July 11, 2020

Saturday Ramblings, July 18, 2015

Hello, imonks, and welcome to the weekend. Shall we Ramble a bit?

69 sedan

69 sedan

Of course the big news in foreign policy was the agreement with Iran, which puts their nuclear program under international oversight. “This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction”, the President said on Tuesday. The GOP candidates fell all over each other denouncing the deal. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee vowed that, if elected, he would “keep all options on the table, including military force, to topple the terrorist Iranian regime and defeat the evil forces of radical Islam.” What are your thoughts on this, imonks?

Personally, I think Obama better be careful. What with Cuba and now Iran, pretty soon we are going to squander our precious supply of enemies. But then, we’ll always have North Korea. hello-america-is-your-refrigerator-running-meme

This week NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft finally reached Pluto, after travelling for 3 billion miles and almost ten years. When the probe blasted off in January 2006, Pluto was the ninth planet in the solar system. Seven months later, astronomers at the International Astronomical Union voted to downgrade the icy body to a dwarf planet. CJ5QkQLXAAA-urHOne of the amazing discoveries was the large, whitish spot (on the bottom of the planet on the photo above), with much speculation about what it could be. Call me crazy, but…

Okay, what did Walt Disney know, and when did he know it?

Okay, what did Walt Disney know, and when did he know it?

YIKES!!!! A new poll of likely voters in the Republican primary was released this week. And who was on top? The Donald. No, I’m not joking. Yes, I really wish I was. Here, read it and see. “Trump’s ascendance in the polls follows widespread media coverage of his comments about undocumented Mexican immigrants, whom he has disparaged despite varying levels of condemnation from the rest of the Republican field.” Apparently some people really don’t like immigrants. 1d9325ffd3f35f39917d1a883ce99b44

In related news, Did you know that there is a weird insect known colloquially, the “Donald Trump  caterpillar”? The caterpillar’s “hair” is actually a set of hollow, venomous spines. According to the University of Florida, the insect is one of the most poisonous caterpillars in the United States.

The Donald's hairpiece goes for a walk

Hollow and venomous? What a coincidence…

Last week’s mention of a satire by Peter Leithart generated a lot of discussion. Peter Enns responded to the piece of satire with a long, didactic response, which our friend Miguel called, “bringing a gun to a knife fight”. This week Leithart brought his own pistol. He starts with a little snark:

It took a parody.

I devoted a section of a chapter in Deep Exegesis to Peter Enns’s work, I’ve critiqued him on my blog here and here and here, as well as the similar work of John Walton, here and here. To my knowledge, neither Enns nor Walton took note. Enns did, however, answer my parody article, “The Abraham Myth” on his own blog at Patheos.

It’s good to be noticed. If I want to interact with Enns again, I’ll remember: Parody opens a direct line of communication.

Then he gets more substantive [this is just an excerpt].

I do not, as Enns claims, want to keep data at arm’s length. Bring it on, bring it all on. All facts are God’s facts, and all the facts about the world of the Bible are worth studying, grappling with, and reflecting on.

But: Let’s not confuse facts or data with extrapolations from data or theorizing from facts. Most especially, let’s not confuse facts with the latest scholarly fashions. A fad is not a fact; a trend is not a settled truth. I find modern archaeology enthralling, a breathtaking story of heroic discovery. Archaeologists have piled up Everests of facts that scholars must clamber about and explore. Yet that data doesn’t assemble itself into meaningful patterns. Historical reconstructions based on archaeological findings depend on assembly of very partial data, conjecture, and imaginative gap-filling.

That’s not a criticism; it’s the nature of historical investigation, especially in a world as alien as the ANE. . .

Besides all that, the imaginative enterprise of historical reconstruction always takes place within a framework. And it is worth asking, Where is that framework coming from? On what set of facts or assumptions is it based?. . .

And this leads to the fundamental theological issue. Enns has written elsewhere that we can give up Paul’s belief in a historical Adam while retaining Paul’s doctrine of Adam. That exhibits a misunderstanding of what Scripture is (to Christians), even a basic misunderstanding of the sort of religion Christianity is. In Christian interpretation, the Bible isn’t a collection of stories illustrative of doctrine and morals. It’s a record of God’s actions in history for the redemption of the world. As I argued in Deep Exegesis, it’s a fundamental theological, philosophical, and hermeneutical error to believe we can peel off the historical husk of the Bible and retain its nourishing didactic kernel. . .

As J. Gresham Machen recognized, if we’re not talking about history, we’re no longer talking about Christian faith as it’s been understood for the past 2000 years.

I thought Leithart made some fair points. Still, the nub of the issue between the two men is Leithart’s contention that denying the historicity of Adam is analogous to denying the history of Abraham. But surely there is a difference in authorial intent between the two narratives. And while the scientific evidence points to a universe is 13.8 billion years old, and that the earth is about 4.5 billion years, there is no scientific evidence for or against the Abraham of Genesis. Thoughts, imonks?

I feel this quote from Leithart is worth a discussion of its own:

I agree with John Frame that extra-biblical information should challenge our understanding of Scripture, forcing us to question whether we got the text right. Sometimes, we’ll conclude we had it wrong and we’ll have to change our minds. Sometimes we’ll conclude that the text says what we thought it said, even if that puts us quite at odds with received wisdom, even at the cost of being the cause of exasperation from experts.

How have you handled it in your own life when the apparent claims of scripture seem to conflict with expert opinion?

Apparently this needed clarifying: “The United Nations is not the devil”, said Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. So the papal think tank is free to collaborate with the international body as well as people of any political persuasion, he said.

A 28-year-old man has been charged with stealing a hearse from outside a Buffalo church while a funeral was underway. Fortunately, the coffin was already removed.

Fans of the well-loved comic strip Bloom County are celebrating this week. Burke Breathed won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on Bloom County back in 1987; two years later, he quit producing it. On Sunday, he posted a photo of himself to Facebook in which he sat in front of a computer screen with an empty cartoon template titled Bloom County 2015. The first three strips are below: 11111956_1004028256294594_1412511863154266381_o11754783_1005349752829111_7523182674048108770_o (1)11696305_1005868556110564_1109205851245314335_o

A Spanish town has declared that it’s compulsory for all residents to take a siesta during the day – and employers must agree. The town of Ador in Valencia has decreed that everything must close and people are to bed down between the hours of 2pm and 5pm, the peak heat hours in the country. I think I need to move here.

And how is your Saturday going?

car wash

Police in Bottrop, Germany said a young woman called authorities Wednesday morning to report she was being stalked by a tenacious squirrel that resisted all of her attempts to evade it.dans_squirrel

The police “arrested” the exhausted squirrel,  for and fed it apple slices and honey tea. A video posted to the official Facebook account for North Rhine-Westphalia Police shows the squirrel being fed honey tea from a bottle. They also gave him reading materials, which I don’t think was a good idea…

They also gave him reading materials, which I don't think was a good idea...

But fortunately, some local soldiers took the matters into their own hands: trophySquirrel1

A Rhode Island woman who makes jewelry out of mothers’ breast milk is hitting back at claims that her business is a scam. Allicia Mogavero of MommyMilk Creations says that customers knew when they placed their orders that they could wait years for their keepsakes. Some customers say they sent MommyMilk money and their breast milk up to two years ago and still haven’t received the jewelry they were promised.

Weekly “tweeking Chaplain Mike” pic: images (5)

What did you think of the undercover video in which the medical director of Planned Parenthood discusses organ harvesting fetuses? In case you haven’t seen it, the abridged version is here, while the full version (almost 3 hours) is here. PP’s response is here. They claim they are only getting remimbursed for shipping and handling, with no financial gain (cuz that is big-time illegal). But a brochure from a Planned Parenthood partner, StemExpress pitches their services to potential business partners as “providing a financial benefit to your clinic” and “contributing to the fiscal growth of your own clinic.” The recovery of shipping costs accomplishes neither of those things.

ppIn the video, PP’s medical director discusses how they will optimize an abortion, so that they “crush” below or above the organs harvested. But federal law indicates this to be illegal: “(ii) no alteration of the timing, method, or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy was made solely for the purposes of obtaining the tissue;” Your thoughts, imonks?

And on that note, just a reminder: Please be kind and Christlike in your interactions with each other in the comments. Last week there was a good deal of personal sarcasm. Perhaps I’m inconsistent, but I hope the Ramblings are where we can exhibit a little snark at the powerful and vain (looking at you, Donald) while disagreeing in a charitable way with each other, even over such an emotional issue as abortion. I am camping at Lake Michigan this weekend, so I will not be able to moderate.


  1. Elizabeth says

    I don’t know about anyone else, but watching this woman talk so casually, yet in such detail, about the gruesome murder of a tiny person opened my eyes in a new way. Previously I always had been able to identify pro-choicers as deeply wounded and deeply deceived. And I still think that many people who champion abortion rights ARE deeply wounded and deeply deceived.
    But I am astonished all over again now by the ability that so many people have to disconnect this real-life procedure from the fact that they are taking human life.
    And I don’t know how they can sleep at night. Will God awaken them and bring them to Himself? Who else can possibly reach them?

    • The spirit of Margaret Sanger lives on…

      • This would be the spirit of a woman who watched her mother–and many other women in her community–die slowly, over many, many years from bearing child after child and thought, “Maybe it doesn’t have to be this way.”

        So yeah: The spirit of Margaret Sanger lives on . . . in every woman who pursues education or career, has children when she is ready for them (y’know ‘planned parenthood’?), doesn’t die of preeclampsia, doesn’t go through the agony of giving birth to a stillborn child with anencephaly, doesn’t have to carry her rapist’s inseminate to term. I raise a glass to her.

        • David Morris says

          It doesn’t have to be this way, and the death rate in birth is now very low. This has nothing at all to do with abortion access and everything to do with improved medical care. The goals of your second paragraph can be achieved without recourse to abortion, and I’m sure we could work together to achieve them without supporting the dismemberment of 20 week old infants.

    • Secretly recording peoples private conversations and then complaining about their *tone*, is gross and shows a lack of basic respect for others. Yes, people in private conversations don’t discuss things the same way they would in front of a public, hostile audience, who could of known.

      • Yes, the real outrage here is that someone was unknowingly recorded in private, not that she could casually and happily talk about crushing babies and selling their organs. Glad to see we have our priorities straight.

        • Yup. Moderator’s at the beach. I see that now.

        • I’m pretty sure “the ends justify the means” is NOT solid Christian ethics.

          • I think you have an argument with one of the greatest theological minds of the twentieth century, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who engaged in systematic deceptions as part of his participation in the plot to assassinate Hitler; it seems he acted as if the “ends justify the means” on two counts: lying, and participating in an assassination attempt.

            I’m pretty sure absolutist ethics are not solidly Christian.

          • As a matter of fact I do. You can call such actions “necessary”, but that still does not make them “Christian”. Armed resistance to even a tyrannical government has little NT warrant, I’m afraid.

          • This is our difference: I don’t think every moral decision or action needs a New Testament warrant to be legitimately Christian; you’re a strict constructionist, I guess, but I believe in ethical development and change arcing out from the central ethical concerns of the New Testament witness.

            Of course, that requires determining what are the New Testament’s central concerns, but I believe that everyone does this anyway, if not in the area of morality then in other areas, whether they cop to it or not; for instance, I’d be willing to bet that you don’t give a high priority to making sure that women wear head coverings when gathered together with the assembled community to worship.

            I know for a fact that there are situations in which telling the truth is unquestionably not the “Christian” thing to do. All ethical decisions and actions, though dealing with objective moral values, are situational. There is no escape from this, for anyone, Christian or not. The absolute moral value may be betrayed by staying with the mechanics of simple obedience to it in the concrete circumstances.

          • Pretty sure; darn sure. Of course I am in the minority? “It’s never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right”. Heard someplace.

          • And I’m saying none of this as an anti-abortion, or abortion rights, absolutist; I’m neither. It seems to me the ethical grayness of the manner in getting the information in this story does not relieve us from needing to look closely at the information for the truth it unveils; it’s similar to the Snowden revelations.

          • Remember when Christ praised his disciple for drawing a sword and striking a blow for righteousness?

            Good times.

          • Robert F says

            You’re using a negative proof-text, StuartB, and thereby validating a fundamentalist approach to scripture as only to be interpreted in the “plain sense”, and as an absolute guide for Christian moral life and values. Is that your intention?

            I can play: Remember when Jesus told his apostles that they should carry a sword from then on?

          • lol touche, lol

            yup, just having some fun

      • And this: Live Action, the group behind the video created a fake 501.c3 shell company called Center for Medical Progress apparently to hide their identity and deceive the target of the video. Of course, any action taken by the IRS to prosecute will be viewed as persecution. This episode teaches a lot about the savagery of abortion, but it also exposes even more of the ugliness of cultural war and why so many are sick of it.


        • I also reveals once again that our side of the political spectrum determines how we views events and people’s actions. If the person who was recorded had been anti-immigration, or something else considered right wing, most on the liberal spectrum would care less that the recording was done in a deceptive manner. It would be seen as a wonderful piece of investigation, necessary even. But since it is one of their own and deals with an issue they view as untouchable, then they are totally up in arms that someone dare record them speaking candidly about what they really do.

          • Rick Ro. says

            Yep. The hypocrisy of the left is there.

            Of course, it’s human nature, so not too surprising.

          • No, from a Christian perspective where truth and integrity matters, it would still be reprehensible. The problem with cultural war is not exclusively on one side or the other – if there really are only two sides.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            The Party Can Do No Wrong.

    • To be fair, she’s in the medical profession. They are a little…different, than the rest of us. Regarding any type of medical work.

      Ever read the book Stiff?

  2. Some good healthy laughs once more Daniel. Funny is just FUNNY, and if you can’t laugh at yourself and firmly held beliefs then you are just way TOO serious.

    I remember lake Michigan as being quite cold, even in the midst of summer. I spent one summer in Deckerville, Mich. when I was a young man. I prefer southern California now. Enjoy…

    • I grew up in Frankfort. Only tourists and crazy teen age boys swam in Lake Michigan. Anyone with sense pick Crystal Lake as the preferred dipping spot.

      And for beating the summer heat, there’s not much better than sitting on a beach while the cool breezes wafted off the lake.

  3. Bloom County? BLOOM COUNTY?!?!?! !!!!!
    Thank you for this news Daniel! I feel like a kid again. (Although I’m not sure if it was helpful overall to start reading it before I was 10…)

    As for the Iran bit, I’m not convinced (contra the Republican candidates) that we could have gotten a better deal. I’m also not sure if they’ve really thought out the potential unintended consequences of their proposed actions.

    • srs, after reading ”Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” I just can’t help seeing some similarities in the reasoning behind the agreements with nations who exhibit not so peaceful ambitions solely for the sake of bringing them into the ”family of nations”. Why did we need a treaty anyway? I’ve not heard a great explanation for it. ”Peace in our time” indeed…

      • Blessed are the peacemakers…who come not to bring peace, but a sword.

      • I think the idea is that there are tens of millions of Iranians who would like to live a normal life, which they can’t have under sanctions plus a theocratic government. Remove the sanctions and the Iranian government loses its excuse for that lack of a normal life. Authoritarians of all stripes need enemies to justify their dictatorial ways.

        That’s one argument anyway, one that I agree with. Also, while I am glad it can’t happen, I think America has done more enough to deserve sanctions slapped on us.

      • *…I just can’t help seeing some similarities…*

        Right . . . but then that’s always true of you people isn’t it? It’s always 1938, every other country but yours is always Germany, everything other than 100% war, all the time is always appeasement. No news, no surprises here.

        *Why did we need a treaty anyway?*

        To stop their progress toward a nuclear weapons program, which is exactly what happens.

        Sorry, were you under the impression that the sanctions were in place ‘just because’ or ‘until Iran’s government gave up, surrendered completely and became Baptists’ or ‘because Iran says mean things about Israel’?

        *”Peace in our time” indeed…*

        Who said that? Obama? Khameini? Who? It’s only really a valid criticism if you can identify someone other than you making that assertion.

        You dopes were fine with 9 years of pointless, grinding war. But 11 months of diplomacy are, supposedly, beyond the pale.

        Too bad, so sad: No Persian Gulf War IV for you. And poor David Frum had SUCH a nice, tasteful rug picked out for his office in the Coalition Provisional Authority in Tehran. It’s a shame. Would’ve really tied the room together.

    • Let’s be blunt. If we don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons at this stage of the game, it will require a full-scale invasion and occupation. Whoever thinks we 1) have the military capacity and public consent to do that, and 2) can weather the economic and diplomatic consequences… Please raise your hands.

      • Clay Crouch says

        Conservatives’ binary thinking has grown tiresome and dangerous.

        • I agree. It is MUCH better to remove the embargoes on arms so that Hamas and Hezbollah can continue their freedom fighting. And as icing on the cake, Iran celebrated the treaty on “‘Death To Israel” day, a government sanctioned event. Now THAT is peacemaking for you!

          • Clay Crouch says

            What does that have to do with stoping Iran from building THE BOMB? Wasn’t that the purpose of the talks and the agreement?

          • Lester Bangs says

            “What does that have to do with stoping Iran from building THE BOMB? Wasn’t that the purpose of the talks and the agreement?”

            Nothing but he got to have his little verbal enema so Saturday is now mission accomplished I guess.

  4. On a totally unrelated matter, that pic of Pope Francis looking aghast at the hammer and sickle crucifix was just wishful thinking by admirers of the Pontiff. He accepted the gift and took it back to Rome. I’m hoping it was just an act of ”diplomacy”, but it sure looked like an insult coming from an enemy of the Church…

    • Of course he took it back with him. I’m definitely NOT the most diplomatic person on earth, but even *I* know it is the height of ill manners to reject/criticize a gift, no matter how tacky. What he did with it once he got back home is another matter… 😉

      • Totally raised an army of zombie Nazi’s and converted them to Christianity and dubbed them the new Knights Templar. They now ride on undead horses throughout the Middle East, spreading the good news and fighting the forces of evil and darkness alongside St. Michael!

        What?…why can’t reality be as cool as fantasy…gonna go pitch a book idea to Hal Lindsey, you’ll see, everyone will believe within 20 years they will be in the valley of Megiddo for the final battle…

        • turnsalso says

          Pshaw, Stuart. Everyone knows that in the Hal Lindsey version, the Pope’s men will be on the evil side.

    • Aw, what’s the matter little guy? Got something you want to get off your chest?

  5. A few too many serious topics today: Leithart, Iran, Planned Parenthood. Those three would be worthy for posts all their own. We’ll see how many comments those three topics draw.

    As for me, I’ll just focus on Bloom County 2015! I had not idea!!

    And Pluto; that’s been cool to see!

  6. “Let’s not confuse facts or data with extrapolations from data or theorizing from facts.”

    This could be used against either literalists or textual critics. Listening to YEC-ers explain how sun, moon, and stars appeared after the creation of the earth sounds a lot like theorizing from facts.

    • Exactly, Ox.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Yep, one pundits Theorizing is another pundits Obvious. And vice versa. This is hollow rhetoric.

    • Perhaps Leithart is implying that the facts don’t matter, that is, he does not start with the facts. I once held a prepositional view regarding creation and actually shared those views here several years ago. Presuppositionalism begins with a belief statement then interprets the facts based upon that presupposition. Evidentialist like R.C. Sproul rip presuppositionalists to shreds, because they believe the facts do lead to one and only conclusion. I no longer think cosmology is that tidy. I don’t think cosmology is a main point of Genesis.

  7. A good Ramble Daniel. Thanks.

  8. Clay Crouch says

    I don’t understand that last Leithart quote. Is he saying that in the face of “extra-blblical information” to the contrary, one might, for example, still correctly conclude that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around it?

    • I’m not sure which Bible passage you are referring to that teaches a flat Earth.

      Other examples are that we might correctly conclude that we might safely conclude that the Hittites were a people and Sargon really was an Assyrian king prior to archaeological confirmation. This relates directly to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who are accepted as historical figures even though no extra-biblical evidence exists to document them.

      By the same token, scholars recognize the limitations of even Biblical records to get the facts right. While many would agree that King David was a historical figure, anyone who has studied the Biblical record in detail would admit that it is impossible to harmonize the events recorded with a chronological timeline.

      • Clay Crouch says

        I think it is safe to say that a flat earth was implied by the writers of the Hebrew Bible, or at least many over the millennia have inferred it. The ANE societies certainly didn’t imagine the earth as a sphere orbiting the sun. But you know that really wasn’t my point. My contention with Leithart’s comment is that he seems to be saying that it is not that the text is wrong but rather it is our understanding of the text that needs to change in light of extra-biblical information (read facts). Maybe I’m missing his point completely, but he seems to be doing gymnastics to keep from saying that the text itself wrong. I realize that’s puts those who hold an inerrant view of the bible between a rock and a hard place. I wonder where he falls on the YEC/ID/Theistic Evolution/Natural Evolution spectrum.

      • I have it on good authority that there really was a dude named Pharaoh who lived for hundreds of years, just kept changing his name to keep his secret of immorality safe.

        I think he was a mutant, might be in the new X-Men movie.

  9. Clay Crouch says

    “…more general systemic manifestations may also occur including headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, tachycardia, low blood pressure, seizures and more rarely, abdominal pain, muscle spasms and convulsions.”

    It does seem that exposure to the puss catepillar and The Donald can have similar effects. <:0)

    • Bloom County is gonna have fun with The Donald…

      • Back in the day, the Donald was a recurring target of BB’s wrath. I can’t imagine it would be much different this time around… 😉

        • I must have missed that back then! I did see in one of the Bloom County 2015 cartoons that Opus mentioned Trump, but I don’t remember it from the 80s.. And I have about four of the bound collections. Which I consult occasionally. When I need a fix. Or correctional perspective on, like, life.

          Oh, and the bible is good too.

      • Clay Crouch says

        I heard the Huff Po from now on is only going to run DT stories in the entertainment section.

  10. BB got mean and murky towards the end of Bloom County’s original run. I must admit that these new strips are much closer to the spirit of the early strips. I hope he can maintain that.

  11. The Planned Parenthood discussion over salads and wines about the best way to kill innocents to preserve their body parts was truly sickening to me ( and few things are sickening to me). How can Christians avoid this issue?

    A “discernment” blog I track that claims to be their to speak for the innocent totally ignored this issue totally but continued their attack on a couple of pastors they really don’t like – neither of whom have been accused of personal, moral failures nor do they support the killing of babies.


    • Robert F says

      This story disturbs me, too. I’m not an anti-abortion, or abortion rights, absolutist; I tend to believe that, as a pregnancy develops over time, the fetus becomes more identifiably human, at some point crossing the threshold into being a human person. As a result, I believe that, while society has little to no interest in the fetus at the beginning of pregnancy, by the later part of pregnancy it has great interest in protecting that new human being. But to hear such cold, heartless talk of the remains of what is either a potential or real human being as something to be distributed with total indifference tugs me in the direction of anti-abortion absolutism.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says

        I am with Robert here. Incidentally, I never understood why the US is one of the few countries with a significant allowance for late abortions, compared to say “liberal” European countries, especially given the significant abti-abortion movement.

        In this case we are specifcially talking about latter-term abortions, aren’t we?

        • American ethical consciousness tends to see things in terms of either being absolutely right, or absolutely wrong. This is why changes in our public policy often express themselves in absolutist terms, and dichotomous the possibilities as they are worked out in our common life. A thing goes from morally hideous to morally imperative overnight, with no ground in between. At least, so far as our political and legal life goes.

          • …”dichotomize”…

            Now, this is tendency in American life, not the way things always happen. But sometimes the overnight changes, with no middle ground left, can be startling; and the language of the victors, in these cases, frames the sudden change in terms of moral absolutes. I think this a distinctive quality in American common life.

        • On this issue, anyway, the main differences is the role of the Supreme Court in the US context. Though few remember any more, prior to RvW, a number of states had already begun to legalize abortion. Indeed, the case itself was about a woman wanting to have an abortion in her own state of residence rather than having to travel to another state where it had been legalized. If I’m not mistaken, NY had legalized at least some early-term abortions in 1967. Yet 1973 is the year we all remember.

          And it’s understandable that we do: the case basically took the issue away from legislatures, where it might have evolved state-by-state into something quite similar to the stricter laws that obtain in Western Europe. And should RvW ever be overturned, that’s exactly what will happen, and legislators will suddenly find themselves with real, live decisions to make about the issue.

          I’m honestly not sure how much different abortion rates would be if RvW were overturned. Most states here in the South would probably outlaw abortions entirely (at least initially), while the NE and the West Coast would maintain something like current laws. Because travel is a tad easier in 2015 than in 1973 (and pro-abortion groups would literally mobilize to provide subsidized transport), I somehow doubt it would move the needle as much as some hope.

      • I believe that it is emotionally imperative to those who supply abortions, to talk about them in a “cold, heartless” manner. It is imperative to insist that destruction of the fetus is the same as a removal of an inflamed appendix. Consider if they did otherwise: “We try to crush the skull first so we can destroy the baby’s brain and nervous system as quickly as possible. That probably reduces his period of pain, and in any case stops him from flailing around a lot, lessning the chance of organ damage so you’ll get your lungs and liver nice and fresh.”

        Not gonna fly.

        I’m not against all abortion, by any means. If I ran this zoo I’d probably set a cut-off developmental age of 18-20 weeks. But late-term abortions are horrible and unconscionable. And I believe many abortions are for matters of convenience, because a woman doesn’t want the emotional stress of bearing a child and giving it to an adoptive parent. That’s how it’s been with my friends who’ve had abortions, anyway. As it is, 1 out of 4 pregnancies are terminated.

    • Clay Crouch says

      Dealing with abortion issues is not the stated mission of The Wartburg Watch. But then, you knew that, didn’t you. There’s no shortage of blogs on all sides of the abortion debate. The same can’t be said for blogs that deal with abusive celebrity churches and their leaders. Especially those that represent themselves as paragons of Biblical Christianity®.

    • Perhaps you can start your own blog, instead of trolling others’.

      • He doesn’t like the way TWW is run. So he complains about it a lot.

        On this particular topic he’s in the same rant.

        TWW in general doesn’t feel they need to write about issues where it seems that most everyone else is covering the topic in a reasonable manner.

  12. Robert F says

    The xenophobic appeal of Donal Trump to so many Americans is a troubling thing. Undocumented immigrants are vilified and scapegoated as the source of much of our domestic dysfunction; in the meantime, we blithely benefit at market from the suppressed prices of produce, and other things, which would be far more expensive if it wasn’t for the massive number of poorly paid undocumented immigrants working in those industries.

    But I’m sure the Democrats are ecstatic at Trump’s nasty anti-undocumented immigrant tirades. His comments are tainting all Republicans, and making it even more difficult for any Republicans to woo the vote of Hispanic and other newly immigrant populations in the US. He’s a harlequin leading the entire pack of Republicans to certain defeat; if they don’t find a way to break free from him, and prevent him from controlling the media spotlight, they’re sunk. The vote of newly immigrant populations, which is becoming so important to winning elections, has moved even further beyond the reach of Republicans because of Trump’s antics.

    But he seems to be in total control, and having fun, too, as indicated by his comment the other day that Rick Perry, who strongly criticized Trump, should be required to take an IQ test before participating in the GOP debate. I had to laugh at that one myself, as I imagined the apoplexy it must have caused among Perry’s people, and the Republicans in general, to have to defend themselves against the mocking of such a mountebank. There is a lot of comedy to be enjoyed here, but I don’t think it bodes well for the diversity of the American political landscape; we need more options than merely the Republican and Democrat, not fewer.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > The xenophobic appeal of Donal Trump to so many Americans is a troubling thing.

      What? No, it is wonderful. I want this guy as the candidate in the general election; I fully support his nomination.

      In a general election the squirrel could beat Donald.

      Imagine him in an actual – not primary – presidential debate? That would be a dream come true.

      > But I’m sure the Democrats are ecstatic at Trump’s

      I’m Left, not Democrat, but Yes. Very happy.

      • Robert F says

        Yes, he would certainly be beaten. But it still bothers me that a large enough portion of the American population has anti-immigrant views like the ones Trump is espousing to give him such big numbers in the current polls. These kinds of views could easily become radicalized, and with such a large number sharing them, that would spell big problems for our nation.

        • Trump’s appeal disturbs me, too. After his now infamous gaffe about Mexicans all being rapists, etc., a local businesswoman, whom I respect, said to me she thought that was true & didn’t I think so too? This is mainstream, Main St USA. Then she mentioned a relative who hires illegals to do a job he says he can’t find anyone to do. But when I mentioned that A) He probably pays them crap and B) if there was a crackdown on employers who hired illegals, I bet he’d be able to find a worker or two, said she had to agree. She also said she’d never really thought about it that way.

          The thing is, immigration will not be reformed, at least illegal, because too many people benefit from illegals being here. A relative of mine worked for a while in the household staffing industry in New York. Trust me, many of the super rich don’t give a flying fig if their household staff are legal or not. As stated above, we all like the cheap produce, etc. As long as it isn’t our ox being gored, we don’t care much about the suffering involved or the illegality of it.

          • Except, of course, his “gaffe” never included all Mexicans are rapists. I have no regard for Trump at all. I think he’s an opportunist, narcissistic blowhard with little to no integrity, BTW. But I think if people want to use that as a starting point for the issue Trump was addressing (or a dismissal point), they should accurately portray the words of the man.

      • Adam, I think you’re one of the people in this cartoon. Well, so am I…


        • Clay Crouch says

          Now, that’s funny!

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          Yep, that is me.

          The only caveat would be that the Republicans I know are equally excited about some of these candidates. I hear strong support for Scott Walker and the like from local voices; they view them as the “real” Republicans.

          The unhappy are mostly Conservative [of types other than the Traditionalist variety] who would mostly identity as “Independent” – only Independent in America has for decades basically been a misnomer for non-Traditionalist Conservatives [Burkeans, Pragmatists, etc…] who ultimately vote Republican in sufficient proportion that they might as well just sign onto the party [if they did, rather than *claiming* independence, they would actually have a voice].

        • Christiane says


      • Danielle says

        “What? No, it is wonderful. I want this guy as the candidate in the general election; I fully support his nomination.”

        But… but… the muscle spasms I would suffer watching him talk.

        Have you no pity?

    • ”controlling the media spotlight”… Robert, really? It is the MEDIA that is featuring Trump, NOT the other way around. Who actually ”controls” the media but the loudest, flashiest and most easily pigeonholed voices? The media does not do nuance very well and the general population has little interest in it.

      My greatest fear is that once Trump is rejected, and he definitely WILL, that he will decide to run a third party and make Hillary’s coronation tour an inevitability. After all, that is how her husband won with 43% of the vote. And on a side note, Trump has been a Hillary supporter for quite some time.

      • Robert F says

        As I said, Trump, knowing what the media likes, is giving it to them, and leading them around by the nose. He is also leading the entire Republican party toward defeat, because, in the mind of those Trump is offending, he is representative of the real, though often unspoken, animus of large contingents of conservatives. Even after he is rejected, he will be remembered by all those he has offended as a good reason to avoid the Republican side of the ballot entirely.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > he will be remembered by all those he has offended as a good reason to
          > avoid the Republican side of the ballot entirely.

          Yes, absolutely. And the flaw in that logic is …..? I don’t see it. People do not get to decline out of the implications of the affiliation they claim on grounds of non-participation; if you want to dissent then you do so [via participation] or you disaffiliate.

      • Trump vs Bernie for the win.

        An aside, can we please stop with the “Hillary coronation” comments? To quote Daniel:

        Please be kind and Christlike in your interactions with each other in the comments.

        “coronation” comments are unnecessary and unbecoming. We can do better.

      • There’s something fundamentally weak and failure-ish about blaming the media. Something in the vein of a closet admission that “Things are going wrong and I’m not in control and nothing’s working and I feel anger about it.”

        I know of what I speak: We liberals did it in 2004, big time.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > There’s something fundamentally weak and failure-ish about blaming the media.


          Also, there is no such thing as “the media”. There are innumerable sources for news and information. Many, if not most, do not partake in this twaddle. People choose what it is they consume, especially in the 21st century.

          Unhappy with your media? Improve the content of what appears in your RSS feed. That’s on you.

    • Lie Detector tests probably more useful in later stages of running for office; not that we need it, lol

  13. Robert F says

    The New Horizons probe, and its rendezvous with Pluto, is an amazing feat of science, and of human reason. I have trouble solving the word puzzle in my newspaper, but this probe was launched ten years ago and given the right coordinates to meet with a planetary object that is part of a solar system that was in constant motion all that time. Amazing!

    But with all that, it’s unlikely that any human being will go beyond the edge of our solar system. The enormous gaps between stars are just unbridgeable, at least with the kind of time-bound technologies we now have; and I think the ideas of time-traveling via “warp-speed” or wormhole are just science fiction pipe dreams. I hope something useful, and beneficial to humanity, will come of the New Horizons exploration, something valuable enough to offset the tremendous cost of the project.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      If something beneficial comes, it probably already did. Deep space posses unique engineering challenges. The building of the spacecraft is the real benefit. The space program has given us some great engineering, especially in the area of materials science.

      I agree that inter-stellar travel is the stuff of Fantasy. It is not feasible.

      > the tremendous cost of the project.

      Compared to sooo many other things the cost of these projects is completely trivial. People complaining about the cost of NASA should take a look at the DoD or our growing ‘intelligence’ agencies. They could fund NASA for a year with only a few hours of their budgets. And talk about producing nothing of value….

      • And people who complain about the costs of DoD/IC should take a closer look. We’re shrinking, all told . The Army is shedding 40,000 combat troops. Intel agencies have been under sequestration for three years. This isn’t to say there’s nothing that needs reforming (especially the corpulent and corrupt weapons design and construction system), but all in all we’re not the ones breaking the budget. It’s Social Security, Medicare/caid, and interest on the debt.

        The budget numbers are out there, and only a quick internet search away.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > The Army is shedding 40,000 combat troops. Intel agencies have been under
          > sequestration for three years

          And the cuts required by sequestration are a fraction of what should be cut.

          > The budget numbers are out there, and only a quick internet search away.

          Yes, that doesn’t change the ratio of the cost of the NASA mission to what is spent on the world’s largest military force [by a large margin].

          >we’re not the ones breaking the budget.

          The cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are not trivial. That cost could have made a measurable impact of the nations finances and the dilapidated state of our infrastructure. At >$1T, that is 1/13th of the nations $12.9T debt.

          Wars ‘required’ due to the bloated state of our military.

          > It’s Social Security, Medicare/caid, and interest on the debt.

          We agree on that.

    • New Horizons probe cost about as much as a modern NFL stadium. How’s THAT for a comparison?

      • Eye opening. Our priorities…

      • The difference being that the New Horizons power planet will probably continue working for many decades to come, whereas football team owners now generally demand new stadiums (at public expense) every 20 years. Even better since they’re usually bonded for 30 years.

        If NASA was smart, they would have left Pluto unexplored and use it as leverage for more funding. The same way the NFL always leaves LA without a team so that every other team in the country can threaten to move there if they don’t get what they want.

    • You might be interested to know that NASA has working warp technology. I don’t know how long it will take to develop into something that could power an actual craft.

    • Danielle says

      I find the success of great missions like New Horizons to be inspiring. In fact, we’re such groupies here that we have several posters up in our house that celebrate NASA missions.

      That is part idealism, but I also think that there can be significant long term benefits on pushing, pushing, pushing what we can pull off technologically and learn. There is so much out there we could know, but don’t yet. Even if we never figure out warp technology (and forever is a long time…), it may well be useful to understand more about our immediate environs.

      If you do not mind idealist pro-science dreamers, filmmaker Erik Werenquist has a wonderful little film called “Wanderers.” He pairs some text of Carl Sagan’s to visuals he created of human exploration in locations in our solar system we could actually reach. They images are made from actual NASA photography, so they are not entirely fantastic.

      I’ll post a link below.

      Stuart: If you liked Interstellar, you’ll enjoy this goodie.

    • The New Horizons probe cost less than any given publicly funded football stadium. Or the cost of 3 weeks of our occupation of Iraq.

  14. You’ll excuse me if I opt out of all the snark and rambling today. The mother of one of the marines killed in Chattanooga was my daughter’s college roommate back in the day.

    The rest of you can talk about Enns and Leithart and Bloom County and squirrels and the Donald till the cows come home for all I care. It won’t change anything.

    Daniel Jepsen, I’m talking to you.

    • +1.

    • That’s horrible. I feel horrible for your daughter’s loss.

      But it doesn’t give you the right to come down on Daniel Jepsen for bringing humor to this blog. The tricky thing about being a member of a larger community – especially one that’s online – is that there are people going through great difficulty as well as people going through great rejoicing. If you knew that there might be snark here that would set you off, you probably should’ve avoided the Saturday Ramblings for a bit.

      My father-in-law died in a motorcycle accident just about a week before Seinfeld aired its episode where Susan died from licking the envelopes of her wedding invitations. That didn’t sit too well with me, either, but I probably shouldn’t have turned Seinfeld on in the first place.

    • *You’ll excuse me if I opt out of all the snark and rambling today.*

      Except, y’know, for the comment you just posted to say this . . .

  15. Uh, Daniel, not sure just where you are, but if you are reading this on the beach you might want to check the radar. Or look up.

  16. Leithert seems to be desperately trying to hold on to his understanding of the world based solely on Augustine’s views.

    What if Augustine was wrong?

    Answer, unfortunately, seems to be: he can’t be.

    • This bit right here seems dishonest:

      In Christian interpretation, the Bible isn’t a collection of stories illustrative of doctrine and morals. It’s a record of God’s actions in history for the redemption of the world. As I argued in Deep Exegesis, it’s a fundamental theological, philosophical, and hermeneutical error to believe we can peel off the historical husk of the Bible and retain its nourishing didactic kernel. . .

      The Bible absolutely is a collection of stories illustrative of doctrine and morals. “All Scripture is…”, etc. Is it also a record of God’s actions in history and for the redemption of the world? It no longer is unless it’s also a collection of stories illustrative of doctrine and morals.

      There may be errors here, Leithart, but what are calling an error actually cuts your argument off at the knees.

    • I agree with John Frame that extra-biblical information should challenge our understanding of Scripture, forcing us to question whether we got the text right. Sometimes, we’ll conclude we had it wrong and we’ll have to change our minds. Sometimes we’ll conclude that the text says what we thought it said, even if that puts us quite at odds with received wisdom, even at the cost of being the cause of exasperation from experts.

      No. Just…no.

      Leithart, you said earlier that all truth is God’s truth. Bring it on.

      Ergo, there may NEVER be a time when extra-biblical is proven to be at odds with the text. The text can be and has been wrong. Unwillingless to admit that is a big problem in this whole debate. The text literally cannot be wrong, ever, in your view.

      Yet this is not how the world operates. Even God has made mistakes, and has admitted to them, and corrected them. Is God a liar that he should only pretend to have made mistakes?

      No matter how perfect you believe your God and your text is, it still has errors or parts that can lead your interpretation to error. The reality is God either deliberately put or allowed errors in the text. A perfect God created an imperfect document using imperfect humans in the process of becoming perfected. That’s Scripture. And that is amazing to think about, far more than some inerrant text.

      • There are times when we have to step outside the scripture’s confines, and/or the Tradition’s, to come to know God in a more intimate, truthful and authentic way; I resisted that idea for a long time, but I’ve accepted it now. There is no other way to the maturity and freedom that God wants for us. We will no doubt make many mistakes in the new terrain, but it’s not as if we didn’t make plenty of them before.

        • Amen!

          And that is a pattern we see repeated over and over in scripture as well.

          • Isn’t the idea of your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven an idea that implies there will be a progressive revealing and understanding and growing into said Kingdom?

          • Dana Ames says

            “Isn’t the idea of your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven an idea that implies there will be a progressive revealing and understanding and growing into said Kingdom?”

            Not necessarily.. Some things have become noticeably better (mostly because of Christians – hospitals, schools, etc.). Most things will continue as always until the Lord’s return – when what will happen will resemble his death and resurrection. And that’s all we can really say about it.


    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > What if Augustine was wrong?

      I think the answer to that question is: yes.

  17. 1) RE: Leithart. I am tired of his verbal jiu-jitsu. He pretends to consider evidence with one hand, then yanks it back with the other. He is at least honest enough to admit that his commitment to Genesis as historical is an a priori commitment. The elephant in the room that he continues to ignore is that it is not context or framework that results in an a-historical understanding of Genesis by majority scholarship – it is the text itself. And he also continues to ignore that logical fallacy propped up by CSBI that truth is necessarily empirical/rational.

    2) RE: Iran. I suspect the entire thing is largely stage politics disguising a larger goal of managing global energy costs. The removal of sanctions is largely irrelevant, since we can freeze Iranian assets at will. And I am not sure the agreed upon deal will prevent them from building a nuke, although it may delay the inevitable.

    3) I don’t know what I think about the PP video. I didn’t watch the entire 3-hr. video, and while I am not arrogant enough to tell the speaker what she meant to say, I am also aware of the agenda on the part of the recorders. On the other hand, there is a huge gap between helping mothers (even if that help exists in the form of ending an unwanted pregnancy), and profiteering by killing fetuses and harvesting their organs. Such actions are illegal for a reason. The fact that anyone would even have this kind of conversation – context or no – is disturbing.

    4) Squirrels are awesome.

    • Enns would be well served to just ignore Leithart. As would most of us. And we can confine the CSBI into the same dustbin of history as other similar documents. By now, it’s overtaken Scripture itself as the ultimate inerrant source of truth, the key to the lock….much like other similar documents such as the Westminter Confession or someone’s Institutes…

      Anytime something other than Jesus is the doorway to God, there’s a problem.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > disguising a larger goal of managing global energy costs.

      Oil and natural gas prices are at all time lows, and expected to drop further. I don’t see why such an agenda would be “disguised”, and disguised or not, if it exists, it is working.

  18. Dana Ames says

    Leithart again….

    Well, the text that we have is the text that we have, and that is the thing with which we must grapple, anomalies and all. (…though there are no anomalies that affect anything found in the Nicene Creed.)

    Adam shows up in Genesis 1 and then doesn’t make another appearance until the genealogy in Luke, and then is ignored again until Romans, and then ignored again. This ought to factor into interpretation.

    The deal, as always, is hermeneutic.

    I’ve been listening to Fr John Behr a lot lately, who keeps reminding people that nobody (NOBODY!) who spent those 3 years with Jesus could figure out anything about him, even with the empty tomb. Things only fell into place for them with the opening of scripture to them by Christ himself, linked to the breaking of the bread. Even Saul, who studied under the foremost scriptural exegete of his day and know the Hebrew holy book backwards and forwards, was persecuting Christians – until he had an actual encounter with the resurrected Jesus and was soon after enfolded into the life of the Christians of Damascus. This is very thought-provoking to me.


  19. What today’s Ramblings is missing is a music video! How about this one? Seems to fit:


  20. Daniel, you are awesome, and I look forward to SR every week, all week. My favorite was the squirrel!

  21. I almost peed my pants when I saw the news about Bloom County. You have no idea how happy this makes me.

  22. Dan from Georgia says

    The Native American Indian meme is killer awesome. I plan on using it the next time so racist buffoon has the (small) stones to say “they are taking our jobs!”.

  23. Danielle says

    Sherman Alexie (the Native American novelist) likes to tell a story of when he was crossing a street in Seattle and some motorist shouts at him, “Go back to where you came from!”

    To which Alexie replies, “You first!”

  24. Robert F says

    Well, in keeping with the space travel and interstellar themes of New Horizons, here’s a little musical selection to go along with the mood: