Welcome to the holiest of all days, the last Saturday in February. Why is today so special? It is the annual Holland Hall Book Fair. What, you ask (if you could ask me), is the HHBF? It is a used book sale to support a private school in Tulsa. Is the school in trouble financially? I doubt it, not with tuition being more than some colleges. (Would you pay north of 15 grand a year to send Johnny or Sally to first grade? Will that kind of jack buy better crayons?) No, I’m not interested in helping spoiled kids feel better about themselves. (You ought to see the cars the high school kids drive. I mean, really.) I want great deals on used books. There will be thousands of books lining tables in the gym. The doors open at 8. My friend Mike and I get there at 6. I asked Mike this week if he was fasting and praying for a good book fair. “I’m praying I am faster at you to get the books I want.” As is our custom, as we are walking in the doors at 8, Mike will turn to me and say, “Once inside, I no longer know you.” So happy HHBF, iMonks. If you want to join us, feel free. Just don’t get in front of me in line. Now, let’s ramble.
Adam Palmer, our eagle-eyed rambling scout, told me about a Saturday Night Live skit from last week that he thought particularly insightful to how some Christians want to view Jesus. It is either insightful or highly, highly offensive. Not sure which side I fall on. You?
Don’t know if this is directly related, but NBC will finish this latest ratings period in fifth place. Even Univision, the Spanish-language network, beat the Peacock …
Here is a poster for a movie coming out next year that I’m sure I will find highly offensive. I only wish this were a spoof. Count me among those who would rather sit through a Saved By The Bell marathon than go see this. Again, you?
And speaking of offensive, Bill O’Reilly really has a thing about killing people, doesn’t he? Next up: Killing Jesus. Oh, how I wish I were joking …
Something good to say about a video? Ok then. How about this Gospel lesson from the just-concluded season three of Downton Abbey?
You didn’t think the pope could announce his resignation and that not start a landslide of conspiracy theories, did you? Now we are hearing of a covert “gay lobby” within the Vatican. Accepting his explanation of being too tired and weak from age to continue to do the job is not enough, huh?
In case the cardinals tasked with electing the next pope reach a stalemate, here is one funny-shaped hat tossed in the ring they should consider. Can you imagine Jim Martin as pope? His homilies would have the faithful rolling with laughter in St. Peter’s Square. EWTN’s ratings would skyrocket.
Seems megachurches continue to get more and more mega. A new survey shows giving to large churches continues to increase, with many of these churches planning to increase the size and pay of their staff. I think most faithful iMonks know my feelings about megachurches. If you don’t, well, I’m a-gin ‘em on principle. Why? Because, as a rule, these churches don’t foster Jesus-shaped spirituality. Discuss.
The Louisville Courier-Journal says that while Christians are not the best tippers at restaurants, we may not be as bad as some have said.
We mourn the loss of Howard Hendricks, the long-time seminary professor, pastor and author, at age 88 this week. Blessed are those who can say they were mentored by Hendricks.
Christian entertainer Carmen announced this week he has terminal cancer, with doctors giving him three to four years to live. Like his music or not, this, too, is sad news.
Another Christian entertainer, Tim Tebow, changed his mind this week and will not be speaking at First Baptist in Dallas. Seems Tebow has decided he doesn’t want to be associated with the controversial pastor of First Baptist, Robert Jeffress. I guess this will give Tebow more time to prepare to play quarterback for the Jets next year. Oh, wait …
Having trouble coming up with a menu during this season of Lent? Here’s a list of ten acceptable foods you may have overlooked on your last trip to the Piggly-Wiggly. And don’t you think Skunk-Headed Coot would make a great name for a country-western band?
A motorist in New Jersey caused problems this week when going to get his driver’s license renewed. Seems he didn’t want to remove his headdress, saying it was part of his religion to wear it in public. Can you guess where I’m going with this? No? Try harder. Ok, ok. Read about it here.
Do you feel a call to the ministry, but are having trouble deciding what kind of preacher you want to be? Worry no longer. Here is a handy chart you can use to make your selection—based on the kind of facial hair you want to sport. This is for males only, of course. Except for women preachers in Arkansas …
And finally, as Spring Training games began yesterday, I thought it would be good to show that baseball and literature make good bedfellows. So I turn to Baseball Hall of Fame writer Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News who shows us that Shakespeare himself was a baseball fan.
FOR BASEBALL FANS who aren’t William Shakespeare fans, well, consider that The Bard made constant references to baseball, before baseball was born. These were sent by a Reds’ fan:
—I shall catch it ere it come to ground. — MacBeth.
—A hit, a very palpable hit. — Hamlet.
—You may go walk. — Taming of the Shrew.
—For this relief, much thanks. — Hamlet.
—You have scarce time to steal. — Henry VIII.
— And so I shall catch the fly. — Henry V.
— O hateful error. — Julius Caesar.
— Run, run, O run. — King Lear.
— Fair is foul and foul is fair. — MacBeth.
— My arm is sore. — Antony & Cleopatra.
— (And the most applicable these days:) I have no joy in this contract. — Antony & Cleopatra.
Hippie happy birthday greetings go out to Edgar Bergan; Sonny Bono; Jerome Bettis; Red Barber; Hal Holbrook; Paris Hilton; Enzo Ferrari; Johnny Hart; Yoko Ono; J Geils; Walter Becker; Erma Bombeck; Kelsey Grammer; Sparky Anderson; and Drew Barrymore.
The closest rock and roll will ever come to perfection is found in the recordings of Steely Dan. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker will never win any beauty contests, but they create an incredible sound. Walter Becker is the old guy in the middle of the stage playing guitar. Crank this up and enjoy.