Things I Think…

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32 Responses

  1. Alan says:

    Another useful installment of Things, as usual I am double minded when you speak of culture wars. Having never been an activist at any level of significance I still am very concerned with the encroaching sound of beastly totalitarian initiatives in our government and worse in the nations. Culture portends of these things as politics is downstream from culture and culture is screaming for authoritarian power to silence free voices.

    So preparing the church definitely means sounding alarms. We just are not sure how to do so. The early church had no illusions about their worldly power — we do and that is what so often concerns us. That is where we tend to partner with the beasts. Just now we have nothing but beasts around us.

  2. bob1 says:

    Great ThITh, Michael.

    Love Barth. I’m reading his Studies in Dogmatics, which I’m told
    is a good choice. if you don’t have the time and stamina for his
    full dogmatics. It’s slow going!

    Just curious where the quote’s from…

  3. Michael says:


    I am double minded as well…I see the creeping authoritarianism from both sides and I despise the lies that are aimed at maiming our children, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

    I hate the demonic hurdles a young person has to deal with…and the joyless, humorless, asinine rules they are forced to contend with.

    I despise even more the ones who come dressed as heroes to fight these things…that are actually owned by them.

    We have to refuse the impulse that we can win…and make the church a safe haven for the sane and someday holy.

  4. Michael says:


    It’s from the Barth website…it’s from lectures he gave at Princeton in the early sixties.

    His “Dogmatics” is way too much for my little brain…

  5. LInn says:

    #9-As Christians, we have the only hope that can survive what is yet to come (be it death here or the destruction prophesied Revelation). That truly is good news that brings hope.

  6. Michael says:


    Survival is not our hope…resurrection is…

  7. Jean says:

    This morning, as I was working on a Bible study on Matthew, I was reviewing the prophecy about John the Baptizer in Malachi. The commentary on Malachi, written by Joyce G. Baldwin, had this to say about the meaning of this text (referring to the ministry of John):

    And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers…” (Mal. 4:6 ESV)

    The commentary: “The fifth commandment implied that the home was essentially the school of the community. There, in a ‘world in miniature’, authority and submission, love and loyalty, obedience and trust, could be learned as nowhere else and with the word of God as a guide in the home, society could be changed.”

    When we engage in many culture wars, we think that the culture can be changed through laws (meaning coercion), which will trickle down to benefit individual lives. However, if Baldwin’s interpretation of Malachi is correct, Christian families, supported by their churches, should instead be focusing on the family, guided by the word of God. Cultural change from this point of view would be organic, bottom up.

    But like many issues in life, it is so much easier (even if ineffective) to tell others to change, rather than look in the mirror to see one’s own shortcomings.

  8. Michael says:

    I think her interpretation is correct…but difficult in practice when the world comes at kids through so many types of media and systems…

  9. Robert Sweat says:

    #5 Priceless!

  10. Michael says:

    Thanks, Bob!

  11. Jean says:

    “I think her interpretation is correct…but difficult in practice when the world comes at kids through so many types of media and systems…”

    I think what you are saying is that parents won’t monitor, restrict, moderate and even ban, devices, games, applications and social media available to their children which have content that can corrupt our children.

    I don’t think that John’s ministry was easy, but is a parent faithful if they won’t stand up to their children? This is a household issue.

    I’m not trying to guilt anyone. But I think there is something implicit going on: If I can’t directly raise my child to have good morals, then can I make my school and government do it for me?

    The reason I think that approach fails is because whether you think you’re teaching or not, our children watch and learn from what they see and experience in the home. That’s kind of scary for many of us, isn’t it? I see the reflection of my shortcomings in my adult children. It is one of the most painful and shameful things a man will experience.

  12. Michael says:


    You can ban all manner of wickedness from the home…but they aren’t always home…

  13. Jean says:


  14. Miriam Wegemer says:

    #2 “Depart from me. I never knew you!”

  15. Miriam Wegemer says:

    #6 AMEN! ! !

  16. Michael says:

    Thanks, Em!

  17. Pineapple Head says:

    Shootin’ holes through me, bro!

  18. filistine says:

    #10–root of the #1-9. And if we don’t read outside our comfort zones we won’t really learn, we’ll only reinforce our opinions. One of the big reasons I abhor movements to ban books. That doesn’t mean there isn’t trash out there, but we only reinforce our views if we don’t acknowledge and understand alternatives. We also might find some compassion and grace along the way…

  19. Michael says:


    Well said….I’m in total agreement.

    Reading broadly will always lead one to nuance and questions and usually destroys simple, binary solutions…and I fear it’s becoming a lost practice.

  20. Officerhoppy says:

    Funny….I read the last line of your post to Fil is “fear is becoming g a lost practice” not I fear it’s becoming a lost practice. Gotta get my eyes checked!!

  21. Michael says:


    Get new glasses so you can read some more!

  22. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael, I noticed your “fellowship of the saints” post has no comment section. No worries. Just wanted to say I look forward to meeting you after the resurrection!

  23. bob1 says:

    I’d like to echo DFG. We’ve never met but it feels like we have, many times over the years. Also looking forward to meeting you post-Resurrection!

  24. Michael says:


    It will be my pleasure…what a Day it will be…

  25. Michael says:


    Indeed… it seems like we’ve been neighbors…and in a way we have been…looking forward to that Day as well…

  26. Miriam Wegemer says:

    post resurrection?

  27. Officerhoppy says:

    As I was reading thru is piece and considering Michael’s chronic pain as well as mine and Kevin’s I was once again pondering the purpose of suffering.

    I don’t know if there is a purpose to suffering or if it just happens randomly. But I did did consider Genesis 32 where Jacob wrestled with and Angel for a night. When morning came, the Angel (a theophany?) intended to leave. Jacob grabbed him and said “you’re not leaving here until you bless me”. The Angel touched his hip and for the rest of his life, he walked with a limp.

    I’ve often thought of a lessons to be learned from that story. There are many but this one resonates with me (cancer, 2 hip replacements, major back and knee pain): Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t limp!

    Maybe one of the purposes of pain is credibility. People who hold fast to their faith in times of great pain have my respect and I value what they say more than someone who just quotes scripture and goes on their way.

    I dunno. Just a random thought from a fellow pain sufferer

  28. Miriam Wegemer says:

    walking with a limp?
    more Christians do this than we may know………

  29. Michael says:

    For the present moment, I have taken suffering off the list of things I reflect on.

    Every explanation I can come up with is febrile and weak, and maybe even offensive.

    My own suffering is relatively easy to explain…I’m getting old and basically, my warranty is up.

    However, I’ve been tracking the suffering of a child on Facebook for over a year…from the diagnosis of cancer to endless treatments that brought a glimmer of hope, then crashing disappointment…over and over again.

    Heaven has been bombarded by thousands pleading for the life of this child.
    The child will die later this week.

    The young family has already been smote with other tragedies…now the exhausted parents simply wait for the end.

    Only a damn fool or an insensitive boor would have the audacity to explain this beyond a simple mourning of the fall.

    At times I am one or both, but choose to sit this one out.

    All I know is that the older I get, the deeper the grief.

  30. Michael says:

    I will say this…if we worshipped a god who had never known grief or experienced the terror of death…that god would be both untrustworthy and worthless…worthy only of every form of derision.

    My God has suffered and He tasted death…and rose again.

    So will that child.

    So will I.

    Let us worship…

  31. Captain Kevin says:

    Michael, I’ll say the Amen to your 9:28 comment.

  32. Chris Long says:

    As usual, if I do comment here, I’m way late to the party. I’ll bypass all the stuff about suffering etc since nobody here wants to hear what I have to say on that lol. But Jean’s July 18th comment regarding John the Baptist’s role in turning the hearts of the fathers to the children jumped out at me because that is something that God really has had me meditating on the last few months. I think Jean that your conclusions are right on. For Father’s Day last month, I wrote a short article on this subject. If interested, t’s available at:

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