April 8, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 12.24.11

Merry Christmas Eve, iMonks! Lisa has put out the milk and cookies for Santa, Martha and Damaris have hung the stockings by the chimney with care, and the Synonymous Rambler is playing carols on the harpsichord. Meanwhile, Chaplain Mike and Adam are trying to remember all of the reindeers’ names, and Joe Stallard is still trying to untangle those Christmas lights. I, meanwhile, have been sweeping up the scraps we didn’t get to this week. The pile of scraps is what we call Saturday Ramblings.

Done with all of your shopping? If you didn’t pick up any frankincense, it may be too late. As in forever too late. Seems that the trees that produce the resin that is made into the fragrance are dying off. It’s not too late to run out to Yankee Candle for a frankincense-scented candle in a jar …

Perhaps you have all the smelly stuff you need, and what you really want is a good book or two to read. Good news! James Dobson—he of Focus on the Family—is getting set to write some novels. Novels about good families and bad families. By the way, when a celebrity signs a deal to “write” a novel, what that really means is he will come up with an idea he wants conveyed in the form of fiction, and then a hired hand—in this case, Kurt Bruner—will actually come up with the plot and characters and adjectives and all that. Oh, and nothing makes for duller reading than someone trying to convey an idea through fiction. See Dan Brown as exhibit A.

Not a fiction reader? Ok, try this then. Mark and Grace Driscoll are coming out with a book on the realities of marriage—or at least the realities of their marriage—including a peek into their bedroom. I can’t think of a better diet book to start off the new year. Try to eat after reading about Mark Driscoll’s sex life …

Researchers in Italy have come to the conclusion that the Shroud of Turin is not a fake. Coming soon to a Christian bookstore near you: Replica shrouds, Turin beach towels, Turin t-shirts, Turin sheet sets. Think I’m kidding? Have you not been reading about the Jesus Toaster?

Do you really care that Pat Robertson didn’t like the Saturday Night Live skit with Jesus and Tim Tebow? I’m sure all eight people who still watch SNL don’t care what Pat thinks about much of anything.

The subtitle of Slates’ “The Rise Of The Singing Christmas Tree” is “Megachurch extravaganzas explained.”  But I don’t really think that is possible, do you? How many of you are going to an “extravaganza” as compared to a simple candlelight service tonight? And would you care what Pat Robertson thinks of singing trees?

No, this was not in my Target. But oh I wish it was! (Was that Pat Robertson dancing in the middle?)

Want to have a little fun? Do a Google search for “Let it snow.” Surprise! It snows! Want to have more fun? Ask Adam Palmer to “Google” something for you. He just loves it when you verb a noun…

Happy birthday wishes go out retrospectively to William Safire; Paul Butterfield; Eddie Kendricks; Paul Rodgers; Ty Cobb (who died on my birthday); Keef Richards; Steven Spielberg; Leonid Brezhnev; Maurice White; Alvin Lee; Alan Parsons; Frank Zappa; Jorma Kaukenon; Joe Paterno; Jane Fonda; Maurice and Robin Gibb; and Susan Lucci.

So many great musicians celebrated birthdays this last week, but I could only choose one. Keef? Frank Zappa? The Bee Gees? Nope. Someone you may never have heard of: Jorma Kourkeron of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. You may not have heard of Jorma, but I’ll bet you’ve heard Water Song. Enjoy.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6v0B_-LXNY’]

Comments

  1. As the article explains, there is nothing new about singing Christmas trees. Frankly, there is nothing new about Christmas pageants. Blame Saint Francis of Assisi for that.

    “How many of you are going to an ‘extravaganza’ as compared to a simple candlelight service tonight?”

    I just came across an article explaining how in the Eastern Orthodox tradition worship is viewed as an intersection with the eternal. It seems an extravaganza is downright passé in comparison to the eternal. But that’s just me.

  2. Twas the night before the night before
    Doing some surfing, hoping to score
    The earliest view of that critical post
    From the site which always means the most
    When it wasn’t there at twelve thirty four
    I refreshed the screen to surf once more
    Then up popped such a whimsical roast
    Touting Old Dobson, that family host
    Then Driscoll and Tebow became the décor
    With all reindeer names still on the floor
    Target shoppers were fully engrossed
    Without a megachurch rented ghost
    And all that was left for us to explore
    Is a little jamming electric guitar war

    Thanks Jeff, Ramble on, it’s The Night Before

  3. Shut up, Pat Robertson. Really, just … shut up.

    • +1

    • David Cornwell says

      And sooner rather than later. Why would anyone read that kind of fiction?

      • David Cornwell says

        Well, I was thinking of Dobson, but Robertson is basically fiction also.

      • I will bet that the only segment of religious literature that is either growing or is in the least amount of decline is religious fiction. “The Shack” is a good example. Then, of course, are the Amish romance novels. It’s a matter of adaptation/survival. Young girl finds love, gets married (very young, of course), has a quiver of children, dares to discipline and practices tough love. The plot practically writes itself.

      • Amen. I read “The Shack” a few years ago, and it was painful. My kid wrote better in middle school. Christian fiction is just sad. Want to read some decent Christian fiction? Try Dostoevsky…

        • +1 for Dostoevsky. There are reasons why evangelicals can’t write like an Eastern Orthodox like him.

          • Randy Thompson says

            That”s because we don’t often have a good literary roll model, i.e., liturgy

          • And a lack of sacraments/sacramental world view. Without sacraments, the material world and the arts are treated as evil and utilitarian.

    • I thought the skit was kind of funny, actually — and made some good points, too.

  4. If ever there was a reason to be grateful for a celibate clergy, this is it. Though I would be grimly amused to read the alternating chapters by the Driscolls, based on what Mark has had to say previously:

    Chapter Umpteen: On Keeping The Spark Alive

    Grace – I always make sure to check my weight every morning, so that if I pudge up with a couple of pounds, I can immediately go on the newest fad diet to make sure I stay slim and attractive! After all, as my loving spouse has pointed out, too many women let themselves go after marriage and turn into fat, ugly pigs, so you can’t blame a man for straying when he has to sleep in the same bed as a dog!

    Next – my fashion tips for dressing on a budget: of course, it helps if the breadwinner and head of the house is in complete charge and ultimate control of his own megachurch, so get your husband to look into trademarking his faith community so that you too can buy designer couture! After all, your primary job is to look and be attractive to your husband and serve his needs!

    Makeup – discover your colours and season! Hair dyes – do gentlemen prefer blondes? As ever, ask your husband for his preference!

    Mark – Yeah, every now and again I buy a new t-shirt. Whatever band was cool about five years ago; means I can pick ’em up cheap from the bargain bin. No muss, no fuss. After all, it’s her job to keep me now she’s got me.

    • There is an excerpt from the book online and it is worse. Much, much worse. I cannot imagine what it would be like to read the entire book.

      I do not care for the Driscoll’s “vulnerability” and “transparency” about their sex life. Ugh. I truly do not understand why people with five kids would put this stuff out there. How humiliating for them.

      • Why is it that in this here good ole’ USofA that people will talk in public about their sex life, but if ever asked a question about their personal finances the entire room goes silent??

        T

      • Oh, well: it’s probably a little early to do this, but to all of you out there in the iMonastery, may I wish you all a very happy and holy Christmas, particularly remembering that the season of Christmastide starts tomorrow and runs all the way up to Epiphany on 6th January!

        To Denise and all her family, to Chaplain Mike, to Jeff, to the unseen and unsung elves who keep the iMonastery plugged in and turned on, to all of you who contribute by writing or posting, many thanks for all you’ve done over the year and may we all have peace, joy and five minutes to sit down with a glass of something warming or refreshing between all the rushing around!

        Merry Christmas!

    • Please tell me you’re joking.

    • Martha,

      I just want you to know that I don’t think I will be reading the Driscolls’ book until I ask my husband if it’s OK. This will of course occur after I ask him what I should wear for the day. And if he’s the leader I think he is, he will roll his eyes. However, if he says yes, that I should read it, I think I will have to disobey him. I am deep in pre-repentance prayer right now …

  5. Dasher
    Dancer
    Prancer
    Vixen
    Comet
    Cupid
    Donder
    Blitzen

    FROM MEMORY!!!!!

  6. “Oh, and nothing makes for duller reading than someone trying to convey an idea through fiction.”

    Really?

    “There was a certain man who had two sons and the younger said he wanted the portion of goods that fell to him…”

    Or…

    “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who went on a journey and gave to three servants…”

    It isn’t conveying an idea through fiction that is dull (for the only thing duller is fiction that has no idea at all that it is trying to convey), but rather conveying a bad idea through fiction (your exhibit A) or conveying a good idea badly through fiction (“It was a dark and stormy night.”).

    However, in the case you cite, since FOTF’s idea of high art is Thomas Kinkade, I imagine their sense of high literature to be on a similar par.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “Oh, and nothing makes for duller reading than someone trying to convey an idea through fiction.”

      Really?

      Ever been through the fiction section of a Jesus Junk store lately? Or gone through Slacktivist’s chapter-by-chapter snark of Left Behind? Or Heathen Critique’s similar chapter-by-chapter dissection of other Jenkins and LaHaye Christianese Bestsellers?

      It’s Captain Planet in a funhouse mirror.

  7. I’m probably one of the few who actually owned Hot Tuna albums back in the seventees. Way to go Jeff!!!

  8. You know, I was thinking about saying that your comment was over the top. Then I clicked on the link about the book. Oy.

    I love how they say they don’t want people to read the book with voyeuristic intent. You just put your sex life into the public record!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      You just put your sex life into the public record!

      And from some of the stuff Driscoll’s preached on (Song of Songs) and claimed (“discernment” visions of sexual sin in juicy detail), I wouldn’t be surprised to find his is pretty kinky.

  9. David Cornwell says

    I can’t help but wonder why Driscoll is fixated on this kind of stuff. Is this what he thinks about all week as he tries to prepare sermons? Where is the Gospel in all this? Where does it rank in his level of importance and priorities.

    I believe he is perverting the gospel. Some interesting research on the word “pervert:”

    per·vert? ?[v. per-vurt; n. pur-vert]
    verb (used with object)
    1. to affect with perversion.
    2. to lead astray morally.
    3. to turn away from the right course.
    4. to lead into mental error or false judgment.
    5. to turn to an improper use; misapply.
    6. to misconstrue or misinterpret, especially deliberately; distort: to pervert someone’s statement.
    7. to bring to a less excellent state; vitiate; debase.
    8. Pathology . to change to what is unnatural or abnormal.
    9. to convert or persuade to a religious belief regarded as false or wrong.

    (from dictionary.reference.com)

    • “I can’t help but wonder why Driscoll is fixated on this kind of stuff”

      It’s really not complicated. Book sales, growing congregations and increased attention. Sex sells and he knows it. It’s been a pet (and freely admitted) strategy of his from the beginning. You do a sermon series about sex and reel them in.

      My sources still involved in MH tell me he’s now telling members that if they give “the church” $25 he’ll send them this book for “free”

      He’s not stupid, he knows what will bring in the money. I just wish he’d find ways that didn’t make me want to vomit.

  10. David Cornwell says

    I can’t help but wonder why Driscoll is fixated on this kind of stuff. Is this what he thinks about all week as he tries to prepare sermons? Where is the Gospel in all this? Where does it rank in his level of importance and priorities.

    I believe he is perverting the gospel. Some interesting research on the word “pervert:”

    per·vert? ?[v. per-vurt; n. pur-vert]
    verb (used with object)
    1. to affect with perversion.
    2. to lead astray morally.
    3. to turn away from the right course.
    4. to lead into mental error or false judgment.
    5. to turn to an improper use; misapply.
    6. to misconstrue or misinterpret, especially deliberately; distort: to pervert someone’s statement.
    7. to bring to a less excellent state; vitiate; debase.
    8. Pathology . to change to what is unnatural or abnormal.
    9. to convert or persuade to a religious belief regarded as false or wrong.

    (from dictionary.reference.com)

  11. Jeff, how on earth do you find all these rambling things ????? Thank you, as always, for the fun of your creative writing 🙂
    My favorite ..the google snow and being able to write on the “frosted screen”…..far better than focusing on some of the other articles….

    Blessed Christmas to all!

  12. Ugh on both the Driscoll and Dobson books, even though by now both are not surprising. More moralism, pragmatism and self-help stuff is not really what we need. Throw in the TMI factor with Driscoll and it’s all just too much. But I’m sure they’ll have decent sales (sigh).

    I think what troubles me most is that I can predict with great certainty that neither of these authors will ever admit there is something they don’t have an answer to, or that some things remain a mystery, or that some things that don’t fit their particular predetermined framework might actually be right or work, or that there are things that are none of their business.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Given his obsessions, at least Driscoll’s will be JUICY. (Porn for the Pious?)

      • One more Mike says

        There will probably be “christian porn” in the future. They’ve tried everything else to keep the circus going, why not?

        • One more Mike says

          …and OBTW, Merry Christmas!!! Is the word “merry” in the Bible? Should we be saying something like “Holy Christmas”?

  13. Randy Thompson says

    On a completely and irrelevantly different note:

    My son, Nate, pointed out that any song about Santa Claus can be improved by replacing “Santa Claus” with “Genghis Khan.” For example:

    You better watch out
    You better not cry
    Better not pout
    I’m telling you why
    Genghis Khan is coming to town
    He’s making a list
    And checking it twice;
    Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice
    Genghis Khan is coming to town
    He sees you when you’re sleeping
    He knows when you’re awake
    He knows if you’ve been bad or good
    So be good for goodness sake!
    O! You better watch out!
    You better not cry
    Better not pout
    I’m telling you why
    Genghis Khan is coming to town
    Genghis Khan is coming to town

    This doesn’t exactly capture the true meaning of Christmas, but it amuses me no end.

    • This is almost as fun as being able to sing all of Emily Dickenson’s poetry to “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”

      • Or the Doxology to “Hernando’s Hideaway,” or “Amazing Grace” to the Gilligan’s Island theme …

        Thank you, Randy. That was EPIC.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          I HAVE heard “Amazing Grace” sung to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun” and “Gilligan’s Island” sung to Led Zep’s famous “Stairway to Heaven”. Does this mean you can sing “Amazing Grace”, “House of the Rising Sun”, “Gilligan’s Island”, and “Stairway to Heaven” to each others’ tunes?

    • Kerri in AK says

      ROFL. In fact, I’m laughing so hard I HURT.

      Must. Share. This. One.

      ROFL

      Thanks Randy!

    • I saw Mommy kissing Ghenghis Khan…

      Up on the housetop reindeer pause, out jumps good old Ghenghis Khan…

      • Gifts I’m preparin’
        For some Christmas sharin’
        But I pause because
        Hangin’ my stockin’
        I can hear a knockin’
        ‘Zat you, Genghis Khan?

        Sure is dark out
        Not the slighest spark out
        Pardon my clackin’ jaws
        Uh, who there
        Who is it
        Uh, stoppin’ for a visit
        ‘Zat you, Genghis Khan?

        Are you bringin’ a present for me
        Something pleasantly pleasant for me
        That’s what I’ve been waitin’ for
        Would you mind slippin’ it under the door

        Four winds are howlin’
        Or maybe that be growlin’
        My legs feel like straws
        Oh my, my, me, my
        Kindly would you reply
        ‘Zat you, Genghis Khan?
        Yeah

        Oh hangin’ my stockin’
        I can hear a knockin’
        ‘Zat you, Genghis Khan?

        Yeah, say now
        Hey there, who is it
        Stoppin’ for a visit
        ‘Zat you, Genghis Khan?

        Whoa there Genghis you gave me a scare
        Now stop teasin’ ’cause I know you’re there
        We don’t believe in no goblins today
        But I can’t explain why I’m shakin’ this way

        Well I see old Genghis in the keyhole
        I’ll give to the cause
        One peek and I’ll try there
        Uh-oh there’s an eye there
        ‘Zat you, Genghis Khan?

        Please, please
        I pity my knees
        Say that’s you Genghis Khan
        That’s him alright

  14. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    I’ve been following the Driscoll posts over at Wartburg Watch.

    All I can conclude is Driscoll is really messed-up sexually, probably sexually obsessed, maybe even a male nymphomaniac. And he keeps inflicting it on all the rest of us — maybe he’s not conscious of it himself, maybe he’s trying to self-medicate or self-treat (and as a domineering CELEBRITY Megachurch Preacher into extreme Hypermasculinity, he cannot admit weakness or need for help to anyone). I predict his career is going to end in a BIG sex scandal, total crash and burn.

  15. I for one did not appreciate the SNL skit. The skit seems to target an audience that has a bias against Christians, It was the same tired old stuff about God being egotistically selfish and Christians being blind to anything but The Bible. That’s not humorous, just a simple mocking of Christians.

    Tim Tebow says he doesn’t pray to win the game; he asks for strength to glorify God through his play.

    When Jesus healed a blind and dumb man the Pharisees attributed his power to Beelzebub, the prince of demons (Matthew 12:24). Jesus accused them of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit because they did not give God the glory. He says, “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”

    • “Tim Tebow says he doesn’t pray to win the game; he asks for strength to glorify God through his play.”

      The problem is that his fans see him “Tebow”, and then suddenly the other team makes a bone-headed mistake which hands the win over to the Broncos. If God causes a fumble, interception, or missed field goal so that Tebow can win, then all my Theology just went out the window, because then Christianity is reduced to the level of voodoo.

      But I think there is more to Tebow than this. He seems to really care about the team, his team mates, and his bosses. I think his followers are the ones guilty of making into more than he really is.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Tebow is the Latest CELEBRITY Christian. And such Celebrities — especially if new converts or not known as Christians before this — tend to get fanboyed, used, and/or burned out pretty quick.

  16. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    The subtitle of Slates’ “The Rise Of The Singing Christmas Tree” is “Megachurch extravaganzas explained.” But I don’t really think that is possible, do you? How many of you are going to an “extravaganza” as compared to a simple candlelight service tonight? And would you care what Pat Robertson thinks of singing trees?

    You asked for it: A little Momento from classic Dr Demento.

    Unfortunately, this clip cuts off after the first verse. The second verse goes:

    ‘I’M A HANNUKAH BUSH!
    I’M A HANNUKAH BUSH!
    THAT’S LIKE A JEWISH CHRISTMAS TREE!”

  17. This week also witnessed the failure of congress to pass the extension of the payroll tax credit, which will result in added tax burden on the average family income. Once again, those elected to support family values have voted to support the wealthy, who collect no paycheck and therefore are immune to this de-facto tax hike or any income tax hikes. No conservative religious talkshow hosts called on their listeners to swamp the Capital switchboards with calls in protest. These guys can write all the books they want on the perfect family unit, but if nothing is done to help families make ends meet or to foster the creation of middle-class jobs, very soon the only place one will find any memory of the traditional family unit is in fiction.

    • Amen.

    • +1

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      No conservative religious talkshow hosts called on their listeners to swamp the Capital switchboards with calls in protest.

      Because it’s time for the War Over Christmas, that’s why! And tomorrow War Over Christmas 2011 will be over and they can go back to the War Against Homosexuals, War Against Socialism, War Against Those Heathens, War Against Those Apostates, Take Back America, Christian Nation, etc. Until the next series of Rapture Scares (i.e. Christianese knockoffs of Nostradamus/Mayan Calendar 2012) start up in a few months.

  18. hahaha, there are ladies? Really? Do ladies not know about sex?

  19. Just resisted the temptation to leave a facebook comment re. Driscoll’s book on that page in salty language telling him what I really think….Really, does he know the meaning of the word privacy? DO we really need Mark Driscoll to talk ‘us’ through whether we think we’ll have anal sex or not? I feel like flailing around & weeping when I read this stuff.

    No, just no. Say no to Mark Driscoll!

    • “DO we really need Mark Driscoll to talk ‘us’ through whether we think we’ll have anal sex or not?”

      Stuff like this is dealt with in handbooks of moral theology, which are primarily intended as technical works for use by the priest in the confessional – “they deal with what is of obligation under the pain of sin, they are books of moral pathology” (and that particular question would be answered “No”).

      Not as a spicy chapter in a ‘how-to’ self-help book on marriage.

      Am I hopelessly old-fashioned, or completely out of touch with modern mores, or a dinosaur Roman Catholic, to say that I’m appalled that Driscoll is talking about such practices within marriage – even if he does come down on the side of condemnation – as though from a starting point of taking the attitudes of society at large as normal and normative? When I see articles like this in “Cosmopolitan” – well, I expect them there. I don’t expect a Christian minister to solemnly debate the pros and cons of such.

      (I also have feminist objections to the normalisation of heterosexual anal sex as this involves a serious skewing and power imbalance in the relationship, but primarily, religious ones).

      Yeah, yeah: we all know, Catholics aren’t allowed to have fun.

      • I’m with you on this Martha, 100%. We could have a very profitable discussion on this I’m sure. You’re not a dinosaur, any more than I am. Your sexual development, like mine, was probably without reference to large amounts of porn, & its pervasive effects on sexual preferences.

        I deal with teenagers who are absolutely influenced by the prevailing sexual tastes of our culture at large, & it’s grim trying to talk to them about all kinds of stuff presented to them as ‘normal’ which they don’t yet realise have a lot of power play issues, let alone physical consequences. They find it hysterical that I don’t do ‘anal’, absolutely no conception of why that might be. It’s not that these things don’t need discussing…it’s just the way Mark Driscoll goes about stuff – what is ‘allowed’ rather than what is ‘loving’, how much can Christians get away with, at least, that’s what comes over…I just get horrible vibes from his work, & feel that there is a proper place for discussion of this in a porn filled world, but this isn’t it.

  20. One more Mike says

    I’m tellin’ ya, “christian porn”, and it will be here sooner than you think…..

  21. Researchers in Italy have come to the conclusion that the Shroud of Turin is not a fake.

    I read a couple of articles about this. And their science is incredibly weak. Basically they seem to be saying we can’t figure out any natural way for the shroud to have “happened” therefore it must be a supernatural occurrence.

    That’s not science. That’s stating that anything we can’t explain must be a miracle.

    Sorry but that just doesn’t cut it.