January 27, 2021

Saturday Ramblings 4.14.12

Greetings one and all! Your favorite rambling iMonk here to serve you the leftover goodies from a very busy week. On a personal note, I finished the first draft of a project that was taking way, way too long. I felt like I was swimming upstream in a river of mud. But I sent it off yesterday morning. Yes, there will be revisions, but I can handle revisions. Now on to writing what I love writing more than anything. Let’s make some Saturday Ramblings, shall we?

Sigh … I really, really wanted to not write about Mark Driscoll today. I really tried not to. But when you combine Driscoll with Liberty University, with an innocent blogger caught in the middle, well, you know it is going to have to be mentioned. I really don’t know who to cheer for in this battle. So what do you think: Should Driscoll speak at Liberty University? And how should Liberty apologize to Peter Lumpkin?

From the Opening-A-Can-Of-Worms department is the story of a teacher at a private Christian school in Texas who was fired for getting pregnant before she got married. Terminating the employment of a pregnant woman based on her pregnancy is against both Texas and United States laws. But the headmaster of the school said all of his teachers are “ministers” as well as teachers and are not subject to those laws. Ok then …

Well, the smarter one gets … Seems Lifeway Research recently asked 1,000 Protestant pastors to respond to this statement: “If a person is sincerely seeking God, he/she can obtain eternal life through religions other than Christianity.” Not surprisingly, 77 percent strongly disagreed with the statement. What is surprising is that of the remaining 23 percent, those most likely to agree held post-graduate degrees. Maybe I’m glad I haven’t gone after my doctorate after all.

Snake handling? Really? Oh, in Tennessee. I get it.

Southern Baptists have moved on past their racially-divided past, right? Hold the phone. Richard Land brought out a fan to get the race issue flaming up again. Anyone else think that maybe he should stick to preaching from Scripture?

I never thought I would type the phrase “imprecatory prayer,” but a court’s ruling in Texas brought it to the forefront this week. I doubt many churches have a Minister of Imprecatory Prayer. If yours does, let us know. We want to write about someone other than Mark Driscoll this week …

And from the town next to the town in Ohio where your rambler first rambled (52 years ago, thank you!), a judge has decided it’s ok for a Waynesville High School student to wear a t-shirt proclaiming that Jesus was not a homophobe. Of course he wasn’t. Still isn’t. Must have been a really slow week for courts in Texas and Ohio.

The wackiest story of the week? You know there has to be a really crazy one if Ed Young, Jr. is only the runner-up. Ed brought animals on stage for his Easter message. A lamb. And a lion. People in Texas got their undies all in a bunch over this. Hey—at least we didn’t have to watch Ed and his wife in bed on the roof of their church this time.

No, the wackiest story of the week is about a new app for your iPhone. Don’t you want a Personal Jesus app? C’mon! You know you want to have a personalized Jesus quote Bible verses on your phone. Watch the trailor on this site—but not if you are eating at the time. As the site promotes, Since Jesus is all around, you can watch him walking on water, having his last supper, being crucified, resurrected or in heaven. And since he is also universal and personally done for you…pick his color! White, Black, Asian or Celtic!  Really. I am not making this up.

Happy birthday wishes go out to Percy Faith; James Garner; Francis Ford Coppola; John “Hall and” Oates; Mary Pickford; Steve Howe; Julian Lennon; Earl “Curly” Lambeau; Carl Perkins; Cheetah; Harry Morgan; Brian Setzer; Ethel Kennedy; Tom Clancy; David Letterman; and Al Green.

Music is supposed to be fun, and it doesn’t get much funner than Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats. Enjoy!

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS3Yf45YSP8′]


  1. OH DEAR!!!!

    Where to start!?! 😯 The only one not mentioned in the list was John Piper, so I’ll have to pass on my diatribe.

    Well I’ll be….here in the Washington, D.C. /northern Virginia area I’m hearing this sucking sound coming from south of me… Now that I know maybe it’s Driscoll preping his sermon on “Real Marriage”

    That story with the pregnant Christian teacher was just sad. I remember when a Christian professor was fired from Wheaton because he and his wife went through a divorce. For me it demonstrates how graceless and cold Christianity can be at times. Christians have an overhwhelming amount of opportunities to show grace. Do they? At the first hint of trouble or difficulty Christians can become liks sharks in the water who smell blood. They turn, they devour, they attack and then they discard. How loving….Jesus supposedly hung out with the broken and befriended them yet for many fundagelicals today the broken arn’t good enough for them.

    I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve watched fundagelicals destroy their own. And often it was when they person needed help or confessed voluntarily. There’s one lesson to be leanred about Christianity in the United States. Only the perfect are welcome.

    Finally as for the grad school degree…maybe I shouldn’t have gotten my MA. Not only would I have maybe kept more of a belief but I would also avoid Campus Crusade. AND that would have been a positive! 😉

    • I was a student at Wheaton the semester that professor was fired. He wasn’t fired for getting divorced, per se, but for not submitting all the details of his divorce so that the college could determine whether his divorce was “biblically acceptable.” Being fired for not revealing the painful details of your life is much worse, in my opinion, than just being fired for getting a divorce.

      I hope that our new administration approaches things like this with much more grace than our old administration.

    • This school teacher isn’t asking for forgiveness. Read her comments:

      “I’m not just some teacher that went out to a bar and got pregnant and went back to school saying it’s okay,” “I was in a committed relationship.” “I was in shock and devastated and that’s when I said, ‘If this is the problem, I’m willing, and so is my fiancé, to go ahead and get married.”‘

      Right, lust is totally ok as long as you are in a “committed relationship” and not some bar hussy, and it’s shocking people actually take Jesus and Paul seriously.

      She’s totally unrepentant and doesn’t agree with the Bible’s teaching on sex. She should be fired. The wink and nod approach to premarital sex isn’t Christian.

      If she immediately got married, was forthcoming with the school and asked for forgiveness, maybe this would be a story about the school’s lack of grace. But still, sin carries wordly consequences and forgiveness doesn’t mean ignoring those.

      Also, the Supreme Court recently ruled on this issue and the school is fully within its rights to terminate her. Her job is to teach the faith, and the school has religious freedom to determine her qualifications for doing so. How does a unrepentant teacher who obviously rejects the Christian view of premarital sex credibly teach the Christian view of premarital sex and lust?

      • Joseph (the original) says

        isn’t this the same as simply being an “at-will employee” where both the employer & employee can terminate their professional relationship?

        what if that teacher came to work drunk or was disruptive to other employees & disrespectful to superiors?

        what other unwanted behaviors could be cause for dismissal yet it is the employer that is the now bad guy because the rules of employment agreed upon by both the school & teacher were violated???

        what about adult responsibility, accountability & integrity? if she were serious about the expectations of being a teacher in a private, Christian school, then she should not be surprised by such a reaction from the school…

        i don’t know if this is part of the sense of entitlement mentality and/or being a victim, but this seems to be sending quite the mixed-message to those students that must wonder what the heck is going on…

        Lord…have mercy… 🙁

      • It’s a tough call because you do want to be gracious and to think with the mind of Christ when these situations occur, but then again , she is in a position of responsibility in the school and if they are trying to teach the students to wait until marriage to have sex and have babies, and that pre-marital relationships are not the Christian ideal, it’s hard when the students can turn around and say “But what about Miss Smith? She’s living with her boyfriend and she’s expecting, and they’re only getting married now because she’s pregnant!”

        Whatever decision the school board makes, someone is going to be unhappy.

      • cermak_rd says

        Clearly, she should have gotten an abortion. Then no one ever need have known.

        That’s really the position you’re advocating whenever you punish women for getting pregnant.

        • Your comment is foolish. By your logic, a pastor shouldn’t be fired for embezzlement or prostitution because then he will be incentivized to murder the witnesses to his sins. But you probably don’t have a problem with abortion and are just scoring political points.

          I’m not advocating punishment for the woman, I’m advocating the duty of a school to enforce qualifications to be a teacher.

          This is two kingdoms stuff. The church always conveys grace and forgiveness in Christ to the world. But the church is also in the world and has worldly obligations. Those it chooses to hire should be qualified. If a janitor cannot clean, or a secretary cannot type, a church is like any other employer and has a duty to its members to wisely use their funds, and find better employees. This is especially true with those pastors and teachers the church chooses to convey the faith. Churches are usually overly tolerant in this area, and too many church employees skate by despite obvious laziness or incompetence.

          • Boaz,

            Irony is considered a form of humor. At times it seems harsh, and a lot of people don’t get it, but irony often gets straight to the truth.

            Whether you think Cermak is pro-choice or not, do the math and you’ll see that she’s at least correct about the outcome if the woman had had an abortion. There’s an inherent weakness in the policy and it isn’t wrong to discuss it.

          • I do believe abortion should be available for any reason in the first trimester (which is the position in my state), but I also don’t think abortion is something anyone should be coerced into doing. And I think the position of terminate your pregnancy or lose your job is coercive and I would consider it unethical for an employer to put his employees in such a position.

            Not that this school doesn’t have the right to do it, just that I would consider it unethical.

        • Cermak, this just in from Father Ernesto at orthocuban.com—he has been posting from “9 Chickweed Lane” recently, cartoons that deal with the topic of unplanned pregnancy:

          “There is neither excuse nor reason for elective abortion. But, there is neither excuse nor reason for the attitude of all too many of us, who are happy to win the battle while leaving the wounded strewn on the battlefield. I sometimes wonder how many of us would have welcomed the thief on the cross into the Kingdom and how many of us would have simply told him that he deserved his fate and all that came with it.”

        • Joseph (the original) says

          That’s really the position you’re advocating whenever you punish women for getting pregnant.

          personal foul. i think that warrants ejection from the game…

          wow…totally over-the-top knee-jerk ponitication just the same as equating the school as Nazi’s & the Dean Adolf Hitler…

          c’mon. where is the moderator on something like this???

          irony, hyperbole & even creative sarcasm can be useful in any dialogue, but this is nothing more than being Judge, Jury & Executioner without even a modicum of Christian respect, tolerance & grace/mercy…

          Lord, have mercy… 🙁

          • I don’t see the Godwin link here. Abortion is totally legal in my state in the first trimester (which is when most occur and when one would want it to occur to avoid detection).

            Shaming and punishing out of wedlock pregnancy is a good way to increase abortions. I’ve escorted two women to abort during my lifetime (back then the protestors could get out of hand on occasion, hence the escorts). In one case, it was a college student who feared her parents’ reaction because she knew they did not approve of out of wedlock births.

          • Joseph (the original) says


            bringing up abortion as the tacit & ‘shocking’ ungodly result of dealing with an awkward employment situation way over the top. period.

            implying that those that have alternate opinion, as well as the school administration, is painting with an awfully broad brush that does nothing to encourage dialogue no matter how passionate you are about the issue.

            your argument about shaming women who are unwed & pregnant is a valid one, especially when those women raised within a strict religious upbringing. however, lumping all those that were discussing the business issues without ever even thinking abortion was an option is disrespectful & discourteous to fellow posters…

            passion, zeal, conviction can be conveyed in such a way as to highlight greater implications into any discussion & to insert an element of humanity into an otherwise sterile, impersonal consideration. i just ask for some discernment & sensitivity to those that may not have the same level of emotional intensity about one particular point-of-view…


          • Joseph, just to reiterate,

            I think Cermak was simply stating the obvious, based on the policy of the school itself. If the teacher had got an abortion, no one would have known of the pregnancy. She would have been perceived as “playing by the rules” even though she would have broken a greater one in the act of abortion. It’s a nasty bit of irony, but unfortunately true. I don’t think Cermak should be beaten up for playing the part of the messenger.

            I do like your comment to Martha, below, and I think you offer a balanced and compassionate solution. If you were on that school board the outcome could have been a lot more graceful.

        • It would be better if the school could find some way of keeping her as a teacher but spoke to the pupils about the situation, but then what do you do? You get the twin accusations of “So it’s ‘do as I say, not as I do’, you hypocrites!” and probably the teacher goes to court anyway to sue for emotional distress and discrimination because she was hurt, embarrassed and slandered by the school criticising her behaviour in front of the pupils.

          And when Sally in 6th year gets pregnant by her boyfriend (because they love each other and they’re going to get married some day), just like Miss Smith her teacher did, what then?

          • Joseph (the original) says


            i agree, it is a very awkward situation which was preventable…

            no matter which side of the argument championed, the way it was handled seems to be like the messy Driscoll ‘church discipline’ fiasco that caused such heated responses…

            i suppose the Christian thing to do would be for both sides to admit being reactionary, allow for a real ‘grace’ period, put the teacher on leave (not fired) with the promise that her position still open once she is married. may not be something she would do, but also promise to provide positive references.

            maybe the school could allow her to address the students once things cooled down some…

            i don’t think the situation is completely lost, but it would take some major humility & sensitivity to take ownership for mishandling the situation & being more Christlike in moving toward reconciliation…

      • Did the school even try and work with her? They probably went to the last measure when they could have done a lot of things. By your definiiton…okay she made a mistake. Who hasn’t? Maybe she’s embarrased or can’t admit to people that she made a mistake. The school could have responded in love. The school could have said…”we’ll work with you just cooperate with us please…” IF the school responded in love to her maybe that could have helped her admit that she made a mistake. However, fundagelicals often have no patiance…and they salivate at the opportunity for situations like this because nothing gives them greater pleasure that to shoot the wounded or find ways to pass judgement. THIS is especially true with sexual sin or out of wedlock pregnancies. In the end all that funagelicals are doing is spiritually masturbating.

        Maybe she should have had an abortion….that could show greater responsibility perhaps? The school would never have known due to privacvy law. She would have kept her job. And she would fit in and do what lots of fundageliclas do day in and day out. They live a double life and live dishonestly to fit into the fundy culture.

        • Eagle, I can ONLY respond to the older cases where this has occured in Catholic schools. It is hard to present the concept of sexual purity to kids when teacher is knocked up out of wedlock. Unless my memory is failing me, one of the [Catholic] cases involved a teacher who was getting married almost immediately anyway, and told her Principal as a courtesy. Since she would be married long before “showing” AND the fact that she taught young children, the whole case was treated with grace and dignity, and the little charges were no more the wiser.

          The other cases were more like the one under discussion today….teachers wanting to stay single and not understanding why that would be a problem. Again, IMHO, it has to do with minds and hearts of kids more than anything else. Were these women social workers at Catholic Charities planning on giving their child up for adoption, I am pretty sure it would be a non-issue.

      • Labor laws actually make the application of grace difficult. If the school had in their employee manual any policy prohibiting sexual immorality, then they are obligated to enforce it. If there was ever a case where they enforced it for one employee and not for another, they would be at risk of a lawsuit. A policy which cannot be uniformly enforced needs to be removed.

        An employee needs to clearly understand any applicable policies of his or her employer – regardless if it a corporation or religious non-profit. If you can’t agree with those policies but you sign that you’ve read, understood and will follow them, you at a minimum are at risk of termination.

        • My wife is a teacher at a religious school, and her contract includes a statement prohibiting public consumption of alcohol. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous the policy may seem, once she signs the contract, she is committing herself to follow it.

          Perhaps the recent attention over some employers demanding access to a job seeker’s Facebook page is another example: it’s a ridiculous invasion of privacy which may soon be prohibited by new laws, but if the job seeker refuses, he or she won’t get the job.

          A public school teacher may need to undergo “sensitivity training”. The time to protest such a requirement isn’t after the teacher has signed a contract.

  2. I’m not a fan of Driscoll in general, but it is entertaining to watch this play out. Sure, Glenn Beck (a mormon) and Ben Stein are more than welcome to speak, but a fellow Christian makes a mention of sex and people get all crazy.

    And as a former Tennessee pentecostal, there is no way I’d ever touch a snake. I think God understands that. 🙂

  3. TOM CLANCY!!!!!

    This..has to be on of the best submarine movies of all time. Not only that but Sean Connery was just perfect for the role IMO…


    And Clear and Present Danger is also another one I like…


  4. Thanks for the stray cat’s I remember that they were the first band to revive good old rock and roll after (Disco) OK so maybe rock and roll weren’t so good but lets face it disco sucked. I like the t-shirt proclaiming that Jesus wasn’t a homephobe I would like to add that Jesus wasn’t a murderer or a thief or a liar or ……the list is just about endless pretty much a description of us to one degree or another….. shalom Jim.

  5. OK, I had to look up imprecatory: “to swear, curse, or blaspheme;” “to invoke or bring down (evil, a curse, etc): to imprecate disaster on the ship;” “to put a curse on.”

    I wonder what would happen if a non-minister or priest prayed from Psalm 109, “May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow” and informed others that he was praying this about President Obama? My guess is he or she would be arrested as a threat. People have been arrested for less. If people really feel the need to pray that way against specific people, they should do it privately is my opinion.

    • Would not a Christian praying like this fall under the category of sin known as “cursing another”, and also violate forgiveness of 70 times 7 as well as “if you are to present at the altar and remember a grievance with your brother, go and reconcile with him first…” ????

      This is like stoning and gouging out eyes….an Old Testament relic with no place in the life of a follower of Christ.

    • Please don’t put any ideas in people’s heads, Joanie! I’m having a hard enough time dealing with students who are just spouting what they hear their parents say at home about the President.

  6. My son spent his US Constitution paper discussing the Lutheran teacher terminated due to medical issues. The Supreme Court decided that she was a minister and as such the government couldn’t be involved. He spent some length of the paper discussing ramifications of this ruling. This next iteration was not in his wildest imaginations. His conclusion fits: he can understand the reasons behind the firings, but that doesn’t make them right.

  7. Dan Crawford says

    Ah, Southern Baptists. They believe that anyone the Republican Party nominates (with the exception of Mitt Romney) is the second coming of Christ. They even think that a Papist, a follower of the Anti-Christ, can be Christ in his second coming. Mr. Land’s comments and the behavior of the Liberty University (university? wow) trustees provide further proof that the SBs accept bigotry and ignorance as the third dominical sacrament.

    • Um…..no……. careful where you throw those generalizations please.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Dan was accurate when it comes to the current Presidential campaign. What’s-her-face, Godly Gingrich, Saint Santorum — all prophesied over while flavor-of-the-month as God’s Anointed Choice for the White House. While Romney, who actually seems most in line with their ballyhooed Traditional Family Values (and whose religion is 100% American in origin and history), gets thesqualling baby dinosaur: “NOT THE MORMON! NOT THE MORMON! NOT THE MORMON!”

        • I don’t think we’re going to be hearing “not the Mormon” much longer from the religious right. They’re going to have to bite the bullet and welcome Romney into the fold because he’s “not the Obama”.

          But, speaking of God’s Anointed Choice for the White House: if they really believe Romans 13, for the time being at least God’s Anointed is Obama himself. Until they can get the Mormon elected. Then the Mormon will be God’s Anointed.

          Hey, that’s not me talking. That’s Romans 13.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            I don’t think we’re going to be hearing “not the Mormon” much longer from the religious right. They’re going to have to bite the bullet and welcome Romney into the fold because he’s “not the Obama”.

            And then we will hear preached from the same pulpits how Oceania has Always Been At Peace with Eurasia, Comrades.

          • No, Comrade. Oceania is at war with Eurasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia. It is with Eastasia that we have always been at peace.

  8. The Stray Cats bass player was born Leon Drucker. He comes from good musical stock. His father Stanley was the principal clarinetist for the New York Philharmonic. I dated his cousin in the early eighties.

  9. Reading some of those reasons that Liberty doesn’t want Driscoll, it difficult to not see them as a bunch of hand-wringing prudes. And I know Liberty doesn’t think much of Calvinism (Calvinism of all kinds, not just the YRR brand). But honestly–they’ve had Glenn Beck and Chuck Norris as commencement speakers at graduation! Mormon conspiracy theorists and geriatric martial artists are okay, but not Driscoll? Good Lord.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Chuck Norris I could see — assuming a student body of wanna-be tough heroes (not far off from Driscoll’s fanboying over MMA cage fights) — but Glenn Beck? The Mormon Rush Limbaugh? Mitt Romney is a Godless CULTist CULTist CULTist while Glenn Beck is God’s Anointed Oracle?

      The snake-handler news might be straight out of The Simpsons, but this is South Park time…

    • The Liberty University crowd IS a bunch of hand-wringing prudes. But this poses a double indictment against Driscoll: “Hand wringing prudes” are not welcome in his church. You must have a high threshold for tolerance of the crass in order to be spiritual enough for him. The other thing is some of the specifics of the objection. Driscoll’s blessing on marital “tootsi-fruitsi” will be exploited by many to pressure spouses into conforming to adult-film inspired fantasies more than it will build for mutual edification in the relationship. The Bible doesn’t prohibit self-amputation with a hacksaw, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy, normal, or has any redemptive value whatsoever. I applaud the hang-wringing prudes for being able to call a spade a spade and shut down Driscoll for being such a shock-jock. That evangelicalism at large has been so silent on this is depressing.

      • That’s a pretty decent perspective. We don’t want to be legalists (and I suspect a great deal of Driscoll’s shtick is reactionary), but we also don’t want to be foolish.

      • +1

      • Thanks for the support Miguel 🙂

      • Well said Miguel. Good point.

      • It pains me very much to defend Driscoll in any way, but I actually read his book, and he is pretty clear that neither member in a marriage has the right to pressure the other to do something the other doesn’t want to do. He also is clear that men who have had their imaginations damaged by porn need to repent of that and not treat their wives like sex object.

        There’s plenty of stuff to criticize when it comes to Driscoll and his latest book, but we shouldn’t attribute things to him that he doesn’t actually say.

        • But the bottom line is that he seems not to realize that some things don’t belong in the public discussion arena, NOT because they are WRONG but because they are PRIVATE and sacred between spouses.

          I had a hard enough time discussing cervical mucous and temperature charts in a small group when we were learning and using NFP, but at least that was for actual learning of an art and science….

        • This is actually good to hear. However, my point wasn’t necessarily that Driscoll was encouraging said marital practices or pressuring so much as his book can be used to justify it. Sure he says that it has to be “consensual,” and discourages pressuring, but all some need to hear is “____ is NOT called sin in the Bible.” That is the fundamentalists mindset: Can I or can I not do this? If it is not sin, then the spouse that denies is begrudged.

          I just don’t think Driscoll ought to have gone there. Sure he gets asked that question a lot. So do I. …and for those who really want to know, talking to your pastor is a great way to deal with the issue. Aside from his not seeming to have taken much consideration for what is particularly harmful to the body, the idea that it’s the Pastor’s responsibility to be a sexual magisterium for the masses is quite ludicrous. There are grey areas in scripture that can be addressed with a little common sense and some wise personal counsel. These matters ought not be spelled out in a one-size-fits-all prescription. If I’m that disturbed by a question of marital bedroom ethics, talking to a trusted spiritual advisor trumps referring to the pocket guide. That and the fact that I advise differently to 11th grade Bible students who come to me seeking to justify their natural inclination to treat women like objects.

          He’s just playing to the crowd: These are the questions he is being asked, so he is telling people what they want to hear, instead of looking for the question behind the question and telling people what they need to hear.

          Then there’s the issue of bad theology, which is to be expected of a fundamentalist. The whole premise behind “can I?” reminds me of a passage from Bonhoeffer in “the Cost of Discipleship…” Going there at all is pretty much akin to trying to answer the question “…and who is my neighbor?” with a list of principles and series of criterion. This is the voice of doubt, seeking to justify self. Jesus rebukes this perspective and gives a parable to illustrate that the voice of faith says, “God has treated me as his neighbor. Therefore, to whom can I go and do likewise?”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Driscoll’s blessing on marital “tootsi-fruitsi” will be exploited by many to pressure spouses into conforming to adult-film inspired fantasies more than it will build for mutual edification in the relationship.

        I assume “marital tootsi-fruitsi” includes both ends of the digestive tract, all made legal and Godly because they’ve got a ring and a wedding in the mix?

        • …but why stop there? Once you have a set of principles and criterion for what is or is not in or out, what isn’t wrong has become my right. But I always recommend strongly the use of a bit of common sense. Refer to the “hacksaw illustration.” Do no harm, comprende? It would appear Driscoll skipped that “principle.”

  10. Wow…so much is in my backyard in today’s ramblings!

    I heard about Driscoll at Liberty through a commercial on our local Christian music station, and my first thought was “If not for I-Monk, I would have no CLUE who this guy is!”, and my second thought was that he did seem a bit over the top in sexual talk for Uncle Jerry’s school. (Students are not permitted to drink or have sex, and are routinely seen driving fast around town with beer in hand groping the person next to them…) I’ll be sure to give a full report of how this is covered by our local news (they do a story when anyone of any note speaks at Liberty).

    Several pregnant out of wedlock teachers in Catholic schools have been “asked” to leave in the last decade, but clearly with much less public notice or concern. It was considered something that children did not need to be exposed to, and that even if the kids didn’t know how to” count backwards to nine”, the parents sure did.

    And hey, RC doctrine for years has held that those who never learn about Christ but are seeking God in truth and faith have a “baptism of intent” and are heaven bound. I will defer to Martha to explain this more fully, since my knowledge of Church of history and law pales in comparison to hers!!!

    AND……disco does NOT suck!

    • Regarding baptism of intent–I thought of that chapter in The Last Battle, where the Calormene soldier finds himself in heaven with all the Narnians and Aslan. He asks why he’s there, because he worshipped Tash. And Aslan says something to the effect of, All the good things you believed about Tash and loved him for were actually true of me, and all of the evil things you believed about me and hated me for were actually true of Tash. So when you thought you were loving and worshipping Tash, you were actually loving and worshipping me.

      But disco does suck. Sorry, Pattie. 😛

    • disco does NOT suck!

      Well maybe not. But it sure was embarrassing.

    • Pattie…THIS classic scene from Airplane is dedicated to all disco lovers! 😛


    • I was just going to mention that part, Pattie 🙂

      ““If a person is sincerely seeking God, he/she can obtain eternal life through religions other than Christianity.”

      That is actually a little bit more nuanced than it seems, Jeff. Now, if all or most of the 23% believed something along the lines of what got the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, into trouble (a question-and-answer interview in “Time” magazine in 2006 where one of the questions was “Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven? and her answer was We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box and the 2007 interview with the “Arkansas Democrat-Gazette” which included this line in response to a question that got her in a lot of trouble with various Christian bloggers of all denominations – “I think Jesus as way — that’s certainly what it means to be on a spiritual journey. “) – if the idea is that, while it is preferable to be a Christian or to have faith in Christ, it is not necessary – then they are in error.

      On the other hand – some or all of them could be thinking along the lines of the question Dante poses, in Canto 19 of the “Paradiso”, in the sphere of Jupiter, the Heaven of the Just:

      “70 ‘For you have often asked: “A man is born
      71 upon the bank along the Indus, with no one there
      72 to speak, or read, or write of Christ,
      73 ‘”and all that he desires, everything he does, is good.
      74 As far as human reason can discern,
      75 he is sinless in his deeds and in his words.
      76 ‘”He dies unbaptized, dies outside the faith.
      77 Wherein lies the justice that condemns him?
      78 Wherein lies his fault if he does not believe?”

      Formerly, the question was (partially) resolved by the hypothesis of Limbo; since faith in Jesus is uncontrovertibly necessary for salvation, yet God is just and cannot do wrong, what fate befalls those who are otherwise virtuous but lack saving faith because they had no opportunity to be taught the Gospel? They cannot attain to Heaven (otherwise, there is no necessity to preach the Gospel since mere human virtue alone will suffice, and this is the heresy of Pelagianism) but to actively punish them with the pains of Hell is (on the face of it) unjust since they are not guilty – and so Limbo, the intermediate state, where there is “perfect natural felicity” but forever lacking the Beatific Vision was proposed; there, the virtuous pagans and the unbaptised children who died, all of them still tainted with Original Sin, can dwell with no punishment (it was also tied in with the Harrowing of Hell, as being the answer to the problem of where did the Jews go in the afterlife since Heaven was barred to fallen man and yet the patriarchs and others who believed in God were not guilty of the pains of Hell; this is the ‘Limbo of the Patriarchs’ where the descent of Christ into Hell and his deliverance of the virtuous took place).

      Nowadays, the hypothesis of Limbo (and it was never taught as a definitive doctrine which had to be believed) is in abeyance and, as regards unbaptised babies and children, our hope is in God’s mercy. So what of the virtuous pagan? Or the simpler (in some ways) cases of other monotheists, the Jews in particular but also the Muslims who acknowledge that there is One God, the Creator, alone to be worshipped?

      (to be continued, since this is developing into a monster)

      • (Monster Comment, Part Deux)

        Again, Bishop Jefferts Schori has a talk on this topic (she is giving a talk to a congregation in the diocese of Quincy, not a sermon, so don’t be confused on that point in the video), where she gets (some of it) right: the covenant that God made with His Chosen People are not broken. What does the Catechism say about this?

        “843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.”

        844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

        Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.

        845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.

        “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

        846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

        Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

        847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

        Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

        848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”

        So – God is not bound by our laws, and can freely choose to infuse His grace into whomsoever He wishes; nevertheless, we have been told by the Son that we must “Go forth and make disciples of all nations” and that is our task. Whatever hints or memories or scraps of knowledge of truth about God and the way to know, love and serve Him may be possessed by other religions and faiths and beliefs (even in the most minimal, degraded remnant that there is a god or gods who act in the world) leads men to seek to do what is pleasing to Him; the natural law written on the hearts of all also steers us to know what is right and wrong. Those who have, by the grace of God, a strong desire to know the one who is Truth and to do what is pleasing and His will, even if they do it by devotion to Krishna or Buddha or Olorun, then it is up to God if He takes that as His own and gives the grace of salvation.

        “Baptism of desire” applies to catechumens, those who already are Christian but who die before they can be initiated by formal baptism:”For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament”. For example, had the Ethiopian eunuch been killed in a chariot pile-up before St. Philip could baptise him, he might stll have received the baptism of desire. And the pre-eminent example is St. Dismas, the Good Thief, who on the cross beside Jesus was told “This day shall thou be with Me in Paradise.”

      • yet God is just and cannot do wrong,

        God’s definition of justice and wrong may not be the same as ours.

      • David Cornwell says

        What all this may prove is this: We really do not know the answer, because we as humans can never totally know the mind of God. That is, we cannot know know it except as revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Much is left to the realm of mystery, and thus we have the arguments.

        My Saturday morning coffee is slow in hitting its stride, so not sure this made sense. But I do love reading what you write Martha.

      • I think people can believe in Christ without actually knowing about Him. He is the Word who holds all things in His being, a pagan who has never heard the gospel but follows the light given to him by this divine order puts his personal trust and confidence in this divine order.

      • This calls for a separate post for iMonk. Perhaps on Resurrection Sunday?

  11. The snake thing? The moment I read the words ’21 year old Pastor’ it all became incredibly clear. And a 21 yr old Pastor who lets his 20 yr old wife, heavily pregnant with either their 4th or 5th child (couldn’t work it out from the article), handle poisonous snakes… Why do I see this drawn as a Simpsonsesque cartoon?

    I’m trying to find words for how I feel when I read stuff like this, that allegedly represent Christ, but my neurons are backfiring in the attempt…

    • No, Pastor Careless, you are not feeling “anointed”, you are feeling the adrenaline rush of being a thrill-seeker. It’s an addiction to risk wrapped up as the power of the Holy Spirit and you are being silly to risk yourself and a cause of scandal by risking others in this spectacle.

      As for fire-handling – pssh! The Florentines have been doing this for the past five hundred years (link courtesy of Rocco Palmo). As Wikipedia handily explains:

      “On the morning of Easter Sunday, the 30-foot-tall (9.1 m) antique cart (in use for over 500 years), moves from the Porta al Prato to the Piazza del Duomo . Hauled by a team of white oxen festooned with garlands of the first flowers and herbs of spring, the cart is escorted by 150 soldiers, musicians, and people in 15th century dress.

      Meanwhile, a fire is struck using the historic flints from Jerusalem at Chiesa degli Santi Apostoli. It is then carried in procession to the cathedral square by members of the Pazzi family, clerics, and city officials.

      The cart is loaded with fireworks while a wire, stretching to the high altar inside the cathedral, is fitted with a mechanical dove (the “columbina”). Shortly thereafter, at the singing of the Gloria in excelsis Deo during Easter Mass, the cardinal of Florence lights a fuse in the columbina with the Easter fire. It then speeds through the church to ignite the cart outside.

      During all of these stages, the bells of Giotto’s campanile ring out.

      The complex fireworks show that follows lasts about 20 minutes. A successful display from the “Explosion of the Cart” is supposed to guarantee a good harvest, stable civic life, and good business.”

  12. I wouldn’t be too sad if the Driscoll and Liberty University situation was a case of mutually assured destruction. I do find it funny that Liberty seems to be worried about Driscoll tarnishing their reputation… Do they live in an alternate universe?

    Regarding the poll question, like a lot of these things there is room for nuance in the way the question itself can be interpreted. If the question is, “If a person is sincerely seeking God, he/she can obtain eternal life through religions other than Christianity”, I think that question in and of itself is flawed. We aren’t saved because we’re associated with Christianity. We’re saved because of Jesus. If Jesus wants to save those of other religious persuasion, it’s not beyond His power to do so.

  13. Two thoughts on the Texas teacher:

    1. The firing was clearly legal based on the recent US Supreme Court decision.

    2. What’s the problem to begin with? The school wants to teach their view of Biblical teachings on sex, and this teacher unapologetically doesn’t agree with it. She thinks being in a committed relationship is enough, the school thinks differently, and now that she can’t very well hide her different views (which can’t have been a secret to her) she got fired. She certainly didn’t seem apologetic about what happened based on the article. Of course, this goes back to the old story of how a Christian community can enforce standards and behavior on its members in contemporary society. And no one has a good answer to that……

    • It could have been an opportunity to show grace also. It could have been an opportunity to show and teach how this is not the way to do things…IF you believe that. Christians are regularly presented with opportunities to show grace and they continuallu muck it up.

      • +1

      • I don’t disagree with the show grace in principle thoughts but a teacher is there to help raise up kids to adults. And in many cases are substitute parents. Both legally and practically. So in some situations a teacher is in a different position than a secretary or foreman on a loading dock or a banker. Now did the school offer to help her out? I don’t know. But her explanation of what happened does not fit into most any definition of Christian beliefs about pre-marital sex. See did not seem to be sorry at all from the quotes I read.

      • Also, this also opens things up for accepting Sharia law…

        • Muslims can apply Sharia law to each other to the extent they consent and their agreements don’t violate public policy. Same with Christians or any other religion.

      • Grace, or license. Grace IS conditional, that is, it does not come without repentance. Now I don’t think we know all the details of that aspect of the story, but I can’t imagine a teacher with her job on the line that is not repentant. The problem is that the school has to decide to trust her sincerity despite the circumstance. This is what I think most likely happened and where the school failed: Love always trusts.

        But I do think that they were within their legal right: As a Christian school, they are required to teach the Christian position on extra-marital sex, like it or not. If the teacher has an issue with this position, she probably should have addressed that up front. Most likely, it was an honest mistake, I doubt she is a crusader for promiscuity.

        This one is a bit personal for me, because in one of the youth groups I’ve lead, one of my Sunday school teachers was sleeping around in the church. I have no idea what she taught those kids about sexuality, and most I found out after the fact, but having her on board was one of the biggest mistakes in my life that came back to bite me in many, many ways. I’m not going to assume grace onto anybody. I need to know that we have an understanding of what the Bible teaches is sin and an agreement to live/teach accordingly, at least as best we can.

        • Grace IS conditional, that is, it does not come without repentance.

          Repentance is a response to grace, though.

          But in any case, I don’t think grace necessarily means not letting someone face the consequences of their actions. In this particular case, I don’t think I have a problem with a teacher be let go for this sort of thing. Most Christian schools require teachers to sign some sort of honor code regarding their behavior as a stipulation of the job. It’s not unheard of in public schools either, really.

          • Repentance is a response to grace: Well clarified. However, it is not necessarily an optional response so much as a compulsory reaction. Those who have received grace DO believe Him who gives it. I’m sure this is not a radically new situation, but where there is repentance I think there really ought to be room for forgiveness and second chances. It just seems to me that Christians tend to neglect this when it comes to a circumstantial repentance of convenience. Since we can’t read people’s hearts like Jesus did, I think we really ought to err on the side of trusting. However, I don’t know this was the case in the story. For all I know, the teacher is insisting on her right to live promiscuously while teaching at a Christian school.

    • People have a problem because firing women when they get pregnant is sexist and bad. It is so sexist and bad that unlike the vast majority of sexist and bad behavio: we passed a federal law making it illegal. It doesn’t through some moral alchemy become not sexist and not bad, because of the tax status of the organization that does it, it just becomes the kind of thing we can’t outlaw.

  14. petrushka1611 says

    The kid at Waynesville is a former choir kid of mine (I accompanied at Waynesville for 9 years). The administration told him he had to turn the shirt inside out because he didn’t have anything to change into; he wore all his shirts inside out for a while after that, for which I applaud him.

    The best part was, he had another shirt that said “Love is love,” and it had silhouettes of two men and two women holding hands. He was allowed to wear that one.

    They told him he couldn’t wear the “Jesus” shirt because it was sexual in nature. Obviously they’ve never noticed how a large portion of the females in the school dress.

    • By the way, Petrushka, I was born in Lebanon and raised in Centerville. And my sister-in-law is assistant choir director at Springboro. Just cruising the neighborhood with you …

  15. “The pastor of a North Texas mega-church who is no stranger to stunts is now facing new criticism.”
    NO STRANGER TO STUNTS. Guess that about sums it up. Ugh

  16. That iPhone app is yet another reason why I’m resisting the siren call to upgrade my Neolithic mobile phone to something more in keeping with the 21st century 🙂

    I thought “Celtic” was White? By clicking on the link, I see that “Celtic” means “red hair, freckles, green clothing”.

    And the imagery is that of Buddy Jesus from “Dogma” – the sanitised Sacred Heart imagery, with no crown of thorns around or cross surmounting the pierced heart and the rays of light but not the flames of charity, and of course, no sign of the wounds in the hands or side. Kevin Smith should be getting royalties from all these types of things, because he has created what appears to be the absolute summation and perfect icon of the Zeitgeist of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      That iPhone app is yet another reason why I’m resisting the siren call to upgrade my Neolithic mobile phone to something more in keeping with the 21st century 🙂

      I clicked on the link, Martha. All I could think of when I saw the app demo was “This is South Park… This is South Park… This is South Park…”

      I think I’ll stay in Ponyville until everything blows over.

  17. I had already seen Land’s comments. I’ve often been less than comfortable in the two decades I’ve been a member of a Southern Baptist Church, but that’s one of the first times I recall actually being ashamed of the association.

    On the pregnant teacher I have a few thoughts. First, that the Supreme Court has overruled state and federal legislators and made something “legal” does not make it just, moral, or any sense Christian in nature. It can be — as I believe the Court was in its rulings against Jim Crow laws based on the Constitution even before the broad Federal Civil Rights Act of 1968 was passed. (And firing someone for pregnancy is a violation of the most recent extension of the Civil Rights Act in the 90s, so it’s not at all clear that the recent Supreme Court decision applies.) But it can just as easily be an act of evil. Legal and evil have never been mutually exclusive.

    My second thought is pragmatic. Our health care “system” relies heavily on employer-provided insurance. While the ACA does quite a bit to reform that system and to extend it to more people, it does nothing to change the underlying nature of the system. Even when the insurance exchanges kick in in 2014, a person will have to be uninsured for, I believe, six months before they can obtain insurance from the exchanges. (Hopefully we’ll fix that problem and add a public insurance option that does not feed insurance company profits, but it’s not part of the current act.) So now when a woman finds herself pregnant in such a job, she has to weigh her livelihood and insurance coverage against an abortion. Do we really want to stack that deck against choosing to have the child? In the woman’s case in this instance, it wouldn’t have mattered, I’m sure. She’s in a stable, committed relationship and they clearly want the child, even if the timing isn’t the best. But that’s not going to be the case in every instance. And the message you send to future women does matter.

    • This was my thought as well. They may be right on some or all of the technicalities, but the net effect of bringing the smack down on women who are found out to be pregnant, whether by offering very strong social censure, or by threatening with with a loss of income or insurance, is to encourage women to have abortions. And of course, there’s a little irony in the idea of being ferociously pro-life AND of depriving someone of their job and insurance (assuming she had insurance through her employer) when they are part-way through a pregnancy–not accidentally, mind, but as the result of the school/church’s official policy for properly handling employees with out-of-wedlock pregnancies.

      My point, I suppose, is that if you want to maintain your moral “stand”, the firing is a good idea.

      If you are concerned about mothers and babies, then this tactic is ill-advised.

      As to the students, having the teacher on staff may send a mixed message. However, so does firing her. The unintended message to young women is: If this happens to you, no one must find out. You will be embarassed/fired/kicked out. And there’s only one way to avoid being found out…

      • “And there’s only one way to avoid being found out…” Not having extra-marital sex, maybe?

        There’s a danger in our birth control and abortion mindset — and the tone of some of our comments reflects this — that we believe that pregnancy is not the result of having sex but is the result of not having an abortion. Perhaps some of the kids in the school got the message that if you’re pregnant you should “take care of it” before anyone knows; but it could be that a few kids were intelligent enough to figure out that having sex outside of marriage could lead to consequences that will make your life harder.

  18. Thanks, Jeff, for the Stray Cats video …we use some of the more recent Brian Setzer music on the air, but, now that I’ve seen that upright bass, I think we’ll go hunting some Stray Cats, too. 🙂

    Actually, the music video constitutes a much needed salve after the overdose of “celebrity christian” antics today. Of all the topics covered, the least disturbing to me is the Jesus app. Eagle was so right about missed opportunities for grace.

  19. Hmmmm. On the “justice” of God.

    Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things concerning you. And if David calls Him just and upright, His Son revealed to us that He is good and kind. ‘He is good’, He says ‘to the evil and to the impious.’ How can you call God just when you come across the Scriptural passage on the wage given to the workers?…How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for the compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth? Where, then, is God’s justice, for while we are sinners Christ died for us! — St. Isaac of Syria

    Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God’s wisdom, nor our infirmity God’s omnipotence. — St. John of Kronstadt

    Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. — St. Isaac of Syria

    Fear of torment is the way of a slave, desire of reward in the heavenly kingdom is the way of a hireling, but God’s way is that of a son, through love. — St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain

    And we are judged according to our love, not our moral uprightness.

    Always remember that at the Last Judgment we are judged for loving Him, or failing to love Him, in the least person. — Archbishop Anastasios of Albania

    The drunkard, the fornicator, the proud – he will receive God’s mercy. But he who does not want to forgive, to excuse, to justify consciously, intentionally … that person closes himself to eternal life before God, and even more so in the present life. He is turned away and not heard. — Elder Sampson of Russia

  20. At the risk of being moderated, I would just like to state the obvious: Andrew Hamblin, the 21-year-old pastor of the Pentecostal church in Tennessee and already the father of four children, began handling snakes very early.

  21. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    You know there has to be a really crazy one if Ed Young, Jr. is only the runner-up. Ed brought animals on stage for his Easter message. A lamb. And a lion. People in Texas got their undies all in a bunch over this.

    Maybe he’s imitating Robert Schuller? Crystal Cathedral used to be famous for using live animals in its Christmas and Easter pageants.

  22. The fact that those who oppose Driscoll are viewed as “prudes” I believe reveals a very disturbing defect in evangelicalism. The SBC can baldly attack Disney and AT&T with boycotts for not upholding traditional values, but it cowers before Driscoll in fear of being labelled prudish. For all the rhetoric regarding cultural war and returning the country to traditional, conservative values, evangelicalism is built on a foundation of modernistic progressiveness, which is a tenant of liberalism. At some point in time, the conservative moral wars are going to collapse, because its foundation is at odds with this effort.

    It is equally odd that we ever hear the phrase, “Touch not God’s anointed” within Biblically-based Christianity, which should hold God’s “anointed” should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one. The reason they are not points to another disturbing weakness: the “anointed” ARE the standard. Again, all of this rhetoric about the authority of scripture is bunk, because what we really believe is whatever those anointed by the vast evangelical complex tell us to believe. Here again is progressiveness – the belief in the perfectibility/evolution of humanity, that one man or woman can reach an epitome that we all must follow. It is why modernism created fascism. The evangelical collapse is already here; the circus tent just hasn’t fallen down yet.

    • Dumb Ox said:

      “The reason they [the “anointed”] are not [held to a higher standard] points to another disturbing weakness: the “anointed” ARE the standard. Again, all of this rhetoric about the authority of scripture is bunk, because what we really believe is whatever those anointed by the vast evangelical complex tell us to believe.

      Everybody: read the Ox’s comment above. He’s not so dumb.

  23. “If a person is sincerely seeking God, he/she can obtain eternal life through religions other than Christianity.”

    Have to agree with some of the others that this is can be seen as a fairly nuanced question. I recall that Billy Graham was asked something like that and answered (to paraphrase) there is a wideness in God’s mercy and that we don’t know all the answers and possibilities and mysteries. This outraged some fundamentalist types, including John MacArthur, who did an entire ranting post on it.

    Having been a believer for almost 40 years, I’d have to say that my answer to this would also leave some room for God’s mercy and providence for those that apprehend God but may not yet have a more complete knowledge. Come to think of it, that describes all of us.

    • “I’d have to say that my answer to this would also leave some room for God’s mercy and providence for those that apprehend God but may not yet have a more complete knowledge.”

      Good point. It seems odd that reformed types like MacArthur would come unglued over such a thought. It seems that the idea that the lost are damned to hell unless we do something about it is more compatible with Arminianism. I guess the idea of a generous providence is a bit of an oxymoron. It opens the door a crack to allow some admission that (gasp!) Rob Bell may have been at least partially right.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        It seems odd that reformed types like MacArthur would come unglued over such a thought.

        That’s because Truly Reformed types like MacArthur have God All Figured Out with their Perfectly-Parsed Theology. How dare God do something different than Truly Reformed Theology hath proven He is Predestined to do!

  24. I have to say I am most disappointed that you went for the low hanging fruit in picking on Tennessee. Makes you look like a bully. I found the most interesting part of the article that the majority of the 50 congregants were in their 20’s led by a pastor in his 20’s. Fascinating to see these bizarre practices continuing, even by such a small number of people.

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