December 2, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 11.19.11

Welcome to the Thanksgiving Week edition of Saturday Ramblings. This is your chief turkey rambling toward mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (with marshmallows, of course), dressing, corn, and green beans with those crunchy things on top. (Save the green beans–just give me an extra helping of the crunchy things!) So, as we all do our tummy-stretching exercises in preparation for Thursday, shall will take a walk down the ramblin’ road?

First of all, thank you for all who expressed your care for me following my post on Thursday. And thanks for the offer to pitch in a dollar or two toward my financial needs, but I cannot accept that. There are others who work so hard to keep iMonk going and they are not getting paid. If, however, you want to contribute toward our ongoing expenses, we would be most grateful. You can do that by clicking on the “Donate” button to the right. Thank you, every one.

Seems California’s Crystal Cathedral will soon become the Catholic Diocese of Orange County. A bankruptcy judge chose the Diocese’s offer over that of Chapman University. So will the Hour of Power become the Surfing See?

Before you go to the voting booth to cast your ballot for a presidential candidate in your state’s upcoming primary, you will be able to pray about it when The Response comes a-callin’ in your hometown. Unless of course you live in a blue state, for which no prayer can help your liberal ways.

Is your church planning a building campaign (now that you’ve lost the bidding war for the Crystal Cathedral)? I’ll bet you can’t beat what a church in the Bavarian Forest of Germany is planning. Talk of God’s frozen chosen. Who is the pastor, Frosty the Snowman? (Ba-dum-ching! Thank you! I’ll be here all week, folks!)  Next thing you’ll tell me is that Hell, Michigan has frozen over.

Here’s a story that none of us saw coming. “The Bible doesn’t have an official soundtrack.” I think I could dispute that all day long without even trying. It’s stories like this that make me realize very few people outside of the Christian bubble really know or care what is going on in the Church these days.

The Tebow-For-Messiah train keeps a-rollin’. The Denver Broncos’ quarterback, now called The Chosen One by the faithful, has inspired a line of replica jerseys with the name of Jesus screened on the back. Sigh…So God is now a Broncos fan, eh? And if Jesus were to play football, what position would he play?

You know that war on terrorism we waged in Iraq? Seems that, just maybe, we were the unintended terrorists. According to two Catholic bishops, there had been 100,000 Christians in Baghdad before the war, and only about 4,000 now. So, who won and who lost?

Look, I really cannot make stuff like this up. And to me it’s not even worth a snarky comment. Some things are so, so wrong—and this one leads the parade. Just how in the world does cheating casinos make one reassess Christianity in a good way? Don’t even go there, monks. Let me rant and then move on. Gambling is a foolish use of one’s money anyway you look at it. And in the method found in this story, it is sickening. Really. These are pastors and church planters? Do you all have any more questions why we consider ourselves post-evangelical?

Very loud sigh …

On a more cheerful note, Bob Jones III says he doubts President Obama’s claim to be a Christian. Really–if you still have questions of why we jumped off the evangelical circus wagon … (How would the evangelical community react if Obama questioned Jones’ claim to be a Christian?)

Ok, before this gets any more depressing, let’s look at a tweet from UnvirtuousAbbey that rings true for us all: “For those who think the doctrine of reconciliation is about matching your shoes to your sweater, we pray to the Lord.”

Happy birthdays this past week go out to Former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun; Grace Kelly; Al Michaels; Neil Young; Sammy Sosa; Tonya Harding; Ann Hathaway; Aaron Copeland; Stephen Bishop; and Yanni.

Sorry, Neil Young fans (including yours truly). It’s Thanksgiving Week. There is only one bonus video fitting for us today. Happy Thanks … giving. From W … K … R … P!

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  1. It seems exorbitant; however, according to the NPR article, the cost of the crystal cathedral was one fourth of the cost of building a new, needed cathedral elseware. With many parishes reversing the trend to build modern eyesores and returning to more Romanesque, byzantine, or gothic architecture, this seems like a step backward for Catholics.

    • Well, land costs in that part of California are prohibitive. And the location of the CC is central to many of the parishes the Diocese serves.

    • Yeah, it’s a step back (IMO) but just think of singing the Psalms with that killer organ!!!


      • I would think major renovation is needed. The front stage and choir seats would need to go. A Vatican II approved altar is needed. It might work.

      • Paul – remember, these are Catholics you’re talking about.

        What is this “singing in church” whereof you speak?


    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      And the Crystal Cathedral gets to be a REAL cathedral.

      And it can’t look any worse than the new cathedral in Los Angeles.

      • Well, that’s true, Headless 🙂

        They are going to do some re-modelling to make it into a Catholic church; the GetReligion blog quotes a newstory saying it will “undergo interior renovations to create a central altar and baptismal font and other structures to serve Catholics’ needs.”

        I wonder what name they will give it; the existing cathedral is called Holy Family but I have no idea what name this new place will get. Any suggestions? The Cathedral of St. —– or the Holy —–?

        Seeing as it’s made of glass and the patron saint of glaziers is St. Mark, there’s one possibility!

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Well, if they do the remodel right, the great glass walls and roof (over the metal spaceframe) would look impressive. Offhand (and being the son of an architect), I would suggest the Stations of the Cross, Rood Screen, and statuary as slightly-cantilevered from the main spaceframe, almost free-floating above the congregation. (And NO “Joe the Worker” statues of St Mary with Popeye’s arms; one Los Angeles Cathedral is enough…)

          I’ve been in Holy Family Cathedral; it’s pretty small. Originally, before Orange was a separate Diocese, Holy Family was just one of the parish churches. When Orange Diocese was split from Los Angeles, the first Bishop of Orange selected it as his Cathedral. The Diocese has been looking for a larger cathedral for some time, even recently breaking ground on a new site in Santa Ana (St Anne’s?). I don’t know what they’ll do with the Santa Ana property now that they have the CC site and building(s).

          As for a name, St Anne’s is a possibility, as the city of Santa Ana is the third-oldest church planted in the area (after San Juan Capistrano and St Boniface in Anaheim).

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          P.S. Another blog (can’t remember which one) had an interview with one of Schuller’s daughters or daughters-in-law about the Crystal Cathedral meltdown and bankruptcy. (Apparently it was an inheritance/succession fight with lots of dueling egos.) But that wasn’t what struck me about the article/posting.

          It was the comment thread. With several comments about “That ROMAN Catholic Cult” and how “It’s been bought by a Cult! The Gospel will no longer be preached in Crystal Cathedral, but the idolatrous Worship of Mary”. Go fig. The way I see it, now the Crystal Cathedral will live up to its name.

  2. This Tebow phenomenon reminds me of the day I had people call me to pray that the Dallas Cowboys win because their coach Tom Landry was a Christian.

    And now blackjack is a Christian ministry? wow. Hit me!

  3. Holy rollers…wow. It’s probably going to get worse IMO – only a few more cultural territories to go yet (mafia, prostitution, arms/drug dealing maybe???) A spirit of “the end justifies the means” that has infected american evangelicalism is beginning to bear fruit. The political/civil area is where has seemed most glaring to me, but it permeates the subculture deeply I’m afraid. Lord have mercy on us – where’s my sackcloth and ashes – just hearing about this kind of thing makes me feel unclean…

    • Obviously more of us need to be hungry and oppressed — wealth and leisure have gone to our heads. The chief problem with the prosperity gospel is perhaps not that it equates faith with riches but that it equates prosperity with blessing. In many cases it seems as if God’s gift of prosperity to us is as much a kindness to us as his gift of Saul to Israel — more in the nature of a lesson than a blessing — if not a curse.

      • The chief problem with the prosperity gospel is perhaps not that it equates faith with riches but that it equates prosperity with blessing.

        Like this. One irony I’ve noticed is that if you speak out against Mr. Blinky, then you instantly become (in many eyes) the kind of Negator that he’s preaching against. You poison your own well. The best entry into the discussion seems to be a side door, or just plain human kindness and no comment.


  4. Concerning “The Response”: it is not surprising to see Republicans making fools of themselves once again. The fact it requires such a prostitution of our faith makes me really sick…

    • Dan Crawford says

      It’s intriguing to me to watch how easily social darwinists, randistas, and political fascists claim Jesus as the reason for their anti-Christian message. Are the rest of us missing something?

  5. One of the greatest moments in television. That last line will go down in history along with, “you’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Oh ~ I’m getting teary.

  6. The “Bible doesn’t have a soundtrack” is a quote from Rick Muchow, the head music guy at Saddleback. Let me give you another quote, this one from their choir director, Stan Endicot: “50 years from now, ALL church music is going to sound like Coldplay, so get used to is!”

    Hay carumba. The tunnel vision…

    • *it

    • “The Bible doesn’t have an official soundtrack.”

      So what about the Book of Psalms?


      • That is what I was thinking of, Martha.

        • Unless I’m mis-reading that particular line, though, isn’t he just pointing out that even the Psalms don’t come to us with David’s original melody lead-sheets attached? I thought that was one of the less objectionable quotes in the piece, so it was odd to see it singled out .

          Though no fan of pop worship music, I also feel somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of a list of churches who’ve signed The Pledge…

          • The only bible without a soundtrack is the one dropped directly by God onto a desert island with about a third of it missing. That book has been sung for 2000 years, and that history doesn’t disappear just because of some cheap trends. Whether or not the Bible was written with a soundtrack (which, it WAS) even apart from that, it has one now. And it goes nothing like this: “yes lord yes lord yes lord yes lord yes lord” OR “i’m alive i’m alive i’m alive i’m live i’m alive”.
            Not to mention, any church that STILL sounds like Coldplay 50 years from now is going to be more embarrassingly out of touch with its current culture than Sonseed.

          • Can you clarify what “The Pledge” is? I feel like I’m missing something.

    • well if it’s gonna be Coldplay, then i vote for “Warning Sign”…

      So I crawl back into your open arms
      Yes I crawl back into your open arms
      And I crawl back into your open arms
      Yes I crawl back into your open arms…

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Any of these Coldplay groupies ever preach a sermon on “Eastern Mysticism Mantras” and/or “Vain Repetitons”?

    • Right. NO one could possibly be interested in anything other than awesomely contemporary Christian rock band worship. I might have had more patience with that attitude 20 years ago, but the fact that people STILL think everyone loves this stuff, and that it’s cutting edge or something, is direct evidence of what the “relevance” charade does to people’s expectations.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        After twenty years, “Fresh & New, Cutting-Edge” becomes “Old Hat”.

        Ever seen videos of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In lately? Behold the Cutting Edge of Relevance!

    • Stan Endicot’s wrong — it’s all gonna sound like Katy Perry. RUN!!!

    • Every “contemporary”, “cutting edge” music genre is destined to take over the world – until it becomes elevator music. (I still have nightmares from the first time I heard Led Zepplin done by Henry Mancini – *shudder*)

      Twenty years from now, all the current hits by Chris Tomlin, Hillsong, Dave Crowder, MercyMe, and BarlowGirl are going to sound just as dated as the Salvation Army Band standards from the early 20th Century, or all those Dutch Reformed hymns from the 17th Century. There will be a small handful that will stand the test of time – and they’ll be included in the latest editions of mainline Protestant hymnals, along with the “contemporary” hits of past eras.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Anyone remember the Far Futures from Seventies-era SF, where The Beatles were ranked among Great Classical Music?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Let me give you another quote, this one from their choir director, Stan Endicot: “50 years from now, ALL church music is going to sound like Coldplay, so get used to is!”

      I take it this Stan Endicott is a Coldplay groupie?

  7. Yeah, play me some Psalms!!! Blessings, everyone…

    Peace, Brian

  8. At the end of the article about church music battles, one young man says, “We can worship in any way that reaches our hearts.” Oh, what a give-away, to quote St. Monty of Python. Notice that worship has ceased to be a transitive verb — there’s no object, it’s just an activity of ours; and notice that its goal is to reach OUR hearts. Perfectly solipsistic; God is no part of the process at all, according to that sentence. This whole attitude toward worship was summed up in the most appalling church sign yet: “Have a nice worship!”

    • It’s like I have said, Damaris: Many evangelical churches would not miss a beat if God did not show up in their services …

      • What you mean, “if”? Didn’t Michael address that very issue, in; “When Church Signs Lie”? 😉

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        What makes you think God IS showing up at their raves-called-services?

        More likely He’d drop in at the Brony Meet or Furry Con. He’s got a track record of snubbing the God Squads and hanging out with messed-up losers.

  9. Sorry to say that I can no longer RSS iMonk! What’s up with THAT? I used to look forward to opening my iGoogle home page and seeing the latest iMonk entry, but when I recently noticed that each day showed the same week old post I figured something was up.

    Is there another way to do this, or do I have to Bookmark Imonk? {sigh} Life just gets more and more complicated…

  10. By the way, that’s quite a hat, Jeff . . .

    • I was wondering if that was Jeff………Jeff can I frame that ???? I bet an ebay auction would bring in lots of money for i-monk……. thank you for the uplifting chuckle you provided Jeff, just what I need lately.

      • Unless the auction was to see who could get the picture glued to a dart board, I doubt it would bring much money. But go for it, Daisey! And thanks, Damaris. I have been saving this hat for just such an occasion. Now my grandson is wearing it…

  11. is it the hat that makes the man or is it the man that makes the hat things that make you go mmmmmmmmmmmm

  12. more psalms

  13. Lord…let there please be another reformation..or something.

  14. Apropos of nothing, but this seems like the place to share something I saw over at the NotAlwaysRight website. This actually took place, Your Honor:

    (This happens while I am working at a Christian book store in Massachusetts that also sells other “Christian” items. This particular incident involves a customer’s dissatisfaction with a child’s toy called the “Armor of God”, which includes a sword, a shield, and armor.)

    Me: “Hello, thank you for calling [store]. How may I help you today?”

    Caller: “Hello, I would like a refund for a toy I bought my son last week called the ‘Armor of God’.”

    Me: “I can help you with that. Can I please have the order number?”

    Caller: “Yes, the order number is ########.”

    Me: “Now, was the item defective or damaged in any way, or are you simply dissatisfied with the product?”

    Caller: “The toy is possessed.”

    Me: “I’m sorry?”

    Caller: “The moment my son put on the armor he started screaming and running around attacking everything with the sword. The toy is possessed and I want a full refund. Frankly I’m shocked that a store advertising Christian products would sell something like this!”

    Me: “Okay, well, if you box up the items, I can send you a return shipping label. When the toy arrives at our warehouse you will receive a full refund.”

    Caller: “You want it back?”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am. I can’t give you a refund unless the item is returned.”

    Caller: “I’m afraid that’s impossible.”

    Me: “Has the toy been damaged in some way?”

    Caller: “No, I buried it.”

    Me: “What?”

    Caller: “It was possessed by a demon, so I buried it.”

    Me: “Well, I’m sorry, ma’am, but if that’s the case, I’m afraid I cannot give you a refund.”

    Caller: “Why not?”

    Me: “Well, you buried the toy in the ground. You’re refusing to return it and the toy is ruined anyway. Per company policy, I cannot give you a refund.”

    Caller: “Are you serious? First, you sell me a possessed toy, putting my family in danger, and now you refuse to give me my money back? I demand to speak to your manager!”

    Me: “Certainly, ma’am, but first have you considered that possibly the toy isn’t possessed and that your son was just play fighting?”

    Caller: “How dare you! Do you think I don’t know the difference? Do you think I’m lying? My son has never acted this way before. The toy is possessed and I am owed a refund. I demand to speak to your manager! I have never been so insulted!”

    Me: “Let me place you on hold while I transfer you to my supervisor…”

    • brilliantvapor says

      As a retail worker, I have to say that this is the convergence of so many nightmares.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says


      And while you’re at it, Carl Sagan is auditioning for poster children for The Demon-Haunted World and something tells me you’d be a natural.

    • I think I have just come under heavy spiritual attack just reading this dialog …

    • This is great! I’m totally going to use this technique next time.

  15. ‘…few people outside of the Christian bubble really know or care what is going on in the Church these days.” Amen! I work in the “evil” secular world, and have for most of my working life. Whenever I am around a crowd of all Christians the conversation seems to gravitate to the talk of “the world hates us” “the media hates Christians” and on and on. I usually remark that Christians should be so lucky; mostly, the rest of the world just ignores us as completely irrelevant.

    So the Crystal Cathedral has been sold to the Catholics. There is sweet irony in that! I guess Rev. Schuller quit having positive thoughts and then the whole business went south.

    And for the record, I know some disagree with me on this, but I am so done with being told that Christians only vote GOP.

  16. So I just moved back to Cincinnati, and one of the first things I saw was a giant casino being built near downtown. I expressed my dislike for gambling (even though I am Catholic and have an affinity for church festivals), saying nothing good comes from that. The answer back was oh, yes, a lot of tax revenue comes from it. So I said but you get a lot of corruption associated with it. The answer to that was they are investing a lot of money to prevent corruption. Then I said casinos attract people who don’t have any money to waste. The answer back was they are going to encourage out of town people to come.

    Sigh, sigh, sigh, gasp, hairball.

    Jeff, I have taken a long break from the i-monastery dealing with our transition back to the US. I will pray for you during this tough period. We know intellectually and spiritually that we are all the better for it – usually with 20/20 hindsight, but it just sucks going through it. Christ crucified is really all I can offer up spiritually, and I only really understand little bits of that.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      My parents retired to a Nevada border town. Like my East Coast contacts described Atlantic City, there’s the glitter of the casinos and everything else in town is a Third World slum. Every time somebody in town had two coins to rub together, they’d go across the river to the casinos and drop coin pull lever drop coin pull lever drop coin pull lever… The casino owners (and their investors) were very very rich, and the casino hotels’ suicide-cleanup contractors were always busy, but everyone else were fast approaching Third World standards.

      And yet Casinos are THE Cure-all for the Economy. Here in CA, you can tell the border of an indian reservation by the solid wall of highrise casinos, miniature Las Vegases. And my East Coast contacts tell of casinos replacing steel mills, casinos replacing factories and industries, casinos in or planned in every town. Casinos will save the Economy. Casinos will Save The City. Casinos Will Save the State Budget. Casinos, Casinos, Casinos — drop coin pull lever drop coin pull lever drop coin pull lever…

      “This was an interesting godless people — all they left behind were ruins of casinos and piles of empty Viagra bottles.” — filk of T.S.Eliot

      • The people who own the Bay 101 casino in San Jose, CA wanted to put up a sister “card room” in my hometown (Stockton, CA) about 10 years back, but had to get voter approval. The vote was looking to be close until the local newspaper did an interview with the San Jose police chief — who noted that crime in the area around the Bay 101 had TRIPLED since the place opened …

        The measure got voted down by about a 2-1 margin, as I recall.

      • You want to hear a crazy insane good lord are they on crack or what casino story?

        In the very middle of our current recession, some genius/con-man (guess which way I’m leaning) and his consortium (including cheerleading from a crooked politician and for once that’s not mere griping, he lost his seat in government, was kicked out by his party, and is one of the elements being investigated in a tribunal for corruption) applied for and got planning permission for a huge “sports and leisure” (read: legalised gambling) complex in Juneof this year, after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing.

        Where are they going to build this immense project – to include “a 500-bedroom, five-star hotel; a 6,000sq m casino; an all-weather racecourse; a greyhound track and a golf course”? Near the largest centres of population in our country, where both demographics and infrastructure are most concentrated? Dublin, Cork, Limerick?

        No, they’re going to build it in Two-Mile-Borris in County Tipperary. Not even in Clonmel, but Two-Mile-Borris.

        Can we say “back-end of nowhere”?

        I have no idea what the hell is supposed to be going on there, except it has to be some kind of scam. Because I’m sorry, I just cannot see high-rollers jetting in from Dubai to Two-Mile-Borris. I think Monte Carlo has nothing to worry about.

  17. You know, I’ve always wondered, was Frosty the Snowman actually ordained into ministry? I mean, was he the same snowman that appeared in “Winter Wonderland”, who apparently had at least some civil authority to perform marriage ceremonies, when Parson Brown wasn’t available?

    A question for the ages…

  18. The tragedy of Iraq’s Christians certainly reflects the law of unintended consequences, but the the people blowing up churches and killing Christians are the terrorists.

  19. tonight was an incredible night for college football.

    Sic’em Bears!

  20. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    On a more cheerful note, Bob Jones III says he doubts President Obama’s claim to be a Christian.

    So what else is new? Last time I was on the East Coast, World Net Daily had this HUGE Birther billboard beside Route 15 between Gettysburg & Dillsburg — “WHERE’S THE *REAL* BIRTH CERTIFICATE?” (I could tell it was World Net Daily because the billboard had their URL at the bottom. Guess they’ve branched out from YEC…)