May 22, 2018

Saturday Brunch, May 12, 2018

Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend. How about some nice brunch? We even have a nice chocolate fountain:

Our brunch has a theme today. I’ve been reading a little Chesterton this month, and reminded of how insanely gifted he was in expressing deep ideas with clarity, brevity, and wit. I mean, seriously, is there anyone of the last 200 years more quotable? So, our theme for the brunch is Chesterton quotes. Think of them as little hors d’oeuvres sprinkling throughout the lunch bar. Let’s start with these:

A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.

Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.

Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance.

An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.

How about those crazy surrealists? Laura Freeman reviews Desmond Morris’s The Lives of the Surrealists: “When Salvador Dalí came to lecture at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936, he arrived with two Russian wolfhounds on leads. He wore a deep-sea diver’s suit and carried a billiard cue. A jewelled dagger hung from his belt. The subject of his lecture was ‘Paranoia, The Pre-Raphaelites, Harpo Marx and Phantoms’. The audience couldn’t hear him through the diving helmet, so it was not immediately obvious that Dalí was suffocating. When friends did eventually sound the alarm, they found the bolts on Dalí’s helmet stuck fast. Send for a spanner! By the time they’d taken the helmet off, Dalí was close to death. All in the name of surreal art. Nothing was too silly, too sensational, too childishly scatological for Dalí, André Breton, Marcel Duchamp and the squabbling Surrealist gang.”

Speaking of crazy, did you hear about the remarks from PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas at the UN on Monday?

The Palestinian leader’s long, rambling speech was laced with deeply anti-Semitic tropes, including that the Jews of Europe brought persecution and the Holocaust upon themselves because of usury, banking and their “social function.”

Israel, he said, grew out of a European colonial project that had nothing to do with Jewish history or aspirations.

And citing a widely discredited book from the 1970s by Arthur Koestler called “The Thirteenth Tribe,” he posited that Ashkenazi Jews were descended not from the biblical Israelites but from the Khazars, a Turkic people who converted to Judaism in the eighth century.

Opening a rare gathering of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s legislative body in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday night, Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the group and the president of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, also declared that he wanted the Palestinians to live in peace in an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Rudy Giuliani was on TV last weekend and said President Trump may “take the Fifth.” It’s unclear if Giuliani is referring to amendments or wives.

Chesterton:

The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.

Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.

These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own.

Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.

Why I won’t be heading to Kansas City:

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“Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well.” This from Andy Stanley, Mega-church leader extraordinaire.  Stanley argued that it had to be done for the same reason the church in Acts 15 did so, which was so that “we must not make it difficult for those Gentiles who are turning to God.”

Some more from the sermon:

Jesus’ new covenant, His covenant with the nations, His covenant with you, His covenant with us, can stand on its own two nail-scarred resurrection feet. It does not need propping up by the Jewish scriptures.

The Bible did not create Christianity. The resurrection of Jesus created and launched Christianity. Your whole house of Old Testament cards can come tumbling down. The question is did Jesus rise from the dead? And the eyewitnesses said he did.

[The Old Testament Scriptures are] a means to an extraordinary end. The Jewish scriptures are the backstory for the main story. They’re an important backstory. They’re divinely inspired. They are God on the move through ancient, ancient times.”

[This view of the Old Testament] is liberating for people who need and understand grace, who need and understand forgiveness. And it’s liberating for people who find it virtually impossible to embrace the dynamic, the worldview, and the values system depicted in the story of Ancient Israel.

Wesley Hill over at First Things was non-plussed:

 Alas, most of the 39-minute talk can really only be described as an elaborate and educated flirtation with the old Christian heresy of Marcionism—the belief that the Old Testament is not authoritative in matters of Christian doctrine and morals.

As the biblical scholar Francis Watson has noted, contemporary versions of the error of the early Christian heretic Marcion (c. 85–160) don’t usually take the form of positing two ontologically distinct divine beings, as the historical Marcion did. They instead involve “Christian unease about the status and function of the Old Testament” and a willingness to entertain the view that “the Old Testament is not to be regarded as part of Christian scripture.”

Stanley’s error is more subtle still. The Old Testament is “divinely inspired,” he insists. But—following centuries of anti-Judaic interpretations of early Christian history, in which Jewish parsimoniousness is ranged over against Christian liberality—Stanley reframes the Old Testament as narrow, exclusive, hidebound. “I’m just not there yet,” he has the Jewish apostle Peter, clinging tenaciously to his Torah observance, say when asked, “What about God loves everybody?” Calling the Old Testament “God’s contract,” Stanley sums it up as a tit-for-tat economy: “It’s ‘I will if you will.’” By contrast, now that the “stand-alone” Jesus-event has erupted onto the scene, “God’s arrangement with Israel should now be eliminated from the equation.” A more complete supersessionism is hard to imagine.

A New Hampshire man who went hiking and was reported missing by his wife now owes the government a small fortune for the search effort, because when they found him, he had been staying in a luxury hotel. He has to pay thousands of dollars for the rescue operation, and a few thousand more for opening the mini bar twice.

Chesterton:

Among the rich you will never find a really generous man even by accident. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egotistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it.

Customs are generally unselfish. Habits are nearly always selfish.

Landed a book contract? Did you sign the morality clause? “Major publishers are increasingly inserting language into their contracts—referred to as morality clauses—that allows them to terminate agreements in response to a broad range of behavior by authors. And agents, most of whom spoke with PW on the condition of anonymity, say the change is worrying in an industry built on a commitment to defending free speech.”

The Episcopal Church has released its latest membership numbers. In 2016 the church had 1,745,156 baptized members. in the U. S. In 2006 they had 2,154,572. According to their chart (I don’t do math) this represents a decline of 19 percent over those ten years.

You know what I love? Fog. Not sure why. Maybe it reminds me of some spiritual dynamics. Something is revealed, yet concealed. Sometimes you get a clearer look. Other times you can only wait for the fog to clear. In any case, Chaplain Mike put some up that he took near his new digs, and they are too good not to share here:

Chesterton:

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.

The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is funding a major effort to find extraterrestrial life. Zuckerberg said, “I truly believe somewhere out there is intelligent life whose personal data I can sell.”

Facebook is also adding a new feature that will allow people to use Facebook as an online dating app. Facebook might be good at this, as they already did such a good job matching up American voters with Russian trolls. But I’m not sure Zuckerberg understands why we use Facebook. Facebook isn’t for finding dates; it’s for finding people we used to date. Then we silently judge them, and feel better about ourselves. At least that’s how I use Facebook.

Is raising children the enemy of writing? Probably not, says Michael Chabon, and if so, who cares?

If I had followed the great man’s advice and never burdened myself with the gift of my children, or if I had never written any novels at all, in the long run the result would have been the same as the result will be for me here, having made the choice I made: I will die; and the world in its violence and serenity will roll on, through the endless indifference of space, and it will take only 100 of its circuits around the sun to turn the six of us, who loved each other, to dust, and consign to oblivion all but a scant few of the thousands upon thousands of novels and short stories written and published during our lifetimes. If none of my books turns out to be among that bright remnant because I allowed my children to steal my time, narrow my compass, and curtail my freedom, I’m all right with that. Once they’re written, my books, unlike my children, hold no wonder for me; no mystery resides in them. Unlike my children, my books are cruelly unforgiving of my weaknesses, failings, and flaws of character. Most of all, my books, unlike my children, do not love me back.

Anyway, if, 100 years hence, those books lie moldering and forgotten, I’ll never know. That’s the problem, in the end, with putting all your chips on posterity: You never stick around long enough to enjoy it.

Chesterton:

A thing may be too sad to be believed or too wicked to be believed or too good to be believed; but it cannot be too absurd to be believed in this planet of frogs and elephants, of crocodiles and cuttle-fish.

Progress is a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative.

Let’s end with some pictures from 100 years ago: The last days of World war 1 in France (courtesy of the Atlantic):

Group of refugee children who have been received by a French organization, aided by the American Red Cross at St. Sulpice, Paris. They are about to start for Grand Val, the country home which has been opened for them on a large estate near Paris, where an outdoor life will build up their health. The American Red Cross sends doctors and nurses to Grand Val to care for these children. August 1918.

Lens, France, April 11, 1919. Genral [sic] view of Lens, taken from the location shown in no. W-94

Troops marching thru Place de Jena & down Avenue du President Wilson. On the left of Washington’s statue is the group of Red Cross. July 4, 1918.

Not merely a fair weather friend, this little refugee clings to her dog through thick and thin. Driven from their home by the invaders she and her parents came to the Seminary of St. Sulpice, Paris, where all refugees are received and with aid from the American Red Cross are fed, cared for and helped on their way. She is waiting for the American Red Cross camion to take her to the station where the journey will be resumed. 8 June 1918.

This old French woman forced by the Germans to leave her home, was able to save only a suitcase full of clothes and her two pet roosters which she is happily feeding in front of the American Red Cross Refugee Hut at the Gare du Nord, Paris, 27 June 1918.

At the Gare de Lyons, Paris. This little refugee stands manfully on the job of taking care of the family baggage until his parents come back. All refugees arriving at this station from the invaded districts are fed and cared for by the Bon Accueuil, a French relief organization, aided by the American Red Cross. June 1918.

Caserne du Chateau, Caen, Refugees from Lorraine singing Marseilles as they (?). Children of the refugee colony crossing the drawbridge of the old Chateau of Caen. In the enclosure of the Chateau, barracks have been provided for 160 children to live in under the direction of the Prefet Mirman. Among them are 15 “Stars and Stripes” children, French wards of American soldiers, the funds for whose maintanence are administered by the AMERICAN RED CROSS. The picture shows the older boys of the colony. August 1918

Lens, France, April 11, 1919. Man and wife, living in cellar of their former home which is in complete ruins. They were in Lens for thirty months during the German occupation, and were repatriated thru Switzerland and by way of Evian, in January 1917. The wife remained in southern France some months after repatriation. Thye have now been three weeks in Lens, and plan to keep their present quarters in the cellar for an indefinite perod of time.

Sun treatment for bad wounds, Hospital #5, Wounded American soldiers taking the sun cure at American Military Hospital No. 5 at Auteuil, which is supported by the AMERICAN RED CROSS. In this treatment the wound is exposed, unbandaged, to the full sunshine with only the protection of a mosquito netting stretched above it to protect from insects, etc. September 1918.

Paris. The American Red Cross man took the “doughboy” to see the wonders of Notre Dame. He climbed high up in one of the towers where he is shown addressing the fine stone bird, “You ain’t the American eagle” March 1919.

One of the colored troops entertaining a group of soldiers (white and colored) in the Recreation Hut A.R.C. at Orleans. September 1918.

Paris. The Eiffel Tower is a most uncanny structure, no matter in which part of Paris one is visiting, the tower dominates the landscape. Here is the view the “doughboy” got of it from the doorway of an apartment house March 1919.

Comments

  1. Christiane says:

    Great Chesterton quotes!

    I love watching the ‘Father Brown’ series on Netflix based on the character by Chesterton . . . so much fun!

    Here’s a quote that would fit the personality of Father Brown perfectly:
    ““Humility is the mother of giants. One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.”
    (G.K. Chesterton, The Innocence of Father Brown”

    Reminds me of an Eastern Orthodox saying on ‘humility’, this:
    “God descends to the humble as waters flow down from the hills into the valleys.”
    (St. Tikhon of Voronezh)

    • senecagriggs says:

      “A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”

      I hold that statement to be true.

    • Stephen says:

      My favorite Chesterton novel is THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY which for those who haven’t read it, is real dang hard to describe. Anarchists and mystics. Comparable a bit to those later Charles Williams metaphysical thrillers. But GKC was ten times the writer CW was.

  2. Rick Ro. says:

    You know, I’m probably as cynical as most of you here, if not more so, but the Andy Stanley quotes just don’t bother me that much. Sure, maybe he takes his point a little too far, but scripture is full of hyperbole to make a point, and I think he’s just trying to free people who invest to much time and energy in the OT. Trying to help people center on Christ alone is okay in my book, seeing as many churches drift away from Him and into other things (aka programs).

    • Agreed. Frankly, a lot of Reformed/evangelical nonsense flows from an unhealthy obsession with the OT.

    • Mule (Burro) says:

      The Eastern Orthodox Church doesn’t even hold the Masoretic Text as authoritative, preferring the Septuagint. It used to bother me, but not so much now.

      After reading the Wisdom of Solomon, I can see why the Jews didn’t want it in the canon. It’s chockablock with Christ.

    • Robert F says:

      Agreed. Sometimes a devaluation of the OT is the result of antisemitic animus at work, but I don’t believe that’s true in this case. What we can say based on Stanley’s words is that he’s not a Dominionist, which is a good thing.

    • But doesn’t this go against the concern of many in the church in the past few decades?: popular Christianity was ignoring the OT, and not appreciating the whole story of Scripture.
      When you have more progressive types like Rachel Held Evans concerned about his comments…

      https://www.christiantoday.com/article/the-jewishness-of-jesus-andy-stanley-and-why-christians-cant-unhitch-from-the-old-testament/129113.htm

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        But is the solution to ignoring the OT ditching the NT and deifying the OT?

        Communism-begets-Objectivism one-eighty flip at full intensity?

      • john barry says:

        Rachel may have Held Evans but for sure Jimmy Cracked Corn but strangely I do care.

        After a few early years did not the early “Christians” believe the OT foreshadowed Jesus? My formal religious training ended in 11 year old Sunday School where I was tutored by Mrs. Bullard, who not only was a Biblical scholar but also worked at Dairy Queen, best job ever when you are 11. Was the esteemed Mrs. Bullard wrong when she taught us Jesus was the fulfillment of the OT? Of course, I did not pay and was only auditing the class, so I may have missed some info..

        • Rick Ro. says:

          The whole book of Hebrews is one long “Jesus fulfilled the old covenant, SO DON’T GO BACK TO IT!” (I understand he meant, “Don’t go back to the ‘doing’ of it,” but even “looking back” can draw people back to the “I follow it, then”.)

      • Dana Ames says:

        It’s not just that the whole story of Scripture was not appreciated, though this is true.

        The deal is not just Marcionism, but that all of the interpretive work of the early Church Fathers, especially in the East, was centered on the OT. Stanley’s ignorance of this made me do a mental face-palm. When the Fathers write about “scripture”, it’s the OT they’re writing about. Their contention is that all of the OT was useful, but ultimately opaque – until the Incarnation, Crucifixion and Resurrection, which is what enabled the proper interpretation of it. I’m telling you, typology explains so much, in a way that satisfies the heart and the imagination, as well as the intellect.

        Do please read Irenaeus’ (2nd century!) “Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching”. I. uses the writings that would be included in the NT, but in order to corroborate the Old, which was, for him, Scripture.

        Computer is back, hard drive ok after all. The only problem is that my external drive is too old, but a new one is a small price to pay for not losing photos, knitting patterns, musical compositions, etc. etc.

        Christ is risen!
        Dana

    • Stephen says:

      You just can’t have it both ways though. Don’t go on and on about a literal creation and Noah and the Ten Commandments and fulfilled prophecy and then turn around and try to “unhitch” the OT from the NT.

  3. Jon Bartlett says:

    Funny, I was looking at Chesterton quotes for this week’s sermon. I used:

    ‘The Times once sent out an inquiry to famous authors, asking the question, “What’s wrong with the world today?” and Chesterton responded simply, “Dear Sir, I am. Yours, G.K. Chesterton.”

    But I also liked:
    “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”

    Or:
    “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

  4. Christiane says:

    I don’t know much about Andy Stanley or his understanding of the unity of the Old and New Testaments, but I wonder what he would make of this quote ?:

    ” The New Testament lies hidden in the Old
    and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New ”
    (St. Augustine)

    • I think he would agree, if asked. Like Rick Ro, I think Stanley is using hyperbolic language to get a point across. And there’s biblical precedent for it – if anything, the author of Hebrews (esp. Chapters 7 and 8) is even more emphatic.

    • Christiane, I see very little if any “unity” between the OT and the NT. The idea of “harmony” of the scriptures is likely as historically new as the idea as “Inerrancy”, a construction of necessity when Luther et. al. took a stand that the text is the final authority. What I see especially in the OT is a collection of voices–often in opposition, a “text in travail”. NT speakers, especially Jesus and Paul, will often redact, de-emphasise, and sometimes totally reinterpret chosen text–which was not out of the norm of Midrashic tradition. In Saul/Paul’s case for instance the unsought revelation of Christ on the road to Damascus altered his entire view of the God he served. The New Perspectives theologians (Sanders, NT Wright, etc.) attempt to show a historically consistent arc in God’s promises to Israel and their fulfillment in Jesus, but even so admit to the inconsistent interpretations of those promises within the different stages of Judaism. Second Temple Judaism was as often as not what we might call “Dominionist”.

      Wesley Hill’s critique of Stanley’s perspective is typical of someone in the Inerrancy camp. At the same time Hill is demonstrating that Stanley has some weak areas in his arguments. Stanley will need to not affirm the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy if he is to present a consistent position.

      “The OT is a revelation of what we are like, whereas Jesus is the revelation of who God the Father is.”

      • Robert F says:

        Stanley’s weakness is that he continues to hold to Biblical inerrancy, even as he sees the real discontinuity (which doesn’t mean there aren’t real continuities as well; Jesus was Jewish, after all, but that is a somatic continuity, not an ideational or doctrinal one) between Christ and everything else that went before.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I see very little if any “unity” between the OT and the NT. … What I see especially in the OT is a collection of voices–often in opposition, a “text in travail”.

        “Two Jews, Three Opinions” going WAY back?

        And a lot of attempts to “Harmonize Scripture” — especially the hammer it all to fit into one monolithic theological whole like Darby Dispensationalism or Calvin’s Institutes — end up causing more problems than they fix.

        • Christiane says:

          I have heard of the Book of Isaiah being called ‘the fifth Gospel’. 🙂

      • Christiane says:

        Hi TOM aka Volkmar,

        I am not a fan of how some have used the term ‘biblical inerrancy’ to claim that their own interpretations of sacred Scripture were without error;
        especially after the Baptist Faith & Message 2K removed the statement that Our Lord was the lens through which all of sacred Scripture was to be understood. . . . .

        I’m Catholic, which I think you know, and I’ve discovered that because of the readings of sacred Scripture at mass and in the liturgy and our prayers, I am ‘at home’ with the Scriptures ONLY if they are seen in a Christocentric way. My Church fought the Marcion heresy in early centuries that divided the two testaments. That’s a story you might want to look at. And my Church’s liturgy brings a great deal of the OT into our worship such as the use of Isaiah’s prophecies during Advent . . . . and we are also very heavily into the Psalms, which were used in Our Lord’s prayers also . . .

        someone suggested reading the Bible after reading Revelations where Our Lord is spoken of as ‘the Lamb, looking as One Who had been slain, being the only one worthy to ‘open the Scroll’ and explain its mysteries. So I see and hear the ‘inerrantists’ and think ‘they ignore the revelation of Christ as the only One who can make sense of the Scriptures and these inerrantists forge ahead with their own interpretations of passages, often saying ‘the Bible clearly says’ to shore up some point that they cannot reconcile with the teachings of Our Lord.

        Seems to me that the ‘inerrantist’ thing allows for the interpretations of men to be taken as ‘true’ . . . but Scripture doesn’t work that way IF these men are adopting practices that are abusive and cruel and go against the teachings of Christ. That seems to have happened under Patterson and his treatment of Dr. Klouda, who was very poorly treated when her husband was very ill. . . . . no way could the ‘Bible clearly say’ that hurting and wounding people was demanded in controvention of the teachings of Our Lord. Does this make sense?

  5. senecagriggs says:

    Andy Stanley

    “I believe the Bible is without error in everything it affirms. I believe what the Bible says is true, is true. . . . So for anyone out there who is still a bit suspicious, I affirm The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.”

    ———-

    An interesting article on Andy’s stance about sharing with the “post Christian” world.

    https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/open-bibles-burning-hearts

    • As far as that article goes…

      “the testimony of God in Scripture to the truth and beauty and worth of Christ is self-authenticating.”

      Uh, no. It isn’t. At least, not in the general sense. The NT itself, from the Gospels forward, indicates that Christian faithfulness and love are vital requirements to preaching the Gospel.

      That’s all I have time for this morning…

      • Burro (Mule) says:

        Well, in a sense. The truth and beauty and worth of Christ DOES flow from the Scriptures as the scent of myrrh and aloes does from His garments.

        I was awakened by a flat reading of St. Matthew’s Gospel, but I had to do enough acid to get the bad preaching out of my head first and start from a relatively clean slate.

        I wouldn’t recommend this method.

    • Mule (Burro) says:

      I can think of no better way to consign 99.7% of the human race to abject unbelief than to elevate expository preaching as the primary task of the Church,

      • Robert F says:

        You know what fundamentalists will say to that: Many are called, but few are chosen. What they expect is that most of the world and people in it will burn, only a few will be saved. That is their essential misanthropy, and it’s what non-Christians are rightly repulsed by.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          And many of those many very much wish those few would get on with the going somewhere else.

          • Robert F says:

            I have to correct myself. The real problem isn’t their misanthropy, but their mistheopropy, their low and mean view of God. If you want to see a nearby illustration of what I mean, look at senecag’s gleeful comment below concerning God’s judgment.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          What they expect is that most of the world and people in it will burn, only a few will be saved.

          And which category do those who expect that (and especially with glee) put themselves into?

      • senecagriggs says:

        When people stand before God in judgment and they have turned away; will He accept their excuse, “It was expository preaching that drove me away?” smile
        ________

        There’s thousands of reasons that people can give for turning away from the pursuit of Jesus Christ. Will these excuses stand before their Creator God?

        No, there are no excuses I can imagine where God says, “Okay, you get a pass based upon your old pastor, your old church, your old Sunday School Teacher/group leader or elder.”

        “The Devil made me do it.” Flip Wilson

        • Robert F says:

          Flip Wilson? Why are you so flip about the prospect of people going to hell? Why does it make you smile? It seems to me there’s nothing funny about it, if you actually believe that’s what will happen.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Flip Wilson? Why are you so flip about the prospect of people going to hell?

            Probably “IT ISN’T ME. I GOT MINE.”

        • I suspect that God’s “judgement” will not be about whether we said the magic prayer or not, but rather about our ideas about Him. The Father’s judgement will be a demonstrable loving correction of that mistaken view–not a condemnation. “Do not be afraid of me, I AM not your enemy.”

          • senecagriggs says:

            “Do not be afraid of me, I AM not your enemy.”
            __________

            Actually, I think God IS your enemy if you have rejected Him.

            • “Actually, I think God IS your enemy if you have rejected Him.”

              _________________

              That is precisely the false dualism that Reformed theology created thanks to Augustine’s latent Manichaeism/neo-Platonism.

              • senecagriggs says:

                Actually it’s Scripture, not St. Augustine.

                • David H says:

                  Scripture also says “…There is no God…” (Psalm 14:1 and 53:1). Perhaps consider context, audience, intention, and interpretation before always making such sweeping and over-simplified assertions?

            • Christiane says:

              Hi SENECAGRIGGS,

              you wrote, this:
              ““Actually, I think God IS your enemy if you have rejected Him.”

              well, you might see it that way, but think of the parable of the prodigal, and the Father’s love for his son who had walked away from him out into ‘the great empty’ and after a time, returned to his Father

              I like to think of God as having the kind of love for us that the prodigal’s father had for him . . . . God wants us to return to Him and He will even come out to meet us . . . not the ‘enemy’ role as I see it

              http://www.rembrandtpainting.net/prodigal_son/Rembrandt.jpg

          • Stephen says:

            We already know what God’s judgment will concern and it ain’t doctrine. See Matthew 25. It’s about how you treat people. Uh oh.

        • Rick Ro. says:

          –> “When people stand before God in judgment and they have turned away; will He accept their excuse, ‘It was expository preaching that drove me away?'”

          Perhaps.

          When people stand before God in judgment and they have been turned away because He says, “You knew me not,” will He accept their excuse, “But I did expository preaching about You”?

    • Christiane says:

      I don’t believe that this is a ‘post-Christian’ world at all . . . . . no. Christ transcends all places, all times, all situations and finds a home in the hearts of people who love. And sometimes those people aren’t called ‘Christian’ but yet He is in them; as He is not in many of those who say ‘Lord, Lord’ but who have no compassion or kindness in them for others. . . . .

      We’ve been calling the wrong things and people ‘Christian’ for so long that we no longer recognize the Christ in others among us. That preacher on that blog who advocates homophobia and contempt for trans people and who calls himself a ‘Christian’ . . . he may be post-Christian, if he ever was one. That politician who has such contempt for immigrant people that he calls them ‘rapists’ and ‘murderers’ when likely three generations ago, his own forebears came to this country for a better life . . . . that politician may be ‘post-Christian’.

      But if there are souls out there in our country that are bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in how they are living their lives and inter-acting with others,
      I can say that they are not ‘post’ Christian, no. They may be Muslims, or Hindus, or my goodness, even Catholics :), but if they are exhibiting love for others, that kind of self-sacrificing service for the good of others, expecting nothing in return . . . then they ARE not lacking in the fruit of the Spirit which is the mark of one of Our Lord’s people, whether they know His name or not. ‘whoever loves and lives in love, lives in Christ and He in them’

      So that gas-bag preacher spouting race-hatred and Trump worship, who teaches people to have contempt for those who struggle with trans issues, who teaches fearfulness of those who are ‘different’ . . . . who shows no signs of the fruit of the Holy Spirit . . . .

      think again about casually assuming ‘faith in Christ’ from such people . . . . think again.

      “Just because a mouse is in the cookie jar, doesn’t make him a cookie” 🙂

      • “I can say that they are not ‘post’ Christian, no. They may be Muslims, or Hindus, or my goodness, even Catholics :), but if they are exhibiting love for others, that kind of self-sacrificing service for the good of others, expecting nothing in return . . . then they ARE not lacking in the fruit of the Spirit which is the mark of one of Our Lord’s people, whether they know His name or not. ‘whoever loves and lives in love, lives in Christ and He in them’”

        Sounds like Karl Rahner’s anonymous Christians. I would like to say Amen to what you wrote.

        • Christiane says:

          Hello SteveA,

          I wonder if Rahner connected with the thought that ‘love’ is greater than ‘faith’ in the end, when we look at St.Paul’s idea of ‘Faith, Hope, and Charity’ and that the greater of these is Charity.

          Self-giving, selfless love for others . . . . we see it among all the peoples of the Earth . . . . I’m going to take another look at Rahner’s writings, and thank you for mentioning him here. 🙂

  6. Funny how we just are passing through the 100th anniversary of WWI, and it’s hardly registered in most folks’ minds at all…

    • Mule (Burro) says:

      WWI has been something of a lifetime obsession with me. My grandfather fought in it, enlisting in the French Army before the US entered the war. It was obvious that the Great War changed the face of Europe, and we are still suffering from its aftermath, especially in Asia and the Middle East. The way the peace process bolloxed everything up afterwards is a classic example of the smartest people sitting down to figure everything out.

      Anyone interested in the circular firing squad that was WWI should listen to Dan Carlin’s treatment of it – “Blueprint for Armageddon”

      • john barry says:

        Mule , Seriously there is a great museum, the national WW 1 museum in KC, great view of the city also. You are correct about the peace treaty. Museum is worth a visit , going to WW 2 museum in New Orleans very soon. Time marches on and most Americans have no idea what the memorial poppy often sold represents or that Flanders Field is not next to Ned’s house.

      • I would also recommend Professor Liulevicius’ lecture series on the Great War…

        https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/world-war-i-the-great-war.html

        Caveat emptor – like all Teaching Company courses, wait until it goes on sale. 😉

        • Which, I just noticed, it is. Grab it while it’s hot. 🙂

        • Rick Ro. says:

          Oh, here’s a book you MUST get if you’re a WWI buff… “The Great War and Modern Memory” by Paul Fussell. I got it as a Christmas present several years ago, and I was initially disappointed when I began reading it because it wasn’t a chronological history nor did it delve into any of the battles. Then it clicked and became a rather fascinating and riveting book, presenting a sense of the “feel” of the war through the memories and impressions of the participants.

          Highly recommend!

          https://www.amazon.com/Great-War-Modern-Memory/dp/0199971951

      • StuartB says:

        You would love Battlefield 1 then. I’ve been enjoying learning and living through WWI via that game over the last two years.

        Fascinating war. In some ways, the most brutal and worst of wars. In others…it’s not quite as “evil” as WWII, if that makes sense.

        • Rick Ro. says:

          I have Battlefiled 1, Stuart!!! I’m horrible at it, though!

          • StuartB says:

            I haven’t played in a few months but I go through phases on xbox where it’s about all I play. I suggest playing as a Support class.

    • Christiane says:

      An Ode of Remembrance . . .

      “They shall grow not old,
      as we that are left grow old:
      Age shall not weary them,
      nor the years condemn.

      At the going down of the sun
      and in the morning,
      We will remember them.”

      (Written in 1914 by Lawrence Binyon, an excerpt from his poem ‘The Fallen’)

    • Pellicano Solitudinis says:

      It’s a moderately big deal in Australia.

      • Which reminds me to watch “Gallipoli” sometime soon

        • Burro (Mule) says:

          See if you can find “ANZAC Girls” on Netflix.

        • Rick Ro. says:

          –> “Which reminds me to watch “Gallipoli” sometime soon”

          Oh, that’s a difficult movie. So tragic, depressing…

      • Christiane says:

        Pelican, speaking of Australia, I am missing SUSAN DUMBRELL’s voice here on Imonk. I hope she is doing okay. I hope she comes back to contribute again. She is missed by more people than just me, I’m sure. She has a difficult family situation with her husband being ill, so she is kept in my prayers.

        • Susan Dumbrell says:

          Hi Christiane,
          Nice of you to look for me.
          I got over my strange fainting of last weekend and have taken it quietly this week.

          I did post two haiku on our snow fall and our sins on Friday. 8.45am
          The surrounding discussions on Friday swallowed my entry.
          No worry.
          Hugs, Susan

          • Christiane says:

            Susan, I hope you get checked out by your doctor if that fainting reoccurs . . . you have a lot of worries on your mind, I know, but take some time for your health

            I’ll look for your haiku poems. Thanks for responding. Take care! And come back !!!!

    • Rick Ro. says:

      I made it to the Imperial War Museum in London last year, and one entire floor was devoted to WWI. Amazingly crafted, telling the story from its nationalistic/political origins to the mess it became for the soldiers due to incompetence of pretty much every leader/general and finally to the final peace that ended up only laying the foundation for WWII.

      • “This is not peace. It is an armistice for 20 years.” – French Marshal Ferdinand Foch

      • World War 1 was a mess and most people went into it madly. A great grandfather was at Gallipoli (wounded but survived), a grandfather a prisoner at Ruhleben, that grandfather’s first cousin once removed was Secretary for the Friends War Victims Relief Committee (FWVRC) throughout the war. A more distant relative was on the Lusitania when it was sunk (he survived). Plenty of other relatives did not.

        The madness continued after the war. See Meyer versus Nebraska 1923. Meyer was arrested in 1920 for teaching a fourth grader in a church school to read the Bible in German (Meyer was presumably using the Luther Bible, Nebraska had passed a law in 1919 prohibiting the teaching of modern foreign languages to grade school children). Meyer eventually won a US Supreme Court decision.

  7. john barry says:

    Regarding the Kansas City poster, Butt for the grace of God go I. Many people believe I can store information for one year and declare me annual retentive, if I hear them correctly.

    Also, I do not believe the number of visitors cited , I think they pulled that 25 million visitor number out of their ass. I do know they fought hard to get the Jiffy Lube convention meeting that is held once a year aka ? Many of the KC visitors consider the experience a pain in the ass but some welcome the change.

    They bend over backward to make you feel welcome in KC and welcome you hole heartily. It is truly a nice mid west holesome city.

  8. Burro (Mule) says:

    The WWI picture of the little girl and her dog made me tear up. There is the possibility that the little girl is still alive, an honored matriarch; a great-grandmother whose great grandchildren are growing up. If she is, I wonder if she remembers mon petit chien, who returned to the soil decades ago.

    Love your dogs. They last even less time than we do.

    • That Other Jean says:

      Amen, Mule.

    • Dana Ames says:

      Yes.

      Fr Abbot Tryphon of Vashon Island believes we will have our pets again in Paradise. For me, Paradise would be something less without them. I believe God is just that good that he will grant them to us again.

      Dana

      • Robert F says:

        I don’t want just my pets in Paradise. I want all the creatures that I’ve seen dead at roadside, too. And the lost and forlorn cats in those shelters that we passed by when we chose the ones we took home.

    • Our little jester is seven – about at the halfway point for a small dog. He’s just as active and personable as ever, but his muzzle is greying rapidly. I make it a point to get good petting and snuggle time in with him every day… you never know how long you’ll have them.

      • Christiane says:

        It is hard to even imagine life around our home without our little fur-ball. Noah is a family member, like a child even. He is much loved. And spoiled.

        In his older years, little Noah has developed Cushing’s disease for which he takes medication. But he still drinks a lot of water and will, at times, puddle on the carpeting.
        My husband found a cartoon about ‘Puppy Court’ which shows a judge, a jury, and a guilty-looking puppy in the dock.
        The verdict: ‘We find the suspect to be cute, fluffy, and adorable. We accuse the carpeting of ‘asking for it'”

        Our Noah can puddle anywhere in my home and I don’t get upset. Housekeeping and carpet-cleaning is available on a regular basis, but how much longer will we have our baby Noah with us? We are talking ‘love’ here. Unconditional. Puddles and all. 🙂

    • Norma Cenva says:

      I too was moved.
      The old photograph spoke eloquently to the virtue of loyalty.
      More so than a hundred sermons and commandeered Bible verses.

  9. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    How about those crazy surrealists?

    From that description, I’m convinced that Dali at least was just messing with their minds by being AWAP — As WEIRD As Possible.

    This was the same guy who much later in his career dropped his pants, dropped a turd, and proclaimed it a Dali original — “It Is ART Because I, Dali, SAY IT IS ART!” And someone with too much money ended up paying big bucks for that “Dali Original”, which kinda proved Dali’s point.

    • Rick Ro. says:

      This got me wondering, what’s worse, a crazy surrealist, a crazy idealist, or a crazy realist?

      There’s a joke in there somewhere and I’m trying to figure it out. If someone beats me to it, post it!

      • Crazy idealist. Surrealists know things are absurd, and realists know that absurdity can’t be fixed, but idealists WILL fix the absurdity, even if it kills you.

    • john barry says:

      Unable to afford an original pile of Dali fecal matter, thanks to 100% Bran Flakes I have produced my own masterpieces and even though many did not meet my artistic standards I have flushed them out of my memory.

      I also have an artistic photograph of my work with fecal matter , due to an unfortunate situation while visiting Wal Mart after a hearty breakfast of artistic inspiration with Raisin Bran. Not wanting my work to go to waste I took a low light picture of my creative pile and it is titled

      Clean Up In Aisle Four.

      Like many a good artist my work was not appreciated by the Wal Mart employees or customers and yes I am banned not only in Boston but Wal Mart. I was taken in by Wal Mart security and given the turd degree interrogation but I did not crack.

      I asked my wife for a solution to the problem and she said it Depends but will not elaborate.

      My first work may be listed on E Bay and It is simply titled Don’t Step in It. I think my art is very sensual as you can see, touch it eventually and it surrounds your senses. Many think my art stinks but it does comes from somewhere inside me and I have to let it go.

  10. Ronald Avra says:

    Regarding Michael Chabon’s thoughts on writing and children, I think his conclusions are pretty much on the mark. My children and grandchildren are frequently a quiet source of gratification and pleasure for me. I don’t recommend marriage and child rearing without caveats for anyone; it is probably the most involved endeavor one can engage in. There may be significant rewards for your labor, but in large measure they will end up costing you your life.

    • Rick Ro. says:

      Chabon’s thoughts read a bit like a “post-Ecclesiastes Solomon.” It’s a wisdom that has realized chasing after accomplishments is okay, but not the end-all. I mean, doesn’t this read a lot like if Solomon had figured it out earlier in his life:

      “If none of my books turns out to be among that bright remnant because I allowed my children to steal my time, narrow my compass, and curtail my freedom, I’m all right with that. Once they’re written, my books, unlike my children, hold no wonder for me; no mystery resides in them. Unlike my children, my books are cruelly unforgiving of my weaknesses, failings, and flaws of character. Most of all, my books, unlike my children, do not love me back.”

  11. I liked seeing the photos from WWI. I have a picture of my dad as a little boy; it is now at least 100 years old. I’m amazed that the photo has lasted all these years; I’m also amazed that there exists a picture of him; he grew up very poor. The picture is worth thousands of words; it helped me understand a man who was often difficult to understand during his life.

  12. Robert F says:

    an angry bird
    chirps its ire at me
    ready to rumble

  13. Stephen says:

    If the Trump people keep confessing to crimes before they’re charged I’m going to start thinking something is up.

    • Robert F says:

      They’ve cornered the market on mulligans.

    • john barry says:

      Stephen, where did the Trump connection come in at? Are all things in life now somehow connected to Trump?

      • That Other Jean says:

        So many things in life seem to wind up there, John.

      • All things in life are connected either to an episode of Star Trek, an episode of Seinfeld, or now to an episode of the Trump reality show.

      • Stephen says:

        john see the quote in today’s post from Giuliani about Trump “taking the fifth”

        • john barry says:

          Stephen, you are right about the Trump joke but I was just hoping that we also made it without a Trump dialogue . However, I must admit it added more value than my artistic contributions which would make you want to drink a fifth.

          • Christiane says:

            J.B.
            I also am sick of T talk,
            but I’m not sure it’s so easy to run away from ‘trump’

            good if we can do it for a while, though, and just go back to being people who aren’t so divided from one another and T would want us to be when he is the center of attention all the time . . . . we NEED that break, yes . . . . I see it also

  14. Klasie Kraalogies says:

    How many surrealists does it take to to change a light bulb?

    A fish.