Dec 112012
 
  1. Here is one reason you must be called to pastoral ministry: the people you love will not love you back—at least some of them will not love you back.
  2. The God and the Jesus that many conservative Christians envisage is one who is narcissistic and immature.
  3. Is thinking about God a big waste of time?
  4. Science! Making brain cells out of…uh…:shock:
  5. Questions about hell???
  6. Things to keep Christians, atheists, and nearly everyone else awake at night.

  7. “Torn”
  8. What is the nature of human nature? What are we intended to be…. and to do?
  9. I’m going to tell you about a church that made a drastic change to their church property–they added a tiny sticker to their church sign.  And that tiny sticker made a difference.
  10. The West Point cadet who quit over religion.

  11. Mark Driscoll on whether one should or should not smoke pot (HT).
  12. Tax the churches
  13. The Book of Revelation is surprisingly non-final, given how it tends to be interpreted.
  14. The ten ‘coolest’ airports on Earth.

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 Posted by at 11:21 pm

  154 Responses to “Linkathon 12/12”

  1. I may be first if I get this posted quick enough. LOL. The first one takes me back, I always show respect for Pastors in the real world, I always considered them as people who gave much of what they had to other people. I mean local pastors not super star pastors but I most likely would show them respect as I consider being rude a bad sin. I count that one of my more vile character flaws, I should be able to rip anyone a new one at the drop of a hat, even the slightest mistake or misstatement. 2. Amen. 3. even with my drivel on this blog I spend many hours thinking on God, I usually equate that with some evil vile motive but I still do spend that time. As I was taught almost everyone is going to hell, and I mean 99.999999+1% of all humans, including babies etc will go to hell and were created with that one function, and hell will be far worse then anyone understands and God will actively, even passionately involved in every single second of torment on every single soul in hell. Torn I knew / know several people who are gay that were / are torn. Some of them did not make it, they took their own lives. I know we all have it coming but it still is sad. Mark Driscoll needs to learn the fine art of non disclosure, I have known several people with cancer who have used pot for pain, and that type of pain goes all the way to the soul from what I have observed. As some have observed there is far to much money on both sides of the war in the war on drugs, which is why it will not be legalized by the federal government. Way to many bucks to be made with is the only driving force for any “social” change. 13 From what I have observed there is a great deal of cash to be made hawking the book of rev. Dont get me wrong I would never get in the way of the free market trade of religious “truth”.

    No we should not tax churches they are an extremely valuable safety net for local communities, pastors should also retain their tax exemptions as well, most pastors make bupkus compared to the work they put in. So no the irs should be hands off on churches and pastors.

  2. my post is in moderation but wanted to thank Brian for the great links

  3. Article #9 might as well been a paid commercial for LGBT (homosexual) causes.

    I always wonder how open these churches really are? Do they welcome with open arms the adulterer, the pornographer? I’m not talking about those who are looking to change their lives around – I am talking about those who want to flaunt their sin and demand acceptance

    If some 50 yr old guy, well known in the community, is stepping out on his wife, and showing up to church each week with his 25 yr old “eye candy” girlfriend… are these people open and affirming?

    Hogwash – these are not churches, but dens of sin.

  4. Right Mld. They don’t think homosexuality is a sin.

  5. Love David Hayward’s graphic and James F. Grath’s quoting Mark 12:28-31

    28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

    29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no commandment greater than these.”

    Jesus places love preeminent over the whole discussion, in fact, over ALL discussions. Then He lived out His life as a visual of what He intended, which dispels frightening image from Hayward.

    …and props to Joseph & Mary who obviously raised their son right

  6. Unfortunately, since the “church” is all ‘100% independent’ and doesn’t police their own, unless it’s Phil Aguilar…

    …I think Churches should lose their tax exempt status. Too much corruption in the “church”. Many churches are run like a for-profit Corporations, led by Profits.

    We have an insurmountable debt/deficit nationally. We have many folks who need government assistance and the govt. is in hock and can’t pay for it all.

    Many “churches” spend the bulk, if not all of their money on salaries, expenses, nice facilities, nice vehicles, perks, travel, benefits, etc etc etc for the “ministry” w/o helping anyone in need…or helping very very little, other than PR opportunities to grab a headline or two.

    The so-called ‘good guys’ don’t follow 1 Timothy 5:19-22. The ‘bad guys’ run amok. No one in within the Church Leadership Walls really cares…unless it’s a competitor moving in on their territory.

    I say burn it all down.

    Let some real scrutiny come. Let the govt. take over.

    I think the “real” ones will still minister and I think the false ones will be impeded and maybe go into another business.

  7. Hey, I’m all for making a profit. I’ve been a small biz owner my whole life.

    I just like being honest about it.

    What sickens me about “church” is that MANY are dishonest and really in it for the “career” the fame, the power and the money and perks etc etc.

    If they didn’t get any benefit from doing “church” they wouldn’t do it.

    Then there are some good guys who do it regardless.

    I’d like to see the you-know-what hit the fan and see who the real is and who the fake is and weed out the charlatans and con men.

  8. Alex,
    How would you propose taxing the churches when the constitution forbids making laws involving churches.
    You know that the tax system is used to control behavior, so taxing churches will interfere with “freedom of religion”.

  9. MLD said, “the constitution forbids making laws involving churches.”

    Can you show me this explicitly? How, then, do we keep some ‘churches’ from Polygamy? Slavery? Child Abuse? Animal Sacrifice? etc?

  10. The article does misrepresent the Mormon Church’s charitable giving. Much of the charity the Mormon Church conducts is to it’s own Membership and that isn’t factored into the numbers. When a Mormon Family falls on hard times here in Idaho, the local Church really kicks into gear, gives money, food, support etc. I’ve seen it in action. It’s quite remarkable. They do it much better than any Evangelical Church I’ve witnessed.

  11. Alex, you’ve fallen for a Mormon lie there. Try to find out how much money is being horded by Mormon leadership. Think those temples are cheap? Do some reading on mormoncurtain.org

  12. Churches do not commit polygamy, slavery, child abuse – individuals do.

    How does a church commit polygamy – does the Lutheran Church marry both a Baptist Church and a Catholic Church?

    Animal sacrifice is still allowed for some religions.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”;

    The free exercise clause comes into consideration here, if the church has to disclose who has given money – like giving out a 1099 for contributions.

  13. Government would rather threaten churches with taxation than tax them… Once they tax them they can no longer tame them without persecution. Bring it on. Christians are chomping at the bit to go all Christian fascist on the nation.

  14. Ignoring for the moment what the laws may or may not be in regards to churches, I wanted to speak to the effect on churches themselves if they were to be taxed.

    I have an uncle who has faithfully served as pastor for a small congregation for over 30 years now. He has only ever collected a part-time salary and has maintained a tent-making job over all these same years in order to make ends meet at home. I don’t think the church has ever had any paid staff during his time there. If they did, I’m sure it has been for a miniscule amount. I don’t know if this church could continue to exist if you started taxing them. With an already perpetually tight and humble budget, starting to tax the church could be a back breaker.

    We would very much like to stick it to the celebrity pastors and other churches who operate like in a for-profit manner. And deservedly so. Taxing those pastors and churches who are operating with a big initiative towards their own fame and financial advancement would be one way to stick it to them. But for every one of these big-shot pastors and churches, there are many more pastors and churches of much more humble means and attitudes who are faithfully serving their congregations and communities. Taxing them is certainly not something they deserve, and in some cases, could even be detrimental to the continuation of those churches.

  15. “When a Mormon Family falls on hard times here in Idaho, the local Church really kicks into gear, gives money, food, support etc. I’ve seen it in action. It’s quite remarkable. They do it much better than any Evangelical Church I’ve witnessed.” i’ve seen them in action too … it gives one pause – if necessary to promote their own, they’ll walk all over you, but if i wasn’t a Christian, i’d join them in a heartbeat – couple of our denominations are likeminded, but all in all, i like the way LDS circles the wagons best

  16. Em, that is all a show. There is no more controlling, manipulative cult than the mormons.

  17. When the government and church slept in the same bed, that was a period of history known as the dark ages.

  18. #13 – “or it envisages a situation in which, even after the dawn of the Kingdom of God, it is still possible to rebel.
    And if that is the case, then presumably it is also still possible to enter. And that is something that deserves more attention than it often gets when the interpretation of the Book of Revelation is discussed.”

    see, that’s the point of the 1,000 year reign of Christ on a still fallen earth … a time when Satan isn’t around to cloud the issue and mankind, each individual, is totally accountable for their own heart’s choices … IMHV … so close

    not trying to start a long thread on the book, tho – just sayin

  19. Josh, i agree as to their wealth (there are hints that it is staggering) and the complete control that a member is subjected to – they are like the military in that respect … however, i have seen them save the bacon of a member on three occasions that jump to mind – the resources are there and they almost seem to me to be a nation within this nation – i was kind of anxious to see just what would unfold under a Mormon president (they permeate our government agencies already and do a good job, i’m sure)

  20. As is usually the case, the ‘tax the churches’ article references a secular humanist article who uses a preacher’s mansion for his complaint.

    I guess large CEO’s of for-profit corporations never live in mansions?

    What does ‘tax the churches’ mean?

    1) No longer allowing tithes to be deducted? That is simply a tax increase on Christians – not churches. Sure it will hurt churches, if the goal is to hurt them, as some will not give as much. But like any other tax on the lower and middle class, it will hurt the economy too.

    2) Property tax on churches. Well, that has nothing to do with closing the federal deficit as revenues would go to the state. Churches already do pay some property taxes for the street lights and such.

    3) Eliminate housing allowance break? Well, pastors have to pay self-employment tax on all income so that would then go away if they are treated as regular employees of a corporation. Housing allowances are limited by the IRS and pastors can be audited for abuse here.

    4) Tax on annual ‘profit’. This is where pro-tax advocates of all stripes never learn that people WILL change their behavior to avoid taxes. And of course, charitable contributions are limited by the IRS as to deductibility for normal corporations in terms of amount and recepient. A business can’t just give away food and gas and deduct it. So all this would do is create MORE of the behavior people want to avoid – churches spending money on higher salaries, property expenses and so forth, and even less on charitable needs – making the government have to pick up the slack with the welfare state.

  21. As is often true … Wright nailed it … but still … if they tax us, they have to deal with the overt politicizing of the church on a level they have never dreamed. And the government still has a vested interest in tamping that down.

  22. Dread’s right too. Every pastor could have a voting day field trip and bring the entire congregation to the polls, making sure to help all the people to vote for “God’s candidate”. With early voting in many states this would be all the more easier.

    And politicians know their exit polls. They know which party would benefit from such a deal on election night.

  23. In the United Kingdom a person giving to the church or a charity does not get any tax break. However, the church or charity, not only gest the money given by that particular “tax payer”, but they also get an additional 25% of the amount of that gift from the government. People give because they want to give and also have the joy of knowing that the government has to fork over the amount of 25% of that gift to the same charity. I think that is great!!

  24. Interesting thread. Yes, a pastor can have much sway in the political process if needed. I remember reading about a pastor who did so and changed history. Perhaps it might be time to revisit some of the writings and speaches of Dr. Martin Luther King.

  25. Wright is wrong a lot:

    “1) No longer allowing tithes to be deducted? That is simply a tax increase on Christians – not churches. Sure it will hurt churches, if the goal is to hurt them, as some will not give as much. But like any other tax on the lower and middle class, it will hurt the economy too.”

    It will make Churches get more lean and mean and re-prioritize.

    “2) Property tax on churches. Well, that has nothing to do with closing the federal deficit as revenues would go to the state. Churches already do pay some property taxes for the street lights and such.”

    As the Revenue goes to the States, the States will require less from the Federal Govt. ergo reducing Deficit.

    “3) Eliminate housing allowance break? Well, pastors have to pay self-employment tax on all income so that would then go away if they are treated as regular employees of a corporation. Housing allowances are limited by the IRS and pastors can be audited for abuse here.”

    Much slips through the cracks, as TBN and many CC situations illustrate. The church don’t police it’s own…so send in the Govt. It’s shameful what the so-called “church” gets away with in “the name of God!” and instead of openly rebuking it, Chuck Smith goes on TBN and endorses the behavior by his appearing IMO.

    “4) Tax on annual ‘profit’. This is where pro-tax advocates of all stripes never learn that people WILL change their behavior to avoid taxes. And of course, charitable contributions are limited by the IRS as to deductibility for normal corporations in terms of amount and recepient. A business can’t just give away food and gas and deduct it. So all this would do is create MORE of the behavior people want to avoid – churches spending money on higher salaries, property expenses and so forth, and even less on charitable needs – making the government have to pick up the slack with the welfare state.”

    Well, then it will make “giving” truly for the right reasons if the tax deduction is removed. It will force Church Boards to either be overt about using the church as a business or to get lean and mean and keep funding the stuff to help the needy etc instead of “conferences” and “ministry trips” and perks for the pastor etc.

    I’ve personally let the Richard Dawkins’ foundation know that I’d be happy to testify before Congress and tell all that I’ve experienced with regards to the church and what has been reported to me by insiders etc of how bad things really are behind the scenes of “churches”…and illustrate how the “church” leadership could care less, but actively endorses and encourages the behavior IMO.

    I hope it’s a Trend. “Judgment begins in the house of the Lord” etc.

  26. Yes, a benefit is then the Churches could continue to be political, even though they are now, and not be in violation of the law.

  27. “I’ve personally let the Richard Dawkins’ foundation know that I’d be happy to testify before Congress and tell all that I’ve experienced with regards to the church and what has been reported to me by insiders etc of how bad things really are behind the scenes of “churches”…and illustrate how the “church” leadership could care less, but actively endorses and encourages the behavior IMO.”

    You would join with enemies of Christ to make a point about your situation?!?

    Wow.

  28. They are no more the “enemy of Christ!” than the Bad Pastors and Bad Churches and Bad Church Leadership.

    They are lost and need Jesus. Doesn’t mean they aren’t right about some stuff.

    This stuff transcends my personal situation. My personal situation just opened my eyes to how big and how pervasive the Problems are.

  29. #25 – Alex, i say it with concern, you’re on thin ice if you’d truly blow up the houses where the true Church still lives and functions to get to the chaff … that’s wrong headed, kind of Doctor Kevorkianish :shock:

    i know i said i was gone here, but ….

  30. “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”

    Most of the Atheists don’t know any better, but they understand Corruption when they see it.

    The so-called “Church” should know better…but either sits by idly and lets it happen or actively participates in it.

    Who is going to get judged worse? (lots of divergence of opinion here)

  31. Em, it is not a “good church” that tolerates abuse and corruption.

  32. If you sold all the “church” “assets” and buildings and vehicles and stages and concert equipment and liquidated all the “church” bank accounts etc…and gave it to the poor tomorrow…

    …you could end poverty.

  33. Alex will (and to some extent already has) turn this into an anti-CC bash which I have no desire to participate in. It is the result whenever I post anymore (which is rarer and rarer). I don’t mind disagreement and discussion, but he refuses to make that possible.

    The vast, vast majority of churches do not fit the description that Alex wants to describe and I think everyone, including Alex, knows this.

    To tax churches will destroy many of them. Plain and simple. The sort of churches where a pastor lives in a million dollar mansion will just have more incentive to spend the money among the executives and to glitz up the property. These are of course the vast, vast minority of churches.

    As far as some ‘purity’ test in tithing by the congregation. Even if tithes are not reduced a penny, the point is that there will be less after tax money for that believer to spend into the economy.

    Conferences, ministry trips and all the rest would be fully deductible corporate business expenses – whereas sending money to some African orphanage would likely not be. So if the goal is for the government to force churches to give away money rather than spend it on staff, this is exactly the opposite way to do so. In fact, churches are in the unique position of choosing to hire people that otherwise could be volunteer labor – unlike businesses.

    So churches could just put a bunch of parttime new employees, with no benefits, earning a few grand a year to eat up any ‘profits’. Sure there would be payroll taxes, but the person would benefit from those as well. Not enough salary to actually have a federal tax obligation. And of course, such employment would have no foundation as these same people would have to be fired quickly if the church revenues decreased the next year. What a great system. (sarcasm)

    I write as a small business owner of a C-corporation with 20 years experience, with annual revenues about equal to the tithe revenue of the church I now pastor. I’ve done both.

    Fascinating to me to see Alex actually desires all churches to get hammered because of his vendetta against a few. That he would yoke himself with the unbelievers in testimony eager to go after the Bride of Christ on behalf of the federal government.

    That seems neither Christian NOR libertarian.

    That’s it for me.

  34. So you want to help Dawkins in his quest to rid the world of Christianity…because you don’t like CC. That’s disgusting Alex.

  35. Steve Wrong said, “The vast, vast majority of churches do not fit the description that Alex wants to describe and I think everyone, including Alex, knows this.”

    How do you know this for sure? B/c they tell you?

  36. Josh, that’s a giant Red Herring there. I don’t have a fishing pole big enough to real that one in.

  37. I thought the bible says:

    “A little leaven leavens the whole lump”

  38. Where does it say “Join with the God haters in persecuting the Church”?

  39. Steve Wrong said, “That seems neither Christian NOR libertarian.”

    Seems very Christian…as in Early Church Christian, pre-Institutionalized Religion.

    It’s actually quite Libertarian in the context that then Churches could be just like Businesses and advocate politically etc and not play the canard that is in place now where they get special tax status, but still get involved politically.

    Libertarians are for Rule of Law and an equal playing field, not “zero rules”.

    I’m more of a Teddy Roosevelt Libertarian. Set some Equal ground rules, enforce them fairly, then get the heck out of the way.

  40. Josh, that’s a Red Herring. It’s also a Strawman.

  41. Steve Wrong. That is cute. Haven’t heard that since elementary school.

    But to the rest reading, we had a linkathon with an internetmonk article awhile back that reported how half the churches have less than 75 people. 90% of all churches have less than 350.

    At the same time, half of those who attend church do so at churches larger than 400.

    So taxing the churches will kill off the small churches and force those worshippers into the larger mega churches – making them even bigger and richer.

    Link here. http://eclecticchristian.com/2009/07/18/what-is-an-average-sized-church/

  42. Josh, were you going to vote for Mitt Romney? What about 0bama? (without commenting on their salvational status, more what your perception of their salvational status is or is not).

    Were you “joining with the god haters!” if you voted for either one of them? Have you ever agreed with the Cause of someone who was not a “christian” as you would perceive and define them to be?

  43. Alex, what do you think Richard Dawkins would like to accomplish?

  44. Steve Wrong said, “So taxing the churches will kill off the small churches and force those worshippers into the larger mega churches – making them even bigger and richer.”

    I disagree with this assumption. I think the opposite would occur.

  45. At 42 – Have you never read my thoughts on politics?

  46. Josh, if I have it didn’t stick.

    Regardless, there has to be some Cause you agree with that is held and promoted by a “non-Christian” organization or Group…no?

    When you agree with them on that particular issue: are you “joining with the God haters!”?

  47. IF there cause is to destroy Christianity, then yes it is.

  48. I think the posers would stop giving as much money.

    I think the posers largely attend the Mega-churches.

    I think, the funds at the Mega-churches would dry up.

    I think Mark Driscoll, Joel Osteen, and many others would have to go get a real job.

  49. deja vu all over again

  50. Alex,

    You know I support your cause in regards to your step father and other significant corruptions in CC. However, I must agree with Josh and others here in regards to the taxing of churches and your desire to help Richard Dawkins in his mission. Hurting all the churches that make up the Church in order to bring justice to those who are corrupt within it is just flat out the wrong way to go.

  51. Josh said, “IF there cause is to destroy Christianity, then yes it is.”

    It’s not. They recognize the inherent Corruption and see things more clearly being outside the bubble. Most don’t want to see Christianity eradicated forcefully. They disagree with the Position and Proposition and don’t want it getting an unfair advantage in our System that is part of their System that they contribute taxes to and that they live under.

  52. Kevin, no problem and you’re entitled to your opinion. I’m sure it’s not a popular position inside the Evangelical and/or Christian Bubble.

    I see the issue very differently than most on here and for what I believe are the right reasons.

  53. Have you ever read anything Richard Dawkins has written? Have you ever watched him in an interview? The man wants Christianity eradicated completely. He doesn’t care about Calvary Chapel Visalia, he thinks teaching your kids about Jesus is child abuse. Get some perspective, man!

  54. Well, i better stop posting…even though i’m following the unwritten rules, being polite etc. I just end up answering a lot of challenges by several folks on here, b/c I took an unpopular position, but I’m sure to be accused of “dominating!” etc so later and blessings (hate that Christianeze, but oh well).

  55. Alex,
    Why tax only the churches – why not all non profits and charities. Let’s tax the Red Cross and United Way – government needs the money

    And you know that the heads of those organizations make big bucks and live in mansions.

  56. The government uses taxes to control people and behavior. Taxing the church is in the same vein.

    Want to get people to quit smoking? Raise the cigarette tax.
    Want more kids going to pre school – give tax credits.

    Alex, you are naive if you think taxing the churches is a neutral position.

    But I have no fear, because the 1st amendment prohibits it – how do you get around “Congress will make no law…”

  57. I don’t care one way or the other if they tax churches – I can see both positives and negatives of both systems.

    However, the article misses a very important point as it tries to calculate how much a church gives. The church is made up of people who give in other ways beyond the church – on a one on one basis and to other organizations. This number is not one that can be quantified. In addition those individuals in the name of religion sit with the sick and take meals to the grieving watch the kids of a single mother and change tires on the roadside. They forget that our education system and our hospital system and our welfare programs all started with the church, but government meddling has made it nearly impossible for the church to operate in those areas. They believe that regulation fixes all problems. They forget that our national deficit problem is by in large a spending problem, not a lack of taxes problem. They are coming after the church because they are running out of turnips to squeeze.

    Of course those things don’t count in their estimation because they are under the false impression that the church is little more than a book club.

  58. For what it is worth, concerning blowing up the whole church system:

    Matt. 13:30 ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but agather the wheat into my barn.”

  59. Alex,
    Ya did good today, except the Wright/Wrong thing, but then I also remain a little sensitive to jokes about names… ;)

    I’m in agreement, if “the enemies of Christ” are speaking truth and calling us rightfully on our malarkey…

  60. Groundhog Day

  61. ““So taxing the churches will kill off the small churches and force those worshippers into the larger mega churches – making them even bigger and richer.”

    No they won’t, not if they have a sense that is…..

    Three options:
    1. Pay the taxes.
    2. Join the Tea Party.
    3. Go underground.

  62. G – do you think that Dawkins quest to rid the world of Christianity is “speaking truth”?

  63. Josh,
    I think anyone speaking truth about how poorly we represent Jesus is to be supported, so we can stop doing such a poor job in our arrogance. We need to own it and admit it, and fix it.

    I think that the greatest problem with how we approach individuals is to sell “Hell and the Solution” instead of selling “Dad loves us so come on home!”

  64. Nonnie,
    What you posted bears repeating as it’s spot-on!

    “In the United Kingdom a person giving to the church or a charity does not get any tax break. However, the church or charity, not only gets the money given by that particular “tax payer”, but they also get an additional 25% of the amount of that gift from the government. People give because they want to give and also have the joy of knowing that the government has to fork over the amount of 25% of that gift to the same charity. I think that is great!!”

  65. “I think that the greatest problem with how we approach individuals is to sell “Hell and the Solution” instead of selling “Dad loves us so come on home!””

    Richard Dawkins is not selling Dad Loves us…

  66. London, loved your #60…yes it is Groundhog Day! I laughed out loud when I read it…thank you– Can we wake up now??

  67. All someone has to do to know Dawkin’s motives is to read his book The God Delusion. He spells it out.

  68. London dismissing our conversation and comments – what’s new? It must be Groundhog Day

  69. MLD,
    I wasn’t even talking about you do just sit down and chlll out would ya.

  70. couple things bother me as i read … “unpopular” is not anywhere near the correct label for a reaction to wrongheaded and destructive emotionalism
    “arrogance” …? … – problems have always existed in the church, it’s not “our” problem – it is God’s + He’s very good at deciding when to clean house; when to bring the hammer down and He doesn’t use the Saints to do it, if the history records in the Bible are any clue
    always, always take care to not lower Christ to any level – not matter how warm, comfortable and spa-like another faith may feel

  71. “When the government and church slept in the same bed, that was a period of history known as the dark ages.”

    Are you kidding me they still do sleep in the same bed, it’s called 501 c 3. I say Tax the churches for the reasons Alex mentioned and then well see who is in it for the $ and who is in it for the Lord.

  72. Kevin H said:

    “Ignoring for the moment what the laws may or may not be in regards to churches, I wanted to speak to the effect on churches themselves if they were to be taxed.

    I have an uncle who has faithfully served as pastor for a small congregation for over 30 years now. He has only ever collected a part-time salary and has maintained a tent-making job over all these same years in order to make ends meet at home. I don’t think the church has ever had any paid staff during his time there. If they did, I’m sure it has been for a miniscule amount. I don’t know if this church could continue to exist if you started taxing them. With an already perpetually tight and humble budget, starting to tax the church could be a back breaker.

    We would very much like to stick it to the celebrity pastors and other churches who operate like in a for-profit manner. And deservedly so. Taxing those pastors and churches who are operating with a big initiative towards their own fame and financial advancement would be one way to stick it to them. But for every one of these big-shot pastors and churches, there are many more pastors and churches of much more humble means and attitudes who are faithfully serving their congregations and communities. Taxing them is certainly not something they deserve, and in some cases, could even be detrimental to the continuation of those churches”

    That’s where your wrong, the Church will never cease to exist. Oh sure denominations will come and go, buildings will rise and fall, Pastors will come and go but the true Church will persevere regardless of having a building, having money. or anything else
    We are the Church, not an organization, not a famous celebrity Pastor, not a building.

  73. Can you imagine Jesus asking for a tax break from the Government of his day. Or Paul for that matter. I agreee with Alex, people outside the Institutional Christian Bubble are detatched and see more clearly on this Taxation issue.

  74. Solomon,

    I believe you misread me. I didn’t say the Church would cease to exist. I said that some churches could end up ceasing to exist. I’m differentiating between the large C and the small c. Those churches that would cease to exist I do not think would be the type that are big money, big building, celebrity pastor types. But rather some of the ones who are just hanging on with the humblest of means right now. Taxing them could be too much for some of them to take. And yes, if their churches ceased to exist, they would not stop being the Church. But it would be taking away a body of significance from them that could be playing a real role in their spiritual growth and vitality. And that would be a shame.

  75. Josh said:

    “So you want to help Dawkins in his quest to rid the world of Christianity…because you don’t like CC. That’s disgusting Alex.”

    That’s a ridiculous statement. No one can destroy Christianity. If all the Institutional Churches were to go out of business you would still have the true Church “ekklesia”. The Church’s survival does not depend on a building, a well known pastor, belonging to a denomination or being tax exempt. The early Church did not have the advantages that the Institutional Chruch has today but guess what, they rocked peoples world

  76. Alex said:

    “If you sold all the “church” “assets” and buildings and vehicles and stages and concert equipment and liquidated all the “church” bank accounts etc…and gave it to the poor tomorrow…

    …you could end poverty.”

    Just go to the PHILLIPINES and see where some of the Catholic Churches are, in the middle of poverty stricken neighborhoods yet their buildings are immaculate. Talk about disgusting, That false Prophet known as the Pope will have to answer for facillitating a corrupt and Idolatorus Church system

  77. Alex said:

    “I think Mark Driscoll, Joel Osteen, and many others would have to go get a real job.”

    This right here is why these guys would be scared straight. They would no longer be able to manipulate people into giving their hard earned money so they can live soft and luxurious lives.

  78. “Seems very Christian…as in Early Church Christian, pre-Institutionalized Religion.”

    Steve has too much at stake to be objective in this matter.

  79. BD Said:

    “As is often true … Wright nailed it … but still … if they tax us, they have to deal with the overt politicizing of the church on a level they have never dreamed. And the government still has a vested interest in tamping that down.”

    Are you kidding me, The Church is already politicized. The Church seeks protection from the Government and Insittutional Pastors are also going to be the Uncle Tom’s when FEMA cracks down during a emergency. Just go back to the early church model, it’s so simple it’s amazing.

  80. Alex said:

    “It’s not. They recognize the inherent Corruption and see things more clearly being outside the bubble. Most don’t want to see Christianity eradicated forcefully. They disagree with the Position and Proposition and don’t want it getting an unfair advantage in our System that is part of their System that they contribute taxes to and that they live under.”

    Amen to that. The Church will never be buildings, organizations, it will be the called out ones

  81. Solomon is that the echoes of conspiracy I hear… FEMA camps and such?
    Sooner or later they will drop the hammer on us for sure…

    But if they tax the church the church is automatically empowered as an overt political operation… they don’t want that. And many in the church would take full advantage.

  82. G said, “Alex,
    Ya did good today, except the Wright/Wrong thing, but then I also remain a little sensitive to jokes about names”

    LOL. I like your name. It’s cool.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist (well I could have, but chose not too) with the Wright/Wrong :-)

  83. Imagine the PAC that the SBC could fund once the taxation shackles are off. :-)

  84. Who knows, this could be the one thing that guarantees that we have a Christian president and congress.

  85. It’s funny when people say that the TBNers won’t be able to extort money from their fan base.

    Are you kidding? Have you ever looked at those schlubs in the audience? Do any of them look like they are writing checks for the tax break? LOL

  86. MLD’s reverse Ground Hog Day comment was hilarious ;-)

  87. MLD said, “Are you kidding? Have you ever looked at those schlubs in the audience? Do any of them look like they are writing checks for the tax break? LOL”

    Good point. Most of the TBN Crowd are trying to hit the lottery by “seeding for their need” or paying for their blessing etc.

    But, the redistribution of their purchases from TBN would actually go to help pay for the Welfare and Govt. Assistance many of them are on.

  88. I say tax the “Seed for your Need” and “Special Blessings” purchases from TBN etc etc…more tax revenue/money to fund Social Programs, less money from the middle class small biz owner to cover the Gap created by loopholes in the System for Corps and so-called “churches”.

    MLD, in your Red Cross reference…the difference that the article points out (and seems to be accurate) is that the vas majority of the money donated goes to people in need…whereas with ‘churches’…the vast majority funds salaries, building, overhead, expenses etc etc.

    Why should Christians get tax-free entertainment and lectures and bible studies? I thought the real work of the “church” was to help folks and preach the Gospel?

    Seems like that can still be done with “churches” getting taxed and paying their fair share, no?

  89. Josh,
    Not maintaining that Dawkins is selling what we should be selling.

    Consider Dawkins the kind of valuable resource that a customer service / marketing department of any company or organization invests in so it pays attention to the objections of its customers to refine its products and customer experience.

    Here’s an example, I just suffered through a few minutes of Ken Ham, Don Stewart & Chuck Smith Sr on Pastors’ Perspective, mocking scientists and scholars. Their attitudes were smug, self assured and pompous. If any of my less religious friends heard what I just heard they would have rightly critiqued them in less charitable terms than the good company of readers here at Phoenix Preacher would prefer.

    Back to the question at hand, we need to pay attention to our critics because they are simply telling us what they hear and experience from us.

    Our job is to then ask ourselves how we compare to Jesus in The 4 Gospels, and generally we fail, though some really do take it to heart and seek to dialog and reason.

  90. Watch this vid: “Television Evangelist” by Odd Thomas. AWESOME!

    I WANNE SEE THE PPPOOOWWWWEEEERRRR!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkofJyq5nxY

    ^^ Up in that video is where the real power is…not the fake TBN stuff

  91. I wonder how Alex and G can give any credence to Dawkins and his followers. God has described them well by calling them FOOLS. (Psalm 14:1

    Guys, why do you side with FOOLS? (well, I guess i can understand G , since Psalms isn’t written in red, so it’s only half scripture.)

  92. The video was good, but you know what? No one forces people to watch nor to give their money.

    The cure for all these popular preachers is to do what we do in the Lutheran Church – make your pastor wear a dress, that will keep him humble.

    No fancy suits, no Tommy Bahama shirts
    http://www.almy.com/Product2/zc0003150/category/AlbsForMen/parent/ClergyApparel-Man

  93. MLD said, “The cure for all these popular preachers is to do what we do in the Lutheran Church – make your pastor wear a dress, that will keep him humble.”

    LOL, I’d take boring Lutherans over the TBN Con Man-ery any day (though Fisk is quite witty and entertaining and Luther was a hoot)

    MLD said, “No one forces people to watch nor to give their money.”

    Ya, no one forced people to give their money and get swindled by Bernie Madoff or Sanford, etc either, we still don’t allow it as a Society.

  94. Ohhhh MLDeeeeee,
    can’t you seeeeeee,
    It ain’t about youuuuuuuuu
    And it ain’t about meeeeeeee…

    …sorry, watching the 121212 concert, far more interesting watching The Who perform “Tommy”

    but then, you weren’t ever part of The Night Crew so yu get a pass

  95. “moderation”???
    Ooookaaaaaaay

  96. Hmmm, iPad isn’t playing nice with the site, shorting me and turning my icon into a bass!

  97. Mods, got posts stuck

  98. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T9fk7NpgIU

    Ron Paul was not saying let em die but some people cheered. This is a pronounced theme in the world I live in. First of all, all illness is a result of the “fall’ and we all have any illness coming because we hate God so much. We hated God while we were a few cells in the womb of our mother to now and into eternity. Hating God with passionate abandonment. Of course that is pathological rantings but if you blow off the dust of the evangelical rhetoric this is what they blabber on about. Of course the left leeched on to this clip to suck the blood out of another orpheus between Faux noise and Msnbc Obama central we get no news. When will either side grow up and get over it? What a line of horse blank.

    Look I do not hate God, I never have, I am in terror of God at times thinking He will kill me on the spot but that is not hate, that is complete abject horror and terror. Some said I should have a reverence for God, no I have an almost pathological terror of God. Some say wait for the next shoe to drop, I assume that shoe has dropped and God is looking to take me out because I committed the unpardonable sin of being human. Trust me that is the unpardonable sin with in the apologetic.

    It is advent season, I look at the many representations of the Christ child and all He did for us/me. Then there is this terror, it is blasphemy to think God did anything for you. That view point from the evangelical faith I got in spades and on overtime. So I start with some presuppositions, first God hates me, personally and with eternal vengeance and I go from there. I also presuppose that almost everyone is lost, me, my family, the cat, the guy driving the bus, all of us, cannon fodder for hell. Somewhere in this turmoil I am looking for some good news, there is none and I should move on into eternal perdition and just suck it up.

    It really is a strange religion and I mean no offense but it is truly a very strange religion.

  99. The Rauser “things that keep folks up at night” piece is really interesting. The comment thread is interesting as well. Great link, well done BrianD!

  100. brian, I could read you all day. Love your very very interesting perspective. You make me think and you challenge in a way that is very unique.

  101. Alex, sorry I got all ill with you yesterday. DO what you think is right, brother.

  102. Thanks Josh. No worries. Much appreciated.

  103. MLD,
    Wouldn’t you want a fool to tell you if you’re unzipped?

  104. G said, “Wouldn’t you want a fool to tell you if you’re unzipped?”

    LOL.

    MLD probably wouldn’t care :-)

  105. sometimes i wish, when the “thinkers” here are having a thoughty dialog, that they were more precise in their give and take – but then it would take away the cracker barrel casualness and i’d be too awed (not odd) to throw in a comment or two here and there

    praying for all – especially the really stressed and hurting, for endurance to bear the slowness of God’s timing

  106. Em,
    You posted,

    “sometimes i wish, when the “thinkers” here are having a thoughty dialog, that they were more precise in their give and take”

    I’m curious, how would that look?
    I’m always open to insights and suggestions. =)

  107. G, are you saying that you want to be precise? :smile:

    i think i prefer the picture of an old time community gathering place: everyone with their feet up, the potbelly stove crackling and warming (it’s cold where i am) and the thoughts spinning off of one another’s posts somewhat unguarded and heartfelt …

    they say that blogs such as this are the haunt of the psychiatric community as case studies – do we care? why should we?

    just hit me this morning that there was a short focus on asking ‘why’ when things get really bad – even our Lord did that once Matthew 27:46 … and i’ll still choose Him over any other description of God … just sayin

    random thots packed in one post to avoid a long list of “Em” in the upper left corner here

  108. Em,
    Oh, quite the contrary, I enjoy vagaries.

    If this were the country store with a pot belly store, old chairs, I’d be sketching in the corner, sipping my coffee, watching who hits the spittoon and who misses while they whittle and roll their eyes at the dialog and passing comments.

    It would be a heckuva lot more subtle than type on a screen

  109. FWIW, the comments following the article at #8 are an interesting read …

  110. Thinking on Christ, I was pondering the incarnation today. God, timeless, transcendent, apart, above, all powerful, etc. Entered time as a baby, in a poor family by many standards, even though I have heard preachers say Jesus wore designer jeans. This baby knew in a way we cant understand that He would be separate from the Godhead on the cross yet still came here, not just willingly but for the Joy set before Him he not only endured the Cross but also the incarnation. God does not need us, at all in any way, He wants us. He wants us so bad he came here to this little speck and gave all. Through “simple” yet profound means God poured his grace into simple items, A baby, water, bread, and whine. Now I call that good news. It even gives me hope, but dont tell on one I have a rep to keep up.

    I was reading some of my posts over again on this thread it is good I do not get to negative and maintain a balanced approach. Not. I will try to do better.

  111. What am I trying to say in all my posts. God have mercy on me a sinner and please God give me the spirit of the publican, so I do not even lift my eyes up but know you redeem that (me) which is lost. On the flip side I dont know why that is heresy but it is in almost every single sermon I hear of one listens / reads between the lines. Some of us want to hold on to the faith we really do.

  112. Brian: “God have mercy on me a sinner. and Thy will be done.”

    2 of my most common prayers.

    God bless you.

  113. brian has good words. I would like to correct one thought.

    “This baby knew in a way we cant understand that He would be separate from the Godhead on the cross yet still came here,”

    No, God himself died that Good Friday on the cross. We diminish God when we try to protect him. Most evangelicals would teach that God actually can’t die and will try to nuance around it.(Note that I said nuance and not deny.)

    Sunday I am teaching on the Virgin Birth and one of my “bullet points” will be to drive home a long held Lutheran teaching (too Catholic for many) – that Mary was the Mother of God. Not just the mother of Jesus. In her womb as a fetus, sat almighty God. Out the birth canal came almighty God.

    Two main Points – Mary is the Mother of God and God died on the cross. If anyone teaching that uses different words, they have watered down Jesus

  114. Question then MLD, not that I disagree…I’m not sure. If God died on the cross, was the world without a God for three days?

  115. Josh, that is my point. We are afraid to just make the statement and leave it at that. Instead, in an effort to protect God, we start to nuance what it means “God died on the cross.”

  116. I’m not nuanc-ing anything. Jesus is God. God died on the cross. I’m not sure that all of God, died, or that is would be possible for all of God to die. His Spirit had to still be alive, or He wouldn’t have been able to revive on the 3rd day.

  117. “I’m not sure that all of God, died, or that is would be possible for all of God to die.”

    I can guarantee, that any answer you give to this statement will be a heresy

  118. “His Spirit had to still be alive, or He wouldn’t have been able to revive on the 3rd day.”

    And actually, that was my answer. Is that heresy?

  119. OK, God did not die – only his body died, but the real essence of God, his spirit, did not die. Are you sure you want to stick with that?

    But this is my point about nuancing around “God died on the cross.”

  120. Amen brian, same prayer I pray often, “please God, have mercy on me a sinner and your will be done…and I have no idea what that will is, other than to be a good father and husband” etc.

  121. MLD – Reread my 116. I’m asking, not arguing. Not looking for nuance, looking for your view. So you would say God’s spirit died?

  122. Josh,
    If God had to die for us, I would say yes, all of what makes God died – otherwise you would be left with a human body once inhabited by God was the sacrifice – but the spirit jumped out just in time. ;-)

  123. That just brings up some really interesting thoughts. So, to you, the world existed 3 days without a God at all. How did He come back? Was He just on a time release kind of thing? And what about this :”And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit: and having said this, he gave up the spirit.”

    I think I’m disagreeing with you, but I’m still thinking.

  124. Josh said, “”And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit: and having said this, he gave up the spirit.””

    Interesting verse.

  125. If Jesus commended His Spirit to the Father, then is it possible that only a third of God “died”? I feel silly even saying that out loud.

  126. @128 – It seems apparent that the Incarnation died, but God was never off His thrown.

  127. the thread here IMV is clarified, if we see man as body, soul and (potential) spirit
    i suspect and i think it is not a hill to die on, but i strongly suspect that what prompted Immanuel, our Lord and Savior to cry out ‘my God, why have You forsaken me’ was the moment that our sins were laid on the Lamb and the spirit left Him – but “that sinless, now dead, man” could not be claimed by Satan – Victorious over death, the debt paid, He lives as our Resurrected Savior and King forever – this sits well with me, theologically lame though i may be :smile:

  128. How do you separate Jesus’ body from his spirit?
    This is what I said at the very beginning, these explanations diminish the person and work of Jesus.

    If you understand what was to happen and what did indeed happen, all you can say is God died on the cross.

    Geez, we haven’t even gotten into Mary the mother of God. :-)

  129. ”And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit: and having said this, he gave up the spirit.”

    Well, instead of getting all esoteric, just explain that sentence.

  130. Josh, I don’t know that that statement isn’t anything different than when someone dies we say “he gave up the ghost.”

    But you are still fighting the statement that God died on the cross. What you want to hold to is just that the man Jesus died on the cross.

    So, was Mary the Mother of God?

  131. I haven’t fought that statement in the least. I have asked you what you mean by that, and how that relates to the above Scripture.

    Mary was the mother of God. Jesus is God.

  132. ah me, there has only been one perfect man Jesus the Christ – it really is very easy to sort through, if one is willing to drop their theological trappings and just consider what is logical – did God die on the cross? of course not.
    i think that Hebrews 10:5-10 gives a clue of what/who died … beautiful, obedient Mary provided the vessel for God to prepare a body for His earthly confinement (he was, like us, body and soul, but he was (is?) more as he never once violated God’s standards) … is Jesus Christ, Himself, now and always a new creation? hmmm … might be – dunno

    not any church’s exact doctrinal stand – just mine :smile:

  133. Josh, I think you are the first Baptist I heard willing to call Mary the Mother of God. Most at best stop with the Mother of Jesus.
    Good for you. :-)

  134. I think the confusion comes like it usually comes for people, because we are stuck in time living moment to moment. God is in no way bound to time since he is the master and creator of it. I can see, sort of, how God exists completely independent of time. So, I can see how God was both dead and alive at the same time. Sometimes I can seem to grasp how God exists, but if I think to hard about it it makes my head hurt.

  135. My own opinion,

    Jesus did not DIE.

    Jesus concurred death by never sinning. The wages of sin is death, Jesus did not die. His Earthly BODY did; not Him.

    Mary is not God’s MOTHER.

    She was the mother of the Earthly transfiguration form, from the word of God form. She was blessed for her goodness and worthy to care for the human baby/child Jesus in order to raise His Earthly young age making Him the 100% human portion of the 100% God portion.

    As complicated as this is, it is far easier to understand than God DYING and having a mother thousands/eons of years after His existence.

    What part of not understanding God’s ways are not understood?
    What parts of spiritual and human differences are hard to separate?

  136. It’s too bad people are afraid to sound to Catholic. Mother of God is a description of Jesus – not a description of Mary.

    Saying. that it was God who died on the cross is the same – a description of Jesus

    Jesus is the Jehovah of the OT and we find it strange that he can be born and die – so we go away from scripture, and try to put it in understandable concepts like calling him “forms”.

  137. Many of the folks on here would say that the Mormons necessarily have a “different” Jesus…yet there is much disagreement about Jesus on this thread in terms of His deity, His death, resurrection etc.

    There seems to be a lot of divergence in the nuance of who He was and what parts He was made up of and what parts died etc. Think about it…it’s not much different than what others are asserting that most would dismiss as “another Jesus”

  138. Oh God!

  139. Alex, “divergence in the nuance” … that’s correct, but we do not disagree that it was God, Himself, in flesh providing our rescue from Satan’s death-grip – God, Himself, answering Satan’s challenge to be accepted by Him as His equal – subtle nuance of definition does not describe how The Church differs from LDS on that one

  140. Preach it, Em!!

  141. Alex,
    “much disagreement about Jesus on this thread in terms of His deity, His death, resurrection etc.”

    You must be reading a different thread – or just making stuff up to be heard.

    No one here has denied the deity of Jesus, no one has denied that Jesus died on the cross and no one has denied his resurrection. Where do you get that stuff?

    People disagree with my statement that God died on the cross – but no one denied Jesus died on the cross and no one denied that Jesus is God – just over the statement.

    Quit trying to defend Mormonism – or just go back to your home planet of Kolob.

  142. MLD @ 139 said, Mother of God is a description of Jesus – not a description of Mary.

    I have a very difficult time understanding the method of wording in that phrase.

    In the English language I know, Mother of God is absolutely describing Mary; in the very same way, Son of Mary would be describing Jesus.

    The rest of the sentence is describing the first mentioned Mother of, or Son of.

    When you call Alex a Son of a B###h are you refering to Alex or the dog?

    Never mind, you are more than likely attempting to disrespect the dog.

    (ROFLOL.)

  143. PAL,
    Mother of God is a description of who Mary gave birth to. Because the RCC has turned Mother of God into Mary worship, protestants are afraid to use the term. I don’t let others hijack good theological terms. ;-)

  144. Alex

    SHUT UP with the personal insults like “Steve Wrong”!

    You’re taking the love and liberty offered you here and insulting it

  145. up early with one cup of coffee under my belt – enough to wake me up, but not enough for discretion to kick in :smile:

    the description of Mary as the mother of God is misleading IMHO – a chosen vessel, a handmaid of the Lord and exalted above any other of us that have ever lived – an example to every woman – the whole human race rightfully should call her blessed (and will for all Eternity, i suspect)

    that said, *i* think there is more to Jesus words, ‘woman behold your son; son behold your mother’ … is there a hint, as he was giving that assignment to John to care for Mary as he would his own mother, that her role as Jesus’ mother was finished? – she was the mother of Immanuel in flesh only – a saint of the highest order among our heroes of our Faith

  146. The question is “what was born by Mary – God or a man”? As I said earlier the term Mother of God is a description of Jesus.
    If God came out of Mary, if God sat inside Mary’s womb for 9 months – why the hesitation to say Mother of God.

    I suppose it may be that many do not think Jesus as God???/ – I could be wrong. But did the “man” Jesus get born and then his “god side” entered him?

  147. Baptists do believe that Jesus is fully man and fully God. Is that the Lutheran take as well?

  148. So, I don’t think anyone here doubts that God died on the cross. The question we are asking is, did the entire trinity die on the cross, or was it just God the Son who died on the cross? Did God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit also die on the cross?

  149. Of course the Trinity did not die on the cross – where did you get that idea? But God did die on the cross.

    Jesus is fully God and fully man and the 2 cannot be separated.

  150. Ok, then. There is no disagreement. We’re just arguing sematics.

  151. perhaps, the reason for the confusion is that the mystery is deeper than our minds can grasp – or need to? … Hebrews 10:5 is as far as i need to go

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