Nope, No, Never Gonna Happen

We’ve evidently now become so wholly self absorbed that our churches are pandering to the worst among us and offering an opt out of community and communal worship option of pseudo prayer.

These days, we can get fast food, coffee, prescriptions and even our dry cleaning from a drive-thru. But the newest drive-thru hot spot in the Houston area requires no purchase. People are pulling over for prayer.

The first time Sandy Cepeda saw the signs on Broadway Street in Pearland, she kept on driving. But one day, she stopped. “Today, I decided to come because, truly, there’s a lot of people struggling out there, and my struggle is different from other people, but I really need the prayer,” she said. … Lopez and co-pastor Danny Quintanilla created drive-thru prayer for anyone who’s in a rush and feeling life’s stresses, but may not attend a place of worship.

They want the benefits of the community without the commitment of community or to community. They want the privileges of faith without the nastiness of commitment to faith. They want God to cater to their ‘needs’ while they merrily ignore the needs of others. This is selfishness taken to its natural (read, godless) conclusion.

Higher Ed? Yeah, Maybe Not Really. More Like Personal Enrichment For Administrators

New analysis of tax data from publicly available IRS 990 forms shows that eight high-level UChicago administrators have received more than $7.6 million in compensation increases since 2007-2008, even as the school moved toward and suffered a credit downgrade.

Over five years, administrators enjoyed pay increases of between 40 percent and 135 percent, and as a result each received $450,000 to $3.3 million from cumulative increases by the end of 2012-2013, the most recent year for which tax data is available.

UChicago thus ended up paying $2.5 million more annually for the combined services of these eight people — an increase from $3.4 to almost $6 million per year.

These administrators include President Robert Zimmer, former Provost Thomas Rosenbaum (now president of the California Institute of Technology), and executive vice president David Fithian, a former Harvard dean. Previously, all three received scrutiny because they did not help identify administrators responsible for an apparently deceptive UChicago statement about increases to Zimmer, the country’s highest paid private university president.

Etc.

Paying that higher tuition and those increased fees is making a big difference to the quality of education.  Nah, I’m kidding.  What it’s really doing is making top administrators really very wealthy while instruction takes a back seat.  But hey, no need to feel badly about it.  After all, they’re accredited schools which means you can believe them…  They’ve paid all the proper bribes erm, I mean fees… and are duly and rightly managed and operated.  Because the accrediting agencies have gotten kickbacks, shoot, I mean done their due diligence to ensure that they are…

Were it Not For That Dashboard Camera…

I very much doubt the trooper who shot a man simply retrieving his license would even be suspected of a crime.

One moment, a man reaches into his vehicle after a South Carolina trooper asked for his driver’s license.  Seconds later, the trooper shoots him, and the man asks why. Days afterward, prosecutors aren’t satisfied with the answer.  Authorities released dash-camera video Wednesday showing what they say is Sean Groubert, a decorated South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper, shooting Levar Jones, who was unarmed, in the parking lot of a gas station just outside Columbia on September 4.  Jones, 35, survived the shooting. But Groubert, who has since been fired for the incident, has been charged with aggravated assault and battery, a felony that could get him up to 20 years in prison if convicted, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said Wednesday.

Shoot first seems to be the policy of many- especially when the suspect is non-white.

Bad News on the Ebola Front

The Washington Post alerts via email

The number of Ebola cases in West Africa could reach 1.4 million by the end of January if trends continue without an immediate and massive scale-up in response, according to a new estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report released Tuesday is a tool the agency has developed to help with efforts to slow transmission of the epidemic and estimate the potential number of future cases. Researchers say the total number of cases is vastly underreported by a factor of 2.5 in Sierra Leone and Liberia, two of the three hardest-hit countries. Using this correction factor, researchers estimate that approximately 21,000 total cases will have occurred in Liberia and Sierra Leone by Sept. 30. Reported cases in those two countries are doubling approximately every 20 days, researchers said.

Ummm… might want to get a handle on this, you sciency people.

Aww, Nick Jonas Has Ditched His ‘Purity Ring’…

Jonas-300x300Because, in his words,

I’ve got my set of values, things that are important to me now at this point in my life, and that’s all that matters.

Yes, precious, all that matters is what you feel.  Stay strong, precious, and never let all that God and holiness and Christian doctrine stuff interfere with what you think is best…

[NB- Another 'Christian' young person who thinks he knows better than Christianity does and who has become a law unto himself, thereby abandoning faith and turning inward to find his own path of salvation - which in reality is a path to death.  Thank you, churches with your pizza party feel good non-doctrinal pseudo-theology, you've managed to lead another one down the broad path that leads to destruction].

The Genuinely Invincible Ignorance of Today’s Wikipedia Consulting Internet ‘Experts’

Give a person the internet and they will often take advantage of it to put on parade their invincible and unredeemable dilettantish ignorance.  For instance, A-J Levine, one of the finest scholars of the NT presently working wrote a piece for CNN the other day on the parables of Jesus.  Unsurprisingly, she got a good bit of push-back from the slathering unwashed ignorant mob.  Here are some of the comments offered by that lot:

On Sep 21, 2014, at 11:48 PM, mablej@bellsouth.net wrote:

Must Look good on a resume! I read your article on The prodigal son. Your words made absolute no sence? Not only was it mind numbing, It cluded to no truth or conclusion. This was simply a parable. You tried to make it something silly. If you don’t believe in faith and or God that’s fine. Don’t write A stupid article that makes no sense!

John

Good heavens… a person without any skills in grammar at its most basic lecturing someone about an article? Here’s another-

You are burying yourself in a mountain of arrogance. Do you know what you sound like? “I care about this more than you do, and I know about this more than you do, and I see the details more than you do, and I am a university professor and you are not, you little peasant, and therefore I will not deign to talk to you because you are insignificant.”

That is what I hear from you. In fact, the first part is almost verbatim what you said. Ironically the truth is that I know more about all of these things than you do, and a sign of that is how wrong you were. My opinion is that you aren’t responding to my points because you know you are wrong, but you are too conceited to admit being wrong, and therefore don’t want to entertain and legitimize that idea by conversing with me.

As I said before, I was not trying to insult you. Because you are arrogant, you feel like my criticisms are insults, but really I’m just trying to help you by showing you how wrong you are so you can correct yourself and prevent displaying such foolishness in the future.

As for your comment about the purity rules, you even refuse to accept that you did not know the facts, which are plain for everyone to see. The Bible clearly states that the Levites are forbidden from touching dead bodies, but you did not know that and claimed otherwise. And when I correct you, you arrogantly claim that I am in the wrong.

Also, I never believed that purity rituals were involved in the parable. The parable itself never mentions purity, it simply mentions that the first two individuals passed by the traveler; it doesn’t mention their motives for not helping him (but we are led to assume it’s because they don’t care about him). Your assertion that the purity rituals are unimportant is not something anyone would have considered in the first place, and I certainly never took it that way or thought it was an issue. Why would I? Those verses never in any way imply that the priest and Levite passed for reasons involving the purity rules. The only reason I can think that you would bring them up at all is because you lack knowledge of those parables and thought that it was part of the parable. Those little details though… haha.

I’ve met a lot of people in academia like you. Nothing I can say will change your mind, you know you’re perfect and therefore anything anyone else says is meaningless because you already know everything. I understand, carry on then.

Cheers,
Jay

What a ghastly ignoramus! And one final example-

Hello Mrs. Levine,

I just finished reading your article on CNN about the four parables we all got wrong and I feel compelled to email you and comment on it. Now it may seem like I’m trying to offend you with what I write but what I’m really trying to do is help you. Because people like me, when we read the kind of stupidity that you displayed in your article, well let’s just say it doesn’t look good for you or the institution you represent.

Let’s just talk about the first parable you discussed in your article, the prodigal son. At the end of that section you concluded that the parable is literally about COUNTING!!!! At first I laughed and thought you were joking. I thought to myself there is no way an intelligent person can come away with that conclusion, so there must be more. But no, it seems from the article that you actually believe that the parable of the prodigal son is a lesson in elementary school level mathematics.

Let me ask you a question: Are you insane? Are you ABSOLUTELY BATS@#T INSANE? Or are you just extremely stupid and ignorant? Because those are really the only two options for someone who reads that parable and comes away thinking that Jesus is trying to teach people how to count, reducing him to nothing more than a glorified 1st grade math teacher.

Forget the other three parables you talked about, which you butchered equally bad, while inconspicuously (not really) throwing in some of your personal political beliefs about employment and such. It’s enough to read the first part of your article and realize how deluded you are.

How on earth did you become a university professor? Does their employment non-discrimination clause include a line for very, very dumb people? You are an embarrassment to academia and Vanderbilt. You probably think you are really smart, and you probably thought people would read your article and be impressed with your insight and sagacity, didn’t you? And what’s worse, you are actually supposed to be someone who studies this stuff and teaches about it to other people. You are an immense shame and I shudder to think that there are probably lots of foolish, ignorant people like you in our universities who can’t see their own lunacy because of how arrogant they are.

I laugh at your ignorance and idiocy. I truly laugh to think that you sit there believing you are smart, but at the same time display such overt foolishness and outright stupidity. Do yourself a favor, next time you write something that will be read by large numbers of people, make sure it actually makes sense and doesn’t expose your absolutely lack of anything resembling intelligence. That way you won’t shame yourself and your colleagues in the process.

Thanks,
Jay

Sigh… The internet is a great tool if you know how to use it. But it turns so many into tools that I sometimes think the bad outweighs the good. I do have to give A-J this, though- she is far more patient with such sots than I would be. My response would be far simpler- Here’s your dilly, now move along and get back to marrying your sister.

dilly-the-dilettante