Things I Think…

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46 Responses

  1. Linn says:

    Interesting that Mr. Butker was at a Catholic school, expressing some values that are important to some Catholics. I’m not sure it was the place to insert that, but free speech is his right. No one will probably even remember the speech a year from now, but we need to have something to complain about, always. That’s what I find so interesting about the current culture on both sides-we must be in a continual state of outrage or we are afraid that others won’t take us seriously. Heaven help us when something REALLY outrageous occurs and we can’t even understand what it is about.

  2. R'as al Ghul says:


    Interestingly in many cultures, the wife handles the family finances, the bookkeeping, etc (if even she does not work). I imagine that was true in the ancient world as well. As my dad used to say (even though he was the sole breadwinner), he got an allowance each week.

  3. prodinov says:

    Always love what you are thinking….solid….and well received. Today’s Wall Street Journal had a front page article on Church Startups. Painful to read. Your voice has been consistent on how this does not fit into the Biblical definition. There is a paywall. Will forward a PDF for your reading.

  4. Kevin H says:

    No, Michael, this is not how you’re supposed to do it. You’re supposed to pick a side and blast the other. Nuance, balance, and thoughtfulness are never going to ramp up jersey sales or lead to the gratification of burning someone at the stake!

  5. Michael says:


    “Heaven help us when something REALLY outrageous occurs and we can’t even understand what it is about.”

    The next pandemic will thin the herd…

  6. Michael says:


    Thank for the kind words.
    I reviewed that article…and you’re right.
    Those folks would not be comfortable in a real church…

  7. Michael says:

    Kevin H,

    Sad but true…everyone now has a massive dopamine addiction…

  8. Reuben says:

    I scanned the speech, it looked very Catholic. This is only a thing because a sports ball guy is involved. Every time something like this happens, I lose my interest even more.

  9. Duane Arnold says:

    The Benedictine sisters who co-founded the college have already disavowed the commencement address, saying that it flies in the face of 1500 years of the Benedictine tradition. We would do well to remember the Roman Catholic Church is also riven by ideological perspectives…

  10. DavidH says:

    Let the man talk. Free speech, means free speech. I’m so tired of both sides demanding that their opponents can’t speak their minds. Both extremes love fueling the rage machine.

  11. Reuben says:

    Riven? Meh… Someone has to disavow something or the cancellation folk start to cancel. Sounds expedient.

  12. Duane Arnold says:

    past participle: riven

    split or tear apart violently.
    “the party was riven by disagreements over Europe”

  13. Reuben says:

    I’m fine with your use of the word, I’m saying disavowing the speech is expediency. Someone’s head has to roll. Probably someone in the school’s senior staff. Social media will take care of the sports ball guy.

  14. Michael says:


    This has been a windfall for the school and the kicker.

    He has the #1 jersey sales in the NFL right now…and this little Catholic school is getting a lot of positive feedback from trad Catholics.

    The sisters spoke their conscience…but they were under no pressure to do so.

    I won’t say cancel culture is dead…but it is sick and getting weaker…

  15. Reuben says:

    Fair enough. Agreed completely on cancel culture. Like I have been saying, they are canceling themselves.

  16. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    on the subject of women in the ancient near east … this giant volume edited by Marten Stol still lists as free in its Kindle format. I may have recommended it here at Phoenix Preacher before but in case I hadn’t … here you go.

    Women in the Ancient Near East

  17. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Amen to #2.

    What progressives and conservatives alike seem to want is for some form of American civic religion to inform and saturate family and gender scripts. It was a point I made in a paper decades ago when I was assigned to read point and counterpoint from scholars arguing family needed to be altered or retrieved. Back in the 1990s it seemed conservatives wanted to “return” to a 1950s version of nuclear family domesticity that didn’t necessarily exist in real world terms beyond the post-war boom while liberals or progressives wanted a kind of politically egalitarian system in which representative democratic proceduralism inform whatever family units, if applicable, existed. In both cases it seemed like a kind of Americanist civic religious cultism.

    People who weren’t actually in/at Mars Hill wouldn’t know about the “life together” phase where when the leaders couldn’t afford to own their own houses free and clear they rented space to single guys or gals and young couples and formed social life that way. Once the top dogs began to be able to own their own homes autonomously the scripts began to get fussier for what men and women were “supposed” to do. I was hanging out with a longtime friend from those years and he was sharing how back in the day he got flak from people because his wife out-earned him and his short response was “$@%^ you, you have no business telling me what my wife and I have decided works best for us”.

  18. Alexandra says:

    Can you imagine saying that God says that the highest calling for a women is that of wife/mother/homemaker in front of nuns? Sorry, but it just makes me laugh a bit.

    I attended a denomination for many years that taught just what his speech said, and also taught us that it was God’s design and women’s purpose. There was a hierarchical teaching of roles where God was the head of the man, and the man was the head of the woman and kids, and the woman was the manager of the children. I tried to fulfill the role as explained to me; I really did want to please God and I was quite sincere. But what to do about an alcoholic husband who worked sporadically and considered all housework and childtending women’s work, and did not help?
    Sorry, but it is rather easy for someone drawing a million $ salary to insist that women stay home and tend the fires – but what if the house is on fire?

    I remember that I was painting our house, all by myself, all by hand (not spray), with primer first and then paint. It was tortuous work but I wanted our house to look good. Took me months to complete. I remember our pastor castigating me and telling me that was man’s work. His attitude of disapproval got to me and I said “Well, if a man would do it, I’d stop. My husband won’t. Do you want to come paint?” Upon my divorce, I left that church. Has anyone here heard of Bill Gothard and his Basic Life Principles stadium workshops and curriculum? Many evangelistic churches got these principles from him as he toured the country teaching ‘what God says’, so it is certainly not just Catholic.

  19. Alex says:

    Jesus was single.
    Jesus wasn’t married.
    Jesus didn’t have children.
    It should make us pause at the very least when those who claim to follow him say that getting married and having children is the highest honor humans can achieve.
    It should make us pause at the very least and ask, where do these traditional values come from if Jesus didn’t even “achieve” them himself?
    It should make us pause at the very least when Christians are heard declaring a set of values that everyone should abide by when Jesus didn’t even abide by them himself.
    It should at least make us pause and think “where do these values really come from?”
    At the very least.

    ~ Benjamin Cramer

  20. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Driscoll (and others) used to say that unless you were called to a life threatening ministry like smuggling Bibles into China you were supposed to be married. Setting aside the racial/ethnic defaults of such a stupid statement he used an example of Jeremiah the prophet.

    Now for those of us who actually bothered to read the Book of Jeremiah, the reason the Lord told Jeremiah to never marry (attend marriages, funerals or parties) was because the disaster coming upon God’s people would be so severe and there’d be so many corpses in the land unburied there was no point in marrying or having children. Ironically there was a rabbinical tradition that the prophet eventually married after the exile and deportation but some scholars think that developed as a satirical tradition about prudish self-designated prophets.

    But there are many traditions with variations on “forget what a biblical text says I’m about to tell you how this really works.” In the Reformed neck of the woods the regulative principle is taken to mean that you should ignore every passage in the Psalms saying to praise the Lord with instruments because that was a type that was fulfilled in the coming of Christ so you should NOT do what the Psalms explicitly tell you to about having instruments in songs of praise to the Lord.

    Another variation, ex-Pentecostal that I am, is cessationists explaining away any and all exhortation about spiritual gifts and conduct in Spirit-inspired moments as delimited to the Apostolic era. I am not entirely unable to understand what cessationists hope they are defending with regard to the authority of scripture and apostolic tradition as primary but, I’ll say this, cessationists of the more hard-line variety Rudolf Bultmanned the entire Bible before Rudolf Bultmann was even born. Let the reader understand. 😉

    I may not be a Pentecostal any longer but I’ve never been a cessationist.

  21. E-Dan says:

    The wimmin stayin’ at home part of his speech was a definite crowd pleaser but let’s also feast on other parts of his rich pre-Vatican II ideological buffet!

    My “favorite” point was his heartfelt plea to Congress to allow Catholics to be able to continue to publicly say Jews killed Jesus without fear of prosecution. Old time religion indeed.

    Butker’s coming from a place of stuff Mel Gibson’s dad (who is NOT in communion with the Catholic Church) believes, it’s officially condemned by the Church, and it’s a comprehensive package which even most mainstream conservatives say goes too far.

    You know that one guy at Trump rallies who’s like, “He’s OK, but I really want a monarchy, actually?” Yeah, that’s where Butker’s mind is. Or at least his words are.

  22. Duane Arnold says:

    Statement in Response to the 2024
    Benedictine College Commencement Address
    The sisters of Mount St. Scholastica do not believe that Harrison Butker’s comments in his 2024 Benedictine College commencement address represent the Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts college that our founders envisioned and in which we have been so invested.

    Instead of promoting unity in our church, our nation, and the world, his comments seem to have fostered division. One of our concerns was the assertion that being a homemaker is the highest calling for a woman. We sisters have dedicated our lives to God and God’s people, including the many women whom we have taught and influenced during the past 160 years. These women have made a tremendous difference in the world in their roles as wives and mothers and through their God-given gifts in leadership, scholarship, and their careers.

    Our community has taught young women and men not just how to be “homemakers” in a limited sense, but rather how to make a Gospel-centered, compassionate home within themselves where they can welcome others as Christ, empowering them to be the best versions of themselves. We reject a narrow definition of what it means to be Catholic. We are faithful members of the Catholic Church who embrace and promote the values of the Gospel, St. Benedict, and Vatican II and the teachings of Pope Francis.

    We want to be known as an inclusive, welcoming community, embracing Benedictine values that have endured for more than 1500 years and have spread through every continent and nation. We believe those values are the core of Benedictine College.

    We thank all who are supportive of our Mount community and the values we hold. With St. Benedict, we pray, “Let us prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he lead us all together to life everlasting.”

  23. Alan says:

    Butkers at the Benedictine College and Biden at Morehouse convince me that these exercises in drama are perhaps best left aside. Ideals that unite us have vanished. It is a very big concern.

    I mean basically Butkers failed to acknowledge the calling upon the sisters in his idealized speech. Even the self-denying order cannot countenance being unnoticed.

    We are very very ill and the remedy is going to be darkest night.

  24. Alan says:

    Per #7 above…

    So how do you categorize what the apostle is actually up to in his letters wherein he takes pains to prescribe human relationships with clearly articulated boundaries.

    I think I get what you are bothered about but then again it is both the pastoral vocation and the apostolic vocation to prescribe roles and behaviors within the same language that the apostles left to us.

  25. Michael says:


    The apostle was also speaking out of a particular cultural and historical context.
    Discerning between what was culturally based and what was “inspired” is not always easy…

    My job as a pastor is to help them discern how to flourish in Christ…and that looks different for every child of God.

  26. Muff Potter says:

    Michael @ 8:17 am,
    I agree. The Bible is a great and wonderful thing, but how much of that stuff do you (generic you) wanna’ try and extrapolate out of that when and where into this here and now?

  27. Reuben says:

    Agreed. The letters were not written to Reuben. They were written to a specific people, time and place.

  28. JanetLinn, BrideofChrist says:

    I’m happy to see that most folks here agree that those admonitions to women were given in a far different time and place then we find ourselves now. I wonder how Christian men would feel if they were still required to endure slavery, being made into eunuchs, etc., In 2024 – just as men commonly endured those fates in Jesus’s time – some 2,000years ago ?

  29. filistine says:

    commencement comments, in my experience as an educator, should address the graduates regarding their accomplishments and advice regarding their immediate futures. Political nonsense is disrespectful to graduates. BUT, if you invite a politician, guess what you’re likely to get? Solution–don’t give the platform to a politician. Further–give clear guidelines and expectations of the address well in advance and ask for an advance copy of the speech for approval. I’ve spoken at one graduation and those expectations were clearly communicated & explicitly followed.

  30. Alan says:

    Calling on culture to avoid the horns of apostolic dilemmas basically leaves the argument open to whoever has hegemony in the culture. Then we lampoon those who participate in culture wars.

    These issues are so difficult and our graffiti wall here is a hard place to flesh them out.

    As a well established egalitarian concerning women in ministry I still do not appeal to culture for my critiques of Biblical exposition. We are definitely running into the bog of confusion by letting culture lead the prophetic edge of change.

    We must take care to call upon culture whilst admonishing the church to stay in its lane. Were culture the king of ethics I would join the culture warriors at a higher level.

    There is something untapped among us in the way the early church by her ethos of self-giving love conquered an empire and fomented a sexual revolution that transformed her surroundings.

  31. Xenia says:

    >>>I’m happy to see that most folks here agree that those admonitions to women were given in a far different time and place then we find ourselves now.<<<

    I am not among the "most folks."

  32. Michael says:


    My need for brevity these days has me creating more problems than I solve.

    I’ve been extremely clear here that I hold to a traditional view of sexual ethics.

    This means (to me) taking into account the whole narrative of Scripture and church tradition.

    What I don’t see in Scripture are defined social roles for men and women in regard to vocation etc.

    Michael Bird wrote that he would say this to Butker:

    “First, not every woman is going to get married, and then among those that do, not every woman can have children or needs to have children. There is nothing wrong with celebrating someone being a wife and a mother. But if you valorize it too much, then you alienate the many woman who, by circumstances or calling, do not get married or do not have children. Many women are single by choice, others are single by death, divorce, or desertion. They are not believing a Satanic lie, they are often following a different path to your wife Isabelle, or else trying to play the cards that they have been dealt.

    Second, the notion of “homemaker” is a modern concept. It is only possible due to an affluent, consumerist, and suburban economy and culture. You’re an NFL player, you don’t need two incomes to pay the bills, to keep a roof over your head, and put food on the table. But for most places in America and the rest of the world, that is not the case. Do not look down on those mothers who have to work, and having a degree means that they can get better work.

    Third, do some reading. Read about women in the Bible, read the stories of Jael and Mary Magdalene, have a close look at Proverbs 31, read about the female martyrs, read about the lives of female saints, read some female authors like Flannery O’Connor and Dorothy Day. Try to view the world, just for a moment, through the eyes of women, their struggles, their experiences, and their needs and concerns.”

  33. Janet linn, BrideofChrist says:

    I think everyone here would agree that the admonitions given to slaves by the apostle Paul were given in a far different time and place. Paul told slaves to “obey your masters.” Christian slave owners in the south used Paul’s words to justify human slavery, but Christians today generally agree that God does not condone the subjugation of an entire group of human beings based on gender or race. Many Bible scholars believe that Paul himself was not himself condoning slavery or the subjugation of women, but rather, he was prioritizing making disciples for Jesus. Once hearts were changed for Jesus, the Kingdom of God would be ushered in, and Christians would realize ‘ There is no longer Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you all are one and the same in Christ.”

  34. Josh says:

    We’ll always have to look to culture to lead change. Anything conservative is looking to hold onto to something from the past, not change something for the future. When we listen to those around us we can find that current systems are suitable for their needs. The loving thing to do is change to make it better for them, even if it seems to make it somewhat worse for us.

  35. Michael says:


    There is some truth to what you say…however, if you want to see what happens when conservatism is completely cast away, move to Oregon.

    My homeland has become utterly unsafe, twisted, and stupidly weird.

    It’s terribly sad…

  36. Josh says:

    I didn’t say do away with conservatism, only that it doesn’t lead social change. It seeks to hold onto whatever is already there. Some of those things are good and worth holding onto, some are bad and need to be changed.

  37. R'as al Ghul says:

    Janet @ your 11:09 AM,

    Human slavery as practiced in Paul’s day was vastly different than the chattel slavery of the American South (and elsewhere). It was not race-based or on idea of racial superiority, or Curse of Ham excrement. In fact, according to the OT , all the slave traders, all slave owners, all those captured the men and women to sell them, and all those who bought slaves in the American South should be put to death. PERIOD.

  38. R'as al Ghul says:

    The problem is far too many Christians think the Bible is a science textbook (physic, geology, astronomy, etc.), a treatise on psychology, a history book (though there are historical events listed), a book on comparative governments and economies, and so on. The Bible itself tells in 2 Timothy what it is supposed to be used for. Go outside those lanes, you get into trouble. And thousands of years of history can attest to that fact.

  39. Xenia says:

    In the past, women did contribute financially to the family by producing sellable goods, either garden/farm produce or making things by hand such a textiles, etc. The family worked together as a team, with the harder physical labor falling to the men. As cities developed people lived in or near their shops and produced artisan items. It was a cooperative effort. After the industrial revolution, things changed and people had to “go to work” at some outside location. A woman selling eggs from her hens and selling cloth that she wove from the wool of her sheep, with her children all around, is not the same as a modern woman dropping her children off at a daycare and spending the day in a cubicle staring at a screen. Of the two choices, I know which scenario sound better to me. I am fairly familiar with early Medieval Scandinavian homelife and its small farms with an extended family making and selling goods with everyone doing their share. I myself have a small home business.

    I only mention this because the historicity of women at home was brought up.

  40. Janet linn,BrideofChrist says:

    Xenia, Thank you fir raising some good points! Can I share with you how my UCLA graduate daughter combines motherhood and a career? She works for a large international financial company, and although she worked and lived in Hong Kong for this company as a single woman, she now works exclusively from home from her computer and phone for them as a full-time employee, with occasional required business trips to other cities. She has a full-time nanny at her house while she works. Interestingly, her husband, who is a Harvard educated architect, also works full-time from home. My daughter actually earns more than he does, butthat us beside the point. They have a two-year-old, and my daughter is expecting a second child in just four weeks. Both parents get to see their daughter throughout the day. Employers are much more accommodating to working parents now days, and working from home is much more common, especially among college educated workers such as those Harrison Butker addressed in his graduation speech. My older daughter, who has a Masters degree and works for the US Chamber of Commerce, also works full-time from home with her computer with occasional business trips. My older daughter also has two children! The working world is a very different place than it was just twenty years ago, just as it has changed markedly since Biblical times, as you so rightfully pointed out.

  41. Xenia says:

    Hi Janet, yes, working from home as many of my own children do (techie jobs, lawyering) does make a big difference. I see this as a good thing. The “product” is different: code vs eggs, but I don’t think that matters so much. Good reply!

  42. Janet linn,BrideofChrist says:

    R’as’al ghul, I have heard it said that Biblical slavery was not as bad as modern slavery, but then there is this; “It is commonly suggested that Biblical slavery and early Christian slavery was less brutal than modern slavery, however, according to Chance Bonar, this is a faulty assumption, and there is ample historical evidence for extreme cruelty in ancient Mediterranean slavery, including that practised by early Christians.” Anderson,.Nathan. “Slave Systems of the Old Testament”. Studio Antiqua, no. 1 (2003) and Shibboleth on Slavery by William Crawley,

  43. R'as al Ghul says:

    Hello Janet,

    I was not saying it was less brutal, but rather the main difference was who was enslaved and why. The ANE slavery was not nearly so race-based (i.e., you are a slave because you are an inferior race, have the curse of Ham, etc.) Also, what kind of work was different.

    Granted this is Wikipedia, but there are some nuggets and information to do further research:

  44. Janet linn, BrideofChrist says:

    Read al Ghul, Thank you. The Wikipedia article is informative. Calvary Chapel Church (which I once attended) used to teach that Biblical slavery was similar to an employer and employee relationship, which clearly white washes slavery. Slaves were made into eunuchs in Biblical times so that they would be easier to control. How barbaric. Thank God societies do change!

  45. R'as al Ghul says:


    Slavery as practiced in the OT by _ancient Israel_ was somewhat like indentured servitude (as indicated by the various OT laws on their release, treatment, etc.). However, other ANE slavery practices in Babylon, Greece, Rome, etc. varied considerably. In the ancient world, debt slavery to pay off ones’ debts was quite common. Today, we just have court orders, payment plans, etc.

    Leave it to Calvary Chapel (as always) to not look at the overall history, ancient economies, etc of OT times (and others). The whole return of the Jews from exile is another. They look at the parts of the Bible about (Ezra, Nehemiah) that in a complete geopolitical vacuum. Nowhere is it mentioned about the continuing conflict (both hot and cold war) between the Persian Empire and Greece during this time period.

  46. R'as al Ghul says:

    Janet and Xenia,

    I hate to use the phrase “paradigm shift” as it has become cliche, but the rise in remote work is one of those. Remote/telecommuting was increasing before COVID (albeit slowly), but with COVID it surged. More importantly, many workers got used to the idea and contrary to corporate managements’ thinking productivity actually went up. So when organizations started to make employees do the 40 hour week at the office again, employees increasingly told them NO. And threatened or did leave their jobs for ones that do allow remote work.

    Remote is here to stay and as the Boomers / early Gen X retire and die off, it will only increase. The consequence of that is that there is a massive glut of commercial real estate here in the US.

    Some states are looking this glut as a way to get more residential units in their cities:

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