2020: How Has It Changed You?

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119 Responses

  1. josh hamrick says:

    I hope that in a year or so I’ll see things differently. Right now, I’m more cynical than I’ve ever been. Not many bright spots. I will hold hope that this is temporary and I will come out of it.

  2. Duane Arnold says:


    You speak for many of us… or at least you spoke for me.

  3. Erunner says:

    In my world the love I have for my wife, children, and grandchildren has deepened.

    The covid topic has family members all over the map. This includes siblings and various in-laws. I avoid entering into any discussions on the topic as I know those who are knee deep into some very odd conspiracies.

    The other day we witnessed an odd thing. A neighbor had a party with various families participating. During this time a fire engine pulled up and talked with and took pictures with them.

    We have as a family decided no get togethers. This will be the first time we’re alone as a couple for Christmas.

    I pray God’s best for you and yours. Allan

  4. Michael says:

    Erunner… I’m in transit at the moment, but wanted to say it’s good to see you…

  5. Erunner says:

    Thanks Michael. God bless!

  6. Linn says:

    I have always lived alone, but this year has accented the “alone” as I don’t have my social outlets. That has been the negative part.
    Positive: learning a bunch of new tech skills to continue my chosen profession of teaching, drawing closer to God in personal devotion, getting to know my neighbors that I hadn’t really met because I roared off to work in the morning and was often at church in the evening…Not all bad, but I’m definitely ready to be out of pandemic mode.

  7. Em says:

    We well might wonder why it has been in the will of God for the world to go through this China virus…. ? And the fires such as devastated Michael’s town and i wonder why this late in life i have a new nose? ? ? And such a strange set of political machinations. And….. sigh…
    So much lines up with prophesy, if one so interprets…. Are we nearing the final act – Satan’s swan song? dunno
    Or will God rewind the clock? dunno….

    Sounds like an expensive vet bill, Michael….. Sounds like it’s time to check our budgets and contribute to the Phoenix Preacher….
    God keep

  8. Michael says:


    It was spendy, but it’s covered now…bless you, my friend.

  9. Dan from Georgia says:


    With all the crap going on in the world….

    There is my Little Buddy Andy (one of our two beagles). Tore a ligament in mid-October while chasing a squirrel. Decided to have $$$$ surgery on his leg. Healing slower than expected, but he’s starting to gently walk on his bionic leg. He’s our guy and we couldn’t bear to put him down.

    Let’s hope for a better future for us all. For all the garbage I read on another tread on this site, I still can’t pull away, even though I may not comment much anymore…tired of people picking fights over the most non-essential things.

  10. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    2020 has often felt like a Psalm 88 year for me.

  11. Jim says:

    Well done, Linn!

  12. JS says:

    2020 will look better in hindsight, just like Psalm 88 fades as reading we continue into Psalm 89.
    As I hugged my mother for the last time I had to make her let go, but we both knew she was going home soon and I had some pressing on to do.
    Let’s all agree to stay on course no matter what, and entrust the future to Him- our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  13. Em says:

    2020 will look better in hindsight? Dear Lord, i hope not, but….
    Amen to the rest of JS’ post

  14. Jim says:

    Downside-I watched our former constitutional republic slip farther into whatever the ruling class has decided for us. I watched politics and a virus make people crazy. I watched my younger neighbors completely waste their paid vacations and act like my retired neighbors, with the accompanying IQ drop. My “learn to code, or just learn something” advice fell on deaf ears.

    Upside-My engineer son in law learned to code. My wife stopped watching the news, which means I don’t have to hear it. I’m getting a lot better at ignoring the crazy, which is why I no longer read PhxP political threads. My primary business only lost one client due to the crazy, I started a second business in July, and started an online affiliate marketing business in November. We’ll see what happens, but at this stage in my life it’s more about the process than the results. Out of the seven people I know who tested positive, three were asymptomatic (my son, his spouse, and a neighbor), and four were sick, with flu-like symptoms. My wife was sick for three weeks in October, but only had one textbook covid symptom, and never got tested. She spoke with someone last week who has a relative who tested positive with the same exact symptoms, so she probably had it.

    So yeah, it’s been a good but weird year for me. YMMV.

  15. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    JS, yeah, agree that Ps 88 is just one of the psalms. 🙂 It’s taken 2020 for me to realize I can feel that way, which may not be an entirely bad discovery as I find it more “useful” to Spock my way through life.

    Whether 2020 looks better in hindsight I’m not quite as sure about yet but I can take some encouragement knowing that claustrophobic levels of loneliness is just that, not the same as losing loved ones or getting covid-19 (which some friends and family have gotten, just as some family down in Oregon had to be evacuated because of the fires).

  16. Dan from Georgia says:

    Guess I will continue posting (just not on the political/theological threads anymore)…

    I wish I had spent more time this past year on constructive things, like learning to code as Jim mentioned. I still want to learn Python and MATLAB. Had too much time on my hand this year and spent too much time looking at news and political feeds. Also would have liked to spend more time on my art and reading material. Never too late to make amends with my good intentions I guess.

    Still can’t pull myself away from here, and like Jim stated will not engaged in the crazy political threads. Pet, today’s church, and miscellany are more up my alley here.

  17. Jim says:

    Dan, it’s easy to get sucked in. I’ve read and said far more than I would have liked to here this year.

    I’ve never made NY’s resolutions, because I get wild hairs and run with them, except in 2018 when I decided to drop 50 pounds.

    I think that there’s great value in looking back over a year and ask yourself what you would like to improve about YOU in the next year. I can try to influence, and I win and I lose, but the only thing I know i can change is me.

    “Can’t change it” and “do better, Jim” are my mantras. “Can’t change it” is essential to my mental health. Can I change any given political shift in the country? Nope, can’t do a thing, so roll with it. Can I actively love my neighbor? Yep! Gonna be better at it too.

  18. Michael says:

    We live in a country obsessed with politics and the public face of the church is deeply political.
    Do I want to deal with it?
    Hell no.
    But the people who I serve here did and so I tried to find some balance in allowing it to go on.
    I was damned if I did and damned if I didn’t which is pretty much the story of the last twenty years.
    Every time I asked for constructive suggestions or help I got more complaints.
    I’m not the one driving the current insanity…and I have no desire to engage with it.
    However, I’ve always cared about the church and those in her…and some of this stuff has to be spoken to.
    I have tried to express my honest respect and affection for my readers…it is as real as that I have for people I know personally.
    I’m doing the best I can…under all the circumstances.

  19. JD says:

    Thank you Jesus, that 2020 will soon be over.

  20. Jim says:


    You are darned if you do or don’t. I given suggestions that I hoped were constructive, but you are probably correct that they were complaints, as they were inspired by frustration and selfishness (where did my PhxP go?).

    Please don’t take my (and others) frustrated proclamations personally. Yes, you absolutely contribute to the bullshit, as “trump/antichrist, nightmare is over” are provocative statements (as in, they provoke). You do this because you are human. You are a part of the political discourse here that I’d selfishly like you to end. I like and support humans, but I don’t want to hear your, or anyone else’s political bullshit. Pardon my french.

    I don’t care what side of the fence people are on, which means “I don’t care, would you shut up?”

    But, I can’t change it, so I’ll avoid some stuff and read and interact with other stuff.

    I hope you’re cool with that.

  21. Michael says:


    By now you ought to know I take everything personally. 🙂
    My sincere hope is that with a new administration we will not be as interested or inflamed…the new guy is a dullard and for that I’m grateful.
    For most of our existence we really didn’t touch on politics…and hopefully, going forward, politics won’t be as involved with faith.
    In any case, I’m glad you’re here.

  22. Dan from Georgia says:

    Jim and Michael,

    Self-policing is what I have to do for sanity when it comes to politics and news. I think a while ago, Michael, I suggested perhaps banning politics here, but probably wouldn’t be useful as I think some people want to have a safe place to vent. Perhaps with a milquetoast President things may simmer down some, like you said? Having a place to vent may be good but you still run the risk of people fighting in unhealthy ways. For me I just don’t like to fight with people.

    Jim, a few years ago I weighed in at 289lbs, and after engaging in personal training with a few great trainers, I got down to 242lbs. Would love to get down to 210-220, but pandemic and working at home set me back some. Like you said, some things you can change, some things you can’t.

  23. Jim says:

    Dan, congrats on the weight loss! You did it the hard but right way. I just changed my diet.

    Regarding political venting, that’s what facebook is for. Almost all of my “friends” posts are blocked from my feed.

    Even after today’s conversation, I just now almost responded to a post on open blogging. Self-policing is hard (!) but worth it.

  24. DavidM says:

    I am more sad than anything: sad at the disappearance of common sense, sad at the way SO MANY of my evangelical friends have put their brains aside and have decided to buy into any of the lies that Trump throws out, sad at the division in our country . . . the list could go on. Though I am saddened, I am also indignant at the Christian “leaders” who are being called brave for defying the government orders regarding church gatherings. There is nothing heroic, nothing brave in doing so. I saw one on the news, Mike McClure, who said, “There is a greater law”. My thought was, yes there is, it is called loving your neighbor as yourself, it is called doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is the job of a pastor/leader in this pandemic to care for the welfare of their church, not just spiritually but in regards to their health as well. And, finally, as if I wasn’t already beyond jaded in regards to eschatology, the leaders who are seizing on this pandemic to underscore their last-days teachings continue to peddle fear. God help the church in the US.
    I admit, in my lifetime, there has never been a time like this. We’re all trying to get through it. I think my love for my family, my sense of humor, and my hope of resuming active ministry efforts keep me sane and keep me going. Ultimately, I hope I have changed for the better. Time will reveal what we take from this.

  25. Duane Arnold says:


    A good bit of truth in a very few sentences…

  26. Michael says:

    Well said, David!

  27. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Jim! I have read more than a few success stories of people who lost significant amounts of weight through dietary changes alone. For me the exercise part is also a form of therapy.

  28. Dan from Georgia says:

    Yes, self-policing is tough! I know when I get out of my place of Zen, I will post something political or angry.

  29. Jim says:

    Well, our friends who posted above won’t make it easy. Being “sad” about division while being divisive gets amens from the blog leaders. SMH.

  30. Duane Arnold says:


    I’m not shaking my head at all. I’ve known David as a friend and a brother for almost 50 years… I also know his service and his heart.

  31. DavidM says:

    Jim, what happened to your self-policing? SMH

  32. The New Victor says:

    Dan, good for you. I’m around 285, but when I was lifting weights (bulkier) and boxing 8 years ago, i was in the 250 lb range, even then maybe 20 lbs more than I should have been. I need to lose, my very high BP.

    With home schooling, I’ve noticed my 10 year old boy has love handles, which i didn’t get until I was 17 and dropped PE my senior high school year.

  33. Jim says:

    David, I failed. I’ll fail some more for you. Do you not see the contradiction in insulting half of the American voters while in the same sentence claiming to be sad about division?

    I don’t care what side anyone is on, this has to stop. The way to peace is not through insults.

    I’m sad that Michael and Duane approve, because I’m actually sad about the division in the country and on this blog.

  34. pstrmike says:

    2020 has been a life changer for me. I sense it more than the tangible things I can readily identify, and suspect I will be noticing subtle or not so subtle changes for some time in the future. A few things I can articulate.

    1. I think this country has lost its collective soul. The truth is out there, but it has been bought and sold on the market place of privilege, which, in my opinion, comes in all types of expressions.

    2. facebook has largely become a toxic waste dump of half truths morphed into a form that is palatable for their own tribe. Guess I should either delete my account, or unfriend many of my friends.

    3. I no longer believe most people can set aside their bias to listen, respect, and show charity to others.

    4. COVID has forced us to depend more on alternatives to face-to-face communication. I think this will cause us to be less communal and more individualistic, and with that, more insular.

    5. The church has lost much of its via media who have been silenced by both conservative and liberal voices who only listen to their pre-conceived ideas. We are a house that is being run by extremists who have lost sight of the church’s primary mission and are looking to satiate their own and others greed. The ultimate expression of Manifest Destiny gone awry.

    6. There is no clear voice speaking truth as we are too intoxicated on from drinking in our own kool-aid.

    I want to check out, buy a few acres in remote Eastern Oregon or Nevada, and live the rest of my life away fro mall this nonsense. But God has called me to pray for my children’s and grandchildren’s generation, and while I have other irons in the fire, that seems like more most important vocation.

  35. It’s interesting to me how many people (including myself) feel like they want to get away from areas of higher population. I think it has to do with the need to clear our minds. We’re on mental and emotional overload.

  36. pstrmike says:

    Pineapple, not completely the case with me. I already live in the sticks, with Forest Service land on three sides. I feel fortunate that I am riding this thing out in a rural area. I just want to get further off the “beaten path.”

  37. Dan from Georgia says:

    The New Victor,

    Thanks! I enjoy weight lifting, and for me it’s not just for the physical benefits but also for mental/emotional therapy, and also to get my BP down too! I haven’t checked my weight lately because I know I put on weight…working from home it’s easier to snack.

  38. Michael says:


    It’s not my intent, nor Duane’s or David’s to insult half of America.
    I have close friends who voted for Trump simply out of economic considerations and that is a legitimate reason for choosing a candidate.
    I have other friends who voted for him under the misguided thought that he was going to improve the moral fiber of this country and I’ve already addressed that.
    As I’ve said before, Donald Trump is the representative of every power mad narcissist that ever abused the church.
    He is concerned with one thing…himself and hanging on to power.
    Now, that in itself would not propel him onto the pages of The Phoenix Preacher.
    Most politicians and celebrity preachers are narcissistic.
    What has made it worthy of inclusion in debate here is that the church that I have personally sworn to protect (like some do the Constitution) has been corrupted, deceived, and malformed by a virulent set of doctrines combining faith and politics.
    It is in fact another gospel that may not damn the soul, but will damn the country and lead many away from Christ.
    This is also idolatry and a quick survey of the OT will tell you that idolatry always brings judgment.
    Truth in a recognizable form no longer exists…because it is twisted to support zealots on both sides of the divide.
    Those celebrity pastors supporting Trump publicly almost without fail have a history of abuse or corruption in their own organizations.
    When the society is so sick that it politicizes a pandemic and invokes God to do so, it is sick indeed.
    All this comes under the banner I carry… which is to bear witness to the truth and to Christ, even if I carry that banner alone.
    Every time we take on a rogue religionist we are far outnumbered by those who support the abuser…the abused are the remnant.
    I’ve never counted votes before writing.
    The political side of this is of no concern to me…they (politicians) are all seeking to represent the Beast.
    The religious context and the soul of the church mean everything…and I’ll continue to speak when necessary.
    I can love and respect those who disagree…but failing to speak puts me at odds with God and those who entrusted me to do what I do,

  39. Jim says:


    Everything you said is true, except that you don’t know David’s intent, nor do I. He did seem to take some snarky pleasure in my failure, so he’s as imperfect as i am.

    My simple question to you is, is this a divisive statement?

    “SO MANY of my evangelical friends have put their brains aside and have decided to buy into any of the lies that Trump throws out”

    Feel free to replace Trump with Biden and evangelicals with Orthodox.

  40. Michael says:


    I know David…and I trust you would like him as much as I do.
    The statement (just as what I wrote earlier) may be divisive, but only in pursuit of truth.
    It has been evangelicals who refuse to acknowledge what their hero is, just as they did for a Mahaney or Heitzig.
    It has been a large segment of evangelicals who have distorted and corrupted the gospel with this stuff.
    There are many who haven’t…but in the public eye those who have are now the face of Christianity.
    Those who are simply standing for the Gospel are getting hammered by Trump supporters…churches are splitting all over the country when the pastor just desires to preach the Gospel.
    Nothing I write is an apology for Biden…but Biden hasn’t wrapped himself in faith nearly to the degree that Trump has.
    If he does…we’ll address that too.
    I wouldn’t walk across the street to see Biden…but I would have voted for anybody to replace the problem we have now.

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, I think it’s funny that when I say evangelicals have corrupted Christian theology you threaten to toss me.
    At the same time, you accuse a large portion of evangelicals of corrupting the gospel – and pridefully sit back.

  42. Michael says:


    You know damn well we’re talking about two different things.
    To you, anything outside the LCMS is corrupt.
    That is prideful…and won’t be tolerated.

  43. Jim says:

    I’m sorry, I missed where you wrote earlier that the statement might be divisive.

    I don’t think insulting victims is a part of your calling and methodology.

  44. Michael says:


    I’m not insulting victims.
    To hear you say that is painful indeed.
    “Divisive” things have to be said when dividing truth from error.

    Beth Moore (who I’ve come to love and respect) just said this on Twitter;

    “I do not believe these are days for mincing words. I’m 63 1/2 years old & I have never seen anything in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism. This Christian nationalism is not of God. Move back from it.”

    I’m saying the same thing.
    It’s going to cost her her career.
    I’m willing to pay as well.

    I’m done trying…I’ll do what I need to do and my readers can do the same.
    I’ve got a cat getting ready to go to the Lord and that’s where my heart and presence will be the rest of the day.

  45. Jim says:

    I agree with Moore. She did not denigrate the deceived, and neither should we. David did, and you and Duane said amen.

  46. Dan from Georgia says:

    Micheal…praying now and will continue today.

  47. Duane Arnold says:

    For my part, agreeing with David’s comments is to acknowledge the reality of what has and what is taking place. We have to deal with reality, not fantasy and conspiracies…

  48. Michael says:

    Thank you, Dan.
    I think she’s going to make it through today, but tomorrow, my friend will leave me for a while.
    I’m devastated, but thankful beyond all else for the resurrection to come.

  49. Duane Arnold says:


    It’s heartbreaking… I know…

  50. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael…my wife and I went through the same thing November 2017 with our Sophie. We understand and are in prayer for you.

  51. Michael says:

    My hope was that I could keep her alive until I could be with her when she passes…just dropping her off to die is more than I can handle.
    It’s all more than I can handle.
    Thank you for your prayers.

  52. Michael says:


    My final thought is this.
    In all the fights against corrupt leaders we’ve fought, we misidentified the problem.
    The real source of the problem wasn’t the narcissistic bastards hurting people, it was the people that enabled them.
    At some point, the deception is welcomed and embraced in the face of presented truth…and those people cease to be victims and become enablers of injustice and unrighteousness.
    That’s where we are with Trumpism.

  53. Michael says:

    “And, God help us, we don’t turn from Trumpism to Bidenism. We do not worship flesh and blood. We do not place our faith in mortals. We are the church of the living God. We can’t sanctify idolatry by labeling a leader our Cyrus. We need no Cyrus. We have a king. His name is Jesus.”

  54. Jim says:

    If you can accurately identify exactly when the line is crossed from victim (the deceived) to enabler, you might have a point.

  55. Linn says:

    I was watching a news report in Georgia talking to those who believe the election was stolen at a Trump supporter rally. Featured t-shirt on the attenders:

    “Jesus is my Savior, and Trump is my President.”

    I personally think the statement borders on blasphemy, giving Trump almost equal status with Jesus and his followers. No one should ever put any politician on that height of status. Will we have Trump’s Little Red Book next?

  56. Karen Glovka says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty. They are such soulmates and a comfort to us (despite those slightly wicked little personalities). I pray it will be a peaceful passing and that God will bring another sweet feline companion your way soon!

  57. Michael says:


    The point is where people choose to ignore truth in order to continue to believe lies…because the truth would take down an idol.
    You well know that when you keep telling the truth about that idol, those people will turn on you with vehemence.
    My email still runs about 3-1 in favor of Bob Coy…

  58. Michael says:

    Thank you, Karen…she has been a good friend…

  59. Jim says:

    As you know, I think that everyone who believes in a moral government is an idolater. It has never served me or them to call them on it. I think I’ve only said it here out of frustration with progressives who think that everyone who doesn’t agree with them is a trumpy.

  60. Linn says:

    I made the same kind of trip to the vet in early April with my very good friend. It was the right thing to do, but the timing….shortly after, God led me to a friend who had a foster that was “unadoptable.” That’s how I got my current kitty. She was a ghost the first three months in the house, but there were consistent little signs of hope she was coming around. One afternoon she came out of her hidey hold and plunked down in my lap to stay. She’s now queen of the house and about to meet her first Christmas tree. I hope that God will bring a similar furry surprise your way soon.

  61. Michael says:

    I’m sorry for you loss.
    I will have one cat left, my Smokey.
    At my age, I’m not sure I can handle any more loss…Smokey might be the last cat.
    I’ll still feed the strays, but this is taking a toll.

  62. Em says:

    Miss Kitty’s parting time has come? Guess i missed something, but animals seem to know when the fight is over and most, like the sparrow, seem to know their Creator is there watching their parting. We know He is…..
    God keep

  63. Xenia says:

    Well… gee.

    If we believe we can be dismissive of someone because we think they are deluded and we use derogatory language in our dismissal, sorry, this is divisive, no matter which side does it and both sides do it. We can’t call for peace and harmony and complain about polarization and then in the next breath call people we don’t agree with names, (or agree with those who do), and when this is pointed out say that we can do this because we are right and they are so obviously wrong. “I won’t call you names and be dismissive of you as long as you agree with me.”

  64. Em says:

    November, Beeker, Axel, Ravel, Tumbleweed, Silly Willy and, if i continued remembering there were more .. . cats that joined our family and over time were returned to their Maker…. and, oh the dear members of my family now present with the Lord…
    This is my 85th year on the planet and it is an interesting one as i try to be responsible, but no appetite for planning for the future now…. My daughter does let me drive her car while my 2005 Pacifica is in pieces waiting for a new engine. .. Brave girl 😏
    Old people tend to wake up in the middle of the night…. Last night i fired up my iMac and sang along with. a fellow singing “praise” songs.
    “Because He kives, i can face tomirrow. Because He lives all fear is gone . ….. And life is worth the living just because I know He. lives…..”
    We are a privileged people. 🙏

  65. Michael says:

    I’m done now.
    I haven’t called anyone names.
    I’ve gone out of my way to listen and explain.
    Neither David nor Duane called anyone names.
    If someone would like to explain to me how to speak to things like yesterdays “Jericho March” without a trace of denigration let me know.
    Rod Dreher couldn’t.
    In the meantime, no one forces anyone to read here…and I’m tired of defending myself and my site.
    If I am an offense, move on.

  66. Xenia says:

    As you wish.

  67. Michael says:


    You selective holiness has grown tiresome.
    I believe it was you who left because I called a nutcase a nutcase…then you came back and called him a nutcase as well.
    No one has called anybody anything in this thread.
    You have been consistently offended by me until you aren’t.
    I do not wish to be an offense to anyone…but I won’t stand down when the faith once delivered is threatened.
    I look for things I need to repent of…I haven’t seen anything on this thread that is sin.
    If I’m wrong, may God show me.

  68. Jim says:

    “If I’m wrong, may God show me.”

    Is it possible that Xenia and i are trying to be your friends? You don’t want to see it, have dug in, and will now only hear God. And Duane.

    One of your qualities that i admire is your strength. Your stubborn nature. But sometimes…

  69. Xenia says:

    If I exhibit “selective holiness” it’s because we live in confusing times and I am often confused as to what the right thing is. Like you, I want to believe and do the right thing… if only I could figure out what it is on a consistent basis. I think I hit on what right and talk about that for a while, then it that grows sour and I land on something else I think is right. This has happened with Conservative politics, mask-wearing, church closures and a host of other topics. I am trying to make sense of all this chaos, and I know you are, too. I apologize for getting upset upthread.

    Half the people in Ortholandia that I admire greatly have taken positions I don’t agree with. I don’t trust the government, either party. I am worried, even if I shouldn’t be, about the vaccine. I am tired of being cooped up. I am irritable. Please forgive me.

  70. Em says:

    Lord give Michael (and the rest of us) strength of mind and body, wisdom and discernment. As our Lord modeled, give us boldness and forbearance to do your will…. no matter the consequences… Your will, Father, leads to a joyful end… but the battle here, Lord, IS wearisome… Oh, Lord, You know, You know …

  71. Michael says:


    I will remain friends with you both.
    You have left no avenue to speak critically of what is happening to the church in this country…and I believe the faithful must speak.
    I bid you both peace and you will be welcome here anytime.

  72. Michael says:


    I share all those frustrations…please forgive me as well.
    I am not in a good way right now either.

  73. Xenia says:

    I love you, Michael, as you know. A sign of a strong friendship is the ability to forgive each other when we lose our tempers. I know I have been overly preachy lately.

    I am sorry to hear about your kitty.

  74. Duane Arnold says:


    “…and will now only hear God. And Duane.”

    Apart from being snark on your part, Michael does hear me… and I hear Michael. That is because we have conversations. We don’t always agree, but in these conversations we listen to each other and seek to learn from each other. We believe the best of each other and of one another’s intentions. We believe that learning is more important than trying to prove one or the other of us right or wrong. We hold our relationship and our common faith to be more important than the topics we discuss… and we have remained friends, without a cross word between us, through the years. I could be wrong, but I think this is preferable…

  75. Jim says:

    For perspective, this started over my objection to this sentence:

    “sad at the way SO MANY of my evangelical friends have put their brains aside and have decided to buy into any of the lies that Trump throws out, sad at the division in our country”

    I’m so sad that Duane has put his brain aside and decided to buy into the lies of the marxist left, and I’m sad about the division here at PhxP.

    This is clearly an insult, compounded by a contradictory statement about unity.

    (I don’t believe the above about Duane.)

  76. Jim says:

    Duane, that’s great. What’s your point? My “snark” is a statement of the obvious. I believe that you are the greatest influence in Michael’s life.

  77. Michael says:

    Help me, Lord.
    The group that David is part of has in large part turned Sunday’s into Trump rallies.
    Every survey shows that the most fervent supporters of Trump are evangelicals.
    These are simply facts.
    It is not a comment on traditional conservatism, but on this specific phenomena.
    Tell me how you would describe those at the Jericho March, or those who hold continual prayer meetings for him claiming he won and God will overturn the election?

  78. Michael says:

    I’m 62 years old.
    Jesus is the greatest influence in my life.
    Duane is a trusted friend and a treasure, but I think for myself.

  79. Michael says:


    I love you as well, my friend.

  80. Duane Arnold says:


    If you indeed wrote that, I think I might ask for you to explain it before making a blanket statement about being divisive… or at least divisive according to you.

    As to your snark being a “statement of the obvious” I can only say that you are simply wrong… wrong to the point that an apology is probably in order.

  81. Jim says:

    I would think that most here, particularly those who have been here for over a decade, might think that you are Michael’s most influential friend on this blog. I’m always happy to apologize. Am I wrong? Michael obviously thinks for himself, and Jesus Himself is obviously his greatest influence.

    Are we really down to dissecting every sentence as if we don’t know each other at all?

    After the unnecessary clarification above, help me understand what I should apologize to and for what?

    I’m being honest. I’m off today, recovering from a treatment i had on Friday, and might be missing what’s right in front of my face.

  82. Michael says:

    This is a very bad day.
    Jim, I’m sorry you’ve chosen this way.
    Very sorry.
    I bid you peace.

  83. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    I actually have had doubts for the last twenty years that the term “evangelical” means what people may think it means with Paula White connected to the White House. Gospel music historian Anthony Heilbut has pointed out in his writings on the history of African American gospel music that since the Obama administration there have been more charismatics and Pentecostals gaining access to the Oval Office than evangelicals in the older scholastic sense of the term.

    To put this another way, cessationists are probably not as common in the new era of American Christendom as charismatics, Pentecostals and others. That’s not a minor distinction, it’s one of the biggest rifts within evangelical, fundamentalist and charismatic scenes.

    Many of the higher profile figures dubbed “evangelicals” are people this evangelical would regard as having dubious teaching whether on eschatological grounds (I’m a self-identified amillenial partial preterist) or on Manifest Destiny grounds (but on that specific issue the mainlines pioneered that civic religious heresy more than a century before neo-evangelicals or fundamentalists or charismatics could even take up that teaching).

    Bonhoeffer was not considered evangelical forty years ago or even thirty years ago and yet the Metaxas style evangelical scene has sought to rehabilitate him as not neo-orthodox.

    If Rust Belt Catholics tipped the election as much as Get Religion reporting has indicated focusing on evangelicals without clarifying which evangelicals we’re talking about will muddy the waters rather than clear them. The cessationist Reformed types can look at what’s going on with the Jericho March and point out that, well, one of the advantages of being a cessationist is having less of a temptation to invoke a pneumatology that lets you claim that the election was stolen because you have to comply with a doctrine of providence that can concede God probably just let Biden win, for instance.

    Evangelicalism has never been as monolithic as contemporary reporting and even historiography can present it as being, which is what, I suggest, is what some people are pushing back about without, perhaps, having the technical jargon at hand for articulating the distinctions that have been broad brushed out of conversation. For instance, there’s no working definition of “evangelical” I know of by which Paula White comes across as orthodox.

    I’ve been reading Walter McDougall’s The Tragedy of American Foreign Policy and it’s an interesting survey of American civil religion as something he regards as one of the banes of American foreign policy history but he brackets out no less than eight different forms or modes of civic religion across the history of the United States, broadly categorized in a taxonomy of “promised land” and “crusader” state and that the “crusader state” civic religions go farther back than, say W, to Woodrow Wilson and Progressive Republican administrations.

    Which in McDougall’s blunt assessment is a way of saying that essentially heretical American civil religions have been with us since the Founding Fathers but that the difference in the last century has been the civil religions have tended toward overt imperial/colonial rationales rather than “promised land” paradigms.

    So with the Jericho March there might need to be some more work done to explain which kind of “evangelicals” we’re looking at, since in Rod Dreher’s account Catholics showed up, too. That suggests to me that the category of “evangelical” is probably a useless codeword. We might be on firmer ground if we looked to categories like whether or not these are groups that, within Christian beliefs, lean postmil or premil futurist, charismatic or cessationist, etc. I still identify as both evangelical and Reformed and I’m also ex-Pentecostal (Assemblies of God) and a lot of what I’ve seen described as “evangelical” has seemed far too lazy and non-descript.

    So the statement that Trump supporters are evangelicals comes across more as a kind of journalistic super-myth than “fact” not so much because there aren’t plenty of evangelicals who have supported Trump but because studies on the electoral patterns in 2016 suggest Rust Belt Catholics played a role in tipping the election in Trump’s favor yet I have seen little animus against Rust Belt Catholics as being the ones “responsible” for the Trump presidency.

    Anthony Heilbut’s warning that we might want to start distinguishing between cessationist and continuationist streams of “evangelicalism” has started to seem like needed advice to this ex-Pentecostal.

  84. Jim says:

    Sad day indeed.

  85. Em says:

    Jim @11:51
    You aren’t the only one who took notice of the comment that, if one supports Trump, one is not using their brain.. .
    It seems to have escaped notice that Texas was disputing the conduct of this election – NOT who appears to have won…. The corrupted Democratic party is not what it was a few decades ago and there seems to be an attempt to circumvent our Constitution that well could become a decline, perhaps demise, of the Republic…
    Our judiciary seems to be governed by a fear of civil war, not the rule of law….
    Wrong? Well… I sure hope so….

  86. bob1 says:

    I’ve been on here for over ten years…and I don’t share Jim’s perception that Michael plays favorites…I think he’s pretty even-handed. I frankly don’t know how Michael does this. This blog is mostly a motley crew of loose cannons and bomb throwers. and opnionated asses. I mean no disrespect by saying that. I believe it’s the truth. And I’m at the head of the line.

    I think all of us should be on our knees (if we’re not already, of course) and thanking God for this unique community.

    I also don’t think this election and its aftermath have settled on many yet. I believe it will, but I think it’ll take some time.

  87. Mike E. says:

    “I do not believe these are days for mincing words. I’m 63 1/2 years old & I have never seen anything in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism. This Christian nationalism is not of God. Move back from it.” Evangelical New York Times best selling author Beth Moore on Twitter today.

  88. Jim says:

    Thanks Em. I’m laid up this weekend, and made the mistake of interacting here. I knew better, and did it anyway. Lesson learned. I hope.

  89. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    this is the 2nd time the Beth Moore tweet has come up. I fully agree with her — but why is it that when I “don’t mince words” about the crappy theology of the evangelicals I get grief?

    She is saying the same thing (it’s not of God) – I hope – but if not I will expand. The actions by the McClure guy in NorCal is nothing more than crappy theology planted by Satan in his church (does anyone else have a source of bad / false theology IN THE CHURCH?

    I guess I will need to look up the Jericho march as I don’t stalk the evangelical news sites.

  90. Jim says:

    bob1, I didn’t say anything about playing favorites. I was referring to a friendship with influence, which is not a bad thing. I think on another day, Michael would say that he has been helped and influenced by Duane, which does not mean that he doesn’t think for himself or has placed a man before God.

  91. Michael says:

    I’m busy picking up the boy. Get all your shots in before I get home, because I promise it’s all going to end then. You’ve got about an hour to vent your spleens.

  92. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Back to Michael’s 7:59 this morning – “To you, anything outside the LCMS is corrupt.”

    I don’t agree with everything LCMS and I am usually not in the habit of promoting them. I do disagree as they are allowing CRT to take a foothold and they have not stopped a minor movement of antinomian “Lutherans” from gaining ground in some of the universities and speaking conferences – especially those who would foist the false narratives of Gerhard Forde on the faithful.

    Now, if you want to accuse me of thinking those teachings that go contrary to the Bible and the Book of Concord are corrupt – I plead guilty.

  93. Xenia says:

    I suspect many of us are disappointed in some of the actions our churches have taken over the past year, no matter which “side” we are on.

  94. Duane Arnold says:


    If I have any influence on my friend, Michael, its has been from the writers I have introduced him to over these years. Additionally, when we discuss theology, I am less than doctrinaire. I’m not about telling people “what they should believe”. People who know me know that… I’m more than willing to let Michael speak for himself on such matters rather than stating an opinion as to what he thinks… or should think.

  95. Michael says:

    The fact that I have to come on here and defend a friend and a friendship, especially today, is an obscenity I will forgive, but never forget.
    Yes, Duane is influential in my life.
    He has chosen to take the time and concern to help guide me theologically and spiritually.
    He’s graced me with much time and a big chunk of his library.
    He’s never once…not once…told me what I should think.
    He’s been a tour director through theological horizons I will never finish observing.
    He has also taught me what it means to live and think like an Anglican instead of being a brawler…which is my nature.
    I’m a one trick pony…immigration.
    I think he and I agree on that…otherwise politics are not a topic outside our concern for the church as outlined here…except I use language that he doesn’t.
    God has given a nobody like me some incredible teachers to learn from and it’s been my joy to share them here when possible.
    Most of them learn that this is not a safe place…and we see why again today.
    That’s the last word on this…

  96. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, “I’m a one trick pony…immigration.”
    You got me beat – I am 2 tricks – (1) I don’t want anymore “hot wars” bring our troops home and (2) right now for the past 2 years I pay no federal or state income taxes (don’t even file a form) – and I want to keep it that way. The government can do what they want, but not on my dime.
    If I had a 3rd, it would probably be to see interest rates jump 6 or 7% – I have no investments and my money in the bank right now makes nothing.

  97. filbertz says:

    2020–It has changed me for sure. The constant pressures, economically, socially, professionally, and personally, have worn the veneer off my old hide. I’m a bit short with people when they annoy me ( a fairly regular event) and I’m a bit quicker to state my opinion without varnish. On the other hand, a more compassionate & empathetic side has emerged with those who are struggling. I’ve withdrawn & sought privacy more–partly due to isolation measures–but also because I need the quiet to think and sort stuff out. This hasn’t benefited my marriage, but we are committed to enduring together. I’m sad and a bit depressed, but an undercurrent of hope and opportunity seems to be underfoot. There is a passing of much of what I falsely found worthy of my time, efforts, and attention. A sifting & sorting is afoot–perhaps a clarification and purification. How individual or plural this may be remains to be seen. I guess as 20 moves into 21, I’ll see.

  98. pstrmike says:

    This has been quite the thread.

    Dr. Duane said:

    “I’m not about telling people “what they should believe”. People who know me know that… I’m more than willing to let Michael speak for himself on such matters rather than stating an opinion as to what he thinks… or should think.”

    I have corresponded with Dr. Duane occasionally, even asked his opinions on some things. I can verify that he gives people great latitude in coming to their own conclusions.

  99. pstrmike says:

    and……….great analysis from Wenatchee

  100. Michael says:

    pstrmike and I have long conversations regularly as well.
    His knowledge in some areas greatly exceeds mine…he has an earned doctorate as well.
    He’s never told me what to think either…because, like Duane, he understands that doing so turns one from a student to a parrot.
    I will be a life long student…I will never be a bleeping parrot.

  101. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks… It’s always been a pleasure.

  102. Jim says:

    I did not say that you were Duane’s parrot. Frankly, the overly dramatic response and wasted words over my unforgettable obscenity surprises me. In the same post in which I dropped a stupid joke, I also said that you are strong and stubborn.

    A kumbaya moment here on PhxP was interrupted by a statement that I thought was divisive. You and Duane said amen to the statement, and you decreed it acceptable. Xenia chimed in, and was told to talk to the hand in a rude manner. I posted a sarcastic response, which meant, Xenia, Michael has dug in and will not hear us. In later attempts to clarify , saying, ” I think on another day, Michael would say that he has been helped and influenced by Duane, which does not mean that he doesn’t think for himself or has placed a man before God.”

    After all of this, you still feel the need to say that you are not a parrot, which is an accusation that was never made.

    My line of thinking before making a stupid joke was, maybe Michael is thinking this-“I believe this thing, as does Duane, who is my friend and a very smart guy. Jim is a self-admitted radical and a self-admitted loose cannon, and X is… My opinion is confirmed by my smart friend”

    We all project, and my smart friends’ opinions matter to me. I intentionally have friends in my life who influence me, and I influence them.

    Duane was included because he amened the statement I found ironic. (division while lamenting division).

    Duane does indeed give advice, and advised me yesterday that an apology is in order.

    I’m sorry that I made the statement. It was stupid and snarky.

    This is what I said, and the regrettable comment was in response to your rude statement to Xenia.

    ““If I’m wrong, may God show me.”

    Is it possible that Xenia and i are trying to be your friends? You don’t want to see it, have dug in, and will now only hear God. And Duane.

    One of your qualities that i admire is your strength. Your stubborn nature. But sometimes…”

  103. Michael says:


    I honestly don’t know where you’re coming from or why.
    My lack of understanding may well be an issue with my own intelligence or pride, but this dispute makes no sense.
    I do know that I’m not going to continue the conflict.

  104. Duane Arnold says:


    If it is an apology you are offering, please consider it accepted…

  105. Jim says:

    If you’re reading my attempt at an explanation and apology as an attempt to continue the conflict, you are mistaken. I’m done as well.

  106. Xenia says:

    This is only an example. It’s a hypothetical conversation of the sort I hear everywhere these days:

    “I am appalled by the lack of civility I see in the Christian world! By the way, the Dems/Repubs are brainless troglodytes and I don’t believe a real Christian would vote for Biden/Trump.”

    I think it is possible to be upset that the behavior of the Dems/Repubs is so atrocious that it is hard to be civil, yet lament the lack of civility.

  107. Em says:

    What puzzles me is that most seem to focus on ZTrump and Biden, overlooking the danger that corrupting the election process with no accountability poses a treat to the Republic….
    But it well may be that God is turning His back on an apostate nation….. Dunno, though, do i. ? ? ?

  108. Em says:

    Treat? No, no, no… “threat!”. LOL

  109. Xenia says:

    I do not believe the election was corrupted.

    Now, back in the days in the South when Blacks found it difficult to vote, then it was corrupted.

  110. Michael says:

    “I think it is possible to be upset that the behavior of the Dems/Repubs is so atrocious that it is hard to be civil, yet lament the lack of civility.”

    I think that’s helpful and more true than not…

  111. Em says:

    Xenia, you truly don’t believe this election was corrupted?
    Well then one of us isn’t as smart as we think we are. 😉 LOL

  112. Michael says:


    All elections have a certain amount of issues.
    The problem now is that we have loud claims of fraud from people some trust, but none of it has held up in court.
    The Trump campaign has lost 50 some straight court cases, including the Supreme Court.
    How do we explain this disparity between what has been claimed and that which has been ajudicated?

  113. Anon says:


    Way to build bridges.

    Don’t you maybe owe Xenia an apology?

    Putting on a smiley face doesn’t magically erase the insult.

    We can all do better…

  114. Em says:

    How do we explain, Michael?
    Yes, i agree that all elections have SOME irregularities…
    IMV the courts are too afraid of the possibility of real and very destructive mayhem breaking out all over the nation to take the chance of honestly adjudicating what they hope is just an anomoly in the election process….
    Needless to say i hope they are right and i am wrong.

  115. Em says:

    Anon, you leap to judgement on my comment
    It was one meant as a humorous observation – tongue in cheek
    One of us IS wrong… In time we’ll know which one and the nation will be better off if i am the one who isn’t as smart as i think ( fear) i am….
    Xenia, if you read my comment as disparaging your I.Q. then i DO apologize… Sigh

    And Anon, i apologize for causing you (and anyone else) to take umbrage, feel upset!

  116. Xenia says:

    Sure, I think there was some shenanigans here and there across the country, on a local level, by both sides, as there always has been and always will be. None of it is enough to add up to any kind of victory for Mr. Trump, especially not the landslide he is claiming.

    I voted for him. He lost, bigly. Time to adjust to life under a president who will do things both good and evil, just like we had for the past four years.

  117. Xenia says:

    Xenia, if you read my comment as disparaging your I.Q. then i DO apologize… <<<

    My poor IQ can stand plenty of disparagement. I accept your apology, but I know you were were going for humor. I know you are not a mean-spirited person.

    I am touched that Anon stuck up for me, though. Thank you! 🙂

  118. Jean says:


    You have exemplified Christian grace on this forum. You are a person who has been transparent about your vote, your feelings about the election, and also has acknowledged the outcome.

    I think any of us, if we were raising children would teach them to stand up for what you believe, advocate passionately about issues and/or candidates that are important to you, but when the votes are cast and the election is over, then it’s time to acknowledge the result and make the best of it.

    I think we should be proud, and there was a time when most Americans were proud, that we have a system that transfers power peacefully based on votes made at a ballot box. That we resolve differences peaceably. That we lift up our Constitution and democratic system above our personal preferences.

    Imagine that we had more people vote in this year’s presidential election than any previous election in the history of our country. That both candidates are now the number 1 and 2 all time vote getters. People in mass participated in the system. That should make us all proud.

    I hope for the sake of our country that the GOP returns to conservatism, the rule of law, and breaks free of Trump’s hold over their oaths of office. I really and sincerely do.

    I don’t think our country can protect itself at home and abroad nor compete economically in a worldwide economy unless we can reengineer a healthy sense of national unity. I think we need two strong patriotic parties willing to put country over partisan politics and cults of personality working together for the welfare of all Americans.

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