Open Blogging: 04/12/2024

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38 Responses

  1. Reuben says:

    Things I Think

    1. I want to IRL meet Josh some day so we can solve all the problems.

    2. I miss having a cat, and the worst thing about Facebook is seeing all of Michael’s posts about them reminding me of how badly I need another cat.

    3. Pink Floyd is the greatest band that ever existed. Period.

    4. Purple is the best color though. 😀

    5. Christopher Hitchens is still in my mind the greatest writer that ever lived. Prophesy wonks say he accepted Jesus on his death bed. I doubt it, but if he did, he experienced the purist form of salvation there is. I wonder what he would write now regardless of his eternal state…

    6. Taylor created the greatest common man guitars ever made. Martin got too proud and doesn’t sell anything for what the common man can afford.

    7. Alcoholism is the worst. Addiction in general is the worst. I live in a work program that is entirely homeless addicts. You should hear our stories. They are all tragic. The world could benefit from it greatly.

    8. AA is religious oppression. Garbage. It keeps you condemned by God. You never have a way out because you are always reminding yourself of what alcohol did. Every day of you are a good AA Christian. It may work for some to keep them off the bottle, but they all admit they can’t overcome the addiction.

    9. Baseball season is here, but my team (the Rockies) are on course to be the worst this year than ever before with two thirds games horrifically lost already. But something about that fresh cut grass and the crack of a bat… mmmm, it’s so refreshing.

    10. When you have been reduced to nothing, you have a fresh start. It’s my silver lining. I wonder what life will be like now. I wonder if my son will ever see me as a father again. I am guilt ridden to admit I wonder if I will ever love again. All I know is today I carved a cigarette in the worst way, and I was handed one by a stranger about 10 minutes later. Probably a sin, but I thanked God.

    What does everyone else think?

  2. Michael says:

    I think I’ll send you a pack…a good smoke can be a great comfort.

    I think about you often when I post cat stuff…I know you and Becky were cat lovers.

    Praying for the day when you have them all around you again…I don’t think I would have made it through the last few years without my feline kin…

  3. Reuben says:

    We did love cats. My favorite was a bottle baby rescue, a Russian Blue girl I named Blue. She was with me till I gave all the animals to Becky’s favorite vet to give them up for adoption. The dogs too. Our two dogs loved each other, and they were adopted by a family as a pair. A blessing to Becky’s heart I am sure. I don’t know where all the cats went but I trust they are in good homes.

    I miss the cats in the worst way.

  4. Josh says:

    Reuben – I will fly out to Colorado and hang some day in the next few years. It shall happen.

    Always was an animal guy. When my kids were small I had a small farm, really just pets. Goats, pigs, chickens, a dog and two cats. Moved to a neighborhood a few years ago and could only take my cats. Those guys got me through some awful times. Lost them like I lost everything else.

    Life is looking like it has an opportunity to better than my wildest dreams. Maybe I’ll even get a cat again one day.

  5. Dan from Georgia says:

    Reuben…what are your thoughts about Guild and Breedlove acoustics? I have been thinking for a while of getting one…my dad have a really nice Guild. Taylor’s might be out of my price range.

  6. Reuben says:

    Guild was awesome when they were made in the USA. Fender bought out the name and started manufacturing them overseas. I never played one I liked after that. They lost all tonal quality that the old ones had.

    Breedlove has some super guitars and some sloppy guitars. I knew a worship leader who swore by them, but his models were in the thousands. I played them and they were tight sounding, but nice. I am sure the upper end ones will age well.

    Don’t get fooled by Taylor’s cosmetic masterpiece guitars, they cost a ton, but the 300 series guitars are really great sounding. I had a 315ce for decades that was one of the cheapest but best sounding guitars I ever owned. You have to try the lower end guitars and play with your ear. You would be surprised.

  7. Reuben says:

    Martin makes awesome guitars and junk. They don’t seem to have an in between. So you can find affordable Martins but again, playing with your ear, they are nothing like the real ones.

  8. jtk says:

    i’m trying to walk a friend through the difference between theological liberalism versus conservatism and political liberalism versus conservatism. He doesn’t seem to understand the theological spectrum.

    Any pointers?

  9. jtk says:

    Our definitions of evangelical fall flat as well…

  10. Michael says:


    Liberal and conservative are really rubbish adjectives theologically.

    You would have to walk someone through the history of the historical critical method of the 1800’s German theologians and the response by 19th -20th century fundamentalists.

    You have to know who Friedrich Schleiermacher was.

    He was the father of liberal theology…his primary opponent was Karl Barth…

    “Liberal ” theologians have taught us a lot about how to parse our sacred text…while also promoting some deep error.

    These were theologians coming out of the Enlightenment and trying to pout scientific methods to the Bible.

    If you’re trying to make a binary set of opposites, you’re barking up a dead tree…

  11. Michael says:

    Evangelicalism: The Bebbington Quadrilateral

    Historian David Bebbington has suggested that evangelicals believe in conversion (being born-again), biblicism (the need to base one’s faith fundamentally on the Bible), the theological priority of the cross (Jesus died for sinners), and activism (the need to share one’s faith with others).

  12. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Reuben! My dad’s Guild was really nice, but he didn’t take good care of it…the bridge started to separate from the body. I will have to look into the Taylor line.

  13. JD says:

    Been playing Gibsons since 1966. Kind of a midwestern thang.

  14. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Some scholars were theologically orthodox and conservative but mastered the text-critical/historical methods (Adolf Schlatter comes to mind and since his students included Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer he deserves a bit more attention in the US than he has heretofore gotten!). The late Gordon Fee was a textual scholar who affirmed Pauline authorship of many epistles that have long since been regarded as pseudonymous by mainstream Pauline scholarship. G. B. Caird was a liberal Protestant who affirmed Pauline authorship of Ephesians. It’s important to evaluate scholars and theologians on a case by case and topic by topic basis. I don’t agree with Brunner’s diffidence at the doctrine of the virgin birth, for instance, but his withering appraisal of Schleiermacher in The Mediator was rock solid. Barth became more famous but there were some significant objections to Schleiermacher’s project across the neo-orthodox camp.

    That liberal German Protestantism didn’t preclude jingoistic nationalism in WWI (Harnack) was a catalyst in what got called the theology of crisis. That stars of theologically liberal Protestantism in Germany signed on for jingoistic policies we’d regard as right-wing to literally Nazi is a warning to not bundle theological and political dualisms as closely as Anglo-American polemicists conservative and progressive continually seem to do.

    In Reformed (or merely self-designated “Reformed”) circles it’s all too easy to surmise that egalitarians are invariably rainbow flag wavers. I grew up in old school Pentecostal settings enough and had a stint with Salvationists that I know firsthand that canard is not even remotely true. Plus there’s Michael’s explanations here about his view. Still,, it seems worth noting.

  15. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    For years I wanted a Gibson hollow-body but it was always beyond my price range. Then I shifted to classical guitar decades ago and gave up on getting a Gibson. I haven’t played my Tele in years but I can’t part with it.

    I used to hear great things about Martin. Sad to hear they are so hit or miss. Now I’m remembering when Ovations were getting talked up and, ugh, those rounded backs tick me off. Talk about a guitar designed only to be worn with a strap!

  16. Reuben says:


    Early 90s when I was heavily involved in Vineyard, Ovations were so hip. Great stage guitars back in the day, the plug in sound was super, until we all discovered wood sounded better off stage. The necks were to narrow, and yeah, needed that strap.

  17. Reuben says:

    Gibson ES-335 is still a bucket list guitar.

  18. Reuben says:

    Gibson also makes a Jumbo acoustic that costs way too much ch but anyone who has let me play theirs, I almost stole it from them. Explosive tone.

  19. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    yeah, the ES-335 is a thing of beauty! 🙂

  20. Linn says:

    I love your Bebbington Quadrilateral. I’ve just about dropped the term “evengelical” from my vocabulary because of the visceral reaction I get from some people when they ask me what church I go to (all the Trump associations, of course). Recently I’ve been using just “Christian.” If they want more information, I’ll camp out on “Bible believing.” I don’t want to shut down a valuable opportunity to share Jesus just because someone things I belong to a certain candidate or party.

  21. Michael says:


    You did that better than I did…thank you.

  22. Michael says:


    It is one of the tragedies of our time that we’ve distorted even the meaning of common theological terms.

    Bebbington’s definition has been disputed and altered over the years, but I think it’s a reasonable definition.

  23. Dan from Georgia says:

    I do remember there was some hoopla around the Ovations in the 80s. I will need to try out some different brands of acoustics. I am also in the market for a nylon string classical guitar. Electrics?…I’m all stocked up…Les Paul, Strat, and an OLD Ibanez Roadstar II…see Michael J fox in the band audition scene from “Back To The Future”.

  24. Reuben says:


    I have always wanted to be able to play Flamenco like Ottmar Liebert and the ilk. Nylon guitars can get hyper spendy too.

    The guitar that always interested me is Rainsong. Entirely carbon fiber. No movement or warping, sound super loud. You can use them as a boat paddle and play it straight away. Extremely strong and vocal top sheets. Another spendy guitar though…

  25. Dan from Georgia says:

    made me laugh with the “you can use them as a boat paddle..”….never heard of that brand…will look it up.

  26. Janet Linn, BrideofChrist says:

    Reuben, I love Pink Floyd, too. I saw them live in Boston when I was in high school. Their colored lights and fog show was amazing, and so was their music!

  27. Reuben says:

    I have only ever seen video recorded shows. 🙁


  28. The New Victor says:

    I saw the last tour in Oakland. We waited in line for hours and by the time we got up to the counter, they’d added a show, but we still got nosebleed seats off-axis such that we could only see the very front of the stage. We filtered down lower after an hour at others did. To the credit of security, they didn’t kick us out as we were filling in between rows as we could as we saw space. And a little on the steps.

    Years later, I was able to randomly score a 7th row seat to Rush. It was a quirk of being a lone seat ticket. The usher caught us trying to fit in my buddy and sent him into the upper seats just as Rush started.

  29. Reuben says:

    Yep. Jealousy

  30. Shawn says:

    Long reply alert…

    Rueben nice post! I feel good enough to engage.

    2. Our cat Shadow has been one of the biggest blessings of our lives. I am thankful for him. He helps me get through the days I just do not feel well.
    3. I mostly agree with you. I am not sure who I would categorize as the greatest. I get on Pink Floyd listening kicks. They were just so diversely creative. There is a version of “Have a Cigar” by Elephant Revival that I think is quite superb. I listen to “Time” quite often. It is a lyrical masterpiece as is much of their stuff. I have been on a Punk Rock kick lately with Social Distortion. Definitely not as creative and diverse as Pink Floyd but some of the lyrics have been hitting home and leading me straight into worship.
    4- I will have to respectfully disagree. I pretty much loathe all shades of purple except for in the natural world.
    5- Never read much Hitchens. I have read some Dawkins and always felt he was a bit pompous. I have seen some clips of Hitchens speaking that I found interesting.
    6. I keep dreaming of getting a Taylor. I strummed a few of other peoples over the years. I liked most of them, but some were too tinny for my taste. I have five guitars now: An Oscar Schmidt acoustic that I really like and it only cost me $100 but I wish it had electronics; A Johnson cutaway acoustic with electronics unfortunately something is wrong with the neck and the action after the 12th is too high. It was a gift from my students when I taught Bible College. I actually really miss playing that guitar; a Fender acoustic, low end Strat; A 1970’s Alvarez acoustic with the same issues as the Johnson; a Yamaha nylon string that belonged to my mom; and finally a RJP semi-hollowbody electric that was a gift from a humble man who was a dealer and connoisseur of lower price point models that played really well. He gave away a lot of guitars. I am itching to play guitar but I have really messed up my right shoulder and arm. The pain is just unbearable at times.
    7. Our pristine Christian and patriotic town tries to hide its drug and alcohol problem as it would be a blight on tourism. Our solution is to dump possibly millions of dollars into a ministry that is only about 8% effective (I know these things are complex but there must be a more prudent way; and I do rejoice for those 8% and hope for the other 92%.
    We live in a huge Midwest Music tourism hotspot that has had other problems as well. We had a large summer camp that tried to cover up sexual assault internally only to get exposed nationally. We seem to attract disgraced televangelists who seek to reestablish their former glory.
    We are overbuild nightly rental properties while destroying the natural beauty that attracts just as many people to the area as music does. And so on.
    We also have a town full of many wonderful people doing amazing things. For one a young girl started a Ministry for Africa girls in Kenya maybe 13 years ago at the age of 14. Now her ministry has come full circle and spends just as much time within the local community by offering amongst many things a cooling and warming center for the homeless of the area most of whom have some type of addiction.
    8. I always found it strange that there never seemed to be a point of clear victory in AA.
    9. I used to love sports. I understand the nostalgia. I don’t really want to watch baseball anymore because my team changed their name to the Guardians. Blah!
    10. This truth has so much nuance and variation. For me it has been my health. I have feared death, I know I am not a real Christian or at least from the super stock of them that never fear anything especially death. After all “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
    I should stop for a moment and say that it is not that I don’t want to be there. I do but just not yet. I feel I still have much to accomplish like releasing my first double length album “The Trainwreck Suite” to rave reviews from critics and fans alike. Lol. But seriously, I am afraid of dying in the state I have been in which is a Zombie like state unable to muster up the energy to do most things much less a coherent thought, as you can tell.
    I also fear dying in the sense that I am responsible for taking care of the Lord’s Temple, my body, which I have done a poor job of doing. I have done such a poor job that my spiritual life and desire are adversely affected. I should mention that is something that serving in the ministry, graduating Bible College, and attending Seminary which was never taught. It is almost as if anything to do with the body, or our self-contained material reality, is by default bad, even evil, while being altogether unimportant and unredeemable. It almost seems Gnostic or Docetic to me.
    It has been almost every day since September 2022. It really kicked into gear last September after catching a whole host of bacterial infections from my father-in-law. Then I got Covid. Then I got more bacterial infections. Since last September my waking blood sugar readings have been 220-250. The infections and Covid created a spike. During the day I was lucky to get down to 185. The normal supplement I take that worked miracles in the past barely lowered it. I begged the doctors to run tests. They eventually did all while trying to peddle certain standard medications that mess with my heart in a very negative way.
    I am not stupid I know that most diabetics with sustained blood sugars this long will suffer from cardiac arrest which made the fear not only stronger but constant. I plead with God, too. Just like the doctors, God appeared to give me no answers but only a long list of seemingly pointless tests. I kept begging God to help. This went on for over 7 months. But God…
    One day while listening to “Ball and Chain” by Social Distortion I cried out in utter and absolute desperation to God. My cry was the exact lyrics of the song.
    “It’s been ten years and a thousand tears and look at the mess I am in,
    A broken nose and a broken heart and an empty bottle of gin,
    So I sit and I pray in my broken down Chevrolet,
    And I say to myself there has to be a better way.
    Take away, Take away, Take away this ball and chain
    Because I’m tired and I’m sick and I can’t take any more pain
    Take away, Take away, Take away this ball and chain never to return again
    Take away this ball and chain”
    At my most recent bottom, God met me in a secular Punk Rock song. The next day out of nowhere a video from a young woman about diabetes appeared in YouTube feed. Everything she said made sense. Her main point was about eating your food in a specific order. She also mentioned drinking Apple Cider Vinegar 30 minutes before your first and last meal of the day. I figured there was no harm trying though I was skeptical.
    The second day I woke up just under 200 at 199. Third day 197. Fourth day 184. Fifth Day 172. Sixth day 177. The next several days 160-168. The last five days 152-156. I even got as low as 93 and 108 a few days. I am now averaging about 125-150 throughout the day. Interestingly, today has been the second day that I have felt pretty good (except for my shoulder).
    I never thought I was ever going to feel good again and secretly resigned myself to death. I feel hope for the first again. Just like all the long dormant seeds that are just coming to life so am I. It even feels like it could last. Fingers crossed and petitions made.
    If I may offer and out of context encouragement to you brother, “He will restore the years the locusts ate.” I am not a prophet so I can’t tell you exactly what that will look like, with your son or love for that matter, all I can say is God seems to really enjoy redeeming what seems unredeemable and making possible what is impossible. At least that is my simplistic take on most of the Bible.
    And I doubt being thankful for even a cigarette probably doesn’t constitute mortal sin. Maybe just venal or is it the other way around. Lol. Keep on, brother.

  31. Reuben says:

    Thanks Shawn! I love Elephant Revival! I also love getting to know people, so thanks for doing a things! I wish everyone would!

  32. Reuben says:

    Michael should do a required Things I Think. They are so fun, and I always want to hear from different people.

  33. Dan from Georgia says:

    I like that idea Reuben!

  34. Captain Kevin says:

    I like the idea too. On the other hand, the things I think seem to be fleeting. It’s like the dreams I have. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat, thinking “What the heck? That was weird!” Two minutes later I remember nothing about it, other than the weirdness.

  35. Captain Kevin says:

    Shawn, if you’re not a real Christian, then neither am I.

    I sure do understand the pain issues. Praying for you.

  36. Reuben says:


    Even those things are worth reading about! You should do one!

    I once had an extremely vivid dream that I was trying to park the Starship Enterprise in New York city, and getting very aggravated that I couldn’t find a spot. Haha! Dreams can be fun!

  37. Captain Kevin says:

    That’s funny, Reuben. I’ll try.

  38. Muff Potter says:

    And while we’re at it…
    Has anybody else seen the pic of a little girl drawn and emaciated in Gaza?
    Biden needs to grow a pair and tell the monster (Netanyahu) he ain’t gettin’ another goddamn dime from American coffers until he lets the food trucks in.

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