Speaker Ryan Is No Friend of America

A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

And much more.

Baylor University’s Culture of Gang Rape

NPR reports

A new federal lawsuit against Baylor University accuses football players of drugging and gang-raping young women as part of a hazing or bonding ritual — and the university of failing to investigate the pervasive sexual assault.

The players often took photographs and videos as they carried out the gang rapes, the suit alleges. It was filed by “Jane Doe,” who says she was raped by four to eight Baylor players in February 2012. Her Title IX suit says the school’s “deliberately indifferent response” effectively denied her educational opportunities.

The suit also describes dogfighting at football parties and burglaries carried out by football players, without consequence.

The alleged assaults and other criminal activities took place during former head football coach Art Briles’ tenure at the school in Waco, Texas.

Etc.  Quite a program they have going there.  Sic ’em bears takes on a whole new meaning…

Pentebabbleist Perversity on Parade

Her father, heir apparent to the Trinity Broadcasting Network empire, was addicted to pornography; she caught her mother performing sex acts on another man, and was encouraged to be promiscuous; and she had several unplanned pregnancies that ended in abortion, attorneys for Trinity said on Monday.

Carra Crouch, granddaughter of the late Jan and Paul Crouch, stared straight ahead, fidgeting her foot as Trinity attorney Michael King told the newly-impaneled jury that she did drugs, cut herself and was a deeply troubled youth before that day in April 2006 that she claims changed her life. Carra Crouch, King said, simply seeks Trinity’s money.

After five years of dizzying legal maneuvers and thousands of court filings that cleaved the first family of Christian broadcasting to pieces, a trial that promises to brutally air the family’s dirty laundry got under way in Orange County Superior Court.

Carra Crouch said she was sexually assaulted by a TBN employee at a Praise-A-Thon fundraiser when she was 13 years old. Her late grandmother, TBN co-founder Jan Crouch, had accompanied her on the trip. Carra Crouch said she smoked a cigarette, drank alcohol and watched a movie on her bed with a 30-year-old man, and that the man fondled her, tried to kiss her, and gave her a glass of water that she suspects was laced with a drug that made her pass out, according to her lawsuit against Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, the nonprofit that runs the Christian broadcasting empire TBN. When she awoke, she suspected she had been raped.

As an ordained minister, Jan Crouch was required to report the suspected assault to authorities as per California’s mandatory reporting laws, Crouch claims. Instead, Jan Crouch screamed that it was all Carra’s fault, and no reports were made, her attorneys said.

“We will show how Jan Crouch – Carra’s own flesh and blood grandmother, matriarch and leader of the world’s largest televangelist television program, pastor and spiritual leader of that family – how when she heard what had occurred, didn’t offer comfort or spiritual healing. She yelled at her. Berated her. Castigated her. She blamed her. She shamed her,” said Crouch’s attorney, David Keesling.

And a lot more.

Rob Bell Knows Less About the Bible than A Louse Does

Rob Bell recently clarified that his new book’s title What Is the Bible? was an actual, legitimate question he was asking, not a rhetorical one, and that the title should not be taken to suggest that his book contains any definitive answers to the question posed by its name.

“Like, seriously—what is it? I literally have no idea. Can someone help me out here?” he said in a new, updated book trailer released to coincide with the launch of his book Tuesday. “I wrote this book hoping someone would explore the question with me, because I’m totally stumped.”

Bell went on in the video to speculate that the term “Bible” could be either a book penned anonymously by Mark Twain sometime in the 11th century, a race of cybernetic organisms bent on assimilating all species in the galaxy, or possibly the title of an unaired episode of CSI: Miami.

“As far as I know, this ‘Bible’ thing is a mental projection of our collective consciousness, manifested into existence by the power of our imagination,” he added. “Could someone please tell me what it is?”

Bell also confirmed on his Facebook page plans to write further books titled after a collection of troubling questions he’s been wrestling with, such as Who Is Jesus?, Who Is Rob Bell Anyway?, and Is Any of this Real Or Are We All Just Tripping on Acid?

If you’re getting your understanding of Scripture from Bell, well let me put this as gently as possible, you’re a fool.  You’d be better off getting your info from the lice on the heads of the 1st grade school kids.

‘Discoveries’ – An Observation

Whenever someone ‘discovers’ a new ‘meaning’ of an ancient concept it behooves us all to be skeptical.  Why?  Well first of all, the very nature of scholarship is skepticism.  It accepts nothing at face value but requires good substantial evidence.

Accordingly, when someone ‘uncovers’ a different understanding of a word or phrase in the Bible that, lo and behold, no one ever noticed before, it is the scholar’s duty to do more than simply nod in assent.   What is the evidence?  What new evidence is there for your new reading?  How can we be certain that your idiosyncratic understanding isn’t mere eisegesis?

Too often, however, novelty trumps responsibility.  Something ‘new’ is lauded merely because it’s new without being shown to be true.

I’m all for fresh reading if they have evidential support.  But the spewings of imagination have no place in responsible or respectable biblical interpretation.

The Anniversary of Julius Wellhausen’s Birth

There’s no question at all that Julius Wellhausen has been far more influential in the field of Old Testament studies than most others.    I mention him now because it was on the 17th of May in 1844 that he was born.  Today is the anniversary of his birth.

Wellhausen was born in the northern German city of Hameln on May 17, 1844. His father was a Lutheran minister; Julius was to follow in the same vocation. Wellhausen was sent to Gottingen during the period 1862-65 to study under Heinrich Ewald, a Hebraist and Old Testament scholar. However, Wellhausen and Ewald had a gradual falling out during the years 1866-70. The two quarreled over the proper interpretation of the Old Testament and about Prussian politics. Wellhausen received his Ph.D. in theology in 1870 and then taught for two years at Gottingen. In 1872, Wellhausen received a professorship at Greifswald, located on the Baltic Sea. He resigned in 1882 because he believed that his teachings were having a dire effect on theological students destined for the ministry, and because he had become a figure of controversy over his published views on the Old Testament.

There’s more here.  Of course it isn’t at all surprising that he was so influential- his initials were, after all, J.W.  Happy Wellhausen Day!

Happy Ascension Day…

To those who celebrate…*

lm8q2

____________
*Don’t you hate it when people feel like they have to qualify their holiday greetings just because they don’t want to ‘offend’ someone who may, because they embrace the ignorance of political correctness, be of a different mind? I’ve never been miffed when someone said ‘Happy Passover’ or ‘Have a great whatever Muslim holiday it is today’ or ‘Happy Saint Random day’. It’s just silliness.

Total Depravity: Texting During the Movie Woman

A Texas woman got a reminder this week that dating is the worst.

The 35-year-old woman may be facing a legal dispute after a man she met online, Brandon Vezmar, sued her last week for texting during their first date to the movies, according to the American-Statesman.

Vezmar, 37, filed a claim against his failed love interest, who did not want to be identified, asking her to reimburse him for the $17.31 ticket to a 3D showing of “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” in Austin, Texas.

Vezmar claims his date started texting about 15 minutes into the film, which is apparently a movie etiquette transgression in his book.

“It was kind of a first date from hell,” Vezmar told the American-Statesman. “This is like one of my biggest pet peeves.”

I hope he wins.  She’s the rudest thing and thoroughly self absorbed.  He deserves his money back.

The Best News of the Year

This is huge!

In 2015, 10 people were lucky enough to win a marshmallow only box of Lucky Charms. This year, General Mills will be releasing 10,000 boxes of the sugary goodness.

During the month of May, specially marked boxes of Lucky Charms will have a code on the inside back panel. Just enter that 14-digit code at MarshmallowOnly.com to see if you’re one of the 10,000 winners.

“Fans of Lucky Charms are obsessed with our marshmallows,” says Priscilla Zee, senior marketing manager. “We were overwhelmed with calls, e-mails, and tweets last year, asking for a box of our Lucky Charms marshmallows. So this year we wanted to give them even more opportunities to win.”

I’m all in.