|Cave of Adullam: Mutterings|
Words to catch the readers’ eyes and lure the unsuspecting into The Cave
Dusting off a Season’s Shelves
Country music is simply an audible microcosm of all the basic issues of human existence—as Rosanne Cash once summed it up, “Love, God, murder.” It’s all there. Red clay on the tires of your ’72 pickup truck. Doing down home philosophy on the front steps of a cabin in Kentucky, whittling at a stick all day. First love, heartbreak, hunting dogs, railroads, and love for that spinney of trees on the south forty. And if that were not enough, there is yet another element in mystery and the paranormal. For starters, how come did anybody ever come to like Kenny Chesney?
A while back, a man named Don Black, a former KKK grand wiz-tard, donated $500 to Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul, because he liked Paul’s stand on “tight borders” and “opposition to a police state.” A spokesman for the Paul campaign, Jesse Benton, said that they do not monitor donors or return money when it comes from controversial quarters, and his reasoning for this was impeccable. “If someone of a small-minded ideology sends money, it’s his loss. First, it’s $500 less for Black to use on whatever it is he does. Then, it’s $500 more for Dr. Paul to use to protect the individual rights of all Americans.” So there you go.
The October 2007 edition of Rolling Stone magazine reports the advent of the very first Muslim punk-rock bands, engaged in the very first Islamic punk-rock tour. Only in this case, it is the amplifiers that explode.
A boy in an eighth-grade Arizona school was suspended for three days for doodling something that kind of looked like a gun. The mystery in this is how the administrators could possibly have known what a gun looks like.
Lutheran churches in Stockholm are starting to crack down on the pernicious practice of fathers walking their daughters down the aisle in weddings. The bishop has recommended that the practice be discouraged—so shall it be. One pastorette explained the reasoning this way: couples who marry “are equal when it comes to finances, politics, values . . . but when they come to the church . . . the woman suddenly turns into a man’s property.” One follows the logic, of course, but a strong argument can be made the other way as well. It seems to us that the Swedish church should allow this for no other reason than that the Church in that region of the world appears to be the place where you give everything away.
National Review informed us that the National Health Service of Scotland banned all workers from eating lunch at their desks during the month of Ramadan, lest they insult or tempt or otherwise provoke their fellow workers who are Muslims and who are therefore fasting during this time. No word yet on what the Muslims and Jews have to give up for Lent.
But nevertheless, there are signs of a coming reformation. Consider this recent promo effort for a church trying to get to the root of the matter. “Is life all about you? Our society will tell you yes. But what does God say about how you should live? The Bible teaches that if you want to be considered GREAT, you must learn to SERVE (Matthew 20:26-28)! Starting August 18th, Pastor D.H. will spend 3 weeks talking about how to avoid the self-absorbed mentality. As an added bonus, all first time guests will receive a FREE $15 iTunes Gift Card.” Savor. Irony is tart.
Our attention has been drawn to a recent book about women pastors and the unique challenges they face. The name of the empathetic tome is Called, Equipped & No Place to Go: Woman Pastors and the Church. As much as we sympathize with the dilemma, this assessment is not quite accurate. They do have a place to go. They could always go over to 1 Timothy.
A friend of ours received a missive in the mail that promised the recipient “an incredible miracle at the emotional, and especially, financial level.” This promise was offered by one Angela Almera, “Clairvoyant Medium of Great Precision,” which is, we assume, sort of the black-belt level in such things. The letter included with it a lucky gold talisman, which needed to be placed on a special place set aside for it on the letter, and kept there for thirty seconds. The only other thing necessary for good fortune to start busting loose all over the place was to reply to the letter with a “request” for “urgent assistance,” so that the lucky person’s talisman (kept now on his person) could charge the medium with his “personal vibrations.” Wait. We missed something. The one additional lubricant necessary to make the machinery of these spiritual vibes run as smoothly as it needs to run would be an enclosed check for 27 clams . . . non-spiritual clams, that is. No vibe clams.
Back in December, a fund-raiser for the March of Dimes in Palm Beach featured a naked lady doing some performance art—getting painted gold or something while gyrating on the dance floor. After this performance-wiggling-art elicited some negative comment from some of those in attendance, the co-chair of the event acknowledged, “It was a faux pas, and we’ll learn from it.” Lest they become the Bump and Grind of Dimes.
Opponents of Intelligent Design continue their highly scientific labor of trying to square the circle. Martin Cothran at the Discovery Institute has pointed out, with elegant understatement, that opponents of ID cannot have it both ways. They want to reject ID for two reasons, presumably with both of them equally important. First, because the claims made for ID are not falsifiable in principle, the approach cannot be considered science. Second, the central claims of ID have been found to be false. Heh.
A United Methodist church in Baltimore called St. John’s is a happening place. The minister, formerly the Rev. Ann Gordon, has now been reappointed to the same congregation under her new identity as the Rev. Drew Phoenix, made that way by the wonders of transsexual surgery. “I am making this transition under the care of an excellent medical team. I am grateful for their expertise. They have been instruments of God’s grace for me,” bringing new and quite striking meanings to the phrase instruments of grace. But if that were not enough for us to take in, the congregation has decided to address the financial problems caused by the small size of the congregation—and the reasons for such a small congregation we cannot fathom—by building a coalition with a local anarchist bookshop and café going by the name of Red Emma’s. Because there are few issues in our day as important as fair trade coffee and solidarity with all the people where solidarity du jour is called for, as brought about by yet another solidarity between anarchists and transformer preachers.
Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings movies, has worked out his financial differences with New Line Cinema, and (as many fans already know) is now going to produce two films based on The Hobbit. The two films are going to be made at the same time and then released in 2010 and 2011. This is not an auspicious beginning—at least not for people who can count. It’s The Hobbit, people, not The Hobbitses.
The Japanese defense minister, Shigeru Ishiba, has been working hard to harmonize the pacifist constitution of Japan with the possible prospect of invasion from outer space. Ishiba, a believer in UFOs, is trying to figure out what a constitutional response might be.
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan (a country teetering on the edge of chaos already, while juggling a hundred nukes or so) occurred just a few days before the first primary elections in our presidential campaign. It happened early enough to reinforce the idea that the world really is a dangerous place, and we desperately need a grown-up as president. It happened late enough to make it clear that all available American grown-ups had made prior commitments and were off somewhere else making money.
In 2003, a book entitled Charlie Wilson’s War was released. In the declining days of 2007, the movie dutifully came out. Since the movie starred Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, we are looking at a major foreign policy statement, at least by Hollywood standards. The true story concerns a rogue CIA agent, a playboy congressman, and a beautiful Houston socialite who “joined forces to lead the largest and most successful covert operation in history.” The upshot of that operation, in case you missed it, was humiliating the Soviets in Afghanistan, and greasing the skids for their slide into oblivion. History is messier than most want it to be, but this messiness actually turns out to be necessary because history is mostly acted out by people, some of whom are skunks and end up arming the Taliban.
Henry Hyde, a stalwart pro-life fixture in Congress, passed away at the end of November. Because he was instrumental in separating abortion from federal funding through the Hyde Amendment, an estimated one million Americans are alive today thanks to this genial man of principle. R.I.P.
Scientists have now figured out how to reprogram adult stem cells, which activity promises all the same medical potential that embryonic stem cells did. So it turns out that pro-life objections to the destruction of embryos for the sake of those all-important fountain-of-youth stem cells was not a blinkered, luddite move driven by some stupid superstition. Those who really want to force us into the situation-ethics lifeboat—where three guys draw straws to determine which one gets eaten for the sake of the greatest good for the greatest number—will have to try again some other day, some other way.
Hugo Chavez of Venezuela thought that he was going to be made Poobah for Life by means of a referendum that wound up doing nothing of the kind. It turns out that Venezuelans didn’t want another El Presidente for forever and a day. What’s wrong with those people? Don’t they know they live in South America?
Mark Steyn, author of the very fine America Alone, is having to fight off the forces of tolerance in his native Canada. An excerpt from his book ran in MacLean’s magazine, an important Canadian rag, which is where the trouble started. When some Muslim law students demanded that the magazine run an unedited, five-page rebuttal, and the magazine refused, the Canadian Islamic Conference filed complaints with the Human Rights Commission of Canada, as well as with the Human Rights Commissions of the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario. Steyn, it seems, is flagrantly Islamophobic. These people are going to fix that by attacking him.
A popular work of evangelistic apologetics is Letters from a Skeptic, a publication of letters between Pastor Greg Boyd and his father Edward Boyd. Pastor Boyd is an advocate of openness theism, and the book is a record of his correspondence with his father, who was an unbeliever at the time. By the end of the exchange, his father was converted to Christ. Ironically, the book is a striking example of God’s sovereignty over all things, contra openness theology. How else could you explain Boyd Sr. raising a series of questions that his son couldn’t answer adequately at all, and being persuaded by the non-answers anyway?
A while back, a letter writer to the magazine Chronicles points out that liberals on immigration policy do not so much love Mexicans as they despise Texas. This is an insight that has a broad range of applications. Greens don’t love nature; they hate civilization. And so on. Try your own.
A chess/computer kind of guy named David Levy has written what he thinks is a prophetic tome called Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships. The book seriously maintains, and why not, that within fifty years computer developments (along with other technical riffs) will make human/android whoopee a reality. As he puts it, “Great sex on tap for everyone, 24/7.” To makes things more seriously cock-eyed, Levy lives in England and has apparently not read That Hideous Strength, in which the inhabitants of the moon did this very thing, and look where it got them. Does Mr. Levy want us to come over there and wake up Merlin?
The opinions expressed in these editorials and observations are drafted by the hard-working staff of The Cave of Adullam (TCOA, Inc.), and do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers themselves. Unless they do.