Welcome to the very tired edition of Saturday Ramblings, the time of week when we sweep up after ourselves here at the iMonastery. Why am I so tired? Well, I’ve been working a new job, one that doesn’t see me to my humble abode until after ten each night. But more than that, this has been a trying and disconcerting week for your Rambler to gather relevant stories. First was the David Barton story, one that was difficult in ways to write because I have friends who work with Barton or have worked with Barton, friends I really respect. And then there is a story that could prove to be very harmful for some well-respected leaders of the church in the United States. Yes, I know I didn’t cause these people to do such things, but still, at times it ain’t all that fun to even report their craziness. So, with that said, shall we ramble?
According to Technorati, a service that ranks web sites and blogs, iMonk was ranked number 691 out of more than 1.3 million blogs this week. You’d think someone with a background in broadcasting, publishing, and marketing would be able to find a way to fund this site so that I could pay Chaplain Mike and the other great writers who keep us smiling each day, wouldn’t you? But I am very, very reluctant to add just any ads to the site, and I will never allow paid blogging to appear here. So for now, our one source of income is from you, our generous fellow iMonks. Should you want to make a one time contribution, or support us on a more regular basis, you can use the donate button to the right. And thanks to each of you who have already done so!
The big story of the week, and it will only get bigger, comes from Christianity Today. Ted Olsen and Ken Smith take an in-depth look at David Jang, a South Korean entrepreneur who has headed a university, a discipleship program in Asia, and numerous online companies. Oh, and there are reports that Jang’s followers see him at the “Second Coming Jesus.” This one, iMonks, is a very dangerous and scary story. Jang’s fingerprints are one Olivet University, which is trying to buy Glorietta Conference Center near Santa Fe, New Mexico, a facility owned by the Southern Baptist Convention. The president of Olivet (not to be confused with Olivet Nazareth University in Illinois) is William Wagner, who pastored four different SBC churches and served as the second vice president for the SBC. Wagner also serves as the chairman of the board for the Christian Post web site. If you look over the electronic masthead on CP’s site, you’ll see the executive editor is none other than another Baptist, Richard Land. Oh, and scroll down a bit further and you’ll see one of the contributing authors is Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. The CP ran a long rebuttal of CT’s story yesterday, which, as far as I can read, is a non-denial denial. This story has just begun, folks. It is going to get nastier and more complicated as it unfolds. Jang seems to have his hand in so much of American Christianity, from the World Evangelical Alliance to the Evangelical Assembly of Presbyterian Churches in America. I’m not going to go into a lot detail here—you can readily find this information in a cursory web search—but I will say this concerns me greatly. How can erstwhile solid Christians such as Mohler, et al, be so susceptible to deception, if indeed they are? Your thoughts on this story?
In related (?) news, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon was hospitalized in critical condition with pneumonia. Who is his successor as the “Second Coming Jesus”? See why I say the story above is scary?
Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate has brought Ayn Rand back into the news once again. Ryan supposedly gets some of his inspiration for his economic ideas from Rand. And Rand was anything but a Christian. But as long as Ryan is a Republican, will this matter to the evangelical voting block?
Take this great article by actress Jodie Foster, change “actor” to “pastor,” and it really still works. What do you think?
Margaret Mitchell’s nephew is leaving his estate to the Atlanta Archdiocese, including a 50 percent stake in Mitchell’s bestselling Gone With The Wind. The bishop was no doubt thrilled with this. I wonder what my pastor would say if I left my 50 percent rights for Taming A Liger: Unexpected Spiritual Surprises in Napoleon Dynamite to my church?
Roving Rambler and celebrity birthday calendar fact-checker Richard McNeeley wanted all to be sure they know what kind of people are serving as the leaders here at the iMonastery. As most all of our writers live in either Oklahoma or Indiana, I guess this really does have relevance. It hurts, but it’s true. Thanks so much, Richard!
And eagle-eyed rambling reporter Chris Shepherd filed this report on a church that meets in a bar on the Florida-Alabama border. Yes, drinks are served. What grabbed me the most in this story was the phrase “mullet-tossing contest.” Then I was disappointed that it involved fish. I had a different picture in mind. Then I thought, “Hey, what could be more fun than tossing fish across a state line?”
Finally, the Synonymous Rambler checked in with the story you’ve all waited so long to hear: Big Butter Jesus is being rebuilt. Only this time around it has earned the nickname “Hug Me Jesus.” (If you replace the H and U with a G and an A, I think you may be on to something.) Certainly Heywood Banks will come up with a song to go with this one. And will lightning strike twice? The SR didn’t have an opinion on that …
Happy birthdays this last week went out to Mike Douglas; Jerry Falwell; Steve Wozniak; Hulk Hogan; Porter Wagoner; Buck Owens; Skip Caray; Mark Knopfler; Alfred Hitchcock; Fidel Castro; Don Ho; Dan Fogelberg; David Crosby; Maureen O’Hara; and Sean Penn.
Tulsa has hit the big time. We have a Krispy Kreme. And a minor league baseball team. We have more Indian-run casinos than you can count. And ater this year we will have this birthday partier joining Bob Dylan in concert, Think I want to be there for that? Does a cow eat grass? Who wouldn’t want to be there? (Perhaps the bored looking people in this video?) I present, for your Saturday enjoyment, Mr. Mark Knopfler. Enjoy.