Category Archives: Nonsense


These days it has been hard to get me here to post some “ponderings”.  Recent events calling on boycotts as a first response to news has me riled up.

You’ve seen the news.  Dan Cathy, The CEO of Chick Fil-A disclosed his objection to marriage between two people of the same gender.  He made the claim that the company is run on Christian values to justify his perspective.  The backlash was immediate.  Many groups have called for a boycott of the business, protests are planned, and counter protests are planned.  Almost every action is directed against another group with the desire to draw attention to one’s own perspective.

What a mess.  This is nonsense.  This is more polarization of our society.  I’ve never seen it so bad.

When did it become true that if we disagreed with someone that instead of talking we protest, demonize, or boycott?  What ever happened to civil discourse?  What ever happened to the hard task of listening to others not to find fault with their perspective but to hear their perspective and learn from it.  Are my opinions so full of ultimate truth that I must make sure that all people agree with me in word and deed?  The arrogance is astonishing.

While I personally disagree with Mr. Cathy’s reading of scripture related to same-gendered marriage, I also disagree with the actions of those who are calling for boycott or banning Chick Fil-A from certain communities.  These actions have further damaged any chance of seeing any change in Mr. Cathy’s stance.  Thanks for making that work harder.

My experience has been that I have more influence in someone’s life and decision-making if I am in relationship with them.  Boycotts and bans damage the possibility of relationship.  Boycotts and bans have their place, but not as the first response, or maybe even the 10th.

Martin Luther explained the 8th Commandment (You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor) this way: “We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and interpret everything he does in the best possible light.”


St. Matthews Church – Tulsa, OK (Scam)

In recent days, my previous post about St. Matthews Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma (over 2 years ago) has suddenly spiked in hits.  I thought it might be useful to update it a bit.

I’ve not received any more correspondence from them in the 27 months that have elapsed.

You’ve got to read the comments in the first post.  It is incredible how some find value in the scam.

Wikipedia has an article with some more details.

Ripoff Report has many more comments than I’ve ever generated.

Please people.  If you want to connect with God in some way, consider a local congregation.  Yes, it can be awkward at first, but the benefits of engaging with people who can share their story with you is more valuable than sending money to a group that preys on your need.

Pondering Pastor

Comments are Closed

Funniest line in an apology this week

I just ran across this incident and “apology”.

The mayor of a small Southern California city says he will resign after being criticized for sharing an e-mail picture depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons under the title “No Easter egg hunt this year.”

Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose issued a statement Thursday saying he is sorry and will step down as mayor at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Grose came under fire for sending the picture to what he called “a small group of friends.” One of the recipients, a local businesswoman and city volunteer, publicly scolded the mayor for his actions.

Grose says he accepts that the e-mail was in poor taste and has affected his ability to lead the city. Grose said he didn’t mean to offend anyone and claimed he was unaware of the racial stereotype linking black people with eating watermelons.

Located in Orange County, Los Alamitos is a 2 1/4-square-mile city of around 12,000 people.

OK, the man forwards a racist cartoon.  Evidently he thought it was funny if he forwarded it to “a small group of friends” (read that … “I didn’t expect my friends to freak out about this and make a big deal about it.  It’s not like I sent it around the world!”).

He claims that he didn’t mean to offend anyone (read … “that I sent this to”).

And then in the funniest line (or lie?) in an apology this week, he claimed he was unaware of the racial stereotype linking black people with eating watermelons!  If that’s true, then he has no business being a mayor, and the resignation is appropriate.  What, pray tell, would make such a cartoon funny if one was unaware of the stereotype and you were not racist?  Would the same cartoon have been passed along if instead of watermelons it had apples?  Give me a break!

Pondering Pastor

New York Post pseudoApology

It is quite refreshing to hear the outcry about another pseudo-apology.  I’ve written a number of posts about these in the past.  There have been Tom Foley, John Hagee, Desparate Housewives, Bill Belichick, Southwest Airlines, Larry Craig, & Michael Vick.  The New York Post joins this club.  This is their apology.

Wednesday’s Page Six cartoon – caricaturing Monday’s police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut – has created considerable controversy.

It shows two police officers standing over the chimp’s body: “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill,” one officer says.

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.


But it has been taken as something else – as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.

This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.

However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past – and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.

To them, no apology is due.

Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon – even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.

The first failure is the often used line, “to those who were offended”.  This is usually a veiled statement about what is lacking in those who were offended than it is an apology.  Notice how the intent of the cartoon is defended in the words preceeding the “to those who were offended” reference.  In other words, “if you are so sensitive as to not get the joke, then we apologize”.

The second failure is to withold an apology to others.  The New York Post is what it is … a tabloid.  It thrives on the sensational and the outrageous.  It is by nature, defensive, always perceiving itself as being under attack.  It can and does hit back.  An apology is no place to do that.

I’m delighted to see many others jumping in and calling this “apology” what it is … a non-apology.

The New York Post writers don’t know about the historical caricature of people of African descent as apes?  Or is the juxtaposition between the killing of a chimpanzee and the stimulus package just too obvious to pass up?

To the New York Post: Sometimes an editorial cartoon is inappropriate.  Yours was inappropriate.

Pondering Pastor

Polar Bear Plunge


Part dare … part crazy … different than the dunk tank … bone-chilling to say the least. Donate now for Special Olympics.

I’ll be plunging into the Chesapeake Bay on January 24th.  I’d love to have you as a sponsor.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE DONATION PAGE – then, type in Janssen as the last name.  All donations appreciated.

Pondering Pastor

James Dobson’s Sinful Actions

Regular bloggers know that there are times when the blogging enterprise becomes a chore and a lapse into infrequent blogging occurs.  James Dobson and the Focus on the Family organization has committed such an egregious sin that it needs to be brought to the light of day.

In a recent Action Letter, Focus on the Family has posted a “letter” proporting to be from a person from October 2012 describing the consequences of 4 years of an Obama presidency.  The “cover letter” maintains that these are natural consequences of the policies Mr. Obama has proposed.

AP religion writers Eric Gorski and Rachel Zoll have summarized portions of the letter in this way:

  • A 6-3 liberal majority Supreme Court that results in rulings like one making gay marriage the law of the land and another forcing the Boy Scouts to “hire homosexual scoutmasters and allow them to sleep in tents with young boys.” (In the imagined scenario, The Boy Scouts choose to disband rather than obey).
  • A series of domestic and international disasters based on Obama’s “reluctance to send troops overseas.” That includes terrorist attacks on U.S. soil that kill hundreds, Russia occupying the Baltic states and Eastern European countries including Poland and the Czech Republic, and al-Qaida overwhelming Iraq.
  • Nationalized health care with long lines for surgery and no access to hospitals for people over 80.

Gorski and Zoll have not lifted out the most astonishing “predictions”, but theirs is a rather tame summary of the 16 pages of fear-mongering.  Appealing to their audience, the letter describes governmental intrusion into Christian ministries like Christian schools, Christian adoption agencies, & Christian broadcasting, mostly because of their positions on homosexuality.  Laws relating to broadcasting of pornography are abolished, therefore porn is on television 24 hours a day.  Christian books are no longer sold by large bookstore chains.

Why did this all happen?  The letter says this … “Christians didn’t take time to find out who Barack Obama was when they voted for him.  Why did they risk our nation’s future on him? It was a mistake that changed the course of history. ”

Whether or not one is a supporter of Barack Obama, this technique is not appropriate for “Christians”, as it is a huge violation of the 8th commandment, “You shall not bear false witness of your neighbor.”  James Dobson and Focus on the Family need to be held accountable, rather than hiding behind their “disclaimer”.

The entire letter is written as a “What if?” exercise, but that does not make it empty speculation, because every future “event” described here is based on established legal and political trends that can be abundantly documented and that only need a “tipping point” such as the election of Senator Obama and a Democratic House and Senate to begin to put them into place.

This is disengenuous Mr. Dobson.  One only has to look at the Boy Scout example.

  • Boy Scouts of America has in place some of the most stringent child protection policies in our country.  Adult scout leaders do not share tents with children.  Scoutmasters are not “hired”.  There are already gay adult scout leaders.

Is Dobson positioning himself and Focus on the Family as the “savior” should Obama be elected?  It makes me wonder.

Pondering Pastor

The Lure of Clicks

While it might have looked like I was preoccupied with the Victoria Osteen Trial with all the posts and the daily watch of the trial, I’m really not. (I’d post links here, but as you will read, you will see why I don’t.)

Actually, I was lured into continuing coverage by something even more devious.

People were reading my blog.

My first post on the trial was made on the evening of August 6th.  That day, my page reads were 104.  That was on the high end of my average range.  In the month prior to August 6th, readership of my blog ranged from 22 – 130 per day, but usually 60-80.  August 6th was a nice day with views popping above the 100 mark again.

Then, something happened.  August 7th saw 1792 views, and I was hooked.  My previous best day was 313 a year ago.  At one point, my blog was the 4th fastest growing blog on WordPress, and I was the 36th most popular blog (based on views) for the day.  I saw the interest, and decided to continue.  I was rewarded.

  • August 8 – 781 views
  • August 9 – 1057 views
  • August 10 – 485 views
  • August 11 – 1005 views
  • August 12 – 1475 views
  • August 13 – 2733 views (and in the top 100 blogs & top 100 posts on WordPress)
  • August 14 – 2722 views
  • August 15 – 1477 views

The lure of so many clicks!

Writers want to be read.  I want to be read.  But at what price?

I’m done with the Osteens.  So much so, I’ll not even tag this post with their name.

Pondering Pastor