Welcome to the Tim Howard edition of the Ramblings, fellow imonkers. Yes, team USA lost to Belgium on Tuesday, but goal-keeper Tim Howard made 16 saves, the most since they began keeping track (in 1966). 20 years ago he would have had a few nice newspaper clippings to but on his bulletin board. This being the internet age, Howard’s feat immediately became a meme: Things that Tim Howard could have saved. For your viewing enjoyment, I will sprinkle some of them throughout the post, starting here:
And some other countries had teams playing soccer. Apparently. Argentina faced Switzerland in an elimination round on Tuesday. “It will be war” Pope Francis joked with his Swiss guards. He declined their invitation to watch the match with them, but did make a bet on the game with them. The Swiss lost due to some (probable) divine interference, and the guards now have to wear Team Argentina colors till the next World Cup. If the Swiss had won the Vatican would have been relocated to Zurich.
Religious liberty loomed large on the legal landscape this week, but I don’t want to talk about the Hobby Lobby case, and if you start up in the comments I will call PETA, cuz you are beating a dead horse. A more interesting case, and one much less commented upon, was across the pond, where the European Court on Human Rights upheld France’s ban on veils which cover the face. A 24 year old French Muslim woman brought the suit, alleging that the ban violated her freedom of expression and religion. The court gave two reasons for upholding the ban. The first was security, since a person with a full veil cannot be identified. The second reason was more oblique: “The Court was also able to understand the view that individuals might not wish to see, in places open to all, practices or attitudes which would fundamentally call into question the possibility of open interpersonal relationships, which, by virtue of an established consensus, formed an indispensable element of community life within the society in question.” In other words, other people have a right to see your face in public. I’m with the Muslim woman on this one. What do you think, imonkers?
By the way, Europe’s highest Rabbi (who knew this was a thing?) is strongly opposed to the ban, and says that religious liberty in Europe is “unraveling before our eyes”.
“Its not about how many people I tackle each day. It’s not about how many hundreds of millions [communion] cups we sell at the end of the day.” Not a quote you run into often. It was made by Israel Idonije, a football player recently cut from the Chicago Bears. His new line of work: selling pre-filled communion cups. These are machine packaged, and are available with a wafer sealed in. Idonije says beyond the issue of convenience, sales are increasing because of concerns over germs. You don’t have to worry about someone sneezing or coughing near the elements, and the only hands that touch the elements are yours.
Pope Francis this week called landmines “weapons of cowards”. And this week the U.S. this week indicated that it will likely join the 161 other nations who have signed the Ottawa Convention outlawing the possession and use of mines.
This is all kinds of awesome. Hessy Taff was a six months old infant in Germany in 1935 when she had her pictures taken. Unbeknownst the her family, the photographer entered her photo in a contest designed to find the “perfect Aryan baby”; Hessy’s picture won, and was re-printed in all sorts of Nazi propaganda. Hessy is still alive, and this month presented the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel with a Nazi magazine featuring her baby photograph on the front cover. Why the presentation to the Jewish Museum? Because Hessy Taff, the “perfect Aryan baby”, …is a Jew.
My son is living in Israel right now, so the recent troubles there have gotten my attention most profoundly. I am speaking, of course, about the three Israeli teens who were kidnapped and murdered, and the Palestinian teen who met the same fate (probably as revenge). A leading Rabbi is being urged to resign his post as secretary general of the World B’nei Akiva movement after he put up a Facebook post calling for Palestinian blood, and suggesting that “300 Philistine foreskins” would be a good place to start.
Alabama Pastor Ricky Martin volunteers as a chaplain in a state prison, and in that context has met many sex-offenders who had no place to live when they got out. Martin came up with the idea of a sex offender refuge in rural Chilton County, far away from any schools or daycare centers, and began screening parolees to live there. Over the years over 50 men have found temporary shelter there (usually about a half-dozen at a time) and none of them have been picked up for another crime. This week the state legislature passed a bill that prohibits “more than two convicted sex offenders from living within 300 feet of each other on the same property unless they are married.” Coincidentally, the bill only takes effect in the county where Martin and his camp reside.
Oh my. A new poll finds that Americans think Barack Obama is the worst president since the Second World War. Somewhere even Richard Nixon is a little amazed at this one. They say that fools march in where angels fear to tread, so let me prove that proverb true by asking you, fellow imonkers, to give your opinion on this. How would you rate (by your own subjective criteria) the presidents since WW2? Give us a list, then a short explanation of your criteria (or criterion if you only have one and are linguistically picky). Non-U.S. readers, we need your perspective, too.Now, play nice, and no-name calling (leave that to the youtube comment section). Just to show my fearlessness (or foolishness), I will start:
7. Bush I
9. Bush 2
My criteria is not based on how much I agree with each president’s viewpoints, but how effective I think they were as presidents, especially in the area of foreign policy. Foreign policy trumps domestic for me for this simple reason: With foreign policy the president, since world war 2, has had almost unlimited control and his decisions have affected the whole world. I also downgraded presidents I thought were corrupt or just jerks (looking at you, Lyndon) because the president is in some ways a symbol of the country. And because I don’t like jerks.
Kudos to the best satire I’ve read in a while: How to Breastfeed Appropriately. Here is Tip #5: “Get some morals. Do you have sex in public? No. Then why would you pull out your SEX BREASTS for your baby in public? Just because something is natural, doesn’t mean we all want to see it. Yes, we will tolerate a celebrity nip slip or areola display. Yes, there are breasts splashed all over magazine racks and on television bouncing up and down to pop music, but that’s different. We’re OK with boobs if money has been exchanged. Has your cheap baby paid you? No? Then wrap it up.”
Tyler Perry has won a trademark battle this week. The prize? The right to copyright the phrase, “What would Jesus Do”. Presumably this would only apply to potential movies and reality shows. Chaplain Mike, your WWJD belt buckle and early 90’s t-shirts are still safe (I think).
A columnist for Ministry Today, after hearing preachers brag about how “practical” their messages are, asks this question: Where do pastors get the idea that the Bible is practical? “The drama of a God who allowed His Son to become a sacrifice to redeem the entire human race is the least practical thing I’ve ever heard. The story of redemption isn’t practical at all. If you want practical, then you’re looking in the wrong place. The incarnation, the mystery of salvation, the power of miracles, how the gospel message transforms lives—all those things aren’t the least bit practical. And how about the Sermon on the Mount? And turning the other cheek?” what do you think, fellow imonkers: should sermons seek to be “practical”, and if so, then in what ways?
Disturbing headline of the week: What you Need to Know about the Coming Jellyfish Apocalypse.
Well, that’s it for the Tim Howard edition of the Ramblings. I will just leave one final image.