October 18, 2018

The Saturday Monks Brunch: May 26, 2018 — Memorial Day Edition

FOR MEMORIAL DAY
From “Sorrowing Spring” by Joel Kurz at Plough

Shiloh National Battlefield

Scarcely has a winter departed since childhood that I haven’t journeyed in my soul to Shiloh, that military park along the Tennessee River where, on April sixth and seventh of 1862, roughly one hundred thousand soldiers engaged in a bloody conflict that claimed nearly a quarter of them as casualties. Each April I am again an eleven-year-old boy transfixed by the vernal landscape, transmuted by the history of great horror.

…How hard it is to know the harrowing hell of war. To really feel with those who fight and kill, who carry lasting scars and live from day to month, from year to decade, in the midst of fear, death, and rubble. Our American battlefields are from more than a century ago. They look so serene and bear no brutal witness. Since all successive conflicts have been fought on foreign soil, we cannot imagine the devastation that is wrought, let alone begin to empathize with those who struggle to live under the steady barrage of bursting bombs and in the dismal aftermath. September Eleventh was but a taste.

…When I return in my mind’s eye to Shiloh, I think what a bitter contradiction it is that a place whose name derives from the Hebrew word for peace should become synonymous with slaughter. In Israel’s ancient history, Shiloh was a place pointing back – and forward – to the Promised One who would bring “the gathering of the people” (Genesis 49:10). After the sanctuary which for three centuries housed the ark of God’s presence was destroyed, Shiloh became a barren waste longing for the reversal of spring. Surveying this Shiloh and our own, like Ezekiel I can see, however faintly, the stirring of bones rising up, flesh being graciously restored, and God’s own breath animating life once more.

• • •

DEAL OF THE DAY

Get your summit coin! We’ve slashed prices just in time for Memorial Day! Get your summit coin here today! Presidents Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un face to face, perhaps for the only time ever! This is a keepsake you don’t wanna miss, folks! Get your 2018 summit coin today for the special price of $19.95!

From NBC News:

A commemorative medallion marking the now-canceled summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is drawing ridicule, but one famous coin buyer says the diplomatic setback could help collectors cash in.

Rick Harrison, producer and star of the History Channel’s “Pawn Stars,” says the no-denomination U.S. coin has two things going for it: the president himself, whose profile is featured on the item, and the specter of a once chummy Trump and Kim parting faster than a fool and his money.

The medallions — which are not technically coins because they have no denomination, numismatists say — are issued by the White House Communications Agency, a military unit assigned to the president. Shortly after Trump canceled the summit on Thursday, the White House gift shop cut the price of the medallions from $24.95 to $19.95. The website had so much traffic Thursday morning that it crashed.

“I almost guarantee they will sell out of them,” Harrison, co-owner of the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, said Thursday. “Anything Trump sells.”

• • •

BYE BYE WARREN

Evangelical watchdog Warren Throckmorten woke up one morning this week and found that his blog had been removed from Patheos. The host told him his site no longer fit their strategic objectives.

Throckmorten’s response?

I hope to have more to say about it soon but for now, I can report that I am blogging here now at wthrockmorton.com.  Patheos leadership informed me yesterday that my blog no longer fit their “strategic objectives.” Since I don’t know what those are, I can’t say how I didn’t fit them.

In any case, thanks to friend J.D. Smith, the blog was quickly migrated with the content to this ad free site. The downside is that I have been unable as yet to find out from Patheos how to get my comments moved along with the posts.

What a strange turn of events. Patheos was at the center of the Mars Hill Church and Gospel for Asia stories and now they host Mark Driscoll and K.P. Yohannan. All of the those Patheos links about Mars Hill and GFA are now erased. The content is here and archived elsewhere but admittedly, it will be harder to find.

• • •

IN HAPPIER INTERNET NEWS…

Print of tobacco package label showing Cincinnati Red Stockings players. 1869

The Library of Congress has a wonderful exhibition coming called Baseball Americana.

For those of us who love the game, it promises to yield a treasure trove of pictures and articles about our favorite pastime.

The LOC is publishing a post each Thursday leading up to the opening on June 29, then they will feature posts about different topics related to the yearlong exhibition.

One post featured the soon to be exhibited 1857 “Rules of Base Ball,” which set forth the rudimentary rules of the game. These were ironed out in January and February 1857 at a convention called by the Knickerbockers Base Ball Club in New York City.

This past week they reflected on some of the music the game has inspired.

Here are a few interesting remarks about the part music played in the very early days of baseball.

Walter Johnson, Washington Nationals. Baseball card, 1911. Chromolithograph with hand-color. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

No sport has inspired as much music: Pop songs and polkas, quicksteps and two-steps, mambos and marches, waltzes, foxtrots, rags, quadrilles, schottisches, cantatas and even operas have been written in celebration of America’s game.

The Library of Congress, through its copyright function, holds one of the world’s largest collections of baseball sheet music – a chronicle of more than 150 years of passion for the national pastime.

…Most of the music celebrated the pleasures of a day at the ballpark, great players, a hometown team or, as in the case of the earliest known baseball-related composition, a rival club. J.R. Blodgett, a player for the Niagara Base Ball Club of Buffalo, N.Y., wrote “The Base Ball Polka” and dedicated it to an opposing team, the Flour City Base Ball Club of Rochester.

Blodgett’s tune was submitted for copyright registration at the Library on Oct. 21, 1858, and, like many early baseball compositions, was an instrumental.

Those polkas, marches and waltzes fit the social nature of the game in the years just before the Civil War and in the decades that followed, says Tim Wiles, director of research at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Players wore festive uniforms, celebrated at banquets after the game and sometimes staged parades to and from the grounds. The run-over-the-catcher, win-at-all-costs mentality didn’t yet exist.

“To understand it, we need to lose the notion that it was just about beating the other club, which is part of baseball today,” Wiles says. “It was a bit of a celebration – of baseball, of civic pride and also of this newfound leisure activity these middle-class gentlemen in the clubs were able to have that maybe their fathers and grandfathers didn’t.”

The post goes on to describe the further development of baseball-inspired music through the 20th century. It also includes a link to a bibliography of baseball music and songs on the LOC website.

Here’s the 1949 version of “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit that Ball?” by Woodrow Buddy Johnson & Count Basie.

• • •

GET A MOVE ON!

Michael Rotondo lived in a room at his parents’ house for 8 years. Then they finally had enough. After two earlier warnings, they gave him $1100 and this note:

1) Organize the things you need for work and to manage an apartment…

2) Sell the other things you have that have any significant value, (e.g. stereo, some tools etc.). This is especially true for any weapons you may have. You need the money and will have no place for the stuff.

3) There are jobs available even for those with a poor work history like you. Get one – you have to work!

4) If you want help finding a place your Mother has offered to help you.”

Michael still didn’t get the message, so mom and dad took him to court. And won their case. A judge ordered the 30-year old man to hit the road.

After court, Rotondo told reporters he plans to appeal the case and finds the ruling “ridiculous.” Of course he does.

• • •

YIKES! THE WORM HAS TURNED!

Well of course, given the state of the world today, it’s only natural to learn that —

GIANT PREDATORY WORMS HAVE BEEN INVADING FRANCE!!!

According to Business Insider:

The worms are part of a group of predatory species known as hammerhead flatworms, which grow to over a foot long. They prey on earthworms in the soil and produce a potent cocktail of chemicals to immobilize their prey.

Justine and Gros identified three species — which mostly turned up in France’s warmer south — that they now believe have been in the country since at least 1999.

Scientists like Justine are worried about the effects these invasive species can have on local critters. Earthworms are crucial for aerating soil and ensuring agriculturally productive land. When new predators are introduced, like the giant flatworms, it can throw the whole, delicate ecosystem out of whack.

The Hammerhead Flatworms would be an awesome name for a rock band, by the way. And just think of the graphics they could use.

• • •

A FEW NOTES OF NOTE (AND NOT)…

I believe that this is the kind of language that ought to be required in all international diplomacy:

“The U.S. has tried various political, economic, military and propaganda undertakings to hit the Islamic Republic” throughout its four decades, the nation’s top religious leader told a gathering of officials on Wednesday. But “all these plots failed. Like the famous cat in Tom and Jerry they will lose again.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Farewell Philip Roth.

Philip Roth, the prolific, protean, and often blackly comic novelist who was a pre-eminent figure in 20th-century literature, died on Tuesday night at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 85.

In the course of a very long career, Mr. Roth took on many guises — mainly versions of himself — in the exploration of what it means to be an American, a Jew, a writer, a man. He was a champion of Eastern European novelists like Ivan Klima and Bruno Schulz, and also a passionate student of American history and the American vernacular. And more than just about any other writer of his time, he was tireless in his exploration of male sexuality.

Charles McGrath, NYT

Shane Claiborne and Christians like him are a danger to our children. That’s why Claiborne received a letter from the chief of police at Liberty University warning that if he set foot on the property, he would be arrested for trespassing and face up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

When Claiborne and other “Red Letter” Christians held a revival in the Trump/evangelical stronghold of Lynchburg, VA, the university and its president Jerry Falwell Jr. banned him from campus, refused to allow any “Red Letter” groups to meet on campus, forbade the student newspaper from covering the event, and did not answer Claiborne’s correspondence. “An organization has a duty to the parents to protect their kids,” said the Rev. Jonathan Falwell.

Only about 350 people ended up attending the revival, including a dozen Liberty students.

Mr. Claiborne still wanted to lead a group onto the Liberty campus and hold a prayer vigil — or at least leave a gift for Mr. Falwell, who had just opened a new $3.2 million gun range on campus. Mr. Claiborne had ready a hand plow that he made from a melted-down handgun, a literal following of the Bible’s instruction to “beat swords into plowshares.”

They decided instead that the Liberty police would not dare arrest an 83-year-old. So that afternoon, the Rev. Tony Campolo, co-founder of the Red Letter Christians, entered the front door of Thomas Road Baptist Church, and left a red box with the bewildered receptionist.

Inside the box, tied with a ribbon, was a stack of prayers, written on index cards, from the participants of the revival.

“Dear Liberty, I am praying for your campus,” said one. “The Jesus in the Bible speaks of love and acceptance. I hope you learn to speak of this too.”

Laurie Goodstein, New York Times

A sobering assessment:

Humankind is revealed as simultaneously insignificant and utterly dominant in the grand scheme of life on Earth by a groundbreaking new assessment of all life on the planet.

The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things, according to the study. Yet since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds.

Damian Carrington, The Guardian

Paige Patterson is out.

Paige Patterson, who has been under fire for weeks over his past advice to women concerning marital abuse and rape, has been quietly replaced as president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Patterson has been on the defensive since allegations surfaced that he once counseled women who suffered marital abuse to pray for their husbands. The Washington Post on Tuesday also reported an incident in which Patterson allegedly told a woman who said she had been raped to forgive her assailant rather than report the incident to police.

“After much prayer and a more than 13-hour discussion regarding challenges facing the Institution, including those of enrollment, financial, leadership and institutional identity, the Board determined to move in the direction of new leadership for the benefit of the future mission of the Seminary,” the Board of Trustees said in a statement early Wednesday.

The board said it voted to appoint Patterson as “President Emeritus with compensation, effective immediately, which he accepted.” In his place, it appointed D. Jeffrey Bingham, dean of the school of theology at the Fort Worth-based seminary, as interim president.

Scott Neuman, NPR

• • •

FINALLY, A COMMERCIAL FOR INTERNET MONK

We’ll conclude with a rarity today — an update on our ongoing need for finances here at Internet Monk.

As you know, we don’t talk about this much, but we rely on the generosity of our IM community to keep this blog going. It doesn’t take a lot of money each month, but we do have to pay for our web hosting and some security features. Two very small parts of our budget go to obtaining resources that provide fodder for our discussions and, on occasion, gifts for saying “thank you” to some of the people who help us here.

Occasionally our funds get a bit low, and this is one of those times. No pressure, no wretched urgency, but if any of you could spare a few bucks to help us, that would be appreciated. The easiest way to do that is to use the “DONATE” button at the top right of the page. If you would prefer another method, email me.

In advance, thank you.

Comments

  1. Robert F says:

    Throckmorten booted from Patheos, Claiborne banned from Liberty under threat of arrest and jail term — two examples of the fundamentalist hegemony in American culture, brought to you by those who claim to be persecuted by secular America.

    • Throckmorten is one of two bloggers I regularly read at Patheos. Otherwise, for the most part, it’s a snake-bed of white Christian Fundyism.

    • Patriciamc says:

      I hope Scot McKnight is able to move his blog to a more friendly site.

    • I was disappointed to hear the news about Warren Throckmorton being booted from Patheos. Then again, I have no clue as to why they added a discredited pastor like Mark Driscoll. I was unaware that K.P. Yohannon was also blogging for them. Adding those two undermines Patheos’ credibility.

      As for current (as of now) Patheos bloggers, I read Jesus Creed and sometimes read Preventing Grace (Anne Kennedy), though I frequently disagree with the latter. Both Ms. Kennedy, an Anglican priest, and her husband Matt are fans of Mark Dever, John MacArthur and Doug Wilson. Years ago I heard Matt Kennedy preach as a young seminarian in Virginia; I’m wondering why he took such a different theological path after graduating.

      • Patriciamc says:

        A female Anglican priest is a fan of John MacArthur and Doug Wilson??? They certainly wouldn’t be fans of hers being a mere female stepping put of her “place.”

    • If you read at Patheos, what you mostly–and increasingly–read are ads and clickbait.

  2. Robert F says:

    it’s too late
    for an old man to be awake
    or to go to bed

  3. craig volker says:

    First they came for the Alt-Right, and I did not speak out —
    Because I was Antifa.

    Then they came for the Christians, and I did not speak out —
    Because I was SBNR.

    Then they came for the cisgender white males, and I did not speak out —
    Because I had checked my privilege.

    Then they came for me—
    so I shot them. Hail Trump!

  4. …and meanwhile the sun is shining in Ireland. Good morning all!

    • Robert F says:

      Good morning, James, and all of Ireland, land of the historic vote being counted as we comment.

  5. Baseball is not the only sport to have musical connections – did you know that the first football* song was written by no less a composer than Edward Elgar? A man whose dedication was such that he would cycle from his home outside Worcester to watch his team 30-odd miles away in Wolverhampton?

    * that’s real 11-a-side kick-the-ball football, not the version of Rugby League for wusses known as “American football”

    • As the guy more often than not selected 10th or 11th for a 9 -person team, my favorite baseball hymn has been John Fogerty’s “Centerfield.” I still hum it from time to time. I now see it used in a delightful commercial promoting young women’s baseball leagues.

      “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play . . .everyday ..”

      . . . not a bad prayer, either!

    • Rick Ro. says:

      –> “did you know that the first football* song was written by no less a composer than Edward Elgar?”

      Wow! I have some of his music on CD, but didn’t know that about him!

  6. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    “””The board said it voted to appoint Patterson as “President Emeritus with compensation, effective immediately, which he accepted.” “”””

    I want to get fired – and still get paid. FYI, he also go to keep his new house on campus.

    How do I get a gig like that? No Career Councilor ever mentioned that as a possibility. Yet I’ve now seen several instances of that in 3 decades of adulthood.

    • Robert F says:

      You have to know the right people.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “One Hand Washes the Other…”

        • Robert F says:

          An old Sicilian saying! Are you Italian, goomba?

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Only half.
            But the expression is also used generically to justify corruption, so…

            • I’m half Italian; I think Robert F is too. My mother said that when my grandfather didn’t like another Italian person back in Hartford he’d call them Sicilian.

              • Robert F says:

                Actually, I’m 100% Italian by heritage, though born in the U.S. My dad was born in the rural area outside of the city of Reggio Calabria, right across from Sicily, so I assume we have Sicilian blood. My mom’s family came from Bari, though she was born here too.

                • It was Bari we were talking about a while back. I knew we had something Italian in common. My mom’s parents came from Bari, although her mother may have also lived in Castellaneta. They moved to Connecticut probably around 1910.

    • That’s what comes of deification in the SBC…

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        So Diety was a career option?!?! Darn it, totally missed that one.

    • Professional sports is full of this. I suspect Patterson had a contract. And this may be cheaper (not to mention more “politically” acceptable) than trying to negotiate a “buy out”.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I want to get fired – and still get paid. FYI, he also go to keep his new house on campus.

      And his stained-glass window in the Holy of Holies.

    • Patriciamc says:

      Oh yes, gets to keep his fancy house, and he’s going to be called a Theologin in Residence.

      Many have known for some time that there’s something deeply, deeply wrong with SBC culture.

    • Reading between the lines of the Paige Patterson saga, with a little insight from The Wartburg Watch…

      The petition of concerned people who demanded Patterson’s ouster has a vague and dubious source, and his sexist remarks may not be the real reason behind it. Patterson has been outspoken against the rise of calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention (he says that he respects those who hold such beliefs, but they should become Presbyterians) and the originators of the petition may have timed it with the rise of the metoo movement. Patterson’s sexist remarks are nothing new, turns out.

      This may be only another conspiracy theory, or it could be that dirty tricks helping boost the old boy out.

      • Christiane says:

        for reference, check out Istoria Ministries (Wade Burleson’s blog) . . . . the last several posts are a gold-mine of information and background, and Wade will answer questions from bloggers, which helps if something is confusing

  7. senecagriggs says:

    One of my few regrets: I did not serve in the military.

    Friends did and for that I honor them.

    • Robert F says:

      At least you have more regrets than Frank Sinatra did (“too few to mention”).

      • senecagriggs says:

        Thanks; I read the article.

        “The soldier will crush the theologian.” Interesting

        • Robert F says:

          He’s including evangelical theologians in that statement, you know, even the most martial.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Remember the Beast (corrupt political system) and the False Prophet (corrupt religious system)?

          Which is the Boss and which is the Flunky?

          • Robert F says:

            Interesting that Revelation never once uses the title Antichrist.

            • Christiane says:

              🙂

              St. John was not a fundamentalist, apparently.

              • He does use the term “antichrist” in 1st John chapter 2, but it’s “many” antichrists, and they’ve already come.

                I’ve never had him pegged as a fundamentalist, though.

      • This theory actually makes sense. If you conflate the church and the state (as the “America is a Christian nation” camo does), then martyrdom in the classic sense is excluded. So that terminology and spiritual category gets ported over to military aervice.

        • Robert F says:

          Martyrdom in the classic sense is excluded, and the spiritual aspiration for it is transferred over to the “martyrdom” of cloistered life under vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience.

          • I can’t think of worse material for the monastic life than modern Americans. :-/

            • Robert F says:

              I’m thinking of the inception of the conflated state and church, with Constantine.

            • Robert F says:

              Note that both monasticism and military life require asceticism.

              • Christiane says:

                there is a certain ‘asceticism’ encouraged in Catholic life . . . . . strongly encouraged . . . . . I suspect it is seen as ‘character building’ against the times of real temptation

            • I’ve figured its been the ascetics praying at monasteries and convents through the centuries that have gotten us through the horrors resulting from our abandoned commitments to brotherly love. Modern American life surely gives them plenty to pray for today.

              Kierkegaard says this: “The monastery is an essential dialectical element in Christianity. We therefore need it out there like a navigation buoy at sea in order to see where we are . . . But if there really is true Christianity in every generation, there must also be individuals who have this need.”

              Bless them for being on the fire watch.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              Careful, Eeyore.

              You’re starting to sound like those editorials in late Cold War-era Guns & Ammo and Soldier of Fortune sneering at “spoiled rotten baby-fat Americans” vis-a-vis Rugged Communist Supermen. Or the “Communist Rules for Revolution” urban legend whose chorus/refrain goes “Destroy their Ruggedness”.

              Also, are you EO? Because Net EOs seem to have this fixation about Monastics as the Most Holy and Faithful of Christians. (Which starts drifting into the heresy of Clericalism.)

              • Burro [Mule] says:

                This usually lasts about as long as it takes to meet some actual monastics.

                I wish I would have had the option, though, as a 35 year old single man in a Reformed church. Protestants as a rule don’t know what to do about singles.

                • Robert F says:

                  Are you saying that the only, or most suitable, life for singles, is monasticism? What if they have no calling either to marriage, or a monastic vocation? How do you know that the majority of singles don’t have a calling to either? Isn’t there a great danger of people entering either estate, without being called into them? I think many problems arise out of people entering marriage without being suited for it; in former times, there must have been many people in monasticism, as well as the priesthood, who didn’t really belong there, with problems in tow.

                  • Burro (Mule) says:

                    There are always problems. The proliferation of lifestyle choices made possible by our current prosperity, although it does makes us more comfortable, does not appear to have made us happier.

                    At least not any more grateful.

                    • Robert F says:

                      Of course we have no way of knowing how happy or unhappy, grateful or ungrateful, people were in Western Europe under the feudal lords and the medieval Church, or in Russia under the Czar and Orthodoxy, although we do know they were much less comfortable. So let’s just idealize and romanticize it, and pretend we know that they were happier and more grateful.

                      I thought you conservatives were on the side of truth over feelings? Suddenly happiness matters to you?

                • Burro defending me against HUG… my, life is full of surprises. 😉

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                  I remember something from Fr Orthcuban. About how the characteristically-EO way to flake out is the “Monk-a-Bee” or “Wanna-be Monastic” — dressing like a Monk, going as ascetic as possible (approaching St Rose of Lima) and spending 24/7/365 in Prayer and Devotions Devotions Devotions. i.e. More Monastic than an actual Monk. All without actually taking vows or placing yourself under the authority of a Bishop or Abbot. Very hard on any spouse or family.

              • Radagast says:

                or Quietism for those who went too far in contemplation…

          • Dana Ames says:

            RobertF,

            See what Mule says in response to HUG.

            In addition, in EO marriage itself is viewed as askesis that leads to martyrdom, because married couples are to be focused on giving oneself up for the other in love for God and one another, and therefore as a witness to Christ’s power in conquering death.

            Askesis is for everyone, not only the “superspiritual” monastics.

            Dana

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              In addition, in EO marriage itself is viewed as askesis that leads to martyrdom…

              Don’t know “askesis” (I’m not up on Greek theological terminology), but you also find “Marriage as Martyrdom” in a LOT of songs, sitcoms, and general folk Conventional Wisdom.

      • Christianity overcame pagan Rome by nonviolence.

        But when Christianity became the religion of the Empire, then the stoic and political virtues of the Empire began to supplant the original theological virtues of the first Christians. The heroism of the soldier supplanted the heroism of the martyr—though there was still a consecrated minority, the monks, who kept the ideal of charity and martyrdom in first place.

        The ideal of self-sacrifice was never altogether set aside—on the contrary! But it was transferred to a new sphere. Now the supreme sacrifice was to die fighting under the Christian emperor. The supreme self-immolation was to fall in battle under the standard of the Cross. In the twelfth century even monks took up the sword, and consummated their sacrifice of obedience by dying in battle against infidels, against heretics.

        Unfortunately, they also fought other monks, and this was not necessarily regarded as virtue. But it does show what comes of living by the sword!

        Christian chivalry was the fruit of a union between Chris­tian faith and Roman, Frankish, or Germanic valor. In other words, Christians did here what they also did elsewhere: they adopted certain non-Christian values and “baptized” them, consecrating them to God. Christianity might just as well have turned to the East and “baptized” the nonmilitant, contemplative, detached, and hieratic institutions of the Ori­ent. But by the time Christianity was ready to meet Asia and the New World, the Cross and the sword were so identified with one another that the sword itself was a cross. It was the only kind of cross some conquistadores understood.

        There was no further thought of Christianizing the ideals and institutions of these ancient civilizations: only of destroy­ing them, and bringing their people into subjection to the militant Christianity of Europe. Hence the strange paradox that certain spiritual and largely nonviolent ideologies which were in fact quite close to the Gospel were attacked and coerced in the name of Christ by the Christian soldier who was often no longer a Christian except in name: for he was violent, greedy, self-complacent, and supremely contemptu­ous of anything that was not a perfect reflection of himself.

        (From Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander by Thomas Merton, pg. 101, 1966, Doubleday)

        • Clay Crouch says:

          I’m not convinced that Christianity overcame pagan Rome by nonviolence. I’m pretty sure it was Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus and he was many things, but nonviolent wasn’t one of them. But what do I know? Most of the professing Christian Church venerates him as saint.

          It wouldn’t surprise me if the American evangelical wing of Christianity venerates Donald J. Trump as their first saint.

          • Constantine made Christianity legal empire wide in 313 and gave it a lot of support but it was a somewhat later emperor, Theodosius I, who made it the state religion in the 380s. Constantine’s family was known for a lot of internal family violence. He killed his son and second wife. Two of his remaining sons [Constantine and Constantius] slaughtered most of the male members of the family (descendants of the first Constantine’s father) except for a younger brother, Constans (who was a minor and co-emperor with them) and three young cousins, Julian (about 5 at the time), Constantius Gallus (about 10 at the time) and Nepotianus (who was the son of a daughter so probably not perceived as much a threat). Constans later defeated and killed his brother Constantine. Constans in turn was defeated and killed by a non-family member, Magnentius, who also killed Nepotianus. From the east Constantius then defeated Magnentius and became sole emperor but lacking direct male heirs first promoted Constantius Gallus to Caesar (i.e., junior emperor) then killed him and then promoted Julian to Caesar in 355. Julian was put in charge of the west and in 360 was proclaimed an Augustus (or senior emperor) by his troops. Constantius had worries in the east and couldn’t turn his attention to the west until 361 but died before engaging Julian; his last action was to name Julian his successor (Julian was apparently the last male descendant of the first Constantine’s father). Julian renounced Christianity but didn’t rule long; he was the last non-Christian emperor. The first Constantine’s sons had enacted various laws suppressing pagan practices and restricting Jews as well as favoring Christian clergy (exemption from public services and taxes).

            • Clay Crouch says:

              Point taken re: Thodosius I. But Constantine made it a fait accompli.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              Constantine’s family was known for a lot of internal family violence. He killed his son and second wife. Two of his remaining sons [Constantine and Constantius] slaughtered most of the male members of the family (descendants of the first Constantine’s father) except for a younger brother, Constans (who was a minor and co-emperor with them) and three young cousins, Julian (about 5 at the time), Constantius Gallus (about 10 at the time) and Nepotianus (who was the son of a daughter so probably not perceived as much a threat). Constans later defeated and killed his brother Constantine. Constans in turn was defeated and killed by a non-family member, Magnentius, who also killed Nepotianus.

              Welcome to the world of Imperial Family Politics,
              Where Dagger and Poison are Queen.

              “A cold Iron Throne
              Holds a boy barely grown;
              His crown based on Lies,
              YOU WIN OR YOU DIE,
              Game of Thrones…”

              • Robert F says:

                Welcome to the world of the Hatfields and the McCoys, all good Bible-believing Christians.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                  All that means is they make long prayers for justification.
                  “DEUS VULT!”

        • Dana Ames says:

          I wonder how much Fr Louis/Tom knew about Eastern Christianity. What he says pertains to the West, but even though there was lots of intrigue in the Byzantine court, elsewhere in the ERE things were different. The eastern emperors tended to not impose Christianity on those they conquered, AFAIK.

          Dana

        • Norma Cenva says:

          Too bad Merton didn’t go far enough and call nonsense on Augustine’s provision for a ‘Just War’.
          There is no such thing as a ‘Just War’
          There is only war and the waging of war.
          (my opinion)

          • Some understand that Merton did call “nonsense on Augustine’s provision for a ‘Just war’.”

            “The God of peace is never glorified by human violence.” (Merton)

            https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/making-difference/challenging-just-war-theory

            And, another source;

            Throughout his adult life, Merton consistently maintained an antiwar mentality. As a Columbia undergraduate in the mid-1930s, he took the Oxford Pledge never to participate in any war. After his conversion to Catholicism in 1938, he acquainted himself with the Christian “just war” theory and began to question Christians’ involvement in any war.

            The Vietnam War, which Merton referred to as “an overwhelming atrocity,” served as the chief impetus for his speculation on the Christian philosophy of war. With his usual dialectical approach, he treated the subjects of war and peace in numerous articles, essays, and books. He never formulated a tightly constructed, completely developed theory as such, but his writings taken together as a continuum form a philosophy, or better yet, a way of nonviolence, based on his critique of war and search for peace.

            Merton believed and stated unequivocally that “the root of all war is fear,” not so much the fear people
            have of one another as “the fear they have of everything.” He stated as early as 1949 that “it is not merely that they do not trust one another; they do not even trust themselves.”

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      I was called up to the military, but got a deferment as I went to university first. While there conscription was ended (this was back in SA).

      I have known the military to have positive affects on some, and very negative on others. Some people learn discipline etc. Others learn hatred and substance abuse. It really is a mixed bag.

      What I do not understand is the fetishization of military service in general (not talking about specific sacrifices, that is very understandable and commemorable). But putting on a uniform and doing things without questioning does not make you something special. If it is about saving lives, I would think that sanitation workers, especially sewage plant workers, save far, far more lives. Disease is a bigger killer than most….

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Yep, this.

      • Robert F says:

        If it is about saving lives, I would think that sanitation workers, especially sewage plant workers, save far, far more lives. Disease is a bigger killer than most….

        Cleanliness is next to Godliness, but killing is divine (at least in some theologies)….

      • John barry says:

        Klasie, I will now think of sanitation workers especially those in the elite sewage worker field every time I hear The Battle Hymn of the Republic. No doubt the sewage workers are given the bad end of the stick and what about the untouchables in India, no Elliot Nest untouchables there.

        I guess you could go to Arlington Gettysburg, Flanders Field, Normandy, Iwo Jima and , all the military graveyards in Europe, Pacific and Asia and dedicate a portion of the hollowed ground to the unheralded sanitation workers who stormed the Normandy beaches June 25 1944 to clean up.
        .

        Make makes someone special is putting on a uniform to defend others your country deems a threat, to free those who cannot free themselves, protect the values of Western civilization and to be part of something greater than yourself. Certainly it is an unselfish act that the graveyards all over the world testify to. How foolish were the men at Shiloh who could have stayed home and worked at the water treatment plant.

        Shakespeare got in right in Henry V play, the St. Crispin Day Band of Brother speech. I do not like overused , trite, platitudes but like Harry the King said you just had to be there and if you were not there you will never really know or really understand.

  8. Richard Hershberger says:

    Baseball Americana: I am very much looking forward to this. For anyone in the area July 14 (he writes, 95% sure of the date being correct) my friend John Thorn, the official historian of baseball, will be giving a talk at the Library. Alas, I am committed to be elsewhere that day. But I have talked him him many times and expect to do so again many times. For those less fortunate, this is a great opportunity.

    • Thank you for this, Richard. I am planning my trip. I have contacted the Library to confirm his speaking date.

  9. Richard Hershberger says:

    Throckmorton at Patheos: I first became aware of Patheos when Fred Clark, a/k/a Slacktivist, moved his blog there. My impression of the site was of well-meaning, but not especially clueful: like an over-eager puppy. Part of the idea was to use the site for inter-faith dialogue. This is an admirable goal, but they never had any real idea of how to do this. They instead ended up as a poorly organized blog hosting site, which each blog doing its own thing. With this new development, apparently under different management somewhere along the way, it has gone petty authoritarian. The bloggers must follow an undisclosed set of rules, with swift and final punishment for any violations.

    Any but the most anodyne blogger there should be planning the exit strategy. Fred Clark is openly doing this. I suspect that those pagan and whatever bloggers are safe for the moment. I think Throckmorton hit too close to home with somebody. The pagan blogs are so far outside the world view of that somebody that they aren’t on the radar. But that is just for the moment. Once this sort of thing starts, it is just a matter of time.

    • Patheos is trying to say they warned Throckmorton about the new rules… he says they did not.

      http://www.wthrockmorton.com/2018/05/25/dear-patheos-what-expectations-did-you-have/

      I know who I believe…

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Throckmorton had the gall to discuss the NRA. Patheos’ new owner(s) are NRA fundys.

      • That Other Jean says:

        He has also pretty well taken apart both Mark Driscoll and K. P. Yohannan (Gospel for Asia), both of whom now blog at Patheos. I suspect he trod on a few too many Evangelical toes.

      • Patriciamc says:

        Scot McKnight (Jesus Creed) is critical of the NRA. I supposed the clock’s ticking for him too.

    • Apparently some of the Pagan bloggers left voluntarily when the new owners took over; they didn’t trust them.

      I suspect Warren got booted because he didn’t fit their idea of a proper evangelical but was in the evangelical channel. If he could have been classified as a progressive or another non-evangelical (other than the Catholic channel) he likely would not have been first; those others are useful for the moment since they provide the necessary ‘persecution’ for proper evangelicals but cannot be mistaken as a group having the ’truth’ (at least from the point of view of ‘proper evangelicals’). However Warren is an evangelical and can’t be mistaken for anything else and he is honest enough to pursue the facts even if it means overturning former convictions (e.g., on how to treat homosexuality) or calling out evangelicals engaged in fraud or dubious practices.

      Those next on the chopping block are likely others in the evangelical channel who don’t adhere closely enough to the gatekeepers’ definition of evangelical or to those in other channels who could be ‘mistaken’ for evangelicals. Fred of Slactivist falls in the latter camp though as one of the most popular blogs on patheos probably brings in a fair bit of money (though I have noted that it is rarefly on the front page of the site). Fred is also one that the gatekeepers might see as modifying his future entries to fit the unspoken standards given that his real job is definitely not well paying and every little bit he earns on patheos is needed. “Intra ecclesiam nulla salus” seems to show he will not be intimidated.

  10. It’s cute that the Supreme Leader watches Tom and Jerry…

  11. “GIANT PREDATORY WORMS HAVE BEEN INVADING FRANCE!!!”

    Get Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon over there immediately. 😉

  12. What a sweet deal for Patterson IMO.

    • Christiane says:

      goodness mercy . . . . will he still remain in power as the man behind the curtain pulling the strings?

      a lot of ‘secrets’ in the SBC . . . . it would benefit from some healthy radiant light put on all the shenanigans pulled on women and innocent people by Patterson et al

      maybe it’s time for an SBC Women’s ‘Me Too’ group to form and take a formal stand against the Pattersonian Patriarchists who practice a virulent misogyny and who hide behind their misinterpretation of Scripture while sinning against the Royal Law of Christ

      Women do have power to speak now. And to be heard. And taken seriously. But they have to take a STAND pro-actively and be unafraid to speak the truth. Yes, they will be targeted. But could things be any worse for them than it has been???? This is THEIR time to do what is right and to stand up. They need to think of their daughters AND their sons . . . . . men are harmed by the sin of patriarchy also.

  13. Robert F says:

    Despite my antipathy to Trump, I was hoping that meeting between him and Kim would happen, just on the off-chance that his desire for a Nobel prize to rival Obama’s and his all-around desire to be admired by everybody (even the New York Times and Washington Post), in combination with Kim’s desire to secure his hold on North Korea and life against his own people as well as outside threat, would lead to something really good. You never know. But it seems to me like Bolton and Pence intentionally threw that possibility under the bus and stabbed Trump in the back, by comparing the potential North Korean denuclearization with what happened in Libya, which we all knew beforehand would stoke Kim’s paranoia back into a full-scale conflagration. Both Pence and Bolton don’t mind thermonuclear war, since they subscribe to different versions of the same It’s All Gonna Burn Anyway school of theology; it’s a shame that Trump is too dense to realize his been clothes-lined.

    • Robert F says:

      Correction:….he’s been clothes-lined.

      • Christiane says:

        honestly, Robert F, I’m not sure Trump gets it that thermonuclear war is not an option any of us will survive

        it is said that before the election, he asked ‘if we have nukes, why don’t we use them?’

        We live in dangerous times . . . . for the Republic . . . . . as Trump attacks the very foundations of democracy, our courts, our Justice Dept., our free press, etc. etc. etc.
        ; and for the world as he tows the Russian agenda by suggesting the disbanding of NATO while insulting our allies and breaking our commitments as a leader (former) of the free world . . . .

        I’m thinking we will soon have a war with Iran. I’ve got three family in uniform. I dread what Trump will do next because there is no House oversight to stop him.

        • Norma Cenva says:

          My fervent prayer to the Almighty is that there are sane men in the senior officer corps.
          Men who know full well what our fate will be if beating the war drums spirals out of control.
          I pray that they’ll refuse the orders to arm and launch.

    • John barry says:

      Robert F. I forget, what do Obama do to earn the Nobel Peace Prize?

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        Although decidedly left of centre if one uses the American scale, I gave wondered about that. So I actually went to find the original justification:

        https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2009/press.html

        • Basically, it boils down to “Not Being Bush Jr.” :-/ (I too found it a dubious award, despite being more of an Obama than a Bush fan)

      • senecagriggs says:

        Mr. Obama had been president exactly 14 days when the voting for the Nobel Peace Prize was closed. 14 days.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        It’s called the “F U DUBYA BUSH!” Nobel Prize for a reason.

      • Patriciamc says:

        Actually, nothing, and he should have refused it. The Nobel, though, has always been deeply mired in politics.

      • Robert F says:

        @j.B., Obama did nothing to earn it, as far as I can see. But it’s one thing that Trump can’t take away from Obama by executive order, so the only way is for him to get one himself, which doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Trump has a huge Obama complex going on; whatever he can’t emulate he wants to destroy, and vice versa.

        • John barry says:

          Robert F. Again, some Trump facts I learned at our recent Trump worship service were we watch reruns of his hit NBC show . What good can come from NYC asked many of those waiting for deliverance from the evils of the establishment. As it is not heavily reported by the media here are some Trump accomplishments in spite of the Dems and Rep establishment

          1. Tax Cuts , Job creation
          2. Elimination fo Individual Mandate
          3. Neil Gorsuch, at least there is still a conservative wing of the Supremes who are still trying to replace D. Ross.
          4.Recomrd Judicial Appts in spite of establishment
          5. Historic reduction in illegal immigration
          6.Stopping ISIS
          7.Resurgence of American economy and spirit
          8. Reviving NASA
          9. VA accountability and whistleblower act
          10 NATO reforms and fair pay by allies
          11. North Korea after years of nothing from Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama talk, action moved needle
          12, Iran deal stopped that no one can explain why it was good deal
          13. Moving embassy to Jerusalem like Buch, Clinton, Obama said they would do
          14. Out of Mexico City agreement
          15. Repeal Johnson Amendment
          16. No taxpayer money to abortion
          17. Restored military funding
          18. Unemployment 30 year low
          19 Historic black and Hispanic low unemployment rates

          This is in spite of establishment Republicans and Democrats. What would be stupid as Always Trump of course Never Trump, no one is perfect but we do not mention that at the Trump worship service aka a rally .

          • Robert F says:

            And again: Some of those I do not consider positive achievements, some I do not consider accurate, some I do not consider meaningful in context. But no matter what, he still has the worst case of Obama-envy on the planet, so obvious as to be incontrovertible.

          • The relationship between Presidents and economies is tenuous and long-term. In the current case, his boasting is like buying a farm in July and claiming personal credit for the harvest in August.

            • Conversely, a lot if the crap he’s signing off on will bite us in the @$$ in the future. The financial deregulation under Clinton helped give us the 2008 crash – and what shreds of re-regulation Obama put back in just got repealed. Not thus year, not next year, but five, ten years down t he road… look to your 401ks…

              • John barry says:

                And Obama gave us the Clap—-per. Clap on , Clap off. Would have been better with Walter Brennen running CIA not John.

                Oh I forgot NAFTA and TPP, We will be having dinner on the grounds of Trump Towers, bring a casserole. We do not believe in Saints but if Trump wins again in 2020 we may have to rethink as the miracle was done in 2016.

                Plus if we build a statue of Trump it will have to be in gold and huugh. With Trump all things are possible but not if Congress has to act.

            • Patriciamc says:

              Thank you! People don’t realize that a President doesn’t have a major influence on the economy, even though they all take credit for it when things go right.

          • Robert F says:

            Amazing how many of the “achievements” of Trump you list will be reversible by executive order of the next president of different mind. But Gorsuch and the judges will be damaging for generations, true. Gorsuch alone has given a Supreme Court decision that has severely damaged the power of unions, and could ultimately set labor rights back to early twentieth century conditions. Congratulations, a great achievement for wage slavery there.

          • Do the morals of Trump matter?

            • Robert F says:

              The answer to that from the inheritors of the Moral Majority is, “No — it didn’t matter for Clinton, and it doesn’t matter for Trump. This is politics, and Trump is on our side on the only issues that matter, chief among them abortion. We don’t care how many lies he tells, or even if he shoots Stormy Daniels in the street, as long as he supports our issues.”

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                “The Winner is never asked if he has won fairly — ALL THAT MATTERS IS TO WIN!”
                — A.Hitler, cult leader

          • Patriciamc says:

            How has he revived NASA?

          • John Barry:How did Trump accomplish of what you said by himself?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Both Pence and Bolton don’t mind thermonuclear war, since they subscribe to different versions of the same It’s All Gonna Burn Anyway school of theology

      And anyway, they’ll be watching the warheads detonate from catered box seats in Heaven, laughing and Praising God as the world burns.

      During my time in-country, it was SCRIPTURE! that the Rapture would take us all away just before the first warheads of the opening mass launch detonated (any minute now… any minute now… any minute now…). Do I need to repeat just how dangerous an expectation that is?

      • Robert F says:

        No, Bolton is Lutheran, so no Rapture for him. He has to wait it out on earth, smiting the Satanists in the name of the LAWD!

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Regarding “It’s All Gonna Burn” in general:

          WTF HAPPENED TO OLAM-HA-BA?
          WHEN DID RESURRECTION GET REPLACE BY SOULS IN PETER PAN NIGHTGOWNS FLOATING AROUND FLUFFY CLOUD HEAVEN LIKE SHADES IN HADES? WASN’T THAT THE VERY AFTERLIFE CONCEPT OF FIRST-CENTURY HELLENIC CULTURE THAT SO MANY TOSSED WHEN OFFERED RESURRECTION BY THESE NEW “CHRISTIANS”? THAT HADES AND THANATOS WOULD RELEASE THE DEAD TO LIVE AGAIN?

  14. “Please stop looking at us, so we can keep doing what we do,” said Southwestern.

  15. John barry says:

    It appears the worm has turned in france, where in the earth/world have they been? I know that only the worm who has a death wish gets there early. Could this be the start of global worming? Time to wiggle out of Paris Accords.

    My dog has a big heart for worms, I have been digging for worm info but a worm book is hard to find unless u r Deslexia. I am tired of the press trying to dig up dirt on the big French worms, Do not worry, as they become use to France, they will quit working and certainly not attack.

    Some worms have a certain glow but these appear to be smooth as silk. Luther could have stood not in Worms but on one, then he would be famous.

    I am waiting for the worm to turn as it always does

  16. Rick Ro. says:

    Those naïve French. The should’ve turned those hammerhead flatworms back at the border when they had a chance! Now look what’s going to happen to their country!

  17. At a baseball game with my wife (Texas/Kansas City). Beer and Cracker Jacks. Memorial Day weekend. Thank you veterans.

  18. The behavior of Patheos and of Liberty U is shameful. But unfortunately it’s not unusual for white evangelicalism these days. The collapse Michael envisioned has come, but it’s worse than he envisioned because white evangelicalism hasn’t collapsed as an institution; it has simply rotted spiritually from within and morphed into something monstrous.

    And now Pew has proof, and Fred over at Slacktivist on Patheost today absolutely nailed it. Read his post from today. highly recommend. And click through to the Pew research. It’s chilling. 68% of white evangelical protestants believe America should not welcome refugees and immigrants. That’s higher than any other demographic subgroup. By more than 10 percentage points.

    When you stop loving your neighbor, you stop being the church.

  19. olbaldy says:

    My wife and I visited the battlefield at Shiloh a few years ago and the tears flowed as we reflected on what happened there. We will never forget it.

    • I visited Little Bighorn at sunrise in 1990. As I looked at the indefensible position that Custer and his men retreated to, noticed the strewn markers where soldiers had fallen, then considered how this victory of the Sioux only led to their subjugation and near genocide by Gen. Crook and others…I cried.

      I also cried the first and second times I saw the Vietnam War Memorial. So much wasted life.

      • Rick Ro. says:

        I’ve done Gettysburg and Antietam. Both extremely sobering.

        And yes, whenever I find myself in WDC I visit the Vietnam Wall. Also extremely sobering.

        If you’ve never seen the documentary on its creation, I recommend it! Many people were against Maya Lin and her design.

        https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110480/

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          I’m very familiar with Gettysburg, as one of my writing partners lives near there and I’m usually passing through the battlefield when visiting him.

          I’ve never been to Greasy Grass, though. Where Custer (with his usual overconfidence) got his force strung out all over a ridge where they couldn’t support each other (a BIG no-no, especially when facing an unknown or superior force); at least Reno & Denteen’s troops managed to dig in and survive.

        • Rick, yes, I’ve saw the doc. some years ago and was aware of the controversy relative to Maya Lin’s design. Never heard any controversy after the opening of the memorial.

  20. Vinny from Tennessee says:

    Well, Mike, you took your shot at Trump (coin) and conservative Christians (Liberty U), all in one post. Not a shocker!