December 3, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 12.3.11

Wow! It’s December already? Just last week it was November. Next you’ll be telling me it’s 2012. Time is racing by. What say we sit back, relax, take it easy, and enjoy a batching of ramblings we swept up this week? Are you ready to ramble?

By the way, Mr. Bones lost his way home after his Thanksgiving break. We think we spotted him somewhere in Missouri, beat and bedraggled, but heading back home. In the meantime, Texas volunteered to lend us one of their longhorn steers. I suppose there is an editorial comment in his look, but I’m not going to be the one to say what it is …

Let’s go ahead and get this one over with. Joel Osteen. Reality TV. What more do I need to say? You can take it from here, iMonks.

In breaking news … this just in: Most churches are planning to have services on Christmas this year. If you haven’t noticed, Christmas is on a Sunday this year, the same as in 2005 (and the same as in 2017—go figure!). In ’05 a few churches, mostly large congregations where it takes a lot of volunteers to make things happen and a lot of money to heat and light the joint, decided to not hold services on Christmas day in order for their people “to spend more time with their families.” Uh-huh. This year, however, it seems that those same people don’t need as much time with their families, as most churches are saying they will be open on Christmas. Is this as confusing to you as it is to me?

Oh those crazy Kentuckians. A church in Pike County has decided interracial couples are not welcome to join the congregation or participate in the worship services other than as spectators. In the love of Christ, no doubt. Just how long will God withhold his anger and judgment?

One service where everyone is invited, but few will show, is held at a new chapel at the Air Force Academy. If you can call a circle of rocks a chapel. I think the Stonehenge replica used on stage by Spinal Tap was bigger than this.

Guess who said “Christ’s birth made the angels rejoice and attracted shepherds and kings from afar. He was a manifestation of God’s love for us.” He said it this week before a national event. If the answer surprises you, what does that say about your opinion of this person?

Here is a very good profile of Fred Craddock, a renowned preacher and storyteller. I’d like to learn more about him.

Jimi Hendrix would have celebrated his 66th birthday this week. There is no arguing he is the great rock guitarist of all time. Even Rolling Stone can’t mess that up in their latest Top-100 Guitarists list. Oh, but after number one. Look, I like Eric Clapton, but number two? And I love the Stones, but Keef at number four? SRV at number twelve? Most will tell you that a good argument can be made for SRV to be number two—if not number one. They make these lists knowing I will buy the magazine just to yell at it (which I did). Another musical birthday this week was celebrated by Berry Gordy, Jr., the founder of Motown Records. This article looks at what happened to love songs by black artists. Interesting conclusion.

And finally, the synonymous rambler (those of you who grew up listening to Gary Burbank on WLW will get the reference) has a gift suggestion to those who have not quite finished their Christmas shopping. What says Emmanuel, God With Us better than a Jesus toaster? Oh, someone is going to burn in hell for this. But first, their invention is going to burn Jesus’ face onto your toast. (Go ahead—spread peanut butter over Jesus. I dare you.)

Celebrities (aside from Jimi Hendrix) celebrating birthdays this week include Charles Shultz; Robert Goulet; John McVie; Art Shell; Bruce Lee; Randy Newman; Jon Stewart; Madeleine L’Engle; Vin Scully; Winston Churchill; Dick Clark; Jaco Pastorius; Berry Gordy, Jr.; and Aaron Rodgers.

At this time of year, is there anything better than Charles Shultz’s Linus giving us the true meaning of Christmas? (Answer: No, there isn’t.) Enjoy.

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  1. Richard Connely of the Houston Press offered suggestions to the Osteen’s if the Mark Burnett project fell through, including my personal favorite; “Real Housewives of Lakewood” – “The claws are out as five stiff-haired, expensively dressed women spend no time thinking about Christian theology in any but the most vague way, albeit one that emphasizes financial success.”

  2. Who here sees Osteen in that picture in his suit, perfect hair that looks greased, and perfectly white hair and thinks…. CAR SALESMAN? Am I the only one?

  3. osteen getting a reality show is no suprise to me , it really is about time. but must you need a t.v. show about your congregation “helping” people? ..seriously…somebody needs to give osteen a copy of the new testament. i can already imagine his reaction to the sermon on the mount. ” WHAT?! the poor in spirit,the broken , the weak , the unconfident , the meek , the doubtful/those of little faith but who continue to perservere , are BLESSED?!”

  4. That article about a interracial couple being not welcome at that church is quite disturbing. I hope that changes, but I am not familair with the south that much and hesitate to comment. Is there still a lot of discrimination in the south?Or have things improved? My Dad went to school in North Carolina and saw the end of segregation. It stunned him, especailly coming from the north. When I lived in Milwaukee i leanred that Milwaukee was a very segregated city. But I hope that is an exception and not the rule.

    Jeff, my Dad has a birthday this week on December 7!! 😉

    Here’s something that is quite interesting from the Hyper-reformed camp. Larry Tomczak released a statement explaining what happened to him and how he was blackmailed from Sovereign Grace Ministries years ago.


    • Y’all need to get a clear picture of what happened. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

      His proposal, which was accepted by a 9-6 vote last week, also suggested that married interracial couples be prohibited from becoming members and used in worship activities, except for funerals.

      If you do the math in this democratic, congregational ruled church, you find that there’s only 15 voting members. Basically, this is a small family church tucked back in one of the most rural of Kentucky’s counties where almost 10 people are bigots.

      So if I’m writing a news story, it sounds much more sensational to say that a whole church (implied, not stated) banned inter-racial couples rather than 9 bigots in a small family run church were able to over-rule the rest of the congregation on the issue by only 3 votes.

      • My bad. In a follow up article I found this:

        Ballots were cast after the service, attended by about 35 to 40 people, but it wasn’t clear why so few people voted.

        The church member and former pastor who pushed for the vote, Melvin Thompson, wouldn’t tell The Associated Press why he did it.

        “I am not racist. I will tell you that. I am not prejudiced against any race of people, have never in my lifetime spoke evil” about a race, Thompson said earlier this week in a brief interview. “That’s what this is being portrayed as, but it is not.”

        • Racists will never cop to being racists. I think it’s because the term has become pejorative, so they resist it, even while fitting the description. They’re willing to be racist, but not to be called racist. Like Jerry Sandusky having to think about it when asked if he was sexually attracted to underage boys, then quickly saying no when asked if he was a pedophile.

          • Exactly.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            And also, “Playing the Race Card” with false or at-the-least dubious accusations of RACISM(TM) has become a common tactic in the Zero-Sum Game of Power Struggle — the Tyranny of the Most Easily Offended. The word has lost all meaning and become just another Snarl Word — like “COMMUNIST!” to a Bircher or “COUNTERREVOUTIONARY BOURGEOIS!” to a Communist.

        • I can take a shot as to why the rest didn’t vote: leader worship and the fear of stepping out of line. Voting to kick em out was too blatantly racist for them, but voting against it would single them out as a subversive. There could be a lesson in this for the rest of us: If enough people shut up cause they don’t want their reputation hurt, then evil has prevails and we pretend everything can go on as normal.

          It’s not like this principle isn’t at work in a zillion other churches regarding other issues.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            It’s like Fred Phelps’ church — tiny, isolated, and inbred.

            It’s not like this principle isn’t at work in a zillion other churches regarding other issues.

            And a zillion other places outside of churches.

    • “Is there still a lot of discrimination in the south?”

      Well a survey released a few months ago showed that 46% of Mississippi Republicans believe that interracial marriage should be illegal. Yes, illegal. So yeah, I’d say the south still has some problems.

      • Wow. Just wow. I hope the same can’t be said of North Carolina where I live. It’s not “deep south” like Mississippi, but then, who knows…

        • Yes it true in NC where I live. It’s true in most of the country. But it is a slowly shrinking minority that mostly keeps their mouth shut and just stews about it. People raised for nearly 20 years to think there are genetic and/or religious reasons some skin colors are better than others mostly never forget those lessons. Even when they work hard to try and do so. And some are still raising kids to feel the same way. It will be until the folks born before about 1980 die off for most of this to go away. But it will alway be around to some degree. Most of the worlds people are still deeply racist.

          As a history point my schools in far western KY integrated about 1965. Around 1970 our church had the most attended business meeting I ever remembered to discuss what to do if one of those families showed up. There was no decision made as it was clearly a contentious issue with no clear majority. It was also one of the last stands for our blunt pastor who seemed to be of the opinion of why is there a problem?

          Now you also have to understand that far western KY is about as far removed culturally from Pike county as both are from Berkley CA.

      • That’s incredilble!!! I can’t believe something like that would be believed today. I grew up out on the west coast, and lived in Montana and Wisconsin. DC is the closest I’ve come to the south and I’ve had some hum dingers when I drove deep into Virignia.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          …and I’ve had some hum dingers when I drove deep into Virignia.

          Welcome to the Confederate States of America, Eagle. Cultural Memories of the Peculiar Institution recharged & hardened by Federal screwups and opportunities for simple revenge at the losing side during Reconstruction.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Ever heard of the word “Miscegenation”? Came across it when I was a kid, in a Forties-vintage book on creative writing, and didn’t know what it meant until about ten years later. Just that the book was kind of freaked out about whatever-it-was.

        It means “Interracial Marriage”, especially when “a matter of black and white”. Summarized in the infamous one-liner from Blazing Saddles:

        • Some churches teach that being of the same “kind” means one thing when it comes to miscegenetation (i.e. different races are of different “kinds”, and another thing entirely when it comes to evolution. (i.e. different species are sometimes said to be the same “kind” as an explanation for the origin of life.)

          Whenever I hear something like this, I think of

  5. Alec Lifeson at no. 98. The whole Rolling Stones top 100 guitarist list makes no sense.

    • I don’t have a problem with Clapton, Beck, and Page at the top.

      • Isaac (the poster occasionally still known as Obed) says

        The format of that article is really obnoxious. I wanna see a list, fer cryin’ out loud, not have to click through 101 pages.

    • Oops. Alex Lifeson. Epic fail for a lifetime Rush fan.

  6. “Guess who said…”

    Guess who scored higher in the most influential Christian list than most prominent evangelicals? He scored almost as high as the Pope. Can only Republican presidents be “Christian”? Maybe it’s all schtick, but the few clips I saw from the recent religion-emphasized Republican debates made me want to puke. Who among the Republican candidates is going to run against a one-time married President as a better representative of family values?

  7. Thanks, Jeff! I needed that clip from Linus after seeing that travesty on Jesus toast. AUGGGGGH!!

  8. Regarding Christmas on Sunday, the article states that 2/3rd of Americans don’t observe Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Christ. One can argue that it is a waste to open church for the handful who show up, but what about the pastors in Europe who open grand cathedrals week after week for the few who show up? I think the pastors who will close their doors on Sunday miss the point of what worship is all about. It’s as Jesus said: if the crowds were silenced, the rocks would cry out. Particularly on Sunday, when the weekly remembrance of the resurrection is celebrated, worship must take place, or indeed the rocks will be compelled to cry out. Christmas is not about us; it is about the coming of the Messiah. It is appropriate that Advent begins where Christ the King Sunday ends. Christmas is the observance of Christ’s first coming. If we truly believe He will come again, this season should cause at least a little sober reflection that the Babe we welcome is the One who will ultimately return to judge the world – including ourselves. Family celebrations, seasonal nostalgia and presents should come second. Christ is truly the gift we need on Christmas. That alone should move us to worship. Perhaps we’re not too grown up for Christmas; we’re just too grown up for Christ. But keep beating up those store clerks for not wishing you a Merry Christmas. Good grief.

  9. I am beginning to be as much a fan of your ramblings as I was with Michael. Don’t know much about the guitar stuff and I tried not to puke about the Jesus Toaster, but REALLY enjoyed Fred Craddock’s story. Thanks.

  10. I’m going to get a Jesus toaster and put my kids through college selling Jesus toast on eBay.

  11. Jeff ~ thanks for the sweet Theologian Linus video. That’s my favorite. I know we aren’t supposed to share links but I ask for Saturday grace and share my 2nd favorite Christmas video.

    Of course this is not in my neighborhood so I can enjoy it!

  12. That Other Jean says

    Eighty thousand dollars for that circle of rocks?! What did they do, import the rocks and set them in place with giant cranes on ground carved out of a mountain by lots of earth-moving equipment? I’m all in favor of pagans in the military having a place to worship, but I think the government got ripped off again.

    • Well, if the circle was built by military contractors (of the $300 wrench variety), they probably got a bargain.

      The pagans I know would have wanted to build their own place of worship anyway. But then again, I hardly talk to them about their religion. I have to leave before I start laughing. (Modern religions do that to me. I’m not sure why. And if you think wicca is really more than 70 years old, I have a lovely bridge out here in Brooklyn to sell you.)

    • Well considering the Air Force Academy spent 3.5 million dollars building the Cadet chapel it looks like they got a deal for the pagans.

  13. Jesus toaster? Forget that, where’s the Osteen toaster?

  14. Fred Craddock wrote a really good book on preaching which I studied in one of my many forays into bible college. Its called “Preaching.” I’ll mail you my copy if you want, just let me know the address. I haven’t looked at it in several years although its still on my shelf.

  15. OK …the story on Pastor Craddock may well be the highlight of my day. I wish he lived next door to me. Now I need to find his book. Jeff, thanks for bringing him to my attention.

    As for guitar players, they may have listed the most influential, but where is Chet Atkins? Phil Keaggy? Keith Cooper? I, too, just wanted to see the list and not have to wade through 100 articles, so I may have simply skipped over them.

    And as for the Jesus toaster? What is this …somebody’s idea of a rye joke?

    • These lists are pretty much crap. I think RS just releases them every once in a while to tick off guitarists. I think they are equating great with influential rather than proficiency or mastery of the instrument. I also think it’s cute that Rolling Stone still thinks people care what it thinks.

      • …those lists apparently draw traffic to the web site and sell a printed copy or two, though (huh, Jeff?)

        Any list of the most influential guitarist(s) should include “The Ventures” …as they inspired countless young guitar players like Townshend, Clapton and others to pick up their instruments and planted seeds for untold numbers of garage bands. They deserve credit for that whole format of bass, rhythm and lead guitars along with drums.

        I suspect most of you folks are a bit young to remember them, alas ….

        • I remember my oldest brothers vinyl “Go With the Ventures”. That entire album was better than grandma’s biscuits…..yumm

        • Out of the old records of Dad’s that I listened to as a kid, my favorites were the ones by the Ventures. Great stuff!

  16. I had never heard of Fred Craddock, but I read the article and I am glad that I did. I think I would have liked his story-telling way of doing sermons.

  17. Is the Jesus Toaster thing a joke? I ask because on the website it says, “Religious Simulacra on Toast at Cheap Prices! Humor is Free.”

    I didn’t want to click on “Add to Cart” to find out in case I ended up somehow on a list with these folks.

    (Jeff, I KNOW you want one of these!) 😉

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Probably a joke. As in pranking someone with the “Mary-in-a-Tortilla” cheap-ass miracle stories.

    • Joanie, unfortunately these are very real and very purchasable. Barnum was right—there is a sucker born every minute.

      Now, I DO want one of the Cincinnati Reds toasters!

  18. What Mr. Obama’s comments say to me is that he continues to have excellent speech-writers at his disposal, and that he is an outstanding public speaker as long as he has notes or a teleprompteer handy.

    Oh…and that he has a distinct ability to tell groups what they want to hear, even if it means continously contradicting previous statements. He is a cipher who blends in with whatever wallpaper he is standing in front of.