Confessors and Martyrs: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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266 Responses

  1. LInn says:

    Thank you, Duane, for the reminder of how easy it is to be a Christian in America. We really don’t know what it means to suffer for our faith. We may experience some minor inconveniences, but it’s not true persecution. My years in Colombia taught me that, too. Many of the older believers I met had experienced intense persecution during a time of civil war known as “La Violencia” (from 1948-1960). They weren’t conservative enough for the right, or radical enough for the left. Many were killed or had their churches burned. The church that I was assigned to in the city where I served had been founded by those who fled a small country village. One evening, during a prayer meeting, the doors to the church were padlocked from the outside, the small building was doused in kerosene, and it was set on fire. Several members inside the church lost their lives in the fire while the rest fled to the nearest large city. I gained a much greater appreciation for what “persecution” actually meant in Colombia.

  2. Duane Arnold says:


    American Christians toss around words like “totalitarianism” and “persecution” far too easily and it infuriates me. Coptic monks, who were friends and colleagues, were martyred in Egypt. Bishop Hassan and Margaret were attacked and their son was killed. Meanwhile, here in America, we are like whining children…

  3. Linn says:


    We’re too used to the fast food adage: “Have it your way….” If we can’t have it our way, the government is against us, and it MUST be persecution. It drives me nuts!

    Because of teaching ESL, I’ve had conversations with people from all over the world who have been forced to move, often due to religious persecution. Americans don’t understand how the rest of the world works.

  4. Duane Arnold says:


    They should talk to the people of El Salvador; to the families of the Maryknoll sisters; to Jon Sobrino, SJ, whose fellow Jesuits were murdered; or my priest friend, Fr. Orlando Erazo, who is the nephew of Fr. Rutilio Grande who was shot on his way to perform a baptism…

  5. Dread says:

    I’m quite happy to infuriate you. Using public safety as a basis for expanding government power is increasing in America. We did it with 9/11 and the patriot act which now has become the foot in many doors of government expansion. We are doing it with these public health measures as well. It is routine for government to use the distribution of public money as a basis for public mandates. Whoever pays rules.

    Everyone can see a distinction between martyrdom in the case of your posting here and these mandates. Some of us see no contradiction in thinking that martyrdom begins with some lesser beastly action of government. I can oppose mandates and martyrdom without being inconsistent.

    Our martyrdom danger is currently low but economic persecution and refusal of access to markets as a means of compliance is very near. My Eastern European immigrant friends warn me over and again.

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    Thank you. You made my point succinctly…

  7. Duane Arnold says:

    A helpful volume for understanding the substance of the issue is ‘Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church: A Study of a Conflict from the Maccabees to Donatus’ by W.H.C. Frend, a colleague who passed away in 2005.

  8. Alex says:

    I do not truly know this level of love.
    Not really. To write such a prayer in such a circumstance.
    A son. My child. I understand that.
    I pray for more of this love to become real in me.

  9. Dread says:

    Before you get too far down the road of me making your point … I have not asserted Christian persecution in these pages. I have however directly asserted creeping and leaping totalitarianism in the body politic.

    Christian persecution in the Roman Empire was rooted in the policy changes of Roman emperors and their assessments of the dangers of the growing Christian ‘cult.’ It was neither pervasive nor unceasing. It was periodic and regional.

    I’ve made no claims that Christians are being singled out. There is nothing distinguishing that universalizes our claim to being Christians. We don’t even recognize each other very generously. Governments hate dissenters and hate noncompliance. They don’t tend to distinguish motives. Though radical Islam has its unique features.

  10. Duane Arnold says:


    It is distinctly Christian, without the overlays of secular values and reasoning… Something that I can only aspire to…

  11. Duane Arnold says:


    I don’t have to go “too far down the road”. I merely have to read what you write…

  12. Em says:

    Timely, thought provoking thread posted here today – thank you, Dr. Duane….
    My morning reading was Deuteronomy 32 the two seem to be on the same page..
    And I read pastor Dread with interest also as I must agree that this nation has opened the door for the persecution of Christians….
    I can’t verify the story, but I was told that there is a Muslim country today that, if you don’t renounce Christ, they roast you alive….
    Can we turn the nation around? Become what we were? Hmmm
    God keep

  13. Duane Arnold says:


    “I must agree that this nation has opened the door for the persecution of Christians….”

    I’ve not seen anything approaching persecution.

  14. josh hamrick says:

    “Can we turn the nation around? Become what we were?”

    What would that look like?

  15. Duane Arnold says:


    It’s a myth…

  16. josh hamrick says:

    Duane, obviously, but my guess is that it has to do much more with “our way of life” than anything else, and the refusal to accept that “our way of life” was horrible for other people.

  17. Duane Arnold says:


  18. Michael says:

    Here is the fundamental issue I see .

    The health of the church is being conflated with the health of the democracy.

    While I may share some concerns over civil liberties as a citizen, I don’t see any problems at this juncture for the church that even remotely look like persecution.

    The LGBTQ have tried, but failed…they may eventually cause issues.

  19. Duane Arnold says:


  20. Duane Arnold says:

    In terms of the subject of the post, three recommended films:

    ‘Romero’ (starring Raul Julia) A good representation of Oscar Romero.

    ‘Of Gods and Men’ set in 1996 Algeria. (In French, but subtitled.)

    ‘Silence’ set in 17th century Japan.

    Each deals with persecution and martyrdom in a thoughtful manner.

  21. Muff Potter says:

    Duane Arnold @ 10:47

    “I’ve not seen anything approaching persecution.”

    Nor have I Duane. It’s as ludicrous as it is funny.

  22. Duane Arnold says:

    Muff Potter

    “Ludicrous” is a good word for it. I think, however, that it’s equally sad as it is funny…

  23. Linn says:


    Those are all excellent. The book “Silence” is quite forceful and gives much to think about regarding the faith we claim to possess.

  24. Em says:

    What you folks are missing is NOT the persecution but the open door….
    I’ve lived a long time and, with the exception of godless academia, the Church has had the respect of our population.
    NOT NOW, but, perhaps it is the contrast between then and now that can’t be discerned today. …. sigh

  25. Duane Arnold says:


    I thought Martin Scorsese did a brilliant adaptation of the book. The same lingering questions…

  26. Duane Arnold says:


    “Respect” is earned, not demanded. The problem may not lie with society, but with the church.

  27. Em says:

    Good point, Dr. Duane, good point
    Fits with my morning reading today as there comes a point in time when God does say enough and there is ignorant mockery of Him in many churches today.. IMNSHO. 🙆

  28. Linn says:


    He did!

  29. bob1 says:

    Respect is indeed earned; can’t be demanded.

    The Church is largely to blame for its downfall in our culture. Christians. Behaving. Badly.

    Here’s just one random example: an expose of Moody Bible Institute. Seems some women there tried to tell the truth about sexual assault they experienced,, but thanks to purity culture, they were harassed — to say the least.

    If I had a teenage daughter, I sure as hell would send her to a secular university before a place like Moody.

    They Went to Bible College to Deepen Their Faith. Then They Were Assaulted—and Blamed for It.

  30. Duane Arnold says:


    It’s dreadful and it is in other institutions as well…

  31. Pineapple Head says:

    “Silence” is one of all-time favorite films.

  32. Duane Arnold says:


    Good taste…

  33. Nonnie says:

    I believe Dread speaks intelligently and very well for many of us. I am also very concerned about the government mandates over the past 2 years, but it has absolutely nothing to do with my faith in Christ. For the Supreme Court justice to make false claims about 100,000 children and covid during a hearing and the media to not call her on it is deceitful to the American public. Is anyone else not concerned about the false information that is being peddled to us about Covid….from every angle. It is truly hard to know what to believe and this has nothing to do with my faith in Christ or my political beliefs. ( I have never voted for Trump, so don’t even go there)

  34. Linn says:


    “A Hidden Life” is another excellent film about the high price of standing firm for Christ.

  35. Duane Arnold says:


    “I am also very concerned about the government mandates over the past 2 years, but it has absolutely nothing to do with my faith in Christ.”

    That is exactly the point. It is not a faith issue, it’s a public policy issue.

  36. Duane Arnold says:


    Thanks for the recommendation! I plan on watching it…

  37. Yes, Terrance Malick’s A HIDDEN LIFE is powerful, and beautiful.

    Duane and Linn, I’m assuming you’ve seen his other thought-provoking movie, THE TREE OF LIFE.

  38. Dread says:

    Public policy issues are the ultimate basis for government, intrusion, coercion and persecution. Public policy issues cannot destroy or give you faith. What they can do is give you hell on earth.

    High sounding human reasoning is always the road to that hell.

    These realms of heaven and earth, these kingdoms of God and man consequentially intertwine.

    Our citizenship is actually the basis of these conflicts.

  39. Duane Arnold says:

    “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…”

  40. Duane Arnold says:


    Yes, saw it and found it remarkable…

  41. josh hamrick says:

    “High sounding human reasoning is always the road to that hell.”

    How can human reasoning be removed from public policy? Of course public policy requires human reasoning.
    But could it be that the people who disagree with you on public policy are not the enemy trying to bring about hell on earth, but simply different people with different backgrounds that give them differing points of view on how things should work?

  42. Dread says:


    You probably need to read some Orwell or just this short letter.

  43. Duane Arnold says:


    That’s rational… some people don’t want rational. Additionally, different points of view require compromise, which used to be the basis of our public policy. That has been abandoned in the recent and current zero sum game…

  44. josh hamrick says:

    Why? I am for freedom, democracy, capitalism, all that. I just don’t have a Mcarthy era Red-Scare.

    I can’t adhere to a system so fragile that I have to live in constant fear to keep it going.

  45. josh hamrick says:

    Duane – right. Someone who disagrees with me politically is the enemy and must be defeated, at all costs. They are evil and must conform to my ideals, or else!

    The conversation further cements how we can’t separate Christian from American.

    The places that Christianity is most flourishing right now are not, free, democratic, capitalist nations. I think we’d rather slow the spread of Christianity in those nations, as long as we could get them to follow our political convictions.

  46. Dread says:


    Because actual lies and actual coercion to comply with those lies is well underway.

    The ordinary folk and the lurkers read what I say and see that I’m reasonable.

    The Solzhenitsyn column is an actual hedge that anyone can see is helpful important and perhaps essential to our future.

    I don’t care if you reject it. I just offered a response to your questions

  47. josh hamrick says:

    “Because actual lies and actual coercion to comply with those lies is well underway.”

    That describes every government from every point in human history.

    “The ordinary folk and the lurkers read what I say and see that I’m reasonable.”

    Fear sells.

  48. Duane Arnold says:


    As a friend, Lorenzo DiTommaso, has written, “the apocalyptic world view is an adolescent world view. It’s a simplistic response to complex problems …”

    As you say, fear sells.

  49. josh hamrick says:

    “I don’t care if you reject it.”

    What did I reject? 1984? How does one reject a novel? It wasn’t my favorite book, but sure, we all see in it what we want to see.

  50. Michael says:

    These “discussions” will result inevitably in the closure of this site.

    I’m already feeling the heat in private comments.

    That closure will be by my choice…because I choose not to engage in the breeding of the church and politics as I have already seen the monstrous offspring that produces.

    I have no issue with people that are concerned about the future of the nation, though I may disagree with which of the current boogeymen are the most dangerous…they all are.

    My concept of the church as an alien people living in a foreign country has been rejected here, though I believe it is biblical.

    It is my belief that is only acting in that role as sojourners that we can make a difference for the kingdom that matters.

    That has been the subject that I wanted to pursue here…how that we in the church can be agents of reconciliation and kingdom bearers.

    Few are interested unless that includes fidelity to either the left or right…and I say to hell with both.

    The threats to the democracy are real…but solutions are beyond the grasp.

    I have my hands full…and my hands have been full for 21 years…with the church.

  51. Kevin H says:

    So here’s the thing. We currently live in an environment where both sides of the political divide regularly assume the worst of the other side. Those on the Right see actions taken by the Left to implement COVID control measures and to support LGBQ+ agenda items and biases in the mainstream media, etc., all to mean that the Left is out to take totalitarian control of society. Those on the Left see the actions taken by the Right to protect or implement religious liberties of conservative Christians and to support voting reform and biases in Fox News and other right wing media, etc, all to mean that the Right is out to take totalitarian control. Both sides use the “slippery slope” argument to warn against whatever measures the other side is taking.

    In reality, most people on either the Left or Right have no intentions of such totalitarian control, although seemingly the extremes on each end are convincing more on their side to take such a stance in reaction to what they have assumed is the desire of totalitarian control of everyone (or at least many) on the other side. Ironically, in trying to fight what they have deemed to be a danger, they are creating more danger themselves.

    Yes, public policy and living out our Christianity intersect and we can not just ignore the reality and/or impact of public policy on people’s lives. At the same time, one would think our greatest concerns as Christians would start with personally following after God as He has taught and leads us and then with the life of the church and then with everything else as it flows out from there. The starting point or main focus is not the nation and public policy and cultural morals and practices as seems to be so for many. It is Christ and then His Church.

  52. Duane Arnold says:

    “The starting point or main focus is not the nation and public policy and cultural morals and practices as seems to be so for many. It is Christ and then His Church.”

    Full agreement here…

  53. Kevin H says:


    I was typing at the same time as you posted your thoughts. I would be aggrieved to ever lose this place, but certainly understand your frustrations with it. No more does it seem to be just problems in the church and figuring out how to deal with them, but now there seemingly is a constant noise of fighting about political issues that extend far beyond the church.

  54. Michael says:


    We have some of the finest people I’ve ever known here.
    They, for the most part, have no use for each other.
    That is the fruit of these discussions.
    This is the outward face of the faithful…hating the barbarians at the gate and and half the church.
    Bleep that…I’m having enough issues just getting through each day and I have lots of company.

  55. Dread says:

    The level of frustration over this is confusing. I’m advocating telling the truth loving the truth and not being complicit with lies.

    I’m civil, I’m reasonable, I’m not partisan political. What’s all the stress about this kind of conversation.

    An either:or narrative was spun over the martyrdom story and I brought a both/and response.

    I’m sorry …there have been rancorous debates on PP this doesn’t rise to that. This kind of conversation is vital IMO but I don’t own this space.

  56. PM says:

    As both sides push their respective extreme positions, the question- what should I, as a Christian be doing?

    For me it’s simple- worry very little about what is happening in some far off town, or city, or state. Instead, be an influence to those in my circle, right or left, Christian or no. Treat people not as enemies, be respectful, and seek truth. I’m my world, this means respectfully rebutting the latest Fox talking point.

    I firmly believe there are Christians in my circles who also abhor the political/church intersection and are willing to speak out, it just takes courage.

    I’m a lurker, as Dread says, but there is no doubt that I’d be branded a Lib by church going folks(canceled to use a different term) in a minute, if I went very public with my centrist political views. That is an issue that causes me more stress than what is happening with a Penn State swimmer.

    It ain’t the Good News if others don’t see it in action. (I know it’s still the Good News, just trying to make a point).

  57. Michael says:

    ” I’m advocating telling the truth loving the truth and not being complicit with lies.”

    Except you are the arbiter of what is truth and what is a lie…and it is politically based.

    When we have such division among ourselves it is impossible to have real dialog…it becomes an unending taking of sides.

    In my estimation, both sides can go straight to hell and I’ll be happy about it.

    My concern, my passion …is and always has been the church.

    The nation has enough true believers already.

  58. Michael says:


    Thank you.

  59. Xenia says:

    I don’t know what to say except I hope you keep this place open, Michael, but I certainly understand why you are finding it increasingly difficult.

  60. Duane Arnold says:

    When Bishop Dehqani-Tafti died, he was buried at Winchester Cathedral. On his headstone is written, “Confessor of Christ”. Not a bad legacy for any believer….

  61. bob1 says:

    For balance, I think we could use some fruitful Kingdom stories here…despite everything, I believe there are many churches doing good works.

    Here’s one I found about a multi-ethnic church in Milwaukee that appears to be very
    Kingdom focused.

    My favorite quote:

    During his sermon at the outdoor service in August, Erickson urged church members to ground their lives in the Bible and its message of love, rather than on the noise of the outside world.

  62. Xenia says:

    I keep going back to what Michael said a while back: I want to do the right thing, and I’d do it, if only I could discern what it is. <<< That was in reference to Covid issues. I feel the same way. We rather reluctantly went to Church last Sunday because we felt we "should." I mean, were we never going to go to Church again? WWJD? I have no idea. Jesus said "Fear not" but he also said "Love your neighbor." So we went, and now the Parish is being shut down for the first time since the pandemic hit, because there's an outbreak of Covid. So we've been exposed and are quarantining for a while and frankly, are living in a state of confusion regarding Covid and how it involves Christ, and I can't see a connection to be honest, but people I admire see a big connection which escapes us. If we take precautions we are over-reacting and not trusting God, we're told, but common sense and love of neighbor says to take this seriously, even though those I admire and used to listen to for wisdom don't seem to have gotten the memo.

    Sorry for the stream of consciousness ramble. I haven't been at my best recently.

  63. Dread says:

    “Except you are the arbiter of what is truth and what is a lie…and it is politically based.”

    Since that is your assessment of my participation — I will make my confession and step away for the sake of the church.

    Truth is a person

    And every man is a liar.

    Grace and Peace

  64. Duane Arnold says:


    I had the same battle this last Sunday and decided not to go to church, only to find that the priest had tested positive for Covid on Saturday. All the decisions are becoming difficult…

  65. Michael says:


    Everyone here is making political judgments at all times on endless matters.

    If I knew the “truth” about any of them I would shout it from the rooftops.

    I don’t…nor do I even know what sources are trustworthy.

    I do know Jesus…and I long for his kingdom, not the resurrection of a country that I don’t think ever really existed except as an ideal.

    It will pass away…but the kingdom is on the way.

  66. Michael says:


    I hear you, my friend.
    I need to go to church, but church is dangerous.
    Trey is looking for a new job, but all the jobs require vaccination…and he has been told that because of other conditions he has that the shot may cause him harm.
    The science says there is no need to vaccinate a pretty healthy young man…but he cannot be employed without it.
    It did cause me harm, but if my condition worsens there is no room in the hospital that is full of unvaccinated people.
    Six weeks after the booster, the shots are no longer effective against the variant but one has to work.
    He looks to me for council and I know nothing.
    The anxiety everywhere has worn us down to the nub…

  67. Em says:

    Michael @5:15
    The Church is an alien people…
    Who has rejected that TRUTH? They’d better go back and do some in depth study of the NEW TESTAMENT
    Come to think of it Old Testament heroes were considered aliens also…. hmmm

  68. Michael says:


    The primary concern here seems to be the health of the U.S.
    That’s fine…but it has only a tangential connection to the faith.
    I have no desire whatsoever to run a political site.

  69. Derek says:

    The article started it all. It was good till Duane decide to stick a shiv in and twist it at the end in bold letters. Without that, I doubt there would have been as much comments.
    Weird that I have not met a Christian who thinks Christians are being specifically persecuted because of masks. Most just think it is totalitarian against the entire population. There is a lot of blame in general on this blog at the entire American Christian community that is usually based on a few people that are vocal in y’all’s Facebook feeds.
    Dread does usually resonate with normal people better than most here.

  70. Em says:

    Okay, Michael
    Think I’m 100℅ on board with that….. Something about
    “Friendship with this world IS against God”

  71. Em says:

    P.S. does the Church understand Ambassador? ? ?

  72. Xenia says:

    Remember in the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus said if you were asked to carry a burden one mile, carry it two miles? I have read that this was in reference to a Roman soldier having the right to ask civilians to help carry their gear.

  73. josh hamrick says:

    What are normal people?

  74. pstrmike says:

    I appreciate the article Duane. Such forgiveness transcends this world. It is hard to grasp as I would prefer to use the imprecatory Psalms for prayers. I picked up on the otherworld when listening to The Martyrs Project… thank you.

    There is a latent desire in our culture to convince everyone else that we are right and that everyone else should believe and interpret what is happening around us in the same way we do. If we think about history, it is engrained in our culture. Social media is the new town hall, the new frontier in which we struggle for dominion.

    The truth has taken a back seat to the need to control the narrative. We are being lied to; I suspect it is from every sector. Stories and events are shaped in way that ensures they are told from the “correct perspective.” This along with full access to social media has produced a sense of individualism like I have never seen before, to the degree that we’ve lost our respect for others, and have difficulty navigating a civil discourse with those of whom we disagree.

  75. Michael says:


    Well said…

  76. Derek says:

    Gonna anger a lot with this one.
    Professional pastors are not normal. They are too divorced from the way normal people live.

  77. Em says:

    There is more good meat on this thread than some may realize? ? ?
    Good food for thought as every single post has a nugget of truth….
    Going the second mile? If needed, YES! ! !

  78. josh hamrick says:

    Doesn’t anger me. Probably true in a lot of cases.

    In regard to masks, I had church members passing around information that wearing a mask was the mark of the beast.

  79. Em says:

    Professional pastors implies training – very, very sad if that pastor has no heart, nor fear of his Creator/Redeemer

  80. josh hamrick says:

    I can say that I personally know dozens of pastors. Every single one of them loves the Lord and the people that God has entrusted them with. I truly believe they are the norm for American pastors. The few (but way too many) bad guys give them all a bad name.

  81. Em says:

    Not wearing a mask ( more efficacious than the shot) is kind of like standing outside up here, naked, in a snowbank and saying, ” I won’t freeze to death out here! ! !

  82. Em says:

    Josh @11:12
    AMEN, sadly

  83. Duane Arnold says:


    I don’t choose where bold letters are placed… but I have no problem with where they were placed…

    Additionally, numerous churches saw limitations on attendance, social distancing and mask mandates as persecution/totalitarianism…

  84. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks…

  85. Xenia says:

    You can say that a lot of professional people aren’t “normal,” whatever that means. Doctors, lawyers, policemen- they all have a degree of authority in their fields, which singles them out from whatever is being called normal.

  86. josh hamrick says:

    We lost a lot of members over it. For a short time, the state required it. Someone found a meme online that likened the mask to Revelation 13:7. The mask was the mark of the beast because you couldn’t do business without it. Thus, when the staff showed up masked, many were aghast that we too had taken the mark of the beast. We couldn’t even protest, because obviously, that’s exactly what someone would do who had taken the mark.

  87. Derek says:

    Well, I would say that if Michael wants less stress maybe he needs to take more editorial control over the articles.
    So Josh, did the majority of the church believe masks were the Mark? If so, the pastor did a terrible job.

  88. Xenia says:


    Not wearing a mask ( more efficacious than the shot) <<<

    Is this true?

  89. Michael says:


    I am proud of the articles we’ve posted and consider it a privilege to post Duanes articles and Kevins as well.

  90. Xenia says:

    If a church spends more time in Revelation than it does on the Sermon on the Mount, you will get crazy ideas like that.

  91. josh hamrick says:

    Derek, majority? No. Less than half, but a significant number. The pastor had only been there for ab0ut a month before the shutdown. I was only there for about 6 months. But I don’t think it was any pastors fault. The internet is the authority now. The pastor can do his best to teach the truth, but a viral picture with a few words on it is way more trusted in today’s world.

  92. Xenia says:

    ^^^ That was in reference to the Mark of the Beast idea, which I am pretty sure Josh doesn’t advocate, so it wasn’t in reference to anything he taught. Sorry if that sounded like an accusation!

  93. Xenia says:

    The internet is the authority now.<<<

    That's what I should have said.

  94. josh hamrick says:

    Xenia, again, I don’t think it is any fault of the teaching past, or present, necessarily. Older, white, conservatives tend to get wrapped up in internet conspiracy stuff. I have no clue how to battle it.

  95. Derek says:

    Okay, then if the articles themselves are made to provoke them why are you fussing about the stress?
    The article was obviously the first shot fired.
    Is only return fire unwelcome?
    Are the commenters the only ones who are uncivilized philistines who cause all your stress?

  96. Duane Arnold says:

    “The article was obviously the first shot fired.”

    I assume that is because one sentence did not say what you wanted to hear…

  97. Derek says:

    No, it is pretty obvious. You know, you bolded it.
    Almost seems like it was written to provoke. Quit acting innocent it is sort of cowardly.

  98. josh hamrick says:

    Derek, it seems you missed the point.

  99. Duane Arnold says:


    Sorry, but you don’t know what you are talking about…

  100. Em says:

    Xenia, my understanding from those I know in the medical community is that it is more efficacious IF you have the right mask….
    Trouble is the “right mask” is very difficult to wear for long periods – a 95% mask, what I’ve been using, is very restrictive of air intake…. IMO

  101. Michael says:

    I bolded it.

    I bold every other sentence to help the reading process.

  102. Em says:

    Derek, trust an old lady here, Dr. Duane is not a coward

  103. Duane Arnold says:

    I might add that there are numerous other articles in which the same subject is covered…

  104. Duane Arnold says:

    …And, if one simply does a Google search on ‘masks mark of the beast’ you’ll find more articles than one might wish to read…

  105. Derek says:

    Sorry Duane, on the bolding at least. You did write the words though that started it. You seem to love to stick a shiv in though and then complain when Dread calls you on it. You two ought to get together in real life and fight till your worn out.
    Looks like you have manufactured stress of your own making whether you like it or not then Michael.
    My suggestion: Shut it down. Getting extra stress out of your life like Facebook helps. This place seems like an unnecessary stressor.

  106. bob1 says:

    Then why don’t you leave?

  107. Duane Arnold says:


    Please point out where I’ve complained?

  108. Duane Arnold says:

    …And, by the way, I stand by what I’ve written…

  109. Derek says:

    Seriously, if you die from stress, like everything else in this world, you can’t take this blog with you. I know you have spent decades building it, but focusing on those immediately around you is more important. None of us ever know how much time we have.
    I am done now.

  110. Em says:

    Derek, you must be an acquaintance of Michael? ? ?
    But be careful as Jesus’ friends would have told him to get out of Jerusalem before the cross…..
    Ask yourself, “is Michael doing a good work here?”
    Most of us would answer that question, “YES!”

  111. BrideofChrist says:

    Derek, I can’t help wondering why you are so eager to ‘cancel’ this site? I believe Michael keeps the Phoenix Preacher site up to edify Christians and expose them to different points of view.
    I don’t post much but I like to read the articles and comments because I like to hear differing Christian points of view. I think perhaps today Michael is reacting to and objecting more to the ‘tone’ of some of the posters, and not so much as the debate itself. Sometimes the tone does seem a bit harsh. As an aside, I consider myself a ‘normal’ Christian and I think Duane’s article raised awareness of what real Christian persecution looks like in the world. Perhaps Duane is just helping us keep everything in the proper perspective. God bless.

  112. Derek says:

    ‘Em, no I am from Mississippi and an admitted ahole. I am selfish and not a role model. I am a stressor on here to.
    At least I admit it and don’t just dig my heels in to prove I am right in creating stress and contention.

    Michael, please ban my email address. I won’t do it anymore, but I need you to enforce it on me. This crap causes me stress also and I need help to kick the habit.
    Consider what I said, letting go of things can sometimes be very freeing.

  113. Officerhoppy says:

    “Truth is a person”? What the H.E. Double Hockey sticks does that mean? Sounds like the story of a little girls in Sunday school. The reacher asks what is fury, has a long bushy tail, eats nuts and lives in trees? The girl says, “it sounds like you a describing a squirrel but I know the answer is Jesus”

    Now if you said it was found in the man Jesus, or the work he did at the cross and resurrection, I may be able to better to understand. But to say truth is Jesus makes no sense. Sounds spiritual though

  114. Duane Arnold says:


    Our Lord did say, “I am the way, the truth and the life”…

  115. Em says:

    Derek, my uncle married a girl from Mississippi – they had a long happy life together….
    It’s okay to be from that state… AND…
    Like the rest of us, its okay to be an whole once in a while….
    Hope you stay with us
    God keep…. even if you don’t want Him to do so… LOL

  116. Em says:

    Spell check got me again… Guess it doesn’t like ahole … 🙆

  117. Dread says:


    I am in Jackson, MS right now. Thanks for your input here.

  118. Duane Arnold says:

    Linn and PH

    Another good film, ‘The White Rose’ a true story set in 1942 Germany.

  119. pstrmike says:

    ” Older, white, conservatives tend to get wrapped up in internet conspiracy stuff. I have no clue how to battle it.”

    I’ve been dealing with this for about 15 years. Most eventually left, many to move away to places they considered safer to endure the apocalypse. A few came in afterwards and unknowingly, took their place. My military background gave me credentials to speak into a few lives, particularly with my work in EW. But mainly, I’ve just had to outlast them. This is an indication of a personality disorder, and people in that condition rarely are helped, simply because they don’t see the need for it.

  120. Duane Arnold says:

    “This is an indication of a personality disorder, and people in that condition rarely are helped, simply because they don’t see the need for it.”

    Yes, and insightful…

  121. josh hamrick says:

    It’s brutal though.

  122. Dread says:

    “Old white conservatives”

    “ indication of a personality disorder…”


    See how beautiful the fellowship got after I stepped away?

    Seventy years of rapture theology has consequences.

    Weren’t you guys in that belief system?

  123. Duane Arnold says:


  124. Dread says:


    Weren’t you a Chuck Smith disciple in the early days? How’d you escape his rapture theology?

    Wait… you probably never had a Schofield Bible … that helps

  125. Duane Arnold says:

    “…after I stepped away”

    I’d not noticed…

  126. Dread says:

    Yeah you noticed.

  127. Duane Arnold says:

    Thomson chain-reference… Chuck approved,

  128. Dread says:

    Well we have common ground — my Thompson Chain kept me from the indoctrination of the wall charts and categorical Bible studies.

  129. Duane Arnold says:

    I started to read through the Ante-Nicene Church Fathers…

  130. Dread says:

    Well that set you on a good path …

  131. pstrmike says:

    actually dread, I didn’t have you in mind when I wrote my post…………….. I haven’t spoken too often about it, but I’ve lived in a Christian conspiracy hotbed for years— much it it joined with dispensational theological thinking.

    I may not agree with you all the time, but I do know you give consideration to things. Yes I was dispensational—Calvary style—SBC before that—just like you were. My experience here and three seminary degrees gave me a new vision and understanding to many things, including eschatology. Let’s endeavor to keep the peace between us.

    Yep. It’s an ongoing challenge with no end in sight.

  132. Dread says:

    Mike it never occurred to me that you had me in mind —- you misread my intent. I just marveled that you made a serious diagnosis about a group of people and didn’t think it helpful.

    I have never had futuristic eschatology of anything except the presence of the kingdom. We can definitely keep peace.

  133. Duane Arnold says:

    “Well that set you on a good path …”

    Been doing it for forty years.

  134. Dread says:


    I seriously think the problem that has you vexed is not old white conservatives but old conspiratorial eschatology

  135. pstrmike says:

    ok dread.. I wasn’t sure, so I erred in misreading…………………

    I was actually speaking only from my experience with some folks here, that when reading the DSM-5, definitely revealed some things. As far as psychological studies, it’s a mixed bag of findings. I will try to exercise more caution.

  136. LInn says:


    I loved the White Rose. I didn’t care of Tree of Life. I’ve tried three times and I’ve never been able to finish it.

  137. pstrmike says:

    “conspiratorial eschatology”


    Yes. I mentioned that in a local SBC meeting some time ago. It didn’t settle well with the big kahuna here………..

    Actually most of those who I referred to were middle aged, not all of them white.

  138. Dread says:

    I was 20 years among the SBCers before I felt bold enough to overtly press my amillennial views of the kingdom — the atmosphere was very heavy against it.

    But that grip was very much loosened before 2020 — it’s gotten revived.

    You’re correct though the loyalty to it is irrational.

  139. Pineapple Head says:

    Tree of Life is definitely a different movie. I’ll have to check out The White Rose.

  140. Em says:

    I cannot dismiss the theory of a thousand year reign of Christ here because…..
    After man + Satan have made such a mess, the idea of Jesus’ reign to demonstrate God right to be God? Just makes a whole lot of sense to this old lady…… 🤗

  141. Duane Arnold says:


    I think you’ll like it….

  142. josh hamrick says:

    I used ok and white as descriptors. In this case, it is accurate. Pretrib eschatology would most likely be an accurate description as well. I’d guess to the degree that they’ve given thought, they believe in a pretrib rapture. So, old white, conservative, pretrib. Does that make it better?

  143. Dread says:


  144. pstrmike says:


  145. Em says:

    old, white conservative, midtrib lady here…. 🙂

  146. josh hamrick says:

    and my bet is you’ll fall for an internet conspiracy theory 🙂

    Its just an observation from people I’m around alot. pstrmike agreed that he had seen it among his people as well.

    middle age – white – pretrib

  147. Dread says:


    Who do you think does not fall for conspiracy theories. And how is that term defined since we know people actually do conspire to do terrible things.

    I mean 9/11 Truthers and Kennedy assassination adherents, Roswell aliens and Hitler in Argentina or Trump/Russian Collusion are all a basket of explorables.

    Chris Reed a shameless lying ‘prophet’ claimed he encountered an angel who told him he was in the presence of John the apostle who is alive in a cave in Turkey ready to teach us his revelations.

    Ok don’t answer any of that —

    I don’t actually care

  148. Duane Arnold says:

    On topic with the post, Bishop Dehqani-Tafti, wrote a memoir detailing what took place during the Islamic revolution in Iran entitled ‘The Hard Awakening’. Second hand copies are still available on Amazon.

  149. Dread says:

    Perhaps also

    In keeping with the thread we might reread the prayer and contemplate it’s relevance to the chaos of our world.

    It’s power got overlooked in our tangential debate.

    He draws us to the forgiveness spoken by Jesus on the cross, Stephen under the stones and Paul in his forsakenness.

    This is the Truth Michael called us to remember

  150. Derek says:

    Now Bloomberg is reporting that the EU is warning that repeat booster shots harm the immune system. But never mind me, just a conspiracy theorists that has been looking at articles and studies that said this long ago.

  151. Em says:

    AMEN, Pastor Dread
    My sources here agree with Derek

  152. Dan from Georgia says:

    nice to see we are all gathered around our little tribes instead of the Cross.

    get me outta here.

  153. Josh Hamrick says:

    Dread – All people are susceptible to conspiracy theories. You haven’t observed that some seem more eager to buy in than others? I could definitely be wrong, its just an observation based on personal experience.

    Derek – that may be true. Personally, I’ll continue to trust my doctor, but I’ve never said there were no problems with any of this, that the vaccine is great, or any of that. I’ve just talked about the best time and place to parse it out. I don’t think I made any references to you believing conspiracy theories. Again, that was observation based on what I see in real life on a daily basis.

  154. bob1 says:

    The sky is falling

  155. Derek says:

    I am of the tribe that didn’t want a vaccine with no long term studies given to most of the population for a virus with a 99.8% chance of survival. Why weren’t the animal studies of prior mRNA vaccine attempts that showed immune system problems taken into account?
    Why does it have to be a tribe when people just don’t want to see people die needlessly from s man made cause that was avoidable?
    Everyone I know that is vaxxed without prior Covid exposure is now getting Covid. The narrative is falling apart in real time and not on the news but in real life relationships. I know people that regret vaccine up now.

  156. pstrmike says:

    Yes bob1, the sky is falling. I won’t go into details, but events that have transpired locally in the last 72 hours are putting those who are in need of routine medical care due to chronic conditions at dis-ease, to put it mildly.

    Interesting article on Bloomberg—thanks Derek for the source (this is a different article than you referred to).

    “Say Goodbye to Self-Isolating, WFH Mandates, Mass Testing”

    From the article:
    “Most importantly, though, vaccines (and especially booster shots) have led to dramatically lower levels of hospitalization and death. Indeed, the unvaccinated account for the large majority of serious Covid-19 hospital cases everywhere.”

    “Finally, we’ll need to consider how much vaccinating to do beyond a third dose. With a virus of waning severity and rising levels of natural defenses, it’s not clear we need an entire population to be routinely re-vaccinated after the third shot if the variants in circulation remain mild. It may be enough to offer variant-specific vaccines to over-60s and other vulnerable groups every six or 12 months, while making further vaccination optional for others.”

    As a friend of mine (who was bit of a conspiracy theorist) told me long ago, “we are at the mercy of who we read.” Let the reader understand.

  157. Derek says:

    Just had another employee, fully vaccinated, go to get tested. They have symptoms that sounded just like mine when I got Covid.

  158. josh hamrick says:

    No question vaccinated people have continued to get it. Unless hospitals are just lying, all over the country they are reporting that serious cases are heavily on the side of unvaxxed. From my local hospital last week, it was 133 unvaxed to 3 vaxxed. It is what it is.

  159. Kevin H says:


    The main, accepted narrative for a good while now has been that the vaccines (including the booster) help in reducing the chances of getting COVID and greatly help in reducing the risks of suffering severely or dying from it. The vast amount and array of reported numbers across the country in regards to hospitalizations and deaths especially prove out the truth of the narrative that vaccination greatly reduces the risk of severe sickness or death. Of course, one can always claim a personal experience or find a couple outliers here and there that buck the trend.

    But exactly what narrative is “falling apart”?

  160. Xenia says:

    No one is saying the vax will prevent you from getting Covid. There was a time, if everyone had cooperated, when the virus could have been stopped but it’s too late for that now. But vaxxed people have milder symptoms. This is what my 3 doctor friends have told us. They say the hospitals are full of un-vaxxed people who often die but the vaxxed usually don’t end up in the hospital and if they do, they walk out on their own two feet. I have a friend who is old and fat and who has many health problems. His recent case of Covid was very mild. Actually, I have 2 friends that are old and fat and recovered from mild cases because they were vaxxed. If they wasn’t vaxxed I believe they would have died.

    So we all understand vaxxed people can get the virus so there’s no need to keep repeating it. What some are ignoring is the vax preventing the severity of the illness and often means life or death.

    My doctor friends all say the hospitals are full of unvaxxed patients waiting to die. And how many other people can’t get a hospital bed in the meantime? And how exhausting is this to the hospital staff, who often have to put up with abuse from the unvaxxed who make all kinds of crazy accusations?

  161. pstrmike says:

    “So we all understand vaxxed people can get the virus so there’s no need to keep repeating it. What some are ignoring is the vax preventing the severity of the illness and often means life or death.”


    “And how exhausting is this to the hospital staff, who often have to put up with abuse from the unvaxxed who make all kinds of crazy accusations?”

    Crazy accusations…….. and not all of them are while, old, conservative, or dispensational……. (Sorry, couldn’t resist) 🙂

  162. Michael says:


    Well said…

  163. Xenia says:

    The idea that they should have waited ten years to test the vaccine before giving it to people in the middle of a pandemic is ridiculous. How many would have died by then? It was/is an emergency.

    But too many people have as their life verse “Ain’t nobody gonna tell ME what to do.”

  164. Kevin H says:


    I had mentioned earlier in the thread that there are risks to the vaccines in regards to side effects, especially in regards to long-term side effects as we just haven’t had the time to prove them all out with certainty. Yet at the same time, numbers far and wide and from an accumulation of tons of sources are proving that the vaccine has greatly reduced death from COVID. While knowing that more than half of the country is fully vaccinated and yet the large, large majority of COVID deaths continue to be suffered by those who were not vaccinated, it can easily be calculated that the vaccines have saved hundreds of thousands of lives in our country, and likely will millions worldwide.

    When comparing all those saved lives against the risks of unknown side effects, it would seem quite flippant at this point to argue that we should have waited 10 years to prove out everything with the vaccines.

  165. Derek says:

    Xenia, I am unvaxxed. I did not die from Covid. I know no one that has died yet from Covid. Only two were hospitalized. I know now about 50 people that have had Covid. Only one is hospitalized with serious issues and he was vaxxed.
    Fear porn doesn’t phase me anymore.

  166. Kevin H says:


    So are you telling us that your personal experiences are more telling to reality as a whole than the accumulation of reported, documented data across the whole country?

  167. josh hamrick says:

    Derek, as I said earlier, I buried 10 church members, and have two hospitalized that probably won’t make it. I’m checking on them daily. I’m glad that you and those around you have come out OK. That hasn’t been the case for everyone.

  168. josh hamrick says:

    And that’s 10 out of about 120. Not a mega church.

  169. josh hamrick says:

    “Vent is back up to 55% (they got it down to 45% yesterday) but oxygen is still OK. They’re beginning to talk about the possibility of a trach for him, but it’s still just beginning talks about it. His potassium is still a little high, and they’re going to do dialysis again today. Still praying that helps with multiple issues, such as working the sedation out, helping kidneys, etc.”

    That was yeterday’s update on Butch if you want to pray for him. He’s been in basically a medically induced coma for the last 3 weeks. If he makes it, I can’t imagine that he’ll ever be the same.

    It is real, it is awful, and it is still killing people.

  170. Xenia says:

    I personally know people who have died from Covid, all unvaxxed. I am glad tragedy has not struck your circle of friends, and I only wish the best of health for you.

  171. Xenia says:

    I have a close friend who very nearly died — old, overweight and unvaxxed as she is, I still love her. Her husband was looking around for a funeral home and the 2 priests in the area were discussing who would do her funeral liturgy, but she was blessed with a miracle-working icon of the Holy Theotokos and recovered, although she still has many health issues to deal with. If you don’t happen to have access to a miracle-working icon, I suggest you get vaxxed.

  172. josh hamrick says:

    Xenia – would it be too much to ask that you swipe that miracle working icon and send it my way? 🙂

  173. Derek says:

    Old and sick people die from all kinds of things when they get old. I am not amongst a bunch of old o sick people. It is what it is. Sad, but that is how it has always been.
    Making yourself sick by taking a vaccine with no long term studies was always not a good idea.
    Can someone show me those long term studies? What was the effect on people after 5 years? We’re there any cancers? Any other long term health issues?
    No, you are the long term study. Us control group will be alright.

  174. josh hamrick says:

    Compassion is cool, even if a situation doesn’t personally affect you.

  175. Michael says:

    There are lots of really legitamate questions surrounding the vaccines and the pandemic.

    I think it foolish to deny that.

    However…I still believe the risk/reward ratio is in favor of being vaccinated…even though I have a serious side effect myself.

    The line for one testing center here is now close to two miles long everyday….

  176. josh hamrick says:

    Basically can’t get tested for a few days here.

  177. Em says:

    Derek makes the case, as far as I’m concerned. I had covid in Feb 2021, but since I regularly take D3 my case was a 4 day mild one. Scandinavian lands have made this point also. Regular users of D3 up there.
    ALSO, hospitals get a nice fat bonus from our gov’t, if they say the person they were treating died from the virus

  178. Xenia says:

    Old folks die, let ’em die horribly, who cares, I’m healthy and I have such a limited circle of friends that I don’t personally know anyone who died etc.

    What an attitude.

  179. Xenia says:

    Young folks die, too. One of my husband’s university students died of Covid.

  180. Duane Arnold says:

    I have three friends who have died of Covid and two who have committed suicide. The two who took their own lives were terribly affected by the lockdowns, here and in the UK… both were 52.

    I know of a person with cancer and a progressive paralysis of their right side who was scheduled for surgery. Both surgeries have been cancelled as the hospitals here are at 120% with 95% being taken up by the unvaccinated.

    Compassion these days seems to be in short supply. We’d rather fight our idealogical corners…

  181. josh hamrick says:

    Jesus. Is everybody going to ignore that in my small church I have put 10 people in the ground during this?

    Butch whom I posted earlier, is around 70. Not terribly unhealthy. Anti-vax

    Athon has bneen in ICU since beofer Christmas. He’s 45 and the picture of health. Always playing basketabll at the Y. Anti-Vax. I spoke to his 14 year old son Saturday, who broke down saying “He’s not going to make it.”

    For god’s sakes, I am really glad you guys had mild cases. So did my son and daughter. That has not been the case for 100’s of thousands of people. Please.

  182. Xenia says:

    I guess they should have taken their vitamins, Josh.

  183. Em says:

    Xenia, in the hospital old folks are not dying “horribly.” There are many palliative measures taken to relieve suffering

  184. Xenia says:

    I guess they should have taken their vitamins, Josh.

    The smugness on here is more than I can stomach at the moment. I’m going to step away for a little while.

  185. Duane Arnold says:


    Sorrow for them and for you. It’s devastating for small communities and small churches. Praying for you and their families…

  186. josh hamrick says:

    Just now got a text.

    Widows lunch Saturday is canceled.
    Deacons meeting Sunday canceled.

    Want to guess why? Want to freakin guess why!?!

    I guiess because they are just old, sick people who don’t take their freaking vitamins. I’ve had it.

    Sorry. I’m not well. This is too much for me. Not the fault of anyone here.

  187. Duane Arnold says:

    “Xenia, in the hospital old folks are not dying “horribly.”’

    According to my ICU nurse friend, it is a terrible death.

  188. Michael says:

    I only know what my doctor who works on the covid ward tells me…it’s a horrible death.
    The struggle leading to that death is worse.

    If we have truly lost this measure of empathy for other people…may God help us all…cause we’ll need help from somewhere…

  189. Duane Arnold says:


    Apparently there really are some who consider empathy to be a sin…

  190. Em says:

    NO empathy is not a sin… If your hospital lets folks lie there with no palliative care? Why?

  191. Derek says:

    The story of how the Amish got through Covid was far more inspiring to me than what I see from most people these days. They just drank of the same cup at communion and let the chips fall where God judged them to fall. I did somewhat the same thing. My wife caught covid, instead of living in fear like my brother and his wife. She quarantined him in the basement. I made sure to catch it from her. My fate would be her fate. Who wants to live so miserly about a few years of life. What would I think of myself as a man that I was so cowardly?
    I too am tired of the constant race to try to beat death and live as long as possible. That is no way to live this life. What have we become? I don’t want to be that old person who wants to grasp onto maybe another year of life at the expense of others. If I die, I don’t want someone blaming some unmasked person for my death. God adjudged that I should die.
    The virus defeated all comers to stop it. That was always what was going to happen.
    I don’t however like to see the trend of injecting kids with the vaccine. There are too many warning signs that people are trying to hide from seeing because it might upset the narrative.

  192. LInn says:

    I am so sorry for what you have been through in your church. I can’t imagine. We lost 4 people from our Spanish congregation last winter (before the vaccine was out). One was a 40-something gentleman that was part of a large, extended family who I have spent time with in both worship and social events for the past 20 years. Another was a developmentally disabled teen with a TBI who could not be saved by an medical intervention, although there were many. I taught her for several years. She always knew where I kept the cookies, although she was non-verbal. I did not know the other two as well, but one was a former pastor who found his way to our church with his family. I now teach his granddaughter in my Sunday School class. His widow is still adjusting to life without her husband at the ripe old age of 45. I did not know the fourth person.

    We can throw around our numbers, our opinions on vaccines (I’m very pro, by the way) and vitamins, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that our country is in a crisis of both mortality and morale. I’m in a school that we are so far managing to keep open, with about 10% of our students out and a significant amount of staff. We engage in gallows humor during lunch (socially distanced outside, of course), but we’re all scared of getting sick, if we haven’t already. With the students, I only talk about being out ill. Some of them have already lost relatives overseas (we have many families with relatives in India), and they are afraid of their parents becoming ill.

    So, I vote for more compassion from those of us who are posting. You can take your arguments pro/anti vaccine to other forums that are designed for that. This started out as a discussion of suffering for the faith. COVID may be a different kind of suffering, but it calls for empathy on our part if we name Christ as Savior and Lord.

  193. Duane Arnold says:


    Well said…

  194. Derek says:

    Oh well, at least people in real life are listening to me now.
    Observation of reality has made them open.

  195. Xenia says:

    Special Agent DiNozzo, upon encountering an elderly person: “Who wants to live to be 90?”

    Gibbs: “Someone who is 89.”

  196. Xenia says:

    I think the attitude displayed by some is a greater sickness than the virus itself.

  197. Duane Arnold says:



  198. Derek says:

    Xenia, are you talking about the attitude you have expressed on here about the unvaxxed in your own church before?

  199. Xenia says:

    Derek, I am disappointed with the unvaxxed ppl in my parish, not so much because they have declined the shot but because of the nonsense they have been preaching to anyone who will listen. I am not talking about our pastor, who has gotten the shot and hasn’t preached nonsense. Yes, I think those at my parish who are spreading conspiratorial disinformation have some kind of spiritual illness.

  200. Amazingly, we’ve only lost 1 person in our church to COVID (a church of around 200). We’ve had a lot of cases, some serious, but the vast majority have bucked it. But that 1 person was a dear soul who was the epitome of service in our church. His departure left a gaping hole. His widow is finally getting her feet under her. I sat with him in his last hour on earth.

    As a pastor, I just don’t feel I have the luxury to get into a bunch of debates over vaxxed or unvaxxed. My church is full of differing opinions over all this stuff. Ultimately people will have to make their choices on the info they process. As Josh writes, there’s a lot of nonsense out there and it’s tough to think people believe everything they read. Here in North Idaho people are quite independent. But I’m going to focus on my primary calling to teach, lead, care and serve.

  201. Derek says:

    Not gonna lie. I was thinking real hard about Orthodoxy.
    It seemed the only Christian denomination that was hardened against modernity and the pozz of woke culture.
    Really seeing how scared you have been of this whole covid thing has made me hesitant on that. Still an option cause I know more than you online, they are a bit more hardcore, younger too. That might make the difference.

  202. josh hamrick says:

    I just need Jesus so bad. The last two years has been rough. I’m struggling.

  203. josh hamrick says:

    Stop with the fear crap Derek. You are terrified of the vaccine.

  204. Duane Arnold says:


    You’re a “regular” in my prayers…

  205. Xenia says:

    Derek, it doesn’t seem to me that I am afraid? At least, not for myself? I do fear for my husband, who is a bit older than I am and for my friends who are all old folks, like me. I feared for my daughter who recently passed away from cancer and had no immune system. As for myself, I am not really afraid of Covid or of dying from it. You may discover this for yourself when you get older, but we do get reconciled with the idea that we don’t have all that many years left and for the most part, I think most of us older folks are not especially fearful, especially those of us who are Christians and have the hope of the afterlife. I was quite fearful for my daughter, but of course that’s over with now. So no Derek, I think I can quite honestly say I am not fearful for myself but on the other hand, I don’t have death wish and I am concerned about my friends, who as I said, are all old people like me.

  206. Derek says:

    Nice try Josh, but why would I be afraid of something I will never take?

    See, I have compassion, it is just directed in a different direction. I don’t needlessly worry about things I can’t affect, like the death of the elderly. You will never be able to stop that and my guess is that it was happening all along till a convenient blame for it came along.
    I care about not needlessly injuring people with something that does not need to happen. To see these things, sometimes you have to disconnect yourself from all the emotions that surround this issue.

  207. Xenia says:

    See Derek, this is how you seem to be misunderstanding what you are reading. You read me as being afraid, when I can honestly tell you I am not afraid. What you should be reading in my posts is a concern for old fat folks, who love their lives just as much as you love yours.

  208. Per Linn’s 1:31, might I add humility to go along with compassion? Seems like we’d get a lot more conversational mileage and a smidge more understanding.

  209. Derek says:

    Xenia, I have been reconciled with death for many years. I haven’t feared it in a while.
    Still, most of your posts about it make it seem like you have been hiding out for the entire time. I know people like that. It is unhealthy.
    BTW, a good book to read on not fearing death from a non-Christian perspective is this. Tuscalan Disputations by Cicero. Gonna get off now. Time to workout.

  210. Linn says:

    One of the things that drove me a bit batty at the beginning of the pandemic was all the talk about how only the old were getting sick and it really didn’t matter because they would die anyway. It’s true-we will all die-but the measure of a greatness of a society, in my opinion, is how they treat the young and the old. When I heard pro-life Christians spouting this kind of nonsense about older people, I really wondered if they knew what “pro-life” means.

    Leviticus 19:32 “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the LORD.
    Timothy 5:1-3 Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters. Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her.
    Job 12:12 Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.

    Obviously, there are many more verses about respect for the aged. But, saying “well, you’re going to die anyway” is not the way to approach the elderly and dying. I watched my mom die of lung cancer 10 years ago. It was awful, and I would never wish that anyone; worse yet, COVID. ((‘m not young-next birthday I’ll be an “official” Medicare person).

  211. Duane Arnold says:

    “To see these things, sometimes you have to disconnect yourself from all the emotions that surround this issue.”

    Like over 800,000 people dying…

  212. Xenia says:

    Derek, as I said, I do not fear death.

    I am an enthusiastic writer and maybe that comes off as fear to you. I will try to write in a less dramatic fashion in the future.

    You come off as callous. I do not think you really are a callous person, so maybe that’s your writing style.

  213. Xenia says:

    I know what it is like to be fearful….

    The last 2 years I have been living from one MRI scan to the next, sick with worry about my daughter’s health. I had heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, digestive upsets and sleepless nights. I know what fear is.

    I haven’t has any of those fearful symptoms over myself getting Covid.

    So, you can believe me or not, but I do not think I have to explain myself further.

  214. josh hamrick says:

    “I don’t needlessly worry about things I can’t affect, like the death of the elderly”

    Thank God you are not charged with their well-being.

    Stop being a coward and go get the vaccine. Never scene a bog man so scared of a little shot.

  215. Xenia,

    You never had to explain yourself at all! 🙂

  216. Xenia says:

    Like over 800,000 people dying…<<<

    As Stalin said, one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.

  217. josh hamrick says:

    “I care about not needlessly injuring people with something that does not need to happen.”


  218. Xenia says:

    Thank you Pastor Pineapple!

  219. Linn says:

    Pineapple Head,

    I like COMPASSION!!!

  220. PM says:

    My flawed analogy for vaccine short term benefit vs long term health is-

    When my house is on fire I’ll stand over here and wait for the insurance adjuster rather than pick up a hose and douse the fire.

    I’m understanding of people who are vaccine hesitant(my wife for one) but I’m much less sympathetic to vaccine deniers that are spouting wild conspiracy theories. They are in my circle(my circle is white and right) and they are as ubiquitous in right wing media as poppies in California.

    I’ll continue to interact with all views, but those people with the latest conspiracy theory are going to receive a righteous eye roll.

    Lastly, to Xenia – as a lurker, I’ve enjoyed your practical illustrations of the Orthodox faith. I have an new acquaintance who is Greek Orthodox and I have come to respect him and his family a great deal. Although I attend CC, I’m no longer a “those people have statues and candles, and robes…they clearly have been led astray”. I no longer think this way, which is a testament to both you and a new friend. My CC friends may feel otherwise, but maybe they will come around.

  221. Linn,

    Well, I like HUMILITY!!!!! (insert angry face emoji that I don’t know how to make.)

  222. Xenia says:

    PM, aw thanks. (blush)

  223. Michael says:

    “It seemed the only Christian denomination that was hardened against modernity and the pozz of woke culture.”

    As if pre-moderns welcomed the plague…

  224. josh hamrick says:

    Modernity?!?! Like 17th and 18th century philosophy?!

    The things people are afraid of baffles me sometimes. I guess it doesn’t even have to make sense in order to scare someone to death.

  225. josh hamrick says:

    Good things to be afraid of: CRT, Wokeness, Modernity, Vaccines

    Bad things to be afraid of: Covid.

    Got it.

  226. Dread says:

    I’ve kind of lost the plot here but it appears you are speaking of fears. Everyone fears something. We tend to deny it and then all of our comments will reveal what we fear.

    For example, I do not hide that my concern (fear) is growing governmental control over life that ends in war, genocide or just misery.

    Covid has certainly been a fear, terrorism is a fear — those two have been the foundation for large government grabs of control in the last 20 years.

    The claim that started this convo — “the sky is falling” reminded me of The NY Times headline; Every Day is Jan 6 — which of course is the use of fear to grab more power.

    Anyway no one is fearless until pain has reduced us to wishing for death as release.

    Of course our faith mitigates fear but less than we boast usually.

    That which we fear is revealed in casual conversation.

  227. Kevin H says:


    This is very much the Jesus and John Wayne mentality that a good many in evangelical/conservative Christianity have undertaken. I have not read the book but the gist seems to be a great emphasis that is placed on things like toughness, “manliness”, and being a warrior and a condescension towards things like fear, empathy, and feminineness (is that a word?).

    Thus to be a good and “strong” Christian, one must not show fear or get caught up in emotion and must battle against those those who are deemed to emphasize the weaker and deficient traits. COVID is not to be feared because it is deemed to be something that many are fearful of, especially by the liberals who are deemed to exude many of the weak traits. However, CRT, Wokeness, Vaccines, etc, are not categorized as things to be fearful of, but rather those things that must be fearlessly defeated in battle because they are promoted by the fearful and the emotional. (The irony being, of course, there is little difference between the manners in which those who express concern about COVID and want to take steps to try to mitigate it and yet are deemed the “fearful”, versus those who are concerned about Wokeness, Vaccines, etc., and want to take steps to mitigate them yet are deemed the “fearless” or “brave”.)

    It looks far more like the characters played by John Wayne than it does of Jesus. But many have been persuaded that the two are actually very much alike.

  228. Duane Arnold says:


    “It looks far more like the characters played by John Wayne than it does of Jesus. But many have been persuaded that the two are actually very much alike.”

    …And much of the time it is nothing but posturing.

  229. Dread says:

    For example

    … here it’s conservatives/evangelicals that are most dreaded hahaha …

  230. Kevin H says:

    Additionally, one must not show themselves prone to emotionalism and thus they detach themselves from showing much care towards things like the death of old or sickly people, because well, it was going to happen one way or the other anyway and we should be able to just get over it and move on.

  231. Kevin H says:


    No I think your monikor makes you the most “dreaded” one here. 🙂

  232. Dread says:


  233. Duane Arnold says:


    Except when it is someone that they know and love that is suffering or dying. I’ve seen it in pastoral ministry for decades…

  234. Kevin H says:


    Yes, I would think very often much posturing, covering up one’s own fears and inadequacies. I make such a claim as very, very amateur psychologist. 🙂

  235. Duane Arnold says:


    In teaching, I’ve always found the most posturing comes from those who have not mastered the subject at hand…

  236. josh hamrick says:

    Yeah, Dread at 7:19, that is exactly my point.

    We got a dude on here clearly scared of a whole bunch of stuff: CRT, Wokeness, Vaccines, doctors, news media…Like you said , it come out obviously in casual conversation.
    But then he’s gonna rage against an entire denomination because he thinks one woman here is acting out of fear of Covid.


  237. josh hamrick says:

    Keep in mind that woman has just walked faithfully through a situation that terrifies me to even imagine. She should be held up in our prayers as a hero, not castigated for caring too much about her older friends and neighbors.

  238. Kevin H says:

    Josh, very thoughtful and true.

  239. Em says:

    John Wayne and Jesus? Thanks for the chuckle , folks. 😘

  240. Duane Arnold says:

    Interesting review in the Gospel Coalition Australia site…

    “Despite Evangelicals’ frequent claims that the Bible is the source of their social and political commitments, Evangelicalism must be seen as a cultural and political movement rather than a community defined chiefly by theology. Evangelical views on any given issue are facets of this larger cultural identity, and no number of Bible verses will dislodge the greater truths at the heart of it.” (Page 298).

  241. josh hamrick says:

    I haven’t read the book. From the blurbs, it looks like she is on to what has been bugging me. I might pick it up.

  242. Xenia says:

    Thank you, Josh. I should tell Derek that he’d find every stripe of political POV in the various Orthodox jurisdictions. Orthodoxy may not be what he thinks it is.

  243. Duane Arnold says:


    She apparently teaches at Calvin. Notre Dame PhD…

  244. Em says:

    A couple decades apart young Marion Morrison and I lived in the same neighborhood and went to the same high school….
    Anyone comparing the movie star to our Savior lives in lala land and clearly has no knowledge of the New Testament! ! !
    Also, there is nothing that indicates that the characters John Wayne played and the actor himself had any similarities. He hated horses, BTW
    FWIW – One of my ponders is our Lord/King returns on a white horse….
    So glad our Michael wasn’t a movie star
    WHAT IS GOING ON ? ? ? ? ?
    God, please keep us grounded in Your Truth

  245. josh hamrick says:

    I don’t think that is the idea of the book.

  246. Em says:

    Josh, I wasn’t addressing the book …… FWIW
    Just the comparison

  247. Michael says:

    “here it’s conservatives/evangelicals that are most dreaded hahaha …”

    I have no issue with traditional conservatives or evangelicals.

    Truthfully, there are areas where I’m as conservative as anybody and traditional conservative principles are a necessary part of our political intercourse.

    The issue is always with those who conflate faith and politics…in such a way as to make political fidelity fidelity to Christ.

  248. Muff Potter says:

    Michael @ 11:28 am,
    Conservative vs Liberal for me has no real meaning because I harbor opinions and beliefs from both sides of the aisle.
    I have a feeling that I’m not alone, and that it’s not necessary to go whole hog one way or the other.

  249. Duane Arnold says:

    The old categories were once a useful “shorthand”… but they no longer apply.

  250. DH says:

    Xenia has a great writing style, just bad soteriology.
    Hopefully, we will hear more from Derek.

  251. Shawn says:

    This was a great read. Thank you for introducing us to this man of God. All the early responses inspired me to watch The Mission starring Jeremy Irons and Robert Deniro. The opening scene is stunning to say the least. After watching it I read reviews on rotten tomatoes. It is funny because most of critics considered it uninspiring though visually breathtaking for the natural scenery. I do not understand the scene of Mendoza carrying his armor up the falls even after another priest cuts it away only the have one of the Gerani tribesmen cut it away is uninspiring. Good thing I decided to read reviews from viewers- many of them got it.

    Interestingly it was this movie that caused me to rethink my theology towards Catholics especially the Jesuits. It does not was away some of the heinous things done in the name of the church but it does show that things are more complicated than broad brush strokes can paint.

    I stumble read some of either Cortez’s or Soto’s accounts in Spanish while in Seminary and came to realize fairly quickly that even the pictures painted of these men were lopsided. I was never taught that there were other Mexican Indian groups other than the Aztecs many of whom were often brutally slaughtered by the Aztecs long before the advent of the colonialism. I am sure some of them would have thought of Cortez or Soto as a gift from the gods. I am not sure why I started towards this rabbit hole but I am sure it was going to be profound. Lol.

  252. Duane Arnold says:

    The story of the Jesuit Reductions in South America is fascinating. Their suppression was a tragedy…

  253. Linn says:

    The Mission is also a favorite movie of mine, watched many times. I spent almost a decade in Colombia as a missionary, and most of the urban scenes are filmed in and around Cartagena.

    If it hadn’t been for the Jesuits, there might not have been any Guaraní left in Paraguay at all. They really did tried to protect them, converted their language to written form, and taught them trades that were useful later on. The Mayans were also brutal to other tribes, similar to the Aztecs. Then, there is the side discussion about human sacrifices, the numbers of them, etc.

    There is no perfect human civilization. Some are better than others, humanly speaking, but none are perfect. We are too quick to forget that.

  254. Duane Arnold says:

    If you can find it, a good book on the subject is ‘The Lost Paradise: The Jesuit Republic in South America’ by Philip Caraman, SJ. Some consider the Jesuit Reductions to be the precursor of liberation theology and base communities…

  255. Shawn says:

    Thank you for your service in the Colombia and for sharing the additional information about the Guarani. The architecture of that area must be phenomenal though now I am saying it it must have been built on slave labor. That in itself may speak of the tarnished condition of competing imperfect civilizations. In the movie I do not recall them mentioning what indigenous group were that helped in the attack on the Mission. Any idea who they were?

    I also think that I remember seeing in another post a few months ago that you are a fellow Permie. It is not often that I run across believers who travel that road. I wish I would have found out about it before I planted over 100 fruit trees and bushes on our property. Now I am trying to figure how to incorporate Permaculture principles, especially for watering, without digging everything up and replanting on swales. Now if I was 10-15 years younger but I’m not.

  256. Linn says:

    You can take me off the Permie list. I unfortunately kill almost everything I plant, which is why I have a gardener to keep things clean and healthy.

    If I remember correctly, the Guaraní are mentioned in the hearing before the Papal emissary in the movie. I believe they are mentioned a few other places, too.

  257. Xenia says:

    Shawn, I am a Permie Wanna Be.

  258. Shawn says:

    Linn- my philosophy is if at first you don’t succeed then try, try, again even if it means a lifetime of failure. Lol.

  259. LInn says:

    I am at a n age where some things are best left to those who do them well. My “flowers” are the kids I have taught for the last 40 years. That’s what I know how to do! I currently wrangle 250 4th/5th graders in my Spanish classes.

  260. Shawn says:

    Xenia- me too! I love the principles for the most part find they are easy to synthesize with a Biblical worldview. Definitely a lot easier than Chemically driven Agriculture. We have 13 acres in SWMO that we planned making a food forest with. Our goals are less ambitious now unless we find the fountain of youth and vigor. Our plan is to keep most of the natually wooded areas exactly that natural while scaling our ill conceived orchards into four distinctive but sizable food forests (probably 4 acres total). I’d like to hear about your “wanna be” permie adventures sometimes. I wish God’s blessing upon whatever efforts you make towards a regenerative view of all Permaculture entails.

  261. Shawn says:

    Linn- Flowers can have just as much therapeutic value arising from their sheer beauty as any fruit bearing species. So that is a success in my book! And you are shepherding a decent sized human herd to boot! It is interesting that an essential component of permaculture, up to 1/3, is people care. So in your way and with your skill set you are participating in building a regenerative future which is the end goal of the permaculture principles. May the the Lord bless your efforts. Keep on!

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