Living Biblically 10 – “The Bible is sexist”

CBS is currently airing the last several episodes of its cancelled “Living Biblically” sit-com. I was able to catch up with episode 10 via CBS’s free app that I downloaded to my Kindle.

Living Biblically
Episode 10, “Submit to Thy Husband”
CBS, originally aired 7/7/18

Plot

Chip’s wife, Leslie, is pregnant so he decides to start up a weekly poker game with “the boys” before his domestic responsibilities ramp up. When Leslie, a nurse practitioner, comes home from work exhausted, Chip suggests that she should quit her job and stay home to raise the baby, referencing the Bible as the inspiration for his idea. Leslie is angered by what she perceives as Chip’s Bible-fueled aim to dominate her.

The guy crew (priest Gene, rabbi Gil, friend Vince, and the workplace security guard) show up at Chip and Leslie’s apartment for the card game, but Leslie is too angry to play the polite hostess. When Chip’s boss, Ms. Meadows, also drops by, Leslie imposes on her to go down to the local saloon for a “girl’s night out.”

At the bar, Leslie shares her marital conflict with Ms. Meadows. The latter confides she was “raised in the church,” but has no use for the Bible any longer, calling it “sexist” (the character is an unabashed lesbian). She quotes Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit to your own husbands…,” as evidence that the Bible is no longer to be taken seriously.

Back at the apartment, a distracted Chip continues to send unacknowledged conciliatory texts to Leslie rather than focusing on the card game. Aware of the details of Chip’s marital troubles, priest Gene advises him that the Bible was written for a different time and needs a “modern interpretation.”

When Leslie returns home, Chip apologizes for his heavy handedness and promises to submit to her as they submit to each other.

Commentary

Ephesians 5:22 is egregiously offensive to many unbelieving…and believing…women. But taken together in context with the entire passage of Ephesians 5:22-33, we see both husband and wife instructed to love the other with a sacrificial, servant love. Yes, the husband is to be the head of the family. Not a dictator, but a servant leader. Many Christian husbands have abdicated their spiritual leadership role. Yes, there have been some men who have unfortunately used the Bible to justify mistreating their wives. Many Christian wives have followed the world’s example and sought to dominate their husband.

The Lord’s instructions for a husband and wife on how they are to function together does not need a “modern interpretation,” although you can be sure that the culture is not going to agree with that.

It stung me to watch this episode and listen to God’s Word being strongly attacked. The Gospel is not connected with this series in any way, folks. This is all someone’s interpretation of the Bible who doesn’t know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.


Husbands, Love Your Wives
https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/80-383/husbands-love-your-wives

The Willful Submission of a Christian Wife
https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/80-382/the-willful-submission-of-a-christian-wife

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Ecumenical confusion

Alter Girl: Walking Away From Religion Into the Heart of Faith
By Andrea Syverson
Lifetree Publishing, 2017, 230 pages

A few weeks ago, I was taking my periodic stroll through our local (c)hristian bookstore (aka spiritual minefield) and “Alter Girl” caught my eye. What’s this? A book about a woman who accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior and came out of Catholicism? Well, not exactly. As I skimmed through the book while standing in the aisle of the bookstore, I quickly determined that it had some problems, but bought it anyway to see how “hip” evangelicalism views Roman Catholicism.

Andrea Syverson was born into a devout Catholic family in New Jersey and attended Catholic schools all the way up through graduate school. She cautiously began dating an evangelical Christian, Dean, and one thing led to another until they finally married. As a compromise between Andrea’s liturgical Catholicism and Dean’s nondenominational evangelicalism, they became members of a Lutheran church (Dean came from a Lutheran background) and Andrea warmed to many of the beliefs of Protestantism. After several years, the couple felt increasingly restricted at the Lutheran church and joined a loosey-goosey, nondenominational, seeker-sensitive church. As that church gradually became more institutionalized, the couple opted out and now celebrate being non-affiliated lone rangers.

In this book, there’s lots of talk about God’s love and about Jesus becoming a person’s best friend, but as the author moved from Catholicism to Protestantism to evangelicalism, there’s nothing in her testimony about personal repentance of sin and accepting Jesus Christ as her Savior by faith alone. Andrea looks back at her time in Catholicism with a good degree of gratefulness, and alleges that the Catholic church teaches the genuine Gospel (“We’re all celebrating the same Good News” – p. 186), but has found that, for her, evangelicalism is a better way.

This book reflects the unfortunate inclusive, ecumenical thinking embraced by many evangelicals, but Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit is radically different from the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Syverson uses Eugene Peterson’s half-baked “The Message” (it can’t even be called a paraphrase like the NLT) as her Scriptural reference throughout, which is problematic in itself. She also quotes or refers approvingly to Catholic clerics and apologists, promoters of emergent church philosophy, and ecumenists including (fasten your seatbelt) C.S. Lewis, Henri Nouwen, Priscilla Shirer, Father James Martin, Brennan Manning, Mother Teresa, Sister Joyce Rupp, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Father Michael Marsh, G.K. Chesterton, Father Richard Rohr, Richard Foster, Tim Keller, Thomas Merton, Father George Montague, and Dallas Willard.

Is Andrea Syverson a blood-bought, born-again follower of Jesus Christ? It’s EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to tell from reading this book. But it’s VERY CLEAR that she is an enthusiastic disciple of the “We All Just Love Jesus” ecumenical movement.

Not recommended.

The (Brief) Return of “Living Biblically”

Every Sunday, I like to quickly peruse through the daily listings in the Sunday newspaper’s television booklet to see if there’s anything worth watching in the coming week, usually without any success, but yesterday I noticed that CBS had put the remaining five episodes of its cancelled sit-com, “Living Biblically,” in its rotation. Episodes 9 & 10 were broadcast Saturday, July 7, episodes 11 & 12 will be broadcast Saturday, July 14, and the final episode is slated for Saturday July 21. Yesterday, I downloaded the free CBS app and watched episode 9.

Living Biblically
Episode 9, “Never Let Loyalty Leave You”
CBS, originally aired 7/7/18

If you remember from my reviews of the previous episodes, the show follows the comic adventures of a lapsed Roman Catholic, Chip (Jay R. Ferguson), who is shaken by the death of his best friend and vows to live his life “100% according to the Bible” with the help of his “God Squad,” his parish priest and a rabbi friend, much to the chagrin of his atheist wife, Leslie (Lindsey Kraft). Chip sees himself as a “good” person who desires to be “even better” by following the Bible literally.

Plot

This episode begins with Chip inside the confessional booth, disclosing his sins to “father” Gene (Ian Gomez). However, the priest is annoyed with Chip because he’s caught him napping at several masses. Chip pleads that it’s hard to stay awake during mass because it’s so boring.

Chip and his wife then meet up with Vince (Tony Rock), Chip’s workmate and best friend, at the local tavern. Vince explains that he’s going to attend his aunt’s Baptist church the following Sunday in search of a prospective girlfriend. Out of curiosity, Chip and Leslie decide they will attend as well.

Chip and his wife are overwhelmed by the friendliness and enthusiasm at the predominantly-Black, Baptist church, so unlike the environment at his Catholic church.  Vince’s Aunt Estelle befriends Leslie and tries to witness to her about Jesus. During the service, Chip sways and dances to the opening Gospel music (“Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”) and loudly “Amens” the pastor during his sermon, much to Vince’s embarrassment.

Chip and Leslie are so pleased with the service at the Baptist church that they decide to attend the following Sunday as well. “Father” Gene notices Chip’s absence from mass and confronts him. When Chip confesses he’s attending the Baptist church instead, the priest feels betrayed.

As the next Baptist service begins, the pastor welcomes new visitors and one happens to be “father” Gene, who came to the church because he is curious why Chip is forsaking Catholicism for the Baptist church. Chip is impressed that his priest-friend went to all of that trouble and resolves to return to the Catholic church, despite the boredom.

Commentary

The matter of which church a person attends on Sunday shouldn’t be based on where they feel most entertained. The vital question is, Does the church preach the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone or not? Every Catholic church preaches the same false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. No one can find forgiveness and spiritual rebirth in Christ by following the standard Catholic salvation theology. Unlike the fictional Gene, most real-life priests would have warned their parishioners that they MUST worship at a Catholic church on Sunday or incur a soul-damning mortal sin.

This episode had a few elements of truth, but ultimately retreated to a message of loyalty to a religious brand. Being loyal to your family’s false religious heritage is spiritually useless. Jesus Christ is the Only Way. You must repent of your sin and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 7/7/18

In 1962, the Catholic bishop of nearby Buffalo, Joseph Burke (photo right), officially banned the national dance craze, the “Twist,” popularized by Chubby Checker (photo left), at every Catholic school and parish sponsored dance within the Buffalo diocese. However, by the time I hit the junior high years at my Catholic parochial school (1968-1970), even slow-dancing was acceptable. After I was saved and joined a Baptist church, the admonitions against dancing were a bit jarring, but I got it. The irony that I wanted to point out is that at the very same time bishop Burke was railing against the “Twist,” he was covering up for pedophile priests within his diocese who were molesting children.

It seems like every time I read something about popular mega-church pastor, Andy Stanley, he’s chipping away at confidence in the Bible in some fashion.

The Catholic church in America is hemorrhaging members and closing parishes except in some areas in the South where many former Rust Belters are relocating. It’s ironic that Robert Schuller’s shrine to apostate Protestantism is being turned into a Catholic church. The opening is scheduled for July 19, 2019 after a renovation costing $113 million.

This kind of government-supported intolerance is headed to the U.S.

In the past two years, pope Francis has guilefully changed two fundamental Catholic doctrines by lifting the ban on communion for remarried divorcees and allowing individual bishops to decide on intercommunion with Protestants. Conservative prelates and priests are attempting to counter these changes, as we see in the stories above, but their position is untenable. What will be the next doctrine to fall? Remember when Catholics used to boast that their pope could never lead the church into doctrinal error?

I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior back in the heyday of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and faith and politics were regularly mixed together from the pulpit of our first Bible-preaching church. Well-meaning Christians have different views on this, but I believe the church lost its Gospel focus when it became enmeshed in nationalism and politics.

A couple of years ago I could not have imagined the Catholic conservative rag, the National Catholic Register, publishing articles critical of the pope, but they’ve become commonplace. What? Another book from a Catholic author about the heresies (politely referred to as “paradigm shift” in this article) of Francis? I’m going to need a stronger prescription for my eye glasses at this rate.

Catholic apologists try to sell their church as a united monolith when it’s actually held together by rubber bands and twine, with priests, bishops, and the pope holding conflicting beliefs, most of them un-Biblical from either side of the spectrum.

This is a funny satirical piece but also a sad commentary on today’s evangelicalism as Sarah Young’s books sell like hotcakes.

Priest orders mourners to “get the hell out of my church!”

 

Readers know that I usually collect news stories for the weekend roundup, but sometimes a story requires a separate post all by itself, as in this case.

On June 27th, grieving family and friends gathered at Saint Mary Catholic Church in Newport, Maryland for a funeral mass for the late Agnes Hicks (photo center). Prior to the start of the mass, one of the mourners accidentally knocked over a “sacred” chalice near the altar, damaging it. The parish priest, “Reverend” Michael Briese (photo left), became violently enraged by the accident (photo right).

One of the daughters of the deceased told reporters that the unhinged Briese then told the Hicks family, “There will be no funeral, there will be no mass. Get this thing (the casket) out of my church! Everyone get the hell out of my church!”

The priest called the police to remove the family and friends of the deceased from the church. Once at the scene, the officers determined a crime had not been committed and graciously made immediate arrangements for an alternate funeral service in another county.

Following the incident, Briese and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. issued separate public apologies. The priest has been placed on administrative leave while the diocese “investigates.”

As an ex-Catholic, I don’t find priest Briese’s reaction to be shocking given the circumstances. The Roman Catholic church has always valued its “sacred” religious finery over people. Catholics believe their “sacred” chalices hold the transubstantiated body of Jesus Christ in the forms of bread wafers and wine. For a person to carelessly knock over a “sacred” chalice and damage it would be seen as an act of intolerable desecration by pious Catholics. If there had been Jesus wafers or Jesus wine in the chalice at the time of the accident, well, the priest’s reaction would have been even worse. Try to imagine the Lord Jesus Christ berating a mourning family because someone accidentally damaged a cup. Sigh.

I also need to point out that the mass is a major component of Catholicism’s complex false salvation system, which teaches that salvation is earned through sacramental grace and merit. The mass is blasphemous on so many different levels. My heart grieves for the millions of Catholics who are depending on their priests and the man-made Catholic religious system for their salvation.

Keep in mind that the headlines over the last twenty years have revealed that these celibate priests who are so reverential and protective when it comes to their “sacred vessels” are engaging in the worst kinds of wickedness behind closed doors.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.” – Matthew 23:25-26

Jesus is not in a “sacred” cup and offered up as a victim on Catholic altars. He is seated at the right hand of God the Father and making intercession for everyone who accepts Him as Savior by faith alone. Repent of your sin and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior today!


Priest Sorry for Canceling Funeral, Telling Mourners to ‘Get the Hell Out’ of Church Over Broken Chalice
https://www.christianpost.com/news/priest-sorry-for-canceling-funeral-telling-mourners-to-get-the-hell-out-of-church-over-broken-chalice-225674/

Wacky cult – World’s Last Chance (WLC) – buys full-page newspaper ad

The other day, I was perusing through the local newspaper. Yes, I’m one of those old fogeys who still receives a newspaper, although I’ve cut delivery to Thursday through Sunday because of the rapidly escalating price. Anyway, as I was leafing through the various sections I came across a full-page advertisement from an outfit calling itself, World’s Last Chance (WLC). A quick scan of the ad revealed some religious content, always of interest to me, so I read through the entire text.

Briefly, the WLC’s ad claims our solar system is in fact geocentric, with the Sun and the other planets revolving around a FLAT Earth. The WLC claims the Jesuits are responsible for imposing the false, round Earth and heliocentric model of the solar system theories upon the credulous masses. Why would the Jesuits do such a thing? To pave the way for an apocalyptic alien invasion, of course, in which the aliens will actually be demons in disguise. As all humankind teeters on the brink of total annihilation, the Roman Catholic pope will negotiate a false peace with the alien/demon invaders and take his place as the worshipped anti-Christ. A long quote from Revelation (9:1-6), was also included in the ad.

Argh! Such nonsense!

I showed the ad to my wife and she said anytime Scripture goes out into the world, it’s a good thing. My take? The average Joe or Sally who saw this ad is going to conclude, “Hmm, there go those crazy “Bible-bangers” again, espousing insane flat-Earth, geocentrism and Jesuit conspiracies involving the invasion of the planet by demonic Martians!” However, I do strongly believe that the pope will play a major role in the endtimes, and we have already seen the pope’s influence and popularity rise dramatically throughout the world in the last forty years, with Protestants and evangelicals deferring more and more to the pope and Roman Catholicism.

I did a little research and found that World’s Last Chance (WLC) is a break-away group from the Seventh Day Adventists (SDA). There’s all kinds of goofy cults out there, but perhaps the most dangerous is the “respectable” Roman Catholic church. Unfortunately, such groups as the WLC and Chick Publications, with their outrageous Jesuit worldwide conspiracies, have made credible Gospel outreach to Roman Catholics more difficult.

Additional thoughts:

In the early-17th century, scientist, Galileo Galilei was famously condemned as a heretic twice by the Roman Catholic Inquisition for postulating heliocentrism. “Infallible” popes, Paul V and Urban VIII, both signed off on the Inquisition’s rulings. See my post here. As heliocentrism was later proven to be true, Catholic apologists have attempted to explain how popes, who are purported to be infallible in all matters of faith and morals, could have erroneously condemned Galileo on such an important matter, which certainly touched upon faith. Robert Sungenis, who at one time was one of Catholicism’s leading apologists, rightly determined that if Paul V and Urban VIII were wrong in condemning Galileo, the claim to papal infallibility was totally fallacious. Sungenis has since devoted himself to proving geocentrism, thereby exiling himself to the fringes of serious theological debate.

Some ramblings on LGBTQ

A short time ago, I posted a message about the Supreme Court ruling on a Christian baker’s right not to create a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage (see here), and I felt led to write ramble a bit more about the subject of homosexuality.

I can remember reading an Ann Landers column in 1969 when I was thirteen-years-old and she was discussing homosexuality. I had no clue what that word meant and had to ask one of my older sisters. My, how things have changed!

The Bible clearly teaches homosexuality is a sin:

“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” – Romans 1:26-27

At the independent fundamental Baptist church we attended back in the 1980s, the pastor often railed against gays. This was during the outbreak of AIDS/HIV and everyone was tense. There was a family that attended our church comprised of a father, mother, and four children; two boys and two girls. The two boys were noticeably on the effeminate side and the youngest one, in his early teens, was flamboyantly so. He was actually more feminine in his mannerisms than his sisters and I say that without exaggeration. As the family sat in the auditorium while the pastor railed against gays, I felt increasingly sorry for them. Did the youngest boy turn out to be so effeminate because of biology or because of conditioning? The pastor’s constant harangues against homosexuality was one of the (many) reasons we finally left that church.

Flash forward to 2014. We began attending a small Southern Baptist church and the young pastor was very troubled about an issue. An older couple who were members had a son who was unapologetically gay. He argued that homosexuality cannot be a sin if a person is born with same sex attraction. The parents went to the pastor and asked if homosexuality was a sinful choice or a biological condition. The pastor began scouring through research materials that attributed the documented decline of testosterone levels in males to the rise of toxins in the environment, beginning with industrialization. I pointed out to him that homosexuality was rampant in ancient Greek and Roman societies where modern toxins were certainly not a factor and testosterone levels were probably relatively high compared to our society.

Some rambling thoughts and questions:

  • Are some people born with a genetic proclivity for homosexuality as the LGBTQ community argues or is attraction to the same sex learned/conditioned/chosen? Researchers are still looking for a genetic factor for same-sex attraction.
  • Are boys who grow up in homes with absent fathers or very domineering mothers more inclined to homosexuality?
  • Some heterosexuals resort to homosexuality when they are deprived of opposite-sex partners (e.g., in a prison environment), but return to heterosexuality when conditions change. Isn’t that an example of homosexuality via conditioning?
  • Will the growing acceptance of homosexuality by society result in an increasing percentage of homosexuals as impressionable children and teens are being taught that same-sex relationships are positive and perhaps even preferred?

“Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” – Romans 1:32

  • Do low testosterone levels in men necessarily equate to homosexuality? I’m guessing many homosexual men have high testosterone levels and strong sex drives. Contrary to my opening observation, I don’t believe it’s accurate to say a more sensitive nature in a male guarantees homosexual inclinations nor does an exaggerated macho nature guarantee heterosexual inclinations.

This is a fallen world and sin abounds, with homosexuality being only one form. Ideally, males should be attracted to females – if in doubt, just check the biological equipment – and sex should follow after marriage. That is God’s plan. But God’s plan is being increasingly ignored and even flouted. Premarital sex abounds and begins at younger and younger ages. Cohabitation is preferred over marriage. Homosexuality is now without restraint. Most everyone has someone in their extended family who is openly gay. Homosexuals are campaigning to be accepted and affirmed within the church. We are inundated with examples via the media of adults and children changing genders. The world is an increasingly disturbing place.

As Christians, we need to firmly stand upon God’s Word and not compromise with sin, but the love of God and the hope we have in Christ must also be part of our message. I don’t condemn homosexuals because I am a totally depraved sinner saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone. We must introduce our gay family members and friends to the Savior.

Ramble over. Comments welcomed.

What became of the Legion’s “Outcasts”?

I apologize for keeping everyone dangling in suspense for three weeks! It’s time to finally find out what happened to Legion outcasts, Superboy and Supergirl, in…

The Forgotten Legion!
Adventure Comics #351, December, 1966
Writer: E. Nelson Bridwell, Penciller: Curt Swan

Plot

The previous issue ended with Superboy and Supergirl being discharged from the Legion because of a deadly Kryptonite dust cloud encircling Earth, Lightning Lad being kidnapped by Evillo, and the disguised Sir Prize and Miss Terious taking the place of the Super cousins on the Legion roster.

Invisible Kid prevents Ultra Boy from determining the identities of the two new members while a small Legion contingent heads to the private planet of the Legion’s benefactor, R.J. Brande, in response to an emergency summons. Once there, they encounter the Hag, one of Evillo’s “Devil’s Dozen,” who begins to work her black magic on the group. Miss Terious leads the team in a hasty retreat and declares they need to counteract the power of the Hag with a spell of their own, requiring the hair from a magician and the print of an enchanted shoe.

In the meantime, the kidnapped Lightning Lad regains consciousness at Evillo’s lair, and the villain tries to brainwash him into becoming the fifth member of his Devil’s Dozen crime gang. Lightning Lad is able to successfully resist, but remains a prisoner. Another member of Evillo’s gang, Sugyn, travels to Earth and kidnaps Bouncing Boy, who had previously lost his powers. Displeased that Sugyn captured a powerless Legionnaire, Evillo kills him because of his incompetence.

A group of Legionnaires travels back in time to 20th-century Smallville and Element Lad changes the Kryptonite pellet that was implanted in Superboy’s brain to helium, restoring his memory. Superboy and Mon-El then travel to the Fifth Dimension and obtain some hair from the magician, Master Mxyzptlk. The Legion of Substitute Heroes is called into action to obtain the hoof prints of Comet, Supergirl’s enchanted horse.

Possessing the required ingredients, Miss Terious creates a counter-potion, which transforms the Hag back into her original identity, the “benevolent” White Witch of Naltor. Miss Terious then reveals she is Dream Girl, sister of the White Witch. Dream Girl had previously left the Legion after joining under false pretenses. Sir Prize reveals himself to be Star Boy, who was discharged from the Legion after accidentally killing a criminal (Adventure #342). Invisible Kid invites the two to rejoin the Legion.

The team then travels to Evillo’s planet and discovers that another of the villain’s prisoners, Dr. Zan Orbal, has restored Lightning Lad’s arm and Bouncing Boy’s powers and cured Matter-Eater Lad’s obesity. A fight ensues with the strengthened Legion defeating Evillo and his gang, which includes the Wild Huntsman, Apollo, and a number of henchmen. Superboy and Supergirl are able to return to 30th-century Earth and rejoin the Legion because Color Kid of the Legion of Substitute Heroes changed the deadly Kryptonite green dust cloud to blue, rendering it harmless.

Flubs

There is no explanation as to how Matter-Eater Lad ended up at Evillo’s lair after being part of the contingent that confronted the Hag on Brande’s planet.

Commentary

There’s A LOT going on in this issue including a fairly discombobulated plot and almost a full roster of regular Legionnaires along with the Legion of Substitute Heroes and the Legion of Super-Pets. I’m guessing that writer, E. Nelson Bridwell, was tasked with creating a two-part story, which included every Legionnaire.

Legion roster: Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dream Girl, Duo Damsel, Element Lad, Ferro Lad, Invisible Kid, Lightning Lad, Light Lass, Matter-Eater Lad, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Princess Projectra, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy, Superboy, Supergirl, Ultra Boy

Legion of Substitute Heroes: Chlorophyll Kid, Color Kid, Fire Lad, Night Girl, Polar Boy, Stone Boy

Legion of Super-Pets: Comet (horse), Krypto (dog), Streaky (cat), Beppo (monkey)

Disclaimer: There are many references to “good” and “evil” sorcery/witchcraft in this story, another example of secular entertainment delving into the “mystical” with no Biblical foundation. It’s interesting that Evillo (below) is presented as a stereotypical devilish character replete with horns.

Capture32

So what was a ten-year-old Catholic boy thinking when he was presented with all of these references to sorcery and witchcraft in this particular Legion saga? It was par for the course for all forms of entertainment at the time and continues today. The irony is that the FAR GREATER spiritual danger for me was veiled behind the pious “holiness” and ritualism of my (then) Roman Catholic religion.

Next up: Writer Jim Shooter returns and pens a two-issue story that has endured for fifty-two years as the Legion’s greatest tale.

McGuinn pushes forward with hired hands (including a very talented guitarist)

It’s my first posting day of a new month, which means it’s time once again to take a break from theological discussions and return to our monthly review of albums by the Byrds.

Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde
The Byrds
Produced by Bob Johnston, Columbia Records, Released March 5, 1969, Length 34:25

By the time the Byrds’ sixth album, “Sweetheart of the Rodeo,” was released on August 30, 1968, Gram Parsons had already left the band, prompting the hiring of talented country guitarist, Clarence White, who had done significant session work on the previous three Byrds albums. Shortly afterward, drummer Kevin Kelley was dismissed in favor of White’s former Nashville West bandmate, Gene Parsons. When Chris Hillman quit the Byrds in September 1968 to join Grams Parsons in the formation of the Flying Burrito Brothers, Roger McGuinn enlisted bassist John York to fill the hole.

McGuinn’s decision to continue the Byrds after the departure of Hillman, leaving him as the only remaining founding member, was somewhat understandable. The Byrds had built a solid legacy as one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s and McGuinn was reluctant to throw it all away. Plus, McGuinn felt obligated to fulfill the band’s contractual obligations. But several of the former-Byrds went on record saying McGuinn kept the band going strictly for the money. McGuinn has stated, in retrospect, that he wished he had folded the Byrds after Hillman’s departure.

McGuinn and his hired hands (McGuinn was the only member under contract to Columbia) recorded the seventh “Byrds” album at Columbia’s Hollywood Studio in October and December of 1968 under the direction of producer, Bob Johnston. Gary Usher had achieved tremendous results with the Byrds on their three previous albums, but when Usher was released from Columbia, McGuinn turned to Johnston who enjoyed a solid reputation after having produced both Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.

With the album title and graphics and the backcover photos featuring the band members peeling off space suits to reveal country outfits, the Byrds were announcing their intention to straddle modern rock/psychedelia with country, a combination the band had mastered in “The Notorious Byrd Brothers,” but this album can largely be categorized as country rock, dominated by White’s virtuoso country pickin’. The Byrds later complained that Johnston’s finished recording was far too muddy with McGuinn’s twelve-string Rickenbacker often buried in the mix. But McGuinn’s Rick took a back seat to White’s Fender Telecaster after Notorious to the point where Roger essentially became the band’s rhythm guitarist to Clarence’s lead. “Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde” is notable for being the only Byrds album in which McGuinn sings lead vocal on every song. York provides the high vocal harmonies, but he’s definitely not in the same league with David Crosby. Parsons’ drumming sounds awkward even to an untrained ear. John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas would later take McGuinn aside and tell him, “Your drummer can’t play 4/4 time. He can’t play rock ‘n’ roll, he can only play country.”

In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Clarence White #41 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time and that’s a pretty solid distinction. Drummer Parsons was also a mechanical wizard and had modified White’s Telecaster with a B-bender, a device which utilizes the manipulation of the guitar shoulder strap to mechanically bend the B-string, producing a pedal steel guitar-like effect. Guitarists and enthusiasts were simply amazed at the sounds White was able to coax out of his Telecaster using the B-bender (Jimi Hendrix stated Clarence was one of his favorite guitarists), but for my taste Clarence goes way overboard with the gimmick. The two distinctive trademarks of the Byrds’ original sound, McGuinn’s jingle-jangle twelve string and pristine vocal harmonies, are largely missing on “Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde” and the next four albums.

“Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde” was released on March 5, 1969 and sputtered at #153 on Billboard’s album chart, earning it the dubious distinction of being the Byrds’ lowest-charting album. The single, “Bad Night at the Whiskey”/”Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man,” was released on January 7, 1969, but failed to chart.

“Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde” has some fine moments, but this first effort of the McGuinn-White lineup dramatically pales in comparison to the albums of the McGuinn-Clark-Crosby-Hillman Byrds. McGuinn  commented years later, “I’m not too happy with (Dr. Byrds).”

Side One:

  • This Wheel’s On Fire (Dylan, Danko) – Clarence switches from country pickin’ to soulful fuzz on this rocked-up, Dylan number, but confessed he wasn’t up to the task. “I felt I was faking it,” said Clarence of his efforts on the song. “‘This Wheel’s On Fire’ was the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done.”
  • Old Blue (Traditional) – Yech.
  • Your Gentle Way of Loving Me (Guilbeau, Paxton) – White and Parsons pay homage to their former Nashville West bandmate, Gib Guilbeau. Not a bad tune.
  • Child of the Universe (Grusin, McGuinn) – A more embellished version of this song was included in the soundtrack of the 1968 film farce, “Candy.” Co-writer Dave Grusin went on to a highly successful career as a soundtrack composer. I like this tune although it’s out of place on this album.
  • Nashville West (Parsons, White) – Instrumental features some tasty licks from Clarence, but the hooping and hollering at the end is over the top.

Side Two:

  • Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man (McGuinn, Gram Parsons) – McGuinn and the departed Gram Parsons penned this scathing smear of Nashville DJ, Ralph Emery, who had ridiculed the Sweetheart Byrds during their appearance on his WSM radio show the previous year. Sweetheart sessions alum, Lloyd Green, provides the pedal steel licks. Joan Baez and Jeffrey Shurtleff popularized the song with their rendition at Woodstock in 1969. Listen here.
  • King Apathy III (McGuinn) – Ho-hum.
  • Candy (McGuinn, York) – This was the second song written for the film, “Candy,” however this one didn’t make the soundtrack. Critics panned both of the “Candy” tunes, but I’m fond of them.
  • Bad Night at the Whiskey (McGuinn, Richards) – The best song on the album. Love that vocal sustain. Listen below.
  • Medley: My Back Pages/B.J. Blues/Baby What You Want Me To Do – (Dylan, McGuinn, York, Parsons, White, Reed) – York later stated the medley was included on the album to showcase the new lineup’s musical chops. Most listeners considered it as filler.

1997 CD Reissue Bonus Tracks:

  • Stanley’s Song (McGuinn, Hippard) – A less than mediocre outtake. Bob Hippard had also co-written C.T.A.-102.
  • This Wheel’s On Fire (Dylan) – Snappier alternate version. Clarence stated he preferred this take.
  • Medley: My Back Pages/B.J. Blues/Baby What You Want Me To Do? (Dylan, McGuinn, York, Parsons, White, Reed) – Alternate version.

McGuinn and his ersatz Byrds reached an artistic nadir with “Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde.” Would this be the end of the band? Tune in next month to find out.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 6/30/18

Rather than cautioning 800 celibate Catholic priests to refrain from sexually abusing minors, Rick Warren (photo right) should be warning evangelicals and Catholics of Rome’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. But Warren has been the Vatican’s primary polezni durak (useful fool) “evangelical” for decades.

Jesuit priest, James Martin, is the main point man for the progressive wing of the Catholic church in its push to completely affirm active LGBT members. Martin’s name is becoming increasingly visible as the crusade for full recognition of LGBTers intensifies. I recently read Martin’s book, “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter Into a Relationship, of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity” in order to gain some understanding of the Catholic Left’s perspective on this topic and I’ll be writing a short review soon.

As events are unfolding, it’s not preposterous to imagine a future when organized religious instruction of children will be verboten. But the Catholic doctrine of infant baptism, in which all sin is allegedly washed away by physical water in conjunction with the precise recitation of the baptism incantation, is just incredibly bad Bible exegesis.

It’s easy to rip on charlatan Bakker, but just about everybody on TBN is a pea from the same pod.

This African priest felt the need to liven the mass up a bit to keep the customers satisfied, but got his hands slapped by the higher-ups. Be assured that priests outside of Europe and North America dress up the boring mass all the time on the QT, this one just got caught. But no matter how you adorn it, the blasphemous mass is still the blasphemous mass. There’s an old saying that goes something like, “You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.”

Although liberal Catholic priests have been inviting Protestants to receive communion on the sly for decades, intercommunion was officially forbidden. In an airplane aisle press conference two weeks ago, pope Francis declared that individual bishops can set the intercommunion guidelines for their own diocese. Church conservatives are reeling back on their heels once again.

Phil Lawler, the conservative Catholic author of the hard-hitting critique of pope Francis, “Lost Shepherd: How Francis is Misleading His Flock” (see here), provides some insight into the deleterious effects of the widespread homosexuality within the priesthood. Forced celibacy both attracts and fosters deviancy.

Beth Moore’s name was recently bandied about as a possible candidate for president of the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC is a big tent and includes many faithful preachers, but also many heterodox ones. Moore is a TBN regular who pushes ecumenism, mind-emptying contemplative prayer, and regularly rubs shoulders with Word of Faith, prosperity charlatans like Joyce Meyer. We’re seeing women increasingly taking the role of pastor in churches even though God’s Word does not allow it.

These (c)hristian movies from Pure Flix and others might have some limited good content, but as a whole they push ecumenism.