September 26, 2020

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 1, 2020

Comet Neowise flies behind Mt. Shasta in an 8-second landscape photograph taken by Jesse Smith on July 10, 2020. Copyright Jesse Smith

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 1, 2020

• • •

Picture of the week…

Rest in peace until you rise to see justice and shalom reign, John Lewis.

The casket of Rep. John Lewis moves over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Quotes from the week…

“And someday, when we do finish that long journey towards freedom, when we do form a more perfect union, whether it’s years from now or decades or even if it takes another two centuries, John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America.” (Barack Obama, Eulogy for John Lewis)

“Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time. We’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3.” (Sen. Mitch McConnell)

“Jesus was white. Did he have ‘white privilege’ even though he was entirely without sin? Is the United Methodist Church covering that? I think it could be important.” (Eric Metaxas)

“I have considered my seventeen years as pastor here to be the greatest joy I’ve had in ministry. But this has been a difficult time for parents, volunteers, staff, and others, and I believe that the unity needed for Menlo to flourish will be best served by my leaving.” (Pastor John Ortberg)

“Churches in coastal cities during World War Two accommodated evening black-out requirements in case enemy planes hit the coasts. Those churches didn’t insist the government had no right to ‘restrict our worship.’” (Jonathan Leeman)

“The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come.” (WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus)

“From everything we’ve seen now — in the animal data, as well as the human data — we feel cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine by the end of this year and as we go into 2021. I don’t think it’s dreaming.” (Dr. Anthony Fauci)

Understatement of the week…

MLB play of the week…

Cartoons of the week…

Steve Kelley Copyright 2020 Creators Syndicate

Christopher Weyant Copyright 2020 Cagle Cartoons

Fake news/hoax/conspiracy theory of the week…

“America’s Frontline Doctors Snake-Oil Salesmen”

Response of the week to social media “researchers”…

Memory of the Week: Pastor Dan & Chaplain Mike back in seminary days…

How hot has it been? Engineering feat of the week…

Coolest art of the week…

Jaw-dropping landscape photo of the week…

‘Surprised by a full moon at goblin valley’. The top prize in this year’s landscape contest was awarded to an stunningly well-timed shot of a man standing in front of a magnificent full moon. Australian photographer Luke Simpson says the shot was entirely spontaneous, as he and a friend stumbled across this magical moment while hiking through Goblin Valley in the US.

Album of the week (and of the year, so far)…

Taylor Swift’s new album folklore has generated a lot of conversation. It may be the perfect pandemic/quarantine album. At Vulture, Craig Jenkins asks, “…is she, like the rest of us, just missing a life where we could go and behave as we pleased, responding to the jarring shift in the mechanics of friendships, relationships, work life, and nightlife by sliding under her covers and playing sad songs until the outside world fades from view?”

The pandemic has enabled the 30-year-old singer-songwriter to downsize, shut out the outside world, hook up with indie-rock royalty (The National’s guitarist Aaron Dessner) and pour her experiences and passions into a stripped-down, doleful and intelligent new indie-folk style that accommodates multiple character studies as well as her trademark first-person confessional yarns.

Michael Sumsion, Pop Matters

I admit it. I’m helpless to resist moody, singer-songwriter storytelling tunes saturated with ambience and emotion — something I never would have expected from a pop icon like Taylor Swift. But that’s what she has delivered here. Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield calls these “the most head-spinning, heartbreaking, emotionally ambitious songs of her life.” Made in collaboration with the National’s Aaron Dessner, she also teams up with her long time collaborator Jack Antonoff and does a duet, fittingly, with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, to deliver an atmospheric, reflective collection that establishes her as a songwriter to be reckoned with.

Here is Taylor Swift’s own prologue to folklore…

It started with imagery. Visuals that popped into my mind and piqued my curiosity.

Stars drawn around scars. A cardigan that still bears the scent of loss twenty years later. Battleships sinking into the ocean, down, down, down. The tree swing in the woods of my childhood. Hushed tones of “let’s run away” and never doing it. The sun drenched month of August, sipped away like a bottle of wine. A mirrored disco ball hovering above a dance floor. A whiskey bottle beckoning. Hands held through plastic. A single thread that, for better or for worse, ties you to your fate.

Pretty soon these images in my head grew faces or names and became characters. I found myself not only writing my own stories, but also writing about or from the perspective of people I’ve never met, people I’ve known, or those I wish I hadn’t. An exiled man walking the bluffs of a land that isn’t his own, wondering how it all went so terribly, terribly wrong. An embittered tormentor showing up at the funeral of his fallen object of obsession. A seventeen-year-old standing on a porch, learning to apologize. Lovestruck kids wandering up and down the evergreen High Line. My grandfather, Dean, landing at Guadalcanal in 1942. A misfit widow getting gleeful revenge on the town that cast her out.

A tale that becomes folklore is one that is passed down and whispered around. Sometimes even sung about. The lines between fantasy and reality blur and the boundaries between truth and fiction become almost indiscernible. Speculation, over time, becomes fact. Myths, ghost stories, and fables. Fairytales and parables. Gossip and legend. Someone’s secrets written in the sky for all to behold.

In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result, a collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness. Picking up a pen was my way of escaping into fantasy, history, and memory. I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve.

Now it’s up to you to pass them down.

Taylor Swift, folklore (Prologue)

Comments

  1. :”“Jesus was white. Did he have ‘white privilege’ even though he was entirely without sin? Is the United Methodist Church covering that? I think it could be important.” (Eric Metaxas)”

    Is Metaxas trying to give a ‘dog whistle’ to his ilk? Pretty loud dog whistle, I’d say. TOO loud.

    I think we all ‘get it’. It wasn’t that hard either.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      I am confident Mr. Metaxas did not read the book he is commenting on.

      • It’s a good thing, too, because if he had, he would’ve made even more foolish comments.

    • Are Evangelicals blinded by their religion? What’s with intelligent people being so stupid?

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > What’s with intelligent people being so stupid?

        That’s sorta what the book is about. There are legitimate critiques of the book, yet Mr. Metaxas didn’t even engage with it… again, part of the point of the book.

        > Are Evangelicals blinded by their religion?

        Evangelicalism and White Privilege are an inseparable whole. White Privilege is a founding principle of American Evangelicalism.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Are Evangelicals blinded by their religion?

        In short, YES.

    • The case is Metaxas is interesting as a cautionary tale about the dangers of the right-wing hackery hole. Metaxas is an educated man. He isn’t just some yokel spouting off. But go down that hole and this kind of thing is pretty much inevitable.

      The same thing happened with Victor Davis Hanson. His early work was on early Greek Hoplite warfare. it is superb. This is how I first became aware of him. He was being hailed as the successor to John Keegan in military history. Then 9/11 happened and Hanson had an epiphany that it was indistinguishable from Xerxes invading Greece. It has been downhill ever since. I imagine he is well compensated financially, but he has lost all credibility outside the right wing hackery machine.

      • Without intelligent, educated people participating, the greatest evils in human history would not have occurred.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          It takes Smart People to deploy Stupidity at Scale.

          • But the people in the current administration are demonstrably not smart. The handing of the pandemic has been maliciously stupid: malicious in that it results in unnecessary deaths and suffering, and stupid in that it is contrary to the administration’s partisan political interests. Just imagine the polling numbers right now, if we were reopening safely, with the economy going full blast to make up for lost time.

            • Tom Parker says

              I think most if not all Republicans in political office know they put themselves in peril to not go along with the current President. I am not old or young-62 years old, but I never remember a President possessing so much power among his Party.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                One Twitter Tweet to the Base and the streets fill with armbands and AR-15s.

                One Twitter Tweet to the Base means the death of any GOP career.

                One Twitter Tweet to the Base and the churches join in as Enforcers upon pain of Eternal Hell.

                • Tom Parker says

                  I never thought I would see the days we are living in. I have been wandering around in a daze for the last four years and question much of what I was lead to believe is “Christianity.”
                  I also live in you know who country.

                • With the exception of someone like Romney whose base is different in a significant way from the rest of the GOP and who does not require funding from the national party to win his next election. Most in his base aren’t going to forget that Romney was the first LDS presidential candidate.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says

              > it is contrary to the administration’s partisan political interests

              There is some risk here of defining someone else’s “interests” [goals] in this statement.

              Perhaps it does align with their interests. For one, if there interests are to hurt those who oppose them, it works / is working. Sure, there is some collateral damage; but they’ve still got ~100 days.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                What do you mean “the administration’s”?
                “The Administration” is One Man and the Interests of One Man Only.

                • Tom Parker says

                  He is their God. They need not look elsewhere. They need not struggle with the messy issues. He has greatly simplified what to do or not to do. Who needs the Bible other than to hold it up for others to see you with it?

                  • HUG, i think it far more likely that DJT is being carefully manipulated by a number of his so-called chief advisers. I mean, why else hire mercenaries from Betsy DeVos’s brother?

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                      The guy always did strike me as the kind of boss who’s a real sucker for flattery.

            • Richard, i think enough of them are smart, and cynical to the core – enough to try and manipulate the WH for both personal and political gain.

              Stupididity and viciousness together are also a big part of it.

        • Norma Cenva says

          Albert Speer was one such intelligent and educated man.

      • “If we are to deal adequately with folly, we must understand its nature. This much is certain, that it is a moral rather than an intellectual defect. There are people who are mentally agile but foolish, and people who are mentally slow but very far from foolish — a discovery that we make to our surprise as a result of particular situations. We thus get the impression that folly is likely to be, not a congenital defect, but one that is acquired in certain circumstances where people make fools of themselves or allow others to make fools of them. We notice further that this defect is less common in the unsociable and solitary than in individuals or groups that are inclined or condemned to sociability. It seems, then, that folly is a sociological rather than a psychological problem, and that it is a special form of the operation of historical circumstances: on people, a psychological by-product of definite external factors.”

        https://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2017/02/15/spell-bonhoeffer-folly/

      • I’m not sure I’d label Eric Metaxas as right-wing or left-wing. He occupies his own unique place on the spectrum. And I hope he wakes up before it’s too late.

      • I do *not* want to read Metaxas’ book on Luther. He’s not a legit biographer, i think, as his other books are more about his ideology than they are about the supposed subjects. While i am no expert, i have seen real historians and serious biographers express grave misgivings about his “bio.” of Bonhoeffer and some of his other titkes.

        Metaxas seems to forego painstaking research in order to popularize certain figures and make them exemplars of his own beliefs, both political and religious.

        There’s a reason historian Mark Noll wrote The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Mextaxas’ work is a case in point.

      • Dana Ames says

        I don’t listen to him much, but I do know that Metaxas sometimes just likes to provoke – part of his wiseacre streak. I think that’s what he did here – toss a fat firecracker and see what will come of it. My book group read his Bonhoeffer work; underwhelming (especially compared with Eberhard Bethge’s, which I read in my 20s).

        Metaxas is one of those who make me do a mental face-palm. Not just because he’s so undiplomatic, but because nobody explained anything to him when he was growing up Orthodox. I know this sort of thing well – so much is taken for granted, especially in ethnic parishes. I could just tear out my hair. I listened to his somewhat recent interview of Terry Mattingly, in which Terry mentioned something in passing about some point of Orthodox liturgy (regarding holy week or Pascha, I think) and commented briefly on its meaning. Eric said, with real curious surprise in his voice, “I didn’t know that!” ARRRGH! His intellectual curiosity would have been more than satisfied in EO, but the circumstances in which he grew up left a gaping hole that made Evangelicalism attractive to him.

        Dana

        • I read his Bonhoeffer biography; there are two copies of it in our church library. He tried his best to turn DB into an evangelical.

          • He also played fast and loose with facts, per scholars of Bonhoeffer’s life and work.

            • He was just trying to monetize Bonhoeffer for consumption by a largely evangelical audience. He tailored the facts for sale to that target audience. He’s not honest, he’s just selling wares and having fun.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                He was just trying to monetize Bonhoeffer for consumption by a largely evangelical audience. He tailored the facts for sale to that target audience.

                Sounds like a particularly-odious form of Fanservice called “Masturbating your Audience”. Of which both Left Behind and Atlas Shrugged (which are the same escape/revenge fantasy targeting different audience demographics) are type examples.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            He tried his best to turn DB into an evangelical.

            This is a known mind game called “All Great Men Are”.

        • I don’t think many kids actually pay attention in church, or to church, unless made to.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            +1

          • I know I didn’t.

          • Dana Ames says

            Some of us actually did. We all have different personalities and abilities, even as children.

            Metaxas is smart, and there’s a lot to see, hear, smell, taste and touch in an Orthodox service, plenty to engage a smart child, especially if parents and priest explain according to the child’s developmental level.

            Dana

            • Dana, i understand what you’re saying, but it clearly doesn’t change what he absorbed then, let alone how he views thing now.

              I sang in the children’s choir at the Lutheran church my family attended, and enjoyed that very much, but the rest of the service? Not so much, then. As an adult, i find it much more engaging, but to be honest, a lot of things are just…. dull.

              Music makes a huge difference, for me at least, along with communion. I can take or leave the rest, even now, and i bet many other people feel similarly but don’t discuss it for fear of offending.

              I like liturgical services very much, but no liturgy is perfect, 9r at least, that’s my personal view.

              • Aside from the matter of what children might like, my wife is a musician and loves music, but one of her favorite services when we used to attend an Episcopal church where she was not musician was an 8AM spoken Eucharist with no music at all, just a brief liturgy and short homily concluding in Communion. I myself would be perfectly happy with a Quaker worship of mostly silence, liturgy not included.

    • >”Jesus was white.”

      Wtf? Did he really say this ridiculous thing? Was Jesus American too?

  2. I like that pickup truck with the A/C unit in the rear window. That’s ingenious. It would come in handy if that driver was in my neck of the woods, where we’ve had a miserably hot and humid summer so far.

  3. BTW, for all the iMonk Deadheads…Aaron Dessner and his brother put together a wonderful compilation album of Dead covers.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead_(2016_album)

    • As a teenager I had some friends who were serious Deadheads. My problem wasn’t with the lifestyle or listening to the music. It was that they didn’t do anything else. I have never understood folks who only listen to one kind of music or read one kind of book. I remember Nietzsche’s comment about Wagner. “I once knew a man who had the best ear in all of Europe, but that’s all he was – an ear.”

  4. The pic from Goblin Valley is wonderful.

    Great brunch, CM.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      The backlighting from the moon distorts the figure to where it seems taller and slimmer than any human should be. Like a Grey or a Fae.

      And the figure standing there like the “Watchers” of Central California Coast Range lore, strange shadow-figures seen from a distance on mountaintops, standing and watching the valleys below and disappearing to nothingness when approached.

  5. “Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time. We’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3.”

    Empty words. The pattern of Moscow Mitch and the Congressional Republicans (especially the Senators) since before he was elected has been to vocally resist and criticize Trump, gradually soften their criticism and find extenuating circumstances for his behavior and words, and then fully capitulate to him. They’ll do the same this time, if he wants to delay the election. Watch.

    • We’ll, there’s the slight matter of the House being Democrat controlled. Can’t change the election date without both House and Senate approval. And Pelosi would NEVER go along with it.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Agree; this is something he has no path to accomplishing.

        • They can and will try whatever they can to disrupt it. I mean, look at the current WH campaign against the USPS….

          • I agree. Trump has an uncanny way of making paths to places people say he can’t go, even places he doesn’t necessarily really want to go himself. Re: the USPS: I’ve read that many places are not receiving daily mail service anymore, especially in cities, and this at a time when unprecedented levels of mail-in voting is expected due to the pandemic. No coincidence, I’m sure.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        There’s always an October Surprise justifying a “Temporary State of Emergency” and invocation of REX-86.

        Like a false-flag nuclear arm-and-launch?
        After all, DEFCON protocols center around protecting the person of the Commander-in-Chief and nuclear chain of command “So I’m Safe!”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Delay INDEFINITELY, just like so many Third World countries.

      Remember the stories of how “a sitting President is immune to criminal prosecution”?

      President for Life (under a “temporary” State of Emergency) is an obvious solution.

      “President for Life — we really need to try that here.”
      — Donald J Trump
      (I can hear the Christians chorusing “AAAAAA-MENNNN!!!! AND HIS KINGDOM SHALL HAVE NO END (Luke 1:33)!!!!”

      • And that President for Life’s term is usually cut short by a hail of bullets or similar.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          From the loyal followers of the NEXT President for Life.
          Until his term is cut short by the loyal followers of the NEXT President for Life.
          Until his term is cut short by…

          “You can never have just one Coup.”

    • Every time DT tweets some outrageous thing all you have to do is look for the terrible (for him) headline that is has now buried.

      This time is was the worst quarterly GDP results ever. And no one was talking about it. Well almost no one.

  6. Triple play: That is 5*-5*-3*, for those scoring at home. We aren’t likely to get much out of this season, but at least we have an addition to the SABR triple play database. I like the characteristic reaction to triple plays, of puzzling out what just happened. I once heard an unassisted triple play live on the radio. The announcers chewed it over for a minute or two before it dawned on them what they had just seen.

    • Our softball team completed a triple play once and it was just as weird a reaction. I think the only one who really knew what had happened was the guy who got the first two outs, then when he whipped the ball to first for the third out, screamed, “That’s a triple play!” Everyone else was trying to comprehend the “out” process to indeed validate it.

  7. I didn’t know much about John Lewis. Over the last few days I have heard a lot about him. Generally I don’t place a lot of trust in eulogistic words giving anything like the unvarnished about someone, but in this case I feel they may have come pretty close. The descriptions of his spiritual discipline and practice of loving and forgiving his enemies as he was beaten by them for exercising his civil and human rights make me keenly aware of my own deficiencies as a Christian and human being — I can barely tolerate the obnoxious and nosy old woman downstairs from our apartment. RIP, John Lewis.

    • Did I read that the Edmond Pettus Bridge might be re-named for John Lewis? That would be a fitting piece of “cancel culture.” Pettus was not only an officer in the Confederate army but a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Sounds like a good idea.
        The Congressman John Lewis Bridge.

        I would not be surprised to learn the bridge was originally named for Pettus sometime between 1900 & the 1920s, when Southern Defiance Culture was peaking and the Second Klan was rising. Most Confederate Monuments were erected and dedicated around that time.

  8. After giving her music a shot a number of times by doing some sampling listening, and finding it wanting, I’ve become Taylor Swift averse. But as a result of the enormous accolades this new album has received, I’ll give her one more try.

  9. Steve Newell says

    On Thursday, we heard three former POTUS and the current all speak to the public. Based on what they said, we could call Thursday “Three Men and the Baby”.

  10. Whenever the election is held, it is certain that, whichever candidate wins, trust in the electoral process has been undermined to such a degree from one side of the political spectrum to the other that the losing side will not accept the outcome as legitimate.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      And? Personally, there have been at least two presidential elections in this century I already do not accept as legitimate. It is very possible there will be several more illegitimate elections in my remaining life time. That’s just how America “works”.

    • The ultimate problem is that there is a large chunk of the populace who don’t care about the political infrastructure or the consequences of undermining it. They want what they want and will countenance anyone who will give it to them. They were there before Trump got elected, and they’ll still be there after he leaves.

      I fear the only real solution will be to dissolve the Union. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

      • How would it be divided? And once it was, how soon would the new countries start going to war with each other? Who gets the nukes? Alabama?

        • It would be divided as Yugoslavia was divided, locally and bloodily. 🙁 And those are all excellent questions, to which I have no answers. I only know that the two visions of America at play now are utterly irreconcilable even by brute force, but I cannot see either side backing down.

          • As badly as the union is being managed, the divorce would be managed even worse.

          • The true divisions are not really regional in this country, but between cities, suburbs, and exurbs/rural areas. No matter how the country might be divvied up, there will be large areas inhabited by those who don’t want to be governed by the new sovereignty. As a result, there will be no stability in many of the newly divided areas. This would be bad for the everybody.

            • On the west coast it isn’t the states that divide up. It is which part of the state you live in. East or west of the Sierra Mountains in many cases. And from personal experience in Texas and NC it is the larger cities against the rural areas. And much to the consternation of the politicians most recently holding the power the people moving in tend to be those dag nabit city folks.

              And there are similar splits across the country. Georgia vs. Atlanta, northern vs. southern Illinois, south Florida vs. the panhandle, etc…

              • Adam Tauno Williams says

                Interesting trivia/fact: Most legal scholars agree that the Texas legislature – due to the act which made Texas a state – hold the authority to divide Texas into as many as four (4) states.

                Each state is made (declared) a state by a specific act of the legislature, which can have each have its own fine print. Statehood-ness itself is an interesting Rabbit Hole.

                So Texas could – theoretically – give “itself” as a “themselves” – eight Senators. But, there is all the stuff owned/operated by Texas, so… very complicated in practice. It could be interesting as the first Federation of States within the Federation of States, with the sub-Federation sharing a Department of Transportation, etc… One can only imagine the epic in-fighting enabled by such an arraignment.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Divided and CLEANSED(TM).

            The Universe cannot have two Centers.
            Or two One True Ways.

        • flatrocker says

          Not to mention the border fences and passport checkpoints popping up next to the tariff and custom bureaus across all fifty states. The employment opportunities do seem limitless.
          Can’t help but wonder who ends up with the poor.

          • The real question to ask is where the wealthy will end up. My guess is, some seawalled islands with paid private security forces.

            • flatrocker says

              That question was answered long ago. Have you never been to the Hamptons? Or Lake Shore Drive? or Coral Gables? Etc. etc.

              • Those are no longer as isolated as they once were. Hence, my half-joking comment about island fortresses.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Doomsday Bunkers with full medical centers, staffed by servants and guarded by mercenaries made to wear Loyalty Collars (electroshock, high explosive, or both) as the price of being permitted to Survive.

              Search on “super rich doomsday bunkers” sometime.

              • And they are not as interesting as the thralls in “The Gamesters of Triskelion” of Star Trek TOS.

                “Provider One bids three hundred quatloos for the newcomers.”

      • The other big problem with division is that it would give one of the two parties, or a third one, opportunity to form and white ethnostate. If you check the comment section of Rod Dreher’s blog, you will hear many voices in favor of division for precisely the purpose of forming a white ethnostate. White nationalists have been eyeing the Pacific Northwest as the potential site for just such a state since the1980s; they should not be given the opportunity to realize it, and talk of division from any side emboldens them in their hope for realization of it. (Hey Rick Ro., imagine your city, Seattle, and/or the adjoining area taken over by a newly formed white ethnostate. Frightening prospect, isn’t it?)

        • So what’s the alternative? They can’t be reasoned with, and I certainly don’t want it to come down to killing them…

          • And when the freedom fighters trapped inside the new ethnostate appeal to your new state for help in fighting their oppressors, what will you do then?

            • Like I said above, I’m having a very hard time seeing any way out of this mess that doesn’t end in some form of civil conflict. I wish I could see a way out, but I fear things are too far gone. Which leads to the ultimate question – when the shooting starts, what do followers of a crucified Lord do?

              • I think the shooting is going to start too. I think there’s a good chance its epicenter will be the Nov election and its aftermath. And I’m not sure what Christ followers should do, either. There are few absolutes governing behavior in such crisis situations; we have the examples of people like MLK, and Bonhoeffer, to guide is, and those examples lead to very different sets of behavior, yet somehow all faithful to the crucified Lord.

                • Worrying about, and preparing for, our society falling apart in some big and cataclysmic way is a waste of time. What’s much more likely is society falling apart in tens of thousands of tiny ways, instead – increasing overdoses and suicides and domestic violence, children malnourished and mistreated and poorly educated, local economies dying and jobs becoming harder to come by. Instead of trying to prepare for a civil war, we should be looking for all the little ways our own communities and societies need propping up and stepping in to do what we can.

                  I know the idea of some complete and sudden collapse of society can be captivating – and even appealing, for those who imagine it would wipe away their own failures and the successes of others. But the actions we take if that’s what we’re expecting can drive us to pull back from trust and interdependence and community at exactly the moment when those are the things we need in order to maintain the health of our society.

                  • Given our household’s economic fragility, our age, and the health deficits of my wife and myself, we have no choice but to trust, and tread water as best we can. The idea of a complete and sudden collapse terrifies me, because my wife and I would be among the first to be victim to it. But we can’t maintain the health of a society because is not healthy to begin with.

                  • It’s never sudden or complete – until it is. And refusing to consider worst-case scenarios is one reason why we’re in the mess we are right now.

                  • Burro (Mule) says

                    Stop making sense.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                  And I’m not sure what Christ followers should do, either.

                  Christians have already made their decision: “HAIL TRUMP!”

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          Why not given then North and South Dakota? I mean – that’s WHITE!

          The Pacific Northwest, no way, the cities are two powerful [wealthy] and there is too much infrastructure there; that’s a pipe-dream for them.

          If you carved Seattle and Portland out the Pacific Northwest the remain would be flat-a__-broke, Which, honestly, I would enjoy watching, but I doubt even the White Supremacists like Dreher are that bad at Math.

          • They’ve purchased a lot of real estate in the Pacific Northwest over the decades, and they have militia compounds throughout the region. They’ll fight to keep it if it comes to that, I’m sure they’ll want port cities.

        • Oregon was founded as a whites-only territory/state.

          Just saying…. although the Native Americans in the Pacific NW have more than a few things to say about that, too.

          Alson with all the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are a large part of the entire West Coast’s population.

      • Someone else is asking this question, as I discovered earlier today. Here’s a link. (Can I do this??) This is both thoughtful and disturbing. Unlike a couple getting a divorce, there are no laws governing a break up like this:

        https://theweek.com/articles/928371/could-america-split

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Oh, there is a law governing this:
          WHO HAS THE MOST GUNS?
          AND IS FIRST TO USE THEM?

  11. the August heat
    steams windows
    mutes mountains

  12. Update on my wife: So far, she seems to be doing fairly well with physical healing; her respiratory congestion has decreased, her temperature has been normal the last day and a half, she’s moving fairly well, but obviously still has a long way to go. She wants to play the piano a little today, and I’m not sure if that’s a good idea, but once she makes up her mind, there’s no stopping her. She obviously still needs a lot of emotional healing. Thank you all for all of your prayers; please continue praying.

    • Thanks for the update. Prayers being sent.

    • Thank you Robert. Prayers and good wishes continue…

    • Praying for physical and emotional healing to continue.

      • Dana Ames says

        Yes.

        D.

      • Same here.

        Robert, i can understand your concern about playing the piano, but music has such powerful properties – i hesitate to use the word “healing,” but from my own experience as an amateur musician, i firmly believe that to be the case. Just don’t want to sound glib, New Age-y, or unconcerned.

        Hang in there, both of you.

        • And maybe she will just feel better overall after a brief time at the keyboard. I’m sure she doesn’t want to set herself back.

          It is very hard to kniw when to gently step in on things like this.

          Praying for better days ahead for you both.

    • Norma Cenva says

      Count me in too Robert.

  13. That lady in the doctors video.

    Many of my relatives refer to her as an example of suppressed “truth” about the deep state and Covid-19.

    [major eyeroll]

    • David Cornwell says

      I have the same relatives!

      • I read an article last week where a journalist decided to monitor Trump’s re-election, and set up an email account to sign up for the Trump sites and newsletters. Soon afterwards, that email started getting all kinds of targeted ads – in addition to lots of “Buy Gold Now, Here’s How!” there was a lot of pseudoscience medical quackery like this. Apparently, if you fall for one con man, you’re much likelier to fall for another – and the conmen are sharing lists.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Don’t forget The Persecution of Donald Trump(TM).
      With or without the Spiritual Warfare/Demonic Activity angle.

      • Ah yes, the Demon Sex “doctor”/minister. Not too worry, I have +5 condom of protection for when I do the horizontal mambo with that succubus. But she won’t left empty-handed, I will still give a pearl necklace. 😀

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Many of my relatives refer to her as an example of suppressed “truth” about the deep state and Covid-19.

      Do your relatives have home shrines and altars to Divine Trump?

      As for that Court Favorite Doctor (who runs Fire Power Ministries – “a Deliverance Ministry” – out of either Houston or Katy, Texas):

      “Many of the claims in Immanuel’s video are widely disputed by medical experts. She has made even more bizarre pronouncements in the past, saying that cysts, fibroids and some other conditions can be caused by having sex with demons, that McDonald’s and Pokemon promote witchcraft, that alien DNA is used in medical treatments, and that half-human “reptilians” work in the government.”

      Woo.
      Manages to hit all the bases of Christianese Spiritual Warfare, Satanic Panic, UFO Alien Mythology, and David Icke — all at once.

      “The Daily Beast reported she gave a 2015 sermon in which she laid out a plot by the Illuminati to destroy the world through abortion, gay marriage and children’s toys. She also claimed DNA from space aliens is being used in medical research and offered prayers on her website to end generational curses passed on through the placenta.”

      Even more Christian Culture/Spiritual Warfare Dogwhistles, the first being a knockoff of the Satanic Panic’s “Turmoil in the Toybox”. I think I know what part of The Base she’s from…

  14. David Cornwell says

    That says they are “fashion ties.” So mine is ok? Right? My two buddies at church wear the same syle.

  15. And on a different note, next week I go in for my 3 hours physical and likely get my Phase 3 trial vaccine. But I will have no idea if I’m getting the real vaccine or a placebo.

    • Thank you for the sacrifice involved in doing this. God be with you and protect you.

      • Thanks but not so much sacrifice on the vaccine. By phase 3 they’ve decided it is not very likely to kill or injure someone.

        My most adventurous thing was the drive from NC to TX (look at a map) to shut down our apartment in TX and permanently move my wife back. 2500 miles in a week. Loading 40 boxes plus stuff into the VAN from a 3rd floor apartment in the Dallas area just about did me in.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > the drive from NC to TX (look at a map)

          Oooph. e-hugs all around.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Phase 3 is to make sure it will work in the field.

          For that you need a large controlled sample in an area where the disease is widespread.
          I understand the British “Oxford Vaccine” was going to be Phase 3d in countries like South Africa or Brazil but today the USA is also a good candidate.

          And what if our Moderna vaccine fails (or isn’t as effective as the Oxford vaccine) but we stick with it and reject the more effective foreign vaccine because MAGA?

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Or the vaccine works, but distribution is ONLY to Red State “LOYAL Americans” by Executive Order?

    • You may soon be the safest person on the planet, or THINK you are and actually not be…

      Good luck!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Depends on whether the vaccine provides long-term T-cell immunity as well as short-term antibody production.

        Current info is that COVID antibodies decline to nothing in a matter of months. But T-cell immunity allows the body to mass-produce new antibodies immediately upon detection of infection.

        • Correct.

          Antibody decline is normal. It’s the “memory” cells that work the magic.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            One of the generic problems is that there is so much contradictory TRVTH!s about anything and everything connected with the virus you don’t know what to believe. (Except maybe Q-Anon and/or Doctor Demon Sperm?)

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        You may soon be the safest person on the planet…

        Like Charlton Heston in Omega Man?
        (Just keep an eye out for any Albino Manson Families in your area.)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Which vaccine is this?
      Moderna? Oxford? Pfizer?
      (I doubt it’s either of the two Chinese ones (Wuhan and Sinovac) unless you’re in the PLA; their Phase 3 used Chinese Army personnel.)
      Russia also claims a vaccine ready for distribution, but it doesn’t show up on the RAPS Vaccine Tracker site:
      https://www.raps.org/news-and-articles/news-articles/2020/3/covid-19-vaccine-tracker

      And Dr John Campbell reported an amazing coincidence: The moment all COVID numbers had to be reported to Trump Tower DC instead of the CDC, the official USA case numbers from the CDC miraculously started going down (while the figures from state-level health statistics departments didn’t).

  16. Dana Ames says

    That’s a great photo of the comet over Mt Shasta. Husband is working a fire near Lava Beds/Tule Lake; I’ll have to ask him if he saw it. He’d be in a great position for the view, if he was awake after +14 hours behind the desk…

    Dana

    • Clay Crouch says

      Dana, here is southwestern Colorado, we LOVE the amazing interagency hotshot crews!

      • Dana Ames says

        Thanks, Clay. Yeah, the firefighters do great work. Husband is too old to be on the fire line, and worked mostly as an EMT when he was young. Now he keeps all the paperwork together so that a) everyone gets paid or b) the public knows what’s going on, especially the locals. He’s a crackerjack at rasslln’ the Federal bureaucracy and keeping things organized. Even though fire work was not part of his regular job when he was still working for BLM, he’s happy to have had the opportunity to be trained to work fires, and to continue after retirement (for as long as he can hold up physically). He enjoys the camaraderie of the fire crews, and is proud to be associated with them. I’m proud of him, too.

        Dana

        • Clay Crouch says

          Our fire season has been, cross your fingers, relatively quiet. Though we did have a Level 2 team in for about 3-4 weeks working on a couple of fires. You should be proud of him.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            So has our fire season. There’s a major fire in the San Bernardino Mountains, east of San Berdoo and north of Beaumont.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              And another this morning at Gorman and/or Pyramid Lake in the Grapevine (I-5 route between Los Angeles and the Central Valley).

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Shasta, with Shastina at its side.
      Taken from the south; rotate 90 degrees to the right and you’d see Lassen on the horizon.
      (I know someone who grew up within sight of Shasta; he would have seen that same Southern side.)

  17. The triple play was a nice bit of baseball inspiration.

    The only other inspiring baseball event that I’m aware of is that Susan Waldman, one of the Yankee radio broadcasters, sang the national anthem on opening day. (She came to the Yankees via Broadway, and it turns out, has an excellent voice!)

  18. three balloons
    float at the ceiling —
    “get well soon”

  19. warm rain
    touches my face
    and gratitude

  20. black coffee
    unsweetened and hot
    morning prayer

  21. all night long
    soft rain mingled with my dreams
    washing them away

  22. I haven’t visited this website in quite a while. The last time I did, i thought, “This is becoming a hangout for left-wing loonies, both the theological and political kind.” The comments on this post have assured me that the takeover is now complete. Too darn bad.

  23. Oops. Triple play wasn’t. Ball bounced just ahead of the catch. But it WAS recorded as such.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1QPXVUWfYI

  24. I guess in Vinny’s mind anyone who disagrees with Trump is a left-wing loony. Spoken like a true Kool-Aid Drinker.

    Believe or not, there are some of us here (like me) who are conservative both politically and theological who dislike Trump because he is a fraud, a huckster, not conservative, and clearly an unregenerate person.