June 7, 2020

The Saturday Monks Brunch: January 27, 2018

Unfortunately, as I was beginning to prepare brunch today, I was called out and ended up being away until the wee hours.

That means you’ll have to forage for your own brunch today in an open thread edition of our Saturday gathering.

I only ask that you keep the discussion civil and constructive.

You don’t want me being forced to moderate after missing a night’s sleep!

Bon appetit!


  1. Waffles or pancakes? Go.

  2. john barry says

    Rick Ro. I am by nature a waffler or as my calls me wishy washy. I do not like to be critical and I am hesitant to pan anything including cakes, like Jack I am not trying to make a big flap about it. I believe in the International House of Pancakes is the way to world peace as it is a place of refugee with worldly problems except for the people from Belgium who want to charge more for their fancy waffles. People who order griddle cakes are just trying to show their sophistication and trying to be one of the people.
    I voted for Trump so now I am calling for a National Pancake House. I am advocating that we all learn to live together and stop bullying and really demand that bullies do let go of other people’s Eggo. Call me a bleeding heart liberal but we must take a stand when it is brought to our attention. I am do advocate dealing with people who have a big Eggo as they think their waffle is superior. The finger attacks on the Pillsbury Dough Boy must stop. I view pigs in a blanket like sweaters on a dog, just should not happen.
    We should not put people into “boxes” like they did Aunt Jemima or bottle up our feelings like Mrs. Butterworth. Remember they put Prince Albert in a can and we did nothing, they put Aunt Jemima in a box and we did nothing, they put Mrs. Butterworth in a squeeze jar and we did nothing, they put Jimmy Dean in the frozen food case and we did nothing when they came to Soylent Green me, they was no one to stop them. Also I would end up in the Soylent Green bargain bin quickly, most would say it taste like chicken.
    Pancakes are like life , you get what you put into it where as waffles have to be impressed to taste right. A person can be a pancake maker but a machine makes the waffle.
    Rick Ro. thanks for tackling the hard issues most avoid. A good mix is needed to start a good pancake interchange.

  3. winter’s icy touch
    bitter in my face and lungs
    searching for my bones

    • let the cold winter air blow through you and heal your wounded souls . . . . 🙂 (and then head for the sauna!)

    • It’s been 40 Fahrenheit here on the coast of Maine, but winter’s icy touch is never far this time of year.

      I’ve been missing your haikus, Robert. Still no internet here on the island, only on the T-1 education line here at the library. But they’re still hanging lines and the fiber-optic is only weeks away.

      Missing you guys. I peek when I can but it’s hard to get involved.

  4. Since there’s no brunch today, I’m going to Waffle House to pout; I’ll drown my disappointment in coffee, order smothered hash browns, and say a prayer for you.

  5. Mule (Burro) says

    Made the reacquaintance this week with The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter by the Incredible String Band, especially the track “A Very Cellular Song”. The album came out in early 1968.

    It has lost none of its charm, but when I played it for my millennial son, he told me “Dad, that’s not revolutionary. That’s just weird. You guys were just weird.”

    Haters gonna hate
    Boomers gonna old.

  6. Anyone been reading Richard Beck’s journaling on Losing Interest In Progressive Christianity?

    • Yes. I feel that I’ve been in the place he describes for a long time. I’m a progressive, but most of what passes for progressive Christianity seems like thin and tepid stuff to me.

      • Correction: I haven’t been reading the journalng, only the posts.

      • Read something about the effects of reading Flannery O’Connor . . . . . the truth is, her writing tends to pull the comfortable right out of their chairs and throws them across the room . . . . . but no one writes with more incisiveness about what passes for ‘good’ in a broken world and what can happen when it is exposed in all of its self-centered judgmental righteousness

      • I think progressive Christianity uncoupled from historical criticism (and similar things) will eventually reach a point of dishonesty. There’s an unwillingness to question the big things because they’re still holding on to something. And I get how big of a leap there is, as well as the social-political/whatever else impact it can have on someone’s life.

        The more progressive you are, using a particular sense/meaning of the word ‘progressive’, the farther uncoupled from fundamentalist ‘truths’ and letter of the law, while maintaining the actual spirit and teachings of scriptures, will, IMO, inevitably lead you to certain conclusions. And many won’t go there.

      • Robert @ 8:13, me too.


    • melissatheragamuffin says

      So you have a link? When I Googled Losing Interest in Progressive Christianity it linked me to a Reddit forum and I generally make it my policy to not read anything on reddit.

    • Have read Beck’s blog posts. So, per his recomendation, downloaded Flannery O’Connor’s short stories. About half way through. Seems she captures 40’s and 50’s Georgia well. Dark. Captivated by the writing. It will take me a while but hope to read her two novels also.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Yes. I certainly share the sentiment about fetishizing doubt. I mean – I am totally down with doubt – people should be able to talk about doubt(s) – or even feeling outright cynical. But eventually you’ve just got to make a choice and make peace with it; at some point doubt becomes just another refuge. It’s tough.

  7. If you want a little ‘náycha’ this morning check out the Eagle Cam. Two developing eaglets in the nest. Very cool.

  8. If any iMonk has the contact information for that purported Secret Society formed by FBI agents, the one that’s been referred to all over the alternative/fake news world this last week, would you please forward it to me. I’d like to put in an application for membership.

    • You’ll need a referral from the Illuminati. And collateral backed by the Gnomes of Zurich. And proof of membership in the Church of Discordia. Fnord.

    • You can’t apply directly. First you have to graduate from the Dealy Plaza school in Dallas. Secondly you must do coursework at the Area 52 school in Nevada. Only when all of that is done can you go to Quantico Virginia to get your basic FBI credential which will then have you rubbing shoulders with the most secretest of agents who will then put you through the initiation so good luck with all of that!

    • senecagriggs says

      So there is actually no “resistance” to our president? Gosh, “the resistance” must be fake news too. I guess we’re all onboard the Trump train then – including the F.B.I.

      [ Other options; there are actually a group of government employees which would seek legal and illegal means to get rid of a President with whom they disagree ].

      • Sure but that’s not what was said. It’s the “ Secret Society” and their meeting plans. Different than a loose collection of people at the same organization that think disparagingly of the man. I think dismally about him as do a number of people at Imonk but nobody told me about the secret handshake. It’s clear to everyone, including the GOP, that the guy was joking. Now certainly if there were a group who wanted to form up to thwart him you might naturally think FBI or CIA but that’s not what this was in my opinion.

        • Exactly. Secret Society = “Deep State” Conspiracy. Sheer lunacy, worthy of Alex Jones.

          Although seneca and others may not believe it, FBI agents and other civil servants are actually allowed to not politically support a president. They can even vote against him, and speak critically of him. That’s not treason, and it shouldn’t be.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          There is a resistance [you know, still a republic], but nothing is Secret. What would be the point of that. All the meetings I attend are posted on Facebook.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > . It’s clear to everyone, including the GOP

          Hrm, no, it was apparently not clear to everyone.

          • This was part of what I read;
            “Even Johnson, the senator who days earlier was all-in on the secret society talk, admitted to CNN that the reference might have been in jest: “It’s a real possibility.”

            And the missing text messages? Oh, they found those. Turns out there was a widespread glitch that affected thousands of FBI phones. The Justice Department’s inspector general informed the Senate that the messages were recovered this week.

            Just like that, a conspiracy theory that was heard and read by millions upon millions of people went POOF!

            It’s a shame, really. Conspiracies theories are great fun. And I happen to be very good at creating them — one I laid out in an old column alleged that an army of rhino warriors are being bred in Trump Tower in Chicago, and it has NEVER been disproved. So allow me to help my conservative friends.

            For starters, a conspiracy theory can’t be based on something that can later be used to draw the conspiracy theory into question. Do you think that if the FBI had a secret society, members of that society would go around texting each other about a “meeting of the secret society”? Only a third-grader or a United States senator would believe that nonsense.”

            • john barry says

              ChrisS. or a person having an affair that is trying to tell their lover to meet them in their secret email, text account. However, this top of the food chain couple have to use their official cell phones to plan their secret love meetings. FBI is in worst shape than we know.

              • Yeah, it should be abolished. We can borrow the Federal Security Service from Russia; I’m sure Putin would be willing to lend it to us, comrade.

              • I’m sure you’re on their trail. Keep at it and keep me posted!

        • Christiane says

          Yes, it WAS a joke. The jist of it was that some gag calendars showing Putin on horseback shirtless would be given out at the first ‘secret’ meeting. 🙂

          A lot of people took it for a real conspiracy. (?) There is ‘conspiracy fever’ in the air these dayz. Bots from Russia are stirring the pot with all kinds of goodies to get people going. Yikes!

        • Christiane says

          Yes, it WAS a joke. The jist of it was that some gag calendars showing Putin on horseback shirtless would be given out at the first ‘secret’ meeting. 🙂

          A lot of people took it for a real conspiracy. (?) There is ‘conspiracy fever’ in the air these dayz. Bots from Russia are stirring the pot with all kinds of conspiracy goodies to get people going. Yikes!

          • Of course it was a joke. But some people in Congress have decided to exploit it as rationale for derailing the Mueller investigation, and possibly for purging the FBI and other federal security agencies of any civil servants who are unwilling to pledge allegiance to their party’s boss.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              While all the Christians cheer “AAAAAAAA-MENNNNNNN! WHO IS LIKE UNTO THE TRUMP?”

            • Patriciamc says

              Yes, the same people who purport to support the police are part of the whisper campaign to discredit the FBI in order to discredit the Russia investigation. Two other points of interest: Trump wanting to fire Mueller and the State Department employees who have hired attorneys in the wake of harassment for not being pro-Trump.

              • A growing number of members of Congress want to make loyalty to this president, rather than to the Constitution or the American people, a requirement for civil service. They are warping the basic philosophical underpinnings of constitutional democracy, and they know it. The level of cynical power manipulation is incredible, and uniquely destructive to the country.

              • The Congressional GOP is proceeding apace to clear the way for the FBI to be politicized into a partisan institution, loyal only to the president and his party. In so doing, they are also clearing the way for democratic protections to be swept aside, and a dictatorship to form. This is not a drill; this is the real thing. It has reached the point where it is almost impossible to overemphasize the threat to the existence of our democratic institutions. This is not a drill; this is a real national emergency and crisis.

  9. john baryy says

    Guys, I have just contacted Peter Strzok’s wife and Lisa Page’s husband via the special wave band on my tin foil hat. I paid extra but my hat picks up messages I want to hear as well the hat blocks the mind reading rays used by the pinkos and stops the mind control of Dr. Spock and others, I fear the mind melt
    Both Strzok’s wife and Page’s husband assured me that their spouses take any oath or sworn duty seriously and would never violate any standard rule of conduct or vows. They are beyond reproach . Perhaps Strzok thought FBI stood for Female Body Inspector, a spring break shirt worn often at Panama Beach during spring break. Strzok and Page have were working undercover and doing research on can you send hundreds of personal e mails and text a day and still get any real work done? My 16 granddaughter does not spend as much time texting as they did.
    I am still investigating Doris Day for having a Secret Love back in the 1950’s, did she love Stalin? I am trying to get Peter Strzok on I’ve Got A Secret but just found out it is off the air, no one told me , was that a secret too. Perhaps Strzok talked McDonald’s into using a Secret Sauce on the big Mac or was that code also. Strzok’s code name at the FBI was “Page Turner”. Lisa Page spent a lot of time working on briefs but they were Strzok’s not the legal briefs but she got confused.
    Do not worry, I am on the case. Wife needs my hat for a while to wrap up a roast, She does not know I am working on national security issues.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “Syerge Syoot here…
      Come the Rewoution;
      Christmas Day will become Lenin Day,
      Boxing Day will become Brezhnev Day,
      And New Years’ Day will become Doris Day.”
      — Kenny Everett Video Show

  10. you note that I had to change my last name as “they” are on to me.

  11. senecagriggs says
    • senecagriggs says

      “Reading Flannery O’Connor finally brought all these worries to a crisis point for me. I think it was Hazel Motes’ preaching about the “Church of Christ Without Christ” in Wise Blood that did it. “The Church of Christ Without Christ” sounded a lot like what I saw going on within progressive Christian circles, a Christianity that gets so watered down and diluted you don’t, in the end, believe anything at all.

      The trouble with the incessant deconstruction at work within progressive Christianity is that, left unchecked, all it tends to produce are agnostic Democrats.

      This realization hasn’t made me conservative. My voting hasn’t changed. Especially with Trump in office.

      The effect hasn’t been political. It’s metaphysical. I’m simply tired and bored by a progressive Christianity that doesn’t believe in anything, at least anything beyond Jesus being a model exemplar of liberal humanism. “

      • agnostic Democrats

        Why is this a bad thing?

        Compared to the alternative, or where many of us have come from, that leads to someone who is honest enough with themselves and others to actually say there may or may not be a God, but we choose to live our live by loving others and wanting the best for them and not just ourselves and our kin. Loving our neighbor and not just loving our tribe. Being truly Humanists, that truly Christian philosophy rooted in Scriptures. Being able to say that, yeah, we might not have all the answers, we aren’t sure about all things, but there’s so much good here that it’s worth living our life this way.

        Why is this a bad thing?

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          And — I’m not certain what Seneca is implying? Are there enough “Progressive Christians” to fill a major metropolitan football stadium? This isn’t a group with any notable power base.

        • Being honest is not “a bad thing.”

          It’s simply that Progressive Christians who go this route end up not claiming any faith. That could be a good thing if they have to detox from bad experiences with church people, or from a type of church doctrine such as you were taught.

          Nobody is truly agnostic; people may not believe in a deity, but they will order their lives around something. A greater feat of honesty is telling the truth about what that thing actually is.


          • I think that a lot of it stems from the underlying cultural assumption of Either/Or – Either you are a full on inerrantist charismatic evangelical, Or you must be an atheist. I think a big part of why IMonk exists is to carve out the excluded middle between those extremes, while trying to keep a dialogue with them going.

            • –> “I think a big part of why IMonk exists is to carve out the excluded middle between those extremes, while trying to keep a dialogue with them going.”


            • “Either you are a full on inerrantist charismatic evangelical, Or you must be an atheist.”

              And that, Eeyore, is imo the crux of the issue. More than a few times I’ve witnessed 20-30 somethings who grew up in the “inerrantist charismatic evangelical circus come to that conclusion.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > A greater feat of honesty is telling the truth about what that thing actually is.

            But sometimes people cannot articulate it; in many cases it is a [rather unconsidered], highly cultural, **vision**. Not a systematic belief structure. And as I gain experience [aka: get older] I am ever more skeptical of those who assert they are, in fact, operating from a systematic belief structure… nope, I think there is a Vision hidden behind the drapes. And it is far more likely that said belief system is constructed around the Vision, not vice versa.

            I also wonder about the “agnostic” thing. Especially around the 3 – 5 topics I have studied in depth in my life I’ve become more “agnostic” about all of them [at least in particular ways]. Whether it is Data Models (information technology) or Transit Systems… there is this way of looking at it, and that way of looking at it, and those other considerations… and by then the journalist you are talking to has a defeated glazed-over look. Perhaps we need the term “functionally agnostic”; I certainly have “core beliefs”, but the cables from the core to the front porch twist about in an nearly impossible knot.

  12. Applause in church

    When did this happen?

    I grew up in a small town SBC, attended a few other denoms in town at times and have no memory of applause in services. 60s and early 70s.

    After avoiding church for a few decades when I started doing church again about 25 years ago applause seemed to be, ah, normal?

    And of course now we get standing ovations for things that don’t even seem to be worth celebrating.

    Just asking.

    • John barry says

      David L Perhaps people at Broadway shows will start interjecting Amens. I share your questioning , i think it is just people being polite copying secular society.

    • –> “And of course now we get standing ovations for things that don’t even seem to be worth celebrating.”

      That’s a truly baffling thing to me, too. I don’t mind some applause now and then, but the thundering ovations for someone reading John 3:16…?

      • john barry says

        David L and Rick Ro. One of the fun things to ponder. While we are at it. Matt Lauer with the recent firing etc. How in the world did a modestly talented, not great analysis , slightly above average news reader and famous “host” attain such a lofty position of media power and popularity? I knew Johnny Carson, Matt Lauer is no Johnny Carson. Well, actually I watched Johnny Carson but would have liked to meet him
        . I did not get any acclaim for maintaining a low C average in Business Math and really no recognition for being barely average and now the bar is lowered in many areas. I would like to think I had a hand in lowering the bar in many areas , but please no applause.
        I would say the bar for what is worthy our stated approval is pretty low. At the beginning of the Today show format Dave Garroway, the then average host, had on as a regular a chimp. Matt Lauer deserves more praise than the chimp.
        So I guess the old saying on the Today Show “Where in the World is Matt Lauer” is out of vogue. They should have been looking and saying “What in the World Is Matt Lauer Up To”, that would get them great ratings.
        Some of the places I go I am applauding because the act or service is over.

        • My daughter asked me just yesterday who I’d like to have lunch with, living or dead, and I replied, “Johnny Carson.” His sense of humor was one of my favorite styles.

        • Applause may be, these days, for building self esteem rather than finding something especially good. More recently I am finding folks clapping after a hymn played by the organist during Mass… that was unheard of 10 years ago. Additionally, as I have watched my kids grow up, these days especially, parents are giving standing ovations to a few words said onstage with bouquets of flowers afterwards… maybe they are celebrating that they were able to get their kids away from social media……

  13. Burro (Mule) says

    Richard Beck’s series is gutsy as hell. He may never vote Republican, but real Christianity will cure him of Progressive State-worship

    • There ARE points in the spectrum between “state worship” and “Atlas Shrugged”, ya know. 😛

      • In fact, it’s quite possible that the most Christian way of understanding the situation would land you closer to the “state worship” side than the “Atlas Shrugged” side.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        I’m still looking for the examples of “Progressive State-worship” that everyone is always talking about.

        Sincerely – it is a straw man.

    • If by real you mean traditional, it could well deliver him from Progressive State-worship, and to feudal state-worship. In that case the last state-worship would be worse than the first.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Some of this must be the naked antipathy that some on the right feel towards any-and-all civic institutions.

        The inability to see the distinction between “Worship” and “Here is problem X; lets corporately solve it since nobody else is solving it”; that failure can only be evidence of some strong underlying bias.

  14. Jesus saves.

    • From what? lol

      I ask jokingly. But it is something I think about. Though, today, right at this moment…I’ve had enough and it’s not something I want to think about.

      But I am glad I had someone/something save me from Jesus.

      • –> “But I am glad I had someone/something save me from Jesus.”

        Maybe I can re-phrase that for you.

        “But I am glad I had someone/something save me from an unhealthy Christianity.”


        • I can’t separate it. I can’t. I’ve tried.

          Don’t think I need to.

          I mean it. I want someone to save me FROM Jesus and from this God. It’s a better alternative.

          But you’re not wrong either.

          • Christianity has been tried and found wanting. Over and over and over. And it’s so common and sad to hear in return it was the “wrong” Christianity. No, lol, it really wasn’t.

      • John barry says

        StuartB if u do not believe Jesus saves u from eternal separation from God then he cannot save you. God made his gift u certainly do not have to accept.

        • Why do you believe that anyone is ever eternally separated from God? Where verses or ideas do you look at to support this belief?

          • john barry says

            StuartB. I am the wrong guy to ask to recall Bible verses, I cannot remember where I park my truck at Wal Mart so I am not one to find apt verses to bolster my position. I go with the “story” of the Bible which was an excellent article here early this week. I did google eternal separation real quick and 2 Thessalonians 1:9 popped up. I am sure there are others.

            I respect your position and beliefs , that is up to you. I am sure you know the Bible better than I but that would not be hard to do as my academic retention is pretty weak. There are far better people on this site and in the world to answer questions onf faith than I. I like to think this is because my 2 years of studying High School Business Math under the teaching of head football Coach French , drained my intellectual capacity.
            Good thing about Jesus is you do not have to believe in him , no force, your choice. We will see how the world fares without Christianity having great influence as that is where we are headed. I do often recall , not correctly the last verse in the Book of Judges, which is where we are now it seems.

            Thanks for your question to me , wish I had a pithy correct answer but Jesus is a personal savior, up to you. That is what I believe. I also believe you have every right to believe what you want and be questioning.

            Old great billboard sign years ago in Miami Florida , going down I-95, A church had a big bill board with the simple message Jesus Saves, really big and bold and that is all it said. Not by design Green Stamps which people use to save to get free merchandise had a big store sign you could see off I-95 and when you hit the slight bend at a certain angle you saw Jesus Saves Green Stamps. People loved it and I use to take my Grandmother by it and she loved it and swore God planned it to have people talk about Jesus. True story, Green Stamps are long gone , so is my Grandmother in this world but Jesus is still saving at least those who believe in him. There were also other grocery stores who gave plaid stamps and gold stamps but Jesus only saved Green Stamps it seems.

            Again thanks and I appreciate your comments on the site.

            • There’s a scene in the short-lived TV show “Boomtown” in which a billboard or huge sign on the side of a building prominently reads “Jesus Saves.” I’m pretty sure the producers/director knew what they were doing when they included it. I loved that show.

        • There was a time when I might’ve said (believed) the same thing, JB. Now…I’m not so sure. Let’s say a person (like StuartB) has been damaged by believing Christians to the point he’d rather be separated from Jesus and God than be with them. I think Jesus accounts for that. I’m pretty sure – I could be wrong – that some people (many people?) will be saved regardless.

          All I know is…Jesus saves.

          • And see, I don’t view it as being separated from Jesus and God, because the question or concept itself is fundamentally flawed imo. I may be separated from what came before, what I was, but on the other hand, I have greater faith than ever and am actually walking the walk better than ever before.

            • I think I hear what you’re saying. When I had my 5-7 year spiritual desert period I definitely felt separated from what came before (a close, exhilarated feeling with God), but post-spiritual desert I learned to ignore those feelings. I, too, have a greater faith and actually walk better than before.

          • Christiane says

            maybe it’s not Jesus that Stuart is alienated from . . . . . honestly, the way some people who call themselves believers treat other people IS a kind of hell on Earth . . . . . . and on top of the abuse, they throw scripture verses for justification of their hatred

            and it’s not just one denomination out there that harbors these sick folks, no, some are found everywhere, but they WILL tend to go towards the more negative and darker venues to practice their mean-spiritedness . . . . and there they can ‘express themselves’ in a more comfortable way, so I have read from one person who totally embraced negativity and was ‘annoyed’ by civility in others

            I would want to RUN from that kind of mess. . . . . . nothing of ‘Jesus’ about these negative people, except that if they are ill (and some are VERY ill) and unable to control their wrath at others, Our Lord would have mercy on them in their confusion, of course

            Like that line of Shakespeare’s in King Lear . . . . ‘do not get between a dragon and his wrath’

          • Jesus saves me from myself. I’m a mess. And I know I’m never going to get my shit together before I die. Jesus saves.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            All I know is…Jesus saves.

            And Moses invests?

    • Everyone else takes full danage.

  15. Do you have favorite “words”?

    I don’t know, for some reason I’ve always liked the word “lozenge.” And “luggage.” “Skullduggery” is another one.

    When I asked one of the guys doing maintenance at our church last week how it was going, he replied, “I’m dealing with a cantankerous toilet tank.” We got a chuckle out of that one.

    That phrase has a nice sound to it, too: cantankerous toilet tank.

  16. Burro ( Mule) says

    Is it too early to start getting cranked up for the World Cup? Peru (my wife’s country) is going this year, but Ive always been a big fan of Holland or France.

    • Having grown up in the States on the high-scoring games of American football and basketball, I used to LOATHE soccer. I’ve since come to appreciate it. Nah, not too early to talk World Cup.

  17. prayerless at midnight
    I rely on moon and stars
    to intercede for me

  18. Steve Scott says