If I told you I know would it mean anything?

If I told you I know would it mean anything? February 22, 2024

• Grand Canyon University is the largest Christian university in America, and the worst landlord in Phoenix. And now the school can add one more superlative, facing the largest-ever fine from the Department of Education, which ordered GCU to pay $37.7 million for having “misled students about the cost of its graduate programs.”

Don’t know what kind of conduct is permitted by Grand Canyon’s student handbook, but I guess it doesn’t prohibit displacing 54 families or defrauding grad students.

• I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of Erik Loomis’ “American Graves” series. It’s an idiosyncratic project shaped in part by serendipity and the kind of stumbling across that happens both in graveyards and in archives. He recently featured the grave of one of my favorite actors, Jack Lemmon, who also has one of my all-time favorite tombstones:

“Jack Lemmon in …”

• Historian Randall Balmer writes about the white evangelicalism of his father, an End-Times Rapture fundamentalist of the mid-20th century. (His dad was literally the preacher in A Thief in the Night.) Balmer isn’t writing to praise or even to defend his father’s form of white evangelicalism, just to lament that the dominant, Trump-y version we have today seems so much worse.

Here’s what I think is the most interesting bit: “A part of the answer lies with the eclipse of premillennialism among evangelicals, many of whom still claim to be premillennialists but who act otherwise.”

Premillennialism presumes that the world is going to end very badly, very soon, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it other than try to evangelize as many as you can as fast as you can. This world is not my home. It’s all gonna burn. Lord, come quickly. Etc. Such pessimism and fatalism about the temporal world is consistent with the no-politics and no-social-action faith of Rapture Christians like Balmer’s dad. But it’s impossible to reconcile with the activist, hyper-politicized faith of 21st-century white evangelicals. This is what Balmer means by them claiming to be premillennialists, but acting otherwise.

This can appear more confusing than it actually is if you expect people’s politics to flow out of their theology. It usually works the other way. White evangelicals didn’t become increasingly politically engaged and politicized during the second half of the 20th century because they had shifted from premillennial pessimism to postmillennial optimism. The political engagement and politicization of their faith came first and is only now — slowly and spastically — causing them to reassess their former eschatology.

For now, they’ll still talk about the Rapture, a bit, but their faith and politics are shaped less by supposed biblical prophecies of the Great Tribulation than by supposed prophecies of a Great Replacement.

• “My Son, the Litigious Parody Writer.” Mark Evanier shares “the tale of how one of my idols sorta threatened to sue me when I was barely in my teens.”

The more you learn about a guy like Allen Sherman the more you respect a guy like Weird Al.

• “Maultaschen.” Germany’s version of ravioli was invented by a monk named Brother Jakob who, legend says, needed to “use up an unexpected bounty of meat” during Lent:

Although they abhorred waste, these monks weren’t allowed to eat the meat of four-legged animals, especially during the Catholic fasting period of Lent in the spring. So Brother Jakob minced the meat with herbs and onions and wrapped everything inside pasta dough, hiding the forbidden flesh from the eyes of his fellow monks—and even from the eyes of God.

In Swabia, the region encompassing much of Baden-Württemberg and part of Bavaria where Maultaschen originated, one of the colloquial names for the food references this deception directly: Herrgottsbescheißerle means “little God-cheaters.”

Brother Jakob’s name is a terrific detail in that legend given that the many trickster stories about the biblical Jacob. The Bible also tells us a story about the time Jacob’s grandfather welcomed God for lunch and they dined together, enjoying a very not-kosher meal of, basically, cheeseburgers.

So while I don’t think God is tricked by Herrgottsbescheißerle, I suspect God isn’t offended by them either,

Elaine MacKenzie is one of the greatest albums of the ’90s and it’s almost invisible online. This non-video video of “I Know, I Know” has lousy audio and barely 600 views. I mean, I personally have needed to hear this song more than 600 times.

Anyway, here’s the source of the title of this post:

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