January 19, 2021

Saturday Ramblings, August 29, 2015, Understatement and Adios edition

Hello friends and welcome to the weekend. Ready to Ramble?

1958 Rambler Sedan

1958 Rambler Sedan

I’m feeling a bit British this week, so I thought we could try to start each entry with an understatement. Because, why not?

Academia is a strange place. Where else can you get people for fork over tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of taking classes like these (all from fall 2015 catalogs):

  • Tree Climbing — Cornell
  • Wasting Time on the Internet — Penn
  • How to Win a Beauty Pageant: Race, Gender, Culture, and U.S. National Identity — Oberlin
  • Stupidity — Occidental
  • Kanye West versus Everybody — Georgia State
  • On Being Bored — Brown
  • The American Vacation — Iowa

Nine months ago Buffalo, New York got a little snow.  Seven feet of snow fell the days before Thanksgiving. Even in Buffalo, this much snow so early in the season set a record, and snowed many people in for a week. This month Buffalo area hospitals are setting records of another kind: for births.

Some company named Ashley Madison has been in the news lately. Gizmodo did a large expose of Ashley Madison, after spending many hours going through the data dump. Their conclusion: almost all the “women” listed in the site were fake accounts created by Ashley Madison employees, and the company deliberately sold fantasies to tens of millions of men, far less than one percent of whom actually met a woman through the site. Or, to put it another way, Ashley Madison was like a cheap karaoke bar where 50 drunk men compete for the attention of one woman [except it would actually be more like a 50,000 to 1 ratio].

And Ed Stetzer, a pastor and contributor at Christianity Today, makes a bold prediction about the Ashley Madison list: “Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday.” I hope he is wrong. I really, really hope he is wrong.

The Vatican has not always been a fan of Martin Luther. In his own time, Luther could remark, “If I fart in Wittenburg, they smell it in Rome.” Well, apparently 500 years makes the smell a little sweeter: this week he Vatican has given its backing to a central Rome square being named after Martin Luther. 066b8ad46c845410df6fa4047ed2c134da63e217276af51b24fd33efd16b0874

Margaret Sanger was not a fan of poor blacks. A group of black pastors is seeking to get the Smithsonian to remove the bust of Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, from its “Hall of Justice”. Besides noting that 79% of Planned Parenthood abortion facilities near minority neighborhood, the letter notes:

Perhaps the Gallery is unaware that Ms. Sanger supported black eugenics, a racist attitude toward black and other minority babies; an elitist attitude toward those she regarded as “the feeble minded;” speaking at rallies of Ku Klux Klan women; and communications with Hitler sympathizers. Also, the notorious “Negro Project” which sought to limit, if not eliminate, black births, was her brainchild. Despite these welldocumented facts of history, her bust sits proudly in your gallery as a hero of justice. The obvious incongruity is staggering!

And Hillary Clinton is not a fan of Republicans.  This week she compared Republican candidates, including those who wanted to defund Planned Parenthood, to terrorists:  “Now extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world, but it’s a little hard to take them from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States.”

Do you ever feel you see Donald Trump’s face waaaayyyy too much? Jan Castellano felt that way even before his mug turned up glaring at her in a tub of margarine.  “I’m just tired of seeing his face everywhere. And I open up my butter and there he is. He’s everywhere and now he’s in my food products. It was just staring right back at me.” Before you call Jan crazy, check out the pic for yourself:

I can't believe it's not Trump!

I can’t believe it’s not Trump!

The Donald was in the news again. Yes, that counts as an understatement. After claiming the Bible was his favorite book, he was asked [three times] to share some verse that meant a lot to him. He declined all three times: “It’s personal”. Asked if he like the New Testament or Old Testament better, he replied, “. . . uh, they’re tied”. This got the twitterverse a twittering. Reflecting on his previous tweets, and using the tag #TrumpBible, people created tweets about how the Donald really feels about the Good Book. Here are some favorites:

  • Don’t get me wrong: Jesus? Great guy, classy. But a terrible executive. I would never tolerate a traitor within my organization.
  • Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes and GAVE THEM AWAY? Terrible business strategy.
  • And Moses went to Pharaoh and said to him, “Let my people go!” and Pharaoh did because Moses knew how to negotiate.
  • I lost a lot of respect for the Pharaoh. Never should have let the Hebrews go because of, what, hail? The Hebrews love me.
  • If I was Jesus, I would have made amazing deals with those money-changers in the temple. That idiot wasted a yooge opportunity.
  • Jesus wasn’t a martyr. He’s a martyr because he was crucified. I like people that weren’t crucified, ok I hate to tell you.
  • 7 days to march around Jericho? I would’ve knocked down the walls day 1. Then I would’ve made the Canaanites pay for a new wall.
  • I’m not saying Jesus wasn’t born in Bethlehem. I’m just saying show me the birth certificate.
  • Samaria sends us their murderers, their rapists, and some, I assume, are good Samaritans.
  • Tower of Babel? Trying to build a hi-rise where nobody speaks the same language? Hey. Welcome to my world.
  • All of the women in the Bible flirted with Jesus – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.
  • That loser Lazarus sat under the Rich Man’s table, waiting for his scraps to fall. Bible good with trickle down economics.
  • Cain, Abel, both good friends. Cain got into agriculture, bad business. But he murdered his competition. That’s leadership.

     don't know why Moses used all those plagues. Me? I know how to negotiate. We leave in one plague or less. AND we get back pay

    I don’t know why Moses used all those plagues. Me? I know how to negotiate. We leave in one plague or less. AND we get back pay.

So, the stock market took a wee tumble this week. And no-one seems to know exactly why. Except Pat Robertson. After discussing the Obama administration’s position on Planned Parenthood and abortion rights, he concluded,  “We will pay dearly as a nation for this thing going on. And possibly if we were to stop all this slaughter the judgment of God might be lifted from us. But it’s coming, ladies and gentlemen. We just had a little taste of it in terms of the financial system, but it’s going to be shaken to its core in the next few months, years or however long it tastes and it will hurt every one of us.”

Independent, Fundamental Baptist Churches are not always known as cherishing church history. But Tristate Baptist College (“owned” by Bethel Baptist Church) is obviously an exception. Just check out their succinct yet nuanced statement on the development of the church (found in their doctrinal statement).

Gotta love the broadminded inclusiveness of that last paragraph!

Gotta love the broadminded inclusiveness of that last paragraph!

Taking a selfie with a rattlesnake wrapped around your neck is generally thought of as a bad idea. But Alex Gomez of California, doesn’t give a crap about your sissy conventional wisdom. After clearing trash with his nephew at his family’s ranch, Alex decided to pick up a rattlesnake, put it around his neck and take a selfie. The rattler, not thrilled with the attention, proceeded to bite Alex in the hand. He was rushed to the hospital and treated with anti-venom, but the swelling may cause doctors to amputate his hand.

Weird headline of the week: Police Arrest Man, 34, Following Unprovoked Potato Salad Attack On His Mother.

Do you ever feel there’s no place around you to get some peace and quiet? Someplace you can just be by yourself, without anyone watching you? Brother Joseph Byron, a Benedictine Monk in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, thought he had the answer. Brother Joseph works at the Portsmouth Abbey School, and helps maintain their 175-feet tall wind turbine. On Sunday, brother Joseph decided to chill out and catch some rays on top of it (for not the first time). He had laid down on the flat surface of the big white turbine when he noticed a small unmanned aircraft with rotors and a camera — a drone — rising above him.

Byron said had never seen a drone before and wasn’t thrilled by this encounter. “It was a little annoying. It seems you cannot go anywhere to get away anymore.”

Fortunately for Brother Joseph, Boeing has just announced the world’s first anti-drone laser. I, for one, will gladly chip in to mount one of these on top of that turbine (as long as Joseph also gets a GoPro to record the encounter).

Also useful for pigeon hunting...

Also useful for pigeon hunting…

Airport security is absurd. Consider the following. A family at the Dublin airport had their toddler’s Minions Fart Blaster confiscated for posing a ‘threat’, because it had a trigger mechanism. For those of you without toddlers, this is the item in question: images

A spokesperson for Dublin Airport explained why the toy had been taken away from the child: “Toy guns and replica guns are on the prohibited items list and we urge people to check this before they travel. We don’t make the rules but we apply the rules consistently; anything that is a replica gun with a trigger mechanism on it is listed as a prohibited item.” The spokesperson added that the toy gun was being kept safe at the airport for the family’s return [translation: “yeah, we had a lot of fun with that thing!”]. And indeed, the tot was eventually reunited with his beloved Fart Blaster, and hopefully will turn from his life of crime.

Pictured: Terrorist and his weapon

Pictured: Terrorist and his weapon

We don’t really need to spill more ink about Josh Duggar, who molested his sisters and cheated on his wife. But this graphic is certainly worthy of discussion:


The chart is from Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute Notebook, used by the Duggars in homeschooling. Gothard himself, you will recall, had to leave his organization after 35 women accused him of unwanted sexual advances. ATI material affected millions of people (including myself). How many red flags do you see?

Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer has not been a popular man since he killed Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe in July. PETA, that paragon of good taste, has decided it would be a great idea to market a Halloween costume that depicts the dentist getting attacked and eaten by a lion. The costume, called “Cecil’s Revenge,” sells for $139. 99 and includes a bloody lab jacket with a stuffed lion pouncing on the back, according to a press release. Customers can add to the effect by accessorizing with their own toothbrush, dental drill or bow and arrow.

Dr. Palmer looks a little too happy considering the circumstances...

Dr. Palmer looks a little too happy considering the circumstances…

Well, friends, it’s time to say goodbye. I talked to Chaplain Mike a few weeks ago, and told him I needed to stop writing the Ramblings. I feel someone else could probably bring a fresh voice and perspective, and I need a break. But I will still lurk around InternetMonk. It’s my favorite place on the web. Adios and Godspeed, Daniel.


  1. Klasie Kraalogies says

    Well, let me be te first to say that I will miss your Ramblings, Daniel! Good job!

    And an excellent final one too.

    • Daniel, you have such a sense of the absurd! You’ve set the bar so high that it will be difficult to find a worthy replacement.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Thanks, guys

    • Your last paragraph is probably the saddest thing I have read in weeks. You’ve done a stellar job and we will miss your unique take on the week’s news. I also was disappointed to see this week’s Rambling was surprisingly free of any baseball posts. Are you becoming a fan?

  2. 🙁

  3. Ok, re: that graphic. When, EXACTLY, would the abused be at fault?

    We will miss you Daniel. Your ramblings are a highlight of my week.

    • Oh and #4 is crap and #8 is a false choice.

    • The Bill Gothard graphic is disgusting in its assumptions, and complete in its depravity. Most interesting to me, however, is the underlying assumption that God “let” this happen, and that there must be a reason why. I’m pretty sure we have whole books of the Bible that scrap that nonsense.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Actually the concentric circles with Spirit on the inside and [mere] Body on the outside is what I, today, find most repellant. All I want to say to the author is: “you are wrong, your diagram is inhuman; as in, not what a human is.”

        If you start out wrong on such a fundamental level your conclusion can never be anything other than disgusting.

    • I’m happy to say that I have people like Bill Gothard to thank for my gradual awakening and flight from fundigelicalism. Every once and a while something like these ramblings remind me of what I used to believe and I’m just like, “Wow, I’ve changed.”

      • Daniel Jepsen says

        Yeah, that whole chart really pissed me off.

        The worst part was as a teen and young man, I probably would have agreed with it (I was so formed by my fundamentalism).

        I’m normally a “live and let live” kinda guy now when it comes to religious differences. Cuz I realize I’m probably wrong on a million things (some of them important). But as a middle-aged Pastor, I have seen sooo many people hurt by sexual abuse, that this chart made me want to puke. And then cry. And then puke again. And then throw something against the wall.

  4. Sorry you will not be Rambling?. Thanks for everything.

  5. I certainly understand needing a break and I wish you the best, but I am sad that you’re moving on because I eagerly look forward to reading the Ramblings with a cup of coffee every week.

  6. Marcus Johnson says

    Re: Bill Gothard’s chart. I’d love to know what “if abused was not at fault” means. Actually, I really don’t.

    Kinda feeling pissed about the rest of that chart, too, but that line was at the top, so it was the first thing I saw.

    Also, found in the #TrumpBible:

    Jesus, what a highly overrated loser. There was blood coming out of his hand, his feet. His wherever.”

    My Father’s house has many rooms. Lots of money in those rooms. If it were not so, I would not be able to afford this campaign.”

    • You know exactly what it means. The abused is supposed to decide to torture her/himself forever for being at fault unless they’re too weak to avoid accusing the abuser. What complete rot. I gotta believe if Jesus came to the temple in 1981, he would have knocked over Gothard’s table first.

      • Not to mention, I’m sure the abused could be at fault for dressing or acting in a way that would provoke abuse. I hear it all the time in Christian circles–men are just wired to lust so it’s up to women to dampen that down by dressing modestly and not flirting, etc. Rarely do I hear the same fervor expressing that men need to learn self control. Amongst many evangelicals I’ve encountered, men are simply slaves of their biology. Sorry ladies! Can’t be helped! Burden is on you to prevent bad behavior!

    • Joseph (the original) says

      I burned my Bill Gothard seminar workbook about 6 months after attending a session in Pasadena, CA about 1985…

      During the actual teaching time I felt uncomfortable a few significant times while filling it out. Although the seminar was encouraged by the pastor of the small church I was attending at the time, I was not in the least bit ‘encouraged’ by the incredibly detailed sin management system Gothard promulgated…

      The Basic Youth Conflicts seminars were the darlings of the Evangelical camps that felt such religious paranoia and guilt inducing principles the divinely inspired ‘cure’ for a morally corrupt younger generation…

      Thank God I felt such freedom when I lit up that bulky binder full of useless crap…


      • James the Mad says

        I was considering attending an IBYC course with my wife back in the late ’70s or early ’80s. That is, until a friend’s wife proudly and gleefully informed me that divorce was never justified because Bill Gothard said so. I happened to know my bible a little better than that, so somehow after that little discussion I never did get around to enrolling in the seminar.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      In the words of the Prophet Steve Taylor, circa 1985:

  7. There’s seems to be some dispute about some of the Margaret Sanger items. I’m no fan but some of the above seems to be more urban legend than fact.


    After the note about the Negro Project I wasn’t to learn more and this is what I found.

    • Actually, there isn’t any real doubt about Sanger or her position, although some of the details are disputed. This is mostly due to her own candid words in her autobiography.

      • So if the truth about something condemns it why do Christians have to add on urban legend so it sounds worse?

        Shouldn’t we stick to the truth?

        • Well, you are really getting into the weeds of epistemology and rhetoric very quickly, but I’ll just point out that it would be silly to pretend this is a Christian phenomenon. It is has been part of human story-telling since recorded human thought. I do wish our culture would return to a more level-headed and facts-based approach to evaluation though.

  8. Noooo! Don’t leave us, Daniel! Actually, feel free — if you *must.* No pressure . . .

    About the Baptist statement: Dorothy Sayers has a character remark in Gaudy Night, ” . . .it seems to me like complete degeneration of the grey matter. She even wrote a book. . . .about the Higher Wisdom. And Beautiful Thought. That sort of thing. Full of bad syntax.”
    “Oh lord! Yes — that’s pretty awful, isn’t it? I can’t think why fancy religions should have such a ghastly effect on one’s grammar.”
    “It’s a kind of intellectual rot that sets in, I’m afraid. But which of them causes the other, or whether they’re both symptoms of something else, I don’t know.”

    And that’s all I have to say about that.

  9. Gothard’s entire chart is a red flag, minimizing the damage, blaming the victim.
    Thanks for all the times your rambling has brightened Saturday
    morning Daniel, we are going to miss you.(Also going to miss all the classic Rambler photos from my youth)

    • Not only is that chart a red flag; so is Bill Gothard’s entire course. Don’t forget, however, that he failed to live up to the standards he preached and imposed on everyone else.

      I, too, will miss Daniel’s ramblings and the Rambler photos. One of my uncles owned a Rambler when I was young, so those photos bring back memories. Godspeed!

  10. Brianthedad says

    Great ramblings, Daniel. Hate to see you go, but completely understand. Producing high quality writing weekly has to be tiring.

    Now onto my own rambling. Am I the only one troubled by the misuse of tenant/tenet? Or the misspelling of altar/alter? Sheesh. Dear fundamentalist religious bodies: if you want me to take your statement of faith seriously, make me think you put a lot of biblical analysis and thought into it, please use words correctly. And alter! Enough said. That whole graphic is disturbing in any case.

    • Brianthedad says

      Oops. I see Damaris and the good doc are also troubled at poor writing by religious bodies.

    • That Other Jean says

      No, sir, you are not the only one. I agree with everything in your post. Words matter; if you want people to take you seriously, you need to get them right.

      Also, Daniel, thanks for many an interesting Saturday morning. I’ll miss your Ramblings, but look forward to your regular posts.

    • “Am I the only one troubled by the misuse of tenant/tenet? Or the misspelling of altar/alter?”

      No, and these words jumped off the page at me too. The statement from Tristate Baptist College reads like it was written by a 6th-grader, although it did include the word “indeed,” which bumps it up to 9th grade—at least for that sentence.

      An unkind joke, because it’s justified in this case and because I’m an unrepentant sinner: How many elders in an independent fundamental baptist church? Answer: only one, the pastor—until his son graduates from bible college in the trailer out back.

    • Sort of undermines their claim to be an institution of higher learning, doesn’t it?

      It’s the KJV-Onlyism and Landmark position that really make me shake my head. Thankfully, their student body appears to number less than 100, so it’s not like their infecting a huge swath of the populous. Hopefully, they’ll host a Bill Gothard seminar and it’ll wake up the students to the inherent dangers of cultic thinking and that will be the end of that.

    • Brianthedad, you beat me to it. Let me just add that I was a Babdiss until I learned the difference tenants and tenets. Furthermore, I would never place myself on God’s alter because He clearly told us to have no other gods before Him. And that, friends, is the first basic tenant.

  11. Please tell me the Baptist church history statement is a joke.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Well, in one sense of the term

    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landmarkism

      I’ve been trying to figure out why this belief might have shown up for a few years.

      My best guess is since the Catholic church is evil (according to many Baptists) and always has been then the Baptist church could not have the RCC in it lineage. So they had to come up with a narrative that didn’t have the Baptist faith derive from the RCC.

      Even with no facts to back up this narrative it must be true as it’s the only story that fits their view of the universe.

      • You’d be surprised (or maybe not…) at how many (sometimes otherwise quite reasonable) non-(anti) liturgical Protestants believe basically that statement re “church history.” (Gad – so many qualifiers…)


        • According to Wikipedia: “[Landmarkism] attributes an unbroken continuity and legitimacy to the Baptist Church since Apostolic times.”

          I have heard this too, and from a baptist pastor. He didn’t necessarily believe it, but offered it as a possibility.

        • Brianthedad says

          I spent some time in a uber-conservative church of Christ congregation in the 80s. But not as conservative as the one that split from them over the deacons’ sons scandalously wearing shorts on the high school basketball team, but I digress. The history excerpted above was basically what they accepted as church history: True church stops shortly after Paul’s letters. Then almost 1800 years of darkness and underground churches like the waldensians but no written history of their own due to the persecutions of the catlicks. Then voila, the Campbells to the rescue. True Church restored.

      • Let’s not forget that Saint Patrick was a Baptist!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I think there’s a Classic IMonk post on Landmark Baptists somewhere in the archives.

    • I spent the first 20 years of my life in independent, fundamentalist Baptist churches. One pastor in particular said some things that possibly he didn’t even believe himself but he wanted church members to take his word for things (like history) rather than research them personally. I heard him say several times that John the Baptist was the first Baptist and there is no need to learn or study church history, Baptist have been just doing what their supposed to ever since. Church Councils, Protestant Reformation; he was aware of these things but told his congregants not to worry about them. Baptists have always been around, sometimes on the sidelines, and we can trace our history all the way back to the baptism of Jesus.

  12. That Bethel Baptist Church may be independent but it is hardly fundamental. This is what happens when you start mixing truth with so called academic “facts”. Not to mention renting your church out to a bunch of tenants. Jesus didn’t found the Baptist Church, this was obviously done by John the Baptist. Granted that Jesus was its most prominent baptized member even up until today. A lot of scoffers make fun of those who continue to use the King James Bible. If it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me. This is all going to come out in the warsh.

    That ’58 sedan is a good one for making a classy departure. Thanks for the ride, Daniel!

  13. I will miss your version of the Ramblings, Daniel. You really had the knack for finding the absurd, the silly and the surreal. Great job, and do come back to write about the Donald every now and then.

  14. Thank you for all the laughs, Daniel. Your perspective will be missed :(. Your church is blessed to have you.

  15. ” But this graphic is certainly worthy of discussion:”

    “Why did god let this happen”??? In the immortal words of the Swedish Chef: Vurt da Furk!!!

    Gothard in a nutshell: if your husband cheats on you, it’s your fault; if you are molested, it’s your fault. If you want a husband who will love you, you’re a worldly selfish pervert. If you don’t want 50+ children, you’re a worldly selfish pervert. When in doubt, you’re a bad person who deserves bad things.

    But if you somehow view yourself as the continuation of the patriarchy, you are entitled to whatever you want.

    People raised on this perverted nonsense are campaigning to for the highest office over issues of economics, welfare, and women’s health.

  16. Josh in FW says

    Bummer to read of your departure, I’ll look for you in the comments section.

  17. In defense of Cornell’s tree climbing class, I actually did take a tree climbing class (at Purdue, though). I was a horticulture major with a minor in urban forestry, and the class was required for my minor. It doesn’t teach the kind of tree climbing that you do as kids, but the kind with harnesses and hoisting yourself into trees and walking on branches and whatnot – what professional climbing arborists do. It involves a lot of knowledge of tree structure and possible risks (which will vary from species to species), good safety practices, and memorizing lots and lots of knots, in addition to the actual skills and techniques of climbing. It was an awesome class, and definitely worthwhile!

    But the main thing I wanted to comment on, as so many others have, is that awful chart for counseling victims of sexual abuse. One of the things I find most troubling (beyond the pervasive theme of blaming the victim for the abuse itself), is that it assumes that the only damage the perpetrator is responsible for is physical damage. When the victim experiences any emotional or psychological damage, that’s clearly their fault. If they had truly turned it over to God, they would feel totally fine once the physical damage healed. I hope very few people have ever been “helped” by this process, and I hope they later went on to receive professional help. Unfortunately, there are probably many more people than I would guess who have been hurt by this sort of nonsense, and seeking help outside the church would be viewed as not trusting God.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Exactly. I know many people who are messed up emotionally and spiritually for decades after physical abuse. You can separate the soul from the body conceptually, but in real life they are enmeshed at almost every level, and especially profoundly in the sexual realm. To imply that they didn’t hurt the most important part of you because they only hurt the body is ludicrous.

  18. Christiane says

    (Sad Face, here)

    thanks for the fun rambles, DANIEL . . . hope you return to writing someday soon . . . you are darned good at it

  19. Thank you for your contributions over the last few years, Daniel! I’ve been reading this blog regularly since the days of Michal Spencer and being more on the conservative side theologically, don’t always agree with what I’m reading and sometimes want to walk away–and yet I never can completely.

    In the constant tension between the Church and this crazy world, this blog helps to keep me grounded and the Saturday Ramblings is a big part of that. As usual, today’s post is a mixture of the absurd and very serious, so thank you for the laughs but also for the sobering thoughts. I hope someone worthy can step in to take your place.

    May the Lord bless you in your pastoral ministry, and may His grace and love be upon you and your family.

    • P.S.: Thanks especially to Chaplain Mike for taking over the mantle from the original Internet Monk and keeping this blog going for so many years. Signed, an inerrantist Calvinistic anabaptist. 🙂

      • + 1000. I don’t know how Mike keeps up the extremely high quality of writing here, year after year. But like Mike before him, he does.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Thanks, Sewing

  20. Yes, there are women on Ashley Madison. About 7 years ago, a woman left a voicemail at our home phone. She gave a first name and said we had been trading messages from ashleymadison.com, and wasn’t sure if she had dialed the phone number right. (No, I wasn’t him.) She said her husband was away for a few hours and she was hoping we’d meet at the location we’d discussed online. She was obviously nervous that she might’ve called the wrong number, so she didn’t leave a callback or disclose her location.

    The creepy part was the excited nervousness in her voice, the kind when you know you’re going to do something wrong, but you’re going ahead with it anyway.

    We saved the voicemail and played it later for our bible study group. Why? Because we all recognized it: not the voice or the person, but that irrational and destructive moment when you chose to violate your own conscience. It sounded so foolish from our outsider’s perspective, but you could hear in her voice how she had really talked herself into it. It was truly a cautionary tale about how we all have the ability to deceive ourselves about the temporary pleasures of sin.

    • I think it was wrong to use her voice to illustrate a moral object lesson, even though she was anonymous, if that’s really what you did.

      • It happened just before people came over to our house for the start of bible study, and they wondered why I was a little freaked out, so I played it for them. I didn’t turn it into a curriculum, if that’s what you’re asking. Maybe I shouldn’t have done it, but it was a gut reaction at the time. I deleted it afterward.

        • I shouldn’t have rendered a judgement for a situation of which I didn’t have sufficient detail. It’s just that I could imagine how that woman would feel if she knew anonymous third parties were listening to her message and judging her; I don’t approve of adultery, but this disembodied voice was actually a human being whose life we know nothing about. We have to cut her some slack, and allow her the dignity of privacy, and her anonymity doesn’t change that.

          • Unfortunately privacy seems to be one of the chief casualties of our media saturated culture. Half the folks out there would give up a gallon of blood just to be on the TV. Nothing is real if it’s not recorded for playback. What may be dying is not just privacy but the entire concept of the private life itself. I meet self-proclaimed Christians all the time who seem to have no discernible private spirituality. Their entire experience of the Christian life is social. This is why when the public secular sphere pushes back (same-sex marriage, the rise of the Nones) they are so discombobulated. They seem to have no business of their own to mind. Of course a truly private spirituality might be hard to detect. We can only hope for the best.

  21. Aw. This is my favorite part of the weekend, reading the Ramblings. First Jon Stewart, now you. All the good ones are leaving. 🙂 Thank you for awesome Saturdays! Best wishes!

  22. Daniel, I will miss you a lot. Once in awhile I miss a weekday commentary on here, but I’ve never missed the Saturday Ramblings. They have been a treasure.

    I entirely understand your need to take a break from this, but you will be missed. You have a terrific gift for writing — hope you continue to enjoy it in a less-pressured setting.

  23. The Chart was about the most perverted and creepy thing I’ve seen coming out of an onstensibly Christian institution. Nauseating. As Someone said, “As you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to Me.” I hope Bill Gothard spends eternity in a white, blank windowless room while that phrase is repeated night and day.

  24. Brother Joseph Byron is really a twenty-first century St. Simeon Stylites wannabe.

  25. Fare thee well, Daniel! Long may you run!


    And remember: Don’t be denied.


  26. The picture of the Rambler brought back memories. We had a 1959 Ambassador 327 4V. It was hot.

    On the guy bit by the rattlesnake, the venom antidote is over 2000 dollars a vile.

  27. Daniel, I’ve enjoyed your ramblings. You’ll be a tough act for anyone to follow.

  28. Daniel, thank you. It was saturday Ramblings that first drew me to this site, and I always look forward to it each weekend. I wish you all the best and I hope you make a comeback at some point 🙂

    Chaplain Mike, thank you too. I started following the blog due to Ramblings but I’ve since warmed up to the rest of the weekday material… Your writing and your careful stewardship/curating of this site has helped me navigate this walk a wee bit better…. Much respect to you both!

  29. David Morris says

    Man, now I want to take “Kanye West versus everyone”. Maybe they offer it online? Anyway, thanks for all the ramblings. I think you had a balance in your perspectives. Peace be with you!

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