October 22, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 10-22-11

Greatings, iMonks, to the weekly ritual where we clean up the messes left around the iMonastery. Hey—you can’t make a ham-and cheese omelet without cracking a few eggs, grilling up some ham and grating some cheese. Writing all of that has made me hungry. So while y’all are perusing the eggs we’ve cracked for this morning’s Ramblings, I’ll be sitting down to an omelet. Or maybe just a bowl of Grape Nuts. Either way, let’s ramble.

Let’s start this week off with some good news. The United States now has an official site where Mary has said to have appeared. A Belgian immigrant, Adele Brise, is said to have seen Mary three times at this spot in 1859. Now, hundreds flock to the site each day to visit and to pray. Where is the blessed place? Just outside of Champion, Wisconsin. Let’s see, the Green Bay Packers and the Wisconsin Badgers are both undefeated, and the Milwaukee Brewers made the playoffs this year. I think I’m beginning to see why …

In news I wish I didn’t have to report, “Bishop” Eddie Long is being sued by members of his Atlanta congregation for allegedly encouraging them to invest in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme. But Long said the man doing the investing followed the word of God. Isn’t that good enough?

With stories like this, it’s no wonder tithing in American churches is on the decline. And with preachers inviting “investment counselors” to put on a weeklong seminar in the sanctuary, and churches spending more money to attract and keep members than they are putting into reaching the lost and helping the poor, what is the motivation to give? Yes, I know that we are to give as unto the Lord and not to men, but men are doing the spending of this money. How many do you think have stopped giving because they’re tired of being entertained? Yes, churches that simply present the Gospel in music, message and sacraments are fewer and smaller, but I wonder if the percentage of givers in these churches exceeds the percentage of givers in the megachurch circus tents…

Speaking of money, the Occupy Wall Street protests continue nationwide, even worldwide. Bret Mavrich at Relevant Magazine wonders just how Jesus would protest, if at all. Frank Schaeffer blames the whole protest on fundamental Christians. Really.

And from the other coast, Mark Driscoll has gone all proprietary on us. Now he doesn’t want any other church to call themselves Mars Hill Church. He doesn’t want them to do this so much that he has copyrighted “Mars Hill Church” and has sent cease and desist letters to other churches using that name. I’ll bet he is high on the Christmas card list of many pastors right about now.

There are some churches in Houston that I would probably send C&D letters to myself. These six were especially pointed out as being among the ugliest in the city. Why am I picking on Houston? Well, my Tulsa Golden Hurricane are playing the godless Cougars of Houston in college football tonight. It just seemed the right thing to do.

We are coming up on that time of year when we will be referring daily to something called the Wind Chill Index. (When I was a kid, we just knew that in the winter when the wind was blowing it was colder than a well-digger’s left elbow. Didn’t need any kind of index to figure that out.) Well, now we have a Rapture Index to tell us how close we are to that great trumpet blast. And yes, I know that yesterday was to be the end of all days according to Harold Camping. This time he was being honest with us. And yet, here we are. Perhaps he got his Rapture Index numbers mixed up.

Happy, happy birthday to Mario Puzo; Lee Iacocca; Barry McGuire; Penny Marshall; Tim Robbins; Manute Bol; Arthur Miller; George Wendt; Evel Knievel; Little Orphan Annie; Mike Ditka; Pam “Mindy” Dawber; Amy Carter; Bela Lugosi; Viggo Mortensen; Carrie Fisher; and Judge Judy.

Mork and Mindy. That was when TV was TV. If you never saw this show, or if you had forgotten about it, here is a small sample with many spiritual truths hidden inside. See how many you can fine. Enjoy.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkNnKGTIB6g’]

 

Comments

  1. I’m starting to get the impression that Mark Driscoll is … well, a bit of a thug.

    • Not a gangsta?

    • Charles Fines says

      Driscoll waited until Rob Bell was packing his bags. Perhaps out of consideration but perhaps a strategic maneuver. I never saw the point of naming a church Mars Hill anyway. Paul didn’t go over so well there. Who wants to hang out with a bunch of argumentative philosophers?

      • It’s not Rob Bell’s Mar’s Hill. It’s another one.

        • But if there are already two churches calling themselves “Mars Hill”, how then can the Seattle one tell any other church “You can’t take our name?”

          How about if I call my church “Areopagus” – is that trademark infringement?

          This just wouldn’t work in Catholicism, because you’d have to send out multiple letters globally, and it would be “So who called themselves Sacred Heart first? Okay, England says it has evidence going back to the 18th century, the Irish claim all the ways to the 11th, and the Italians – naturally! – are going for the 6th century. Our Lady of Lourdes? Okay, the French got that one. All Saints? Oh, boy, this is going to take a long time…”

          • Margaret Catherine says

            “…ah, on that one, there’s a delegation from the Orthodox Churches waiting outside…”

      • I guess it’s a good thing his church wasn’t “First Baptist”. Can you imagine an Episcopal church trying to patent “Saint Stephen’s”? Simply ludicrous. Evangelicalism is all about marketing and branding. Come to Jesus (TM).

    • Here’s how sacredsandwich.com dealt with Mark Driscoll (well, they didn’t mention him by name…).
      http://sacredsandwich.com/archives/8690

  2. Occupy Wall St.

    ‘Idiots in the park’

    • One more Mike says

      Some of those “idiots” are among the 23% (number from the VA) of veterans recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan who can’t find jobs. Since only 1% of Americans are currently in uniform, and only 5% of Americans even know anyone in uniform (that number from CNN), it’s easy to lose sight of those folks in amongst the anarchists, code pink’er’s, homeless and other unemployed folks who they’ve found common ground with while “occupying Wall Street”.

    • Not being able to find a job is one thing. That is a terrible thing.

      But wanting to do away with rich people, or punish rich people, or do away with capitalism…is idiotic.

      They have the wrong target. The target ought be government, the biggest waster of money and resources ever, and the biggest hinderence to those who would provide real jobs (not phoney government green jobs).

      • And if various governments do only what the rich people what? Then what?

      • One more Mike says

        “Occupy D.C.” is targeting the government, along with all the other issues the “Occupy” movement is about. The issues are complex, as are the solutions, but thank God that everyone, “idiotic” or not, has the right to freely assemble, protest and petition the government for redress of greivances, all brought to you by the Founding Fathers, who started this country as a protest movement…unless you think that was “idiotic”… and insured by America’s Military.

      • umm, I don’t think you really understand what OWS is all about.

    • Steve, do you have a label for the Tea Party?

  3. David Cornwell says

    Talking about cease and desist letters, I saw where McDonalds is going into a big expansion. Maybe they could expand into a line of McChurches. They could proclaim the McGospel, play McMusic, and hear a McPreacher. For early services they could serve their Sausage McMuffin with Egg and choose a drink from McCafe.

    This mornings ramblings have me wondering, when does the church stop being the Church?

  4. I wonder what the proper Christian response would be to one of those churches who received a C & D order? My gut tells me that they shouldn’t fight Driscoll, and should just quietly and unobtrusively change their name… but that’s easy for me to say since I’m not personally invested.

    Peace, Brian

    • say what???

      • that’s not what Mark Driscoll’s Jesus would do…

        He would roundhouse kick the holy crap out of that C&D order & then go after the poor unfortunate soul that initiated it in the first place!

        yeah Driscoll, i’d be watching my back from now on… 😉

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          This Driscoll the MMA cage-fight fanboy?

          • yes. time to get that boy into the ring! let the last man standing proclaim their ‘dogma’ the one that is the only trademarked one in the proverbial theological fight… 😉

          • Maybe the Patriarchate of Venice should be sending “cease and desist” letters to Mark Driscoll, on account of they have first dibs on the name “Mark” associated with a church (constructed in 828 to house the relics of St. Mark the Evangelist acquired by Venetian merchants Alexandria)

            😉

        • I say we nominate Mark Driscoll for the coveted $%#hole of the year award!!

  5. So the idea of locking Mark Driscoll and Frank Schaffer in a room and making it a PPV event hasn’t been broached yet? Patience with either is waning at the moment.

    My assumption with Driscoll will be that it will come back that it was all a misunderstanding, Driscoll doesn’t care if they have the name, a lawyer/intern/associate went overboard, and it’ll eventually be dropped…a little reminiscent of the Perry Noble fiasco 2 years ago.

    On that note, everyone go and hug your own pastor tomorrow. No special reason, just nice to remember that the pastor/priest most important to us is usually the person in front the church, not someone halfway across the country.

    • Actually, there is a special reason to hug your pastor. October is “Pastor Appreciation Month”. Can’t help but wonder if Hallmark has come up with a greeting card yet …or, perhaps, miniature marshmallow milk chocolate pastor-shaped candy bars.

      Don’t mean to sound cynical here. Our much-loved and esteemed pastor is leaving this month after ten years and he will be sorely missed. He’s not a hugger, though.

      He is, however, a recovering attorney. …OK, THAT’s cynical. 🙂

    • What if we don’t have a Pastor? On another note I read and liked the Frank Schaefer piece. But I do think he has a lot that he has to get out of his system. However, I also think the next “Frank Schaefer” is going to be John Piper’s daughter. That girl has been through a lot as well and probably is in the stage where the anger and pain hasn’t been realzied and is building.

    • Wow, I’m happy to hear that I was somewhat wrong about my guess on this. Turns out that Mars Hill Seattle, while certainly not “suing” another churches with the same name, nonetheless admitted they erred and called the other Mars Hills church to personally apologize. They talked for awhile and apparently left with a stronger relationship.

      Nice move on Justin Halcomb, et al’s part to admit wrongdoing. Dare I say…it’s a very manly move 😉

  6. Robin Williams, by the way, is an Episcopalian. Had a YouTube clip of his top ten reasons why. (“You get to believe in dinosaurs!”)

  7. Cobb County, Georgia (county seat: Marietta), a suburb of Atlanta, has had a Mars Hill Road for at least 50 years and probably much longer, and there has always been a Mars Hill Church on that road near U.S. Highway 41. Furthermore, Cobb County also has a Mars Hill Church Road that terminates very near the Mars Hill Church on Mars Hill Road, not to be confused with Mars Hill Church Road. What is Mark Driscoll think he’s going to do about that, huh?? Huh??

    He must be one arrogant fool person….

    • You’re right. For some reason, I hadn’t connected the local dots.

      Personally, I’d be happy if the Right Rev. Driscoll could just help us locate Lost Mountain. I’m sure it’s just been misplaced rather than actually lost.

    • I used to live in Marietta but I had no idea we had a local Mars Hill Church.

  8. The Mars Hill thing shows why I still consider the neo-Reformed movement simply an offshoot of Fundamentalism. They can claim they aren’t Fundamentalists all they want, but they’re just as quick to divide and conquer as any other Fundamentalist. I’d be willing to bet that the thinking behind the legal action is that Driscoll’s Mars Hill may be thinking about starting a satellite congregation near this other church, and they don’t want their “brand” to be confused/contaminated by the other one. It’s just sad, really.

    • +1

    • The Mars Hill siuation makes me glad that I am agnositc. I see this type of bull and how many Christians swallow it, and I’m grateful that I am not in the fold. For me it pushes me away from Christinaity.

      • It is indeed unfortunate that the flawed church pushes people like you away from a relationship with our perfect Christ. I believe this site (Internet Monk) exists for this reason, to highlight how Jesus himself would disapprove of the way many churches portray him. Michael Spencer wanted to show that it’s all about Jesus-shaped spirituality, not “Mars Hill” spirituality, or “Mark Driscoll” spirituality, or even “Rick Ro.” (that’s me) spirituality.

        The focus must be Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. We must follow Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

  9. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    There are some churches in Houston that I would probably send C&D letters to myself. These six were especially pointed out as being among the ugliest in the city.

    #5) Grace Community Church, AKA “World’s Biggest Walgreens” — isn’t that Grinning Ed Young’s, of Learjet and Seven-Day Sex Challenge fame?

    Well, now we have a Rapture Index to tell us how close we are to that great trumpet blast. And yes, I know that yesterday was to be the end of all days according to Harold Camping. This time he was being honest with us. And yet, here we are. Perhaps he got his Rapture Index numbers mixed up.

    And I’m sure Camping is now back to his books and calculations — “This Time I KNOW I’ve Gotten The Date RIGHT!”

  10. Jack Heron says

    Am I the only one who thinks the Rapture Index reads like the descriptions on film classifications? “This film is rated 15 for language, occasional nudity and moderate prophetic activity”

  11. One more Mike says

    The poor you have with you always…and they can show up on Tuesday between 9:00 and 11:00 AM to pick up food at our food pantry. Sunday is for tithers and shiny, happy people. Buzzkillers i.e., the “poor”, not welcome at our vibrant, encouraging “worship”.

    Does Mark Driscoll’s arrogance have no bounds? His popularity baffles me. I guess I just don’t get the demographics of his audience, however I think we should all pray for them. I’m guessing none of them are poor….

  12. “…godless Cougars of Houston”
    Now that’s pretty damn funny!!

  13. I keep thinking why doesn’t Jesus issue a C&D order to those who claim to do such obnoxious or other strange things in his name, but then I remember the parable of the wheat and the tares. He gives the order to let them grow together, and then he will take care of it all in the end.

  14. I know this is becoming old news, but is anyone going to watch the 60 Minutes interview with Steve Job’s biographer? Apparently, Steve delayed cancer surgery for nine critical months while pursuing natural remedies and “magic thinking”. As one of the interview questions state, how could a man with so much intelligence do something so stupid? I guess this faith-prosperity/power of positive thinking stuff has poisoned more religions than just Christianity.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Apparently, Steve [Jobs] delayed cancer surgery for nine critical months while pursuing natural remedies and “magic thinking”. As one of the interview questions state, how could a man with so much intelligence do something so stupid?

      San Francisco Bay Area. Baby Boomer in age. San Fran is as bad as Hollywood for various “Alternative Reality” crowds.

      And as for Intelligence vs Stupidity, remember the early Roman Empire where you had extreme cynicism and skepticism hand-in-hand with extreme superstition? During my early D&D days, we used to have an expression:
      “Intelligence 18, Wisdom 3.”

  15. Jeff, with Barry McGuire’s birthday this week, and the world coming to an end again (yesterday) I’m surprised you didn’t post the video “Eve of Destruction”.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntLsElbW9Xo

    Do you have a good explanation for the omission???

    But thanks for the Mork and Mindy fix. It’s been a LONG time.

  16. Wait!!! A C&D order for Mars Hill? What ever happened to “imitation is the highest form of flattery?”

  17. I’m fairly green when it comes to a lot of things, but I do know that there is always two sides to every story:

    http://blog.marshill.com/2011/10/22/clarification-on-some-rumors-that-have-been-on-some-blogs/

    • I actually just saw this…and was planning on emailing Jeff Dunn becuase of what I read. I saw it had to do with the church logo and not the name. So with that I take back what I said about the copyright issue. Now that doesn’t mean that my thoughts on Driscoll have changed. I still find him to be a thug, compulsive, controlling and a poor representative for Christianity. (Remember this is coming from an agnostic…) Every time he opens his mouth its just to rotate feet. Down here in Virignia I have Pat Robertson, while up in Seattle you have Mark Driscoll. There’s plenty to go on with him, just the other day he made a comment about how jerking off makes people gay. If that’s the case then most guys are gay and do not know it. And in the case of those who are in the military…it’s a good thing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed.

    • I appreciate your posting this, Josh, but it doesn’t change my opinion of the attitude of Driscoll’s church. I use the phrase advisedly — Driscoll’s church, not the church or God’s church. He talks about branding, about letting people know what they’re getting in a name. The word “church” should be the branding element and should let people know what they’re getting, not “Mars Hill.” Mars Hill church ought not to be unique enough to require branding. It ought to be just one other local manifestation of the universal body.

    • One more Mike says

      From the blogpost: “When cases like this arise in the business world, it’s customary for a law office to send a notice asking the other organization to adjust their branding to differentiate it. This is commonly referred to as a cease and desist letter. On September 27, 2011, our legal counsel sent such a letter to these three Mars Hill churches requesting that they change their logo and name.”

      It’s very telling that they use the words “in the business world”, and then use a “business tactic” to deal with this “other organization”. Heavy use of business language. This church is a business. It should be taxed as a business, as all “religious business entities” should. Sorry, went down a path I couldn’t resist.

      Yeah, I agree with other posters who say the YRR crowd are at bottom Fundementalists in denim. They’re splitting themselves off, declaring themselves right and shutting off argument with bullying and legal action. They are todays Pharisees. Michael Spencer saw this coming years ago and his vision of the CEC is becoming clearer every time the clowns jump off the evangelical circus train and do something stupid like this. This wouldn’t make him happy, but he knew it was inevitable.

      • “In hindsight, we realize now that the way we went about raising our concerns, while acceptable in the business world, is not the way we should deal with fellow Christians.”

        That is the most telling sentence. What they were a church and didn’t realize that a C&D order was not acceptable? What has Pope Mark been teaching up there? Didn’t anyone think to ask if it was Biblical? How about just talking to them first?

    • That doesn’t really make things much better. “Don’t use our logo”? Okay, I Googled, and the Mars Hill Church logo is a capital letter M enclosed in a circle (plus the text Mars Hill Church).

      Well, goodness gracious me! Anyone else using a logo with the letter M enclosed in a circle had better watch out then, hadn’t they? LIke this company (fruits of more quick Googling):

      “Moore Drop Forging Co. M [circle logo] 01/01/1908 0292165 M-Circle logo used on forgings and stampings” Oh,sure, they registered this all the way back in 1908, but how, oh how, is any innocent enquirer to know the difference between a Seattle church and a foundry if logo integrity is not maintained?

      Or an easily confused person or someone with poor eyesight might not be able to tell that the Motorola logo is not the same thing!

      Or they might imagine there was some association with either the Maryland Glass Corporation of Baltimore or the Mosser Glass Company of Ohio!

      Or worser and worser, there might be confusion with Circle M City, which is both a Wild West movie set (for the Christian movie “Cowboy Trail”) and a Christian ministry to boot!

      Would anyone ever tell Mark Driscoll to get over himself, and if he actually needs a logo, Christendom has found the cross a pretty good all-purpose identifying mark for the last two thousand years? Or if he’s that desperate, how about he declares himself American Pope Mark I (there’s already been one Pope Mark in the 4th century) and designs his own vestments and some adaptation of the triregno?

      • Would anyone ever tell Mark Driscoll to get over himself, and if he actually needs a logo, Christendom has found the cross a pretty good all-purpose identifying mark for the last two thousand years?

        yes. amen. if he wants a hill to identify with a hill, how about Golgotha?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Or if he’s that desperate, how about he declares himself American Pope Mark I (there’s already been one Pope Mark in the 4th century) and designs his own vestments and some adaptation of the triregno?

        What about all the other Triple Tiaras worn by the Pope Fill-in-the-Blank I’s of all those other Megachurches and Independent New Testament Fellowships?