January 21, 2021

Saturday Ramblings 3.19.11

Today will be a bit of a different sort of Saturday Ramblings. For one, once I eliminated all of the Rob Bell Is A Universalist stories, there really wasn’t much to report on. But we have some bigger things to discuss this week. Are you ready to ramble?

I want to ask you to spend time this weekend in prayer for our First Lady Denise Spencer. We are coming up on the one year anniversary of the death of Michael Spencer, and this is not an easy time for Denise. So I would like to ask you to especially remember her this weekend and in the coming weeks. She is a wonderful friend and sister. She loves the iMonk community and asks about many of you by name when we talk. So, please pray for Denise.

Another prayer concern is for the nation of Japan. The destruction from the earthquake and tsunami is devastating. We don’t need to know why this happened, and we don’t need to make any kind of moral judgments concerning nuclear power at this time. We need to pray. Our friends at 24/7 Prayer have a calendar set up for worldwide, 24 hour prayer through this coming Wednesday for Japan. If you can take even one hour and pray, well, I have a feeling God will hear. And who knows what God will do when his people pray?

Chaplain Mike reviewed Eugene Peterson’s A Pastor earlier this week. If you’d like another opinion, check out this review on Christianity Today. Well, same opinion, different voice. I’m hoping to share some of my thoughts once I can come up for air enough to know what month it is. Short version: Buy the book.

I will be in Scottsdale, Arizona next weekend and would love to meet with any iMonks while I’m there. Right now I can tell you I will be at the Reds-Giants game Saturday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium. Game time is 3 p.m. I am also going to try to attend Community Church of Joy’s 9:45 a.m. service on Sunday. Pastor Walt Kallestad is a good friend of mine. So if you can join us for either of these, please email me at jeff@internetmonk.com.  I’ll give you my cell number at that time so we can coordinate on Saturday. I hope to meet you if you are in the area.

Birthdays this week were celebrated by Leonard Chess, founder of Chess Records; Wally Schirra; Al Jarreau; Liza Minnelli; L. Ron Hubbard; Neil Sedaka; Adam Clayton; Albert Einstein; Frank Borman; Sir Michael Caine; Quicny Jones; Billy Crystal; Mike Love; Ry Cooder; Pat Nixon; Jerry Lewis; Samuel “Shemp Howard” Horwitz; Nat King Cole; Patti “Layla” Boyd; Peter Graves; and George Scott, one of the founders of the Blind Boys of Alabama.

If you have never heard the Blind Boys, you are really missing out. As far as I’m concerned, they can lead the choir in heaven for a good long while. Enjoy.

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  1. Jeff ~ thank you for calling us to prayer. I do pray for Denise regularly having lost my own husband. Denise ~ it gets so hard you think you cannot take another breath. But then it does begin to get “easier”. Please take good care of yourself. Grieving is very hard labor and it takes a toll on your body. My precious friends prayed me through my grief and I met other widows older and younger who are now my dearest friends. Please let friends know when you need them ~ they want to be there for you. And I know you don’t need any Scripture quoted at you but I will just say that the Lord, after a few years of adjusting, pointed me back to the Cross and that helped very much to fill the hole in my soul and brought peace to my heart. You are loved and cared about. God bless you Denise.

  2. I have a new favorite group! These guys are great! Thanks, Jeff.

  3. The second line of today’s Ramblings caused me to cackle out loud — at 5:50 am Pacific time, which is no mean feat. Y’know, one of these days I may have to read something by Rob Bell, just to find out what all the hoohah’s about.

    Or not. 😀

  4. Isaac (the poster formerly known as Obed) says

    On our local college radio station, Thursday afternoons from 5:00 to 6:00 is the gospel hour, and the Blind Boys are often played. They’re what helped me fall in love with gospel music. Ever heard them do “John the Revelator”?

  5. The conservative/evangelical response to the Japan tragedy has been surreal. Many are responding with genuine compassion, prayers, and aid. Others are calling it a message from God (he couldn’t get our attention without killing 15,000 men, women, and children and possibly poisoning critical parts of the eco-system forever). Others follow this line with a little more compassion: God did this or let it happen to lead the Japanese people to Christ – sort of a reversed carrot-and-stick (i.e. this disaster is still better than hell). Some are just opportunistic: turning the tragedy into a witnessing opportunity to lead the Japanese to Christ. There is some truth to this.

    I think there is another answer: rather than leading people to Christ, being Christ or demonstrating Christ to the Japanese people, similar to Ignatius in yesterday’s post likening the bishop as God to the people. An example is a story of a Lutheran missionary who refuses to leave Fukushima in order to continue ministering to the victims of the tragedy, even if she becomes a statistic herself. That’s Christ, leaving the glories of heaven to take on the sufferings and curse of humanity, even if it killed him. The Christian response to tragedy is to wear the tragedy ourselves along side the suffering and dead. We may all not be able to be their physically, but there are many things we can do to bear this tragedy along with the Japanese people.

    Either way, we will demonstrate what we really think Jesus is like through our actions. If we sit back and excuse the Japanese suffering on fate or God’s will, judgement or warning, then our view of God is no different than some of the cruel dieties they already know. This in itself is a strange, cruel universalism.

    They need to see demonstrated the God of the crucifix which greets you as you enter a Roman Catholic sanctuary, made flesh as the “Man of Sorrows”, who took on our sin and suffering by the stripes he received.

    • Dumb Ox, your last paragraph reminded me of reading about a painting by Matthias Grunewald of the Crucifixion. It’s an awful painting, in the literal sense of the word; Christ is twisted and scarred and ugly, as is everything around him. But the painting was commissioned for a leprosarium, to be a comfort to those suffering from disfigurement, to remind them that God also suffered.

  6. To Denise…I remember your husband Michael with gratitude and love. I am so sorry for your loss of him and hope that your friends, family and prayer will comfort you always.

  7. Thank you for your kind words about Japan. It is troubling to me how the emphasis has so quickly shifted from the very real human suffering caused by (and still being experienced due to) the earthquake / tsunami in favor of breathless, sensationalist reporting on what might happen with nuclear reactors. Even with human tragedy, it seems we can’t avoid finger pointing, personal agendas, gotchas, and a search for the guilty.

  8. Praying for you Denise that you sense the communion of the body and that you are not alone.

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