July 29, 2014

Saturday Ramblings 2.16.13

RamblerGreetings, earthlings. Looks like we survived yet another brush with destiny. And asteroid with a name like DA14 drove by the neighborhood, but decided not to stop in to visit, unlike the meteorite that moved in like a loud-mouthed brother-in-law in Russia early yesterday morning. If we were going to be destroyed by an asteroid, you can bet you would have read about it here on Saturday Ramblings. As it is, we did have a relatively big story occur this week. What say we ramble together and find out what that bright light was?

If I had asked you last week, “Which is more likely to happen: A meteorite hitting the earth with enough power to shatter glass in an entire town, injuring more than a thousand people, or Pope Benedict XVI resigning?” how many of you would have said, “Rambler, you need to up your meds”? Well, iMonks, both happened. The times, they are a-changin’ …

And just how is that change at the Vatican going to occur? Here are some of the nitty-gritty details of how the next pope will be selected. Really disappointed that the process is not open to public. How great would that be? The inevitable what-did-they-know-and-when-did-they-know-it questions have begun. Look, did the pope just wake up Monday and say, “Hey! I think I’ll quit today”? Of course not. But never let a few facts get in the way of a good conspiracy. And the archbishop of Los Angeles is the first to use the “S” word when referring to Benedict.  A bit early for that, don’t you think?

And the Synonymous Rambler wonders if Catholics and Baptists really can get along. Don’t you think that, for most Baptists, agreeing with Catholics would be more explosive than a meteorite?

Of course, the biggest news this weekend does not involve space rocks or retiring pontiffs. A VERY BIG SOMETHING is going to happen on the season-ending episode of Downton Abbey tomorrow night. And Christianity Today says that God has entered the picture this year in the events surrounding the Abbey. I still can’t believe that … oh, right. Some of you haven’t caught up yet. Hurry up so we can all be on the same page, ok?

Once this season ends, I will have a couple hours more each week to read. And since my “to read” pile is only about twenty or thirty books deep right now, I think I will add another. This one looks very promising. I would love to get a glimpse of The Man through the eyes of those who have spent time with him.

And here is one book that is not going into my “to read” pile. Not coming into my house, if I can help it. Wonder how books like these come to be? I’m not saying that this is the way this one came about, but in similar situations, the publisher will say, “What big-name Christian with a large marketing platform can we get to lend his name to a fiction project?” Then they go get that person and pair him/her with a person who can actually write. They might collaborate a bit on a storyline, then the writer takes it from there. The instruction from the publisher will be to not make it too “literate,” for that is not what sells in Christian fiction these days. Oh, sorry … I didn’t notice I had climbed up on a box of soap. I’ll move along now.

Do you care if the musicians in your church’s praise band are even Christians as long as they can hit that drum fill or hand off properly after a solid guitar riff? Would it bother you to know your music leader was also tipping the bottle, often not in moderation? Rev. Randy found this article on the subject interesting. You?

What is happening in Minnesota? Have the Lutherans been caught napping? Seems that—egads!—Assembly of God churches are the fastest growing in the Land of Lakes. Any Gophers care to explain?

Roving Rambler Adam Palmer found this article interesting, but the chart at the bottom even more interesting. Maybe the whole creation/evolution thingy is not as big of a deal for Christians as the media seems to portray it.

James the Mad let us know of the passing of Richard Twiss. Here was a man who spent his life in relative obscurity ministering in a way that would leave most of us, at best, confused. But for those whom he taught to embrace their heritage as a way to worship God, he will be greatly missed.

Want to go to the most religious state? Try Mississippi. Want to avoid the least religious state? Stay out of Vermont. Any more questions?

Ok, now we get to the interesting stuff. First is this, which is not only highly offensive, it is very scary because I think it just might be real. Oh please tell me I just dreamed this horrible, horrible video.

Both Rev. Randy and Michael Bailey found these 33 ways to know you were a youth group kid true to form.

Martha of Ireland wonders just what all fits the definition of “seafood,” especially now during Lent. One gray—or should we say green—area has apparently been cleared up.

A preacher in Kentucky wants his snakes back. You know, there is nothing about this story that surprises me. Not one thing. And that really concerns me.

And finally (finally!), a long-time patron of a Las Vegas restaurant has died. He died waiting for a bus in front of the restaurant. The diner was known as “Patient Joe.” The restaurant? The Heart Attack Grill. And how did Patient Joe die? (Wait for it …) He died of a heart attack. I seriously cannot make this stuff up.

Happy Happy Birthday was sung this last week to my wife, Kathy; Ernest Tubb; Carole King; Jimmy Durante; Lon Chaney, Jr.; Don Wilson; Thomas Edison; Eva Gabor; Leslie Nielsen; Burt Reynolds; Sergio Mendez; Sarah Palin; Omar Bradley; Bill Russell; Woody Hayes; Tennessee Ernie Ford; Chuck Yeager; Peter Tork; Jerry Springer; Peter Gabriel; Jimmy Hoffa; and Matt Groening.

How ’bout a bit of summer to chase away your winter blues? Don Wilson was the founder and lead guitarist of the Ventures, one of the recognizable sounds in music. Enjoy.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8__EwAT8VM']

Comments

  1. Kyle In Japan says:

    I like the one from the youth group list about using “just” in prayer. I first noticed that from Stuff Christians Like, and sometimes I still fight the urge to crack up when I hear a “just”-laden prayer.

    • This is what Sacred Sandwich had to say about the word “just” in prayer. I “just” love a good satire.
      http://sacredsandwich.com/archives/9273

      • That was good, Ted! In the comments section on that page, I like the comment which said, “Wait a minute! You mean God’s name ISN’T ‘Father Weejus’?”

      • Well, its maybe better than the rambling pastoral mini-sermon-in-a-prayer, or the “Thee” and “Thou” awkwardness that seems to have died out with my parents’ generation You’d like Chuck Meyer’s Dying Church, Living God: A Call to Begin Again. The WeeJus extemporaneous prayer is one of his pet peeves as well. Maybe we can talk about the excruciatingly embarrassing and tedious off-the-cuff “testimony time” while we’re at it.

        • I guess I just don’t like public extemporaneous prayer, period. When I was part of a charismatic, independent church years ago and we prayed in a circle, holding hands, before the actual service, I never felt “comfortable” praying out loud that way. Now if we said the Lord’s Prayer that way together, I would be fine.

  2. Best Rambling in a long time. And as soon as I saw the name Don Wilson in the Birthday Wishes, I knew where it was going. Thank you for reviving both my early childhood memories and the reminding me of the good times from pep band.

  3. Just (oops!) had a conversation with someone this week where we discussed “Lord WeJus” Which is who a lot of people seem to pray to….Lord, Wejus want to thank you for…..

    If there were no other reason for me to be deliberately in the historic liturgy, I think that would be enough…..

  4. Our world and our country *are* actually facing major demographic issues.

    But why don’t I think Dobson’s new book is going to help move the discussion along in a helpful manner…?

  5. Maine is not far behind Vermont in being “least religious” state. Hey, it’s too cold, too snowy, too hot, too pretty a day, too busy a day, not enough money for gas to “go to Church.” Besides, we can honor God by playing with our children, climbing a mountain, volunteering at a charity, donating to United Way, reading our Bible, affirming the one-ness of all humankind.

    (Written tongue-in-cheek…mostly.)

    • Dan Crawford says:

      I guess Mississippi is most religious for its racism. xenophobia, resentment of the poor and its attachment to Tea Party politics?

      • Glad to see the absence of stereotypes and sweeping cliches…….

      • Marcus Johnson says:

        Granted, Dan is going over the top there. However, I can attest to some of the inherent problems within the state of Mississippi–some of them institutional, some cultural–which allow the problems which Dan listed to persist. I think those problems are amplified by the fact that MI is now deemed “the most religious state.” There are a lot of great changes happening in Mississippi to address those concerns, but the title of “most religious” is a ridiculous one, and would only please folks who are interested in looking like good Christians.

  6. As a native Minnesotan, I can’t explain the AG phenomenon; however, I can add that it is no surprise and nothing new. Thirty years ago, I went from the Methodist church of my upbringing to an AG church attended by my “new” friends. Although the youth attrition factor is an issue facing evangelicalism in general, it has been a main-line denomination issue for decades. Confirmation was typically a kid’s ticket out of church; once you were confirmed, your parents didn’t force you to go to church anymore. As a result, main-line churches are made up of older people. Unfortunately, I can also add that eventually my new “friends” by in large didn’t just leave the AG but abandoned the faith altogether.

    The real answer why AG is growing may be because it seems to transcend race much better than main-line denoms, which tend to be located in small, shrinking, predominantly white farming communities.

  7. “Father Weejus” isn’t confined to youth groups only. Every evangelical church I’ve been in has used that invocation.

    The lightening strike on St. Peter’s was interesting. Reminds me of a similar incident when the convention center the ELCA was meeting in was hit in like manner in 2009.

  8. For my soap box, don’t get me started on musicians and worship leaders. Since every church and church start-up needs musicians for their ‘contemporary’ service, the demand is incredible. ANYONE can be a musician. It doesn’t matter if they have any connection to Christ, churches will let them not only play but also pick out songs.

    If someone has skills to teach a Sunday School, churches will often wait until they have been with the church a year or longer. But, if they are a musician, they can start playing this week (and even pick out songs).

    • In America the necessities for having a church are: Sound system, wireless mic, power-point projector, hipster in skinny jeans, a marketing campaign… Without a great musical production, what is going to attract consumers to the new business? Worship is reduced to the music we offer to God. I think the the difficulty in distinguishing music from worship is a direct result of non-sacramental theology, because worship becomes solely something we offer up to God, and not about actually receiving things from him. All that should be necessary for a church service is the scriptures, bread, and wine. Service books/hymnals can help.

  9. The plot of Dobson’s novel oddly reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut’s short story, 2 B R 0 2 B… I’ll never understand Christians feel that their biggest weapon in making converts is fear. Jesus told people to not be afraid. Yet, we go around reminding people of everything they should be afraid of.

    Regarding the AoG in Minnesota, I saw an article about that in the local paper a few months ago. I do think a lot of the growth of the movement has to do with the fact that AoG churches tend to be more racially diverse as Dumb Ox noted above. I also think that they do a lot to attract young families. I’ve only lived in Minnesota for two years, but my impression of the Lutheran churches around me (I live in Minneapolis) is that they are very WASPy, and they are definitely made up of a certain kind of person.

    • Lutheran churches anywhere in the northern hemisphere tend to be very WASPy. We’ve managed to incorporate plenty of non-German whites (at least we’re not as bad as the Dutch Reformed :D ), but you might say that we can be a chromatically challenged tradition. Ironically, the parish I serve is the most diverse congregation I’ve seen of any religion anywhere. But we’re in New York, so that’s not necessarily amazing.

      AoG tradition seems to align itself with pop-culture sensibilities quickly and easily, which may be part of what broadens its appeal to a wider base. Lutheranism tends to orient itself to high-culture or classical worship, and when it does go after pop culture it usually does so badly. These things have a much more profound effect on the choice of church of Americans than doctrinal positions.

      Affluent culture tend to treat religion more like consumers, and Lutheranism generally does not fare well in that climate. However, AoG’s are also huge in the third world. Perhaps they are just a very culturally adaptable tradition.

    • “Jesus told people to not be afraid.”

      True, but He also says “It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where “‘the worms that eat them do not die,and the fire is not quenched.”

      I hate knowing ANYBODY has to experience this. I am more motivated to show God’s unconditional love in Christ. But knowing this reality, how are we NOT also motivated by fear that anybody would have to experience this?

    • Yeah, for all of the issues I’d have with Charismatic/Pentecostalism, they totally get racial diversity. They seem to actually believe in the whole “In Christ there is no Greek or Jew” thing.

      That and, yes, the mainline church thing in our state is VERY monochromatic. Some of that is expected in rural parts of the state (although that is changing), but it’s hard to see our burgeoning Somali population wanting to go hang out with a group that has Garrison Keillor on in the car on the way home from church.

  10. That unexpected meteorite reminds me in a very visceral way how contingent and fragile not only my own life is, but also the very existence of this planet; and also how little science, admirable and important as it may be, either knows or can protect us from the capriciousness of the cosmos. Didn’t I just recently hear spoken to me the words “From dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return”?

  11. The article about whether worship leaders need to be christian boggled my mind. How can this be a question? If they aren’t worshipping God themselves, all they are doing is performing. Now the congregation might still be worshipping, but they aren’t being “lead” by the guy on the stage, they are worshipping in spite of him.

    Even in my evangelical days, my churches were rooted in congregationalism. If you wanted a guy playing guitar, you got an interested person to learn. Teenage me was the backup piano player for Sunday nights and our guitarists tended to be youth group members.

    If corporate worship isn’t the gathering of God’s people pouring out their love, desire, need for mercy, and thanksgiving to him together, then what’s the point?

    • I agree. There’s a point where inviting outsiders to play on the team can serve to expose them to the teaching of the church. But when you’re hiring them, that sends a different doctrinal message.

    • Many Lutheran churches hire in classical musicians for special services like Christmas and Easter, to give the choir a boost with some brass or strings. I’m sure the requirements for these gigs are an ability to play the instrument and a willingness to be there. As such, I have never seen any controversy surrounding this practice. However, something tells me their is a difference between the Lutheran/mainline approach and an evangelical church hiring an unbelieving worship ‘leader.’

      • I don’t think hiring an instrumentalist for a particular performance is a big deal. In that case, you are getting exactly what is advertised – a performance. With someone playing an instrument, you aren’t even confronting the issue of them disagreeing with the words they are singing.

        A worship leader in an evangelical church is a different thing entirely, and a paid one even more so – they are part of the leadership staff. They are placed often front and center in front of the congregation, and have a significant voice in choosing what music will be used.

        Because of how many non-denoms use their worship leaders, saying they don’t need to be christians to do the job well is only a few steps from saying that a really good motivational speaker who tailors his message could do pulpit supply, regardless of religion.

        • I don’t think hiring an instrumentalist for a particular performance is a big deal.

          There was a small group of us who while in high school got hired by the local Anglican church (this was around 1970) for Easter and Christmas services. 5 of us I think who all knew each other through county wide band activities. I’m fairly sure one of the guys was an atheist. And the subject of our faith never came up. And none of us were Anglican.

  12. Well it’s always good to know that if things don’t work out for me in Lutheranism, Charismatic churches will always welcome me back with my drinking and swearing problems. :P

    • Really? I found Lutherans far more tolerant of that kind of stuff, and AG folks way up-tight.

      Then again, I have heard stories of kids growing up in the AG under militant restrictions against dancing and card-playing, but then I heard the exact same stories from Lutherans growing up in the 50′s and 60′s. I think that is what really frustrated me about Lutheranism: lack of consistency and definition (which is odd from a denomination priding itself on exclusiveness and liturgy). To sound reaaaally geeky, Lutheranism is the Linux of the religious world: one kernel with infinite, incompatible distributions.

      • That’s like that old joke. What the difference between a Lutheran and a Baptist? Two Lutherans will actually look at each other in the liquor store.

        Historically, the AoG is rooted in the Pentecostal Holiness tradition, so things like drinking, card-playing, going movies were always suspect. My dad’s an AoG pastor, so when I grew up I never really was around anyone who drank at all other than if we happened to walk by someone at a restaurant. I never had a beer until I was 32.

        I do think that the attitude of many people in the AoG towards alcohol is changing somewhat, but if you talk to Pentecostal Christians from Africa, drinking is pretty much something they think Christians shouldn’t do.

        • Really? Wow. And here I thought teetotalism was an American phenomenon.

        • That’s like that old joke. What the difference between a Lutheran and a Baptist? Two Lutherans will actually look at each other in the liquor store.

          And speaking of Garrison Keillor, one his his observations is that in Lake Wobegon the Lutherans don’t recognize the Council of Trent, the Catholics don’t recognize the Synod of Dort, and the Baptist don’t recognize each other in the liquor store.

          Always sounds funnier when he tells it.

      • For my wife when she grew up, the kids who partied on Saturday and were in church on Sunday were the Lutherans. That made it really difficult to convince her to visit a Lutheran church.

  13. “And Christianity Today says that God has entered the picture this year in the events surrounding the Abbey.”

    Well, I’m so happy for Christianty Today :roll:

  14. The thing about that article about worship leaders is that it seems that some of the commenters there are not leaving much room for a middle ground. I do think that a person on a worship team should be a Christian, but I don’t think they should be kicked off the moment we hear about them doing something we disapprove of (depending on what that thing is). I know of some worship teams that try to make members sign some sort of behavior contract. That seems to be going to the opposite extreme.

    • I think that part of the problem is that this non-Biblical “ministry” position has been hyper spiritualized. The lead singer has become some sort of a priest that mediates God’s presence to the assembly, and so it is imperative that they be pure and blameless beyond fault. Personally, I think that is way to much pressure to put on kids, who usually wind up in these positions. It was for me. There is nothing deeply spiritual, imo, about leading the singing: It’s a practical, functional job. It is the role of the pastor, imo, to lead the worship service, and it is their character that scripture is quite particular about. Working with pastors who know how to do this brings a huge relief to me. I especially enjoy leading music from a choir loft, out of sight. I’m just not that spiritual of a guy, and the spiritual spotlight does me more personal harm than good. If the service is dependent upon my connection to God, the whole congregation is in deep trouble. I have a hard time believing that I’m the only one who ever felt like I had to fake it. I feel very blessed to be able to just be myself now, even if I am leading the singing from the front, because I’m no longer the doxological MC. Musicians should be support personel, not the main attraction.

      • Brianthedad says:

        +1 to your first and last sentences, especially. Nicely put.

        I personally find myself distracted by the “leading” of the music leader, especially if the song is “I stand, I stand in awe of You” with the word ‘stand’ bolded in the bulletin, but the pastor having invited (and the bulletin directing the congregation) to please be seated just before the song, but the leader standing and playing one handed while using the other to encourage the other good Lutherans to stand with her… One of the reasons I have moved back to the traditional liturgical service from the ‘blended’ service after a number of years.

        • My favorite is the “God’s little cheerleader” personality that turns the service into a pep rally for Jesus. Or the spiritual deep thinker who interrupts his own song to share an insight from his private devotions that week. I have nightmares about every singer with a microphone feeling “led” to do this every Sunday.

      • petrushka1611 says:

        This. Exactly this. And a Catholic church can hire me for a service without blinking an eye, but I can’t take the Eucharist. Though I think it’s the Lord’s Table, not there’s, and if I’m the Lord’s, I should be able to eat at his table, at least it shows some sense of priority on their part.

        • petrushka1611 says:

          *theirs, not there’s >_<

        • I’ve been told that Catholic churches have no problem hiring Protestant musicians.

          • To be fair, we’d be badly stuck if we relied only on Catholic ones :-)

          • Christiane says:

            Well, about Catholics and musicians of other faiths,
            when I was at university in the 60′s, the lead guitarist for mass at Newman Club was Jewish.
            I kid you not. She said we Catholics were the most fun kids on campus (no explanation needed for them what knows how Newman club folk can party), and she was accepted as one of the gang.
            When Carol offered to play, we were thrilled. Good times, good memories.

      • I agree. The last two churches we have tried have had worship leaders who acted more like the ‘main act’ than a unifing influence. At one, everything was stopped so we could be taught the ‘correct’ way to clap. At the other, in addition to all the ‘preaching a prayer’ we were told if we did not worship demonstratively, we were withholding our praise….gee, nothing spiritually abusive there, nope.

        • I gave up on teaching my last congregation to clap. All them Okie Hillbillies can clap together, or they can sing. You lucky to get either one, but don’t you go expectin them to do both at the same time. :D
          One thing I have learned as a song leader is that when people are not singing, it could be from one of two things: poor execution (notes are too high, syncopated, screens are lagging, song is unfamiliar, sound is unclear) or they just don’t have anything to give. The former can be fixed, but usually not mid-service. When these combine to undermine participation, there’s no amount of “encouragement” that will do any spiritual good. At that point the best you can hope for is that you have chosen good texts to sing which will convey grace to the hearer.

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          When I was deployed to Iraq a few years ago, I played piano for a contemporary worship team at one of the base chapels. Several times, the worship leader would express his concern that the small congregation that we had were not singing or clapping, even though we had picked some really awesome songs.

          I was really holding back from confronting him (he was a captain, and I was a specialist, so that would have been a bad idea). Some of the people in our congregation might have been shot at the night before, or lost close friends in their unit over the course of their deployment. We were hundreds of miles from our families, and experiencing physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental stress the likes of which a civilian congregation had never experienced.

          So, like Miguel stated above, they really did not come to the worship service with anything to give. They needed ministers, not song leaders.

          • Brianthedad says:

            Thanks for your service.

            I think if more worship leaders, whether they be pastors or the church cheerleaders Miguel commented on, would think of the worship service as you mention above, as a respite from a spiritual war zone, with congregants seeking peace and comfort and healing from the weapons of the evil one, perhaps then many of the things we are lamenting here wouldn’t be such a problem.

  15. “Do you care if the musicians in your church’s praise band are even Christians as long as they can hit that drum fill or hand off properly after a solid guitar riff?”

    Here we are now…worship-tain us!

    • Unfortunately, that article doesn’t even come near the third-rail to address why worship leaders might have a drinking problem. Just shoot the wounded injured in friendly-fire and move on.

      Here are a few possibilities which might contribute to substance abuse among worship leaders.

      1. You have the stress of consistently putting on that three-ring worship circus with limited resources and
      time, multiple services and on Sunday plus mid-week services as well. You have to be energetic
      and positive all the time.
      2. You do have worship leaders placed on a pedestal of representing super Christianity.
      3. You do have people thrown into that pressure cooker with little preparation nor maturity, just because they
      have musical talent.
      4. Burn out. You can’t participate in constantly whipping people into an emotional high without eventually
      burning out or becoming jaded.
      5. Worship leaders have a first-hand view of all the nuttiness done and taught Sunday in and Sunday out.
      And they can’t help but feel culpable for what’s going on.
      6. Worship leaders are broken, sinful individuals like everyone sitting or standing in the auditorium – in need
      of the same daily forgiveness and grace. Denominations which don’t believe Christians need grace after
      reciting the sinner’s prayer probably have alcoholics both on the stage as well as in the pews, all wearing
      the obligatory masks to look like nothing’s wrong.

      • Suddenly my life of the last 7 years all makes sense!
        I would add that being responsible to get people all worked up so that they have these “encounters with God” that involved closed eyes, raised hands, ecstatic expressions, and emotional frenzy is destructive to one’s integrity. Unless, of course, you somehow manage to have that experience yourself every time. But for normal people, you start to wonder: Is there something wrong with me that I’m not getting “plugged in” to what all these people are experiencing, OR is it actually possible this is one grand farce and I’m the one perpetuating it? Are these people really experiencing God and he just hates me, or am I leading them to believe they have found God when they’re actually missing him the whole time? The realization that your livelihood is dedicated to the facilitation of spiritual deception can drive one to drink.
        I am of the firm conviction that this approach to worship is in the end destructive to faith because it points to one’s self and emotional experience, instead of away to self to the Christ where grace is found. I’ll try to get off my soapbox before you get me started.

        • “I would add that being responsible to get people all worked up so that they have these “encounters with God”…is destructive to one’s integrity.

          Yep. After playing “Be Lifted High” in an infinite loop while watching the one hundredth person in line get “slain in the ‘spirit’ (TM) “, something inside probably dies.

        • ******But for normal people, you start to wonder: Is there something wrong with me that I’m not getting “plugged in” to what all these people are experiencing, OR is it actually possible this is one grand farce and I’m the one perpetuating it? Are these people really experiencing God and he just hates me, or am I leading them to believe they have found God when they’re actually missing him the whole time?*****

          This. After leading for three years and having a “review” every Sunday of whether the Spirit moved or not, I left the evangelical world,despite the good personal “reviews.” I really was afraid that it was an emotional and manipulative farce and I no longer wanted that responsibility. My own personal worship time has not yet recovered from the emotional distrust that atmosphere caused.

          • Thank you for your honesty. You are not alone. I still have a hard time praying, and the psalms are the only way I can do it. I am suspicious of nearly all emotional involvement in spirituality. It’s like, I would certainly like to have an experience of communion with God, but I’m just not sure I could trust the experience if I had one. I’d rather just seek light in scripture and the means of grace, those are always dependable.

          • Isaac / Obed says:

            I had very similar experiences as a music leader for… Seven? Years? I have a very hard time worshiping God when playing guitar anymore. Singing is a lot easier, though it didn’t used to be. I’m glad that at my new church I’m mostly involved in the Liturgy now, rather than the music.

  16. You left out someone in the happy birthday wishes this week. My son turned 14. :-)

  17. Visited A of G churches years ago and found myself somewhat repulsed by the eeriness of all those people speaking in tongues all at once, with the constant ersatz ethereal mood music as soundtrack. I found it alienating, but many don’t. The emphasis on healing and miracle in A of G worship explains some of its appeal in the Two Thirds World, where medical assistance is often not available, and where people are often desperately poor and often only have a supernatural hope to keep them going in the midst of their suffering and debility.
    I wonder: how is the economy in Minnesota?

  18. Randy Thompson says:

    I am pleased to learn that alligator is an acceptable food option for Lent. Unfortunately, it’s hard to come by in New Hampshire. Good news for you folks in Florida, though.

    Come to think of it, this must mean that crocodile and caiman are OK for Lent too.

    Does anyone have any recipes?

    (This might be a good topic for next week’s Rambler!)

    • Brianthedad says:

      1 lb alligator meat
      1 cup buttermilk
      2 eggs
      1 tbsp creole seasoning
      2 cups all purpose white flour
      1 tbsp baking powder

      cut meat into small nuggets.
      Mix eggs, buttermilk, and creole seasoning all together with nuggets.
      Finally roll each nugget in the dry mix, and fry in vegetable oil until golden brown and floats

      Tastes like chicken ;-)

      Or you can use your own store bought batter mix. My acquaintances from LA fry everything. They refer to a cookout as FSU. Frying ‘Stuff’ Up.

      • Randy Thompson says:

        Thanks for the recipe! Next time I come across an alligator in one of our local lakes, I’ll know exactly what to do.

    • Yep, crocodile is also permitted.

      Well, if you can’t come by alligator where you are, Randy, how about capybara?

      :-)

      • Randy Thompson says:

        Martha, since my son works at the Bronx Zoo in New York, I do indeed have access to capybara. Unfortunately for our purposes, the zoo frowns on eating its animals.

  19. “9. You burned all of your secular CDs at a church bonfire but then “backslid” and bought new copies of everything.”

    That’s taken me thirty years, and I’m still working on it.

  20. I’m a cradle Baptist. My oldest daughter is named after a precious friend from my youth who is Catholic. Yes, we can get along just fine when we keep our eyes focused on what is important. :)

  21. Randy Thompson says:

    Thanks for the clip of the Ventures, and, while we’re at it, maybe someday you can put up something by Dick Dale and the Deltones?? Let’s hear it for surfing music!

  22. Thanks for mentioning Richard Twiss — this is a great loss. I deeply appreciated his ministry and love of First Nations people, Attempting to show Jesus as more than “White Person’s God” to a people deeply hurt and distrusting of Christianity is no small feat. Incidentally, I believe the family is also now stuck with a lot of hospital bills and no income, if you are so inclined to pray and support them. Wiconi International’s site has more info.

    He will be missed.

  23. Jeff, as a life-long Ventures fan I can’t let this one slip by … the group was founded jointly by Don Wilson and Bob Bogle. Bob was the lead guitar player and Don became one of the most adept rhythm players anywhere. He rarely played lead. Don is the guitarist closest to drummer Mel Taylor in the video. Bob Bogle, who passed away just this last year, is playing bass to the extreme right. In the center is their long-time lead guitarist Nokie Edwards (an Oklahoma native, incidentally). Now, without Bob Bogle, the group continues to tour with Mel’s son Leon as drummer and, usually, Jerry McGee playing lead. Don was and is the glue that holds their sound together still.

    I can’t let this slip by either …evolution is logical, coherent and unproven. There is valid science that effectively refutes many commonly held opinions of its proponents …things like variations in the speed of light leading to errors in estimates of distances through space, and demonstrated deficiencies in radio carbon dating methods. Science that conflicts with Big Bang and Evolution is commonly squelched by both mainstream media and scientific publications with huge financial and ethical investments in the status quo. Evolution is more a “great assumption” than it is science. It’s just that it has been taught as fact for so long that most of us have caved in to the notion that it is such. Happy Birthday to Mr. Darwin, anyway. Were he alive, he would have recanted by now, as the fossil record still has gaping holes filled with guesswork.

    Fortunately, my faith does not hinge on the arguments of either the young or the old-earth adherents. But, the more I learn, the more I lean …to a young earth and a literal biblical understanding.

    • Good for you. The more that I learn, the more that I lean to an old earth understanding and that understanding has actually strengthened my faith. The Bible was never intended to be read as a scientific text and I wish that we would stop trying to treat it as such.

      • …and more power to you, as well, Wayne.

        I am constantly entertained by the vitriole in the dialog between fanatical Christian old earth and young earth adherents. It’s silly (the vitriole, not the debate). And I agree that the Bible should not be read as a scientific text, though neither should we confuse the word “scientific” with the word “accurate”.

  24. Thank you! Loved the Ventures then, and now!!!!

  25. #9 is totally classic!! I must have puchased the cassette “Like a Virgin” by Madonna three or four times.

  26. Really? Nobody commented on the horrifyingly bad (in more ways than one) rapping pastor? What kind of garbage is this? And oh, gosh… what the heck is he trying to do? Dance? NO! TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF!!

    *sigh* It’s not because I hate rap music (as I actually do like GOOD rap.), but because I suppose I fail to understand how on earth it brings glory to God to refer to his son by using what most constitutes a racial slur. Not to mention that the rap lyrics would make baby Jesus cry. ..

    I couldn’t make it through 30 seconds before my stomach turned and I shut it off. How exactly did you make it all the way through, Jeff?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      After the likes of:
      1) “You Spin Me Right Round Right Round JEESUS Right Round…”
      2) The Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey (sung in a breathless Richard Simmons voice)…
      3) Tokin-the-Ghost Crowder and his Jehovah-juana (“Yoing! Yoing! Yoing!”)…
      4) Tatted Todd and his pet angel Emma channeling Emeril (“Sheeka-Boom-Bah! BAM!”)…
      Some “horrifylingly bad rapping pastor” is gonna stand out?