Things I Think…

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17 Responses

  1. Linn says:

    Michael,
    I am beginning to believe that God may be wringing the excess water out of church and we might be left with a limp rag of what was, waiting to filled again. I do see hope in that some of the worst of the rhetoric seems to be dying down on both sides (unless it’s just retreated to the sidelines, waiting for the next big fight (the 2024 election?). I have some hope that the criminal sentences that have recently been handed down to some of the 2021 rioters will cause others to think more about how they might choose to protest the next time. I also don’t live in southern Oregon, where the situation is much more heated than here in the SF Bay Area. Most of the churches in my area thought the big Calvary Chapel in San Jose (who held large services and had people on the roof letting the congregation know when the cops were coming) a bit laughable (although they did have all of their huge county fines dismissed by the state Supreme Court, who just didn’t see the point of beating that dead horse anymore). A lot of churches in my area are trying to stay open as deconstruction and moving (to Texas, Oregon, Washington, Idaho) continues to empty their pews.

    So, I pray for you and the site. I appreciate being able to interact with people who think and discuss, and while not always agreeing with each other, are civil and thoughtful. That is a great gift right now. As much as I love my church, there are certain people I don’t discuss politics or pandemic with. It’s not worth getting into a sparring match over those things. Last year we had a couple families leave because we celebrate Christmas…it’s a scary world out there.

  2. Michael says:

    Linn,

    Thanks for your contributions here.
    It is scary…and I don’t know if there is a way forward if people can’t engage with each other for the greater good despite their differences.

    Sometimes I think all God id doing is letting us have our own way…

  3. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Michael for this post and your heart. This was not a “sweet tasting” post you put out here but needed to be said. I too have drifted away a bit from here because I too let disagreements infect my heart.

    On a broad scale, your thoughts #6-10 are in agreement with what most troubles me…God’s name is cursed and dragged through the mud. We can’t see clearly anymore. And we want Barabbas more than Jesus. Some days I just can’t imagine leading someone to the Lord and then having to de-program them from thinking they have to vote a certain way. Forbid it that I should have to de-program them before salvation in order to ease the way.

  4. Linn says:

    Michael,
    I can certainly agree with letting us have our own way…God has done it before. When I was overseas, the evangelical church in Colombia had always been an outlier. Catholicism was the only religion recognized by the constitution and many government jobs could not be secured if one couldn’t prove activity in a local parish. A new constitution came in in 1991 that allowed for equal treatment of all religious faiths. Evangelicals suddenly were very involved in politics. It didn’t prove to be a healthy thing-some pastors became literally drunk on power, formed political parties and got sucked into fights that really had nothing to do with the church. After the implosion and disgrace of a very large pastor and his church in Bogotá, things calmed down. It took about 20 years, and evangelicals are again politically active, but now as responsible citizens working to improve the lives of everyday Colombians. For example, churches took the lead on making masks, tending to the ill, and dropping off food in poor neighborhoods during the worst of the pandemic. They have their street cred back and are working hard to be a true light in a country that really needs one (it’s a place where four guerrilla and criminal groups announced a cease fire for the New Year’s weekend-not much has changed since I left in ’92).

  5. Michael says:

    Dan,

    Thank you, my friend.

    You have spoken well…because the church that Jesus built knows nothing of what we are doing in so many ways and places today.

    The church will survive…but the country may not.

  6. Michael says:

    Linn,

    Interesting… hopefully something similar will shame us into changing course.

  7. Linn says:

    It’s a smaller country and they’ve been to hell and back several times in the last 50 years…but things are somewhat better now (except the economy is shot due to COVID, but they are starting to come back).

  8. Em Wegemer says:

    My daughter had a Christmas Eve open house. One of the neighbors, a sincere Christian, a pilot, sat and chatted with me. He and his wife are convinced that we are coming close to the great event – the “rapturing out of the Church.” Dunno, but could be.
    When I was young I could fill my gas tank on $2.00. Two days ago I filled my gas tank for $70! ! ! And good ground beef was 29 cents a pound in my youth. Sigh
    All 10 points are very astute observations, Michael.
    Agree and praying for a real Christian revival – not a hand clapping, glory hallelujah event
    God keep the faithful here

  9. Nonnie says:

    “2. It’s a storm that has been blowing for years… division over political matters and the Covid 19 pandemic have left readership and participation at an all time low and left me wondering if what is left is worth the time and expense to continue…“

    Because we were mocked and called names, told we couldn’t be loving Christians, if we didn’t take the vaccine, when we had sincere questions about what the government and Big Pharma were doing. I won’t forget that. (It wasn’t you, Michael, but people who have a strong voice here.)

  10. Michael says:

    Nonnie,

    I don’t know about forgetting, but a lot of forgiveness is necessary….and there has been mockery on all sides.
    People are now feeling empowered enough to do so to my masked face in the pharmacy.

    What I’m looking for is a way forward…a way paved by sensible thoughtful people in service of faith and community.

    Part of that is going to involve speaking about where anyone felt unjustly treated or accused…and that will be a hard and necessary start to the process.

  11. Nonnie says:

    Oh, I have forgiven, or I wouldn’t even be reading or posting. We can forgive, but not forget the vitriol that was cast at us. I won’t let it imprison me or stop me from fellowship with those involved in the deeds. We can have different opinions. I’m adult enough to realise that and move on. But I haven’t forgotten, and forgiveness does not imply trust or respect.

  12. Dan from Georgia says:

    Micheal, specifically about dropping out of this site, I nearly did several times when there was a poster who frequented here who would ALWAYS tell people they were wrong about something.

  13. Nonnie says:

    Dan….exactly. Mocking and degrading sincere people who were asking questions. I believe the blog lost a lot of people because of a few who mocked and verbally abused us.

  14. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I think I miss a lot of that because in the old days we’d have 600 comments and 300 would be calling me something bad…par for the course…

  15. victorious says:

    Michael
    Thanks go to you and others for endeavoring to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Whether the numbers are high or low or the participation fervent or lackluster your work of faith ,labor of love, and patience of hope has and does make a difference.

    A lot of us were trained in environments that did not allow for healthy freedoms of discussion and reciprocal interactions without negative repercussions. I experienced ghosting in evangelical tribes long before it gained a name and recognition in the world.

    I believe the practice of the “ one another’s” imperatives of the New Covenant hold way more potential for the igniting , renewing and stewarding of the beautiful present gift of eternal life into a variety of good works that impact our today’s and tomorrows.

  16. Michael says:

    vic,

    Thanks for the kind words…trying to find a way to be here tomorrow with a purpose…and not just to be here.
    I hope you’re right…

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