July 12, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 5.1.10

Welcome to our weekly effort to tidy up here at the Internet Monk. We have some leftovers and tidbits that need to be put away, so bear with us as we do some light housekeeping.

N. T. Wright will retire as Bishop of Durham (England) this summer to take a position at St. Andrews in Scotland. Wright served as bishop for the past seven years before making what he calls the “hardest decision of my life.” St. Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world, having been founded in 1413. Wright will be a chair in New Testament and Early Christianity studies.

A four-year study is underway at Florida State University to try and determine if free will actually exists and, if so, how it works. Using a $4 million grant from the Templeton Foundation, scientists, philosophers and theologians are seeking to understand why we do the things we do. Thus far, Flip Wilson has not been asked to participate, presumably because everyone already knows his answer. (And also because he died in 1998. But his “teaching” lives on, thanks to YouTube.)

Noah’s Ark may have been found in Turkey. Members of Noah’s Ark Ministries International held a press conference in Hong Kong this week to announce they are “99.9 percent sure” that they have found the remains of the boat that carried Noah and his animal entourage through the Great Flood. Others believe it is just one more hoax among many. The question remains: Does it really matter if it is ever discovered? Would it be better for our exercise of faith if it never is really found? Michael Spencer wrote about Ark hunters here.

St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Toledo, Ohio will begin a new series starting this weekend: “The Gospel According To Johnny Cash.” Basing the series on the Man in Black’s final album, American VI: Ain’t No Grave, the church will present four messages titled Love, God, Murder and Life. The pastor, Loran Miracle, will even dress in black for the series. Parishioners, no doubt, expect their pastor to walk the line.

Meanwhile, Baptist church planter George Hill, attempting to start a church in Utah among primarily Mormon communities, had his funding withdrawn after he allegedly drank half a pint of beer during the “Beer and Bible” group he had started. Hill and his family must now either move or find other funding. “It’s troubling,” Hill told The Christian Post. “We’re out here trying to reach people as Jesus would.”

Over the Rhine, the husband and wife musical group from Ohio, is planning its first studio album in more than three years, teaming with veteran producer Joe Henry. Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist are taking a different path to the production of this record. Instead of signing with a major label, and having the label pay up front for the album’s production in exchange for up to 90 percent of the proceeds, OtR is asking its fans to help contribute the up-front money in exchange for everything from an early copy of the new record to an in-home concert. If you have not heard OtR, you are missing out on deep lyrics set to soul-stirring music.

And in a story that has been leftover for two weeks now, our friends at Out of Ur have come up with some of the latest “hip” church names and their meanings. Do not be upset if you find the name of your church on this list. Just laugh like the rest of us.

Birthdays from this past week include Atlanta Braves’ third baseman Chipper Jones; Doug Clifford (drums) and Stu Cooke (bass) from Creedence Clearwater Revival; the funniest woman alive, Carol Burnett; Al Pacino; Coretta Scott King; Casey Kasem; Eve Plumb (Jan on the Brady Bunch, pictured here both as Jan and today); Jay Leno; Dale Earnhardt; Cloris Leachman; Willie Nelson; and my father—Richard Dunn.

We are still looking to connect with authors who have something to say to followers of Jesus. eMoon wants to help get you published. Email myself (jeff@emoonpublishing.com) or our trade book publisher, Laree Lindburg (laree@emoonpublishing.com) this week.

Finally, Chaplain Mike and I are talking about having a day at the ballpark in honor of Michael Spencer. It would involve a weekend Cincinnati Reds game and dinner together, but we need to judge your interest, and we need to do it quickly. We will keep the cost reasonable, with proceeds going toward helping Denise Spencer with her ongoing needs. Let us know if you are interested in the comments or through email.


  1. Oooh! I dig the Johnny Cash thing. “Ain’t No Grave” has been a standard in my musical repertoire for a while. Johnny’s faith was a very interesting thing. Talk about a model for how God’s grace works.

    • Cynthia Jones says

      As much as I like Johnny Cash, I was quite relieved to hear that this is just a sermon series. I heard about it on the local radio morning show earlier this week and they reported that the entire church — all the services — were going to be built around Johnny Cash music. (Of course, then they had great fun with that! LOL!). I can see a sermon series, but I could NOT see an entire ministry with such a theme! 🙂

    • That reminds me of back in the late 70s when, at our convent school, the nuns would show various religious-themed films to us schoolgirls and one of them was a Johnny Cash one.

      I can’t, at this remove of time, remember the name or anything like that but I’m sure someone of you out there know it 🙂

  2. holy toledo. wish i could be there. 😉

  3. cermak_rd says

    “Mercy Seat” and “Free From the Chain Gang Now” are very spiritual songs that Johnny sang. He had a deep belief in his faith.

  4. I never knew people were searching for the ark until I read this article from the iMonk a little over a year ago. I don’t know how to put in a link, but if you search “Ararat Liberty” you’ll find it.

    • Thanks, Katie. I have added the link to Michael’s article. Great job!

    • Interesting how Noah’s ark has re-surfaced. I remember reading about the search for the ark back in the 1970’s…in fact, I still have the book “In Search of Noah’s Ark” by Balsiger and Sellier. Solomon was right. There is nothing new under the sun…just another generation to reinvent it.

    • My favorite line from the Nat’l Geographic article on this “discovery” is paraphrased, “I can’t remember an expedition looking for the ark that didn’t find it.”

  5. Why would you have a “Beer and Bible” group amongst Mormons? Isn’t that like having a “Pork Chops and Bible” group amongst Jews? I would think “Beer and Bible” would work a lot better around German or Irish types.

    • cermak_rd says

      I hate to say it, but a great many Jews I know eat bacon (much more popular among my acquaintances than chops or tenderloin). Rigid practice of the rules of kashrut is not all that common among American (or for that matter Israeli) Jews. The Orthodox keep it strictly, the Conservatives keep it somewhat depending, and the Reform, Reconstructionist, and Humanist keep it lightly (again depending on the individual as these last 3 groups are big on the autonomy of the individual Jew).

    • Songs for the Broken says

      My father (a roofer) had a lot of mormon kids work for him. A few of them kept the “word of wisdom,” but most of them drank and a few of them smoked pot. They were, for the most part, pretty laid back and hippied out. I guess the idea with the “Beer and Bible” group is that the hard-core religious Mormons aren’t going to be at a non-LDS bible study anyway. You are reaching out to the non-Mormon people who are “strangers in a strange land” and to the “backslidden” Mormon kids. I think it’s a great idea. Too bad what happened to the guy.

      Sadly, the LDS is more accepting of people in the fold who don’t toe the line on caffeine and alcohol than christians here in the bible belt. That’s pretty messed up.

      • Sadly, the LDS is more accepting of people in the fold who don’t toe the line on caffeine and alcohol than christians here in the bible belt. That’s pretty messed up.

        very well said; evangelicals can get the riot act read to them for a long list of things, depending on the individual church of course , so who really understands the Good News here ?? I’m not saying this as one who supports Mormon belief or theology, but it is strange

        Greg R

  6. JoanieD says

    I enjoyed looking at the photos included in the Noah’s Ark story. The replica being built of the Ark is amazing!

    I remember listening to the soundtrack from Johnny Cash’s “Gospel Road” movie. I then saw the movie. Parts of it I liked a lot.

    I wish N.T. Wright well in his new position at St. Andrews. I kind of liked him being a bishop, but it’s great that he will have more time to write. I do love his writing.

  7. Louis Winthrop says

    (Sigh) The “Noah’s Ark” story is not coming from reputable archeologists, but a group from Liberty University, whose last major contribution to science was the “outing” of Tinky Winky and SpongeBob. Honestly, I don’t know why the media even report on this. (If I hold a press conference announcing my discovery of the Holy Grail, will they cover me too?)

    Anyway, the team’s reasoning went like this: they found large wooden beams on the slopes of Ararat (i.e., the mountain which is presently known as Ararat). Being unable to think of any other explanation for its presence, they concluded that it must be Noah’s Ark. (It occurs to me that the media may be covering them precisely BECAUSE it sounds so stupid.)

  8. How about some regional “day at the ballpark” events? i.e. a So Cal event when the Reds come to play the Dodgers?

    • Chaplain Mike and I were just talking about an Internet Monk nationwide ballpark tour. Anyone have a motorhome we can borrow for the summer???

  9. The list of church names is a laugh-out-loud funny!

  10. What is with the picture of the horse in every Saturday Rambling? Is there some sort of deep, esoteric symbolism that it is supposed to convey? Because, if there is, I’m not processing the Gnosis wavelengths that are being sent… 😉

    • Jeff is gonna have to answer that specifically. My interpretation? It’s our weekly “mucking out the stalls.”

      Does that work, Mr. Dunn?