January 16, 2021

Saturday Ramblings, May 30, 2015

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

1960 Rambler Station Wagon

1960 Rambler Station Wagon

Hey, did you know Jim Bakker is still around.  Remember Jim?  You know, Tammy Faye, Jessica Hahn, and the air-conditioned doghouse?  Yeah, that guy.  Apparently he’s pastoring some mega-church [because a lot of us Christians are morons] and, of course, has a TV show. You will be shocked, yes shocked to learn that he sells over-priced crap on his website that he promotes on his show.  Lately he’s been hawking survivalist gear.  Why? Because the great tribulation is just around the corner, and ISIS and the gays are taking over and the sky is falling and why would you not want “Time of Trouble Beans” and “End of the World Biscuits”? You can get started with the 40 Days and Nights Bucket, (“inspired by Noah, the original prepper”). And in case you weren’t convinced the apocalypse (of some kind) wasn’t right around the corner, he offered these insightful warnings on his show last week:

So many in the inner-city for some reason hate the police. If the police are gone from one day, just suddenly gone, we are going to have anarchy, we are going to have the greatest hell on earth because the gangs will take over. And it’s time to be ready, it’s time to be prepared, it’s time to be informed. [And] the group called ISIS and others have already established themselves in the United States of America and they are waiting for the final signals.”

If, for some reason, you need to vomit [they don’t call them “Time of Trouble Beans” for nothing], you can check out the vid:

A few weeks ago we listed some hymns that a blogger said we should consign to the ash heap of history, and asked your thoughts. Which raised a few questions, preeminently, “why is history always described an ash heap?” I’ve never even seen an ash heap.  I’m not even sure what “ash heap” means.  I mean, I assume it’s a heap of ashes, but, c’mon, do you or anyone you know store your ashes in a heap? I didn’t think so. I always dump mine in the neighbor’s pool. Anyway, I was sent another list this week: Let’s stop singing these ten worship songs. Yes, it was forwarded by a church member, and yes we sing a few of those at our church, and yes that is my fault. Here is the list:

  1. In the Secret
  2. Draw me Close to You
  3. At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh)
  4. Lord, I lift Your Name on High
  5. Above All
  6. Burn for You
  7. One thing Remains
  8. Jesus, we Celebrate Your Victory
  9. You are mine
  10. How he Loves

You can read the rationale at the link. My question to you, O faithful imonks, is this? What worship songs would you kick out of the imonastary, and for what reason?

Does your church struggle to make announcements interesting and culturally sensitive? Take a cue from Central Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana:

Odd Headline of the Week: Man Named Bacon Assaults Person For Eating Sausage.

“You allegedly went into that pawn shop and removed an AK-47 rifle on display and stuck it down your pants. After a while, [you] pulled it out, put it back, then grabbed another assault rifle off another display [and] put that down your pants.” Thusly Judge John Hurley told off Marlon Paul Alvarez, reading the police report. The owner of the shop stopped the alleged thief when he saw him limping out the door with the $850 rifle down the leg of his pants.

Well, World Daily News certainly knows how to ask a profound and tough question in their headline: Are Obama and the Hard Left of the Devil? Yes, the article seriously ponders if Obama and the left are being controlled by the Evil One or if they are their own source of evil. Here is the money quote:

The charitable conclusion is that they are of the devil, that they are under the controlling influence of the father of lies, that they are his unwitting or unwilling mouthpieces.

For if that be not the case, Mr. Obama and others like him who utter the wicked falsehoods on the basis of which they promote such fatal abominations as “gay” “marriage” and “catastrophic” “manmade” “global” “warming” are deliberately, willfully telling lies – lies that kill.

On the evidence, they are certainly not telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So far are they from the truth, so many are the deaths their interminable and often gross lies cause, that it is surely kinder to grant them the Hitler defense – that they are not in control of themselves either because they are collectively mad or because they are individually of the devil.

Wow, that certainly is charitable and kind. Good job on taking the high road, WND. And who can argue with that logic or theology?  Oh, and you are invited to take part in their poll where you can give your own take on whether our President is a demonic sock-puppet or an independent source of evil and lies. Thoughtful of them to ask our opinion, eh?  But don’t blame me if you view the poll results and your faith in humanity is destroyed; you have been warned.

And, of course, they used this picture

And, of course, they used this picture

Harry Moskoff calls himself “the Jewish Indiana Jones”. Fittingly, he claims to have found the Ark of the Covenant. No, it’s not in the bowels of some government warehouse. It’s in Jerusalem, hid under the temple mount, silly. “I came up with a theory via Maimonides as to where the ark is located, which I later discussed with rabbis and archeologists in Israel. It was a Jewish Da Vinci Code type project.” Oh. Well that lends it credibility.  And why hasn’t he been able to produce proof? Well, because the CIA [duh] has interfered with archaeological digs to prevent the discovery of the Ark [double duh]. Anyway, the reason I mention that here is that Maskoff has put out a book (duh, again) and it is endorsed by none other than Mike Huckabee, who, if elected President, will no doubt put a stop to those CIA shenanigans. Oh, and Harry? About that Indiana Jones thing? Remember, real archaeologists don’t destroy every ancient temple they enter.11081491_10203855505044569_7885871979943404761_n

Father Virgilio Elizondo, is a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame and is widely recognized as the father of U.S. Latino religious thought. In 2,000, TIME Magazine named him one of the most innovative spiritual leaders of our time. This week he was accused of child sexual abuse. I bring this up because of the timing involved: the lawsuit alleges this occurred in 1983, that is, 32 years ago. Now, if this indeed happened, whenever it occured, then I have no sympathy for the man. But that is a big “if”, and 32 years is a long time. I barely remember 1983 (I vaguely recall that Saturday Night Live was actually funny then and Madonna was actually relevant). His name and picture are all over the internet under the banner of “child-molester” now, and people are calling for his suspension. My question is this: Even in horrendous crimes like this, should there not be a statue of limitations? How could one defend himself after three decades?

Or how about a statue of limitations on dumb and evil speech. Consider the following quote, written by a 31 year old man running for governor in 1972:

A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.

A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.

The article does not seem to have much of a point, but nor does come across as satire. So, is it fair game to talk about this article, since the author is Bernie Sanders,  a man striving to be our next president? Dan Joseph writes, “It is unclear where Sanders acquired his early expertise on male and female sexual desires. But what is clear is that had Ted Cruz or Rick Santorum wrote something along these lines–even 40 years ago–the media wouldn’t stop talking about it for weeks.” The National Review, while agreeing with the last sentence, wants us to ignore Sander’s essay. “Sure, the Democratic party would crucify a Republican for the same offense. But they shouldn’t. A society in which people are drummed out of politics for things they wrote 43 years ago is an ugly society indeed. Sometimes the best way to address hypocrisy is to take the high road.” Your thoughts, O imonks?

Hundreds of people near Boston gathered in a rally last Monday. No, it had nothing to do with Memorial Day or patriotism, but rather, the Patriots. The theme of the rally was, FREE TOM BRADY! Tommie Boy, of course, was found to have known of, lied about, and likely orchestrated the violation of league rules last season regarding deflating footballs (after the refs had signed off on them). He received a four game suspension, which his fans now seem to be equating with a lengthy prison sentence. Patriots owner Robert Kraft sanctioned the event and paid for a security detail. One couple at the rally, who just married two weeks ago, have even vowed to put off their honeymoon until the ban is rescinded, which, I am sure, will totally sway Roger Goodell’s decision.  In related news, the Patriot’s Superbowl rings have finally arrived:


Felix Kiprono, a young Kenyan lawyer, has had his heart set on a young woman for a long time. Now, he wants to propose. Who is the lucky girl? Malia Obama, the 16 year old daughter of the president. And Felix is reportedly ready to offer the president a dowry of 70 sheep, 50 cows and 30 goats in hopes it will convince Obama to give away his oldest daughter in an arranged marriage during his next visit to Kenya in July. “I got interested in her in 2008. As a matter of fact, I haven’t dated anyone since and promise to be faithful to her. I have shared this with my family and they are willing to help me raise the bride price.” Wait, so she is 16 now, so in 2008 she was …[Rambler does math]…9 or 10? Really, Felix?  But surely the Obamas will be able to overlook that in light of sentiments like these: “Ours will be a simple life. I will teach Malia how to milk a cow, cook ugali and prepare mursik like any other Kalenjin woman.”

The people who make the hilarious NFL Bad Lip Reading videos have put their talents to work making Redneck Avengers. It will be the best 4 minutes of your Saturday:

On Thursday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority banned all religious, political or advocacy oriented ads on all it’s subway cars. This after the American Freedom Defense Initiative asked to run a subway ad featuring a bearded, turban-wearing Mohammad waving a sword and shouting: “You can’t draw me!” Pamela Geller, of the AFDI: “If there is a group you cannot criticize … it’s the tyranny of that group….WMATA has submitted to the assassin’s veto.” Agree with this decision?

Random cartoon inserted here.

Random cartoon inserted here.

So, you may have heard about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I think there were a couple articles about it somewhere. Anyway, it becomes law July 1, and Bill Levin is ready. Bill is the “Grand Poobah” of the new First Church of Cannabis, which claims pot-smoking to be a religious activity. The IRS awarded it tax-exempt status this week. Since the RFRA law requires the government to have a compelling interest when it tries to curtail a religious practice, Levin is hoping that the police will not intervene as his parishioners worship the Father, Son and the Holy Stoke.


“My favorite Hymn is, In the Garden

Finally, Robert F. really likes it when I end the Ramblings with some music. I searched all day for a video worthy of him, and have finally found it. Enjoy!


  1. Rick Ro. says

    Great Ramblings, Daniel. I didn’t even read a word yet, though. I just wanted to say, FIRST!

  2. Rick Ro. says

    I’d be more concerned about Hilary Clinton’s use of personal email accounts for high-level government business last year than what Bernie Sanders wrote 40 years ago, but that doesn’t seem to bother many people, either.

    • +1

    • Oh yeah, preach on mercy and forgiveness when it’s YOUR guy who is in focus…

    • Richard Hershberger says

      You aren’t hearing a whole lot about the emails because Clinton wasn’t doing anything that wasn’t routinely done by the Bush administration. That makes it hard to go full Benghazi!. There are good reasons why this practice should not be tolerated, but this isn’t merely a Hillary issue, or an Obama administration issue, or a Democrat issue. It is a Senior Government Official issue. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this suddenly become a hot item of conversation around September or October of 2016.

      As for the Sanders piece, it isn’t entirely clear from the excerpt, but that seems to be fiction. It is a classic freshman fallacy to confuse what a character says or does or thinks or fees with what the author says or does or thinks or feels. Beyond that, the piece seems very odd today, but that is because of when it was written. The literary stylings of the early 1970s typically have not aged well, with some notable exceptions.

    • Robert F says

      Read in context, there is nothing illicit in Saunder’s words. He doesn’t say the fantasies are his own, he doesn’t laud the fantasies; he’s merely drawing a brief speculative sketch of the inner sexual life of some people as part of a longer piece discussing the psych-osexual dynamics involved in social changes during the era he’s writing in. Not necessarily a perceptive or deep reflection, but nothing untoward or illicit.

    • Robert F says

      Does anybody really believe that the Democratic Party would be upset if Sanders was crucified by the Republicans for his words from 40 years ago? They’d love to get him out of the way.

      • Marcus Johnson says

        Agreed. I need to hear a little more from Sanders, but I’m just about ready to switch my vote to him, for no other reason that I desperately want to see someone other than a Republican or Democrat in the White House.

        And when I say “switch my vote,” I was initially planning on not voting next year, for the first time since I reached voting age.

      • Republicans would only benefit from having Sanders in the race, especially if he ran as an independent in the national race. If this is sabotage against the Sanders campaign, I would suspect Hillary.

  3. Rick Ro. says

    If there is a god – and many of us at iMonk believe there is – why does he allow Jim Bakker to still…well, I just leave it at that.

    • If he still can draw enough sheep with his fear-mongering to build yet another empire, perhaps there aren’t enough people who still believe there is a god. When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth?

    • Even God needs an Adversary.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Per Wikipedia: Jerry Falwell called Bakker a liar, an embezzler, a sexual deviant, and “the greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in 2,000 years of church history.”

  4. I remember watching F Troop. I saw the Three Stooges in headdresses. I’ve seen a Washington Redskins game, possibly while wearing an Atlanta Braves jersey.

    All of those look like Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee compared to that church video.

    • Don’t forget the Lone Ranger’s faithful Indian companion Tonto—which means “stupid” in Spanish.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        In all fairness, The Lone Ranger started out in Thirties Pulp — a genre that was not known for rigor. At a penny a word, pulp writers would slam it through the typer as fast as they could; speed meant volume and volume meant income and income meant survival during The Great Depression. Pulp writer L Ron Hubbard even used to load a continuous roll of butcher paper in his typer so he didn’t have to stop to change sheets.

        And when you’re slamming them through at that volume, you are not going to spend much time or energy on rigorous worldbuilding.

        • Robert F says

          “Pulp writer L Ron Hubbard even used to load a continuous roll of butcher paper in his typer so he didn’t have to stop to change sheets.”

          Holy Jack Kerouac writing “On the Road”, HUG!

    • Yeah. I’m trying to figure out why somebody thought this would be a good idea.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Appealing to the Hispanic (AKA MEXICAN) market?

        But then, “Stuff Fundies Like” is filled with similar examples of “What were they thinking?” Like theone honoring the only black guy on-staff with a blackface minstrel show.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      That’s not your typical “Injun Headdress” (i.e. a Plains Tribes warbonnet).


      Though the trappings in this clip are Mayan instead of Aztec, with Pastor (i.e. Revered Speaker) wearing that, I would expect the highlight of the service to go more like this:

  5. I agree with the list of worship songs that need to go, and I agree (in large part) with the rationale the article gives. My friend Jon used to call these “Jesus is my girlfriend” worship songs: they’re not just theologically shallow, they express love for God in a way that ought to make everyone deeply uncomfortable…

    I do want to say, too, that part of why these worship songs haven’t yet died of natural causes is that there are a lot of baby boomers that truly think this is what will attract my generation (I’m in my late twenties) back to church. Case in point, the first time I visited my parents’ Catholic parish after moving back home to Florida last summer, they were cranking “In the Secret” in the middle of Mass. It was weird and uncomfortable to me, but al of the sixty-somethings there seemed to be really into it…

    • Yes, Ryan, yes! My church has had a fairly vocal group for a few years asking for us to have a contemporary service with a praise band. Who are these people? Not a one is under the age of 55. They did bring in some Christian singer for one evening who was a ponytailed man in his late 50s singing things like the Billy Jack movie theme song with Christian words and very canned talks between songs. I felt myself transported back to my middle school years in the early 70s. It was, honestly, painful to watch. And the organizers were very disappointed that young people did not attend.
      I have children who in their 20s and none of them have any interest in contemporary services. I have observed for years that the main proponents of contemporary worship music are baby boomers trying to regain their youth. As for the decline in young people attending church, they simply, for the most, are just not interested, no matter what kind of church service you offer them.

      • Yes!

      • Rick Ro. says

        “As for the decline in young people attending church, they simply, for the most, are just not interested, no matter what kind of church service you offer them.”

        But…but…but then, what’s a pastor supposed to do to bring them in????


        • “How can we increase our market share of a shrinking market??” Ugh.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          But…but…but then, what’s a pastor supposed to do to bring them in????

          Strippers and Pole Dancers?
          (“You spin me Right Round Right Round JEESUS Right Round…)

        • But…but…but then, what’s a pastor supposed to do to bring them in????

          Not his job. His job is to teach truth. Not count attendance. But that’s not the way in the USA these days.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        They did bring in some Christian singer for one evening who was a ponytailed man in his late 50s singing things like the Billy Jack movie theme song with Christian words and very canned talks between songs. I felt myself transported back to my middle school years in the early 70s.

        In the 1960s there was this made-for-TV SF movie called LA 2017, a dystopia set in a future underground Los Angeles after a total ecological collapse. At one point, two of the main characters slip into a place where they won’t be overheard. Acid Rock and Get-Out-Of-Vietnaaam protest songs blasting off the walls. The band and the patrons are Sixties Counterculture Hippies straight out of Haight-Ashbury or Woodstock. Then you get a good look at them — under the love beads and tie-dyes and long stringy (now white) hair, the wrinkles and liver spots and Parkinsons’ trembles and toothless mouths and walkers and nursing home accoutrements. Minimum age appears to be 70-80. Yet they’re carrying on with the GROOVY Sixties in a continuous Woodstock. “GROOVY, MAN! DON’T TRUST ANYONE OVER 30! STICK IT TO THE MAN!”

        • Nice! I like the analogy, HUG… A post-apocalyptic world filled with aging hippies still pretending to be groovy. That’s pretty much American Christianity in a nutshell..

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        They did bring in some Christian singer for one evening who was a ponytailed man in his late 50s singing things like the Billy Jack movie theme song with Christian words…

        Christianese filk of “One Tin Soldier”.
        I am both curious and VERY apprehensive to know how he filked the lyrics.

      • I’m starting to wonder if the Millennials are growing up faster than the Boomers. Or have grown up, in some cases, while we’re waiting for the ones in leadership positions to hit full maturity.

    • Don’tcha know that the Evangelical church is not declining but actually growing?

      Seems those new worship songs are working!

  6. This Gen Xer has clearly been out of the loop for a long time: I only recognized “Lord, We Lift Your Name on High” in the list.

    I guess I don’t even know what I’m complaining about anymore, in other words.

    • I’m with you Trevis….that was the only one I recognized as well….but I’ve been out of the loop for a decade now.

  7. NEWS FLASH: Anyone over the age of 60 and who grew up in a major eastern city would KNOW what an ash heap is! The apartment I grew up in had a coal fired boiler heater wbich produced an “ash heap” which was collected every Wednesday, curbside.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Thanks, Oscar. I now feel educated. Really, an apartment with a coal-fired boiler? Did you have to buy coal every week? And wasn’t the apartment dirty?

      • Daniel, the only way you’d get dirty is if you went into the “coal bin’ to play. Keep in mind that this was in the late 50’s, and the only time that a kid would go down into the basement was during a tornado alert or on laundry day with mom. And speaking of laundry day, I am STILL traumatized by the time I caught my fingersmin the clothes wringer which peeled a layer of skin from my 5 year old pinkies. And if you don’t know what an’clothes wringer’ is, well, you are of a much later generation…

        • I’m sure if those were around today there would be some group calling for the government to ban them as inherently dangerous items. But I remember the fun I had with my grandmother’s wringer. It would flatten just about anything (not quite 60 though).

        • Dana Ames says

          When I was a child in Montana, my mom had a tub washing machine that lived on the back porch until my mom needed to use it, when it was wheeled into the kitchen and its hoses attached to the kitchen sink. (When we moved to California, my mom got a modern machine. If it was “new and improved” and she could afford it, she got it.) The tub machine’s wringer was the hand-crank kind. On the other hand, my aunt in Seattle used a tub machine until she was well into her golden years. Hers was an upgrade compared to my mom’s – it had an electric wringer. I spent a summer with my aunt & uncle in Seattle when I was in college, and had to use that machine to wash my clothes. Had to iron every blessed thing, and it was in the electric wringer that I suffered the minor injuries to my fingers.


          • That’s what I had when we lived overseas, Dana. I discovered that baby’s plastic pants put through the wringer inflate and then pop. Who knew?

        • Funny, Oscar. I can still hear the screams from my older sibling as the wringer on our washing machine rolled up his arm! (till my eldest sibling hit the release bar and freed him) (circa late 1950’s) His poor arm is STILL dehydrated!!!

    • An ash heap is what you get when you shoot a Roswell alien with a full on blast from a plasma cannon…

      Sorry, only got time for gaming on weekends now, lol

  8. I assume an ash heap was where the ashes from burning wood, charcoal, or coal back in the days when those heated the house and cooked the food were put. Ash probably made a significant portion of what each household disposed of daily (no packaging and a lot of reusing and recycling). Hence ash-heap could be the same as trash-heap. However wood ash at least might have been kept separately to use as a soil amendment.

    • Actually, Erp, the normal ash heap was about 5 gallons worth per week in my 6 unit apartment.

    • There was an ash heap behind the house I grew up in, originally my great-grandparents’ house. They used to have a coal furnace, and also at times wood stoves, and I’m told by those who have burned coal that you lug out as much in ash and clinkers as you lug in. Our native spruce firewood, not so much. Very little ash with spruce.

      Because the ash heap had grown quite high—about four feet, and ten feet across, great to play on as a kid—it never got mowed, and so up grew a bunch of trees crowded together. There was a poplar, quite tall; a white birch; and a gnarled cluster of five wild apple trees, fun to climb in. After I grew up and no longer climbed up in branches, I decided to prune the apple trees to a manageable mass that eventually produced some decent fruit (“Oh, don’t!” my mother said back then, “You’ll hurt them!”).

      Well, you can’t hardly hurt an apple tree any more than you can a Norway maple, and the trees (by then down to about two) thrived and bore nicely. Then, years later, after my father died, my mother had all the trees cut down, the ash heap leveled and spread around the lower yard (like we needed MORE surface to mow?) and now my great-grandparents’ ash heap has become part of the ash heap of history.

      Whatever that means.

      Hey, I’m rambling! It’s what Saturday is all about!

  9. Why “Burn For You”? Not enough cow bell?

  10. The music video…. ouch. Where’s my Time of Trouble Beans?

  11. On a brighter note, Jim’s son Jay Bakker still looks like he’s doing ok.

  12. Robert F says

    Re: The Ramblings ending music: Another example of be careful what you ask for……

  13. Robert F says

    Is Jim Bakker legal?

  14. Robert F says

    Re: The Free Tom Brady rally: I hate football.

  15. MelissatheRagamuffin says

    I wonder if charlatans like JIm Bakker are God’s way of separating the wheat from the chaff. Jesus said His sheep know His voice and won’t follow after another. Whose voice are Jim Bakkers’ followers following? Say THAT 5 times fast!

  16. I say good for WMATA. I’m all for freedom of speech, but as of late it’s been abused by extremists on all sides and used more as a weapon to punish, incite and retaliate. IMO the less of that the better. Bravo to anybody or any institution that stands up against those who seem to care nothing for the common good, who despise empathy, and who revel in the destructive tit-for-tat, every-man-for-himself ethos that seems to be characterizing a lot of our public civil existence…

    • And I think the whole point of free speech was that the government could not do nasty things to you for speaking out against them,. It was not to give anyone a pass for saying any cruel, mean, nasty, insulting thing they wanted to say to anybody.
      It’s a strange world we live in.

      • Good point Suzanne… totally agree. Makes me wonder where we started going off the rails…

      • But when mean and nasty things are termed as “hate speech” by government fiat then Freedom of speech becomes limited. It IS coming in the good old USA, even more so than it is now. When certain groups gain the imprimatur of government then they also become “protected” and the govt. then determines when that protection is warranted.

    • Robert F says

      They may criticize whatever group they want; they just can’t do it on WMATA walls. They will have to deal with it.

    • As one who lives in the greater D.C. area, I am greatly relieved at the WMATA decision. I’ve seen some the other “free speech” posters on the metro and on buses in years past. They were a horrible embarrassment for a region that sees so many international and domestic tourists. To say nothing of hate speech. And of course, putting such things on public transportation, which of course is never any sort of target for bombings and attacks in capital cities. We are all breathing a sigh of relief here.

      • Vera – i hear you. I lived in the area for 21 years, and think the decision was a wise one. I know it has to have been super-tense re. some of those “ads”:and the very real posdibility of attacks.

        The area has been SO tense since 9/11; no sense allowing the safety of passengers and employees to be compromised by such placards. Those whomwish to put them up have plentymof other legal options.

        • Thanks numo. I’m not sure folks who don’t live around here have any idea what it’s been like since 9/11. Police, both marked and unmarked, are a constant presence. Military helicopters at all hours of the day and night. License plate scanners all over the main and secondary roads. Security cameras everywhere. Lots of new unmarked fed gov installations with super fences and security. Everything is on a hair trigger, and the last thing we need is some wacko fringe person/group insisting on provocation in the name of “free speech.”

          • Vera – i was in south Arlington, NW of the Pentagon, at the time, and yeah – from the constant air surveillance (plus everything else you mentioned), it felt like living in an armed camp at times. Didn’t help that the feds were deliberately ratcheting up the warning levels for no apparent reason (except toscare everyone into compliance) in the immediate aftermath.

            In saying this, i am aware that some might interpret this as a statement about partisan politics. That is not my intent, because I’m convinced that it wouldn’t have much mattered whether an R or a D was in the White House at the time – the reaction would have been much the same. (I have no love for W, and especially not for Cheney, but that’s another topic altogether.)

            It seemed to me that there was an oppressive military and police presence in the area prior to 9/11, and that had been escalating since Clinton. But after – i have no words.

            One of the sad things, for me personally, was seeing how people (immigrants and native-born) got harassed afterwards – not just Muslims, but anyone with an Arabic name, and anyone who even vaguely :”looked like” they might be from the Middle East or Afghanistan. I had Arab ESL students at the time, and it was hard for them – even harder to deal with the way some spoke to and treated thrir kids, and other children who *might* possibly be Muslim, Arab, or both.

    • Oh boy now we’ll get more ads for dental floss and vacations on Icelandair.

      Most of the passengers on the Metro are so zonked out by their little video toys they barely notice the lousy service, the broken escalators and the fifty year old subway cars.

      I ride the Metro regularly and I can’t remember the last time I saw anything that came within light years of being “hate speech”.

      I think you folks are overreacting a bit. Personally I hate ALL ads. Any kind of advertising in the Metro is cheap and demeaning but I can make an exception for those Icelandair babes I guess.

      • There is no waythat any of the Metro cars are even close to 50 years old. I find it a little hard to believe that you actually commute on the subway…

      • Escalators being closed – always been true, fwiw. You know, they’re in continuous use, so repairs are necessary, and that usuually means shutting them down until they can finish whatever routine or extraordinary maintenance has to be done.

        You seem awfully blase, Stephen.

  17. Robert F says

    I know Rich Mullins is held in high esteem by many here at iMonk, but “Our God is an Awesome God” is one praise song I would be happy to never hear again. To me, it seems to make God’s greatness sound bombastic. I also have a great aversion to the word “awesome”; it’s been so thoughtlessly overused in our culture that it seems a mere parody of its former self at this point.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      I love Rich, but those are fair points.

      • Rick Ro. says

        I was going to say, “Awesome post by awesome Robert!”

      • Robert F says

        Daniel, Re: Loving Rich: I’ve heard much of Rich Mullins oeuvre, since my wife has been a big fan of his from way back. She doesn’t like much CCM, but Mullins she likes.

        My opinion of his music can be expressed in one word: overwrought. Overwrought lyrics, overwrought music, overwrought production and delivery. I know he’s esteemed by those who love him as the consummate Christian singer-songwriter, but I just don’t hear it. I see him more as a Christian Neal Diamond, aspiring, but never quite managing, to be Jackson Browne. And I wonder if what really attracts his fans to his music isn’t his life, which was quite remarkable, and almost mythical in its intensity, integrity and brevity. In death he seems to have taken on the aura of a kind of evangelical capital “S” Saint.

        My two cents.

    • Rick Ro. says

      How about someone writing a song, “Our God is a Whimsical God”…

    • I have a friend who is a missionary in Mexico, and every three or four years when he comes back to the States on furlough he gets a bit of a culture shock. One year it was the depreciation of the word “awesome.”

      He said, “It used to be that God is awesome. Now, a skateboard is awesome.”

      I said, “No. Dental floss. Last time I was at the dentist’s, I commented on a certain brand of floss they had given me last time as a sample. And the hygienist said, ‘Oh, isn’t that awesome?‘”

      Well, yeah, I guess it is. I still use that brand. When I floss.

    • I unfortunately missed a recent concert by master mandolinist Chris Thile here in Atlanta, but a friend of mine was able to attend. In addition to being a stunningly gifted musician, he’s an absolutely charming performer.

      At one point, he introduced his next piece by saying, “There was one thing I learned in youth group as a teenager… [meaningful pause]…. Our God is an AWESOME God.” The nervous laugh of recognition that swept through much of the decidedly non-religious audience was, my friend reported, something to behold. I’m not sure what amusing things he did to the song with his mandolin, but I’m sure it was memorable.

      I personally would have fallen off the balcony laughing hysterically, had I been present.

      • Robert F says

        ” And yeah, yeah, God is great.
        Yeah, yeah, God is good.

        Yeah, yeah…yeah, yeah, yeah…”

        by Eric Bazilian (of the Hooters)

    • I tend to agree, though I don’t think “Awesome God” quite induces the same shudders as some of the others that have been mentioned here. Some of the lyrics in the song are pretty bad though: “the Lord wasn’t joking when He kicked them out of Eden”? *wince*

      • I don’t think that was meant to become a worship song.

        • Brianthedad says

          I think that is part of the problem. Most of the ccm songs on the radio are “fine” as far as that goes, though that is often debatable. Translating them into worship music to be sung by a group of people, with all the bridges, chorus, instrumentals, etc. is a nightmare. They’re just not congregational. Most of them at least.

          • That’s a big part of the problem: church-goers telling the worship leader that they want to sing on Sunday the songs to which they sing along in the shower or while driving to work while listening to “safe for the whole family” radio stations. Singing along to the radio is maybe a meaningful moment, but it is not corporate worship. You end up with a bunch of disconnected individuals standing in the church auditorium re-enacting their own rendition of singing along to the radio. Corporate or “common” worship is something different. I don’t know how a church teaches the value or significance of the many participating as one voice in worship.

    • Robert, as CCM goes, that one is generally not too terrible. The problem with it is that it’s not rhythmically accessible on the verses, so they are usually carried by a soloist. There is a time and place for that one in worship, but most people just skip the verses entirely and simply sing the refrain. As a result, it’s commonly reduced to a half-song tagged on to the end of other songs (see Hillsong United).

      If you haven’t watched the documentary on his life, do so as soon as you can. It was eye opening. Bluntly put, he has many struggles, and even while touring to promote this very song he was getting smashed in the hotel room afterwards.

      I think his difficult journey was part of what made him an excellent songwriter. This song was boilerplate pop for him, he definitely had much better, and I don’t think he envisioned or intended for it to become such a Sunday morning mainstay the way that it did. Of course, it is definitely rotating out of popularity these days, and what seems to be replacing it is even more disposable.

      However, you CAN sing it over the top of the guitar riff to Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll.” This much I will admit to. The verses of said rock anthem also jive with “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love.” Rest assured, I have done my penance for that one. 😛

  18. Rick Ro. says

    One of my least favorite praise songs is “I am a Friend of God,” which not only has marginal theology, but the melody isn’t even pretty. I share this sentiment with several people in my church, one whose name is Grant, so whenever we sing that song now I change the lyrics to “I am a friend of Grant, I am a friend of Grant, I am a friend of Grant, he calls me friend.”

    Which, when you think about it, is a bit presumptuous, isn’t it? And especially at the GOD level.

    • AdeptOaf says

      That’s one of my personal least favorites too. Yes, there’s a Bible verse where Jesus calls the disciples friends, but the song sounds more like we’re congratulating ourselves on how great we are rather than actually praising God.

      • I think there’s a number of songs like that…and I cringe at all of them… a close second in weirdness are the ones where most of the song is about telling ourselves that we’re worshipping… or wanting to worship… and we sing them with gusto as if that’s going to somehow prove to God or others that we are indeed worshipping Him…. why not just worship – in deed first and maybe then some words.

      • I always thought that Friend of God was alluding to Abraham, who was called a friend of God (James 2:23, Isaiah 41:8),

        The problem with attacking praise songs is it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s so easy to get caught up in the frenzy that we omit to consider that perhaps the writer’s desk was crowded with Bible reference tools as they did their best to capture the essence of particular concept.

        Yes the verse may be mindless repetition, but the verse is rich, and alludes to Psalm 8:4 which is reiterated in Hebrews 2:6.

    • Read the text of the verses. They make exactly your point: Friendship with God isn’t something to be taken lightly, and that the author of the universe would stoop to befriend us is incredible.

      I just can’t stand the music, I think the hook is dull and annoying, and it does render an otherwise thoughtful text a bit cavalier.

      However, consider the source: Both Gungor and Houghton are tremendously talented musicians and gifted songwriters. Their individual styles could not possibly be more different. How they wound up collaborating on anything is rather remarkable, but their individual works are much better ear candy. I actually saw them play together at Saddleback (worship conference, years back), it was one heck of a show.

      Most people singing their tunes are also quick to criticize Joel Osteen, but they don’t realize that Houghton is Osteen’s music guy.

  19. I visited a Bible church a few years ago. They sang “He is God (That’s just he way it is.) It was surreal to hear an entire room of people singing/chanting “That’s just he way it is” … and not i a good way. I never went back and hope to never hear that drivel again. Or “Shine, Jesus, Shine.” Or most of the Hillsongs.

    Re: Bakker. He is at it again. I recently met a person who just shelled out $100 for a plastic water bottle with a “speshul” filter.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      I actually like the third verse of Shine, Jesus, Shine.

      As we gaze on Your kindly brightness.
      So our faces display Your likeness.
      Ever changing from glory to glory,
      Mirrored here may our lives tell Your story.
      Shine on me. Shine on me.

      It’s trying to convey, within the limitations of the song meter, the rather complex teaching of II Corinthians 3, one of my favorite passages:

      7 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate [or reflect] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

      • I agree. This song wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the trite manner of bop it was made to be by too many (including me, I could show you horror stories). A friend of mine has an arrangement that is piano driven, incorporates brass, and is quite reverent. It’s a staple of his Epiphany service.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      What’s so Speshul about the filter?
      It filters out Demons or something?

  20. Definitely should add ‘Breathe’ (‘you are the air I breath’). I don’t think God is even mentioned in that song. I tell people that I could sing that song to my wife, and she could sing it to her dog!

  21. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Does your church struggle to make announcements interesting and culturally sensitive? Take a cue from Central Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana:

    With that quetzal-feather headdress, I would expect the highlight of the service to be cutting out human hearts to feed Huitzilopochtli and/or Tezcatlipoca.

    Wow, that certainly is charitable and kind. Good job on taking the high road, WND. And who can argue with that logic or theology?

    Remember this is the same WND that two years ago had all those Birther billboards along Route 15 between Gettysburg & Harrisburg. Who has Pat “Blame the Jews” Buchanan and Hal “Here Comes The Antichrist” Lindsay on staff.

    So, you may have heard about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I think there were a couple articles about it somewhere. Anyway, it becomes law July 1, and Bill Levin is ready. Bill is the “Grand Poobah” of the new First Church of Cannabis, which claims pot-smoking to be a religious activity. The IRS awarded it tax-exempt status this week.

    As was said on an Eighties talk show about Rastafarianism: “Any religion whose main Sacrament is marijuana is going to get Very Weird Very Fast.”

    And as for Tax Exempt Status: If Scientology can get it…

  22. I read the article accompanying the list of ten songs we should stop singing. After two quotes from John Piper, I started to cry foul. We can’t sing a song that Jesus thought of me because God thinks of himself above all else? Yeah, stick that in a song. At what point does one become tempted to follow that “divine” example, that all that matters is ones own glory? Objectivism anyone – particularly from Piper, who long ago confessed his love for Ayn Rand? Then the article with a link entitled “bring back then hymns” redirects to a sight promoting the return to hymns in worship. Well, there’s a great idea. I can name more smarmy, sentimental, meaningless hymns than praise choruses. I’m not a big fan of where contemporary worship is right now. Guess what: neither are a lot of worship leaders, whose job it is to organize worship week-in and week-out. A lot of people are looking for how to fix this. Retreating into a neo-reformed trip down memory lane is not the answer. I believe a change is coming, and younger song writers are leading the way.

    • Robert F says

      I agree.

      Somebody should write a praise song titled “Our God is a Selfless God” just to see how the Young and Reformed crowd reacts.

      • Robert F says

        Our God is a selfless God,
        He came from heaven above
        into this world below.
        Our God is a selfless God.

        Our God is a selfless God,
        a child he did become,
        gave up his power for love.
        Our God is a selfless God.

        Our God is a selfless God,
        upon a cross he died.
        The Lamb before all time,
        Our God is a selfless God.

    • +1

  23. Dana Ames says

    The existence of the phrase “the ash heap of history” just goes to show what we Americans think of history. Like we could ever be unconnected to it.


    • “America is truly a semi-barbarous nation if only because it has no history. Every American can in some sense join James Baldwin in saying that the Chartres cathedral is not part of his past. As Americans, our past is simply an extension of a horizontal present, and apart from a few rapidly vanishing insular regions of the nation, the contemporary American cannot associate a living moment with a moment of the past. Thus the American who is in quest of a deeper form of existence must look forward to the future, not a future which is simply an extension of the present, but a future that will shatter all that we know as present. Hence an anarchistic utopianism has always been a deeply ingrained component of the American character.”
      – Thomas Altizer.

      • Robert F says

        Mr. Death of God had some profound things to say. What is this from?

        • “Radical Theology and the Death of God” by Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton. I don’t endorse it. I found the following sentence particularly chilling: “…the historical consciousness is not simply a sign of Western decadence as Nietzsche believed; it has been a primary means of willing the death of God, of collapsing transcendence into immanence, of realizing a new and awesome human autonomy.” The book also states “the time has now come to say that theology can know neither grace nor salvation; for a time it must dwell in darkness, existing on this side of the resurrection. Consequently the theologian must exist outside of the Church: he can neither proclaim the Word, celebrate the sacraments, nor rejoice in the presence of the Holy Spirit.” If God is dead, then so is grace; all that remains is human autonomy. If true, one is better off reading “Atlas Shrugged” than the bible.

          My problem is that I cannot bear what many American evangelicals envision as “god”. This drives me to look for God elsewhere. It is difficult living in a world where innocent lives are slaughtered by terrorists in the name of their deity. It is equally difficult reading about gun-toting conservatives protesting outside a mosque in Arizona. God is better off dead than the domesticated mascot of politicians and cultural warriors. But if there is no God, there is no grace; there is no free will; there is no forgiveness; there is no humanity. But one reason I am sympathetic of Paul Tillich is that he makes it clear that much of what we call “god” is not, that there is a God above what we call “god”. I have been criticized here for using a seemingly antiquated term like “idol”, but much of what we call “god” is not God but rather a fabrication to bolster the worship of what we truly hold dear and of utmost concern (power, wealth, nationalism, etc). To me, an atheist is more reverent of God than those who use God as a means to an end. Albert Einstein was an atheist but still had a greater grasp of awe and mystery than most modern-day professing evangelicals.

          • Robert F says

            “Thus the American who is in quest of a deeper form of existence must look forward to the future, not a future which is simply an extension of the present, but a future that will shatter all that we know as present.”

            I know that for Altizer, that shattering future was the Kingdom of God, which could only be realized in humanity’s total immersion in the immanent, where the corpse of God has been interred after his death. Altizer believed that God has utterly and irreversibly committed himself to the conditions of immanence; this is what he means by the death of God. This is kenotic theology extended to its most extreme point. It is hard to find hope in it, and Altizer acknowledged this, but he believed the other side of that truth was more important: by God’s “death”, humanity has been made completely free to be what it chooses to be.

            His conclusions sound remarkably some strands of existentialism.

          • Robert F says

            Maybe not so remarkably, considering the decades in which he was first writing his radical theology.

            Btw, here’s an interesting article about Altizer in which he claims to have had a Satanic epiphany in the 1950s, after which he became “converted” to the death of God. Just to feed the fundamentalist paranoic fires.


          • Robert F says

            Altizer’s religious vision makes me think of the saddest, most poignant piece of music I know:


          • Humanity cannot live in pure immanence; neither can it live in pure transcendence. There is a balance, to bring up that dirty word again. For a Christian, transcendence is suppose to inspire and give meaning and context to the immanent. Instead, we seem to bounce between gnosticism or pietism and neglect the world and good works on extreme and legalism and pragmatism and neglect grace and practicing the presence of God on the other extreme.

          • But again, God is better of dead than Republican or Democrat.

          • Robert F says

            Better dead than red or blue.

  24. Randy Thompson says

    Jim Bakker and magic beans.

    It makes sense.

    The World Daily News.

    It doesn’t make sense, despite the fact that people read it and believe it.

    Rev. Bakker, meet The World Daily News.

  25. Personally I think Obama can do better. At least hold out for more goats.

  26. Robert F says

    And now, Robert F.’s alternative choice for Ramblings music video (equally disturbing for different reasons – but never mind the video, I just dig the music):


    • Creepiest, ugliest thing I ever saw. “Never mind the video!!?? How can anyone look away from it? Robert, darlin’, you know I love you, but this is way way TMI about you!

      The Christian break dancing was the Chinese National Ballet compared to that video!

      I need to go swallow some Maalox.

      • Robert F says

        Honestly, I haven’t watched the video all the way through myself, too disturbing. That’s why I issued the warning about it being disturbing. But I do like the music. Apologies if it was in bad taste to expose the iMonks to images so creepy.

      • Daniel Jepsen says

        Yeah, I’m with you, H. Lee. Robert, you are officially banned from criticizing any weird music video I put up. And I know the names of some good counselors if you want them.

        • Robert F says

          Chances are the counselors you’d refer me to have already “fired” me.

          Mea culpa, mea culpa. I confess my transgression before the gathered iMonk community. Let the assembly deliberate what my penance shall be.

          But keep in mind that I haven’t signed any covenants…..that I’m aware of…..

  27. On a happier note than some of today’s and this week’s news…here’s the four gospel performers from Ireland doing what they do best: offering surrender and redemption to those they minister to.

    ““This is a song of surrender. Whatever it is you want to let go of tonight, let it go. You are free. We’re made free — our music, and the God who gave us it.””


  28. I’m sure this comes as a surprise to no one, but I’m happy to never hear any CCM ‘worship’ music ever again. I had a good 30-ish year-run with that stuff, and now I think I’m quite content to chant along with hundreds of years of Christians for the foreseeable future.

  29. BTW, I saw some memes posted this week from pastors claiming they will preach a heresy-free sermon for Trinity Sunday tomorrow. Anyone here willing to stand by such a bold claim?

    • Robert F says

      I heard a wonderful, very short homily this evening at a Catholic Mass for Trinity. No attempt was made to “explain” the Trinity; rather, the gist of the homily was how we can come to know the Trinity by praying in a Trinitarian way, and this we do by letting the liturgy form us with the Trinitarian prayer that’s embedded in it.

  30. If National Review takes the high road on Sanders, it is probably because they know he is highly unlikely to be the nominee and in the meantime he might damage Clinton in some way, perhaps by pulling her to the left, whichNR would see as an opportunity. Plus she has to spend more money in primaries if she has semi-serious opponents.

  31. I remember Bakker writing a book called “I Was Wrong” after he got out of prison. He basically repudiated the prosperity gospel in it. I celebrated too early at that. Later I remember seeing his show with Kenneth Copeland on it. I remember thinking, I thought he no longer bought into this nonsense.

    I guess he should write a new book called “I was Wrong about I was Wrong”

  32. Anyone who has ever lived in northern Michigan knows what an ash-heap is. It is too cold to afford anything other than a stove for heat. But we used to put the ashes in a metal trash can which then went in the back of our vehicle to be used in the event that we got stuck in the snow. Which rarely happened, because it was so cold that the snow was always powder, except at the very beginning and very ending of the white season.

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