Taking the Pulse of The PhxP

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48 Responses

  1. Xenia says:

    What do you read here on the PhxP?

    I enjoy the weekly articles by MLD, Jean, and Duane. I am not inclined to enter into discussions that pertain to to Protestant theological wranglings because most of that is outside my world. I don’t fault you all for having these wranglings, but they no longer interest me very much.

    What other blogs do you read?

    I skip around among EO blogs and blogs about Medieval Lang and Lit. I have some dietary requirements and I look at some foodie blogs to get recipe ideas.

    Do you use other social media?

    Sad to say I do. I do not follow people I have strong disagreements with. I don’t want that stuff on my FB page. I follow acceptable family members, PhxP peeps and school-related groups.


    Almost all related to Eastern Orthodoxy and current school projects (Med. Lang & Lit)


    Yes, same as for podcasts but my current favorite is a charming young English lady who has a YouTube show about improving one’s recorder playing. I also follow some Orthodox shows from Russia w/ English captions.

    What would you like to see more of here…and less of?

    Book discussions, maybe. I would like to see fewer discussions about the sins of other people’s pastors, although I know this is the topic that the blog was founded upon. Maybe we can move past that.

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, Xenia!

    I didn’t realize you were that active online…though you seem to use the tool wisely.

  3. Xenia says:

    Michael, except for here I am mostly a passive observer.

  4. Michael says:


    Me too…I don’t even like commenting on my own Facebook page… 🙂

  5. Jean says:

    I enjoy:

    (1) theological topics, such as Weekend Word;

    (2) Church history, such as Duane’s articles (and I enjoyed the segments Michael did a few years ago on Church history);

    (3) Michael’s typically insightful observations in Things I Think;

    (4) Reader input on Open Blogging; and

    (5) Links. It’s very convenient and helpful to have this resource.

    I’m grateful for a page where people can share praises and prayer requests.

    I don’t enjoy political topics, debates and articles. There are tons of venues which have politics covered very well.

    I don’t comment on the church scandals much and have no history in CC or most of the celebrity pastors. Although, they do infiltrate into my area through radio and books. Thus, I don’t mind reading about what’s going on, so that I can be somewhat informed about the larger American church.

  6. Michael says:

    Thank you, Jean!

    What other media do you frequent?

  7. Scooter Jones says:

    This is pretty much the only blog I read. I like reading your thoughts.

    MLD has been a worthy presenter of Lutheranism, yet, after 10 years of reading him, I have no desire to join myself to the Lutheran Church.

    Not sure if that’s because of him or me 😉

    I participate regularly on platforms related to my vocation.

    I do enjoy reading Trump’s trolling tweets, the reactions to them are entertaining.

    Other than that, I’m a pretty milk toast kind of guy I guess.

  8. Michael says:

    Thanks Scoot…MLD and Jean are both able representatives of confessional Lutheranism.

    I haven’t converted either… 🙂

  9. Rick says:

    The “things I think” are my favorite; the links are relevant. I appreciate the interchange between the many commenters. I appreciate that the thinking expressed here is often non-binary. I am weary of ‘either-or’ type of exchanges theologically, culturally and politically, so though I am often challenged here, I find the challenge restful.

    Oh, Chester reminds me of me.

  10. Rick says:

    I avoid all social media except for blogs that make me think…

  11. Rick says:

    I am a closeted Anglican, so Michael, your personal story resonates with me…

  12. Michael says:

    Thank you, Rick!
    Chester has made a lot of friends around the world who feel that same kind of connection.

    Why a “closeted” Anglican?

  13. Rick says:

    The Anglican liturgy resonates with me but I am geographically isolated; the nearest Anglican community is an hour away. Anglicans, in my experience, seem to be the least authoritarian of the historical churches–as I age I am much more drawn to invitation than compulsion.

    I once would argue theology with anyone–now, I think I understand John the Apostle’s love admonitions in a more complete way than when I was younger. I was once a free-will, pre-tribulation rapturist, dispensationalist, futurist. I am none of those things now but feel it absolutely unimportant that anyone know what I believe outside agreement with the creeds.

    I am convinced that the fruit of strength is kindness; meanness and manipulation are manifestations of a weak position. I am drawn to kindness, whatever the person’s beliefs, as an expression of God’s Common Grace. That has been my experience with sincere Anglicans I have met.

  14. Dan from Georgia says:

    I like these questions Michael! I’ll give my response sometime tonight pre- or post- National Football tittle game…thanks!

  15. Michael says:


    I hear you…we need more Anglican church plants.
    I also hear you on kindness as a fruit of strength…it does seem to be an Anglican distinctive…

  16. Michael says:


    Thanks…we really do want to hear from folks.
    It’s easy for me to get stuck in my ways…

  17. Duane Arnold says:


    Less heat, more light. I am concerned when I read that there are people who hesitate to comment because they fear being attacked or demeaned.

    Following on in this, I wish we had some greater engagement from RCs and (in addition to Xenia) EO believers. It is a very large Christian world out there…

  18. Shaun says:

    What do you read here
    – all the headlines, I have been enjoying the church history articles and the links thin. Anything that is Calvary related.
    What other blogs do you read?
    – heart heart and hand and dashhouse because they have great links.

    Do you use other social media?
    – Facebook.

    – I listen to a daily bible and the occasional leadership podcast.
    – only when someone sends me something funny.

    What would you like to see more of here…and less of?
    – I quit commenting because I felt like everything I said started a fight and I don’t have the energy for that.

    The question is really…how can we serve your needs better?
    – nothing comes to mind.

  19. Xenia says:

    Shaun! I am happy to see you 🙂

  20. John 20:29 says:

    Sometimes we don’t know what we need… I have seen God’s hand on the PhxP site leading us all to a degree of compassion, I believe…
    I’m in the, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” camp… But who knows what God wants us to hear next?

  21. Shaun says:

    Thanks Xenia – I never left, just stopped commenting.

  22. JoelG says:

    What do you read here on the PhxP?

    -Everything. Everyone contributes thought provoking articles and comments that I learn from. One of my resolutions was to comment less here because I get too emotionally affected by theological wrangling. But I couldn’t help myself after reading today’s “Things I Think”. 🙂

    What other blogs do you read?

    -Internet Monk.

    Do you use other social media?

    Not really. Only Twitter to follow NFL news

    Podcasts? – No

    Youtube? – No

    What would you like to see more of here…and less of?

    – I loved the articles on “Mere Christianity”.

    – I miss Kevin’s Conversations.

    – I love the cat theology

    The question is really…how can we serve your needs better?

    This sight is a treasure. Keep up the good work!

  23. UnCCD@UnCCD.com says:

    I’ve enjoyed (mostly), the ability to be heard both on issues and from a viewpoint largely ignored, yes, even in “the church.”
    Aside from us (and our flag) being used a prop for people to feel/look patriotic, I now realize after 20 wasted years in multiple ministries, “the church” largely doesn’t give two holy ___ about Combat Vets (keep my flag behind your pulpit – I won’t be back anyway).
    I wish there was a space online for us, but I can now tell, it must be done by us and only with us. I truly wished for a mix so people can learn and help if not so maybe our staggering suicide rates could be lowered, but that too is ignored. Thankfully I’ve had 3 or 4 people humble enough to realize and accept without ego they don’t understand, but are willing to patiently learn, they’ll have to do. Most Combat Vets have no one.
    One way this site could accidentally help us (not that I believe its Michael’s fault or responsibility) is continue to let others talk about mental illness and home churches/groups (the only way any of us have REAL fellowship – “the church” has little/no control over those).
    I’m serious about not blaming Michael. I’ve learned too many believe God slips off His throne over certain English syllables or the occasional beer.
    Next time you hear someone claim they “support the troops,” know when God came to me (no, I didn’t “find Jesus,” I wasn’t looking), well, I was in Iraq and you don’t want the details. I’ve learned to accept (freakin’ FINALLY!), only God chases after the unwanted (even by their families), and only He continues to do so.

  24. dusty says:

    PP is my only blog reading. The prayer list keeps me pretty busy but i love being there. I love it here….it has changed a lot in 16 years but still my favorite place to be.

  25. dusty says:

    Shaun! Good to see you!

  26. covered says:

    What do you read here on the PhxP?
    Always look forward to Mondays. I enjoy reading much of what you think.

    What other Blogs do you read?
    No others due to time and lack of interest.

    Right now, Keller, Sproul, Begg and old Piper stuff. It changes as I get bored. My wife and I love to laugh at how Sproul delivers his messages.

    Only when I need to learn how to fix something.

    What would you like to see more of here…and less of?
    I love to see MLD, Xenia, Josh, Jean, Michael, Duane and a few others go back and forth when they are looking more like teachers…
    I hate to see MLD, Xenia, Josh, Jean, Michael, Duane and a few others go back and forth when they are looking more like the world… I am not trying to be mean spirited. It’s just that I have read some amazing things from all those I mentioned and I know what they are capable of.

    The question is really…how can we serve your needs better?
    It’s all good. Sometimes better than other times. It’s by far the best dysfunctional family going… 🙂

  27. filbertz says:

    I peruse a lot of different things here, but comment less than ever.

    I read professional blogs related to my teaching and some others that have to do with various hobbies, but PP is the only Christian blog I read.

    No social media, largely because I have little time and interest.

    You Tube if I need specific material to supplement a lesson.

    No podcasts.

    I’d like a night crew thread that opens after 8 pm and lets everyone see the more personable sides of the characters around here. You know, let our hair down… 😉

  28. Dan from Georgia says:

    Filbertz, I would like hat too, a night crew…I work overnight shifts occasionally .

  29. Paige says:

    I mostly appreciate the Things I Think,the Friday cat stories and/or Make Your Own Application installments. Much of what is discussed theologically is over my head. The Linkathons are of interest as well, tho I often don’t have time to actually look at them all. I’m usually shocked at how much ‘christian’ garbage there is out there in cyber land.

    Oh, Podcasts, I try. I love to encourage my young preacher friends, so I give a listen, if only briefly to their messages.

    I Love Facebook and spend way too much time on it daily, but I’ve found a lot of long lost friends and distant relatives, so I do enjoy the contact with people near and far. Facebook makes a great platform for prayer requests.

    I look at Instagram too, for the non-Fb friends, many fabulous photographers, and endearing cat photos.

    We watch YouTube for cats; bird feeder tv, 24/7. Keeps Rocky out of some trouble.

    I actually use YouTube for learning How To Do all kinds of stuff, from cooking to gardening, to bathing cats and new information for my profession (massage therapy) and more.

    The PhxP is the only blog I actually comment on. I generally skim through the comments, skipping a few folks who make my eyes roll. Currently, I am appreciating the Revelation study. I’ve made a few in person friendships via this blog that I love so much. I’ve been reading this blog for 9 years, and it has been a place of restoration.

    Thank you so much for all the effort behind the scenes. I can only imagine the amount of blood, sweat, tears and dollars that go into it. Love your writing Micheal. Thank you.

  30. Shaun says:

    Thanks Dusty – good to see you too.

  31. John 20:29 says:

    I sometimes forget the blood, sweat years and dollars involved here. #29 = good reminder…. I am indebted to the Phoenix Preacher
    I have no patience with most pontificating websites and so have no habits to share… Other than here, the internet is only used by me for needed info, particularly how-tos
    I wouldn’t change a thing, but I, too, do miss waking up to the night crew threads of old … so many good commenters then – Not as many cerebral, threads there, but smart people and there’s room for all, isn’t there?

  32. Corby says:

    Honestly, since I’m mostly out of the CC loop relationaly, I come here to see what’s up in that bubble because I still care a great deal about it and would be a part of it if I could (CGN that is). For example, I totally would have missed the Wayne Taylor breaking the no-talk rule thing had it not been for PP. I also like the link posts. The rest is good stuff I’m sure but not my cuppu.

    There are a handful of ministry and non-ministry related podcasts I listen to. I really don’t actively follow blog sites themselves but I do follow some writers I like on Facebook who have blogs and if they post a link to something I’m interested in I’ll go read it.

    I’m sure you’re already doing this Michael. I’m also re-evaluating my own site, re-prioritizing the time I spend on what content, and what fulfillment it provides for myself. Maybe the reasons you keep the site going now are different than they were when you started it. But you do need to answer for yourself; what do you get from providing this site? Or, put another way, how is the Kingdom being built in and through you by means of this site?

  33. Dan from Georgia says:

    What do you read here on the PhxP?
    – Things I Think
    – Linkathon
    – Duane Arnold’s writings
    – I miss Kevin’s writings
    – Open Blogging

    What other blogs do you read?
    – Quite a lot of blogs out there I peruse daily to find something that interests me.
    – The ones I frequent the most:
    — Boundless, Relevant Magazine, Internet Monk*, Paul Douglas’ blog (meteorologist/entrepreneur friend of mine in Minnesota), an assortment of progressive Christian Blogs that could get me in trouble with the old guard, a few other weather blogs and Christian blogs.

    * I found PhxP through the Internet Monk website, and was attracted to it’s simple and easy to follow formatting.

    Do you use other social media?
    – I was on twitter for about a month and hated it…couldn’t understand people’s fascination/need for thousands of followers
    – No longer on Facebook, and I occasionally miss it.

    – Never took the time to figure out how to listen to them (I’m sure it’s easy!)…I’m usually listening to music while on the computer. I know there’s lots of good content out there, but that just isn’t what drives me.

    – Visit sparingly…only to watch videos of tornadoes and other extreme weather phenomena, some music videos, concerts. Never really got into all those viral video’s of squirrels surfing Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii or “Ding, Fries are Done!” guy.

    What would you like to see more of here…and less of?
    – What I would like to see more of is some good, Christian decency and love/respect towards each other. I think my very first comment on this blog several years ago was met with a kind of negative retort, which almost sent me packing. I’ve been guilty of disrespect and sarcasm here a few times in the past, but I hope that I have improved, as I have been consciously trying to do.
    – Less of? Well, coming from a person who hate’s confrontation as much as heated debates, I could say “less heated debates”, but I won’t suggest that because some people here like that, and that s fine. Really. Some people like that kind of mental and spiritual stimulation, and I don’t fault them. Unless it’s just an ego trip. What I would like to see less of is sarcasm directed at others.

    The question is really…how can we serve your needs better?
    – Not sure how to answer this one. I usually don’t participate in theological discussions as they don’t interest me that much/it’s not what drives me. But many people here like them. I really like that this blog is not an “echo chamber” – a comment I have made many times here – some people think it is, but I could point out a couple of blog in an instant that are true echo chambers where dissent and disagreement are pretty much frowned upon.
    – I like the idea of a weekly “Night Shift/Crew” feature that is a bit more light-hearted and free-wheeling…about a year ago some of us were up kind of late discussing music and whatnot, and it was a great diversion from some of my more tedious tasks while at work. I’m also in the eastern time zone, so I could chime in early in the morning while some of you are still up in the middle of the night!

  34. JoelG says:

    I stumbled here from Imonk too, Dan. I think what makes PhxP unique, much like Michael Spencer and Chaplain Mike, Michael freely shares his journey with readers and isn’t afraid to express his doubts, fears and frustrations… his humanity as a Pastor… and be vulnerable and honest. It is very refreshing.

    Correction from my previous comment: I do watch YouTube here and there for this and that. I just don’t frequent YouTube for YouTube sake. There, I feel better now.

  35. Chris Long says:

    I mostly pay attention to the Things lists, Michael’s articles, and at least glance over the Links lists to see if anything’s of interest. Depending on topic, I might read through the comments too. I also am interested in what’s going on with some of the CC stuff and other broad-level Body scandal type stuff – not because I really want to be but because there aren’t many sources that report on some of these things. In general I don’t have a problem with the reporting of various scandal type stuff, and like I said even appreciate it, but there are times that I feel like it can cross a bit of a line too.

    I don’t usually post comments because I don’t usually care enough to be honest, especially if it’s theological banterings back and forth tho I’ve occasionally done so incl recently. Another reason I don’t post often is because I’m just not good at short blurb comments. When I post, it’s cause I feel I have something to say that might be valuable/constructive which usually means it’s something substantive and I don’t usually think in small blurbs so rather than lots of little comments going back and forth, it’s a few really long ones, which takes time to write and then might seem overwhelming or out-of-place for others to read. I’m just no good at the blog format. (And yes, this post is long too, proving my point!)

    For what it’s worth (take it or leave it), 2 things I’ve never cared seeing on the site:
    1) Attacks on other pastors and spiritual leaders not because of scandal, but because someone doesn’t like some of what they preach or has decided they must be a wolf. I don’t particularly mind discussion about certain individuals, but when people start declaring Pastor X is a heretic and so-forth, I’m just generally not a fan for the reason I shared recently on another topic. If one wants to talk about something a pastor is preaching, I guess that’s maybe fair game, but generally I just think when we get into this realm, it’s an easy jump to toxic-territory. In a world that’s all about division and attacking, I’m much more interested in looking for common ground and unity. Let the ODM’s spend their time calling out who they think are wolves if they want, I really am not interested in doing that myself. And I don’t really like to read it. Partly I suppose because some of the people I’ve heard ODM’s rail about are people I’ve gotten great blessings from and realized the ODM’s were flat out ignorantly wrong. People attack what they don’t understand. There are things I used to think were some pastors off the deep end, that as I grew in the Lord, I realized that I was the one that didn’t understand, not that they were necessarily wrong. Humility goes a long way and before we go opening our mouth attacking someone that claims to be a fellow brother or sister, we do well to consider ourselves and the possibility that it might just be something or an area that we don’t really understand.

    2) I hope nobody takes offense when I say this. But there is an air on the site of “only old guys that have read hundreds of books on theology or church history or specific church leaders etc are qualified to comment.” Look, I see value in studying church history and theology, but I’ll just be blunt in saying that I think many people in the Christian world can get easily lost in their theological-smartness and it becomes easy for them to look down on those that haven’t maybe done the same amount of study. It comes across as arrogant pride to me. Tho I see value in deeper study, I also think someone that’s just sat and read the Bible and believed it and meditated on things with the Lord with His Word and tried to put those things into practice in their life isn’t someone to dismiss and in-fact might even be closer to a correct understanding on some things than someone bogged down in all the theological musings of various theologians. Just a thought. Again, I’m not dismissing the value of study, I’m just saying that my in-general (not just about this site) personal opinion is some people like to get into the deep theological weeds. And that can be ok. But some people tend to get lost in there too and they forget the simplicity in Christ or can no longer take a Scripture at face-value – it has to go through this deep theological prism they’ve built through all these theologians they’ve read. That’s a general statement, but specifically in regards to this site, I think there are times where it just comes across with an air of “a couple of old dudes arguing theology for the sake of arguing theology and trying to prove their credentials to do so.” I think there’s prob a few reasons why many items draw basically the same like 5-6 people commenting, and this would probably be one of them.

    Anyway you can take or leave any of that – just some thoughts. I do need to say that the overall “feel” of the site has gotten noticeably better from what it used to be IMO.

    Like JoelG in #34, what I MOST love about the site is that Michael is just “real” – I really would echo most of what JoelG said.

  36. Dan from Georgia says:

    Agreed JoelG (#34)! For me, it’s more refreshing and motivating to read honest and real struggles and thoughts.

  37. Kevin H says:

    “What do you read here on the PhxP?” – Time permitting, the majority of the articles and a good bit of the commenting. But I sometimes pull back from the comments when it turns into a food fight.

    “What other blogs do you read?” – None as regularly as this one, but the Christian blogs that I will check next most are Throckmorton’s blog and John Fea’s blog (The Way of Improvement). I also peruse various sports blogs.

    “Do you use other social media?” – Only Facebook.

    “Podcasts?, Youtube?” – sporadically

    “What would you like to see more of here…and less of?” – I pretty much like the content of the original articles. Not anything I would ask specifically more of or in addition. As far as “less of”, that would again go to the commenting and that’s a responsibility of the community as a whole. Some friction may be necessary at times, but I think it gets to an unnecessary and unhealthy degree here sometimes. Especially when it comes to the condescension and cutting down and calls of false teaching and misrepresentation of others who are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

    “The question is really…how can we serve your needs better?” – I’m good here. Nothing more I need, nor would I expect.

  38. Kevin H says:

    JoelG & Dan,

    I appreciate you missing my articles. I could still write sporadically from time to time. Between a combination of demands on my time, my slowness of writing, and a running out of ideas of things I think I could competently write about, have led me to pull back from regular writing.

  39. Josh the Baptist says:

    What do you read here on the PhxP?
    Everything from you and Duane and occasionally, the Weekend Word.

    What other blogs do you read?

    Do you use other social media?
    Facebook and twitter. Both sparingly.

    The occasional true crime podcast.

    Yep. John Daker (look it up)

    What would you like to see more of here…and less of?
    More of a variety of commentors getting involved, less of Me having extended arguments with people.

    The question is really…how can we serve your needs better?
    Do my homework for me?

  40. Kevin H says:

    “less of Me having extended arguments with people”

    Josh, see your problem is with the humans, too. Stick with the orcas (as someone once told me.) 🙂

  41. Michael says:

    Thank you all for the responses here and via email…it helps me get a handle on what we need to do and what we need to stop doing as much. 🙂

  42. John 20:29 says:

    Orcas… Also known as killer whales because they do. ?

  43. Dan from Georgia says:

    Hi Michael, one item I didn’t mention in my dissertation up a few posts about what I want to see less of, is this:

    I’m not sure about others here, but I get frustrated when the comments on a particular post rabbit trail to something entirely different. I know a good debate can be healthy at times, but if I want to comment on something relevant to the blog post a day or so after the post is published, it’s buried in a sea of comments about something else, and my comment almost always generates zero response. I’ve seen this lately a lot in regards to discussions on doctrinal differences.

  44. Michael says:


    That’s been a bane of the blog since day 1…hard to fight.

  45. Dan from Georgia says:

    Understood Michael. Still love the format and topics!

  46. Michael says:


    Back in the day we always had five to eight moderators…there was always someone here with authority to do whatever I do. It was easier to keep a handle on such things then.

    This place burned them all out…and I alone am left. 🙂

  47. Tohu Wabohu says:

    I look forward every week to reading Things I Think and Linkathon. I also read Internet Monk and Mockingbird. Podcasts? Mockingbird, PZ (Paul Zahl), Mortification of Spin, and my original gateway into this whole world: White Horse Inn.

  48. Michael says:

    Thank you, Tohu…

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