October 22, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 10.15.11

The temperature was a very crisp but pleasant 52 when I went out this morning. Apples line the produce shelves at the grocery. Football is, well, how ’bout them Sooners? Welcome to the falling leaves edition of Saturday Ramblings. This is a time of the week when we sift through the leftovers to see what we might have missed. So, grab a rake and join in.

First of all, please pray for Joe Spann and his family. Joe’s mother, Jeanette, passed away this week after a short bout with cancer. Joe is a writer for us as his time allows, and his influence on what others write is felt strongly. Thank you for your prayers.

As St. Paul Harvey would say, it’s not one world. We are now learning that there are no public Christian churches in Afghanistan. According to this report, the last church was razed in March, 2010. We don’t tackle political issues here on iMonk, but it seems to me that the last decade we’ve spent in that country has not proven fruitful for the natives there.

As St. Paul Harvey would say, it’s not one world. Coptic Christians in Egypt have long been mistreated and abused, but now it seems they are “under siege” by Muslims during this time of a power vacuum in Egypt. Perhaps if any of you iMonks live in Egypt or have been there recently, you can give us a more detailed update.

One last piece of semi-political news. It seems GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann went to law school at Oral Roberts University in 1979. I would have been a senior that year at … ORU. No, I don’t recall meeting her. Of course, I was just a lowly broadcasting major. The only thing law students had to do with us was to get some tips on how to speak well enough to one day be a presidential candidate.  Guess she got some good training from someone. Me? No. I was too busy playing DJ for two different radio stations in Tulsa. Those stax of wax needed someone to give them a good spin …

From the “Where is Martha when you need her” department: Apparently some thieves in Ireland have made off with a very precious relic, a piece of the cross on which Jesus died. We will trust that Martha will hunt down these rascals, retrieve the relic, and lead the thieves to salvation. Just don’t miss a deadline for us, Martha.

Is it just me, or is anyone else just a little bit creeped out by the number of “church leaders” who are coming forward to proclaim just how much Steve Jobs has influenced the way they run their churches? Or the epitaphs being given for him that make Jobs sound like a candidate for sainthood. Look, I love Apple products as much as the next guy. I am typing this on a two-year-old MacBook that looks like I have lugged it around the world. Well, ok, I have. The iPhone and iPod and iPad are all works of art. But why are we all running to Apple as if it were a company created by God as a model for the church?

Try not to shed too many tears, but Paul Crouch Jr. is leaving TBN for “further ministry opportunities.” Ok then …

In radio and TV, this is what is called a “tease.” Stand by for more great essays this next week from Damaris Zehner, Martha of Ireland, Denise Spencer, a “classic” from Lisa Dye, perhaps something else from Craig Bubeck, and a new voice (as a writer, not just a commenter)—David Cornwell. Continue to pray for Chaplain Mike as he is halfway through his sabbatical.

Happy birthdays this last week to Paul Hogan; Chevy Chase; Matt Damon; John Lennon; Sean Lennon; Jackson Browne; Thelonius Monk; John Prine; Joan Cusack; Steve Young; Herbert “Herblock” Block; Paul Simon; Sharon Osbourne; Marie Osmond; e.e. cumming; Roger Moore; and Winnie the Pooh.

I have always loved Jackson Browne’s music. Poetic lyrics, a soothing yet unique voice. Then put him on stage with Crosby, Stills and Nash? Practically perfect in every way. Enjoy.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV03illYdTM’]




  1. Who ARE those old guys?! I hardly recognize them.

    I first saw CSN&Y back in 1970 in Cleveland. Never liked Neil Young…still don’t. Jackson Browne reminds me of California in 1975 when I was living in my Corvair Greenbriar van on Torrey Pines State beach north of San Diego. Very bad times for me then…thank God for His grace and goodness, AND His mercy!

    • Love all these guys – my type of music…but I went through a big Neil Young phase in the late 70’s – probably because of his accoustic work and the fact that he really can’t sing (and neither can I so I don’t sound so bad playing his songs… Old Man look at my life….)

  2. Struggle for the legal tender…when the morning light comes streaming in we’ll get up and do it again…thank goodness for saturday morning and a break from doing it again

  3. Speaking of legal tender, I read a piece on CNN Money about peanut shortage causing a 40% hike in peanut butter price :’-(

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      My home page is full of sidebar ads about “50% UNEMPLOYMENT AND 90% COLLAPSE IN DOW INEVITABLE! IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE!!!” They usually trace back to some Hal Lindsay of GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! or Survivalist thing. So far, nothing about human flesh as the most plentiful urban survival food source…

      • “nothing about human flesh as the most plentiful urban survival food source”

        Finally an explanation for the plethora of zombie apocalypse fiction I’m seeing everywhere! Somebody is obviously extrapolating on the upcoming economic and social collapse and how we’ll all be turning cannibal (Soylent Green – tastes just like chicken!)


  4. The coptic Christian link goes to the NYT article about Bauchman

  5. For reliable information about the Coptic protests (and Middle East information in general), I recommend Juan Cole dot com.

    The Orthodox Church dot info often carries news items about (non-Chalcedonian) Oriental Orthodox churches (which the Copts are), but as a news aggregator makes no attempt to gauge reliability of its sources.

  6. It’s funny how the Jobs style was even parodied in “Despicable Me”. I am not a member of the Apple cult, so I have no praise for Jobs for institutionalizing the compulsion for trendiness. Pastors who think that is a great ministry model for ministry should be ashamed of themselves.

    But as I posted last week, his view on death expressed in his Stanford Commencement speech needs consideration. We are all going to die, so we should not be obsessed by the fear that we have anything to lose. I think without the resurrection, such a view of death is wishful thinking at best. Religion was never supposed to be a place to hide from death. The resurrection should make Christians the most bold, active, creative and caring people on earth, but for some reason religion makes us obsessed with things that just don’t matter – like prosperity and political power.

    But there is one ironic statement in Job’s speech: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” This from a man who created a subculture which literally throws away a perfectly good phone while standing line to buy the next version of he same phone. He was the evangelist for the dogma of cool. For we who live in the reality of the resurrection, the dogma of cool should not be a trap. The siren songs of the cult of popularity should not lead our ship off-course. As Jesus said, “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” – Luke 12:15. How many pastors are so consumed by the concern for growth and popularity that they have no heart or intuition left, mere hollow men, parrots of the zeitgeist, rather than filled with boldness by the Holy Spirit?

    One more quote from that speech: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something.” For us, we trace those dots back to the cross and empty tomb. We retrace those dots through the bread and wine. Our path forward is definitely tied to our past as an apostolic faith. To paraphrase Chesterton, the church is a democracy of the dead; the opinions of those who have gone before us still matter. But many pastors think that you can connect dots forward and can discard the past. They lose that vital connection to the past and drift aimlessly but quite enthusiastically toward what they consider to be a bright future.

    • David Cornwell says

      ” Religion was never supposed to be a place to hide from death. The resurrection should make Christians the most bold, active, creative and caring people on earth,”


      Weird thought just hit me: Won’t it be interesting to see all these burial vaults we use here in the USA crack open when that day comes?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      One thing is true: Apple WAS a Cult. Including thoughtstoppers (“Mac is The Superior System… Mac IS The Superior System…”) and a “DIE, HERETIC!” reaction to anybody who said otherwise. I call it “APPLE AKBAR!” Syndrome, and I’ve seen it in action. I was first preached to, then shunned as an Apostate when I went from Mac to PC for my home system some years ago. And these Mackinistas included Christians.

      • Yeah, I had a boss who was an Apple zealot. The office used PCs and Microsoft Office was on every machine in the place, but he insisted on bringing in his own personal Mac and sending stuff to us.

        Of course, that meant that everything he sent was corrupted/lost/made the machines freeze and the one phrase that struck fear into our hearts was “Paddy is having a look at (the database, the spreadsheets, the files, you name it)” because that meant that shortly thereafter, we’d be ringing up the techs to recover all the data for us 🙂

        But I’ll say this for the man, credit to him for refusing to allow the profitable apps for porn onto the iPhone. That was a moral stance you don’t expect to see in these days of squeezing the last penny of profit out of everything under the guise of freedom of expression.

        And yes, my two nephews have iPod Touches and I feel like I’m in the Stone Age as they show me all the cool stuff they can do 😀

      • I remember when Apple was still using motorola chips…. used a Macintosh with the tiny screen built in back in 1989 when I first started out in engineering. Didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t get to the command line very easy (I think I was exposed to Windows 3.1 about a year later). But I will admit it took years for microsoft to catch up to what Apple was doing with its GUI even back then.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      But many pastors think that you can connect dots forward and can discard the past. They lose that vital connection to the past and drift aimlessly but quite enthusiastically toward what they consider to be a bright future.

      And by severing any historical trace or connection to the past, they turn their Bible into just another mythology, “A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…”

      And chase a Future that (like Citizen Robespierre’s or Comrade Lenin’s) just keeps moving away as fast as they approach it.

    • I did like the address that Jobs gave to Stanford in which he spoke about death. That was good…

      • He was sorta Buddhist, you know.

        • I think one can be charitable while listening to other religious views. Such charity is not an endorsement of that religion. I think that is what St. Paul did in Athens. General revelation is truth obvious to even those without a bible. I don’t know where Jobs was spiritually when he died, but his battle with cancer caused him to reflect deeply on matters of life and death. But what churches remaining offer a message which resonates with such a struggle? That’s the sad commentary on seeker-sensitivity: our message has become so shallow that it offers little for those who are actually seeking truth. Ten steps to a happy life is no meaning for life – especially in the face of death.

  7. Good choice for this week’s video, but a tough choice between Browne and Thelonius Monk.

  8. St. Paul Harvey ~ l love it. That is why I always check in on the IMonk site. To get the rest of the story.

    • Pardon the commercial interruption during our discussion of St Paul Harvey, but during this time of year when gardeners are putting up preserves, please remember: “Use Kerr jars and lids everytime you can.”

      And for the cleanser that hasn’t scratched yet, “You need Bon Ami, good friend.”

      Good day!

  9. I noticed the “Ipod churches” a year or so ago. I visited one and everything was on Apple products. Pastor clearly spoke from a Apple laptop, all equipment was Apple, everyone in audience read Bibles from ipods. I found it creepy.

    • So what different from a church that has Microsoft logos on everything and all documents are distributed in the latest version of Word?

    • If Rocco Palmo of “Whispers in the Loggia” is to be believed, it may be too late for us already, as Apple and its various products have made it into the Vatican.

      And there’s Umberto Eco’s famous humorous column for a weekly paper from all the way back in 1994 about how “Macs are Catholic, PCs are Protestant”.

      • Good God, what do the Orthodox use then? The abacus…? Something from Texas Instruments…?

        • Martha, you know I have the ibreviary on my ipod, also the Magnificat, 2 Bible apps, several other devotionals, etc, because I ALWAYS misplaced the paper kind. Love it, even if I get some grimaces at Mass.
          My priests know because I showed them.
          Blake, the Orthodox use a pen and paper, preferably fountain pen and parchment. They’d use quills, but they are messy to sharpen.

        • Orthodox would be IBM punchcards (probably running Fortran) while the Emergent crowd would be Linux or the like 🙂

        • Commodore 64….

  10. David Cornwell says

    Pastors and church leader should be ashamed to make Steve Jobs a model for leadership. I’ve read a couple of stories about the “other” Steve. One is “What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs” found on gawker.com.

    The other is about what he considered the positive contribution of using psychedelic drugs earlier in his life. This article is found on Salon.com. The gist of it is: “Unlike many people who have enjoyed success, Jobs is not saying that he was able to succeed despite his illegal drug use; he’s saying his success is in part — in substantial part — because of those illegal drugs (he added that Bill Gates would “be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once”). ”

    He was a huge success as a capitalist, a celebrity, and an innovator. And probably a few other things. But he isn’t another Jesus or Saint Paul.

    I have seen some funny cartoons however, about Moses and the iPad.

  11. Christian churches in the ME are not remembered much by fellow christians in the US at least among evangelicals. I don’t know about the liturgical traditions. It always seemed to me that there was little interest in the state of believers in other parts of the world except when the occasional missionary would speak and then be quickly forgotten.

    • We pray for the persecuted Church in the ME and specifically for some in the Holy Land every week at Mass.

      • I’m glad about that. I suspect that there is more of this kind of thing in the Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox, etc. churches.

  12. Nadine,

    American Evangelicals aren’t usually dialed-in to what believers in the Middle East are going through for three distinct reasons:

    1) Christian Zionism divides the Middle East into Jews and Muslims, Isaac and Ishmael
    1) Consequently all Arabs — as well as Persians, Afghans, Pakistanis, etc. — are assumed to be Muslims
    2) To the degree that they’re not Muslims, their Christianity (Orthodox, Nestorian, Coptic, Armenian Orthodox, etc.) seems so foreign that “brother” isn’t always the first word that comes to mind.

    Fortunately, it appears that many American Evangelicals are indeed beginning to acknowledge the Coptic plight and that of Iranian Christians, for example.

    The flip side is that, among, say, the Orthodox, the connection is extremely strong. Indeed, a recent delegation from the Antiochian Orthodox Church here in the US/Canada went to Syria on a fact-finding mission, met with Assad, etc. But…..reading the final draft of the report left me a bit unsettled. In summary, Christians in Syria are pretty much better off under Assad than they’d likely be under a regime change. So which is it to be: brutal Fascist-style dictatorship or Muslim democratic majority with its potential problems? It gives me a stomachache.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      1) Christian Zionism divides the Middle East into Jews and Muslims, Isaac and Ishmael

      No, it redefines both Jews and Muslims as expendable pieces to move about on the End Time Prophecy gameboard, nothing more.

      2) Consequently all Arabs — as well as Persians, Afghans, Pakistanis, etc. — are assumed to be Muslims

      Don’t forget Orcs. Replacing the Communists who were the Orcs (Gog, Magog, the Kings from the East) during the Cold War.

    • I’m a little new to understanding much about Orthodoxy and eastern Christendom, but aren’t the Nestorians considered non-trinitarian and heretical?

      • Miguel,
        Nestorius’ teaching was condemned, and the few of his followers who were left pretty much dispersed farther east, toward China, actually. The majority of the Oriental Orthodox are very much Trinitarian; they did not affirm the Definition of Chalcedon because war and politics prevented them from getting to that council and hearing the Christologic discussions behind the Def. Most “canonical” Orthodox don’t think there is very much separating them from the Orientals that a good theological conversation couldn’t fix. Unfortunately, war and politics (church politics as well as secular) have prevented this from happening, and we all on the eastern side of things have been remiss in taking care of this. Lord, have mercy.

        • Slight correction: The so-called “Nestorians” (aka the Assyrian Church of the East) recognizes the first two ecumenical councils (Nicea and I Constantinople) but not the third. The churches known as Oriental Orthodox recognize the first three, but not the fourth (Chalcedon). All accept the Trinity, which is affirmed in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed. Yes, they could all reconcile if they really wanted to, but by now they have their own traditions and distinct identities which nobody wants to give up. Also, the saints of some are the heretics of others.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            I have a sister-in-law who’s Assyrian Church of the East. Hails from Nineveh (or Mosul as it’s called these days), grew up in Baghdad.

          • Well, yes…

            that “good theological conversation”, were it to take place, would probably last several decades, and for eastern churches even that would be a short time 🙂


    • Missionary funds never go to help these struggling, persecuted churches, but just to convert members away to Americanized evangelical/pentecostal church plants. I think the sad, horrific component of these persecutions is the belief by western protestants that these people really aren’t truly “saved” Christians and therefore are not to be recognized as Christian.

  13. Tim Becker says

    There’s an interesting connection between Jackson Browne and Stevie Ray Vaughn who was featured last week. In 1982, Stevie Ray played the Montreux Jass Festival in Switzerland, and was nearly booed off the stage. The crowd apparently was just not ready for what Stevie had to offer. But in that crowd sat Jackson Browne and David Bowie. They recognized his genius, and invited him to jam with them that night- which turned into an all night session. Jackson ended up inviting Vaughn to record in his studio for free, and Bowie invited him to play on his next album- Let’s Dance. The tapes from the Jackson studio sessions turned into SRV and Double Troubles’ first Epic album: “Texas Flood”. Anyway, three years later, Stevie was invited back to Montreux as a head liner and was cheered like a hero.

  14. Regarding the theft of the relic of the True Cross, I am a bit annoyed, certainly. But as we say over here, “There’s neither luck nor grace with it” and I imagine those thieves won’t profit by their crime (they were probably more interested in the precious metals and gems than what the reliquary contained).

    Bank robberies are also beginning to be on the rise once more. Signs of the economic downturn over here!

  15. Would you feel better if you knew that it wasn’t really the true cross?