September 15, 2019

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 24, 2019

Promenade Park, Ft. Wayne, IN

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 24, 2019

Greetings from Fort Wayne, Indiana, where I am with my young grandson for a weekend of soccer games. The weather is supposed to be ideal — highs in the 70s, with bright blue sunny skies. Last night my other grandson’s team had their first game of the high school football season, winning 27-17 (I’m sorry I had to miss it). So, fall sports have begun, even though it’s hard for me to fathom saying that before Labor Day.

Fort Wayne is the second largest city in the state, behind Indianapolis. It traces its beginnings back to the Revolutionary War, when a series of forts was built in the region. It became a trading post, then a village that boomed after completion of the Wabash and Erie Canal and the coming of the railroad. Fort Wayne grew into a manufacturing hub and remains a center for the nation’s defense industry.

Fort Wayne Railroad Bridge. Photo by tquist24 at Flickr. Creative Commons License

Fort Wayne is where our fellow iMonker David Cornwell goes to church, and we plan to spend a bit of time together this weekend.

Replica of Abe Lincoln’s cabin, Foster Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Photo by David Cornwell at Flickr

But most of the time, I’ll be trying to capture a few more shots like this…

…and cheering for my grandson.

• • •

The Amazon is on fire…

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil, on Wednesday. (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

Along with a series of remarkable photos, NPR gives this succinct report:

A view of the devastation caused by a fire during the dry season in Brasilia, Brazil, on Wednesday. (Adriano Machado/Reuters)

International concern is growing over the rapidly spreading fires that are destroying large swaths of the Amazon rainforest.

The fires were most likely started by farmers clearing land, but have spiraled out of control. In just the past month, about 36,000 fires have ignited — nearly as many as in all of 2018, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. Overall, there have been 74,155 fires so far this year — mostly in the Amazon — an increase of about 80% compared to last year.

World leaders are starting to sound the alarm.

“Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire,” French President Emmanuel Macron wrote in a tweet Thursday.

Calling it an international crisis, he urged asked those attending the G-7 Summit this weekend — hosted by France — to put the fires at the top of the agenda.

Meanwhile, the country’s leaders appear to be fiddling while the rainforest burns. Brazil’s President Balsonaro, a right-wing nationalist, advanced a conspiracy theory, blaming NGO’s for intentionally setting the fires to get attention. Bolsonaro has angrily played down the fires as a “domestic Brazilian issue” and an annual phenomenon, while accusing Macron of a colonialist mindset in raising alarms. Finland has called upon the EU to consider banning Brazilian beef imports as a way of holding Balsonaro and his policies to account.

• • •

Tinker, tailor, missionary, spy…

I might just have to get this one. A fascinating review at Christianity Today looks at Matthew Avery Sutton’s book, Double Crossed: The Missionaries Who Spied for the United States During the Second World War.

Many of America’s first spies were missionaries or came from missionary backgrounds. Often enough, they were the only Americans who had lived abroad—not just among locals but as locals. While other American spies learned about the world through books and couldn’t really grasp its full range of quirks and complexities—“like tourists who put ketchup on their tacos,” as Sutton puts it—missionaries spoke several languages and knew the subtle differences between local dialects. They understood local cultures and faiths from the ground up and knew intuitively how to navigate between them. They knew, in short, “how to totally immerse themselves in alien societies.” But they always identified first and foremost as Christians and as Americans, and when they were called to serve the nation, they did not hesitate to do so.

…Being a missionary spy was fraught with moral and spiritual tension. The missionary aspires to the highest morality, while the spy deliberately blurs the lines between right and wrong; the missionary preaches a gospel of love and kindness, but the spy must lie, cheat, and steal in order to complete the mission. “It is an open question,” Eddy later observed with some regret, “whether an operator in OSS or CIA can ever again become a wholly honorable man.” Sutton’s title, Double Crossed, is a clever play on words that reveals these tensions between the methods of God and those of Caesar.

• • •

And, more on the “Billy Graham Rule”…

From the Charlotte Observer

Manuel Torres, 51, is a devout Southern Baptist who sometimes serves as a deacon at East Sanford Baptist Church in Sanford, North Carolina. Up until 2017, he was also a deputy in Lee County.

Torres said he was fired from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office after declining to train a new female hire alone — a violation of his Christian beliefs under the so-called Billy Graham rule. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in North Carolina federal court, the former deputy is now seeking more than $300,000 in damages for religious discrimination.

“Torres holds the strong and sincere religious belief that the Holy Bible prohibits him, as a married man, from being alone for extended periods with a female who is not his wife,” the suit states.

The order to train a female deputy would reportedly require him to “spend significant periods of time alone in his patrol car with the female officer trainee,” the lawsuit said.

“The job duty of training female deputies, in such a manner, violates (Torres’) religious beliefs against being alone for periods of time with female(s) who is/are not his wife and leaving the appearance of sinful conduct on his part,” the suit states.

Torres said he asked for a religious accommodation that would exempt him from the training in July 2017, according to the lawsuit, but he said his sergeant ultimately denied the request.

After Torres reportedly brought his concerns to higher-ups in the department, he said in the complaint, the sergeant retaliated by allegedly failing to respond to a call for backup “in an unsafe area in which Torres had to tase two fighting suspects, and a gun was present on the scene.”

In early September 2017, one of Torres’ superior officers also reportedly “expressed his anger” at the repeated requests for religious accommodation.

Less than a week later, Torres said he was fired without explanation.

• • •

How do you respond to these statements?

I can’t follow Christ and also succeed at being nice.

Your paper brain and your Kindle brain aren’t the same thing…

…and this may affect how you read the Bible

[Google] has issued new community guidelines, saying, “disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news” doesn’t “build community,” and employees should, therefore, “avoid conversations that are disruptive to the workplace or otherwise violate Google’s workplace policies.”

In practice, meritocracy now excludes everyone outside of a narrow elite.

• • •

Greatest songs of my lifetime…

Each Saturday from now on, I’d like to contribute a section devoted to songs that I consider among the finest that have been written and performed during my lifetime. This will cover songs from the 1960s to today. I hope you will enjoy these sound bites from the soundtrack of my life.

On today’s edition of greatest songs, I’d like to remind us of Jimmy Webb’s three “city” songs that he wrote and then released in collaboration with Glen Campbell:

  • By the Time I Get to Phoenix (Campbell’s version released in 1967)
  • Wichita Lineman (released 1968)
  • Galveston (released 1969)

This is as fine a song cycle as you’ll ever find. May you find joy in listening to them today.

Comments

  1. Just be nice, already. Neither you nor I are enough like Jesus to dispense with that social virtue. We think we’re telling it like it is or “speaking the truth in love”, but we’re really venting and taking it out on the other guy. Sometimes what is called rigorous truth-telling in the name of following Christ is really like sticking a knife in someone’s face and expecting God, and them, to thank us for it. Don’t prevaricate, don’t manipulate with smiles and yeses, don’t be obsequious, but be nice already — and yes, I recognize that I need to heed this advice as much as anybody else.

    • “”Niceness” is a form of superficial kindness that’s used as a means to a selfish end.”

      Actually, she has a point here, though probably not in the way she means it. It has seemed to me like a lot of what evangelicals do is based on a “means to an end”. We run soup kitchens, hold ESL classes, try to hold conversations with people – but the ultimate goal is to witness to them/hand them a tract/get them to come to our church/etc. They’re more of a “project” than a person – and don’t think they don’t notice. THIS kind of “niceness” does need to be dropped by the wayside.

    • “He was a man who would leave the 99 sheep to rescue the one, but he was also totally unafraid of offending people.”

      It is also enlightening to meditate on who He went out of His way to rescue… AND who He went out of His way to offend.

  2. the silent morning
    will wait as long as it takes
    for dawn to arrive

    • Norma Cenva says

      Beautiful Robert, even with the sun chasing Orion, and the sun falling behind in slow degrees…

  3. I wonder if Torres also refused to arrest female suspects alone, because the Billy Graham Rule….

    • No that was okay because he did it in a spirit of headship. And they both recognized his covering authority and thus God was appeased by the act.

    • “Torres holds the strong and sincere religious belief that the Holy Bible prohibits him, as a married man, from being alone for extended periods with a female who is not his wife,”

      I wonder if the same “rule” applies to his mother, or sisters, or nieces…?

      Torres is the perfect example of the “weaker brother.”

  4. senecagriggs says
    • The real reason to panic is the mega-construction projects the new Brazilian government is fast-tracking to build out in the Amazon basin. You think the farm burning is bad? Just wait…

  5. senecagriggs says
    • Beef is by far the most climate-unfriendly food we eat. Is going to get less and less available one way or another. Why not start now?

      • You some kinda cattle rustler?

      • I think we can eat beef to our contentment if we, especially in the US, would switch to grass-fed finished beef instead of grain-fed. The industrialization of finishing beef is the greater contributor to all sorts of environmental emissions.

        We were in Sydney, Aus some time ago visiting family. They took us to Outback (yes, the chain is popular down under) and when I began on my steak I was surprised by the flavor which was somewhat different than I expected. My son noticed my hesitation and asked if my steak was ok. It was fine, but I had noticed that the flavor was indicative of the beef being grass-fed. Son informed me that all Australian beef was grass-fed.

        • Pellicano Solitudinis says

          That’s not quite true. Feedlot beef is becoming more common in Australia, but it’s true that cows are raised on grass, and sometimes “finished” (fattened up) in a feedlot. Beef is still environmentally unfriendly, however, because their hooves and grazing habits cause significant land degradation. The best thing to eat in Australia is kangaroo/wallaby, which is similar to venison in terms of flavour and cooking technique.

          • And would there be enough to go around if everybody who eats beef now were to start eating kangaroo/wallaby instead (supposing they could afford it)?

            • Pellicano Solitudinis says

              Roo isn’t expensive, although that’s partly because a lot of people refuse to eat it. Where I live, it’s comparable in price to all but the worst grades of beef.

              Is there enough to go around if it were to replace beef overnight? Probably not, but mainly because we eat too much red meat to begin with. If we were to stick to the recently revised government recommendation of about 400g of red meat per person per week, we might be able to manage.

              • Couldn’t eat kangaroos – they’re too cute. Perhaps if I lived with them I’d change my mind…

                Yes to better grazing management, and also most especially to smaller portion sizes. The amount of meat necessary to supply a full day’s worth of protein is about the size of deck of cards.

                Dana

              • I’ve had ‘roo burger. Much prefer lamb.

          • That’s one of the questions I have for the idea prevalent among some (mostly those in the middle to upper middle-class, with more than a little surplus income, since the products are considerably more expensive) here in the U.S., who say we should eat locally (food grown within 100 miles of home), for environmental reasons: if everybody started eating locally, would there be enough to go around?

            • Adam Tauno Williams says

              Yes, there would be enough in the great majority of America.
              But they wouldn’t have the diet they have today.

              I think it is a good guide, but not something to be ‘fundamentalist’ about.
              Railroads are wicked efficient at moving a lot of stuff – how it covers that greater-than-100 miles matters a great deal. Unfortunately we have largely emphasized the worst ways to do anything. 🙁

              • And what about variety? If we’re giving up or eating far less meat, we need to carefully combine other foods to synthesize the right balance of amino acids and other nutrients that come all together in red meat. Wouldn’t the variety we routinely find in markets today be a thing of the past if we develop a food economy far more sensitive to the the environment’s needs? Can mostly local sources supply balanced nutritional needs?

                • Adam Tauno Williams says

                  > Wouldn’t the variety we routinely find in markets today be a thing of the past

                  It would certainly be more seasonal.

                  And we’d reintroduce things which have largely been eliminated. Here in the Michigan I am surrounded by edible and nutritious things which nobody eats anymore. Most abundant are perslane and good old pig weed. I ate them as a kid during Reagan’s job killing economic revolution; they are as serviceable a vegetable as anything else. Cultivating Pig Weed in Michigan requires the nuanced skill of a drunk alligator – it WANTS to grow here.

                  It is honestly very odd, what we have done to food.

                  > Can mostly local sources supply balanced nutritional needs?

                  At 75% local, sure. That’s a realistic goal with out radical modification of existing infrastructure. Again, that is for most of America, not everywhere. The NE mega-cities and the desert west are obvious exceptions.

                  People have been trained by marketing to under appreciate how effective and flexible the human omnivore is. Our diets were very localized for a very long time, and we existed pretty much everywhere.

          • Beef is unfriendly when cattle are managed in way that makes it unfriendly. When cattle are managed correctly they are actually quiet beneficial to the environment. When they are rotationally grazed and not allowed to continual wear out the same spot they actually help to build soil and grow grass. But most people don’t know this.They just hear the talking points on the news and automatically assume beef is always bad.

            • Many experts are not in agreement withAllan Savory’s ideas.

            • Pellicano Solitudinis says

              Unfortunately Australia’s agricultural conditions are such that much of our grazing land is more or less permanently drought affected.

            • A quick online search of various sources indicates that no form of cattle management, including Savory’s or less extreme forms of the same kind of management as Savory’s (i.e, rotational grazing), has been demonstrated to be more beneficial for decreasing the global degradation of grasslands that overgrazing by cattle causes.

              • Robert, do you have any actual experience managing cattle? Look up Greg Judy and see the things he is doing If people are managing their cattle correctly there won’t be overgrazing. That is the whole point. You don’t allow the animals to stay in any one place long enough to wear the grass completely out. You keep them moving to distribute the manure and urine so it doesn’t accumulate all in one place. All people ever talk about is the methane. There are other environmental concerns. Think about the number of fields dedicated to corn for corn feeding cattle that could be in pasture. Good pasture retains soil much better than row crop. Rotational grazing doesn’t require nearly the amount of fuel guzzling machinery. It doesn’t hurt to have a few trees scattered through your field. There is no need to spray a bunch of chemicals all the time. You can add other animals such as sheep or goats to come along behind the cattle. As I said, it must be done correctly. If you rotationally graze but still allow the cattle to wear out the ground before you move them, then yes the condition of the cattle will be poor and your land will suffer. It is is done right, the cattle will be good, and the land will improve. But this is true of all of agriculture. Some conventional farmers do all they can within the conventional model to take care of the land and pollute as little as possible. Others don’t try and wash away their soil and pollute the water. Cattle aren’t the problem, management is, and people who think going all vegetarian (including vegiburgers) is the solution don’t actually know the amount of environmentally unhealthy inputs that would take.

                • For one thing, you want me to take the experience of one livestock manager, and those he’s influenced, in one geographical place as more weighty than the consensus of experts in the field who have done extensive research and made close observation in varied settings all over the globe. Whatever benefits he and others in his orbit have experienced doing what they do, their findings are essentially anecdotal, because they haven’t been examined with scientific rigor (I’m talking about this with regard to grassland degradation — if you bring in a plethora of other issues, and how they balance against each other, I can only say that I, and likely you, don’t have enough command over all the elements of that discussion to knowledgeably engage in it).

                  • There are a lot more people involved in the intensive management of livestock than Allan Savory. Though he is popular among that crowd, I’ve never actually read any of his work. What would be nice is if you would seriously consider the experience of farmers who are actually doing this and have seen the improvement it made to their farm. Quit getting all hung up on Savory and look up some other people. I already mentioned Greg Judy. Another one is Jim Gerrish. Perhaps you would give him more consideration because he spent many years as an agricultural professor at the University of Missouri. Now he manages cattle full time out west. He is a big proponent of what is called Management Intensive Grazing. As far as the other issues, I have spent my entire life involved in Agriculture. And I’m not talking about a five acre hobby farm. While there are elements I’m sure I’m not aware of, I have a feeling I can discuss these things a lot more knowledgeably than you.

                    • Savory’s methodology is intensive “mob” grazing for short periods of time followed by rotation. It’s good management for the pasture and the cattle.

                      Another reality that is often missed is that there exist a LOT of acreage that is not suited for row crop production but can be utilized for pasture which cattle or other ruminants can convert to meat and milk.

                      Sheesh! What about the millions of head of buffalo that used to roam the plains and much of the mid and eastern US? Don’t think they produced methane?

                • Although I agree with you that going all vegetarian, if it becomes a global trend, will not be a panacea for fixing the environment, since, whatever is done, it will require mass production and immense land usage with who-knows what sort of unintended and undesirable environmental consequences for the planet.

                • And I agree with you that what seem like more environmentally friendly forms of agriculture are not necessarily so. I live in Lancaster County, PA, where the Amish farmers used to be held up as models for how traditional forms of crop rotation were environmentally friendly. Well, in the last years it’s become evident that the farming methods of the Amish have created huge toxic runoff in the local streams and creeks, effecting the Chesapeake Bay and other large bodies of water as well. Not so environmentally friendly, as it turns out.

                  • Here you go again 3 postal in a row. After your response yesterday

                    • St. Maledict ? dripping acid again?

                    • I didn’t reply to myself, and I’m having a civil conversation with Jon. I had several things I wanted to cover in my discussion with him, and two of my replies were agreeing with him. What is your problem with me? Do you just want me to shut up? If the moderator wants me to limit my word count, he’s perfectly able to do that.

                    • Agree or not, Robert puts a lot of thought into his comments. Maybe you could engage him on that level instead of doing a drive-by.

                    • Klasie Kraalogies says

                      Robert, agree with him or not (and yes, we do disagree like on this issue), is a thoughtful guy.

                      Just lay off the unwarranted personal attacks please, “St”bndtc. Maybe go read CM’s post from yesterday again.

                    • Clay says
                      August 24, 2019 at 1:52 pm

                      Agree or not, Robert puts a lot of thought into his comments. Maybe you could engage him on that level instead of doing a drive-by.

                      +1 and ditto.

                    • Saint
                      what is the ‘problem’ under the ‘problem’? What’s wrong

                • Klasie Kraalogies says

                  I agree with Jon here. I am acquainted with farmers here on the northern prairies- they move there animals often, and importantly, after harvest they bale the wheat straw but spread the bales on the land that produced the wheat. This way the cattle stay out all winter, they eat the remaining stubble on the ground as well as the bales, (then Angus cattle here will scratch the snow away to get at the wheat), and they fertilize the land.

                  What the anti-meat brigade forget is that a healthy farm has to be a full ecosystem. Animals and crops. It is how you do it that matters.

                  To be sure though, if we only eat grass fed beef, the price will rise. But we can do with eating less.

                  Personally I also buy wild boar from my farmer’s market – it is inexpensive, and boar are highly efficient at turning vegetable matter into meat. I also buy farmed bison this way.

                  Then one should add that the forest degradation in Brazil is not just for pasture or cattle feed. People plant what sells. Guess which crop Brazil is the 2nd biggest producer of?

                  Soy beans.

                  The answer is never simple. Not when it comes to conservation, not when it comes to climate change, or poverty relief, or economic growth. Anyone that sells simple answers is selling something else…

                  • I’m afraid soy beans cause me gastric distress, and my wife has the same problem with them. We avoid soy products. I’ve heard this is actually a widespread problem.

                • I posted a comment to this thread that is either stuck in moderation or a hit the wrong button and accidentally deleted it. Either way I’d rather it stay gone as the last line may come off as a little hostile. I will simply say this. The blanket statement that cattle are bad for the environment is false. It is bad management of cattle that is bad for the environment. But that is true of all of agriculture. It is impossible to farm and not have some impact on the environment. But there are ways to farm that lessen damage and some ways that can actually be beneficial. It all comes down to doing things the best way possible. Unfortunately, some people just don’t care, and others won’t do anything unless they see a financial gain. Be thankful for the farmers that do care and are trying their best to both make a living and take care of the land.

  6. So Torres is so concerned that he can’t control himself if left alone with any other woman than his wife, that he hides this behind a made-up Bible ‘rule’? I would sack him from my team for this.

    Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, & I’m assuming he maybe hasn’t read that bit?

    • Well put, beakerj. I look forward to the day when men like Torres just accept women as people and not as walking temptations with boobs stuck on the front.

      • Christiane says

        Yes!

        it’s past time for all that misogyny to be called out for what it is . . . Torres’ reprising of ‘the Billy Graham Rule’ is an affront to his female co-workers and USING his ‘faith’ to excuse belittling women in his line of work reeks of dishonor to the Christ who sat and talked to the woman-at-the-well with compassion and healing in His Voice

        I don’t know why some ‘conservative’ people embrace misogyny so closely and disregard the fact that we are ALL human persons deserving of respect for no other reason that all of us bear the imprint of the imagio Dei

      • Please read this whole comment before you slam me.

        Torres is wrong, for all of these reasons, and likely more – it wouldn’t take me long to think of some.

        … and I don’t think he should have been fired over it. He seems to have taken all the appropriate steps of appeal. They could have moved him to another position that does not require training an officer, thereby mitigating any potential harm to another officer’s career. This was a matter of conscience for him. Are we not going to allow people to follow the dictates of their consciences (even if those precepts are wrong and misguided)? Why does the sledge hammer automatically have to come down? Do we even look for other options? Do we seek to understand why a person thinks the way they do? Torres probably believes he *is* respecting women, most especially his wife, with his convictions.

        I think the Torres case represents the logical end of our (historically based in Puritanism) American non-sacramental Protestant ideas about sex and the body. The other side of that coin is the objectification of women (and some men) in advertising and in the proliferation of pornography. It’s all of a very, very confused piece.

        Dana

        • I get your logic, Dana, and I want to agree. But what if his objection was to training an African American person, or a person of some other ethnicity or race, because he personally held some sort of racialist religious views? Should the department still go out of its way to accommodate his personal beliefs, doing the things you suggest? In that case, I think you’d agree, the dictates of his conscience would not rightly allow an exception for him. Why should they in this case?

          No slamming, just a question.

          • Thank you.

            If he did hold racialist views, he probably wouldn’t be working for the police department in the first place – he would know he couldn’t even be hired if those views were known. It seems to me that that type of person wouldn’t want anything to do with government entities.

            From the information we have, Torres didn’t object to there being female police officers, so he is not infringing on the right of females to be hired.

            One has to look at all the angles of the situation, in its reality, not hypothetically. I could be wrong in my assumptions; I simply make them on the basis of what has been reported. I reserve the right to change my mind if more information becomes public knowledge.

            Dana

            • I will just note one thing: Regarding, “It seems to me that that type of person” (someone with racist views) “wouldn’t want anything to do with government entities,” white supremacist beliefs are known to be a widespread problem in the military (you can verify it online for yourself), and among Border Patrol agents.

              Thanks for your reply.

              • I have read about the Border Patrol agents. In the military…. how widespread, I don’t know. I do know people in the military – my daughter’s friends in the Army, and her husband’s friends from when he was in the Marines – and they don’t seem to be infected. The Army is not amenable to anything that would disrupt discipline and the ability to fight to save the person next to you, so anyone with those leanings would have to keep them under wraps. The Army has a “rating” system, and I would think those people would not rise very high simply because the “vibes” from that attitude would seep out. I may be wrong.

                D.

        • I agree with you, Dana. The question is, is The State always superior to the individual conscience?

          I do think that the rules of any job need to be named and explained upfront, so that anyone whose conscience can’t abide by them could avoid taking the job. But if that isn’t done, or is done in only the most generic and ignorable language (“we do not discriminate on the basis of color, race, creed or gender…”) it is quite possible for a new hire to be unable to foresee all the possible scenarios that might work against him/her down the line. Those possibly fraught scenarios should be spelled out at the start. (“Now, our rule is that on Fridays we all work in the nude. Would that be a problem for you?”) 🙂

          In the Torres case and similar ones, just find a work-around, then update the orientation procedures for the job so that requirements are clearly spelled out for new hires.

          For Pete’s sake,.students have been allowed (reluctantly) to avoid dissecting a live animal — colleges hate allowing this but it’s better than a lawsuit:
          https://www.jstor.org/stable/4450235?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

          At the very least, Torres’ conscience-based objection should not have been subjected to the (attempted) death penalty: “After Torres reportedly brought his concerns to higher-ups in the department, he said in the complaint, the sergeant retaliated by allegedly failing to respond to a call for backup “in an unsafe area in which Torres had to tase two fighting suspects, and a gun was present on the scene.”

  7. Kindle versus paper: I notice these stories, at least in the popular journalism versions, talk about “screens” and “Kindles,” as if these were synonymous. I don’t read books on my computer. The thought of it is horrifying. I don’t read books on my tablet, except in a pinch. I do read many books on my Kindle Paperwhite. This is quite unlike a Kindle Fire, which is essentially a tablet like my Samsung. The Paperwhite has a different screen technology, which is optimized for text and terrible at everything else. It is great for reading the sort of book that you begin at the beginning and read straight through to the end. Anything with lots of charts and pictures, or which you might want to flip back and back and forth, it is not so good at. But for standard novels and for linear nonfiction, it is great.

    How does this relate to the Kindle versus paper brain stuff? I have no idea. Neither, apparently, do the journalists who write these stories.

    • Most of my reading is fiction. My Kindle Paperwhite is great for this. When I read the Bible it is mostly, but, not always a paper book. Ereaders have the advantage of portability, font adjustment, and light for reading in the dark (at night when everyone else is asleep) I am bored with the drama. Read on what works best for you.

    • The original idea for the Kindle was a dedicated e-reader. iPad quickly became a portable internet device and Kindle adapted. Today, the Kindle Paperwhite is a reader and Amazon’s tablet has dropped “Kindle” from it’s name completely. For the past three versions has been simply called the Amazon Fire Tablet.

    • senecagriggs says

      I’ll Amen that. I can’t read a book on a computer or tablet, but somehow the Kindle is different. I love my Kindle

    • I must say… Having a Kindle with all my Pathfinder books on PDF is INFINITELY more convenient than lugging around 3+ hardback rulebooks to game sessions. 😉

  8. Chap, there’s nothing like spending a weekend with the grandchildren. Enjoy! Loved the music. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • Those three “city” song, it doesn’t get any better than that. And the childhood nostalgia that they evoke for me is visceral.

      • Two great talents. I confessing to tearing up.

      • Oh, yes indeed.

        Webb’s songs resemble Bach – the beautiful marriage of creativity and form (and occasionally breaking the rules). The highest musical art in popular song form…

        Dana

        • “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” is one of the most heartbreaking songs. The lyrics are a simple, yet closely observed depiction of the final unraveling of a love. You can see the scenes described in the lyric unfold, as if its happening right in front of you, and your heart aches. It’s so powerfully conveyed, it rises to the level of certain poignant passages in Shakespeare’s tragedies.

    • The three songs, especially “Galveston” are as good as it ever gets. I heard “Galveston” during the Vietnam war, when my brother was over there. (He came back.) What a terrible time.

  9. Iain Lovejoy says

    The Christianity Today article is horrible and I refuse to be nice about it. George MacDonald (a fine 19th Century Scottish theologian whose “Unspoken Sermons” – available at Gutenberg – I thoroughly recommend) said that the unforgivable “sin against the holy spirit” was insisting that which done prompted by the Spirit of love and goodness was a prompting of evil. And this is exactly what the article is. It is right that “being nice” is not truly loving one’s neighbour as oneself, but like Satan in his tempting Jesus they take a partial truth to promote falsehood. Wanting to be pleasant and considerate to one’s neighbour, and being pleased when one makes them happy is a start in loving them, and in doing so we grow to love them more. Christianity Today calls its readers to suppress as evil the spirit of love’s prompting to grow in love if neighbour and instead reject one’s neighbour and judge, harangue and reject them because they do not subscribe to their religion. You’d be better off atheist and closer to.God than subscribing to a religion that promotes that idea, and to the concept of God that underlies it.
    (Oh, and the real subtext of the other article is that reading the Bible on line means instant access to other views on it, reading round it, learning its context and finding out that what you have been told it says ain’t necessarily so. Stick with the print versions and approved commentaries. Reading tiny fragments for proof texting and taking little bits out of context is not a product of the internet.)
    Rant over.

    • Dave Greene says

      I tend to agree with you. And it seems to me that there is already enough “not-niceness” in the church today. So why encourage more?

    • Christiane says

      Would it not be more of a witness to Jesus Christ to treat people of other faiths RESPECTFULLY ?

      I remember a controversy that came from this incident:

      https://youtu.be/tOWPd76HiVI

      these ministers reached out and helped the new neighbors, and when it became known of their kindness, there was a comment made by a fundamentalist that was like ‘what could these people be THINKING???’

      and that came from a minister whose daughter later served as Trump’s spokesperson

      fear is a terrible thing, and kindness may be the most humane thing we can have in our lives, but I have never understood how it is that those who consider themselves ‘saved’ can have no compassion for ‘the others’ who need help in this world

      • “I have never understood how it is that those who consider themselves ‘saved’ can have no compassion for ‘the others’ who need help in this world”

        It’s an old old trap – you convince yourself that you were saved/chosen/etc based on some merit of yours/everyone else is even worse than you. There are warnings against this attitude going all the way back to Genesis and all the way up to Romans and Hebrews.

  10. I am so over mapping a “Billy Graham” rule from the 1960s to a modern business context. Rev. Graham had specific reasons related to ministry leaders in public view from that time. I am dealing with a young government employee now, ugh.

    • Christiane says

      a lot of ‘modern’ fundamentalism is given over to affectations and protestations that seek ‘attention’ from others but it backfires when the mannerisms are ‘whiny’ and ‘silly’ or worse, like Torres, proclaiming a ‘rule’ that ‘excuses’ him from his duty professionally ‘because of his faith’ . . . . strange religion this, the fearfulness, the exclusiveness, the mistrust of ‘appearances’; when the whole Christian history is all about going out INTO the world without hesitation

      the contrast says much

    • Allen, it seems you have a government job. What do you think would happen if a woman asked what Torres , the police officer, asked? How do you think the “typical” government agency would respond? If I follow you correctly Billy Graham “rule” was specific to his time and private organization. To me personally, we should make no accommodation in government service for any religious reason, do not take the job. thanks

  11. CM,

    Your picture labeled Fort Wayne Bridge has the city of Pittsburgh in the background… not sure if that was intentional…..

    • I doubt it. That’s a picture taken directly from the Ft Wayne city website

      • It is a view of Pittsburgh as you are coming from the north down Interstate 279 and crossing the Veterans bridge. You can see the tops of the convention center, the old US Steel building (UPMC now) and the the Gulf Tower with its multi colored lights on top that shows the weather…

  12. In the fifties and sixties we often drove from our home in Arkansas to Michigan where our grandparents lived. A large fraction of the trip Dad would have the radio on WOWO of Ft Wayne. I have fuzzy memories of pop music, news, commentary and interesting discussions. Don’t remember the details but the thought of it gives me a warm feeling and positive nostalgia. No doubt those travels helped form me.

    • I enjoyed tuning in distant AM radio stations as a child. I remember hearing Fort Wayne Komets hockey games on WOWO back in the day.

  13. Today I will be Seneca
    Consider some of the numbers that political scientist Ryan Burge has been crunching from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES), which surveys over 64,000 Americans every two years. Not only do 49% of ELCA respondents in the 2018 CCES identify as Republican (vs. 42% as Democrats), but even more approve of Donald Trump: 52% of those Lutherans, 35% strongly. When Burge drilled down to look at religious behavior, he found that ELCA support for Trump was strongest among those who attended church most often and weakest among those who show up just once or twice a year.

    • None of this surprises me. I know there are lots of Trump supporters in our ELCA congregation, and I don’t imagine its much different from other ELCA congregations. But what of it? I fully expect him to win in 2020; the economy tanking would be the only serious threat to his reelection.

    • senecagriggs says

      Wow; who knew. I think generally the people in the pews, regardless of the denomination, are probably more conservative than the national leaders; who tend to be politicians. ,

      • It’s much more a function of region and demographics than denomination and “pew vs pulpit”.

    • So, mainstream “mainline” churches can also be captive to white middle class suburban culture and biases. I’ve seen this out in the wild, so the survey results do not surprise me.

  14. Burro (Mule) says
  15. Burro (Mule) says

    Isaac Hayes’ cover of By The Time I GEt To Phoenix (short version).

    The power of love.

  16. Burro (Mule) says

    Don Ho’s version of Galveston with the original AWOL lyrics

    No disrespect to Glen Campbell.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      In memory of an old friend who did exactly what Jimmy Webb wrote about, except that he didn’t return to Galveston but to, uh, somewhere else.

  17. Dave Greene says

    I agree with the article in the Atlantic, it seems “Meritocracy” has metastasized into “neo-Aristocracy.” This is a shame.

    • It’s as much a function of the assumption that the playing field is already level, as it is the assumption that “only the best should prosper”.

  18. Ft. Wayne–just a hop, skip, and a jump from Auburn…

  19. senecagriggs says

    Chaplain Mike and the Billy Graham rule. [ I use C.M. because he’s the blog-father here; ]

    Some questions:

    1 ] If CM has a secretary would you prefer her to be married vs divorced, older [ than CM ] vs younger.
    In small churches Pastors and Secretaries spend a lot of time alone in each other’s presence by necessity.

    If she’s not his mother’s age; should he go out to lunch with her on a regular basis?

    2] In his pastoral counseling: should he see a female despite the absence of anybody else in the building at the time of the counseling?

    3} Should he travel to conferences sharing transportation, hotels, meals while accompanied only by a female from his church [ nobody else is going ].

    4] Should he routinely make solo pastoral visits to the home of unmarried/divorced females?

    5] How long should he counsel a single/divorced female before referring her on to another counselor?

    ____________-

    So there’s 5 scenarios for CM as pastor of his church.

    Should he attempt to adhere to the Billy Graham rules or is that “old paths” no longer needing to be followed in our modern culture.

    • senecagriggs says

      Some general assumptions I make about Mike.

      He finds comely women attractive.

      As pastor, many of his congregants view him as a more mature, Godly spiritual figure. Many, Many women wish their husband was a God fearing icon.

      CM is at an age where his attractiveness due to his profession, presence, people skills are at or approaching their Zenith.

      CM may feel deeply lonely at times; one of the curses of being a pastor. He has vulnerabilities.

      ____________-

      So there’s my general assessment of C.M.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says

        Not on, Seneca, not on. Don’t include others in your mind games in this way. It is most unbecoming.

      • Here’s my general assessment of CM: He is an honest person. If he had temptations, he would take them to God and to Gail. But maybe he wouldn’t have these temptations at all, because he is a mature human being, and if the wisp of that kind of thought even crossed his mind he would immediately remember he LOVES Gail and could never do anything like that to her.

        There are men out there, Sen, who can keep it in their pants. They don’t imagine things about the female in front of them, are not afraid of females, and they don’t objectify females and reduce every element of relationship with them to the possibility of s*x. Again, fallout from the faith of the first occupants of this country, (Calvinist) Puritans, who operated as if everything is a matter of LAW.

        And WHY are you even putting up this unseemly scenario here? Sheesh!!! It seems to me you are for some reason baiting CM or others here, and I don’t think CM should even dignify this with a response.

        Dana

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          Exactly. It seems some people have their own problems with filthy imagination…

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Many of The Righteous(TM) do.

            “Don’t think of Pink Elephants,
            Don’t think of Pink Elephants,
            Don’t think of Pink Elephants,
            Don’t think of Pink Elephants,
            Don’t think of Pink Elephants…”

        • “It seems to me you are for some reason baiting CM or others here”

          It’s what he does.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Again, fallout from the faith of the first occupants of this country, (Calvinist) Puritans, who operated as if everything is a matter of LAW.

          And LAW + “I WANNA!” = search for Loopholes.

          “I don’t pay a lawyer to tell me what I want to do is illegal. I pay a lawyer to tell me how to get away with what I want to do!”
          — some 19th Century Captain of Industry

      • You poke around in an imaginary version of CM’s head, and find the things you put there. Gee, what surprise.

      • Seneca, you are a borderline sick individual if you don’t find anything wrong with this post.

        • My apologies for reacting like that. I find it weird and creepy for someone do this publicly. I recommend deleting this thread as it doesn’t glorify God in the least.

      • Seneca, that reads like a horoscope.

      • It appears you missed the point of the article. It had nothing to do with a pastor invoking the Billy Graham Rule. The man is a deputy sheriff.

        If Mike Pence is so terrified of breaking his marriage vows that he won’t meet alone with a woman in course of his daily duties, then perhaps he should resign from office.

    • I’ve been watching soccer games today, but I appreciate you analyzing my situation and my psyche, Seneca.

      Really?

      I think this is the most bogus issue ever. Of course people should be careful and aware of sexual pitfalls in all situations. But I have always worked around women far more than men — it has been the way of small churches, and when I came into healthcare, it was even more so.

      When I started at our hospice 15 years ago, there were only three of us men (one gay) among all the women who worked in our agency. I have always made visits with nurses in shared cars. I meet with them for coffee and discussion, I take new employees (male and female) to lunch as a regular part of welcoming them to the team, I meet with my colleagues for lunches and after work drinks (including with females), I have private meetings with my bosses (females), and I visit in homes regularly where I am the only male in sight.

      My wife is a counselor who sees males and females as part of her counseling practice and meets with them in private sessions. She is also a nurse, and we all know that medical professionals treat the whole human body and must therefore find themselves at times in highly personal situations.

      Are there dangers? Of course. And maybe I am naive. But I would prefer to think that it is not much of an issue for me or my wife because we love each other and trust each other to keep our covenant of marriage.

      If people aren’t ready to enter into situations in the workplace where they have to deal personally and sometimes privately with the opposite sex, then they should seek different employment.

      I do think it is a little bit different for people who are in the public spotlight, and who have to be wary of others trying to catch them in compromising situations or ruin their reputations. So they may have to put up a few more barriers, especially in casual encounters. But they are still going to have to work with the opposite sex, and I believe God made it so that this is the way it should be. Gen 1 — full and equal partners, both made to represent the image of God, both commissioned to bless the earth.

    • Okay, I will answer your scenarios:

      1 ] If CM has a secretary would you prefer her to be married vs divorced, older [ than CM ] vs younger.

      I’ve had both older and younger office assistants. As a chaplain I work with women of all adult ages and situations.

      If she’s not his mother’s age; should he go out to lunch with her on a regular basis?

      I don’t really go out with any women besides my wife alone on a regular basis. Not because of any rule I’ve imposed, just because it’s not necessary. By the way, I’m 63. The vast majority of women I work with are younger or, at most, close to my age. My mother will soon be 87.

      2] In his pastoral counseling: should he see a female despite the absence of anybody else in the building at the time of the counseling?

      I can’t imagine a scenario like this in most churches or why it would be necessary to do that. Again, it’s more common sense than a rule.

      3} Should he travel to conferences sharing transportation, hotels, meals while accompanied only by a female from his church [ nobody else is going ].

      Again, I can’t imagine doing this or why it would be like that. As a chaplain, I have traveled with 2 women coworkers on a trip to a conference.

      4] Should he routinely make solo pastoral visits to the home of unmarried/divorced females?

      I have done this. It’s a matter of wisdom and discernment. There are probably certain women with whom I would not set up visits this way, if I thought it might prompt temptation or some other kind of problem. (Nor would I ask an alcoholic to meet me in a bar for counsel.)

      5] How long should he counsel a single/divorced female before referring her on to another counselor?

      I don’t believe pastors or chaplains should be involved in long-term counseling for any reason. It is not the calling.

      Seneca, I don’t disagree with you that pastors and people in the spotlight in various ways must be careful, at times even extra careful. The example in today’s post is not about someone in that kind of position, nor are your examples really appropriate to me. I work on a team, as did the officer on police force. We both have colleagues that are women and men. We work together as teams and that sometimes means pairing up people of the opposite sex to get the work done properly. That’s life.

      • Iain Lovejoy says

        Anyone who can’t keep it in his (or her) pants when alone with a member of the opposite sex has no business being a pastor.
        Leaving aside any bizarre fantasies derived from (ahem) “erotic literature” nobody except a rapist or sexual predator who planned it in advance suddenly leaps across a table and throws themselves at their dinner companion in what until that point was an entirely professional relationship. Those public figures that witter on about “moments of madness” and somehow being magically compelled to sleep with their parishioners who tempted them with their evil sexual wiles are simply lying. “Anyone can be tempted” is true but a convenient excuse – it’s perfectly true that anyone can think “he / she looks kinda hot”, but attraction develops and needs encouragement to get any further than that, and decent honest people will simply remind themselves they love their spouse and / or are supposed to be professional, and move on.
        If e.g. a married man was concerned he was becoming attracted to a coworker then he might sensibly avoid spending too much time socially with *that person* (and even then, the problem is with him, and he needs to sort it). Anyone so incapable of minimal self-control that they will inevitably set out to sleep with any attractive co-worker they encounter given the opportunity is unfit for public employment.

  20. senecagriggs says

    None of you have attempted to deal with the various scenarios. This isn’t about C.M., it about the reasons for the existence of the Graham/Pence rules. CM is just the pastor MODEL [ in this case ] faced with the realities of pastoral life.
    _________

    Dana, if you wish to theorize that C.M. is beyond temptation – so be it. You’re not a guy.

    ___________________

    But for Klasie, Eeyore; surely, as men yourselves, is any pastor beyond temptation? Are moral hedges not appropriate?

    • The reason for the “Graham/Pence ” rule is the same reason women have to wear covering in public in Muslim lands. It is considered easier for women to be restricted in the public sphere than for men to be expected to discipline their sexuality.

      • Nailed it.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        It is considered easier for women to be restricted in the public sphere than for men to be expected to discipline their sexuality.

        Because I’m in charge and I WANNA!

        Kinda like…

        “To an alky, the Consitutional Right to My Next Drink cannot be infringed in any way.”
        — Steven King, recovering alcoholic

    • Not beyond temptation – having enough virtue of character and, more than that, enough love for his wife not to act on it. The real hedge that actually prevents acting on temptation is something above and beyond simple morality and rules – it is LOVE that enables and upholds the discipline and moral action, not the other way around.

      And what Stephen said.

      And you are completely mistaken if you think women aren’t tempted in this way. Don’t patronize me or any other woman with the “you’re not a guy” bs.

      Dana

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      Men that primarily think of women as temptation are men that think with their nether regions. Men that think of women primarily as things to be penetrated for sexual pleasure. For all their supposed piety and morality, they are but chained beasts.

      I maintain that any sex before personal connection is problematic – and that connection must be deep, on all levels. Infatuation and physical attraction are not connection.

  21. senecagriggs says

    None of you have yet provided a response to the 5 scenarios.

    None of you have yet responded to the need for moral/behavioral hedges.

    _____________

    57% percent of pastors, 64% of youth pastors in U.S. struggle …
    Search domain http://www.christiantoday.com/article/57-percent-of-pastors-and-64-of-youth-pastors-in-u-s-struggle-with-porn-addiction-survey-shows/78178.htmhttps://www.christiantoday.com/article/57-percent-of-pastors-and-64-of-youth-pastors-in-u-s-struggle-with-porn-addiction-survey-shows/78178.htm
    More than 40 percent of adult Christians think churches should dismiss pastors who are found to be addicted to porn. In contrast, only 8 percent of pastors think fellow pastors found using porn should resign, saying they could still be saved from sin through counselling and giving them a sense of accountability.

    • CM responded.

      I talked about hedges needing to be based on love, not simply morality and rules. As CM wrote, trust goes along with love.

      Everyone struggles with sexual temptation. The point is, how does one handle it, and where can one get help to handle it? Avoiding females is impossible, and being in constant fear that they are the source of temptation is neither healthy – both spiritually and psychologically – nor kind. The problem is within each person, not “out there” somewhere.

      My experience is that imposition of more rules and exhortation to more Bible study don’t get at the root of the issue. Simply telling a person “don’t” isn’t enough. There has to be a reason why (LOVE and a deeply theological explanation of what appropriate love is, and what it means to have a body and be human), and a plan (including, first of all, the cultivation of virtue through spiritual formation, and then deciding on the specific elements of action, which could vary according to the person and the situation), because of LOVE for everyone involved (including oneself).

      When I was an Evangelical, the why and the how were seldom addressed, and when they were, it was in the most cursory and surface manner. There was very little help in cutting through the mass confusion in every area of our culture regarding sexuality – including Evangelical culture.

      Dana

      • And supporting the theological discussion and a plan for meeting temptation (all things that have to do with thoughts in our heads, as does merely reading Scripture) is a life based in participation in God’s very life through the sacraments. This is something Evangelicals don’t want to deal with, but the fact is, there is a lot of power there – power to enable people to cultivate virtue and to live in love and humility – and, yes, to pray more as well.

        D.

        • I don’t mean this to be snarky, and the fact that I’m prefacing my remark that way indicates that I fear it may be perceived as such. But I don’t want to be afraid to make an observation on the basis of a potentially bad reception of it. It’s something that bothers me about what you’re saying, and it’s possible that I’m perceiving things in a way that is unfair or inaccurate; you’ve helped me understand things differently on other occasions, so here goes.

          You lay the blame for a disordered view of sexuality and the human body at the feet of America’s puritanical history, and its Puritan forefathers less than incarnational view of humanity, in your comments above. Then you connect that with an over-reliance on following laws, as exampled by putting up hedges between men and women in the case we’ve been discussing at length today. Yet, in your own Orthodox tradition, women are prohibited from setting foot on the monastery peninsula of Mt. Athos, and have been prohibited for a thousand years. And the spirituality and holiness of the monks on Mt. Athos is honored and emulated, to the degree that it is possible, by Orthodox people around the world,inside and outside of monasteries. But is not the prohibition of women on Mt. Athos a putting up of a hedge against the possibility of the monks there being sexually tempted by their presence, not unlike the puritanical attitude in American Christianity? Or am misunderstanding something here?

          • I suppose you could say that the monks of Mt Athos have hedges to protect themselves from temptations; but it’s more like hedges to protect themselves from distractions from devotion to 24/7 prayer. But any aware monks also realize they don’t need to have women physically present to be tempted by thoughts about objectifying and using women; those thoughts can arise any at any time or place. Again, Orthodoxy does not have any doctrine or teaching that women are somehow less than men, or less than human, so that idea is not part of the picture on Mt Athos.

            Besides that, Mt Athos is dedicated to the Mother of God. So she is present with those monks always… and they wouldn’t allow themselves to have wayward thoughts about *her*.

            Hope that helps. Thanks.

            Dana

            • Dana, It seems that what happens at the level of authorized teaching and doctrine, and what is religious habit and custom among the Orthodox in countries and regions where Orthodoxy is the religious inheritance of the people, are sometimes different things. For instance, though it may not be the official teaching and doctrine of Orthodoxy, there is a strong element of misogyny in Russian culture and practice of religion, and it has existed for a long time alongside Orthodoxy. The church may not officially teach such misogyny, but where it permeates the way the people of the church, who are in a very real sense actually the church itself, practices faith without being resisted by the clergy leadership, it is almost a moot point that it is not the official teaching. One comes to suspect that it is not resisted because the leadership shares that attitude, even though not officially, and also that they may be involved in promulgating it, even though unofficially.

              However that may be, thank you for your reply.

  22. Dana, thanks for your thoughts and if you do not mind me asking what denomination are you now? In my working life, I was on many a business trip. I established my own , private Billy Graham rule by avoiding the after work hour activity that would and actually did tempt me. No way I would go to a private dinner with many a wonderful and attractive women I have known. I just came up with an excuse or would go if it was a group thing, like I was in a youth group. I always placed the burden on myself. I am sure the women in my working life never felt the need to avoid alone time with me to avoid temptation. I am like an alcoholic , I felt I needed to avoid the temptation . That does not mean at work or in a group setting I would avoid or lessen my contact with the women. The main reason for my actions was I love my wife and would not want to lose her over my possible booze driven, caught in the moment action. I married at age 30 and know my self, so I set up the rule. It worked been married 32 years.
    Also my wife was a attorney with a major firm. If I could have had 1 offer to be unfaithful, she would get 1000 to my one. I say that as a man. I call it what is good for the goose is good for the gander. My intelligent wife always thought I was overacting but over the years many of my colleagues yielded to their work life relationship This may sound sexist but I thought it was easier for my wife to avoid temptation as she was a strong woman, where I felt weak in this area.
    My point is not to make this about me but to highlight why individuals must take responsibility and awareness that they control their actions and the consequences if they do not. I think your post was alluding to preparing yourself though faith to resist temptation by living your faith. My act were based on what would work for me plus a long ago fundamental morality from my youth.
    Wordy way to say I agree with your post , I think, thanks

    • Randy,

      You wrote, “The main reason for my actions was I love my wife…” That’s exactly the point I was making about morality being undergirded by LOVE. Also, your point that you are highlighting “why individuals must take responsibility and awareness that they control their actions and the consequences if they do not” is exactly about cultivating virtue. So we basically agree.

      I have no problem with people deciding that, on the basis of knowing themselves, they should avoid time alone with the opposite sex. I have actually done that with one particular person I had a lot of dealings with in a past church – not because he was doing anything to tempt me, but from my side I knew I needed to do that, at least for a time. My problem is with saying that that absolutely must be the case for every single male/female encounter – making a law about it.

      It actually is possible for men and women to have cordial encounters on different levels of friendship, but friendship has somehow gone by the wayside in our culture in the last few decades, with the sexualization of every aspect of relationships. I applaud you for taking a prudent, cautious route that isn’t based on a poor view of women. God bless you.

      I was raised Catholic, left RC when I was in college, and spent +30 years as an Evangelical. I’m 63, same age as CM. I was received into the Orthodox Church ten years ago, after nearly a decade of wandering in the “Evangelical wilderness” you may see referenced on the blog. I had no intention of being anything other than an Evangelical Protestant; Orthodoxy came at me out of left field, so to speak. The more I learned about it, the more I realized that I already believed the theology – which, at its depth, can be boiled down to: God is good (really, truly good!!!) and loves mankind. But there’s so much to that!

      Dana

  23. senecagriggs says

    Actually Rick Ro, It’s not so much that I am “sick” as it is I’ve hung out with a lot of pastors. I know their stories; far to well.

    If more of them had taken counsel from Randy; they’d have been better off.

    Scripture makes it clear; all of mankind has a “bent” towards sin. It helps if you are well aware of your weaknesses and limitations. If you’re an alcoholic; don’t go witnessing in bars.

    • –> “If you’re an alcoholic; don’t go witnessing in bars.”

      Yep, I hear ya. And again, my apologies for the harsh words. Your post struck me as weird and creepy — maybe something better shared in person over a beer or privately via email than in a public forum.

    • So, many Pastors are just one step away from sexually harassing any women they’re on their own with in various scenarios? That’s what is uppermost at those times & places? Wow.

      Clearly they should not be Pastors if they can’t care for the sheep without exploiting them.

      I suppose at least you are pointing at the right sinner here – it is these guys who need to get a grip, not their unfortunate female workmates or parishioners. I suppose by having this rule & letting people know it at least lets others know they are predators.