Quiet Time

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68 Responses

  1. Surfer51 says:

    Still lurking not but not commenting.

  2. filbertz says:

    Immigration remains such a polarizing, contentious topic due to the nature of the framing of the issue on two predominant fronts. But as you have consistently said over the months and years, there are more facets that must be considered and the Church can speak to some of them–primarily that it is an issue of humanity, family, and individual persons who are needy, even desperate for safety, security, and opportunity. Your faithful reminders of scriptural injunctions to treat the alien with care and compassion have not fallen on (only) deaf ears. Be encouraged that you are faithful to your calling, your convictions, and Christ. My current stance on immigration has been shaped significantly by reading here. And as to the loss of readers who seek ear/eye candy, may God help them use the matter between the ears and behind the eyes more faithfully and fully.

  3. Michael says:

    Fil…many thanks for all that.

  4. Michael says:

    Surfer…were glad you’re still here…

  5. Xenia says:

    Amen, Michael. While I believe every country has the right (obligation, actually) to regulate its borders, tear-gassing children in not the way. People should read up on the history of America’s meddling in Central America and maybe they would realize we are reaping what we have sown and are still sowing.

    Google the United Fruit Company for starters.

    It’s hard to have a reasonable discussion with folks who don’t know the history, and a reasonable discussion is exactly what is needed right now. Otherwise, you get people on both sides with draconian ideas. (But I prefer people with extreme compassion over those with extreme xenophobia.)

    If you get all your information from Fox, watch CNN for a few days.
    If you get all your information from CNN, watch Fox for a few days.

    Get a feeling for the kinds of things that are scaring and upsetting your fellow Americans.

    I would advise completely avoiding the extremists like Rush Limbaugh. He doesn’t even believe most of what he says, IMO. Whoever is his leftist version, avoid him, too.

    Just look at all people as beings created in the Image of God. See Christ in everyone.

    I greatly appreciate Michael’s decision to go for truth over popularity. (I know he’s lost some readers over the years for sticking up for Orthodox me.)

    I think everyone should buy Duane’s book and help the ol’ PPhx out a little.

    And you lurkers…. come on out of the woodwork! Just say “hi!” if nothing else! I for one am always mindful of your presence.


  6. Dan from Georgia says:

    I’m still here Micheal. Haven’t commented lately due to personal issues.

  7. Josh The Baptist says:

    “Just say “hi!” if nothing else!”


  8. Michael says:

    I’m in a doctors appointment but I appreciate everyone and will comment later.

  9. Em says:

    It is interesting to read all who bring their education (or lack of it) to comment on Michael’s blog site…
    Interesting to see some conflicted thinking… It would be hard in today’s world for any thinking person to not be conflicted…
    The ignorant tribe on the island had a perfect right to defend their turf with bows and arrows from a wild man shouting, “Jesus loves you.” The civilized and privileged people of this land cannot defend it from chaos swarming at their border.
    Would it be acceptable to welcome the females and the children, no questions asked, but require the majority, the adult males, to line up and come in one at a time?
    We may be reaping what we’ve sown, i don’t pretend to know… Foreign intrigue and internal politics will play out as the omniscient God has foreseen – according to plan, His plan.
    One thing seems very clear to me tho. Thousands of people trek across a sovereign nation, eating, resting, looking rested and decently clothed? Either they are Israel revisited – the Exodus – or there is money and an organization of some kind behind this… cal me conspiracy granny ?

    Pray for the two toddlers who made it in with their mother last Friday. Their mother fell, running a rebar rod thru her buttocks.

  10. Duane Arnold says:

    There is a big part of me that does not want to be on the wrong side of history. Yet, in the end, it is not about history or politics, but compassion…

    Keep writing, Michael…

  11. Em says:

    “It” is about compassion? Not sure what “it” is….. ?

  12. Jim says:

    I agree with Xenia re MSM. I watch the news at 6pm probably three times a week, bouncing back and forth between CNN and Fox. It’s humorous, but I wouldn’t put much stock in either one.

  13. Duane Arnold says:


    Our approach to difficult issues…

  14. Xenia says:

    Hi Josh!

  15. JoelG says:

    Hello from the peanut gallery. I’m trying to spend less time online for my mental health sake, but I check in and am encouraged by TGIF every week. Thank you.

  16. London says:

    I still read but rarely comment.

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

    Hi All,
    Poppin’ in to also say “Hi!” and to encourage you to keep on truckin’!
    Busy with the joys of the season, drinking my coffee from forbidden Starbucks’ cups, saying with a smile “Happy Holidays!” while not caring if it offends anyone, thanking retail workers, cops, TSA agents, airline staff, doing all I can to subvert the efforts of this rogue regime which tear gasses innocents who are seeking asylum, supports a racist in Mississippi (people of Mississippi, whey will you change your flag??), and generally taking any opportunity in front me me to be a smilin’ fool who’s glad for each breath of a new day.

  18. Outside T. Fold says:

    I was a stranger, and you tear gassed me.

  19. Em says:

    When my grandfather needed round the clock home care the agency sent us an older woman from mississippi. I was a teenager. She called me over to her open suitcase and showed me a revolver. It seems her husband had been murdered, she knew who did it and was ready to shoot him when she found him! This mindset is not confined to one race, it is primitive, thoughtless emotion and, i suspect, we will have to hope the nation will outgrow it…
    That said, there is nothing to give us hope that the human race – in time – will convert to Christianity… not the real, life giving faith….

    Just sayin’ …. again. ?

  20. Em says:

    Tear gassing women and children? Who would do such a thing?

    Have you seen the actual footage of the rush on the S.D. border? The women and children came first, followed shortly by the men who came throwing whatever they could get their hands on and not all the missiles were clearing the fence, some landing indiscriminately among those women and children…
    I’m not convinced that tear gas wouldn’t be preferable to a broken bottle landing on my child’s head …. dunno, tho… do i?

  21. Jerod says:


    Oh, that’s so sad!! I’m laughing but it’s sad!!

    On the other hand, it doesn’t say, “I was a stranger trying to break into your house and you took me in”

  22. Jerod says:

    Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say they tear gassed adults who brought children into range?

    Otherwise it kind of paints a portrait of ICE as unwavering Trump devotees who will gas children to accomplish his political agenda. Which, knowing at least one, isn’t true.

  23. Michael says:

    I only have a minute…
    I do not advocate the rock throwing, etc…but what you’re seeing is the deep frustration of people who are being denied even the ability to apply for asylum…in direct violation of our law and international law.
    This is a manufactured crisis…and I will not be surprised if this administration finds a way to open fire on the migrants.
    The Border Patrol has shot rock throwers across the fence before…

  24. Jt k says:

    If we regularly read the Bible, especially the Gospels, will we not be regularly corrected in our thinking? Will we not be shocked both by Jesus’ seemingly wreckless compassion, or gobsmacked by His “didn’t-see-THAT-coming” rebukes?

    Let us live in the uncomfortable tension!
    Lead on, Michael.

  25. filbertz says:

    are relief agencies assisting those awaiting asylum processing? I haven’t heard of any movement afoot for that, but it could be that it’s under the radar…

  26. filbertz says:

    …and those so inclined could put some funds into the hands of those who could provide some much-needed care.


  27. Jean says:


    “If we regularly read the Bible, especially the Gospels, will we not be regularly corrected in our thinking? Will we not be shocked both by Jesus’ seemingly wreckless compassion, or gobsmacked by His “didn’t-see-THAT-coming” rebukes?”

    Amen. I left evangelicalism because the churches I experienced had drastically downplayed the Gospels. They do not play well to the well to do or to the seeker.

  28. Michael says:


    You nailed it…period.

  29. Em says:

    No matter one’s stand on justifying the actions of this migrating hoard, it seems obvious, to me at least, that these migrants have been, perhaps are being, used and abused by someone with an agenda. I don’t think that the “agenda” is at all concerned with migrants’ welfare…

  30. Michael says:


    Right now the main relief is coming from churches…on both sides of the border.
    American relief agencies risk funding if they are too blatant about helping the “invaders”…

  31. Jean says:

    First, it’s not a hoard. It’s desperate people looking for hope, to a wealthy country which has the means to provide opportunity to them. Calling them a hoard is to dehumanize these human beings.

    Second, saying “someone with an agenda” has nothing to do with (i) the needs and sincerity of the immigrants, or (ii) how we should respond. Someone may intend something for evil, while God may intend it for good. Christ makes lemonade out of lemons.

  32. Michael says:


    Migrants and refugees have been used by both sides of the political system for years.
    A lot of the men in this migration have been solicited for jobs here in agriculture and meat packing from companies in America.
    If the supposition is that the left or the right started and is financing this mess…that is just a way of denying what they are running from…

  33. Jean says:

    If our government allocated just a few of the hundreds of millions it is spending on military optics, to (1) providing shelter and food in Mexico while applications are processed and (2) adding immigration judges and staff to more quickly process the applications, then we could protect our borders and be humanitarian at the same time. And, it wouldn’t cost additional taxpayer dollars.

  34. Michael says:

    By the way…if you get your information on this topic from the media or internet…you’re going to be at least half wrong about everything you think on the topic…

  35. Michael says:

    Is Mexico Safe for Refugees and Asylum Seekers?

    President Trump has repeatedly falsely asserted that the United States can turn away asylum seekers who have crossed through Mexico without seeking asylum there first—even though there is no legal basis for this claim. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen has also incorrectly stated that asylum seekers must “seek protections in the first safe country they enter, including Mexico.”

    Despite this rhetoric, many refugees face deadly dangers in Mexico. For many, the country is not at all safe. Mexico falls far short of meeting the legal requirements that would permit U.S. officials to treat it as a “safe third country” for the purpose of turning back asylum seekers. And since there is no safe third country agreement in place, the president and members of his administration have no legal basis to state that asylum seekers must apply for asylum in Mexico.

    Rather than returning refugees to a country that is currently unable to provide them safety, the United States should strengthen support to build an effective refugee protection system in Mexico. This factsheet explains the concept of safe third country agreements under U.S. law and why Mexico does not meet the legal requirements.

    What is a “safe third country”?

    Under a “safe third country” agreement, the United States and another country recognize that both countries effectively protect refugees seeking asylum. With an agreement in place, asylum seekers who request protection in the United States after first passing through the “safe” country may be returned there and given an opportunity to request protection in that other country.

    Canada is the only country that has a safe third country agreement with the United States. The Canada- U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement was signed on December 5, 2002 and came into effect on December 29, 2004. As a result, asylum seekers who enter the United States after passing through Canada will be returned and permitted to request asylum there unless they qualify for an exception to the agreement.

    Congress has spelled out three requirements that must be met before U.S. officials and agencies can block refugees from asylum on these grounds. Specifically, to be a safe third country, the Immigration and Nationality Act requires that the country must:

     Guarantee asylum seekers protection from persecution: The country must be a place where the refugee’s “life or freedom would not be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

     Provide access to “full and fair” procedures to assess asylum requests: The country must afford “access to a full and fair procedure for determining a claim to asylum or equivalent temporary protection.”

     Agree to be designated a safe third country: The country must have entered into a bilateral or multilateral safe third country agreement with the United States.

    Mexico does not meet “safe third country” legal requirements
    As Human Rights First has long documented, given the deadly dangers in Mexico and the deficiencies in its refugee protection system, Mexico falls far short of meeting “safe” country standards under U.S. law:
    Refugees are not adequately protected in Mexico.
    As detailed in Human Rights First’s 2017 report and updated in a 2018 fact sheet, refugees and migrants face acute risks of kidnapping, disappearance, sexual assault, trafficking, and other grave harms in Mexico. Refugees in Mexico are targeted due to their inherent vulnerabilities as refugees but also on account of their race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other reasons. Certain groups—“including the LGBTQ community, people with indigenous heritage, and foreigners in general”—face consistent persecution in Mexico and are often forced to seek protection outside of the country. Gay men and transgender women, for example, flee discrimination, beatings, attacks, and a lack of protection by police in Mexico. Some refugees have been trafficked into forced labor, while women and girls have been trafficked to Mexico’s southern border where they have been exploited in bars and night clubs that cater to police, military, and other forces.

    Doctors Without Borders reported that 68% of refugees and migrants it interviewed had been exposed to violence and almost one third of refugee and migrant women had been sexually assaulted. Additionally, Amnesty International reports that criminal investigations of massacres and crimes against migrants remain “shrouded by impunity.”

    Many refugees are left unprotected due to lack of access to full and fair procedures
    Deficiencies, barriers, and flaws in Mexico’s asylum system leave many refugees unprotected and Mexican authorities continue to improperly return asylum seekers to their countries of persecution. A 2018 Amnesty International report found that Mexican migration officials routinely turn back Central American asylum seekers and that 75 percent of migrants and asylum seekers surveyed were not informed of their right to seek asylum by migration officers in detention facilities, even though this is required by Mexican law. Less than one percent of unaccompanied children apprehended in Mexico receive international protection, as detailed by Human Rights Watch.

    Despite progress since launching an asylum system, barriers persist, leaving many refugees unprotected. The system for seeking legal protection lacks national reach and capacity. COMAR—”The Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid”—has only four offices around the country, leaving many refugees without access to the system. After halting its processing of asylum applications in 2017, Mexico only reopened its system in 2018 after a successful lawsuit by the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Protection of Human Rights. Refugee processing in Mexico remains plagued by backlogs and understaffing. In addition, refugees are blocked from protection under an untenable 30-day filing deadline, denied protection by COMAR officers who claim that refugees targeted by groups with national reach can safely relocate within their countries, and lack an effective appeal process to correct wrongful denials of protection. Finally, declining and disparate asylum recognition rates for Central Americans raise concerns that individuals from those countries remain unprotected.

    Mexico has not agreed to be a safe third country.
    Mexico and the United States do not have a “safe third country” agreement.

  36. Em says:

    Well, i stand corrected…. The correct spelling is horde, not hoard. ?
    That said, in the circles in which i have traveled, the word does not connote something demeaning or offensive… A herd of cows = a group of cows, usually large in number…
    A horde of people = a group of people massed together… Our Christmas gatherings were a horde of people

    HOWEVER, for any offended migrants i do apologize …. deeply

    Second this horde, errr thousands, of desperate souls have been exploited and that has a lot to do with it – at least it does from my perspective

  37. Xenia says:

    migrating hoard<<<

    Please try to remember these are human beings, created in the Image of God.

    It's not funny.

  38. Xenia says:

    When most people hear the word “horde” they think of Attila and his barbarian army or Genghis Khan and his Mongol Horde.

    Words like this, as Jean said, is a means of dehumanizing people. If they are part of a horde, a rabble, a mob, we can feel justified thinking badly of them and it makes us feel like we are off the hook for not thinking of them as neighbors.

  39. Michael says:

    Good to see Josh and Dan, and Joel and London back here…really good.

  40. Xenia says:

    You can always count on London to stop by if the word “Ukraine” is mentioned.

    She has a heart for that country.

  41. Michael says:


    Thanks for your words farther up the thread…
    London has a big heart, period…I was at the first Justice Conference with her.
    What is valuable here is that I can’t keep up on that issue…but I count on her doing so for all of us.
    None of us can carry all the grief of this broken world and I’m grateful for all those who carry some piece of it in their hearts.

  42. Em says:

    Xenia, i have already apologized to any offended migrant… .?
    The majority of folks who visit the PhxP are offended by the description of thousands of people moving as a grouo as a horde of people? Forgive my ignorance of local customs here….

    For the record, i do not see these folk from Central America as lesser humans. What i do see is a whole new world dynamic of which the migrations are a part. I fear a whole new world demographic of tension and exploitation.
    Nations do not think in terms of the common man except in terms of how to make use of him. The United States of America came as close as the secular world has ever come to affirming the common man.
    This is a new era breaking upon us. The young men “went west.” Now it is “go north?” looks like it . .. For the benefit of the common man? Hmmmm

  43. Jim says:

    Is all of Mexico more dangerous than the lawless urban plantations created by LBJ? May the plantation residents walk into your neighborhood and decide to stay (I’m not talking about buying homes)?

    If 100 people from the hood walked down the street in my town, the cops would show up in riot gear.

    It’s so easy to petition Caesar to take care of people far from our homes (with other people’s money), while we have our own pockets of multi-generational chaos within driving distance. Neighborhoods most here could not safely enter, if we were not afraid to do so.

    East St. Louis, Illinois has almost double the murder rate (per 100k) of Ciudad Juarez.

  44. Michael says:


    I have answered this before.
    There are faith based groups ready to help these folks with jobs and assimilation without cost to the taxpayer.
    The rest of your statement is similar to those who ask why we aren’t taking care of the homeless, the vets, and other groups in obvious need.
    Those are good questions…but they have no relationship to the migrant crisis here and around the world.
    I know nothing about “lawless urban plantations’…perhaps that is your cause to champion…

  45. Michael says:

    Juarez has calmed a bit.
    Now the murder capital is Tijuana…with a murder rate almost 4 times that of East St. Louis.

  46. Em says:

    i may be mistaken, but i believe the major faith based operations, i.e., Catholic Charities do bill the government for the work they do… i believe this started when Reagan was President… but i’m old and my memory is not to be relied on… among other things, evidently 🙂

  47. Michael says:

    I had an epiphany this morning, one that I suspect my late, lamented mentor had before he died.
    This issue is now immune to facts.
    People won’t be persuaded because they do not want to be persuaded…there is something deeper involved than numbers or sheer humanity.
    Whatever that is, it is not sustainable…these migrations will continue until we find real ways to deal with them.
    If history is our guide the last thing left in this toolbox is massive bloodshed.
    I’m sure we will regret that at some point…

  48. filbertz says:

    one would err if he did not acknowledge the major contribution to the national economy filled by immigrants, both legal and otherwise–filling jobs and tasks our ‘homegrown’ citizens would/do refuse to do and conveniently forget/ignore must be done in order to enjoy the lifestyle and prices paid for goods here.

  49. Michael says:


    There’s also immigrants like my Yale educated cardiologist…

  50. Duane Arnold says:

    And immigrants like the Syrian doctor who saved my mother…

  51. Cathy Andrews says:

    Well said, well thought, and well…I wish I could be as gracious as that…perhaps that is why we are works in progress…can we not speak grace and peace instead of “you are wrong”? If all of us who profess belief in Christ could walk and talk in the manner of grace and peace, perhaps the ills of this world would be lessened.

  52. Jean says:

    I might be so bold as to predict that if our nation is to remain a super power, it will be in large measure by the contributions of continuing immigration. As an employee in a multinational company, which provides good paying jobs and cutting edge technology, as a consumer of higher education and health care, and as an retail investor in public corporations, I am struck by the tremendous diversity of cultures, races and religions. I’m concerned that if we all ourselves off, we will deprive our economy of (1) bodies to replace the retiring baby boomers and (2) the talents required of a world class economy to provide good paying jobs for its citizens.

  53. filbertz says:

    …and my primary care physician who has yet to save mine. 🙂

  54. Em says:

    My maternal grandmother told of her parents’ views of the Black race in the late 1800s. Her father saw children needing always guidance and care. Her mother said, “No, they are children because we keep them ignorant. Education is the answer.” It took a while…. and it wasn’t pretty… ?

    If we cannot get our minds around the need to mentor, to organise the large numbers migrating today we will send ourselves back 100 years at the very least and the overwhelming numbers may need more resources than we think we have.
    There is diversity and there is chaos, both are possibles now

    BTW, my primary care Dr. is from Tijuana and, living among Latinos, of every stripe now, i can tell you that none of them are preparing their children to do the jobs your children won’t do, even though those were the jobs that our grandparents did do. Where does that put us in fifty years? Oh, i forgot, there are robots coming…. ?

    There are many more facets to the migration phenomena occurring now than simply a good heart of compassion… The primary question to ask? Are we, our governments, able to handle this? Some situations will call for not so democratic actions short term. Perhaps a study of the aliens in the Israel of O.T. times would help…. diversity was not primary…. Dunno, tho … do i … ?

  55. Michael says:

    There aren’t overwhelming numbers right now…but there will be as the years go on.
    I’ll say it again…until we make the place they come from livable, they will keep trying to come here.

  56. Em says:

    Michael, that is the solution… but…. How do we do that?

  57. Michael says:

    We have used our political and economic power in Mexico and Central America to enrich politicians and oligarchs for decades.
    We helped in large measure to create these messes.
    The solutions won’t come in this generation…we have a populace who believed all the propaganda that Fox and it’s brethren have produced demonizing the victims of our efforts…but not having a clue about who was getting rich off of them.
    The tragedy here is that all of this is possible to fix in this hemisphere…most of these countries have natural resources and the labor to turn their economies around.
    There is a “Christian” foundation and family ethic we left long ago.
    However, we have no will to know the truth and the oligarchs here and there will continue to profit from our easily aroused fears and prejudices…until the people breach the coming walls and the only option left is genocide.

  58. Michael says:

    The other possibility I’ve spoken to before…that being the intervention of a hostile foreign power (China) in the region.
    Good luck with that, kids…

  59. Em says:

    Some years ago i was called for Federal jury duty… the case involved two reservation young men who were being tried for working with Chinese drug traffickers …. We shouldn’t discount the threat …
    Two teen American Hispanics were just executed in a Tijuana apartment and i have to wonder … I recall a conversation related to me not too long ago… A local Hispanic saying.that, if we don’t cooperate with cartels, gangs, they will harm our family… It is true, TV does not tell it like it is… Mustn’t upset the masses?
    Timeto ficus on things eternal … as best we can…

  60. Michael says:

    I’m enjoying the testimony in the trial of “El Chapo”…shocking allegations of corruption…that Charles Bowden reported in the 90’s and the turn of the century.
    I guess the government didn’t read Chuck…

  61. Em says:

    Michael, i think that the interests of those in power, not only in this country take precedence over law and order, but in this nation it is like never before … at least it isn’t where we were mid 20th century… Maybe, i lived most of my life in a blip ..?… ?
    Left Behind may have been the devil’s red herring, but i’d bet the times are changing and the Church needs to stay educated and grounded – ready for either chaos or false peace…or?

  62. Owen says:

    I’m late to the gathering again, but just wanted to say that I continue to be blessed as well as challenged by what I read here……. would comment more often if the busy household permitted it.

    Keep up the good work, Michael. And your contributors.

    This is a good group here….

  63. Jtk says:


    You nailed it…period.

    Sincerely thank you.

  64. Jtk says:

    What’s the best way to follow the El Chapo trial?

  65. Michael says:


    The coverage has been remarkably sparse…the NYT and Vice are there, but somehow the testimony of corruption at the highest levels of the Mexican government hasn’t been widely circulated…

  66. Anne says:

    Just popping in to say that as long as this blog is here, I will always be reading. And if for some reason you decide to ever retire it, I hope to keep In touch and follow whatever endeavors you choose to do. I count you an important influence and dear friend no matter where the winds of life take me dear one.

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