Things I Think…

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61 Responses

  1. LInn says:

    The same group that supports the current creep of the month voted for the last president. They don’t seem to understand morality 101.

  2. Michael says:

    Linn,

    I don’t care much who they vote for…I care a great deal that they keep dragging these swine into the church and declaring God is for them…it does show a complete lack of care for a real “biblical worldview”…

  3. Linn says:

    True…my church doesn’t drag them in physically, but they (I’m not part of that group) sure like talking about and supporting them.

  4. Michael says:

    Linn,

    It boggles the mind…but pragmatism is one of the idols of our time…

  5. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael,

    Golly, I wish you would climb down off the fence and let us know what you really think… 😁

  6. Michael says:

    Duane,

    I thought about writing it in all caps… 🙂

  7. Dan from Georgia says:

    As a student of the Russian language, I sometimes get snide remarks about being a spy, but most of the time people are genuinely interested in what I am doing. As the war in Ukraine continues I am aware of the conflict inside about having an interest in the language and culture, and having a disgust in the politicians and warmongers in Russia.

    You stated the rest of your thoughts in infinitely better ways than I could have crafted. I am still baffled by the lengths people go to defend the indefensible.

  8. Michael says:

    Dan,

    It’s beyond me as well…especially in the church…

  9. Officerhoppy says:

    “ One of the biggest challenges to faith is when you are called to care for others in a way you were never cared for…”

    Possibly a greater or equally great challenge of faith is a lack of confidence in the scriptures. This may be why there has been a move away from exegetical/exposition teaching. The initial approach to the scriptures and bible reading is “how is this relevant to me” rather than “how do they glorify God?”

    Just a thought

  10. Michael says:

    I don’t know what a “lack of confidence” in the Scriptures means.
    I am confident that they are sufficient to teach the way of salvation and discipleship…but they are not sufficient or intended for a host of other things.
    God is…

  11. Michael says:

    I wrote #7 thinking about the responsibilities and restrictions I now have caring for my mother…the attentiveness and detail that I have to have in order to keep things going…the kind of care I’ve never had, but believe that I am compelled by Jesus to give…

  12. DavidH says:

    Dan, I studied Russian History in grad school (All but dissertation). I, and my fellow Russian history colleagues and I did a pretty good job of rationalizing the undercurrent of Russian brutality. We could say it was due to the influence of the Mongols, or we could point out that the Nazis were worse. We deluded ourselves, when we knew full well that it was a system based on corruption and criminal enterprise. It has been heartrending to see the callus level of savagery the Russian military is doing in Ukraine.

  13. Steve says:

    Michael,. I encourage you with your care of your mom. You will not regret obeying the 5th commandment. Also having a merciful and loving attitude to not just keep things going but to somehow experience joy in doing it is one of the best testimony to knowing Jesus I could think of. Praying 🙏 for you my brother

  14. Nonnie says:

    1-5 is why I didn’t vote in the last 2 presidential elections.

  15. Dan from Georgia says:

    DavidH…thanks for the insight. I have limited knowledge of Russian history overall. I do have a somewhat more working knowledge of Russian military aviation history and firepower, which in my younger years was one of the factors in my interest in Russian and the culture and language. Growing up toward the end of the Cold War I was front row to the grainy pictures that would leak from the Soviet Union of their newest military aircraft that would make NATO nervous. Who knew that some of these evolving threats would turn out to be more bark than bite?

    Indeed it is shocking and sickening to hear about what Russia is doing to the Ukrainians.

  16. London says:

    10. Me too. Part of me feels bad for cheering when I see a video of Russians being blown up. Most of me, however, feels just fine with it.

  17. Reuben says:

    #2

    Absolute truth. It’s been my rant for weeks, but from the other side. We see, and we also fear.

  18. Josh says:

    I don’t think character has ever mattered to the church. It only matters when they are going on about the other side’s character. I think history would prove me to be true in this.

    Expositional preaching was mentioned above. That approach is going to get so much wrong, because there is always a greater context than the words on the page. I am convinced, that by and large, the evangelical church has misunderstood the bible, and used it like it was never intended to be used.

  19. Michael says:

    Josh,

    It mattered at one time.
    In my lifetime…it hasn’t.

    I think that reality is one that no matter what I’ve seen, I’ve tried to deny as characteristic.
    I’m not in denial anymore…

  20. Josh says:

    I think the church has a long history of talking about character, only when its convenient. Maybe first century or so it mattered. By the 3rd we were cuddling up to the empire.

  21. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I have a set of the minutes from Calvin’s company of pastors.
    They gathered once a week to discuss what was happening in the churches and examine their own hearts.
    It was honest and direct and occasionally disciplinary.
    Character mattered…it was wrapped in a lot of 16th century thought…but much was timeless.
    I don’t know where or when we lost any care about it at all, but I know we have…

  22. Josh says:

    I’m sure there are pockets of concern now, as there were then. My guess is that even in that time, Calvin was an exception.

  23. John says:

    Rightly criticizes Christian support of ungodly people during a power struggle (Walker) and then cheers for people being killed during a power struggle (as if Ukraine’s government and its intentions are somehow pure and righteous)?

  24. Michael says:

    Ukraine didn’t invade anyone…Russia did and they have committed atrocities all over the country.

  25. Michael says:

    I might add that they have done so in the name of Jesus according to the national patriarch…who is an anti-Christ.

  26. Steven says:

    #7 is sooo true.

  27. JD says:

    2 Corinthians 7:1Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
    Having almost died twice already this year, I am so going to focus on this from now on.

  28. Jeff says:

    You write as though people are morally measurable but political policies are ambiguous.

    It’s simple – we are accountable for that which is within our control. I cannot control a politician’s sinful choices but I do have a vote regarding political policies.

    A vote for a person is a vote for their policies, not the person. Where Christians err is by pretending that righteous policies make a candidate righteous. This is folly as much as believing good works can make a man righteous.

    Trump was a wicked man with more righteous policies than the alternative. And the same scenario presents itself on the state level, most of the time.

    It is indeed “Christian” to vote for the most righteous policies we can. It is equally “Christian” to do so while holding our noses and grieving over the morality of the politicians who represent those policies.

  29. Duane Arnold says:

    Jeff

    This sounds very similar to the reasoning of the German Church in National Socialist Germany… It is very much a pragmatist approach in which the ends justify the means.

    I’ll take my stand with Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church.

  30. John says:

    Michael,

    You’re right. If someone invades a country, their death is something to celebrate. There are no details or nuance needed. If you’re the country being invaded, it doesn’t matter what the character of your leaders is, or what wicked policies they might uphold. The invaders are automatically worse and we revel in them being killed. Especially if their leader does things in the name of Jesus. I think Jesus would agree with you. “You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies… unless they are the enemy of a nation of people you don’t know and your government is giving them billions upon billions of dollars in weapons and you know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s completely black and white, good vs evil. Then hate them and celebrate their deaths. When they die good things are happening. You are in no way being influenced by anyone other than me. And now, after deciding that the character of those involved doesn’t matter, turn your attention to national politics and decide that the political battle doesn’t matter, but individual character absolutely does. That’s how it works in the kingdom. International politics = no character. National politics = character is all that matters and anyone who disagrees isn’t a Christian and their character is tarnished as a result of trying to advocate for thoughtfulness on a blog. They might hate the character of a candidate, but if they support their policies, whoa boy, they must be brain dead lemmings.”

  31. Jeff says:

    All I’m saying is that if you have a choice between evil and very evil, which is better? The answer is clear, as is the Christian’s duty to work for righteousness in their country.

    The sin enters the picture when you begin to call evil good, and call evil men good men.

    I’m not even sure what, exactly, you’re lobbying for – abstaining from voting? Voting for a better man who will usher in more evil policies?

  32. John says:

    Jeff

    Honest question. What do you do when the alternative is someone with equally reprehensible character and demonstrably evil policies? Not vote? Vote for the person who covers up their evilness better? Or say, man, these people are all terrible. I guess I’ll vote for the policies and hope that the character flaws don’t lead to something worse.

    Again, interested in your honest answer. I think most people struggle with this question.

  33. John says:

    Whoops, that question was meant for Duane

  34. Michael says:

    John,

    I am not a cable news informed ideologue.
    Whatever the issues with Ukrainian leaders are, they are not terrorizing another country and committing war crimes that are utterly reprehensible.

    I celebrate the defeat of those killing men, women, children, and pets for the ego of a dictator.

    As to your other question…I live as the Bible suggests…as an exile who chooses not to vote for either evil, but prays for the leaders so that we may live a quiet and peaceable life.

    Both sides promote evil and unbiblical policies for their own benefit and promote division and strife, again for their own benefit.

    None of this mess belongs in the church…none of it.

  35. Jeff says:

    I struggle with it too, John. Where I have landed is voting for the policies and positions that will result in the greatest good and the least evil.

    As I mentioned, I believe that where Christians err is by acting as though conservative politicians are righteous by default because of their conservative policies. In reality, our votes should be cast in grief because we recognize with a sober mind that we are not in actuality voting for the greatest good, we are voting for a lesser evil.

  36. Duane Arnold says:

    When Augustine spoke of the City of Man, he said that the best that could be expected out of any political system was the character of the leadership and the exercise of justice. In the end, it is not our City…

  37. John says:

    So evil exists on a scale, and you’re doing the measuring?

    I don’t watch cable news either. Russian leaders are evil and do very evil things. Ukrainian leaders are evil and do very evil things. It’s helpful to an objective perspective to know what these things are. What Russia is doing is bad, no question. But you are defending your celebration of ppl’s deaths (now semantically downplaying them into “defeat”). And then self-righteously criticizing others for their mistaken political perspective.

    As for hoping and praying our leaders will lead us into a quiet and peaceable life, the leaders we currently have have helped bungle our way into the highest threat of nuclear war in half a century. It seems that policies absolutely matter, and that is why Christians rightly wrestle with what to do in situations like the one with Walker.

  38. John says:

    Jeff, we’ll said.

    Duane, I’m afraid that didn’t answer my question.

  39. Michael says:

    John,

    If you’d actually read what I wrote, I wrestle with the issue terribly

    I think the leaders we currently have are doing a magnificent job of creating a coalition to stop a bully while dealing with the specter of nuclear war.

    I do not see how electing someone without a shred of character will improve on anything…and bringing them into the church without repentance defiles the cause of Christ.

    Perhaps if the religious right demanded character I’d be more interested in their assorted causes…but mostly I’d still pray for the leaders and live my life in front of God as the Bible informs me I should.

    For now, my involvement will be prayer and sending a little money each month to feed and care for Ukranian cats.

  40. Duane Arnold says:

    John

    “I guess I’ll vote for the policies and hope that the character flaws don’t lead to something worse.”

    History shows that this seldom, if ever, turns out well. Once again, reference the German Church…

  41. Jeff says:

    Ukraine is a wicked nation that has been invaded by another wicked nation. People are more precious to God than political boundaries. Therefore, the Christian position on Ukraine should be the one that preserves the most life and freedom to worship Jesus as possible. For those reasons, I am against America fighting a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine.

    And respectfully, yes – there are degrees of evil. The Bible clearly teaches this, and the Bible is the judge – not me.

  42. Jeff says:

    Apologies for the confusion, as I should’ve been clear on this point earlier:

    If we’re called to pray for political leaders, surely it’s desirable to pray for them in a church building with the congregation, if possible?

    What we cannot do, as the Church, is anything that may give the appearance that we affirm the faith of a man or woman whose life served as evidence that they are NOT saved. We can not refer to them as “brother” or “sister” or endorse their character. David Platt’s prayer over Trump was a great example (and I’m not a Platt fan).

  43. Michael says:

    “People are more precious to God than political boundaries. ”

    I’d love to hear your position on the border and immigration…

    I simply cannot understand how anyone can defend the Russian aggression…so I probably won’t allow it here.

  44. Michael says:

    “If we’re called to pray for political leaders, surely it’s desirable to pray for them in a church building with the congregation, if possible?”

    The first thing we would pray for with Trump and Walker is their repentance and salvation…both have been brought in to be endorsed as “men of God”.

    That…is blasphemy.

  45. Jeff says:

    Unlike voting for less evil men with more evil policies, which always turns out great?

    The most likely explanation in those situations is that their evil policies are revealing the true wickedness of their hearts, which they’ve managed to conceal behind a palatable facade.

    Biblically, I do not see how one can conclude anything other than that voting or abstaining is an issue of conscience. As such, we do not have the authority to tell every other believer whether they should be voting or not. Respectfully, I believe that position goes beyond the Scriptures.

  46. Jeff says:

    I believe that the Bible encourages law and order, for the good of the people. The border should be totally secured. Then, the nation can discuss who and how many people to let in in an orderly manner. This would truly be for the good of people. It would put an end to dangerous and horrific human smuggling. It would enable America to protect herself against Wicked people who want to come in and do harm. It would enable more honest people to pursue a better life. I think it’s fine if America continues to let in the same number of people they’re letting in right now. The issue is that it needs to be done in an orderly, controlled, and safe manner. That would appear to be a common sense approach that would also be best for all parties involved.

  47. Jeff says:

    I think my previous comment makes it clear I would agree with you on that.

  48. bob1 says:

    I’d say this article summarizes things quite well.

    The pretzel-twisting BS here I find nauseating. Then we wonder why
    the evangelical church is the laughing stock of our culture.

    “Herschel Walker and the Platform of Cheap Grace”

    https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2022/october-web-only/herschel-walker-and-platform-of-cheap-grace.html

  49. Dan from Georgia says:

    Bs is right bob1. I vote my conscience, not talking points. And Russian and Ukrainian people are lived by our Lord first and foremost. And I know Russian and Ukrainian folk so keep your Bs about them out of here!

  50. Michael says:

    bob1,

    Good article…

  51. Michael says:

    The Russian people are deceived by both the state and church…hard to find fault with them.
    The Ukrainian people are victims of that deceit.

    I have reached a decision…there will be no apologists for the Russian aggression allowed here…you have Tucker Carlson to carry that dirty water.

  52. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thank you Michael

  53. Michael says:

    Dan,

    We have long time friends of the site over there doing relief and rescue…I owe it to them to cut off the noise.

  54. John says:

    I thought I’d found a blog that rightly calls out hypocrisy in the church, and does so in a fairly dispassionate way. But now I see that if you don’t agree with Michael (and those that do) you are a Russian apologist or Tucker Carlson disciple or anti-immigration. For trying to see an issue from all sides you might even be as guilty as those who supported the Nazis. No one here thinks Herschel Walker should be endorsed as a person the way he has been. No one thinks Russia should’ve invaded Ukraine. But you seem to hear the opposite. Ad-hominem and hasty generalizations abound.

    It doesn’t matter if you have no desire to defend Russia, or don’t watch Carlson. The groupthink has created a clear line between right and wrong. No well intended (contrary) thoughts may pass.

    It’s interesting that you say character in leaders trumps policy. And then say that you are pleased with our leaders (who are guilty of far more than Walker will ever be) foreign policy efforts in regards to peace and conflict. That is our point. Political leaders all suck. Tremendously. So we hope to elect those whose policies will bring about the best possible outcomes.

    I have been basically begging for an equal standard to be applied (nationally and internationally) by ppl here. If ppl can’t discuss things in good faith, I’ll be moving on.

    Thanks to Jeff for making your points graciously and thoughtfully.

    All the best to you to agree and disagree.

  55. Jeff says:

    Thanks, John. We’ll said. Blessings to you.

  56. Michael says:

    “So we hope to elect those whose policies will bring about the best possible outcomes.”

    Have at it…my primary concern has been and always will be the church and the kingdom of God.

    The support and endorsement of unrepentant men in the political sphere as being “Christian” is simply a reflection of what happens in the church as well…success and the desire for power obliterate the ethics of Christ.

  57. London says:

    Thank you Michael for your no pro-Russia stance. 🇺🇦

  58. Reuben says:

    Interesting stances. I don’t vote for any of them because they are all capitalists. That is in my mind the core corruption, something the Bible calls love of money, greed.

  59. Dan from Georgia says:

    Re my rage yesterday: I find it absolutely reprehensible to suggest that some people are deserving of being on the receiving end of war atrocities, and then claim that the only Christian option in voting is to vote for the lesser of two evils, all the while holding my nose while I vote. There is something to be said for staying true to your conscience, and that is how I voted in the last several Presidential elections (going back further than 2016 btw)…that you are a disobedient Christian if you don’t vote for so-and-so.

    To baptize both views in biblical terms and castigate those who disagree is absolutely disgusting and BS.

  60. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I hear you…and concur.

  61. Officerhoppy says:

    Imo—all politicians are liars—regardless of party affiliation. They have to lie to get elected. We, the voters encourage them to lie. We want to hear what we want to hear.

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