Friday Fun a Little Early (Boogity-Boogity-Boogity)

There is a respectable and distinguished tradition in my family, established circa 1981, of attending without fail the Indianapolis 500. For those not aware, the race falls on a Sunday, and my sabbatarianism which developed a little later in life has earned a few hushed anathemas. One thing I recall as part of opening ceremonies on race day was a local Catholic priest—directly across from our seats in Tower Terrace in front of the pits and somewhere between the missing man fly-over and the release of balloons and before Mari Hulman George instructed the lady and gentlemen to start their engines—bestowing the blessing for safety, good weather and whatnot. Though it seemed fitting and proper, there was always something that seemed a little too worldly about it to me.

Formula One racing is not NASCAR. One is genteel, cosmopolitan and has Dario Franchitti, the man with an Italian name and a Scottish accent—and a lot of victory rings and his own helicopter he pilots and, heaven help me, Ashley Judd. NASCAR, well, not so much. Think Ricky Bobby and KFC. And, instead of vested Catholic priests serving up prayers for safety and thanks for civil freedoms, this guy thanking the Most High for his smokin’ hot wife and closing it all up with boogity-boogity-boogity. For all the apparent differences between Formula One and NASCAR there are even more similarities (it’s all car racing, after all). And whether it’s high church priests blessing common activities on the Sabbath or low church evangelicals baptizing Bible belt culture, it would seem that while both seem very different they might also serve to demonstrate just how much Rome and Muenster really do have in common. Or not, whatever, but you have to hear this:

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25 Responses to Friday Fun a Little Early (Boogity-Boogity-Boogity)

  1. Matt Viney says:

    ummmm…… O….kay….
    That was one of the weirdest things I have ever heard.

  2. Copperchips says:

    It’s no wonder why high church confessionalists have developed such a distorted view of evangelicalism! Too bad. Refering to this bumbling, southern idiot as the standard of evangelical protestants is much like looking at Pvt. Gomer Pyle as the standard for military excellence. Why has the feud in 1535 remained in your craw? I don’t hear of blogs where evangelicals rip on confessionalists. Are we out to “slay” the reformers? It seems that you need this blog to pacify your need to repudiate those with whom you dissagree. Come down from your Mars Hill and stop your dithering among yourselves.

  3. Zrim says:

    Good to see you again, CC. So I guess you take the “or not” option.

    The post is like stretchy pants in your room–for fun. But if you want to make a serious point about my confessional misguidance then I would suggest that looking to evangelicalism as the standard for conservative Protestantism is like looking to Sarah Palin as the standard for conservative politics. That’s pretty misguided.

  4. Copperchips says:

    Love the refrence to “stretchy pants”. The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t see evangelicals pointing any fingers; at least in the evangelical circles I confide in. Sure, we aren’t beyond extending a condescending finger at our fellow confessionalists, but we aren’t about the busy-bodyness of conjuring up arguments against them and rehashing them over and over again with eachother. What gain is that? Why must you continuously drag evangelicals through the mud in your blogs? Isn’t there enough intellectual facets of confessionalism to discuss amongst yourselves to keep you satisfied?

  5. RubeRad says:

    So “boogity-boogity-boogity”, that’s a real thing? I heard that before on Disney’s Cars, but I didn’t know it was a gear-culture reference.

    Why must you continuously drag evangelicals through the mud in your blogs?

    Because we are all from you, and glad that we got out, and sometimes even angry that we were ever in.

    Aren’t there enough intellectual facets of confessionalism to discuss amongst yourselves to keep you satisfied?

    Maybe this will help. Based on the second sentence, I thought this post was going to be a further examination of the gap between sabbatarian rhetoric and practice. I’m curious, since you’re a 3-former, and call yourself a “sabbatarian of the non-legalist variety”, do you consider Westminster’s obsession with the Sabbath (SC 57-62, LC 115-121, WCF 21:1,7,8) to be “of the legalist variety”? Where does Indy fit within the framework of

    after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

  6. RubeRad says:

    One is genteel, cosmopolitan and has Dario Franchitti

    And the other has a guy named “Dick Trickle, Jr”. Seriously, Jr. Some guy liked that name enough to saddle it on a second generation!

  7. Zrim says:

    CC, well, I’m not quite convinced that evangelicals are as noble as all that. From my experience, experiential Christianity (evangelicalism) tends very much to think that institutional Christianity (confessionalism) is, to say the least, a problem. Not to sound overly pious, but maybe one has to be an institutional Christian to see the inherent opposition of evangelicalism to institutional religion? Of course, evangelicalism has pretty much won the day, so there is very little incentive to be too explicit about it. I can see how that might lead one to believe he’s being less of a crank and thus maybe more noble.

  8. Zrim says:

    Rube, as a three-former-sabbatarian-of-the-non-legalist variety I prefer HC 103 which simply states what is required: “…that I, especially on the sabbath, that is, on the day of rest, diligently frequent the church of God, to hear his word, to use the sacraments, publicly to call upon the Lord, and contribute to the relief of the poor. Secondly, that all the days of my life I cease from my evil works, and yield myself to the Lord, to work by his Holy Spirit in me: and thus begin in this life the eternal sabbath.”

    A good rule of thumb, I think, about whether one is keeping the fourth is whether he can attend both services, which precludes something like Indy. Obviously it’s a not a failsafe rule because rules of thumb aren’t designed to be. That’s where liberty enters, as it seems it must with any question involving law, and if one can in good conscience do this or that in light of HC 103 so be it. If he cannot then it seems to follow that refraining is in order.

  9. Zrim says:

    Indy has the same thing, but “A.J. Foyt IV” or “Al Unser, Jr.” sure have different rings. More similtaneous similarities and differences.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “Because we are all from you, and glad that we got out, and sometimes even angry that we were ever in.”

    RubeRad, I suppose what you’re trying to say is that you disagreed with the evangelical approach to faith in Jesus Christ and you sought a more intellectual, liturgical, orthodox method.

  11. Copperchips says:

    Not to sound overly pious, but maybe one has to be an institutional Christian to see the inherent opposition of evangelicalism to institutional religion?

    Zrim, were those in the first-century church institutionalized? If not, does that make them evangelical?

  12. RubeRad says:

    No, we burnt out on the 1960s+, Christianity Today, anti-denominational version of the term “evangelical”, with its experientialism, biblicism, pietism, decisionism, individualism, anti-intellectualism, and probably many more -isms. Instead, we opted for the version of the term “evangelical” which the Reformers used to differentiate their gospel-centered religion from Rome.

    Another way to put it, when I grew up, the sense I got from the word “evangelical” would probably better be called “evangelistic” or “outward-focused” at best, but really just amounts to “seeker-sensitive”. I prefer the notion that those in the church need to be evangelized (“gospelled”) as much as the world outside.

  13. Zrim says:

    Man, this thread went serious. In the post proper I’ve linked to the Ricky Bobby prayer scene in hopes of lightening things up a skosh.

    But, CC, I’m inclined to think that institutional Christianity and a-institutional have always co-existed. And I would contend that Paul’s super-apostles, aka the Gnostics, were those of the a- variety while the Apostle was of the institutional variety.

  14. RubeRad says:

    “were those in the first-century church institutionalized?” Yes. The faith was “once for all delivered to the saints”, Paul was setting up elders in every city, etc.

    “If not, does that make them evangelical?” They were evangelical, in the original sense that the Reformation coined that word, which, again, is different than the usage of the last few decades.

  15. Chris H says:

    Maybe if we turned the prayer into a praise and worship song it might further assist the lightening?

  16. John Yeazel says:

    When the evangelical and confessional battles move into a family business that already has dysfunctional elements in the family history then it becomes serious business which can have disasterous effects on the material well being of all those involved. If I knew how to separate the Two-Kingdoms better in the early days of the battle I might have approached the matter in a different way and not have been as confrontational as I was. I also started doing things out of spite to my evangelical (read: Arminian) brother who eventually had to discipline me because he had more legal authority than me in the business and kind of slyly worked that out, unbenounced to me, as I was trying to fix the main problems in the business which had to do with the manufacturing of our products. He and the family members he brought in sat in the office and pretended they were CEO’s and web masters when they actually were glorified secretaries (former school teacher) and night school web learners with no business backround at all. They did no business planning or leading of the company and ended up mucking up all the accounting work where nothing ended up being accounted for correctly anymore. However, they believed they were morally superior (because they were evangelicals) to all those who did the dirty work in the business and kind of abused and misused their authority because they had the legal backing to do so (I often wondered what my brother did with all the money he was making- probably contributing a lot to evangelical causes like the building of the new Willow Creek entertainment theater, or should I say evangelical cathedral). In other words, they took all the money and as a result the morale of the business went into the dumps. No one enjoyed working there anymore and my brother had to get rid of all the productive people in the business who knew that the family members were destroying the business although they refused to look at the reality of the situation. I could go on with this morbid story (it is a business involved in the “death care” industry) but the ending has not occured yet. It is still developing and unfolding- like an organism.

    The most important thing I took from all this is that in relationships that are closely connected and can have serious consequences in ones life it is better if you make no contracts or oaths with those of a differing theological persuasion. They deal with serious issues in differing ways. In other words, evangelicals and confessionalists do not mix well together and there will eventually have to be a parting of ways. The structure of a family business is a not a good forum to fight theological truth battles in. The one who holds the most authority will win in the material realm. And they will tie you up legally to do so.

  17. John Yeazel says:

    It was Rube’s posts that inspired my post. There is a bit of anger at once being involved in evagelicalism but also being on the bad end of a bad business relationship with an evangelical who had the authority to shove my confessional nose in the dirt and eat some humble pie.

  18. John Yeazel says:

    To get back to the levity- evangelicals can be so cute and fun-loving. If it was not for the bad experiences I have had with evangelicals I probably would still be one. But for some reason my life moved into a realm where I am now in battle mode with evangelicals 24/7.

  19. "Michael Mann" says:

    John, sorry about that rough patch you went through.

    I obviously don’t know the details, intra-family dynamics and so forth, but, all those things being equal, there was possibly a very simple 2k solution: religion is largely irrelevant to successful widget (i.e., a generic product) manufacturing. The analysis turns on whether the laborer efficiently makes high-quality widgets. It would turn on whether supervisors are skilled at managing the manufacture of widgets. Then, are those in ultimate authority intelligently reading markets, assessing customer feedback, being attentive to the price of materials, etc., to be a competitive widget maker? In this common kingdom activity, there is typically no advantage or difference that correlates to theology. The 2k perspective would send religious differences out to the margin, and perhaps out of the widget plant altogether. Using the example you provided (and not really wanting to specifically talk about your relatives), the widget manufacturers introduced religious snobbery into the plant and, in so doing, introduced dysfunction.

  20. "Michael Mann" says:

    Yes, but when I am exposed to those cute and fun-loving folks for any substantial period of time, why do I start thinking of movie plots that involve lobotomies, genetic engineering, and aliens living inside people’s chests? And that Jim Carrey movie in which all the people around him are actors while a camera stays on the Jim Carrey character to watch his reactions?

  21. Zrim says:

    The most important thing I took from all this is that in relationships that are closely connected and can have serious consequences in ones life it is better if you make no contracts or oaths with those of a differing theological persuasion.

    John, with the exception of marriage, and with all due respect for your personal plight, I am not sure this resonates. I don’t see how one could possibly get along in common life without making contracts and oaths with those of differing theological perspectives. Since theological persuasion has little to no direct bearing on common life, it seems better not to enter into common contracts with those who have different ideological persuasions (or to enter theological contracts with those of different theological persuasions), which seems like common sense. But my guess is that your stated conclusion has more to do with the fact that the difficult and dicey personal tensions involved theological persuasions that were actually more incidental than relevant to them. Maybe what you mean is that there are down sides to doing business with family which can be hard to anticipate, even family that shares your theological persuasions?

  22. John Yeazel says:

    MM,
    MM,

    It was a lack of skill at manufacturing the widgets (there were problems with delivery times, quality issues which led to customer complaints, and cash flow problemes because of inventory issues, problems with vendors and lack of throughput through the shop,ie., the length of time it takes a part to flow through the manufacturing processes) that began the problems which I tried to fix by going to manufacturing seminars, reading lots of books on lean manufacturing, consulting lots of high priced manufacturing guru’s and dealing with a production manager who didn’t buy into the concept fully and ended up sabotaging the whole implementation process by giving verbal agreement to the process but not doing what he needed to do to keep it going. I also lacked the skill and training to do it properly (I had a business degree not production management training but I tried to learn it on my own- I did take an introductory production management course and knew that this expertise is what we needed at the plant) but I started getting into it and thought I could do it without having to hire a high salary production manager.

    This then led to apathy by those in authority who were making enough money to not care whether it would get implemented fully. They could not figure out why the production manager and I were at odds all the time because they did not understand the process either. We made it through some of the phases of the transition OK but when the implementation got a bit complicated and needed the understanding of those in authority and in important postions, it got to be too much. I was expected to do it all and I was not getting paid as much as those who ended up opposing the transition because they would not dig into it and do what needed to be done. Nor would they try to understand it fully. I finally got tired of being opposed all the time and others not following through on what they were supposed to do. I really had nowhere to turn and I needed someone else who was fully commited to make this transition and implementation successful.

    So, yes I understand what you are saying about the irrelevance of theology to the common kingdom activity. They should be able to be put to the margins of the company but I did not have that understanding when the severe conflicts began. When I tried to figure out why the main players (my brother, his two sons, his daughter, the production manager and myself) would not cooperate on the implementation I started to look towards theological reasons for the conflict. Perhaps I was wrong in doing this. When the conflicts began to get severe between the production manager and myself my brother did not handle the situation very well. My brother and I would have theological discussions occasionally and my understading of reformed theology was growing at the same time I was having these conflicts at the business. I began making confrontational remarks about his Willow Creek evangelical theology and this just made him angry and really did not accomplish much. He started to go on a moral rampage and started dolling out discipline in a rather haphazad manner when the real problem was the money he and his family were taking out of the business when not contributing any solution to the main problems there. So, it became a tangled web of lack of skill, mismanagement and theological conflicts not discussed in a manner relevant to the situation.

  23. John Yeazel says:

    MM,

    I was being sarcastic in my caricature of evangelicals as cute and fun-loving. I’m not sure you took it that way. I stated that I probably would be an evangelical still except my conflicts and problems with them began me on my search for something better than I was getting in my experience in evangelical and charismatic churches. So, I would agree with the movie plots you started imagining in your mind. I still don’t get my brothers attraction to evangelical theology. He is not a stupid guy. But attraction to reformed theology has to be an act of God’s grace in ones life. Hopefully, this mess will work itself out one day. I have recently found a good job where I can make decent money again and put into practice what I learned through the whole process at the family business. It is a manufactuing plant that has much more qualified and trained people in manufacturing processes than we had at our plant.

  24. John Yeazel says:

    Thanks Zrim for the input- it took me awhile to get to the place where I could come to the conclusion that you came to in your post. You have to remember I was indoctrinated heavily into evangelical, charismatic and cultural transformational theology. It took me awhile to get the 2K implications for dealing with others of differing theological persuasions or lack thereof in society. I was bringing just at much baggage into the conflicts at the family business as my brother and his kids were. That is why I injected the comment about the dysfunction of the family unit as a whole. I also stated I would do things much differently now then I did when the conflicts got severe. I think my post to MM posted about the same time as yours so that post answers some of your concerns.

  25. John Yeazel says:

    Zrim stated: “But my guess is that your stated conclusion has more to do with the fact that the difficult and dicey personal tensions involved theological persuasions that were actually more incidental than relevant to them. Maybe what you mean is that there are down sides to doing business with family which can be hard to anticipate, even family that shares your theological persuasions?”

    The biggest issue I have, which I am not articulating very well, is the way my brother got rid of the conflicting factors in the business and tried to surround himself with like thinking moralists who did not have a clue in regards to how to deal with the main problems in the business. So MM I think got what I was trying to say when he made the remark about injecting religious snobbery into the plant that produced a lot of reaction and dysfunction from everyone involved in the business expect those who were on the inside of my brother’s and his kids agenda. Yes, this is hard to anticipate and I think it was a lot of the evangelical thinking which produced a lot of the problems.

    I went into this because there are more problems with evangelical theology than meets the eye and I was trying to show how this has worked itself out in the life of a family run business. There were lots of factors involved in the problems at our family business but evangelical theology and its implications for common kingdom activity may have contributed to some of it. I think he pushed his transformationalist ideas into the business like I tried to do before I began to know better. Especially the way he dealt with the conflicts in disciplining those conflicting factors and taking the moral high ground approach when his morality was in question too. He did not see it that way though and he has the legal authority to run it as he pleases. I am open to others who may disagree with me. As you can tell I am still working this out in my own mind and how to deal with it properly. My mother is about ready to die and she still has a say in what happens in regards to my role there. I would love to be able to finish what I started and bring my kids into the business like he did. She is still the majority stock holder but not too coherent these days. I have been too long winded about this but it about to come to a head and I am worried about what may happen. Just trying to work it out I guess. Maybe it will be helpful to someone else out there.

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