Things I Think…

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31 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    #9, I am mourning the death of John McCain this week. We was a man who lived through and “saw” (to pick up on Duane’s article yesterday) many of the things that drove his deep, consistent and principled convictions.

  2. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    #6 – “I also believe we are in a crisis mode in the church…”
    Has there ever been a time in documented church history that the church has not been in crisis mode?
    Even when things we quite homogeneous, such as when the Roman church ruled it all, people went to church to watch the priests commune each other… only. That is a church in crisis mode. (and I will bet under some scrutiny we would find that the RCC came out of some crisis in the church at the time.

    I challenge anyone to read Luther’s introduction to his Small Catechism – that is the description of a church in crisis.
    In the early to mid 20th century when WELS and LCMS were not getting along – the dividing line came down to differences in what to do about chaplains in the military and hosting Boy Scouts in the church – that is a church is crisis.

    If we were to look at the church in relationship to society / culture – I think we would find the same crisis – either the church consumes and or assumes the culture – as the RCC did in Europe – or the complete separation from culture and society as we found in Fundamentalism at the turn of the 20th century.

    In most cases over time, secular society and the church have always given each other the finger behind each other’s back. Yawn – all the same.

  3. Em says:

    #9-John McCain was a product of his military heritage. The mindset that we used to give honor in this nation. I believe i heard that he graduated 2nd to last in his Annapolis class… proving that academic prowess has little to do with character. He vigorously had opposed the basing of those Marines in Lebanon. Some of the beautiful young Marines were among the 241 blown up while they slept i had watched graduate boot camp with my son. I honor McCain for that stand.
    No, i don’t think a uniform equals virtue BTW ?
    But has the last 50 or so years gone too far in the destruction of heroes of the hour? …. From George Washington all the way to Billy Graham or even John Wayne. Can’t we admire, keep the principles without venerating the man?

  4. Em says:

    Good list of things to think on…
    As as is linkathon today thank you
    Thinking, thinking ….. ?

  5. keith says:

    The Church in East was greater in scope and influence than the Church in West. Today the Eastern Church is a shell of what it was 900-1500 yrs ago. The gates of Hell haven’t prevailed over our brother and sister in the East–but it sure is close.

  6. Michael says:

    I think the battle over homosexuality, the child abuse scandals, and the political whoring have left us all in a very bad place.
    The numbers don’t lie…

  7. Em says:

    The gates of hell will never hold against the true Church, but the comments – good ones – here have to make me wonder, just how much longer will God’s grace be poured out on the human race? That and the surreal world of brush fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes… maybe, having just come thru a couple on that list have me spooked – dunno

  8. Jean says:

    “the battle over homosexuality”

    It’s actually not a battle that Christians have sought. It has only been in the relatively recent past that anyone has sought to affirm the compatibility of homosexualilty with the Christian faith.

    But as the devil is wont to do, the issue is not simply the veneer of sexuality, it goes to the heart of the fundamental human estate: marriage and the family. You have man trying to establish an estate that God established, to try and create norms of what God has forbidden.

    Thus, it is not a victimless issue. Children are victims. People seduced by these lifestyles are victims. The culture is a victim. In other words, if you go against God’s order for human life and flourishing, you are going to have negative consequences. I would say that is axiomatic.

    I don’t say all this to condone hatred or bullying. But as far as the Bible is concerned, the practice of homosexuality is deviant and sinful and should not be condoned by Christians or affirmed in churches.

    And Christians should defend the estate of marriage between a single male and a single female, should promote chastity outside of marriage, and should discourage without fault divorce.

  9. JoelG says:

    #6 – I read a quote from Gene Veith today:

    “The Church does not depend on power, social prestige, rhetorical manipulation, or human-designed programs. All it has are the Word and Sacraments, which, though they seem weak to the world and to all theologies of glory, in fact carry the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit.”

    #8 – That is great. Questions lead to deeper faith.

  10. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Gene Veith is the bomb!!

    Joel – have you read his The Theology of the Cross?

  11. JoelG says:

    MLD – No but I will put it on the fall to-read list. Thanks for the recommendation. I was looking up some of his stuff on vocation and stumbled upon that quote which seems apropos to Michael’s thoughtful thoughts.

  12. Michael says:

    “#8 – That is great. Questions lead to deeper faith.”

    The first thing you find out is that the standard answers don’t fly…and I’m grateful for that.

  13. JoelG says:

    Yes the party line platitudes don’t cut it with some questions. But I think that makes us dig deeper or think differently. Or just leave it to mystery and trust Jesus has it handled despite the frustrating lack of answers. Easier said than done.

  14. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Curious – why are they considered “the standard answers” if they are wrong? – why aren’t they considered “the wrong answers” or the “debunked answers”?

  15. Michael says:


    I don’t traffic much in binaries…right and wrong has a limited application in things of faith.
    People who aren’t indoctrinated find some things difficult from a logical and moral perspective…the belief that people are intrinsically “bad”, the notion that people who never heard the Gospel go to hell, eternal hell for offending God in a short life…the discussions are endless and challenging for a young person.

    He’s been raised to challenge group think so I made this mess…

  16. JoelG says:

    I am a doubter and questioner by nature. Not exactly great Christian attributes. I am learning that I can’t trust my own reasoning and feelings. I can trust Jesus and His Promises and know the souls He created are in His Care after they die and He is a Merciful and Righteous Judge. We can trust Him with the Mysteries.

  17. Michael says:


    My objective is that he knows and loves Christ and keeps an open hand about doctrine…

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    For 40 years I have watched the “Gay issue” slowly destroy the fabric of the Church. While it was in the closet, we could all “wink” at what was going on. I saw it in evangelical circles, at an LCMS seminary, in the Church of England, in Roman Catholic seminaries (where it was notorious), in the Episcopal Church and even among the Orthodox. We all thought, “So long as there is no scandal…”

    Turning a blind eye has brought us to what is happening today… at least in my opinion. I am not a homophobe. At the same time, we cannot have separate standards of morality – one for those who are Gay and one for those who are straight. Additionally, I cannot overturn 2000 years of moral theology for the the cultural norms and/or revolution of the moment.

    In the last 20 years, the gay issue has destroyed numerous denominations. Acceptance has not increased the number of the faithful. I’m not sure what the answer might be, but this is the road to perdition…

  19. Erunner says:

    Excellent observations Duane. Yet in your words you include the phrase “I am not a homophobe.” In these days I believe some would take that to admitting you are. At times I’m not sure if I’m coming or going…..

  20. Linnea says:

    Oh Babel….some of you may have noticed my prayer request for revival at the annual Burning Man event in the Nevada desert this week. I read a demographic study of a sampling of “Burners”. As expected a fraction of a percent of participants identify as Christians. One lone gentleman there, someone that has the “playa name” Gandalf, uses Socratic reasoning to engage burners in conversations about God. He needs our prayers.

    I have a personal interest in the event this year– my youngest is in attendance. He reports that he has met so many wonderful people from many walks of life, all willing to share with one another and have conversations. Admittedly, this temporary city is a fleeting construct.

    He was raised in the church. He knows what the early church looked like and it doesn’t look much like today’s church, which has kept him away. It makes me think that people we view as lost are looking for the very thing the Church should provide….welcome, belonging, sharing of resources, worship of the Lord. It’s what the world fundamentally thirsts for right now. How do we show them Christ and bridge that gap in expectations?

    Michael has encouraged us to do that with aliens in our country. Can we extend the same grace to others in our culture? Can we employ “come let us reason together?” in a new and fresh way for this generation?

    Just wondering out loud, longing for God’s next move.

  21. Michael says:


    Well said.
    We’re all aliens and pilgrims here…

  22. Michael says:

    What Duane said…I concur…

  23. Duane Arnold says:


    “At times I’m not sure if I’m coming or going…..” I’m right there with you…

  24. Babylon’s Dread says:

    We converge and diverge
    1. I will preach the Gates passage this week with a Tower of Babel application.
    2. As you know I always thought the gay issue would redefine culture apostasize many of our children, compromise the church and cause culture to descend into complete moral darkness. The abyss is opened.

  25. Michael says:


    You were right…that was my confession of error on this one…

  26. The New Victor says:

    #3 judge those within the church… but it’s come to that even if I’ve not done it outside. My tech company advertises the Christian Initiative along side the LGTBQ Initiative. I ignore both.

    #9: my kids. My most significant witness is my family. Love God. Love others. These are God’s highest laws.

    Sometimes hard to communicate when they are hitting each other :^p

  27. j2theperson says:

    ***At the same time, we cannot have separate standards of morality – one for those who are Gay and one for those who are straight.***

    I’m not sure we have separate standards for the two. I wonder if one of the reasons we’re facing this issue with homosexuality now is because culturally, we have been redefining marriage since at least the advent of the Pill. Access to effective birth control radically changed the dynamics of marriage and sexual behavior/expectations outside of marriage. The widespread acceptance of no-fault divorce further influenced the changing understanding of marriage. Gay marriage does not make sense in a context where marriage is closely tied to reproduction and the raising of children. When those things are no longer the main consideration and marriage is about personal (or mutual) fulfillment and economic advancement, then gay marriage makes total sense and is a natural result of that cultural shift in attitude. Polyamorous marriages are also probably a natural result of that shift in how we view marriage. I don’t know that there’s any way to change any of that.

  28. Em says:

    Interesting… God gave us laws to instruct us, making us confront our weakness…. Now man is making laws to celebrate it

  29. Jean says:

    It always comes back to justification. God justifies apart from the Law; man justifies by making the Law. Who do I want to justify me: My Lord, Jesus Christ, or my temporal government?

  30. Em says:

    Jean, perhaps that is the question that defines ” who can be saved” …..

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