Happy holiday weekend, iMonks! I always was amazed at those who could not keep their holidays straight. How could anyone confuse Memorial Day—the start of summer—with Labor Day—the end of summer? There are days of memories and days of laboring, and while often times they are one and the same, once you capitalize them, they belong on different days of the calendar. So, here is your heapin’ helpin’ of Labor Day ramblings!
And what do you do on a holiday but go to the movies? Having seen the Avengers already, now what? You could get ready for The Master, a new film that is “lightly” based on the story of L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology. Or you can anticipate Anne Rice’s Christ The Lord being made into a movie. Or, best of all, Joel Osteen’s first foray into films, a movie about Mary the mother of Jesus staring an Israeli actress I’ve never heard of. I’m sure if Joel is in charge, this will be a whiz-bang flick.
The Vatican has released a guide telling bishops and priests how to determine if an apparition of Mary is the real thing. The rules list requirements for those claiming to have witnessed a “positive” apparition, some of which include “psychological equilibrium, honesty and rectitude of moral life […] sincerity [and] healthy devotion.” Well, I won’t be submitting any claims of seeing Mary anytime soon, will I?
John Piper’s successor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis has been approved by the church’s board of elders. Jason Meyer is the pastor-in-waiting to Piper. No timetable for a changing of the guard has been set. Is this a good and orderly way to change church leaders, or would it be better for Pastor A to preach his last message this week, and Pastor B begin next week?
Some other Baptists chose to leave in a different manner. More than two dozen professors and teachers at Shorter University in Georgia resigned after being told they would need to sign a “personal lifestyle statement” that forbids homosexuality, premarital sex, and public drinking. And what sayest thou, iMonks? Should Christian colleges require such a document from those who work there?
Well, it’s settled then. Jesus was crucified on Friday, April 3, 33 A.D. How do we know this is the right date? Apparently geologists have been able to research earthquakes around that time period and have concluded the quake mentioned in Matthew’s gospel matches one that rattled Jerusalem on April 3. Glad we have that cleared up?
Of course, Christianity as we know it is all washed up. Some clever blokes in Iran are set to release the Gospel of Barnabas, an ancient manuscript that “proves” Jesus was never crucified at all—not on April 3 or any other day. Well, I’m convinced. And I think I hear Dan Brown’s pen scratching out a new book.
A couple in Israel are divorcing because of … cats. No, not the annoying Broadway musical. I mean real felines. 550 of them to be exact. The husband says the cats block his way to the bathroom, steal his food from his plate and leave him no room to sleep in his bed. His wife, given the choice between her husband and the cats, chose … sigh …
Before we get to celebs’ birthdays, let us lift a glass to the Book of Common Prayer, 350 years old this month. I have several, but I much prefer my hand-stitched leatherbound copy printed by Cambridge I bought in London a couple of years ago.
Other birthdays celebrated this week include those by Malcolm X; Pete Townshend; Archie Manning; Grace Jones; Jimmy Stewart; Joe Cocker; Cher; Leo Sayer; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Drew Carey; Miles Davis; and A.J. Foyt IV.
Pete Townshend of The Who is a great rock guitarist who has a bad habit of smashing his guitar at the end of a show. That’s a lot of good guitars going to landfills when there are hungry children all over the world who would like a guitar of their own. John Hiatt, songwriter extraordinaire, sings us a little ditty about rock stars who smash their guitars. This is sound theology, iMonks. Take it to heart. Enjoy.