October 24, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 10.9.10

The baseball playoffs have begun, the leaves and acorns are falling, pumpkins are being sold at on every corner. That must mean it’s time for Saturday Ramblings.

The baseball playoffs are in full swing (yes, pun intended) with the Cincinnati Reds and some other teams competing for a trip to the World Series. Michael Spencer and I spent a good amount of our conversations talking about the Reds. Now I suspect he is pulling strings to help the Reds in their first trip to the postseason in 15 years. Well, I did suspect that until Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Filthies threw a no-hitter on Wednesday. I still say the Reds will win this series in five.

This week was State Fair week here in Oklahoma. I went to the Tulsa State Fair (yes, I know that Tulsa is not a state. I don’t understand it either.) with my life group from church to see Third Day. How the mighty have fallen. From playing large venues to playing state fairs. My oh my. Anyway, I saw a new food item this year: The Krispy Kreme burger. A third pound of ground beef, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles—all sandwiched between two Krispy Kreme glazed donuts. It comes with a recommendation of a local cardiologist. Somehow I missed out on the fried Snickers, the fried beer and the fried butter.

Catalyst 2010 is not exactly a state fair, and I don’t think you will find Krispy Kreme burgers there, but there is a fair-like atmosphere in Atlanta this week as more than 13,000 pastors gather to hear speakers like Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel and Francis Chan. Also on tap are marketing authors Seth Godin and Daniel Pink. Christian comedian Michael Jr. will make them laugh. Catalyst is aimed at pastors under the age of 40. So perhaps that explains the emphasis on entertainment. What will those in attendance come back to their churches with?

The theme of this year’s Catalyst is Tension. Mark Batterson encouraged the crowd not to seek safety in ministry—that we may face dangers as we follow the Lord in ministry. Not sure how that was an entertaining message. Hopefully it was followed by a good dose of comedy and marketing.

Here is a good story from Catalyst about young Christian leaders of charities. I especially like what Jamie Tworkowski is doing with To Write Love On Her Arms. If you haven’t read their story, I encourage you to do so.

Young people in England have only a “faded memory of Christianity” and have a faith that is on a “need to believe basis.” This is a pretty discouraging report, especially thinking that this is spreading in the United States. I was recently in England, and have to say that the young people I met have an incredibly strong faith and desire to draw close to the Lord. Like in any nation, you will find those whose faith is shaped by Jesus and those whose faith is shaped by the church.

iMonk John Simpson has written a book that is now available for purchase. The Naked Darwin exposed flaws in the theory of evolution while presenting food for thought concerning Intelligent Design. John is a long time iMonk and a fan of the Reds, two good reasons to check out his book.

Happy Birthday this week to my daughter Leah Wolfe; Mahatma Ghandi; Julius “Groucho” Marx; William “Bud” Abbot; Don “American Pie” McLean; Lindsay Buckingham; Charlton “Ben Hur” Heston; Ray “Golden Arches” Kroc; Steve Miller; Tony Dungy; Desmond Tutu; Yo-Yo Ma; Sigourney Weaver; and Matt Damon.

So many of you are too young to have ever seen a Marx Brothers movie, which means you have laughter muscles you haven’t yet used. Enjoy this number from their classic Animal Crackers.


  1. As a British Pastor, I have to say that my optimism is high for young people in the UK. They are more aware of the wider world than ever I was as a teenager. Many of the Christian young people I meet have a keen sense of social conscience, and ensure that their faith impacts with the choices they make in shopping, eating and social interaction. It is a real privilege to know them and serve them.

  2. Jeff, Third Day has been doing State Fairs for years. Doesn’t mean they aren’t still doing larger venues, it just means that fans like me (with little money for concerts) can actually get to see them too!

  3. I think you are being a little hard on Catalyst. Yes, there is some marketing, entertainment, and goofiness, and there is the danger of stressing “leadership” to the point it overtakes higher priorities, but much of the discussion there is very good stuff.

    • I’m sure there are some good talks. But what will these pastors take back to their churches? Will they come back with a “deep calling unto deep” in their spirits, or will they come back remembering only the silliness and then be disheartened when they face the reality of a congregation full of smelly, hungry, needy sheep? That is my question. And it will be answered 13,000 ways.

  4. If there were actual holes that stood up to actual scrutiny by actual scientists, then they would be published in a scientific journal rather than a book published by a religious organisation.

  5. Animal Crackers is my second favorite. Duck Soup is the one that gets top marks from me. Harpo is in excellent form. It is only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve come to appreciate how well Margaret Dumont provides the perfect straight lady for Groucho.

    • Don’t forget A Night At The Opera with the famous stateroom scene…

      • Groucho tested/previewed his Carnegie Hall “An Evening With Groucho” at C. Y. Stephens Auditorium at ISU/Ames, Iowa, thanks to the initiative of a student who worked there, Tom Wilhite, if I recall his name correctly. I think Tom went on to make a name for himself (I should have done more than simply regard him as a fellow usher!). They made an LP of the Carnegie Hall show, and if you Google you can find a transcript. IIRC, Erin Fleming, his caregiver, helped him a bit on stage.

        “Why a duck?” 🙂

  6. Cedric Klein says

    If Third Day weren’t at the State Fair but in a major venue, would all of your kids been able to afford going?

    I also don’t see how your description of Catalyst 2010=an (over-)emphasis on entertainment and marketing.

    But what we all REALLY wanna know…. The Krispy Kreme Burger… did you did or did you didn’t?

    I still haven’t gotten up the nerve.

    • Yes, they would.

      Didn’t say it was an OVERemphasis, just an emphasis. And I didn’t even say it was bad, just understandable.

      Now to the biggie. No. Not even on a dare.

  7. And Happy Birthday, John Lennon (would have been his 70th).

    Regarding this week’s discussion on why faith is hard, yesterday I saw for the first time a T-shirt displaying the Office Max big red button with “Jesus” embalzened across it. The caption under it was, “Yes, it’s that easy”. So, what’s the problem? In doubt? Life is hard? Need that life you always wanted? Just hit the “easy”…I mean the “Jesus” button. It’s just that easy.

  8. Hooray for Capt. Spaulding!

  9. Marx Brothers forever and ever. Amen.

    • Buford Hollis says

      Wisdom! Let us be attentive!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I have always wished Rufus T Firefly’s aria from Duck Soup should be played at real-world Presidential Inaqurations:


  10. Sword Fish

  11. John Simpson says

    Jeff, thanks for all of your words and sharing your heart. AND thanks for the directing readers to The Naked Darwin. Most of the pastoral leadership from my church went to Atlanta, I will quiz them on return!. Buddy, our Reds are in a tight place. Last night’s loss hurt because good defense is a hallmark of this team-go figure. Come what may, a small market team of youngters won the Central Div after 9 losing seasons. I am proud of that. John