NEW! AND IMPROVED! FOR 2017 —
Internet Monk’s Saturday Ramblings will henceforth be known as Saturday Brunch.
Consider this your weekly invitation.
The following article from The Smithsonian tells where this meal (traditionally a Sunday feast) came from:
As is the case with many culinary traditions, the origins are a bit hazy. Some food historians think that the meal has its roots in England’s hunt breakfasts—lavish multi-course meals that featured a smorgasbord of goodies such as chicken livers, eggs, meats, bacon, fresh fruit and sweets. Others posit that Sunday brunch derives from the practice of Catholics fasting before mass and then sitting down for a large midday meal. And then there are those who look to New York’s abundance of dining spots when it comes to tracing the origins of classic brunch dishes from eggs Benedict to bagels and lox.
What does seem certain is that the word “brunch”—that playful blend of “breakfast” and “lunch”— first appeared in print in an 1895 Hunter’s Weekly article. In “Brunch: A Plea,” British author Guy Beringer suggested an alternative to the heavy, post-church Sunday meals in favor of lighter fare served late in the morning. ”Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting,” Beringer says. ”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
And it is that last sentence, my fellow brunch-ers, that describes what the Internet Monk Saturday Brunch is all about —
”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
This, my friends, is our aim on Saturdays here at IM.
So, whether you arise early on Saturdays, or follow your Chaplain’s example and sleep until noon whenever possible, there will be food, drink, merriment, and conversation for all. We offer this continuous feast and invite any and all to partake.
• • •
One of Michael Spencer’s friends, a conversation (and sparring) partner, critic, and fellow-blogger Frank Turk has decided to hang up his keyboard and blog no more.
Over at Pyromaniacs, a site your Chaplain used to frequent quite regularly and one which Michael repeatedly referred to as one of the “watchblogs” back in the day, Turk wrote a rather self-flagellating goodbye and expressed a lot of disillusionment about the state of Christian “internet ministry” and blogging in particular. In his words…
Way far north of 95% of Christian blogging is really just exhibitionism, either exposing one’s own poor judgment and thinking or exposing others faults (usually both) for the sake of gaining attention for one’s self. I think unintentionally, I have done this. I repent of ever doing that, and I repudiate everyone who is blogging for the sake of exposing himself or herself to gain an audience. If you think that’s only people with modest-sized blogs, or people on the fringes, you aren’t reading the big blogs with any kind of wisdom or insight, or tracking how many people in Christian circles are getting famous from blogging rather than from having actual accomplishments or a decent faith and a world-tilting local church.
I repent of ever, at any time, causing anyone else to fall into that trap. If my example caused you to blog, you are doing it wrong. You are responsible for you, but I am responsible for doing something which caused you to do wrong. I repudiate it, and I ask you to do the same.
He goes on to repent of his own “exhibitionism” and to criticize those who look at their “internet ministry” for imagining they have a much greater level of influence than they actually do. “I would argue that you are actually reaching fewer people and ministering to fewer people by never actually being anywhere long enough to do something “like ministry” than you would be if you belonged to a local IBF church with 25 members who meet in a wooden shack with no modern amenities,” he scolds.
Frank Turk is a good writer and he will be missed, despite the fact that I have moved far, far away from feeling any sense of kinship with what is written by TeamPyro. I must say, though, that I have had many of his same misgivings about what it actually means to “relate” and “serve” via blogging. It is one of my constant motivations in trying to make Internet Monk different, a place of genuine conversation and reflection.
He will be archiving his articles at teampyro.blogspot.com, and has several pieces you can search for at firstthings.com‘s Evangel. Turk also has his own personal blog which you can find at iturk.com.
It’s a burden Luther earned for himself by his own astonishingly brutal words against the Jewish people in his 1543 treatise, “On the Jews and Their Lies.”
However, isn’t this current complaint a little silly?
RNS reports that Playmobil, one of Germany’s leading toy manufacturers, produced a 3-inch plastic figure of Luther back in 2015 to promote this year’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation. So far, about 500,000 have been sold around the world.
Then Micha Brumlik, a retired Frankfurt University education professor, wrote that the popular toy was “anti-Jewish, if not even anti-Semitic.”
What problem did he have with the toy? The figure shows Luther holding a Bible. On one page it says, “The Books of the Old Testament,” with the word “ENDE” underneath them. On the opposite page it says, ““The New Testament, translated by Doctor Martin Luther.” Brumlik contends the word “ENDE” signifies that Luther was saying the Old Testament and its validity are now ended and superseded by the NT. This to him is the theological insult at the root of the history of anti-semitism.
To an extent, I agree. I am not a “supercessionist.” The NT does not denigrate the OT as outdated and overtaken by the New. The Jews are not “replaced” by the Church, and God did not reject them. It is appalling that many bearing the name Christian have used such arguments, but I find them utterly unconvincing and offensive as a Christian myself. In my view, all it takes is a simple reading of Romans 9-11 to get that.
One of the article’s weaknesses is that it doesn’t explore why that word “ENDE” appears on the figure. Luther’s statue in Wittenberg contains the same inscription. It took one of the commentators on the article to explain the simple reason for the word:
I do not have a copy of the Luther Bible on hand but I seem to recall seeing this word “Ende” printed on the dividing pages of the Old Testament and New Testament simply as a way of indicating that the Old Testament ends there, hence this is where the New Testament picks up. We still do this type of thing. When I listen to audio books sometimes at the end of a disk the reader will actually say, “End of disk 1.” I certainly don’t take that as having any theological implications even if I am reading a theology book (or the Bible for that matter.)
So a simple line indicating “The End” after the OT is now getting blown up into a controversy about anti-semitism. Yeah, this is what we need today.
After discussions among its sponsors, the Nuremberg tourist bureau announced that the word “ENDE” would be removed from all future copies of the toy, beginning in March.
Again, from RNS…
On Jan. 1, [Norway] cut some ties with its Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Norway, rewording the national constitution to change the denomination from “the state’s public religion” to “Norway’s national church.”
The change means the nation of just over 5 million people — about 82 percent of them Evangelical-Lutherans — will still fund the church but will no longer appoint its clergy, who will still be considered civil servants.
And like most divorces, this one could be messy. Norway is one of the least theistic nations in Europe, with 39 percent of Norwegians saying they are atheist or agnostic, according to a poll conducted by a Norwegian newspaper earlier this year.
But Norway also has its own “Bible belt,” along its southwest coast, where much of the base of the country’s two Christian democratic parties is based.
“Such a policy change might inadvertently trigger a culture war,” Jacques Berlinerblau, a Georgetown University professor who studies secularism, told RNS. “Certain anti-secular elements in Europe could point to Norway as an example of the ongoing collapse of Christian culture and Western civilization at the hands of diabolical secularists.”
Some groups favor a further separation and suggest that this step only further muddies the relationship between church and country. At the National Secular Society, it is noted that the King is still constitutionally required to profess the Evangelical-Lutheran religion, and though there may have been some organizational realignment, the government will still support the church and give it privileges no other religions will receive.
Keith Porteus Woods writes:
I hope that the good people of Norway will consider this latest constitutional and organisational change as a preliminary further step in the disentanglement of the Church and State. There is much further to go before Norway can regard itself as a modern secular state, not least removing the elements in the Constitution highlighted above, and a move towards withdrawing this illicit subsidy – even if it is phased out over several years.
According to the article, only about 2% of Norway’s citizens attend services regularly at congregations of the national church.
• • •
Rolling Stone magazine reports that popular singer Carrie Underwood made a surprise appearance this past week at the evangelical Passion Conference in Atlanta, singing with David Crowder.
That prompted an open letter from American Family Association outreach director Wesley Weldon to Pastor Louie Giglio, the founder and organizer of the event. What do you think it might have been about? Really, you can’t guess?
Here’s what he said:
“I was very frustrated that you would allow her to help lead thousands of people in worship. My frustration quickly turned to disappointment and then to sadness. Carrie Underwood encourages and supports homosexual marriage which the Word of God does not,” Wildmon said in the letter published January 4th by the AFA publication Engage Magazine. “The Word of God is not a preference, but principles God has spoken. God is right about marriage and Carrie Underwood is wrong.”
Another silly salvo from the AFA. And it’s not only silly. It reveals their absolute lack of balls. Why would the AFA publish an “open letter” rather than go privately and humbly to Pastor Giglio and express their concerns?
But no, that’s not what the AFA is about. The AFA is about the AFA and promoting a culture war agenda and raising more funds and getting more publicity for a Righteous Cause™.
It’s not about actually caring for Ms. Underwood or any other real, flesh and blood person. Especially if they are LGBTQ or have ever said anything kind about our LGBTQ neighbors. That’s the Christian spirit!
The more things change…
STATISTICS OF THE WEEK
This week’s interesting statistics come from a headline article at Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, January 6, 2017:
The new 115th US Congress was sworn in this week, and it’s is almost as Christian today as it was in the early 1960s, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center. Ninety-one percent of the members of Congress describe themselves as Christians, including all but two of the 293 Republicans. There is more diversity among Democrats. Twenty-eight are Jews, three are Buddhists, three are Hindus, two are Muslims, and there is at least one Unitarian Universalist. Although 23 percent of the general public is religiously unaffiliated, only one member of Congress described herself that way, and although overwhelmingly Christian, Congress has become less Protestant over time. Thirty-one percent of Congress today is Catholic, up from 19 percent in 1961.
Tomorrow is Elvis Presley’s birthday. That’s right, the king was born on January 8, 1935.
Just before his 22nd birthday, on January 6, 1957, Presley made his third and final appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. He performed seven songs in three segments, including “Hound Dog,” “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Heartbreak Hotel.” The screen only showed the singer from the waist up, leaving viewers to speculate as to what the passionate screams in the audience were about.
An interesting fact about this performance — Elvis dedicated his last song, “Peace in the Valley,” to the people of Hungary who were in the wake of the October 1956 anti-Soviet revolution. Elvis and his manager Colonel Tom Parker decided the singer should lend his support to the country’s fight against communism. Ed Sullivan backed Elvis in this, and asked the TV audience to donate to Hungarian relief efforts.
Happy birthday, Elvis Presley.