Loose Ends

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235 Responses

  1. Nonnie says:

    Jim and Elizabeth Elliot
    Corrie Ten Boom
    Brennan Manning
    Ken Gire

  2. Michael says:


    I can see those influences in you…and that’s a good thing. 🙂

  3. Patrick says:

    Martin Luther
    Philip Melanchthon
    Martin Chemnitz
    Steve Brown

  4. PP Vet says:

    – My wife
    – My mother
    – The guy who led me to Christ
    – A composite of my nine kids.

    Why in the world would I put someone up there that I do not know personally??

  5. Rob Murphy says:

    Is there an example of retirement in the Bible? Culturally, families have cared for their elderly members longer than gov’t. I have watched my parents (and my wife’s parents) care for their parents. I see that as being my responsibility as well and am teaching my kids that this should be our pattern.
    Heck, the news is telling me I shouldn’t expect to keep the healthcare I have, let alone the healthcare I might need later on. I don’t how we’ll meet needs if they reach catastrophic needs, and I don’t think Uncle Sam will be as helpful as many think he’ll be. Entropy for the win.

    my Mt Rushmore . . . nobody would know mine . . .
    my Dad
    my friend Monty Sharp
    my friend’s dad, Pastor Steve Struikmans
    my first Sunday School teacher, Marjorie Pence. The first person I ever heard read a Bible story and I’ve never heard one read with more faith and passion since. She invited my family to church and she introduced me to God’s Story with her great faith and a flannel graph.
    If I had a 5th, John Wesley, but he’d insist his mother be on there instead of him.

  6. kevinleroy says:

    As far as SSI is concerned, the Law very clearly states that if you are a Pastor and wish to be exempt you must take the money that you would have placed in SSI and place it in an IRS approved Retirement Account. If I were a Pastor a Church I would absolutely decline SSI and then setup a Roth or similar for myself. Not to do so is absolutely foolish. Society owes nothing to those people IMO. You failed to plan for yourself and must suffer the consequences.

  7. Michael says:


    Steve Brown is the most Lutheran Calvinist alive… 🙂
    Good list.

  8. Mike DeLong says:

    The SSI question is a good one and I’m not sure there’s an easy answer. Most of the independent churches I’ve dealt with are not forthcoming regarding how they spend their money, much less what they pay their pastors, so I don’t know that I know enough to say anything sensible about this.

    I’m not sure the right answer is the obvious one, which is that the church is obligated to the pastor for life. The pastor made a decision in his twenties or thirties that seems foolish now that he’s in his fifties or sixties; why should the people of the church be obligated to make up for his mistakes?

  9. Neo. says:

    Fun question….

    Luther. Keller. Kierkegaard. Billy Graham.

    Are Honorable Mentions allowed? 🙂

    CS Lewis, Steve Brown, Karl Barth, Melancthon, Manning, Stott.

  10. Jackie says:

    Mt Rushmore
    Dave Hunt
    John Bunyan
    John Wesley
    David Wilkerson

  11. Michael says:


    That is the question some church boards are struggling with as we speak…

  12. Michael says:


    If you hadn’t put Wesley in, I would have edited your comment and done it for you. 🙂
    Excellent thought about the role of the extended family…

  13. -Al White – the pastor who sat down with me and led me to Christ

    -Rick Lynch – the man who introduced me to Al White, then befriended/mentored/discipled this 17-year-old punk

    -Steve Brown – his preaching and writings taught me that God doesn’t hate me

    -Randy Southwick – the men’s ministry pastor who helped to see that although I’m well into the 2nd half of life, God can still use me in both small and great ways

    -Michael Newnham – I’ve learned more about faith, life, my own wretched heart, and the grace of God through the writings and musings of the Phoenix Preacher than any other source.

  14. Michael says:


    Thank you, sir…I’ve learned as much from you as we have traveled together these many years.

  15. Rob Murphy says:

    @ Michael, #12 . . . the only problem is with Wesley is that short guy will probably take issue with being put on my list, start up with sticking in his tiny finger in my chest, and who will keep him off me, unless his Mom intervenes? Then she’d take over with a wooden spoon. I’d be beaten down with a wooden spoon. The Wesleys did not trifle with fools like me. 😉

  16. Michael says:



  17. covered says:

    Good list CK. I need to ponder that for a while. I opted out of SSI a year ago.

  18. Michael says:



  19. Oh No says:


    How did you opt out? If you are a pastor, you have a year after your ordination to opt out. If you don’t, your stuck. Once you opt out as a pastor you cannot come back in with any income as a pastor. Unless the rules have changed, that’s the way it was 30+ years ago.

  20. Lutheran says:

    Martin Luther
    John R.W. Stott
    Corrie ten Boom
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  21. Interesting that there were reasonable voices who actually dared to ask us Jesus People, Well, what if the Lord tarries? He has done so in the past.” Those who asked were the ones who looked at church history and saw the folly of the new Rapture doctrine and the havoc that it would reap on our generation. Those voices were the ones who were in the “dead denominations” which have endured for generations, who busied themselves with working for generations to come, bringing women the right to vote, ending segregation, working to better the lives of the poor and downtrodden.

    Jump forward 40 years and here we are, rediscovering the enduring values which Jesus sent us out to spread.

    Retro, I tell ya, it’s ok to look back and learn.

  22. Athanasius
    Francis of Assisi

  23. For those pastors who don’t have their spurs and are small will just have to preach till they die..but again I have seen and continue to see my social security funds being depleted to border bandits, dead beats and others who haven’t contributed into it yet want to receive ss disability benefits.. anything not to work…maybe that’s what it will take for them to start listening to the members of their congregations when they have complaints.. I’m too tired to type now but I’d like to be a fly on the wall out there…but could not stomach it now as I once did in the 90′

  24. I’ll have to say this is a snapshot of my present influence. Some of them have been around a while, others are new on the list. AS my reading expands, so do my influences. So, this is Rushmore…in pencil.

    Henry Blackaby
    Corrie Ten Boom
    John Phillips
    CS Lewis

  25. Xenia says:

    Saint Seraphim of Sarov
    Fr. Seraphim Rose
    Saint Paul
    Our Lady the Most Holy Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary

  26. His Kid says:

    I like the idea of Rushmore in pencil. 🙂
    Present influences that I keep coming back to (I kinda wanted to add Tozer, too…)

    Charles Spurgeon
    Andrew Murray
    R.A. Torrey
    Brother Lawrence

  27. Crowned1 says:

    I think it should be obvious who has an obligation to care for pastors in retirement (outside of their own retirement planning), their families just like all traditional workers.

    As for my faith influencers:

    -My grandmother
    -My parents
    -My wife
    -My daughter

    There are many scholarly opinions out there…only the above have ‘shown’ me Jesus.

  28. sarahkwolfe says:

    I am with you that making it a short list is the most difficult. Here’s my best shot:

    1. Gordon Fee
    2. A lady named Candy Ornee who led the prayer ministry at CC Santa Barbara when I was there. She was compassionate and joyful…and made me grow up.
    3. Packer
    4. Madeleine L’Engle…because she taught me so much about wonder and imagination and the creativity of our God.

    Very close to those would be our curate, my pastor’s wife, Kim Thomas.

  29. Kevin H says:

    Reggie White
    Chuck Bednarik
    Steve Van Buren
    Brian Dawkins

    Oops. Wrong Mount Rushmore list. Hmmmmm, I wonder where this idea came from? 😉 Will have to give more thought to the list being asked for.

  30. Michael says:

    If I were to think about this a bit more I’d have to put Sarah on the mountain as well…for subversively bringing Peterson and many others before me in a way that didn’t scare me.
    Seriously, no one has helped me deepen my appreciation for those I mentioned, and my faith itself, more than Sarah.

  31. Michael says:


    Busted! 🙂

    Pro Football Talk is doing something similar with all the NFL teams….

  32. Crowned1 says:

    Dun, dun, dun, another one bites the dust…and another one gone and another one gone…another one bites the dust. Hey, their gonna get you too, another one bites the dust.


  33. sarahkwolfe says:

    Michael…you are too kind!

  34. Kevin H says:

    Okay, my real Mt. Rushmore list:

    C.S. Lewis
    Max Lucado
    Chuck Swindoll
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  35. sarahkwolfe says:

    BTW…Fee and Packer are more from personal interaction than their books. I was most humbled by L’Engle, though…what a presence she had. Now I’m off to walk before I get called a heretic!

  36. pklar5 says:

    Eugene Peterson
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    Paul Weaver (a current missionary in the Middle East who discipled me)
    NT Wright

  37. Babylon's Dread says:

    Mt Rushmore for Dread

    I am editing out the real ones because they are unknown so I will go for public figures.

    Malcolm Smith… Greatest teacher alive on covenant- http://www.malcolmsmith.org
    N. T. Wright… No one understands Israel’s story better
    John Wimber… Opened the closed door of the Spirit to an evangelical
    William Hendricksen… Eschatology and wonderful exegesis

  38. Bill LaMorey says:

    A couple of the comments on pastors and SSI:

    Each church needs to figure out the right thing to do. Here are a couple reminders. Most pastors’ make salaries so low that they (yes unwisely) live off what they should be putting into retirement. However, the church receives a financial benefit in not having to pay 50% as they would if he didn’t opt out.

    Thus a wise practice is that pastors who opt out should take the $ they would have paid in and put it in a 403b account AND the church should match that (as they would have paid it if the pastor didn’t opt out).

    That said if that hasn’t happened -do the right thing. If a pastor planted a church, pastored it for decades and has come to the twilight years (all at a sacrifice), it hardly seems right to put the pastor out to pasture with a firm handshake and a “where God guides, God provides” quote.

    The pastor should have never put himself in that position…and the church should never have allowed it. Let God guide and err on the side of grace & generosity.

    Just my thought. Thanks for letting me “butt in” on this. Many blessings to you all

  39. Michael says:


    You’re always welcome here…thanks for stopping by.

  40. kevinleroy says:

    Babs –
    Couldn’t agree more on your list. Especially with regards to Wright!!

  41. The relational Rushmore would look different as those above are all teachers except Malcolm.

    The life Rushmore of faith is as follows:

    Reginald Barnard … Teacher of Historical Theology from England died 20 yrs ago.
    Anthony Saway … Catholic friend who led me to Jesus
    Jack R. Taylor … Spiritual father and mentor
    Bill Bruster… Southern Baptist Pastor and mentor

  42. sarahkwolfe says:

    ” Let God guide and err on the side of grace & generosity.” Amen. We should use that as our compass in so many areas!

  43. Michael says:

    N.T. Wright is climbing up the backside of my mountain…

  44. sarahkwolfe says:

    Oh…and Peterson and Bonhoeffer are so close behind. And Buechner. And Merton. And Lewis. And a lady by the name of Leona Paulson.

    And my dad. He pretty much outdoes everyone on the list, so he is on his very own list all by himself.

    Shoot. Can’t do four.

  45. Lutheran says:

    My church’s pastor would have to rank head and shoulders even above the 4 I cited. He’s unbelievably godly and kind. I’m honored to call him my friend.

  46. Crowned1 says:

    Bill @ 38 – “it hardly seems right to put the pastor out to pasture with a firm handshake and a “where God guides, God provides” quote. ”

    It also hardly seems right to indebt the congregation to offer you a pension. There are many regular hard working folks in the same shoes…their families, friends & the government have to step in to provide for them, should be no different here.

    There very well could be a ‘standard of living’ adjustment to meet the basic needs of not having any retirement funds, but you will live better than most of the world regardless.

  47. Lutheran who is your pastor if I may ask

  48. Lutheran says:


    I’d rather not say. He considers himself a regular LCMS pastor.

  49. mrtundraman says:

    “As far as SSI is concerned, the Law very clearly states that if you are a Pastor and wish to be exempt you must take the money that you would have placed in SSI and place it in an IRS approved Retirement Account. ”

    Which Law states that? I’d like to see the evidence for that.

  50. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    My old youth Pastor -Louie Reed
    Granderson Wright

  51. mrtundraman says:

    ‘That said if that hasn’t happened -do the right thing. If a pastor planted a church, pastored it for decades and has come to the twilight years (all at a sacrifice), it hardly seems right to put the pastor out to pasture with a firm handshake and a “where God guides, God provides” quote. ‘

    And this is another example of where Calvary Chapel not being a real denomination fails. Real denominations have a retirement system for pastors. They learned decades ago that pastors will sacrifice their lives for others and have nothing left for their old age.

    They also usually take care of their pastors in the denominational retirement facilities. Two more benefits of real denominations.

  52. covered says:

    Michael and Oh No, prior to being ordained as a pastor, I was commissioned as a chaplain and therefore qualified for the 4361 exemption. I am currently 55 years old and prior to 2004, I made enough money to satisfy the annual requirement of paying into SS until my salary reached 60,600 (I believe that was the number then), by May or June.

    My current situation is that I make such a small salary, it benefits us more to remain exempt right now. On the down side, I will only be able to receive benefits for money paid in prior to 2004.

    On a side note, don’t forget I used to be a CC guy so we just knew the rapture was coming at any moment 🙂

  53. mrtundraman says:

    I miss being a hospital chaplain. That was a great “job”.

  54. covered says:

    Hospital chaplain? That’s rough one. From what I understand, it’s similar to the military chaplain in that you must be “familiar” without bias to all religions and gods. I’m not as smart as you mrtundraman and have my hands full preaching, teaching and ministering as a follower of Christ. When I did some work with the Sheriff’s dept, they let me do Bible studies in their office and no one was offended. It didn’t hurt that the County Coroner used to attend.

  55. Reuben says:

    John Calvin
    J.I. Packer
    John Wimber
    Wayne Grudem

  56. London says:

    CS Lewis
    Brennan Manning
    Brother Roger of Taize
    St Teresa of Avila

  57. brian says:

    Brennan Manning
    Joni Eareckson Tada
    Henri Nouwen
    A combination of all the students I have had the joy of working with.

  58. DavidH says:

    C. S. Lewis
    J.I. Packer
    Martin Luther
    John Calvin

  59. mrtundraman says:

    “Hospital chaplain? That’s rough one. From what I understand, it’s similar to the military chaplain in that you must be “familiar” without bias to all religions and gods.”

    Not in my experience. I wore a black clerical shirt/collar since the area I was in (Southside of Chicago) was heavily RCC so most people assumed I was a RCC Priest. I only had two patients who didn’t want to talk/pray. One just found out he was dying and the other was a JW.

    I could be “authentically Christian” in the position. I got few theological questions but nearly everyone wanted prayer. It’s more about being with the person and a little of lightening their spirits. I remember visiting a guy who had just had a hernia operation and I had to leave since I was making him hurt and laughing in the process.

    My mentor challenged us to push the envelope. He was near retirement and told us to get ourselves kicked out of at least one room…

  60. brian says:

    I would also add for good note Augustine Thomas Aquinas Desiderius Erasmus

  61. mrtundraman says:

    NT Wright
    Jacob Arminius
    CS Lewis
    Pastor Jack who left his prominent business position in his mid 40’s to pursue the call to ministry and served for another 25 years

  62. Steve Wright says:

    Missing from this thread:

    Opting out of social security is solely because the pastor has a religious conviction against such a program. The pastor signs his name stating such a conviction. Christians have suffered for centuries to fight for freedom of religion from the power of governments, especially freedoms for the clergy. We talk about this even today, the freedom to preach as we want, to marry whom we want – based on our convictions before the Lord, even if they came into conflict with a new law of the land.

    Social security was once a new law of the land, and without giving the long and detailed history and evolution as to churches, the government, to their credit, did the right thing and allowed the clergy a religious objection.

    I earned more in insurance than I will ever earn in ministry, and was fully vested in SS before I ever earned a penny in ministry. I still did not opt out, because I do not have a religious objection – and I will not sign my name (under penalty of perjury on top of it all) saying I have such an objection when my goal really is to save on my tax bill.

    Frankly, even though a pastor must pay into social security at any outside jobs, it would seem that one having a true religious conviction would not then accept the benefits when they arrive, made eligible by that outside job either. I certainly will take every cent I am entitled to when I become eligible.

    As an aside, the argument that in the long run this saves money for a church is ludicrous.Social security is not just about a monthly retirement check, it encompasses survivorship benefits for spouse and minor children, disability insurance, medicare – if anyone actually paid for private insurance policies to properly replace the amount of money one might lose under any of a multitude of possible scenarios, it would dwarf simply paying the self-employment tax percentage. But the bottom line is that nowhere is the “opt out” ever supposed to apply in connection to financial concerns of a church or pastor.

  63. Mike DeLong says:

    I keep waiting for someone to raise “worthy of double honor” (or, indeed, any Scripture verse) regarding retirement planning for pastors.

  64. Steve Wright says:

    if anyone actually paid for private insurance policies to properly replace the amount of money one might lose
    I should add, sometimes that is not even possible. You can’t buy disability income insurance on a minor child with no income – yet, minor disabled children (or even adult children if the disability hit before age 22) are eligible for benefits based on Dad paying into the system.

  65. Andrew says:

    Brother Yun
    Blaine Smith
    RC Sproul sr.
    Martin Luther

  66. Ricky Bobby says:

    Baby Jesus
    Teenage Jesus
    Adult Jesus
    Resurrected Jesus

  67. Patrick says:

    @rickybobby Shake and bake!

  68. Muff Potter says:

    Harriet Beecher Stowe (abolitionist)

    Katharine Bushnell (medical doctor and Bible scholar, late 19th & early 20th cents.)

    Pastor Niemoller (wound up in Dachau for opposing the Nazis)

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn (Russian dissident)

  69. Gary says:

    I like Ricky Bobby’s. Right now my chisel is broken. I’ve though today on who would be on my Mount Rushmore and no one comes to mind. Bummer

  70. Lutheran says:

    Tundra is right — established denoms. have retirement systems and many have facilities for their clergy. It’s the right thing to do.

    And after witnessing firsthand all the work my pastor does day in and day out, well, I’m thankful that he and his wife don’t have to worry about retirement and that our Synod has had the foresight to have this.

  71. Steve is 100% right. I spent 2 weeks look over my paperwork to opt out of SSI. I evaluated it morally, financially and legally. I read a lot in that process. My accountant that attended my church was relieved to hear that I didn’t opt out. He said financially, it’s a good deal even if benefits don’t last when I retired, based upon disability.

    My issue was the way it read it would mean I have to refuse help from the government.

    One of the other assistants who made less than I did (which was WAY below the poverty line), ended up with a large tax bill and decided to opt out. It was a decision that made good immediate sense, but in the long term, I think he came to regret it. While at the church, my wife qualified for healthcare assistance when we had kids (I struggle with whether that was the right decision).

  72. Steve Wright says:

    Lutheran (and Tundra) are these retirement systems though in LIEU OF social security? In other words, do these denominational pastors all opt out because the denominations are there with something waiting?

    I assume not – and what you describe actually supplement their social security. Or am I wrong on that?

  73. Steve Wright says:

    David, I agree with your accountant.

    One example – God forbid, but what if a pastor has a disabled child for life. Either due to illness at birth (or before age 22) or accident (before age 22). Will never work.

    The child gets a monthly check until age 18 – and then a monthly check throughout adulthood once the pastor starts to draw his social security, and continues even after the pastor dies.

    What church is going to be able to keep paying a monthly check for a long-ago deceased pastor’s adult child for the life of that child which might be decades. Who’s to say the church is even still around all those years later!

  74. Lutheran says:


    I haven’t the foggiest idea about whether my pastor gets SS. I mean, SS is a pay-as-you-go system. You get out of it proportional to what you put in. If you don’t put anything, you don’t get anything out. But yes, I’m pretty sure a pastor in my Synod along the way makes payments into some type of Synodical retirement system.

  75. brian says:

    I promise this is not my usual poor me they did it to me rant I think it was pretty clear where I was coming from in the past post. Take that history and superimpose it on Michael’s question about retirement. The Rapture / pretrip / presuppositional apologetic philosophy has caused some horrible blow back on many folks I personally know and myself as well. First of all I say this, not out of sympathy or poor me or crying over spilled milk. All the decisions I made as a Christian are mine, and I am a great believer in the buyer beware concept when it comes to doctrine or following supper hero types / doctrines. So my bed was made by me and I will lie in it.

    When I first became a Christian, I really thought that Jesus was going to come back in the 1980’s, everyone in my church thought that, every single person in my peer group thought that, and every single preacher on or off the TV thought that. Now they would hedge their bets and would not go all in like Mr. Camping and family radio, but they believed it. So we poured our lives into ministry, Full time unpaid ministry, that was the expectation. It was the Keith Green motif. You know get born again go be a missionary, go ruin a bunch of people’s lives including your own because you lack the maturity and view that comes through time. So you don’t go the college, well only to preach and peddle books and sink hooks to try to reel people in. But well actually the smart ones did that and also got an education, usually paid for, no always paid for by the non-believing parents. I can remember often being told I was not giving enough, did not sacrifice enough, did not trust God etc.

    Well they still let mom and dad pay for their education, good on them. Now they have careers and are enjoying the good life. Yes they hit the missionary circuit and did their time. I joined one missionary cause, and have never left it, but that is another post. Back to no retirement or SSI. I know pastors who got the boot do to political reasons and lost everything, house, car, check, insurance, etc. Of course we prayed for them “barf”. The pragmatic cynic in me told me to get an education and a career, which I did, but it was later in life. But many volunteer lay people give up as much or more. They give time, money, energy, their working capital to the “Work of the Lord” only to find themselves out on the street, at times literally, at the drop of a hat or a whim of a new pastor. If I had my way that would be actionable. In many professional volunteer secular organizations you are accorded the same rights and protections as an employee of the organization. In the religious groups I worked with you had one right, leave. That is not tenable and it is most assuredly not biblical.

    What brought me here was such a situation. No anger towards the people, but my blowout cost me 10 years, volunteer experience, had to give up contacts and basically stop volunteering for another five years. I am just now getting started again. Now for pastors, some pastors get major bling, run infomercials from the pulpit to sell their product, make it clear, I have no problem what so ever with this at all. It is just a platform like any other to make connections and make a brand and that does not have to be a bad thing. Other Pastors, like many of the CC pastors, Michael, etc dont make bank, infact Michael gave away the bank and is storing up treasures in heaven, I think sometimes he might want to make a withdrawal, mean no disrespect but it must be hard. Pastor Steve I personally know people who were “pastors” on and off line that would have become rather animated though never physically violent towards you if you brought up SSI or 501 3C status, of course I always thought they were crazy and said so a few times but they saw me as a harmless heretic so I was somewhat safe.

    This is what I mean, we hedge our bets and we live by probabilities and plan on contingencies while hoping for absolutes. It is a rather precarious system. All in all I still see Christ as Lord. I wish I lived that way all the time.

  76. Steve Wright says:

    Lutheran, I asked because to me it seems apples and oranges. Yes, denominations have a retirement plan, but any church can have a retirement plan too. A 401K or a SIMPLE IRA being two obvious choices available. Just like any regular business has all employees contributing to social security but may also offer the employees a 401K or other retirement plan.

    I did find a PDF about pastoral compensation issues from the Missouri Synod. I quote:

    “Exemption from Self-Employment Tax
    The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod does not
    oppose participation by its ministers in Social
    Security on the basis of religious principles.
    Conventions of the Synod have enacted resolutions
    encouraging participation in Social Security, implying
    that, as a church body that ordains and commissions
    ministers, it does not recognize a theological basis for
    opposing participation in Social Security.

    That to me sounds like they discourage the idea of opting out of social security, but of course they aren’t insisting either that a pastor forfeit what is a legal right.

    As a reminder too, social security is not totally proportional. If you work for 9 and 3/4 years and paid into the system all that time you still get squat at retirement.

  77. Steve Wright says:

    Brian’s post reminds me of another issue in all this.

    What about the fact that pastors often have more than one pastorate in their lives?

    What happens when an assistant pastor, a young man, goes on staff for a church and is advised (or chooses) to opt out of social security there in his mid 20s- and then, maybe many years later moves on to another church somewhere? Maybe he becomes a senior pastor somewhere down the road. Maybe after 10-15 years there he goes to a different church and pastors it from age 55-65, then decides to retire.

    I imagine if I was on an elder board responsible for hiring a new pastor, a question that really needed to be asked is “Did you opt out of SS when you first became a pastor?” and if “yes” there would need to be some serious followup questions as to what sort of plans this pastor had for those retirement years.

  78. brian says:

    Pastor Steve Jesus works through you exactly.

  79. brian says:

    An aside, we had this prayer meeting, all sorts of things were brought up, trusting God, God is sovereign, God is in control of every single hair on our head etc. Lady brought up about an accident, everyone prayed for healing etc, I asked if the other guy or her had good insurance and had she contacted an attorney of she feel she needed one. Lets say some of the looks were rather strange. Funny everyone at the meeting had car insurance, wore their seat belt and stopped for red lights. I just often scratch my head.

  80. Michael says:


    Your #75…so much there…thank you.
    I hope you’re here as long as I am.

  81. brian says:

    Just to let you know I belong to STIRS and I pay a great deal into retirement, sometimes 20% of my check, I saw it to many times and I hope no one takes offense. I will not die poor, and if I do I will die quick, I will never cost another human in my family a dime. That I will live by, or die if need be.

  82. David sloane says:

    Steve #77
    Right on.
    You bring up a great point.

    The system or no system?

  83. Steve Wright says:

    Here’s one more. A lot of churches hope (or prefer) the wife of the pastor not have to work. Especially when there are children involved to raise.

    What about the wife at retirement?

    Well, the system is designed for stay at home wives to get half the husbands SS check, along with the husband still getting his full share. Will a church take care of both of them?

    Then, if husband dies first (and statistically he will) the wife gets basically the full share that her husband was getting for the rest of her life – and as we all know, some widows live 15-20 years longer than their deceased spouse. Many people are living into their 80s and 90s today

    Unless someone is a prophet and knows for sure the pastor, his wife, and all their kids are going to be perfectly healthy until retirement, then the pastor and wife are both going to drop dead within a few months, or couple years max, there is just no way to argue any financial advantage to simply not paying this tax.

  84. brian says:

    Pastor Steve there are people in some “fringe” faith communities that would call what you said “worldly”. Some others would say that the Church or the Lord would pay for them, well most churches cant afford that, and the Lord sent a helicopter, a boat I think folks remember the story. Now please no one tell anyone I wrote this, I have a rep to maintain but on the other side of eternity this is all going to seem rather silly, not to diminish its importance what so ever. I am just trying to maintain some eternal perspective so I dont fall down that black hole, the grace of God dragged me out of.

  85. Gary says:

    I have to go to San Carlos tomorrow to see if I still have a job. ouch

  86. Q says:

    Steve Wright, is this church system even suppose to exist?

    If it is not, then figuring out who opted out of what when would not matter would it?.

  87. Gary says:

    College students studying for the pastorate should be offered a course in money management as well as sheep management.

  88. Michael says:


    Which church system are you referring to?
    Clergy have been paid since the Temple…

  89. Gary says:

    When did the idea of retirement and paid retirement begin? Was it built in to the Jewish system?

  90. Q says:


    The temple hasn’t been around for a while. It’s the body now. Clergy – laity is misnomer.
    Clergy is not a profession, is it?

  91. incongnito says:

    An aside, I was going through some pictures, I saw my father, smiling standing on a dock or pier I think it was, fishing, his favorite time in life with a smile and a fish. I remember that time there. I just kept saying I forgive you, please forgive me over and over again for a few minutes. It may be rather “Catholic” of me but it really helped. It seems to help chase many of the ghosts and cobwebs out of my soul. It did help that I said this to him before he died, a grace I will always thank God for. My father was not the greatest, and he never claimed to be he saw things that would have made me evaporate in a screeching squeal. I guess that perspective helped me to understand.

    Nothing excuses child abuse, nothing excuses hatred or anger towards a child, nothing excuses it, it should not happen. War moderates it, even forgives it as I understand it, he put 3 meals on our table as well as he could. It is so hard to see our father as failing us. After decades, when I first became a born again Christian I was an obnoxious blank I was the end all and be all of reality. Basically I was a self centered twit. Now a few years at the state developmental center and convalescent hospital put the kibosh on that. I was never ever really able to reflect the True Jesus to my father, only a dimly tarnished plastic version of the real deal. I always felt bad about that, I did try, but at times I feel it was to little to late. My father did some awful things and said many awful things, just like his son (me). I write this only to me. One of the best moments of my life was to be there when he was still awake before he passed. I saw him one last time after loma prieta, the hospital was trashed and I drove through massive traffic to get there, he was asleep, I said good bye and went to help carry people up and down the stairs at the hospital. Spent that night alone as we were all over the place. I was back at home trying to figure out how to keep the the foundation from cracking worse and picking up all the crap. Well he passed the next day, even though I was upset I did have a piece my siblings did not seem to have. This is probably the most private thing I have ever shared online so I share it under my Pseudomonas name.

  92. Q says:

    If we take care of our widows, we should take care of our elders, including our parents.

  93. incongnito says:

    Gary if you need any help let me know I am in the south bay, got some connections if need be.

  94. Michael says:

    Ok,lets go to the book of Acts…clergy have been paid since then.
    The elders were supported and were worthy of double honor.
    There really isn’t a historical debate on the matter.

  95. Gary says:

    I’ve been a flooring estimator for ten years. In my younger daze I installed carpet and laminate.

  96. Michael says:


    Your writing helps others get in touch with themselves as much as it helps you…keep writing.

  97. Q says:

    Yes, but they also worked and did not attempt to build mega churches that had to figure out who opted out of what.

    Who should get help first, the widow, the parents or the Elders?

  98. Michael says:


    It is both a calling and a profession.
    You spend much time and money to prepare for ministry…and ministry takes the time when you could be making money in another profession.

    Good pastors are continually investing more time and money into life long learning as well.

  99. Q says:

    We are a family not a corporation.

  100. Steve Wright says:

    Actually, this debate goes away rather quickly if we follow “pay taxes to whom taxes are due” – Game, set, match.

    However, to be repetitive, the government actually did a good thing. They allowed an exception for religious conviction. Think Amish and others….So technically there is a way wherein these taxes aren’t “due” and thus do not have to be paid by a pastor.

    Sadly, (in my opinion at least) that sole reason – religious conviction – is totally lost amidst the arguments about which is a better financial deal, whether the rapture makes all this talk moot, and whether social security is even “going to be around” when it is needed….

    None of which is part of the form a pastor is asked to sign under perjury as he asks to opt out.

  101. Gary says:

    That was the World series quake. Oakland A’s vs SF Giants. I had just driven over the Cypress freeway that collapsed. I was home playing catch with one of my kids.
    That was gracious of the Lord to let you have those moments with your dad.

  102. Michael says:


    Some worked…most were supported by the people they taught.
    Most pastors are not trying to build mega churches…that is the biggest strawman nonsense that blogs like this need to get past.
    The vast majority of the guys I know make less than the average salary of their congregants, in some cases much less.
    We leave in a completely different culture than the first century…not necessarily for the better, but certainly different.
    We have a social safety net for widows and parents in this society…there was none in the first century.
    We can debate the virtues of that, but those are the facts.

  103. Q says:

    Steve Wright,

    Yes, “pay taxes to whom taxes are due”, but no not game, set, match. The church is a family living as pilgrims, rapture or not.

  104. Q says:


    I agree that we have a social safety net and this makes things different and should be considered, but we are not in the temple days either.

    Maybe we should pay our taxes and take care of the weak whether older elders, widows, or parents.

    Probably parents first unless it is corban.

  105. Steve Wright says:

    If we take care of our widows, we should take care of our elders, including our parents.
    Care to have a discussion about what “taking care” looked like in the 1st Century and what the average life expectancies were?

    And as a reminder, the widows also needed to evidence a lifelong service to the needs of the saints – they weren’t just church members that showed up on Sundays.

    Bottom line – it is very difficult to compare the two eras in such specifics.

    Frankly, it would likely be ILLEGAL for a church to do here in America what churches in nations like India and elsewhere do today to help the poorest of the poor. You think a church could have 20 elderly people being fed and treated medically to some extent while also slowly dying on placemats in the basement without the authorities shutting the whole thing down.

  106. Michael says:

    The issue here really…and I’m so tired of it I want to puke…is that the worker isn’t really worthy of the wage.
    The pastor isn’t respected for the time, dedication, and education he has invested in being the very best shepherd he can be.
    He is slimed with the traits of the small minority who have abused the position.
    Too many of you think that your opinions on theology and history are as worthwhile and valuable as those of people who have spent their lives in the disciplines.
    They’re not…but if the delusion comforts you, hang on to it.
    You’ll end up with the leaders you deserve.

  107. Q says:

    Seems there is a conflict of interest.

  108. Michael says:

    By the way…I’ve always worked to support myself while holding a pastorate.
    If you want your pastors to work a separate job make sure that the church stays under 50 people, that you all covenant never to call him after five or on weekends, and that you understand that whatever time he gives you he is taking away from his family.
    He’ll be exhausted and burnt out early in life, but you’ll be able to hang on to your ideas of what is holy.

  109. Q says:

    Steve Wright,

    If widows must qualify (and they do) how much more a man?

  110. Gary says:

    Jesus had his disciples seat the men in companies of 50. A good model.

  111. Q says:

    Michael, I know. God will reward you for your service to the saints.

  112. Q says:

    Steve Wright,

    What are the qualifications for parents? Elders first (I mean pastors) then?

    No. Paul would never.

  113. Gary says:

    Women outlived men. (Snarky joke deleted.)

  114. Michael says:


    What I’m saying is this.
    This is the system we have to work with.
    It is neither good, nor bad, it is.
    I know how much time and money a man like Steve has poured into his education.
    I know the hours he puts in because I communicate with him regularly offline.
    I am not holier or better than Steve because I work another job…(Steve has done so as well with a much, much, bigger church)…and Steve is well within the will of God and biblical ethics to earn his living from the church.
    Most pastors are.

  115. Steve Wright says:

    Jesus had his disciples seat the men in companies of 50. A good model.
    LOL – Well, Mark mentions hundreds in his account, but that aside, since there were 5000 and only 12 disciples doing the distribution, sounds to me like Jesus must support multiple services for one disciple then. Each guy had to minister to about 416 men….

    (plus women and children…)

  116. Q says:


    I wish someone would pay me for my time in study…but I enjoyed it and payed to do it and willingly still do, but not really, the Lord does.

    The church is not the state, but a body, new man, and though we live in the world we are not of the world.

    The church is more like a family, not part of the state, just obeying it unless it is conflict with the word.

  117. Q says:

    Steve – that is real food, and they did it free of charge.

  118. Steve Wright says:

    Thank you, Michael.

    I want to add though, For years, I was blessed by God to be my own boss in a sales business that was prosperous enough with the repeat clients that I did not HAVE to drum up new business – and as a result, many, MANY hours where I was “on the job” were actually spent doing ministry. I could never have done that if I had a normal job. I’d leave to do a funeral, or make a hospital call – I’d study on the job, or make phone calls, return emails.

    (Of course, there were also times I had to actually work – and so I would get in the office by 4 AM when I got too backed up)

    Nor could I have done that if I intended my job to survive and prosper. Obviously, in business you HAVE to drum up new clients, you have to keep growing – otherwise you are just holding a grenade with the pin already pulled. I knew God’s plans for me – and I knew the grenade would explode eventually. And it did.

    But it can’t work both ways.

  119. Q says:

    Steve are you still drumming up new client in your knew business, I mean calling.

  120. incongnito says:

    Personally I think Pastors should be paid to study the Word and truly talented scripture people could help us understand the Bible I mean hacks like Bart Ehrman make bank riding the bible train. I agree he is a scholar, one with an agenda. Gag every time I hear this guy speak I want to slam my head in the car door. I mean Dr. White did a debate for free, Dr. Ehrman did not. I dont fault him for making bucks but dont play the I was a devout “Christian” card. I actually share far more agreement with Ehrman then Dr. White. But some elder from Phoenix who is willing to travel all around the world on his own dime because he actually believes what he believes that has a lot of street cred with me, the other not so much. Dr. Ehrman’s work is very interesting but it starts with a rather biased presup. just like those he disagrees with. I listened to the White Ehrman’s debate, I was rooting for Ehrman, but White won on one premise he actually studied the other side of the debate. My response we need to clone JI Packard. He is sort of an amalgamation of many camps with no compromise.

  121. Steve Wright says:


    I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage. Please tell me about your church.

    Do you meet in someone’s home or elsewhere?
    How many people attend, and when do you offer services?
    Do the people that attend look to you as the pastor?
    Do strangers know of your church?
    Does anyone show up who does not know the gospel?
    What mission work do you support?
    What aid to the local community?
    How do you support the widows?
    Did you pay for any formal education along the way?

    Knowing the answers to such questions might allow us to have a better conversation.

  122. Steve Wright says:

    Well…my little one finally drifted off to sleep (hate those late naps). So I’m going to drift off too….

  123. Q says:

    How would that help the conversation?

    I’ve stated that I have been in and out of CC since the tent. I have seen the good and the…well you get it.

    I was 12 when baptized at Corona.

    That is enough to have a conversation, unless you think CC background is not enough, I have more.

  124. Q says:

    Ask 9 consecutive questions and then “drift off”.

    I would want my money back, loser.

    Typical pastor stuff.

  125. Q says:

    Apparently a fool can ask more questions in 2 minutes and “drift off” than a wise man could answer in a life time.

    I’ll bet his “flock” can count on the same.

  126. Michael says:


    It’s 12:30 in the morning.
    He goes to bed and for that he’s called a “loser” and this is “typical pastor stuff”.
    Grow up…that was rude and wrong and if you can’t handle yourself better than that you’ll get moderated.

  127. brian says:

    um I was chased out of my holy communion at 9 by some rather confused priest, though we did reconcile before he died. I have a moral failing along those lines I try to keep short accounts, even if it costs me. I was baptized at 21/22 near that time, and then spent the next ten years being reminded why that baptism did not really take. I was never a CC member, when people spoke to me about Chuck Smith and his church, no offense even in 82, I thought he was a hack. I do not mean that as insult I just dont have the words, the whole not having to wear shoes and tearing out the carpet shtick. Want to hear a confession back in the mid 80’s I thought dynasty just like Jr. I mean I wanted to believe but my inner cynic said, hack. What I have come to understand. CS did what he could, he struck out on so many levels, I would love to hear him just say that To sow that into the church, just say, I messed up forgive me.

    It cant happen Q, we are not built that way, I wish we were. If it is worth much, I fall on my face to ask, no beg, you forgive CS or any other CC Pastor. I have no dog in this hunt, I am an evolution “believing” fringe open theistic universalist. But I am sorry if it helps. I really do it does.

  128. Michael says:


    Most conversations that end at night can be taken up in the morning.
    You are now being an ass.

  129. brian says:

    Pastor Steve is not a loser, I can say that, but going to bed at 12:30 AM, only in my imagination, maybe 4/5 AM but to would be a gift. Even getting some real sleep in the next few / 4 days would be nice. But that to is another post.

  130. brian says:

    Having been an ass on several occasions I can relate. Time to take step back.

  131. Michael says:


    You know why I’m up this late?
    I can’t sleep because of the realization tonight that the bad guys have won for now.
    In the meantime one of the guys that I have tested by fire comes on to dialog and you throw as much garbage as your hand can hold because he is putting your unbiblical notions to the test.
    If you hate pastors so much then just cop to it and that can be the end of the discussion.
    If you want to be someone who makes a contribution to being a change agent then you need to know what the Bible and history say to people in context and in our culture today.

  132. Michael says:

    I’m going to bed now…and if anyone has further questions I’ll answer them in morning.
    This thing has only been here for ten years and I assume it will be intact in the morning.

  133. brian says:

    Why am I up this late, because when I was a kid I stood next to a fireplace and caught on fire like an idiot and I have been up late ever sense, well actually before but that is a post I will not post here. But I have always been up late, and usually get up early. Still remember watching the mental psychotic rantings of Herbert W. Armstrong and his kid Garner Ted Armstrong, as a kid these guys scared the hell out of me. I would sneak out early in the morning or late at night right before the national anthem and the ambiguous test pattern.


    This is most likely the most iconic memory of the Christian religion in America and amalgamation of color and grey patterns. I still love late night gospel shows, some of them are the most honest, once one filters out the big chiefs like Hinn, Copeland, and the other megabucks folks you get these ministries of people just trying to make sense of the data. They are just trying to fill in the gaps, without admitting they were filling in the gaps. I will take some sign carrying “fundie” any day of the week in comparison to those high up in the corporation. God takes the broken glass and makes it whole.

  134. brian says:

    “Do you meet in someone’s home or elsewhere?”

    An aside if God Himself relieved Himself to me this is one line I will never cross even on the damnation of my soul meeting in the home of a person in the faith community. This is a line drawn in the sand one does not cross that, meeting in a home. It may just be me but nope, I wont ever fall in that area again even being invited, I always insisted, it is in public, multiple acceptance and if possible recorded. Other then that I dont meet with people. way to much baggage.

  135. David sloane says:

    Brian @134,

    Some of the best times of fellowship for me were in those home meetings that I had attended. One of them was called “The Ressurection Fellowship.”

    It would always begin by lots of hardy worship. Then some prophecy by some seasoned saints. After that someone would share from the Bible.

    By the time we got to praying for one another most of us were out of the flesh and into the Spirit. We would have what we called the “love seat” in the center of the room.

    One by one we took turns sitting there while everyone else laid hands on us and prayed for us. Prophecy was prevelant with words of knowledge and words of wisdom. Everyone who sat in that seat came out of it in much peace in their soul.

    There were other home fellowships I attended also. Lonnie Frisbee’s home fellowships were very memorable for the power of God that was displayed in them. His brother Stan has a great home fellowship that to this day is one of the finest.

    I am sorry to hear you won’t meet in a persons home in the faith community. I think that you are missing out on experiencing the love that usually is there from others towards everyone.

    I visited erunner in his home with my son one Sunday afternoon and left edyified by him. I was glad that I had taken the time to meet with him in his home.

  136. Linnea says:

    Late to the Rushmore party, but have to say mine would have:

    Corrie Ten Boom
    Edith Schaeffer
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    AW Tozer and

    if I could add a face: Watchman Nee

  137. Can’t believe how much love Corrie Ten Boom is getting in this thread. That’s Wonderful!

  138. “most of us were out of the flesh and into the Spirit.”

    What does this mean? Is it like the Transfiguration – can you really tell the difference while it is happening or does someone else need to tell you “dude, you were really out of the flesh and into the spirit.” ?

  139. Well I am not at the SPC again this year. Took a class at my church taught by a seminary prof. I figured I would learn more. Love the fellowship of the guys but didn’t want to send part of the church’s money going to a conference hanging with the guys, getting excited not learning something. Hope that doesnt sound arrogant

  140. “By the time we got to praying for one another most of us were out of the flesh and into the Spirit.”

    This is an idiomatic language called “Christianeze”.

    I used to speak it. Let me try to translate it for our readers. Loosely it means,

    “By the time we got praying for one another most of us were focused on the presence of God and had lost our awareness of our selves and our first world self-centeredness…”

  141. Crowned1 says:

    Considering that social security is prospective…those who ‘opt out’ (doesn’t matter the reasons) are only hurting the generation that came before you.

    If you truly did not want to receive the benefits, it is your children who should opt out. I’m speaking fiscally only of course…I’m paying in now, and the monies I send assist my parents…I will likely not see any SS benefits as the well is about dried up.

    It is a very confusing system…but if I opt out, I only hurt my parents. That’s how dry the well is.

  142. Gary says:

    God takes the broken glass and makes a stained glass window. Your brokenness and honesty are shining through.

  143. Gary says:

    I wish I could’ve been involved in your home meetings or one like them. I saw some imitations. Left discouraged. Bummer.

  144. Gary says:

    Enter the skeptic; the mocker. He says “It never happened to me therefore it never happened to anyone. There. End of story.”

    ( lo )====::: explained it pretty well. Not at all like the transfiguration. More like the upper room just before Pentecost.

  145. Gary says:

    Crowned 1,
    Are you saying that if you opt out you’re not paying in and the well will dry up sooner?

  146. erunner says:

    MLD and G, I have met David Sloane as he stated and he’s a genuine man. I get made fun of at times because I still talk at times as I’m still in the 60’s and 70’s. For that matter people my age (59) in a few weeks still act and dress as if they’re still living in those years.

    I agree with David that brian is missing out by not seeing other believers in his or their homes. And in stating why he used language he’s comfortable with. Nothing wrong with that as we all express ourselves differently.

    g, I’m a bit surprised at you as you went off big time on David recently when you took exception to a post he left and it appears now you are talking down to him when you state you used to speak christianeze as if it was something you have grown out of. I saw his post and took from it he was seeking to encourage brian. Nothing more. Nothing less.

  147. Steve Wright says:

    Michael, I took the bait and got off topic…but I’ll blame you for doing so first. 🙂

    I thought we all were going to have a conversation, but I did not really know Q as a poster before last night……now I do.

    If I was prophetic and knew when my kid would fall asleep, I would not have asked those questions. Yes, there is always the next day to continue to discussion….I agree it is frustrating to have someone ask questions and leave, but post 123 is pretty clear that the questions weren’t going to be answered, so it is rather funny to THEN be ripped for leaving.

    Live and learn.

  148. Nonnie says:

    Michael, His mercies are new each morning. Praying for you and that your “E-ciggy” is doing the trick.

  149. Gary – not skeptical at all, just asking for a definition. I had never heard anyone describe themselves as out of their flesh… unless it was some biblical character being in a vision of sorts.

    It comes out sounding very gnostic – that I can do things “out of my flesh” that I cannot do “with my flesh”

    You may be different.

  150. Michael says:

    Thank you, Nonnie!

  151. erunner,

    I retranslate “Christianeze” idioms whenever i encounter them because they are impediments to our sharing our faith with others and enriching our faith dialog within our own communities.

    The intent of what was said was to describe the state of consciousness that happens when one focuses on God’s presence and less on one’s self, which is glorious beautiful and the heart-cry of each of us.

    Our idiomatic terminology is woefully exclusive and my translation is my contribution to be inclusive, so that any reader can understand how great it is to be in that state of focus on God and ignorance of self.

    I’m excited whenever anyone goes to a gathering and ends up in that beautiful place.

    That’s all, plain and simple.

  152. Xenia says:

    enriching our faith dialog within our own communities.<<<<

    And you don't think that's jargon?

  153. Michael says:


    I’m rarely up that late…and at some point if people don’t want to reason together it’s best to go to bed. 🙂

  154. erunner,
    As far as my recent post decrying the lie that someone was insisting was true, which has absolutely no biblical support, I stand with what I said about the lie. Even the most admirable person among us can offer their personal perspective, but when that perspective was a lie which sent my friends and family off to fight in wars they were drafted into or influenced to volunteer for in the name of that lie I will never remain silent. It was, and is, a damnable lie which killed our families and friends and forever destroyed their lives.

  155. Gary says:

    Sure you skeptical and there’s nothing wrong with skepticism but your skepticism is subject to your condescending attitude.
    Try to imagine what it was like for the disciples to be hiding in their upper room for all those days after Jesus told them to wait. There they were- scared, staring at each other, complaining, blaming, maybe cussing. After a while the heart speaks out. Lashes out. I imagine arguments breaking out. Maybe even fist fights. You can’t blame forever. Eventually they work out their frustrations and maybe they start talking about the good times. When that’s over some bright dufus asks a question about something Jesus did or said. This gets them all to thinking. They begin discussing important things bigger than themselves. Eventually stubborn self-centeredness gives way to a mere apology. They shake hands. maybe they embrace. Someone else realizes they hurt one of their fellows. They talk it out. They apologize and say they won’t do that again. Humility starts to leak out from one person to a small group. It spreads. This leads to inner satisfaction and more openness. Perhaps Peter even apologizes to one of the women he dissed.
    At one point all significant disagreements have been dealt with. There is a basic harmony. Without knowing it, somewhere along the line, the Holy Spirit has entered in. By the time Pentecost has come they’re ready to get out of themselves and minister to each other and to the world.
    It could happen.

  156. “enriching our faith dialog within our own communities.<<<<

    And you don't think that's jargon?"

    um, no, that’s actually how educated people speak.
    I use that terminology with any person educated in average American high school English and they immediately understand. I’ve had hundreds of conversations with people who are theists, atheists, different faiths, never a problem.

    As has been pointed out, the aforementioned post could have been misapplied as Gnostic mysticism.

  157. Xenia says:

    “enriching our faith dialog within our own communities.<<<<

    I know lots of educated Christians and none of them talk like that.

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

    That’s like saying you don’t believe in crepes because you’ve never tasted one.

  159. Q says:

    Steve Wright,

    If you mean I took you off topic, that isn’t so, you were already on that topic, I just asked a question?

    But I’m moderated, so I’m out, maybe Michael will let me comment another time.

  160. mike says:

    Just getting ’round to checking this thread.

    Nope, not really any opinion on pastors who chose to opt out of SSI. I say “they made a decision, let them abide the results”

    As to Mt Rushmore? Nope again. I don’t have anyone that I would carve out a mountain sized Idol/Graven Image for… And God declined that particular mode of devotion, even for Himself, a long time ago.


  161. Muff Potter says:

    I too am a survivor. Back in the day when I was a young guilt-ridden Army vet from the Vietnam era, I bought the CC goods hook line and sinker. I am so glad to have been able to throw out the bath water and keep the baby Jesus. Others have not been so lucky:

    “The weak are the meat which the strong do eat…”

  162. Michael says:


    You really are pompous.
    Nobody is suggesting either graven images or idolatry.
    We are honoring those whose lives and teachings have spoken Christ into our lives.
    The writer of Hebrews did that as I recall…

  163. I think he is taking the Rushmore thing literally.

    Yes, if I start carving Billy Graham’s head into Crowder’s Mtn., somebody stop me. However, mentioning 4 guys who have influenced my faith on a message board is probably OK.

  164. Gary says:

    “The weak are the meat which the strong do eat…”
    yet the strong don’t belong in God’s judgement seat.
    Nor a Buddhist or the crudest on a slippery slope
    Reincarnation gives the emptiest hope.
    Special effects notwithstanding.

  165. Neo. says:

    G, MLD, Gary, ect….

    David Sloane was merely communicating his experience with God. We all experience God in our own ways. Why should you be the arbiter of what is valid and what is not? Maybe I do not experience God in the same way or by the same means as David, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is any more or less valid.

    It appears like someone shared their personal experience with God and it was rebutted, dissected, and questioned for no other reason then it is not yours or my “style”.

  166. Xenia says:

    Neo, I agree. To elaborate on a response made to me by G (“That’s like saying you don’t believe in crepes because you’ve never tasted one”) I can say “Just because you never experienced an “in the Spirit moment” doesn’t mean they never happen.

  167. Kevin H says:

    No literal Mt. Rushmore carvings for me either. I was only planning on getting bobbleheads made for mine. Does that count as graven images? 😛

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

    Communication is everything when it comes to increasing the kingdom.
    Using insider language excludes.
    Using sacred texts in arcane language excludes.

    But, hey, it’s all good, I’m feeling led and have an anointing to flibspork a creebow of sprankets.

    Shondala dandasan…

  169. Gary says:

    I was responding more to MLD than David. (#144 and #155) This board is a give and take. You said to me (and others) just what you complained that we said to David. I’m no arbiter. I’m just a guy posting on a thread. By the way I didn’t rebut, dissect, or question. Rather I affirmed David and I have before. Are you really Neo? That Neo? Did you notice the cat?

  170. Gary says:

    Is there an interpreter in the room? 🙂

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

    “Just because you never experienced an “in the Spirit moment” doesn’t mean they never happen.”

    Um, I’m a worship facilitator, so every gathering, every moment of awe and wonder in liturgy, every expression of music & art which enriches others, pop or iconic,
    every time I quiet my soul I experience “in the Spirit” moments.

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

    I’m desperate to share the reality and accessibility of “in The Spirit” moments, especially with those who can’t relate to our subculture

  173. Xenia says:

    every time I quiet my soul I experience “in the Spirit” moments.<<<

    You did not catch the irony.

    Nevertheless, I don't understand why, if you enjoy your "in the Spirit" moments you can't allow others to enjoy theirs. I know, I know. You want them to use *your* *educated* vocabulary instead of using the language they they are comfortable using.

  174. Rob says:

    Did anyone say Wycliffe? Where would the church be today without Bible translations in the languages people speak.

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

    Wouldn’t it be nice to include others?
    I’m only speaking in common English, not “educated” English.
    Do you only speak Russian and refuse others the opportunity to understand and rejoice with you?
    …or is this simply because it’s me raising the point?

    Never mind exclude away, in the name of Logos.

  176. Xenia says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice to include others?<<<

    But I see you excluding David. He has to talk like you want him to talk.

    Can you really not see this?

  177. Xenia says:

    The reason I am making such a big deal out of this is I hate to see all our differences and peculiarities homogenized down so no one feels left out or uncomfortable, that we are going to jump on a person who is just describing his experience in words he is accustomed to using. If David wants to talk about his flesh vs spirit experiences, God bless him. He does not have to edit his narrative* into some kind of PC-speak. I personally find emergent-speak annoying but I don’t expect you to change your manner of speech to accommodate those of us who are not emergent. If we are going to cherish diversity then we are going to have to tolerate a little… diversity.

    * See, I used an emergent word for you 🙂

  178. Steve Wright says:

    David Sloane, thank you for sharing.

    “I retranslate “Christianeze” idioms whenever i encounter them” – I’m glad you’re on the payroll there G. Quite a calling you took for yourself there.

    Taking issue with someone contrasting the flesh with the Spirit (which is where this all started) is to take issue with the Bible itself, because there are few more common ideas found in the New Testament than that particular contrast. Funny that God seems to want us to know those key idioms that have spoken indispensable truth for centuries. (I think the word, indispensable, is taught in high school too)

    Of course, when one effectively rejects all but four of the New Testament books….

    That somehow key Scriptural teachings now are dismissed as Christianeze and in need of a translator so as not to exclude anyone on a Christian blog is mind boggling to me.

    Especially when said translation sounds like the local mayor before some inter-faith prayer breakfast at the Rotary Club. (enriching our faith dialog within our own communities)

    That’s my opinion. And I’m sure I will be challenged for offering it.

  179. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia said it better… 🙂

  180. Xenia says:

    And by the way, I do not speak Russian.

  181. Xenia says:

    And G, you brought up “educated,” not me:

    “um, no, that’s actually how educated people speak.”

  182. Michael says:

    It is the diversity that makes it worth being here.
    Homogenization of traditions leaves having traditions pointless and the faith itself colorless.

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

    Christianeze marginalizes others. Plain speech does not.

  184. Xenia says:

    Plain speech does not.<<<

    Of course it can. Depends on what you are saying.

    Your "enriching our faith dialog within our own communities" phrase marginalizes (or at least, irritates) those who are not part of the "all paths lead to God" crowd.

    I was marginalized by that phrase.

  185. Lutheran says:


    I expect better from you veterans.

    Parsing the language one uses to express oneself and parsing mystical experiences?

    And really? Winners and losers, Steve Wright? Are we in junior high?

    Come on.

    How bout everyone taking a breath before it gets even uglier.

  186. Steve Wright says:

    Gosh Lutheran, I write one thing…

    Xenia said what I was trying to say, better. Not winners, not losers. Don’t know where that idea came from. If I had waited a few more minutes I would not have posted my first at all for I would have seen her post instead of crossing in the posting. I agree with her too, it is a big deal. And if the community is going to be self-correcting as Michael desires (and you demonstrate here too) then the initial criticism of David was worthy of response.

    Your junior high insult crack is duly noted even as you express yourself as the mature one expecting better….

    I’ll take my breath now.

  187. Crowned1 says:

    Gary @ 145 “Are you saying that if you opt out you’re not paying in and the well will dry up sooner?”

    I can’t tell if you are trolling me? Yes, when you put less in…there’s less.

  188. Xenia says:

    Sometimes I think Pastor Steve can post “The sky is blue” and half the blog will jump down his throat.

  189. covered says:

    “Welcome to the Phoenix Preacher, don’t forget your tetanus shot…” It’s safer to lurk.

  190. Gary says:

    What is trolling?

  191. Muff Potter says:

    Gary @ # 190:

    When I was a kid growing up in Wisconsin we used to go north of Green Bay (home of the Packers) and troll for lake trout out on lake Michigan. Lake trout can be finicky and only go for certain lures.

  192. Gary says:

    So trolling is dragging a line to catch something or maybe looking to stir up trouble. Wish I was that smart but, no, I’m not looking for trouble. It took me a while to cipher what Crowned 1 was saying. Seems odd cuz it looks like there’s trouble already.

  193. Gary says:

    Seriously, I feel like the ignoramus here most of the time.

  194. “Your “enriching our faith dialog within our own communities” phrase marginalizes (or at least, irritates) those who are not part of the “all paths lead to God” crowd.

    I was marginalized by that phrase.”

    When I posted “enriching our faith dialog within our own communities” I was speaking solely of ::our:: dialog within ::our:: faith communities (church services, midweek and Saturday gatherings, home bible studies and prayer meetings, afterglows, retreats, monistaries, worship conferences, masses).

    Perhaps someone missed the word “our”?

    Who said anything about “all paths lead to God”?

  195. I retranslate Christianeze as a free service until Google figures out the algorithm.

  196. Gary, don’t worry you aren’t the only one. 🙂

    Ricky Bobby sounds crudely familiar.

  197. Muff Potter says:

    Gary, you ARE NOT an ignoramus. If I had one hundred shares of Apple stock for every time I’ve walked into a mine field on “Christian” blogs and yanked the trip wires, I’d be fabulously wealthy!

  198. Xenia says:

    I was speaking solely of ::our:: dialog within ::our:: faith communities (church services, midweek and Saturday gatherings, home bible studies and prayer meetings, afterglows, retreats, monistaries, worship conferences, masses).<<<

    Well then everybody in that group knows what flesh and spirit means! So no problem! We all speak Christianese here and no one was marginalized.

  199. erunner says:

    RB, Your 195 is crass and has no place on a blog where Christians gather.

  200. “We all speak Christianese here and no one was marginalized.”

    Um, well, no, my atheist, agnostic, Jewish and other friends who lurk regularly do not speak Cristianeze, which is why I try to remember to translate Christianeze to plain English for them and others who don’t quite yet feel comfortable to post.

  201. jlo says:

    “Ricky Bobby sounds crudely familiar.”

    Dear God, I hope not. I believe I am truly burnt out on that whole episode and am need of a break of more than a couple of days.

    Honestly, if that’s the situation, I’m left with little choice, other than to depart company.

  202. Michael says:

    I dont know who it is, but I do know that they are now moderated.
    As you were…

  203. Xenia says:

    Yet you (G) said: ” I was speaking solely of ::our:: dialog within ::our:: faith communities”<<<<

    … which I took to be Christians but now you are including atheists.

    I give up, you win. Translate away.

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

    Our faith communities belong to anyone who chooses to be part of them, regardless of the depth of their “commitment” to Christ, because He is committed to anyone who is willing to sit at the banquet table and engage in some small way. My entry was through a Roman Catholic upbringing. When I began a yearning to know abut God it was through my returning to my upbringing. For some it’s about being told abut a blog where believers actually debate and argue in the best Jewish tradition of dialog and discussion. For others it’s about seriously struggling with their faith, however small, perhaps it’s the faith of their parents, entrusted to them through the sacrament of infant baptism or confirmation, or having accompanied a friend to a Harvest Crusade or Christian retreat camp, or a contemplative retreat while walking a labyrinth. Each person is somewhere unique on their journey, being wooed by The Holy Spirit. I sincerely want to try to make faith easier to enter, more accessible to my seeker friends who don’t object to Jesus per se, but have legitimate struggles with individuals within the church.

  205. I am just having a hard time believing that G spent that much time defending his translating of someone’s comment.
    Unbelievable and actually not very defensible.
    I have seen many people say things they shouldn’t have and then never admit they shouldn’t have.
    Probably done that myself many times.

  206. Believe what you want, Derek, I’m deadly serious that this subculture does more to impede than advance the kingdom. We have our own inner circle language and speak in riddles when we should not.

  207. Xenia says:

    because He is committed to anyone who is willing to sit at the banquet table<<<

    But this is an example of Christian jargon. I am glad you said it and not David or he'd need a translator for sure!

  208. Xenia says:

    I am a little dumbfounded myself that I am still batting this ping pong ball back and forth all afternoon.

  209. G, you could have privately e-mailed your friends all of this information. Instead you publicly make a brother look like the caricature you claim he already is. I say again, indefensible.

  210. Why does the gift of tongues only shine when there is an interpretation?
    So that the hearer can be edified (built up) by having understanding, not just by having a spiritual “blessing”.

  211. Derek, I made his comment more understandable to anyone who reads along.

  212. Xenia, your #203 had it right. Some people will never admit to error and then like a lot of people, gotta find that scripture to back their error up.

  213. No thanks. Enough pomposity for the night.

  214. Michael says:

    Must be a slow day in many places today…this isn’t worth disputing this long over.

  215. “What is really startling is that even atheists are putting up videos of common phrases that we use pointing out that we often mean the opposite of what we say. Unfair accusation and perception? Or do we need to undergo a challenging examination of ourselves? Maybe, as Jesus said, our yes should be yes, and our no, no. People who have not yet trusted in Jesus yearn for authenticity!”

  216. My last post on this…
    “People who have not yet trusted in Jesus yearn for authenticity!”

  217. Michael’s #215. Correct.
    But still, makes me want to put up as much christianese as possible now. 😉

  218. Steve Wright says:

    The vacancy for “Advocate For All the The Intelligent, Logical Atheists Who Criticize The Body of Christ And Never Post Here” has been quickly filled.

    Nature abhors a vacuum.

    (We can pull the want ad) 🙂

  219. Bob says:

    ““By the time we got praying for one another most of us were focused on the presence of God and had lost our awareness of our selves and our first world self-centeredness…””

    I was going to write about something else, but that’s good!

  220. Nonnie says:

    Sometimes my husband and I will get into the most idiotic (yet at that time it seems important and principled!) “discussions” (arguments). He said one thing and I heard something else. (or vice versa)
    We can go round and round about it. And usually at the end of it, he knows what he said and I know what he said, and we still don’t agree.
    (I can’t understand why he doesn’t know that I am right! ;-D )

    But we kiss and make up. Eventually, we laugh about it and tell stories on ourselves to our kids, and we thank God for one another. We count our blessings and remind ourselves how thankful we are to have one another.

  221. Gary says:

    Folks, it’s tired and I’m late…

    Every group may have their lingo from a groupie to a gringo.
    Skinheads speak skinheadical and MD’s chat in medical
    Teachers speak grammatical. Radicals chant in radical.
    Musical is spoke by singers. Deaf and drivers use their fingers

    The world does not revolve around the words I use or how I sound.
    Let’s get over condescension. Before you post- pay attention!
    Those of you with education speak to us for edification.
    Let this be an intercessor. You, the greater bless the lesser.

    Yikes! Sounds like a second rate musical from the ’30’s. There are other things nature abhors- it’s writing after sense has gone to sleep.

  222. Gary, you are pretty much brilliant with your little poems. Well done!

  223. Gary says:

    Wow. Thanks Josh. Looks like everyone else has moved on.

  224. Xenia says:

    I agree with Josh. I hope you write more of these! Maybe one for each thread, if it isn’t asking too much? 🙂

  225. As an aside, re # 222 – Several of my friends joined a skinhead gang when we were teenagers, so I kind of grew up on the outskirts of that culture, and yes, they do have their own language. They said things like “Oi, Oi, Oi!” a lot. I still don’t know what that means.

  226. I think I started the discussion about “language” used by David Sloane (see my 138)

    I agree people of different sub groups / sub cultures use their own language – but my question that went unanswered was;
    1.) What does that mean>
    2.) When you are in the spirit, do you know that you are in the spirit or is it unrecognizable to oneself?
    3.) Do people on the outside point it out to you?

    A lady in my office, and I were looking at a CA map yesterday and she said is that county called YOLO? I said yes. She then told me her 14 yr old son and his friends always say YOLO to her.

    I means nothing to others, so why say it with out definition – – You Only Live Once

  227. Josh,

    from the Urban Dictionary…


  228. I’m leaning towards the “working class” definition.

  229. mrtundraman says:

    “Sometimes I think Pastor Steve can post “The sky is blue” and half the blog will jump down his throat.”

    That’s because he’s more likely to post that the sky is green.

  230. mrtundraman says:

    Steve asked “Lutheran (and Tundra) are these retirement systems though in LIEU OF social security? In other words, do these denominational pastors all opt out because the denominations are there with something waiting?”

    I don’t know of any denomination where ALL pastors opt out. The one that I know pretty well offers the option on an individual basis.

  231. mrtundraman says:

    ” SS is a pay-as-you-go system. You get out of it proportional to what you put in. ”

    It really isn’t. I will be putting in for at least 15 more years but have reached the maximum I can possibly get out of it. I would never contribute voluntarily to such a decrepit system if I had any real choice.

  232. mrtundraman says:

    Steve wrote “Actually, this debate goes away rather quickly if we follow “pay taxes to whom taxes are due” – Game, set, match.”

    Not true since for clergy Social Security is not a “due”, they _can_ opt out. And that’s fine if they are not on the dole later on.

  233. PP Vet says:

    MTM has ” … reached the maximum (he) can possibly get out of (Social Security).”

    It is based on the highest 35 years of earnings.

    There are already 35 years in which you earned the SocSec maximum – but you plan to work for 15 more years?

    You are even more awesome than I previously thought. 🙂

  234. PP Vet Going For the Double says:

    SW #83 says “the system is designed for stay at home wives to get half the husband’s SS check”.

    Yes – the concurrent Social Security spousal benefit is one of the great remaining legacies of country based on a historic morality.

    Very politically incorrect.

    But wonderful.

    So if my wife never earned a penny, she gets $500 per month even while I am getting my $1000 (or whatever) a month, just for being my wife.

    There is some fine print about when she starts taking that, etc., but that is the idea.

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