Things I Think…

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69 Responses

  1. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    #7 – as I said the other day God does not heal nations and God does not act in behalf of politics or political leaders.
    God works through the Holy Spirit in the lives of individuals for their salvation – that is it.

  2. ..operating in the prosthetic..
    Everybody. It was all a misunderstanding. The prophets didn’t actually make a mistake. They where simply reminding us that November is National Prosthetic Awareness Month.

  3. EricL says:

    Good points, especially #2, but sometimes we need to take risks to mitigate some of the consequences of our isolation. Last Sunday we invited a few friends over to watch online church and hang out for lunch afterward. It was a risk worth taking, especially since it allowed our boys the chance to spend the day playing with others. Yes, we had six kids running around our backyard, laughing and shouting and goofing off, without masks or 6 feet distancing. Call the cops if you must, but our kids all so desperately needed it. (I live in a state that hasn’t had in-person public schooling since March, and online interaction just isn’t the same.)

    Our Thanksgiving will be just the four of us and one dear friend, but last Sunday we took a risk for the sake of worship and fellowship. It felt so good to simply talk with the other parents, face-to-face, while our kids played. We took a risk, but it was one we all decided was worth taking. We were “adulting”, understanding the potential risks for us and our families but deciding it was worth it.

    I am no rebel or crazed conspiracist; I know this pandemic is a real threat to many, including myself and my loved ones. I wear my mask when shopping and even when going through a drive-through line. I use lots of sanitizer and wash often. I keep a healthy distance from others I encounter around town. However, sometimes you need to take a risk to help with a different problem. Such is life. This adulting stuff can be tough at times, but I’m glad I have the freedom and mental wherewithal to make those decisions.

  4. Jean says:


    “7. So…maybe he wasn’t “God’s man” after all? Maybe we should revisit our ideas about how much God is involved in elections…maybe…”

    He was God’s servant for 4 years. God does not guarantee a President a second term. Regarding elections, God is involved in elections; He’s involved through the electorate; however, He does not reveal His choice to the electorate ahead of time, nor to modern day so-called prophets.

    “Bonus: It is an effect of the Fall that we always must have someone to blame…sometimes, stuff just happens…”

    I cannot agree with “sometimes, stuff just happens.” I cannot find that view anywhere in the Scriptures.

  5. Em says:

    Our local sheriff has publicly declared that they will not arrest people for gatherings over the ten person limit, so don’t call to snitch on your neighbors…. Says they are law enforcement, not social conduct police
    We need more sheriffs in our governors offices

  6. Jim says:

    “What if…our elected officials aren’t “tyrants”, but humans faced with a problem no one can solve?”

    That would be awesome.

    “How can we help them?”

    We can’t help those with NPD or full-on sociopaths. God can, and we can pray that God would heal them.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Linn says:

    #3 A family member at a dinner (before COVID-19 levels rose again in my area) seriously told me in mid-October that the “hoax” of COVID would be revealed on 11/4, right after Trump won the election. All the deaths would be revealed as either falsely recorded as due to the virus, or as deaths that. never happened but were recorded to pad the numbers. I just sat there with my mouth open. I’m curious what he thinks now, but I haven’t been brave enough to call him. He yells at me whenever I don’t agree with him, and I will confess that I don’t like the yelling. By the way, I’m going to enjoy a quiet Thanksgiving with my cat who is excited to have me home with my lap available 24/7 (or so she thinks).

  8. Duane Arnold says:


    I will be glad when a good bit of theology, or church history, or biblical studies is considered to be of greater importance than the 288 characters penned by a politician in a Tweeter feed… Of course, I may be delusional for having such a hope.

  9. Jean says:

    I would like to read the Tweet if you can tell me who the author is. I feel like I’m missing some part of the conversation.

  10. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, #5 – I got a FB “like” last week from LCMS President Matthew Harrison. That in itself should have lifted me up the theological ladder – but it was on a picture I posted of kids on a sled being pulled by a car. 🙂

  11. Michael says:


    I was retweeting one of her own tweets…so It’s a small joy…

  12. Michael says:

    I cannot agree with “sometimes, stuff just happens.”

    That’s ok…I was in a similar theological camp for a while until I could no longer ascribe evil to God…

  13. Jean says:

    “That’s ok…I was in a similar theological camp for a while until I could no longer ascribe evil to God…”

    You’re in good company. Folks have been into defending God’s goodness, according to their own thoughts, for many years.

  14. Jean says:

    Although many, many examples from Scripture could be given, but how would one rank them, let’s keep it simple.

    Take the 7 seals of Revelation. From where and from whom is the instruction given to the rider named Death who rides the pale horse?

    From where did the angel come who blew the 6th trumpet in Chapter 9?

    John evidently envisioned that God is (to say the least) in control and command.

  15. Michael says:


    I was a Calvinist.
    I could write a book on proof texts for the sovereignty of God.
    None of them would be from a book of apocalyptic symbols.

    You and I would read the bible differently and interpret it differently as well.
    It’s good to see people irritated over theology again…

  16. Jean says:

    It is good Michael. And I respect our differences.

    There are people who claim my tradition, who read the bible very differently than me. So, I’m not surprised we share some differences as well.

    May we all pray for God’s wisdom, delivered by the Holy Spirit through God’s Holy Word.

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I am sitting in God’s house right now for Thanksgiving Eve communion service, starting in 2 min – I will ask him if he is at fault. 🙂

  18. Em says:

    Romans 1:28-32
    God doesn’t do evil, but there comes a point where He allows it. 😇

    IMV if
    He administers discipline, or even vengeance, it is righteous and not “evil ” …. Humans on the other hand…..

  19. filbertz says:

    I trust you’ll have a wonderful time with your mom and feline friends.
    I see your #4 and raise you a “cut Franklin Graham altogether.”
    I’ve enjoyed reading your retweets of Bowler–she’s right up my alley. (sorry–couldn’t, no–didn’t, resist.)
    Thanks for the infusion of hope in #10, 6, and 2. Those glimmers are invaluable these days. Very pastoral of you. It’s a call for believers to believe–not in a politician, but in the principles and Person of scripture, and the persuasive nature of prayer.

  20. I really wondered about the trump worship. Even if he secured a 2nd term, what then? Utter ignorance of history and the succession and evolution Party Systems in this country. We’re in the 6th Party System, and it feels like we’ll transition into a 7th soon.

    Or not. *meh*

  21. Duane Arnold says:

    An off topic comment to note the death of CCM pioneer, Bob Ayala, on 22 November. His first album, ‘Joy by Surprise’ was a classic. I knew Bob back in the day as he often performed at my church. Blind from a young age, he was a gentle soul. Requiescat in pace…

  22. CM says:


    A couple of other folks died on Nov 22nd in the same year actually. You may have heard of them.

  23. CM says:


    Regarding #9, you care more than me. To quote Yoda, “Give a sh*t, I do not.”

  24. Jean says:

    Picking up on some comments from last night regarding the broad topic of God’s sovereignty, I am going to post three short quotes in separate comments, which take up this topic from different angles, to make them more digestible, and hopefully stimulate some discussion.

  25. Jean says:

    God’s Role in Salvation:

    “You may be worried that it is hard to defend the mercy and equity of God in damning the undeserving, that is, ungodly persons, who, being born in ungodliness, can by no means avoid being ungodly, and staying so, and being damned, but are compelled by natural necessity to sin and perish; as Paul says: ‘We were all children of wrath, even as others’ [cit. omitted], created such by God Himself from a seed that had been corrupted by the sin of the one man, Adam. But here God must be reverenced and held in awe, as being most merciful to those whom He justifies and saves in their own utter unworthiness; and we must show some measure of deference to His Divine wisdom by believing Him just when to us He seems unjust. If His justice were such as could be adjudged just by human reckoning, it clearly would not be Divine; it would in no way differ from human justice. But inasmuch as He is the one true God, wholly incomprehensible and inaccessible to man’s understanding, it is reasonable, indeed inevitable, that His justice also should be incomprehensible; as Paul cries, saying: ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!’ [cit. omitted]” Luther (314-15).

  26. Jean says:

    God’s Role in Evil:

    “Here you see that when God works in and by evil men, evil deeds result; yet God though He does evil by means of evil men, cannot act evilly Himself, for He is good, and cannot do evil; but He uses evil instruments, which cannot escape the impulse and movement of His power. The fault which accounts for evil being done when God moves to action lies in these instruments, which God does not allow to be idle. In the same way a carpenter would cut badly with a saw-toothed axe. Hence it is that the ungodly man cannot be err and sin always, because under the impulse of Divine power he is not allowed to be idle, but wills, desires and acts according to his nature.” Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will, Transl. J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnson (Baker Academic 1957), p. 204.

  27. Jean says:

    God’s Governance of the External Affairs of the Word

    “God governs the external affairs of the world in such a way that, if you regard and follow the judgment of human reason, you are forced to say, either that there is no God, or that God is unjust; as the poet said: ‘I am often tempted to think there are no gods.’ See the great prosperity of the wicked, and by contrast the great adversity of the good. Proverbs, and experience, the parent of proverbs, bear record that the more abandoned men are, the more successful they are. ‘The tabernacle of robbers prosper,’ says Job [cit. omitted], and Psalm [cit. omitted] complains that sinners in the world are full of riches.

    “Is it not, pray, universally held to be most unjust that bad men should prosper, and good men be afflicted? Yet that is the way of the world. Hereupon some of the greatest minds have fallen into denying the existence of God, and imagining that Chance governs all things at random…. Yet all this, which looks so much like injustice in God, and is traduced as such by arguments which no reason or light of nature can resist, is most easily cleared up by the light of the gospel and the knowledge of grace, which teaches us that though the wicked flourish in their bodies, yet they perish in their souls. And a summary explanation of this whole inexplicable problem is found in a single little word: There is a life after this life; and all that is not punished and repaid here will be punished and repaid there; for this life is nothing more than a precursor, or, rather, a beginning, of the life that is to come.” Luther (315-16)

  28. Jean says:

    In the title of the comment at 6:41 am, “Word” should be “World”.

  29. Michael says:


    Most traditions make an attempt at a coherent theodicy.
    As Luther noted, they try to find a way for belief in the face of a fallen world.
    My former tribe was fond of the “God uses evil people without being evil Himself” explanation…which I find incredibly duplicitous in ways.
    All of the explanations fail at the grave of a child or the reign of a dictator.
    I look to the cross and God with us and trust He will make it all well someday.

  30. Em says:

    Don’t underestimate God..
    Walking down the hall at Children hosputal, a nurse walking beside me saying, “we have so many desperately sick children…” My immediate thought was, that they can all die if God will spare my baby. … Sorrow and evil are not synonomous
    Now i am not delusional, there was a gentle “hand” on my shoulder and a voice that clearly said to me, “if there was any other way, this would not be happening.” And a strength went through my whole being that a pastor i once knew described as ” iron in the soul. ”
    i got through the death of my son lucid, strong and with a supernatural trust. No i wasn’t in shock and the sorrow went to the marrow of my bones, but God can and did hold me up…. No doubts….
    “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus?” Amen
    God keep and stay settled and strong in faith.

  31. pstrmike says:

    “If evangelicals were smart, they would trade out Franklin Graham for Kate Bowler as the face of the movement…revival would sweep over the nation…well, probably not, but it would be a good step to something better…”

    Hmmm. The problem is, most evangelicals don’t want the spirituality of a woman who is sick, they are looking for someone to go forth conquering, and to conquer.

  32. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Why would Christians look to anyone, Franklin or Bowler, instead of their own local pastor.
    My pastor is 34, been our pastor 4 years and knows (and I know) is to care for my soul.

    Neither Franklin or Kate have that charge.

  33. pstrmike says:


    You’ve been out of SoCal four years? Time flies.

    The face of the moment is different than pastoral care or charge. Very different. I would want to personally know my pastor, I don’t have to meet Kate Bowler to appreciate her voice and contribution. Do you only read books that your pastor wrote, blogs he/she writes, or other social media that he/she generates? Of course you don’t! Don’t make an issue over something that isn’t.

  34. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Perhaps “face of the movement” is the offending term.
    Is that what evangelical Christianity is – a movement?
    I read a wide spread of people but don’t look at any of the as a “leader”

  35. Muff Potter says:

    Jean — November 25 @ 1:17 pm:
    “I cannot agree with “sometimes, stuff just happens.” I cannot find that view anywhere in the Scriptures.”

    I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
    — Ecclesiastes 9:11 —

  36. There are points in the never ending determinalism vs. inderterminalism debate that never get recognized.
    Here is one. Probability.

    At no time have I ever heard a theologian bring up probabilty in relation to God, the act of creation and the Kingdom of God.

  37. Both Determinalism and Non-Determinalism leave God as responsible for all that takes place in the World.
    The buck stops there…with God.

    The difference between the two is Determinalism (Calvinism) specially places that responsibility on God. God in his sovereignty, chooses every minute action. This makes God evil.

    If one views the Universe as a system, and I do, then probability is inevitably involved. It is possible for systems to fail, or be misused by others. God is still responsible, because he is the owner/creator. But I do not charge him with wrong doing, although he retains responsibility. This is the basic concept behind any warrenty. The one who is responsible, makes those harmed, to be made whole.

  38. Em says:

    The one tree whose fruit was forbidden and we ate it… Seems to me the human race IS responsible for leaving God’s blessing and care in favor of an opportunity to be “as wise as God.”
    now we know good and evil? Yes, we do….

  39. Bride of Christ says:

    “I cannot agree that sometimes stuff just happens.” Matthew 5:45 “…for God causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike.” My pastor explains it like this – “Sometimes Christians are just caught in the backwash.”

  40. Muff Potter says:

    Both good and bad poo-poo happens to the good, the bad, and the ugly alike.
    There is no rhyme and there is no reason… poo-poo happens…
    Or so it says in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t think the quotes from Ecclesiastes are helpful. The writer is speaking from man’s point of view – under the sun.
    God on the other hand sees and directs from a different point of view – from the throne room of heaven.

  42. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Nathan Priddis, “But I do not charge him with wrong doing, although he retains responsibility. ”

    Your statement may seem simple, but in the end it is you who have put God on trial – you have deemed that YOU get to decide whether or not God should be charged with “wrong doing”.
    Even though in the end you deem God as worthy, you have still placed yourself above the judge of all, to judge him —- not a good place to be.

    Theodicy always ends in sin.

  43. Duane Arnold says:


    I don’t remember him addressing probability, but John Hick’s book, ‘Evil and the God of Love’ is worthwhile. It is pretty clear that theodicy does not always end in sin…

  44. Jean says:

    “There is no rhyme and there is no reason… poo-poo happens…”

    Does God “who works all things according to the counsel of his will” exclude anything by the word “all”?

    Does Christ “who is the head of all rule and authority” exclude anyone or anything from His headship?

    In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray for God’s name, that it be hallowed on earth as it is in heaven. To hallow: To set apart or consecrate as special; to revere.

    We set apart and revere His name by having Him as our God, by trusting in Him alone. The Lord your God is one….

    God’s name is not hallowed (IMV) when we treat it like the name of a creature (vs. Creator) who is subject to our creaturely, corrupt, reason, wisdom and judgment, regarding His hidden works. How, could a creature judge his creator? Will the molded say to the molder?

    The righteousness/justice of God, if you’re looking for it, not in speculative thoughts regarding why bad things happen in the world, but the righteousness of God is “revealed in [the Gospel of Jesus Christ] from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ ”

    Take Judas as a case study, was he an example of poo-poo just happening? Or Paul, was he set apart before he was born to be an apostle? Or Jacob, did God choose him over Esau before either were born? Or the Egyptians, did God doom all the first born sons of Egypt to death before Moses ever opened his mouth?

    Maybe hallowing God’s name means trusting in His justice without understanding how He works outside His revealed will. Maybe hallowing His name means trusting in His goodness without understanding where that goodness is in the midst of life.

    I’m not suggesting a graveside speech or how to counsel someone in grief. But between God is in charge (God has plan; God is in Christ reconciling all things) and poop-poo happens, I think the Bible supports the former, not the latter.

  45. Theodicy. Ok..I confess. Had to Google it. Not part of my usual vocabulary.

    MLD. Let me remind you of Elihu who said:
    …”For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
    Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good..”..

    And also…”…Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf.
    I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

    For this, he was not rebuked.

  46. Michael says:

    My town burned down a few months ago.
    Those who had the least, lost the most.
    Many lost everything.
    I’ve walked through ashes trying to help people find some remainder of what was…and looking for the remains of pets that meant everything.
    Now, the coronavirus is taking the people death missed in the fire.
    In one nursing home here all 139 residents were infected…four or five a day die now…few will survive.
    When I believed in “meticulous providence” (and I did) all these things would be ascribed to the will and decree of God.
    I can’t go there anymore.
    I’m sure that in some way, God is ultimately sovereign.
    I’m not sure that’s the point.
    The point is that in a broken and fallen world, God is with us in all the heartbreak and tragedy and someday all things will be redeemed.

  47. Michael says:

    Oh…and I think “all” means “all”…

  48. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Nathan, “I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.”
    This is not theodicy – this is Elihu’s proclamation of praise for God. He is saying that he will gather the info and praise God’s goodness —- not, I will gather the information and will render my judgment of God’s worthiness.

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So, when poo poo just happens is it because your God sleeps or perhaps he is on the toilet? Didn’t Elijah have this conversation at one time?

  50. Michael says:

    So, when stuff happens, I don’t have a clue as to why…other than this is a broken creation.
    I do know that He is present in the midst of it.
    All of our theodicies are simply attempts to form a God we can live with…

  51. Duane Arnold says:


    I think “the mystery of iniquity” is just that… a mystery.

  52. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – which is why I said earlier, all theodicies end in sin. – because as you say, we want to shape God instead of letting God be.

  53. Michael says:



  54. Michael says:


    Humans are frail and life is scary.
    We find ways to understand how to survive.
    You have found your place…and I’m thankful.
    My understanding is different than yours…but it’s not sinful.

  55. Duane Arnold says:


    Irenaeus, Origen, Augustine, Aquinas, Barth… I think you’re in good company in trying to sort it out…

  56. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, we all figure ways to excuse our own sin – it must be the way we survive.
    If I question the ways of God, I confess it as sin.
    You don’t – so I guess that’s another area of disagreement.

  57. Michael says:


    Those fellows are helpful…but what I’ve learned from you and those you’ve introduced me to has been life sustaining…

  58. Michael says:


    God has invited us all in to think about His ways…there are fences, but the pasture is broad.
    You judge anything outside your tradition as sin…my tradition invites all baptized believers to the table for a feast and conversation.

  59. MLD. Elihu was not taking part in a praise session.

    The kids where dead. Flocks fried. Loot was looted. And Job was sitting around oosing pus. Nobody was in a praising mood.

    The whole point of the argument wss to figure out who was to blame for the murder and mayhem. Job or God. It was two choices, and there didn’t seem to be another option.

  60. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Nathan, what he said, at least in your quote was that he would (future tense before he collected his information / knowledge) ascribe righteousness to God. He is not putting God on trial…as some here suggest is OK.

  61. Michael says:

    No one is putting God on trial.
    I have affirmed the love and goodness of God…I have only spoken to how we try to discern the ways of God, especially in tragedy.

  62. josh hamrick says:

    If I booted for a more “liberal” denomination, I wonder if I would still have the freedom disagree where I see the text bringing a more “conservative” message.

  63. josh hamrick says:

    Booted should have been opted.

  64. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, the more “liberal” denominations are wide open to any thought – doesn’t even need to be christian and they will welcome it.

  65. Duane Arnold says:


    It depends upon the denomination. Believe it or not, there are still conservative voices in the Episcopal Church, PCUSA and the UMC. Conservatives, however, can tend to feel a bit isolated…

  66. Jean says:

    Josh, IMO, and if you take Barret as an example, I believe you would find liberal denominations just as closed to conservative interpretation as conservatives can be to liberal interpretations.

  67. Jean says:

    Try having the freedom of conscience in a synod led by a woman or a sexual pervert of one stripe or another.

  68. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    For some reason I do not think there is a conservative voice in this congregation – heck there is no Christian voice.

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