December 5, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 5.21.11

Welcome to the Judgment Day edition of Saturday Ramblings. You’ll want to read quickly today—it wouldn’t do to not be finished with the Ramblings before 6 p.m. Pacific today, would it? Of course, those on the east coast have time for dinner and a movie before we’re all … uh, what is it we’re all supposed to do again? Oh yeah—before we all ramble. Are you ready?

Everything I know I learned from Doonesbury. I know, I know—I’m a heathen for liking such a strip, aren’t I? Well, Garry Trudeau got it absolutely right this week. Start here and work your way forward to see just how Zonker handles the news of the rapture. Or just read yesterday’s strip:

There is a new test being offered in England that will test your blood to see how much longer you have to live. Well, this test is not going to be much good, is it?  I mean, with today being Judgment Day, and the world coming to an end for good in October, do you want to spend $400 just to know you have, at best, five months to live?

I think the thing that disturbs me the most about this story is not that a 17 year old is putting together a big concert, but that he went to a Christian rock camp. Christian rock camp? Such a thing exists? Oh my…I’m starting to believe that today may be Judgment Day after all…

Here is a different take on how technology is affecting the church. Lisa Miller looks at how the King James Version—400 years old this year—changed the church. She compares that with how electronic versions of the Bible are affecting believers and churches today. I think she makes some very good points, though I don’t jump totally in the “medium is the message” camp. For the most part, I believe media are simply delivery methods for content. And to me, the content can be delivered analog or digital. Your thoughts?

Perhaps your technological path will take you to a new church—such as the Apple Store. Apparently the feelings one gets when shopping at an Apple Store matches those one has in church. Somehow just knowing that makes me like my Macbook a little bit less. But only a little bit.

A member of a West Palm Beach (Florida) church has requested prayer for Osama bin Laden tomorrow. Just how far should our compassion for the lost extend? Your thoughts? Martha of Ireland—your thoughts?

Come on, Kentucky. Are you so flush with money you can afford to give a $43 million tax break to Ken Ham to build his biblical theme park in Covington? Is his proposed Ark Encounter really something you want your state to be known for? When I think of Kentucky, I think of horse racing, tobacco farms and the Dukes of Hazzard.  Do you really want me to push aside these happy thoughts for a life sized Noah’s Ark? Do you want to replace My Old Kentucky Home with God Told Noah To Build Him An Arky Arky?

We typically look at birthdays from the previous week. But today I want to talk about someone who turns 70 on Tuesday—Robert Zimmerman. What is your favorite Bob Zimmerman tune? You can read what others consider his best songs here. And don’t forget to wish Bob Dylan a happy birthday on Tuesday.

Happy birthdays this past week include David “Talking Heads” Byrne; Jack Bruce; Richard Daley; Eddy Arnold; Madeleine Albright; George Brett; Mike “Tubular Bells” Oldfield; Henry Fonda; Pierce Brosnan; Olga Korbut; Dennis Hopper; Sugar Ray Leonard; Frank Capra; Perry Como; Reggie Jackson; Rick Wakeman; George Strait; Tina Fey; Pete Townshend; Jimmy Stewart; Joe Cocker; and Cher.

How else could we end this Judgment Day edition of the Ramblings but with the all time best rapture song? Enjoy.

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  1. I think the Wycliffe bible was the true innovation. It went to print before the KJV. In addition, it was purposely released in a portable size to ease smuggling and hiding. “Secrets of the Dead” has a great episode about Wycliffe.

  2. In a concert I attended in ’82, Larry Norman suggested that we had the rapture backward, that the Luke 17 passage actually suggests that those who are taken are delivered to judgment.

    • I saw him in concert again in a little church in Denver in ’89. Dang. Looking back, that was quite an honor.

      • Randy Thompson says

        Hmmm. OK, I’ll also take a walk down memory lane with Dumb Ox.

        I knew him casually in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. Just before his first album came out under the Capital label, he took me to the Capital building (near Hollywood and Vine, and not far from where he lived at the time) to show me the art work for his album cover. If James Brown was the godfather of soul, then certainly Larry Norman was the godfather of Christian rock. It was a privilege to have known him.

    • I concur with that interpretation actually. In the Matt 24 passage in noah’s time, it was the wicked who were “taken” and so with Christ, the wicked will be taken away, leaving behind the righteous to inherit the earth.

  3. Question for speculation: (btw, New Zealand and Australia look untroubled this morning) once the publicity dies down, does this humiliation for Family Radio church mean a decade’s reprieve from End Dates? I mean, it seems to much of a temptation for a strain in American fundamentalism to abandon forever, but will preachers be more circumspect until after 2020?

    • I’d settle for Family Radio going bankrupt.

      Usually, the reprieve from date-setting is only about five years. I recall rapture scares in 1988, 1994 and 1999/2000 (plus 9/11, natch), and that’s just since I gave my life to Christ – wasn’t there one in ’81 as well? So a decade may be too much to ask.

      • FollowerOfHim says

        June 20, 1981. I day I dreaded with all my 9-year-old heart. (The logic, as I recall, was this: 1948 + 40 – 7 = 1981. He that had ears to hear, let him have heard!)

      • The world also ended in 1992 (don’t know if there was a rapture alert that year), and I think 1982 because all of the planets were supposed to line up on the same side of the sun. And don’t forget 1984. And Y2K (2000).

        • Turns out the 1982 end was Pat Robertson’s doing.

          And according to a blurb about rapture predictions on Huffington Post, he also has predicted a tsunami and a terrorist attack that didn’t happen. “I have a relatively good track record,” [Robertson] has said. “Sometimes I miss.”

    • Dan Crawford says

      Can Christians rupture the rapture?

      • We Catholics already have. We live in a raptureless end times, and it saves us a lot of angst.

  4. Raptural Science – Raptureology – Will never get off the ground 🙂

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

    Favorite Bob Dylan song? Oh, man, there’s SO many! “Don’t Think Twice” is definitely toward the top of the list. Best break-up song ever. “I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind/ You just kinda wasted my precious time” and “‘Goodbye’ is too good a word, babe, so I’ll just bid you ‘fare thee well'”… Does it get better than that? I just love well-worded break-up songs!

    • “I Want You” … “Tangled Up in Blue” … “Subterranean Homesick Blues” … “Precious Angel” … “Things Have Changed” … and about 40 other possibilities. And I was born AFTER Nashville Skyline!

      Well, I’m going to pick one no one else will, but it’s a great song and it’s my era — “Tight Connection to My Heart” from Empire Burlesque.

    • Definitely “Jokerman,” although “Shelter from the Storm” is up there, too. And I second “Tangled up in Blue.”

    • “when the ship comes in” , “Love minus/no limits” , “don’t think twice”

    • cermak_rd says

      “Hurricane”, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” and “Like Every Grain of Sand” are some of my other faves of his.

  6. Prodigal Daughter says

    I just have to correct you: the Dukes of Hazzard lived in a county here in Georgia–not Kentucky! Just sayin’…

    • FollowerOfHim says

      Beat me to it, Prodigal! I think the confusion comes from the fact that there really is a Hazard in Perry County, Kentucky, whereas a Hazzard County is, unacountably, not among the 150 or so which constitute our good state of Georgia, although there’s always the possibility that it’s just been misplaced and someone will eventually come across it at some point taking a dirt-road shortcut.

      • You are both right. I stand corrected. I have a family member from Hazard, Kentucky. He never lets me forget it no matter how hard I try…

      • cermak_rd says

        Phil Ochs comes to mind, “Well minin’ is a hazard in Hazard, Kentucky…”

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

    Reading Lisa Miller’s article, I definitely think some of the case is a bit overstated. The bible-on-your-iPhone thing is a lot less important than blogs and whatnot. I don’t know a single person who prefers to read the bible in an electronic format. The interface for something so big just doesn’t cut it; navigation without knowing exactly where you’re going is much easier in a physical bible than an electronic one. Most of the folks who don’t read their book bibles aren’t going to read their iPhone bibles either.

    Blogs and social media, however, do seem to have led to a greater prevalence of “virtual” church. I definitely have come across many folks in their 20’s who feel a good forum or blog fits the bill for what church and community need to be. Which I think is highly problematic, but isn’t that different than prior generations’ “I can spend time with God on a nature walk just as well as I can at church.”

    Brick-and-mortar churches aren’t going anywhere, though. The stuff Miller talks about isn’t the norm world wide. Plus, the 2.1 billion in the world’s largest denomination can’t fulfill their “Sunday Obligation” virtually. There are still a lot of Christians who haven’t succumbed to the hyper-individualization of American/Western culture.

  8. The notion that media serve as mere delivery systems for Christian content is the pragmatic approach used since radio to grab the latest technology in a quest to use whatever looks promising to proclaim the Gospel. But few of us have ever questioned the nature of the media, which I think makes it virtually impossible for Christian content to remain intact. We were once People of the Book. Now we are becoming illiterates who rely on other illiterates to lead us. We were once people of a physical community; now we stare into our iPhones, provided we even bother to assemble. I could rant on. Call me old fashioned, but progress just ain’t what it used to be.

    • Just wondering in a longer lens:
      What were we during the middle ages and what are we now in countries where large swaths of people can’t read?

  9. David Cornwell says

    This is my granddaughter’s big day is also. She gets married to the man of her dreams late in the day. We’ve tried to warn her to no avail. Getting married on the Last Day is a needless expense. But maybe if they beat the final trumpet they can go sailing off into the blue holding hands. Otherwise they are going on a honeymoon cruise. She says she can’t imagine eternity without him. Maybe after a few years of being married…

  10. Dont think I could narrow it down to a single song, but for albums I’d go with the times… And Nashville skyline

  11. Two observations about the latest Rapture Scare (TM):

    1. Any time your congregation’s or organization’s announcement becomes a Stand-Up Comedians’ Full Employment Act, it’s time to re-examine things.

    2. Any time Garry Trudeau’s theology proves to be more solid than your own, even re-examining things isn’t enough. (Although in today’s strip, Trudeau hints that he’s only been cribbing from Charles Schulz. But sitll.)

  12. The Guy from Knoxville says

    Interesting, though not suprising, this morning (11:00 a.m. eastern as I type) the Family Radio website is suddenly not working. They cut it off knowing that they are about to be blasted on this or there have been so many trying to access it to blast them or otherwise that it crashed their server. The other possibility is that they are renovating their website to spin the obvious error into something totally different from what Camping said – damage control big time!

    At any rate, it will be interesting to see if the website comes up today or suddenly becomes available next week with the spin on why everyone and the earth is still here – Camping probably won’t be available since one spin could be that he was the only one ready and will never be heard from again while he takes off with $70-$80 and retires out of view on some nice private island somewhere laughing at the “poor folks” who fell for all this.

  13. My favorite Bob Dylan song constantly changes, but I would say overall Desolation Row is the one that sticks with me most.

  14. The Guy from Knoxville says

    Actually the money amounts should be $70-$80 million……. forgot to put the word after the numbers – most here know/knew what I was saying. He raked it in now he gets to live off the fleecing.

    • He must be like the dinosaur bands of the sixties and seventies, who have to release new album or tour once in a while to have enough retirement funds. In a store near you, Harold Camping’s greatest hits…or is that misses?

  15. the Doonsebury Gospel. recently reconsidered to be included in the canon…

    what an awesome counterpoint to the real religious craziness it skewers…

    thank you Jesus! 🙂

  16. It’s just after four o’clock here, so another two hours to go. Any signs of the impending End? Well, it’s summertime in Ireland, yet it’s grey, cold, overcast and raining!

    Oh, wait – that’s normal 🙂

    As regards prayers for Osama bin Laden – earlier this month, a church in Howth, Co. Dublin, had a bit of a stir when in the parish bulletin one Sunday the notices for Masses for the Dead included one for Osama.

    After this got into the news, the diocese investigated and claimed it was a hoax – someone had rung up the parish office, asked for a Mass intention, and it was published without the knowledge of the parish priest, who said that no Masses would be forthcoming.

    On the other hand – there’s been a lot of discussion about this in the Catholic blogosphere, with people coming down on both sides – celebrate his death versus triumphing is wrong. In the heel of the reel, we can’t say what his eternal fate is – we have no idea if he truly is in Hell, that’s up to God. And while his death can be seen as justice, or a menas of preventing further harm, you can be glad of that without going to the extremes of gloating over the manner of his death.

    Look, it’s a sticky situation all round and as a non-American I’m not going to tell you lot how to feel. Just that the tendency to spin in the reports that first came out (he used one of his wives as a human shield! Okay, did we say that? We meant she jumped in front of him. She was killed! Er, by killed, we meant injured. He had a gun! No, he didn’t, sorry, our mistake) not to mention the manner of his burial at sea, were very poorly handled. And while people who suffered probably did feel their vengeance was satisfied, vindictive glee on the parts of others not directly harmed is too much.

    We have, after all, been told to ‘love our enemies’. And it is not love to jump up and down and imagine all kinds of torments just to feel the thrill of gratified bloodlust. He’s dead, and can do no more harm. Now the remainder of the organisation has to be dealt with, and God be gracious to the soldiers who still have to fight.

    Maybe in two hours’ time, we won’t have anymore of this to worry about, anyway?

  17. Let’s not forget that people died so that subsequent generations could have and read their own Bibles; I don’t see anyone dying to get Scripture into the latest technology. The printed word is powerful and I’m hoping that these latest gimmicks/means of getting God’s word out to the masses doesn’t cheapen the message or lessen the impact. Is it just like reading the morning news, just to read more news the following day, etc., with no impact or life-changing effect?
    Please don’t apologize for reading Doonesbury–truth is truth, no matter where you find it!
    Also, who wants to know how long they’re going to live? Knowing the future is not always a good thin!
    Oh, and a toast to the end-of-the-world day…we’ll be wine tasting our way to the end….

  18. Okay, here it is 7:05 p.m. local time, and nothing has happened yet.

    Unless we have to wait until al the *real* Christians in America are raptured before all the signs and desolations start?


  19. Zimmy tunes? Too many to choose from, but standouts include Like a Rolling Stone, Tangled up in Blue, Idiot Wind, Love Minus Zero/No Limit, Romance in Durango, One More Cup of Coffee for the Road (oh, anything from the Desire album…).

    But if all he had written were Blowin’ in the Wind, With God on our Side, and The Times They Are a-changin’, it would have been enough.

  20. The other Graham says

    My Bob Dylan vote for the best? There a lot of great ones, but this
    seems like the most pertinent to me just now:

    “But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
    You’re gonna have to serve somebody
    Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
    But you’re gonna have to serve somebody”

    Amen to that! I wonder how many folks really understand that point.

  21. The “Maggie’s Farm” tune.