September 19, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 8.25.12

Can it be? Is it really the last Saturday in August? Where has the year gone? I was in a store this week where I saw—really, I am not making this up—Christmas decorations. And we’re not even out of hurricane season yet. Sigh … I say it’s not truly the Christmas season until the first quart of egg nog is spotted. (And who would want to drink spotted egg nog, anyway?) Any guesses as to why the snazzy new picture gracing this column? That’s right: It’s a Nash Rambler, our new mascot here on Saturday mornings. Now, if you are all buckled in, it’s time to ramble.

We are offering some very nice leather Bibles as a way of helping to fund the expenses here at the iMonastery. I only have a few of these, so don’t hesitate. You can get one by using the Donate button on the right—next to the Rambler. Here is what we have:

Cambridge NIV Wide Margine Bible. Black French Morocco leather. Dual column text, but wide margins perfect for taking notes. These are no longer made and are going for more than $400 on Amazon. I have one and love it. Suggested donation: $150 (One available)

Cambridge NIV Pitt Minion Bible. Burgandy goatskin leather. Smaller Bible, great for carrying with you everyday or when you travel. Soft leather. Wonderful Bible. Suggested donation: $100  (Two available)

Cambridge NIV Pitt Minion Bible. Black French Morocco leather. Same as above, but with the slightly stiffer French Morocco. Suggested donation: $75. (Two available)

Email me with any questions you might have. 

Now then…

Adam Palmer is back from hugging America. I have yet to hear all of his tales, most of which I assume will be true, but AP did send me this story about—look, I couldn’t make this up if I tried—a new Bible quiz show hosted by America’s favorite redneck, Jeff Foxworthy.  Maybe if you get one of the Bibles listed above and you become a contestant … nah … iMonks are too smart to go on a quiz show. By the way, you might be a redneck if your wife’s hairdo was ever ruined by a ceiling fan.

One person who presumably now would have time to be on the quiz show is Todd Bentley. The evangelist who has been known to punch people who are seeking healing (he calls it “laying on of hands”) was to conduct a series of meetings in the UK, Wales and Northern Ireland. As proof that Great Britain really is smarter than the U.S., Bentley has been banned from holding meetings in those countries.

You want fries with your sermon? Franchise churches, otherwise known as multi-site churches, have grown to more than 5,000 in the U.S. Celebrity preachers get lots of face time and very little weekly responsibility doing the boring stuff like hospital visits and praying with those who are hurting. You might be able to guess my thoughts on McChurches. What are yours?

Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church was to host its second forum featuring the two major party presidential candidates, but it was announced this week Warren was canceling the event because he shocked—shocked, mind you—that both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were conducting negative campaigns. At least that’s what Warren says. But the two campaigns say neither one really had any interest in the forum. Somebody, it seems, is fibbing just a little bit.

Does anyone listen to anything Pat Robertson has to say any more? If so, why? This really is just wrong. Yes, I know he later tried to retract what he said. Too late. Damage done. Again.

Counter that with this story. Really good stuff. I have been reading Doc for years, and he has talked about “J the M” forever. A proud papa indeed.

Oops. If you don’t get anything out of today’s Ramblings, get this: Don’t let little old ladies in your church try to restore priceless artwork. Not a good idea.

Finally, a sad goodbye to Calvin Miller, author of, among other things, The Singer. I met him once at a conference—actually on a street corner outside of the convention center. Many years later at another book conference he saw me and remembered me from that brief, chance meeting. And I will never forget him or his kindness.

Birthdays were celebrated this last week by Max Factor, Jr.; Rosalyn Carter; Robert Redford; Ogden Nash; Ginger Baker; Bill Clinton; Isaac Hayes; Robert Plant; Connie Chung; John Hiatt; Amy Adams; Count Basie; Jack Buck; Wilt Chamberlain; Kenny Rogers; Harry Smith; Joe Strummer; Henri Cartier-Bresson; John Lee Hooker; Ray Bradbury; Gene Kelly; Tex Williams; Barbara Eden; Keith Moon; Kobe Bryant; Carl Radle; and Cal Ripkin, Jr.

So, who was the better drummer, Ginger Baker or Keith Moon? Remember, Animal from the Muppets was modeled after one of these men. Bonus question: Name the band Ginger Baker is playing with. Bonus question number two: Why are the boys up and dancing to Keith Moon’s solo, while the girls are sitting there looking bored? Enjoy.

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  1. “Bonus question: Name the band Ginger Baker is playing with.”

    Blind Faith?

    • Ginger Baker is the better drummer, but Keith Moon was raw energy. Were either better than Buddy Rich? Don’t think so.

      • Agreed, Ginger was technically more proficient, but Keiths’s drumming was perfectly and uniquely suited to John Entwhistle’s bass. Collectively, that rhythm section was second to none.

        • Well said. The Who was a well balanced group. I read one article where the author said that it was Townsend who set the tempo for the band.

      • And Buddy Rich couldn’t keep up with Gene Krupa (at least not when Gene was properly, um, medicated).

    • Yes, Blind Faith.

      You can tell it’s a band beyond Cream because Ginger is smilling and enjoyin’ his self ;o)

  2. Tim Becker says

    Blind Faith! I win!

  3. Tim Becker says

    Dang, ox beat me to it.

  4. Farewell to Jerry Nelson, the voice behind “The Count” on Sesame Street.

  5. Highwayman says

    The Nash Rambler was marketed in the UK as the Austin Metropolitan. (Useless information, I know. Just rambling…)

  6. I love spotted eggnog. I think the spots are nutmeg. 🙂

  7. Matt Purdum says

    Franchise churches? Heck, every church in America is based on the corporate growth-and-profit model. And until we destroy that I won’t be darkening any church doors. You can have the best doctrine and worship and pastor in the world, but the sub-text is always going to be the worship of money, technology, American empire, and the superiority of law over grace. Not really very Christian at all…. As for the franchise churches, they are a cruel joke and a cancer on the Body of Christ.

    • *sigh* Such truth in your words, Matt.

    • Come on, certainly not “every church in America” is based on that model… Let’s not throw everyone under the bus quite yet. Good churches are hard to find, but there are still some good ones out there.

      • Matt Purdum says

        Yes, Phil. Every church in America counts the money every week.

        • Even that’s not true, though. The church I used to be part of semi-routinely forgot to take up the offering.

          I’m all for being critical, but you are simply sounding cynical.

        • I know, what a sham! Pastors don’t need to eat, and we have the government to invest in helping the communities. I can’t see any moral or rational benefit from churches passing an offering plate. Ever! Well, except for possibly that it keeps the parishioners from becoming too rich. We wouldn’t want unspiritual people driving a Mercedes Benz, because then why would the world think they need Jesus?

          • Gee, Matt, you have BEEN to EVERY church in America?? You must be very old and very tired of all that traveling??

            In other words, if you use the terms ‘always” or “everyone” or “never”……….you need to be very careful of what words follow.

            I feel sorry for you……

        • Why do you think Acts 29 and other reformed churches only do plants in white, upper middle class areas. Becuase of the money. To hell with the least of these….

          • Well, consider also that their churches might not thrive in other areas for reasons beside the finances. Their brand of evangelicalism is targeted at the suburban nuclear families of the religious right. People in the downtown or poorer areas go to their local Roman Catholic church or Disciples of Christ and would have very little use for this intrusion of novelty subculture. And where literacy rates are lower, you can’t support a neo-puritan bookstore.

          • Miquel, It is all about demographics. We used to study this stuff for sat locations when I was in the seker mega business. These guys are not planting where there won’t be a decent donor base. Get a map, and google all the SGM locations of church plants over the last 15 years and you wil see what I mean.. Then we would siphon off from the other local churches with better programs and cool worship. Trust me on this. But, It is nice of you to give them the benefit of the doubt. McChurch. The analogy is perfect. It is a turnkey sort of operation. All we have done is turn church into a big business.

            The people trying to do church in the inner city or with refugees on the bad side of town are not written about or celebs.

    • Final Anonymous says

      Sigh. I hear you, Matt. And sadly, in my experience, even those churches that start out well eventually succumb to this… or don’t succumb, and eventually die out. Which may prove a few points I don’t care for.

      I agree it’s cynical; keep in mind I don’t think anyone WANTS to feel this way though.

    • Maybe franchise churches will have a drive through to where you can say, “Quarter pounder, large fries, and large coke…” Church…we’re juts “McLovin it!!” 😀

  8. Oh dear!– on the lady trying to fix up the painting of Jesus! I had heard just the last sentence of a story on public radio about this and wondered what happened, so I am glad you gave a link to the story, Jeff.

    Have a good weekend, imonkers!

    • Tim Becker says

      But her heart was in the right place!

      • petrushka1611 says

        And I always heard in church that dependability is more important than ability.

      • It was. And while evidently plans were in place to restore the fresco, this apparently was not communicated. As far as the lady could tell, everybody else was content to be sentimental about that fresco while apathetically allowing it to deteriorate until it was gone. I read elsewhere that she had repainted the tunic before and nobody said anything, and that she couldn’t believe the priest didn’t know what she was doing because people had to see her working on it.

      • Joseph (the original) says

        But her heart was in the right place!

        unfortunately, her fingers & lack of artistic talent were too… 🙁

    • This story down right made me angry. Who the heck did she think she was!?

  9. Say what you like about Pat Robertson, but if he ever decides to telephone the president, they’ll probably put him through. It is interesting to ask why that is.

  10. If a politician had left his wife to marry a staff worker, the cultural warriors would have roasted him on a stick, but after a short break, Bentley is right back on tour with his boot-to-the-head act. I could decry the apparent double standard, but there is none to begin with. He kicks old ladies in the face! No one has a problem with that, because he’s got the anointing. Why does an alleged anointing make one less accountable? I’m now counting the days before cultural warriors turn this into an international incident of religious persecution.

    • No one has a problem? Culture warriors rallying for him? What planet is this on? Bentley is a joke & a has-been but what else do you expect him to do?

  11. Every year I read the singer to my students during Lent – never telling them it was Jesus, rather letting them discover Him.

  12. I liked what Pat Robertson said about legalizing marijuana.

  13. Wow, Russell Moore sure gave a fitting castigation to Mr. 700! If there’s one thing those Calvinistas can do well, it’s throw a fiery rebuke in the right direction occasionally. Like when McArthur said that Osteen was “the mouthpiece of Satan.” Classic. And I thought us Lutherans were harsh for calling the Pope the anti-Christ!

    • As much as I dislike Mac…his calling and tearing apart Mark Driscoll on the Song of Songs is also classic!

      • Never heard that one. I’ll have to look it up! Yeah, Driscoll has received more than a few rebukes form the broader reformed community, so I think he is making an effort to distance himself form them. He’s going more with Elephant Room/Church Growth type people these days, it seems. Before that, he was “Emergent.” I smell a chameleon.

        • Joseph (the original) says

          Driscoll more ‘post-modern’ than Emergent (capital “E”). he wanted to address the younger generation by adapting some of the emerging (lower case “e”) unconventional expressions, but kept his theology reformed. he never wavered from his orthodoxy, so he couldn’t be considered Emergent. however, he did incorporate the newer youth-oriented expressions (orthopraxy) to attract them.

          in the end his is just another specific seeker-sensitive conservative orthodox expression aimed at a very narrow demographic. once he settled on a ‘successful’ arrangement, then he was able to assert himself as El Queso Grande of his own church fiefdom within similar conventional Evangelical camps.

          he is not unlike the youthful John Wimber or Chuck Smith in response to their younger generation’s spiritual angst. they both responded to the perceived gap between traditional faith expressions & the growing unrest in young people regarding the storied institutions their parents revered/accepted.

          and Driscoll is to the reformed crowd as Bentley was to the uber-charismatic signs+wonders crowd. there is going to be someone looked up to as the pitch man(?) of their particular brand of religious snake oil. the dosages may differ, as well as the trademarked ingredients, but heck, if it looks like snake oil, tastes like snake oil & is peddled like snake oil…

          Lord, may your children never have to take cod liver oil as a vitamin/omega 3 fatty acid source ever again! 😉

  14. Ric Schopke says

    I have a friend who pastors a multi-site church (of a major denomination) in south Florida. The church is
    doing some wonderful ministry, especially among those who have or have had some sort of dependency.

    • Matt Purdum says

      But what’s the take-away? What’s the sub-text? We really need more critical thinking if we actually want to reach others for Christ. Of course, if all we live for and give money to is the big hoedown Sunday mornings, then reaching others and thinking critically don’t matter.

    • Sorry but these pastors do not know their people. I now tell people all the time that if they are going to listen to a guy on stage (or by video) week after week, then they should KNOW him personally and well. Ever been to his house? He been to yours? Amazing who people will follow and think they know well but they only know them from a stage. It is sad, really. A lot like following rock stars when you were a teen.

  15. I’ve always loved drum solos. Keith Moon wins the award for most drums and most goldfish. Ginger wins for best hair. Neither measures up to Cozy Cole (reference: “Topsy, Part 2”) … 🙂

  16. Very sad about Calvin Miller, he will be missed. I remember the impact The Singer/The Song/The Finale had on myself and the church I attended in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Good stuff.

    About Pat Robertson and adoption; I listened to the video, his troubles in properly wording things may be growing as he gets older, but he is spot on in the point he was trying to make. Taking parental responsibility for children whose backgrounds you are unfamiliar with is a task only for the strong of heart. It will be worth it but it will probably be a hard road. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless they know they have a calling for it. Otherwise when the tough times come they may not be able to stand. What Pat spoke there was poorly worded but wise.

    • I agree with TPD about Pat. I think he was right in his explanation, but he just doesn’t seem to be able to communicate succinctly at this point. Adoption isn’t for everyone and it would be foolish to think otherwise.

  17. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Any guesses as to why the snazzy new picture gracing this column? That’s right: It’s a Nash Rambler, our new mascot here on Saturday mornings. Now, if you are all buckled in, it’s time to ramble.

    “BEEP! BEEP!
    His horn went BEEP BEEP BEEP!”

  18. Glenn Lashway says

    A minor matter about your Nash Rambler. Don’t try to drive it. The artist wanted to post a pretty picture, but he forgot that you usually have to steer your car once in a while. Check out the front wheel skirts. Skirts on the rear wheels, fine, but not on the front!

    • That Other Jean says

      Nope, the early Nash Ramblers really did look like that (Thanks, Google images!). It was a feature, not a bug, though it doesn’t seem to have lasted past the first model year. The artist does have the front bumper curving around toward the wheels a bit too far, though.

    • Not actually a Nash Rambler, rather the pic is closer to a ’51 Ambassador.

      The front wheel-wells actually covered that much tire. That was possible for two reason; the body was quite wide, and the front wheel base was narrower than the rear.

      Nash began as a carriage maker. When I was a youngin’ (early 60’s) my parents belonged to an old car club–I mean old cars in the sense of “horse-less carriages”. My parents toured in a 1908 Brush; wooden front axle, two seater with a mother-in-law seat arear.


  19. The franchise church thing makes me sick. It’s all entertainment. Shock and awe. Winners and losers. The Nazis put on some great shows, too, but we know where that ended up.

    • Nazi analogies put quietly aside, the franchising of “big name” pastors’ churches illustrates a general problem we’ve got going forward in this here be-webbed world we’re living in.

      In East Asia there are rock-star math tutors that can help kids prepare for their college intro exams on-line. One such superstar can potentially kill off hundreds of slightly-less-than-rock-star local tutors. For a long time now we’ve listen to handful of superstar musicians rather than local ones (many of whom may well be superior to the superstars.) Etc., etc., etc.

      Applying the model to churches is just the latest “application” of this particular short-sighted form of progress.

      • That’s the thing. Even in church, in these franchise churches, it’s not ok to be average. God is the God of the successful. Everyone wants their church to be the awesome church and their pastor to be the rock-start pastor. If he isn’t, we’ll just live stream the guy down the road who is fabulous. There may be nothing wrong with the guy down the road, but where does that leave everybody who isn’t at the top?

        I fear we are headed down the path of the worship of the ubermensch and everybody else, well, just try a little harder.

  20. petrushka1611 says

    Emmylou Harris’s acoustic band (mid 80s-early 90s, I think) was called the Nash Ramblers. I had no idea a Nash Rambler was a car until years later.

  21. My grandparents had a ’49 Nash.

    The front and back seat backs folded back to make a queen size.


  22. From the Franchise church link:

    “Each week he gathers in a room with a team of campus pastors to develop a “big idea” into a sermon. A video featuring one of them is created, but the pastors can choose whether to speak from the original manuscript, a version of it they edited or show the video.”

    No Holy Spirit required. Would you like fries with that video?

  23. McChurch is an inevitable extension of our image driven, TV “educated” entertainment culture. Evangelicals bought into the idea that TV was a tool sent by God to reach the lost. Only problem is that the medium shapes the message to conform to the medium’s demands. It’s a fact that when the camera is focused on a dude in nice clothes speaking nice words that the dude is more “accessable” than and a displacement of God. Even Fulton Sheen was criticized in this way.


  24. Wenatchee The Hatchet says

    I made a point of watching Singin’ in the Rain for the Gene Kelly centennial. Anyone else watch one of Kelly’s movies on Thursday?