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Dusting off a Season’s Shelves20-1_cave01

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.

]]> (Editor) Cave of Adullam: Mutterings Thu, 15 Oct 2009 23:45:02 +0000
A Season in Review Optimism against all odds

A new church is being established in Frogtown, Kansas. It is, to use the words of the pastor, “the only church in the world dedicated to the Mustang car and Jesus Christ.” Yes, it is the “Mustang Church of America and Museum.” A painting (8 feet by 10) has been commissioned to hang behind the pulpit, showing Jesus Christ behind the wheel of a 1966 Mustang. Inside the sanctuary eight Mustangs are parked along the walls, angled toward the altar, showing us what is truly important in this vale of tears, with tables and chairs arranged in the center. If, upon hearing this report, you are not yet proud to be an American, the pastor hopes to hold Mustang blessings a couple times a year.

The ButtKicker® is an audio dealybob that enables musicians on stage to hear themselves sing, or yell, and lots of the top touring groups use it—and good for them, we say. Los Lonely Boys, Shania Twain, and The Rolling Stones are all customers. But if you go to their web site, you can also find a page dedicated to worship leaders, and this blurb graces that page: “The ButtKicker is the single greatest invention for audio applications for today’s modern worship—period.” Wish we could agree, but back in the day audio applications in worship happened a little differently. The preachers were the buttkickers. But that appears to be illegal now.

An elderly gentleman in Illinois was attacked by a homeless man while exiting a grocery store. The weapon was a box of Moon Pies, which the police appropriately confiscated.

A report in April prepared by an ethics committee for the Swiss government has determined that plants have “inherent worth” and that human beings have no right to wield “absolute ownership” over aforementioned plants. Cases must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Arbitrarily picking a wildflower would be unethical, while a farmer mowing his field would be okay. We are glad that’s settled.

P.J. O’Rourke sums things up nicely: “The college idealists who fill the ranks of the environmental movement seem willing to do absolutely anything to save the biosphere, except take science courses and learn something about it.”

The Spectator in the UK reports that the Universities and Colleges Union is discussing whether or not Israeli and Jewish scholars should be singled out, prior to employment in British academia, in order to have their politics properly vetted. They would be required to discuss what they think about the Israeli “occupation” as they are being interviewed for their job. You can always count on some Europeans, somehow and somewhere, to do the Jew thing every forty years or so. We are right on schedule.

Dunkin’ Donuts pulled an ad for iced coffee off the air, said ad featuring one Rachael Ray, the celebrity chef. Controversy arose after conservo-pundit Michelle Malkin made an issue out of Ray’s scarf, a paisley deal that looked, if you squinted, like one of those kaffiyeh things that Islamo-thugs use while beheading people. That was close! Eternal vigilance! The ad was pulled, and the hapless company bleated that “absolutely no symbolism was intended.” But let us pretend for a moment that it was intended, even though it wasn’t. Shouldn’t we celebrate? Wouldn’t this be a sign that we are winning the war on terror? An American chick with bare arms and naked face, extending an iced coffee to the camera? And she is smiling, with white teeth and everything? Wouldn’t this be clear evidence that American demo-capitalism can swallow and digest anything? Like when we hear anthems of rebellion from the sixties being used on television to sell luxury automobiles?

A new book called The Family is ominously subtitled “The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power,” and is about the evangelicals who have been running this country all along, their power hidden “in plain sight” like that purloined letter in Poe’s story. “This is not a book about the Bible thumpers portrayed by Hollywood, pinched little hypocrites and broad-browed lunatics, representatives of that subset of American fundamentalism that declares itself a bitter nation within a nation.” No, it is about the evangelical infestation of Washington, with evangelical power brokers like countless termites in a once grand mansion. It is “the story of an American fundamentalism, gentle and militant, conservative and revolutionary, that has been hiding in plain sight all along” (p. 9). Just glancing at his thesis, and from long contact with the kind of people he is talking about, let’s just say it is truer than he thinks, more false than he knows, and a lot more fun than he anticipates. Heh heh heh heh . . .

Brigitte Bardot, a 73-year-old former French film sex-pot—let us call her an ex-pot—keeps getting in trouble with the authorities over there in France for insulting Muslims. She has been fined four times since 1997, with the fines ranging from 1,500 euros to 5,000 euros. This last go-round the prosecutor was asking for a fine of 15,000 euros because he was frankly getting a little tired of prosecuting Mrs. Bardot. The hate crime this time was that she had said that the Muslim community was “destroying our country and imposing its acts.”

An uproar occurred in Austria when an etching was displayed in an art museum, in which Jesus and the disciples were displayed at the Last Supper as having an orgy on the table. This kind of blasphemy is de rigueur in European art circles, but the kick in the teeth here was that the picture was displayed in a prestigious Roman Catholic museum. A chagrined cardinal ordered the picture removed, which is something, I suppose.

A Christian couple in New Mexico, who run their own photography business, were recently fined 6,000 clams by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission because they had refused to photograph a “homosexual commitment ceremony.” They were initially approached by a lesbian couple, and when the photographers politely declined, one Vanessa Willock filed a complaint against them—and here we are again. The problem was that they gave the wrong reason for declining. They should have just said they didn’t do ceremonies for ugly lesbians. Hot lesbians maybe.

Back in April a delegate for Obama resigned her position because of a dust-up she had with some of the neighbor kids. Turns out that Linda Ramirez-Silwinski was given a $75 dollar ticket for disorderly conduct because two black children were playing in a tree next to her house. She told them to get out of the tree because of concerns for their safety, and because in her view the small magnolia tree was getting damaged. Got all that? When one of the fathers of the boys said that it was none of her business, she said that “the tree is not there for them to be climbing in there like monkeys.” The mother of one boy called the cops, the ticket was issued, and she resigned as a delegate because of high levels of racial insensitivity involved. But the real issue is being overlooked. This woman is clearly an Intelligent Design agitator-plant, trying to make evolutionists look bad.

An appeal has been filed in the European Court of Human Rights located (for those who are curious) in Strasbourg, France, in which appeal the court is being asked to declare that Matthew, a 26-year-old chimp, is a person. This will just open up a can of worms, and if we open up a can of worms then somebody will want them to be all declared persons. And how do we count animal years to determine voting privileges?

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.

]]> (Editor) Cave of Adullam: Mutterings Thu, 17 Sep 2009 17:47:36 +0000
A Culture in Autumn Raking the Nonsense

No real sense in mentioning what the advertisement was for actually, but the folks at CBA Retailers & Resources did let the ad run. The backdrop for the ad was this big old painting of Jesus pulling up His right sleeve so that we could all see His tattoo. Just what the Christian world needed—Jesus with a tat. The tattoo in question was a heart with a scroll unrolled across it emblazoned with the word Father, and behind the scroll the heart itself was pierced through with a cross.


A pastor in Indiana brought a dirt bike to a church service to demonstrate the concept of unity (in which a driver becomes one with the bike). Instead he almost became one with the pew in the front row after the bike got away from him and he broke his wrist. The Germans have a word for when the driver “becomes one” with his vehicle—farfegnugen. In English we just call that a crash.


Dr. Frederic J. Baur was very pleased and proud that he had designed the container used (down to this present day) by Pringles potato crisps. An inventor of many things, he was proudest of this one, and held the patent on it. So he asked his family to bury him in one, which they did. Part of his cremated remains were put in a Pringles can, and the rest of him in a regular old urn.


In a development that surprised this correspondent, country western music has taken off big time in France. In another development that should surprise no one, that nation’s bureaucrats have been pushing to bring the craze under some kind of regulatory control. They want to create an “official country dancing diploma” that will authorize recipients of said diploma to be put in charge of all line dancing and balls.


Frank Kameny was recently honored by the Smithsonian for his work in pressuring the American Psychiatric Association back in 1973 to reclassify same-sex sex as no longer a mental disorder. Still up to his old tricks, he recently wrote that there is no such thing as a sexual perversion, and that bestiality was fine “as long as the animal doesn’t mind.” Because of that “as long as the animal doesn’t mind” stuff, let’s just call this Nihilism Lite.


In a recent madcap miracle mix-up, an image of the Virgin Mary appeared on a grape belonging to a young Texas woman. The only problem is that Becky Ginn, 24, is a Baptist from the Dallas area. “I thought this stuff just happened to Catholics,” she said.


Stuff White People Like reports: “There are a number of industries that survive solely upon white guilt: Penguin Classics, the SPCA, free range chicken farms, and the entire rubber bracelet market. Yet all of these pale in comparison to classical music, which has used white guilt to exist for over a century beyond its relevance.”


The downturn in the housing market has even affected the Shire. A development in Bend, Oregon was going to be a village of 31 homes in the style of Middle Earth. Two houses have been completed, with one of them having an actual “hobbit hole” for the garden equipment. There is also supposed to a network of streams and ponds with a pathway to “The Ring Bearer’s Court.” There will even be artificial thatched roofs. But it appears the developer is selling the whole deal, and he does hope the new owner will respect the concept. The new owner, a Mr. Saruman, could not be reached for comment. (Made the last part up, but not the first part.)


The crash site of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania is going to have a memorial built there, of course, and in these our deranged times, what better way to commemorate the work of Islamic terrorists than by planting a huge crescent of red trees? Just like the Islamic crescent? And while we are at it, why not have it oriented to Mecca? Anybody who has a problem with this is probably harboring some kind of xenophobic hatred in his heart.


Democracy is thriving in Tennessee. A woman named Angela Tuttle showed up to vote in the election for constable. Since there was no one on the ballot, and because Angela was the only one who voted in that race, and because she wrote her own name in, she won handily.


In Miami this last summer, a middle-aged man was arrested because he was heading for a metals-recycling center with a 40-foot-long municipal street lamp strapped to the roof of his car.


In the standing category of American high school students getting in trouble for weird stuff, a girl in Texas has been forbidden to wear her rosary beads around her neck to school because they are “gang-related.” That’s one way to look at it, we suppose.


At the recent Princeton Regional Conference on Reformed Theology, co-sponsored by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, the speakers who were lined up to “share God’s truths from Scripture” were Dr. Al Mohler (yay) Dr. Don Carson (yay) and Dr. Diane Langberg (huh?).


A watchful correspondent pointed us to the thoughtful musings of Catherine McNicol Stock in The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Despite her efforts to portray herself as an average, small-town, ‘folksy’ American, Sarah Palin’s political views—ardently pro-gun, pro-censorship, antichoice and antigay—make John McCain’s conservative credentials pale in comparison.” Catherine Stock is the chair of the history department at Connecticut College, and knows whereof she speaks. But all this folksy conservatism has a dark side, a secret that hardly dares speak its name. Palin, it turns out, is from the Pacific Northwest. Are you as shocked as we are? We had no idea. “Demographics most basically define this geographic region. In the six states that make up the Pacific Northwest—Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska—only six counties are more than 5 percent African American.” It is for this reason that Stock informed us that our region of the country is known by the sobriquet “Great White Northwest.” Now she teaches at Connecticut College and so we should probably defer to her on this, but we have lived out here for thirty years or more without ever hearing it called that. We have heard that Canada was called the Great White North, but that was because of the snow, we thought. Anyways . . . Stock concludes on an upbeat note. “There is no evidence that Palin was ever affiliated with white-supremacist groups during her years in Idaho or at home in Alaska.” Whew! That was close!


A recent bumper sticker nailed it. “I already have a Savior. I’m looking for a president.”

]]> (Editor) Cave of Adullam: Mutterings Sun, 30 Aug 2009 00:30:14 +0000