April 25, 2014

Saturday Ramblings 7.13.13

RamblerYou need to read fast today, iMonks. Do not linger over your computer too long this morning. Why not? Well, because you only have four shopping days left until my birthday on Wednesday. I expect the trucks will start lining up by Monday to deliver all of my gifts. And if you are buying me clothing, don’t forget my size: mammoth petite. I can accept Traveler’s Checks, though cash is preferable. How old will I be? Well, one year older than last year, of course. Now, before you begin baking my cake, shall we ramble?

Chaplain Mike may want to select a new favorite beer. Seems his Samuel Adams brew referenced the Declaration of Independence in a recent TV ad. Oops. They didn’t reference the Creator as being the one who endows us with unalienable rights, and now some Christians are upset. Are these the same Christians who say beer drinkin’ is a ticket straight to hell? And WWSD? (What Would Sam Drink?) Who watches TV commercials anymore anyway?

Want an egg with your beer? Just don’t fry it on the ground at Death Valley National Park. Yes, it is hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk there. It seems like lots of people are doing just that, but not bothering to clean up the fried egg. Or shell. Or carton.

And while it is almost always warm in Africa, President Obama got a rather chilly reception while visiting there after he called for the decriminalization of homosexuality. Christian and Muslim leaders were quick to condemn Obama’s comments. I wonder when American politicians (and missionaries, for that matter) will realize that not everyone wants to be like us (U.S.)?

Meanwhile, the Nagaland Baptist Church Council says Satan worship is growing like wildfire in Nagaland, a state in northeastern India. Is this real Satanic worship, or a straw man constructed by churches to garner more members? I don’t know. Do you?

The Italian version of Vanity Fair has named its Man Of The Year. Guess who it is?

Were you right?

When Pope Francis is not riding in the Popemobile, what do you think he drives? He says, “A car is necessary to do a lot of work, but please, choose a more humble one. If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world.” Wow. That would go over really well at a gathering of televangelists, huh?

Count Mark Lamster of the Dallas Morning News among those not impressed with First Baptist of Dallas’ new digs. Somehow—and maybe I’m wrong here, but I doubt it—I don’t think Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist, drives a humble car. Just my guess.

What do you think is the most “saintly city” in the US of A? Dallas? Nope. Tulsa? Should be, but it’s not. Cincinnati? It is the number six most sinful city. What is up with that? (Well, if you’re going to sin, sin boldly …) The most saintly city of all is … also the home of the All Star game this week.

Jeff Crews was a good friend of mine as I was growing as a Christian. He and I became Christians about the same time and went to the same church in Ohio. Jeff was eight years my senior, but treated me with a lot of respect; he was like a big brother to me. We both loed baseball, and went to several Reds games together. One day in June Jeff came down with a serious headache. Colleen, his wife, took him to the ER where it was determined he had a brain tumor. He was given 6 weeks to live. Jeff went out in style. One of his daughters had a friend who knows Joey Votto, the All Star first baseman for the Reds. Votto arranged for Jeff, Colleen and their adult children to not only attend a game, but be on the field during batting practice. They sat behind the dugout for the game. And the game they saw? It was the second no-hitter of Homer Bailey’s career. Jeff died two days later. Well played, my friend. See you at home.

Meanwhile, 12-year-old Grant Reed was diagnosed with cancer 14 months ago. Grant Reed is from Ohio. He needed some motivation to beat his cancer, so he gave it a nickname. I absolutely love this story. If you are not from Ohio, you won’t understand …

Finally, do you sing your heart out in your church choir? A Swedish study now says that choir singing is good for your health. Well, unless you happen to be standing near me. Your heart may be healthy, but your ears will take a beating …

Happy birthday wishes were wished this week for Sebastian Cabot; Nancy Reagan; Janet Leigh; George W. Bush; Nanci Griffith; Ringo Starr; Marty Feldman; Kevin Bacon; Marc Almond; Bela Fleck; Milton Berle; and Bill Cosby.

I talked with a teenaged girl this week who had no idea who the Beatles were. Never heard of them. What are they teaching in schools these days? Sigh … They say it’s your birthday, Ringo. It’s my birthday too, yeah. Enjoy.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O16pl2D-L2M']

 

Comments

  1. Mr. Poet says:

    I went to a youth retreat at a Brazilian Baptist church in the D.C. area when I was 24…the last year I could go as a “youth” in Brazilian culture, even though I am American. I used to love going to youth retreats, so I jumped at the chance. However, being the oldest there, and American, made for some personal comic relief when an older preacher preached in Portuguese and asked the young audience if any of them would like to meet Elvis Presley or Frank Sinatra. I dramatically raised my hand to volunteer for a visit with Ol’ Blue Eyes because everyone else was letting the crickets do the talking. Too bad, so sad, both were dead.

  2. JoanieD says:

    That was a quite interesting article about the most “saintly cities.” I didn’t expect the #1 city to be what it was.

  3. I’m from Michigan, and if I had cancer, I’d call it ‘Lansing’.

    But then, I’m from Western Michigan

  4. Damaris says:

    Dallas First Baptist — It’s hard to know where to start. I guess I’ll just point out that building a five-story kids’ wonderland doesn’t imply much respect for family togetherness in worshiping God. But I guess I’m happy for the kids not having to be in the — auditorium? theater? — because it seems very claustrophobia-inducing.

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      When I look at something like Dallas First Baptist I wonder about the mortgage. I would be surprised if even this operation had $130 Million burning a hole in its pocket, so presumably there is a mortgage on the place. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they can make the payments on their cash flow, but what happens of the senior pastor retires or dies or is caught with male prostitutes before it is paid off. There is huge potential for ensuing wackiness. And even if none of that happens as they get it paid off, it is going to be awfully embarrassing once fashions change and the congregation shrinks. It is bad enough with thirty or so in a sanctuary built of ten times that in old urban mainline churches today…

      • David L says:

        When I look at something like Dallas First Baptist I wonder about the mortgage.

        Those of us with friends from the Dallas area and many of them talk about competitive living as a hall mark of the WASP society there. I guess I need to go see this place also. I’m in the area a lot lately and was a bit taken aback by the size of Prestonwood Baptist which I just noticed was a church the other day. This is after driving past Prince of Peace Lutheran a few times and being somewhat taken by it’s size. 5 story atrium. Maybe larger.

        Use Google Maps and street view. Start on Midway just north of the George Bush toll road looking to your right then look a bit to the left when you get to Park.

        And DFB is bigger? Ow vey.

        • Richard Hershberger says:

          I don’t know the area, but I looked up Prince of Peace Lutheran. I think I found the one you are talking about: in Carrollton, right? I also looked up their website. It certainly isn’t a place I would ever go, but what is really telling is how far I had to dig to find out what Lutheran church body it is affiliated with. I wasn’t surprised to eventually find that it is LCMS, but I wouldn’t have been surprised to find it were ELCA, either. The obscuring of this tidbit is a sure sign of the church growth movement, which is combined with looking and acting like generic Evangelical Protestantism. I suppose they should get credit for using the word “Lutheran”, which in extreme cases of church growth is also carefully hidden.

          • David L says:

            That seems to be the one. Interesting that they don’t have any pictures of the view of the church. Google Images doesn’t seem to have any either. Maybe since it was built they figured out it might not be putting their “best” foot forward to advertize their spending on glass roofing. :)

            The have to use the word Lutheran to distinguish it from the large Prince of Peach Catholic school nearby in Plano. Can’t have people looking for one wind up at the other now can we? :)

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Those of us with friends from the Dallas area and many of them talk about competitive living as a hall mark of the WASP society there.

          I understand the TV series GCB was based on and set in the Dallas Megachurch whirl. One episode even had a megachurch pastor preaching a Seven Day Sex Challenge.

          • David L says:

            That would be based on Ed Young Jr. Most of Dallas thinks he’s over the top also.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Yeah. I remember when Internet Monk first covered Grinnin’ Ed and his Seven Day Challenge.

            What always gets me is the Sunday he picked to preach it — in the Western-Rite Liturgical church calendar, the Feast of Christ the King.

        • Cassandra says:

          Prince of Peace was originally a car dealership. It was bought by PoP, but the exterior still looks much the same. Just saying…..

  5. >…..Satan worship is growing like wildfire in Nagaland, a state in
    > northeastern India. Is this real Satanic worship, or a straw man
    > constructed by churches to garner more members? I don’t know. Do you?

    Is there any historical benchmark for ‘authentic Satan worship’? Or has Dungeons & Dragons just become popular there? That is what “Satan worship” meant in Michigan in the 1980s. I bowed to the dark lord regularly – oddly, I frequently played at a youth facility sponsored by a local church. Mega-devious!

    > I talked with a teenaged girl this week who had no idea who the Beatles were.

    Progress! Most-Overated-Band-EVER.

    > When Pope Francis is not riding in the Popemobile, what do you think
    > he drives? He says, “A car is necessary to do a lot of work, but
    > please, choose a more humble one. If you like the fancy one, just
    > think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world.”

    Finally; a religious leader who can perceive the *OBVIOUS*. I really like that guy. Generally religious leaders only have a tenth of the clue granted to most politicians, and that ain’t sayin’ much; Francis is tracking far above the norm.

    > Jeff came down with a serious headache. Colleen, his wife, took him
    > to the ER where it was determined he had a brain tumor.

    Cancer sucks.

    • Maybe Pope Francis should get an internship at First Baptist in Dallas to see how it should REALLY be done!

  6. Years ago (my youngest just turned 30) one of my kids asked what band Paul McCartney was in before WIngs. That made me feel really old, and it was about 25 years ago. I like Saturday Ramblings because it’s the only place I recognize the people on the birthday list – especially the deceased ones.

  7. Robert F says:

    I don’t get it. What’s the big deal? A lot of people worship Santa here, too; he’s a jolly old elf.

  8. Robert F says:

    “New York, New York, a …..heavenly town…..”

  9. Robert F says:

    My wife, who is a choir director, a long time ago told me that singing in the choir is good for your health; she also says vigorous, regular humming is a good way to clear the sinuses.

    • Thanks for that last part! Certain seasons hit and I go from second tenor to low bass. I bombard myself with every home remedy imaginable, so every little secret to implement helps!

  10. Robert F says:

    The Pope drives a humble car?!?!! That settles it; not only is he a terrible Christians, he’s also unAmerican!!!

  11. Robert F says:

    I believe in the reality of Satan. The thing about Satan, though, is that although he’s proud he’s not stupid; he’s willing to keep a low profile, despite being a proud spirit, because that’s the best strategy for having a lot of influence where it counts: not among confused teenagers going through their rebellious gestures but in Christian pulpits and churches where he can do enormous, lasting harm.

  12. Robert F says:

    Brain cancer is a stealth killer; by the time it exhibits symptoms and is diagnosed, it’s often too late to treat except with palliative care.

    Let Light perpetual shine upon Jeff.

    • Amen.

      A close friend of mine died from brain cancer a few months ago. As you’ve said, it was caught far too late for anything but palliative care. : (

      • Robert F says:

        My condolences on the loss of your friend, numo.

        • Robert F – thanks so much. My friend had multiple tumors… I can’t imagine going in for a consultation about random symptoms and being given that kind of news.

  13. Robert F says:

    They’re upset with Sam Adams for not referencing the part of the Declaration that mentions the Creator in their beer ad? Really?

    Oh, for Sam’s sake!

  14. I stumbled upon the Sam Adams brouhaha when I stopped in at world net daily to see what our uber christian-nationalist/cultural warriors were up too… wow – the comments are filled with outrage and calls to boycott, “america is turning away from God…” and lots of blaming it on Obama… ;( Depressing and sad IMO. I don’t know how else to say it, but there are some really d-u-m-b ‘christians’ in this country who will go beserk over things that have little or nothing to do with the health and progress of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, but who feel no outrage and have no intention of repenting for many of the real problems and sins besetting the church or our society….(e.g. their own hatred and fear)

    BTW – at the same site, there is another huge ‘outrage’ the same lot is all worked up about as well….seems a major league team asked one or some of its ‘christian’ pitchers to stop scratching the cross symbol in the mound dirt while playing games…

    • I remember the one time I visited WND – many many years ago. The first story I clicked on suggested that you might not be a good Christian if you didn’t pack heat to church. It then backed it up with a story about a pastor in South Africa who saved his congregation with a shotgun hidden in the alter when some armed thugs stormed into a worship service. So, guns = godly.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “ZARDOZ YOUR GOD GAVE YOU THE GIFT OF THE GUN!
        THE GUN IS GOOD!”
        (All repeat “The Gun is Good!”)

        I propose that any preacher who preaches “if you don’t pack heat, you’re not a Christian” be required to preach it wearing a red speedo with crossed bandoliers, black hooker boots, and a Zardoz helm. (With the physiques you get on a lot of preacher-men, that’s one scary image…)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      My experiences with WND:

      1) I figure any “news magazine” with Hal “Here Comes The Antichrist!” Lindsay and Pat “Blame the Jews!” Buchanan on their editorial staff has already blown their credibility.

      2) A couple years ago, I was visiting a friend in rural PA and noticed this Birther billboard along northbound Route 15 between York Springs and Dillsburg: “WHERE’S THE REAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE?????” The sponsor was down in the lower right corner: WND (World Net Daily).

  15. mammoth petite??? WHAAAT? I’m confused. Everything I bought for you is a large…”L”. Will that still work?

  16. A decade or so ago, Paul McCartney and Wings were touring through our then-hometown of Orlando. One of my teenaged son’s friends asked me, in total sincerity, “Didn’t he have another band before Wings?”

    MY kids, having grown up listening to my Beatles albums, could not have made this mistake :-)

  17. A lot of folks raise their families with the modest salaries they make working for luxury car manufacturers. A big chunk of my mortgage is paid from the graphic design work I do of Mercedes. Always happy to see those fine automobiles on the road. Perhaps a little too much hyperbole from the pope.

    • You MIGHT call it hyperbole if it was uncharacteristic of the man, but from what I read this just goes right along with everything else we’ve seen about his attitudes toward ostentatious display of wealth. I’m just a lower middle class shlub and a Mercedes is waaay above MY pay scale.

    • Robert F says:

      I understand what the Pope said and I sympathize with his position regarding materialism and conspicuous consumption in a world of want; but there’s a certain clunkiness in what he said that could lead a smart aleck free market type to ask “Do starving kids eat fancy cars?”.

    • He is not saying no one should drive “fancy” cars. He was specifically referring to Catholic clergy.

      • Suzanne says:

        It points to the conundrum of our modern economy. It only works if people buy, buy, buy but that isn’t what The Lord asks us to do, is it? So what is a Spiritually minded to do?

        I find it interesting, too, that so many churches, full of people who carry so much anger against the government over spending, as well as their fellow man for buying houses they couldn’t afford, are in debt.

  18. dumb ox says:

    It is my understanding that the Sam Adams commercial is not quoting the Declaration of Independence word-for-word. The same people who are incensed by this ad for omitting “by their Creator” likely also bow at the altar of the overtly anti-Christian Ayn Rand. It’s all about appearances and no substance.

    • Robert F says:

      Is familiarity with the philosophy of Ayn Rand really that pervasive in the evangelical world?

      • No, it is NOT! In fact, 99% of people don’t even know who she is, and wouldn’t have even HEARD of her if not for the critical media looking for a hook with which to snag people they don’t agree with.
        Btw, I actually READ “Atlas Shrugged”…it’s a NOVEL, for heaven’s sake, NOT the BIBLE!

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Then why were Christians quoting Atlas Shrugged chapter-and-verse as Prophecy Fulfilled during the Federal auto industry bailouts and the elections of 2008 & 2012?

          And how did Ayn Rand’s prophet Glenn Beck end up speaking at various Christian mega-functions?

          • Robert F says:

            My experience of evangelicals in the media and personally has led me to conclude that among some of their leaders their is a lust for intellectual respectability; they shamelessly appropriate bits and pieces of the thoughts and words of secular intellectuals (though I’m loathe to dignify Ayn Rand with the title of “intellectual”) that fit into their own putatively biblical philosophies and bandy them about recklessly while having perhaps only a cursory, superficial acquaintance with the system of thought the intellectual has developed. They do this in the pursuit of that very intellectual respectability that they so covet but are never quite able to attain. Perhaps that accounts for the sudden name-dropping of Ayn Rand and Objectivism that occurred in the media for a period of time rather than any real acquaintance or agreement with her philosophy, such as it is.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Btw, I actually READ “Atlas Shrugged”…it’s a NOVEL, for heaven’s sake, NOT the BIBLE!

          You DO know American Evangelicals HAVE demonstrated an inability to distinguish fact from fiction before?

          • HUG, a pastor friend of mine said he had to do some convincing to the person in charge of the church library—to get her to place the “Left Behind” series in the Fiction section instead of Theology.

          • Juniper says:

            I once heard a pastor describe the “Left Behind” books as a photograph of the Last Days. (TM as HUG would have it.)

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            In Christianese, it’s called “History Written in Advance”.

            And it also applies to Frank Peretti’s “Spiritual Warfare” thrillers as well as Christian Apocalyptic. Peretti’s said to have discontinued his Spiritual Warfare thrillers because too many fanboys were mistaking them for FACT.

            Happens in the mainstream, too. Fantasy writer Mercedes Lackey recounted similar fanboy problems regarding her “Diana Tregarde” occult detective/horror series in an essay “The Last Straw”, in the “features” section of her website.

        • dumb ox says:

          Most evangelicals are getting Rand second-hand through the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Fox News, cultural warriors, and evangelical leaders like Piper. Most evangelicals probably also don’t know who Pelagius was and would not call themselves Pelagian, but much of the works-righteousness teaching popularized by big-name evangelical leaders is Pelagian. Discernment is a lost gift among evangelicals; we’re just supposed to consume what is put in front of us without questioning the foundational tenants. Just do what they say. (Funny. Sounds like a “collective” to me!)

      • I can’t speak for everyone esle, but I grew up in an evangelical church and I’ve only heard her name brought up one time, and that was from a seminary professor who had read one of her books.

        • Just recently, I spoke to a friend I had not seen in quite a while. She is charismatic and very conservative. She brought up Rand, asked if I was familiar with her and explained some of her philosophy. I was floored! But then I realized she really knew nothing about AR except what she may have heard in her small charismatic circle. If she really understood, she would be repelled, I believe. But somewhere in the evangelical world, Rand’s beliefs are being tweaked and spread.

          Whenever Rand is brought up, I can’t help thinking of the absolutely horrible dialog and over-acting of Patricia Neal, and Gary Cooper pontificating the AR philosophy in “The Fountainhead.” A truly ridiculous movie.

          • Robert F says:

            Your friend would have to disapprove of Objectivism, if she became familiar with it, because it requires atheism.

            This whole discussion reminds me that about twenty years ago I had dentist who was a practicing Orthodox Jew and who loved Rand and Objectivism. I never was able to figure out how he squared Rand with Judaism, but I suppose he just took what he liked, which must have been a lot, and ignored the rest.

            I guess it’s not too different from earlier decades when progressive Christians embraced Marxism, otherwise known as dialectical materialism, which is a philosophy of history that requires atheism.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Whenever Rand is brought up, I can’t help thinking of the absolutely horrible dialog and over-acting of Patricia Neal, and Gary Cooper pontificating the AR philosophy in “The Fountainhead.” A truly ridiculous movie.

            I remember seeing it long ago and found it highly forgettable. Struck me as the architect having a temper tantrum when his Masterpiece(TM) got modified by committee.

            Question, Bella, everybody: Does the “absolutely horrible dialog and over-acting” and “pontificating the (fill-in-the-blank) philosophy” bear any resemblance to conventional Christianese movies? Except it’s Objectivism instead of the Four Spiritual Laws?

            I guess it’s not too different from earlier decades when progressive Christians embraced Marxism, otherwise known as dialectical materialism, which is a philosophy of history that requires atheism.

            “He will tell you that Christianity and Buddhism are at their core very much identical, especially Buddhism.” — G.K.Chesterton (from memory)

            Substitute Marxism or Objectivism for Buddhism in the above Chesterton statement.

      • In my experience it is not so much the overt mention of Rand or Randian philosophy; it is more the imbibing of her philosophy at a less conscious level. I know that I have heard multiple Randian arguments even from Seminary professors in class, they just weren’t always recognized as such.

        • Robert F says:

          An unbalanced faith in free markets and rugged individualism does not necessarily imply either the direct or indirect influence of Rand’s “philosophy” of Objectivism; in fact, such an unbalanced faith is as American as apple pie and antedates Rand by a good margin. Remember Horatio Alger.

          • I think you nested your comment in the wrong place. I didn’t mention an unbalanced faith in free markets. In fact, what I was referencing were comments to the effet that there are only two types in this world, makers and takers, and since the Bible says “whoever doesn’t work, doesn’t eat”, we should eliminate social programs. Pretty sure that is Randian.

          • Unbalanced faith in free markets is also Darwinian, and most evangelicals don’t get that clue.

          • Robert F says:

            Yes, my good Dr., that “makers and takers” is Rand all the way; although the idea has been around a heck of a long time, just waiting for Rand to express it in her pithy and pitiless way.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Unbalanced faith in free markets is also Darwinian, and most evangelicals don’t get that clue.

            Quiverfull (Outbreed the Heathen) is also as Darwinian as you can get. Straight Darwin regarding relative Reproductive Success within a population.

        • On a scale of absolute evil, Ayn Rand comes in somewhere between Stalin and Satan.

          I have always thought of Objectivism as the natural philosophy of a bacterium thirty minutes before achieving the carrying capacity of the Petrie dish. The “Left Behind” books are for an hour later.

          Somewhere, somewhen, in this great country of ours, a brown or a black man is sitting on the curb eating a Slim Jim and a bag of Hot Fries that he purchased with money from a government program. That generates more fury in our churches than all of the wars since Grenada combined.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            I always figured Rand and Stalin as funhouse-mirror reflections of each other.

            Locked in eternal enmity, like that half-white and half-black alien in that one Original Star Trek episode.

          • Robert F says:

            Let’s see: one Eastern Orthodox, one Roman Catholic, one Anglican; the theology of prayer of all three of our respective communions allows for and commends prayer for the deceased. Perhaps Ms. Rand could benefit from some prayer for her right now. I’m game.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Is familiarity with the philosophy of Ayn Rand really that pervasive in the evangelical world?

        There are a LOT of “67th Books of the Bible” floating around and switching off superseding the other 66. Thirty years ago it was Late Great Planet Earth, now it’s Atlas Shrugged.

  19. AS an ex-pat Ohio boy I can relate to that young man’s idea. But here’s another plan from one more disappointed Ohio football fan:
    The Browns are giving a jersey to the family of a fan who asked for six players to serve as pallbearers at his funeral.

    Scott E. Entsminger , 55, of Mansfield, Ohio, died on July 4 at his home. In his obituary in the Columbus Dispatch, Entsminger, a lifelong Browns fan, had requested “six Cleveland Browns pallbearers so the Browns can let him down one last time.”

    Browns spokesman Zak Gilbert said the team contacted Entsminger’s widow, Pat , and found out that his favorite player

    was Hall of Famer Lou Groza . The team will present a No. 76 Groza jersey with Entsminger’s name on the back to the family Tuesday.

  20. David Cornwell says:

    About First Baptist, from the link:

    “Where old and new actually meet, the architects have abased themselves, putting up a faux facade that substitutes false history for the real thing. Aesthetically, the whole is more befitting of a commercial office building than a center for divine transcendence.”

    Pretty much defnes modern fundamentalism seems to me.

    Another:
    “The screen is the principal messaging system of First Baptist, and it is the defining feature of its sanctuary: a 150-foot-wide stadium-style video board wraps the full length of the proscenium. The operation of its computerized projection system requires 35 volunteers sequestered behind banks of monitors in a darkened control room that could easily double as a set for a sci-fi thriller.”

    So, where does Jesus enter the picture? Also, I always wonder about the thousands of “volunteers” who run today’s churches, when and where do they worship?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Is the “150-foot-wide stadium-style video board” telescreen there to show larger-than-life blowups of the pastor/dictator’s face as he preaches?

    • Good question… church has become theater – we need a new reformation…

      • Actually, Mark Lamster mentions this in his piece, “It is no accident that television, the secular religion to which we devote so many of our waking hours, assumes an outsize presence in the space of the church.”

  21. Rick Ro. says:

    I’m going to see McCartney this coming Friday with my 11-year old daughter. I’ve looked at the set lists of the current tour and I am PSYCHED!

    • Rick, he recently performed two shows here in Tulsa. I talked with several people who went, and they all agreed that it was the show of a lifetime. Nearly three straight hours of great music. Enjoy!

  22. Two things -

    - I do *not* think that Pres. Obama was attempting to impose American values on West Africa (or any other part of Africa) by speaking out as he did for tolerance. There has been a rising groundswell of hatred and violent crime against LGBT people in many parts of the continent, including Senegal. Our country has given refuge to some Senegalese people who are LGBT. Meanwhile, many in Uganda continue to try to get legislation passed that makes being LGBT a capital crime. There’s a big difference between allowing people the free protection of law and turning a blind eye to those who are being harmed – many are. So… how is this any different than other kinds of civil rights issues? Why is it wrong for someone to speak out? Pres. Obama’s dad was East African; that gives him a bit of leeway, I believe…

    - About the supposed “satanic worship” in Nagaland – I spent some time Googling and following links, and I haven’t yet been able to find a single source that actually establishes that this is, in fact, occurring – just lots of panic on the part of parents and other people.

    It looks like it’s rumor, not fact.

    I wonder if any readers here have connections to people in Nagaland – that is, could someone help to either verify – or disprove – the content of the many articles that claim that there’s some kind of mass “Satan worship” by teens in Nagaland? Or is this a smokescreen for something else?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      About the supposed “satanic worship” in Nagaland – I spent some time Googling and following links, and I haven’t yet been able to find a single source that actually establishes that this is, in fact, occurring – just lots of panic on the part of parents and other people.

      It looks like it’s rumor, not fact.

      Sounds like a Nagaland version of the Satanic Panic of the Eighties. “Attributing too much power to the Devil” is a known heresy, and every so often it surfaces. Especially in Spiritual Warfare types. Add the dynamics of Conspiracy Theory, and Satan-worship(TM) becomes the latest Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory.

      Further confusing the issue is that for a lot of Spiritual Warfare types, “Satan-Worship(TM)” could mean anything and everything outside the four walls of their church. And like the rest of India, Christians are a small minority among Hindus in the area; add Christianese siege mentality to RL hostility from Hindus.

      • Nagaland is predominantly Christian, though…

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          If Christians are the majority in Nagaland, then there shouldn’t be a Christianese siege mentality. Unless it’s a paranoia trip to find some Other/Outside Threat now that they’re in the majority, similar to what happens in the Christian-majority USA. The “brands” of Christianity in Nagaland may also have something to do with it — possibly started by a “brand” who are prone to paranoia and Conspiracy Theory, and then it just spread?

          There’s been essays about Third World Christians being influenced by American Evangelicalism — the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of American Evangelicalism — through missionaries and American Christianese media. (Like Prosperity Gospel types spreading through Africa.) This might also be a factor.

          • From what I’ve been reading, it might also have a lot to do with political problems and a general climate of unrest there.

            The RCC is planning a youth rally there, so clearly, not everyone is Protestant.

  23. Lester Pangs says:

    “I wonder when American politicians (and missionaries, for that matter) will realize that not everyone wants to be like us (U.S.)?”

    Yeah. Let’s be sure not to push for basic human rights. We might offend someone.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The trick is separating “basic human rights” from American cultural baggage about same. Often there’s no clear dividing line.