October 30, 2014

Saturday Ramblings 10.6.12

Well, iMonks, the frost is on the pumpkin. Of all stupid sayings, that may be the leader of the pack. Yet it seems appropriate this weekend as much of the country is experiencing some very fall-like weather. Up in Maine, Ted and JoanieD may be telling us they’re experiencing winter-like weather, as they may have snow before the weekend is out. Yes indeed, the frost is on the pumpkin. Now, if only it was frosting on a pumpkin cupcake, that would make sense. More about cupcakes in a minute. Pull on that bib–it’s time to ramble.

Oh boy! It’s that time once again, time for Pulpit Freedom Sunday. It’s the one Sunday each year when preachers are encouraged to defy the IRS and endorse specific political candidates and issues from the pulpit. Jim Garlow explains why he thinks this important here. I know Jim well. He truly believes what he is doing is a way to “advance the kingdom.” I disagree strongly with Jim on this (and many other issues), but love him dearly. Whether you agree or disagree, please remember Jim and his wife, Carol, in prayer. Carol is staring cancer in the face right now.

Some say if Mitt Romney is elected as president, he will be the most religious president since … since … Who do you think has been the most religious Pastor In Chief of our great nation? The answer given by Slate may surprise you.

Not sure if you watched the presidential debate this week. Apparently a lot of people did. And many of those “a lot of people” tweeted their thoughts on the debate. (Uh, I used to debate. These made-for-TV events are not debates. They are opportunities for the candidates to speak in sound bites ans wish their wives happy anniversary. But I digress.) CNN has gathered what they think were the best tweets in one handy list. My favorite? If you don’t vote Obama, Mitt Romney is going to be eating me by the end of November. Show your support. #BigBird2012

We have conquered space, now we are going to drill to the center of the earth. The objective is to discover more about the beginnings of our planet. Just so you know.

Spiritual but not religious is a mantra chanted by many. But it just may prove as bogus as it sounds, according to Alan Miller. Then there are the Unitarian Universalists, who are religious but not spiritual, but are growing nonetheless. Which brings to mind the question, “What do you get when you mix a Jehovah’s Witness with a Unitarian?” Answer: Someone who knocks on your door, but for no apparent reason.

Some may think there is no apparent reason for the internet, but I would draw those skeptics’ attention to the Awkward Couples of Liberty web page. Oh those naughty Liberty students, napping when they should be studying constantly like all Asian students. Well, except for these Asian students. Now, aren’t you glad Al Gore invented the internet?

You know any dads who are full-time, stay-at-home dads? They are involved in unbiblical conduct. Or so says a Baptist professor. Really. Glad he is there to clarify this for us.

Ok, so your Rambler makes a mistake once in a while. I thought that the Canadian rock group Rush was already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Appears they’re not. Yet. And yes, the Meters belong in there, too. Have you been to the Rock Hall? It’s the only reason Cleveland exists.

And from the Really, Do You Think I Could Make Something Like This Up? department, when Jesus returns and stands upon the Mount of Olives in Israel, you will be able to watch it live on not one, but two different Christian TV networks. I crap you not. It’s stories like this that make me so very thankful to be your Rambler.

Finally, I promised you cupcakes. In doing research for this must-read edition of the Ramblings, I came across a recipe for cupcakes that make me want to dance and sing. It’s desserts like this that make me proud to be an American. Of course, you would have to pray, “Lord, forgive me for what I am about to eat,” but tell me you would not sit down and eat these until you passed into a coma. Of course you would.

Cupcakes were passed out for the following birthdays this last week: Stan Berenstain; Jerry Lee Lewis; Madeline Kahn; Mark Farner; Brant Gumbel; Truman Capote; Marc Bolan; Bonnie Parker; Jimmy Carter; Richard Harris; Groucho Marx; Gore Vidal; Lindsay Buckingham; Stevie Ray Vaughan; Buster Keaton; Anne Rice; Ray Kroc; and Dick Tracy.

Grand Funk Railroad is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, though many people think they should be. Mark Farner has been hailed as one of the most innovative guitarists of his time and … Ok, sorry. I couldn’t hold a straight face any longer. Do you really think I would settle for anyone but one of the two greatest electric guitarists of all time? We have been looking at church music this month. Tell me you don’t want to worship the Lord as you watch and listen to SRV. Enjoy.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keQaz5iYeV4&feature=related']

 

Comments

  1. At least Rush is actually nominated this time around. So is Deep Purple, which makes for a frustrating dilemma.

  2. petrushka1611 says:

    Buster Keaton. One of my absolute favorites of all people who have ever done anything.

    • Randy Thompson says:

      I agree.

      His “Steamboat Bill Junior” has one of the greatest and most dangerous stunts ever done. The scene where the front of a building falls on him, and misses him because he’s standing where the upstairs window is, is completely mind-blowing. The film was made in the 1920’s, and no one has attempted anything like this since, not even Jackie Chan who has acknowledged Keaton as an influence on his career.

      This great old silent film is worth watching just for that scene, even though his greatest film, and one of the greatest films of all time, is “The General.”

  3. That cut to Mr. Farner is offensive. He’s was one of the greatest innovative guitarists, singers, and song writers. Grand Funk and Farner messed up when they went the pop route after about their fourth album. “American Band” is one of their first steps in the wrong direction. The first three albums are tremendous, with Live Album being the epitome of their greatest work. I would put Mark Farner somewhere in the top 25 greatest guitarists, but SRV in the top 5.

    • To each his own, Tim. I am old enough to remember seeing GF in concert, with Freddie King and Blackgrass as their opening number. But I would not put Farner in any list of great guitarists.

  4. That cupcake looks like a diabetic’s suicide pill. I have a co-worker who has great baking skills. I’m going to dare her to make this one.

  5. Rush is, beyond any doubt, one of the greatest rock bands of all time. The fact that they aren’t already in this R&R HoF exposes it for the sham that it is (though the quite obviously not-rock artists included are already proof of that.)

    • Sham tho it may be, it is still worth a visit if you are anywhere near Cleveland …

    • Sorry, they only play ONE song, with lyrics that vary. I make my hubby change the radio channel when they come on our satelite radio!

    • I watched the recording of Tom Waits’ 2011 induction. It literally teared me up. For all the criticism I have leveled against the RRHOF for dissing Rush, they really got that one right.

      • Here’s my pessimistic take: the RRHOF nominated Rush and Deep Purple in the same year, knowing that they would have to induct Deep Purple – because they have been dissed even longer than Rush. Then they can say that at least they nominated Rush, and the issue will be put to rest for them. And Rush will never see their day at the Hall of Fame, just the way the RRHOF wants it. It is interesting that the Rush press release stated that they were thrilled for Rush fans, for whom the nomination means a lot. I really don’t think it is any big deal for them personally. It neither gives nor takes anything from what they have accomplished in 40 years. Who really cares what the priests of the temple of RROF think anyway?

  6. The drilling rig is actually sponsored by Ken Ham. Paul states that the resurrected Christ descended into the “lower, earthly regions”. Already, some bible literalists claim one drilling crew actually went so deep that they heard the anguished screams of people in Hell. Proof positive will come from this expedition and be made part of his museum. Next he will tackle the 24-hour sun of Joshua and again use science to prove the Bible is right every time.

    • +1

    • Ken Ham is sponsoring the $1B project financially? I can’t find any evidence of that. I think the story of the Russian expedition discovering hell is an urban legend. Search for “well to hell” on snopes. The origin of the legend is uncertain, but it can be traced back to none other than Paul Crouch and TBN. But for Ken Ham, for whom the Loch Ness monster is proof of YEC, it would be no surprise that he has added the hell-well legend to his arsenal. We accuse evolutionists of continuing to promote convenient lies, but it’s ok for Ham.

      • It’s scary that creationists expect to find a hollow center to the earth, just because that’s the interpretation they place on Genesis.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Hollow Earth? WTF?

          Is The Hollow Earth going to be the next Sheep-or-Goat Litmus Test?

          And what Special Revelation is next? Turn the Hollow Earth inside-out so We Live On The Inside and revive the Koreshian Cult of 100 years ago?

          For further reading on the history of Hollow Earth beliefs, I recommend the following book:
          Subterranean Worlds:
          100,000 years of dragons, dwarfs, the dead, lost races, and UFOs from inside the earth

          by Walter Kafton-Minkel
          pub by Loompanics Unlimited
          ISBN 1-55950-015-8

          • I think the next litmus test is believing the sun and planets revolve around the earth. If I read Genesis “literally”, that is what I see.

          • I have read this!

            Back in the 1980s, I read a Christian novel about UFO researchers who discover that UFO’s are really demons who come from a “hell” which is really a black hole (I don’t think the authors understood what that means) at the center of the earth. In the course of their investigation they visit a trance-channeler in Arizona somewhere, who receives an “alien” communication. If memory serves, the demons wanted to convince humanity that evolution was true, and that we were created by ancient astronauts (which is almost exactly what science teaches today!).

        • Theologically, it makes no sense to place hell physically at the center of the earth. In Revelation, heaven and earth disappear. In a later scene, death and hades are thrown in the lake of fire. Nevermind. There’s no means to argue with the irrational.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            I heard that in Medieval times, the idea of Hell in the center of the earth was that under the Ptolemaic arrangement, Earth was the center of the universe, surrounded by crystal spheres of which the outermost was the fixed stars. The sphere of fixed stars was the edge of the physical universe, beyond which was Heaven and God. In that arrangement, the center of the Earth would be the farthest possible point from Heaven and God, thus the logical location of Hell.

            Plus, “the Underworld” was the Land of the Dead in pre-Christian religions of the area, and probably the concept of a subterranean Land of the Damned Dead just carried over. After all, the Saved were presumed to be in Heaven (“The Intermediate State”, which evolved in popular belief into “Fluffy Cloud Heaven” as Resurrection faded in emphasis), which was commonly believed to be “In the Sky” (beyond the Sphere of Fixed Stars referenced above), so the Damned would naturally go Down instead of Up.

            Now as for “Death and Hades being thrown in the Lake of Fire”, there was a show on one of the documentary channels years ago that told what impact this image had at the time it was written. NOT “Death and Hades”, but “Thanatos and Hades”, Greek gods of Death and The Underworld. Thanatos, who ALWAYS comes to take you to Hades. Hades, not so much evil as stern and dour, who once he has you in his realm of Death would NEVER let you go. Ever. Myth after myth (Orpheus being the best-known) spoke of attempts to get the dead out of Hades, attempts that would ALWAYS fail. Once Hades had your shade, there was NO letting go. Yet here John writes about the dead Resurrected (escaping Hades) and Hades — Death — finally dying himself, never to take or hold onto you again. THAT was the message of that imagery.

            And “later scene” doesn’t mean that much in the imagery of Revelation. Just that today we think of Revelation as a continuous chronological narrative — first A happens, then B happens, then C happens. What Slacktivist in his deconstruction of Left Behind calls “The End Time Prophecy Checklist”. Revelation may NOT have been written linearly, especially when you consider the Classical Hebrew use of parallelisms (telling the same story over using different imagery) for emphasis.

          • HUG: that is so cool! I never researched the Greek before. It does give a whole new perspective on that passage. It’s a lot like Jesus walking on the stormy sea showed his mastery over the gods of chaos and the deep. That’s the kind of stuff that gets me excited about reading the Bible!

          • HUG: I agree with your summary of the chronology of Revelation – or lack thereof. Revelation only started making sense to me once I threw out the chronology approach. However, those believe hell is at the center of the earth are the same ones promoting the chronological approach; therefore, it is they who contradict themselves by teaching that first the earth disappears (hell and all), then the same hell is thrown into the lake of fire. Gerald’s comments above regarding the story about hell being a black hole at the center of the earth is probably an attempt to solve this, i.e. hell really isn’t at the center of the earth, just the black hole portal to hell is there – the Bible meets Stargate.

        • Re: hollow center believers: There’s only one thing with a hollow center, and it isn’t the earth.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I remember when The Well to Hell was on Christianese radio in the Eighties. Talk-show host “Rumor Rich” Buhler alone running a trace on it back to a tabloid article (Weekly World News?) augmented by a hoax.

        Here’s the Wikipedia entry on it: Well to Hell HOAX

        Wouldn’t be the first time a hoax was mistaken for truth after a couple retellings. And TBN and 700 Club are known to be gullible to hoaxes that fit their worldview.

        • Well that’s just what those secular humanists want you to think!

          Honestly, how can Wikipedia pretend to know whether there is a hell down there? It seems to me that this is a matter of religious opinion which can neither be proven nor disproven. (The fact that the rumor has a demonstrable beginning doesn’t mean that the Weekly World News wasn’t inspired, any more than biblical parallels to ANE literature prove the equivalent!)

  7. I sympathize with the kids taking liberties at Liberty. When I attended a Christian college, the rule was no PDA. Brilliant idea, it just took all the canoodling on campus indoors and away from view. But this was also the days of Bill Gothard. There were temptations, and a few relationships progressed as far as contemplating a kiss. But you were programmed to try hard and imagine it would probably only be like kissing your kid sister/brother anyway.

    • I went to a Christian college, Grove City College, that also had a lot of awkward couple PDA. I know for a fact that Liberty restricts the amount of time that guys can be in a girls’ dorm and vice versa, although I don’t know what the exact rules are. It was the same way at GCC. And this is just what happens. If you don’t let kids canoodle in the privacy of their dorms, they’re going to canoodle where they’re allowed to be together.

      Oh man. Christian colleges. Such a delicious mixture of emotional, spiritual, and sexual tension. Throw in the immaturity of people who are leaving home for the first time and often weren’t allowed to date, and this is what you get.

      • this is what you get…except at Bob Jones. Where getting nearer than 5 feet to each other is verboten and girls are strictly chaperoned while getting their MRS degree.

      • Grove City… don’t walk on the grass, always leave the door open when someone is in your dorm room… live relatively close to there….

      • I also went to Grove City and had a great time. It is a christian school and the fact that they have some limits on dorm room visitation should not be a surprise. Should they be allowed to canoodle in their rooms ? Maybe they should be allowed to shoot up heroin and snort meth because we know they will do this outside if they wish.Just because some institutions have some rules does not make them wrong. And if I am correct, I went to that school knowing the rules and could have gone elsewhere.

        • I know it’s probably obvious, but don’t you think that conflating heroin with physical affection is something of a stretch?

        • Among the many idiocies at GCC, at least when I was there, was that a student of legal drinking age who lived off campus in his or her own residence was not allowed to drink. Not a glass of wine with dinner, not a beer at a barbecue. If you were caught with any alcohol, you were dismissed from school.

        • Well, I wasn’t exactly trying to condemn them restricting the amount of times guys and girls are allowed to spend in each others’ dorms, as much as point out that having a campus with a lot of awkward PDA is something that’s only going to happen at a Christian college. Anywhere else, people would just look at them, roll their eyes and say “Get a room.” And then they would.

  8. Matt Purdum says:

    Any “Rock Hall” that won’t elect Steely Dan, Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues, or Grand Funk is a joke. The Dave Clark Five, but not Ian Anderson?

    • Ian has my vote too. And although I liked Grand Funk, I put them in the same league as Uriah Heep and Black Sabbath….

    • YES!

    • Don’t forget King Crimson.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “The rusted chains of prisoned moon
        Are shattered by the sun;
        I walk the road, horizons change,
        The tournament’s begun;
        The purple piper plays his tune,
        The choir softly sings
        Three lullabies in an Ancient Tongue
        For the Court of the Crimson King…”

        • Grag Lake on vocals (who went on to form ELP)….

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            “WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS
            TO THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS!
            WE’RE SO GLAD YOU COULD ATTEND!
            COME INSIDE! COME INSIDE!”

      • Funny you mention King Crimson… my son who is in his first year of College and a pretty good saxophone player just hooked up with a bunch of guys to play one side of an album for a show in Pittsburgh. The album they’ll be playing? King Crimson’s Red… an album I haven’t listened to in about 20 years… John Wetton on vocals….

    • Have any prog rock bands besides Pink Floyd and Genesis been inducted?

    • Supertramp?

  9. SBNR is not a “mantra” but a label which seems to have arisen in the 1990s, for a trend which is substantially older. I am dumbfounded by the hostility expressed towards them by the rump “RBNS” folk, including Alan Miller (who is offended that anyone would eschew dogma or religious organization) and frankly, Jeff Dunn in his dismissive comments above. (SBNR “may prove as bogus as it sounds?” Really, I don’t think you need to look very far to understand why increasing numbers of people shun organized religion.)

    Whatever the contributions of organized religion, one has to admit that they are unreliable. Even the best of them are mixed bags. And once they reach a certain size and complexity, they take on a life of their own, subordinating the interests of their adherents to some institutional good (perhaps filtered through a hierarchy which becomes increasingly cynical as one moves up it). No wonder entire generations feel alienated. It is entirely legitimate to question whether these dinosaurs deserve support, and whether spirituality may be better served outside their walls.

    • Gerald, SBNR elevates individuals as their own gods. Organized religion, with all of its flaws and atrocities and dysfunctionalities (to coin a word) still is mankind together, for better or worse. God called a nation (Israel) his family, not individuals. We—as bad as we are most of the time—are stil better than I.

      And yes, most of those whom have told me they are “spiritual but not religious” prove their claims bogus in the end, as their spirituality is simply their selfish nature with a pink bow tied on.

      • SBNR “elevates individuals as their own gods”?! (Sigh) Listen to yourself. This is obviously your own (not very sympathetic) interpretation/projection, and not a typical SBNR belief. Assuming you are speaking metaphorically, isn’t organized religion a bigger danger to genuine spirituality? You write as though you feel threatened by those who feel free to walk away from your type of religion. Perhaps you should ask yourself why that is.

        Organized religion is not “mankind together,” nor do very many of them approximate nations. They are, by their very nature, factional. They are also ethical laggards, and not at all the enlightened vanguard they pretend to be. What do we gain in return for all these “flaws and atrocities and dysfuctionalities”? You make it sound as though the choice is between utter selfishness and belonging to a church. But if anything embodies self-servingness “with a pink bow tied on,” it is organized religion.

        • I prefer disorganized religion myself…

          Personally, I don’t really have a problem if someone wants to use the SBNR label for themselves, but I believe at the heart of it is some sort of hurt a lot of time. Institutions and organizations don’t hurt people. It’s people acting in the name of those groups that hurt people. So often times, when people list all of the sins of religion they are using that as a smokescreen for something else.

          As far as it relates to Christianity, I do think there is some amount of group identification that is required to be a Christian. Just as one can’t be a member of a family without, well, having some ties to the family, I don’t think we’re intended to be a bunch of spiritual orphans. As far as what those ties entail, it’s up for discussion. I don’t think the majority of Christians who are part of a church adapt all official teachings of that church lock, stock, and barrel.

          • You are assuming that without an organized religion, one is a “spiritual orphan.” You are also using “family” language to describe organized religion, which I find misleading. Churches (limiting ourselves to the relatively normal ones) are not like families. They are organizations, like clubs or companies. They do not really have your best interests at heart, as a family ideally would. The people you see at church are not really your “brothers” or “sisters” (although we may fall into that language), but people who share a common interest or identity. SBNR people find that they do not share these things. And why should they? Does everybody need a gym membership, or a brick-and-mortar bank?

            You probably have in mind a sort of ideal church where everybody cares about each other, and which is more like a community. These do exist, though it is difficult to create them from scratch (ethnic subcultures are the most likely place to find them, other than cults). In some societies, almost everybody belongs to the same religion, which then takes on a quasi-universal aspect. The question then arises, what difference does belonging to the religion make, since everybody is already in it? No, organized religion really only makes sense in religiously divided populations.

      • David Cornwell says:

        The word “spiritual” is really a word empty of meaning in the current context. One can be “spiritual” or get such a feeling by looking at a bird in the yard, or at the moon in the middle of the night (especially after two beers). So when someone says they are “spiritual” it all depends on subjective context, and can be as empty of Christ as the chair I’m sitting on.

        So just what is genuine spirituality? I’ve no idea.

        • Spiritual is as spiritual does. It’s ultimately only defined by the individual and their Maker. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about it. That’s the beauty of it. I walked away from all forms of organized religion and fell in love with Jesus for the first time. Those other things I felt in the churches that felt like love were only illusions…smoke and mirrors. The Jesus I have met since leaving wouldn’t like those people either. Judgmental, gossiping, cheating liars discredit the good-hearted souls who would truly prefer to make a difference in the world for the good of humanity. It’s the bad apples after all.

          • David Cornwell says:

            “The Jesus I have met since leaving wouldn’t like those people either.’

            Are you really sure about that?

            Sorry for your bad experience with the Church. It’s made up of real people, not those who have attained perfection. I’ve met the people you are describing, but my experience with the Church has been quite different. Of course all those bad sinners are there, but so are many sincere people attempting in somewhat feeble ways to follow Jesus. Without the Church your knowledge of Jesus would probably be much different.

            I’ve been hurt by some actions of the church and it’s people. But, in totality, from infancy up to now, the Church is an organization, an organism, that I love dearly. I believe it through it I came to know Christ and His people. I’m glad.

          • David, I am glad for you. And yes, I am sure.

          • Every time I hear this kind of argument, I think credit card companies trying to get young people to sign up for credit cards. “But everybody needs a credit card. What if you run out of money? How will you ever get a good credit rating? Plus you can win this free tee-shirt!”

            Several posters have conceded problems with organized religion (and how could they not?), but failed to articulate clear benefits. The notion of “community” comes up from time to time, but it is not at all clear to me that organized religion can be relied upon to provide this. And certainly there are dangers inherent in relying on any such group for such a vital aspect of one’s life. The same holds true for moral instruction, charity, or whatever other supposed benefit one cares to name (unless we resort to metaphysical explanations, and hold that organized religion–or certain ones–hold a monopoly on certain spiritual benefits.)

        • “Religion” comes with the same problem. What is religion? Sure, most of us have somehow absorbed the idea that “religions” exist, and that Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc. are examples, but what about Confucianism or Freemasonry or yoga, and all the other things that might be religions. What (if anything) do they have in common, that we can derive a definition of “religion” from? And yet, the word is obviously useful, despite this vagueness.

          Anyway, “spirituality” seems to refer to the personal experience of religion. And the “…but not religious” part seems not to exclude all forms of what is called religion (scholars of religion turn out to be quite interested in SBNR, and not at all deterred by the label!), but only those aspects bound up with organizations and group identity.

        • cermak_rd says:

          Well, sure it can be empty of Christ. If someone believes in Christ, this usually makes them a Christian, which is a religion, last time I checked. Most of the SBNR I’ve met (and I’ve met a bunch) are not believers in a literal Christ as son of the Almighty. Most either think he was a righteous dude or didn’t exist at all or is simply irrelevant.

          • This kind of dogma may be of less interest to Christ himself, than to the institutions which claim him as their symbol. Organized religions need boundaries–to the extent that everybody is a member, they lose cohesion. Jesus, on the other hand, was not one for hewing to established boundaries.

      • cermak_rd says:

        I see no good reason for adherents of various religions to abuse the SBNR among us though. I mean, who, exactly, are they hurting? First the UCC church lady, errr umm, pastor, this past summer and now this guy. Is it the competition that’s getting church people fed up?

        • I wondered about that too. I think Jeff Dunn chose to belittle SBNR people as a means of marking the boundaries of what he regards as religious acceptability. Since the readers of this site have often had bad experiences with institutional forms of Christianity, he is trying to point them toward a certain position in the religious spectrum which is right of Episcopalianism (here an object of contempt), but left of Ken Ham (though still engaging with him). It has nothing to do with people outside these boundaries, SBNR or otherwise, who are treated as curiosities or abstractions. Ironically, this scapegoating behavior reflects the worst side of the institutional Christianity to which he calls SBNR people to (re-)join.

  10. Has Vanilla Fudge been nominated to the RRHofF?

    ;o)

  11. I feel your pain, Joanie. I live on the opposite side of the country and checked my veggie gardens-gone-just green mushiness left. The upside-no more canning :) Yay!

    I have to say I love getting up early for a Saturday, make a quad soy latte and kick back to read the ramblings. Fun way to start the weekend. I SO enjoy reading what everyone writes here.

    Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

  12. Michael Mills says:

    Thanks for the Stevie fix…

    …and as long as we’re rambling…

    …have you noticed that the Bible never tells us Satan’s age when he rebelled against God? My guess is that he was 15.

  13. “What do you get when you mix a Jehovah’s Witness with a Unitarian? Answer: Someone who knocks on your door, but for no apparent reason.”

    Thanks, You made my morning :)

    • Brianthedad says:

      +1. Already shared that with others this morning.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        The more provocative version of the joke is “What do you get when you mix a Klansman with a Unitarian?
        Someone who burns a question mark on your lawn.”

  14. I shared this link in another comment thread, but since it was brought up specifically here, I put it here. Greg Boyd wrote an article about Pulpit Freedom Sunday, too. He’s not a fan: http://reknew.org/2012/10/pulpit-freedom-sunday-and-the-call-to-politicize-the-pulpit/

  15. Steve Newell says:

    Does “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” mean that Jesus crucified for our sins gets the Sunday off? If you preaching politics, can you preach Law & Gospel, or do you co-mingle the two?

    We all know that the only true Christians as conservative (politically not necessarily theologically) Republicans and that anyone who would vote for a Democrat is not a true Christian.

    • Brianthedad says:

      The irony to me is that they are free to endorse who they want anyway. The only restriction is their tax exempt status as a 501c3. They covet that status. They have linked the governmental benefit of tax exempt status with their religious liberties (agree with what they say or not). They have willingly linked themselves with mammon. How funny.

      • Would most still give to their church if they did not receive a tax benefit? Are there any who give generously yet refuse to declare it as a deduction? I think this deserves a further look, and we will try to visit this topic in the near future …

        • Quoting Bill Kinnon; “What you win them with is what you win them to.”

          It would tickle me pink if contributions to Religious Business Clubs were no longer tax deductible. That would separate the committed from the tax reducers.

          Tom

        • Brianthedad says:

          When did the tax exemption start? I’ve heard various explanations concerning the medieval church being the ultimate source. But what about here in the good ole USA? I like your idea. I’m curious too. Our family would continue giving at our current rate, though at first I’m sure we’d bellyache for a while.

        • Our tax in the UK doesn’t work like this. A registered charity can get tax back on gifts from a tax-payer, but the donor gets no financial benefit / tax reduction. And yes, people still give to churches and other charities, but that particular selfish motivation is removed.

  16. Richard Hershberger says:

    “Some say if Mitt Romney is elected as president, he will be the most religious president since … since … Who do you think has been the most religious Pastor In Chief of our great nation? The answer given by Slate may surprise you.”

    This should surprise no one old enough to remember the Carter administration and who hasn’t drunk the kool aid that only Republicans can be Christians. Carter ran very explicitly as a “born-again Christian”, a term which was not widely known outside the Evangelical community at that time. His “lust in my heart” quote had people quite agog: at least people who didn’t known the Bible. As president he was very concerned about human rights, in an era when the norm was to support any genocidal dictator who was anti-Communist. Since his presidency, he has used his stature to actively promote good works on behalf of the poor. This compares strikingly with the typical former president, who uses his time to raise funds for his presidential library and works on his golf game.

    Jimmy Carter is the only president within my lifetime, including the current one, who I have absolutely no doubt attends church even when no one is looking, and who is completely sincere about it. His demonization by some elements, performed in the name of purported Christianity, is one of the scandals of our age.

    • Very true about Carter.

      The only rub was that he was a terrible Executive. The Quakers had a similar problem relative to governing Pennsylvania in the 1700’s.

      T

      • Totally…even while Carter was in office, I kept saying that he was an AWESOME human being and Christian, but an utter failure as President. Hated his politics but respected his values.

        Yet, when I hate the some politics in 2009, I am a racist, even if my thoughts haven’t changed in 30 years.

        *facepalm*

  17. David Cornwell says:

    ‘”Mitt Romney is elected as president, he will be the most religious president since … since …”

    I’ve been wondering something the last few days. I’ve had classes and read books on Christian ethics, so I understand something of the basis for such a thing. So– on what bases are Mormon ethics built? Or for that matter Muslim?

    As you can see, I don’t have adequate knowledge of these two different religions.

    • I don’t think we’re going to find out from Romney or his campaign, David. All I hear is silence about Mitt’s faith. It doesn’t exist, and Christians who are for him (rather, against Obama) aren’t bringing it up either.

      • David Cornwell says:

        I noticed. Kinda weird since 4 years ago the religion of Obama was a lively issue. Some still think he’s a secret Muslim! But some recent interviews from Ohio told of individuals who believe he is a Muslim, but will vote for him (Obama) anyway because of Romney’s “out of touch” with the working class status. I don’t have a link for that or any documentation, but if it’s on the web it’s true. (?)

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I don’t think we’re going to find out from Romney or his campaign, David. All I hear is silence about Mitt’s faith. It doesn’t exist…

        Which is a REAL hoot, because during the primaries, all we were hearing from God’s Anointed POTUS du Jour (which changed about every week, from St Santorum to Godly Gingrich) was the baby dinosaur chorus of “NOT THE MORMON! NOT THE MORMON! NOT THE MORMON!”

      • Mitt did mention that he prayed each night as part of his nightly ritual when asked by 60 Minutes…. they asked him what he prayed about and he said it was between him and God…

        • David Cornwell says:

          And he did say something about not letting Obama chase God out of his heart. (This isn’t his exact phrase.) Nor, he said, would he permit Obama to get God out of our money. (Hint: He left a long time ago!).

  18. Re: Awkward couples at Liberty – my friend who went to a conservative bible college said that the awkward couples giving back rubs and holding hands for prayer, etc. were exhibiting sexual tension. If they WEREN’T doing something awkward, that’s when you’d worry – chances are there was no sexual frustration, because they might already be a sexually active couple!

  19. Winter weather in Maine??? It’s 63 degrees here on the coast! Not sure about where Joanie lives, up north, but nothing icy in the forecast.

    Anxiously awaiting Pulpit Freedom Sunday. Mean that. Anxious. Lord deliver me.

    • Ted, yes, it is warm up here in the Maine mountains too. I missed getting good foliage photos. When the weather was nice, I had to work. Today we drove over to Bethel but the leaves are falling fast and the sky was gray and hazy. The leaves are still beautiful, though!