October 24, 2020

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: May 19, 2018

Welcome to our weekly Brunch, and thanks to Pastor Dan for holding the fort for the past few weeks.

This weekend marks the end of the Easter season with the celebration of Pentecost. Michael Spencer called Pentecost “The Third Great Day” and said of it:

The clear purpose of Pentecost was to bring into birth a new people of God, the beneficiaries of the ministry of the one mediator between God and man and all that he accomplishes in his life, death, resurrection, ascension and session. Pentecost is not a show or the dividing of the church into a spiritual competition between those with spiritual gifts and those not yet blessed. Pentecost is the creation of the people of God that scripture has always looked toward, from the covenant with Abraham until the consummation in the Kingdom.

The celebration of Pentecost should be among the church’s most important days because everything that it means to be the church- election, inheritance, salvation, empowering, community, mission, hope- all comes in the Holy Spirit that is poured out on Pentecost. Let’s reclaim the meaning and significance of this day, and make it a day that belongs to all Christians as our joyful, common birthday.


Not long after I go to bed penning these thoughts, a cute couple is going to have a little wedding over in England.

I’ll let others report on the couple, their families, the wedding itself, the crowds of onlookers, the gazillions of people around the globe who’ll be tuning in.

I’m most interested in some of the Weird Royal Wedding Souvenirs you can pick up.

Royals Comic Book. $6.99 at Amazon

Heck Sausages “For the Happy Couple”

From the website:

As a nod to Meghan’s American background and Harry’s fiery red locks, we’ve married lean British pork shoulder with American Mustard and Sweet Ginger.

We know there’s going to be street parties, BBQs or you might fancy creating your own wedding-style breakfast on the big day, complete with a slice of ‘toast’ to the happy couple.


For those raw emotions… Commemorative Sushi

Ok, that really is weird…


Alabama congressman Mo Brooks is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

One might wonder why.

From WHNT News:

On Wednesday, at a hearing titled “using technology to address climate change,” Brooks began by raising a broad question about rising ocean levels to the witness panel.

Philip Duffy, president of Woods Hole Research Center, said in response to the question that “the last 100-year increase in sea-level rise, as I mentioned earlier, has clearly been attributed to human activities, greenhouse gas emissions.”

Brooks interjected and rephrased his question again, asking if there “are other factors.”

“What about erosion?” Brooks offered during the exchange. He added: “Every time you have that soil or rock, whatever it is, that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise because now you’ve got less space in those oceans because the bottom is moving up.”

Duffy responded that he did not believe that explained sea-level rise.

“I’m pretty sure that on human time scales those are minuscule effects,” Duffy said.

Brooks then moved to ice levels and asserted that Antarctic ice is growing, to which Duffy responded that satellite records have documented “shrinkage of the Antarctic ice sheet and an acceleration of that shrinkage.”

Brooks wrapped up his questioning by saying he had heard differently from NASA, and said there were “plenty of studies” showing an ice sheet increase in Antarctica.

“I’ve got a NASA base in my district,” Brooks said. “And apparently, they’re telling you one thing and me a different thing.”

Rocks. In the head.

Could someone please find Rep. Brooks a remedial middle school science class?


One of the most influential writers in my lifetime passed away this week at age 88. And so we pause our Brunch to say farewell to Tom Wolfe, leader in the “New Journalism” movement and author of such iconic American books as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stufff, and Bonfire of the Vanities.

As NPR reports:

Wolfe began working as a newspaper reporter, first for The Washington Post, then the New York Herald Tribune. He developed a unique style, incorporating literary techniques — interior monologues, amped-up prose and eccentric punctuation. It was called the “New Journalism.”

Tom Wolfe coined such phrases as “radical chic,” “pushing the envelope,” and “The ‘Me’ Generation.” And he was known for his dapper sartorial style.

Lev Grossman, book critic for Time, said of Wolfe: “He was an enormously forceful observer, and he was not afraid of making strong claims about what was happening in reality. He did it well, and eloquently. And people heard him. And they repeated what he said because he was right.”


From BBC Sport:

If you were going to play your last round of golf at the age of 93, registering your first hole-in-one during it would be a fitting finale.

That was the case for Ohio native Ben Bender at his local course, Green Valley.

Armed with his trusty five-wood, the sprightly nonagenarian sent his tee shot over the lake at the 152-yard par-three third hole, and watched with delight as it found the green and trickled into the cup.

A former three handicapper, Ben had played golf for more than 60 years without making an ace.

On the day in question he began with an eight at the opening hole and followed that with a seven. But then came the third hole and the chance to write the figure ‘1’ on his scorecard.

“I’d come close to some hole-in-ones, but this one was level on the green before it curved towards the hole and went in. I was in awe watching it,” he said.

It proved to be one of the last shots he would strike – as he decided to hang up his clubs that very day.

“I played a few more holes, but my hips were hurting and I had to stop,” Bender said. “It seemed the Lord knew this was my last round so he gave me a hole-in-one.”


Here is one great story from the land down under…

Australian native James Harrison, who has donated blood every week for 60 years, saving over 2.4 million babies in the process, is hanging up his “golden arm” for good.

The 81-year-old has become known as the “man with the golden arm” because his blood contains disease-fighting antibodies that have been used to develop an injection called Anti-D, which helps fight against rhesus disease.

Anti-D is given to mothers whose blood is at risk of attacking their unborn babies, according to the Blood Service. The illness can cause anemia, enlarged liver or spleen, and in worst cases, can result in brain damage or even death in newborns. The condition, called Haemolytic Disease of the Newborn (HDN), is developed when a pregnant woman has rhesus-negative blood (RhD negative), while the baby she’s carrying has rhesus-positive blood (RhD positive).

A mother who has been sensitized to receive rhesus-positive blood during a pregnancy with a rhesus-positive baby may produce antibodies that destroy her unborn child’s “foreign” blood cells.

Because of Harrison’s blood, more than three million doses of Anti-D have been issued to Australian mothers with rhesus-negative blood since 1967, according to the release from the Australian Red Cross.

Upon making his final blood donation this past Friday, Harrison put out the challenge to the Australian community to beat his record – Harrison has donated over 1,100 times.


Might the royal wedding prove to be a good marketing opportunity for the Episcopalians?

Who is the surprising commencement speaker at Liberty University, and why?

Why should teenagers (and those who teach them) understand more about their teen brains?

Are evangelicals dwindling now like mainline Protestants?

What is the real last book of the Old Testament?


  1. I’m actually first?

  2. I wonder if Harrison had a permanent tap in his arm? Quite the dude.

  3. Ah! Everyone else is watching the wedding pre-game. ;o)

    • I wondered if there’s be anybody here too. Only 12 comments so far.

      Got a kick out of the royal couple swimsuits.

    • We awoke in time to hear some of the sermon. I liked it. And “Stand By Me” brought tears to my eyes. It was perfect.

    • Patriciamc says

      Watching! I love Meghan and Harry!

    • Christiane says

      Loved watching the wedding. That bridal gown! So elegant. The British choral music . . . nothing so beautiful!
      We needed something like this that is positive and joyful . . . . you had to smile at the children . . . the littles, so sweet and the page boys carrying the lace-banded veil train

      (sigh, so romantic) 🙂

  4. Richard Hershberger says

    My church celebrates Pentecost each year by speaking in tongues. In our case the tongues are English and German. Most Sundays we have two services, one in each language, but on Pentecost we hold a joint bilingual service.

    • Robert F says

      Like it.

    • Brianthegrandad says

      A former pastor, moved on to glory now, would invite people of multiple nationalities to church on Pentecost and have them read the Pentecost account in their native languages, from Bibles in their native languages. (He collected different language translations). Many fond memories of hearing that passage in Tagalog, German, Bulgarian, Russian, Chinese, etc. Then he’d have them read the same passage simulatneously, to simulate what he thought it might have sounded like. A former missionary to Apache reservations, he would read a section in their language as well. Really miss Pastor Wagner.

      • Brianthedad says

        When I say invite, it wasn’t just on this day. he regularly invited many people to church, but for Pentecost, he found friends, congregants from previous churches, people he met at the gym, etc who were fluent in other languages, and brought them to speak in tongues. Hey, I need a favor…. Great memories. Great guy.

  5. I do not think that evangelicals or evangelicalism is nearly or universally as bad as many who comment here seem to think, but one thing about it that does make me sad is that last week the vast majority wouldn’t have dared to let mother’s day get by without recognizing it ( just as they will be sure to recognize memorial day, father’s day, the fourth of July, and veteran’s day), but most won’t have a clue that this Sunday is Pentecost. In my opinion one of the greatest mistakes the evangelical church makes is to ignore the church calendar.

    • It’s a great indicator of priorities – commemoration of Nation and Family, as opposed to the commemoration of the life of Christ.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Source unknown, but a great point – “If you want to understand a group of people, read their fiction”.

        • “Learn about art, Captain. When you understand a species’ art, you understand that species.” – Grand Admiral Thrawn

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          And if you want to understand their fears, read their dystopian fiction.

    • Robert F says

      I agree with you about evangelicalism, but then, since I was never evangelical, I’m not a traumatized post-evangelical like many here at iMonk are. This is a place they gather to recover from their traumatizing journeys through evangelicalism; they vent here.

      Regarding the second part of your paragraph: I think this closeness and loyalty to American culture/nationalism is a serious critique of the values, and the Christianity, of American evangelicalism, and I agree with you. I will only say that it is by no means a problem limited to American evangelicalism, and you will find in many mainline Protestant churches that Mother’s Day and Fourth of July are celebrated with far more zest and interest than Pentecost, even though it is on the calendar and observed.

      • I guess I’m fortunate. I’ve been in what would be called evangelical churches all my life (though never part of a mega-church), and I’ve never really encountered the crazier or more terrible things I see some people mention here. For instance, I didn’t even know who Bill Gothard was until I started to read iMonk. So I do get annoyed at the universal condemnation I see here from some who comment. Not all evangelicals are power hungry haters scared of “different people” and hell bent on taking over the world (or at least the US), and longing for a nuclear war to bring about the end times. In fact, from my experience, most aren’t. I do agree however that evangelicalism has suffered by ignoring church history and tradition, and focusing too much on being American and the condition of America, rather than being Christian, and the condition of the church.

        • senecagriggs says

          I’m a life long Evangelical who didn’t like Bill Gothard decades ago, long before it was popular to dislike him.

          • As a new evangelical, some older folks at my church tried to interest me in Gothard. I took one look at all those binders and animal alliterations and said no thanks. Boy, did I dodge a bullet…

        • Richard Hershberger says

          Fred Clark at Slacktivist talks about Political Evangelicals, as contrasted with Evangelicals who go to church Sunday and Wednesday and Bible study and the occasional church potluck, trying to live their lives as good people. It is pretty typical that politics brings out the worst. Within Lutheranism, you would think based on what you see on the internet that ELCA and LCMS are at each others’ throats. In practice, those of us who like church suppers happily go to the other side, and we make perfectly pleasant conversation while there.

          That being said, ordinary Evangelicals voted for Trump, and were largely undisturbed when Trump looked at a group of Nazis and saw, to his mind, a lot of good people. On those occasions where I find myself in an Evangelical church, I have no complaints about the hospitality. On the other hand, I am middle class and white. To look at me, I fit right in.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            That being said, ordinary Evangelicals voted for Trump, and were largely undisturbed when Trump looked at a group of Nazis and saw, to his mind, a lot of good people.

            Remember, Trump is a sucker for flattery, and the guys with the Tiki Torches knew that.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I think this closeness and loyalty to American culture/nationalism is a serious critique of the values, and the Christianity, of American evangelicalism…

        As we have seen with the Christian fanaticism surrounding Donald Trump.

        • Christiane says

          WHAT is going on there?

          now I hear Trump is going to defund Planned Parenthood, so he is the ‘hero’ of the evangelicals? Trump?

          I could see them worshiping Pence. ( I don’t trust Pence either) But Trump?

          none of this evangelical Trump worship makes a lick of sense to me.

          • The ends justify the means. Francis Schaeffer must be rolling in his grave…

            • Robert F says

              I think you’re wrong about that last. I think Schaeffer would be riding the Trump train.

              • I’d like to think not… But who knows.

              • Robert F – re. Schaeffer, i agree. He was intolerant (to say the least) over the final 15+ years of his life.

                I never met him, but i was at Swiss L’Abri for a while in 1977. Very strange place on the whole. I felt uncomfortable the entire time i stayed there. Moving to a pension snd visiting with people still at L’Abri was my way around that. Still, a strange place…

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                  re. Schaeffer, i agree. He was intolerant (to say the least) over the final 15+ years of his life.

                  “Hardening of the Attitudes”?

  6. Robert F says

    on the creek a duck
    joy rides in the pouring rain —
    I just get wet

    • Behold the duck.
      It does not cluck.
      A cluck it lacks.
      It quacks.
      It is specially fond
      Of a puddle or pond.
      When it dines or sups,
      It bottoms ups.

      — Ogden Nash

  7. Tom Wolfe was my high school graduation speaker. He was indeed dapper and interesting.

  8. senecagriggs says

    HOLE-IN-ONE – BRENTWOOD golf course. Number 5 hole, par 3, 157 yard. I mistakenly hit a “worm burner” that appeared to be at least headed for the green. As I’m walking towards the green, I can’t see a ball anywhere. After 5 minutes, found it in the cup.

    Bad shot, excellent result.

  9. Robert F says

    The article about the decline of evangelical churches, and the corresponding growth of the Nones, seems to put a lot of weight on the assumption that the irreligious agree with each other when it comes to political and social issues, and would make a formidable voting block against the values of the religious right, if only they would mobilize and vote. I’m not sure this is a correct assumption, not sure at all.

    • Article in The Guardian this morning about post-evangelicals and end-times fatigue.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Every marketing person knows this: you have to update your prophecies at least once every generation! You cannot keep selling the same thing.

        Even the teen paranormal romance shows on the CW network have moved on from the Hal Lindsey imagery.

        Aside: I do appreciate that your link/article has the courage to name the oh-so-innoccent-[not] Billy Graham’s complicity in the current mess. People tend to soft step around the name of the very nice Mr. Graham.

        • Billy did distance himself somewhat from the pre-trib dispensational fundamentalists, in order to establish his more seeker-friendly evangelicalism. But the state of Israel came into being about the same time as Billy was launched on the national scene, and Israel was a huge sign of the end times for a lot of people. Still is. Also the Bomb. That hung over our heads whether we believed the Bible or not.

          Was Billy Graham into “the rapture” very much? The article seems to tie that to his eschatology, but I don’t get that from the quote the author used.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > on the assumption that the irreligious agree with each other when it comes to political and social issue

      Agree. They don’t.

      My experience – which is in my corner of the American Midwest – is that political / socio-political affiliations are much more “sticky” than religious ones. So disaffiliation with (X) does not imply any change of affiliation with (Y); if it correlates to anything it may well be a disaffiliation with (all).

      That is not a criticism of anyone. I would have implied a criticism in there in the past – because, you know, the theoretical centrality of religion and all that. However I now see that it makes perfect sense. Given how The Church, particularly more “conservative” ones, in America have ****CHOSEN**** to organize themselves – making themselves tangential to the proximate communities – people’s social networks and other forms of social capital, and their economic capital, are far more integrated with their political and socio-political affiliations than they are with with their religious community. This pattern by which people disaffiliate – and do not disaffiliate – is rational. Any blame for this lies squarely at the feet of pastors and church leaders.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      Indeed many who identify as alt-right call conservative Christians ‘christ-cucks’ because of a refusal to participate in blanket hate of blacks and Jews . The small group who are not nones are usually some weird brand of pagan.

      • Robert F says

        I’ve read an article or two about how the Alt Right is co-opting neo-paganism, moving it away from the Hippy counter-culture milieu it was born into, and toward a volkish one. I could see how that would happen, given the attempt to turn nostalgia for pagan times into social reality on the part of Nazis.

        • Nostalgia has always been fascism’s most useful tool. And I’m being literal here – look at the imagery and rhetoric of the Fascist, Nazi, Falangist, and Vichy governments. They’re oozing with nostalgia.

        • Pete Seeger used to have fun with this Woody Guthrie song:

          Give me that old time religion
          Give me that old time religion
          Give me that old time religion
          It’s good enough for me.

          We will pray with Aphrodite,
          We will pray with Aphrodite,
          She wears that see-through nightie,
          And it’s good enough for me.

          We will pray with Zarathustra,
          We’ll pray just like we use ta,
          I’m a Zarathustra booster,
          And it’s good enough for me.

          We will pray with those Egyptians,
          Build pyramids to put our crypts in,
          Cover subways with inscriptions,
          And it’s good enough for me.

          We will pray with those old druids,
          They drink fermented fluids,
          Waltzing naked though the woo-ids,
          And it’s good enough for me.

          We do dances to bring water,
          Prepare animals for slaughter,
          Sacrifice our sons and daughters,
          And it’s good enough for me.

          I’ll arise at early morning,
          When my Lord gives me the warning,
          That the solar age is dawning,
          And it’s good enough for me

          Songwriters: Cisco Houston / Woody Guthrie
          Old Time Religion lyrics © BMG Rights Management US, LLC

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            That was a popular song in SF litfandom Filk circles as well, with every filker encouraged to add their own verses until you got as many as La Cucaracha or Ball of Ballymore. Only one I can remember from that period:

            We will all be saved by Mithras,
            We will all be saved by Mithras,
            Kill that bull and play the zithras
            On that resurrection day!

        • And here’s Pete singing it with Arlo Guthrie. The heathens.

  10. “Could someone please find Rep. Brooks a remedial middle school science class?”

    He’s looking for ANY reason to deny human-driven climate change. Remedial science classes can’t fix that.

    • Robert F says

      He’s got an agenda, facts be damned.

      • flatrocker says

        We all have an agenda, facts be manipulated.

        • I saw where one couple who live close to the water in Norfolk, Virginia jacked up their house one full story because of sea level rise. They figured no one would buy their house now so they chose that option to cope with its frequent flooding from the rising waters. People like Brooks continue to amaze me. It is so exasperating.

        • Robert F says

          Mo’s rejection of the facts is at the level of a rejection of basic arithmetic. If you really believe that is what we all do all the time with facts, that seems pretty cynical to me.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Remember the legislature that tried to officially define Pi as 3 because — BIBLE!

            The Brazen Sea of Solomon’s Temple is described in Inerrant SCRIPTURE as having a circumference THREE times its diameter, not PI. (Apparently the Faithful had never heard of rounding off…) Vain Imaginings of So-Called Science or WORD OF GOD?????

          • flatrocker says

            so let’s soften it a little…We all have a point of view that is colored by our life experiences.

            I’ll grant you it does sound a wee bit less cynical than recognizing we all have an agenda and we manipulate facts to rationalize/justify our positions. But we kinda end up in the same place, doncha think?

            • Robert F says

              I don’t think. Rep. Brooks cites sources for evidence of his assertions that do not agree with his conclusions. The sources say, “It’s black,” and he says, “See, the sources say it’s white!”

              • flatrocker says

                Ah yes, that most powerful of human traits – our ability to rationalize our perceptions and justify our conclusions in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Makes one wonder how we stay on top of the food chain.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        I do enjoy it when people site “plenty of studies”. Shouldn’t that text be followed by plenty of footnotes and citations?

      • Christiane says

        well, I hope this ‘agenda’ is not the tail wagging the dog among the christian far-right home school folks or the next generation of fundamentalist home-school grads will make Mo Brooks look like a Cal-tech alum

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          According to various watchblogs, IT ALREADY IS.

          Some years ago, there was a news item or leak going on that all employees of the State of Florida were forbidden to even use the words “global warming” or “climate change” because — BIBLE! The official memo forbidding the words either cited or actually quoted Genesis 8:11 as its proof.

    • Patriciamc says

      In 30, 50, 100, 200 years, history will not look kindly on the the climate deniers.

  11. Robert F says
  12. Robert F says

    Not much interested in the royal wedding. Just not much interested. Regarding those weird wedding souvenirs: Hey, capitalism is a genetic trait of the human race, and it would be out of genetic character for humans to pass up the opportunity to capitalize on an event like this…..in fact, it would require a singular kind of mutation.

    • Robert F says

      My wife made me watch the marriage ceremony with her, and I’m glad she did. Everything was so beautiful, of course, the music was lovely, and I was touched by the bride’s non-stop, genuine smile, as well as the groom’s frequent tears and earnest demeanor, bespeaking the seriousness, love and joy with which they both took the occasion. But I was most impressed with the power and profundity of the Anglican liturgy, with the centuries long depth of the prayers, and with the wonderful preaching of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, who made me was still in the Episcopal Church.

      What a bathetic denouement to have such a lovely and profound marriage ceremony followed by the inane chatter of television commenters, most of whose names I thankfully don’t know.

  13. Clay Crouch says

    American evangelicals, please take note. What Bishop Curry preached at the royal wedding today, is the gospel.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Perhaps American evangelicals are watching they wedding …. they are supporters of totalitarianism; so a royal wedding should be their jam.

      • Clay Crouch says

        Not sure I follow the totalitarianism riff. Would you elaborate?

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          The current president? Ardent support while his minions shred the institutions of the federal government: the FRA, the FTA, the EPA, the DoJ, HUD, etc… as he distracts everyone with is inane antics.

          Monarchy is merely the Traditional / Respectable form of totalitarianism.

          • Robert F says

            You know, Adam, there are more than a few people out there that want him to shred the institutions of the federal government. And they’re not all powerful insiders; some of them are at my blue-collar workplace, and they are willing to allow any amount of perfidy on his part, if he will only continue to let his minions have at it.

            • I know some folks like that too. They’ve drunk so deeply of the Randian Rugged Individualist Kool Aid that they cannot perceive of any Common Good apart from themselves. I had one such person challenge me on the matter…

              Him – “Name me ONE thing the government does, apart from the military (I LOVE how they ALWAYS exempt the military) that we need!”

              Me – “No problem – food safety inspections.”

              Him – “Totally unnecessary. Competition will weed out bad food makers.:

              Me – “… you obviously skipped school they day they assigned The Jungle, didn’t you?”

              • Adam Tauno Williams says

                There is also a good correlation between that troop and the troop [of whites] who self-identify as “Evangelical”.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says

              > there are more than a few people out there that want him to shred the
              > institutions of the federal government.

              Nope, there are not. There are a whole lot of people who are only dimly aware that apparatus exists, or what it does. And they are generally pretty ticked off when whatever part they happen to need doesn’t work well.

              I have talked to many a Trump voter; with the exception of a few crazy angry Libertarians this is not what they want. On the whole, they have not the first clue how their system of government actually works.

              > And they’re not all powerful insiders

              I do not see how anything I said implied “insiders”.

              • Robert F says

                Your breakdown is correct, they don’t know how it works and they are pissed off (which is mask for their fear) that the part they need isn’t working. But this translates into a general, and freely expressed, hatred of the federal government, both Democratic and Republican. They watch a Democratic Senator on TV criticize the Trump administration for taking Pay-for-Play, and they laugh contemptuously at her, saying that that’s what all elected representatives do, and that her words are those of a lying hypocrite. They say they don’t care what Mueller finds on Trump and his people, they are voting for him again whether or not he actually has done the things he’s accused of, every other administration has done the same, or worse. They say that the establishment Republicans and Democrats are all in cahoots, and that they are just trying to manipulate us through fake news in the Mains Stream Media, in order to destroy Trump because he doesn’t care about the establishment or play by the rules. Yes, they don’t understand how the institutions work, and their ignorance, and the fear in its wake, is part of the reason they want them destroyed.

                You did not say anything about insiders.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                  And the Evangelicals for Trump may as well be singing:

                  “Every knee shall bow,
                  Every tongue confess,
                  Donald Trump is LORD!”

          • Adam, I rather like the idea of the British monarchy. Although I admit I like it from over here, and would not want to re-introduce it on the American side. But this royal family seems to behave itself, and has been a stabilizing factor in British society, possibly giving conservatism a good name.

            • “But this royal family seems to behave itself”

              I seem to recall a LOT of shenanigans in the 80s and 90s (Charles and Camilla, Fergie, Diana and Faud, etc etc).

      • John barry says

        One group certainly open to stereotyping and generalizations is evangelicals . “They” are the problem.. “They are the biggest problem in America .

        • Robert F says

          I repeat: This blog was started as a oasis of recovery for post-evangelicals who had suffered trauma from their time “in-country”, as HUG refers to it. You have to expect when you come here to encounter some negative memories and observations about the world that was left behind; some of it may be exaggerated, occasionally even false, just as you’ll find in AA or other kind of recovery meeting discussion, but if you listen carefully and with your defenses in check, you may hear more than a little truth, too.

        • Their support is enabling maltreatment of immigrants, chaos in Palestine, the normalization of hate groups, and the alienation of upcoming generations. If the footware confirms, place it on the feet.

        • Andrew Zook says

          But they are one of the biggest problems in america, but maybe not in the way one normally describes or thinks of a “problem” Few groups I know of, so loudly proclaim one thing (claim Christ and His kingdom, His blessing, His ways) but do the other or do things that clearly contradict their claims…and even more astounding, many do it with glee, with seemingly no self-awareness.
          For illustration purposes; liberal, secular interest groups don’t crow about their religiosity, but then act irreligious; the NRA doesn’t promote gun-buying/hoarding but then turn around and support lots of gun-control. Extreme feminists don’t call for liberation etc but then live as a traditional woman might have 100yrs ago. I’m not saying I approve of any of these interests groups stated agendas, but at least I know they’re mostly consistent. I know what I’m getting with someone at an animal rights org, or a pro-abortion org, or a neo-nazi group and on and on. At the present time (maybe not so much in the past), you cannot say the same for a large swath of white evangelical americans (and I’m referring to the more zealous, practicing ones – not the media survey ones) I have an acquaintance; if you’d meet him and hear his religious piety and devotion to Jesus, etc you’d never guess he’s a through and through hateful fascist… but he is. He’s stated publicly that he’d like to see his political enemies rounded up and put in camps. He cheers the slaughter of national enemies and that’s only the tip of the iceberg of violent, totalitarian leanings. Yet he’s an upstanding white evangelical, “full of the Holy Spirit, on fire for God!”… Maybe he’s the worst out there, but I suspect not.
          I’ll concede that this group may not be that awful in every way, but in some areas, particularly ones with a lot of perception value…or public marketing value – (political? culturally?) they really are corrupt and way off their claimed path. And I live amongst, I worship/fellowship with this group (churched, white evangelical) and I see, I hear, I experience the corruption and the dissonance first hand and often.

          • Johnbarry says

            Andrew why in the world would u still attend worship services with the people u describe? U can leave and go to another church. People vote with their feet. I quit going to Burger King did not like what they wee serving and it hard to leave the King

    • Robert F says

      It was a wonderful sermon, Clay, among the best I’ve heard.

      • Clay Crouch says

        He has stated numerous times that he would like to see the descriptor, evangelical (one who brings good news), reclaimed from those who have co-opted.

    • Robert F says

      Clay, Some so-called conservative media outlets are criticizing the sermon because it mentioned slaves and Martin Luther King, Jr., which they consider controversial. They also are saying that listeners found parts of it ridiculous, and were holding back laughter unintentionally prompted by the sermon. They are either too dense to get that those laughs were intentionally sought by the preacher, which they were, or they are making a thinly disguised racist attack because of the preacher’s identity as a Black man. In other words, they’re racist, or stupid, or both. In the meantime, their President continues to spout laughably absurd inanities on a regular basis. It’s pathetic and evil.

  14. Adam Tauno Williams says

    > Who is the surprising commencement speaker at Liberty University, and why?

    Oh, Jimmy, I hope you are up to this. I am more puzzled by why he accepted than that he was asked. Inviting a rival, so you can put him on the stage, with control of the framing, is a tried-and-true maneuver. Falwell is a master of this game.

  15. I, an aging boomer, have been hanging out on the web with a group of mostly younger people who are creating and exploring Christian Transhumanism. They are mostly millenial and genXers who range from evangelical, post-evangelical, catholic, episcopal, mormon, to miscellaneous. There is a focus on the future rather than the past. There is an air of playfulness in their theological conjectures. An orientation to an optimistic future rather than the past. Whether we like it or not, we humans are becoming cyborgs. All of us, if we live long enough, will be exchanging body parts with new and improved replacements. We will continue to augment reality with ever improving smart phones and technology that eventually will go under our skin. And on and on. And I could not but help think about them and our future when Rev Michael Curry mentioned Teilhard du Chardin in his speech at the royal wedding. Teilhard believed he saw a positive Christian future, a growing interconnectedness between everyone. After the internet was invented and became a thing, I began to see that he just might be right. Rev Curry said

    “The late French Jesuit, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, was at once a scientist, a Roman Catholic priest, a theologian, a true mystic. His was one of the great minds and spirits of the 20th century.

    He suggested that the discovery and harnessing of fire
    was one of the great scientific and technological discoveries of human history.

    Fire, to a great extent, made human civilization possible. Fire made it possible to cook food, thereby reducing the spread of disease. Fire made it possible to stay warm in cold climates, thereby marking human migration around the world a possibility.

    Fire made the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Revolution possible. The advances of science and technology are greatly dependent on the human capacity to take fire and use it for human good.

    Anybody get here in a car today? Nod your heads if you did. I know there were some carriages.

    If you drove here this morning, you did so in part because of harnessed fire. I know that the Bible says I believe that Jesus walked on water, but I have to tell you, I didn’t walk across the Atlantic Ocean to get here.

    Controlled fire in that plane got me here.

    Fire makes it possible for us to text, tweet, email, Instagram and Facebook and socially be dysfunctional with each other. Fire makes all of that possible.

    de Chardin said that fire is one of the greatest discoveries in all of human histories.

    He then went on to say that if humanity ever harnesses the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captures the energy of love,
    then for the second time in the history of the world,
    we will have discovered fire.”

    • Robert F says

      I’m not sure that I’m as sanguine about the positive potentialities of the internet as you are, SteveA, or the positive potentialities of technology as Teilhard was. I’m not sure the Presiding Bishop is either, given the quip in his sermon about social media enabling our dysfunction.

    • I’m not sure implants are all they are cracked up to be. Look at how often cell phones churn – can you imagine getting implants replaced at that rate? And how much more “efficient” is an implant compared to a cell phone anyways?

      So much technological speculation these days owes more to wishful thinking based on Hollywood special effects than on real science.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > I’m not sure implants are all they are cracked up to be.

        Yep, there isn’t much point.

        > So much technological speculation these days owes more to wishful thinking


  16. Burro (Mule) says

    The last book of the Septuagint is Daniel, the 14 chapter version

    Would anyone here besides me rate language more powerful a development than fire?

    • Robert F says

      Isn’t fire partly a metaphor for energy in Teilhard’s words? If it is, then, no, I don’t think language is more powerful than fire, but perhaps the most powerful form of it. “And the Word became flesh….”

    • Christiane says

      well, Burro

      if you associate ‘fire’ with ‘love’ with God


      then, if you associate ‘language’ with ‘Logos’ with ‘the Eternal Word’


      it gets complicated 🙂

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Complicated or Word Salad? I vote the later.

        If you mean X, then say “X”.

        • Christiane says

          okay, is this better?

          ‘ex’ nihilo

          as in ‘creation ex nihilo’

          Logos ‘speaks’ all creation into existence from nothing

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > Would anyone here besides me rate language more powerful a development than fire?

      I certainly would, without doubt or hesitation.

      Language enables narrative memory and then trans-generational memory; which in turn is what creates the capacity for “technology” in the first place.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        I also reject the notion of a metaphor of Language = Fire = Energy on the grounds that it is needlessly confusing.

        We have three terms so use the most specific term; otherwise you are either bad at using language or you are trying to confuse people.

        • Christiane says

          it’s okay to have fun with language sometimes 🙂

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            It is fun! 🙂 I completely agree.

            I’d also say that it is something powerful/influential people should not do. As, too often, other people then take it seriously.

    • I associate “fire” with “s’mores”.

    • Robert F says

      @Burro, If it’s an either/or choice, then I suppose language is a more powerful development than fire. But are you implying that the Presiding Bishop said in his sermon that fire was the greatest development? He didn’t.

  17. senecagriggs says

    “Traumatized post Evangelicals”

    If I may seriously ask; do any commenters here consider YOURSELF to be a traumatized post Evangelical?

    [ What we often see on social media is people speaking for others who have been, theoretically, traumatized/victimized; but not speaking for themselves necessarily. “Have you been personally traumatized?” “No, not me; I’m fine I”m just speaking for my neighbor.” ]

    If you are one, how does that trauma play out in your life?

    I’m actually quite serious here. I am more than willing to listen to and consider your personal story; Personal stories often can be the most influential. On the other hand, personal attacks, not very influential at all.

    • I’m sure you may have heard of the concept of “traumatized into silence” – or at least the concept of “Nones/Dones”. Some of us have had these experiences. Many don’t like talking about it publically. Many simply vote with their feet. But none of these things invalidates the problems at the root here.

    • Robert F says

      I guess you don’t read HUG’s comments very closely, or StuartB’s, or a host of others; maybe you don’t retain what you read, because it doesn’t fit your script.

    • Seneca, I consider myself traumatized while trying not to consider myself “post”-evangelical just yet. I don’t know what else to call myself.

      I started reading this blog occasionally nearly 10 years ago, and later Michael Spencer’s article “The Coming Evangelical Collapse,” which was picked up by the Christian Science Monitor, nailed if for me. I was hooked, but mainly out of curiosity, nothing first-hand.

      The trauma has come in the last 4 to 5 years, as my church endured an attempted 9Marks-style takeover by a few zealous gentlemen. It was presented as a “more biblical” form of church government, namely male-only elders, and although Calvinism was presented in a series of videos, it was complementarianism that was the driving force. Trauma describes it pretty well. I stayed through the whole process as an “obstructionist” (9Marks warns against such people) and also out of fascination, as in watching a slow-mo train wreck. Only after it was all over, and a more benign change was accepted, did I begin to distance myself from the church. Last summer and fall I attended only about once every 5 weeks, and this winter not at all, from before Christmas to Easter. I’m now back to attending that church occasionally, and there is another church in play.

      Through this, I can understand the “P” in PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. There was tremendous stress during the process of the attempted takeover, and all of the stages of grief; but for me the “post” was as significant or more.

      I will say that in my case it was The Wartburg Watch, more than this blog, that helped with my particular problem. And I’m aware of your, uh, association with TWW and with your blog Wartburg Whiners. Sorry to disappoint.

      • senecagriggs says

        At least you did share some of your personal story. I truly appreciate that.

    • Dana Ames says

      Sen, there are 3 big things that propelled me out of Evangelicalism, two of which I believe could be described as traumatic.

      [And remember, it’s not enough to say “the Bible says….”. Scripture must be interpreted, and the process of interpretation includes finding out as best we can what it would have meant to those reading or hearing it in the context in which it was written. For some issues there is a range of interpretations, and that does not cancel out Scripture’s inspiration. You are where you are as an Evangelical, Sen, because you agree with the interpretation of Scripture offered by your church (and family and others in the context of your own life).]

      The first thing was my frustration over trying to discern what The Gospel actually is. I undertook a close study of the Gospels, particularly, and found out that The Gospel was not what I had been taught as an Evangelical (this was before I knew about or read anything by N.T. Wright). This did not cause trauma per se, but led to the second thing, which did.

      That second thing was the inability of nearly every Evangelical I knew to actually deal with the theological questions I had. This was somewhat traumatic, because I needed help that went beyond “read your Bible and pray more”, and I expected that from pastors who were seminary trained and educated. Didn’t happen. Sometimes in discussion, people looked at me with an expression of “You poor thing”. Most of the time my questions were politely ignored, or ignored but with obvious discomfort on the part of those whom I questioned; or when I was given an answer it was neither intellectually nor spiritually satisfying. I had one friend with whom I could thrash out my thoughts. I had a couple of others who were sympathetic and listened well, but even though seminary trained (one is a PhD clinical psychologist as well as an ordained Conservative Baptist minister) they sometimes didn’t even know what I was even talking about theologically, and I had to spend a lot of time explaining. I ended up feeling like I was banging my head against a brick wall, especially wrt suffering, Christian anthropology, and the character of God. I recovered from this trauma with some further praying and investigating other interpretive options within mostly Evangelical Protestant Christianity.

      The thing that caused me the most trauma, which I endured for more than 20 years, was living within the theological framework of complementarianism. For most of that time, I believed it was the correct interpretation of Scripture; I tried to be submissive, and I prayed to God to make me more submissive. It wreaked havoc in my marriage. There was no physical abuse, and I don’t want to go into detail about the problems on the eve of my 40th wedding anniversary. You simply have to trust me when I say it did my marriage no good whatsoever. I was constantly getting the message in church that my intelligence and gifting didn’t count except to care for children and keep house, simply because I was female. It was an interior knock-down-drag-out fight to keep from gaslighting myself about my spirituality and my capabilities, because I so very much wanted to live “biblically”, especially in relationship with my husband. Looking back, I think that at times I suffered from subclinical depression. I finally came to the conclusion that the logical end of complementarian doctrine, even in its “soft” form, was that women were seen as not quite as human as men. I had the opportunity to discuss this over coffee with Scot McKnight, and he confirmed that conclusion. It’s really hard to function when your humanity is questioned; it was psychic and spiritual trauma, and my suffering connected with this contributed to compulsive overeating and significant weight gain.

      Now, I did find some healing from that trauma through the ministry of other Evangelical Christians: Christians for Biblical Equality, and some theologians (like G. Fee) who respect the differences between males and females, and respect Scripture, and do not believe that the so-called “clobber verses” should be interpreted as restricting women. I found the most healing as I hearkened back to my Catholic upbringing, and as I found out more and more about EOrthodoxy. Strange as it may seem, even though both are quite hierarchical wrt to ordination, their theology is ***very clear*** that males and females alike are completely human beings, and ordained men are not intrinsically holier than women or other men. Growing up Catholic, and now as an Orthodox Christian, I have experienced more respect for me as a woman and a human being in those churches than I ever did in the vast majority of Evangelical congregations of which I was a part.

      Looking at Evangelicalism as I was wrestling with the combination of all of those things brought me to the conclusion that there was no longer any place for me within it, and that it would be spiritually detrimental for me if I stayed. I tried so hard to find someplace within Protestantism where I would fit, and couldn’t – not even in the progressive wing. I believe Scripture is God-given and important, and should not be tossed out willy-nilly. It’s the interpretation of it, Sen – that’s the issue.


      • Dana, I recognize a lot of what you’ve been through:

        –my frustration over trying to discern what The Gospel actually is
        –the inability of nearly every Evangelical I knew to actually deal with the theological questions I had
        –they sometimes didn’t even know what I was even talking about theologically
        –the theological framework of complementarianism
        –fight to keep from gaslighting
        — I think that at times I suffered from subclinical depression
        –it would be spiritually detrimental for me if I stayed

        For me, it was also the works-righteousness of the proposed change in our church government, and the authoritarian nature of it. To me, rather than have us more “obedient” to scripture, it violated the very teaching of Paul in Galatians, where he railed against a return to the Law, and reported that he “opposed Peter to his face because he stood condemned.”

        Underlying a lot of this complementarianism is the “eternal subordination of the Son” theology promoted by Wayne Grudem. I think this has flown under the radar for decades, but now has more attention. It’s Grudem along with John Piper who editedRecovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and Grudem’s Systematic Theology has been a seminary standard. In the background of this, we are to hold up the eternal subordination of Christ as our example of the subordination of women. It’s a bizarre interpretation, and I think is recently getting called out as poor theology by the Evangelical Theological Society. But a lot of damage has been done.

        I’m glad you’ve benefited from N.T. Wright and Gordon Fee. I sat in on a lot of Dr. Fee’s classes back in 1980 while I was hanging out with a friend at Gordon-Conwell Seminary (I was down the road at Gordon College at the time). Dr. Fee is a terrific teacher.

      • senecagriggs says

        Wow, I really appreciate that Dana. It is interesting about you finding a home within the Eastern Orthodox church; where the Patriarchs are exclusively male but you are comfortable.

        • Robert F says

          This questioning the legitimacy of the pain and trauma other people feel from their journey through evangelicalism is EXACTLY why many “don’t like talking about it publicly”, as Eeyore said in a comment above: doing so opens them up for more of the same, from the judgment of people like yourself, senecag.

        • Dana Ames says

          Sen, the Orthodox Church isn’t *about* Patriarchs; Patriarchs are a feature of the organization of the Church in the present age, not its heart. “Patriarchy” is also not its heart.

          Its heart is about Jesus Christ and his Incarnation, Crucifixion and Resurrection, and what all of that **means** for human beings and the cosmos. That’s why I’m there – not because of need related to my comfort level.


    • Andrew Zook says

      Yes, I was traumatized… in a strange way; probably not your normal horror story. But I bought into this idea that you could be “called” by God to do something special etc and He’d give you the power/ability to do it, no matter what it was. The “calling” would come in various forms/ways and it would be confirmed here and there by circumstances and warm fuzzy feelings during worship services and praying-overs etc. So I had an interest in world missions. I was fascinated by other cultures (still am). I went on a trip or two. Felt led. Somehow found out about ESL/TESL as a way to live/work in another country. Dipped my feet a little. Did ok. FELT some confirmation. Praying/worshipping pumped up the “yes!” Went to school, got a degree (without a lot of real-world teaching exp) Did very well in school actually. Graduated 5th in my class out of 1200 something, highest honors summa cum laude (wow God is blessing, confirming!) I was on my way to being the public figure/speaker who could teach/lecture entranced listeners like the charismatic preacher/missionary speakers in the churches I grew up in… (Those were the ones God really liked! They had so much “spiritual” confirmation of their standing with God!) No more fear-of-man, shy guy for me!

      BUT, God didn’t make me to be a teacher…at least not to kids. Personality, all the born-with things should have steered me clear of such a thing. Ie my REALITY should have taken me in a completely different direction, but the fundamentalist/evangelical drumbeat does not give Reality a lot of credence… it’s the warm fuzzys in youth group or prayer meetings or altar calls etc that you should listen to. (but God “called” me!).

      Needless to say, I didn’t even last one year of teaching. About 7mo to be exact. It was and still is the worst year of my life. I prayed for some death to take me. I was a horrible teacher and resigned to avoid a firing. No prayers, or upbeat worship choruses or “faith” ect could save me from the fall or the public disgrace of it, nor the personal disillusionment (besides the thousands of misspent edu dollars that I could have spent on studying something I was made for!) And it has forever cured me of the american protestant fundamentalist evangelical conceptions of “faith” and “calling” and the emphasis on inner piety/mental assent/attitude as a basis for a religious life or Gods “will” etc. I had to begin to critique and deconstruct everything just to regain some non-depression footing… I entered the post-evangelical wilderness. I’ve found much outside of fundamentalist evangelicalism that is hope and grace and healing and deliverance from many of their misguided shibboleths.

      Yep, trauma.

      • senecagriggs says

        Trauma? Yeah it sounds like it was. I was never exposed to the more charismatic wing of Evangelicalism.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Yes, I was traumatized… in a strange way; probably not your normal horror story. But I bought into this idea that you could be “called” by God to do something special etc and He’d give you the power/ability to do it, no matter what it was.

        JMJ/Christian Monist has mentioned this shtick many times, and how it can go very very wrong.

        The example in his experience was churches who appoint the least qualified person to a position because “then he’ll have to do it in the Spirit instead of in the Flesh.” Closely related to the Medieval idea of “Mortification of the Flesh” that ended up with St Rose of Lima clawing her face to scar tissue and gargling lye to destroy her voice.

    • Clay Crouch says

      Mr. Griggs, pardon me if I don’t take your concern seriously. For a number of years you consistently dismissed the accounts of sexual and spiritual abuse given by women and men at The Wartburg Watch. You even have a blog contemptuously called The Wartburg Whiners. Perhaps a little mea culpa on your part would go a long way toward assuring us of your sincerity.

  18. Dana Ames says

    Orthodox vestments are green for Pentecost, since that color is associated with the Holy Spirit as “the Lord, the Giver of Life”. In the Russian tradition, real trees are brought into the nave, sometimes worshipers hold sprigs from trees, and greenery adorns the icons. It’s quite a picture of the union of heaven and earth – to me, it shouts eschatology, as in: “This is the End for which we were created…” It is so hopeful.

    Vespers for the day is usually prayed right after the Liturgy – makes it a long service, but it’s worth it to hear the language of what are called the Kneeling Prayers (we haven’t knelt or bowed to the ground since Pascha – our upright posture for 50 days is a bodily reminder that we have been celebrating the Resurrection). In one of them, we pray for everyone in Hades, that God would eventually bring them to the place where the righteous repose.

    The most important of our memorial Saturdays for the departed is the day before Pentecost. Pentecost Sunday is also the celebration of the ultimate revelation of God as Trinity, so it’s also our Trinity Sunday. The Monday following is the Day of the Holy Spirit, and is also technically part of the feast of Pentecost.


    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      In the Western Rites, the liturgical color for Pentecost is red; probably an allusion to the “tongues of fire”.

      Green is our liturgical color for Ordinary Time (i.e. not any special feast day or season).

  19. Dana Ames says

    I got up to watch the wedding ceremony – 0300 on the west coast (went back to bed afterwards). A lot of people, especially in the USA, who would never stand for having a government that included some form of monarchy, love to watch the big English royal events.

    Today’s royal family members don’t “do” much except charity work; why are we so captivated by these events? On such occasions, I tend to wonder if maybe CS Lewis was right about some things that are offensive to our modern definition of “equality”….


    • Christiane says

      I am an Anglophile who LOVES the Queen. The Queen IS the ‘Head of State’ in the UK, so she serves her country in that important capacity and has done this very well indeed for many years. She is absolutely devoted to her country.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      I know, many of my Progressive friends are swooning over it.

      I do not fault anyone for enjoying a good parade – but the irony is interesting.

      We’re possibly at a cultural point where we are a bit starved for formality.

      Historically it seems to be a needle that bounces around on the meter.

  20. Rick Ro. says


    (Everyone’s quick to call First, but who ever calls out Last…?)

  21. Adam Tauno Williams says

    Last. Ha!