Things I Think…

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39 Responses

  1. josh hamrick says:

    Until the end of the year I’m teaching a hermeneutics class. In January, we’ll start a biblical study on death.

    They want to talk about politics so bad. They just want to get riled up. Weird times in the church for sure.

  2. Linn says:

    I’m thinking of the film A Hidden Life where the farmer quietly resists the German government until he finally loses his own life, all the while tending his fields and lovingly caring for his family.The current groups whine against what is not persecution and whine more when they end up in jail for being naughty (Jan 6).

  3. Dread says:

    Mostly what gets discussed here is not politics. Mostly it’s what’s wrong with those evil evangelicals. Everyone here loves that topic.

    And how the “church” which never means the non evangelical church, is betraying the Gospel.

    I think we can talk about the kingdom of God without any problem it’s glorious and vast and an enigma to both evangelical and historic denominational churches.

  4. Michael says:

    Dread,

    I know many faithful evangelicals.
    I also know that those with the most influence are selling something poisonous and it’s killing our witness.
    The non-evangelical church is dead in the water…they sold their souls for cultural applause and a rainbow scarf.

    It’s in poor taste to mock the dying.

  5. Michael says:

    The biggest lie being spread is that if we replace these politicians with ones we like, things will turn around and Jesus will be glorified by our saving of America.

    In truth…the politicians don’t care about Jesus and it’s poison with a different label.

    We’ve defiled our own home trying to save another…

  6. Michael says:

    To be blunt, I’m so damn depressed by it all that this site is close to being gone…there seems no point and I’m sure as hell not going to keep it up to hear myself talk.

  7. josh hamrick says:

    You could keep it up to hear me talk 🙂

    It is discouraging for sure. There is also truth to what Dread says.

    But sometimes, a little ray shines through the cloud and makes it all worth it. Keep up the good fight, bud. You’ve done a great work here.

  8. Jean says:

    Please keep the site up. The topics addressed here are very important and current. The variety of perspectives is enlightening.

  9. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael,

    I wasn’t going to comment, but I do have to say that I would sorely miss this site. This is the only site that I comment on. I appreciate your effort here to forge a real Christian witness.

    Unfortunately I too see a turning by some in the church and here towards a poisonous and vicious existence by embracing worldly passions such as hatred of those they disagree with, holding up to contempt those in unfortunate situations, etc. This was on display here a few posts down, a thread which I wish I would have spoken up more explicitly and forcefully, but didn’t.

  10. Dread says:

    Having left all online discussion except my brief forays here I’d hate to see it close too.

    I freely admit to being very concerned about the body politic — as is clear

    But the church is never out of the battle nor is she ever defeated.

    I definitely don’t want closure but I won’t stop expressing my concerns

    I do think we can lay our concerns out closer to the kingdom narratives.

    ALL OF US

  11. BrideofChrist says:

    Michael, This site is unique in so many ways and it is a valuable resource for Christians. There are many disagreements, but we still hear each other out that is important. These are confusing times and it so important to take into consideration the ‘opposing view” – it is how we learn and grow in Christ and as people. On a personal note, I worry that you have been overwhelmed by many personal traumas in your life recently. The fire, the heart surgery, the Covid stressors. That’s a lot to bear. Even the most resilient Christians sometimes need help. Having a panic attack for the first time is sometimes a signal that the stress has altered our bodies and brains somewhat. Depression and anxiety intertwine and often compound each other. Panic attacks are simply the ‘Fight or Flight” impulse gone haywire in our system! I benefited from temporary therapy ( which taught me breathing techniques to shorts circuit the painic sttacks) from temprary mild antidepressants. Once the stressors diminish, usually one can stop both. I certainly will be praying for you. This site helped me immensely when I was in the midst of leaving Calvsry Chapel after decades of attendance. I didn’t know it then, but I was ‘deconstructing’ my fundamentalist/evangelical Calvary Chapel faith at the time. It meant so much to hear others express my own disillusionment and realize I wasn’t crazy for feeling so conflicted. God bless you and this site and may God help you to see what s good work you are doing.

  12. Em says:

    Michael @6 pm….
    Just could be possible that those who come here, those who comment and those who don’t, rely on this site to sort through a world dominated, or so it seems to me, by the agenda of he antichrist..
    Sometimes relating to Paul’s letters – the whole of the N.T. – is difficult today. But there are teachers who comment here, you included, that help us gain perspective…
    Or so it seems to me… 🙆

  13. Em says:

    AMEN, Bride of Christ – Michael IS human, too… 😉
    Are we praying for Michael and the truth seekers here?

  14. Dan from Georgia says:

    I echo all those above in saying we’d miss you and this site a lot. I have stated in the past a few times, and I will state it yet again….everyone here seems to treat each other as family despite disagreements. I don’t see this in practice at pretty much every other Christian site that allows commenting.

    Like Dread stated above, I too have all but dropped off all online discussions except here. My reason: I tried to engage in a conversation with someone I disagreed with on The Christian Post website, and it didn’t take lone for the other person to question my faith. Grrrr. This seems to be the prevailing thread at most Christian sites…”you’re not a Christian because…”. Got tired of it.

    Take care of yourself Michael! We love you and need you.

  15. Michael says:

    I doubt I will go to nuclear option.
    I appreciate those who read here and it’s still a place that functions as a warning to rogue pastors.

    I appreciate the kind comments and affirmations…and I am personally overwhelmed with issues at the moment.

    That does not change the fact that the brand of Christianity that is flowering today is so foreign to me as a pastor and amateur church historian that I cannot make sense of it anymore.

  16. The New Victor says:

    TPP turned me from going down the ODM rabbit holes. Thank you.

  17. Michael says:

    Dread,

    I understand you are concerned about politics.
    In some fashion, I’m sure we all are.

    What I want to see is any kind of refutation of what I stated above…there is no call in the NT to involve the church in either culture wars or the political process itself.

    Individual members may do so according to their conscience…but such is not what the Body of Christ is to be concerned with.

    I think too many Christians think America is the kingdom of God and they are fighting for the version of it that suits them.

    I want America to stay strong enough to keep me comfortable.
    I want the Vikings to win the Super Bowl before I die.

    I’m not sure Jesus is with me on either want…

  18. Michael says:

    TNV,

    I’m glad of that…

  19. Dread says:

    Michael

    Parsing the issue is impossible. Are race issues political YES but they cannot be off limits. Are sexual issues political YES. We must speak up as those matters affect the body of Christ. Are issues of poverty political? Absolutely. You get my drift.

    The Saturday open blogging articles we’re all both political and germane.

    It is partisan politics that we want to avoid but every issue tics a box of a party.

    I am not sure the task you appeal to above is reachable. I am not sure we can parse it.

    For me the issue is the body of Christ. When I address these matters I want to focus on the people of God not he body politic.

    That’s a chore

    My original post was about the church.

    I think we can work at that…

    Frustrates me but what the heck …

  20. Michael says:

    “It is partisan politics that we want to avoid but every issue tics a box of a party.”

    I will disagree.
    We think it ticks a party box, but there is really only one party…the oligarchs.

    Now…let me address where I think some of your concern is.
    I may be wrong and you can feel free to correct me.

    We are hard on evangelicalism in its current state and I’m not apologetic about that.

    The assumption then would be that we’re are holding individual evangelicals in contempt.

    It’s an understandable assumption.

    The problem is that most of the Christians I know and love are evangelicals and in some form or fashion are caught up in the current mess.

    I do not hold them in contempt…they are simply spouting what they have been fed.

    They have been catechized by the culture and blessed in the church by those who prey on their fears and best hopes for their and their progeny futures.

    They have been given a solution that does not require sacrificial love for the “enemy” but turnout at the polls.

    Their best and most noble instincts have been used to turn them into ideologues and giving machines.
    The blame is with them for not knowing the real kingdom…but the responsibility lies with the leaders.

  21. Stephen says:

    Amen!

  22. Nathan Priddis says:

    No its not the same Church as 50 or 100 years ago. The changes of the last few years are the direct result of post-war Evangelism. We just where oblivious to the political hybridization of the Church.

    The 2021 Church is the political engagement called for circa 47-48. An engagement of culture. Missed was the fact of engagement being a military term. We have Carl H. Henry’s fulfillment of a New World Mind.

    A mass departure from historical Christianity is now underway. But, a departure was foretold. Just as perilous times where foretold. What could be more perilous then an alteration of what constitutes being a Christian?

  23. Dread says:

    @8:02

    I appreciate a thoughtful response. We often agree more than people suspect. I have to take care thinking on it as we can easily misunderstand the particulars in that our circles are at some variance.

    The discussion of what constitutes being Christian would probably be warranted here. Several have raised or echoed it.

  24. Kevin H says:

    If this site were ever to come to an end it would be a huge loss for me. I have gained so much here over the years and it has helped to make me who I am today. I can’t say nearly the same for any other place on the internet.

    As greatly imperfect as it is and with the amount of unnecessary and unhealthy arrogance and strife that occurs here at times, it still has served as a “Christian community” that has provided learning, awareness, fellowship, and a needed balm to quite many who have been abused and/or disillusioned by the Christian culture at large. The bad stuff will always continue to be mixed in, because we are also a big collection of sinners.

    Michael’s work here has been an inexact, painful, cantankerous labor of love, and many of us are much better off for it. So thank you, Michael, for everything you have put into this place over the many years. You are the first person to become a friend that I have never actually met in person.

  25. Kevin H says:

    Michael,

    As per your 8:02, I very much agree. I often get similar feedback about hating evangelicals or holding them in contempt. I often find myself having to explain that the things I speak of do not apply to all evangelicals, and so if you are not participating in the actions I’m speaking of, there is no reason to take offense. But I do clarify that the things I speak of have become far too pervasive in the evangelical culture and that should concern us all, regardless if we are participating in the bad behavior or not. And like you, the only ones I really hold in contempt are those pastors and leaders who should know better yet lead the charge into these sinful adoptions of partisan politics, power grabs, abuse cover-ups, and “ends justifies the means” attitudes.

    All along, people often lose sight that I am still an evangelical myself, and so I am not some outsider coming and attacking and looking to take down the perceived enemy of the “other side”. Rather, I am crying out to my family, saying their is a sickness among us, and trying to point us to Jesus as the cure. It is a tough task and I do it very imperfectly. But it is motivated by love, rather than hatred, as many presume and allege.

  26. Linnea says:

    Regarding Michael’s site and the discussion here. It is useful and good in light of Hebrews 24: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

    And, as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we need to be tolerant of different views, not assuming that our interpretation of the Christian faith is always right. We have different gifts and God calls us to a different application of those gifts.

    I’m not a studied theologian, just someone trying to hear the Lord’s voice above the din.

  27. Ruth says:

    I hope you keep this site up. It has been tremendously encouraging to my faith, but I completely support you taking care of yourself.

  28. Duane Arnold says:

    I think it is hard to come to terms that we are living in a post-Christian society and what that means for us as individuals and for our varied churches. The “patient” is dead. CPR in the form of being a “culture warrior” will not resuscitate the patient. Dressing up the corpse in political clothing will not bring it back to life.

    This means that we are back to being one voice among many in the marketplace of ideas, much as we were in the early centuries of the Church. The truth of what we speak with that voice can only be proven by the evidence of our lives, as individuals and as churches. That sense of observation may make us uncomfortable… it should.

    Many of the structures of society and culture which once tacitly supported a “Christian consensus” in America are gone. In my opinion, they are not coming back. We can decry this in blogs, comments, tweets, articles and books, but we are just shouting into the storm.

    We are entering a new era in which even defining oneself as a Christian is problematic. In my self definition as a Christian, there is no particular political or cultural dimension attached. Yet I know that this is not the case with many others who would self-define themselves as a Christian. In this new era, one’s conduct and conversation may be more telling than one’s self-definition…

  29. Nathan Priddis says:

    @Kevin H.
    I can only speak for myself, but are you hating Evangelicalism or are you reacting and feeling uncomfortable with Evangelicalism?

    I became a believer at an extremely young age. Later, I was submerged, marinated and near drowned in religion. First came Fundamentalism and later Evangelicalism.

    I have never been comfortable with Evangelicalism, and I reject Fundamentalism. Yet, they are both legitimate segments of the Body of Christ. Today, I am in Evangelicalism (as a member of the Body of Christ) but not of it.

    Now Evangelicalism feels like an emerging beast, both in this world and the next. Something I now fear because it is trending towards violence in a quest to establish the Kingdom.

  30. Kevin H says:

    Nathan,

    I do not hate Evangelicalism. I have grown increasingly uncomfortable and troubled by aspects of its culture over the years of my adult life. But there are still parts of Evangelicalism that I love and many people within it who I love.

  31. Linn says:

    I stumbled on this site by accident-I actually think it might have been a Facebook recommendation (another “evil” of modern times). I was immediately struck by the variety of issues addressed on the site, as well as the variety of opinions welcomed for discussion. I appreciate both the theological discussions and the the more pragmatic one regarding politics and behavior .I know that an end to the site would mean using a space that is unique in the spiritual blogosphere.

  32. CM says:

    Kevin H (and others),

    Ryan Burge from Eastern Illinois University recently wrote an essay for the New York Times the other day that is worth examining. In it the professor who is known for his work on the “Nones” wrote about the changing world of evangelicalism.

    The article is behind a paywall, by the link below has it:

    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2021/10/27/ryan-burge-in-the-new-york-times-on-how-evangelical-today-means-republican/

    It is a pretty damning indictment of today’s Evangelicalism.

  33. Owen says:

    Michael,

    First off, I’ll add my voice to the others saying this site would be missed. This is the only blog I read with any frequency, and the only site I ever comment on. I am often fed by the articles here, and have learned much from others here.

    “My problem is that I no longer recognize most of what is labeled “Christian” as having anything to do with what I understand to be the historic Christian faith.”

    Then keep doing what you’ve been doing so well – just keep laying out what you understand the Christian faith to be. This is why I come here (and I suspect a few others, too..).

    I’ve said this to you before, I think – the truth is always spoken here. That’s becoming more and more rare, especially online.

    Those who want to hear the truth will remain.

  34. BrianD says:

    I came here looking for answers to questions, and stayed after finding community.

    I eventually drifted away, and visited every so often only to leave again. The cycle repeated itself numerous times, and I’m back here, talking to whomever will listen.

    I am under no illusions this is a valid community for me…and yet if it went away for good, a small piece of me would die with it. That is not a reason for the site to stay up or go away. But I do think it still serves good purposes, one of which is the proverbial voice in the wilderness that needs to be there, no matter how many do or don’t hear it.

    If popularity was the goal, then Michael should have hitched his wagon to either of the two political extremes and spew his thoughts all over the appropriate social media channels. Instead, he hitched his wagon to Jesus, the ultimate enigma who spoke in parables, not in 140-character sayings that compelled the worst a-holes to offer their own ****** commentary.

    Despite the contention that often occurs here, I still see more of Jesus from Michael’s ministry and at this site than from all of the far-left and far-right social media personalities who profess Christ and have hijacked Him to legitimatize their pet issues.

  35. Em says:

    Good words, BD
    IMNSJO. 😇

  36. Dan from Georgia says:

    Absolutely 100% spot on BrianD!

  37. Michael says:

    BrianD,

    Thank you…I’m honored that you still come and visit.
    Brian set up all my social media…understood the need much better and well before I did.
    He also took a lot of heat as one of our original moderators…we wouldn’t have lasted without him.

    There are times when I regret not riding one side of the political divide into a large retirement fund…but I would fry in hell for awhile if I had…

  38. BrianD says:

    Thank you, Michael

  39. Chris Long says:

    Not that anyone will ever read this as when I do ever post here (which is quite rare), I always seem to be a few days late to the party since I don’t check the site every day. BUT for what it’s worth, I think what you posted Michael is pretty spot on and it’s refreshing to see someone step back and see the bigger picture. I also think BD makes some very worthwhile points.

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