Things I Think

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204 Responses

  1. “Few things make me cringe more than hearing someone say that they are “in love” with Jesus…”

    28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the [q]foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

    …I think you will get over it 😉

  2. Bob Sweat says:

    Seattle 24, Denver 21.

    I hope not!

    “Oddly enough, none of the apostles traveled with a worship team.”

    That’s because they no electricity, so they couldn’t plug in their amp. 😉

  3. Actually, the apostles did travel with a worship team.

  4. Why do evangelicals make the heretical mistake that “worship” is the singing? Why is the “worship” leader the main singing guy. “Let’s have some worship and then we will dig into God’s word.” sad

    I my church, the whole enchilada is worship and the pastor is the worship leader over the whole thing.

  5. btw, I made myself a liverwurst sandwich to bring to work today. 🙂

  6. On No says:

    “btw, I made myself a liverwurst sandwich to bring to work today.”

    MLD, that’s the “wurst” possible choice.

  7. Paige says:

    Praying for you today. Hope you are feeling better, even today.

    Love #5 ‘the Christian life –evidenced by suffering, rather than signs and wonders’ Amen. That is a highly under-preached message that the suffering among us need to hear.

    I have read again about Sojourner Truth lately…wow….. talk about suffering, loss, hardship, sorrow and more….what an amazing life! My life is a cake walk.

  8. Shaun Sells says:

    #1 – although what you say may be true in some cases I would other reasons are love (if they know the person personally) or the idea that we are innocent until proven guilty (for those we don’t know).

    #4 – MLD got this one right, we make a mistake when we thing of music as the whole of worship.

    #7 – ( |o )====::: nails this one. Although the phrase “in love with God” is probably different than just “love God with”

    #8 – Denver 36 Seattle 24 (most of Seattle’s points will come in garbage time).

    #10 – Sorry, we will pray. Everyone in my house has taken a turn in the last month, I just hope it doesn’t make its way around again.

  9. Michael says:

    If I say I’m “in love” with someone that implies romantic love and attachment.
    I find that an odd way to describe ones relationship with the Almighty…

  10. Michael says:


    The problem is that whistleblowers are guilty unless proven otherwise and that “love” only flows one way.

  11. Michael says:

    Thanks for the prayers…it went into my lungs last night, so i have a little fight in front of me.
    Thank God I got some antibiotics from the vet supply…

  12. Steve Wright says:

    If I say I’m “in love” with someone that implies romantic love and attachment.
    That’s why the Greek language is superior to ours. 😉

  13. Shaun Sells says:

    Michael @ #10 – I understand your experience in these areas, but I believe the silent majority plays the wait and see game with whistleblowers and accusations, hoping for the best. In most peoples eyes, the best is that abuse never happened so that is what they hold out hope for.

  14. pstrmike says:

    Denver 21, Seattle 20

    “Whether it is the famous religious celebrity or the favorite football player, all supposedly agreed upon ethics are easily abandoned lest the idol crumble before us.”

    Well said. And some want to develop such a large context of the individual who commits a breach in ethics, that it becomes a sliding scale, thereby declaring there is no standard at all.

  15. gomergirl says:

    we should re-name the worship team as the opening act. cause that’s pretty much what most of them are…..

  16. not much to crow about Bob says:

    “4. Oddly enough, none of the apostles traveled with a worship team.”

    The answer is obvious, they didn’t have electric guitars, dancing lights and sound systems so loud people could sing without hearing how out of tune they were. Oh did I forget to say smoke machines (yes smoke from oil lamps).

    And there wouldn’t be an album cut from the tour.

    PS. I believe Sherman will have nothing to crow about after this Sunday.

  17. gomergirl says:

    and yes, our culture is strange. but i find it funny (ironic, not ha ha)when christians act so surprised by the base depravity of this world. doesn’t the bible spell it out? don’t they read the parts that say that we will not be in the majority and that the world will continue to spiral out of control until the time of the end (I really am not sure about the “end times” so I just put it this way)
    you are right, we are called to suffer and to persevere and trust that God will be with us through the trials and heartaches.

  18. “If I say I’m “in love” with someone that implies romantic love and attachment.
    I find that an odd way to describe ones relationship with the Almighty…

    That is the scandalous thing that Jesus made possible, intimate and abiding relational love without all the physical/s*xual stuff. I mean, sure, that has its place in a monogamous relationship, but the love that Jesus brings, the love that was poetically expressed in 1Cor13, that higher love, that greater love is what we yearn for, and that is what Jesus brought.

    You can be in love with anyone, anything, all of life and be so above, beyond, or wider than the physical.

    This is why BB King sang, “The Thrill is Gone” and why we need never sing those blues.

  19. “we should re-name the worship team as the opening act. cause that’s pretty much what most of them are…..”

    As a musician, singer and “leader” in the musical and song portion of the worship gatherings, we craft our allotted time to be entirely inclusive, to serve those who have gathered, to refocus us all on the presence of God, seek Him to reveal to us the things he is doing in our midst, singing songs which give voice to love toward Him, confess our sins and shortcomings, and seek His empowerment to love Him and each other.

    …with and occasional guitar solo

  20. Xenia says:

    I understand Michael’s discomfort with the phrase “being in love with Jesus” because in our culture, it does suggest romantic love. In the Middle Ages, female Catholic mystics wrote really-hard-to-stomach articles about their relationship with the Lord which had sexual overtones. They were in love with Jesus and He was in love with them. Kinda icky, some of the imagery they used. And I have read modern women’s ministry type books that give off the same aroma, crawling up in Jesus’ lap an resting one’s face upon His, etc. and these too border on the sexual, especially if the author sees herself as “the beloved” in the Song of Solomon and Jesus as Solomon.

    But I think we are to be in love with Jesus but maybe we need a better phrase.

  21. pstrmike says:

    well said.

  22. Frosted Flake says:

    Whether it is the praising cymbals of Psalm 150 or the clanging ones of Paul’s reference music is hear to stay. It’s just how you use it. Music has opened more doors for ministry in my life than any stack of sermons and I have a considerable stack. Gimme some of that old time rock and roll and me and the G-man will light up your life. And then we’ll talk about Jesus.

  23. I was following fine until #8. I think you have the numbers reversed !

  24. Michael says:

    Just for the record…I’m “pro” music. 😉

  25. nothing much Bob says:


    Yes music has a special effect on all things which breath.

    But I think the point is too many value music over sound teaching and much of our music isn’t teaching things of value, both in the secular culture and the religious one.

    Now considering the other thread is about church history, if one were to look into it I bet you’d find at one time people sang or chanted their scriptures and purposes. Even today many religious cultures still do.

    There’s something in our brain which opens up with a melody.

    In general, I think even a cursory review of what church calls “worship” is really not. Considering the scriptures (and Jesus) continually talk about others don’t you find it odd our music talks sings about me?

    I’ll leave it that so go to town about how wrong I am.

  26. Rob Murphy says:

    #3 – I’ve been thinking about this . . . if we’re demanding grace, we’re demanding something else; I can’t possibly know what I’m demanding if I label the thing I demand “grace”. “Demand” isn’t ‘need’ or even ‘want’. Further, Grace hasn’t any handle, it comes from God and is intended to go through us and onto others. Tim Keller’s ‘Prodigal God’ describes it better than I can.
    There’s some impossible verbs we use in association with grace.
    I can’t “accept” something I demanded, I simply take whatever I can get.

    Very thoughtful point.

  27. Frosted Flake,

    Deal! Can I add a synth and a drum machine? 😉

    Music, chased with Kahlua after the service 😉

  28. nothing much Bob says:

    Frosted and G

    Just so you know when you go after my post, I formally was a musician and very serious about it. I had the chance to tour Europe many years ago (pre-Jesus days) playing and quite frankly to this day I love music.

    The problem I found in church were the egos and lack of knowledge of those who led the churches in “worship” were appalling at best. What capped it off was when one “worship leader” proposed the church, I was a member of and on staff, completely eliminate any sort of teaching in our gatherings and turn it into a music service. Quite shortly after this same “worship leader” was found to be in a homosexual relationship. Now does one bad apple make for a whole bushel of bad apples? No. But I keep seeing the same traits and big egos over and over again in modern “worship leaders.”

    Still love, listen to and purchase music, but at most church gatherings I cringe at what I hear sold as “worship.”

    Now you can rip away!

  29. nothing much Bob says:

    If you’ve never sat in the middle of a group of “Sacred Heart,” “shaped note” singers you don’t know what you’re missing. No guitar rifts to spoil to moment.

    Too bad there aren’t many of these around.

    My wife and I recently visited a Church of Christ, who stretched their instruments a bit (they weren’t just a capella) , one of the most moving singing portions of the service we’ve heard in years. Their singing team and leader was more than professional and the congregation rose to the occasion!

    Bless the Name of Jesus!

  30. gomergirl says:

    Music is fine, but nothing much Bob is right. It is hard to follow a “leader” who is singing rifs and won’t (or can’t) sing the tune and keeps adding guitar solos. this makes it virtually un-followable. The last church we went to, it was a bunch of high school (maybe early college age) kids doing nothing but super high energy music. now, I love music of all kinds, I have extensive and eclectic spotify playlists, but when you have a multi-generational congregation that may not know all the words or all the songs, making it harder to follow is not the answer. and in response to #19, I am glad that that is how you lead worship, that is how it should be. I have experienced great music in a few churches. But for the most part, that is not how it goes on any given sunday morning.

  31. Catherine says:

    Oh…love to hear and sing Sacred Harp!!

  32. Frosted Flake says:

    I wouldn’t rip you in a minute. There is no excuse for big ego’s and poor performance. You are always going to be dealing with “artists” in worship which is an art form in itself. I have always appreciated G-man’s sensitivity to this subject because he is a classic example of talent. It involves the patience of Job to turn that ego into a servant. It can be done but it is a lot like breaking a horse. You try not to hurt the beautiful beast and you certainly can’t let it step on you.

  33. Frosted Flake says:

    I know you’re just an old rocker. I’m guessing Creedance or Steppenwolf. I always thought the Pusher Man was a great prayer anthem.

  34. I don’t think it’s a matter of too much music, or too little – good music or bad music. What I do think is that the singing part is designated “the time of worship” because the Bible teacher thinks of his part as above and beyond just worship.

    “Hey, wasn’t worship great today? now let’s get down to business. Turn in your Bible to … because i have something to teach you.”

    I even saw in the “new distinctives” that Steve Wright posted from the master CCA page where they even described worship as the song part and had a separate designation for the expository teaching.

    You can’t get around it – if the singing is your worship and your singer is your worship leader – then what is happening at the pulpit is something else.

  35. Frosted Flake says:

    Be careful not to over think this. Of course worship is different than teaching. Think “diversities of gifts.” There are different notes in a chord. C is not an E and E is not a G but it all makes a C chord. I also don’t want to be over simplistic because the subjectivity surrounding musical taste is as big as Montana. How about those Grammy’s? Horrible, in my opinion.

  36. Michael says:


    Older than that…I’ve listened to Jerry Lee Lewis every day since the womb…and will go out the same way I came in. 🙂

  37. Grammy’s. Beyond awful.

  38. Frosted – you must have a one dimensional worship … probably you to God

    But worship, and the primary point of worship is God giving to us and our reception of such… the word, preached and read, and the sacraments.

    Didn’t watch the Grammy’s – didn’t even know they were on. I don’t know the songs and cannot connect a singer to a song. However, about a month ago, my granddaughter had me listen to Katy Perry and she was pretty good … she was roaring about something. 🙂

  39. “primary point of worship is God giving to us and our reception of such”

    So who is worshipping who? If our goal is to receive, then we are the object of worship.

  40. Josh – again, a one dimensional view of worship (an evangelical view). A poor comment you made “if our goal is to receive.” – how about it is “God’s goal to give.”

  41. You said reception, I paraphrased receive. Your words.

    God has already given His all.

  42. Bob says:


    “What I do think is that the singing part is designated “the time of worship” because the Bible teacher thinks of his part as above and beyond just worship.”

    And Josh:

    “So who is worshipping who? If our goal is to receive, then we are the object of worship.”

    Both good comments about the heart of worship.

    Surprising though when we give to God in worship we get back peace and a shalom filled life.

    Over thinking it a bit, consider this; of the two major sacrificial types of offering in scriptures, one is a “burnt” offering and the other is “burned.”

    The “Burnt” offering is totally consumed by the fire, nothing left.

    The burned or roasted offering is shared and consumed (eaten, I love barbecue) by the Priests and the worshippers.


  43. Josh, sorry to hear that you receive nothing from God anymore.

    I will need to go back to my books and see if that is an SBC trait or something of your own – I don’t remember that from my SBC days, but that’s been almost 20 yrs..

  44. Oh, I receive. I just don’t give in order to receive. That’s Prosperity Gospel junk, which surprises me it has shown up in Lutheran churches. I hope you gave your seed offering.

  45. Frosted Flake says:

    Sorry I forgot about the Jerry Lee connection. That is early and real and if that ain’t close to a worship experience it’ll do till one comes along. I know, I’m a heretic.

  46. Bob,
    I gave up OT sacrifice and worship at the cross. Neither burnt or burned offerings mean anything to me.

    My point is, call the worship service the worship service and divide it up, the singing part and the talking part – churches down through the ages have done that very thing. This worship part and teaching part thing is very new.

  47. Josh,
    ” I just don’t give in order to receive.” – did you make up that I said that?

  48. We call all of it worship. Preaching, singing, teaching, learning, praying, giving, etc. We don’t confine worship to a church building on Sunday mornings either.

    I’m sure there is some heretical evangelical thing about that, too.

  49. ” I just don’t give in order to receive.” – did you make up that I said that?”

    Yes. I did so in response to the fact that you made up me saying that I don’t receive.

  50. Frosted Flake says:

    What would do if I sang out tune, would stand up and walk out on me?

  51. Michael says:


    Now, that was funny… 🙂

  52. nothing much Bob,

    Ya know, I was going to post, “why would I ‘go after your post'”?
    When it comes to worship styles and liturgy we’re all speaking from personal preferences here.

    Then I read this that you posted…

    ” What capped it off was when one “worship leader” proposed the church, I was a member of and on staff, completely eliminate any sort of teaching in our gatherings and turn it into a music service. Quite shortly after this same “worship leader” was found to be in a homosexual relationship”

    Let me ask this as gently as I can, what in the name of The Holy and Risen Lord Jesus Christ does the fact that a man who was gay, have anything to do with him or anyone else anyone asking that your church have music-only services?

    I’m embarrassed for you. Did you check your critical thinking at the door before hitting your keyboard?

    Within the CC tradition at CCCM we used to have “afterglow” services, no teaching, simply a time of worship songs, waiting on The Holy Spirit to move in the gifts, a time of laying on of hands for healing.

    Are you telling me that we are “gay” for having sought after and conducted such services?

    Your if-then-therefore attempt at reasoning is more than faulty there, Mr. Bob.

  53. nothing much Bob,

    Lest you think a spiffy clean life is required of anyone seeking or crying out to God, let me remind you of our greatest poet, the psalmist who couldn’t keep his pants zipped and then engineered a murder to cover it up.

    Jesus chooses to spend time with such as these, which we are.

    Later Bob.

  54. and don’t forget his homosexual relationship with Jonathan.

    Oh wait … David was king – not our pastor. There may be a difference.

  55. Ignoring what MLD says…

    Bob, I’m just dying to read your next post, perhaps you’d like to rethink your line of reasoning and simply state that the notion of a church service without expository teaching is outside of your comfort zone. I can roll with that, encourage that, because you’re speaking your preferences. You and I could actually fellowship on that basis, Bob.

  56. Muff Potter says:

    Couldn’t help but notice the ad about head coverings. It is a yet another legal burden women must bear in order to show themselves approved to the Almighty?

  57. Ok, back to the levity whilst we wait for Mr.Bob.

    I will step away.

  58. Xenia says:

    Head coverings are in response to this passage in II Corinthians:

    1 Corinthians 11:4-16

    It can’t just be a cultural reference because it refers to angels. I don’t understand the role angels play in this but that does take it out of a cultural milieu. Women have traditionally worn head covering since ancient times and did until rather recently in most churches. My mother always wore a simple hat, for example.

    It is most certainly not a burden, it is a joy to wear a simple scarf in church. You would be surprised how lovely the women in my church look with scarves on their heads.

    Again, I do not claim to understand the Corinthians passage but it became part of the tradition very early and I accept it. Please rid yourself of the silly notion that it’s a burden. It’s a joy.

    I find that whole passage to be difficult, but the tradition is very clear.

  59. Muff Potter says:

    Although I can respect your belief and right to wear a head covering, my comment was for those women who choose not to, and do not believe that Scripture mandates an absolute requirement to do so.

  60. #5 Was good!

    #7 Me too.

  61. Steve Wright says:

    In the services in India I noticed that the women do not wear head coverings but whenever there is prayer they take the ends of their sari and cover their heads while they pray.

    Women also would sit together on one side of the room, men on the other.

  62. If they choose not to wear a head covering, then just choose not to wear one.

    I don’t go around telling Southern Pentecostal women that they are in bondage by wearing jean skirts. 🙂

  63. A drop of water in the ocean says:

    Josh @ # 3: “Actually, the apostles did travel with a worship team.”

    Amen to that and worth repeating.

  64. Xenia says:

    Women also would sit together on one side of the room, men on the other.<<<

    We do that, too. (stand, that is.)

  65. Bob says:

    G guy

    OK first it wasn’t a man, second would you allow in your church a gay man or woman to lead in any form, especially as critical as worship or teaching is to the body? If so then the conversation stops here and you are welcome to your opinions. I have read your many posts about Jesus and the “red letters” only influence you have, and if that includes no differentiation as one moves up the leadership ladder then you are truly the one to be felt sorry for.

    You did say this, “Lest you think a spiffy clean life is required of anyone seeking or crying out to God” and I will comment. No none is “spiffy clean” and that is the point of having both sacrifice and receiving the sacrifice of Jesus. (Do you consider music a sacrifice?)

    There is only one day of the year in the calendar of God and it is known as the “day of Atonement” and it was on this day that a sacrifice was made for all sins, both known and unknown, of the people of God. The other texts of the scriptures you seem to ignore also tell the reader that Jesus was/is this sacrifice once and for all, and as many who received Him will be called sons and daughters.

    Coming to God is not about being “spiffy clean,” but there are clear scriptural requirements of leadership that range from the front to the back of the book, so if you choose to ignore them you do so by your own choice.

    Please note I can both bold text and italic also, so there! Oh might we also try underlining?

  66. Bob says:


    “and don’t forget his homosexual relationship with Jonathan.”

    Oh that was the justification this person used. Although the scriptures don’t say he was having that kind of relationship.


    And G-Man,

    You might notice David, about whom you speak, also laments and repents of his sin in those very same psalms. Sir you are very mixed up and justifying bad behavior.

    Yes I am a sinner and struggle daily with various sins, but I am also repentant and both embarrassed before a Holy God, something you may not be from the sounds of it.

    One problem though aren’t the psalms outside of the “red letter” stuff or do you just pick and choose which scriptures make you feel the right way?

    I’ll let it go since you are the one who is amused and entertained. I’m glad you let it rip!

  67. non critical thinker Bob says:


    “Are you telling me that we are “gay” for having sought after and conducted such services? ”

    You are strange and very prejudice in your thinking here.

    You might notice your CC had both, what I said was they wanted zero, nada, that’s no teaching preaching at all. Their excuse was the only way to get to know Jesus was through their music worship. One problem, how does a person get to know someone they haven’t heard about?

    I’m sure you have some cleaver well thought out critical thinking answer (I think you hang out with RB a bit too much) and I’m just a dummy. But I think I stepped on your toes a bit and that is what’s really at the heart of your response.

    Oh and how come your responses immediately get very personal? I believe it’s called an Ad hominem attack

    Dinner time!

  68. Bob,
    You’ve completely missed the point.

    You posted,
    “What capped it off was when one “worship leader” proposed the church, I was a member of and on staff, completely eliminate any sort of teaching in our gatherings and turn it into a music service. Quite shortly after this same “worship leader” was found to be in a homosexual relationship”

    Bob, I’m going to break this down for you again since you aren’t listening, and I’m going to avoid any use of italics or bold because you’re distracted by the use of those common typological communication conventions.

    Your objection was to a human proposing that there should be an elimination of any sort of teaching in your church’s gatherings and turn them into music services.

    Then you immediately follow your objection that this human was gay.
    How does the proposal stand or fall based on who proposes it?
    Either the proposal is acceptable based on scripture or it’s not, yes?

    So, getting away from your compulsion to insert your personal commentary regarding that human’s sexual practices, let’s try to return to the primary issue of the discussion, which is the possibility that Jesus allows His followers to gather in His Name, and that if a group of individuals choose to fill the time with music, song, sung praise and adoration of Him and His Father, then could you inform us as to your experiences of such gatherings and why you object to them and have come to a conclusion that it is something Jesus would not approve of?

  69. “Oh and how come your responses immediately get very personal? I believe it’s called an Ad hominem attack”


    “Just so you know when you go after my post…”

    I went after your post which made no sense.

    I called you out for linking a human who proposed something you didn’t like and adding a detail which isn’t at all applicable to the discussion.

    I’m also quite willing to hear from you why you believe what you believe, even if the fact that I place Jesus’ words above the other passages of scripture bothers you to no end and you feel compelled to mention it in posts responding to mine.

    So, explain it to me like I’m a 9 year old, Bob, what problem does Jesus have with His followers gathering solely to sing praises to Him?

  70. I would recommend also that we give up the sermon and just sing Christian jingles – but then later you would find that i am a glutton and a cheapskate who doesn’t want to hear sermons on gluttony and tithing.

    I wonder what the homosexual guy wanted to avoid in the sermons?

  71. covered says:

    MLD you crack me up!

  72. Frosted Flake says:

    We gotta meet sometime! I visit Calif. frequently. Gotta connect with Chuck Jr. sometime this year.

  73. Bob says:

    OK G-man you want to wrestle then here we go:

    First of all in his humor MLD gets it right, when the scriptures are eliminated there’s normally a reason behind it and it isn’t good.

    You sir are the one who jumped to conclusions about my post. If you knew the whole story this simple request of eliminating teaching and the subsequent revealing of homosexual relationship caused many cascading problems at this church. It eventually led to the resignation of the senior pastor and many others. In God’s mercy and grace, over a year later the “couple” came to the new pastor asking forgiveness and seeking change. You see the two people in this relationship also had spouses and children who were effected by their selfish actions (in addition to the members of this church). Glory to God these two made a decision to change and repent and today and both live in loving homes with their families and serve today in music and even leadership.

    All sin, including that of David which you mentioned, effects not just the individual but others. Why is it important for leadership to be held at a higher standard than the lay people? The answer is obvious as leaven spread through the whole dough.

    You said:

    “So, getting away from your compulsion to insert your personal commentary regarding that human’s sexual practices, let’s try to return to the primary issue of the discussion, which is the possibility that Jesus allows His followers to gather in His Name, …”

    That sir is not what my comment was all about and you sir reveal your prejudices by changing the topic towards that.

    Also human sexual practices do count and they count big so do not blow them off, especially in leadership. The point was clearly made and MLD got it.

    As I stated also very clearly I love music (sorry Michael not a Jerry Lee fan) and listen to hours of it every day and it isn’t all gospel or religious music. If I want to go to a concert featuring only music I will do so and encourage others to do so. However, a church is not about just having worship concerts and that is right out of scriptures. It is about equipping and that means teaching the words recorded in scripture, which BTW talks a lot about sexual practice!

    Now if you want to wrestle more please feel free.

    And you did make an Ad hominem attack, I tried to keep it clean and to the statements made. I apologize if I have exceeded that.

  74. Bob,
    I’m not a wrestler.

    Answer my question, Bob, what problem does Jesus have with His followers gathering solely to sing praises to Him?

  75. Bob says:


    If you go back to my original statement and repeat the heart of my comment:

    “But I think the point is too many value music over sound teaching and much of our music isn’t teaching things of value, both in the secular culture and the religious one.”

    “In general, I think even a cursory review of what church calls “worship” is really not. Considering the scriptures (and Jesus) continually talk about others don’t you find it odd our music talks sings about me?”

    “The problem I found in church were the egos and lack of knowledge of those who led the churches in “worship” were appalling at best.”

    You sir picked up on something which is probably a very personal issue in your life, homosexuality, and you don’t want to hear it. BTW I am not accusing or implying in any way you are a homosexual. I have zero knowledge of your personal life and want to keep it that way (please don’t say some snide remark about that). You are just a guitar symbol on an internet blog as far as I know.

    But, I’ll bet we even sing some of the same songs at our respective churches!

    Smile it might help!

  76. Bob says:

    Since we’re writing over each other I’ll answer this question:

    “Answer my question, Bob, what problem does Jesus have with His followers gathering solely to sing praises to Him?”

    It wasn’t part of my comment it was your addition.

    I would return with this (since I do praise him in many ways including song) questions:

    “What’s wrong with a church that doesn’t teach the very words of Jesus?”
    “How will the people know who to sing to, maybe a idol like on Mars Hill?”

    That’s the best answer I can give you. For people to sing about and to Jesus they have to know who He is, “how will they know unless someone is sent…” Comes from both side of the Covenant.

    So I have no problem with people gathering to just sing about and to Jesus, But how did they get that knowledge to have a gathering with just singing to do so?


  77. You’re confusing two unrelated things, Bob.

    Thing #1 “…this simple request of eliminating teaching…”
    Thing #2 “…the subsequent revealing of homosexual relationship…”

    There are plenty of gatherings throughout the church, every day, everywhere across the globe, which are “non-teaching” liturgies, many which are singing and music only.

    The “…revealing of homosexual relationship…” is a whole other set of issues and complications, especially amongst a conservative evangelical community.

    Participation in gatherings, even leading them is going to be populated by individuals who are on their faith journey, in process, struggling with the ideal VS the actual in their lives, and Jesus doesn’t require them to do anymore than come to Him, in that moment, and be willing to follow him, do that which reflects Him and His character, which obviously doesn’t include continuing in sin. The woman at the well came to Jesus and He revealed the secrets of her heart and she became an evangelist because of that divine encounter. That is what the whole thing is about, divine encounters with Jesus which change us, for the better.

    Back to my point, all along, that we followers of Jesus are at complete liberty to choose to gather to sing, do a liturgy (ancient or originally crafted, or anywhere in between), celebrate communion, pray, lay hands, sit still and silently and contemplate the wonders of God, and there is no requirement for anyone to teach, do a sermon or preach and do an altar call, and if anyone wishes to do those things as well, then that is beautiful as well.

  78. Bob,

    Bob, I just threw up a little in my throat. Your delight in images of two men wrestling is completely gross to me and I’m sure to all the readers here at Phoenix Preacher so you can knock it off.

    I never brought up homosexuality until you made the illogical link that a gay person was the cause of the troubles in your church, especially the unthinkable (by you) notion of having gatherings without teaching.

    I’d been accused of being a homosexual for a lot of my younger life solely because of my given name, which, if the illiterate asses who mocked it would have done their homework, they would have realized they were mocking a man who is named after a monster in an ancient myth.

    Add in the fact that I find no interest in sports, yep got called a “faggot” for that too.

    I have absolutely no issues with Gay or Lesbian individuals, though I am neither.
    I know full well that in the many churches I’ve served in there have been LGBT persons who were living closeted lives and I remain content to let Jesus Christ sort out His issues with them, the issues of whom they love and where they spend their time sleeping.
    I simply don’t care to know.
    I only want to know if they are hurting, in danger, or in need of food & shelter.

    So, lets stop talking about LGBT and get back to my unanswered question,
    Bob, what problem does Jesus have with His followers gathering solely to sing praises to Him?

  79. randallslack says:

    “Oddly enough, none of the apostles traveled with a worship team.”

    Outstanding comment!!!

  80. randallslack says:

    “35,000 + have now “liked” the Facebook page that seeks the release of the accused in the Philippine child abuse case I referenced in #1. They do this without knowing any details of the case or there having been a court hearing on the matter. How can this possibly be? Simple…it’s not their kids.”

    There is little, if any, compassion for the victims today. Immediately the “abuser” is supported while the victim is largely forgotten. It is a sad commentary on our society, yet even sadder on the Christian community. Christians should know better… should, but don’t. Where does that lack of compassion come from? (It is a rhetorical question. if you have to think about it, your part of the problem).

    Sorry, Michael, this is the nicest thing I could say about the subject without having to apologize to God and man afterwards.

  81. Well, all I can say is that this verse seems to tell me that Christians have a bit more to do when coming together than singing praise.

    What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. (1 Corinthians 14:26, ESV)

    If we changed to where we got rid of everything, but the music service. I do believe we would be in the wrong.

  82. Bob says:

    Guitar guy

    I answered your question quote clearly. As far as your regurgitation I would say you are a bit stiffer than you give yourself credit for.

    The folks at PP are very diverse and I’m sorry you feel a need to generalize about them.

    Oh I repeat I answered your question you just don’t like the answer.

    Do you think Jesus, a master Rabbi (that’s teacher BTW) would be all about zero, that’s nada, nothing, no teaching of the scriptures at all?

  83. Bob says:

    G guy

    Sorry, not quote but quite clearly.

  84. Bob says:

    G man

    Come on you made the connection it was all about gay. My issue was about no teaching just music. The gay issue was secondary but became a primary issue when it was revealed.

    You might notice they are now respected, and valued members of their church. And the church did the right thing in dealing with their sin.

    Kudos to that church and Jesus!

    Since you brought it up do you think there was a connection between their hidden life and wanting to stop all teaching of the scriptures?

    I’m off for the evening you’ve been enlightening and I’ve grown from our exchange.

    Thank you!

  85. erunner says:

    g, Jacob wrestled with an angel through the night so as for me I have no issues with a wrestling reference as Bob used. I actually didn’t understand what he meant when I read his comment. I figured it was just another thing I didn’t understand.

    If church was to set aside an evening to just sing I would quite enjoy it. It would not be proper if this was to replace a typical service IMO. I love to sing and I like to at times sit back and listen to the congregation sing. I could think of a lot worse ways to spend an hour or so!

  86. Xenia says:

    IMO, an unrepentant homosexual should not be the one determining what kind of services a church has, period. Same goes for unrepentant adulterers, fornicators, and shoplifters. They definitely belong in church where they can work on their repentance but they should not be in any kind of leadership position.

    As for an all-music church service, why not? When I was a Baptist, on the odd occasion when a month had five Sundays, the last Sunday night was all-music, mostly old-time favorites. Pie afterwards in the fellowship hall. It was great. Not suitable for Sunday morning, of course, but nice for a novelty.

  87. Answer my question, Bob, what problem does Jesus have with His followers gathering solely to sing praises to Him?

    Here’s a hint, Bob, you’re going to have to answer the question with words from Jesus.
    Here’s another hint, Bob, something about “spirit and truth”. That’s pretty much the only set of boundaries He gave, which is why over 2000 years of church history shows how inventive we have been as a people.

    Beyond that, Bob, you’re going to have to chill and admit you have a theology that is wrapped up in evangelical/fundamentalist culture and personal preferences, which are fine, but they’re not the simple teachings of Jesus.

    So, Bob, let the rest of us have our liberty.

  88. erunner,

    I’m no angel and neither is Bob, and the image of him conducting himself as if in a wrestling match with the goal of pinning me is very telling that this is a contest to him about subjugation and an opponent whereas I’m seeking to inform him that this is about the blessedness of liberty and diversity within the church, and if anyone suggests a type of gathering its from the freedom Jesus gives us.

    If tour community were to decide to solely sing, worshiping Jesus in song, then you’d have to find other gatherings to do the teaching thing.

    Liberty is a beautiful thing.

  89. “IMO, an unrepentant homosexual should not be the one determining what kind of services a church has, period. Same goes for unrepentant adulterers, fornicators, and shoplifters. They definitely belong in church where they can work on their repentance but they should not be in any kind of leadership position.”

    I agree with you far more in this than you can imagine. If the folks at a church know that church to not be supportive of LGBT persons in leadership then it’s got to be about respecting the community and finding one that is LGBT supportive, or else defer from being “out” in that church community.

    From what was being described, there was a lot of behind the scenes extramarital stuff going on and if the commitments between married persons weren’t being honored then its tough to think there are going to be ministerial commitments to the community.

    My sole issue with Bob’s story was that there was a link made in his story between a song service suggestion and someone being gay. What, a gay person can’t have a great idea in a church?

  90. erunner says:

    g, I guess I don’t view your interaction as you describe. Even without the reference of Jacob and the angel I still don’t have a problem with the pinned reference. If anything it made me chuckle.

    I see your interaction as two men hashing things out who aren’t going to agree on things any time soon.

  91. Frosted Flake says:

    Good few rounds. I think you won and I am not “jabbing” you. These are great discussions that reveal the difference between mental bondage and freedom. So much of Christian practice has been reduced to cold hard definitions and rules. The same Demons that ruled the lives of the Jesus enemies still exist today. They did not retire.

  92. Steve Wright says:

    If a pastor was suggesting dramatic changes to the church service, say eliminating all music for 100% his teaching, and it later was discovered he was actively pursuing a homosexual relationship…..well, I think we could imagine the reaction would have most folks connecting the two.

    As an aside, I only knew of two sorts of afterglow services in my years at CCCM. The first sort was AFTER the Bible teaching service concluded, for those wanting to stick around.

    The second were those “stand-alone” where there was always a brief reading and commentary on the Holy Spirit and His gifts before the evening commenced.

    Likewise in my travels I have always found the coupling of music and the word. Small group Bible studies, pastor conferences, just about any gathering has to have someone there with a guitar to lead us in a couple songs first. Not sure why any musician would be so adamant nobody share from the word for a moment – even if not a formal teaching study.

    Of course, a lot of praise songs are mostly singing Scripture to a musical accompaniment anyways.

  93. erunner says:

    And for what it’s worth I think Bob could have worded his 28 a little better as I immediately though the same thing as g. Now I’m gonna watch Captain Philips.

  94. Ixtlan says:

    ” What, a gay person can’t have a great idea in a church?”

    Hmmm. Allow me to borrow a principle that Justin Martyr taught. A great ideal is a result of the generative word.

    For I myself, when I discovered the wicked disguise which the evil spirits had thrown around the divine doctrines of the Christians, to turn aside others from joining them, laughed both at those who framed these falsehoods, and at the disguise itself, and at popular opinion; and I confess that I both boast and with all my strength strive to be found a Christian; not because the teachings of Plato are different from those of Christ, but because they are not in all respects similar, as neither are those of the others, Stoics, and poets and historians. For each man spoke well in proportion to the share he had of the generative word (or reason), seeing what was related to it. But they who contradict themselves on the more important points appear not to have possessed the wisdom that is infallible, and the knowledge which is irrefutable. Whatever things were rightly said among all teachers, are the property of us Christians.

    Justin, Apology, II.13

  95. It’s pretty easy to figure out where The Holy Spirit is at work, when the enthusiasm for community respects and encourages a diversity of gifts. If there is an informal gathering with singing of “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” there will be those in the midst who are busting with enthusiasm to bring “a word” as well, and that “word” can be couched in an informal, “Y’know, I was just thinking about how good God is, I’m thinking of Psalm…” in fact, if only we would encourage folks to count on The Holy Spirit to be present in all of our gatherings, and encourage liberty and even “making mistakes” in the name of the Lord, listening to all gathered, regardless of gender, no one with titles, just taking a little risk to be a blessing to others…

    …sorry, I’m wistful for the “Jesus People Hippie” days

  96. Ixtlan,
    Are you saying that Mr. Marytr is saying that a gay or lesbian person cannot have a great idea in a church?

    More importantly, are you saying that?

  97. Xenia says:

    In a general way, not speaking to homosexuality in particular, but when a person is deeply invested in a sinful life s/he is not really in a position to receive “good ideas” from the Holy Spirit even if they claim to be a Christian. S/he might have “good ideas” about how to plant a garden or how to select a new car but “good ideas” concerning the church, if they are truly “good ideas,” can only come from the Holy Spirit and someone living a life of unrepentant sin (name the sin, doesn’t matter what) will not hear from God as well as someone living a life of continual repentance and moral purity. I *think* this might be what Bob was intimating. I could be wrong.

  98. Xenia says:

    I am sure it’s what St. Justin Martyr is saying.

  99. Ixtlan says:

    read it again………………….. Eusebius referred to this as ” the Light that lighteth every man”, but he is not speaking as what we would consider a universalist.

    Not trying to be flippant, but speaking light, perhaps you should lighten some.

  100. Steve Wright says:

    G – I agree with your #95. Bob probably does too. All those informal hippy gatherings in the Spirit supplemented of course the FORMAL gatherings which included a commitment to Bible teaching…which is what Bob has been talking about all along. Someone wanting to ditch ALL teaching in the public worship services of the local church.

    As he wrote clearly (left unaddressed) , what I said was they wanted zero, nada, that’s no teaching preaching at all. Their excuse was the only way to get to know Jesus was through their music worship.

    Your #95 sort of moves the goalposts though of your now oft-repeated ” with His followers gathering solely to sing praises to Him?” – If people are being led by the Spirit to share on the Psalms, bring a word of prophecy or knowledge, then that hardly equates to solely music.

    A lot of talking past each other….

  101. Ixtlan says:

    I would say just the opposite. To me, its pretty clear.

  102. Xenia says:

    But they who contradict themselves on the more important points appear not to have possessed the wisdom that is infallible, and the knowledge which is irrefutable.<<<

    I thought this sentence spoke to my thoughts.

    But you got out of it a sort of "God rains wisdom on the just and the unjust."

    Maybe you are right.

  103. Ixtlan says:

    That’s my take on it Xenia. The generative word or reason is the logos. It is common grace that God gives all, and yet the contradiction spoken of reveals a knowledge in part, and very possibly (given the context) incomplete so as the person is not yet regenerated. That’s why anyone is capable of having a good ideal: whether it be in church or anywhere else.

  104. Xenia says:

    Justin was interested in salvaging what he could from Greek philosophy. He others of his time believed that Greek philosophy, especially Plato, was about as true as a philosophy could get without Christ and was a preparation for the Gospel. I have a book by an EO author called Christ the Eternal Tao where the same case is made for Taoism, that while it lacks what is needed for salvation, it contains a lot of truth that could serve to prepare people to receive the Gospel.

    Even in the Divine Comedy Dante can’t bring himself to toss Virgil and all the other “righteous” pagan philosophers into the Inferno and settles them in a not-too-awful place near the edge.


  105. Xenia says:

    But…. what do you think about what I said about a person who is neck-deep in unrepentant sins hearing clearly from the Holy Spirit? Could they become so hard of heart that they can’t hear the voice of the Lord well any more?

  106. Ixtlan says:

    Yes, I agree. Unrepentant sin tends to clog our spiritual ears and even our spiritual arteries. But I also believe that God’s grace is greater than the evil heart of the bishop and presbyters, particularly when it comes to ministering to the flock.

  107. Ixtlan says:

    again, back to that quote from Justin.. He is recognizing God is the creator and instigator of all good things, but there are definite lines being drawn.

  108. Xenia says:

    Yes, I agree. My initial confusion was because I didn’t catch on to how you were applying the quote to the discussion. Thanks for the explanation!

  109. ” If people are being led by the Spirit to share on the Psalms, bring a word of prophecy or knowledge, then that hardly equates to solely music.”

    Steve, the entire issue for me is liberty. It’s gotta start with freedom instead of a lot of structure. Jesus brought freedom, including the liberty to just sing songs.

    For me, where it goes from there based on Jesus’ teachings and example, I’m good with it.
    I experienced the praise smashing fear based control freaks in the movement who lost it just because we wanted to dim the lights during worship and I’m simply done with that mentality, which is why I hang with the folks working their 12 Step Recovery and go out of my way to be sure there is a lot of space for all of us to seek God, pray, sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.

    We make space for individuals’ sharing from the heart and we DO have a time of formal teaching, from scripture, about the steps unless it is a gathering to celebrate communion, then we share the passages about communion mostly for newcomers to The Program. It’s not for everyone but it’s for “whosoever will come” and we make no bones about our enthusiasm for Jesus Christ. I keep my “Red letter” emphasis to myself and simply try to find examples from The4Gospels whenever I can or I keep my mouth shut except to sing and ask for coffee.

  110. Ixtlan says:

    You’re welcome, and blessings to you and your family.

  111. …speaking of which, I’ve got to print the chart for the band and transfer the worship lyrics PowerPoint so we can all sing the same stuff.


  112. Xenia says:

    …speaking of which, I’ve got to print the chart for the band and transfer the worship lyrics PowerPoint so we can all sing the same stuff.<<<

    That sounds awfully rigid and structural…. Why not give them all the liberty to sing what they want?

    I'm not trying to be smart alecky here but you yourself see a need for structure and order in your band because you know if you didn't impose structure on the band there would be chaos. Just extrapolate that out into the rest of the church.

  113. How do you know that your songs are scripturally sound or doctrinally correct if you have eliminated teaching?

  114. “I’m not trying to be smart alecky here”

    Xenia, there isn’t a post that I could make that you wouldn’t find fault with.

    I serve a community that asks for structure because they are serving addicts. Because I serve them I give them what they prefer.

    I conduct my own relationships and musical worship experiences with far more freedom, liberty and adlibbing. When in an agreed jam it’s freeform, lyrics can and are often made up spontaneously, sometimes people speak in tongues.

  115. MLD,
    I can read, I have a mind.
    Use yours and apply it to your own context

  116. Well there you have it – G has no need for teaching because he can do it on his own.

    Oh wait, you have already had the 40 yrs of teaching … but what about the kid off the street?

  117. MLD,
    Seriously, use your ability to think.
    Stop being obtuse and playing your little “blog drama” game.
    Your self appointed role of provocateur is wearisome.

    As I stated, I serve a community that wants a structure and because I serve I participate accordingly.

    When I am in other communities I count on Jesus to prompt or have prompted others toward their own expressions of their faith in Him. I either choose to participate or not, and generally, because I have relationships with persons in those settings I do what I can to enrich folks. Funny, I get invited back because I collaborate.

  118. “What about the kid off the street?”


    “Here, kid, check out this bible. I’m gonna put a marker in this section, start with Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. Any questions, feel free to ask me and I can give you some opinions but don’t stop with me, I’m just a guitarist. Here’s a better idea, let me be sure you know the folks who’ve made it possible for you to be here, and, hey who’s your sponsor? Let’s be sure you’re connected and have a ride to your next meeting…”

  119. Steve Wright says:

    I’m really getting confused. The same man who says the entire issue is liberty and offers a Jesus juke as to what Jesus really came to offer us….the one who waxes on and on about being set free from those old formal church structure shackles is still leading worship under the parameters his leadership requests.

    “Because I serve them I give them what they prefer.”

    How is that any different than MLD’s pastor, Xenia’s priest, or your average CC pastor? – Each of those groups’ members have certain expectations (preferences) as to what is going to happen in the worship service.

    We serve them, and give them what they prefer. Oh there is still tremendous freedom for both pastor and worship leader (speaking for our place) but within certain parameters.

    Even your jam session example is qualified with the word “agreed” – Nobody is ‘jamming’ on their own when the rest of the group is not…and nobody is demanding formality when the rest of the group wants to jam, right?

  120. Pay attention;
    do your best;
    expect nothing.

  121. Ixtlan says:

    Where did they speak in tongues in the four gospels?

  122. Erik says:

    The great commission states that signs and wonders follow the believers. Heal the sick, cast out demons, etc. What i see in the church is far to many Christians dismiss and throw out the supernatural work of power. One of the main reasons for the lack of the kingdom in many peoples lives. Is the church doesnt seek after. Paul said, earnestly seek the gifts of the Spirit. Bottom line is the western church is more into entertainment then,seeking, asking, knocking. Long are the days that i have seen any Christian getting desperate to seek the gifts of the Spirit. Its no wonder its a trickle for some, and a dry well for others.

  123. Ixtlan says:

    Thanks, I forgot about Mark. However, Mark 16:9-20 is questionable to some scholars.

  124. Erik says:


    How about, forget the faction of thinkalogian scholars who question, doubt and spread unbelief. Believe, receive, desperately seek after the gifts of the Spirit. And see for yourself, that you too cast heal the sick, cast out demons etc.

  125. Steve Wright says:

    Erik, I have a dead serious question – and I ask as a charismatic who believes all the gifts listed in Scripture are valid today. I wrote my Masters Thesis defending the view at a cessationist seminary. So I’m on board, so to speak. 🙂

    What are the ramifications to the idea that we are to earnestly seek various gifts? What I am asking is, since the gifts are in fact gifts from God that we can’t earn on merit, what is the implication that God is withholding a gift from the believer until he or she asks repeatedly.

    You cite the problem in the church is that we are not ‘seeking’ after the gifts. (I would add that the line from Paul you quote is debatable whether he is speaking a command or making a declaration to the Corinthians).

    You wrote “Long are the days that i have seen any Christian getting desperate to seek the gifts of the Spirit.” – but the gifts also are such things as helps, administration, teaching, giving.

    I’m curious if you would unpack your view here. What you mean..and what we (the church) should be doing

  126. Erik says:

    Looks like my reply was lost. Ill try again later.

  127. R.I.P. Pete Seeger. 94 full and richly lived years

  128. The story behind “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”

    “I had been reading a long novel—”And Quiet Flows the Don”—about the Don River in Russia and the Cossacks who lived along it in the 19th century. It describes the Cossack soldiers galloping off to join the Czar’s army, singing as they go. Three lines from a song are quoted in the book: ‘Where are the flowers? The girls plucked them / Where are the girls? They’re all married / Where are the men? They’re all in the army.’ I never got around to looking up the song, but I wrote down those three lines.

    “Later, in an airplane, I was dozing, and it occurred to me that the line ‘long time passing’—which I had also written in a notebook—would sing well. Then I thought, ‘When will we ever learn.’ Suddenly, within 20 minutes, I had a song. There were just three verses. I Scotch-taped the song to a microphone and sang it at Oberlin College. This was in 1955.

    “One of the students there had a summer job as a camp counselor. He took the song to the camp and sang it to the kids. It was very short. He gave it rhythm, which I hadn’t done. The kids played around with it, singing ‘Where have all the counselors gone? / Open curfew, everyone.’

    “The counselor added two actual verses: ‘Where have all the soldiers gone? / Gone to graveyards every one / Where have all the graveyards gone? / Covered with flowers every one.’ Joe Hickerson is his name, and I give him 20 percent of the royalties. That song still brings in thousands of dollars from all around the world.”

  129. Bob says:

    Good morning!

    It’s amazing how quickly an assumption is made about what should be simple things. For instance when I mentioned “wrestle” most seem to quickly reference the story of Jacob and that night he slept poorly.

    But if one were to turn to 2 Tim 2:14 the Greek wording logomacheo is used by Paul and can mean “wrestle with words” or “word wrestle” and that is the reference I had in mind.

    Sadly that is what I chose to to “word wrestle” with the G-man and I believe it is what these blogs often do. But the problem is without “word wrestling” or questioning what others present how will we work out what we believe verses what is truth? I’m not sure what Paul’s real intention was from his instruction to Timothy and the readers of his letter. Could it be his idea was a ward wrestle which grew beyond the debate of scriptures to personal attacks and defamation of character? Is it this type of war of words which leads to the ruin of the hearers?

    One note from last nights struggle; a mention of “worship in spirit and truth” was made. This is a reference to John 4 and the exchange Jesus had with the woman at the well. In a past life I used this scripture bite as a proof text towards singing in tongues and similar stuff. After many nights (and days) of struggle with the whole context of this narrative I really don’t think that’s the heart of Jesus’ exclamation. This just isn’t a plain old “Samaritan woman” with marital problems, nor is this town just a watering stop on the road between Galilee and Jerusalem. The history and hugeness of the location is hinted at in the John 4 narrative, however I’ll leave that to those who care to search it out and have your hair raised (as mine did) when the pieces of the puzzle come together.

    Jesus truly knows where to go to get to the depths of our hearts!

    Yes I heard about Pete S death. He truly was a voice of the times to be heard.

  130. Bob,
    That’s funny, when you said wrestle, I immediatley thought of..

  131. Way late to this party, but I found myself struggling with #3 in light of Romans 5:8…grace often shows up in spite of our offenses. We are sometimes called to overlook an offense, Grace isn’t deserved. It’s not based on merit.

  132. Oh No says:

    Speaking of those questionable verses from Mark 16, I think we should leave the snake handling to the zoo keepers.

  133. Michael says:


    I didn’t say that it was…the extension of grace presupposes sin.
    Yet, if sin is denied, what is the need of grace?

  134. Michael says:


    I actually had you in mind when I wrote that one….you were among the loudest apologists for extending “grace” to Richard Sherman while denying his behavior was sinful.
    Makes no sense whatsoever…

  135. “extending “grace” to Richard Sherman while denying his behavior was sinful.”

    Sinful??? Really?? The guy is an entertainer for crying out loud.

    Are you talking a societal sin? I don’t see the biblical sin.

  136. In other words, sports trash talk is now a sin?

  137. Michael says:


    I realize I’m in the minority, but I believe that such exhibitions (and most of what passes for “debate” on news programs) are a sin against the common cultural good and a decent social order.
    Last time I checked a complete lack of humility is still a biblical sin as well.

  138. Roberto says:


    Thanks, I did think of wearing a mask, but no one would notice except me.

    You made me laugh!

  139. So no more sports viewing for you, as doing such would make you if not a participant in the sin (they do it for the viewers) then at least an approver of such acts as they do not offend enough to make you cease watching.

    Like i said last week TBowing was a form of trash talking.

  140. Michael says:

    My point is this…we are removing any need for confession or repentance from our cultural understanding of the faith in favor of a thick veneer of faux grace for offenses against God and men.
    I’m not in any way a legalist…but if you do not understand that sin is sin, grace is just a hollow word and an emotional bandaid to enable more of the same.

  141. Like I said, I look at these guys as entertainers – and he entertained a segment of the viewing public … or at least that was his attempt.

    There was a time in the past that this was the “in your face” trash talk

  142. And yet I wrote that I didn’t condone what he did. Somehow that part kept getting missed in the conversation. My point was that I felt that people overreacted. Not that they shouldn’t react. If you’ve kept up with the news, Sherman has really come a long way since that day. I get it, sometimes the only thing that works is a sharp, stinging rebuke. I didn’t feel that was the case with RS. Doesn’t the scripture say that God’s kindness leads us to repentance? Finally, I’d have to ask (in all sincerity) how you reconcile all the fighting in hockey with all this! 🙂 I’ve been to a few games and the desire for the fans for blood is really weird to me. If there isn’t a fight by the end of the first quarter, the crowd starts yelling for a brawl!

  143. Nonnie says:

    When I read of all the folks upset over Richard Sherman, I took a look at the video. (I had no idea who Richard Sherman was , nor could I tell you anything about football or who won the game). However, when I compare what Sherman said to what Mohammed Ali was spouting many, many years ago about “I am the greatest….” etc, etc, I just don’t see that he was any worse that Ali. To me it was just “trash talk” and egos of sport/show-biz. I wasn’t shocked at all and didn’t see it as anything unusual in the sport/entertainment world. It’s all a gimmick and ANY publicity is good publicity these days.


    In the case of the Crabtree/Sherman dust-up, I don’t think it was garden-variety trash talk. Watching the whole scenario on NFL films, where you could hear everything that was said, I think Sherman was genuinely (nor rightly, mind you) mad at Crabtree. After the play he came to Crabtree, extended his hand and said, “Hell of a game!” Crabtree pushed his facemask and Sherman reacted in shock to the reaction. Was it wise in that moment, when Crabtree’s team just lost a very emotional game to go up to him? Nope. Crabtree took it as taunting and baiting him. Sherman then delivered the choke sign which in all of this was the most bush league thing that happened. And he got fined for it. Rightly so.

  145. What about Katy Perry doing some Satanic Mass before the gay wedding at the Grammy’s?

  146. Nonnie says:

    Piney, All I saw was a clip of Sherman talking to a female reporter and bragging about how great he was. To me, that was no worse than Ali had/has done for 35 or 40 years. It’s show biz, publicity, sell the tickets and TV time stuff. It’s a way to make a name for yourself and stand out amongst a lot of big fish. Again, I will repeat that ANY publicity is good publicity in this day and age. (unless one is a Christian) 😉

  147. Hi Nonnie,

    Yes, that’s all I saw at first as well. Sherman gets asked a question and then goes off on Crabtree. And of course, it was pretty shocking!

    For Ali, it was all schtick. (I saw Muhammed Ali when I was a kid at LAX!) I don’t think RS was coming from the same place. He doesn’t do it for the media, he does it out of a competitive spirit. Once again (for Michael’s sake) I’m not condoning all of it. But it’s not as pre-meditated as some would make it out to be, IMO.

    Interesting, from watching the NFL films clip, right before the interview with Erin Andrews, RS greets her warmly and gives her a big hug! After that, he went to several 49er players inquiring about an injured 49er.

  148. Bob Sweat says:


    I was shown a picture of Katy Perry when she sang at my church a few years back. Big change to say the least!

  149. Michael says:


    This isn’t that complicated.
    I didn’t see where you wrote this this was unacceptable behavior in a civil society.
    I saw you and many others condemn my thoughts as lacking grace because I did say so.
    My question, then and now, is why do we need to extend grace if there was no offense?
    Sherman is an exceptional, intelligent athlete.
    I root for the Seahawks unless they are playing the Vikings.
    However, there are larger issues at play here.
    I’m tired of the lack of sportsmanship, the lack of humility, and the lack of concern over the influence of these behaviors on younger people.
    These behaviors reflect our cultural heart and they say we’re sick.
    The constant apologies for them indicates we may be terminal.

    Fighting in hockey is not why I love hockey…

  150. Xenia says:

    I realize I’m in the minority, but I believe that such exhibitions (and most of what passes for “debate” on news programs) are a sin against the common cultural good and a decent social order.<<<

    I am in that minority with you, Michael.

  151. Is fighting in hockey acceptable in a civil society? 🙂

    Michael, I think we’re just approaching this thing from different angles. I’m not a big culture warrior. We’re surely sick…have been since the days of Adam.

    As to Josh’s comment, Katy Perry is much more indicative of our woes than a hyper-emotional football player who put his foot in his mouth.

    As to RS, the dude got it. He came around. I had a hunch he would.

    I’ve always leaned heavy on this Bill Hybels quote: “The mark of community—true biblical unity—is not the absence of conflict. It’s the presence of a reconciling spirit.”

    We’ll always have our dust-ups. How will we react and respond is always the question for me.

    Once again, to really get a pulse of culture’s woes…watch the Grammys!

  152. “are a sin against the common cultural good and a decent social order.<<<"

    LOL 🙂 this is pretty funny – 70 million (I don't know the real number) drunk and gluttonous loud mouths yelling at their TVs and somehow Sherman is a threat to the cultural good and decent social order?? Laughable.

  153. Xenia says:

    What I see is that many Christians divide their world into compartments. There’s the Christian compartment, the work environment compartment, and the entertainment compartment. They believe it’s ok to keep these compartments completely separate from each other, especially the entertainment compartment. Well, American entertainment is, to borrow Michael’s favorite phrase, from the pit of hell, for the most part. It has become the biggest, most important compartment for many people. American entertainment is sick sick sick and it is degrading our culture. Look how little girls dress to go to school, they dress like hookers because that’s how their stupid mothers, who admire pop singers, dress them. Etc and etc, I could give a hundred examples and I have here over the years.

    Seriously, did you think you were going to get a Sunday School story when you turned on the sports channel or the grammys?

  154. Steve Wright says:

    Crabtree pushed his facemask and Sherman reacted in shock to the reaction.
    He spun around and looked to the ref to throw a flag.

    And yeah, Ali was similar. I despise Ali but at least he was a solo performer and not part of a team sport.

    Pastors and worship leaders get the vast amount of praise in the local church, but I remind people constantly that the only reason I am up there each week to teach the word is because there are many many people serving behind the scenes to make it possible for us to even have a public church service.

  155. Neo says:

    Listen, football is a very violent game. Men are out there getting concussed, tearing their ACL’s. If they play over five years in the NFL they will never walk of feel the same. So let’s keep our white man, above the fray, moral outrage to his very entertaining rant in it’s proper context. Football is violent. Largely Afro American in number. Way over glamorized. If you think his comments were all that bad, shut off your tv or watch something with more artistic or societal value.

  156. Michael says:


    Perhaps laughable to you, but Sherman was representing our cultural decency as a whole when he did that and we all apologized for it.
    We wonder why we have such division and polarization that stops productive dialog and real problem solving when the reality is that we find it entertaining regardless of the civil cost.

  157. Michael says:


    I’m as guilty as any, but I’m waking up…

  158. Michael,
    You live in a bubble. Go out on the street and just ask 100 people “What did you think of Richard Sherman’s comments 9 days ago.” No explanation, just ask the question.

    It will be like Leno doing Jay Walk. You will get blank stares like “who is he” or some will go off thinking he is our ambassador to Syria.

    “was representing our cultural decency as a whole” – that must be more of that literary license, because it is not even close to reality.

  159. Michael says:


    I was watching football before you were born and I’m going to keep watching football and speaking to attitudes and actions that I believe are ruining the sport and are in reality an extension of our cultural illness.
    This isn’t about football, or racism, it’s about how we define acceptable standards in our culture.

  160. “and we all apologized for it.” Who did you apologize to?

    Other than this blog, I have not spoken with a single person who took offense let alone took it seriously. I am in an office with guys 25 – 40 – crickets

  161. I want my athletes to be ruthless gladiators … and I want them to cover the spread. 🙂

    I remember the good old days when athletes from opposing teams were not even allowed to speak to each other if they were in public view. When if a Dodger fell down in front of a SF Giants guy, the Giants guy wouldn’t help him up – in fact he would probably kick the guys cap across the field.

    Now they pray together, hug each other, help each other up, pat each other on the butt, etc.

    It is absolutely disgusting. 😉

  162. Steve Wright says:

    Yeah MLD, the good old days when Juan Marichial took his Adirondack upside John Roseboro’s head one game…just lovely.

    I think almost everyone here missed Michael’s multiple points in last week’s Things I Think – where he used the Sherman situation as an example.

    I will say though, the idea that this was normal and a mountain out of a mole hill is simply not correct. Revisionist history at its finest. All over the internet (even non-sports blogs), talk radio, especially sports talk but even non sports talk, local news, politicians EVERYONE was chiming in. Which (to Michael’s points) may be a good thing because apparently many in this nation did see the problem in his behavior.

  163. Go do the “Man on the Street.” I will bet that a small minority will know what you are talking about.

  164. “EVERYONE was chiming in”

    That was my point. The action was no different than times past. Social media is the difference.

  165. I think more people were chiming in about the chiming in.

    That was my point and Piney’s point last week – the story about the story was more of the story than the actual story.

  166. Steve,
    Yes, just like Drysdale and Gibson would not allow a hitter to get comfortable on the inside of the plate. Today, not a single pitcher pitches to the inside of the plate and guys are hitting 50 homers off them.

    Compare my day, Drysdale, to your day Billingsley who refused to protect his teammates.

  167. Neo says:

    Just don’t look to the NFL for those acceptable standards. You’ll be sorely disappointed.

  168. Steve Wright says:

    The story about the story could be placed over any news item you want – if that is your desire.

    When someone is asked ‘What did you think of Sherman’s remarks” that is a reaction to the story. If someone is asked “What did you think about Terry Bradshaw’s comments about Sherman’s comments on Twitter” then that is more in line with your point.

    Comparing throwing inside with one of the most ugly incidents in the history of baseball is ludicrous. But the reason pitchers don’t throw inside, as you no doubt know, is due to rules changes and umpires, not because they are buddy-buddy with the opposing player.

  169. Steve Wright says:

    And by the way, if Drysdale was in your day (who retired around 1969 I think) then my day is not NOW, but the days of Nolan Ryan, J.R. Richard, Goose Gossage and others…

  170. To me, what I heard in the initial comments (mainly Michael’s and pstrmike’s) was something akin to “the sky is falling.” I didn’t view the incident (of which I didn’t approve or condone) as gravely or seriously as they did. Hence the discussion. I was not an apologist for the behaviour, I did seek to factor in some of the circumstances into Sherman’s actions. That wasn’t to justify, but to understand how something like that happens.

    As to the Dodgers, I recall the time in the 70’s when they brawling among themselves! Dark days in Dodgerland…

  171. “not because they are buddy-buddy with the opposing player.”

    Sure it is – these guys all know each other, grew up through academies, summer leagues and with no one staying on one team, they have all been teammates.

    Don’t tell me about Roseboro / Marichal, you weren’t even born yet 🙂 – I watched the game … back in the day when we got only 9 – 11 TV games a year on KTTV 11 – all from SF. sponsored by Union 76, Farmer John’s and Dual filtered Tareyton cigarettes.

    The fight wasn’t the issue, they could have beat the tar out of each other, turned each other into bloody pulps and no one would have blinked – it was the fact that Marichal used his bat.

  172. Steve Wright says:

    it was the fact that Marichal used his bat.

  173. I gotta agree with MLD. The photo of Marichal holding that bat was what struck such great dread. He was using a lethal weapon. A photo of 2 MLB teams in a bench-clearing brawl? Just another day at the ballpark.

  174. Well the point is that no one cares if the fight and get bloody and if the whole bench clears … last June Dodgers / Diamonbacks.

    So why upset that a guy does some shouting and doesn’t even cuss.

    But like I said, when someone says “Sherman was representing our cultural decency as a whole when he did that and we all apologized for it.” I say phooey – man up.

    What happens when the likes of Freddie Blassie get the microphone and at the top of his lungs calls his opponent a pencil necked geek … and our society kept rolling along.

  175. I can’t find them now but there are a couple of great pictures online of Mark McGwire holding Kirk Gibson AND Matt Williams by the Jersey almost lifting both them off the ground last June – that my friends was a bravo sports moment. 🙂

  176. Bob Sweat says:

    Freddie Blassie was my hero. I still remember him smashing the beer can against his head. That was back in the day before aluminum cans. Wow nellie Dick Lane was scared to death!

    I also remember Marichal using Roseboro’s head for batting practice. 😯

  177. Bob Sweat says:

    MLD, if I come down to So Cal this year, you want to go to a Dodger game? Maybe we can get Steve to go with us. But he’s probably an Angel fan. 🙁

  178. Bob,
    I’m in.
    Steve is a premillennial dispensational Dodger’s fan – he thinks only the Jews on the team will win the pennant 🙂

  179. Steve Wright says:

    Please…bench-clearing “brawls” that have every player from both dugouts on the field typically involve 4-6 players max actually fighting. More people are breaking it up than fighting otherwise they wouldn’t end so quickly. Even guys from the bullpens feel some teammate obligation to half-heartedly jog out and tend to arrive at the infield when the thing is over. And the number one rule is the catcher is supposed to tackle the batter before he gets to the pitcher before punches are thrown.

    Now…you find me one Dad out there who encourages his son to charge the mound. If there are some, they are pathetic Dads that’s for sure.

    So..back to Michael’s point (again). Sherman makes bush-league comments which many people did find wrong, including his coach, including former NFL players, which led to his apology…somehow WE are the ones in error who might question those who defended bush-league commentary as normal and understandable.

    So if Sherman’s interview is understandable and entertaining, then why would youth football players not be encouraged to act the same way? That’s all. No, we aren’t looking for NFL players to teach our children about morality – but when we say “Son, that player’s words after the game are unacceptable and don’t ever act like that” we wonder why the people we worship with down the street are not saying the same message.

  180. Steve Wright says:

    Bob Sweat…family had Dodger season tickets from the time I was six years old. I could go from my door to my seat at the stadium in under 20 minutes. (Especially if I was driving 🙂 )

  181. Steve, you miss the point – bad behavior, rude behavior, outlandish behavior, all bad, all terrible – all unthinkable – but Richard Sherman did not bring down our cultural standards – he didn’t even impact them. It was his 15 min of fame and now it is gone … although there will be a great effort by those who feign disgust to bring it back up next Sunday.

    But even though you are wrong I can still break Dodger Dogs with you as a brother. 🙂

  182. Steve Wright says:

    but Richard Sherman did not bring down our cultural standards
    I never said he did.

  183. But Michael did … and some are defending his position. He said that our standards were so tarnished that we had to apologize.

  184. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – I was at game 3 of the 1981 World Series. 14 years old and baseball was my life.

    LA lost the first 2 in New York, and Lasorda saved a young Mexican rookie named Fernando for the home crowd. He must have thrown 180 pitches that night…but Tommy left him in and the good guys won, swept the 3 in LA and won it in New York in six.

  185. I don’t know about anyone else, but if anyone hurt our cultural standards – or at least insulted them it would be Dennis Rodman – and not a word has been said here. But Richard Sherman gets blasted because he is an easier target.

  186. Ahh yes, back when we could get in the series, let alone win. 😉

  187. I went to one of the 1959 series games against the White Sox at 10 yrs old but i don’t remember which one and I went to game 5 of the 1977 series against the Yankees – Don Sutton pitched.

  188. Wow, it is snowing in Hawaii. The end is upon us! 😉

  189. How many people have come out and said the RS comments were simply normal, understandable or entertaining? The vast majority of people were stunned by them. I imagine very view people heard his comments and said, “kewl!” What dad is telling his son to act like RS? I heard him speak out and I thought, “Whoa!”

    If I hit my thumb with a hammer, and a choice word emerges, I hope someone will at least attempt to understand the context of why I said what I said, as opposed to thinking of me as being a person who just going cusses all the time.

    Once again, I thought some of the initial comments were an over-reaction. I truly believe that if someone tried to pin the blame for all that’s wrong in the world on RS, they simply got the wrong guy. He’s not perfect, but he’s not the big instigator that some are trying to make him out to be.

  190. If RS learned anything, hopefully it’s the power of the national stage and the importance of self-control.

  191. Michael says:

    I’m getting more than a little tired of being misrepresented.
    I did not say that the sky was falling or that Sherman was taking down our cultural standards…the whole freaking point is that he was DEMONSTRATING our cultural standard and that it should be unacceptable to us….that we should care when this is the accepted cultural norm of expression.

    Maybe I should use a felt board…

  192. “I’m getting more than a little tired of being misrepresented.”

    Honestly, Michael, that’s how I’ve felt. 🙂 Early on, a few comments from pstrmike seemed a bit condescending.

    I am in no way intending to make you feel bedraggled over all this. Every response I’ve given is in pursuit of better understanding.

    But who is it that is accepting it as a norm?

    The reaction to it proved it wasn’t a norm.

  193. Michael says:

    The defense…much from pastors of all people…proved it acceptable.
    Those of us who spoke to it (and pstrmike was articulate in my opinion) ended up being the graceless legalists.

  194. Michael,
    There is a normalcy that may be exclusive in sports that is not normal to society. Loud mouthing and trash talking may one.

    It is not normal in polite society to run into one another or tackle each other – in sports it is. I have been at work all day, no one has shouted from the next office to encourage me, no organ player played the “CHARGE” sound behind me … wouldn’t those be out of place in the office?

    This is a separate part of society that you want to hold to the standards of the tea and crumpet patrons.

  195. So…we coming from another POV ended up being the careless libertines. So what?

    No one I now of viewed it as a norm or as something to be accepted.

    But not all saw it with the severity you did.

    I wasn’t acting as an apologist for RS. I was debating your premise. Obviously, I still am!

    When RS opened his mouth, the story started. I just wasn’t ready to say the story was finished.

  196. No one I KNOW of…

    (typo alert)

  197. Btw, I don’t think you created a mountain out of a molehill, but I do believe you took one cultural event and allowed it to define our world way more than it possible could.or should have.

    And in regards to cultural events, I don’t give everything a pass and deem them acceptable for the sake of grace. There are some things that I react to very strongly. RS just didn’t raise my ire much. I’m much more concerned with pre-meditated and strategic, not the emotional one-offs of a football player. A football player whose actions look a lot like my own, reminding me how often I need to reflect and repent.

  198. Ixtlan says:

    If you don’t like it,turn off the TV.

    How idiotic! What if we took the same head in the sand (or somewhere else) approach to everything we objected to?

  199. lxtlan – I don’t think you thought that through. Are you making sure to watch enough p0rn so that aren’t accused of having your head in the sand? Surely there comes a time where turning off the tv is the right thing to do.

  200. Tom Randall has been cleared of all charges. Please update your story. Thank you.

  201. some guy says:

    The parting shot of Sherman is of him trying to push his way up onto the winner’s platform after the game. Didn’t work. MVP et al trumps ego.

  202. erunner says:

    Mike Wise, I haven’t followed the story closely but I did a google search on Randall being cleared and nothing shows up. Can you provide a link showing he has been cleared??

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