Things I Think…

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105 Responses

  1. Linn says:

    #7
    So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    This, and similar passages in the NT series of “one anothers” should be the way we approach each other. I don’t know any other way to do it. We stop looking at ourselves and all of our own issues, look to Jesus and his example (Easter is on the way!) and begin to treat each other well. I prayerfully try to put others before myself everyday. I don’t always reach that lofty goal, but when I’m truly yielded to what God wants me to do, it makes a huge difference. It’s often something that might seem really trivial-not answering a snide remark, smiling at someone in the grocery line, not giving a student what he/she might deserve for a classroom trespass, but a discipline given in love and hope for better conduct to come.

    We have become so reactionary to everything. I MUST comment, I MUST be heard, I MUST express my displeasure…we don’t wait to ask why, can I help, are you feeling okay? I’m writing this recognizing the anger I felt at one of the playground supervisors at school this morning when she slammed the door on me when I was trying to push myself and walker into the staff room. I’m glad I stopped to think-she’s autistic and probably had no idea I was there. I’ll just be sure I catch the door quicker next time, and smile.

  2. Michael says:

    Well done, Linn!

  3. bob1 says:

    That was beautifully put, Linn.

    I think too often we try and control things we really can’t control.

    What’s missed is the good influence we can be for those around us.

    I appreciate your examples and reminder!

  4. Reuben says:

    Thought #1

    Welcome to my world, but it’s called Bipolar Disorder. It’s not so much that I can not feel joy or pleasure, but that it is always associated with guilt, and an overwhelming sense that the other shoe is about to drop.

    Thought #2, as a result of my disorder, is typically entirely out of my control.

    Thought #4, the only institution that can bring me out of my condition is the field of medicine. The church should stay the hell out of that institution as well.

    Thought #8, it genuinely pissed me off that Chris Rock was not pummeled half to death right then, and it should have been justified in the minds of just about anyone.

    Thought #10 brings up so many of my own thoughts, the least of which is holding pastors legally accountable for abuses that in any “worldly” context would have their butts in the slammer. But that crosses a boundary the US holds dear, a boundary I personally would love to see burned to the dirt. The church has violated the separation of church and state long enough, maybe it’s time for the state to drop the separation.

  5. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    What I’m referencing here is the number of people without a diagnosed illness who are experiencing this lack of joy in life.

    To be honest…most days are a slog for me as well…just trying to accomplish basic tasks seems hard.

    We don’t want a state religion…it will work as well as our other state orgs…not well, but still corrupt.

  6. Reuben says:

    By the state dropping the separation, I mean the state treating the church like any other corporate entity. Sorry if that was misunderstood. I think it’s well past time the church be treated like a Walmart or Jiffy Lube, being held accountable for all the things the rest of the nation is. The state should be able to sue the church for violations of civil and criminal law. Example, the state v John Courson, and there should be whistle blower protections too. Another example, this nonsense of not getting a life saving blood transfusion because “god” says no should be a punishable offense. Another example, a non-profit entity buying private jets for pastor Joe Bob to get to the golf course in Florida for “ministry time”. Nah. Stop all that. The church should be held criminally liable for anything you can be held criminally liable for, no more of this, “well, that’s what the Baptists do with snakes, can do anything about the congregant who got bit and died.”

  7. Reuben says:

    Locking Granny Smith into an illegal contract to tithe automatically $400 a month of her social security is something that happens, and that should be criminally prosecuted. The list goes on and on. Religious “liberty” has taken on a life of it’s own here. If the pulpit wants to demand Trump be voted for by all congregants, make the church pay taxes, or pay union dues, or tell the anti “gay cake” folks they can not operate as a business under the same violations of discrimination laws everyone else has to abide by.

  8. Dread says:

    “10. Because there is no way to hold wicked pastors accountable…we have to finds a way to make those that support them accountable for the abuse they enable…”

    What on earth does this mean? Economic sanction? Legal sanction? Public shame? That sounds an awful lot like banishing Trump supporters from social media or even making them legally liable for his deeds.

    I don’t think this principle is one you want society to follow … it can’t turn out well.

    What obligation do you have to hold others accountable by virtue of your own judgments?

    Is there something driving this line of thinking?

  9. Reuben says:

    There is no minimum wage for people who are employed by a church. Did we all know that? That level of separation needs to be burned down.

  10. Michael says:

    Dread,

    What’s driving it is the carnage left over from the abuses in ministry.

    For example…the latest John MacArthur messes.
    Everyone who supports that church is complicit.

    How does this work out in reality?
    I don’t know…but I know as long as it continues you will not see the Christian voice elevated or respected.
    It may be why the revival everyone longs for will never come…

  11. Duane Arnold says:

    “Joy bursts in our lives when we go about doing the good at hand and not trying to manipulate things and times to achieve joy.”

    C.S. Lewis

  12. Linn says:

    Love it, Duane! i am so often the recipient of what we call random acts of kindness. I appreciate God’s grace in my life, and I want to share it with others. I came to faith almost 50 years ago because a student helped me with my algebra (I was terrible at it) and also shared her love for Jesus.

  13. DH says:

    It’s not a big thing to hit Chris Rock, now if he hit Duane Johnson that would have been something.

  14. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Great quote…

  15. Dread says:

    It does seem appropriate that the industry that makes their living glorifying violence would interrupt their woke-fest to let us know their real values. Now they can return to their Disney re-education of our children and shaming anyone who dissents. Maybe they can slap us all into compliance.

  16. bob1 says:

    Why, sure. Everyone Mickey was commie. And what about Minnie? WHUT??

  17. BrianD says:

    4. It may be so. But so much of the toxicity in the culture is present in the church. Maybe not YOUR church, but in many churches. Why would you go to a place where you will only be accepted if you fit in with the crowd? Where you can’t truly be yourself, you have to be whatever everyone else is?

    This is one reason why I don’t go to church anymore.

    Until things change in the church to where people can see them as different in a positive sense as the Romans saw the early Christians, you’re going to see more and more the church becoming less and less relevant in the culture, more and more people who aren’t religious who simply don’t care about it…and if the church is seen as homophobic, racist, and supportive of things the general culture sees as harmful, anti-church and anti-Christian as well. If that happens, the old men and women who run evangelicalism in all its forms may not be around to deal with the consequences; their children and grandchildren will..and some of them may be doing the persecuting.

    6. Is He?

  18. Michael says:

    BrianD,

    Well said.
    Is He in control?
    I struggle with that, but I would struggle more if the writer of Hebrews wasn’t honest about the fact that it doesn’t always look like it.
    I think He is…but not in the ways we’ve been taught.

  19. Officerhoppy says:

    Moses was chastised for smiting the rock in Exodus 17. Sounds like the Academy is going to discipline Will Smith for the same thing!

  20. Dread says:

    When they tell you what they are believe them https://quillette.com/2022/03/29/disneys-institutional-capture/

  21. The New Victor says:

    I can’t believe that we’re talking about the Smith family here, but I’ll dive into it… the open marriage thing I heard about years ago, before Jada promoted the “eat, pray, love” lifestyle publicly. So it was both, yet by publicly talking about it, both are complicit, even if he’s one-down by her celebrating that eat, pray, love lifestyle. And they’ve mirrored badly as parents such that their daughter is following in her mother’s footsteps. She’s shameless, and her husband seems at a loss how to handle it. What a mess all around. And I don’t agree with the attitude of beating Chris Rock down. The Smiths are reasonable for their own family and they’ve shamelessly put themselves out publicly for judgement for.., publicity?

  22. Em says:

    Listening to the Gaither crowd singing, “I don’t worry bout tomorrow”
    Good reminder, but still thing we should pray for strength of mind and body, wisdom ( begins with a fearful respect for God) and discernment
    God keep the Phoenix peeps

  23. Muff Potter says:

    Dread wrote:
    “Disney is queering our children. Believe them.”
    I beg to differ.
    You (generic you) do not learn to be queer, you’re born that way, or you’re not.
    It’s no different than an inborn preference for whatever, over some other whatever.

  24. Michael says:

    I don’t understand the nature vs. nurture debate…beats hell out of me.

    I do know that Disney is a business and if this affects their bottom line, they will change.

    I doubt that it will…this horse left the barn twenty years ago…

  25. Josh says:

    Right, I don’t think Disney is leading the way on this. I think they are just reflecting what the consumers want.

  26. Dread says:

    Muff

    There is definitely no settled science on this. And for you to believe that children cannot be molded in this way is your own desire to be fooled.

    All I did was quote Disney. They intend to do as they say.

    I do agree that in many ways Disney simply reflects our perversion.

    We (generic) are twisted and demonic. By the reckoning you claim desire is destiny and there should be zero sexual moral expression in scripture because it damages people who are born that way.

    Ask people around you if they use porn because they were born that way. The answer is yes.

  27. Michael says:

    The scriptures say little about this matter…enough only to deduce that the created order is far afield of the current norms.

    Most of what we believe about sexuality comes from traditions and not holy writ.

    The Bible is clear about abuses in the church and how we should interact in the Body…the failures in that area don’t seem to generate the urgency that perversion does.

  28. Josh says:

    I think its obvious that the cultural is convincing young people that the gay thing is worth trying. My son says every girl at his middle school identifies as bi. Now, hardly any of them date girls, but its accepted to ID that way and there is nothing to lose by it. The culture would not allow such expression during my youth.

    I’m glad that we’ve changed to be more accepting of difference, and hopefully, less violent towards homosexuals. Still, there is no denying that most of these kids who were “born that way” would have lived perfectly happy straight lives had they grown up a geration earlier.

  29. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I believe that is true as well…and when they mature, they will wonder what they did and move forward as straight…

  30. Michael says:

    I think the Bible is clear that when the people of God get lost in idolatry and refuse to own their own sins…the power and presence of God is withheld from them.

    Shouldn’t that be our primary concern?

  31. Kevin H says:

    “Shouldn’t that be our primary concern?”

    Of course it should be. But it’s far more comfortable and carnally gratifying to major on the sins of “them” and not “us”.

  32. Dread says:

    Sins of them? I don’t give a damn about the volitional sins of consenting adults. I’ve grown quite at peace with humans casting themselves into the fire. But pursuing children in the name of love is demonic and any adult who grooms children and acts like it’s virtue – put them in cages.

  33. Dread says:

    Every book or the New Testament comes against idolatry and immorality… worshiping idols and worshiping our flesh.

    The Bible is not ambiguous about the theology of our bodies and our sexuality. We’ve said no to God and we are reaping the wind.

    The church can be clear on this subject and it is only sophistry that drives us otherwise.

  34. Michael says:

    If we’re not clear on on our sins, why should the culture care about theirs?

    If we have no spiritual power because of our own sin, what good are we?

  35. Kevin H says:

    Dread,

    I agree that it’s very concerning as to how the sins of our culture could effect our children. It’s nothing to laugh at or minimize.

    Yet again, why do so many in the church show exponentially more concern about those types of sins committed by “others” than they do about sins occurring in the church which wrongfully damage people, including children, sometimes just as much if not more as the culture.

  36. Dread says:

    Well while you guys wait till we’re worthy enough to speak up allow me to continue my lament.

    We don’t have time to get pure enough for whatever you guys are asking.

    There is certainly no lack of voices calling us to repentance.

    I don’t speak because I’m worthy but because we’re in a crisis that’s devouring us.

  37. Kevin H says:

    We can easily express the same sentiment about the church and say, “we’re in a crisis that devouring us”.

    I’ve never said we shouldn’t speak up about the ills of the world or wait until the church is pure enough to do so. I, myself, speak up at times about the sins in our culture. Michael did it himself in last week’s Things I Think.

    But I’ve always spoken to priorities. If Christians spend far more time excoriating and lamenting the sins of the wider culture than they do about the sins that bewitch their own culture, then I say their priorities are not good.

    Yes, there are plenty of Christians who call out the sins of the church, but I reckon to say that there are far, far more who call out the sins of the wider culture. And I say that is a priority problem (putting it nicely).

  38. Michael says:

    Dread,

    We indeed have a crisis…we’re trying to fight Gods battles without His power and presence and we slam His “prophets” who try to tell us so.

    We will continue to lose those battles and blame the losses on the culture.

  39. Josh says:

    “The church can be clear on this subject”
    You don’t think the church has been clear about this?

  40. Michael says:

    Ask myself or Julie Roys about what happens when you call out the sins of the church…the church turns as vicious as the culture…

  41. Dread says:

    Clear about sexual morality?

    Absolutely not

  42. Michael says:

    As long as I’m at it…

    Because we don’t notice that the power and presence of God is not with us, we are left with purely secular means of attempting change…and baptizing people like Trump to carry our water…that failed too, so I fear what we will depend on next…

  43. Duane Arnold says:

    It seems to me that there is a crisis in the church as well as a crisis in the culture. If, however, we cannot address the crisis in our own house, how do we expect to be taken seriously in the wider culture? We’ve blotted our copybook… and we are not taken seriously… with reason.

  44. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Yes.
    Unless we deal with the crisis in our own house with the same urgency as we give those outside…the spirals will continue in both.

  45. Dread says:

    All my posts here are aimed at the church. I’m not confused about the readers.

    Warning about the devices of the enemy seems to offend.

    I’m not sure why anyone would think I’m talking to the world about the world.

  46. Michael says:

    Dread,

    The biggest device the enemy is employing is making the church believe it can continue in this state and see the power of God.

    How many more battles must we lose before we deal with what God is calling us to deal with?

  47. Dread says:

    Michael

    If either of us were really optimistic we’d be able to talk better about this.

    I don’t think any of our if/thens hold up well.

    We’re so deep in the weeds we can’t see the sky.

    So we pray thy kingdom come argue on.

  48. Dread says:

    *and argue on

  49. Josh says:

    I think the church has been crystal clear about homosexuality. Ask any gay person what the church thinks of them. We’ve got that message out really well.

  50. Josh says:

    Thankfully, I have no clue who most of those heretics are

  51. Dan from Georgia says:

    I wish I hadn’t eaten before seeing that poster.

    The shark has been jumped repeatedly by these folk.

    They are all the poster children (pun partially intended) for the “take back ‘murica” crowd.

  52. Dan from Georgia says:

    This was interesting…

    “Jesus is king, and with him on our side we will win this thing!” (far right side of poster).

    First off, win what “thing” – obviously a rhetorical question.

    Second off…”him on our side”….nothing more needs to be said.

  53. Duane Arnold says:

    I repeat… ” We’ve blotted our copybook… and we are not taken seriously… with reason.”

  54. Michael says:

    I’m just glad they’re not stopping here…I just had to buy a hot water heater so I have no bail money…

  55. BrianD says:

    6:
    I recognized Sean Feucht and My Pillow Guy on sight.
    Stella Immanuel after looking at the crowd again.
    I knew Locke, Strang (missing his mustache) and Jim Breuer (is the the guy with his mouth wide open?) by name.

    Yes, Michael, this event will prove to be the pivotal event in American history and will solve all of our problems.

  56. Dread says:

    Josh

    Every time you guys say “the church” you really only mean the branch that offends you. Easily half the American “church” is liberal progressive and/or democrat.

    I think I’ll keep reminding you since you seem to only have bullets for certain kinds of the church.

  57. BrianD says:

    Who is Clay Clark and why should I care?

    Is he one of these guys who crawled out of the woodwork and present himself on the same level as Tucker?

    The NXT Champion is probably more well known than that guy…

  58. Michael says:

    “Easily half the American “church” is liberal progressive and/or democrat.”

    No…not even close.

    The numbers are basically on the side of non denom evangelicals…there isn’t a “liberal” evangelical church within 300 miles of here and the mainlines are empty…

  59. Michael says:

    BrianD,

    I don’t know who he is…other than a guy who is having a sold out tour across the country featuring some people who in other times would be in jail or an asylum…or known as the town nutcase.

  60. BrianD says:

    Michael, I think a lot of the ‘town nutcase(s)’ of today have a social media or streaming platform.

  61. Michael says:

    BrianD,

    indeed…

  62. Michael says:

    Alex Jones joins the tour on some stops…nothing reminds me of Jesus like Alex Jones…reminds me of Jesus catapulting people into the fire…

  63. BrianD says:

    Michael, they’ve deplatformed him so well you have to know exactly how to find him. I’ve never heard him talk about Jesus, ever.

    A question for you and for the blog: have you ever watched ‘The Family’ on Netflix?

  64. Michael says:

    I rarely watch TV…don’t have Netflix…

  65. Dread says:

    Pew Research 2022 % of population

    25.4 Evangelical
    14.7 Mainline Protestant
    6.5 Black Protestant
    20.2 Catholic

    By affiliation

    Dig into the numbers and it won’t bear a conservative majority on issues or affiliation

  66. JD says:

    A who’s who of people I’ve never heard of.

  67. Josh says:

    Dread, of that list only some of the mainliners are affirming of homosexuality. The rest, by and large, hold to the biblical norm

  68. The New Victor says:

    @Briand: I finished The Family last week. I’m not sure what it all means though. Did you get the deal that the National Prayer Breakfast was started by Doug Coe? That congressmen over the years felt compelled to visit dictators to share the love of Jesus was weird. I’m not sure what the motivation or end game was there.

    I did like the last episode with the Portland men’s group of black and white men and the black spokesman saying how DC misses the point when discussing racial issues. My problem with the series was that it really didn’t draw any conclusions. Is it any odder than other influential lobbying groups with whom congress people are affiliated? Is it dangerous to democracy or the republic?

    The Norman Vincent Peale angle was interesting. Even as a teenager, I felt that Robert Schuller, a SNVP promoter, preached a milquetoast Christianity. So are these guys about the gospel, or what are they about, and WHY?

    They have fans or “members” in congress, and a few were interviewed for the documentary.

    I thought it funny that the black spokesman for the men’s prayer group called out the documentary director for only having white men in his crew and no women.

  69. bob1 says:

    Believe as you wish, but more (white) Americans ID with mainline churches versus evangelical.

    :”According to Public Religion Institute (nid-2020), mainline Protestants now account for 27 percent of white Christians, while Evangelicals make up 23 percent. While white Christians as a whole have been steadily declining as a portion of the population for decades, the most recent number shows a reversal of trends between mainliners, who are experiencing an uptick in affiliation (from 13 percent of Americans in 2016 to 16 percent now), and Evangelicals, who continue to decline (they were 23 percent of the population as recently as 2006, but now stand at 14 percent).”

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/07/white-mainline-protestants-outnumber-evangelicals-survey.html

  70. Josh says:

    That trend hasn’t reached the south yet. I would venture to guess its 100 to 1 in favor of evangelicals here. Probably more than that.

  71. Dread says:

    Here https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/religious-landscape-study/

    My question is Who is the church — here they are pretty much always conservative evangelicals and that’s not so unless you guys are maintaining that all these others are somehow not Christians.

  72. Dread says:

    For the record — I get it — but let’s take some care about generically busting anathema’s or just broad brushing ‘the church’. First, there is no clear referent for that. Second, having lived my entire life among ‘them’ I am them. I know them. I love them. So I get a little testy when my family is constantly bashed. It’s my Oscar reaction.

    Yes I want the bad things to stop. But I know a thousand times more abundantly the good things. The Jesus family is about as messed up as the Abraham family was. But family will rouse you.

    So — life is learning to take punches and keep standing.

  73. Josh says:

    Jeez. 70% of the country claims Christianity. Yet we have constantly wrung our hands about persecution and anti-christian agendas since day one. We are a weird, weird religion.

    If the numbers are true, then the only thing we need is for Christians to act like Christians. We are the overwhelming majority. We don’t have to be political. We don’t have to choose the lesser of evils. We don’t have to deal with the devil. Just go about our everyday lives being Christians, and all these so-called problems will be solved.

    I think that number is baloney. As I have said recently, far and away we are not producing people who look like Christ. We are discipling them to something…political parties, culture warriors…but not to the image of Christ.

    If 70% of our country is being conformed to the image of Christ, then we do not have a problem, at all. It just means that I have no idea who Jesus is, because 70% of our country is not at all mirroring what I think I know of Jesus.

    That’s our problem. Not Disney. Not LGBTQ. Not unhinged violence at the Oscars. The real CRISIS is that we have 7 out of every 10 person in America saying they are a Christian, but don’t have the slightest clue who Jesus is.

  74. LInn says:

    Josh,

    I so agree with you. Even in my very secular part of Silicon Valley, I meet many people who claim to be Christian, but appear to have no true relationship with Christ. They even may claim to belong to a church, but they never attend.

    I’ve been following the discussion and waiting for the moment when I felt it was appropriate to contribute. For the record, I am not politically active except that I stay informed, vote each election (I vote my conscience, not any particular party line), and support local Christian outreaches that help people with better alternatives like adoption counseling vs. abortion and job training vs. homelessness/drug addiction (I actually worked for the second one for a number of years).

    I was raised in a politically active family in the 60s/70s in San Francisco. We have a photo of me on my dad’s shoulders at a protest meeting in a local park circa 1962. I attended a couple anti-war rallies and was very up to date on current events. After I came to faith, and what I consider several thorough readings of the NT, I came to the conclusion that Jesus came to change hearts more than the society at large. However, changed hearts WILL change a society (much of the anti-slavery movement and the civil rights movement began in churches, both black and white) but it will never change it perfectly. Paul did not push for Christians to overthrow the government in NT times; he did move for them to be model citizens, prayer warriors for all in positions of power, and, when necessary, to refuse to carry out illegal acts in a firm, resolute-but not violent-way. That has been my conclusion, anyway.

    I work in a school where we have embraced the entire spectrum of “other” in terms of sexuality. I pity these people, and I think we will have a huge social price to pay 20 years from now when we wake up (just as we did with the sexual “revolution” of the 60s-although I think we only came up with better birth control and STD treatments). However, I think that God has truly placed me here to model something radically different. If it ever does get to the point where I can’t hold my own views, I will politely retire (being of a certain age), but for now I will try to be an encouraging model of what holy living can look like.

    My personal belief is that we really need to concentrate on the church. In the past year, one woman from a Bible study I led got pregnant in an out of marriage relationship (at least she did not abort the baby), two kids came out as trans in the high school group, and a former staff member was arrested for sexual abuse (he parted from our church almost a decade ago). I wonder what messages these people received, who was tracking them, etc. Ate they even Christ-followers?

    If the church is to be salt and light in the world, we really need to improve in how we are discipling our congregations.

  75. Michael says:

    Dread,

    I think I’ve misunderstood you.
    When you say conservative, I assumed you meant theologically…I suspect you meant politically.
    I have nothing against traditional political conservatives in or out of the church…I have nothing but spite for the extremists who have taken over both sides of the spectrum.

  76. Dread says:

    Josh,

    You guys gotta breathe… .no issue can be dealt with because you always go “what about” over your own tribe. Listen Southern Baptist more than any other group threw a wide net of “pray this prayer” religion. They caught lots of dead fish… decisionism replaced conversion… new resolve over regeneration… so we have a lot of stink in the family.

    That’s simplistic but it was typical of the Billy Graham era of evangelism … we filled our churches without new creation… Frankly this is why ‘renewal’ movements are so popular… unconverted believers experience God and we fish in our own lake…

    Now here we are … post christian, post liberal… full out progressive … and you say DONT DO ANYTHING this is our fault… Wrong… learn to walk and chew gum… deal with the family and stand up in the culture … notice I said ‘in” not “to” the culture has been given over to its desires… and so has the acculturated church.

    We used to care about the “world the flesh and the devil” now we just say that the church IS the world is the flesh and is the devil.

    Nevertheless.. we do not lose heart… we do not relent… we do not wait for rapture or for death… we stand up like men and live and breath and call for repentance and faith

  77. Michael says:

    Dread,

    I grew up among them too…and my assessment of most was accurate when I was a child.
    I hated them.

    They were frauds and liars who enabled abuses that would be criminal offenses now…I bear the scars of their hypocrisy.

    The man who beat me mercilessly became an honored clergyman among them who preached his first sermon on my “wickedness”…I was 14 by then…

    It was the drinkers and rough ones who stepped in and saved my life and my mothers life…and the church in my town condemned those good men and me until they all died off.

  78. Michael says:

    The bizarre thing was that through it all I knew Jesus…and I knew they didn’t.

    There were a couple of exceptions.

    One still lives today and is living Jesus out in front of my oldest godson as he did in front of that town.
    He is 96 and full of years and the Spirit…

  79. Josh says:

    Dread – according to your link, there are about 230 million (out of 329m total pop.) Christians in America. Do you see some large portion of this group that is reflecting Christ in the way they live?

    I do not. I am familiar with a lot more than SBC and we are rotten, but the renewal guys may have us beat. Where is this massive group of Godly people? I’d love to see it.

    Please note, I didn’t say do nothing. I did say start following Christ.

  80. Duane Arnold says:

    During the formation of the New Testament, there were eleven Roman emperors; brothels were common in all the cities of the empire; gladiatorial games were held not just in Rome, but in all the provinces; infanticide was a normative practice; divorce was common… I could go on…

    From my reading of the New Testament, however, I fail to see the writers addressing these pressing political/social/cultural issues. It was about being the Church and modeling a life in Christ…

  81. Dread says:

    Duane,

    Make your application… it is not as obvious as you may intend.

  82. Dread says:

    Josh,

    I am clear … I just think the whole church is EASILY as compromised as the so-called conservative evangelical brand…

    And with that kind of thin veneer of Christianity… well … a lot more went awry than the populist POTUS past.

  83. Josh says:

    Pretty obvious, right?

  84. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    I thought it was obvious…

  85. Josh says:

    “I just think the whole church is EASILY as compromised as the so-called conservative evangelical brand”

    I am sure this is true. My world is largely populated by conservative groups though. You’d have to turn over a lot of rocks to find a liberal church here, but if you throw a rock in the air it will hit a conservative church. That’s just the facts of this region of the country. I could rail on the liberal church, but that would be silly as I don’t know any. I know a bunch of conservative churches.

  86. Josh says:

    “a lot more went awry than the populist POTUS past.”

    Absolutely, but that was a scary twisting of religion that I haven’t witnessed before in my lifetime. It shook me.

  87. Em says:

    Pastor Dread @9:46
    Your words always seem clear to me….. ? ? ?

  88. Michael says:

    Let me clarify my concern.

    If all that one is proposing is political activism, an atheist can do that.

    If one is trying to transform the culture with the Gospel and in the power of the Spirit, God makes certain demands for spiritual purity before that power is manifest.

    There is no way in hell that God will bless the work of an abusive, idolatrous church…and that crisis needs to be addressed first.

  89. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    At its heart, it is a matter of credibility, or, if you wish, a crisis of credibility with regard to much of the church in its public expression.

  90. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Credibility with God and man…

  91. Josh says:

    And to reiterate my point, if the country is 70% Christian, fix the church, you fix the nation.

  92. Dread says:

    Well

    You fellows have definitely solved it.

  93. Josh says:

    No we didn’t, but jumping on every right wing talking point for the last 40 years hasn’t helped much either.

  94. Michael says:

    The assumption is that political activism will sway people to change their minds and hearts to a biblical worldview.

    Even I can’t drink enough to buy that.

    In the Older Testament, when the people of God were defeated at every turn, they eventually inquired of God whether or not they may be the problem…we evidently haven’t failed painfully enough to do so.

  95. Em says:

    Michael @10 :44am
    AMEN! ! !

  96. BrianD says:

    Victor, thanks.

    I haven’t watched it, yet; I wanted to see if it was worth my while.

  97. Dread says:

    Political activism is the duty of free citizens. Quietism results in all manner of evil. When children are at risk convincing people of their worldview is not the goal. Dashing their schemes is the goal.

  98. Michael says:

    Dread,

    You and I are miles apart on this matter.
    The free market will make these decisions…and in five years the demographic that opposes these changes will be still smaller and dying out.

    If you don’t change hearts…a lot of hearts…this current wave of perversion is just the beginning.

    Only the power of God will bring real change..

  99. bob1 says:

    You could drive a Mac truck between those options. Binaries aren’t the only ones.

  100. Dread says:

    Michael

    The evil that our government is advocating in the name of “gender affirming care” is far worse than the offenses that fomented the founding of this republic.

    What mind and heart changing proposals do you make? I’m open.

    Is there no limit to our toleration of evil?

  101. Michael says:

    Dread,

    I despise these notions as much or maybe at points , more than you do.

    The reality is that a thin but growing majority of people in this country believe that this evil is good.
    In a few years, that will be a solid majority.

    Politics will fail…simply parse the numbers.

    My proposal is the same as it’s been for decades.
    Step back, clean our own house, and pray that we receive another visitation.
    Become a voice with moral authority steeped in love and the power of the Spirit.
    I have nothing else to offer and will not get in bed with the nutcases on either side for a temporary respite.

  102. Em says:

    “Step back, clean our own house………”
    AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

  103. Randy Davis says:

    So, we are going to clean our own house? Who is qualified to be the broom? I don’t think that’s the answer. No matter how many scandals are exposed, it will not revitalize the church. Duane made the most the most important point, that in a far worse political and moral environment, the early church thrived and changed history. And may I point out that from the moment the church was established, there was scandal in the church. There were warning about it. It what made it possible for the early church to overcome the politics and the social immortality that even crept into the church?

    We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach and teach Scripture (and I guess I should add to carry out what some call the sacraments). That is the first basic element that we should be doing. And we should teach others how to carefully and objectively (as much as possible) interpret the text. And we should apply what we learn from the text to our every day life-praxis and in that order. The further we stray from this basic function, the worse the church becomes. It is only through the Power of the Holy Spirit by means of the scandalous act of preaching Christ that we can change the world-as much as God allows us to change it. We are not really equipped to do any thing else

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