November 30, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 10.23.10

It is that time of week, time for us to sweep up and put away all the leftovers. Time to clean and shine and wax and … oh, forget it. It’s Saturday, a perfect day to bake a batch of peanut butter cookies, watch some college football, and read your Saturday Ramblings.

Cape Town, South Africa was this site this week for the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism. More than 4,000 participants from 200 nations gathered to discuss ways for people from various countries, ethnic groups and denominations to work together toward the common goal of evangelism. Ed Stetzer offers some insights into the gathering, as do our friends at Out Of Ur.

One address given in Cape Town was from Tim Keller, who urges those interested in evangelism to look to plant inner-city churches. Tim is one who can deliver this message as he pastors in the largest city in America. This is a good message. If you are at all thinking of planting a church, read this.

Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral filed for bankruptcy protection this week under a mountain of debt. Officials with Schuller’s ministry blame the economy, saying donations and ticket sales for their acclaimed holiday shows have fallen steadily since 2008. The Crystal Cathedral was among the first megachurches in the nation, starting out with services at a drive-in theater in Southern California. If you are ever in Orange County, be sure to spend a little bit of time at the church. It is a wonder for the eyes.

You want to see another wonder for the eyes, this time on the east coast? The Church of the Transfiguration on Cape Cod in Massachusetts is not only an artistic church, it is a church of artists. When you go to this Christianity Today article, click thru to the pdf version, but be prepared to wait for a while as it downloads. But it is well worth it. I now have yet another reason to want to visit this part of the country, and soon. (Ok, a trip to Maine for some Pat’s Pizza and an icy-cold glass of Moxie is another reason … )

Imagine no religion, it’s easy if you try. And with no religion, we would all be united as one, right? Well, apparently not. 370 atheists gathered in Los Angeles this week to talk about the future of their, er, their, um, movement? (But to be a movement, wouldn’t you have to be moving toward something? Sigh…) Seems that maybe even without religion (or is atheism really a religion?) not everyone can get along. “A creature revolting against a creator is revolting against the source of his own powers–including even his power to revolt…It is like the scent of a flower trying to destroy the flower.” C.S. Lewis

Oops. Those doomsday predictions for 2012 that are based on the Mayan calendar? They might be off by just a bit. Like 50-100 years off. Good thing we won’t have to wait that long, thanks to Harold Camping. Where is Hal Lindsay when you need him?

Ok, Martha, this one is for you. The Vatican has declared that Homer Simpson is—yes—Catholic. I really don’t know what to say to that except, D’oh!

This week’s birthdays include Laree Lindburg (trade book publisher for eMoon Publishing); Angela Lansbury, Susanne Somers; Bob Weir (guitarist for the Grateful Dead); Arthur Miller; George “Norm” Wendt; Little Orphan Annie; Chuck Berry; George C. Scott; Peter Boyle (the monster in Young Frankenstein); Amy Carter; Bela Lugosi; Mickey Mantle; William “Father Mulcahy” Christopher; Tom Petty; Elvin Bishop; Carrie “I was high in Star Wars” Fisher; Derek “Brother Cadfael” Jacobi; and Christopher Lloyd.

Peter Boyle was perfectly cast as the monster in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. Here is one of the best scenes from the movie, a movie that is one “best scene” after another. Enjoy.


  1. Buford Hollis says

    No, some Jesuit writing for the Vatican NEWSPAPER (L’Osservatore Romano) has surmised that Homer Simpson is Catholic. But he’s actually been established as “Presbylutheran”:

  2. Here is a clip of the episode in which Homer and Bart actually do become catholic. Marge has a daydream about the difference between protestant heaven and catholic heaven.

    • Dear Jeff, there are a couple of points I wish to address on this one.

      (1) Homer would rather have a lie-in on Sunday morning. Marge has to drag him to church (as well as making sure the kids attend). She’s the impetus behind the family’s spiritual life. Sounds Catholic to me! 😉

      (2) It’s not “the Vatican says”; it’s “a columnist writing a light-hearted piece in ‘L’Osservatore Romano’ says” but that’s okay, newspapers picking up stories never let an opportunity to overstate things go by 🙂

      (3) It’s all part of our secret plot for global domination. We’ve been slowly working away at this for centuries, so it’s too late to be alarmed now. Obviously, by inserting subliminal messages into widely-disseminated popular culture, we hope to brainwash the younger generations and then pluck them off at our leisure as they get older. Remember what the Jesuits (allegedly) said? “Give me the child until he is seven, and i will give you the man”?

      Probably revealed too much with that last one, but as I said, it’s too late for you to worry now. After all, four hundred years after the Reformation and the doing-away with vain devotions and the impositions of man, a German(!) Pope has venerated a pre-Reformation saint(!) in Westminster Abbey(!), and if the Church of England by Law Established have succumbed, what hope do the rest of you have? Bwahahahaha!!!!


      • I knew it! I knew the Simpsons had a covert meaning. No wonder I find myself praying toward Rome each morning…

        • Well, think about it.

          Beer-drinking, cussing, sex? What religion does that sound like – Reformed Presbylutheranism or Romanism?


      • “Probably revealed too much with that last one.”

        Yeah, I’m thinking that’s one they may want to take out of the Catholic quote book.

        • Yeah, Sarah, the feeling that I was among friends here loosened my tongue.

          But never fear – I’ll speak up for you all when the Great Day comes! Your gruel will have the lumps strained out and you’ll get hay to lie on in your dungeon cells!


    • brandontmilan, I love that Simpson’s clip! Funny! Thanks for the link. I haven’t been watching the show for some years now, but I do get a kick out of it.

  3. MelissaTheRagamuffin says

    I’m still trying to figure out when The Simpsons became good family programing. o.O

  4. “ticket sales for their acclaimed holiday shows”

    That line jumped out at me. What holiday shows? Ticket sales?

    Is this a church or an entertainment centre? Okay, for fundraising purposes I can see that, the same way schools sell tickets to the Nativity play, but on the other hand, it sounds a little off.

    • Cedric Klein says

      They had two holiday shows “The Glory of Christmas” and “The Glory of Easter’. I saw the latter and it was wonderful- basically a musical drama of The Passion Week. And $35 a head for a mid-ground section seat was more than reasonable.

      I live in Indiana & my brother lives in L.A. When Mom & I visit him, the Crystal Cathedral is our church away from home. I’m not happy at all about the way the CC handled moving Robert Schuller the son out of his pastoral role but he seems to be flourishing where he is. I think a lot of CC’s present troubles are a result of that on several levels (one of which is bad karma), but I’m not giving up on CC.

    • They had their own Ticketmaster window, actually. Seriously.

    • What goes on over there in Ireland?
      First it was Martha’s innocence about Christian Radio in the US…
      Then it was her bewilderment about Christian Bookstores in the US…
      Now it’s our MegaChurches…
      I’ll say it again: Martha, you are so innocent. Stay where you are. 🙂

      • Oh, Ted. If only you knew.

        Nah, it’s just that being approximately 99% Roman Catholic since the time of St. Patrick means we’re so horribly behind the times when it comes to all the good modern stuff.

        Though I have to say, we’re using a video projector in my parish church to put the words of the hymns up on the wall. Stll can’t get the congregation to sing, mind you, but wow! The twenty-first century has arrived with a bang!


        • And even Lough Derg has gone soft nowadays!

          You can go on a one-day retreat (instead of the tradtional three-day version) and you are living in the lap of luxury! See this from the FAQ on their website (and Lough Derg having a website just blows my mind anyway):

          “Do I have to fast when coming on a One Day Retreat

          These retreats differ from the traditional pilgrimage with pilgrims not required to fast or walk barefoot. Retreatents are offered tea/coffee and scones upon arrival and a light lunch of soup and sandwiches is provided. Please note that these are included in the cost price of the retreat.”

          No walking barefoot on the rocks in the rain (although when my mother did it back in the early 90s, she managed to get sunburn – must have been the one time in the century it was fine up there)? Sandwiches? What is this, a spa holiday???

          • I was going to ask, “Who is Lough Derg?” Then I found out it’s a place.

            This innocence must be a cultural divide.

  5. “(Ok, a trip to Maine for some Pat’s Pizza and an icy-cold glass of Moxie is another reason … )”

    And, Jeff, you could meet up with the Mainers who comment here…Ted and I. There may be some more, too. And if my husband gets a deer this year, we can cook you up some deer burgers. I grew some winter squash this year and I have some Maine apple cider and can make you up some squash-cider soup. Oh, and I have some apples left from my one apple tree. How about an apple pie? What else would you like? I think you like beer. Maine and NH have some wonderful locally made beers.

  6. Wow, Jeff, the artwork in The Church of the Transfiguration on Cape Cod is beautiful. I particularly like the mosaic on the floor.

  7. I know this isn’t about one of the ramblings, but I just wanted to throw it out there that I’m looking forward to the annual reposting of the iMonk Halloween Rant. 🙂

    • Stay tuned for several Halloween entries, Katie. A Writers’ Roundtable discussion on Thursday. A Halloween Difficult Scripture on Thursday. The iMonk Halloween Rant next Saturday. A perhaps a few other surprises along the way…

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Yeah. The Calvary Chapel on my way home from work has large banners up advertising their Harvest Festival (TM) — you know, “Just Like Halloween, Except CHRISTIAN (TM)!”? And this is the time of year for Hell Houses and Tribulation Trails (“Just like a Halloween Haunted House, Except CHRISTIAN (TM)!”). Back when he had an afternoon Christian radio talk show, Rich Buhler would say he could always tell when October rolled around because that was when all the “Halloween Is Witchcraft” calls would start coming in.

        Speaking of Hell Houses, could you also reprint IMonk’s “Hell House — an Evangelicalism Eager to Leave” along with the Halloween Rant? It straddles the boundary between Halloween and your recent End of the World reprint.

  8. Rich Mullins would have been 55 this past Thursday. Man, I wish he was still around.

  9. Peter Boyle was perfectly cast as the monster in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. Here is one of the best scenes from the movie, a movie that is one “best scene” after another. Enjoy.

    The original THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN had some pretty strong religious and Christian themes, and not only in the scene/episode with the blind hermit; IIRC, there was some cross/Christ imagery re: the monster when he was being chased.

  10. This probably is an odd comment coming from a protestant, but post-Vatican II architecture bugs me. I was recently in a Catholic church built within the last ten years. It was gorgeous, with Spanish tiled roof, columns, vaulted ceiling, and dome shapes – very Romanesque. Interior art, such as the stages of the cross, was a bit modern but tasteful. It also had an exquisite, beautiful sounding pipe organ…right up front where there would normally be a high altar. I noticed in these pictures that the Church of the Transfiguration also does not have a high altar. It make the church look …well…protestant. The high altar seemed to be a connection to the past, similar to the iconostasis of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

    • I’m not a Protestant, and post-Vatican II architecture bugs me, too.

      The concrete-bunker/industrial warehouse look was so trendy for unknown reasons. Also, the – shall we say, ‘over enthusiastic’? – implementation of the norms meant that a lot of wanton destruction occurred; oftentimes in all good faith and only due to going overboard on the ‘getting back to simplicity, concentrate on the people not the building’ idea, but sometimes as well down to a specific plan of progressive action, whereby we’d soon be seeing married priests, women priests, the relaxation of the ban on contraception and divorce, and all that good stuff! Just as soon as the old fogies died off, any day now…

      There’s a reason for the joke “When God saw the modern church was no longer suffering persecution, He sent liturgists”.

      Still, our guy is quietly working away at undoing some of the damage, and the ‘reform of the reform’ marches on:

    • Woa, my bad. This is NOT a Catholic church. Got my wires crossed.

      Looking at the photos of the the Church of the Transfiguration more closely, I noticed the arrangement of the seats, where the front rows face each other. This is very similar to the Unity Temple in Oak Park, IL, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

  11. Totally off subject; Go Texas Rangers!!!!

  12. No, Jeff — it’s Derek (“I,Claudius”) Jacobi! 🙂