Things I Think…
1. I remember when the big fad in American Christianity was “discernment”…which meant tagging anyone who thought differently about secondary doctrines than you did for the purpose of condemnation. What we should have learned is that “discerning the spirits” has much more to do with character than doctrine…
2. News that Matt Chandler has stepped away for a “leave of absence” because his texting showed he was “unwell” is nothing more than a demonstration of how PR jargon has replaced “sin” for the purpose of building and maintaining empire…
3. We have a few short years left to recognize that addiction to anger is as great a sin as we say homosexuality is before this place tears itself apart…
4. Christians have been given the ministry of reconciliation…if you’d rather defeat another tribe than reconcile with it, you are in sin…
5. There is much sound and fury theses days concerned with identifying narcissists…unfortunately, we have yet to admit that narcissism is one of the most celebrated personality traits in this country…and the church…
6. I spend part of every day trying to deal lovingly with a family member who has been radicalized by both the culture and media…who now believes that political means will somehow change the moral fiber of even his co-workers…who thinks violence for the sake of making things “right” is acceptable…and if I could get my hands on the people who have enabled this I’d lose my salvation…temporarily…
7. I keep pounding on this, but I don’t think we understand yet that our inability to find sources of truth about various issues is the disease that is about to turn terminal…Christians should care about this more than most…
8. The Bible offers a way forward on resolving and reconciling our various schisms…but they require humility and sacrifice that a narcissistic culture refuses…
9. People in possession of the Holy Spirit should be less easily manipulated than they are…
10. It sounds simplistic, but we truly are always feeding either the flesh or the spirit…and feeding the flesh six days a week will always overcome the one hour you spend feeding the spirit on the seventh…
I have a comment or two…
#4…it occurred to me today that it is entirely possible that someday, someone claiming to be a follower of Jesus may shoot and kill me and/or my family because I didn’t vote for their guy.
Some of you don’t think that can happen? I have two words for you…
Sadly, #10 is true.
We just had another mass shooting in the middle of the state…we are not safe anywhere anymore.
Ugh, I hate to hear about those things. Unfortunately true that even I have though about getting a gun for protection.
I’ve thought about it too…but it feels like conceding to the spirit of the age…
I worked for a narcissist. I/we were always walking on egg shells. He was very unpredictable. But had a huge church.
He often unilaterally overturned his staff. We thought, or had us believing “it was the will of God”. But the truth is he was passive aggressive and threatened. A narcissist knows only 2 kinds of people: those who are beneath them, or those who threaten them.
” A narcissist knows only 2 kinds of people: those who are beneath them, or those who threaten them.’
and those who will support them no matter what…
The funny thing is that I think God has gifted me with discernment. Yet, I rarely use it to determine and judge the rightness and wrongness of the minutiae of doctrine, things that we will probably never know the definitive rights and wrongs of this side of heaven.
But I do use it to ascertain the rightness and wrongness of behaviors and attitudes in light of how God has instructed us to live. These are things that I believe often can be determined with definitive or close to definitive understanding as to their rightness and wrongness. The trouble is, people often don’t like to hear my conclusions. 🙂
“But I do use it to ascertain the rightness and wrongness of behaviors and attitudes in light of how God has instructed us to live. ”
Which is really one of the primary functions…whether people like it or not…
Re: narcissistic church leaders, this interview does a good job identifying the different dynamics that such a toxic culture brings, using Mars Hill as the case study.
As to mass shootings, I thought I lived in a safe community until a disgruntled 20 year old took an AR-15 and walked into the grocery store that I usually shop at.
“I keep pounding on this, but I don’t think we understand yet that our inability to find sources of truth about various issues is the disease that is about to turn terminal…Christians should care about this more than most…”
I am unclear as to what this drum is pounding
#3, 4 & 9 especially resonate with me.
You have the right kind of discernment ministry.
“I keep pounding on this, but I don’t think we understand yet that our inability to find sources of truth about various issues is the disease that is about to turn terminal…”
Dread (and Michael, let me know if i am wrong)-I think this refers to our current insistence about knowing the “facts” about everything (often they aren’t facts), trying reclaim elections that aren’t lost, spinning any kind of news/’opinion to suit our own fancy, etc. We are absolutely mesmerized by searching for the “real” truth behind the truth and/or lies we claim to believe to the point that we don’t have time for anything else (like relationships) that may be more important.
i have friends on both ends of the spectrum (right and left) who spend more time on blogs, news sites, TV/radio stations listening to all kinds of news than they do with family and friends. It’s really scary when the only thing you can talk about is your favorite newscaster’s summary of the daily “news.” I believe in good information, but not in saturarion.
We no longer trust any of the institutions that gave us stability…media, government, health, or faith centered pillars have all engaged in deception that is so complex that it cannot be parsed.
As Linn said we just choose talking points now that fit our particular biases.
A society cannot survive this way…and it won’t.
Yes it’s true. I don’t trust them. Everyone shapes rather than tells the truth.
Further when every word is policed – the essence of both political correctness and most of our religious systems – you edit your own words.
It is unsustainable. It is going to have an apocalypse.
How might we address this?
I ask with zero hopeful ideas. I have one; learn to tell the truth. Or at least learn to stop lying.
We address it first by not only telling the truth, but valuing the truth…and calling out liars when lies are obvious.
This is across the political spectrum and in our churches and personal lives.
We need to pray for the creation of some sort of trusted media…that cares not about power, but only truth.
That would be a start…
“ I believe in good information, but not in saturation.”
Amen, Linn !
More and more I get the sense that people across all the spectra are dedicated to worldview vindication rather than working together to solve actual problems and that this has been going on for generations. Ellul was just one of the people who saw where this sort o fmentalilty would lead last century, with people swearing they’re defending “democracy” while acting like literally jack-booted thugs.
And he had no idea back in the mid-20th century there’d be an internet.
I’m an FDM – Facebook Discernment Ministry 😉
“…with people swearing they’re defending “democracy” while acting like literally jack-booted thugs.”
WELL we already have that video.
I think this sums it up…
“Those who read the press of their group and listen to the radio of their group are constantly reinforced in their allegiance. They learn more and more that their group is right, that its actions are justified; thus their beliefs are strengthened. At the same time, such propaganda contains elements of criticism and refutation of other groups, which will never be read or heard by a member of another group…Thus we see before our eyes how a world of closed minds establishes itself, a world in which everybody talks to himself, everybody constantly views his own certainty about himself and the wrongs done him by the Others – a world in which nobody listens to anybody else.”
― Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes
Duane, that’s pretty much it right there.
Is Biblical Christianity propaganda?
Pretty easy to guess responses.
Dread, NO, NO, NO! ! !
“Biblical Christianity” is a wax nose that has been deformed too many times for there to be a single answer to that question…
Ellul nailed it in my opinion…scarily so…
Em, you are mistaken as you see.
Michael just cancelled the category of Biblical Christianity while applauding a book whose very title is misogynistic and a quote that used the male pronouns in time bound misogynistic ways.
We live in a time where all language is propaganda and until power is either ceded or seized we have no one to tell us what to say.
Even on a Christian blog you may not discuss Christian categories without rebuke. Of course I knew myself to be provoking exactly such.
It is a tumultuous time indeed.
I haven’t cancelled it…I simply said that there are too many definitions of the term for me to affirm all without specificity.
Provide a definition for your phrase and then a discussion can ensue.
I’ll be in and out…not ignoring anything.
Allender discussion is gold. I hope it makes it into next Linkathon. Allender knows Seattle dynamics, knew Driscoll and had the capacity to compassionately understand and validate Driscoll as a wounded person and potentially offer him partnership; but also had the discernment and courage to see that they were on different trajectories in how they built bonds with people.
Another wax nose similar to what Michael said is the term “biblical.”
I’ve seen da– near every form of wickedness, trangression and lawlessness rationalized and justified with “well, it’s biblical.” What the he– does that mean? This has been going on
Xns need to critically examine the words they use and not be content with just barfing out old shibboleths devoid of much meaning. Or in a post-modern way, whatever you say it is.
Biblical Christianity is the proclamation that Jesus is LORD – proclaiming it in the face of Caesar or even postmodernity.
Bring on the word masters.
Christ is Lord is a witness lived and testified to in relationship with real flesh and blood people. If you meant to refer to Caesar as an actual Emperor or person with governmental authority and postmodernity as a reference to real people, even our neighbors who have been shaped by a postmodern mindset then we may be in agreement. I however, would not use the term Biblical Christianity because one, it is not and has never been sufficient to encapsulate a life lived on mission under the great commission and in community with other Jesus apprentices.
Two, i has been co-opted by an anti-Christ presence not i the world but within evangelical power institutions including actual churches who are deceived as to what represents christianized power versus Jesus ordained and derived authority.
Do you believe the following verses represent a proclamation with words and an embrace of lifestyle that embodies the words of Christ and shares His good works with their community, even in the face of persecution and being displaced ? . I do.
This is a point in time biblical attestation to Jesus directed, Spirit empowered, living out a Sermon on the Mount lifestyle. If you agree then great. either way, thought I would try to bring some clarity.
“Acts 11:19-26 CSB
 Now those who had been scattered as a result of the persecution that started because of Stephen made their way as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews.  But there were some of them, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus.  The Lord’s hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.  News about them reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to travel as far as Antioch.  When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged all of them to remain true to the Lord with devoted hearts,  for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And large numbers of people were added to the Lord.  Then he went to Tarsus to search for Saul,  and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers.
The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. …”
That bare declaration is not propaganda.
It can easily be converted to such with a few additions…
My original point is demonstrated right here. We cannot communicate even on a blog where we have tacit agreement. We cannot use words that are pure enough to embrace. We have to modify and codify and shame and rebuke and correct.
And supposedly we eat at the same table which was the baseline quest of post-Jerusalem conciliar apostolic witness.
All language must be examined … the quest of a spotless lamb goes on and the levitical tables fill the temple with proper offerings for a price. The price is submission to the lordship of the linguistic masters.
Night is coming.
I have no idea what you’re talking about.
In an age where the Gospel has been prostituted for political and financial gain, there is a need to be exceedingly clear about what we say and what it means.
We owe this to the church and to those who have been taken in by counterfeits on all sides.
I was clearly aware that Biblical Christianity was a triggering term. But we have a dearth of options when, as I pointed out, Ellul’s original text is filled with triggers. We are in chaos.
The Ellul quote perfectly describes what I deal with everyday with friends and family.
And then there is this…
“Christians were never meant to be normal. We’ve always been holy troublemakers, we’ve always been creators of uncertainty, agents of a dimension that’s incompatible with the status quo; we do not accept the world as it is, but we insist on the world becoming the way that God wants it to be. And the Kingdom of God is different from the patterns of this world.”
― Jacques Ellul
And… while I am at it…
“… Jesus Christ has not come to establish social justice any more than he has come to establish the power of the state or the reign of money or art. Jesus Christ has come to save men, and all that matters is that men may come to know him. We are adept at finding reasons—good theological, political, or practical reasons, for camouflaging this. But the real reason is that we let ourselves be impressed and dominated by the forces of the world, by the press, by public opinion, by the political game, by appeals to justice, liberty, peace, the poverty of the third world, and the Christian civilization of the west, all of which play on our inclinations and weaknesses.”
– Jacques Ellul
Ellul prophesied well.
All those quotes from his propaganda book? He’s definitely anachronistic by today’s morality but perhaps anointed beyond his awareness.
Biblical Christianity deals with God’s kingdom – not of this world! ! !
Duane Arnold wrote:
“… Jesus Christ has not come to establish social justice any more than he has come to establish the power of the state or the reign of money or art. Jesus Christ has come to save men, and all that matters is that men may come to know him. ..”
I would argue that the things you’ve enumerated should go hand-in-hand with “salvation”.
If not, how are “people of faith” any different than a prof. at UC-Berkeley who says that Jesus was just another good ‘spiritual’ teacher with good morals?