September 21, 2020

Saturday Ramblings — August 9, 2014


We’ve been talking lately about eschatology here on IM, hearing from people who are pre-millennialists and a-millennialists and probably a variety of other positions as well. You may have been wondering: where does your Chaplain stand?

I’ve concluded that I am an æstas-millennialist,” one of a growing number of people here in the Midwest who believe that the millennium comes every summer when the tomatoes and sweet corn are harvested. I mean, what could be better than that? It’s culinary (and spiritual) perfection. Surely Satan must be chained and the saints reigning whenever we sit down at the table to enjoy these summertime blessings!

Well, enough profound theology for today. It’s time to ramble.

corn1ed92e294-69ba-498f-b9e1-623c3d48227aLargerMosquitoes (which, come to think of it, might disprove my millennial theory) were all over Kerry Sanders like progressives on Mark Driscoll in a recent Today Show segment. They tested a new app, which promises to keep mosquitoes away by emitting a high frequency noise that the bugs supposedly hate.

News correspondent Kerry Sanders took on the challenge of trying it out. . . . and he lost. It was estimated that he contracted about 300 bites, and Today Show host Matt Lauer, who was watching the experiment, ended up with a permanent grimace that may require plastic surgery. You too can squirm by watching the video HERE.


corn1ed92e294-69ba-498f-b9e1-623c3d48227aLargerIn more entertainment news, it’s another week, another blasphemous program on TV, and yet another Christian backlash to said show.

RNS-BLACK-JESUS“Black Jesus” premiered Thursday on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim series. I did not watch and will not be watching, but the network describes the show like this: “The new show stars Gerald “Slink” Johnson as a modern-day black Jesus living in rough-and-tumble Compton, Calif., spreading “love and kindness” with a “loyal group of downtrodden followers.”

However, Monica Cole, director of One Million Moms, says the show is “blasphemous, irreverent and disrespectful.” Her group is basing its criticisms on the show’s YouTube trailer, which shows Jesus using explicit language and includes violence and drinking.

As if you didn’t guess, a campaign has been launched, petitions are being circulated, advertisers have been warned . . . blah, blah, blah. Next.

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCEcorn1ed92e294-69ba-498f-b9e1-623c3d48227aLargerHow dysfunctional is Congress? It has been 18 months since Pope Francis became the Holy Father, and some thought it might be a good idea for U.S. lawmakers to say, “Congratulations!” However, the bill acknowledging him, H.Res. 440, which seems straightforward, applauding Francis on his March 2013 election and recognizing “his inspirational statements and actions,” couldn’t muster enough bipartisan support to pass, or even make it out of committee (where it has been since last December).

It seems there is a dearth of GOP members who have signed on to the measure, which could be attributable to assertions that the pope is “too liberal,” according to a Republican backer of the legislation. Some Republicans, he said, believe the pope is “sounding like [President] Obama. [The pope] talks about equality — he actually used the term ‘trickle-down economics,’ which is politically charged.”

I hereby insist that the bill’s opponents stay after school and write on the chalkboard 1,000 times: Catholic Social Teaching is NOT socialism, Catholic Social Teaching is NOT socialism, Catholic Social Teaching is NOT socialism. . . . Oh, and clean those erasers while you’re at it.

corn1ed92e294-69ba-498f-b9e1-623c3d48227aLargerIn case you were wondering, here’s how to raise a furor among evangelicals in two easy steps:

  1. Become musicians that sing “Christian” music good enough to win Dove Awards.
  2. Tell everybody you don’t believe in a literal interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis.

Here’s what Gungor (Michael and Lisa) said on their website in the blog post, “What Do We Believe?”

Gungor_5I have no more ability to believe, for example, that the first people on earth were a couple named Adam and Eve that lived 6,000 years ago. I have no ability to believe that there was a flood that covered all the highest mountains of the world only 4,000 years ago and that all of the animal species that exist today are here because they were carried on an ark and then somehow walked or flew all around the world from a mountain in the middle east after the water dried up. I have no more ability to believe these things than I do to believe in Santa Clause or to not believe in gravity. But I have a choice on what to do with these unbeliefs. I could either throw out those stories as lies, or I could try to find some value in them as stories. But this is what happens…

If you try to find some value in them as stories, there will be some people that say that you aren’t a Christian anymore because you don’t believe the Bible is true or “authoritative”. Even if you try to argue that you think there is a truth to the stories, just not in an historical sense; that doesn’t matter. To some people, you denying the “truth” of a 6,000 year old earth with naked people in a garden eating an apple being responsible for the death of dinosaurs is the same thing as you nailing Jesus to the cross. You become part of ‘them’. The deniers of God’s Word.

Some churches have cancelled concerts because of the controversy. And such evangelical writers as Jeff Koch at World have indeed consigned the Gungors to the company of those who have “drifted from biblical orthodoxy,” who (as the Charisma article linked above says), “don’t believe the whole Bible anymore,” who are (and this is my favorite) “wandering away from a biblically defined Christianity to a land twixt and tween.”

Man, if I didn’t love the name “Internet Monk” so much, I would so use “A Land Twixt and Tween” for this blog.


Racial reconciliation began among white and black Pentecostals at the Pentecostal-charismatic unity meeting in Memphis, Tenn., in October 1994. The reconciliation effort became a historic three-day meeting, later called “the Memphis Miracle,” in which church leaders and scholars explored ways to heal wounds and create racial unity. The all-white Pentecostal Fellowship of North America was dissolved and replaced by the inclusive Pentecostal/ Charismatic Churches of North America. (RNS)

corn1ed92e294-69ba-498f-b9e1-623c3d48227aLargerHappy 100th birthday to the Assemblies of God denomination, a group from which maybe we could all learn something. Despite a beginning marred by splits that led to segregated Pentecostal church groups, 41% of the members of the AoG in the U.S. today are non-white, and that number continues to grow.

RNS reports: “During an eight-day trip in July, Scott Temple, the Assemblies’ director of ethnic relations, traveled to settings that bore out the range of what American AG churches look like. He went from a multiethnic congregation in Englewood, N.J., where 40 different nationalities worship together, to a Messianic Jewish congregation, to a biennial meeting of the denomination’s National Black Fellowship.” The denomination has also persevered in ongoing efforts to reach out to historically black Pentecostal denominations from which it has been separated over the years, seeking better relations.

corn1ed92e294-69ba-498f-b9e1-623c3d48227aLargerFinally, we had an unusual highway incident here in Indy last week. A semitrailer overturned on one of our major interstates when its driver fell asleep and hit a barrier, spilling 45,000 pounds of butter and dairy products all over the road. The butter was in tubs, but many of them burst and the surface of the highway was coated with delectable spread, forcing it to be closed for several hours.

Which, of course, makes me hungry for sweet corn. With some tomatoes on the side, please.

Have a great rest of the weekend.


  1. I wonder if the accident will delay the reconstruction of “Butter Jesus”.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      They’ll redesign it using lower-cholesterol environmentally friendly flax seed oil.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Finally, we had an unusual highway incident here in Indy last week. A semitrailer overturned on one of our major interstates when its driver fell asleep and hit a barrier, spilling 45,000 pounds of butter and dairy products all over the road.

      45000 pounds of butter?
      That anything like 30000 pounds of bananas?

  2. I’m not familiar with the One Million Moms group, but I read that the Union Of Black Episcopalians found the “Black Jesus” trailer offensive and called for the show to be canceled. There was a story about it on the Episcopal Cafe website.

    • Faulty O-Ring says

      Why get so uptight? It’s just a minstrel show.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      As if you didn’t guess, a campaign has been launched, petitions are being circulated, advertisers have been warned . . . blah, blah, blah. Next.

      Since Last Temptation of Christ hit upon the formula almost by accident, “tick off those Xians” has become a standard marketing ploy and publicity stunt. Do something like Black Jesus (with about as much class as a Reality Show), make sure you include something “blasphemous” (real or imagined), and the free publicity comes in in buckets. Wind those Xian Activists up, let them go, and they’re a self-sustaining publicity machine, screaming, denouncing, boycotting, throwing themselves at the media.

      Some years ago, my writing partner (a burned-out preacher who lives hand-to-mouth) joked in LiveJournal about moonlighiting as “a REAL Reverend denouncing your book” to juice books for small-press authors who can’t get exposure. The Church Ladies found out (they were monitoring his LJ account and reading his email), took it Dead Serious, and he got in BIG trouble.

      • If this had been “Black Muhammad” instead of “Black Jesus,” just think of the outcry. The producers would have fatwas of death called upon them. Liberals would be lined up en masse to denounce the show.

        The Christian response ain’t so bad.

        • “Ain’t so bad.” Nope, just boring, uncreative, and predictable.

        • There simply wouldn’t be a “black Mohammed,” as most Sunni Muslims do not believe that any depiction of him is right or good.

          So, a non sequitur.

          • Presumably, any depiction would be part of the offense taken, regardless of whether it was “black Mohammed,” “white Mohammed,” or whatever, which sort of supports Rick Ro.’s point. Add to this a depiction of Mohammed as using “explicit language,” and fatwas would not be unlikely.

          • And if Mohammed was depicted as involved in the drinking mentioned, that’s even more trouble…

          • i don’t think anyone would make a show called “black Mohammed.” Or, as you say, “white Mohammed,” or “brown Mohammed,” or…

          • No one would make a Black Muhammad or White Muhammad because they’d likely be killed over it.

          • Rick, I think you missed my point entirely…

        • Faulty O-Ring says

          And then there was the SNL skit “Rude Buddha,” which met with collective shrugs:

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          If this had been “Black Muhammad” instead of “Black Jesus,” just think of the outcry. The producers would have fatwas of death called upon them. Liberals would be lined up en masse to denounce the show.

          Fear Breeds Respect.

  3. “However, the bill acknowledging him, H.Res. 440, which seems straightforward, applauding Francis on his March 2013 election and recognizing “his inspirational statements and actions,” couldn’t muster enough bipartisan support to pass, or even make it out of committee (where it has been since last December).”

    AH yes, those obstructionist Republicans! And in the Senate those wacky Democrats have done what to remark on the pope? NOTHING! It seems that they don’t even have the energy to try…

    As for poor Michael and Lisa Gungor I guess they never learned that to admit to struggling with biblical belief is the same as becoming an atheist in the eyes of many. Which is one reason that I stopped teaching adult Sunday School. I just couldn’t hew to the party line on Noah, the Garden narrative, etc. People want certitude, not more questions.

    • The Dems all signed on, but only a few Reps did – far fewer than necessary. And it was one of their own, a Rep sponsor of the bill, who criticized them.

      • Those Reps have a lot of Bible belt Baptist fundies to answer to. You think we’re harsh in the LCMS when we call the pope the AntiChrist, we at least think he’s a sincere believer AND a nice guy! The Falwell zone goes Westboro on all things Romish.

        • The Republicans have three masters. They have to appeal to the Fundamentalists, they have to appeal to the Ayn Rand fanboys, and they have to appeal to the Chamber of Commerce/crony capitalist crowd. This is of course impossible. On the Democrat side, it seems more uniform in spite of the various pressure groups. Things are run by Progressives. An old style liberal of even 30 years ago would now probably be considered almost conservative in some ways.

    • To be fair, I don’t recall the Democrats rushing to sing the praises of Pope Benedict. Maybe I missed it.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        This, “oh, but they are jerks too” schoolyard meme is lame. It is only useful for dismissing people we are biased against. Why not just honestly recognize jerkyness when you see it? Rather than the knee-jerk them-too? Or don’t complain about bias – because this is bias.

        • Just because a target is big doesn’t mean that you HAVE to shoot at it because you can’t miss.

          Anyway, Republicans are regularly bagged on here while Democrats are given a free pass.

          • But they just make it so easy, oscar . . .

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Anyway, Republicans are regularly bagged on here while Democrats are given a free pass.

            Ees Party Line, Comrades.

          • Republicans are regularly bagged on here

            And there’s a darned good reason for it, too. The the right wing, with the moral majority, hijacked the Evangelical church as a promotional machine. Our pastors were so eager to jump on board, they did so with no discernment, and now our congregations are so highly politicized we are implicitly telling anybody with a slightly progressive lean that Christ doesn’t want them.

        • Jacob’s point is fair and warranted. Pope Francis, like Jesus, is an equal opportunity offender, and he has had some harsh things to say about social progressivism and Obama in particular. Libs sing his praise because he uses their terminology to describe his conservative views, but they refuse to listen carefully, hearing what they wish a Pope would say.

        • That’s really funny about knee jerk reactions. For years whenever Benedict said anything challenging, the usual reply on the left was, Panzer Kardinal this, Panzer Papst that.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Out here in SoCal, every time morning drive-time mentioned Pope Benedict, he was always described as “‘Reluctant’ Member of the Hitler Youth”, usually with Deutschland Uber Alles playing in the background.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        A quick and easy google search turns up Senate Resolution 519, passed April 17, 2008, welcoming Pope Benedict on the occasion of his visit to the United States:

        • Benedict was a conservative pope who focused on other things and who spoke much differently than Francis, though I doubt their actual positions are much different.

          • Richard Hershberger says

            My point was in response to Jacob C’s suggestion that the Democrats are just the same: the “but Mom, he started it!” defense. It is a poor defense even when factually correct, and even worse when not.

    • Dan Crawford says

      It comes as no great surprise that the Republicans have little use for the Pope. He is not like them a Social Darwinists. Unlike them, he cares passionately for those exploited and despised by corporate capitalism. Unlike them, he believes that Christians should have a concern for the common welfare of a state, and not simply a passion for the oligarchs. Finally, unlike them, he takes seriously the teachings and behavior of Jesus.

    • I just couldn’t hew to the party line on Noah, the Garden narrative, etc.

      I have a serious problem with both extremes on those kinds of issues. On the one hand, you have “If you reject 6 day YEC, it doesn’t matter if you believe that Jesus is Lord and He has risen from the dead.” On the other hand, you have people who say “Yes, God is omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, but he simply cannot contradict the laws of the natural realm as I observe them, even though he set these laws in order.” Both extremes are beyond stupid, and the problem I have with Evangelical celebrities who flop on the issue is that they are usually just thoughtlessly trading one extreme for the other. I expect Gungor to have a more thoughtful and nuanced position on this, but sometimes when you’re escaping a fundamentalist perspective, you’ll turn to its antithesis for comfort.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        >but he simply cannot contradict the laws of the natural realm

        But when did he? When didn’t he? That is the problem. So I just assume they were suspended when to do so suspend matches my preferred narrative? And not suspended when I need them around [like using a GPS, flying in an airplane, undergoing radiological cancer treatment]. You can’t have it both ways, conveniently, and NOT accept that you are going to get criticized for it. And if you asset this you can’t then call that criticism of your position “persecution” – you have chosen [for good reasons or not] to toss out the rules of rational debate.

        For all I really know for certain God created the entire universe seven minutes and twelve seconds ago and just implanted all the memories of my life in my consciousness when it booted up. But I have zero zilch nada evidence to suggest that. If someone wants to tell me that idea is just donkers – they can do so with complete intellectual legitimacy.

        • Holy Batman, who said anything about “persecution?” Wow, you are reading a ton of fundamentalist cultural baggage into my words there.

          But when did he? When didn’t he? That is the problem.

          Yes, determinacy is a weakness of that line of thought. Unless, of course, God put it in a book so we wouldn’t have to guess. Just because the Christian faith makes some arguments for supernatural intervention, it doesn’t follow that all claims are equally valid. Let’s start with an important one: Resurrection from the dead is scientifically impossible. Yet all of Christianity accepts it. It is a given that the supernatural Creator exercises the infinite prerogative of control over the creation.

          I have no problem getting criticized for my views. I dish it out, I can take it. You’d better be ready to defend your criticism, though, ’cause if I’m not convinced, I will return in kind.

          Nobody is “tossing out the rules of rational debate,” unless by that you mean refusing to accept YOUR epistemology as a given. Your version of “debate” would be “accept my presuppositions or there is no point in talking.” You don’t seem incredibly open to having them questioned.

          It is simply logically inconsistent to have a God who is creator and incapable of interfering in the created realm. You can argue that he simply refuses to for lack of interest or whatever, but if he spoke it into being, he can modify it at will. It would be like the inventor of Monopoly being unable to break the rules of his own game. It’s his creation, the board and dice don’t have the ability to dictate that to him.

          I am not impressed by the argument of “Last Tuesdayism,” nor it’s recent break-off cult “Last Thursdayism.” Just because God can supernaturally intervene in the material world, it doesn’t necessarily follow that nothing in the material world can be depended on to be consistent. You can have omnipotence, or you can have limitations, but you cannot have them both. Matter is real, but if you’re going to insist it is the fundamental nature of reality, you’re gonna have to give some compelling reasons for it.

          For all I really know for certain God created the entire universe seven minutes and twelve seconds ago and just implanted all the memories of my life in my consciousness when it booted up.

          Correct. If this scenario were in fact true, it would be impossible for us to realize it. But nobody (and especially not the first 11 chapters of Genesis) is claiming that. If somebody did in fact claim to believe this, I do not think said belief should make a difference. Even if it were true. We have to live in the world we find ourselves in as we find it to be. Nothing changes. Which is why, as a creationist, I don’t have a problem with the teaching of evolution in public schools. Just so long as it is done in science class. Heck, the very conservative Christian school I serve teaches evolutionary science. We don’t endorse it as the end of the story, but neither to we embark on an anti-science fundamentalist crusade against it.

          But I have zero zilch nada evidence to suggest that.

          If God were to supernaturally intervene in the created order, ask yourself: what should we expect that evidence to look like?

          If you create a tree on Tuesday, chop it down on Thursday, and it has 100 rings, how old is it? If you said 2 days, you would be correct. If you said 100 years, you would also be correct. Unless you can actually give me a reasonable defense for why Adam MUST have been created without a belly button.

          • “It is simply logically inconsistent to have a God who is creator and incapable of interfering in the created realm.”

            The closest you can come to that is deism, in which God created, and then took his hands off and let the creation unwind itself without his interference, but deism is not Christianity.

            Otherwise, you have a non-creating god like ancient Greek philosophies Unmoved Mover, who does nothing, nor has any desire to do anything, but be admirable enough in his perfections for everything else to be drawn towards, sort of a cosmic narcissist with a huge fan club.

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

            But the counter point is that if God “intervenes” in the created realm (which is surprisingly difficult to define when one gets right down to it), results – at least philosophically – in a God of the gaps, which has its own set of problems.

          • Robert, deism is precisely what I was getting at with that comment. “Narcissist with a huge fan club” sounds remarkably similar to the celebrity culture of American pop. How far we’ve come, yet how little has changed. Our gods may be mortals yet, but they are certainly no more human.

            Dr. F, it leaves room for a “God of the gaps,” but it doesn’t necessarily have to lead to that. It’s not that things we can’t explain prove God. Rather, it’s that things we can explain are not always necessarily so (and if we can learn one thing from the history of science, this is most certainly true). Also, Christianity has always been pro-science, even if the institution has battled it for power in the past. The scientific method developed in western Christendom, and there’s many a good reason for that. The incarnation is the ultimate validation of the imminent realm, showing us that living fully in the world is indeed a good things, as God originally intended, and that we should apply ourselves to the labors contained therin, which definitely includes science. But the resurrection also tells us that the imminent realm is not the final Word, there is a transcendence which not only supersedes it, but has been eternally united to it in the person of Christ. You might say that God himself has a vested interested in our scientific progress!

            Believe me, we can count on our digits the number of “divine interventions” the Christian faith requires. It is not necessarily open season for the tin foil hats just because God does some things we may never fully understand. To insist that God can not intervene is a blatant rejection of the entire substance of Christian orthodoxy, because without a resurrection, we really are a sorry bunch of fools.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            I think the deists had an important point, but they took it too far. Instead of Willing everything ad hoc to exist and natural laws to behave microsecond by microsecond, God set up the physical universe as a self-perpetuating operating system running on a program of natural law and physics. (Booting up with the Big Bang?) The deists stopped there, without God being willing & able to interact with or override the operating system via Adminstrator-level access & control privileges. .The deists acted as if the initial & current system settings were all there was or would be. And after starting the clock, God may as well not exist or need to exist. (So what’s the diff?)

            The alternative (and total opposite of deism) is the road al-Ghazali steered Islam down, where there is no cause & effect, where instead of a cloth burning God Wills the cloth out of existence and God Wills the flame, heat, smoke, and ash into existence with no connection whatsoever, Willing everything at every time ad hoc with no reason for consistency.

          • God transcends, but he doesn’t have to intervene, even for the Resurrection, because he is never absent from the inside of his creation. Miraculous events are those in which his ongoing presence in the heart of things is revealed in an intensely focused way; otherwise and most of the time, God works unceasingly in ways that make him invisible to us, through what we call natural processes. I think one could understand this in terms of the theology of the Cross. God transcends not only outside but also from inside things; his transcendence is both in the depths as well as the heights.

            I personally subscribe to theistic evolution. That is not the same as naturalistic evolution, because I believe that evolution, along with the rest of creation, is directed; theistic evolution is not compatible with naturalistic evolution, because the latter requires randomness and the absence of teleology.

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

            “God transcends, but he doesn’t have to intervene, even for the Resurrection, because he is never absent from the inside of his creation. ”

            I like that.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > Holy Batman, who said anything about “persecution?” Wow, you are reading
            > a ton of fundamentalist cultural baggage into my words there.

            You don’t, but a whole lot of other people use the same standing to claim exactly that. They have radio stations dedicated to their grievances.

            It is a hard argument to hold boundaries on.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            And there’s a standard knee-jerk defense of Young Earth Creationism that equates it with the Scientifically Impossible Resurrection. If one is Scientifically Impossible, so is the other, so both must be literally true.

  4. “Mosquitoes…were all over Kerry Sanders like progressives on Mark Driscoll”.

    Yes, Yes. If you disapprove of Driscoll, you must be a progressive, a mosquito, or some other low-life parasite. This message is brought to you by Cutter Deep-ad hominem formula.

  5. cermak_rd says

    Why an apple? The Scriptures never specify what kind of fruit it was. Did this myth somehow get mixed up with the Judgement of Paris and the fruit become an apple as a result? I’ve always wondered? Why not figs? I mean, we all know that the Almighty hates figs and this could explain why. Of course I love figs, and pomegranates and consider a few pomegranate seeds to be worthy of a time in Hades (though perhaps not half the year every year that seems a bit over the top).

    • I believe ‘apple’ (I think it was ‘aeppel’ or something like that in Anglo-Saxon) used to have a considerably broader meaning than the specific type of fruit we now call an apple, being applied to fruit in a general sense. ‘Fruit’ of course comes from French, so arrived in the language later. I’m just speculating, but I would guess this is why the non-specific fruit of Genesis is usually thought of as an apple. Probably there was some translation at some point in the history of English that translated it as that, but with the more general sense of the word in mind. There’s an interesting research project in that if anyone has the time or inclination.

      • There’s probably something to what you’re saying. I read somewhere once that “aeppel” is one of the very oldest words in the English language, so its appearance in popular retellings of the Genesis account perhaps isn’t too surprising.

        Also, I could just ask my Asian wife whether back in Taiwan they say it was a custard apple. (How about them apples, you ask? Well, I can totally see why Eve was tempted if they were custard apples!)

        • Why not dragon fruit? That would be more appropriate, I think.

          • You know, Oscar, I actually started to put that fruit in there instead, but given that my first experience with the strange if rather bland fruit was in Taiwan, and my wife’s reaction to my “What is this thing!?” was “I have no idea!” I realized it was as new to Taiwan in 2002 as it was to the US. So I went with the God’s own instant dessert fruit instead.

            Still, think of how much cooler the great classical paintings would look with a red dragon fruit in the palm of Eve’s hand!

        • cermak_rd says

          But definitely not a durian! It would never have appealed to anyone with working nasal passages! (though the fruit itself is not bad tasting, it’s just hard for me to get past the aroma.)

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Could be as simple as – what other fruit readilly grows on a tree in the cold north?

        • Could be. I’m wondering too if some Renaissance era art (like Raphael’s painting of The Temptation of Adam and Eve) is to blame for the confusion? it could very well be that an artist, being required to show an unspecified fruit, would have gone with one readily available so he’d have something to model. Milton seems to have avoided giving a specific name to the fruit, but then again, he didn’t have to make an image.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            And apples are a convenient size to depict artistically, a cherry or olive would be too small. And they are red. Just handy.

        • This is my suspicion.

    • That Other Jean says

      There may be other reasons, but I’ve heard/read that it was because the word translated as “apple” is a pun in Latin. “Malum” means both “apple” and “evil.” Both writers of Latin and their translators appreciated puns.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      As I understand it, in Northern Europe the apple is the only fruit that can be stored through the winter, and Bible paegeants were usually held in the spring, before the trees could bear for the year. So the fruit used in the paegeants was usually an apple.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        +1 I’ve heard this theory as well. It seems simple and banal enough to likely be true.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Though the Latin pun of Malum sounds equally likely, for much the same reasons.

    • I have a friend who is dogmatic that the forbidden fruit was a tomato. To him, that explains why it isn’t sweet like other fruit, and aside from that, he finds them to be surd evil.

      I’ve always thought it was a fig, if for no other reason than that fig leaves, allegedly, were the proverbial pre-animal skin garment. There is a kind of spiritual symbolism to that as well: Trying to cover our shame with the source of our guilt.

    • I thought it was an apple because it related to the “Adam’s apple.”

    • I vote for the forbidden fruit being an habanero pepper. OK, so that’s a vegetable, I suppose. Still, one bite and you’ll know what hell is like.

      • The forbidden fruit is mango. I discovered that when I went to Mexico and had a fresh, vine-ripened one. Nothing should be that good, and I think God was trying to protect us from outright idolatry by forbidding it.

        The ones on the grocery shelf are a cruel hoax. Don’t bother.

      • cermak_rd says

        Peppers have seeds inside them. Therefore fruit unless the us gov has ruled otherwise.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        There are a lot of habanero-eating footage on YouTube. Here’s one of my favorites:
        Note: 10-15 second delay until things get interesting.

  6. Christiane says

    ‘Catholic social teaching is not socialism.’ Good call.
    People can see for themselves by reading this document:

    • Nothing is more conservative than the Catholic Church.

      Unless it’s fresh garden tomatoes and sweet corn.

      • Christiane says

        What I like about the conservatism in my Church is how it doesn’t abandon Matthew, Chapter 25 when it forms a social doctrine. That is conserving something worth keeping.

        “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 40 And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44 Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45 He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ 46 And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” ”

        This passage alone (there are many others) are read in the Church liturgical services and help to form the congregations to the Mind of Christ. Perhaps that is the reason why so MANY truly conservative Catholic voters could NOT support the Republican agenda for the poor in the last presidential election. Even our bishops in this country freaked at the Ryan Plan. That that is REAL conservatism where doing the right thing is not sold away in the pursuit of personal gain. When we were a young country, we valued the common good and the support of neighbor for neighbor. When on Earth did self-sufficiency become separated from ethics in communities and it was allowed by the ‘conservatives’ to do this? In THIS country? It took a lot of talk radio even to get that idea going, and it poisoned a lot of minds, but not all. Not all.

        • I’m with you.

        • ” When we were a young country, we valued the common good and the support of neighbor for neighbor.”

          Now, wait a second — I think you’re forgetting slavery, and some other things, like treating Native tribal peoples as anything but neighbors, even though they were. There are some things in our history that were noble, but other things were not, and are not, worth conserving. The “good ol’ days” were only good for some.

          • Christiane says

            was thinking ‘frontier settlers’, but you have a good point . . . the South is STILL reeling from the after-effects slavery’s gruesome impact . . . it’s going to take a few more generations to work out some of the residual poisons of slavery, maybe longer (sigh)

            frontier families . . . they had to rely on one another to survive at times, yes

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Unless it’s fresh garden tomatoes and sweet corn.


  7. Unfortunately, the battle over how to read a few chapters in Genesis is part of the American culture war. You can reject ancient cosmology and not become an atheist. You can believe the Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years away (really distant and not “apparently” distant) and yet not deny Christ. You can believe that dinosaurs and man did not coexist and still be conservative. God can handle a big universe that declares his glory.

    • I wonder if it’s the last desperate gasp of a hermeneutical framework. I’m seeing more and more people “coming out” as old earth creationists and wonder if it’s a backlash against the unnecessarily divisive language of the Answers in Genesis crowd.

      Our church hosted an AiG Sunday a couple weeks ago and I was disturbed by the way they treated William Lane Craig and William Dembski. It was as if these guys were holding hands with Darwin, Hitler, and Pol Pot all because they didn’t affirm a literal six day creation. Disinclines me from giving them a fair hearing.

      • I doubt it’s a last gasp, but you do raise an interesting question about whether people who are coming out are doing so as a reaction to, e.g., AiG’s hardline approach. I just don’t know.

        On the other hand, I do know there are those on the literalist side who at least register the discomfort people like me have with the AiGs of the world. I recently wrote a blog post about Ham’s “Aliens Will Go to Hell” dust-up a couple of weeks ago, though my main critique had nothing to do with aliens: it had to do with Ham’s fundamental inability to conceive that scientists are actually driven by curiosity and not by some desire to “disprove the Bible.” The (limited) feedback I received from those I know to be literalists was encouraging. I think they’re starting to realize the limitations of Ham’s approach, even if they may agree with his conclusions. But perhaps their name is not nor ever will be Legion.

    • Asinus Spinas Masticans says

      “You can reject ancient cosmology and not become an atheist. “

      I was told by a “leading Reformed luminary” in a seminary class of his that I “didn’t respect the text” because I didn’t accept a literal six day/twenty-four hour day Creation. This guy is no intellectual flyweight. He knows modern science inside and out from a popular standpoint, so it’s not just knuckledraggers and Pensacola moonhowlers that feel that way.

      • One can have a long list of academic achievements and still be a knuckle-dragging moon-howler at heart. That’s why universities don’t want to hire “Christians” in influential academic positions. When everything’s on the line and you need to count on them, they’ll get up to the podium and start preaching about the Great Pumpkin.

      • The academic advisor for our IVCF chapter in college was a brilliant chemist who occasionally touched on creationism in his lectures. He held many conservative political views. I now believe he was wrong about many things. He was still a great man. At the end of the day, we are all responsible to think for ourselves.

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

        He knows modern science inside and out from a popular standpoint
        I would be very curious to know what this means. Especially given that the “popular” science articles on the web and in print are hopelessly dumbed down to the point of even being inaccurate.

    • I agree. The old definition of “conservative” permitted much more diversity. Augustine did not hold to a literal view of Genesis, and I don’t consider him as “liberal” – especially compared to his nemesis, Palageus. Someone move the outpost of conservatism to the outer reaches of the lunatic fringe. Conservatives who didn’t move with it now find themselves labelled progressives or worse by these impostors.

  8. Richard Hershberger says

    “Her group is basing its criticisms on the show’s YouTube trailer, which shows Jesus using explicit language and includes violence and drinking.”

    The violence and drinking are attested in Scripture, so that’s two out of three. There is no record of Jesus using “explicit language” (taking that to be a euphemism for talking about sex or scatology or the like, and not meaning the use of specific, non-vague language). On the other hand, Jesus was notorious for the low company he kept, and they seemed to accept him, so perhaps his language was not entirely pristine.

    • If I’m not mistaken, to observers of the day, one of the most scandalous features of the Azusa Street Revival that marks the birth of the modern Pentecostal movement was that it was integrated. Also, if I’m not again mistaken, the earliest example of a (Protestant) black man ordaining a white man was within early Pentecostalism. So it’s a great tragedy that this tradition had a early splits in the US due to race.

      When I was a young person in the 1980s, the AG certainly seemed quite white. I’m very glad to see it’s diversifying in the US in a way that reflects that of global movement.

      • Asinus Spinas Masticans says

        Pentecostals have historically been on the front lines both of racial integration and women in ministry. I have never been in a Pentecostal church that was less than 20% non-white.

        • And my childhood experience was no doubt affected by the ambient demographic uniformity — though it seemed to persist even at larger, regional gatherings. Maybe I needed to get out more.

          My mom’s an ordained Pentecostal minister, by the way, though I have to say Pentecostalism’s being pulled both ways on the role of women in ministry. It’s certainly easier for women to be ministers in the AG than in other conservative denominations, but it’s not like there’s a positive thrust in that direction as one can observe among the liberal mainline traditions.

          It’s fascinating anthropology/asinology, in other words.

    • Sorry, my post was not in reply to Richard’s observations.

    • I’m sure He didn’t use the Aglo Saxon terms we are familiar with. Are there Aramaic equivalents?

      • I can’t imagine there would’t be. Cussing appears absolutely ubiquitous. I can’t help but wonder if the first words spoken weren’t due to dropping something on a foot and a response that was more expressive than ugh.

    • Jesus had a few things to say about “S” scatology.

  9. This has nothing to do with that, but some good info. on Ebola by Dr. Fumento:

    I found it a bit of a relief.

    • Ebola is nothing to worry about…until it is.

    • And what about possible mutation into an airborne form?

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

        Maybe unlikely. Ebola is an RNA virus with a single segment of RNA per capsid, so it has no multiple segments to resort (standard evolutionary mechanism in viruses). In order to become airborne, Ebola would have to evolve such that the capsid could withstand airborne stresses, with no kind of injury to the interior, since there is only one segment per capsid. However, Ebola currently infects through the bloodstream, not the lungs, and would probably also have to mutate in such a way as to allow it to infect through respiration. I have no idea how rapidly viruses in general or Ebola in particular evolve, but I would guess the scenario is unlikely.

  10. David Cornwell says

    This summer I’ve been making weekly trips to a local vegetable garden farm. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and we are invited to walk around the gardens just to look, take in the veggie smells, and see just the way things ought to be. They do not use chemical fertilizers or insecticides. Companion plantings are used to discourage insects. They have tomatoes of every variety, shape, and color. To eat a slice of one of these is to be reminded of that which is good, to bring back memories, and to instill hope for the future.

    Have you noticed the blandness of a lot of supermarket produce? It is beautiful to look at, but the taste is not appealing. Skins are tough, taste is barely existent. And then we wonder why kids won’t eat it.

    • It’s mostly harvested too soon so it doesn’t rot in the market (or on the way to the market) and yes, the cultivars chosen are chosen for their appearance and hardiness, not their taste or texture. On the other hand, I’ve discovered one can get decent tomato taste (not garden good, but decent) by not refrigerating one’s tomatoes after purchase.

  11. Pray for the Christians, and other religious minorities, of Iraq, who this hour are under threat of violence for their beliefs. And pray that their persecutors may come to understand that violent coercion is not a religious virtue.

  12. Roasted corn on the cob. Yum.

    • That Other Jean says

      Indeed. One of the Vegetables of Paradise.

    • Here in New Mexico it’s chli season. Most markets you go to, Wal-Mart, even, you’ll find folks roasting chili and selling it in bulk. The smell is to die for! (and yes, that’s a double entendre). Folks from around here would agree it’s the start of the annual millennium; outsiders who eat it think they’ve been cast into the lake of fire.

  13. IndianaMike says

    “Catholic Social Teaching is NOT socialism, Catholic Social Teaching is NOT socialism, Catholic Social Teaching is NOT socialism.”

    Except when it is.

    • I think it is capable of being misinterpreted either way.

    • “And when the radical priest come to get me released
      We is all on the cover of Newsweek….”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Anyone ever figure out what it was against the law that the Mama Pajama saw?

        • Simon never defined their crime, and recently called the song “a bit of inscrutable doggerel.”

      • Isn’t it “radical preacher?” I always assumed it was William Sloane Coffin of Yale who was very active in the anti-Vietnam movement. Of course it’s also possible that it’s just a bunch of phrases from the ’60s that make me feel happy when I hear them.

  14. Seeing the forest for the trees…isn’t that how the expression goes?
    As a somewhat-moderate attending a conservative evangelical church, I’ve heard the YEC side of things throughout my time there: how “days” in Genesis may not be the 24 hours days we are familiar with and how God can change geological landscapes to make things 6,000 years old look older.
    I may be naive and looking at this in an over-simplistic way, but the debates over how to read Genesis and exactly how old the earth is (etc.) seem, to me, to be small potatoes compared to the meat of it all. Let alone questioning a fellow Christian’s entire faith based on these ideas? Yikes.
    God created everything (when exactly and how, who knows?) and he sent his Son to redeem us. Isn’t the belief in THAT pretty much what should hold our focus? I don’t think my bible translation of John 3:14 says anything about the age of the world that God sent his son into or that John 11:25 says “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me and that the earth is only a few thousand years old…”
    6,000 or 6 million years makes no difference to my faith. However He managed it, and by what methods and time frame is fine by me. Jesus was born of a virgin, sacrificed himself on the cross for the sins of the world, and is our risen Savior. Those other issues brought forth may be building blocks, but Jesus is my capstone.

    Just my 2 pennies.

    • Brianthedad says


    • Marcus Johnson says

      It is really small potatoes. The Genesis narrative is this amazing story that separates the God of Israel from every other false deity and establishes his Trinitarian nature.

      But first, we have to decide what kind of fruit Adam ate, and how do we explain dinosaurs, and was the Garden of Eden in Babylon or Africa, and on and on.

      Meanwhile, we’re missing so much truth for the sake of being right.

  15. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

    I guess the thing they missed was that Jesus – the real Jesus – was black Jesus. That is part of the incarnation.

  16. Every “conservative” knows this is what Jesus really looked like: