than in the Church Lady type of “modesty” that can’t bear the sight of flesh or anything remotely sexual. I remember reading letters to the editor of Focus on the Family magazine not so long ago that berated them from showing pictures of pregnant women on the cover. Even the sex sermon series we’ve mocked here at IM for many years in some evangelical churches come across as lame attempts to justify their moral stance on marriage while being a little (wink!) naughty rather than as genuine explorations of intimacy and Eros.

      Not that American culture as a whole does it any better. It’s a case of dumb and dumber.

      • CM,
        You makes some good points here. There is definitely a lot of awkwardness when it comes to anything remotely sexual in a lot of churches. Do you think the churches where you served would have handled the situation better than the churches mentioned in the post? There will always be those with rude comments I’m sure, but I would like to think that the churches I have been a part of would have handled it better, by which I’m mean not said anything and minded their own business. But maybe I’m naive.

        • First, I’m surprised the baby was in the service in the first place. Megachurches don’t often allow that. In the small churches where I served I’m sure some sensitive souls would have complained. And I would have had pastoral headaches.

          • Frankly, that was one thing that greatly impressed me about the LCMS church i attended in grad school. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, was in the main service, from one day old to one century old. Was it noisy? Sometimes. But so is life. 😉

            • Yep, our Lutheran church traditional service is family…from in utero to teens…love being with whole families worshipping together — it’s been a long time since that happened. No complaints about the movement, noise, etc…sometimes they are cute, funny, or annoying–so what–they’re there!! A long time ago We went to the baptist church and it was a church where families all worshipped together, and we loved that. Then that stopped. Why? Who knows?

              Jesus welcomed all children…

          • My mom has told me the story often of how her and dad were in a small northern baptist church in Wisconsin when I was maybe 3-4 years old, and the pastor stopped the service to preach directly at my mom to “take that child out of here, we are studying scripture and worshipping the Lord”.

            Churches love the unborn, but they don’t often love babies or small children. That’s what nursery and children’s church is for.

      • CM,

        Bernard of Clairvaux came on the scene at the height of feudalism, when the notion of “courtly love” took hold in what is now France & Germany the Middle Ages. Read about it. There is a significant chunk of German medieval poetry devoted to it (see “Minnesang”). In this milieu, there are instances of priests and monks taking the Virgin Mary as their Liege Lady; this surely was the context of Bernard’s prayer request, and part of why it seems so weird to us. Though the ideal was non-sexual love from afar, there was plenty of physical sexual nuance, and plenty of instances of “sexual congress” among the nobility who took to this notion; it became a very elaborate sort of game among them.

        I took a class in this genre of literature when I studied in Germany. The professor brought in a facsimile edition of the Heidelberger Liederhandscrift (handwritten manuscript of poetry) for us to see – what a beautiful book! See if you can find some images from it on the Internet. It’s some of the best of manuscript illumination of its time.


    • The problem with Elevation and it’d crazy kin, they have huge numbers of attendees compared to the saner churches you refer to. So in numbers they may be even or even larger.

  16. So why aren’t certain evangelical mouthpieces proclaiming Hurricane Harvey as God’s judgment against Texas for voting for Trump like they would as judgement against a state that voted for Clinton if it was aimed squarely at such a state?

    • Because it’s not a judgment against anything in particular?

    • Well since it looks like liberal Houston is going to be hardest hit, it probably is God’s judgment.

    • Because Trump had an R after his name on the ballot.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        And those Evangelical Megachurch Mouthpieces delivered the DFW Christianese vote last November.

        Before taking their private jets to DC in January to be in on the Victory Party.

  17. Having to label satire as satire pretty much spoils it, or it wasn’t very good satire to start. There’s a fine line in there somewhere between someone getting gotcha and no one noticing the tongue in cheek, like April Fool news reports. If no one is fooled or everyone is fooled, it’s no fun. I recently read that Iceland has the highest percentage of stoners in the world, which I took not to be satire, but suspect the survey was mostly limited to the Euro-centric world, and possibly reflects a higher degree of honesty amongst Icelanders. They do have attractive women if you go for the Nordic type.

  18. Personally, I think you all have prejudices against Babylonians.

  19. If you don’t need your old eclipse glasses to attend a Joel Osteen service, you can donate them to Astronomers Without Borders so a kid in South America or Asia can use them for the next eclipse. Pretty cool.

    Man, the majority of my posts on IMonk have been eclipse-related…. ?

  20. I’m still wondering why the usher needed a flashlight?

    Why would anyone attend a church that’s in the dark?

    I thought we were to be the light of the world?

    • You should see the church I used to attend. Colored spot lights, a fog machine, light patterns on the walls. You would need that flashlight to find a seat if you were late and arrived after the service started.

  21. A blast from the past:

    On the Saturday list of groups on the IOW poster, I see the name “Cat Mother”. This band was from Mendocino, California, 10 miles from where I grew up. Once they started to gain fame after some successful appearances in San Francisco, the coolest thing to do among the youngsters in my town – Fort Bragg – was to get to a Cat Mother concert when they came back to Mendocino for a gig. I was too young to be allowed to do that – I was 14 in 1970, so younger than that when they were getting their start. I had no idea they “made it” far enough to be invited to the IOW festival!


  22. senecagriggs says

    From Fred –
    For example, I think Trump is a horse’s ass, dangerous, naive, uninformed, and a thoroughgoing damned fool. I detest the KKK (which barely exists, but never mind) and disagree with the Alt-Right on many things. Yet when I look at the other side, the armed bands, the censorship, thought control, indoctrination, the re-writing of history, their media arm, the identity politics, the push for control, control, control—I think,“I’ll take Trump—gack–and certainly the Deplorables.” And of course if violence comes, it’s one or the other. You can’t reason with a mob armed with lengths of rebar.

    I pretty much agree with “Fred,” who makes no claim whatsoever to being a believer of any kind. There were no good choices; but Trump was an unknown – Hillary was known – bigger government, more control, pay to play, Clinton Crime Family.

    The only thing we knew for sure about Trump, he wasn’t a part of the D.C. cogniscienti.
    Certainly much to my surprise, he won.