Things I Think…

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45 Responses

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    Hmmmm….heavy stuff. I have some responses but need to formulate them.

  2. Michael says:

    Dan,

    It was hard to write, but I had to get it out or go nuts.
    I could be completely wrong.

  3. Terry says:

    In 1975, Loren Cunningham (YWAM) Bill Bright (Campus Crusade) and Francis Schaeffer came up with “The Seven Spheres of Influence”. It was a missions strategy for reaching the cultures and societies of nations.

    It didn’t become “The Seven Mountains Mandate” until 2013, when Lance Wallnau and Bill Johnson merged it with Dominionism.

    They used Revelation 17:9 as their supporting scripture:
    “This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated.”

    Never mind that the woman in Revelation 17 is Babylon the Harlot.

  4. Michael says:

    Terry,

    Thank you for the history…you are correct….the fruit of this is rotten…

  5. Pineapple Head says:

    It’s getting crazy out there . But my mission in life and the purposes God has for me never change. Through thick and thin.

  6. Reuben says:

    “ It’s been overtaken by a politically inspired cult with a false Gospel and a different Jesus.”

    Needs repeating. Again, for me, probably different reasons, but very true.

  7. Dan from Georgia says:

    My wife has had nightmares about another Trump presidency. Literal nightmares..You know what? If I was to say that in a chatroom full of Christian Trumpists, I would probably get mocked, ridiculed, and told that my wife was in sin, or ate something bad, or was under the influence of demons. But they will turn around and swallow whole a bunch of failed prophecies of Trump being installed, elected, etc.

    This is what you get with MANY Christian Trump supporters. Hate, ridicule, vile comments and insinuations.

    Don’t believe me?

    Go to ANY Christian news website and scan the comments under political articles.

  8. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael (2:43pm),

    I am glad you posted. A prophetic word isn’t always pleasing to the soul, stomach, and mind.

  9. Captain Kevin says:

    It’s so hard to watch all this happening. Thanks for including #8-10.

  10. Michael says:

    Thank you, Dan.

    I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of The Dispatch news site…this article was helpful to me after writing this…

    https://thedispatch.com/newsletter/gfile/apocalypse-not/?fbclid=IwAR1YcNbf5Ctg_s4NbK_srVdvcM0-TepU6rYi3ej5P-9hyrVwMZ0HqWEbclw

  11. Michael says:

    Thank you, Kevin…keeping our eyes on the prize…

  12. Linn says:

    #8!

  13. filistine says:

    I’m inclined to fully endorse your concerns. I’ve read Tim Alberta’s recent book and while it was sobering, it wasn’t depressing for me. Your list of what we should be doing is precisely what I’d been thinking, though I’d submit that forgiveness be part of the picture when the time comes needs to be paired with clear repentance and ownership of the apostacy. Flabby grace in the face of existential threats to the cause of Christ is not helpful. I’m also stepping way back from political dialog, news casts, etc. As soon as I’m up and walking (second knee replacement), I’ll remove my name from the Republican Party and register “independent.” I’ve always been more than a RINO, but I’m not willing to associate with the party as it currently exists.

  14. Michael says:

    “Your list of what we should be doing is precisely what I’d been thinking, though I’d submit that forgiveness be part of the picture when the time comes needs to be paired with clear repentance and ownership of the apostacy.”

    Absolutely…though I have given up hope of anyone ever asking…

  15. Michael says:

    fil,

    I hope both you and your really better half are both recovering…you’re both in my prayers…

  16. filistine says:

    thank-you–we’re both slowly improving.

  17. Dread says:

    Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

  18. Dread says:

    Sorry, I think the “NAR” is causing a lot of believers to run from the lion into the bear. I think deception abounds and is overflowing among us– all of us. I frankly think the LORD has thrown confusion into our midst and is allowing us to reap the wind.

  19. Michael says:

    Dread,

    These are difficult times…but some of the frauds are obvious.

    We do need a constant prayer for clarity and vigils for truth.

  20. Eric says:

    The Church in my part of the world has its own problems but I don’t see it getting tangled with politics too much.

    What do the non-white parts of the US Church look like, regarding these issues?

  21. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael, thanks for referring me to that link…most of it is behind a paywall. Funny how every election cycle one side predicts the end of civilization if the “other guy” is elected, always threatening to move to Canada, “this is the most important election in the history of the nation”.

    Just a note: I certainly am NOT going to gaslight my wife and her nightmares, and I hope no one here does so either.

  22. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I shouldn’t do this ,but it’s worth reading…

    “Well, here we go.

    I’m not going to tell you how to vote. I am going to tell you how to think about voting. But I’m going to take you on a journey to get there.

    Let me skip ahead. Five years from now, America will be okay. You’ll probably be okay. And if you are not okay, it will in all likelihood have nothing to do with who was elected president in 2024.

    Those of you who think I’m trying to reassure anti-Trump people (like me), despondent over the prospect of another Trump presidency, you’re right. But I’m also talking even more to pro-Trump folks, convinced that America can’t survive four more years of Joe Biden.

    All of you need to get off the ledge.

    Let’s start with the fact that Donald Trump told you in 2020 that if Biden was elected it would be the end of us. In 2020, then President Trump said that if Biden won America would be destroyed, wrecked, and ruined. “Joe Biden and the Radical Left want to Abolish Police, Abolish ICE, Abolish Bail, Abolish Suburbs, Abolish the 2nd Amendment — and Abolish the American Way of Life,” he tweeted in the summer of 2020. “No one will be SAFE in Joe Biden’s America!”

    Outside the White House, he yelled, “Joe Biden and his bosses from the radical left want to significantly multiply what they’re doing now and what will be the end result is you will totally destroy the beautiful suburbs. Suburbia will be no longer as we know it.”

    When Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his running mate, his campaign declared “Biden and Harris’ disastrous proposals of defunding the police, increased taxes, job-killing policies, and opening our borders are just a few of the many ways they would destroy America.”

    If you look around, America has not been destroyed.

    But let’s look more closely at the specifics in those various claims. They’re a mixed bag. Biden wants to curtail gun rights, no doubt. But no such curtailment has occurred. The Second Amendment is still there. So are ICE, bail, and the police. Indeed, Biden never proposed defunding the police—Biden ran against that in the 2020 primaries. (But, of note: The Republican speaker is proposing significant cuts to federal law enforcement.)

    Biden didn’t run on opening the borders, but he did do some very bad things that made the border far more porous, and he’s now trying—or talking about trying—-to reverse some of them. Biden did want to raise taxes, but except for some provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, he didn’t actually raise taxes. He couldn’t get his other tax hikes through a Democratic-controlled Congress. The taxes he did raise—on fossil fuels and some other business taxes, according to the Heritage Foundation (hardly a pro-Biden outfit), amounted to about $60 billion on paper in 2023. They probably destroyed some jobs—all taxes do, to one extent or another—but they were in the aggregate a rounding error.

    Other policies killed jobs too. Killing the Keystone pipeline was a very bad policy and it surely killed some jobs. But, contrary to what Donald Trump and other Republicans constantly say or insinuate, we didn’t stop drilling for oil. In fact, we’re producing more oil and gas today than we did under Trump—or any other president. Also, Biden has arguably the best record of job creation on his watch as any president in modern American history, including Trump.

    Crime went up after Biden was elected. It is now going down while Biden is still in office. I don’t think he deserves much blame for the former or much credit for the latter, in part because presidents don’t deal with crime very much and in part because it seems incredibly obvious to me that the pandemic was the prime cause of spiking crime rates.

    The suburbs have been growing over the last decade or so. That trend has continued in the Biden years (the pandemic even accelerated the trend), but not because of anything Biden has done or not done. Suffice it to say, they haven’t been destroyed either.

    The point here isn’t to defend Joe Biden. Okay, maybe it is—but only against the charge of destroying America and related nonsense. I didn’t like Barack Obama’s presidency, but he didn’t destroy America, either. Nor did George W. Bush, who was often denounced with similar language from the left. In fact, looking over the long list of American presidents, good and bad, none of them destroyed America.

    And just in case you missed the point: Donald Trump didn’t save America, but he didn’t destroy it either.

    Look out the window if you don’t believe me.

    I’ve been arguing for my entire adult life that presidents don’t matter as much as presidents—and the journalists who write about them—want you to believe. Presidents don’t have a machine in the basement that “creates jobs.” They’re not America’s father. They’re not the embodiment of the American spirit or the voice of the American people. Yes, as a practical matter, they do speak for the U.S. government on the international stage. But domestically, they run just one of the three branches of the federal government, which itself is only one of the governments in American life. What governors, state legislatures, and mayors do often has as much—and sometimes more—influence over the quality of life of Americans. But their influence over your life probably pales compared to that of your boss, your colleagues, friends, doctor, and, of course, your family. Changing technology very often has a bigger impact on employment and life-quality than government regulation.

    Look back on your own life. How responsible was the occupant of the Oval Office for the highs or lows? For some people, it probably mattered a lot. If you were in the military or worked for a government agency, you can surely point to some stuff.

    In short, presidents are important. They have outsized influence in all sorts of ways. But in general, if you’ve invested a huge amount of meaning in the presidency, that’s a choice, not a necessity.

    The cult of politics.

    For many people it’s not the presidency per se they’ve imbued with outsized meaning, but politics generally. And that’s the real problem. Politics has become a stand-in not only for religion but also in the primary arena for kulturkampf. Having a president of the other party in the Oval Office is for many like having a king of the wrong religion on the throne. It pets the cat of the cosmic order backward, eliciting shrieks and claws at every turn.

    Apocalypticism and catastrophism are often products of a religious mindset. Even more often, they are the product of a religious mindset when that mindset is unconstrained by reason, dogma, right instruction, and, most of all, the caution brought by self-awareness that one is indulging metaphysical instincts. In an age when so many serve as their own priests, seeking reassurance and wise counsel from informed, sober-minded, priests seems like a waste of time.

    I should explain what I mean. Think of it this way. I subscribe to the view, common on the right, that environmentalism often serves as a kind of secular religion. I don’t think it’s true of every environmentalist or climate change alarmist. But if you don’t think it’s true of any environmentalist, you should consider the fact that many environmentalists admit as much. But my point is about the environmentalists who don’t admit it—to themselves. Self-awareness is indispensable to seeing the lines between what you want to be true and what is actually true. Overly impassioned environmentalists who think they are cold-eyed realists are often blind to such lines. The same can be said for all sorts of secular faiths, from Marxism to nationalism to various forms of intersectionality. Zealots of totalizing visions of life or the universe almost by definition are blind to the limits of their worldview.

    Just as the conspiracy theorist rejects a priori the possibility of coincidence, the zealot cannot comprehend that any important facts can contradict his or her theory of everything. The Marxists and critical theorists insist that the dissent of the working class from their program is proof that the working class is so oppressed by the system that it cannot see its own interests. For the environmental zealot, drought is proof of climate change and so is heavy rain. I am fascinated by the anti-Israel fanatics of the far left who are convinced that the fight against Zionism is the fight for queer rights. But search “Zionist” and “queer” on Twitter or Google and strap in.

    Belief in the unity of goodness—all good things go together—is a fundamentally religious mindset, but in my experience, it is at least as common among the un- or anti-religious as the faithful. (Indeed, one of the great contributions of Christianity is its recognition that the secular and sacred do not always work in tandem.)

    This is what I am getting at when I say that catastrophism and apocalypticism are features of the unconstrained religious mindset. Climate change is not an existential, extinction-level event. But acolytes of the faith need it to be to justify their faith and their actions.

    I think Trumpism operates like one of these totalizing worldviews. I could spend the next thousand words nutpicking the idiotic and deranged statements from people like Mike Flynn and various QAnon freaks to demonstrate the point. I could also quote Trump himself ad nauseum, immunizing myself from the charge of nutpicking, since he is the de facto Republican nominee for president.

    But I want to address neither the fringe believer nor the titular deity of their faith. Instead, I want to address the normal voter, specifically the normal Republican voter. In virtually every speech, including last night’s victory speech, Trump insists that the stakes couldn’t be higher. The very existence of America is on the ballot. It’s all bullsh-t. Worse, it’s familiar bullsh-t. Again, he said it in 2020 and 2016. His enablers wrote and popularized paranoid nonsense about the “Flight 93 Election.”

    The enablers, who used to heap scorn on the idea that a “crisis is a terrible thing to waste” are now fanatical crisis-mongers of the first order.

    The key rhetorical gimmick of catastrophists is to operate on the assumption that you agree with their apocalyptic premise. This gimmick is essential to overcome the practical objections to their call to action. If I say that banning the internal combustion engine is folly for all sorts of obvious and practical reasons, the response from the Greta Thurnberg types is some variant of “you don’t care about climate change” or “you’re fine with the destruction of life on earth.”

    Similarly, nearly every time I tell a true-believer that I will never vote for Trump, the response is some variant of “you want to destroy America” or “you must love Biden.” Neither are remotely true. A second Biden presidency, whether he is capable of finishing a second term or not, will be bad in myriad ways. But it won’t destroy America.

    It’s probably more controversial for me to say I don’t think a second Trump presidency will destroy America, either. But that is what I believe. And while I think the arguments about the dire consequences of a second Trump presidency have a lot more merit, I reject the Church of anti-Trumpism as much as reject the Church of Trumpism. Still, a second Trump presidency, I believe, is far, far, more likely to do more harm to the country that I love and the ideals I hold close to heart.

    Doomsdayism drenches our politics and our politics are worsened by it. Because the whole point of crisis-mongering is to give yourself an excuse to abandon the rules and do whatever it takes. This is symbiosis of left and right today: “Our enemies are so terrible we can behave like them for we are just.”

    The irony of doomsdayism is that it is deployed to arouse strength, will, and commitment to a political cause, but it carries within it the permission structure for despair and surrender. If all it takes for America to end is electing the wrong president, then America is already over. If Trump is sworn-in on January 20, 2025, the last thing anyone who loves America should do is behave like that America is lost. Because that is the suicidal choice for a democracy.

    “From whence shall we expect the approach of danger?” asked Abraham Lincoln. “Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia … could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.”

    Short of suicide, figurative or literal, no cause is truly lost. As T.S. Eliot says, “there is no such thing as a Lost Cause, because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause.” In other words, the struggle for what is right is eternal, not final—in life and at the ballot box.

    Last night Trump crapped on the idea of the American experiment. “Some people call it an experiment—I don’t call it an experiment,” he said. It was George Washington who called it that (“The establishment of our new Government seemed to be the last great experiment for promoting human happiness.”), and he was right. It’s an experiment in that the duty to keep it going falls afresh on every generation.

    I think Democrats are wrong about a lot of policies. But if you think the goal of every Democrat is to destroy America, you’ve got doomsday-poisoning. Not voting for Trump doesn’t mean you agree with Democrats about taxes or schools or anything else. Claims otherwise are appeals to the Manichean tribal logic that reduces everything and everyone to good versus evil. Some good people are going to vote for Trump and some bad people are going to vote for Biden and vice versa. But voting isn’t baptismal. You are not submitting to a faith when you fill in the oval or pull the lever. Likewise, you are not committing heresy or betraying your tribe. You’re making a choice about a person or party and how you think they might govern in a specific office for a specific period of time.

    At least that’s how I think you should think about voting—or not voting—in every election. Give yourself permission to ignore the fear-mongering doomsdayism, the finger-wagging guilt, and religious zealotry that turns political allegiance into something metaphysical. Ignore the Jeremiahs and vote your interests and values based on facts and reason, not hysteria. And if the election goes the wrong way, do not despair. You’ll probably be okay—so long as we don’t give up on the experiment. “

  23. Dread says:

    The problem with this is the idea that after 4 years we can actually assess the long term damage done to the nation. The one thing that seems observably true about America is that you don’t want to live in our center cities anymore. I don’t even want to visit them.

  24. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Michael. I’ll read it this evening after work.

  25. Michael says:

    Dread,

    The decline of the cities began long before the current administration.

    My major issue is that we have real big issues in this country right now…housing is beyond the reach of many, the health care system is collapsing and the wealth gap is a canyon.

    We’re aging out and our young ones are drowning.

    Our infrastructure is aging and falling into shambles.

    I’ve yet to hear any discussions or policy proposals about any of the above…just dumb ass rhetoric about libs and MAGA that divides and defeats the only thing that can save us…community.

  26. Michael says:

    At the risk of incurring the wrath of many…people smarter than me think Biden has done very good work in keeping us out of a recession or worse…the collapse of the supply chains during Covid and the ensuing inflation could have wrecked us…I think he will go down in history as competent…which isn’t a bad thing to be known for.

  27. Jean says:

    When anyone is running against an incumbent, his message is never: The economy is very good, but I will make it better. The message is always: The economy is in shambles and unless you elect me then four more years of the incumbent will ruin the economy for ever.

    On almost every macro measure, the economy is doing fantastic. Job creation is great. Unemployment is extremely low. Business formation is great. Wage growth is great. Inflation is coming down and is below the level of wage growth. Corporate profits are great. The stock market, and hence people’s 401(k)s and IRAs are doing great.

    In any economy there are people who are left out and who do not participate in the nation’s prosperity. But for the majority of Americans you can scarcely point to a time when the economy has been stronger. If you are a graduating college senior, or graduating from a trade school, you are looking at multiple job opportunities with great starting pay and benefits.

    It’s a shame that the opposition talks down our economy and actually works to undermine it for political gain.

  28. Dread says:

    My 11:17 should have said cannot.

    As for the cities. They’ve been governed by one party for a generation so we know that is a failed experiment.

  29. Jean says:

    Dread, your simplistic assertion implies that mayors and city councils govern a sovereign city. However, cities have no or limited control over relevant issues, such as gun regulations, immigration, prison sentences, mental health budgets, judicial appointments or elections, and the cost and financing of healthcare, housing and education. I would like to see your brand of governance take a crack at my hometown, San Francisco, and see how he does.

    Anyone can decree: Thou shall not sleep on the street or relieve oneself in public. But then what? Would you raise taxes to create homeless people prisons?

    What about organized shoplifting? It’s not as though Democrats think shoplifting is good. Would you recommend raising taxes to double the police force? Would that address the problem?

    I don’t have all the answers, but I don’t believe the solution is as simplistic as a change of party administration.

  30. Dread says:

    Don’t think I said there was a simple solution just a common problem.

  31. Josh says:

    Some cities are doing well, some are not. The real problem, though, is having that many people in such a small area. That problem predates America, much less any current or recent administration.

  32. Josh says:

    As I’m continuing my thought…we say the cities have failed. What do we say about rural Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta region? These are some of the poorest most morally reprehensible places on earth. Have the rural areas failed too? Are we really going to say that the only areas that are succeeding are our “beautiful suburbs”?

    Propaganda abounds.

  33. Kevin H says:

    There are all kinds of factors that go into why our cities struggle with crime, poverty, homelessness, etc., and I don’t think there is one outstanding factor for why that is. At the same time, it’s hard to ignore that over these years in which cities have increasingly dealt with struggles, they have largely been ruled by Democratic politics. Again, this does not place all blame on such, but at the same time it would also be foolhardy to just wave off this actuality.

    My city of Philadelphia has been dominated by Democratic politics for the last 60-70 years. The biggest struggle the city faces in particular is poverty, as for many years now we have had the highest poverty rate in the country among big cities. This has not always been the case, but the poverty rates in Philadelphia have also risen quite significantly during this same 60-70 year time period. Again, we cannot just automatically say that this is all the fault of the Democrats, yet at the same time, it would be unwise to just write it off as a coincidence.

    One other interesting note on poverty in Philadelphia. I live in the Northeast section of Philadelphia, which actually has some of the lowest, if not the lowest poverty rates in the city. Northeast Philly also has the highest rate of immigrants living in it compared to all other sections of the city (and although I don’t know what the data is, I am sure it is some kind of significant mix of “legal” and “illegal” immigrants). So that data sure doesn’t work well with the popular narrative that immigration (illegal and even legal) is destroying our economy.

  34. Jean says:

    In my opinion, there is moral decay in our country, and it’s not limited to the boundaries of any political subdivision or party. We are now even gleefully elevating a moral reprobate to the highest political office.

    The question is why is the nation in moral decline? Why is this nation where a majority of its people self identify as Christian more lawless than any other G7 nation?

  35. Josh says:

    I disagree that there is moral decline. Genocide against the people who lived here when we arrived was pretty atrocious.

  36. Michael says:

    I would like to see actual studies regarding why the cities are struggling…Covid wiping out the business real estate market and all the small businesses that accompany it is a new factor.

    I will say this…progressive policies that focus on identity politics and victimhood have almost destroyed my state…the loss of common sense in dealing with humans has as well.

    What the Founders got right was that government needed to restrain the base impulses of sinful people…they understood that some people are simply no damn good and you have to control them…or soon no one is any damn good…I think the Bible speaks to this…

  37. Jean says:

    Josh,
    You make a good point. I was confusing immorality with lawlessness.

    The genocide of what you speak was more or less lawful. Today we have laws but people flaunt the ones they don’t like, while aggrieved that others flaunt the ones they don’t like.

    Regrettably, more and more the country and states are passing laws that are immoral. Yes, we’ve always had immoral laws.

  38. Josh says:

    All that being said, I do think our union will come apart at the seems in the relatively near future.

    If we can get a wall built around the Carolinas soon enough, I’m cool with it 🙂

  39. Kevin H says:

    Yeah Josh, and then you could be stuck with this guy as your leader: https://currentpub.com/2024/03/05/north-carolina-republicans-pick-mark-robinson-as-their-gubernatorial-candidate/
    😮 😮 😮

  40. bob1 says:

    Wow.

    Some “leader.”

    Panders to our very worst angels…

  41. Josh says:

    Yep, he’s a nightmare. And the Republicans here absolutely love him. The more they love him, the crazier stuff he says. The more they love him. It’s wild. I don’t understand that trend with the Republican party at all.
    Democrats suck too, before anyone accuses me of being one-sided.

    Still. The Carolinas are like heaven. I’m not even sure who our Governor is. That stuff just doesn’t really touch daily life here. Wonderful people, beautiful landscape.

  42. Muff Potter says:

    Michael wrote:
    “I’ve yet to hear any discussions or policy proposals about any of the above…just dumb ass rhetoric about libs and MAGA that divides and defeats the only thing that can save us…community.”

    Don’t forget ‘homosexuality’, which is at the top (or close to it) of the fundagelical-MAGA list for what’s ailing America.
    They have no desire for ‘community’ unless it’s what they consider community, with outliers and dissidents excluded.

  43. BryonM says:

    Dynamite thread, Michael. Keep up the good work.

  44. Reuben says:

    It’s been a long time since I have seen you around, Bryon! I think it was at Calvary Cheyenne last time!

  45. Michael says:

    Thank you, Bryon…we’re trying…

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