January 25, 2021

Saturday Ramblings 7.31.10

Both Lexus and Majesty, the horses who have graced Saturday Ramblings these last few months, have scampered off to greener pastures. Fortunately, we have found a suitable replacement. Mr. Bones will be with us for the foreseeable future, as no one else seems to want to step to the plate. With that introduction, please welcome Mr. Bones, and enjoy this week’s Saturday Ramblings.

A church in Gainesville, Florida plans to burn copies of the Koran on September 11 from 6 to 9 pm. The National Association of Evangelicals rips this idea, as it should. Sigh…can you see why Anne Rice wants to quit being called a Christian?

How would you handle this situation: You are an American, and a missionary proclaiming the Gospel of grace in a foreign country. People in that country hate America, rightly or wrongly, and often fling insults at you for your national heritage. How do you continue to love them? Good discussion of that here.

A graduate student at Augusta State University in Georgia must “adjust” her beliefs about same-sex relationships and other gender issues or risk not graduating.  In particular, the school wants her to change her belief that personal relationships are a matter of choice and not derived from “deterministic forces.” Jennifer Keeton has filed suit against the school. This could be a fun one to watch. Stay tuned.

Will you be in England mid-August? If so, you might want to check out The Turning, a “prayer camp” being conducted by Rod and Julie Anderson. While it is aimed at worship leaders across Europe, it is open for anyone wanting a few days of workshops on prayer as well as times of worship in the English town of Mellis near Suffolk. Your humble rambler himself will be speaking at this camp—so if you are in the neighborhood, stop by and say Hi!

As a reminder, our resource store is now open. Check out recommended books, music and movies at iMonkPublishing!

Birthday greetings this past week to Amelia Earhart (she will be found any day now); Ruth Buzzi (from Laugh In); Walter Payton; Jean Shepherd (author of In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, which was made into the classic movie, A Christmas Story (Full-Screen Edition)); Jim Davis (creator of Garfield); Roy Rogers; Henry Ford; Casey Stengal; Elizabeth Dole; Sally Struthers; and Bugs Bunny.

And what would a Saturday be without a Bugs Bunny cartoon? Happy birthday, Bugs!


  1. Re: the Koran-burning church – From the CT article via the link:

    The National Association for Evangelicals released a statement Thursday urging the church, which averages 50 attendees each Sunday, to call off the event.

    50 attendees?????????

    Much ado about nothing.

  2. I like this:

    “In particular, the school wants her to change her belief that personal relationships are a matter of choice and not derived from “deterministic forces.” ”

    I wonder if her defense will include that they are a matter of deterministic forces and not a matter of choice?

  3. Anne Rice wants to quit being called a Christian, in part, because Christianity is perceived by her to be “anti-gay.” From the readings of the iMonk posts in this regard, the Anne is right and the church should repent… if i read them correctly.

    Now we post that “A graduate student at Augusta State University in Georgia must “adjust” her beliefs about same-sex relationships and other gender issues or risk not graduating.” I assume this is part of her Christian “anti-gay” stance. So I must assume for the most part, the readers of iMonk will be on the side of the college, no?

    I mean, you can’t be pro-Anne Rice and pro-the student at the same time. Or can you? If so, how?

    Maybe I am tweaking noses a bit, but I would really like to hear thoughts in this regard.

    • I don’t recall iMonk being “pro-gay,” though we certainly love gay people and hope that the Christian community will find better ways to love our gay neighbors, and in the case of those who trust Jesus, to walk with him as his disciples.

      • Sorry, was unclear.

        That’s what happens when you type fast first thing in the morning.

        I did not mean Michael was pro-gay when I said the iMonk posts, I meant the comments the iMonk community posted for the most part on the original post about Anne Rice. Michael Spencer, I think of I remember correctly, was as conflicted as I am on the issue–dancing between compassion and recognition of sin, which makes neither side happy.

        Also, can a gay person continue his gay behavior, find nothing wrong with it, continue to practice it, and “walk with Jesus as his disciple”? That is the issue.

        I am not certain of the iMonk community’s answer in that regard.

  4. “Sigh…can you see why Anne Rice wants to quit being called a Christian?”

    No. Not really. I can certainly understand why she wouldn’t want to attend that particular church.”

    Occasionally a mother goes insane and slaughters her children. So should I stop calling myself a mom?

    • OK, not such a great analogy since there are many more Christians who define themselves by what they are anti.

      But as far as I can tell the conflict for Christians who do not wish to be called Christian, is with the church and fellow Christians, not with Christ. I no more understand the thinking than I would understand if devout, peace-loving Muslims decided no longer be called Muslim because of their extremists.

      • David Morris says

        Don’t most of us now define ourselves by what we are not, or what we are opposed to? I remember reading that that was common amongst postmoderns. Upon reflection, I had been doing it. I was against all kinds of things, and could articulate what was wrong with them, but wasn’t as good at putting forward my own beliefs….

  5. David Cornwell says

    Of course we don’t know the whole story about Augusta State University and the student, but on its face it sounds remarkably like the old Soviet Union’s control over everyone’s thoughts.

  6. cermak_rd says

    My understanding of the Augusta case is that the graduate student who is in a psychological counseling area of study is that she refuses to see gay patients and is unable to put aside her personal beliefs to counsel her patients. That is very important in psychological counseling, the counselor may have personal beliefs against pre-marital sex (for instance) but if she counsels a patient who is in a relationship, she is not to refer to those beliefs, it is about helping the patient come to grips with his issues in his way given his lifestyle–not try to fix his lifestyle to match what the counselor would like.

    Here I think the different psychological worker trade groups would be in wide agreement with the school. The student can keep her personal beliefs but they can’t impact the way she counsels. In this case, she asked to refer a patient to another counselor when she read his file and found out he was gay. When she asked that to her advisers they refused because of the fact that she needs to learn to deal with patients with lifestyle dissonant with hers.

    I suspect this person would have been happier pursuing a counseling degree from a Christian school.

    • I think you’re probably right about the real issue from the school’s perspective and if so, I find myself more in agreement with the school, even though I’m 100% in agreement with the student’s beliefs. However, the case is similar to a case in California where a doctor refused to perform assisted reproductive techniques to a lesbian couple (and was subsequently sued by them). The doctor in question refused since such an act would have directly violated his convictions, but he referred the lesbians to another doctor who would be willing to help them. I guess I see a more direct violation of one’s convictions in the reproductive medicine case so I side with the doctor. But in both cases, why should there be any problem if the person refusing to give medical or counselling treatment simply refers someone to another practicioner? To me, there’s an element of graciousness in making the referral and by objecting to the refusal even after receiving a referral, there seems to be an intent to crucify the other person for their beliefs—to impose thought control. In the student case, regardless of the attempt to frame it as a “professionalism” issue (which as I said, I actually tend to agree with), it seems ultimately to be more about thought control. I’m not adamant or rigorous about any of this—just observing as it appears to me.

      • cermak_rd says

        Well in the case of the Dr he lost his case because the voters of the state of CA had already spoken on equal access to services offered to the public. When the Dr offered his services to the public he also became subject to the democratically agreed on laws of the state. If he wanted to disagree with the law his choice was to work to repeal the law not defy it.

        The student’s case is a different matter because she is a student. The point of the counseling she is doing is not just to assist the client (though that’s very important) but also to learn how to do her trade in a way consistent with existing ethics rules. So for her, referring a client is very different than if she were a professional counselor with a license.

    • This site needs a “like” button.

    • I thought I had read something that the school’s counseling policy (or perhaps it was the policy of a larger organization having authority over psychological counseling in general) gives permission to counselors to refer patients to other counselor(s) if there is a religious/conscience conflict issue. I read something about it in a post at Evangel, while I was reading about the Ann Rice thing from an external link, so I don’t recall the source.

      Now, if that’s true, then perhaps the school has run into a situation where they’ve made a decision that is somewhat hypocritical. Or perhaps they feel that in the case of a student, the policy doesn’t or shouldn’t apply.

  7. cermak_rd says

    Oh, and the thing about the Koran burning that amuses me…to participate the burners have to buy a Koran, I doubt most of them have an old copy lying around. At least if I wanted to burn a bible (and I wouldn’t I love books) I could steal one from a hotel.

    But it is another tragedy of the electronic age–how can you burn an ebook? Deleting it just doesn’t have that same feeling.

    • “But it is another tragedy of the electronic age–how can you burn an ebook? Deleting it just doesn’t have that same feeling.”

      That’s funny, cermak_rd!

  8. Near as I can tell, the ASU student is being dismissed because she’s refused to counsel any LGBT students, not because of what she thinks about why they’re gay. The school is holding her to the ACA Code of Ethics, which she would have to comply with anyway as a licensed school counselor. The Code of Ethics also forbids religious discrimination against clients – would she refuse to counsel Buddhists or neo-pagans, since I assume her views on their eternal damnation are at least as strong as her views on homosexuality (or stronger, one might think)?

    Re: the “you must change your beliefs”, the school required her to do additional reading and to write papers about how it impacted her beliefs. You could see that as religious indoctrination, or you could see it as the school requiring her to make an informed decision about what will be expected of her in this field. If having to talk with gay students is part of being a counselor, and she feels this strongly about it, maybe this isn’t the field for her. It’s like trying to get through police academy while refusing to touch a gun.

    Even assuming she wins her lawsuit and finishes grad school without further incident, I don’t see how she’ll be able to get and keep her license. Or how she’ll get a job, for that matter – she’s likely to find herself and her school on the other end of a lawsuit.

  9. Thanks for the deeper info on the grad student.

    I had a psychologist tell me once that Satan caused my depression because I found God and started going to church. I didn’t stick around for the exorcism.

    • cermak_rd says

      Should have reported him to the APA.

      • yourname says

        Go up against a rich doctor in the best part of town? And find myself the target of sermons in churches across the city? No, thanks. Evangelicals are like fire ants if you poke their hill. Their only goal is to hurt you enough that you leave them alone. He looks to have quite a successful practice, probably based on Christians. I was referred to him by a Christian. Dude is probably making $300,000 or $400,000 a year, and so obviously the market is rewarding him for his faith.

  10. David Cornwell says

    cermak_rd & Matt P thanks for clarifying the information about the school. My wife has an MS in Mental Health Counseling and worked for a county clinic in Ohio for a number of years. With this person’s attitude she would not have lasted 6 weeks. You can’t pick and choose those you work with. Clients with sexual orientation issues are always present.

  11. David Cornwell says

    Today I received my edition of “Between Noon and Three” by Robert Capon. It’s in pretty good condition for a $3.95 book. Now to start reading.

    • David, reading Capon is a delight–but a scary delight. You may find your faith turned inside-out. Read it prayerfully and with good humor (Capon doesn’t take himself too seriously). But I am so glad you are reading it! Looking forward to your comments after the writers’ roundtable takes it on in August.

      • David Cornwell says

        I need something to shake me up from time to time and this sounds like it might be just the book!

    • Never got mine – apparently the bookstore I ordered it from was tied into at least 2 different sites (Amazon & B&N?), Although my Amazon order initially went through, in reality someone beat me to it. And the least expensive copy out there, now that the iMonk run on the book has run its course, is about $17.00 including shipping.

      So my reading of the book will be a bit delayed. 😉

      • Cynthia Jones says

        Public library! 🙂 Then, you won’t have to pay anything. LOL!

        • Yeah, Ray A. said the same thing to me – we live in the same city. But he’s already on the waiting list for our local library’s copy (not that large a city), so I’d have to wait for him to finish with it. 🙂

          • Sometimes, the public library is limited. In the whole Clevnet system, there is one copy, currently sitting in my apartment.

          • Maine has an online library catalog called MaineCat. As of 2006 it listed 8 million items. There were 110 libraries as of 2006, but they were going for 300 libraries. They have 12 Capon books listed, none of them being the the Between Noon and Three book. I bought it through Amazon a couple months ago, so it sounds like I was lucky.

          • Oh, I see the book is still available at Amazon, but at $21.27 it is a bit pricy, so I can see why folks are looking for it elsewhere.

            Hey…I just checked…Go to half.com. I see they have a used paperback copy for $4.50 and a used hard copy for $9.39.

  12. Censured? Seriously?

  13. Hi Jeff,

    Burning the Koran? really? What are these Christian folks so afraid of? Jesus demonstrated compassion and kindness towards the excluded ones and outcasts of first century Jewish society. Too many Muslims today are being blamed for the activites of extreme Muslim “fundamentalists” when most of them are peace loving people and are being treated as outcasts as a result of the extremists .

    I hope this church reconsiders its position rather than providing more fuel for Muslim “fundamentalists”. Remember the cartoon incident a few years back!


    John Arthur

  14. First, let me be clear about something, I am totally against this Koran-burning issue. I didn’t even know about it till mentioned here. I am against it for various reasons.

    My question for the i-monk group ( and I realize few may see this since I’m responding days after post was written ) Have any of you actually read the Koran? Do you know what it says to the everyday believer (not the extremists). Have any of you listened to women tell their personal stories about living within the Islamic faith, about being married to a Muslim (not an extremist), how they risked their lives(their words not mine) to leave their husbands and speak out? Have any of you heard or read or done your own comparative study of the Koran in comparison to the Judeo-Christian Bible?

    I am not trying to start up any discussion here on i-monk. I am not looking to get responses to this. I am not making any statement about Muslims. I am simply putting out questions for anyone who reads this. Questions for each one to answer on his/her own not to answer here on i-monk. The i-monk community believes in being educated about issues. Are you educated in regards to the Koran?

    • cermak_rd says

      You know, I’ve always meant to read it, mainly because if the Christian scriptures form a large part of the literary tradition of Western Europe, I’m sure the Koran informs the literature and culture of Iran and Arabia. I’ve always wanted to read some of the Persian literature, and I don’t even know how Islam intersects with that culture as I know it was a later adopter of Islam than say Saudi Arabia.

      However, I’m not so sure that whatever the Koran says it actually affects the way individual Muslims act. The reason I say that is the Torah says things that no Jew today would countenance. We don’t stone people for well, anything, even though the Torah directs stoning for all kinds of infractions. We don’t listen to the Torah when it speaks of the way leprosy is to be treated or diagnosed. We don’t practice genocide recognizing it to be wrong at all times and for all people.

      So given that Judaism has changed such that much of its Scripture is more historic and contextual I would suspect that Islam has so changed as well. But I don’t know because I don’t have a foot hold in that culture.

      I do recognize one big difference and that is that part of Islamic belief is that the Koran was dictated by the Almighty to his prophet in Arabic and thus is a direct line to the Divine. This is clearly different from myself and most Jews of my acquaintance who believe that the Scriptures were an oral tradition taken down by scribes over many centuries.

      One facet to consider might be to look at how women in Muslim lands were treated prior to Islam. I suspect you’d see the same pattern of domination. I suspect the treatment of women in Islam is cultural rather than religious. One piece of evidence I would use to suggest that would be that Bosnian Muslims, mainstream Indonesian Muslims, and mainstream Lebanese Muslims don’t show the same pattern of male domination that is seen in other regions.

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