January 16, 2021

Saturday Ramblings 6.15.13

RamblerHot enough for you, iMonks? Summer arrived here at the iMonastery this week. Mule Chewing Briars, being the new boy here, had to bum some sun screen from Chaplain Mike, while Adam Palmer protected his delicate skin by borrowing Martha’s umbrella. First Lady Denise just shook her head at all of the silliness. Me? I found a shady patch and went to ramblin’…

CNN, the Tampa Bay Times, and the Center for Investigative Reporting teamed together for a year-long investigation into slimy charities. And surprisingly, this time the focus is not on Christian charities. But if you think some Christian charities don’t use the same tactics as these weasels, well, have I mentioned the original Van Gogh I’m willing to let go really cheap?

Southern Baptists wrapped up their annual convention by re-electing Fred Luter as president. He seems to be a good man with a heart for the Gospel. It was also resolved that there would be no call to boycott the Boy Scouts, but it’s ok if a Baptist church or families therein don’t like the Boy Scouts anymore. What? Baptists not calling for a boycott??? Would someone please look outside and see if the world is ending?

All is not well for the SBC, as membership continues to decline. Jonathan Merritt has some ideas of how to slow or reverse this trend. Mike Huckabee disagrees. Your thoughts?

adidas wants to use the logo “adizero” for a new line of shoes. But it seems a Chicago-area church beat them to it. Christian Faith Fellowship Church began a campaign in 2006 called “Add-A-Zero” to get people to increase how much they give to the church. I can understand the confusion. Have you seen the price of shoes lately? The last time I went shopping for some tennies, I had to add a zero to what I thought I would spend …

Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby met yesterday for the first time. I’d give a closet-full of adidas shoes to have listened in on that conversation.

Meanwhile, the pope says that, yes, there is a “gay lobby” within the Vatican. Wow. This guy means to make some very big changes, does he not? I wonder if in his spare time he would be interested in being president of the U.S. of A….

And the head of the Russian Orthodox Church is urging monks from his church not to use the internet. Well, of course he would make an exception for InternetMonk …

Just in time for the opening weekend of Man Of Steel, here are ten ways you can know Superman is Jewish.

And finally, in answer to a question you have never even considered asking, Justin Taylor gives us his version of what Jesus looked like. What? He is not the caucasian Jesus with conditioned hair and a neatly trimmed beard we see in all of those wonderful paintings in Christian bookstores? What a surprise.

Happy birthday was the word this last week for Frank Lloyd Wright; Byron “Whizzer” White; Barbara Bush; Joan Rivers; Nancy Sinatra; Chuck Negron; Scott Adams; Cole Porter; Les Paul; Donald Duck; Dick Vitale; Michael J. Fox; Johnny Depp; Saul Bellow; Vince Lombardi; Gene Wilder; George Bush; Junior Brown; Tim Allen; and Donald Trump.

C’mon. You know that Saturday mornings are made for cartoons. Here’s Donald Duck in all his glory. Enjoy.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHo7q32Hwls’]


  1. I remember the “What Jesus Might’ve Looked Like” piece from 2002, when the photo of “real Jesus” first began making the rounds of the Internet. I don’t see a lot of churches replacing their old Warner Sallman paintings of Jesus with it.

    In ’99, at the small-town newspaper I edited, we put a “Merry Christmas” image on our cover—some clip art of Mary holding Jesus. Of course, this being America, our clip art rendered Mary as blond and Jesus as pink. I knew neither was true, and wanted some historical accuracy in the art, so I corrected the colors: Black hair for Mary, darker skin tones for both she and Jesus, and off to the printer it went…

    …and when we got the newspapers back, their skin came out a lot darker than we expected.

    Had a few angry letters from people who wanted to know if the Christmas picture of “Black Jesus” was my attempt to push a left-wing agenda on the reading public. Had to remind a few of them, “You know he’s not white, right?” to which most responded, “Oh of course he’s not white. But he’s NOT black.” As if it makes any difference what color our Lord is… But I suppose it does to them.

    • Marcus Johnson says

      I would take it a step further and assert that anyone who quibbles over the skin tone or hair color of Jesus is guilty of idolatry. It is little more than the desire to contain a transcendent, omnipotent character within temporal, human dimensions. Might as well make Jesus a golden calf.

      That being said, I love the idea of portraying Jesus as a Black man, not because his skin color matters, but because of how it frustrates and angers those whose commitment to a White Jesus is underscored by a deep affirmation of White privilege. It makes Jesus look to them like one of the Others, the outsiders, the underprivileged. And that is scary, especially for those who are so comfortable in their own privilege.

      • Our church had a black Jesus in our skit on the Last Supper. Not sure if there were any negative reactions, but many in our church live in more integrated neighborhoods where colors have faded over the years.

  2. My son loves Donald Duck – very spiritual!

    As for the depiction of Jesus’ face, I’m not convinced 1 Cor 11:14 would indicate much about the hair length of a first-century Jewish male. I also don’t think the suffering servant passages of Isaiah are meant to be drawn on to tell us much about the physicality of Christ.

  3. Sorry, a second comment on Jonathan Merritt’s article about slowing decline. I believe Merritt is a breath of fresh air within the SBC. I cut my teeth on Christ and the faith in the SBC. I learned a lot about a passion for Scripture and for evangelism before I connected with a newer charismatic church plant. With so much today, I am deeply disheartened at the culture wars within the SBC and towards certain ‘political’ aspects (I believe the gospel is political – announcing Jesus is King, but not in the American political way). But I very much appreciate Merritt.

    As to Huckabee’s thoughts, I think it could be a good thing if the whole 501c3 aspect of giving came to an end. To my knowledge, America is the only place that offers such. I don’t think it’s inherently wrong or that we have to give it up. I just don’t it is really that important.

  4. News flash – the Eastern Orthodox Churches are not going to modify their iconography to accommodate Justin Taylor, although I have a hard time visualizing Jesus as shorter than I am.

    We know that Ben Grimm of the Fantastic Four, the Thing, is Jewish. The Kents were Methodist, which apparently, was compatible with Superman’s practice of Rao worship.

    Thanks for the sunscreen. The Internet, in general, is not a good place for monks.

  5. When The Bible came out on the History channel, I asked my Sunday School class the perennial question, “Why do they NEVER seem to cast Jewish people in the roles of Biblical patriarchs?” I started trotting out a cast list for some Biblical epics. I think Mel Brooks would have made a stunning Abraham. Either that or Carl and Rob Reiner as Abraham and Isaac. I would definitely cast Billy Crystal as Jacob.

    And then the class got out of hand.

    Would love to hear how other iMonastics would cast the Bible. And it’s Saturday, so this should be fun.

    • Cedric Klein says

      I was casting the movie of Christopher Moore’s LAMB: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal in my head. This is what I came up with so far.

      Biff- Rob Schneider
      Jesus’ Stepdad Joseph- Jon Lovitz
      Mother Mary- ???
      Mary Magdalene- ??? but NOT Sarah Silverman
      Pontius Pilate- Norm McDonald
      Judas Iscariot- ???

      and as Jesus- Adam Sandler

    • Robert F says

      David Lee Roth as Potiphar.

  6. Marcus Johnson says

    From the Jonathan Merritt article: Tony Campolo once said that mixing the church with government is “like mixing ice cream with horse manure: You will not ruin the horse manure, but it will ruin the ice cream.” I’ll let you determine which one is the ice cream in his analogy.

    I am not too familiar with Tony Campolo, but that quote just made me fall into a passionate man-crush for him.

    • Tony Campolo is old enough and bald enough to be able to say exactly what he thinks.

      BTW, you may have to stand in line; Shane Claibourn is his present man-crush.


    • Robert F says

      I think Campolo has actually used the “s” word when speaking publicly in church settings, which may increase the ardor of your man-crush even more.

    • Some of the best of Campolo is his conversations (many times debates) with his good friend Steve Brown. The Steve Brown link on the IMonk blogroll will take you to Steve Brown Etc.. and you can look up some of those conversations. They also used to have a good TV show with great conversations.

  7. Robert F says

    It alarms me that, if I’m reading the linked article correctly, the Pope is equating the alleged existence of a “gay lobby” in the Vatican with a “stream of corruption,” as if the reason for that institutions faults and sins is the existence of closet homosexual cardinals within the power structure; if the wording is changed to “Jewish lobby,” which would be clearly unacceptable, it gives a better idea of how ominous such a statement may sound to the LGBT community.

    Is this the beginning of a purge of homosexual members from the Vatican? Is the groundwork being laid here for the idea that the terrible child abuse scandals involving the Catholic church are the result of gay power interests corrupting the church’s purity and holiness? I may be wrong, but I’m afraid that these words can too easily be read as the beginning of a renewed project of scapegoating in the Catholic church, hanging the responsibility for that church’s terrible faults on an “unholy” minority.

    If that is the purport of the Pope’s words, then they do not bode well for the full inclusion of GLBT in the life of the church, and they represent a step backward into denial and scapegoating for the Catholic church as a whole.

    • Robert, I do not believe there is ANY LGBTQ proponent that is advocating for CELIBATE clergy. Their whole purpose is bent toward the “natural” practicing of that lifestyle/proclivity, and therefor anathema to true Roman Catholic requirements for clergy. Certainly a celibate clergy member, whether gay or straight, is acceptable to most Catholics, but any individual that demands that the Church accept sexual activity IN ANY MANNER, or the advocating for the same, would, and SHOULD, be shown the door, ESPECIALLY in leadership positions!

      Now, if the RCC decided to remove the celibacy restriction THEN we’d have a REAL dust-up!

      • I don’t believe, as a former Roman Catholic, that the church prohibits advocating for the full inclusion of even non-celibate GLBT people in the life of the church; and what I object to here is scapegoating a minority for the abuses and faults, the “stream of corruption,” of a vast and powerful organization.

        And why do you think that that those gays who happen to be members of the curia and also happen to be member of this alleged “gay lobby” would not be respecting their own vows of celibacy? I would think that there is not much difference between heterosexual and homosexual cardinals with regard to how they honor their vows.

        As a post-Roman Catholic, I have some of the same sensitivities toward the RCC that many post-evangelicals here at iMonk have toward the evangelical circus; I know how deeply entrenched conservatism is at the highest levels, and how much of that entrenchment is in the mire of hypocrisy and scagegoatism. I can smell it when it raises its ugly head, and I don’t like it.

        Gays are not responsible for the debacles and corruption of the RCC, and to suggest otherwise is just inexcusable.

        • Nothing I said can remotely be called “scapegoating” LGBTQ people as members of the RCC in general. My comments are directed to clergy ONLY, and THAT in respect to the vows of celibacy, whether heterosexual or “other”. If any member of the clergy cannot live up to that vow then they should be shown the door. And, as I said, if the RCC decided to remove the celibacy restriction then we’d be having a different discussion.

          • Robert F says

            I didn’t claim you were scapegoating; and any removal of disobedient clergy should not be connected with a supposed “gay lobby” but with the behavior of any priest, gay or straight.

            Mention of a “gay lobby” in connection with a “stream of corruption” is inflammatory and biased.

          • @Robert…..I am sorry that you have bought into the secular worldview that sees nothing wrong with a sexual expression outside of valid marriage. You consider yourself “Post-Catholic”, while I sadly see you as believing the subtle lies of the Prince of Darkness.

            If there were a “Pro-Contraception” lobby or a “Pro-Euthanasia” lobby or a “Pro-Abortion” lobby in the Curia these would also be matters of grave concern and signs of misguided or misleading ideas. Being homosexual is no more a sin that wanting to steal, the sin is the acting out.

          • Robert F says

            That’s post-Roman Catholic, Pattie, not post-catholic. And whichever side of the the issue of sexual identity and orientation one may be on, there can be no justification for linking the sins and faults of the Vatican, such as the worldwide cover-up of the abuse of children by RCC priests, which is the result of the willingness to suppress the truth in order to preserve the illusory prestige of a powerful international institution, to the existence of a “gay lobby” responsible for “a stream of corruption” in the College of Cardinals. The sins of the Vatican are the result of the hunger for power and prestige at any cost, and the denial of that truth represented by an attempt to blame a vilified minority faction in the Vatican is further evidence of the extent of the sin resulting from that hunger.

            Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

      • There’s a lot of bias against Hetero single Christians who are Baptist and Protestant, particularly for those who have never married and are over 35 years of age.

        All Christians are called to be chaste. If you’re not married, you’re not supposed to be having sex. If you are, then obviously, you are to remain faithful to your spouse.

        Being married is not a requirement for being a preacher, but a lot of Baptist churches twist scriptures to say that it is.

        Unmarried Pastor, Seeking a Job, Sees Bias

        I think before anyone gets critical with Catholics over their stance on celibate clergy either way, they need to consider that a lot of Protestant and Baptists treat older, celibate Christians like trash, not only in regards to working in leadership positions, but even in casual daily encounters (for examples, see the book “Singled Out: Why Celibacy Must Be Reinvented in Today’s Church” by Christine Colon, Bonnie Field )

        • Robert F says

          The issue that the linked article brings up is not about celibacy; it’s about one of the most powerful and influential religious leaders in the world blaming a secret “gay lobby” of homosexual cardinals in the Vatican for a “stream of corruption” existing in and degrading that institution. To me, such a claim is morally outrageous, and since I consider myself a catholic Christian, I will certainly be vocally critical of such a position taken by any Christian leader, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      I suspect your reading of this is about right. I have seen some coverage which seems to think that the Pope is mentioning the “gay lobby” positively, as an interest bloc which might bring about change. This is a complete misreading, probably based on the parochial notion that because Francis has some positions which in the US are associated with being “liberal,” therefore he is “liberal” in the US sense across the board. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in that philosophy. Francis clearly is on the “conservative” side with respect to LBGT issues. The only question is whether this is high enough on his list that he will devote attention to it.

    • As the pope, he can just order them arrested and killed, if they are in the Vatican.

      • Robert F says

        Now, Gerald, that is a truly inflammatory statement; I don’t think the Papal Swiss Guard is in the business of performing executions at the Pope’s behest…….at least, not anymore.

        • According to Wikipedia, Vatican City is an “absolute theocratic elective monarchy” in which the pope ” exercises ex officio supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power.” So I guess in theory, he really does have the right to order people killed. In practice, it’s very bureaucratic, and popes are more likely to intervene by pardoning people. Executions would be horrible PR.

          By the way, the Swiss Guards serve the Holy See, not the Vatican (which is different). The Vatican police are called the Corpo della Gendarmeria.

          Besides the gay mafia, there is also a feminist mafia (they would have to hang a bunch of nuns) as well as an anti-child-molesting mafia (not so well represented in the Vatican, unfortunately). Not to mention the usual Italian graft.

    • Robert – I fear you are right about this. 🙁

  8. Brianthedad says

    Enjoyed the Superman history lesson. I was unaware of that. It seems at least one reviewer is noting that the most recent iteration of the series has some Christian overtones. It also seems the reviewer is a little upset about that. Anyone else sense that? http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/06/14/man-steel-filled-with-jesus-christianity-references/?intcmp=features here’s the link. I know some will not check it out because its on Fox, but it’ll be ok, just this once…

    • Cedric Klein says

      I read it. I see no upset on the part of the writer.

      Heck, the director of Superman Returns openly discussed the Christ parallels with Christianity Today a few years ago. Lex Luthor even stabbed Superman in the side with a krytonite blade. It could only have been more obvious if he’d gone after Supe with a kryptonite hammer & nails.

      • Brianthedad says

        It was this comment. “…with his arms out-stretched like the crucifix. Freeze-frame it and you can have your own Superman prayer card.” It just seemed to me that the author was a little unsettled by it. Perhaps he was piqued in a similar manner as Jeff Dunn is. Jeff’s post today addresses this. I had a flash when I initially read it on Foxnews that it sounded like an attempt to “Passionize” this movie. Sadly, a few positive Jesus allusions and churches will mobilize to support pop culture. Hollywood knows this. Ask HUG, he’ll tell you.

  9. Nice to see the Justice Conference mentioned.

    I went to the Justice Conference in Philidelphia in January and was nervous that I was going to enter a parallel universe of sort-of Christianity. (Yes, I still carry a lot of fundi-Baptist baggage.) I was incredibly impressed by the passionate love for the gospel expressed by the speakers. They were far more “mainstream” Christian than I could have imagined. Youth and energy were on display but so were wisdom and age (Google John Perkins and John H. Westerhoff).

    One of the most odd moments was whenSheryl WuDunn who was the only presenter who was not overtly Christian was wrapping up her Half the Sky presentation. She began to give the crowd her reasons why they should give themselves to the betterment of society by bettering the position of women; her conclusion was that you will live longer and have a happier life if you serve others. It was as if her words dropped like badly spit watermelon seeds. The crowed knew why they served others and it wasn’t for better health.

  10. The folks that complained about Jesus’ skin color may be related to the ones that say “If the KJV was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me!”

  11. The Southern Baptists also passed a resolution that took aim at Mohler and Dever et al. for supporting Sovereign Grace Ministries and CJ Mahaney:


  12. Southern Baptist decline.

    A few reasons I feel the Southern Baptist denomination is declining (in no particular order – and I used to be a SB, by the way, if that matters)…

    1.a.They spend too much time fighting culture wars (including obsessing about things such as Boy Scouts)
    1.b. They spend too much time dabbling in or opining about politics

    2. Gender Complementarianism.

    There is no real place for women to serve in a meaningful way in SB churches, and it’s just plain sexism, which turns a lot of people off

    3. Ignoring or Insulting Un Married Christians who are over the age of 25 – 30 and beyond.

    a. Most Southern Baptists either completely ignore the issues and problems particular to older singles, which is hurtful, insulting, and problematic; or,

    b. When singles past the age of 25 – 30 are noticed (I am one), we are condemned for it or subjected to stereotypes and suspicions, (e.g., you are not married because you are homosexual; or, you hate men; or, you are lazy; or, you put career before marriage.)

    Al Mohler has written or said in interviews that single men should not serve as preachers, and he blames singles who have not married by 25 for being single (he advises Christians to get married right out of high school or by 20, 21).

    Meanwhile, close to half the American population of adults is single – and churches, due to their horrible attitudes and treatment or neglect of singles, coupled with conservative Christianity’s endless obsession with “traditional marriage” or “the nuclear family” alienates those who are not married with kids.

    • Daisy, you are being generous in calling reason #2 “Gender Complementarianism.” But I see you aren’t fooled. You also called it “just plain sexism” which is more correct. The new Complementarianism is the old Patriarchy with a new logo.

      And you said, “Al Mohler has written or said in interviews that single men should not serve as preachers.” I had to read this twice to make sure I understood you correctly. Are you sure? If so, has anyone told Mohler about Jesus? And that other guy, Paul?

  13. Simply do a Google Images search of “jesus.” hahaha

  14. For a few decades now when the subject came up, I’ve said that Jesus likely looked a lot more like Yasser Arafat than any of the pictures hanging in churches or illustrations in Bibles or church literature.

    It usually didn’t make for a joyful moment. 🙂

  15. I wish I could remember the source of the quote but “Jesus? Isn’t that a Hispanic name?”

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