September 21, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 1.19.13

RamblerIt’s that time of week once again. Time to do a little sprucing up here at the iMonastery. Many hands make … uh, it easier to play the piano? it necessary for many gloves? There’s a saying in there somewhere, but I just can’t find it. Light work. That’s it. Many hands make light work. So iMonks, get your hands around a mop or a broom—with or without gloves—and let’s ramble.

Monday is the Presidential Inauguration, a time once every four years when we get to debate why one person and not another was selected to “pray” (read: give a religious-sounding short speech that won’t offend anyone except, we can assume, God) for the president upon this grand day. There is also the National Prayer Service held the following day, where Methodist preacher Adam Hamilton will speak. Here’s a shout-out to my boy Adam, a fellow graduate of Oral Roberts University. No, I don’t know Adam Hamilton. But he gets to preach to the president and the nation on Tuesday, which probably means he has never said anything controversial before in his life. And that, to me, means he’s never said anything. Am I wrong?

Lance Armstrong says he fibbed when he said he had not taken performance-enhancing drugs. In other news, it has been determined that ice is cold. Armstrong went on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network (which presumably has such low ratings that Winfrey took out national ads prior to the Armstrong show to tell people how to find it) and answered some questions. But did he confess? Are there outward signs to observe when deciding if someone’s confession is genuine, or are we best to accept it at face value and let God determine the sincerity level?

Meanwhile, the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax story is just, I don’t know, creepy. Although I do like the cheekiness of this picture.



Those who live by the sword … Seems Larry Tomczak, a pastor at Bethel World Outreach Church south of Nashville, Tennessee and author of, among others, a book called Little Handbook On Loving Correction, has been accused of giving “loving correction” to a woman from his former church for more than 25 years, among others. Tomczak, one of the founders of Sovereign Grace Ministries (which he then left in a dispute with CJ Mahaney), has been named in a lawsuit filed by eight people who allege abuse by SGM ministers. Why would any reasonable adult allow their pastor to spank them? I guess the key word there is “reasonable.”

Eagle-eyed rambler Adam Palmer spotted this story about Father John Misty and his not-so-subtle slamming of evangelicals in Colorado Springs.

What can you get for 200 shekels these days? According to this story sent in by brianthedad, you can get a certificate to show you are a genuine prophet. I wonder how much Jeremiah or Isaiah had to pay…

Snake handling in churches is on the rise in parts of the south, according to this report filed by Randy Thompson. I’m just wondering … how different is snake handling from what goes on in many megachurches, like being “slain in the Spirit,” or “holy laughter”?

Have you heard the one about seven Jewish men who advertising on Craig’s List for seven women to share Shabbat dinner with? Are you already humming some tunes from Seven Brides For Seven Brothers?

We have all kinds of Bibles. The Manga Bible. Max Lucado Devotional Bible. C.S. Lewis Bible. So why not a Skeptic’s Bible? Fellow iMonk Miguel spotted this and said he could not stop laughing. Miguel, I felt the same way about the American Patriot’s Bible.

Finally, the Synonymous Rambler says we need to turn our attention to that great marriage guru, Pat Robertson. Seems Brother Pat has a simple explanation for why some marriages break down. Ugly wives. Yep. Look, not even the SR can make stuff like this up.

Birthday wishes were wished this last week to Tex Ritter; House Peters Jr. (the original Mr. Clean; how could I pass up someone named House?); The Amazing Kreskin; Long John Baldry; Joe Frazier; Rush Limbaugh; Kirstie Alley; Fred White; Orlando Bloom; Faye Dunaway; Lloyd Bridges; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Ronnie Van Zant; Lisa Lisa; Ethel Merman; Al Capone; James Earl Jones; Muhammad Ali; Mick Taylor; Jim Carrey; Oliver Hardy; Cary Grant; and Ray Dolby.

Music is supposed to be fun. And it doesn’t get much more fun that Earth Wind and Fire, featuring this week’s birthday boy, Fred White, on drums. And what isn’t fun about a dueling bass solo? Turn this up loud and enjoy.

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  1. Jeff, I am reminded of a joke when reading this.

    A pastor was preaching in a Pentecostal church when the power failed and the lights went out. Everyone was left in darkness. “Everyone start praising God” shouted the Pastor. They started singing, and praising, and miraculously just a few seconds later the lights came back on.

    “How did you do that?” shouted out one woman from the congregation.

    “I knew the Lord would answer our praise”, replied the Pastor.

    “But how did you know it?” insisted the woman.

    The Pastor replied, “I was reading a book of proverbs this morning, and it told me if the lights ever went out we should start praising God.”

    “What was the proverb?”, she asked.

    “Many hands make light work!”

    • One day a couple of years ago, we had a bad storm that knocked power out to much of our city. A Christian private school, whose principal used to be my pastor, did not have power, either, the morning before classes began, so a decision had to be made about whether to open school before the bus went out to pick up students. The teachers were hesitant because of the power outage, but the principal said that there is power in the blood of Jesus, and there would be power when school opened. The moment students arrived, the power came on, even though power was still out in the surrounding area.

  2. Cedric Klein says

    The difference from snake handling? Holy laughter & being slain in the Spirit probably won’t kill you.

    Re the Skeptic’s Bible… I do have to give them credit for meeting this ubiquitous challenge….

    • Joseph (the original) says

      not sure if being “slain in the Spirit” and/or “holy laughter” as popular as they once were. i am sure there are other more ‘trendy’ manifestations of supra-natural, spooky-spiritual ‘stuff’ to excite those that seek out such things.

      snake handling? a good representation of a religious version of the Darwin Awards. eventually, such a practice will reach out & bite-cha…

      “shammana-shammana-sis-coom-ba!” 😉

  3. A friend who was a missionary in Japan gave me a Japanese-language manga comic book Gospel of Luke. Even though I could not read Japanese, the drawings and storyline were so thoroughly well-rendered that I could tell what part of Luke was being depicted. My friend told me that Japanese youth and young adults who would never crack open a Bible would read that manga Gospel of Luke from cover to cover.

  4. I never heard of Father John Misty, but I do find what he said here kind of funny: “I’m glad you’re here. Otherwise, this would be some sort of weird conceptual art.”

    Lance Armstrong…I heard on public radio that he is currently worth 100 million dollars. I wonder what he will have left when all is said and done?

    • Well, considering all the of endorsement money he will have to pay back, and the lawsuit $$$$ he got from newspapers that “slandered” him that will be paid back……..Lance is going to be pretty broke. Of course, he lost my respect years ago when he left his first wife for a “new and upgraded” model.

      But BOY am I thrilled that “Father John Misty” is NOT a priest, but a singer. I could not imagine a real Anglican, Catholic, or Orthodox PRIEST mocking other Christians……..debating or correcting, but not mocking. Sorry to read about this guy, but at least now my blood pressure has gone back down!

      • Pattie,
        As an Episcopalian, I can tell you that I’ve heard priests mock other Christians, particularly for not accepting the theory of emergent evolution and for generally being scientifically retrograde. As for Father John Misty, it looks like the Hound of Heaven is on his tracks. Just a word, Father John: the faster you run, the closer he gets.

      • 100 million dollars is a lot of money, so I imagine Lance will have a bit left in the end. And like Jimmy Swaggart, Mark Souder (for those of you not in Indiana, the former abstinence promoting congressman who was caught in a delicate situation with a woman not his wife), and any number of other celebrities who confess to bad behavior, he most likely won’t just go away and keep his mouth shut. No doubt a book is already in the works

  5. Pat Robertson reminds all of us of that crazy old uncle that everyone has at Christmas Dinner, but the problem is they still let him on TV. I believe when he sold the cable TV channel, 700 club has rights to broadcast forever. Who was crazy enough to sign that contract?

    • Colbert played part of the response. I was really interested in the person sitting in the cohost chair. Her reaction was amazing.

      You have to wonder how the staff manages to not walk out in complete disgust.

    • First, Ol’ Pat said you could divorce a wife with Alzheimer’s because she was like the walking dead. Later, he recommended a viewer move with his insubordinate wife to the Middle East where he could beat her legally. Now, marriages turn bad because the woman looks chubby. Pat may seem loopy, but he believes what he says, is rich enough to say it loudly, and probably has many patriarchalists nodding in agreement. In fact, I recall Mark Driscoll blaming Ted Haggard’s wife for his downfall because she was starting to look dumpy. Ugh.

      • Everytime I read anything Pat has said (refuse to listen to him) I hear the voice of Foghorn Leghorn….

  6. Great music. And not one smart phone held aloft – just folks living the moment.

  7. David Cornwell says

    Adam Hamilton’s conversion to Methodism is very interesting, seeing it came about by reading the Book of Discipline. I’m not sure what part of it led to his change of heart, but it does tell a continuous story, dating back to the beginning of Methodism in the Church of England. In it are the historical rules, the traditions, the Articles of Religion, disciplinary procedures, etc that in many ways trace the history of the church, and now rule it’s governance.

    Methodist tradition allows tolerance, which many in other more constrictive and narrow interpretations of our faith find distasteful. But it also allows one to use his/her mind without fear of theological harassment. Whatever led Adam to Methodism, it makes an interesting story.

    • David Cornwell says

      As to Jeff’s question as to whether he’s ever said anything controversial: He is described as a “centrist.” But some of his “centrist” statements have become very controversial. Personally I think controversy is to be welcomed in the church.

  8. How did the John Misty story make headline news on CT? The Blacksheep is a little hole-in-the-wall venue in Colorado Springs. His story is compelling and sad – yet another casualty of the vast evangelical complex. I hope evangelicals take this to heart and consider how to do better, but I’m sure they’ll just rally what troops remain and decry this as persecution. I would be more ticked if I paid the cover charge to get in to hear music and all I got was an ant-religion rant.

    • I guess the Shekinah glory has truly moved westward; Wheaton never matched that much of an evangelical ghetto.

  9. “No, I don’t know Adam Hamilton. But he gets to preach to the president and the nation on Tuesday, which probably means he has never said anything controversial before in his life. And that, to me, means he’s never said anything. Am I wrong?”

    You may or may not be wrong about your judgment. But who are you to judge in the first place? How do you know how God may have used him to speak words that served His purposes? It feels to me that your words are quite uncharitable, at the very least. “Reckless words pierce like the sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” I know how I would feel if someone wrote what you wrote (quote above) about me, even if they were “just kidding”.

    Maybe you should re-read your January 17 post – the last section entitled: Love One Another? Maybe, Adam Hamilton is at least a little deserving of your love?

    • Hmmm, this brings up an interesting question which I had never considered before. How does a rant differ from a judgement? And how does sarcasm fit in? Perhaps they aren’t so much different categories as markers on a continuum. I especially like it when it gets clothed in ultra-civility or even piety. Well, I’ve only been thinking about this for a few minutes so my judgement is probably flawed. God bless you and have a nice day!

    • Marcus Johnson says

      Um, I think you might have a knee-jerk reaction from a very superficial reading of Jeff Dunn’s post. It is much more reasonable to conclude–as I did–that Dunn is claiming that the selection and acceptance of who we choose to give this politically correct, non-offensive prayer is based on the perceived ethos of the person speaking. As a result, we project into this selection process a lot of our own prejudices, stereotypes, and paranoid delusions that the selected pastor will condemn all those who are not affiliated with his particular faith tradition, maybe even place a curse on the infidels that causes their crops to wither. So we freak out over Giglio because of something that he said twenty years ago and never reaffirmed since, but Adam Hamilton is okay–for now, unless someone finds a video of him on YouTube in which he said the “n” word back in ’85.

      In short, it seems to me that Dunn is not critiquing Hamilton, as much as he is those who were involved in or passed judgment on this inaugural prayer business.

      Jeff, am I right?

    • Think about it, Br. Thomas. If he had ever spoken out against gay marriage or homosexuality, he would not have been invited. If he had spoken out against what the Democrats stand for, he would not have been invited. I’m not saying he—or any preacher—should speak against those things. But if he spoke on controversial subjects he would not have been invited.

      If, when you speak in public, you don’t upset someone, did you really say anything worth listening to?

      And my comments have nothing to do with loving Adam Hamilton, I have no contact with him, so I can’t love or deny him love. But as a public figure I can comment on him, just as you can comment on me. I was not so much commenting on Hamilton as I was on the whole selection procedure.

      And am I to construe your comments about me to be “unloving”? Or, since I am a public figure, are you entitled to voice your opinion about what I said?

      • David Cornwell says

        Jeff, it seemed to me that you were simply asking a question for us to attempt to figure out. Keep on doing it.

      • br. thomas says

        Jeff: Maybe you can clarify for me what you meant to communicate when you wrote:

        “And that, to me, means he’s never said anything.”

        Did you mean to say that because he has never said anything controversial (not sure how you would know) that anything he has to say is not worth hearing or is meaningless or can’t be of value? If not, what did you mean?

      • br. thomas says

        [I will attempt to resubmit my previous response to Jeff – it was not posted earlier]

        Jeff, can you clarify what exactly you were attempting to communicate when you wrote:

        “And that, to me, means he’s never said anything.”

        Did you mean that whatever Hamilton has to say is of no value, meaningless and not worth considering because he has (according to you) never said anything controversial (not sure how you would know this)? If not, what did you mean?

        Also, I’m not sure I agree with a portion of your response to me:

        “And my comments have nothing to do with loving Adam Hamilton, I have no contact with him, so I can’t love or deny him love. But as a public figure I can comment on him, just as you can comment on me.”

        Don’t we at least have a responsibility to speak the truth with love, even if that person is a public figure?

        • Marcus Johnson says

          You’re still missing the point of Jeff’s original comment. Read it slowly and you’ll understand that he is not stating anything disparaging about Adam Hamilton. He is commenting on the faulty approach folks have taken to the selection process for the inaugural prayer. We have a tendency to make these very rash judgments about people based on partial, insufficient evidence, and in this particular instance, both Giglio and Hamilton have been swept up in it. However, Giglio was dismissed and Hamilton seems to be acceptable, and no one has presented a logical reason as to why that is, other than that we are so fickle that we are ready to move on to talking about Lance Armstrong, so who cares now about the inaugural prayer-giver?

          Sarcasm abounds on this site (especially in my posts), and if you want to navigate it successfully, you should probably start by accepting that. Otherwise, the jokes are going to fly right over your head.

  10. Alabama… Where girlfriends and champSIONships are real… and speeling ability isn’t.

    • Brianthedad says

      Our arch rivals from the other side of the state can surely play football. Spell, not so much. However, I must give credit on the choice of girlfriends: the lovely young woman in the photo with the misspelled caption is an Auburn University alumna, not UA. Mr Mccarron knows the loveliest village on the plains is the place with the loveliest women!

  11. Alabama: where you learn to spell like a “champsion.”

  12. You compared snake handling to “what goes on in many megachurches, like being slain in the Spirit, or holy laughter”….

    Really? In megachurches? Megachurches to me means places like Saddleback and Willow Creek and North Point. Two of those are decidedly Baptist. Are you telling me people are being “slain in the spirit” or experiencing “holy laughter” in Saddleback and Willow Creek and North Point? Or did you mean the Airport Fellowship in Toronto maybe?

    Surely you jest.. Please name a few of the megachurches you might have been thinking of.

    Also, regarding the snake handling phenomenon, have you ever read Salvation on Sand Mountain by Dennis Covington?

  13. Jeff, I just want to point something out real quick: Larry Tomczak’s alleged victim says that the abuse began when she was a very young child, and continued into her twenties… so, I don’t think it’s fair to ask what a “rational adult” would do in the situation.

    More on this here:

    And more on the whole law suit here:

  14. I may be talking to the wrong crowd, but does anybody here remember the Gospel group Wendy Bagwell and the Sunliters? He was as well known for his story telling (Yes, Wendy’s a guy) as the group was for their singing, and one of his yarns was about doing a show in a snake handling church. After telling the well-known story again one night, an audience member offered a piece of helpful advice. “Brother Wendy, did you know if you carry a flashlight that a rattlesnake won’t bother you?” Bagwell’s response was “Not if you carry it fast enough he won’t.”

  15. Snake handling is crazy. But why should it be illegal other than for minors?

  16. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Seems Larry Tomczak, a pastor at Bethel World Outreach Church south of Nashville, Tennessee and author of, among others, a book called Little Handbook On Loving Correction, has been accused of giving “loving correction” to a woman from his former church for more than 25 years, among others.

    Ever heard of “erotic flagellation”, i.e. “spanking fetish”? It was a common upper-class kink in the Godly Golden Age of the Victorian Era.

    And whether “loving correction” means a Pearl-and-Ezzo show with quarter-inch plumbing supply lines, twelve-inch gluesticks, and how not to leave marks.