December 2, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 5.7.11

Welcome to the Mother’s Day edition of Saturday Ramblings. All moms who are reading this, thank you. Thank you for all you have done, are doing, are trying to do. Raising kids is no picnic today. Enjoy all the praise given you tomorrow, even if it is the only day out of the year your kids say or do anything nice for you. You deserve all the honor that will be given you, and much more. Moms are great. My mom knew that there was no problem that couldn’t be solved with a batch of fresh chocolate chip cookies. Thanks, Mom. Now, let’s ramble, shall we?

Here is a bit of tease. This Thursday we will learn about the practice of praying to saints as taught us by Martha of Ireland. Many of you look forward to her comments, and now to her posts. There is a good one coming up this Thursday. You won’t want to miss it.

Also this Thursday, Adam Palmer will take a look at Rob Bell’s Love Wins. When he first approached me about reviewing Bell’s book, I said no. I thought the subject had been discussed enough. But Adam shared his take on the book and all that surrounds it, and by the time we were done talking, I wanted that review right now. But I will have to wait with you until Thursday. In the meantime, Mark Galli says that Rob Bell should not be a litmus test of our beliefs. Very good stuff here.

This past Thursday was the fifth of May, or as we say around Tulsa, Cinco de Mayo. (I celebrated by having lunch with Victor Cruz,the pastor of our Spanish service at our church. We ate at a Mexican restaurant. And he paid. It doesn’t get much better than that.) It was also the National Day of Prayer. Did you notice? Elizabeth Tenety of the Washington Post asks a very good question. Do we really need a National Day of Prayer? What are your thoughts?

Oh those wacky Brits. First they throw a big party to marry off some royals. Then they try to sack an electrician because he displayed an eight inch cross in his company van, something he had done for 15 years. The thing I think interesting in this were the Muslim, Hindus and Sikhs who came to his defense. Somehow I have to think God is smiling over this.

The Rev. Patrick Conroy, a Jesuit priest, has been nominated as the 60th chaplain for the U.S. House of Representatives. If formally selected, he would replace another Catholic, the retired Rev. Daniel Coughlin. We wish Conroy the best. There is a lot of prayin’ to be done in Congress.

Has entertainment replaced Scripture as the center of our worship? That is question Skye Jethani poses to Chuck Swindoll. And Swindoll does not pull any punches. This is not simply the grumblings of a Ludite. Swindoll is a man of God who wants to ensure future generations are grounded in Scripture, not just a good time. Spend a little time with this today.

Ken Ham has found a new calling: Dismantling Christian colleges that are “compromised.” Ham considers many Christian schools flawed because of their teachings of creation and Genesis. His solution? Apparently we need to scrap all such schools and start again. With all this focus on how schools teach creation, when is Ham going to have time to build his creation theme park? If I can’t vacation in Kentucky this summer, where will I go?

Those who know me at all know what a geek I am when it comes to the space program. This week marked the 50th anniversary of Alan Shepherd’s fifteen minute flight, making him the first American in space. God is celebrating the occasion by lining up six planets on the eastern horizon each morning for the next few weeks. Perhaps the only iMonk geekier about this than I is Adam Palmer. We both like to applaud the show God puts on in the heavens.

Celebrity birthdays this last week were numerous and included Al Lewis (Grandpa on the Munsters); Cloris Leachman; Willie Nelson; Kirsten Dunst; Jack Paar; Joseph “Catch 22” Heller; Judy “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” Collins; Cheerios cereal; Bing Crosby; Golda Meir; Greg Gumbel; James Brown; Dick Dale; Orson Welles; and George Clooney.

Dick Dale is the greatest surf guitarist of them all. Period. No discussion. Here he is with Stevie Ray Vaughn, the second greatest guitarist of any type, period. The video is as cheesy as it comes, but hey! It’s SRV and Dick Dale. Turn up the volume and enjoy. (And you have to admit it’s better than what I foisted off on you last week.)

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  1. “This Thursday we will learn about the practice of praying to saints as taught us by Martha of Ireland.”

    Looking forward to it!

    • You may have cause to revise that on Thursday, dumb ox.


      As ever, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Jeff was kind enough to ask me for a view, and he got in return – well, you’ll see on Thursday what he got. All torch-bearing mobs wielding pitchforks, kindly queue up on my doorstep, not his.

      • Martha,

        I’ll be there with loads of water to help put the fires out. GRIN.

        Looking forward to it.

      • Glad you are taking this bit on, Martha! Can’t wait to read ! I will bring a class “D” fire extinguisher which works on most types of fire!

      • Oh, you might be surprised. I’m one of those odd-ball protestants who prays the Rosary – and not one of those sanitized protestant versions. Not to steal any thunder, but I always found it odd that protestants/evangelicals are encouraged to share the most trivial prayer requests with each other, but asking a saint in heaven to pray for us is unthinkable. A good protestant like Charles Wesley would write hymns about the thin veil which separates us from the church triumphant, but we act like heaven is on the other side of the universe. It makes me wonder if we truly believe that God is God of the living. It is not that we can’t pray to the Father, as Christ encouraged the disciples. If that were enough, why do we share prayer requests with anyone – in heaven or on earth? If we were real, RADICAL, macho Christians, we would do our own praying, right?

        Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

        • Amen!

          I need all the prayers I can get, too…whether from Aunt Tilly or St. Patrick (the real one, not the faux saint of green beer!)

        • Dear dumb ox, I meant my comment more along the lines of “I was waiting with great anticipation all week – for this?????! Woman can’t even string a coherent sentence together, never mind explain why the invocation of saints is licit and not idolatrous!”


          Thank you all for your good wishes, and I hope the Thursday thing isn’t too bad of a let-down. There are sensible, sincere, learned folk out there who can give the nuts and bolts of the practice, but this is a view inside the head of a cradle Catholic, with all the attendant messiness that entails. We don’t think that much about what we do, we just do it.

          Like John Wright puts it in his excerpt from his latest manuscript:

          ” In this scene, Father Thucydides is the great-grandnephew of Menelaus, who has woken from suspended animation to make his confession:

          “Blessed are the poor, indeed, but taking a man’s things to impose a blessing on him may violate a commandment.”

          “Listen, Father, you ain’t worried about your own stuff, are you?”

          “Mine? Even the robes on my back belong to the Curial Office, not to me. I am of the Society of Jesus.”

          “What is that, like a sewing circle?”

          “I had my doubts whether you were truly a Catholic, my son. I see now that you must be. No one knows less of our catechism and orders than one of our flock.”

          “It was kind of a — I was unconscious at the time, and your grandpa had me watered down, enlisted, or whatever you call it—”


          Amen, brother 😉

  2. Great sound to that video!

    Thanks, Jeff!

  3. I love Mark Galli. Have you heard him from the Mockingbird Conference? It is wonderful.

  4. Richard Mcneeley says

    Dick Dale the king of the surf guitar, you gotta love it.

  5. Great. I work at a Christian College I attended a number of years ago, and we learned evolution in the Earth Science class and the astronomy professor told us to assume that 5 Million Light Years really meant that light took 5 Million years to make it to us. We had old-earther John Sailhammer in-residence for a year. We’re probably going to be on the list.

    And yay for Chuck Swindoll. One quibble is with his line “I don’t know why leaders younger than me aren’t saying this.” There does seem to be an unrest from the under-40 crowd about the lack of silence and perpetual need for entertainment-based worship. People are kicking against the gimmicks — it’s just that it appears few of them know what to do about it, or know what a good alternative is.

    • Justin…Ken Ham is kind of like that wart you have removed at the doctor. In some shape, manner or form it keeps coming back. I really detest the culture wars, for many fundegelicals that it was what Christinaity is all about.

  6. Steve Newell says

    On the subject of “National Day of Prayer”, should Christians pray with other who are not Christians? I have no problems praying with other Christians from other branches of the Christian faith. However, I do have a major issue with praying with someone who rejects Christ as the Son of God and the Only Way of Salvation.

    What do you think?

    • steve…

      Don’t mind me…this is just the musings of an agnostic (once fundy mind you…)

      But why do fundegelicals make a big deal of the National Day of Prayer? What does Jesus teach on prayer? Does Matthew 6:5-8 mean anything to them? Why do they have to be so public about prayer? Heck when I was a fundegelicla I prayed in private. No one knew, I didn’t seek to proclaim it, and I kept it to myself.

      Can’t Christians learn to do things and private and stop seeking attention?

  7. JoanieD says

    I liked the article by Mark Galli about Rob Bell’s book. I think even the Pope could confirm 95% of what Rob Bell writes in the book. (Bell is a bit light on the sacraments, I would say.) I do agree with a commenter on the last post who finds the Bell is not so…intellectually deep (something like that). But, I think you can say and write profound things without creating paragraph-long sentences the way N.T. Wright does at times (and I LOVE Wright). And you don’t have to write so circuitously (I don’t think I have ever written that word before) that your readers have to re-read the paragraph to follow the thought. I think Rob Bell’s writings can bring many folks to understand Jesus as the savior of the world who previously had decided it was all a crock. Long live Rob Bell!

    Hey, that’s neat about the six planets lining up. I will look for them tomorrow.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Last time we had a planetary conjunction like this was in 1981.

      Remember the Jupiter Effect? Sort of “The Day After Tomorrow” best-seller of its time?

      And the Christianese version of it, the Jupiter Effect Rapture Scare?

  8. Oh my goodness. That Ken Ham article in the Christian Post was about the most silly and alarmist piece of “journalism” I’ve ever seen.

    Money quote: “Without the strong teaching of Genesis, it won’t be long before Christian students and faculty will be changing the Bible to accommodate other beliefs such as homosexuality and abortion, Ham argued.” Yes. That is why we CANNOT accept ANY interpretation of Genesis not approved by Pope Ken. Because it will lead to apostasy and heresy? Demonic possession? Hangnails and (gulp) acne? No, the worst of them all! Democratic positions on social issues!

    He’s right about one thing: I was terrified of evolution, until I learned to be okay with it from the profs at my evangelical alma mater (Grove City College).

    • But does Mr. Ham not see that, by pinning everything and making everything hang from a “strong teaching of Genesis”, that he is setting up the perfect target for atheists?

      If the entirety of the Gospel rests on a literal reading of Genesis, and the literal reading we are to take from it is not “God is the creator of the universe” but “Creation took place in six solar days of twenty-four hours each, and this occurred six thousand years ago as calculated by Archbishop Ussher of Armagh: “In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth, Gen. 1, v. 1. Which beginning of time, according to our Chronologie, fell upon the entrance of the night preceding the twenty third day of Octob[er] in the year of the Julian [Period] 710. The year before Christ 4004. The Julian Period 710.”), then we’re in a pickle, because as soon as anyone can reliably show that the Earth is anything older than six thousand years, you are sayng that the whole thing falls apart and we can have no basis for belief in Christ, God or any faith at all.

      And we are in a pickle, because the six thousand years idea was initially for the duration of the Earth – that is, how long the earth would be in existence: by adding together the four thousand years from the Jewish calendar up to the birth of Christ plus two thousand years after) – just like Harold Camping and all the other end-time prophets.

      As Wikipedia puts it with admirable restraint:

      “This view had been almost completely abandoned by 1997, six thousand years after 4004 BC.”

      Because here we still are in 2012 so that idea was blown out of the water.

      I have no objection to him saying Christian colleges should be strong on Christianity, but this is really missing the wood for the trees – the whole point of Genesis is not to give us a calculable calendar of what day we should celebrate the birthday of Gaia, it is that God is Lord of Creation, we are not just a cosmic accident, and we have a special and unique relationship with Him.

      • But to those whose linchpin is NOT the Risen Christ, but instead the literal and technical truth of evey bit of the Bible, it really is (sadly) a huge issue.

        I’d credit this thought if I could remember the source, but that for some, reading Scripture is like reading a newspaper with no CLUE about how the news articles, opinion sections, satire, and entertaiment sections DIFFER from each other in veracity, tone, and intent.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        “This view had been almost completely abandoned by 1997, six thousand years after 4004 BC.”

        I was expecting a Rapture scare sometime in 1997 or (counting back Seven Years for the Trib) in 1990-91. The number-crunching is just too easy, especially if you’re a YEC.

        Well, the First Gulf War did blow up in 1991…

        • I was trying to figure out why they would tack on two thousand years after the Incarnation (instead of a thousand, to fit with the millenium in Revelation) and it hit me: a thousand years would bring you up to the 10th century, and obviously, if you’re working away in the 17th century, then the End of the World didn’t happen.

          Making it two thousand would bring you neatly up to 2000 A.D. more or less, but even better, three hundred years down the line, so you wouldn’t be around to see if you were right or not.


          Me, I remember the line used in the tv series “Millenium” about how, in the 10th century, they were expecting the end of the world and after it didn’t come, instead of turning to a fit of hysteria, Europe clothed itself in a white garment of churches (apparently that’s a re-working of a quote from a Cluniac monk, Rudolph the Bald, writing just after the year 1000 A.D. in his history said of the spate of new church building “It was as if the earth, rousing itself and casting away its old robes, clothed itself with the white garment of churches”).

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Actually, the rationale went like this:

            1) A Day is to the LORD like 1000 years.

            2) Six days shall thou labor, and rest on the Seventh (the Sabbath).

            3) Ergo, the Millenium (after the Second Coming, both of them) is The Sabbath and the six days before the Sabbath are 6000 years.

            4) Since The World was created in 4000 BC…

          • From everything I remember reading about the turn of the millennia in 1000, there wasn’t a big end of the world panic. The literacy rate wasn’t terribly high, the churches didn’t stir up panic and everyone was too worried about the disasters that were well known (disease, barbarian raids, famine, drought, etc.)

            It’s been years since I read it, but there’s a great book, “The Last Apocalypse” about Europe and the year 1000.

      • But does Mr. Ham not see that, by pinning everything and making everything hang from a “strong teaching of Genesis”, that he is setting up the perfect target for atheists?

        In my experience, the fundagelical folks liks Ham generally consider the views of atheists as irrelevant. Even if they see the above possibility, they simply don’t care much about the reasoning of anyone outside their own group.

        I saw a very similar thing happen with regard to the arguments against homosexuality almost two decades ago. Many Christian leaders hinged their argument on the assertion that there could be no genetic component or predisposition to be gay; it was all behavioral, they insisted, and thus reversible. Their entire argument hinged on this. When evidence mounted suggesting that perhaps people were born with such a predisposition, their argument pretty much collapsed and they really didn’t have anywhere to go. No opening remained for dialogue. Very sad.

        In hindsight, a little humility would have gone a long way.

        • True…some of the agnostics I have spoken to have strong Christain backgrounds. Their faith falls apart on a couple of issues or horrendours Christian expereince (like mine…)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “Without the strong teaching of Genesis, it won’t be long before Christian students and faculty will be changing the Bible to accommodate other beliefs such as homosexuality and abortion, Ham argued.”

      Let’s see…
      EVILution? Check…
      Homosexuality? Check…
      Abortion? Check…
      He’s got the entire Trinity of the Other right there.

  9. Adrienne says

    To me the National Day of Prayer is yet another evangelical gimmick for what reason I am not sure. We seem to love to make an “issue” out of prayer that gets media attention. Like prayer in school etc. Do we pray in secret as Jesus teaches? Matthew 6:6 Why do we always crave the spotlight??

    • +1
      The other issue is that almost every prayer “event” I’ve seen covered is attended largely by (and created for) the wealthy and powerful. Hardly a reflection of the kingdom. And there’s sometimes not even the mention of Jesus. In my experience, the work of God’s kingdom happens mostly elsewhere, usually in far more humble circumstances.

      • @ Adrienne, I said the same thing on my Facebook post. Well that and have the Betty Bowers link on prayer 😛 What happened…? I got an email from one of the fundegelicals I knew on where to participate on the National Day of Prayer. (rolls eyes) Its stuff like this that I couldn’t stand, but I will say the air is better outside the church than it is inside.

  10. That Ken Ham article is a hoot. If you read the questions he asked in the survey to the college, they’re akin to asking them how long ago they stopped beating their wives. The man is a simply a huckster with less actual science credentials than my 6th grade science teacher.

  11. Can’t wait for Martha’s posts. Jeff, you have a talent for finding and selecting people with wonderful writing talents and getting them published on this website. My frustration with internet media over the past few years is that it is difficult to get to the good stuff. You have used this website to get to the good stuff.

    I have believed for a while that it is not necessary that every person to write a printed book, posts on a well read website are often the perfect venue for writers like Martha.

    • Thanks, Allen. Martha is a very gifted writer to go along with the others who sacrifice to write for us here. Lisa Dye and Damaris Zehner are not just great writers but great people. I wish I could get Adam Palmer, Joe Spann and Mike Bell to write more often, but real life intrudes. And then there is that Chaplain Mike fellow.

      I have turned down bestselling authors who just would not fit here. I suppose if any of our writers publish a bestseller I will have to let them go.

      Seriously, I have never been so blessed to work with so great a group of writers as I am here. And they do it all for free. Applaud them whenever you can. They deserve it.

      • Damaris will be the one with the first best-seller, and then we can all sit back in the glow of fame by association and say “I knew her back when she first got her start!”


        • Damaris says

          You’re very kind. I don’t have the stamina for a book and am content to write essays. I’m looking forward to reading your next piece, Martha.

      • Look for a Mike Bell surge in a couple of months. A never ending house flip is almost done!!!! Lesson learned – discuss things with your wife, and then give her the sole vote.

        • JoanieD says

          “Lesson learned – discuss things with your wife, and then give her the sole vote.

          Ohhh, great lesson, Michael! 🙂 And congratulations on the house flip. I look forward to your writings in the months to come.

        • Sounding a bit soft there on headship within marriage, Mike 🙂

          Congratulations on the house sale! And not even an upside-down statue of St. Joseph buried in the back garden, to boot?

          • Not sold yet! That is why I am not going to be doing much for a couple of months.

            As for headship – I like the joke my brother told me once. He said:

            “In my house, I am the head. I make all the big decisions, and my wife makes all the little decisions. – Of course we have now been married for 20 years, and we have not yet had one big decision!”

            But seriously…. I am very much an egalitarian. In MY case (notice the emphasis on MY), when I make decisions without getting my wife’s input, is usually when I make the wrong decision.

          • Didn’t understand the statue line.

          • There’s a superstition (I’ve seen it mainly mentioned by Americans, but for some reason it sticks in my head that it must be Italian in origin) that if you want to sell your house quickly, bury a statue of St. Joseph in the gardnen.

            Preferably upside-down.

            I have no idea where this originated, but I can’t mock; there’s an Irish superstition about if you want good weather for a wedding, you should put the Child of Prague statue out on the back doorstep.

            The refinement in recent years is that this should be a *headless* statue.

            I recounted this on an American Catholic blog (when we were all discussing the weirder aspects of practice and why we love ’em) and somebody posted back that they did this for their sister’s wedding (when the forecast had been for bad rain) and now instead they were preparing for sunburn.


          • Martha will explain the statue on Thursday. Be patient.

            About the wife, Mike: is this reverse psychology, getting her to think it’s her idea?

          • Martha was way ahead of Thursday!

  12. The Chuck Swindoll article was phenominal!

    • I couldn’t disagree more. It was so cliche and, dare I say, out of touch. I’ve heard much better arguments about the same topic here on iMonk. He only had one good point, spending more money on tech staff than shepherds.

  13. Ahhhh the planets – that is why the earth is ending soon. We are planning on hauling out the telescope and heading out to one of the barrier islands to look at the planets up close-ish.

  14. Christian colleges are going to the dogs and it will lead to embracing homosexuality. I’ve got news for Ken Ham. There are homosexuals hiding under the rocks on every Christian college campus. Wheaton alumni just started an independent support group for homosexual alumni. LGBs from as far back as the 1950’s came out of the woodwork, an issue which everyone pretended never existed. An open wound is finally open for healing and for God’s grace to work through the community as a whole.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Christian colleges are going to the dogs and it will lead to embracing homosexuality. I’ve got news for Ken Ham.

      Evolution? CHECK!
      Homosexuality? CHECK!
      All Ken Ham needs to do now is add Abortion and he’s got the entire Trinity of The Other.

    • Randy Thompson says

      I wonder if there are any gay young earth creationists.

  15. I really enjoyed the Galli article on Rob Bell and thought it was very helpful (especially as I’ve been tracking a few rather fundagelilcal blogs, one of which has about six scathing posts on Rob Bell and early in the posting pretty much consigned him to hell — sigh). Also appreciated with Jethani’s interview with Swindoll. That man has some real wisdom. What was discouraging to me were a lot of the negative comments on both articles. Probably the majority.
    And to top it off I heard someone I consider an OK preacher on local Christian radio send a listener off to AIG and Ken Ham for answers about geology and origins.
    I just can’t help feeling that none of this bodes well for evangelicalism.

  16. VolAlongTheWatchTower says

    Saw SRV at the Volunteer Jam in September of ’87 in Nashville at the Starwood Amphitheater. Might be the best hour of live music I’ve seen to this day.

  17. Pee Wee Herman, surfboard dominoes, and Clark Griswold! That is simply ridiculous. I saw Dick Dale just the other day. He was set up on a small stage playing in a shopping mall down in San Diego with just another guitarist.

    If Ken Ham really believed his own garbage on this one, he would give names. 200 institutions? You’re willing to condemn them and say they need to be replaced, but you’re too afraid of offending people to name the universities?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      If Ken Ham really believed his own garbage on this one, he would give names. 200 institutions?

      200! Waving his list like Tailgunner Joe.

      • Joe McCarthy had 205 on his list, not counting the ones outside government, like Pete Seeger.

        “The State Department is infested with communists. I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.”

        You’d think Ken could have come up with five more just to make himself believable. Like Joe.

      • Is it me or does Ken Hamm’s list of 200 names sound more like Nixon in front of the House Un-American Activiies Committee?

  18. I thank God for Chuck Swindoll. he is one of the only evangelical leaders who maintains a sense of sanity. he dosn’t chase after some trend, or get caught up in secondary stuff. and, most importantly, he dosn’t put his foot in his mouth. Once again, he has brought up an issue of great importance.
    it’s too bad it took me so long to appreciate him. when i was a new Christian i had a lot of interest in pentecostal stuff (i became a Christian in 1994 right at the time of the Toronto Vinyard thing). i had no idea who to talk to about it, so i got a book called “Flying closer to the flame” by Chuck Swindoll. not a very good book if you are seeking an uderstanding of pentecostal or charistmatic things.
    as for Ken Ham, i hope he’s some fringe crazy guy, and not a serious presence. what he is advocating is one of the most rediculous things i have ever heard. it’s like the church isn’t sheltering people enough so we have to creep into colleges (supposedly a higher institution of learning) and make sure they keep the status quo. people don’t leave church because they go to college. people leave church because they grow up and realize what they learned all their life was the result of some smoldering sickness and now they can’t go back to their dark caves.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Before I swam the Tiber, I attended Swindoll’s megachurch here in da O.C. and read several of his books. Guy had his head on straight, with none of the “I’m Right You’re WRONG” attitude you usually get among Celebrity Preachers.

      • Glad to hear that. I did a paper on dispensationalism years ago and I used Swindoll as a reference and as an example of one of the few in that camp who had his head on straight, as you said. I think he demonstrates that dispensationalism can be useful in moderation.

        I also used Hal Lindsey, though, as an example of the other extreme, of someone falling off the edge of a 6000-year-old flat earth (but I didn’t say it that way in the paper).

        I don’t think I’d heard of Ken Ham at the time. Real good thing.

      • No, no, no, Headless. If he was any good as a preacher, you never would have swum the Tiber.

        Therefore he can’t be any good, and he’s ALL WRONG on whatever the important positions of the day are, because he failed to drag you down to the front and make you were got saved and stayed that way.


    • One more Mike says

      “…as for Ken Ham, i hope he’s some fringe crazy guy, and not a serious presence.”

      I have some sad news for you Dennis…

  19. ” ‘We really shouldn’t look like a church.’ I’ve heard that so much I want to vomit. ‘Why?’ I ask. ‘Do you want your bank to look like a bank? Do you want your doctor’s office to look like a doctor’s office, or would you prefer your doctor to dress like a clown? Would you be comfortable if your attorney dressed like a surfer and showed movies in his office? Then why do you want your church’s worship center to look like a talk show set?’ ” – Chuck Swindoll.

    Preach it, Chuck!!!

    • dumb ox says

      …but why does he use the term, “worship center” rather than “church” or “sanctuary”? The term, “worship center” itself is a consumer-oriented term. Maybe we are all, including Chuck, frogs in the frying pan who have no idea how hot the water has become.

  20. dumb ox says

    “And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” – From the original proclamation of national day of prayer and fasting, March 30th 1863.

    I think this was monumental at the time, when the Civil War had no appearance of the great victory of good over evil which it has since been turned into. At a time when the Union was losing battle after battle, a proclamation to pray and repent was adopted. What struck me about the NDP event that I attended was the amount of war rhetoric used – not about Bin Laden, but the never-ending cultural war. Maybe evangelicals need reconsider the origin of a national day of prayer in order to realize that war – cultural or otherwise – is not the answer. Can we as one nation gather together – regardless of our religion or non-religion – and confess our sins and be seized by an Ultimate Concern which transcends nationalism and selfishness? I think so. But as long as evangelicals believe they are engaged a civil, cultural war in which their fellow Americans and neighbors are the enemy, it will never happen.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      What struck me about the NDP event that I attended was the amount of war rhetoric used – not about Bin Laden, but the never-ending cultural war. Maybe evangelicals need reconsider the origin of a national day of prayer in order to realize that war – cultural or otherwise – is not the answer.

      You went expecting a Day of Prayer in the USA, you got Hate Week in Oceania. This year, who have we always been at war with — Eurasia or Eastasia?

    • dumb ox says

      Again, the fact that I don’t agree with them makes me their enemy and estranged from Jesus.

    • dumb ox says

      Actually, they believe that they are now viewed as the enemy by the culture, so they have become the persecuted, the victimized. The cultural war is therefore taking on a defensive posture.

    • It’s really sad to hear about the war rhetoric stuff. a NDP is such a great opportunity for humility. when i read the article i was thinking of how wonderful a NDP would be. how naive i am.

      • the whole “culture war” thing is probably the most confusing thing about American Christianity. how does a majority feel like victims in the midst of a pro-Christian environment? no president can get elected without openly professing Christianity, (and being visibly seen entering into a church with bible in hand). yet, people act as if orginizations like the ACLU have somehow locked society in its iron grip. in Canada, if you go to Church, your credibiliy is questioned. Jean Chretien wouldn’t even use the word “God” in public speeches. when asked about his church attendance he basically says, “mind your own ##@$%* business” Yet the only Canadian churches whining about their loss of place are Churches who get influenced by American orginizations.

        • American Evangelicalism has had a tendency to work from a defensive view. I believe that there are two reasons for this:

          1- It’s much easier to rally the troops when you are being attacked rather than when you are attacking.

          2- American Evangelicalism is not persecuted. In order to create the persecution that the Church lacks, they create an illusion of persecution. After all, Jesus told us we’d be persecuted. So, we make ourselves feel better by claiming persecution when there is, in fact, none.

          In America, we have a distorted view of what persecution is anyway. Not having organized prayer at the start of the public school day is not persecution. Having your life taken away for reading your Bible is persecurion.

          • Thanks…it is easy to forget that Christian’s are still being jailed, beaten, deprived of jobs and killed for daring to worship Christ. Squabbling amonst denominations sort of takes a back seat when prayer and possessing scripture can end your life prematurely.

          • Amen! I wish someone would preach that from a pulpit. It might focus some people’s attention in a better direction for once.

          • thanx steve.
            a couple of things i read last night helped me to understand a lot better. i believe it has a lot to do with the secularization that took place in the 60’s, (along with the liberal acedemic strains before the 60’s). all the old school church types are still reeling from this mind-bending era, and havn’t taken the time to really get a grip on what it all means, or how it applies to today. (Eugene Peterson’s memoir triggered these thoughts. he made an interesting comment about being a pastor in the 60’s)
            this bit especially helped. i discovered this quote from Flannery O’connor, “I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted”. we are not more secular in our day, we are just very far removed from the historically ‘Christian’ West that we came from. but that is more culture than faith.

          • Dennis-

            I love that Flannery O’Connor quote. Never heard it before.

            I live outside of NYC. I keep on being told that this is a “hard” area for Evangelicals. We just can’t fill stadiums on Sunday morning like they do down south. However, in the South, church is a part of the culture. Sort of like bagels and the New York Times is here in NY (even in the ‘burbs). Which is my point. I don’t think that the South is better evangelized. Church is just simply more ingrained into the social fabric.

            I don’t want to be accused of saying that there aren’t real Christians in the South, just that they are basically the same percentage as in the North. The South just has more people who come to church.

  21. And happy birthday to Pete Seeger! 92 and still strummin’.