December 3, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 4.6.13

RamblerGreetings and salutations one and all. It is once again that time of week where we survey the mess we’ve made in the iMonastery, grab a broom, and get to work cleaning up. The nice thing (for you, anyway) is that we do all of the sweeping. All you have to do is lift your feet off the floor so we can get the broom under you. If you get whacked in the backside with the broom on occasion, it’s not intentional. Well, it’s probably not intentional. Ok, it is. But c’mon. You gotta allow us a little fun now and then. Shall we ramble?

Oklahoma, where I live, is a unique state, to say the least. We have many state symbols, including six different state songs, a state meal (fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbecue pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken fried steak, pecan pie, and black-eyed peas), and a state dirt (really). But North Carolina is pushing to have its own state religion, and thus become exempt from any federal law or regulation that violates that religion. Think it will fly?

Well, anything can happen in a country where 13% of the population believes its president is the anti-Christ. And Macca is dead, isn’t he? I mean, there were all those clues on the Beatles’ albums …

That school in southern Ohio that has had a portrait of Jesus hanging in its hallway since 1947, and vowed to keep it up despite recent protests, has decided to take it down. Legal fees, you know …

And for those who think the taking down of this picture constitutes persecution, Jonathan Merritt wants to put things in perspective for you.

President Obama attended Easter services where the preacher was critical of the religious right. “It’s sad when clergy egregiously politicize worship,” Mark Tooley, president of the conservative Christian organization Institute on Religion and Democracy, wrote in one of several blogs and articles that have criticized the sermon. Soooo…is Tooley the the pot or the kettle?

The final episode of the Bible mini-series on cable’s History channel outdrew The Walking Dead in viewers. Ok then. I only watched about five minutes of one earlier episode. Did you watch this? What did you think? Did I miss anything?

Damaris Zehner alertly spotted this story that lets us Christians know we need to be “cured” of our religion, just like we would be cured of a cold. Really. Damaris wouldn’t make this up.

Harry Potter, Eastern Orthodox Christian. Discuss.

Liberty University students will soon be able to pack heat in class. Seriously. Can anyone tell me how this is a good idea in any conceivable way? (The correct answer is, No, you can’t. But I suppose you can try if you want to …)

Jabba the Hutt, Muslim? So think some, and thus the Lego Jabba the Hutt toy set is going bye-bye. My question is this: Do you think there is anything wrong with a 53-year-old Rambler who longs to buy Lego sets?

I guess Roger Waters won’t be invited to sing a special at John Hagee’s church anytime soon, will he?

Speaking of John Hagee, he makes the list of the Nine Most Ridiculous Televangelists. Why only nine? Can you think of any others who should be on this list?

Paul and Jan Crouch are none too happy with Steve Strang’s dissing of them in Charisma. They are shocked—shocked, mind you—to learn that someone might call their integrity into question. Imagine that … (Thanks to Rev. Randy for the heads-up on this one.)

Birthday wishes were wished this week to Warren Beatty; Eric Clapton; Graeme Edge; Norah Jones; Shirley Jones; John Jakes; Lon Chaney; Gordon Jump; Buddy Ebsen; Leon Russell; Emmylou Harris; Sir Alec Guinness; Jack Webb; Marvin Gaye; Doris Day; Richard Manuel; David Hyde Pierce; Gil Hodges; Robert Downey, Jr.; and Spencer Tracy.

Wow. What a line-up to choose from. Well, not really. I’m an Okie now, and of all the great musicians from the Sooner state, there is only one Master of Space and Time.

[yframe url=’’]

Sometimes someone will write a masterpiece, but it ends up being presented better by another. In this case, it is very hard to argue that there is a better version than this done by Ray Charles. See how Willie Nelson looks on with a look of awe? Enjoy.

[yframe url=’’]




  1. Listing off ridiculous TV preachers is like shooting fish in a barrel. That doesn’t mean I won’t do it, I just means I know it’s not that hard 😉

    Unfortunately those of us in the US/Canada are still lagging behind our friends overseas. Nigeria has a guy named TB Joshua who claims he can heal you of AIDS if you stop taking your meds. He’s just one of many in the country who claim special anointing and prophectic powers to heal whatever you’ve got for some cash. The Phillipines has a guy named Apollo Quiboloy who calls himself the “Appointed Son of God” and is the Savior to all gentles and has obtained a state of perfection. He’s on TV 24/7 somehow.

    And all we’ve got is a smiling Texan with a message like Tony Robbins and a smile like Bob the Tomato…

    • And it appears that Jesus must come cleanse the temple once again.

    • A smile like Bob the Tomato??? That is the best thing I have heard yet today!!!

      • Seriously, compare the two. Osteen and Bob have the same smile. It’s uncanny…

        Speaking of which, I’ll nominate Bob and Larry on a list of “Best TV Preachers” if there ever is one. I’ll also add Mister Rogers, Father Mulcachy, and whenever there’s a Billy Graham special on.

        • He was before my time, but the best television preacher was probably Bishop Fulton Sheen.

      • Itz been years since I watched Bob the Tomato.

    • He reminds me more of Annoying Orange.

  2. Given the popularity of Pope Francis, a clip of Sir Alec Guinness’ appearance as Pope Innocent III in “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” might be appropriate.

    “In our obsession with original sin we have forgotten original innocence” – Sir Guinness, as Pope Innocent III.

  3. Obama…the anti-Christ?

    Give me a break.

    He’s just another big government statist who is helping us evolve from a freedom-loving, independence loving, people…to a dependent and hand-outs driven, people.

    The devil is in the details.

    • Donalbain says

      Or, alternatively, he is a middle of the road centrist whose major policy initiative of the first term was originally a Republican idea, and whose other policies barely vary from those of previous presidents. But hey, pretend otherwise if it makes you feel better.

      • When Obama and Congress will NEVER be subject to the laws they have mandated for us, we should not be so stupid. But we are.

    • Marcus Johnson says

      Or, alternatively, he is a convenient scapegoat on whom we can project our insecurities, prejudices, and irrational conspiracy theories…as well as someone whose desire to do good has often been derailed by his need to stay in office.

      • “…a convenient scapegoat on whom we can project our insecurities, prejudices, and irrational conspiracy theories…”

        It’s true. I seen it on facebook.

    • If Romney had won, then people would be saying that he’s the antichrist.

  4. Adrienne says

    Ray Charles – what was the gift? He didn’t sing the songs, he was the song. Beautiful.

  5. I didn’t watch The Bible mini-series. I had seen the ads and knew it would be very violent (how could it NOT be? The Bible stories are very violent.) and didn’t want those images stuck in my brain. I did turn it on for a minute on the episode where Jesus was preaching, but I could tell I would not like the portrayal of Jesus. If I change my mind, I know I can watch it all on I watched Downton Abbey there and it worked well. I am not sure HOW they are able to do it, but I am glad that they do.

  6. I never truly liked the “Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy, because the idea that even the “good guys” were under the power of the ring was a powerful insight into reality of our truth-stranger-than-fiction world. Colorado recently passed actually quite tepid gun control laws, but my facebook timeline is a never-ending flow of images and comments from friends predicting the end of civil rights and the coming of a police state like China or Nazi Germany. Now you tell me that North Carolina state congressmen want to exempt their state from the first amendment, the freedom from religion being imposed upon citizens by the state. in the name of the cultural war. Liberals want to protect me by taking away second amendment rights, and conservatives want to protect me by taking away first amendment rights. Everyone is under the power of the ring.

  7. Speaking of the Pope, if he truly does bring back an understanding of Saint Francis for us today, I hope that include his concept of being an instrument of peace, rather than a walk-on part in the cultural war. His journey to convert Malik-al-Kamil, then Sultan of Egypt, not through crusades but through humility comes to mind. This article about conservatives taking away first amendment rights in the name of cultural war is evidence that the path we are on will lead to destruction for us all. An intervention is needed desperately, and perhaps Saint Francis is just what we need. I hope that the new Pope may be an agent for that intervention. I still see the cultural war as originating from the Catholic Church then spreading to fundamentalist evangelicals, so it seems logical that the cure must also originate from across the Tiber.

  8. As one of iMonk’s resident North Carolinians, I am happy to report that the dunces who wrote the bill stating that NC had the right to establish an official religion, have withdrawn the bill, and even issued an apology for “any embarrassment to his community and state.” Of course, they were obviously caving to higher-ups in the party, but hey, at least the stupid bill is gone.

    • Marcus Johnson says

      True, the stupid bill is gone, but the stupid still remains. Because you can’t fix stupid.

    • Of course, they were obviously caving to higher-ups in the party,

      I don’t know about that. I suspect it was a local thing over the county commissions prayer lawsuit. In a very conservative (Jessie Helms style) area.

      What the rest of the country doesn’t realize is the R’s took control of the state legislature and governor’s office not so much to presenting a great platform but more to the D’s seemed to be on a 12 year slide. The D’s over the last 12 years seemed to be studying at the Barney Fife school of politics. And doubling down when things didn’t go right. So many people got fed up with the D’s that they voted for “the other guy”. And the other guy has turned out to be interesting in some cases.

      Signed 24 years in Raleigh.

      • I read nothing on this but I wondered if it might not be a way to get out of Obamacare like the Amish community? Against Religious principals?

    • This made me wonder–given that several U.S. states originally had established churches, when was the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment finally applied to the states? The answer? (drum roll) 1947, in the Supreme Court case, Everson v. Board of Education.

    • The scary thought is to trying to consider which version of “Christianity” would they acknowledge as legitimate. Would Roman Catholic, Anglican, or even Lutheran (you know, those “main line” denoms can’t be the real thing, right?) be included? It is a clear demonstration that those who claim to be staunch defenders of the Constitution have no clue the historic issues addressed by it, such as the Puritans and High Church Anglicans taking turns imprisoning each other in 17 century England. The Constitution they defend is a revisionist forgery meant to empower their secularist, quasi-religious American conservatism. The first amendment is there to prevent religion from becoming a political weapon – the very thing these politicians seemed to be attempting.

      If Christianity were declared the official religion of America, religious freedom would end for EVERYONE, including CHRISTIANS!!!. It would no longer be a choice. A personal decision for Christ would be replaced with a person decision to obey the government. Again, both sides are under the power of the ring. Liberals and conservative want big, meddling government but to enforce different agendas; however, the outcome is the same: the end of a free society.

      • Perhaps this bill was the result of reformed theology gone extremely haywireh: the predestined need no choice, and, of course, the United States is God’s chosen people. Breaking a law making Christianity the official religion would make one an anti-American traitor, perhaps an enemy combatant subject to deportation and torture under the National Defense Act and related Federal laws.

  9. We watched the whole Bible series and enjoyed it. My kids loved it and got so excited every Sunday when the new episode came on. It was very violent and we talked a lot about that as a family while we watched. The crucifixtion scene was especially hard for them since we don’t watch violent movies or tv shows in front of them. My daughter became so upset I considered turning it off but then I told her that this was a normal punishment in those days and people are still crucified in other countries. She just kept saying ‘Why?! Why?!’ Yesterday, we went to the local library to watch a Holocaust film and got to meet a Holocaust survivor and an Army soldier who liberated a concentration camp. Again…why?! I hugged them and prayed that we don’t forget.

    • Rent Gladiator for them when they are a bit older. History is a bit off but the ugliness of life is revealing.

  10. Robert F says

    The progressives and conservatives politicize religion in different ways. I think most reading this blog are familiar with the ways conservatives politicize Christianity; what some may not know is that it’s routine for candidates and their representatives, overwhelmingly Democratic and progressive, to campaign at African American churches, and in fact to get out the vote for themselves by appealing directly to Christian congregations in these churches at the invitation and with the support of church leadership. Rarely are these churches called to account for their partisan political activism, and I’ve never heard of one losing its tax exempt status for doing so.

    It’s an open secret, and nobody seems to have any problem with it, but it runs counter to the whole point of separation of church and state, both in spirit and law.

    • Marcus Johnson says

      You’re right, Robert F. Regardless of the political ideology or racial demographics or location of the church community, no church has any business getting involved in partisan political activism. As an African-American male who grew up in the South, I know the inherent corruption that follows when churches get entangled in political systems. Unfortunately, until we start stripping away the tax-exempt statuses of these churches like we’re supposed to do, no one will recognize the error of their ways.

  11. Related to the attempt in North Carolina for a state religion (contrary to the First Amendment) there is a movement also to prepare for the Pending Obama Repeal of the Second Amendment (TM). Details on facebook, of course, but the nearby town of Franklin Maine voted last week to allow guns no matter what the Constitution comes to. From a local paper:

    “The resolution approved at Town Meeting states that any federal and state laws or actions that would prohibit a right to bear arms would be invalid in Franklin.”

    The resolution has no teeth, and everybody knows it, but it’s a “statement”. There’s a lot of that going around concerning guns these days, from requiring citizens to own guns to Liberty University’s decision to allow conceal-carry among students.

    And then there’s the local pastor around here who held a “Second Amendment Sunday” wearing a loaded pistol on his belt during the service, in Jesus’ name, amen. Now that was a statement, front page and all.

    • “The resolution has no teeth, and everybody knows it, but it’s a “statement”.” Just like The Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA). Toothless statements are easy to make but hard to defend.

    • Marcus Johnson says

      For some reason, American politics has always been flooded with useless initiatives that are intended to be nothing more than “statements.” Republican legislators were bitter about losing the fight against the Affordable Care Act, so they wasted numerous sessions on votes to repeal it, knowing full well they did not have the votes to successfully do so. Certain state and municipal governments tried to pass ballots to oppose federal legislation, even though they knew it would never survive a lawsuit or appeal. More wasted time, more wasted funds. And now, the NC ballot…

      Sad thing is, the majority of these initiatives are the work of folk who complain about wasteful spending at the federal government level. Guess that irony went straight over their heads.

    • Somebody should introduce a bill voiding any federal legislation that mandates the placement of a mark on the hand or forehead.

    • I’m not sure where in this thread is the best place to point this out, but the First Amendment was never meant to prohibit individual states from having established churches. The First Amendment applies only to actions of Congress. If it had applied to state churches, of which there were several (I believe Massachusetts was the last to disestablish, in the late 1830s, but I could be mistaken), the constitution would have NEVER been ratified.

      This is not to say that states should, or even could, return to having established religions. The gradual disestablishment of state churches was likely the best thing to happen to religion and freedom of conscience in the Western world. I believe a commenter above correctly mentioned Everson v. Board of Education (1946) as the point at which the First Amendment was applied to the States. Justice Black’s opinion ushered in an era of “strict separation,” which as a judicial philosophy has had its ups and downs over the last 70 years. For alternate perspectives, check out Justice Rehnquist’s dissent in Wallace v. Jaffree (1985), or Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion in Elk Grove v. Newdow (2004) in which he argues that the First Amendment is a provision for Federalism.

      Honestly, given the history of our country, I’m surprised that attempts to re-establish state churches haven’t happened earlier. When people feel that our society is swinging too far in the direction of secularism, it is unsurprising to see someone want to push the pendulum back to the other extreme. While this is not something I would ever support, I don’t think the idea should be dismissed out of hand but welcomed as a chance to re-examine the relationship of the civic and religious spheres in society.

      Then again, who am I kidding? That would require a level of civil discourse I think our society abandoned a long time ago, if it ever existed…

      • Interesting, Bill, thanks. So the First Amendment is a nod to states’ rights over federal control, as well as to protect religion and government from each other.

        I’ve been thinking that the religion clauses in the First Amendment were part of the Revolution; a break politically from Britain but also ecclesiastically, as the Church of England was technically a state church. I hadn’t thought about the states’ rights angle.

        Somebody brought to my attention recently that the Second Amendment was meant to help the Southerners control the large slave population:

        A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

        It doesn’t describe what the people are meant to be secure from—the British? the slaves? the U.S. government itself (that’s how it’s becoming interpreted today on talk radio and facebook)?

        If it was meant largely to protect against a slave rebellion, that too would be a nod to states’ rights, as that’s a large part of what the Civil War was about.

  12. Steve Newell says

    In Iraq under Saddam and in Syria under Assad, Christians were protected to live in peace where able to live out their faith. Now, Christians are being persecuted in Iraq and could face the same in Syria if the current government falls and is replaced in a Islamist authority. Likewise, the Christians in Egypt are facing great uncertainty.

    Is it better for Christians who are in minority in a country that is hostel to Christianity better to live under an authoritative dictatorship that protects Christians then in a “democracy” where the majority will not project the minority and does not protect minorities?

    • “Hostel”: a common place to spend the night; “hostile”: being opposed to, or showing negative feelings to a person, place or thing. Sorry Steve, but my OCD was kicking up…

    • Marcus Johnson says

      Oh, Lordy, Steve, can you rephrase that last sentence? It read incredibly awkward.

  13. Marcus Johnson says

    I’m proud to say that I did not watch that ridiculous Bible miniseries. I preferred to watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones on HBO. The episode had its slow points, but at least it was a faithful adaptation of the original text (which is much more than what I could say for the Bible miniseries).

  14. I can tell you why carrying guns in school is a good idea, since you asked! It took twenty minutes for the police to get to Sandy Hook. I think it was about four hours from the time the police were called before a SWAT entered the library at Columbine. If, God forbid, my children are ever threatened by a gunman at school, I pray there would be a responsible law abiding gun owner closer than that. I wish my daughter’s K teacher were armed after the stories I hear on the news. I went to college with so many ex-military who would be happy to die protecting American citizens even when they are not on duty. I had to answer that question.

    • There was at least one armed security guard at Columbine. Unfortunately, he was unable to stop the killers before they killed themselves. There are very, very few shooting rampages that end with the killers being shot by armed bystanders, armed police, etc. even if those with weapons and good intentions can get there in time. Almost all shooting rampages end in the killer killing himself and occasionally escaping and being caught or shot later.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        The gun-lover’s fantasy is not that a professional armed guard would stop something like this, but that random citizens would be carrying, and would gun down the would-be mass killer before he gets a chance. I don’t know of any instance of this actually occurring, even in those parts of the country where people routinely carry weapons. Personally, I would be far more worried about a “responsible law abiding gun owner” shooting some innocent passerby he has managed to persuade himself constitutes a threat. Unlike the gun-porn fantasy, I do know of this scenario actually occurring.

        • It’s hard to say if “mass” killings have been prevented by armed citizens. When killings are prevented, it doesn’t make the news. (Mass killings being more “newsworthy.”) If you google “armed citizen stops shooting” you do find a number of stories, though, including sites linking to shootings at Pearl High School, Appalachian Law School, the Arvada Church shooting, and one just last August at an RV park in Texas. . The stories are there if you look for them.

    • Full disclosure: I work for the Newtown Public Schools. I am very familiar with Sandy Hook School.

      First, response time on 12/14 for Newtown Police was under 7 minutes. The closest officer is at the Newtown High School about 1.5 miles away from SHS.

      Second, having armed people in the building probably would not have made much of a difference. Lanza shot his way into the school going through a window next to the door. Hence, he was already shooting as he entered the building. If the armed guard was in the right spot s/he might have had a shot. Chances are, however, that if the guard had been directly in the lobby area, they would have been another casualty.

      Having armed guards or arming school personnel sounds like an enticing cure all. In Sandy Hook’s case, the main lobby has classrooms right off of it. There was also a lot of student around that area. Collateral injury is not a solution.

    • The principle at West Paducah (Heath) high school at the time of their shooting said arm guards would have done no good at all. It was over in less than a minute. He was standing nearby and it was over by the time he got to the shooter and took away his gun.

  15. You might say they gave Roger Waters the short, sharp shove.

  16. RE: the school’s portrait of Jesus. Since we don’t know what Jesus actually lloked like, one could reasonably assume it was any ancient middle eastern man. Just call him “Barrabas” and the portrait can stay!

    • My thoughts as well….let’s just call him an ancient Iman and NO ONE would dare remove it!!!

  17. Matt Purdum says

    Believe it or not, I’ll defend the Bible miniseries in spite of some drawbacks. It was a really good work of TRANSLATION into the “language” of television by people who know TV and know what they’re doing. Millions of people today have never heard most of these stories and don’t realize there’s a “story arc” and narrative thread in the Bible. This was a great introduction to the Bible for MILLIONS, and that means God planted a whole lotta seeds in the hearts and consciousness of lots of people. Was it “faithful to the book?” No movie can be, in the sense that people mean. “Faithful to the book” means ZERO viewers. It also means about a 100 hour movie. TV and film require action, require the camera to KEEP MOVING or we will click the remote. Was the series “soft” theologically. Sure. JUST LIKE ANYTHING ELSE about spirituality or Christianity on TV. It’s NOT a medium for theological or intellectual depth. But overall It’s great, it reached millions, you and I couldn’t do it, let’s now water some of those seeds that have been planted and stop trying to be Siskel & Ebert, because they’d give it two thumbs up. —- And it is so sad about Roger Waters….

    • I will never watch a televised or cinematic adaptation of the Bible. These media never have and never will, in my opinion, be able to translate the biblical story into something that’s compelling and that does justice to the message. But maybe that’s just my problem.

      • I agree with you, CM. They can not avoid the failure of interpreting sacred story into something less than the original narratives, especially since they are trying to change written narrative into visual narrative with dialogue;
        whenever I’ve watched them in the past, I’ve always ended up feeling like I’ve been propagandized either by a secularizing perspective, or by the kind of perspective that produces tracts.

        “Are you not entertained?”

      • Randy Thompson says

        Along the same lines. . .

        Watching Cecil B. DeMille’s “The 10 Commandments” decades ago pretty much inoculated me against movies and TV shows featuring Bible stories. I would, however, be open to movie recommendations from folks here.

      • One Kyrgyz girl told me, after seeing the Jesus film, that she was glad finally to get an authoritative version. She had read the gospels and felt uncomfortable with the “contradictions,” but once she saw the gospel story in a believable format that resolved any hard-to-understand parts, she felt better. Hmmm.

        [Posting this may be an exercise in futility, since iMonk’s spam filter hates me and eats my comments but tells me, when I try to repost them, that I already have an identical comment up.]

        • Damaris,
          This is off subject(s), but when you were there, did you ever hear of the Kirghiz Light?

          • Robert — Not as such. What is it?

          • Robert F says

            A life transforming, mystical phenomenon that Thomas Pynchon refers to in his encyclopedic novel “Gravity’s Rainbow”; I’m curious about whether it’s a purely fictive phenomenon invented in total by Pynchon, or, like so much in this novel, a fictive treatment of an arcane legend that is taken as real in the shadowy, esoteric history-behind-history of our world that permeates his narrative.

          • Thanks for explaining. No Kyrgyz I ever met mentioned it, and I spent a long time talking about legends. If it was indeed something real, it was buried and lost under the Soviets.

      • The Jesus Film is “pretty good” because they stuck to the text from the gospels. I think. Is that the one, or Jesus of Nazareth?

        No matter. One huge disappointment in the Jesus Film for me was a change they made. I saw a pre-release showing of it, probably in 1980, and in one of the few non-scriptural lines Jesus looks at a little girl, smiles and says, “Shalom!” She giggles at him and responds, “Shalom.”

        That must have been too Jewish. In the final release, they had changed the shalom to “Hello.” Broke my heart.

      • I’ll watch only one: Zephirelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth”. I haven’t seen it on TV for probably 30 years.

        Ok, maybe “Life of Brian”, but that’s all. 🙂

        • Robert F says

          Zefferelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth”? Is that the one where, in one scene, after a vicious Roman raid against a Jewish village that supposedly was harboring Zealots, Jesus marches into the village, and in the very wake of the massacre, calls out “Love your enemies….Turn the other cheek…..Do good to those who harm you….” etc.? I don’t think that was “Jesus of Nazareth,” but I would love to know the name of it, which I can’t seem to remember. Can anybody help me? It struck me as going to the very heart of how outrageous some of the things that Jesus said must have sounded to his listeners, and still would sound if we didn’t neutralize them by our interpretative casuistry. So maybe I would make an exception to my rule about not liking the results of turning biblical narrative into film in this one case, if I only knew the movie’s title!

        • Robert F says

          “I think it was, ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers.'”

    • Marcus Johnson says

      It’s not just your problem, Chaplain Mike. The Bible was not given to us for its entertainment value, so if it must be adapted into a televised or cinematic adaptation, that adaptation ought to be faithful to its source. If the mediums of television or cinema are not capable of providing the required theological or intellectual depth of the true Word, then maybe we should quit trying to market it to millions, and merely teach it as written text.

      And the “at least we planted a seed/reached some folks” argument does not carry much weight with me, either. If I was a pastor, and someone said that they wanted to follow Jesus because they saw the Bible miniseries, I would have the same level of concern as a military recruiter who hears a prospective recruit say they want to join the Army because they saw The Hurt Locker. In both situations, I wouldn’t trust that person to have any accurate expectations about what they were committing to.

      • Robert F says

        I couldn’t agree with you more, Marcus Johnson. The thing is, Roma Downey and her producer husband, and their like, are very unlikely to listen to the likes of us whether we like it or not. The entertainment industry needs to feed the apparently insatiable hunger for distraction that is the true religion of the masses, and to stoke that hunger as much as it can, and what better way than using religious narrative that gives the audience the impression that they are doing something pious just by being an audience?

        We are indeed, as a culture, ensnared by a Roman captivity: the captivity of the Roman Colosseum.

        • Marcus Johnson says

          I’m less bummed about the fact that Downey and her ilk won’t listen to the likes of us, and more concerned that Christians won’t listen. Miniseries like this would never see the light of day unless there was a market for it among professed Christ followers.

          I’m reminded of the story of the rich young ruler. Here was someone who was drawn to the ministry of Jesus with the best of intentions, but he had these unrealistic expectations of the commitment which a life in Christ required.

          We are indeed, as a culture, ensnared by a Roman captivity: the captivity of the Roman Colosseum..

          Does that explain the Gladiator reference in your response to Chaplain Mike?

    • I didn’t watch it…..I’m still recovering from watching Left Behind with Kirk Cameron in a Crusade bible study in 1999. Ugh…..

      • That movie was genuinely prophetic. Cameron’s character jumped on the couch of his TV talk show host years before Tom Cruise did the same on Oprah.

        But Part II has Satan fighting the president of the United States. You don’t see that every day.

        • “…Satan fighting the president of the United States. You don’t see that every day.”

          You’re not likely to see that at all with a Democrat in the White House. Christian films would assume that Satan IS the president.

          I suppose I should tack a smiley face after that but it ain’t funny.

    • Actually, what turned me off to the miniseries was not the production itself (I caught a little bit of a couple episodes), but rather what I saw in the airport bookstore a few days ago: The Bible, BASED ON THE HISTORY CHANNEL MOVIE! Seriously!!?! What was that all about? It’s hard to believe that the purpose of the movie is to get people turned onto the original source material with that level of commercial exploitation…

      • I figure if it gets ONE person to give this “Christianity” thing a second look, then some good has come out of the recent mini-series. What we see and interpret AS CHRISTIANS is a far cry from what some weary traveler who has never thought about religion or God might be moved to do. God works in mysterious ways…..

        I will add that I was very pleasantly surprised that the Easter morning sightings were not the end, as in all other versions (we watched it on DVR yesterday, and at the” Easter” commercial break I got up to start dinner. My darling spouse had to say “Don’t you want to watch the other hour??) Not a half-bad job on the first decade or so of the Church.

  18. Marcus Johnson says

    About two years ago, Liberty University also amended campus policy to allow students to possess R-rated movies. Now firearms are close to being permissible. Is anyone ready for the Liberty University ten years from now, which will allow sex toys, cocaine, and copies of the Qu’ran?

    Note: Students in the residence halls at Liberty University still cannot have candles, toasters, space heaters, or hot plates. Because–unlike firearms–a toaster is a serious public safety risk.

    • Well, they ought to be allowed to have a copy of the Koran — they ought to be required to study it, too. But candles — whew. Not only incendiary but bordering on mystical/contemplative — which guns, those great simplifiers of the universe, never are.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        “Well, they ought to be allowed to have a copy of the Koran — they ought to be required to study it, too.”

        My thought as well. Are they really forbidden from owning a copy? I have had one for years. (Well, I have an English translation, which strictly speaking is, by definition, not a Koran.) I haven’t read it as much as I would like, but the days are short and my bookshelves are full. I also have a Book of Mormon (which I have only read snippets from, but don’t regret not reading more. It is unreadable and, purely as literature, quite awful: exactly what one might expect from a semi-educated early 19th century American farmer trying to write all churchy but lacking the literary chops to do it well.)

        Better yet would be if the Koran were taught by an imam. This would avoid the problem of teaching “wrong stuff those wrong people who are wrong believe, unlike us right people who are right because we believe right stuff”. We see this all too often today with Christians who are only too eager to lecture us about the true nature of Islam, undeterred by their complete ignorance of the subject. I used to know a Lutheran pastor who was a professor at Catholic University in San Diego, teaching Reformation history and theology. I admired the institution’s intellectual honesty and the self-confidence this showed.

    • —only the fully-automatic and semi-automatic toasters.

    • As long as they still vote Republican. 🙄

    • Toasters, hot-plates and such are actually pretty standard contraband in college dorms. It’s all about the fire risk.

  19. Vega Magnus says

    As a Lego fan, I can confirm that Lego’s explanation for why the Jabba set is being discontinued is legit. Lego products are generally available for about one year before they are discontinued, and it has been one year since the Jabba set was released. Thus, it is being discontinued. This isn’t a reaction to anything said about the product. It’s simply Lego’s standard business practice.

  20. Thanks for the Leon Russell memory – good stuff ….

  21. Do they have to still be alive? Gene Scott and Oral Roberts are surely worthy of this exalted company.

  22. Perhaps the legislation to make Christianity the official religion of North Carolina was probably meant in the same sense as the state flower or state bird. Just an emblem or badge, not something which demands our loyalty to an unseen kingdom.

  23. North Carolina just had their pro-life license plate struck down by a federal court, but a few years ago there was a different controversy (in North Carolina) over a license plate with a generic pro-Christian message. You could choose to endorse Christianity or not, but of course there were no Jewish or Muslim plates being made. Michael Spencer taught me the value of separation of church and state with this example: mixing church and state is like mixing ice cream with dog crap. You can’t make the crap any better, but you can sure ruin your ice cream.