December 1, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 2.4.12

Welcome to the Superb Owl version of Saturday Ramblings. Yes, we are still waiting for the NFL to declare InternetMonk as the official blog of pro football. Until then, we cannot refer to the big game this weekend by its proper name, so we will go with the suggestion of one of our own writers, Adam Palmer, and call it the Superb Owl. This year it’s played in Chaplain Mike’s backyard in Indianapolis. (And the backyards of Damaris Zehner, Craig Bubeck and Lisa Dye as well. Hey, it takes a lot of room to play football!) The Superb Owl will feature the annoying Giants of New York taking on the even more annoying Patriots of New England. Will you give me a little bit of your pre-Superb Owl snack-making time for some stories that we didn’t get to this last week? Fasten your seat belts, iMonks. This is one jam-packed Ramblings. We’ve got a bit of everything for you today. So pour yourself another bowl of Sugar-Coated Chocolate Bombs, turn down SportsCenter’s Superb Owl preview show, and get ready to ramble ramble ramble!

Let’s start with one of the most bizarre circus acts I’ve seen since Billy Sunday slid home safely to Heaven. “Bishop” Eddie Long—leader of a megachurch in Atlanta and accused sexual molester of boys/young men—was exalted from commoner to king this week. Yep. Really. You can watch the whole thing here, or a shorter and funnier version here. Meanwhile, this theologian points out no fewer than 27 errors in the crowning of Long as a king. And as you can imagine, many Jewish leaders are a bit upset at how all this played out. This whole ceremony is so crazy that I don’t even know where to begin. If I didn’t laugh at it all, I would puke. Please tell me this was just a bad episode of a cancelled sitcom I stumbled upon…

Ramblings corespondent Adam Palmer was a busy beaver this week, pointing out four stories for your reading enjoyment. Before we wade into Adam’s stories, I suggest you take some time to read his blog. Written by both Adam and Michelle, this barely scratches the surface of these wonderful followers of Jesus. Be sure to read about their upcoming Group Hug America tour. Oh—Michelle has one of the best female singing voices I’ve ever heard in my life. And Adam can usually figure which end of the guitar to hold. Just sayin’…

First up from AP, the discovery of a planet that seems could be habitable, and it’s not that far away. Only 22 light years. Perhaps this is a place where King Eddie could rule?

Then there is this bit of good news: Jesus is not going to be evicted from a mountain in Montana. Skiers will still be able to stop and visit with Jesus, or a statue thereof, as they zip down a snow-covered hill in Whiteside. The statue has been maintained by the Knights of Columbus since 1955. Why would anyone have trouble with a statue of a skiing Jesus?

Finally, New England Patriots fan that he is (and I thought Adam was a Christian!), he points us to this announcement for Tom Brady’s autobiography, as well as a plea from Brady’s wife for prayers and “positive energy” for her husband. (Which one is the joke, and which one is real?) I wonder how the Giants can get some of that positive energy during the Superb Owl. Um, perhaps by blitzing?

Not to be outdone, the Synonymous Rambler wants us to know that Baptist pastors can be funny. At least one. This contender to be aired during tomorrow’s Superb Owl was produced by a graduate of Union Baptist Theological Seminary. And I’ll have to admit, it’s funnier than many commercials I’ve seen, Superb Owl or not. And if you can’t wait until tomorrow’s game to watch the newest commercials, you can check them out here.

Combining football and megachurch silliness, here is a story that really warms my heart. Almost makes me want to be a Broncos fan. Almost.

Joe Bob Briggs wants to know why God loves Tim Tebow but hates the Broncos.

President Obama got himself in trouble with Catholics with this controversial ruling regarding contraceptives. And then he ceased to preachin’ and done took to meddlin’ when he said Jesus would have raised taxes on the rich as well. After all, the Bible does promote capitalism, right? Then there is this interesting look at Obama by Religion News writer Mark Silk. Many of Obama’s comments came during this year’s presidential prayer breakfast held this week in D.C. And of course that raises the question once again, just who is The Family who sponsors this annual event? And who would win in a cage match: The Family or King Eddie? (Extra credit question: If President Obama were a Republican, would we accept the fact he says he is a Christian?)

We haven’t heard from John Piper in a while. Did you miss him? This week Piper said that “God gave Christianity a masculine feel.” Still miss him?

Hey Martha! What’s with this?

First Lady Denise Spencer points us to the ridiculous church sign of the week.

Finally, this is the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest movies of all time, based on THE greatest American novel of them all. Your Rambler says check it out!

Happy birthday this last week to Alan Alda; Sarah McLachlan; Elijah Wood; W. C. Fields; Victor Mature; John Raitt; Katherine Ross; Tom Selleck; Jonny Lang; Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Dick Martin; Gene Hackman; Dick Cheney; Christian Bale; Jackie Robinson; Ernie “Mr. Cub” Banks; Nolan Ryan (yes, three Hall of Famers all born on the same day); John Ford; Boris Yeltsin; George Halas; Stan Getz; Pebbles Flintstone; Joey Bishop; Dave Davies; Melanie Safka; and my mom, Gloria Dunn, who is a spry and feisty 77 this week.

Bonus video birthday greetings this week to Dave Davies, guitarist for the Kinks. Here is a fun diddy by Davies brothers (Ray is the lead singer of the Kinks) called Sunny Afternoon. Dave Davies is the one playing the “Flying V” electric guitar. Enjoy!

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  1. Jeff…I’m waiting for John Piper to be discussed again here at IM!! I wonder if he is following Mark Driscoll’s lead. His theology smacks of a “sucks to be female” approach. I wonder why more females don’t challnege him. I mean shoot…if I were a woman, I’d be pissed to hear stuff like this. I’d be more angry if I ahd a daughter.

    Martha!!! I saw a Catholic song on another blog and I listened to a few Catholic hymms this evening. My favorite gal acorss the pond, But this one is dedicated to you!!!

    • Thank you, Eagle! One of the better modern hymns 🙂

      Jeff, happy birthday to your mother!

      Now, regarding the Communion money story – yes, the MInister for Social Protection (it used to be called Social Welfare, or Social and Family Affairs – every time a new government comes in, they change the names of the various government departments) announced the reduction in exceptional needs payments under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.

      What it means is that unemployed and other persons on various welfare payments can, in cases of emergency or need, apply to their local Community Welfare Officer for a one-off payment (e.g. help buying school uniforms, or a stroller for a new baby, etc). Each application is decided on a case-by-case basis. Big occasions such as First Holy Communion or Confirmation are expensive for families, and up to now, the custom has been to allow payment of a certain amount for these occasions.

      But now the economy is bad, and we are in hock to our Troika overlords (the IMF, EU and European Central Bank delegates who gave us the bail-out money and in return are overseeing our budgets to make sure we are cutting down expenses) and austerity is all the rage – for the ordinary working joe, at least. So social welfare payments are being cut and all manner of allowances are being eliminated, and people are getting angry because (1) the minority government party, Labour, is traditionally the party of the working classes and got elected on a platform of making sure the poor didn’t get hammered (2) they’re not doing that now they’re in power (3) Joan Burton, the Minister for Social Protection, is a member of the Labour party and is seen as surrendering to the majority party by implementing all these budget cuts (4) her party leader, Eamon Gilmore, is one of the two openly avowed atheists in government and this, coupled with his announcement that the Irish Embassy to the Vatican would be shut down (for the sake of saving money) is seen as part of a secularising agenda.

      Now, on the other hand, for years there have been concerns over the expenses parents incur for First Communions and Confirmations. There are also concerns that the spiritual element is ignored and these days are treated as social and party times, not religious. As the story mentions, ridiculous elements such as fake tans, makeup, and the likes are involved, and there have been efforts to get people not to go into debt, to buy second-hand dresses, to wear school uniforms instead of buying new outfits and so forth.

      On the third hand – why shouldn’t people have a day out to celebrate? If you’re being squeezed on not being able to have a Christmas or birthday, at least this is a once-off time when the entire family can celebrate and go out for a meal together and have a big day out. It’s the combination of being perceived as attacking Catholic custom (rightly or wrongly) combined with the fact that taxpayers and the poor have, to date, taken the hit in austerity measures while (for instance) we’ve just made a payment of €1.2 billion to bondholders in a bank that had to be bailed out to keep it solvent, and that these bondholders are not the original investors but speculators who bought the bonds for a quick profit (on the guaranteed government payment) and will be offloading them as soon as they get the dividend – that has people mad. So getting painted as “taking children’s special day away from them” is not going to be good for the government.

      • Did/do they fund bar mitzvah ceremonies?

        • Since the money is a discretionary payment for emergency or once-off needs, if a poor Jewish family qualified, sure!

          It’s not a religion-based payment as such, which is why it’s a bit disingenous of the Minister and the government to portray it as “cutting back on the trappings associated with a religious ceremony”; the caricature of ‘fake tan, limos, and drinking in the pub all day’ as depicted in this story.

          It’s part of cutting back on public expenditure (which is necessary) but these are not automatic entitlements, they are discretionary payments, and they are made (a) by the decision of a local officer (b) in preference to people borrowing money from loan sharks and (c) for emergencies, unforeseen expenses or one-off payments and (d) they do claw it back:

          “If Supplementary Welfare Allowance is paid while you are waiting for a social welfare benefit, assistance or pension, the amount paid will be deducted from the arrears of your social welfare payment.

          If you are paid an Urgent Needs Payment, you may have to pay back all or part of what you have been paid if you are working or once an insurance claim is settled.”

          It just makes it easier for the government to get the public to swallow the pill if they pitch it as “people from council estates blowing taxpayers’ money on having a big party” rather than “everyone is getting hit to pay the €1.2 billion in bonds we guaranteed Anglo Irish Bank bondholdes, with a further €2.5 billion to come, because if we default on those our financial overlords in Europe and the World Bank will pull the plug on our economy”.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        (it used to be called Social Welfare, or Social and Family Affairs – every time a new government comes in, they change the names of the various government departments)

        Very bureaucratic way of announcing “We’re Different! Really! We Are!”

        Most infamous example: CheKa to OGPU to NKVD to KGB.

    • Forget the having a daughter part. We have a son whose church youth guy is a Driscoll fan. We are being very watchful. My son will date and marry. We don’t want his view of women to be skewed (or Driscoll’s view of church discipline to implemented in youth group).

  2. Welsh Willie says

    By the power vested in me as Dalai Lama, I congratulate His Majesty, King Eddie.

    (Oh come on, I am too the Dalai Lama! I rolled around in his books and everything. Plus by DNA is 99 percent identical to Dalai Lama chromosomes.)

  3. Jeff, I LOVE the book, To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Have fun watching the Superb Owl game, everyone! (I think it is SO odd that we can’t use its actual name, but I remember that we did this Superb Owl thing last year too. It’s funny!)

  4. Thanks, Jeff. I love the Kinks. One of the sunniest and most affectionate songs ever is “Come Dancing” by the Kinks. It’s one of our family favorites.

  5. I can sum up, in 5 words, the message that Eddie Long farce was intended to send to his congregation (frequently used by HUG): touch not the Lord’s anointed.

    • Joseph (the original) says

      ah yes…the “circling-the-wagons-’round-the-good-guy” damage control quasi-religious PR goofiness & ultimate circus ring dog-and-pony-show…


      this is a common tactic the remaining sycophants that either remain on payroll or simply are fans of King Eddie the (____________) fill in blank… 😉

      it is all ‘wrapped up’ in egos, money, reputation repair, feel good vibes, phony play acting, emotional hype, etc. just something to deflect the attention away from the really serious stuff, almost like a medieval puppet show did during the days of the plague

      yup…i had to be careful there about being too historically correct with the more common name of said plague…

      after all, this is Saturday Ramblings & there are protocols to be followed… 😉

      Lord, deliver me from the crazies that claim to be Your followers… 🙂

      {all smilies indicate sacarsm tone although i can get rather worked-up over such stuff}

  6. Instead of getting extra credit for this extra-credit question I’m likely to get in trouble. But Jeff asked it, so here goes:

    Q: If President Obama were a Republican, would we accept the fact he says he is a Christian?

    A: That question would not be asked of a Republican. Even if the Republican were a Mormon.


    • Yeah, no one is questioning Mitt Romney’s Christianity.

      Oh wait! They are! And then they get slapped down by the Media Establishment for being bigoted!

  7. Isaac (except when I'm Obed) says

    Oh, that Kinks vid is a dream for guitar lovers. You’ve got the Gibson SG bass (I’ve got the cheapy Epiphone version, the EB-3 and it’s SO much fun), an old-school Fender acoustic with a Strat headstock, and what must be one of the earliest uses of the Flying V by a pop act. Very, very, nice.

  8. Between Driscoll, Piper, Long…..I believe 2012 will be the year of authority problems in the evangelical world.

    Just when I thought authority problems couldn’t get any worse, along came the video of Long. That one surprised even me.

    • I first saw the Bishop Long Torah desecration on Karen Spears Zacharias’ FB. My reaction- but for the Grace of God, it would have ended like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

      I don’t think ANY Evangelicals are claiming Long any more. That’s a whole different circus.

      Re Piper- God DID give Christianity a masculine feel as well as a feminine one. The Church IS The Bride & The Holy Spirit IS Very Maternal (I would like to saw ‘The Mother’ but Scripture does not allow me to go quite that far) but They both lead to The Father and The Son.

      • I’m with you on Piper. I’m not much of fan anymore, but he does have a point: The Bible consistently addresses God in the masculine, and God was perfectly capable of choosing otherwise. Unless you want to argue it wasn’t His choice, the culture forced that into scripture against God’s will. I’ve heard this “Holy Spirit is a She” thing (*ahem* Phyllis Tickle), but I kinda think that misses the whole point of being spirit in the first place: what’s wrong with a spiritual being being genderless? And by labeling certain characteristics of the Holy Spirit as feminine, aren’t we essentially limiting or at least stereotyping the role of women? At the very least, the Virgin Mary did conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, so there’s a possible hint of masculinity going on there 😛

        • Joseph (the original) says

          The Bible consistently addresses God in the masculine, and God was perfectly capable of choosing otherwise.

          but then, what was His reason? and does it really mean what both human genders want it to be? can anyone really, truly claim to know the divine purposes for such a manner of revelation? God doesn’t state any, does He? was it such a ‘masculine’ essence from a mere human understanding, or a divine representation of something much more grander in its scope???

          one cannot limit the ways which Emmanuel revealed God to us as simply being masculine, can we?. Jesus exceeded the mere masculine element by emphasizing all of humanity in His interactions with the people He came into contact with. He went out of His way to violate artificial religious/cultural taboos & by doing so He bestowed value & honor to everyone regardless of gender or station in life…

          He gave proper respect & recognition to all people as the way to be emulated, not codified in religious tradition & hierarchical organization…

          i think this is where the insistance of all-male clergy & ideas of complimentarianism err on the side of the human concept of masculinity & actually miss the grander scope of the divine version…

          • Piper, and perhaps even more so Driscoll, are trying to reach out to a demographic they are very concerned about- young men. There is a problem in that demographic, atlhough Piper and Driscoll may not be dealing with it in the best way possible.

          • Good food for thought. I am content with saying that God has revealed Himself as in the masculine form, and that Jesus was absolutely a dude, and this probably wasn’t arbitrary. Why exactly God worked that way I’ll be a bit slower to speculate on, but I’m even more hesitant to throw away 2000 years of tradition on this issue. It may be progress, but it usually isn’t.

          • Catechism of the Catholic Church:

            “PART ONE
            SECTION TWO

            CHAPTER ONE

            ARTICLE I

            Paragraph 6. Man


            Equality and difference willed by God

            369 Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. “Being man” or “being woman” is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator.240 Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity “in the image of God”. In their “being-man” and “being-woman”, they reflect the Creator’s wisdom and goodness.

            370 In no way is God in man’s image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective “perfections” of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband.”

            That’s how I learned it when I was going to school; God is spirit, which means that although we call God “our Father” and speak of “He” and “Him”, He is neither male nor female. Our categories of maculine and feminine do not apply.

            I have no problems with gendered pronouns, and attempts at inclusive language just end up more insulting me than otherwise, because they make it sound like I am such a delicate little shrinking violet, I will keel over dead if I hear “mankind” instead of “humankind” or “humanity” read out in a prayer in a church.

            That being said, the emphases on “Christianity is a Manly Religion for Manly Men!” doesn’t leave much room for we ladies, unless we emulate this gathering.

            “Are there any women here today?”


          • Remindss me of the old joke about the first astronaut. When he came down he said I have seen God. Tell us what you saw. Well She’s Black!

        • Actually, “Spirit”, “pneuma”, is neuter declension.


    • Between Driscoll, Piper, Long…..I believe 2012 will be the year of authority problems in the evangelical world.

      So … how would that be different from last year … or the year before that … or the year before that … or …

      • People are coming out of the woodwork to expose them. Advancements in and widespread use of social media and communication technology makes it nearly impossible for leaders to control their PR or hide their weaknesses. Case in point: The proliferation of “suvivor” group blogs. I expect to see one for every megachurch in the country by 2013.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          At that rate, by 2013 they’re going to wish the Mayan Calendar groupies were right.

  9. Keep in mind that the morning after pill is included, and Protestant organizations will be forced to cover it. Somehow the abortion pill is also considered “contraception”.

    • The current idea of conception includes implantation in the uterine wall as part of the process of conception. Blocking that, QED, can be thought of as contraception.

      Whether this makes moral sense or not is a matter of debate.

      [BTW, I kept forgetting to check the box to prove I am human and had to try three times to post this. Maybe the server has a different definition of what defines human life than I do?]

    • Since abortion is considered contraception, why wouldn’t the abortion pill be?

  10. That Other Jean says

    Lemme get this straight–Eddie Long was wrapped in a Torah by a non-Rabbi, a Messianic Jewish leader of something-or-other, and now he’s a king? And his congregation isn’t suggesting that perhaps he needs to take a break and get some therapy? I’m confused, but nearly as confused as they are. I hope God has a sense of humor.

    • Joseph (the original) says

      God’s sense of humor can be found in Matthew 7:15-23…

      yeah, i can just hear Jesus snorting & chuckling as He addresses those of the uber-prophetic/charismatic/apostolic types that claimed to be God’s anointed…

      oops…guess you guys/gals thought you were thee special ones representing me to those that also wanted your religious antics instead of pursuing My priorities…


      Lord…have mercy… 🙁

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Lemme get this straight–

      “You put the lime in the coconut
      Drink ’em both together
      Put the lime in the coconut
      Then you feel better…”

      Eddie Long was wrapped in a Torah by a non-Rabbi, a Messianic Jewish leader of something-or-other, and now he’s a king? And his congregation isn’t suggesting that perhaps he needs to take a break and get some therapy?

      No,his congregation BEE-LEEEVES!

      “Touch not Mine Anointed! Do My Prophet No Harm!” — Benny Hinn(?)

      Ever heard of “Father Divine” back in the Forties & Fifties? Same shtick. Cult underway, and King by Divine Right is one step below Deification in his own right. Then he’ll make an image of himself come to life and command that all Infidels and Heretics be killed and…

  11. Lots of great material on the piper comment over @ rachel held evans blog thanks for the rambles, JeffD bring on the baseball

  12. Happy Bday Magnum P.I. (aka Lance White, from his earlier days on Rockford)

  13. I want to be king of Internet Monk.

    • Chip Shepherd says

      Let me go get the Cub’s snuggie so we can wrap that around you and then get a rocking chair for craker barrel to lift you up and walk around with you

    • Joseph (the original) says

      i am sure for a substantial ‘contribution, you too can get a small vial of the snake oil they are peddling over there @ New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, or maybe a scrap of the torah scroll King Eddie got all wrapped up in…

      we can arrange our own anointment ceremony for you Chap Mike. we could schedule it during a full moon or a high Jewish feast day to keep in proper form performed by the Messianic Jewish preacher Ralph Messer that headed up this kooky circus act…


      what a bizarre religious performance for the fawning audience giving their approval for such antics…

      reminds me of the account of Herod’s death recorded in Acts 12.

      Lord, have mercy… 🙁

    • oh boy…….here it comes…… “THOU SHALT BRING ME A SHRUBBERY”……….

    • Chaplain Mike-

      Sorry, no priest-kings here at the iMonastery. You can be Abbot, though 😉

    • Jack Heron says

      I will support your claim to Kingship if I can be granted a Duchy in return.

  14. I watched the uneditted video of the Eddie Long coronation. It was so strange that I couldn’t laugh or cry. I just stared at the whole thing is stunned silence.

    • Randy Thompson says

      I agree.

      This is like getting clubbed to death by weirdness.

      • I lasted 30 seconds before my severe allergy to stupid kicked up and I had to turn it off.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Actually, this is beyond weirdness.

        (Sez the Brony with 20+ years in Furry Fandom.)

        This is “usurping royal (if not divine) prerogatives and trappings” on steriods.

    • Where do you get a stadium full of suckers like that willing to be led around by the nose? I know this sounds harsh and judgmental, but if so many people can be so easily swindled, I just wish it could be put to some better use.

  15. Prodigal Daughter says

    It’s even better when you get to watch it on your local news station because you live in Atlanta!

    • I live in ATL, but I didn’t watch the local news so I didn’t see it. I did, however, hear the report on the local radio!

  16. So anyway, what teams are playing in your little obscure competition? 🙂

    And who on here supports which of them?

    • Joseph (the original) says

      the New York Giants lead by Eli Manning…

      and the New England Patriots lead by Tom Brady…

      i liked their first matchup 4 years ago. was one of the greatest/exciting superb owl games to watch…

      i want NY to win again. just because. i have no sense of loyalty to either team, but i do prefer the NFC team in the matchup & Brady needs a bit of humility imho more than Manning does…

      no prayers for Brady either no matter how much his smokin’ hot wife entreats… 😉

      enjoy the game !

  17. You guys are from Indian-No-Place!? That explains a lot. 🙂

  18. I watched “One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” last night. Most of the inmates were interned in the asylum voluntarily and could walk out freely at any time, but even when the window was opened, no one left, because of the manipulative power of Nurse Mildred Ratched. I wonder if something similar is afoot here and in many religious circles.

    • (I meant to add this to Miguel’s last comment above, “Where do you get a stadium full of suckers like that willing to be led around by the nose?”.)

  19. Just looking at few commentaries on “Cuckoo’s Nest”reveals the theme of people being reduced to machines. Again, I can’t escape the similarities with authoritarian, controlling, heteronomies. One doesn’t need to join a cult to be under the spell of manipulative, abusive leaders.