July 28, 2014

Saturday Ramblings 10.26.13

RamblerGreetings, fellow iMonks. Well now, it has been a week here at the iMonastery. We have harvested the fields and put up into barns and even started the canning process. All that is left now is the gleanings. And those we call our Saturday Ramblings.

Well, let’s get right at it, ok? Mark Driscoll said Jesus is not a pacifist or a pansy. He said, “Some of those whose blood will flow as high as the bit in a horse’s mouth for 184 miles will be those who did not repent of their sin but did wrongly teach that Jesus was a pacifist. Jesus is no one to mess with.”  Really. That’s what he said. The floor is now open for your thoughts.

Here is one man who definitely is not a pansy. It must be hard to go to church when everything in you fights against it. And for those who are not familiar with Aspergers, here is the short version.

Prince George was baptized this week. Oh you know Prince George, right? He may be the new poster baby for baptisms. The number of baptisms has been on the decline for some time, and here are some reasons why.

Oh those crazy French. For all these years they have been praying a blasphemous version of the Lord’s Prayer. But now they are going to do it right. I think. It’s in French, after all, and I don’t speak French. But I’ll take their word for it.

You know that German bishop who spent 31 million euros to redecorate his digs? Pope Francis has told him to take some time off while he considers his fate. But it seems to be a symptom of a larger problem in Germany. Just where do the German Catholics get all of their money?

One more European stop. Just what do you think is the number one name for baby boys in Italy? It’s not Jeff or Mike or Adam.

And while we are all loving on Pope Francis, let’s not forget the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. He’s not such a bad guy, either.

Turning to the Baptists, Russell Moore says evangelicals shouldn’t be so entwined with politics. Really. What will we ever do if the guns of the culture wars cease firing?

As long as we have Albert Mohler, I doubt we will have that to worry about, huh? He spoke recently at … well, you will have to read this find out. Does it surprise you?

And you’ve heard why Baptists frown on premarital sex, right? It might lead to dancing. Well, it seems that some Baptists are starting to dance once again.

Well, Halloween is right around the corner. That means Christians are ready to combat the evils of four-foot-high witches and goblins with Harvest Festivals. Or with “evangelical” versions of the haunted house. Timothy George says doesn’t take the aspects of hell seriously.  I agree with him. You?

And then there is this. Don’t buy Girl Scout cookies. It promotes lesbianism and abortion and idols and … and … oh my head. I want my Thin Mints. And those peanut butter sandwich cookies. I’m hungry.

It’s not just German Catholic bishops who are building big houses these days. Steven Furtick is garnering attention for the little cottage he’s putting up. Hey, he says, it’s not what you think. Only 8,400 of the 16,000 square feet is actually heated space. Hardly even worth mentioning. But it’s all for the kingdom, right?

Finally, Adam Palmer shared a quiz that helps you to see if you live in a bubble. How did you score?

Birthday candles were lit for, and blown out by, Bela Lugosi; Amy Carter; Mickey Mantle; Wanda Jackson; Tom Petty; Elvin Bishop; Judge Judy; Carrie Fisher; Derek Jacobi; Leslie West; Johnny Carson; Pele; Michael Crichton; Dwight Yoakam; Al Yankovic; Doug Flutie; Bill Wyman; Pablo Picasso; and Bobby Knight.

Oh come on, you want to hear some Weird Al this morning. Enjoy.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcJjMnHoIBI']

 

Comments

  1. So are Hell Houses still big?

    I remember a back in the late 90s they seemed to be everywhere. I even remember radio ads for one in Ohio, and at least one made the local NPR station’s newscast. I’m guessing the Hell House documentary and mockery (King of the Hill did a great one) diminished their popularity a bit. Here in Minnesota they seem to have disappeared, but I’m guessing there are a few still around.

    Weird Al does not age like normal human beings. Find any photo of him in the past 5 years and he’ll look pretty much like he has since he lost the glasses and mustache in the 90s.

    • Yes, still big with S. Baptist and other Fundys, especially in the South.

      • In some parts of the South, “S. Baptist and other Fundys” is an oxymoron.

        Some of the “other Fundys” make S. Baptists look downright liberal.

        • Christiane says:

          Not all Southern Baptists are ‘crazy fundies’. I think the ‘rise of the fundies’ happened about thirty years ago with the advent of Pressler and Paige Patterson. At that point, the Baptist Faith & Message was dramatically re-written by a committee chosen by Patterson, and what followed is history.

          My grandmother, of blessed memory, was Southern Baptist, and I thought she was a fine Christian lady. When I came to learn about her faith, it was hard to recognize some of the more ‘modern day’ teachings as what she would have accepted as ‘Christian’. She did not disrespect other people or their faiths, nor did she harbor self-righteousness or mean-spiritedness towards anyone.

          Fortunately, there are still many like my grandmother. But they may be in the minority after thirty years of a fundamentalist leadership. Something precious was lost, and I hope it can be revived

          • Yeah, I’m pretty sparse with the “fundy” slur myself. From what I can tell, the remaining churches that do this kind of thing are usually Independent Baptists, Pentecostal Holiness, or Oneness (!) churches. None of these are terribly Southern Baptist.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      So are Hell Houses still big?</blockquote

      It's October. They (and similar "Witnessing Tools") should be big for another week or so, then Oceania will have always been at peace with Eurasia and Hate Week will have always been about The War On Christmas.

      • Mayor McGuinness says:

        I would find a “Sheol Shanty” much more interesting than a “Hell House” any pagan holiday of the week. No tortures, just boring dead folk.

  2. First question in the “bubble” quiz:
    Q. Have you ever lived for at least a year in an American neighborhood in which the majority of your fifty nearest neighbors did not have college degrees?
    A: Why, yes. My freshman year in the college dorms.

    Next question!

    • +1

    • A very poorly designed questionnaire/survey.

    • I thought the bubble test was kind of interesting, although it may not cover everybody. For example, I think his question about eating at low-class restaurants was intended to give you thin bubble points, but if you, like me, are too poor to even eat at those restaurants, it is inaccurate to “thicken” my bubble based on my “no” response.

      My wife and I grew up in very poor, very conservative, very fundamentalist homes in very small towns in the Midwest. Our journey has taken us far from that setting, but we still carry a lot of baggage with us from our previous lives, including the permanent default setting that we are poor. Even when we were both working professional level jobs and had an income at least 400% of the poverty line, we still thought of ourselves as poor people, which caused us to deny ourselves a lot of opportunities other people in our demographic took advantage of. It also caused us to identify with other poor people and feel guilty for having the income that we did, so we ended up giving most of it away. Now we are raising a family on one income that is much smaller than what either of us earned before kids and we are truly economically lower class, despite our advanced-degree-holding, liberal-politic-leaning, mainline-church-going, NPR-listening, organic-gardening appearance. I’m not sure what Murray would do with us.

      • We eat out about once every six months; and we don’t watch TV, so no favorite programs. I have no idea what my neighbors earn, just as they don’t know what I earn. A number of the questions just didn’t apply to me.

        • Christiane Smith says:

          Hi ROBERT F.

          ‘eating out’ in our culture somehow implies ‘spending money’ which many among us have no business doing because of our credit card debts, but here’s some ideas:

          when we were a young family with little money and our first mortgage to deal with, there was a city park nearby with a zoo and a hot dog stand . . . we ‘ate out’ there a lot, sitting among the lob lollies on old stone benches shared with curious squirrels and occasionally meeting the rather strange and wonderful ‘squirrel man’ who came to feed them from his own bitten hands when weather permitted, a remarkable experience for my little ones.
          (Cost? a few dollars, yes . . . some ‘wasted time’? . . . never that
          . . . wished I could ‘go back’ to those wonderful outings but they belong to our past)

          and now? True, a dinner down at the ocean is minimum seventy dollars for two fisherman’s platters, drinks, tip;
          but never mind, the ocean beckons us to come:
          there’s the old picnic basket and a thermos, and a blanket for the sand, and picking up some fish sandwiches from a fast food stand doesn’t cost the earth, and our coffee in the thermos is of our own making, the great dunes of the Outer Banks shelter us from the colder winds, and our companions are the smallest of sand crabs
          . . . and the ocean views? priceless

          so pack your sandwiches up ROBERT, and go out and find the places with natural ambiance and nature’s gentle companions . . . don’t forget the thermos . . . and a blanket . . . and GO . . . eat out!
          You’ll enjoy it. And you won’t feel at all deprived.

          We need to ‘reset’ our ideas of what ‘privilege’ is in our rich country . . . our ‘consumerism’ blinds us to the possibilities of enjoyment in ways not wedded to spending money

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            > You’ll enjoy it. And you won’t feel at all deprived.
            > We need to ‘reset’ our ideas of what ‘privilege’ is in our rich country . . . our ‘consumerism’
            > blinds us to the possibilities of enjoyment in ways not wedded to spending money

            +1

            At my now wise old age :) – it seems almost a moral imperative to appreciate the beauty around me, and there is a lot of it, and to force myself to look at the world with a lense of charity [not my natural inclination, to say the least]. I’ve seen what happens to the souls that do not exercise that discipline.

            I was walking under an overpass recently, avoiding stepping in … I’m not sure that that was… and someone had grafitti’d the concrete of the retaining wall with a picture of a bird. It was amazing well done, startlingly life like.

          • Christiane,
            Because of health issues my wife and I cannot walk very far, can not spend extensive periods in sunlight and must avoid casual contact with groups of people most of the time, among other things.

            Anyway, I wasn’t complaining. I was just noting that the design of the questionnaire was inadequate because it excluded a perhaps significant number of people who could not answer all the questions the way they are framed. I and my wife are two of those people.

        • cermak_rd says:

          same here with the not watching TV. Pretty much if I’ve got any spare time, I put it into practicing my clarinets. And we don’t eat out a huge amount of time, but when we do we prefer the locally owned independent mom & pop places (and they aren’t high falooting) to the chains.

          I scored a 41 because I grew up in a rural town and I live in an inner ring suburb (so working class for the most part).

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > I think his question about eating at low-class restaurants was intended to give you thin
        > bubble points, but if you, like me, are too poor to even eat at those restaurants

        Or if you are like me you get discounts for those restaurants, of if they are conveniently located on your transit route. So the poll could be skewed by unrelated variables. But still – if you have the inclinations or resources to actively avoid them, that would tell you something.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      I got 48, pretty much dead center; I moved from a poor rural community [where I grew up with an educated family, a minority] and then moved into a urban area most of my co-workers would [stupidly, IMO] refer to as a “ghetto”, and that area is now gentrifying [although the location of a freeway is slowing that effect on my side of the freeway valley, the other side is going a bit nuts],

      I thought the poll was was it was. It seemed to try to get the point across; one of which is that bubbling occurs at both ends of the spectrum.

      And most of the questions included a guideline for what was/was-not considered for the question [any college time shouldn't really count, one of the question's guidelines said that, I do not recall which one; there are a lot of faux-poor college students].

      These types of polls many serve as conversation pieces, I thought this one was much better than many I have seen.

  3. You really want to comment on Driscoll’s latest shock-jock move? How about: Greg Boyd’s response was jaw dropping (and a little too convicting for me).

    http://reknew.org/2013/10/responding-to-driscolls-is-god-a-pacifist-part-i/

    hope that link works.

  4. Personally, I don’t care where Mohler goes to speak, but given that he is so quick to vilify Christians who don’t see it his way, this speaking engagement seemed hypocritical, never mind well beyond a call of faith or Christianity and off into culture wars that are no longer about Christian values, just plain old conservative values.

    • I don’t know if you read what Mohler said or not, but he made their differences in faith perfectly clear, and that he wasn’t there affirming what they believe. He was there to talk about what he sees as assaults on religious freedoms in this country, and to affirm the things they do hold in common.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > that are no longer about Christian values, just plain old conservative values.

      Are they really “conservative values”? The term “evangelical values” or “family values” [everyone now recognizes "family" as code] should be preferred. For much of the values these groups espouse there is actually only very shallow history; describing them as “conservative” lends them too much merit, and makes it difficult or uncomfortable for legitimate conservative voices [disciples of Burke and friends] to participate in the conversation.

  5. Marcus Johnson says:

    Let’s not kid ourselves: it’s not just that buying a box of Girl Scout cookies endorses lesbianism and abortion. Eating Girl Scout cookies makes you gay. The cookies are preserved with a type of homo-glutenase that decreases libido toward the opposite sex and makes the sound of a Lady Gaga album sound really appealing. What other explanation is there for why Girl Scouts wear so much brown?

    And kudos to Swanson for his suggestion that we really shouldn’t buy them but, if we do, we should take a black marker and scratch out the Girl Scouts logo. Because giving in to lesbian propaganda is okay if no one else knows we did it? Because the ink from the black marker is absorbed through the box into the cookie and decreases the lesbianism within the cookies? Because, even though we bought the cookies and were about to throw the box out anyway, blacking out the logo will show that evil 10-year-old girl outside the grocery store on a Saturday morning that we mean business? Whatever Swanson’s reason, I’m sure it makes sense…well…

    • David Cornwell says:

      If some of these people that spend so much time and energy protesting these little girls selling cookies, would spend a similar amount of time discussing the policies of companies like Walmart or McDonalds, then I might have a speck more respect for them.

      But I doubt it.

      • That Other Jean says:

        I could not agree more.

      • A-freakin’-men!

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        +1000

      • Christiane says:

        I didn’t know they were targeting the Girl Scouts now . . . rather sad . . . ‘thin mint’ cookies ARE heavenly treats :)

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          Actually, Christiane, I think the Girl Scouts are targeting us. Add them to the list of enemies of the church. First you try the thin mints, then the shortbread, and it’s a slippery slope straight to the pits of eternal damnation…

          …really, I’m just cranky because I want the shortbread right now.

          • Christiane says:

            oh, the shortbread . . . I had forgotten how good it is!

          • Brianthedad says:

            Fortunately, the evil mega-corporation Walmart has an acceptable version of the Somoas, Caramel Delights, I believe. This way, I can avoid the evil liberalism of the Girl Scouts and instead deal with the pitfalls of modern-day corporate capitalism. But they’re still real tasty, regardless of who I get them from, even if the dude considers them food offered to idols.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Eating Girl Scout cookies makes you gay. The cookies are preserved with a type of homo-glutenase that decreases libido toward the opposite sex and makes the sound of a Lady Gaga album sound really appealing…

      “It’s incredibly obvious, isn’t it? A foreign substance is introduced into our Precious Bodily Fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That’s the way your hard-core Commie works.”
      – General Jack D Ripper, Dr Strangelove

      • David Cornwell says:

        Ever notice how the scapegoats change over time? A few years ago it was the red scare with commies behind every tree. Now it’s homosexuals in Brownie Troops subverting the little girls. Well, sometimes it’s a mix of gays, Reds, and Muslims. They all pull in the dollars.

        Having a scary black Democrat socialist leaning part Muslim President born in some weird country helps too.

    • Marcus, do you write for The Onion?

      Here’s what they have about gay kids and Halloween costumes:
      http://www.theonion.com/video/how-to-find-a-masculine-halloween-costume-for-your,14378/

  6. Richard Hershberger says:

    “Just where do the German Catholics get all of their money?”

    From the linked article:

    “There are 23 million German Catholics who have declared their faith and by law must pay 8 to 10 percent of their incomes to their respective churches. That brought the Catholic Church $7.1 billion in tax revenue in 2012.

    “Since the secularization process instigated by Napoleon in the early 19th century, the state also pays the Protestant and Catholic churches an annual allowance as compensation, which yielded a combined total of about $12 million for the Christian groups in 2012.

    “But the 27 Catholic dioceses in Germany have a large number of assets, such as real estate or bonds. According to John Berwick, religious affairs analyst for German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, the diocese of Cologne is richer than the Vatican.”

    Recall that the church (both Catholic and Protestant) in Germany is an established state church. My pastor was ordained in Germany and came to America about eleven years ago. There was more than the ordinary culture shock. In Germany he didn’t have to worry about things like fund raising and budget meetings. That was all taken care of by the government. For that matter, he was a government employee. When he decided to become an American citizen and stay here permanently he had to go back to Germany briefly to wrap up his final resignation and stuff like pension funds.

    I hadn’t realized that the church was funded quite so generously. I wonder if the funding levels weren’t set when attendance levels–and expenses–were higher.

    Also, remember that Germany used to be a jigsaw puzzle of sovereign states. Many of them were ecclesiastical. The Archbishopric of Cologne was the most prominent example, with the Archbishop of Cologne being one of seven Electors of the Holy Roman Empire. Napoleon had no time for this sort of stuff, and abolished most of it. The bit about compensation is a post-Napoleon settlement. The Germans didn’t want to go back to the pre-Napoleonic situation, so struck a settlement deal instead.

    The American system is much better. We have our excesses, but the need to actively fund raise acts as a check. Our excesses last years or decades, not centuries. And anyone who thinks that it would be lovely for their church to be established should look up the German Evangelical Church of 1933 and the Confessing Church in response the following year.

    • There also seems to be a link, at least in contemporary Western Europe, between state established churches and popular disinterest in Christianity.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        “link” is the wrong term. “correlation” is a better word choice. And not all correlation’s are causal.

        There also appears to be a correlation between both prosperity and higher educational levels with a disinterest in religion. That is evident in the United States. Is that causal? [or directly/indirectly causal?].

        European citizens generally poll as happier or more content, they feel more secure, than citizens of the United States. Perhaps the correlation is there? A correlation between insecurity and interest in religion?

        • “Link” is not wrong, though “correlation” is better; and of course not all correlations are causal.

          Perhaps God’s preferential option for the poor in the US means that those less prosperous and educated, and less secure and content, in the US will more easily find God among them, however imperfect their understanding, than their more affluent, prosperous, secure and content European counterparts, if Europeans are in fact all those things. I guess it depends on how you delineate Europe; Greece and other some other European nations may not be in harmony with the positive comparison to the US.

          Anyway, I’m borderline impoverished and only moderately well educated, feeling very insecure and not very content, so I will continue to look for God’s hand and help in my life.

  7. flatrocker says:

    Jeff, Jeff, Jeff,
    Weird Al over Wanda Jackson? Talk about living in a bubble.
    Oh, wait – is it my bubble or yours?

    • Wanda is my fellow Okie. But I thought I would be the only one to know who she is.

      Whereas I can always count on this iMonk gathering to go for anything named “weird…”

      • Wanda was “rediscovered” by younger folks and actually did some touring a few years back…

  8. Jeff, I noticed you used your words carefully with Prince George’s baptism. I have noticed some good articles this week making the point that it was about baptism. In general, the news reports focused on christening.

    I am new to infant baptism, having heard condemnations of it my whole life. My pastor also clearly focuses on the baptism, not the christening ceremony. The archbishop did also.

  9. If you put your Girl Scout cookies in the freezer and leave them for a couple of months the demon of Lesbianism is thoroughly exorcised.

    • Do you honestly think I would leave a box of Thin Mints uneaten for a couple of months? I don’t have that kind of willpower…

      • Then, as a new Catholic, just what will you give up for Lent?

        • Brussel sprouts.

          • Since I love fresh Brussel sprouts, that might actually be a Lenten discipline for me, apart from the fact that I can rarely afford fresh Brussel sprouts, so I wouldn’t be giving up much; but somehow methinks thou art less than fond of our little green friends, in which case thou wouldst be a veritable Lenten cheat….

            Just remember, weekly Confession will be heard every Saturday a 4:00 PM.

  10. And the Obligatory sequel to “Eat It” is: http://youtu.be/t2mU6USTBRE

  11. Was Jesus a pacifist? I don’t know.

    He certainly did not undertake a violent revolution against the blatantly corrupt political and religious rulers of his time. On the other hand, some New Testament texts suggest that his followers continued to carry weapons until the time of his Passion; assuming he knew about this, since I think swords are hard to carry in a clandestine manner, he is not shown as objecting to them doing so, though he also did not allow them to use those weapons against the authorities when they came to apprehend him.

    Certainly, there are texts that give the impression that Jesus is enjoining pacifism on those who would follow him. Throughout most of Christian history, these texts, along with other texts that seem to enjoin severely self-denying behavior on Jesus’ follower, have been interpreted by theologians and clergy in figurative and ameliorating ways. Though I listen to the arguments of pacifists for stricter interpretation, I also listen to the argument from the historically much wider Christian stream of opinion strongly suggesting less literal readings; there are good arguments on both sides.

    One of the best arguments for the traditional softening of the demands of these texts is theological only in a very loose sense, but I still find it very cogent: if literally following all of the ethical imperatives that Jesus gives in the NT is necessary to be a Christian, then Christianity is a religion that only childless bachelors (I would add bachelorettes) with few possessions and little power could practice; people like, say Soren Kierkegaard (who would have limited the practice of Christianity to bachelors, since he believed that women lacked the necessary attributes to follow Christ, and therefore were not even required to do so; the intended audience of his theological and philosophical work was solely male).

    Since I live in an area where many Mennonite reside, I can say that, though they do practice non-violence as a community, they do not contradict the above observation: most Mennonite practice non-violence from within a context of very stable affluence, and downright ostentatious materialism among the non-Plain with whom I’m most familiar. If Jesus is uttering ethical proscriptions in the NT texts, then the Mennonite, like the rest of us, do not literally follow every one recorded there, though they follow some more literally than the rest of us do. They, along with us, soften some of the radical demands that Jesus seems to make; they just draw the line in different places.

    I think it is almost always wrong to follow NT teaching in a way that places personal and/or theological purity above all other concerns; to the degree the Christian pacifism does this, I believe it’s a wrong approach, and actually does violence to the Biblical texts.

    And I can’t say that Jesus was or was not a pacifist without doing violence to the NT texts in the name of establishing theological purity.

    • …prescriptions…not proscriptions….

    • I have a pacifist friend who is currently struggling with how he would have responded if he were in the situation in 1 Kings 20.
      And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his fellow at the command of the Lord, “Strike me, please.” But the man refused to strike him. Then he said to him, “Because you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as you have gone from me, a lion shall strike you down.” And as soon as he had departed from him, a lion met him and struck him down. (1 Kings 20:35, 36 ESV)

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      Trying to find a Scriptural answer to the question of “Was Jesus a pacifist?” (which, IMO, is really just a subversive way of asking the question, “Should I be a pacifist?”) is a shallow pursuit, one which has nothing to with the Gospel.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        It is also an exercise in extremes; is the choice really between being a hawk [peace only through strength, yada yada] and a pacifist [I will not raise my hand as you kill my family]…… Such thinking is a trap. And I do not advocate any silliness about a “balance” or “middle ground” – just that situations are different, and the practiced literate mind can consider each and make a specific moral choice.

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          A practiced literate mind?

          You mean, there are actually some situations for which there is no life verse? That a commitment to a life in Christ doesn’t preclude us from making logical choices based off of common sense and moral reasoning?

          Marcus confused.

        • A wise reply. I think any position that becomes elevated to law – universally applicable in any situation – is a poor substitute for wisdom.

  12. “Some of those whose blood will flow as high as the bit in a horse’s mouth for 184 miles will be those who did not repent of their sin but did wrongly teach that Jesus was a pacifist.”

    Hm – I guess that my Catholic version of Revelation left out the verse describing the exact depth and length of the river of blood that would flow when the rider on the white horse appeared. Just one more example of how we have edited the Bible erroneously!

    Talk like this makes me tired. It also makes me think that Mr. Driscoll has never been in a real fight in his life, else he wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about violence if he ever had actual experience of being punched in the face or kicked in the ribs. If he is so enthused about “Fighting for Jesus”, then let him go to Egypt or Pakistan or any of the spots in the news right now where you can read about mobs burning down churches and shooting wedding parties.

    A bit of experience of real bullets flying (like my late father who was in the army; who served on the Irish U.N. peacekeeping mission to the Congo in the 60s; who had real people with real guns shooting real bullets at him and his comrades as he sheltered in a foxhole), and he mightn’t be so gung-ho for “Call of Duty Christianity”.

    John 18: 10-11: “10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant[c] and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?””

    John 18:35-36 “35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Hm – I guess that my Catholic version of Revelation left out the verse describing the exact depth and length of the river of blood that would flow when the rider on the white horse appeared. Just one more example of how we have edited the Bible erroneously!

      Like Rayford Steele LaHaye, he probably just measured out the length and width of Jezreel Valley from Megiddo to the Med and did the math.

      Talk like this makes me tired. It also makes me think that Mr. Driscoll has never been in a real fight in his life, else he wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about violence if he ever had actual experience of being punched in the face or kicked in the ribs.

      1) One retired MMA cage fighter-turned-preacher once analyzed Driscoll’s enthusiasm for MMA cage fights; from his experience, he pronounced Driscoll the worst kind of MMA fanboy — the couch potato who attends fights just so he can see someone get hurt. Buttery Doughy Guy on an “I’m Beating Them Up!” fantasy trip. And these types ALWAYS talk big. As they say in Texas: “All hat, no cattle.”

      2) Maybe he’s like the Enforcers of various Third World Dictators: Very tough as long as he’s fighting people who are unable to fight back. He can Beat Them Up in perfect personal safety, and hold up his kill record to show How Tough I Am.

      3) If this was Rome some 1800 years ago, would he have a season ticket to the Flavian Ampitheater? Front Row seat so he can watch the gladiators close-up, maybe close enough to get the blood of the kills splashed on him? While he watches from his seat and cheers?

    • Anonymously Yours says:

      Martha wrote:

      Some of those whose blood will flow as high as the bit in a horse’s mouth for 184 miles will be those who did not repent of their sin but did wrongly teach that Jesus was a pacifist.”

      Hm – I guess that my Catholic version of Revelation left out the verse describing the exact depth and length of the river of blood that would flow when the rider on the white horse appeared. Just one more example of how we have edited the Bible erroneously!

      From the Catholic Douay-Rheims:
      “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice: If any man shall adore the beast and his image, and receive his character in his forehead, or in his hand; he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mingled with pure wine in the cup of his wrath, and shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the sight of the holy angels, and in the sight of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torments shall ascend up for ever and ever: neither have they rest day nor night, who have adored the beast, and his image, and whoever receiveth the character of his name. Here is the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying to me: Write: Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord. From henceforth now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; for their works follow them. And I saw, and behold a white cloud; and upon the cloud one sitting like to the Son of man, having on his head a crown of gold, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the temple crying with a loud voice to him that sat upon the cloud: Thrust in thy sickle, and reap, because the hour is come to reap: for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust his sickle into the earth, and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire; and he cried with a loud voice to him that had the sharp sickle, saying: Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vineyard of the earth; because the grapes thereof are ripe. And the angel thrust in his sharp sickle into the earth, and gathered the vineyard of the earth, and cast it into the great press of the wrath of God: and the press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a thousand and six hundred furlongs” (Revelation 14:9-20).

      From the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition:
      “Then another angel, a third, followed them, crying with a loud voice, “Those who worship the beast and its image, and receive a mark on their foreheads or on their hands, they will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and they will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image and for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus.And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.” Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like the Son of Man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand! Another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to the one who sat on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” So the one who sat on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered the vintage of the earth, and he threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God. And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the wine press, as high as a horse’s bridle, for a distance of about two hundred miles” (Revelation 14:9-20).

  13. Modernism and post-modernism have a deep distrust of institutions and institutional religion, and part of that distrust includes a low regard for institutionalized religious ritual. Even when people identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ, there will be less and less interest in institutionalized religious rituals, like baptism, as part of what it means to be a Christian. Unless things change dramatically, this trend will continue.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > Unless things change dramatically, this trend will continue.

      Maybe, or like many trends it will reach a certain level or range, and then peter out. Many popular things decline in popularity, hit a ‘floor’, and persist indefinitely at that level.

      Many many things rising in popularity do the same, it seems they will consume everything and crush their competitors as they rise meteorically then the rise tapers off, tapers off, tapers off, and levels out [the penetration of 'social media' forms looks like this currently, adding X gajillion 'subscribers' every year, requires more and more effort to sustain, and older subscribers fade out, and the juggernaut in analysis starts to look a bit stalled].

      > Modernism and post-modernism

      Personally I wonder if both these schools have had their day, and we are now entering post-post-modernism [whatever that will look like]. Certainly the grim pessimism of the 70s and 80s seems to have passed out of favor, and the hand-wringing of the 90s as well. The attitude, at least among the younger people I meet and the socially and political engaged seems to now to be a more practical “oh, yea, that sucks, but I don’t see why we can’t fix it, lets figure out how”, this with little evidence of anti-institutionalism – provided those institutions *work*. It is really a breath of fresh air; problems can be solved [why not? we've done it before] and they can help us [without institutions you actually can not do anything of note].

  14. “Some of those whose blood will flow as high as the bit in a horse’s mouth for 184 miles will be those who did not repent of their sin but did wrongly teach that Jesus was a pacifist. Jesus is no one to mess with.”

    What. A. D*****bag.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Honestly, he just sounds nuts. How long till he does something really stupid?

      • You mean, “does something stupid,” like O.J. Simpson?

        Let’s hope he’s not, in the words of Warren Zevon, .”..just an Excitable Boy..”

      • Catherine says:

        I truly think Mark Driscoll’s going to get caught in some ridiculous scandal one of these days à la Ted Haggard or Jack Schapp. He doesn’t seem to have any real authority over him, has an unhealthy obsession with sex, and doesn’t seem to have a very high view of women. It’s the perfect church-abuse trifecta.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          As far as I know (from Wartburg Watch comment threads of 2-3 years ago) I was the first to predict that MD’s gigachurch career was probably going to end in a spectacular sex scandal.

  15. ::headdesk::
    If we stop talking about Mark Driscoll, will he just dissipate into the puddle a testosterone and gas?

    • Josh in FW says:

      :-)

    • Dana Ames says:

      LOL, Umi :)

      Seriously, MD used to get me all worked up in a lather. Then I started to think how, in some ways, I am just like him. Now, I feel more sorry for him than anything; I think there’s a lot of fear under the surface. I really have to guard against Schadenfreude; that said, I truly do hope that it won’t take his wife and children suffering (or losing what real faith they have) for him to finally understand…

      Interestingly, his beard is showing quite a bit of gray.

      Dana

  16. “calling the cookies “food offered to idols.”

    Umm. Does he know that on the “food sacrificed to idols” issue, Paul ruled in favor of those who ate? And called those who didn’t eat “weaker brothers?” Hmmm

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      And has he ever actually seen a pagan offering ceremony?

      This is one area where I think the use of the term “idol” is really stupid and destructive. And idol is something someone bows to and specifically ***worships*** as in religious ceremony. Using idol worship rhetoric for anything and everything that is potentially in some way bad or misleading – it is just dumb at best, and ignorant at worst.

      Can’t we just say what we mean: “These items are sold by an organization with actively advocates a political agenda we do not agree with.” vs “These items are idol offerings”. Really??? Those are the same thing? That is just stupid.

      Please – pastors everywhere – stop using the idol rhetoric, you have contributed to this nonsense by legitimating saying dumb things. How many people in the USA have, or even know someone who has, ***worshiped*** [and you clergy know that that term means] an idol? At least in the Midwest that number has to be quite close to zero.

      At least stop using that rhetoric out of human respect for genuine well-intentioned actual practicing pagans.

      • Thank you. I, too, am tired of everything being called an idol or idolatry. Its almost Orwellian, the way that religious language has been distilled down to a few absolutest phrases.

        • Well, to a large degree, you can thank Paul Tillich for much over- and misuse of the terms “idol” and “idolatry” in contemporary parlance, since he routinely spread them around until they came to mean just about any attachment to anything one thinks is bad and/or one doesn’t like

          • OTOH, John Calvin wrote almost the same thing quite a bit earlier, if I recall.

          • But as I remember, all those liberal churches”prophetically” “speaking truth to power” in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s etc., were definitely spreading “idol” and “idolatry” around under the influence of Tillich, not Calvin; the religious Right caught the “idol” bug from them in their subsequent culture wars.

          • Please to remember that the Moral Majority and Religious Right became politically hyperactive in the 70′s partly in reaction to and imitation of the 60′s counter-culture, and the counter-culture noises that the mainstream churches were making. Part of the political rhetoric that came out of the counter-culture and its mainstream church imitators was the habit of declaiming the “idolatry” of American hegemony abroad and domestic political “oppression” at home; it was very common to find the words “idolatry” and “idolatrous” used in the position statements issued by mainstream church bodies against those national policies with which they disagreed.

            Ironically, in the subsequent culture wars, the religious right has adopted many of the same tactics and some of the same language that their “progressive” predecessors and models used, including slapping the labels “idolatry” and “idol” on any political position with which they disagree.

            And the overuse and misuse of the terms “idol” and “idolatry” by the mainstream churches was by way of familiarity with the theological perspective of Tillich, and perhaps also some lesser modern and radical 20th century theological luminaries.

      • The practicing neo-Pagans I know don’t worship anything or anyone; they do claim to communicate with spirits, but worshiping those spirits would be beside the point, because the very center of their spiritual practice seems to be the focus on self, and extending its “wisdom” and “power.”

        In a way, Walt Whitman is their prophet: “And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one’s self is…”

        Then again, perhaps that is really what idolatry is: putting one’s self at the center. Of course, a Christian can as easily do that as a Pagan, perhaps more easily.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > The practicing neo-Pagans I know don’t worship anything or anyone;

          Neo-pagans perhaps. But there are real old-school pagans, and plenty of them. Norse Heathenism is one such ‘church’, there are others. Such beliefs may be rare in the United States, but they are alive and well in the old world. And there are the Uralic traditions [I'm from a Finnish family] which has its own flavor. Some of these are more neo- than others.

          > The practicing neo-Pagans I know don’t worship anything or anyone;

          No, Idolatry is worshiping an idol. Although, honestly, I think real idol worship is close to extinct even among pagans; they have been sophisticated by enlightenment thought along with everyone else. ‘Idols’ are treated much as RCCs and OEs would treat iconography or Evangelicals a crucifix; as objects of focus rather than some type of magical manifestation of the deity itself. “Idol worship” in the modern world is an awkward concept and probably a terminology best abandoned altogether. They are pagans, and not Christian, and that is the relevant issue.

          Being self-centered or self-involved…. that is just “normal”. :)

    • Nate, we all should be able to agree that we should not eat weaker brothers. :)

  17. Doubting Thomas says:

    Now I have to find a Girl Scout and buy more cookies than I need.

  18. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Mark Driscoll said Jesus is not a pacifist or a pansy. He said, “Some of those whose blood will flow as high as the bit in a horse’s mouth for 184 miles will be those who did not repent of their sin but did wrongly teach that Jesus was a pacifist. Jesus is no one to mess with.” Really. That’s what he said. The floor is now open for your thoughts.

    1) This is Driscoll. “I CAN BEAT YOU UP! I CAN BEAT YOU UP! I CAN BEAT YOU UP!”

    2) Did he do the math as to how many bodies would it take to fill Jezreel Valley with blood up to the horses’ bridles? La Haye did.

  19. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    And then there is this. Don’t buy Girl Scout cookies. It promotes lesbianism and abortion and idols and … and … oh my head. I want my Thin Mints. And those peanut butter sandwich cookies. I’m hungry.

    Kevin Swanson.
    “Wombs of women who don’t breed are lined with dead fetuses — graveyards of murdered babies!” Swanson.
    “I look like Central Casting’s “Dorky Kid” from a Fifties High School Movie” Swanson.
    Future Commander of Holy Gilead: The Live Role-Playing Game Swanson.

    Like Driscoll, this guy has every mark of being an Omega Male who got into a position of POWER and now that he’s an Alpha Male (And Don’t You Ever Forget That!) he’s throwing his weight around by Divine Right.

    • ““Wombs of women who don’t breed are lined with dead fetuses — graveyards of murdered babies!” Swanson.”

      I happen to ask a friend of mine who is a doctor about this. I couldn’t get her to stop laughing long enough to answer. At the time that Swanson made this comment, several people asked on his FB page where he got the information. He answered a few days later that a friend of his who was a doctor told him that this was true. My actual belief is that he made this up as he went along. I suspect that he makes up a lot of his “facts” as he goes along.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        What’s always gotten me about Swanson is that every time I see a photo of him, the guy looks like a High School Dork from Central Casting. I wonder if he’s a case of someone who was always on the bottom of the heap (the dorky kid) who found a way to become an Alpha Male (by Divine Right as Gawd’s Anointed) and is now throwing his weight around.

  20. Is it ironic for the head of the SBC’s ERLC to talk about getting out of politics? And men like Mohler only exist in political contexts. This really just sounds like empty rhetoric at this point in the game.

  21. 1. Al Mohler has issues. Too bad he also has quite a following.

    2. Anglicans should be thankful for Justin Welby (and Rowan Williams, for that matter).

    3. Weird Al over Tom Petty? You must be joking, Jeff.

    • 1. Not familiar with Mohler; nothing to say

      2. Amen (and Amen!)!

      3. “It was nearly summer and we sat on your roof.
      We smoked cigarettes and we stared at the moon.
      I showed you stars you never could see.
      It couldn’t have been that easy to forget about me

      Baby, even the losers
      get lucky sometimes.
      Even the losers
      keep a little bit of pride,
      they get lucky sometimes.”

  22. “I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”

    I think Mark Driscoll stole this line from Kwai Chang Cain, who said it to a Hutterite who was trying to convert him to Christianity in an episode of Kung Fu.

  23. Lord, receive into your care Lou Reed,
    and let light perpetual shine upon him.

    In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

  24. It’s taken me almost a week, but I think I can now articulate a response regarding Driscoll.
    1. Driscoll is correct; Jesus is NOT a pacifist. Nothing is ever solved nor evil stopped by doing nothing.
    2. The opposite of pacifism is not violence. As Paul states in Romans 12:21, we are called to overcome evil with good. As described in Revelation 12:21, the persecuted believers did not overcome evil by violence but by the blood of the Lamb, by their testimony, and by not loving their lives unto death.
    3. Jesus calls us to entrust vengeance and judgment to Him (Romans 12:19). The sinful nature is deceptive. Often, as proven in recent news events and court proceedings, the difference between to “kill” and to “murder” is often clouded in prejudice, jealousy, and hate.
    4. As the cross bears witness, the greatest violence against evil is often suffering. Suffering is not a passive act. It took me a long time to understand what Paul was calling us to in Romans 12:20 is not a passive-aggressive attack against evil but an act of love and healing with the intent of saving and winning over our enemies.
    5. As Ecclesiastes 3:3 states, there is a time to kill. God help us all if in defense of our loved ones we find ourselves in that moment.

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