December? Did I hear the calendar turn to December? What year? You’re kidding me. It’s already December of this year? My oh my. Where has this year gone? If you are new to these pages, each week here at the iMonastery we grab the broom and clean up the leftovers, gleanings we were unable to get to during the week. And just because it’s December, don’t settle in for a long winter’s nap just yet. We have a lot of stories to discuss today. So buckle up … it’s time to ramble.
Where to begin? Honestly, I cannot make stuff like this up. Stuff like what? Well, there apparently is a vampire on the loose in a village in Serbia. Townspeople are encouraged to stock up on garlic. Really. That’s the kind of week it’s been.
And I’m not the only one who has noticed. I have received many stories from our fellow iMonks this week, like this from Randy Thompson about the sea in Australia turning “blood red,” turning tourists away. Could a plague of frogs be next? (And keep your Frenchmen jokes to yourselves, iMonks…)
Or brianthedad who came across this unique way one Ohio church is attempting to attract men to its services. God and guns, alive and well in my home state. What Would Jesus Shoot indeed …
And we haven’t even gotten to the weird stuff yet. I guess there is a TV show called Two And A Half Men. I’ve never watched it, and will die a happy man if I can keep that streak going. This week, one of the stars—the “half a man”—said the show is “filth” and encouraged others not to watch it. Seems young Angus Jones is now a Christian, and doesn’t feel it’s right to be a part of a show that is filled with sexual innuendo. In an interview with Christianity Today, he refers to himself as a “paid hypocrite.” CNN asks how many of us perform jobs that go against our beliefs. Good question.
Has it really been ten years since Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life was released? If you say so. But I don’t believe for a moment that one quarter of all American adults have read the thing. As I recall, I made it through about one chapter. You? Meanwhile, Warren is claiming that we are losing religious freedom under President Obama. Honestly, I am not seeing that, but I’m not really looking, either. Do you see any loss of religious liberty in the last four years?
My friend Scott Taylor (who bought me breakfast Thursday morning—thanks, Scott) alerted me to this video. I’m very ashamed to say this is a scene shot at midnight on Black Friday at the Woodland Hills Mall right where here in Tulsa. The store being mobbed? Victoria’s Secret. I don’t think we’re losing religious freedom as much as we are losing the battle to control our impulses. Or maybe just to act like human beings. Watch this if you can.
Ready for a coffee break? Maybe a cuppa from Dunkin’ Donuts? Just don’t call it the best coffee in America or the gov’ment gonna get ya…(Besides, we all know the best coffee in America is served at the Boston Stoker in Dayton, Ohio.)
Millions of people participated this last week in voluntary taxation by playing the Powerball lottery. While tickets were selling at the rate of 100,000 per minute, CNN asked if it would be permissible to pray to win. So, did you play? And if so, did you pray to win?
You have got to read this. Really. A history of Catholics and smoking. I read things like this and think, “Why didn’t I write this?” I love the Jesuit answer to “Is it licit to smoke a cigar while praying?” You’ll have to read the article to find the answer. It’s brilliant.
And this is just sick. Again, thanks—I think—to Randy for pointing out that just when you think things can’t get any worse, the next issue of Charisma comes out. Salon then responded, making it even worse. Of course, we could be living in Germany, where—as our own Damaris Zehner alerted us to—sex with animals has been legal since 1969. Now animal rights groups are pushing to ban “actions alien to the species.” I know God said he would never again destroy the earth with a flood, but I haven’t seen a rainbow in a while. I wonder if he is reconsidering.
I guess with all this demon sex going on, it’s not surprising that the call for exorcists has increased dramatically.
In perhaps this week’s strangest news, Pat Robertson opened his mouth and made news again. And—this is the strange part—I agree with him. Do you?
Eagle-eyed rambler Adam Palmer spotted this piece at Slate. I think it is perhaps time we discuss whether donations to churches should be tax-deductible. You need to read this just for this one line: “Does God care about the splendor of the churches built in his honor and is he prepared to offer us tangible rewards in exchange for subsidizing them?”
I know this story is not as thrilling as demon sex or vampires running amuck, but I find something very interesting in reading about this group of Colombian Christians who converted to Judaism. Just a one-time thing, or the beginning of a new fad/trend?
Your Rambler is mourning the passing of two greats this week. First of all, the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living near Louisville, Kentucky is closing its doors for good. Money, or the lack thereof, is the cause. And Zig Ziglar, the most positive man in America, passed away this week. Zig was 86.
If it is the Christmas season, then it must be time for those who believe we must “take back” the holiday from those who would ruin it. Here is an ad being run by a group who wants you to remember that Christmas is about Baby Jesus who, apparently, is not yet potty trained.
Birthday greetings were shared this last week with William F. Buckley, Jr.; Paul Tagliabue; Donald Duck Dunn; Pete Best; Joe DiMaggio; Percy Sledge; Amy Grant; Charles Schultz; Tina Turner; John McVie; Jimi Hendrix; Joshua Harris; Berry Gordy, Jr.; Randy Newman; and Vin Scully.
Yes, I know Jimi Hendrix lived a very, very hard and rough life. I know he died of a drug overdose, choking to death on his own vomit. But if you don’t believe his gift was given him by God … The greatest person to ever pick up a guitar. Enjoy.