November 29, 2014

Saturday Ramblings 5.28.11

Greetings, iMonks. Once again we have reached the week’s end. Every time we have a Friday, Saturday invariably follows. I like Saturdays. They’re great for hiking, yard work, running to the big box home improvement store to buy things for the yard, wondering why after applying weedkiller my grass is not growing but the weeds are having a great time, watching reruns of Frasier DVR’d Friday night, listening to the Reds lose yet again, and, of course, for Rambling. Shall we begin?

My good friend, pastor of the Spanish service at my church, and leader of my life group—Vic Cruz—heads up One To The Other Ministries. He does a lot of disaster response ministry. Vic was in Haiti just weeks after that devastating earthquake. This week he was in Joplin, Missouri—just a little more than an hour from Tulsa. Vic says that the damage in Joplin was worse than he saw in Haiti. He and a few others were there to hand out food and drink to volunteers and victims. To pray for any who wanted prayer. He watched as they pulled bodies from the remains of houses and buildings. The local Lutheran bishop also toured the town struck by an F5 tornado. You can read his accounts here. Pray. Pray for those in Joplin. One third of the town is gone—just gone. It is a sad time for our neighbors.

In case you missed the news, Oprah retired from her daily show this week. I will confess right here and now that I have watched a grand total of ZERO episodes of Oprah. (There hasn’t been a good talk show on TV since The Dick Cavett Show as far as I”m concerned.) Kathryn Lofton, a professor of U.S. religious history at Yale, talks about how Oprah gained messiah status. How has Oprah affected your life?

Rick Warren announced he has lost 36 pounds while following the Daniel Plan diet he is leading his church in. That’s nothing. All those at Saddleback Church in Southern California who are participating in this diet have lost more than 190,000 pounds. I wonder if the lines at In N Out are any shorter now in Orange County? But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. John Piper interviewed Warren concerning Warren’s theology. I haven’t watched this yet, but it should be very interesting to say the least. And yes, this does fulfill our John Piper quota for the week.

Somehow Martha of Ireland has never mentioned St. Vitalis. He is considered the patron saint of VD—and I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day. I guess there really is a saint for everything. Anyway, St. Vitalis’s head is for sale. The perfect gift for that someone in your life who has everything. Hey—Christmas is only seven months away.

It is well-known in Christian publishing that the overwhelming choice in Bible translations among African Americans is the King James Version. Here is a good article explaining why that is. I for one see the need to keep the KJV alive, if even just for what it has meant to the English language.

Well, maybe the Disney marketing machine won’t be able to market crap (sorry, but as publisher, I don’t allow the word I really want to use) emblazoned with the SEAL Team 6 logo after all. Seems the Navy wants to keep it for themselves. If I were Disney, I wouldn’t be messing with the SEALs.

Dancing nuns? Really? Dancing nuns? Well, not any more. The Vatican thought that nuns—including a former stripper—should not be doing interpretive dances around the altar and shuttered the monastery. In case you’re wondering, none of our nuns here at the iMonastery do interpretive dances. We did, however, one time have to stop Chaplain Mike from doing his best Saturday Night Fever imitation.

Eagle-eyed Saturday Ramblings correspondant Adam Palmer (who will occupy this space next week as yours truly will be visiting family and friends in Ohio) found this great article realting what science says about the immortality of the human soul. In related news, Lockheed Martin has been chosen to build the next spacecraft that will carry Americans beyond our moon. This is exciting and overdue news, especially to me. When I was growing up, I wanted to do three things: play second base for the Cincinnati Reds, play the guitar like Jimi Hendrix, and walk on the moon like Neil and Buzz and the other Apollo astronauts. If I could have only chosen one, it would have been the moon. Do you think I’m too old to apply?

When Chaplain Mike wrote about Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday this past Tuesday, a reader wanted to know about Dylan’s spiritual state. Here is a good look at that question from our friends at Christianity Today.

Happy birthdays this week go out to Bob Dylan; Ronald Isley; Al Franken; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Bernard Shaw; Rosemary Clooney; Joan Collins; Marvelous Marvin Hagler; Drew Carey; Samuel Rubin (he introduced popcorn to patrons in movie theaters); Tommy Chong; Gary “Radar O’Reilly” Burghoff; Frank Oz; Roseanne Cash; Miles Davis; Al Jolson; James Arness; Levon Helm; Stevie Nicks; Sally Ride; Hank Williams, Jr.; Vincent Price; Peri “Roz” Gilpin; and Bruce Cockburn.

Any other week our bonus video would feature either Levon Helm or Bruce Cockburn. But how can we pass up a classic performance from Robert Allen Zimmerman? This song is just one example of why Bob Dylan may be the greatest songwriter ever. Enjoy.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XSvsFgvWr0′]

Comments

  1. Weight loss programs at church.

    Why not!?

    They are really busy there, DOING, DOING, DOING, DOING. The whole project revolves around…YOU.

    This is what happens when you have NO SACRAMENTS for the assurance of your salvation. You look to your ‘new slimmer’ you, and your obedience.

    • This is also what happens even WITH the sacraments, when one’s eyes are on oneself, and not on God and one’s neighbor. No liturgical tradition has a corner on self-centeredness.

      • With sinners, anything is possible.

        But I believe tht the Lord commanded the Sacraments because He knows our propensity to turn everything into a self-centered religious project.

        The Sacraments are a Word from God that comes to us from outside of ourselves…so we can’t mess it up.

    • Losing weight in the name of Jesus! Claim that six pack for God’s glory!

    • Steve Newell says:

      So do Christians now wear “WWJE’ (What would Jesus Eat) plastic bracelet? How about 40 Days of Dieting? Does the diet consist of only veggies & water (Daniel & Co.), locus & honey (John the Baptizer) or maybe Ezekiel bread (Ezekiel 4:9).

      I guess the roll of the Church is not the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments but making us look and feel better. Silly me.

    • You all are making an incorrect assumption that the worship service revolves around the weight loss theme. It’s easy to bash a church the size of Warren’s Saddleback, but be careful that you don’t speak ill of brethren unfairly, that is, without knowledge. “Mat 7:1-2 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

      By the same measure I could accuse you all here of being elitist liturgical snobs who cling to old ways because the popular kids wouldn’t let you play with them. See how unfair THAT is? Then be fair to Saddleback and Warrens, they are our brothers in Christ as well.

      • Good point Oscar! This crops up in this site too often..

      • But I am an elitist liturgical snob (you should have heard me whoo-hooing when the liturgies held in St. Peter’s re-introduced the seven altar candles, the crucifix on the altar, and Latin).

        :-)

    • The African American church I attended before I moved to a different part of the country a few months ago started a weight loss program for the members based loosely around the “The Biggest Loser” concept. I didn’t participate (it started like two weeks before our move), but I can’t really say I have a problem with it. They didn’t make it a focal point of the services at all. They just had a short announcement about it and had info in the bulletin. In that community, obesity and diabetes is really a huge problem, and if the member himself doesn’t have diabetes, he almost definitely has a close family member who does. So I don’t see what the issue with church members encouraging each other like this. Churches have hosted AA meetings and the like for years. I don’t see this as being that different.

      • William says:

        This. While I can understand the concern for not making such programs “bigger” (no pun intended) than they ought to be, I can understand a church wanting to host such programs. If we truly believe God cares about the whole person, body, soul, and spirit, shouldn’t the church care too?

        And as long as such programs are voluntary and not mandatory, I have no problem with it.

    • Weight loss church programmes? Fasting and abstinence under another name! More Romish corruption of the pure Gospel – Rick Warren is obviously a secret Papist :-)

  2. Here I am…”stayin’ alive!”

  3. dumb ox says:

    Happy birthday today (5/27/2011) to Bruce Cockburn.

    • He’s the man!

    • Appropriate that Canada’s greatest folk rocker (with apologies to Neil Young) and America’s greatest folk rocker (with apologies to James Taylor) share the same birthday week.

  4. Jeff I love your rambles….!! :-) :-) :-) I too live for Saturday’s..actaully Friday afternoons. Walking out of the office is a great feeling, I look forward to it each week.

    In regards to John Piper, I’m trying to diet from him, however as Joplin’s tornado has come up I have this one beautiful observation. (I’m going to cheat on my diet for a second….) I’m heart broken for those affected by these tornados across the midwest. I don’t think many people can imagine, or even come close to understanding what has happened in Joplin unless one sees it with their own eyes in person. Pictures probably do not do it justice. That said, I hope the suffering is eased and that people find ways to grieve and that a community will come alongside those who are hurting. I also hope that people do not profit or benefit from this disaster. What I am most grateful about is that neither John Piper, nor any other prominent evangelical has attributed this tornado, or any other recent storms to God’s wrath for some county in the midwest teaching evolution, or the fact that the Pentagon is repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” That would be horriffic and I hope that nothing like that is said.

    Okay…I’m off to bed!! :-) Night I-Monestary!!!

    • What I am most grateful about is that neither John Piper, nor any other prominent evangelical has attributed this tornado, or any other recent storms to God’s wrath for some county in the midwest teaching evolution, or the fact that the Pentagon is repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

      Yet.

      • No, God wouldn’t punish the heartland! There aren’t nearly enough brown people/non-Christians/liberals. That storm was just a storm.

      • Sorry, too late. At New Year’s, Pat Robertson put on the pancake and stepped before the klieg lights to announce 2011 would be a bad year all around. The Lord also told him its going to be another good year for CBN. That all makes perfect sense to me.

    • Damaris says:

      Yeah, what does it mean that religious pundits are so quick to pronounce on God’s purposes for foreign disasters but hesitate to weigh in on our own?

  5. One advantage to the KJV: unlike more recent versions commissioned by foundations or publishing houses, the KJV is out of copyright. You can quote it all willy-nilly without having to worry about the Lockman Foundation or Zondervan rolling out the lawyers.

    • Isaac (the poster formerly known as Obed) says:

      I just got a single-column, paragraph-formatted KJV this week. It is amazing how formatting it more like a novel is so much easier to read. I think it may be easier to read than my bibles with modern translations.

      • Hey Isaac, a suggestion…I’ve been visiting here for a couple of years and I don’t remember you going by the name of Obed, so isn’t it time to drop the “(the poster formerly known as Obed)” from your handle? Just a thought, not a criticism…

        • Isaac (the poster formerly known as Obed) says:

          That would require actually messing with my settings…. I’m a little lazy ;)

        • Josh in FW says:

          but then we wouldn’t be able to distinguish him from other Isaacs

          • Isaac (the poster occasionally still known as Obed) says:

            Or the other Obeds for that matter!

  6. JoanieD says:

    Hey, Jeff, this was a particularly interesting rambling today. I checked out a number of the links. On the link about the severed head, I read, “The head sat for many years in the family hall in County Louth, but was recently uncovered in an outhouse. Mr Matthews said that although he couldn’t be certain it was the head of a saint: ‘It’s certainly ancient, and it’s certainly the head of somebody.’ ”

    Kind of funny. And odd. You never know what you may found in an outhouse.

    • Damaris says:

      It should maybe be mentioned that in Great Britain “outhouse” is generally what we would call an outbuilding — not a latrine!

      • JoanieD says:

        I thought that may be the case, Damaris, but it made for an interesting mental image anyway!

      • Even keeping that head in a shed is odd. I usually picture English saints (sinners, too) buried under the floor of a church somewhere. What St. Vitalis do to warrant that kind of treatment?

        • Cedric Klein says:

          Danced?

          OH!!!! That was St. Vitus! Sorry!

          (Psst- I already knew that. Just had to go for the cheap joke.)

        • Could’ve been hidden (or dumped) there from the Vikings. I know the Northmen liked to sack monasteries and take anything that had a jewel or some precious metal attached, and then litter the relics once the goodies were stripped off. They once glommed the Book of Kells for its gem-encrusted cover, ripped it off the book, and the monks at Kells later found the manuscript under a chunk of turf.

          To quote Monty Python, “bloody Vikings” …

          • It seems to have been acquired on a 17th or 18th century “Grand Tour” and brought back as a curiosity. (The clue being that the family are described as “Anglo-Irish”, which means Protestant gentry – what the late Brendan Behan described as ‘horse Protestant’).

            Later generations obviously found it too spooky or in bad taste to keep in the house so they relegated it to a shed. I have no idea if it really is the head of St. Vitalis of Assisi; the thing to do would be to check with the local churches in Assisi, I would have thought. It does look like some kind of relic, and it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that a church which was closed down or remodelling back then disposed of furnishings, but selling relics is technically simony.

            I have no idea if the practice was around at the time, but I don’t see any reason why enterprising locals couldn’t have faked up ‘relics’ to sell tourists as a thriving business :-)

  7. Dancing nuns? We have them beat cold with the new Christian womens’ fitness fad, pole dancing for Jesus.

  8. as much as I want to roll my eyes at Warren’s “Biblical diet”. I do have to say the Church should say something to our sin of Gluttony. & even more, it needs to walk w/ those suffering w/ being over weight & the epidemic of diabetes.
    example of what the Church does wrong:
    My daughters goes to AWANA on Weds. nights at the biggest Church in town. the church has plenty of $$$. but for their Weds. meals they serve hotdogs and french fries, hambers & french fries, or fried chicken & french fries. My girls eat a healty meal at home instead.
    I wish someone in the Church (which I am not a member of) could see the need of giving a good (healthy) meal to the families there. Most of the families probably eat fast-food every other night. There is an over-weight problem in probably 75% of the families we see there.
    It’s not the there needs to be a “food gospel” but something needs to be done. there is terrible suffering happening to the families & to their future. The Church needs to wake up & walk with these families as they are suffering & will continue to suffer. I don’t know the answer. —–but there is difinitely a problem the needs Resurrection.

    • Josh in FW says:

      Agreed, bowls of fresh fruit rather than boxes of donuts would be a good statement on honoring God’s creation (our bodies). I must confess that this is an area where I sin greatly, but due to my good metabolism and a lack of awareness of what gluttony is, few if any of those around me notice.

      • To paraphrase Luther, better to be in a donut shop thinking about church tnan in church thinking about donuts.

        • Josh in FW says:

          I prefer Luther’s original words. If given a choice, I’ll always take my “bread” via the pint glass. :-)

  9. I recorded the Oprah Winfrey’s final show this past Wednesday. I haven’t watched for years but, I did when she first started 25 years ago. I thought it would be interesting. The finale was Oprah talking to her audience about how they should go for their dreams, find the light inside of themselves, all the power she had to “make it big” is the same power we all hold too. She expressed that the day before when Aretha Franklin sang Amazing Grace, that song has really been her theme song all these years. Oh really? I watched for a grand total of 10 minutes when I hit delete.

    On a totally awesome token…….my oldest brother had been trying to sell a mini-van that just wasn’t selling, for a year it just sat in his 3rd garage stall. Welp, this morning that mini-van left Colorado for Joplin to go to a family who lost everything. And that folks……is the best text I received all year!!!!

    I hope everyone has a splendid AND safe long weekend!

  10. dancing nuns, eh???

    well, we’ve had the Singing Nuns as well as a Flying Nun. why not dancing nuns? i find it interesting that such expression actually a controversy in the RCC church. there are such worship dances done in the prophetic services i once attended. it was one of the ways recapturing the arts was being promoted, so worshipful dance became its own element…

    not sure if it is as popular as once touted since i have not identified or attended anything remotely billed as prophetic…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      You’ve never seen post-Vatican II attempts at Liturgical Dance (TM), have you?

      I have seen some, and they are LAME like you wouldn’t believe.

      • I second your post with the fervour of a thousand blazing suns.

        White people can’t dance. Well, pasty-white Europeans, anyway. Anyone of a heritage that did not originate 40°00N or lower should just remain in their pews or on their knees.

        • JoanieD says:

          “Anyone of a heritage that did not originate 40°00N or lower should just remain in their pews or on their knees.”

          Funny, Martha! I am at 45° N so I definitely need to remain in my pew or on my knees.

          • Okay, Joanie, you can dance – but only from the knees down ;-)

          • JoanieD says:

            OK, Martha. I am pretty good at tapping my feet, bobbing my head and smiling. That’s my dancing!

      • For a sample of the horror, check this out (if you dare).

        Note: this is a liberal (inclining towards heterodox) group and there are several violations of the rubrics, but the dancing is all too familiar to the kind of thing I have witnessed (and it’s pretty plain HUG has too).

  11. As the power of God’s absolute love gains a foothold in our world, I believe that we will begin to understand the life that is more abundant than the loss, death, and destruction brought by the kingdom of evil (aka the thief in John 10:10) to our world. I believe that as we take our places as sons of God, we will find the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom that we need to overcome and defeat the kingdom of evil. We will find life as we cleave to God (Deuteronomy 30:20 KJV) and the promise that God made in Isaiah 25:6-8 will come to pass–He will make a feast for everyone, He will swallow up death forever, and He will wipe the tears away from all faces.

  12. Well, over the years I have had a love-hate relationship with Oprah. She did a commendable job of taking daytime talk shows away from the Jerry Springer mold of shock and confrontation. However, her earnest quest for “good” led her to some wacky places and people. If she wasn’t focused on new age self-liberation, she was giving the bully pulpit to crazy health nuts. IMHO, by giving Jenny McCarthy a platform to denounce vaccinations, Oprah became morally culpable for every death and disablity that happened to innocent children because their parent’s “trust” in Oprah made them take this bully-hocky as fact. Why listen to doctors and researchers when an ex-Playboy bunny can give you medical advise?

    In addition, her “behind the scenes” footage certainly shows her behaving in ways that she denounces as part of her public persona. I know I would never want to work for this woman. Like many of the rich and famous, she began to believe in her own press releases.

    • Ben Carmack says:

      Allowing Ms. McCarthy to speak is probably one of the few good things Oprah has done on her show. The playboy bunny isn’t the only one who has questions about vaccinations. In what I have seen she comes across as very reasonable. Parents have a right to know what they’re giving their kids, and they have a right to refuse vaccinations. Take away that right and we will have something other than a free country.

      • Donalbain says:

        Children are not vaccinated. Children die. Measles kills. It really is that simple. There is no link between vaccinations and autism. Everyone who makes that claim is a liar and is responsible, in part, for the death of children.

        • Polio, measles, small pox, diptheria. All killers and all are now gone. Go to the old graveyards and look at how many children died, whole families wiped out. Thank God for vaccinations.

          Do a few people die from reactions? Probably.

        • Ben Carmack says:

          Don’t be silly. The science on this is not open and shut. The human body, and the diversity of human bodies, is notoriously hard to understand. We are only beginning to understand the effects of certain hormones injected into industrial food. I’m willing to believe there’s a lot else that we don’t understand.

          Accusing people who ask questions of somehow being complicit in murder is ridiculous. It’s a sign of the times in our overly security-conscious country…

        • Ben Carmack says:

          I believe that the point made by Ms. McCarthy and others, specifically, is related to the fact that beginning about 1986-87, the number of vaccines recommended for infants and young children began to skyrocket. We’re not talking about polio or MMR–we’re talking new vaccines.

          The medical industrial complex in this country has a vested interest (because it consumes so much of our economy) in expensive cures. This explains why they marginalize traditional or herbal remedies–they prefer to bankrupt you by making you pay for the most expensive treatment possible. They are in love with money, not good medicine.

          I’d say that anybody with half a brain ought to be skeptical of what those people tell you to do. Health care in this country is a sick joke for anybody who isn’t a multimillionaire…

  13. Re: Bob Dylan’s spiritual state, read these two interviews with him – one from 2007 and one from 1984 – that are online at Rolling Stone Magazine’s website:

    rollingstone.com/music/news/bob-dylan-hits-the-big-themes-from-religion-to-the-atomic-age-20110511?print=true

    rollingstone.com/music/news/bob-dylan-recovering-christian-rolling-stones-1984-interview-20110510?print=true

    From the 1984 interview:

    People have put various labels on you over the past several years: “He’s a born-again Christian”; “he’s an ultra-Orthodox Jew.” Are any of those labels accurate?
    Not really. People call you this or they call you that. But I can’t respond to that, because then it seems like I’m defensive, and, you know, what does it matter, really?

    But weren’t three of your albums — Slow Train Coming, Saved and Shot of Love — inspired by some sort of born-again religious experience?
    I would never call it that, I’ve never said I’m born again. That’s just a media term. I don’t think I’ve ever been an agnostic. I’ve always thought there’s a superior power, that this is not the real world and that there’s a world to come. That no soul has died, every soul is alive, either in holiness or in flames. And there’s probably a lot of middle ground.

    What is your spiritual stance, then?
    Well, I don’t think that this is it, you know — this life ain’t nothin’. There’s no way you’re gonna convince me this is all there is to it. I never, ever believed that. I believe in the Book of Revelation. The leaders of this world are eventually going to play God, if they’re not already playing God, and eventually a man will come that everybody will think is God. He’ll do things, and they’ll say, “Well, only God can do those things. It must be him.”

    You’re a literal believer of the Bible?
    Yeah. Sure, yeah. I am.

    Are the Old and New Testaments equally valid?
    To me.

    Do you belong to any church or synagogue?
    Not really. Uh, the Church of the Poison Mind [laughs].

    Do you actually believe the end is at hand?
    I don’t think it’s at hand. I think we’ll have at least 200 years. And the new kingdom that comes in, I mean, people can’t even imagine what it’s gonna be like. There’s a lot of people walkin’ around who think the new kingdom’s comin’ next year and that they’re gonna be right in there among the top guard. And they’re wrong. I think when it comes in, there are people who’ll be prepared for it, but if the new kingdom happened tomorrow and you were sitting there and I was sitting here, you wouldn’t even remember me.

    Can you converse and find agreement with Orthodox Jews?
    Yeah, yeah.

    And with Christians?
    Oh, yeah. Yeah, with anybody.

    Sounds like a new synthesis.
    Well, no. If I thought the world needed a new religion, I would start one. But there are a lot of other religions, too. There’s those Indian religions, Eastern religions, Buddhism, you know. They’re happening, too.

    When you meet up with Orthodox people, can you sit down with them and say, “Well, you should really check out Christianity”?
    Well, yeah, if somebody asks me, I’ll tell ‘em. But, you know, I’m not gonna just offer my opinion. I’m more about playing music, you know?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      There’s a lot of people walkin’ around who think the new kingdom’s comin’ next year and that they’re gonna be right in there among the top guard. And they’re wrong.

      GREAT QUOTE!

  14. William says:

    I said above that I have no problem with churches offering sensible weight loss and other health-related programs to their members and the wider (again, no pun intended) community. But I am concerned a bit about the burgeoning “Christian health” movement, mostly promoted through TBN but also in more mainstream outlets as well. I am concerned that it could be the beginnings of a new legalism. (“If you don’t drop those doughnuts and pick up those grapes, it shows you really don’t care about the Lord or His creation.”)

    Ironically, I don’t notice as many vending machines in church buildings as I used to, but coffee is still served by the ton, especially in trendy megachurch cafes or at smaller venues in smaller churches.

    • Josh in FW says:

      yeah, we can turn just about anything into legalism and spiritual one upmanship

    • Damaris says:

      And why does every weight loss program have to have a name and a famous proponent? God was gracious enough to enable me to lose 15 pounds recently. I did it by eating less and exercising more — I know, I know, a radical notion. No one made any money off of my diet, and I didn’t have to subscribe to any program. Weight loss and healthy eating are good and important challenges for many Western Christians, but why does they have to be done in the public eye? Surely dieting is another thing that dignity and consideration would keep private.

      • The answer is that diet is, pardon the pun, big business. And who better than the Christian meisters of guilt to climb aboard that gravy boat. Its a win-win blessing where a person buys Uncle Pat’s Diet Shake loses pounds, and he adds to his fortunes.

  15. Just finished watching all 98 minutes of John Piper’s interview with Rick Warren. Now, I’m not sure why comments on this site seem to bag on Piper, but he does strike me as a perfect candidate for the first time traveler as a member of the Spanish Inquisition, if only he were a Jesuit. But other than appearing as a fussy old Pharisee he DID conduct the interview well and clarified Warren’s theology, something that I have not explicitly heard before.

    On Warren himself, I understand better now why he presents the gospel in the way he does. I have to admit that after going through his “Purpose Driven” book I walked away without having sensed the Gospel Message, but that was only because I was not looking in the right frame of mind. As Piper brought out with his questions, Warren is as solid in his theology as anyone can be.

    The last 6 minutes or so also reveal more about the man himself than I have ever begun to divine on my own. I have a new found respect for him AND his ministry.

    • Tiny correction, Oscar: Spanish Inquistion clergy were Dominicans, not Jesuits. Jesuits versus Dominicans is an old theological feud (as, indeed, is Dominicans versus Franciscans, and Jesuits versus nearly everybody else) :-)

      • JoanieD says:

        Do you have a favorite order, Martha? From the little bit that I remember reading, I think I like Franciscans. But I am not sure! (I am a poor excuse for a Catholic.)

        • We have Cistercians (both men and women) around here, and Augustinian friars in town, and I like the Dominicans and Benedictines, but I can’t say I have one particular favourite order.

          Though I do seem to be pursued by Carmelites (and I’m assiduously fleeing them, as Carmelites are TOUGH! and I don’t wanna change my comfortable ways).

          • Though speaking of the different orders, here’s yet another version of a joke I love:

            During a Eucharistic Congress, a number of priests from different orders are gathered in a church for Vespers. While they are praying, a fuse blows and all the lights go out.

            The Benedictines continue praying from memory, without missing a beat.

            The Jesuits begin to discuss whether the blown fuse means they are dispensed from the obligation to pray Vespers.

            The Franciscans compose a song of praise for God’s gift of darkness.

            The Dominicans revisit their ongoing debate on light as a signification of the transmission of divine knowledge.

            The Carmelites fall into silence and slow, steady breathing.

            The parish priest, who is hosting the others, goes to the basement and replaces the fuse.

          • JoanieD says:

            Oh, Cisterian…that is what Father Thomas Keating is/was. (I think he is retired, but maybe he will always be a Cisterian.) Also Thomas Merton. (Both were Trappist monks of that order.). And Benedictine…Sister Joan Chissister is of that order. I like the writings of Merton, Keating, Chissister very much.

          • any of the Mendicant Friars have my utmost respect as trying to live a life as close to one unentangled by the world as possible.

            not sure though if in fact they do go shoeless…

            Martha???

          • Damaris says:

            I love the joke, Martha! It definitely works.

          • Cistercians. Irish. Men and women. Brew beer. Why am I surprised?

          • Joseph, the Franciscans I’ve seen around here do wear sandals, but socks with them (in the Irish climate, shoelessness is less about Holy Poverty and more about double pneumonia).

            stuart, our Cistercians down here aren’t beer brewers – in fact, it used to be common for alcoholics to stay in Mount Melleray to dry out :-)

          • And Martha, the Chinese Christians in the church applauded when the light went out, clapping their hands until it came back on.

            Because, as Confucius said, “Many hands make light work.”

  16. The Guy from Knoxville says:

    Oscar – glad for ya on Warren…….. while I think he is solid on theology I would not give a penny for PDL or PDC because I’ve yet to see a church where one or both has been used that had anything but a less than desirable outcome. The evangelical landscape is litered with the destruction of churches – many long established and were still effective in their ministry. As I said above – I’m rather hard on some of this stuff but it only comes from experience and I’ve seen the damage done by this and similar “programs” and “studies.” I nearly bought into all that til I realized what was really going on behind the scenes with this – part of the authoritarian pastor/staff issues addressed in other posts here have come from this my way or the highway attitude that’s taught by Warren & Company during their PDC pastor training conferences.

  17. Re: the article on science and the soul

    Is it an orthodox position of Christianity to split a “spiritual” soul from the physical body? I thought that was a gnostic thing. If we can exist without a body in some happy spiritual state, then why is a resurrection even necessary?

  18. Free-will, decision theology, and a disdain for God at work in the Sacraments (Warren’s Southern baptist theology) is not solid AT ALL.

    In fact it is built upon the sand of a ‘human-centered’ theology.

    No wonder he and his followers are so driven. They have nothing to rely upon except themselves. It started with them, it continues with them, and it will end with them.

    Terrible theology.

    • Ben Carmack says:

      Or perhaps Mr. Warren and the others are trying their best and not getting everything right. I don’t agree with Warren on everything, but I would be slow to call his theology “terrible.”

      Saying that one can use one’s own will to accept or not accept a gift that you did nothing to earn is not being “human centered.” It could be wrong, if in fact God has chosen the saved and the damned from the beginning of time. Even then, it would be innacurate to label the Arminian/Wesleyan position as “human centered.”

      Clarity is often overlooked in our debates with one another.

      • I beg to differ.

        When one believes that one’s decision is the strart of their Christian life, and then that same person poo-poos the Sacraments (God is not in them – it is MY FAITH that matters) then one’s theology is wrapped up in themselves.

        It’s no wonder there is so much pride, or despair in these places. They’ve nothing to hang onto but themselves. And the preaching goes right along the same path. It always reverts to you, and what you should, ought, or must be doing.

        One might as well just return to Rome. It’s one of the reasons Luther called these folks (the Enthusiasts, or Anabaptists, and the Roman Church, two wolves tied at the tail. Thet can’t stand each other based on outward appearences, but inwardly their doctrine is basically the same. Semi-Pelagianism. ‘A lot of God and a little bit of me’. Only in reality it turns out to be the other way around. We are surrounded by this stuff here in Southern California.

        • Ben Carmack says:

          Anabaptists and Roman Catholics are two wolves joined at the tail? Good bit of imagery but it sure seems like a stretch. Do you know what Roman Catholics did to Anabaptists?

          • That is not my point.

            I acknowledged that they did not like each other, but their theology is basically the same.

          • I also would like to add that just because their theology is a little goofy, does not mean that they are not Christians.

            It’s just that we’d like for everyone to have the freedom that Christ has won for them on the cross.

  19. cermak_rd says:

    Saturdays… I like Saturdays because I usually rest on them. I don’t get my email. I don’t work unless there’s some dire emergency. I may read, or paint (oils, primarily), or garden. I typically don’t drive on them, so I walk places I want to go. All in all, Saturday makes a restful pause for me.