August 24, 2019

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: January 5, 2019

Fresh Snow on Red Barn Near Salmo, British Columbia, Canada. Haney

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: January 5, 2019

Welcome to our first Brunch of the new year!

• • •

The religious makeup of the new Congress

Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Muslim, the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress, is sworn in while placing her hand atop Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of the Quran.

Like the rest of U.S. society…the new Congress is a bit more diverse, with Christians making up 88 percent of the membership, down from 91 percent. Among the non-Christian members are 34 Jews, three Muslims, three Hindus, two Buddhists, and two identifying as Unitarian Universalist.

NPR

• • •

From The Theological Comedy Awards…

Derek Witten has given out some awards spanning church history, which honor “some of the most gloriously peculiar happenings which Christianity has witnessed.”

Here’s an example:

THE CHURCH CALENDAR AWARD
This award goes to the most humorous historical events related to the church calendar.

Runner up: The Affair of the Sausages

One of the most pristine facts in Christian history is that the Swiss love of sausages sparked the Swiss Reformation.

The short version goes like this: The church clock strikes Lent in Zurich, 1522. The nation begins to fast—compelled not just by tradition, but by law. Ulrich Zwingli, the Swiss Reformer, has just finished his book on Paul’s epistles. His staff are hunched over the printer, working overtime trying get the ink on the pages. Their empty stomachs are roiling. Finally, the leader of the famished book-printers, Christoph Froschauer, has had enough, and invites the lot of them to feast on some hearty Swiss sausages. They partake (although Zwingli abstains).

Froschauer gets arrested for his crime, and Zwingli is fed up. He pens Regarding the Choice and Freedom of Foods, which argues, employing the novel concept of sola scriptura, that an extra-biblical principle like Lenten fasting shouldn’t be enforced by law. Authorities are livid; pork lovers are elated; the Swiss Reformation has begun!

Winner: The Feast of Fools

For about 300 years in Medieval France, the Feast of the Holy Innocents and the Feast of Fools were widely celebrated from December 28 to January 1. They were, by all historical accounts, a really great time. The idea was to illustrate, right in the church’s liturgy, Paul’s idea that “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise” (1 Cor 1:27). This was done by reversing normal Church hierarchies. Lower ranking church officials were permitted to perform the highest roles. A boy from the community would be assigned the “boy bishop.” In the monasteries, the youngest nuns and monks became abbot and abbess for a day. Also, they’d let a donkey walk down the aisle and the “song of the ass” would be sung, which “evoke[d] the beauty, strength, and virtues of an ass as it journey[ed] from the East, across the river Jordan, to Bethlehem.”

Predictably, the celebrations sometimes got out of hand. The feast was condemned by the Council of Basel in 1431, although it didn’t die out until the sixteenth century. All you pastors out there, I hope you’re getting ideas.

• • •

The far side of the moon…

China’s Yutu 2 rover moving across the far side of the moon. (China National Space Administation)

A Chinese probe has made a historic touch-down on the far side of the Moon, according to the country’s state-run media. It is the first time a probe has visited the region, 60 years after an orbiter gave humans their first look at the area.

Chang’e-4 reportedly landed inside the Von Kármán Crater at 2:26 ut on 3 January, and has sent back its first images. At 14:22 ut the mission’s 140-kilogram Yutu2 rover drove down a ramp and onto the lunar terrain, according to images widely circulated on social media.

As the Moon’s far side is permanently hidden from Earth, the news of Chang’e-4’s successful landing was relayed by a spacecraft called Queqiao. It has been circling around a gravitationally stable point about 60,000 kilometres beyond the Moon since it launched in May.

Davide Castelvecchi at Nature

Then there was this response: “The Flat Earth Society remains skeptical of any government’s claims regarding space travel. We didn’t trust the USA or its allies when they said it, and we see no reason why we should view China, a hostile state, as any more trustworthy. Our society is one of empiricists—we’d much rather experience the world by ourselves than take someone’s word for what the truth is.”

• Pete Svarrior, Flat Earth Society (TFES)

• • •

Washington New Year’s humor from The Babylon Bee

Franklin Graham Pushes Through Crowd in Attempt to Touch Hem of Trump’s Garment

Follower of Joseph Smith Urges Nation To Reject Morally Flawed Leaders

Hillary Clinton Invites Elizabeth Warren To Remote Location With No Witnesses In Order To Congratulate Her On Running For President

House Democrats Draft Legislation That Would Make It A Hate Crime To Eat At Chick-Fil-A

Intrigued Trump Grills 7-Year-Old On Wall-Building Process In ‘Minecraft’

Libertarian Writes Letter To Santa Asking For Government Shutdown This Year

• • •

Top Ten Biblical Archaeology’s Discoveries in 2018…

3,400-year-old limestone abecedary of the Egyptian 18th dynasty from the excavation of Theban Tomb 99. (Nigel Strudwick)

  1. A Pontius Pilate seal ring
  2. The statue head of a biblical king from Abel Beth Maacah
  3. Possible signature of Isaiah the prophet in a seal impression
  4. Clay seal impression of the “Governor of Jerusalem”
  5. A beka weight to measure the temple tax during the First Temple period
  6. A Canaanite tomb excavated at Tel Megiddo
  7. An abecedary (a version of the Semitic alphabet in ABC order) from the days of Moses
  8. The remains of a palace of the Assyrian King Esarhaddon
  9. A clay pomegranate decoration at Tel Shiloh, the site where the tabernacle and  Ark were located between the Israelite conquest and the building of the Temple in Jerusalem
  10. A column inscribed with “Jerusalem” from 100 BC.

Read more about these findings at THIS CHRISTIANITY TODAY ARTICLE.

• • •

A few interesting tidbits…

Mikaela Shiffrin — “so far clear from the field that she is playing a different game.” (Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

New Yorkers are moving to the country…

A visit to the border at Tijuana…

Can Christians agree on these theses regarding creation and evolution?

“Armenia!” — An exhibition that tells the story of an Eastern Christian society that was creative, enduring, and, at many times, gloriously idiosyncratic.

The world’s most dominant athlete is a 23 year-old woman skier

• • •

A voice to remember in 2019…

This is Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy from Dublin, who mixes poetic sensibility, an acoustic folk/pop singer’s narrative depth, and hip-hop style for great production. 2018 was a break-out year for him and I think he has a great future in front of him.

Here’s Kennedy’s first release from a few years ago: “After Rain” —

And here is the official video for his song “Glory” —

Comments

  1. Christiane says

    A visit to the border . . . .

    bravo for the faith groups who are tending to the needs of the refugees . . .
    the list included the Salesian fathers, the Nazarene Church, and the Methodists;
    but surely there are many others who have come or will come to help

    • These families are no threat to national security. There has been a reduction in overall illegal border crossings in the last two years (actually five years), but there has been an increase in families with children crossing the border — these families, however, almost all turn themselves in to Border Patrol as asylum seekers. A wall or other barrier would not prevent them from turning themselves in or applying for asylum. In addition, the vast majority of criminals come in by airplane and overstay their visas. In the name of national security the administration could shoot the flights out of the sky, I suppose — I wouldn’t put any lame brain idea past this them. But the whole idea that a wall or barrier is necessary as a matter of national security is a ludicrous lie.

      • senecagriggs says
        • Apples and oranges. Do you want to change American law on asylum seekers to reflect that of Israel’s? Go to it — but until you can manage that, the comparison doesn’t even begin to apply.

        • The concluding paragraph of the article itself says that the reduction in illegal immigration is the result of multiple factors, including aggressive border defense, and that because the U.S. border with Mexico is much longer than the Israeli border in question, there would need to be many more border guards to support an American barrier or barriers than Israel needs. The article doesn’t even mention the difference between American and Israeli law regarding asylum seekers, or undocumented immigration in general. So, again, apples and oranges, with evidence provided by the very article you cite — thanks for the assist, sen!

          • When has Seneca EVER acknowledged any of our rejoinders?

            Do you have any arguments to counter ours, Seneca? Or are you just a bombthrower?

            • senecagriggs says

              Eeyore, I’ve never been a member of the “Amen Chorus,” “the narrative” of liberalism.

              Of course walls work – that’s why EVERYBODY in the world uses them. Are they 100 percent perfect? Nope.

              But do they work? Yep. That’s why we build them.

              What I REALLY SUSPECT, is that my liberal friends don’t so much hate walls as they hate Donald Trump. That’s what I really suspect. Liberals have a knee-jerk reaction to anything Trump.

              Let’s face it: 5 billion is truly “chump change” to our ever increasing budget.

              This really is all about “impeach that M**Fu**” as our new rep out of Minnesota put it.

              Let’s call a spade a spade Eeyore. You hate Donald Trump – which is perfectly within your rights as a citizen. Therefore, anything Trump is for, you are against.

              • I’m not looking for an ‘amen’ – just a coherent, reasoned argument for why you believe what you constantly assert and never defend.

                • He didn’t respond to your questions — he just impugned your motives.

                  • I know – I was bringing him back to the point. 😉

                    • senecagriggs says

                      What question Eeyore?

                      If you’ll look back, i posted a comment before Eeyore did; he gave me nothing to respond to.and yet accused me of not responding?

                      Sheesh

              • Andrew Zook says

                Seneca, did the Iron Curtain work? Is it still standing?
                And your claim that “EVERYBODY in the world uses them” is a flat-out lie… most countries the world over are not encased in walls, nor even use segments here and there. In fact most nations Do Not use them… but yes tyrants and authoritarian regimes and communitst regimes have sometimes tried them to pen their own people in and keep the scary others from entering. Over time they tend to come down… because humans are higher than animals who can be penned in, like animals. We wander where the Spirit leads…

                • Amen.

                  You would think people who subscribe to the creed that “This world is not my home” (as many evangelicals do) would understand that this would have to mean that we are determined migrants, every one of us, in this world, and walls and fences will not keep us in place, or keep us out.

              • Of course. Walls work. That’s why the Romans are still in Britain and the Chinese were never invaded by the Mongolians…

                Oh, wait…

                • Adam Tauno Williams says

                  +1

                • Christiane says

                  walls are a little bit archaic in this day and age, yes 🙂

                  • senecagriggs says

                    Countries build walls everyday. BUT if you despise Trump, no wall works correct? smile

                    • The funny thing about this whole “wall” debate?

                      There is actually NO immigration problem. It’s a myth.

                      Quote: “Anxious white Americans have been predicting disaster over poor “new stock” immigrants for well over 100 years — and have been consistently wrong every time.”

                      https://theweek.com/articles/751618/myth-americas-immigration-problem?fbclid=IwAR2GYNJziGqCmxs1IPKRwk03rOp5a00C9o1hGjZIwFJ1QUjU7NsRTXaCKBk

                      See also: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/06/30/illegal-immigration-facts-children-immigrants/747934002/

                      Illegal immigration is at historic lows, and the only reason we are seeing any kind of spike right now at all is because of an increase in asylum seekers — the vast majority of which use legal ports of entry. The problem there is that we do not have an asylum process that is efficient and has the necessary infrastructure.

                      All of the problems Trump claims and whips up fear about: drugs, crime, human trafficking, are mostly problems that gain access to the U.S. through legal ports of entry also.

                      The wall is a bogus, unnecessary symbol.

                    • Christiane says

                      Hello senecagriggs,

                      the thing with me is this:
                      I believe that when people have contempt for those who suffer and support those who heap more suffering on them;
                      and then turn around and excuse those who are actively causing more suffering of the targets of their contempt;
                      THEN SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THAT.

                      that lullaby? for the dead children?
                      how does that translate to ‘hatred’???

                      maybe I also mourn DT’s lack of ability to empathize and to have compassion for those whose lives he is afflicting with untold suffering for which there can NEVER be any excuse . . . . the damage done to little ones separated from their parents at such a tender age is irreparable.

                      hatred?

                      or a sadness that I can’t find the bottom of, it’s so deep . . . . if it comes off as ‘hatred’ for the person D.T. I can try to understand that, but ‘hatred’ seems a petty reaction compared to what is being endured by those seeking asylum . . .

                      it would be easier to ‘hate’ than to feel the sadness I carry, but we are to mourn with those who mourn and ‘hate’ seems too meaningless a reaction to be honest by comparison

                      The Wall? some call it a ‘metaphor’, the latest report is that DT wants it to be made of ‘steel’ instead of ‘concrete’ so that people can ‘see through it’;
                      but what ever the Wall is to people, that that is the nexus where fear and hatred and anger is aimed at ‘enemies’ like Jakelin and Felipe and their parents who followed the way of America’s forebears: they sought a better life in a ‘safe’ country where they might be able to live without oppression and danger . . . is that such a terrible crime?

                      I don’t my country to be walled in, no. I want it to be proud of the Statue of Liberty again. And as for the pundits who preach the hate, and the fear, there are examples of other countries where the leaders led with that negativity and it wasn’t in the direction of a better life or of freedom, no.

                      Rather ‘the Lady in the Harbor’ than a ‘Great Wall’ for my country, any day.

              • What I REALLY SUSPECT, is that my conservative friends don’t so much hate walls as they hate Barack Obama. That’s what I really suspect. Conservatives have a knee-jerk reaction to anything Obama.

                Yeah. I think you’re right.

                • Especially true of the current Occupant of the Oval Office. Hates him, and is green with envy of him at the same time. Very sad spectacle.

      • john barry says

        The one effective way to help stem the flow of illegal aliens into the country is e – verify and effective punishment for companies that hire people here illegally. The wall would help a lot but requiring visa overstays to be immediately expelled would be a major part of stopping the problem. It is just to easy still to cross the border as the guy who just shot the legal immigrant cop in Ca. shows. Never thought there would be a debate about protecting the borders of the USA.

        If you are a lower working class American you will feel the effect of having massive numbers of low skilled, uneducated and people grateful to live below the American standard of living. The asylum laws and immigration laws need to be updated to reflect 21 century transportation and social issues, They will not because of a coalition of rich greedy corp. and people (Koch Brothers) Democrats (votes wanted) Republicans (big business cheap labor) and religious institutions who make a fortune of NGO funds to “settle” the illegal aliens into communities to change the demographics of that community.

        There are more illegal aliens in this country right now than ever came though Ellis Island legally. Try going to Mexico as an illegal alien and see what happens. One good thing , about the only time liberals reference the Bible is in regards to illegal aliens.

        The melting pot does not melt anymore and one “one out of many ” will be just a historic motto. Congress is not there to represent the “people” but special interest groups.

        • “The one effective way to help stem the flow of illegal aliens into the country is e – verify and effective punishment for companies that hire people here illegally.”

          Fine (pun intended). Are you prepared to see your produce and restaurant Bill’s double when the cheap labor is then no longer available?

          • He, and many others, would blame it on the Deep State, the Koch brothers, the Globalists, the Clintons, Obama, etc. !

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              And at least two of those Evil Conspiracies (Deep State, Globalists) are 21st Century-speak for THE JEWS(TM).

              • Absolutely. The terms Deep State and Globalist are euphemisms for the term THE JEWS(TM).

          • If Americans had to really pay prices for goods and services based on their international market value, there would be instantaneous rioting in the streets. Start with gasoline, and watch what happens. We are used to paying very little for an awful lot, but we take it for granted so much that it’s disgusting.

            • If we really had to pay international market value we would see a drastic cut in wages and manufacturing costs. Gasoline is one example but put that against wages and the cost to manufacture things and you are dead wrong. That’s why everything you buy says made in ——-.
              I have traveled over much of the world and always have found things much cheaper outside the United States. What does based on the international market mean ? Are you thinking that basic food ,housing, wages, etc. would be higher based on the international market ? I think almost everything would drop.

              • Those things are made in China for export, i.e., for the American and other affluent markets. They are not made for the Chinese, though some may buy them. Things are cheaper outside the U.S. for you because you take your American identity, and the affluence attached to it, everywhere you go; it is as portable as you are. Those things that were more easily affordable for you were likely out of reach of many or most locals in many of the places you refer to.

                • Also, unless you’re going to the UK, EU, or selected other nations, you’ve quite likely got a very skewed exchange rate going for you.

                • If Americans had to really pay prices for goods and services based on their international market value, there would be instantaneous rioting in the streets.

                  Robert, you never answered my question. What does this mean ? My thoughts are that they would go down not up hence why the rioting in the streets ? What is the international market value ? Wages here are more, housing is more,etc. Why do you think the international value would be more than here. I am just curious

                  • It was a bad choice of words. You got me; hope that makes you feel good.

                    But it is obvious that Americans don’t pay anywhere near what goods and services are actually worth for most things; we have leveraged our global economic hegemony and dominance to exploit global resources, at the expense of indigenous populations. One of the reasons (notice I said ONE of the reasons) that so many Africans are so desperately poor despite living on a continent so resource rich is that America and Europe, and a few other outposts of advanced affluence, have shamelessly and immorally exploited those resources without paying anything like a fair price for them. And you know it.

                    • Robert, I never said I didn’t agree with what you just wrote. I was only asking for a clarification of your terms. It wasn’t a gotcha moment. This is where honest dialog falls apart. Best to you in 2019.

                  • The U.S. in on the list of the ten countries where gasoline is most affordable, when national differences of average income are calculated in. That was in 2016.

                    • And the one where it used to be most affordable is… Venezuela. Take that for what it’s worth.

                    • That’s mainly because we don’t tax fuel to death in the US.

                      Gas tax in the Netherlands: $3.80/gal.
                      Gas tax in the USA: 48 cents/gal (average of all states)

                      “And the one where it used to be most affordable is… Venezuela. Take that for what it’s worth.”

                      It’s not worth anything.

                    • There’s truth to that. But then there is the question of whether or not we should be taxing it more, like the Europeans, given all the “invisible” costs associated with emissions from gas-burning engines — which should be factored in. We pay very little for a product that has heavy environmental costs, costs which are international as well as national, and which fall disproportionately on the poorest people and places in the world; if we had to pay anything like a reasonable tax to offset that cost, it would go over very poorly with Americans, to say the least.

            • I am very nervous about the price of gasoline right now. It’s not right.

              Something is wrong and it’s coming.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > The one effective way to help stem the flow of illegal aliens into the country is . . .

          . . . to make all those tax payers, wage earners, workers, and investors into Citizens. Only requires the stroke of a pen – and it is likely the single most effective economic policy move available.

          There is no problem to be solved, only a problem we have created.

        • The melting pot does not melt anymore and one “one out of many ” will be just a historic motto.

          I don’t believe America has ever been a “melting pot”; that’s a bill of goods sold to us as history, but it’s not. America has always been multicultural, it’s just more multicultural now than previously. The “melting pot” is an idealized, (I hesitate to use the word, since I see nothing ideal in it — but obviously some people have) ahistorical version of America’s past that has been thrown over a history that was multicultural, and polyglot, from the beginning, and continues to be so now.

          • Christiane says

            The incredible resilient strength of our country is a product of our diversity.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              But at the same time, you need some sort of core unity within that diversity — some common identity other than My Tribe — or you get 1990s Yugoslavia.

              Diversity for the sake of Diversity(TM) is not only useless by itself (“Ooo! Ooo! Diversiity! Now what?”), but it can lead to some REAL bad problems with collateral damage.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > it’s just more multicultural now than previously

            Maybe, depends on how you want to measure. Much of America is more segregated now than ~40 years ago, racially and economically, we’ve learned a lot of clever tricks to achieve and maintain segregation on-the-sly. What is certain is that the hegemonic majority is on the skids. Unless they want to get every more extreme – and you can’t be that extreme on-the-sly – then those mechanisms of maintaining segregation are going to collapse. Then some more melting may occur.

            I believe it was four states which this year countermanded “local control” and make the nefarious practice of Single Family Zoning illegal. Cities and communities in those states cannot play that game anymore. It is moving forward, that I am aware of, in two more states. Numerous cities took similar steps themselves in 2018 or at least took the preliminary steps to do so in 2019.

            The deflector shields of America’s many White Enclaves took a pounding in 2018. The command bridge is filled with smoke and sparks. Sirens are sounding. The captain is shouting orders. It doesn’t look good for the USS We-Got-Ours-Too-Bad-For-You. To be continued, of course.

        • Christiane says

          WHY do I not want to live in a homeland that needs a wall for protection against people looking for asylum from persecution? My immigrant father’s DNA in my blood? Maybe.
          But the truth is that I don’t think we ARE a ‘wall’ people in this country. It’s just not who we are.

  2. Congrats to the Chinese space program but let’s not forget the New Horizons probe which provided close up views of Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule this week, 6.5 billion kilometers from the Sun. (To translate the metric system into American, that’s a looong dang way away…) The big deal about Ultima Thule is that it is a remnant of the primordial goo out of which the Solar System formed, a looong dang time ago…

    “There is hardly a more controversial subject [evolution] among evangelical Christians.” And hardly a less controversial subject anywhere else. Sometimes there are not two sides to every issue. There is a right answer and a wrong answer. But let’s be honest. Modifying your beliefs to be in accordance with reality will cost your fundamentalism.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > The one effective way to help stem the flow of illegal aliens into the country is

      Yep, the tempest in the shrinking teapot.

    • Clay Crouch says

      Viewing the close-up photos of Pluto and thinking about what it took to bring them back to us brought tears to my eyes. Nova has a wonderful episode the New Horizons probe.

      And just think, it’s all only 6000 years old! Mind boggling. 😉

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule this week, 6.5 billion kilometers from the Sun. (To translate the metric system into American, that’s a looong dang way away…)

      For that kind of distances, never mind “Miles!” “Kilometers!” “Die Heretic!” —
      Translate into Astronomical Units (AUs)!

    • I used to listen to a radio show broadcast from Australia on Sunday nights; the two hours featured mellow electronic fusion music. It was called Ultima Thule. Very nice. Hadn’t thought of it for a while. May see if it’s still on.

      Dana

  3. “Our society is one of empiricists — we’d much rather experience the world by ourselves than take someone’s word for what the truth is.”

    Which is also why white suburbanites think there’s no racism in this country… or rich CEOs think the economy is doing just fine… or men think there’s no sexual harassment…

    Empiricism is fine up to a point… but for many people these days, they take it to the point of solipsism and beyond.

    • How do these people explain the not uncommon experience of watching a boat disappear over the horizon, due to Earth’s curvature? Isn’t that empirical enough for them?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > Which is also why white suburbanites think there’s no racism in this country… or rich CEOs think
      > the economy is doing just fine… or men think there’s no sexual harassment…

      Empiricists / Narcissists; Tomatoe / Tomato

      There a few things worse than an illiterate, ignorant, empiricist.

      • It’s sad, particularly because the versions of reality offered instead are almost invariably “flatter” (pardon the pun), less interesting, nuanced and marvelous, and dare I say miraculous, than reality actually is. Conspiracy theories bore the pudding out of me, when I’m not alarmed by their content and/or the zeal with which their advocates hold them.

        • “(The madman’)s mind moves in a perfect but narrow circle. A small circle is quite as infinite as a large circle; but, though it is quite as infinite, it is not so large. In the same way the insane explanation is quite as complete as the sane one, but it is not so large.”

          G. K. Chesterton

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “Out [Flat Earth] Society is one of empiricists…”

      In this case, he IS returning to one of the roots of modern Flat-Earthism, the Victorian-era “Zetetic Astronomy”. “Zetetic” means something like Empiricism/Observed Reality in oppostition to Vain Imaginings/Theory, “seeing is believing”.

      I notice they no longer go with the Justification for Zetetic Flat Earthism, i.e. To Defend God and SCRIPTURE against Science So-Called.

      Or maybe they do, just not on the surface — I’m looking at the Sep 1992 front page of the Flat Earth News front page reprinted in Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief and it sure gives me a Christian Witnessing vibe. Including the masthead subtitle “Restoring the World to Sanity” and the picture caption “Two Witnesses Declare Earth Flat”. Besides the specific mention of “Two Witnesses” (from Leviticus), the Two Witnesses pictured are an older man with an Old Testament Prophet beard and a much shorter woman who looks baptized in vinegar.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      And now, from Rudyard Kipling circa 1913 —
      THE VILLAGE THAT VOTED THE EARTH WAS FLAT:
      http://www.telelib.com/authors/K/KiplingRudyard/prose/DiversityOfCreatures/villagevoted.html
      In which the Author, a Journalist (news media), a Music-hall Impresario (entertainment media), and a Member of Parliament (political power) get nailed by a speed trap in an English village and hatch a revenge plot with all the power of Media against the village and its Baronet in charge. With a cameo appearance by the REAL British Flat Earth Society.

      “The village that voted the Earth was flat,
      Flat as your hat,
      Flatter than that…”

  4. A more diverse Congress, like an even more diverse America and world, is only possible because God loves diversity. That fact is staring us in the face every day, whether we are willing to see it or not. It is we who make the world around us homogeneous, and monotonous.

  5. Having people who are not trained or prepared lead the services? Gimmicks like parading a donkey down the isle of the church? People acting like they don’t have any sense? Heck, we have churches putting on the fool’s service every weekend.

    • Christiane says

      Hello Jon,

      well, in my Church and in the local Episcopal Church (I think the Methodists are in on this, too), you have one day a year in October where the animals are ‘blessed’ formally in a ceremony.

      And on that day, in some the great cathedrals all the way to the smallest Churches, you might see more than just a donkey being paraded down the center aisle. It’s really quite moving, if you like that sort of thing. The animals seem to know what is going on, maybe better than some of us, so they are usually well-behaved, minus the occasional accident, for which there is a humble attendant scooping up after them in the procession (a labor of love).

      If animals in the sanctuary upset folks, it may help them to know that tradition says the animals watched over the Baby Jesus at His birth and some legends say they sang to Him. 🙂

      I think the blessing of the animals is a meaningful and beautiful service that honors the Lord of Life.

  6. Klasie Kraalogies says

    As to religious classification in Congress – 23% of Americans are unaffiliated to any religion, yet only one member of Congress identifies as such. No open atheists in Congress. Self-identified atheists and agnostics make up over 7% of the US population, yet ther has only ever been one open atheist in Congress, and he declared his atheism more tha 2 decades after he was elected.

    There is apparently still enormous resistance against atheism in US politics and the electorate.

    • Yes, openly professing not being religious, and being single, are surefire ways to fail at a political carrier for most who aspire to that. And the higher the office, the more being religious and married are absolutely crucial for attaining it. Unfortunate, but that’s the way things are her in Murica.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      It is very interesting.

      Yes, most certainly, there is resistance to them.

      Also, in the case of the unaffiliated, there is the problem of being unaffiliated. I’ve never seen the specific data; how many of the Religiously unaffiliated are capital-U Unaffiliated? As in religiously unaffiliated, politically unaffiliated, professionally unaffiliated, class unaffiliated, place unaffiliated, etc…, etc…, etc…. To be Unaffiliated is to deny oneself Power.

      There is an Mindset of Unaffilliation which many Americans hold. Even if they loudly proclaim, personally, an Ideology. I have seen the data that the lower half of income earners under 40 also have the lowest levels of any kind of Affiliation – – – which helps to keep them in the lower half of the economy.

      Just as an example. I work in IT. The trendy thing for younger people to be in IT is a techno-Optimistic quasi-Libertarian. And most are Unaffiliated, despite their very strong Opinions on all manner of things. It would be a beautiful sight to have a mass of those higher-than-median-income quasi-Libertarians crash City Hall demanding the ludicrous regulation of Home Offices and Home Businesses be struck from the Zoning Code [it’s ignored, except when convenient to the PTBs]. What could be more Libertarian than ripping out onerous regulations! That impact what they do. Never. Gonna. Happen. They don’t affiliate, any kind of collective action is impossible. [and they also do not vote].

      Representation, operationally, requires Affiliation.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I work in IT. The trendy thing for younger people to be in IT is a techno-Optimistic quasi-Libertarian.

        Waiting for The Singularity where they can Upload their Consciousness into The Cloud and live forever as a digital string of Ones and Zeros, leaving the Meat behind in Meatspace.

        What could be more Libertarian than ripping out onerous regulations! That impact what they do. Never. Gonna. Happen.

        Because it’s Meatspace, not Digital.
        “This World Is Not My Home. I’m Just Passin’ Thru…”

    • Atheists holding office in my state (and I think 6 others) is unconstitutional.

      South Carolina Constitution, Article XVII, Section 4:

      No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.

      • Except the US Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court trumps this. Most of these constitutions, though not all, predate the Supreme Court ruling.

        I note that being Unitarian Universalist, Jewish, or Buddhist and also being an atheist is perfectly possible. Also 1 person listed unaffiliated and 18 didn’t answer.

        I also note that one of the Muslim congresswomen wears the head scarf and the other does not.

        There are 10 LDS members and 5 Orthodox Christian.

        Looking at the Pew article
        http://www.pewforum.org/2019/01/03/faith-on-the-hill-116/

        Those denominations that are over represented are
        Anglican/Episcopalian – 4.9% of congress with 26 members but only 1% of the US population
        Presbyterian – also 4.9% of congress with 26 but 2% of the US population
        Methodist – 7.9% of congress with 42 members but 5% of the US population
        Catholic – 30.5% of congress with 163 members but 21% of the US population
        Jewish – 6.4% of congress with 34 members but 2% of the population

        80 members are unspecified Christian or other Christian (e.g., they probably put down Christian or put down a denomination Pew couldn’t find).

        • For all of you Constitutional lawyers out there, my comment was just a statement of fact, not of the enforceability of Article XVII, Section 4 of the South Carolina Constitution.

  7. I can’t verify this, but I think the Democrat party trying to make eating at Chick-Fil-A a hate crime is true!

    Just kidding.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      I am a Democrat. I have eaten at a Chik-Fil-A.
      Disappointing considering all the fuss.
      I don’t understand why anyone would so that twice.
      One cannot, and should not try to, legislate good taste.

      • Must be a regional thing. To each his own.

      • Chik-Fil-A, in my opinion, does not have the best tasting chicken. Quite frankly if it was just a matter of food I probably wouldn’t go there much. What they do have, at least in my area, is the very best customer service and cleanest facilities. That, more than anything else, is why I go there.

      • Patriciamc says

        I might be burned at the stake at my local non-denom for saying this, but Wendy’s homestyle chicken sandwich, plain with cheese, beats Chik-Fil-A any day. I must be a heathen.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I can’t verify this, but I think the Democrat party trying to make eating at Chick-Fil-A a hate crime is true!

      With the More-SJW-Than-Thou Thin Grey Ponytails running my state as Senators/Assemblymen/Bureaucrats-For-Life, it would NOT surprise me.

  8. the poinsettias
    still bright with nativity
    hail Epiphany

  9. Re. Religious makeup of the new Congress; are you sure? Because it looks more like a movie poster.