May 172013
 

qandaI have a stack of email that I have neither the time nor the interest to answer individually so I’m going to do so here with some oft repeated inquiries.

The first FAQ concerns my own Christian beliefs and tradition…what tribe do I belong to and what do I believe?

I started off life in the Assemblies of God, moved to the Nazarene tradition, left it all for a season, went back to the AoG, went to Calvary Chapel, got ripped into pieces, discovered Calvinism and embraced it, learned to hold that loosely as well, and today I am an independent pastor who has realized that this is a process…a life long process of discovering God.

I don’t believe that I’m ever going to “arrive” at a place where the label fits perfectly.

I’m good with that.

Labels demand that you never grow outside the confines of a tradition and loathe both mystery and nuance…and the older I get, the mysteries I see and the more delicate the nuances become.

If you must, I’m theologically conservative, Calvinist leaning, premill, pre-wrath and still studying it all.

I trust in Christ.

This leads to the second FAQ…why do you allow heretics like “universalists” to post on your blog?

My definition of a “Christian” is really basic and boils down to the essential Gospel or “kerygma”.

If you believe that Christ came, died for your sins, rose from the dead, ascended to the Father, and will return someday to judge the quick and the dead, you’re in.

That leaves a ton of room for some really good or really not so good doctrine to fill in the voids.

However, as I’ve stated already, this is a process.

Because someone is walking in “error” today, doesn’t mean that their discovery process is over.

My job is to provide a place and provide resources where people can safely think through the next steps and hopefully arrive at “orthodoxy”.

The third FAQ concerns why a “Calvinist” would affirm folks that are Eastern Orthodox or affirm “Roman Catholic” authors or speakers.

Because some of them are far better “Christians” than I am. All ‘truth” is God’s truth and I’ll find it where I can.

What do you believe about the Bible?

I believe it’s true.

Why do you mock online discernment ministries? Don’t you believe in the Rapture?

I mock them because nowhere in Scripture do I see the command to rip your brothers and sisters to shreds, the more as you see the Day grow closer.

I find them to be divisive, unloving, and theologically inept.

I believe the “Rapture” and the Second Coming are the same event.

Are you “emergent”?

I don’t even know what the hell that means and I don’t think you do either.

“Emergent’ is now the catch all curse word for “different than me”.

Why do you think you’re so smart? 

I don’t…I’m painfully aware of my ignorance and that’s why I committed to being a life long student many years ago.

Why do you put up with (fill in the blank)?

Because Christ puts up with me.

Because I recognize that this is a process, a journey, if you must.

Because people that are challenging the faith are usually folks who have been put through some sort of triggering crisis that precipitated it.

“a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.”

(Isaiah 42:3 ESV)

  152 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. From my perspective this was written by a man who stands humbled before a mighty and loving God and has experienced His grace.

    Thank you.

  2. Thank you, Nonnie…because you have been an expression of His grace to me.

  3. Okay you Emergent, Calvinist, Smarty-Pants, ODM-Hater, Universalist & Orthodox-Lover, who continues to put up with (I could fill in the blanks but choose not to), answer me this: toilet paper – over or under? 🙂

  4. I would like, someday to hear about the Calvary Chapel experience. By the time i got here I guess it was common knowledge because it has never been discussed that I know of.

    You are right about emergent, and now you can toss “evangelical” onto that heap as well. It’s just a word that means, “stuff I don’t like”. Pretty soon “fundamentalist” can be added to that list, if ti isn’t there already.

    I do think you have a bit of a blind spot towards ODM’s, as we’ve discussed before. I think sometimes it best just to stop listening.

    Weird thing happened a while back for me. The SBC has kinda had a Calvinist vs. Non controversy going on for ohhh, the last twenty years or so. I started off very open to both sides of the conversation, but after multiple useless arguments I got really tired of both sides of the conversation. And honestly, in my world, It was the calvinists who were more arrogant, rude, forceful…and no fun. After a while, I’d meet someone, they’d mention being a Calvinist, and I’d mentally and emotionally check out. Someone would tell me I should read a book, it’s by “Insert Calvinist here” and I’d be like, yeah, no thanks. I caught myself in that mindset, finally, and came up with a way to fix it. I no longer accept “Calvinist” as an identification. (I’d do the same for Arminian, but I never run into self-professing Arminians.) But yeah, Calvinist, Reformed, all those buzzwords that I hear people using but aren’t required by scripture, I just don’t accept. I kindly ask them to explain to me what they believe about the particular situation at hand. The crazy thing is, 9 times out of 10 we end up in agreement. It’s just the labels that get in the way. Shop lingo. Words that aren’t even in the bible, but hey separate good Christians brothers from one another.

  5. Awesome.

    I try hard to not ask people where they go to church or what they believe. Once I know that all sorts of prejudice sets in.

  6. the theme in your responses which resonates with me is “process.” We haven’t arrived until we arrive, and that would be with Him in eternity. Until then, grace is the grease that keeps us from bursting into flames from the friction we both feel and generate. I am not the person I was, nor am I done shifting, adjusting, and perhaps stripped and rebuilt. I’m teaching “The Odyssey” in school and find the themes in that epic to be very illustrative of our journey ‘home.’

  7. fil,

    Exactly…I could have just posted your comment as it succinctly states my position.

  8. KevinH,

    Depends on whether the cat is using it too… 🙂

  9. I love it when my favorite columnists do a mailbag!! 🙂

  10. the hardest part of the process is how to respond to others who are either damaging the faith, walk, or convictions of other believers or putting barriers/obstacles/traps in the path of others still outside the faith. Grace remains part of the answer, but so does truthful confrontation done with an attitude of humility and love.

  11. I suppose if the cat is using the toilet paper, then it is just a big mess on the floor, at which point over or under is a moot point. 🙂

  12. Thanks Michael.

  13. Josh,

    In the early nineties I was in a local CC…I was, as the pastor put it, “a pastor in the oven” being groomed for an official position.
    Every week at our meetings the first thing we’d go over would be the sins of a very well known CC pastor in the area and much scorn and glee would follow.
    Then I found out that my pastor was drinking heavily and immoral…and so were some others in leadership.
    I confronted it…and got sent straight out the door.
    I tried getting help from other CC pastors in the area…and was shut down hard.
    I wandered in a very dark place for a couple of years after that.
    In the mid nineties I got a computer…and Mr. TundraMan had an old fashioned Usenet group that discussed the fact that others had experienced similar things in Calvary Chapel.
    He was truly the pioneer to all the other blogs you see today, including this one.
    Fast forward to the early years of the 2000’s…and I see the same garbage being done and nobody addressing it.
    I started a blog…

  14. I was part of the same tribe as you Michael. When they determined that the problem was with me calling out our pastor’s lust as sin, I was pushed out. Probably within a week of the wounds which were still bleeding, I stumbled on this blog. While I am friends with 3 or 4 of some of the folks who post here, many here have taught me valuable lessons.

    I miss Centy and EM and a few others but God has used so many of you to teach me that my box was too small. Because of the circumstances that caused us to leave a Pastor driven graceless enviroment, God has used Michael and so many of you to teach me how little I know, how healing happens even when we didn’t realize we were hurt and how much grace is needed to work for God in shepherding His church.

    I consider Alex a friend and I pray for him daily. We have on occasion spoke on the phone and communicated on fb. I feel that God revealed Alex’s heart to me and I love him. I thank God that I never had to deal with what Alex has endured. In my opinion, Alex is a fighter and I believe that he will prevail. He has already prevailed because he loves broken people.

    Finally, I met our host Michael last year. I didn’t know what to expect. When he explained that his calling is to provide a place to help mend broken people, he had tears in his eyes. I learned a lot about Michael that day. Paul was right, “the greatest of these is love” and I see that here. Please forgive me for I have far to go.

  15. Fil,
    Again, your #10 is right on.

  16. covered,

    You are and have been a kindred spirit and a brother to me.
    I have a long way to go myself…and glad to have you along on the ride.

  17. Michael, thank you for # 13.

    Covered, that was beautiful. Really.

  18. Believe,

    You’re not the only “fill in the blank”.
    Over the years people have wanted me to excommunicate the Gman, London, Xenia,Brian,BD, and about a dozen others that we all love to death today.
    Here’s a fun PhxP fact…
    I get more positive feedback about Xenia than any other commenter.
    By far.

  19. “I get more positive feedback about Xenia than any other commenter.
    By far.”

    No shocker there.

  20. Josh,

    There was a day when I was getting a lot of attention from the Reformed glitterati.
    The blog did insane numbers and I was “one of them”.
    They wanted Xenia gone in the worst way…I was allowing someone to promote ‘a false Gospel”.
    I refused and that was the beginning of the end for me if I hoped to be “someone” in my tradition.
    As much as she’s ministered to all of us, I wouldn’t trade her for the whole damn lot of them…

  21. Nice article, brother michael. And thank you for the opportunity that your blog offers: to listen to and exchange ideas with different ‘brands’ of the Body of Christ than I would otherwise have access to.
    -MIC

  22. Here’s what I take from Xenia that I want to work towards myself, though I will never be Orthodox.
    She knows what she believes, and why she believes it, and is able to communicate those things adequately. She doesn’t waver, or make apologies for these things, as she has found what she believes to be true, and truth requires no disclaimer.
    She is somehow able to do this with grace and love and still be effective and very clear in her communication.

    That’s where I want be. Exactly.

  23. LOL…man how the world needs another Reformed blog too…what a loss, Michael

  24. Josh,

    You did #22 really well.
    I affirm all that you said.

  25. mike,

    I take that as high praise coming from you. 🙂
    Thank you…I think that’s what we do better than anything…and what I hope to get better at.

  26. Steve,

    Back in the day there weren’t a zillion of them…and I had my foot in the door of a place I longed to be.
    We all want to be somebody sometimes…

  27. What?!!
    Someone wanted me to be banned??!! :mrgreen:

  28. Well said Michael!

  29. I just like X. I think she has a ton of great qualities and would’ve loved to have had her as a mother or sister. She’s a solid person with a good heart, IMO. I think she is tough, but gracious and I think she has no guile. That’s my take from interacting with her for years on here, even when she lets me have it 🙂

  30. “Someone wanted me to be banned??!!”

    Not it, wasn’t me.

  31. Michael,
    My High Praises are for Jesus only, all others receive encouragement or scorn, or somewhere in between.
    We all deserve both, and inbetween from time to time. I’m with you in the firm belief that no one has it ALL figured/sorted out. If we did, we wouldn’t need an Omnicient God or even each other in the Body of Christ.

    My encouragement for you is to guard the opportunity you provide here and jealously protect it from spinning out of control for whatever reason.
    -MIC

  32. Back in the day there weren’t a zillion of them…and I had my foot in the door of a place I longed to be. We all want to be somebody sometimes…
    ————————————————–
    I hear you. But God, knowing the future, knew that eventually narrowly-focused blogs (Reformed or otherwise) would be a dime a dozen but a unique community would be a rare gem.

    And of course, you were tested in all that, and came out like purified silver. You could have sold out Xenia and others, and it would have been your eventual loss.

    Sometimes God would rather us be effective than famous.

  33. What is normal?

    One time I had to go to a Doctor in San Francisco which is about 450 miles from where I live. When I got to the city limit and while driving to the hotel I saw a massive amount of different kinds of people living together.

    Some were driving Junker cars while some were riding in a Chauffeured Limo. Some were wearing clothes that looked like they had already been thrown away by former owners while some were wearing tuxedos. Some men were walking with and holding hands with, a woman. Some men were walking with and holding hands with, another man. Some women were walking with and holding hands with, another woman. There were people of many different races and of all colors. Some were Christian, some were Atheist, some were Protestant and some were Catholic; and there were people of many other religions. Some were in tall office buildings with the lights on and still working, others were in houses with the lights out and sleeping.

    I could go on and on but you get the idea. They were all different from each other just like anywhere else, except it was magnified by the massive amount of them all living in the same isolated location, doing opposing things, having very different ways of life.

    I got to the hotel, got something to eat and went to bed. While laying there I kept thinking about all the variety of people having differences in financial status, health status, religious belief, sexual preference, education, etc, etc, etc.

    I finally went to sleep but I woke up at 3:00 in the morning and still had what I had earlier observed in my mind.

    I thought, if I could have asked all those people, “What is a ‘normal’ life?” No doubt, I would have got all kinds of different answers.

    Yet if I would have asked them, “What is the normal color of a ‘ripe’ apple”, I will bet that 90% of them would have answered, “Red”.

    However, the normal color of a ripe ‘green’ apple is green. The normal color of a ‘ripe’ yellow apple is yellow.

    This made me sad, because I do not want to live in a world that the only thing the people living in it can agree on, as to what is “normal”, is an untruth.

    Take it for what it is worth.

  34. Michael, I assumed you probably get complaints about me. Thanks for keeping me around anyway!

  35. I’ll tell you all something else…when I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from here it has always been a wonderful experience.
    The people you’re sharing cyberspace with are precious people…

  36. Xenia,

    When you’re not here, nothing is the same.
    You…and for that matter all of you…honor me with the privilege of your company.

  37. # 18…. What?!? Seriously?

  38. Once upon a time in the early days of PP, after months of lurking, I became bold enough to begin posting. I bled, ranted and shared probably too much about my history w/ CC. At one point several of the CC pastors and loyalists that used to still post here started a huge dogpile in response to one of my posts.

    I will never forget how Michael stepped in to stop the attacks with “a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.” (Isaiah 42:3 ESV) That and his following comments were the most grace and encouragement I had received from a pastor up until that point. What he didn’t know then, and what I will reveal now, is that I was on the brink of suicide.

    It is not the questions, rants, bad doctrine etc that get discussed here that may turn away lurkers. But unkind words towards someone mired in pain & confusion may do more damage than any of us can imagine.

    No matter where I land faithwise, Michael and many of the folks I have met here (and sometimes in person) will always have a special place in my heart. A special shout out to erunner whose transparency and courage did much to give me hope during some especially difficult seasons.

  39. Well hmmm….. The fact that you didn’t sell me down the river explains why you didn’t sell Believe down the river, either. I never thought about it like that before. That kind of re-adjusts my thinking a little bit… maybe a lot.

  40. Once Upon A Time,

    I thank God for you…and that you’re still here with us.
    I had no idea…

  41. Drop @ 33 – Not sure where you are going with that, but I’m intrigued. What is the greater meaning / application?

    Once @ 38 – Your story is stunning. It is a stark reminder that every person we encounter is dealing with more than we know. We show up carrying our pain and blindly think that everyone else is doing fine. Thank you for sharing that, and may we all be more careful with our communication.

  42. The hardest part of having a blog thats lasted this long?
    I really miss a lot of folks who used to be here…

  43. I miss Em 🙁

  44. But, I think she’s living the life I wish I was living if she’s living up in the mountains in the woods far away from any internet connection! I am envious!

  45. Not that I hate the internet (not too much, anyway) but the idea of being so far from the racket of the world is very appealing.

  46. Xenia,

    I miss her too…

  47. I will say this about our host. You’ve all seen Michael and I really go at it here on the blog, and that is nothing compared to some of the (ahem) discussions we have had by private message. (Instituted by me)

    But in all of it, he remains a friend. A friend with strong convictions, sometimes different from my strong convictions. A friend who does not see things like I see them on occasion, despite my best efforts 🙂

    And yet a friend who is both sharer and listener. A friend who wants Christ glorified and wants the best for Christ’s bride, The Church. – as do I.

    And I’ve never met the guy…

  48. Steve,
    Thank you for the kind words…and I will affirm that you do want the same things you have ascribed to me.
    I will also affirm that we have had some “intense fellowship” offline. 🙂
    We are and will remain friends.

  49. Is offline fellowship authorized? That’s a new one.

  50. For what it’s worth, I totally get your #33, A drop of water in the ocean.

  51. Love this post Michael…. and love you! What a blessing to me in so many ways. Praying for you, your health, what direction God will have you go into…..and of course, provision of employment….
    Thanks so much,
    Paige

  52. JTB @41, “Not sure where you are going with that, but I’m intrigued. What is the greater meaning / application?”

    John, my greater meaning is as transparent as my ending sentence, “This made me sad because I do not want to live in a world that the only thing the people living in it can agree on, as to what is “normal”, is an untruth.”

    There is unilaterally an acceptance for a huge amount of differences of lifestyle preferences; but in doing so, if not careful, we can soon lose our over-all purpose of human existence. By understanding differences in people we see homeless as a ‘normal’ way of that person’s life and do nothing to help them. We see sinners as being themselves and fear to make an attempt to change their way. We accept people being widely ranged on the scale of live instead of trying to even the scale and try to make all people more equal. We become more self centered and less caring towards others.

    Basically (in my opinion) acceptance of differences in people is the reason human beings separated from our Creator. We should have never lost the real “NORMAL” way of life; which is to have at least the majority of people agree that it is NORMAL to be a Christian (a follower of Jesus) and boldly profess it.

  53. This blog kind of re-adjusts my thinking a little bit… maybe a lot. I have found this to be a place to come and observe many variations of faith in Christ.

    “a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.”
    This verse never really sunk in until I came here . I have been lurking many years trying to filter through all the discussions, and in the process slowly experiencing Gods healing touch without realizing it was happening. Thank you all.

    “grace is the grease that keeps us from bursting into flames from the friction we both feel and generate”

    That my friend is very true. I think I just might get that printed on a shirt.

  54. I so wish I had more time to engage here. It frustrates me greatly.

    This has been a place of so many experiences. So many friendships have been formed, and I think we have all been stretched and challenged…comforted and loved…laughed at and with.

    I consider this place a room of words. The prayer thread has been a place where we have prayed and watched as God has worked miraculously (thinking of Baby Teddy and Oden’s Seth, Baby Bennet among so many others) and we have prayed and wondered why He did not act more miraculously.

    We have wept over prayers and we have shouted praises.

    We have devoted days to prayer and fasting.

    We have devoted days to debating fine points of theology and we have challenged each other to express ourselves more clearly.

    We have put ‘faces’ to those we might otherwise have judged without emotion. Dread has called us to listen to the Spirit while Xenia has reminded us that history is vital and that tradition is not something to write off. London has challenged us to put action to our social action words. Steve W. has challenged us to not so quickly assume we know the struggles of pastors. Nonnie has challenged us to think and act with more grace and prayer. Nomans…has done all the above and with eloquence.

    I miss Em and her wisdom as well. Her pontifications remind us we have much to learn from our elders.

    I hesitate to begin a list of names because someone is always left out…and even now I am thinking of brian and his challenges to our compassion…to pay attention to the least. Josh has kept us on our toes to explain ourselves clearly. Capn’t Kevin has told terrible jokes, and prayed and been a steadying influence here as long as I can remember. Erunner has gone from the pot-stirrer to the one who calls for compassion and listening. Paigemom has been mom to so many of us, and always speaks with encouragement and grace. MLD while he still likes being the pot-stirrer, challenges us to think through the arguments we might throw out carelessly and see where they lead. Believe has challenged us in more ways than I can list 😉 He has, however, called our bluff and we all need that. Jlo has been constant in praying for this community and has often been the voice of friendship to newcomers. PPVet challenges us not to be hypocritical in our judgments and to see the good in movements we might not agree with. Grendal always challenges us to love and to not be caught up in our thinking just because it is what we are used to…to think beyond our boxes.

    Quite the cast of characters and led by the lead character. I know I am missing some, and some I have not interacted with as much over the last year as homeschool has taken my focus.

    The dynamic changes and ebbs and flows, but always this has been a place we could come when we were hurting or frustrated or fearful…and find those who believe in a Creator who works through His People. Always we have known that God has listened, and while we might not know why He has acted the way He has…we know that in our various ways are pilgrims together in a world that is difficult at times and terrifying at others…but also filled with wonder. It is quite a wonderful thing.

  55. Why do you drink Kahlua?

    And which do you prefer, ninjas, space cowboys or pirates?

    God bless…..

  56. Labels are not all bad, but they shouldn’t express US, they should express just the tradition, or method of a particular subject or church or belief system. For example, I’m a Christian, or Christ follower, but for example the way I understand his atoning work and my justification is best summed up by the reformers, now as far as my daily walk, I get a lot more out of more modern theologians. I appreciate what the godly from all past labels have done for the church, but I am more then just a label.

  57. Aaaaaa-Freakin’-MEN, Michael!!! There is so much I want to say, and so many great comments above that I would like to respond to, but I have to make this a drive-by. So I’ll just shout out the window on my way past. I thank God for Michael, this blog, everyone who posts here, including those with whom I don’t see eye to eye. I’ve had the opportunity to meet London, Mr. Potato Head and Sola Fide in person, and enjoyed wonderful fellowship with each. I miss many of the folks who used to be here, and I miss the Night Crew, but that was for a season.

    I had been a Christian for about 20 years before I discovered the Phoenix Preacher. I had all my ducks in a row, or so I thought. I had allowed the “process” to stall, and this place put it back into motion. Michael, thank you, thank you, thank you. And thank you to all of you for the fellowship and the challenges. Despite my moniker, I’m just a deckhand alongside the rest of the crew.

    Pass the grog (Kahlua), Matey!

  58. “Capn’t Kevin has told terrible jokes…”

    Sarah, I am offended…NOT! 😉

  59. Michael,

    1) I believe that Messiah (Jesus) was born to Mary with no human male DNA involved in the conception process.

    2) I believe that the supernatural miracles attributed to Jesus are all true and literal events.

    3) I believe that Jesus rose bodily from the dead and ate grilled fish with his friends.

    4) I also believe he will return bodily to this world at some point in future.

    Do I believe everything else that theologians have taught from the time of Constantine to present day? Yes and no, ultimately I keep my own counsel as to what I’ll sign on to. Thank you for your tolerance in allowing other viewpoints here at your blog.

  60. Michael. So what were the sins you guys were discussing about the well known CC Pastor?

    I mean the whole Valley seems to be in a fog, a hangover from a Cultish atmosphere that has left many maimed and corpses of dead faith all over the place.

  61. I had to step out and pick up Trey…

    Paigemom…love you to death…but you know that.
    Sarah is here even when she’s not here…because she has profoundly influenced every thing I say and think…and I loved her post today.
    CK is family…
    JTK, I drink Kahlua…because I can. 🙂

  62. Neo,

    If I told you that…and you live here in the Rogue Valley…you’d know exactly who I was speaking of and I’d have a poopstorm here all weekend. 🙂

  63. Michael,
    Thanks for letting me stick around all these many years. Because of you and a number of other tolerant ones I’ve mellowed in my vitriol, more content to patiently just show up when I can, participate as I can, learn what I can and adjust accordingly.

    I find it interesting that, as a Universalist, I just want to love each person who crosses my path, get to know them a bit, find a little common ground, then discuss our perspectives on faith and especially Jesus, then relentlessly point them to Jesus as we can both read of Him in The4Gospels. It’s about TheGodMan incarnate & risen for me. It’s about fellowship with Jesus and other humans, plain and simple. Everything else takes care of itself.

    I’ve been able to be a persuasive person through love, occasionally a “closer” for someone who wanted to become Jesus’ follower after finding how awesome He is, but its those within the religion of Christianity who are absolutely terrified at the notion that I can love Jesus, love others and focus solely on bidding others to commune with God and trust Him just a wee bit more and just not be concerned with a hell I don’t believe in. They insist on making everything about hell and I insist on making everything about practicing the presence of God.

    Their loss.

    The term “Emergent” is the new “Samaritan” coming from the ODMs and “official” doctrine testers, and that’s quite all right, it still leaves me with the joy and adventure of meeting new individuals who bear God’s image and reflect His character unknowingly. Tell those who insist on banning me to feel free to come out from behind their private emails and dialog with me directly, or just tell them I’m gonna love them regardless of how they feel about me.

    Their loss. 😉

  64. Muff,

    Those are all beliefs I affirm as well.

  65. G,

    You have become unfailingly consistent in expressing love for the Body of Christ.
    I believe we need to hear that message over and over again…so I am grateful for your presence here and your persistence in the message.

  66. But I don’t live in the Valley. 🙂

  67. Neo.

    In this valley…this person was known for, as Chuck would say…a “problem with the ladies”.
    Came to find out that he wasn’t the only one…

  68. Does offline fellowship require a moderator? Just curious.

  69. Is offline fellowship authorized? That’s a new one.
    ———————————————————-

    PP Vet – Technically, it is offblog fellowship…still online though.

    So we dodged another bullet. 🙂

  70. Michael. I just might know what’s up. I’m the artist formerly known as Costco Cal.

  71. What are online discernment ministries?

  72. Gary, seriously, just google the following:

    todd bentley heretic

    and you will be led to many ODMs.

    Online Discernment Ministries are self-appointed watchdogs of Christian doctrine and practice.

  73. Costco 🙂
    Long time no see, although I hear you often via podcast.

  74. Costco Cal? Whoa that takes me back ….

  75. Sup’ Cap’t and Puzz?

  76. The problem with some watchdogs is that they bark AND bite, and they don’t listen to their owner when he tells them to heal.

  77. Better than I deserve, that’s for sure.

    Wait…Puzz? I don’t think so.

  78. “1) I believe that Messiah (Jesus) was born to Mary with no human male DNA involved in the conception process.”

    Jesus was born of the seed of a woman so He had human DNA.

  79. Neo,

    You just might…
    Good to see you again.

  80. NeoCal,
    good to see you re-surface.

  81. There really is no place that I know of which can compare to the beautiful chaos that is called “The Phoenix Preacher”. I love the diversity of thought here. By “diversity” , I mean as diverse as a largely Protestant Group Think can be.

    Since first discovering the Phoenix Preacher 8 years ago, my religious pilgrimage has had it’s own set of twist and turns (hopefully with minimal twisting and turning of Scripture but, hey, who knows?) Seriously, it’s been the ride of a lifetime. And for the most part, I have not been alone…. Kinda like the ghost that rides out with you in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, I’ve traveled with some of you and you probably haven’t even known it (or for that matter cared, which I don’t blame you, LOL).

    I’ve gained insight eavesdropping on (in my opinion) very interesting conversations shared by fellow travelers over the faire and fire of this website. Pentecostals, Mainliners, New Agers, Evangelicals who were once part of “THE happening thing in Christendom”, and those who hail back to before the Middle Ages….

    All gathered in a meeting spot called Doctrine or Participation or Linkathon’s….getting at each other’s throats and hitting each person’s last nerve in the never ending mystery of how the Fruit is only a byproduct of Fertilizer. 🙂

    No place like this place in CyberSpace.

  82. RE: mrtundraman @ # 78,

    A careful reading of point 1) will show that the only human DNA involved was Mary’s. Joseph’s sperm cells played no role in Jesus’ conception. Once again, and as I stated on a previous thread here on this blog, I’m glad I don’t live in The Republic of Gilead.

  83. Filz. Yep, every Beluga has to surface for air every once in awhile….

  84. Muff a careful reading of my point will show that I am not contradicting your point, but reinforcing it. The only “human part” was Mary’s. The Holy Spirit conceived in Mary. However, if the only source of DNA was Mary’s then Jesus would be a clone of Mary then he would of necessity be a she since Mary had female DNA.

    I have no clue what you’re talking about in the Gilead reference.

  85. “Better than I deserve, that’s for sure”.

    Me, too, Amigo. Me, too.

  86. FIRST!!!!

  87. Funny that I mentioned missing the Night Crew earlier. Costco, if I remember, you were one of our midnight marauders.

  88. Neo,

    Thank you for the kind words and hanging with us over the years.
    I’m off to martial arts with Trey…where he’s learning how to disable anyone who speaks badly of J.I. Packer… 🙂

  89. “…to disable anyone who speaks badly of J.I. Packer…”

    I don’t care who you are, that’s funny!

  90. they don’t listen to their owner when he tells them to heal.<<<

    LOL… That's a good pun.

  91. Costco Cal!

  92. Michael, I found your blog during the CC Albuquerque deal, I wasn’t part of that particular church but have been involved in and out of CC for a long time.

    The way CC is set up when you run into problems like you mentioned earlier, you are left to deal with them alone.

    Your blog was shining a much needed light in my opinion and I’m thankful, I still learn a lot from reading others views.

    So thank you.

  93. X Calvary….hahaha. I love it!

  94. And, Ex Calvary, where are you going to celebrate tonight? You know, the Kings are staying and all.

  95. Neo, you too, eh? 😉

  96. G. Haha, oh our Kings need to be celebrated, too. But Ex Calvary lives in Sacramento and his (lowly) Kings are not moving to Seattle like they were expected to.

  97. Just got home from another flat out day. This post makes me so happy! I am proud to be a part of this community.

  98. Love this post!

    I want to repost this in case some didn’t see it on the prayer thread. I have been pondering and thinking about this all day.
    Chinese Christians getting bibles for the first time.
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150315994989980

    Reminds me of this verse.
    And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, (1 Thessalonians 1:6, ESV)

    #22 I agree. I get a lot out of Xenia’s wisdom.

  99. Oh… to many links in my #98 mods.

  100. Michael,
    Proud of you. Keep doing what you are doing It is making a difference. God bless you and thank you for sharing your heart today. It was great.

  101. Hey Costco.

  102. From what I have read most of the lawsuit against sgm has been tossed out do to Statute of Limitations. These guys appeared to do some real awful things and like I said when it first happened, I guarantee they will walk between the raindrops. I think it might even be possible that SGM might sue back to recoup costs, if they do, they will win that is a fact because, well I dont know. I am so angry and sick of this, I am just so tired of what appears to be evil in my personal opinion getting away with it again. I mean I understand it has to, and always will as long as it has power and money.

    http://tinyurl.com/sgmlstossedout

    Did I use the right kind of language appeared, personal opinion and such did a caveat enough.

    As for criminal charges, not a chance what so ever, it cant happen and wont.

  103. https://twitter.com/CTmagazine/status/335566832700366848

    And the true believers are out if force with their logic and presup twaddle. Mr. Turk I cant wait for Wednesday.

  104. last?

    The town square of PP has spoken. Long live PP.

    And a good night to everyone…

  105. Not last but do have a good night, maybe Saturday night might be one of those rare 3-4 hour nights of sleep all happening in a row. Now that would be a blessing.

  106. Michael, I’m not sure all online ministries are out to rip your brothers and sisters to threads. It is interesting that you mentioned that Calvary Chapel seemed to have ripped you to pieces and then you discovered Calvinism. For me I was already somewhat a Calvinist while attending a Calvary Chapel and the preaching actually re-in forced my Calvinistic leanings.

    I say all this because I think some online discernment ministries are not out to attack the brethren but rather to defend the faith. When I hear Jesus our Lord and savior being attacked and His Word being twisted I do appreciate the correction of some ODMs. I would rather be in the camp that defends Jesus and rips apart a false brother than be in the camp of defending a false brother and ripping apart Jesus. To me it is a matter of having the right loyalties and priorities. Now of course we always need to do correction in the spirit of grace and love.

    Now regarding the “emergent” label I don’t believe it is a curse word. Emergent Village began as a group of friends who gathered under the auspices and generosity of Leadership Network in the late 1990s. The leadership network was highly influenced by Peter Druckard who influenced many big times mega church pastors such as Rick Warren. I leave it up to the reader to connect the dots. I do think its helpful to know the origins of some things whether or not you agree with them or not.

  107. Um, that would be “Drucker”, as in “Peter Drucker”

  108. One of the great things about the distilled wisdom of Peter Drucker’s influence on that little band of friends is the resultant paradigm shift cited here…

    “Missional living is a term that is used in contrast with historical institutional churches. Church leaders as well as Christians in general have often regarded the Church as an institution to which outsiders must come in order to receive a certain product, namely, the gospel and all its associated benefits. Institutional churches are sometimes perceived to exist for the members and depend on pastors and staff to evangelize the lost. The “missional church”, on the other hand, attempts to take Christ to “the lost” and its members are personally engaged in reaching their communities with the message of Jesus Christ.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missional_church

  109. Awesome dots, great connections.
    The important thing about “connecting the dots” is connecting them properly…
    http://images.sodahead.com/profiles/0/0/1/9/2/3/0/4/5/Pointillism-31164974670.gif

  110. I always try to read between the lines when reading an online discernment ministry for the reason you state, Andrew. Some of those sites are really stoo-pid and some aren’t the least bit Christian. Some just have an axe to grind. But I have read some that are genuine and are focused on defending the faith. The first time I read bad things about (pastor and church deleted cuz PP isn’t into that here.) I didn’t believe it. So I checked a lot of sites and to my horror I discovered the evil in (the church I went to after I came to Christ). I searched my memory and discovered that it could be true. What I thought was innocent purity in a young church government and leadership was just the opposite.
    Some of those odm’s were omg’s. The Holy Spirit doesn’t supply the information but He sure does help discerning the discerning sites.

  111. I see yout point-alism, ( lo )====:::. Do you know Ray Stevens of David Gates?

  112. of= or

  113. or Karen Carpenter?

  114. Carley Simon?

  115. Brian @105

    I use “melatonin”
    It helps to get to sleep and doesn’t have side effects. Google it.

    It may help you. As a fellow insomniac I can totally relate to only getting a few hours of shut eye. Just a few nights ago I laid in bed wide awake all night. Been like that my entire life.

    Night owl syndrome. I write or I paint or I channel surf the cable. Other times I just lay there until I can’t take it and get on the net…

    My wife hits the pillow and drops off instantly…how does she do it? As I lay there with plenty of time to ponder this each night. Ground hog night.

    God bless you Brian your not alone.

  116. Gary,
    Not personally, but they’re both accomplished musicians in their own right.

  117. Karen & Carley, also talented. I’d change the channel on a Carpenter’s song (not a fan of their style) would turn up “You’re So Vain” to 11

  118. ( lo )====:::,
    What these singers have in common is that they’ve all sung about you. 😉

  119. lol at ‘ground hog night’. I go to sleep fast but I wake up in the middle of the night. It’s usually something I ate or too much caffeine, sugar, or processed foods with chemicals.

  120. I use my own concoction that works for me. 1 Flexeril, 2 Benadryl, 1 Ambien. Works most of the time. The nights it doesn’t work have more to do with pain levels than anything. Not complaining, just sayin’.

  121. I’ve tried Valerian Root too. It actually works, but the one side-effect made it impossible for anyone to be around me. Let’s just say this ol’ captain smelled like he’d been out to sea for a few months.

  122. What is called “Benadryl” in the USA is sold as a sleep aid here in the UK. I think it works a charm, for both sleep and for allergies….except that for allergies, it makes you sleepy. 😀

  123. I think some of those meds you mentioned used to power Kirk’s Enterprise or Princess Amadala’s ship.

  124. Gary,
    “Guitarzzan” & “Guitar Man” I get.

    Whiffed on your Karen Carpenter pitch.

    Carly Simon… Are you saying “You Want to Marry Me”?
    Let me know soon because I haven’t got time for the pain…

  125. Ha ha ha ha ha! Good one.

    Karen sang “long ago, and oh, so far away I fell in love with you before the second show. Your guitar, it sounds so sweet and clear, but you’re not really here…”
    I’ll get back to you on Carley Simon.

  126. The reference I thought was Carley Simon turns out not to be but here are 2 halfway obscure Carley Simon lines:

    One more time
    Play it again before you put your guitar down
    My darlin’, one more time
    Now that you got me dreamin’
    About the good times.

    and

    But you’re a legend in your own time
    A hero in the footlights
    Playin’ tunes to fit your rhyme

  127. Andrew,
    I don’t believe that they are defending “the faith”, they are defending a particular methodology and tradition.
    I know a lot about Rick Warren…and everything I know says that he is one of the most genuine Christians you’ll ever meet.
    I don’t agree with his theology or methodology and…so what?
    Eugene Peterson is one of the most important thinkers and sages in the church today…I love his work.
    I don’t agree with some of his work…and I’m probably wrong.
    I could go on…

  128. I think there is a huge difference between defending the faith and trying to destroy brothers and sisters in Christ.

  129. I hear so much crap about Rick Warren it’s ridiculous. When I read stuff about him I don’t like him but when I listen to him I really like him. So I quit listening to the nit-pickers.

  130. Gary,

    That is wisdom.
    No one is perfect in all knowledge and doctrine, but Warren is in no more error than the ODM’s favorite teachers.

  131. Defending the faith through teaching the Word of God is one thing, but attacking and trying to destroy brothers and sisters who claim the name of Christ and often doing so just because that brother or sister in Christ has quoted another person or been on the same platform as another person the ODM’s disapprove of…….that is why I dislike the ODM type of “ministry.”

  132. mrtundraman @ # 84,
    The Republic of Gilead was lifted from Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s about a near future dystopia in which theonomists have overthrown the U.S. Government and have instituted an Old Testament style theocracy. It was just some good humored snarkyness since you mentioned previously that you’d like to see us ruled by Old Testament law, yes?

  133. Muff, Sounds like a mockery of the Word of God. Not sure why you’d reference such a thing.

  134. Muff,
    You missed Mother’s Day at church but you still have plenty of time to make it for Father’s Day. Tom and Huck won’t be there but Little Luke might.

  135. Nonnie’s #132, Yep.

    Love all the sleep aid advice. Think I am going to try the melatonin. I have had sleep problems for years.
    On my 2nd Iraq tour, we were on the road a lot, convoying from base to base. it was regular to sleep at a different base every night. I kept Nyquil Liquigel to knock me out at night. It worked well, but my wife doesn’t like me using that, so melatonin sounds like a good natural solution.

  136. Gary,
    Thanks for the invite! Little Luke is jes’ fine, jes’ so long as injun Joe ain’t there!

  137. On the rare occasions when I can’t sleep, I put on a tape of the Prophet Jeremiah and try to concentrate on the words. It puts me right to sleep every time, no offense to the Prophet.

  138. I usually have the opposite problem- staying awake.

  139. lol Xenia Hezezekial three sixteen. Thou shalt not sleep.

  140. I dont mind the one or two nights but when I get past the fourth or fifth night I tend to start to slow down abit. Of course it has been about a year since I was there.

  141. I wanted to share an event with you, I went to tiecon Friday and Saturday, it was amazing there was so much energy and real world solutions to real situations. Even though it was focused on entrepreneurship it was really socially aware. Tech was being applied to areas around the world and people were touching lives in many worldwide communities. The desire to give back was deafening and scary, everyone wanted to see you succeed, not just monetarily but spiritually and in family. I loved all the content, the ideas the back and forth and the giving, I mean they put their money, which is rather substantial, and give it back, along with time and human capital.

    It was so different from work in one way, I was able to dialog on an adult level with multi subjects cross platform development, etc. I was invigorated and even happy, for a very moment I usually do not let that emotion enter into my life. But my mind ran at a 1000 miles a second, I was thinking of a pastor in Oregon how can I leverage that geographic to help that person, and several others came to mind. I scribbled a book load of notes and tried to focus on some type of way to make my many ideas turn into revenue. As much as we hate to admit it, much of our lives are controlled by economics. I imagine, and I know its most likely immature and pathetic, I add that because this “spirit” was usually actively snuffed out in my life, usually with a vengeance. That hurt, I always had so many ideas and when I first became a Christian I shared them, big sin on my part, and wont ever again in the real world community. I am dense but I learn.

    It was wonderful to be with people who just wanted to make a difference and did not have the need to repent of that.

  142. Very Cool Brian!

  143. The internet of everything, basically there is about 5 billion internet aware devices now, that includes smart phones, cars, utility infrastructural, refrigerators, tablets, etc. Before 2020 there will be fifty billion, that is a huge market. One practical application a bandage that goes on a person’s back, it will let people know if this person fell down, what is their vitals, are they struggling in many other ways. The cost is in about 5 bucks. Having had a parent fall, well two parents fall and get injured it was interesting. My father fell, and split his leg bone right up the middle. He called out my name for help, something he never did before. He died two days later, so much for calling out my name and being able to help him. But that is a different post.

    So many applications it was so exciting to discuss, distribution, funding and sales channels, series funding (my main interest), and so much more. It was nice to be part of a conference where I was not reminded that I hate Jesus, and He hates me with an eternal passion. It was just folks trying to do good.

  144. Hi Brian,

    Your statement, “I hate Jesus, and He hates me,” is thought provoking.

    Reminds me of why I had to quit listening to my local Christian radio pastors. For awhile there everything coming from them was extremely fundamentalist. The underlying tone was always parallel to your statement. Their radio spot always left one feeling as if you will never be able to walk with Christ because there is always something wrong with you. And you will never arrive, so you need to keep listening so “I” can fix you up.

    Of course we can’t ever measure up and that is why Christ took our place in paying the price for our sins. Washed in the blood of Jesus as the old song says.

    In all fairness I have not tuned into the radio preachers in quite awhile. It may have changed these days.

    So Brian could you elaborate on what exactly your statement is intended to convey? I mean beyond it’s face value…

    Dave

  145. Awesome stuff brian! Love your comments and nuance.

  146. Brian,

    If you went to tiecon, does this mean your possibly in CA. And if so, perhaps you have heard those radio preachers I mentioned above?

    Wish I had known about tiecon, I would have liked to have gone there. Your synopsis makes it very intriguing.

    I too would like to see a certain Oregon pastor helped along with a few others…

  147. I never even heard of tie on before. It looks like it was probably a fantastic conference.
    I know there’s loads of amazing things going on in the technical world.
    Did you have a chance to meet up with anyone that you can work with on some projects?

  148. I’m very conservative/libertarian politically, but I think that many liberals and liberal groups do a lot of good things and mean well. Unfortunately, I think they are co-opted by more sinister Agendas within their Tent and often unaware and duped on some larger issues.

    I am much more religiously liberal than ever before and have a very difficult time with conservative fundamentalism, but the paradox there is that many conservative fundamentalists do help a lot of people as well in terms of good works.

  149. David I live in the south bay and have been involved with Tie for over 5 years. I love their enthusiasm and ability to actually solve real world problems and help people start companies, grow income, and be engaged in helping the community. Of course there is a shtick to it and a pitch as well as mitigated self interest in some interactions as everyone is trying to get a leg up or a foot in the door. But that is right up front and even promoted, not in some glorious hand waving. It is how business works on some level, but always tied to customer needs and how to meet those needs in an ever changing world.

    I am one of the few teachers that attend I think, most of the people are business tech people, EE, PhD’s in a variety of disciplins etc.I have little contact outside of this community with my professional peer group.

    As to the Jesus hates me and I hate him. If you want to understand much of my posts

    http://youtu.be/mEOqxibhCxU

    This form of the Christian religion from day one that every thought, every deed (outside of Christ) makes God sick and far worse then that. Often being told Hitler was not an anomaly but what we all could be at the drop of a hat. In our unconverted state we are even worse then Hitler, not giving a pass to the vast majority of humanity stood against him. Now this guy is a very very mild form of what I have heard, though he has the rhetoric down to a science.

    It is hard for me to follow how I could hate God even before I was born, actually even before the world was born I hated him. Then the leprosy twaddle, we have answers to leprosy, it is a disease and has nothing what so ever to do with a person’s spiritual stance. Now I get the point of defacing us and convincing us what spiritual scum we are is needed so we will come to Christ alone. But David what bothers me the most is that its the carrot and the stick, when you do grasp that carrot (Jesus, no disrespect intended) there comes the stick, where we are constantly reminded how much we hate God even now. It is a merry go round I have been trying to get off for a long time.

  150. I got off that merry go round. I can now look at it at a distance and see it for what it is. By the way, brian, I work in the south bay. San Jose to San Mateo.

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