October 18, 2017

Saturday Brunch, April 29, 2017

Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend! Ready for some 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.”

Maybe we’ll skip the hash browns for this one. At least three brands of hash browns have been recalled for containing “extraneous golf ball material” (as opposed to the “essential golf ball materials” you usually get in your breakfast foods). Now, I know what you’re thinking: How, exactly, did golf balls get into hash browns? According to the company, the golf balls may have been “inadvertently harvested”. Oh. I can see that. I mean, harvesting golf balls isn’t easy (if they’re not ripe enough they mess up the combine). In any case, Doctors say if you’ve already eaten them its best just to let them play through.

bon appétit!

For the first time, Russia has been placed on the list of religious freedom violators by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which flags religious freedom violators for the State Department. Russia is the only country whose repression of religious freedom has intensified and expanded since USCIRF began monitoring it, officials said. Last week, Russia’s Supreme Court officially banned Jehovah’s Witnesses nationwide after several years of blacklisting their materials and shutting down regional centers. The report also detailed persecutions of religious minorities in newly annexed Crimea. Vladimar Putin issued a heartfelt response:

More than $43 million in U.S. dollar notes was uncovered in an apartment in Nigeria by the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday. The agency said it stormed the seventh floor of a residential building and entered into the apartment where they found three fireproof cabinets hidden inside a dresser. The cabinets were full of neatly packaged bills.

The poor guy had been trying to give it away for years, but no-one would reply to his emails…

In the Entertainment-Industrial Complex the big winner was The Fate of the Furious, which took in over half a billion internationally its first weekend. Other directors are now trying to figure out  how to add a submarine-car chase to their next movie.

Next sequel they fight a starship. And Godzilla.

United Airlines was in the news again. They settled the “Drag the Doc” lawsuit for an “amiable amount”. Then one of their flights had to make an emergency landing in Costa Rica after an engine overheated.  And, in a lethal pun, a 3 foot rabbit died on flight from London to O’Hare (or, in Unitedspeak, he was “permanently re-accommodated”).  The young rabbit was expected to become the largest in the world at full maturity (his father was 4’4″).  Captain E. Fudd said he had no idea what happened to the “wascally wabbit”.

Fox News is also continuing to make headlines. First, of course, their CEO, Roger Ailes had to resign because of sexual harassment. Same thing for their biggest star, Bill O Reilly. This week CNN reported that a federal investigation of Fox is widening. The Feds have been looking into whether or not past payments (read: hush money) to former female employees were properly disclosed.

Fox News right now

Speaking of the Feds, they also raided the offices of Benny Hinn on Wednesday. A local news chanel in Grapevine, Texas reported that “a large number of agents” were seen carrying boxes in and out of Hinn’s offices, beginning at about 9 a.m. “It looked like a big raid — people everywhere, police people everywhere out there, and just rushing in,” said John Ebert, who works next door.

By the way, one of the articles about this linked to this jewel of a video, where Jesse Duplantis and Kenneth Copeland defend their need for privates jets. Enjoy:

The president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary apologized for a photo of white professors posing as rappers that appeared on Twitter and was instantly deemed racist.

“As all members of the preaching faculty have acknowledged, this was a mistake, and one for which we deeply apologize,” said Paige Patterson in a lengthy statement, “Racism IS a Tragic Sin.” “Sometimes, Anglo Americans do not recognize the degree that racism has crept into our lives.”

The picture featured senior School of Preaching faculty members gesturing and wearing bandannas and chains and was labeled “Notorious S.O.P.” One of them appears to hold a handgun. Your thoughts: On a scale of 1 to David Duke, how racist is this?

If I was rapper, I might be more annoyed with the pleated khakis and the necktie under the jersey.

This is disappointing. One of Barack Obama’s first post-presidency speeches will be to a Wall Street firm, for which he will be paid $400,000. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Wall Street critic, says she is “troubled” by Obama’s decision. She decried money in politics as a “snake that slithers through Washington” and distinguished between campaign contributions, which are documented by the Federal Election Commission, compared to the kind of money that flows to think tanks and lobbyists.

On Saturday, the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council elected 13 new members by secret ballot to join the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women in its mission to promote “gender equality and the empowerment of women.”  One new member: Saudi Arabia, which ranks 141st out of 144 countries in terms of gender equality. No, I am not making this up. You might remember that Saudi Arabia also has a seat on the Human Rights Council, the United Nations’ premier human rights body. I mention that because on Tuesday Saudi Arabia sentenced a man to death for renouncing Islam.

“These photo’s capture something we always see, but never can observe’. What a beautiful and intriguing sentence. The photos in question are those taken with ultraviolet-induced visible fluorescence (UVIVF). This involves using high-intensity UV lights to illuminate the flowers, which then appear to be quite different than we know them. The photogropher, Craig Burrows, puts it this way: “Any time the flowers are hit by sunlight, they’re letting off their own glow in response and it’s simply overwhelmed by the sunlight we can see. These photos capture something we always see, but never can observe.”

 

More flowers: This is one of the most beautiful time-lapse videos I have seen:

Some jokes from the late night hosts:

  • The U.S. State Department has hired a female anchor from Fox News. However, the State Department described it as “more of a rescue mission.” (Conan)
  • A company in Japan has created a device to help parents shut down their child’s smartphone if they use it too much. It’s meant for children ages 6 to 12 or the president of the United States. (Conan).
  • President Trump spoke today at the National Holocaust Museum’s National Day of Remembrance. He reminded the crowd that we must never forget the 6 million people who attended his inauguration. (Seth Meyers)
  • Federal agents just seized 300 pounds of yak meat that was illegally smuggled into JFK airport. And yet somehow JFK still smells less like yak meat than LaGuardia. (Jimmy Fallon)
  • Yesterday Sen. Ted Cruz introduced a bill to Congress called the El Chapo Act, which would use money seized from the Mexican drug lord El Chapo to pay for Donald Trump’s border wall. Now, this is a story about Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and El Chapo — and I’ll be honest, I’m not sure who to root for here. (James Corden)
  • The NFL Draft is this week and the Houston Texans will announce some of their picks from outer space, using astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Meanwhile the Patriots will announce their picks from a Russian spy satellite. (Seth Meyers)
  • A restaurant opened in London today specializing in airline-style food. And if you like your steak a little bloody, order it “United.” (Seth Meyers)

Fifty years ago this month a runner officially entered as K.V. Switzer participated in the Boston Marathon. She was the first woman to do so (and used her initials to hide her gender) On Monday, she did it again.  At age 70. At a pace less than 5 percent  slower than when she ran it at age 20.

Finally, we end some some poignant photos from the Atlantic.  Among the Iraqi towns captured by ISIS in 2014 was Qaraqosh, which was Iraq’s largest Christian city with a population of 50,000. For more than two years, occupying ISIS jihadists tried to erase any evidence of Christianity from Qaraqosh—burning churches, destroying icons and statues, toppling bell towers, and more. Qaraqosh was retaken by Iraqi forces last October, but few residents returned. But they continue to trickle in, to reclaim their homes, and for the first time in years, to attend their church. See the link above for more pictures.

 

Comments

  1. First in! Welcome back Daniel!!!

  2. Dan from Georgia says:

    Incredible pictures from inside Qaraqosh. Thanks for posting.

    Also, I have some friends who are fans of Benny Hinn. Wonder how quick they drew the persecution card….

    • Robert F says:

      The photos are almost too beautifully taken for the subject matter, except that some of them show people reclaiming the devastated spaces for the purpose of worship in them again. New life, the human spirit — He is risen indeed.

      • Yes, Robert.

      • Rick Ro. says:

        –> “The photos are almost too beautifully taken for the subject matter, except that some of them show people reclaiming the devastated spaces for the purpose of worship in them again.”

        In the same vein…
        On a whim, my family went to a local art museum a few weeks back and saw one of the more inventive and original exhibits I’ve ever seen. Titled “Divine Ammunition,” sculptor/artist Al Farrow has re-purposed guns, ammo, shell casings (and the like) into spiritual symbols such as cathedrals, synagogues, sanctuaries, mosques and such. Beautiful, creative, and a bit sobering. Here’s a link if you care to check his work out. I recommend seeing it in person. Amazing.

        https://www.bellevuearts.org/exhibitions/current/al-farrow

  3. Christiane says:

    so beautiful the time-lapse of the flowers . . . . . . so beautiful!

    thank you so much! 🙂

  4. Rick Ro. says:

    Copeland and Duplantis, speaking about the God Benefits of owning private airplanes: Embarrassing to all of us who follow Jesus.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      +1,000

    • Robert F says:

      Wait!!! Jesus didn’t own an airplane?!?

    • I met Copleland once (briefly) at his private airport/church in Ft. Worth (flew down with a friend who flew for an associated ministry and they were working on the plane). He said the same thing to me – ‘flying commercial kills the anointing – all those demons and “sinners”‘ (or something to that effect). In one sense it made sense – it is hard to get anywhere by air today (quickly and easily). But on the other hand, does God need him THAT much? I later thought, ‘he serves a pretty small God if the ‘anointing’ gets killed on an airplane full of demons and sinners. Just think what eating at a restaurant must do for it – or going to church for that matter. By that logic, Jesus needed a private luxury yacht to get around the Sea of Galilee instead of hitching a ride in an old fishing boat (or maybe Jesus’ anointing was of a better ‘quality’ than Copeland’s).

      • Robert F says:

        …flying commercial kills the anointing – all those demons and “sinners”‘…

        Didn’t Jesus say something like this when he walked through the throngs of people, or maybe it was when the woman who had been hemorrhaging for years touched the edge of his garment?

    • michael bells says:

      wow

      • Michael Bell says:

        If you weren’t confused by the number of Mikes on here. Now we have a Michael Bell and a Michael Bells. Are you the Orillia Michael Bells? If so we have some common friends.

  5. Quatro en.

    Hi Daniel.

  6. “The Fate of the Furious… took in over half a billion internationally its first weekend.”

    Beam me up, Scotty. There’s no intelligent life on this planet.

  7. “the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council elected 13 new members by secret ballot to join the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women in its mission to promote “gender equality and the empowerment of women.” One new member: Saudi Arabia…”

    What better way to ensure that that commission does absolutely NOTHING to accomplish its stated goals…

  8. Watching the video of Jesse Duplantis and Kenneth Copeland the Lawd impessed UPon me dat dey shult depose of deir private jets and fly United—so’s deyed stop doin’ 80% what dey do.

    ;o)

  9. Was Patterson’s apology for “Notorious S.O.P.” serious? Really, seriously, does old farts posing as rappers constitute racism? Am I missing something?

    • flatrocker says:

      > said Paige Patterson in a lengthy statement, “Racism IS a Tragic Sin.” “Sometimes, Anglo Americans do not recognize the degree that racism has crept into our lives.”

      Speaking for all the Celts, Slavs, Normans and Vikings amongst us, how utterly insensitive and cruel to lump us into an “Anglo” melting pot with those savage Brits simply for the color of our skin. Where’s my petard and broad ax…those are fighting words Lord Patterson.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > does old farts posing as rappers constitute racism? Am I missing something?

      Yes, but more pointedly it constitutes very bad taste. It would probably go past with nothing but a roll of the eyes if it was not from within the context of an institution with a racist past and ties to racist organizations.

      College professors didn’t realize this was dumb? If I was the dean I would fire them not for racism, but for stupidity.

      • Adam, we are ALL racists, every lily white skinned one of us, just on the basis of our whiteness. The sooner we realize that, and the sooner we debase ourselves for that fact, the sooner that the self righteous and morally superior class of race baiters will exult with glee and then demand more penance and continual abasement for our ancestors’ sins.

        It NEVER ends. It is the slur that has the staying power of a pernicious STD. There is no need of proof, and the mere accusation is all that is needed to paint those who object with the excrement brown color of racism.

        Are there racists? Of COURSE there are! But to see racism in every stupid act and word is to trivialize the very real sin of racism. Oh, and the charge that only those with “power” can be racists? Baloney! I’m not buying it, and I’m done with bowing to the self appointed racial judges.

        THERE! Is THAT enough to get pilloried for for being an insensitive racist? Probably so.

      • Totally agree Adam, it’s bad taste–for anyone.

    • >> Am I missing something?

      Tom, it would appear so. No one but extreme radicals would claim those old farts are hateful in their hearts, but they sure are insensitive to today’s culture, if not downright stupid. And in that vein, my mother was born and raised in Tennessee, and no one in the South, white or black, talks the way you characterize Duplantis and Copeland except Uncle Remus, possibly Stepin Fetchit, and ignorant white folks making fun of black folks. I know you meant to spoof white southerners but not even Amos and Andy talk like that. I would suggest that you leave Southern dialect to Mark Twain and William Faulkner and Harper Lee. There are some things white folks are not allowed to do these days or even come close to, and if you want to protest about reverse discrimination, maybe those professors could explain it to you more gently.

      • Charles, born and raised in the South–though not Deep South–and still live in the South.

        Actually, I was shootin’ fer a semblance of a Duplantis imitation.

        Yeah, I ‘member Stepin fetchet and Uncle Remus, and Jot’em Down Store…

        ;o)

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      Yes, it is racist, at least in the context of American culture, which produced these:
      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/58/Minstrel_PosterBillyVanWare_edit.jpg/1280px-Minstrel_PosterBillyVanWare_edit.jpg
      http://www.coreyleewrenn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Vegan-Blackface.jpg

      There is a tradition in American culture going back at least a century and a half of whites dressing up as black stereotypes in order to mock black culture. This is vicious and ugly and deeply un-Christian. Nowadays, when we supposedly live in a post-racial utopia, whites sometimes replicate this trope and the claim innocent surprise when called on it: “I’m not racist. It is merely coincidence that I innocently repeated a traditional racist trope, all in good fun. What, don’t you have a sense of humor?” We saw this a lot during the Obama administration. This Southwest Baptist piece of hilarity stops short of actual blackface makeup. I suppose that is something, considering how often we see people will to indeed take that step. But otherwise it is solidly within the tradition. Yes, it is racist: nakedly so. All the bullshit in the world can’t hide this.

      • Robert F says:

        This.

      • Robert F says:

        Re: Russia outlawing the Jehovah’s Witnesses: Vladimir Putin’s Russia (with the full support and at the Russian Orthodox Church’ instigation) proves once again that it’s no friend to freedom of any kind.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        This.

      • All of this would be true if white kids didn’t dress and act the same way. There are white rappers (very few) and other cultural figures who have appropriated this look, so to charge racism on that basis alone is weak. Is there any indication that it is only BLACK rappers that they are imitating? No. But to ASSUME that that is the case is presumptive. I’m not buying into that.

        • No. And I won’t respond eloquently enough from my phone, so just…no.

        • Donalbain says:

          Notorious SOP is a play on Notorious BIG, a black rap artist

        • Richard Hershberger says:

          White kids copying black rappers because they are trying to be cool. Whatever issues there might be with this it is a different phenomenon from a group of high prestige middle aged white guys playing dress-up. The suggestion that the intent was to evoke white kids copying black rappers is, umm… creative, even apart from, as Donalbain points out, the unambiguous reference to Notorious BIG.

      • Yes, thank you for saying this.

      • The problem is Richard that the trope under discussion did not originate from whites stereo-typing blacks.

      • Patrick Kyle says:

        Hey, i thought it was funny. Take your hysterical accusations of racism and keep them to yourselves. You guys are against any kind of free speech or expression. You are the next coming of the Cultural revolution with your propaganda and censorship

        • The guy telling us to keep our “accusations of racism” to ourselves is accusing us of censorship! LOL!!! You must get your talking points from the Alt-Right, but they’ve worn thin. If you thought that was funny, no doubt you would’ve gotten an even bigger chuckle if they’d broken out into a minstrel show. Sad.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            If you thought that was funny, no doubt you would’ve gotten an even bigger chuckle if they’d broken out into a minstrel show. Sad.

            Not “Sad”.
            RIDICULOUS.

            Actually, I’m surprised they DIDN’T go burnt-cork blackface and break into a Minstrel Show number. These MenaGAWD in were already THAT clueless in their little echo chamber. (And they already make Mr Interlocutor stump speeches from their pulpits…)

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        There is a tradition in American culture going back at least a century and a half of whites dressing up as black stereotypes in order to mock black culture. This is vicious and ugly and deeply un-Christian.

        But Getting Offended(TM) like a Victorian matron getting The Vapors is not the proper response to such stupidity. Ridicule with Maximum Cruelty IS.

        Because these buttery doughy Whiggas ARE Ridiculous.
        And it makes it harder to play the Persecution Card response.

    • Not only racist, it’s creepy. A bunch of doughy, middle aged white men donning what they think is the normal attire of inner city, young, virile thugs and striking the pose is, to me, just plain creepy.
      What were they thinking? It wasn’t a cell phone photo snapped at a college party when all are intoxicated and somebody does something like this on the spur of the moment: “Hey, people! Look what I’m doing! LOL!” This was well planned out by a bunch of well educated, supposedly mature men. What’s next? Dress up like Nazis on Easter and sing a repurposed rendition of Springtime for Hitler reworded as Springtime for Jesus and Humanity?
      And people wonder about the rise of the nones…

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > What were they thinking?

        Exactly. Don’t worry about avoid things because they are Bad, do things because they are Good. That solves almost all these problems.

        And how was this possibly a good idea?

        • Richard Hershberger says:

          As a friend of mine put it, they made their saving throw against “put on blackface,” but only after missing a whole series of other saving throws.

      • You nailed it Suzanne, though I’m not sure you meant to;

        A bunch of doughy, middle aged white men donning what they think is the normal attire of inner city, young, virile thugs and striking the pose is, to me, just plain creepy.

        I despise rap almost as much as I despise Montivani. Rap must be the only “art” form that purposefully elevates thuggery. I don’t understand why ANYONE would want to imitate it.

        But heyhell, I’m an old fart in my 60’s who well remembers the SLA, Weathermen, SDS….

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        A bunch of doughy, middle aged white men donning what they think is the normal attire of inner city, young, virile thugs and striking the pose is, to me, just plain creepy.

        The word is “Whigga”.

        “Just like (buttery doughy) GANGSTAAAAAA, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Really, seriously, does old farts posing as rappers constitute racism?

      It definitely constitutes stupidity.

      And when you factor in a society of the Perpetually Offended constantly looking for things to Be Offended about…

  10. Those flower photos put a new spin on psychedelic…

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Many creatures can see infrared/UV, or at least near-infrared. When I see stuff like this it hard not to feel a bit left out.

      I am red-green color blind. They make corrective lenses for that now! So at a conference last year, at 43 years old, I saw Pink and Red for the first time. HOLY @&$*&%@&*$!!!! And white people aren’t just toupe, they come in a crazy range of hues. I understand now why stop signs are Red – because Red is so very RED!. And Pink – no wonder everyone makes such a big deal about Pink. It was a unnerving – all that color. And yet there is actually so much more – that none of us can see.

      • Daniel Jepsen says:

        Very cool story.

        Yes, I have had the same feeling of being left out. Perhaps I overly-spiritualize things, but I can’t help but feel that things like this are a sign that reality is much deeper, brighter, and more complex than I can experience until I have the resurrection body.

      • “I am red-green color blind. “ Well, we know that you are not red/blue color blind 😀

      • And let’s take a moment to ponder the capability of our species to access wavelengths and frequencies that we are naturally blind to. Presumably the bees are not much concerned with their natural limitations.

        • Robert F says:

          Yes, we have our own special abilities. The bees might envy us, if they understood their own limitations, as we understand some of ours.

    • Those flower photos are amazing! Wow!

  11. Robert F says:

    Re: Russia outlawing the Jehovah’s Witnesses: Vladimir Putin’s Russia (with the full support and at the Russian Orthodox Church’ instigation) proves once again that it’s no friend to freedom of any kind.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      But there are Christians here who will cheer Putin on because the JWs are just a CULT.

      And others who will dream of their church becoming the equivalent of the Russian Orthodox Church, getting the ear of Power and Autocracy in return for conferring Divine Right to Rule.

  12. David Cornwell says:

    Thanks for the wonderful photography that you’ve included in this post thus opening for us truths we seldom comprehend with the naked eye in the normal passing of time.

  13. Robert F says:

    If American Christians want to see what the first major step in a real persecution by a Christian majority nation would look like, they have only to look at the ban that Putin’s Russia has just promulgated against the Jehovah’s Witnesses. That this ban was instigated by one body of Christians (the Russian Orthodox Church) against another adds an ironic dimension that is also tragic. That modern (or postmodern) Russia has reconstituted the medieval power arrangement between state and church is tragic, and should serve as a cautionary tale to the rest of us about the unchristian fruits of any such arrangement, whether in the modern (postmodern) or medieval worlds.

    • Dana Ames says:

      Christ is risen!

      There are Russians who are Orthodox who would not support this move. The Orthodox hierarchs are not viewed as infallible; our history is full of their bad judgments and outright sins and hypocrisy. It’s a source of shame for us (though some Orthodox are tone deaf regarding it).

      Russians – and others formerly under Communist governments – are still suffering the effects of being under the Communist regime, which systematically murdered thousands of Orthodox priests – especially the ones who were regarded as “troublemakers” because they were seasoned, mature people who were effective at helping their parishioners resist the efforts of the totalitarian regime to stamp out their faith. It takes time for such people to develop. Too many Russians are coming back to the Church because it’s the cultural thing to do, and this in itself is a great pastoral burden for the conscientious priests and bishops there, besides having to try to function in a political system that in many ways resembles Russia the last couple of centuries under the Czars. In those past times, a lot of good clerics had to hunker down “below the radar” because of how the Church was in bed with the State – which, interestingly, Nicholas II was actually trying to slowly unknot. History, folks.

      It is also mostly Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians who are being targeted for extermination in the Middle East.

      I wish people would take these things into account before hauling out the sledge hammer every time the a failing of the Russian Orthodox Church is in the news. Its failings are painful for many of us Orthodox. For myself, my time is better spent reading Fr Stephen’s blog than tracking the many failings of Orthodox Christians.

      Forgive me.

      Dana

      • Well put, Dana. Thank you for the perspective.

      • No sledge hammer here, Dana. Let’s not forget that it’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses who are in fact the ones being sledge hammered in this case, not the Russian Orthodox Church. Our fellow Christians are failing once again to learn the lessons of their own history. On the one hand, I do not want us to copy this example and make similar mistakes in our own country (which I believe is possible in different though parallel ways, especially at this juncture in our history); and on the other, I do not feel that it is untoward for me to point up and call to account, in my own small way, the missteps of other Christians: it’s all in the family, after all.

      • Thank you Dana.

        We don’t have far to look in this country to see something of the strong arm of White “Christianity”. Perhaps the redeeming reality of the Tweetster’s election as POTUS is that Ted Cruz lost–speaking of The Sword, Arm of the Lord…

      • Dana, as I’ve heard more than one Orthodox put it, “Everything man-made is imperfect” is certainly true of the Church as we see and experience it. The history of the Church beginning with its legalization and preferentiality (is that a neologism?) under Constantine et al has been one of repressing (often with State violence) any and all dissent, which was codified under Theodosius 1 in the Edict of Thessalonica which made it illicit to have a differing opinion from the Emperor and the Church.

        Perhaps the Russian Orthodox hierarchy think that the proper pastoral duty is to spare people from the sectarianism of the JW’s? But, as you say, Russia has yet to develop the genteel enlightenment of us Christians in the West.

        • Robert F says:

          Tom, If it things keep going the way they are, Russia may never develop enlightenment, and we and Europe may lose ours. If that happens, Enlightenment values won’t look so passe anymore, and people will grieve the loss of even an imperfect liberalism.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          “Two Romes have fallen;
          A third — Moscow — stands;
          Never shall there be a fourth!”

    • I’m not interested in castigating Orthodox for their past sins than I am in discerning how close American evangelicals are to committing this same sin…

      • It’s not past sin. It’s happening right now, and it’s being done by a Christian church in Russia. Of course there are parallels and applications here, on two sides: It illustrates how ridiculous are the claims of American Christians that they are being persecuted by government/secular society; and it illustrates what the future could hold for American religious freedom if America were to follow the same path by privileging one church or religion above others (as some want to do).

        • Ditto Robert (to both your last comments).

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          It’s not past sin. It’s happening right now, and it’s being done by a Christian church in Russia.

          A State Church which thinks of itself as the Only True Christianity with a long history of cozying up to the Autocrats of All Russia.

          “Two Romes have fallen;
          A third – Moscow – stands;
          Never shall there be a Fourth!”

  14. Robert F says:

    a few bright finches
    dart around our church graveyard
    the spirit is free

  15. I could never decide whether to laugh or cry when I heard someone call Obama a “leftist”. All his inside guys in the first term were ex-Wall Street.

  16. We don’t get to hear DuPlantis exegete Amos 6:1, so I don’t know if he follows down beyond vs 1. But let’s take a look at the whole oracle.

    Amos 6:1- (NIV)
    Woe to you who are complacent in Zion,
    and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria,
    you notable men of the foremost nation,
    to whom the people of Israel come!
    2 Go to Kalneh and look at it;
    go from there to great Hamath,
    and then go down to Gath in Philistia.
    Are they better off than your two kingdoms?
    Is their land larger than yours?
    3 You put off the day of disaster
    and bring near a reign of terror.
    4 You lie on beds adorned with ivory
    and lounge on your couches.
    You dine on choice lambs
    and fattened calves.
    5 You strum away on your harps like David
    and improvise on musical instruments.
    6 You drink wine by the bowlful
    and use the finest lotions,
    but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
    7 Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile;
    your feasting and lounging will end.

  17. The contrast of the arrogance of Copeland/Duplantis with the humility of the Qaraqosh Christians at worship (Orthodox, I believe) says much about the prosperity gospel circus.

    The flowers are absolutely amazing and so gorgeous! Thanks for posting.

    • So, so true, Bella!
      I think there is more hand wringing among American Christians over the closing of Family Christian stores (where will we buy cheap foreign made Jesus junk??) than over what we see in those pictures.

    • Robert F says:

      I think they are Roman Catholic. The priest appears to be placing the consecrated bread in a communicants mouth by hand rather than with a spoon.

    • Bella, exactly.

  18. The Notorious SOP had me rolling! Good stuff.

  19. Proposal: doing anything because it produces “liberal tears” is a sin.

    The action may not be a sin. But that motive certainly is.

  20. Dana Ames says:

    Christ is Risen!

    I’m off to the local Community College for its Ag Deparment’s annual plant sale. Today is a gardening day for me, after a long, rainy winter 🙂

    Dana

    • What fun! No gardening here. It is pouring down rain and blowing wind. Maybe next week…

  21. Robert F says:

    it does look like fire
    a red maple in full leaf
    ablaze in the sun

  22. Robert F says:

    I would be interested to hear a practicing Jehovah’s Witness express his or her feelings about the Russian ban. I suppose it would be too much to expect a Jehovah’s Witness willing to comment to be out there in the iMonk audience. Still, if you’re out there, I’m sympathetic and interested, and will be praying for your church in Russia. God bless you.

  23. crescent moon
    humid stars
    one season follows another

  24. Are there any golf courses in Idaho next to potato farms?