December 2, 2020

The IM Saturday Brunch: September 30, 2017

This weekend I am cloistering myself away at Gethsemani Abbey for silence, prayer, photography (another form of prayer), and writing. That means the table is yours this Saturday morning.

Welcome to our Open Table edition of the brunch! Think of it as a pot-luck, or as they say in Indiana, a pitch-in. That means you bring the items we’ll chew on and digest together. It also means I may be a little slow in moderating comments that get held by the filter. So, please be patient.

Other than that, I only ask that you follow basic kindergarten rules:

  • Take your turn and let others take theirs
  • Be kind
  • No hitting, kicking or biting

And for heaven’s sake, enjoy!


  1. idiot moon
    smiling like a fool
    always rising and falling

  2. Susan Dumbrell says

    Easing myself gently into Daylight Saving Time in Eastern Australia tonight. Clocks moving which way!
    I am not sure what time Church will be tomorrow, they have made allowances for those in advanced years and moved the time to accommodate our time pieces growling at being changed and ringing us awake at a pre dawn hour!

    I am sure that God will hear me sing tomorrow wherever I go, what ever time. I will do my best and He is forgiving of me.

    I like this clip and have shared it with a number of my friends. Sums me up today.
    Lord Jesus you shall be my song.

    Enjoy your Saturday, my Saturday is almost dusk.
    Blessings to all.

    • Susan, in the Northern Hemisphere the reminder phrase for clock changing is “spring forward, fall back” so in the Southern Hemisphere it must be “fall forward, spring back”…move your clock AHEAD (effectively losing an hour’s sleep) now, and move it BACKWARD (effectively gaining an hour’s sleep) in the spring . I find it all very confusing. Also confusing is the fact that our hurricanes rotate in a counter-clockwise direction but yours, called cyclones instead, rotate in a clockwise direction. Same thing with sinks and toilet bowls. And just what is a billabong anyway? You see our dilemma.

    • Blessed is Susan
      graced in the land down under
      by the Southern Cross

  3. senecagriggs says

    5 a.m., sitting in a motel lobby, coffee in one hand, lap-top open, wife peacefully sleeping upstairs in the room. No interest what-so-ever in visiting the various huge attractions that draw millions to Orlando. Just came down yesterday for brief visit with friend/ortho-pod for informal consult. Orlando may be a nice place to visit but you wouldn’t want to live here. And if you don’t care for the attractions, there’s no reason to visit IMHO.

    • We were there for a conference in July. My best moment was reading poolside. EPCOT just wasn’t what it used to be :-/ .

    • I love the attractions, but I could see how if one didn’t, what’s the point of going.

    • Brianthegrandad says

      Went to a conference years ago in downtown Orlando. It was setup more for grown ups. No mention of the theme parks. Some nice bars and other things going on. Had a good time.

  4. Glad to be up this morning. Dreams were disturbing–I tend to dream about work with odd pig farming anxieties thrown in for good measure. My coffee is good; whole bean from Food Lion, morning roast.

    I watched/listened to most of the video that Susan linked to. Beautiful singing. However, I’m repulsed by the women’s head coverings.

    • They are Mennonite. Mennonite women in my area of Lancaster wear such coverings at worship and in all public places. You’ll notice that they are wearing long skirts, too, which is also required for women in most Mennonite sects.

    • Just curious Tom, are there other types of female fashion choices that repulse you?

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        High waisted pants! They don’t look good on anyone.

        • Low hanging pants, with underwear exposed! They don’t look good on anyone.

          • lower back tats – if that can be considered a fashion category.

            • I can’t answer for Tom, but I will tell that, for myself, the head coverings that Mennonite women wear make me remember that there is much violence against women and children (not to mention animals) in the Plain communities, almost all of it coming from dominant males. Sociologists cannot get an exact measure of its severity, because these insular and frequently secretive communities do not allow much sociological study, but it seem to be significantly worse than in the surrounding society, which is bad enough. When I see the head coverings and long dresses, I remember that there is a powerful component of sub-cultural coercion involved in their choice as the sanctioned apparel for women and girls, and I remember that this coercion overlaps in large part with the misogynist violence of the Plain subculture. That’s what makes me uneasy about seeing them.

              • I hear you Robert and point taken. However, we need to be wary about making sweeping condemnations with this. One of my dearest friends is a Mennonite and I know his family well. Their life is not how you describe. Be cautious as our generalizations can lead to profiling.

              • It’s starting to come out now how bad it is.

              • I wonder what would happen if a young lady, or an older woman for that matter, in the Swartzenstuben tribe decided to NOT wear a head covering?

        • All right Adam, them’s fighting words! High waisted prevents muffin tops, can I get an amen?

      • Are headcoverings a fashion choice or a commandment from God and their misogynist male leaders?

        I suppose the lace fringes were their choice…

        • To them it’s a commandment of God (I Cor 11). I was born and raised in Menno. Plain culture… Heard many a sermon outlining the rational for it. The result may be close to what Robert F describes above (misogynistic dominant males) but I can assure you, that that is not the intention. Another thing that plays into it is a long history of seeing co-religionists, family etc put away the head covering and then drift further and further away from what they consider true faith (generally Anabaptist theology). In other words the “slippery-slope” argument is very strong in the communities consciousness in upholding the continuing practice of a head covering.

          • Yeah, they don’t realize it was purely a cultural thing that has nothing to do with our culture today.

          • My wife and her family (parents immigrated from N. Ireland in the 50’s) were long time members of Plymouth Brethren. What Andrew said about the Mennonite’s “slippery slope” argument held true with the Bible Hall bunch. For 6-7 yrs after wife and I married she continued to wear her lace head covering in whatever church we attended. I knew that about her before we married, so I was fine with it. On one occasion (at least) we talked about the “Biblical” rationale for it, and how it relates to I Cor 11a and 14:33-34. I appreciated the reasoned approach, but found it unconvincing.

            One Sunday morning at church, sometime around 2005 I think, Wife was not wearing her head covering. When asked why her response was, “I am free of that bondage.” That suited me.

      • Flatrocker axed;

        Just curious Tom, are there other types of female fashion choices that repulse you?

        Yes, those jumper skirts that seem to be the uniform for home-schooling moms and daughters in the South.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          i.e The female skirt version of bib overalls.

          Didn’t Got Hard decree those as the only “Godly” female wear or something?

    • American Mennonites are known for beautiful a cappella singing. When visiting a local Mennonite church one Sunday, my wife and I were told that the congregation is the choir, and they did indeed sing like a trained choir.

      Canadian Mennonites, on the other hand, have a history of organ and choir led congregational singing and worship.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > Dreams were disturbing

      Ditto, a lousy nights sleep is a downer.

      > My coffee is good

      And no coffee yet, late getting out the door. 🙁

    • Actually Robert they are “Charity”… which was/is a conglomeration of splinters from various Amish and Mennonite groups and liberally sprinkled with people from all over the religious map…. It was founded in the 80’s by an ex-Amish/Beachy preacher and an ex-fundamentalist Baptist from the Midwest I believe… Know both those men (one now passed) personally. I spent 10 yrs of my formative yrs with this very group. The venue where that singing is taking place is 5min drive from where I sit typing now. The history of this group is quite mixed… They were sectarian inclined, independent, zealous, good-hearted, passionate for Jesus; but it was tempestuous (even cultish at times) to say the least. (Independent, no denominational oversight/accountability tends to foment that) I could say much more, but look up Charity Christian Fellowship/Denny Kenistan and you might learn some of the great, good, bad and ugly.

      Fascinating this group shows up on IM… they are truly one of the most obscure, little-known niches of american christianity

      • Susan Dumbrell says

        Thanks Andrew for the insight on this beautifully singing group.
        I just love the words and their performance.
        I will look further into this group to get some background.
        Obviously they are tens of thousands of miles away but they have increased my music list with their song.

  5. HEY!! I turn 63 today!!

    Touch of Grey.

  6. Marcus Johnson says

    Sooo…when’s the church really going to start talking about idolatry again? Just saying, since the national anthem and the flag are such revered objects that disrupting rituals centered around them are considered near blasphemy, we might want to start that conversation. We should probably start flipping through our hymnals and taking out the patriotic hymns, too, if we have them.

    • I hear people, Christians, saying that the flag should be honored because our soldiers have fought and died for it. I don’t have the tact necessary to unpack all the misplaced religious devotion involved in such statements; it involves deprogramming skills that I lack, and instead quickly veers off into argument. I avoid discussing it.

      • It starts with “America = God’s New Chosen People”. Aim the axe for the root.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > I avoid discussing it.

        I just tell them I’ve been walking out of the stadium stands during the anthem and the little praise-some-random-military-person ritual for years; it is an excellent time to go the bathroom.

        That generally ends the conversation.

        If that doesn’t work, being clear: “I did not ask anyone to serve, they volunteer. And they get paid; no citizen owes them anything beyond their remuneration” certainly will. It is very effective.

        • Trouble is, I don’t feel exactly the way you do about it. I do think the country owes more to its veterans than they receive, especially when I reflect that most of the people in the military are from economically disadvantaged social locations, and a disproportionate number from minority communities.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            One effect of this may be to hollow out the ranks of your middle position.

            > most of the people in the military are from economically disadvantaged social locations

            That happens when you deny groups of people other avenues to economic stability.

    • I look at the OT record of what it took to cure Judea of her addiction to idols… and shudder. 🙁

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Like North Korea’s nuclear missiles, ready and waiting?

        (Claiming the same about the USSR’s missile silos was a common scare preaching during the Cold War; I’m surprised no preachers have been doing the same about the Nork’s missiles…)

        “And I will be laughing as the world burns….”
        — Some commenter here circa 2005 who got banned

      • Were they ever cured? Seems like the Torah became an idol in the others’ place.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > when’s the church really going to start talking about idolatry again?

      Hopefully never; when they do that they just sound like archaic idiots.

      Lets talk about “Nationalism”.

      > We should probably start flipping through our hymnals and taking out the patriotic hymns

      I am all for that.

    • It seems to me that we should simply remove the national anthem altogether before sporting events. The fact that we have soldiers/guns/flags/anthems AT ALL before a game is played is a rather strange tradition in itself. Although I doubt that will ever happen anytime soon.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > we should simply remove the national anthem altogether


        If we do not want politics in our sports, let’s take the politics out of our sports.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Around a year ago, a plastic modeller’s club I belong to started doing the Pledge of Allegiance before each meeting. Which they’d NEVER done before. I’m still scratching my head over that one.

      • I’m not sure I agree with the “Let’s kill it altogether so no one gets offended” philosophy. It’s certainly a possible solution, but seems kinda lame.

        • That Other Jean says

          I’m with you, here. The flag is not the object of the protests; it is part of the backdrop. The protests are about the disrespect shown black people by all too many police officers. Removing the flag will make some people more comfortable, but does nothing for the underlying reason for the protests. We could, of course, consider the actual reasons players and others are protesting, and try to find solutions–but that would be a lot more work than complaining about “disrespecting the flag.”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      …since the national anthem and the flag are such revered objects that disrupting rituals centered around them are considered near blasphemy…

      Don’t forget FOOTBALL.
      Nothing “near” about blasphemy when it comes to FOOTBALL.

    • I was thinking of creating a meme of the American flag with the words “The NEW American Idol” and posting it on FB, but then chickened out. I don’t want half my friends to disown me…lol…

      • I like the idea, Rick. But people are strange about this and it is almost like them what clings to bibliolatry in how they see the Bible. The idea that something testifies to the real thing escapes many. The kneeling of those players is something that the Constitution stands behind and that is a right that men have died for. The flag testifies to that right. Is this TOO ABSTRACT of a concept for some people to understand? It is possible, yes.

        I see the flag and I am emotional. But I also realize that without the right to peaceful protests, that flag would lose its meaning real fast. And God forbid we end up with a ‘sieg heil’ mentality in the land of the free.

        A writer names David Cecil contributed this observation over at Wade Burleson’s post:
        “It recently dawned on me that, as a young athlete, we were taught to take a knee when another player was hurt. Everybody would take a knee, even those on the sideline, and stay quiet as we waited to see if the player was okay. This was a sign of respect to the injured, to his friends and family, to those who cared about him.”

        Being Catholic myself, I have always seen ‘kneeling’ as related to hope and prayers and faith and humility. I am weary of the bombast of the leadership that has no understanding of what IS important about peaceful protests in our land.

  7. feed the cat
    water the plants
    pray as you go

  8. Is anybody else tired of winning yet?

    • Dan from Georgia says

      Winning what? Just curious as to what you are referring to.

      • All the winning our national leader promised when he campaigned. I know I’m tired of it. I wish it would stop.

        • Dan from Georgia says

          Ahh, yes. Winning at race relations, for one!

          • I should avoid going political in these comments. It would be fine if my going political was motivated by wanting to advance the politics of the Kingdom of God; but it’s almost always motivated instead by my fear and anger.

            • Dan from Georgia says

              I know how that goes. Many a time I have been tempted to take to twitter or Facebook and go on political rants and how stupid it is to mix politics and the Christian faith. That’s the main reason I am not on twitter or Facebook. Restraint is hard.

              • I actually think that politics is inseparable from the Kingdom of God: the politics of love for neighbor and enemy, of forgiveness and reconciliation, of speaking truth to power at whatever cost. But politics motivated by fear and hatred is never practiced in the cause of the reign of God.

            • At least your honest and can admit as much 😉 which is not the case for many. I have come so very close to getting involved in such discussions (often not for the right reasons), but am proud that I was able to restrain myself. If I just decided to follow my instincts and just say whatever I thought, I know I would end up with much regret later on.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          The part I’d like someone to analyze and figure out is how Born-Again Bible-Believing Evangelical Christians joined Trump’s Amen Chorus like something out of Revelation 13:4.

          I have run into so many Trump-Can-Do-No-Wrong True Believers, and every few days we hear of some big-name Court Evangelical like Jeffers.

          • The same people who tisk tisked over Bill and Monica said “Oh well, oh well,” over God Don.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              My writing partner in rural Pennsylvania reported last November on heavy turnout for Trump, but everyone he asked said they weren’t voting for Trump but against Hillary. NONE of them were actually pro-Trump.

              That’s what happens when both major parties end up nominating their absolutely WORST possible candidate.

          • I think a majority of my “christian” friends fit into your Trump-Can-Do-No-Wrong…. group. It’s astounding sometimes… But I think the yrs of partisanship have come to full bloom. DT could be saying and doing the exact things he’s doing (and has done) but if he had D beside his name they’d be insanely outraged.

          • Been scratching my head over this one since November.

          • how Born-Again Bible-Believing Evangelical Christians joined Trump’s Amen Chorus

            Because many know that HC is the anti-christ and since the world exists only in binary black/white the alternative must be God’s chosen to be Pres.

        • Well, I hope the people in Puerto Rico survive all of his ‘winning’. He is bragging about his leadership in the clean-up there and how much praise the authorities on the island have given him . . . . and then we see the real truth on telly, this:

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      I’ve been winning like crazy this year; despite the Winner-In-Chief.

      And I will win even more under his [economically insane] tax cut plan.
      I will contribute my savings from his cuts to organizations he hates.

      He is proposing to greatly reduce the MID (Mortgage Income tax Deduction) which I fully support eliminating entirely[*1] ; albeit he is reducing it in precisely the wrong direction.

      Even when the Winner-In-Chief does the right thing, he does it wrong. He is maddening.

      [*1] The MID is both a horribly regressive construct aimed at promoting home-ownership, which is a bad economic policy that amplifies the boom-bust cycle [it is used as a carrot to induce people to purchase homes rather than saving/investing in much more stable assets]. A house is not a savings account, it just plays one on TV – HGTV to be exact.

      Ask my ~2008 neighbors who came home to all their belongings piled in their front yard – papers blowing down the street – how well houses work as Savings.

    • I’m surprised we don’t have a new national anthem yet: “All I do is win win win no matter what
      Got money on my mind I can never get enough
      And every time I step up in the buildin’
      Everybody hands go up…” (sorry for those whose heads this is now stuck in)

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        A White Christian nation with a Gangsta Hip-Hop National Anthem – that would be awesome on a certain level.

        • Am I right in understanding that at one stage the national anthem of Sierra Leone was the McFadden and Whitehead disco anthem “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now”…?

        • That Other Jean says

          The anthem we already have was a poem set to the tune of an English drinking song, “To Anacreon in Heaven.” I don’t know about awesome, but it’s pretty weird. Anthems can be found in strange places.

          • The NPR show “On the Media” had a segment about this today (Sunday). It was quite interesting, worth a look-up.


          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Dr Demento used to play “To Anacreon in Heaven” every July 4th.

            All I remember:
            “And long may the sons
            Of Anacreon entwine
            The daughters of Venus
            For now and all time!”

    • I’m tired of everyone else trying to win, yes.

  9. At least a tip of the hat this morning to Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, USAF. Thank you, sir.

    • How bizarre that military leaders, rather than civilian ones, are expressing the most enlightened views on racial and other social matters?

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        There are civilian leaders aplenty expressing enlightened views. But you aren’t going to hear much about them – it defies the White Suburban Narrative that wants to make this about the Military [which it it is not about]. What is sad is how the “Liberal Media” is itself so complicit in the White Suburban Narrative; they should know better than to amplify such gas-lighting. Funny how little air-time the PEOPLE ACTUALLY PROTESTING get: nope, don’t talk to them.

        • I am aware that many people in leadership positions are expressing enlightened views. I’m really thinking about the top of the leadership food-chain: the White House and its various departments. It seems to me that, as a social institution, the military is much more enlightened, and has a better set of social housekeeping practices in place, than the administration and most of its appointed departments.

          You are certainly right that not enough attention is being paid to what the actual protestors have to say; most attention is given to what observers, supporters and critics, have to say about the protestors and protests.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > top of the leadership food-chain: the White House and its various department

            Given their explicitly stated positions that seems to me like an unreasonable expectation.
            You won’t get apples from an oak tree.

            > the military is much more enlightened, and has a better set of social
            > housekeeping practices in place, than the administration and most of
            > its appointed departments.

            True; let’s wait eight years and see how effectively that can be eroded.

      • My son is in the Coast Guard and HE says that the leaders are NOT HAPPY with the ‘new racism’ and the ‘new LBGT phobia’ so they are taking care of the troops and focusing on mission . . . . my son says that they can’t take any more trans people in now because of DT, but that the military is NOT going to abandon its own who have been serving and doing a good job no matter what . . . .

        so BRAVO to the military leadership . . . . . they, at least, know what ‘honor’ is

        we may yet survive this nightmare . . . . good on General Silveria . . . . the whole country NEEDED to hear him

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          My son is in the Coast Guard and HE says that the leaders are NOT HAPPY with the ‘new racism’ and the ‘new LBGT phobia’ so they are taking care of the troops and focusing on mission . . . .

          While the Real Americans(TM) and CHRISTIANS(TM) piddle all over the floor like giddy puppies going “AAAAAA-MEN!!!!!”

          Eagle has touched on this subject several times over at his blog — and gotten serious pushback every time he blasphemes Christian Culture War (which these days is wrapped up in blasphemy of The Trump).

          • Christiane says

            Good observation about this, HUG:
            “Eagle has touched on this subject several times over at his blog — and gotten serious pushback every time he blasphemes Christian Culture War (which these days is wrapped up in blasphemy of The Trump).”

            I do think the fate of the Trump administration and the Evangelical/Fundamentalist Culture Wars are completely entwined.

            At some point, Trump is going to be the one who reveals the Culture Warriors to themselves, and this is the strangest of paradoxes. Maybe, when the dust clears, the evangelical world will return to the Gospel of the Beatitudes and abandon its ‘diluted’ imitation of the Westboro tactics so despised that not even the fundamentalists is able to see themselves as being on the edges of that brotherhood of stone throwers.

            Talk about losing your way . . . . . Trump provided a very clearly delineated support of the more extreme segments in our land, and evangelical Christians flocked to the polls to vote him in and I think they can not hide from that reality, no. But if and when they realize what they have done, one wonders what direction will they then follow and to what ends ?????

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              I do think the fate of the Trump administration and the Evangelical/Fundamentalist Culture Wars are completely entwined.

              Remember The Coming Evangelical Collapse/I>?

              Well, this is it.

              But if and when they realize what they have done, one wonders what direction will they then follow and to what ends ?????

              All too often (with Sunk Cost Fallacy) it’s been, “Double Down AND SCREAM LOUDER!”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        How bizarre that military leaders, rather than civilian ones, are expressing the most enlightened views on racial and other social matters?

        It’s the difference between the big boss behind his desk far away and the guys who are actually in the field and have to get things done. Literally life-or-death things in this case.

    • And one for Gen Mike Hayden, too, please.

  10. OK, here’s a fresh dish, just happened 5 minutes ago. The usual route I take our dog for his walk goes right by our local ‘LL playing field. A fall game was just starting. The two teams were lined up, hats over hearts, and one of the parents was leading them in a… some kind of “repeat back to me” ceremony. I didn’t catch all of it, but one clause stuck out loud and clear… “I trust in God, I love my country.”

    Is this new? What happened to just singing the National Anthem?

  11. Burro [Mule] says

    Despite the hammering that Texas, Puerto Rico, and Florida have taken in the last month, despite the fact that we have an unreflective horse-trader in the White House, despite the fact that we’re at each other’s throats racially, sexually, culturally, and in just about every other way, and despite some recent health challenges that have recently emerged, it’s hard for me to be downbeat and downcast today.

    Even Richard Nixon has got it…soul!

    I’ve got bacon in the frying pan, salt in the shaker, coffee in the old-fashioned percolator, the Grateful Dead (thanks Tom) on the modern equivalent of the turntable, I have enough money to donate to people in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, and a little left over for Et-lenna. I have the Bible open to the Wisdom of Sirach and even if all’s not right with the world, it’s still a pretty good little life.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > coffee in the old-fashioned percolator

      Nice, one of the best ways to make coffee.

      • THAT’s good coffee!

        the ‘ritual’ of washing the pot and setting up the measured grounds and the waiting and the music of the perking and the AROMA . . . . a symphony of anticipation

        we need the old ways to come back for a time . . . . we forget their charm and something is lost to us

    • Watching Ken Burns’ Vietnam War documentary has been enlightening. Oh how we forget…angry division in this country is nothing new.

      • A terrific series that brings alternating tears and anger. The war was my first exposure to government lies that are still being revealed. There are many villains, but far more heroes. As much as I knew beforehand, the series has been very interesting, educational, and still enraging.

        btw and somewhat related, I visited the V.A. site at Perryville, MD, today, and saw 600 small US flags displayed to represent the vets that die by their own hand each day. Prayers, please. There is only gratitude in seeking help for yourself or a friend in this circumstance.

    • That Other Jean says

      Thanks for the reminder, Mule. Having “enough” is a wonderful thing. Having enough to share is even better.

    • That’s a “good life” attitude Mule. I’m with ya.

      Do you have a favorite Dead album or concert recording?

      • Burro [Mule] says

        I’m actually not a blazing Deadhead. My favorite album is Anthem of the Sun, but I love Workingman’s, American Beauty, Terrapin Station, even their first one. I don’t have any real favorites among the shows. Just about anything form the Dick’s Picks selection does it for me, and I like the 11/11/72 Winterland and also the one where they amalgamated with the Allman Brothers Band and the Band at Watkins Glen and did Johnny B. Goode and Mountain Jam.

        I never saw them live. Neither Genesis, but I console myself with the fact that I saw the Who live in 1969 and the Kinks in 1975.

  12. Chaps and chapesses, a question for you. Have any of you come across a body called the Christian Episcopal Church?

    • Well the Wikipedia article needs major work, but, it apparently split from the Episcopal Church (US) in the early 1990s over the issue of ordaining women and took a retired bishop with them. The split then itself split leaving the Christian Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Missionary Church.

      It apparently exists in the US (can’t find the number of churches but it has only one diocese, Seattle, so I expect low numbers), Canada (3 churches), and the Cayman Islands (2 churches?). It recently consecrated a Church of England priest, Gavin Ashenden, as a “missionary bishop to the United Kingdom and Europe”.

      • We used to joke in seminary about “Split-P Soup” (P for Presbyterian) in reference to all the splits and microdenominations in Presbyterianism. Looks like the Episcopals/Anglicans are now looking to give the Presbys a run for their money.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          The Presbys are following the Non-denoms in going for the theoretical end state of Protestantism:

          Millions of One True Churches, each with only one member, on perpetual Jihad against all the other Heretics/Apostates/Lukewarms.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > “missionary bishop to the United Kingdom and Europe”.

        groan. The Reformation never ends.

      • I know all about Mr Ashenden – he was a house-for-duty priest about two miles from me until not long ago, when he officially resigned his orders.

        There’s some very peculiar stuff going on here, because the bishop who consecrated him claims to have done so in October 2013 while he was still supposedly serving the Anglican church. And that’s not the half of it.

  13. immense grey/white clouds
    look like the end of something
    but not the weekend

  14. no more fresh peaches
    at my local farm market–
    soon the snow will come

  15. Klasie Kraalogies says

    I am just sitting down to my coffee. Coffee and Imonk on a Saturday morning is a bit of a tradition for me.

    We are having beautiful fall weather here in SK. And no worries about clock adjustments- we don’t have Daylight Savings here.

    And I can look forward to an interesting evening- going to see Jane Goodall here in Saskatoon.

    • Jane Goodall is one of my heroines. Hope you enjoy the evening.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > we don’t have Daylight Savings here

      Jealous. It creates so many weird bugs in scheduling algorithms; and accomplishes nothing.

      • I remember Senator Robert Byrd saying in a floor speech about making Daylight Savings Time permanent sometime back in the 80’s, “In Summer, when the television commercial asks, ‘It’s 11:00 p.m., do you know where your children are?’ those of us in West Virginia can confidently say ‘Yes, they’re on the porch watching the sunset.'”

      • Jealous. It creates so many weird bugs in scheduling algorithms; and accomplishes nothing.

        It sure makes it easier to deal with kids activities in the summer. Much less pressure to start before people get home from work and get a bite to eat.

        I still like it even though my kids are in their 20s.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Back in my grade- or high-school days, I read somewhere in a history book that Daylight Savings Time was started during World War One to increase war production. And apparently stuck around.

    • As a farmer I hated DST. Sows and cows don’t watch the clock.

      I grew up in Phoenix and AZ never went on DST–you did as much of the day’s work before and soon after sun up as you could.

      • When I was growing up and ditto my kids our dogs always took a few weeks to get with the change in time of their 2 legged friends getting home from school.

  16. Klasie Kraalogies says

    I read this yesterday:

    “Small patriotism is the love of home because it is home. It is the comfort of familiarity, the sigh of relief we give on completing a long journey, however pleasant. Big patriotism is all abstract ideals and national mythology, easily bent to fit any political agenda. It is centered on the state, not the people, and certainly not any concrete community in which we are thoroughly engaged.”

    – Bonnie Kristian, The Week, 28 Sept 2017

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Yep, a version of the all-politics-is-local meme that I like: All politics SHOULD be local.

      There is a reason it is often very difficult to determine the party affiliation of mayors – they have to solve actual problems, which is a good way to take the partisan out of someone. Whereas legislators and above are unencumbered of such a direct connection and thus free to “stand on principle” (generally a euphemism for not knowing what they are talking about).

  17. I joined Facebook for the first in my life just a few weeks ago. The tosses and turns of what to do with it and what it reveals about me have been many, but I love the community here and anyone from imonk would be welcome to friend me. My last name is Behrend, not Fang, heh. =)

    It has been eye-opening to see people discourse on political topics in such an un-nuancable way, and I now understand why people who seem like reasonable in their disagreement to me in RL feel the nation is so divided. If all we’re doing is judging likes… gosh.

  18. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    I’m in the middle of another prostate cancer scare. Urologist appointment last Thursday. My PSA jumped up again (to 9.5, with 13% free) so I’m going to be getting another biopsy in a week or two. Last time (three years ago) my indicators were almost as bad but all cores came back negative.

    (I’ve had a seriously enlarged prostate for around 10 years, and been under surveillance for prostate cancer for the past five. And when you’re in the middle of a scare, everyone you know is immediately geased to tell you about everyone they knew who died from it. Even if they didn’t know anyone.)

    • Praying.

    • Take care HUG.

    • That Other Jean says

      All good wishes, HUG!

    • My husband has it. Has had it for years. He’s been treated for the cancer. He will from time to time have to take ‘shots’ to bring his numbers down. He’s a survivor. Be hopeful. Get GOOD doctors. Explore options for treatment. I will pray for you.

      One thing we were told was that people don’t usually die of prostate cancer if it’s treated and followed up. It can be managed. We do have the best doctors, fortunately, and even they don’t agree with one another, go figure, but so far, so good. We are thankful my husband is cooperating with the care and following up with attending appointments and check-ups. (for the first twenty-so years of our marriage, he would not go to doctors at all being he was ‘Pennsylvania steel-town strong’, don’tcha-know)

      HUG, you will get through this.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        There are two prostate cancer survivors (one now retired) at my shop. And one or two more at my IPMS chapter. And one I ride the train with into work each morning. Last cancer scare, I plugged in worst-case numbers to the online nomograms and even in a worst-case scenario (Gleason 8+) the 10 year survival rate was still over 90%. But still….

        As for “exploring options for treatment”, I remember the Prostate Cancer Support Group from my last scare. It was about as polarized as the Age of Trump (“DIE, HERETICS!”); not only pro-Surgery and anti-Surgery factions going at each other, but every sub-faction touting the treatment they had as The One True Way. And most seemed to have put their lives on hold at diagnosis — “patient empowerment” as in becoming self-educated Prostate Oncologists 24/7 to the exclusion of everything else until it became all Noise and no Signal.

        By “shots to bring his numbers down”, do you mean Chemo? To me, Chemo means 24/7 continuous vomiting for days to weeks without letup. (My mother, spring of 1975.)

        • Christiane says

          Hello HUG,

          You asked “By “shots to bring his numbers down”, do you mean Chemo?”

          Nope. He takes a shot in his stomach every six months and his ‘numbers’ are monitored by blood testing, but the shot is basically ‘hormone therapy’ (there are some side effects, yes, but not like a chemo reaction, thank God) . . . .

          for ‘insurance purposes’, the shot is identified as a kind of ‘chemo’, but it is not

          He did have some specific radiation therapy when he was first diagnosed many years ago. The follow-ups indicated some elevation in his ‘numbers’ and eventually the hormone therapy was advised and my husband agreed to it. And once again, all I can say is ‘thank God’ my husband is cooperating with treatment.

          There ARE options. But if you have really good doctors, they will be honest with you about what your specific case requires and if you are really concerned about their opinions, there is nothing wrong with getting additional opinions.

          HUG, most men, when they live long enough, begin to have some prostate issues. You are not alone, and there is plenty of hope. You have my prayers for sure. At least it was diagnosed properly. That is important.

          • Christiane says

            years ago, when we found out about my husband’s diagnosis and I knew very little about what to expect, I went into the faculty room where I worked and told my principal (a woman) and some close friends about his cancer diagnosis. Out of the group THREE women shared about their own husbands’ journeys with prostate cancer. I’m not sure about ‘statistics’ or if it was just ‘providential’ that they were there at that time when I shared, but I was reassured by what they reported about their husbands’ survival after treatment.

            It helps to talk this out with trusted people, HUG. It makes a difference, yes.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            OK. I know of hormone therapy as a follow-up.

            Which brings to mind someone I encountered during my last Prostate Cancer scare: One of the guys at the support group had been on hormone therapy for several years (guy was cadaverously thin, which I think was a side effect of the treatment). He was taking probably a dozen-drug cocktail to the tune of $11,000 a month pre-insurance prices:
            * One major hormone treatment to keep down the remaining cancer;
            * Two or three drugs to offset the side effects of the above one;
            * And the rest to offset the side effects of the two or three.
            Yet he tended to downplay all these meds; instead, he was the leader of the Vegan-and-Vitamins clique in the anti-Surgery faction.

            Though I do lean more towards surgery to radiation for prostates. Radiation leakage into surrounding tissue always sounded like a setup for bladder or colorectal cancer (nastier than prostate) some 10-20 years down the road.

            And when I talked to my writing partner yesterday, he said he’d known around half a dozen prostate cancer people in his congregation and that none of them had died from it.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              And if I do wind up with surgery, I was once told that if they open you up and find the cancer has broken containment and started to spread, they just close you up at that point.

              I keep hearing the code-word phrases “Palliative Treatment/Pain Management” and “Remaining Quality of Life” running through my head…

              Combined with North Korea Nuclear War (I live in the nuclear target everyone uses as an example; the local built-up areas provide NO protection) and the constant Firehose-into-the-Teacup volume/pace at work, I don’t know how much longer I can take it.

              • Christiane says

                HUG, get a grip. My husband had radiation seeded into the cancer. There was no surgery.
                There are different options. Be SURE you have the BEST doctors available . . . . if you are in the sticks, get yourself to a medical center . . . . . even a medical school clinic would be better than ‘the sticks’ because they are up on the latest treatments and the teaching staff is usually the doctors in the area known for their expertise.

                Don’t panic. Put away thoughts of ‘palliative’ and be strong to get the right kind of care. It’s not fun to face this, I know through what my husband went through, but the alternative is NOT productive.

                Prayers for you are being said. Talk this out, even blog it out, but take the right actions for medical help. Vitamin therapy and veganism? My friend Froggy got cancer and opted for ‘natural’ treatments. She passed at thirty-nine. She didn’t want chemo ’cause she didn’t want to lose her hair. And so we lost her. And stay out of those clinics in Mexico that offer ‘alternative therapies’ ‘guaranteed to work’. But that ‘s another friend’s story, and it has a bad ending too..

                Just deal with getting the RIGHT help by going to the top doctors first. Then you will know you have done what you could. Stay strong and positive. There IS good help out there.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                  So he got rad-seeded? I remember hearing of that treatment, though if radiation fails you can’t fall back to surgery.

                  Definitely NOT in the sticks here (urban/suburban SoCal, though I would like to retire to a smaller, more relaxed locale). Really good hospitals (including a couple teaching/research ones) in my area. Have a recommend (if I need surgery) for one of the best laparoscopic prostate surgeons in the state. (The one who operated on the remaining prostate cancer veteran at my workplace.)

                  But still, it seems my urologist was watching and waiting for several months. I know prostate cancer is the slowest-progressing of all, but wondering whether we waited too long and It’s Already Too Late keeps gnawing at me.

                  (Something you should know is that giving me bad news and telling me not to panic is like watching me walk off a cliff and saying “Don’t Fall!” My way of cracking up is worst-case scenarios spinning out-of-control in my head, like the daydream sequences of Nickelodeon’s “Doug” or the episode “Lesson Zero” from second-season “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. That’s why pre-ascension Twilight Sparkle is best pony; that purple unicorn and I crack up in the exact same way.)

                  And I’ve come to the conclusion there’s always some “Veganism & Vitamins” type lurking under the bed. I think the guy at the support group started out eating uber-healthy to keep his health up and offset the side effects, but he seemed to have become too focused on it. A lot of guys at that group seemed to have the idea that the treatment that worked for them was The Only True Way.

                  • Christiane says

                    HUG, only your doctors can figure out what will work for you specifically . . . . they may give you some options . . . . . they will tell you the pros and cons of those options . . . . . but you are the one who signs on for the help, yep.

                    That laparoscopic surgery idea sounds much better than what a friend’s husband went through which required quite a bit of recovery over a long period of time. . . . . not so good for him because he was one of the deans of a college with ginormous responsibilities, but even he FINALLY dealt with it because he had ‘postponed’ treatment for some time and, in the end, that required even more extensive surgery with more complications in healing, poor man.

                    No easy answers. But postponing getting help ain’t good. Getting different opinions is understandable. We had help from my family (brother and nephew are doctors) with advice and it made a difference. My husband also trusted his own doctor for referral to specialists and, after considering options, my husband acted decisively. Never easy, HUG, I know this. Has to be dealt with. For goodness sake, be encouraged that you are hearing of so many who are survivors. They are survivors for good reasons and ‘luck’ has nothing to do with it. Get some good care. In a timely way. Go for it.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        (for the first twenty-so years of our marriage, he would not go to doctors at all being he was ‘Pennsylvania steel-town strong’, don’tcha-know)

        Allentown/Bethlehem or Pittsburgh?

        • Christiane says

          Butler PA, thirty miles directly north of Pittsburgh . . . . . . my father in law was full-blooded German and there were seven sons . . . . my husband was the ‘seventh son’ 🙂 The whole family was football mad.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Both my writing partners (the burned-out country preacher and the self-educated son of a steelworker) come from Pennsylvania Dutch backgrounds. My father’s side were also “Dutchmen”, but from a small place called Watsontown in the Appalachians north of Harrisburg.

            • Christiane says

              My husband’s paternal grandparents came from the northern part of Germany and settled in Butler area as immigrants. The grandfather was six foot eight. The males of the family were never quite THAT tall, although when my son was born, he was measured and forecast to grown to 6’8″ . . . he made it to almost 6foot 4 . . . . . big guy . . . . never was ‘little’ being born at over ten pounds. 🙂

    • Hey HUG, praying for you.

    • Prayers from Maine. HUG, I had my annual urology exam on Thursday too. My PSA numbers are good. I’m praying for yours to turn around.

    • Hang in there HUG.

  19. I joined imonk l just before Michael spencer died…but it has gotten way too political, and that isn’t why he started it. There are plenty of political forums out there…go post on those.

    I still want to and need to blog, post, hear, read about spiritual matters, the Church, church(es), discuss scripture and controversies there in, learn from other perspectives / denominations, learn from each other.

    That said, I need feedback on attending a Lutheran church (that we walk to in our neighborhood)on the Pacifica synod…the liberal one as opposed to the Missouri synod…and there is one very close to us.

    I would so appreciate thoughts, feedback, insight, etc. thank you in advance.

    We are fostering our first baby placement now, and he’s such a blessing. At almost 58…it’s tiring, but knew this was what we were called to at this moment in time, stage of life where we can.

    • Seems to me a fair criticism. My opinion….It’s a pendulum swing brought on by reaction to politically charged Evangelicalism.

    • I hear you, charlie.

      But these days, I think Michael Spencer would be ‘outraged’ by what is happening. He could see through a lot of nonsense in the fundamentalist-evangelical world and wanted something better for those people. And today, we are living in a time when IF we don’t speak up and speak out, it may very well be not only a matter of conscience, but it may redefine ‘who we are’ as human persons. Would Michael Spencer have looked away and said nothing about Charlottesville? He was too much of a real person to keep silent in what is happening. That is my opinion but I will defend his honor because he WAS REAL. And that is why many of us came here. He was the real deal and there was an integrity in what he wrote that still inspires and enlightens.

      If Michael were here, he would answer you in words far better than I could or anyone could. But I don’t think he would be ‘silent’. Not him. No.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > it has gotten way too political,

      I was reading Mr. Spencer a l-o-n-g time ago. It was always political; but Mr. Spencer was pretty far to the “right” when he started the BLOG, so it probably fit in more with many people’s perception of “apolitical” [aka in-their-wheelhouse].

      > I will defend his honor because he WAS REAL.

      He most certainly was; I believe everyone here deeply respects his memory.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > I need feedback on attending a Lutheran church (that we walk to in our neighborhood)
      > … there is one very close to us.


      Why not?

    • Charlie, how the hell does a person parse the distinction between “spiritual” and “political”??

      Life/faith is a continuum, not discrete bits and pieces.

  20. It always surprises me when people post comments telling other commenters what they should and shouldn’t express here, and dis-inviting comments with certain kinds of content. I don’t feel so entitled to approve or disapprove the inclusion of editorial and comment content here; that would seem to me to be up to Chaplain Mike.

    • It’s also reasonable for a person to voice an opinion on it.

      • Yes, but to actually dis-invite other commenters, or to tell them to go elsewhere, is presumptuous.

        • Agreed. 🙂

        • And whatever the case, you (we) don’t just want to become an echo chamber.

        • You see a lot of that on some blogs. Wow! I think the people who want to shut other folks up are ‘controlling’ and troubled. I saw that recently. The trouble was sad and hard to witness and I remember feeling that it was not for me to do any harm or injury to someone trapped in that much ‘negativity’.

          But people like that are fearful of the interchange of ideas, of those who are ‘different’, of people who make them uncomfortable. But these same folks have no problem with the kind of negativity that is symptomatic of an anxious and depressed soul. Wounded, is what I think of the ‘negative’ folks. And I have no wish to aggravate that wound or increase it, no. OTOH, I can’t see ‘being shut-up’ as helping them either, it would just encourage their sickness, yes. What is needed? Wisdom, to understand ‘pain’ that expresses itself in negativity, and to have compassion for the suffering, but not to ‘give in’ to manipulation to empower their negativity when they use it to bully others. Yeah. Wisdom. God have mercy on us all.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            When I was on the fringes of the Charistmatics, I noticed the only thing they seemed to be into was Tongues instead of Wisdom.

  21. A few months ago I started getting the occasional unsolicited email from a company called “teespring,” which makes custom t-shirts. Obviously my email address had been sold to them somewhere along the way, which is how these things usually work.

    The t-shirts they were selling were “topical”… seems their business model is to cash in on whatever’s hot and trending. Nothing of interest to me, I only get them about once a month; I hit the delete button, and I am done.

    Yesterday though. Their email comes through and the headline is “Take a knee: choose your poison.” Ten different t-shirt designs—five “for” and five “against.” Looking about how you’d expect.

    Obviously this company doesn’t care one way or the other—there’s money to be made off controversy these days, and plenty of controversies to cash in on. It ain’t just t-shirt sellers, either. Lord have mercy on us all.

    • “Virtue Signaling” sells. Which is really what this is all about.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I assume “Virtue Signaling” means various forms of “rubbing MY Righteousness and Moral Superiority in everyone else’s faces”?

  22. One of my new favorite songs for Fall, in the perpetually teenage-wasteland side of my being: