October 22, 2014

Saturday Ramblings 7.16.11

Oh my. Talk about a mess. The sink got backed up last week, so we weren’t able to do any of the dishes. And the leftovers in the fridge are about to turn. I think if you pick some of that green off of the bread it will still be good. Help us out here, iMonks. We have a lot of cleaning to do after being off-the-air last week. So don your apron and get ready to do some rambling…

We now know who to blame for all of our technical issues. You. That’s right. You and more than 60,000 of your fellow monks visited our site in one day last week. We had just migrated to a dedicated server (after getting kicked off of the server we shared with others because of, well, you) when our traffic spiked beyond what the new server could handle. So we had to pack up and move once again. First of all, I want to once again say that without the almost round-the-clock efforts of Joe Stallard, we would not still be up and running. And iMonk Sean came in to help as well. The new, new server will cost us even more each month, but it’s necessary because of the amount of traffic we are dealing with. That leads me to another thank you card I need to write to … you. You stepped up with donations that totalled almost $1200, which is enough to pay server and hosting costs (as well as a few other small costs–we operate on a shoestring budget here) for the next seven or eight months. We are humbled and incredibly grateful at your generosity.

And your donations came right on the heels of you giving another $1200 toward a new computer for Adam Palmer, one of our iMonk writers-in-residence. As you may recall, Adam was robbed at gunpoint in his own home a few weeks ago. His computer—which for a freelance writer is his livelihood—was stolen, then returned in less than stellar condition. Thanks to you, Adam now has a new (refurbished, but new to him) Macbook on which to try and string words together in a fashion that makes sense. Good luck with that, Adam.

Now, to our regularly scheduled rambling…

Oh my. Our children are all in danger of being warped into witches and warlocks once again because of … a movie. Some Christians just can’t be hysterical enough when it come to the boy wizard who saves the world. Andrew Peterson, however, is an unabashed HP fan. And in case you were wondering, Jesus would have been a Hufflepuff.

Ah, the fun of Christians bashing something they don’t understand is bettered only by the fun of Christians bashing one another. It all started with Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll posting a, to put it in nice words, stupid comment on his Facebook page. Tony Jones then followed that up by bashing Driscoll for his liking the “homoerotic” sport of Mixed Martial Arts. (Can you really call that a sport? Well, ok, figure skating is called a sport, so we’ll just let it go.) Rachel Held Evans had a much more measured and, in my opinion, Christlike response. Oh, Driscoll himself offered—well, not really an apology, and not even a real explanation. We’ll just say he offered some words. And we wonder why others don’t want to follow Jesus along with us.

Of course, we could all become Pastafarians like this man from Austria. Niko Alm had to give a reason for wearing a spaghetti strainer on his head in his driver’s license photo. He claimed it was religious headgear as a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Look, there is no way I can make stuff up this good.

David Fitch makes too much sense. Way too much sense. Which is the reason why his idea to stop funding church plants will never fly. But oh, how I agree with him in this. Your thoughts?

I always enjoy reading Wired magazine. I’m a geek at heart. Here is an interview with the founder of Wired with some very interesting theological takes on technology.

In the “please tell me this is just a bad dream” department is a story about evangelizing dolls,” each with two faces: a sad one for how we feel before we accept Jesus, and a happy face for after we accept Jesus. Are you still keeping your breakfast down? Then try this on for size: Real Housewives Of The Bible. Kind of a Sunday school version of the Stepford Wives, coming soon to an obscure cable channel on your TV. Do you see now why Pastafari doesn’t seem like too much of a reach?

Happy birthdays go out to Donald Rumsfeld; Brian Dennehy; Dean Koontz; OJ Simpson; Tom Hanks; Fred Savage; David Brinkley; Fred Gwynne; Arthur Ashe; Bela Fleck; Leon Spinks; Julius Caesar; Bill Cosby; Jack Kemp; Patrick Stewart; “Cheech” Marin; Woody Guthrie; and yours truly, your friendly neighborhood Rambler.

There once was a day when comedy was funny without having to be crude or profane. I know, hard to believe. But one of the masters of this ancient art form was Bill Cosby. Here he is with a story from Genesis. Pastors, you really can’t get much better than this teaching of Noah. Enjoy.

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

 

Comments

  1. “And we wonder why others don’t want to follow Jesus along with us.”

    You could expand that past what these celebrity pastors say to what they do and how they run their churches.

    The tight yoke and heavy burden some of them put upon their people, and the poor example they set for pastors who are influenced by them.

    • David L says:

      Joel O. was in town tonight. I thought I might go and see the show until I found out it was $15. No thanks.

      A lady I know asked me today if I was going and I said I wasn’t really into his theology. She said she wasn’t either but her daughter and her, the daughter’s, husband wanted to go so she was going to try and maintain family harmony. I’m glad I’m not in that position.

      • I can understand that lady’s position, but I don’t see that as following Jesus. He said he came to create division in families. He placed following him ahead of anything, including “family harmony.”

        Following Jesus is not easy, is it?

    • Flying Spaghetti Monster is looking better all the time. Keep it up, Driscoll. You’re the best evangelist the Pastafarians have!

      • i do rather like Niko Alm’s religous headgear though…

        [a few seconds of converting thoughts i must wrestle with...]

        do they come in both plastic & stainless steel??? :D

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Flying Spaghetti Monster is looking better all the time.

        I’ll take the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

        Or Princesses Celestia & Luna — approachable and even playful.

    • On a totally unrelated subject … BrianD — LOVE yer avatar!

  2. David L says:

    Sorry but the best Cosby routine was the one that I think was called “To My Brother Russell Who I Slept With”. One entire side of an album.

    But I suspect to really get it you had to have a brother and be of an age where the “belt” had meaning.

    • My favorite was always “Driving in San Francisco,” which I haven’t heard in 20 years but can still recite large portions of from memory. But then, I was born in San Francisco …

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “By the time you get your foot off the brake and onto the clutch, you’ll have drifted back into the Bay. And if you drown drifing back into the Bay, they won’t let you into Heaven.
        You go up to St Peter and he asks “How did you die?”
        “I drifted back into the Bay when the clutch on my Volkswagen slipped.”
        “You go to Hell!”

    • My favorite some might think crude or profane…….when he talked about how growing up he thought his name was Jesus Christ and his brother’s name was God Dammit.

      “Jesus Christ will you come in here!”

      “God dammit will you leave your brother alone!”

      Still makes me laugh! But that Noah clip was classic! Ahhh the B&W days of old!!

      • WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

        The punch line is what made it so great, “But Dad, I’m not Damn It I’m Jesus Christ!” A fun little joke about how the way parents talk boomerangs on them in unexpected ways.

        … and that’s what people call having a good time. ;)

    • When my wife and I took childbirth classes years ago the instructor included a video by Bill Cosby. Not only did it prepare the fathers for the abuse we’d be getting in the delivery room (“You *%^#, you got me into this!!!”), It got us all practicing the magic word, “Puuuusshhh, puuuussshhh.”)

      And the Cosby Show was just plain great. I learned far more parenting skills from Cosby than I ever did from Jim Dobson [here they picked up stones to silence the heretic...].

    • MelissaTheRagamuffin says:

      Dad is great! He gives us chocolate cake!

  3. JoanieD says:

    Happy Birthday, Jeff! You totally deserve a wonderful day today after going through all these cyber-techno problems regarding the site this week.

    I LOVE Cosby’s Noah! I love that entire album. As kids, we listened to it over and over again.

    • Thanks, Joanie! My birthday is tomorrow, but I wouldn’t mind an extra wonderful day today as well…

      • Tomorrow? The 17th? Then we’re Birthday Twins, actually triplets, because my good friend Jon Piper (yes really, isn’t it hysterical) a lovely gentle English Christian chappie was also born then.

        Happy birthday to us!

  4. Many happy returns, Jeff, and thanks to all responsible for keeping this site up and running. Joe the Plumber deserves a new socket wrench or something :-)

  5. Mark Driscoll doesn’t feel that he owes an apology.

    He did acknowledge what he said, and that his elders sat him down and advised him to “do better” with “real issues”. He thanked God that he has elders who keep him accountable, and that he is under authority.

    And he closed by offering “a sincere thanks to all my critics who sometimes have good wisdom that helps me out.”

    I don’t think anyone should be suprised or indignant about his non-apology. It’s in the “That’s your opinion; I’ll take it under consideration” category.

  6. Flying Spaghetti Monster is your friend. He loves you so much that he was boiled for your sins. Try FSM for 30 days and see if you don’t agree.

    It’s harsh commentary on established religion, if evangelicals are willing to look into that mirror. Like that will ever happen. /sarcasm.

  7. Re: David Fitch’s idea to stop funding church plants. In his proposal he mentions funding couples for a couple of years covering health insurance and housing. These (presumably younger) folks will start at the “ground floor” of a company and work their way up.

    He says, “By funding missionaries in the way proposed, this affords them unusual ability to learn a skill and develop at these bottom rungs of employment. Within two years their value is proven and they are being paid well enough to be self-sustaining.”

    To me, that sounds like the most unrealistic part of the proposal. Good luck finding jobs in these contexts in the first place. Bivocational pastors… fine. But it may take two years just to find a job like that which has potential in a specific location. I think that seriously complicates the idea, even if these seminary grads have already been trained in other skills.

  8. We now know who to blame for all of our technical issues. You. That’s right. You and more than 60,000 of your fellow monks visited our site in one day last week.

    This gave me a flashback to all the sermons I’ve heard over the years where the pastor blames the congregation for not accomplishing the pastor’s goals/not having enough faith/not doing enough in general? Maybe iMonk isn’t as post-evangelical as we thought …

    (jk)

    • Ray, have you been over to Christian Monist lately? He just finished a fictional series about an abusive pastor.
      Click the link to the right of the iMonk page.

  9. I didn’t lose my breakfast. Thankfully, I haven’t got that far yet this morning. But all of a sudden I have lost my appetite.

    How relevant Chaplain Mike’s post on discouragement is! So, come to Jesus, and your head spins around like in the “Exorcist”. Happy faces from here on out. Nice. The targeting of kids with this lie really disturbs me. Is there any doubt anymore why kids abandon the faith once they become adults? Is “Now I’m happy all the day” theology going to carry them through the struggles and turmoils of life? Oh, wait…my mistake: if you reallllllly believe and follow all the biblical success principles, you won’t have any struggles or turmoils. What’s that number again for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    • Disturb is too kind… It infuriates me! Breaks my heart that I was a part of the happy clappy, name it and claim it crowd… I have 2 daughters that have abandoned the faith. My youngest prayed her little heart out for years that God would heal her daddy, around 14 she gave up her prayers, said God doesn’t answer them, now at 22 she claims she is an atheist… Dad was not healed, has suffered, but is doing well at the moment… God did answer but not how we were taught he would.

  10. Happy Birthday Jeff! A wonderful season I pray for you! Not just one stinkin’ day, right? Isn’t that what we all need abut now? A wonderful season……say 8-10 years or so! ha!

  11. When young people go to bible college, and then on to Seminary, they do so with the expectation of getting a gig with an established church, preferably one that can offer a living wage.

    I’ve encountered several of this type who, if someone were to be completely objective, should not even consider the ministry as a vocation but, rather, as an avocation. They would be better off holding a job in some other field while learning what Christ meant when He said “Go ye into all the world…” and THEN deciding whether or not they are “called”.

    The problem isn’t just with thew whole “church plant” paradigm but with the whole CHAIN of Christian activity, which includes the way we “train and equip” those who think they “hear the call”. Do cemeteries, oops, I MEANT seminaries, really prepare people for ministry? I believe this type of training should be done under the wing of a dedicated person of God who has “been there and done that” in order to give the younger generation real perspective.

    When are we going to end the idea that being a professional Christian is a “ministry” by which we make a living? I think, generally, we’ve gotten it all wrong over the past 200 years or so and need to reconsider EVERYTHING!

    • OSCAR! OMG! You have just described my life. I was “called” at age 18, went to college and seminary, sent resumes to churches for “jobs” , “ministered” for 25+ years but found myself wanting more. I quit two years ago and now I’m learning what I wished I had learned when I grew up in a minister’s home and went to church 4 times a week: What it’s like to live a real life in pursuit of a God I don’t know. I’m grateful for the grace that rescued me from an institutional bubble and continues to open fresh perspectives that are truly life-giving!

  12. Oddly, I think there’s a common underlying cause for both Driscoll’s non-apology and the virtual impossibility that traditional church plants will ever be replaced with a more effective model something like what Fitch proposes.

    Evangelicalism is too driven by success and power over rather than by humility and power under. The ability to fail for Christ, or even to admit an individual failure, is rare in almost direct correlation with how strongly the business/CEO model is followed.

    Shusako Endo’s novels (Wonderful Fool, The Sea and Poison, Scandal) are a great example of how to write and think counter-culturally in this regard (extremely so for him as he’s Japanese) and give a beautiful picture of how failure in the world’s terms can be success for the kingdom.

  13. David Cornwell says:

    Jeff, may tomorrow be a wonderful day of celebration for you. You have blessed everyone who stops in here with your wit, wisdom, and truthfulness.

    May God be with you and your family.

  14. Happy early birthday to Jeff, and I’m glad to see the site is stable on the new server!

    I promise, we did what we could to keep it up and running on the old-new server but, to quote Scotty, “she didna have enough powwer Capp’in!” (wow, in print it’s almost worse than my spoken Scotty impression!)

    I’ll keep working with Joe to make sure the new setup is as bullet-proof -and cost effective- as possible to make sure iMonk Central Command stays online for many years to come!

    • beakerj says:

      Yay for you too Sean! You must must must keep this site running or there’ll be little bewildered iMonkeys wandering aound feeling lonely & sad. I’m a great example.

      No pressure or anything!

  15. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    (Testing to see if I can get a posting through)

    Today, it’s Harry Potter.
    20 years ago, it was D&D.
    20 years before that, it was EC Comics.
    Who’s going to be next? My Little Pony?

  16. We are to blame! It reminds me before I retired, people were breaking the doors down to get in and one of the workers would complain about all the activity. I would tell them, ” that is job security,if no one shows up, we are out of a job”

  17. Jeff,

    Have a wonderful birthday and may God bless you as we have been blessed by you and the I-monk crew!! Get ready as at will be one huge birthday gift!

    While I am sure it is small consolation after your tech troubles, I was one of the 60,000 who were trying to get on the site earlier this week and I missed you guys so much! My paranoia got the best of me and wondered if the site got swallowed up by the Christian Coalition. But I can now see that it was just a bad dream, and Mark Driscoll is a separate entity and he appears to be having even worse problems with technology …

    BTW we are moving back to the Nati next month. Go Reds!

  18. I saw the new Winnie the Pooh movie, which included a new Disney short entitled, “The Ballad of Nessie”. This quote moved me: “Don’t be afraid to cry…Sometimes it’s through our tears we find another way.” Disney can say that, while the church can’t. I sat there stunned, realizing how quickly evangelicalism, at the height of it’s cultural “relevancy”, is very near obsolescence.

  19. Happy Birthday, as well. I don’t share this birthdate, but DID spend July 17th in labor twenty-something years ago….so I well remember the date…..so Happy Birthday, Kevin, as well……………….

  20. Hey Jeff, I hope your birthday was good…..I’ll call ya later….hehe

  21. As a retired pig farmer (“pork producer” in rightspeak) I have an appreciation for Noah’s perturbing question, “Who’s gonna clean that up down there??!!”

    T