Flash Speaks, I Respond…

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61 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    Michael, I commend your heart. It’s much bigger than mine. However, to me this is not a heart issue but rather a national budget issue. If I may illustrate on a local church level. Many churches have mercy ministries and a budget allocated to them. As a member of a local congregation, I do have some influence on that budget as well as the other members. It would be presumptuous for an outsider to tell our church how to use our mercy fund as it would be equally inappropriate for me to tell another church how to use theirs.

  2. Xenia says:

    That’s the type of argument you hear about all kinds of things. If you care about stray dogs, someone will say you need to focus on global warming. If you care about substandard farm-worker housing, you are told you should focus on border issues.

    “What about-ism.” It’s often used to deflect the conversation away from things you CAN do to abstract issues that you can’t do anything about.

    As you say, Michael, we are complex beings and can care about more than one thing at a time.

    If God is calling you to help the local poor, who is stopping you? Is God limited? If you help a foreign refugee, will God withdraw His hand from the local poor? What are you afraid of?

    IMO, God honors generosity, wherever He sees it in the hearts of His people. His resources are endless.

  3. Michael says:


    Budget considerations are real…along with all the other complexities that come with these issues.
    They have to be part of a holistic response.

  4. Michael says:


    Well said!

  5. Xenia says:

    Suppose you attend a church that has a very limited charity budget.

    Two possibilities:

    1. The church preaches the kind of nationalistic stuff we get so often today from certain quarters.


    2. The church preaches generosity and compassion.

    Even if a church lacks the funds to do anything significant, what they teach the people can be very significant. And I believe God honors this in a supernatural way that goes beyond pragmatics.

  6. Michael says:

    “Even if a church lacks the funds to do anything significant, what they teach the people can be very significant. ”

    Amen and amen…

  7. Josh the Baptist says:

    Simple shaming tactic.

  8. Steve says:

    I don’t know who Phil was responding to when he made his blog post but he seems to be advocating an attitude of lets take care of our own people first. I can’t disagree with that.

  9. John 20:29 says:

    Being an impressionable type, i benefited from Aesop’s at a young age… The old man, his grandson and their donkey taught me that governing one’s choices by onlookers’ criticisms leads to absurd behavior….

    That said, what we as followers of Christ, adopted sons (and daughters), must do as we interact with our fellow man cannot be what governs a secular world…
    I don’t recall if there is an applicable fable. ?

    I’ve come to conclude that the O.T. has much practical application to present day civil behavior… and i just cannot see the logic in expecting a good outcome from applying the sacrifices of grace, laws of the Church, to the devil’s kingdom… I am not addressing our one on one acts of charity – giving our coats and going the second mile and such… again i am wondering why we expect civil governments to perform as Christians?
    To loosely quote the late Adrian Rogers on our involvement in social justice: The Christians’ calling is not to make the world’s populations more comfortable here on their way to hell.
    For my part that doesn’t mean we can’t speak out, but it does mean we prioritize how we use our time and energy – prayerfully prioritize… We will not reform the world, nor can these United States sustain an island of safety for all the world’s suffering now – even God can’t do that…

    Or so it seems to me… Dunno tho, do l ?

  10. Michael says:


    My perspective is that we are here as emissaries of the King.
    Part of our work is to announce that the Kingdom has come and to live and speak to the values of the kingdom regardless of worldly political interests.

    I can’t reform the world,but I can impact the little piece of it I dwell in…

  11. Duane Arnold says:


    It seems to me that if we are always looking at available resources, we then must look at generosity in terms of cutting up a pie of a predetermined size, which leads us dividing up the pie into what a friend of mine called, “Presbyterian portions… not to much, not too little”.

    That is not my definition of “generosity of spirit”. For me generosity of spirit has to do with imitating Christ in his extravagance of giving and caring. It does not set one group in need over against another group in need. That might be good economics, but it’s a poor view of Christian charity…

    We have the resources. It’s a matter of choice and largeness of heart.

  12. Michael says:


    Well said.
    I also believe that God has a way of increasing resources used for His work…

  13. John 20:29 says:

    “I can’t reform the world, but I can impact the little piece of it I dwell in”… exactly

    ” We have the resources. It’s a matter of choice and largeness of heart. ” Speaking for the Church that declaration should be true…. However, speaking for this nation (snd others), from what i see, it is a matter of overcoming self interests and deep seated corruptions beyond our control….
    Yes, I, too, believe that God does provide for His work to be accomplished and His children to receive provision – but the first must be the honor of His name – His plan


  14. dusty says:

    Michael we all know your heart is BIG. That you care for all thoes in need….you have been doing that for as long as i have known you…and i am sure your whole life.

  15. John 20:29 says:

    Dusty, i suspect you are one of the resources that God has provided to Michael to do His work… and there are a couple others here, too… This site has teachers and encouragers provided to Michael for the benefit of all of us who visit here whether we post comments or not …. IMHO …. again …?

    May the blessings redound bacatcha all!

  16. UnCCed says:

    I’m not surprised, I always doubted Phil’s salvation!
    Just kidding Phil! Love you bro!
    Longtime Calvin’s Corner listener (its own of three Podcasts on my iPod).

  17. Jim says:

    I ask people if they would be ok with me taking their credit cards, and giving 30% of their cash advance limit to the poor. So far, no takers. They all agree that my good works would not negate my theft.

    My faith tells me that the church has allowed herself to be robbed of her duty/privilege, because daddy govt takes care of business. The argument now centers around what govt does or doesn’t do, and this masquerades as a moral argument.

  18. Truth Lover says:

    I consider illegal immigration and refugees a wisdom issue for our nation. I can still be compassionate to them and yet hold a strong opinion of enforcing our borders.

  19. John 20:29 says:

    I overdid it in the yard due to a case if winter cabin fever compounded by an attack of spring fever and so i sit here recovering and pondering this thread and many wise, thoughtful comments…. As i see it, the present immigration situation does create fiscal and logistical problems for us at a time when our nation is undergoing a profound realignment of priorities and values … some good, some not so good and so Truth Lover is correct that the nation needs wisdom. Since the consensus is that we are not a Christian nation, it follows that we will depend on human wisdom. God have mercy indeed….
    FWIW – i read Phil N’s observation to refer to the nation, not the Church? dunno

  20. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Does anyone know that Michael is OK today? Another round at the doctors / hospital?
    Flash send out the mob? 🙂

  21. Michael says:

    I’m ok…just a lot going on…

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    then I am happy 🙂

  23. John 20:29 says:

    i suspect you are on all our minds now, Michael… we know you are not “ok” physically and we thank God for each day He allows you here … as my daughter remarked this morning, “We kid ourselves when we think life is safe and easy… or even if we think it should be.”
    If it was a Flash mob attack wasn’t that a bunch of people showing up unexpected and breaking out in song? LOL
    Maybe the PhxP crowd can mentally flash mob Michael… what would be the appropriate song?

  24. dusty says:

    this is my fight song

  25. John 20:29 says:

    Dusty, fight on “small bird on the ocean”. ? ? ?

  26. John 20:29 says:

    Okay, the lyric is “small boat” … not small bird … blush

  27. JoelG says:

    #20 shows that underneath all those Lutheran polemics is a big ol’ compassionate teddy bear. 😉

  28. Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but what I see in Phil’s quote above is not a call for one over the other, but advocating for one at the exclusion over another. Caring about aliens but not those citizens who are struggling.

    More enlightening (to me) was Phil’s posts about his recent move away from Christianity.

  29. John 20:29 says:

    #28- i just came from reading Phil N’s declaration… He still believes in good and he still believes in nice, so i surmise that he’s joined the ranks of the presumptuous folk who see Jesus as a nice, good man who got killed (by legalists, i presume?)
    They have no idea of how naked and exposed their stand places them, nor how arrogant. If the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, where does that place the thinking of those who do not?
    Faith is the substance of things hoped for … evidence of things not seen … So?
    So our sight does deceive us if we lose sight of eternity and that’s a long time to bet against…

    Just thinking “out loud”. ?

  30. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Actually, Phil called Jesus the nutty Nazarene on his blog. I respect his choice to be apostate.

  31. Ms. ODM says:

    What do you mean by saying Phil’s your “old podcast partner”? When did your podcast end? It wasn’t all that long ago. Did you have a falling out? Why would you take his comment personally — he didn’t bring you up? I think you protest too loudly for the supposed offense.

  32. Michael says:

    Ms. ODM,

    Phil informed me a few weeks ago that he had left the faith and no longer believed in the historic claims of Christ.

    We remain friends, though the podcast had to end.

  33. Glad you are still friends.

  34. Ms. ODM says:

    Oh Michael– I’m grieved to hear this — Wow. These certainly are the times of the great falling away.

  35. The New Victor says:

    I only listened to one of the podcasts (nothing personal, I prefer to read things), and I didn’t read thy blog until today. They went out from us but they were not of us… still, sad. A great hurt there.

    I used to mentor a Mexican teen named Jesus. I once said, “just like Jesus!” He said, “I don’t believe in that dude.” His mom died when he was 10, and his older sister abused him. I found out the latter over a year after the program was done. The program manager told me that she almost called CPS, which would have been good. Getting into the system meant kids getting green cards more easily.

  36. Steve says:

    I concur with #28 Pineapple Head said “More enlightening (to me) was Phil’s posts about his recent move away from Christianity.”

    Regarding immigration reform, I think its possible to have a wide ranging opinions on what our national policy should be yet we can still remain brethren in the church. However, Phil’s move away from the historic beliefs in Jesus is truly tragic.

  37. JoelG says:

    “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

    People are complex. Only God knows Mr. Naessen’s heart. People say things they don’t really mean.

    I think it’s times of doubt and dismay when God speaks to us most clearly, if we’d only pay attention.

  38. Josh the Baptist says:

    No, he doesn’t want to be a Christian. He’s not a Christian. That is his desire, and I won’t insult him by saying that he still is, despite his own choice.

  39. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    In fact Phil has told me he is convinced by the evidence that there is no God and that Jesus is a foolish concept.
    I am with Josh – I will not include him as a Christian against his words and will.

    Lutherans very much believe that you cannot lose your salvation but that a believer can fail to nourish the given faith and eventually walk away from, reject, dismiss that faith to the point of ridicule. Phil has done this and we are to treat him as an unbeliever.

  40. Josh the Baptist says:

    He’s also not nice, haha. Just found that out. Thanks for introducing me to tall these poeple, Michael. 🙂

  41. Josh the Baptist says:

    ” he is convinced by the evidence”

    Super eye roll on that one.

  42. Michael says:

    I don’t treat believers differently than unbelievers.

    I’ll continue to treat him as my friend.

  43. Josh the Baptist says:

    Me either. But I appreciate nice people over mean people.

  44. Michael says:


    What happened?

  45. Josh the Baptist says:

    Nothing much. I’m mostly joking. I was genuinely asking him questions about him blog post. I just wanted to understand his though process. He apparently didn’t appreciate it, but it’s all good. My mode of conversation is to keep asking questions until I understand the other view. It doesn’t sit well with most people. I think they suspect I have ulterior motives. I try to vary my approach to conversation, but it naturally comes back to me asking questions and someone getting irritated.

    It’s a flaw in my communication. I’m sure Phil’s an OK guy. We just got on one another’s nerves.

  46. Josh the Baptist says:

    My goodness, the typos are crazy today. Sorry to all.

  47. EricL says:

    Poor Calvin. No one’s left in his corner. One moved to the Anglican corner and the other left the house completely. Glad for Michael’s change and saddened by Phil’s admission. Well, at least Calvin still has Hobbes…

  48. John 20:29 says:

    Those who declare that the evidence has convinced them that God isn’t even a possibility are living spiritually (for want of a better term) at the same depth of understanding as the pre Civil War scientist had of germs … there is a reason that the Christian is told grow in his understanding of the Faith


  49. Seraphim says:

    Phil is leaving the faith? You guys should do a show about it. This comes as a shock to me!!! What happened?

    I’m going to miss the podcast!

  50. Miss ODM says:

    Serapphim – I just did

  51. John Schmidt says:

    Try going back into the world and time of the Book of Acts, and tell Paul and the other apostles “We have to take care of people in Judea and Galilee first before we can go to Greece or Turkey or Asia Minor.”

  52. John 20:29 says:

    #52- one item flaws your comparison i fear – the apostles were spreading the new good news – the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were not tasked with political reform or social justice – their brand of taking care of people was soul-centered

  53. Seraphim says:

    @odm you did what?

    It would really be nice if Phil and Mike do a show about him leaving the faith. Seems so sudden and unexpected!!!

  54. Captain Kevin says:

    Phil is a neat guy. I’m sad about his choice to not follow Jesus.

  55. Captain Kevin says:

    Seraphim, that would be interesting to hear, but with Michael instead of Mike. ?

  56. Hey Everyone,

    Thanks for taking the time to listen to Calvin’s Corner. I really enjoyed doing the show with Michael.

    You all take care of yourselves and each other…..


    Phil Naessens

  57. Phil, how about them Jazz?!

  58. Pineapple!!!!

    My Dude! How are you? I LOVED it….and called it 🙂


  59. Wow, you certainly did. But I’m hoping the Pacers implode your prediction versus the Cavs. Onto Houston with my (obviously biased) candidate for ROY leading the way.

  60. How interesting…the Sonics have an SB Nation page. My first Jazz game (at the former Energy Solutions Arena) was against the Sonics. Mehmet Okur won it with 4 seconds on the clock.

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