July 22, 2018

Saturday Ramblings 1.4.14

RamblerWelcome to the first Saturday Ramblings of the new year. If this is your first visit to the iMonastery, Saturday Ramblings is the time each week for us to do some light housekeeping. We sweep up all the scraps from the week and, tossing them together, we call them Saturday Ramblings. So grab a cup of coffee, get your pipe and slippers, and let’s get ready to ramble.

Esquire magazine has announced its Best Dressed Man for 2013. And the winner is … Pope Francis. Yes, even though he has shunned the fur-lined cape and the fancy red shoes, this pope still dresses pretty snazzy, at least according the Esquire.

Best dressed or no, there are some wealthy Catholics who are not too happy with what the pope has to say about the accumulation of money and capitalism in general. In certain evangelical circles, you would never ever make the money people mad by what you say. I don’t think it is the same in Catholicism, do you? Or at least not with this pope.

Have you been following the story of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old girl who went in for a tonsillectomy and, tragically, has now been declared brain dead? You can read the details here. Where do you stand in this? Is it time to pull the plug, or should the parents go on fighting and believing for her healing? What do you think?

Noah’s Ark in Brooklyn? That is where you will find Torah Animal World, with more than 350 species of animals. All stuffed, of course. But the Ark may soon have to be on the move if the TAW doesn’t come up with a million bucks to keep it open. As the preacher says, “Don’t make me holler, and don’t make me shout. Just turn them pockets inside-out.”

Andrew Hamblin doesn’t keep his snakes in a museum, and they aren’t stuffed (except, of course, after a nice meal of fresh mouse). He keeps them in his church, which is a violation of the law in Tennessee. So he is on his way to face a grand jury. Think that will be a part of his “reality” TV show?

There are five biblically-themed movies planned for 2014 (not including the new version of Left Behind starring Nicolas Cage). Jonathan Merritt says this should make 2014 “the year of the Bible.” Or at least on the big screen.

And then there is the mayor of Flower Mound, Texas, who has declared 2014 to be the “Year of the Bible.” This is not setting well with some in the suburb of Dallas. What sayest thou: good move or bad move on his part?

And we can’t start the new year without first looking at lists of things from the previous year, can we? For instance, the top ten biblical archaeological finds of 2013. Too whimsical for you? Then how about the top ten Bible verses YouVersion dished up? (And no, John 3:16 was not among them.) Still not serious enough for you? Ok then, here are the top ten church signs spotted in 2013. Now we can start 2014.

Finally, this will be my last Saturday Ramblings column. I have shared with you how that I have struggled with depression. I’ve decided that I need to marshal my energy to fight this best as I can this year. So I am stepping down as publisher of InternetMonk as of today. I have had a great time visiting with you for the last four years. I remain humbled beyond belief that Michael and Denise Spencer counted me worthy of carrying on the tradition they started with this site. But to be honest, each of the writers we now have—Chaplain Mike, Lisa Dye, Martha of Ireland, Mike Bell, Damaris Zehner, and Adam Palmer, are all much better than I. I want you to encourage them and continue to share great comments with one another. If you don’t, well, don’t make me turn this Rambler around.

For my last Saturday bonus video, I want to share with you a song by my favorite group of all. Who is that? Well, you’ll just have to click here and see. Want to see more? Good. Here is more. Enjoy.




  1. Ronald Avra says:

    Thanks Jeff

  2. Happy Trails to you, Jeff! Thanks for your service here.

  3. cermak_rd says:

    I’m gonna miss you Jeff. I know you’ve got to fight your depression, and as a sufferer of mental illness (a different one) I certainly do understand the need to take a break to strengthen yourself. That being said, I do think you are a very good writer, and someone with some unique experience (you’ve been behind the curtain of Oz for Christian radio, for instance) and a view on grace so seldom heard as a major key in any of the streams of Christianity.

    Good luck in your battle.

  4. Debbie Kaufman says:

    I read and interacted with Michael on this sight many a time. I was deeply saddened when Michael passed away. You have done a good job keeping alive what he began as well as the other writers here. I understand your struggle with depression and know I am praying for you Jeff.

  5. All the best, Jeff. Thank you for all you’ve given Internetmonk over the last few years, and for all the hilarious rambles. God Bless, for the coming year.

  6. flatrocker says:

    My dad grew up in the Over the Rhine district of Cincinnati, that is why Linford and Karin’s music has always had a special place in my heart. I now have another reason to be deeply touched by their songs. God’s mercy and calm to you.

  7. Ken Ham is a greedy publicity-seeking narcissist. Bill Nye should be ashamed for picking such an easy opponent and should find an actual scientist (who’s a Christian) to debate. I feel an “Inherit the Wind” moment. YEC is a cancer on contemporary Christianity and a primary reason the church is losing so many young people.

  8. Thanks for your dedication over the years, Jeff. I hope you get better soon. God bless you.


  9. Jeff,

    I will miss you. You had so many insightful blogs. I’ll be praying for you as you struggle with depression.


  10. scrapiron says:

    Thanks for your insight over the years. I struggle with depression, as well, and it’s been nice not being totally alone. I’ll miss you.

    Going out by reminding us of Over the Rhine was really classy.

    Thanks again.

  11. Saddened to hear you are leaving but hopeful and prayerful that your future will be a blessed journey.

  12. I have walked down that long hard road myself, and understand the need to lighten one’s burdens in the particularly steep stretches. just know that you’re not walking it alone – and don’t wander too far ahead of us, OK?

  13. I pray that you will experience relief from depression. God be with you.

  14. I believe the girl is dead. The parents are hurting themselves, not her, by continuing to keep her remains attached to life support. It’s as if they only had her hand left, and were keeping it alive in the false belief that it was her. But if they want to transfer her remains to another facility that it willing to take them, and then law allows, then it’s their decision to make, and I won’t judge it.

    • Agreed, Robert F.

      • What this family is experiencing is too sad for words. It’s tragic that their denial is adding even more to a grief that is already insupportable. But how many of us have traveled the road of denial in the face of overpowering grief? More than can be numbered, I’m sure, almost as many as have sat on that long mourning bench of humanity since time immemorial. They have my prayers, and may light perpetual shine upon young Jahi McMath.

    • I hope to never be in the shoes of a parent or loved one dealing with a loved one who is in a condition like this, and until I am, I refuse to suggest what someone who’s going through something like this should do.

  15. Jeff,

    Thanks for all you’ve done here at Internet Monk. Trusting God and praying with you for healing and wholeness, and believing that we’ll see you back online in some form in the future.

  16. Jeff, even though you are stepping down as publisher and won’t be doing the Saturday Ramblings, I hope you will still be writing here. I REALLY love your homilies. I wish you peace, joy, health.

  17. Bob Myers says:

    Prayed for you as you focus your energy on recovering from depression. Your insights and writing are helpful. Bless you in 2014.

  18. jeff, thanks for all you’ve put into ‘ramblings’ , may God bless and give you strength

  19. Jeff, you have been a constant support and encouragement to us all. I hope you find peace and healing in your change of circumstances. Thank you for all you’ve done for iMonk and keep in touch with us!

    Now, as to my fellow Catholics with the deep pockets and short arms, I think it’s time to dig out the parable of Dives and Lazarus and that saying about needles and camels. If they’re going to refrain from almsgiving because they’re in a huff over the pope preaching on “the love of money is the root of all evil”, then perhaps they need to m make up their minds: Mammon or Christ, who is their latter end?

  20. Jeff – praying for you, friend. You’ve done a marvelous job here, and I sure hope you drop by from time to time.

    Equally, I can understand you decision. Please know that you’re not alone, and have many friends here.

    All the very best to you,

  21. I will miss your Saturday Ramblings! I don’t always find the time to read Internet Monk, but I always check in on Saturday. God bless you!

    As for the poor girl who has been declared brain dead, it’s sad. I think it points out the problem that religious beliefs have not caught up with medical technology which can pretty much keep someone alive indefinitely. I don’t know what I would do in their situation. From the outside, I say let the child go. But as a mother, I’m not sure I could do that.

    • I’ve been reading some tracts my dad has his house circa 1970’s and early 80’s. I was really surprised at the number of them that really emphasized yielding, bowing, submitting, giving the heart. I was thinking about our use of “heart” as the catch all for the personhood/soul/identity of someone and the literalist interpreting of the Bible in conjunction with death. Your point is right along with some of my musings.

  22. Whoever takes over Saturday Ramblings couldn’t possibly do better than you. I look forward to this every week (Friday night, actually). You will be missed terribly. I hope the door is open to return,

  23. MelissatheRagamuffin says:

    Awww Jeff, I’ll miss you, and I hope you will keep us aware of what is happening with you!

  24. Jeff, thank you for sharing your gifts with us over the last few years. You were used greatly by God, and you will be sorely missed.

    Grace and peace

  25. Lynn MacDougall says:

    Jeff, you will be sorely missed. I have been missing your writing and homilies already. Your honesty about depression, suffering and life has been a light in a dark and chaotic world and we will so miss it. Thank you. Having grown up with severely depressed family members, I understand the battle needs all your energy and will pray God sustains you through it. Praying that as you feel like a weary pilgrim who does not belong in this world that God will bring fellow travelers to bear the burden. Again, thank you.

  26. Jeff – Like many here, I too know what it is like to struggle with depression. I pray for you that your life-season will change and that 2014 is a year of blessing and healing.

    • Jeff ~ TPD speaks for me also. It is a journey and you are doing a very wise thing. Driving ourselves too hard isn’t good especially with the Fibromyalgia. I commend you for stepping away but like the others have expressed, you will be missed. Thank you fellow pilgrim.

  27. Jeff – thank you for helping me start my Saturdays off on the right foot! I have looked forward to what you have to say – first thing. I will miss it. I too struggle with depression and am appreciative that you have been willing to discuss and share your heart with us. May the peace of God that passes all understanding be with you. Thank you!

  28. Jim Hedrick says:

    Jeff this is my first read of your Sat. Ramblings.. I am sure I will enjoy the archives. God’ s good and perfect shalom and hope be yours this year. Thanks for persevering. I will talk to God about your need.

  29. Jeff,
    Thank you, for all you have given us. Your writing here has touched me deeply.
    I look forward to hearing from you again. Blessings and peace.

  30. Jeff,
    Broad change, once, twice, three times in a life kind of change, almost always requires the type of courageous moves you have made of late. I am encouraged for you that along with recently becoming Catholic, (could name any denomination) this will give you the space to find your truest self and truest niche. That is a remedy for all frustration as there is always something born there and God is always met there. Godspeed.

  31. Jeff, I wish I could give you a hug and take you out for coffee and blueberry muffins.

    • Can I come ride on your fishing boat with you sometime? And share a Pat’s double-dough pizza with pine nuts? (I think I will skip the Moxie, however …)

      • We’re going off-island to church tomorrow. Meet you in Northeast Harbor or Bar Harbor?

        You wouldn’t like a boat ride the last couple of days, though, in fact the ferry canceled all runs. Pretty near record-breaking temps and chill factors. Wind is from the southard now though, up in the 20s, and I rowed out and pounded ice off the side of the Hope and got the John Deere running. So back in action until the next blast.

        You want lobster meat on that pizza?

  32. Jeff, your Saturday Ramblings have been a bright spot for me to look forward to every week in my own struggle toward the Light. Thank you. Speaking of light, this is the time of year when the lack thereof gives many people a hard time. As we speak I am wearing a visor with LED lights in the brim which really seems to help with the missing sunlight. It is called the FeelBrightLight. Thanks again for all you have done. I will miss you. God bless you, man!

  33. Dan Crawford says:

    I read the “Ramblings” before anything on Saturday mornings. Thank you, Jeff. Many blessings and deep peace be yours as you journey on.

  34. Richard McNeeley says:

    Thank you Jeff for all you have done here at IM. Gail and I will miss your ramblings and will continue to pray for your recovery. We hope to see you when pitchers and catchers report.

  35. Dana Ames says:

    Jeff, add my good wishes and prayers. Our Lord Jesus is with you in everything through which you pass.

    You are a good writer, and with others above I hope you will contribute to iMonk as you are able.

    Sending virtual hugs-


  36. God’s peace to you, Jeff.

  37. Wow, biblical movies. I’ll see anything by Aronofsky and Scott, but I am not hoping for much beyond entertainment on this. “year of the bible”? Maybe. But this year also has a new Transformers movie so it might also be the “summer of [DELETED OUT OF RESPECT FOR THE COMMENTERS]”

    As for the girl, I am not hopeful that she will recover. The Q&A you linked to indicated that without brain stem activity her organs would probably shut down fairly soon even with the ventilator. If the parents can secure other facilities for their daughter, let them try and see if she recovers. I searched for the doctor who dissented with the brain dead opinion and found that he has a column on one of Alan Keyes’ sites, which does not give the doctor much credibility for me.

    Jeff, thank you so much for what you have done these past few years. I hope hope hope and pray that your struggle with depression improves dramatically. I think some of us iMonkers should plan a trip to take you to an Over the Rhine concert next time they go on tour near Oklahoma.

    (sorry for the double posting – my first (identical) comment was eaten so I am trying with a different browser)

  38. Jeff,

    Thank you so much for your very personal and honest posts over the years. I was raised in “Fundgelical” churches defined by an attitude of hubris and pomposity, and you, as much as any of the other writers here at imonk, helped give voice to my growing discontent with that vary narrow form of christianity. Through sharing your own struggles you have demonstrated that it is not a sin to have questions and doubts; that God understands this and has not called us to behave like unthinking, anti-intellectual, unquestioning automatons but rather to use our God-given sense of reason to make sense of this confusing and often contradictory fallen world we live in. Thank you for helping me to not feel alone on my journey out of evangelicalism (I am about 49% Catholic at this point– not quite ready to take the plunge just yet) with sharing your brave decision to join the RC church. Finally, I just want to say good luck with all your future endeavors and I pray you find victory and relief in your battle with depression. God bless you!

  39. Blessings upon you, Jeff, in all ways, and thanks for your contributions to this blog.

  40. Jeff, may God bless and continue to guide you, granting you his healing and peace. Please continue to write. You have something to say to the Body of Christ, and you say it well!

  41. Jeff, I will miss you greatly here. You have been a light to me personally and a tremendous asset to iMonk and to the blogosphere generally. Knowing you to be an old radio guy and a talented writer, I expect you will surface again somewhere soon. The urge to communicate will be too great. Please keep in touch!

    …and there’s always a place for you at Broken Road Radio. Blessings, friend.

  42. Jeff, you will be missed here. Godspeed.

  43. Fare thee well, Jeff. And if you’re ever in central California, stop by and we can fellowship and break bread and Celexa together.

  44. God bless you Jeff. As a fellow struggler with depression for many years on and off I know the challenge quite well. Blessings to you as you find healing in the coming year.

  45. Sean Muldowney says:

    After Michael’s passing I never thought IM would remain my top go-to blog. But it still is, in large part because of your effort.

    Thanks for your passionate behind the scenes work & challenging Jesus-shaped words. God’s peace to you.

  46. So sad to lose you from this space, Jeff. I hope your battle with depression ends favorably. This has been one of the few IM columns that I NEVER skip. Sometimes you say more in a paragraph or off-handed comment than others share in a full column. I don’t know where I’d be without your Ramblings or your Little Nash Rambler.

    All the best as you move forward, onward, and upward.


  47. Jeff, I will miss your voice. You’re a very talented writer with a uniwue perspective. I hope you visit and comment from time to time. Godspeed on your journey!

  48. Jeff, your work on the Ramblings was always entertaining and thoughtful, but you’ve got other matters to resolve. I wish you well.

    I’ll take your comment a bit further: the money people never had had anything to fear from American Christianity.

  49. Clay Knick says:

    Sorry to see you go. Many blessings to you, brother.

  50. I think the doctor should be taken off life support. This is as good as the world’s most expensive healthcare gets? What a relief we don’t have nationalized coverage! ( sarcasm alert).