Aug 152017
 

On Christians unable to critique Trump...

The need for rural ministry…

The history of conversion in America…

The return of anti-Semitism…

On technology and preaching…

Race, the Gospel, and the moment…

Confessions of a former “it” church pastor…

The use of the Bible in pastoral care…

Tempest in a Catholic teapot…

Flaming heretics and anathemas galore…

Do women make good ministers?

Complementarianisms Trinity confronted…

The false moral authority of Robert Jeffress…

A despicable and cowardly attack on a blogger…

John Wesleys start in preaching to the poor…

Thou shalt not bail…

What should Christians do in response to Charlottesville?

Radical thoughts on community…

What Wesley taught about schism…

Religious liberty for all…

The curse of identity politics…

Learning through joy…

A confessing church…

If God is in charge…

We must speak out…

An update on Driscoll from the Hatchet…

Big thanks as always to EricL for the link help…support him at top right.

  63 Responses to “Linkathon!”

  1. okay, i’ll start the day off on this thread with politics…
    Ed Stetzer and a whole host of folk think Trump messed up by not calling out by name the white supremacists in Charlottesville… when i heard him that Saturday i thought bravo, he’s not giving them any publicity, any recognition just the addressing the result of the hate and the fighting…
    maybe some of us are wondering why this president is relentlessly scrutinized and all his actions interpreted in the worst way possible… it might make sense to treat him like every other man we’ve elected to the office, pray for him and realize that politics has a bad odor

    just sayin… as this is no time for throwing fuel on this fomenting fire that could/can destroy this republic… no i’m not a white supremacist – anything but … 🙂

  2. Here’s what I think about Trump: He’s senile.

    The stress of the job is getting to him and is making his incipient senility worse. Em applauded him for his remarks on Saturday. Apart from many problematic things about those remarks, I think his comments about “little kids having fun” bothered me the most because it was something a senile old man in his dotage would say.

    During the campaign he said some atrocious things but they were clever, not the drivel he Tweets lately. Pure drivel. And this bothers me the most, that our President is becoming a babbling idiot. A babbling idiot with a depraved mind.

    He is NOT like every other man we’ve elected to the office. Whether you agree with his policies- whatever they are for the day- or not, his mental instability and his SERIOUS character defects and personality disorders make him a menace to us all.

  3. I think the Trump article is so good. Sadly, for too many Christians, politics rules over whether or not they will prophetically speak to right and wrong. Happens on both sides of the political aisle. It seems to be most magnified with Trump over this past year.

    So many Christian Trump supporters will regularly call out the wrong on the Left, but you will barely hear a peep from them when it comes to Trump. And there has been plenty to call out where Trump has been morally or ethically wrong. If you back them into a corner they will admit that Trump has done some things wrong, but you will next to never hear them speak to those issues on their own. But those things the Left has done wrong, they have no problem at all boldly calling them out. The prophetic voice loses a lot of its power when it is partisan.

  4. Kevin, when you point out Trump’s deficiencies it’s always “But Hilary….”

  5. That’s called “deflecting” and that is FREQUENTLY the tactic used by so many people.

    But Obama…
    But Hilary…
    But Bill (Clinton)…

  6. True words Kevin (3).

  7. Interesting, someone asked me why I hadn’t posted anything about Charlottesville on my FB page. They asked me why I hadn’t condemned the racism. I generally don’t post a POV after every national/global event. Hopefully, my whole life has been a denunciation of such evil activities. I guess the stubborn side of me feels like, “Why do I have to constantly announce my positions on social media?”

  8. I understand why Trump initially did not condemn the alt-right, KKK and neo-Nazis: He cultivated them among his base, and he can’t afford to lose them. He also agrees with at least some of their ideology. His corrective address yesterday did not have the passion that his Tweets have when he goes after people he doesn’t like.

    But what is disgusting is the relative silence from prominent Christian leaders. Our silence dishonors Christ our head. We have so much disdain for homosexuality and transgenderism, but relatively so little disdain for racism and anti-Semitism.

    If the alt-right, neo-Nazis and the KKK believe that what Trump means by “take our country back” is the same thing these groups mean by that slogan, then if they mean different things, then is is incumbent upon Trump to disavow these groups and their claim to be on his side.

    There no doubt has always been racism in this country, but these groups for some reason feel that with Trump in the White House, it is okay to bring their ideology of racism into the open. If Trump is not one of them, he needs to do more. White, conservative Christians also need to be clear about what God says about all races.

  9. PH,

    I don’t think a pastor or Christian leader needs to speak out everytime a wrong happens in society. The problem comes when they do speak out and it is always politically one-sided as to who they call out. Or even worse, when they defend or minimize or deflect from the wrongs committed by Trump (or Obama before him or Bush before him, etc.).

  10. You guys all watch too much news – cut the cable and go out and live your life.

  11. If a person with a platform, such as a pastor or a politician, especially a President, continually speaks out in harsh terms about every little thing that offends them and does not speak out against the KKK et al, by name with the same alacrity, one is justified in asking why this might be.

    I don’t for a minute think Trump neglected to mention these groups by name because he didn’t want to give them the publicity. He’s got people of a similar stripe in his own White House.

  12. It’s great that CT.com calls a spade a spade and criticizes Trump. I agree that more Christian leaders, or those self-professed leaders (we know who they are) need to speak out also. What’s disheartening is that the leaders that are constantly paraded out on Fox New et al don’t seem to care, or they blame “the devil” – as one editorial on CharismaNews did.

  13. @ #8

    Could someone define “his base” for me? Because all I hear is “republicans”.

  14. Kevin,

    Totally agree with you. I see and hear of what you are talking about all the time.

    I’m just not personally wired to be in the realm of politics and hot-button issues all the time. I do have opinions, many strong. But, I prefer to just go out and invest my time in the lives around me. I get a bit tired of activists (left or right) yapping all the time, but not really doing anything other than try to agitate me toward their perspective.

  15. Just an observation – Four CEOs have resigned from Mr. Trump’s American Manufacturing Council in protest of his tepid response to Charlottesville.

    Has anyone heard of any of the clergy on his Faith Advisory Council resigning over this moral issue?

    A very sad commentary when businessmen have greater moral courage than these so-called faith leaders.

  16. #15 Bingo!

  17. Probably, Duane, no clergy of any degree of decently would have agreed to be on his Faith Advisory Council in the first place. They are true believers. They need to ask themselves who it is they are truly believing in.

  18. James MacDoanld dropped out, if I recall correctly.

  19. I have one simple message for white folks who are being race baited by Trump and the racist groups who support him,

    racism, anti-Semitism, and immigration are not going to improve your economic lives. None of these things will change the fact that 90+% of the stuff you buy at Wal-Mart, Amazon, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc., come from low wage countries. Our economic model is broken, and until it is addressed, all these other things are scapegoating.

  20. Believe me, not a single CEO left the council over moral concerns. They left because they did not want to face any repercussions to their companies should there be protests against the companies for associating with Trump with Trump.

    They are good CEOs – they know how to protect the assets of their stock holders.

  21. Duane (15),

    My employer just released an internal memo declaring, without mentioning this past weekends events and Trumps response, reiterating the companies commitment to respecting all people, and rejecting racism, sexism, violence, and hatred.

    Yes, a VERY large corporation (one which I guarantee everyone here has heard of) runs ahead faith leaders in calling for practice of Godly principles.

  22. I have some mild sympathy for clergy who might have reluctantly voted for Trump because they hoped he would stop abortion or make biblical marriage the law of the land again. I don’t agree with these people but I understand their point. I also have some sympathy for out of work people living in dead towns who believed Trump when he said he’d bring their towns back to life again with jobs. They might not have liked him but needed a job and they believed him. So again, a certain reluctance.

    I have zero sympathy for the members of the clergy who have actively and loudly supported Trump and still do, after all we have seen of his character and instability. This suggests to me that they cannot discern right from wrong. And if they cannot discern right from wrong, they have lost any moral high ground they may have ever had and there is absolutely no reason to listen to anything they have to say about matters of morality.

  23. Now I won’t throw off on all Christian leaders. My twitter feed is full of Christians denouncing racism, the alt-right, and that sort of thing.

  24. Xenia, I’m right there with you on #22.

  25. Anyone here know or heard of Ludwig Mueller or Wilhelm Zoellner? They fashioned the German Church in the 1930s, courting the favor of the government.

    Anyone here know or heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Neimoller or Karl Barth? They fashioned the Barmen Declaration for the Confessing Church.

    As someone likes to say, “Make your own application”.

  26. It bums me out that we have become such a reactionary culture. Yes, there are definitely things that must be condemned, but now everyone seems to get wrankled up about something new every day. There seems to be no end to that which is now deemed offensive. Rather than talk we go straight to the complain, protest, boycott or riot option.

    This past week a pastor in our area wrote an article for the Spokane newspaper’s religion page. His topic was a biblical view to transgenderism. Here it is:

    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/aug/12/christians-must-offer-compassion-not-acceptance-of/

    Now, I knew when I read the article that this would be a hot-button issue, but what blew me away was the caustic toxicity of the comments that followed, so much so that the paper decided to close the comments.

    Who can live in such a constant state of outrage?

  27. PH – Its social media. Everyone has to have a take on every single issue.

  28. Now here’s something that does get me in a lather. Iceland trying to eliminate Down Syndrome through abortion. Because, hey, we can’t have any of these bothersome, non-producers gumming up the works.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/down-syndrome-iceland/

  29. Whoa, Trump is giving quite a press conference at the moment. Enough to keep the news shows busy for the next month.

  30. Curious Xenia (29)…no TV here…what’s the gist?

  31. Watching day time news is the replacement for watching day time soaps.
    The drama – hanging on every word. btw, whatever happened to N Korea – haven’t heard a word since Saturday.

    See how this works? You have been mind controlled.

  32. Dan, he’s doubling down on “both sides are at fault.”

  33. Thanks Xenia.

  34. That is heart-breaking PH.

  35. Iceland and Down’s Syndrome….

    It’s not that much different here, we just have more Christians who will not have an abortion. Not too many Christians in Iceland, I don’t think.

  36. Well, for me its too close to home. I need to take my son on a goodwill tour of Iceland. 🙂

  37. Josh @27 – including here apparently.

    Em @1 – bless your heart for being courageous and for reflecting 1 Cor 13

  38. #25

    I’ve often pondered why the great Karl Barth, among others, was wise enough to see the evils of Naziism, when so many other churches, pastors and church leaders didn’t have a clue.

    If theology and life are inseparable, as many on here believe, then I guess I’m a Barthian.

  39. well, after reading everyone’s thoughts today… i’ll stand by my comment @ #1
    two things bothered me about Saturday in Charlottesville … one was why the demonstration got an okay from the city in the first place and the second is why on earth they then went ahead and okay’d a counter demonstration to take place simultaneously? the chief of police said that both groups had promised him to enter from opposite side of the park and then to stay on their own side to demonstrate – if you don’t think that both sides had elements just itching for a fight, i suspect you might be a tad naive… or senile 🙂

    President Trump’s administration has been under fire from those who dislike him in an over the top, non productive extended tantrum that is dangerous to the stability of the Republic – IMV – capable or not, bad intentions or good, he has inherited an office that is chin deep turmoil both domestic and foreign… he didn’t create the turmoil… further, tearing him down while he holds the office is dangerous for our nation. Still, i do like the fact that he’s got some pretty good people around him in these perilous times…

    Far more folk that i know despise the President than like him, but i just can’t see the reason for such strong reaction – sorry, but i just can’t; i see just another man in the office – i’ll make my mind up when his term is up (he won’t get a chance at a second term, if the political establishment and others have their way)…i’m not smart enough or enough in-the-know to judge him now…

    if one is a Believer who sees the man as not God’s choice for the office, one should be praying harder than those of us who think that whoever is elected is God’s choice…
    But, like him or not, pray hard that God will turn his administration to bless and not to curse us… evidently, we haven’t been praying hard enough for a number of years now… IMHO

  40. Em I think that is a reasonable view. Im no fan of Trump but the way the opposition paints him is way over the top to the point where I have sympathy for him. I’ve lost trust in a media that has an agenda and has cried wolf about Trump one too many times.

  41. #38 Bob

    I’ll join you in that circle…

  42. I’ve heard the Trump administration compared to Nazism. This is not to argue but get informed…

    Where are the parallels between these 2? I get Trump doesn’t act like a Christian and has some policies that are unfair towards immigrants.

    But the comparison between Trump and Hitler seems extreme.

  43. #42 JoelG, sadly, the Holocaust has become a meme for many- which weakens the lesson society ought to learn from those atrocities. One of my great-uncles died in a concentration camp for the “crime”of being of Jewish. My parents tell of how Uncle Conrad came to their wedding wearing the required star, and then one day disappeared while on his job of delivering books (one of the few jobs he was permitted to have). He died in captivity.

    Such things are NOT happening here in the USA, no matter how much some hate their political opponents. I pray it never happens.

    As Christians, we should speak truth to power, whether that is Trump or Obama or anyone else. Sadly, some Christian leaders are enamored with power and fame and choose to embrace political leaders and then make excuses for all kinds of misuse of power and boorishness. And on the other end of spectrum, there are those who glory in a martyr-complex, who want to claim they are great saints for occasionally speaking out. They claim their discomfort is comparable to the brave souls who have risked torture and death for speaking against tyrants.

    Exaggeration and boasting usually don’t look good on us as believers.

  44. #42 Joel

    A very short but enlightening read:
    On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
    by Timothy D. Snyder

  45. Im so sorry about your great uncle, EricL.

    Thank you for articulating so well what I am thinking. Jesus chose a zealot and a tax collector to be His disciples. i don’t think that a coincidence.,

  46. Thank you Duane. I will check it out. Peace and love to you brother.

  47. #42 #44

    Agreed. The Snyder book is easy to follow. The author is the world’s foremost authority on 20th century totalitarianism — left and right.

    The more important thing here is not whether Trump=Naziism. In fact, that’s missing the point. It’s the fact that our current president is a tyrant. Snyder’s book will give you the “overwhelming” evidence and what we should be doing as patriotic Americans.

  48. #47 Bob

    I’m not sure that Mr. Trump is a tyrant, but he certainly has the makings of one. In my Tweet for this morning, I wrote that Mr. Trump is morally and mentally unfit for the office of President. The issue of morals is important. In the past, we have often “winked” at the private moral failings of our presidents. When, however, there was a public moral failure in terms of betraying commonly held American values, the failure was not tolerated. It seems to me that we have now come to such a time. Mr. Trump’s public moral failure over the last four days indicates the venality of his thinking. Given any opportunity for an authoritarian exercise of power, he will certainly make use of it. We live in a dangerous time…

  49. Am I crazy to think that in our current culture that it is darn near impossible for a president to adequately address these types of issues?

    I remember President Obama speaking into certain events, and it seemed like his words drew the ire of so many. He’d try again but it just made things worse. He would speak from his perspective, and it pleased half the country and angered the other half.

    The divide seems so huge that trying to unify a nation is useless because the nation isn’t looking to be unified.

    We have no compass, no moral center.

    We are spending more energy driving wedges rather than building bridges.

    We are in a bad place.

  50. The left seems to have the country by the short hairs right now.

  51. My Jewish family is on a rant right now. If you are not fully denouncing anything and everything white and right and fully support all things of the AntiFa demands you might as well be driving the train that will be taking the Jews to the gas chambers.

    They are nuts.

  52. Pineapple, exactly. I can remember lots of guys with P.H.D.’s after their names condemning Obama’s actions too. Declaring him unfit for office, etc.

    I think we’re way beyond common or middle ground now. There’s a whole sub-culture whose livelihoods depends on keeping us divided.

    Most of them are convinced their ways are the right ways, as is with just about any subject.

  53. Although citizens may disagree on many points of policy, and Christian citizens as well, in the case of racism or racial supremacy, Christians are uniquely qualified and called to reject racism and testify to the sanctify of all human life, from conception to the grave.

    Within the very definition of “Church” and “royal priesthood” is the solemn vocation of all Christians to defend life, liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness for all human beings, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.

    We should never parse this fundamental tenant of our faith.

  54. To those who unflinchingly try to promote racism, I condemn your thoughts and actions.

    To those who blatantly seek to promote abortion, I condemn your thoughts and actions.

    Such people have been a threat to people like my children, both adopted. One is Native American, the other Down syndrome.

    But, I am also cautious about being yanked here and there by politicians, the media, whacko fringe groups, etc. For some reason, it’s just too easy to constantly be in a state of outrage.

    A friend of mind posted this today: Here is what I learned about America this weekend. After 6 months of organization and promotion, the “largest white supremacist gathering in decades” drew only several hundred sick puppies from around the country on Saturday. Several hundred. On Sunday, 52 million Americans went to church – where everyone was welcomed and we all drink from the same cup. 62 million Americans volunteer in any given year, and 83% of Americans adults give to charity. And 145 million Americans went to work today – where people of every race, gender, ethnicity, religious belief, orientation and ability get along just fine. America is not those few hundreds who hate. It is those tens of millions who don’t. Let’s keep our perspective.”

    We must curse the darkness, but I believe we’re forgetting the skill of lighting candles.

  55. Very good comments posted by your friend, PH. Those neo-nazis are a small fringe.

    Yet, look at how the media and those with their own agenda tried their best to pin the tail on the donkey. It’s sad to watch too be honest with you. I don’t live in the same bubble.

    I’m just your average American out here trying to take care of my family, be diligent with the business God has put in my hand and most of all be a blessing to those I encounter out here on the road.

    Norhing more, nothing less…

  56. Great perspective PH. Well said Scooter.

  57. Here’s what a relatively small number of people can do (besides murder):

    http://reformjudaism.org/blog/2017/08/14/charlottesville-local-jewish-community-presses?utm_source=Share&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=BlogPost&utm_content=Zimmerman

    And, if this goes unopposed, how large will it grow?

  58. To a degree, it appears we are being terrorized by some within our own citizenry. They come from the right. They come from the left. And their goal is use fear and hate and force to convince peaceful people to become angry at their fellow countryman.

    Here in North Idaho a small group of people terrorized our city for years…until some people came up with some good, non-violent ideas on how to uproot them. Our community has lived in much more peace since then.

  59. At least Virginia was wise enough to keep the death penalty – that is a good thing to handle these little snots – like the driver.

  60. I have a hardcore atheist friend who is an activist by nature. Always stirring the pot, always poking a stick in someone’s eye. As the presidential election was ramping up, he was utterly pious and condemning toward those who didn’t see things his way. No conversation allowed. If you dared to speak a differing view, his weapon of choice was shame.

    I remember when I voted (which was not easy to do this past go-round) I left the polling place, looked around and saw the people of my community working, sharing and caring. Not a perfect community mind you, but, sheesh, the way some people made it sound, we were all devils. I posted something online about my positive feelings toward my neighbors, and he immediately responded back that I was wrong; that people were all hiding their racism. In essence, his point was “don’t believe what you see. Believe what I see in them.”

    This is not a pass for vile behavior. I’m neither passive or a pacifist. When necessary I speak up and take action. But we are being worked up to the point of losing our minds.

  61. the “little snot” may have been one as a child, evidently without a father’s influence, but he grew up to be a terrorist… he will be executed no doubt
    what is this thing that has descended on the world? where has this urge to kill somebody, anybody, but kill in order to make a statement – even if i have to kill myself – this is not racism, it is an unnamed and an insidious plague
    it seems that buried deep in the human psyche is a sense that things aren’t right, but it comes out in terrible ways – in terribly misplaced blame …. IMNSHO
    it is time to quit the analysis and the blame and begin to pray for these deluded souls to seek redemption, not retribution upon illusory enemies

    or so it seems to me this evening … dunno

  62. Re #57

    These issues should be addressed both legally and through public forum. But as I read the news this morning, I get the feel we are trying to squash it at the expense of some long-fought freedoms. It feels more hysterical than logical. Reminds me of a number of Twilight Zone episodes.

    Example: Spotify talking about shuffling through their library to get rid of White Power songs. Will they do the same for all songs that project hate? Are we ready to monitor speech with such a fine tooth comb?

    Perhaps we’re trying to take out the black widow with a little to much fire power, not considering the collateral damage to our own freedoms?

  63. John 20:29

    I can only liken it to what the Spirit foretold through Daniel

    He will cause craft to prosper

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