The End Is Near

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35 Responses

  1. Captain Kevin says:

    Brilliant, Michael. Absolutely brilliant!!

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    “What I have now decided to call the “civic church”, that is the public face of American Christianity… is more interested in being the bastion of political liberty (as they define it) than the source of enduring faith.”

    I agree with this with one caveat… I am hesitant to call it “Church” even with an adjective…

  3. Michael says:

    Thank you, CK!
    I’m a bit grouchy…

  4. Michael says:

    Duane,

    I’m more hesitant than ever…really hesitant…

  5. Dan from Georgia says:

    That last line is gold!

  6. Michael says:

    Thank you, Dan!

  7. Dan from Georgia says:

    Micheal,

    Your voice is the prophetic voice we need in what we call the church. Much appreciated!

  8. Michael says:

    Dan,

    Thanks…but you know what happens to prophets…

  9. Captain Kevin says:

    Historically, we do know what happens to prophets. That’s because their voices were heard.

  10. Michael says:

    CK,

    I’m still debating if it’s worth it…

  11. Jean says:

    Michael,

    I have been trying to catalog the various rationales that pastors are using for defying restrictions about holding physical services.

    So far I have come up with these:

    There are several theories under which pastors defy State rules:

    (1) God will protect us from infection. This is bad theology. No where in Scripture, apart from some of the Plagues on Egypt, was the church spared from plagues. On the other hand, God will protect us by listening to medical professionals and the social distancing guidelines given us by our government.

    (2) It is our my right. This is self-indulgent. What is the witness to the pagan world when churches become disease spreaders in defiance health authorities? What is our witness when we infect each other, as well as our neighbors, in the name of Jesus?

    (3) Christians are commanded to meet together. Okay, but are there any exceptions? Both Moses (at Mt. Sinai) and Jesus (in the wilderness after His baptism) were called to 40 days of isolation, alone because of the will of God. Somehow they not only survived, but were not deprived of the Word of God. Christ is able to feed his sheep the manna from heaven, that is, the Word of God, even when we are alone. But are we hungry for that Word? Are we eating? That’s on us.

    Watching our local mega church, I wonder if some pastors are afraid that Christians can actually survive for a period of time without the umbilical they want us connected to and reliant on.

    Are there any other reasons you have heard for why Christians should meet together physically during a pandemic?

  12. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Because I’m a cynical bastard, I’ve boiled it down.
    First, pretending to be fighting for the Constitution is a money maker in American civic religion.
    Second, giving online drops from 30- 70 percent as opposed to gatherings.
    Third, the fear that someone else will have a more attractive online show and draw giving units away.
    Fourth, fear of losing control of the congregation.

    Those, in my opinion, are the real reasons.

  13. Jean says:

    Those all seem more than plausible. Thank you for giving some of us a glimpse into some of the darker recesses of the church.

    I came across a thread on FB yesterday, started by a pastor, in which many of the comments said that States (in this case NY) are inflating their mortality numbers to exaggerate the seriousness of Covid-19 for nefarious reasons.

  14. Michael says:

    Jean,’

    I just unfriended someone on Facebook I’ve known for years because they accused me of “covering up for a pedophile “for not responding to a meme he sent about Joe Biden.
    I appealed to him as a brother in Christ…didn’t work.

  15. Jean says:

    I think I saw that meme. I think your friend is losing his mind. I don’t know why people let themselves be used as tools.

    Duane has written about how many people today (IMO, particularly the lazy or unintelligent) prefer to defame the messenger, rather than engage in an educated critique of the message.

    In his younger days, your friend could have debated policy rather than bear false witness against a political opponent.

  16. Michael says:

    Jean,
    These are strange times…and I fear what’s coming.

  17. Jean says:

    A few days ago, we were discussing the benefits and weaknesses of bureaucracies. In addition, our society is now discovering the severe weaknesses of federalism and libertarianism. The church historically has always known that it is not libertarian, but we in America have tried to fuse the two.

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    As a reality check… the Church has existed under republics, monarchies, dictatorships, oligarchies, shogunates, along with practically every other form of government known to humankind. Whenever we have identified the faith with any particular form of governance or political stance the Church has been diminished, not enhanced. Until Christ returns, theocracies, or the desire for theocracies, are the very definition of what it means to be idolatrous.

  19. Em says:

    The virus, in my understanding, has been identified as a novel virus – our immune systems don’t recognize it, and therefore don’t respond… then i have read that there are microbiologists saying that their research shows it to be “engineered.” Their voices are not publicized much. .. There are a myriad of speculations to be spun off of this plague…
    Sweden has taken no precautions and seem to show the same statistics as those who are isolated.
    I have my suspicions, but i won’t bore you…. 😏
    Is this the wind up for planet earth’s history? Dunno, but it sure makes a good dress rehearsal
    Praying all stay well and have food
    Love and prayer for the Phoenix peeps
    🙏
    (Michael, don’t eat that mouse … LOL)

  20. Jim says:

    So, last Friday I placed a little display at our condo’s mailbox area. The backing was a flier, “we’re in this together…. social distancing can lead to social isolation… etc…”. I placed 20 “I’m your neighbor and I’d like to help” cards in front of the flier. On Monday, there was one card left. I put out another 20 cards yesterday, and will check back on Monday. We have a lot of seniors in my community, and I’m encouraged.

  21. Jean says:

    Em,

    Not to argue, but Sweden is engaging in an experiment, which is beginning to trend very poorly for them.

    https://covid19.healthdata.org/sweden

    Their population is only about 10 million. They are trending towards a mortality rate in excess of all other European countries, as well as the US.

  22. Em says:

    Jean, okay – different sources. Like most reports, one should be suspicious.. I agree the size of a nation is a BIG factor, but we disagree on the efficacy of unaccoutable bureaucracy. 😇

  23. Duane Arnold says:

    Jim

    Fantastic idea! May I steal?

  24. Jim says:

    Duane, make it viral. (Whoops!)

  25. It isn’t going well for Sweden. Where they will be in a month will be interesting. Despite the criticisms here, the USA death rate is a lot lower than almost every European country.

  26. bob1 says:

    I think if I were a Swede, I’d sue the government for dereliction of duty….

  27. Jean says:

    I would love to see Laura Ingraham relocate to Sweden. She would fit right in.

  28. Em says:

    I have one Swedish ancesor and Swrdish women ARE very opinionated and persistant, but they are WAY more subtle than L. Ingraham. 😸

  29. Jim says:

    bob1,

    What duty does a federal government have in regards to pandemics? Conversely from where does the federal government derive its authority to close businesses? Please cite relevant portions of our constitution.

  30. Duane Arnold says:

    Jim

    Our evolving understanding of the Commerce clause… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3151195/

  31. Jim says:

    “Evolving understanding” is an interesting term. I prefer “ignoring original intent in order to fulfill the desires of politicians.” I doubt that anyone here is a fan our current president’s evolving understanding of the 10th amendment.

  32. Duane Arnold says:

    Jim,

    Yes, we are in a system in which precedence is (or at least, was) held to be a guiding principle. Most of my lawyer friends tell me that we are (or at least, were) in a system of cooperative Federalism. Time will tell where this all goes…

  33. Jim says:

    That’s untrue, Duane. Of the Trump appointees, Kavanaugh places a high value on precedence while Gorsuch is an originalist. Thomas is also an originalist.

    We know where this will go. When civil liberties are taken, they aren’t given back, such as post 911.

  34. Duane Arnold says:

    Jim

    As I said, time will tell…

  35. California’s AG came out and pretty much said that pubic safety trumps the bill of rights, no pun intended.

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