Things I Think

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55 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    Great post but somehow we will likely spiral it down to the least poignant matters. Lot’s to chew on. I hope it gets traction.

  2. Em says:

    good thinking – i’m thinking on your thinking today

  3. Babylon's Dread says:

    Parse out #6 … as I think we should stone no one

    But then I do not regard strong language as stoning.

    We have to fight hard and fight for one another as much as we contend against one another. I like fighting that has a goal of reconciliation.

  4. London says:

    If #8 is true, it seems it would be worth having more discussions and teachings about prayer around here.

  5. Michael says:


    I keep coming back to the reality that judgment begins in the house of God.

    The culture has taken a hard swing left…and now that the consequences of that move have been shown in the area of abortion and even gay rights, the culture is ready to swing toward Jesus.

    We should celebrate this…but if we continue to cover the sins of some in the church under the tent floor we will be defeated yet again.

    This is a strange and wonderful season…God is giving us an opportunity to confess and repent in both spheres.

    We must hear and follow…

  6. Michael says:


    #8 is true and I will take that word seriously.
    We’ll see what we can do…

  7. Michael says:

    The Schaeffer link is compelling despite his obvious errors…

  8. Laura Scott says:

    That Schaeffer piece is potent. And honest.

    We get so involved in the activity of judging to condemn, we miss countless opportunities to speak Jesus into people’s lives.

    God help us all to do as He would.

  9. Babylon's Dread says:

    We better start teaching people how to read the Bible because the LGBT crowd is going to do it for us.

  10. Em says:

    not being a prayer warrior, i still am without excuse – i must pray

    guile is an interesting word… for the Christian it is the first piece of baggage that some of us have to shed when we come to pray…
    another is the sense that we have to inform God or, perhaps as we get a little more honest, we try to edit our thoughts before we “speak” to God – as if He didn’t already know
    there’s absolutely nothing wrong with crying or asking God “why?” IMV – even a cuss word or two will be endured by Him, depends on what we’re cussing, tho – not a good idea to aim those words AT Him
    i believe that it pleases God when we see our predicament – nothing wrong with confessing that His ocean is vast and our ships are so small and we’re just plain lost at sea… loose quote from a plaque in a ship’s chandlery
    point is, shouldn’t a child come to Papa? no matter what we’re doing or thinking?

    for instance, “pray for Saeed” – who knows exactly what to ask God for? i don’t – a brave prayer is to ask God to simply transport him back to his family in Idaho as Philip came to the eunuch, that would be a radical prayer… or open the gate and let him walk out like Peter (he’d have a much longer walk)… i just have to say, Father, your son Saeed needs you now and i’m joining in lifting him up … pretty wimpy, but enough voices …?… who knows?

    who knows? maybe there’s a prayer warrior lurking inside some of us – boldly and often before the Throne of Grace

    i like what i heard somewhere in the past – real success in prayer is coming to the point where we are agreeing with God – declaring, Thy will be done and meaning it with all our heart …

    oh and “Lord have mercy” must carry some weight, eh?

  11. Pat says:

    Good thoughts, as usual, Michael

    Though on four I find it a bit narrow minded and not wide enough. When we look at that thought in light of Ephesians 4 I think it goes much broader. Often it is discussed and reflected in thought to echo your sentiments as it pertains to reaching those outside the kingdom. What I mean is that often such statements are used to encourage evangelism or missional thinking, as it pertains to those outside the kingdom. I see, this over and over. Yet, I think there is deeper and broader meaning in helping those who may no longer be facing God’s wrath or judgement to understand what it means to be united to Christ.

    A common issue with those who are reformers is right after justification, beginning as the next step straight into progressive sanctification. There is much error taught as a result of not realizing that the next step after justification is not progressive sanctification, but intrinsic and positional sanctification. When we forget these and jump straight into progressive we end up with errors like Lordship Salvation, God needs us to partner with Him and needs our works in order to complete the process, along with others. So, rather than this is our identity, now live it it just becomes get busy, do more, get better, we are healthy or at least getting healthier or we should be working to be.

    Dealing with this currently with a Presbyterian pastor friend of mine who sent me 2 Peter 1:5-7, but left off 8 and 9. Had to back him up and point out the key to understanding those passages is 8 and 9 So, yes think it goes much broader and deeper.

    Just my thoughts, thanks

  12. Em says:

    i have to take patheos in measured doses as i’m very impressionable and it is too easy to confuse a soft heart with a soft head and then we end up with the compromises that have led to celebrating the heresies we’re now trying to recover from leading to what #10 examples

  13. Xenia says:

    I can’t read Frank Schaeffer. He may say some things that are true but the noise to signal ratio is terrible. You have to read through too much falsehood to find a truth.

  14. 7. Here’s a fun exercise… whenever you read the name “God” in the Older Testament, substitute the name “Jesus”. Trinitarian theology is the theology of orthodox Christianity.




    There is a reason our sacred texts span over millenia, as we observe they show a progressive revelation of how humans came to understand God and the working of life.

    1 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of Jesus saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then Jesus said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

    4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of Jesus went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

    5 Jesus saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 Jesus regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So Jesus said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jesus.

    9 This is the account of Noah and his family.

    Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with Jesus. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

    11 Now the earth was corrupt in Jesus’ sight and was full of violence. 12 Jesus saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So Jesus said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress[c] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.[d] 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit[e] high all around.[f] Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

    22 Noah did everything just as Jesus commanded him.

  15. doing that little “substitution” exercise is like pointing with the wrong finger

  16. Babylon's Dread says:

    Actually that WAS fun. Which is all he claimed.

  17. Michael says:

    Good thoughts, all…even the ones I disagree with. 🙂

    I have an appointment with the Rogue River I must keep now…

  18. Josh the Baptist says:

    I didn’t see anything objectionable in the substitution there. God did it all. No qualms here.

    However, there is a distinction in the Trinity. The Son is not the Father. Yet the two are one. I’m not sure we can just substitute any of the three Persons of the Trinity, but it is an interesting exercise.

  19. Michael says:


    Part of Trinitarian theology is the belief that there is complete harmony and unanimity between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    (I know you know this, but I’m pressing my point.)

    Therefore, when God brought the flood waters down, Jesus wasn’t standing behind Him wringing His hands wishing that He hadn’t done that.

    The pre-Incarnate Christ was both present and approving of all the acts of God in the OT…they were His acts as well.

  20. Josh the Baptist says:

    Nothing was created without Him.
    He was with God, and He was God.


  21. I was taught to substitute “church” wherever I read “Israel”.
    Pretty much just as foolhardy.

    A writer had intent.
    That writer had an audience or reader in mind, which is why that writer or speaker chose the words they chose and spoke them in the context of the narrative.
    The narrative has a time/date/culture/voice.

    Overlaying our assumptions is easy enough with any good “find & replace” command in a quality desktop publishing program.

    Of course, If I do that in my day job I can cause a critical care nurse to kill a patient.

    And, if I do that to anyone’s sacred text I kill the author’s intent.

  22. Before any of us can discuss the text we must check if the text has been shaded by some well meaning fellow traveler telling us, “Yeah, just read ‘Jesus” whenever we see ‘God in the text’. That makes for a pretext instead of a context.

  23. Context is messier because it challenges our pretexts and dashes them on the cold hard reality of the speaker’s world view and communication to the reader/hearer

  24. Context chooses us to struggle with what we’re reading and choose to accept, reject or shelve a decision until we come to a place of better understanding or peace with our decision.

  25. sorry, I intended to write “context FORCES us to struggle with what we’re reading and choose to accept, reject or shelve a decision until we come to a place of better understanding or peace with our decision.”

  26. Babylon's Dread says:

    G-guy the conservative. That’s fun too.

  27. Josh the Baptist says:

    You can insert your name wherever it says world.


    G does make a good point about author intent.

  28. I am a conservative when it comes to the integrity of text & communication, which is why I am a progressive when I read it in the light of history, literature, and church commentary

  29. Josh,
    If you want to create some amazingly weird stuff, yes, Adobe InDesign is a great “find & replace” tool for editing text.

    One can substitute “Flying Spaghetti Monster” all throughout the Old testament and have quite the sport, then illustrate it accordingly, again all in fun.

  30. Josh the Baptist says:

    You know I was making a joke right? I assumed all evangelicals had heard that at a revival meeting at some time or another. *assumes old preacher voice* “Where it says God so loves the world…just put your name in there. For God so loved G-man…”

  31. Josh the Baptist says:

    For The Flying Spaghetti Monster so loved G-man that he gave his only begotten Father…

  32. Josh the Baptist says:

    All that to say, I agree with you about author’s intent.

  33. Steve Wright says:

    when God brought the flood waters down, Jesus wasn’t standing behind Him wringing His hands wishing that He hadn’t done that.
    Amen. That simple sentence can be affirmed or opposed.

    I affirm it.

  34. Josh the Baptist says:

    Me too.

  35. Josh,
    I totally get it that you were joking 😉

  36. that’s the problem with simple sentences, they are assuming simplistic answers to complex questions that force us to do gymnastics or simply affirm that we really don’t know and offer our opinions while we actually embrace mystery

  37. “For The Flying Spaghetti Monster so loved G-man that he gave his only begotten Father…”
    Josh, I’m going to share that one with my athiest friend, anything to keep him even slightly bemused that God loves him 😉

  38. Josh the Baptist says:

    There ya go!

  39. Steve Wright says:

    Nothing complex about it. God either judged the world with a Flood or He did not. Jesus said it happened so that is good enough for me.

    Which brings back to the affirmation or rejection statement.

  40. Josh the Baptist says:

    I’m fine with G saying he doesn’t know, and embracing the mystery he perceives.

    I assumed he might outright reject the notion, so that’s a plus.

  41. Josh,
    You are tracking with me here, yes, I reject the literal flood, but I accept the use of The Flood as a device that Jesus employed to get His point(s) across.

    This is about having the right to practice belief on a continuum as I work through my faith.

  42. Appreciate you, Josh

  43. My preference is to state Trinitarian theology only when it is clearly observable in a text within context.

    Dialoging with anyone is easier when the focus remains how awesome and trustworthy and faithful God is according to the text.

  44. This is why there are 4 Gospels and lots of writers of our sacred texts

  45. Em says:

    i have this wonderful mental picture of a time when our Lord gathers all the folk who doubted things like the flood, the talking donkey, torching a soaking wet burn pile with fire from the sky and, perhaps, the 7 days of our creation etc. and says to them, “no – lookee here, I can do that … and I did. wanna see a demonstration?” When He does, please, doubters, say, “no, we’ll take Your Word for it.”
    cuz i sure don’t want to go thru all this all over again… 🙂

  46. I have this mental picture that the Lord says, “Yep, more allegory and story, but as long as you got the point…”

  47. Steve Wright says:

    Maybe it would be valuable to know the lessons (i.e. the point) of the global flood judgement story…the Adam and Eve story…the serpent and the fall story….the six days of creation story….the Sodom and Gomorrah judgement story

    If we aren’t to understand them as Jesus understood them…I am not sure what God would have us learn….

  48. Babylon's Dread says:

    A triumphant church will emerge from this apostasy just as it has from every other.

  49. Em says:

    once again, i am indebted to Michael’s blog followers for some wonderful ponders – and much to ‘amen’ …. i’m glad that i stumbled onto this site

  50. Linnea says:

    #4. Amen, Michael…we should be broken over all that’s wrong with our nation, our Church, our lives, and prayer is the only remedy.

    #5. Amen again. Take a look at Ezekiel 8 … easily translatable to today’s idols.

  51. Babylon's Dread says:

    When abortion came forth the full force of legal protection came with it, including abortion without parental consent. Expect gender confusion to be increasingly lobbied into media and schools. Expect the government to begin to protect children’s rights to begin gender re-designation procedures without parental permission. Expect left wing groups to finance and lobby this.

    What will strategies to push back look like? A strange coalition of Muslims and Christians might just find a home on this issue.

  52. JonnyB says:

    Speaking of floods:

  53. Muff Potter says:

    G-man wrote @ # 42,

    “…You are tracking with me here, yes, I reject the literal flood, but I accept the use of The Flood as a device that Jesus employed to get His point(s) across…”

    I always enjoy your take G-man because you tolerate disagreement and diversity. I have always believed that the flood was literal, global, and cataclysmic, but could never point to any real facts that might support the thesis. Well now there is some evidence that there may be vast quantities of water locked up in the rock under terrific pressure 400-600 kilometers down from the Earth’s surface. To me it gives new credence to what the Bible calls ‘the fountains of the deep’. It’s documented here:

  54. Muff,
    Thanks for your kindness and dialog.

    Interesting article, appreciate the science, even as presented by Daily Mail (which is always entertaining in how it serves up a wide menu of stuff 😉

    I’m convinced that, yeah, some huge event happened in history, though I am not inclined to pin it on YHWH the way the writer of the Genesis Flood myth presents it with such calculated evil as to drown everything that has breath, especially innocent babies.

    Still, Jesus draws from the sacred texts to make His point time and again that we humans are prone to take EVERYTHING for granted, that nothing horrible could ever happen, or that we worry about far too much and all there is to focus on is bad stuff while we need to be mindful of our present moment and life and how we could be more engaged in His Kingdom and love our fellow humans.

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