Things I Think

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124 Responses

  1. AA says:

    #1 I can definitely relate to. We only got Cronkite. Good list.

  2. Xenia says:

    Lamenting about everyone else’s screen time will only be helpful if change begins with ourselves.

  3. Xenia says:

    We all have the ability to turn off our screens and start chatting with our neighbors. No one is forbidding us. We ourselves can be the change we would like to see in the greater society.

  4. Michael says:


    Short of something catastrophic happening it’s not going to change.
    In fact, with the advent of virtual reality devices,it’s going to get worse.
    My thought…and it’s for me, first…is that we need to count the cost.

  5. Xenia says:

    An example: For most of the time we have lived in our house (nearly 40 years) our sandy, droughty front yard looked like a cat litter box. I decided to plant drought resistant plants over the entire small yard. All the neighbors, even people I didn’t know all that well, became interested as I turned a desert into an Eden. They all came over, began talking, and they all began giving me cuttings from their own yards. This was good because I couldn’t afford to buy enough plants to fill in the space but thanks to my neighbors I have more plants than I need. And they look at my lovely garden and smile and so do I. I don’t have much in common with most of my neighbors. Some of them are very noisy people who are low-grade criminals but they really became happy about my yard and I felt a greater sense of community. Then we painted our house and they are all talking about painting their houses now. Our short street is now friendlier and nicer-looking. I overlook my neighbors’ marijuana business, I overlook my other neighbors’ code violations, I don’t call the cops when the party down the street gets too loud,

    We can all do this.

  6. Michael says:

    “We can all do this.”
    Great story, Xenia…I’ve noted that the only community we have around here are yard sales…
    We can do this…but do we want to?

  7. Xenia says:

    Well I want to.

  8. Michael says:

    I’m not sure if I do…all of this tech reinforces my introversion and natural selfishness.
    It makes me very comfortable because I thrive on isolation.
    I’m forcing myself to overcome such…

  9. Xenia says:

    That’s why I sometimes write posts that I know sound very self-congratulatory. I am sorry about that, but I want to give examples to encourage people because I too am an introvert and all I want to do is stay inside and read and work on my book but I believe this is self-indulgence on my part.

  10. Xenia says:

    Otherwise, I am stuck in my Christian bubble, stuck in Ortholandia, and the Scriptures say to let my light shine and not hide it under my couch.

  11. Michael says:


    I think your posts are excellent examples of a better way.
    I’m not sure we all understand what is happening to us…
    Most of us learned our socialization skills in school…now the kids are in front of screens there too.
    We’re training a new generation how to isolate…

  12. Xenia says:

    I think there will one day come an anti-screen rebellion. I think a movement will develop (from young people) rejecting devices. Not all will participate but I think such a movement is coming.

    There was a sea-change in the sixties when the youth rejected the plastic society and I think it can happen again. But what will replace it…..

  13. Duane Arnold says:

    Yes, loss of community and commonality – the sense that we’re all in this together. Its not that we all do the same thing, have the same income, believe exactly the same thing. For Christians, I think its that we all partake of the same Spirit, we share in the one bread, the one cup. The result of such community/commonality might even effect No. 5 on your list…

  14. Michael says:


    You might be right.
    Trey won’t read on a screen, if we can get him to read at all.
    He got on Facebook…and now wants off.
    I’m writing this at the skatepark where he’s upset that his peers are playing video games at home instead of being here.
    He still has no idea what I do online…

  15. Michael says:


    It could…but we’re miles from home and lost.

  16. Dan from Georgia says:

    Item #5:

    When I was attending a baptist church and an E. Free church, I thought that I was all that, and we were the cats meow in God’s eye, and no one else had it so good.

    Now I attend a Presbyterian church and I am afraid to mention that sometimes, even here, because I know I will be judged by some as not being in the faith.

    Just my $0.02

  17. Xenia says:

    We were in Minnesota last week and I took a long walk in a very nice safe neighborhood on a weekend and there were almost no kids riding their bikes or playing outside. No skateboards or scooters, either. No girls playing jump rope, no young boys playing with Tonka toys, just dead silence. I guess all the kids were either off at planned activities or inside watching TV or playing video games.

    And I never saw so many overweight kids in my life as when we visited the famous Mall of America. So very tragic.

  18. Dallas says:

    9. I read something this morning that had me thinking that the reason that many churches are in trouble is that they have ceased being the church that they have been called to be.

    It’s complicating then that many of the healthiest (financially, membership, etc) out there are successful for the very same reason.

  19. Michael says:


    There is a sense in which evangelicalism has said it has no need for the Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and other expressions of the faith.

    As I’ve written here a hundred times…we need everybody…

  20. Michael says:


    Taught on Laodecia last night… I think all churches should have to teach on it next week. 🙂

  21. Michael says:


    If you talked to many of those kids you would also find a lack of social skills and empathy. It scares me here sometimes…

  22. Dallas says:

    Xenia is reminding me to be thankful that I regularly worry about backing over someone on the way out of my driveway. We actually have a fairly active neighborhood of kids. When we moved in a little over 4 years ago, we commented that it seemed like we moved into a neighborhood pulled out of time.

    I haven’t thought about that much lately, so am thankful for the reminder.

  23. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians,”

    Methodists and Presbyterians are evangelical, right?

  24. Josh the Baptist says:

    If you’ve never watched the movie Wall.E, check it out. Prophetic.

  25. Bob Sweat says:

    #10 🙂

  26. Michael says:

    Methodists and Presbys are usually considered the wicked “mainline” churches…

  27. Josh the Baptist says:

    Oh, ok. I’m thinking both have mainline and evangelical branches. There are mainline Baptists as well. Lutheran too.

    I’ll admit a certain fear of those sects.

  28. Michael says:


    I used to be until I realized that a vast majority of the issues I deal with are from non denoms and non mainline sects.

  29. Josh the Baptist says:

    My interactions with mainliners have been like talking to aliens. We just don’t speak the same language. I’m sure there are many pewsters who are solid, christian folks, and my bias is unfair. But the few I’ve dealt with have been very difficult for me.

  30. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I like to think of the LCMS as mainline and those who have left the Book of Concord as the ‘evangelical’ branch of Lutheranism.

  31. Duane Arnold says:

    Part of the issue with ‘mainline’ Christians, I believe, has to do with our own evangelical “God-speak”. Many do not express their faith in the same words which are familiar to us despite a deep personal faith. My guess is that if you had asked C.S. Lewis about his “own personal relationship with Jesus” he would have looked at you with a very puzzled blank stare. We should not confuse real faith with our particular way of expressing that faith. Just my opinion.

  32. Josh the Baptist says:

    Wikipedia has ECLA as on of the seven sisters of mainline denoms.

  33. Regarding selfies, I work at a local Gospel mission that ministers to women. I teach a weekly class. At the beginning of each semester I get my class roster (usually 6-8 women who have backgrounds marked by drugs, abuse, homelessness, incarceration, etc.

    Prior to the start of class I look up each women to see if she has a FB page (I never become FB friends with any resident) to see if there’s anything I can learn. After 3 years of doing this, I am still amazed at the amount of selfies most of these women have posted on their FB pagers. In some cases, nothing but selfie after selfie.

    Just an interesting sociological observance…not sure what it means.

  34. Michael says:

    If C.S. Lewis were writing today he would be considered a liberal at best and a heretic at worse…

  35. Michael says:

    There’s a pastor on my FB who posts one almost every day.
    I find it odd.

  36. Jean says:


    Thank you for sharing your thoughts today.

    Xenia, thank you for the great advise (#3, #9), as usual.

  37. Michael says:

    Thank you, Jean. I think I went one for 10, but we must have content… 🙂

  38. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, you missed my nuance in my statement.
    Mainline and Evangelical are made up terms that no one can define – or at least no 2 people in the group will define it the same.

    So, would you rather be on the mainline of your religion or some ‘other’ described group. Only in Christianity do we describe ‘mainline’ as off the tracks 😉

  39. Josh the Baptist says:

    I think Lewis was pretty conservative on most issues. He was blessed to live in a time when everything wasn’t split in the two camps of conservative or liberal. I think if he lived and wrote today, he would probably be pressured into towing the line on his “problematic” issues. Which would be a shame, because he was such a great thinker.

    I could see him in the same line as Eugene Peterson, maybe a bit more conservative.

  40. Josh the Baptist says:

    Yeah, you’re right MLD. But then instead we use the conservative/ liberal labels, and I don’t think they are much more helpful anyway.

  41. Michael says:

    Lewis believed in the concept of purgatory, praying for the dead, the possibility of post mortem salvation and liked a good drink. He would have been crucified by “conservative” evangelicalism.

  42. Michael says:

    Eugene Peterson is much more “conservative” than Lewis…

  43. Josh the Baptist says:

    Regarding # 9 – I was reading Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy this morning and read a haunting quote that is related:

    “The God of Abraham has withdrawn His conscious Presence from us, and another God whom our fathers knew not is making himself at home among us. This God we have made and because we have made him we can understand him; because we have created him, he can never surprise us, never overwhelm us, nor astonish us, nor transcend us.”

    God help us.

  44. Michael says:

    Josh…that’s a great quote…

  45. Duane Arnold says:

    Yes, an old fashioned Anglo-Catholic…

  46. Josh the Baptist says:

    You think so on Peterson? Hmm. Maybe. I’m thinking Mere Christianity more so than the beliefs you mentioned. I don’t remember anything in it being even remotely unorthodox. Those you mentioned, he would be forced to pull back on in our time.

    But then again, quite often it is the guy with something to say who ends up crucified. So, you may be right.

  47. Michael says:

    Exactly. 🙂

  48. Josh the Baptist says:

    Michael, I think it is terrifying. Crazy that Tozer wrote it at least 50 years ago, and it seems he could have been observing my class on Sunday.

  49. Michael says:

    Peterson is pretty tame if you read broadly in his works.
    I love the guy…

  50. Josh the Baptist says:

    Oh, I love him too. You turned me on to him years ago. I had shied away because so many had warned of his liberalism. He reminds me of Lewis in that he’s a great writer. The stuff is enjoyable to read. Some guys have great information, but no style. Peterson draws me in with his style. The Pastor is probably a top ten favorite book for me, all time.

  51. I was in Lakeside, Montana last week, where Peterson resides. I secretly kept hoping I would bump into him somewhere in town.

  52. Michael says:

    Josh… that is a great book!

  53. Dallas says:

    I feel bad about this, but I became and remain a fan of Eugene Peterson solely from the stuff that pops up in my twitter feed.

  54. Jean says:

    Some people confuse liberalism with a different interpretation or hermeneutic. I could easily make an argument for praying for the dead without resorting to liberalism. Purgatory, a view I do not hold, did not originate out of liberalism.

  55. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael #19 – THANK YOU! Reminds me of One Corinthians where Paul talks about everybody having a place in the body of Christ.

    Anyone else…

    I won’t defend or debate anyone here whether or not I am a Christian because I go to a “mainline” denomination. God knows who are his. You don’t. Not trying to be an a##, but I just get tired of the “we are better than them” mentality, or the wholesale dismissal of an entire group of people who aren’t like you. Like I said, God knows who are his.

  56. Steve Wright says:

    I think the breaking down of our culture has been caused first by a loss of the fear of the Lord by more and more people, and the loss of community is a sign of that played out. I had a professor in the 80s who taught law and he said the swearing of an oath to God before giving testimony caused a lot of people to tell the truth who were lying earlier – I think that fear of the Lord has diminished dramatically. Even as a lost sinner, unsaved, I had a decent dose of the fear of the Lord in me. Due to the culture in which I was raised. Far different than today. I’m sure the Steve of old would laugh at the notion of God if I was raised now rather than when I was.

    You know who makes an effort to develop community these days. Hardened sinners like pedophiles and terrorists. They use the technology to expand their communities. Of course, community is what one makes of it – many of us here have met face to face that would not have ever known each other if we never visited the blog. Groups from all partisan levels such as Occupy Wall Street, The Tea Party, much of the Bernie revolution etc. have grown community today in grassroots ways that would have been more challenging in the past without our technology. Hobbyists of every stripe (oh how I wish I had collected baseball cards with today’s technology rather than what I was stuck with in the 70s)

    Like Xenia said, there are plenty of ways to develop all the community one’s 24 hours can handle. (I am amazed at how social and diverse my son’s friendships are with multiple people – and not just through his cell phone but face to face hanging out).

    Same with church. Plenty of social opportunities for people who desire them. But one can’t stay away from all that, never put their own hand out first in a greeting, and then bemoan unfriendliness and lack of community.

    As to the local community and neighborhood, my kids live a much different life at the younger ages than I did – because it is just too dangerous to do otherwise. Yes, abductions and abuse have always existed, but not to the degree today.

    I have referenced many times (usually on deaf ears) that one can compare the discipline problems in public schools in the 50s with the problems today very easily. It is tragic, and it is a loss of the fear of the Lord (over now multiple generations). And no, I am not arguing the 50s were some golden age of bliss so please spare the “blacks could not drink at the same water fountain” spiel. We have always had wrongs in need of fixing, and thankfully some of those wrongs HAVE been fixed. But new wrongs seem to replace them quicker than we can fix the old ones – and the whole thing slides further downhill.

    And part of the problem (again, loss of fear of the Lord) is that people are quick to sue and blame the innocent which tends to keep people from getting involved. I can’t tell you how many times I have driven slowly behind a young child walking home to make sure he/she got safely there, even though I am sure if somebody else was observant they would report me as a stalker.

    Remember when the neighbors could chew out a child causing problems without that child’s parents coming and calling the authorities on the neighbors? when teachers and parents were ALLIES in the best interest of the kid and not adversaries. “In the old days” the parents used to be the first ones to come and say, thank you, to the neighbors for straightening their kid out. If I see some punks in the neighborhood causing issues and I deal with it, they will not respect me (You’re not my Dad!) but their parents won’t either. Not to mention you piss the wrong people off and you won’t get tp’d – you’ll get a bullet through your window or your car vandalized.

    So nobody gets involved, kids stay indoors where it is safe unless the parents have time to personally supervise their every move. Yeah, it’s a shame.

  57. Dan from Georgia says:

    Xenia (#17). I am from Minnesota and it is truly sad what you witnessed. Like that everywhere. I went to a big elementary school and one of the largest High Schools in the state, and in both schools you could count on one hand the number of overweight kids, and have a few fingers left. Sad how things have turned out.

  58. Xenia says:

    Hi Dan, I didn’t mean to pick on Minnesota. There’s some really nice military housing near here in central California and a walk around those neighborhoods show the same thing. If a garage door happens to be open I can see that the families have plenty of bikes but they seem to stay in the garage.

    … says the person who has two dusty bikes in her own garage.

  59. Dan from Georgia says:

    Number 8… one reason why I am shying away from twitter and fakebook. I am sorely tempted at times to engage in hating people and want people to join me.

    Number 10…Michael…kind of like last nights conversation about music, old and new. I TRY not to disparage new music, because someone likes it and someone makes a living off of it. What I consider old and classic and better was probably considered bad when it came out. The old times in general were not always so glorious as we make it out to be. Sure, Leave It To Beaver life seemed so safe and innocent, but look what else was in play during those times.

  60. Dan from Georgia says:

    Xenia…Hi there! I didn’t read your post as picking on Minnesota, so no worries! It’s like that here to in Georgia. Once in a while I see kids out, but not like when I was a kid and we played outside EVERY afternoon and evening and all day on weekends. I hope you enjoyed other aspects of Minnesota. I miss the glorious and mild summer’s there (Georgia is danged hot and humid!), but I don’t miss winter.

  61. Michael says:

    In the old days here we had a “night crew” that I never knew what to expect they had been up to while I slept.
    That went down in flames a few years ago and it was good to see that spirit back for a bit…

  62. Xenia says:

    Dan, I had a wonderful time in Minnesota!

  63. Xenia says:

    What Steve says is true: you can’t complain about lack of community if you aren’t willing to say “Hi!” first.

  64. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael 61…cool! I am up frequently past midnight due to shift work, so I check your blog when I get the time. Last night was a great conversation!

    Xenia 62 and 63…great to hear that! My wife is more outgoing and personable than I am, and she is great at saying hi! to neighbors. Her friendliness helps me out a lot.

  65. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, help me with your Tozer quote above. I he really saying that the Spirit of God has left us Christians and another, perhaps a foe has entered us?

    If I walked up to a friend and said, “Brother the God of Abraham has withdrawn His conscious Presence from you, and another God whom our fathers knew not is making himself at home in you.”

    That does not sound like Christian theology to me – I always thought Tozer was a weird dude or he was off on a Christian level I would never understand.

  66. Michael says:

    Tozer was a mystic…I’ll translate.

    “Your lamp stand has been removed and you have fallen into idolatry, not even noticing that God wrote “Ichabod” over your door…”

  67. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – I get that, but what is the context – is he writing that to the general Christian masses?

    Does God do this in the NT sense that Tozer would be speaking?

    I used to see / hear Tozer quoted all the time in CC & SBC and he always left me scratching my head

  68. London says:

    I’ve written 3 posts about community.

    They all sound ridiculous.

    So I’ll just say, yes, there’s a lack in modern life for opportunities to experience community life. Since I travel so much with work when I’m working, I am acutely aware of the beauty of living out life within a (physical) community.

  69. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I spend 8 – 10 hours a day “in community” – called my workplace. Isn’t that enough?

  70. Michael says:


    A lot of people do travel for work…and move about much more than before.
    I think the main thing I was looking at were shared common places and experiences…we are loosing those on both a micro and a macro level.

    I’m the worst person to point these things out…if I could afford it I’d be one of those guys living off the grid that comes to town once a month for cat food and whiskey…

  71. London says:

    I was just trying to say that in my personal life, because I travel so much and am never really “part” of anything even at the office, because I’m always a consultant who automatically is an outsider, I appreciate more the feeling of community when I do get to participate.

    I was thinking about it just the other day when I left the walgreens store near me. I know the manager quite well from having bought 1 million erasers/pens and index cards from them over the years. We were talking the other evening about how our area doesn’t have any place to buy fresh food since corporate made him stop selling it.
    There’s only a couple gas stations, a 7-11 and fast food places around.
    I was watching him greet shoppers as they came in, noticed how many of them said hello like they knew him etc. It gave me a good sense of being part of the area. I don’t get that experience when I’m traveling. I’m always an outsider.

    Also, in my immediate neighborhood, there’s 6 houses in my cul-de-sac. Four of us are friendly with each other. In the last 2 weeks, some of us have exchanged food or tools, my neighbor came over and chopped off some branches we couldn’t reach, we’ve made sure that folks know there’s a person coming around asking if the nicer vechicles are “for sale”, people are trying to get the county to provide skunk traps etc….

    Another way I’ve experienced community in the last couple weeks is during our backpack event. It is open to anyone in the area who wants to participate. We even had some folks drive some 90 miles to be involved this year. People of all ages, ethnic groups, and socio-economic groups participate. I’m the only person in the room with the knowledge of who is a volunteer and who is receiving assistance. It doesn’t matter. Everyone pitches in and we get the thing done.

    We get good feedback because people like the variety and they like getting to meet people they otherwise wouldn’t get to meet.

    Now personally, as an introvert, it nearly does me in every year. 🙂

    It seem to me that it’s up to each person to make sure they are getting the amount of community they need for their own soul’s health.

  72. London says:

    “I think Lewis was pretty conservative on most issues. He was blessed to live in a time when everything wasn’t split in the two camps of conservative or liberal.”

    He lived in England during both world wars. There were different camps back then.

  73. London says:

    3. Selfies are fun. I sometimes do them when I’m bored, or if I am with others and want to be silly. I used to be a photographer of every event I went to. I was never in any of the shots, at least with selfies, I have some evidence that I was there.
    It’s a way to show that you are part of the group. That you belong.

    4. I watched a lot of the Olympics. Was disappointed in NBC’s coverage this year. They showed way the heck too much of swimming, track and volleyball. I prefer when other, lesser known sports get shown. Oh well, there’s another in 4 years.

    10. I miss the folks that were around in the “old days” of the blog (well, most of them). The variety of opinions and personalities were what was fun and challenging. Now, I pretty much already know what everyone here is going to say before they say it.

  74. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “people are trying to get the county to provide skunk traps etc….”

    Well, I guess I never considered building community spirit around skunk traps. 😉

  75. Chris Long says:

    Michael @ 14:

    Wow, count your blessings on that one man. So many preteen and teen boys only know how to spend their time playing mass-shooter games all day long where all they are doing is going around killing and maiming people for hours on end every day. It’s really sad and very concerning. From my experience, most boys are beholden to the computer and devices one way or the other, and usually in every way possible. Most teen boys specifically just seem to alternate between the video games and porn…

    Praise God your boy isn’t in that trap and knows how to get outside and actually live in the real-world. 🙂

  76. Michael says:


    We got him an X box at one point so he would have something to do with friends beside skateboard.
    It hasn’t been turned on since the first week he had it…

  77. Chris Long says:

    Seriously man, that gives me great hope. Having been doing mentoring with boys in this age range and recently just being very discouraged given the enemy’s traps that so many are ensnared in in this area, it is really encouraging to know there’s at least one boy out there that’s swimming against the tide. 🙂

  78. Michael says:


    I think the key is to have a passion that takes time.
    He loves skateboarding more than breathing…but he’s also into different kinds of art, producing music, making a hell of a mess, etc… 🙂

  79. Reuben says:

    Thought one and two.

    Sorry, but I really don’t have any other place to say this.

    I am not really an Athiest, and Anti-Theist means a lot of things to a lot of people. There are online groups that are quite literally are worthless. I found a chapter of Athiests in Colorado, part of a speaking tour for famous folks more than anything else.

    I have inhaled quite a bit of material from amazing writers and lecturers, and taken a serious interest in theoretical physics. I get to ponder this stuff a lot, but there is nobody to really bounce thoughts off of.

    The reason I say this, when I was a Christian, or whatever I was, I had people I could go to. A community. Always. Even here, it was a very critical part of who I was. When I fled Calvary Chapel and scrambled to figure out what had to be next, this place was here, and even then, I had a few actual IRL people.

    Hard as it may be to believe, people like me don’t have community structured like you do. It may be easy to consider even a place like this as superficial, but it is something far more than what I can find now.

    The old pastor in me ponders coordinating a minimum of a monthly get together for the few Anti-theists I know of in the general 100 mile radius. One of them was even a devout Christian at one point.

    Point being, value what you have. It’s a big deal.

  80. Michael says:

    Reuben, point well taken.
    It’s one of the reasons we’re still here.

  81. Josh the Baptist says:

    London @ 72 – I’m sure you’re right, it just seems that with the internet and such we’ve ramped up the witch hunts to an all-time high. But honestly, I don’t know much about Great Britain during the 40’s, so I’m just speculating.

    Mld – I think some quotes can be rhetorical, just to make a point. I think he is making the same point you often make about evangelicals. The quote startled me, frankly. Particularly this part, “because we have made him we can understand him; because we have created him, he can never surprise us, never overwhelm us, nor astonish us, nor transcend us.”

    My God has become very safe. That worries me.

  82. London says:


    I’m not anti-thesis and I don’t have all that much community either. I have the beginnings of what in my neighborhood and once a year project. Other than that, not so much.

    Right now I’m not working, I’ve been caring for my mom post surgery, so I’m missing the camaraderie and the routine.

    I’ve found that has some good things to do with like minded people. Maybe you could start something there.

  83. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Isn’t Tozer just admitting that he along with the many he hangs with – well hung with, were just idol worshipers. Who is the ‘god’ that he has made?

    Do you have the article that quote came from so I can read it in context. I find the quote quite troubling, not that it convicts me but that people continue to read Tozer especially with that.

  84. Ms, ODM says:

    #41 — Good news Michael – It’s been done – here’s a quote

    “So we ask again: Did C. S. Lewis go to Heaven? And our answer must be: Not if he believed what he wrote in his books and letters.”

  85. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You can community with me. Heck, if Mary Matalin and James Carville can do it – we can. 🙂

  86. Jean says:

    “Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

    Don’t be dismissive of Tozer.

    No one inhabits neutral ground.

  87. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    No one inhabits neutral ground.

    I didn’t say he was on neutral ground – I thought he was on bad ground. Jean, have you replaced the God of the Fathers with your own made up God? Tozer is accusing you of doing that. If you were a weak new Christian, this would not help you – at the very least it would turn you into a legalist … at worst it would make you suicidal.

    I went looking for a little more substance but I found a couple of places where you can see stand alone quotes pulled from their context.

  88. Michael says:

    Ms. ODM,

    You have cited John Robbins as your authority.
    John Robbins would have condemned you and me to hell in a hot flash…but you first.
    Robbins was (mercifully) among the last of a breed of hyper-Calvinists who condemned everyone but each other to the pit.

    He was brilliant, but a nasty, mean spirited, horrible misrepresentation of Reformed theology and practice.

    C.S. Lewis, on the other hand…was my kind of guy. 🙂

  89. Jean says:

    “It is, accordingly, necessary to know and to teach that when holy men, still having and feeling original sin, also daily repenting of and striving with it, happen to fall into manifest sins, as David into adultery, murder, and blasphemy, that then faith and the Holy Ghost has departed from them [they cast out faith and the Holy Ghost]. For the Holy Ghost does not permit sin to have dominion, to gain the upper hand so as to be accomplished, but represses and restrains it so that it must not do what it wishes. But if it does what it wishes, the Holy Ghost and faith are [certainly] not present. For St. John says, 1 John 3:9: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, … and he cannot sin. And yet it is also the truth when the same St. John says, 1:8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” – Luther, The Smalcald Articles

  90. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You may want to reconsider that Luther quote in the context he is writing – it comes under the heading “Of the False Repentance of the Papists.”

    Luther being the ‘occasional’ preacher / writer he was speaks to certain or special ‘occasions’ – unlike other theologian who just develop information to fill doctrinal voids.

  91. Ms, ODM says:

    Michael – I didn’t say I agreed with the author – I don’t know who he is – but I am aware of the Trinity Foundation and they have done some good apologetics for biblical teaching vs. Catholicism.

  92. Jean says:

    I could go on all night long and place an 8th Commandment best construction on the Tozer quote. Why don’t you give it a shot and share your best construction with us.

  93. If I disagree with someone’s statement I am in violation of the 8TH commandment? I spoke directly to the quote and I even asked Josh if he had the article it came from so I could look at the context.

    Color me confused.

  94. Jean, I see no upside to teach that God will remove his spirit from a sinning Christian. Without more input that is my best construction. To Josh it was terrifying.

  95. Michael says:

    “The God of Abraham has withdrawn His conscious Presence from us, and another God whom our fathers knew not is making himself at home among us. This God we have made and because we have made him we can understand him; because we have created him, he can never surprise us, never overwhelm us, nor astonish us, nor transcend us.”

    I do not believe that Tozer is addressing individual Christians, but is giving a corporate warning as I already noted that He gives in Rev 2-3.

    You’re off on a tangent, MLD…

  96. But without context how would you know? This is why I think it is dangerous to throw out quotes like fortune cookie sayings.

    So, going with your take on this, has God done this to the Christian Church? Tozer says it is a present act. Not a future warning.

    But hey, I said from the beginning Tozer has always been confusing to me.

  97. Michael says:


    Did Jesus ever carry out any of His threats to the seven churches?
    History says yes…

    Now leave me be…I’m thoroughly enjoying James White turn a Calvary Chapel “pastor’ inside out…I thought he did Bryson hard….that was nothing compared to this idiot.

  98. filbertz says:

    ah, the night crew. It was the wild west of blog history. good times.

  99. Michael says:


    How are you holding up?

  100. brian says:

    I think it is very important to have a reverence for God, I am getting there. Most of my Christian experience it was not fear of the Lord, it was the stark terror at God’s utter capriciousness. Community was based on nothing but utilitarian needs of the moment, we were cogs in the apologetic / fundraising machine nothing else, I can respect that when its up front but the nauseating “fellowship” where basically you listen to people tell you what a piece of crap you are and how you have disappointed God and spit on Jesus etc it gets old. You were expected to be anonymous and autonomous etc. I have come to see that much of the above is perceptions on my part filtered through a deep seeded anger and what I saw and in some ways see being lied to, but that is another post. I think bitterness has ruined what could have been a loving community, I am very lucky to have a wonderful work community but I am extremely careful not to get too close, I draw very broad lines between work and personal life. I also know I have shot myself in the foot many times. I think it is also important to be upfront about doctrinal differences which is why I do not fellowship in a formal faith group. I am a universalist and an open theist who holds to the validity of evolution etc. So I would see it as dishonest on my part to attend a church holding those views and joining it. Though there are churches in my area that would not be bothered by that. I do believe I need to also be honest with myself is that if all my chances at community have been soured to some degree the one constant in those dynamics is me so having to take a close look at one’s self and take responsibility for my side of the fence. I do believe community is important even life-saving and soul enriching.

  101. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – I gave the context from the Tozer quote when I posted it. It is from his book, “The Knowledge of the Holy”. It is a fairly short book. You could read the whole thing in a day.

    “Isn’t Tozer just admitting that he along with the many he hangs with – well hung with, were just idol worshipers. Who is the ‘god’ that he has made?”

    Yes, pretty much, though I’d take it in a more poetic / rhetorical way, than a literal way. I was troubled by it too. He comes way too close to describing my Christian life.

  102. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, I did miss the reference – thanks. I found an online version so I will try to set the context.
    Which chapter is is?

    It was either Luther or Calvin who said that our hearts a by nature idol factories and this is why I have trouble with this quote (at least as a standalone) that God would toss us back there. There may be some law factor going on there but the gospel version would be –

    “Although another God whom our fathers knew not is making himself at home among us. This God we have made and because we have made him we can understand him; because we have created him, he can never surprise us, never overwhelm us, nor astonish us, nor transcend us.” – The God of Abraham will not withdraw from us but be with us always.”

    Let me know the chapter.

  103. Josh the Baptist says:

    Tozer’s is more startling. Captures the attention and makes me think more.

  104. Josh the Baptist says:

    Chapter 8 – God’s Infinitude.

  105. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Thanks – I am going to make a project out of this to understand where he is going. I just gave a casual reading to this chapter and I see he has a couple of paragraphs where I can understand and probably agree with his definition of Infinitude.

    His opening paragraphs, which one includes the quote in question, have me still scratching my head – the opener is a mind blower as he seems to using the premise that God has already left the church.

    “The world is evil, the times are waxing late, and the glory of God has departed from the
    church as the fiery cloud once lifted from the door of the Temple in the sight of Ezekiel
    the prophet.”

  106. Josh the Baptist says:

    Brutal, right?

  107. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – I finished the book this morning. He wraps up that thought in chapter 23 – The Open Secret. It’s good stuff.

  108. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, I will get there if I don’t dry up in despair first.

    I want to figure out the upshot from his statement – So God has left the Temple – therefore? What is the therefore – am I to do something that will make God come back?

  109. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So God has left the Temple – should be left the Church

  110. Josh the Baptist says:

    Just skip to Chapter 23. Its in the first or second paragraph.

    And I do think he is speaking theoretically or rhetorically, and I think it is an effective image.

  111. JonnyB says:

    Xenia #5

    I too live near drug dealers, beside me and across the street.

    In both homes no one goes to work.

    Lots of people coming and going.

    Lots of partying.

    Revving of engines at all hours with “boom cars” blasting our homes off their foundations with bass notes that can be heard 300 feet away from the source.

    Section 8 homes with fraudulent subleasing that have as many as 13 cars associated with them.

    Vehicles parked on the front lawns until the grass is non existent and the homes are run down.

    After a few years of this I decided to hire a lawyer to write a firm letter to the property owner of the worst house on the street about the nuisance of his tenants, since in my state property owners are responsible for the conduct of their tenants.

    After getting a condescending response from him, I resorted to knocking on doors in my neighborhood for signatures to validate my claims and let the owner know that my complaints were not fabricated.

    I was amazed at how many people signed my paperwork.

    The old retired folks on my street had had it with these young arrogant gang types but were too intimidated to do anything about it.

    When they would come home from the bars at night, the gang dudes would light off illegal flying m80’s which would once again shake our homes and wake us up at 2:30 AM or so.

    When I tried talking with them I was told by one of them, “I’m going to kill you.”

    That was it.

    I doubled up on my efforts.

    This week is the final week that they have to vacate that home because I forced the owners hand to evict them or i would have no recourse other then to sue him.

    Of course these nuisance types were angry and like bees in a hive that I hit, started to try and intimidate me.

    Parking in my space that I park my work truck in.

    Increasing noise and slamming of vehicle doors along with setting off car alarms at all hours.

    It is going to be peaceful when they are gone.

    And now that I know the law about section 8 fraud I will not let anyone the home owner has in his house under section 8 sublease there.

    They are not allowed to do that when the tax payers are giving them free rent.

    Section 8 has been a haven for felons.

    Felons are not allowed to live together under the same roof in my state, so they sublease in section 8 homes to get around the law.

    This is what happened across the street from me and other section 8 homes across the nation (USA).

    The idea was that if people from lower social economic status were giving the opportunity to live in nicer neighborhoods, it would impact them and cause them to want to live up to the standards of those neighborhoods.

    So the American tax payer footed the bill.

    If you do the research the program (started in 1974) hasn’t worked at all except to create millionaires out of property owners who take advantage of section 8.

    And section 8 types who sublease, pocketing the rent money.

    Most section 8 types who are fraudulently subleasing drive nice cars, courtesy of the free rent they receive from the government and the sublease’s.

    I could only wish that a nice succulent garden would have changed my neighborhood.

    My next move is to take the offending home owner to small claims court and recover the $900.00 it cost me to gain peace in my community.

    I have the right to enjoy my own home.

    It is absolutely horrible when you get no sleep night after night.

    I won’t go into the south of the border non legal immigrant neighbors who party with loud amplified music. All of the strange cars parking all over the place and the large crowd of people coming and going associated with the parties.

    One call to police dispatch usually does the trick.

    Disturbing the peace with loud music is not allowed.

    The Tejano music has come to a halt after a year of consistently calling the police.

    My neighborhood is a community but there are some rules that need enforcing to maintain that peace so people can enjoy their own homes.

    I was amazed at how my neighbors were imprisoned in their own homes by a few freeloaders that our taxes enabled to torment us day and night.

    Section 8 needs greater enforcement.

    Here in Orange County CA. there has been fraud.

    My own experience is not isolated.

    Section 8 is a problem all over.

    We have a very active socialism in section 8.

    Gosh if only I could plant a nice garden and have a better neighborhood.

    i got proactive in making my neighborhood a better place to live.

    I like my home, I like my neighborhood.

    I got a warm fuzzy feeling the other day when one of my neighbors said, “Thank you!” to me.

    My wife is wanting to start a grass roots effort to reform section 8.

    I seriously think it won’t get off the ground.

    Too many rich people have taken advantage of section 8 as property owners.

    They will fight back to keep their socialistic program that has enriched their bottom line courtesy of the taxpayer.

    There has to be a better oversight of a program that actually helps the elderly and the truly poor among us that doesn’t make millionaires of others and that doesn’t rob neighborhoods of peace and quite.

    Ok…I feel better.

  112. Xenia says:

    Hi JonnyB,

    There is one neighbor I didn’t mention in my Pollyanna story and that’s the crack addict/dealer a few houses up the street who is CRAZY and recently had his house declared unsafe by the city and was also recently in a drug-induced coma for about a week but he’s back but somewhat subdued. The rest of the neighbors have united against him, especially in the defense of the elderly woman who is his immediate neighbor and suffers greatly. You are right: a sweet garden doesn’t work on everybody, especially if their brains have turned to mush. But we have united in our love and concern for his elderly neighbor so some good has come of it.

  113. filbertz says:

    Michael–we have made a determined effort to both simplify our summer and engage in the process of grief. It has been painful and lonely, but beneficial. Drew’s death has refocused our priorities and softened our hold on stuff and our responses to others. Speaking openly about loss, suicide, PTSD, depression, and other challenges has enabled others to be frank and forthright as well. It is a journey whose path extends beyond the horizon.

  114. Xenia says:

    I just learned a few minutes ago that the crazy crack addict has been evicted and will be out by the end of the month.

  115. Xenia says:

    Lord, have mercy.

  116. EricL says:

    filbertz@113, thank you for sharing from your pain and comforting others from within your sorrow. I hope you too find a trustworthy shoulder to cry on. God bless.

  117. Erunner says:

    JohnnyB, we went through a very long process of having drug addicts living next door to us. They would party in a Jacuzzi till all hours high as kites keeping us and others awake. Towards the end they were openly dealing drugs during the day. What we would hear at night as their conversations were literally 10-15 feet from our back bathroom would make your skin crawl.

    The owner eventually had them move but only because they couldn’t pay rent. I suspect there are other dealers ( meth, heroin, etc) still in our neighborhood but not bear us. It sounds like you have had it worse. Having children or in our case grandchildren living with us was difficult. I hope and pray you guys can have neighbors that are decent and not as you’ve experienced.

  118. Erunner says:

    filbertz, I can’t imagine the pain your family has been in. I pray you find a place of peace as much as is possible. It seems the loss of a child leaves a permanent scar.

    Lord knows we need people to speak openly about the topics you mentioned as there is still so much stigma and misinformation out there. I pray God would open doors for you as He wills. God bless you.

  119. Linnea says:

    Fil…I don’t always read here consistently anymore and didn’t realize what you and your family have been through. Much love and prayers to you and yours.

  120. JonnyB says:


    I feel real bad for you.

    With your own issues and on top of having to deal with your neighbors, your a true miracle of life.

    A survivor in Christ.

    Keep on keeping on brother!

  121. JonnyB says:

    Wow 113

    May the comfort of the Holy Spirit be your portion in a tangible way as well in a spiritual way.

    The day is soon approaching when He will wipe away every tear and there will no more be sorrow.

    Hang on to hope.

    Words do nothing much for those who are in heart pain, but we try in our helplessness to do something with words that could contribute to comforting.

    God bless you!

  122. Erunner says:

    JonnyB, I’m trying to give everything to God and He has been faithful to me. It seems our lives are filled with family and friends struggling in terrible ways. Even friends here on this blog are having terribly difficult times.

    I still struggle in trusting God yet He has been helping me lately as I am trying my best to not let my fears devour me. I’m grateful for that.

    So many seem on the verge of giving up and it’s painful to see. When you say I’m a true miracle of life or when people say kind things to me I want to say they don’t know me so please don’t compliment me.

    Being 62 and seeking to give it all to God is humbling and difficult. For so long I thought His promises were not for me and I was left to fend for myself. It’s a battle that is ongoing but I know God is my only hope.

    What you described is real and it’s difficult and I admire your attitude. I do pray God’s best for you and your family.

    I tend to ramble a bit but this is the one place I am free to do so. It’s a safe place here. Thank you brother.

  123. Al says:

    I think your #1 is very insightful and probably true.

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