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69 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Thanks Michael for another strong line up of links.

  2. AA says:

    Oops, The Matt Chandler link goes to praying the Bible. Good food for thought.

  3. Nonnie says:

    I sure do appreciate Steve Brown. “Enjoying God” article.

  4. Michael says:

    Thanks, Jim.
    I fixed the link in the main article as well.
    Thanks, Jean…doesn’t look like they were very compelling this week… 🙂

  5. Jean says:

    I will amen Nonnie’s #3.

  6. Josh Hamrick says:

    Very compelling Michael – Just a lot to process.

    If you just read one, try Thabiti’s “black pastor” link. Whew.

  7. Jean says:

    Since we’re sharing links on Christian reactions to the Ferguson situation, I would like to add this article to the mix:

    “On Ferguson: Or, Obama Needs a Bible Study”

  8. brian says:

    Those are some very good links thanks for sharing

  9. SJ says:

    Lots of amazing material this week. May I recommend possibly using half the amount so we can all keep up. They are very deep and informative reads that would surely generate some good discussion even if you used half as many and saved some of the more ageless articles for latter weeks. BTW, Sarah’s article is such a awesome little nugget….a simple blessing for sure.

  10. Jtk says:

    So William Wallace II (or whatever) WAS actually Mark Driscoll in that rant?

    How is that known?

  11. He admitted to it. And apologized. I think it has just been recently. He said it was “just wrong”.

  12. Babylon's Dread says:

    Studying with a professor who claims that Europe is DEAD because of Protestant theology and its failure to grasp the Gospel.

    He says Luther adjusted the mass and little more but left a powerless church that made converts but not disciples.

  13. Michael says:


    That’s nonsense.
    Early Lutheranism and even more so the Reformed faith of the next generation was very discipleship oriented…to a much greater degree than anything extant today.

  14. Jean says:


    Is it possible that contemporary Protestant theology has filtered out some of the discipleship-oriented theology of Luther and other Reformers, so that what remains might be critiqued as powerless? Is so, why was that done and how might what was lost be recovered?

  15. Jean says:

    My #15, was over-generalizing. I should have said “popular” or “mainstream” Protestant theology.

  16. I want to know more about Babs’ professor – the one who seems to hold to a doctrine of 2 levels of believers – the only a convert and the lofty position of disciple..

    The Bible know of only one.

  17. Michael says:


    The declension of Christianity in Europe is way outside my field of study…but it had much more to do with the Enlightenment and the perils of the state church than anything the Reformers did or didn’t do in discipleship training.
    Discipleship in America is historically problematic because the defining mark of an American is independence…in my opinion.

  18. The problem with Christian films is that they are usually of poor quality.

  19. I do like the Enjoying God article. Take out all the striving and failing and just enjoy Jesus. Profound.

  20. PP Vet says:

    Jesus said that to be a “disciple” you have to hate your family and your life, bear your cross, and renounce all you own.

    But hey what did He know anyway?

  21. I would think that was the point – there is only one kind of Christian … a disciple of Christ. There is no sub category of ‘only a convert’

  22. MLD – Would you then say that the vast amount of people calling themselves Christians are actually not, or do you have a very low bar for disciple?

  23. Well, let’s see a show of hands – who here is “just a convert”? raise your right hand.
    Who here is a “disciple” please raise your left hand.

    What is “just a convert”? Even the poor folks coming out of the Harvest Crusades… what did they ‘convert’ to – wasn’t it a conversion to be a disciple of Christ?

  24. PP Vet says:

    Let’s compare it to Amway, MLD: A convert buys your product. A disciple builds a downline organization.

    I am sure I will pay an enduring price for using that metaphor. 🙂

  25. Jesus builds the only downline … although the RCC thinks Peter built a downline. 🙂

  26. Do you think all converts carry their cross and hate their parents, or are most false converts? Since a convert = a disciple according to you, right?

  27. Josh – I don’t draw the line. We have a basic difference in our views of conversion. I see the conversion process as something in God’s hands. I think that God ‘converts’ people into disciples.

    Perhaps those who have converted themselves are the ones that you think may not be Christians. I may even agree.

  28. I didn’t say I think anyone is or is not a Christian. I was asking you a question, not debating.

  29. Jean says:

    “What is “just a convert”? Even the poor folks coming out of the Harvest Crusades… what did they ‘convert’ to – wasn’t it a conversion to be a disciple of Christ?”

    Is conversion a sharp point in time or a process, or could it be different for different people?

    One thing that I have often wondered about is “truth in advertising”, meaning how much does one need to know about what he/she is converting to, to enable an authentic conversion.

    Here’s an example: If I were to visit a church, depending on the denomination or other distinctive, I would be expected to go through a certain amount of learning about what the essential beliefs are before membership at the church would be offered. In comparison, what essential learning is required for membership in Christ’s family? Does it make sense to make membership in a church more elaborate than membership in the Head of the church (i.e., Christ)? Something seems a little out of whack.

  30. PP Vet says:

    In practice, the whole strident, martyr-complex, Bonhoeffer discipleship thing ends up not quite expressing the heart of Jesus either.

    So in reality we are all learning every day what it means to hate our lives, and bear our crosses.

    It is as pointless to try to define a precise difference between a convert and a disciple as it is to claim there is no difference.

  31. “Jesus said that to be a “disciple” you have to hate your family and your life, bear your cross, and renounce all you own.

    But hey what did He know anyway?”

    He knew he was speaking using hyperbole to make the point that being a follower of His, as King, meant commitment, hard choices, sacrifice and above all perseverance.

    He also knew he wasn’t speaking to individuals in isolation, that He wanted us to draw strength and courage from not only Him but each other.

  32. Jesus made no false distinctions between “converts” and “disciples” because the individual challenge remains for each He draws unto Him. He simply chose each one of us where we stood, said, “Follow Me. What is it to you if I let someone else even be alive unto the day of My return, what’s that to you? Follow Me…”

  33. Right now I’m processing a conversation I just had on the phone with a lifelong friend and mentor, who told me he has stage 4 cancer, is starting chemo and it’s typically a 28 month survival. We’re both believers, we both celebrate the richness of our lives, and we’re both sad.

    We’re just people who maintain a hope in a Guy Who dared invade our lives with His love.

    Cherish the time you have with those around you, because you will never know when your time winds down.

  34. Jean,
    I see conversion as a process and probably a long process. I look back now and I think God started in 1974 while I was on the road all the time. In the mornings in the hotel rooms I would turn on the TV and be drawn to Jim and Tammy. Now I had to religious leanings or yearnings, but I think God used that to do the drawing.

    In 1981 when I acknowledged Jesus as savior and Lord, I think it was working towards the end – and 4 months later when I was baptized, perhaps that was the completion.

    Or maybe I wasn’t really saved until I became a Lutheran 25 yrs later. 😉

  35. Jim says:

    Thabiti would be really concerned about moving to Anacostia if he was white. My father grew up there, but I can’t visit the home in a now “whites aren’t welcome” neighborhood. With a black son in Anacostia, his greatest fear should be other young black males. Same goes for parts of Chicago and NYC. “Unlawful use of authority” is low on the danger scale for these young men.

    Thabiti and his son would have no fear in my integrated neighborhood. I won’t be feeling any white guilt on his behalf.

  36. You’ve never even looked at the numbers, Jim?

  37. Jim says:

    The numbers of black men killed by other black men every week in DC, NYC, and Chicago?

    Sure have. What I don’t understand is why they aren’t talking about it on CNN every Monday.

  38. Didn’t Thabiti mention that in his article, too?

  39. PP Vet says:

    The other thing we miss is that this is all about love.

    The most discipled disciple is the most loving person.

  40. Jim says:


    I missed that part. Here’s where Thabiti is moving to:

  41. I get it, Jim. You didn’t read the article, or if you did you totally missed the point.

  42. Jim says:

    I read it twice. If his point wasn’t about the cops, I totally missed it.

  43. Jim says:

    BTW, I’m no fan of the warrior cop trend. I’m just saying that if you’re moving your family into a war zone, the cops are the least of your concerns.

  44. ” If his point wasn’t about the cops, I totally missed it.”

    Yeah, you did. Unfortunately.

  45. Jim says:

    Perhaps you could point out a paragraph that will enlighten me. I honestly think that Thabiti was addressing his white audience. I’d really like to see more black pastors who aren’t of the Sharpton/Jackson mold ask their communities, “why are we doing this to ourselves?”

  46. Jim says:

    OK-read it five times. He’s either very clearly talking about Ferguson, or I’m just illiterate.

  47. Sharpton/ Jackson mold?

    Come on Jim. You are better than that.

  48. Sharpton/ Jackson – just converts or disciples of Jesus? 😉

  49. Jim says:


    You’re typing, but really aren’t saying anything. And no, I’m not better than that. I don’t think Jackson/Sharpton help the situations that they insert themselves into at all..

  50. Josh Hamrick says:

    What does Thabiti have to do with Sharpton and Jackson? They are all black?!?! Jim, I hope I am misunderstanding you.

  51. Jim says:


    I’m saying that all three are black clergymen, who attempt to speak to the experience of young black men in America. I’ve given up on Sharpton/Jackson, and I’m saying that Thabiti is not of their ilk, hence the “not in the mold” above.

  52. brian says:

    Can I ask a question, as I understand God, God does not need us, God is not weakened or lessened by us or strengthened by us. God is immutable in all Gods attributes and essence. Why does God need glory?

  53. Giving God glory is for our benefit.

  54. brian says:

    “Giving God glory is for our benefit.” …. Why?

  55. Nonnie says:

    Thabiti said ” I don’t care about the color of the hands that pull the trigger. They could be pink, brown, sandy. What I care about is the value of my son’s life. What I care about is the dignity and life-destroying devaluing of his life because in this country he is “black.”

    I am understanding exactly what Jim is saying.

    I thought his article was moving and really showed his father’s heart and concern for his child and others’ children. However, when writing about this particular subject of young black men and boys being killed, I think he should have also pointed out the fact that the vast majority is black on black killing. That is something the black clergy should be speaking out about. Where is the outrage, where are the riots for all those young men and boys he speaks of being shot everyday by other black men and boys? Where are Sharpton and Jackson on those days?

    Josh, I think this is why Jim and I believe the article was about the police shooting.

  56. josh the baptist says:

    The article was certainly in wake of Ferguson. The sentence you quoted along with the story about the father he met who lost a son opens it up to the greater story of young blacks being killed in any situation by any race.

    He shouldn’t have to answer for Sharpton any more than you should have to answer for a Fred Phelps.

  57. Jim says:

    “He shouldn’t have to answer for Sharpton any more than you should have to answer for a Fred Phelps.”

    I agree, and wasn’t asking him to.

  58. Nonnie says:

    Nor was I

  59. That’s my point. What does Al Sharpton have to do with Thabiti’s article?

    The ONLY connection is that they are both black, right?

  60. Jim says:

    I already explained that in #52.

  61. So thabiti has nothing to do with Al Sharpton, but because he’s black, he will be lumped in with Al Sharpton anytime he shares a concern. You did that.

  62. Jim says:

    No Josh, but whatever you want to believe is fine with me.

  63. Nonnie says:

    “So thabiti has nothing to do with Al Sharpton, but because he’s black, he will be lumped in with Al Sharpton anytime he shares a concern. You did that.”

    If that is how I came off in my reply, I apologise. I had no intention of that. Re-reading my comment, I should have had a paragraph before I asked the question about where is the outrage, riots and Sharpton and Jackson…..

    I was writing on 2 different thoughts and I can see I did not express it well.

  64. Did he mention Sharpton or Jackson in his blog?

  65. Sorry, Nonnie, that question was for Jim. I know that you were responding to the article and to Jim’s response where Sharpton and Jesse were introduced. I just see nothing in Thabiti’s article that would bring up those two, except that Thabiti is black. Am I wrong?

  66. Jim says:

    Josh, the article was about Ferguson. Thabiti is a black pastor discussing issues regarding young black men in America. I stated that I wish that he would address the much larger issue, which is black on black crime in communities like the one he now lives in. I said that I’d prefer to hear him address this issue, as he’s different than S/J, who are also black glergymen who also address the Fergusons in our country, while ignoring the Anacostias.

    If I was unclear, I’m sorry, but please stop trying pigeon hole me into whatever box you’re thinking of.

  67. Nonnie says:

    I’m going to bow out of this discussion now. It’s just too sensitive a subject for me to continue to comment on. For me it is not worth hurting someone in order for me to try to explain myself. There is enough hurt right now for everyone.

  68. Agreed, Nonnie. I don’t want to get into the argument either.

    I apparently read something very different in Thabiti’s words than Jim did, and in seeking to clarify, caused more confusion.

    Sorry to all.

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