January 18, 2021

Saturday Ramblings 6.19.10

Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack … reach into your box of Cracker Jack and see what your prize is. Why look! You got Saturday Ramblings!

Just in case you went into hiding after the Reds lost two out of three games to the Kansas City Royals, the story you missed this week that has been well-discussed here and here was the lightning strike that burned the King of Kings statue in front of the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio. What more needs to be said about this event? Well, nothing that would make me any new friends in Monroe.

We also wrote about setting sail from safe harbor out into the deep waters where we see the great things of God. Perhaps we did not emphasize strongly enough the dangers of the deeps. Abby Sunderland was attempting to become the youngest person to sail solo around the globe when she encountered heavy seas that capsized her boat. She could have stayed safely near the shore, but Abby knows that is not what boats are built for.

So a minister, a rabbi and an imam walk into a bar. If you go to Claremont School of Theology in California, this is not a joke. The University Project will allow seminary students at Claremont to cross-enrol in programs that train future Muslim and Jewish religious leaders while working toward their own degrees in Christian theology. “Christians attend school with Christians, Jewish with Jewish and Muslims with Muslim,” said Rev. Jerry Campbell, president of the Claremont School of Theology. “Educating people in a segregated environment is not a way to teach them to be peacemakers. It only steeps them in their own religion and with their own people.” Your thoughts?

Bryant Wright, pastor of Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia was elected on the second ballot this week as the head of the Southern Baptist Convention. He said he wants every Southern Baptist pastor take a mission trip in order to experience another culture. Also at the festivities in Orlando, Southern Baptists adopted “major changes” to deal with shrinking congregations and the “lostness of the world.”

Matt Chandler spoke to the Southern Baptist Convention, saying in part, “I, unfortunately, with a great deal of sorrow have walked away from the idea that all of you are men and women of the Word,” Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, told a group of Southern Baptist pastors Monday. “I’ve just come to find that a lot of you are really good at clichés and really bad at tying in the Word.” Ouch. Don’t sugarcoat it, Matt. Tell them how you really feel.  Here you will read how that Matt got at least one Baptist’s attention by the way he prays. Sounds like we missed a good time in Orlando this week.

It appears the latest fashion fad is the wearing of rosaries. Celebrities are sporting the prayer beads in public, and schools are concerned that rosaries are becoming “gang-wear” that could lead to violence. Alan Creech is a long-time sponsor and contributor here at the Internet Monk. We asked Alan to share with us, from his perspective as a Catholic and as an artist who makes rosaries and other prayer beads, what the proper use of the rosary is. You will find his comments here. (No, as far as I know, Alan is not making a line of beads for Bloods and Crips.)

Watching sports on television, as opposed to watching religious programming, can be hazardous to your health. At least it was for one African, whose wife and children beat him to death for trying to change the channel from their religious program to World Cup soccer action. I just have no response to that. Well, I mean, I have lots of responses, but I had better not go there lest I get in bigger trouble than usual. You, on the other hand, may contribute your thoughts now.

That hideous noise you hear in the background of every World Cup game is not a bunch of angry bees, but rather fans blowing vuvuzelas—three-foot long plastic horns that just sound like angry bees. These can be very dangerous to your health, as one woman found out this week. Here is what ESPN columnist Rick Reilly has to say about these, um, musical instruments:

“Babe, something’s wrong with the TV,” my wife said Saturday. But there wasn’t anything wrong. It was the dreaded vuvuzelas, the yard-long plastic horns (voo-voo-zella) that South African fans blow all the time, without rhyme nor reason, when something is happening and when it’s not (it’s usually not), during timeouts and time ins, during halftime and at the breakfast table and while they’re on the bus and while doing their taxes, until you just want to stab two fondue forks deep into your ears and stir. They never stop. It’s like having a desk in the center cubicle at American Bee, Inc. They sound like 80,000 yaks getting sick. They are the leading cause of Tylenol sales in the world today.

One of the charms of soccer is the singing that fans do. There is always loads of singing and chanting because every game is 1-nil, so there’s plenty of time for singing and chanting. Soccer fans sing and chant inane hilarious things like, “We are from Norway! We came on a plane! And we are very drunk!” But we don’t get to hear the singing and the chanting because of the horrible, hideous, heinous vuvuzelas! They should take them into the mountainous caves region of Pakistan and play them until Osama bin Laden comes running out, screaming, “OK, OK! I give!”

Don’t tell me it’s discrimination to want them to stop. Don’t tell me it’s an essential part of South African culture. If it is, it’s an annoying part of their culture. Yes, I know that centuries ago, the vuvuzelas were made from animal horns to call the village elders in for a meeting. And I’ll bet you five wildebeests that when the elders finally got to the meeting they said, “Would you STOP already with the blowing? You’re making me crazy!” I’ve been to Africa four times. They do some of the most beautiful singing you can imagine. At the World Cup, I’m hearing no singing. I’m hearing no chanting. I’m hearing 80,000 kazoos on steroids.

Ok, this has nothing whatsoever to do with what we usually talk about here at Internet Monk. But how can you pass up a story about a box of human heads? I can’t wait to see the new commercials Southwest Airlines will come up with now. I expect to see a group of baggage handlers lift their shirts to reveal their chests painted with the message, “Heads Fly Free!” Oh come on–you love this and you know it. And don’t you think “Box of Human Heads” would make a great name for a rock band?

Birthdays this week include Anne Frank; Jim “Gomer Pyle” Nabors; Kenny Wayne Shepherd; Junior Brown (my favorite Junior Brown song? “You’re Wanted By The Police, And My Wife Thinks You’re Dead.”); Tim “Buzz Lightyear” Allen; Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen; Jim Belushi; James Smith, lead singer of The Stylistics; Sir Paul McCartney; and Oz Fox, lead guitarist for Stryper.

Finally, mark your calendars for the movie you will want to see this Christmas: Voyage Of The Dawn Treader. This is my favorite book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. From this trailer, it looks like it will be a winner as a movie as well.


  1. cyborgninja says

    What gets me are people complaining about the vuvuzelas days after the World Cup began. I personally tuned them out after the opening South Africa-Mexico match. I could still hear the crowd, and a bit of drumming and music here and there. Gee, people are drama queens sometimes.

    And as an African, I’m sick of people in other parts of the world drawing the line of where “true” African music during the W.C. starts and ends. Please…vuvuzelas are just as normal as the Soweto Gospel Choir. Not every bit of culture is made to please or placate foreigners — we’re not a theme park. [/rant]

  2. Oh no, how will Heywood Banks make a living without “Big Butter Jesus” in his repertoire?

  3. “So a minister, a rabbi and an imam walk into a bar….” This is interesting, In the Middle East they has a saying, “An enemy is someone whose story you have not heard.” So my gut feeling is that there is soemthing quite laudible about Claremont’s experiment. Certainly worth a try.

    • Claremont’s experiment may sound great to some… but not to United Methodists (like me) who have watched many of our denominational seminaries, like Claremont, wander away from classical Christian faith and toward a bland universalism.

      This new program only makes explicit what has been implicit at Claremont for years… that all the world’s religions, including Christianity, are nothing more than sociological phenomena.

  4. I cringe at the announcement of the next so-called Narnia movie. The first wasn’t bad. Prince Caspian, on the other hand, our family unanimously and ceremoniously took out of the DVD player in the middle of the movie and threw away. I don’t think any of us will even attempt Dawn Treader.

    • Damaris,

      My understanding is that the franchise has changed production companies, and that the producers are trying to rectify some of the mistakes made in the second installment. Check out this article at CT about it:


      I’m hoping that this movie ends up being worth checking out. Like Jeff, it’s my favorite of the books in the series.

      • I have some inside knowledge of the production process which, alas, I am not allowed to divulge. I can say that there has been much discussion as to the “Christian content” of this next movie, and I feel confident that the executive producers understand that watering down Lewis’s intent in these stories is a big mistake.

        There is also a very good possibility that Dawn Treader will be the last movie made in the Chronicles series–at least by Disney.

        I, for one, will be there on December 10 when this film opens. (Of course, I said that for Iron Man 2–which I have yet to see…)

    • Our reaction was the opposite. We liked Caspian in the theater and bought the Blu-Ray. I like Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent). I’m glad to hear he’s back in Voyage.

  5. I don’t know why, but the head story put me right off my cereal.

  6. And I’ve been trying to imagine the vuvuzela combined with the Australian Aboriginal didge. I happen to love the didge. The combo sounds extremely interesting.

  7. Quotes from Chandler’s message:

    “I stand before you … as a perfect, spotless son of God by no act of my own but by an act on the cross. This is how we combat sin and grow in maturity – [through] an understanding of what the Gospel is.”

    “If you’ve preached a lot of moralistic deism and haven’t trained your people in what the Gospel is, then you will find them doing a slew of different things to try to mortify their sin and grow in godliness, most of which do not work and have no power,” Chandler stated.

    “When you say … ‘this is how you modify your behavior,’ you’ve doomed your people to a cycle of silliness that will last for the rest of their lives. [It will] end in them never really loving God fully and trying to mortify their flesh by weapons of their flesh and in the end only flesh wins.”

    I like what I am reading, but I would need to hear more, particularly how Chandler avoids the law-gospel-law ditch.

    • This is also really good.


    • I’d like to post this link too, simply to indicate some skeptism whether the likes of Piper and Chandler really get the gospel. When Piper says that he doesn’t try to include the entire gospel message in his sermons, it seems that in his mind that the gospel is the canned shpeel that you recite before having an altar call or having people close their eyes and raise their hands. I think Piper and Chandler are close when they talk about the cross or being Christ-centric. The gospel to me is not a “what” but a “how”: its how God reaches us; it’s how God saves us. It is the entire context of our message, rather than chapter in the book. The gospel is actually a “who”: Jesus himself, broken for us. It’s more than a contrast against therapeutic, moralistic deism, which is a good start. But it’s easy to trade one moralistic system for another. It’s why Luther’s theology of the cross mortifies me: just when I think I get it, I stumble into yet another theology of glory.


  8. For the record, Bryant Wright is pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. Here in metro Atlanta area there were lots of ferries: Paces Ferry, Powers Ferry, Heards Ferry, Nesbit Ferry, Bells Ferry, DeFoors Ferry, Montgomery Ferry, Jones Ferry, Howell Ferry, McGinnis Ferry, Hutcheson Ferry, Isom’s Ferry, Nelson’s Ferry, Vann’s Ferry, Jones Ferry, and probably a few others besides. The man who ran the ferry across the Chattahoochee River near Roswell was named Dunwoody. Go figure.

    • Is the church located on Peachtree Street? If so, which Peachtree Street. I understand there are seventeen of them in Atlanta. As long as there is a Varsity Hot Dog stand on each…

  9. Since the last two presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention have been from Atlanta (Johnny Hunt in Woodstock and Bryant Wright in Marietta), here’s more Atlanta trivia. Besides ferries, a lot of the roads are also named for mills: Akers Mill, Arnold Mill, Autrey Mill, Barnes Mill, Brick Mill, Brown’s Mill, Evans Mill, Houston Mill (pronounced house-ton, not hugh-ston), Howell Mill, Mason Mill, Moore’s Mill, Pace’s Mill, Paper Mill, Rock Mill, Scott Mill, Sewell Mill, Terrell Mill, Tilly Mill, Tribble Mill, Tucker Mill, White’s Mill, Wilkerson Mill, and Williams Mill (also known as Durand’s Mill and Wallace’s Mill).

    Just thought you would want to know that Johnson Ferry Road (where Bryant Wright’s church is located) crosses Paper Mill Road, which runs into Terrell Mill Road, which crosses Powers Ferry Road.

    None of that “42nd Street and 5th Avenue” stuff around here.

  10. Interesting statistics.
    From the link to the SBC changes.

    “The task force outlined not only the dismal statistics within the denomination but also the overwhelming lostness of the world in its report, revealing that some 6 billion of the 6.8 people in the world are without Christ and…”

    The only way I can figure out these numbers are if you exclude all the RCC and most other orthodox faiths. Just how does the SBC count Christians?

    • I think you answered your own question: They leave out Catholics and Anglicans and Orthodox. They count Southern Baptists and…and…someone help me out here. Who else do they count as Christians?

      • Jeff,

        It depends upon which Baptist you ask, as to which ones they consider Christian. They are probably only counting Baptists, and possibly a small number of non-denominational evangelical ones.

      • Savannah says

        That would be evidence of some fairly incredible hubris. . . wow.

        • It’s not a new concept. It’s been a tenant of most Baptist for decades, if not since the beginning. Never gotten a good answer as to who made it to heaven from about 100 AD to the 1800s. But I guess that’s covered by Landmarkism. 🙂

          FYI, I grew up in what I thought of as a typical SBC church in the 60s. But maybe it wasn’t or I was obtuse as I have no memory of these issues.

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