January 20, 2021

Saturday Ramblings 8.14.10

Well Rambling fans, it’s packing time here at the iMonastery. I am taking flight tomorrow for a week in England. In addition to looking for the best pub food available, I will be speaking at The Turning, a “prayer camp” in Suffolk. If you are going to be near England next week (that would be you, Martha) or want to be near England next week, there is still time to register for The Turning. Or at least stop by and point me in the direction of the best pub for steak-and-port pie. Next Saturday, ramblin’ Adam Palmer will share the week’s leftovers with you. In the meantime, sit yourself down and enjoy and heapin’ helpin’ of this week’s Saturday Ramblings.

When is the last time your pastor took a vacation? Or, if you are a pastor, when did you last allow yourself to really take time off? Could it be that the drive to be available to everyone, everywhere 24/7 is something that is driving people from the ministry? This New York Times article offers some good insights into the burnout problem and some ways to avoid it. Could it be that our pastors have totally forgotten how to honor the sabbath? Your thoughts?

Ok, I’ll admit it. Robert Duvall is one of my favorite actors. His non-speaking role in To Kill A Mockingbird is haunting, and I love him in Secondhand Lions. So here is a Christianity Today interview with Duvall concerning his new movie, Get Low, as well as some insights into his 1997 release, The Apostle. Wouldn’t you love to have lunch with Duvall?

If it plays in Peoria…Northwoods Community Church in Peoria, Illinois will have a stand-up comedian in the pulpit for all three of their services this weekend. They are billing it as “nightclub-tested, family-approved clean stand-up comedy.” Eagle-eyed roving rambler Allan Schwarb brought this to our attention. In many ways, I wish he hadn’t. I mean, so many people already think church is a joke.

I really like Christianity Today’s Mark Galli. He speaks in a straightforward manner without worrying about being “nice.” And at times—as we well know here at the Internet Monk—that gets him in a bit of hot water. A month ago Galli compared God with an angry Italian housewife and a drama queen.  Now he goes even further, questioning our ability to talk about an unknowable, unnameable God at all. I shocked a friend recently when I asked him, “Who is this out-of-control God we are seeking anyway? He seemingly doesn’t play by his own rules. He calls us to do things that make no sense whatsoever. Just who is he anyway?” Of course, it being one in morning as we were driving from Kansas City to Tulsa after a long (but fun) day probably didn’t help any, but my friend was rather shocked at how I was describing God. What do you think of Galli’s thoughts on God-talk?

Some sad news I missed somehow: Doug Oldham died on July 21 at the age of 79. Yes, I know–you’re shocked that I care about Doug Oldham. And yes, I am a rock and roller of the first degree. And Doug Oldham is barely a singer–he spoke about half of each song. But I loved Doug Oldham. He was one of the first Christian singers I listened to when I was captured by Christ 37 years ago. His songs were simple, yet reached a deep part of my soul. He didn’t care if he was singing in front of 10 people or 10,000. His love of the Lord shown through in every song. Here is a sample of what Doug Oldham would bring when he came to sing.

This week’s tip o’ the birthday cap include Stan Freberg; Charlize Theron; Dustin Hoffman; Dave Evans–you know him as The Edge; Betty Boop; Whitney Houston; Deion Sanders; Jack “The Tin Man” Haley; Ian Anderson (c’mon–you know that Jethro Tull is the name of the band, and not the name of the lead singer/flute player: That is Ian Anderson); Patti Austin; Jerry Falwell; Buck Owens; Alfred Hitchcock; Dan Fogelberg; and Don “Tiny Bubbles” Ho.

Ian Anderson or Don Ho? Ian Anderson or Don Ho? Hmmmm…

Enjoy a moment of J.S. Bach, performed by Jethro Tull, featuring Ian Anderson on flute. (You didn’t for one minute think I would subject you to Don Ho, did you?)


  1. Love Jethro Tull! What a treat!
    Rest in peace, dear Dan Fogelberg. What a tragic loss ffor us all.
    Don Ho or Jerry Falwell…Hmmmm.

  2. Abandon Ship! says

    Welcome to the UK. Hope the weather is better than at present (rain). I see you are a pie-man; steak and ale for me.

  3. Well I will be “near” England, ‘coz I live there, but I have to tell you that Suffolk is a bit further than just down the road from here.

    Many years ago I knew a trade union leader, who was entertaining a Russian visitor in London. The said Russian was was going to be in Britain for 48 hours. He asked this trade union leader (who was a Scot) whether he could show him the Scottish mountains while he was in Britain. Behind that question was the unspoken idea that Britain was a small country, especially compared to the size of Russia, so, after all, the Scottish mountains couldn’t be more than half an hour’s drive away. He had to be told that it would take all day to get up there.

    • I used to get that all the time when I lived overseas. “So you’re from Washington, D.C.? I met someone named Jim from San Francisco. Do you know him?”

    • We in the US tend to think of things differently also. People who’ve moved here from England/GB/whatever/…. say it takes getting used to the US notion of driving 5 or 6 hours each way (250 to 300 miles) for a weekend event or visit. I just drove 6 hours (without the traffic jam it would have been 5) to come up to a relatives house to take care of some personal business for the weekend. 🙂

      • I’ve heard a profound saying about the difference between England and America: In England a 100 miles is a long distance; in America a hundred years is a long time.

        • I live in a fairly Dutch community. When people’s relatives come calling, they often have ideas about seeing D.C, New York, the Grand Canyon, and Hollywood. You have to get them to understand that to drive from New York to San Francisco is about the same distance as driving from Amsterdam to Jerusalem.

          Yes, I’ve checked.

    • It’s all relative, isn’t it? This week three friends and I drove from Tulsa to Kansas City (about a four hour drive) to eat barbecue and watch the Royals-Yankees game, then drove home. For us it made sense–we had free tickets to the game!

      And I thought only us Buckeyes measured distance in time. “How many miles is it from Cincinnati to Cleveland?”
      “About four hours.”

      • How do you get there that fast? (Cincinnati to Cleveland) Please tell me, or is it because I drive close to the speed limit? GRIN.

        • My thoughts exactly. I’m not sure I want to know how fast you must be driving to get from Cincy to Cleveland in only four hours!

      • Denise Spencer says

        I’ve always measured distance in time; I thought it was a Kentucky thing! (Or just a me thing.) I have no idea how many miles it is to anywhere, but I know how long it takes to get there. Makes sense to me!

      • West Africans, few of whom have cars, measure distance in money. When asked how far a town is, for example, Liberians will say, “It’s a five-dollar distance,” because that’s how much a cab ride is.

      • We Mainers usually measure distance in time too. Although…my husband measures it in beers…as in: “It’s a three beer trip.”

  4. What? No mention of The Great Santini? That was an interesting movie about a character I hated all the way through.

    Until the end.

    And then it became clear what he had done. I still don’t “like” the movie and only had the courage to see it once, but the message has stuck with me. And I still ask myself if I have the courage to prepare my family and those around me for my eventual and inevitable death, no matter when it happens?

  5. Been up since 5AM and now it’s 6. Robert Duvall and Ian Anderson…nice way to start the day!

    I look forward to the Saturday Ramblings…too much spiritual readings make me cranky.

  6. Isaac (the poster formerly known as Obed) says

    That Bach piece Jethro Tull is performing is one of the great bits of classical guitar music written before classical guitar was really on the map. It’s from Bach’s Lute Suite in Em. It’s typically done with just a single guitar. I had tons of fun in high school trying to teach myself the various movements in that suite. I had the Bouree (which is what JT is playing) down pretty well. The first half of it is still firmly in my muscle memory.

  7. A profitable morning here. I learned why I’ve always liked Robert Duvall and “discovered” Jethro Tull. (No, Jeff, I always figured Jethro must have been the lead singer). I hope I can find more tunes of theirs that should be a part of our programming.

    Travel safely, Jeff …and thank you!

  8. Hold the phone! That dude just played the flute WHILE STANDING ON ONE FOOT! Did anybody else just see that? IT BLEW MY MIND! 😛

    Seems like before you know it, Galli will be praying to a black woman and confusing her gender (women don’t typically become “fathers”).

    Your link to the NYT article is mixed up. It takes you to the Turning site.

    Not shocked at the comedian in the pulpit. Whatsoever. What I want to know is, what songs should a worship band use to open up for that act? “Take my life, oh Lord….” Or, or… how about that Third Day tune? (“I believe in God the Father….”).

    Have fun in England. Morning Prayer at Canterbury is on my bucket list…

    • Link to NYT fixed–thanks.

      Yep–Ian Anderson’s trademark stance. I don’t know that I could even listen to the song on my iPod standing on one foot…

  9. Thank you for the kind invitation, Jeff, but I’m just near enough to England to be happy. Any nearer would not do.


    However, my sister and her family will be in England this week on holidays – if you happen to bump into a Church of Ireland clergyman, his wife, and their two boys around Windsor Castle (doing touristy things), say “Hi!” from Auntie for me.

    • As one of Irish descent himself, I have to watch what I say about England–at least for the next week. I will be glad to walk up to each and every person around the castle and tell them Auntie says hi!

  10. My parents bought Doug Oldham’s “Live” album when I was in high school. I used to joke about how he’d be able to speak/sing Fred Schneider’s parts on the B-52 songs that were just becoming popular at that time.
    What I didn’t tell my parents was that his version of “Because He Lives” was – and still is – my favorite.

  11. Denise Spencer says

    Jeff, have you ever seen an old black-and-white Duvall movie called “Tomorrow?” If not, it’s a must-see — just as soon as you get back from England. Have WONDERFUL time! I’m jealous! I’ll be praying that it will be a blessing to you and that you will be a blessing to others.

  12. I wonder how many of my fellow IM readers know that Doug Oldham’s father was Dale Oldham, who was for many years the national radio voice of the small denomination called Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) and who sang “The Longer I Serve Him, The Sweeter He Grows” on the original recording of Bill Gaither’s Alleluia when he was in his seventies.

  13. Jethro Tull is one of the few “famous” groups I have seen/heard in person. I also saw Moody Blues. They were not very gracious to their audience, unfortunately. That was a long time ago, though.

  14. Regarding the pastor burnout article –

    My father, a holistic physician, has a…rather famous pastor as a patient. Won’t say who, but most of you probably know of him. He had this same problem; almost fell out of ministry a few times due to overwork, burnout, and resulting depression. My father told him, “Charles-” (I’ll call him Charles for the sake of convenience) – “Charles, you need a sabbath. It doesn’t have to be Sunday, but there needs to be some day a week you set aside for yourself and God. No calls, no writing, no visitations on that day – nothing!”

    So now he has his Sabbath on Wednesday, and loves it.

  15. At our previous church, a decision was made to bring our previously bi-voc pastor on full time. However, one of the stipulations was that at least once a quarter he had to take a Sunday off from the church entirely – with the suggestion that he worship with a different church in the community. I thought this was a great idea but the pastor never felt like he could be gone and the elders never held him to it. I honestly don’t think it happened more than 3-4 times in a 10 year period.

    Good choice on the Jethro Tull! “Locomotive Breath” is one of my all-time favorites.

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