Bearing Witness

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38 Responses

  1. Duane Arnold says:

    It’s hard, but to “bear witness” μᾰρτῠρέω carries the root of “martyr”… never easy and often painful…

  2. Michael says:

    Duane,

    That’s another one of those truths i didn’t want to hear…but it puts the whole picture together.
    The concept of “retirement” isn’t in the Scriptures, either…

  3. Em says:

    Yep, our Lord never said anything not true and that got Him hung naked on a cross and killed.
    For the boy, maybe this old lady would say there is always only one truth, but sometimes it has many facets… depending on where you’re standing…. But always, always there’s only one truth, eh?

  4. Michael says:

    Many of our readers have expressed the same things the boy has…which is why I included it.
    Truth is what suits us these days…

  5. Jean says:

    I think you’ve observed the difficulty with a single place where ecumenism is desired in the field of theology, or diversity in the field of politics.

    If the participants are committed to (and held accountable for) being evidence based, then you can discuss the evidence without personal affront. But if people are willing to be personality based, meaning basing your shared belief or position in what your favorite “expert” says, then discussion becomes totally subjective and often pointless.

    Then discussion turns into trying to impeach the credibility of the other side instead of actually addressing the topic at hand.

    It amazes me how little (or no) evidence someone needs to construct an entire conviction on a topic or person. It also amazes me how ferocious people will be in trying to destroy someone’s reputation if a person does not adopt a particular view point.

  6. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    I think it also has to do with simply discussing matters in “good faith”…

  7. Jean says:

    Duane,

    While I don’t disagree with you, I believe that if you asked folks who embrace fringe ideas and/or theologies, or who are rude in conversation, they would probably self-identify as observing “good faith.” That is part of the problem, that the definition of “good faith” has been twisted by leaders into a new subjective definition.

    They would probably see our definition of good faith as “weakness” or “political correctness.” They would see themselves as operating in good faith by standing up for existential principles and positions, where the ends justify the means, and where the opposition deserves to be destroyed.

  8. Humility is also key, and I have certainly been guilty of lacking. I have to come to the subject willing to hear others, realizing that I do not have absolute mastery of any subject.

  9. Jean says:

    Good point Josh.

  10. Michael, the truth is “this” IS a community of faith. This is what we look like, with all our warts and disparate beliefs. With our infighting and hatred of our brothers. This is us.

  11. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Perhaps…but you’ve been here long enough to remember when it felt like a community…with respect and even a measure of familial affection.
    It doesn’t feel that way anymore…

  12. Em says:

    Michael @ 12:54… that IS sorrowful… Hope we ALL hear you

  13. josh hamrick says:

    We’ve been better, but as someone on the frontlines…this is just a mirror of what is going on in the churches.

  14. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    For some years now, Michael and I try to talk every week. Over the last several months instead of just discussing theology or liturgy, we often discuss the blog and try to encourage each other to keep writing. One expects a certain amount of disagreement and occasional infighting, but often it goes beyond that to something that feels much more toxic. It affects us, but more importantly it impinges upon some who would like to participate but who don’t want to be attacked or demeaned. Too often, discussion and debate is regarded as a sum zero game.

  15. josh hamrick says:

    Very True, Duane. And I am sorry for my years of participation in that behavior.

  16. Paul T says:

    Please keep bearing witness. It has not and will not return void.
    I am a daily reader and never commenter, but this is one of the few places online I turn to regularly for truth and hope.
    Thank you.

  17. Michael says:

    Paul,
    I’m running errands and saw this…thank you. It means more than you know.

  18. Cathy says:

    well said, Michael. I have been in the darkness for a long while now…protesting to myself and to anyone who will listen that the time for reconciliation with Jesus is now, while there is turmoil and strife. But they seem to prefer the politically based faith, or the words from others that tickle their ears. Sometimes I even look for answers in the wrong places. Come now Jesus, reach for us as Smokey reaches for you, reach for me as I cower in the dark.

  19. Jean says:

    Michael,

    The one thing I would like to say is that, regarding the events of the last 30 days, you have demonstrated more restraint than I could even dream of possessing. I don’t know if that is a plus or a minus for the blog, but if it has preserved your blood pressure or conscience, then I applaud your restraint and self-discipline.

    We are in the midst of an inflection point as a nation, which is like a whirlpool drawing everything within it’s proximity into its vortex. I wonder about whether a witness is required of every citizen, but I leave that to each individual.

    Many churches have been drawn in the vortex (or Maelstrom) of the current political whirlpool. It’s a very sad event.

  20. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Thank you.
    I have many things I want to say and some are appropriate for public consumption and some are best just left between me and the cats.
    When I do say something…and I will…I want to speak from the perspective of a Christian brother, not as a political partisan or even an American.
    We live in dire times and what we all say from here on out matters…

  21. Em says:

    Michael @ 11:23 this am….
    I once knew a lady who made up her own truth (2 ladies as i think on it). Once she declared it to be true – she hung on to her made up truth like a bulldog… guess her declaration validated it….? …. Dunno

    Thank God for God – THE way, THE truth and THE light ! ! !

  22. Em says:

    Light = life

  23. Jim says:

    “you’ve been here long enough to remember when it felt like a community…with respect and even a measure of familial affection.
    It doesn’t feel that way anymore…”

    Perhaps the Phoenix will rise again. It seems that you feel that God put this squarely in your lap.

    Will you and Duane and Jean be able to lay aside your personal political biases and somehow create an environment where the apolitical or those to the right of president-elect Harris can feel welcome and desire to participate, or are you better off without us?

    What if the orange anti-christ wins a scotus/house decision? What do you think of me for even considering the possibility? Are you better off without us?

    As you know, they’re all Nero to me. Can we live and communicate like Paul under Nero?

  24. I’m just about 50 (ok, 49), but I rem ember the Black Helicopters under Reagan, former DCIA Bush I, FEMA camps under Clinton, Bush II being Hitler (and FEMA camps), FEMA camps under Obama for the other side, then trump (pick your conspiracy theory), now today… pick your conspiracy theory. All along, “this is the most critical election in American history to save our country!”

    Tired, so tired…

  25. bob1 says:

    I was saddened to see that the guy who created Slim Jims has died of Covid-19.

    I love Slim Jims, always have. Never knew anything about who created them. Looks like he was a food scientist.

    Sorry I had to find out about it this way…

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/02/us/lon-adams-slim-jim-trnd/index.html

  26. Michael says:

    Jim,

    Let me answer the easy question.
    We are not better off without you…anyone who has ever been involved with this site is aware of my respect and affection for you.
    I can only speak for myself…I’m not interested in where people stand on any political spectrum chart.
    It has been my lot to be cast as a liberal on the basis of one issue, that being immigration reform.
    I do not see that issue as political, although it has political ramifications.
    I see it as a moral issue and a biblical one first.
    On a host of other issues I’m probably a smidgen to the left of you, but close enough to touch.
    I used to contend that I could sit in a room with any of my friends who identified as conservatives and we could find solutions together based on decency and faith and the necessity of compromise.
    Some of those friends have told me that they no longer wish to be in a room with me at all.
    Having said all that, I probably compromised my own faith and morals by not allowing more discussion of the character of Trump.
    I have no doubt in my soul that he is an evil and malignant presence…and to see the church embrace him as it’s hero is the nail in the coffin of the primary Christian movement in this country.
    He is every narcissistic leader you and I have ever fought…given ultimate power.
    Whatever issues people believed he fought for could have been, should have been, put in the hands of someone with the moral authority to represent them in truth.
    The pendulum has been swung to the highest point and I fear the backswing to come…in culture and in the churches.
    I am not anti-Republican or anti-conservative or even anti -Libertarian…my closest political allies on immigration issues usually are libertarians for some reason.
    I am decidedly anti-Trump.
    I didn’t allow much of those kind of discussions here…they degenerate quickly into juvenile sophistry and they divide.
    We divided anyway.
    To conclude…I believe we should speak to cultural issues where we have a biblical mandate to do so.
    Our job, if you will, is to change hearts to the degree that law might follow.
    We have to rebuild bridges and learn to communicate again without selling our souls to myriad merchants of hell making offers.
    If we can’t do that here…it probably can’t be done.
    In any case you will always have my love, respect, and gratitude.

  27. Duane Arnold says:

    “To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.”

    Emmanuel Cardinal Sunard

  28. Nancy Holmes says:

    Michael

    In spite of your frequent protests of being a curmudgeon, I see only the true graciousness of Christ in your reply to Jim. I’m glad I held my tongue on my reply to him as yours is so much more fitting.

    Your struggles to walk in the Way of our Lord are such a testimony both to your faithfulness and more importantly His faithfulness. Hanging in there with the motley crew–with some of us even more motley (spotted?)than before revealed–is both a trial and a victory to those of us who also struggle.

    Lately the Lord has reminded me of the many large and small ways that I have willfully believed fanciful lies–even as a Christian–and made myself a trial to others to even tolerate. I needed that reminder because if God could have pulled me out of the dung heap I was in, He can be trusted to redeem anyone who continues to even gropingly seek Him.

  29. Michael says:

    Duane,

    I now have a new favorite quote…

  30. Michael says:

    Nancy,

    Thanks.
    Jim and I have been co-laborors for a very long time…he’s one of about half a dozen people who know what the last twenty years have been like.
    He is a good and godly man.
    We struggle better when we struggle together…and He is always graciously seeking us for our good and His glory.

  31. Em says:

    Living life in a way that would not make sensr if God did not exist? Great ponder for today…. Do I? Hmmm

    I do believe in brain washing.. .. Renewing our minds through God’s Word – all that entails in these chaotic, demanding busy times isn’t easy for most…
    God keep

  32. filbertz says:

    When we have determined the essence of our identity, we must remain true to that and fend off anything that might mar or dilute it. We operate today under the myth of multi-identification–that I can be one who says “Lord, Lord” to many different sirens. I’ll wear this hat, then that one, followed by another–all dependent on which way the wind blows, who I’m speaking with, or what the occasion might be. But our identity isn’t like a chameleon, or a wardrobe, or the changing weather or seasons. It lies within & today too many are unclear on who, in essence, they are. Jesus posed the question–why do you call me Lord and don’t do what I say? Inherent in the question is the answer–If he is Lord, you’ll do what he said. Our collective compromise has ruined our witness to our families, our neighbors, and our communities. If we can garner the will to bear witness, we must first settle our identity once and for all.

  33. Michael says:

    fil,

    That is an excellent observation and I completely agree.

  34. Em says:

    “Our collective compromise has ruined our witness.. “. Amen
    Another good ponder…. Lots of them turn up on Michael ‘s website….

  35. Jim says:

    Thank you for your gracious reply, Michael. You and I agree on Trump’s character. Where I think we disagree is that I think that Trump represents the heart of all politicians, it’s just that he doesn’t care.

    I’ve stayed away from here for quite some time, and when I peaked in, I saw you compare him to the anti-christ. His base is obviously huge and committed, and I don’t see how over the top statements are not seen as divisive.

    Like it or not, the Biden/Trump/Bernie fans are part of the family. I think Washington is Rome under Nero, and the “fans” are often idolatrous, and I’m part of the family. I’m in no position to judge another believer’s sin, so worship the “leader” of your choice, but there are some here who seem very comfortable to treat this once holy place as an extension of their facebook echo chamber.

    The Trumpists and Libertarian(s-?) and Conservatives are here, and we can hear you. Do those on all sides care, or do you wish that the “others” would just leave?

    I’m sorry for the rant, but I’m troubled by this.

  36. Michael says:

    Jim,

    It’s better you rant than leave without me knowing why.
    i appreciate the opportunity to hear you and change where we’re able.
    Keep in mind that if you could see the back end of the blog, you would see how many times I’ve been called an agent of Satan because I don’t support Trump.
    I do not want anyone to leave…but to engage in such a way that we can discern God if He is at all present in these matters.
    I’m very open to suggestions…

  37. Jean says:

    One mark, perhaps the greatest mark, of political leader worship, is when a person is conformed to his image.

  38. Owen says:

    Michael,

    I’ve read here for several years, and it’s on my very short list of sites I still read. You (and several others here) have always borne witness to the Truth.
    I’ll also add that many of us keep coming because it still is a community of faith, even when the being-in-community part gets hard and doesn’t feel much like it used to.
    But we keep coming for the Truth, not the feelings. So I’ll repeat what Paul T. said. Keep bearing witness. It’s not for nothing.
    Oh, and please give your cats a pat for me, too……

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