January 19, 2021

Saturday Ramblings, May 9, 2015

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

Did you know the first Ramblers were bicycles?  This ad is from 1891.

Did you know the first Ramblers were bicycles? This ad is from 1891.

The Evangelical Christian Publisher Association gave out their book awards this week.  And what won Book of the Year? The Daniel Plan, by Rick Warren.  Yes, this is a diet and fitness book, based on the vegetable diet the Prophet Daniel and his companions underwent, because, ya know, Daniel was totally doing this for weight-loss reasons. The web site offers an inspirational workout music CD, a DVD that demonstrates his “comprehensive fitness system based on God’s power, not just will power,” and “The Daniel Plan Cookbook.” Also available: Daniel-Plan branded shirts, sports bags, sports towels, and water bottles. Oh, and did I mention the six-week church campaign?  It includes, “six small-group video sessions, access to Daniel Plan sermon downloads, Starter Guide, Leader Guide, and all the materials needed to launch and sustain a whole church campaign.”  Hey Chaplain Mike?  Who says us Evangelicals don’t honor the Church Year?

Really, how large can the world’s largest rabbit actually be?



The last two weeks have seen four more presidential hopefuls throw their hats into the ring. There may soon be more candidates than citizens in Iowa. Amazingly, one of them was even a democrat: Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont.  Sanders is perhaps the only true socialist in the Senate, and proud to be irreligious. Most experts think he has little chance against Hillary. Obama’s take on Bernie’s candidacy: “Apparently some folks want to see a pot-smoking socialist in the White House. We could get a third Obama term after all. It could happen.”

That line came from Obama’s speech at the 2015 White House Correspondents Dinner, which has traditionally been the place for Presidents to joke about their tenure and current events. Obama is a very funny politician. Even if others write the jokes, his delivery and timing are impeccable. Here are some of his other best lines from that dinner:

  • “I look so old John Boehner’s already invited Netanyahu to speak at my funeral.”
  • “People say I’m arrogant and aloof. Some people are so dumb.”
  • “Just this week, Michele Bachmann predicted I would bring about the biblical end of days. Now that’s big. … Lincoln, Washington — they didn’t do that.”
  • “On Saturday Night Live, Cecily Strong [one of the speakers] impersonates CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin, which is interesting, because usually the only people impersonating journalists on CNN are journalists on CNN.”
  • “Rick Santorum announced that he would not attend a gay or lesbian wedding of one of his friends or loved ones, to which gay people responded, ‘That’s not going to be a problem.”
  • About Hillary Clinton: “For many Americans, this is still a time of deep uncertainty. For example, I had a friend, just a few weeks ago, she was making millions of dollars a year, and now she’s living out of a van in Iowa.
  • Talking about how close he and Vice President Biden have gotten, especially in stressful times, “Those Joe Biden shoulder massages are like magic. You should try one.” [Pause.] “Oh, you have?” He added, “We’ve gotten so close, in some places in Indiana, they won’t serve us pizza anymore.”

On the Republican side, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee are now in the race. Of course, Huckabee is almost the complete opposite of Sanders: a former Southern Baptist pastor who wears his faith on his sleeve. Glenn Beck thinks Huckabee’s candidacy is simply a plot originating “in the smoke-filled rooms of the establishment GOP.” Beck goes on:  “I think he’s being put in as a spoiler. I think that’s the only thing. I really do. I think he’s there because he’ll pull religious votes away from Ted Cruz. And that’s the one that big government progressives are afraid of. The establishment is afraid of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.” Of course, this is from the same man who claims that the riots in Baltimore were a set-up, and that government is going to come soon to kill him in his sleep.

"I am serious about this!"

“I am serious about this!”

Pope Francis’ proper title, according to the Vatican’s website, is Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God. He can now add another line, in case he wants to jazz up his resume: Honorary Harlem Globetrotter.  The Globetrotters visited the St. Peter’s on Wednesday, and conferred the title after meeting with Francis and admiring his ball skills.  Francis then challenged them to a quick pick-up game with himself and some cardinals lingering around.  Francis scored a triple-double, blocked a shot and one end, drove a solo fast-break to the other, threw down a monster jam, and then stood over a globetrotter he posterized and shouted, “Not in my house!”  Well, at least I think that’s what happened; the report was in Italian.

The pic is legit, though

The pic is legit, though

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released its annual report Monday on the state of religious freedom around the world. On Monday, the Chinese national government filed a diplomatic protest over the report, which labeled Chinese religious freedom violations “severe” and “systematic.” “This report … is full of political bias and makes arbitrary and unfounded criticism of China… [Chinese citizens have] ‘ample’ religious freedom under law.” The officials presumably said this during a short break from their work of arresting thousands of Christians and tearing down hundreds of crosses from their  churches.

Bill Clinton is worth around 55 million dollars.  He has taken in around 100 million since he left the white house for his speeches (some of which he charges half a million dollars for).  Many of these fees come from foreign governments and foreign clients, which may lead to some potential conflict-of-interest headaches for his wife if she becomes president. Because, really, does anyone think people are paying $500,000 to hear Clinton talk? But Bill was unapologetic, and said he would continue to charge six figures for his speeches because, “you gotta pay the bills.”  Yes, really. He did not specify which Bills he had in mind.

Pastor Kenneth Green was  a kind man who was there for everyone who needed a prayer. He would take sick people to the hospital, and had a passion for helping the homeless. Sunday, he was preaching on one of the Psalms .The sermon was titled “Down But Not Out.” He mentioned that “if the Lord called me now, I’m ready to go”.  And those were his last words.  He died in the pulpit.

Cynthia Rodriguez of San Antonio just wanted to eat her Nature Valley granola bar. But as she did so, a small green bag emblazoned with dollar signs fell out of the package.  Rodriguez contacted General Mills, thinking she had perhaps won a prize. Company officials told her to call the police. She did, and they told her the bag contained “high-grade cocaine.” In totally unrelated news, sales of Nature Valley granola sky-rocketed this week.

Pretty sure the ingredient list did not mention any class 1 narcotics...

What valley is this natural in?

Dr. Tony Evans, the first African American to earn a doctorate in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, made some interesting remarks during a discussion with DTS scholar Dr. Darrell Bock recently:

“The White man is not making you do that. He’s not forcing you into that position. That’s a convenient out. In slavery when we did not have laws on our side, the community on our side, the government on our side, the broader community on our side, our families were a lot stronger. We were a lot more unified and we made a lot more progress. We’re going through regression right now and a lot of that is because of decision-making we are responsible for.”

Well, let’s end with some music.  It will be …. a little different than last week.  It has been called not just the greatest piece of music ever written, but The Greatest Artwork of All Times and All People. That link explores the piece from a technical aspect; this one explores it from a spiritual aspect.  Enjoy.


  1. Brianthedad says

    First! Woohoo! Great rambling.

  2. I hate to say it but… some of the links are broken. Like the one to the cocaine bag.

    • David H says

      An extra “http://” is included at the end of the URL for some reason, but if you delete it after you copy and paste it, it works

  3. Robert F says

    Tony Evans’ comment reflects a simplistic and false understanding of a complex reality, This week, NPR aired a program about how, after WWII, US federal policy through the GI Bill and other programs promoted the granting of low interest loans to white Americans to purchase low price, affordable homes while not doing the same for black families. The result: whites gained equity in their homes to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars per family, money with which they subsequently sent their kids to college, retired, etc. Many white commenters here were the beneficiaries of that policy.

    By the time the bill was changed, many years later, home prices had appreciated to a level that made the policy far less potent as a tool for getting families into their first homes. Black Americans could no longer afford, even with the help of federal programs, the now large personal financial investment they would have needed to buy their first home. They were stuck in the deteriorating inner cities, and they had not reaped the benefit of federal policy. Frustration? Rage?

    • Marcus Johnson says


      And we wonder why Black folk are so pissed off in Baltimore, New York, Ferguson, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Detroit, Flint, DC…

      • A sixteen year old who belongs to a third generation fatherless family is rioting and looting because his great-grandfather couldn’t get a home loan in 1947?? Sounds like supreme oversimplification………..

        • Robert F says

          Where do you locate the cause? Deficiencies in black culture, families, individuals? If you do, I think you’re wrong, and I think that’s a simplification.

        • Marcus Johnson says

          There are pretty obvious correlations between poverty and the breakdown of a strong family unit, as well as between income inequality and persons of color. I suspect that Robert F didn’t go into 70 years of history because he’s not writing a collection of books on systemic oppression (if you want to read those books, they are plentiful, credible, and easily available).

          • Why not track the breakdown of the Black family unit since the expansion of the ”War on Poverty” in the 60’s? I think you will see an acceleration of its breakdown since that time. You comment how it is not as simple as Evans says, but then you ignore the simplicity of your own statement. The government has a lot to do with the state of society today, INCLUDING the state of the Black family.

            Home ownership in the Black community was raised by governmental loosening of loan qualifications with Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, but when some cautioned that things were not right, people such as Maxine Waters (an African American congress person) famously said “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The popular trope is to blame only greedy banks for the ensuing collapse, but few remember that it was a Frank/Dodd bill that allowed the looser standards. The end result was minority families suffered the most from the subprime mortgage scandal. Government…

          • Marcus Johnson says

            I’m not ignoring it, Oscar, and I see nothing simplistic about my comments. Like I said in that previous comment, there are books and documentaries and news specials that explore this topic in great depth; I’m not going to use an online comment thread to load folks up on decades’ worth of research. Just because the correlations are obvious doesn’t mean they can be reduced to simple 1+1 equations, or that we can just blame White people and say, “What’s next?” Of course and absolutely, the government has a lot to do with the state of the Black family, and politicians of every ethnic and racial identity have been contributing to its corrosion for a long time. I live in Michigan, in which some of the policies most destructive to persons of color in general, and low-income families specifically, have been supported or enforced by Black Democratic politicians.

        • And this sounds like a supreme reach to avoid any sort of empathy.

          • Robert F says

            In effect saying, “These bad things happen to them just because they make such bad choices. They should be like us and make wonderful choices, then they wouldn’t have these problems that they bring on themselves. We can’t do anything about their bad choices, so we wash our hands of the whole problem. It’s their problem, not ours. Just send more police and military to keep them in line.”

            Gee, that’s working real well.

          • Robert, what I want to know is why these racial tensions seem to be escalating, not resolving. Are we making no progress? Are we actually making the situations worse? It just seems there is more expressed frustration these days than there was 10 years ago. Why is this? Have we created new problems, or just ignored old ones for far too long? How is it, then, that when racially unjust policies are so politically unfavorable that we seem to have so much of them?

          • Robert F says

            Of course I don’t have satisfactory answers to your questions. I’m feeling pretty pessimistic about the situation. This I’m certain of: just sending more police and military to occupy and pacify the residents of these devastated neighborhoods will not be the solution. If we make this our policy, the unrest and violent protests will grow and spread.

          • Agreed. However, justifying criminal actions is just as harmful, if not more so, than putting a stop to them. We need better thinking on this than “whose fault is it?” As long as we’re constantly trying to even the score we’ll never achieve the kind of color-blind equality the civil rights leaders had in mind.

            The score will never be “even.” But things can be better for everybody. We need a more positive goal.

        • “A sixteen year old who belongs to a third generation fatherless family is rioting and looting because his great-grandfather couldn’t get a home loan in 1947??

          Yes. With several other dominoes falling in between those two.

      • Just to throw my 2 cents into the discussion: None of the black people I know here in New York, and that’s quite a few. They would never stoop to the level of criminal activity because of their character. They made it out of the ghetto. How come some do and others don’t? IMO, to say about certain people that they are not capable of pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps is rather demeaning. Some people will have more difficulty doing it, some ought to receive assistance, and injustices should always be set right. But teaching people to roll with their victim status instead of being a part of the solution is not only wrong, but it keeps them down. I understand it is difficult to rise above certain situations (my minority immigrant grandparents certainly did, they worked hard and kept good company after coming here illegally to pick oranges. They sent my father to Juilliard.). But we should focus our efforts on assisting people to do that, rather than justifying their lawlessness when they buy into the narrative we’re selling them about themselves.

        • You get it don’t you Miguel. Very well said and maybe it will have more weight than a man who has to count on his fingers and toes……lol

    • Damaris says

      Very true, Robert. Not to mention the deliberate and pernicious placement of new interstates through what had been thriving black neighborhoods. Looking at the paths of interstates in and around Indianapolis is a sociological education of the status and experience of local blacks and Catholics over the last 100 years.

    • Robert F says

      Just to be clear: the GI Bill was only part of a wider US policy designed to promote the purchase of first homes among Americans, but the design of that entire wider policy also intentionally excluded people of color.

    • Your comment reflects a simplistic and false understanding of a complex reality. Victim mentality always leads to more victim mentality. Every minority has assimilated and now we have Mexican and Latin Americans doing it.

      My grandfather was the poorest of poor. Never got a dollar from the government. My father’s first house in 1960 took almost his whole paycheck leaving him stuck in a job he could never get out of. Every time a leader comes up and says the things people so dearly need to hear there will always be someone that says yea but.

      I have no idea what your purpose was here unless it just be more drama. I’m sorry it is impossible to be a victim and be a son of the most high God. It might have looked that Jesus was a victim but instead he smashed death. It might look like we are victims but we ride upon those who went before us who look looked Like victims and refused to quit. My father was at the hands of a man who knew he had him because of a family and knew he couldn’t quit and could get him to do anything to keep his Job. My dad knew it and his boss knew it. His sacrifice made my life better.

      As a country we need all peoples at the table doing what is good and healthy for us all. We need leaders who will say the hard things we all need to hear and not just pander to a fickle public. It is truth that if you’re able body and of sound mind and choose to sit at home and let others pay your way that you are saying you just don’t care about those other people who have to go to work. It is equally true if I don’t do things out of love they are meaningless. How many times I have rejoiced with a young man of any race that just said they got a job or for that matter they are doing something worthwhile. I stood in the lines at the food market with the old foodstamps in my hand it wasn’t something I could rejoice over and I realized what a trap I was in.

      Again we need strong leaders to make the difficult decisions to make a real change while using pilot programs for different areas to be creative and graceful towards those moving up and out of traps that bind our legs both physically and spiritually. Before we get to the point of chewing them off.

      I’m sorry if people don’t like it. Bringing something up from 70 years ago isn’t a help but a hinderance. Going back further is even worse. Really when will we ever tire of it and start moving

      Oooops I drop my mic and I got to go to work but thanks for pushing that button. Again, let me see how many times has it been. 1, 2, 3, oh I don’t have enough fingers and toes.

      • Robert F says

        History makes a difference, w. We come from our histories. What happened seventy years ago makes a difference today, especially if what happened essentially imprisoned you and your family in a ghetto cut off from the good fortune of the wider society. As a nation, we are still reaping the rewards of structural racism, because it has solidified certain realities in our social reality.

        • AGAIn Awwwwwwwww chew

          • Sorry had to get a tissue, the only thing history does is trap us within its confines and keeps us from moving forward to a breakthrough ( not so fond of that word’s overuse). History is suppose to be there so we don’t keep making the same mistakes. Apparently we are not so good at scholarship as we think we are.

          • Robert F says

            The problem is that America as a society is not learning from its history.

          • Robert F says

            w, If that’s all history does, then Jesus sacrifice of himself, once for all, two-thousand years ago could not save you or me today.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says

            It is easy to say “move forward” if you come from the privileged classes/races. And to say that to the oppressed classes/races shows no compassion.

          • and to Klasie a special awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww chew

        • Robert F says

          w, As to my purpose, it’s this: I’m expressing what I believe is true.

          You have a view of things rooted in rugged individualism, w. A few rugged individuals are able to prevail against the odds, against history, but most people cannot. I believe Christians should be interested in the welfare of the weak as well as the strong.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          The difference between a poor white family and a poor black family is, inter alia, that once the poor white family scrambles up the economic ladder into the middle class, the members magically become part of the general middle class, with all the benefits appertaining thereto. When that black family makes the same scramble, they come out still black, with all the disadvantages appertaining thereto.

        • Ok, then, if that is the case then, lets all just blame Adam…

          • Robert F says

            Nobody’s talking a blame game, oscar. We are talking about proximate causes, because we need to do this to understand the social problems between races/classes that are enduring and getting worse in this nation. Without understanding, there is no hope of resolution. We can’t begin to know how to change things to make them better without having some idea of what the cause of the problem is. Blaming Adam does no one any good, either as a serious suggestion or a sarcastic remark.

          • “Ok, then, if that is the case then, lets all just blame Adam”

            Yes, this is exactly what we do. This is what the Christian doctrine of original sin is there for. We are all born into a systemically degrading social and political existence that is built on generations of collective self-interested behavior, whose ultimate end is death and hell. Of course we blame Adam. And we also blame ourselves for being complicit with the Adamic conditioning. It’s not either/or.

            Sin is not primarily a bad choice we make. It’s a condition we have. This should inform how we approach widespread disparities like the ones we see between races.

      • W, so I take it that you don’t believe in, say, acknowledging and repenting for sins that are 70 years old?

      • W, you have such a sensitive spiritual side. Tap into that for this discussion.

        To say that bringing up history keeps us from moving forward is to also say these things:

        -if you’ve been wronged in the past, get over it (so how does healing ever happen?)
        -if you have secrets, you better keep them. It doesn’t matter the toll it takes on your soul — we don’t air dirty laundry (at the root of so much family dysfunction and shame)
        -pick yourself up by your bootstraps and WORK. If I can do it, you can do it (the rugged individualism that Robert mentioned)

        I know you believe in healing prayer, so I will share this story:

        Our healing prayer team was involved with a young African-American man who had several serious needs. One of them involved racism. He had bred such a hatred in his heart towards those who had abused him in the past. He couldn’t get over it, couldn’t make his way towards forgiveness. Should the word to him have been “That sucks, but it was in the past. You have to move on. We’re all God’s children.” Would that have brought healing? No!

        Instead, there was lots of “I’m sorry that happened to you. As someone who represents the type of person that abused, I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry. You did not deserve that. Those words that were used are not yours to own. You are made in the image of God. You are a beloved son.”

        Now, in Mule’s words was I engaging in an act of white ‘self-immolation’ by representing white racists in that moment? Absolutely not. Acknowledging white privilege is to rid yourself of white guilt. To acknowledge that someone has suffered differently than I have suffered is to show empathy, even if I do not understand. That man moved towards wholeness and freedom, and I dare say that part of his healing journey was to hear a white brother in Christ acknowledge *his* reality and sit with him in the pain of it, if only for a moment.

        That’s why we have to listen to the past. Because so much of it is still unspoken and buried. This isn’t always about politics and government. It’s about our souls way more often than we realize.

        • Brianthedad says


        • Robert F says

          Yes, to all you say, Sean.

          In addition, the past is not past. What we see happening in Baltimore and other American cities is result of historical injuries and injuries that are being received now and in our time. The problem now is primarily one of class, though it retains significant racial aspects, and a history rooted in racial injustice. Police in those underprivileged African-American urban communities are viewed as representatives of the ruling classes, whether those individual officers are white or black or etc., and as occupiers who are present mainly to contain the violence, crime and dysfunction within the community’s boundaries. They are not viewed as carriers of service and protection.

        • Not what I said Sean. We have to be about investing in people. Sowing into people not just letting them survive. I know what a trap is. Every one that has made their way out of said trap knows what it is. I’m sorry that what happened in the past by who ever happened to hurt someone here. Probably why I don’t like it here. I said we don’t need to live within the confines of it. I don’t believe that Jesus enabled me through love to keep telling people they have good reasons to stay hurt and to throw their hurt around to all the other people they can find.

          I believe that history has taught us stuff and we should be in the business of having it work for us. I believe we have the people and the means to be creative enough to find what works. I believe that for everyone we can get off of welfare programs no matter who they are it is a good investment for us. The problem is that we read into everything a person is trying to say with other stuff and ramm it down their throats to shut them up that is controlling and then making remarks to get them to respond also is controlling and is in fact an imitation and therefore shouldn’t need a response so again awwwwwwww chew sorry damn alllergies

        • While I’m at it I have held hands with many black young men and prayed. I have had many people come to me and say you prayed with me about getting work and the next week I got work. I have had many I can’t remember say remember when you said this and when you gave me this and to be honest some I don’t recollect. My heart when a young black man came to me and said I got my first house exploded in love and I cried with him in saying thank you God. You have to remember to get people to move isn’t about guilt and shame it is about letting them know that what they are doing is having a result.

          You see I will put my money where my mouth is. I never go by someone without help. I sow and I ask a return from God. I expect He should honor such things. The return isn’t for me it is for them that is the return I expect. I want them to remember such love and pass it on and have it grow. You think it rugged individualism keep your labels. I have none. I’ve been kicked around , knocked down beat up by a world that would have stolen my heart a millions times over. You won’t steal this from me never………

          I remember the things my Father has done and forgiven me for. I have been in the Churches here in the city when I was the only white face while the bombing of Birmingham was being rehashed and I have seen what little in response was said from that side about forgiveness and the need for healing so a community can move forward. Sorry the chance was there it didn’t happen from those leading. They just wanted every young person there to remember. Where is this kind of stuff going to take us. Stuck in a place no one should be left.

          Then a black man says we have choices to make and oh it didn’t come from the right place. We do have choices to make and when we make them they have consequences and sometime in forgiveness and grace we can get moving yet again in second and third and fourth chances but you only say such things after I say things and didn’t include them when they weren’t included in the first place.

          • Robert F says

            Nobody here is interested in stealing anything from you, w. But you’re not the only one who life has kicked around, you know. I don’t particularly like being accused of having bad motives or purposes in making my comments, but the fact that you come out against what I say doesn’t make me a victim; having gone through difficult times does not privilege my opinions either. But the same holds for you.

            Sometimes it’s important to remember. God wanted the people of Israel to remember both their captivity in Egypt and their liberation. The African-American community identified strongly with the Exodus story and experience. That’s why they sang both “Go Down Moses” and “We Shall Overcome.”

          • Robert I’m done. What is it you do??????

          • Robert F says

            I don’t understand your question. Call me dense, but all I can make of it is that you’re casting aspersions on my work ethic. Explain, please?

          • W, i don’t understand why you’re reacting to Robert and Klasie in this manner…

          • Well Numo I wonder why you didn’t ask the same question in reverse.

          • Okay out of respect for you Numo. I have a friend named lou who pushes buttons because he knows he can. I ask him why he does this. He answers because it is a imitation of power and some how gives him pleasure whether it be good or bad doesn’t matter it is the reaction that counts. He says he learned this behavior a long time ago. I tell him this isn’t so good we should pray about it. he says well go ahead. I start praying out of my heart for God to help my good friend Lou( who is my brother in the Lord and I love much) when I look and see a smirk on his face and realize he has no intention of leaving it go i realize how strong such things are.

            My friend Lou doesn’t do it so much with me anymore. He knows I know. I see it more now that I am aware of it in many. So if you see what I am saying then apply it where you need to. I’m not so much the button pusher. Here we had a forum to come with good ideas but that’s not what happened. Miguel above started this dialogue as did I in trying to move from victimhood to empowerment. Miguel said it perfectly color blindness was what we need to be moving towards. MLK had he lived was and is the greatest so far but I believe there is more and better on both sides of the coin.

          • W, neither of them was dismissive of you or your pov. They disagreed and did so politely.

            I am uncertain as to why you feel the need to make what seem to be slighting remarks to them – i mean, ???

          • Well Numo you obviously didn’t get my point. Neither answered any of the good points I had to offer they instead decided that it is better to go after things they think they need to make a point about. I guess you don’t see how going straight to a GI bill had anything to do with pushing buttons or for that matter how Klasie always does this. I guess because I didn’t handle myself the way you did I treated them with disrespect. Well sorry you feel this way but don’t try and see the other side of this coin,,,,please. I’ve been here maybe a little too long.

          • W, answering with sneezing sounds isn’t helping. Instead, why not try asking them for a direct response to the points you made?

            Fwiw, Klasie is from S. Africa, and has seen a lot.

          • W, i don’t like to see convos turn bad, but i guess sometimes there is nothing left to say. Text is, unfortunately, an easy medium for misunderstandings, since we can’t hear tone of voice or see facial expressions. All we have is a computer screen with letters on it. Not yhe best medium for difficult topics and discussions, to be sure.

            I didn’t join in yesterday because i didn’t feel like things were movinb forward. But i do like your contributions here, generally, and am a bit saddened by the turn things have taken, overall.

            Oh well. Maybe next Saturday will be a better time to talk?

          • Sneezing sounds are as nice as I can put it when I am allergic to something….There won’t be anymore saturdays for me. Mind’s made up got to break a cycle again in my life. My new saying is I don’t know (Lord) bless them as they go.

          • Robert F says

            I’ve reviewed all my responses to you, w, to see if I simply ignored what you were saying so that I could work off of my own script. I didn’t respond to everything you said in your comments, but my responses were all to things you in fact did say. In none of them did I say anything disrespectful to you, unless you consider strong disagreement disrespectful. I only got more personal in response to accusations you made about me or others wanting to steal something from you, and in response to your suggestion that I was saying what I had to say for dishonest purposes; in those cases, my responses to you were measured and neither inflammatory nor personally insulting.

            For your part, mixed in with your more substantive responses, you included insults, to me and others. Why, w? To what purpose? Have I or they offended you by our disagreement enough to warrant dismissive insults and scorn? I don’t think so.

          • W, you clearly aren’t getting *my* point about insulting replies that don’t really engage with what others say. It doesn’t matter if you disagree – we all do here, after all, as in the rest of life.

            But responding with stupid insults doesn’t help much.

            I’m out of this, too.

          • Robert F says

            Unlike your friend Lou, I have no interest in pushing your buttons. And to suggest that I brought up the GI Bill because I knew it would push your buttons strikes me as a wee bit paranoid. How on God’s green earth would I know a thing like that? I didn’t know it, and my referring to it had nothing at all, in the least, to do with you. You were the furthest thing from my mind when I made that comment.

            Anyway, to echo something I’ve heard recently: w, I’m done.

          • Well robert I was done with the conversation. You took it to a new level. You didn’t push my buttons you took everyone hostage by the tone of what you wanted to talk about. I’m not the only one who felt that way. Numo you take bullying to a new level and I find very vicious and relentless and I wonder if prayer for me these past few days were offered by you as I did for everyone here.

            I was only saying and trying to elude to facts that we shouldn’t penalize people when they get a job but put in place a system to get people up and out of poverty by encouraging them to work and rewarding those efforts instead of the same old crap. it was nice that welfare and social system were put into place but they are failed and history should be made to work for us. Again if i say I am allergic to something it isn’t so much to be nasty as I have found first hand experience. It is a great leap to say someone who loves others is saying that these people are lazy and don’t want to work. What I would prefer is a way to be made so they can see their worth.

            Numo whatever……you lay nothing aside do you or do you? You say I am being a certain way but I find that going around and not leaving it alone just like you did days ago when you eluded to this again. Take a good look at everything written here not just what you wrote. The slant here is amazing and frankly I doubt that it can lead me anywhere anymore. I am not left I am not right and in fact find that in my changing view which I hold dear I find myself wrong a lot. I’m wrong to have made those sounds in letters and have offended a person who my precious Father has made and for that I ask forgiveness and I repent and will do it no more in the help of my Jesus……..Peace

    • I’m not actually surprised at Tony Evans’ comments. I was just reading earlier this week about the systemic racism at DTS. Evans’ comment just happens to reinforce the abdication of responsibility narrative from the power class. The same class which is paying his bills, interestingly enough.

  4. Marcus Johnson says

    Should it also bear mentioning that Black slave families had little to no legal protection in slave-holding states? Each person within a nuclear family of slaves still belonged to the owner. The vast majority of Black slaves could not marry, and those that treated their relationships like marriage lived under the constant threat of family separation by sale. The only reason that adult slaves were allowed to marry was to discourage individual slaves from running away.

    So, yeah, Dr. Evans’ ramble about the strength of the family? What’s a cleaner word than the word I’m thinking of right now?

    • Robert F says

      One could rightly say that inner city ghettos were intentionally maintained and reinforced by official US policy. It was in these invisibly walled ghettos that black families started to experience the conditions leading to widespread family break down and dysfunction.

    • Burro [Mule] says

      So, what do we do?

      I don’t own a home. If I did, I might be persuaded to leave it to a Black family after our kids left and my wife and I entered a monastery [there are married monastics in the Orthodox Church]. That would assuage my guilt, but is that the way forward for all of us?

      White self-immolation doesn’t seem like something I would count on for very much longer. It is almost entirely a product of Puritanism and its ideological offspring. Mexicans, who will overtake blacks in 10 more years and everybody else put together by 2070, won’t have the same historical burden of guilt.

      • Marcus Johnson says


        No one is asking you to sell your home or self-immolate; your presumption that that’s what we’re calling for is groundless. I’m just arguing, in this particular post, that the idea that Black families were better off back in slavery demonstrates a profound willful ignorance of verifiable history. In fact, slavery brought on the systemic dissolution of the Black family, which continued after the Civil War and into the 21st century.

        What would be nice, though, is an acknowledgement of the systems of oppression that continue to do damage to the Black population to the US. Those systems do harm on both an individual, family, and community level, and they are the result of centuries of policies (some intentional, others not) which, while it would be ridiculous to say that every White person is directly responsible, do clearly disadvantage persons of color.

        And the Mexican community probably won’t have the same burden of guilt, true, but that have something to do with the centuries of oppression and racism that they faced. I fail to see the connection you’re trying to make between a population increase and ownership of social injustice. Perhaps you can elaborate?

        • Burro [Mule] says

          What legal structures are currently in place that do harm to Black people on an individual, family, and community level? Once again, I am not asking about selective enforcement. That is an acknowledged problem that is far less accessible with the tools we have available to us.

          If the only thing you were arguing was that the Black family was not better off under slavery than currently, I have to agree with you. Anybody who thinks anything was better for Black people under chattel slavery has taken too many blows to the head.

          I would posit the

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Mexicans, who will overtake blacks in 10 more years and everybody else put together by 2070, won’t have the same historical burden of guilt.

        And Blacks and Mexicans HATE each other.
        As in Edge of Race War hate.
        It’s not only those EEEEEEVIL Whiteys who are Racists.
        (Ask Koreans and Japanese about each other…)

        • Not in the younger generations. They don’t care about those old tensions at all. J-Pop idols are huge in Korea, many younger Koreans learn to speak Japanese because they enjoy the culture.

      • Robert F says

        As an Orthodox Christian, I would expect you, Mule, to have a solid sense of how powerfully active the past is in the present, and how much of what we are and do is formed in the continuum from what we call the past to what we call the present. The a-historical way you talk about this issue sounds far more evangelical than Orthodox.

        • Robert F says

          …I should say, sounds far more stereotypically evangelical….

        • Burro [Mule] says

          Have at it.

          I am all for racial reconciliation and atoning for past sins of my gene stream, but I don’t precisely know how to go about it. I patronize several black-owned businesses, not because I want to feel righteous, but because they give excellent value for the dollar. I feel awkward as all blue hell, in the barber shop especially, but I think its probably good for me, as a podvig.

          I have a problem. To do right by America’s Black population, there will have to be a discussion of transfer payments from Whites as a class to Blacks as a class, I don’t see how this can be avoided if justice is to be done. But it’ll be a government thing, working out who pays what, exactly, which means that it will be about as fair and just as our political system at the present can make it. That means it’ll probably exacerbate the problem rather than ameliorate it. Right now I don’t think White America has enough residual Christianity to get something to fly. I think Black america does, maybe,

          Guys like Marcus will be the ones to come up the solution, not Mule.

          • Robert F says

            I understand your perspective.

            You seem to do more than many. Frequenting black businesses because they good give service and value, and in spite of your feeling of awkwardness, is actually more than many would be willing to do. These seemingly small acts have meaning and value. As does thinking seriously about the problem, and understanding that monetary reparations may be part of a multifaceted attempt to address it.

  5. What I don’t understand is how an african american like Tony gets to a place where he says things like that… Is he trying to please the right-leaning white evangelicals who will lap up lines like that without a thought (and put him up on one of their few “we-love-blacks-too pedestals”) Or is it something in his theological foundation/his stream of Christianity? Or is he an iconoclast who likes bucking his african american culture just for the sake of being an outlier? I’m baffled…

    • Josh in FW says

      I think he is honestly frustrated by the bad choices that he sees in his community and like so many other pastors he is using hyperbole and not paying enough attention to the precision of his remarks. I also think like many Americans he believes that his personal success has been mostly due to his effort and good choices.

    • I see it as a mix of these things:

      -he doesn’t want to be seen in the same fashion of Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson types
      -if he spoke to systemic issues and the place of privilege, he probably wouldn’t have the audience offered by that particular medium
      -there’s probably a dark side to being the first Aftican-American DTS grad. Influence of Individualism, dispensationalism. The likelihood that the institution ‘showcases’ him -“we produced Tony Evans, we’re inclusive!”- and the pressure of having to live up to that distinction.

    • dumb ox says

      Maybe Tony is hiding out in Doug Wilson’s Idaho bunker.

    • Many black preachers who are moral conservatives have a serious axe to grind about the deterioration of family values in black communities, which they view as largely responsible for many of their economic difficulties. They are at least partially right.

  6. @Robert and Marcus……The GI Bill and VA home loans were race-neutral. The issue that excluded black vets from home ownership were laws and unwritten policies to keep “colored in their place” were administered by Southern DEMOCRATS.

    • Robert F says

      According to what I heard on NPR, while funds were available through those bills, they were intentionally used to move black Americans into apartments in cities, not homes in suburbs or along the perimeters of cities. The program was primarily about why blacks are so segregated in urban ghettos to this day, and that is a phenomenon in both the North and South.

      Of course, what I heard could have been incorrect. I’d be interested to hear from those who have closer knowledge of these issues. I tend to believe what I heard because it helps to explain a lot: it explains the concentration of blacks in inner cities to this day, it explains the economic disadvantage of African Americans. And it does these things without finding the fault in some intrinsic deficiency in African American culture or families or individuals.

      • Burro [Mule] says

        Could it be possible that white real estate agents and developers refused to sell houses to them in the suburbs despite the money being available to them?

        I always wondered where the black Levittowns were. 1948 America was segregated, but a lot of lip-service was paid to the “separate but equal” incantation. Everything I know about 1948 America comes from reading John Dos Passos, watching The Best Years Of Our Lives and what my surviving relatives tell me.

        America has changed a lot since 1948. I think that racism as a legal doctrine is pretty much dead. If it isn’t, educate me. I’m not talking about people gaming the system to produce racially divergent outcomes, or interior, unconscious racism. If you can get rid of that tendency in the human heart, I’ll take your mark on my hand and brow.

        • Brianthedad says

          As to black Levittowns, there may be a few, but they are few and far between, and generally much smaller than their namesake. There are a couple of small exurban African-American communities/subdivisions near where I live. It would appear to me, based on the original property plats and ownership, that they were developed by and for middle class, professional African Americans who were associated with nearby Tuskegee University. These were developed in the early 70s, and ironically enough, made practical by an interstate.

        • Robert F says

          Racism has rolled over into a deeply entrenched class problem with historically derived racial characteristics.

    • Oh please…not that meme again… “Democrats” who are not/were not anything like today’s political party and who switched the instant the other side took up their racist cause… Meaningless, distracting label.

    • Marcus Johnson says

      I have never presumed that the Democratic party was non-racist, or was never part of the systemic oppression of Black folks, and nothing about my previous posts indicated so, either, Pattie. You’re rebutting arguments no one brought up.

  7. Robert F says

    Did we forget to mention the contribution to the degradation of African American communities that can be put at the feet of the growing appetite for illegal recreational drugs among white Americans since the 60s, an appetite that itself feeds the illegal and violent drug trade that makes its center in those very communities?

    • Did you just blame white drug users for black people being dealers? Wow.
      And I thought MY people had the bigger slice of that pie, but I don’t see the race card being played in the cartel situations. Dealers can be pushy, too, you know.

      • Robert F says

        I blamed white drug users for making hugely profitable an illegal business that devastates inner city neighborhoods and families.

        • Bull. There’s plenty of white dealers and black users. Entrepreneurial talent will always find a way to succeed. The reason these business skills couldn’t have been put to better use is….?

          Plus traditional supply and demand laws do not apply so evenly to the drug market. The producers have ways of increasing demand for their product. Users are guilty for using, dealers are guilty for dealing.

          Sex traffickers are no less to blame just because there are paying customers. Both are wrong, one does not justify the other. Call a thing what it is, and quit playing the blame game on that one, it will only work against racial reconciliation.

          • Robert F says

            You are saying the enormous upsurge in white use of illegal drugs in the 60s did not result in an hugely more profitable illegal drug trade with its distribution networks centered in poor, urban neighborhoods?

            Here’s something else for you to say “Bull” to, I guess. I believe the contemporary drug (mostly marijuana) war violence in Mexico is the direct result of how profitable the mostly white, middle-class American illegal drug users have made that business since the 60s.

            And I’m not here talking about the users and sellers. I’m talking about the innocent victims caught in the crossfire violence and degradation that the presence of big-dollar drug business brings. Are you going to tell me that drug business has a as degrading an influence on the neighborhood in the suburbs as in urban ghettos? When was the last time there was a drive by shooting in your neighborhood? When was the last time that you saw a junkie shooting up on your street corner? Do yo have a crack house that everybody in your neighborhood knows about, but can do nothing to close? Do you have gangs calling the shots on your neighborhood streets?

          • Robert F says

            I will revise one thing, based on your observation that it doesn’t help to emphasize the racial aspect of the situation. The problem is primarily a class problem, with poor, urban neighborhoods being disproportionately and devastatingly degraded by the profitability that affluent drug users in affluent places have brought to the drug trade since the 60s.

        • And of course there are obvious problems with how drug use is pretty evenly distributed racially, but drug policing overwhelmingly targets blacks.

  8. Robert, Thanks for taking up a third of the responses this morning and educating us as you always do. See you all on Sunday !!!!!

  9. That giant bunny article made my morning.

    • Brianthedad says

      Agreed. I thought it was a camera angle trick until I saw the other pictures. That’s an expensive pet to feed and keep but I would think the danger of a rogue pet biting you is nil.

  10. AdeptOaf says

    I have a sneaking suspicion that Evangelical Christian Publisher Association book award = this book made a truckload of money. Accompanying shirts and DVD sets are good for the bottom line.

  11. Robert F says

    Re: Rick Warren’s diet book award: Evangelical culture as a mere life-style choice among many possible choices.

  12. I have no argument against churches encouraging diet and exercise, but I don’t believe the Bible needs to be forced into being the authority on the subject. I have to believe that Christians can be encouraged to be healthy without conflating it with Biblical legalism. Such sideshows should never distract from preaching Christ, but I am certain churches will use this six week study as a Lenten emphasis, as many did with “Purpose Driven Life”. Preach Christ without turning him into Dr. Oz. I think Jesus came with a slightly more important message for the Church to proclaim.

    • When the Bible is treated as the final authority for all subjects, it becomes the authority of none.

    • dumb ox says

      Diet and exercise is yet another subject of science to be ignored by the conservative science-haters. It’s not just what you eat but combining that with cardiovascular effort. Inactivity leads to muscle degeneration, arthritis, and joint failure – all of which leads to even more inactivity. You don’t need to wrap that in bible verses.

  13. Robert F says

    Re: “paying the” Bill Clinton: President Clinton, like so many of his peers in the ruling class, is completely out of touch with what it means to be a ordinary citizen. Is this what the Founding Fathers intended as the profile for those who govern?

    • Dana Ames says

      Bill has the background of a disadvantaged person. I’m not sure if he remembers it.


    • Do you think he’s the only former politician out there charging 6 figures for speeches?! Keep it real dude.
      W makes over 100K each time he speaks. It’s not all his fault that his phone doesn’t ring as much as Bill’s.
      Still, $15M since leaving the White House isn’t chump change. He lives a simple life down there is TX so he should be fine.

    • Donalbain says

      Yes. Yes it definitely is what the founding fathers intended. They were not exactly house servants and maids themselves, were they?

  14. Robert F says

    Re: the gargantuan rabbit: “Look, that rabbit’s got a vicious streak a mile wide; it’s a killer!”

    • Maybe Rick Warren’s book has a recipe for hasenpfeffer.

    • chip and my brother's name is dale says

      Tim: I’m warning you!

      Sir Robin: What’s he do? Nibble your bum?

      Tim: He’s got huge, sharp… er… He can leap about. Look at the bones!

      King Arthur: Go on, Bors. Chop his head off!

      Sir Bors: Right! Silly little bleeder. One rabbit stew comin’ right up!

      • Robert F says

        “Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe …”

  15. Randy Thompson says

    I think a better Bible-based diet than Rick Warren’s “Daniel Diet” would be the “Elijah Diet.”

    This would consist of eating nothing and walking briskly in the desert for 40 days.

    Oh yes. And you’d be fed by ravens on your first day on the diet.

    Note: You’d be fed BY ravens; you wouldn’t be fed ravens. (That would be cheating.)

    • Or the “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego Diet” consisting of time spent in a fire-fueled sauna sweating off the pounds.

      • My favorite was the ‘What Would Jesus Eat?’ diet from a few years ago. The irony in that is, well, ironic. Didn’t Jesus say ‘do not worry about what you . . . eat or drink . . .’? That’s how I justify my ice cream diet (I think I remember my doctor saying I have a fat deficiency so I’m trying to correct it). If I could only find a verse, then I could write a book . . .

      • Yeah, but that was after they did a few months on the Daniel Plan. See? It really does do wonders.

  16. dumb ox says

    “‘They just disappear, or they’re killed,’ [Beck] said, before warning his audience to ‘prepare for a time when voices like mine or others are no longer heard.'”

    This is what happens when one buys into a self-obsessive philosophy like Ayn Rand’s. It leads to despair or paranoia. If all that matters is you, then your entire hope is placed in self-preservation.

    I think Jesus had a better way.

  17. Rick Ro. says

    If I see the Daniel Diet Plan pop up as a program in our church, I think I’ll puke. Which, ironically, might help me lose weight!

  18. Brianthedad says

    Christian diet plans (TM). Yikes. It’s no wonder the people around us think we Christians are all a bunch of Elmer Gantrys. Regardless of whether Warren donates all the proceeds to missions, the poor, etc, the perception is that this is raw hucksterism. It smacks of Hollywood movie company hype for merchandising deals that squeeze every last cent out of the latest entertainment craze. Maybe not his fault, but the Christian media industry that surrounds these things sure would be culpable. Pardon me, my cynicism is showing.

  19. Klasie Kraalogies says

    w, I grew up in a society wracked with racial tension and hatred, with long memories of oppression and hate and injustice and all that. I happen to know what I speak of. I invite you to open your heart and mind to the stories and experiences of “the other side”. You might just learn something.

  20. The Book of the Year Award for 2015 is a combination of sales figures and being a finalist in its category. I wish the award was weighted 90% on quality and 10% on unit sales, but alas, that isn’t the case.

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