December 4, 2020

The IM Saturday Brunch: September 9, 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.”

Chaplains will accept your gracious offer too!

• • •


It is the first weekend of the NFL football season — college football kicked off last week — and Christianity Today just ran a timely article about the intersection of Christian faith and this popular U.S. sport.

Paul Putz and Hunter Hampton note that Americans’ enthusiasm for football and angst about the game’s violence has always been a part of our national discussion. In their words: “Sportswriter John Tunis declared in 1928 that football is ‘at present a religion—sometimes it seems to be almost our national religion.’ In that decade, too, renewed efforts to reform football reached a fever pitch.”

Christian leaders took part in these discussions.

Charles Blanchard

Some Protestants, especially “muscular Christians” like Yale graduate and University of Chicago football coach Amos Alonzo Stagg, saw nothing wrong with the physicality of the sport. Indeed, football’s defenders often cited the prevalence of pious “praying” players as evidence of the game’s compatibility with Christian morality. But many Protestant leaders denounced football’s brutality. Charles Blanchard, president of Wheaton College from 1882 until 1925, took this view. He placed football in the same category as gambling and hard liquor, and viewed the sport not as a heroic, manly game, but a savage sport inhibiting students’ development into productive and civilized men.

After an extensive discussion of various Christian perspectives on the game, Putz and Hampton conclude that football will probably always be a matter of debate among Christians, as some will question the ethics of the sport itself and its place of prominence in American culture, while others will take the more “evangelical” approach of trying to take advantage of its popularity to advance the faith.

• • •


It’s also the best part of the baseball season, as teams race toward the playoffs. But here’s a story that will warm your heart at any time.

Watch the video, and read about it HERE.

• • •


Speaking of baseball, the Cleveland Indians are on a remarkable winning streak. A local window dealer decided in July (when the Indians were not doing so well), that if the team won 15 straight games, he would give his customers their money back for their purchases during the month.

Well, it happened. Thursday evening, a number of representatives from Universal Windows Direct and their customer gathered at Progressive Field in Cleveland for a watch party as the Indians played the White Sox in Chicago. The result? Over 200 customers received nearly $2 million back because the Indians beat the Sox for their 15th win in a row.

The company insured themselves in case the Tribe came through. Good thing.

• • •


“Since 1958, a small department of Germany’s government has sought to bring members of the Third Reich to trial, writes Linda Kinstler at The Guardian. “A handful of prosecutors are still tracking down Nazis, but the world’s biggest cold-case investigation will soon be shut down.”

Each year, the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes sends six investigators around the world to find surviving members of the Third Reich. Their goal? To bring murderers to justice. “Their goal is to find the last living Nazis who have yet to be indicted and might still be able to stand trial,” Kunstler notes.

The fact that it is still functioning, nearly 60 years after its inception, is a testament to the gravity and horrific nature of the crimes Hitler’s minions committed. But the Central Office’s work is now winding down.

Central Office prosecutors unearth the names of about 30 living perpetrators per year. Their cases are then handed over to regional prosecutors, who usually spend another year conducting follow-up investigations and deciding whether to take the individuals to court. Since the start of the 21st century, this work has led to six prosecutions, but in the media, every case has been called “the last Nazi trial”, as if writers, editors and readers all hope the label will finally prove to be true.

Today, the youngest suspects are 90 years old, and most were low-level Nazi functionaries: guards, cooks, medics, telephone operators and the like. The defendants tend to die during the lengthy judicial process, so the odds of conviction are miniscule. Partly as a result, few Germans know the Central Office exists, and many of those who do tend to view it with ambivalence. “It is hard for people to see what exactly the point is of putting a 90-year-old in jail,” Pendas said.

Others, however, see the Central Office’s work as essential to the ongoing work of never forgetting the past and, indeed, of continuing to learn more about what happened during those terror-filled years. In addition, with the reemergence of nationalist sentiments in Europe, some see the work as part of continuing fight against Holocaust deniers and xenophobes.

I highly recommend this fascinating article.

• • •


Hurricane Irma continues to hurtle toward Florida’s doorstep, threatening to ravage the state with destruction not seen in a generation.

As the weather forecasts and warnings from officials grew increasingly dire, hundreds of thousands of people across Florida fled their homes before the rapidly closing window to escape Irma’s wrath slammed shut. Forecasters said Irma, a hurricane of remarkable size and power that already has battered islands across the Caribbean, would approach South Florida by Sunday morning and is likely to slam into its southern tip before tracking north across a heavily populated area.

“It’s not a question of if Florida’s going to be impacted, it’s a question of how bad Florida’s going to be impacted,” William “Brock” Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Friday at a news conference.

• • •


Rush Limbaugh: September 5, 2017

“So there is a desire to advance this climate change agenda, and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it. You can accomplish a lot just by creating fear and panic. You don’t need a hurricane to hit anywhere. All you need is to create the fear and panic accompanied by talk that climate change is causing hurricanes to become more frequent and bigger and more dangerous, and you create the panic, and it’s mission accomplished, agenda advanced.

“…Now, my theory — and it’s only a theory — is that because of the biases, because of the politicization of everything, because you have people in all of these government areas who believe man is causing climate change, and they’re hell-bent on proving it, they’re hell-bent on demonstrating it, they’re hell-bent on persuading people of it. So here comes a hurricane that’s 10 to 12 days out and here come the initial model runs, and if it’s close — sometimes it’s not close, sometimes the hurricane will turn to the north out in the mid-Atlantic and there’s no way you can fake that. But if, if they are going to approach a hit on the U.S., you will note that early tracks always have them impacting a major population center.

“…I’m constantly on guard against it. I’ve lived here since 1997, and I have developed a system that I trust, my own analysis of the data.”

Rush Limbaugh: September 8, 2017

“May as well go ahead and announce this,” he said. “I’m not going to get into details because of the security nature of things, but it turns out that we will not be able to do the program here tomorrow. … We’ll be on the air next week, folks, from parts unknown.

• • •


From Time:

Larry Bates told listeners of Christian broadcast programs that they should buy gold and silver coins to give them financial protection during a supposedly looming religious and economic collapse termed “Mystery Babylon.”Trusting Bates’ status as a former Tennessee lawmaker and believing he was an honest Christian man, hundreds of people sent him money, and waited for their shiny coins to arrive.

So many times, the coins never came.

Bates was sentenced Tuesday to more than 21 years in federal prison for leading a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that prosecutors said defrauded more than 400 people from 2002 through 2013.

Bates, his two sons and his daughter-in-law were convicted in Memphis federal court in May of wire and mail fraud. His relatives await sentencing.

U.S. District Judge Sheryl Lipman ordered Bates, 73, to repay more than $21 million to victims. A large number of those victims were elderly Americans who lost life savings and the ability to pay for health care, prosecutors said.

• • •


I’ve begun to shift from summer to fall in my music listening, and I think I’ve found my autumnal album for 2017 — and strong candidate for record of the year — A Deeper Understanding, by The War on Drugs.

Here is one of my favorite cuts, called “Pain.” In another song, they sing about living “between the beauty and the pain.” That’s as good a description for autumn as any I’ve heard, and the entire album carries that poignancy.


  1. midnight
    one day shifts into another
    impatient of my dreams

  2. Susan Dumbrell says

    Thank God, Saturday is almost over for my City here in Aust.
    44,000 residents, Local Government and Mayoral elections.
    99 candidates.
    The number of informal votes will be huge. We have compulsory voting. Fines are given for not voting.
    Every man, woman and their dogs were on the ballot papers.
    People have crawled out from under the floor boards to take their chances at being elected.
    Many will crawl back. Oh yes, I am a cynic.
    They say the voters get the members they deserve.
    Heaven help us.
    Calls for strong drink or ceaseless prayer for the next three years till the next mammoth voting event,
    unless we have a snap Federal Election foisted upon us.This is highly likely.

  3. Susan Dumbrell says

    petals pink and white
    cherry and apple drifts waft
    clouds mysterious

    • Susan, missed you last Saturday. Hope all is well.

      • Susan Dumbrell says

        Doing fine today, gastro last week, I was in shut down.
        Watch this space………………
        I have a haiku up my sleeve.
        Thank you Tom.

        ps Our sermon today was on LOVE. So very hard.
        I fail every time as I guess a lot do, so I may have company of people who struggle like me with the concept.

  4. senecagriggs says

    Awaiting Irma. Mixed signals from the weathercasters – 48 hrs out where I live. [ 5 a.m. ]
    I am reminded; even the storms serve God’s purposes.

    • Dan from Georgia says

      True dat!

      Remnants of Irma expected to pass over my area in western GA late Monday and early Tuesday…people hoarding gas and water today. Acting like we were going to have 150mph winds. Doubtful it will be that bad here. We’ve had 40-50 mph winds before and it can rain 2-3 inches at the drop of a hat in the summertime. Nevertheless, wife and I kinda nervous.

    • God be with you.

    • And what purposes are those Seneca??

    • senecagriggs says

      Conservative Evangelicals have always held to the Sovereignty of God in ALL THINGS. This is hardly new

      42 Then Job replied to the Lord:

      2 “I know that you can do all things;

      no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

      3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
      Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
      things too wonderful for me to know.
      4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
      I will question you,
      and you shall answer me.’
      5 My ears had heard of you
      but now my eyes have seen you.
      6 Therefore I despise myself
      and repent in dust and ashes.”

      • That may settle the issue for me, but it does not for me.

      • The theology of God’s sovereignty is best debated WELL AFTER the wreckage has been cleared and the wounds have been bound up.

        • It is a sick theology the way some view it IMO.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            What it is is pointlessly open ended. If there are “purposes” but you have no way of knowing what they are or possibly even of comprehending them if you kind of did . . . who cares?

            Does it matter if a man falling from a great height contemplates terminal velocity prior to being shattered against the stones?

            Postulating about God’s “purposes” is the hobby of thugs.

            • Thugs? Interesting.

              Romans 8:28 is a go-to verse about God’s purposes, without explaining much about that.

              Why thugs? Sometimes it comes from well-meaning people.

              Now, patriotism—that is often the last refuge of a scoundrel, or possibly a thug.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Huh? I fail to see how that answers anything about “purposes”.

      • Ben Carmack says

        A God who does not command the wind and waves is a cosmic Klutz, not the God who became incarnate and dwelt among us.

      • Conservative Evangelicals have always held to the Sovereignty of God in ALL THINGS. This is hardly new I-monkers.

        Doesn’t it say somewhere in Ecclesiastes that there’s a time to speak, and a time to shut-up? When 120 mile per hour winds and 15 foot storm surges are bearing down on other people, I’d guess we’re in the shut-up phase.

    • –> “…even the storms serve God’s purposes…”

      If His purposes are widespread destruction and death, sure. I can’t get myself to believe in that kind of God. Jesus, who is the exact representation of His being…I just don’t see Jesus going around nuking places to suit his purposes.

  5. Andrew Zook says

    Regarding american “football”… I don’t mind the brutality of the game itself that much – but I do mind the business of it and how the NFL and NCAA run it. I do mind the socialist cartel-like nature of it; I do mind their plantation mentality; and I especially mind the NFL and the NCAA death grip around the american education system and associated communities via this game. And therefore I have no respect or interest in it. When those two separate themselves from the free feeder system they cruelly exploit and set up their own semi-pro and pro minor leagues and private-business clubs and then play on tv and commission tournaments etc like most other sports the world over, I may return. Never till then.

  6. “if they are going to approach a hit on the U.S., you will note that early tracks always have them impacting a major population center”

    Well, that’s because the Southern Coast is literally a *long line of major population centers*.

    God forgive me, that I used to idolize this schmuck.

    • Many still idolize that schmuck, and other schmucks like Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones.

      • as well as Chris Matthews, Joy Behar, Ed Schultz, and Keith Olbermann.
        The schmuck list knows no bounds.
        The question I think is who should we nominate for the mayor of Schmuckville?
        And can we just ship the whole lot of them off to Schmuck Island?

    • Andrew Zook says

      Unfortunately, I have to beg forgiveness as well… those were some lost years, but deliverance did come, by God’s grace.

    • How many people listened to Limbaugh before he conveniently jetted out of harms way and are now trapped in the storm path? He is inhuman, sociopathic sludge no different than the guy selling fake gold coins. Gullibility does seem to be a recurring problem. His followers are the same people who worship Ayn Rand and treat everyone else like a mindless collective. Limbaugh will get back on the air from parts unknown and instead blame the media for all the previous unspecified times they cried wolf, and his minions will be pacified.

      Ironically, the sage, Rand-inspired words ring loud and clear: “I will choose the path that’s clear. I will choose free will” (Neil Peart).

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      When Rush Limbaugh first came on the air in the late Eighties doing “Conservatism as Theater”, he had a sense of humor (though a crude one) and did not take himself completely seriously.

      These days he exhibits the Total Unsmiling, Unsleeping, Grim Grey Concentration of The True Believer.

      All I can figure is he listened to his own PR and the flattery of his fanboys for too long.

  7. Larry Bates needs to burn in the Special Level of hell – the one reserved for child molesters and people who talk in the theater.

  8. Hailey we love you

  9. I never have really understood the whole buy gold mindset. If the economy totally collapses and currency is worth nothing, I think I’d rather have some cows or chickens or something that is actually useful.

    • Gold… can’t eat it, can’t make tools out of it. :-/

      • But it’s pretty, and it’s rare.

        • So is Taylor Swift. 😛

        • And shiny.

        • No doubt it is, but if resources I actually use are scare, I’ll stick with those.

          • But it travels easily, inside your pocket, unlike a chicken, and as long as there are some folks better off than others, they will be willing to give you what you want, chickens and whatnot, for some of the pretty, shiny, rare metal. For diamonds, too, and other stuff like that. Human nature won’t change, even if there is a widespread breakdown in civilization. Some will always be willing to trade valuable goods and services for stuff that serves as a symbol of prestige and power, stuff that most other folks can’t get or afford.

        • Susan Dumbrell says

          Gold makes rings of abiding devotion.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      A lot of the gold bugs believe gold has intrinsic value, wgile currency is false wealth. Forgetting that currency is what we all believe it is. Nothing intrinsic about it. Gold has high value because we say it does. There are other rare things too.

      • Currency is just numbers. I do things, you give me numbers. I spend those numbers on other things. The question I’m asking more and more is “how do I use my skills and talents to gain more numbers?”

    • +1

    • Latent biblicism perhaps? Since the Bible is true and nothing changes, what’s valuable in the Bible like gold is just as valuable nowadays. To suggest otherwise is compromise and a dangerous slippery slope to atheism.

      Such are the things my harem and I discuss regularly before we go to draw water from the well.

  10. Richard Hershberger says

    Amos Alonzo Stagg was a really interesting guy, and not always in a good way. He went to Yale intending to study for the ministry. He was the star pitcher on their baseball team. His notable innovation was he was the first player to pray for victory before games. This raised eyebrows at the time. He was far from the first conspicuously Christian baseball player, but was the first to take that step. He is better know today for football, of course. He was also a star on the Yale football team. After he was graduated he took a job as, to use the modern term, athletic director at a YMCA. Then he was recruited to head the athletic program, and especially football, at the new University of Chicago. There he combined conspicuous Christianity with dubious ethics. He did not originate recruitment violations and the star “student athlete” who need not bother with academics, but he enthusiastically refined these practices. This was an era when football was far more brutal than it is today. The discussion was not long-term health effects, but literal fatalities on the field. I don’t have the quote in front of me, but the president of U. of Chicago, also a good Christian, made a statement to the effect that the benefits of the development of manly virtues rendered the fatality rate acceptable. What a swell guy, thinking of his students first. It is unsurprising that Stagg held to this line thirty years later.

  11. Richard Hershberger says

    In hurricane news, Hurricane Katia is hitting Mexico, which also just suffered an 8.1 earthquake. We aren’t hearing about Katia because it is just Mexico, after all.

  12. senecagriggs says
  13. senecagriggs says
    • Volume 2 of “To Serve Man.”

    • Seneca:

      You say–the weather serves God and people die.

      More nonsense by you. Please give it a rest. We are talking about people’s lives her you know.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Kirk Cameron said the same thing in that viral video of his while clearing out of Orlando.

    • And God gave us the earth to subdue and rule.

      The weather will serve us now. And our folly will be our downfall if we do a piss poor job at it.

  14. David Cornwell says

    More like the weather serves Mother Nature.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Who is ANGRY at us for electing Trump, according to CELEBRITY Actress Jennifer Lawrence, whose interview on UK Channel 4 hit the newsfeeds at the same time as Kirk Cameron’s viral video.

  15. David Cornwell says

    Regarding football: I totally endorse what Andrew Zook has to say about football. I lost my enthusiasm for the sport many years ago. However part of this comes from the opinions of my grandfather Cornwell. He believed that football was as dangerous as arming young men with machine guns and turning them loose on the field in opposition to each other. While he was engaging in exaggeration, I think he hit on an important truth way before modern medical findings.

  16. Randy Thompson says

    Since September 9 is “Buy a Priest a Beer Day,” I have the perfect beer in mind for such a day: “Theophan the Recluse Russian Imperial Stout.” This is a seasonal beer courtesy of Three Taverns Draft Beers. You’ll find details here:

    Since I am a great admirer of this Orthodox saint, this beer is on my bucket list. I do wonder, though, what Theophan would have thought of this.

    • I think St Theophan would have been just fine with it 🙂

      He would not go for inebriation, but 0.5% kvass is very popular and has been made in Russian monasteries (and homes) since I don’t know when.

      St Theophan was a bishop, out among people all the time, and didn’t become a recluse until he was in his 50s. He wanted to live that way not only because he was a good monk, but he was one of those monastics who was keeping “under the radar” lest government authorities come to believe he was trying to gather people into some kind of movement. He wanted to do no such thing, but he was that much beloved during his lifetime.


      • Randy Thompson says

        Thanks, Dana. Like I said, I admire Theophan greatly. His (version of) “Unseen Warfare” is one of my favorite books. I’ve read it at least three times over the (many!) years.

  17. Interesting article fromThe Guardian — gotta give them credit for not trying to just put it behind them. It’s a lot of work, and it’s a bleak mark on their history, but they own it.

  18. Dan from Georgia says

    More on Hurricane Irma. Sitting here in western GA and anticipating winds around 50-60 mph on Monday. Doesn’t compare to what Key West and western Florida are going to face tomorrow/Sunday. get very cynical for a moment, how long before the first christian jerk with a public platform suggests that Key West (assuming they will be hit hard tomorrow) is being punished because of gays and lesbians? Key West, FL has a reputation as a gay-friendly location, and in my mind it’s just a matter of time before someone on CharismaNews or some other worthless news outlet/TV show/radio program/blog blames Irma on LGBT+ persons.

    Just venting. Pray for safety for Floridians.

    • Thankfully they can’t play the “God’s Judgment” card, not after Hurricane Harvey obliterated Houston and other areas of gun-toting, Bible-thumping, Make America Great Again Texas. And if they do, they’ll get skewered for their hypocrisy.

    • senecagriggs says

      Houston Texas votes Democrat.

      “The city has elected (as of 2017) Democratic mayors since 1982”

  19. Indifferent moon —
    what is more lovely than its
    cold and careless light?