November 29, 2014

Saturday Ramblings 2.18.12

Sigh. Just when you try to do something right, the world intrudes all over your good intentions. I had decided earlier in the week that today’s ramblings would be Ed Young, Jr- and Mark Driscoll-free. And darn if they don’t both go and get themselves into the news once again. So I figured, “What not through in some Rob Bell as well?” Add a splash of Linsanity, a Noah’s Ark themepark update, and a tip of the fight helmet to one of the greatest American heroes, and it all adds up to a giant helping of Saturday Ramblings.

Let’s start with Ed Young, Jr. I don’t know if I get more of a kick of him handing out “sexual chocolate”  or him implying that I don’t know the Lord. In either case, I think you can see that Young takes just a wee bit of liberty with scriptures, statistics, and, yes, chocolate.

Oops. Looks like Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church had to do a little housekeeping this week. They fired two of the ministers involved in the church discipline case we have hightlighted on these pages in the past week or so. There, heads have rolled. Can we please move on now?

iMonk friend Skye Jethani chatted recently with Christian lightning rod Rob Bell. I really like Bell’s thoughts here. You?

For a little more fun in today’s star-struck ramblings, let’s get to know Jeremy Lin, the Tim Tebow of the NBA. Are you ready for some Linsanity?

Are Southern Baptists still all that southern? Should they consider changing their names? Why do you always take two Baptists fishing with you? The answers to two of those questions can be found here. (For the third, consider this: If you only take one, he’ll drink all of your beer. If you take two, they won’t drink any.)

One thing that is not going to change anytime soon—Southern Baptist-owned Lifeway stores will continue to stock and sell NIV Bibles. It all has to do with sex, which in this case means gender. Whoever said the Bible was a book of peace did not count on the SBC.

Oh boy. Answers In Genesis’s special project division is edging closer to bringing a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark into being. And in Kentucky, of all places. Well, the location is close to the Ohio River, which has been known to spill its banks from time to time. AIG is hoping your bank will overflow into their coffers to help us all realize how incomplete our lives are right now without a Noah’s Ark themepark to travel to.

One of my greatest heroes of all time is John Glenn. Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth—50 years ago come Monday. Imagine today if we had a man or woman from our country orbit Jupiter, then return to tell us about it. This was even bigger than that. By the way, I have spent some time with Glenn and his wife, and they are very genuine followers of Jesus. Hats off to John Glenn.

Happy birthday greetings go out to Thomas Alva Edison; Sidney Sheldon; Leslie Nielsen; Sarah Palin; Omar Bradley; Woody Hayes; Peter Tork; Red Barber; and Michael Jordan.

Ok, so I thought for a millisecond about a Monkees’ song for our bonus video, but as many of you have no idea who John Glenn is, please spend a few minutes watching history being made. Enjoy.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qY87RTXzA04′]

Comments

  1. For a change how about some U2…I love this…. :-D

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWUXcmoPZxw

    So mnay good things come out of Ireland…. U2, Guiness, Martha, Guiness, Guiness….Did I mention Guiness
    :-D

  2. So Lifeway is owned by the SBC? Man and to think I was supportting the SBC in years past…I never realized that when I patronized them a couple of years ago. Oh well….maybe I can go to the Lifeway in Springfield, Virginia and asked for Rob Bells book :-P Or something from Brian McLaren. :-P

    Jeff, CM, and others on this blog…I hate to say this, but whether one likes it or not, Mark Driscoll is becoming the representative of Christinaity today in so many ways. I think its tragic, I think Christianity is being hijacked. But even while outside the church and when I was in the chruch I kept running into people that consumed his kool-aide and didn’t have any problems with what he has said.

    The rise of Mark Drisocll I would suggest point to a greater problem in the United States and that is this…. the decline of critical thinking skills. Many people do not think for themselves about anything. They just accept it and don’t question. I think its most ugly when it happens in religion. But I wish Drisocll would be a man and man up and take responsibiltiy for his church and what he has created. Why? In some of these places why are the people at the bottom of the totem pole sacrificed yet the one who runs the show is given a pass? I can’t figure it out.

    One thing I don’t know if you are aware of Jeff….I’ve read about it in some secular humanistic literature but there is going to be a large atheist rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on March 24. Quite a few speakers including Richard Dawkins. This looks interetsing and will have to put it on my calandar. Here’s some information about the event.

    http://www.reasonrally.org/

    Hopefully Reverand Pastor Deacan Fred will there!!! :-P

    • This will be interesting..it’s mentioned in one of the links. They are having lots of activties, dinners, meetings, etc.. leading up to the Reason Rally. Well I’m sure “The Clergy Project” will probably be touched on. Dan Barker and Richard Dawkins have an association that help cloest atheists pastors and those having problems with their faith in Christian ministries exit Christianity. Here’s the link

      http://clergyproject.org/about/

      Now…if Christians wanted to disarm Barker and Dawkins and help in this situation then they would create environments where people could talk about their doubts without knowing that they would be committing spiritual or career suicide. But sadly…I don’t think that will happen becuase many lack the patience to work with doubters having deep problems in their faith that could drag out for years. But maybe someone will prove me wrong…

      I hope that could happen…

      • What a shame. We all have doubts from time to time. If we didn’t, then we wouldn’t have faith.

        We can speak about doubts anytime we want in our congregation. And we often do.

        • The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. We all have doubts, It is human nature.No one is responsible for your doubts but you. My prayer is,” Lord help my unbelief.”

      • Decline of critical thinking. Oh, so true. Any political fracas brings the the non-critical thinkers out of the woodwork on Facebook. Can pretty much sum it up–we Christians are right because God says we are and we should get to do what we want. If not, we’ll scream War on Christianity. Anything any Muslim does is really to mask that they all, and I mean all, want to blow us up. Add to that family values Christian politicians caught in delicate situations or anti-everything pastors found engaging in the behavior they say will send you straight to hell and when caught, saying “Oops. My bad. Forgiveness all around and keep the $$ coming”.

        I wouldn’t call it a war on Christianity but death by suicide.

        • Some Christians are quick to forgive themselves and their tribe members for any and all “indiscretions” while fire and damnation is reserved for the unchurched, the doubtful and the “sinners” outside Our Camp.

          I’m pretty sad today after seeing this ridiculous headline from ESPN on the Knicks loss to the Hornets, snapping their winning streak:

          http://larrybrownsports.com/media-police/espn-mobile-knicks-loss-chink-in-the-armor-picture

          Seriously? As an Asian person, it’s pretty disappointing to see that. But thanks iMonk, for the links on Jeremy Lin. I will definitely be praying for him as well as continuing to pray for Tim Tebow. It’s not easy being in the harsh spotlight – may God gives them and other prominent Christians abundant grace and faith to stand firm.

        • “Can pretty much sum it up–we Christians are right because God says we are and we should get to do what we want.”

          I think that is a great summary. It gets to the heart of the problem: WE are right, and God is on our side. Too bad scripture says, “Let God be true and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

      • Yes, the Clergy Project is a very humane organization. Can you imagine being a clergy person and suddenly finding you no longer believe? Just announcing that is going to cost you your livelihood, your standing in the community, maybe even your spouse.

        The Project exists to provide a support group for them as they plan for their future. Figuring out what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives, how to break the news to the spouse and children… Most of the members want to stop being clergy people because they realize the horrible hypocrisy of their current predicament.

        • Cermack…

          Agreed… I think what Dan Barker and Richard Dawkins are offering is a healthy outlet for those who are trapped. Many Christians view doubters as an anthema to the community. Almost as if they will spread the disease of uncertainity.

          The doubts whihc have torn me apart is part of why I am unusre if I will be a Christian again. They run so deep, and so trouble me…I can’t see many Christian communities who will welcome a doubter.

    • Eagle, if it’s any consolation, I for one have never seen or heard the man and am certain he hasn’t influenced me – at least not yet.

    • Mark Driscoll does not represent all of Christianity, or even all of American evangelicalism. This is a movement that encompasses a lot of different folks, and it is always changing. So I wouldn’t be too concerned about how he could negatively impace American Christianity over the long haul. We live in a fast-moving society, and even if he were to flame out spectacularly, very few people outside of the circles where he is regularly discussed would remember it for very long.

      (And in saying that, I do not WANT him to flame out. If he is on a destructive course, then hopefully he would realize it and correct course before it becomes a major problem.)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The rise of Mark Drisocll I would suggest point to a greater problem in the United States and that is this…. the decline of critical thinking skills. Many people do not think for themselves about anything. They just accept it and don’t question. I think its most ugly when it happens in religion.

      Isn’t this mentioned in “Screwtape Proposes a Toast”? About how all Screwtape/Slubgob/et al have to do is Tempt and Corrupt ONE Celebrity and they have ALL his/her/its Non-Entity followers?

  3. Rob Bell is Rob Bell. Surprisingly I found his interview quite dull. Its not like he said anything that hasn’t been said b4. His thoughts aren’t that original yet clearly he thinks very differently than the reformers he mentions. At the risk of sounding redundant, the interview of a waste of time due to lack of content.

    • I don’t generally like Rob Bell…not really because of anything he says, but more because he comes across to me as falsely humble (ie thinly veiled arrogance). But I think he had some good stuff to say in that interview–original or not (is true originality even possible now anyway?). As a pastor, I imagine that would be difficult to admit though.

      • lol, original sometimes is hard and other times its heterodox. So in some cases not being original is a good thing!

        • He is manipulative, like a TV evangelist. Notice the way he looks into the camera and adopts an air of intimacy, as if to compensate for the deficiences in his argumentation with a direct personal appeal.

  4. I love Rob Bell.

    Have a great weekend, iMonkers!

  5. I lol’d at the part of the Ed Young article where he acted like the church “ignored” sex. That’s all it ever talks about anymore! You’d think having better sex was the whole point of Christianity if you listened to what these megapastors said.

    I can only think of one nice thing to say about Young: His jeans fit well.

  6. Good advice on the fishing. As we know, the Jews don’t recognize Jesus as Messiah, the Protestants don’t recognize the Pope as the head of the church, and the Baptists don’t recognize each other in the liquor store.

  7. Jeff, funny you should mention the Monkees. I’m in Ecuador with the medical mission, and the Ecuadorian director of our team has “I’m a Believer” for his ringtone. Goes off at all the wrong times. And the doctor I’m translating for said that he went to high school with Peter Tork. Tork was in his sister’s class. Que pequeño el mundo.

    What, no mention of John Piper ths week?

  8. I really pity singles and unmarried young people at Ed Young’s churches – The pressure and sexual frustration must be stratospherically intense…

    • Great point.

      I often think about that when I see all those ridiculous adds on tv for Cialis or Viagra..or whatever.

      So many hurting and lonely people out there. It just pours salt into their wounds. And it probably spurs young people to do even more of what they ought not be doing. Not that I needed any help when I was their age.

    • Why limit it to Ed Young? Thanks to James Dobson now the only “successful Christians” are those who are married and a woman popping out 3 kids a year.

      Where does that leave the single, widow, gay, dovorcee, etc…?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Looking for a god who will take us in even if we’re not married to Widdle Chwistian Wifey and breeding sons for the Culture War since we were 18.

      • 3 kids a year????!?

        • Joseph (the original) says:

          well, we need the miraculous birth of triplets to keep us ahead of this statistic. but then we all understand perfectly what God intended when He said, “…be fruitful & mulitply…”

          heck…it is the plain understanding of the text…

          duh… ;)

    • Amen to that, Andy. Attention, readers: please stand well back from the dumpy, grumpy Irishwoman as steam pours out of her ears. Let’s have a look at his “sexual chocolate” – and I am going to warn very strongly here for unsafe and inappropriate content (good ol’ NSFW – Not Safe For Work – browsing) because let’s face it, when you talk about “sexual chocolate”, most people think you’re talking about stuff like this.

      Or maybe something like this?

      “During this week, we are giving out what we call sexual chocolate, seven pieces of chocolate and wrapped around the chocolate are seven different reasons (divinity, unity, purity, priority, legacy, creativity, loyalty) why we should make love if you are married, and for singles to think about and pray about when they get married. We have seven different devotions people can go through online whether they are single or married to go through. We have seven different chocolates and if you are married then to have a romantic evening or day and for singles then just eat the chocolate.”

      Oh, Ed. Making me soooo glad my church has celibate clergy, because if some well-intentioned priest handed out chocolate ffor St. Valentine’s Day with the joky message “If you’re married, have a romantic evening each night this week, and if you’re single – just eat the chocolate!”, okay – I’d take the chocolate, but I’d probably take his head off as well.

      That’s the thing, as Andy says – the message about ‘here’s some wonderful hints and helps for your intimacy, deepening your relationship, and reminding everyone how lucky they are to have a partner and spouse – oh, but if you’re sitting in an empty kitchen – well, just eat the chocolate. You’ve nothing else to do but stuff your fat face anyway, which is why you’re probably not even married in the first place, loser.”

      So single people have nothing to learn, nothing to give, when it comes to “divinity, purity, creativity, loyalty”, eh? No point in advising them on living chastely, just reinforce the message that drenches all our societies that the only thing that counts is SEX and they are really missing out if they’re not married, so just hang on desperately until you can find someone – anyone! – willing to walk down the aisle with you!

      No, let’s just rub their noses in it that they are lonely, unloved, unwanted tagalongs that have nothing to contribute until they manage to become fullly-fledged adults by getting a spouse – and then we will inundate them with messages about how sex and Christianity go together like horse and carriage. Or rather, let us devalue the good of sexual intimacy between spouses by treating it as a gimmick and as a bait to hook fish for a particular church – even with the good intentions of growing a congregation, it’s still cutting your cloth to the measure of the prevailing attitude in society (‘let’s show them Christians are not anti-fun!’)

      I’ve never wanted to be married, but if I was longing for a husband or a wife, I don’t think this would encourage me. So I’ll quote from St. Augustine writing “Of Holy Virginity” to lift up all those living singly who want to be wed and yet have no opportunity and who struggle with living chastely when all around – both secular and church – are telling them that the only intimacy is sexual intimacy – and let me just emphasise, lest I be misunderstood, virginity is as much of the heart as the flesh; if you are living singly and continently now, but are not physically virgin, yet can you be a virgin in your heart (which is the only true virginity, but that’s a Church Fathers quotation for another day):

      “27. Therefore go on, Saints of God, boys and girls, males and females, unmarried men, and women; go on and persevere unto the end. Praise more sweetly the Lord, Whom ye think on more richly: hope more happily in Him, Whom ye serve more instantly: love more ardently Him, whom you please more attentively. With loins girded, and lamps burning, wait for the Lord, when He comes from the marriage. You shall bring unto the marriage of the Lamb a new song, which you shall sing on your harps. Not surely such as the whole earth sings, unto which it is said, “Sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, the whole earth” : but such as no one shall be able to utter but you. For thus there saw you in the Apocalypse a certain one beloved above others by the Lamb, who had been wont to lie on His breast, and who used to drink in, and burst forth, the Word of God above wonders of heaven. He saw you twelve times twelve thousand of holy harpers, of undefiled virginity in body, of inviolate truth in heart; and he wrote of you, that you follow the Lamb wherever He shall go. Where think we that This Lamb goes, where no one either dares or is able to follow save you? Where think we that He goes? Into what glades and meadows? Where, I think, the grass are joys; not vain joys of this world, lying madnesses; nor joys such as shall be in the kingdom of God itself, for the rest that are not virgins; but distinct from the portion of joys of all the rest. Joy of the virgins of Christ, of Christ, in Christ, with Christ, after Christ, through Christ, for Christ. The joys peculiar to the virgins of Christ, are not the same as of such as are not virgins, although of Christ. For there are to different persons different joys, but to none such. Go (enter) into these, follow the Lamb, because the Flesh of the Lamb also is assuredly virgin. For this He retained in Himself when grown up, which He took not away from His Mother by His conception and birth. Follow Him, as you deserve, in virginity of heart and flesh, wheresoever He shall have gone. For what is it to follow, but to imitate? Because “Christ has suffered for us,” leaving us an example, as says the Apostle Peter, “that we should follow His steps.” Him each one follows in that, wherein he imitates Him: not so far forth as He is the only Son of God, by Whom all things were made; but so far forth as, the Son of Man, He set forth in Himself, what behooved for us to imitate. And many things in Him are set forth for all to imitate: but virginity of the flesh not for all; for they have not what to do in order to be virgins, in whom it has been already brought to pass that they be not virgins.”

      • ..and if we get these “married or not important-fulfilled-adult-happy” messages at times from OUR Church, can you imagine what it feels like to be an unmarried evangelical? OUCH!

        Least we RC’s have tons of saints, clergy, lay-singles and other examples to remind the world that not everyone is sent out “tw0-by-two”. I have already told my darling husband of threee decades that if he has the poor grace and judgment to head to heaven first, I may just pack of for the nearest nursing order of sisters for the rest of my days. Unles the LOrd knows something differently, I do not see a second Mr. Pattie EVER!

        • That is one benefit of being Catholic, Pattie; when you’re being reminded of the patron saints of ‘children who broke their mother’s heart’ (St. Monica regarding St. Augustine before his conversion) or ‘unhappy marriages/marriages to violent men’ (St. Rita of Cascia), then you can be quite thankful for being unmarried and childless, and you have all the virgin saints and martyrs backing you up :-D

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        So single people have nothing to learn, nothing to give, when it comes to “divinity, purity, creativity, loyalty”, eh? No point in advising them on living chastely, just reinforce the message that drenches all our societies that the only thing that counts is SEX and they are really missing out if they’re not married, so just hang on desperately until you can find someone – anyone! – willing to walk down the aisle with you!

        “Married” is Christianese for Getting Laid. With the same desperation, bragging rights, and generally crazy behavior to Get Some.

        I’ve been learning since I discovered I was a natural-talent speedreader at age 5 and have something to give to IPMS, Furries, Bronies, Gamers, and other wanna-be artists & writers. No way am I giving any of it to Evangelicals.

      • One more Mike says:

        So how do you really feel Martha? Seriously, if your marriage is bad or you go to church without your spouse, you really don’t want to be around all those people dancing in the “Stained Glass Masquerade” (a song I heard performed tonight at an “Ancient-Future” service). and looking forward to a church sanctioned/required seven nights of rutting like weasels. Single people have it bad enough, but people with bad marraiges have no place here either.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          “Stained Glass Masquerade” — that’s a good term. Did a search on the phrase and got the lyrics. As one who “hasn’t belonged” much of anywhere, it hits pretty hard. And a lot of the Stained Glass Masquerade is out of fear — fear they’ll turn on anyone different.

        • Mike, I’m single, never been married, never wanted to be married. Lucky enough to be twelve years of age and up to my late teens in Ireland before Valentine’s Day became such a big thing (and now, apparently, if kids don’t get cards to show off to their schoolmates, that’s another mark of social exclusion).

          Would blow my stack if I had to sit through a sermon/lecture series/pastor and his missus video about Christian love-making, on the basis that “Wow, this is really great – oh, but you singles can’t have it! Not until you get married and get lucky like me!” Raises the question of why would they want such sad losers that can’t even get a spouse in their congregations anyway.

    • Josh in FW says:

      I can vouch from personal experience the singles (young professionals) group at Fellowship Church (Grapevine, 2002-2003) was one heck of a meat market. Lots of beautiful people and $30k millionaires. Not a healthy place for the individual who’s insecure about his/her looks or financial status. Grapevine is just too close to Dallas for me. I’m very thankful that I found my way to Fort Worth where it is not uncommon to hear (or read on the t-shirts) the common phrase, “Life’s too short to live in Dallas.”

  9. David Cornwell says:

    Personally I found the interview with Rob Bell very interesting and creative. For instance:

    “The Bible begins in Genesis 1 not with sin but with blessing, not with toil and despair but with life, and creativity, and vibrant participation with God in the ongoing creation of the world–which involves art, and law, and medicine, and education, and parenting, and justice, and learning, and thousands of other pursuits; callings that are holy and sacred in and of themselves”

    Rather than viewing the world in negative and dreadful tones, he actually sees it as the focus of God’s creative energies. It didn’t stop in Genesis but is still ongoing. We don’t just stand by and wait for the destruction of the world but actually become part of the creative power of God. These energies are part of us and we don’t have to wait and pray and worry forever about what He wants us to be doing.

    Of course saying …”we have to embrace our desires.” is going to create waves. So be it.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Rather than viewing the world in negative and dreadful tones, he actually sees it as the focus of God’s creative energies.

      I think viewing EVERYTHING in “negative and dreadful tones” is THE underlying problem with a lot of the Evangelical wilderness.

      Look at Eagle and his “Take Your God and Shove It” reaction to where “Christianity is a Cancer”. Because his time in-country DID try to infect him with a diseased form of Christianity. You can take utter negativity for only so long before you kill yourself, go crazy, find another Personal LORD and Savior (Marx, Rand, Ross Perot, Obama, or Sarah Palin), or go over the Berlin Wall and never look back. And when you go over the wall, you often flip one-eighty from Total Blind Devotion to Total Blind Hatred. Communism begets Objectivism.

      Look at Grinning Apocalyptism — “It’s All Gonna Burn (TM).” How God is going to destroy the world while we cheer from our box seats in Fluffy Cloud Heaven. Where’s Tikkun Olam, bring healing and perfection and rebuilding to a damaged cosmos? Wasn’t the original Christian afterlife concept Resurrection of the Body into a New Cosmos? Not float around in Fluffy Cloud Heaven as Worship Bots?

      Look at Christian (TM) actor Kirk Cameron’s neuroses (high-end even for an actor) — will only appear in CHRISTIAN (TM) productions (including the guy with the banana), requires his wife be stand-in for any kissing scene (“To Prevent Adultery”), and spent most of his time on the set of “Left Behind” hiding in his greenroom trailer to avoid contamination when he heard there were Heathens (TM) on the set. Slacktivist pointed out that these were all symptoms of being catechized with a NEGATIVE view of Holiness and Creation, where Being Saved means keeping your nose squeeky-clean to pass God’s Great White Throne (or Rapture) Litmus Test.
      And Christian Bizarro World obliges with Christianese knockoffs of pop culture so you can have all the pop culture (even as consolation prizes) while keeping yourself separate and uncontaminated by Those Other Sinners.

      (It gets worse if you’re an adult convert who had a “Juicy” pre-Altar Call life and have to deal with the resulting guilt of “before”. Especially when (according to JMJ/Christian Monist) Guilt Manipulation is a core part of Christianese culture/Sin Management.)

      • “Look at Grinning Apocalyptism — “It’s All Gonna Burn (TM).” How God is going to destroy the world while we cheer from our box seats in Fluffy Cloud Heaven. Where’s Tikkun Olam, bring healing and perfection and rebuilding to a damaged cosmos?”

        No remembrance or conception that Arda Envinyanta, Earth Healed/Renewed, will not be the same thing as Arda Alahasta, Earth Unmarred, which is Earth as it should have been without the Fall, but a greater thing since it will incorporate all the good things of Arda Hastaina, Earth Marred. That even in this fallen world, there are good things. That we are not Gnostics or Manichaeans, that we do not believe in a dualism between spirit/matter but that the very Logos took flesh of our flesh and dwelled among us.

        There will be a new Heaven and a new Earth, and we will have physical, glorified bodies which are our old bodies resurrected and renewed and finally capable of what is said in the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth (the Dialogue/Coloquy of Finrod and Andreth): “the fëa (spirit, soul) shall have the power to uplift the hröa (body), as its eternal spouse and companion, into an endurance everlasting beyond (physical Creation, the Universe), and beyond Time”.

        • David Cornwell says:

          “There will be a new Heaven and a new Earth, and we will have physical, glorified bodies which are our old bodies resurrected and renewed and finally capable of what is said in the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth…”

          ” into an endurance everlasting beyond Eä (physical Creation, the Universe), and beyond Time”.

          Amen and amen. This is real theology.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          No remembrance or conception that Arda Envinyanta, Earth Healed/Renewed, will not be the same thing as Arda Alahasta, Earth Unmarred, which is Earth as it should have been without the Fall, but a greater thing since it will incorporate all the good things of Arda Hastaina, Earth Marred. That even in this fallen world, there are good things.

          And how in the Ainulindale, Iluvatar took the original creativity of the Ainur singing their own Song — even the disruption and chaos of Morgoth — and wove it all into an even Greater Music in the Timeless Halls. “EA! LET THESE THINGS BE!”

          Do you have any idea what it’s like to show off something you have put time, energy, and even a piece of YOU into only to have it piously dismissed with “It’s All Gonna Burn”? As someone who has bubbled with creating things — drawings, writings, gaming stuff, plastic models — for 50 years, I sure do.

          My only hope is that in Arda Envinyanta, even our original songs (and everything else we have created) become “EA!” and the creatures of our imagination are given life and reality.

          • That’s what the Second Children of Iluvatar were created for, wasn’t it? That we could devise themes and imaginings beyond the Music of the Ainur which is fate to all things else, and of our operation shall all be, in form and deed, completed and the world fulfilled unto the last and smallest. Including the Ponies.

        • Quenya, for those interested. In Klingon it probably would come out as “Today is a good day to die, and I’ve got a really big bat’leth, so looks like it’s your day for a good funeral!”

          :-)

  10. Tear em up. I’m sure God is well pleased. I wonder.

  11. On one level, it’s nice to know the world and the church are both as crazy as ever and still giving us the ridiculous along with the sublime. On another level, it’s tragic that so many people think that the patently ridiculous is the sublime (sigh).

    One of the things that troubles me most about “pastors” like Driscoll and Young, etc. is that so much of their message is only relevant if one is healthy and not too old, not infirm, not handicapped or debilitated physically or psychologically, not beat down or weakened or cast out or rejected (not to mention not single or gay or doubting). Their message assumes the listener is mostly strong and healthy and able, or at least willing to fake it. That leaves a pretty narrow audience, or one that’s based on a lie. What will these “pastors” do when they get old, or frail, or when they or their child or wife becomes irreversibly disabled? They have built a message and an image that leaves no place for the weak and broken and outcast and wandering. This is all very far from the message and work of Jesus, and the world around them knows it.

    • VERY good point, John! Not to mention it assumes that everyone has plenty of time and energy — their messages on sex eliminate the person working two jobs to make ends meet or taking full-time care of a sick loved one just as much as they eliminate the infirm, the disabled, and the single. They assume an audience of middle-class (if not upper-middle-class) Ward and June Cleavers.

      Which brings the thought that maybe this is part and parcel of that desired normalization to 1950s Caucasian America that came up when we were discussing “masculine Christianity” a week or two back …

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Yes, the Nifty Fifties as Godly Golden Age, “When church attendance was at its peak.”

        I am just old enough to remember the tail end of the Nifty Fifties and don’t remember any Godly Golden Age. More like Dickens: “It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times… In short, it was a time like any other.”

        And this Christianese Godly Golden Age isn’t even the REAL 1950s. It’s a MYTHOLOGICAL Fifties according to Ozzie, Harriet, and Donna Reed.

    • John and Ray, you make some great points, Martha and I were just saying something similar. The Body of Christ in the pews on Sunday should look like riders on a city bus…young and old, poor and comfortable, every color, every type of ability and lacks. These mega-churches seem to only be interested, as you said, in healthy midddle-class white couples and their offspring….who should meet each other and chastely wed after college, rince and repeat.

      In all fairness, I have only seen a hand-ful of churches (except for urban Catholic parishes) where the congregation REALLY looks like a UN meeting, except for with more gray hair and giggingly toddlers.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Then drop by mine sometimes. (St Boniface, Anaheim, CA, USA.) We’re a double-ethnic parish — English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Even the English-language Masses (though predominantly Anglo) have a LOT more variety than those Shiny Happy Yuppie Megachurches. At the English-language Sunday Mass I attend, there’s even one local character — a local well-groomed homeless man who goes straight up to one of the front few rows, hears Mass, takes Communion, and returns to his begging corner afterwards.

        • Sounds awesome….because little “c” catholic does really mean…

          ……..Here comes EVERYBODY!

        • A man who is not ashamed to be known as a beggar goes all the way up to the front of the church???!!!!

          He’s obviously not Irish, then ;-)

      • I’ve always thought the real test of a parish church is if things like this or this happen.

        If the crying babies, wandering toddlers, and curious kids are all corralled off in a separate room or special Children’s Services and/or Sunday school while the adults worship, it’s not the same at all :-)

    • Word.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      What will these “pastors” do when they get old, or frail, or when they or their child or wife becomes irreversibly disabled?

      They will be thrown on the trash heap by the next crop of Young, Strong, Healthy, and Able Pastors preaching from their Celebrity Megachurch Pulpits to the Young, Strong, Healthy, and Able.

      What is the German for “Useless Eaters”?

  12. Robin Cranford says:

    Reading that Ed Young had four children made me feel really sorry for those four children! How embarrassing to have your parents parade their sex lives around publicly! I was so disturbed about that growing up that I was convinced my parents “did it” twice. Once for me and once for my sister. If I were Ed Young’s daughter, I would have a serious complex right now!

    Ugh.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Well, Preacher’s Kids DO have a high crackup rate. And they crack up in one of two ways:

      Marilyn Manson or Fred Phelps, nothing in-between.

      • Josh in FW says:

        Now, now HUG. My Mom, Aunt, and 2 Uncles are all not only comfortably between these two extremes, but are healthy, loving followers of Christ and their Dad was an SBC pastor and personal friend of Paige Patterson. Young Jr.’s kids will be no more warped than their peers who are the children of extremely performance driven corporate executives.

      • I have two gorgeous, intelligent, well-behaved, marvellous nephews, the sons of a Church of Ireland minister, HUG. For their sakes, I hope you’re wrong!

        Any nuttiness will come from their mother’s (my sister) side of the family, I can assure you :-D

      • Or like the girl in “Footloose.” (She slept with a boy–no, make that TWO boys!–and yelled at her dad for not understanding her. And went dancing.)

    • David Cornwell says:

      “How embarrassing to have your parents parade their sex lives around publicly! I was so disturbed about that growing up that I was convinced my parents “did it” twice.”

      It’s hard to even imagine one’s parents carrying on like this. We have so cheapened sex that it is now a commodity to be sold not only on the streets but in a way also in our churches. What do you call those kind of pastors?

    • One more Mike says:

      Christian Porn. It’s on its way folks and it will be produced by churches for christians to improve their sexual,i.e., spiritual lives and relationships. And sold in church bookstores.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “Just Like (Dumb Porn Title of Choice), Except CHRISTIAN (TM)!”

        (Why Not? There’s been Christianese knockoffs of everything else!)

        • One more Mike says:

          There’s a lot of CCM that would make a good porn soundtrack…….

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            You mean the “Jesus is My Edward Cullen Ooo Ooo Ooo” stuff that’s also real popular in the gay community?

  13. I thought the Bell interview was fine. There’s nothing particularly new in it, or really anything that I’d consider controversial. The comments section is funny, though. I think Bell could say something about the sky being blue and people would find something to complain about. I truly don’t get the hatred for the man.

  14. The heads rolling at Mars Hill sounds PRECISELY like the way a large corporation or hospital would act if they got caught doing something illegal or questionable. Stall…….drown the subject in paperwork……..fire the guys at the VERY bottom of the organizational chart as the sacrifical lambs. Case closed…….we are back to “normal” and this will never, ever happen again (until the next time that it does).

  15. StillHurting says:

    Jeff Dunn: “Can we please move on now?”

    MH PR letter: “In both cases that have been brought to light, things did not go as they should have…”

    In both cases?
    There are many more cases out there – just Google.
    This stuff has been going on for years.
    And, for every one that came to light, how many have been “swept under the rug”?
    It is as if we are all witnesses to a hit-and-run accident with casualties.
    But Mr. Dunn says, “Can we please move on now?”

    A token purge of lower-level bureaucrats does not absolve the king whose heavy-handed authoritarian rule, coarse language, and harsh treatment of members has imposed his imprint from the top down on the entire organization which shares his common ethos.

    And, now that they are supposedly acknowledging that “mistakes were made,” what steps are being taken to show true repentance and apologize to those who have been harmed?

    Where are the published retractions of slander (such as the letter about Andrew that was “mistakenly” published on the church’s website and then posted all over the internet)?

    What efforts are being made to “gently restore” Andrew and all the others who have been slandered and subjected to spiritual abuse? Where does “the buck stop”?

    Where are the Christian “leaders” such as Piper, Mahaney, Mohler, Keller, Carson, MacDonald, Grudem, et al, who should be calling out their colleague, Driscoll? Why do they keep making excuses for him? They are all complicit by their silence.

    “Mistakes were made.”

    The New York Times calls it “The Perfect Non-apology Apology” and “sufficiently artful double-talk.”

    “We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality…” — George Orwell (1946)

    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/myl/Mistakes2.jpg

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “Mistakes were made.”

      Wasn’t that word-for-word what Bill Clinton said re Monicagate et al?

      Along with “It all depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

    • “Our central leadership, which includes Pastor Mark Driscoll, is not involved in the discipline process, as it is handled at a local level.” -MHC

      “A token purge of lower-level bureaucrats does not absolve the king whose heavy-handed authoritarian rule, coarse language, and harsh treatment of members has imposed his imprint from the top down on the entire organization which shares his common ethos.” -StillHurting

      That’s what struck me. The big, strong, manly, macho pastor hid himself behind a minion meat shield.

      Even if that is not the case, how can the central leadership not have a role in day-to-day discipleship?

    • “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.” ~GK Chesterton.

  16. Richard McNeeley says:

    I thought you would include Arizona in your birthday wishes, 100 years on Feb. 14.

  17. Oops. Looks like Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church had to do a little housekeeping this week. They fired two of the ministers involved in the church discipline case we have highlighted on these pages in the past week or so. There, heads have rolled. Can we please move on now?

    Actually, the article has been updated to say that the firings were NOT directly related to the “Andrew” and “Lance” discipline cases. So to respond to your plea (which I can’t tell is serious or not, since you still chose to post the story despite your better efforts earlier in the week), I strongly suspect that no, we won’t be moving on just yet.

  18. OK, Mars Hill/Driscoll Incorporated didn’t do anything wrong, but they fired 2 people, but not because of anything in the news recently. The best comedy routines come from actual statements.

  19. “‘ Almost of 70 percent of his words in the Gospel were words of application. In other words, the so-what principle of doing the stuff. Thirty percent were words of information. The church kind of got that backwards,’ argued Young.”

    Once again, one can take truth and make a lie out of it, simply in how it is told. Certainly teaching needs application. But the meaning of application is the question: is it what I can do with it, or is it what God has already done or will do? The former implies that pragmatism drives the value and sacredness of scripture. If I think I need a better marriage, more obedient children, more money, more sex, etc. and the Bible (or my pastor’s presentation of the Bible) doesn’t deliver, is it without value? The sad truth is that the church went through such pragmatic reduction of the Bible over a hundred years ago. Again, I believe application is important.

    How is it that sex becomes such a recurring theme with pragmatic speakers like Young – especially in light of the Apostle Paul’s admonition that it is better to remain single as he did? It seems like a pretty cut-and-dry “application” to me. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Biblical literalism is in the interpretation, not in the text. It all seems like a man-centered spin on scripture.

    • sex sells of course. If it can sell cars and booze, then why not deities?

      • Ah ha. Then the bible has nothing to do with it. What else sells? I hate to ask.

        • I actually think this would be a worthy subject: what are the top ten popular evangelical topics and why? Sex is one; end times seems to be another. Cultural war is another. Don’t forget money. But why? Why do pastors go through such hermeneutic gymnastics to make every bible study relevant to one of the subjects? Are these topics essential to the Christian faith? Is what the audience wants to hear? I think of Jesus after the feeding of the 5,000, where the people wanted to hear more about food and Jesus declaring himself king, and Jesus would have none of it. Contrast that with Aaron in the desert giving the people what they wanted.

  20. Was Yuri Gagarin religious?

  21. I like Rob Bell’s response to the questions regarding vocation and “full time ministry”. It sounds very Lutheran. I guess that’s accidental. Irony of ironies: Lutherans reading “Blue Like Jazz” and Rob Bell teaching what could be chapter and verse from the table of duties. Maybe Lutherans will realize they can be “hip” without selling out to every new fad by just being themselves. Here’s hoping.