October 20, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 1.22.11

Good morning ladies and gentlemen and all the ships at sea. Flash—this just in. Today is Saturday, the day we generally reserve here at the iMonastery for cleaning up the piles that have accumulated throughout the week. We like to have a tidy home for the iMonks and all who visit here. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to sweep up, wipe down the counters, and do all that a good Saturday Rambler should.

On second thought, I think I’ll just ramble with you. May I?

Congratulations to iMonk and fellow Rambler Adam Palmer. Adam and his lovely wife Michelle welcomed Constance Palmer to our great family last Saturday. Mother and daughter are doing well, as are the other four Palmer chillins.  Adam is so excited he has yet to argue with my statement that The Long Surrender is Over the Rhine’s best album yet. Oh, but he wants to.

Just because it’s true, does that mean you have to say it out loud? Of course, it seems the current political climate will accept just about anyone but one who is openly Christian. I imagine if Alabama Governor Robert Bentley had said he only considers fellow Wiccans or Buddhists or Druids—anyone but Christians—to be his brothers and sisters it would not have created a stir. But Christians? He might as well have worn an Oregon Duck t-shirt to his inauguration. Things could be fun in ‘Bama for the next few years.

Ted Haggard takes a shot at the movement he helped build in this TV news interview. I was tracking with Ted in what he was saying—I really was—up until he defined the Gospel as “Jesus coming to heal our shortcomings.” Sigh…

Now, in news that really matters, Bhutan, the traditional Buddhist nation, is officially opening its doors to Christianity—kind of. The government is open to licensing one and only one Christian organization to represent all Christians in the nation. Many see this as a way of forced unity among the believers in Bhutan. Can you imagine if there were only one church in the United States? No? Neither can I. But I can dream, can’t I?

A Tucson, Arizona Tex-Mex restaurant, Boca Tacos y Tequila, is taking reservations for a new menu item: African lion meat tacos. Is there anyone here who thinks this is remotely a good idea? Just because it is legal, does it make it smart? Wait—I just read their name again. It’s not just Boca Tacos, is it?

The Sundance Movie Festival opened this week in Park City, Utah. Fully ten percent of the 120 movies to be shown over the ten day long festival are faith-based movies. One is called—and I am not making this up—The Redemption Of General Butt Naked. Wouldn’t you have loved to have been in on that title meeting?

And finally, in the “I couldn’t make this up with medicated help” category, a Norwegian boy fended off a pack of wolves using only his cell phone and the music of Creed. I am not kidding. Early reports had him playing Megadeath, but we know just what huge fans of ‘Death most wolves are. The boy’s mother was going to pick him up instead of letting him walk home from school because of the reports of wolves in the area, but she got caught up in her shopping. Probably a good thing all around. I’m sure the seeds of the Gospel were planted in the hearts of these wolves through the music of Creed—none of their songs, as far as I know, defines the Gospel as Jesus coming to heal our shortcomings—before they scampered away.

Birthday greetings go out this past week to Constance Palmer (see above); my sister Heidi Cox; Lloyd Bridges, father of Jeff and Beau; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Drew Brees; Ethel Merman; Al Capone; Jim Carrey; Cary Grant; Danny Kaye; Bob “Bozo the Clown” Bell; Kevin Costner; Janis “I met a lady who sang the blues” Joplin; Robert Palmer; Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin; Alfred Hawthorne “Benny” Hill; and Richie Havens.

To me, Woodstock begins and ends with Richie Havens. You could gather a hundred albums from any of the so-called performers today and not have the collected energy, passion and emotion found in this one song. If you can listen to this and keep your seat, see your physician immediately. Enjoy.


  1. “Of course, it seems the current political climate will accept just about anyone but one who is openly Christian. I imagine if Alabama Governor Robert Bentley had said he only considers fellow Wiccans or Buddhists or Druids—anyone but Christians—to be his brothers and sisters it would not have created a stir.”

    Are you being sarcastic? Because the way I see it, the only acceptable religion for a politician is Christian. Why do you think Obama’s campaign managers were so concerned with all of that absurd Obama is a Muslim nonsense? Because his pastor might get worried? Even secularist John McCain knew that he has to pretend to be kind of Christian in order to stand a chance at being elected. Would it have made waves if a Wiccan politician had made a similar statement? I don’t know, first you’ll have to find me one. The notion that Christians are an oppressed group in this country never ceases to amaze me.

    Aside from that, the reason his words created such a stir was because he said it on MLK day in a black church. Hmmm, a white politician in a southern state with a troublesome racial past tells a black audience that they are not his brothers unless they share his religion? The outcry had more to do with the racial implications than it did with religion, although I find the religious aspect troublesome as well.

    End rant. And if it turns out you were being sarcastic, I will feel particularly stupid 🙂

  2. Just because it’s true, does that mean you have to say it out loud? Of course, it seems the current political climate will accept just about anyone but one who is openly Christian.

    You are right.. if only the poor downtrodden Christian could get a fair shake in the the USA. If only a Christian could ever hope to get elected. But keep the faith. One day, some brave Christian will have the courage to stand up in a country which is massively Christian and have the courage to say “I too believe in the same faith that the overwhelming majority of you all share!” Such a man would be a hero for our times. He would then take his place amongst the 86% of the 112th Congress who are “openly Christian”, truly a day that Christians only dream of.

    The issue was not that the Governor was a Christian, it was that he was a sectarian, divisive jerk. “Sorry Jews/Muslims/atheists/pagans. you are not my brothers and sisters”, is a pretty scummy thing for a man who is elected to serve ALL the people of his state.

    • Wait a minute! Where, anywhere in the bible does it say that all men/women are brothers/sisters? Yes, we are all children of a common Creator and, yes, all are our neighbors, but brothers? I think not!

      Belief in Christ is what makes us brothers/sisters, related through a common Father God and whose Son, Jesus Christ, is our brother. Without Christ we have no fellowship with God and have no part of the family of God.

      What that clown said at church was technically true but politically stupid!

      • David Cornwell says

        So now the gospel is reduced to a technicality. I’ll have to think about that one. So much fundamentalism of one religion is a reflection of fundamentalism in others.

        • “Technically” means on it’s face, the bare bones, the foundational nature. If belief in Christ making us brothers and sisters is being too fundamental then I don’t know what to say.

      • OK.. so you have no problem with a political leader who says that one particular religious group are his brothers and sisters, while other groups are not… that is what you think the role of a Governor should be?

        • Not just “one particular religious group” but followers of Jesus Christ. After all, isn’t that what being a Christian is? Are you saying that the Hindu is my brother, the Buddhist, the Muslim and the atheist as well? Isn’t that thinking a bit syncretistic?

          • Oh yeah, I forgot to say that the candidate should have been more circumspect in his speaking. He may have spoken a truth, and maybe it was the right place (in a church and amongst believers) but the timing was abysmally off.

          • “Followers of Jesus Christ” ARE one particular religious group.

      • I am old enough to remember when speaking of “the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man” was considered unscriptural and very liberal theologically. Over the last half-century, though, it has become practically an article of faith in the United States of America.

        We are fellow creatures of God, same species and all that, but not all are children of His (and therefore brothers and sisters). didn’t Jesus say to certain Pharisees, “You are of your father, the Devil”? Was he speaking metaphorically? I think not. Flannery O’Connor spoke of sub-species aeternatis — that’s what Christian believers, members of the household of faith, are. Different from the others because we have been adopted by faith into God’s family.

        The new governor was a Baptist deacon speaking in a Baptist church in the most Baptist of states (just as Utah is the most Mormon of states), so perhaps he can be forgiven for saying what most evangelicals believe in their heart of hearts. Of course, since we are now trying to navigate the post-evangelical wilderness, anything goes….

        Just because the populace has rejected the message doesn’t mean the message was false.

        This sounds very unloving. I don’t mean it that way.

  3. Now we just need to get the 10 Commandments back in the Courthosue down in Alabama (rolls eyes…)Wonder if its feasible for the AL governor to apppoint Moore to the AL Supreme Court? I saw this as an agnostic, thank God I’m in the secular DC area!!! 😀

  4. I was just reading wikipedia for the bio on Richie Havens. I see he turned 70 yesterday. Happy belated birthday to Mr. Havens! I can see he has been a busy and creative man during his life. THREE hours of opening for Woodstock is a lot of playing and singing. Wow! I see there is a three part interview with him on YouTube with Night Talk. I may listen to that sometime. I never even heard of Night Talk. Must be on way past my bedtime!

    Adam…congratulations on the birth of your Constance! Enjoy her.

    • Joanie, my wife and I saw him in Ellsworth about three years ago. Unbelievable energy. I don’t think he’s lost an ounce of it since Woodstock. One of the most enjoyable concerts I’ve ever been to.

    • Salsapinkkat says

      Thanks for the intro to this guy- reminded me of Phil Keaggy- although very different in style, his relationship with his instrument was similar…

  5. Jeff, I tried to see the interview with Haggard, but the link seems to be broken.

  6. Here’s what the Christmas Story would look like if it happened somewhere down South:


    • VolAlongTheWatchTower says

      And Pennsylvania is exactly what I think when Dixie is played. rolleyes
      No, admittedly, if it had been down here, similar, but also there would be no Christmas because, even if they were good gun-rack-etc-having WASPs , never mind foreign, Jewish or Middle Eastern (Ay-rabs in local parlance) Mary & Co wouldn’t have been allowed in because “They ain’t from ’round hee-yer!”

  7. Thanks Jeff, for the link ot Richie. I missed Woodstock when it happened because I had “marched off to the Vietnam war”. Found myself working in a support hospital which cared for the wounded, mostly napalmed. I caught up with the Woodstock happening when I reappeared in America. I have always thought the the lyrics of Richie’s songs spoke to a deeper level of the psyche of war, of me as I am left with the memories.

  8. Can’t recall the story exactly, but Richie Havens basically improvised “Freedom” right there on stage in this video. He was told to play as long as he could because other performers weren’t there yet. He played for about 3 hours. This piece you linked was literally made up on the spot. Wonderful!

  9. General Butt Naked is an interesting character. A former warlord–is he serious about his conversion, or is he an opportunist? Was he really a cannibal or is he fish-storying it for effect? Is he willing to stand trial for war crimes and abide the consequences? Would you have him speak at _your_ church?

  10. VolAlongTheWatchTower says

    Living sort of in the area with something of a dog in the race, I can assure you had the Governor worn a Duck tee to his inauguration he’d been assured at minimum of 55-60% of that state’s electorate for as long as he’s interested. I’m in Tennessee (Hello? VOL along the watch tower?) and despise ‘Bama’s very existence as an affront to Goodness, BUT Tennessee-Alabama is more France vs England, Auburn-Alabama? Islam vs Judaism if not worse.

  11. I don’t know how old Jeff Dunn, but apparently he is old enough to remember Walter Winchell’s news broadcasts! Who woulda thunk?

    Does anybody know what I’m talking about?

    • Well, I am old enough to remember hearing that phrase, but not in the original. I taught radio broadcasting, including history of broadcasting, for fifteen years at the high school and college levels, so it is seared into my brain…

    • David Cornwell says

      Sure, I’m old enough to remember Winchell and his “Mr & Mrs America… and all the ships at sea…”. I think he had a fast clicking telegraph key at the beginning of his latest revelation. Or maybe that was someone else. He loved rumor and gossip and everyone loved listening.

  12. Isaac (the poster formerly known as Obed) says

    Regarding the Bhutan story, it’ll be interesting to see which Christian denomination/tradition ends up being the representative. According to the Wikipedia article on Christianity in Bhutan, there are about 12,000 Christians in Bhutan. About 1,000 are Roman Catholic and the rest are Protestant. But, as we all know “Protestant” describes SO many (often competing) denominations that there’s no telling what the demographics are among the approximately 11,000 Protestants are. Here in the States, though the majority of Christians are Protestant (a bit over 50%), Roman Catholicism is the largest single denomination. I wonder if the same is true in Bhutan.

  13. Eddie Scizzard says

    ” I imagine if Alabama Governor Robert Bentley had said he only considers fellow Wiccans or Buddhists or Druids—anyone but Christians—to be his brothers and sisters it would not have created a stir. But Christians?”

    That’s the great thing about constructing imaginary arguments. You don’t actually have to show that their true.”

    I believe the technical term is “straw man”.

  14. Where is Piper’s link?

  15. I live in Alabama, and I think the news about our governor was bigger nationwide than local. Essentially all that happened was that MLK day and Alabama inauguration day was on the same day. As governor on inauguration day, he was invited to speak. Essentially, he couldn’t help himself, and since he was in a baptist church he gave a baptist invitation.

    At least 2 problems
    1) He is now governor, and doesn’t seem to understand the basics of the “two kingdoms” problem. As governor, he speaks not only as a Christian, but as a leader of the earthly world.
    2) MLK’s church now is more of a civil rights location than a Baptist church. He wrongfully assumed he was speaking at a baptist church service.

    Now having said all that, people in Alabama have already forgot about it. Pretty usual politics for around here, no one locally was surprised.

    • Wanna trade governors? Our brand-new governor (Maine) just told the NAACP to “kiss my butt” in response to a request concerning Martin Luther King day. He said he didn’t want to show special favors, and that the NAACP was playing the race card—not him, because he has an adopted Jamaican son.

      Only three years, eleven-and-a-half months to go…

  16. Nothing to do with today’s post…Your pushcart guy has disappeared from the banner again.

    • Maybe he found better exploring at a “fair and balanced” and/or more-biblical website….. 🙂