December 11, 2017

Random Thoughts: Monday in the American Circus

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The “evangelical circus” that Michael Spencer wrote about is but one facet of the “American circus.” I don’t think any of these individual stories is worth an entire post, but together, they shine a light on some of the silliness that is shining forth here in the good ol’ USA and among Americans who profess faith.

I’m so tired of all the silliness that I’m leaving town, taking my sons to Chicago today to watch the Cubs play. I need a dose of “get away” in the light of the craziness that passes for news and analysis and “teaching” these days.

• • •

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I am seriously flummoxed. Donald Trump? Really? I keep hearing about how he is “striking a chord” with so many Americans, and I say, if there is any resonance with what Donald Trump stands for and says among thoughtful people in the United States, I’m going to emigrate.

If Harold Camping were alive and predicting this September as the date of the Rapture, I’d seriously be tempted to believe him, simply to find a way out. This is silliness of the highest order.

And if Trump’s omnipresence as the latest political craze weren’t bad enough, we find that many Christians are jumping on the bandwagon. Take this “prophecy” from Jeremiah Johnson in Charisma:

I was in a time of prayer several weeks ago when God began to speak to me concerning the destiny of Donald Trump in America. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Trump shall become My trumpet to the American people, for he possesses qualities that are even hard to find in My people these days. Trump does not fear man nor will he allow deception and lies to go unnoticed. I am going to use him to expose darkness and perversion in America like never before, but you must understand that he is like a bull in a china closet. Many will want to throw him away because he will disturb their sense of peace and tranquility, but you must listen through the bantering to discover the truth that I will speak through him. I will use the wealth that I have given him to expose and launch investigations searching for the truth. Just as I raised up Cyrus to fulfill My purposes and plans, so have I raised up Trump to fulfill my purposes and plans prior to the 2016 election. You must listen to the trumpet very closely for he will sound the alarm and many will be blessed because of his compassion and mercy. Though many see the outward pride and arrogance, I have given him the tender heart of a father that wants to lend a helping hand to the poor and the needy, to the foreigner and the stranger.

Excuse me, I’m going to be sick.

At Yahoo! Politics, Amy Sullivan asks why white evangelicals are supporting Trump (recent polls show him leading all other Republican candidates among this demographic). Her answer is on target, I think:

If Donald Trump’s momentum continues, it will be in large part because evangelicals decided they would rather hear a Yankee showman preach outrage than one of their own sing from the same old hymnal.

Snake oil apparently still sells around here, if you push it hard enough to people who think, for some reason, they are desperate.

• • •

You know John Piper has said something supremely silly when people in his own tradition start piling on.

A woman named Beth wrote him and asked if it would be proper for a single Christian woman, who is a “complementarian,” to think of becoming a police officer.

  • First of all, who thinks like that?
  • Second, who asks a pastor that question?
  • Third, who thinks a pastor, with Bible in hand, has any basis for answering it?
  • Fourth, why would the pastor himself even think he was qualified to answer it?

Here’s the basis Piper gave for speaking to the question.

I have tried to wrestle with the Scriptures which is, I hope and pray, my final authority in these matters. And I have come up with a general definition of what I think the heart of mature manhood and the heart of mature womanhood are. And then I have argued these and spelled them out in a little book called What’s the Difference? And these are really foundational for me and they helped me answer a lot of questions.

So, the ultimate basis is the Bible, but it’s the Bible filtered through John Piper’s interpretation that led him to defining manhood and womanhood. Note: it’s not the Bible that defines these things — it is John Piper, based on his reading of the Bible.

Now, here’s the heart of his answer:

At the heart of mature manhood is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for, and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships. The postman won’t relate to the lady at the door the way a husband will, but he will be a man. At the heart of mature womanhood is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive, and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships.

…To the degree that a woman’s influence over a man, guidance of a man, leadership of a man, is personal and a directive, it will generally offend a man’s good, God-given sense of responsibility and leadership, and thus controvert God’s created order. To an extent, a woman’s leadership or influence may be personal and non-directive or directive and non-personal, but I don’t think we should push the limits.

…If a woman’s job involves a good deal of directives toward men, they will need to be non-personal in general, or men and women won’t flourish in the long run in that relationship without compromising profound biblical and psychological issues. And conversely, if a woman’s relationship to a man is very personal, then the way she offers guidance and influence will need to be more non-directive. And my own view is that there are some roles in society that will strain godly manhood and womanhood to the breaking point.

Well, there’s a lot I could say, but I’ll leave it to some good folks who happen to also hold to a traditional, conservative position on male/female roles. The best response, in my book, came from Carl Trueman at Westminster Seminary. I can’t do any better than his evaluation: sheer silliness.

I rarely read complementarian literature these days. I felt it lost its way when it became an all-embracing view of the world and not simply a matter for church and household.   I am a firm believer in a male-only ordained ministry in the church but I find increasingly bizarre the broader cultural crusade which complementarianism has become.  It seems now to be more a kind of reaction against feminism than a balanced exposition of the Bible’s teaching on the relationships of men and women.   Thus, for example, marriage is all about submission of wife to husband (Eph. 5) and rarely about the delight of friendship and the  kind of playful but subtly expressed eroticism we find in the Song of Songs.  Too often cultural complementarianism ironically offers a rather disenchanted and mundane account of the mystery and beauty of male-female relations.  And too often it slides into sheer silliness.

I might also say that I have a female cousin with whom I spent a day in July, riding with her as she made rounds in her police cruiser. She’s strong, gifted, responsible, and good at her work of being a police officer. I would happily take guidance from her any day, and I’m happy that she’s one of the people protecting her city.

• • •

And what shall we say of . . .

Josh Duggar? The whole Ashley Madison hack thing?

A topless parade in New York City to advocate for the rights of bare-chested panhandlers in Times Square?

The “prophet” who stood up in the middle of a John MacArthur sermon and delivered a message from God against MacArthur’s cessationist position?

The strange testimony of Ben Carson, who said God came to him in a dream the night before a chemistry exam and showed him the problems and their solutions, which he then reproduced successfully on his test the next day?

The newest competition show, “So You Think You Can Preach,” on which the winner gets “$25,000, a new car and a lifetime opening at the pulpit of at least two unnamed megachurches.”

The news these days in the U.S. is, by and large, a huge wasteland of silliness.

• • •

Former President Jimmy Carter opens up a Bible while teaching Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015, in Plains, Ga. The 90-year-old Carter gave one lesson to about 300 people filling the small Baptist church that he and his wife, Rosalynn, attend. It was Carter's first lesson since detailing the intravenous drug doses and radiation treatment planned to treat melanoma found in his brain after surgery to remove a tumor from his liver. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Former President Jimmy Carter opens up a Bible while teaching Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015, in Plains, Ga. The 90-year-old Carter gave one lesson to about 300 people filling the small Baptist church that he and his wife, Rosalynn, attend. It was Carter’s first lesson since detailing the intravenous drug doses and radiation treatment planned to treat melanoma found in his brain after surgery to remove a tumor from his liver. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

In the midst of all this silliness, how refreshing to read about how Jimmy Carter did what he’s done for decades on Sunday: teach Sunday School. At age 90. With metastatic cancer. Just three days after his first radiation treatment.

Wish I could have been there. Would have done me good.

Comments

  1. These “Random Thoughts” have a “Saturday Ramblings” vibe to them, only a whole lot scarier.

    • Michael Bell says:

      +1

      • Here’s what’s scary:
        How did that handmade sign get so close to someone as “classy” as Donald Trump?
        Call Security!!

    • I missed where Carl Trueman called John Piper’s stance silliness.
      *
      It never ceases to amaze me how many people who call themselves Christians loathe John Piper. I think he’s about 5’6″, probably weighs 130 pounds and has no official platform; he doesn’t even have a church anymore.
      He’s not an angry guy?
      He doesn’t attack people?
      Apparently treats his family and friends well.
      No HINT of scandal,
      Lives relatively simply
      and absolutely NOBODY is forced to listen to him or read his books and thoughts.
      *
      But is he totally despised by the more “progressive” wing of Christianity. Why is that?

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        Most of the “progressive” wing of Christianity has never heard of Piper. His celebrity is narrower than that. That being said, my reaction whenever I read stuff like this is “He’s one of the smart ones?”

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          +1

          I am always amazed at people who HATE politicians – generally under the guise of being flim-flammy or not direct – are such fans of guys like Piper. I just think “so it really is just about their positions that you don’t like, then man up and just say that”

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            I think the infamous scene from Tod Brownings Freaks explains it better:
            “One of Us!
            One of Us!
            Gooble! Gobble! One of Us!”

      • There are a LOT of YRR and other Calvinist adherents who treat him as a “speaker of the real truth”. And so much of what he says gets turned into “if you don’t agree maybe you are not a Christian”. And since many of these trends have made it into the Baptist seminaries “Piper” is getting spread to a large number of the evangelical pulpits.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Who needs Christ when you have CALVIN?

          (And Male Supremacy. “WOMAN, SUBMIT!” Can’t forget that.)

      • He doesn’t attack people?

        Actually he does. Just in a passive aggressive way.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          +1

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          A lot of Flutterhands Piper’s mannerisms look more feminine than masculine. The fluttering hands, the passive-aggressive behavior, the drama queening — all that’s missing is trembling hands clutching pearls before the attack of “the vapors”.

          Terrified of “Muscular Women” (“Masculine Musculature on a woman can beget unnatural arousal in a man”), trying to be theologically profound over Twitter, shooting off his mouth (over Twitter) like Pat Robertson every time there’s a disaster — if there weren’t Predestined Anointed Elect out there who think every word from his mouth (or his Twitter account) is Word-for-Word from God, he’d be a running joke. A cartoon of himself.

          Five-foot-six, 130 lbs — no wonder he’s Male Supremacist by Divine Right. I have never heard his voice though; is it trembling and whiny?

        • +1

          EXTREMELY passive aggressive.

          Which I’ve noticed tends to be the tactic/personality of many preacher/pastors.

          (By the way, that tendency is in me, also, which bugs the crap out of me. Lord have mercy.)

      • I used to admire Piper a lot. Loved his books. Loved the Reformed position.

        Now…I don’t despise him, but I am saddened by him more and more with each passing year and statement. He influences many, and not towards good. Disappointed, grieved, let down, I don’t know the right word.

        But it’s also personal. I see now how wrong he is on so many things. And it reminds me that I used to be there too. And that grieves me, and I need to learn to forgive myself.

        • Randy Thompson says:

          I agree, Stuart. His “Desiring God” was (and is) an excellent, wise book. But, since then, well, no comment.

    • This is why I do #musicmondays. I purposely shut off most news and thinking things, and just listen to music.

      New Ghost album just came out. Really loving some of the songs.

      Was listening to some chiptunes this morning.

      May end the day with some classical or traditional Irish music.

      After some Metallica at the gym for heavy gainz.

  2. I keep expecting one of your links to lead to a Rick Astley video, CM.

    President Trump in charge of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Sheesh.
    Can we just judge him by his fruits? There is a public track record for him.

    • What I want to know is what happens when he gets bored. I can’t imagine his enthusiasm lasting for 4 years. Maybe not even a month after he has to deal with the daily grind. He likes to “deal” with things and move on. How will he act when there’s nothing he can do to finalize a deal. Most issues any president deals with are more finger in the dike than any real solution.

      • turnsalso says:

        That last part certainly sounds like something the Republicans would like to stay away from!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      You know who God’s Anointed Choice for POTUS Trump reminds me of?

      Ross Perot, circa 1992.

      I visited my retired parents in the summer of ’92. They tried to high-pressure me to Accept Ross Perot as My Personal LORD and Savior. “America for REAL Americans! Everything will be Perfect Forevermore!”

      Barack Obama was charismatic enough (and had a smart enough campaign staff) to pull off The Messiah Strategy in 2008. Ross Perot WASN’T. And I don’t think Trump is either. Like Perot, he comes across as the type who can only tolerate Yes-Men around him. Like Perot, if he doesn’t become His Inevitableness for the GOP (like the various Great White Hopes in 2012), he’ll pull a Perot, take his ball and Go Third Party. (Ever notice most American third parties are built around one particular Candidate for One Particular Office and nothing more?)

      I don’t know how a super-rich running joke of a jerk like Trump was able to go Christianese, but he did; and the Born-Agains flock to him — “Who is like unto The Trump? Every knee shall bow, Every tongue confess, Donald Trump is LORD!”

      • Brianthedad says:

        Reminds me a bit of early Reagan. Reagan was a democrat who changed his stripes and became a conservative darling. Pro family values but with a divorce under his belt. Belting out anecdotes and statistics with little if any means of verifying them. Wooing the masses of people tired of same-ole same-ole from their current batch of politicians. Witty little quips that won people to his side. Trump is certainly more abrasive than Reagan, but the parallels are there. And I say this as a Reagan fan and not so much a Trump fan. I lean pretty conservative on politics but reading “The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan” by Rick Perlstein really made me reflect on how the substance of a politician’s ideas are really the least influential thing going for him. It’s something more visceral. People who can plug into that win. People like to think they are rational, but we’re really not.

  3. I believe in prophecy, but that bit about Donald Trump has me questioning whether Jeremiah Johnson knows the difference between the Holy Spirit and the voices in his head. There are a lot of wannabe prophets who honestly don’t. Their “gifts” are far closer to those of Patrick Jane in The Mentalist than those of Simon Peter in Acts. If it wasn’t for grace I’d recommend a good stoning.

    But as for the guy who stood up in John MacArthur’s church: Well, he’s not wrong about MacArthur. If cessationism is correct, every single miracle and prophecy from the second century till today has been devilish, no matter how much glory it gained for God—and that’s just ridiculous. True, disrupting a church service isn’t appropriate; there are better ways of delivering such a message which make just as much impact. On the other hand there is that story in 1 Kings 13 where a legitimate prophet interrupted a heretic king’s sacrifice… so I dunno.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I believe in prophecy, but that bit about Donald Trump has me questioning whether Jeremiah Johnson knows the difference between the Holy Spirit and the voices in his head.

      Not much distance between that and “TRUMP IS LORD!”

      • Re:voices in the head and the Holy Spirit, I heard this: “When man talks to God, it’s called prayer;when God talks to man, it’s called schizophrenia.”

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Believing in Prophecy [a claim that can have a w-i-d-e range of meaning] does not obligate one to endorse any given self-proclaimed prophet.

      Jeremiah Johnson is nothing more than another showman.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I wonder if Jeremaiah Johnson (and I don’t think he’s the Mountain Man) is angling to be Trump’s High Priest come 2017? As Prime Minister Disraeli said, with a ruler you can lay the flattery on with a trowel. And what higher flattery than Divine Right direct from God’s Mouth?

      Remember the Left Behind Fever types and how when all the Book of Revelation stuff goes down nobody ever notices anything out of the ordinary? (Much less plausible before the invention of Smartphones and Social Media.) “God Shall Send Them Strong Delusion That They Should Believe a Lie”? Well we’re seeing it right now with Trump as LORD, no Rapture or plague of Demon Locusts necessary.

  4. Patrick Kyle says:

    CM, people are flocking to Trump because he is willing to say what many think and have long suspected about immigration policy, foreign trade, jobs etc, and what ‘mainstream politicians WON’T say. He can’t be bought or silenced by special interests. Of all the candidates he has the most experience running huge organizations successfully. He exhibits old fashioned leadership and at least is putting on a show of doing the right thing even if it is personally costly or distasteful. The people are weary of soft sounding lies given in measured politically correct tones. Personally, I would rather have Trump and his team of negotiators hammering out our next international treaties, than the ass clowns we presently have. Every foreign leader respects and fears Trump’s ability as a negotiator.

    Trump and Sanders are the death knell to the old political machines that have run our country for decades. They are also putting the lie to the Main Stream Media that has so carefully set the parameters of debate around approved policies and subjects and used their power to silence many concerns held by the voters. This is what you get when the politicians and media spend years abusing their power and manipulating people. I hope the worthless politicians and media moguls are spending many long miserable nights awake.

    As for me, I don’t trust anyone who aspires to the office of President, and I know Trump is going to come with some baggage and policies that conservatives will hate. I have my bag of popcorn and a good seat to watch history in the making. Should be fairly entertaining.

    • people are flocking to Trump because he is willing to say what many think and have long suspected about immigration policy, foreign trade, jobs etc, and what ‘mainstream politicians WON’T say. He can’t be bought or silenced by special interests.

      I suspect that’s true – but I also suspect that that’s not a good thing, either if he believes what he says or if he doesn’t.

      Of all the candidates he has the most experience running huge organizations successfully.

      I seem to recall Trump declaring bankruptcy several times in the past several decades. But let’s assume that’s part and parcel of real estate management. Managing and brokering real estate is peanuts compared to managing a country with a globally-impacting economy, foreign policy commitments, and contentious political and social problems at home.

      He exhibits old fashioned leadership and at least is putting on a show of doing the right thing even if it is personally costly or distasteful.

      “Old fashioned leadership” = “You’re fired”? 😉 That kind of heavy-handed bull-in-a-china-shop “leadership” plays well in “reality” TV, but doesn’t work quite as well in reality, especially in the federal government. The DC bureaucracy can be surprisingly resilient to Presidential concerns. I know whereof I speak. :-/

      As for “personal cost”, Trump’s antics haven’t cost him anything – they have cemented the media’s attention on him and won him the lead in Republican straw polls.

      The people are weary of soft sounding lies given in measured politically correct tones.

      Which lies are those? Just for the record…

      Every foreign leader respects and fears Trump’s ability as a negotiator.

      Somehow, I don’t see Putin quaking in his boots at the prospect of meeting Trump across a bargaining table. Trump is a media star. Putin is Machiavelli. And the Chinese? All they have to do is politely cough and point to our debt to them and the balance of trade figures. If the other guy knows you’ve only got a pair of twos, all the bluster in the world won’t win you the hand.

      This is what you get when the politicians and media spend years abusing their power and manipulating people.

      I’m asking this seriously – what makes you think Trump hasn’t done, isn’t doing, and won’t do the same?

      As for me, I don’t trust anyone who aspires to the office of President

      At least on THAT much, we are in 100% agreement.

      I have my bag of popcorn and a good seat to watch history in the making. Should be fairly entertaining.

      Somehow, I don’t find the prospects of the 2016 election to be entertaining, no matter who wins. I think this is going to be a key marker in America’s decline…

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        “I seem to recall Trump declaring bankruptcy several times in the past several decades.”

        This. Trump seems to be a good salesman. He might be a good negotiator. The evidence is strongly against his being a good businessman. Good salesmanship can cover up a multitude of failures as a businessman, but they aren’t the same skill set.

        • Not to sound PRO TRUMP, because I’m not, but the bankruptcy thing isn’t as bad as it sounds. As I understand it, he’s had several of his BUSINESS VENTURES go bankrupt, which is probably pretty good for a guy who has so many balls (businesses) in the air.

        • Patrick Kyle says:

          Richard, Trump owns dozens of businesses and has a large financial stake in literally hundreds. Two went broke and were restructured and rebuilt in accordance with bankruptcy law. Considering how many business people and companies fail, with even most successful business people having a couple failures to their credit, two bankruptcies aren’t that bad a record. You don’t get to a net worth of $10 billion by sucking at business.

          • Peace From The Fringes says:

            Sorry, but those of us in the Atlantic City area aren’t buying this. We remember how he handled his properties here. Numerous small businessmen extended themselves and were put out of business with his “not sucking”, as you put it.

            Homes lost, families devastated, as least one suicide I know of. He sailed away on his yacht, smirking. You really think he cares about the “little guy”?? I have a bridge I would like to sell you.

          • When I used to waste more time, err, follow the financial news channels back in the 80s Trump was all over them. His bankruptcies took millions out of the pockets of other people. Millions. I started avoiding any thing with the word Trump in it during one of those negotiations where he was adamant about keeping his $5 or $50 million yacht (I forget which) will getting his lenders to take $.80 on the $1.00. All legal. I don’t think much of him and I don’t think much of the folks who faun over him or lend him money.

          • Patrick Kyle says:

            Peace, I have no illusions that he cares for anybody. I won’t be voting in this election. I am seriously considering dropping out of the political process entirely and permanently. That said, big business is war and there are casualties. I really dislike Trump’s use of Eminent Domain to steal people’s property. I have already lived through 8 years of Obama, will we really be that much worse off with Trump for a few years? These are the sad choices our ‘leaders’ have left us with. I am refusing to play.

            I took my accountant’s advice and now have minimal participation in the system, in all senses of the term, especially financial.

          • It’s not nearly as hard to become a billionaire when you start half way there. Don’t forget, Trump started with millions in his pocket. I’m sure he has no clue how to start from nothing.

            The problem I see with a business person running the government is that they require two different skill sets. In business, if you’re doing poorly, you can lay off or fire what you perceive as dead weight and tweak the system, send your marketing & sales crew out to drum up business, and forge ahead. You can’t do that in government (although Trump thinks he will by getting rid of immigrants), despite the fact that many a tyrant has tried. The decisions a world leader makes affect more than his bottom line but I can’t see Trump giving a plug nickle about the “losers” his actions would hurt, that’s their problem

            The sad thing to me is that I see Trump as a stereotypical huckster lining his pockets and pumping up his ego on the backs of people who think he really has their best interests at heart & will get something out of it. They won’t. They’ll be tossed aside as soon as they become inconvenient distractions to Trump.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Sorry, but those of us in the Atlantic City area aren’t buying this.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3eu1gW-bQ8

            “I’ve been lookin’ for a job
            But it’s been hard to find;
            Down here it’s just Winners and Losers
            And don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line;
            I’m tired of comin’ out on that losin’ end
            So last night I met this guy and I’m gonna do a little favor for him;
            Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact
            But maybe everything that dies someday comes back;
            Put your makeup on,
            Do your hair up pretty,
            And meet me tonight in Atlantic City…”
            — Bruce Springsteen

      • Patrick Kyle says:

        ” Managing and brokering real estate is peanuts compared to managing a country with a globally-impacting economy, foreign policy commitments, and contentious political and social problems at home.”

        It’s all about the ability to administrate, which Trump has.

        “Which lies are those? Just for the record…”

        Abortion is about women’s health.

        Illegal immigration isn’t really an issue, despite pesky polls showing a majority of voters are concerned.

        Iraq has WMD’s

        The Iran Nuclear deal is a success.

        Ever increasing deficits won’t hurt us, at least not any time soon.

        Obamacare will make health care affordable for everyone.

        If you elect me/my party I/we will fix X.

        Need I go on?

        “I’m asking this seriously – what makes you think Trump hasn’t done, isn’t doing, and won’t do the same?”

        Not a damn thing.

        Personally, I have dropped out of the political process, realizing the system is too broken to be fixed by business as usual. Trump is probably the same as every other politician. When Obama was elected I was literally sick to my stomach both times. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and I would be a liar if I said I didn’t find it somewhat amusing.

        • It’s all about the ability to administrate, which Trump has.

          I have been in Federal service for over two decades. I cannot tell you how many good teams, organizations and projects I have seen blown sky-high by managers who knew NOTHING about the particulars of the tasks and issues involved, but knew “how to manage”…

          “Now the shoe is on the other foot, and I would be a liar if I said I didn’t find it somewhat amusing.”

          Schadenfreude is an emotion that is unbecoming of Christians – something that is totally lost on a lot of the evangelical lobby groups here in town, I’m afraid.

          • Patrick Kyle says:

            “Schadenfreude is an emotion that is unbecoming of Christians ” One of the many reasons that I am not a very good Christian, but let me not add to this sin by lying about it.,

    • Trump is just Reagan born again hard, filtered through social media instead of television, a little stupider, with all the Yankee Doodle Dandy scraped off. The message?

      (In the voice of Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein monster)

      Money goooooood…
      Money goooooood…
      Money goooooood…

      The Cynic (the part of me least admirable) says, go ahead, give the yahoos what they want, elect Trump or the equivalent drool merchant, let everything go to sh*t, and then maybe we can build something noble and lasting out of the rubble. But of course it never works out that way does it? The American people, never known for their perspicacity, are simply blind to the real source of all our problems..

      Not the government
      Not politicians
      Not the devil

      It’s YOU and ME

      • This. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

        Just one example… Pew Research did a poll back in 2013, asking Americans about the federal budget. A massive majority (75% IIRC) said the budget should be balanced and that programs need to be cut. But when presented with specific programs as targets, NONE of them – not even foreign aid – could muster a majority in favor of it getting cut. And the biggest money sucks – Social Security and Medicare/caid – were at the bottom of the list.

        If everybody says “Let’s cut THEIR programs, NOT mine!” – you get exactly what we now have. Gridlock. Multiply that by every other issue, and you get… what we have now.

        “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          If everybody says “Let’s cut THEIR programs, NOT mine!” – you get exactly what we now have. Gridlock. Multiply that by every other issue, and you get… what we have now.

          And why you hear rumblings about how the country needs a Fuehrer Who Will Get Things Done.

    • –> “people are flocking to Trump because he is willing to say what many think and have long suspected about immigration policy, foreign trade, jobs etc, and what ‘mainstream politicians WON’T say. He can’t be bought or silenced by special interests…”

      A friend of mine LOVES Trump because of this.

      I keep trying to point out that just because he’s willing to buck the system (and has the clout/money to do so) doesn’t mean he has the right to demean and belittle his opponents (and even peripheral players). His shock-jock approach totally undermines whatever “good message” he’s trying to convey. Even if I agreed with what he was saying – even if it was TRUTH – I’d have a difficult time listening to and promoting him, especially for PRESIDENT!

      • It’s racism. Immigration? Mexicans. Foreign Trade? Chinese. Jobs? “the others (those who are brown, etc).”

        It is purely racism.

        Caveat. Is it always racism with people? I’m sure there’s a 1% where it isn’t. But judging by personal, professional, and internet sample size interactions I’ve had with people, knowing who they are, their character, their interests, etc…

        It’s racism.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          Yes. Even here in Canada it is. And coming from South Africa, I’m pretty good at spotting it in all its forms, no matter how subtle. But, as others say, the problem is often right in the mirror. I have made it a project to try and eliminate all its vestiges in myself, and it is not always easy.

        • Patrick Kyle says:

          No, it’s not. This is the standard canard. I know of a population of Polish illegal aliens. They need to go too. They are far lighter skinned than me. Racism is the drum that will beaten more fervently and in a more panicked manner as this thing unfolds, as the tide turns against de facto open borders. We have a process for LEGAL immigration. We need to shore it up and make it work like it was meant to. It is not a universal human right to become an American citizen or even a resident

          • Just because you Trump supporters refuse to acknowledge something does not invalidate the truth of our observations.

            If he was really after the immigration process per se, he wouldn’t have chosen Mexicans as an example. But he did, for all the reasons others have stated above and more.

            He’s saying things very openly – at leadt I’ll give him that. But he would be disastrous in any important office, let alone the presidency.

          • Patrick Kyle says:

            I do not support the man. Please read the rest of my comments. As to illegal immigration, think what you will. Was having a discussion of illegal immigration with some friends at church. One of these men is a lawyer trained at Columbia University. He is a judicial assistant. He does research for judges in criminal courts for a large county in SoCal. He does the leg work on the finer points of law and precedence to help the judges make their decisions.. I asked him point blank if he saw a lot of cases involving illegal immigrants in the courts. He got quiet and quickly looked over both shoulders, leaned in and quietly said the problem was NOT insignificant.

          • Patrick Kyle says:

            “If he was really after the immigration process per se, he wouldn’t have chosen Mexicans as an example. But he did, for all the reasons others have stated above and more.”

            The porosity of our southern border is what has brought this crisis to a head. Most of the illegal aliens happen to be Mexican. Nothing to do with racism, just the logistics of the situation. Your statement is disingenuous.

          • Oh, whatever you say, Patrick, since you aren’t really hete for fialogue.

            As to where people are from, most of the recent Latino immigrants in my state, back East, are Salvadoran, Honduran, Guatemalan, and Puerto Rican, with a fsir number of Mexicans, but not nearly as many as you and Trump believe. Fwiw ,i used to live in an immigrsnt neighborhood (formerly Vietnamese, Thai and Cambodian, but mostly Latinos by the early 00s), and talk about responsible, hard-working, decent people! How most of them managed to support their families *and* somehow send money back home *plus* save for their kids’ education, i don’t know, but they reminded me very much of my grandparents’ generation in those and other respects. Frankly, they made me look more than a little adkance at myself and many of my born-in-the-USA peers.

            Like the Vietnamese (et. al.), they were moving up, and on, and I’m sure many of the kids in those families have gone on to good things. I find it just amazing that anyone would fall for the way Trump refers to these folks as rapists, people who spread disease, and all the rest. Yes, the Mexican cartels are tertible, but to pin thatmon all Mexicans and Latino immigrants is ugly – xenophobic, jingoistic and pretty much KKK language.

          • I think i will not write further replies, as i think it won’t do anything but create a nasty fight, and i don’t want to get into that.

          • Patrick Kyle says:

            You conflate my stance on illegal immigration with my stance on legal immigration (pro) and use a broad brush to paint me as a racist. Like I told Stewart B in the comments below, I am tired of people using their liberal political positions the same way fundamentalists use their religion, to judge others as morally or intellectually inferior. That’s exactly what the charge of racism in this forum is.

            Secondly, you conveniently edit the things Trump has said and done (Hispanics and African Americans on stage with him at his rallies.) He has said that not all illegal immigrants are criminals and has actually praised many. But no… . that doesn’t support the SJW narrative if you take his remarks in context. Whatever, suit yourself.

          • At no time have i called you a racist. The thread we are both replying to has a lot of folks calling Trump a racist. Scroll up just s bit – that’s why i jumped in where i did.

            It is hard to talk with you, and I will not take this any further.

          • It’s StuartB, not Stewart.

          • I don’t think it matters, numo.

    • “I have my bag of popcorn and a good seat to watch history in the making.”

      The only sensible response. Where those on both sides make their mistake concerning the Donald is assuming that in campaigning for the Republican presidential ticket his purpose is to BECOME president. Pass the popcorn, please.

      • If, by some twisted twist of fate, he did get the nomination and won the election, I somehow doubt he’d turn down the job.

        • As a registered D who has no interest in an HC presidency I plan to vote for Bernie in the primary then if he and Trump are in it I’ll vote the BS ticket. 🙂

  5. Christiane says:

    ‘Jeremiah Johnson’ the prophet (?) . . . hog wash, of course

    Jimmy Carter . . . I wish he would visit Lourdes in France . . . why should such a man leave us now in the midst of the crazies and the con-men? Why are the Jimmy Carter’s of our country dying out now ? . . . will our memories of their honorable witness fade?

  6. [Complementarianism] seems now to be more a kind of reaction against feminism than a balanced exposition of the Bible’s teaching on the relationships of men and women…

    If Donald Trump’s momentum continues, it will be in large part because evangelicals decided they would rather hear a Yankee showman preach outrage than one of their own sing from the same old hymnal.

    I think this is the root of a lot of the circus-like aspects of evangelicalism and it’s spokespersons of late. The fact that they are no longer at the helm of the culture – and will likely not be from now on – is finally sinking in. And they are going absolutely bonkers about it.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      You’ve nailed it.

      This has nothing to do with America – it has to do with a slice of America loosing its power.

      The masks are off as there are few places left to hide. When even the Chamber Of Commerce in ‘conservative’ west Michigan won’t have the racist sexist xenophobes then the xenophobes end up out on the street – in plain sight for everyone.

      It isn’t pretty. But it is, alternately, **wonderful**. Trump is what they have been all along, now exposed.

    • Ronald Avra says:

      Yes, that is a fairly accurate assessment.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The fact that they are no longer at the helm of the culture – and will likely not be from now on – is finally sinking in. And they are going absolutely bonkers about it.

      Isn’t that the sort of thing that turns into a Grievance Culture and fuels Coup attempts?

    • Second Generation Culture War. The originals who saw the need or desire for one are gone. The next generation is just continuing on the fight because it’s what they have always done. It may entirely die out by the third generation, leaving types like Steven Anderson to wage a war no one remembers.

    • Absolutely!

  7. That Other Jean says:

    Concerning the fans of Donald Trump: PT Barnum was right. There’s a sucker born every minute. I cant believe that Republican leaders, however desperate, would actually let him run as the party’s candidate, considering his potential for creating disaster.

    Re manly postmen: Our post”man” is a woman. The mail still gets delivered on time. I don’t see a problem.

    Also, Jimmy Carter. I didn’t think much of him as President, although I voted for him. As an ex-President, he has been an exemplar of diplomacy, courage, and caring Christianity. I pray for wisdom for his doctors and success for his treatment.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > I cant believe that Republican leaders, however desperate, would actually let
      > him run as the party’s candidate

      To be fair – as I know some Republican Party employees – saying they “let him” is inaccurate. He chose to. Then there is a primary process to determine who **runs** under the label of the party. It is merely that there are not that many men [and it would have to be a man] willing to say those kinds of things AND have the funding to make it as far into the ring as he has.

      • That Other Jean says:

        Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I know that just about anybody can run in a primary; I don’t believe that the Republican leadership will ever permit him to be the party’s candidate in a national election, no matter how many of the waaaaay right fringe would vote for him. There aren’t enough fringers to get him elected, anyway, fortunately. I’m hoping other Republicans have more of a sense of our place in the world, and how little Trump would enhance it.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          The Republican party is a very divided house currently. And there are plenty of them very aware of how bad this is.

          Fear is a great tool for whipping up people’s enegy and creating a form of ‘support’, but it is a dangerous tool always eager to jump from the hands of the one wielding it and run free – a paraphrase of something said recently to me by a Republican.

    • –> “I cant believe that Republican leaders, however desperate, would actually let him run as the party’s candidate, considering his potential for creating disaster…”

      Yep. I’ve been saying since EIGHT people put their name in the hat that Republican party leadership was in danger of letting the party become more of a joke than it already was. When that number grew to SEVENTEEN, including Trump…well, isn’t a party’s leadership somewhat responsible for NOT letting “everyone go out for a pass”!?!?!

      As a guy who’s not enamored with EITHER party, I was hoping that the Republicans would at least figure out how to put a plan and strategy together for propping up a couple of really good potential presidents. Instead, it’s just craziness…

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        The design of the parties is more to be an incubator / green house for political career – they just don’t really have much influence over someone already established in the political sphere. These just are not the type of situations their bureaucracies are designed to deal with.

  8. I like how the Donald is calling for his supporters to beat up the Black Lives Matter people. I’m hoping it’s lost him the black vote, but it won’t be so funny if Jesus puts him in the White House (see photo above).

    I had an article by Garrison Keillor saved from the 2004 campaign and printed it out last night for family members. Still timely—and I’m still embarrassed for my mother, a lifelong Eisenhower Republican.

    Garrison Keillor, “We’re Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore”:

    http://inthesetimes.com/article/979

    • David Cornwell says:

      “my mother, a lifelong Eisenhower Republican.”

      I was about 14 when Ike ran for President. I remember watching the GOP convention at the Lawrence County Ohio County Fair, in the tv tent. It was very exciting. It sort of cemented my relationship with the Republicans for a long time. However more than party, I believed in the concept of democracy. I believed that America could weather any storm, regardless of party. I thought we had wise statesmen lending their wisdom to both parties, the country, and the world. Things started changing with the killing of the Kennedys and MLK, then the second run of Nixon and ultimately his resignation from office.

      The concept of “conservatism” has changed dramatically over the period of years. So has “liberalism.” The stream of history runs it course through time and warps, redefines, magnifies, and to an extent makes useless our definitions.

      Trump is pure demagoguery. He reminds me of Senator Eugene McCarthy. The problem is that we have no Republican statesman with the integrity and grit to call him to task.

      • David, I’m hoping you meant “Senator JOE McCarthy.” Clean Gene was no demagogue.

        • David Cornwell says:

          Sorry, yes I did. Thanks for the correction Bass.

        • David Cornwell says:

          I heard Eugene give a speech in Lexington, Ky once.

          • I heard Jimmy Carter give a speech in Lexington.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Just the contrast between Carter and all the God’s Anointed Next POTUS(TM).

            Carter, at 90 and battling cancer, spends Sunday morning in his usual manner: Teaching Sunday School at his church.

            As for “Who is like unto The Trump”, all I can say is a lot of Christians (like the ones in the photo) are kind of unclear on the First Commandment.

      • Kent Haley says:

        Lawrence County Ohio is real close to where I live…I live in Gallia Co. Do you still live there?

        • David Cornwell says:

          Kent, no. Live in Indiana now. But grew up across river from Huntington WV. My dad and all his relatives are from the Gallia County, Ohio, Mason County, WV., and Cabell County, WV. Some of the first settlers along the Ohio River in that area. Love Gallia County, Gallipolis, etc. So have relatives in the area.

    • John Prine in “Grandpa Was a Carpenter” — “Voted for Eisenhower, ’cause Lincoln won the war.”

    • David Cornwell says:

      http://inthesetimes.com/article/979

      Thanks Ted. Garrison puts it perfectly.

  9. So, the ultimate basis is the Bible, but it’s the Bible filtered through John Piper’s interpretation that led him to defining manhood and womanhood. Note: it’s not the Bible that defines these things — it is John Piper, based on his reading of the Bible.

    I got into a discussion with daughter #2 a few days ago, about the Five Solas (it’s the name on a friend’s boat, and the question begged) and Sola Scriptura was prominent in my, uh, explanation (not quite a lecture, or a rant).

    Protestants insist on scripture alone, no church tradition, as the authority, yet we have to filter scripture—interpret it somehow, and by someone or by some tradition. Yet, as good anti-Catholic Protestants, we insist that it’s still somehow “scripture alone.”

    Piper here proves that church tradition is still of great authority to Protestants. We simply choose which tradition and in this case it’s Piper.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > Protestants insist on scripture alone, no church tradition, as the authority, yet we have to filter scripture

      +1 Cultural-less religion is an impossibility.

    • David Cornwell says:

      ” Five Solas”

      The strength of the Reformation, but also its ultimate weakness.

    • Agreed….

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I’d wonder about a guy who named his boat “The Five Solas”.

      Sounds too much like “Doctor Damned” Barebones.

      • He’s the pastor of the little congregational church(es) here on two offshore islands in Maine. Chaplain Mike and Gail met him last year. Thirty-something, ordained Presbyterian, and leading an Episcopal liturgical service in a Congregational church (not sure if the church on the “other” island lets him get away with that).

        I went to his service yesterday (normally I’m at a Baptist church on the mainland) and talked with him about the name, asking how many “solas” could be piled up before anyone noticed there was more than one. He said that he’s not too tight with them, and would prefer “primas” instead of “solas”. On the whole I’m pretty impressed with the guy. I did advise him though, not to name his rowboat “Tulip.”

  10. RE: The Ashely Madison affair (pun intended)… let’s just say that there are now a LOT more Federal upper managers taking a much keener interest in IT security issues. 😛

  11. Good for you, CM, for figuring out what Piper was even saying. Oh, for a man who can write clearly . . .but as a woman, I guess I’ll just have to sit around and wait till God raises one up for me. (Shut up, Barbara Eirenreich, Frederica Matthews-Green, Susan B. ANthony, Sojourner Truth . . .)

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > Good for you, CM, for figuring out what Piper was even saying.

      Yes, I don’t even try to read Piper quotes anymore. He has mastered the art of carefully-caged word salad; ordered to quietly get the nod of Fundamentalists while, of course, not really, saying anything that can, with certainty, be interpreted as extremist. In a way Piper is the anti-Trump; Trump is clear and brash, Piper is muddled and mumbled. In that way I prefer Trump.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Flutterhands Piper quotes read like that climax scene in That Hideous Strength.

        Did Merlin choose him to practice the Curse of Babel?.

        • “Tidies and Fluglemen, It would be shark — uh, very shark at this debenture . . .” (The best I can do by memory.)

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            That’s the line.

            Works equally well as a Piper tweet or the documentation I have to wade through at work.

            And while searching for it, I came across summaries of That Hideous Strength saying that was just the beginning of The (very spectacular) NICE Meltdown, as the “macrobes” start hitting the Destruct buttons on their meat puppets.

            As Don Henley would put it:
            “Can we film the operation?
            Is the Head dead yet?
            Boys in the newsroom got a running bet…”

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            The (very spectacular) NICE Meltdown, as the “macrobes” start hitting the Destruct buttons on their meat puppets.

            On reconsideration, more like the “macrobes” realize the jig is up and bail, doing as much damage as they can on the way out.

      • [Piper] has mastered the art of carefully-caged word salad; ordered to quietly get the nod of Fundamentalists while, of course, not really, saying anything that can, with certainty, be interpreted as extremist.

        Adam, you may have nailed it. My church (the Baptist one, not the congregationalist) did a Sunday class on Complementarianism (I capitalize out of respect) based on Piper and Grudem’s book. In the end, I understood exactly what they were trying to do, even while it wasn’t clear that what they were saying wasn’t internally inconsistent. It was kind of an authoritarian Charlie Brown stance.

        I mean, I’m always intrigued by a good paradox, but this was bull$#!^.

    • To say nothing of Deborah!

    • -Piper hat on-

      I’m still wondering why Damaris is allowed to post here. Or any woman, for that matter. And does anyone actually READ their opinions here? If so, I need to bring you in front of the elders for correction.

      -Piper hat off-

      • Damaris may not post here. She may read the opinions of others posted here, but she may not read them out loud. Without Andy’s permission.

        Make that Andy’s “gracious” permission.

        • Well, it’s a good thing that my name is so unfamiliar that I can aspire to occasionally being thought of as male. Andy said I could say that. 🙂

  12. What’s wrong with Barbara Eirenreich and Frederica Matthews-Green aren’t they good Democrats with a social justice bent.

    • Nothing’s wrong with them. They are brilliantly clear thinkers and writers, although I don’t agree with everything they say. I was sarcastically implying that Piper’s complementarianism could suggest that women aren’t meant to be communicating universal truths, but that Piper isn’t very good at the communicating part (or the universal truth part, either, perhaps). Just snarkiness, which never seems to work on the internet — sorry.

  13. Relentless says:

    Let’s not forget the Clinton tent at this circus….

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      She has yet to refer to anyone as fat and ugly. Or say anyone is a rapist.

      There is plenty of daylight between the quality of these camps, regardless how you feel about their positions.

      • bluesurly says:

        Nah, she just mishandled classified information….nothing like calling someone fat and ugly

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          This morning when the Dow dropped a thousand points, Trump pulled the “D” word out of the bag “depression”. Of course, since it has bounced back about 850 points last time I checked, he looks a bit like an idiot now.

          But nobody, I repeat nobody, no country, nowhere, can afford a president who mouths off about economic matters like that. The markets cannot afford it. The inevitable uncertainty and chaos to follow would make any little security detail info at a foreign mission look like a Sunday School picnic.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            This morning the stock market sparked off more Bad Craziness than Merlin did with the Curse of Babel. My radio goes off this morning at six with “Top Story: Remember your 401K? It’s GONE. Hope you’ve got some gold ingots under your bed!” and got steadily crazier from there. Trump’s shooting his mouth off, I just got a popup ad headlined “US Senator: Get to an ATM and Draw Out Everything!” and I’m expecting the John Galt Celebrity Impersonators (whose financial planner is Glenn Beck) to start weighing in any minute now.

          • Andrea Mitchell tells of how when her husband, Alan Greenspan, became the fed chairman he had to learn that he really could not say much of anything in public anymore. After a few off hand comments moved the markets. 🙂

          • Remember how Sec of State James Baker’s single word “regrettably” sent the markets diving? It also foreshadowed Desert Storm.

          • This is true. As much as I am sympathetic to the right, the fact that he is doing as well scares me. His “business experience” is touted by people who, I presume, would not mind him leading the whole country into bankruptcy a couple of times?

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > she just mishandled classified information

          Maybe, this has yet to be determined [if the information was deemed classified AFTER she sent the e-mails, etc…] There will be an investigation – as their should be – and we will see what it finds. If it booted her from the race I’d be happy with that [I am Left, but not a fan].

          Anyway, this issue isn’t going to get any traction with her likely voters. And it is too obscure for most ‘independents’ to care.

          For perspective, speaking as a Left voter [although certainly not a Hillary fan], on this particular issue – and I believe I am generally typical Left on this issue – we don’t care about Classified documents. The documents likely shouldn’t have been classified in the first place. Snowden is a patriot, in a truer sense than most soldiers The DoD and the intelligence community are a liability to civil society; I am skeptical that their primary motivation is to ‘protect America’. I would like to see the budget of the intelligence community and the DoD slashed to a fraction of its current level. Their moral weight, in my option, is close to zero – I believe the same opinion is held by many/most Left voters [even if they won’t say it so candidly]. So the issue of these documents/e-mails just isn’t going to get traction.

          • Adam – I’m going to wager you don’t know many folks in DoD or the IC personally. But I do. And your characterization of them is slanderous.

          • I don’t want to generalize, but I’d be more impressed by the ” intelligence community” if their reaction to the torture report hadn’t been to circle the wagons.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      You mean Her Inevitableness?

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      There is a world of difference between a candidate that holds to positions one may or may not like, and a candidate that holds back in criticizing people assaulting others in his name – he virtually provided them with an excuse (“my supporters are really passionate”) – thus, in effect, encouraging violence.

      Trump has used the government to take poor people’s property for his developments (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/19/donald-trumps-eminent-domain-nearly-cost-widow-house). Also, ever wondered what happened when you declare a Chapter 11 bankrupty and don’t have to pay your creditors? They suffer. Other people will loose. And if you do that thinking you are smart (and again, and again, and again, and the boast about it) , then I don’t think you have anything to boast about in the moral department.

      I’d rather go to the circus than to a fascist rally – not, I’m not “pulling a Godwin” – he is more like Peron or one of those.

      BTW: I don’t particularly like Clinton either. But then I have to make a choice for a new government here where I am in less than 2 months. So what do I know.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        he virtually provided them with an excuse (“my supporters are really passionate”) – thus, in effect, encouraging violence.

        The term for this sort of Plausible Deniability is “Let Bubba Do It”.

    • She does indeed have her own blindspots, ones that she and her supporters fail to recognize, and media gives her a pass on.

  14. tophergraceless says:

    So if a complementarian man is pulled over by a female cop he is supposed to defy her authority? (Not something I’d recommend). Or, more likely, he follows the female cop’s instructions the whole time resentful and offended by the usurpation of his god given leadership role and will go home and take it out….I mean… complain to his long suffering wife about the lose of his position of privilege.

    • I had a teenage (male) student in a school where I was teaching be very reluctant to accept my authority as a teacher because I was a woman — he was explicit about it. Interestingly, the reason I exercised my authority at that point was that he was the head of a student cleaning crew and was doing a bad job of leading. He had made cleaning the blackboard an over-the-top battleground with a female student who ended up defying him because he was so unreasonable. I told the girl she had to clean the board, but I then tried to explain to the boy the “nuclear proliferation” concept of overly dictatorial leadership and give him friendly hints of how to set up a win-win situation in a conflict. He obviously saw what I was doing as an attempt to undermine his god-given leadership, where I was actually trying to strengthen his ability to lead.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      So if a complementarian man is pulled over by a female cop he is supposed to defy her authority? (Not something I’d recommend).

      As one Comp Bigwig (I forget who) actually said, He’d “GNASH HIS TEETH” the whole time.

      I mean, being ordered around by A Mere Woman?

    • “…a complementarian man is pulled over by a female cop…” Sounds like the beginning of a joke. But what’s the punch line?

    • turnsalso says:

      Fantastic username.

    • As long as the female cop isn’t Chaplain Mike’s cousin.

  15. Can someone explain Sunday School for adults to me? Recently, when we were looking for a new church one of the reasons we didn’t attend a church even though the service was liturgical and meaningful to us is that the Sunday school we attended was like a public lecture on the Hebrew translation of a word that is usually conveyed as “one thousand” in the Exodus from Egypt which not only did not encourage people in the way of Jesus but was decontextualized to the point that some members were asking if the pastor was questioning “the doctrine of divine preservation” (which I had never heard of).

    • Kerokline says:

      “Divine Preservation” is the idea that scripture, in its current form, is able to be understood by the layman in their language. It is something of an offshoot of Inerrancy, although I’ve never found it particularly convincing.

      The idea is that G-d would never allow His Word, communicated to and written down throughout history by errant men, to degrade through translation; i.e., the translated bible we have today is just as authoritative as the Hebrew and Greek texts the Apostles would have read and written down.

      Some people only apply this to certain translations (usually KJV only types), but most think it applies to all translations in all languages.

      I don’t know how common the belief is, but I was taught it as a part of theology class in a Doug Wilson aligned high school. Usually it was accompanied by belief that “textual criticism” of any kind was either ill-informed or unnecessary.

      • Wishful thinking.

        The common man apparently forgets they had to go through years of schooling just to be able to read.

        Sola Scriptura, ha. Sola Scripture + Hooked on Phonics.

    • –> “Can someone explain Sunday School for adults to me?”

      I lead such a class. My approach is “conversational Bible study.” We go through a book of the Bible and I ask questions about the account/text and how to apply it in our walk. I love hearing everyone’s different takes on what we read. Two questions I ask most frequently is “What is Jesus/God trying to tell you about Himself in what we just read?” and “What does it appear Jesus/God is unafraid of?”

      I’ve found such classes to be good for my own “Jesus-shaped spirituality,” and my view of God and Jesus has really broadened (and become more mysterious, oddly) through the teaching/reading/studying and discussions.

      • I have a love/hate relationship with the concept. At its worst, it can amount to pooled ignorance and narcissistic eisegesis. At its best, different people are able to, through their different perspectives, pick out different insights from the text that contributes to a greater cumulative understanding (kind of like here).

        There is no substitute for quality teaching by a person who is well studied and knows what they are talking about. We must not misunderestimate the damage that can be done by ignorance. Ignorance is the fuel of the circus.

        FWIW, when I used to lead these kind of discussions as a youth pastor, my discussion questions were:
        1. Where are we in this story/text? (Hint: usually the ones screwing it up.)
        2. Where in the story is Jesus? (Hint: usually the one saving the day.)
        3. What is God requiring of us in text? (Hint: this is the “law” angle.)
        4. What is God giving to us as a free gift here? (Finding grace in unexpected places.)

        The goal, of course, was not to accumulate opinions, but rather, to lead them to think critically, reflect on the text, and come to discover the basic Gospel truths found in every Scripture.

  16. Steve Newell says:

    “I’m so tired of all the silliness that I’m leaving town, taking my sons to Chicago today to watch the Cubs play. I need a dose of “get away” in the light of the craziness that passes for news and analysis and “teaching” these days”

    The baseball gods have a cruel sense of humor towards the Cubs and their fans. They have the fourth best record in MLB, third best in the National League, and they are in third place in their division. In any other division that is not central, they would be in first place. Even if they make the one game wild card play off, they would have to travel to Pittsburgh. Boy, it’s tough to be a Cubs fan.

    With Love and Affection,

    St. Louis Cardinals Fan

  17. What a gut punch on a Monday morning. Can’t argue with any of these. Ugh.

    May we see it as an opportunity to reflect Christ in quiet and tangible ways… outside of the circus.

    • –> “May we see it as an opportunity to reflect Christ in quiet and tangible ways… outside of the circus.”

      Indeed. And the question is how to bear fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) in the midst of the craziness? Jesus, help me.

      • Or, we could, in the spirit of Paul’s “be all things to all people,” join the circus, out-circus the circus, and thereby bring more people into our circus. “Not my circus, not my monkeys” is not very Incarnational. 😛

  18. Marcus Johnson says:

    I’m not totally against a reality show like So You Think You Can Preach, but I would throw out the winner’s package for the following prizes:

    Instead of receiving $25,000, you agree to cut your annual salary by 25%, while the show donates $25,000 to a scholarship fund in the community in which you would pastor.

    Instead of a megachurch, you are put in charge of a struggling, almost bankrupt congregation in a low-income community with a dwindling budget.

    Instead of a car, you get a bus pass schedule.

    So, real ministry.

    • I’m behind you all the way, Marcus!

    • I’d go on that show if the winner got his or her seminary loans paid off!

    • I’d be tempted to enter this contest just to preach the most IMonk-esque counter-evangelical sermon I could muster. Just to see what kind of reaction I got. 😉

  19. God helps Dr Ben cheat on his exam! This raises all kinds of knotty theological issues. I mean cheating can’t always be WRONG because this particular peaking at the test questions beforehand was clearly divinely sanctioned . It can’t always be RIGHT because in most cases where the Almighty is not involved it will get you expelled. Sooo… we have to conclude that cheating is acceptable in some cases and not in others.

    It’s obviously ok when God does it. (There are precedents here of course. God often sanctions behavior that would be censored in other situations. Genocide, rape, slavery, Duck Dynasty, etc)

    So the question is, are there situations where it’s ok to cheat even when God is not involved? Hmmm…maybe if you were politician who knew he couldn’t garner support without pandering to his gullible constituency? You think?

  20. I keep hearing about how he is “striking a chord” with so many Americans

    Whenever I hear this statement, or how “he’s saying a lot of really good things/what people really think”, the very next statement they make has to do with the borders.

    It’s about race.

    It’s racism.

    And I’m disgusted with it all.

    • In the 1930s Hitler, “struck a chord” with many Germans; as it turns out, he was sounding the opening chord of “Blood and Soil”. Trump is playing an Americanized version of that same song. God help us all. This is a man who will roll over and crush anybody little enough to be crushed, with his battery of lawyers providing blitzkrieg.

    • Patrick Kyle says:

      Baloney. It’s NOT ABOUT RACE!! This constant trope about ‘racism’ is a lazy way to dismiss viewpoints you don’t like. Meanwhile you sit back and impute evil motive to anyone who disagrees with you. Basically, everyone who even has doubts about our open borders and the effects its having are ugly, petulant, and ignorant racists according to people like you. Was your college degree in some kind of ‘Grievance Studies’? I’m disgusted with people who assume they are morally superior and use their politics like fundamentalists use their religion to judge other who think differently. You don’t know me or my friends but think nothing of labeling us disgusting racists. I may disagree with many here about politics or theology, but I don’t assume any moral or intellectual inferiority on the part of those who disagree. However, you and several others do this constantly. It’s one of the reasons I frequent this blog less and less.

      • You do have a habit of coming out of the woodwork to comment directly at me from time to time…starting to think I know you in real life.

    • Yeah, Stuart, the boarder thing is about economics and security. It’s not because he doesn’t like us Mexicans generally, though that may or may not also be true.

      • MIguel, I agree, it probably started as an economics and security issue, and for many that’s what they would first say when talking about this. But it’s become more than that. I’m sure Trump and others don’t truly *hate* Mexicans (“all lives matter”…), so aren’t “Classic Racist” or whatever, but it essentially is a form of racism. People are acting in the role of a racist.

        THOSE people don’t belong. THOSE people took our jobs. THOSE people aren’t here legally. THOSE people weren’t born to the privilege I was born into. THOSE people speak a different language. THOSE people don’t drive right. THOSE people take my taxes. THOSE people get political attention. THOSE people screwed up my order.

        It really is like this. But, to be honest, I can only speak for the Upper Midwest.

        • Patrick Kyle says:

          ” I’m sure Trump and others don’t truly *hate* Mexicans (“all lives matter”…), so aren’t “Classic Racist” or whatever, but it essentially is a form of racism. People are acting in the role of a racist.”

          So it’s not real racism, hatred, and malicious prejudice but a ginned up kind of thing, a ‘prejudice light’, when people say things that make your guilt laden conscience uncomfortable, they must be racist. Not real haters of people from other races, but just not sensitive enough to the past wrongs suffered by others.

          Whatever…..

      • Patrick Kyle says:

        Miguel, I harbor no ill will towards any race. I have worked for and with many people from Mexico. One older gentleman I know was raised on a ranch down in Baja and tells amazing stories about his grandfather’s horse ranch. I used to spend a lot of time south of the border, even spent my honeymoon there. I have many fond memories of Tijuana, Las Rocas, and Ensenada. Unfortunately, it has become dangerous to travel the last several years so we haven’t gone in awhile. I hope to go to Cabo San Lucas and do some Marlin fishing in the next year or so.

  21. Chaplain Mike, shameless plug towards your cousin, but tell her to shop at PoliceHQ.com, lol

  22. Regarding Trump and Evangelicals, the last time Evangelicals in the U.S. got excited about a conservative politician in the U.S. it was Sarah Palin. Whatever you think of her, the fact is that the episode did not end well or do anything good for evangelicalism’s cause. It was, I think, one of the low points in Evangelicals’ long courtship and alignment with conservative politics, which has on the whole only tarnished the movement.

    To all of this, Carter stands in stark contrast. I have admired and respected him for him for a long time, and that only increased this week. Sorely wish that there were more like him, both in evangelicalism and elsewhere.

    As for the self-proclaimed prophet mixing it up with MacArthur, part of me knows it was an inappropriate forum for this, but the other part of me says it’s about time MacArthur was challenged on this and many other things. Not that I think it will change his mind, but it just might get at least a few of his followers thinking and questioning, and that would be a good thing.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Don’t remember whether it was Evangelicals per se way back then, but Trump reminds me of Ross Perot back in 1992. Same crazy billionare counting on Celebrity Name Recognition to pull a Messiah Gambit, same mouthiness, sparking the same fanatical devotion and “Messiah will Fix Everything!” excitement.

      • And it worked, to a certain extent. I knew one of Perot’s local campaign managers in college. The guy stuck by Perot, even after his primary donna exit and cannonball-in-the-kiddie-pool re-entry. His defense was “the guy is more real than Clinton or Bush!”

        I still shake my head at it, 24 years later.

      • Dana Ames says:

        Compared to Trump, Perot now seems sane….

        (btw, looked at your church’s web site. Beautiful worship space.)

        Dana

  23. Chaplain Mike, have fun at the Cubs game. I can see you’re hitting back at Daniel for calling the Cubs losers, by posting about a bunch of *real* losers! I think you won the contest! 🙂

  24. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    And what shall we say of . . .

    Josh Duggar? The whole Ashley Madison hack thing?

    No need to say anything.
    Between MSNBC and Wartburg Watch, they’ve got it covered.

    • I think we should say many things. If we just forget and forgive, nothing will ever change. The theology and environment that created this mess won’t be confronted and dragged out into the light. Give the Duggars their space to plan their next TLC show, but the conversation needs to be bigger than them and at the forefront.

      The Church is sick. It needs a Physician.

      Maybe that’s when Jesus will return. When things are so bad and so corrupted and so perverted that he has to come back and sort it all out.

  25. Why would Randian-esque Tea Partiers ever use a populist phrase like “strikes a chord”? Answer? Tea Partiers are no less collectivist sheeple than the liberals they demonize. Trump sneezes, and the Tea Party catches a cold. Trump has figured out their buttons and is pushing everyone…or should I say pulling every puppet string?

  26. ““I don’t care if @realDonaldTrump wants to perform abortions in White House after this immigration policy paper.” – Ann Coulter.

  27. Judging from the response last week at the Monastery compared to today, I would say that here the Circus trumps Wisdom. Wait a minute, isn’t that our judgement of Conservative Evangelicalism?

    • I would get a small brush, Captain Wisdom

    • I’m sorry about this Charles. If I could delete this I would. I need to work on my meekness. I’m too sensitive when it comes to conservative evangelicals. I don’t see them as the monsters some here do. There are many loving conservative evangelicals out there.

      • Joel, not a problem on my end, I was thinking of asking if I could borrow your brush. I kinda thought I was sticking up for conservative evangelicals at the expense of we assembled pontifical monks and monkettes, but my sense of humor doesn’t always make it thru in one piece. You’re cool, be blessed.

      • Absolutely. I’m friends with many. But too often they will ignore the real problems in the name of fellowship. While the real wolves go free.

  28. This is the down side of Imonk, I’m afraid: blind spots when it comes to liberal politicians and social justice Christianity. There’s plenty of humble conservative evangelicals and posts like this do nothing but divide.

    • That’s the problem with the humble folks – they don’t get the press. :-/

      • Well, I know its just scripture and stuff, but I seem to remember Paul teaching something about having love for “weaker” bro’s in the faith, not using them as dartboard. You know, there might actually be some conservative, republican-voting, gun-toting, pro-life, pro traditional marriage, Calvin-loving folks in heaven thanks to Jesus. Maybe we can start trying to be one right now.

    • Not sure where liberal politicians, social justice Christianity, or that bullshit mention of “SJW” above comes from. No one is disputing that there are plenty of humble conservative evangelicals.

      But who’s leading them? That’s the issue. Do we sit back and say nothing?

      • I can only speak to what I’ve seen locally. There are many conservative evangelicsls here doing good things in our community. As Eeyore said, they don’t seem to get talked about here much. My bad. I shouldn’t be so sensitive about it.

    • It’s the hubris: conservatives mercilessly criticize and demonize liberals but in the deliver nothing different. It don’t think anyone is giving liberals a free ride. Christianity is neither conservative nor liberal.

    • It’s probably because most of the people who hang out here are from the conservative side and are struggling with that end.

      A guy I did a church plant with told me some stories from his liberal Christian background. Bad stuff there as well.

      • Good point, Ken. I forget to keep that in mind. I live near Portlandia, Oregon, where there’s liberal churches o’ plenty that seem to be ignoring scripture for the sake of “outreach”. This is my perspective from the land of liberals.

  29. Donald Trump; Hilary Clinton: the Devil or the deep blue sea.

  30. Randy Thompson says:

    RE Jeremiah Johnson, “prophet.”

    I used to get some of Charisma Magazine’s “news” and ” “prophetic” emails. With the exception of Lee Grady’s “Fire in My Bones,” which was usually excellent, the rest of the writers were too often complete loons. I found ii all so upsetting that I stopped receiving them. I am not a cessationist; I believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit exist in the church today. However, I do not believe in charismatics, at least the sort that spout off in Charisma.

    Is anyone taking bets that some prophet, in the near future, will proclaim Trump to be the Antichrist? It would not surprise me at all. Of course, it also wouldn’t surprise me if one of them were to proclaim The Donald one of the end times witnesses. Or a Nephilim. Bets, anyone??

    .

  31. No one’s mentioned the Go Topless Day parade in New York city, and other places around the nation; any other blog, that would be an irresistible topic, but not in the iMonastery.

  32. Yeah, so Piper completely made up his “position”. He makes wild, starry-eyed assertions about the nature of reality and gender that are (1) unfounded (2) unbiblical (3) unsupported by any research, and then expects people to take him seriously?

  33. Friend from church was just in the city recently for the boobie parade. With her young children, true story. She was caught off guard, to say the least. My wife regularly ran into those panhandlers in Time Square, but every time I go, all I get is the naked cowboy. Man, why can’t bad stuff like that ever happen to me? 😛

  34. why are we talking about politics, trump, etc., here? this is NOT why i read this site….please:( there’s plenty of other places to post these opinions.
    just my opinion…