Things I Think

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55 Responses

  1. Happy Monday Michael!
    A fresh new day and a fresh new week.
    May it be so fulfilling that you have to pull over, stop your truck, and get out to stretch your arms upward in sheer gratitude for the gift of life!

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, G…and may you be blessed the same way.
    You’re probably easier to bless than I am… 🙂

  3. “Exactly how can we be ‘one nation under God”

    We are not and we have never been.

  4. Bob Sweat says:

    #3 🙂 Fox News can become the new TBN.

  5. Babylon's Dread says:

    Absolutely my favorite time of the year… I love fall into winter…I pay no attention to the cultural stuff about the holidays I just enjoy my family and church.

    I got through the political season with my head in the sand … no adds on tv… no news coverage of politics… Spent exactly three days paying attention Mon-Wed election week I peeked in. Was shocked that at the Republican surge… but I think the association of Republican politics and Christian morals has abated and most of us realize the party only pays cursory attention to anything that a resembles a conservative christian moral position. It is pure politics now with caricatured hatred from both parties to the other… neither party is fiscally responsible so they are both determined to spend us into corporate poverty… looks like we will run out of water and money about the same time… cheers.

    Christians are political severely divided and agree on nothing so the association of politics and religion in America is meaningless. People’s politics are purely their own economic interests… everything else is foam

    And that’s as political as I have been this year.

  6. Nonnie says:

    Michael, I would suggest some good advent reading.

  7. j2theperson says:

    I don’t understand why you are facebook friends with a bunch of people you don’t enjoy and whose opinions you dislike and are angered by. My facebook feed has none of the drama I hear other people complain about because my friends are all basically nice people, I have no problem unfriending people I’m not close to, I have my friends all sorted into relevant groups that I can follow or ignore as I choose, and everything is basically filtered as I desire it to be.

    I’m not trying to be snarky. This is a genuine question. If you get no joy or benefit out of the relationships you have with people on facebook why do you continue to be facebook friends with them?

  8. Michael says:

    j2,

    I write everyday about the faith and it’s practice.
    Having a very diverse group of people as “friends’ enables me to hear outside of any echo chamber what people actually are thinking.
    I have an even broader assortment on Twitter…but the 140 character limit helps keeps some of the passion in check.
    It’s fascinating in small doses and very helpful in understanding the difference between what the media says we think and what people really think.
    There are times like the last couple of months when I can only take it in small doses…the anger gets to me.
    It’s still a valuable platform.

  9. Jim says:

    I was wondering when the “socialist/abortionist/bomb everyone” party’s loss to the “corporate welfare/bomb everyone” party would get a mention here. It’s a mid-term, so have no fear, we’ll be France before you know it. Amusing to me is my friends who think “NRA approved” equals Constitutionalist. SMH…

  10. Michael says:

    Jim,

    I pretty much ignored it all…it just strikes me funny when some people think it was a answer to prayer and God affirmed one party.

  11. filbertz says:

    Michael,
    your comment on Romans 5 rings true–far too many ‘believers’ adopt a too-good-to-be-true mentality in wearing the garb of grace and forgiveness; instead, we opt for constricting uniforms that appear as welcoming as a strait-jacket. The good news simply becomes the good noose.

  12. j2theperson says:

    Okay, I can understand that, Michael, but, at the same time, you really came off sounding as if you hate, loathe, and despise these people. It doesn’t seem kind or caring toward them to continue to be their facebook friend if you really just hate them, and how much outside your echo chamber are you able to see by remaining friends with them when the result of seeing them is, what appears to be, pure loathing?

    Almost this entire “Things I Think” came across to me as angry, scornful, and dismissive–toward Republicans, toward Christians who are Republicans, toward people who are concerned about Ebola, toward people who are concerned about how our immigration policy effects this country, toward people who have concerns about the side effects of flu shots, toward people who like this time of year, toward people who celebrate this time of year in a way you choose not to, toward people who don’t comment on or indicate they’re interested in what’s going on in Mexico.

    Then you threw in two positive thoughts, which seemed really weird and disconnected from anything else, and then ended by saying you’re glad you’re alone.

    I know you’re a nice person who is much more caring toward others than you came across in this “Things I Think”. It sounds like you’re having a really tough time and are unhappy. I’m sorry, and I hope things get better for you and the next month and a half aren’t pure misery for you. 🙁

  13. Jim says:

    For obvious reasons, I don’t hear much from the “God’s a republican” crowd. My media consumption is very selective, and excludes FB, Fox, and CNN. Life’s too short.

  14. Michael says:

    j2,

    I haven’t made much of a secret that I’m scornful of mixing faith and politics to the degree and fashion that it’s been done in this country.
    I’m also scornful of how the media tries (in my opinion) to keep people scared and angry for the sake of ratings…and has created a climate where real discussions on issues are almost impossible.
    Having said that, this is a hellish season for me and I probably need to take a sabbatical.

  15. “While we are busily anticipating Black Friday the country on our southern border is contemplating revolution.”

    Perhaps that is what they need … what they have tried in the past has not worked and a revolution did work well for us. Even the Civil War cleared up some matters for us and made us stronger and more stable, although at great cost.

  16. Michael says:

    Let me be clear as well that I don’t hate or scorn anyone for their political affiliations…but I see a lot of hating and scorning from both sides toward brothers and sisters.

  17. j2theperson says:

    ***I haven’t made much of a secret that I’m scornful of mixing faith and politics to the degree and fashion that it’s been done in this country.***

    Since I stopped being an evangelical, the mixing of politics and religion has ceased to be an issue for me. I have friends who hold all sorts of political view points and who talk about their views on facebook, but they’re all still nice people and, for the most part, I find the people I’m friends with on facebook are able to engage in intelligent and reasonable debate on whatever topic and not take things too personally or anything.

    And it’s so easy to just gloss over a posting by someone you don’t agree with and just not engage them on that topic. You have over 450 friends on facebook. I’m sure at any given time any number of them are talking about non-political, non-inflammatory subjects. I only have 150 friends and that’s the case with me.

    ***I’m also scornful of how the media tries (in my opinion) to keep people scared and angry for the sake of ratings…and has created a climate where real discussions on issues are almost impossible.***

    I’m a little confused because you’re post mentioned facebook, it didn’t mention the media. Facebook is not the media; facebook is people. Those people may be commenting on whatever is in the news, but they themselves are not the reporters and newsmakers. When you talk about facebook, what you’re really talking about are the 467 people you’re friends with. Aren’t you creating a situation where those 467 people will read what you wrote, determine whether you’re talking about them specifically, and feel hurt that you think so little of them?

    ***Having said that, this is a hellish season for me and I probably need to take a sabbatical.***

    I know that every year you have a horrible time around the holidays. If taking a sabbatical would help make it a little less horrible then you should definitely consider it. Maybe just hang out with Trey and try to do as many things you enjoy and as few things you hate as possible.

  18. People need to know how to handle difference. My family used to do political and religious wars with each other every Thanksgiving – the dinner table was a war zone… it’s the way we did Thanksgiving.

    But after dinner we would all take a walk and talk ordinary things and when we got back to the house, us guys would sit out back smoking cigars, drinking all kinds of stuff that kills brain cells and talk about women and sports.

    But for a hour at dinner…

  19. This was during the days when my parents would host Thanksgiving with my uncles, cousins and brothers etc.

    Now it is broken down to just my family .. and my kids don’t give a crap or think about any of those issues. They are Facebook brain dead posting selfies. 😉

  20. brian darby says:

    “I’m also scornful of how the media tries (in my opinion) to keep people scared and angry for the sake of ratings…”

    Actually for a far more important reason than rating people building unity etc. Ratings translates into money. Which I find really sad because the media could make a little less money and build up our society and maybe focus on positive things and things of substance. But it is also on us to demand it.

  21. Bryan Stupar says:

    Egypt was “one nation under god”, too…
    Then Yahweh showed how powerless Pharaoh really was.

  22. E says:

    9. The greatest supernatural empowerment a clergyman can receive is the gift of faithfulness…

    Really? Please cite a scripture for this….(because there is none)
    The power of faithfullness (endurance) comes by the power of the Cross, which is death to self. Pick up your cross and follow Me.

    Faithfulness does not fall under the “charismata” manifestations.
    Love trumps faithfullness. Because when we are faithless, He is faithful. Faith worketh by Love.

    Shall I say Love Wins

    When I read the above. it reminds me of the saying, some people endure Christianity. We enjoy our Christianity 🙂

    And the Charistma certainly does bring a wonder joy to the believer and often to those who witness the kindgom of God touching earth at that moment.

  23. dswoager says:

    10 was in a roundabout way, the subject around our house this past weekend. My wife and I have renewed our effort to find a community to wade into in our area. There are some places that we wondered whether we gave a fair shake in the past, but there is still that “outside of the camp” issue of disagreeing with some of their distinctives. I really don’t want to invest my life into a group of people that are going to end up viewing me as a second class citizen. The issue is that this particular denomination is so ever present in our area, and active in church planting that is seems like every time some new possibility pops up… it’s really that same old issue again.

    It was in many ways a very frustrating and discouraging weekend with those thoughts on my mind.

  24. onlybygrace says:

    I have so much to say about the things you think today; however, I’m going to leave it at…”Tuna Fish” is redundant. 🙂

  25. Xenia says:

    This is my favorite time of the year. I loved it just as much when I was homeless and w/o a family as I do now that I have a home and a big family.

    Whoever up above suggested participating in Advent, to that suggestion I say Amen. (It’s a lot more polite than what I was originally going to say.)

    You CAN, you know, be oblivious to the commercialism, if you have a mind to do so. You can also choose to concentrate on the parts you loathe and make yourself (and others around you) purely miserable or you can concentrate of the things that are true and beautiful. The choice is yours.

    I even enjoy Black Friday and go out at the crack of dawn with whoever’s up for it. I’m not interested in getting the best deal on a smart phone; I just enjoy being out with my fellow humans, my fellow Americans, whom I love. It’s fun, if you have a mind to see the good in things. The day after Thanksgiving isn’t a high holy day; there’s nothing wrong with going shopping on that day. As one of the few calm people in any given store, I find that by smiling at everyone, it calms them down, too. Give it a try.

    Thanksgiving is for gathering with loved ones and telling the good Lord all the things you are thankful for. It’s the ultimate American holiday and I am happy to be an American.

    Christmas is about the Incarnation, when God became man to save us all. It’s a glorious Christian holiday and I am happy to be a Christian.

    These things are what you make them. Every year, Michael, you tell us how much you hate this time of year. I think you need to do a personal reassessment.

  26. In the years between my kids being teens and the ‘advent’ of my grandchildren I was pretty much Bah Humbug towards the Xmas season.

    But with the 5 grandkids – well i am a kid again. 🙂

  27. Francisco Nunez says:

    Hi Michael,

    Just to add a little to post#10. Early this morning I was reading the passage below (Gal 2) and I think its at the heart of your post.

    I think that even our beloved Peter with a clear doctrine struggled with his need for belonging to a group and this compromised his witness for Christ.Thank God for Paul in exhorting Peter about his fear of what others might have thought if they saw Peter breaking bread with uncircumcised brethren.

    This fear is still alive and well today when I see many servants struggle with this “need” for belonging and of fear of what those in the circumcision camps may say.
    In Him
    Fco.

    11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. Galatians 2:11-12

  28. brian says:

    Most of my family is dead so Christmas brings up some fairly painful memories and it truly ticks me off about myself. I try so hard not to cross that line, that is so evil or so I have come to believe as a Christian. Being human. But I do like the lights, the singing and being able to hide in big crowds and pretend I am part of a community. Sort of pathetic but its better than nothing.

  29. covered says:

    Xenia, your #25 is priceless! I love how you express yourself in a way that makes one believe that you are all in. I have told you before and need to say it again, you my dear Xenia are a breath of fresh air. Thank you for contributing. I won’t be getting up at dark thirty to partake in the festivities on Black Friday but I am glad that you find joy in participating.

  30. j2theperson says:

    I don’t understand the whole Black Friday thing myself, and I don’t participate in it. But I know people who really enjoy it and look at it as a fun way to hang out with friends and do something a little different, and I know employees who enjoy working Black Friday because they get paid extra.

  31. Francisco Nunez says:

    In response to #7, just a thought. If we only break bread with those who are like us then we most likely will not be challenged in our personal walk. The Iron sharpening Iron process is not a friction free process. There is a healthy friction that is essential in our spiritual journey as Christians because it that allows for our growth in the sanctification process. No doubt the Lord uses others to sanctify us. I’m sure those who are married know very well about this healthy friction and its also applies in our relationships inside and outside the Church. As far as Facebook friends, the FB platform no doubt give us the freedom to unfriend a person with the click of a mouse or with a finger touching a handheld, but in God’s kingdom we don’t have the freedom to unfriend a brother in our hearts just because they do not share the same preferences as we do. After all Christ reigns on the throne not us. Unity in Christ does not mean uniformity. We should ask ourselves “who are we to summarily dismiss a brother or sister in Christ simply because we don’t agree with them?
    Kindly
    Fco.

  32. Xenia says:

    Aw shucks, Covered

    :っ)

  33. So how did the Grand Old Party get it’s name?
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1481/why-is-the-republican-party-called-the-gop

    Good thing your getting a flu shot…
    Tamiflu (generic name: oseltamivir), has psychotic side-effects, and the FDA is hiding it from the medical community.
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1481/why-is-the-republican-party-called-the-gop

    Or is it a good thing your getting a flu shot?
    https://www.google.com/search?q=flu+shot+paralyzed&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb

    Here in Orange County CA.
    It is often implied from some of the pulpits, in a passive aggressive fashion, (talking to the door to address the window), that you really can’t be Christian without being Republican.

    In fact some people in LA call Orange County “Behind The Orange Curtain.”

    This last election only 1 out of 3 Americans felt it necessary to show up and vote.
    2 3rds are are governed by 1 3rd. And yet the 2 3rd’s still feel that they are still entitled to complain about the state of affairs.

    Gee, “Faithfulness” is rarely taught over and above the ability to teach or have an anointing, but yes God does prize it highly. Something about hirelings etc…

    Oh ya…
    This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
    🙂 JK…

  34. Xenia,

    How did you make that nose…LOL

  35. E says:

    In the news today.

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2014/11/17/Reza-Aslan-Idea-of-taking-the-Bible-literally-is-a-little-more-than-100-years-old/7651416268422/

    According to wikipedia, this guy was an evangelical christian, and now he has converted to his homeland religion, shiite muslim.

    Pure bull spit….

  36. Charles says:

    My church has decided to intervene and make up packages of socks, water, supplies to the general homeless community that we have. They want us to take one of these packages walk up to a person who is living on the street, introduce yourself and give them the package.

    My hard heart is a little torn on this issue. For one I believe we should help homeless, but in a way that is not dangerous to a simple person just trying to do good. Perhaps God could show me the way to accept this type of ministry.

    I would also ask that please pray for these people who are doing this, they may get a surprise they weren’t warned about.

    Also as always pray for our homeless people, be they teens, vets, or those poor children who are tossed out after they turn 18 from their foster family

    Thank you Michael for this avenue for us to vent

  37. Issues etc interviewed Reza Aslan in January. The format is from the horses mouth. Let the person state their belief so there is no misappropriation.

    Then it was followed up by a response from John Warwick Montgomery and then by Dr. Paul Maier who tackles the historical aspect of what Dr. Aslan spoke of.

    Make no mistake, Dr. Aslan is one sharp cookie and very well spoken.

    Dr. Reza Aslan
    http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/issuesetc.org/podcast/14450110142.mp3

    John W Montgomery
    http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/issuesetc.org/podcast/14470114141.mp3

  38. I was in moderation for 3 links so I split it up.

    Dr. Paul Maier
    http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/issuesetc.org/podcast/14520121143.mp3

    E, you could learn something from this guy.

  39. Dave says:

    Charles,
    Red Wagon Ministries has been doing that for decades in Santa Ana CA. And so has Oden Fong and friends, giving socks, hats and blankets, tooth brushes etc, to the homeless.

    At first it is awkward when you start out to do these kind of things but as you begin to interact with the homeless you began to realize that so many of them are really great people.

    Most of them just plain got frustrated trying to keep up with the bills, child support issues, taxes and a host of other reasons, and just plain walked away.

    I even have spoken with some who like the homeless lifestyle. They know where to get free food, medical care, clothing and know where the churches are that will let them shower, listen to a Bible study and have a warm bed for a night.

    In my City the police get to know homeless people and do everything in their power to reunite them with their family.

    A lot of the homeless got plane tickets to go back to their families who were deeply concerned and glad they found their loved ones.

    It seems to be working because I see less homeless on the local streets than in past years.

    The homeless problem will always be with us.

  40. Xenia says:

    Davidsurfer, that noble snout was a cut and paste job.

  41. God forbid that MLD ever be in moderation!

  42. Dude says:

    The Facebook is now quiet over the Republicans Victorius election cycle …..don’t worry like the Democrats they always screw things up.By spring it will new the right wing gone wild.

  43. Dude says:

    Typo error ….be….not new .

  44. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael, is it the weather you loathe this time of year, or the political crap? (I didn’t read thru the comments in case you already answered).

    Did you know that, according to CNN, today (Monday) is National Unfriend Day? Unfriend those on FB who talk too much politics, their swanky vacation, ad nauseum about their kids, etc.

  45. Dan from Georgia says:

    Ok, I see in the comments that you loathe this time of year due to the political garbage. Normally I loathe this time of year when I lived in Minnesota due to the opening up of the Siberian Express.

  46. Q says:

    Wow j2theperson has 150 friends and Michael has 450, I wish I had that many friends. Will these friends loan you money? Seems real friends would.

    MLD, thinks revolution or as usual take your medicine is best, probably not when it comes to his grand kids.

    Xenia, is a breath of fresh air! What happens if I shop on a ‘high holy day’? Yikes.

    Kinda of feel for brian but something tells me I probably shouldn’t.

    And why isn’t Steve Wright on here to kick at?

    Didn’t mean to leave anyone out, this was just what came to me.

  47. Michael says:

    Dan,

    It’s a multitude of reasons of which politics is the least..but I’ve taken enough of a whipping here today to go into it ever again.

  48. JonnyB says:

    Ok, after reading #47 I had to review all the above comments because I didn’t get it.

    There are some incredible leadership qualities in you that have got to come from God.

    And your ability to spring forth Christlike metaphors and allegories has all of us beat hands down.

    Your skin is getting thin Michael; I agree you do need a sabbatical…if you feel you got a whipping here today.

    I have seen some threads where you were lambasted unbelievably hard and you came through with flying colors as if it were water off a ducks back; you cowboy-ed up admirably.

    What’s up?

  49. London says:

    Hey Charles at 36…I and about 6 of my friends did that very thing this weekend.
    It’s not that bad. Honest.
    My friends do it routinely every month and have gotten to know some of the regulars by name.
    We take stuff like you mentioned, plus a container of Starbucks coffee, cream, sugars etc. and walk around some parks in their town where the homeless hang out.
    Everyone, including the guy completely strung out on some crazy drug or other, was nice to us.
    We always ask them if there’s anything they’d like us to pray about for them and if they say yes, we lay hands on them and pray for them.
    Otherwise we just take a cue from them if they want to chat a while, or not be bothered.

    My advice is to vibe it a try, don’t go alone (we broke up into a couple groups), always have at least one male with each group, and be respectful, not pushy. Some of the homeless are better Christians than you or I… Don’t assume because they ate homeless, they don’t have faith

    I’ll be interested to hear about your experience.

  50. London says:

    Give not vibe…are not ate…

  51. brian says:

    Dave I worked with “homeless” programs for many years, actually going on decades. I tend to get leary at times as well, but I have found most of those people who are homeless really appreciate being helped. I tend to work through long established organizations with community distribution networks IE most bang for the buck.

    One story I was living in a ministry house for people with disabilities, one of the best times of my life and we had people who were homeless come through the community looking for recyclables. If they take them out of the city recycle bins its illegal but if they were given them by us it was sort of ok. I use to put them in a separate bag already crushed and would sort of wander over and pass them off. One day a rather large man was walking through being very discreet and somewhat shy. I think he had just been evicted from a room do to non payment or late payment of rent. I had this bike I never rode it just sat down in the basement. So this man was walking through and I went over to give him the recyclables I think it was and we talked abit, he said transportation was the biggest issue. I asked him if he likes riding bikes. He said sure. I said wait here and ran down stairs got the bike and gave it to him, with a bill of “giving” because it had a license on it. Yes I am one of the few people I know that actually licenses his bike. I also pay for shareware. I know, duh.

    The look on his face, I still remember that blessing, it was worth it some twenty years later.

  52. brian says:

    “A lot of the homeless got plane tickets to go back to their families who were deeply concerned and glad they found their loved ones.”

    Now that really is good news. I love to hear stories like that thanks.

  53. brian says:

    Now me and Dr. White are as far apart as two souls can be, but for some silly reason I have listened to him for almost twenty years. I cant stand some aspects of reformed theology and the assuredness of Dr White in his convictions really ticks me off. Usually because he backs up his world view with facts, I hate that. What I admire about him is that he is consistent, very rational, except about evolution in my opinion, but that is another post. He goes into mosques to tell people about Christ. I am not nor would I ever be a presuppositionalist, ever. But he does have a point, the Christian religion really can answer the claims of the Muslim faith in a way that faithful Muslims can understand, secular worldviews do not have that capacity. He is so sure in what he believes, I envy that, I wont ever be that way, but I do envy that.

    Dr. Brown has come out with a new movie, I have not seen it, but it looks like some type of knock off of dispensational israel right or wrong type stuff. I could be wrong and sorry if I am. I am all for supporting Israel, even using military intervention if needed to defend its sovereign right to exist. But we live in a nuclear age with real nuclear weapons, which, if fully deployed are a species ender. There is no glory in a nuclear exchange, just lots of dead and dying people. I could be way off on this but questionable eschatological opinions mixed with political power can be very deadly. Here is the article.

    https://www.facebook.com/prosapologian/posts/872328439458676

    I plan on writing Dr. Brown but I am sure he is a busy person. I appreciate Dr. White for doing some of what he did, he can come off as a bit “arrogant” but he has helped me.

  54. Charles says:

    Dave,

    Thank you for the encouragement, I guess it takes a leap of faith and out of my comfort zone to minister. I want to be like Christ and minister to those in need and your words greatly encouraged me.

    Thank you,

    Charles,

  55. j2theperson says:

    ***It’s a multitude of reasons of which politics is the least..but I’ve taken enough of a whipping here today to go into it ever again.***

    I’m sorry, Michael, I wasn’t trying to “whip” you.

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