December 2, 2020

Saturday Brunch, October 7, 2017

Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend. Ready for some brunch?

I’m one of those weirdos who likes all the seasons, but October in the Midwest is special. Not only because of the transcendent scenery, but the traditions: apple-picking, carving Jack-0-Lanterns, the corn mazes. Speaking of that last one, here are some of more interesting ones this year:

Image result for corn mazes 2017

Lacombe, Alberta

Lodi, Wisconsin

Louisburg, Kansas

Levant, Maine

Image result for corn mazes 2017

Schaghticoke, New York

And finally a shout-out to Chaplain Mike and all his fellow long-suffering Cubs fans:

Spring Grove, Illinois

Northern Japan has its own fall tradition. Since 2008, the Wara Art Festival has encouraged students at the local art college to create giant animals out of leftover rice straw. Here are some results from this year:

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: tree, sky and outdoor

Here’s a video if you want to see more:

Princeton Evangelical Fellowship is changing its name. Well, just shortening it, actually, by dropping out that pesky middle word. “There’s a growing recognition that the term evangelical is increasingly either confusing, or unknown, or misunderstood to students,” the organization’s director, Bill Boyce, told The Daily PrincetonianThis is part of a larger trend of Evangelicals shying away from that name, especially after last year’s election. A Christianity Today Pastors reader survey revealed that 1 in 3 evangelical pastors felt less comfortable identifying as evangelical around non-Christians after the election. On the CT site, theologian Ron Sider defended the label, based on its meaning throughout church history. Baylor University’s Thomas Kidd offered a counter-perspective, arguing “whatever its historic value, the word evangelical in America has become inextricably tied to Republican politics.”

A pumpkin in New Brunswick recently took top honors at a competition, weighing in at 1436 pounds.

Giant Pumpkins

Well, that’s a relief: reality is real. Philosophers have long debated about the status of the external world, and in the last few decades one popular theory is that reality is actually a computer simulation of some kind. Professor Brian Cox opines that our entire universe may have been created by a “super-intelligent computer programmer”. It is a belief that is shared by luminaries including Elon Musk, who famously said there was a minuscule “one in billions” chance that we weren’t operating at someone else’s whim.

But the notion that a computer could create such a huge scale of simultaneous interactions is “impossible”, according to research published in Science Advances.

After doing some old fashioned ‘rithmitic, two Oxford profs, Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhi, calculated that simply storing information about a couple of hundred electrons (very, very tiny particles) would need computer memory that requires more atoms that exist in the universe. As Andrew Masterton, editor of Cosmos wrote: “Given the physically impossible amount of computer grunt needed to store information for just one member of this subset, fears that we might be unknowingly living in some vast version of The Matrix can now be put to rest”. Whew.

Men: Don’t read this.

A letter signed by over 60 Catholic clergy and scholars has accused the Pope of heresy. The letter to the Pope concerns “the propagation of heresies effected by the apostolic exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’ and by other words, deeds and omissions of Your Holiness.” It claims the publication of the exhortation and other acts of the Pope has given “scandal concerning faith and morals” to the Church and to the world. The writers are especially upset with the Pope’s decision that communion can be offered to divorced Catholics, as well as the Pope’s  “unprecedented sympathy” for Martin Luther.

Apparently starting your own cryptocurrency is the next big thing. Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah has co-founded a cryptocurrency firm and hopes to raise $30 million during its initial coin offering. Last month Paris Hilton lent her faint celebrity to a new currency called Lydia. And then…and then there is this…

Hey, good news: We found Santa Claus. Bad news? He’s dead. Archaeologists in Turkey may be on the cusp of solving a mystery thousands of years in the making after they stumbled on a tomb beneath the ruins of an ancient church they believe contains the remains of Saint Nicholas.

At the time of his death in 343 A.D., Saint Nicholas was interred at the Church in Demre, formerly known as Myra, where he lay undisturbed until the 11th century. Then, according to different accounts from Italy at the time, his remains were taken during the crusades to either Venice or Bari, Italy. However, Turkish experts are now claiming the wrong bones were removed and those taken abroad belong to an anonymous priest.

The Babylon Bee has reported that John MacArthur has been added to the cast of “The View”:

If this were true I would watch EVERY DAY just for the worldview clash

Speaking of great photoshopping skills, here is a guy who likes to put himself in celebrities’ photos. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Celebrity Pic Photobomb

Celebrity Pic Photobomb

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Celebrity Pic Photobomb

See more here.

Hot Shots are, of course, forest fire-fighters. These Samoan hotshots could also have job as a professional choir, if they wanted. Turn up the volume for this one:

What do you do when you lose the woman who has been your life-companion for 66 years, and the silence and loneliness seem over-whelming? What this guy did:

What? I’m not crying. You’re crying. I’ve just been cutting up onions…

Well, that’s it for this week. We will end with some music to honor Tom Petty. It’s a rather . . . odd video:


  1. Klasie Kraalogies says

    Don’t read this??

    Aagggh! Cringe! Now how do you expect me to sleep well tonight?? 🙂

  2. Adam Tauno Williams says

    > the term evangelical is increasingly either confusing, or unknown, or misunderstood to students

    An artful and generous way to phrase that.

    > …. theologian Ron Sider defended the label, based on its meaning throughout church history.

    Yep, and there will always be That Guy. The guy who started out his writing career with essays that began “According to Miriam Webster the meaning of X is Y, so ….. “.

    But the old judge guy is cool! He gets it.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      It seems to me the important bit is “whatever its historic value, the word evangelical in America has become inextricably tied to Republican politics.” Yes indeedy. My question is, are these people going to start encouraging folk to vote Democratic? Or at least not discuss politics at all? Or are they same-old same-old, but hoping to fool people about this for a few years until this whole “Trump” thing blows over?

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        I predict not an Evangelical Collapse, but some kind of large-ish schism.

        Barna data indicates that ONLY EIGHT PERCENT of congregants are interested in their pastor’s views on civic or cultural issues. That is not Leadership. And I do see a slice of the pastor class trying to grapple with what “Evangelical” means now; but not so much among the laity. The firebrand laity at some point – I cannot imagine it not happening – are going to turn on the pastor class and demand more ideological coherence to the positions the congregants hold. What happens then? Some Evangelical churches which have actual leadership [few, I suspect] will endure, many others will roll over to become institutionalized nationalist enclaves. Will a new generation of areligious nationalist pastors step up – LIberty will probably be happy to provide – or will those churches blaze out in the fires of disorganization, or will they become lay-lead tools of the local firebrand?

        Interesting times. Probably a very lousy time to be a pastor.

        • Andrew Zook says

          “Interesting times. Probably a very lousy time to be a pastor.” Agreed and also props to your starting prediction. Maybe it’s un-Christlike to welcome schism, but I kind-of do… Most everyone (christian) I know is trying to straddle the gulf between following/imitating Christ and the power-loving, nationalist trumpism or shades of it…. Sometime that has to break and I welcome the clarity that such a break will bring. I’d rather it be sooner than later; get the pain over with, but we shall see.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > Maybe it’s un-Christlike to welcome schism

            I suppose that depends on if you view the Evangelical Church as a principally Christian institution.
            I do not, so I don’t feel bad about watching its retch.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Remember “The Coming Evangelical Collapse”?

          Well, this is it.

    • Most evangelicals I know (not clergy) seem to be proud of and doubling-down about their association with Trump, if not the Republican Party. And they love their guns, too, and bought even more after the last massacre (I wouldn’t be surprised if they also ran out and bought lots of bump-stocks, in anticipation of the possibility that they might be regulated in the future). There’s no embarrassment in the rank-and-file, whatever one out of three pastors may think.

      • Daniel Jepsen says

        Well…I do know a few folks like that. But most I talk to who did vote for him did so as the lesser of two evils, and aren’t real thrilled with him.

        • Maybe those who are unembarrassed and doubling-down are just more voluble. But even among them, I see that the loyalty is not to Trump as such, but to Trumpism. It would be nice if the movement could acquire another name to differentiate it from the man, but none has presented itself thus far.

        • I do think it is wrong to focus totally on the evangelical/Republican/Trump matrix. We should remember that a majority of Catholics also voted for Trump. My wife and I have a friend who has been a regularly practicing Catholic from youth and who, along with her like-minded husband, expressed to us that Trump was God giving America perhaps its last chance to escape the iron grip of the two-party, political business-as-usual that it has been mired in.

          • Interesting. I believe that Trump is God’s judgement on America for our racism, misogyny, obsession with wealth and violence, and utter disregard for peace and justice. He’s held back and hasn’t let Trump do what he wants to do so far, but he isn’t seeing much remorse and can’t hold back the reins forever…

            I’ve known many people over the years who hold out hope for a third party that will save us all… but what if Trump is the third party?

            • Wow. Your god must be a real jerk.

            • I don’t believe God judges nations, at least not anymore, though I’m also inclined to think that he never did.
              Whenever I’m tempted to think I or anyone else will receive God’s judgment, I intentionally remember the resurrected Jesus standing before his very guilty disciples and saying, “Fear not,” as he stretched out his arms and love to them. I believe those words and that love extends to the whole world beyond that little band of followers, in all times and all places.

              • “I don’t believe God judges nations, at least not anymore”

                Sure He does. He just gives them the governments they ask for, and lets the laws of history do the rest. :-/

            • –> “I believe that Trump is God’s judgement on America for our racism, misogyny, obsession with wealth and violence, and utter disregard for peace and justice. He’s held back and hasn’t let Trump do what he wants to do so far, but he isn’t seeing much remorse and can’t hold back the reins forever…”

              Hold on a second! According to my calculations, we had 8 years of Obama, but you’re suggesting God did NOT have a hand in his presidency but does in Trump’s?

              Hypocrisy alert!

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                Hold on a second! According to my calculations, we had 8 years of Obama, but you’re suggesting God did NOT have a hand in his presidency but does in Trump’s?

                In 2008, my sister-in-law told me that her “Spiritual Warfare Expert” had Prophesied over Obama’s election that (exact words) “Now My Judgment on America begins.”

                (Remember that in Christianese, “Judgment” does NOT mean “a binding decision” but that someone (Thee, not ME) gets it in the neck.)

              • Rick, I don’t understand what you see as my hipocrisy?

                • Just the idea that Trump is God’s man, but not giving Obama any credit as being God’s man, too. I think we too often credit leaders we agree with as being “of God,” but not those we don’t agree with.

                  • I believe Obama was God’s man and that he strove to carry out God’s will. I don’t think that Trump is God’s man. He’s pretty much the same as the Old Testament Kings of Israel who did not walk in God’s ways.

            • So why then is Trump, and therefore God, punishing the people who voted against him?

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Trump was God giving America perhaps its last chance to escape the iron grip of the two-party, political business-as-usual that it has been mired in.

            That WAS the guy’s major appeal. No more business-as-usual.

          • We should remember that a majority of Catholics also voted for Trump.

            Not a majority of Hispanic/Latino catholics, nor probably any other non-white minority group. Same dynamic held true in evangelicalism: 80% of white evangelicals voted for him; only 20% of African-American evangelicals did. Those numbers tell me the vote was about something other than purely faith. The fact that it had such a large racial component is more than a little disturbing.

        • I think many liberal American Catholics are loathe to acknowledge and remembert the essential role that their more conservative brethren played in the election of Trump, and the promotion of Trumpism. Without the Catholic vote, it likely coulnd’t have come to pass. It’s easier for liberal Catholics to blame and criticize evangelicals instead.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            A few weeks ago, there was a story about the rise of Trumpism among conservative and trad Catholics. (“Court Catholics” to go with the “Court Evangelicals”)? Was causing quite an uproar in the Vatican.

            • Let’s not forget the chief among Court Catholics, leading the charge for both conservative/trad Catholics and the Alt Right/Alt Light: Stephen Bannon, himself dedicated to Trumpism rather than Trump (though never bad-mouthing its namesake). Let’s not forget also that fundamentalist Catholics and fundamentalist Protestants have much in common when it come to the culture wars; they seem to have stopped some of their internecine fighting long enough to discover that fact.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                “Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend”?

                Like Prefect Pilate and King Herod Antipas regarding that Rabbi from Nazareth?

        • Nope. That “lesser of two evils” crap won’t fly. These folks turned the day to day management of the world’s most powerful country over to Donald Trump. They can save the rationalizations. No excuse for that. Sorry.

        • “Voting for the lesser of two evils” is evil.

          We need to move out of our political dualism with at least one additional party vying for power.

          • I predict that this would result in many “lesser of three evils” contests. It’s just that usually, really good people don’t rise that far in American politics, especially at the national level. People with a high level of political skill have usually been in politics a long time, and have made mistakes along the way, which we see as evil, if we don’t like them much. Trump is the first Presidential candidate in my lifetime who seems to be really evil. Might just be that he’s crazy.

            • The older I get the more I appreciate the Parliament systems that Canada and most of Europe operate with. With a vote of “no confidence” the government calls a new election–and we wouldn’t be having to endure 3+ more years of the Tweetster.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Wondering Eagle has a Trumpist troll who floods his comment threads with long anathemas sprinkled with Verses. The guy has actually said “I give Donald Trump praise and adoration.” Praise and Adoration — a phrase normally used in Worship of a God.

        • Trump – the new American Idol. (Well, after our Flag.)

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Speaking of which, here’s how the exchange went.
            Wondering Eagle, October 3 2017 “Death and Carnage in Las Vegas”.

            Christiane did the original (moderately long) comment.

            Troll fired back with a similar-length one, beginning with “I give Donald Trump praise and adoration”.

            Me: “I give Donald Trump praise and adoration.” Nothing more need be said.

            Troll: No more than saluting the US Flag and saying the Pledge of Allegiance, which some would erroneously call, Worshiping a Flag.

      • Andrew Zook says

        Robert, this is unrelated, a bit. (and ignore if you like, no problems to me) Are you on the FB imonk private group? If so, we should connect and get together. I believe we live in the same general area.
        I know I feel pretty alone too. I can count on one hand the few in my most active circles who feel as you or I. Everyone else either accepts wholly or is inclined towards the white evangelical/religious right party line on everything… especially guns, the GOP and our POTUS.
        I understand if you have no interest but I’m not sure sometimes how to get through this era without some commiseration with a few like-minded pilgrims.

        • I believe we do live in the same area, and I would be glad of the fellowship. I’m not on FB, nor do I have any intention of joining, but if CM or Daniel read this comment, they have my permission to give you my e-mail address. CM has it.

        • Marcus Johnson says

          You two can also join the Facebook page IMonk Community. I’ve met a few IMonk folks that way.

    • I liken today’s evangelicalism to a big business park with lots of busy office cubicles occupied by independent faith franchises, loads of middle managers selling religious goods and services to the upwardly mobile, and more than a few suites leased to freewheeling entrepreneurs aiming to enrich themselves. There is no facility manager on-site to oversee the whole enterprise. Billy Graham was apotheosis of that movement. He still “writes” a regular column; he still “speaks” through his exclusive oracle Franklin, but he’s long since become an absentee landlord and the venture is running amok without his influence. It’s maybe not the best metaphor, but it works for me.

    • Ron Sider represents a very different type of evangelicalism. This is, after all, the guy who founded Evangelicals for Social Action and wrote “Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger”, a rather scathing take on what evangelicalism has become. His defense of the term based on history may be anachronistic but he’s certainly not defending today’s mainstream evangelicalism.

  3. Susan Dumbrell says

    I would love to share Spring with you all, my garden is amazing!
    Daffodils by the score, Jonquils doing their thing, Julips peaking about, my two Apple Trees attracting the bees, the Crabapple showing the apple trees just how to do it!!. Many Camellias in full bloom, Three Forsythia shrubs in golden glory, My 98 Rose Bushes show buds growing so well, showing promise of great beauty very soon. Bearded Iris and Dutch Iris showing the others how to do it!! I have a mature Chestnut, a Red Maple, a Tulip Tree, two Mongolian Pears and a number of Ornamental Cherry Trees, and another Maple Tree, four Silver Birch and a Walnut Tree.
    My Weeping Cherry is a thing to behold, glorious .White Daisies popping up here and there. Violets adding fragrance.
    I have a section of Australian Native Trees in the back corner. The birds love them.

    I have two water tanks which catch what rain falls on the roofs and I use it sparingly on my loved plants and trees. I am not sure if I will plant vegetables this Spring as I can’t ensure they will have water.

    I imagine you all in my garden with me. Tea/coffee and cakes provided. That would be nice. I am not a bad cook!

    The sad thing is we just need rain, lots of it, real soon.
    Local crops are being plowed in or harvested for stock feed. So, So, Sad. Rain needed now.
    Have a great Saturday.
    Blessing to all


  4. Horse walked into a bar. Bartender said, “Why the long face?”

  5. The judge reminds me of a man I knew once – a very old-fashioned and very evangelical man called Humphrey Osmond. He was a retired bachelor schoolmaster. In amongst all the comedy acts at the church Harvest supper one year, he recited the famous story of Squire von Ribbeck at Ribbeck in Havelland:

    Squire von Ribbeck at Ribbeck in Havelland,
    In his garden there stood a pear tree grand,
    And when autumn came round, the golden tide,
    And pears were glowing far and wide,
    Squire von Ribbeck, when noon rang out, would first
    Fill both his pockets full to burst.
    And then, when a boy in his clogs came there,
    He called: ”My lad, do you want a pear?”
    He would hail a girl that chanced to pass:
    “Come over, I have a pear, little lass!”

    Many years thus went, till the noble and high
    Squire von Ribbeck at Ribbeck came to die.
    He felt his end. It was autumntide.
    Again pears were smiling far and wide.
    “I depart now this life” von Ribbeck said.
    I wish that a pear in my grave be laid”.
    And after three days, from this mansard roofed hall,
    Squire von Ribbeck was carried out, `neath a pall.
    All farmers and cottagers, solemm-faced,
    Sang: ”Jesus, in Thee my trust is placed”,
    And the children lamented, with hearts like lead:
    “Who`ll give us a pear, now that he is dead.?”
    So the children lamented. It was unkind,

    As they did not know old Ribbeck´s mind.
    True, the new one is skimping niggardly,
    Keeps park and pears tree `neath lock and key;
    But having forebodings, the older one,
    And full of distrust for his proper son,
    Knew well what he did, when the order he gave,
    That a pear should be laid in his grave.

    From the silent dwelling, after three years,
    The tip of a pear tree seedling appears.
    And year after year, the seasons go round,
    Long since a pear tree is shading the mound.

    And in the golden autumntide
    Again it is glowing far and wide.
    When a boy is crossing the churchyard there,
    The tree is whispering: Want a pear?”
    And when a girl chances to pass,
    It whispers: “Come here for a pear, little lass.”

    Thus blessings still dispenses the hand
    Of von Ribbeck at Ribbeck in Havelland.

  6. Well I have to admit, the idea of a corn maze designed to resemble an isopod is novel. I was also sad to see that Julie Edwards calrified to Metro News that her dog found “male” testicles; the alternative would have been so much more fun. The Wara art was fantastic! thanks for sharing, CM.

  7. Very good brunch, Daniel !!

  8. The Cubs have taken us yet another step closer to the Apocalypse.


  9. a thick spooky fog
    makes morning seem far away
    and beyond all reach

  10. It is now the evangelical church that is the Republican Party at prayer.

    • But Trumpism (which is a movement that goes beyond Trump, and over which he does not have control) is far more to the liking of evangelicals than the Republican Party, or Trump himself.

      • It’s turning into a repeat of mid-20th century Europe. Conservative Christians, as they really started to lose the culture wars, allied themselves with authoritarian nationalist parties in an attempt to forcefully turn back the clock.

        It’s worth asking, how well did that devil’s bargain turn out for them in the long run?

        • Be careful! You may be chided for comparing this moment in history to that one! You know, Godwin’s Law and all that. Never mind that so much in this moment may rightly be compared with that one.

          • It wasn’t just the [GODWINS LAW]s and the German churches. The Catholics heavily supported both Vichy France and Franco’s Falangists, and both regimes strongly supported traditional public Catholic mores… at least on paper.

        • It’s still happening. Not with the evangelicals, but you should keep watch on what the Catholic church is doing in Poland, and on what is going on with the Orthodox in Russia and Georgia.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Anyone remember Revelation 13:4?

        During my time in-country during the heyday of Hal Lindsay, it was very popular. How once the Rapture goes down, everyone Left Behind will immediately totally swarm to worship The Antichrist without hesitation or reserve. (It’s Prophesied! It’s Prophesied!) When pointed out this item on the End Time Prophecy checklist, the usual I-Have-a-Verse response was a smug 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12: “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”

        I find it a real kicker that when it comes to The Trump, all these Born Again Real True Christians are acting EXACTLY like the “Beast Worshippers” they oh-so-piously sneered at.

  11. Susan Dumbrell says

    quiet sunset glows
    waiting, watching, wondering
    I live in suspense

  12. I have a couple off-subjects questions for iMonk gun owners: Why do so many people who own several guns call themselves collectors? How is a collector different from a person who just owns a bunch of guns?

    • As to your first question, I don’t know. But for the second, I think you would define a collector of guns the same way you define a collector of anything else. Someone who is honestly a collector is probably going to have a variety of guns, both old and new, and particularly want to find things that have some sort of historical value or connection. The difficulty of course is that someone who is just stockpiling weapons could just call himself a collector and claim that his interests are just in the particular weapons he is stockpiling. But I do think there are people who are honestly just collectors.

    • Collector sounds better than gun nut, and it’s passive. Gun enthusiast sounds like someone who likes to shoot them a lot, and that isn’t the best optic. But society is pretty tolerant of people who COLLECT almost anything.

      • Kim Jong-un could re-brand himself as a collector of nuclear weapons.

      • Patriciamc says

        I think there’s an owner, like me (one), a collector/enthusist, and then there’s the gun nut who thinks any and all rules around guns violates the Second Amendment. These are the people who fall for NRA manipulation and its main goal of gaining more power and money.

  13. There is an influential and sizable faction of Catholic fundamentalists in the Roman Catholic Church; as in most matters religious, so it is here: “the worst are full of passionate intensity”. Pope Francis has run afoul of him, and they will not sit idly by, just as the most religious of the religious would not sit idly when Jesus ran afoul of them.

    • Correction: …afoul of them…

    • Catholic clergy and scholars… sitting in judgment over the ultimate authority of their tradition.

      How… Protestant of them. 😛

      • There are plenty of fundamentalists sitting in the pews, too; ironically (or perhaps not so ironically), among them are a good number of evangelical converts (though this faction long preexisted any influx of evangelicals). They are among the most active laity in any parish. This the nature of fundamentalism anywhere it exists, and it can exist anywhere.

        But, yes: for good and bad, the Church is composed of the people, not any class of religious specialists. Even the Roman Catholic catechism says as much.

  14. Damaris Zehner says

    I am delighted that the world contains singing Samoan hotshots. All life should come with a soundtrack and, ideally, choreography.

  15. Love those rice straw sculptures.

  16. Hookahs, mushrooms, hallucinatory images: that video is a tad more than odd, Daniel!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Have you ever read the original Alice in Wonderland?
      By Victorian standards, it was Weird City.
      Nonsense, but internally logical Nonsense.

    • The most successful smoking cessation treatment? Psilocybin. One controlled dose = 85% success rate.

      The most successful depression treatment? Psilocybin, and it’s good for 3 months.

  17. Steve Newell says

    It’s easier to define what an “evangelical” is based on a common political definition than it is a common theological definition.

    How you define what is an “evangelical” in theological terms?

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      When I was in seminary (an evangelical one) an evangelical was defined someone who:

      –had a high view of scripture
      –emphasized the need for a personal faith decision about Christ
      –believed they had a responsibility to share the good news

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > How you define what is an “evangelical” in theological terms?

      I don’t. I am 44 years old. It has not been a theological movement since well before I was born.

      • As Frank “Slacktivist” has noted in his blog, there is certainly a core of thoughtful theologians and theorists among evangelicals – they are just ignored or vilified by the troops on the ground…

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          If they want to be heard they need to stop being among people who don’t want to hear them.

          Honestly – a thoughtful theologian or theorist should be able to figure that out.

        • Patriciamc says

          That’s because evangelicals, like the right and left in society overall, are becoming more and more extreme. I think that’s one reason why evangelicals are losing people.

  18. John in FW says

    The video of singing Samoan hotshots made my morning. Thanks.

  19. Thanks Daniel-needed some good laughs…those photoshopped ones were hilarious, Babylon Bee..too funny, great sculptures, singing hot shots-wow, and tom petty…
    As for trump…not sure why anyone ‘on his side’ thinks he’s a republican—just sayin’

    • Because he’s Not That Other Candidate. It appeared to be the only qualification necessary.

      • When electing the other candidate would be like a basketball program hiring Rick Pitino, only without the competence, then yes it really was about the only qualification necessary.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        That I understand. My writing partner told me that in his part of the country, nobody actually voted for Trump because they were for him; everyone he sounded out on it was voting Against Hillary. (Which is itself an indictment on our current election system — both major parties nominated their WORST possible candidate?)

        I can understand the same motivation as the rank-and-file of the Tea Party. Someone who things have been going against them for decades given the opportunity to push back. Especially when their new Enlightened Betters have treated them with only condescending contempt. And Trump came across as direct and blunt instead of every word written by spinmeisters and run past attorneys and focus groups like Hillary came across.

        I can even halfway understand the Court Evangelicals’ “Every Knee Shall Bow, Every Tongue Confess: Donald Trump Is LORD!” It’s Grima Wormtongue sucking up to Power, and Trump is known to have a weakness for flattery.

        But making pilgrimage to Trump Tower II (formerly the White House) to lay on hands en masse and bestow the Anointing? (Though I don’t think they poured the oil on his head.) “I give Donald Trump praise and adoration”? James Dobson sealing Trump’s credentials as a Christian like Mormons ceasing to be a CULT when Romney won the 2012 nomination?

        • Patriciamc says

          He pinged my BS meter so badly that I’m scared it broke. I was in no way, shape, or form for The Other Candidate, but I had no choice since at least her elevator went to the top.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Because he ran on the Republican ticket – thus he is a Republican; they made the highest possible gesture of acceptance.

  20. Denny Burk also addressed the evangelical label today at his blog

  21. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Philosophers have long debated about the status of the external world, and in the last few decades one popular theory is that reality is actually a computer simulation of some kind.

    That always struck me as a Silicon Valley spin on the Buddhist concept of “Maya”, that reality is all an Illusion. (Which itself begs the question “If reality is all an illusion, where is the substance?”)

  22. seneca griggs says

    As a died in the wool Evangelical – I can’t tell you how much I love this song. — Russian Orthodox

    • sg,

      This hymn is sung just as the priest is beginning the epiclesis, the prayer asking the Holy Spirit to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ – to which the whole congregation responds, “Amen, amen, amen.” That is, the prayer is not the “property” of the priest; he says the words and we all confirm them with our Amen.

      I love anything by Chesnokov; his pieces are much easier to sing than Rachmaninoff’s, for example. Chesnokov was trained in the finest Russian musical institutions, but 80% of his compositional output was sacred choral music. He quit composing altogether when the Soviets dynamited Christ the Saviour Cathedral to smithereens in 1931; he was its last choirmaster. (The new post-Soviet Cathedral was built in 5 years, nearly completely financed by the donations of ordinary citizens.)


      • The Grammar Geek asks your forgiveness: it’s dyed-in-the-wool. “Died” is the past tense of “to die”, as in cease to live. “To dye” is what one does to cloth. Along with “led” (past tense of “to lead”) and “lead” (the element), this confuses a lot of people, including professional writers.


        • Oh, just live and let dye. 😉

        • Seneca had better just tow the line here!

          Or maybe we should be more excepting of alternate spellings…

          • …except when you say more excepting when what you mean is more accepting, In which case more excepting is not an alternate spelling, it is just plain wrong.

            • Right! I can accept that, without excepting it.

              I think I see where we are getting confused. When you said, “orphan,” did you mean “orphan ” — a person who has’ lost his parents, or “often ” — frequently?

              Ah ! I beg pardon — I see what you mean — frequently.

              Ah ! you said often — frequently.

              No, only once.

              —from “The Pirates of Penzance”

        • The Grammar Geek used to tare out her hare (is that animal cruelty?) over these mistakes, but now these kinds of things only elicit a grown.

          One Grammar Geek can’t change the world, and doesn’t want to shame people…


  23. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Apparently starting your own cryptocurrency is the next big thing. Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah has co-founded a cryptocurrency firm and hopes to raise $30 million during its initial coin offering. Last month Paris Hilton lent her faint celebrity to a new currency called Lydia. And then…and then there is this…

    “ChristCoin — Just Like BitCoin, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

  24. My deepest objections to what is currently called ‘Christian music’ are rooted not in the tackiness of stretching the safety-net of piety under the supposedly daring highwire act of artistic performance, but in the use of the word ‘Christian’ to modify any human endeavor at all.”
    “I think you just lost me.”
    “Be patient and the way will be made plain. First of all, the word ‘Christian’ appears in Scripture only three times. In its two occurrences in the Book of Acts, it comes from the lips of unbelievers; and in the single reference in
    1 Peter, it is used in a way that indicates the writer is at some pains to bestow respectability on it.”
    “So? How do you get from there to saying there shouldn’t be any Christian anything?”
    “Quite directly. The word, having had a dubious beginning, has had a history of even more dubious developments. If we are to exalt Christian musicians above all other musicians, why not Christian plumbers above all other plumbers, or Christian chicken-pluckers above their unbelieving but still feather-bedecked fellows? The point, you see, is that music, plumbing and poultry dressing can be–and most properly are—judged by the workmanship, not by the religiosity of their practitioners.”
    “Hold on, though. Aren’t there some activities to which ‘Christian’ can legitimately be applied? How about Christian parenting, for instance—or Christian marriage?”
    “In a word,” Pietro said authoritatively, “my answer must be ‘No way,Jose’. If you will allow me rather more than a word, though, yet another distinction occurs to me. True enough, there will be Christians who marry and who raise children, just as there will be Christians who unclog sink traps. And truer still, their Christian beliefs may well impinge on them as they seek to ful?ll their roles as partners, parents or plumbers. Nevertheless, the roles themselves (which, mind you, were designed by God when he created nature, both human and non-human) and—to come to the point—the performances given by people who assume those roles, can only be judged by the particulars of the roles, not by the religion of the role-players.”
    “Say it simpler.”


    • If we are to exalt Christian musicians above all other musicians, why not Christian plumbers above all other plumbers, or Christian chicken-pluckers above their unbelieving but still feather-bedecked fellows? The point, you see, is that music, plumbing and poultry dressing can be–and most properly are—judged by the workmanship, not by the religiosity of their practitioners.”

      1. I know people who would seek out Christian plumbers and Christian chicken-pluckers, thinking that it’s God’s will for them to do business only with Christians, if at all possible. Or perhaps to reward the aforementioned tradespeople for becoming Christians. Whatever.

      2. I like Dorothy Sayers’ approach to this: “The only Christian work is good work well done.”

      • To your point #1.

        Yep. And stick with it even when the “Christian” work was shoddy or illegal.

        “Our allegiance is to Christ, not secular governments or non believers.”

        I keep thinking, do you want your operation done by a Christian with a 50% success rate or a Hindu with a 98% success rate?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I know people who would seek out Christian plumbers and Christian chicken-pluckers, thinking that it’s God’s will for them to do business only with Christians, if at all possible.

        in the words of the prophet Steve Taylor:

        Guilty By Association

        So you need a new car? let your fingers take a walk
        through the business guide for the “born again” flock
        you’ll be keeping all your money in the kingdom now
        and you’ll only drink milk from a Christian cow
        don’t you go casting your bread to keep the heathen well-fed
        line Christian pockets instead–avoid temptation:
        guilty by association!

        Turn the radio on to a down-home drawl
        hear a brylcream prophet with a message for y’all
        “I have found a new utensil in the devil’s toolbox
        and the heads are gonna roll if Jesus rocks
        it’s a worldly design! God’s music should be divine!
        try buying records like mine–avoid temptation”:
        guilty by association!

        So you say it’s of the devil and we’ve got no choice
        because you heard a revelation from the “still small voice?”
        if the Bible doesn’t back it then it seems quite clear
        perhaps it was the devil who whispered in your ear

        It’s a Telethon Tuesday for “The Gospel Club”
        “send your money in now or they’re gonna pull the plug!”
        just remember this fact when they plead and beg
        When The Chicken Squawks Loudest Gonna Lay A Big Egg
        you could be smelling a crook
        you should be checking The Book
        but you’d rather listen than look–the implication:
        guilty by association!

    • The system wouldn’t let me post the 2nd half from that section of Capon. Tried several times, but it just seemed to disappear into the ether-heap.