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68 Responses

  1. JoelG says:

    I’m not real huggy either. But when someone forces one on me and I let go of my fear of people and my self-consciousness, hugs are the best thing in the world. I thing you’re exactly right about Jesus and touch.

    Thanks for the unexpected tear this morning 🙂

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, JoelG…the doctrinaire may not like this one, but I think it has merit…

  3. Jean says:

    Who’s against hugs?

    It might be hips out for some of you, though. 🙂

  4. Jeff says:

    Hugs are always good. Doctrine with good exegesis is good too. Thanks Michael.

  5. Captain Kevin says:

    Another redemption illustration: The Saguaro cactus produces the beautiful state flower of Arizona.

    Hugs and kisses from a sea captain land-locked in Arizona.

  6. John 20:29 says:

    some animals do hug… i wonder why… good observation on Jesus’ example of touching… are we so sexualized as a society today that we think all touching of others is for one purpose?

    i once impulsively hugged an old Roman Catholic priest of some standing in his church – after the fact, i asked him if it was acceptable to hug a priest, he didn’t answer 🙂

    just came from watching the televised funeral service for Billy Graham… someone here commented that some thought we’d come to the end of an era with his passing… i’m afraid we have… don’t know if i’d have hugged Billy given the opportunity… might have… dunno
    Michael observed a while ago that he was the Christian Elvis – say what? Now that is one character i couldn’t have hugged for the life of me…

    now i will spend the day meditating on hugs (alway thot they said, “I care” ) …………

  7. Chris Long says:

    Love it! There have been times esp over the last many years with various issues I’ve dealt with that I’ve been really down and discouraged and in real pain, and it’s amazing what a simple but meaningful hug from a friend can do. I’ve had it where it’s literally felt like Jesus Himself holding me through another person.

    As Em mentioned, our culture tends to downplay this kind of stuff because they tend to see touch largely through a sexual/romantic prism, but good healthy touch is something we all need.

    Cactus or no, I’d hug you Michael 🙂

  8. dusty says:

    (((((((((Hugs to my PP family )))))))))) 🙂

  9. John 20:29 says:

    just came off of reading the recent input on another thread here… made me think a bit… i suspect that Jesus spent more time touching the hoi poloi than He did debating doctrines with the Scribes and Pharisees… dunno

    dusty hugs always make this a better place, i’ve noticed…

    Michael’s post today made me remember an event of long years ago… working in the yard a little grey shaggy dog came up to me… i thot it belonged to the neighbors and i acknowledged it and kept on working… it silently persisted in getting in my way, so i thot it was a friendly little creature and reached over to shove it aside… under that shaggy grey coat was nothing but ribs and, as i shoved him, he could hardly keep his balance… of course, i fed him and put him in the laundry tub to bathe him – he was kind of a mess – as i was doing so he put his head against my stomach and just pushed and pushed as hard as he could… like Chester…

    something keeps nagging at me… does anyone know if there is a scripture that speaks of pushing into the love and knowledge of God… it seems there is, but i can’t even thing of how to word search it…

  10. Anne says:

    The closest scripture off the top of my head is James 4:8 – Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Nothing draws one nearer than a good hug ?

  11. filbertz says:

    I thought of Dusty first when I read the post…and she didn’t disappoint. That has been a staple of the PP for as long as I’ve been around…and quietly appreciated.

    Knowing the need for junior high kids to have appropriate contact with caring adults, I have quite a routine of fist bumps, elbow bumps, really high fives, and other public school acceptable contact. Former students are more demonstrative–letting me know they appreciated it and value the relationships over time.

    I’ve become a hugger over the years–I realized how expressive it is–though the cues others provide definitely make the process a bit dicey at times. 🙂

  12. dusty says:

    ((((Hugs filbertz )))))))

  13. dusty says:

    (((((Hugs john 20:29))))))))

  14. dusty says:

    ((((((Hugs anne))))))

  15. dusty says:

    I love hugs 🙂

  16. dusty says:

    I love my PP family! 🙂

  17. Captain Kevin says:

    Hugs are the best!!

  18. dusty says:

    ((((((Hugs Captain Kevin )))))))

    Hope your doc appointment went well

  19. John 20:29 says:

    Thank yku, Anne… it is an applicable verse….

    Yes, i’ve been wondering how the Captain is, too

  20. Michael says:

    “When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him.”
    (Mark 3:8–11 ESV)

  21. dusty says:

    (((((Hugs big brother))))))

  22. dusty says:

    Hope everyone sleeps well and has sweet dreams! Still praying for you all.

  23. John 20:29 says:

    #20 Thank you, Michael… I dont know if both uses of “press” translate from the same word, but i am asking myself just how hard i now press in to Chrst…

  24. John 20:29 says:

    I misstated in # 23 … Anne’s noted to draw near … But both verses deal with trying to get closer to Christ … It isnt selfish to do so…. There’s an old hymn thatt says “there’s room at the cross for you, tho millions have come…” Is it wrong to say, “Come to the cross and then move on to where Jesus Christ is now? Draw nearer to the living One just as urgentlty?”

  25. The New Victor says:

    In the 1950s, Eric Berne (“Games People Play”) and his team did experiments with infant animals. Babies that were fed but denied physical contact by their parents literally shriveled, then died. Think of the observations of Romanian orphans…. very tragic. Our any number of adults all of us have come across who were either victims of outright abuse like Mommy Dearest, or who may have grown up in homes with emotional and physical neglect. Many develop clinical level disorders and being abused children all grown up, pay that pain forward. Or, they may just be stoic far above the norm. I was in three different homes by the time I was 2.5 and my mom adopted me. My mom was struck how stoic and withdrawn I was. I hardly cried even when physically inured.

    What were humans created for? A relationship with God. The relationships amongst ourselves are related, and the family unit is the earthly reflection of the heavenly one.

    In psychology, mirroring is often used to describe a negative behavior of an empty person mimicking another due to the first person’s emptiness or lack of fully formed Self. It is, however, something necessary that we all do. Proverbs has numerous verses mentioning anger begetting anger (mirroring). On the flip side, love mirrors love.

    My kids and I are super huggy. Sometimes I feel weird, observing other fathers in church. My kids are all over me. There’s nothing quite like it when I look my daughter in the eyes and say, “I love you,” age she kisses me. Or my son, and he coos and hugs me tight.

    Moses knew God face to face. As they develop their identities, my kids define themselves as I view them. We all can imagine how hurt to the core a child can become if the mirror they see themselves in is broken and dark and angry. Love covers a multitude of sins. Maybe that is of the other as well? A hug isn’t always feasible, but a smile, a kind word, and think of all others as “the least of these.”

  26. Anne says:

    (((Dusty))) – I’ve had the good fortune to have had real live hugs from Dusty. Her hugs are as loving in person as they are on these pages! It’s been a long time since there was any kind of PP meetup. When I moved to the PNW one was rumored to be in the works – that was 8 years ago?. Glad to have seen some of ya’all when you have passed through town though.

  27. Jim says:

    Hugging Michael was just added to my bucket list. Forehead kissing is an optional bonus.

  28. Duane Arnold says:

    “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”. The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”.”

    Evangelii Gaudium

  29. Jean says:

    Since when did men start making, much less renewing, covenants with Jesus?

  30. bob1 says:

    Gotta love this Pope.

  31. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    If the spirit of Jesus lives in us, can we actually get closer to him?
    If we consume the actual body and blood of Jesus, can we actually get closer to him?

  32. Michael says:

    For some of us the experiential and the spiritual are both important aspects of our faith…

  33. Duane Arnold says:

    LCMS hijack… again

  34. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, let’s review.
    An Anglican posted – you
    An LCMS guy posted – Jean
    An LCMS guy posted – me
    An Anglican posted – Michael
    An then the Anglican guy – you, protest of an LCMS hijacking. Good suppression play.

  35. Jean says:

    “The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms.”

    I’ve heard reports that Pentecostalism is a fast growing movement in Latin America. I wonder if or how this movement has affected Pope Francis. He his enthusiasm sounds a lot like what one might hear at an IHOP conference.

  36. Scooter Jones says:

    We adopted a cat (Tommy) from the local shelter last year. He was kept in a box in one of their closets.

    He now has full reign of our country property. When he wants out or in he sits at the door and meows. If he’s out of food he just meows at the bowl until we give him some.

    However, affectionate he is not. He hates being picked up and held. I think he’s afraid we’re going to put him back in a box in a closet.

  37. Michael says:


    I get it that some people think doctrine is all there is.
    For me, the expression by Francis of the love of Christ is every bit as valuable…I have no need to put it against a checklist of acceptable dogma.
    Nothing is going to meet Lutheran qualifications but Lutheran doctrine…it would be easier if you guys just said “not Lutheran” after ll the comments you disagree with…which are all but the ones you post.

  38. Duane Arnold says:

    It’s predictable… and tiresome…

  39. Scooter Jones says:

    Another oddity displayed by Tommy is he oftened brings in his live gopher trophy to show it off and torment it by using a release and catch technique.

    If we try and approach him while he’s “toying” with his victim, he bites the head off quickly followed by a horrifying crunching sound.

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Hmm, we said nothing about doctrine and we said nothing about Lutheran doctrine – yet we are smeared with such.
    I only asked how it is possible for a Christian to actually get closer to Jesus? For a reply I got vilified. So be it.

  41. bob1 says:

    I wonder…have the Lutheran guys on here ever just considered taking their ball and going home? I mean, there must be conservative Lutheran discussion groups out there. Wouldn’t you, and everyone, be happier there?

  42. bob1 says:

    And to conflate something Pope Francis said with IHOP? How insulting and condescending.

  43. Jean says:

    I suppose, since it is the Pope speaking, we should not criticize his statement.

    However, if I was going to post something which expresses the love of Christ, I would express it (or quote it) in such a way that (1) accords with Scripture and (2) makes Christ and His grace concrete for the reader.

    It’s never about doctrine for doctrine’s sake, but so that men and women may know the love of God in Christ, a love that descends to us in concrete ways according to the Word of God, not us to Him through the thoughts of our imagination.

    Have said this, I do not want to cause conflict or hard feelings, so I am happy to move on.

  44. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    bob 1 – that is what happened to all the Calvary Chapel pastors who used to write here. I guess if we were to get voted off the island we would leave.

    If comments cannot stand up to the simplest of questions that may be telling. This place used to stand up to rigorous debate.

    But as I said, we have not made any claim to a Lutheran position on this question.

  45. Michael says:

    I have made no edict about not criticizing the Pope.

    If one reads Augustine, Bernard, or any of a hundred other historical figures, one will read similar expressions of piety.

    To my knowledge, none attended IHOP.

    The price we pay for diversity is the tension we often find on these threads.

    It’s worth it…I abhor echo chambers.

  46. bob1 says:

    I wasn’t saying our Lutheran brethren shouldn’t be here. I mainly meant I think they might be happier with more like-minded folks elsewhere.

  47. bob1 says:

    Of course, then MLD couldn’t try and bait the rest of us. There’d be no reception for his
    black-and-white thinking. 🙂

  48. Jean says:

    “I mainly meant I think they might be happier with more like-minded folks elsewhere.”

    I look at it this blog like an extended family. Making me happy is not a criteria I go by. At this point, there’s a glue at work.

    Reading and conversing with folks from around the country who are working out their own salvation with fear and trembling is satisfying, encouraging and comforting.

    If someone shows up with Frank, good for him.

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    bob1 – what you call baiting I call asking questions. So, why don’t you answer the question I asked at 31.

  50. John 20:29 says:

    we need the Lutes here – IMO – they make a great “control group” LOL

    #31 – MLD, you’re confusing our focus and awareness with the “scientific” fact of salvation’s core…
    it is a fact that you have grandchildren (can be proven, i assume 🙂 )
    but your focus is another matter… you have the option of focusing on them or ignoring them…

    i was moved by Billy Graham’s funeral… not so much the guest list, but the service – so down to earth and simple… it ended with a hymn that has something very strange about it – over the years, i have noticed that it brings the Holy Spirit very close… dunno why

    To God be the Glory:
    “To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
    So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
    Who yielded His life our redemption to win,
    And opened the life-gate that all may go in.
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
    Let the earth hear His voice;
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
    Let the people rejoice;
    Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
    And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.
    Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
    To every believer the promise of God;
    The vilest offender who truly believes,
    That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
    Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
    And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
    But purer, and higher, and greater will be
    Our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.”

    doctrines and theology are worthy pursuits and we need our teachers, but the saving faith is so basic and simple… To God be the glory, great things He hath done, indeed – it’s all in Christ Jesus

  51. Michael says:

    “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
    (James 4:8 ESV)

    “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
    (Hebrews 11:6 ESV)

    “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
    (Hebrews 10:22 ESV)

  52. Michael says:

    As with many things in the Christian life, there is both a positional and a practical side.

    Positionally we are in Christ.
    Practically, we experience that in ways that seem to be moving toward or away from Him.

  53. John 20:29 says:

    #52 – yes, that’s it! amen

  54. Jean says:

    Michael #51,

    Thank you. Here you have brought Christ to us – concrete, according to His Word and promise. And you have reminded us of our Baptism. Wonderful!

    Christ, our Shepherd, seeks us out through His Word, and His sheep hear His voice and come to Him in faith, hope and love.

  55. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    But I didn’t argue from positional side that we are in Christ – I suggested Christ is in us – is that just a positional statement?

  56. Michael says:

    I’m addressing the common experiences of Christians through the centuries, not parsing theological systems.

  57. John 20:29 says:

    you are on a bus – that is a positional statement
    the bus is at the curb – that is a positional statement

    i once heard an oriental preacher compare our lives in Christ as the effect that a tea bag has when immersed in a cup of hot water… the bag is in the cup, in the water and is hopefully transforming the water into a delicious cup of tea… too esoteric, too mystical? mebbe

    experientially, your trip on that bus has much to offer along the way and after you arrive – but you could pay your fare, take your position (sit down and just rest with your eyes closed), i guess … 🙂

  58. Michael says:

    I’m only reminded of my baptism when I get pneumonia…because I caught it when I was dunked in a frozen river.

  59. Jean says:

    Well, Michael, it’s always there for you should you have a change of mind. As Peter wrote: “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

    Its a Sacrament that conveys a lifelong promise. And it describes your lifelong walk, as the Spirit contends against your flesh to drown the old man and raise Christ in you. What a blessing!

  60. Duane Arnold says:

    Tone deaf…

  61. Michael says:


    I understand your view of baptism.
    It’s not mine.

  62. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane is hot with the zingers today.

  63. Jean says:

    He’s digging deep into his academic tool kit. 🙂

  64. Michael says:

    What we have going on here are completely different understandings of the Christian faith.

    Radically different…

    Maybe I’ve been wrong about the ability for peaceful and even profitable co-existence.

    That would be dreadful to me.

  65. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane’s contribution to the conversation – but I do appreciate the brevity. 🙂

    “LCMS hijack… again”

    “It’s predictable… and tiresome…”

    “Tone deaf…”

  66. Michael says:

    What actually happened here was that a devotional was posted and then attacked.

    Nothing stands on it’s own for whatever worth it may have to some…everything is subjected to correction by the Lutherans.

    It does get old.

  67. Michael says:

    Trey and I are getting a break and going to see a movie…a rare thing.
    I’m closing this thread as I have no desire to moderate for a couple of hours.

  68. Jean says:

    Speaking for myself, if someone desires to post a devotional and wishes it not be evaluated or discussed, if the poster makes his/her wishes known, I will respect his/her wishes.

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