June 17, 2019

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: February 9, 2019

Frozen Tears (Feb 2019)

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: February 9, 2019

• • •

WE START WITH A REQUEST FOR PRAYER & SUPPORT

One of our friends and contributing writers here at Internet Monk has been dealing with a life-transforming change in this new year. This is from J. Michael Jones:

Somewhere, around January 11th, 2019, I became suddenly and serious ill with acute renal failure, caused by the bone marrow cancer Multiple Myleoma. I spent almost three weeks in the hospital fighting for my life. I am still quite ill and weak but starting the long, hard fight back. I am also still writing.  I have two projects in the works that I’m excited about. I will update more as progress continues. Please pray for my fight.

Mike is blogging about his experience and reflections at J. Michael Jones. At the main page of the site you can also find out more about his writing. We encourage you to follow with your support and prayers.

This is from his latest post:

I have no desire to go out as a good Christian, for the same reason I don’t watch Hallmark movies. I prefer to live in reality. My pastor once said, during a children’s story, that some people see Heaven as a land of rainbows and unicorns. I almost shouted out, as in impulse, “That sounds more like hell.” Because I love this material universe so very much, I will go out with my claws dug deeply within the dirt, hanging on until the last breath. I will fight this beast of cancer with both tooth and nail.

…So, I must don my skimpy armor and pick up my sword and shied and march into hell to give all I have to kick cancer in the balls and to cut its nasty heart out, not because I have courage but because I have no choice. This is now my determined cause. I pray that I prevail. If chemo and then stem cell transplant works, I can live 10 years. Within 10 years, a new cure may appear. That is my hope. Mike

P.S. You can find links to Mike’s books in the right sidebar. We’re standing with you, friend.

• • •

HERE’S A WEE BIT OF IRONY FOR YOU

Warren Throckmorton reports that Mark Driscoll’s church will be hosting a “Church Governance Seminar.”

After all he did to give a bad name to Christian church leadership! Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house!

Here is an overview of what attendees will learn:

Session Topics Include:

• How the Church and pastors’ families both suffer under bad governance
• A survey of Church governmental models
• The biblical standard of singular headship and plural leadership
• Theocratic government: a “kingdom-down” not “pew-up” unity focused model
• How to embrace apostolic influence
• How to implement a God-centered theocratic Church government

Please notice how there is not even an effort to hide the hierarchical, top-down, power politics in the name of Jesus that will be presented here — “Singular headship,” “Theocratic government,” “Apostolic influence.”

What Bible are these people reading? Certainly not the one that has this text in it:

But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’ (Matthew 20:25-28)

• • •

SPEAKING OF TOXIC BELIEFS

In a day when measles could easily have been eradicated from the face of the earth, more than 50 cases of measles have been reported in Washington state recently, and nearly all of them in a single county among children or young people who have not been vaccinated.

My Northwest reports that, although students are required to have certain vaccinations to go to school, including MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), Washington is one of 18 states that allows personal exemptions for vaccines, in addition to medical and religious exemptions. However, the recent outbreak has led some to say “Enough!”

Democratic State Rep. Monica Stonier…is co-sponsoring a bill to put an end to the personal and philosophical exemption for the MMR vaccine.

“Measles is an incredibly fast-spreading disease and the vaccine is incredibly effective,” Stonier said. “For those who have legitimate medical reasons for not being able to be vaccinated or even legitimate religious reasons to not be vaccinated should still be able to enjoy living in a healthy community and currently that’s not happening.”

Her bill would require kids attending public school to get the MMR vaccine unless they have those legitimate medical or religious reasons. She says there also may be an amendment to tighten up the religious exemption, and also extending the vaccination requirement to people working in child care centers.

…Stonier says she understands parents have safety concerns, but says research has largely debunked misinformation about the risks of vaccines.

“I understand the concerns that many are raising about wanting to make those decisions and having the freedom to make those decisions for their own children. The challenge here is that those people who are enjoying those freedoms currently are imposing on the rights of other children to live in a healthy community,” Stonier said.

Exactly.

Ignorance, conspiratorial thinking, and selfish insularity make it pretty damn hard to love your neighbors.

• • •

MUSLIM EXECUTED AFTER BEING DENIED HIS OWN CHAPLAIN

Domineque “Hakim” Ray was executed in Alabama on Thursday, after the US Supreme Court voted five-to-four to allow the execution, denying his request for an imam’s presence in the execution chamber. He was offered a Christian chaplain instead. Ray’s imam, Yusef Maisonet, ended up watching the execution from an adjoining witness room

The majority SCOTUS opinion, by those considered the conservative members of the Court, gave few reasons for their decision apart from the “last minute” nature of the appeal.

Those who dissented argued that Ray was denied equal treatment under the Law. They recognized the possible security concerns of allowing someone other than a state-employed chaplain in the room, which was the state’s reason for disallowing the imam, but suggested other avenues could have been pursued in order that the prisoner could have had his spiritual needs attended to at time of death.

Are there no official Muslim chaplains that could have been procured?

None of this would have changed the final result, but perhaps the man could have had some peace.

• • •

LEGAL OR NOT?

Here’s one for the baseball fans out there, just as we’re about to head back to Spring Training. MLB put up a Twitter video of Trevin Michael, a 21-year old pitcher at a junior college in Oklahoma.

Michael has one of the craziest pitching motions ever witnessed, and he put it up on the internet to have baseball people weigh in on whether or not the motion is legal.

You be the judge. You can go to the MLB article and read the section from the rulebook that applies.

• • •

MY FEBRUARY PLAYLIST(S)…

It’s all about love, my friends. Love is all you need, all you need is love for a February playlist. I have two of them for you here today — a list of older pop and jazz standards, and a collection of some favorite folk and rock songs that describe many facets of romantic love.

My Classic Playlist for Lovers (Feb. 2019)

Let’s Begin, Ella Fitzgerald
As Long As I’m Dreaming, The Four Freshmen
When I Fall in Love, Nat King Cole
Like Someone in Love, Frank Sinatra
A Kiss to Build a Dream On, Louis Armstrong
Let’s Fall in Love, Ella Fitzgerald
Only Trust Your Heart, The Four Freshmen
The Way You Look Tonight, Peggy Lee
The Very Thought of You, Nat King Cole
They Can’t Take That Away from Me, Frank Sinatra
Stella by Starlight, Miles Davis
I Can’t Believe that You’re in Love with Me, Billie Holiday
Now It Can Be Told, Ella Fitzgerald
Unforgettable, Nat King Cole
My One and Only Love, Louis Armstrong

My February 2019 Playlist

Intro: You Are Karen M’Sabu (from Out of Africa), John Barry
Talk about Love, John Gorka
Silly Love Songs, Wings
Valentine’s Day, James Taylor
Cupid, Sam Cooke
Power of Two, Indigo Girls
Rose of Sharon, Mumford and Sons
Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog after the War, Paul Simon
Flower, Amos Lee
Heart of Stone, Bill Staines
Romeo and Juliet, Dire Straits
You and I, Wilco
Only One, James Taylor
The One I Love, David Gray
Interlude: I’m Better at Hello (from Out of Africa), John Barry
Poison and Wine, The Civil Wars
Like You Used To, Mandolin Orange
Love Love Love, Of Monsters and Men
Darling Lorraine, Paul Simon
Soul Companion, Mary Chapin Carpenter (with James Taylor)
Golden Heart, Mark Knopfler
You and Me, Dave Matthews Band
Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
Dream of Me, Alison Krauss
Fare Thee Well Love, The Rankins
Reprise: Beach at Night (from Out of Africa), John Barry

Comments

  1. I would also drop the religious exemption for avoiding vaccination. There is an overriding public health concern to get herd immunity and unless there is an individual medical reason not to vaccinate there should be no exemption.

    In the US, only Mississippi, West Virginia, and California allow only medical exemptions.

    • Agree.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      Strongly agreed!

    • Anti-vaxxers tend to be white, affluent, and college-educated. It can be very difficult to convince people in a position of privilege that they need to do what is best for the whole community rather than just prioritizing themselves.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        This.

      • I disagree with your assessment of their reasoning. I don’t think privilege enters into it at all. From what I see and hear (and I live in WA state, so I hear it a lot), it’s all about the autism fear and the belief that data counter to that is fudged/not true. Show someone a lot of data about why something is good and beneficial, and if they question the source and validity of the data, and their fear is strong, that will still be overcome any logic that says otherwise.

      • Looking over some of the studies, I think we have to distinguish between those who are fearful of vaccinations and the studies done about those ratios and those who don’t vaccinate (or don’t vaccinate fully) and the studies about them.

        A Pew 2017 study found that those more fearful of vaccination and in particular the MMR shot had young children, were black, less educated about science, or more likely to use “alternative medicine”.

        Those who actually got the nonmedical exemption for their children were more likely to be non-Hispanic White, of a higher income,or living somewhat ‘alternatively’ (though a study of Oregon showed the reverse as far as income). (Wang et al. “Nonmedical Exemptions From School Immunization Requirements: A Systematic Review”, Am J Public Health. 2014 November; 104(11): e62–e84. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302190

        My speculation is that those with a higher income are in a better position to actually get a personal or religious exemption (or in California to find a doctor willing to give a medical exemption; those have tripled since the state dropped non-medical exemptions).

        It does seem unusual to find Mississippi leading the country in vaccination rates for kindergarteners (Mississippi requires a state review of medical exemptions which California does not).

      • The few that I have personally known are evangelical or fundamentalist and are prone to fall under conspiracy theorist who are selling alternatives to vaccination. The news interviewed one of the protesters in Olympia who categorically stated that nothing you showed her would change her mind about the MMR vaccine. Not sure how that blindness is treated.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          Same for me. I have met very few, but those I have known were not wealthy, white, educated evangelical fundamentalists. A lot of the argument was about “secular government overstepping their authority” etc.

      • My relatives that are anti vax are not college educated (a bit disdainful of those who are) and are hard core conservative Christian DT supporters.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Some years ago when we had the first Whooping Cough epidemic in close to a century here in SoCal, there was a map of Greater Los Angeles with Vaccination Rates color-coded. I don’t remember all the details this far down the road, but I distinctly remember that except for a couple anomalies, all the lowest-vaxx areas were in the RICH parts of town and the highest-vaxx areas were poor communities full of recent immigrants.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          P.S. Given the Evangelical antipathy towards Secular(TM) Science, any bets on whether Anti-Vaxx will become the next Salvation-Level Dogma/Mark of a Real True Christian/Hill To Die On?

    • thatotherjean says

      Indeed. Personal religious beliefs should not be allowed to endanger the larger community.

  2. john barry says

    J. Michael Jones, given the tremendous advances made the past 20 years I share your belief that a cure for cancer is realistic. In my lifetime I have seen the advancement in the fight against cancer and know many who are in remission or cured. I think the common denominator of many I know, including my brother who “beat ” cancer is attitude, perseverance and , I do not know what else to call it, a love of life. Based on your writing and your life experience you certainly have that.

    So God Bless and I like your attitude. I have read several articles about the researchers in Israel who “may” have a cure . I was around when polio was cured and when the cure for cancer is found , the elation and relief that will bring will be even more pronounced.

    Just do not get around any fat ladies or if you do , do not let them sing.

    • Thank you for your heartfelt encouragement to JMJ. It certainly conveys the sentiments of all of us who frequent the IMonk halls.

      I’m sure that a great many of us remember the polio vaccines administered by shots and later, by sugar cubes. Some of us may even remember friends stricken with the disease. However, the cure for polio has yet to be discovered. The near eradication of the occurrence of this disease is due solely to the massive world wide vaccination campaigns that began in the 50’s and 60’s and continued well into this century. That dreaded disease and many others could return if we do not remain vigilant in our vaccination programs.

      • john barry says

        Clay Crouch, good point about polio. Have visited the Little White House in Warm Springs Georgia several times and been to the Warm Springs treatment center built by FDR. The FDR Little White House is a great day trip and the now vacant Warm Springs bring to life the terror of polio. You are so right about the vaccination programs.

        If ever in the area, it is near Calloway Gardens in Ga. , where they have a wonderful golf course and beautiful area. The small museum at the FDR little white house is a source of information and memories of FDR. If ever in the Atlanta, Georgia mountains area, try to visit. Lovely area and a great restaurant in the small town if you like southern food. I have a great deal of respect for FDR and while not perfect he has the right man at the right time.

        • Callaway Gardens!! My family went there a few times in my youth when we lived in New Orleans. LOVED that place! I wonder how much it has changed in 30 years…

          • john barry says

            Rick Ro. I think it has retained its beauty and charm as much as any place. I do wish more people would visit the FDR house and reflect on that time in history. Nice restaurants in the area and Pine Mountain nearby, nice one or two day trip.

            Love the WW 2 museum in New Orleans. So when I go to New Orleans and think the best think is the museum is the best thing I am turning into the person I would laugh at in 1969 my first trip and indeed youth is wasted on the young. I cannot not imagine Mardi Gras now, it was wild enough in the 60 s and 70’s again , the good old days.

    • While I know you mean well, but keep in mind what else you say when you say that a positive outlook or a love of life will beat cancer. You are in effect, saying that those who die from cancer may be missing a necessary virtue. That is a pernicious idea that seems to have taken hold in society and denies the basic truth that cancer doesn’t care if you love life, or if you a miserable POS. It doesn’t care if you are an optimist or a pessimist, full of joy or full of sorrow. People who die from the disease were not lacking or morally deficient. They just got a horrible disease

      • Very true.

      • Christiane says

        It’s hard to give ‘advice’ or even to comment on how someone faces a cancer battle, although many of us may someday find ourselves in one, or have seen our family members fight that disease. If we are not experiencing it ourselves, other than having tremendous empathy and compassion for those who fight the good fight, we are at a loss to grasp the journey they have undertaken. I’d rather have admiration for those who do everything they can to survive that is reasonable with a hope to conquer the illness even for a time of respite. But we cannot know until we ourselves are in their shoes, what to say to them, so maybe we can walk ‘with’ them in vigil prayers, in ‘being there’ and listening. Uncharted journeys, these battles are, with destinations perhaps predicted, but not secured; but we can be ‘with’ as friend and the value of being present and ‘with’ cannot be underestimated.

        ” You have come to the shore.
        There are no instructions.”

        (Denise Levertov)

        • thatotherjean says

          Prayers and all good wishes to you, Mr. Jones. Wisdom and skill to your doctors, and good fortune to the researchers trying to find a cure for your cancer. Fight a good fight. I hope you win.

    • given the tremendous advances made the past 20 years I share your belief that a cure for cancer is realistic.

      More and more I feel like our advances are like space travel in the last 60 years. Wow have we come far. But we now know it’s still a very hard journey to people living on the moon.

      • Good analogy. And until there is that next leap in technological advancement, we’re at a semi-plateau. But I have to think there is a huge breakthrough coming, God willing…

  3. Christiane says

    Did SCOTUS fail to uphold the Constitution by permitting Alabama to execute this man without the final mercy of having a chaplain of his own religion? I’m interesting in learning more about this case. Is Alabama the only state where something like this can happen, or are there other states that have similar arrangements?

    On the surface, this sounds like the kind of case that will raise a lot of questions and possibly some day lead to the SCOTUS overturning its own decision. I hope Christian people will advocate for right to be done. I imagine our Jewish people will speak up. And the Pope. I’m hopeful our evangelical Christian people will join the conversation as well.

    goodness, even the Nazis permitted a chaplain to accompany the Lutheran martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer to his execution in spite of the circumstances of the reasons for his conviction . . . . the chaplain left a moving account of how Bonhoeffer was at peace as he died,
    so if the Nazis could muster some compassion in Bonhoeffer’s situation, maybe we could take another look at what happened to a fellow human being in his final crisis in the year 2019 (?)

    • Christiane says

      I must correct the last paragraph of my comment above, as the ‘witness’ was a Christian physician, and not a chaplain, who wrote these words:

      “”The prisoners … were taken from their cells, and the verdicts of court martial read out to them. Through the half-open door in one room of the huts, I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison garb, kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued in a few seconds. In the almost 50 years that I have worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.”

      • Many recent biographers have questioned the veracity of the doctor’s account of Bonhoeffer’s death. According to Wikipedia: “The purported witness was a doctor at Flossenbürg concentration camp, Hermann Fischer-Hüllstrung, who may have wished to minimize the suffering of the condemned men to reduce his own culpability in their executions. J.L.F. Mogensen, a former prisoner at Flossenbürg, cited the length of time it took for the execution to be completed (almost six hours), plus departures from camp procedure that would probably not have been allowed to prisoners so late in the war, as jarring inconsistencies. Considering that the sentences had been confirmed at the highest levels of Nazi government, by individuals with a pattern of torturing prisoners who dared to challenge the regime, it is more likely that ‘the physical details of Bonhoeffer’s death may have been much more difficult than we earlier had imagined.'”

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          This. Sniff test fail.

        • Christiane says

          Interesting, this. I have heard that Bonhoeffer was hung with piano wire, so the account that was given may have been inaccurate if that detail is true. No lack of inhumanity is seen in the reports at the Nuremberg trials of the suffering of victims in many different circumstances. I can only hope that Bonhoeffer passed with his soul at peace with God, that part of the report I want to believe, yes.

    • Sadly many Americans who consider themselves good Christians don’t care about the rights of anyone convicted of a capital crime, especially of those who are Black and/or Muslim.

  4. Christiane says

    I must correct the last paragraph of my comment above, as the ‘witness’ was a Christian physician, and not a chaplain, who wrote these words:

    “”The prisoners … were taken from their cells, and the verdicts of court martial read out to them. Through the half-open door in one room of the huts, I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison garb, kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued in a few seconds. In the almost 50 years that I have worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.”

  5. Susan Dumbrell says

    Some of us are out there and wishing aloud for prayer support.
    Others of us lay quietly in the shadows and feel the wings of the Spirit waft by and over us.
    More often than not we sink into those shadows and whisper loudly to God for help and ask to dig us out of the dark pit.
    Does He hear us or are we just distant whispers in the universe begging to be heard.
    I have begged for help in those many tumultous years. Did I not hear a reply or was I too deaf and too I blind to see?
    The Holy Spirit passes me by many times.
    Do I refuse to hear and see? Obviously I am and was!
    Not for me to understand.
    I can but continue to pray.

    Susan

    • Susan,

      I don’t know why you could not apprehend him, but I know Jesus has always been there with you. Sometimes he is quiet, and that’s so frustrating. But many holy people in my faith tradition have said the equivalent of, “If anyone is in hell, Christ is there, too.”

      Sending hugs, praying for rain for y’all in Oz.

      Dana

    • Hello Susan,
      you must be very weary from all the heat and drought, but soon maybe the seasons will change and it will be better for you. I think the entire world either is or will soon be experiencing extreme weather conditions and changes. We’ve had rain most of the winter, with warmer temps than normal, but enough cold weather to feel a bit refreshed at least. I do think that the heat and drought must be extremely difficult to cope with. Sending hug. Will pray for some relief for you to come soon.

  6. God’s peace to, and healing presence with you, J. Michael Jones.

  7. Are there no official Muslim chaplains that could have been procured?

    None of this would have changed the final result, but perhaps the man could have had some peace.

    Sadly, there are many people here in America, perhaps including some on the Supreme Court, who would want to deny those convicted of capital crimes any peace in the their last moments before execution, especially if they are Black Muslims. They view such suffering as deserved, as part and parcel of the punishment itself, and they even believe that such an individual should have no rights, even the religious ones guaranteed to them under the Constitution. Many of the people holding these opinions and views consider themselves good Christians; in my opinions they are not even good Americans.

  8. a little sunlight
    at just the correct angle
    can work miracles

  9. Sadly, a lot of Americans, and many who consider themselves good Christians, don’t care about the rights of convicted criminals, especially if they are Black and/or Muslim.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “RIGHTS? WE HAVE NO ‘RIGHTS’. EXCEPT TO DESERVE ETERNAL HELL!!!!!!!!!”
      — heard way too often on Christianese AM radio during my time in-country

  10. Burro (Mule) says

    The Muslim prisoner should have had one of his own clergy present with him, full stop. However I cannot help but believe that there is more to the story than that those evil rednecks in Alabama were depriving a man of his rights because he wasn’t white or Christian. It is not that hard to get a clergyman cleared as an auxiliary chaplain

    Chances are the man was waiting for a decision or a reprieve that never came and there wasn’t time to process the paperwork.

    Of course, I oppose the death penalty any way, so the chaplain should never have been called for. God decides when men die, not the State.

    • ” It is not that hard to get a clergyman cleared as an auxiliary chaplain”

      Unless someone in the system decides to make it difficult (ala Kim Davis).

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        This. Given the demographics of who we choose to incarcerate the abscence of an approved immam tells us whst we need to kniw.

        • The absence of an approved immam, given the great need of more than one, really tells the whole story.

      • One more time.

        Davis was not trying to “make it difficult.” She did not want her signature on the paperwork as a matter of conscience. At the time, she was the only one in the county who could legally sign the paperwork. She had no objection to others being able to sign the paperwork, and when a statue was passed allowing that, she did not try to stop it.

        Are white Evangelicals/Pentecostals (or any other Christian, for that matter) the only ones who may not protest as a matter of conscience? If that’s the case, what does that mean for our society?

        Dana

        • “She did not want her signature on the paperwork as a matter of conscience. At the time, she was the only one in the county who could legally sign the paperwork”

          Then she should have stepped aside in the interim.

          “Are white Evangelicals/Pentecostals (or any other Christian, for that matter) the only ones who may not protest as a matter of conscience?”

          Given their poor track record on these issues historically, dont be surprised if that line of argument doesn’t persuade a lot of people.

        • Her signature did not have to appear. It was perfectly legal for her deputies, and she had several, to sign and several did so while she was jailed. Her printed name did appear on the state forms.

          She was free to protest, but, if the protest includes violating the law there can be legal consequences. County clerks in Kentucky are not free to refuse marriage licenses to eligible couples (in contrast to Alabama where probate justices can legally refuse to issue any marriage licenses [though it is an all or nothing]). Nor does it free her from criticism.

          Martin Luther King protested. He deliberately violated what he considered to be unjust laws; he was jailed; he was criticized. His primary cause was not the comforting of his own conscience but the removal of practices (legally enforced or just socially enforced) that kept people down and in fear. He was making things difficult for those oppressing. For Kim Davis? “Davis was not trying to “make it difficult.” She did not want her signature on the paperwork as a matter of conscience”. If she wasn’t trying to make things difficult than all she was concerned about was herself. “God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector.”

          • I think what Dr. King did was completely in line with his conscience. There were plenty of people who vilified him for breaking laws, even if they were unjust laws.

            None of us knows all of what was going on in Kim Davis’ mind and heart. We don’t know if all she was concerned about was herself. We don’t know if she had the attitude of the Pharisee. The whirlwind around her was accelerated by the media and politicians, and none of that helped. I’m not saying she took the right course, but she did suffer the consequences of her stand: she went to jail for contempt of court, and she was not re-elected to office.

            Again I ask, what does it mean for our society if someone cannot protest as a matter of their conscience? (Especially if people are threatened with vindictive multi-million dollar lawsuits in order to bring about their financial ruin so as to teach them a lesson…) If Dr. King and Colin Keapernick can protest, then Kim Davis should be able to as well. It has to be valid for everyone, whether we agree with them or not. The tendency nowadays is to label persons with whom we disagree as somehow evil; our various tribes must have their scapegoats. If this continues, it does not bode well for us, no matter our political party or our stand on social issues.

            Dana

            • “what does it mean for our society if someone cannot protest as a matter of their conscience?”

              Protesting is one thing – using your official position to force your convictions upon others is another.

    • However I cannot help but believe that there is more to the story than that those evil rednecks in Alabama were depriving a man of his rights because he wasn’t white or Christian.

      There are plenty of people in this country, many Christian, who think criminals should have no rights, religious or otherwise, and that there should be no Constitutional exclusion of cruel and unusual punishment. I speak with them on a regular basis. And there are plenty of people who want Muslims to have fewer rights than Christians. As for the White American attitude toward Black criminals — well, that speaks for itself.

  11. Burro (Mule) says

    Driscoll’s seminar on church governance is, given his current obscurity and notoriety, kind of a non-starter. But why all the hatred of hierarchies? If hierarchies were inherently evil and democratic chaos the obvious solution, the Orthodox and Catholic churches should never have persisted as long as they have.

    • There is inherent hierarchy in any social structure. The difficulty is not for hierarchies wanting to affirm their right to exist — it’s the default position of all social structure; the difficulty is making the upper strata of any particular hierarchy accountable to some degree to the levels below it. Because of his history of lack of accountability, Drisoll should not be advocating church governance models that minimize accountability of the leadership; at the same time, hierarchically top-heavy institutions like the ones you mention also have severely checkered histories with regard to leadership accountability, and should do a lot more to make the leadership accountable to the institutional layers below. That is where the emphasis needs to be, since it is not the direction social inertia naturally pulls.

      • And it is in much more conformity to the “last shall be first/leaders must be servants” model of Christ and the New Testament.

      • In short, no hatred of hierarchies was expressed in the post.

    • “If hierarchies were inherently evil and democratic (governance) the obvious solution, the Orthodox and Catholic churches should never have persisted as long as they have.”

      We agree on that much at least. 😉

      • Doesn’t evil persist?

        The Roman Catholic hierarchy is utterly corrupt. The Russian Orthodox Church has shamed itself by its support of Putin.

        As a secularist and a democrat (small d) and resolutely anti-theocratic, I view these hierarchies the same way Orwell did saints – they are guilty until proven innocent.

    • Hierarchy is not a problem if those in a position of leadership understand that being leaders means they have a responsibility to serve those they are leading. That’s the model of leadership that Jesus taught.

      On the other hand, hierarchy becomes toxic if the leaders believe that leadership is a privilege rather than a responsibility, and that those they lead owe them obedience and respect simply due to the fact of them being leaders. That’s the worldly model of leadership, and unfortunately it is all too common in Christian churches and organizations as well.

    • Iain Lovejoy says

      But church leadership has been largely democratic for most of its history, even when almost every other institution was not.
      In the early church leaders were chosen by their congregations. Until the late medieval period the bishops of the church in western Europe were elected (albeit in a rather ramshackle way) by laity and clergy: the present heirachical system evolved because local nobility had hijacked the system to pick the bishops themselves, and the papacy had to recapture appointments for the church. The Coptic church elects its Patriarch by laity and clergy voting for a small number of candidates who are then chosen by lot. The election of bishops in the eastern Orthodox church is by the dioceses themselves, as I understand it, with procedures varying from diocese to diocese, but which often involve voting by laity and clergy themselves.
      The current heirachical system of central appointment in the western Catholic church is an innovatory exception, not the rule.

    • We dislike hierarchies for the same reason we dislike kings. It isn’t the way God intended us to live, and they’re man-made and can be unhealthy.

    • Mule, I wouldn’t say hierarchies are “inherently evil,” I would say they are almost inevitably corruptible. And certainly, in this case, church hierarchy is being promoted by someone who has proven he cannot be trusted with that kind of power.

      I also find the reasoning of these groups fundamentally flawed and inconsistent. They are the first to say that all God’s people are under the authority of God’s Word alone. But apparently they must have a magisterium of their own in order to make that work.

      And then there are those pesky words of Jesus I quoted…

    • I wish Mark Driscoll were more obscure than he actually is. He’s now a frequent contributor to Charisma magazine’s website, certainly doing them and their credibility no favors. Yes, I’m aware Charisma publishes quite a bit of flaky stuff but they also publish some serious Christian contributors such as former Charisma editor Lee Grady. I look forward to Grady’s weekly “Fire In My Bones” column, published each Wednesday.

      By the way, did anyone check out the comments on Warren Throckmorton’s site concerning this article? Some of them are priceless.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I wish Mark Driscoll were more obscure than he actually is. He’s now a frequent contributor to Charisma magazine’s website…

        Building his New Brand on the Comeback Trail.

        “What does it take to keep this guy from coming back? A stake through the heart?”
        — Hunter S Thompson regarding Richard Nixon

  12. J. Michael Jones I don’t know how old you are or how your health is otherwise, but I believe you have reason to be hopeful you will have success in your fight against this cancer. I have a family member who went through the exact situation you described. Scared me to death when we first found out about it, but today he is doing well as he continues to battle against it. There have been a lot of advances with this type of cancer over the years and many people who are otherwise in good health can live with it for a long time, and still live active lives, even if they aren’t quite up to their full old strength. The first couple of years will probably be the hardest, especially going through a stem cell transplant, but it gets better. There was also news from Israel a month or so ago, that I am praying is true, that they have discovered a cure for cancer. You may not have to wait ten years for the major breakthrough.

  13. As someone from Alabama who has followed the death penalty case closely over the past week and has found what appears to be reliable local sources. First of all, I oppose the death penalty, so take that in context.

    1) He could have a Muslim clergy, not just at the moment they do the injection.
    2) The clergy present at the moment of injection had to be an employee of the death row prison.

    So, the question was why does death row have a christian clergy employee but no other religion. That is not surprising for Alabama. I believe the Supreme Court, in the way it ruled, left that open for a longer term case, but chose not to rule on it for this specific case. If it comes to that, I know how the state will respond. They will say no clergy present for any injection, making it equally horrible for everyone.

    • Christiane says

      there is something ‘humane’ about offering the final comfort of a person’s faith to be visible to them as they are dying, and even those who burned Jeanne d’Arc as a witch allowed a priest to hold up a crucifix on a pole so that she could see it even as she was consumed by the flames . . . .

      Is our ‘humanity’ under attack in this country? Is our consciousness of what it means to be ‘an American’ now so changed that our grandparents would not recognize this new ‘America’? Seems that the ONLY brake that keeps us from going over the edge is that some politicians pull back because they fear loss of votes on the home front, and even at that, some fail to recognize the basic needs of their supporters at home in their zeal to bow before the Trump and raise their arm in ‘loyalty pledges’. . . . . and so now we have a change of leadership in the House of Representatives since the people had a chance to ‘speak’ in the only way the voted-out sycophants of T could understand.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      So, the question was why does death row have a christian clergy employee but no other religion.

      Only the One True Religon, not (all the other) False Ones?

  14. john barry says

    The “victims” that the Muslim killed have a name and a history, one was 15 year old Tiffany Harville who was kidnapped, raped and had her throat cut by the criminal. The other victims of this criminal were Reinhard and Earnest Mabins who the convicted murderer killed a year earlier. God did not decide that this three young , innocent people had to die early, the criminal murderer did.

    Strange how the coverage of the criminal get into their life story, how they lived, what they changed, how they found Jesus, how they are sorry, how good they are now and etc. I know far more about Ted Bundy than any of his victims.

    The Supreme court did not grant the stay in execution as they correctly decided that that this was another ploy to delay the death penalty to the criminal who was convicted 20 years ago. The lawyers waited too long to file the appeal knowing the legal procedures of the state for years.
    Most states have as policy the same procedure as Alabama gave the criminal who killed three people, religious leader close by to witness, final visit but not in execution chamber Alabama will change the law and permit no one in the chamber to solve the issue .

    My only objection to the death penalty is that rich people never get the death penalty , which is a fault of the system including the juries. It is a failure of the people in the system rather than the system.

    • The SCOTUS should go out of its way to protect Constitutionally guaranteed rights of all Americans, convicted criminals included, even if they are suspicious of the motivations and legal timing of the convict or his lawyer. The benefit of the doubt should be given. That’s part of their job.

      • I don’t think there is any constitutional right guaranteed that allows someone to have a person of their choosing actually inside the chamber room. He was not denied the opportunity to meet with his Iman and have him present. What if the victims family wanted to be in the chamber ? Much ado about nothing.

        • Christiane says

          a person’s outlook depends on how their faith understands that ‘legal’ isn’t the same as ‘humane’

          not so easy for them to ‘look away’ and so some among them are impelled to act out that faith

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoyOcNQ4uFI

          • You may be right but Robert did not say that. He said to protect comstitutional rights. I call that wrong. There is no right !!! Please read the response to his.

            • Christiane says

              if Alabama is permitting evangelical and fundamentalist prisoners to have the services of a chaplain, but denying the same privilege to Catholic, Jewish, or Muslim prisoners;
              then it IS a Constitutional matter. The SCOTUS has a duty to protect citizens of states that try to take away their Constitutional rights and this time, SCOTUS got it wrong in my opinion . . . . .

              I think SCOTUS will reconsider this in time. Even Trump’s SCOTUS can be shamed into changing an ambiguously clothed miscarriage of justice, and I can’t wait. 🙂

    • My major objection to the death penalty is that, since the state is not omniscient or infallible, it sometimes executes innocent people (and they tend to be Black). Once an innocent life is taken by the state, there is no room for redressing the error, since the state cannot give life back to the dead. That is a major design flaw in the system (which btw was designed by people, not God)..

    • Iain Lovejoy says

      And now that the man is dead, are his victims alive again? Do we now have three fewer deaths, or now one more? Why is your only objection to the system that there are some people it does not kill?
      The death penalty protects no-one, saves no-one, just takes more lives to no good effect.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        +1

        • john barry says

          Well, we know that that this particular criminal and many others will never kill again , I think that protects society pretty well. I believe only the victim can forgive the one who hurt or killed them, the state is here to protect society from the criminals who have no respect for human life.

          The dreaded evangelicals support the death penalty for anyone who deserves , red, yellow, black and white they should all reap what they have sown. Even political sensitive Gov. G. Bush did not and should have not stopped the execution of Karla Faye Tucker, a “born again” come to Jesus woman who beat a man to death with a hammer. She deserved to die for what she did and that is justice. As Gene Barry use to say “Burke’s Law.

          • First of all, evangelicals of all people should be more sensitive to the biblical teaching that if everyone “gets what they deserve”, no one would escape judgment. Secondly, as Robert pointed out, human justice is not infallible, and when the prospect of unjust execution is there, we should tread cautiously. Lastly, life imprisonment can just as effectively remove dangerous people from wider society.

            • john barry says

              I do think that even the dreaded evangelicals realize that due to Jesus none of us will get what we deserve if we accept Jesus. David Berkowitcz, the Son of Sam gets it , I guess he still has his website, check it out.

              Easy fix on the “innocent” being executed, only in clear cut , beyond a shadow of a shadow of doubt backed up by scientific evidence where in a Ted Bundy or Gace situation where there is not even a possibly of error give the death penalty. Have the innocent project people try to find any way the criminal is not guity then throw the switch.

              Lesile Van Houton , who killed innocent people with Charles Manson group has a fairly good life behind bars for her crimes. She will be paroled soon and will only find life better. She got to go to college, go to group therapy, eat, drink and be merry and Mrs. LaBianca who she killed will be forever dead to this world. Death penalty is a powerful deterrent and justice. That is why many guilt criminals plead guilty not even to face the death penalty because being alive in a USA prison is better than death. Oh, she is sorry she killed the innocent people and has changed, again see Son of Sam website.

              • Easy fix on the “innocent” being executed, only in clear cut , beyond a shadow of a shadow of doubt backed up by scientific evidence where in a Ted Bundy or Gace situation where there is not even a possibly of error give the death penalty.

                There is always the possibility of error, or official malfeasance — you would think someone like yourself, who puts such credence in the idea that a Deep State exists, would be keenly aware of the latter.

                • john barry says

                  Clay C. the people still in the wilderness and some of this site, do dread them it seems in my opinion but I could be wrong.

                  • JB – I doubt that anyone on this site is either terrified of or apprehensive about evangelicals. Frustrated, yes. Dreadful, no. I’m sure that works both ways.

                    • john barry says

                      Clay Couch, I just pulled dreaded out of my——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————head, now I have to pull my head out., I like your word better. To many here they are the “frustrating” evangelicals who do not want to leave the wilderness like they should. Thanks for the input.

                      Now if only I could learn to accept the frustrating liberals who do not agree with me but I dread thinking about it.

                      Thanks again. As illustrated , English is my only and worst language even though I am ignorant in several.

              • Who are these dreaded evangelicals you keep mentioning and who dreads them?

              • “I do think that even the dreaded evangelicals realize that due to Jesus none of us will get what we deserve if we accept Jesus.”

                And what about common grace? “God sends rain on the just and the unjust” and all that?

                “in clear cut , beyond a shadow of a shadow of doubt backed up by scientific evidence”

                And this obviates almost all capital crimes cases.

                “Death penalty is a powerful deterrent and justice”

                So I’ve heard. What’s the proof?

                • The city of ancient Rome had one of the most severe penal codes in history, including beheading and crucifixion for many crimes; yet one did not dare go out after dark without an armed guard, which only the rich could do, for fear of violent crime in the nighttime streets.

            • Klasie Kraalogies says

              Exactly. And, in fact, it turns out that life imprisonment is more cost effective – I only mention that because for many on the right, the $$ is the strongest argument in any debate.

  15. Church governance is the way Driscoll talks about it only makes sense in the context of Catholic or Orthodox traditions (possibly also Presbytery and Episcopal). It makes no sense in localized evangelical churches.

  16. My prayers are with Mr. Jones.

    As for Trevin Michael’s pitching motion, my opinion, without consulting the rule book, with no one on base, the windup is legal. It is continuous and does not deceive the batter. With a runner on first base, I would call it illegal, since he makes a motion toward first base without attempting a pickoff throw.

  17. I think we all learned yesterday that our Acting Attorney General is not pro-life, hates children, and treats women and men of different race than him with thinly veiled distain and smugness. I wonder if he likes beer.

    This is America.

  18. john barry says

    What was the purpose of the hearing?

    • Gotcha questions designed to get someone in trouble. What we learned from the hearing yesterday was we have an acting attorney general who is too smart to be trapped by such questions. Honestly, how can you demand that no matter what question you ask the witness can only answer yes or no? “So Sir, have you stopped cooking meth and beating your wife? Only answer yes or no!”

    • Christiane says

      to get him on record openly before the public . . . . very important to see which questions he would not respond to and in the case of Mueller, in not the House of Rep., Mueller already knows the truth and has the evidence BEFORE he asks people questions and gets them ‘on record’ . . . seasoned prosecutors are two steps ahead of those they interview always and Mueller is the top of the line and universally respected

      we already knew about Whitaker and how he threatened those who were scammed by that fake ‘company’ he was involved with; so when the ‘bully’ side of him showed up, people might have laughed but they were ready for it

      so he’s on record before the House . . . . I bet they call him back after he is no long asst. AG . . . . . we shall see 🙂

  19. a flock of ducks
    takes wing at twilight
    ahead of the darkness

  20. Anybody for some Dylan Thomas?

    • Heather L Angus says

      Really nice song.

      But here I was expecting some “Do not go gentle…” advice.

      I am a dinosaur. A Stegosaurus, I think.

  21. thatotherjean says

    I love the “Frozen Trees” photograph that heads up this edition of the Monks’ Brunch–but I’m really glad that’s not my neighborhood, this week. Enough cold and snow!