Things I Think

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68 Responses

  1. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I love Lady Gaga. People don’t realize that she is a performer who has taken on a character. But she knows when the show is over, the character is to come off. She is much like Alice Cooper.

    Her duets with Tony Bennett are killer.

  2. Michael says:


    I was very impressed with her in the pregame interviews and in her performance.
    That is a very talented performer…

  3. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I like Pink also – but that wasn’t the topic. 😉

  4. Em says:

    1-i was offended by the pug dog-monkey-human baby commercial … somewhere between creepy and revolting – i missed the Clydesdales, sigh, but the sheep were cute
    2-Lady Gaga sang our national anthem the most beautifully i’ve ever heard it… almost a hymn to America… her commercial with Tony Bennet singing “Baby it’s Cold Outside” is charming… that said, i don’t listen to the popular music today as i find it panders to a mindset that all of us need to avoid, not cultivate … IMNSHO
    3- ? needs some elaboration for my brain to grasp the nuance, i guess
    4-good/great thought
    5-an aneurism?
    6-7 amen! – in spades, amen
    8-i pray that God forgive them
    9-10 good teaching there

    just sayin … again 🙂

  5. Michael says:


    On #3…

    Let’s take the two big issues politically… immigration and gun control.

    The divisions between the sides are so great that the online discussions have devolved into caricatures of reason and thoughtfulness.

    One can only be radically on one side or another…the middle ground where solutions lie is now scorched earth.

    Theologically, one wrestles continually with nuance and mystery…and when nuance is denied doctrines become stiff caricatures of what the Bible is trying to communicate.

    In both cases it is nuance that leads to understanding…and the denial of it creates ignorance.

  6. Em says:

    thank you, Michael, and right on target – IMHO

  7. Cookie says:

    “Nothing has died a more violent death in the internet age than nuance”

    This is confirmed in your items 6 and 9. No nuance- just blanket statements as fact:

    “we changed the nature of the pastorate”
    ” all these (CC) conferences”

  8. Josh the Baptist says:

    1. I was only offended by how poorly my team played.

    2. Lady Gaga seems to be talented, but tends to border on the grotesque. (I didn’t like Alice Cooper or Kiss either.) She has never put out a song that I like at all.

    3. 140 characters don’t usually allow for for discussion.

    4. I think we can use “biblical” without vilifying one another. Sometimes it is the best descriptor available.

    5. The odd thing is certain people aren’t allowed anger at all.

    6. Yep.

    7. And yep. I thought about this as my former church was falling apart. I would get so mad at different people, but it would hit me. They are just doing what they were taught.

    8. I don’t mind it at all. They should know that their faith statement WILL be held up against everything else they’ve said and done as well.

    9. It’s true. We americans tend to think we are super important. If there is true revival breaking out elsewhere in the world, though. I would be very tempted to move there.

    10. We should take it easier on one another. We should be more patient with one another. Slower to anger, etc.

    Don’t see it happening.

  9. Michael says:


    These are one or two sentence blurbs intended to create conversation.

    That does not allow for much nuance.

    You seem to take issue with most of what I say here…why even bother reading?
    I find that strange…

  10. Michael says:


    Who isn’t allowed anger?

  11. Josh the Baptist says:

    Me, to begin with. But lots of people. Black men are certainly not supposed to ever show anger.

  12. Michael says:


    I’m confused.
    Why can’t you show anger?

  13. Xenia says:

    1. The Super Bowl was playing in another room and I didn’t pay attention, other than to eat up some of the snacks. I am turned off (but not offended) by the whole thing.

    2. Lady Gaga…. not a fan.

    3. Internet nuance. Ha! Go to an Orthodox forum and every sentence and word is nuanced to death.

    4. We never say “biblical” in my neck of the woods. We begin our pedantic statements with the phrase “The Church has always taught….”

    5. Just be sure one is angry about the right things (and sin not).

    6. Orthodox churches are all about families. There is no age-segregation, we all worship together. Sometimes it’s hard to know how many Orthodox people there are in a certain area because of the EO habit of counting families, not individuals. If someone has a party or dinner, the whole family is invited, not just the adults. The godmother/ godfather system unites people in a familial way, too.

    8. I feel a little manipulated, too, although a few of them especially irritate me.

    9. For Russians (I know a lot of them), it’s the Russian headlines that provide the signs of the times.

    10. Right!

  14. Jean says:

    “It’s way past time to stop using the term ” biblical” in online arguments as if invoking the word puts us on higher ground.”

    I remember about 3 years ago when Michael taught me that lesson. 🙂

  15. Michael says:


    That was well done.
    I can’t emphasize enough how valuable it is to have someone here from another tradition.

    I love the difference in how we are pedantic… 🙂

  16. Michael says:


    I think all Protestants believe themselves biblical.
    I heard it a hundred times if I heard it once during that conference…while the whole time I was thinking how unbiblical they were.

    We all declare the Bible to be authoritative…but in reality it is our tribal interpretations we hold as the plumb line.

  17. Josh the Baptist says:

    Think about it Michael.

    I am a man.
    I am a husband.
    I am a father to two small children.
    I am a minister.

    Can you think of any situation where I could display anger and it would be acceptable?
    I’m guessing that is why a lot of people take on fake names and come online to let it rip.

  18. Michael says:


    I see it all day every day on Facebook and Twitter…lots of pastors letting it rip.

    It acceptable as long as you’re angry about the same things the brethren are…

  19. Josh the Baptist says:

    Maybe online, and maybe that’s the problem. We don’t allow any room for healthy venting of anger in the real world.

  20. Michael says:


    I don’t have this problem… 🙂
    I do wonder though, if you’ve landed upon a shared experience with others…

  21. Josh the Baptist says:

    I can’t remember a time in real life when I showed my anger and it wasn’t condemned by someone.

  22. Michael says:


    I’d have a stroke if I lived that way.

    I have friends (one in particular) who I can pick up the phone and vent as stupidly and profanely as I need to and it stays right there and is forgotten as soon as we hang up.

    I do the same for them.

    We repent later…but it keeps things from overwhelming us in the present.

  23. Francisco Nunez says:


    As a shepherd if the flock learns to love and fear the undershepherd, more than God………..then I’ve failed as a pastor. As shepherds we must teach the flock to love Christ more than us and to only fear Him. As pastors we are not only accountable to Christ, but also to the flock He has given us.

    Unfortunately the CEO model although very popular in American evangelicalism is inherently set up for failure since this leadership model is largely dependent on a platform and entertainment to draw the people. Essentially the platform is the draw. However whether we realize it or not, there is a huge difference between a platform ministry and pastoral ministry. A pastor carries out relational and functional duties that by definition make him a pastor. A platform CEO on the other hand although he may be referred to as “pastor”, largely depends on the platform not relationships. Ultimately pastors as Christ as set the standard know the members of the flock , they have relationships with them. Likewise shepherds also carry out (teaching ,exhorting, reproving, protecting) pastoral functions. While many men with large platforms may certainly have large memberships in their corporation, they may not necessarily have relationships with the people nor carry out pastoral functions. The CEO corporate model is thus a spiritually bankrupt model because it was never designed for the Church.

  24. Michael says:

    “As a shepherd if the flock learns to love and fear the undershepherd, more than God………..then I’ve failed as a pastor. ”

    That…is gold.

  25. Josh the Baptist says:

    The pastor is also in a strange situation in the he himself never graduates from being a sheep.

  26. Steve Wright says:

    Lady Gaga was (is) a very talented young girl who was trained and studied for awhile at a prestigious school until she dropped out to pursue her career. (Pat Benatar comes to mind on this)…

    What I appreciated is that a mega-star like Gaga, whose stardom in large part is to her “act” – recognized and appreciated that the National Anthem, especially at the Super Bowl, was bigger than she is – and properly respected that privilege and did a great job…with class.

    A whole lot of artists out there don’t think that way…

  27. pstrmike says:

    Francisco nailed it.

    How’s that for nuance?

    I’m reading a book about Jefferson. The author described him as a perfect mix of philosopher and politician. He had the rare ability to think, and yet he he could quickly descend the ivory tower to persuade people. Back in that day it required nuance. Today’s linear, black and white thinking influences how nuance is used and received. We need to get back to reading the classics as a means to educate.

  28. Michael says:


    That would require reading whole books…which is becoming a lost discipline.

  29. Dan from georgia says:

    That’s right Michael, Jesus died for every sin except the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and liking Lady Gaga….lol!

    I am a Christian and I enjoys me some KISS, Megadeth (Dave Mustaine is a brother after all), Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Tiesto, Solarstone..ok I better stop as I sense some of the more fundagelicals here fuming with anger at me…good for them.. I hope they continue to suffer their self-righteous anger! Ha!

    Your number 9: was at one of those end-times/pro Israel conferences years ago hosted by Jan Markel from the Twin Cities… Same stuff peddled…some garbage, much of it focused on ‘Murica.

    Number 8: so sick of the republicans falling over one another trying to prove who is the better Christian, and tired also of being pandered to by their phoniness (see huckster Huckabee’s claiming Rubio being a false Christian because he didn’t tithe, or something like that).

  30. Josh the Baptist says:

    Dan, I’ve never seen anyone here get worked up because you like that kind of music. As far as I know, poor taste isn’t sinful.

  31. Francisco Nunez says:

    #27 Pstrmike Amen to that. We certainly need to encourage others especially the younger generation who will be leading the church tomorrow to read and appreciate the classics.

  32. Erunner says:

    1. The Super Bowl halftime left me underwhelmed. All my favorite bands are too old to perform anymore!

    2. Lady Gaga wore strange shoes but she did an excellent job with the National Anthem.

    3. Lines are drawn. People are exposed and judged. We all battle with pride but sadly many aren’t open to the possibility they are in neck deep. It’s scary that we spare no one if they don’t match our beliefs to a T. Hence we all are damned in the eyes of others.

    4. I like the term Biblical but too often what people mean is my beliefs are truly Biblical so the rest of you are…

    5. Josh…. I tried to live without anger in my life. I have found I am unable to do so. If someone dares to say or do anything against my wife and children I become very angry. Years ago a man living next door made a move on our 12 year old daughter. I went over there and I let him have it without laying a hand on him. I had him thrown out I was so angry. I became enraged last week when a former pastor posted something implying mental illness didn’t exist. I solved that by unfriending him and will seek to keep that sad chapter in my life behind me. By and large though I’m a quiet man dealing with a host of other issues though! 🙂

    6, 7. I’ve seen it in action and learned these things here. I wonder why so many pastors aren’t humble or teachable? Those two traits would go a long way for the benefit of all.

    8. Politics demands you be all things to all men although not in the way the Apostle Paul had in mind.

    9. I think there were three conferences not too far from our home yesterday. I’m through with the prophecy and discernment world. I’ve often wondered why so much of prophecy updates are from the news and about our nation. There’s a lot of fear involved and once you buy into this in an unhealthy way every tornado, earthquake, or war is considered a birth pang.

    10. As I’m going through Matthew and having just about completed the Gospel of John I am so shocked the religious leaders of the day did everything they could to challenge Jesus and that hate led to seeking to kill Him. My gosh they wanted Lazarus dead because he had the gall to come out of the tomb when Jesus summoned him. God help us to learn from the mistakes all through scripture as people in the name of God dared keep people from the kingdom.

  33. Babylon's Dread says:

    Either I had a Deja Vu


    Some of these have been said before with slight nuance.

    Ironic Dread

  34. says:

    Lady Gaga…
    I remember when she hit the scene, ironically my intro was from another believer on why she’s going to hell, or maybe not a Republican (in my circles the same thing).
    I saw her wearing an all meat suit and acting strange, and felt a little sorry for her – not just the meat thing, she seemed genuinely unhappy. I then watched an interview where my sympathy deepened – she discussed how she was used and discovered she had very few real friends. Being in the same boat, except not being at church, she’s allowed to both feel that way and discuss it, she gained my respect. I mean, she’s truly talented and where I would think she’d be valued, the world really doesn’t care. So hay, I don’t really need any talent, I’ve already nailed it! ; )
    As a combat vet I really appreciated her rendition of my country’s anthem. I’m not naive enough to think all artists are patriotic, but I at least expect them to fake it, and I have to say her performance was one of my favorites.
    I don’t own any of her music and don’t plan to, but she obviously didn’t need the gig and respected something I value much and for that I thank her. She’s and a whole bunch of other artists (including those that are the D-word, don’t worry, I won’t say it) have performed a lot for vets which is a hell of a lot more than most I’ve known in the church – using my flag as a prop doesn’t count.
    formerly, The 22.

  35. filbertz says:

    I suppose there are plenty of things to criticize if one wants to look for them, but I also suppose that one misses most of the cool stuff at the same time. There is always a price to pay for being Mr. or Mrs. Grumpybutz.

  36. Francisco Nunez says:

    Erunner good point regarding Humility. It is important to distinguish between self deprecation and humility as the two are not one and the same. Although we see many platform ministers self deprecate before their audience in their platforms this again is not humility. Humility is simply knowing who you are in Christ, that we recognize that only HE sits on the throne, not our platforms, nor us as His undershepherds

    We can also say that teachability is dependent on humility. Ultimately it is humility , not self deprecation that makes a shepherd approachable by others but also that which allows him to approach those deemed unapproachable by others.

    Another nuance, there is a difference between being an Arminian vs. preaching like one. The two are not one and the same.

  37. Em says:

    #19-not showing anger is a recent and, i think, American phenomenon… in other times, it would have made folk suspicious of what you were up to…

    as Xenia noted, be angry, but don’t sin ….. and that’s – ahem – biblical 🙂 lol

    BTW – when does anger become a tantrum? hmmm

  38. Em says:

    for the record (whose record, i don’t know) i like pastor Francisco’s thoughts on humility

  39. Steve Wright says:

    Number 8: so sick of the republicans falling over one another trying to prove who is the better Christian
    Michael was entirely nonpartisan in his comment at #8.

    So it is funny to read Dan above that, while certainly true of the Republicans, sort of misses the fact that right now Hillary and Bernie are both very much involved in a “who is more religious” debate of their own.

    One of the google hits is literally just hours old….

    It is total damage control from Sanders seemingly atheistic comment a week he is walking it back while Hillary continues to remind everyone she is a Methodist, tried and true.

    Prophecy wonks aren’t the only ones who interpret and/or ignore current events based on what they want to believe. BOTH sides’ candidates are most definitely pandering for the American voter who remains, more often than not, a person who thinks faith is important.

  40. Erunner says:

    Francisco, When you’ve been exposed to much negativity in ministry it seems easier to recognize humility and teachability.

    Self deprecation is something I’m going to think about as I could easily mistake it for humility. Thanks for your comments.

    Regarding anger……. twice during the Super Bowl we got ding dong ditched…… where little kids ring your doorbell and head for the hills. The second time I raced outside and yelled “hey” twice. My wife then reminded me I was being a baby since we grew up doing that as well as our kids. Heck….. we ever took our kids out toilet papering! Maybe I was having a small tantrum as Em noted! 🙂

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I didn’t watch the Superbowl and I have not watched a single debate. I am trying to simplify my life and work on my “I don’t give a crap” attitude. So far so good. 🙂

  42. Dan from Georgia says:

    Steve #39: I guess I missed the faith debate among the Democratic candidates. I wasn’t trying to be partisan in my comment, but just the observation that I have taken from the news sources I peruse and the blogs I read.

    Frankly, to me I would like to see a candidate share my faith, but that may not happen. I would like to vote for someone who can best run the country, not be my pastor-in-chief. A great President and a great Christian would be nice, but right now, just being honest here, I am not too hopeful. Maybe I need to stop reading some of the blogs that are always critical of any candidate that mentions faith.

  43. Dan from Georgia says:

    In regards to the anger issue, I have observed, at least in some evangelical circles (and as an almost former evangelical, I can’t speak for other faith traditions/denominations), I have seen anger in men treated as a sin. We men are expected to be nice, gentleman, and good church boys. Jesus got angry. I get angry. I spent so much time in the 90s trying to be the good conservative guy who was in touch with his feelings (zeitgeist of the 90s church guy), but it didn’t work out for me. Anger was there beneath the surface. Counseling and time and the Lord helped heal lots of the anger!

  44. Cash says:


    “BTW – when does anger become a tantrum? hmmm” When you start throwing tables and stuff and yelling at people. Oh and calling people names. Jesus did that too.

  45. Em says:

    Cash – lol 🙂 don’t make God mad, eh?

  46. j2theperson says:

    *** her commercial with Tony Bennet singing “Baby it’s Cold Outside” is charming… that said, i don’t listen to the popular music today as i find it panders to a mindset that all of us need to avoid, not cultivate***

    You don’t listen to popular music because of the mindset it panders to, but you enjoy a song that is basically a glorified Ode To Rape?

  47. Pastor Al says:

    “4. It’s way past time to stop using the term ” biblical” in online arguments as if invoking the word puts us on higher ground. What’s biblical in my eyes may be aberrant in yours whilst using the same scriptures as “proof”.”

    Like I said about 7 years ago and many times since on here 🙂

  48. Pastor Al says:

    Like I’ve said over and over….and over.

    “Thus sayeth the Lord!” is NOT a function of the text on the particular page of whatever of the many versions you choose as your official “bible”.

    “Thus sayeth the Lord!” is a function of the Gurus/Leaders/Forefathers of your particular Sect and your pastor and their particular INTERPRETATION of what they believe or force the text to say.

    Same raw text….many many many different opinions and emphases.

    The “bible” is not “God”

  49. Anon says:

    Banner day for Teddy Cruz.

    Apparently he’s the candidate of charismatic wackos. As well as plenty of other wackos.

    Endorsed by Kenny Copeland.

    Then 2 guys tried exorcising a demon from Teddy.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow.

  50. Pastor Al says:

    Not sold on Cruz. Never bought in. Wife works for Goldman Sachs. He comes off as creepy. But, the “Anybody but Trump” crowd in the RINO party seems to be gravitating to Cruz or Rubio.

    I’m a Ron Paul/Rand Paul guy. Those guys don’t get much traction in a National contest, they are too honest, not politician-y enough. Have way too much common sense for the job. Plus, the US populace is full of idiots who do all the voting.

  51. Pastor Al says:

    If the Democrats nominate Killary Corrupt Clinton….I do not want to hear another lecture EVER again by Liberals about anything “corrupt” in the RINO party. You elect that Bish and you can just shut it forever.

  52. Em says:

    j2, well the song in question was a seduction song – could that be interpreted as an ode to rape even though the duet is clear that both parties know what goin on?
    the commercial in question takes place in the aisles of a bookstore, flirtatious maybe, but …?… an old, over the hill troubadour and a sophisticated woman with an incredible voice does not imply a rape is even possible, let alone being celebrated
    your point is well taken as we do need to watch what we’re affirming

  53. Em says:

    i kinda sorta like Cruz – on and off – but has anybody noticed that he looks like a cross between John Wayne and Lyndon Johnson? Rubio is cute as a bug, maybe his smile will get the rest of the world to cooperate… Trump? he’s used to being able to fire people and you can’t fire bureaucrats… there was a reason that Jr. was tapped instead of JEB years ago…
    i may not vote for the first time in my adult life… as MLD says, tho, if our votes counted, they wouldn’t let us do it
    even if Hillary was a lovable, well meaning and dauntless crusader, she is NOT competent – Bill can’t always have her back – stubborn ambition and blatant duplicity do not equal competent – i fear some who loved Bill think that they’ll get him for another four years if they elect his wife, but that lady does not take orders, nor can she be steered … IMNSHO and Bernie? Santa Claus for President? ah well….

    God keep all the PhxPeeps this nite

  54. Pastor Al says:

    Em’s synopsis is great LOL

  55. Muff Potter says:

    3. Nothing has died a more violent death in the internet age than nuance…

    Right on the money Michael. Chris Hedges dwells at length on this topic in his book:
    Empire of Illusion
    We’ve gone from a print-based society to one built on tweets, memes, and propaganda.

  56. Pastor Al says:

    ^^ I said that 7 years ago as well LOL

    Glad to see folks catching up 🙂

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Pastor Al – no you didn’t – 7 yrs ago you were a staunch Calvinist passing along that piddle.
    Your thoughts and ideas are like the fall fashions – changing constantly and like the fall fashions, usually for the worse. 😉

  58. Pastor Al says:

    Actually, I think your Alzheimer’s is affecting you.

    Go back and read my stuff.

  59. Pastor Al says:

    BTW, I’m still a Determinist. Was then, am now.

    You don’t understand what that means….so you cannot understand how my range of thought-process is actually very CONSISTENT with that position.

    But that’s OK, I play for an audience of one….and accept that many won’t understand the “nuance”….ironically LOL

  60. Pastor Al says:

    I’m just amazed your’e still alive after all these years LOL.

    When are you gonna die? 🙂

  61. Pastor Al says:

    Here are the 4 options….and the “range” I’ve expressed over the years:

    1. Hyper-Calvinism. God picks a very few winners….and smites the vast majority of his “creation” in hell forever or snuffs them out (annihilation) and there’s really nothing you can do about it of your own “free will”…as Free Will is an illusion.

    2. Universalism. “God” redeems the whole of his creation, even the Lutherans.

    3. We cease to exist, it’s all bullcrap.

    4. Who knows. The Muslims are right and you’re all screwed.

  62. Pastor Al says:

    My macro-philosophical Conclusion summed up with the cookies on the low shelf:

    “It IS what it is….it will BE what it will be”

    ^^ Troof

  63. Pastor Al says:

    So, relax and enjoy the ride.

  64. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “It IS what it is….it will BE what it will be”
    So, relax and enjoy the ride.

    Same philosophy as step dad … interesting point

  65. Josh the Baptist says:

    Eh, wish you wouldn’t have taken THAT cheap shot.

  66. Pastor Al says:

    No, not even close.

    Plus Sociopaths don’t really have a philosophy.

  67. Pastor Al says:

    But, I knew I could get you to take the cheap shot….telling that I got to you 😉

  68. Josh the Baptist says:

    Now I’m wondering who Al is referring to when he says “sociopath”.

    That cheap shot is oddly, OK.

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