Weekly Meanderings, 7 October 2017

Weekly Meanderings, 7 October 2017 October 7, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 11.15.52 AMAigner’s on a roll when it comes to Mark Driscoll’s now being on Patheos Evangelical (which I think is ridiculous):

Forgiveness is one thing. Stupidity is quite another. Driscoll is not just a guy who made a mistake or two. He is an unrepentant, abusive, self-aggrandizing bully who has only voiced weak, vague, gaslighting strains of apology when his back was truly against the wall. He deserves no more chances to prove himself. Giving him yet another is a slap in the face to those who are still trying to heal from his abuses.

As you might have guessed by now, I’m shocked and appalled that Mark the Cussing Pastor is my newest neighbor here. If his personal history repeats itself, he will turn ours into a neighborhood of make-believe, a space in which he can continue living out his own personal delusions of grandeur.

Let the record show that, though he is now a “colleague” here, I claim no association with him. I flee from his hostile theology. I reject his ministerial philosophy. I abhor his abusive treatment of women and anyone else he perceives to be “weak.” I defy his nasty concept of masculinity.

[SMcK: Amen.]

Churches into bars:

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Ira Gerhart finally found a place last year to fulfill his yearslong dream of opening a brewery: a 1923 Presbyterian church. It was cheap, charming and just blocks from downtown Youngstown.

But soon after Gerhart announced his plans, residents and a minister at a Baptist church a block away complained about alcohol being served in the former house of worship.

“I get it, you know, just the idea of putting a bar in God’s house,” Gerhart said. “If we didn’t choose to do this, most likely, it’d fall down or get torn down. I told them we’re not going to be a rowdy college bar.”

With stained glass, brick walls and large sanctuaries ideal for holding vats and lots of drinkers, churches renovated into breweries attract beer lovers but can grate on the spiritual sensibilities of clergy and worshippers.

At least 10 new breweries have opened in old churches across the country since 2011, and at least four more are slated to open in the next year. The trend started after the 2007 recession as churches merged or closed because of dwindling membership. Sex abuse settlements by the Roman Catholic Church starting in the mid-2000s were not a factor because those payments were largely covered by insurers, according to Terrence Donilon, spokesman for the archdiocese of Boston.

Gerhart’s is scheduled to open this month after winning over skeptics like the Baptist minister and obtaining a liquor license.

“We don’t want (churches) to become a liquor store,” said Michael Schafer, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which has imposed restrictions on turning closed churches into beer halls. “We don’t think that’s appropriate for a house of worship.”

A good story about Chamique Holdsclaw:

Chamique Holdsclaw’s All-Star basketball career allowed her to mask her mental illness. Until it didn’t. After hitting her lowest point, she walked away from the court and found a higher purpose. …

Over her 11-season, four-team career, Holdsclaw would ultimately be awarded All The Things, among them, six WNBA All-Star nods, as well as an Olympic gold medal.

“Back then I was always chasing something,” Holdsclaw says as she eats breakfast at a trendy Atlanta diner. “I wanted to be the first person from Christ the King to play for Pat Summitt. I wanted to be the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft. I wanted to get my own shoe. I always wanted to be first, first, first.”

She leans over the table, lowers her eyes. “Ask me: Do I remember a lot of those things?”

She pauses, shakes her head. “No.”

Relaxing slightly into her chair, Holdsclaw takes a fork, pushes a bit of soggy egg to the corner of her plate. She clarifies that she’s not being rhetorical, that she genuinely doesn’t recall pivotal life events or moments of glory. The memory gaps are a consequence of the battle her brain was waging with itself at the time, a struggle of such pernicious and exhausting intensity that entire swaths of her life dissolved before her eyes as if written on an Etch A Sketch, shaken and lost forever.

This was before she knew what was happening in her mind. When she knew only how to pretend that it wasn’t.

Charles E. Gutenson:

The man had a way with words. About that, there can be no doubt. In my view, he was a master of putting such a sharp edge on things that one could hardly read what he said without one of two reactions — simply dismiss them as meaningless hyperbole or let them cut to the quick our own hypocrisy. My sense is that the latter is almost always the appropriate response, but to each her own. Our own need to see ourselves as friends of God who are faithfully living out the gospel frequently trumps any invitation to visit the possibility that we might be seriously off track. I wish my own writing were as trenchant as the following quote, but alas, I’ll have to settle for sharing his words:

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?

Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.

Søren Kierkegaard, Provocations (Plough, 2002), 193

Hyperbole, you suppose? Perhaps, but one of the things that makes hyperbole successful as a literary trope is that the exaggerations deployed unmask an underlying truth in a powerful way. The underlying truth here? That neither understanding Scripture nor following Jesus is all that complicated, and the thing that prevents us from faithfully imitating Christ is that we really don’t want to. Let that sink in. The primary obstacle is that we just don’t really want to bear the cost of being imitators of Christ.

Do me a favor. For the next few minutes, let Kierkegaard’s words have your undivided attention as you ponder their truthfulness. Have we tried to “be good Christians without letting the Bible come to close?” [HT: JS]

From Health Day:

Cute, yes, but touching them might send you to the hospital.

Puppies are transmitting potentially deadly Campylobacter bacteria infections via contaminated poop to the humans who handle them, with 55 people now sickened in an outbreak reaching across 12 states, as of this writing.

In the latest update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency says cases rose from 39 in mid-September to 55 reported by Tuesday.

“Evidence suggests that puppies sold through Petland are a likely source of this outbreak,” the CDC said in a news release issued Sept 11. “Petland is cooperating with public health and animal health officials to address this outbreak.”

Since mid-September, “four more hospitalizations have been reported, bringing the total to 13,” the CDC said in its Tuesday update, but so far “no deaths have been reported.”

Campylobacter infections linked to the puppies have now been reported between September 2016 and October 2017 in Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, the CDC said.

Campylobacter is a bacteria that causes people to develop diarrhea (sometimes bloody), cramping, abdominal pain and fever within two to five days of exposure to the organism, said Dr. Sophia Jan, director of general pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

Gender Pay Gap:


Why do gendered gaps in pay and wealth exist? Simply put, they are the product of historically rooted gender biases that still thrive today.

Though many Americans would claim otherwise, these data clearly show that the vast majority of us, regardless of gender, view men’s labor as more valuable than women’s. This often unconscious or subconscious assessment of labor value is influenced strongly by biased perceptions of individual qualities thought to be determined by gender. These often break down as gendered binaries that directly favor men, like the idea that men are strong and women are weak, that men are rational while women are emotional, or that men are leaders and women are followers. These sorts of gender biases even appear in how people describe inanimate objects, depending on whether they are classified as masculine or feminine in their native language.

Studies that examine gender discrimination in the evaluation of student performance and in hiringprofessor interest in mentoring students, even in the wording of job listings, have demonstrated a clear gender bias that unjustly favors men.

Certainly, legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act would help make visible, and thus challenge, the gender pay gap by providing legal channels for addressing this form of everyday discrimination. But if we really want to eliminate it, we as a society have to do the collective work of unlearning the gender biases that live deep within each of us. We can begin this work in our everyday lives by challenging assumptions based on gender made both by ourselves and those around us.

Nice: from AP

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) — A mystery couple has been picking up the checks for other customers at a southwestern Pennsylvania restaurant.

KDKA-TV (http://cbsloc.al/2fCvFJR ) reports the couple has been doing that for years at the Applebee’s in Washington, Pennsylvania, but only recently have their good deeds come to light.

Jolie Welling says she was celebrating her daughter’s birthday only to find the couple recently paid the entire tab — for 16 people. Samantha Powell, the waitress for that party, says the gesture touched her, too, and almost brought her to tears.

Bernie Lewis, the restaurant’s assistant manager, says she has sworn to keep the couple’s secret.

Powell knows them, too, and says they own a local business. She says the man once told her he pays others’ checks because, “I grew up poor and now I’m not.”

Kerin Wiginton:

Getting through the workday on little sleep is a point of pride for some. But skimping on shuteye could be shortening your life and making you a less than stellar employee, according to Matthew Walker, founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Underslept employees tend to create fewer novel solutions to problems, they’re less productive in their work and they take on easier challenges at work,” said Walker, author of “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams,” out Tuesday.

Operating on short sleep — anything less than seven hours — impairs a host of brain and bodily functions, said Walker, who is also a professor of neuroscience and psychology. It increases your risk for heart attack, cancer and stroke, compromises your immune system and makes you emotionally irrational, less charismatic and more prone to lying.

We spoke to the sleep scientist about what’s keeping us from getting to bed and how we can make the most of our slumber.

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