Oct 222012
 

1. I think the church is more divided today than at any time since the 1920’s when the liberal mainline bodies separated from the fundamentalists. The division today is not theologically based, but political… and the divisions are as deep and hostile as as those from a hundred years ago. This is a defining point in the history of American evangelicalism that will be more easily seen in hindsight as the ramifications of the divide play out. Right now I see a large right wing contingent splitting from the left with a bunch of us in the middle fleeing the whole mess. I want to run away, but have no idea where to go…

2. The Billy Graham Association has removed Mormonism from its list of cults. This is blasphemy for the sake of political expediency…no different from mixing the worship of the Baals with the worship of Yahweh. Yes, that’s what I said and exactly what I mean.

3. Between the politics and eschatology and the frequent mixing of the two, I’d rather have a root canal than be on Facebook these days.

4. This is the most important election this country will ever have…this year.

5. Winter whispered over the hills last night in Southern Oregon. Winter depresses me with the reality of death, then speaks of coming resurrection…it’s a somber season of clinging to hope for me.

6. There have been bi-weekly prayers meeting here in my community to “pray for our nation”. There have been none, nor are any scheduled, to pray for the poor, homeless, sick, or the sojourner among us.

7. I was cleaning up some old email last night and came upon a thread where Rich Abanes and I were in a nasty theological dispute. In hindsight Rich, you were right and I was wrong…hope you’re doing well wherever you are now.

8. It’s an odd thing…the more I lose my identification with evangelicalism, the more I’m growing to love Jesus.  The Sermon on the Mount has me transfixed in it’s power these days.

9. I thank God for the people He’s given me to pastor and teach…I receive far more than I give as we are learning to follow the Lord together.

10. Sarah has written a blog post this morning that I needed to read…and written it with the Holy Spirit holding her pen as usual.

  165 Responses to “Things I Think”

  1. i went to Sarah’s lovely post linked at #10 … guard us against calloused souls, Lord … yet, i can’t help but think that the Lord has put in place in our souls a certain ordained distance as we could not survive entering fully into the suffering of the Church; or the world, for that matter – BUT He did and He does … make no mistake about that truth

  2. Michael,
    I think you may be reading the political tea leaves incorrectly. I don’t see churches dividing and splitting. I see very few churches or denominations taking positions. I do see individuals spouting off on facebook – myself included at times – but I see no continual personal damage.

  3. 1.) I consider myself a Libertarian. I am shocked by the amount of Xians who assume that, because I am a Xian, that I’m not automatically a republican and biproxy voting for Mitt Romney. I don’t understand why there is an automatic assumption that the proper political association for Christianity is Republican. In fact, it really, really irritates me. Especially when you consider how very, very similar both parties actually are.

  4. My pastor spoke out politically from the pulpit yesterday. He bemoaned the fact that someone had placed a political yard sign in front of our church withour permission. He wanted everyone to know that the church does not endorse any political candidate or proposition on the ballot. He then told us if we go out after the service and someone has put leaflets on the cars, not to blame the church.

    And then he apologized for even saying that much.

  5. Preston,

    I’ve passed through irritation and have settled in sadness…I truly believe history will show that we have made a grave mistake in this. The divide will only deepen after the election, no matter the result.

  6. Em,

    Sarah has been thinking about that very thing for a long time…and has caused me to think more deeply about how much of the suffering we are now exposed to we are to take on ourselves.
    It’s fascinating and edifying to see how her thoughts are evolving on this…

  7. MLD,

    My apologies for you landing in the spam filter…

  8. Thank you Michael and Sarah for thoughtful writings. We are certainly all on a journey of continual learning, shocking lessons from a Faithful God, who constantly reminds us that this world, the life is not the kingdom of God nor our eternal Home.

    Regarding the development of callouses, in physical movement mechanics, callouses develop as a result of faulty musculo-skeletal alignmen. Much like chronic bio-mechanical pain, the location of the callous/pain is not the source of the problem. I suspect that is true for much of the emotional and spiritual realm as well.
    God, Our Father is such a perfect ‘physical therapist’, constantly correcting our ‘mis-alignments’.

  9. I find myself as a non American utterly bemused by most of the goings on in the US in relations politics and religion, none of which resonates with the way we live and work. My own spiritual journey is taking me slowly from conservative evangelical (in the Scottish use of these terms ) towards embracing Catholicism. Not that I can do anything about it practical terms as I am now unable to attend church never mind fulfil my calling as a Minister of the Church of Scotland. God moves in strange strange ways.

  10. MLD,

    I think you’re vision is obscured by your blessedly being out of evangelical circles.
    Here locally a sharp line has been drawn…and it’s engraved deeper every morning on the radio.

  11. 1. I can’t even talk politics with Christian friends at all. I disagree with most of them, and the mindset is so entrenched, that if I voice any disagreement I will be immediately hated. Weird times.

    2. Franklin is running his dad’s good name into the ground. He should be ashamed. He’s not, cause he has no shame.

    3. Truth. I waged into the FB wars for a few days, hoping to find sense on either side. It was not there. I don’t have any eschatology friends, though. Sounds exciting 🙂

    4. Oh my. A lady printed and passed out some FWD email about what is really at stake in this election. I felt a little nausea, no kidding. I so want this election to be over. I don’t care if Donald Duck wins.

    5. I’ve struggled my whole life with depression, and winter is the worst. I’ve probably got another month of bearable weather.

    6. I don’t get it. I wish the church would decide to be The Church. That subversive, Holy Spirit powered, unstoppable force that we read about in Acts.
    Unfortunately, at the first sight of resistance, we go screaming like the world is coming to an end.

    7. Well…you have to at least tell us the subject of disagreement 🙂

    8. Hmmm. Yeah, I guess. I’ve never had a strong identification with evangelicalism, so I sort of feel on the outside of all these people talking about the freedom of leaving it. Nevertheless, Jesus is so good, so deep, so rich…we never have to want for anything. We often err by looking for substance from other sources, but He is the true vine and we are but branches. We are nothing without Him.

    9. Had the same thought yesterday as I taught my little class. Hurt people, imperfect people, limping towards the throne. They are gonna make it, and I will too, partially because of their obedience. I am reminded more and more that we are in this together. The Faith must be lived in community. That is God’s chosen way for His chosen people. It will hurt, and will involve a lot of dying to myself, but it is the only way.

    10. Didn’t know Sarah was a YWAM-er. No wonder she is weird 🙂 Just kidding. I have a very close friend who has been involved in YWAM for years. He was a pastor to me when I was alone and wandering. He was loving, never judging, and allowed me to be me…even at my worst. So if what YWAM turns out is Sarah and my friend, God bless YWAM.

  12. Stuart!

    Very glad to see you post…

  13. Josh,

    That was one of your best…
    Rich and are were arguing about the atonement and the Gospel…and I felt really silly and kind of ashamed after re reading it.

  14. Thanks for the link, Michael…in having coffee with a friend yesterday she told me her father is in early stage Alzheimer’s. I was immediately prompted to tell her to prepare for this long mourning without release that is walking with our parents in dementia or alzheimer’s. It is exhausting and I do not think we can go through it without developing some type of filter…or callous.

    I’m still thinking this all through, but thankful to have a chance to think aloud a bit.

    Also very thankful that our pastor is strict about no politics in our church, but talks often about helping the poor and reminds of us those we can partner with who are in our reach to do this. I need to be better about stepping out in that…

    Now I’m off to educate the children. My non-reader, oldest son just checked out 6 books at the library,which he will read before we go back in a week. I think I’m going to have to drink more coffee to stay ahead of these kids!

  15. Speaking of blasphemy for the sake of expediency – Politically, I found an interesting parallel in Jer. 44 and our culture’s embrace of reproductive rites . . . I did not misspell “rights” and it has nothing do with reproduction. A little bit of Ashtarte goes a long, long way. So interesting that in an irreligious day, our culture celebrates fertility in the way we do.
    I too am interested in all the peripheral talk and debate about financial reform, the economy, the homeless, the poor, the immigrant . . . and nothing about filling the land with innocent blood. I’m glad I’ve set the bar low – saving one innocent life – otherwise, discouragement.

  16. Josh…I didn’t actually do a DTS, but had finished some other missionary work in Hungary and was hoping to do some things in Amsterdam. I had two friends with YWAM who had been there for a gazillion years and they were able to find a place for me to stay for a few months and do street evangelism and the coffee house ministry. Great group I was with, but I know it can be unpredictable.

    My husband was also on one of the mercy ships and went to Ghana…he really enjoyed the folks he was with.

  17. So glad I am at the church that I am. Nothing on politics for the four months I’ve been there. We were exhorted yesterday to feed the poor, and to help our neighbors who can no longer fully care for themselves.

  18. LOL… I almost misread #4 … Yes it is the most important election of the year.

    Expanding government assures national decline by producing only dependency …

    Wealth transfer to the wealthy entrenches the banks as the de facto dictators ….

    The devil and the deep blue sea.

    But my pessimism about the affairs of men does nothing to pollute my faith in the kingdom of God. As believers we exist to bless the nations and heal the nations and testify to the king and his kingdom… Thus no despairing … winter notwithstanding…

    Great post Michael.

  19. Rob,

    I think abortion has been lost as a political issue.
    Once something is culturally perceived as a “right”, putting a legal prohibition on it doesn’t end the act, it simply goes underground.
    Should abortion ever be outlawed in this country, there will arise an instant black market underground for the “service” and the carnage will be horrible.
    We have not represented our position well and I think that train has left the station…

  20. “But my pessimism about the affairs of men does nothing to pollute my faith in the kingdom of God. As believers we exist to bless the nations and heal the nations and testify to the king and his kingdom… Thus no despairing … winter notwithstanding…’

    BD,
    That is the message I’ve heard from you consistently over the years and I bless you for hanging around long enough for me to hear it.

  21. political parties serve a purpose, i guess – they allow folk to line up with like minded ones – better shouting than bombing, but … was MacArthur (Pastor John as opposed to General Douglas) wrong to, essentially, preach a sermon against the (unnamed) Democratic Party platform? i think we are tired of the same old go round on certain subjects, but do we just turn our backs?
    FWIW, i think any preacher of the Christian Faith who is telling us that it is our duty to support the Republican candidates is wrong-headed … tonight’s debate is one i’ll watch as Romney probably has more ammunition than he dares use and Obama, too, will risk falling off the platitudes into dangerous truths that are supposed to be hidden from us

    evolving Christians (#6) – evolving deeper in Christ – would that we all were and more-so

    stuart r. is bemused by American politics? we all are, i think – but i am flummoxed when i watch the British Parliament in session 🙂 praying for your faith journey, sir
    BTW – isn’t Scotland about to gain their independence?

    paranoia and politics – they both begin with ‘P’ which rhymes with … oh, never mind

  22. jlo,

    I’m glad you’ve found a stable church home…life is much better when you have a safe family.

  23. Em,

    I’ve been sharing internet space with Stuart since 1996…a brilliant and sensitive man and writer even when we disagree. 🙂

  24. Rob @ 15 – I know we had this discussion but I feel like it needs to be said again.

    30+ years of history shows that voting Republican has never saved one baby from abortion. The rates are as high, or higher, under Republican rule. New plan of action, please!!!!

  25. 1. I’m going to be really blunt. We’ve been sold out. At this point I don’t think we can trust many of the leaders in contemporary Evangelicalism. It’s become clear that political expediency trumps theology and truth. The only thing that they want is Obama out of office, and now their only choice is Romney. Apparently, certain leaders will do anything to achieve that end.

    I haven’t been to church in nearly a month, and won’t go back until the election is over. I really feel like my “church” friends have lost their minds.

    I just wish somebody would have the spine to just say “I hate Obama, and everything he stands for, so I’m voting for Romney.” Quit equivocating and finding “religious” excuses.

    2. Franklin Graham is destroying his dad’s good name and legacy. For years we’ve read that Mormonism is a cult. Now it’s not. The same people who once railed at Mormonism for it’s ever changing doctrine, have now done exactly the same thing. So much for “truth is truth,” no compromise Christianity. If Islam is not Christianity, then neither is Mormonism.

    This chain of events makes me nauseous. The political sell out is going to be devastating. The critics of Christianity are going to eat it alive.

    I’m going to put on my fire suit now, and get my fire extinguisher.

  26. DavidH,

    I have your back… 🙂

  27. I have a rather extreme view about Romney’s popularity.

    1. He is a cultist who does not believe in the God of the scriptures. This makes him an anti-christ. Not “the” anti-christ, but an anti-christ.

    2. A large number of people I trusted are now following this anti-christ. If they say “We agree he’s not a Christian but we agree with his views so we will vote for him anyway” I would still not agree with these people but I would have some (small) respect for their view.

    3. But many are now saying Mormonism is not a god-denying cult, that they used to believe those crazy things taught by Joseph Smith but not anymore, that they place their trust in Jesus, etc etc and THEREFORE we can vote for him because he’s one of us. These people have been deceived and deluded.

    4. Even Billy Graham. (or at least his son who has probably dragged the dear old soul into this fray.)

    5. The real Anti-Christ is coming. Yes, “The” Antichrist is coming and will deceive many. If Romney can deceive people, people I thought were deception-proof, how much more with the Satanically-embodied Antichrist deceive them?

    6. The devils’ work will be made even easier because a large number of American Christians are not expecting to see the Antichrist, thanks to their pre-trib rapture theology and thereby ignore all the scriptural warnings as applying to Other People but Not Them.

  28. Thanks, Michael.

    I think that what’s occurring on the national stage is going throw a lot of “Christian” leaders back on their heals. The anti critical thinking (“anti-intellectualism”) of conservative Christianity has finally achieved the Devil’s goal of killing us from within.

    If Obama wins they look like a bunch of rubes. If Romney wins, we’ll have to wait a few years for them to look like a bunch of rubes.

    I don’t think politically expedient behavior has ever ended well.

    Xenia, absolutely correct.

    “1. He is a cultist who does not believe in the God of the scriptures. This makes him an anti-christ. Not ‘the’ anti-christ, but an anti-christ.”

    “2. A large number of people I trusted are now following this anti-christ. If they say “We agree he’s not a Christian but we agree with his views so we will vote for him anyway” I would still not agree with these people but I would have some (small) respect for their view.”

  29. I have no way of knowing, but I will bet that most of the church – political skirmishes are coming from non drinking churches.

    In my church we will drink with anyone … as long as they are buying. No political litmus test there. 🙂

  30. I used to suffer from depression a lot more in the winter months than other times of the year, that is until I started suffering from health problems that keep me from getting out to do all the things I used to do and still want to do.

    Now, I find myself more depressed in the summer months because I can’t go out and do those things anymore. It feels very…punishing I guess you could say. Now I find more comfort staying indoors during the winter months.

    I still have some control over my environment when I’m indoors while the summer months are a constant reminder of all that has been taken away by sickness.

    I’ve been preached at my whole life to be scared of music and TV, but I thank God for music and TV when I don’t have the strength to go out and enjoy all that I used too.

    Not trying to wine…just sharing with those who can relate. It sure is amusing how God can change your perspective on things?

  31. Dear CrucifiED

    I highly recommend wine… with your whine. It would complete your transformation.

  32. Mormonism is no longer a cult and Richard Abanes is vindicated… lots of news on TIT this week.

  33. The Lutheran church and their two kingdom theology, along with the wonderful points that MLD makes on the site here, have changed my perspective on politics.

    By the way MLD, thanks to you and a few others outside of this site, I have been saved from the torment of evangelical Christianity…no offense intended to those who enjoy those groups.

    I haven’t fully committed yet but have been attending a Lutheran church for a couple of months and am overjoyed by their presentation of the Gospel which is 180 degrees different than what I’ve been taught in evangelical circles.

    It is so wonderful to not have the commands of Christ turned into a new law to condemn me with loads of guilt every week over all of my personal failures.

  34. Crucified

    I understand completely my health failed completely in 1999 when I was 47. I was no longer able to function as a Minister of the Church of Scotland. I am 60 now and more or less housebound. I haven’t been able to drive since 1999. I have a wheelchair, can only walk a few metres, need morphine for pain , am losing my eyesight, have diabetic neuropathy, depression, ulcerative colitis and a number of other ailments.

    I love music it is a constant in my life as is reading – now via large print Kindle or as audiobooks, TV I love.

    I just wanted you to know you are not alone in having life going down the plug hole.

    I find it all in truth a blessing as it keeps me humble and dependent on God and gives me plenty of time to dwell on theology and truth. Try and see all this as a God given opportunity to draw closer to Him?

  35. Many so-called evangelicals must develop the ability to be passionate about something like politics while tempered by love instead of passionate about something like politics while consumed by vitriol. DavidH’s observation about the fruit of anti-intellectualism bears repeating. It isn’t simply non-critical thinking, though, it is also the commitment to “appearing” rather than “becoming.” They hold to an outer appearance of godliness without the transformation within. Without sanctification, Christianity is merely religious, and one might as well be mormon.

  36. Good advice BD! You know what I’m really up to now with that slip of spelling skills.

    I do have that part covered though. It helps me all year ’round now that I’m free from churches that condemn that sort of activity, and I’m happier for it.

    To be honest, I think most of my depression throughout life has been related to church and all the things I’m not supposed to be doing that I do and all of the things I’m supposed to be doing that I don’t.

    So, I’m feeling better all around on that front since I’ve left all those head/heart trips behind.

  37. Stuart, I think I remember you from Michael’s old Yahoo group, before the founding of the Phoenix Preacher?

  38. Thank you Stuart. You and I have similar stories although you are in much worse shape than I am and am sorry for what you have had to go through.

    I have found that knowing you are not the only one is probably the best help a person can find and is why it is important to put your pride aside and talk about it so others can know they aren’t alone either.

    As you said, you really do have to try and see all of the God given opportunity to draw closer to Him and learn of all the new things you wouldn’t have learned had you not suffered.

    If not, your suffering would overwhelm you and the darkness become unbearable.

    Being sick can really teach you the blessings of being grateful for all the little things God so graciously showers upon us every day that we normally don’t think twice about.

  39. sometimes i think God is a bit selfish with some of His Saints: “I find it all in truth a blessing as it keeps me humble and dependent on God and gives me plenty of time to dwell on theology and truth. Try and see all this as a God given opportunity to draw closer to Him?”

    FWIW, those of you who go through these overwhelming trials – particularly thinking of when the physical body doesn’t serve well – you stand out in your Faith far more than it might seem to you in times of pain and fatigue and even doubts and confusion (i’m thinking of Michael’s life that he’s shared here) … so maybe God isn’t selfish – just opening a package of testimony that we all seem to try to keep tightly wrapped – ashamed to be joyful or pious or reveling in or arguing for Truth? dunno – just pondering out loud on a rainy, cold day
    this site has been a blessing for me to follow – even when those Lutherans try to claim they’re the sole custodians of sound doctrines lol …

  40. CrucifiED,

    ‘It is so wonderful to not have the commands of Christ turned into a new law to condemn me with loads of guilt every week over all of my personal failures.’

    That’s wonderful!

    At my Lutheran church, I’m helping our pastor with a retreat on church and state. The LCMS came out with a very helpful document on the in 1999 that goes through the history of this issue, starting with the early church and through today. It’s a multi-layered and complex issue for the Church. But not incomprehensible.

  41. CrucifiED,

    ‘It is so wonderful to not have the commands of Christ turned into a new law to condemn me with loads of guilt every week over all of my personal failures.’

    You figured it out quicker than I did. Lutheran preaching does not hold Jesus up as the new Moses – as “many: evangelical churches do. The pastor divides law and gospel and leaves you on gospel NOT Law.

  42. Lutheran, I was thanking MLD for the things he has shared on this site over the years that have been very helpful too me as I sort through my faith questions, but I thank you as well as you have done the same.

    I have been attending a LCMS church lately which is completely different than what I’ve grown up with, but am absolutely loving it.

    Beforehand, peace and joy were always tied to fading emotions…but not anymore.

  43. “…the more I lose my identification with evangelicalism, the more I’m growing to love Jesus…”

    Yep, exactly.
    =)

  44. I was uptown Saturday for a music festival and saw that one of the empty storefronts is now a LCMS mission. Thought that was cool. I may stop by sometime when I don’t have to be at my church.

  45. Does someone have the info that Franklin is behind his dad’s actions?

    Made me SICK….

    Taking a self imposed 1 week break from all news and Facebook. Perhaps I’ll write down my thoughts and twitching….and consider rehab.

    So far PP is all I’ve allowed myself

    And it helps.

    I’m really glad y’all are here and vocal

    It’s the GOOD behind phrases like “celebrate diversity”–there is a true diversity here!

  46. Jtk – Billy has not been able to really even speak for months now. He became very ill a while back, and as soon as he got out of the hospital, he started making tons of political press releases. Oddly, these press releases match the views of his son exactly. I have no doubt this is Franklin’s work.

  47. jtk,

    To answer your question…

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…I think that applies here.

    And, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

    🙂

  48. MLD, Lutheran, and others,

    Just courious because I am totally unaware of the lutheran denomination; is this what you believe in?

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/19/lesbian-pastors-join-evangelical-lutheran-church-in-america-clergy/

  49. Missouri Synod = Conservative Lutherans
    ECLA = Not so much

  50. Paul,

    No, that would be the ELCA.

    Also, I’d prefer to be called a confessional Lutheran. “Conservative” has some connotations in our present culture that I don’t think are helpful finding out what we believe, teach and confess.

  51. I should add that despite the significant doctrinal differences, there’s a great deal of cooperation between the Lutheran synods. All kinds of relief efforts, etc. are intraLutheran.

    Both of my sons were baptized in an ELCA church. This was a couple of decades ago. We attended an ELCA university church at the time.

  52. @#24: The all knowing sovereign has spoken. Thank you for relieving me of my convictions. May I also be released from personally feeding the poor and personally clothing the naked and personally giving to the orphan? It will free up so much income and alleviate the burden of my heart as well. I may need to ask for future comfort on the “burden of my heart” part, but if you’re sure my efforts have resulted in “not even one” life being spared, you are supreme in your knowledge.

    A new plan? I prefer doing everything I can personally and rendering unto Caesar via this narrowest of construct that I can live with. 1 issue.

    Not at Josh, but in general:
    If I could get Democrats to give up your blood lust for the unborn, I’d vote with them. Why not? I’ve a rather narrow construct for why I’ll never have to.
    Let me construct the straw man: If you’d give up your rites/ rights to kill the unborn, I would wager that God would even bless all your wrong-headed administration (He himself would make our tax dollars double in distance and effectiveness) of helping the poor, tending to the immigrant, educating the disadvantaged . . . all those policies that “truly” represent the “social Gospel” . . . if you could just give up your voracious and all consuming love of killing babies, your heart would indeed be in the right place.

  53. The ELCA as a denomination have really become a weird breed. Note that I said denomination and not necessarily the individual congregations and the people (although many do participate in this bad judgement).
    A bigger issue than the lesbian women pastors is the fact that the ELCS is in Table and Pulpit fellowship with a couple of liberal Reformed denominations.

    But this is what happens when you give up scriptures.

    If you want to read what went on in the mid 70s – that was the germination of what was to become the ELCA read Harold Lindsell’s Battle for the Bible.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Battle-Bible-Harold-Lindsell/dp/0310276810

  54. Rob,

    I think all that Josh was saying is that Republican administrations haven’t done any more to stem abortion than Democratic ones.

    I also believe that a new strategy is needed that doesn’t depend on political power to carry the day.

    As a newly minted Democrat, I assure you that I still hold to a pro life position and haven’t caught any blood lust.

  55. 1) Run to Jesus. There’s always going to be divisions. It’s a good thing to have divisions, so that none of us are forced into any fixed thing that we might not agree with.

    2) Billy’s been doing this for many decades.

    8) John 3:16 had that effect on me. And I don’t know what everyone means by modern labels anyway.

  56. “Buy truth and do not sell it.”

  57. If it is true that the BGEA has in fact removed mormansm from the list of cults it only proves how far south he or at least his organizatin has gone. Which I agree with Mike that we are at a crossroads more now thatn ever nin the church..Come quickly Lord Jesus

  58. Lutheran,

    Thank you for the info.

  59. ‘2) Billy’s been doing this for many decades.’

    No, I don’t think that’s correct.

    Billy has always avoided partisan politics. He advised many Presidents and he always remained neutral in terms of who he would endorse. I don’t believe he’s ever endorsed one candidate over another.

    Which is yet another reason I think this has Franklin’s fingerprints all over it.

  60. 1. I am interviewing who I view to be a brilliant mind on Christian Culture. I hope to have that interview done, and up here in a while. The response to the question of what drives Christians to the Republican party? Abortion. Period.

    2. For the sake of political expediency, I personally know a number of Christians who swore that Mormons would be the end of the USA. Now they are getting their picture taken next to the signs at the rallies, like Jesus just showed up.

    3. I cast my vote for Nyan Cat on FB. Nobody but Nomans liked.

    4. Maybe. I remember people saying that when Bill Clinton was running. It was the end of the world then.

    5. Winter means spending my days on roofs, where I typically spend all my days. I wish I could romanticize it in some way, but it is just like being baked all summer, except frozen all winter.

    6. Part of our liturgy in the Anglican church is to pray for a whole list of things. On that list is our community. Part of that list is the country, and those in charge. There is the one guy who always makes me cringe when we get to that part. He starts out with the need to return this country to something… and ends with death and damnation for those who would stand against that something. We don’t talk much after church.

    7. I had archived a huge portion of SMP when I knew I was going to get booted. I said some things back then that I wish I could erase. I try to listen to people more, argue less, learn something.

    8. It is like we are joined at the hip on that one.

    9. That was always the case for me, even when I had a head full of myself. I don;t teach anymore. I doubt I ever will, unless it involves building something with my son. I am content with that. Like I said, I try to learn something these days.

    10. Sarah is gold. Always gold. I am driven to more women writers these days. Men are too proud.

  61. Reuben,
    ” I am interviewing who I view to be a brilliant mind on Christian Culture.”

    I forgot what time you said you would call me for the interview. 😉

  62. MLD, This interview, I guarantee you, is not going to be up your alley. 😛

  63. Isn’t it sort of ironic for “An Online Community of Faith” to speak so much about politics, while bemoaning all the political talk among Christians? Or is it just indicative of the season, when passions are high, and that ‘this too shall past’?

    As to abortion – I sit continuously amazed when I read the Republicans have done nothing more than Democrats to try and save the lives of the unborn. Didn’t Bush sign a ban on partial birth abortions? The same ban that Democrat Bill Clinton, a good Baptist, chose to veto….TWICE.

    Keep in mind Bill Clinton was willing to join on for welfare reform, tax cuts and some other Republican agenda items after they took over Congress. But ABORTION, that got the veto pen everytime. Ashtoreth must be served.

    Of course, anyone versed in politics knows of the transformation of Al Gore, his VP, on the issue. As long as he stayed in TN, he was not just pro-life but loudly pro-life. But to go national in the Democrat party, he had to bow to Ashtoreth too. Because this is the party that kept the esteemed Senator Bob Casey Sr. of PN off the speaking platform at that 1992 Democrat Convention because of his prolife views – his unwillingness to worship Astoreth as a Democrat.

    And, as the author to Hebrews said, And what shall I more say, for the time would fail to speak of the Bush-signed ‘Born Alive Infant Protection Act’ (vetoed by Obama when in state office in Illinois – a man who refuses to definitively say abortion for sex selection purposes only is wrong)…of the Reagan, Bush, Bush Jr – signed executive orders outlawing abortions overseas, reversed by Democrats Clinton, and then Obama….of Republican-appointed pro-life Supreme Court judges like Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts, versus pro-abortion Supreme Court justices chosen by Democrats.

    And if one is capable of looking at the STATE political level, the contrast is all the more striking in some regards, but happily there is much more pro-life bipartisanship than there is pro-abortion bipartisanship (and if you want to know the difference between such states, the contrast is as simple as red and blue in the Presidential election)

    But where I weep is in the fact that black babies are 5 times as likely to be aborted, and those lucky enough to survive the womb have a 75% chance of being born out of wedlock.

    But black churches will vote 90% or more for the party of abortion, led of course by the black community leaders who very often are pastors (excuse me, “reverends”) railing on all things ‘Republican’.

    But we pro-life, pro-family, evangelical wingnuts are the ones displeasing to God. Got it.

  64. “But we pro-life, pro-family, evangelical wingnuts are the ones displeasing to God. Got it.”

    Yeah. I read that all over this thread.

  65. AV . . . um . . . not everyone thinks facts are “neat”. I like them, I agree with the reality they represent. But your “Q” rating is fading. I mean, I dig ya.
    I’d like a discussion on “Reproductive Rights” in the U.S. vs China. You know, where the government actually prohibits reproduction. Here in the U.S., we’re trying very hard to fulfill our version of Sharia Law through the Mormon Proxy, Romney (just ask Chris Matthews http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/national/chris-matthews-shariah-law-comment-msnbc-host-compares-romney-ryan-pro-life-stance-to-shariah) so AV – you should be happy to be tolerated.

    It’s utter hilarity – there’s more people in poverty than there have ever been, there’s more immigrants living in poverty HERE than there’ve ever been . . . but only us pro-lifers need a “new plan”. Give up on the idea of not filling up the land with innocent blood, but keep propping up President Johnson’s “Great Society”. He would be proud.

  66. AV,

    I write this and it’s called “things I think”.
    I think a lot about the church and when I see things that affect the church I write about them.
    I believe we are in a historical time of division and I believe it will cripple evangelicalism in the years to come.
    Your mileage may vary.
    No one has said anything even close to your “wing nut’ rip.

  67. Rob,

    I think both the country and the church need a whole bunch of new plans…and I do think that this battle will only be won by prayer and personal witness as I have noted.

    I also think the Bible addresses other issues besides abortion, although that issue is worthy of your stance.

  68. People love power (and sx), and Christian people misbehave in both areas, and politics is power, and it brings out the worst in the church, let’s admit that.

    But there is a difference between Reps and Dems. If the Dems had their way, homeschooling would be illegal, and sermons would have to be “tolerant”.

    Call it the lesser of two evils, but let’s be fair and be allowed to say, There is a difference.

    I hear your sarcasm, R, but really, on this site lately the party line is: Only naive Christians care about politics, and only really naive ones endorse conservative politics.

    Which is a point that has some truth, but here it is taken too far, methinks.

  69. Michael – great post, good on you for admitting when you’re wrong.

    I too am baffled by the evangelical support of Romney…I’m no big fan of Obama, but why aren’t Christians paranoid that Romney will try to convert everyone to Mormonism (which is what Mormons want to do) in the same way many were buying into the conspiracy that Obama was going to bring Jihad (in spite of the fact that he’s never claimed to be a Muslim)?

    It continues to prove the Church’s unfortunate misunderstanding of the gospel. We’ve bought the lie that the chief end of our faith is moralism.

    There is a local mainline pastor here who is gaining national acclaim with a book he wrote where he purports that heaven or eternity and the kingdom are separate and distinct and that only the faithful will enter the kingdom and receive the rewards of ruling with Christ while the rest (unfaithful Christians) will enter eternity (heaven) but be prevented from the full inheritance (he calls this the weeping and gnashing of teeth).

    Here is his website – http://majesticdestinybook.com/

  70. The more I learn about Mormonism as it really is, the less threatened I am. We do need to keep jabbing them in the ribs on the deity of Christ issue. Perhaps one day the Council will get a “revelation” on that point and we can welcome them as brothers with some weird Apocrypha.

    To reject Romney for his Mormonism sounds principled, but it is a strategic error.

  71. I read through this blog listing as usual it was well written and very insightful.

  72. PP Vet, Mormons already believe in the deity of Christ. They believe in the deity of millions of gods and Romney expects to become one of them himself. Mormonism is profoundly wrong. It needs more than a little tweaking. It’s not like the Armstrong cult of yesteryear that just needed a little work, Mormonism needs to be rejected completely. If is false at the very foundation.

  73. You know, a year ago no Christian would soft pedal Mormonism. Evangelical churches were still holding anti-cult seminars. How things have changed.

  74. Xenia, your 72&73……I agree!

  75. Hi Nonnie! I am praying for your grandson.

  76. Haven’t seen all the comments, but had to stop and say that Josh’s #11 is absolutely right on! Good stuff, Josh!

  77. Thank you, Xenia!

  78. I just watched the debate. Here’s my opinion on both candidates: I got nuthin’.

  79. What should we expect from Franklin Graham? After all, he’s a friend of Skip Heitzig.

  80. Michael, you should have a winter home here in AZ. You’d still be the Phoenix Preacher!

  81. Obama clearly won tonight…Romneys strength is his economic policy but he and Obama have identical foreign policies—America is awesome, everyone needs to follow our rules…pure crap.

  82. 1. Yup. The whole thing is going to fragment any number of ways, with the Truly Reformed, Truly Calvary and Truly Nutty TV Charismatics claiming their (much) small(er) piece of the pie as if they’re the only game in town. People will go anywhere from Roman Catholicism to Lone Ranger Christianity to atheism to Eastern Orthodoxy to whatever they see on TV that looks ‘spiritual’.

    2. If Mitt Romney worshipped Kal-El of Krypton, then some would overlook that for the sake of political expediency…

    3. I posted something on Facebook from Huffington Post, and got a message from a FB friend demanding to know why I posted from the liberal Huffington Post…

    4. Maybe. Maybe not.

    5. It’s still fall around here; in fact it’s Indian Summer this week. Also, the trees are at their brightest.

    6. Nobody’s worried about the poor and sick bringing down God’s judgment…

    7. Wonder how that guy’s doing?

    8. Why on earth do Christians go to such lengths to emphasize they’re evangelicals??? Why has being evangelical become so darn important?

  83. I think there is much more dividing the church than the politcal spectrum. I am hearing with increasing numbers how many christians are done with the church because of getting burned…. and it isn’t always about the pastor. the focus of many churches is how many…… and there are several ways of finishing that sentence. I think we are too busy counting and trying to add to our totals that we’ve lost the ability to hear what God wants.

  84. You know, all this time I thought that “Mormonism” had been removed from a LIST of cults on the BGEA site…maybe because I kept reading headlines that said “The BGEA removed Mormonism from its LIST of cults” – in multiple media outlets and many Christian bloggers. After all, when you read that the Grahams have removed the Mormons from their website’s LIST of cults, what else are you to think? Such news is certainly disappointing.

    So I got around to visiting the BGEA website to see its list of cults, and I could not find one. So I googled the story (and boy is EVERYONE talking about it).

    It turns out that what was removed was a specific article within the ‘cults’ section that listed multiple cults by name, not just Mormons but the other usual suspects (JWs, Scientologists, Unitarians). The entire article was removed, not the selective editing of only Mormons from the list. Many articles, like the ABC one linked here, do not make that point at all.

    I see the cults section remains at the website. I see it speaks directly to what cults believe and deny as to the deity of Christ, the need for extra-Biblical revelation etc. I see there are even posted comments allowed and showing where various commentators have mentioned the Mormons by name as examples of a cult.

    Now, I know many of you will blow off old right-winger, Republican voting AV as making a distinction without a difference. And FWIW, I do think it compromising to make any such edit because of politics – though as I have told you I refrain from the word ‘cult’ in the pulpit for evangelistic reasons.

    And I don’t expect much from the world’s media sources that enjoy a two for one day when they can make Christians and Republicans look bad in one article.

    However, there are those in the Body of Christ that don’t like us right-wingin evangelicals. And they have chosen this moment to post falsehoods in order to push their own agendas.

    Look at Patheos’ headline. “Mormonism no longer a cult according to Billy Graham”

    If that does not qualify as a false witness against not just a brother in Christ but a legendary brother in Christ, then I don’t know what is…

    Be honest…how many of you likewise thought that all this time there was a list of cults at the BGEA website, and a selective edit of Mormonism was done to that list – because of the reporting you have read.

  85. http://www.christianliferesources.com/article/u-s-abortion-statistics-by-year-1973-current-1042

    This is a list that shows the number of abortions per year. For all the laws signed, bans passed, vetoes issued…the numbers actually went down under Clinton. They were still outrageously high.

    I don’t pretend that voting democrat will bring down abortion, but I also don’t pretend voting Republican will help either. There has to be a better way to battle this disgusting atrocity.

  86. Good research, AV, thx.

  87. The fact that people still call Mormons a cult is a compromise in itself. A “cult” the way it is commonly used in Christian circles gives a hint in Christianity’s direction.

    That is why I just call them non Christians and don’t even let them get a foot in the door of Christianity.If I speak to people on the topic, I always tell them that there is absolutely nothing Christian about Mormons – just as there is nothing Christian about Jews or Muslims. I tell people that they are a non Christian religion that likes to use Christian words for credibility.
    (I almost give the same talk for “Jews for Jesus.)

  88. The problem is the language, though MLD. They say Jesus is Lord, call him savior and all kinds of stuff. It is a very deceptive religion, and for that reason, I think it is more dangerous than Islam. As we’ve seen here, sometimes it is hard even for mature Christians to discern the difference.

  89. MLD, Good points.

  90. Can I ask an apparently stupid question? Why is abortion such a big issue and as far as I can see a political hot potato in the USA? I live in a de facto secular state, which can does do what it wants with what it permits and doesn’t permit. That in no way alters the way i behave as a Christian nor does it define the way other Christians act. Yes we don’t approve of abortion and we don’t participate in it and will often refuse tests designed to show whether a baby is deformed in some way and therefore in society’s view a good candidate for abortion on those grounds.

    I am Scottish and proud of it, proud to be British as well but above all I am a citizen not of these ancient islands but of the Kingdom of God and I render unto Caesar what is his due and unto God what is his due.

    I sense and I am probably wrong that evangelicals in the US seem to want to create a Theocracy of sorts and force their values on other people whether they want them or not.

    I can’t make sense of the mindset.

  91. Stuart, not a stupid question at all. You have characterized American Evangelicalism correctly. As to the why? The quick answer is idolatry. We distrust God, so we’re trying to find a man who will do what we want. The long answer, my frail body doesn’t have it within me this morning.

    Being Scottish, what is your opinion of Sinclair Ferguson and his teaching. I find him fascinating.

  92. One of my 14-year-old daughters sees what goes on in the world, and gets very upset, wondering why we don’t just outlaw this or that. My mantra is the same. We cannot expect those who do not have the Holy Spirit to act as though they do.

  93. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” The devil has had no greater plan than to make God’s people think that they belong here and that the things of the world are an issue for them.

    The heart of God is in a sinner’s repentant and broken heart and contrite spirit. It is no where else. And the world’s heart is in being the best, rising to the top, being right, winning the battle or argument.

    The devil has had one heck of a good time dividing Christians over every issue he could drum up, politics only being one of the more recent. So, instead of recognizing the spiritual battle that we are in, Christians fight each other and other people. They create the doctrines of men and ignore the heart of God and so the spiritual life becomes skewed.

    Nothing is going to change until Christians repent of their “stuff”, learn to forgive, let go of grudges and bitterness, and get right before God. None of this in-fighting is right before God. Jesus was about His father’s business which wasn’t about arguing with the religious leaders or the government. He spoke the truth, preached the gospel, set the captives free, healed the sick and blind, raised the dead, and discipled other men to do the same. No matter what anyone did to Him, He kept at it.

    And so should we. And if our leaders and churches want to continue what they are doing, maybe we should continue to be at our Father’s business and not follow those who don’t know the heart of God or even what His business is. Sometimes I believe that Evangelicalism is just a warped form of the American Dream mixed with corporatism, some scriptures, anecdotes, and prayer. Whose kingdom are we building?

  94. Stuart,

    The too short answer before i leave for work is that we chose political power over cultural influence.
    “Biblical values” now consist of opposing gay marriage, opposing abortion, and supporting Israel.
    For many you can add American exceptionalism to that list.
    Any other “Biblical value” is labeled part of the “social gospel” and consigned to liberal (unbiblical) thinking.
    This is a culture where spirituality is measured by numbers and success rather than faithfulness and we will reap the whirlwind in coming years.

  95. Judy,
    Well said.

  96. Judy,
    “The devil has had no greater plan than to make God’s people think that they belong here and that the things of the world are an issue for them.”

    Sorry, I must disagree with you here. My place as a Christian is here – this is the place that I have been called to carry out my vocation. which is to love and serve my brother. I cannot effectively do that if I am constantly thinking that I am to be elsewhere.

    The things of the world are an issue for me, if they adversely affect my brother.

    I was having a conversation with a christian guy at work and I asked him was it better to be dead or alive. He went on that to be dead was better because he would be with Jesus. I countered that I thought being alive was better, because if I were dead, I could not carry out my vocation.

    So, in my case at least, I don’t think the devil influenced me into thinking I belonged here – I think it was God, who at creation said not just “it is good” but said “it is very good.”

  97. AV,

    “However, there are those in the Body of Christ that don’t like us right-wingin evangelicals. And they have chosen this moment to post falsehoods in order to push their own agendas.”

    As if the same things haven’t happened on your side of the fence…

  98. The main cults article referencing Mormon was removed and a picture of Billy, Franklin, and Romney was on the front page, all on the same day.

    That’s just a coincidence. This is all a left-wing conspiracy theory.

    Keep in mind how many times Franklin has publicly attacked Obama’s faith, while now endorsing Romney.

  99. I didn’t get the chance to weigh in at all yesterday, but plenty of thoughts about the topics at hand. To start with, here’s a quote from Martin Luther King:

    “Now the other myth that gets around is the idea that legislation cannot really solve the problem and that it has no great role to play in this period of social change because you’ve got to change the heart and you can’t change the heart through legislation. You can’t legislate morals. The job must be done through education and religion. Well, there’s half-truth involved here. Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed. Religion and education must play a great role in changing the heart. But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also. So there is a need for executive orders. There is a need for judicial decrees. There is a need for civil rights legislation on the local scale within states and on the national scale from the federal government.”

    Applying this same thought to the abortion issue, we cannot eradicate abortion through legislation. However, I believe we could really reduce the overall number of abortions if it were to be outlawed, at least for most circumstances. And yes, for the practice of abortion to be all but eliminated hearts, would need to be changed for that to happen. But I don’t see this as an either/or issue. It is a both/and.

  100. As for the Billy Graham thing, it has been misrepresented by some as to what exactly Billy Graham and/or his association did. And that is wrong. But what Billy Graham’s association did do in removing that article was also wrong. It is a shame that as Billy is surely nearing the end of his life, he is adding this political maneuvering to his legacy. Not saying it would necessarily be wrong for him to make any political statements of any kind, but some of the things attributed to him in the lead up to this election have been disappointing, to say the least.

  101. As for the divide in the church due to politics, I am no historian so I can’t speak to how bad it is now compared to past history. However, I can say from purely my own personal experience, this is the worst I’ve ever seen and it makes me dislike politics even more. Facebook probably is playing a big part in that.

  102. The whole issue of Mormonism would not raise my hackles so much if they didn’t claim to be Christians. I’ve been pursuing the LDS website, and, yes they claim to be Christians. However, they fail on many points of what we consider essentials of the Christian faith.

    From the Mormonnewsroom.org –

    “We believe the accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament to be historical and truthful. For us the Jesus of history is indeed the Christ of faith. While we do not believe the Bible to be inerrant, complete or the final word of God, we accept the essential details of the Gospels and more particularly the divine witness of those men who walked and talked with Him or were mentored by His chosen apostles.”

    Read in particular “we do not believe the Bible to be inerrant, complete or or final word of God.” Which apparently gives them the ability to add and subtract from Biblical truth as they see fit.

    I have a long time friend who is was a Mormon, raised in a family of high ranking Mormons. He will unequivocally argues that Mormonism is not a Christian religion. He points out that Mormonism has no coherent doctrine to rest on. And, now it doesn’t seem that a wide swath of Christians have one either.

    Ultimately, my own frustration is that Christian conservatives have focused so much on the inerrancy of Scripture, and now even with Mormon’s own stated beliefs, it now doesn’t matter. Welcome to the family, we just altered the DNA a bit so you can join.

  103. Michael, why do you keep going back to the political crack pipe on your blog? One time you lament using your platform to facilitate the offensive and divisive nature of this dialog, the next time you are doing the very same thing you claim you despise? Just my own opinion of course.

    Btw, why haven’t you returned my call from last week? Do you not want my business? 😉

  104. Politics are not all or none issues.

    Yes conservative Christians are opposed to abortion, gay marriage, and support Israel. But, to claim that conservative Christians don’t care about other issues is ridiculous. Conservative Christian churches all over my state (and every state) are very active in helping the poor, both locally, and internationally. Our church has a food closet and a large benevolence budget, most of which goes to folks who would never attend our church. My wife and I keep food bags in our car to hand out to homeless people. We support our local lifechoice pregnancy center not just because the don’t counsel abortion, but because they give food and clothing to the gals that come in for help. We have worked in the very areas that are struggling in Mexico providing care to orphans (until we recently brought our elderly missionaries home).

    Conservative Christians have chosen certain issues as being best fought for politically. America is an interesting place – around 100 people a year starve to death in America – food is not a problem. Over 1 million people are murdered through abortion in America each year. Which is the bigger problem? I am disgusted by these numbers. What other segment of society could have 1 million preventable deaths a year and not receive the outrage of the people around us. 43 people in the US died as a result of the death penalty and liberal groups stand around with signs and are seen as compassionate. Yes, compassion for those proven guilty in a court of law, but you are an unloving whack job if you have compassion for 1 million innocent babies being murdered.

    Did you know that a poor person in America has a greater probability of of being obese than malnourished? America does more than any other nation to feed the poor and care fo the needy both domestically and internationally.

    Healthcare is another issue. Conservative have dropped the ball here. The reason Obama care is law today is that the conservative side of the aisle did not offer a better solution. I think Obama care is crap legislation that has made our insurance costs skyrocket (60% increase at our church since this was signed into law). That being said, I know of conservative christian churches that offer free clinics (including Calvary Chapels) to help people in need. However, under Obama care the conservative Christian medishare programs will be illegal! Christians who found an affordable solution will not have insurance.

    Both Romney and Obama claim to be Christians, but both doctrinally don’t measure up. One is a Mormon (’nuff said) and the other claims the Bible is not inspired and we can pick and choose what we want to believe. This election is not a religious choice – both fall short. This election is about issues.

    The difference between liberal and conservative Christians is not one of love, it is where they see the answer for problems. Conservatives say I will help the poor but only Christ can change their life. Liberals say the government will help the poor, and give them a better life. The reality is that both are necessary, and neither is the full answer.

    Rant Over. I realize it is too long and no one will read it, but I feel better because I am sick of liberal leaning people claiming I don’t care about people because I am conservative. 😉

  105. Looks like I’m talking to myself, but one last thought to put an ironic tie on the list of thoughts from the original article. In mentioning Rich Abanes, he had written a book on Mormom history a few years ago. On Amazon.com, one of the sentences in the book description is this, “In reevaluating its preoccupation with issues of church and state, Abanes uncovers the political agenda at Mormonism’s core: the transformation of the world into a theocratic kingdom under Mormon authority.” And here I thought from my Facebook feed that we were to fear some type of Communist / Islamic takeover of America if Obama were to be elected to a second term. (Insert sarcatic smiley here.)

    Now I have no knowledge as to what Rich asserts in his book to be true or not. But if it is true, then maybe Romney should be the guy we should be more fearful of in regards to having secret plans to take over America. Not saying at all that Romeny actually has secret plans to take over America. But it is ironic that we apply the takeover fears to the self-professed Christian candidate, while the candidate who is a card-carrying member of a religion who may truly have designs to take over America, is nary given a thought in this regards.

  106. AV, @84 – as one of those who believed the news report, thank you for taking the trouble to dig that up … and it makes me wonder once again about the effectiveness of defending the Faith with labels … so much better to define exactly what we’re stating that we are for or against ….

  107. I don’t think it was Obamacare that made your healthcare prices rise. They were already soaring, which is one of the reasons Obamacare was passed. The bulk of Obamacare doesn’t go into affect until 2014.

    You said: “but you are an unloving whack job if you have compassion for 1 million innocent babies being murdered.”

    Who have you heard saying that? I think every Christian is concerned about abortion, some of us just don’t see the Republican party as the solution…seeing as 30 + years of numbers say otherwise.

    Last, we can judge Romney because he is a Mormon, and it is easy to find out what Mormon’s believe. I don’t think it is our job to condemn the president, who claims Christ. Is a belief in inerrancy now necessary for Salvation?

  108. “but you are an unloving whack job if you have compassion for 1 million innocent babies being murdered.”<<<

    This is the kind of crap that makes discussion impossible.

  109. 1) I made it clear that compromise in the edit for political purposes is wrong and disappointing to see.

    2) I don’t care about “my side of the fence” – What matters is MY BEHAVIOR before the Lord. No matter how badly others “on my side of the fence” misrepresent, or others on the “other side of the fence” misrepresent – I personally will take responsibility for how I represent.

    3) The chief reason abortion is such a political issue is because the matter was taken away from the people and their representatives by 7 judges in robes that outvoted 2 other judges in robes.

    I don’t understand why it is hard to understand that a GOP President can do very little to reduce abortion because of Roe. Thus, the only hope is to reverse Roe and the only hope for that is a Republican President for we know there is zero chance of a Democrat President nominating such a pro-life judge.

    And to clear up even more misrepresentation. There is no suggestion or even thought of the Supreme Court outlawing abortion. The point is to take the matter back to the states where it will be legislated in different ways by the will of the people. Of course, I want to see it outlawed, and would use my vote for governors and state officials that would agree.

    And as an aside. We have euthanasia (assisted suicide) taking place around our nation, though it is against the law in almost every state. It is a matter of the vote of the people. I strongly oppose euthanasia as well.

    Does anybody think that if the Supreme Court made assisted suicide a constitutional right, that there would not be millions of murders of the sick, depressed, elderly, and handicapped – as those people got to the point of being “unwanted” by those responsible for their care.

    So I am not moved by the whole “abortion will go underground and it will be horrible”. Not to the tune of millions of babies. Personally, I’ll work to make it very difficult and illegal to assist in the killing of a baby in the womb AND AT THE SAME TIME (key point) make it easier to adopt, and to help scared pregnant girls with nowhere to turn.

  110. stuart r, “I sense and I am probably wrong that evangelicals in the US seem to want to create a Theocracy of sorts and force their values on other people whether they want them or not.” … while i hate labels (we need a good definition of ‘evangelical’), you raise an interesting point here … seems to me there was a time when most of Europe and the British Isl.s all had State churches under (or over) their rulers, was there not? perhaps we over here are now cycling back to that – i suspect, it has something to do with jockeying for power …

  111. Well, I see my last post at 104 finally came through after being in moderation for some reason. I thought I had filled up my post quote for the day. 🙂

  112. Shuan, I read your “rant.”

    My family has been involved with a ministry that feeds the poor, homeless, and mentally ill in San Bernardino. We don’t just stand on the sidelines and cheer, we get in and get our hands dirty. We’ve helped by providing and serving food, clothing and prayer. The first time we helped serve meals was a real eye opener for my teenage son. He said, “I didn’t know that some people don’t have enough to eat.” The people we help need the Gospel, not political platitudes.

  113. #-103 my feelings exactly:
    “Rant Over. I realize it is too long and no one will read it, but I feel better because I am sick of liberal leaning people claiming I don’t care about people because I am conservative” – thank you Shaun Sells

  114. Josh, “Is a belief in inerrancy now necessary for Salvation?”

    I was merely pointing out where one might find issue on a cult’s status, and the hypocrisy that can arise out playing in the political sand box.

    I’m trying to make sense of this whole thing, myself. I just can’t grasp a dramatic shift of position that has been held for so long.

    I’ve been hiding out and laying low on FB because of the nastiness. A lot of folks who used to be friends now hate each other. It makes me rather sad.

    My interest in politics and history, and my own “crank” ideas tend to get me in a lot of hot water.

  115. “but you are an unloving whack job if you have compassion for 1 million innocent babies being murdered.”<<<

    This is the kind of crap that makes discussion impossible.

    – Xenia discussion happens when you respond. The assertion that Michael made is that all conservatives care about is abortion, gay marriage, and Israel. I countered with the point that conservatives see those as best handled with a political solution, but that other issues are still being handled locally and personally. I showed the magnitude of abortion is far greater than the magnitude of the death penalty or starvation. You ignored those things, took one comment and decided you can't talk to me. That is crap.

    – Josh – our health insurance costs dropped for three years prior to Obama care. My insurance agent, who claims he is making a lot more money because of Obama care directly correlates our increase to Obama care. Yes, Obama care is not fully in force yet, are you contending that my costs will go down? Additionally as those costs go up employers are being forced to ask employees to carry more of the burden, as we did creating a greater strain on the individual and the employer. But, to be clear I stated above that conservatives have failed in this arena by not offering another solution.

  116. DavidH – I commend you for doing this, what you are doing personally, and letting your kids see is vitally important. That is where the real help is.

    I provide food and finances for real people in need everyday. I have also taken my kids to the salvation army to feed people and our church hosts a home cooked meal monthly at the local shelter. I am not into political platitudes. I am doing the work locally so I believe I have earned the right to speak on these issues.

  117. Josh – I did not say Obama was not saved, and I am sorry if I implied that. My point is that his view of scripture dictates how he applies it.

  118. anyone who thinks that Obama care will improve our health care doesn’t know what is happening … sadly, it is a terrible patch on a deplorable situation that is the result of our world’s greed, our celebration of “take the money and run” – someone was explaining the hypocrisy of Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace and we realized that he thought he was playing the game successfully, he came, learned the rules (the unspoken ones) and entered into the competition – the commerce of the world is without morals

  119. Until I became unemployed three months ago, I made my living in the insurance world for over 20 years. I know how insurance works better than anyone on this board. I have more complaints about insurance companies screwing over people than anyone on this board. However, such complaints are based in fact because the companies actually did screw someone over – not guilty just because they are a big insurance corporation. For I have also seen millions of dollars paid out in insured losses to people who paid only thousands in premiums to get those millions.

    Obamacare just won’t WORK. The ideals are good and positive, and I understand Christians finding appeal in them. But it won’t WORK.

    Likewise, I have run my own business (as an insurance guy), and worked closely with other small businesses. I know what policies for a nation work to increase employment and wages..and what don’t. Yes, I believe much that the federal government does should go to the states or private charity – but the point is that the current policies do not help people get jobs, or businesses to grow and hire.

    And for the record. I am unemployed as a result of Obama’s policies which caused my biggest client to make changes that then cost me my job – trickle down economics working in reverse…just like all over the country.

    But I was against the man’s policies before all that happened to me personally.. 🙂

  120. Em, yes in Europe church and state were very much linked and most European countries they still are part of the fabric of society in a way that is perhaps difficult to describe to those in the US. Some European countries have a church tax payable to the government for the maintenance of the Church. It is hard to explain but it is not a theocracy and Governments do what they will.

    Someone asked Sinclair Ferguson. I heard him once, read few of his books. I have now thrown them out I am moving away from the conservative evangelical position he and others adopt towards a Eucharistic contemplative centered religion. Again hard to explain and one best not discussed in this thread especially since none of you except Michael have any knowledge of me.

  121. the health care field is a big employer in my little town as we have the regional medical center – they are laying off right and left and it all comes back to an attempt to meet or work around government requirements – all the paperwork (reams of it) jobs possible are going overseas (India, i believe), experienced nurses are being laid off (for manufactured reasons) in favor of techs and the entry level wage, new-hlres being churned out by the new million dollar college of nursing that the state just used taxpayers’ money to build and staff … our solutions-so-called seem more like boondoggles to me

  122. Stuart, i for one, hope you will share more of your views here – what you feel comfortable in so doing – but God keep

  123. Can I make something else, really clear? Obama is horrible. He has not done a good job. I have found his views on abortion to be appalling.

  124. Shaun, Keep up the good work.

  125. Stuart – stay on board, let us learn about you and your story.

  126. Speaking of horrible presidents…this is not a political statement by me. I just thought it was clever and funny.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEHC4mYDEVs&feature=share

  127. And I would also like to make clear that I didn’t vote for McCain, or Bush in his second term (both times I picked the constitution party candidate). I decided a week ago to vote for Romney, but it was not an easy choice. Ultimately he won me over by passing healthcare and balancing the budget in his state even though it was a predominantly democratic state. In addition to that I did not like the constitution party candidate.

  128. This is why I like to stick to topics that bring Christians together, like infant baptism, the real presence in the bread and the wine and endtimes.

    Politics are to divisive. 🙂

  129. well, since it’s true confession time around here … i voted for Ross Perot way back when – couldn’t vote for McCain because he seemed to me to epitomize the mindless, knee jerk military posers of his generation (i deeply appreciate and respect what it cost him to survive as a young man in that horrible prisoner of war camp – he was an admirable example of heroism, but that doesn’t really imply an analytical mind qualified to run the country) – Obama’s life and rise to win was heroic also, but i felt he (justifiably) had an ax to grind that colored his thinking – i think he’s a better man today than when he took over as President of the nation
    the men we elect to serve in the oval office are basically lightening rods for a clandestine, corrupted government, the congress included – IMHO – it is sad that Obama is identified with such poor health care legislation – i think he’d do it right, if he could
    that said, Romney is getting my vote because of just one thing – he said that when he was governor of Massachusetts any young person with the grade points to qualify had the right to enter into any state college tuition free! AMEN to that … how much better than cajoling countless young people to go in debt for the rest of their lives for an education that is proving in so many cases to be of no monetary value – rich educators in the institutions of higher learning on the backs of naive students? dunno, but that’s sure how it looks from here … just sayin … cuz i can … even tho i said some time ago that i wouldn’t 🙄

  130. I should clarify an earlier point. I am underemployed, not unemployed. I do take home after payroll taxes, $600 a week, and I am grateful for it. I am sorry that decisions by this President have trickled down to the point that the equity I had planned on using for retirement is now needed to properly provide for the needs of my family, but that is how it is.

    And I don’t talk about such things, and I definitely don’t COMPLAIN about such things. But it is relevant to the discussion here with the PP family (for such is how I think of us).

    I want the people in my church to find work. I want them to get fulltime jobs with ever increasing income. I would LOVE it if nobody in our church NEEDED our financial assistance and we could use that money for other poor in the community more and more.

    And that is why I am hoping that someone who actually understands the world of business will be our next President. Abortion, homosexuality and Israel aside, to interpret my support for the Republican candidate as not caring about the poor is insulting. We have a lot more poor now than we did four years ago, and millions and millions more than when the Great Society ‘war on poverty’ began – not to mention the collateral damage to the family, especially for minorities.

    I pray weekly for people looking for work, trying to take care of their families. I want a strong economy so people can have their needs met AND (as the Bible teaches) be able to then give to those in need who are unable to do so.

    I’ve said my peace. Blessings.

  131. Who said you didn’t care about the poor?

  132. I can agree with AV on the government putting you out of business. My wife and I were self employed for 15 years and at one time had a thriving business that supported us and the families of our 3 kids who worked for us. But Obama’s Dodd Frank legislation put us out of business. The legislation made it impossible for our clients to do business with us.

    Ouch! that hurt!

  133. I do appreciate the personal anecdotes, but you guys do realize that everyone has lost a job while someone was president, right?

  134. Josh, your point is well taken, except that it isn’t the fact that people lose jobs that is the concern – it is the fact that vast numbers of prudent, gainfully employed and conservative productive members of the fabric of the nation are falling off right and left now… hard luck and happenstance has nothing to do with it

  135. Yes, Josh. That is why “full employment” in an economy is not zero percent unemployment. And frankly, I am not looking for the President to somehow “create” jobs, but rather eliminate the sort of legislation and regulation that kills the job market and keeps wages flat.

    But how long does one stay unemployed after losing that job? How often is one forced to take a much lower paying job because that is all that is available?

    See MLD’s example as well. Over legislation directly killing employment. Obamacare is doing the same. At some point we move beyond anecdotes when you have business owner after business owner all saying the same things as to why they are not hiring..not expanding…not lending.

    We had a ridiculous housing bubble (on paper my house doubled in value in 2 years) and this bubble was largely the result of government policy (bipartisan policy to be sure I would add).

    We had entire buildings in So Cal filled with nothing but escrow officers, loan refinancing, real estate agents.

    So the bubble pops, as bubbles do (like the dot come bubble), and there is pain to be sure. Those jobs disappear. Those buildings go vacant causing pain to the landlords who then are unable to purchase goods and service that keep others employed. That is how an economy works.

    But the government can make that pain worse and longer lasting. And this one has.

    I believe in results, not feel good intentions. If feel good intentions are all that matter then Iraq was a great success. After all we INTENDED to remove a dictator and establish democracy. The fact that the results were an abomination, should not matter.

    But of course results matter. And politicians of all people should be judged by their results.

  136. Agreed AV. And if you saw my 135, you’ll see I agree. Obama has not done a good job. George W. didn’t either, so i have little hope for Romney. Add in the religious confusion, and the thing is pretty much a wash. This is the best we have to offer? What a joke. I would vote for you in a heartbeat over either of these clowns.

  137. Thanks Josh, you could be my VP!! 🙂

  138. You saw what Palen did for Mcain?

  139. At the beginning of the Presidential election cycle I had high hopes the Republican Party would find a candidate who would put forth a rational course to right the ship. That person never appeared.

    The two parties have floundered. Whatever the results of the election, I pray the country can be repaired. It’s going to be difficult to repair the years of damage wrought by economic collapse, and a people who now fear compromise. My $.02.

  140. Legislation is funny. Dodd Frank under the guise of protecting the consumer from the big banks, for all intents and purposes made it impossible for the little guy (brokers like me) to meet the guidelines. 70% of all mortgage brokers went out of business between Jan ’11 and April ’11 and most of the rest are gone since. (I lasted until July ’11 in my attempt to be the last man standing)

    So, who has all the business now, without the competition???? The banks!!

    The same thing happened with HVCC as it applied to appraisers – who were independent small business people. The law forced them to go to work for large appraisal management companies. Does anyone want to guess who now owns a large stake in all these appraisal management companies? That’s right – the banks.

  141. I will say though, that AV and I would be the most interesting Presidential ticket I’ve ever seen. Two guys who will disagree, argue, but in the end get it worked out, while not shilling for any particular party.

    Now, obviously not me (too many skeletons), but I’d vote for that. Normal guys. Not party mouthpieces. Not clones of one another.

  142. Another Voice, and Josh Hamrick for President and Vice President. When are you guys going to have a televised debate? 🙂

  143. Funny, because you don’t often see the presidential and vice presidential candidate debate against each other.

  144. Shaun, I apologize for my # 108. I said it in a moment of frustration, but that is no excuse.

    Please forgive me.

  145. “Funny, because you don’t often see the presidential and vice presidential candidate debate against each other.”

    That’s why it would be fun to watch. 🙂

  146. MLD – Dodd Frank also changed the way our bank has to service our church loan – putting additional financial burdens on us, and reducing the amounts we can put into the work of the ministry to support missionaries and take care of those in need.

    I’ve been fighting on that issue for a couple months now, but ultimately our bank, which is a Christian credit union, has their hands tied due to the regulation they must abide by.

    And of course, Dodd Frank was a hyper-partisan piece of legislation passed despite the cries of protest from the business world, especially the small business owners.

    But what do we know, right MLD? 😉

  147. Of course I will forgive you Xenia. I would also ask for yours and anyone else’s forgiveness for my ranting. My rant made discussion more difficult. These are sensitive issues that demand more than a long winded rant.

  148. One of the great things about a blog like this, is that most are willing to forgive. Forgive me as well. I’m a “hot head’ about politics. That’s why I’m staying away from commenting on FB. Folks there are far less gracious.

    Be blessed, David

  149. Thanks, Shaun.

  150. well, don’t forgive me … just make allowances 🙂 in my view, i’m not against apologies, but if no one ever spoke their mind (& heart) here, i wouldn’t bother to stop by

  151. Politics.

    Last night, the Cardinals lost, badly, to a team from California. This means that my hatred for any team being vomited from California will force me to suffer more. I despise the American League. I have no dog in the World Series. I may actually have to root for Detroit, because at least they beat the Yanks to the finish line. And I hate the Yanks as much as I hate Manny Ramirez.

    Like politics, I have to be forced into a situation where I must root for someone or something that I hate. I have to root for the lesser of two evils.

    But like politics, I can just watch, because I like Baseball, and hate everyone there on the field. I can make fun of everybody. I can tweet about it. Post to FB about it. Maybe MLD will entertain me with an argument about why I hate California teams soo much.

    I don’t lose sleep over who wins this next election, but I do lose sleep over who wins the World Series, because it is bad either way.

    And when do we get Hockey back? There is a bunch of socialist bureaucrats for you. Talk about partisan politics.

  152. “well, don’t forgive me … just make allowances 🙂 in my view, i’m not against apologies, but if no one ever spoke their mind (& heart) here, i wouldn’t bother to stop by”

    OK. I’ll make allowances, and I’ll continue to shoot off my mouth, then. 🙂

    Alfred E. Nueman for President, I say. Or Alf Landon, or ALF.

  153. Reuben, I’m rooting for the Giants just to make my friends who are Dodgers fans angry. Just as long as the Yankees are in it.

  154. Reuben,
    As an outsider, you are allowed to root for the Giants… even against your wiil.

    Me on the other hand, would face the wrath of the big Dodger in the sky if I ever rooted for the Giants to win.

  155. MLD, nobody can understand the depth of my agony.

    Marco Scutaro was a Rockies, that we traded this year after he kicked tremendous hind quarters for us. He caught the fly ball hit by Matt Holliday, who was also a Rockies that we traded, that sent SF to the World Series.

    It was the most painful game to watch. Ever.

  156. Tigers in 5.

    native-michigander-fil

  157. Tigers in 7.

    Rockies fan for life.

  158. “I am sorry that decisions by this President have trickled down to the point that the equity I had planned on using for retirement…”

    AV.

    Seriously?

    Has it even crossed your mind that first, you shouldn’t give all the power about economics to one person? That’s kinda irrational, seems to me.

    And second of all,have you ever considered that the Republicans might just be more responsible for the state of our economy than Obama?(Who, by the way, helped us recover from the 2 wars AND tax cuts, all that Bush put on a credit card and ballooned the national debt).

    The President can’t spend a dime of your money without Congress’s approval. And for the last 2 years, this Congress has been hellbent not on passing policies to stim. the economy, but solely on defeating this President. It’s on the record.

    Is it any wonder that this is the most do-nothing Congress since the 1950s? Or earlier, depending on your POV.

    Their approval rating is in the single digits.Last I saw it was at 5 percent. Or maybe it was 9.

    Small wonder. This bunch of disconnected kooks has conducted a 2-year snit against an “evil” radical President — at least in their fevered minds. Fortunately, the majority of citizens aren’t buying it.

  159. What’s this World Series stuff? I am in countdown mode – only 113 days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. 🙂

  160. Reuben,

    That NLCS was torture for me too. In 2010 the Phillies had the best record in baseball and were supposed to make the World Series until the Giants knocked them out. Then in 2011 the Phillies once again had the best record in baseball and were really supposed to make the World Series this time with the Four Aces. And then the Cardinals knocked them out. So I developed a serious dislike for both those teams. And then wouldn’t you know who ends up playing against each other in the NLCS this year?

    Go Tigers!

  161. But at least the 2 years prior, the Phillies did make the World Series by beating that sad sack of a team from the West Coast. What was that team, now? Maybe MLD can remember as he was just here. If not, I’m sure Reuben can remind him. 🙂

  162. Lutheran, you crack me up. Bottom line is a very rich person, and a very good, loyal guy, who helped me (and many others) provide for my family, made business decisions in his best interest in light of the Obama agenda. A rich person we have had as a client for many, many years, through Democrat and Republican administrations – but had enough of the Obama administration and said ‘screw it, I’ll go do something else’ and now it working in the charitable fields.

    Of course, that just makes him MORE of a villain in the eyes of the left. Because he should gladly continue to work hard for the sake of others and leave the charitable fields to the federal government where they belong (snark intended)

    Back to being serious, in turn, I was forced to sell out what was left and live off that equity now, rather than in the future. Now, somehow we all survived for decades, multiple generations, with Republican and Democrat congresses, Presidents, and though the nation would have its recessions, we all stayed in business. Until Obama.

    Now, I know you are probably still reeling why Romney’s 47% comment didn’t cost him the election as you predicted, and why ‘blame Bush’ somehow is not a winning reelection strategy for the guy in power the last four years….but follow closely.

    Obama passed Dodd Frank, Obamacare, his stimulus bill with Democrats in complete control his first two years. Much of the rest of his actions were executive orders, new regulations through the arm of his EPA and so forth.

    The reason we have a Republican House (not Senate – Congress implies both you know) is because after only two years Mr. Hope and Change so freaked the nation out that even blue states went red. A massive repudiation of the Democrat power unchecked.

    Since that time, the House has passed bill after bill after bill. Budgets..you name it. However, Harry Reid in the Democrat Senate has not even brought these to a vote, has not proposed a budget, so there could be some compromise and things could proceed.

    And Obama has not led. And that is why he is going to lose, and looks like he will lose huge. The coattails will bring in a few new Senators as well.

    You can’t blame Bush for everything prior, and then talk about how President Obama does not have all the power and it is Congress’ fault. ESPECIALLY since the Democrats ran both the House and Senate the last two years of the Bush administration when the country went to hell.

    Or I guess you can make those charges…and the left usually does…but it does not mean they make any sense.

    Nor do such arguments win elections.

    Last word is yours until November 6th.

  163. Is it just me, or does this seem like a scam?

    “Trinity College of the Bible has enjoyed several academic affiliations with overseas schools over the years and we have served students all over the world yet all of our programs have remained centralized and controlled from our administrative campus in Southern Indiana. We have been offered many opportunities to expand with different organizations but these potential partnerships never seemed to fit our goals or that of our typical student.

    After much consideration, Trinity has developed a concept we believe is consistent with our mission and the goals our students want to achieve. For the first time in our 44 year history, Trinity is moving forward with the establishment of a number of affiliated Bible Institutes based on the Trinity curriculum. However, these institutes will be established by adult learners and ministers with common goals and values. You can choose to be a part of this event and become the Executive Director (or President) of a Bible Institute that is totally under your control to manage as God leads you. You can also use this as an opportunity to get your desired degree 100% tuition free!

    Trinity provides nearly all of the of the support needed to establish and maintain your institute. You will establish your own tuition and/or fees and you decide the name of your institute. Once you have paid for your charter, Trinity will help you secure your domain, develop your website, provide the lectures (online) required for the courses, supply the tests required, and supply the completed diplomas. When you show the list of courses to prospective students (teachers, church members, friends and family) and collect the tuition fee that you decided to charge, Trinity steps in and does the rest. Your student receives a diploma for each course completed and, aside from your initial charter fee, Trinity receives only a $25 fee from you for each diploma awarded.

    Call us at 1-800-457-5510 for more details and to reserve a Charter Number for your Bible Institute with only a $500.00 deposit. You can also pay the one-time $2,499.00 set up fee in full and we can have your institute up and running within 2-3 weeks. Otherwise, The remaining $1,999.00 is payable over the following four (4) months. When full payment is received in total, we will activate your Institute and your online courses.

    As an added benefit, I will also authorize a full tuition scholarship for you in the Trinity degree program of your choice (must meet catalog qualifications) once you have paid in full for the establishment of your institute. You would be responsible for books and fees only for your own degree program.”

  164. scam or someone with delusions of … something … could be Lutherans – i noticed the name Trinity (joke)

    God keep all close and comforted this nite

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