November 24, 2014

Saturday Ramblings 5.18.13

RamblerThere are those who are fairly new to this site, and thus may have some questions about this weekly iMonk abbey chapter we call Saturday Ramblings. So allow me to explain it in just a few words. First of all, the stories and comments shared here are all very serious. We don’t joke at the iMonastery; we don’t even allow ourselves to smile except on Opening Day for Major League baseball. Next, when I end a rambling with the word “discuss,” I expect you all to discuss what I just said. Drop everything else and discuss what you just read. It’s an order. And we are watching you. Finally, assembling Ramblings each week is back-breaking work. I spend at least 23 hours out of every day searching high and low for stories for you. I expect you to read every single one of them at least twice, watch the bonus video five times before midnight, and send handwritten birthday cards to everyone on our celebrity birthday list. Don’t disappoint me. Now, with that explanation out of the way, shall we ramble?

Tax day has come and gone for 2013, but that doesn’t mean the IRS isn’t still up to some hilarious mischief. It seems they might, just might, have spent a wee bit too much time scrutinizing certain conservative groups who sought non-profit status. Of course it had nothing to do with politics, did it? Franklin Graham says the IRS came with guns a-blazin’ for his Samaritan’s Purse charity. And of course he didn’t use that for personal gain or advantage, did he? (Do you ever get the idea Franklin would push aside little old ladies to get a few seconds in front of a TV camera?)

It is a bit disturbing to learn that the IRS asked at least one conservative group to detail the contents of their prayers. Am I the only one who thinks that is just a bit creepy?

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has decried our culture of money. I think he really does mean for the Catholic Church to take care of the poor. Did I mention I really, really like what this pope is saying? Good thing the IRS doesn’t have a branch office at the Vatican. When was the last time you heard a sermon about how the love of money is the root of all evil? Discuss. Right now.

Jonathan Merritt suggests that Mark Driscoll just might be the new Pat Robertson. Oh goodie. As if we really need another Pat Robertson. What is wrong with the one we have now? Well, other than the fact that he just okayed adultery for men. Sigh. Did I mention that I really, really, really like Pope Francis? No? Well, I do.

Finally, in celebration of George Lucas’s birthday this last week, I thought it might be interesting to look at this article comparing Star Trek with Star Wars. Which one are you? Or is it possible to be a Trekkie as well as a Wookie? Which is a greater power, The Force or Mr. Spock’s mind-melding abilities?

Others who celebrated the anniversary of their birth this last week include Irving Berlin; Salvador Dali; Foster Brooks; Phil Silvers; Eric Burden; Butch Trucks; Katherine Hepburn; Steve Winwood; Kix Brooks; George Karl; Joe Louis; Mary Wells; Stevie Wonder; Jack Bruce; David Byrne; Brian Eno; Henry Fonda; George Brett; Dennis Hopper; and Taj Mahal.

Remember David Bowie’s Space Oddity, the story of an astronaut named Major Tom? Here is a killer version sung by … a real live astronaut. While orbiting the earth in the International Space Station. Which is better, Bowie’s or Chris Hadfield’s? Enjoy. That’s an order.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaOC9danxNo’]

Comments

  1. I find it very odd that the IRS would make a public apology for something that it “might” have done.

    They did it and they did it for years. And they made a point of not letting it be known until after the election.

    And many of these same folks will administer Obamacare? (yes)

    Frightening. (some day they might not be on your side)

    • I found it interesting to read that an attorney for one conservative group that had waited over 18 months for their application to be settled also applied for tax exempt status for a fictitious group with the name of “Greenhouses Solutions” and was approved in a few months. No political bias? Hmmmm.

      • I had not hear that. But given what we now know, it seems to logically follow.

        Thanks.

      • Robert F says:

        Isn’t applying for tax-exempt status for a fictitious group itself illegal? Wouldn’t it be illegal for an attorney to knowingly make such an application?

        • It wasn’t fictitious. They had already applied as “Media Tracker”, and had their application stalled for months, so they re-submitted it as “Greenhouse Solutions”. Tax-exempt status granted in weeks.

      • dumb ox says:

        If the tea party groups were requesting 501-C3 status (non-political), I can understand the scrutiny. I’m not sure how a name like “green house solutions” would set off advocacy alerts. As similar as it might seem, it doesn’t sound like “green party”. Bias questions are legitimate, but this is starting to sound like another case where the truth is forever buried under politics and truthiness – on both sides.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “OBAMA Wuvs Us,
      OBAMA Will Save Us,
      O Save Us OBAAAMAAAA….”
      — The Obama Children’s Choir, Venice, California (fanboy production for 2008 election)

      • Robert F says:

        Well, this administration, though it promised transparency, has used the licit and questionably licit clandestine machinery of centralized government as much as or more than its predecessors, including but not limited to Gitmo, targeted drone attacks, extradition of suspected terrorists to governments that are torture friendly, violation of the rights of American citizens based on suspicion of their involvement in terrorism (including the assassination of an American radical Islamic cleric on foreign soil without due process of any kind). There is a temptation to unjustly use government power on the political left which is different from but complementary to the temptation that occurs on the political right.

        • Hence my distrust of ALL politician in power and why partisan politics is a game of bullies and tif-for-tat treatment. T’row the bums out, all of ‘em!

    • Dan Crawford says:

      I hope they do administer Obamacare – if ever there was a sector in the economy deserving of investigation it is corporate medicine and Big Pharma. They’ve gotten away with murder and a whole lot of other crimes for decades. Now that Obamacare (aka the Corporate Medicine and Big Pharma Profit Maintenance and Enhancement Act) is with us, someone better regulate it.

      • James the Mad says:

        Only problem is, I’ve seen no indications that Obamacare actually addresses corporate medicine and the pharmaceutical industry. Take a look at it, and it’s all about healthcare insurance.

        Sorry, but even for the Democrats capitalism is a sacred cow.

        • Robert F says:

          In fact, corporate medicine, the pharmaceutical industry and the health insurance companies were all wooed into cooperation with and support for the Affordable (really? since when has the government had any realistic idea what is affordable?) Healthcare Act by the prospect of tens of millions new customers obliged by law to purchase their products; this is a case of government and business collaborating similar to the Japanese model.

        • Big, controlling, power hungry government.

          Isn’t it great?

          The Founding Fathers. What did they know? Apparently quite a bit more than we do.

          • Well, they had more time to study and think about freedom and democracy and high ideals. You know, while their slaves did all their dirty work.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        All Obamacare has done is create a 2000-page book of Healthcare Regulations in fluent legalese and bureaucratspeak.

        It’s just another Jobs Program for Lawyers.

    • ‘It is a bit disturbing to learn that the IRS asked at least one conservative group to detail the contents of their prayers. Am I the only one who thinks that is just a bit creepy?”

      Not sure what folks expected from a “community organizer”. But then , one of the articles of impeachment for Nixon was using the IRS to intimidate his political enemies. Some things just become the new normal.

      Anyone who thinks Obamacare should be implemented is basically saying they want more of an oligarchy than we already have. Here is a tip: If congress exempts themselves from the law they are passing which will be a mandate for you, common sense should tell you it is not a good thing..

    • My husband is an IRS employee. He is LIVID about what has happened and thinks everyone involved should be fired immediately.

  2. Ah, Pat, bless his heart. I know that whenever I see him smile something cringeworthy is coming…

    As for the most important topic, Star Trek vs Star Wars…
    – The ships in Star Wars look way cooler.
    – The robots in Star Trek are way smarter.
    – The weapons in Star Wars look way cooler.
    – The films in Star Trek started out pretty good (well, every other one) but became lifeless in the 90s. Although I enjoyed the last movie and will see the new one sometime this weekend
    – The films in Star Wars started great and then… and then… [CENSORED BY COMMENT SYSTEM. REALLY, HE GOES ON AND ON AND ON USING TERMS NOT SAFE FOR A FAMILY WEBSITE. SOMETHING ABOUT COMPARING LUCAS TO BANTHA FODDER HERE.] Ok, enough about that.
    – Summary: Liked Star Wars for longer but am more hopeful for Star Trek now. But I think I won’t put too much stake in either since I find much more entertainment in science fiction and fantasy novels now over the movies.

  3. dumb ox says:

    Driscoll the new Pat Robertson? Well, let’s see. This week, Driscoll said, “I know who made the environment and he’s coming back and going to burn it all up. So yes, I drive an SUV.” He then apologized for the statement by saying, “I’m sorry you don’t have a sense of humor”. Yup. Same senility, but with attitude.

    • Ox, that’s not senility on Driscoll’s part. That’s all attitude. And he doesn’t put his foot in his mouth, as Jonathan Merritt implied in the article. Not at all. Driscoll is too busy trying to shove his foot into our mouths.

      • Kerokline says:

        Driscoll is the only man I’ve known to kick his own teeth out to get his foot in his mouth.

      • dumb ox says:

        Driscoll isn’t speaking to me. He’s not speaking to mini-van drivers or guys who wear skinny jeans (dang, I have to admit he’s right on that one. C’mon guys! Just stop!). He is speaking to his audience, his demographic. But he’s not the only one guilty of that. It is a symptom of how polarized our society has become.

  4. If the IRS ever asks the content of your prayers, tell them that you asked for serenity as you render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, for courage as you render unto God that which is God’s,
    and for the wisdom for the IRS to know the difference.

  5. Re: The love of money

    Money is the medium of exchange. We have made it the point of exchange.

    • Suzanne says:

      We had a short discussion on money in Bible class several weeks ago, as in one man talking about God’s plan for your finances, which involved not spending on things you don’t need. There was a whole lotta silence, though, when I suggested that our economy is consumption based, and when people don’t spend frivolously, the economy comes to a grinding halt, as we’ve witnessed recently.

      I’m starting to like this Pope, too. By focusing on the poor, though, I fear he will simply reinforce many Christians’ belief that Catholics aren’t really Christian. If they were, they’d know the poor won’t get you anything…

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I’m starting to like this Pope, too. By focusing on the poor, though, I fear he will simply reinforce many Christians’ belief that Catholics aren’t really Christian. If they were, they’d know the poor won’t get you anything…

        The poor don’t Tithe $10,000 a year. Or attend CELEBRITY Gigachurches (Megachurches are too small).

        And there are far more important Christian(TM) things out there than the poor: Young Earth Creationism Uber Alles, Teh Fags, Perfectly-Parsed Theology, Teh Fags, Pin the Tail on The Antichrist, Teh Fags, Culture War Without End, Amen…

        • “And there are far more important Christian(TM) things out there than the poor: Young Earth Creationism Uber Alles, Teh Fags, Perfectly-Parsed Theology, Teh Fags, Pin the Tail on The Antichrist, Teh Fags, Culture War Without End, Amen…”

          Um… you have just ONE thing wrong here. It is not “culture war without End,Amen..”. It is “Culture war without End , in JEEEEEESUS NAME!!…amen.”

      • Christiane says:

        Pope Francis makes a lot of people nervous who have built their careers around fleecing the sheep and impressing others with their private jets and entourages.
        But maybe it’s time for a Pope Francis in the evangelical world . . . he LIKES evangelicals, he has evangelical friends in Argentina . . . did the cardinals KNOW about this when they elected him Pope? Probably not.
        And so what does Francis say to the Cardinals at the first dinner with them after his election?
        He says ‘May God forgive you’ . . . it brought the house down and broke the ice . . . and now you can hear the ice cracking and falling all over the Catholic world . . .

        for the hard-core fundamentalists, though, who despise all things Catholic, Pope Francis will be very hard to put down . . . he’s already been on his knees washing the feet of prisoners . . . some of them Muslims.

        Whatever will happen in the Church now that Francis won’t wear all the finery ? And no red shoes?
        Not to mention riding on a bus with the cardinals instead of a limo? And paying his hotel bill himself?
        Unheard of. Impossible! It ain’t fittin! No, it just ain’t fittin! :)

        Francis used to care for an elderly priest who was home-bound in Argentina, so what does Francis do in Rome?
        He moves a very frail Benedict back into the Vatican so he can pray with him and visit with him and make sure he’s cared for . . .

        Francis may not be as unpredictable as we think . . . he’s just living in Rome like he lived in Argentina, and it looks like he’s determined to embrace the simpler life of ‘the shepherd’ on his own terms.

  6. STEVE WINWOOD, Rick Gretch, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, and Who Else made up that fantastic, one record group in the early 70’s? (scratches armpit in senile satisfaction…)

  7. melissatheragamuffin says:

    Have I mentioned that someone needs to staple Pat Robertson’s lips shut? It is well past time for Christians to recognize him as the heretic/false prophet that he is. Ditto Mark Driscol.

  8. Star Trek. Next question?

  9. Chris, you’ve done all Canadians proud; and your singing ain’t half bad!

    • +1

      Chris has become quite a celebrity up here. His embracing of social media has played quite a role in that. Frist Canadian to command the International Space Station.

      • I graduated from RMC a year before Chris. I remember him a little from those days (RMC is quite small), but i don’t think any of us imagined the path he would end up following.

  10. Robert F says:

    I don’t know very much about Driscoll, but what little I do know about him doesn’t make me want to know more. He seems to think forming disciples for Jesus Christ is very much like conducting a fraternity hazing, the primary difference being that the hazing doesn’t last nearly as long.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      And that HE’s the one swinging the hazing paddles.

    • Marcus Johnson says:

      I’m learning more and more about him, and what I learn is so reprehensible that I have to wait for an hour after eating before reading about him. His anti-Christ theology spoils appetites, induces vomiting, and could be responsible for other bowel movement dysfunctions. So, if you are limited in your knowledge of Driscoll, maybe that’s all for the best.

      Hopefully, that didn’t seem as though I was sugar coating my real opinion of him.

      • Robert F says:

        Are you sure Driscoll’s not on your top ten list of people with whom you’d most like to have dinner?

        • I’d enjoy dinner with Driscoll as long as I could also invite St Joan of Arc. Would be an interesting meal.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Make sure you’re up on your Homeowner’s Insurance and have 911 on speed-dial.

          • Josh in FW says:

            fun thought. Maybe add Jael to the list too.

          • Robert F says:

            Be careful: Driscoll might bring a witch-hunting goon squad and try to burn St. Joan at the stake a second time…..and I don’t even want to speculate what he might try to do to Jael….

          • Christiane says:

            Is Driscoll understood to be one of the prime examples of the open misogyny that pervades parts of the evangelical world?

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            Yes, and I think Driscoll is working very hard to maintain that image.

          • Robert F says:

            It’s his schtick; he has to hold onto his audience.

  11. Look on the bright side: after all these years of evangelicals bemoaning the marginalization of God in the public square, IRS agents are now demanding to know all about the conversations between God and us.
    Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in you… The fields are white unto harvest, maybe even at the IRS!

  12. Robert F says:

    I like what Pope Francis has to say about greed; now if only the Vatican would liquidate its vast riches, give its immense surplus of wealth to the poor, divest itself of its trappings of splendor and live in the world in the form of a poor servant of its poor servant Lord. Now that would be exciting!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Pope Francis is already setting an example in his personal life. Like any Pope, he has a LOT of bureaucratic inertia do overcome. And he’s from a Third World country and has had to deal with banana-republic dictators over poor peons, so I don’t think he’ll have much tolerance for corruption. Pedo-priests and Vatican Bank, look out.

      And the Filthy Rich Catholic Church Why Don’t They Sell All They Have And Give It To The Poor is an old one. A favorite sound bite of Anti-Catholic types for centuries.

      • Robert F says:

        The limitations inherent in the office of the Pope are precisely why I referenced the Vatican as an institution rather than any single individual in my “if only.”

        And I’m by no means an “Anti-Catholic” type, although I am a former Roman Catholic type. Some of my favorite Christians were and are Roman Catholic, among them St. John of the Cross, Franz Jaggerstatter, Dorothy Day and a host of others; but the criticism of the Vatican’s royal trappings still remains, and is as much about an institution needing to walk in the faithful trust it recommends others should walk in as it is about caring for the poor.

      • Joan C. says:

        Well he hasn’t done anything yet, except to make some symbolic gestures.

  13. Adrienne says:

    “In a society where lies, cover-ups, and hypocrisy have caused people to lose basic trust in the social contract, what could be more revolutionary than the truth?” Pope Francis

  14. Robert F says:

    Happy Birthday, Brian Eno!

  15. Sarah R says:

    I’m a Twookie- can’t we all just get along???

  16. By that, you practically mean taking the artistic treasures of Western civilization & selling them off to private collectors or to museums, which could not afford them except as donations.

    I’d rather trust the Church with them.

    • Christiane says:

      how do you ‘sell’ something like art in the Sistine Chapel ?

      this treasure may be in the keeping of the Church, but it truly belongs to the world

  17. ron burger says:

    thanks for dissing Franklin Graham… he should know better than to help displaced, poor, storm, earthquake and tornado victims… he should leave that to our savior Obama who knows better than all of us
    franklin graham should be shut down by the irs, don’t you think?
    ron

  18. Jeff, if I or someone else hurt your feelings in our criticism of something you wrote, that was not the intention. Don’t take it personally if your content is criticized–or your writing style for that matter.