Things I Think

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42 Responses

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    #10…Well said…wasn’t too upset about last night myself…

    #5…I’m convinced that most of the talking heads that are paid to be talking heads are interested in nothing more than being right and proving the other guy/gal wrong…so wrong that the other person is of the devil. I honestly think they don’t want to work with people of different persuasions, but only impose their own faulty solutions.

  2. Michael says:


    It was depressing as hell, but I’m used to it. 🙂

    That’s pretty much how I feel about the government as well…

  3. descended says:

    “…I could go in a room with any of my conservative friends and hammer out reasonable solutions to most of the issues of the day in a matter of hours.”

    I’m sure that’s what Trump thought.

  4. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael…my reactions during the end of the Vikings/Falcons game for the NFC Championship back in the 1998 season were, shall I say, less than Christ-like…

    Personally I have told myself to tone it down a bit. Last night wife and I drove to a local bar/restaurant to watch the first-half of the game. When we go into the car, I leaned over to my wife and I said (and this is the honest truth)…”I feel like I am going to a funeral”.

    I was disappointed, but kind of not surprised at the outcome. We are used to it after all like you said.

  5. Michael says:


    I go all the way back to the four lost Super Bowls…and if there’s a purgatory they’re the reason I’ll be there. 🙂
    I just don’t have the energy anymore for a real melt down… 🙂

  6. ( |o )====::: says:

    8. We are all born with an inner ambivalence between needing fellowship and seeking war…

    I was born with an inner ambivalence between needing fellowship and enjoying solitude.

  7. Michael says:


    I do too…but I also have a tension between biblical ways of dealing with conflict and the desire to wield the sword…

  8. pstrmike says:

    ” Social media is a reflection of a culture that is quickly losing the concept of redemptive grace…without which everyone goes to hell and the culture becomes it…”

    So true Michael. There is a critic around every corner and it seems that often we are demanding a highly exceptional ethic, not only for today’s actions, but also our past. The reality is, everyone has skeleton’s in their closet.

    Today ethic reminds me of having an appearance of godliness but deny its power. What power? The power of the Holy Spirit that is normally given to those who have submitted to the Lordship of Christ.

    I don’t have complete answers for our current cultural climate where the rules change every day. James Davison Hunter suggested in his book “To Change the World,” that we maintain a “faithful presence” as Christians, trusting that our sense of faith and serenity be the witness to communicate that being a Christian actually is worth exploring.

  9. Michael says:


    First, we need to recapture that sense of faith and serenity…

  10. Michael says:

    When I was a younger man, this culture was known as one that wanted to forgive…public figures could rehabilitate their images after scandals with time and effort.

    We no longer seem to have that desire…once the figure has been shamed and ruined,we’re done with them.

    Few of us can survive in that climate, as skeletons abound,indeed…

  11. pstrmike says:

    Michael. Exactly. The foundation of a “faithful presence” is our own relationship with Christ.

    Serenity can be so illusive, because there are times we are called to stand up and identify the anti-christ behaviors in the church. Of course, that is so difficult for some to receive when the have been taught an eschatological idea that pushes anti-christ beyond their own timeframe.

  12. filbertz says:

    #4…or ‘raising’ someone else’s feral child…

  13. Michael says:


    Amplify that thought, if you will…

  14. filbertz says:

    the pressure on surrogate ‘parents’ i.e. foster parents, adoptive parents, teachers, and social workers to socialize and rehabilitate the multitude of children who lack enough social skills to access a ‘normal’ childhood is daunting. There are so many kids who lack the basic interpersonal and social skills assumed to be ‘basic’ it is amazing. Many parents are failing to raise children with any boundaries or direction and it sucks the life out of many institutions like public schools, foster parents, counselors, etc. Add the teat of technology and media as baby-sitter and it is a monumental task.

  15. Duane Arnold says:

    Last night my wife and I watched the movie “Silence” which deals with the end of the Jesuit mission in Japan in the 17th century. We look in such a film for “saints and sinners”. Instead, Scorsese presents very real people in an age of desperate persecution. I sometimes wonder if we confuse heroic faith with being saintly and absolute denial with being a sinner. My guess is that most of us are somewhere in the middle ground, sliding one way or another depending on the day…

    Of course, I could just be speaking of myself… BTW, the movie is worth seeing.

  16. Michael says:


    There have to be some basic causes to this mess…what happened?

  17. Michael says:

    “My guess is that most of us are somewhere in the middle ground, sliding one way or another depending on the day…”

    I’m right there with you…

  18. filbertz says:

    many families are a fractured mess of divorces and step-relationships or live-ins; drug/alcohol use and abuse; chronic unemployment/poverty; generational lack of decent parenting skills; homelessness or less-stable housing situations; general lack of supervision, direction, expectations, or discipline; many parents are immature or are ‘kids’ themselves and can’t teach what they don’t know; disconnect from extended family; parent(s) in prison or engaged in criminal activities…

    just off the top of my head from personal experience…

  19. covered says:

    Great thoughts today Michael. I thought about you the whole time I watched your Vikes get spanked. They seemed to have that deer in the headlights look from the opening kick off. I don’t think another Q’back would have made a difference.

    Duane, Silence was one of the most thought provoking movies I can remember seeing in a long time. It was very well made but I wanted a different outcome. It certainly wasn’t something that left me feeling as though the good guys won. It was very dark yet wonderfully made.

  20. Duane Arnold says:

    #19 Covered

    I hear you, but the last scene provided some small hope… maybe that “small hope” is enough. I did notice that Scorsese, at the top of the credits, gave the Jesuit motto –
    Ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

  21. Michael says:


    I’ve heard the same things…and wonder daily what we can do about it.

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I always chuckle when reading folks bemoaning the current state of the church and / or society.
    I challenge others to read Luther’s preface to the Small Catechism – to see the sad state of both in the early 16th century.
    Neither society nor the church has backsliden – they both have always been in the toilet so to speak – because both are populated with people.

  23. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Here is the preface.

  24. filbertz says:

    glad to be the source of your mirth this morning. Clearly, the solution is to acknowledge that it has always been a problem. I feel better already.

  25. Michael says:


    As ambassadors of the kingdom it is our place to bring the kingdom to bear against that which is unjust, unrighteous, and broken in every age.

    Chuckle as you will…but some of us are simply trying to do today what Luther was doing in his time.

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The point is the church and society are in no worse of a place or condition than the past. It is not as if we have fallen from some golden era.

  27. Michael says:


    That’s your point, not mine.
    We live in a different time with our own unique issues that Luther didn’t have to contend with.
    As someone who is helping raise a fifteen year old, the challenges are foreign to my own experience.

    I’m not pining over a golden age…I’m facing the issues of this age.

  28. John 20:29 says:

    Looking back over the last 80+ years, I take exception to MLD’s declaration at 22.
    Yes, there have always been children victimized by poor parenting (bringing out the worst in the little begats). I have seen examples of that as I raised mine. But today we are quickly going downhill after climbing pretty far out of the pit that Martin Luther decried. If so it seems to me….

    BTW – we’ve already seen the Super Bowl, it was played Sunday before last… ?

  29. ( |o )====::: says:


    I do too…but I also have a tension between biblical ways of dealing with conflict and the desire to wield the sword…

    I was an angry pacifist before I became an angry Christian.
    Then I spent decades justifying my anger with culture warriors like Dobson & early Franky Schaeffer being firebrands to combat social evils.”

    Then I was spoken to by my wife & daughters about how angry I was.
    Kindness has a way of defusing anger.

    I stopped, changed my focus, decided to take my struggle for righteousness to the internal battlefield where I’ve spent my later years rediscovering amazing grace and reaping abundant joy.

    Now, when confronted with evil, I am first saddened, then moved by compassion to ask Jesus to make me somehow part of His solution. Then I act, with confidence He will make the attitude & course adjustments by His perfect ways.

    Meditation & practicing the presence of God, as our desert fathers & mothers did, and the current contemplatives like Richard Rohr (to name a favorite) and my dear friends at Reflexion have been what this former angry man needed.


  30. ( |o )====::: says:

    Grace to you, as you parent your young man.
    He will bring his young, wise wisdom and love to you as well.


  31. Jean says:

    I, personally, cannot imagine life in 16th Century Europe. I have no frame of reference for things like the corruption of the Roman Church, The Holy Roman Empire, State-sanctioned religion, the Black Plague, Feudal Lords, massive illiteracy, etc.

    But I can compare life in the late 60s and 70s to today. There is a far more pervasive decadence today, as measured by music, movies, television.

    Hardcore internet porn has replaced the modest by comparison Playboy Magazine. There is far more pervasive substance abuse today, as seen in the legalization of pot and the opioid epidemic.

    Same sex marriage has become legal and now sex has become fluid.

    There are far more and far deadlier mass shootings.

    There is far more legalized gambling.

    I think people who see a degradation in American culture have a leg to stand on.

    Even though God’s law cannot save anyone before the throne of God, God’s law (i.e., the 10 Commandments in their filled out sense) is beneficial for civil society, because it expresses God’s will for how human beings are meant to live together. When a society rejects those laws, it follows that society as a whole will suffer.

  32. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    But…. when my kids were 15 some 25 plus yrs ago, what they were facing was just as far off from what I was raised through and exponentially worse than what my parents and grandparent s went through – and we all rung our hands knowing our kids would not survive their youth – as my parents were sure I would run with the Manson family or be found in downtown LA with a needle coming out of my arm.

    Michael – I know that raising your son is unique to you because this is your first run at this. It was so with me, and I was ready to institutionalize my kids. And they grew up fine.

    Now, all these years later, I have all kinds of advise as 2 of my grandkids are teens — too bad their parents don’t want to listen to me. 😉

  33. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The internet porn thing is interesting. I don’t think the kids today have their eyes pop out anymore watching on the internet than my eyes did when I found dad’s playboys. It’s all fuel.

  34. Michael says:

    “Michael – I know that raising your son is unique to you because this is your first run at this.”

    That was laugh out loud funny…if you knew me personally, you would know there hasn’t been a day in the last 44 years that there wasn’t a child here at least part time.

    The challenges T faces are similar in some ways…very unique in others.

    The fluidity of sexual identity in this culture is the most destructive thing imaginable because it strikes those who are already trying to establish who they are.

    The porn issue is almost as bad…

    Don’t forget that there were a lot of casualties in the sixties…

  35. David H says:

    filbertz & Michael,

    I’m in the trenches in a continuation high school with teenagers who feel abandoned by society. 20 years into a career in public education society has created a generation of the most selfish parents I’ve ever seen. This is hypothesis on my part. We have two extremes.

    The first extreme is the parents who treat their children as an inconvenience. Because they are selfish, they don’t parent their kids they fall into, again, extremes on the edges of a spectrum. They either abuse their kids (violence, sexual abuse, neglect), or they spoil them to keep them quiet and submissive. Kids figure out very early that what the game is, and they learn to survive, manipulate, and avoid what causes them pain. On the other hand they survive, manipulate, and accept that which gets them rewards. It can go both ways.

    Heres a story about a seventh grader I had several years ago. Little Johnny was a monster. He played his parents like cheap violins. His parents were divorced but lived in close vicinity of each other. Both parents were abusive, and mom was over protective. Needless to say, I had to call dad one day because Little Johnny was defiant and disruptive in class. I had a good talk with dad (so, I thought). The next Monday Little Johnny comes back to school with a black eye and a brand new $1000.00 bike. I asked him about the black eye (and filed a CPS report [mandated reporting]). He said, “My dad beat me up on Friday, he felt bad on Sunday and bought me a bike. Can you call him again, so I can get a Playstation.”

  36. Michael says:


    I think you’ve shed some light…and it presents a dark future for us all.

  37. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I meant your first go at raising a mid teen – no one knows what the hell they are doing.
    For all the fine work James Dobson did, his short version summary was “you job is to get your kids to 18, alive and not in jail.

    “Don’t forget that there were a lot of casualties in the sixties…” life is a hazard zone and more so for teens — of all generations.

  38. David H says:


    One of the other aspects is the trauma that go through. A lot of my students live such dark lives, it gives me chills. Remember, I teach in San Bernardino. One can almost feel the poverty, and darkness. Gang bangers, prostitution, drugs, alcoholism, you can watch a block way from my school. And, it’s not for a lack of churches. Their are churches and Christian organizations throughout the community. It’s a matter that a lot of these organizations are “prosperity gospel” churches. And, folks figure out they’re getting ripped off, or they give away money they don’t have.

    At our school, we’ve made it a mission to build relationships with our kids, and it’s working for a lot of them. But, I ask for earnest prayer that we get these kids to trust us. They don’t trust adults, because it’s adults who have caused their hurt.

  39. David H says:

    James Dobson stole that from my Granddad (joking)

    My Granddad told me when I was in my 20s. “Boy’s go crazy around 15, if they live, they become sane around 25.”

  40. Michael says:


    I think you and your co workers are the church militant in your vocations and deserve our constant prayer.

  41. David H says:

    Michael, Thank you.

    I’m just doing the work. It’s just really hard for us when a lot people just write off the kids.

  42. filbertz says:

    Like DavidH I’m in public education, seventh through ninth grades, small, semi-rural high-poverty district. I echo David’s comments and look at the parents as both the best solution and the worst part of the problem. I wasn’t trying to derail the thoughts thread, but added a dimension to what Michael stated with his numero quatro. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not giving up on them, but it sure takes a toll laboring in the trenches with these kids day in and out. I have a little card with the saying “Be relentlessly positive and positively relentless” front and center on my desk.

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