Loose Ends

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75 Responses

  1. Em says:

    I know of a church that is holding meetings, but only seating every other row and then occupied rows are staggered so that you’re not breathing on anyone directly in front of you – masks mandatory and hand sanitizer provided
    Seems like we should be gathering.. Maybe out in open air where possible?

  2. Michael says:

    Em,

    I wouldn’t and I won’t.
    Everyone in our church has a life expectancy of about 15 minutes if they catch Covid.
    As much as I resisted it, the Zoom meetings have been beneficial and what God has given us as we persevere in faith and hope.

  3. richard says:

    I have a lot of disdain for all that 7 mountains theology, dominionism or whatever. In a way i believe it all started with Constantine a very long time ago. Not sure that even St. Augustine took the right approach. One would do well to recall how Jesus acted when some sought to make him an earthly King……He gotta out there quick. His kingdom is not of this world.

  4. bob1 says:

    Gotta love that a lot of fundies and evangelicals have suddenly, with covid and the desire to politicize gathering in person, have become high church advocates…as in, “Oh, we MUST meet at a church…the church is sacred…it’s not church if you don’t meet in a church building.”

    Etc.

  5. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t understand Dreher’s point. Democrats nor Republicans chase people away from church – churches chase people away. Have you ever tried to find Jesus at an Episcopalian or ELCA church?

    As much as people want to see the GOP as a Christian organization, Christians make up only one third of the GOP.

  6. bob1 says:

    Have you ever tried to find Jesus at an Episcopalian or ELCA church?

    You really are an idiot wrapped in a moron, aren’t you?

    And then we wonder why we can’t have civilized discussions here…

  7. Michael says:

    bob1,

    Please respond appropriately…please.

  8. Michael says:

    Any Episcopal church that uses the standard liturgy preaches the Gospel.
    They may inject other opinions, but you can’t avoid the gospel in the liturgy.

  9. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think it s those “other opinions” that give the wink and nod to their liturgies.

  10. Michael says:

    I’ve never been in an ELCA church, but there are many orthodox Episcopal churches.

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    the point is that political affiliation does not chase people out of churches as Dreher tries to guilt trip us into.
    Look, the reason people quit being Christians ids that they are still at war with God.

    Dreher talks of us not hanging on to our children – what generation does? The Jesus movement was born out of a lost church generation.

  12. Michael says:

    You were right the first time…you don’t understand Dreher’s point.

  13. Duane Arnold says:

    I am an Episcopal priest and for 33 years I have preached Christ crucified and celebrated the Eucharist according to the Book of Common Prayer in Episcopal churches…

  14. The religious freedom lawsuits have conclusively proven one thing for the litigants, it’s a religion, not a relationship

  15. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well Duane, then the Episcopal church should not be bleeding membership – and if they are, Dreier is blaming you directly for not hanging on to the next generation – or is something else happening? (Which is my view)

  16. Duane Arnold says:

    A useless conversation…

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    It may be the difference between an Episcopalian and a Lutheran. We don’t buy into Dreher’s premise that people go to hell because Christians don’t do something right.
    I realize that Dreher has become a darling of sorts in some circles.

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    Dreher is Eastern Orthodox…

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Nathan – James 1 refers to religion as good.

  20. bob1 says:

    One of my sons was baptized in an ELCA church.

    I have a long-term, close friend who’s been an Episcopal priest (and, I think, has held other diocesan positions) for many, many years.

  21. Em says:

    Michael @ 11:22 this morning…
    The church that i referred to would not admit elderly and any others who had health conditions making them vulnerable…

  22. Jean says:

    Michael and Duane,

    Tell me if I am reading Dreher’s point correctly. I will use this as an example: “But it profits a church nothing to gain all the political power in the world, but lose the next generation to Christ.”

    What I hear him saying is that the most important work of the church (the work that has been neglected) is to pass the faith down to the next generation. That would be by Christian families in the home and by Sunday School and other catechesis of young people in church. Overall, these activities would be backed up by orthodox faith and practice in the church.

    In the LCMS, the complaint I hear from pastors, which I have witnessed in my own congregation, is that parents are typically diligent about getting their children confirmed, but then attendance drops off significantly not only for the confirmed children but for the parents as well. It’s as though the family has checked a box and is now moving on. So I can find common ground with Dreher, if I’m reading him right.

    Not using my example, but I this what Dreher is observing, that the church is not emphasizing the fundamental responsibility of passing the faith down and instead is focusing on moralizing society through political influence?

  23. JimmieT says:

    Em- at what age does one become “elderly”. Just wondering? I may be there but didn’t know it. Thanks

  24. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    My concern with Dreher’s article is that he thinks those he labels conservative Christians cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. I would say that you can if you pay attention – and many do. I am a conservative Christian and I hung on t my kids.

    But there is a cultural change out there that has nothing to do with this – the devil is fighting hard and it affect all, conservative, liberal or just unaware Christians the same. Sunday soccer doesn’t care about your political affiliation – it just wants you and your kids to forsake your church attendance — just for the season — no harm no foul – so says Satan.

    Also, about kids and families who fade away after confirmation – very similar to what happens with Jewish kids and their families once the bar mitzvah takes place — gone in 60 seconds.

    This is not about political affiliation — it is the same tool the devil uses with parents who work too much and idolize their jobs.

  25. ..Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,..
    It might be pure and undefiled, or not.

  26. Em says:

    JimmieT, elderly? Don’t think it is chronological…. Some are elderly at 65 and some are waaay past 80 before it hits.
    IMHO. 😊

  27. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    I think you’re reading him correctly. I think, however, Dreher places family as somehow antithetical to society at large – as though all of society is attacking the family (which may or may not be true) and, therefore, the family must circle the wagons to pass on the faith. There is some truth to this, but it also signals fear as to the ability of Christians to make their way in a post-Christian society…

  28. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Duane, members of the Frankfurt school (like Adorno) staked out a parallel argument that the nuclear family was one of the potential bulwarks against the deleterious influence of monopoly capitalism. The degree to which the Christian right unknowingly (probably) takes up arguments against cultural assimilative processes that were earlier formulated by Marxist-Leninists is almost ironic. On those issues, now, Adorno is considered too elitist and patriarchal by contemporary egalitarian critical theorists.

    What I’ve found interesting reading Adorno in the last six years is he regarded the New Left as essentially fascist in means and ends.

    Aside from the kinds of misunderstandings that happen when monergists read synergists Dreher’s larger point might map onto a claim made by Walter McDougall in some of his more recent books that Americans are more versed in civic religious impulses than traditional Christian impulses across the political spectrum. I’m getting old enough to see that many a confident parent from the Mars Hill years did everything right so far as they could tell but the kids aren’t staying in the faith and are switching political sides. Since I’ve tried to shift back and forth in my reading in the last twenty years across the spectrum spanning from Marxists through the American Conservative and former Weekly Standard I’m not particularly shocked if people change their political views while retaining religious beliefs. It happens. An undercurrent I’ve picked up from Dreher is that he seems to tacitly believe that if “we” raise “them” properly they won’t shift either the faith team OR the politics team and there’s never any assurance of that. I’ve been friends who are as conservative as can be on doctrinal issues who are very progressive on politics and policy. Conversely, I can think of a case where a guy is moderately conservative who has parents who think he’s a flaming liberal disappointment because he’s not in the “Nixon didn’t do anything wrong” category of conservative. 🙂

    I would venture MLD is “partly” wrong in saying it’s not about politics because it is, if we keep in mind that civic religious impulses are both political and religious. False christs come in many forms and some of the more popular ones in the U.S. are the versions of Jesus that underwrite the kind of U.S. people want to live in, whether blue or red.

  29. Duane Arnold says:

    WTH

    An Iranian friend of mine used to say that the hidden Ayatollah wasn’t going to fly into Tehran on a 747… Likewise, I don’t see Christ wearing a MAGA hat or a Biden-Harris button – those who attire him in such have little, if anything, to do with the faith once delivered…

  30. filbertz says:

    Faith of the parent(s) is not nepotistic. Our kids can certainly be influenced by the environment and example a parent of faith provides, but isn’t coming to faith in Christ a personal matter–something quite different than passing on class characteristics, ethnic qualities, regional values, or political views? Let’s at least be consistent with our views on salvation and how one comes to a reconciled position in Christ. It is not genetic. I don’t understand the hand wringing over ‘the next generation.’ “Evangelism” begins in the centers of our circles and works out from there…

    Further, any one moment is simply a snapshot in the on-going narrative. I’ve watched my own kids go through long periods of faith-defying behaviors, attitudes, and conversations, yet find them returning, not to their “roots” (for that is a poor, contradictory term) but to their faith in Christ. It is something super-cultural, this faith we possess.

  31. Em says:

    While i do not understand how anyone can look at the fickle, self serving world we live in and proudly proclaim that they are a liberal, Christians need a renewing of the mind that only comes, IMV, from a study of God’s words – the ones He has seen fit to give us. Yes, we can be gracious as we learn to stand, stand as Jesus Christ exampled – leaving Pilate and Herod and Judas and all of Israel to chose…. What is Truth?
    Thanks to the grace of God and the Holy Spirit we. CAN know what it is…. God sees our innermost being? Uh oh

  32. Jean says:

    I am very grateful for liberals. They have produced the technology in my hybrid automobile, my iPhone, my laptop, ability for work from home, given me access to the tools of Google, like Maps, allow me to shop from home and kept prices down through the efficiencies of the internet, have produced social networks, like this blog and Facebook that keep me connected during a pandemic, are developing vaccines and therapeutics against Covid-19, and are working on solutions to climate change and environmental pollution.

  33. Michael says:

    “liberalism”-“a political or social philosophy advocating the freedom of the individual, parliamentary legislatures, governmental assurances of civil liberties and individual rights, and nonviolent modification of institutions to permit continued individual and social progress.”

  34. Em says:

    Haven’t come across any liberals fitting Michael’s definition above…. It would work, for the God fearing, but the god denying!?
    What’s the definition of a conservative?

  35. Michael says:

    “conservative” -“disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change”.

  36. Michael says:

    ‘Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, hierarchy, and authority, as established in respective cultures, as well as property rights.[1] Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as organized religion, parliamentary government, and property rights, with the aim of emphasizing continuity.[2]”

  37. Michael says:

    As of this writing,many of the “god fearing” are terrifying to me.
    I’m not alone.

  38. Em says:

    If they are truly “god fearing,” they could not be terrifying. 😇
    that said, there should be a happy medium – hard over liberal or conservative = dangerous non thinker…. IMHO, of course

    God keep

  39. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael (10:05am):

    I’m with you there.

  40. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I’m spending hours and hours every week answering for sins I did not commit simply because I’m a Christian.
    I’ve never had such backlash from people I’ve known for years.
    Most of that time is spent trying to keep believers believing in the midst of what is publicly described as Christianity.
    I get alternately depressed and angry…and sometimes I even get scared.
    The witness of the faith has never been more distorted in my lifetime.

  41. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael,

    I just can’t imagine what you go through on a daily basis as a shepherd and leader. Me being a private individual I only am exposed indirectly for the most part to these things. But recently my wife texted her friends mom and this friends mom proceeded to send an insensitive text back to her that basically was a bunch of “talking points” lifted from your typical dumpster fire of Facebook comments. It’s a fine line to walk when I so dearly want my wife to continue to fellowship with her friend, versus wanting to strike back at her friend’s mother.

  42. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane’s response above to Jean’s query about Dreher shows my point. He is all about what we as people need to do to preserve Christian faith and what we must do to protect the church.
    He never speaks of the role of the Holy Spirit and seems fearful that the elect will not make it to their proper final destination.

    It seems his writings are from a secular view of the church.

  43. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I feel awful for folks like your wife who are simply trying to have normal, warm, friendships.
    There is not a day that goes by that I’m not dealing with stress in families, workplaces, and among friends .
    More and more often, I’m having to help people set boundaries with people they love.
    It’s tragic.

  44. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Duane wrote a brief answer to a comment, not a position paper.
    He said none of what you ascribe to him.
    To be blunt, this is enough.
    If this is going to be how you choose to communicate you will be much happier on Gab or Parler…and so will I be.

  45. Dan from Georgia says:

    Indeed Michael. We haven’t seen my mother and father-in-law (up in MN and WI) for close to 15 months now because of the pandemic, and instead of offering a word of hope and comfort to my wife, this person (a believer btw) proceeded to blame Democrats, and then went on her tirade, and at the end of the text said “I’m sorry if this offends you” (read: she’s not really sorry) and “deal with it”…

    And lastly for those who think this is only an isolated incident, please listen to what Michael and many of us are saying. And yes this is becoming common. People losing sight of what it means to exemplify Christian behavior and character.

  46. Michael says:

    Dan,

    Thanks.
    The sane pastors are losing it…

  47. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, I wasn’t speaking to Duane’s comment, but his comment highlighted for me the issue with Dreher – he is a political secularist trying to make in roads with churchy people for street cred. And the churchy people eat it up.

  48. Michael says:

    MLD,

    You live in an enclosed Lutheran bubble and are clueless as to what is going on in other places.
    Further, you are not a pastor and thus are clueless about what is going on in so many churches and people’s lives.
    Now, there is nothing wrong with living in an ecclesiastical bubble…there are days when I wish I could.
    We have churches split all over America over politics and masks…as well as families, workplaces, and everywhere else people congregate.
    The numbers speak for themselves…American Christianity is shrinking according to any denominational method you choose.
    We are losing generations…but I’m not sure that what they’re rejecting has anything to do with the historic Christian faith.
    We need to look inside and see what we may be doing to cause this…

  49. Em says:

    “American Christianity is shrinking… “. Rev. 3:16-19?

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You may be losing generations – there you and Dreher agree – however, God is not losing anyone – but you buy Dreher’s line.

  51. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I don’t believe that at the end of all things God loses anyone.
    However, Christianity is about much more than individual “salvation”…it’s about a king and a kingdom and the place that the people of God have in advancing one and lifting up the other.
    The witness of the faith once delivered is being distorted and compromised…bringing shame on the name of the King and slowing the progress and efficacy of the kingdom.
    Your faith is all about your personal security…mine is a whole lot broader than that.

  52. Jean says:

    One of the distortions of monergism and election is when a Christian thinks his behavior or his church’s behavior makes no impact on the spiritual health and perseverance of other Christians.

    How many Judaizers did it take to impact the churches in Galatia? A couple or three?

    How many false teachers brought about the German peasant revolt in Germany in 1523-25? A couple or three?

  53. Dan from Georgia says:

    Reminds me of the teaching in 1 Cor 12 (from verse 12 on) how we are all connected in the body of Christ.

  54. Michael says:

    The parallel I draw is between the Pharisees of old…whose political and religious spirit blinded them to Christ…and they demanded that others be blind as well.

  55. Duane Arnold says:

    MLD

    Your comment at 10:34 is a complete fabrication… as most of your comments seem to be these days…

  56. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, @ 12:13 – you render the Holy Spirit powerless.
    Jesus and the Holy Spirit drew many out from under the Pharisees.
    I don’t know why you don’t see that?
    Perhaps too much decision theology at play.

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, (1) you didn’t read further my comment to Michael and (2) you are not the judge of every thing I say.

  58. Duane Arnold says:

    I read both comments… one a lie and one an excuse for the lie.

  59. Michael says:

    MLD,

    You well know that I don’t hold to decisional regeneration.
    You also seem to be unaware that Jesus constantly rebuked the Pharisees and did so in front of the people they were influencing.

    ““O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37 ESV)

    No one denies the power of the Holy Spirit…but we recognize other forces at work that attempt to quench the Spirit at work…

  60. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, you think too highly of yourself.

  61. Duane Arnold says:

    Knowing the difference between the truth and a lie is not that difficult…

  62. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, but those other forces are spiritual. The Bible is clear – the parable of the shower tells us why people fall away.
    The parable of the wheat and weeds explains who plants bad people in our churches and Paul explains that people don’t come to faith because they are at war with God.

    So I ask this question to all who are curious – what bad thing would the church, your pastor or your favorite Christian buddy have to do to get anyone of you to deny Jesus, his claims and his promises?

  63. Em says:

    Gentlemen – STOP PICKIN ON EACH OTHER! ! ! 🙏

  64. MLD. Nobody is rendering the the Holy Spirit powerless.

    And about the Pharesses, they where a nightmare, just like a lot of Conservativism today. In the clash of Pharisee vs. Apostle:
    -They got labeled with a less than flattering “hairesis pharisaios” for running a sub-culture inside the Church. (Acts 15:5)
    -They successfully countered the Apostles among the believing Jews, and turned them into zelotes. (Acts 21:20)

    It’s a valid comparison to today

  65. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Nathan, the Pharisees were not Christians so there is no comparison in this discussion.

  66. MLD. Yes. Christian, after a bunch switch sides, and believed. Just like a bunch of Priest did as well. They didn’t drop their network of affiliations and loyalties.

    Again, ditto with contempary networks having a political agenda.

  67. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Then they were not Christians if they hung on to their old loyalties.
    I was raised Jewish and after 32 years I became Christian. I hung on to nothing of my past and I correct others when they try to label me as a messianic Jew or a completed Jew.

    I highly doubt the authenticity of Jews who have divided loyalties.

  68. Mike E. says:

    Interesting discussion. My new church’s (Anglican) priest is catching flack about following the governor’s (WA) guidance of no singing in church. You can have one person sing a solo. In his sermon Sunday, he pleaded with the congregation to trust him and if not him, the church hierarchy. It made me see a small part of what clergy people are experiencing. Really sad. 😢

  69. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    I was re reading a post of yours at 11:58 am yesterday. You said in one place;
    “The witness of the faith once delivered is being distorted and compromised…bringing shame on the name of the King and slowing the progress and efficacy of the kingdom.”

    You think this is unique to this age? As one who looks closely at history I find that comical. Go find a local rabbi and ask him if Jews past would have rather lived under Christian rule in the middle ages or that of Islam – the answer will be 100% living under Islam who up until the 20th century always treated the Jews as equals with full rights.

    You know as well as I that since the creation of the Church, the Church has always had elements that act out as bastards – this should be no surprise, although it seems to be foreign to you.

    You also said “Your faith is all about your personal security…mine is a whole lot broader than that.” There isn’t a moment of any single day that I give any thought to my own personal salvation – I only hope that Jesus gives it thought.

  70. Michael says:

    “You think this is unique to this age?”
    You’ve been here long enough to know better.

    “You know as well as I that since the creation of the Church, the Church has always had elements that act out as bastards – this should be no surprise, although it seems to be foreign to you.”

    You know better than that, as well…but I suppose you can claim that you learned your ways from history…

    Faithful Christians act during those times…kind of like this thing called the Reformation where you got your moniker.

    We both have better things to do than continue entertaining your ways.

  71. Em says:

    Too much navel gazin goin on on this thread….
    Like my refrigerator magnet reads, “Enjoy Christ”
    If you know Him, enjoy Him….
    Seems like good sense to me, anway…………… Dunno, tho, do i
    God keeo

  72. sarahmorgan says:

    “As one who looks closely at history I find that comical. Go find a local rabbi and ask him if Jews past would have rather lived under Christian rule in the middle ages or that of Islam – the answer will be 100% living under Islam who up until the 20th century always treated the Jews as equals with full rights.”

    Are you serious? (and I ask that sincerely, as someone who has spent a fair amount of time studying the history of medieval Iberia) https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Maimonides-on-Jewish-humiliation-under-Islamic-rule-622050

  73. Michael says:

    Thank you, Sarah….

  74. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Sarah, the rabbi writing the article is going against the “myths” of Jewish historians.
    I first came across this notion back in 1991 while taking courses at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles under the care of Rabbi David Wolpe. I was one of 3 Christians in the course and one brought up how appreciative the Jews should be for Christian care.
    He was the o n e who brought up the topic as I briefly stated up above.

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