Jul 132017
 

Oh, the perils of stakes and pyres.

Today, just as conservative evangelicals were dragging Eugene Peterson to the fire, he issued a retraction.

As the conservatives were taking down the heat, the liberals came and asked if they could borrow some kindling.

 

Earlier today, some conservatives “knew” that this darkness had lurked in the heart of the man before it was exposed.

This afternoon, the liberals are sure that he sold out for money and influence.

On these very pages, (to my shame) Peterson has alternately been accused of being gay and being greedy.

All of this about a man who has faithfully served the church for decades as a pastor and writer.

Nothing he could say at this point (outside of a complete apostasy from the faith) should be able to negate a life given in baptisms, funerals, sermons, writing, and loving the people of God.

We might disagree with him and even do so with vigor, but the record of his life is there for all to see.

It should be celebrated by all of us.

It won’t work that way, though.

We live in a warped and despicable time where everything (including people) is either all good or all bad, left or right, black or white.

Humans can’t live in that space for long, anymore than they can live underwater or in outer space for long.

We are fallen and broken creatures who depend on the recognition of our mutual fallibility to survive in society.

Martin Luther wrote and said some horrible things.

So did Calvin.

I know things that Chuck Smith said privately that would cause a riot if I posted them.

The church still rightly celebrates Luther, Calvin, and Chuck.

We celebrate what they gave us that was true and holy and we also recognize that they had the same need for grace that we do.

We dare not negate the work of God through them, lest God cease to provide such gifts to His ungrateful people.

Peterson may be spared from the fires, but he’ll still smell like smoke.

It’s inevitable that soon the flames we stoke to burn others may end up burning us…

Make your own application…

  127 Responses to “Two Pyres For Peterson”

  1. “On these very pages, (to my shame) Peterson has alternately been accused of being gay and being greedy.”

    LOL, that is a dramatic and hyperbolic.

    Dunno on either one, for sure, but it’s fair game to speculate as is the tradition here.

  2. *a bit

    above

  3. Alex,

    You can call it what you will…but with all the evidence we have to the contrary it will not be tolerated.

    Period.

  4. ….and pretty sure Trump recanted that statement, yet you choose to ignore that.

  5. You edited out a direct quote from your own article? OK.

  6. Trump, like Peterson has a public record.
    I am not going to argue this here or anyone else…

  7. Alex, I love you. Please don’t derail the discussion. Respectfully.

  8. Just pointing out the obvious hypocrisy.

    Those who like Peterson will claim he’s a victim while holding those they don’t like to every word they’ve ever uttered with no room for “recanting” or getting a mulligan.

  9. Great concluding word, Michael.

    We are told (nay, commanded) to hear both sides, and to not accuse falsely.

    1) How can any Christian lightly accuse a man of such longstanding moral integrity of being motivated by loss of finances in flip-flopping. Not only is that false witness a sin, it is incredibly stupid given the quicker way to get rich would be stay on the pro gay marriage bandwagon and the Oprah, CNN, Huffington Post interview circuit.

    There was no doubt in my mind we would either hear a future detailed Biblical reason for Peterson’s change on the issue (that we would disagree with), or we would get a clarification about the interview itself, from Peterson himself. What was reported was too vague and sloppy. I am thrilled by the way it was the latter and not some attempt to explain away homosexuality sin as a relevant 1st century thing only as others do.

    2) How can any Christian just assume what is in print is 100% accurate and in full context. Especially coming from that obviously partisan, one-sided, media outlet, (and given what we see in all media today). Likewise stupid, but also sinful not to hear a matter fully before casting judgements.

    Yet, look at how many read some accusation or slander from a guy they “respect” on Facebook and assume the worst about the people or church that one guy is slandering, without ever bothering to pick up the phone or drop a note to the accused party to get their side.

    I talk for more than 3 hours a week to live audiences and I know there have been many occasions when I regret saying what I said, or the way I said it. In fact, I’ve issued a retraction or two the next week.

    Congrats to any among us who have the perfection to always say exactly in content and manner what they believe when in the heat of the moment of live discussion (and being recorded for later dissemination)

    It’s a lot easier when all one has to do is type their heated complaints on social media with the handy delete key nearby…..

  10. Is it any wonder James warned, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness?”

    And then James says, “For in many things we offend (with our tongue).”

  11. I followed this pretty carefully on Twitter…and I will commend you and our readers as the only place that advised caution and hearing Peterson out.

    Everyone else was running for wood, gasoline, or party favors…

  12. As you all know, my main point was with the “pastoral” and “grace” language that was used.

    However, in my ranting I said that Eugene took the easy way out and bent to cultural pressure.

    I greatly regret that now. He did nothing of the such. He was trying to have a conversation with a guy with an agenda.

  13. Josh,

    In one of the great reversals in social media history, the comments here were much more moderate than elsewhere.

    Peterson spoke without thinking and without the clarity one expects from a theologian and scholar.

    After reading Merritt’s followup, I have little doubt that Peterson is conflicted on this issue.

    In the end, I believe he paid the price for hasty speech in this culture and did the right thing by making clarification.

  14. I didn’t make any comments here about the matter. I get an A 😉

  15. Second, and perhaps more interesting, I had spoken with several prominent pastors, authors and theologians who intimated to me that Peterson had told them privately that he was affirming of same-sex relationships.
    ————————————————————-
    This does not speak well of Merritt – and certainly not of the prominent pastors, authors, theologians who talk about Peterson behind his back.

    Just because Merritt does not name names, if they told him privately, he should not have used that as his excuse publicly NOW. It may have motivated his questions, (though let’s face it, the real reason he gives clearly as “One” – namely the significance of the topic).

    So now we are left with Peterson actually being dishonest now, or the many unnamed pastors, authors, theologians being dishonest or spreading falsehoods and gossip….all because of Merritt’s attempt to defend himself.

    Shameful.

  16. So true, Michael, your last line before “Make your own application” about stoking the fires and getting burned.

  17. Scooter (14)….me too. I want a big gold foil star!

    Actually, I have been following the dust-up/rhubarb on both sides of this controversy since yesterday and, for better (not getting into any online fights) or for worse (I will probably lose my salvation because I didn’t take a stand – #snark) chose not to get involved online.

    The result? My arm is sore from patting myself on the back to much.

    Still wouldn’t mind dinner with E. Peterson, though.

  18. No stone will be left unturned now.

  19. The liberal that all other liberals have quoted throughout the years has finally come home to roost. Now all his liberals cronies are backpeddling and trying to justify. Tyndale would’ve been spinning when The Message came out, it was just a matter of time. Disgusting what he said that interview.

  20. Eugene Peterson is irrelevant anyway. The whole thing is boring. Anyone that wants to know if Peterson is a Christian minister or not, need only read the pathetic lines from his “Message” that is masquerading as Psalm 1: ***How well God must like you — you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.*** After him mocking God’s Word there, then he tries to save face by bringing up God’s Word in what is supposedly the second verse. At that point, of course, he had already shot himself in the face. He didn’t minster to anyone with the truth. He “ministered” to those that want to hear nonsense.

  21. I am not a fan of “The Message”.

    Having said that, “The Pastor” will still be read long after all on either side of this are long dead.

    A number of his other books are classics as well.

    I was sharing with Duane this afternoon that I’ve been through this before when the evangelical and Reformed worlds lost their minds when J.I. Packer contributed to “Evangelicals and Catholics Together”.

    Packer was anathematized then and Peterson will be now…and by people who will never give a shred of what both have given to the church.

    They both ministered more truth than I will ever know.

  22. Who the hell is Eugene Peterson? Sorry, I just had to ask, having lived under a rock for the past 30 years. Is he the guy who wrote the “Message?”

  23. Apparently his retirement into private life has some practical considerations. Age gets served sooner or later.

  24. I enjoy The Message but I don’t actually see it as a Bible but more as a devotional about the Bible.

  25. Michael is it possible to simply take the man at his word(s) without being accused of burning him at the stake? He said he would perform a gay wedding. He also affirmed homosexuals as worship leader evidently… “There we were, looking for a new minister of music. One of the young people that had grown up under my pastorship, he was a high school teacher and a musician. When he found out about the opening, he showed up in church one day and stood up and said, “I’d like to apply for the job of music director here, and I’m gay.” We didn’t have any gay people in the whole congregation. Well, some of them weren’t openly gay. But I was so pleased with the congregation. Nobody made any questions about it. And he was a really good musician.”

    It would seem pretty logical to at least wonder if Peterson’s retraction was linked to Lifeway’s threat to his retirement income. I don’t think it’s mean spirited to ask anymore than one would wonder if it was someone we didn’t like.

  26. Thoughts uttered in an unguarded moment, or thoughts uttered responding to hypothetical questions, should not define a life of devotion and service. Let’s accept people for what they say under mature consideration. That is what I would ask for myself and, I believe, it is what we should extend to others.

  27. How do you utter something you don’t believe in an unguarded moment?

  28. “It would seem pretty logical to at least wonder if Peterson’s retraction was linked to Lifeway’s threat to his retirement income.”

    If Peterson is like other writers, than Lifeway stores make up a small percent of his income in comparison to Amazon, et all.

    Secondly, Peterson has never even tacitly been accused of greed before yesterday.

    This man has sold millions of books and lived in the same home with the same woman for decades.

    He is an elderly man with no apparent need for more income than what will already come in long after he is gone.

  29. I do not understand how a man accepts a call to do an interview for a news source, answers questions, then somehow it becomes an “unguarded moment”? Wha? I think people who love EP are making excuses for him.

  30. Jim, what you might call “making excuses”, I might call “cutting some slack.”

    Like Billy Graham, he has earned it.

  31. I just wrote out a big long post that will influence nobody.

    In lieu of that, I will simply say that I do love the man and rejoice in what he gave us all.

    Your mileage may vary.

  32. However, the Petersen dustup is nothing compared to what the Church of England is proposing, and I think the voted it in today. – or perhaps the vote is tomorrow.
    To have a special christian service to mark a transgendered person’s entry into the Church. I think it is a rebaptism as you may have been initially baptized as the wrong gender. If this is so, the CoE will have leapfrogged the ELCA into total apostasy.

  33. Luther, Calvin and Chuck quote makes me chuckle. Chuck Smith is a drop in the bucket compared to the legacies of those 2 spiritual giants. Regarding Eugene, I have no clue.

  34. Funny thing, I just erased a pontification as overkill – suffice it to say that sometimes tender hearted people/believers have to do a veracity check on themselves
    God is pleased with them, so we’d better not pull condemnation down on ourselves by jumping the gun in judgement mode … Judge the words, but show the grace that God expects of us when doing so

  35. Obvious people pleasing. He got caught being one of the many liberal-minded people pleasers that cater to whatever audience they think they need to cater to at that moment. He’s in an interview about non-dogmatic “religion”, so he wants to be known as Mr. Tolerant and therefore he endorses sodomy. Then he sees that the Christian community won’t let it slide, so he has to “recant” and make it like he was suffering from senility. He’s a people pleaser that wants to have the applause.

  36. If Peterson is a “liberal” then he would have been openly pro gay long ago.
    The “liberals” were ecstatic yesterday.

    From what I can gather the old guy is gay affirming but opposed to same sex marriage.

    That should keep both sides raging while he goes fishing.

  37. I just caught up reading on this whole issue, and I’m probably commenting way too late. I loved Michael’s original post on this, and I appreciated the lengthy thread of comments. (I never liked The Message but loved The Pastor!)

    After sifting through this discussion the thing that hangs on for me is how difficult it is for people who love God to wrestle with their opinions, and even consider the possibility that we could be wrong on a particular issue. If a man like Eugene Peterson can’t momentarily disagree with the evangelical mainstream without being crucified, how in the world can any of the rest of us balance a little humility with our dogmatism? (Disclaimer- I’m not gay, believe homosexual sex is sin, and wouldn’t do a gay wedding, or even make their cake.) But is it even possible that I could be wrong on this? It wouldn’t be my first errant theology. But what about the centuries of Church History? Um, then let’s bring back slavery, which was taught in the Old and New Testaments, and supported by Church leadership for over 1800 years, until it became socially unacceptable and theology was adjusted to comply with societal norms. There are a lot more verses supporting slavery than there are condemning homosexuality.

    What’s my point? Everyone doesn’t have to agree with me. I can hold my views without judging someone who holds different views. For instance, it could be this simple: “Hey, did you hear that Eugene Peterson thinks gay marriage is okay?” “Oh, I love Peterson, but I disagree with him.” See how easy that would be? Of course, I know there were some comments here from those who believe that Peterson changing his views will turn a new generation gay. I suppose that might be worth fighting against, if you really believe an octogenarian’s opinion will affect the sexual behavior of millions.

    That’s my two cents worth, albeit late to the party.

  38. Dave,

    That last paragraph was worth the wait…thank you.

  39. My last paragraph was just one line. If you mean my second to the last paragraph then say it. You bloggers can’t get anything right! So inaccurate! 😜

  40. Now, I have to write a whole new piece counting paragraphs … 🙂

  41. My dad is 84. Ten years ago if he was interviewed by Jonathon Merritt, he would have eaten him for lunch. Today if interviewed, probably a scandal…

  42. You all know Psalm 32, saying how blessed is the man who’s transgression is forgiven. Well Eugene Peterson says this in his massage:

    “Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky—God holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from Him.”

    How awful. That’s a false gospel, obviously. But keep singing the praises of this old man.

  43. Seth,

    As I said, I’m no fan of the Message..though I wouldn’t have an issue about the example you used.

    I love and have profited from many of his other works, so I’ll sing those praises while you find some more passages to complain about.

  44. Ruth,

    I’m only 59 and still have to ask T what day it is and if I’m supposed to be somewhere else… 🙂

  45. Like I said, I’ve spoken wrongly and poorly in messages. Why? Maybe because I’ve given about 3000-4000 or so in my life. I’m pretty sure the very first few messages I ever gave back in the mid 1990s were spoken word for word exactly as I wanted them to be.

    I’m not saying you start winging it or become apathetic as the years go by. I still take every message seriously, both in preparation and delivery. However, you get “comfortable” to a degree. Comfortable with your congregation after many years. Comfortable with going a little off-script in the moment if you think it adds to the point.

    I’ve never once done a sit down interview with anyone greater than a high school or college student needing a homework assignment completed where he/she is asked to interview someone in their lives not a parent.

    If I was asked tomorrow by some media outlet for a detailed interview, I bet I would be fully charged, adrenaline pumping, on the highest guard and lookout. And I know that I would be totally different doing the same interview in my 80s with a few hundred such interviews (or more) in my rear view mirror.

    I contend he would get more money, and certainly need to deal with less hastle to just support gay marriage rather than this recanting today. I’m sure Oprah would help sell more than enough books to offset Lifeway. I’m sure life in his denominational world would be far easier as well, and rather than have both sides attacking the guy today, he would have made his enemies (most of whom he already had) on the one side and gained an entire new following and legion of fans on the other.

    What he did today in clearing the record is not only what I thought might happen, but is the hardest of his different options – and thus the one that tells me it is the most sincere, even if I did need to judge, which I am told not to since love believes all things and if a man of integrity says he misspoke, then I say, he misspoke.

    I bet with the rarest of exceptions none of the readers here have had even one Q & A interview with the media – and I am quite sure nobody here has been interviewed as often as Peterson given the number of books (and subsequent interviews generated for marketing them) as well as his celebrity.

  46. #1, 5, and 8 along wit a couple of posts from yesterday:

    Looks like the old Alex has returned. I kind of liked the humble and gracious one.

  47. Peterson right now is the little kid going to the woodshed with a couple rolls of Charmin stuffed in the rear of his pants. This is CYA. Merrit makes a good point that there was plenty of time for him to be prayerful and retract that before it hit the press.

  48. At least, That’s the way it looks from my house. I might be wrong. But I don’t think I am.

  49. With all the concern over what Eugene Peterson said (or didn’t say), what continues to be lost is the real issue – ministry to a community and to those who are not in it but share the same temptations. After reading many of the comments to the Christianity Today article, I was disheartened by the tone expressed and the lack of compassion for an issue which is very complex. The church needs to look at its track record and effectiveness in its ministry before anything else, if it wants to be the solution it is called to be.

  50. Michael, what you wrote here is wonderful for two reasons; first, it is true. Second, it is generous toward EP; God is better than we think He is–the generosity in your writing reflects that truth.

    The Pastor should be required reading for all those in church leadership. The other books I have read by EP have been quality as well, but you get the best picture of the man in The Pastor. When Rob Bell wrote Love Wins, John Piper immediately tweeted “Goodbye Rob Bell”. EP responded to Piper and some others that immediately condemned Bell and the book that even if one disagrees with Bell, that Bell is asking questions worthy of discussion. EP would not condemn Bell, but encouraged dialog. I am not a universalist, but I thought the condemnation and disrespect vitriol directed toward Bell did not look like Jesus. I thought EP’s response looked and sounded like Jesus. In Isaiah, God invites us to reason together with Him (I have heard that the word reason can be translated as dispute). It amazes me that the omniscient Creator of the universe would deign to speak with us, and allow us to speak with Him in this way. Why is dialog over difficult issues so impossibly hard for us, in the Church? My thesis–we lack love and humility. Our egos drive us to ‘win’ arguments rather than care for the souls of those who question.

    I am not for the Church embracing gay marriage; but I am for the Church reaching out in compassion and gracious love to the gay community. I have always been impressed, especially as I age, at how attracted sinners were to Jesus–and how Jesus was so invitational toward them. I long for the day when sinners will be as attracted to the Church (because we reflect Jesus) as Scripture describes. How do we learn to converse with those outside Christ? Conversation is value. If we lack the love, humility and grace to converse with each other, rather than draw lines and build fences, what hope do we have in terms of engaging those outside faith.

    I don’t have answers–just questions. I can envision conversation with men and women like EP; based on my observations of most of our celebrity Christian culture, I cannot envision conversation with them.

  51. #47 Steve Wright

    I’ve had numerous Q&A interviews through the years (Michael has seen some of them). I can assure you of one thing – they never come out as you imagine they will. They are edited, so that intervening questions and answers are cut, the train of thought is often lost, speculative thoughts come out as stated facts, etc. Oddly, I found the few TV/filmed interviews I’ve done much easier and satisfying, simply because there is much less editing and transpositions.

    As I looked over the series of EP interviews again, I do wonder how much editing was done, either by the reporter or by his editor…

  52. It was Farewell Rob Bell.

    It rhymed.

    I used to do a good bit of radio interviews back in the 90’s. Get to a town, and occasionally they’d have local radio lined up to promote a show or what not. Luckily, it was just radio in the 90’s and no one was recording it. I said lots of stupid stuff, sometimes just because I was tired of giving a boring answer so I’d jazz it up. Sometimes, I didn’t want to seem ignorant, so I’d just give an answer to a question I didn’t understand and try to make it make sense. My crew got a big kick out this stuff. In today’s world, it would have sunk us.

    The handful of print interviews I did (newspaper! Remember those?!? ) I was much more careful with answers, never said anything slightly controversial, and still I was was misrepresented on a couple of occasions.

    All that to say, I don’t doubt that Peterson has examined this issue from all sides, and may have swayed back and forth over the years. But the main thing I see is a reporter writing a story with a big bang, and forcing Peterson into the mix.

  53. Sorry, Josh, I used my somewhat faulty memory and robbed Piper of some of the ‘cleverness’ in his tweet. Not sure farewell makes the message more loving.

  54. It wasn’t loving. He said he regretted it..

    But, he was right.

  55. I once worked with a lead pastor who often said, “If I’m going to err, I want to err on the side of grace.” He was a people-oriented person with a sensitive. And there were times I felt annoyed with him because I felt he sometimes leaned into grace at the expense of truth. I think what bothered me was the fact he felt more loving than others. But often his choices toward people made him feel better, but actually put people in peril.

    For example, we had a special needs teen at the time, who we worked really hard to make healthy choices, but this pastor just wanted to give him burgers and milkshakes. I believe such actions made HIM feel better as he felt compassion toward our son. But giving him junk food all the time would have been detrimental.

    He was and is a beloved pastor,but after a few years I realized I wasn’t a good match for him. We are still friends and I learned a lot from him, but erring on the side of grace wore me down.

  56. Interesting, glad he regretted it–speaks well of him. I do think the kindest gift those around Piper could give him would be to close his Twitter account. His books show the positive side of editing; his unfiltered thoughts on social media or YouTube videos seem a mismatch to his writings.

  57. Yes, Rick. Old-age and social media have not been good for Piper.

    Also, I’m noticing Chris Roseborough is having a heyday with Peterson on twitter.

  58. Thanks Duane and Josh for sharing your experiences with interviews.

    I see this one was over the phone, arranged by the publicist (for the new book of course). Merritt thinks mighty highly of himself when asking why Peterson did not use the week or so before publishing to contemplate his answer. Probably because he forgot about Merritt and the interview the moment he hung up the phone.

    However, I also think we see the result of Peterson’s far too comfortable stance with the acceptance of the sin of homosexuality that makes it possible for such an interview to go sideways in the first place. You can’t take fire to your bosom and not be burned.

    My point has been that when a man of integrity clarifies and retracts immediately, he has earned after all these years the right to be believed and without some ulterior financial motive accusation.

    And since it seems to be brought up here – I write that defense not being a fan of Peterson’s at all. I despise The Message as even a decent devotional Bible. I dished out a few of my shekels to buy and read one of his pastor books with great anticipation because of all the raves on this very blog about it being must reading and found it very “meh” – not bad in any way, but not life changing and one I’ve never bothered to read a second time (though I have plenty of books geared to ministry or following Christ that I love to reread and reread).

    In other words, I would be a prime candidate to jump all over him now. But that simply is not just, not proper, and very likely not true (and thus not loving at all). If years of personal integrity despite one’s differing views is worthless to other Christians, then shame on those other Christians. (I write that knowing that if anyone brought an accusation against me out of the blue there would be legions quick to believe it without wanting or waiting to hear my side – simply because of my CC associations and other strong statements on this blog and elsewhere. The sharks come swimming when chum is in the water)

    And as an aside, Rob Bell is the perfect example of how writing a book(s) that leads to being exiled by the niche known as conservative Christianity can be the best thing for one’s fame and bank account in this world.

  59. “If I’m going to err, I want to err on the side of grace.”
    ——————————————————–
    I said this earlier too. Yes, like so many things the word, grace, can be misused. Warn about a predator you kick out of church who starts attending down the street and the watch how quickly they say “Well, we believe in grace here” – excited to have a new member.

    But I still think it is wise pastoral philosophy.

    I started the week saying how “love” can be misused too, though certainly we always are loving, but in truth.

    I’ve come full circle.

    Have a nice weekend all.

  60. The Pastor is on my list of “5 books every Christian should read”. It probably would have stayed there, regardless, but his retraction saves me from having to read a bunch more 🙂

  61. I stand by my observation (on the other thread) about celebrity pastors creating bigger waves and making things more difficult for the everyday pastors…I would add to that the current expression of Christianity (especially Evangelicalism) shares the blame for this current dust-up for creation and addiction to the celebrity personalities that were supposed to validate our beliefs…until they don’t. Something about cake and eating?

    As to my other observation about crop-dusting…evidently it was more of an SBD. 🙂

  62. I have only one EP book on my shelf, The Five Smooth Stones of Pastorally Ministry. I know many people love his writing, but it didn’t really connect with me. My former lead pastor loved his work.

    Every time I am in Kalispell, Montana I hope I bump into Peterson as he lives on Flathead Lake. He seems like a gracious individual.

  63. I just culled >100 lbs. of books from my library that I know I will not miss. IMO read them once then throw them away or foist them off on someone else. Keep reference books which might be necessary for future study of course, but the others are best utilized after reading as recycled paper. Stick mainly to the Bible where you’re less likely to err. Long term you’ll be better equipped to help others and guide them to God’s truth, not to someone’s transitory opinion of God’s truth, however useful it may seem to you at the moment. 😉

  64. “Stick mainly to the Bible where you’re less likely to err. ”

    I don’t know about that –
    1.) all those crappy books were probably written by someone who thought they had found the way to not err by reading the Bible.
    2.) All heresies come right out of the Bible.

    I would suggest finding a good teacher and sticking close.

  65. “I would suggest finding a good teacher and sticking close.”
    That would be the job of the Holy Spirit.

  66. The day is not far off when even conservative churches will lose members for even the hint of opposition to gay anything. The intimidation fills the air now.

    Everyone says love is the answer but no one actually articulates how it is the answer or what they think love will accomplish. I think it is a code for the idea that love will one day make us abandon the issue altogether and thereby end the conflict.

    It still leaves the problem of how a revealed faith can be so far off on the very definition of human and still be considered remotely relevant.

    I will say what I said about the Peterson flap all along… Meh! His statements move me NONE on the matter. Making him a PC volleyball on the matter is useless and meaningless.

    I never actually read much of his stuff anyway and the Message was garnish for exegesis and little more in my world.

  67. MLD

    “All heresies cone right out of the bible”

    I disagree. For example, ebionite (sp?) heresies are contradictory to what is in the bible. Furthermore, the homosexual and transgender heresies are imposed upon the scriptures.

  68. There’s also pre trib, while not a heresy, it’s untrue and is admittedly extrapolated from scripture.

  69. A couple of thoughts….
    -This does seem like a thoughtful and restrained blog w/frequent commenters. Nice.
    – Jonathan Merritt does like to use adjectives in his book. Always nice to see a guy not sell himself short.
    -Eugene Peterson. I’m disappointed. Walking it back the next day? Come on man. What a missed opportunity for an elder man of the faith to let the punk crowd know they can go screw themselves.
    Solomon did say there is a time and season for every purpose. What a Tee ball set up to give Lifeway/SBC, lightweight bloggers, and the whole Big Eva Establishment, the finger.(In a mature and Godly way of course)
    – On the LBGT community..
    It’s none of our business who is doing what with whom. It just goes to show the level of corruption in the Church. GFA can be alleged to Jose the Church of God, and Big Eva will protect KP. Peterson let’s slip that he does not want to stone gays back to the Stone Age. The nerve of the guy. Talk about a slippery slope he is putting us all on. He might as well can Dobson an asshole, .and an old crank, while he at it..

  70. @ the above comment. I hate proofreading from my phone. I never catch any typos.

  71. Michael, the “Thistle and Toad” article is a good one. Many comments on this post focus on concerns about a person, doctrine and calling sin a sin – but nothing about effective ministry. Start there and the other things may take care of themselves.

  72. @68
    Thanks dread.

    “Everyone says love is the answer but no one actually articulates how it is the answer or what they think love will accomplish. I think it is a code for the idea that love will one day make us abandon the issue altogether and thereby end the conflict.”

    You are describing much of what I am encountering in some of my more “progressive” circles. All this talk about love with no substance, coupled with a quasi-post-modern perspective that denies hermeneutical certainty and provides the basis for license.

    I find it interesting that the pro LBGTQ advocates within the church often characterize those in opposition as polemic, dogmatic, unloving and narrow minded for their unwillingness to jettison almost 2000 years of ecclesial tradition. Their own position is rigid, often lacking grace by attempting to shame the opposition in to either compliance or at least silence. It is a bull$#it argument that needs to be called for what it is.

  73. Nothing about effective ministry? But there has been…However, this has been a multi-article discussion over a few days…Lots to read before concluding such things…

  74. Descended,
    I can say confidently that everyone who holds to a ‘christian’ heresy will point to the bible verse that led them to that point.

  75. Good comment, Mike. You mean framing one side with words about stoning gays is not exactly profitable to this discussion within the Church?

  76. I don’t want to stone anyone. I have friends and relatives that are LBGTQ, some who claim to have a vibrant relationship with Christ, and I see evidence of it. I will let God deal with their salvation and their sexuality.

    More often, it is straight people who see themselves on some type of crusade that I find to be uncharitable and passive-agressive in these discussions. They are often everything that they accuse their opponents of being.

    Conservative evangelicals will be able to once again speak with some type of authority on sexuality only after they clean up their own house first.

  77. I don’t believe in nor play the “they” game or think Coy and Caldwell and the others necessitate my silence.

    And God forbid if a day comes that I can’t, then that’s when I go silent and just…..go away.

  78. they may not necessitate your silence, but they contribute towards reducing the effectiveness of the collective voice.

  79. #79 PstrMike

    Very much agreed. The situation that I’m struggling with is the fact that the LGBTQ issue is not going to go away, at least not in our lifetimes. In terms of culture, acceptance, media, etc., the genie is out of the bottle and its not going back in… I agree with your sentiments, but I’m still looking for a practical, sensible way forward with regard to this issue as I think it is going to continue to be laid at our door step for years to come.

  80. Whether we know it or not the issue before the church is the question of God’s self revelation. The gay community tells us that scripture is useless to reveal the imago dei which of course means it does not reveal God. Much of recent theology is telling us that the OT is useless as a self-revelation until we wash it through the person of Christ. Many writers are seeing the OT as a narration from a point of view not a self-revelation of God by inspired prophets who knew God face to face. These writers will sooner or later run into the question of what can be trusted of the revelation of Jesus. Anyone remember the perforated red letters given to us by the Jesus Seminar?

    Anyway my point is that authority is the ultimate question. The authoritative church of the pre-reformation gave way to the authoritative Bible which is giving way to the authoritative Jesus which will have to pass the test of ‘which Jesus?’ The problem of course is that all of this is being done at warp speed in the communication era.

    The apocalyptists used to prophecy a great apostasy we now live in a time that falling away is called falling into line.

    It ain’t boring but it is unnerving

    Dreadist

  81. I’ve been thinking about this situation for the last couple of days.

    I’ve read much about how Peterson’s choices and convictions have vacillated due to an underlying empathy towards the struggles endured by those (in this case) in the homosexual community.

    That it was that empathetic (pastoral) instinct which could have led him to err in his initial response in the Merritt interview.

    Yet, in my mind, I’m trying to wrap my arms around his deliberate and reasoned choice to appoint what appears to of been a practicing homosexual as the music director of his church?

    How would that square empathetically with the potential consternation that decision could have on the congregation as a whole who perhaps would not agree with such a decision and thus some would potentially be left with leaving the church and starting all over again?

    I’m just glad I’m not in a leadership position within the church.

  82. #83 – food for thot there
    “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft…” or words to that effect… these days (one of the advantages of old age is that one is irrelevant and that creates a great opportunity to observe), these days i am finding a lot that supports that …

    we need teachers (as MLD would say, good teachers), but there is quite a gap between an inability to sort the truths of Scripture and misunderstanding them due to a desire to fulfill one’s own sense-so-called of right and wrong, e.g., some people are born with a loving, sweet nature and others from birth are touchy and grumpy or worse… it was a long time before i got some understanding of the fact that God just may love the grumpy sinners more 🙂
    in the 20th century i used to wonder how the description of end times disasters could come about… it is a bit unnerving now, to begin to see that we can probably bring them to fruition on our own without any “outside” help

  83. Just like all Muslims are not terrorists, all homosexuals are not deviant debaucherous individuals who fill their evenings with annonymous sex in clubs around the nation. All lesbians don’t leave their heterosexual marriages and children after years of marriage when they “discover” they are actually gay.

    And all pastors are not money-grubbing or adulterers. Nor the believers in general.

    I find it interesting that nobody said “Until the gay community gets their own house in order and close down all those clubs then we really can’t talk about gay marriage advocacy”

    Nor was their “collective voice” muted either…..

    Why the Church feels obligated to battle in this way the spiritual war for the souls of men that the Bible is beyond me. It’s not like our whole mission is to win a debate, like a couple football fans arguing Auburn or Alabama and pointing to the Iron Bowl for the answer. The immortal souls of people is why we were given this charge to “Repent and Believe the Gospel”

    We recognize the weapons and rules of our warfare are dictated in Scripture and quite different from the world as is…no argument there

    But I sure don’t read that Christian A has to sit on the sidelines until Christian B gets his act together as one of those rules….

    As Dread says, the issue is objective authority from God. Not subjective authority from the relative goodness or badness of the men proclaiming. Satan will use the clowns at Westboro Baptist to silence multitudes of sincere believers because of this false guilt and the world’s shame. But Christ has given us the charge, not the world.

    The message, not the messenger is authoritative (to make a Peterson pun).

  84. #86 – more good thots to think on…
    “Repent and Believe the Gospel”… yes, but perhaps we need to clarify just what it is that we are to repent?
    if i repent from believing the O.T. is true and i just believe that Jesus’ teaching is what is relevant… does that get me to where i need to be?
    have to shut down here now, hate to leave a question hanging… but i will think on this thread today

  85. I might as well make everyone mad.

    The cultural debate is over and done with and the church lost.

    The reasons for that loss are significant to some of us, but irrelevant to the main point, which is that we lost.

    The new battle is now inside the church and and the best one can hope for there is bloodless schism.

    A significant portion of the church has already acceded to full affirmation of gays and gay marriage.
    I cannot join with them.

    Another portion of the church is adamantly opposed to both, but also steeped in nationalism and Trumpian politics.
    I cannot join with them.

    There is a third group that sees homosexuals as people created in the image of God,but the image has been deeply marred, who believe in biblical authority, but believe it is best expressed in service and love, who believe that sin is sin, but Christ died for sinners.

    This group is small and prone to being attacked by both the church it doesn’t join with and the culture it seeks to affect.
    It will be stomped into silence by church and culture.

    In my (myopic) view the biblical church is meant to consist of a remnant and to expect persecution.
    We’re here to save souls, not nations.

    Until we embrace those concepts we will continue to lose mind and soul share and continue to drag the Petersons to the pyre.

    Have a great weekend!

  86. #88 Michael, well said.

  87. Thank you, Xenia!

  88. Ah yes, the Trump card once more. Never played as the Hillary card of course. Or for that matter the Obama card – a man who forced groups like Little Sisters of the Poor to sue their government, a man whose oversight of the IRS lead to the systematic targeting of ideological enemies. A man whose theological record is quite clear in his infamous interview before his Senate run “Sin is not being true to myself” (one of his many heresies). (Now cue the “I didn’t support Obama either” music – but he ran the country for 8 years anyway, didn’t he. And every Christian as well as every other person was affected.

    Democrat voting Catholics (in WI, MI, PA, OH), not evangelicals, put Trump in the White House.They are the only group that switched from Obama support. Evangelicals voted as they have in their last two losses with Obama. So maybe the rants should be sent to Rome. Nobody ever says asks “How could you Christians not support Hillary?” Nobody ever asks “How could you Christians not sit out the election and let the pagans control the Supreme Court and all of our lives. Sorry, the 1st Century is not the same example under Rome – but we do get the glimpses of Paul using his citizenship rights to the fullest.

    Trump won for the same reason Obama’s Democrats lost 1000 seats nationally and statewide. People want to work and are tired of the worst “recovery” in US history. Tired of the ridiculous regulations, tired of the Establishment giving millions to nations overseas while neglecting our own, tired of politicians afraid to use the words “radical Islamic” before terrorism and who call some madman Muslim who shoots up the place simply “workplace violence”. And yeah, a few Catholics probably are bothered by the Planned Parenthood and other advocacy efforts by Hillary and company.

    And because Hillary frickin Clinton was going to be President otherwise. I’ve got children, one of whom will be seeking employment soon. Yeah, I voted Trump over Hillary and yeah, I did not think it was somehow my Christian duty to sit on the freedom of the vote that people have died to give me and let only the pagans determine who would run our economy, military, and every agency of government. Because the exit polls for years have been pretty clear which political party the atheists and humanists support.

    Before Trump ever threw his hat in the ring, Michael made his politics very clear for years on this blog. He and I both vote our vested interests.

  89. If I have a “vested interest” it is the poor, the ill, and the stranger among us. Both parties have failed them all miserably.
    For the record, I’m not committed to either party, but to those values I believe are grounded in Scripture and life.
    Binary thinking has little appeal to me.

  90. Let me also hasten to say that despite the obvious differences we have I pray that all ministry done in the name of Christ be fruitful.

  91. Hard to chose a group to align oneself with these days. Neither the Repubs or the Dems, the conservatives or the liberals, appeal to me these days. You have to cherry pick: a little anti-abortion from this group, a little environmentalism and concern for the poor from that group. That’s why I am not a member of either party. I will not vote for a despicable person no matter what party s/he belongs to. Good cannot come from evil.

  92. Michael, you are doing a lot of moral high-roading on these threads. I think you want to believe that there is a huge divide between you and many of the rest of us, but for the record…

    I and most of the people I know fall into your third category. Even some of them that voted for Trump.

  93. Xenia @ 94 – Same here.

  94. Was the culture war over with no-fault divorce in the 60s. Roe v Wade in the 70s. The legalization and acceptance of p*rnography in the 80s.

    Or is it over now with gay marriage, legalizing drugs, and promoting the virtues of transgender hormone blocking for minor children?

    We’ve seen the fruit of the first three over the last several decades. Wait until we see the fruit of today’s deceptions.

    The culture war never is over. The boundaries are pushed more and more. Ask the parents of Charlie Gard. Look at the stuff that is on the fringes today (polyamory, adult incest) becoming more mainstream. Just like the things mainstream today were fringes and unheard of a couple decades ago. The things many on this blog are saying are “inevitable”

    Yes, gays are created in the image of God. So are the worst human beings to walk this planet, guilty of the worst evils we see. (Now, cue the “Steve just compared gays to the worst evils in our world”)

    NO! I’m citing the absolute inanity of that argument and its holier than thou take as some “third way” that only applies somehow to people who did not vote as Americans in an election? LOL. Trump is the most gay friendly President in the history of this nation!

    Should we empty the jails. Aren’t they filled with people created in the image of God, marred, (and likely from bad homes and dysfunctional or absentee parents). Does God have anything to say about law and order in a society within government.

    Sin is destructive to those who practice it. That’s why God tells us to avoid them, and for the very worse sins, tells us to remove from society those who cause the greatest harm.

    Nobody sensical wants to stone homosexuals, or arrest them. Every sin I have ever committed has hurt me (and often others) a little bit, by little bit. Thankfully there is grace and forgiveness found in the blood of Christ – thankfully, the gospel has saved me,

    Gay sex hurts the people who practice it. If there is no desire to please God, if even the “religious” gay person wants to create “another jesus” (as Paul said) that is just idolatry. Another sin.

    Love would clearly answer, in the name of Jesus, if asked “Does God want me to abstain from homosexual sexual activity” – Yes. He loves you too much to encourage you in that. And so do I.

    THAT can lead to a much larger conversation, but if the person refuses to consider the possibility that gay sex is sinful, then the Christian can still serve, care for, be nice to the person – be a coworker, neighbor and friend, but to welcome the unrepentant homosexual into the love of Christ without a call for repentance is not love at all.

  95. Josh,
    I’m trying to determine my own road.
    When I read what many Christians write on a daily basis on social media I’m led to believe there is a great divide in how we parse and live our faith.
    I’m trying to walk in a different way even as I’m aware of my own moral failures and character flaws.

  96. Here’s the deal, and I’ve said it for years: Social media is not a real metric for what is going on in the Church. If you were to block those people that were bothering you, your social media feed would seem much more positive. Social media is a magnet for anger and outrage and extremism. If that is your gauge, anything you try to measure will trend tor negative.

  97. I have not advocated for any of the above. I’m advocating that the church take its place as the persecuted remnant in the greater culture. I’m not at home so I have to be brief.

  98. ” I’m not at home so I have to be brief.”

    I know you meant that literally, but it makes a point. Part of the issue here is remembering that none of us are home. Now, we want to bless this temporary home as much as we can while we are here, but our allegiance is elsewhere and includes people of all size, shape, and color. Do we have a part in making this temporary home better for them, too? And how?

    But, as it is, I have grave disagreements politically with both Steve and Michael, but I love you both. Politics are something we have made up to divide over. The gospel is bigger and much, much better.

  99. Well, reading the thread, it’s great to see that so many people are so certain of their positions. Any vote I cast is with a great deal of uncertainty. Any cultural observation is with the proviso that, indeed, I might be wrong. For myself, I’m actually certain of very little apart from my Christian faith and even that certainty is limited to the fact that I can say the Nicene Creed without crossing my fingers. All the rest – theology, biblical interpretation, etc. – is necessarily nuanced. So, I guess I will not make a very good cultural warrior…

    That being said, I do recognize priorities in my faith – such as to care for “the least of these”, the commandment to love God and my neighbor, and the importance of sharing my faith in word and deed, to name a few. Michael, I believe is correct in at least one aspect (and possibly more) – namely, we cannot expect at this point to bend the culture to our liking. This is not a Constantinian age, nor are we recreating Christendom.

    My hope would be that we (including myself) would grow more civil and courteous is our discourse and our discussions about issues that trouble us all. Metaphorical shouting or self-righteous indignation, in my opinion, does not foster such discourse, nor does it convince others. We’re largely “preaching to the choir” to have somebody shout, “Amen”. I’ve not run into many libertines or pagans in these threads. I have run into people with varying points of view that even if I don’t agree them, are worthy of respect and considered listening. I think I have read somewhere, “Come let us reason together…” As we approach the almost intractable issues that the culture throws in our path, I think we could do with a lot more light and a bit less heat.

  100. I’ll have to catch up on everyone’s thinking here this afternoon, but I like the old example of the brain surgeon – you want the one most competent to do the job even if that person is a fornicating atheist … As I assessed the last Presidential election, I was voting for the competent person … otherwise I probably would have written in one of the wise, but unqualified folks who frequent the Pheonix Preacher … 😳

  101. I was taught to differentiate between sin and evil, therefore, since I know that I will be governed by sinners in this world, I try to avoid the evil – can’t always succeed in doing this, but prayerful observation helps (Obama fooled me once, not twice)
    That said, there is something very corrupting and eroding about politics over time… It doesn’t look very encouraging today

  102. Most of the folk posting on the Phxp are involved in ministry are you not? As a pew sitter for some 65 years I would have to say that most of us out here are spiritually lacking. Politically we aren’t wise period… I don’t know if our pastors and teachers should stay on neutral ground politically – truly unsure
    Perhaps evangelical Protestantism committed its biggest error by allowing congregations to chose their pastor, creating an evil symbiotic relationship.
    I have known one pastor and one priest who were gentle gentlemen until you trespassed against the Faith – you then faced a man with feet very firmly planted ready to defend the Faith – two beautiful men for whom I have affection and respect… I know there are more of their kind out there I pray we respect and honor their service, their sacrifice – Thank God for them… With sound teaching we, pew sitters, might be more discerning – dunno…

  103. Duane pretty much said all I want to say.

    I’ve always had a well earned reputation as a flame thrower.
    It’s easy and it makes you feel righteous and strong.
    It’s also utterly fruitless when everyone else has a flamethrower as well.

    Over the last few days we’ve seen a man of God that I consider a gift alternately lauded and vilified over one issue.

    All of his work, all of his years of faithful, fruitful, service was boiled down to one thing.

    I just can’t do that.

    My heart has been shredded by what I’ve seen and heard…and I don’t want to do likewise to anyone.

    Like I wrote in the article, my turn at the pyre will come and it’ll be lit by kindling I cut.

  104. Too many ‘Ems’ here, but 😛
    Peterson cannot be tossed aside if what I think to be relevant Scripture is … relevant
    The seven churches of Revelation – all but one, if I remember correctly had commendations followed by warning – well, two, maybe… The Apostles of the N.T. likewise needed some guidance, some course correction…
    IMX, while there may be some heat and some mud and some dust to go thru down here, there’s only one fire to stay clear of
    Just my .30 worth (it would have been 2 cents in my youth, but inflation…)I
    God keep

  105. Michael

    I would like to say, “Many of us are standing with you…” but I cannot. What I can say, is there is one friend in the midwest who is standing with you, and I suspect that there are others of like mind…. Say the office, and sleep in peace.

  106. One thing I like about the PP website, is that it’s definitely not an echo chamber.

    That said…

    Like Duane alluded to, I stand with you Michael (flames and all).

  107. #109 Dan

    That’s two of us… enough for a church…

  108. I’m totally with Michael and Duane on what you’ve both said on this thread. In fact, although following the entire thread I haven’t had much to say because you’ve both said it. Now there are four of us… enough for a cult…

  109. Dave,
    I’m telling McFocht 😉

  110. Honestly, it seems we’re all in the same boat.

  111. we are!

  112. well… get out of the boat and start walking on the water, gentlemen…

    sorry bout that – too good to pass up

  113. @ Steve Wright – Well said.
    @ 39, Dave Rolph

    _______
    (1)

    // Dave wrote: “Um, then let’s bring back slavery, which was taught in the Old and New Testaments, and supported by Church leadership for over 1800 years, until it became socially unacceptable and theology was adjusted to comply with societal norms.” //

    Slavery became socially unacceptable directly due to the theological arguments of the Christian Abolitionist movement, which had its roots in British Anglicanism and then with American Baptists and Methodists in the Second Great Awakening. The Christian Abolitionist movement in the United States provided the direct motivation (and theological grounding), for the Republican Party (both mainstream and “radical republican” factions), to stand politically and militarily against slavery.

    When one reads the writings of the Abolitionists, and then reads the writings of the pro-slavery apologists from the south, there is little doubt, which one was of born again/regenerate Christianity and which one was a stale and dead religion propped up by politicians to shield themselves from the values of western civilization. It is unmistakable and striking.

    Therefore, society did not conclude that slavery was “socially unacceptable” and then “theology was adjusted” to catch up with the spirit of the age; the Church was the catalyst for that change.
    _______

    (2)

    //Dave wrote: “But is it even possible that I could be wrong on this? It wouldn’t be my first errant theology.”//

    Dave, I wonder if the following might represent an example of “errant theology.”

    When I was a young man (1999), I was attending Costa Mesa’s School of Ministry. One afternoon I was working in the prayer room for a service that you were in charge of locking up after. A young man came back to the prayer room, verbally accepted the Lord, confessed a bunch of frightening sins, cried out in repentance, and asked us (CCCM) for help. He was homeless, living in his car, and had not eaten in days.

    Since you were the guy in charge for that service (and I was a noob), I ran to you for help, needing to know what to do next. You looked at me as if I just stepped off a space ship. I believe you said, “What do you want me to do about it?” with an annoyed inconvenience in your voice. I replied that we should help find a facility to help him, to which you stared at me blankly. I then said that at the very least give him a bit of food (we had boxes of food in the office), and you told me “no,” and said there were “places that he could go for that,” and that the boxes were not for people like him. When I asked you which places that you were referring to, you named some CC para-ministry that I do not currently remember.

    You left me there, a young man with a young wife and 2-year old daughter with a heroin addict going through withdrawals, and who was calling out to Jesus, asking us for help. I researched the name you gave me and called them on a pay phone–they wanted him to sign over his car’s pink slip. Just to stay for one week they wanted to own his car. How Christ-like.

    We took him to eat (a huge deal back then as we were very poor), and I left him with my family as I desperately researched places that could help him. Eventually, I found a Pentecostal organization that took him directly, providing a bed and meals, with the only payment requirement being his attending bible studies each day.

    As we saw him off, we watched as those from that shelter, both pastors and attendees, assess his condition with expertise and put their arms around him with a radical love that only comes from Christ (and I say that as someone that innately dislikes Pentecostalism).

    You, Dave Rolph, had no interest in actually doing ministry when the rubber met the road on that day. In fact, you have represented to me the worst example of ministry I have ever seen, and you are personally one of the reasons that I read this blog.

    So tell me, an errant theology that day?

  114. Maroonie,

    Your post is gut wrenching. I would like to say that I have known Dave since he was the Principal at CCCM. Never once did I witness Dave behave in a way other than kind and full of grace. I am not condoning the actions you describe but I couldn’t help but notice that what you shared here happened 18 years ago. I would hope that you could find enough grace to believe that it was you The Lord called to help this poor addict. As a pastor, I hope that no one judges me on one event 18 years ago. Be well and God Bless you. Thank you for being willing to help this man.

  115. I hear you. I felt my conscience kick on that too.

  116. #116 – when i was a young girl in high school sitting in a social studies class taught by a middle-aged Jewish man someone made a disparaging remark about pentecostals and this teacher bristled… he said, “let me tell you a story. I was working for the government during the Depression. Our job was to canvas the streets at night looking for people who were too weak from hunger to find shelter – often too weak to walk. We’d pick them up and call the shelters all over L.A. and as often as not they’d tell us they were full up. But never once did the Angeles Temple turn anyone away (Pentecostals to the max.)…..”
    would it have been different if there were drugs involved? i don’t know…

  117. #119

    Aye, that type of true Christian charity is hard to gainsay, especially in light of the ugly example that I just shared.

    I should mention that my side-comment was meant to acknowledge my own prejudice in order to elevate the goodness of what I witnessed that group of saints do. I could have written that clearer (and with fewer typos), but such is the price of typing (err “thumbing”) on a tiny phone.

  118. MaroonIe, I’m sorry that I don’t remember that night. There were many times when I helped people who were suffering but there were no doubt other times when I was a jerk. I’m sorry, sincerely, for failing you. Please forgive me.

  119. It seems a strange thing that an 18-year-old splinter is removed so easily, but that did it. Thank you, Dave.

  120. God bless you Maroonie! Jesus is the only one worth following.

  121. Maroonie,

    The other side of the coin is that since we started here, nobody has done more to help hurting people when I called than Dave Rolph.
    I called a lot…

  122. Thank you, Michael. And sorry for inadvertently hijacking your thread. I would never seek to place that experience on par with what you and others have experienced elsewhere, but such is the complexity of human beings, that I was not even aware that I was carrying it. Yet I am glad to have expressed it and seen it plucked out.

    Dave’s request for forgiveness seems to contain (wrapped within it) his own forgiveness for my judging his life and service from one awkward moment in time—to which I accept with gladness.

    With that being said, feel free to delete #116, so that even the shadow of the experience is gone. That is unless the entire exchange has value for others somewhere. I leave it to your judgment.

  123. Maroonie, you would be a welcomed contributor here. Thanks for setting a good example.

  124. Maroonie,

    I think it was a very valuable exchange…and I second Covered…welcome.

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