October 24, 2017

The Internet Monk Saturday Brunch: 3/4/17

THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH

”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.”

It’s March. It’s Lent. Some of you, the observant among us, are hungry. Come on, sneak in and have a little brunch today!

Of course, during Lent we could move the Brunch to Sundays, because even in this penitential season, Sundays are days of feasting and celebrating the resurrection. But that would mess up the whole IM schedule, so we’ll just have to remember our freedom in Christ as we chow down on some of the entrees on the table today.

Of course, you could always just have soup, a staple of the Lenten diet. HEREHERE, and HERE you can find some good recipes for Lenten soups.

Of course, if you order it here, this guy may have something to say about that…

LENTEN QUOTE OF THE WEEK…

For I believe the crisis in the U.S. church has almost nothing to do with being liberal or conservative; it has everything to do with giving up on the faith and discipline of our Christian baptism and settling for a common, generic U.S. identity that is part patriotism, part consumerism, part violence, and part affluence.

OBSERVING LENT IN 2017…

Here are some articles and resources regarding Lenten observances:

LENT-STYLE PERFORMANCE ART?

Abraham Poincheval is a performance artist whose work is a bit reminiscent of the Desert Fathers and other practitioners of ascetic exercises.

A photo essay at NPR shows and tells about Poincheval:

  • Living inside a rock (his most recent exhibit)
  • Living inside a bear carcass
  • Living in the ground beneath a rock
  • Emulating St. Simeon the Stylite by sitting alone for days atop a platform 60 feet above ground

The story also reports on his next unusual exercise:

For his next project, Poincheval will be returning later this month to the Palais de Tokyo, where he will begin a work he simply calls Oeuf (or Egg, in English). Beginning March 29, he will be sitting atop a dozen hen’s eggs for approximately three to four weeks until they (hopefully) hatch, only taking one half-hour break each day.

Reportedly, his ultimate dream is to take to the skies. Poincheval has said that he wants to “walk on the clouds.” He has been working on it for five years, but according to the artist, “it is not quite there yet.”

TIM KELLER STEPPING DOWN…

From Christianity Today:

Later this year, Redeemer Presbyterian will no longer be a multisite megachurch in Manhattan, and Tim Keller will no longer be its senior pastor.

Keller, 66, announced at all eight Sunday services today that he will be stepping down from the pulpit. The move corresponds with a decades-long plan to transition the single Presbyterian Church in America congregation—which has grown to 5,000 members since it began 28 years ago—into three particular churches.

His last day as senior pastor will be July 1.

This move does not mean retirement for Manhattan’s most popular evangelical pastor and apologist; instead, Keller will work full-time teaching in a partner program with Reformed Theological Seminary and working with Redeemer’s City to City church planting network.

“Kathy and I are not going anywhere. New York is our home, and you are our people. We’re not leaving New York or the fellowship of Redeemer,” he assured the church Sunday. “I’m becoming a teacher-trainer …. There’s going to have to be a dramatic increase in church leaders in this city if we’re going to start all these churches.”

Redeemer posted a transcript and video of the announcement on its site on Monday.

IT’S NOT JUST THE “LIBERAL” CHURCHES…

From the LCMS News & Information page: “In 1971, the LCMS [Lutheran Church Missouri Synod] had a membership of 2,772,648. By 2010, that number was about 2,270,921, a drop of about 500,000 people. Since their peak in the late 1950s, child baptisms are down 70 percent and adult converts are down 47 percent.”

The December issue of the Journal of Lutheran Mission featured two independent studies about the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the demographics behind its declining membership. In same issue, President Matthew Harrison responded with six points concerning those reports:

  • This demographic decline is not only an LCMS problem.
  • The retention of baptized and confirmed youth is a key area on which to focus.
  • The [Synod’s] persistent, long-term decline manifests itself both in a massive decrease in child baptisms … and a smaller but still significant decrease in adult converts.
  • The number of child baptisms and adult converts have decreased together in a remarkably similar pattern.
  • Thus, there is no wedge that can be driven between openness to life (family size) and sharing life (evangelism).
  • These reports don’t only share difficult data; they also point out what the Synod does well and what strengths we can build on. … The key here is to build a strong Lutheran self-identity among the membership.

One thing Harrison was reacting to is the suggestion by some that the primary answer to reverse the denomination’s decline is for LCMS Lutherans to have more babies. Instead, he is setting forth six ““important foci that must be taken seriously and acted upon by our pastors, laity, congregations, districts and the Synod.” They are:

  • Evangelism and outreach
  • Re-invigorating congregations
  • Healthy workers
  • Intentional outreach to immigrant populations
  • Church planting
  • Resolution of internal issues that cause conflict

I’m just not sure. Perhaps, for both “liberals” and “conservatives,” the denominational ship has sailed. Especially for denominations that for generations, even centuries, depended upon (1) children growing up in the church and then remaining in the community to serve the next generation of the church, (2) transfer growth from others in the denomination who moved into the community. I think it likely that, for the foreseeable future, these kinds of denominational church will keep limping along, leaking members, losing aspects of their identities. The world has changed.

What think you?

THE CHURCH POLICE?

Maybe the answer is for churches to get a little tougher. When the Church Lady isn’t enough, perhaps you need to call someone with a badge.

Down in Birmingham, Alabama, Briarwood Presbyterian Church has proposed a law allowing it to have its own police department.

Now, to be fair, they may need one. According to attorney Eric Johnston, who drafted the bill for the Alabama House Public Safety Committee, “We’ve got over 30,000 events a year that take place at Briarwood — going on all day, all night, at the school, at the church, at the seminary,” Johnston said. “We have to hire policemen all the time. It would be so much easier to have someone on staff.”

Briarwood Presbyterian Church Administrator Matt Moore released a statement on behalf of the church saying that Code 16-22-1 of Alabama law provides for the employment of one or more persons to act as police officers at colleges and other private educational institutions. “The church seeks to mirror that provision,” it says.

After obtaining legislative permission, the personnel employed by the church will meet all requirements and be certified by the Alabama Peace Officer Training Commission, the statement said.

“The sole purpose of this proposed legislation is to provide a safe environment for the church, its members, students and guests.”

THE RV BANDIT…

According to this fascinating story at Yahoo Sports, the story of the RV Bandit is “a tale that spans decades, involving dozens of crime scenes at countless racetracks, hundreds of victims, one Hollywood star and one thorough ass-kicking. It’s a tale of a million-dollar heist, one wallet at a time.”

Sometime in the late 1980s, a traveling salesman by the name of Steven Garry Sanders began going to different racetracks each month and stealing wallets out of RVs. The piece explains how he did it.

Sanders’ routine was brilliant in its simplicity: First, visit a track during preliminaries or lower-level events, where security was lighter. Second, act like you belong; act like anywhere you are, that’s where you ought to be. Third, watch the crowd, and when race teams start moving toward the starting line for the beginning of the race, swoop in behind them and sneak into their RVs. Fourth, take advantage of systemic weaknesses for maximum profit.

RVs “are always unlocked, because you’ve got 25 or 30 guys going in and out all the time,” said Det. Scott Frantz of the Daytona Beach Police Department. “Firesuits don’t have pockets, so guys would leave their wallets, their Rolexes right there in the motorhome. [Sanders] would never grab anything like a laptop, nothing that he couldn’t fit into his pocket.”

Go to Yahoo Sports and read the remarkable account about how the authorities eventually caught the RV bandit and found the meticulous journal he kept, which enabled them to determine he had stolen over a million dollars, a little at a time.

VOTE FOR 2016’s BEST NAT GEO PHOTOS…

Now through March, you can vote for the Reader’s Choice winner of the 14th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest. Categories include: The American Experience, Natural World, Travel, Sustainable Travel, People, Altered Images, and Mobile.

Here are a few of the finalists. These are just a sampling of a truly amazing gallery of shots from the past year. Go and vote today!

Prom Night. © Trinja Henrickson. All rights reserved.

Turtle-Back Ride. © Michael B. Hardie. All rights reserved.

Bestas. © JAVIER ARCENILLAS. All rights reserved.

All Souls Day. © Md. Khalid Rayhan Shawon. All rights reserved.

Noon. © Jian Wang. All rights reserved.

QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK…

HEADLINE OF THE WEEK…

Read the full story at The Daily Telegraph (Au)

LENT WITH NEIL YOUNG…

Neil Young can rock hard. There were signs of this when most of us knew him as a folksy singer-songwriter. After all, “Cinnamon Girl” was pretty heavy, and even on “After the Gold Rush” he screamed out about the “Southern Man.” 1975’s “Zuma” had more examples of the eruption to come, but it wasn’t until the end of the 1970s that Neil Young unleashed the full force of his rock-n-roll fury on the music world.

1979’s album Rust Never Sleeps is perhaps the best representation of the two major aspects of Neil Young’s musical personality.

Side one is acoustic folkie Neil, strumming out Americana melodies and themes with passionate intimacy. It ends with “Sail Away,” one of Young’s most romantic and exquisite tunes, graced with the harmonies of Nicolette Larson.

Side two is pure hard rock, as well as an homage to punk, an ear-splitting onslaught, a wall of amplified guitar frenzy mixed with Young’s characteristic melodic sensibilities. Side one opens with a stripped down “My, My, Hey, Hey (Out of the Blue)” and side two ends with the same song cranked out with earth-quaking drums and apocalyptic rage.

This is the Neil Young who would return at the end of the next decade with similar ferocity as the “Godfather of Grunge,” lighting the way for bands like Pearl Jam in the 1990’s. This is the Neil Young who offered what may be the greatest musical performance in Saturday Night Live history with his no holds barred, manic rendition of “Keep On Rockin’ in the Free World.”

So, if the Neil Young you know is the gentle songwriter who sang “Heart of Gold,” and “Old Man,” produced albums like “After the Gold Rush” and “Harvest,” and performed on stage in his jeans and flannel shirt with his acoustic guitar, harmonica, and piano, then you don’t know Neil Young. The cat can thrash, and some of his best work is heard with the volume spiked on speakers the size of your garage door.

My favorite song from Rust Never Sleeps is “Powderfinger,” the first-person account of a young man who is out of his depth trying to defend the family homestead from river raiders. Like many pioneer stories, it speaks to something deep in the American spirit: the spirit of rugged individualism, the hopefulness of youth, and the threat of violence (gun violence in particular) in which we have always lived and died.

Look out, Mama, there’s a white boat comin’ up the river
With a big red beacon and a flag and a man on the rail
I think you’d better call John,
‘Cause it don’t look like they’re here to deliver the mail
And it’s less than a mile away
I hope they didn’t come to stay
It’s got numbers on the side and a gun and it’s makin’ big waves.

Daddy’s gone, my brother’s out hunting in the mountains
Big John’s been drinking since the river took Emmy-Lou
So the powers that be left me here to do the thinkin’
And I just turned twenty-two
I was wonderin’ what to do
And the closer they got, the more those feelings grew.

Daddy’s rifle in my hand felt reassurin’
He told me, Red means run, son, numbers add up to nothin’
But when the first shot hit the docks I saw it comin’
Raised my rifle to my eye,
Never stopped to wonder why.
Then I saw black, and my face splashed in the sky.

Shelter me from the powder and the finger
Cover me with the thought that pulled the trigger
Think of me as one you’d never figured
Would fade away so young
With so much left undone
Remember me to my love, I know I’ll miss her.

Comments

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    “Do pets distract the Christian life? (Seriously? Who thinks like this?)”

    No total disrespect to John Piper as I have met with him and prayed once with him after church while I lived in MN, but I really think he needs to look at the broad picture. Maybe stop writing for a while?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:
      • Dan from Georgia says:

        Yep, saw that. I may have left a less kind comment there. My wife and I have two dogs and we love them both and, I can tell you in all honestly, that we glorify and thank God for them because they are such wonderful companions for us both. I don’t think that is distracting us from glorifying God, but actually our care for our pets brings God glory.

        • “The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God.”

          I haven’t gone to the trouble to read the full statement by “Pipper” about pets. I can imagine that he may be addressing certain aspects of modern day American pet ownership that to say the least is warped.

          With many young couples it appears that his and her dogs have replaced children. Dogs only require a 10-15 yr commitment–and you’re not under pressure to save for their college education.

          My wife worked in a veterinarian clinic in southern Virginia (poor) for several months. It wasn’t unusual for people to have a purebred Boxer or Pit, bring it into the clinic and slap down $400-500 for an annual checkup, vaccinations, physical, tune-up (so to speak). To use one of our Southern expressions, these folks often didn’t “have a pot to pee in” — yet pets often took precedent over buying school supplies for their children, not to mention special diets.

          When a culture comes down with affluenza doting on pets becomes big business.

          • BTW, I’ve had plenty of dogs and cats, several horses, and a multitude of bovine and porcine “production units”. There’s nothing wrong in having and taking care of pets. I even think that is one aspect of our caring for God’s creation. However, it appears that too often the balancing distinction between animals and humans has become blurry.

          • About doting on pets being a modern affluenza kind of thing… as a biblical counterexample, there’s Nathan’s parable about the poor man who doted on a lamb like it was his daughter. Neither Nathan nor David commented on it being too weird, and in fact David was enraged at the supposed lamb’s theft and slaughter.

            Is there a point where people can go too far with their pets? Certainly. But Piper, in true Piper fashion, went several light years too far in the opposite direction.

            • Robert F says:

              I understand that there are limits to pet care beyond which it is imbalanced to go; I also believe that is different from person to person, from family to family, and from situation to situation. My wife and I gave more of ourselves to our last cat than we could afford; she was always sick, from the moment we took her home from the shelter (our current cat is healthy as could be; we bring her to the vet only once a year for check-up).

              But she gave us more love (yes, I call it love) than we could ever calculate. And there were occasions when her affection made our at times seriously dysfunctional relationship to each other tolerable, helping us to step outside our own drama and breathe. Not an ideally healthy situation or dynamic, I know, but then nothing in our lives has been ideal, or will be; our cats have helped us negotiate some of the difficult relationship passages that we as adults are supposed to be competent to traverse on our own, but aren’t.

              Dote on our cats? We do. As a childless couple, we’ve channeled some of our parental instincts toward our cats. I suppose such doting and parental posture toward an animal can look ridiculous to those who have actual children, but I don’t think either my wife or I much care about that. We don’t go on extravagant vacations, we don’t watch TV or have cable reception, we don’t have or buy expensive stuff of any kind, etc.; but we go out of our way to keep our cats comfortable, happy and well. It makes us more human.

              • It makes us more human.

                And, if I may say so, much more God-like and reflective of God’s care for humans, than going to church each Sunday and giving our 10% to an organization.

                If you look on it like this then you are reflecting God’s glory, Piper be darned!

            • Fine glade svahep.mar hæklet en meter eller to engang mÃ¥ske man skulle forsøge, hvis du vil være sÃ¥ fantastisk sød at sende en opskrift

      • Piper makes for a good penny-dreadful freak show…

      • The following time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I know it was my option to read, but I truly thought youd have one thing insteerting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you could fix in case you werent too busy searching for attention.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Actually, I think, at least in the statement – “””Mathematically, you might compute that those ten minutes or half hour a day could be better used, but my question is: Would they?””” – He makes a very important point with wide applicability.

      But then I spend a lot of time listening to people talking about waiting and delay… and I frequently want to say: “So what? would that three minutes somehow otherwise have changed your life? you are truly so industrious that three minutes was a great loss to human society? Chill the *#@$($ out. My wager is you would have spent it playing with your phone – which is exactly what you did anyway.”

      Yes, much of the rest of the article is droll and kinda bizarre.

      • This guy needs to get a job in a steel mill or a foundry, or maybe with a disposal company recycling trash, because he is certainly out of touch with humanity. Any regard I MAY have had for him was just destroyed after reading this piece of verbal flatulence!

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      Piper is essentially advocating the monasticism, without the monastery, that Luther was reacting to–the idea that there is a Christian life that is distinct from ordinary life, and that this Christian life is better, and lived by better Christians. Contrast this with Luther’s teaching on vocation.

      In related news, for years I heard Piper’s name as the great Evangelical intellectual, long before I knew anything else about him. When I finally started reading anything by him, my reaction was “this is the best you can do?” Perhaps he hasn’t aged well, and is well into the cranky geezer phase of life.

      • flatrocker says:

        >the cranky geezer phase of life….

        which took the place of the morally outraged middle-ager phase…
        which took the place of the 30ish righteously superior phase….
        which took the place of the naively judgmental 20-something phase…
        and ultimately leading back to taking the place of the demanding toddler phase.

        Somehow, I don’t think the next phase of his life is going to be that of the benign ol’ codger.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Piper is essentially advocating the monasticism, without the monastery, that Luther was reacting to–the idea that there is a Christian life that is distinct from ordinary life, and that this Christian life is better, and lived by better Christians.

        The Heresy of Clericalism: Only “full-time ministry” (originally Priests, Monks, and Nuns) matter before God. The rest of us Lukewarm Laity can all go to Hell (goat goat goat).

        “Luther’s teaching on vocation” sounds like a reaction to that.

        Born-agains don’t call them Priests, Monks, and Nuns (too Romish), but Pastors, Lead Pastors, Elders, Missionaries, Worship(TM) Leaders, and Theologians. And go even farther into Clericalism than Medieval Rome.

      • I’m a little confused by the comments on this thread. I went and read the original post. It is one in a series of posts where people ask Piper’s opinion on things. In his answer Piper actually defends owning and caring for pets (while acknowledging that everything needs balance). He defends this by appealing to the fact that animals can teach us things, even as they provide companionship. His conclusion:

        “Without going to any more psychological detail — which I could — or spiritual detail, it seems to me that having a pet may fall into the category of God-saturated fascination and joy. So, I do have a dog, and her name is Dusty. She is an eight-year-old golden doodle. And I could give reasons for why I think it is healthy for children to have such a dog. But we could do that another time maybe. It is just Noel and me at home now, no excuse. Like here we are.

        “The relationship between animals and man in the Bible seems to be one of God-saturated fascination.”

        So, what is Dusty to me? Well, if Jesus says: Consider the birds, et cetera, I say: Consider Dusty. She loves people more than food. She overflows with affection without testing your character first. She is indomitably happy, rain or shine. She holds no grudges whatsoever, no matter how she is treated. Her youth at eight seems to be renewed like the eagles. So, if you, Father, so taught a beast with no soul, no moral or spiritual capacities, to live that kind of life, how much more should her master feel ashamed that even with the Holy Spirit I struggle to do those things?

        • I was confused too. I think what bugs people is that he takes the anti pet position seriously before ending with the part you quoted.

          Personally, I didn’t like the ” soulless” part even in the paragraph you quoted, which I otherwise liked. We know nothing about the ultimate fate of animals. It seems entirely possible to me that any animal capable of affection has a soul.

          Anyway, it wasn’t a great post, but it wasn’t as bad as people here are portraying it. I don’t say this as a Piper fan because I am not.

          • I was just intrigued by the fact that someone thought to ask the question. To me it was characteristic of a far too overly scrupulous mentality — much too “God-centered” for one’s own good. I mean, come on, relax! Life is not as “spiritual” as some might lead us to believe.

            • Exactly. “Overly scrupulous”. Why do the “Elect” need to worry about scrupulocity anyway??

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                To PROVE to themselves that they are one of The Elect.

                Martha of Ireland once wrote me in private correspondence that in Calvinism God can send false assurance of Eleciton to the Reprobate (by His Omnipotent Will — Do You Doubt His Sovereignty?????). So there is no such thing as Assurance of Salvation/Election.

                So HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE ONE OF THE ELECT?

                Once the Proof was “God sending material blessing”, i.e. getting rich. This became the Protestant Work Ethic, then the Prosperity Gospel.

                With these Elect, it’s Perfectly-Parsed Theology and Utterly Correct Doctrine.

      • Heather Angus says:

        I read the whole Piper article, and he says he has a wonderful dog and that “it seems to me that having a pet may fall into the category of God-saturated fascination and joy.”

        So maybe we are being a bit hard on him?

        • One positive statement about pets by “Pipper” doesn’t wipe out all of his shitty theological BS and malattributions. Over the years he has single-handedly destroyed my respect.

    • Pets and anything else besides the glory of God can be a distraction from what we ought to be doing. Yes, right. Good warning.

      This is all I had to read! What the H___ does Piper consider to be “the glory of God”? What a twisted view of God’s creation and Man’s responsibility to it.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “What do they expect? That I spend every minute of every day on my face in the Mosque?”
        — Iraqi blogger snarking on radical True Islam types, circa 2004

      • That Other Jean says:

        Where does John Piper get the idea that dogs have no moral sense? Perhaps if he has only had one dog at a time he has never seen it, but dogs can develop fast friendships with other dogs (and people), offer them moral support when they are sick or injured, and mourn their passing—all things that I have seen with my own dogs. They can understand right and wrong, fair and unfair, and are kinder and more forgiving than some people I know.

        As for taking away from the glory we should give to God, surely dogs, in their steadfast loyalty and love, reflect it back to us. I doubt that God finds attention and care given to a pet wasted time that should be given directly to Him. Any god who would be offended by love offered to his creatures wouldn’t be worth worshiping anyway.

        And there are cats, who offer a different, more negotiated, affection. Different, but no less genuine and worthy of cultivating. In my experience, they also have friendships among themselves and with humans, and moral understanding–and are less quick to forgive neglect or unkindness from the humans they live with than are dogs. After the uncritical devotion of dogs, cats are a reminder of how human we are, and how little we really understand about others.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      Sorry to bring Trump up, but this is one of the biggeat warning signs I have about the man. He is the first president in more than a century not to have a pet.

      To me, sorry mister Piper, that is a big red flashing sign. Especually as he can afford anything. Even an armadillo.

      Many a time my dog, since the first one I had after my parents relented, was my refuge.

      As humans we have had a close relationship with dogs for 200 centuries. Later came horses, cats, fish, parrots and whatever. They are part and parcel of our humanity.

      • Hitler was an avid animal lover AND a vegan. So what does THAT prove? Nothing at ALL!

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          That Godwinned quickly! Must have pushed a button there…?

          I didn’t claim that being a per lover makes you a saint. But pets are known to have positive influence on people.

          Trump is interesting as an aberration to a well-established pattern.

          Of course the other thing that makes him thoroughly evil is the well-known fact that he takes his steaks “well-done”. 😉

  2. I’ll be back after I re-boot…

  3. Is it time for evangelicals to strategically withdraw from the culture?

    I’m fine with withdrawl–strategic or otherwise. What New World will they now contaminate?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      I hear Greenland is beautiful this time one year.

    • Robert F says:

      Well, the POTUS has stated that he wants to resume manned exploration of outer space (as I suspected would be the case, it’s the only science project he’s interested in because of its spectacular nature, the risk to human life be damned). Perhaps they’d like to travel to and contaminate outer space?

      Space, the final frontier….

  4. One positive about our move to NE Tennessee is that on this side of the mighty Mississippi I can get Yuengling.

    • Dana Ames says:

      Hey Tom,

      You could visit Fr Stephen in person, if you so desired… A couple of years ago when we were in NC for our son’s wedding, I met Fr Stephen “halfway” (although he drove the longer half) between our son’s town and his home, for lunch. It was a very good time. Think about it.

      Dana

  5. Robert F says:

    Actually, Rust Never Sleeps starts with “My, My, Hey, Hey (Out of the Blue)”, which has slightly different lyrics from the concluding “Hey, Hey, My, My (Into the Black)”. But, yes, “Powderfinger” is among Neil’s best songs, and on both Rust Never Sleeps and Live Rust, the world’s greatest hard rock band, Crazy Horse, provides the hard driving accompaniment.

  6. Robert F says:

    flurries fall
    sideways in the wind
    just passing thru

  7. Y’all up early.

    • Dan from Georgia says:

      Been up all night at work!

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      I went to bed very early. Bloated from all that fish. Up early, but it was a solid nine hours.

    • Severe lower back pain that radiates into my right hip and down my leg. I can only get 3-4 hrs sleep at a time. Reading and interacting on the Ramble–I mean the Brunch–helps to distract from the pain.

  8. The Bruggemann quote is poignant, but I don’t think he gets it either. The “faith and baptism” of Christianity are simply irrelevant in our world. I do not mean this comment as an affront to anyone’s faith, but rather as an objective analysis of the incompatibility between the language and philosophy of Christianity and modern knowledge and sensibilities. This is why evangelicalism exists – the concepts of historic Christianity, including baptism, simply don’t match our understanding of the universe.

    This ties in with Harrison’s discussion of the LCMS’s decline. He doesn’t really get it either. The LCMS has seen a sharp decline since it followed the pied piper of evangelicalism over the cliff of fundamentalism and CGM. The leadership gave up any distinct identity long ago.

    But what other options are there? Post-Gutenburg we have the ability to chronicle our history of change. Although cultures have a history of rapid evolution, their advances were often simply ended when their civilization collapsed. Today, nearly all knowledge lives on. And we have unprecedented access to all the information we could ever want – or not want. The Christian religion made sense in its context, but it just doesn’t any more. This is why we have Christians making silly and outrageous claims, like the universe being 6,000 years old, or pets causing god to get bent out of shape. “Fundamentalists” like Al Mohler have a point (although this in spite of his inability to think critically, and not because of it). There is a significant cognitive dissonance between what we know – I mean really know – about the universe and our place in it and historic Christian teaching. Now Mohler has freed his tribe partially by rejecting the historic Christian position on baptism (after all, we don’t believe in magic), but that is only the beginning. More and more we are experiencing the frank irrelevance of the received tradition.

    Does this mean anything? Probably not to the specie as a whole, but I suspect to people like Harrison, it is a big deal.

    • I don’t see it quite this way. Jesus’ message was just as nonsensical to His contemporaries as it is to ours (think how “blessed are the peacemakers” and “the humble shall inherit the earth” sounded in a Roman’s ears!). Core Christian thought acknowledges many things about human nature (confirmation bias, necessity of tangible rituals in religious faith) that modern psychology is only now grasping the implications of. And then there’s that tiny detail of the Founder rising from the dead and all that. Is evangelicalism and most other modern denominations and traditions in trouble? Oh yes. But that’s happened before and will happen again. The essential thing is the core of the faith, and that I think will go on somehow.

      • All organizations have become a part of “the establishment” and no longer accurately reflect the message of Jesus. Such basics as baptism and “the Lord’s Table” have lost the cultural significance of their times and have become something else 2000 years later.

        Self reflection and true Christian teachings have become a rare item in the 21st century. When Jesus said “the way is straight and the gate narrow” He wasn’t just blathering!

    • And that, Dr Fundy, is what Bonhoeffer was saying when he coined the phrase “the world come of age.”

  9. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    “””Especially for denominations that for … centuries, depended upon (1) children … remaining in the community (2) others … who moved into the community. for the foreseeable future, these … denominational[s] church will keep … leaking members,…. The world has changed.”””

    This! These denominations, or anyone, are wise to study themselves – but in this case, as in many others, the real story lies outside the walls. It is not Liberal or Conservative [whatever those even mean].

    But what **should** these denominations do? Do they have a way forward other than decline? They have useful institutional structures and valuable real estate [in some cases]. If they could grasp the-world-has-changed-beneath-you aspect of their situation – what would be the wisest thing to do?

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      I’m not saying your are wrong, but the model of the charismatic pastor building a huge church, only to collapse after he retires is no better. This is why the Keller retiring is news. He seems to be trying to achieve an orderly transition. We will see. I don’t expect a spectacular implosion, but if the people are there for the Church of Tim Keller, what will keep them after he is gone? the church of personality is an inherently unstable model.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      They have useful institutional structures and valuable real estate [in some cases].

      In the words of the prophet Steve Taylor:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyy_yiZ-3DY

  10. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    > Is the Reformation over?

    Y-E-S! It is, over. Holy crap is it i over – pun intended.

    For anyone who wants to make some weary argument about why the answer is “No”… it is so over that I am not interested.

    Aside: thearticle tries to re-frame the Reformation in order to be able to use it as a rhetorical device. His point is interesting, but it has nothing to do with the Reformation. He could easily write that article and leave the Reformation out of it. Anything-about-Luther != The-Reformation.

    • Come on, dude, you know the score. Until the RCChurch officially repudiates the Council of Trent, canonizes Luther and Calvin, and abolishes the Papacy, the Reformation isn’t over
      😉

  11. Richard Hershberger says:

    Yuengling: I predict that the beer aficionados in Indiana will respond with “This stuff is crap!” This is because Yuengling occupies an odd space in the beer market, which many people don’t understand.

    Yuengling is not a craft beer. If you treat it like a craft beer, you will be disappointed. For one thing, the vast majority of craft beers are ales, while Yuengling is a lager, but that isn’t really the issue. Yuengling has always been a mass market beer. This is obscured by the regional scope of its market being limited, and even more by how much better it is than other mass market beers. Compare it with Bud/Miller/Coors and it is a life-changing experience. The tell is the price point. Craft beers typically are about twice the price of Bud/Miller/Coors. Yuengling is in the Bud/Miller/Coors price point, not the craft beer price point. At least this is true within its traditional market. You may see it priced as a craft beer. If so, someone is trying to rip you off.

    Within its traditional market area, Yuengling fills a happy spot of being a good, though not great, beer that is available everywhere. You can order it in a dive bar and no one will look at you askance. I fine Bud/Miller/Coors actively unpleasant. If they are all that is available, I will drink water. Fortunately, around here I can always order a Yuengling and have something I will enjoy drinking.

    Those of you in Texas will recognize this as the same market space occupied by Shiner. If Shiner is the best beer you have ever had, you need to get out more. But if Shiner is the best beer that happens to be available wherever you are at the moment, this is OK.

    • Ryan M. says:

      Spot on.

    • “If Shiner is the best beer you have ever had, you need to get out more. But if Shiner is the best beer that happens to be available wherever you are at the moment, this is OK.”

      That’s my attitude towards Sam Adams. It’s not “craft”, but infinitely preferable to the carbonated moose urine that gets passed of as “beer” by the mass breweries.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        Sam Adams undeniably came out of the early craft beer movement, and I am told that the specialty beers that come out of it are still that way. Sam Adams Boston Lager, which is what people think of when they think of “Sam Adams” is marketed to the niche of places that mostly have Bud/Miller/Coors, but want to have something available with a bit more cachet. I think of it as the Applebee’s beer. The think with Applebee’s is that it actually isn’t bad, if you take some care selecting from the menu. It is aimed at the masses, but a step or two above the Denny’s level. So their bar stocks Sam Adams. Like their food, it rises to the level of “acceptable” so long is this isn’t what you have every day.

        The earliness of Sam Adams in the craft beer game is shown by the fact that their signature brew is a lager. Most mass market American beers are lagers, so in the early days (1970s into the early ’80s) it was natural to do lagers. As things actually came out, ales came to dominate the craft brew scene, and specifically heavily hopped ales. Boston Lager is something of a fossil of the early days of craft brewing. Its middling quality is another aspect of that. The craft continued to improve. A lot of IPAs are actually fairly mediocre, with the buckets of hops covering up their weaknesses, but the better brewers can no do much better than Boston Lager. Boston Lager got locked into its marketing niche in part by virtue of its early adopter status, but its middling quality got locked in with it.

        Could Sam Adams improve it? In small runs, undoubtedly. In mass production that meets the demand? I don’t know. Consistency is the bugbear of commercial brewing. Anheuser Busch is considered something of a miracle worker in how successfully consistent their product is. It is bad, but it is bad in a consistent way.

    • Josh in FW says:

      Nice analysis. Btw, what’s the correct pronunciation for Yuengling? Is it “young ling”? Also, where does Lonestar and Pearl fit into your analyis?

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        ying-ling. It is actually a moderately common surname in this area. I suspect that this is a function not only of early German immigration, but from specific regions of Germany.

        I haven’t had either Lonestar or Pearl. I just looked them up on Beer Advocate. Both are now owned by Pabst. It looks like Lonestar filled the niche of regional cheap bad beer. These are less common than they were a few decades back, but it was a familiar niche. I remember as a kid seeing TV commercials for A-1 Beer: “Brewed to be drunk ice cold.” Even at that tender age I understood that this was code for “utterly undrinkable unless your taste buds are too frozen to operate, but it will give you a buzz.” Pearl seems to be better, based on the reviews. I couldn’t say whether it rises to the Shiner bock level, or is merely a somewhat less bad mass market lager.

    • Right on.

      Shiner on tap is decent. I discovered Smithwick’s in Ireland and has since become more available in the States.

      There are scads of craft brewerys in east TN and western NC.

  12. Richard Hershberger says:

    Baseball game length: The notable feature of the changes, both enacted and discussed, is how little they will affect game length. The point of the new IBB rule is mysterious. It is no big deal either way. Fifty years from now it will be considered a curiosity of the olden days that pitchers actually had to toss four balls to give the batter a walk. But this won’t make the game any shorter on average by more than a couple of seconds.

    The elephant in the room is commercial time between innings. Cut out one thirty second spot each and you have just shortened the game by eight and a half minutes. Of course this isn’t going to happen. Everyone knows this. But all this talk of changes that will have minuscule effect has a “But what about the children?” feel to it.

  13. Damaris says:

    I’m not sanguine about the future of American denominational Christianity, but that’s all right. I anticipate that when it dies, what will spring up in its place — or in a different place — will be more like Catholic orders: groups of devout people who are called to follow Christ by feeding the poor, or tending the sick, or educating the young, etc. My youngest daughter attends church faithfully and I think will continue to, but every Sunday afternoon she is downtown with an anarchist group called Food Not Bombs, feeding the homeless. The words spoken at Mass would have no meaning to her if her actions outside of church didn’t reflect them. There is still a place for the liturgical aspects of the faith — I disagree with Dr. Fundystan on that — but what does baptism mean if it’s just an occasion for a party and then we go back to a pointless life isolated from the realities of the wider world? So I predict that the denominational churches will decline, social action of all sorts will increase, and then the people who have been feeding the poor will discover their own hunger for genuine union with God through sacraments as well as through charity.

    • flatrocker says:

      so maybe it’s not about about the Benedict option – but about the Vincent de Paul option instead?

      To Serve the Poor is to Serve Jesus

      • Robert F says:

        That may be half of it, but what if you are poor yourself?

        • flatrocker says:

          But aren’t we all poor in some way? Some of it is obvious and some of it is cleverly hidden. But shouldn’t our faith tell us we all have something of value to offer another human being – regardless of our station – all 7+ billion of us? And regardless of the state of those “other poor” and their ability to make an offering to another poor soul, how exactly does that exempt me? Or you?

          To serve the Poor is to serve Jesus. That’s not the half of it. It’s the full measure.

          • Robert F says:

            To the degree that the needy can be socially located, rather than theologically defined, I think your observation is not accurate. The Gospels speak of the poor both in spiritual and in socioeconomic terms; I do not think that the different accounts of the Gospels mean “the poor” and the “thepoor in spirit” to be synonymous, however overlapping they may be.

          • Robert F says:

            flatrocker, I might add: In the past you as a Catholic have said that my Protestant understanding of what the church is is too spiritual, not corporeal enough; that the church has boundaries, and extension in time and space; and that making the definition of it too spiritual also makes it too all-inclusive, and thereby meaningless as a separately existing reality, with limits and shape. I might say something similar about your definition of the word poverty.

            • flatrocker says:

              So, Robert, setting aside all the existentialism for the moment, where does this leave us in the service of the poor? Not philosophically, but in real living and breathing terms? I know where it leaves me – woefully convicted. Lord have mercy.

              • Robert F says:

                flatrocker, I’m truly not trying to be contentious. I value what you’ve said, and am also left woefully convicted. Any service to anyone in need is indeed service to Jesus.

      • Robert F says:

        My question is occasioned by that fact that discussions that find the focus of what it means to be the church in caring for those in need can easily fail to address the question of what it then means for the church as it exists among those in need. If I’m in need, poor or in some other way, how do I fully live into my identity as a member of the church? If I lack resources to materially help others because I struggle with poverty myself, how do I make myself more than a passive recipient of the choice of more affluent Christians to make me the focus of their “Vincent de Paul option”?

        Do you see what I’m getting at? It is easy to turn the poor and needy into “second-class citizens” in these discussions, by speaking of them as mere passive objects of religious practice rather than as fully formed Christians and human beings in their own right, capable of full citizenship in the Kingdom of God at the socioeconomic location they already inhabit.

        • flatrocker says:

          Because I’m in a Vincent de Paul frame of mind today 🙂

          “You will find out that Charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the kettle of soup and the full basket. But you will keep your gentleness and your smile. It is not enough to give soup and bread. This the rich can do. You are the servant of the poor, always smiling and good-humored. They are your masters, terribly sensitive and exacting master you will see. And the uglier and the dirtier they will be, the more unjust and insulting, the more love you must give them. It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them.” Vincent de Paul

        • Laura W. says:

          Good point, Robert.

        • Burro [Mule] says:

          Helping “the poor” is a little abstract. Too easily it descends into virtue-signalling. Better to ask what we can do concretely to help a real person.

          Robert, have you looked into a online donation site for your sister-in-law? Wartburg Watch does this all the time.

          Father Stephen Freeman warns us against substituting voting for redistribution programs with feeding the hungry.

      • Yup, flatrocker. Probably my favorite saint.

        And Robert F., there is no reason for the poor not to practice charity, although the form of it might differ from what a well-off person does. Poor people in my experience tend to be at least as generous as the rich — though not all, of course; I don’t want to romanticize. Just as the widow’s mite was worth more than the rich man’s offering, a sandwich shared between two hungry people may be worth more than gallons of soup. In any case, I think it’s wiser to ask what I can and should do than to theorize about people whose conditions are not ours. I do know that when my husband and I first started to tithe, we had almost nothing, but for the first time in my life I felt rich — because I had enough to give to others.

        • Robert F says:

          All true, Damaris. I value your and flatrocker’s words and insights.

          • Anja – I am running out of words to say with you, Andria. So let’s just settle for stunningly exrtrordinaay.I do believe I recognise Kirsten from a previous shoot!! “ring for a Kiss”, too cute.Love everything about this wedding and especially the peek a boo long distance shots ♥

  14. >> I’m becoming a teacher-trainer …. There’s going to have to be a dramatic increase in church leaders . . .
    >> The key here is to build a strong Lutheran self-identity . . .
    >> We have to hire policemen all the time. It would be so much easier to have someone on staff.
    >> . . . enabled them to determine he had stolen over a million dollars, a little at a time.
    >> Like many pioneer stories, it speaks to something deep in the American spirit . . .
    >> It’s a tale of shared dreams, individual tenacity and an unwavering dedication to standards of quality. Like many American stories it starts amid the dreams of countless young immigrants looking for oppportunity . . . . (From The Story of Yuengling, which I had to look up)
    >> NO ZOUP FOR YOU!!!

    Wait, I think I’m seeing some kind of pattern here. Okay, wait, I’m working on it.

    While you’re waiting, I looked at that photo of the young man sitting at the table and I wondered whether it was in a home or in some kind of eating establishment. Either way I found it somewhat poignant and at the same time familiar that he was sitting there by himself. The next time I looked at it there was a young woman sitting with him. This is called the Mandela effect. Maybe she was in the rest room the first time I looked.

    On another note, those 30,000 annual “events” at the Briarwood Presbyterian Church work out to over three per hour, 24/7/365. And you thought Evangelicals were pushing it with three per week. Sounds like they need Tim Keller even more than NYC does.

  15. Robert F says:

    While living atop that platform, I wonder how Poincheval relieved himself.

  16. Marcus Johnson says:

    Every time I hear evangelicals talk about “separating from the culture”–as though they aren’t inextricably linked to it, benefiting from it, or complicit in its design and persistence–I throw up a little bit in my mouth.

    Same reaction to people who declaw their cats, or claim that their only options are declawing and euthanasia.

    • That Other Jean says:

      Cats need their claws, and declawing is actually amputation, which can lead to permanent pain. Carefully observing where a cat decides to sharpen its claws can lead to buying the right kind of scratching post and puttIng it in the right place to convince a cat to use it instead of the sofa, but not always. I think that people who value their furniture more than the well-being of their cat should find some other kind of pet.

      • Marcus Johnson says:

        +1

        Personally, I would rather keep them out of the pet-seeking business. They need to go find a soul.

  17. Church denominations have basically morphed into what I call franchise churches with catchy names like The Bridge, The Liquid Church, The Rock. We have several in our area. They are similar to the way denominations used to be–if you went to a Catholic Church, or a Lutheran Church, or Episcopal in any city you’d get pretty much the same service no matter the locale. Only these franchise churches have cool bands and coffee bars. Some just simulcast the service of the main church to remote locations. Is it the answer to declining church attendance? No clue.

    As to Matt Harrison’s points, well, I live not too far from the LCMS Seminary in Indiana and worked there at one time. He’s got a long way to go to put his ideas into action in his own home, so to speak. There is little taught at the Seminary (at least that I could see) that would in any way translate into the practicalities of parish life. Being a parish pastor involves study in the word, surely, but also a whole lot of management, visitation with the sick and dying, dealing with people’s messy lives, comforting the bereaved, helping to find resources for those in need. From my observations, these were covered minimally, if at all. There is a sense if you just preach the word and administer the sacraments correctly, everything else will fall into place so you don’t need to concern yourself with all that practical stuff.
    Many times, I heard students and profs alike say that Lutherans needed to have more children to strengthen the church, and many of the students had kids galore, although they were racking up seminary debt by the thousands and could not afford them. I was surprised at how many did not believe in birth control of any kind. Homeschoolers abounded because, you know, the world out there is bad and will corrupt your children.
    If you did not vote Republican, you were not considered Christian. Period. Liberals were spoken of as nearly Satanic. This is, I think, a bigger piece of the issue than Harrison wants to admit and one I don’t see on his list. How can the church, any church (but I am mainly talking LCMS here) reach out to people who they routinely call out as the pagan enemy? Especially those that are church goers but who vote for a different political party? Even the ELCA, I was told numerous times, was barely Christian, if it is at all. How can you reach out intentionally to immigrants, some of whom are Muslim, while your seminary profs are teaching that Islam is a religion of hatred & violence, all Muslims are at heart terrorists, and that immigrants are the root cause of many of our economic problems? I heard students & staff reiterate these thoughts quite often.

    I don’t mean to sound so negative. There are good men that are out in the trenches, fighting the good fight, guiding and leading their churches, being a shepherd to the sheep. But I found Harrison’s statements a bit disingenuous in light of my experiences. I am sure he means what he says; maybe his message isn’t filtering down yet.

    • How can you reach out intentionally to immigrants, some of whom are Muslim, while your seminary profs are teaching that Islam is a religion of hatred & violence, all Muslims are at heart terrorists, and that immigrants are the root cause of many of our economic problems?

      Over at ReligionNews there’s an article about white evangelicals supporting the Muslim travel ban—in much higher numbers than the unchurched.
      http://religionnews.com/2017/03/03/the-key-to-understanding-evangelicals-upside-down-support-for-the-travel-ban/
      I think it also relates to the question of the “Benedict Option” that’s currently in Christianity Today. My wife and I were talking about that this morning, a bit critically.

      This quote from ReligionNews seems to fit the discussion. It’s about tribalism more than Christ:

      Before we leap to simplistic conclusions and declare that seculars are more Christian than white evangelicals, it’s instructive to consider the ways in which cultural identity, a.k.a. tribalism — the very problem Jesus addressed with his “love your neighbor” teaching — is influencing these upside-down dynamics.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Church denominations have basically morphed into what I call franchise churches with catchy names like The Bridge, The Liquid Church, The Rock.

      Or “The Portal”, formerly Anaheim First Baptist. Slick maroon-and-grey advertising brochures under my front door, with no indication they’re a church (or even WHAT they are/what they do — like a dot-com startup in the late Nineties).

      Only these franchise churches have cool bands and coffee bars. Some just simulcast the service of the main church to remote locations.

      With Lead Pastor Big Brother’s face five meters tall on all the franchises’ Telescreens.

      Many times, I heard students and profs alike say that Lutherans needed to have more children to strengthen the church, and many of the students had kids galore, although they were racking up seminary debt by the thousands and could not afford them. I was surprised at how many did not believe in birth control of any kind. Homeschoolers abounded because, you know, the world out there is bad and will corrupt your children.

      Quiverfull, AKA Bedroom Evangelism, AKA Outbreed the Heathen.
      (Very Darwinist, actually…)

      And Homeschooling (to the point of cult indoctrination) is part of the package.

      If you did not vote Republican, you were not considered Christian. Period. Liberals were spoken of as nearly Satanic.

      “Were”? ARE!
      Check out Homeschoolers Anonymous sometime.

    • Well, the “heathen” ELCA seminary southwest of here requires students to take all kinds of courses in psych, counseling, what psych professionals call “grief work,” and much more. Nobody gets a pass on this.

      Which, imo, is a very good thing. The LCMS succumbed to fundyism back in Preuss’ day, and if they’re “bleeding members,” they really don’t need to look far for the reasons.

  18. I’m disappointed Chaplain Mike didn’t open the door to a discussion of “The Shack.” The book is, of course, a mega best seller.
    Movie review have not, however, been kind.
    ______

    When the book came to my attention I managed to read 3/4ths of it. But then I stopped.
    ______

    I’m not a big movie goer – however I did so see John Wick II but I’m sure I’ll pass on John Wick III.

    I doubt I will ever see “The Shack.”

    I don’t know if the denominational Mainliners will like it or not.

  19. Christiane says:

    To experience almost painful solidarity with the poor during Lent, try this famous soup recipe:
    “A.J. Muste Memorial Supper: Fish Heads and Rice”

    Here is the actual recipe as it was originally prepared by those with few resources. Enjoy. (or try it at least)

    “To make this meal, you will need an iron pot to cook a broth (fish stock) made of fish-heads,
    so you must first go to the fishmonger and beg for fish-heads.
    He will feel compassion for you and will throw in a few pieces of fish with the heads.
    Place the fish heads in a netting for boiling the fish stock. If you have no netting, you can put them into a sock and tie it before boiling. This works well, but remember to wash that sock out thoroughly before wearing it again, or cats will follow you around.

    After the stock is prepared, DISCARD THE FISH HEADS (this is important);
    and then add the following ingredients to the boiling stock:
    1. a handful of rice (costs very little)
    2. fresh, hand-picked young dandelion greens (always available, because bums migrate to the warmer climates, even in winter)
    3. the pieces of fish that were given gratis by the compassionate fish-monger

    Boil this up patiently in the iron pot and do not set yourself on fire.
    When ready, give thanks to God for all good things and for this meal, and share your food with all around you who are hungry. For some reason, there is always enough soup to go around. 🙂
    Do not waste any of the food. This is important.
    Clean up properly before departing.”

    • Grace Choong says:

      Fish head (currry or broth) is common in Chinese/south east Asian cuisine and that recipe made me hungry! (You can buy fish head rice porridge to eat at some Chinese hawker food courts in Penang where I grew up).I would add some ginger and garlic + salt to taste… And some chopped spring onion to garnish.
      🙂

  20. Dan from Georgia says:

    re: length of baseball games. Just my two cents, but some games could use a bit speeding up. Batter stands motionless as ball one passes by…then batter steps out of batters box, looks around at the stands, adjusts his batting glove for no reason, realigns his grip on he bat, looks around again, looks down, looks towards the outfield, adjusts his batting helmet, looks around again, looks down, finally steps into batters box, looks down, digs his feet in while holding bat straight up, shakes his legs while digging in, looks around, looks towards pitcher, and then uprights himself and watches ball 2 pass by while remaining motionless. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

    OK, I am a huge baseball fan admittedly, MN Twins non-withstanding…but this ritual does get kind of old.

    Not as much of a basketball fan, though. I do get bothered, though, as the last two minutes of any competitive basketball game can last almost as long as the first half!!’

    It’s all in fun of course!

    • Rick Ro. says:

      I lost my interest in professional basketball long ago. Like you say, the last two minutes typically lasts forty. Not to mention the basic de-evolution of basketball from being a team sport to more individualistic.

      Agree with you about baseball. The way intentional walks are done MIGHT shave a minute or two off a game. The real killer is the in-between inning time and the painful antics by most players (batter AND pitcher) after each and every pitch. As a Seattle Mariner fan, I’ve lived with two extremely painful pitchers to watch on the mound: Freddy Garcia and Felix Hernandez. As good as they are (or were) as pitchers, they act (acted) as if every pitch caused bodily pain. PITCH – GET BALL BACK FROM CATCHER – STROLL OFF THE MOUND AND WANDER THE INFIELD FOR SEVERAL MINUTES, LOOKING AS IF YOU’VE JUST LOST YOUR CAT – GET BACK ON MOUND – SPEND TWO MINUTES SHAKING OFF SIGNS – NOD – PITCH – REPEAT.

    • Donalbain says:

      Baseball is only suitable for Americans and their notoriously

      #Buy this product! This Product is great! #

      Short attention span. Actual adults watch cricket. Five days. Not always a winner!

  21. Dan from Georgia says:

    Anyone read the news story of the upcoming “Beauty and the Beast” live-action movie, and how one theatre in Alabama (danged neighbors to my west) won’t show it because one character, Lefou, is supposedly gay, or involved in some gay angle in the movie? The theatre’s manager said something to the effect of “we’re Christians first. What would Jesus think if he were to sit beside you while watching this movie”? – or something to that effect.

    Agree with this move by the theatre? Bothered by it? Just asking.

    • That Other Jean says:

      It’s the owners’ choice, since it’s their theater, of course. Still, I seem to remember that Jesus associated with a lot of people–tax collectors, prostitutes, Centurions, wealthy women, Samaritans–and said not one recorded word against gay people, even as same-sex relationships were understood in the 1st Century Roman Empire. I don’t think Jesus would be bothered at all, and I’m not either.

      .

    • My only thought would be — if he’s a pietistic Christian like that, how does he stay in business running a movie theater?

      • Rick Ro. says:

        How does he stay in business? By selectively deciding what he should say he’s offended about, I’m guessing. He’s probably shown many a movie with people getting killed in hideous ways, movies with murder and mayhem, and loaded with profanity, but, but…show a movie with a homosexual character? NO WAY!

      • >> if he’s a pietistic Christian like that, how does he stay in business running a movie theater?

        Compartmentalization?

        Never having heard of John Wick, one, two, or three, I read the plot synopsis of One in Wikipedia. Lord have mercy on us all!

        • Rick Ro. says:

          The first John Wick is one of my favorite movies. Saw it without knowing much about it, was (almost literally) blown away by the non-stop gun-play. It’s the kind of spectacle that needs to be seen to be believed. Keanu Reeves actually does a good job in the role of John Wick.

          Certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, I suppose. 😉

  22. Burro [Mule] says:

    My wife’s country is being convulsed by what this board blithely calls “pelvic issues”. Over 500K Peruvians have taken to the streets to protest the imposition of a homosexual-friendly curriculum in the national schools, and they are baying for the blood of the Education Minister. The Evangelicals are neck-deep in this (pro-feminist, pro-sexual revolution evangelicals just plain don’t exist down there), but most of the crowd is Catholic.

    Peruvian Facebook pages are predictably polarizing. Peru is a traditional society, more so even than Mexico, with the typical anti-clerical upper class that looks to the EU [first] and the USA [secondarily] for direction.

    Unfortunately, Peruvians don’t have the civic traditions that we have in the USA. Polarization in Peru leads quickly to car bombs and disappearings. The rhetoric is getting pretty fiery. The men, especially the Evangelical congressman and the Catholic priest in charge, seem almost apologetic. The women, however, are loaded for bear. Their speeches are the most incendiary.

    Maybe the Revolution won’t be televised, but it looks like the Reaction will be.

    I feel myself getting more Falangist by the minute listening to the live broadcast.

    • Burro [Mule] says:

      I just heard one congresswoman blurt out

      No vamos a dejar que estas ideologias importadas jodan a nuestros hijos! (We won’t let these imported ideologies f*ck up our kids)”

    • Rick Ro. says:

      “The Revolution Will Be Televised” by Jeff Beck.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oJ7quLZA9g

    • >> Polarization in Peru leads quickly to car bombs and disappearings.

      While in our superior civilized nation we merely burn vehicles, break windows, and beat senseless those who differ. Anonymously, of course, in black clothing and face mask. If the Revolution is televised in this country, how will we tell the militarized police from the anarchists? My respects to your wife.

  23. Rick Ro. says:

    A little late to brunch today. Good smorgasbord of choices. Like the pics.

  24. Robert F says:

    Pray for our country. Today the divide between Americans was deepened even more; politically opposed groups of have been clashing in the streets. Pray for the United States of America.

    • Burro [Mule] says:

      I missed that, Robert. I was paying too much attention to Peru. But there’s nothing on CNN, Fox, or MSNBC. Just a blurb on Drudge about “hundreds” of pro-Trump demonstrators in various state capitals. Statistically insignificant. I think the left is preparing itself mentally for a two year [at least] rogering. The current falderol about meetings with the Russian ambassador is kind of a non starter. The usual suspects are predictably outraged, but Trump supporters generally prefer Russia and Putin to CNN and Clinton. The Chinese government’s Spanish newsfeed (a newly uncovered Asinine information source) passed over it in five seconds, but CNN spent 30% of their broadcast on it.

      On the other hand, even government sources are numbering the anti-homosexual march in Lima at 700K.

      Polarization seems to be a global virus. I was thinking of emigrating to Peru to escape the Fire Next Time up here. Maybe not.

      • >> I was thinking of emigrating to Peru to escape the Fire Next Time up here.

        There is no escape, tho I may be in one of the least affected areas to be found. What’s important to note is that the “no escape” clause looks like applying to the 1%, but it ain’t over yet. I couldn’t find Robert’s riots and mobs either. Actually a fairly quiet day, at least on the surface. These are some exciting times, Mulo.

        • Robert F says:

          I said nothing about riots and mobs. I meant to say that supporters on both sides of the political divide were confronting each other in the streets, which in fact happened in CA and OH, but I made the mistake of using the word clash, which was latched onto like red meat.

      • Robert F says:

        Burro,
        An Attorney General who appears to have lied under oath, an allegation for which there is documented evidence, and a president who deflects from that serious allegation by tweeting a totally unsubstantiated accusation that the former president had his phones tapped before the election, is not a non-starter for me, or for tens of millions of other Americans. And therein lay the deepening divide that is breaking America into two or more pieces.

        I was hoping not to go political today.

  25. Dee Parsons says:

    I have recently joined an unusual Missouri Synod Lutheran church. The pastors are the kindliest bunch I have seen in decades of attending a number of churches. This small church started with a Bible study in the 90s and has grown to a congregation of 650+ and even have their own newly built stone church.

    They have a Saturday evening service as well as 3 Sunday services, one of which is dedicated to multigenerational worship. They are not at all legalistic with one pastor even saying “I am not your boss.” The other pastor said in his sermon that it is OK if one does not like his message each time since there are many parts of the service that one can get something out of.’

    I am so grateful for my church. We waited two years to join, watching for red flags the entire time. I believe that the LCMS would do well to see what they are doing and how this church is growing in an area filled with Southern Baptists and large megachurches.

  26. So no one but me thinks a church wanting a private police force and another wanting to separate from the culture to be two sides of the same coin?

    And will the law require the police to be subservient to the local government judiciary or the pastors/elders of the church? What will they do if an elder is caught swindling a member? Or Johnny pastor’s son (22 years old) is caught getting 14 year old Suzzie (a harlot she must be) pregnant?

    Do they arrest first and then let the local prosecutors and judges sort things out or do they first consult with the pastors and elders so they can decide if this is a public or private matter?