Things I Think…
1. Now would be a good time to set aside the national sport of hating the opposition party and take up praying for our leaders despite what we may think of the rest of their agenda…this would be the eminently Christian response to the current dilemma…
2. Sometimes I think that all these crises will result in revival, but then I realize that there can be no revival among people who believe they are already revived…
3. I reconnected with a dear friend after many years yesterday…and was deeply blessed. There is great joy in being remembered…
4. Biblical anthropology tells us that we are created in the image of God, but sin has made us capable of evil, as opposed to the modern construct of believing that people are basically good. War tells us the Bible is sound in it’s assessments…
5. It is tragic that it takes catastrophes like war or natural disasters to expose the true church of Jesus Christ…but it is a blessing to watch the church in action serving sacrificially and tirelessly in the wake of both…amazing things are being done in Jesus name in Ukraine…what if we acted that way here?
6. Russia is a country steeped in Christian nationalism…make your own application…
7. Most “deconstruction” is simply the revelation that there is a difference between who Jesus is and how He has been represented…
8. Christian leaders fearing deconstruction aren’t really worried about people leaving the faith…they are worried about losing power over people of faith…
9. It’s heart warming to see how concerned we are with refugees fleeing violence in Ukraine…especially when we are so callous to those fleeing the same on our own borders…
10. Click here to support refugee relief efforts in Ukraine…
I’m in a dark place. I have one old friend on fb theorizing that there is no invasion happening in Ukraine. Its a media conspiracy, probably to distract people from the trucker convoy. Hardcore, fundamentalist Christian.
A second old friend on fb today guessed that Zelensky might be the antichrist. You know, angel disguised as light and all. Hardcore, fundamentalist Christian.
My reason for deconstruction is tat I was raised in the same religion that reared these brilliant minds. Everyday I wake up to find that more and more of my religion is utter nonsense. I can’t even describe how hard it is to unwrap that. It is soul-killing.
Josh, my friend, I’m sorry you’re going through this.
My prayer is that you find (as I did) that Jesus is still real and still worth dealing with some of His followers.
J the B
STOP IT! Don’t let such drivel shake you like that. There are idiots on every corner. Breathe….
All meant in love friend
Also sad we believers who are supposed to be for the truth so often ignore it – all sides of a conflict, ie, Ukraine.
I truly feel pity for those who just believe what their gov/media tell them to believe about anything without also listening to other sides.
I don’t have a position to push.
I, like all combat vets have learned the hard way the truth is often nuanced and multifaceted, and rarely clearly revealed by the powerful/greedy.
Sorry you are going thru this as well Josh. I just posted a comment on Open Blogging from another christian website, and I fear the pushback from a few here. But I am tired of being fearful of people telling me that somehow I am the one who is deceived. I am tired of being nice.
I am moved from just deconstruction from the garbage in our faith to outright anger that Christians are being so gullible and, well,…
I told my wife recently that I am not so sure anymore I want to attend a physical church…not just politics anymore but Christians are becoming increasingly distant from the Scriptures and simple faith in Christ to what is now being parroted on Qanon website, other news websites, and such.
What Josh is bemoaning is that in American evangelicalism too often the idiots are in the lead and have many followers…
6. Yes. Quite intriguing to read the history of how the Russian empire viewed themselves even way before the 1917 Revolution. Putin and the ROC are just wanting to make Russia great again.
7. Thank you. What a great summary and a great onramp to possibly validate the struggle many are feeling and at the very least listen to their story.
8. If I view my life and ministry like a farmer then I have nothing to lose in sowing seeds and nurturing growth. God in His grace will see to it that I get to enjoy His harvest.
Josh (and others in the same boat):
One thing to be grateful for: you can spot the lunacy. Many can’t, and fall into some deep ditches. It’s a heartbreak for sure. But be glad you still have light to see that you may be able to help such a blind person. But they have to be willing to embrace light over darkness.
Your number 7…SPOT ON! I’m my life with my addiction all I heard was, besides being a bad person, was that…
1. Just read your Bible more…
2. Pray harder…
3. Go to a deliverance ministry…
My deconstruction was PRECISELY because of God being misrepresented to me.
Thanks…and well said…
I think that God has been misrepresented and even slandered by many Christian leaders…and the fact that people are seeking the real Jesus is actually a wonderful thing.
It’s messy, but worth it.
The problem is that it is not “their” lunacy. It’s mine. I’ve been part of that world my whole life. The kernel of faith that I have is largely built on the same foundation that these loonies have. Trying to rescue that kernel from the refuse is the hard part. Its like everyday I think I found the genuine kernel, but then realize its just more crap.
That’s why my personal statement of belief is so streamlined. Only the essentials. Much of what happens for us Chrisitians is we have a theology full of things that are too murky to explain with absolute assurance or they don’t really matter.
True that, and thanks for your (and hoppy and dan) affirmation.
#6. Yes, the parallels are so very obvious. Unlike Xn nationalism, stupidity has no national boundaries.
I’m also sorry for what you’re going through.
Honestly, as I read your first post, I kept thinking, “mental illness.” To live in such a fantasy, parallel universe…
Its a strong delusion.
Your kernel of faith is built on that same foundation – Jesus Christ. The problem is many of the loonies have unfortunately and inexplicably added on top of it all kinds of delusional construction made out of fraudulent materials. I don’t know how to explain that other than our sinful, fallen human natures.
Keep your focus on the foundation to lessen the distraction and discouragement of all that other crap. Sometimes easier said that done when you are caught up in a crap storm.
Over the years we’ve lost plenty of people at our church because we fiercely focus on the essentials, but said people want to bicker about the non-essentials. Which is a terrible way to build unity. 🙂
I have a friend who I used to very much admire who was actually involved in one of the stories that was covered here years back and he carried himself very honorably throughout it. At the beginning of Trump’s candidacy and election, he spoke of his trepidations and concerns of the ways that Christians were accepting and supporting Trump.
These days he regularly speaks of the ways Ukraine/Russia is being used to distract from the real tyranny in this world – i.e. the COVID restrictions, the stolen election, etc., and how Christians should be readying themselves to potentially go to war over it. And he seems to be a good bit influential in his circles.
It is so sad and sickening and I don’t know how to explain it other than to realize that evil remains a very strong and deceptive force in our world, even to those who are followers of Jesus Christ.
You’ve got a sensible head on your shoulders. I’ve been with these idiots too—prophecy update after prophecy update where some ignorant pastor tells us who the Antichrist is, yadda yadda yadda. But my brain says, just step back and let things play out. It keeps me sane
I am not immune to the craziness out there. I once fell for some of the more popular, but now hopefully dead conspiracies, and had to adjust my paradigm/way of thinking (I am sure most here recall the one about the American Atheists trying to get Christian broadcasting off the air). I also remember one night in college some of us were gathered in my apartment and we were all telling about the latest “did you hear…” that was causing fear and concern. Conspiracies are nothing new, but nowadays seems like the information age has degenerated seriously into the disinformation age.
Conspiracy theories are the insidiously attractive to certain groups. In my personal experience, especially when the theory demands we think the worst of another “group”. To this day I’m fascinated by the this. As a young child I recall the “Proctor and Gamble is supporting the church of satan. Look at those stars on the logo”. It made its way through my tribe at warp speed. I see the same thing happening today across insular communities(actual and virtual).
Strangely enough, I now work in an old P&G plant. I have yet to find evidence of the above. 🙂
Dan from Georgia (12:49 pm) I remember the American Atheists rumor, as well as the one about the “satanic” Palmolive trademark symbol. Those seem so innocent now (although they never were). You didn’t hear about them all the time. They would pop up occasionally, someone (at least in my circles) would say why it wasn’t true, and I wouldn’t hear about them for a couple of years. Now, something appears on the internet, rings someone’s conspiracy bell, and is rapidly circulated via social media and “news” sites. The conspiracies never go away, and people are always dressing them up in new outfits so that they can be recycled in a different way. Bat-poop conspiracies have always existed-we just get them all the time now, and for certain people, that just reinforces their “truthfulness.”
Josh – look up “Bonhoeffer‘s Theory of Stupidity” on YouTube – this has all happened before.
I think Linn’s comments about the ubiquity of conspiracy rumors, etc in today’s world are true.
I do remember the “can’t pray in school” rumor and the American Atheists rumor.
The conspiracies never go away, and people are always dressing them up in new outfits so that they can be recycled in a different way.
дети – Russian for “children” spelled out on a building bombed in Ukraine.
…actually spelled the grounds around a theatre.
A man comes on media every day pleading for the lives of his people. A gangster kills them slowly like a boa constricting their breath. We hear it, see it, smell it and tell the man we’re too afraid to help him. His family is a sacrifice we offer for our safety.
We think perhaps we can pacify the monster with their blood for soil. We think we can purchase our security with their screams. We tolerate it. We sleep. We wake. The power is on the showers work the groceries are available.
When will the day come that we can no longer eat sleep or look at ourselves. Death and hell are in his hands. And ours.
Perhaps none of us should live if we allow this. Perhaps there is no justness in our peace.
The man prays to us he actually prays to us but we won’t hear. We are absent gods.
Yes this is the world we’ve made. And we sit on blogs and dither about conspiracy theories because we’re clean there is no blood on our hands.
Well there is.
Eloquent as always…but it’s not that simple.
If a madman pushes a button we lose everything…how do we parse the risk?
I too hate watching when we could do something…but at what cost?
After 2 years of media driven propagandas with the whole Covid push, the Trump/Russia connection that turned out a lie, the BLM push that we now know the money did not go to helping poor black communities, but rather purchased new homes and lavish lifestyles for BLM leaders…. I really don’t know what to believe, when I look at the MSM news.. I do believe that people are suffering in Ukraine because of a madman in Russia. I do believe that the USA is still a great country and hope that we will do the right thing. What is the “right thing?” I don’t know. My gut says we need to help the people of Ukraine, but if we are going to help them, then do it with all our heart and not half ass. (Like in the Middle East), just to make the war matching more money. I continue to pray for our leadership and that God will protect the innocent.
Michael wrote @ 5:53 pm:
“If a madman pushes a button we lose everything…how do we parse the risk?”
Russian military doctrine says that they can survive a nuclear exchange and rebuild, and that we can’t.
How I wish that the Russian people would rise up and remove those madmen in the Kremlin.
Russia and Ukraine? ? ?
Don’t forget China
We have an unprotected power grid – if that is attack (easy to do, I hear) we’re dead in the water……
We don’t have to wait for the governments to help the people of Ukraine. There’s loads of ways to donate money, medical supplies, helmets, vests, food, housing, etc. you just have to look, find one and do something.
Let the politicians sort out the foreign policy, nothing you say will change what they are going to do anyway.
Points 7-8 are spot on and well said with a succinct punch. Thanks, Michael.
Chaplain Mike sighting from the Internet Monk days of yore!
“Nothing you say will change what they are going to do anyway”
Saying things is EXACTLY what causes change. Speaking up and out IS freedom and IS the death of totalitarianism. They fear it like anthrax.
You can send money and say stuff at the same time. Lots of us do it.
You can pray and speak and act and give all in the same day.
I can send helmets and tell the government to send fighter jets and never put down my phone.
If we let that monster drink their blood to keep us safe what have we become?
‘Well Said’ Dread
Thanks, Chaplain Mike!
I find these discussions difficult.
Between 2006 and 2012 the Mexican cartels along with the corrupt government created 10,000 new orphans.
Thousand were murdered, thousands more disappeareed.
Many came to our border for safety and life…and we demonized them in every way imaginable.
We created the same carnage in Central America with all the same results.
When white people with pets flee terror, we want to go to war with their oppressors and do all to keep them safe.
When brown people fleeing terror come to our own border, we call that an invasion.
What have we become?
What we have always been.
The monsters have not yet had their fill in either place…
Tom Nichols wrote this…
“Russian President Vladimir Putin is in trouble. Despite his limited gains on the ground in Ukraine, he is facing strategic defeat in a war that no one (including me) would have expected him to lose. The vaunted Russian army has turned out to be a hollow force whose major skill sets seem to be bullying its own conscripts and killing foreign civilians. The Russian air force has underperformed even the lowest expectations; perhaps Russian pilots should have spent more time getting training and logging flying hours instead of doing fancy maneuvers at foreign air shows. At home, Putin distrusts his own security services and is apparently purging some of his top spies. The Russian people are going into the streets, prompting the regime to arrest thousands. The Russian economy is in a deep freeze and is likely to stay there for years.
Only one military force in the world can save Putin from utter humiliation now: NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO intervention in Russia’s war on Ukraine could halt that country’s barbarous attacks. But it would mean war between Putin’s regime and the West, and this war would be such a gift to Putin that we should expect that he will soon do everything he can to provoke it.
The U.S. and Europe should resist such provocations.
First and foremost, NATO intervention would help Putin by allowing him to rally his nation and impose even harsher measures to suffocate dissent. Millions of Russians clearly want nothing to do with this fratricidal war, which is one reason Putin has been desperate to keep them from hearing anything about it other than weird Soviet-era cant about neo-Nazis and weapons of mass destruction. If NATO were to become involved, however, Putin’s regime would gladly play footage of Russian men being blasted to pieces by U.S., British, and other allied jets. (Americans who think that a “no-fly zone” would not require attacking land targets, perhaps even in Russia, are deluding themselves.) And even if the Germans were not participants, Russia would almost certainly fabricate videos of German jets attacking Russian military units to play on the obvious and reflexive nationalistic anger that many Russians will feel at such images.
Putin knows that the term NATO can still produce a visceral response in Russia. NATO is a traditional enemy—and one many Russians have blamed for their troubles in the past. NATO jets streaking over Ukrainian skies will silence at least some of the protests, and give Putin’s supporters a bigger cudgel when they widen the fascist beatdown of the last Russians who refuse to accept the war.
Inside the Kremlin, meanwhile, Putin could likewise use NATO’s intervention to move against any possible dissent or hesitation. As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the U.S. Congress yesterday morning, Putin was in Moscow raging away on Russian television against those rich Russians residing abroad “who cannot live without foie gras” and who have now become “traitors and bastards” because they are “mentally” against Russia.
Many of those rich Russians living abroad are the children—and mistresses—of Putin’s inner circle. The Kremlin boss was thus firing a warning shot over the heads of his own sycophants as well as the oligarchs whose pursuit of wealth he has enabled: I expect your loyalty, and I know where you and your families live. A war with NATO would make such threats seem patriotic rather than paranoid. The odds of a palace coup against Putin are already low; the odds of such a move while Russia is at war with NATO are even lower.
Putin could also use NATO’s participation in the war to override objections in the Kremlin or the Russian defense ministry regarding the use of nuclear weapons. Russian elites who might quail at the idea of deploying nuclear bombs against innocent Ukrainians will be harder pressed to explain their opposition to using such weapons against the NATO air bases from which jets are flying into combat, killing Russian soldiers and turning Russia’s mighty tanks into flaming wrecks.
Although some observers may believe that Putin would fold before he approaches the nuclear threshold, and others worry that even the smallest NATO action will inevitably spark World War III, such arguments at both extremes ignore the role of chance and risk. A nuclear crisis is not an orderly duel or a game with rules, but rather a maelstrom of poor information, conflicting signals, and highly charged emotions. To make matters worse, Putin has always been a poor strategist, a risk-taker who foolishly sets in motion—as he has done in Ukraine—forces he cannot control.
In any case, even if Putin is too deluded to think about such risks, the rest of us must consider the dangers of ordering the largest military coalition in human history into battle against a disorganized and battered army led by incompetent officers and commanded by an isolated and delusional president. Putting so many military assets in play, with combat breaking out all over Europe, could spark a catastrophe that neither we nor Putin intended. The danger is not that the Russian war on Ukraine becomes a replay of 1939, in which a coalition must stop a mad dictator at all costs, but that a Russia-NATO war becomes a nuclear version of 1914, in which all the combatants would find themselves moving from a crisis none of them expected into a cataclysm none of them wanted.
So what can the U.S. do? We can keep providing the Ukrainians with the weapons they need to defend themselves. We can keep strangling the Russian economy so that Putin cannot fund his war machine. We can continue beefing up NATO forces and defenses. We can make better investments in U.S. and allied defenses. Perhaps we can even open NATO membership to other nations, including Finland and Sweden, now that Putin himself has made a case for an expanded alliance that is more ironclad and convincing than even NATO’s most ardent advocates could have made decades ago.
Putin is losing, and he knows it. Rather than finding a way out of his own mess, he is unwinding nearly 30 years of Russian diplomatic, economic, political, and even military development. Worse, his loss is at the hands of the Ukrainians, whose army he thought would collapse under the first barrage of Russian artillery, whose government he thought would flee in terror, and whose people he thought would greet him as a liberator.
The Russia that will emerge from this war will be weaker and poorer than the Russia that opened fire on Ukrainian innocents, on brother and sister Slavs, last month—but only if we keep our heads and do not allow the conflict to engulf all of Europe. This is why the United States and NATO must resist Russian provocations, which already include war crimes and atrocities, and which soon could become even more extreme with “false flag” operations that might bring chemical weapons into play.
The body count is going to grow. But a NATO intervention would solve almost all of Putin’s problems, and create dangers we cannot predict.”
I’ve read that opinion and it’s opposite — not about NATO. But it’s opposite about Putin losing. He will win Ukraine. He can crush them. One wild card is a Putin Hiroshima gamble. What would the west do if he simply incinerates one city? Probably nothing. That would end it.
The financial entanglements of our elite in all these things is horrifying. We have no public virtue in leadership. They are all driven by craven self interest. And there is good reason to wonder if they are manipulating us into war.
Meanwhile the lamb of sacrifice is Ukraine – Stalin starved them. Putin will eat them.
We are definitely being manipulated into horrible corners. One more public crisis to transfer wealth to the monsters.
God have mercy.
You may be right…and if so, there is nothing to do but care for survivors.
That may be all we can do in any case.
On the other hand…it may be that a madman is simply trying to recreate an empire…and we are trying to discern how to stop him and save the most people.
BD’s eloquent post brought me to tears. I am praying for wisdom for president Biden – the wisdom of Solomon! None of us wants to see a America dragged into World War Three or see the US provoke a nuclear attack. Additionally, some of us have loved ones who are active duty military. My son-in-law who has a four- year-old and a two-year year-old, He is stationed at Fort Rucker, Alabama. He flies in a helicopter every day training other soldiers how to conduct emergency medical rescue missions. That’s already pretty risky for a young father! I worry and pray for his safety every day. This is the third Army base my son-in-law’s been stationed at, and most of the soldiers he knows are now in Poland. These young men and women have young children and families! Please keep them in your prayers!
“Oh Lord our God, it feels as if we are on the ragged edge of something. Is it possible that we can utterly destroy civilization and our beautiful planet? Where are the voices and where is the will to lead us out of our increasing peril? Be our light in the darkness, O Lord.”
Psa. 140:1 Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men;
preserve me from violent men,
2 who plan evil things in their heart
and stir up wars continually.
3 They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s,
and under their lips is the venom of asps. Selah
Psa. 140:4 Guard me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked;
preserve me from violent men,
who have planned to trip up my feet.
5 The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
and with cords they have spread a net;
beside the way they have set snares for me. Selah
Psa. 140:6 I say to the LORD, You are my God;
give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
7 O LORD, my Lord, the strength of my salvation,
you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8 Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked;
do not further their evil plot, or they will be exalted! Selah
Psa. 140:9 As for the head of those who surround me,
let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
10 Let burning coals fall upon them!
Let them be cast into fire,
into miry pits, no more to rise!
11 Let not the slanderer be established in the land;
let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!
Psa. 140:12 I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
and will execute justice for the needy.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall dwell in your presence.
Michael @11:05 and 11:08
AMEN, AMEN AMEN ! ! !
We are part of a justification of Gods complete righteous holiness that we don’t fully grasp!
Let God be true and every (unredeemed) man a liar! ! !
Two heroes of mine, both named Mike/Michael, on the same thread. I’m blessed beyond measure today.
Thank you, bob1…it’s always great to see Chaplain Mike appear…
Such wonderful and comforting verses, Michael ! I will be praying over them regularly.
Ireland’s sorrow and pain Is now the Ukraine And Saint Patrick’s Name Is now Zelenskyy –Bono