Things I Think…

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44 Responses

  1. Dread says:

    “But someone has to speak.”

    Yes — keep speaking

    Yes — that’s what all the anger is about

    Yes — that’s how humans resolve problems

    Imagers of God speak

    It is good that you are speaking.

  2. Linn says:

    So well said, Michael. I am often caught between my church friends who are angry about CRT/abortion/all things LGBTQ and my work colleagues who are angry about anything that is against the same issues. I find some points in CRT to be valid, I support life (although would want abortion available for certain very special cases), and I have work friends who are LGBTQ. How do I get a hearing for the gospel if I am perpetually angry at them? I can’t find a verse in the Bible that defends that point of view. That God will judge sin some day…yes. But I believe Christians are called to witness of His love, mercy and grace before that time comes.

    So, I walk very circumspectly, sharing opinions with all the love and grace I can. I think many of my Christian brothers and sisters have lost their winsomeness. That used to be a word I heard all the time at church, but not anymore.

  3. Michael says:

    I thought about this all week…whether to bother inciting people when I can just hang out with my cats and deal with my own issues.

    I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be one of those people that pick a side and get all the love for doing so…even if it is completely anathema to my faith.

    Christians are called to solving problems a different way…but we really don’t believe it works…

  4. Michael says:

    Linn,

    You’ve chosen the Gospel way…lately, our brethren have placed a lot of land mines in that road…but we travel it anyway…

  5. Paul Coughlin says:

    Thank you for this.

  6. Michael says:

    Thanks, Paul…

  7. Greg enright says:

    Linn
    How about the righteous indignation displayed by Jesus towards the pharissee’s who were ripping people off on the temple mount…. selling sacrificial lambs for temple worship at three times their true value….In the same way, I believe Jesus takes a dim view today of pastors and leaders ripping people off hypocritically to move their own agenda forward. Paul warned us in 1 Tim 4 to beware of deceiving spirits in the latter seasons of this life. We are certainly seeing this all around us in many churches…and as the bible says, “many will be led away” from Christ

  8. Michael says:

    Greg,

    As someone who has spent the last, best part of his life talking about corruption the church…I can tell you there is very little anger about such in places of prominence or authority in the church…but much about political “enemies”…because it’s all about power…

  9. Greg enright says:

    Boy howdy…could not agree more

  10. Dan from Georgia says:

    Your thoughts didn’t make me angry, but just confirmed that we indeed are heading down the tubes. Yes that is pesimisstic, but why is it that those who have the message of hope are instead derailed by conspiracy theories and stupid excuses for what goes on in society and have to spend their time parroting said crap. I guess I am angy.

  11. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I get angry sometimes, too.

    My godson is very vulnerable to this sort of influence and it’s leading the family to crisis at times.

    Christians have the remedy…but if we deny the power of our faith , we have nothing to offer but fuel for the fire that will consume us too…

  12. Em says:

    Michael, you still have an analytical working brain
    Amen to all the good comments above – especially Pastor Dread

  13. Michael says:

    Thanks, Em.

    Five years ago this piece would have taken fifteen minutes…now it’s four days…

  14. Linn says:

    For Greg,

    Jesus is God Incarnate. For Him to throw the money changers out of the temple meant He was exercising His rightful place in His Father’s house. I don’t think it necessarily means it’s the same for us. There don’t seem to be any other examples of Christians attacking injustice this way in the New Testament, although there are many verses commanding a virtuous life and being an upstanding community member. I think we do need to face and try to right injustice, but my personal take is that it doesn’t necessarily need to be violent.

  15. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael,

    I bring up the conspiracy stuff because it didn’t take long after the Buffalo shooting for all this crap to come up again. Of course you know that.

  16. Em says:

    #8 – True, true true

    I suspect that a lot of professed faith today – isn’t
    I notice too many people tossing off “God bless you” like it was in their power to make God bless us….. sigh

  17. Dan from Georgia says:

    #9…history is riddled with those invoking the name of God to do ill.

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    It’s rage, but it’s more than that… it is so many lies being told and promoted that truth has become a rare commodity. History tends to show that once lies become the currency of exchange in a society, hatred, rage and violence quickly follow… To quell the violence and rage, we have to engage with the truth, if we can even find it or hear it in the noise that surrounds us every day.

  19. Michael says:

    Duane,

    I’m pretty good at research…but I have a tough time finding truth about a whole host of issues…because modified truth and outright lies are the fuel for the rage…

  20. Em says:

    Dan from GA, that too… sad

  21. Reuben says:

    I am trying to leave the rage behind. My personal political/economic policies put me at odds with both of the sheer Capitalist parties this nation is stuck with. I firmly believe that the rage we see is also a result of forced politics/economics, and think the whole nation is experiencing end stage Capitalism. I believe it will only get worse, and I don’t look at it from a religious perspective at all.

    The human being in this nation is becoming worth less and less, while the cost incurred becomes more and more for less product (think health care, schools, insurance…) and it is slowly eating away at the rationally of people.

    I’m sure everyone reading this could easily understand that I receive a lot of wrath while promoting my social/political/economic persuasions.

    I also think rage is bolstered, emboldened by the entire notion of being “woke”, a mindset that is shooting itself in the foot daily. It might seem odd to hear me say that, but even though I was caught up in it for a couple years, I saw what it was doing to people, even amongst the “woke” who always conduct witch hunts for the “woke” that are not “woke enough”. It’s a daily thing across social media. The wokeness movement will kill itself off without any help from the political right.

    My patience with the perpetual rage has started to wear thin. I am intentionally mellowing myself out to no longer contribute to the cycle. I have to step away from saying a great many things I really want to say, because it evokes even more rage.

    All that to say, agreed, but there are what I view to be underlying causes that have no hope of going away, at least not in America.

  22. BrianD says:

    Reuben, you have said a lot of thought provoking things.

    Humans are less and less valued and valuable in this society…they’re just things to be used.

    Michael, I hope you are wrong but I fear you are right, and what you said needs to be heard by everyone in this godforsaken nation. I’ve been thinking similar thoughts for a while, and am convinced most people have no idea that it’s going on around them — and it’s going to hit them like a tank going 200 miles an hour that’s hell bent on killing them.

  23. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    There’s more than a little truth to what you’re saying…

  24. Em says:

    Michael @2:40…
    YEP

  25. Michael says:

    BrianD,

    When I wrote this is consigned myself to the truth that few would read it and fewer would receive it.

    We’re past the point of solutions…because the only solution people want is the defeat and exile of their ‘enemies”.

    I see it on the road, I see it at the store and in the doctors office…people define themselves by what they’re angry about…and they define you by whether or not you’re angry about the same things.

    They imbibe a steady diet of hate that makes them feel powerful and right…and righteous in whatever that anger produces.

    Human life and flourishing means nothing…the tribe means everything…

  26. Reuben says:

    I guess I should add, it is easy for me to get extremely angry at all things “MURICA” when it comes to social/political/economic issues. I am so completely utterly done with the brainwashed state of this nation. I despise both political parties we have. Equally. Never for the reasons one suspects, because if I was judged at face value in my hatred of both, I would be labeled a “moderate”. I am not moderate. I am so extreme in my views that it is unrecognizable to virtually all of America. And America has woven into its DNA a hatred for my kind based on outright lies, perpetuated by McCarthyism, a propaganda that was pulled out of thin air to commit atrocities, and I could never be told different. In the name of god and MURICA, lies have been foundational to our global and local affairs.

    But I have come to learn that my rage does not bring people to understanding, it drives them away. When I have the chance to explain my position calmly and face to face, people understand. They disagree pretty regularly, but some agree, and I hand them the pamphlet that explains my position in detail, and they read it, and for some it’s like salvation, a blinder removed, and they want to talk more. That never came through rage. It came from loving people who are in the position and place they are in, and humbly offering an alternative to consider. I never once shouted someone into my social/political/economic views. It was a hard lesson for me, because by my nature, I have the diplomacy skills of a brick thrown through a window. But I have learned, am learning. I wish people could do the same regardless of core convictions.

    What we see happening from the political perspective is at least to me amusing. The woke are killing off the woke like Christian’s have for god knows how long. Liberals do the same based on how liberal a liberal you really are. Trumpers and Never Trumpers literally coming to blows over the dignity of the federal government.

    And the thing is, people watch this… millions and millions of people. The rage begets rage. People file into fringe elements, devour it, act on it, and before you know it, the nations capital is being overrun threatening to overthrow, or there are riots in the streets threatening cop’s lives. It WILL get worse.

    I have done the same. I am guilty.

    We have entire generations watching this. Closely. Being impacted. Even the kids (thinking of my own son) come home with a head full of ideals and angers nobody his age should have to consider, handed down by his friends parents, dogma fully taken in, and I do the same to my son, filling his head with my ideals, and hoping he can find what fits, but it’s peer pressure in his world, and if the majority of his peers are wearing MAGA hats, he will to. This is aggravating. It’s aggravating to watch, and to be a part of.

    This week, I have been thinking heavily about Ukraine, and how none of that matters right now. All they know is the enemy is in their home, making their death happen. And they just want to live and have their homes.

    End stage capitalism has one profound hope in it regardless of the collapse. If all are stuck in the same boat, and all has failed, and nobody can even afford to live, the walls may very well drop. Kids won’t have the motivation to kill people anymore, because they are being killed by other means, means they can’t control. The utter collapse of this nation would be the foundation for a new perspective on actual life, and then maybe things would change.

  27. Reuben says:

    I also stopped watching or reading news sources from America. That was profound for me. The weather is all I care about coming from an American reporter. Folks should try that. Look from the outside in, it changes perspective big time.

  28. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    We are teaching an entire generation that this is how you address issues…and this is what church is about, too.

    I thank God that I’m too old to see the worst to come, while I beg for more time to get my own through as much as I can…

  29. Reuben says:

    Michael, right there with ya

  30. Owen says:

    Michael my friend, you just keep on speaking the truth. I come and read here because I know the truth is always proclaimed here, and that is becoming more and more scarce.

    #7, and #8…… Spot on. Sacrificial love has become an endangered species in Christendom.

  31. Michael says:

    Owen,

    Thank you, my friend…

  32. Shawn says:

    On Tuesday after picking up a few items from one of the two local Walmarts I returned to my car. I sat down and opened a coffee drink I purchased from the grocery store next store ten minutes earlier. After I finished it I started to drive off but had a phlegm build up. I stopped looked around no one was around. I then opened my door slightly and extracted the phlegm. When I finished I got ready to start driving arriving.

    As I looked up a saw a man in his late 30’s about twenty feet from me. I sat and waited for him to cross the driving lane between the two parking areas. After about ten seconds I notice he is mad about something. I’m like okay not sure what is happening but go ahead and continue walking.

    Then I pay closer attention to his demeanor and body language. He is mumbling about something while shaking his body towards me. I then partially read his lips and he says something to the effect, MF, I will tear you apart or rip you to pieces.” I thought that was odd. I am not sure what universal law I transgressed to incite his ire.

    Here is the sad part. My first thought was not to pray but say, “who the hell does this guy think he is.” All the while he starts slowly crossing and looking back uttering profanities and I suppose I cared about such things- insulting my manhood.

    For a second I started to get angry in return. I thought to myself, “who does this guy think he is I can put this car in his place where the sun don’t shine.” He finally crosses and stops looking back at me. As start to drive off I can tell he is still seething. Then as I get closer to front of the store I turn to leave but I look out my rear view mirror and see him crossing towards the front of opposite end of the store. He continues to walk past it to wherever he is going. However, his body language had not changed.

    I suspect that he was already angry before I crossed his path and will be so long after. It is possible he was/is mentally ill. It is possible that he lives his whole life in a state of being ready for and even provoking physical altercations. I new many people like the later in my youth running with a small Socal Mexican street gang. I knew others after those days started to fade. Overtime I met those who became that way with drug and alcohol abuse. Still others from various forms of trauma.

    Finally I took a moment and prayed that God would protect anyone who might come across his path. It is only now four days later it dawned on me that I should pray for him, too. So I just did.

    I guess the point is just how easy it is to be manipulated by rage and anger. Before you know it you desire to respond in kind. The moment supercedes reason and the results are always disastrous. Sadly, the barometer of our allegiance to most everything is measured by these base, even harmful, aspects of our sin nature. Come to think of it they, anger and rage, the signals of moral virtue. That can’t be dangerous? (Pure sarcasm intended in that final question)

    The truly shameful thing is that presently large swaths of the American church either encourage it at best or provide fertile breeding grounds at worst.

  33. Shawn says:

    *please excuse my spelling errors and occasional missing wordsbI am in a rush and have a migrane coming on. Hopefully the later is due to not drinking enough water yesterday.

  34. Michael says:

    Shawn,

    Well said.

    I spent part of my life easily provoked and prone to anger.

    I enjoyed brawling, both physically and verbally.

    It’s a hard habit to break, but it was one of those things like fornication that no longer fit with my identity in Christ.

    Now, I have Christians saying my lack of rage is sinful in itself…

  35. filistine says:

    “Christians are called to solving problems a different way…but we really don’t believe it works…”

    Michael–this observation is the crux of the whole deal. Christians want certainty as opposed to faith; our insight instead of His revelation; my solution rather than His path. We’re no different than any worldly mindset when we’ve disconnected from the power of the Spirit.

  36. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Duane. Interesting reads. I know that many conspiracies have made their rounds over the years and decades, but wasn’t aware how old the “Great Replacement” conspiracy is (as per the Gospel Coalition article). My “fear” is that Christians will be lukewarm on denouncing this and other conspiracies, or even partake in them.

  37. Duane Arnold says:

    Dan

    That’s my fear as well… and I think it is already happening.

  38. Muff Potter says:

    Duane and Dan,
    In TGC’s article, it’s amazing what conspiracy theorists can manufacture from just one Bible verse.

  39. Ruben says:

    I think this anger started around 2015, which was the time when most people had access to smart phones and social media. Prior to that we kinda tolerated each other, maybe knew inside that people are precious and we should not say hurtful things.

  40. Michael says:

    Ruben,

    I think it started around 2008 with the election of Obama…and increased with the use of social media…

  41. Dread says:

    Not the same Reuben Michael… though you would know I think

  42. Michael says:

    I did…spellings different, different email.

  43. Reuben says:

    Not the same Reuben

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