Feb 132017
 

1. It should be easier to love your enemies these days…because we used to be friends before the election…

2. Both sides of this divided country seem to want more than legislative victories. I sense the desire for a cultural cleansing that removes the other from existence. We are in a civil war that hasn’t fired a shot…yet.

3. Just as losing trust in the Scriptures as being the word of God creates confusion and chaos in the church, so has the lack of trust in journalism created the same in society…

4. If we can’t speak to each other how can we worship with each other?

5. The reason I write about these issues is more for my benefit than yours… if my faith doesn’t define how I do everything, it really defines nothing I do. That, and I hate officiating at funerals…

6. The interesting thing about the Calvary Chapel split is one group wants to go back to the spiritual freedom that spawned the movement in the first place and the other is protecting the institution the movement became…

7. The first weekend without football feels like my cats left and won’t be home for six months…

8. It’s fascinating to me that the number of “the end is nigh” posts on social media have gone down drastically since the election. Evidently, American politics have replaced Israel as “God’s time piece”…

9. I’ve helped raise a lot of kids over the years…and this is the most difficult time to be a teenager and the parent of a teenager in my lifetime.

10. Because we’re now too sophisticated to believe in things like a real Satan and supernatural evil, we are laid out like a buffet table in hell…

One final thought…from Dietrich Bonhoeffer;

“Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. … The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other. The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, for instance, the intellect, suddenly atrophy or fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.”

From “Letters From Prison”…

 

 

  74 Responses to “Things I Think”

  1. Re: your number 8: This is the one aspect that has bothered me the most about those who tout end-times teachings, and I have been saying it all along, even before the election: some people act like Jesus is sitting up in heaven watching what ‘Murica is doing and who is running for President every 4 years, and he’s wringing his hands in worry that, if a Democrat wins the White House, he’s gonna have to pack his bags and come to earth. If a Republican wins, he can sit back and relax as his time has not yet come.

    Sounds simplistic, but I believe that is how many end-times wonks believe in their hearts and minds, even if their (usually loud) mouths and blogs say otherwise.

    RE your number 4: This is truly sad that this may be the truth. Another good reason to abstain from pontificating about politics and unfriending people on social media.

    Good material as always Michael!

  2. I must follow far more Democrats and liberal Christians than you do, because I’ve heard nothing except “the end is near” since the election from those circles.

    In the future everyone will be a dispensationalist for 15 minutes.

  3. One would have thought that the end times wonks would have been leading the charge for Hillary. Heck, from what I saw from these groups/types, Obama must have had us right on the precipice of Christ’s return. Hillary’s election most certainly would have then been the tipping point.

    I have noticed the same significant reduction in “the end of nigh” posts on social media the past couple months.

  4. Thanks Michael,

    As per the press I admit to being an all out offender. I loath what I see in journalism today. My immediate response on reading a headline is to wonder what facts they are shading to post that kind of title.

    It is deeply troubling to believe we live in a world where the quest for truth is nonexistent and has been superseded by the quest for power and influence.

  5. As an addendum to David’s point, I probably have significantly more social media friends who are conservative politically and/or theologically than those who are liberal.

  6. “4. If we can’t speak to each other how can we worship with each other?”

    I can’t think of anyone I have stopped speaking with because of all of this. Now, there are some Giant’s fans around that I may cut off. 😉

  7. I just finished reading/listening to The Life and Narrative of Fredrick Douglass, an American slave, written in 1845.

    The parallels between then and now are astounding on many levels.

    If anyone hasn’t read the book, I’d encourage you to do so. I believe it’s available for free as a pdf download.

    The appendix alone is worth it’s weight in gold.

  8. Babs,
    “I loath what I see in journalism today.”
    I found it insightful when the press reported the length of the Trump handshake with the Japanese President. 19 seconds

  9. #1 Love is waxing cold
    #2 We Americans may actually see the day we cash in our lives for the privilege of bring called by Christ’s name, a child of God
    #3 truly frightening. Our Scriptures come from one source Whom we can trust without reserve. Our mainstream news comes from one source we cannot trust at all.
    #4 Love waxes cold. Are there any fellowships anymore where the members are actually deeply invested in one another? Or is everyone jonesing for their Starbucks?
    #5 hey I’m going to funeral on Friday, coincidence? I think not…
    #6 I think both sides of the CC Enterprise have made awful decisions. CGN seems to be tossing doctrine to the wind, leaving the chips to fall where they may and the Holy Spirit to clean up the mess in the name of freedom. The CCA seems to want to make a show of their solidarity and stay on the course, until it isn’t solid or on the course. They are the little guy in the big guy’s pond.
    #7 try waiting four years between World Cups. Ive fallen in love with the underdogs from West Africa.
    Hockey is also far more exciting to watch
    live then football, and you always get a
    better seat.
    #8 As a prophecy nut, it’s fascinating to me that so many get their news from Charisma Mag. Apparently many think this administration is a reprieve from the corruption of the last 3 administrations. I wonder if they realize walls also keep people IN… My son is taking Spanish so hopefully he’ll be able to find out where the tunnels are…
    #9 So many uncomfortable conversations…
    #10 There’s a song for that:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=y9YL0HV0mwE

  10. Hi everyone. Hope you have a happy day!

  11. As the entertainment industry has gotten all angry, I am thankful for the media industry to provide me my entertainment.

    Today’s nugget was a clip from election night with Jake Tapper slipping not once but twice in saying “We need these states” quickly catching himself and saying “Hillary Clinton needs…”

    Almost spit out the coffee…

    10 seconds of fun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0XPOuuxy1I

  12. Oh, never mind on my previous comments. This just came across my feed:

    http://babylonbee.com/news/confirmed-naked-chicken-chalupa-sign-apocalypse/

  13. Loathing mainstream media: the bathrobe. What? Why? Sean Spicer, what? Why? I can’t believe the President can’t use Twitter to his advantage. I can’t believe he uses Twitter period.

  14. Michael

    I’ve been saying it for a while, but Bonhoeffer may be the theologian for our times…

  15. I made it sound like I think Hockey has a world cup, not my intention. Just went to a hockey game a while ago, for my first time, and Ive nearly never had so much fun!

    Hi Dusty. Hope your day is as bright as your presence here 🙂

  16. Duane,

    I think you may be right…
    While it may be gross overstatement to contrast where we are now with the rise of Nazi Germany, it is not an overstatement that we are seeing the rise of authoritarianism.

    Nobody spoke to the dangers of such like Bonhoeffer…

  17. Good morning, Dusty. 🙂

  18. Sig,

    I’m a rabid hockey fan.
    The quickest way for me to watch our podcast ratings tank is for me to talk about it, however…

  19. #10 – usually, when we think we’re sophisticated, we’re just encumbered with the popular view
    the trick, i guess, is to become so sophisticated that we can think independently …
    and clearly – not too many of us ever reach that goal, tho

    on the topic of thinking, i’ve often wondered about a man who has the ability to think on a Monday morning and lay it out so clearly … this is not normal 🙂

  20. Michael
    I’m coming to appreciate the Gospel according to Stanley.

  21. “10. Because we’re now too sophisticated to believe in things like a real Satan and supernatural evil, we are laid out like a buffet table in hell…”

    I am happy to report that no one at my church believes this – because of the confessions & creeds I doubt many if any at all believe this. Michael – are you saying this is a problem with your church?

  22. MLD makes my point about thinking clearly on Monday morning… so i just have to jump in and say, Michael’s reference was to the ones not following Christ … i think

  23. He said ‘we’ not ‘they’ or ‘them guys’ 🙂

  24. I don’t know of the creed that mentions evil and Satan…and the vast majority of the church does not subscribe to whatever Lutheran confession addresses the matter.

    It is my belief that the church in a general sense is not acknowledging the existence of supernatural evil and thus, is prey to it.

  25. I didn’t see anyone hurrying from church yesterday having left their offerings behind in order to be reconciled to their brothers…

    first weekend without football…got in two hikes this weekend with my grandson Isaiah

  26. the creed states that he descended into Hell. The confessions give no indication that Satan is not real or not active.

    I guess we could take a poll – who here belongs to a church that denies that the devil and hell are not real?

  27. Fil,

    You nailed it, as usual…

  28. MLD,

    As usual of late you want to take things places where they were not intended to go.

    Even if our stated doctrine acknowledges the existence of evil and the demonic realm, it avails us little if we don’t act on what we confess.

    I would go even farther…the supernatural realm is neglected period.

    The Sunday night service has disappeared and the Wednesday prayer meeting is just another Bible study.

    Advertise a prayer meeting and see how many show up…

  29. 10-20
    we do it every Wednesday.

  30. I would suppose the birds that feed off the fruit of the branches believe Satan is not real. It’s just a shade darker than annihilationism.

  31. #28 Michael

    It is neglected. Bible study can feed our intellect (and we can feel better). Fellowship can provide socialization (and we can feel better). Prayer is entering into a realm where there are no guarantees of “feeling better” – we encounter our own sinfulness; we encounter of realm of intercession with no guaranteed results, because sometimes God says, “No”; we encounter enemies for whom we must pray. True prayer takes us into a realm that is uncomfortable precisely because it does involve the supernatural…

    Something else from my reading this morning –

    “May God in his mercy lead us through these times; but above all, may he lead us to himself.”
    ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters Papers from Prison

  32. If you want supernaturalism, you want Orthodoxy. As I’ve said, the “membrane” between this world and the Other World is very thin in Orthodoxy. Angels, Saints and demons are very near at hand.

  33. I am going to read Bonhoeffer, someone I’ve neglected. I think the time is ripe.

  34. Bonhoeffer is on target. Unfortunately, it resembles a lot of American Christianity, not just American politics.

  35. Josh,

    Good on you.
    There are exceptions to every general statement.

  36. I know I will trample on holy PP ground here – but we can quote Bonhoeffer mentioning God all day long – but how many here have looked into who this god of Bonhoeffer is. I can’t state chapter and verse from my previous study perhaps 15 – 20 years ago teaching as a Baptist, but Bonhoeffer had very troubling theologies / doctrines.
    He questioned the virgin birth to such a degree he pretty much denied it – he had great difficulty with the deity of Christ and he did not think that Christ was the only way to the father.

    Bonhoeffer also spoke against the sinlessness of Jesus the man. I don’t know if he could really be called – the theologian for our times…
    Perhaps he could be called a social conscience of our time — theologian, I don’t think so.

  37. Xenia @ 32…I may study some material from the Orthodox on this as I believe the same about the “membrane” between the worlds…

  38. Duane @31,

    That was so very well said…I need to start a scrapbook of your quotes… 🙂

  39. Bonhoeffer was definitely not an evangelical, despite his latest biographers attempt to make him one.

    Neither was C.S. Lewis.

    Both have insights that are valuable despite anyl aberrant views.

    What I’m looking at is what his understanding of Christ led him to believe and then act on…

  40. “Bonhoeffer was definitely not an evangelical, ”
    Well neither am I and I don’t go around denying those basic fundamentals of the faith.

  41. #38 Michael, many thanks.

    #36 MLD – Metaxas thinks he’s “as orthodox as St. Paul”. I do not agree. I would consider him neo-orthodox along with Barth. Of course, with the influence of the Prussian Academy and Harnack, being even neo-orthodox should be considered a “minor miracle”… As someone who put his theology into practice, however, he was an amazing, albeit complex, man.

  42. The Cost of Discipleship is a good exposition on the beatitudes.

  43. One of the verses in yesterday’s message was Matthew 23:33 so I spent a few minutes of yesterday’s message speaking on the reality of hell and Satan. I specifically said to not listen to those writing books and going on Oprah who deny its existence – so as to inform that, yes, there are those out there doing that very thing.

    I wish all American Christians would study Bonhoeffer and the times in which he lived. Maybe then it would put to bed the absolute silliness of the hysteria taking place in our political world.

    As an aside, it would also be an interesting read given Bonhoeffer’s membership in the Abwehr and their political goals and commitments, not the least of which was to the assassination of Hitler.

  44. Duane – I don’t know who Metaxas is (I guess I could Google)

    Acting on your faith is a good thing – but I will say, that I would honor an atheist who stood up to the Nazis – and many did. I don’t need a theologian.
    What makes the atheist do the same – from where do his principles and courage come?

    There is something to natural law – and the church needs to go back some in that direction.

  45. “Good on you.
    There are exceptions to every general statement.”

    Oh, we are definitely in the minority, and using any worldly measuring gauge, the Wednesday night service is a failure. I understand why it has been dropped by so many.

  46. MLD,

    Bonhoeffer had very troubling theologies / doctrines.<<<

    So do you.

    I am not looking to find a new theology, I am looking for insight on a narrow range of topics.

  47. Boom.

  48. I wish all American Christians would study Bonhoeffer and the times in which he lived.
    —————————————————
    By the way, I put my money where my mouth is on this one as I had my Psalms class read his little book on praying the Psalms – which includes a short biography. It was the only assigned book outside the Bible for my class (though I had them investigate commentaries of their choosing)

    It also has little to nothing of theological liberalism within it, though, like MLD, I had one pastor raise an eyebrow that I would include such a book for class.

  49. I’m in no need to adopt an -ism when I am indwelt by the God who holds all things together. Goulding studied about the “membrane” and came up with Non-Overlapping Magusterium. I think it’s one of the rare times an agnostic said something closely resembling truth, it is a, waste of time. For humans, it is not something we can cross, physical or spiritually. To believe that somehow by centering prayer and such you are accessing some higher plane of spirituality is only opening oneself to evil supernatural forces already at work here. Why bother with “experiencing more” when He indwells us? What more do I possibly have need of?

  50. Xenia – I didn’t realize you find the virgin birth, the deity of Christ and salvation through Christ alone troubling.

    “I am not looking to find a new theology, I am looking for insight on a narrow range of topics.”
    I agree, this is why I question why some here would call Bonhoeffer the theologian of our time.

  51. When we have called for a special prayer meeting, it is well attended.

    When it is another weekly commitment to leave the house for, arrange childcare, adjust the meal schedule and get to bed late for work the next morning…with an indefinite period that continues for the foreseeable years to come…then not so much attendance.

    We’ve never had a Sunday night service in my 9 years, nor did we have one for many years prior. We are a town where many people get up early to commute to work, or get kids ready for school. Personally, I think a quiet Sunday night with family is far better for their spiritual health than trudging back out to church in the evening.

  52. As usual, MLD, you take one sentence, ignore the rest of what one writes, and create a strawman.

  53. He has 2 books – Christ the Center – where in MY opinion – ya’ll can have your own – he makes very disturbing statements. The other is something like Witness to Freedom (I don’t remember the exact title.)

  54. Here’s my point on the prayer meeting issue.
    If we truly believed it mattered, we’d do it.

    I indict myself with the statement as well…

  55. Xenia – as did you as you fired a shot across my bow.

  56. this is why I question why some here would call Bonhoeffer the theologian of our time.
    —————————————————
    I question it for him throwing in with assassination efforts. Quite a resume point for a theologian.

    However, I don’t question HIM at all…in fact, I applaud it.

    Of course, I am not deranged enough to equate Trump (or Obama) or any President with Hitler, nor America of any year to Germany of the 30s and 40s.

    (By deranged I speak of the dreaded epidemic since at least the Clinton years of CDS, BDS, ODS, and now TDS – affecting an equally small but alternating portion of the American people every 8 years)

  57. Addendum to my 49

    I realize that NOMA is the separation of science and religion, but my point was the physical realm cannot access the spiritual, thus the harder physicality and reason of man, no matter how “mystical”, cannot bridge the magisteria by our efforts. The Spirit of God accesses the physical in His once and for all free gift in Christ. The danger of mysticizing prayer outside of what God says is that it always becomes an exercise in invocation or incantation.

  58. Advertise a prayer meeting and see how many show up…
    ————————————-
    That was where I directed my comment…in the larger context affirmed about denying the supernatural….

    if we truly believed it mattered, we’d do it.
    ———————————————–
    Well, certainly I hope all Christians pray (individually and as a family)…all churches pray corporately (and with the individual members)….and there is something wrong if that is not the case.

    Is that the case? Surely our little church is not some great exception in the Body of Christ when it comes to prayer? We have a prayer chain and a box people can put requests for that chain…it never has an empty week. As well as contact info for people to add to the chain. I get 2-3 prayer request updates a day, most day. We have people available for prayer after each service and there are always a few who seek it.

    But all that is different than the challenges of some ongoing extra service which is what I addressed at #51

  59. I attended a Sunday church service once with no box for prayer requests, people just asked for prayer and the elders and their wives went around pursuing for folks. It was different but pretty cool.

  60. I got to know a little more about strangers than I wanted to, but I like my 3ft bubble a little too much

  61. #56 Steve

    Yes, his working with the Abwehr (it is thought as a double agent giving information to the allies) and his involvement with the assassination plot show the complexity of the man and of the times. Amazing that he could have stayed in the US at Union Theo. Sem. and continue teaching Sunday School at the African-American church in Harlem, but chose to take the last ship back to Germany to “share in my country’s fate”. Moreover he framed his decisions theologically… As I said, complex…
    Still think “The Cost of Discipleship” should be mandatory reading…

  62. Duane, I find fascinating his commitment to return to his nation and have a role in its future – whatever that future might look like (and at the time, it was quite grim). Yes, he could have lived a much easier life with a quite different future….and as a result would have been pretty much forgotten in history no doubt.

    Very relevant to our times….

  63. I attended a Sunday church service once with no box for prayer requests, people just asked for prayer and the elders and their wives went around pursuing for folks.
    ———————————————–
    The box serves a different purpose than personal prayer for those in the moment….we have both.

  64. “Yes, his working with the Abwehr (it is thought as a double agent giving information to the allies) and his involvement with the assassination plot show the complexity of the man and of the times. ”

    Duane,

    Isn’t the jury out on his participation in the assassination? I understand some biographer(s) make that claim, but it’s not unanimous or even the best scholarship on him, is it? Don’t some scholars contend his guilt was by association?

  65. “6. The interesting thing about the Calvary Chapel split is one group wants to go back to the spiritual freedom that spawned the movement in the first place and the other is protecting the institution the movement became…”

    Without an Official Program and Scorecard it is sometimes hard to distinguish between the two. 😕

  66. #64 Jean

    He was definitely on the fringes of the plot (as were others). Most believe he knew of it, but did not actively participate in the planning. It does seem, however, that although he was executed at the express command of Himmler, but he was not the subject of a “show trial”, so even those in power may have had doubts…
    The Mataxas biography, by the way, should be taken with a large “grain of salt”.

  67. Duane,
    Such a grain, but I won’t read Mataxas. Did he also question Bonhoeffer’s sexuality?

  68. I looked him up – I thought he was pro Bonhoeffer. Perhaps I looked up the wrong guy.

  69. He actively aligned and worked with a group working to undermine and overthrow the government of his country during a time of war. He stayed loyal to the group even as assassination plots were known and crafted which eliminates any “guilt by association” minimization.

    This has nothing to do with Mataxas or any spin on the history….it is the history.

    Bonhoeffer wrote more than once (to paraphrase) that his Christianity necessitated his desire for the destruction of his country (as that country was at present then being governed). His love for Germany motivated him to work towards her defeat.

    This is light years from hoping for electoral victory in the next election cycle in 4 years with maybe a few midterm Senate and House pickups in two years.

    Like I said, I wish every American would read more about what Germany and rule by Hitler (and life under his reign) actually looked like….

  70. #69 -“rule” by Hitler … “rule” of law, the popular elected representatives making those laws (and repealing bad ones?) – that is the difference…
    …..
    i just erased the rest of my pontification… 🙂

  71. #67 Jean

    I think that was another writer, but it’s been three years since I read that particular biography.

    #69 Steve

    He was involved, no doubt, but I think there have always been questions as to the extent of his involvement. I spoke with the man who did the Bonhoeffer documentary. He was the one who did interviews with the remaining family members and friends. Well worth watching. Absolutely fascinating…

  72. 9. I’ve helped raise a lot of kids over the years…and this is the most difficult time to be a teenager and the parent of a teenager in my lifetime.

    Why?

    I’ll say that I read a study recently that said “Because of the prevalence of HPV, oral sexual is now more dangerous than smoking.”

    Since President Clinton, this activity has exploded, although teen pregnancies, abortions and other sexual prosmiscuity are at record lows.

  73. #69 Steve
    I was unable to find the complete documentary on YouTube (you can get it on Netflix), but here is a brief interview with the director, Martin Doblmeier. I think he presents the most balanced view of Bonhoeffer as he did the research and interviews with Bonhoeffer’s friends and family who were still alive at the time of the filming. Martin was most gracious when I spoke to him on a couple of occasions.
    https://youtu.be/lZyXCQpN95Y

  74. Since President Clinton…

    Yeah. He invented that.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)

%d bloggers like this: