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Ralph Kramden is the Antitypical Nebuchadnezzar

They may no longer do antitypes at Bethel, having had too many blow up in their face, but that doesn't mean I don't do them. Ralph Kramden, the hefty loud-mouthed bus driver of the 'Honeymooners' TV show, is the antitypical Nebuchadnezzar.

Each show he began by blustering. Each show he was totally humiliated. Each show he was contrite at the end. And each new show he totally forgot the lessons learned from the one before. So it is with Nebuchadnezzar.

And what is it with Nebuchadnezzar and the magic-practicing priests? He picks a fight with them right out the clear blue sky in chapter 2 of Daniel:

"Then the king said to them: “I have had a dream, and I am agitated because I want to know what I dreamed.” The Chaldeans replied to the king in the Aramaic language: “O king, may you live on forever. Relate the dream to your servants, and we will tell the interpretation.” The king answered the Chaldeans: “This is my final word: If you do not make the dream known to me, along with its interpretation, you will be dismembered, and your houses will be turned into public latrines."

Why? What did they do? They are yanked out of bed to learn they must tell the king what his dream is in addition to what it meant? Now they will have to sit each in his house, without any arms or legs, and watch people come in to pee on their couch and poop on their carpet. There's bad blood between the king and them, somehow. How it came about is not described. It hardly seems fair.

Or is it? If the king made such demands, it is likely because he is fed up with their claims that they can do things like that. They are always playing him for a sucker with their air of religious mystery, and he has had about all that he can take. That's my guess, anyway.

We're used to quoting Daniel 1:20 to show how, after a short trial period in which the Hebrew captives did little more than eat vegetables, the king found them "ten times better than all his magic practicing priests." We're used to saying it is because of God's blessing that Daniel was elevated so high. Probably so, but I'll bet it is more a reflection of how worthless he found the priests. It was a pretty low bar they set, and Daniel was able to leap it without fuss.


Frankie - Does This Car Have...a Radio?

Frankie's new SUV has the works - every sort of connectivity, safety, and convenience feature - and the brothers are all oohing and ahhing over it.

Me, I check to see a car has a steering wheel and a gas pedal. Whatever else it does or does not have - get used to it!

So when I climb into his car I gasp in astonishment at all it can do. "Frankie, does this car have a radio?" I ask, in mock incredulity. But Frankie is cool and he knows how to play along. "Nah, it doesn't have one of those," he says.

Range rover

The Shooting Channel - A Solution for St. Louis

Now that the cop was exonerated in the St. Louis shooting, the city braces for a third night of protests. A solution is needed. Here is one written last year.

"In the course of their job, police shoot hundreds of people per year. How should one report this? Put all shootings on TV. All of them. Run them 24/7 in the order in which they occur. Create a dedicated channel: The Shooting Channel. Make it freely available. Give every network a cut so no one will complain about ratings. Promote ‘The Shooting Channel’ heavily. Ban shootings on any other channel.

Put white-on-black shootings on. Put black-on-white shootings on. Put black-on-black shootings on. Put white-on-white shootings on. Put Hispanic-on-Methodist shootings on. Put Buddhist-on-nudist shootings on. Put redneck Alabama white-on transgendered Vietnamese shootings on. Put them all on. Let viewers decide for themselves which shootings are significant and which are yawners. Otherwise, the newspeople will cherry-pick their favorites and start a race war."

What were there - about 5 or 6 highly hyped shootings that summer? They culminated with another shooter taking out several Dallas police officers, so much had rage been stoked. Did not the news media suddenly switch to 'love-in with police' mode to atone for their very different mode just before?

Two of the shootings were not intentional white on black shootings at all, though they were both hyped that way. There was the black man shot in Florida. He was not the target. He was caretaker for an autistic white man with a toy gun that fooled the cop - the cop got spooked and missed his target. The other was the white cop in Charlottesville whose actions triggered several days of violence. Turned out he was not a white cop at all but a black cop. Both incidents were initially reported as 'white cop shoots black victim' and hyped as proof the police were racist. Neither correction was more than a buried footnote when the facts came to light. Why does the media do this? Not for me to say. But 'The Shooting Channel' will solve it.

The italicized words are from 'No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash,' an ebook that is not exactly flying off the shelf as it ought but I hope to remedy that here. The solution proposed would never come about, but only for monetary reasons. Insofar as public information can cool rage before it begins, it is the answer. Perhaps ALL police shootings should result in community outrage - that is for others to decide. Perhaps there IS racism within the police, but is not demonstrated by highlighting just a hand-selected few shooting incidents. When a study was made of the Philadelphia Police force, released in 2015, it showed blacks were more likely, not less, to be shot by a black or Hispanic officer than a white one, as the former were more likely to experience 'threat misperception.'

St louis

A Ferry, a Centrifuge, and a Toilet

Crossing the Adirondacks is a beautiful drive at any time of year. It was no less so as I was doing it at the end of winter. I would cross the mountains, take the ferry across Lake Champlain, and visit my friend who was doing graduate work at the University of Burlington.

Only when the sparkling, magnificent lake appeared in my sites did it dawn upon me that the ferry might not yet be opened for the season. It meant that I might have to drive around the stinking thing! But when I pulled into the ferry terminal, there was a car before me. It was the attendant. He was just opening for the season and if I waited 45 minutes, I would be the first car of the year. 

As I patiently waited, a TV truck pulled into the lot. Opening for the season might not register in your lofty town, but here it was an event. My 15 minutes of fame was about to begin. With camera upon me, I pulled onto the boat. Should I drive pompously, self-importantly? Or should I drive nonchalantly, nodding to the camera as I passed, as though such things happened to me daily and didn’t nonplus me even a little? I settled on a course in between.

My friend was working in the school’s science lab when I finally found him. He was patiently soldering together a piece for a centrifuge. But it wasn’t going well. He worked for a half hour, correcting this sad tendency and then that. Finally he looked at the mess and said: ‘Well, this might be okay for the toilet, but it doesn’t really cut it for a centrifuge.’

I advised that we watch the evening news. It is important to keep up with current events, I told him. Perhaps something truly great has happened. Adirondacks_in_May_2008

With the Bible Reading it is Wash, Rinse, and Repeat

It could not have been a better fit. The water flowed from the throne of Ezekiel's temple, which could not have had literal fulfillment because they would have had to build it on a spring and they didn't.

Later during the same meeting, the Bible Study covered all the schools held throughout the organization. Comments thinned out as the study progressed because nobody had gone to the latter schools so they had nothing to say off the top of their heads.

Okay? The water is the 'life-giving' spiritual food. And where is it more manifest in the schools, some available to all and some more specialized? Yet the schedule for the Bible Study is months old. The schedule for the Bible reading? Maybe a century, as it is 'wash, rinse, and repeat.' Temple-of-Solomon-Exterior

Truetom Decks a Brazen Hussy in his Dreams

Truetom strode into the room and slapped his Bible down on the bar. All heads turned at the sharp retort. All male heads, that is. All female heads had already swung around at his first appearance, smitten instantly by his pure animal virility.

“What will it be, mister?” asked the bartender uneasily, fidgeting in the presence of an indefinable yet unquestionable authority. “Milk,” Truetom replied and he said no more, so that the bartender began to wonder.

Presently it came to him: “Say, aren’t you Truetom, the world-famous door to door preacher?” Truetom looked up coolly. “What’s it to you?” he said. “Nothing, mister, really – I meant no offence. Here – let me pour myself a milk, too. In fact – HEY! EVERYBODY! TRUETOM IS HERE! MILK FOR EVERYBODY! A TOAST TO TRUETOM!

“Is there anything about me that says ‘milktoast’ to you?” Truetom scowled, and milk ran out from the terrified man’s mouth. “I’m with the true religion and I NEVER MILKTOAST! PAGANS DID THAT!"

“Sure, Mister, whatever you say,” stammered the bartender.

Truetom impaled him with a gaze. “It’s about time you understood a few things. “I’m TrueTom. I have a corporate agenda. I’m not afraid to play by the rules and I do what I’m told. Don’t tell me what to do because I’ll do it right away and sometimes a man doesn’t want what he’s asked for. You got that?” and the bartender murmured something incoherent as he wet himself.

An impossibly bosomed bimbo floozy, splitting the seams of her too-short skirt, saddled up to him. “They say in these parts that you’re pretty righteous, Truetom. Just how righteous are you?” Woman-308534_960_720

“I’d advise you not to try to find out,” Truetom stared her down. Undeterred, the brazen hussy placed her hand on his inner thigh and slowly moved it – not in the direction of his rugged boots. In a flash, Truetom whirled about and decked her with a single punch. Then he calmly resumed sipping his milk as she lay face down on the filthy floor.

When he was done he put down his glass and picked up his Bible. “I have a scripture for all you scum,” he said.  "It's found at John 8:15. 'You judge according to the flesh. I do not judge any man at all.'"

“Look, Truetom, we don’t want no trouble. I’ve got my own religion and I never talk about religion and politics anyhow – anything that matters I don’t come near – and I….” Truetom grabbed him by the neck and rammed his head into another verse he’d just looked up. “a slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all, qualified to teach, showing restraint when wronged.” – 2 Timothy 2:24

At length he put his Bible in its holster and turned. “Alright, I’m coming out!” Truetom hollered out the door to the townspeople amidst the pouring rain. “Don’t nobody raise no objections, or ‘viewpoints!’ If anybody raises an objection or viewpoint, I’ll preach to him AND I’ll preach to his wife AND I’ll preach to his kids. Don’t go cutting up no more wrong deeds or I’ll be back!”

He rode slowly out of town – dead center through the middle of the street, and nobody raised a word of reply.

What is it Like in a Wind Tunnel?

NBC put a reporter a wind tunnel to tell us what that is like. He said it blows. He said it was not fine to be in a hurricane – you ought to steer clear.

‘okay, now at 70 miles per hour – whoa! – my clothes are flapping and anything not nailed to the ground is coming loose! I can’t even hold on to this pole – my grip is slipping!! There goes the toupee and my glasses! Now – oh no! – the wind is catching my cheeks!...

‘....fluppafluppafluppafluppafluppafluppafluppafluppafluppafluppafluppafluppafluppa!!!!!.... ‘Whoa! That was close! I almost couldn’t speak!’

Sheesh! Put him in rising flood waters and let him tell us what that is like!


She Listens to Rap all Day and Heavy Metal all Night

When my wife applied to regular pioneer, she was unprepared for the question about objectionable - or is it unsuitable for a Christian? - music. Never one to blow things away, she answered that she does listen to it sometimes. "Well," she explained later to some elders, "if the Beach Boys come on and sing 'Wouldn't it be nice to live together,' I do not turn off the radio. This appeared to satisfy them. "We've never had someone answer this way," they said, looking befuddled.

On the night that her appointment was announced, I approached those elders. "You're making a big mistake! How can you allow her privileges?! She does nothing but listen to rap all day and heavy metal all night! I expected you brothers to straighten her out!"


Learning From a Liar

From yesterday's study article with regard to Luke 16:

If the unrighteous riches are not of God's making but of this system's, why not use an unrighteous steward to teach a lesson with them? He uses money that is not his to reduce debts and make friends for himself.

If we are debtors to God (who isn't?) we also can use money that is not 'ours' - all of it, since it is not God's idea - to reduce our debts to him and make him a friend. How cool is that?

The illustration is not a strict parallel, but it works in a quirky sort of way.

Then he also said to the disciples: “A rich man had a steward who was accused of handling his goods wastefully. So he called him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Hand in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer manage the house.’ Then the steward said to himself, ‘What am I to do, seeing that my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. Ah! I know what I will do, so that when I am removed from the stewardship, people will welcome me into their homes.’ And calling to him each one of his master’s debtors, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘A hundred measures* of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take back your written agreement and sit down and quickly write 50.’ Next, he said to another one, ‘Now you, how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred large measures* of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take back your written agreement and write 80.’  And his master commended the steward, though unrighteous, because he acted with practical wisdom; for the sons of this system of things*are wiser in a practical way toward their own generation than the sons of the light are.

 “Also, I say to you: Make friends for yourselves by means of the unrighteous riches, so that when such fail, they may receive you into the everlasting dwelling places.

I liked the notion that you can eliminate your footprint in politics and you can eliminate it in unbiblical religion, you cannot eliminate it in the world's commercial system. You can, however, lessen it.

The illustration doesn't exactly line up with modern day principles of 'reason.' The components don't dovetail. But it is close enough that Jesus teaches a vital lesson with it. To me, it indicates that Jesus is not enslaved to today's insistence upon 'reason,' which has not served its world particularly well.