When Truth Makes You The Enemy

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74 Responses

  1. Bob Sweat says:

    I’m with you, Michael. My number of Facebook friends has dropped by 30%, and many of those who remain block what I post. The truth is difficult to handle by those who have been sucked into a cult-type atmosphere. I hope you, Kevin, and Duane keep writing.

  2. LInn says:

    Michael,
    My circle of friends has changed as well with all the political, theological, and COVID turmoil. I’ve appreciated the new ones I’ve gained (you were one!), and have felt bad over some of the ones that I lost. However, I’ve also found that, with the passing of time, some people are not as invested in what they were committed to two or three years ago. I recently reconnected with one of my best friends with whom I hadn’t communicated as much the past couple of years due to serious differences regarding just about everything you mentioned in your post. We’ve done Christmas cards, and one or two emails, and that’s been about it. There are still enough things we can talk about without hitting the third rail. The conversations aren’t as deep, obviously, but I hope that may change in the future.

    I also thought that I had totally disconnected with the English-speaking congregation in my church (no problems with the Hispanic congregation). I had been avoiding them, but slowly things have been improving. The church wasn’t “conservative enough” for many (although the lead pastor is conservative, we are not told how to vote from the pulpit), and those people have left. The politics of Trump and COVID have really disappeared from sermons and general conversation. I think people are re-thinking everything that happened, and-thankfully-our leadership is committed to focusing on the Word and how to apply it; not how to use it to elect someone.

    Last thought-it will probably be just Felix and me for Christmas. So many of my friends are busy with their grandchildren and extended family. It has been that way the past few years, but I’ve been okay with it. After all the bustle at school, it’s nice to sit in my big chair with Felix and watch an old Christmas movie (The Bells of St. Mary’s comes to mind). It’s a nice reset before I plunge into the New Year. Flip side-I won’t say no to an invitation, but I leave it in God’s hand because He knows what I truly need.

  3. Michael says:

    Bob,

    We’re too far in to back out now. 🙂

    It all hurts…but I’ve spent most pf my life getting whipped by Christians.

    I just hope the Lord is with us all…

  4. Michael says:

    Linn,

    I’m glad things are changing in your church.
    I lost a couple of people I cared a lot about in our church, but there wasn’t much I could do or say that would have kept them without lying.

    I hope you have a blessed Christmas…Felix is part of my cat world now and I know he’ll take good care of you!

  5. Dave Rolph says:

    We don’t ever lose friends. We just find out who our friends really are. Still hurts though. After the revolution the first item on the agenda is to kill the revolutionaries. Then everyone moves on to their next cult. Keep speaking truth. It’s all that matters. Most will follow Depeche Mode and have their own personal Jesus.

  6. Michael says:

    Dave,

    Amen to all that.
    Grateful that you’re still a friend…if anyone ever had reason to leave, it was you.

    I gave you plenty of reasons… 🙂

  7. Linn says:

    Michael,
    I’ve so appreciated being welcomed here as well as with Felix. He is always following me around the house, looking for either a treat or a belly rub!

  8. Michael says:

    Linn,

    You’ve been an excellent contributor to our community…and I’m partial to cat owners. 🙂

    I’ve never had a cat turn on me….and they have been a great comfort to me though the years.

    Give Felix what he wants!

  9. Bob Sweat says:

    Dave,

    Good to hear from you! “Truth” to your words!

  10. Reuben says:

    I came here, as you might remember, to argue against Calvinism and blast you out of the stars. Then came the PHXP/SMP wars. I was decidedly on the SMP side. Then came my realizations. I realized I agreed with you on most things.

    Constructive dialogue does not exist anymore. It’s far easier to encounter a problem and cancel out the problem. It’s actually popular, to the degree that it is a mentality that is destroying itself. If you do this, you wind up alone and canceled yourself.

    I’m canceled. So be it. May the canceled unite in at least one common denominator.

    Truth is a thing. I don’t know what it is, but it exists. I heard a analogy on the radio show I listen to this morning. If you say the ceiling is 9 feet tall, and the person next to you says it’s 10 feet tall, you can’t make a truth by saying it’s 9.5 feet tall and walk away satisfied you found the truth. The ceiling has a height, and that is determined easily by whipping out a measuring tape.

    I believe you are a measuring tape guy. Stick with the measuring tape. I love you.

  11. Michael says:

    Well said, Reuben.

    Really well said.

    You’ll never be cancelled here…and when here isn’t here anymore, you’ll always have a place in my heart.

    Love you too, my friend…

  12. Josh says:

    We’ve probably disagreed more than we’ve agreed over the years, but you’ve never been my enemy.

    Thankful for you friendship, not just for me, but for all those who have come and gone over the years. We all benefited.

  13. pstrmike says:

    “I’m canceled. So be it. May the canceled unite in at least one common denominator”

    That’s my vision. Those who do not see need not apply. I understand more and more what drove the Desert Fathers and Mothers into seclusion.

  14. Kevin H says:

    Yes, but why only one cat in the chart? If you’re really all about truth, shouldn’t that picture be crawling with cats?

  15. Michael says:

    Josh,

    No one has benefitted more than me…those, like you , who have stayed have enriched my life in ways you’ll never know.
    Grateful for you, my friend.

  16. Michael says:

    pstrmike,

    Amen…sometimes it feels like we’ve been sentenced to community… 🙂

  17. Michael says:

    Kevin,

    That cat is looking at the cat invasion headed it’s way … 🙂

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael,

    Only one correction. Truth does not make you the enemy, truth is the enemy for many people. You just happen to be the one that is sharing it…

  19. We love you and are so glad you keep telling your truth! I tell A lot of truth too, and thankin God my circle is small!

  20. pstrmike says:

    Ah……..”the PHXP/SMP wars.”

    definitely not our best moment………………..

    I would hope that all of us involved in that shitstorm would handle it today much better and with greater grace than any of us did back then…….

    and I hope I’m not hoping to much for some

  21. Michael says:

    Duane,

    I know you live your life the same way…thank you, my friend.

  22. Michael says:

    Your friend always!!!,

    Love you both as well…you’ve been good to me for a long time!

  23. Michael says:

    dan,

    That’s wonderful…unless aliens come looking for them to play with…

  24. Michael says:

    pstrmike,

    I rarely remember those times…except for one incident that you have heard me howl about …

  25. pstrmike says:

    yep…… I remember all too well.

  26. Jean says:

    I wish more Christians had such confidence in their Christ given identity that they would not seek it from any man nor attempt to self-create it.

  27. Captain Kevin says:

    “All that matters to me is Jesus…so whether you stay here or go, I’m going to keep doing what I’m called to do.”

    I would expect nothing less from you, my friend.

    “Liam says he’s in for the long haul…”

    I’m with Liam.

  28. Michael says:

    CK,

    Thanks, my friend.
    Liam sends his regards…

  29. Xenia says:

    If you are referring to me, you called my Church apostate and my Patriarch the anti-christ. What the hell did you expect? Ain’t no coming back after that..

  30. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I would expect you to repudiate your murderous Patriarch…who is quite obviously a type of anti-Christ.

    The blood of the Ukrainian people says amen….I will lose the whole damn place before I affirm murder in the name of Jesus.

  31. Michael says:

    I send a few bucks every month without fail to help feed the pets that have been abandoned or orphaned by the war in Ukraine…I get video updates on a regular basis on the carnage created with the approval of the Russian patriarch.

    I support Joel Sterling Brown who feeds and houses refugees of the same senseless, evil, war…with the oppressors promised heaven by the same patriarch…

    You made the right choice, old friend…

  32. Kevin H says:

    Xenia,

    You have long been a respected and beloved voice here and your expression and explanation of Orthodoxy has been appreciated.

    Unfortunately, the leader of your expression of the faith has capitulated to, endorsed, and even encouraged some truly wicked things being carried out by the Russian government, for which there is no absolutely no moral justification. Saying such is not meant to be combative or intentionally offensive, but as the theme of the last couple articles here, it is the speaking of truth.

    Just as we have so long in this online community bemoaned, primarily in this country, the wrongful support and justification that Christian leaders and politicians who commit immoral and leadership-disqualifying actions, receive from Christian supporters, a similar, if not even grosser circumstance has now played out in the ROC. We would hope that your loyalty and adherence to the Russian Orthodox faith would not cause you to follow the same unfortunate path of placing other things above what is true and right and the ways of Jesus. I say that will all sincerity and concern.

  33. Xenia says:

    You all might be interested to know that every Sunday the Russian Churches in America pray that Ukraine would be protected from invaders. This prayer was appointed to be prayed by the Russian bishops in America and Canada.

    Our parish has a number of Ukrainian refugees, or to put it more clearly, people who were able to leave the country with the help of relatives in our parish. Our parish has many Ukrainians.

    My old friend Bishop Irenei, ROCOR bishop of England and Western Europe, has, in writing, condemned the invasion as evil.

    The number 2 cleric in Russia appears to be against the invasion as well. His story and actions are interesting and inspiring.

    At our parish we hear first hand of what’s happening over there; things are not always as the mainstream media says.

    If only you knew someone who was part of the Russian Church in America who could have answered some questions….

    You could have said: Xenia! The invasion of Ukraine is evil! How are the people of the Russian Churches in America dealing with this? But you start out with “the apostate Russian Church.”

    Patriarch Kyrill will not live forever. I don’t abandon my family because its patriarch is bad; I wait it out and pray for repentance with the rest of my family.

  34. Xenia says:

    Bishop Irenei is probably the most influential hierarch in the Russian Church outside of Russia. Earlier this year he said the following:

    “Since we note with sorrow that some in the media persist in misrepresenting our views, with no attempt to speak directly with us at any stage, we restate here what we have openly said since the war in Ukraine began: We stand wholly against the war and we call for it to end. I do not know how one can be clearer than this. The war is an evil. It cannot be justified. God will bless the peacemakers, as the Lord Himself says.”

  35. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    This vile war has gone on for over a year now.
    There has been abundant time and opportunity for you to clearly repudiate your patriarch if you chose to do so.
    I chose not to involve you as you have frequently said that you believe whatever your church believes … it was up to you to tell us that you’d made an exception in this case.
    I believed that calling on you would have been seen as mean spirited and aggressive toward a friend…perhaps I was wrong.

    My church family has gone off the rails in my opinion.
    One side is sinking into MAGA mire and the other side has embraced perversion.
    My choice has been to have no connection with either…perhaps it’s easier for me as I’ve spent my life as a man without a family.

    Kyrill will not live forever, but his successor will be another Putin toady.

    I do know what is going on over there on the ground level….

    I am heartened to see others in your church stand up to this great evil…perhaps a complete split is in order.

    There has not been a time when writing about these matters that I have not considered you a friend…I understood or believed that you would be greatly conflicted by it all.

    I still believe what I wrote…and I will still hold you in affection whether the feeling is mutual or not.

  36. Josh says:

    I appreciate the clarity, and admire the stance of the Orthodox church outside of Russia, the “media is misrepresenting” doesn’t really work. You have a bad actor in a very high place. Its going to reflect poorly on the entire organization. That’s how it works.

    But very glad that you took time to explain.

  37. pstrmike says:

    I consider Xenia a friend as well, I’ve known her here for many years, and am grateful for her research help during my dissertation. She said:

    “Patriarch Kyrill will not live forever. I don’t abandon my family because its patriarch is bad; I wait it out and pray for repentance with the rest of my family.”

    This is an interesting perspective, one that I respect and yet find difficulty endorsing. I have a close friend who feels the same way about The Episcopalian USA Church. He considered his ecclesial tribe his mission field.

    If I had taken this approach, I would still be Calvary Chapel. And, I didn’t abandon them, I felt that I could no longer endorse their leadership which made it difficult to find enough space of commonality and continued fellowship. What became the icing on that cake was my shift in theology.

  38. Xenia says:

    Michael, I believe the doctrines of the Orthodox Church, not the geo-political ideas of individual hierarchs.

  39. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    So, now that it is all out here…do you personally repudiate the wicked teachings and actions of the Russian Patriarch?

  40. Josh says:

    I think Xenia has been clear on the thread, and don’t think she needs to be dragged to say more.

  41. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Not dragging…simply an invitation to clarity.
    It is what I would appreciate in the same situation.

  42. Xenia says:

    If by “repudiate” do you mean I do I lament and sorrow over some things he’s done and said, then yes. He will answer to God for his sins, as will I. I most certainly do not repudiate the Russian Church, especially the American branch.

    By the way, you were pretty quick to use the word “enemy” for being unfriended on FB. I am moving away from social media and unfriended everyone except relatives and some close friends in real life. But you jump to “enemy of the truth.”

  43. Josh says:

    Aww man, its true. Just checked and Xenia friend dumped me too.

  44. Xenia says:

    I hope to be completely done with FB eventually. Twitter, too.

  45. Josh says:

    Yeah, my twitter feed is so weird. I only follow a few things, and its like every day it picks different vile stuff to throw at me.

  46. Xenia says:

    I would delete FB except I have a few relatives that will only correspond on it so I have kept it for them.

    And now I believe I have done enough explaining.

  47. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I’ve had multiple people inform me that I’m an enemy of the church, an enemy of the country, and an enemy period.

    What you have said here in different ways is that you’re” not on the same page” as many here…and that is a totally legitimate reason for not participating here anymore.

    Some of your remaining Facebook friends are also people who have left here because they “are not on the same page” anymore.

    What you do in your personal life is your business…consider it a blessing that it mattered.

    You take my blessing with you.

  48. Josh says:

    facebook and instagram are fine. Mostly just friends and family and a little bit of music stuff I follow. Some ads, but noting that just seems completely random, and far less than the real content. Twitter is whacky for me though. I have a tik tok account but never go on there. I’m sure the kids have moved on to somehting new now anyway.

  49. Xenia says:

    Michael, I recognize an olive branch when I see one. I accept and offer you one as well.

    God bless,
    Xenia

  50. Michael says:

    I like Facebook…even have bought from some of the ads.

    I can’t fathom Instagram. I’m old and don’t know how to communicate with pictures.

    Twitter was my favorite source for years…but Musk has me moving out.

  51. Josh says:

    I think when you are friends with folks online for years you assume they are true friends. It does hurt a bit to find out it isn’t so.

  52. Michael says:

    Josh,

    It does, but my natural cynicism keeps me from too much pain.

    Friendships are now based on shared ideology rather than personal affection…I’m not going to get used to that, so I expect more such loss.

  53. Josh says:

    That’s bad for me, cause I’m on an ideological island at the moment. 🙂

  54. Michael says:

    It’s bad for everyone because worth depends on agreement , not personal quality.

    Non conformity means you are out of the tribe and sent looking for another.

    I am the definition of a non conformist… I have a few close human friends and my cats.

  55. Josh says:

    I read through old threads on here often. 1. There has been top-notch discussion at this place that I haven’t seen anywhere else. 2. Just to remember where I’ve been, vs. where I’m headed.

    Yesterday, I saw a discussion from 2021 where I was going hard about focusing my religion on the life and ministry of Jesus, and making everything else in the bible subject to that. You said that you agreed with my path, but warned me that it would be lonely and that I might need to find another line of work.

    It hit me like a prophecy when I read that yesterday.

  56. Dan from Georgia says:

    I’ve come to view FB as kind of a necessary not-so-evil…I’d drop it today but it’s the only way I can keep in touch with a few people. My mainstay is LinkedIn ’cause that is where my art biz is.

  57. Xenia says:

    Yesterday morning I was writing out our Christmas cards, and as I was writing my greetings, I couldn’t help but think about the memories I have with each of these relatives and friends. One neighbor brings us a home-baked pie every Christmas, she is also the one who baby-sat my older kids while I was at the hospital birthing the younger ones. My husband and I are god-parents to some. Most came to Rachel’s funeral, most helped pay for it, and one dear woman sat with me in the hospital for Rachel’s last hour. Many have brought food when I was sick and I’ve reciprocated. There’s a story for each of them, no point going on an on with examples. Some (I’m looking at you, North Carolina cousins) are too MAGA, some (California peeps) are way to liberal. But even the ones with the most despicable political views have many other things to praise them for, which I know about because I know them in real life. The relationships are based on more than conversations. I think this explains the difference between online friends and friends in real life.

  58. Dan from Georgia says:

    Xenia, “real life” friends are indispensable. I have several friends that I don’t see eye to eye with, but I’d die for them and love them mucho.

  59. Josh says:

    I can tell you, when my life fell apart, without going into just how dark it got, Michael was one of the first people I turned to. he was there for me and his one of the reasons I am still around today. I don’t know what else to call that but friend.

  60. Laura Figueroa-Scott says:

    Michael,

    I have said it to you more than once and I’ll do it again: the work you do here is valuable. It’s value is not diminished if I agree or disagree with it personally.

    Truth will always be worth more than whatever is currently acceptable or palatable.

    I have to support the Man with the Cats; we have always agreed on that.

  61. Michael says:

    Josh,

    It was my honor to do so…a privilege.

    We are friends.
    .

  62. Michael says:

    Laura,

    You will only know the impact you’ve had in me personally and here after we get home.

    Much love to you.

  63. Alan says:

    The death of my son has made virtually all of my conflicts with people look vain and useless. Not to say that the issues that fomented those conflicts don’t matter. They often do. But ashes call for reconciliation and forgiveness. So, I must seek to be at peace with all even in the midst of our sharp differences.

    I see a few posts from folk I’ve had little contact with for a while. Grace and peace to each of you. It is in the breaking of bread that we mend our vast divides. In Christ we meet.

  64. Michael says:

    Alan,

    My heart is with you and your family this Christmas.
    I am grateful that you remain at the table with me…there are a number of empty chairs these days.

  65. Pineapple Head says:

    As far as FB goes, the only reason I unfriend a person is if they are consistently obnoxious, condescending, and/or and mocking in their posts/comments. Funny thing, I once was a FB friend with a former Christian musician who has become an ardent atheist. Not someone I knew personally, just a moderately well-known CCM artist. He had become more and more of a jerk with what he posted and in his comment threads. I finally had enough and clicked the unfriend button. A few months later I noticed we were friends again, and my hunch is my son accidentally clicked on us being friends again. I took it as a sign that I was still meant to be engaged with this person.

  66. Dan from Georgia says:

    That’s interesting PH…for how toxic FB can get, the Lord’s arm is not too short to save.

  67. pstrmike says:

    hummm… reading through this today.

    PH got angry about something and unfriended me years ago. Figured it was sign we were meant to go our own way….

  68. Pineapple Head says:

    Pastor Mike,

    I have no recollection of you doing anything annoying or obtuse!

  69. Phil says:

    Hey Michael, I’m still rolling with you.

  70. Michael says:

    Phil,

    Thanks, my friend…I knew you would be.

  71. Kevin H says:

    Good to see you Phil!

  72. Captain Kevin says:

    Hey there Phil!

  73. Phil says:

    Merry Christmas Kevin and Captain Kevin!

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