Kevin’s Conversations: Restless Faith

You may also like...

141 Responses

  1. Duane Arnold says:


    An absolutely wonderful piece… made my day!

  2. Michael says:


    I need to write a piece about your piece…well done, my friend!

  3. JoelG says:

    Awesome Kevin. Thank you

    “Others may not have had any specifically terrible traumatic experiences, yet a restlessness gnaws at their soul.”


    Sometimes is easier for me to forget the whole thing and hope Jesus pulls us through somehow. Theosis by grace, I’ve heard it put.

    Back to my fantasy baseball team ūüôā

  4. Josh the Baptist says:

    Anything about U2 is good.

    So you cheated a little bit on this one ūüôā

  5. David H says:


  6. ( |o )====::: says:

    Kevin, excellent!

  7. ( |o )====::: says:

    I freed my self from the artistic religious ghetto, repetitious “worship” songs at 85dB when I abandoned the illusion of evangelical “certainty” and celebrated our/my humanity.

    To sketch a portrait with a few erased lines, paint a landscape in fauvist colors, or compose a song with unresolved heartbreak and longing are the truest expression of our shared lives.

    None of us, even Jesus, has found what we’re looking for because perfection never arrives delivered unbroken: the packaging and environment are destructive, the artist’s hand has a tremor and the note to be sung is always out of range.

    This is our joy, our reality, to stop denying and, rather, embrace that God is inescapably here and human life doesn’t need to be anointed in Purell.

  8. em... again says:

    Kevin’s honesty so often hits the target of our conundrums dead center… this is a conversation for me to just stand back and read today… the only thing is that God really is perfect in every respect and that includes His dealings with us… us, on the other hand? sometimes we can’t even tell the difference between truth and lie… thank God for God

  9. Duane Arnold says:


    So… here’s the paradox – Augustine wrote, “‚ÄúYou have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.‚ÄĚ He then spent the next 35 years restlessly sorting out his real theology…

  10. JoelG says:

    G-man I wish I could bottle that positivity and drink some in. My persona resembles that of Eeyore more than it does Tigger. I know my fickle heart. I see a senseless world and know Jesus is on the throne.

    “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, ” completely meaningless.”

  11. Kevin H says:

    Thanks, all.

    Duane, as to your #9, there is certainly paradox. Probably more paradox in our lives or in relation to our beliefs than we sometimes like to admit or even recognize. I think it also goes hand-in-hand with a line I quoted in my writing a few weeks back by the father of the boy with the unclean spirit, “I believe, help my unbelief.”

  12. Kevin H says:


    As your #4, yes I cheated a little. It’s hard to go wrong with U2. ūüėČ

  13. Kevin H says:


    If you get the chance, I just noticed a small typo in my article. Last sentence in the second to last paragraph – the be should be we.

  14. Tim - Doulos says:

    @12 – Sure you can…just force the download of a really terrible album onto everyone’s iPhone. ūüôā

  15. Kevin H says:


    I didn’t say impossible to go wrong, just hard to. ūüėČ

  16. Tim - Doulos says:


  17. Josh the Baptist says:

    That album wasn’t half bad, of course my expectations are lower for U2 than they were 30 years ago.

  18. ( |o )====::: says:

    “‚ÄúEverything is meaningless,‚ÄĚ says the Teacher, ‚ÄĚ completely meaningless.‚ÄĚ

    Not to mince words, but that is so entirely self limiting. In isolation, it’s a nihilistic quote from a dark piece of ancient poetry, and you haven’t read on to the encouraging conclusion. You simply cannot stop there. Read it all the way through to The Teacher’s concluding thoughts, you’ll get his resolution to his funk.

    When I had that world view I realized I needed to turn on the fan, flush the loo and spray the air freshener, quickly finish my business and get outside (of my head) for a more refreshing perspective.

    We humans can and do choose what to think about, so, starting now, and going on, an hour at a time, join me and choose to think different.

    Here are some strategies…
    Immerse yourself in art, in fact, start DOING art, study examples of creative problem solvers, because artists are problem solvers solvers.
    Explore different musical genres.
    Get more balanced.
    Do creative things OUTSIDE OF CHURCH & MINISTRY.
    Be a more balanced human.
    Fix something.
    Experience architecture.
    Experience interior design.

    I decided I must purposely get outside of my personal religious fear based ghetto and do things outrageous and scandalous that force me to “think different”.

    Conquer fear, daily.

    As one of God’s people I am to bring justice to the world.
    As one of God’s people I am to bring beauty to the world.
    As one of God’s people I am to bring healing to the world.
    As one of God’s people I am to bring generosity to the world.

    I am God’s agent of change, no matter who does or doesn’t join me.
    I refuse to never let God get things done because I refuse to do it.

    See where you can go with this?

    JoelG, you’re a noble and courageous man.
    Dare to enjoy this glorious gift of life, my brother.


  19. Descended says:


    Rattle and Hum



    Ever. Especially since it was all live. Can’t stand their religio-politics and SJW Gospel, though. Good knows where they stand with him. I won’t venture to guess.

    “I called Bull”

    Maybe you called Bull because of your own personal Western perspective. There are many around the world who can relate to that pastor’s statement because there simply is nothing else to rely on. The bible is good for everything in our lives or it isn’t. It is perfect or it isn’t. It is the complete and finished word of God, or it isn’t.

  20. Michael says:

    It isn’t.

  21. Papias says:

    Duane at #9.

    Augustine wrote, ‚Äú‚ÄúYou have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.‚ÄĚ He then spent the next 35 years restlessly sorting out his real theology”

    And at the end of his life he wrote “Retractions” (or Revisions) – reviewing what he had written previously and seeing if he would have said it differently …

  22. Kevin H says:


    Yes, the Bible is good for everything in our lives and it is perfectly true and it is the complete and finished Word of God.

    With that said, it is not a magic answer book for every single question we have in this life. Yes, there are direct answers to some questions we may have. Other questions are not addressed, at least not in any direct fashion. At best with some questions we may find guidance, principles, encouragement, comfort, etc. – but not the direct answers. As I said in my article, the parents who lose their child to a horrible battle with cancer aren’t going to find the definitive answer as to why God allowed their precious little one to suffer so greatly and then be taken from them. On the opposite end of the spectrum of the importance of questions, I’m not going to find the answer in the Bible as to whether I should have Cheerios or Corn Flakes for breakfast tomorrow morning.

    And although it is clich√©, I am partial to The Joshua Tree as the best. ūüôā

  23. Kevin H says:

    One caveat to my last post – I believe the Bible is the complete and finished Word of God in the sense that I believe the book to be complete and do not think anything should ever be added or taken away from the book.

    That is not to say that God doesn’t communicate to us through other manners at times, just not in a way that we can codify them as Scripture.

  24. Michael says:

    This binary, all or nothing approach, to Scripture is not helpful to actually understanding the Scriptures,but only in manufacturing a faux certainty wherein some folks can claim a higher moral ground closer to God.

    I would highly suggest reading Wright’s “Surprised by Scripture” as an introduction to thinking out of the box as to what God is actually doing with Scripture…

  25. ( |o )====::: says:

    Our box is too often scripture.
    We follow a God who surpasses & transcends scripture, and we dare to think otherwise.

  26. Duane Arnold says:

    #21 Papias

    Yes, I know ‘Retractions” well. The other thought with regard to Augustine is that most scholars think he stopped writing “De Doctrina”, and only started up again when he became more sure of his ground… It’s always struck me that there is theological development in everyone’s life.

  27. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Does anyone read Hebrews and still question what God is doing with Scripture?

    Does anyone read Luke 22 = 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‚ÄėAnd he was numbered with the transgressors.‚Äô For what is written about me has its fulfillment.‚ÄĚ

    or later in 24 = 25 And he said to them, ‚ÄúO foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?‚ÄĚ 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

    I for one like to stay within the box – the Mormons, JWs, the Word Faith guys and gals – they are the ones who have chosen to think outside of the box.

  28. JoelG says:

    G-Man thank you. What a great outlook and philosophy. It may take another 1000 years of Theosis to renew my mind like yours.

    I actually appreciate those kinds of scriptures that reveal the flawed human perspective of faith. There’s a reality there that makes Scripture reliable even though there’s not an answer to every question.

  29. Col46 says:

    Kevin – fellow U2 fan, saw Joshua Tree live in concert way back, seats on the arena floor.

    @ 22 I would argue that if the Word doesn’t give us the direct answers then perhaps we don’t need the direct answers. As in your example the suffering parents need comfort and strength to press on, and as you said the Word does give us those things.

  30. ( |o )====::: says:

    Let me share a little secret with you, it takes far less time, is widespread within progressive christianity theology & practice, and readily available any moment you dare to begin.

    love you

  31. Costco Cal says:

    Joshua Tree. Period.

    And every word in the Bible is inspired. If I am wrong on that, God will correct me in Heaven. Personally, I find truth and comfort in the inspiration and infallibility of God’s Word. Even if I am wrong on this, I choose to be wrong on this side of the matter rather than the other.

  32. ( |o )====::: says:

    “if the Word doesn‚Äôt give us the direct answers then perhaps we don‚Äôt need the direct answers”

    we still need the direct answers, and they cannot be found solely in a book

    they are found in community, meditation, and in doing our lives

  33. Col46 says:

    @32 I disagree. If we had all the answers then faith is not required.

  34. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    we cannot have all the answers and we are not entitled to all the answers.

    Deut 29_29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”

    Mystics look for all the answers.

  35. Michael says:

    As a mystic myself, I disagree…

  36. Em says:

    U2 and Bono came into my life in 1980 via my 13 yr old daughter discovering them – i, of course, from my side of the gap couldn’t possibly understand … I won’t try now
    However, I do have a working relationship with God and it is the stuff in that “box” that makes one free – God’s word doesn’t box one in, but it’s what’s the box that frees us – period! ! !

    Just sayin… again ?

  37. Duane Arnold says:

    The Desert Fathers, Francis of Assisi, Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Sienna, Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Johann Arndt, and, of course,
    my brother, Michael (aka The Phoenix Preacher)…

    I’ll stand with the mystics…

  38. Em says:

    My problem with the mystics (as I understand the term) is that they are mystic

  39. JoelG says:

    Love you too brother G-Man

  40. ( |o )====::: says:

    “If we had all the answers…”

    no one is speaking of having ALL the answers

    we are speaking of discovery on a spectrum

  41. ( |o )====::: says:

    here’s something for the adventurous

  42. ( |o )====::: says:

    and, adventurous ones, and for the presentation

  43. Duane Arnold says:

    “My problem with the mystics (as I understand the term) is that they are mystic”

    In the Christian Mystics we are talking about “knowing the unknown”… God is not known to us in his totality, nor could he be. So we know God in Scripture, we know God in the Eucharist, and, I think all would agree, we also know God experientially. All three speak to the Christian mystics’ idea of knowing in some small manner, that which is unable to be fully known or comprehended.

  44. Michael says:

    Thank you, Duane…I think we can add your name to that list. ūüôā

    Being a mystic simply means being open to God, and seeking God, (and experiencing God) as He reveals Himself to us through the Scriptures, through the church, through nature, through community, and however else He chooses to reveal Himself to us.

    I’ve written three books on God’s revelation in cats…make your own application.

  45. Anne says:

    Perhaps this definition of Christian Mysticism may shed a little light on how Michel and others use the term vs. the more commonly derided version commonly linked to new agers, the occult, etc. A little defining of terms often dispels unnecessary fear or suspicion.

  46. Michael says:


    That was a very good link…thank you!

  47. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I sense doublespeak here.
    God has pointed to and promised to come to us and be with us in and through his word, and in and through his sacraments – holy baptism, the absolution and the communion. Receiving this is being a Christian – this is being IN THE BOX and thinking IN THE BOX – Jesus made the box and the box is he.

    Now, the call above was the importance of thinking / being outside of this box. This is nuts – so now we have a subgroup calling itself Christian mystics who think outside the box – according to the article Anne posted.

    I’m staying in the box and my mind will continue to think within the box. But heck, around here I will probably remain an army of one.

  48. Michael says:


    So is God only with us one day a week for an hour?
    God is with us in Word and sacrament…and …

    “Receiving this is being a Christian”
    Are you saying that unless we confess the pure Lutheran confessions we’re not Christians?

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    As usual you play unfair. I said nothing about Lutheranism or Lutheran doctrine.

    My baptism is not a one and done – my baptism is with my always. The word is with me always.

    Tell me what else you want as you think outside the box? You made the comment to read NT Wright to learn how to think outside the box to know what God is doing with the scripture – I asked if reading Hebrews was not enough to let you in on what God is doing in the scripture. No one replied – but I guess everyone hit Amazon to get the Wright book to find out.

  50. Anne says:

    For centuries before the written word became available to the common man, and traveling priests might rarely make it to remote areas, I would dare to speculate that it was the testimony on those desert fathers and Christian mystics that kept the way of following Jesus, living based on hope, love and mercy alive.

  51. Michael says:

    “No one replied ‚Äď but I guess everyone hit Amazon to get the Wright book to find out.”

    I hope they used my link… ūüôā

  52. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I hope they do also. ūüôā

  53. Xenia says:

    Mystics most certainly do not look for all the answers.

    The closer the mystic gets to God the more he or she realizes the answers are further away than he or she thought.

  54. Xenia says:

    Some* say:

    Here’s the Bible and that’s all God has to say to me.
    Here’s the rules of our group and that’s all I have to do.

    Others say: I would really like to get to know God better. I would really like to know what it means to love Him. I would really like know how to become more like Him.

    *Not referring to anyone here, of course.

  55. Erunner says:

    Bono/U2 are examined almost as much as Bob Dylan who has perplexed many through the years. It’s not always easy to figure out what they’re actually saying. So I enjoy listening to Dylan and not much of a fan of U2. Just a personal preference.

    “I recently heard a popular Evangelical preacher exhorting people to search their Bible when they have questions. Certainly good advice and a wise thing to do. But he then went on to say that whenever he has had a question about anything, he has never not found the answer in the Bible when he went looking for it. In fact, many times it has been quite simple to do, he said.

    I called bull.

    Tell that to the parents who lost their child to a grisly fight with cancer. Tell that to the one who lost a loved one to a senseless murder or terrorist attack. Tell that to someone who suffers with a severe and incurable physical or mental or psychological condition. Many of them are not going to find their answers in the Bible of why they have had to experience such a terrible matter. Yes, they may find comfort and peace and even contentment. But answers to why God has allowed such a horrible thing to happen? I would doubt many ever receive direct answers to such when searching the Word. Things just aren‚Äôt as nice and neat and simple as the big popular preacher wants to tell you that they are and that we want to believe them to be.”

    Once more the Evangelical card is played when not necessary in my view.

    I believe there are people who are so eager to help they naively try to bring comfort with a few verses of Scripture when what would serve more is to sit silently with a person in distress while holding their hand if they allow. The human touch can do wonders.

    What could I say yesterday to a woman who told me she’s had 31 operations in her life, has lost 45 pounds in the last month after congestive heart failure and is being checked for cancer in July? I certainly didn’t start talking about Job. I simply let her know I’d pray for her.

    I’d say there are scores of believers across the board who don’t get it right when it comes to life’s most difficult questions. We’re all human and prone to sin. It does and will continue to happen.

    The fact of the matter is Evangelicals are a part of the Body of Christ and therefore are our brothers and sisters. I say this understanding not everyone who claims to be a Christian is not one.

  56. Michael says:


    I’ve personally counseled dozens of folks who were shamed for taking medication, shamed for being mentally ill, shamed for all manner of grief by evangelicals who claimed that Scripture had all the answers.

    There are millions of fine Christians in evangelicalism…it’s a vast, broad, group.
    There are also those who have merged what can only be called primitive understandings of Scripture to justify everything from slavery to our current political hostilities.

    I had to get out from under the label to survive where I am…and my pain was not imaginary.

    I’m not unaware that the tradition I join has it’s own issues.

    We have a large and wonderful group of evangelicals in this community…but we can also see the problems in this and other traditions.

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Others say: I would really like to get to know God better. I would really like to know what it means to love Him. I would really like know how to become more like Him.”

    Why can’t you get that where God promised to give that to you. Where is the Bible deficient in being the source for allowing people to get to know God? Where is the Bible deficient in showing people how to love God?

    The Bible says to love God, love neighbor and forgive 70×7 – that sounds like the way to know how to be more like him.

    Has scripture and the sacraments really become the last resort?

  58. Michael says:


    @ 53 and 54 were gold as usual…

  59. Michael says:

    Scripture and sacrament are the foundations.

    You build on foundations…

  60. Xenia says:

    I think it’s in one’s time of prayer that one might come to appreciate the mystic outlook.

  61. Xenia says:

    It is during prayer, as a matter of fact, that I hear from God in a particular way. He gives me good advice during prayer time.

    I hear from God in a more general way during the Liturgy and during personal Scripture reading.

    The general sets the stage for the particular.

  62. Erunner says:

    Michael #56….. Having hosted a blog for Christians with mental illness I had the chance to read a lot of stories of shame, etc. The blog was for Christians wounded by other Christians. So I’m very familiar with that topic.

    And although there’s a way to go stigma in the church still exists. Yet we both know positive steps are being taken by pastors and churches in recognizing the reality of these things.

    I have always understood there are Evangelicals who go to extremes as do folks in other groups. Despite those who present a terrible witness they will not prevent God’s perfect will to be realized.

    No one will go to hell because of them. It will be because they rejected the Gospel message of Christ and Him crucified.

    Those in the body have done a dismal job so often through the centuries and will continue to do so. I’m right there with those folks.

  63. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So when someone says “I heard from God to tell you….” how do you refute that?

    (I usually just tell the person, “the next time you are talking to God, tell him to contact me directly.”)

  64. I first discovered U2 via the “Boy” album.

    “The Unforgettable Fire” is still my favorite.

  65. Xenia says:

    So when someone says ‚ÄúI heard from God to tell you‚Ķ.‚ÄĚ how do you refute that?<<<

    I would just thank them and talk to God myself about what they said.

  66. Michael says:

    “So when someone says ‚ÄúI heard from God to tell you‚Ķ.‚ÄĚ how do you refute that?”

    I listen…and if it doesn’t contradict Scripture, tradition, or reason I consider what has been said.

    If it does, I spit and walk away. ūüôā

  67. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia, but that puts me at such a disadvantage. They get to believe God, but I must believe them.

  68. Xenia says:

    It is humbling to say to someone you think might be a nut “thank you” and to walk away without arguing. But humility is the mother of all virtues, the Fathers say.

  69. Em says:

    We used to have a small RV … When not in use it was parked in the driveway … One day a woman (part of our Russian orthodox community) rang the doorbell to inform us that God told her that we were to give her our RV… My husband’s answer was the same as MLD’s would have been

  70. Xenia says:

    I wouldn’t dream of abandoning the give and take I experience with God during prayer just because someone out there might say to me “I have a word from God for you.”

  71. Jean says:

    Some evangelicals who dismiss mysticism are some of the most mystical people of all. I can’t imagine having to search my heart to determine if my personal surrender/commitment/acceptance (whatever term they use) to or of Christ or his Lordship was authentic and real? Or to look to my works to see if I show the fruits of repentance? Is that not mysticism in spades?

  72. JoelG says:

    Lol Em ūüôā

  73. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia – it’s not about your prayer life – that comes from the scripture also. Jesus told us to pray, modeled prayer for us in his own life and gave us a prayer to pray.

    My question remains – with all of that coming from scripture, why wo we need to ‘think’ outside the box – it’s all in the box.

  74. Jean says:

    Christianity is “experiential”, for sure. But there are “objective” experiences and “subjective” experiences.

    I would encourage all Christians to trust solely in “objective” experience for our justification/salvation. This would include the external Word of the Gospel, experienced in Holy Baptism, Holy Communion, Absolution, and in Scripture. No matter how you feel or what your conscience or anyone else says to you or about you, Christ is for you in His Gospel. You must believe this objective promise against any contrary feeling or other word you may have or receive.

    The inner witness of the Holy Spirit, also provides the “subjective” experiences of God’s wrath, discipline and condemnation which He makes known to us in His word of Law, and His grace, mercy, forgiveness, comfort, joy, hope and love which He makes known to us in His word of Gospel. These are real subjective experiences of God. But they are always subordinate to the objective promises of Christ.

  75. Kevin H says:


    @55, I’m sorry if you took it as me playing the Evangelical card. My intent wasn’t to bash Evangelicals, it was to give some context to who I heard it from. If I had just said that “I heard some preacher say”, people could literally picture that as across the whole spectrum of anybody who claims to be a Christian preacher. It could have been dismissed that I might have been listening to some obscure wackadoo, so who cares. By saying it was a popular Evangelical preacher was to give the context that this was coming from a mainstream and commonly accepted source. If it had been a popular Anglican or Lutheran or Catholic preacher, I would also have said as much.

  76. Xenia says:

    Xenia ‚Äď it‚Äôs not about your prayer life <<<<

    Church is where I interact with God as part of a congregation.
    Private prayer is where I interact with God as an individual.

  77. Erunner says:

    Kevin @75……. No apology necessary. I guess I’m curious why you would be listening to an Evangelical preacher. Is this a man who up until this comment he made you had great respect for? If not then I’d ask why even listen?

    I’ve been burned by Evangelicals and I know the ways and words of those who fit
    what has become quite the caricacature in our nation.

    I understand the context you were trying to provide but I see it as feeding that broad brush.

    We’re one body made up of different denominations with a lot of conflicting beliefs. Yet we’re one body with our bond being in the life, death, and resurrection of God the Son who stepped out of eternity and gave His life while suffering the consequences of all of our sins.

    I’m saddened at so much division as many of us seem to be forming our own camps while bringing down others in the process. Thanks for responding.

  78. Kevin H says:


    I listen to Evangelical preachers because I am an Evangelical. Almost every Sunday I hear one. I’m not one who is always listening to preachers on tv or the radio, but will do so on occasion.

    This particular preacher I had no intent to listen to but he just happened to be on the channel the tv was tuned to when I turned it on. I listened for two or three minutes but then changed the channel after being disturbed by what he said.

    In my writings I will sometimes criticize the unhealthy excesses I see commonly take place in our Western Christian culture. Since I hear and interact with and am exposed to Evangelicals considerably more than any other segment in Christianity, that is what I end up referring to the most. I try to mostly keep my writings within the realms of things I think I have a decent understanding (thus all the sports stories that some people are probably sick of). And so fortunately, or unfortunately, Evangelicals become a more common target for me when writing critically about something.

  79. Erunner says:

    Thanks for the explanation Kevin. I’ve made the decision to simply refer to myself as a Christian. Having come to faith at an altar call at the end of what is called the Jesus Movement in 1976 I am grateful for everything that brought me to that night that changed my life forever.

    I understand many have huge issues with what I just described but it was real and by God’s grace and mercy I’m still standing on very weak legs. I need Him for everything.

    God bless.

  80. em... again says:

    1 Cor. 16:13… God isn’t confined to the box, the box is full of His words, His gift to us – He expects us (IMNSHO) to ingest the contents of the box in order to build within us a strong spirit and then go out and live – He doesn’t expect us to SIT in the box ūüôā

  81. em... again says:

    #79 – yes, that is the purpose of the altar call, to declare publicly that you’ve repented and chosen to receive the gift of salvation… just because the tares come forward (for whatever reasons) doesn’t make this act of Faith less IMHO and speaking as one who did the very same thing one summer night in a staid Presbyterian church that had invited a guest speaker… the new birth, when it happens, is real

  82. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, that is not the meaning of thinking outside of the box. It’s just another corporate business tactic that has snuck into the American church. Thinking outside of the box is just saying, “let’s look at scripture in a way that the just over 2,000 years has not looked at the scriptures.
    Geez, Todd Bentley thinks out of the box.

  83. em... again says:

    yes, MLD, i know what thinking outside the box means… ūüôā i was extrapolating … again

  84. Michael says:

    The church has looked at the Scriptures in different ways over 2000 years…

  85. Erunner says:

    em@80…. Thank you for validating my salvation!!! ūüôā I think I could sit and learn so much from you if we were ever to meet face to face. Your kind and gentle spirit shines through.

  86. Xenia says:

    Thinking outside of the box is just saying, “let’s look at scripture in a way that the just over 2,000 years has not looked at the scriptures.<<<<

    Except the Early Church Fathers were mystics in their thinking.

    So maybe it is you, dear MLD, who has strayed outside the box.

  87. London says:

    “As a mystic myself, I disagree‚Ķ”


    I never thought I’d see that comment from you Michael.

    Good for you!

  88. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, so I guess your ‘new way’ won’t hurt. I guess no new way would be frowned on.
    It’s a new day – the are no interpretive standards – in fact old in the box methods are frowned on until they become new again.

    In the good old days church councils were called when someone like Pelagious (?) or Arius started thinking outside of the box.

  89. Xenia says:

    FYI, the Orthodox Church has strict warnings and guidelines, hundreds of years old, for assessing the validity of any mystical experience one might encounter. Communion itself is a mystical experience.

  90. Duane Arnold says:


    You say, “read Hebrews”, yet this is one of the books Luther desired excluded from the canon. My friend, everything is not contained within your “box”. Scripture is but one way in which we find God’s revelation to us. Are we to deny 2000 years of development, of the Holy Spirit working individually and corporately in the life of the Church? Are we to deny the witness of the saints and martyrs? Are we to deny the living presence of Christ in the Eucharist? If you wish, go to a dead shrine in which there is a closed box only to be interpreted by a humanly devised set of strictures in the 16th century, but please do not lay that burden upon the rest of us. I’m reminded that heresy is orthodoxy taken to the extreme. You deign to teach us, but you cannot pray with us. You seem to desire to instruct us, only to keep us at arm’s length. Theology is a living thing, not a dead set of proposals set on limiting our God given gifts of thought and imagination.

  91. Anne says:

    The irony I see is the johnny come lately traditions along the timeline of church history calling the remnants of the ancient faith practices new. Astonishing, really.

  92. Anne says:

    I do not say that to diminish anyone’s faith here. At this point in time, whatever brings you hope, comfort, increase your love and mercy to your neighbors, please cling to that which is good wherever you are on your journey. Don’t let the twists and turns of anyone else’s faith or lack ther of dissuade you from that which you know is set before you. Peace my PP family.

  93. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, your reading comprehension must be low tonight. I never spoke of the Bible alone. In fact one of my first posts mentioned meeting God where he promised to be in his word and the sacraments – that I van experience God daily in my baptism etc.
    So if God promises it, why do I need to think outside of the box to experience his promises? I would say that those who then think outside the box miss God’s plan.

    As someone who claims his own fame of being a church historian are you really going to leave it on the table as if Luther were the only one who had issue with Hebrews and the 6 other books? Heck most of the church struggled with this issue. But you may know, or now that I think about it you may not, all 27 books are in Luther’s Bible.

    You cannot continue to take cheap shots. Michael’s claim was that you had to read NT Wright to learn how to think outside the box to learn what God was doing with scripture. I don’t need Wright to tell me that. I find what God is doing in scripture in Hebrews and the 2 other locations I quoted. If you are still troubled then go read Wright.

  94. Michael says:

    “Michael‚Äôs claim was that you had to read NT Wright to learn how to think outside the box to learn what God was doing with scripture.”

    I claimed nothing of the sort.

    I used Wright as a reference for a way to look at the Scriptures outside the traditional binary that was presented earlier.

    You seemed to assert that the church has had one way of looking at the Scriptures for 2000 years and as you are a confessional Lutheran I assumed you believe that your way is that one way.

    The church has used the Scriptures profitably in diverse ways for two millennia…and He continues to use them diversely today.

    He speaks in other ways as well…

  95. Michael says:

    Now…there are those for whom a more open way is not for them

    They can have their place in the kingdom too.

    Just let those of us who dream, have ours too…

  96. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, again you are dishonest. I have not made a single claim nor reference to Luther or Lutheranism.

    However, I would take issue if my pastor came into the pulpit and announced, “Today I am preaching outside of the box”

    Go back and read you comment at 1:01 pm – you said to read Wright’s comment to learn to think outside the box to know what God is doing with scripture. I find that unnecessary – scripture tells us.
    But my objection to Wright has always been that whatever he comes up with, no one has thougot of before — or at least he would like us to think so.

  97. Michael says:

    “Michael, again you are dishonest. I have not made a single claim nor reference to Luther or Lutheranism.”

    One assumes that if one is debating a self proclaimed confessional Lutheran with the name ‘Martin Luther’s Disciple” that he is defending a confessional Lutheran position.

    If you were defending the Anglican view, you got it wrong… ūüôā

  98. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    See, I never assumed you were speaking from a strict Anglican view, but I did assume you were speaking from 40 years of a broad Christian background. Was I wrong or should your peddling NT Wright books have been a clue? ūüėČ

  99. Michael says:

    There are no strict Anglican views on the matter…that’s why I signed up. ūüôā

  100. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well that does explain why NT Wright gets to make up everything in his books.

  101. Michael says:

    For some of us, thinking about the things of God wasn’t outlawed in the 16th century…and while Wright is better at some things than others, he always makes me think.

  102. em... again says:

    i would contend that every bit of the frame of reference that enforces and affirms our Faith comes from inside the “box”… but we take our sustenance from it, we don’t live in it
    extrapolating outside the box again LOL

  103. filbertz says:

    I’ve learned over the last decade that being a Christian doesn’t require me to trust Christians. I’ve been bent over by too many, including one recently. It doesn’t mean I have a well-ordered prayer/devotional/study/service routine that is fruitful and healthy. It doesn’t mean I have pored over resources, Church fathers, theology, systematic lexicons and concordances, or U2.

    It means Jesus found me, took me in, and called me his own. The gospel is good news, not a good noose.

  104. Costco Cal says:

    Oh Fil, the Bible does tell us to trust Christians. And that doesn’t necessarily bring me joy. ūüôā

  105. Ok with music. says:

    Kevin, thanks really a good piece with many good points.

    “I recently heard Bono refer to ‚ÄúI Still Haven‚Äôt Found What I‚Äôm Looking For‚ÄĚ as a ‚Äúgospel song with a restless spirit‚ÄĚ.”

    How about also a song titled, “Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places.”

    “Well, I’ve spent a lifetime lookin’ for you;
    singles bars and good time lovers were never true.
    Playin’ a fools game hopin’ to win;
    and tellin’ those sweet lies and losin’ again.

    Now that I’ve found a friend and a lover;
    I bless the day that I discovered
    you, oh you; lookin’ for love”

    Sung by Johnny Lee,

    Which song has more “gospel” in it?
    In Bob Morrison’s lyrics he found what he was looking for.

    Just and idea.

  106. Theophilus says:

    This was really really good. It could be that Modernity influenced theology so everything has to be neatly fit together in a system. But life isn’t like that and neither is the gospel imo. Though it seems to be an oxymoron, I think there is room in the body of Christ for the restless Christian.

  107. Duane Arnold says:


    “I‚Äôm staying in the box and my mind will continue to think within the box. But heck, around here I will probably remain an army of one.”

    The first statement is self-evident. The second statement is correct.

  108. Josh the Baptist says:

    Joshua Tree
    Achtung Baby
    How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
    The Unforgettable Fire
    All that You Can’t Leave Behind
    Rattle And Hum
    Songs of Innocence
    No Line on the Horizon

    In that order.

  109. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well Duane, you still have not given any examples how you think outside of the box. Everything that has been mentioned comes right out of the Bible – which to me is thinking in the box.

    As I said earlier this is an attempt to bring big business corporate thinking into the American church. It’s as if you teach your Bible class like they are a bunch of trainees / interns and you say “for a minute, forget what you know about the Bible, let’s think outside the box.” This is nothing more than Rick Warren / Peter Drucker Purpose Living stuff.
    But you are free to lead your army of thousands in that direction.

  110. Duane Arnold says:

    #109 MLD

    As usual, false premise, false conclusion…

  111. Duane Arnold says:

    #108 Josh

    Show a little more love for ‘Rattle and Hum’… if for no other reason, B.B. King…

  112. Josh the Baptist says:

    I liked Rattle and Hum, but not enough new material. At the time, U2 were known for forging new ground every time out, and Rattle and Hum was literally a Joshua Tree part 2.

    Great album, but everything above it is absolute classic.

  113. JD says:

    I was in a band which opened for U2 on their first visit to the USA. I cannot describe the indescribable, explain the unexplainable, reason with the unreasonable, or believe in the unbelievable; though I often try to do some of these things. Christ living in us is the important thing. Since He does, we are bound together in Him forming a body where many differing parts are used for His glory and unfortunately, sometimes not.

    Things people do may seem right to them,
    But God knows why they do these things.
    God is far away from people who do wrong,
    But He hears the prayers of those who do right.

    (from a scripture song I wrote in a Sunday School class we were teaching)

  114. Josh the Baptist says:

    JD – what was the band, and where did you play with them?

  115. Descended says:

    Two reasons Rattle and Hum resonates with me (pun not intended, but it works ūüôā )

    The album was live. I never knew live music could sound do flawless, and my mom was okay with it because it had gospel music AND BB King. My brothers were on opposite ends of the musical appreciation spectrum, one listened to Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Tiffany, and Run DMC while the other was into Motley Crue, Ratt, Poison, and Guns n Roses. I loved Nathaniel Hawthorne hymns, and found some of both my brothers’ tastes appealing. Song comes U2 and fuses alt rock and gospel and blues…??

    Musical bacon.

    Also, I was 13 years old and hopelessly in love with a girl named Mary (who didn’t return the same sentiment), who also liked it, so I wasn’t thinking Gospel.

  116. Descended says:

    Song… so along

  117. Descended says:

    I worked for awhile in Joshua Tree. Guess what U2 song I played driving towards the rising sun?

  118. Josh the Baptist says:

    I was 13. I stole a copy of Led Zeppelin 4 from Roses dept. store. I didn’t like it. My college age future bro-in-law traded me Joshua Tree for it. Changed my life. A couple years later I bought Under a Blood Red Sky in a bargain bin and it took me to another world.

  119. Josh the Baptist says:

    @117 – Staring at the Sun?

  120. JD says:

    #114 Josh the Baptist wrote
    “JD ‚Äď what was the band, and where did you play with them?”

    Band was the original Rainbow (California Rainbow) which later became known as Second Wind; at one of the clubs that used to be at Knott and Ball which was owned by the Shultz family: Woodstock, destroyed by fire in November 1985.
    The Shultz family also at various times owned the Crescendo in Anaheim, Smokey Stover’s in Garden Grove (now a “gentlemen’s club”), and Old World Village in Huntington Beach (the only one that still exists as it was in the 70’s and 80’s AFAIK).

  121. Josh the Baptist says:


  122. Descended says:

    Gosh, no, but I should have!

    I played the RnH album and tried to time it so Where The Streets Have No Name would come on as I crested the hill before Joshua Tree.

  123. Descended says:

    It was summer, 115 and ungodly humid. I really felt the lyric “I want to run, I want to hide”

  124. Josh the Baptist says:

    Descended – Heartland was one of my favorites from RnH. Loved the falcetto stuff in there.

  125. Descended says:


    A gravelly falsetto. Great stuff. For me, The Edge makes the album. People get down on him because his stuff sounds so simple. But those same people say BB King is one of the greats.

    Gotta Run. Blessings

  126. Josh the Baptist says:

    Edge is everything for U2. That guy was making a delay pedal sound like a symphony.

  127. JD says:

    #123 Josh the Baptist
    Thanks for the link to the flyer, I’ll add it to my collection. Still have one from Longshoreman’s Hall in Wilmington where we got top billing over Van Halen.
    They got signed to Warner Bros. #A contract soon after and we didn’t. From then on it was downhill for us as we became industry poison. lol

  128. JD says:

    Eddie was using two Echoplex in series with a box to secretly hide his other effects and we supplied our Altec A7s PA speakers as side stage monitors.
    Alex was of quiet demeanor and everybody accepted the fact that David Lee was a real piece of work.
    Ellis/Jeffreys Productions promoted the show. Each band got 1,000 flyers with their name on top. We represented Long Beach/Orange County and they were from the SF Valley/Hollywood area.

  129. Duane Arnold says:


    What did you play?

  130. JD says:

    Back then I played mainly bass guitar.

  131. Josh the Baptist says:

    Cool, bass is my favorite instrument. Named my son Jamerson after the Motown bassist fro the 60’s.

  132. Theophilus says:


    BB King. What a guy. He only played one note but it sure was sweet. If we’re talking music and derailing the thread ( :^0 ) Ryan Adam’s latest album “Prsoner” is great. Not overly produced. Unique lyrics. Keb Mo and Taj Majal’s latest album is really good too. A little more commercial. Ben Howard is at the top of my play lit these days.

    Edge introduced to pop music, an alternative to the standard lightning fast guitar leads that went no where. The layers looped sound. Very cool though I don’t necessarily appreciate (as I probably should) the U2 records.

  133. Theophilus says:

    These days, I am playing music with the founder of Musician’s friend, the drummer from Heart and Journey, and a bass player wo has his masters in composition. I’m jut a hack on the guitar but it makes all the difference when playing music with skilled musicians.

  134. Duane Arnold says:

    #131 JD

    Are you still playing?

  135. JD says:

    Just did about 15 years of worship bands, then wrote a lot of bible songs on acoustic guitar and played mostly for kids and small un-plugged gatherings, although I still have a couple of bass and electric guitar rigs in the garage. My music industry failures drove me to drown my sorrows for a couple of years, which through a series of events led to my conversion in 1986.

  136. JoelG says:

    Ryan Adams “Prisoner” is very good. Looking forward to the new War On Drugs album due out in August.

    There is good music out there. You just have to look for it.

  137. Theophilus says:

    Amen to that. If you haven’t already, give a listen to Ben Howard. Does mostly alternate tuning. Very fresh sounds and lyrics for the ears.

  138. JoelG says:

    Thank you for the lead on another hidden treasure Theophilus. ūüôā

  139. Josh the Baptist says:

    If you like something a little off the beaten path with virtuoso instrumentalists, I’ve recently discovered The Punch Brothers.

  140. JoelG says:

    Oh ya Josh it’s so cool to see these young bands taking up those traditional sounds with fresh twists. It’s a great time to be a music fan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Phoenix Preacher

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading