Things I Think..

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232 Responses

  1. LInn says:

    I am so glad you are okay! We have the same issue at my school (all schools in my area)-students with respiratory symptoms are sent home and can’t come back to school until they have a negative test. It’s a pain, but it’s keeping us healthy so far.

    i have been learning this past year that I can always trust God. As for institutions, I trust them for most things, but I also know they are fallible. I think that comes from spending almost a decade in a developing country where you could “buy” just about anything from a government official, or not get what you really needed if you didn’t pay up. I still find our system better; not perfect, but better. Being cynical all the time isn’t good for my blood pressure. I pray much, look at the information, and follow through as God leads. That is all I know to do.

  2. Michael says:


    That’s really all we can do…and take our bp meds… 🙂

  3. Dan from Georgia says:

    Good thoughts Michael. In response to your #3, I hesitate a bit to type this, but I think people need to trust those trained and specialized in their fields of study and work, and not dismiss them outright if they don’t like what they hear. As someone who works in applied sciences, I KNOW that the experts are not always right, but they know more than I do about concept/theory/fact X than I do, so I stay in my lane, and hopefully they stay in theirs. Facebook and twitter is littered with so-called experts who “did the research” on their own without obtaining the knowledge firsthand through original research or discipline, but most likely cherry-picked what supported their biases.

    Re: #6…had to chuckle! I see that quite a bit down here.

  4. Michael says:


    I agree we should endeavor to stay in our lanes…the problem comes when you don’t trust anyone, you just take the whole road…

  5. Em says:

    Good ponders in this list….
    Wonder how i could attach a flag to my Chrysler ? ? ? 😏
    Maybe stick it out the sunroof ? ? ? 🙆

  6. Dread says:

    The flag of a small government originalist flies with little dis-ease above the shotgun rack in the trucks.

  7. Dread says:

    Idolatry and immorality are inseparable siblings.

  8. Michael says:


    So… when did this country they celebrate actually exist?

  9. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael, some hesitation with my comment was in regards to some people’s experiences with institutions that failed us. Obviously some in the church is a huge part of this community here. I also am aware of your experiences with attempts to treat Lyme disease in Trey(?).

    I am not sure how to plant a flag on my white SUV….or what flag for that matter…

  10. Dan from Georgia says:

    I like your idea Em of utilizing the sunroof!

  11. Dread says:

    The Biden mandate about the Trump vaccine for the Wuhan virus illustrates #4 aptly.

  12. Dan from Georgia says:

    correction/clarity…”Obviously some people actions/behaviors in the church is a huge topic in this community here”.

  13. Shawn says:

    1 & 5: I have been a mess and full of anxiety for the last month. I had something happen on September 14th that scared the living day lights out of me. I felt an explosion inside me that made me lightheaded. I was at a huge book sale and nearly passed out. I new I should have gone to the sale but acquisition of new inventory to boost sales drove me to go anyways.

    Went to express care- no help except I found out I did not have Covid and my A1C came down a bit. However, no reason as to why I felt utterly exhausted and was losing muscle. Waited two weeks to see my doctor- everyday filled with anxiety and thoughts of I am going to die until then. Finally get to the doctor they take some blood and urine tests.

    Called today. I went into a semi panic attack while waiting on hold. Then again when I had to wait on hold again for the nurse. All tests came back normal except an elevated Bilirubin count. For the most part it was a huge relief. On Friday I get an ultrasound on my gallbladder which may be the cause of not only the Bilirubin but everything else. I am also scheduling some heart tests as an added precaution due to being almost 50 and diabetic. I also had a friend with some similar health conditions recently die from Covid. He and his wife on vacation over 3000 miles from home. She is now a widow and his kids are grieving. So yeah that freaks me out a bit too.

    The summer selling season was so slow this year that we burnt through our savings and capital fund. So more stress. The fact that all these tests cost money does not help. At least I can compartmentalize the stress over student loans as if they do not exist. lol. But its really not funny. My wife has a whole host of health issues too. So does my oldest daughter. We had to learn to reparent our youngest at 18 years old due to what we dismissed when she observed to have Asperger’s at four or five. So more stress.

    I have never been particularly anxious. I have also been able to go, go, go with very little sleep (it is how I was trained for “the ministry” after all). Yet, here we are and I can’t go, go, go when I need to put my nose to the grindstone all the more.

    Interestingly, writing all this down in response to your post has been actually quite cathartic. Maybe I have been bottling too much of it up and keeping it to myself. Plus I know some who read it will take a moment to pray for me/us. Now that is really comforting. So thanks in advance to any who may.

    2: Very good point that deserves serious contemplation.

    3. Since I was young I have always had a distrust of many things. However, unlike when I was younger I do not believe my opinion is worth being said (mostly because there is too much I do not know).

    4. You may well be right. It is a part and parcel of why I currently do not attend church. However, there are many reasons for that the least of which is not my wife’s health.

    6. Now that is funny, insightful, and sad all at once. Around here a good many of them also fly Confederate flags.

    7. I just learned something about why certain shelves have been empty at the stores. There always need to be a sacrificial lamb to roast on the altars of political idolatry.

    8. No need to elaborate as that may be the best commentary I have ever read on Romans.

    9. I am not sure I understand that one.

    10. The sweetest words of comfort for the Christian coupled with a harsh admonition. Nicely paired!

    As always good stuff. I appreciate your transparency it really ministered to me today. Keep on!

  14. Dread says:

    Michael @1:02

    Before shotguns and trucks existed.

  15. Michael says:

    We are seeing the result of mandates here…the regional medical center fired about 400 people and closed two urgent care facilities.

    The quality and availability of health care just plummeted and people are furious…there will be political, social, and economic repercussions for years…

  16. Michael says:

    Shawn ,

    That you for your comments…to be blunt, I am struggling with anxiety far more than I wanted to admit.
    I had a full on panic attack last week.
    The scary part is that I didn’t even realize I was stressed until another stressor added to the pile…and the system broke.

  17. Michael says:

    “Before shotguns and trucks existed.”

    Surely, there is a better answer than that…

  18. Dread says:

    There are no good answers Michael.

    The authoritarians are testing the waters with a vaccine mandate that results in firing those who have risked their lives for 20 months for what …being selfish!!!??? That makes sense.

    Those pick up trucks will be looking for a new flag to fly. It’s coming as sure as the arrogance and lies of our institutions.

    We are reaping the wind.

  19. Michael says:


    My answer would be that this ideal never existed anywhere but in the minds of a few generations.

    The mandates will turn us toward right wing authoritarians in the name of freedom…but what is given in one hand will be taken by the other…we are in a world of hurt…

  20. Bob Sweat says:

    Vaccine mandates have existed long before COVID, but never this political.

    “The authoritarians are testing the waters with a vaccine mandate that results in firing those who have risked their lives for 20 months for what …being selfish!!!??? ” Mr. Trump is the epitome of authoritarianism.

  21. Duane Arnold says:

    Nationwide the percentage of health care workers who are not getting vaccinated is minuscule… in many states and hospital systems it is under 3%…

  22. Michael says:

    I don’t know about the nationwide numbers…I know that we’re in a world of hurt here.

    These urgent care clinics were packed…but corporate said they closed because more people are doing tele health…on the same day they coincidentally canned 400 people.

    The Covid test I had yesterday took 25 minutes from test to result…I don’t know why we couldn’t do that everywhere.

  23. Michael says:


    The mandates will be part of the reason he’s re-elected…another reason I’m having anxiety…

  24. Jean says:

    Mandates that do not require sinning against God are only coercive to the flesh. To the new man/woman in Christ, such mandates are not coercive at all.

    From cradle to grave, living in community since the fall requires a multiplicity of mandates, all of which coerce the flesh. If not for the bit and bridal of mandates, life in community would be impossible.

  25. Duane Arnold says:


    I have no problem with either complying with vaccination or a twice a week test. They are attempting this at my wife’s place of employment. Here’s the rub, it took them a week and going to 11 different suppliers to obtain a requisite number of tests… And they’ll have to do it again next week…

  26. Duane Arnold says:

    I should add that my wife has an underlying condition. She is vaccinated but, like all of us, she is susceptible to a break through infection. She would likely not survive it. At her job she has been exposed to Covid twice in the last three weeks… and notified to quarantine and test. In each case, it was an unvaccinated colleague.

  27. Michael says:


    I get that…but so much doesn’t make sense.
    I couldn’t find a test facility in the valley where there wasn’t a long (many hour) wait…and I saw a Facebook ad for a stand alone place in Jacksonville.
    They had lots of tests and we were the only people that had been there that day…while it was an 8 hour wait for urgent care.
    They implored me to spread the word or else they were going to have to leave town for lack of business.

    Nothing adds up…

  28. Michael says:


    We don’t live in a Lutheran world…and coercion when they is an alternative has societal repercussions that none of us want.

  29. EricL says:

    #4- in my state the governor wants to coerce all kids to get vaccinated, taking the choice away from parents. On Monday they had a protest and half the kids at my kids’ school, 400 of them, participated by not showing up. Other schools in the area had about 20-50% absent. The school where my wife teaches had about a 12% absence, but it’s in a poorer demographic.

    We are a pro-vaccine family but even we are getting furious with the elites and their heavy boot on our back. They are making it hard to stand for vaccines.

  30. Michael says:


    I am very pro vaccine…I believe they are a gift from God.
    However, the authorities are indeed making it hard to make the case for them.

  31. Duane Arnold says:

    For what it’s worth, I’m not sure that the real issue is the vaccine, or mandates, or even the former guy in Florida. I think the real issue is the splintering of society… and any issue, real or perceived, is taken up as part of that splintering and a cause for yet further divisions and hatred. I’m reminded of RFK:
    “When you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your home or your family, then you also learn to confront others, not as fellow citizens, but as enemies. But we can perhaps remember that those who live with us are our brothers. That they share with us the same short moment of life, that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness. Surely this bond of common fate can begin to teach us something.”

  32. Michael says:


    Good point…and one which we should recognize and do everything we can to prevent more splintering…though we may be past that point now.

  33. Jean says:

    I’m sorry, Duane, it won’t. Because I was just instructed that we don’t live in a Lutheran world.

  34. Dread says:

    The splintering of society today is the actual agenda of identity politics. Please put that responsibility where it lies.

    Tribalizing – Balkanizing – call what you will it is the actual agenda of valuing equity diversity and inclusiveness is splintering us

    What is true however is that the actual Gospel of Jesus does destroy it.

  35. Jean says:

    The splintering began in earnest with the Tea Party.

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ preserves society. Christ was no nihilist.

  36. Dread says:


    Perhaps you mean the one in Boston – identity politics predates the other by at least a quarter century.

    1970s is the beginning of identity politics

    Post 2000 is the tea party which had no idenitarian component

  37. Jean says:

    Think about what Jesus preached: “You are the salt of the earth.” Not “of the church “ or “of the kingdom of heaven,” but “of the earth.” The earth is the abode of both Christians and pagans. All rely for temporal life on the earth, and Christians are their preservative.

    What is the principal function of salt? It is a preservative. Christians preserve the earth, they don’t destroy it!

  38. Michael says:

    “Mandates that do not require sinning against God are only coercive to the flesh. To the new man/woman in Christ, such mandates are not coercive at all.”

    Let me be clear…mandates disobeyed that cause you to lose your job and home when there are alternatives are coercive…and that’s the polite word.

  39. Jean says:

    “Post 2000 is the tea party which had no idenitarian component”

    I totally disagree!

  40. Jean says:

    Of course they’re coercive; that is the point. The flesh does not comply voluntarily. The new man respects the mandate and complies voluntarily. The struggle for the Christian is to walk in step with the Spirit and not the flesh.

    What I am describing is the theology of Romans and Galatians, and is not uniquely Lutheran.

  41. Michael says:


    This would make refusing to comply with the mandates for any reason a sin…and I might punch someone straight in the mouth that said that to some I know…then they would understand the difference between sin and not sin…

    This conversation is producing something in me I don’t care for…so I need to step aside.

  42. Jean says:

    I guess I would ask, are we to apply Christian doctrine to temporal life, or is Christian doctrine limited to Sunday mornings in church?

    For me, our reaction to temporal issues and news should always be analyzed and applied through the lens of Christian doctrine. Our vocation as citizens of Christ’s kingdom and as His priesthood are a public witness in all our actions.

  43. Jean says:

    Michael, I just read your 3:47 pm. I’m sorry for angering you. Why don’t I step aside and you continue.

  44. Michael says:


    Life is not that simple, nor that certain.
    Demanding that people comply with a mandate that may leave them broken physically or be in sin in the eyes of God is not only bad governance, it’s terrible doctrine.

  45. Jean says:

    Maybe at another time we can discuss it.

  46. Michael says:

    People would be wise to listen to the concerns of people such as EricL and myself…both pro vaccine, both asking real questions that deserve more than a certain response from both sides.

    I am finding it a struggle to not get angry when these concerns are broached…then minimized and ignored.

    I am feeling what I assume people feel right before they become “radicalized”.

    Thankfully, I am only at risk of small furies due to age and faith…

    Perhaps you all remember what happened the last time we disenfranchised a whole group of people…

  47. Duane Arnold says:

    “Tribalizing – Balkanizing – call what you will it is the actual agenda of valuing equity diversity and inclusiveness is splintering us”


  48. Just one of His lambs says:

    I am not anti-vaccine, but I fear we are on a very slippery slope. Remember the “no abortion will ever be done past 3 months”days? I do. It was inconceivable in the 70’s that babies would be aborted up to birth. But here we are. A slippery slope. So the Covid vaccine was being mandated for adults to keep their jobs… it is being mandated for CHILDREN to stay in school in California. Slippery, slippery slope and I am standing against it. Not the vaccine….the mandates!! What comes next? If you think the Covid Vaccine is the end of “mandates,” then you need to take off your rose colored glasses.

  49. BrideofChrist says:

    People lose their livelihoods and their homes on a regular basis in America. During the Great Recession my husband lost a management position he had held at a new car dealership for 15 years. The local news,reported it as “black Friday” for can Diego Car dealerships because so many dealerships closed on that day. My school district was also in the news that VERY same day! I lost my job of 13 years at my elementary school as a reading teacher along with 300 other district teachers on the same Black Friday. We lour health insurance, our jobs and eventually our house. We moved four times in the next three years and we were both on unemployment for nearly two years. Guess what? We survived. All these vaccine resistant people have to do is get a vaccine that has been approved by the FDA or get tested every few days. ? I would have LOVED to have had the choice these anti -vaxers have! I didn’t have the choice -_we list everything. God threw us into the fire and we survived. I agree with Jean. We are expected to make accommodations if we live in a community. And no one owes you anything. Those nurses risked their lives amid Covid? That’s comnendable! I caught TB teaching in the Calif public schools for 30 years, and I was still laid off during the Great Recession . You do your job because God calls you to it, and because it is the right thing to do. It doesn’t give you the right to expect any kind of special treatment, or anyreward here on earth, this side of heaven. That’s what God showed me. We are all so entitled here in America. Christian believers feel entitled too!…Just ask Job! Job did nothing but complain to God at the beginning of his ordeal. Then, like a “weaned infant”( Job’s own words) he stopped his crying, got on with his life, and asked God what he should do next.

  50. Michael says:

    “All these vaccine resistant people have to do is get a vaccine that has been approved by the FDA or get tested every few days.”

    The local hospital refused to allow a testing option.
    People that were “heroes” last year are now out of work.

    I have no issue with mandates that allow for a testing option especially for those who are at risk from the vaccine.

    I am shocked at the lack of empathy for other people…but I shouldn’t be.

  51. Michael says:

    I also need to point out that some people are “vaccine resistant” because of damage from prior vaccines…

  52. BrideofChrist says:

    I was shocked by the “lack of empathy” during the Great Recession, too. Seriously, I was. I was recovering from TB, contracted teaching at my school, but I was now completely without health insurance .This was before Obama Care. My husband was laid off, too, so we were out in the cold ( Tough luck, kid!) What I learned is that when it comes down to survival, empathy flies out the window. I felt like the person in the lifeboat who was pushed overboard so the others would have enough food and water to survive My friends and co-workers ( friends of 13 years) didn’t care that I was laid off. They were just glad that THEY hadn’t been laid off. When I was in what I call ‘early Job’ mentality, I was having panic attacks ( first ever at age 53!) They are a nightmare. I also suddenlyv couldn’t sleep. I finally tried prescription sleep aids and I also had a prescription to help with the panic attacks. ( first time ever for that also) They helped me cope with a very unfair and scary world, and I was grateful for the help. I haven’t had a panic attack since those days and I haven’t taken sleep aids for many, many years, but they helped me deal with the unfairness of life at the time. I ‘m where Job was at the end of his book now. I don’t feel entitled so much anymore, even though ” I did all the right things” and I was “such a good Christian” That’s fairytale Christianity. My therapist told me that poor minorities actually handle adversity and difficult times better than college educated white people like myself. They grew up amidst adversity. “We” (myself” included) have led entitled, privileged lives. Life is hard. We believers are not promised a rose garden, and the only promise God makes to us is that he will never leave us or forsake us in the midst of our trials and difficulties.

  53. Michael says:

    Bride of Christ,

    Why would you wish such on others because you have suffered?

    Why would you demand that people who medically can’t get vaccinated do so or be fired…when there is a testing alternative that could be offered?

    The lack of empathy in others doesn’t mean I can grow cold as well…

  54. Just One of His Lambs says:

    Thank you, Michael, for speaking common sense and compassion. When we lived in Asia, they used the term, “crab mentality.” It meant, “If I have to suffer, I will make sure you have to suffer too and I will do what I need to to bring you down to my level.” This is what I am seeing these days, rather than compassion for individual needs. I cannot understand why anyone would demand that ALL children be forced to take this vaccine, when healthy children are not dying or hospitalized from Covid.. It boggles the mind. I have no objection to anyone taking it or forcing their children to take it (although it concerns me), but these mandates are a very slippery path and I fear what lies ahead.

  55. Michael says:


    “Crab mentality”…fascinating.
    I don’t understand people much anymore and I grow daily less interested in trying.
    These are bleak times…

  56. BrideofChrist says:

    “” Why would you wish on others what you have suffered? ” That’s comp!etely, totally unfair to say. I NEVER said that I wished that others suffer what I’ve suffered. I am a very happy, blessed person and I don’t think there are as many people in the world, Christians or not, who are as blessed and as happy ad I am. My world is unbelievably good – beautiful children, beautiful grandchildren, true friends, beautiful life! God gave me ALL this – the good and the bad. Just as God gives to all his children. We can’t change God, or make life fit our idea if what’s “fair” God determines that. That’s the message of the book of Job.

  57. Michael says:

    Bride of Christ,

    You seem to say that your because you suffered, you don’t care about other people losing their jobs or homes. You seem to be saying that because you were not shown empathy, others can be denied as well.

    Feel free to correct me, but that was what you seemed to be saying.

    This isn’t a question of theology or theodicy…this is simply decency and compassion.

  58. Michael says:

    “We can’t change God, or make life fit our idea if what’s “fair” God determines that.”

    God is a God of justice and righteousness…and if we can act accordingly…we should.

  59. BrideofChrist says:

    No, That’s not at all what I was saying. Read the book of Job. You are saying what Job said to God in the early chapters. This isn’t fair. God tells Job that He is Gid, and He doesn’t have to explain Himself to Job. ” Be still, and know that I am God.” I went through Hell, but God meant it for good. I thought my world was falling apart, but it wasn’t. I learned resilience and I am a better person for it. I am blessed by every day small beauties. I don’t hold onto anything too tightly anymore, but I am amazed by the simple good things God has given me.

  60. Michael says:

    God didn’t make the mandates…this has now slid into the ridiculous.

  61. BrideofChrist says:

    “God didn’t make the mandates’. No. Did God make Coronovirus? Did God make the vaccine? Only God knows the answer. There’s nothing riduculous about this discussion .We live in a fallen world. Christians are ” caught in the backwash ” of sin”. The pastor of North Coast Christian Church preaches that ( my new church) and I believe it to be true. Job was caught up in the backwash of a sinful world also He certainly didn’t do anything to deserve his trials. . Sometimes how we react in that moment of unfair tribulations determines our witness and our Christian faith. The true test for humanity here is Covid 19, not which country has mandates and which country doesn’t. My school system treated me unairly, and yes, the mandates treat some vaccine averse peopke unfairly. But school systems and societies are trying to stay afloat in a time of terrible crisis. That’s what my school district did. I was the sacrificial lamb so that the school could survive. That’s reality in our fallen world. God has given us Covid, and He has given us a vaccine. As far as mandates – no job is a prison sentence. There’s nothing wrong with leaving a life long profession and finding another job. I did it. I became a ceramics teacher after losing my 30 year teaching career.

  62. Michael says:


    I’m not going to spiritualize other peoples unnecessary suffering.
    I’m going to oppose it…and try to do so with understanding for all involved.
    This is not a test of Christian faith…this is not an assault on the church…it’s a plea for common sense and decency.

  63. Michael says:

    “There’s nothing wrong with leaving a life long profession and finding another job. ”

    There’s nothing wrong if one chooses to do so…being forced to do so unnecessarily is wicked.

  64. Michael says:

    We all accept collateral damage until we are the collateral damage…

  65. JD says:

    “White flag” to Jesus
    My new rear window decal

  66. Dread says:

    “The sin is not homosexuality but idolatry” Is that part of the intimidation we all feel to broach the subject? How do homosexuality and idolatry interact within the text? Why is the connection there? The giving up to vile passions then describes same sex attraction and proceeds from there to a broader description of sin. Does it not? Every family is affected by these things and most are simply left without response. Thus we empathize and then normalize that which we dare not criticize.

    “God gave them up,” “God gave them up,” “God gave them over…” So rejection of God seems to result in self worship. That results in whatever we desire.

    We’ve lost the courage to address such things at all. But idolatry seems to lead to a man centered world. In a man centered world God is on trial and man is the judge.

    Thus the object of God’s redemption (his people) is the object of our contempt. That is how we atone. Forgiveness can only be found in renunciation of our identity. New creation is not the purgation of sin but the purgation of self. We must hate ourselves to be righteous. Therein is the fellowship of so much online writings of believers.

    My generations has been cowed to silence about sexual perversion. The silence is expanding exponentially to include more and more realms.

    Think I will soon resume my blasphemy by addressing things from which we’ve fled in shame. Paul did not flee. That is why so many hate him so completely.

  67. Dread says:

    Our dependence upon China has become a disease with no cure. We cannot demand they be accountable for their lab leaks because they own us and our supply chains. We cannot appeal for the rescue of the Uyghurs lest our basketball revenues cease.

    China is already our master we missed the memo. They own us the way cotton owned the South pre-civil war.

    We’ve acquiesced over Hong Kong not long until…

    America: Made in China that’s us.

  68. Michael says:

    “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”
    (Romans 1:21–23 ESV)

    The original sin is idolatry.
    Of that there can be no doubt.
    The question is why Paul chose to launch into a a diatribe first and specifically against homosexuality.
    I can’t find any reason other than it was a prime example of the kind of perversion of the person that happens when they worship someone or something other than God.

    I had forgotten how blunt and direct the condemnation is, as I too have been compromised.

  69. Dread says:

    I will note that in the apostolic and new covenant warnings about sin, idolatry and immorality are always in view and usually coupled in the writings. And of course homosexuality is but one form of immorality but in our world the perversion belongs to those who rebuke it.

    We practice self-censorship when we think of it in preaching or speech as it will get you exited from public space. And we comply.

    Further we’ve given neither language nor wisdom to those under our care who are vilified by their own children particularly for their inarticulate revulsion.

    Worst of all we’ve called evil good and good evil. However we can indeed keep our love connection to those who transgress even as we do with virtually all other sins of the flesh.

  70. Michael says:


    I don’t quarrel with your assessment of how we are dealing with this issue.

    Having said that…if idolatry is the real sin in view here…and it is….should we not first address our own idolatry first?

    I would submit that one of the the besetting sins of the church today is Christian nationalism…what will God give us over to?

    What about the entrepreneurship model of ministry that is nothing but an idol factory?

    I could go on….and probably will… 🙂

  71. josh hamrick says:

    I’m all for calling out sin, and have heard it called out from pulpits my whole life, including very recently. What I do wonder is when the speck in our own eye starts to bother us a bit.

  72. CM says:

    Of course Dread conveniently ignores the part that the TPP multi-lateral trade deal specifically cut out China was an attempt have alternate supply chains, but his boy Trump walked away from that. Dread’s boy Trump also threw the Uighurs under the bus and minimized COVID to suck up to Xi to get his Phase 1 Trade Deal. But then Dread seems to think that tariffs work too.

  73. Michael says:

    International trade and the place of China is beyond my understanding and the scope of this blog.

  74. Michael says:


    I started naming some of my own idols last week and it was less than comfortable.
    Have to do it some more this week…

  75. Dread says:


    You lie on many fronts

  76. Duane Arnold says:

    From my admittedly simple reading of Romans 1, the sins named by Paul (including the laundry list in verse 28) are simply the visible symptoms of a society rooted in idolatry. Like him, we would be better advised to deal with the cause than to rail against the symptoms…

  77. Jean says:

    When the law is preached, it can accomplish two good purposes:

    First, and this – is the most important function, it should bring its hearers to repentance. God gives grace to the humble, the Bible teaches.

    This is where many churches today (IMO) fall short, and I think it has a lot to do with OSAS theology. If my sin does not condemn me, then why hear about it. In addition, church growth consultants will tell you that preaching against the sins of your own congregation is not a winning church growth strategy. So, these churches preach against the sins of the outside world and develop hypocrites instead. The implicit message is: We’re good; you’re bad. We’re going to heaven; you’re going to hell.

    Secondly, preaching the law (the whole law) should form the Christian worldview. This is relevant because sin affects all our families, whether immediate or remote; it affects our communities; and it affects our nation. Christians need a worldview that (a) can resist the devil’s lies, and (b) they can employ as parents, children, neighbors and voters. This worldview is in part what Jesus was referring to with the metaphor of salt.

  78. josh hamrick says:

    “and I think it has a lot to do with OSAS theology.”

    And you are wrong, yet again.

  79. Michael says:


    Evidently, you haven’t spent much time in other churches.
    The Reformed believe in the “perseverance of the saints” which is a different color of “OSAS”.
    There were always calls to repentance…and Anglican liturgies have a lovely prayer of confession as well.

  80. josh hamrick says:

    Its another distraction. Another way to point the finger of judgement at “others” that I don’t understand, rather than realizing that I may be the problem.

  81. josh hamrick says:

    There’s a thought: Think about what would happen if I was nearly as bothered by my own sin as I was by others. What if I REALLY went to war with the sin in me?

  82. josh hamrick says:

    Jean should keep in mind that I believe in OSAS.

  83. Em says:

    The best teaching on this – IMHO – is the parables of the seeds
    I, too, believe that, if one is redeemed they are Eternally so…BUT it does depend on where the seed germinates, where the roots are growing

  84. Jean says:


    Whenever I read about problems in the church or fallen pastors or the church’s response to societal issues, for me I look at the doctrine taught by the church. To me, everything in a Christian’s life and practice, both the spiritual life and the temporal, is informed by Christian doctrine.

    I don’t think I’m so different, except I try to enter these conversations from the perspective of theology, because I will read here how Christians today don’t practice the Sermon on the Mount. I don’t disagree, but why stop with the Sermon on the Mount?

    I’m not asking you or anyone else to agree with me, but I am informed about what I am speaking. By definition, there is no theological (i.e., 2nd use of the law) where one has locked God in. Now, maybe someone will turn that around and say: “Hey Jean, are you sure you’re born again? Would a born again dude continue in that sin?” If that is the teaching, then what does that do to one’s assurance?

  85. josh hamrick says:

    Jean you are not informed about OSAS.

  86. CM says:


    Maybe Trump is not your boy and maybe you think tariffs are not a good idea. But my points about the TPP and what Trump did to get his Phase 1 Trade Deal are correct.

    But as Michael said, trade is beyond the scope of this blog (Though you did broach the topic with your earlier comment on China and supply chains).

  87. josh hamrick says:

    “Then what does that do to one’s assurance?”

    Is the tomb still empty?

  88. Jean says:

    Josh, are you saying that part of your OSAS theology is that the initial conversion of a Christian can’t be trusted where he/she later is found living in manifest sin?

  89. Dread says:


    Michael raised supply chains in his post above as per Trump’s likely causation in sarcasm.

    As per Trump downplaying the virus at the beginning to appease China I believe you are correct as Josh Rogin has chronicled in Chaos Under Heaven

    Trump is not my boy though I will always vote conservative over progressive

  90. josh hamrick says:

    “are you saying that part of your OSAS theology is that the initial conversion of a Christian can’t be trusted where he/she later is found living in manifest sin?”

    Did his/her manifest sin put Jesus back in the tomb?

  91. Dread says:

    Haven’t seen OSAS debates in years except here. My view is simple. Saved by faith lost by unbelief. Hebrews pretty clearly represents those who having believed are in danger of overthrowing their faith — frankly probably on nationalistic basis. They are faced with either being apostates or traitors of their nation.

    Hebrews 12-13 addresses Jewish nationalism profoundly and provides a basis to rebuke our American version.

  92. Jean says:

    Okay, thanks for clarifying Josh. It appears my original assertion was correct. You seem to be agreeing that my manifest sin (and by that I mean public and impenitent) does not jeopardize my salvation.

  93. Jean says:


    “Saved by faith lost by unbelief.”

    Succinctly put.

  94. Xenia says:

    We are dependent on China because we can’t get enough of those cheap consumer goods.

    Just for starters, look into the topic of Fast Fashion and then take a look into your closets.

  95. josh hamrick says:

    “that my manifest sin (and by that I mean public and impenitent) does not jeopardize my salvation.”

    Hints the term Once Saved, Always Saved.

  96. Xenia says:

    “Saved by faith lost by unbelief.”

    I agree with this, too.

    I know too many people who were saved as young people who are atheists now. Saying these people are still saved sort of makes most of what Jesus said null and void.

  97. Jean says:

    “Saying these people are still saved sort of makes most of what Jesus said null and void.”


  98. josh hamrick says:

    “who are atheists now. Saying these people are still saved”

    I think most would say they were never saved.

  99. Xenia says:

    Now here’s the thing. Those people I referenced above thought they were saved. They seemed more sure of their salvation than I ever was. Yet they fell away. The answer often given is “Well, they were never saved to begin with,” or rather “their confession of faith was somehow lacking,” IOW, they were insincere. Or something like that. Yet they thought they were saved, just as everyone on this blog believes they are saved. Yet experience demonstrates that even those who are certain of their salvation can fall away completely. A common answer is “they will return to the faith before they die.” Well, I am sure many do but that doesn’t account for those who don’t.

    Our Christian faith is a precious thing, but it can be lost through carelessness. God will give it back to us but we can become so hard-hearted that we don’t ever come back, through our own choice. Happens all the time.

    S/he who endures to the end will be saved.

  100. josh hamrick says:

    One’s ability to lose his salvation says more about Jesus inability to keep him than it does his sin.

    The question of if one was ever saved is hypothetical. Only God can know that answer, whether you are Lutheran, Orthodox, or even of a different faith, like myself.

    I don’t see how saying one can unsave themselves through carelessness is any more assuring than wondering if they were ever saved in the first place.

  101. Xenia says:

    I think most would say they were never saved.<<<

    So what went wrong here? For years, these people thought they were saved. What more could they have done? Believe me, this is a topic I have stewed over for years.

    This is like Calvinism, where a person says they want to be saved but because the are not one of God's elect, they cannot be saved, no matter how much they want to be saved.

    So Josh, I have to say that "I think most would say they were never saved" is an insufficient solution to to problem.

    I know people who went to Bible College, lived like a Christian for many years, and one day announce they are an atheist. We all know people like this. Were they faking it? If so, they were terrific actors.

  102. josh hamrick says:

    “She who endures to the end will be saved” is basically the same thing OSAS is saying, and EXACTLY what Perseverance of the Saints (reformed) is saying.

  103. Xenia says:

    Jesus saves those who follow Him, and He will keep those who follow Him. If someone doesn’t want to follow Him, God gives free will. We can follow Jesus or not, our choice.

  104. josh hamrick says:

    Faking what? Salvation is not a feeling or an act that the person is capable of accomplishing. Your answer is far worse. You are saying these very sincere, Jesus loving people, left the Good Shepperd, and he was just like, woops.

  105. Xenia says:

    So those who don’t endure to the end will not be saved.

    I think for my part, I am coming from a synergistic POV and the rest of you are monergists. So I do tend to see things from a different angle.

  106. josh hamrick says:

    “We can follow Jesus or not, our choice.”
    Yep. Totes agree.

  107. josh hamrick says:

    “So those who don’t endure to the end will not be saved.”

    Maybe. Still not my place to say. God is merciful and graceful beyond anything I can imagine. Salvation is up to Him.

  108. Donald says:

    Xenia @ 11:06; Ephesians 1:13-24 cannot be exegeted any other way that God is the One who guarantees our faith. Is His guarantee not good enough? Don’t you think the the fruit coming from one’s life demonstrates whether or not they really belong to God? Lots of people living lives in such a way as the Bible says they will not inheriet the kingdom of God.

  109. Xenia says:

    Let’s take a friend I had who I will call Sue. As a young adult, she became a Christian at our rural Baptist church. She was gung-ho and studied and became a leader at the local Women’s Bible Fellowship. After years of conversation, I considered Sue to be one of the soundest Christian women I knew and I looked up to her. Last time I talked to her, she was an atheist and looks on her Christian past as something to scoff at.

    So some choices:

    1. Elaine was never saved to begin with, even though she certainly thought she was. For some inexplicable reason, her saying the Sinner’s Prayer just didn’t click.
    2. Elaine just was never saved to begin, knew it, and was playing a game with us all.
    3. Elaine was saved, but after years of neglecting her faith and listening to the world, fell away. Her choice.
    4. Elaine is still saved, all evidence to the contrary.

    I go with choice 3. May she come back to the Lord!

  110. Xenia says:

    Josh, we are so close to agreeing. 🙂

  111. josh hamrick says:

    And Jesus is like, Dang it! I lost another one!

  112. josh hamrick says:

    “we are so close to agreeing.”

    I doubt it.

  113. Xenia says:

    Whoops, I used her real name instead of the pseudonym “Sue” I had planned to use.

  114. josh hamrick says:

    “May she come back to the Lord!”

    Why that would be any better than “May she come to the Lord!”, I don’t know.

  115. Xenia says:

    You are saying these very sincere, Jesus loving people, left the Good Shepperd, and he was just like, woops.<<<

    I am saying these apparently Christian people did walk away from the faith and God, having given us free will, allowed them.

  116. josh hamrick says:

    He lost them, I see. They were plucked from His hand. Ok.

  117. Xenia says:

    They jumped out of His hand of their own free will.

  118. josh hamrick says:

    Not scriptural, but who cares, I guess.

    Your assurance is a continued life of good deeds ( I think).

    Jean’s assurance is continuing to eat the wafer at a Lutheran church(He’ll deny the Lutheran part, but if you nail him down, its true.)

    My assurance is the one sacrifice paid for all. As bad as my people are, and I am chief, I still like that plan way better.

  119. Xenia says:

    Here’s this: God is not willing that any should perish.

    Yes many will perish. Is God’s will being thwarted here? If it’s His will that all be saved, why doesn’t he, by executive order, declare everyone saved? But He doesn’t, He give us free will to follow Him or not. I think this applies to our discussion, too.

    Well, these discussions are endless and those of us who are convinced either way will not have our minds changed. I am mostly drawing on my own experience anyway, which is meaningless in a theology discussion.

  120. Xenia says:

    Your assurance is a continued life of good deeds ( I think).<<<

    No no no.

  121. josh hamrick says:

    Do tell.

  122. Michael says:

    “This is like Calvinism, where a person says they want to be saved but because the are not one of God’s elect, they cannot be saved, no matter how much they want to be saved.”

    That is not Calvinism…good grief, I thought I buried that 15 years ago.

  123. Michael says:

    In a nutshell (as I have no desire to get in this food fight) in Calvinism, the very desire to be saved is evidence of election.

  124. Xenia says:

    the very desire to be saved is evidence of election.<<<

    Yes, I have heard this from you and from other Calvinists. But it doesn't explain the case of my friend Elaine, and thousands like her, who desired salvation and evidently didn't receive it even though for many years believed they had?

    If her salvation, which she believed she had, wasn't genuine, how do we know our own salvations are genuine? See, this doesn't speak to me of assurance at all because if you can fool yourself into thinking you're a Christian for decades and then decide/discover it wasn't real…

  125. josh hamrick says:

    “how do we know our own salvations are genuine?”

    Yes, how do you know that?

  126. Xenia says:

    Yes, how do you know that?<<<

    Well, my story is that for decades I wasn't at all sure about it. I was very worried about it, because, as I have told here many times, I felt it was based on my sincerity at the time I "went forward" at church. (I am not mocking "went forward" by my use of quotes; I just added them to make the sentence clear.) There was no before and after. I felt there should have been a before and after, if I was really a new person in Christ. In fact, as the decades went by, I became a worse jerk. I was told not to worry because, well, OSAS. So those were decades of religious anxiety. But Orthodoxy teaches that salvation is not a one-time event, it's a life-long process. It's a matter of walking towards Jesus as we become conformed in His image which will be completed in heaven. I could stop walking toward Jesus, fall off the path. It could happen, I suppose, although at this point in my life I can't imagine it happening. So we don't say "I was saved" at a certain date, we say "we are being saved and when we get to heaven, we will be saved." We can point to our baptisms as the start of the journey, when our salvation got its start.

  127. josh hamrick says:

    So no assurance there either, since people leave the Orthodox church all the time, too.

  128. Dread says:

    Paul was very clear that the Holy Spirit is the evidence of our salvation.

    If Torah marked out an Israelite in Moses, pneuma marks out those in Christ.

    Of course that brings its own debate and I’m not evoking any second blessing conversation.

  129. Xenia says:

    So no assurance there either, since people leave the Orthodox church all the time, too.<<

    That is correct. People fall away all over the place.

  130. josh hamrick says:

    “That is correct. People fall away all over the place.”

    Got ya. So yeah, I’m still staying with the empty tomb.

  131. josh hamrick says:

    “pneuma marks out those in Christ.”

    Lots of hoops to jump through there.

  132. Dread says:

    “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

    “that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
    ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭3:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


  133. Xenia says:

    I’ll just simplify: Only believers are saved. Unbelievers are not.

    (Not counting babies, etc.)

  134. josh hamrick says:


  135. Everstudy says:

    In regards to OSAS, I think it comes down to being ‘born again’, not just having a religious experience.
    My uncle had a religious experience at a Billy Graham crusade when I was a kid, but he died an atheist. Several people I went to CCBC with are now atheists. My Mormon family all think they’re saved.

    Were they born again?

    It’s an easy answer with my Mormon family… no.

    But with my CCBC friends and my uncle… the answer isn’t so clear.

    What is clear, is that all of them had a religious experience, my Mormon family still living in it and confident in their faith, and the others having walked away.

    From my CRC leaning… I think that if you’re born again, you’ve been born again and nothing can/will change that.

    Regarding “they want to be saved but because the are not one of God’s elect, they cannot be saved, no matter how much they want to be saved.” The CRC taught that man would not pursue God until He made them born again. There would be no desire to be saved.

    Maybe desire for a sense of belonging, maybe desire to be a part of something bigger, or, like my late uncle, a desire for a temporary religious experience.

  136. Jean says:

    Jean’s assurance is continuing to eat the wafer at a Lutheran church(He’ll deny the Lutheran part, but if you nail him down, its true.)”


    I don’t think one can square Scripture with a logical systematic explanation, unless you’re willing to ignore or reinterpret one or more passages. There is a paradox that can’t be harmonized according to the plain meaning.

    For me, (1) the preacher should preach the text in front of him in context and without saying: it doesn’t really mean that; and (2) Scripture is written to judge the hearer, not for the hearer to judge Scripture.

  137. josh hamrick says:

    So what is your assurance Jean?

  138. Dread says:

    Assurance is the witness of the Spirit

    “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:15-17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

  139. Dread says:

    Paul assumes that we know what this is. A post above says we know by being “born again” in other words we know by the Spirit.

    This matter cannot be pressed hard enough. We are to know God by the Spirit that is given to us.

    Paul is willing to create the crisis of a person knowing that they have no witness of the Spirit — no voice of God witnessing from within that they are safe and secure.

  140. Xenia says:

    I was always told that if I worried about my salvation, that was evidence that I was saved because it’s not something an unbeliever would worry about. I think there is some truth in this, but for me, it wasn’t good enough.

    As the decades passed and I was not showing any fruit of the Spirit, or any sign of becoming conformed to the image of Christ, I came to believe that just worrying about my salvation wasn’t evidence of my salvation, and in fact, was evidence that I needed to make some kind of course correction.

  141. Xenia says:

    We are to know God by the Spirit that is given to us.<<<

    Can a person think they know God by His Spirit, when in fact it's just wishful thinking? Maybe sincerely mistaken because they don't know what "knowing God by the Spirit" means, experientially? If you were to ask them "Do you know God by His Spirit?" they will say, as I would have said, "Yeah? I think so? What?"

  142. Jean says:

    “So what is your assurance Jean?”

    First, I want to say something about assurance, what it is and who it is for. The Christian who is under spiritual affliction, who is oppressed, depressed, being tempted, having doubts about God’s grace, who is heavy laden with a past sin, who has been sinned against, etc., is a Christian who needs assurance. In such cases, the Christian needs (i) a word trustworthy enough that it will beat back and defeat all his/her afflictions and the evil one, and (ii) a word which is not abstract, such as “God is love” or John 3:16, but a direct address, “for me.” But unless you have experienced spiritual affliction one will not understand what assurance actually is and how to use and obtain it.

    My Savior provides me with multiple words of assurance:

    Each Sunday, my pastor exercises the keys Christ gave to the church (e.g., “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them”). I am assured that my sins are forgiven (and therefore I am blessed) because Christ says “I forgive you” through the mouth of my pastor.

    When I go to communion, Christ assures me with his very body and blood, “This is my body, which is given for you”; and “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” His body and blood are not just given for anyone or for the world, but for me.

    At home or any time for that matter, I have Christ’s baptismal promise: “Baptism … now saves you”. It doesn’t just save some or many or even all, but “me.” That is assurance.

    Dread also makes a valid point about the Spirit. When I am afflicted and seek deliverance in prayer, that is the Spirit’s urging. When I am convicted by a sin, that is the Spirit’s judgment. When I am prompted to help someone or donate to something, that is the Spirit’s prompting. Every time the Spirit is at work in my life it gives me assurance. However, my own experience or feelings of the Spirit’s witness is secondary to the assurance that I receive directly from Christ as I described above.

  143. Linnea says:

    The Lord has been allowing me to be challenged…do I trust Him or don’t I? He’s revealed so many ways in which I don’t trust Him. I’ve had COVID and recovered…isn’t that enough to protect me in the future? I have a couple autoimmune diseases and am on immunosuppresants…COVID was like a flu for me. I’ve been praying for an increase in faith, which has an indirect relationship with anxiety. We are His to do with what He wills. Isn’t that enough for us? Amen to Michael’s #10 “Encourage yourself in Christ alone…any other source will become an idol that leads to despair…”

  144. Linnea says:

    Dread at 1:10– thanks for sharing scripture. Hebrews 4:12 “12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

    We can argue all we want, but in the end, the Lord peels the onion, as CS Lewis described. His Word cuts us to the quick and reveals anew His intention and heart for us.

  145. josh hamrick says:

    “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”

    That’s all I got. Thankfully, its all I need.

  146. Dread says:

    Faith comes by hearing … Josh you know quite a lot because of the hearing of faith. Jesus is not a propositional construct in your mind but a living — king present and active.

  147. josh hamrick says:

    Yessir. That is true.

  148. Jobab says:

    #9 is blasphemous as it implies the holy scripture written by Paul requires editing.

  149. Michael says:


    The holy scripture written by Paul wasn’t written in English with run on sentences that exhaust the exegete.
    You might want to find another site…you aren’t going to like this one.

  150. Nathan Priddis says:

    No one will cling to Romans more than the Reform side. But I don’t hear anyone seriously questioning what Romans 1 actuality means. It usually devolves into the same old same old, of a rant about society theses days.

    Michael says..
    “The original sin is idolatry.
    Of that there can be no doubt.
    The question is why Paul chose to launch into a a diatribe first and specifically against homosexuality.
    I can’t find any reason other than it was a prime example of the kind of perversion of the person that happens when they worship someone or something other than God…”..

    Yes I agree. A type of idolatry. But, what type, and why the tie-in to same sex attraction?

    This is where I believe the Church has fundamentaly misunderstood the chapter. Homosexeualty is hardly the main point at all. This tie-in must be ancient.

  151. Dread says:

    Sins against God are idolatrous
    Sins against man are immoral
    Note I did not say sexually immoral

    However sexual immorality is designated as a unique assault on the bearer of God’s image an assault against the temple of God. 1 Co 6, Paul elevates sexual immorality to a unique position as did the Jerusalem Council.

    I’ll continue to say that we should talk about this “fruit” of idolatry because Paul often does.

    Once more the warning of the apostolic church was to keep themselves from idolatry, immorality and the food I Co 15 prohibitions (which were not sustained)

    What is the hesitance to treat these twin evils — a sin against God and against the image of God as rather self-evidently similar if not equal?

    If sexual sin is idolatry then that is because it is rooted in the worship of the self. We’ve decided the desires of the self are sovereign, definitive and immutable… a strange position for Christians and though it’s not universal we often remain cowed to silence.

    Why when homosexual immorality is so central to the assault upon our souls and our unity are we so wroth to speak of it.

    Can it be intimidation or perhaps complicity? Again — this issue is raised in the original post — presumably it is fair ground to challenge or modify the claims of the weekly Decalogue.

  152. Michael says:


    I wrote a long response and then the power went out…

    I hadn’t read Romans in years…and I was shocked at the clarity of the passage on two fronts.
    Idolatry is the wellspring of sin and Pauls contempt for homosexual behavior.

    As the church is awash in idolatry today I find it hard to tell the culture to clean up its yard when ours is overgrown.

    There is a sense as well…being honest…that there isn’t much sense in picking a fight when the war is already lost.

    Then….I see a man in a dress promoted to admiral and my inner country boy can handle no more….

  153. Nathan Priddis says:

    Dread. That’s not what Romans 1 is saying. Yours is a standard conservative religious view. The same view can be found in other religions, particularly Islam or Hassidic Judaism as examples.

    I believe portions of the chapter are skipped over because they can’t be connected using historical Protestant type doctrines.

    My position is simple. The Church, in entirety, has errored in interpretation of Ch.1.

  154. Michael says:


    Then provide us with the knowledge that has evaded the church for 2000 years…

  155. Xenia says:

    I think Protestantism has misinterpreted the entire book of Romans.

    But never mind that.

    If you’ve been following Beth Moore on Twitter, you know she and her husband are now attending a liturgical church. She hasn’t specified the denomination, as far as I’ve seen, but it sounds like a conservative Anglican parish. She is an emotional person and she finds herself crying and crying, which I can totally relate to. Tears of… not joy, exactly but something more transcendent. Hard to explain that kind of tears. But I know them.

    It’s fun to read how this extremely knowledgeable woman is so surprised by what goes on at a traditional liturgy. “They read three whole chapters of the Bible out loud! ” She, like me, had been taught that only certain types of churches were “Bible based.” Well, God bless her! She is doing exactly what I recommend to folks who are weary of evangelical excesses (and in the case of the SBC, troubles getting a grip on racism and misogyny): Find a small church, preferably liturgical, and bask in the God’s grace.

  156. Michael says:



  157. Jean says:

    I agree with Dread’s take on homosexuality at 8:10 am sound.

    It doesn’t matter to me what the world or hetorodox or heretical churches think about human sexuality and gender. What matter is what God Word says.

    Speaking out against sexual immorality is not popular for many reasons but one is the libertarian spirit in contemporary American culture. To many Americans (Christians included), sexual immorality among consenting adults seems like a private matter, which neither the government nor churches have any right to intrude upon. This and “God is love.”

    But, it is my contention that sexual immorality is not victimless nor is it’s impact confined to the persons consenting. It has far reaching negative impacts on society.

    So, IMO it should be part of a Christian’s worldview to understand how God has ordered sexual relations for human beings, and churches should preach and teach God’s order when the text presents it.

  158. Michael says:

    I also have a hard time getting worked up over this passage when I have a few hundred with God speaking to care for refugees and migrants.

    Which sin is greater?

    If you express the condemnation of one sin and further the other…are you holy?

    What keeps you from condemning both?


  159. Jean says:

    Who here is advocating that?

    When God’s will is being denied or neglected by his flock, His appointed servant should get worked up.

  160. Michael says:


    If we base this on the sheer number of times God speaks to an issue…mistreatment of refugees and neighbors is a more important issue than homosexuality.

    Most who oppose homosexuality also favor walls and exporting humans to misery.

    As His appointed servant, I wrote about one sin this week…which is why everyone is commenting on it.

  161. josh hamrick says:

    Are we just as concerned about divorce and remarriage? Why not?

  162. Michael says:

    Because it’s one of “our”sins…which we justify.

  163. josh hamrick says:


  164. Em says:

    knowing that the practice of homosexuality (& other sexual sins) is WRONG does not negate a concern for the underdogs of this world….
    that said right now the U.S. is experiencing an overwhelming migration – not all of whom are “underdogs” in their own lands…. at least that’s how it looks from up here in the mountains today!

  165. JimmieT says:

    Sin is sin- all sin should be condemned (biblically of course)

  166. Jean says:

    “If we base this on the sheer number of times God speaks to an issue…mistreatment of refugees and neighbors is a more important issue than homosexuality.”

    First of all, you’re taking out your frustration with a hot button issue of yours on the wrong guy. I haven’t ranked issues nor justified anything towards refugees. Moreover, I specifically and purposely used the term “sexual immorality” above at 10:23 am to cover the entire spectrum of the topic of sexual immorality.

    Second, the Bible does not talk much about refugees. We know that Jacob and Ruth and Christ were what we would consider refugees. But where the OT law talks about treating sojourners or foreigners with equity or compassion, it is not talking specifically about refugees nor is not talking about the issue of a nation’s borders or how a nation addresses immigration.

    The OT law does not comment the reason for the foreigner’s presence in the land, only that they’re there. And it does not command Israel to let any foreigners in its borders.

    I am not giving you my opinion of the American southern border situation, I am just commenting what the bible says or doesn’t say on the topic. As I am sure you are aware, I am among the most liberal readers you have on the topic of social justice.

  167. Michael says:

    “that said right now the U.S. is experiencing an overwhelming migration – not all of whom are “underdogs” in their own lands”

    This is the mythology of the Christian Right…there’s too many and most of them are wicked.
    Same story for the last twenty years…because people want to believe the worst.

    If God is true to His word…and if He judges nations…we will pay far more for this sin than the ones we love to hate.

    “As I live, declares the Lord GOD, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”
    (Ezekiel 16:48–49 ESV)

  168. Michael says:

    “Second, the Bible does not talk much about refugees. ”

    My head might explode with that one.
    I will move on…

  169. Dread says:

    Just a quick caveat

    When I write moral theology it is to the church awash in a world that has compromised it.

    I have a big interest in preserving liberal democracy as ensconced in our founding documents. BUT I was writing to the church about immorality and idolatry. There is ZERO use talking to the world in that these things cannot be lived apart from the power of the kingdom in the Spirit.

    So rethink any responses that had to do with the idea that in addressing culture about immorality or idolatry. I am not.

    I too await the Priddis Papers

  170. Dread says:

    Long before our kids were converted to the LGBTQ agenda their parents were converted into porn, formication and divorce. Since our kids are awash in the culture we must address these things in context.

    Romans is written to us the church. When we address Romans we are having a family discussion.

    Talking sexual morality or idolatry with the world is mostly a waste of time.

  171. Michael says:

    “Talking sexual morality or idolatry with the world is mostly a waste of time.”

    Agreed…I’m not getting far inside the church either…

  172. Xenia says:

    I think both sexual immorality and disdain for refugees originate from the worship of self. The first wants gratification, no matter what God says, and the second wants to hang onto their abundant material possessions, no matter what God says. Both groups are saying Me Me Me!

  173. Michael says:


    Yes and amen…

  174. Jean says:

    If I’m talking to someone about the refugee situation at the southern border and the issues brought up are capacity, vetting, housing and food, and root causes, I am happy to have those discussions and I am in favor of limits, based on the forgoing and that immigration be within the law and orderly.

    But if they say, the refugees are filthy, diseased, criminals, drug dealers or mules, then to me they are trying to de-humanize the refugees, scare Americans, and to me that is a very dishonest and disgusting way to debate a the issues and speak of other human beings.

  175. Nathan Priddis says:

    Well you’ll have to wait for the Priddis Papers a little longer. I’m busy. But yes, we have it wrong, based upon a reading of the text. Words mean things.

    In vs.18-20, Paul switches from his greeting, introduction and purpose. He discribes events and developments lost to written history. He does not make reference to general sexual morals, but events of the ancient past. These cannot be identified from the written Word of God, recorded history or mythology passed down to today.

    This wrath (orge) is not some general contemp or dislike by God, but one more active or violent in vs. 18. This wrath has no ordinary revealing, but is apocalyptical (apokalyptō). It will occur at the end, even though it predates the creation of humans and their sexuality. This revelation is as old as the Cosmos.

    At this point, it should be remembered that the Law’s creation did not begin till circa 1400’s B.C. This wrath is also not earthly, but from Heaven. When Moses wrote, it was on some sort of papyrus or parchment. A very terrestrial media.

  176. Em says:

    Equating personal sin and a contempt for the downtrodden just doesn’t compute for me – sorry
    The hordes crossing our southern border are all victims in their own land? I call that conclusion naive at best – sorry
    God keep

  177. Jean says:

    If not victims, then what is the motivation of the hordes?

  178. Michael says:

    “Equating personal sin and a contempt for the downtrodden just doesn’t compute for me”

    Jesus said it’s a matter of life and death…

    “And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

    But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.””
    (Luke 10:25–37 ESV)

    ““When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
    (Matthew 25:31–40 ESV)

  179. bob1 says:

    I’d never use the dehumanizing term horde…

    except when referring to mosquitoes.

    Just sayin’

  180. BrideofChrist says:

    Em, I remember reading that your daughter was a nurse and she was faced with losing her job due to the Covid vaccine requirement. Is she unemployed now or did she get the Covid vaccine? It seems I remember you lived in Oregon . We just found out from my best friend that one of our friends from Calvary Chapel Vista, ( in California) where we attended for 30 years spent four months in the hospital with Covid , came home, and then he had to ho back to the hospital again. He wad unvaccinated. He’s in his 60s, slender, and has no underlying health conditions. He’s home now, but he has to have portable oxygen with him at all times now because his lungs are not fully functional. He and his wife are good people, salt of the earth Christians, so please pray for Ray from Vista that he would make a full recovery!

  181. Em says:

    BofC, we live in Washington state and, yes, she is unemployed now. My daughter has a brother in law who had a similar experience with covid at the end of 2019 – very difficult ordeal.
    We are pretty sure that we both had covid in early 2020. Our ordeal was very mild and lasted just a little over 2 weeks. Possibly because we both take D3? ? ?
    Before they removed a tumor from my nose, i had to be tested and it came back inconclusive. So my surgery was postponed until i was retested. The plastic surgeon did a great job reconstructing my nose – i don’t think i will frighten small children 😏
    Yes, there is reason to be concerned where covid is concerned. Neither the virus or the vaccination are what we’re used to.

  182. Em says:

    Jean @4:07…
    Some have good reason to migrate, but there are other reasons, terrorists, drug dealers, sex traffickers, oppotunists of other stripes

  183. Officerhoppy says:

    My wife is an ESL elementary teacher. On Monday, 5 non English speaking Honduran children in her class. They were brought across the border by a “coyote”. None of their parents are in the country. They are staying with an aunt. The aunt already has 10 other “nephews and nieces” living in the home. The parents are at the border waiting to be joined with their children. That’s their strategy. While I appreciate the desire for a better life, the school system is not prepared to handle such an influx of students. As my wife said “this type of activity is going to break the school system”

  184. josh hamrick says:

    “Long before our kids were converted to the LGBTQ agenda their parents were converted into porn, formication and divorce.”

    Dread is back!

  185. Michael says:


    Your wife should become an advocate for real immigration reform.

    We all know that the current system is completely broken, but politicians make bank by not resolving the issue….it’s too valuable as a campaign item for both sides.

  186. Michael says:

    “terrorists, drug dealers, sex traffickers, oppotunists of other stripes”

    The terrorist claim has been worn out.
    Let me tell you how terrorists get here.
    They fly in…with visas.

    The drug dealers are our neighbors…the drug supply isn’t risked by sneaking it through the desert. It drives through the ports with the avocados.

    We created one of the biggest sex trafficking sites in the world with “remain in Mexico” for asylum seekers…the cartels pick them off within minutes.

    Most are people fleeing violence and poverty…but we dare not make them human…

  187. josh hamrick says:

    When it comes to immigration and other such issues, we always respond first as American citizens, and then as Christians.

    And that is the problem.

  188. BrideofChrist says:

    Em, I’ll be praying for your daughter. I read that there were special sites that listed employment opportunities for people who can’t get vaccinated. I once had a friend who worked from home in the medical profession – she looked at slides under a microscope reading medical tests that had been taken. So many people are working from home now.

  189. Michael says:


    The tragedy here is that American citizens are being utterly used by politicians while so many suffer and die.
    Border issues and immigration are complex and difficult…and made much more so by the decades of lies that have been spouted through right wing media.

    You have hit the heart of the issue for me…what do we identify as our primary identity?
    If as a Christian…the book is clear on our starting point to address these issues.

  190. Michael says:


    Many places mandating vaccines do so whether or not you work from home.

  191. Xenia says:

    Unless our village is being attacked by Mongolians on horseback, I don’t think we should use the word “horde.”

    Turn off Fox News. They are lying to you. So is CNN.

  192. josh hamrick says:

    Thank God, Xenia is back, too.

  193. Michael says:

    Dehumanizing migrants is critical to the agenda of the far right…pretending to care for the left.

    Thus, the Christian cannot abide with either side.

    The wise person knows that they will keep coming no matter what posture you take…and we need complete immigration reform or the real crisis will come…

  194. Xenia says:

    I am about as pro-vaccine as you can get, allowing for special exceptions, but I am starting to smell sulfur.

    Our parish has some kind of investment account with some kind of financial service and all the signatories are supposed to come to a meeting to sign something and they are all expected to be vaccinated.

    Now this bothers me. It’s little things like this which pile up and before you know it, you are worshiping Jesus in a cave in the mountains somewhere to avoid government scrutiny.

  195. Michael says:

    Let’s be blunt…many Americans believe themselves superior because of of their birthplace…

  196. Xenia says:

    To clarify, it’s the financial outfit that is expecting vaccinated attendees.

  197. Michael says:


    I too am pro vaccine…and smelling sulphur.
    It makes me uncomfortable to even say that….but it’s true.

  198. Xenia says:

    Let’s be blunt…many Americans believe themselves superior because of of their birthplace…<<<

    As of we white folk sprang up from the American soil as natural as toadstools….

  199. Michael says:

    I am fully vaccinated.
    I had my mom vaccinated.

    Last week she came down with a head cold.
    She’s had dozens in her 81 years.

    I immediately set out to get her Covid tested…and myself as well.

    I immediately quarantined.

    We both tested negative.

    Then I got the nasty bug.

    Tested again.
    Negative again.

    Still staying quarantined until the symptoms are gone.

    Is this the new normal?

  200. Xenia says:

    My people came over from Yorkshire 300 years ago and populated eastern North Carolina. Basically, they were tax resisters in England and they are tax resisters here in America. They epitomize “Ain’t nobody gonna tell me what to do.” They were racists during the desegregation era and have the same attitude today.

  201. Dan from Georgia says:

    I think alot of people would be more calm and friendlier and not assume the worst of each other if we/they would turn off the “news” feeds and commentaries. I know I am easier to live with when I don’t ingest some news sources.

  202. Michael says:


    That sort of heritage is common…mine are from Virginia…same story…

  203. Michael says:


    That’s pretty much my pastoral council to my church…turn it off because it can’t occupy the same space as the Holy Spirit…

  204. josh hamrick says:

    “Is this the new normal?”

    For the next couple of years, yes.

  205. Xenia says:

    There a book I recommend for those of us of Anglo heritage that kind of puts things in perspective, called Albion’s Seed. The author talks about the four streams of English people who came to America. If you are interested in how cultural heritage from way back affects how people behave today, you might find this book interesting.

  206. Xenia says:

    Following news feeds of the extreme sort (Fox and CNN, for example) are addictions. Don’t fool yourself: if you can’t turn this stuff of, you are addicted.

    I have 2 relatives who told me they had insomnia because they were so agitated they couldn’t get to sleep. Turns out, they watched Fox News before going to bed. So I suggested they not watch Fox News before bedtime, and both gave it a try. They did try, and for a while, they slept better and really seemed to calm down. But they were addicts. They couldn’t stay away. They returned to their drug of choice. They chose continual outrage and agitation over calmness of soul. And the more they take this stuff in, the easier it is for them to believe increasingly preposterous things.

  207. Em says:

    I see many folk here are offended by my use of the term, “horde.” It works for me, but i apologize for using an offensive term.
    would masses of refugees work?
    P.S. I must disagree with the thought expressed that the sum total of border crossers are genuine refugees. Logic tells me that opportunists – up to no good – would see a prime opportunity to slip in. Yes, border patrol agents have found such. It is not right wing propaganda. Fetanyl has been found in backpacks, not just in avocado shipments. 😏
    That said, all in all it iS a sad situation as the innocents may die enroute as ranchers have come upon dead bodies that didn’t reach their goal.

  208. Em says:

    Superior because of birthplace? Maybe…
    My roots go way back on my maternal grandmother’s side to the Dutch who landed in New York. And the Welch there also. I am a descendent of Clark of Lewis and Clark(e).
    I and my family felt privileged, not superior.
    That said, i also know the sacrifices and determination of the early settlers and those who endured the Great Depression. It wouldn’t be wise to mention “white privilege” in my presence. 🙆

  209. Michael says:


    Imagine what it must have been like to be black through the Depression…all the way through Jim Crow…

    I’ve spent much of the last 25 years studying border issues from different angles…and the fact before God is that most refugees and migrants are simply seeking life and peace and a better world for their children.

    I forgot more about the drug trade before I finished my coffee this morning than any of those knobs on Fox or Newsmax ever knew.
    Blaming drug trafficking on migrants insures the issue will never be addressed or solved.

  210. Xenia says:

    And even if they were trafficking drugs…. who are their customers?

  211. Michael says:

    “And even if they were trafficking drugs…. who are their customers?”

    Excellent question…rarely asked.

  212. josh hamrick says:

    “I and my family felt privileged, not superior.”
    “It wouldn’t be wise to mention “white privilege” in my presence.”

    Me thinks there is a missing of the point somewhere in there.

  213. Em says:

    Xenia, Michael and Josh, good questions back there on “things i thing”….
    I grew up in Southern California in a town where Blacks had to be out of town by sundown or there would be a policeman driving you to the city limits and dumping you…. my family was not okay with this…. i remember being downtown with my grandmother when she saw a black woman waiting at a bus stop at sundown. My grandmother wanted to go back and offer to drive her to a bus stop just outside the city limits …. AND
    during the war everyone in the family was working and we hired a woman “of color” to keep house. I was getting whipped regularly by my mother, “I’ve sacrificed everything for you and this is how you repay me?” That’s all she said and I didn’t have a clue…. The Black woman who was doing our housework finished her day’s chores and walked the four blocks to my mother’s store to tell her that my toddler cousin was the one putting sand in his daddy’s gas tank. He told them I did it and they believed him. This dear Black woman saved me from some very nasty beatings, but also i finally found out why i was being whipped. That meant more to me… now i knew why i was being whipped….
    “White privilege?” Have i missed the point? I don’t think so. Yes, we were all aware of what was going on in the south back then – most didn’t approve of it. It was the majority of folk from the middlewest – Iowa – who settled in my hometown who passed the law excluding Black folk from being in town after dark.
    When she passed away, my family found a newspaper clipping in her Bible that related the story of Nat King Cole being the first Black to buy a home/condo in my hometown. My grandmother cared deeply about racial injustice. Her mother was a Quaker and was involved in the schooling of Black children in Kentucky and Missouri. She said they weren’t lesser people, they just suffered from a lack of education.
    During my stay in Wichita in the 1960s, i had a Black man at the door asking if there was any work i needed done… I could tell by his face that he was an honest man and desperate. I told him that i’d pay him for vacuuming my overstuffed furniture – it needed it – he did a great job and got paid. Later that week a neighbor across the street came over and let me know that she didn’t approve of what i’d done, letting a Black person into my home to do chores? Phooey! ! ! Months later he turned up again and i didn’t have any work that needed doing, but i gave him $20 which he took with gratitude, saying that it meant a lot as he had a wife and baby and he’d spend it on food that they needed.
    Drug trafficking customers? All races here in the U.S. are participating in drug use. IMV they are suffering from a feeling of hopelessness that is being fostered by the evil politicians….

  214. Dread says:

    Xenia I’m in New Bern today is that eastern enough? Got folk here?

    Got covid tested today myself $150 bucks just to tell my hosts I’m safe. Still sick but safe.

    And Em — when horde becomes a trigger word we are probably too far gone to help.

    Word police used to rebuke me as a new Christian for saying “luck” now the word police are just as religious and they’ll take your job.

  215. bob1 says:

    Words matter. The words we use matter.

    Word police? Trigger?

    More BS.

    You’re so good at obfuscation. You’ve had a great deal of practice.

    I’m out.

  216. Em says:

    bob1, me or pastor Dread? ? ?

    Do word police have a legitimate job? Not sure

  217. josh hamrick says:

    Em – Everything before your first ** is a solid description of white privilege.

    Horde does sound negative. Not sure if it has to be or not.

  218. Jean says:

    When the impersonal term, horde, is used instead of families, women, children, it makes inhumanity much easier on the conscience.

    But, why would someone use a word they learn is offensive to others? Why would they not be grateful to someone who points it out that they may be offending others? Is there virtue in being offensive?

  219. Em says:

    Jean, “families, women, children, it makes inhumanity much easier on the conscience.”
    You must be assuming that NOTHING but families women and children are crossing the border?
    for my part, i’d put “Inhumanity” right in there with “hordes,” then

  220. Em says:

    Josh, when i was getting “whipped” – not spanked and not told why – would not have been considered by me as white privilege. Guess you didn’t notice that it was an older Black woman who bailed me out….
    white privilege – IMHO – does not describe what the Black race was denied…
    white ignorance would be a better term and, for my part, Martin Luther King did a pretty good job of bringing the whites (and the Blacks) up to date….
    white privilege has been dying for decades now…. IMHO 🙂

  221. josh hamrick says:

    “when i was getting “whipped” – not spanked and not told why – would not have been considered by me as white privilege. ”

    Now, imagine you were being whipped by your master.

    “Martin Luther King did a pretty good job”

    He was Assassinated at 39 years old.

    “white privilege has been dying for decades now”

    Did someone take a time machine and decide not to kidnap Africans this time?

  222. Em says:

    Josh, my focus has been on this nation.
    Yes, i am aware that the slave trade still flourishes in the Middle-East

  223. Em says:

    Also, yes there were cruel slave masters in the U.S. Just as there are good and not so good parents in this world.
    You do know that nothing in Scripture condemns owning or being indentured? We are, however, given guidelines for being good masters and good slaves…..
    Just sayin’ …. 😉

  224. Em says:

    Martin Luther King did pay a price for his stand – sadly.
    However, he was not a perfect pastor/man either

  225. Michael says:

    The chattel slavery of America was condemned in Scripture and punishable by death.

    “Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.”
    (1 Timothy 1:8–11 ESV)

    Enslaver = “man stealer”.

    ““Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.”
    (Exodus 21:16 ESV)

    I could go on, but this isn’t even debatable…the sin of slavery in this country was an abomination to God.

  226. josh hamrick says:

    “during the war everyone in the family was working and we hired a woman “of color” to keep house. ”

    I think this can give us a good idea of what white privilege is, why it is ingrained into our culture, and why it will probably always be a part of US life.

    I don’t want to insult, but I think Em is talking about WWII. Since the war is ongoing, let’s assume the year is 1945. It is possible this woman working for Em’s family is 50 years old. That puts her birth in 1895. It is possible that this woman’s parents weer born in slavery. It is highly likely that her grandparents were slaves. When she saw this white woman swinging a belt, her mind might have immediately gone to the scars she’d noticed on her grandmother’s back.

    Those images are burned into the conscience of black Americans. Whites are privileged that our ancestors didn’t experience that. That’s where it starts. Now if you trace the generations from there to here, you start to see why things have been uneven. That’s white privilege, Critical Race Theory, and every other scary term all rolled into one. But its true.

  227. Em says:

    Interesting conjectures, Josh….
    Yes, there were racial stereotypes when i was a child. Not in my family, but there were people who looked at Jews, Orientals, Native Americans, Blacks etc. as untrustworthy and possibly low I.Q.s. But don’t believe that all “white” folk had this mindset nor were all ” people of color ” mistreated.
    Remember when this dear Black woman informed my mother as to just who was putting sand in that gas tank that my mother believed her. 👍
    God keep

  228. Em says:

    P.S. My mother was breaking wooden coat hangers on me, not a belt….

  229. Josh Hamrick says:

    Point thoroughly missed. I move on.

  230. Em says:

    No, Josh – i got your point – just not affirming it,…… sorry

  231. josh hamrick says:

    Nope, you missed the point completely. But that’s ok.

  232. Linnea says:

    Dread…so very glad to see you back in the debate. Please give your wonderful wife a big hug for me. We miss you both.

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