August 10, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 12.8.12

Greetings, iMonks. It’s time once again to clean up the leftovers from this week, a week when Chaplain Mike returned from his frivolous studies to get down to the important stuff: enlightening and educating us. I may be the abbot, but Chaplain Mike is the Father Prior of the InternetMonk iMonastery. His return was greeted with much rejoicing. And the rejoicing created quite a mess around here. So if everyone will pitch in, we’ll have this place cleaned up in no time. It’s the way we do things around here. We call it rambling …

What would Christmas be without another book telling us just who the real St. Nick is/was/will be? Here’s a new take on an old story: Seems we won’t ever know who St. Nick was, or if even really was. But that doesn’t stop this author from filling 230 pages telling us about him.

Want the best story about Santa Claus? Can’t beat Cheech and Chong’s tale of Santa Claus And His Old Lady. And this will not be last drug reference in this edition of Saturday Ramblings. Just sayin’…

When I was in high school (many, many, many years ago), I remember reading Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin’s classic tale of how he, a white man, darkened his skin to live in the deep south in the late 1950s as a black man. Now we have Timothy Kurek writing of his year living as a gay man. Kurek even passed himself off as gay to his family, conservative evangelicals. Yes, he wrote a book about his experiences. Do you think it is right to lie in this way in order to experience what you could not otherwise experience?

Just where has Hal Lindsey been? Not sure, but I know where he is going to be come January: At Future Congress 2. You can hear the “father of the modern prophecy movement” talk about, well, I’m not sure. I imagine he’ll talk about end times. Of course, he may not even be there. After all, December 21 is looming. And if astrophysicists are buying safe shelters, then perhaps we should all be paying attention.

David DeVore, of “David After Dentist” fame, is telling his fellow Floridians to say no to drugs and yes to Jesus. What? You haven’t seen David After Dentist? What are you waiting for? Watch it now. The rest of us will wait. (And this is not the last drug reference in this edition of Saturday Ramblings, either.)

Rick Warren is, according to this, making a comeback. I never knew he had left the building.

The Synonymous Rambler thought we might all enjoy watching The Parent Rap. And no, still not the last drug reference … (These people are on drugs, aren’t they?)

Christians of various denominations seldom get along, let alone if those of various stripes are called to share one church among them. Why should those in Jerusalem be any different? The various groups that share the Church of the Holy Sepulcher forgot to pay their water bill. And with all the Holy Water they used, that came to quite the sum. The story does have a happy ending. Oh, and read it just to find out who the doorkeeper of the church is. Interesting.

Dave Brubeck, one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time, passed away this week, one day ahead of what would have been his 92nd birthday. Seems many of his compositions had biblical themes as their foundation. Brubeck’s passing makes for an easy choice for this week’s bonus video.

Oh good! It’s not just Gentiles who come up with really crummy crap for the holidays. Seems Jews are getting in on the act as well. Who wouldn’t want “The Night Before Hanukkah” on CD for themselves?

Ok, ready for the final drug reference in this edition of Saturday Ramblings? Are you? I know you have all be waiting to hear Mark Driscoll’s take on the legalization of hippy lettuce in his home state of Washington. He has even written a mini-book on the subject called Puff Or Pass. And now I’ll stand aside and let the rantings begin.

Happy birthday cards were opened this last week by Lou Rawls; Lee Trevino; Bette Midler; Jonathan Frid; Michael McDonald; Brittney Spears; Aaron Rodgers; Max Baer, Jr.; Jeff Bridges; Walt Disney; Calvin Trillin; Dave Brubeck; Don King; Harry Chapin; Johnny Bench; and Tom Waits.

If you can figure out the time signature of Brubeck’s songs, then you are a much better musician than most. His songs are brilliant in that way, and almost impossible for others to play. Here is Dave Brubeck (on piano) playing his masterpiece, Take Five. Enjoy.

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  1. What a great piece (Take 5) ! One of my all time favorites. was that drum solo awesome, or what?

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Take 5, according to one of the local morning drive dj’s, is in a 5/4 time signature, hence the title.

  3. I am sorry to burst the bubble but Dave Brubeck did not write “Take 5” see:

    • True, it was written by Paul Desmond, the guy playing saxophone in the Dave Brubeck performance above.

  4. Well, I thought Mark Driscoll’s views on smoking pot showed some insight, especially his point about self-medicating. I hope Driscoll enjoys my affirmation, because it may not happen again.

    • I agree with you, Damaris. Mark Driscoll does make good points in that article.

    • Josh in FW says

      The article is a good example of my conflicted view of Driscoll. He often says and teaches very good things, but unfortunately when he says stupid or outrageous things his fame leads to it being blasted all over the place.

    • “The best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians–when they are sombre and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths. But, though it is just to condemn some Christians for these things, perhaps, after all, it is not just, though very easy, to condemn Christianity itself for them. Indeed, there are impressive indications that the positive quality of joy is in Christianity–and possibly nowhere else. If that were certain, it would be proof of a very high order”
      ? Sheldon Vanauken, “A Severe Mercy”

    • First eye-roll ‘my doctor is a naturopath’ – groan, I hope this guy gets really sick and realizes how little a naturopath can do when faced with sickness – they are great with generally healthy people, but then… yeah, I know, everyone has a story, but seriously, would you go to your naturopath with appendicitis, a kidney stone, leukaemia? Well, Mark wouldn’t.

      Second eye-roll – ‘the Bible “talks” about alcohol and not weed’ – what do you think the Tree of “Knowledge” was Mark? kidding, anyways – the Bible sure mentions a lot of things – gang rape, incest, genocide, anti-semitism, child sacrifice, etc. but what about it? The Bible doesn’t mention epidurals, it doesn’t mention coffee either.

      I also have never done drugs. I just think Marijuana is less damaging than alcohol – add the total effects of fetal alcohol syndrome, drunk driving statistics, and violence vs. high/stoned people – mellow, doing nothing, driving too slowly.

      Love the way he equates marijuana with immaturity – non-violent, non-making-him-a-good-tithe, passive, not motivated to run around like a yes-man for him
      alcohol with maturity – violent (good male trait), driven to earn a lot (focused on status) side benefit for Mark, big tithe, active, and motivated to do what pastor wants.

      Honestly, take a sheet and write down all the dangers each drug possesses (yes, alcohol is a drug) then decide: marijuana or alcohol (people self-medicate with alcohol, so that whole argument is mute). If you want to ban something, ban alcohol.

      • Agree 100%. My 3 adult sons (21,26,30) both drink and smoke weed. Any and all trouble they have gotten into over the years has been as a result of drinking. Give me weed-smokers over drinkers any day.

  5. Mike McCullough says

    “What would Christmas be without another book telling us just who the real St. Nick is/was/will be? Here’s a new take on an old story: Seems we won’t ever know who St. Nick was, or if even really was. But that doesn’t stop this author from filling 230 pages telling us about him.”

    Jeff, did you read this book or just the reviews? I just order it from amazon, and I know there are a lot out there but this seemed to me from reading the reviews that it has some merit. Would anyone from the Orthodox side of the house know about St.Nicholas of Myrna?

    • Orthodoxwiki has a good summary if you search for Nicholas of Myra.

      Orthodox thought and practice has a habit of leaving the unknown to God to work out. We thank God for those things which we know, and those things which we know not, whether manifest or unseen.

      Part of that is working with the names for things scripture and tradition gives even if we have historical doubts on the specifics. If guardian angel isn’t the proper term or even way to think of the good spiritual forces that protect us, surely he redirects our appreciation to the appropriate entity. God knows the names of the “15 disciples with so and so” or “40 women”, even though we don’t. If the archbishop of Myra that suffered under Diocletian is really named something else, surely God still knows who we’re talking about when we pray.

  6. Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which for most evangelicals means nothing; however, I was surprised to discover how much of Christianity observes this feast in one way or another – including Eastern Orthodox and the Anglican church (as a lesser feast). Apparently, the difference is in the definition of “immaculate” – spotless vs. without original sin, as taught by the Roman Catholic Church. Even Luther said at one point, “God has formed the soul and body of the Virgin Mary full of the Holy Spirit, so that she is without all sins, for she has conceived and borne the Lord Jesus” (Martin Luther, D. Martin Luthers Werke, Kritische Gesamtausgabe, 61 vols., (Weimar: Verlag Hermann Böhlaus Nochfolger, 1883-1983), 52:39 – as sited by wikipedia). I see a connection between this feast and the ongoing debates on Genesis, but perhaps that’s for another day.

  7. Isaac (or possibly Obed) says

    You mentioned Dave Brubeck and the biblical themes from many of his songs. From what I understand, as an adult he was hired to compose a mass setting that eventually led to an adult conversion to Catholicism. And he was a pretty devout Catholic for the rest of his life.

  8. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    The “Future Congress 2” link goes to the World Net Daily URL.
    World Net Daily.
    Nuff Said.

  9. Matt Purdum says

    Haven’t read Driscoll but I’m sure he thinks girly-men smoke pot and only real he-men like himself smoke the real stuff, (probably hay). I’ve never seen a person so publicly have to re-assure himself so much about his own manhood.

  10. I must have missed the happy ending in the story about the unpaid water bills. As far as I can see, the story ended with them getting away with theft.

  11. I grew up in Phoenix. In the early 60’s a certain car dealership used Take 5 as their backgroud to commercials. It wasn’t until the mid-90’s that I saw DB at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, AR. Superlative musician.


  12. Classic Mark Driscoll: A number of reasonable points, completely overshadowed by one completely idiotic statement: “A recent article even noted that young men are now less likely than ever to own a car, as taking public transportation allows them to use their smartphone more hours every day playing video games and downloading porn.”

    That is the stupidest thing I have read since the last time I read something Mark Driscoll wrote. As a young man who owns a car, I really don’t like to drive. It’s boring, it makes my back hurt and the rest of me tired. I often ride my bicycle to work, around town, etc. and you can bet that if I had the opportunity to take a bus, subway, etc. I would: for the opportunity to read, rest, whatever. Reading Mark Driscoll is really a waste of time. Anything good he says has already been said by someone saying it much better and not cluttering it up with idiocy.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      You ever noticed that guy seems to have porn on his mind?

      “I SEE Things…”

  13. Oh, I laughed and laughed at C&C! Such memories from our pasts! Brubeck was a musical genius, and we are the better for it.

    I think that we are too judgmental as people; everyone is part of God’s community. And no one at all has the right to condemn what a person may do to understand others. God created us to live out the wonderful grace he has given us with others; He is the Sovereign one.

    Thanks for a terrific Saturday Rambling!

  14. Driscoll makes a very good point regarding self-medication, but ends very ungraciously by using words like “childish”. But he misses three points. First, religion itself can be the biggest form of self-medication. People avoid trials and pain by a spiritual way out, perhaps through feel-good, prosperity, even cultural war (I’m not bad as THAT sinner). They look for that sign or fleece through which God is telling them it’s ok to leave the trying situation for a happier place. But second, religion can drive self-medication. Religion – particularly revivalistic Christianity – paints this picture that once you walk the isle and say the sinner’s prayer, everything (including yourself) magically becomes perfect. Any hardship or failure is blamed on sin, backsliding, lack of faith, lack of bible-reading or discipline, take your pick. So, people stuff, mask, and avoid their problems and pretend everything is getting better and better. Indeed, trials and seasons of life are opportunities to grow and mature; sometimes, (all the time?), they’re just hard. Some situations never get better.

    I would welcome a religion which teaches its followers to embrace hardship, illness, family struggles, personal brokenness and failure, and job losses, being there at their side every step of the way to encourage and support those going through those struggles. I would welcome a religion which teaches hope and courage in spite of circumstances – not feel-good, fairytale positive-thinking, but even positive-thinking is better than kicking someone when they’re down, with words like, “you’re lazy”, “you’re a sinner”, “you’re not submissive enough”, or “you’re a horrible parent”. I would welcome a religion grounded at the foot of the cross, teaching that no matter what we face, the battle is already won by Christ, and we have confidence and boldness in light of the forgiveness and acceptance of God to get up and rejoin the fight.

    And thirdly, there is a time for medication – albeit not necessarily pot. As it has been said here hundreds of times before, if someone is battling depression, he or she needs to seek medical treatment, not more religion. Perhaps Chaplain Mike can speak better of hospice situations, where the pain accompanying terminal illness is beyond words. I’m happy for Driscoll for never using pot or any “drug”. That’s great that he can just bight the bullet with such macho swagger. But broken people beyond the point of despair may need more than a spartan pep talk. Above all, they need to know someone cares, not that someone claims to be better than they are – as did Job’s so-called friends.

    The recent stories of Mars HIll shooting their wounded doesn’t give me any reason to believe that Mr. Driscoll really gets what he is saying.

    • “bite” not “bight”. Doh!

    • Marcus Johnson says

      In Driscoll’s defense, he does argue that it is unwise to eat a cereal box, rather than the food it contains. Such brilliance is rarely found in mainstream evangelical communities. I dare you to find that sort of wisdom from a Rachel Held Evans, or a Chaplain Mike.

      • Uh…right! That’s…hmmmm. Hoping you’re being ironic.

      • Marcus Johnson says

        I am being INCREDIBLY ironic, as I have read several other comments from Driscoll (hereafter to be referred to as “Driscoll’s drivel,” because I like to alliterate). He’s a big fan of making these sweeping conclusions about people and concepts with very little scientific evidence and even less Biblical exploration. I liken him to a blind kid swinging at a pinata; lots of swings and misses but, every now and then, he lands a hit.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        In Driscoll’s defense, he does argue that it is unwise to eat a cereal box, rather than the food it contains.

        “Ever eat a truck axle? Many parts are edible…”
        — old Saturday Morning cartoon parody of Seventies natural-food advocate Euell Gibbons

    • I’m not particularly interested in defending Driscoll or his views, but…

      In Driscoll’s “book”, the self-medication and childish ways are completely separate sections. One may use pot as a form of self medication. OR, one’s use of pot may indicate a reluctance to grow up. While these two issues may be related for some individuals, I don’t think he is painting all self-medication as childish. Secondly, his “book” is exploring all facets of the pot question, not all facets of the self-medication question. It would be rather odd, in fact, if he had delved into religion as self-medication as it is irrelevant to the purpose of the “book”. Lastly, Driscoll specifically advocates for the possibility that pot may be useful as legitimate medication, implying he believes that legitimate medications do exists, in principle. Your response to his “book” doesn’t give me any reason to believe you really get what he’s saying, either.

    • Oh, Driscoll’s done recreational drugs alright – a drug called alcohol (and I bet he had coffee once or twice). Great fun ranting on marijuana as self-medication but not pointing out people have used that Biblically sanctioned drug (alcohol) to self-medicate a time or two as well.

      • Hmmm, this was supposed to post under dumb ox’s comment on Dec. 8 5:27 pm. Sorry, doesn’t really follow this one.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Alcohol — The Manly Man’s drug of choice.

        “Drunk last night,
        Drunk the night before;
        Gonna get drunk tonight
        Like I never been drunk before —

  15. There are perfectly acceptable forms of “self medicating”. They used to be called outlets, extra-curricular activities, or hobbies. For one, most people are so busy between work and family to have time to have an activity with which to relax and blow off steam (Driscoll has his octogon where he can blow off steam breaking the noses of his parisioners). Secondly, churches – particularly revivalistic variety – frown on hobbies as time wasters better spent reading bible and going to church. Kids used to have sports, band and art as outlets, until budget cuts killed such programs in most schools. It is no wonder that as a last resort people turn to alcohol, illegal (or prescription) drugs, sex, food, etc. to find release. There is more to this issue than calling people childish who can’t cope with life. One should work ernestly and passionatly, bearing the stress and frustrations with courage and leadership. But then go home, enjoy your family, go for a jog, read the paper, put on some music, pick up your guitar, build a model ship, etc. You will feel more focused and less stressed to face the next day of work. Churches need to allow its members to both have family and personal time, rather than guilting and burdening them with night-after-night of church services and other obligations.

    • I paint in oils and am relearning the clarinet as a way of finding relief from stress. When I don’t have other outlets, I eat.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I assemble and paint plastic models and stream a lot of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic from YouTube.

  16. All right, surely someone, anyone might have mentioned the first night of Hanukkah. It’s not like we forget your holiday!

    • Joseph (the original) says

      in my previous married life, ‘we’ had family friends that had an interesting story. the mother was adopted by her mother’s good friend when she was unable to take care of her. anyway, LM was raised in a Jewish household & therefore had its rich traditions to celebrate every year. her husband (i believe) was raised Catholic, but on deciding how to raise their kids he decided to convert to Judaism. we would go over their house for Hanukkah & have a Seder feast. i even helped LM one year with making latkes. Mr. M would recite a condensed seder ceremony in Hebrew & we would all sit around & participate as good Gentile guests…(i would bring the real good Gentile wine though)…

      always way, way, way too much to eat! and then dessert!

      wow…when it comes to food during a holiday celebration, i have yet to see its equal!

      oh yeah, they also had a ‘rat’ dog, Tikki, that was a rescue dog. anyway, i got them a card one time that said, Happy Chihuanakkah on the front that had a picture of a small chihuahua wearing a yarmulke on its little head…

      i thought that was the funniest card ever! anyway, they also had a sense of humor as the dog’s picture did resemble Tikki…

      Happy Hanukkah & a Happy New Year! 🙂

      • My parents had an interfaith marriage, he is Jewish, she was Baptist. We always had quite a mix at all the holidays for both religions. Lots of fun was had and the religious differences were muted for the sake of comity and good times. It’s the same way I do it now.

  17. It wasn’t that long ago that a Christian author was all the rage with a marriage book which obligated wives to keep their husbands hyped up on endorphins, so they will be happy and successful hubbies. That sure seems like a classic case of “self-medication” – turning a gift of God into an obsession or addiction, but legitimized under the guise of marriage.

    • Thumbs up!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      It wasn’t that long ago that a Christian author was all the rage with a marriage book…

      And today you can’t even remember that Christian author’s name. What does that tell you?

      • Wenatchee The Hatchet says

        Was this the one who explained that the remedy for his mood swings and depression was more frequent sex with his wife?