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76 Responses

  1. I would take issue with “The Christian Post hates bloggers … the feeling is mutual, you insipid hacks …” That may be true of that particular op-ed contributor. However, there are several professional journalists at Christian Post who have sought out input from “survivor bloggers” as part of their reporting process and have written articles far more contextually informed, and factually accurate than I usually find on conventional Christian media.

  2. Michael says:

    Brad,
    My experience has been the opposite…but I will defer to your experience on this.

  3. From “Forget what’s popular, work on the fringes.”
    “When it comes to impact, the more popular something is, the less likely you are to make a difference in it.”
    This is extremely true when working on a church staff. If there is any kind of course correction that legitimately needs to happen in a popular church, don’t deceive yourself if you think you can be an agent of change from within. I’ve tried. Friends of mine have tried in their own popular churches. It is a closed system and correction threatens popularity. Loss of popularity threatens income.

    I love Karl Vaters. He is extremely insightful.

  4. Nathan Priddis says:

    CP is running some very militant pieces. This Greg Gordon thing is just part of a pattern.

    That is some serious hatred.
    …Renegade…
    …lending our voices to the accuser of the brethren…
    Stout.

  5. Michael says:

    By the way, for those of you unfamiliar with Brad, he literally wrote the book on recognizing abusive churches and toxic pastors…he’s the best…

  6. Thanks Michael for your steadfast work getting the news out about Tom Randall and Sankey.

  7. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So Brad (or Michael if Brad does not check in) – what is the upshot of your leaving evangelicalism? Did you land somewhere else in a non “evangelical” church. I am a confessional Lutheran who also left evangelicalism but for theological reasons and I landed in a Lutheran church the next week.

    How about you and your buddies – with which community do you know worship?

  8. Michael says:

    That’s not Brads site.That was just another link. Click on Brads name for his site

  9. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    My error – the author’s name is Bradley, so I assumed…

  10. The Pastors in Sneakers Instagram page is really sad. Fashionistas for the Faith? Gag.

  11. j2theperson says:

    The aborted babies/vaccine article is pretty weak. It’s not uncommon to hear respected sources express concerns regarding the Henrietta Lacks cell line (I’m fairly sure I heard NPR do a handwringing story about it), but the article basically implies that people who have ethical concerns regarding vaccines that utilize cell lines derived from aborted babies are wingnuts like David Barton.

  12. Babylon's Dread says:

    So are we suppose to ad Ed Stetzer to the list of questionable untrustworthy unprofitable servants? I honestly did not read the article carefully because … well, why do we have to play gotcha everywhere we go? Of course Ed has played the moralizing game pretty heavily.

    I miss regular fundamentalists who rebuked people for sin. Now we’ve all turned into progressive justice warriors who don’t call for repentance but pronounce ruination.

    Secular grace is way harder to find and it is increasingly the medium of exchange in the post-christian era in which the gods have replaced God.

    Long articles loaded with moralizing outrage are making me deaf and blind.

  13. Babylon's Dread says:

    I totally forgot about Ed’s Christians in an Age of Outrage. Wow. Time for me to revive an old sermon “Christians in the Hands of an Angry Mob.”

  14. Michael says:

    Stetzer became comfortable with his celebrity and it’s perks.
    He needs to repent and go back to doing what he does.

    I’m getting pretty tired of the scorched earth policies as well…

  15. Josh says:

    Also, in fairness Ed got an old Volkswagon that he and his daughter restored together. It’s a decent gift, but it’s not a luxury car.

  16. Ruth says:

    The VW Stetzer received was worth $13,000.

  17. Josh says:

    Which, again, in perspective, is less than I paid for my Kia Rio. A big gift for sure, but not like he gave him a new Vette.

    Have to make a comment on the Pastor / Sneaker site too. I don’t know all of those shoes. Some of those prices are WAYYY inflated. Some of the Jordans are in the $100 range, and could be found on sale for less. Now, I don’t wear $100 shoes, but that is the going rate on a pair of sneakers nowadays. Can pastors only shop at Wal-Mart? IS that where we are headed?

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    My problem isn’t with the price. My problem is with wearing sneakers in church…😁

  19. Jean says:

    Josh,

    In my tradition, the issue of what a pastor wears in the divine service is not so much about money. In fact, vestments surprisingly expensive, as I’m sure Duane could attest. The issue in my tradition is the office that the pastor holds and who he represents and speaks for in the divine service. It also involves an issue that has been nearly forgotten in many American Churches: Is there anything called sacred time and sacred space. If so, how should one dress and behave? That issue came up in 1 Cor 11.

  20. Kevin H says:

    I have come to like much of what Ed Stetzer does. I was disappointed to have read about him accepting this gift from McDonald. Being in the position that he is in, he had to have known better than to receive it, but he chose to bypass that better thinking for whatever reasons.

    Unless this is just a small snapshot of a pattern of corruption involving Stetzer, then we don’t need to make more of this than it was. Yes, it was bad judgment, but we do not need to set out to destroy everybody we catch in sin, otherwise we’re all destroyed. If somebody has committed a serious crime or is involved in all kinds of wrongdoing and hasn’t been held to account, that is a different story. But, yes, the gotcha culture is getting old and it is perilous.

    As Michael said, Stetzer should repent and get back to doing what he is good at. The rest of us should move on.

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Come on – give these guys a break. You can’t wear wing tips with your blue jeans or rockin’ sweat outfits. The appearance of relevance far outweighs whatever you have to say.

  22. Josh says:

    I agree that Pastors should seriously consider what is worn in the pulpit. I would not opt for skinny jeans or vestments.

    That being said, scandalizing pastors over expensive sneakers, especially when the prices are artificially inflated by hundreds of dollars, seems wrong to me.

  23. Duane Arnold says:

    It is an interesting thing to consider. For many years, I presided at services six days a week, often two services a day. In my tradition, a black suit and clerical collar was standard. For services I would wear cassock and surplice or an alb if it was a Eucharistic celebration. The intent was not to stand out but, rather, to somewhat become a part of the “wallpaper” as the officiant. I did not have to think about “what I was wearing”. Through the years I accumulated a number of cassocks, surplices and albs just as one might have a number of suits as a banker or lawyer. Last year (because they can be expensive as Jean pointed out) I gave away all but a few essentials to men who were seeking ordination or who were already ordained. They were simply “the uniform”…

  24. Jean says:

    “The intent was not to stand out but, rather, to somewhat become a part of the “wallpaper” as the officiant.”

    While not a total explanation, I agree with this aspect. Here again we see that the wallpaper of a sanctuary, particularly the chancel, is a different wallpaper than what is expected in the common realm, such as a lecture hall or theatre.

  25. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    Indeed. It is recognizing that there is such a thing as a “sacred space” owing to the fact that “sacred actions” transpire in that space. I was recently instructing a “newbie” Anglican as to why one reverences (bow of the head) the altar. It is not an intrinsic sacredness, but it is owing to the sacred actions that take place upon that altar. The officiant’s dress and demeanor should, in my opinion, reflect this as well.

    While I am speaking about sacramental churches here, I think it is also true to some extent, in other places of worship.

  26. Babylon's Dread says:

    “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ”

    Quotes the offending high dollar sneaker, jean and expensive shirt wearing pastor.

    All the other traditions have good cases for their choices and I applaud them all.

    The day has simply come that I need more friends and have no value for shunning and shaming my brethren who are caught in offices or in just offending others.

    Fundamentalist condemnation belongs to the progressive mind now. We should let them have it.

  27. Babylon's Dread says:

    A GOOD horse cannot be a bad color, and a really good preacher can wear what he likes, and none will care much about it; but though you cannot know wine by the barrel, a good appearance is a letter of recommendation even to a plowman. Wise men neither fall into love nor take a dislike at first sight, but still the first impression is always a great thing even with them; and as to those weaker brethren who are not wise, a good appearance is half the battle.
    What is a good appearance? Well, it’s not being pompous and starchy, and making one’s self high and mighty among the people, for proud looks lose hearts, and gentle words win them. It’s not wearing fine clothes either, for foppish dress usually means a foul house within and the doorstep without fresh white wash. Such dressing tells the world that the outside is the best part of the puppet. When a man is proud as a peacock, all strut and show, he needs converting himself before he sets up to preach to others. The preacher who measures himself by his mirror may please a few silly girls, but neither God nor man will long put up with him. The man who owes his greatness to his tailor will find that needle and thread cannot long hold a fool in a pulpit. A gentleman should have more in his pocket than on his back, and a minister should have more in his inner man than on his outer man. I would say, if I might, to young ministers, do not preach in gloves, for cats in mittens catch no mice; don’t curl and oil your hair like dandies, for nobody cares to hear a peacock’s voice; don’t have your own pretty self in your mind at all, or nobody else will mind you. Away with gold rings, and chains, and jewelry; why should the pulpit become a goldsmith’s shop? Forever away with surplices and gowns and all those nursery doll dresses men should put away childish things. A cross on the back is the sign of a devil in the heart; those who do as Rome does should go to Rome and show heir colors. If priests suppose that they get the respect of honest men by their fine ornamental dresses, they are much mistaken, for it is commonly said, “Fine feathers make fine birds,” and “An ape is never so like an ape as when he wears a Popish cape.”

    John Ploughman AKA C. H. Spurgeon

    Of course as I post this I am remembering my day last Thursday in the gowns of an academic. Completely out of place… as I know.

  28. Duane Arnold says:

    BD

    I’m sure you looked great in academic dress!

  29. Jean says:

    And then there is another vision:

    “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.”

  30. Josh says:

    Not a strong proof text, for this argument, but OK.

  31. Jean says:

    Josh,

    I’m not arguing. You must remember that there is a tremendous difference between a Baptist church service and a Lutheran divine service.

    It is the difference between the real presence and the real absence, between a memorial and blood that speaks, between hearing a Word and hearing, seeing, touching, tasting and smelling the Word.

  32. Josh says:

    Ah, real absence. Good one.

    “where two or three are gathered” IS a good proof text for my view.

  33. Em says:

    As i have read the Lutheran posts here over the years i am convinced that redeemed souls do come in a variety of persons… If you can hear the Holy Spirit and bow at that crucifixion story with the words, “My Lord and my God! Be merciful to me – a sinner.” Then in my mind you are family by God’s declaration, not mine. A branch grafted into the vine. So?
    So go and bear as much fruit as God enables. .. You Baptists, Othodoxes, Redeemed Papists, Presbyterians, United Brethrens and Methodists, Lutherans, Seventh Dayers, Quakers, CMAs. ………..

  34. Jean says:

    Josh, you crack me up, literally. You bring up a text about the power of the keys and tell me my proof text is weak. Are you now in the absolution business?

  35. Josh says:

    Look Jean, I don’t want to go there with you because there are more here who are who appreciate the robes, and such. I hold no ill will toward them or you.

    But they didn’t say that Jesus was absent at my worship service. You did.

    I hope those vestments are too expensive. Seeing as they are apparently necessary for conjuring the presence of Jesus. Wouldn’t want poor people to go without.

    P.S. That was just the first verse. Matthew 28:20 works quite well also. There is a bible full of quotes that talk about God’s presence with me at all times. I haven’t found any that say if I wear a sparkly enough sheet He will show up, but otherwise…no.

    P.S.S – That is only written to Jean – None of the rest of you said that my worship was marked by “real absence”.

  36. Duane Arnold says:

    Gentleman…

    Let’s not confuse the issue. Vestments are not necessary; church buildings are not necessary; only Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit are necessary. We were talking about decorum in church, before we veered off into people making dogmatic assertions.

  37. Jean says:

    Duane,

    “Indeed. It is recognizing that there is such a thing as a “sacred space” owing to the fact that “sacred actions” transpire in that space. I was recently instructing a “newbie” Anglican as to why one reverences (bow of the head) the altar. It is not an intrinsic sacredness, but it is owing to the sacred actions that take place upon that altar. The officiant’s dress and demeanor should, in my opinion, reflect this as well.”

    This is where we share common ground. This is inarnational and sacramental, and it is consistent with biblical worship, which engages the senses with real (i.e., tangible) signs.

    When you delete the sacramental and incarnational, worship becomes IMO something totally mental, or the worshiper seeks a mystical experience through sacrifice, such as praise – an upward movement.

    But mostly the fear of God and reverence of His holiness are neglected. Thus, we have the modern big box church with the coffee bar and highly produced emotion inducing, yet theologically vacuous, praise music.

    I am not trying to insult anyone, and am happy to receive the counterpoint. I do think it’s helpful to track the development of worship in American Christianity. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong.

  38. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    Let’s also quote my next line – “While I am speaking about sacramental churches here, I think it is also true to some extent, in other places of worship.”

    I would hope that I would conduct myself in Josh’s church with the same sense of reverence…

  39. bob1 says:

    ut mostly the fear of God and reverence of His holiness are neglected. Thus, we have the modern big box church with the coffee bar and highly produced emotion inducing, yet theologically vacuous, praise music.

    BS.

    Hell, there’s a Lutheran church in my area that meets in a gym. What
    are they missing? I also know of at least one Lutheran church in our area that has a coffee bar to attract new folks. So what? These things are adiaphora.

  40. bob1 says:

    I would hope that I would conduct myself in Josh’s church with the same sense of reverence…

    ^^^^^^

    “Where 2 or three are gathered” is God’s Word on the topic. That’s
    where He has promised to be.

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    bob1 – shame on you again. You have taken the Matt 18 passage “where 2 or 3 are gathered…” totally out of context to push your theological agenda.
    That is a passage about an erring brother, church discipline and the office of the keys.
    You never say which church body you associate with, but I sure hope they are not teaching you this drivel.

  42. Jean says:

    Duane,

    “I would hope that I would conduct myself in Josh’s church with the same sense of reverence…”

    I have no doubt you would. And I will not talk about Josh’s church, so as not to offend anyone. Tell me if you agree: I think that whatever church you might visit, you would bring reverence with you because you’ve been enculturated with a reverence for holy things.

    But I’m guessing that if you visited 10 random non-denominational evangelical churches, you would find yourself in the minority about the issue of reverence and holiness, because the culture is totally different than what you’ve grown up with.

  43. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    Not so sure that I would “bring my reverence with me”, as much as show respect for another Christian tradition.

    In terms of non-denominational churches, I’m sure that I would be a minority voice. The key, I think, is to show love for those you are trying to reach. Arguments do not work. Do remember… I came from Calvary Chapel. I still love those folks…

  44. Em says:

    I don’ t want to change the worship format of anyone. Many of us would separate emotion from worship… I would say that some churches go too far, tho, and are too formulaic, i.e., I did this wrong – now i can’t receive any blessing from God.
    Since my viewpoint has formed along a more relaxed relationship and i have found His presence there, other points of view, dogmas expressed dogmatically and harsh opinions of the path i’ve travelled cannot insult me. They might be found out of line somewhere, though….😏

  45. Josh says:

    I’m not insulted, or offended. I know that Jesus is with me, and that is more than enough.

    It’s just a conversation killer, and that’s frustrating. How do you go from respectful conversation, straight to ‘My team has Jesus, and your team does not”. It’s silliness.

    I have deep convictions, biblically based, about all points of worship, and they don’t agree with Jean and MLD. However, I know that God is big enough that He can show up at more than one church on Sunday morning. To Literally everyone else in this thread, you get that. Jean and MLD don’t get that, and that is what every discussion here turns into.

  46. Josh says:

    MLD – DO you mean to tell me that in Mathhew 18:20, Jesus meant to say “Where two or three are gathered in my name I MIGHT be there?”

    Cause the text says He will be there, and the context doesn’t change it. Either He is there or He is not. He didn’t place any other conditions on it.

  47. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, sadly you don’t get the distinction we make. You talk of God generically while we are speaking of Jesus being actually present physically in the bread and wine for a sacramental purpose – for the forgiveness of sins – all as he said in his word.
    Look, I get that you deny that and as I said yesterday, those differences are fine. I have never accused anyone here of not being a Christian because they think differently. The only point I ever make is that we cannot commune together – is that such a big deal?

    Look, you take the same narrow stand I do. I have my 8th grandchild being born at the end of next week. If I brought her to your church and asked that you or your pastor baptize her – unto salvation – you would take the same stand I do on the supper – you would tell me “no way Jose, that’s not the way we do it here.” I would feel you were telling me my granddaughter was any less a Christian. For some reason when we tell people the order to commune with us, they run and say we don’t think they are Christians.
    The reason the conversations go off the rails is that some cannot accept the difference.

  48. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – to Matt 18. What I am saying is that if you want to believe Jesus is “with you” you will need to get it from a different passage.
    This passage v.15 – 20 is not about that. Check it out – it is how the church deals with an erring brother. The claim “where 2 or 3 are gathered…” is referencing the 2 or 3 witnesses brought to bring charges against that erring brother. If they properly handle those charges, Jesus promises to be with them (as in giving his approval).

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Edit; @ 8:37
    “I would feel you were telling me my granddaughter …” should have read
    “I WOULD NOT feel you were telling me my granddaughter …”

  50. Josh says:

    Where did you get the idea that I’m interested in showing up to your church for communion?

    So you are telling me that sometimes, Jesus used figurative language? For instance, He said “I will be there”, but that is a metaphor for “I give my approval”?

    Hmmm. Wonder how that applies to other quotes from Jesus.

  51. Jean says:

    Josh,

    I don’t think what I’m about to say is particularly Lutheran. Jesus is omnipresent. Omnipresence is one of the divine attributes. However, Jesus’ presence alone does not promise blessing.

    Jesus has instituted times and places and means whereby we should seek him, where He promises His presence, and not just presence, but presence to interact with and bless His people. He doesn’t leave mankind wondering what God thinks of them, but is very specific and clear about what His gracious will is and how, when and where we can know it and receive it. Thereby, He saves us and provides us assurance that we are children of God.

    So, in the case of Matthew 18, Jesus promises to be present and active in the exercise of the keys by the church. It’s His promise that what is being bound or loosed on earth is being bound or loosed in heaven. This is referred to as a sacramental presence, which is a promise of God attached to a tangible sign.

    The Bible is full of Christ’s sacramental presence. The signs are not all the same and the OT signs are different than the NT signs. But they are given to grant and strengthen faith. We don’t invent sacraments. They are always divinely instituted by the Word of God.

    Does that make sense?

  52. Duane Arnold says:

    “This is referred to as a sacramental presence, which is a promise of God attached to a tangible sign…”

    Two, three, seven?

  53. Jean says:

    Duane, as you know, that question depends in part on how one defines Sacrament. For example, is the promise limited solely to salvation or can it include other divinely promised blessings? I know what my tradition teaches but am not in a position to judge other sacramental traditions. The topic of sacraments is a good example of where if we don’t understand how words are defined by someone else, we can do them a disservice.

  54. Josh the Baptist says:

    So jean, are you taking back the claim of real absence? If so, we are all good. We already knew we disagreed on sacraments, still do, and likely always will. But are you now acknowledging that Jesus can also be present at my worship service?

  55. Jean says:

    Josh, yes, I acknowledge His presence at your service. But, if you’ve been following my comments, the presence of God is both omnipresent and ambiguous. He is both Savior and judge. By His presence at the Corinthian mean that Paul was referring to in Chapter 11 of his first epistle, “many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.”

    Therefore, it’s not enough to acknowledge the Lord’s presence, what any Christian church should seek is His gracious presence. How does Jesus desire that we should receive His grace? That for me is the question of paramount importance.

    I don’t know your church, but from what you’ve said repeatedly here, you disagree with me on the sacraments. So, let me ask you, how does your church, which is charged with the stewardship of God’s grace, distribute His gifts to your members? This is not a trick question, but an evangelical issue.

  56. Jean says:

    Not “mean” but “meal” in the first paragraph at 7:54 am.

  57. JoelG says:

    I’m not addressing the Real Presence in the Sacrament here. Only the context of Corinthians Ch. 11.

    When Paul writes the “Body” in this passage, isn’t he referring to the believers? This seems to be the context of this passage.

    “Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.”

    “So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another”

    This is the context of Ch. 11.

    I may be wrong…

  58. Michael says:

    Jean,

    What gifts does God withhold from non sacramental churches?

  59. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    Yes it addresses believers and it is critical of the Corinthian church for bringing economic class differences into the church.

  60. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think 1 Cor 10:16-17 is the appropriate verse to see the body & blood reality.

  61. Jean says:

    Michael, I hadn’t seen your question here, and answered it on the other thread.

  62. Josh says:

    “Josh, yes, I acknowledge His presence at your service. ”

    Well, that’s plenty for me. I realize that every group has their pet doctrines that make them think Jesus loves them more than the next guy, but If can acknowledge that Chirst is present at my worship service, I’m not gonna look at Him and say “Cool, that you showed up, but it’s not quite enough.” He is enough for me. I am glad that you are blessed in your traditions.

  63. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well the question is not is Jesus present but how is he present? Is a general presence different than what are we taking into our mouth during communion?
    The RCC says only body & blood goes in as the bread and wine have disappeared in the process of transubstantiation.
    Lutherans say that we take in both bread / body & wine / blood. Nothing changes or transforms as Jesus puts himself what we describe as in, with and under the elements.
    The reformed and the memorial position is that only the bread and the wine goes into your mouth (even though they look at the supper differently, what actually goes in the mouth is the same.)

  64. Josh says:

    Yep, but He is present. And I am happy with that.

  65. Michael says:

    There is nothing weirder to me than people trying to explain the real presence in the sacrament…I tell my people I have no idea, but He’s here.

  66. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – only because we have different meanings to “the real presence”.
    The reformed have the issue that the finite cannot contain the infinite – so the reformed real presence is that at the time of the reception, the believe is spiritual raised to the heavens to be in the presence of Jesus. The 39 Articles state it this way – “The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.”

    What a Lutheran means is that Jesus does actually place his physical body and physical blood in (the in, with , under) in the bread and wine and with our mouth we consume that body and blood.

    I don’t know why you find explaining it weird – it’s in your confessions. But I see confusion in that you have adopted the terminology but not the practice that comes with it.

  67. Duane Arnold says:

    MLD

    Anglicans are not confessional…

  68. Michael says:

    Neither are they all Reformed…

  69. Michael says:

    My position is actually similar to the Lutheran position…I just don’t believe that any explanation we offer does anything but make Jesus chuckle…

  70. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Hey, you both boast in the 39 articles – Michael you have said they are the best thing you have read.
    So I quoted the 39 articles rendition of the supper to you – if you wish to denounce it, no skin off my nose.

    The only thing I do is point out the differences, not to prove right or wrong, but so no one suspects that the Reformed, the Anglican the Baptists and Lutherans are doing the same things but with slight communal differences. In the end on many points we are doing things in great variance and violation of each other.
    Let the buyer beware and if Jean and I remain the sole Lutherans here, I am OK with that -I am not looking for converts, only clarity.

  71. Michael says:

    MLD,

    We both affirm the Articles…and we both affirm that there is great variation allowed in interpretation and practice.
    The Supper is the Body receiving Christ…and Anglicans consider all baptized believers to be part of the Body and joyfully share the Table with them.

    It is a celebration of what we have in common…not a line of demarcation toward those we differ with.

  72. Michael says:

    If you and Jean remain the sole Lutherans here I’m ok with that too…from your mouth to God’s ear, please….

  73. Jean says:

    I’m ultimately not concerned about the label before the word Christian, but, and I desire this for everyone here, that the words that you receive be God-breathed, living words, which quite apart from works of the law, are sufficient to birth, sustain, conform to the image of the Son, and glorify a child of God.

    In the modicum of wisdom given me, the less space we create between these divine words and what they do, the less shenanigans the glosses of men can make of them.

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