Things I Think…

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114 Responses

  1. Captain Kevin says:

    Thank you for your honesty, Michael. I hate that I’m afraid, but I know I’m in good company.

  2. Michael says:

    CK,

    We can be afraid and faithful…

  3. Dan from Georgia says:

    I too fear. I fear the Church, having exchanged the truth for a lie, is now no different from the world that we so readily despise, and that includes some here. When we turn a blind eye to politicians who claim to be Christian, or at least use and abuse His word, then then turn and curse their fellow man and use all kinds of derogatory language towards another person . In the face of overwhelming suffering and evidence of a pandemic, some still want to scream their own truth from Facebook, blogs, twitter, etc how we are “sheeple” because of our wise choices. I shouldn’t have to say it, but I fear those people may gradually die off.

    I fear I may no longer be able to find a body of believers to fellowship with as they are more likely to quite Tucker Carlson than Jesus, Moses, or Paul around me. I am beginning to feel less and less comfortable in this world and hope for a redemption.

  4. Linn says:

    Michael,
    This came at a good time. I’m at school for student orientation. We must of had 100+ students and their parents all crammed together trying to open lockers in a closed, upstairs hallway. I almost had my little panic attack-I haven’t been with that many people in a small space in 18 months. We were all masked, but still…

    I’ve been spending the day meditating on Phil 4:4-9 while I’m finishing the last of my classroom setup. There is so much to fear-illness, peoples’ hostile reactions to an opinion of mine that they may not share, fires (I’m not too far from where the CZU Complex fire burned last year in the Santa Cruz mountains), what will happen if school has to be quarantined again…But the good thing is that all I do have left is God for my questions and concerns.

    After all that, God is the only One we have left. I love the Psalms because David and the other psalmists never hide their emotions. They say what they need to, and then come back to God. When I have my moments (and I can’t imagine how difficult yours must be since you pastor a church!), I go to God, tell Him what is bothering me, and get back to the task at hand (like walking through that hallway). It helps…I know you know all of this!

    Finally, I’ve always felt God calls us to sanctified common sense. Many seem to have lost that these days, but i”m keeping mine. So, seat belts, masks, my booster when it’s my turn-I’ll do all of it. If I’m called out, I’ll politely respond that it’s the path I need to follow. I’m getting really good at walking away when someone wants to yell at me. I can pray for them, and that I do.

  5. filbertz says:

    the faith vs. fear maxim is simply another faulty binary choice rooted in an over-simplistic mindset masking ignorance or arrogance. We have a solid reason to fear such thinking.

    for those of us who wrestle with prayer at every turn, fear is a feeling/reaction that drives me to seek the mercy of God.

    I think all of us who live in the Rogue valley or in fire-prone areas have low-level PSTD when we smell smoke or the haze/blanket moves in. We all get weird and tense.

  6. Michael says:

    “I am beginning to feel less and less comfortable in this world and hope for a redemption.”

    I’m right with you, Dan…and maybe that’s a blessing…

  7. Michael says:

    Linn,

    You have much wisdom and a Christian heart…praying for you and that your example is magnified…

  8. Michael says:

    fil,

    We are drowning in false binaries.
    I’m not sure my PTSD is low level anymore…I’m struggling with the fire stuff…

  9. Alan says:

    I’m not afraid of most of these things. But I do fear that God has given us to our own desires. The hedges of our culture are down. Further, justice would seem to call for the same calamities we inflict upon nations that offend us be visited upon us.

    I think the rent is due and our edicts cannot save us.

    I am afraid that our prayers for the kingdom are going to be answered by the God of heaven who shakes everything that can be shaken that what cannot be shaken may remain.

    “Our God is a consuming fire.”

  10. Michael says:

    Alan,

    You may be right…but if judgment has come, we’ll both be surprised that it was not necessarily what offends us that triggered it…

  11. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    Reading this and the Rogue Valley came on NPR… low vaccination rate, hospitals overwhelmed, no ICU space… one of the worst areas in the country, on a par with the deep south. Stay safe. Sometimes fear can be a good thing.

  12. Michael says:

    Duane,

    That’s all true…along with a high percentage of the populace believing that it’s all about government control and the hospitals are lying.
    Division will leave scars that remain long after covid is gone…

  13. Em says:

    Just visited the far NE corner of Oregon. It felt like o was back in the days of my childhood – a time warp and it felt good. Kind of sorry i can’t live there. BUT….
    Michael’s post today IS the real world we live in. Good post and generating good comments…. Fear isn’t necessarily irrational. Tell the Father and ask for strength to go through whatever comes our way. Many folks in my sphere here are saying that we will not see the USA that we grew up in again….
    Confess fear and ask for strength? I say amen to that

  14. pslady says:

    The last few weeks have been challenging to say the least. I almost lost my husband to a severe stomach ulcer…lost 2 units of blood. I was fearful on more than one level. So afraid that I was going to lose him & afraid of all the people packed in ER…coughing etc. I’ve had to try & be as calm as I can muster but begging Jesus to hold onto me…repeating Phil. 4:13 many times a day!

  15. Xenia says:

    I am not fearful of any particular thing, I just feel like there’s a dark cloud of worry hovering over my head all the time. I have a very sick daughter (cancer) and a friend who is dying of Covid in the hospital and plenty of other things common to us all these days and it’s all merged together into a gray cloud of uncertainty.

  16. Michael says:

    pslady,

    We’ll keep you both in prayer…that is a hard situation in the best of times.

  17. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    The dark cloud was about to suffocate me, so I had to identify some components.
    We’ll keep praying for your daughter and your friend…

  18. Em says:

    IMV & FWIW
    There’s nothing sinful about being afraid (i could never bungee jump = paralyzing fear)
    However, IF we can focus on our omnipotent Father, full of grace and mercy, it may amaze us at how He can carry us through…
    Praying for pslady and her husband and for Xenia, daughter and friend….

  19. pstrmike says:

    dread said: “I think the rent is due and our edicts cannot save us.”

    As much as I want to ignore this, I am sensing the same thing as well. It could be the “hard rain is gonna fall,” that Dylan sang about almost 60 years ago. “I met one man who was wounded in love
    I met another man who was wounded in hatred.” Lord have mercy.

  20. JB says:

    I fear people in that people in our community are following the Hope Generators of the world.

    I fear that they have “itching ears they will (have) accumulate(d) for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

    Michael, “be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

    Stay strong, I’m praying for you from right here in the Rogue Valley:)

  21. Jean says:

    I think that it’s axiomatic that the farther a nation deviates from the laws of God, the more the people will suffer.

  22. Michael says:

    Thank you, JB…I’m sure you love this place as much as I do…most of the time…

  23. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Michael,

    I meant to bring politicians into my comment up top because I am flat out tired and sick and disgusted that someone like Majorie Taylor Green uses the Bible in her tweets and claims to know God, and then turns around and says vile things about President Biden. I know there are people here that don’t care for Biden, but do we really have to resort to being worldly in or actions? Goes both ways too in regards to former President Trump.

    My fear of not finding fellowship wasn’t hyperbole, but reality. Back in 2015 or 2016 I was visiting some friends in Minnesota, and I kid you not..within the first few minutes of entering their house, the husband was already talking about who to vote for. Another time my wife and I were talking to a gentleman (stranger) at a local garage sale, and we both found out we were all believers, and this man started into politics.

    I can and do fellowship with those I don’t agree with. I won’t any more tolerate or fellowship with those who demand I see everything their way.

    /vent

  24. Em says:

    Sharia law…. Listening to the radio as i drove today, the speaker posited that there is NO religion in Sharia law, that it is a civil and cruel dictatorial way of life… ? ? ?

  25. bob1 says:

    Must be rank fear.

  26. Jean says:

    If she said that, then what I assume she means is that there is nothing religious (as in related to God) about Sharia law. Would any Christian disagree with that assessment?

  27. bob1 says:

    Yet another racist Republican lie bites the big one:

    Black Americans Lead Whites in Getting Vaccinated By Double Digits in New Poll

    Black Americans have surpassed White Americans in rate of vaccination by double digits, according to a new NBC News poll.

    Black Americans were the racial group most likely to say they’ve been vaccinated at 76 percent, with Latinos also above the average at 71 percent, and White people at 66 percent.

    The lowest self-reported rate of vaccinations was among respondents who voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020. Only 50 percent of thoe Trump voters say they have been vaccinated.

    ttps://www.mediaite.com/news/black-americans-lead-whites-in-getting-vaccinated-by-double-digits-in-new-poll/

  28. The New Victor says:

    My ex BIL has gone vegan, “friends, not food.” Someone tell the carnivorous animals… but good for him.

    There’s a joke that goes:

    “How can you tell if someone’s a vegan?

    Wait 15 minutes upon first meeting them and they’ll tell you.”

    Dan’s post made me think that these days it’s one’s politics instead of something like veganism.

    Yet it’s no joke.

  29. Linn says:

    Dan,
    I have come to same conclusion. If we don’t agree on politics and all the other things, I’ll politely request another topic. If that doesn’t happen, I usually excuse myself. I have one very good friend with whom I can objectively discuss things. There’s much we don’t agree on, but we come away from our conversations with a different nuance or an understanding of why something might be seen differently. There is mutual and respect and I treasure the relationship.

  30. Alan says:

    Em

    For your concerns about the ‘mark of the beast’ look no further than the social credit system of China.

    Look into to it and you will see many parallels to the punishments associated with dissenting from mask and vaccine mandates.

    Totalitarianism will be embraced as a means of keeping us all safe. The right gave us the patriot act, FISA courts and invasions based on lies of WMDs and we all went along. Right now the left wants to use corporate America to coerce – well – everything.

    Totalitarians are abundant and proliferating. And most people would comply willingly.

  31. Jean says:

    Mandatory car seats for babies was the worst. And most people willingly complied. What sheep!

  32. Michael says:

    It never ceases to amaze me that those most concerned about totalitarianism supported the most overtly totalitarian candidate and President in memory.

    Our mask mandate is now extended to outdoor spaces where one cannot distance.
    I welcome this because we are about to see the Rogue Valley medical system collapse.
    Then we will have the freedom to die from a myriad of causes…many of which would not have been fatal if we had a functioning hospital system.

    Kris Kristofferson wrote it, Jerry Lee had a hit with it…”freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”…

  33. Nathan Priddis says:

    Michael. COVID never bothered me mentally. For a short while the World slowed to my speed. But then the heatwave came with it’s threat of fire. And the hottest day brought me health issues unrelated to heat as a bonus.

    Never imagined heat and drought would be the catalyst for discouragement. I look outside now at the trees with scorched linbs on the south/west sides. The high pressure dome came once, it will come again. I guess we live by faith, not sight. This world feels like it’s slipping through my fingers.

  34. Alan says:

    Nice backhand Michael — but I actually indict Trump often which you know. So don’t clog me with Trump and leftist totalitarian advance as a greater threat is something we can happily talk about.

    I think you are usually fair about the matter as well.

  35. Michael says:

    Alan,

    No backhand intended.
    The totalitarian impulse is on both sides…but not so overtly as Trump demonstrated.
    My problem is this…why are we labeling people as totalitarian when the motive may well be simply saving lives?
    Why do we have to jump to the worst possible scenario?
    I will not argue with the notion that this has been ham handed, inconsistent, and clumsy…but I won’t claim I would have done any better.

  36. Alan says:

    Well China is totalitarian and when we carry their mail as we have with covid …

  37. Michael says:

    Alan,

    What the hell does that mean?
    This isn’t China and however the virus got here, we have to contend with it.
    I don’t understand the assertion…I’m going to bed…

  38. bob1 says:

    Why do we have to jump to the worst possible scenario?

    I’ve noticed this for awhile — folks on the Right that I’ve had contact with are a major mental drag. I really don’t enjoy hanging with them. Once they start going down the rightwing rabbithole, I’m like Linn — I try and change the conversation or if that doesn’t work, just leave.

    With them, I experience doom and gloom thinking, , jumping to (erronious) conclusions, black/white and magical thinking.

    I mean no malice. I actually feel sorry for them.

    Life really doesn’t have to be that miserable! Better, IMHO, to strive for some balance.

    This is still “My Father’s World.”

  39. Alan says:

    Good plan and it was a random and extreme point but I think I could point to it.

    Just to throw gas on a fire with masks and vaccines … no go to bed

  40. Jean says:

    During his press conference yesterday, Republican Governor, Asa Hutchinson, in Red State Arkansas, reported that Arkansas had 0 available ICUs anywhere in Arkansas. In addition, he reported that 90% of the new cases are not vaccinated, 92% of hospitalizations are not vaccinated, and 90% of the new deaths are not vaccinated. The average age of the hospitalized has trended younger and now is 54-1/2 years old in Arkansas.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7w7ELDxQ92w

    The state of the epidemic in Arkansas is dreadful, but it was absolutely preventable. But this is what so called “freedom” looks like when a society rejects a common social contract which requires shared obligations in return for shared prosperity. How many people with all kinds of diseases or accidents will not receive property and timely care in Arkansas (and maybe your state too), because of this lie of freedom.

    The efficacy and the safety for of the Covid vaccines for the vast majority of Americans is unimpeachable. One has to deny manifest truth to say the vaccine is either unsafe for the vast majority of Americans or doesn’t work or that the Covid virus is just another flu. When was the last time you heard of your state running out of ICUs because of the flu?

    One other thing for the social media, alt right news and dark web lurkers, doctors and their patients, someone advised people to take an animal medication ivermectin as a Covid therapeutic. Now the State of Arkansas (and probably other states as well) is receiving calls at the poison control center from people who are poisoning themselves, because instead of listening to their local medical doctors, who follow the FDA and CDC, they are listing to pseudo experts on outlets who don’t give a damn about your health or your life, but just want you to be angry and hate your neighbor for their political gain.

  41. CM says:

    Jean,

    In regards to your 5:10 AM and people taking all kinds of poisons as “cures” for COVID as a result of listening to frauds on the internet, all I can say is “Future Darwin Award nominees”.

    I am beyond caring at this point, and consider myself a full-bore misanthrope. I have no more F’s to give.

  42. CM says:

    Oh and before someone says that cold, callous, and unChristian, may I point out that God himself gets to that point in Romans Chapter 1.

    This is known as the Wraith of Abandonment.

  43. Michael says:

    “The efficacy and the safety for of the Covid vaccines for the vast majority of Americans is unimpeachable.”

    I have taken the vaccine and counsel others to do likewise. I will be having my elderly mother vaccinated this week. I still cannot affirm this statement with certainty. We really have no idea at this point what the number of vaccine injuries have been or why they have occurred. We do not know who is vulnerable to vaccine injury with these medications or why. We do not know the long term effects of the shots, either. We should also be honest enough to say none of us expected to have to have booster shots eight months after initial vaccination. What we can say is the current assessment of risk vs. reward today points to getting vaccinated.

  44. Michael says:

    “One other thing for the social media, alt right news and dark web lurkers, doctors and their patients, someone advised people to take an animal medication ivermectin as a Covid therapeutic. ”

    Here we have another issue.
    I would never ingest ivermectin, but I have heard anecdotal evidence that it may have some efficacy from people who aren’t insane.
    The bigger issue revolves around therapeutics.
    I have started a list of medications that have far better documented efficacy against Covid19 than either ivermectin or hydrochloroquin…neither of which show tested efficasy.
    I have three so far that are proven effective and dirt cheap…why isn’t that known to all?

  45. Michael says:

    “Oh and before someone says that cold, callous, and unChristian, may I point out that God himself gets to that point in Romans Chapter 1.”

    You…are not God.

  46. Dan from Georgia says:

    Lots of anger out there, and we believers are not immune (pun partially intended). New mandates from some very high profile companies and the military. I see (personal observation here as I am in one of those companies making mandates) some people digging in their heels even further.

    maybe we should pray…

    1. for ourselves not to get caught up (“a fool shows his annoyance at once…”)
    2. and end to this pandemic.

  47. Linn says:

    Good Words, Dan from Gerogia!
    I love our students. I’m on a campus with 600 K-5th grade kids, and they are all wearing their uniforms and their masks (many carefully color-coordinated). It’s great to be back, and for things to be more or less normal. The masks are a minor inconvenience. It’s the first day of school.

  48. Xenia says:

    I am here today to confess a sin.

    The friend who is dying of Covid was an avid anti-vaxxer / virus hoaxer who believed all the crazy stuff. The devil keeps whispering in my ear “she is getting what she deserves” and I frantically beat away that thought, saying “No Lord! I don’t want those wicked thoughts!” but the thought keeps bubbling up. This really bothers me, this form of gloating that I utterly reject but keeps finding a way to sneak in the cracks of my consciousness.

    Lord help me.

  49. Kevin H says:

    Xenia,

    You are not alone in struggling with such temptations.

  50. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Thank you.
    I am having this same struggle waiting for some of the more strident voices to catch it.
    Thank you for speaking out loud a silent sin many of us are beset with…

  51. Linn says:

    Xenia,

    I come form a long line of alcoholics and addicts, many of whom have suffered severe health issues, and even an early death, due to their habits. I was resolute from the time I was a teen (and before I was a Christ-follower) that I wouldn’t drink or do drugs, and I was so self-righteous. A LONG time after I came to faith, I realized addiction is a sin (although a very complicated one) just like all the other sins God talks about in His Word. It made me much more empathetic (which now appears to be a sin, too), but aware of the consequences. And, for the unvaccinated I am developing empathy, but I’m still aware of the consequences. I’m a sinner saved by grace, with consequences for my own sin, so I can’t think less of others, but I can sure pray for them, that God’s love and mercy would be extended to them in their time of need, and that, in some way, maybe i can be used to do that.

  52. Dan from Georgia says:

    I echo Kevin, Xenia, in saying you are not the only one. Many of us are there at one time or another.

  53. Xenia says:

    And I suspect the anti-vaxxers have the same interior struggle when someone who got the vaccine suffers serious side effects.

  54. Alan says:

    I still favor vaccines and masks as voluntary measures and oppose compulsory strictures. I abhor coercive measures both public and private in the matter.

    Unvaccinated unmasked people get to risk their own lives without suffering compulsory medical procedures.

    The risks to us who are vaccinated are mitigated without coercing others.

    The exceptional cases do not get to force the rules on others. This is IMO creeping authoritarianism/totalitarianism.

    And you are not to be compelled to answer such medical questions.

    Of course I’m likely on the losing side.

  55. Michael says:

    We had 614 cases announced in our county…today.

    200 more than the previous record.

    We’re all on the losing side here…

  56. Jean says:

    “Of course I’m likely on the losing side.”

    I sure hope you are!

    And I don’t agree with your assertions at 12:31 pm either.

  57. Michael says:

    The editorial position of this blog will change effective immediately.

    I just got back from an appointment and chat with my favorite doctor near the hospital.

    If you don’t believe in masks or vaccinations, maybe you’ll believe in the passing of the caskets.

    The situation here is dire beyond belief and my soul is in torment over it all.

  58. Linn says:

    Michael,

    At the onset of the pandemic (I think we were a month in) I had a medical appointment I had to keep. I remember driving around the corner of the hospital and seeing the triage area set up for COVID patients. I had initially thought a few weeks off from school, and it would all go away. That’s when I realized this was a much bigger illness than we had seen, on the par with ebola and AIDS. It sobered me up, too.

  59. Michael says:

    Linn,

    I just spent 45 minutes with someone who has seen too many deaths, too quickly.
    I’m having a hard time processing what she said…

  60. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    @3.29 It’s time as a matter of Christian conscience…

  61. Xenia says:

    Meanwhile, my southern relatives are over on FB comparing vaccine mandates to Nazi doctors.

  62. Alan says:

    What does the editorial change actually mean?

  63. Michael says:

    Alan,

    I’m not sure yet.
    As a man from the South you can understand people who have a deep connection to a location…which I have with this valley.
    I am seeing things and hearing things I never thought possible and it is causing me much pain.
    I know this…anyone disputing the need for vaccines and masks may want to keep a healthy distance from me and this site…

  64. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    My mother did not finish High School. In the 1950s, however, my five year old friend, Martin, lived down the street. He had contracted polio and could not walk. My mother made sure that I got the vaccine. She wanted me to have a life, to go to kindergarten. We’ve done this before. This is not difficult…

  65. Alan says:

    Yes I understand.

    Even today I sit near the site of first encountering Christ 49 years ago today.

    And today I know many more sick people than I knew one year ago many nearby.

  66. Michael says:

    There are at least a couple thousand people protesting masks and vaccines outside the hospital.
    I’ve never seen half this many protest anything here, ever.

  67. Dan from Georgia says:

    That’s maddening to hear Michael.

  68. Dan from Georgia says:

    People up in arms over a piece of cloth while death stares them in the face.

  69. Jean says:

    Michael,

    I am trying to understand precisely why a hospital is the venue for a protest against masks and vaccines? Is it that people don’t want to wear them when entering a hospital? Or they think it is the hospital making the rules for masks and vaccines that apply outside the hospital? Or they just associate healthcare providers in general with taking away their freedom? It seems irrational to demonstrate at a hospital, but I may be missing the motivation.

    I just heard this morning Delta Airlines will begin charging unvaccinated employees an additional $200 per month for company provided health insurance.

    Many companies, such as airlines, department stores and hospitals, which have an in-the-work-place business model, are trying to remain in business, which requires providing a safe work environment for employees and a safe experience for travelers, shoppers or patients. You can’t serve your patients if (i) they are afraid of catching Covid in a hospital and/or (ii) you have no beds available for them or staff to treat them.

    I wonder how many cancers went undiagnosed over the past 18 months because of Covid? We can and must do better as a society to reimagine the social contract/covenant that we have with one another as citizens of this nation. It’s a contract/covenant that is not race based or political party based, but based on being a citizen.

  70. CM says:

    Dan,

    It is really quite simple. Romans chapter 1. They have given up truth for a lie and if any of them die due to COVID because of their refusal to get vaccinated or wear masks it is their own da*ned fault (da*ned meant literally). I have have no Eff’s to give and maybe God feels the same way in this regard.

    Assuming some of these COVID deniers are regenerate, then this becomes the dark version of the joke about the Christian caught in a flood who refuses to be picked up by a canoe, motorboat, and helicopter….

  71. Alan says:

    Looked up the news on the protestors over mandatory vaccines. Protesting must be the state identity of Oregon. It breeds protests.

    Isn’t this space a protest?

    I think it often is.

    Making nurses get vaccinated? Front line self-risking mercy workers?

    As I said I tell folks the cost analysis favors vaccines but freedom… still the best of things.

  72. CM says:

    Jean,

    As for the insurance premiums Delta charges, I say that is perfectly fine. If they don’t have a valid medical reason to not vaccinate (as some of Michael’s friends/family do – as he indicated), then their insurance rates should go up. No different than being a smoker or a casual drug user in my book.

    The problem is that all this anti-vaxx and anti-mask behavior especially among so-called “Christians” reveals the depth of their fraud and hypocrisy.

    Evangelicals are quick to preach about responsibility, and they have a history of talking about responsibility. They have told gay men that their irresponsibility during the AIDS crisis came about due to their immoral living and being gay. They have told the same thing to those who have sex and if a person gets a sexually transmitted disease. they deserved it and the person should suffer the consequences of their own sin.

    But when these anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers are in the ICU dying and on a ventilator, do they take responsibility for their actions?

    NOOOO. They blame a conspiracy, the hospital, medical workers, or whatever.

    When all this over, Evangelical Christianity in the US will be become a footnote in history. Maybe once all the posers and frauds are purged from the American Church, then maybe it can rebuild from the handful of genuine Christ followers.

  73. Jean says:

    “Front line self-risking mercy workers?”

    Nurses are not “mercy workers.” They are professionally trained, well compensated (and in many cases highly compensated) employees who are paid for their work. The good ones are motivated by their empathy and interest in helping others, but they are not volunteers; they rely on their employment to put a roof over their heads and food on the table. They work in a hierarchy of authority, which includes subordination to those in authority over them. And they are held to ethical standards in their profession.

    Employers have a legal and moral duty to provide a safe workplace. One, in America, during peace time, should not be faced with the choice between being able to work in a job and putting himself or herself at a high risk of contracting a dangerous disease. There is a burden on the employer to run a business (whether a for profit hospital or non-profit) that is safe and provides a quality product or service with respect to both the employees and the customers/patients.

  74. Michael says:

    “I am trying to understand precisely why a hospital is the venue for a protest against masks and vaccines?”

    Asante (the hospital) is mandating vaccines for all workers.
    About 25% are refusing to do so.
    Thus, this protest was staged there on their behalf.
    Frankly, I believed it would draw about 50 hillbillies.
    When I went down there, I’m guessing there were at least a couple thousand, many claiming they were there at the behest of Christ.
    This is America though…and the people, at least half of them, have spoken.
    They would rather die, or watch me die… than put a mask on, as this will insure freedom from other tyranny like perhaps one day being forced to wear shoes or a jaunty fez.

    I completely understand the anti vax position…but when you combine it with the anti mask idiocy, it’s a political statement, not a medical one.

    In any case, we will reach the end of our society here a little earlier than the rest of you…because many of these same people will be the first to attack the care givers when told there is nothing left to do for a loved one…

  75. Michael says:

    I talked to some people on the inside…both hospitals are rationing care at this juncture, so if many of those outside get a bad case of Covid they will die in a hallway.
    Unfortunately, if I have a heart attack, I may as well.
    But, we will all be free and we will protest the fireworks ban next July and do it up right…

  76. filbertz says:

    I’m not judgmental toward those with a reasoned approach to vaccines who have decided not to take the shot. The cacophony of punitive voices who demand all nature of consequences for their choices are only making things more divisive and confusing. The classic liberal chant about a person having liberty to do with their body as they choose regarding abortion suddenly reverses itself over vaccines. I do know a close colleague who is disabled and immobilized after taking the vaccine. There are real risks. I know another close friend who is in ICU with Covid who was fully vaccinated. There is a 10%. The strident voices demanding harsh measures are not trying to understand the complexities of the issue. Of course there are uninformed, crazy notions out there that have misled many. They will face consequences as the virus runs its course. A more calm and reasoned approach may influence some, but not all. But it will sure bring down the level of animosity and strife that is rampant everywhere.

  77. Linn says:

    Jean,
    My personal take is that the idiot quotient in our nation is off the charts. People don’t like what they are hearing or being asked to do, so they tantrum like toddlers. Last year, I was taking a walk around my mobile home park, and one of my neighbors came out to chat. We were doing fine until she started railing about masks and all the oppressive government people enforcing those measures. I tried a couple of useful phrases and when she realized that I didn’t agree with her (I mentioned I was a teacher who needed to wear a mask to work) she started screaming at me. I gave her my best smile, and “obviously we don’t agree”, and told her that maybe we could talk on another day. She never spoke to me again, although I always greeted and smiled when she passed by. She recently moved, and I must confess that I don’t miss her. People don’t want to be told the truth about COVID, and many act violently when confronted by it, until they are being hooked up to a ventilator int the ICU, begging for a vaccine.

  78. Michael says:

    fil,

    I hear you, but I don’t think any approach will help…one is simply more Christian in nature.
    It’s more like 20%…by the way…and I hear you on the risk, which is real.

  79. Duane Arnold says:

    ….Meanwhile, just five miles north of me there is a pentecostal pastor with a congregation of about 50 people. He has signed over 1800 requests for exemptions on religious grounds. Maybe it’s a new Church Growth strategy…

  80. Linn says:

    Similar kinds of “pastors” in my area are doing the same for parents so their children 12 and up don’t need to be vaccinated for school. We have doctors doing the same thing.

  81. filbertz says:

    Duane–perhaps the P-pastor is getting additional funds for the ‘ministry’ by signing away…as far as church growth, the spike will be ‘short-lived’ in both senses of the word.

  82. Michael says:

    Russell Moore and his family have Covid…breakthrough cases…

  83. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael,

    I had a hard time reading that whole article in the link above. Truly heartbreaking. I wish the COVID-deniers and anti-vaxxers would read this stuff.

  84. Michael says:

    Dan,

    If I hadn’t had my surgery when I did, I would have died.
    People in similar situations will die…because they have stopped doing heart surgery here.

  85. relieved...finally says:

    Fil at 8:10; thank you for this. Finally, a reasoned approach understanding the real motives for most in their apprehension of the vaccine. We are not anti-vaxxers. Many of the strident voices you refer to are coming from this blog with no pushback from the reasonable Christians I know who read this blog. Again, thanks Fil.

  86. Dan from Georgia says:

    Wow Michael. That is tragic that some are no longer getting the care they need.

  87. Michael says:

    relieved…finally,

    I think we’ve been fair to allow many voices here…

  88. Xenia Moos says:

    I am aware of a case of a person who has been on the ventilator for over a week and I did not realize all that this involved. So awful a thing to endure, both for the patient and for the hospital staff.

    As for those who deny they have Covid, don’t they realize that they are endangering all those who were around them and exposed by not warning them? At Christmas, a neighbor brought over a pie. Next day, she let me know she was feeling poorly. We took extra precautions for the next 2 weeks. My neighbor did have Covid and we were very grateful that she was such a responsible person.

    Some people have “sunk cost” syndrome. This is when someone has so much invested in something, be it time, emotions, money, etc. that even when presented with the truth they can’t bring themselves to change course. This is why some people stay in cults, even when they realize it’s all been a sham. To admit they have and might be dying of Covid is to make the last year of their life, which was so invested in the conspiracies and denial, a sham.

  89. Michael says:

    Dan,

    Heart and cancer patients are really going to have issues…

  90. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Well said.
    After my surgery I woke up on a ventilator…wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy…

  91. Em says:

    I have heard that many turn up in the emergency with mild cases of covid that did not necessitate them being there. But nevertheless, if you show up you will be admitted….
    Perhaps we don’t know what requires emergency procedures? Fear? Not all covid cases result in death, but the layman has trouble knowing this or just when medical intervention is needed.. ..

  92. Michael says:

    Em,

    There were a hundred people in line at the ER yesterday morning.
    If you have a mild case or even a medium case of Covid you will be given monoclonal antibodies and sent home.
    The people in our ER know exactly what they’re doing…

  93. Xenia says:

    I was so alarmed by this hospital talk that I texted my daughter to see if she was able to get her chemo treatments in Minneapolis. She told me not to worry about that; the cancer center is in a different building. I am thinking that’s ok for now but I think the nurses at these various “centers” will have to be diverted to the ER and Covid wards eventually.

  94. Xenia says:

    The last thing hospital personnel need right now are lay people questioning everything they do.

  95. filbertz says:

    Relieved–Finally.
    I am vaccinated. I am a public school teacher and must abide by and enact a wide variety of safe-guards–most of which I understand and support as they are common sense, medically sound steps. I struggle with masks because they cause breathing struggles for me, but I’ll soldier on.
    Much of my willingness to strike a conciliatory tone is due to Michael’s consistent, reasoned approach to the pandemic & his insistence on seeing it through our calling as followers of Christ. I was not so diplomatic earlier.

  96. Dan from Georgia says:

    Absolutely right fil! I am vaccinated also, but wasn’t sure at first I wanted to get vaccinated. I won’t say I was reluctant, but more cautious. What tipped me over the edge was that I am in my 50s, overweight, with high blood pressure, and probably pre-diabetic. I don’t want to risk it. I do understand why some may not want a vaccine, and I too agree that Michael here has been very diplomatic and reasoned in his tone and comments with this issue.

  97. Sean says:

    Fear is not a feeling or mindset. It’s a spirit. That’s what the Word says. Once we realize we are fearful, we should stop, realize what it is and pray, pray, pray. I don’t think we can be fearful and faithful at the same time. When you align with fear you get the fruit of it. If David was fearful like the entire army of Saul then Goliath would’ve won. If David was overcome by fear he would not have been faithful to kill Goliath. We all must fight and pray to not be fearful of COVID, coming inflation, an ungodly administration, etc etc.

  98. Michael says:

    “Fear is not a feeling or mindset. It’s a spirit.”

    Bulls…
    Take your heresy elsewhere.

  99. Jean says:

    “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.””
    ‭‭John‬ ‭20:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    If the disciples were allowed to be afraid, I think we can too. It’s not something we aspire too, but it it is something natural to fallen man.

  100. Michael says:

    If you don’t fear Covid at all, you’re an idiot, not a saint.

    The fear of God is a respect and reverence for the One who can obliterate you with a blink.

    Covid takes a while longer.

    Inflation hurts the least of these more than most and is harmful to all.
    There hasn’t been a “godly” administration in this country…ever.

    Being faithful means also being wise…so get vaccinated and buy a theology book.

  101. Michael says:

    I’m not in the mood for nonsense today…

  102. Sean says:

    2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
    The scripture is loaded with commands to “fear not” and “don’t be afraid”. Admitting our fears is good. We all experience them. We are weak human beings. But to accept fear, snuggle with it and not reject it is in err of scripture. No where does it say to go through your life being fearful of anything in scripture. We are to over come fear. I’ve had COVID. I didn’t fear it before nor do I fear it after. That spirit of fear gripped the globe when COVID was introduced and it is still playing havoc with me. Sounds like you may be too accepting of it and not as much rejecting it. My theology book is the Bible.

  103. Sean says:

    Havoc with it….

  104. Sean says:

    Jean,
    That is an awesome scripture! I’m sure I would have been doing the same thing! But I will disagree with you with the fact that they weren’t “allowed to be afraid “. That’s why Jesus said to not be afraid or Peace be with you. He was about to reveal that he overcame death, the grave and the world. And He didn’t want them to be fearful any longer. This was a group facing certain martyrdom too. Imagine that!! We can live in fear for theee days or our whole life. It won’t take away our salvation but it will affect our effectiveness here on earth. I’m just saying to tell others it’s ok to be fearful of things and not pray and work to reject it isn’t right. The last thing our Bridegroom King wants us to do is live our lives walking around in fear.

  105. Michael says:

    Sean,

    Right before I ban you…
    There is a huge difference between a healthy fear of known potential harm and living in fear.
    You are vomiting up the latest drivel from politically corrupted preachers.
    It won’t be allowed here…because I have the spirit of blocking.

  106. Michael says:

    I fear what Covid can do and has done to my community.
    Therefore, I am vaccinated…and this afternoon took my 81 year old mother and disabled step brother to get vaccinated .
    That’s not living in fear, it’s walking in wisdom.

  107. Michael says:

    “According to the American Psychological Association (APA), emotion is defined as “a complex reaction pattern, involving experiential, behavioral and physiological elements.” Emotions are how individuals deal with matters or situations they find personally significant. Emotional experiences have three components: a subjective experience, a physiological response and a behavioral or expressive response.

    Feelings arise from an emotional experience. Because a person is conscious of the experience, this is classified in the same category as hunger or pain. A feeling is the result of an emotion and may be influenced by memories, beliefs and other factors.”

  108. Michael says:

    1:6 Paul’s conviction that Timothy had genuine faith led him to urge Timothy to fan his gift into an open flame. The phrase “for this reason” is a reference to the possession of that genuine faith. Because Timothy had genuine faith, Paul urged him to set it ablaze. The expression “fan into flame” describes the act of rekindling the embers of a dying fire. The command does not imply that Timothy had let his spiritual flame go out. It is an appeal for a continual, vigorous use of his spiritual gifts. Timothy was already using his gifts vigorously (2 Tim 3:14). In the face of Paul’s impending death, he was to continue an ardent usage of his gifts. Rekindling his gifts would involve fervent prayer, obedience to God’s Word, and demonstration of an active faith by Timothy.

    The “gift” to which Paul referred was Timothy’s gift for ministry. Timothy had to function in an environment of fear, heresy, and challenges to his leadership. His gift related to administration and organization rather than evangelism. The list of duties mentioned in 4:2–5 sounds more administrative and pastoral, although Paul did urge him to “do the work of an evangelist.”

    The reference to “laying on of … hands” is a reference to a time when Timothy’s gifts were officially recognized. The exact time and the participants in this event cannot be determined. (See discussion on 1 Tim 4:14 and Excursus 3: Ordination in the New Testament.) Paul focused only on his role in the recognition of Timothy’s gifts because he wanted to emphasize the close personal relationship between himself and Timothy.1 Barrett points out that the gift received by Timothy did not function ex opere operato. It sprang into action from the faith and commitment of the recipient.2 The act of laying on hands was itself symbolic. The laying on of hands was not the cause of Timothy’s receipt of a spiritual gift but was a visible representation and symbol of it.

    In vv. 6–7 and throughout this Epistle, Paul pictured Timothy as a younger and more hesitant colleague. He reminded Timothy of his spiritual gift for ministry in order to encourage a revitalized commitment. Paul’s approach to Timothy shows the gentleness of a seasoned pastor. He did not “order” Timothy to stir up his spiritual gift, but he reminded Timothy of the presence of the gift and the need to use it. This is not so much a command as a reminder.

    1:7 Paul explained the reason for his directive in the previous verse. His reference to the “spirit” does not refer to the Holy Spirit but to those traits of which the Spirit is the author.3 These traits represent gifts for performing special ministries.

    The Holy Spirit does not produce “timidity” or cowardice. A spirit of cowardice would falter under the load of responsibilities that Paul was placing on Timothy. Instead, the Holy Spirit produces power, a reference to a forcefulness of character that can use authority boldly.4 The Holy Spirit also produces a love that endures even the most cantankerous opposition and a self-discipline that can use restraint and oppose indulgence. This love is not so much a love that produces ministry as a love that conquers contempt and opposition by forgiveness and refusal to seek revenge. The self-discipline refers to a “wise head,”5 which provides wise guidance for the use of power and love. N. J. D. White suggests that the “special charismata … bestowed on the ministers of the Church … are a part of the general stream of the Pentecostal gift which is always being poured out by the ascended Lord.”6 J. H. Bernard points out that Timothy needed “power to fulfill his arduous tasks, love to suffer gladly all opposition … [and] discipline, to correct and warn the wayward and careless.”7

    Lea, T. D., & Griffin, H. P. (1992). 1, 2 Timothy, Titus (Vol. 34, pp. 187–189). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

  109. Linn says:

    MIchael,

    “The spirit of blocking”-I know the reason is serious, but I appreciated the good laugh I got out of it. The next time I block some nasty political comment off my Facebook, I may just tell myself that I am exercising the spirit of blocking. I’m glad you took good care of your family today, and I’m praying for Oregon. I spent my vacations as a child going all over the state as my relatives all lived there (most of them have since passed away).

  110. Michael says:

    Linn,

    You may share in this gift…it helps keep sanity…

  111. Sean says:

    I don’t fear being banned either. A good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit. If you say “I fear covid” + “I acted out of that place of fear”= “living in fear”. Not “walking in wisdom”. 1+1=2. Walking in wisdom is being led by the Spirit. Not being led by fear. I can’t find the scripture that explains it’s ok to live in healthy fear btw. Again, I’m not perfect in this area either. Never said I was. I have a long way to go to. I pray that you (and all of us) would live a life where the fruit of the Spirit is evident. Sarcasm, demeaning attitude, pride is not a good place for a preacher to be in. It sounds more of a secular college professor. I’ll leave it right here. Hopefully one day in eternity you and I will meet face to face and worship the Lamb together.

  112. Michael says:

    Sean,

    Try to get some education…what I posted above is called a “commentary”.
    They are useful.
    Actually, I hope that in eternity, the people who irritate me are on in another state…I’ll still be in Oregon.

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