Things I Think…

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155 Responses

  1. LInn says:

    Michael,

    I say ‘amen” to each and every point! i always believe that there is hope for the church for Jesus has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. However, it might feel like all hell has broken loose if God purges the church to guarantee its purity.

  2. Michael says:

    Linn,

    I think that purging has started…

  3. Em says:

    Question…
    Did the charismatic movement reduce our understanding that the primary role of the Holy Spirit (after the new birth – spiritual birth) is to instruct and reveal the Scriptures to the redeemed?
    Michael, this old lady thinks your observation are right on target, BTW…… 😇

  4. Kevin H says:

    Amen!

  5. Michael says:

    Em,

    I don’t think so…nor do I think that is the primary job of the Holy Spirit.

    If so, he’s doing a poor job, as there are as many interpretations of Scripture as there are tribes in Christendom.

    The primary job of the spirit is to exalt the Son…by transforming us into His image.

  6. Michael says:

    Thanks, KevinH…

  7. Joel Brown says:

    I agree with your assumptions

  8. Michael says:

    The Holy Spirit does illuminate the Scriptures…which may be the primary revelation of God, but not the only way the Spirit reveals the son and the mind of God…but that’s another conversation…

  9. Michael says:

    Thank you, Joel…blessings on you and yours today…

  10. Joel Brown says:

    and also: “The primary job of the spirit is to exalt the Son…by transforming us into His image.” YES!

  11. pstrmike says:

    Mondays are not good days for me to post, even worse the day after Easter, after hearing about all the dog and pony shows that happened yesterday in the name of Jesus.

    I used to believe that God wanted a pure church and expected to see a “purifying work” among us. Much of what evangelicalism has become discourages me—on so many different levels. It needs to be cleansed of all the nonsense and avarice that is all too painfully obvious to me—and appears to circumvent the attention of so many others. I do not think liturgical churches are any better, although there is still an attraction brought on my my own “grass is greener” syndrome.

    I now wonder if God relents to allowing us to go our own way and eventually receive our just deserts, or, it may be that God is simply accepting us as we are which would be a definition of HIs grace. Which “god” do I want to believe in today? I want Him to be gracious to me and those I love, but I often don’t give a damn for those whose actions and unbridled ambition give me such consternation. Perhaps the “judgment that begins at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17) would be so severe that non of us would escape unscathed. The reality is we are all deficient in more places than we know. Perhaps the real miracle eludes us, that God is more accepting of us than we could ever know……………. I can only hope so, which requires me to have that hope for all others.

  12. Michael says:

    pstrmike,

    I think the operators of the dog and pony shows have their reward…
    I think God is more gracious than I can even imagine…and it’s out of that love that He wants us to look more like Him…because we are the ones who suffer from our defilement.

    Excellent counter…

  13. Josh says:

    “The primary job of the spirit is to exalt the Son…by transforming us into His image.”

    This is absolutely not happening in American Christianity.

  14. Michael says:

    Josh,

    It’s happening in some places…but it’s not our trademark… 🙂

  15. Josh says:

    I haven’t seen it. Not in churches, movements, denominations, or individuals. It is the driving force of my discouragement.

  16. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I see it…I see it in my own little church, I see it in the sacrificial service of those in the midst of war, and I see it in you….I see it in those “deconstructing ” the evangelical idol they called Jesus to search out the real One…these are acts of the Holy Spirit and transformation.

    I also see the rejection of the living God to cling to the idol…but all is not lost.

  17. Josh says:

    “I see it in you”

    Boy, are you ever wrong about that one.

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    We have been conditioned to look for large “movements”. The reality is that God is to be found in that which is small and seemingly unimportant to the wider world. Many, however, cannot accept this and, like Israel of old, chase after other gods – politics, influence, wealth – and establish rival altars which, in time, are thrown down. You would think that we should have learned by now…

  19. Bob Sweat says:

    Pstrmike,

    We need to chat sometime soon. I’ll call you.

  20. Michael says:

    Well said, Duane…

  21. Em says:

    Michael @ 11:04……
    The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us….. ?
    If we are to develop “the mind of Christ,” is there another way to do so without an understanding of Scripture?
    I think our variety of interpretations of Scripture are the result of egos….. Dunno, but? ? !

  22. Michael says:

    Em,

    The Word was not a book, but a Person….
    Christianity is not a scholarly pursuit where one is transformed through simply reading text correctly…it is a life where we follow the living Word with the aid of the written word…and tradition…and the power of the Spirit.
    The interpretative differences are real and even without ego difficult to parse….which is why the scriptures emphasize what we do over what we know if we know Him…

  23. Dread says:

    The “primary job of the Spirit” — what an amusing musing — the Spirit is life and love and new creation — making all things new is a big job.

    Good thing we are here to evaluate how it’s going. 🤷🏻‍♂️😇😎

    I used to tell the church that God hardly ever checks with me on such things.

    Less now

  24. Michael says:

    Dread,

    I knew I was in trouble when I wrote that sentence… 🙂

  25. Reuben says:

    I sense just a hint of something in your thoughts that I like. At some point during my faith destruction, I became rather ambivalent about the world and it’s goods/evils. I think it’s because I have never been in such a caustic environment as the church. I learned to “love my neighbor” in a far less spiritual sense. It opened my eyes to a lot of things. I am still very political, but from a perspective that barely exists in this nation, regardless of what politicians say. But what left me was the fear of people who have always been considered “unbecoming” of the church. I know way too many people, people I love, who would be booted from most churches. I live in a social/political/economic politic that would likely get me beat up. I think the big thing is I don’t much care what people think anymore.

  26. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    I’ve been in equally caustic environments…I worked for corporate America for a long time.
    I just didn’t expect them to act like Jesus…and they didn’t.

  27. Randy Davis says:

    I agree with you. And I hope what I’m writing is not contradictory but from a different angle.

    I hate the word community. There is a community for everyone, the gay community, the black community, the white community, the senior community, etc. I heard a guy use the term “the moose community” on TV today. The modern use of the word community is designed to divide us in to opposing tribes.

    The word, “church”, is God’s word for us and it a word that separates us from the rest of the world-it’s trans-tribalism. We are gathered by God. We gather as as a church for divine purpose. We teach, equip, minister, and encourage each other. We gather to worship, but we fail to understand that worship is a eschatological event. Worship is done in the presence of all the saints that have gone before us and we join them as we worship around the throne of God. It prepares us for that day when Jesus returns at the end of the age. Worship creates a longing, not only for God, but for our completed citizenship in heaven. You cannot create a world friendly worship and maintain our true purpose for worship.

    As a church we need to emphasize our differences from the world. All our attempts to be “seeker friendly” has caused the church’s decline because it carries us away from our purpose.

    Our good works in the world are expressions of our conversion and our new character created by the Holy Spirit. So our preaching must be transformative. We are not good people, we are divine people, not good secularists. I believe that the Holy Spirit is present in Scripture when we preach it faithfully. It feeds us and call out the wayward and the lost by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    I may have gotten a little carried away. But I hope it contributes to the discussion.

  28. EricL says:

    A beautiful article over at Ministry Watch about the importance of journalism in bringing correction to the church. I thought of you, Michael, as I read it. Keep speaking truth, sir, because that is your lovely calling and it is so needed.

    https://ministrywatch.com/can-journalism-save-evangelicalism/

    Keep encouraging a healthy church, where people are loved and nourished, where wrongdoing is never ignored nor exalted.

  29. Michael says:

    Randy,

    Well done, my friend.

    It is a shame that the word community has become a boundary marker of sorts…but I do believe that we are supposed to be a separated, recognizable group inside the greater group…whatever we call it.

  30. Michael says:

    Thank you, EricL…as the Lord gives me strength…and naps…

  31. Dread says:

    Michael

    Sorry couldn’t resist

  32. Randy Davis says:

    I have to confess that I have never seen a church operate the way I described. I tried but met great resistance. They acted like I had come upon a new and novel idea.

  33. Michael says:

    Randy,

    That’s the problem…people have so Americanized the church that they don’t recognize the real thing when they see it…

  34. pstrmike says:

    Bob,
    Looking forward to it.

  35. josh says:

    Hate the word community…good grief.

  36. Nathan Priddis says:

    What I think in return..

    2. Yes..for the most part.
    We are called out, to be a separate people, till death.
    Yes. We are called to love the brethren.

    But, I would place one code of conduct above all. Especially in our era.
    -Do not usurp the place of God- This is behind the lust for power that we see today. Example: The late Gary North.
    3. Yes.
    4. Yes..mostly. I would say dangerous, not worthless. The same exact way the Taliban is dangerous, because they achieved power.
    5. Yes. A dual standard is supposed to exist.
    6. Yes. Judge inside, and leave the outside to God. But, it’s never going to happen. It would be like abandoning an addiction.
    7. It’s a no for me. I expect lying signs and wonders. The Charasmatics assume power is proof of God.
    8. Very much yes.
    9. I believe this to be a no. Don’t expect a healthier future Church, but rather a hybrid Church. MAGA would be a contemporary example. Protestant traditions, but blended with substantial elements of this World.

  37. Josh says:

    The word Church is no more God’s word for us than Community is. Church is a transliteration of a different Greek word : kuriakon. However, the word usually translated as church is ekklesia. Assembly would be a better translation.

  38. Em says:

    Assembly? Doesn’t that require a modifier of some sort ? ? !

  39. Josh says:

    No. That’s the actual translation. Church was chosen because it had already become a common term for speaking of both God’s people, and a building of Christian worship.

  40. Randy Davis says:

    Kuriakon means the Lord’s house. Seems a fitting word that translates the word church.

    Ekklesia means called out ones translated as church in most translations. The word assembly is common in the OT. In the NT assembly is used of secular gatherings-those called out to their political duty. The word assembly is used in James but the Greek behind is the word usually translated synagogue.

    Apparently the translators used the word church to distinguish the difference between synagogue, secular assembly and the body or congregation of Christ. Thus the Lord’s house. It still seems to be the best word. It’s the word that is used world wide. I assume that the Bible, even translated is still God’s word to us. But I suppose that we could call it the Ekklesia of God but it will not change the intentional meaning of the word church.

    Community is not use in any translation that I’m aware of. It might be in a paraphrase.

  41. Josh says:

    Community is certainly prescribed in the bible, if not by name.

  42. Josh says:

    Translation and etymology are fascinating to me.

    The word in James 2:2 usually translated as assembly is sunagoge…or synagogue. The word itself means meeting, but was also adopted to mean the Jewish house of worship.

  43. Josh says:

    The justification for translating ekklesia as church is tradition, not language. In some cases, even most cases, it works. In some places it is absolutely the wrong word choice. Matthew 18 for instance. No possible way that Jesus could have meant the Christian church when He used ekklesia. Doesn’t even make sense.

  44. Josh says:

    That is very interesting. Plan on digging into it deeper a little later.

  45. Reuben says:

    Whatever it’s called, or whatever the word means, in western society, it’s a dumpster fire, and I don’t want anything to do with it. I may believe in the hand of god, even Jesus, possibly even the work of the Holy Spirit, but I never want to be associated with a Church or Christianity ever again.

    I work in a “community” of HVACR technicians. It is definitely a community. They all talk the same, drink the same, act the same, work the same, and I relate with none of them. I don’t wear a MAGA hat and have MURICA flags plastered all over the back of my service van. I don’t drink Budweiser, I don’t listen to country, I don’t listen to Alex Jones as if he were Jesus himself, I don’t watch FOX news, I don’t hate”Demoncrats” and I don’t own a Ford F-350 dually turbo diesel, and I never will. It’s the same with the church. It’s a community defined by its politics and hatred. It’s a community defined by killing its own, and literally slaughtering others in the name of god. It’s a community of condemnation and conformity. They all talk the same, they all start prayers with the same lines, they all quote the same verses out of context… the list goes on and on and on…

  46. Josh says:

    Lot of unfortunate truth there.

  47. Em says:

    Reuben has obviously been to some shallow churches…. Christians? Hmmmm….

  48. Josh says:

    American Christianity produces and promotes Marjorie Taylor Greene. We can keep pointing fingers, making excuses, and kicking the can down the road, but at some point we will have to come to terms with the fact that this is who we are.
    She is not an outlier, she is an elected official. She was not elected because she hid her crazy views, she was elected because of them. She ran as a Christian, and was elected by American Christians. We can’t pretend that is not who we are.

  49. Michael says:

    Josh,

    It’s not who I am…or you.

    I will confess that unless I know a churches pastor personally, I consider it a dangerous place for my loved ones. I can’t believe it’s come to that, but it’s my reality.

  50. Dan from Georgia says:

    I am glad in an unfortunate way to know that I am not the only one that is not comfortable with the church environment these days.

    And yes it has everything to do with their damn politics.

  51. Dan from Georgia says:

    I have many friends I don’t see eye to eye with politically and I don’t intend to debate them, but I can guarantee you I am not alone in regards to my previous comment.

  52. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I confess to being much more than uncomfortable…I’m moving towards hostile.

    I will now fight to keep T out of any involvement with any church I haven’t completely vetted with a process close to the Inquisition.

    Literally fight.

    It’s not just the politics…it’s the thought processes that lead to the politics and away from anything representing biblical Christianity.

  53. Linn says:

    Michael (at 9:07 am),

    I agree, Michael. To me, MTG is like an alien from another galaxy. Even some of the Trumpeteers from my church find her strange.

  54. Michael says:

    Politics don’t bother me…in the place they belong.

    As the left becomes more extreme I even find myself growing more conservative in politics…but I have no hope that our current system will do anything but collapse and hope can only be found in the Gospel.

    That’s what church is for…

  55. Dan from Georgia says:

    Well put Michael.

    And I will be honest here, when I see believers who are more concerned about “owning the libs”, overturning the election, or getting you know who back in office, than they are with Jesus and his Kingdom, I want to brawl too. And this is where I just may come down hard on some of my friends.

  56. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I have wonderful conservative Christian friends…they have supported this site for years.

    They don’t embrace all this nonsense…I wonder how they have managed to do so…then I realize they are basically unchurched…

  57. Michael says:

    Linn,

    There are similar nutcases on both sides…and they are all destroying any hope we have for political solutions to our problems…

  58. Dan from Georgia says:

    Deep down I am always a conservative, and one time I told my wife that if we conservatives could just get behind a true statesman/woman servant of the people instead of an ideologue or extremist…but I tend to be an idealist.

  59. Josh says:

    “Conservative” has become a trigger word for me. What is it that we are supposed to be conserving? Again, MTG is a conservative. It’s not a bug, its the feature. It IS who we are.

  60. Michael says:

    Dan,

    Here in Oregon we used to grow statesman from both parties like we grow trees.

    Mark Hatfield was one of the first senators known for his faith informing his policies…and he was as good as it gets in terms of thoughtfulness and stability.

    Republicans wouldn’t even nominate him today…

  61. Dan from Georgia says:

    All this though does have me thinking instead of just being reactionary with my comments here. Where and how do I find some good fellowship. I have a missionary friend who suggested seeking out house churches. Wife and I will most likely find a good church home, but do I run for the exit at the last “amen” to avoid the inevitable water-cooler talk? Do I engage? Just nod my head (or roll my eyes out the back of my head) and walk away?

    I know I certainly don’t have all my ducks in order.

  62. Michael says:

    Josh,

    She’s not really anything except a grifter…

  63. Josh says:

    Michael – That’s what we say about people like her and Trump, Gaetz…but the truth is, they accurately represent what American Christians value or we wouldn’t keep voting them in.

  64. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I don’t have any answers for you.

    My small group that meets together weekly is a good for me…I have a very small network of friends that I can speak with and be spoken to…without those I would only find fellowship here…and I’m not sure I’d give a damn…

  65. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I hear you…but this thread testifies that there is a remnant…

  66. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Michael. I have always appreciated the atmosphere here and having the opportunity and space to talk and vent if needed without being ostracized.

  67. Kevin H says:

    I believe there is a remnant and there always has been a remnant. The unfortunate part is that varying circumstances over the last several years, most especially social media, has allowed the pseudo-remnant to gain a big voice and exert much influence. Even many in the remnant have gone astray (not making a theological assertion of salvation). The remnant has been thinned out, but maybe it will make it stronger in the end.

    Politics has been a problem in the entire history of the church. Now, I do not nearly go to the degree that Reuben or others do in speaking as if the church has always been essentially evil as while admitting that the church has caused much harm, there also has always been much good that can be pointed to, too, even in our current day. But right now in our Western culture, politics certainly seems to have the upper hand.

  68. Em says:

    Church? Evil? Aren’t those antithetical terms? ? ?
    We know there are wolves in our midst, but……
    Look closer and with discretion….

  69. Michael says:

    Em,

    I’ve spent decades looking and writing about what I see.

    It’s fine in a few places….but much of evangelicalism is rotten and the mainlines as well.

  70. Josh says:

    Examine the fruit. Its wrong. It is MTG, and others of her ilk. We are so far off course, I wouldn’t have a clue how to get right.

  71. Duane Arnold says:

    “We are so far off course, I wouldn’t have a clue how to get right.”

    Is there a point at which we have to say that these people have little or nothing whatsoever to do with a profession of Christian faith? Folk religion, maybe… Heresy, likely… Christianity, not a chance.

  72. Linn says:

    It must be because I live in “progressive/woke land” (Silicon Valley) that most of the larger churches stay away from politics . The two churches that come to mind are so militantly political (far right…probably think that MTG will be ascended to heaven) that I avoid them and their people. One is a Calvary Chapel.

  73. Josh says:

    Duane, yes, but “these people” are all I know of Christianity. There is nothing else.

  74. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    Dig deeper…

  75. Randy Davis says:

    I wasn’t going to get involved in this discussion anymore, but I’m going to anyway.

    1. Church involvement in politics is as old as the nation. They use to have election Sunday Sermons. And the mainline and left churches have been prominently involved in politics for at least the last century. And so have evangelical churches.

    2. It’s not the first time the church has been compromised by politics and worldliness. We have run cycles of it. When the first great awakening took place, it was estimated that church attendance in America was 15%. When I was a pastor, I never let politics play out in church.

    3. The first and second great awakenings were highly influential but they also generated a lot of really odd movements, Mormons, JW, millenarians, utopian groups and communes, Christian Scientists, and many others. We can’t seem to stick to orthodoxy for very long

    4. So far, I have not seen any answers. All I see is complaints, personal outrage, finger pointing, and more outrage. It’s easy to react and find fault. Faults are ever glaring before us.

    5. Most importantly, what are we going to do about it? While I think it’s useful to point all the moral failures of churches and ministers of various kinds, it hasn’t done anything to help. I know churches when their pastors failed morally, wanted the pastor to stay!

    6. So outrage is doing no good. Hating someone because of their politics only polarizes. Maybe it’s time to try something else.

    7. We need a recovery of blunt biblical preaching and teaching-without reference to politics because it simply leads to more rage. A lot of people need go and takes some classes in hermeneutics. Biblical interpretation can be objective if we try. It’s not about our feelings, politics, social trends or our favorite themes. It does not matter if you don’t like what the Scripture says, preach it and if you can’t come to understand the parts you don’t like, then perhaps you don’t need to be so critical of others.

    It seems to me that everyone has a sociological, or anthropological, or psychological, or cultural response but we seem to miss the biblical and the theological. We will argue over words. We don’t want to offend. We want to make various “communities” comfortable in their sin. That’s not our call to make. Our requirements are to maintain biblical standards in our preaching, teaching, and personal lives.

    We may be like in the days of Jeremiah. He never had a convert. We may be heading into God’s judgment because there is nothing we can do. I would rather die being faithful trying preach and teach, trying to persuade others to turn to God.

  76. Reuben says:

    Coming home from a long work day, so kinda grumpy. First place I stopped is Joel’s Facebook page to watch the update videos. I don’t know how people think “living Christian” should look, but I suspect it should probably look like that.

    Western Christianity has nothing to do with Jesus anymore. The name is used as leverage, that’s about it. Zero respect for it, don’t really care that they “do much good”. A friend of mine used to always say, “there is some arsenic in the coffee, but it’s only a little arsenic, so you will be fine.” The context when he said that was always when all looks good, but it’s still toxic.

  77. Dread says:

    It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a remnant blog!

  78. Josh says:

    Oh, good, the nothingtoseeheres have shown up.

  79. Josh says:

    “Biblical interpretation can be objective if we try.”

    2,000 years of church history has proven this to be completely false.

  80. Randy Davis says:

    Of all that I wrote, you chose to attack the idea of objectivity! While no one is 100% objective, it is more than possible to be reasonably objective, I certainly don’t want to go to a doctor who doesn’t believe in objective medical science.

    Actually 2000 years have proven the consistent history of base line theology. That why we call it orthodoxy or classic theology. Are there differences? Sure but what makes churches a Christian church is that it believes in the core basic doctrines. Most differences between different traditions has to do with polity structure and doctrines of sacraments or ordinances. I have learned a lot from other traditions, especially Anglican and Lutheran though we have our differences.

    You also illustrate the problem of personal interpretation instead understanding doctrine in its historic context. Anyone can make uneducated statements about biblical doctrine. That is how we get cultic mega churches. It’s how we get internet theology that pray’s hedges around people, pronounces word of knowledge, casts spells in the name of Jesus, calls down angels, that assures prosperity can be yours, and prays in the name of Trump! Your attitude is exactly what creates this kind of atmosphere. You are doing exactly what you criticize.

    I don’t know what happened to you that you are so filled with hate of Christians that you make up your own facts about the Bible and Christians but maybe you should deal with it instead of lashing out. I do know what I’m talking about. I was forced out of a church after 27 years of ministry because they wanted sermons that comforted them in their sin and make them feel good. I’ve preached in several mid south states and seen the conditions of churches I know what’s out there but I also know what the Bible says and I have seen a few churches that tried to be as biblical as possible.

  81. Michael says:

    Randy,

    We need to reject the mixing of faith and politics that leads to christian nationalism because it’s heresy.

    Right now, the heretics have the floor, the mic, and the numbers…and we are losing an entire generation…not because of the lack of preaching on sin, but the mass of heretical preaching that creates a false god and a false narrative about the message of scripture.

    Where I live has always been among the most resistant places to the Gospel…what is being done now is scorching the earth even more.

    I don’t know what to do about it…but I know we ought to care.

  82. Officerhoppy says:

    In the words of Timothy Leary, maybe it’s time for those bearing the name “”Christian” or “Christ Follower”, to “Turn on, tune in and drop out.”

    By that I mean maybe it’s times for us who wear the badge of Christian or Christ follower to intentionally say “Enough! No more” and create a new paradigm.

    I’am trying to. After 35 or more years of being involved in church leadership where we discussed strategies, wrote white papers, had long meetings, I’ve chosen to set aside the title of pastor, elder, leader and simply, and quietly do the work of a pastor, elder leader.

    Just a thought

  83. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    I think new paradigms will be created out of necessity…because I believe the old one is on the verge of complete collapse when its leadership ages out in the next few years.

  84. Josh says:

    Randy, I don’t even have to search 2000 years of church history, your last comment illustrates that Christians disagree on biblical interpretations. Thank you for agreeing with me.

    As for the rest, you wildly misjudged me, but I honestly couldn’t care less. You keep preaching that blunt biblical message. Maybe there are still a few gays left that don’t think we hate them.

  85. Randy Davis says:

    It seems a lot of reaction comes from bad church experiences. I too have to deal with a bad experience. I had a dramatic call experience at age 17 and I pursued that call with all my soul. I left home. I went through school and training for 15 years. My wife and I ended up in a church that was 450 miles from our home. I was pastor of one church for 27 years. Those events consumed most of my adult life.

    At 60 the deacons decided I was too old. They wants some one young to “attract” a younger crowd, someone they could control and tell him what to preach. So I was forced out. And my lifetime commitment was destroyed in that single act. It was like my whole life was wasted, nullified.

    We had never owned a home. We bought a house because my wife was still working. I was very bitter on the verge of hate. We bought the house and 8 months later I had kidney surgery and I never had kidney stones. A month later our house flooded and we lost almost everything we owned including our car. I felt abandoned by God. I know about the dark night of the soul. But even then now looking back I can see God at work.

    About 2 years later, two friends and I took a trip to the Highlands area of North Carolina, a beautiful area. We were in a coffee shop and a friend was telling me I had to do this and that in regard to my old church. He angered me and my exacts words were I don’t have to do a damn thing. A rough response but it was as if an old wound had been lanced.

    I have never trusted church members as a pastor. I was always guarded around them. But I had grown to hate church and Christians and I wanted nothing to do with them. But we did join a church. It’s a mega church I guess. I knew the pastor. His daughter had been on our staff. It was big enough that we could get lost in.

    My wife had the same attitude toward church as I did. And it still affects our grown children. My children were mistreated. My wife had been sexually harassed by a deacon and i did not pick on it until we had left. And the bastard doesn’t understand why we want nothing to do with him.

    I’m 67 now. My health has failed me, in part from stress with church. Some of the idiots got free rent in my head and I would even have nightmares starring some of those deacons. I can barely walk, I can’t breathe and I’m ate up with arthritis and fully expect a shortened life span.

    I’m am just now starting to get over it. I can utter a few words of prayer where for a long time I could say nothing but moans. I have not been able to attend church, at first because of Covid, then my health. I was able to go church for the first time in months this past Easter Sunday.

    My old people’s class (the oldest is in her 90s) has been my lifeline. They are funny, some quite radical. They have kept me sane. We have joined them by zoom when we could not attend. And they have been instrumental in our healing. Our church has remained a solid congregation with all kinds of social ministries meeting a load of special needs. I have known the pastor for decades. He was one of my OT professors in seminary yet he’s only about 4 years older than me.

    I was raised Methodist and we joined the Baptist church when I was 11. All in west Tennessee. My father was a deacon and so was my uncle. My uncle was a drunk and my father was abusive. Some of the deacons were adulterous. One pastor was an idiot. One pastor was having affairs with women in the church. And my dad’s favorite pastor, who buried him, turned out to be a homosexual. My family has joked that my dad is still rolling in his grave.

    After all of that I still believe in the church because it’s God’s church. I am no way naive about church. It is full of flawed, sinful, even criminal people, same as the churches in the NT. If crimes are committed they need to be prosecuted and jailed. Ministers who commit sexual sins need to be fired. Drunks probably shouldn’t serve as pastors. It is the church, in spite of its flaws and sins, and it will continue on because it belongs to Jesus. I want to be a part of that church that belongs to Jesus. And the gates of hell, nor the sins of its members shall prevail against it.

    I have not written too much on this forum. And I’m probably going back into lurking mode.

  86. Michael says:

    Randy,

    I encourage you to keep writing…you’re good at it and have much that needs a hearing.

    The only reason…and I mean the only reason…I still have any hope for the church is one scripture and a few examples I see of real lived out faith in some places.

    We have to take responsibility for our own issues and let the world go it’s way…if we are to have any hope of doing anything positive for the kingdom.

  87. Randy Davis says:

    Michael
    Unless God does something, I doubt that anything can be done. Churches as you described will eventually die and churches who continue to preach the full counsel of God will remain. The full counsel includes sin and salvation but it includes the ethical and practical from the sermon in the mount to the ethical portions of the epistles.

    It’s the new medieval church owned by the state. We need a new reformation.

  88. Josh says:

    That’s what I’ve been saying.

  89. Michael says:

    “We need a new reformation.”

    On that we agree….

  90. Randy Davis says:

    Josh
    Why don’t you just declare yourself an atheist and get it over with. You don’t believe anything. You are full of hate and you can’t even comment without distorting what I said. You read with a dishonest eye. And you hate any suggestion for how we might recover the church. By what you say, this is the only conclusion one can have about you.

  91. Josh says:

    Ok.

  92. Josh says:

    Point to a main doctrine that I’ve casted doubt upon, or a hateful thing I’ve said in this thread. I’ll wait.

    Projection, maybe?

  93. Michael says:

    Randy,

    You can hate what the church has become and the damage it is doing to the cause of Christ without being an atheist or full of hate.

    Indeed it is love for God’s people and what the church should be that compels us and creates the kinds of distress you see in Josh.

    Josh is a good man…

  94. Dread says:

    Describe a new reformation.

    We are currently undergoing a new cultural reformation.

    Describe what you think we need. Cause I probably don’t agree

  95. Michael says:

    Dread,

    The first thing would be to take all the time and energy devoted to the culture and apply it to the church…because that is what God commands us to do.

    Alongside side that would be a recovery of humility that says we are here to serve God and each other…and that nasty culture we want to legislate to glory.

    I’m sure that is just a start….

  96. Officerhoppy says:

    Randy
    Much of your journey in ministry is my journey. Buford’s I went into full time ministry and the pastorate, a colleague gave me some great advice. He said, “never forget; people are no Damon good”.

    As I have shared with my brother Reuben, you may benefit from one sort of therapy. After being “discharged” from the pastoral team of one church for no reason other than the pastor wanted to change things up, I sought help from a trained counselor. It took 2 years but I was finally free f my anger. It rares it’s head once in a while but not to the extent it once did.

    I also agree with Michael that it would be good for you not to just lurk but engage the community here with your thoughts. They’d are many folks here, who can relate.

    Regarding Josh, if I am over stepping my bounds, I apologize, but he has been hurt and is working things out. I don’t believe he is/nor does he believe—he is an atheist. He’s angry. He has doubts I am sure, but in my study of scripture, doubt is not a sin—unbelief is for sure but no one God used in the Bible didn’t have doubts.

    We need a safe place to work thru them. This can be a place of disagreement but it can also be a place of healing. I think that is what Michael desires PP to be.

    So breath my friend. Contribute. Get angry—it’s OK we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord.

    The scriptures advise us to bear with one another—so if you can bear with us, we’ll bear with you!

  97. bob1 says:

    Yes. I agree. Josh is a good man. Sorting all this out right now can be very painful and excruciating.

  98. Dread says:

    That’s not reformation. Reformation actually transformed culture. Reformation affected authority. Inaugurated state churches. Caused religious wars. Gave the power of the sword to the state. Reformation was bloody hell especially in England. Your adopted reformed version.

    You’re talking about the radical reformation that got crushed in those wheels.

  99. Josh says:

    I want it to be clear that I am not a good man. That’s not good Christian humility. I am an absolute wreck of a human being. I am astonished daily at my capacity for destruction and hurt. I shock myself at how badly I screw things up.

    As for Randy, I can’t be mad at him. I’ve been in his position so many times. You see someone who is down and hurting and it challenges you in some areas you don’t want to be challenged in right now. You strike out. You attack the guy while he’s down. Been there. Ask Reuben.

    Dread – my reformation would focus all the teaching in the church on the person and work of Jesus. We have millions of people (self-included) running around calling ourselves Christians but we don’t look a thing like Christ. I’m thinking we’ve focused on the wrong things.

  100. Michael says:

    Dread,

    I’m pretty conversant with Reformation history, but thanks anyway.

    A new Reformation 550 years removed from the last will look differently.

    It will inevitably affect the culture…but our first concern should be the sorry state of the church…I don’t know why that is so hard to conceive of.

  101. Officerhoppy says:

    Josh
    Your “Iam not a good man” comment reminded me of a statement made by a pastor friend in reference to Rabbi Kushner’s book “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?”—answer: There aren’t any good people.

    It’s true! We’re all broken.

  102. Dread says:

    Folk here talk like they alone are the church. It’s gotten pretty high minded.

  103. Josh says:

    I am talking about the 70% of Americans who claim to be Christians.

  104. bob1 says:

    This discussion reminds me of what G.K. Chesterton said when a London newspaper asked him what was wrong with the world.

    He said, “Dear Sirs: I am.”

  105. Michael says:

    Dread,

    Is it high minded to note that much of the church has slid into the heresy of nationalism?
    Is it high minded to note that false prophets and grifters have overtaken the charismatics?
    Is it high minded to note (as the rest of the world does) that we are as guilty of sexual predation and sin as the culture we accuse of the same?
    Is it high minded to want some fidelity to the living Christ by those who claim His name?

  106. Dread says:

    Yes the way all that is discussed here is very high minded.

    I see very little of the note of Mt 11 when John fell into the trap of Jewish nationalism and Jesus offers him a public correction and then immediately publicly reshapes John’s reputation in front of them all while warning them of their own frailty.

    The church that get broad brushed damned here every day has done worlds of good that is ignored.

  107. Michael says:

    Then I am high minded indeed and have every intention of staying that way.

    Jesus isn’t here to deliver needed rebukes and left that to us.

    I am in no way denying the good that the church has done…I have spent much of the last two months supporting that work in any way possible in Ukraine.

    However, the good is receding and we are mortgaging our future for stew.

    I cannot fathom why you cannot even acknowledge the issues and the loss of moral authority that we have wounded ourselves with. We have little hope of changing the culture until we change our own first.

  108. Dread says:

    You don’t speak of them as if they are fallen brethren — no — they are damnable heretics. Well they are not. They love and care and yes get as judgmental as this blog. But they are largely brethren.

    And yes there are bad acting liars in the midst. Damning those parasites is your intention but the brush has been broad on this thread.

  109. Michael says:

    Dread,

    Christian nationalism is heresy.
    Period.
    It is idolatry…the tap root of every other sin.
    Whether they are brethren or not is not my call…though many have consigned me to the pit.

    Some of the most loving and caring people I’ve ever known are avowed unbelievers.

    I’m just being honest…I would raise holy hell among family and friends that tried to draw a loved one into these churches…they scare me more than any cultural phenomenon….because they rob people of the real Jesus and replace him with a political and cultural idol.

    That’s a hill I’ll die on…

  110. Dread says:

    Well,

    I’ll step down again. This is not my space. You have the right to cast it in the image you wish.

  111. Michael says:

    Dread,

    It is a shared space.

    Do you disagree that we have major issues?
    How would you address it, if you don’t like how I do it?

  112. Randy Davis says:

    Dread

    We aren’t going through a cultural reformation. We are going though a cultural degradation, there is no renewal involved. Reform would imply an improvement.

    Look as art and music. Art use to be beautiful. But one of the highlight of modern art was Maplethorpe piece with a whip sticking out of a rear end of a person dressed in S&M clothing. And music hardly exists at all. There is some, My son-in-law recently debuted two pieces of music for classical guitar from a young composer from Uruguay in a recital. It it was not at any famous forum, it was at William Cary University in Hattesburg, Mississippi. Not exactly the cultural center of the nation.

    There is some good art but none of it is held in high regard in our culture. I don’t think it’s is very hard to see the deviancy downward spiral we are traveling. It’s in our education, philosophy, the soft sciences like sociology. Even the hard sciences are used to reinforce the deviancy of culture.

    Culture needs a renaissance, an intellectual recovery of classical learning. But at this point I don’t see it happening.

    A reformation would be an intellectual recovery of biblical and classical theology. I say intellectual because theology is a rational act and the head has to capture the heart. Todays church is captured by emotions. Churches have become masters at manipulation of feelings as a counterfeit movement of the Holy Spirit. While intellectual pursuits cannot save us, our theology and our praxis must have thought behind it.

    However, I see none of this happening. This forum show that we can’t even agree on what Lewis called Mere Christianity. The very best thing we can do is whine. I think we are unable to understand or seek God. I see war, pestilence, and starvation. The one thing that we humans are good at is killing and war. We are really good at war. I see us destroying humanity by our own hand, if not God Will because how long can he tolerate us. And I hope it’s the end of the age when God makes all things right. I’m afraid He is going to judge us and destroy us. And let us suffer if any of us survive.

    So I’m think that reformation is impossible unless God withdraws his judgment and covers with grace in such a way that renewal comes. Until then, apparently all we can do is point out sin and preach the repentance of sin. I doubt this is what you expected.

  113. Dread says:

    Randy

    I sit in Clinton MS as we type these posts

    Your historic use of the word Reformation assumes that is what I meant… I was using the generic term.

  114. Dread says:

    Michael,

    Aim small… name actual offenders… be specific … like it is pastoral predators… the info is out there;

    The broad brushing is too binary too either/or too careless and it comes across as smug. Frankly it is more your respondents piling on than your words.

    Christian nationalism is no worse or better than christian utopianism underlying the leftward progressives.

  115. Randy Davis says:

    Dread
    I’m a church history minor, theology major. I use the term as its historically used. I thought everyone did. Whatever it is, I doubt that God will strike the same way twice. Congratulations on being in Clinton

  116. Dread says:

    I mention Clinton because of your mention of Hattiesburg — thinking you might be local.

    I don’t actually think we need or can have a Reformation. It was however far more political than this crowd would countenance. Though we do need God’s good providential hand upon us.

  117. Michael says:

    “Christian nationalism is no worse or better than christian utopianism underlying the leftward progressives.”

    I would contend that is is worse because it has captured a large part of the church.
    Leftist Christianity is a farce, but on a much smaller scale.

    It does amuse me however, when some of them go on rants about capitalism immediately followed by requests for money …earned by capitalists…

  118. Randy Davis says:

    I’m in south LA about two and a half hours from Clinton. My comment was thinking you were from some place up north- you know how ethnocentric we southerners are. Clinton seems like a nice place my kids teach music at WCU, kind of a sister college to Mississippi College.

  119. Dread says:

    I am a native of Clinton, an MC grad, class of 72 and recently retired from pastoral work and a teacher of theology.

  120. Randy Davis says:

    Officerhoppy

    Counseling might have done some good a few years ago but there was no competent counselor here who did not know me. But sitting around cussing with my friends seemed to help a lot.

    A few years ago I had a visit from a young man from the seminary. I had given some money and he was supposed to be there to say thank you. He told me that had been a pastor. He was preaching and the text touched on the subject of race. They fired him the next week. He was seeing a counselor and was taking some sort of drug he was prescribed. He said he could sit for hours and never think a thought. I never not have thoughts running through my head, sometimes multiple thoughts. He said he didn’t know if he would ever pastor a church again. No one tells us how hard and dangerous being a pastor can be.

    My days of being a pastor are over. Right now I can’t stand for 30 minutes and I don’t have enough air in my lungs to make my voice loud enough to preach. If those conditions change I would like to do supply and interim work. It’s not how I thought I would retire.

  121. Randy Davis says:

    Dread
    Wow! Where did you teach?

  122. Duane Arnold says:

    “I don’t actually think we need or can have a Reformation. It was however far more political than this crowd would countenance. Though we do need God’s good providential hand upon us.”

    Christian nationalism…

  123. Dan from Georgia says:

    I feel gaslit.

    Christian nationalism sucks, and it’s real.

  124. Dan from Georgia says:

    We are all on differents paths in our journey with the Lord. My current path is not one I like, but yet here I am. I trust God to bring me through to a better faith in Him. Have a little more grace for each other.

  125. pstrmike says:

    “No one tells us how hard and dangerous being a pastor can be.”

    I think I was warned by the pastor of the church I grew up in. He told me if I could do anything else besides pastoring and be happy, do it.

    I wasn’t happy vocationally, so I yielded to God’s calling, but did not become a pastor for almost nine years later. That was over 20 years ago. I guess I’m not happy being happy………………

    I had a resignation date set for the horizon, but I’m really questioning if I should leave just yet…..

  126. Randy Davis says:

    If you are healthy and your church and family support you, stay. Now that’s just me talking. But the call to ministry is a special one and I hate that mine has ended this way. But it comes to an end at some point. Even the OT priests had to retire.

    I had several death threats. I had one stalker who threatened to kill me. I told his wife that if he tried to do harm to my family I would kill him-I think that would have ended my ministry. She said you got to do what you got to do. She left him shortly thereafter. She had been abused for years by him. Ministry Carries even physical dangers.

    I’m tired. I nearly died from a ruptured colon in 1996. God allowed me to live but it did great damage to my body and took its toll. The stress of the pastorate took its toll. I’ve wondered if I didn’t have enough faith or enough trust by not handling the stress well. I just know that I left new buildings, and enlarged organization and budget but the spiritual condition had gotten worse. The spiritual condition was all that mattered and it depresses me to this day.

    I hope whatever you decide you will be happy.

  127. pstrmike says:

    Randy,
    I’m sure you only shared the tip of the iceberg. Thanks for your encouragement.

  128. Reuben says:

    Randy,

    Reading you above, I have a new found respect. You have seen things I can relate with.

    Atheist is a misapplied word. I don’t know Josh super well, but reading him, I see some of me. Atheists simply believe there is no god. What I read in Josh, and many others, even here, is what I hold to in a lot of ways, Antitheism. It is a completely misunderstood word. I don’t question if there are gods or a god, that’s not the point. The point is the religion, the church, that’s what a lot of people are against. Thus the title Antitheism.

    I don’t see hate in Josh.

    At least not to the degree I see it in me. I am quickly discovering that I never knew god before, and that is after over a decade of being a pastor myself. I knew church, I knew the religion, I knew what it did to people, I knew what it did to me. My hate came from that.

    I am long since past the “you are just bitter” blanket write off the church uses. The church can accuse me of anything it wants. I simply don’t care because the church no longer holds any authority in my life. Think on that for a second.

    Josh believes quite a bit of things. He writes of those things regularly.

    On a side note, and nothing to do with Josh unless it applies…

    I believe in a revival of sorts, and it is found by me to be in a very different way than the conventional thinking of blowing out numbers of church goers into tents in the parking lots and satellite churches. I believe a revival is happening through people walking away from the church. They are not walking away because they are becoming Atheists, they are walking away because they are becoming severely disappointed at what the church has become. They are walking away because they are disappointed by what Christianity has become. The revival looks to me like people who are ever increasingly walking away from the church, the religion, and searching out the real god. Ironically, church is supposed to be where you find god, but those walking away have discovered god was not where they were. It swung open the door to look for god without the “drunk goggles” the church hands out before every damned sermon. The people leaving are looking for a real god. Not the god the church professes. That is the revival I see.

  129. Em says:

    I am not a charismatic, but…..
    To insult the Person and work of the Holy Spirit is VERY DANGEROUS
    Romans chapter 8

  130. Randy Davis says:

    Reuben

    I had made a few remarks and Josh made trite, rude inappropriate responses in a serious discussion, at least I interpreted that it was at me. It hacked me off, so I unload. After all, I’m just a burned out educated redneck who still tracks mud on my shoes when I come into the house. I probably ought to apologize as one redneck to another.

  131. Josh says:

    Hey man, you posted incorrect information and I corrected you. You’re welcome. I know in you world nobody better not ever correct Pastor, but this ain’t that world. Now, I’m sorry you’re ego is bruised, but I’ve been nice to you so far. Don’t push it.

    I’m not a redneck.

  132. Randy Davis says:

    I don’t think that church decline is as dramatic as often thought. Various numbers say there about 450,000 houses of worship in the US. That number may include synagogues. That number might include Canada, I can’t remember. Only about 2,000 churches are considered to be mega churches.

    The average American church runs 100 or less in worship. One recent number showed that a little over 50% ran 65 or less in worship. I take it that these numbers are generally correct.

    Rural churches have been in decline for a long time and the decline has been accelerating. The reason is simple, the rural areas have declining populations. People can’t afford to live in rural locations because there no jobs. No people no churches.

    One area I have been watching is the Mississippi delta. The population has been in serious decline. The smaller towns are basically empty. As they shrunk, people retreated to the bigger towns for church. Then those towns depopulated and so on. What is left are tiny congregations who can no longer pay the light bill or the insurance

    I have been watching this for at least 35 years, talking about and nobody really cares. I don’t know about other places, but the the south is covered in empty church buildings. Populations shifted to towns and cities.

    In suburban and urban areas, churches lost significant numbers to the mega church phenomena. In Memphis, there was phenomenal growth in some of the churches but in 20 years the churches had a net growth of 120 member. Church like to lie with numbers. The SBC said we had 16 million members in our cooperating churches but only 5 million collective numbers in worship. I believe the numbers have been inflated for decades.

    In the Dallas area, Charles Swindol started a Bible study while he was president of Dallas seminary. It swelled to 300 people in a matter of weeks. They decided to start a church and build buildings. This was several years ago. But they soon had 3,600 people attending worship. I was getting their news letter at the time. They broke down their numbers. Only 8% were new Christians. 92% were transfers from other churches. Those churches declined.

    With Covid emptying churches, it is easy to think that church is in severe decline. I’m not saying we are not declining, I just don’t think it’s as bad as some say. It certainly not keeping up with the population, though the US population is also de lining.

    There are a lot of polls saying that young adults are leaving the church, but that’s been true for 50 years. Youth programs were at fault. But they would return when they got into their 30s. I don’t know if that is happening now. One thing is adolescence is extending into the 30s so, they may still return.

    I think politics in church is a problem but I think that is age related. I’ve noticed that peoples politics changes as they get older- more conservative. And the they get more liberal when they age, 60 and older.

    I’ve never considered the changing numbers were important because we have the same work to do. But so many think they have to change as the culture changes. We have to remind hip. That’s a killer. And the other end of the spectrum is politics in church, both conservative and liberal. Both are detrimental to the work of the church.

  133. Randy Davis says:

    Josh, I did not post incorrect information. So, you are doing it again with your sarcasm. You are so egocentric that everyone is wrong if they don’t agree with you.

  134. Nonnie says:

    And this is why I don’t post here anymore. Trying to post from a sincere heart and then being knocked down and rebuked. Don’t feel safe anymore. I love Michael, as a brother in the Lord, but this place is not safe.

  135. JimmieT says:

    If it matters any at all – I respectfully agree to Noonies post.

  136. Dread says:

    Yes

  137. Josh says:

    That’s obviously in reference to me, but I’m looking back and don’t seem to be the one knocking down and rebuking. For some reason, Randy has decided to call me:
    Full of hate
    Atheist
    Egocentric
    Redneck

    My guess is that because I criticized Marjorie Taylor Green, that I’m the bad guy no matter what else is being said.

    Well, forget you people. I’ll move. You can have your safe space.
    I’m not an atheist. I love Jesus. I don’t see him in American Christianity. Yes, that includes you.

    Randy, you are a fountain of misinformation. It may be time to look in the mirror, bud. It ain’t pretty.

    I’ve been open about my struggles here because I’ve know a lot of you for 15 years. I see what I foolish move that was.

    Michael, Duane, Reuben – I’m available on facebook if you need me.

    The rest of you…is there a middle finger emoji?

  138. Nonnie says:

    Josh, my reference was not particularly to you. Please don’t leave. You are an integral part of this blog. i am certainly not. I understand you are going through some rough times, but your response is exactly why I don’t feel comfortable here, although YOU were not the person I was thinking of, when I posted. Please do not leave because of my comments.

  139. Michael says:

    I really don’t understand what has happened here, but it is awful, indeed.

    For the last couple of days I’ve been getting comments privately about the tone here and I guess I should have listened.

    I’m clueless as to what to do about it…and it makes me quite sad.

  140. Michael says:

    Nonnie,

    You’re a part of anything good that I do…you have been a rock for me.

  141. Nonnie says:

    Michael, I will always love and respect you as a brother in the Lord, but there a few people are here that I have felt that are toxic toward me. I don’t feel safe posting anymore. I know there are many that have good things to share and i am glad for them. I just can’t do it anymore.

  142. Michael says:

    Nonnie,

    I understand…and I wish it were not so.

  143. Reuben says:

    I’m here because this is the last connection to Christians I have. I have been through massive life changes since I left the faith. I hear the struggles of people still attached and take hope from it. This place shows me I am not alone. Reading Josh this last month or so has been cathartic, and even though it is painful, it helps.

    I don’t know what the tone is here that people are complaining to Michael about, but I am probably a cause of a lot of it. I am not a right winger, an evangelical, or even a Christian. I am so far left, the left hates me. I am so against shoving self hatred down peoples throats. I stand firmly against the church.

    Yet, god is speaking to me a new picture of faith. One that is not political, not violent, not polarized against humanity.

    I am thrashed with mental illness, addiction, and frustration. I don’t want to be like this.

    If I am the cause of the angst Michael receives in any way, I can move along too. I would only part with a warning, throwing out your own with acidic accusations has become the MO of the church, and it will be your downfall. The church has done quite enough polarization, and when it has run out of things to rage against, it starts to feed on itself. This ruins people, and becomes contradictory to the entirety of humanity. God is not on your side.

  144. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    It’s all good…whats happening now is the results of long term conflicts and the general splintering of everyone into tribes that can’t stand each other.

    You have been fine and it’s been a joy to walk with you through this to the degree that I’m able.

    I have some decisions to make, but I think the readership (what’s left of it) has made those for me.

  145. Dan from Georgia says:

    Appreciate having you hear Reuben!

  146. London says:

    I never really post here any more, mostly because I don’t feel like I have anything to add, but I read most days.
    personally, I enjoy reading what Josh has to say and how he’s working through his journey. He’s good at finding words to express his thoughts about how he’s moving away from some church traditions that no longer work for him.
    I think Randy was out of line with his aggression, especially for calling him an atheists, towards Josh and that he owes him an apology.
    Josh’s voice on here helps balance things out. Hopefully he’s not gone for good.

  147. Randy Davis says:

    Ok I’m the bad guy. Josh attacked me several times but I’m the bad guy for defending my self. I apologized once but not again. I have enough junk in my life, I don’t need more. So, I will not be back.

  148. London says:

    No one has to be “the bad guy”
    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

  149. Michael says:

    Just for the record…I’ve “known” all the people involved in the various conflicts here…the ones that are raging here and the ones in my email and other messages that have yet to explode here…and there are no bad guys involved.

    I ran off the bad guys .

    We do have insane personality conflicts and grave misunderstandings among good people.

    Unless I figure out a way to re-invent and re-focus on what we do here, the site has probably finally run its course.

    We’ll see what happens, but constant conflict isn’t interesting to me and we have yet to figure out how to talk to each other and just let people be who they are.

    It is indeed a “community of faith”…and a reflection of too many other communities of “faith”…

  150. Officerhoppy says:

    I’m not a major player here but I’m not offended. I’m staying….breathe folks—Goozevabba (Anger Management?) laugh!

  151. pstrmike says:

    “I am long since past the “you are just bitter” blanket write off the church uses.”

    We don’t know how to deal with dissidents and that doesn’t apply strictly to the church. Calling someone bitter is an attempt to shame them into silence and can be an indicator of a refusal or inability to see beyond their own construct.

    Someone (a former pastor) recently told me that I am bitter after I essentially said that he lives in such a tall and narrow silo that he can’t see the light of day. I guess he didn’t have anything else to say, let alone something constructive. Kill the messenger is the only default. I pushed back. Calling someone on their nonsense doesn’t mean you’re bitter. Asking someone to take a serious look at their own perspective doesn’t usually end well. I was reminded about not looking back after putting my hand to the plow.

    #rememberingthebitterdoveawardshere

  152. Josh says:

    First, I appreciate the nice comments. I’m going away for a while, it won’t be forever. Want to give a little better explanation than just my previous middle finger.

    Randy has nothing to do with it. I don’t know what got up his bum in this thread. His responses don’t even seem to relate to my comments. He’ll have to figure that out.

    I am not well. Emotionally, spiritually, all of the above. I’m in a bad place, kind of stuck, and causing a lot of damage. I’ve been getting help for a couple of years, but we are almost at a breaking point now. I’m about to enter some pretty intense treatment for the next while, hoping to find some healing before I just blow everything up.

    Michael has been a gracious friend in allowing me to vent here over the years, and many of you have been great friends as well. I’ll thank you all for not attacking, judging me, or telling me what’s best for me right now. Pray for the professionals to get it right. I’ve got to listen to them. Pray for me, my church, and my wife and kids. I believe that God has something better on the other side of this, but I can’t even imagine what that could look like right now.

    I’ll be back.

  153. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I know that I speak for a bunch of folks…you’re loved and in our prayers.

    May the Lord give you both healing and vision…

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