Dec 302013
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. The last word on the Duck Dynasty debacle has again been overlooked in all the hype.

The reality is that this is the first time in recent memory that the gay lobby has lost a battle in favor of a greater economic force. The cultural capitulation to homosexuality started with the large corporations for economic reasons, not moral or ethical ones…and retaking any ground begins with understanding what really happened over the last two weeks. The gay lobby would love nothing more than for this to be seen as a publicity stunt rather than a defeat at the hand of the masses.

2. The two main expectations in the NT for believers are love and suffering…and they are intrinsically linked. There is no such thing as true faith without real suffering. They don’t tell you this when they draft you…

3. Perhaps the most troubling trend I see for our cultural future is that through the internet and “entertainment” we are modeling conflict as communication and polarization as the preferred position. Thus we have replaced the art of compromise and statesmanship with extremism looking for conflict. That…is dangerous.

4. The Bible knows nothing of unorganized religion…

5. Behind every renegade pastor (celebrity or not) are a team of renegade elders and a renegade board who share in and enable his sins.

6. One of greatest schemes of the devil these days is to blind us to the 7000 who haven’t bowed their knee to Baal…God still has a mighty big remnant.

7. Another scheme has been to convince the church that preaching on holiness diminishes grace and leads to legalism. I’ve fallen for both lies…

8. Pain is often the greatest predictor of the presence of God.

9.“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”(2 Corinthians 5:18-20ESV). The heart of God and the core of the Gospel is unforced reconciliation between God and man and between people at odds for the sake of the Gospel. When we are content with enmity we deny both the heart of God and the Gospel that saved us.

10. Leaders who are caught in sins like plagiarism and lies then refuse to confess, repent, and seek restoration are as disqualified from ministry as they would be if caught in the act of sodomy. If you can’t model the fundamentals, you aren’t fit to teach them.

With that, we end the first decade of the Phoenix Preacher.

I thank you for all the years you’ve read, commented, encouraged, rebuked, and supported me.

If the Lord wills and you keep reading, we’ll keep on going for a few more.

May God bless you and perfect all that concerns you in the coming year…thanks again.

  103 Responses to “Things I Think”

  1. Michael, good observations, may you and your family have a blessed new year.

  2. Ten years. Wow! Congrats!

  3. Very good and rich stuff for my mind and soul this morning! And thank you for the time you’ve put into this blog.

    It’s funny when I think back on it all. The first day I posted here several years ago to defend CC from whatever you all were talking about that day, MLD called me a jack ass. But it was your conversations with people like MLD and those whose lives had been made a mess of from trying to do “ministry” in a Calvary Chapel, that helped me through the mess my church life became. MLD’s and Lutheran’s comments even played a major part in my journey into the Lutheran church.

    Even though I still look back on the first 40 years of my Christian life with great confusion trying to understand it all and how crazy it was, if that is what it took to bring me to the point I am at now, the point you helped me get to…then it was worth it.

    Keep on sharing your thoughts with us as your life allows. They always make for good conversation.

  4. I realize that by posting here I relegate my recent comments on last week’s “Things I Think” blog to obscurity. And just when I had a cohesive thought. “D’OH!” I’ll take dumb for a thousand, Alex.

  5. Michael, thank you for being a voice of reason. Thank you for your applications, and your honestly. Thank you for pointing us to Jesus for the answer, even as you continue to ask questions with us. God bless you in the new year.

  6. Regarding your #1- The bottom line with most companies is obviously money unless that company is run by someone with what they consider a higher agenda. I think the company gave in when they saw that they stood to lose millions of dollars and viewers. Now the gay lobby will double down and go after the company.

    What does #4 mean? What is unorganized religion?

  7. Happy Decade, dear friend!

  8. Michael,

    You are so right about the renegade pastors having renegade elders behind them…we’ve seen it time and again, these men do not act alone. In fact it would be impossible to do so.

    Congrats on 10 years…I will never be the same for having stumbled upon this site so many years ago..

  9. “The Bible knows nothing of unorganized religion…”

    In my witnessing, THIS statement is something I want to figure out how to counter effectively.

    I usually start with the fact they are at an educational “institution” that is organized…..or talk about if they will eventually get married (most still express a desire to do so).

    I strongly suspect that individual’s parents are divorced/never married which leads to this hard-hearted independence of “I don’t like organized religion.”

  10. “Pain is often the greatest predictor of the Presence of God”

    Let me meditate on that today……

    Back to work….. The Lord provides.

  11. Thanks for the kind words folks.
    Stu, we often hear people say that they hate organized religion…and the reality is that the NT knows nothing of faith outside participation in the visible church.

  12. must share this Tim Keller quote cause it was really good, year end thought better than any of mine:
    “It is no more narrow to claim that one religion is right than to claim that one way to think about all religions is right.”

    Is this logic thing that I enjoy so much.

    Happy New Year, thank you for another very thought provoking year, Michael!

  13. Ten years! Jeepers! I’ve been along for the whole ride. When I first joined (actually, I joined Michael’s old Yahoo group first) I had only been Orthodox a few years and I was still trying to sort out my new theology vs my old theology, “old” and “new” being relative terms in this case. I have stomped off in righteous indignation a few times… well, quite a few times, actually… but I always come back. This place is like the TV bar Cheers, a place to go where everyone knows each others’ name…. more or less.

  14. Michael, it has been my privilege to be part of this community for 8 of those 10 years, and I have been blessed and challenged. Discussions on this blog have caused me to re-evaluate some theological positions that I have believed and taught. Some of those positions I have since threw out, while others have been strengthened. A thank you to all, and looking forward to the next ten!

  15. “It is no more narrow to claim that one religion is right than to claim that one way to think about all religions is right.”<<<

    That's a keeper for sure.

  16. CrucifiED,
    Are you sure it was me that called you a Jackass? (not that I haven’t called people that before) 😉
    but my issues were never to criticize what went on at CC – I never saw the problems others did, and I was in the eye of the storm with Skip at Ocean Hills – my issues were strictly over teaching & doctrines.

    But if it was me, I apologize … heck even if it wasn’t me I apologize. 🙂

  17. Wow, 10 Years? That’s a long time! I jumped in during the OH days…

    I hope we have at least another 10 productive years here.

    Thanks for being here.

  18. “4. The Bible knows nothing of unorganized religion…”

    Hmmm.

    The 4Gospels, Jesus as the central figure, dashes the idea of “organized religion” time and time again. Jesus continuously shakes up humanity’s attempts to organize and codify religion and its rules, practices and observances by reducing everything to an inner & personal relationship to God that is then borne out to fellow followers of Jesus, and those who are “neighbors” then to the world at large. The stuff Jesus affirms and values are not institutions or edifices.

  19. Good thoughts this morning Michael.

    1. I will have to ponder this one, as I wish it were so. The Rose parade usually gets our viewing pleasure every Jan 1, but with the “marriage” of two gays being one of the floats, I wonder about watching any of the parade, or just turning it off when that part comes up. Last thing I want my kids to see is a celebration of sin.

    2. Love and suffering…. amen. Deep.

    3. I can’t eeven look at posts that are political without coming across this very fact: polarization is a fact. There seems to be no middle ground anymore.

    4. If organized religion is a simply getting together with others who share a common faith… count me in. We were never intended to go this thing alone.

    5. “Behind every renegade pastor (celebrity or not) are a team of renegade elders and a renegade board who share in and enable his sins.” You forgot to mention a congregation that accepts and pays this renegade to act like this, and to call this man their “pastor”.

    7. To couple this thought with points 1, 2, 4… Love means having to say “please forgive me” in the context of being in the remnant.

    8. “Pain is often the greatest predictor of the presence of God.” Perhaps its in pain that we realize that we know we have nothing but God? “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

    9. “When we are content with enmity we deny both the heart of God and the Gospel that saved us.” Not sure I am following you here: Are you speaking of Christians at enmity with each other, or soemthing else?

    10. Amen to this. If we saw all sins as SIN, then maybe lying would be as serious as sodomy.

    Good luck on your interview! 😉

  20. Happy Decade Michael…I’ve been around for half of it, read just about all the archives for the years I missed (on the bigger stories).

    So better arriving late, than arriving never IMO.

    I’m glad I have gotten to know you, as well as many of the fine folk in this community. 🙂

  21. Gman,

    Jesus attended the synagogue faithfully and the Holy Spirit instituted the church…and thank you for the congrats! 🙂

  22. Xenia,

    We have been through it all together!
    I’m glad you’ve put up with me this long. 🙂

  23. Congratulations on 10 years! You do a worthy service for the church.

  24. Bob and CrucifED,

    My greatest joy here is when we learn from all the different perspectives…I’ve learned as much from participating here as anything else I’ve ever studied.

  25. Thank you, Jonathan!
    We need to do an interview around your book… 🙂

  26. Papias,

    #9 is related in a way to #10.
    When we would rather cover our sins and endure broken relationships…or having been sinned against prefer broken relationship with the one who offended us…then we are not living out the Gospel we claim to believe.
    Trying to move this stuff from my head to my heart…

  27. Thank you, Steve!

  28. Without organized religion…

    1. You would not have a New Testament canon at least not in the form we have today. Everyone would have their own canon, with each believer picking and choosing among the various writings of the day and deciding which books are God-breathed, which is to say, which Scriptures appeal to you the most. (Some have already decided to do this anyway.)

    2. You probably would not believe in the Trinity because this doctrine is not immediately obvious from reading the Scriptures. And again, what Scriptures would you be reading from, anyway to make this determination? Same goes for the two natures of Christ and many other core Christian doctrines. There would be no Nicene Creed, either.

    3. There would be no large Christian charities, such as hospitals and major famine relief agencies.

    4. There would be no theological schools of higher learning.

  29. Why are there “4Gospels?” Why not three or six? Who picked out these Four and determined their authenticity?

  30. Xenia,

    We only learn the graces of the faith in community…

  31. 99 percent of people would never have heard the Gospel if it weren’t for organized religion.

  32. “Why are there “4Gospels?” Why not three or six? Who picked out these Four and determined their authenticity?”

    Uh-oh. Xenia’s telling the truth again 🙂

    And one of those four was written in conjunction with another book, Acts, and that book recognizes Paul’s apostleship. So, there’s your New Testament. Canonized all within itself.

  33. “Gman,

    Jesus attended the synagogue faithfully and the Holy Spirit instituted the church…and thank you for the congrats! ”

    The early church knew nothing of Intsitutional Religion as they were a living organism. There are many false visible church’s so I would be careful in saying that being outside the visible church is a bad thing. We have a home fellowship, we are not on tv, the radio or the internet but we are the ekklesia “called out ones”. We are not alone as there are other fellowships that fall outside of mainline Intstitutional churchianity. You don’t get to decide who is part of the Church and who is not based on your viewpoints. There have ALWAYS been those faithful believers outside of Institutional Religion.

    Organized as far as the way you conduct service is a good thing. Organized as in 501 C 3, Buidlings with huge mortgages not so much.

  34. I’m not sure how long I’ve been here but it’s been several years. There is so much I have learned and many things I had to seriously re-evaluate. What attracted and still attracts me the most are the people who make up this community. I’ve seen many come and go. I went from challenging Michael on everything to feeling bad if I ever voice any disagreement! I’ve learned you can be friends with people you’ve never met. As I think on it in a sense I have been here the whole ride on PP as I managed to obtain all of the archives at one point to use as ammunition!! 🙂 You’ve helped me a lot Michael both on and offline and I’m forever grateful. Happy New Year!!

  35. And that community you speak of Michael, may be three or four people, don’t fall for the numbers game as that is a Corporate America mentality. Yes the more people saved the better but I’ll take a few dedicated believers than many who are lukewarm.

  36. Congrats on 10 yrs, and for continuing on the ongoing journey toward genuineness.

  37. Solomon,

    That’s silly.
    Define a “living organism” and how it is different from either “organized” or institutionalized’.
    The first century church already had a hierarchy and took up offering and collections.
    Please note that I said organized…you are organized and in time you will institutionalize what your group thinks church looks like.

  38. No MLD, it wasn’t you responding to CC particulars. I just jumped into a prayer thread back in the days here when all of the CC stuff was really a heated subject and I indirectly criticized a lot of you here with my sarcastic prayer. It wasn’t a nice way for me to introduce myself and I had it coming. I was being a jack ass. Although, being called a jack ass on a prayer thread is kinda funny. Can anyone else claim that distinction? : )

    I was just trying to defend a ministry that meant so much to me over the years. CC was such a relief for me after growing up in a legalistic Christian church and being roughed up by the word of faith crowd for a couple of years after that. I felt you all just didn’t understand things but it was me who didn’t understand or maybe just wouldn’t yet admit to myself the problems.

    I wish there was a way to quickly explain how it felt those moments after I realized the failure of my Christian life and ministry…from a world around me perspective…and the only place to really go and have people conversing about the same things I had just gone through was the Phoenix Preacher…right back to the group I was arguing with before.

    Although, I don’t need to explain because many of you went through the same things and that’s why you were here talking about it when there wasn’t many people close to you to talk about it with. I give all the credit to the Lord for using those pastors on the WHI and the conversations happening here for the therapy I needed to bring me to this place in my life of faith.

  39. “Solomon,

    That’s silly.
    Define a “living organism” and how it is different from either “organized” or institutionalized’.
    The first century church already had a hierarchy and took up offering and collections.
    Please note that I said organized…you are organized and in time you will institutionalize what your group thinks church looks like.”

    *An individual form of life, such as a plant, animal, bacterium, protist, or fungus; a body made up of organs, organelles, or other parts that work together to carry on the various processes of life.
    *A system regarded as analogous in its structure or functions to a living body:

  40. Michael, I have been around for 7 of your 10. The best thing for me is that I have learned that the man I thought had an ugly heart had a heart of gold–really precious. I often don’t agree with your focus or conclusions but I ALWAYS now know the heart from which they come! Thanks for being transparent.

  41. CrucifiED,
    That was probably the last time I was on the Prayer thread. I have banned myself from that thread for that very reason.

  42. fyi,

    Thank you for hanging in with me!

  43. Solomon,

    All good churches fit that description…and there are a lot more of them than we recognize.

  44. 1. Duck who?

    Ehh, I didn’t like the way Phil spoke in the GQ interview, and I thought all the backlash was kinda overblown. Remember Oreos and Chick-fila? Social Media has made this world unbearable at times. Glad the family stood with him.

    2. I was teaching yesterday from the first half of John 16. Jesus tell his disciples that they are about to be kicked out of the synagogues, and that people are going to kill them, and those killers will think they are serving God in doing so.

    Try that sales pitch in your next Church Growth Seminar.

    3. It is easy, and sort of fun to fight on the internet. Not nearly as easy or fun in person. The things that we can handle face-to-face, we should probably do so. Google muscles are the new Beer Goggles.

    4. That’s true. Then again, the people against organized religion probably don’t care so much for the Bible.

    5. DISAGREE – Renegade pastors usually surround themselves with well-meaning yes-men. These are usually good guys who only know how to play follow-the leader. They carry out some vile acts in the name of the pastor, but make no mistake, they could be wonderfully productive Kingdom members with a different leader.

    6. Yes! The church is alive and growing and healing and restoring…In fact, if (when) you find yourself in a place that makes it hard to believe the true church still exists, go out and find it. Go to every little church, every big church, every home gathering until you remember that Jesus is still at work through His people.

    7. The path to Holiness starts with humility, submission, an service. That’s why you don’t hear much about Holiness. Nobody wants to go there.

    8. According to the Scriptures, you are probably right. However, we also not exceeding joy in spite of the pain.

    9. Not completely understanding.

    10. Disqualified? Nah. God has a whole lot of patience. Unfit? yes, but then again, who among us is worthy of our calling?

  45. I’ve been around for five years.

    Coincidentally, my first day here MLD called Jackie the B-word.

  46. Good job on your list, Josh!

  47. I’ve been around since the Joe Sabolick days…..which near as I can figure is about 10 years. Has it been THAT long? 🙂

    Ahhhh… the memories….of being called “bitter”…. 😉

  48. Wow – 10 years! What a wonderful and hard-labored milestone! All glory to God for your faithfulness Michael! We’re so thankful for you here in San Diego.

    #5- I used to be the administrator and my husband used to be the youth pastor of a church like that. Key words: used to be. As hard as our forced leaving was, it was the HUGEST blessing of our lives! And a very very big part of our healing and learning to enjoy the newfound freedom in Christ we were living in was due to PP. It saved us from feeling alone and feeling like we were the ones in sin and being punished for it.

    So thankful for “stumbling upon” PP. Yeah right! More like, gently guided by the Holy Spirit!!

    Michael – Happy New Year! May God give you the strength to continue doing what you do, providing for your needs, giving you peace in the midst of present storms, and abundantly exhibit His love to you over and over again!

  49. beg to differ on #1. Every article I read- including in the pro-gay liberal NY Times, indicated that the A&E network ignored please from GLAAD and reponded A&E “bowed to the pressure” exerted by over 250,000 e-mails in support of Phil Robertson’s right to air his religious views. I don’t know how more clear it could be that the GAY lobby lost and conservatives “won”.

  50. Josh,
    Your memory must be elusive – I don’t call women the B word … unless I had thought of a word beginning with B to mean wrong. 🙂

    I remember the days that i would get chewed out because i would not engage the ladies in ‘heavy disputes’ because I thought they were too soft to argue with. Boy did the fur fly. 😉

  51. Mark,

    That’s exactly what I said.

  52. The way excellent movie “Hugo” is available, TODAY 12-30-13 only, USA only, FOR FREE DOWNLOAD from iTunes

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/hugo/id496709723

  53. Thank you, Pam!

  54. Organized=Good
    Institutional=Not Good

  55. You totally did, MLD. It was the reason I first jumped in the fray. I think you had some reason for using it that day, but I don’t remember. It was great fun.

    Who else was cussed out by MLD on their first day here? 🙂

  56. MLD has mellowed with age . 😀

    I think I’ve been around for about 6 years. What a ride!

  57. Happy tenth, Michael!
    This is a great place with a lot of great people.

  58. Josh, I think my first comment was to argue with you! 🙂

  59. Either that…or the first reply to my first comment was from you in opposition. 🙂 Don’t remember which….

  60. 10 years? Date the crisis at CCAbq for me. That would be the marker of when I found you.

  61. 1. “The gay lobby would love nothing more than for this to be seen as a publicity stunt rather than a defeat at the hand of the masses.”
    Which is why for the main part, I bet they will be quiet and let the conspiracy theories that everyone loves to think about these things go ahead and multiply.

    2. Everyone loves the love part, the suffering not so much. Yours truly included.

    3. There actually are a lot of things that compromise is okay on. But, there is plenty that it is dangerous to compromise on.

    4. Amen!

    6. Amen again! Lesson learned lately.

    7. A lot of confusion on the preaching of holiness and a lot of people that want to make it sound like someone is preaching legalism so they can get takedown points.

    8. Gotta think on this one.

    9. Sometimes, we have to face that enmity exists, step back and quit our own trying and if God wants reconciliation it will happen. Sometimes, it never does.

    10. This is a dying issue, people have made sure that it stays small and unseen.
    They were successful.
    “Nothing to see here, move along!”
    Hate it, but it is what it is.

  62. Congratulations on 10 years going strong MIchael. Here’s to at least 10 more.

  63. Hi BrianD! Good to “see” you again!!

  64. BD,

    2005-06 I think…

  65. Thank you, BrianD…good to see you here!

  66. Thank you, Derek…we have been blessed with great folks over the years…

  67. I think one of my first rants here was a really long post on why I hate the use of power point in a church service. Anyone remember that?

  68. 10 years of interesting reading.

    Michael, what a blessing that PP blog shares the same birthday as Cousin It.

  69. Xenia,

    As soon as I read it, I remembered…good rant. 🙂

  70. Thanks, Jeff! 🙂

  71. So this was a New Years resolution? 🙂

    10 years of faithful service! I can’t imagine. What doesn’t kill you makes you tired as hell.

    Congrats Michael, and thank you!

  72. Congratulations on 10 years Michael.

  73. #12 was a good quote….borrowing it.

  74. A decade….I know you’re sure about because you bear the bruises for it. Amen to a hearty congratulations!

  75. I’ve been here about half a year. Been insulted, judged, banned (censored), ignored, and marginalized. I think I fit in. Tried to kick this habit twice so far.

  76. Micheal
    Your blog has really helped me walk through a few issues.Your postings have forced me to sit down and consider and reconsider what my faith is all about.I don’t post alot but I’m tuned in daily.
    Will continue to pray for you and your family.

  77. Jim,

    You know it!
    Thanks!

  78. London, Linnea…thank you both.
    Dude…thank you…we’re all in process and it’s good to have people to share with.

  79. Steve, that’s hilarious. Glad I provoked you to comment 🙂

    I first started coming around during the Lakeland Mess in 2008. My awesome church had been ravaged by the whole mess. I was clinging to faith by a thread and this blog was my life-preserver for a few months. I’ll always be grateful.

  80. A decade of Micheal! Your perseverance is admirable. Hopefully the next ten years are filled with the joy of seeing much of what you have fought for resolved.

  81. We all mark our calendars here by which scandal we arrived at. 🙂

  82. Shaun,

    Thank you…I pray so.

  83. 2003: Bruce Nelson
    2004-5: Joe Sabolick
    2005-7 Heitzig and CSN

    Those put us on the map…had up to seven moderators working literally around the clock.
    I’m glad those days are over…

  84. ten years…my goodness. I’ve been around since just before The Shack reached popularity. I’d read it a few weeks earlier and enjoyed it and respected the risk the author took in writing it. Then ‘it’ hit the fan when Michael recommended it, if I recall correctly. Blogging 101 remains the wildest thread I ever participated in… 😉

    by the way, another thought provoking list today…

  85. I have such a hard time with your #4. I really don’t know where to even start to look for a new church. I have such a hard time figuring out what is important and how to find it. We have a CC very close. It is not perfect, but it is also not a normal CC. The pastor is a latecomer to the group, and it does not have a lot of the Chuck-centricisms that are usually prevalent. But I just don;t know anymore what I even want. And then getting dude to come too… a whole other can of wiggly worms. But you all give me a lot to think about and things to think about.

    So, thanks and here’s to another 10 years!

  86. Fil,

    It seems like you’ve been here from the beginning!
    Glad you’re here…you keep me smiling and thinking.

  87. GG,

    If I were to be honest…if I had to start over in a new church as a member it would be difficult for me.
    I’ve seen too much.
    But I would try, simply out of obedience.
    I rarely enjoy obeying… 🙂

  88. regarding unorganized religion…the Bible doesn’t cite it, but the modern church has ‘youth ministry’ 😉

  89. fil,
    In Acts they had ‘old ministry’.

  90. Good on you Michael! May you live and prosper.

  91. Ten years I think I have been here for most of it. Not looking for sympathy etc. But I think much of what I posted was often self serving and rants. But that is what I needed, I admit its selfish but it was my reason for asking for permission from the blog honor to do that. He affirmed several times it was ok. I had no place to post / ask in the real world my utter loathing of the evangelical religion when I first came in the real world. So I did it here. I hated the evangelical faith as practiced in America. Because I was so skewed I did not post names or organizations as I understood much of what I said could be defended it would have been out of context and twisted through years of hurt and utter frustration. But I needed to vent because it was driving me literally insane at the time. So I did the best I could. I lost six family members in that time and I cant count how many students, so its been tough, that kind of stuff should not be tough but it was / is for me.

    It has helped me and that is what I needed and I admit that is utterly selfish on my part. But I could not pull into a church and bring my issues as it would end with me being booted and others being hurt. So, I apologize, for using this blog for that, but I literally had no other place to turn to, I admit I should not need a place to turn but that is another topic.

  92. 10 years. Wow! Well done my friend. Well done! Here’s to another 10 more!!

    Happy New Year Everyone!!

  93. WOW … 10 years!!! Thank you so much for all you have done in that time … words can’t express how much this place has taught me … encouraged me … helped me heal & grow.

    Happy New Year to all who gather here!!!

  94. brian,
    I’ll be driving through the southbay today. I’ll wave as I drive through SC.

  95. Michael God bless you on 10 yrs. I have witnessed much change on this site and growth renewal and redundancy. Ministry edification encouragement and empathy. Rejection criticism judgment and condemnation. Knowledge and foolishness. Grieving and rejoice. U have personally ministered to me and publicly defended me. For that I am grateful. To others here I’ve been quite disconnected or at least disinterested. I apologize and hope to be more compassionate in 2014. I am a CC defender all the way and won’t change that. I believe abuse is way overstated in CC and count the movement as the most important in all of western Christendom in the late 20th century. Personally I find myself in a place of stagnation spiritually. No change in the long term estrangement from my oldest daughter and 3 grand kids. I’ve pulled back from ministry and miss the mountaintop experiences that come in the smallest of moments when I let go and let God. Enough from me. Happy 2014 to all. Goodbye 2013. Thank you Lord for Connie. My wife my lover my best friend my rock my Barnabus my disciplinarian my confidant. You r the most important person in my universe and I love you from the depths of my core.

  96. Mark,

    Thank you for your kind words.
    I will meet you halfway…I think the CC movement was the fruit of the last real revival in America.
    The abuse issues are real though…and need to be addressed, not discounted.
    If you think about it, one is too much…and there are many.
    There are many fine churches and pastors flying the dove though.
    Praying for you and your family…reconciliation is the heart of the Gospel and all things are possible in Christ.
    That’s not just a verse…it’s the truth.

  97. I believe abuse is way overstated in CC <<<<

    I agree.

  98. #4 – Neither does society, or anyone else because such a thing does not exist. While aspects of religion can be amorphous, the core intent, message and work is not something made by human hands, just used by them. God is not disorganized.

  99. Wow…10 years already! I’ve been around for about 8 or 9 of those years, and even when I hated it I loved it, if that’s even possible. I’ve learned so much about other brands of worship, belief systems, practices, etc. and have really been stretched in what I would consider the pale of orthodoxy. I’m a Calvary guy, and who’da thunk that one of the most important people of influence in my life would be a cranky ol’ Calvinist?!!

    “Pain is often the greatest predictor of the presence of God.” I had heard statements like this before, but until I experienced it myself, I really had no clue what it meant, nor did I have compassion for those who walked in pain. It’s all part of being chiseled into God’s masterpiece.

  100. Oooo…I was #100. That must count for something, right?! 🙂

  101. CK,

    I wish hitting 100 came with a prize for you… 🙂
    I’m glad you’re here and glad you’ve stayed through it all, my friend.

  102. Late,

    Congratulations, Michael. I’ve been around here for about half of the show.

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