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40 Responses

  1. His Kid says:

    I have to comment on the article about what not to say to hurting friends. A friend posted this yesterday and I was really bothered by it. After listing several common statements, several of which the author says are Scriptural Truth, he calls them “a new kind of profanity.” No scriptural truth should ever be labeled as “profanity.” I agree that we need to be prayerfully sensitive to the nonverbal message we are sending when we serve these truths up as mere platitudes. Shame on us if we are not sharing Spiritual Truth wrapped up in the love of Jesus. But to take these truths off of the table because this Author thinks we use them in an unloving way is not acceptable. Sometimes a person needs to hear “I will pray for you,”(we are commanded to pray for each other) or “You are not alone, because God is always with you” (God is omnipresent)or “Everything happens for a reason…” (God is sovereign). We may need to reconsider *how* and *when* we express theses truths, (oftentimes we need to just be silent, come alongside someone and cry with them–and that could last for a LONG time before they are at a place to receive God’s Truth) but the truths themselves should not be eliminated.

    On the receiving end, I was always taught to respond in grace and mercy to someone who was trying to express kindness to me, no matter how clumsily the attempt was made. It’s true that we often don’t know what to say or how to say it, but I’m grateful when you make the attempt to reach out to me. I, for one, would be very encouraged to hear that I am not alone and that God is always with me. I definitely need to be reminded of that when I’m likely to believe the lie that He is not. But this author has taken it off the table as words of encouragement. I pray that I will always be able to see the heart of that person who wanted to comfort me, even if they didn’t know how. Sensitivity to the heart of others needs to come from both the giving and the receiving end. This article puts us in the mindset of judging someone’s attempts to bring comfort, and condemning someone for not doing it the right way. Maybe we all need to be in closer connection with the leading of the Holy Spirit and allow HIM to guide us in our thoughts and actions when interacting with hurting people, instead of coming up with a check list of things you should or shouldn’t say.

    Ok…rant over.

  2. “There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus, and by God’s grace, it’ll be a mountain by the time we’re done” – Mark Driscoll

    No Driscoll update? I was wondering if he got caught up under the bus. He that lives by the bus…

    I haven’t read the why about SB losing members but I have two thoughts…
    1. They lied to themselves for two generations about their membership and someone is making them be honest.
    2. They draw tighter circles excluding more and more. When you realize that they have redefined the family and in the process they have broken your plate…well… you stop coming to the table.

  3. Dude says:

    What not to say to a hurting person.
    Sometimes it is best to not say anything.Just be there for that hurting person.Our tongue can be a deadly weapon if we are not careful.I confess I am guilty of this sin and if I could go back and redo my life….this would be on top for do over.

  4. Nonnie says:

    His Kid….you are living out grace and mercy. I really appreciate your view on this.

    I read an article yesterday by a missionary and another commenting, being (in my opinion) extremely judgmental against his/her supporters, because he/she thinks they don’t understand and assume things about her.. Of course they don’t understand and of course they have their assumptions. So what. They pray for us, support us, (many sacrifice to give to missions!) and we want to complain because they don’t understand certain challenges we may face. Well meaning people can fumble and say the wrong thing at the wrong time and they can be misunderstood, but men and women filled with the Holy Spirit should be able to extend grace and mercy to them.
    Thank you HK for speaking up for the “fumblers, for the misunderstood.” (I have certainly been there and done that)


  5. His Kid says:

    Thanks for hearing my heart, Nonnie. Grace and mercy in our words and actions can do so much to communicate the love of Jesus to each other. I’m always praying that He grows those fruits in me…

  6. Babylon's Dread says:

    Jared Moore’s diagnosis of Baptist bleeding is a sad piece. First, the article claims a great deal more than he achieves … second, he cannot really think that is the problem. Third, what value is there to claiming that Baptist’s big problem is thinking that unbelievers can worship.

    First, worship is incredibly powerful to bring unbelievers to Christ. Second, entertainment is not worship but neither is half of what passes for worship in cookie cutter low church liturgies. Third, can anyone imagine Jesus proposing that the non worshipping Jews were unable to worship. Seems to me Jesus thought anyone could worship though indeed he came to bring worship in Spirit and Truth.

    That article grieves, angers, annoys and frustrates me and trivializes the problem.

    And I am glad he cares enough to at least try… He no doubt loves God and the church. And I am a jerk so he shouldn’t listen to me. 😉

  7. Dusty says:

    Happy Birthday Michael!!! (((hugs)))

  8. EricL says:

    I agree with BD, the SBC article by Jared Moore is a sad piece. Frankly, I think Moore’s article reveals part of the problem. It is so much easier to blame the problems on others instead of owning your own part. His “others” are fellow Southern Baptists, but they are still others. He claims that they are entertaining rather than worshiping, then he attacks the quality of sermons too and tops it off by calling them all lazy for failing to baptize more.

    That is all so much easier than to write an article where you confess your shortcomings and what you can do to better to represent Christ to society. My comments are an example of that. It was much easier for me to see Jared More’s failings then it is to admit my own. 🙂

  9. Xenia says:

    His Kid wrote what I am thinking. I remember when my father died unexpectedly when I was a teenager, all the neighbor ladies came to our house with pies and words of comfort, the best they knew to offer. And when they left, every word they said was analyzed and criticized.

    It’s articles like this that make people think twice about even visiting a grieving person for fear they might say the wrong thing. If you don’t say anything, you will be faulted for not saying anything. If you say something, you will be faulted for saying something. Job’s comforters tried it both ways and now “Job’s Comforter” is considered a pejorative.

    If we can’t offer words of Christian comfort and hope to those who are grieving…. is there anything better we could offer? “Sometimes just being there” is always a good idea but most people feel they need to say something. Too bad for them if they haven’t prepared the perfect words of comfort that will set just right with this particular griever. (Are we supposed to be mind-readers?)

    I remember when I was in labor with one of our kids, a good friend was in the room and she had never been to a childbirth before and found herself sorta babbling Christian cliches, which at the time I found to be extremely irritating. Looking back, how wonderful it was that my friend was with me! Who cares if she hadn’t prepared a script of correct things to say to a laboring woman.

  10. Xenia says:

    One thing a visitor/comforter should avoid is not to ask a grieving relative to explain all the possibly embarrassing/sordid circumstances surrounding an untimely death. Don’t ask “By the way, what was Fred doing out at 3am? Or “exactly how many packs of cigarettes did Joe smoke a day?” In other words, try not to say anything that puts blame on the griever’s beloved. Keep your thoughts/suspicions to yourself.

  11. EricL says:

    Yancey’s article is also sad. It wasn’t a Golden Age for Publishing, it was a Golden Age for Publishers, who made a ton of money and grew to become international conglomerates. But very few authors could make a living since the big companies had total control and they paid such terrible rates. The authors did all the work and only received 10-12% of the money. Only the selected Super Stars made the big bucks, getting the marketing and sometimes a better percentage profit- all the rest were given crumbs. Yancey was one of those super stars.

    Now, authors can self-publish or use smaller publishers who offer better rates. It means many more are starting to earn a better income. More authors are getting published and now reader have more books to pick from. Sometimes, that can mean less sales for the Super Stars whom the publishers are pushing.

    It is a big plus for Readers. It is a big plus for lesser-known Authors. It is a minus for big-name Authors, who aren’t used to having competition. It is about the same for big Publishers- they just shrink the amount they offer to those same big-name authors.

    Sorry for the long post- this happens to be a topic that involves me personally. 😉

  12. OCDan says:

    Here’s the other problem with the publishing industry article, and this from a librarian and avid reader: too much junk gets published! Look, I don’t need every book to be an instant classic, but the dreck in the Christian circle, as well as, all the other areas of publishing is astounding. On top of that, I see typos, poor fact-checking, and flat out lies all the time and that is non-fiction. Fiction is a whole other can o’ worms that leaves much room for improvement.

    I agree, the publishing moguls made out like bandits, just like the music industry. However, this profession and writers could go a long way to making things better if the quality was better. Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but let’s be honest, have you looked recently at what passes for excellent writing, or a good book?

    As a quick anecdote, I remember years ago seeing a cartoon from the New Yorker magazine. It had an editor talking to Stephen King and he said something about a lampshade as the plot and then added something like: Stephen you are not even trying anymore. Also, keep in mind many of the big time fiction people don’t even write anymore, they have co-authors, which is just lingo for ghostwriter.

    Sorry, if this reads like a rant, but imnsho waaaaaaay too much is written.

    As the old saying goes, there is a reason we have two ears (and two eyes) and only one mouth. Too much talk (and in this case writing, much of it bad).

  13. dswoager says:

    The SBC article is an interesting one because I think that he touches on one of the bigger issues, but passes it over in favor of the topic of entertainment. The idea that Sunday is an evangelistic service rather than a worship service, I think, is one of the bigger problems. The idea of bringing a friend to a Sunday service to hear the gospel rather than speaking it to them yourself, makes for a “lazy” congregation, and also has the potential to artificially elevate the pastor (which has repercussions all its own).

    I have several SBC pastors among my friends on facebook, and have had articles like this come up on more than one occasion. Something that I have noticed is that, though they are asking the question, they don’t seem to be particularly open to input.

  14. EricL says:

    So will Ergun Canner finally admit that he was wrong? That he deceived people by claiming to be a Jihadist when he never was? I’m guessing no.

    I also think his enablers, especially those among the Georgia Southern Baptists, will continue to cover for him since they like his personality and dynamic speaking style.

    Jared Moore, try looking this direction to see what really ails your tribe. Not only won’t your fellow pastors denounce this fraud, y’all put him in charge of one of your colleges. This is a much bigger problem than squabbling about worship styles. Your fellow leaders can’t even denounce a chronic liar, a fraud who makes laughable claims. Try facing those facts instead of insulting and blaming the congregation and calling them lazy Southern Baptists.

  15. Nonnie says:

    EricL, He wasn’t just big in the So Bap churches. Ergun Canner was big in some CC churches also.
    I had several FB friends that heard him speak at a CC church and they were raving about him and his incredible testimony. He had a story that people wanted to hear.
    Like Mike Warnke o thef last generation.

  16. CrucifiED says:

    From the Arminian FAQ: “Isn’t there a “middle ground” between Calvinism and Arminianism? A: No, there isn’t, not that is logically coherent.”

    Hmmm… I’m not so sure about that. I think I found a good middle ground between the two at the Lutheran church. I supposed he doesn’t think they are logically coherent although he believes himself to be.

  17. dswoager says:

    On the Christian Publishing article, I will just comment that there are few places that I enjoy going more than a bookstore. It still makes me sad when I pass the husk of the old Borders at my local mall. That being said their are few places that I dislike being in more than a Christian bookstore. If someone wanted to diagnose all of the disease that is afflicting the church today, one only really needs to go to a Christian bookstore.

  18. EricL says:

    Nonnie, excellent point in comparing Caner to Mike Warnke. Remember seeing Warnke in Palm Springs when I was a teen. Packed house that stayed even when the AC failed and it became sweltering inside that auditorium. I hope to become such an entrancing storyteller as these two guys, but the difference is that I clearly mark my works as “fiction”. I would like the success, but I don’t want to sacrifice my integrity to get it.

  19. Xenia says:

    Happy birthday, Michael! May God grant you many years!

  20. We need a Happy Birthday Michael thread! 🙂

    Happy Birthday Michael

  21. Jean says:

    I enjoyed reading the interview with Stanley Hauerwas. I especially liked this statement:

    “The attempt to justify suffering by appealing to the future is not a form of Christian pathos. As Christians, we must hold together the truth of living in a fallen world and the suffering that attends that truth without throwing up our hands and waiting for someone else, even God, to make everything all right. That’s not Christian hope. We are called to address sin and to serve those who suffer.”

  22. Happy Birthday to Michael! Praying for an unprecedented year of health and success for you!

  23. Nonnie says:

    Yes, indeed! Happy birthday, Michael! Amen To Josh’s prayer.

  24. Xenia says:

    Most Orthodox books are published by seminaries or monasteries and tend toward translations of lives of the Saints, service books, and ancient classics. Recently, Ancient Faith Radio merged with a convert-founded publishing house and I see a small and disturbing trend towards superficiality in some of their offerings. Some priest somewhere has a popular podcast on AFR and they might publish a book of his reflections on this and that. A lot of the “I used to be a Baptist and now (thank God!) I am Orthodox!” books can fall into this category. Still, most EO books are lives of the Saints, written in the traditional hagiographic style.


  25. Michael says:

    Thank you, Nonnie, Dusty…Josh, it’s a gift to see your name here again.

  26. Jean says:

    #5, reading as an outsider, I thought the SBC piece by Jared Moore was a hatchet job. A couple of things that caught my eye:

    What does he mean by “entertainment”. He doesn’t really define entertainment, but certainly uses it as a pejorative. Kind of reminds me of the photos you see from the late 19th and early 20th centuries where no one smiled. How much enjoyment is permissible?

    He only mentions the sermon in the context of worship. Can one infer from his silence that Moore considers the sermon to be the central (or only) act of worship? That wouldn’t line up very well with what we find in Acts or Paul’s letters. And what does Moore’s singular focus on the sermon say about the role of the preacher in worship? Kind of reminds me of the OT priestly role.

    Is Moore and outlier or is his viewed by a significant portion of the SBC?

  27. covered says:

    Happy Birthday Michael and thank you for everything.

  28. Michael says:

    Thank you, covered…grateful for you.

  29. J.U. says:

    Happy Birthday Michael and hi there Josh.

  30. Em says:

    quick prayer request… we’ve got a fire 10 miles downriver (between us and the highway) – it’s hot here and the winds are predicted to increase to 35 mph – pray for the firefighters, please and pray for us and perhaps for the winds to help (blow the thing back on itself)
    please and thank you all

  31. Michael says:

    Thank you, J.U.
    Em, keep us posted…

  32. Em says:

    Michael, am shutting down here now (It’s the Mills Canyon fire and it’s going pretty good) – best hope is for wind to blow it back on itself as it has burned 2000 acres since 1 pm. – not panicked at all, but I probably won’t post again as I’m sorting to put stuff into car – if they tell us to vacate, it will probably be in the middle of the night… if it wasn’t for the 2 horses that i’m baby sitting, i’d drive on out right now…

  33. Josh Hamrick says:

    Hello J.U!

  34. Linda Pappas says:

    Happy Birthday, Michael

    I have one other person close to my heart who also shares this day with you. So, please do something perfectly lovely for yourself, like a bubble bath with a rubber ducky, then a nice walk with your loved ones, and a cool glass of ice tea without alcohol, but something that will perk you up, while meditating upon all the things that you can find to be grateful in having just today, to celebrate you and who you are to so many and in the sight of our risen Lord, Savior, King, and God.

  35. erunner says:

    “So, please do something perfectly lovely for yourself, like a bubble bath with a rubber ducky, ”

    That mind picture is now forever seared into my subconscious! Don’t do it Michael!!! 🙂

  36. Linda Pappas says:

    erunner and Michael,

    ROTFLOL—-seriously not or why not? It’s better than shooting rabbits and then having to skin them. Okay, what about transformers or water toys, like submarines, and the like. Rubber ducky is far more peaceful and causes one to take on the heart of a child, I think.

    Either this, or candles and soft music, Epson salt, warm water or other type of herbal oils mixed in (without the ES, that is) 🙂 Or are you just against baths, erunner— LOL.

  37. London says:

    Stay safe!

  38. brian says:

    I have a real confession for this I am horrible and I really want to not feel this way but I cant

    “After losing a copyright infringement lawsuit to prevent the posting of videos alleging contradictions in different versions of his once famous “Jihad to Jesus” testimony, a Georgia Baptist college president now must pay more than $34,000 in attorney fees, a federal judge ruled July 1.”

    hahahahhahahahhahahahhahahhahah mock ha ha hia 🙂 🙂 🙂 etc ha ha ha 🙂 🙂 lol lol lol

    Sorry about that.

  39. RE: 11 and 12. Both of these comments were helpful. Yancey’s comments about publishing are an accurate description of how the publishing landscape has changed. Like recording artists, even the heavyweights cannot get away with pushing out fluff.

    To succeed at writing a book that will hold up over time is an exhausting undertaking. At least now, an unknown can throw his best work out there and it has a chance. Merely creating an ebook without sufficient thought will go no where, as it should be.

    The reviews of a type that are on Amazon are one way to sort through the dross. I believe more ways are needed and will evolve to identify and evaluate the good books and the authors who write them.

    However, I believe that books are giving way to blog post sized condensed articles with feedback, like the ones Olson is writing. I have not read his theology of Arminianism book and his FAQ articles are about as much as time as I have to invest in this subject. It is much harder and more helpful to write in a way that is concise and crystalized and it is rare to find that in a book.

    That is why I love these links, Michael. Thank you for your good work! May you find a way to prosper in it.

  40. PP Vet says:

    Sitting in the rain for an hour waiting for an outdoor concert to begin. Is there an upside to this …. full of joy ….

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