Apr 232014

Josh-3.jpg.pagespeed.ce.GTdorcctdYI’d like to thank Jared Moore for including us on his list of “The Top 250 Christian Blogs”.

After almost 11 years online we are, (according to the Alexa rankings) the #23,868 ranked website overall in the United States and # 156,651 in the world.

That, and $3.00 means that you’ll still have to borrow $.50 to get a coffee at Starbucks. ๐Ÿ™‚


The greater thanks goes to all of you who read here and have supported us through some real thick and real thin times.

My concern now is to make it better, more worth your time to read it and mine to write it.

What can we do better?

What issues or topics would you like to see us address as a community?

Numbers are good, real ministry is better.

It’s been an interesting ride to say the least…when did you get on?

It’sย fascinatingย to me how much closure was accomplished so quickly when Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale spoke to the details of Bob Coy’s moral failure.

There is a positive, healing power in confession…The Roman Catholics and Orthodox may be on to something.

Hopefully, Driscoll is taking notes…

In between ย crisis management I’m trying to read ourย friend Michael Patton’s ย book for new believers and Matt Chandlers’s new book also showed up yesterday.

Hopefully we’ll have reviews up soon.

What are you reading that the rest of us should?

We’re still working the church history series…for Protestants, the Middle Ages aren’t real compelling…

New post from Sarah…

I’ll be in and out all day…thanks again for being here.



  172 Responses to “Loose Ends”

  1. Congratulations Michael!!! This is my #1 christian blog! Bet that makes your day! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Huge blessing in my life! Thank you!

  2. That list should be called “Top 250 Protestant Blogs.” None of the popular blogs that I read are on there, except of course this one.

  3. I take that back- Fr. Stephen Freeman’s “Glory to God for all Things” is on the list.


  4. Xenia,

    Those lists tend to be subjective to the max.
    Sister Vassas video blog should be on the list.

  5. Revenue boosting idea:

    Get some Phoenix Preacher t-shirts printed up and sell them on the site. Instead of saying, “We’re #1”, they can say “We’re #194” (or “We’re #23,868”, if you prefer). ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Thank you, Paigemom!

  7. Sister Vassa? You know about Sister Vassa? That’s great!


  8. Xenia,

    I’ll correct that… ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. CalvaryChapelAbuse.com is now #56 and climbing fast, we’re 298,667 in the world and 39,657 in the US and I rarely write and comment over here far more than over there.

    I’m going to take it a lot more seriously now and be a lot more intentional about making it a serious player.

    I usually do well with goal-oriented / goal-based dynamics so I’m going to put down a gauntlet to help motivate me to do it better and more consistently: I’ll pass you in the rankings by one year from this date, mark it down ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. You may have spelled it right in Romanian or Bulgarian or one of the other zillion languages she has people writing subtitles for. I never saw anything take off quite like Sister Vassa!

  11. And, of course it means something. Don’t lie to the folks. If it didn’t mean anything you wouldn’t post it.

    It means a lot people are paying attention and the blogs do have a lot of influence and do work, despite your “it makes no difference, things will never change!” negativity.

  12. RB,

    I’m happy if you do.
    I rejoice in people having success in what they choose to do.

  13. Xenia,

    She puts a lot of thought and work into what she does…and it’s really well done and interesting.
    I watch them every week. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. to read books but find very little time to do so. I just finished reading a book a couple weeks back entitled, “Was America Founded As A Christian Nation?”


    The author takes a very even-handed approach to the subject. His purpose is not really to answer the question but rather present the evidence that would work toward answering it. In the end, one seems to think the answer to the question is Yes. And No.

    The book is written for the common man and you don’t need to be a history expert to understand the subject material. Very well done.

  15. Somehow the first two words of my last post got chopped off. Was supposed to start with: *I like*

  16. Michael, and that’s the spirit of my comment, I want you to succeed and I’m proud of your blog, and I like the stand you’ve taken for years which is why I’m like a bad fungus that won’t go away even when you’ve wanted me gone.

  17. KevinH,

    We used to have all sorts of PhxP junk…revenue still avoided us. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Michael, now you see the purpose of RB in your life. A decade ago, when this blog first started, you would not have responded in such a kind, charitable, irenic way to RB’s provocations. He’s given you multiple opportunities to practice the Christian virtue of turning away wrath with a soft answer, something you have become an expert in modeling to the rest of the blog.

  19. Michael, PhxP junk…..I’ll have you know I am a proud owner of a PhxP hat and wear it still.

  20. RB,

    We don’t want you gone, just not omnipresent. ๐Ÿ™‚
    The fact is that you are right on this point….we can no longer be ignored.
    Most of the real journalism online is being done by bloggers, not paid media.
    Now, we have to grow into the responsibility that comes with influence…

  21. Dusty,

    I loved that stuff…still have a coffee cup and bumper sticker. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. X, that is a truer statement than you realize.

  23. ohohoh remember puzzletop was talking about making PP dolls of our blog names.

  24. As far as what I am currently reading, I am slogging through two books that have been bound together as one: Jesus through the Centuries/ Mary through the Centuries by Jaroslav Pelikan. While I am very interested in the topic and admire Pelikan very much, the writing is as dry as a Bakersfield back yard in August.

  25. Xenia,

    I really like Pelikan…surprised that it’s dry.
    I just finished an audio book of his.

  26. Dusty,

    It was fun when we weren’t under siege… ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. KevinH,

    I’ll get that when I go back to work…he has some high powered endorsements.

  28. Michael, it may be that I have been reading too much serious stuff lately, mostly for school and it is all seeming a little dry at the moment. Maybe it’s time to read a few murder mysteries where the main character is a dog or a cat. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. “Weโ€™re still working the church history seriesโ€ฆfor Protestants, the Middle Ages arenโ€™t real compelling..”

    Ahh… true… but they shouldn’t be. How can someone understand the Reformation without the Middle Ages?

    Still reading my Christmas present – Complete Work of Jonathan Edwards – when I’m not busy working or watching playoff hockey. The way my LA Kings are playing, I may be doing more reading in the future than I thought… ๐Ÿ™

  30. Xenia,

    Last night was the first night I’ve had to myself in a long time.
    I had a bunch of noble tasks I wanted to undertake…and ended up staring into space with headphones on.
    Sometimes we need a break. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. We learn a lot here….even those who won’t admit it learn a lot here….even if it was just how to type faster than the other guy to prove their point. lol

  32. Papias,

    Hockey season is sadly almost over for us… ๐Ÿ™

  33. this is my #1 Christian blog…and the other blogs I read sprang from here.

  34. Dusters,

    That’s the goal…to be able to learn from others and challenge each other, but in an attitude of peace.
    Not always possible, but worth trying.

  35. Congrats on the rating, Michael!!

    I just got a biography on G.K. Chesterton for my birthday…the Nightmare Goodness of God: the Making of the Christian Imagination) by Ralph Wood. Really excited to get into this one…just finished Count of Monte Cristo and a Dorothy Sayers novel ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The boys are doing testing this week, so when I am not in a zombie state from benadryl I am able to actually read some!

  36. Oh, and Papias and Michael…you guys could have the Preds for your home town team. We love them…they are great guys and hang out with the kids (my oldest plays ice hockey and they practice with the kids), but um. Yeah. They finally let Trotz go, so maybe we’ll start winning some games next year.

  37. Sarah,

    If you really get some time…review the Chesterton bio for us. ๐Ÿ™‚
    My guess is that there is a whole generation that hasn’t been exposed to him and his writings.

  38. Still reading though the book Boundaries,3rd time -a real eye opener for someone like me who had no boundaries and did not know I needed to have them for my freedom.

  39. Sarah,

    I’m a Kings, Vikings,and Blazers fan.
    I have much practice in loving losers. ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. Dusty,

    I recommend that book highly…very highly.

  41. We just introduced our home group to him the other day with a great essay he wrote and now we are reading The Man Who Was Thursday to finish out the year. He wrote 4000 essays. Insane volume of work. This is becoming my year to read him; I am drawn more and more to him. I love this, from First Things:

    “For decades, GKC was at the center of the great public controversies of his day, and engaged both issues and opponents in a way that drew, not merely the respect, but the love, of his opponents. One need not agree with Chestertonโ€™s opinions in whole or in part to recognize that he had a remarkable insight into modernity and its discontents and a singularly fetching way of demolishing an intellectual opponent without drawing blood or leaving bruises.”

  42. I’d love to do a review on him, even if he did convert back to Catholicism ๐Ÿ˜‰ I actually have two biographies to read from him, so maybe I’ll wait until I can work through both. Ralph Wood is another Regent speaker…speaks on Tolkien, Chesterton, Lewis, etc.

  43. favorite book by far is Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss

    โ€œYou cannot prove to yourself that you love God by examining your feelings toward Him. They are indefinite and they fluctuate. But just as far as you obey Him, just so far, depend upon it; you love Him. It is not natural to us sinful, ungrateful beings to prefer His pleasure to our own or to follow His way instead of our own way, and nothing, nothing but love of Him can or does make us obedient to Him.โ€
    โ€• Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, Stepping Heavenward

  44. Sarah,

    In my limited knowledge of Chesterton he had a gift that is missing from Christiandom today.
    He knew how to speak in a manner that all people were compelled to listen.
    We desperately need to relearn that art…

  45. Last night I watched Mike Warnke preaching at Rick Joyner’s place and saying nice things about Todd Bentley. A true PhxPr trifecta. All three have been pilloried here.

    Maybe that is a good place to start. Heretics / unqualified for ministry – what say ye?

  46. PP Vet,

    Two frauds and a false prophet.
    I’d start by putting them all on raft and sinking it outside Coos Bay.
    If you’re seriously going to defend proven frauds and adulterers there’s not much I can say to you.

  47. Dusty, Boundaries is a an excellent book IMO.

    I read it over 10 years ago when I first tackled the abuse in our dysfunctional family.

    It’s an empowering book.

  48. I didn’t even know Warnke was still around. Crazy.

    Michael…what is interesting is how much his opponents respected him.

  49. WOW PP Vet, who put a bee in your bonnet? spiteful much?

  50. Michael said, “We donโ€™t want you gone, just not omnipresent.”

    But, I’m just trying to be like Jesus! ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. PP Vet is our resident Antinomian. It’s the lens he looks through. I think those dudes are fakes and frauds as well and I don’t like that they seem to exploit gullible folks for their money, but God probably loves them despite their flaws, too…though those flaws should have consequences in the here and now and they should stop doing the bad stuff they’re doing.

  52. Michael and Rick Bob,

    the first time I read it I could not even get past the first chapter, cried for days. Had to put the book down for a week or two to gain the courage to begin again….still have not made it all the way though the whole book yet. Up to Chap 9. I just read as far as I can then put it away and when I pick it up I start over at the beginning. So, I am at chap. 2 for the 3rd time. lol

  53. Sarah,

    I would contend that he received respect because he gave it…along with thoughtful, intelligent, and often humorous writing.
    He didn’t frame everything as “us against them”…he engaged in dialog and was heard.
    We need to relearn that art.

  54. PP Vet is conflating two separate issues.

    If you have been born again from above and choose to believe that God will then make you spurt canola oil and glitter, that’s your business.
    I’ll get the towels.
    Those are secondary doctrinal differences that I indeed find odious and foolish, but don’t disqualify you from the kingdom.

    What I have lambasted (and will continue to do so) is the exploitation of the most vulnerable for the sole benefit of the exploiter.
    That’s a character issue, not a doctrinal one.

  55. I use Xenia too often as an example and I thank her for being gracious enough to allow me to do so.
    She is Eastern Orthodox, I am a classic Calvinist.
    We have irreconcilable doctrinal differences on a whole host of issues.
    I do not doubt her salvation and place in the kingdom of God one iota.

    Her tradition is ancient and holy and has much to teach the rest of us.
    Her spirit and the fruit of that Spirit are evident to all who ever read here.

    I can’t embrace her tradition, nor she mine.

    I can still consider her family and I do.

    That was the point of what I wrote Monday;

    “We err grievously when we fail to distinguish between the beliefs and doctrines necessary to be part of our particular tradition or sect and those necessary for participation in the kingdom of God.”

  56. Dusters, keep at it. Glad you’re reading it, and that the first chapter had that sort of effect on you (I know it did me) is a good sign that you (like me) needed to read it.

  57. We came on here about 7 years ago. (Hubby doesn’t write much, but he reads daily) During that time we have gone through some difficult, but also wonderful (funny how God does that!) ministry changes. You all were here to pray with us and encourage us. We have gone through some very painful family times with loss of loved ones and life threatening problems…you all have been there praying with us. I’ve met a couple of you face to face, and some of you on FB…some over the phone. Some only here. I just want you to know that this community is an important part of my life and you all have enriched our lives. Thank you!

  58. Nonnie,

    Everyone here feels the same way about you.
    You’re part of the glue that holds us all together…

  59. I get it now. i think ๐Ÿ˜‰

    We have many differing doctrines represented here, Xenia, MLD, Grendel, Michael, me, …but the same beliefs….Jesus died for our sins….and is the Son of God…..and is Risen from the dead…Father, Son and Holy Spirit……The Apostles’ Creed…right?

  60. Nonnie, I agree with Michael. You are loved. ((((hugs))))

  61. Nonnie…the boys know you as the one who sent the bathtub to Maddie ๐Ÿ˜‰ They still talk about her taking baths in that tub!!!! You are very loved, and your insights are always appreciated.

  62. Dusty,


  63. sarahkw- Chesterton’s great. If you really get into it, there is the American Chesterton Society, and a UK one, among others. They have chapters in different cities, with scholars & speakers that come & do presentations, etc…

    Not that I got into him or anything like that ๐Ÿ˜‰

  64. PN…He tends to draw you in, doesn’t he ๐Ÿ˜‰ I haven’t gone to a conference yet, but I do follow the ACS. This year I introduced my oldest boy to Chesterton and he became pretty fascinated by all the genres Chesterton covered. We even found some audio of Chesterton online…


  65. Michael,

    First off, congratulations.

    Regarding your comment #56, that was the spirit I was addressing in my comments the other day. The minimum doctrine that one would consider a brother or sister Christian. That discussion was useful and you and others suggested several points and showed how certain cults didn’t fit those distinctions. Then, oddly, the conversation swung to baptism — recommended or required? The battle was drawn and the words flew. I don’t mean to belittle that, but isn’t it much ado about nothing. Of course, those would be fighting words, wouldn’t they? Not looking for a fight. Just think that I would agree Christians on both sides of that and many other doctrinal disagreements are still my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    I thought that rather funny. Our church believes that baptism is important as an outward sign of an inward change. Sort of like a married person wearing a wedding band. The band isn’t what makes them married, but it does symbolize it.

    The church down the street believes that baptism is essential. Therefore, they want to dunk a person as soon as possible after they declare for Christ. The fear is that a bus will hit them before they can get baptized.

    I don’t think that makes them non-Christians, and I doubt they, or anyone on this blog, would disqualify me because of my belief about baptism.

    I think that was your point and that is certainly mine. That is what makes this blog special.

    And, regarding Xenia, I’ve never met her. Yet her heart is so obvious from her comments that I have no problem including her in my definition of Christian. In fact, she reminds me a lot of the person who first led me to Christ.

    To tell the truth, I’m not big on doctrine. I think I’m on the right side of Bible teachings and I leave the details to the professionals.

    Still, I like to read the discussions as they are illuminating to me, and I may need some correction in my beliefs or increased understanding of other’s beliefs.

    I love the people I have met here on PhxP, largely because they have increased my universe and understanding. Keep up the good work and blessings to all.

  66. Now a couple of stories, sort of to the point I raised earlier.

    A pastor met several new people at a party. The discussion became one of occupation. When the pastor was asked what he did, he said he was a pastor. One of the other party goers said that he didn’t think much of religion. The pastor answered, “Neither do I.”

    The point is that religion is a man-made object by fallen humans trying their best to get it right. I consider it different than “belief.”

    I’m a fan of rock and roll and blues and I barely tolerate country and want nothing to do with rap. But that doesn’t mean I would tell a hip hop or rap fan that what they are listening to isn’t music. Classical, rock, country, rap, they’re all music. We just each have our own favorite. That’s my view.

  67. On the topic of what pastors said, and completely off any topic in this thread, here’s another pastor story.

    A person told a pastor that he wouldn’t go to church because it was “full of hypocrites.”

    The pastor responded, “Oh no, we’re not full. We have plenty more room.”

    I sort of like that one too.

  68. sarahkw-

    That was great, thank you. I some cassettes he was on awhile ago, but they were lost in my cross-country move years ago.

    I always love how he turns a phrase, and his self-deprecating humor. I think it ties-in to what You and Michael were saying about even his detractors liking him; he never took himself too seriously, thus one never felt lauded over.

    Be careful, though, it’s addictive….then there’s The Inklings, The Inklings Societies, etc.


  69. J.U.,

    Thank you for the kind words and thank you for participating.
    I didn’t even bother throwing in the Reformed view of baptism…it would have just taken us farther afield from the point I wanted to make…and you got. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  70. Michael asked that if I was interested, I could list some specific people so that he could weigh in on whether they were heretics. I was not necessarily defending them, promoting them, or being mean in any way – just asking for MN’s opinion.

    I think that MN becomes a joke if he postures himself as some sort of arbiter of moral accountability without policing himself.

    He has called many frauds, heretics, and false prophets. As he pointed out, brothers in Christ can be frauds and liars. I think it is healthy for his position to be defensible and accountable.

    Of course he can say in many cases, I don’t know.

  71. Just saw our grandson as he had his adenoids removed this morning. It’s as if nothing happened he’s doing so well. He had 90% blockage so this will help his speech a bit. Thankful for a smooth surgery.

    The one thing I thought needed to be done better was that of moderating the blog. But it appears you now have help Michael? I can sense a change with old friends returning and I hope they stick around as able.

    I think what drives the blog a lot is your weekly Things I Think article. You always hit on things people are interested in and there’s always good conversation. I also enjoy the links you’ve been sharing and I think Brian D would give you a thumbs up!

    I think it’s important to inform us of happenings in the body although some may not like it. When reported in a balanced way and with measured responses there’s a lot to learn and a ton of personal application we can all use.

    Something you had and maybe could be of use going forward are pages you could set up for folks who want to talk about baptism, eschatology, etc. There would be a standing place for us to go to when we wanted to learn different denominations beliefs in these areas.

    You know how much I appreciate you and this community. Keep up the good work!

  72. X, regarding your #29.
    If you like murder mysteries, my wife is reading through “The Tea Shop Mysteries” by Laura Childs. She really likes them!


  73. e,
    The discussion did not start off as baptism – it was in reaction to gospel reductionism that goes on here sometimes. I pointed out that Phillip spoke to the Ethiopian about more than just confessing Jesus… and then we were off to the races, led by those in error who thought I was wrong. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    But it is not as simple as just confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.

  74. As for what I am reading.
    I just finished “Awake in the Nightland” by John C. Wright…a dark, but compelling book of novellas.
    I am about to start reading “Fiddlehead” by Cherie Priest. This is the last in the Clockwork Century series.

    No religious books at the moment I need some fiction right now.

  75. MLD, my comment had nothing to do with that article. There’s good stuff there but as newer articles are posted the things that were shared will slowly disappear.

    Is Kershaw getting his 7-8 hundred grand for every missed start? ๐Ÿ™‚

  76. Oh yeah, I’m going through a biography of Nehemiah by Gene Getz. I have liked his books in the past, especially The Measure Of A Man.

  77. Isn’t he on worker’s comp like the rest of us when we are hurt on the job? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  78. Dude, you’re hard to keep up with! ๐Ÿ™‚

  79. I’m going to rant, then go about my business.

    I love having Xenia here because she represents her tradition intelligently, and knows what she believes and why she believes it.
    I love having MLD here for the same reason… Steve Wright knows his tradition as well.

    They know their own faith traditions and can defend them and speak to questions about them from within them.

    I am a Calvinist.
    I have studied the Reformed tradition for many, many years.

    If you want to know what a tradition other than your own believes, ASK SOMEONE FROM THAT TRADITION.

    Don’t ask some damn hillbilly who thinks the church was founded in 1968 on a beach in California.

    Don’t ask some nob who went to one church for awhile and now thinks he’s a freaking expert on the history and theology of a group he had a passing encounter with.

    Lutherans, the Reformed, the Orthodox, Wesleyans and the Anabaptists have long histories and hundreds of years of scholarship behind them.

    Read that material to get informed…not the half assed mental meanderings of people who think they are against something and feel the need to warn the world of their night terrors.

  80. That’s a pretty good rant!

  81. Xenia,

    My apologies if I offended…I got a tad angry.
    More than a tad.

  82. You sure didn’t offend me!

  83. I hope that wasn’t aimed at my 72…

  84. erunner,

    It wasn’t aimed at anyone here.
    I’m sick and tired of Calvary Chapel always having someone talking about things they know nothing about…authoritatively.
    I usually ignore it, but they got to me again.

  85. erunner,

    Thanks for the kind words, by the way.
    I’ve been out most of the day and I’m just now catching up.

  86. With one of the suggestions I listed I wasn’t quite sure… have a peaceful night!

  87. Just saw your 86… thanks and still have that peaceful night! ๐Ÿ™‚

  88. Michael you saved my life and in a strange way my soul. As Alex had an epiphany so did I. It is not apologetically correct or even doctrinally pure but it rocked me to my soul. I came to the realization that I love God and He loves me. You know what that means as you have allowed my rants and over the top emotional rhetoric. Spiritual pain runs so deep, I have struggled with pain from Glaucoma, Arthritis, strained tendons and blown disks, but nothing cuts like spiritual wounds. It just does not. At six I was burned, my oldest brother told me the story of the three bears in the back bathroom as I watched the burned skin float up as he was trying to just comfort me. My neighbor drove me and my mom to the hospital. We hit every single light, back in the day 1966 emergency services did what they could.

    I was wheeled into the emergency room and I remember them cutting the dead skin and the water treatments. Being the dork I am I did not go into shock so I would not remember, that seems to be the theme of my life I just dont forget. I remember praying the few prayers a Catholic kid knows and the demons coming through the window in my room to take me. There was no window and pretty much those dreams dont go away. Even with all that pain, nothing hurt like being lost to the faith community, mostly do to my own sin, anger, rhetoric etc. You let me stay, ask, hope, cry, ponder, rage, etc. I found God again, So many more have suffered so much more, I wish I could be like them, I am not, I am just me. A coward at times, a fool, often, a devicisive soul, often prideful and arrogant. At times I exaggerate, use hyperbole to make a point. What I am is a wounded soul most of those wounds are self inflicted, yet He keeps healing me. I beg your forgiveness you fine people, never did, no often I wished to bring disrepute to the body of Jesus because I was so angry. I ask your forgiveness. Please pray for me as I do pray for you. Yes I do in my own broken way. This is most likely the most honest post I have written. Again I am sorry for any offense caused. My only hope is to walk in the land those I have worked with will be reconciled to when all this passes. Offered for what it is worth.

  89. Michael, I loved the rant! you hit it out of the park!

  90. Michael @ 85 said “Iโ€™m sick and tired of Calvary Chapel always having someone talking about things they know nothing aboutโ€ฆauthoritatively.”

    I hear you brother. Me too! I was given the stark warning when I went to another confessional type church because some CC guy assumed the church was “adding” all this EXTRA stuff to the simple word of God. I tried to point them to the “Distinctives” as being Chuck’s Smith’s EXTRA stuff but of course that fell on deaf ears. Anyway, I have come to the conclusion (with exceptions) that most CC pastors are the most biblicaly arrogant yet most uneducated folks around. I still love them though and hope to be restored some day to them.

  91. Andrew, why would you want to be restored to someone who hurt you? forgiveness does not necessitate fellowship, or being set up to be hurt again.

  92. Dusty,
    You are correct but church, fellowship, etc.. is not supposed to be so pastor centric. I enjoyed many people in the CC I attended. I got on the wrong side of one person (the senior pastor) in a large church and because of that, I lost ALL my friends. Many leaders, elders, pastors and others seem to always make the assumption I went to the church to “sit under” the pastors teaching. That really wasn’t the case for me. I went to have fellowship, to worship, to sing and be with brethren but listening to the pastor’s sermon or “sitting under” the pastors authority was not the MOST important thing to me and I really don’t think it should be for anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I respect authority but when the pastor abuses it, it is hard to take. I learned my lesson though to not get involved with this kind of cult-like pastor centric church but still I love the people I was involved with whether or not the pastor was a jerk or not. The pastor would have to repent and apologize before I could have fellowship with him. That is for sure and I agree with you on that.

  93. Andrew, sounds a lot like our story. But if they were real friends they would still be your friends. their relationship with you should not depend on your relationship with the pastor. that is school yard bully mentality. that is cult mentality.

    I was BFF’s with many at my church and hung out exclusively with them…and yet they chose to throw away our friendship…telling me I was no longer welcome in their life.

    why would you want that? to go though that pain again? it is still a cc and they still go there, chances are they still feel the same toward you.

  94. Dusty, you do make some great points and it is cult mentality. My true friends at the CC don’t even go there anymore. I know some left. I’m not sure about others though because I lost all contact. It was too painful to remain in contact with many of them when I was abruptly and clandestinely removed from fellowship. Most of my acquaintances there probably don’t know any better though. It is the out of sight, out of mind mentality of the mega church complex. Other than the leadership, I had absolutely no fallout with anyone other than falling off the radar with communications which primarily came from leadership. I’m kind of like the Malaysian flight 370 that went missing without a trace but in my case, no one is really looking for where I landed. I was single at the time with no family or children in the church so I guess it was real easy for the leadership to just squeeze me through the cracks when no one is looking.

  95. nob vs. hillbilly… I’d rather be a hillbilly ๐Ÿ™‚ Good rant Michael!

  96. covered,

    You’re neither…you’re in the group I esteem the most.
    The constant learner.
    You spend the time and the money to learn and grow.
    My pastor is in that group as well.
    I can’t believe I woke up and I’m still hot as a hornet about this…need to reboot.

  97. brian,

    You always post in the wee hours when I’m asleep.
    We love you here…period.

  98. Michael, your passion first for God’s Word and second for God’s people is evident. Because of the things I just mentioned, you will be upset at those who abuse both. The result? A blog! It’s good to be here don’t ever think it isn’t worth it because this is a great place to heal.

  99. covered,

    Thank you, my friend.
    I hope this place is as you say for all our sake.
    I’m so tempted right now to just cut fire on the group that has offended me…but there is little profit in such.

  100. Michael,
    After your “Rant” you said a few posts later “It wasnโ€™t aimed at anyone here.
    Iโ€™m sick and tired of Calvary Chapel always having someone talking about things they know nothing aboutโ€ฆauthoritatively.
    I usually ignore it, but they got to me again.”

    Did I miss something?

  101. MLD,

    One of the “new faces’ of CC decided to write an article on Calvinism for their splashy new website.
    It was an almost embarrassing exercise in missing the point of what he thought he was critiquing.
    I made the mistake of reacting and responding.
    Costa Mesa needs to pick on Lutherans for a while. ๐Ÿ™‚

  102. Michael, you mean the simpleminded blog guys? they never new what they were talking about.

  103. “Costa Mesa needs to pick on Lutherans for a while.”

    They can’t – half of their mothers are old Lutheran ladies. ๐Ÿ™‚

  104. Dusty,

    No, this is on the new main site for CC.
    The SMP kicked me out a couple of years ago. ๐Ÿ™‚

  105. Maybe you should respond to it Michael…. as opposed to the rant. ๐Ÿ™‚

  106. Why is CC so threatened by “Card-carrying New Calvinists” that they need to warn folks like this? Are they afraid of a take over by Driscolls Acts29 church or something?

  107. Andrew – not to debate Calvinism itself … but I would fight hard aginst it if it reared it’s head in Lutheran churches.

    CC has a right to fight any bad or opposing doctrine they want. I think what Michael is upset with is that in this effort, they are mis characterizing what Calvinism is.

    Just as i am sure you would fight against people bringing into your church the doctrine of Moses Model.

  108. I’m looking for leaders to set examples. Johnny Mac goes off on Charismatics, someone else goes off on Rick Warren, someone goes off on CC, another goes off on Calvinism.

    As long as this continues the church will continue to splinter into an us vs. them attitude which is ripe for self righteous attitudes to take over.

    I see nothing redeeming taking place in these situations.

  109. MLD, that is not my point. My point is whether CC views a serious imminent threat from New Calvinism? This seemed to be George Bryson’s fight that they conveniently removed. So I am bit perplexed.

  110. I have to try to keep my hand to my own plow.
    I don’t wake up in the morning worried that someone in my church will find the now non existent distinctives of Calvary Chapel so attractive that they might leave.
    If that were the case, I’d help them find the best CC in town and bless them as they went.

    My beef is that I’ve had to endure years of crap coming from CC about Calvinism and I’m sick of it.

    If they want to go back to the us vs. them days they damn well better pack a full lunch.

    They also might want to stop recruiting a token Calvinist to show how “new” they are.

    Don’t think I don’t know what you’re up to, Brian…

  111. I thought it was common knowledge that Dan Haseltine was a nutter.

  112. Andrew,

    The issue among one group of CC guys is that younger clergy are attracted to the “New Calvinism” and have left CC to pursue Acts 29 or other affiliations.
    The core of CC pastors is aging…and there will be a dramatic turnover in the next 10-20 years.
    That’s why they’re trying so hard to be hip and so threatened by the “new Calvinism”.

  113. I never actually listened to this band but I know my old high school students were big fans and wore T-shirts, etc, proclaiming their glory. So while they have no influence on me, they do affect all those high school students who thought they were the bee’s knees and probably saw them as role models. A few hundred CCM fans will turn the corner because of this, I imagine. I did not know that Mr. Haseltine was nuts but I do know that he is an apostate.

  114. The New Calvinist article on the CC website was pointless. For a group that is trying to be inclusive with a wider portion of The Body of Christ, misinformed and misdirected articles like this only serves to feed that portion of CC this is anti-Reformed, while allowing Brodersen to post pictures of books written by Calvinists on his fb page. It is a similar version of the same “polarize and conquer” tactics that were part and parcel to the previous regime, which will probably work rather well since they have thrown out Bryson.

  115. From what I have read (only on links provided by the PhxP) this “New Calvinism” does seem to be the next wave of coolness in the Protestant world. CC hasn’t been considered cool in ages (a good thing, in my opinion) but those who value coolness above humility will be attracted to these kinds of things so I do understand why some CC people perceive this as a threat. The pursuit of coolness is of the devil, if you ask me.

  116. “next wave of coolness” should be “current wave of coolness” because there is surely something even cooler on the horizon.

  117. When we say “hip” & “cool” does that mean you walk up to some chick and say “hey good lookin’ – I’m a New Calvinist.” Because i am always looking for some new and original pick up lines. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  118. ” The pursuit of coolness is of the devil, if you ask me.”

    It is hard to see such pursuit as anything but a feeding of the flesh. The short argument is that it is furthering the gospel, as if God needs the bright lights and relevant style jeans to draw all people to Himself.

    I think there has to be some type of balance in the equation. Church Smith was not relevant, however, Lonnie, Tom and Chuckie [Jr.] all were.

    Part of the greater attraction to Orthodoxy today, at least from my observation, is that people are seeing the facade of modern evangelicalism along with unanswered questions that they cannot address. Pragmatism has to have all the answers, and some people are seeing the impossibility of such a stance.

  119. Doesn’t CC know its “hip to be square”! ~ Huey Lewis


  120. MLD,

    You approach the young lady and tell her it was predestined that you go out…

  121. Well said, Ixtlan…twice. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  122. I guess “Church Smith” was a Freudian slip? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  123. Erunner to his wife to be…….. “are you okay?” wife to be…. “what do you mean”…. Erunner… “I was wondering if you were hurt when you fell from Heaven?” ๐Ÿ™‚ Going on 38 years of wedded bliss!!!

  124. The short argument is that it is furthering the gospel, as if God needs the bright lights and relevant style jeans to draw all people to Himself.

    CC makes big money selling the “testa-mints” in the CC bookstore. If you have bad breath when sharing the gospel it may turn someone off and their eternal destiny is a stake. So you got to keep marketing them in their store I mean church…

  125. e, you silver tongued fox you. The 1st time i spoke to my wife, I stammered and stuttered and almost puked I was so nervous. (but I was only 17 – and not the man of the world you were at the time.) ๐Ÿ™‚

  126. Michael @ 102

    Do you have a link to that site?

  127. As to Jars of Clay, at one time they were one of my favorite bands. I would no longer term them a favorite, not because of this issue, but rather my interest in CCM has waned over the years and my circle of favorites is much smaller now. But I did see them the first time in concert when they were nobodies and just starting out. They were opening up for another band and after their performance, my friends and I were wowed and thought they could turn into something pretty big.

    These recent proclamations by Haseltine don’t really surprise me. I think it’s been known for a while now that Jars of Clay was more liberal/progressive in their ways compared to most other musicians in CCM. And when you look at the Church as a whole and the number of people/churches that are now coming out in support of gay marriage, there is no surprise that it will happen with some CCM artists. While, I won’t go to the degree of calling Haseltine apostate, I certainly don’t agree with his views and am saddened by them.

  128. Bob,

    It’s one of the featured articles at calvarychapel.com.

    I don’t want to promote them because the Phoenix Preacher is crushing them in the ratings. ๐Ÿ™‚

  129. Announcement: Dateline: Los Angeles

    Since I lost a Loser Leaves Town debate on another thread here, I am suspending myself from this blog for 90 days. After the 90 days surpass I will reinstate myself as long as the Board of Directors of Phoenix Preacher don’t ban me.

  130. My favorite part of that mess was this comment:

    “Michael, I dont think he is saying Calvinism ONLY is concerned with sotereological doctines, just that any Calvinist would agree and argue to his or her death that the salvic aspects are the “distinctives” that are fairly exclusive to Calvinism by definition. If you disagree, feel free to look up Calvinism in any Bible Encyclopedia written by any Reform scholar and you will note that they say the same thing. I know this because I am a Molinist CC pastor and adjunct professor in a seminary for Calvinist Baptists and I have just finished an MAR, MDiv and ThM at a Calvinist Seminary…summa cum laude. Not in a boasting sense but so you know that I am quoting from reformed scholars when I say that Calvinism is distinctively Salvic yet shares many positions with others on non-salvic topics.”

    This guy is so humble and so well educated that he is able to make up his own theological terms.
    “Salvic” is not a word I’ve ever encountered in any theology I’ve ever read.

  131. Solomon,

    I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about…but that’s not unusual.

  132. But Michael, if calvarychapel.com passes you in the rankings, you’ll have to get those t-shirts reprinted to say We’re #195, instead of We’re #194.

  133. PhxP is like #30 something and CC Abuse is #56. Both are BEASTS in the Christian blog world…but PhxP is top dog for now ๐Ÿ™‚

  134. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a little friendly rivalry. I truly like PhxP and Michael even though the dynamic ticks me off at times b/c I think I’m right most of the time and see things the way I do and am much more a chief than an indian.

    I like this blog b/c it’s authentic and shows a more realistic take of Christianity* than the pre-packaged phony garbage of “church” blogs out there. You don’t see real life and authenticity in the homogenized and sanitized world of Church Blogs and Professional Christian media. You find realness and real life on the blogs that don’t make money.

  135. C’mon, RB, don’t complicate this t-shirt making business anymore than it already is. We can’t be changing the number on the t-shirt every 5 minutes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  136. Kevin H, LOL! Well, don’t sell PhxP short…it’s currently way up the list according to Alexa.com rankings. That #195 is a really old number.

  137. As of today: PhxP would be #40 and CC Abuse would be #56

  138. I say this to encourage Michael. He gets too negative and defeatist which is a weakness of his IMO.

    The blogs are on the fore-front of the new “church” dynamic. They’ve carved out a place in church history and are probably here to stay for awhile and will continue to gain influence and reach for some time as folks get tired of being lied to and get tired of being spun.

    Most people would just like some honesty even when it’s ugly and messy.

  139. “Theyโ€™ve carved out a place in church history”

    LOL – somebody has an overinflated ego and view of himself.

  140. Those numbers will change and they don’t pay my bills.
    I’m blessed that folks read me, but I also know my limitations.
    I just want to be consistently good at ministering to and informing people of our history, our hopes, and our challenges.
    You’ll pass me in a couple of weeks, RB…

  141. Whatevs MLD. And, it’s not “me”…it’s Jesus! It’s all about Jesus!

  142. I’m not going to fake your definition of humility. I’m not humble by your definition. I am honest and transparent…which is my definition of humble and mine might be the correct definition.

  143. Rick Bob, It is all about Jesus! Amen! However, you do realize almost everybody calls their god Jesus right?

  144. Awwwwwww how sweet you are Ebrother….

  145. MLD, I can’t imagine you finding it hard to come up with something to talk about.

    You and Ebrother are such romantics. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  146. don’t know how much I should share but I am pretty much house bound most of the time. I can go for walks on some days, been too cold here most days still. I can’t wander far or I get lost and cant walk a straight line.

    So buster put up a bird feeder near the window where our couch is. and a bird bath. it has been fun watching them and discovering what kind of birds they are. I actually got the grackles to allow the smaller birds to feed. At the beginning they would scare them away.

    It has been so relaxing to sit and watch them eat and get along together.

  147. One day we saw a chipmunk run up the pole and fill his cheeks, run down the pole and deposit his stash, run back up the pole…..he repeated this several times ….the first few times was cute until we realized he was cleaning us out of bird seed….so……buster greased the pole…that is when the real entertainment started. lol he hasn’t been back, no squirrels either.

  148. here I am again all alone. lol sigh oh well..

  149. Hi Dusty…you’re not alone ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m so glad you’re back!

  150. I was feeding the birds in our back yard for several years (sparrows, mostly). During these same years, I got no fruit from my fruit trees and berry bushes. Hmmmm……. So I quit feeding the birds, they moved to another neighborhood and this year my apricot tree is loaded. Those sparrows were eating up the bird seed and having fruit pie for dessert! But not this year.

  151. I’m glad you’re back too, Dusty. ๐Ÿ™‚

  152. And it’s great to see you too, Linnea!

  153. X, we’ve got backyard chickens now. They eat every bug in sight, but also my wife’s garden LOL.

    We have a young hawk who has been hanging out lately eye-balling our chickens. The hawk feeds under a tree on a small hill in our yard…the kids watch him eat field mice and other birds. It’s like National Geographic right out our back window.

    Hopefully the chickens survive the hawks, our cat and the raccoons ๐Ÿ™‚

  154. Chickens are the best! A hawk eyeballs my hens too but the mighyt farm dog (our Chihuahua) chases him away. What kind of chickens do you have?

  155. We have two Leghorns and two Rhode Island whites. The Leghorns are brown. We love them. We figured the kids would love them…but we didn’t expect us adults to love them so much. Petunia eats grass and feed out of my daughters hand and comes to her. They’ve all got personality, move as a group, have their routines, it’s great. The cat has left them alone for the most part, which we were worried about at first. The chickens are big enough now that I don’t think the cat’s a problem…just gotta watch the hawks and the raccoons and foxes.

  156. Oh, and they’re all hens, no roosters, we’ve got neighbors ๐Ÿ™‚

  157. We live in town and a raccoon got Ruby last year. Also, make sure you don’t have any foxglove growing where the girls can get to them. Flo ate some and died. We love our chickens, too. They are such funny little creatures.

  158. Dusty… Really , really good to see you posting again!

    How thoughtful of buster to put up that bird feeder… Tell him I said – good job! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sounds like there’s a flurry and fluttery of activities going on out there and a bit of comedy too -that you didn’t have at the other place…

    as for walking., unbelievable how chilly it’s been! Can’t wait to get together in warmer weather … Would love to go walking with ya!

  159. Xenia and RB

    Tickles me to hear about your chickens! They are funny little creatures … Miss mine

    One morning years ago , my son came up to me and said
    ” It was a really strange sight when I got up,,. Saw a coyote out back running up the hill shaking a big white pillow in its mouth .. Weird!”

    .. A pillow ? Hmm

    Didn’t give it too much more thought til sitting on the back deck and the noon sun lit up a patch of white feathers like a beacon …pillow … White feathers… Coyote…
    Oh .. Our little hen! The one who was the friendliest of the bunch ! Coyote lunch …
    Sad day for the family that was

  160. My grand kids have chickens. Just got them. I would like some, although I would have to build a very strong coop to house them in. It is often that I hear the coyotes at night, not too far off. There are also bobcats, raccoons and occasional cougars in the area.

  161. Michael thanks for what you said. Did you know that the average rental in the area I live in is closing in on 4K per month, some of the apartments go for over 10K a month. the average rent in our local area is 2400 for a two bedroom. The 10 K is 2 bedroom 2 bath 24oo sq foot. Some of the rents are increasing 100$ a month and the eviction rate is very high. There is some rent control but there is a huge push on the part of the development / landlords community to do away with all rent control or any control whatsoever by the city. Basically landlords should not be required to keep up basic services or do anything other than collect rent.

    It is really rather moving and scary to see a woman who is in their 90’s literally terrified about where she will die. That is emotional thus useless but I am troubled by it. So I go to meetings, write letters, meet with city council staff, etc. It takes literally 20 +hours a week to do this. If they buy us out I will get a really healthy check and can move away and get out of california and maybe even retire. But, I can’t let it go, I just cant, I have never been able to do that, I care to much for my neighbors. I would have been much happier if I did not have such an annoying in inconvenient view.

    It is a rather strange situation, I paid off this house with all I have after my mother died. It was what she wanted me to do. But the land is owned by someone else and I will always agree they should be allowed to do what they want. So it is not a simple we are good they are evil type situation. I dont fault the landowners for wanting to convert the park. It is a good business decision for them. It is just so stressful to finish work where I fight weekly dealing with funding to help keep the program I work at open and then to go home had have to do the same, while planning to get the boot. It is somewhat stressful, I did the best I could, I am sure I failed in many areas. Offered for what it is worth.

  162. Just got through finishing all the weeks meetings, agendas and letters hope everyone has a nice morning 7 am comes early. Thanks all.

  163. Good morning Brian!
    Sounds like you’ve got quite a situation…

    That was a pretty good rant!

  164. good morning sis. yes, walking together when it is warm would be fun. can’t wait.

  165. Dusty and Sis C…..I’d join that walk!!!

  166. ok Nonnie, we would love to have you join us. What fun that would be!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  167. @ #122:

    That’s what we tried at CCBC. I remember hearing, “I think God has called us to marry” several times.

  168. Nonnie and Dusty…
    It’s my prayer, Lord willing
    one day we WILL have a good long walk…
    All together… And what an awesome day that would be !!!

  169. Sis and Dusty…wouldn’t that be lovely!

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