November 19, 2017

iMonk News Headlines (July 2011)

iMonk News Headlines (JULY 2011)
A *TFC Production

We start the week off here at iMonk with a look at some of the more interesting stories taking place recently in the world of religion.

• • •

Pastor Joins His Own Satellite Campus
Dallas, TX. “Pastors need to get fed too.” That is why Rev. Blaine Narcis of The Pool is now regularly attending a satellite branch of his own multi-site church.

After preaching the Sunday morning sermon live at Narcis’s main church campus in Dallas, the pastor drives thirty minutes across town and attends a Pool satellite congregation that gathers at a later hour. There he joins them in the worship and watches a video presentation of his own message recorded in the earlier service.

This is one of the first known cases of a pastor going to church to hear himself preach.

Why would Pastor Narcis want to watch his own sermon again? “It’s simple,” he said. “When I’m presenting my teachings in person I am so flooded with the Spirit, so ‘in the zone,’ that I don’t even realize everything I’m saying. God is speaking through me to others and I am simply the channel. But I need to hear that Word too, for my own life. What better way than to go to one of our other Pools so I can watch myself preach? I take notes and everything.”

Narcis said The Pool’s elders are considering recording more of the main service using additional TV cameras so that they can also capture the congregation’s enthusiastic worship for replay at the satellite campuses. That way, he suggested, worshipers from the main church can join him later at another site and watch themselves worship. “That’s how we grow, isn’t it?” he asked.

Episcopal Church to Ordain First Chimp
Orange County, CA. The Diocese of Los Angeles has announced that it will ordain its first chimpanzee into the priesthood of the Episcopal church.

The thirty year old chimp, Cornelius, graduated from an educational program that was patterned after the famous “Project Nim” experiments in which chimps were reared in human environments and taught sign language.

Cornelius, whose family originally came from West Aftrica, was brought up in the home of a professor at an Episcopal seminary who taught him about the Bible, theology, church history, and Episcopal polity. They took the chimp to church regularly as well, immersing him in the worship and life of the congregation and gradually winning acceptance among parishioners that were at first resistant to passing the peace with a chimpanzee.

A member of the “Common Chimpanzee” species (Pan troglodytes), Cornelius came from a social structure of competitive hierarchical relationships dominated by alpha males, unlike other chimps of the Bonobo species (Pan paniscus), who have egalitarian, matriarchal, bisexual, and nonviolent patterns of social interaction. “I had a lot to overcome to fit in with Episcopalians,” Cornelius admitted.

Cornelius does not speak verbally in human language, but has a highly developed capacity to communicate by signing. And he ultimately distinguished himself in the Episcopal church as a model of theological acumen and practical wisdom.

“This is a victory for non-homo sapiens everywhere whom God has called to religious vocations,” proclaimed Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church. “After all, who are we to say that a fellow hominid who shares 94% of our DNA can’t speak God’s Word to us? He is aptly named ‘Cornelius,’ for like the Biblical character he represents a further step toward full inclusion of all creatures in God’s family.”

Though he was not available for a complete interview at this time, Cornelius expressed appreciation that his genus had not prohibited him from participating in the priesthood. However, he also identified himself as more conservative than some in the church hierarchy and was unwilling at this point to consider expanding the same opportunities to include gorillas.

• • •

Hagee to Build Life-Size “Promised Land” in Texas
San Antonio, TX. A megachurch minister has announced plans to bring Israel to Texas. All of it.

Pastor John Hagee, senior pastor at the non-denominational Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, is also the president of Christians United for Israel, which claims to be the largest pro-Israel group in the United States.

Hagee says he had a “vision from God” calling him to communicate the urgency of supporting Israel by the most visible means possible. So he plans to reproduce the land of Israel in its entirety in west central Texas. “It was my ‘Field of Dreams’ moment,” Hagee said.

“Just imagine!” Hagee said with his typical enthusiasm. “The city of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee—we’re going to build it all so that people can come and see—and not just hear—why it is so important to save the Promised Land for the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people.”

Throughout the Land there will be exhibits and attractions portraying the events of Bible history and prophecy. “Wait until you see what we have planned for the Valley of Megiddo!” Hagee said with a twinkle in his eye.

“The Promised Land” will be a fully functioning nation where people live and work and have their own government. Hagee may already have a constituency for populating this new Israel, for Texas has an active and vocal secessionist movement.

Hagee’s plan will involve relocating the entire population of Abilene and the demolition of the city. The project will also swallow up towns over nearly 8000 square miles in the region. Hagee doesn’t think this will be a problem. “God will open the hearts of people to accept this project. There’s room in Texas for many Israels! I think folks will gladly move or sign on to become citizens there, and if not, we are working with our friends at the statehouse to enact legislation requiring them to choose. We have strip of land to the west that we plan to set aside as a walled city where those who refuse to leave will be sent.”

Even now, folks from Hagee’s church are volunteering as “settlers” to move into select areas around Abilene and claim the land for “Israel.”

“Texas is the perfect place for this,” Hagee said. “Texans think big and we like to do things down here no one else has thought of. When you add the power of God to that, anything is possible.”

Hagee explained that there are two main reasons he is initiating this project.

“First,” he said, “It is not safe right now for Christian families to go to Israel. So we thought, ‘Why not provide a fully featured, family-friendly opportunity to experience the Promised Land and everything the Bible teaches from Genesis to Revelation’?”

“Second,” Hagee explained, “This ‘Promised Land’ can serve as a back-up plan for the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. If something happens to the nation of Israel, like Middle East peace or something, there will still be a ‘Land’ where Jesus can go when he returns.”

“Besides,” Hagee said thoughtfully, “I’ve got a lot invested in this prophecy stuff. If the politicians screw it up, we’re gonna need a ‘nation of Israel’ for God to work with.”

• • •

Cops Raid Strange Wrigleyville Cult
Chicago, IL. Police shut down a gypsy-like religious cult that has been moving from place to place in neighborhoods around Wrigley Field today.

The cult, known as the “Santoadolphians,” is known for their illegal practice of sacrificing goats on Weber grills and sharing the meat in beer-drenched common meals called “bleacher feasts” throughout Wrigleyville.

They use apartments of members for their rituals, marking the doors with strands of ivy, cut from the outfield wall at Wrigley Field. In their worship services, Santoadolphian cult members reportedly wear blue face paint, sing Steve Goodman songs, utter imprecations while defacing pictures of Ernie Broglio and Steve Bartman, baptize new converts in tubs of Old Style beer, and use sacred phrases such as “Hey! Hey!” and “Let’s play two today!” and “Holy Cow!” in their litanies.

The goat sacrifice ritual is practiced as a means of overcoming curses that have befallen the Chicago Cubs baseball team for over 100 years now.

Wrigleyville residents also report that their black cats have gone missing only to return days later with “1969” branded on their hindquarters. Curse expert Leon Durham could not be reached for comment, but police suspect the Santoadolphians are responsible.

The group is named after Chicago’s beloved St. Santo and the lesser known St. Adolpho of Panama. He was one of several outfielders pronounced by the late Bishop Leo to be “the next Willie Mays,” only to prove his true vocation was elsewhere.

After the raid on a Waveland Ave. apartment, police led nearly three dozen cult members away. They were heard chanting, “Go Cubs Go,” and onlookers reported they smelled of beer and grilled meat.

A police spokesperson said they are not releasing any names at the moment, and would only comment that the group’s leader identified himself as a “chaplain.”

* 2011. Tongue Firmly in Cheek Productions

Comments

  1. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Okay, “Laugh or Else”. I thought these were sounding really, really WEIRD.

    • dumb ox says:

      Who knows anymore? Case in point: Life-size Noah’s Ark? Truth most often IS stranger than fiction.

      Save us from ourselves, oh great Flying Spaghetti Monster!

      • JoanieD says:

        I have never had any great desire to see the Holy Land because I know it looks so different from the time Jesus walked there. BUT…Scot McKnight posted some photos and I was glad to see that the Jordan River still looked like a river and the distant photos of Jersusalem were not off-putting. (That wall in Bethlehem would bum me out, though. He didn’t have photos of that, but I have seen some online that other people posted.)

        • It did look different!

          From my reading it would appear that Canaan had much the same climate and vegetation as far eastern Oklahoma and/or east Texas — though I think the winters were much milder (though snow wasn’t unheard of in Jerusalem)…no “blue northers” so to speak.

          Climate change is not a new phenomena.

          T

      • Agreed, D-Ox. I didn’t realize it was a parody until the second article (though I have no doubt the chimp would make a better priest than some I met in the Episcopal churches I grew up in). The first one is completely plausible except for the line “one of the first known cases of a pastor going to church to hear himself preach” …

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Who knows anymore? Case in point: Life-size Noah’s Ark? Truth most often IS stranger than fiction.

        I have found through experience that no matter how crazy you get as a joke, there’s going to be some True Believer out there who’s twice as crazy and Dead Serious. After hearing “Proof from SCRIPTURE that Aslan IS The Antichrist”, there’s nothing too weird to be Named and Claimed In God’s Name (TM).

        “The difference between fiction and reality is fiction has to make sense.”
        — attributed to Mark Twain

        • It would be funnier if the inspirations for these satires could actually laugh at themselves. You are right: they are dead serious about this stuff. Oh, well. If you can’t laugh at yourself, the world will still laugh at you.

      • It can be beliveable….eat your HEART out Ken Hamm!!! 😛

    • Excellent!! I thoroughly believed this until we got to Hagee and Texas.

  2. oy vey!!!

    😀

  3. Well, plenty of preachers have been figuratively slinging poo from the pulpits for year. At least the chimp is keeping it real in his poo slinging.

  4. First, shock. Then, horror. Finally, uncontrollable, body-shaking laughter….

    The heat has finally gotten to you, Chaplain Mike!

  5. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    That first one is worthy of the Door.

  6. Don Yeager says:

    Those are great! Thanks for the laugh.
    You should send them to Lark News.

  7. Today being the feast of St. James the Great, one of the Twelve Apostles, brother of St. John, put to the sword at the order of Herod Agrippa, patron saint of Spain, whose shrine (and remains, allegedly) is in Santiago di Compostela – a site of pilgrimage for around one thousand years – here is some extreme thurible swinging with the famous botafumeiro of the Cathedral.

    To quote Rocco Palmo’s post over at “Whispers in the Loggia”:

    “(T)he device is said to measure five feet tall and weigh in at 176 lbs. Filled by shovels, the botafumeiro‘s peak swing sees it hit a height of some 200ft off the cathedral floor at speeds in excess of 40mph.”

    Remember, this thing is filled with hot charcoal to ignite the incense, as it goes swinging over the heads of the pilgrims, on ropes attached to a very old ceiling 😉

  8. Scott Miller says:

    “When I’m presenting my teachings in person I am so flooded with the Spirit, so ‘in the zone,’ that I don’t even realize everything I’m saying. God is speaking through me to others and I am simply the channel.”

    Uck…

    How completely filled with self.

    • He is the Reverend NARCIS of THE POOL, Scott.

      Hmmm – Narcis. Pool. Now where have I heard of something similar before? 😉

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “When I’m presenting my teachings in person I am so flooded with the Spirit, so ‘in the zone,’ that I don’t even realize everything I’m saying. God is speaking through me to others and I am simply the channel.”

      Legba has opened de gate, and de Loa mount de horses and ride ride ride…”

  9. JoanieD says:

    These are great, Chaplain Mike. So funny! Did you know that Rachel Held Evans picked your last satirical piece (Group Seeks Genesis Ban) as the best satire of the week for that week of internet postings? Good choice!

    Hey, what does the “TFC” in “TFC Production” stand for? (My mind is coming up with a number of unprintable things!)

  10. Richard McNeeley says:

    In the words of Harry Caray “You know they’re not going to lose 162 consecutive games.”

    • This is the Cubs. Never say never.

    • cermak_rd says:

      And I believe Steve Stone once stated, every team is going to win 60 and lose 60…it’s those other 60 that matter. I think the Pirates might’ve actually muffed the win 60 a while back.

    • While I know nothing of the Cubs, I can sympathise with your pain.

      All-Ireland Hurling semi-finals are coming up. Reading newsheadlines online Sunday evening, was gratified to see that Waterford had won their quarter-final and made it through to the semis.

      “Though we always do that, then end up meeting Kilkenny in the semis and getting hammered so we have no chance of making it to the final”, I think to myself. “Wonder who we’ll be playing this time?”

      Read further down – who will we be playing in the semifinals?

      Kilkenny!

      Argh! The match won’t even be played until 7th August, and already I know we’re going to be beaten!

  11. MelissaTheRagamuffin says:

    Seriously, Mike, are you trying to get a job working for the Onion?

  12. Sadly, it wasn’t until I got to about the third story that it dawned on me that there is some humor at play. Either I’m slow, or the plausibility is only slightly stretched in terms of the Episcopal and multi-campus churches. 😛

  13. David Cornwell says:

    None of those would surprise me greatly if they turned into actual headlines. Everyday something new and amazing comes from our clergy.

    Thanks for the fun!

  14. I definitely thought the first one was real. The quotes from the chimp in the second article, however, aroused my suspicions.

    You should throw a real one in there next time and see if people can guess which one it is.

  15. I don’t laugh as much as I would like, but Chaplain Mike brought spontaneous guffaws.

  16. the Hagee piece may not be a stretch. i’m sure he could easily afford it…

  17. Mike, you’ve got way too much time on your hands…

    Nice dig at Jefferts Schori, though. You gonna fry.

  18. dumb ox says:

    Better a chimp than the equestian hind quarters occupying the stage of most big-name megachurches.

  19. Speaking of theological satire, check out today’s (25 July) entry at Dan Wilbur’s Better Book Titles site …

  20. Rawhider says:

    Don’t Laugh it’s all true you can’t make this stuff up ,I mean it all fits this is prophecy

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “It’s Prophesied,
      It’s Prophesied,
      What happens when
      Your brains are fried…”

      • Because of you, HUG, I Googled those lyrics, found that stupid, stupid Third Eagle of the Apocalypse video and listened to it for the first 51 seconds. *sigh* You should repent for causing this.

  21. Pam Burns says:

    Tongue in cheek though it be, I wouldn’t put it past the Episcopal Church to ordain a chimp and that’s just one more reason I left the Episcopal Church and became Anglican.

    • Steve in Toronto says:

      The wonderful American science fiction writer Connie Willis has written a lovely short story “Samaritan” about an orangutan that wishes to be Baptized. I can’t recommend it highly enough it can be found in her excellent anthology “Fire Watch” The title story is about a time traveling academic who instead of traveling with saint Paul as he planed ends up watching over Saint Paul’s cathedral during the blitz.

  22. Ya had me going!

  23. I almost Googled “Cornelius chimp”. Almost 🙂

  24. cermak_rd says:

    I got Narcis at the Pool. I knew we’ve never seen evidence that Chimps could independently convey complex thoughts via and human to animal form of communication. The promised land in Texas, I could completely accept, and think it would solve a few problems. The last story, I could totally believe! Especially if an aged, scholarly looking gent (my father) was hanging around with the scurvy chaplain and yelling in a falsetto tone (oh no!) at a TV screen that had a game ongoing.

    Do they still sing the blues in Chicago…

    And seriously, Keith Moreland should love Steve Goodman. Without Steve, Keith would’ve been forgotten a long time ago (although now, he’s known for a different gig), instead he’s been immortalized (“have Keith Moreland drop a routine fly”)

    • JSturty says:

      1969 almost killed me. I was a junior in college, and spent the fall watching the Cub’s lead in the NL leak away. I had been a fan as long as I remembered. I played shortstop on my little league team and wore number 14. (Ernie Banks) My grandfather and I would sit on the porch and listen to WGN while my grandmother served us lemon-lime Kool-aid and we spent our summer afternoons listening to the Cubs. Then along came 1969. Now I am a grandfather and the other day I watched the Cubs play the Phillies-they lost, of course, on tv with my little grandson. As the Phillies increased their lead inning by inning, my grand-son turned to me and asked, “Grand-dad, why are you a Cub fan?” My first thought was-“Heck if I know!” But then I looked at his toused red hair and blue eyes, sitting beside me with a cup of root beer he is now allowed to have except in these special moments, and I said, “Because of you, son, because of you.

  25. cermak_rd says:

    … but what do you expect when you raise up a young boy’s dreams and then crush them like so many paper beer cups year after year after year after year after year after year. Until those dreams are just so much popcorn for pigeons beneath the el tracks to eat.

  26. The Guy from Knoxville says:

    Hagee…… when will the insanity stop??!!??!! First you have a “pastor” from Lebanon, TN thanking God for “his smokin hot wife” and other things at a NASCAR race a-la Talladega Nights then tells folks on FOX News that he doesn’t like “cookie cutter prayers” – go figure….. and lower and lower goes the baptist church. Now Hagee wants to re-create Israel in west Texas in its entirety and you watch – anyone critical of it is missing the vision, shaking their fist in the face of God and be damned and doomed forever. When are folks going to finally stand up and say enough is enough! The folks at his church should be able to see this for what it is and find another place to attend church.

    Folks, I just can’t take much more of this stuff….. I’m pretty much over it! God help us………..

    • JoanieD says:

      It was all a joke, The Guy from Knoxville.

      I particularly got a kick out of:
      “Second,” Hagee explained, “This ‘Promised Land’ can serve as a back-up plan for the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. If something happens to the nation of Israel, like Middle East peace or something, there will still be a ‘Land’ where Jesus can go when he returns.”

      Funny!!

  27. Steve in Toronto says:

    The wonderful American science fiction writer Connie Willis has written a lovely short story “Samaritan” about an orangutan that wishes to be Baptized. I can’t recommend it highly enough it can be found in her. excellent anthology “Fire Watch” The title story is about a time traveling academic who instead of traveling with saint Paul as he planed end up watching over Saint Paul’s cathedral during the blitz.