September 30, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 6.30.12

Welcome to the birthday edition of Saturday Ramblings. It was the birthday week for the Synonymous Rambler. Hey, the SR takes birthdays seriously. One day isn’t enough! Wednesday was my son’s 19th birthday. Friday was the birthday of my friend Mike Davis—and I am still recovering from his party. (He said it was BYOLS: Bring Your Own Lamp Shade. But all I had was agua de sandia…) And it was the birthday of … well, you’ll see in a bit. And then you’ll know why this is an abbreviated edition of your Saturday Ramblings…

At the recent Southern Baptist Convention convention there was much discussion over the doctrine of salvation. David Platt, a Baptist pastor in Alabama, supposedly said he thought the “sinner’s prayer” was superstitious and useless for those who were not the elect. Well, Platt is none too happy those words were put in his mouth. (We didn’t do that here, by the by.) Here is his response, as well as the message he shared at the Convention’s convention. (I like saying that.)

I like reading both fiction and non-fiction. But when it comes to the leaks coming from the Vatican, the powers that be prefer non-fiction. Go figure.

Well, this proves it. I was waffling a bit on the idea of creation vs. evolution, but now that we have proof, well, I’m all in. And we wonder why some, ok, many, people question whether a Christian-based science curriculum can offer a valid education. (Give HUG a few minutes, and I’m sure he’ll work out how My Little Pony is proof of evolution …)

And in our effort to further separate Christians from the world around, we now have the Resonate Film Festival, honoring Christian and family-friendly movies. The Christian ghetto continues to grow.

Ok, so maybe you don’t like President Obama’s plan for providing health care to all. (You can read Chaplain Mike’s excellent piece about that here.) Maybe you think Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a better plan to get the economy rolling again. But which president would do better in the face of an alien invasion? This could be the deciding factor in a tight race. By the way, are you prepared? You never know …

Speaking of aliens, the World’s Ugliest Dog was crowned this week. Mugly, a Chinese Crested Short Snout, beat out 28 other rats dressed as dogs to win this year’s contest. (Hey, that’s how the Synonymous Rambler described them, not me.)  His picture takes the place of Mr. Bones at the top of this week’s Ramblings. In addition to this great honor, Mugly gets $1000, a VIP stay in a luxurious hotel, and a year’s worth of dog biscuits. Seriously. Take that, American Idol.

Birthdays this week were celebrated by Mary Livingstone; June Carter-Cash; Jason Mraz; Jack Dempsey; Mick Fleetwood; Jeff Beck; Chris Wood; George Orwell; Carly Simon; Pearl S. Buck; Peter Lorre; Helen Keller; Bob “Captain Kangaroo” Keeshan; Bruce Johnston; Lester Flatt; Mark Dunn and Jude Helix Wolfe.

Who? None other than my newest grandson, that’s who. Jude is the beautiful son of my daughter, Leah, and her husband, Ty. Mother and son doing well, father’s finger is sprained from taking so many pictures. Grandpa is bursting with pride. Enjoy.


  1. wow…Jude is beautiful!

  2. Congratulations, Jeff.

    Quite a handsome little guy, with his beautiful mom.

    What a blessing.

  3. David Cornwell says

    Congratulations, it is wonderful being a grandparent , the more the merrier!

  4. petrushka1611 says


    Let’s hope the poor child is kept away from the ACE curriculum…the comic strips are almost worse than the “information” about Nessie.

  5. Richard McNeeley says

    Congratulations on the birth of your grandson.
    Birthday greetings to Mel Brooks, Derek Jeter, Harmon Killebrew, Slim Pikens and the World’s Oldest Rodeo (number 125) here in Prescott, AZ.

  6. StJohn117 says

    Lurker chiming in with a Couple of thoughts on the ramblings —
    1. Pratt’s response. Um. Can we get a translator for this guy? He contradicts himself so many times, first he hates easy believism, then he advocates it. First he doesn’t like the sinner’s prayer because it’s too easy, then he advocates its used after you’re done beating some poor soul over the head with it. This is of course followed by the grandiose call to be missional. Because God hates ordinary. I mean, if you’re not “sold out,” “radical” “risking it all,” apparently, God doesn’t like you very much. Never mind the fact that Paul advocates living a quiet life. No, you’ve got to be a radical, sold out, crazy son of a gun who spits out scripture faster than a MP-40! Get ’em saved, sign the contract, but don’t tell ’em about the fine print. That’s later. Ugh. Sorry if people found that overly harsh, I’m just a wee bit tired of the rhetoric being bandied about lately. It’s part of the reason I’m out here in this wilderness. I’ve no stomach for this kind of thinking anymore. Christian? Yes. Evangelical? No.

    2. You know, I always thought that Fundies didn’t take science all that seriously… now I’m absolutely sure of it. Look, if you have to resort to mythological creatures to prove your case, perhaps its time that we re-examine some things, hmm? This smacks of anti-intellectualism with a dash of absurdity for good measure. I’m not saying that I’m an evolutionist, but it wouldn’t destroy my faith if we could, as Dawkins believes, prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    • Welcome to our journey thru the wilderness, St. John. You are most welcome here.

      Platt is walking a fine line. He’s a Baptist and was speaking to his peers, so he had to be very careful in what he said. But at heart I believe Platt, like many he was speaking to but who would be afraid to admit it, knows just saying the Sinner’s Prayer or any formulaic word structure is not the ticket to admission to Heaven. Now, how to say that to a group of people who have based their ministries on just such a belief without getting himself run out on a rail…

      • I doubt the sinner’s prayer has anything to do with theology. It seems like a construct borrowed from revivalism to facilitate assembly line, mass-production religion. The real heresy here is the church growth movement.

      • I attend an SBC church (for almost 11 years now), and I haven’t been a fan of the sinners prayer for a long time now. I used to tell kids in a Sunday School class that I helped teach that I’m less interested in the fact that they said a prayer in the past than whether or not they are following Jesus now, if only because I know many Southern Baptists pin their confidence on having said the sinner’s prayer. I agree with Platt that it tends to be used “magically”, such that if the prayer has been said, then salvation is done (evangelicals tend to treat the sinners prayer as a sacrament, but not the Lord’s Supper or baptism–how odd). But while I agree with him on that point, I think he just replaces “easy believism” with a new wretched urgency and obsessive self-introspection, such that someone is no longer asking themselves “Did I say such and such prayer,” but instead they’re asking “Am I really born again…Am I really on fire for God? If I’m struggling with sin I must be unregenerate, right?… Etc.” So given Platt’s description of what it means to be born again, the people are still not looking to Jesus, but to some black-and-white conversion experience or major post-conversion evidence. Sheesh.

        One commenter on the CT article, Rick Dalbey, mentioned something that gets to the heart of what annoys me about Platt’s view of salvation and conversion:

        “How much repentance do we need to tip the scales towards regeneration? How much before David Platt aknowledges we are regenerated? Luke seemed pretty confident that 3000 had been saved at the close of Peter’s sermon. He also seemed pretty confident that 5000 were saved a few chapters later.”

        I remember something Michael Spencer wrote a few years ago about a member of a congregation that he preached at on occasion (this is paraphrased from memory, so it may be off). Michael apparently knew the man–he apparently had real evidence of genuine faith and was growing, etc., then he visited another church and heard some evangelist and had some emotional experience, and so the person assumed that he wasn’t really saved before and was only now truly saved. I seem to recall Michael being quite frustrated about that (he may have posted it here or at the BHT, I don’t recall). To me, that story is exactly what the Platt article reminds me of. Wretched Urgency, all the way.

      • StJohn117 says

        Jeff: First off, thank you for the welcome. I feel more at home here to be able to speak my mind. What you say is probably correct. I don’t so much have a problem with the sinner’s prayer itself. you need a template/”liturgical” prayer, fine. I have more of a problem with the attitude behind it and I think we’re in agreement of that. I’m more bothered that they will not consider discussing the issue.

  7. On a day to day, non-theoretical difference, what is the difference between believing:

    Works save me!

    If I were really saved, I would be doing these radical works!

    • The fist essential means God owes me because I’m a great guy, the second says I owe God because he’s a great guy.

      • I meant from an assurance perspective, it was in responce to Platt’s sermon. He disparages relying on works righteousness, but then uses lack of works to prove that the people in the surveys he mentions aren’t actually saved, and goes on to say that really saved people live their lives in a radically different, remarkably worksy way and do big things for God.

        I understand the theoretical difference in the theologies, but on a day to day basis, I don’t understand how both options don’t equally leave a person staring at the works in their life and divining if they’ve done enough to prove they are repentant/regenerate/really saved.

  8. Adrienne says

    Oh Jeff ~ congratulations!! Jude is beautiful.

  9. Congratulations!

  10. “One of these texts from Bob Jones University Press claims that dinosaurs were fire-breathing dragons. It has little to do with science as we currently understand. It’s more like medieval scholasticism” – Rachel Loxton, from, “How American fundamentalist schools are using Nessie to disprove evolution.”

    I remember sitting in a Creationism Sunday School class, where medieval tales of dragons were offered as evidence of dinosaurs in recent times. I fully expect their defense to be that this is more credible evidence than that used to defend evolution. The bombardier beetle is used by creationists as irrefutable evidence of intelligent design as well as evidence that dragons existed.

    “They are being brought up to believe that they’re at war with secular society. The only valid government would be a Christian fundamentalist government. Obviously some comparisons could be made to Islamic Fundamentalists in schools.” – Loxton.

    I agree, but the defense would be that this is a voluntary program, not mandatory, like Sharia. But then again, this may be just the trunk of the elephant entering the front door.

    Maybe we can spend tax dollars offering an elective class on scientific gilgamesh-ism. It all sounds crazy, but I bet there is a public school out there offering an elective study in extraterrestrial life. Once again, Christians end up looking just like the culture they attempt to redeem.

    Science a la Medieval scholasticism? Let’s see…if Nessie can float, then she must be a duck, and therefore, she is made of wood, which burns. Therefore, Nessie must be a WITCH!!! Burn her! Burn her!

    • Jeff, congratulatons on the grandchild and good wishes to the mother and father!

      Now – “It’s more like medieval scholasticism”? Ooh, them’s fightin’ words, Ms. Rachel Loxton! Particularly as mediaeval scholasticism was the re-discovery of the Greek philosophical tradition and the attempt to harmonise that with Scripture and Tradition, prioritising the use of reason and not blind literalism.

      Indeed, the Scholastics were often criticised for falling into error and for seeming to value Classical authors as authorities over Biblical sources.

      If we’re going to argue about Creationism versus the Middle Ages, all I can say is that the 12th century was way ahead of the posse; I’m going to borrow the quotes that Mike Flynn is fond of quoting in these instances:

      ‘What is more foolish than to assume that something exists simply because the creator can make it. Whoever says God makes anything contrary to nature should either see that it is so with his own eyes or show the reason for it being thus, or let him demonstrate the advantage of it being so’.
      — William of Conches, The Dragmaticon (twelfth-century Scholastic philosopher and theologian)

      [They say] “We do not know how this is, but we know that God can do it.” You poor fools! God can make a cow out of a tree, but has He ever done so? Therefore show some reason why a thing is so, or cease to hold that it is so.
      — William of Conches, The Dragmatikon

      “[T]he natural order does not exist confusedly and without rational arrangement, and human reason should be listened to concerning those things it treats of. But when it completely fails, then the matter should be referred to God. Therefore, since we have not yet completely lost the use of our minds, let us return to reason.”
      — Adelard of Bath, Quaestiones naturales (12th century English natural philosopher)

      I wish people wouldn’t toss around “mediaeval” as a term of disparagement without knowing anything about the times or the actual schools of thought.

      • Thank you, Martha!

      • There is an irony in disparaging schools that teach students about mythological creatures as though they were real by comparing them unfavourably with myths about the Middle Ages as though these were real.

  11. Randy Thompson says

    The Loch Ness Monster??


    There are also monsters supposedly lurking in Lake Champlain and Lake Memphremagog (on the Quebec-Vermont border). The one in Lake Memphremagog even as a name, “Memphre” as I recall.

    Maybe these people in Louisiana are on to something . . .

    So, does this mean that Bigfoot sightings are signs of the End Times?

    • Danielle says

      I’m having flash backs to my own childhood. I’m pretty sure we had a book with both the Nessie comment, and the Japanese fishermen story.

      As for Bigfoot: Time for a new end times movie?

  12. Rachel Loxton’s article appears to have the intent of making this supposed curriculum and, thereby all fundamentalists, look ridiculous. Firstly, lots of fundamentalist views don’t need Rachel’s help to look ridiculous. Secondly, I submit that we are not given enough hard information in this article to make any kind of decision in regard to the ACE program or the “movement” of which it is a part. However, the implication that any and all young-earth creationist views are, by nature, unscientific is just as silly as any attempt to paint the Nellie legend as reality. She paints with too broad a brush.

    The difference between a creationist view and evolution is the range of assumptions that ties the evidence together, not the evidence itself. The ‘theory” of evolution is a house of cards built on a foundation of assumptions and should not be confused with fact. That doesn’t nullify evolution as a concept, however. The science vs. faith debate has raged for at least 400 years. Let it continue. The exercise is beneficial.

    • …please make that the “Nessie” legend …. 🙂

    • I don’t disagree, but my exposure to creationism has either been this type of non-scientific speculation or heavy reliance upon fallacious arguments, such as begging-the-question (i.e. how could such complex biology exist without intelligent design?). We could very easily win the battle but win the war, if we fail to teach our children sound logic in the defense of truth. The means and ends are easily confused.

  13. Denise Spencer says

    Wow. Congratulations, Jeff, to Leah, Ty, you, Kathy and everyone else concerned! Welcome to the world, Jude! (And you can tell them that naming the wee one after one of my patron saints is a really classy move!)

  14. Elizabeth says

    I’m a Southern Baptist from the cradle and a Christian homeschooling mom so I think I need to say this: We are not all like that – PLEASE believe me!! ACE is pretty well disregarded my most homeschoolers I know and BJU Press makes me cringe. I’ve been lucky to avoid the more eye rolling parts of the SBC for most of my life.

    Anyway: “One of these texts from Bob Jones University Press claims that dinosaurs were fire-breathing dragons” I’m just not sure if this encourages my daughter’s hope that her letter from Hogwarts is still on it’s way or not 🙂

    Congrats on the new baby!!!!