Things I Think…

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30 Responses

  1. Reuben says:

    I love that there is a community aspect to this blog, and I always look forward all week to your Things.

    Thought 1, I read foreign news sources reporting on America, and they think we are idiots. We are literally amusement for the rest of the planet until we get involved in serious global issues (Like Israel) and then the fun is gone. What does that have to do with thought 1? Same thing when looking at the church from the outside.

  2. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    What gets lost is that I fight for the church because I love the church.

    I also love what our country could be….

    I read a lot of news from outside the country as well…it’s helpful for perspective, as you noted.

  3. Reuben says:

    It’s admirable, Michael. I notice.

    Thought 9 as well. If what the world knows of Christians is what we saw those two clowns do over a sword swallower, it’s easy to see why the numbers. People from within the church have to see these things as well. There is nothing, NOTHING of value to be taken from that debacle. It’s like Josh said, laughably ridiculous. Amusement. Hilarious. I speak still mostly from the outside, and to me, its embarrassing.

  4. Alan says:

    As per #9 the alarm is real.

    “Everything Tocqueville wrote about mediating institutions and about federalism was informed by what could be called the French Revolution problem—namely, that as social bonds get weaker, people have little reason to gather together or to count on one another. Their attention therefore drifts upward to abstract universal ideas (see section 68), and they become incapable of building a world with their neighbors and fellow citizens—those deplorable creatures who actually believe in the particular ideas that are always necessary if we are going to build a durable world together.”

    Mitchell, Joshua. American Awakening (p. 221). Encounter Books. Kindle Edition.

  5. Michael says:

    Alan,

    The foundations have eroded and the center has not held…I’m not sure where to go from here…

  6. Josh says:

    Growing up, the two most respected voices in Christianity were Jimmy Swaggert and Jim Baker. They both preached a moral gospel. “Christians ought to act this way” kind of thing. It was exposed before my early teens that they were both gross horndogs. I don’t think the church in America ever recovered being taken seriously, if I’m honest. So the latest Driscoll drama is just side-show entertainment. Everyone knows we don’t take it seriously, why should they?

  7. pstrmike says:

    “Everyone knows we don’t take it seriously. . . .

    Tragically, I think there are plenty of “us” that do take it seriously. “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    As to unbelievers, it is another part of their house built upon the sand that affirms why they don’t want a relationship with the true and living God.

  8. Captain Kevin says:

    #5 Those wolves are gorgeous. Keep posting all the animals that make you happy.

    #7 Boy, do I understand that one. I can’t skip one dose of the opioid without pain shooting from a 6 to a 9 within a couple hours.

  9. Michael says:

    Josh,

    There’s a part of me that says if we took it seriously that conference center would have been empty from the beginning…

  10. Josh says:

    We should just skip the moral / behavior part. Let god deal with individuals on that. Introduce people to the god who is happy to see them. If he has a problem with how they behave he can let them know at some point.

  11. Michael says:

    CK,

    I think beauty is better than conflict…so I’ll keep offering what I find beautiful.

    If I’m a half late on my meds I start withdrawals…gets ugly…

  12. Alan says:

    Things I think this week

    1. The Driscoll problem is bad. It is especially bad in that it constituted a rejection of the idea that MD’s glaring weakness was power and abusing power. A mountain of evidence was not enough to prevent the ‘elephant room’ residents from getting him back to the top of the heap. Now a couple of elephants are faced off in a public war. As usual the regular folk lose.

    2. The Bickle problem is real. He has been exposed and to a degree that not only his personal morality and character is damaged beyond remedy but the world he built is properly under scrutiny. By that I mean the so-called “prophetic history” upon which IHOPKC was built. Further, the theological emphasis on Song of Solomon feels pretty icky in light of the founder’s personal violations of intimacy. It always seemed that way to me.

    3. The problems with IHOPKC call into question the veracity of the revived prophetic gifting in a way that is threatening to its very existence. If this renewed emphasis on prophecy is valid, (and I believe that it is) then we must humble ourselves and discover what is going on and how it can be remedied.

    4. As usual one obvious villain is free market religion. As long as religious crowds can be gathered based upon sensational factors we are going to have hucksters and frauds. As a cradle Lutheran Johan Tetzel is always on my mind when I watch us sell the faith like a commodity.

  13. Michael says:

    pstrmike,

    Not enough of us to make a dent take these things seriously…but they are serious matters indeed to those who do…

  14. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I have no interest at all in hiding the moral imperatives of the faith…because Jesus equated keeping the commandments with loving Him…

  15. Josh says:

    Well, we all hate him.

  16. Michael says:

    Alan,

    Well said.

    The Bible situation has been interesting…the attention of mainstream evangelicals has turned to politics and this story doesn’t register outside the charismatic silo.

    I think it possible that the charismatic movement has set up so far outside credulity that it will become irrelevant.

  17. Michael says:

    Josh,

    You are far better trained than that.

    There is grace to cover for believers…but I’m not interested in any sect that doesn’t have standards proven to enable human flourishing.

  18. Josh says:

    I have tossed my training out the window.

    Maybe there is no other way around. Maybe being a good boy is the key that gets god to love me back. If that is the case, glad to be done with it.

    What I’m hoping is for a god that loves me as I am. Imay end up behaving better because of that relationship, but that relationship isn’t dependent upon my behavior.

    I’m probably wrong, and this will probably fail too…but the other other way already let me down, so I don’t have a lot of options.

  19. Michael says:

    Alan,

    Again, when I look at the prophetic movement, all I see are grifters.

    I came into the Christian faith as a Pentecostal…and wish that the evidence concerning the “gifts” would have allowed me to stay there.

  20. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I have had major pain and disappointment in my life…and am walking in a lot of both now.

    The love of God is not measurable by circumstances…most of Gods really good people have suffered tremendously.
    We want what has been promised in the kingdom to come now and we seek to overthrow the king when that doesn’t happen.

    I try to be obedient God because of what He’s done in Christ…and when I do obey Him, I love the people around me much better.

    God is love…and His commandments are simply a way of ordering the creation in such a way that love, both for God and people, can flourish.

  21. Josh says:

    I’m not an evangelist for this god either, so I’ll bow out. For me, I found a better way. For now.

  22. Michael says:

    This sounds ridiculous, but follow me out. I’m willing to be a fool.

    I’ve lost all but a few of my people.
    I thank God for my true friends, but few are close.

    My status has fled and much support with it.

    My health is gone…I see an old man when I see my reflection walking.

    My biggest fear is losing my cat.
    Liam is my closest friend and constant companion.

    I have had to speak to my spiritual director about this…what would I think of God if I lost Liam to accident or illness?

    I’ve decided it wouldn’t matter much what I think…because Gods thoughts toward me would not change.

    He loves.

  23. Michael says:

    Josh,

    No need to bow out.

    I’m just an old man who had to burn some idols to find Jesus in the ashes.

  24. Josh says:

    Just bowing out of this particular line of conversation. Not going away 🙂

    The Enns and Cremer end of the Christian pool looks much more appealing to me than my old stomping grounds.

  25. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I like that end of the pool as well…your old stomping grounds would make me an agnostic…

  26. JTK says:

    re: Alan on free market religion allows and creates hucksters….but, not to be fatalistic, Jesus warned us of wolves in sheep’s clothing, so on some level, we will ALWAYS have them. I hope the day comes when there are fewer, they are identified quicker and congregations have more convictions to out and oust them…

    Michael,
    I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but 2 years ago we got a 6 pound mini schnauzer and my heart has melted. Thanks for your influence. My entire family of 5 has greatly enjoyed this….

  27. Interested Bystander says:

    Michael, I am also on the triumvirate of pain meds commonly prescribed for neck and spine issues, and have been for the past 8 years. Made the choice of no surgery because there is no guarantee of it not actually worsening the condition.

    They make life possible to enjoy.

    Like most of our pharmaceuticals, they’re manufactured in China. Try to set a few back (I have) should supply lines ever be interrupted

    I hear you about living with pain and meds. You can both hate the necessity and be very grateful, simultaneously

  28. Michael says:

    Interested Bystander,

    We’re on the same page here…and I have squirreled away some just in case.
    Withdrawal is not something I want to go through.

    They affect my memory and processing…and gabapentin affects my balance…but I can walk and function and that’s worth a lot.

    I feel the same way you do about surgery, as well…

  29. Michael says:

    Interested Bystander,,

    My biggest issue is that I can’t write worth a damn anymore…and that’s a big loss for me.

    Still, I am grateful for what I can do.

  30. Reuben says:

    Alcohol withdrawals are similar. You can die from them. Fortunately, the times I have quit were medically assisted detoxes. The drugs they keep you on to survive the withdrawals are almost as bad.

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