Things I Think

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112 Responses

  1. Tony says:

    so I guess you don’t like Lighthouse blogs huh? more of those same “heresy” hunters

  2. Jean says:

    I had never heard of Lighthouse Trails before, so I checked out there Statement of Faith, Bookstore, and blog. Guess who isn’t orthodox?

  3. Bob Sweat says:

    Jean, You’re lucky!

  4. Bob Sweat says:

    I think Lighthouse Trails had a different name 2000 years ago.

  5. bob1 says:

    The Lighthouse “philosophy” — to them it’s more important:

    — Whether your church leaders have heard of Brennan Manning — more important theologically than if they affirm the Apostle’s Creed.

    — If your church is wary of The Shack, Beth Moore and Bill Hybels, yet you don’t care or don’t know if your church can affirm the Nicene Creed.

    — The two natures of Christ? Naw — not important. What IS important is if the writings of Tim Keller, John Piper or Richard Foster have taken root in your church.

    What a bunch of lamebrains.

  6. Alex says:

    “The real driver behind a lot of opposition to immigration and refugee settlement is a fear of losing white, Christian, European culture to Islam. Until we can talk about this without being labeling those with these concerns as racist, there will be no solutions forthcoming…”

    Agreed and Islam, when honest will tell you the same. Islam self-professes a hatred for “Western Culture” and wants to get rid of Western Culture and replace it with Islamic Culture/Ideology.

    Islam, Sharia etc is a Culture and Ideology, it’s not a “race” nor is it an ethnicity and no phony “racist!” claims used as a rhetorical weapon in a dishonest manner will change those Facts.

  7. About 5 years prior to coming to the church where I know serve, several people subscribed to LT teachings, and subsequently led to a huge church split. A church of 1200 reduced to about 400. I wasn’t here back then to see it first hand, but I sure had to work through a lot of rubble and residue. Fear of “emergent” and “spiritual formation” was still fairly prevalent.There was a lot of concern about certain buzzwords.

    Now, I think a church ought to put some effort into protecting the flock from frivolous or harmful theology/practice. But the LT crowd has become so wound up in knots over issues that it creates a form of legalism that is bound to implode. It is a level of pride and judgementalism that can’t help but harm the body of Christ.

    Looking at the linked blog post, I had to laugh that one of the words they’ve added to their list of concerns is the term “servant-leader.” Oh no, we can’t have any of that! They’ll need to white-out Matthew 20:20-28 from their Bibles!

  8. Michael says:

    “They’ll need to white-out Matthew 20:20-28 from their Bibles!”

    Now, that’s funny…

  9. Alex says:

    We need to pray for the LHT folks, I think they are sincere and well-meaning, they’re just caught up in what has trapped many a splinter-denomination.

    Think about how all Denominations started and split away from the rest of the Church….a Leader rose up who thought he had a better interpretation of scripture and how church should be done. That has resulted in every Church Sect since the Early Church and then the RCC.

  10. Michael says:

    “We need to pray for the LHT folks”

    I’ll get right on that… 🙂

  11. Josh the Baptist says:

    Lord, help them not be stupid.

  12. Alex says:

    Haha you guys are funny

  13. Michael says:

    So, a little background on the LHT thought…

    I wouldn’t have been aware of it at all if I hadn’t seen it promoted by a Facebook friend.

    My friend is intelligent and seems to be a very decent and committed believer…who was being filled full of this nonsense and passing it on to others.
    It’s heartbreaking to me.

    I believe that this stuff is toxic to spiritual health and deadly to spiritual growth.

    Yes, perhaps we need to pray…that such toxic nonsense be recognized for what it is.

  14. Alex says:

    Michael, I agree. I think it’s right to call it out, speaking the Truth in Love. I’m just putting a little sugar in the medicine 🙂

  15. Alex says:

    “You know that you’re maturing spiritually when you can celebrate the work of God in sects that you find aberrant…because it’s still the work of God…”

    Amen. God uses all of us crazy dysfunctional opinionated bull-headed messy human beings. Somehow, some way, in His Providence.

  16. Xenia says:

    What I have noticed that these people spend an enormous amount of their thought life thinking about these things. When you spend time with them, it’s all they can talk about. You even see this kind of thinking in Ortholandia and it’s just as obnoxious.

    Black helicopters, Hillary is a satanist, Waco, Ruby Ridge, the Message Bible, Clinton murders in Arkansas, CS Lewis, secret detention camps, prayer rules, adult coloring books, candles, incense, anything written outside their camp, 99 percent of all churches…. This is what occupies their thought life. Not much room in there for a spiritual life.

    They are addicted to this type of thinking, just as surely as some people are addicted to drugs. They can’t stop it, the mental hamster keeps the wheel running. They don’t realize it and have been deluded into thinking they are sitting on some imaginary watchtower protecting Christianity from the forces of Satan. It would take repentance and some serious SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE to overcome their addiction.

  17. David says:

    I trust Bethel about as far as I can throw them, but once you lump them in with the evils of Tim Keller and, er, spiritual formation, you may need to check some decisions you’ve made in your life.

  18. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    #16 is right on… especially your conclusion…

  19. Michael says:

    David…Bethel plays a role in #10…hopefully, we have a very interesting guest article coming up this week…

  20. Descended says:

    #9 I’ve always loved the practice of Call and Response myself. Not quite the same but edifying nonetheless.

    #8 is wholeheartedly agreed.

    Free Seminary? I bet there are many who think I could use any kind of seminary and it would be better than my thoughts at the end of this post…

    #7 A person of faith who doesn’t trust science… Hmmm.

    I know of a 15 year old young man who was nearly diagnosed with conduct disorder (a diagnosis resulting in later diagnosis of anti-social personality disorder) by the “scientific”, highly referred pediatrician. Had it not been for his father who had some knowledge in behavioral science, this kid would be on a trajectory in life highly stigmatized and medicated for no reason other than the whims of an ignorant pediatrician. Trusting the rationale of men (which is based upon tenuous probabilities) in the place of faith is sometimes disastrous. I’m not discouraging medical care, but that “think” at face value is one I think I’ll put in the round file.

    number 10

    How does one separate the 1% (or 20%, or whatever) of truth from the pack of lies the Holy Spirit finds aberrant, and warns us of?
    The answer is simple,
    By presupposing it is possible for us to separate what He has called lukewarm into hot and cold.

    I find the Cult-calling in #2 kind of, well, ironic to say the least in light of #6. Just replace sexuality for doctrine… One could say the same about membership in a state church :-/ It might simply be seen by others as easier to swallow.

    It’s really all about how you apply the scriptures to your life, which done perfectly would necessarily conflict with any tradition, ODM or Anglican (ODMs might be carving out a niche for themselves), Lutheran or Catholic or Calvary Chapel.

    Jesus is still in conflict with everyone of them, and everyone of us on various and very serious points of theology and practice.

    In my own life? All this reading and hearing and not quite the doing of the hearing He would want of me.

  21. Descended says:

    Doh! I forgot all the emoticons! Imagine a smiley, a winky or a poo when you get offended!

  22. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    Took a look at the Lighthouse site… It has about as much to do with the church as “The Life of Brian” has to do with the four Gospels… At least “The Life of Brian” was funny, Lighthouse is not.

  23. Michael says:

    Duane,

    That analogy is perfect…I wish I’d come up with it… 🙂

  24. DavidM says:

    #22. Nice one, Duane! I looked at the article and find it nearly incomprehensible that the very first item in “finding a Bible-believing ” church is to determine whether or not The Message bible is being used. Wow. I think I read something in one of any number of translations that the single and sufficient proof of faith in Christ is love.

  25. Bob Sweat says:

    Duane 😆

  26. Duane Arnold says:

    #24 David

    Indeed. These are the sort of people who after sowing division, go to those who are now divided from others and sow even more division… they will not be satisfied until they destroy anything resembling the Body of Christ…

  27. Descended says:

    That is an awfully odd list Dombrowski came up with. Not because it is wrong, necessarily, but superficial. I do agree with Roger Oakland’s list.

  28. Michael says:

    Roger Oakland’s list is as ridiculous as the rest… he’s a hoot.

  29. filbertz says:

    light horse tails are good for flicking flies off one’s flanks.

  30. Michael says:

    and attracting them as well…

  31. Josh the Baptist says:

    Reading is good. Read widely. Read stuff you disagree with. Figure out why you disagree with it. Fear not.

  32. I read through Roger Oakland’s list as well, Some points I agree with, but there’s a lot a Swiss cheese there as well.

  33. Duane Arnold says:

    #31 Josh

    Sound advice…

  34. em ... again says:

    well – lighthouse trails has such a nice ring to it, but…
    since a lighthouse’s purpose is to say, “there be danger here where I stand – don’t come near,” isn’t the conclusion obvious?
    it’s those channel markers that get you where you need to go – ‘course “marker buoy” doesn’t sound quite right, does it… and a “marker buoy” is usually cooperating with other “marker buoys” … some names/labels are just awkward when you stop and think on them

  35. Duane Arnold says:

    Has anyone here read the new book “The Evangelicals. The Struggle to Shape America” by Frances Fitzgerald?

  36. Michael says:

    Duane,

    It’s on my list…but as you know, I have some other material to get through. 🙂
    I’ll probably get the audio book…

  37. Descended says:

    I’ll def check it out, thanks, Duane 🙂

  38. OCDan says:

    Duane I finished it about two weeks ago. Excellent history lesson. Not much w didn’t already know, but it brought back much I had forgotten, especially since I am only 50.

    I think Fitzgerald does an excellent job of not bashing the faith, although once or twice she lets her feelings come through very strongly.

    I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in this subject. Lastly, as one reviewer noted, not much about black churches or the rise of modern music, but that was ok by me since I already knew that going into the book.

  39. Duane Arnold says:

    It received a very good review in The Atlantic (“A Match Made in Heaven. Why Conservative Evangelicals Lined Up Behind Trump”). From the review, I wasn’t sure if there was a great deal of new material. She apparently does hit the whole prosperity gospel idea pretty hard.

  40. OCDan says:

    Agreed. I think it was an excellent book. However, there is not much new material and she does go after the prosperity gospel pretty hard, but it was worth the read just on the influence Falwell had on politics. That is a long couple of chapters and very in depth. Being I was not a Christian then and was in my coming of age years, it was a good reminder/rehash of what happened with him and Ralph Reed and all that jazz.

    Not sure how much you will pay, but it is not worth the $30 or $34 it retails for. $20-$25, maybe, if you can get it on Amazon for that price. Also depends if you have to have it for your personal library or not.

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book, but a book is more than just what is in it nowadays with the cost of these books.

  41. Captain Kevin says:

    I fancy myself as a lover of lighthouses…an amateur pharologist I suppose. The history and architecture are fascinating to me. The meticulous craftsmanship behind a fresnel lighthouse lens, not to mention its beauty, is astounding. Climbing the winding stairs of the tower up to the lantern room is like Christmas Day to me.

    Then…there’s Lighthouse Trails…causing more shipwrecks than squalls or rocky shoals ever could. Lord, have mercy!

  42. dusty says:

    Good thoughts Michael.

  43. Captain Kevin says:

    Once you narrow down and eliminate everything to which LHT gives a thumbs down, you might end up with something akin to Westboro Baptist Church.

  44. Dan from Georgia says:

    Captain Kevin….

    Love your comment. I have always been fascinated by lighthouses as well. I am from Minnesota and we have the very photogenic and iconic Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior’s north shore.

    I haven’t had time to peruse the Lighthouse Trails website,…nor do I want to, but just a cursory look at it reeks of arrogance and ineptitude. All these ODM or whatever websites look unprofessional and are so packed with misinformation with all their links and numerous articles. I suppose by posting lots and lots of stuff they think they are making themselves out to be well-studied and legit. It’s mis-information overload if you ask me.

  45. dusty says:

    Funny captain kevin, 😉

  46. Dan from Georgia says:

    btw Captain Kevin, have you ever climbed the stairs to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse in Florida? I have a number of years ago. Not for the faint of heart!

  47. Mariner says:

    Bethel’s Bill Johnson teaches pantheism and spiritualism. I have been to their events. Remember, in the book of Revelation the false prophet (Charismatic churches) has an unclean spirit like frogs come out of their mouths. Even false prophets can work miracles. Even antichrist (papacy) will work signs and wonders

  48. AA says:

    CK have you seen the double Lighthouses in NJ?

    http://www.twinlightslighthouse.com

  49. Captain Kevin says:

    Dan, I have not had that privilege. I have visited most of the ones on the west coast, and Boston Light, America’s oldest light station. Traveling to the ones in the south, east, and Great Lakes is part of my bucket list.

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I look forward to seeing Michael apply #10 to Lighthouse Trails. Such sweet communion.

  51. Michael says:

    The spam filter is acting up…it’s moderating things I’m not. I’ll try to get everything posted as fast as I can.

  52. Ms. ODM says:

    ROAST THEM ALIVE all you brave defenders of diversity!!

  53. em ... again says:

    Ms ODM, roast them? alive? … OH NO!
    might maybe hold their feet to the fire, tho 🙂

  54. Dan from Georgia says:

    Captain Kevin, I have never visited Grand Haven Lighthouse in Michigan, but looks really great…treacherous walk on the pier out to the lighthouses though on a windy day if you Google images of the lighthouse.

    Some of the best winter images I have taken were on a pier walk to a lighthouse in Two Harbors, MN…the lighthouse may be unnamed, but the pier gives a good view of one of the large loading docks for Iron Ore as well as Lake Superior. Anyways, got some really good images of icicles on the railing on the pier!

  55. Michael says:

    I’m not at all opposed to the LHT crowd blissfully practicing their version of Christianity. I utterly oppose all their attacks on the rest of us…

  56. Having seen what destruction has been wrought among a few churches by adherents of LHT and its teachings, I will say they bring to my mind a verse from Jesus’ excoriation of the Pharisees i Matthew 23:

    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when “you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”

    The peeps at LHT can hide behind their website, books and tracts, obbing out their missiles from their compound…but woe to the church who has a congregant who buys into their instruction lock, stock and barrel. It’s like having a pit bull clamped onto your ankle. Every move comes under suspicion, and guilt by association is employed at every turn.

    I find it interesting and instructive to consider how Paul reacted to such things. In the case of those preaching the Gospel while at the same time giving Paul a black eye by means of envy and contention, Paul wrote that could rejoice because the Gospel was being preached. But as for the Judaizers described in Galatians, Paul had no such patience and offered no latitude. I find the challenge to be figuring out which branches of Christianity I must make room for, in spite of my disagreement, and those so-called branches of the church that are nothing more than dead wood.

  57. Sorry for the typos! Multi-tasking!

  58. Dan from Georgia says:

    Pineapple Head….well said. Sometimes we should pull no punches. LHT and those like them must secretly be in misery and full of fear. Makes me angry but I also pity them, to be honest. They probably pity me, but I know who is my judge, and it certainly isn’t some fallible human hiding behind a spiritual bunker thinking that they are the remnant.

  59. Descended says:

    I believe that this stuff is toxic to spiritual health and deadly to spiritual growth.

    __________________________________________________

    Being aware of doctrinal issues, false teachers is vital to spiritual health. Jesus warned us four times in Matthew 24 not to be deceived. However, too much of a good thing will kill you. We end up spending more time “researching” via the internet rather than being salt and light in our little corner of the world. Is Lighthouse Trails there? I doubt it. Unless you think Ironside, Tozer, and Schaeffer were fruitloops as well, whom they often post. It is possible he/she meant that list Michael referred to to be thresholds one should not even entertain. If I visited a church that only used The Message as its source of scripture, I wouldn’t return. I wouldn’t judge each and every living soul that attends, but I can make a a judgement call for myself and my family.

  60. Descended says:

    Every Christian internet debate will inevitably devolve into paroxysms of someone pointing and exclaiming in all caps “PHARISEE!”

  61. Jean says:

    In my opinion, there are two primary issues:

    1) What must I believe to be saved? Paul wrote: “Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.” This shows the immense mercy and long suffering of God. How can any human being judge another who confesses Jesus as Lord?

    2) What must I believe to persevere in the faith (i.e., that the Holy Spirit would remain in me)? These are the doctrines that provide Christians with the armor of God, so that our Father might lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil. These are important doctrines, because true doctrines give Christians assurance, while false doctrines give Christians false assurance, as well as may lead a Christian into unbelief through despair or hypocrisy.

  62. Alex says:

    I read the LHT article, it was pretty benign and pretty mainstream for conservative Evangelical Groups.

  63. dusty says:

    Hi Alex, it is good to see you happy!

  64. dusty says:

    Josh @ #11 😉

  65. dusty says:

    Nancy liked light houses as well….I miss Nancy….Hi if you are reading

  66. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    We must keep in mind, that LHT does not corrupt people. The people who not just read but act on the writings of LHT are wicked in themselves (like most of us).

    They turn to LHT to have their own warped beliefs validated.

    LHT is benign – people are dangerous.

  67. Michael says:

    I don’t think it benign at all…it’s toxic ignorance.

    There are many conservative evangelical groups that actually interact theologically with other traditions and can do so without vilifying them.

  68. nathan says:

    #9

    The closing prayer is not prayer at all. It’s a closing statement, attached to the sermon as an addendum.

  69. Michael says:

    I think LHT does corrupt people.
    They prey on people who have never been taught anything different and who truly want to be right with God.
    They work on the fears of people and use the false narratives put out by those who know they lose their little kingdoms if people are ever made aware of the truth.

  70. Michael says:

    nathan,

    That is often the case…

  71. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t think there are any ‘normal’ good people who get turned on to LHT and then becomes corrupt, and disruptive to churches. I think people looking for trouble find their companions in arms in places like LHT.

  72. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Here is the thing – I will bet not one of us here on the blog have given any thought to LHT in quite some time. They are terrible small and insignificant.

    Because they have a following, do not give them any power to change people. They gather those who are already on the fringe.

  73. Pineapple Head says:

    LHT and their ilk are not free of culpability. If I put out a bowl of radiator fluid because I don’t like the neighbor’s cat, I can’t claim innocence if the cat stinks it and croaks. It’s the fault of both. Now, I’m sure such folks as LHT think they are doing a service for God. But so did Saul of Tarsus.

  74. Pineapple Head says:

    I disagree MLD only because ive personally seen fairly normal people get swept up in the hysteria. At the church I was at just took a few zealots and a book from LHT. i think what really did the church in was a sense of over confidence and pride. The LHT just fed the beast. Both culpable.

  75. Alex says:

    Thanks Dusty 🙂

  76. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Piney – I think you described it well – a couple of zealots and they can do with a book. I can almost guaranty that it doesn’t matter which book – I’ve seen what zealots can do with the Bible. 🙂

  77. victorious says:

    Is BD going to guest regarding Bethel? That would be wonderful . I hope we are going to get an article about their Medical practitioners conference as well from one of your mentors.
    IMO there are some sideline abberancies and concerns regarding Bethel . I think they arise out of a Pentecostal culture that will not allow the gifts of teaching and shepherding to be used in Spirit dynamic ways to bring course corrections and sheep protection.

    That being said, I commend some of their core elements and expressions of Kingdom culture especially in the realm of interpersonal relationships and the develop of core character maturity rooted in honor and love.

    Bill Johnson might be lacking in the exercise of discernment but they are not lacking in love . There is a robust pursuit of love that influences their desire to excel in exercising all the spiritual gifts.

  78. Michael says:

    It won’t be from BD, but from someone outside the tradition…stay tuned…

  79. surfer51 says:

    Nothing defines the internet more than the huge rise in both free seminary classes and memberships in the Flat Earth Society…

    This guy makes a very compelling presentation don’t you think?

    http://shekinahfellowship.blogspot.com/2017/05/this-pastor-presents-argument-that.html

  80. DixieKnits says:

    I think that LHT article could more aptly be named “How to Convince a Church You Are a Divisive Wackadoodle Before Hou Ever Attend”. ?

  81. JTK says:

    “7. A person of faith who doesn’t trust science needs to keep a jar of leeches handy for medical emergencies…”

    Not offended by this, and I especially agree when it comes to evidence-based medicine.

    However, there is a lot under the banner of science that is a worldview of “naturalism” where only the natural CAN EXIST (not “we can only measure the externals, such as nature”).

    It can be a totalitarian ideology. Look to the USSR and what happened in the name of science. And we may get a dose of that here.

    You wouldn’t replace “science” in your quote with “civil government” and come up with a similar formulation, I think.

    Hope you all are well here.

  82. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I absolutely trust everything science proves … I do not trust all things scientists say about the science.

    There is a difference between science and scientism.

  83. Descended says:

    Science is based on the presupposition that we are two dimensional creatures, not tripartate, not created in the image of God – as someone else has said just “apes with better dna”. Therefore anything which deals with soul care is seriously flawed from the outset and like anyone else on this planet we “trust, but verify”.

    Natural science which deals with man on the natural plane such as western medicine, behaviorism, and even much of the practice of acupuncture I can get behind because it does not presume its own ability to read the mind or the heart of people – functions God says are left to He and I. When one gets into the practice of psychiatry, primarily medicating symptoms rather than causes, this is where I can’t help but disagree wholeheartedly, as it is in itself a form of shamanism, imo.

  84. Think 4urslf says:

    I absolutely trust everything the bible proves .. I do not trust all things biblists say about the bible.

    There is a difference between the bible and biblism.

  85. Steve says:

    In the age of fake news, I feel like LHT may be like a fake ODM or at least leaning that way. Can anyone recommend a good ODM for those needing good discernment? Or by definition are all ODMs fake?

  86. Jean says:

    The most effective discernment tools include the 3 ecumenical creeds and a solid confession of faith. I know of a good one if you’re in the market. 🙂

  87. Mariner says:

    Unless you have actually had dealings with the Bethel cult, then you can in no way understand the dangers of that heretical movement. Sorry but they are not loving but controlling

  88. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean hits it out of the park!
    I was driving but couldn’t respond – I was going to say if you read the online version of The Book of Concord, that would be a very good ODM source.
    My favorite ODM sites are The Phoenix Preacher and Chris Rosebrough at Fighting for the Faith.

  89. Steve says:

    Jean, I may be in the “market” but I’m hesitant to even use that term. I know this blog is a market place of Christian thought but the entire concept of marketing of Christianity sometimes makes me feel like I’m just a consumer and this makes my heart sick.. Also, I’m a pretty gullible person. I tend to believe what ever it is I’m reading.

  90. Duane Arnold says:

    Once upon a time in many of our traditions there was something called “A Catechism”.
    The purpose was to set you up for a lifetime of discernment.

  91. Jean says:

    Steve, I agree with you 100% in #89. Let’s not use that term anymore.

    I must admit to being in agreement with something MLD said in his #88: “My favorite ODM sites are The Phoenix Preacher and Chris Rosebrough at Fighting for the Faith.”

    I can’t speak for Chris Rosebrough, because I am unfamiliar with his ministry. But regarding The Phoenix Preacher, it has changed my faith life. I was first exposed to my current tradition here, have grown to respect and learn from some others, and have also learned what to avoid at all costs.

  92. Bob Sweat says:

    Jean and MLD

    Great observations!

  93. Steve says:

    Anybody here have any opinions, guidance on the Westminster confession? Pros, cons, etc..?

  94. Michael says:

    Steve,

    I used to subscribe to the Westminster Confession…it’s the standard Reformed confession.

    What I would tell you is what Duane said…there are historic catechisms that will inoculate you against error.

    There is a Westminster catechism, an Anglican catechism, Baptist catechisms and of course, Lutheran catechisms.

    They all will educate you in foundational doctrines.

    The catechism for my tribe is here;

    http://anglicanchurch.net/?/main/catechism

    I would also tell you that you will avoid much error and foolishness if you read a good church history volume…

  95. Steve says:

    Thanks Michael.

  96. Michael says:

    Steve,

    I would even go out on a limb and suggest that you read a good church history or take one of the many free online courses in church history first…it is very helpful to know where we come from…

  97. Bob Sweat says:

    Excellent advise Michael!

  98. I like the illustration of how a bank teller who handles real money all the time will be able to easily spot fake currency. I love the idea of the Word, the confessions and solid catechism doing more to spot the bad stuff than an ODM website.

  99. Patrick Kyle says:

    #4 is true. I have a number of concerns regarding Islamic immigration to this country and they are not unfounded. As soon as I am called racist or ‘Islamophobic’ or bigoted, the conversation is over. There seems to be a revulsion on the part of many to address these concerns and they take the easy route, dismissing them as racism and bigotry. Islamic culture is very different and in many fundamental ways opposed to American Culture. We ignore these differences at our peril. Furthermore, protection and continuation of our culture is a fundamental right and obligation for those of us that love our freedoms and our way of life. When people say that I am a racist for opposing Islamic immigration, what I hear is that I have no right to defend or pass my culture on to my children. I must allow it to be irreparably changed or die out. This is a non-starter. End of story. A real question is how much can we change something before it’s essence is destroyed and it becomes another thing entirely? Are we morally bound to remain silent or aid in the process while our ‘betters’ re engineer our country? Are we allowed to raise objections? Or are my concerns thought crimes and hate speech?

  100. Duane Arnold says:

    #99 Patrick

    As no one else has weighed in on this, I’ll make a small attempt. No, your concerns are not thought crimes or hate speech. They are valid and you have presented them in a reasoned and thoughtful way.
    In my mind, the issue is even larger than Islamic immigration. We have witnessed the demise of many commonly held values in our country over the course of the last few decades. We are increasingly becoming a nation of “tribes” cut off from our fellow citizens in terms race, language, politics, ethnicity, etc. There was a time when integration into American society was the goal. These days, it is harder to know what that means. We have lost much of that commonality that was once taken for granted. I am, in the main, pro-immigrant, but not if it leads to a segregated existence for those to whom we offer a pathway to citizenship. This is especially a difficulty in terms of Islamic immigration. I am in Europe once or twice each year, and have been over the last 30 years. I have seen the changes and the splintering of societies in just that short period. Some good has come of the changes, but much more has been detrimental.
    I do not have the answers, but I think being truthful and aware of the issues must be the first step in approaching something that we will be struggling with in the years to come. Yet, in being truthful as to the issues, we are also obligated by our faith to show compassion. It is, and will continue to be, a difficult balance to maintain.

  101. Michael says:

    Duane…well said.

    Patrick, I commend you for the way you spoke to this issue…I know this comes from deeply held convictions.

    One of the things we need to address is how we define what our culture is?

    What are we trying to protect and what do we fear losing?

    Until we are clear on these questions, we will always argue in a fog…

  102. Jean says:

    “We have witnessed the demise of many commonly held values in our country over the course of the last few decades.”

    This morning, I watched a short interview with Condoleezza Rice on one of the morning news shows. She gave expression to this issue, which resonates with me.

    She called it an “American identity.” What has traditionally been the American identity? She said that what diverse groups shared in common and what integrated immigrants was economic and social opportunity and a sense of fairness. Unlike many other countries, in America, you could make it, or at least get a fair shake, if you worked hard.

    2 problems in particular which she highlighted as testing our system today are:

    (1) The weakening of public education to prepare youth for economic opportunity.
    (2) Distrust in public institutions generally.

    She has a new book out titled, Democracy: Stories From the Long Road to Freedom.

  103. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    What I want to see on the immigration issue, and what I want to see protected is that immigrants call themselves Americans with no hyphens and be proud of it.

    My grandparents when they came here from Russia in 1917 with my aunt and uncle (my dad was the one born here) they did not call themselves Jewish-Americans nor did they call themselves Russian-Americans and they sure as hell did not fly their national flag in protest.

    If they were called Jewish or Russian Americans it was by others – not themselves. One other thing – they did not feel entitled to anything.

  104. CostcoCal says:

    MLD, I disagree with your #103.

    Having two daughters adopted from Africa, I very much want them to hold on to their identity as African-Americans.

    It is who they are.

  105. Steve says:

    The problem with the term African-American is if you happen to come from South Africa and you are white and you eventually become an American citizen most folks I know would be taken off guard if you referred to yourself as an African American and may even take offense.

  106. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Costco, I have seen your daughters and they are all lovely – all 4.

    However, when we hyphenate we say we are all different and we are separated by the hyphen.
    Whe can’t we just be Americans. How far does this go – are my grandkids still Russian-Americans? Jewish-Americans?

  107. CostcoCal says:

    Steve, that’s not a very big problem. 🙂

  108. CostcoCal says:

    MLD, how have you seen my four daughters? I am anonymous. 🙂

    I have zero problem being united here in the United States AND celebrating diversity. That means, we are (theoretically) one even though we are from different places. In fact, that is what makes it even greater. Diversity IS a good thing. Political correctness wants to stamp it out. You are now being politically correct, MLD!

    “One blood but we’re not the same”- Bono.

  109. Steve says:

    CostcoCal,

    But why stop with African American? Why not say Kenyan-American, Somalia-American or Tunisian-American, Nigerian-American or Ethiopian-American, etc..? This gives even more diversity and is much more descriptive. Africa is a big continent with lots of countries in it and its really not that meaningful unless you state the country you came from.

  110. em ... again says:

    have to finish reading the posts, but i 100% agree with MLD’s 103 … 150% agree maybe more even 🙂
    my maternal grandmother’s people all go back to pre-colonial days (including her Native American grandmother)… it would have been hard for the dear woman to hold onto her heritage from other lands… the Dutch? the Welch? the Irish? the English?
    my maternal grandfather, on the other hand, was one generation removed from Sweden – his father gladly and joyfully denounced his allegiance to the king of Sweden and became a U.S. citizen in the mid-1800s – while his mother would not denounce her king, nor use English as her first language, but she reaped the benefits of this nation, non-the-less… the rest of that family (large) reveled in being Americans and in building this nation
    my paternal grandparents were immigrants, Scotch-Irish and, from what i heard, they could care less about dear old Northern Ireland with its privations
    i love all the aforementioned nationalities that make up my diluted heritage and their quirks, but if you can’t commit to the nation, why would you immigrate and take from it to build your life in it?
    i seem to recall that the O.T. Jews were to render hospitality and charity to the stranger in their midst, but the stranger was expected to respect that hospitality in return, was he not? He could become a Jew or go home… at least that’s the way i recall it

  111. Patrick Kyle says:

    Michael, one value that is distinctly American is the Democratic Constitutional Republic as laid out in our Constitution. Separation of Church and State is a big part of that. Your disagreements with the Conservative Evangelicals on various issues of public policy pale in comparison with the disagreements that will come when Sharia law is proffered as an option in certain neighborhoods or areas. Islam knows no separation of Church and State. It is a religion, a system of laws and government all rolled into one. There already have been attempts at allowing Sharia to hold sway in certain types of cases in the US. Look at the recent scandals here in the US concerning female genital mutilation. Look at the unrest in Europe and the increasing number of sexual assaults perpetrated by Muslim immigrants and refugees. There are entire towns and neighborhoods in the UK and France that are No-Go zones for the police. The riots and car burnings in Paris, blamed on ‘youths’ by the news media, are violent protests by Islamic immigrants. Is this something we even want in this country? I have come to believe that massive immigration and foreign invasion differ only in speed and the initial level of violence.

  112. Descended says:

    Problem of defining American culture is that it is always in flux, and more so nowadays. Perhaps a couple markers of Americanism might be that generally Americans are anti-clerical (especially since the twentieth) yet into religiosity, and we tend to make our national historic writings and events scripture, prophecy, etc. I’ve been looking more and more into American Civil Religion and it really makes a lot of sense, to me anyway. There is in all things a Christian “flavour”.

    So I guess that what I mean to say is that whatever side of whatever debate one lands, one can say, “The bible says, therefore I do thus.”
    It isn’t too far fetched to see how John 16:2 will be fulfilled again.

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