July 16, 2018

Saturday Ramblings 7.28.12

Welcome to the Opening Ceremonies version of Saturday Ramblings. Sorry, we don’t have Mary Poppins or Mr. Bean, but, well, I have been to England. Does that count? And I like British humor. I know what bangers and mash are, but still haven’t figured out why I would want to eat anything called “blood pudding.” (Yes, I tried some. No, it is not edible in any fashion. But it was on the breakfast buffet. But then, so were baked beans.) So, in honor of friendship and sports and endless Budweiser commercials, let’s join hands across the sea and ramble.

If you’re going to the games, or just wanting to see a bit of the Old Country, and plan to stay at the Damson Dene Hotel in the Lake District of England, you’ll want to bring your own Bible. If you reach into the nightstand for the trusty Gideon, you’ll be in for a rude surprise. Very, very rude.

In yet another attempt to separate Christians from the rest of the world, the latest list of the “best Christian places to work” is out. Tell me, if you have worked in both a fully-Christian environment and in the general marketplace, where have you experienced better treatment? Is there a great advantage (or disadvantage) to working in a Christian job?

Not sure how you would categorize Chick Fil A. Are they a Christian company, or just the makers of the best chicken sandwiches around? All of its stores are closed on Sundays. Its founder, Truett Cathy and his family who work for the fast-food chain are Christians. Dan Cathy, president of the restaurant chain, recently said his company backs “traditional marriage.” Now they are taking heat from such as the mayor of Chicago and the Muppets. Author Jonathan Merritt came out in support for Chick Fil A until—oops!—he was forced to come out this week himself. But Billy Graham—yes, that Billy Graham—says he supports his friends the Cathys and will go get a chicken sandwich this Wednesday on Chick Fil A Appreciation Day. Graham said, “As the son of a dairy farmer who milked many a cow, I plan to ‘Eat Mor Chikin’.” Sounds like Billy needs a good lie-down.

Billy Graham released a letter to his followers decrying the downfall of America. Most of it is typical fundraising fear language, but look at what he says he is working on these days. Eternal salvation? Really? Where do you see him going with this? Could it be he is taking on a former Grand Rapids pastor who says in the end, love wins?

A lawmaker made news recently when he ripped up and threw away a copy of the New Testament. Well, it seems the lawmaker is a member of Israel’s National Union Party, and the NT was given to lawmakers by the Bible Society of Israel. Perhaps not the best way to win friends and gain influence …

Sports and religion mingled this week, and it cost the head of the Orthodox Church in America his job. Metropolitan Jonah allegedly covered up a rape committed by one of the Church’s priests. Citing what happened at Penn State, the Church’s board said such an action was opening the Church up to legal action. Anyone care about the victim? Just asking …

Want to be an ordained minister, but just don’t have time or the interest in years of study? Not a problem. Now there’s an app for that. You had to know that was coming.

If you want to take religion more seriously, maybe you need to clown around like these, uh, clowns did in Mexico.

Finally, not everyone in Oklahoma is, well, as creative as this woman who found a new way to beat the summer swelter. Oh how I wish I had made this up, but I didn’t. And how I wish this had happened in, oh, Nebraska. But it didn’t. My only consolation is she is from Oklahoma City, not Tulsa.

Happy hippy-dippy birthdays were celebrated this week by Ernest Hemingway; Isaac Stern; Don Knotts; Janet Reno; Cat Stevens; Garry Trudeau; Robin Williams; Dan Rowan; George Clinton; Alex Trebek; Danny Glover; Don Henley; Pee Wee Reese; Don Drysdale; Don Imus; Woody Harrelson; Slash; Amelia Earhart; Ruth Buzzi; Lynda Carter; Gracie Allen; Vivian Vance; Jean Shepherd; Mick Jagger; Derek Jeter; and Bugs Bunny.

This one was easy. Mick may be the greatest entertainer of the last hundred years. But the White House? That breeze you feel is Dolly Madison rotating in her grave. Enjoy.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KV3JaX1nn4′]


  1. Richard McNeeley says:

    I have worked in both environments in my life. I found that the secular companies are better to work for. Secular companies have set policies and procedures that don’t change with a new pastor or board, pay and benefit packages are better in the secular world and you tend to have one person to answer to.
    Happy birthday to Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez.

    • Damaris says:

      I agree completely. Except for the wonderful Catholic school where I taught years ago, my Christian employment experiences have been not just difficult but disastrous — passive-aggressive manipulation, double-speak, schism, and ultimately crash and burn of the people involved. I think part of the issue is that people arguing about purchase order forms or hiring policies are mostly still capable of being polite because they can entertain another view in the discussion; but once Religion enters, zealous Christians don’t feel they can yield an inch. And unfortunately in many Christian organizations, people determined to take every thought captive to Christ invest as strongly in hiring policies as in the doctrine of the Trinity. That means that disagreement about business decisions equals heresy.

    • Been there, done, that. First staff position had 6 significant leadership changes in 6 months. The last one was me.
      I think the root of the problem is that people attend church expecting them to think, “the customer is always right.”

    • Scrapiron says:

      I have never worked in a “Christian” organization, but I was the engineering manager for a small company owned by a pair of guys who were very vocal in calling themselves Christians. After I worked my tail off to lead my group through a period of ridiculously high growth at outrageously high profit, the owners refused to pay me a $10,000 bonus they had promised. They had set the goal so high, I’m sure they never dreamed I could achieve it, so they had forgotten all about the bonus. When I produced the memo in which the goals were set, they cooked the books so that it looked like I had just missed the profit target. Shortly afterward, when I began speaking up at staff meetings about practices I had serious ethical problems with, I was called into a meeting with these two upstanding Christians, who fired me because my “communication style was too nonverbal”. When I asked what that meant, they said that they had never heard me raise my voice or swear at one of my engineers. Including summer jobs and sideline work, I have had over 40 non-Christian employers in my life and none of them have come anywhere close to being the sleaze bags those two were. Since that day, every time I have a job interview, at some point in the interview, I always ask the prospective boss about their religious faith. It hasn’t happened yet, but if anyone ever admits to being a “born- again Christian” the interview is over and I will run, not walk, out the door.

  2. Alright, I’ll bite.

    I’ve read Billy Graham’s letter a few times now, and I’m not seeing a whole lot of “fundraiser fear” or whatever. Sadness, yes — but no more or less sadness than I see from Christians of all stripes. Seriously, I just read a Ron Sider book with similar language, albeit more “social justice and discipleship” solutions than evangelistic crusades. Then again, that’s nothing new for either of them.

    And I’m still trying to figure out how the heck Rob Bell fits into all of this. Help me out here.

    • If BG had just written this letter about what he sees is wrong in our nation, and then ended it with “God is merciful, let us pray for our country and its leaders,” fine. But he uses the wrongs he sees—and how we need to address them so we don’t end up like Sodom—to ask for money for a project. That is putting fear in the minds of those who may give. I doubt many who read this blog will feel that way, but hundreds of thousands who give to BGEA will.

  3. Wow. this was a busy week.

    When i read things like Billy Grahams message about how america is falling into immorality , I always wonder where it’s falling from? America certainly has cultural problems today , but so did the alleged “Godly golden age” America. Perhaps the new set of problems are overwhelming? I don’t know(after all I am 17 and Canadian).

    I think the Chick-Fil-A controversy has become ridiculous. Immediately after Cathy made his remarks the whole issue dove into culture war.

    “You eat at Chick-Fil-A??? that makes you an anti-gay, homophobe , sexist , imperialist , racist!”

    “Yeah? well you just don’t like that i eat there because you are a godless, liberal , communist , nazi , socialist! MMM MY CHICKEN IS SOOO GOOD”


    • dumb ox says:

      I’m more concerned that NOT eating at Chick-Fil-A makes one a bad Christian – along the lines of HUG’s comments about forced loyalty to Christian bookstores last week.

      • Clay Crouch says:

        I’m not sure that abstaining from CFA makes you a bad Christian, but maybe a healthier one?

        • David L says:

          CFA is some of the healthier fast food around. Especially something like the Grilled Chicken Fruit Salad I had last night.

    • Haha, fantastic!

      The Chick-fil-A controversy is a bunch of nonsense. If the business was actually discriminating against homosexuals, I would totally sympathize with the uproar. But apparently the business is not entitled to their own opinions on political issues that have absolutely nothing to do with what their business does. They’re a restaurant, not a marriage service!

      • Clay Crouch says:

        Would you feel the same way if they came out in favor of gay marriage? Would you support or encourage the evangelical boycott of CFA that would most definitely ensue? Just asking.

        • Phil M. says:

          The company my wife works for – a big, multi-national food company, recently came out in support of gay marriage. There were a few Christian groups trying to get people to boycott their products. It’s ridiculous coming from either side.

          • METANOIA says:

            When I was a young Christian we were told not to go to the bowling alley because they had a bar connected with it. To bowl a few games was to aid and abet, endorse and propagate the drinking of alcohol. How about going to the bowling alley just to bowl.
            Gays who boycott Chick-fil-A are committing the same kind of nonsense. Christian who boycott Home Deport are guilty of the same thing. Go to Chick-fil-A for the chicken. If you don’t like it, get your chicken someplace else. Spending your dollars at CFA only propagates the building of more restaurants and the availability of more sandwiches.

          • Donalbain says:

            I don’t think it is at all ridiculous. If a company uses the profit it makes to donate to organisations who campaign to uphold persecution against people, then it makes perfect sense to try to persuade people to not increase their profits.

      • It’s actual their donations that got them in trouble first. They donated over a million dollars to the Marriage & Family Foundation, plus some smaller amounts to people like Exodus International.

        I’m not sure how that’s so much worse (in the mind of a same sex marriage advocate) than using the money to lobby to be allowed to market children more or whatever, and I wish some of the people boycotting CFA would be a little more consistent with it and see what other fast food places do with their spare cash, but…

        It’s not unreasonable to not want to shop at some place that uses part of the money you give them to campaign against the things you are fighting for. I avoid big places that aren’t wheelchair accessible (little places and tiny businesses get a pass), and I could certainly see boycotting a place that I discovered was donating the proceeds of my sales to bringing down the ADA.

      • To discriminate is “to make distinctions on the basis of class or category without regard to individual merit” (freedictionary). To make a statement like that does single out gays, and, yes, is discriminating. Did they have a first-amendment right to make such a statement? Perhaps that begs the definition of “can” versus “should”. I know we have a problem in this country with everyone playing the victim, and everyone is afraid of appearing politically incorrect. But why needlessly feed that mentality? We can’t go after embezzlemers, frausters, and corporate monsters, but we can make people feel like criminals for what they do in the privacy of their own lives. Free speech is a precious gift; it should be used for the greater good, rather than to stoke the fires of party loyalty.

        • Clay Crouch says:

          Over at the Patrol blog, David Sessions used the CFA dust up to spark a lively debate on economics and politics in our choices as consumers. No matter the side you take, this is an important discussion believers should engage in. And as in most things in life, the are at least fifty shades of gray.

        • This was covered over at the GetReligion blog, which deals with how newspapers and other media cover religion (the good and the bad coverage). First, the interview which got Mr. Carthy into trouble was done with the South Carolina newspaper “The Biblical Recorder”, and there was no direct question about gay marriage, gay rights, or the like (indeed, in the context of his answer, you could take it as disapproving of divorce).

          Second, the whole controversy kicked off when the mainstream media picked it up and ran the story underl headlines stating “Chick-fil-A boss opposes gay marriage”. Then people got outraged on both sides and this thing became absurd.

          Thirdly, you have a Chicago alderman quite happy to issue a press release declaring he will block the application for a Chick-fil-A restaurant licence in his ward for no other reason than he disagrees with their anti-gay policies. Never mind that we don’t actually have any evidence of anti-gay policies, but this is illegal. You can block a licence because the proposed application doesn’t fit in with zoning regulations, you can’t discriminate against people for thought-crime.

          There are no Chick-fil-A restaurants over here, so I have no axe to grind either way. If you want to buy a chicken sandwich in support of free speech and the media not getting so hysterical, good luck. If you think the company really is anti-gay and you don’t want to buy their products, good luck also. But when elected officials are making their decisions on the nearest thing to religious tests, then that’s bad news for everyone.

          • dumb ox says:

            Had he stopped after his statement to the Baptist press, I think nothing would have come of it. Then, he went on to make the statement about God’s judgment on the Ken Coleman program; that’s when stuff hit the fan.

          • +1. Martha has it nailed. Media opportunism followed up by political pandering. It’s the American way.

          • Clay Crouch says:

            Did anyone on this side of the pond for one minute think that Mr. Cathy was in favor of gay marriage? His admission certainly is no surprise. I don’t believe the evangelical groups CFA supports and partners with is a secret either. I’m not sure what that says about the nature of this controversy.

          • I’m not sure what that says about the nature of this controversy.

            I think the words “political opportunism” apply. :p

          • Clay Crouch says:


            I go back to my original question. If the shoe were on the other foot, would those same folks crying “political opportunism” be lined up in CFA’s parking lots all over the south decrying the demise of Christianity in America? Probably.

    • Eric W.


      Only in the Orwellian nightmare that is becoming the US can a gentle endorsement of traditional marriage be latched onto and declared to be hate speech and bigotry.

  4. dumb ox says:

    Churches put bouncers at the door to tell the world they are not wanted there, then go into the world and tell the world they aren’t wanted there, either? THEN we get upset when the world hates us?

    What is a “traditional marriage”? Does Doug Wilson represent “traditional marriage”? Will we next pass laws against “egalitarian pleasuring parties”? Perhaps married couples will have to be monitored by the sex police to make sure they are not pleasuring each other, but feeling guilty and smutty as good Christians should. Sure, there is plenty of hypocrisy on the other side, too. But there has got to be some other message to take to the world than this. If the world is wrong for their sex obsessions, are we supposed to ok with ours?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      What is a “traditional marriage”? Does Doug Wilson represent “traditional marriage”?

      To Doug Wilson, traditional marriage is the man on top “penetrating, conquering, colonizing, planting” while the woman lies on the bottom in sweet submission. Optional Handmaid held on lap to maintain wifely purity.

    • Churches have “bouncers”?! Are you sure those weren’t ushers? I mean, sure, if you show up drunk or something, and start creating a disturbance, they might turn into bouncers…

      Or are you thinking of one of those TV evangelist churches? In that case, there are worse things to get kicked out of.

  5. Michael Ben-Ari’s actions seem extreme on the face of it, but I kind of sympathise. I’d get annoyed if someone sent a Koran to everyone at my workplace.

    It seems to be forgotten that the Apostles didn’t go around distributing the Tanakh to potential converts. And during the first centuries of the Church, the New Testament was NEVER used as an evangelising tool. It was written for and used by those already within the covenant community.

    Where does this idea come from, then, that if anyone just reads a Bible, they will convert to Christianity, so all you have to do to spread the gospel is get people to read Bibles? I suppose it’s a Reformation thing, is it? Perspicuity of Scripture and all that? Me, I think it’s dangerously naive. How many Christians are/are going to be up in arms about this fellow ‘blasphemously’ tearing up a New Testament (of course, you can’t actually blaspheme something you don’t believe in)? But he wouldn’t have gone to the Bible Society to tear up a New Testament on their shelf. And I daresay he wouldn’t even have torn it up if it had been given to him by a friend or colleague. No one (well, no Christians, anyway) will be up in arms about an impersonal blanket campaign of sending New Testaments to non-Christians (not even handing them out, just sending them in the post!). There’s a problem with this picture.

    Still, one should keep perspective. Over here in China, about 180 years ago, handing out New Testament tracts led inadvertently to a bloody civil war. So I guess this incident could have been a lot worse.

    • I wouldn’t be annoyed to receive a Koran but I would be worried in case people read it and believed in it because words have the power to change lives.

      I used to think that just reading the Bible wouldn’t really make a difference until I met my future father in law. With 3 young sons in the 1970s as the Cold War threatened their future as well as his own, he was anxious to find out if there more to life than what he was experiencing and what his sons could look forward to. So he looked into all kinds of religions and philosophies but none of them seemed to make sense to him. One day he thought – I suppose I ought to at least check out Christianity – he found a Bible and started reading Romans. He was convicted by the truth as he read and that was it. People really do become Christians through reading the Bible. The Holy Spirit works through it.

      Tracts – my family met a couple a few years ago who were received a tract full of Bible verses put through their door by evangelists in Paris. At first they threw it in the garbage but one of them picked it out later and became a Christian through reading it. It hugely encouraged my mother who had been part of that team of evangelists in Paris – she had thought it was all a bit of a waste of her time.

    • I wouldn’t be annoyed. The person sending me the Koran is hoping for my spiritual enlightenment. I’ll return the favor.

  6. Adrienne says:

    My husband and I came to Christ through the ministry of Billy Graham. Since then the “phonies”, televangelists, “healers” etc. that have appeared over the past 40 years have been just plain old nauseating. Billy Graham is the real thing and was faithful to his call to be an evangelist. I am truly eternally grateful to him for his faithfulness and sacrifice. My husband is in heaven now which brings me such comfort and I know we will be together again thanks to the ministry of Billy Graham. Their are only 2 public people throughout the years since I became a Christian that have retained their integrity and their focus – David Wilkerson and Billy Graham.

    • I agree, Adrienne. I’m not bashing BG at all. I have the highest respect for him. And I think his inner-city project is very promising. Sorry if I came across critical of a great man.

  7. Our family attends a folk school where one the founders has an x-ed out cross tattooed over his heart and the other is a pantheist . Our teen sons were exposed to some deeply sexual comments at one event (by another participant). I called the pantheist. The organization handled the situation with amazing amounts of attention and grace. I was very impressed. I have never, never seen a church handle anything sexual this well. I

    I go with the secular.

  8. dumb ox says:

    What? You’re losing weight? You must be boycotting Chick-Fil-A! Heretic! Fetch the green wood!!!

  9. I don’t like the dissing of BG. You are forgetting he is old. Sometimes when we get old we think strange thoughts and commit them to paper. Just ask Martin Luther about that if you happen to run into him. And I am tired of all this christian whining about being separated from society. #1 we are supposed to be separted from society and hated! #2 if you have something better to offer people besides whining, then offer it. The proof will be in the “Blood pudding”

    • I remember hearing Francis Schaeffer preach near the end of his life and being very disappointed in his negativity and how he came across as a fundamentalist.

      • Thank Franky. Oh, that’s right; he doesn’t believe in any of that anymore, so no harm, no foul, right?

  10. Clay Crouch says:

    Well Jeff, I’ve never been to England, but I kinda like the Beatles. Thanks for a great ramble!

  11. Let’s see, Jesus will be honored by making a multi-millionaire even richer by eating his fast food. Is there something I’m missing here? So I will launch my own little protest. After hearing from pulpits that Sponge Bob is gay, I am convicted never to eat another Crabby Patty.

    By the way, any guesses as to how much of that BG letter was ghost-written by Franklin? I think 99% would be about accurate.

    • I had the same thought re: Mr Graham. He always led with love, but I can’t say the same of Franklin. I will refrain from saying what I feel with what the latter leads.

  12. philosophymom says:

    I taught at a Bible College for 7 years at the beginning of my career and have been at secular institutions for the 18 years since then. And while I both love my current situation and don’t think I’d want to go back to a Bible college, in fairness I can’t say that the BC was a much worse employer in a lot of the ways that count.

    Sure, you could expect to have your course content interfered with by your superiors at the BC, but that’s also happened to me twice at secular colleges that loudly proclaimed–as the BC *never* pretended to–academic freedom for all.

    And benefits weren’t great at the cash-strapped BC, but we had medical, and I even remember having some hospital copays covered by the college (an extra benefit offered because of our also-not-great salaries). Meanwhile, in the secular world I am part of the army of adjuncts who work (more hours than we should, since one’s often an adjunct at multiple schools) without benefits or job security to keep the system going.

  13. For the last 20 years, now I’ve worked for a good alternative educational outfit that contracts to public schools and county agencies. Christian, but respects boundaries. Dedicated, accountable leadership is key, as is a real board of directors/trustees who are not employees.
    I’ve worked briefly in the other kind, too, where religion/faith are used to control. Public prayer was used to send messages, performance evaluations… RUN AWAY!!! RUN AWAAAAYYY!!!!!

  14. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Billy Graham released a letter to his followers decrying the downfall of America. Most of it is typical fundraising fear language, but look at what he says he is working on these days. Eternal salvation? Really? Where do you see him going with this? Could it be he is taking on a former Grand Rapids pastor who says in the end, love wins?

    So Billy Graham has joined Team Hell?

    P.S. Watch out for that link. It hung my browser (Firefox) completely.

  15. Hope you guys enjoyed our show as much as we did last night 🙂

  16. I have spent 28 years in and around broadcasting, the last eight of them engaged with Christian radio. My years with a local “secular” FM station were the most fun, creative and productive years of my working life. I learned a lot and discovered where my abilities and aptitudes had been laying fallow. Because the organization was small, I was given a very long leash. However, the nepotism often present in a family-run business eventually caused me to leave.

    I had always hoped to find my niche in Christian broadcasting and jumped at the chance when it arrived. I discovered that leashes were much shorter in listener-supported Christian radio and unseemly compromises were the order of the day. In particular, the risks entailed in engaging a non-Christian audience tended to irritate the biggest contributors and were anathema to management, pretty much putting the lie to the mission statement which, predictably, included evangelizing (along with other cliched objectives). Personnel practices were equally hypocritical …non-practicing Christians, any form of seeker or those with character flaws such as a “liberal” view of anything need not apply. Friendship with a Catholic was tolerated, however.

    While I cannot speak with confidence regarding ALL listener-supported Christian broadcasters, my experience indicates that an “island fortress” mentality pervades traditional Christian broadcasting and prevents engagement with the world outside the sandbagged walls and ivory halls. I wouldn’t go back there.

    Internet radio is the wave of the future and the key to freedom for those Christian broadcasters seeking to engage the world and live the faith.

    Well, Jeff …you asked. 🙂

    • And you know I agree with all you have said, Jim. All you left out was working for a station that is controlled by a board. Never, never, never work for a radio station that has a dozen or so people in charge, none of whom know what they are doing.

  17. Mick Jagger at the White House: Do we need any more proof that Obama is the antichrist? 😀

    Man, that was good.

  18. I’m writing from England. although it’s made with blood, it’s actually called a black pudding. Far tastier than ‘grits’ for breakfast.

  19. Mick must be the epitome of “geriatric rock”…I think he’s down to three notes/pitches. ;o)


  20. It’s interesting to see all the hub-bub that’s going on as a result of the Chick-fil-A nonsense. I mean, who would have guessed 10 years ago that anyone saying they believed in traditional marriage would be branded a hate-mongering insensitive homophobe and have people try to run you out of town? (Oh to be back in the 50’s again when life was so much more simple.)

    But all this is useless bloviating I suppose because in fact, the only thing that matters is truth. And for Christians, Jesus Christ is God and IS truth, so the only real question that serious Christians should be asking themselves is “what does Christ have to say on the subject?’

    It’s inconceivable to imagine that God’s views are still “evolving” on this subject… (like Obama’s are) or any other subject for that matter… therefore whatever Christ taught when he delivered his “gospel” message is what true Christians are bound to accept today. That’s what makes us Christians. If however you’re NOT a Christian, then the topic is very much open for debate and discussion. Just don’t expect serious Christians to reject Christ’s teachings or somehow try to lobby him to change his mind. That’s NOT going to happen.

    • Scrapiron says:

      Les, I just read 3 full paragraphs of your writing and only your jab at Obama gives me any clue where you stand on the issue. Either I am not sophisticated enough to keep up, or you have a potential career opportunity as a political speechwriter. What did Jesus specifically teach about homosexuality in His gospel message? If you could point that out to the rest of us, maybe you could clear up some of the controversy.

  21. Michael Spensers rant on The law/Gospel was way more enlightening!

  22. My opinion is that it’s one thing to boycott a company becuase you don’t like their policies or the donations they make. That’s your prerogative in a capitalist society. Denying them zoning rights, though, is definitely stepping over the line.

    Either way, I don’t eat at Chick-fil-A for health reasons (and food snobbery I guess). I’ll get a grilled/chicken salad sandwhich on rare occasions when I’m really in a hurry (like a couple times a year), but that’s it.