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  1. Jean says:

    MONEY
    “Money, get away
    Get a good job with more pay and you’re okay
    Money, it’s a gas
    Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
    New car, caviar, for star daydream
    Think I’ll buy me a football team.”
    -Pink Floyd, Money

    American consumers have been the engine of U.S. and global economic growth. According to a report published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, dated January 2012, during the 25 year period between 1982 through 2007, personal consumption in the U.S. accounted for 70.8% of the average real gross domestic product (“GDP”) growth. As a percentage of GDP, personal consumption has represented on average 70% of total GDP every year between 2001-11. By contrast, our Canadian neighbors to the north, spent on average 56% of GDP during that period.

    U.S. consumers consistently spend a greater percentage of their GDP than the consumers of any other country. Our economy is built on consumer spending and is more dependent on consumer spending to maintain and provide growth in GDP than any other country. Is this healthy? No, argues David DeSilva in his book, “Unholy Allegiances: Heeding Revelation’s Warning.” DeSilva sees a “domination system” at work, which exploits the problem of emptiness and lack of fulfillment and fullness with which people wrestle.

    “Whole sectors of industry (particularly their propaganda divisions, whether called ‘marketing’ or ‘advertising’) work daily to keep us traveling in these ruts, so as to keep the consumerist economy going and growing, perpetuating the lies about how to fill that emptiness. ‘This is a powerful illusion. And what fuels the illusion, what impels the individual into this illustration, is the desperation to fill up the empty self.’”

    According to DeSilva, when Christians buy into the illusion of consumerism as the solution to the problem of emptiness and lack of fulfillment, religion becomes a commodity of self-help and self-actualization. Religious involvement, practices and experiences are then evaluated “on the basis of how well they enhance one’s sense of gratification and fulfillment. The testimonies that ‘I got a lot out of that service’ and the complaint that ‘I don’t get much out of going to that service’ equally demonstrate the elevation of the ‘values’ of consumerism and gratification as the uniting principles that join Christians in solidarity with their non-Christian, fellow Americans, who could evaluate their commitments and involvements in much the same way.”

    I don’t think the description of consumerism as a “domination system” in America is an overstatement. It affects millions of people personally and may be of concern to parents and pastors alike. I have two young adult sons who are separated in age by 3 years. One is entangled in this system to my dismay, while the other sees it for what it is and has not submitted to it. I honestly can’t account for the different paths each has so far taken, but prayerfully I hope that eventually the one will join the other in the realization that the source of lasting fulfillment and fullness is ultimately only attainable in the life that Jesus modeled and promoted.

    Do you see consumerism as a domination system? How do you deal with it or help others deal with it?

  2. That guy has probably helped more people and employed more people than than the govt. ever has outside of govt, jobs.
    He needs to get out of guilt mode and realize that “crony” capitalism is what is bad.

  3. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I think nuance and a broad view need to be engaged here.
    Capitalism is the economic system which, properly managed, afford the most opportunity for the most good, in my opinion.
    Successful capitalism will certainly lead to some measure of consumerism.
    The issue for me is when the values of economics become entwined with the church…and profane the sacred.

  4. If the govt. would lower some taxes and encourage guys like this, we would not be in a constant recession.
    This guy could then get on with creating more jobs.

  5. Michael says:

    Derek,

    The author clearly states that tax cuts aren’t the solution.
    Paying decent wages is.
    His whole theory makes so make sense that it will never be implemented…

  6. Jean says:

    Derek, when I reviewed the statistics, tax receipts were 16.7% of gross domestic product in 2013. Going back to 1940, that number looks below average. Why are taxes now a problem?

    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=205

  7. The author also states he isn’t the smartest.
    Which is why he has bought into the liberal guilt complex.

  8. Michael says:

    Derek,

    Where are you hearing guilt?
    I’m hearing a very successful, very wealthy, man offering real answers to issues that cross the liberal/conservative, Democrat/Republican lines.

  9. Without a job, you can’t get paid even “deceit” wages.
    The problem is jobs.

    Jean, the US has the highest corporate tax rate,Period.

  10. Michael says:

    Derek,

    The last two Fortune 500 companies I worked for made record profits the quarter they laid me and thousands of others off.
    They are still raking it in…and those profits aren’t being used to create new jobs.
    They are both still cutting wages and have huge turnover.
    Somethings broken here…

  11. Michael says:

    Forgive the typo…I corrected it.
    I’m well aware of what it means to have no job.

  12. The last time we had an income inequality gap was the Great Depression.
    The problem with the Depression….no jobs.
    The problem now….no jobs.

  13. Michael says:

    “Which is why the fundamental law of capitalism must be: If workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers, not rich businesspeople like us, the true job creators. Which means a thriving middle class is the source of American prosperity, not a consequence of it. The middle class creates us rich people, not the other way around.”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014_Page2.html#ixzz36cNblbF2

  14. Michael, do you actually believe that corporations want to downsize instead of grow?

  15. Michael says:

    Derek,

    The corporations aren’t downsizing anything but jobs, benefits, and wages.
    I interviewed for two positions this week…and the salaries are 35-40% below what I made in the same positions five years ago.
    I’ll gladly take either one…but something is broken here.

  16. PP Vet says:

    The Big Black Songbook says, Houses and lands are from parents.

    A modern translation would be, “Make sure your kids have a career.” (Back then your land was your career.)

    If you are looking for a job, it is (probably – yes there are exceptions to every principle, dingbat) because your parents did not prepare you for a career.

    Don’t make the same mistake with your kids!

    Every church should have a career development dynamic. Not every kid will be an apostle.

  17. Jean says:

    Michael, #5, I never mentioned capitalism. I think it’s the best economic economic system.

  18. The salaries are less, because we are essentially in a Depression.
    I am basically making the same thing I made in the 90’s, but I am not fussing.
    My wife is making less.
    That is what happens in these times.

    But, we always want to blame those with money, like they are somehow the cause.
    Not buying it.

  19. PP Vet says:

    Not calling anyone a dingbat … just trying to be like my heroine Ann Coulter.

    Also not very kid responds humbly to parental assistance in the career area.

    My dad could have had a happy life, had he had a career. That was a very influential bad example for me.

  20. Michael says:

    Derek,

    The guy that wrote this article has a ton of money…unapologetically so.
    He’s saying that the solution is higher wages and greater wage equality.
    He wants to make more money!
    We’re at a point were I don’t think people are even interested in solutions…all we’re interested in is winning some ideological battle .
    His ideas cross those boundaries…so he’ll get shot from both sides….and the problems will get worse.

  21. Michael says:

    PP Vet,

    I was waiting to pick up Trey from day camp the other day and ran into two guys I’d worked with before…we all kind of ran into each other.
    They were well prepared for careers…better than myself.
    They have been out of work longer than me.
    There was a lot of desperation in that room…

  22. Jean says:

    Derek,
    I think you’ve been deceived. We’re not in a depression. The country’s economic wealth has fully recovered. Corporate earnings are at all time highs. What is different is that the wealth has moved around. Income inequality has grown. The wealthiest people have a bigger share, which has been at the expense the middle class.

  23. Michael says:

    I’m definitely in a depression… 🙂

  24. Jean,
    You are the one being deceived.

  25. Jean says:

    Derek, It’s going to be difficult to have this discussion if you’re going to ignore the facts. This article both makes my point as well as Michael’s. These are not obscure or debated statistics. This is well known knowledge.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/profits-at-high-wages-at-low-2013-4

  26. Michael says:

    This guy wrote what in my eyes is a brilliant article…it wasn’t written from the perspective of someone like me, but from a very wealthy, very successful, business man.

    It’s been posted elsewhere…and the substance of what he said is rarely addressed because everyone retreats to their ideological camps and reloads.

    I’m wondering what it will take to actually ever have a discussion around ideas in this country that hears all the concerns and tries to reach actual solutions.

    Everybody wants to win and everyone is losing.

  27. They are cooking the numbers continuously.
    GDP, unemployment, inflation…why?
    So they can lie to your face and say we aren’t in either a depression or the worst recession since.
    We all know this is going on.

    This is all about unemployment and underemployment, not wages.

  28. Maybe, you just keep ignoring the fact that this has happened before.
    Income inequality was highest during the Great Depression.
    It is high again.
    Connect the dots.

  29. Michael says:

    Derek,

    It would seem that your argument is that if the tax burden on corporations were lifted and they could make higher profits, they would hire more.
    Yet, the day I, (and thousands more) were laid off from the biggest wireless provider in this country, they announced record profits.
    The same thing happened at one of the largest banks in this country.
    Those dots are a bit hard to connect…

  30. Jean says:

    Derek, pick up a newspaper and check a graph of the S&P 500 stock index. You will see it at or within a few points of an all time high. That’s not indicative of a depression. Stocks go up because earnings go up. Corporate earnings are up and that’s not indicative of a depression.

    There is a lack of well paying jobs for many people. The jobs shed during the financial crisis haven’t come back with corporate profits. Corporations have found ways to sell more with less people.

  31. Anonymos says:

    “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” — John Adams

    “The two cities in the nation with the highest rate of job growth by small businesses are San Francisco and Seattle. Guess which cities have the highest minimum wage? San Francisco and Seattle. The fastest-growing big city in America? Seattle. Fifteen dollars isn’t a risky untried policy for us. It’s doubling down on the strategy that’s already allowing our city to kick your city’s ass.”

    What a hoot to see religious conservatives acting like financial whores for the rich and
    discredited notions like “trickle down” economics. Low information voters.

  32. Jean,
    Fine. You win.
    I could give less of a hoot.
    Anonymos has shown up and declared all conservatives to be verboten.
    Have fun discussing how to divy up the wealth.

  33. Michael says:

    Derek,

    Why is it ok to take shots at “liberals” but when sometime takes a shot at “conservatives” the conversation ends?
    I’ll say it again…if those are the only two lenses we use to look at the problems in this country, we’re doomed.

  34. Oh and BTW Anonymos,
    Look back at my comments.
    Did I ever drag religion into it?
    No. I did not.

    The Bible is not a book on economics for either the left or right.
    I have my beliefs that I hold on politics and economics and I try not to mix them.
    But, see people like you always try to make sure that the two are mixed together in others minds.
    I guess they are for you.

  35. Michael says:

    If that is indeed a fact that the highest growth in small business comes from cities with the highest minimum wage…that’s really important from where I sit.

  36. I just stated my reasons.
    It wasn’t conservatives.
    It was religious conservatives.

    And yes, discuss among yourselves.

  37. Jean says:

    Dere I have no desire to win an argument. Almost all my retirement savings is in the stock market. If I am to make it through retirement without becoming a burden on my kids or the rest of you, then I need this economy to work. So, that’s my lens.

    I have a proposal for everyone: How about we all spend a few hours a week reading or listening to the other side? Maybe that would help us read and listen to our side a little more critically. I think both sides often manipulate the truth to it’s advantage, and it’s difficult for us to judge when that happens unless we’re armed with the opposite viewpoint. That’s basically how the judicial system works.

  38. Jean says:

    Derek not “Dere”. Sorry!

  39. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Amen to #39.
    I would say that there are multiple sides…and each brings something to the table that needs consideration.

  40. Jean says:

    Well, the Bible may not be an economics book, but apparently it a leadership manual. According to Anthony Le Donne, the following titles are on offer at Amazon.com:

    Jesus on Leadership;
    The Leadership Style of Jesus: How to Make a Lasting Impact;
    The Leadership Principles of Jesus: Modern Parables of Achievement and Motivation;
    A Life of Impact: Leadership Principles of Jesus; and
    Gospel Driven Leadership: 5 Non-Negotiable, Unchanging, and Eternal Principles for Leading Like Jesus

    I checked and sure enough, they’re there. Again, I’m speechless.

  41. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    at the risk of calling a bit of attention to some of my recent work … it was a year ago yesterday Wenatchee The Hatchet first broached the question of whether a particular Driscoll book hadn’t made use of Dan Allender’s ideas and work without giving him any credit.

    http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/07/tyndale-standing-by-driscoll-year-after.html

    Then in September WtH laid out a back-to-back comparison of Real Marriage chapt 7 and The Wounded Heart chapt 9 to show rather than tell people that this Driscollian use of others’ work without credit might be a significant thing.

    This last year was … interesting. Back on July 4, 2013 nobody had any clue that months later Mefferd would confront Driscoll on air about plagiarism or that WORLD magazine would blow the lid off of Result Source as a news story. It’s been jaw-dropping to see the MH BOAA stand by the executive elders after everyone has admitted to the gag orders and the sales rigging to have been real things. And to date no confessions have been made about how far “mistakes were made” with “citations errors”. That MH PR seemed willing to passive aggressively shift blame to others for material that only had Mark Driscoll’s name on it makes it seem as though Driscoll’s years of telling other guys to man up has been for nothing if he let his PR team imply that the citation errors in the Trial study guide could be laid at the feet of research help.

    It’s been sad to observe that when Driscoll crashed Strange Fire that four of the seven members of the MH Board of Advisors and accountability (Driscoll, Turner, Brusas and MacDonald) were on hand for the conference crashing publicity stunt. These don’t look like men who are well situated to help hold Driscoll accountable if they’re joining him in crashing Strange Fire while Driscoll claimed his books were confiscated by security.

    http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/06/revisiting-time-where-mark-driscoll.html

    A BOAA that admits there are gag orders and sales-rigging contracts but chooses to stand unreservedly behind the executive elders may be a lot of things but it’s hard to buy the idea that it is a real board of advisors and accountability.

    With all that ramble said, this comment was made possible this weekend thanks to the new gear bought thanks to the fundraising done on behalf of Wenatchee The Hatchet. Thanks to all who discovered that fundraiser via Phoenix Preacher and thanks to Michael for bringing attention to it. Here’s wishing a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend to everybody at Phoenix Preacher.

  42. Michael says:

    I just finished my sermon for tomorrow…we finish up the Gospel of Mark.
    Every time I teach through one of the Gospels Jesus dynamites another set of my preconceptions…even after all these years.

    Somewhere, somehow, we always lose sight of how radical and wonderful He is.

  43. Michael says:

    Wenatchee,

    You have done incredible work on the Mars Hill situation for a very long time.
    It has been done with great professionalism and integrity.
    You have made a difference.
    Congratulations on the new gear…you earned it.

  44. PP Vet says:

    It is true that there is a lot of “luck” when it comes to preparing for a career. Careers can become obsolete quickly. Nobody with economic prosperity can afford to pat themselves on the back or believe themselves better in any way. This includes billionaires, who for all their hard work and skill, were almost all, so some extent, lucky as well.

    All us should be grateful, desperate, or, better yet, both.

    Nevertheless as parents we take this all very seriously. Whether it is the PSAT, ACT, SAT, MCAT, LSAT, PCAT, Step 1, or whatever, we fast and sit outside the test center and pray while our kids are taking these tests.

  45. London says:

    I’m having a good day!
    Found out we had more than I thought already donated or purchased towards our backpack drive this year.
    Until yesterday and this morning I was set on this being our last school supply drive. It’s a heck of a lot of work and frankly, I’m wasn’t sure I had it in me to pull it off again this year.

    Today, after doing an inventory, I’m feeling grateful and hopeful for not only this year, but the future. We have more stuff than I thought already sorted.

    It’s a big deal to me even if it’s not to anyone else and it definitely was because of Gods provision.

    Whew!!

    Now to concentrate on getting the specific items we still need. That is doable!

  46. Michael says:

    London,

    If we can help…let us know.

  47. Jean says:

    Michael, I pray the Lord grant you boldness and your congregation open hearts.

  48. J.U. says:

    I’m lucky that I still have a job. I work in health care and that has been a good field for employment, at least for me. I’ve had several jobs during my working time and employment was never a problem. I can’t say that the pay was very good, but I’m a single guy who collects social security, so money is not a big problem as I have such simple needs.That isn’t true of most.

    I’m currently in school thanks to the help and support of friends and my current employer. I’m moving up from Certified Nursing Assistant to Nurse. It isn’t so much the money as the fact that the job is a little easier on these old bones.

    I think that current American economic policy is skewed to the rich and the corporations. It seems we have the best darn congress (and administration) that money can buy. But I don’t see much agreement on what is the correct economic policy even if common sense was to prevail. Is a higher minimum wage the answer? Are new rules that reduce off-shoring of jobs the right thing? Should we have higher/lower taxes and more/less regulation?

    Or do we just have it too darn good in this country of three car garages and everyone with a smartphone, cable, internet, and a big, flatscreen TV? I don’t know. We are so, so rich compared to countries like Mexico, South America, and Africa and Asia. Maybe we are better off. I don’t have any answers, but I know that homelessness and joblessness are on the rise and that is a big concern to me. I get the problem. I’m just not sure about the solution. Even education, the usual route to a better life is becoming out of reach due to high cost of tuition. It is a sad situation. Lot’s of rhetoric about change, but I don’t see convincing evidence on either side. The discussion always becomes a right vs. left and us vs. them and much more smoke than light. It is a tough problem.

    I’m very sorry for those out of work. It is more than just an economic problem, but a great personal and emotional problem too. That I’ve learned from this blog.

  49. All of this moaning and groaning about the economy – who is at fault, how it should be fixed and no one mentions what makes America great.

    Did I mention that Joey Chestnut won the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest for the 8th yr in a row? 61 dogs and buns in 10 min.

    That my friends is America!!

  50. PP Vet says:

    Thanks for covering the real news. The man is a competitive eating legend.

  51. London says:

    Michael,
    Appreciate the offer but we really are ok this year.
    It was mostly me just not having the mental energy to pull it off.

  52. Steve Wright says:

    I think the article is pretty good in broad strokes, I appreciate anyone who at least is willing to call out both political parties.

    Admittedly I skimmed the article but did not see the call for a wealth tax on the one percenters like the author. In fact, I never have when one of these guys writes such a piece.

    Maybe a wealth tax is the proverbial pitchfork the author actually fears. 🙂

    There is no doubt that taxes need to be cut in a dramatic fashion and in doing so we would unleash a flood of wealth creation, employment, and economic expansion. A wealth tax could offset those losses, pay down deficits, while the new economic growth builds to eventually also grow the tax base.

    But taxes are only part of the corporate equation as the larger problem is government regulatory power (which includes taxes) and uncertainty there. THAT is why corporations are just sitting on all their wealth (that Jean mentioned) rather than expanding and hiring – and that is not just opinion on my end but simply my sharing the comments I read and watch on a regular basis (I spend about an hour a day reading or watching business news)

    He is right that the one percenters do not create jobs, nor do the Fortune 500 corps. It is small business that has always been the engine for economic growth, and they are the ones literally crushed by state and federal taxation and regulation today.

    And I amen Derek’s comment about crony capitalism. Instead of funneling billions of our tax dollars to politically connected businessmen who kick a portion of that money back to the campaign of those politicians…all because we need green energy for example…..and watch that money get pissed away in bankrupted and failed attempts while the connected CEOs walk away with millions

    How about unleashing the entrepreneurial power of America by promising a 20-year income tax waiver on every cent of profits from a profitable green energy project (if within an existing business already being taxed) or total income tax freedom for a new start-up company. After all, one does not owe taxes until they have proven they can actually make money with their product, whereas it is easy for an Obama ally to cash a check drawn on the tax receipts from hardworking American taxpayers in exchange for a promise…

  53. Michael says:

    Steve,

    Is Obama the first president to reward his allies?
    I think not…the cronyism crosses party lines.

  54. Michael says:

    I’m wondering if Xenia started that book yet…

  55. London says:

    I’m wondering who will win the World Cup

  56. Michael says:

    I haven’t watched any of it…I don’t even know who’s playing.
    I do know that the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup. 😉

  57. Steve Wright says:

    Michael, I’m trying to live in the present. Since I thought your article above was mostly talking about the current situation. And Obama has been President for six years so his policies seem to be primary and most relevant when talking about present unemployment and economic issues.

    Now…on that score, Obama is in fact unprecedented in the scope of scandal concerning crony capitalism. Obama’s term(s) have been unprecedented in the level of such things as adding to the national debt too, though yes, he is not the first president to add to debt either.

    “rewarding allies” is hardly what I wrote about above in detail. I’m not ignorant of politics or America’s deep history in the same.

    I specifically spoke to crony capitalism which was a mantra of the left when Bush was in office, but a forgotten word for the most part today – though their man dwarfs whatever one wants to throw at Bush (and that sticks in my throat because Bush WAS in fact terrible when it comes to government spending too)

    Here is the Washington Post. Not a right-winger blog. But a media outlet that if anything leans a little left (in my opinion) but is about as legit a straight news source as we still have.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/solyndra-politics-infused-obama-energy-programs/2011/12/14/gIQA4HllHP_story.html

    You tell me the Republican equivalent of a scandal this magnitude as to crony capitalism, or for that matter another Democrat before the particular individual in the White House. And of course this is just ONE company (I’m afraid to get a full wrapup of the green energy nonsense pulled with our tax dollars you probably will have to find someone on the right willing to research it)

    Anyway, if all you saw worthy to respond to in my lengthy #54 was my negative mention of Obama, then I probably am wasting my time.

  58. Michael says:

    Steve,

    The article is all about reinvigorating the economy by raising wages…the author doesn’t spend much time on other matters as he pursues his thesis.

    It’s very compelling to me.

    It hasn’t been addressed, nor evidently, will it be.

    The conversation always ends up in the traditional memes of advocating tax cuts and smoking liberals.

    I thought it was a brilliant article with a different perspective, worthy of consideration.

    What we end up with is more of the same…

  59. London says:

    The World is playing. 😉

  60. Em says:

    I’m afraid that you all are looking for solutions to a situation that can’t be controlled by any one humanly devised fix… from where I sit the economy (money flow) is being gamed by so many that there is no one fix… it permeates every aspect of our way of doing business now.
    I erased a large diatribe of “for instances” – you’re welcome

  61. Jean says:

    Steve #59,

    “You tell me the Republican equivalent of a scandal this magnitude as to crony capitalism, or for that matter another Democrat before the particular individual in the White House.”

    Here you go Steve, under the Bush Administration:

    “The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (Division A of Pub.L. 110–343, 122 Stat. 3765, enacted October 3, 2008), commonly referred to as a bailout of the U.S. financial system, is a law enacted in response to the subprime mortgage crisis authorizing the United States Secretary of the Treasury to spend up to $700 billion to purchase distressed assets, especially mortgage-backed securities, and supply cash directly to banks.”

    This was the largest example of crony capitalism ever. And it was caused in large measure by excessive deregulation. While millions and millions on main street lost their jobs and many their houses, Bush’s Secretary of Treasury, Hank Paulsen (former CEO of Goldman Sachs), protected his banking buddies.

    I don’t accept your argument that Democrats or Obama are any worse than Republicans when it comes to crony capitalism. I do think that Republicans have been more successful in persuading a large segment of the public that their economic platform is better for the middle class. They’ve evidently convinced you.

  62. Jean says:

    Em, #62, I don’t disagree. What do you suggest?

  63. Jean says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    My impression is that nationwide voters who self-identify as Republican or Democrat are more or less equal, with the remainder self-identifying as Independent. Here is what Gallup reported:

    “As of 2010, Gallup polling found that 31% of Americans identified as Democrats (tying a 22-year low), 29% as Republicans, and 38% as independents. By 2011 Gallup found that Americans identifying as independents had risen to 40 percent. Gallup’s historical data show that the proportion of independents in 2011 was the largest in 60 years. This increase came at the expense of Republican identification, which dropped to 27%, while Democratic identification held steady from 2011. Nevertheless, more American independents leaned to the Republican Party when compared to the Democratic Party. Combining leaners with each party’s core identifiers, for 2011 the parties ended up tied at 45 percent.”

    These statistics probably come as no surprise to anyone. Based on these statistics, we can be fairly confident that the political parties, including Independents, are well represented in the readership of PheonixPreacher. Thus, if one party is attacked or judged as responsible for all the country’s problems, a lot of readers may feel alienated or offended.

    I think we can have a discussion about issues and challenges that our country faces without resorting to partisanship. Nobody here, to my knowledge, is a psychologist and most of us don’t know most of the other people on the blog, so assigning motives or presuming to know what someone else believes (or why) is speculative at best and should be avoided.

    So, my proposal would be to try to stick to the issues and try to engage with one another in ways that are uplifting and edifying to everyone. If this can’t be done, then what’s the use of having a comments section?

    I’m asking that we engage one another in ways that do not dishonor others, that are not self-seeking and that are not easily angered (in the spirit of 1 Cor 13). Yes, we are committed to loving our neighbor, even our cyber neighbor. So let’s all commit to making this place a forum where everyone can feel safe giving an opinion. Thanks for reading.

  64. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Based on my email, my guess is that my readership is about 80% Republican…maybe higher.
    It reflects most of evangelicalism…though I do have that twenty percent that is either Democratic or independent.
    I’ve been called everything but holy all week long…

  65. Michael says:

    There is going to be a certain amount of conflict here because I’m conservative theologically and all over the place politically.
    That’s an odd combination today…

  66. Xenia says:

    Yes, Michael, I have read it about a quarter of the way through and it is fascinating. In fact, I can’t hardly put it down and I am going to log off and read some more right now.

  67. Jean says:

    Well, Michael, I don’t know what to think or say. Someone wrote to you last week: “Be that prophet.” It takes a special gift and a lot of patience. I respect your courage to put up that article this morning (even though it superseded the discussion I was hoping we would have).

    I assume you want a readership that reflects the diversity of America. That’s the only way to make the biggest possible impact for the kingdom. I hope the door is (and stays) open for everyone.

  68. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Thank you! 🙂

  69. Em says:

    Jean, #64, I’m the quintessential sidewalk superintendent… not a good person to ask – humanly speaking
    spiritually speaking, I think we all know the answers as so many have expressed and do express here – the question of what it means to be spiritual – to live Christ – is always a good topic, tho

  70. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I used to get beat up for allowing non evangelicals to have a voice here, for letting CC pastors have a voice here,for criticizing CC, and for not staying true to my “tribe” on every jot and tittle of doctrine.
    I still did what I thought was right.
    Now, I mostly get beat up on immigration…I knew that article on the kids on the border would blow up in my face, but it’s my damn blog and I’m responsible for what I do and don’t say.

    I’m getting ripped pretty good, but I sleep with a clear conscience.

    I like having different voices here…I learn from different voices here.

    The sad thing is that the same people who applaud the theology send the most hateful emails…

  71. Michael says:

    This is my hero outside the church.
    His words are the ones that I live by in regard to writing… and a lot of other things.

  72. Jean says:

    Understood Michael. I’ll be honest, I’m not even sure I understand what you or others mean by “evangelical.” Here’s how Wikipedia defines Evangelicalism:

    “Evangelicalism is a world-wide Protestant movement maintaining that the essence of the gospel consists in the doctrine of salvation by faith in Christ’s atonement.[1] The movement gained great momentum in the 18th and 19th centuries with the emergence of Methodism and the Great Awakenings in the British Isles and North America. Pietism, Nicolaus Zinzendorf and the Moravian Church, Presbyterianism and Puritanism have influenced Evangelicalism.”

    Seems pretty basic to me. Am I missing anything?

    I’ve always resisted associating any adjectives with Christianity. I ask myself, “isn’t being Christian enough?”

  73. Jean says:

    Em, #71, you may be more than a sidewalk superintendent; you also may be a sidewalk theologian. I’m puzzling over your words.

  74. Michael says:

    Jean,

    American evangelicalism is unique to the evangelicalism in other countries.
    It often has an undercurrent of nationalism and consumerism…and it places a higher value on charismatic leaders than traditional evangelicalism.
    It’s a cat of a different stripe…

  75. Jean says:

    Michael, if I’m looking for a charismatic leader, are you available?

  76. Em says:

    If one takes a look at Revelation 20:8,9 – forget the “when” of it – the fact is that Satan is capable of moving the nations against us right up to the very end, so it seems to me that we, the Church, should enjoy and focus on Christ, living life pleasing to Him and thusly showing Him to those around us. It’s okay to examine events beyond our control, I guess… and ‘opinionate’ on them – heaven knows, I do so

  77. Michael,
    You sound like such a weeping soul when you say “Now, I mostly get beat up on immigration…I knew that article on the kids on the border would blow up in my face, but it’s my damn blog and I’m responsible for what I do and don’t say.”

    Your problem isn’t that the issue blows up; no not at all – your problem is you blow up if anyone disagrees with you, or your feelings are hurt if people don’t hold the same interest level in the topic.

  78. Michael says:

    MLD,

    You have no idea what I get in my email.
    There has been much disagreement with me on almost every thread I’ve written…including from you along with a round of insults that usually accompany your comments.
    I write about things that matter to me…that I care about and I think are important to discuss.
    If you don’t like the blog, then get the hell off the blog…and if you come on with more insults you’re gone.

  79. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I’m a dullard in real life.

  80. I have never personally insulted you .. unless disagreement has now become insulting. Strange world we live in these days.

  81. Jean says:

    MLD,

    “I have never personally insulted you”

    The problem that you, me and some others from time to time have is that we think an insult is defined by the writer, so that if we’re using irony or jest or hyperbolic rhetoric, then it’s not an insult because we did not perhaps consciously intend to insult someone. But that’s not the way human discourse works. Not everyone has a thick skin or the same sense of humor. It’s incumbent on the writer to modulate his/her comments to an appropriate level. Many people have given you clues about how they receive some of your comments, so you should be able to discern what is appropriate on this blog.

    I wouldn’t take the time to offer these comments if I didn’t think you add value to the conversation.

  82. Michael says:

    MLD,

    The easiest way to run a blog is as an echo chamber.
    You pick a side, write for that side, and wait for the amens to roll.
    I don’t do that.

    I am emotional…I write about things that matter deeply to me.
    Sometimes, those don’t fit the paradigm and people get very angry.
    When it’s people you care about it hurts like hell…and yes, it does get me weepy at times.

    I am a Calvinist, you are a Lutheran.
    I don’t write just for Calvinists, nor do I only have Calvinist readers.
    Through the years we’ve promoted Lutheran businesses, Lutheran sites, and at times Lutheran theology.

    The point being…this is one hell of a long way from being my personal echo chamber…and you of all people have nothing to complain about.

  83. Michael,
    I appreciate your comment – I will take it to heart work diligently to not cross the line.

    Let me put it this way when it comes to this Central America issue. We send over $100 million per year in aid to Central America. If you are telling me that is not the good deed, then I don’t know what to say other than America perhaps will get a less kick in the butt if we stop sending funds all together, as it is obviously not helping anyone down there according to your description of the situation.

    I am going out to dinner tonight with 3 democrat couples from my church (I know they are dems because they keep talking up Obama in my Bible study class.) I think I will pick their brains on this issue.

  84. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I will tell you right now that I wouldn’t send another nickel to Central America or Mexico in the manner we are doing so now.
    Not a penny…

  85. Em says:

    We have a pitbull, the mildest, most people loving creature that you’d ever meet… she looks like a mini-chocolate lab with big brown eyes – a love sponge. She chases deer out of the yard, runs at them like a little bullet and stops when they take off up the hill. One day a big old buck didn’t run; just turned and faced her (dangerous) – perplexed, she turned and looked back at my daughter, seeming to ask, “what am I supposed to do now.?”
    Now marmots have moved in, tunneling little devils that can break a horse’s leg. The dog knows we hate them and, if she catches one, she’ll shake the life out of it.
    It is good to hate what God hates, but dogs are better at figuring out what their god hates, I think… no point – just sayin

  86. Michael says:

    Em,

    That would have made a great Friday column…make your own application style. 🙂

  87. This guy addresses this article far better than I could and puts into words what I see instinctively.

    As any basic economics student will tell you, that’s all patent nonsense. There is not getting around the fact that if you raise the price of labor, you will get less of it. Demand curves always slope downward. The minimum wage is always a creator of unemployment, no matter how many entrepreneurs or business owners say otherwise. Hanauer is right that economic inequality can create resentment. But he doesn’t see the real culprit: a government that insists in meddling in the marketplace. His solutions don’t fix the problem; only exacerbate it.

    More info on demand curves:
    http://economics-exposed.com/why-demand-curve-slopes-downward-to-the-right/

    Your labor is the commodity that the employer is purchasing. Higher prices and people buy less of you.

  88. Michael says:

    I read the article…and what is happening in San Francisco and Seattle says he’s wrong.

  89. Michael says:

    The other evidence that these guys don’t want to address is Costco…which is the second largest retailer in this country and pays people well.

  90. That is just wishful thinking. He addressed Seattle and San Francisco.

    In a clever move of obfuscation, Hanauer cites the growth of small business payroll in Seattle and San Francisco – two progressive paradises with the highest minimum wages in the country – to back his claim that higher government-mandated wages boost job creation. What he either forgets or purposefully hides is the effect of large businesses like Microsoft, Amazon.com, Wells Fargo, Google, and Twitter that are all headquartered in both cities. These businesses aren’t paying their employees a wage slightly above the minimum threshold. They’re doling out big salaries because of their ability to produce cutting-edge products and please consumers. The rise in small businesses around these industry giants is a result of the latter’s success – not the other way around.

    I agree. Big corporations would still make out like bandits from minimum wage.
    Who are the losers?
    Small businesses that aren’t a satellite of the big businesses.
    Those who lose their jobs due to the demand curve.

    This is just more crony capitalism. He is pretty much telling big govt. “We will do what you want” because the unwritten rule is that big businesses will have less competition.

  91. Costco is another big business.
    All the small businesses will suffer.
    I say again, crony capitalism.

  92. Michael says:

    Wells Fargo has a corporate HQ in SF.
    Amazon is in Seattle.
    The rest of those companies are not headquartered in SF or Seattle.

    I will give the author the benefit of the doubt and say he’s simply in error, not obfuscating.

    I will go no further.

  93. I had this guy all wrong.
    Instead of just a guilt trip, he is telling his buddies and the govt. “Let’s go along to get along.”

  94. Michael says:

    I’m not against big business.
    I’m against big business that doesn’t pay a living wage while making huge profits.
    Costco makes big profits…and pays their people well with good benefits and allows people to spend their careers there if they choose.
    May their tribe increase.

  95. Are you tellng me you don’t that Microsoft is in Washington State and they have a higher minimum wage than any state?
    Twitter is in San Fran.
    That leaves Google.
    So I am giving my guy the benefit of the doubt.

    Was no one taught the law of supply and demand in school?

  96. Michael says:

    Derek,

    I believe Seattle passed a specific law that doesn’t pertain to the rest of the state…as did SF.

    I believe Twitter and Google are in Silicon Valley, not SF…Microsoft is in Redmond, WA.
    I don’t think Twitter is that big of a company…

    Most of what we learned about simple economics in school is radically different in the global economy of today.

  97. Well, you wanted me to interact so I did.

    And things are usually called a law and not a theory for a reason.
    That reason is because they can be shown to be demonstrably true no matter how people want to redefine economics so they can fit it into how they believe the world should work

  98. I am not against big business either, but the playing field in this case would favor their dominance.

  99. Michael says:

    Derek,

    You’re welcome to continue interacting.
    I disagree with you on almost everything, and you’ve become one of the voices of the loyal opposition.
    That’s ok.

  100. BTW,
    The minimum wage in Seattle of $15 will be phased in over 7 years, 3 yrs for big business. So, it is not like the minimum wage hike effects will be felt right away.
    Here is some more on that, but some effects are already being felt.
    Unskilled workers beware.
    http://reason.com/blog/2014/06/03/seattle-prepares-for-robot-revolution-by

  101. EricL says:

    I like the article on trying to get the middle class reinvigorated, even if I don’t agree with it completely. I see some problems with any government-forced wage increases:
    1. Will big corporations actually keep the same amount of staff, or would they reduce staffing to keep the payroll amount the same? Would they replace people with machines- like auto-cookers and self-checkouts? I fear that entry-level jobs would become more scarce.
    2. Often government wage increases also come with other laws that add more regulatory burdens on smaller businesses. In my previous business I made Employee Handbooks for small companies and almost all of them were in violation of labor laws- usually out of ignorance. The rules are often confusing and compliance is costly in money and time for filling out govt forms, etc. Already, small businesses avoid passing certain employee thresholds (like 50+ employees) to avoid get trapped greater regs. Will this min wage increase cause more small businesses to stop expanding staff?
    3. This doesn’t address the abuse on Wall Street, where so many insiders still get rich, even if your 401K gets trashed. The reason the middle class is suffering so badly is that its two biggest investments (home and 401K) tanked in the Great Recession and many are still underwater with both. For many, it could take 10-20 years to get back to what their house was once valued at. But what other investments can a normal person find? A Savings Account or a CD? No Way.
    Yet the robber-barons of Wall Street continue wallowing in cash and the big banks now look down their noses at us peon customers. They make their money gambling on Wall Street instead of helping the customers at the local branches.

    There are great inequities in our country, but I think the “Poor vs. Rich” is a red herring being thrown up by those who are the true culprits. The ones who should face the “pitchforks” are those with the government’s blessing- those insiders and companies who get special deals and special laws because they greased enough greedy politicians.

    It was Eisenhower who warned: “Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex.”

    I think it has gone beyond just that sphere, to unwarranted influence by many other big businesses. That is one of the big things that suppresses growth of Main Street businesses and middle class expansion. Most of us are now outsiders, left out in the cold as the Insider Elites suck up the cash.

    OK, done with my evening rant.

  102. Well, I taught on Daniel 9:20-27 this morning after spending 3 weeks on Daniel’s prayer in the first 19 verses.

    Do, I showed how the 2 mentions of the “prince”refereed to the same person – Jesus which lined up all the ‘He’ references so we did not have a competition between Christ and anti Chirst in the same passage. I also spoke about the whole Left Behind series of books being written over a mis interpretation and mis application of these verse – and I went on about God being in charge and how Christ not anti Christ oversees the destruction of the temple and the cityvthrough Titus in 70AD and Hadrian later in 135AD.

    But, in much easier form, CNN slams the door better than me on rapture theology
    “Even Jesus wouldn’t buy ‘the rapture'”

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/06/opinion/parini-rapture-real/index.html?hpt=hp_c3

  103. Glen says:

    Costco is membership only so that excludes poor folk who can’t afford the annual fee.
    Products are packaged in giant sizes that would spoil for just one or two people.
    Costco is headquartered in Issaquah which is in the “Seattle” area. Microsoft may be in Redmond, but that is the “Seattle” area.
    I live in Washington state and to a lot of us, anything north of Olympia is Pugetropolis and most of what’s north of Tacoma is “Seattle”.

    Two individuals should have the right to a mutually agreeable contract to provide services at a mutually agreed price without government interference.

    A high minimum wage will eliminate entry level positions for totally inexperienced teen age workers.

    What about the worker who has worked his way up to a $15 per hour job? If the totally inexperienced worker off the street gets $15, then the experienced workers will need higher wages. Here comes the wage/price spiral………..

    Greed is a problem on both sides.

  104. Glen says:

    Speaking of prices, a friend is looking for a place to rent in the Seattle area. A house around 1800 square feet rents for about $2200 a month – if you can find one.

  105. Xenia says:

    Michael, I finished The Devil’s Highway last night. What a story! At first I was irritated with the author’s writing style (thought it was too flippant) but as the book progressed, I decided it was just right. I hand only a vague remembrance of the Yuma 14 story and I appreciated the way the author not only presented the victims as real people but also the Border Patrol and even the coyotes. I was very glad to see the BP shown respect.

    People say these “illegals” should just stay home but I have admiration for a family man who sees his family living in hopeless poverty and is willing to do something dangerous (yet humble) to provide for them. In ancient times, people would always migrate to greener pastures. (How else did not only my own ancestors but even the ancestors of the Indians get here?) There’s always been migrations of people from unproductive or dangerous parts of the world to productive/safe parts of the world and these “walkers” are no different. It took courage for the first Europeans to get on a rickety sailing vessel to get to America and it takes courage for the walkers to make the trip to the US. The ironic thing is that CA, Nevada, AZ and NM were all part of the sovereign nation of Mexico at one time.

    I was interested in the epilogue to read that illegal border crossings are down 70%.

    A few years ago I was very interested in the hundreds of unsolved homicides of young women in Ciudad Juarez, across the river from El Paso. I read all I could find on that topic at that time. Lots of theories about who is behind the murders. Possibly the creepiest, most worrisome story of all time. Think Jack the Ripper times 50 or more.

    I remember a few years ago standing in a very very long line in Tijuana, waiting to get back into California after a day of shopping. Easy to get into Mexico, hard to get out! The line wound through some really depressing areas. There were a pair of Scandinavians in line with us, on vacation. They were dumbfounded. Just that morning they were in very lovely, very clean, very wealthy San Diego and thought they’d spend a day in what they thought was a lovely tropical country. They had no idea what Tijuana was going to be like and were doubly shocked at how long the line was to get back into CA. They kept looking at the squalor and saying they just couldn’t believe the extreme differences in living standards just a few hundred yards apart.

    But I don’t know what to do about any of it. It’s not all America’s fault because half the problem down their is the mordida (the bite), that is bribes. Bribery is what brings a country down faster than just about anything. Every Mexican candidate runs on an anti-corruption platform but it never seems to help. I do know that America is the biggest customer for the drugs that fuels the corruption and that treaties like NAFTA have ruined the Mexican economy, forcing young men to turn to crime.

    All I can do is try to be a genuine good neighbor to everyone, including the Mexicans in my neighborhood, to make them feel welcome, safe, and at home. To not see them as “Them” but as “Us.”

    Thanks for the book recommendation, Michael. What should I read next?

  106. I am always willing to put my cards on the table. If we are going to compare today’s immigration from the days of our parents / grandparents and the Indians well, let’s go back to that time.

    My grandparents came over from Russia in 1917 – pretty bad time to be in Russia. My grandfather came over twice through Canada, scoped things out and returned the 3rd time through Ellis Island with his wife, (my grandmother) and my Aunt and Uncle. My dad was later born here in 1919.

    The key – no public assistance and they came over legally – if nothing else, there should be even less assistance for the illegal (ooops! undocumented.) None of this, if you make it past the cops you gain the golden ring.

    The Obama administration is now not even calling these folks ‘aliens’ let alone illegals. The deck is stacked.

  107. Em says:

    Immigrate is defined in my computer’s dictionary as “come to live permanently in a foreign country”
    migrate is defined as “move from one specific part of something to another”

    the world view, perhaps the ancient view, is that people all over the world are now migrating, not immigrating – borders don’t exist except as manufactured

    what if those early colonists from England and the Netherlands hadn’t come to the American continent? The French were here also, scattered and a bit nomadic. what if this continent was populated, as it was 400 years ago, sparsely by nomadic tribes that fought each other for turf – for hunting grounds? would the natives of central America now migrate; would they have any reason to migrate?

    I think we may be coming to the end of an age where the common man could prosper under a rule of law that offered him protection and opportunity – remember that great rallying call, “question authority?” It seems to me that call became “destroy authority.” Was that because of the dominance of bad laws – corruption? The American way of life isn’t what it was 50 years ago. Now what? Where do we go from here?

  108. Jean says:

    If our country is going to deal responsibly with the current crisis of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the border, my prayer is that the church will speak passionately on behalf of Christ as His advocate for the humane treatment of these children who are all loved by Him. Like any other ambassador of a country, His ambassadors (i.e., you and me) have a keen interest in how our government is treating these human beings and must insist that these children are treated humanly.

    While these children are in our custody, they should be fed, looked after medically and housed humanely. Efforts should be made to unite them with family living in this country, if any.

    These children should be evaluated on an individual basis. Solutions should be sought, within the framework of our laws, which given them hope. In no event should our government return these children to a known or probable risk or danger of personal harm. Government should partner with private charitable organizations to provide services, help and support for these children.

    These children should not be returned in mass as a tool of deterrence for the prevention of future unaccompanied minors traveling to the U.S. Human beings should never be used as an instrument of immigration policy. These are our neighbors, boys and girls, who are every bit as valuable in the sight of God as our boys and girls.

  109. Em says:

    The saddest aspect of all of this is that our Lord’s request to bring the children to Him is illegal in this nation now… IMHO
    random thots:
    when our churches sent deputations of workers into these countries to do what we could improve their lot, did we promote the Name of our King or did we walk politically correct down there and promote the “American way?” I suspect that these dear parents, for the most part, are trusting America to take care of the children… is the U.S. so systemically great that we’re indestructible? I pray that the children somehow can grow and prosper here… I pray that it will be in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” But I expect them to become little cash cows for another government agency yet to be identified.

  110. Jean says:

    Em, As I observe American society (and there unfortunately is no noticeable difference in the American church as a whole), the are 3 problems that triangulate around the issues you observed in the last paragraph of your #111:

    1) Truth is no longer objective and absolute. Now everyone has their own trust.
    2) Fear. Everyone is afraid, which is leading people to act irrationally.
    3) There is a breakdown in trust of our institutions. We no longer believe that governments are ordained by God for the good of the people. We are trying to destroy government institutions. The letter of Jeremiah to the exiles in Chapter 29, holds no currency anymore.

    Each of these issues would be worthy of an entire discussion.

  111. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I’m just grateful that you read what you did…it gives me an odd sense of peace knowing one more person is better informed than they were before.
    Thank you.
    I was afraid that you might ask what next…and send me rooting through a hundred books to try to recommend the right one. 🙂
    There are so many…

    For a better look at what life is like on the border: Amexica: War Along the Borderline
    by Ed Vulliamy is a good overview of some things that few understand and fewer write about.

    The Holy Grail to understanding the interplay of drugs, the border, and the corruption of both of our governments is Charles Bowden’s “Down By The River”. It’s not available on Kindle last time I checked, but it is the one book that is indispensable to understanding both a micro and macro view of where we are today.
    It is brilliant in every way.

    My last suggestion is with caution.
    To understand the violence intellectually is one thing…to understand it emotionally and viscerally is another.

    Bowden’s “Murder City” chronicles a year of violence in Juarez and he locks you in a room, nails the door shut, and doesn’t let you out until you understand.

    I’ve yet to be able to get out of that room.

    Some don’t like the style in which he wrote this…it’s like air and water to me.

    It’s graphic and terrifying and some people can’t get though it.
    It will tell you what these kids on the border are running from.

    When I was working, I used to give this book away like I did pocket New Testaments in Juarez.

    Some thanked me when they read it…some cursed me, and others just wanted it all to go away.

    I have all these and more in the Phoenix Preacher Bookstore under “Border Issues”.

  112. Michael says:

    I’m off to church…but Jean’s #114 is gold.

  113. Jean,
    “2) Fear. Everyone is afraid, which is leading people to act irrationally.”

    I agree that your position is acting out of fear and is really leading to irrational decision making.

    So why aren’t you advocating we meet the refugees at their borders and drive them up here in air conditioned buses?

    People play the Jesus guilt trip but that is not right. America has a bigger “christian” calling in this world – to keep the free world free and do the bulk of feeding the poor around the world. To take our eye off that goal is unchristian (see I can play the Christ guilt with the best of them)

    Are you really not for enforcing our laws? This is no different than telling a bank robber, if you can avoid the cops for 5 days, you get to keep the loot.

  114. Jean says:

    MLD,

    I have no idea what your first paragraph means, so I can’t comment.

    Regarding your 2nd paragraph, I didn’t advocate for a long term immigration policy regarding Central American countries. I’m advocating for actual children who now are our guests and how we should treat them.

    Regarding your 3rd paragraph, Jesus is not a guilt trip. He is the power of God. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. If we are worthy of His salvation, who are we to withhold His grace from these children? You imply that these children are disposable in the service of some nobler American goal. That cannot be. No human life is disposable. Christians are “pro-life.”

    Regarding your last paragraph. I support enforcing our country’s laws, and if you read my post, you would agree. I assume and hope that there are humanitarian provisions in our laws to deal with these children. On an individual basis their cases should be heard. However, man’s laws are always subordinate to our allegiance to Christ. I haven’t said that our laws are inconsistent with our Christian obligations, because I don’t know them well enough. But if our laws ever cause any one of us to violate our allegiance to our Savior, then we must peacefully disobey and obediently submit to the consequences under the law.

  115. Em says:

    could we just identify America as America? Since the nation as a whole are Christ deny-ers, it doesn’t seem right to even use the term tongue in cheek… and, if I recall correctly from my 3 years of H.S. Spanish, folks south of the border identify themselves as Americans also…
    I think the point has been made here more than once that there is a distinction between a nation (which thing God has ordained, uses for His purposes and punishes “when their cup of iniquity is full?”) and an individual who is accountable for one immortal soul… so, since God allowed Herod to slaughter the children at Jesus’ birth, did so Himself down in Egypt, we have a real ponder as regards these little illegals today…

    I guess, tho, I’d have to say keep the nice ones and send the others back – that’s a joke from a tired brain…
    I truly couldn’t send them back, if, as a representative of the Faith, I was the one who had to make the call – as a representative of the Federal government? dunno… I might approach the R.C.C. and see what could be set up in the way of boarding schools modeled after what some Jewish refugee children were provided during WW2

  116. Jean,
    I am all for treating the people well, feeding them etc. I advocate the same for murderers and even the Gitmo detainees. So?

    You said, “3) There is a breakdown in trust of our institutions. We no longer believe that governments are ordained by God for the good of the people. We are trying to destroy government institutions.”

    Sorry, but the “we” is not on my side. I am the one who wants to maintain the integrity of our institutions, while these little rascals want to thumb their noses and side step all American authority.

  117. Xenia says:

    Thanks Michael, Murder City is next. I have read that the Sinaloa and Juarez gangs have made some kind of peace and the murder rate has declined. I still wouldn’t want to live there.

    Oddly, we received a collect phone call early this AM before church from the county jail in El Paso, which as you know is across the river from Murder City itself. This is an alarming thing to see in your phone’s caller ID! It was our youngest son, who was called an “inmate,” according to the voice recording. So I thought my poor boy was in jail with a gang of Narco murderers and we experienced a few moments of panic (the other book being fresh on my mind) until we got through and found out he was at the sheriff station in Colorado Springs, his home, which is in El Paso Country. (He got a speeding ticket and they weren’t letting him go till he paid the fine in cash.)

    So all’s well that ends well and next on the list is a lecture to that kid for speeding.

    Because, a friend’s son was killed a few days ago on his bicycle by a reckless (probably speeding) driver.

    You inject a little sin in one location in the world system and it squirts out somewhere else.

  118. LOL “I might approach the R.C.C. ”

    Yes, let’s give the little kids to the Catholic priests for protection. Not!

  119. Xenia says:

    Look at that. My husband and I were in a state of panic for maybe three whole minutes while we thought there was a shadow of a glimmer of a possibility that our beloved and pampered boy (age 23) could possibly be within sneezing distance of some of the demonic thugs Michael tells us about here. Three minutes of panic. Can you imagine the terror of some parents whose beloved boys are in genuine danger and their fears turn out to be founded? Can you imagine just how bad the situation must be at home to risk the perils of the trip North?

  120. Em says:

    MLD sometimes posts observations that I must agree with – hope that doesn’t dilute his validity
    maintain respect for and the integrity of our institutions is a real problem as their life experiences and that of their heritage tells them that those in authority are corrupt and a danger… they are Patron oriented – IMV – doesn’t that, then, make gang orientation a natural?

  121. Jean says:

    MLD, I was going to respond to your #120, but after reading your #122, I determined I cannot continue in dialogue with you. Good evening.

  122. Xenia says:

    Jean, it’s pretty hard to have a serious discussion with someone who equates children running for their lives with murderers and Gitmo detainees.

  123. Em says:

    #122 MLD walked right in where I knew some wag would go… but I didn’t expect it to be him

  124. Jean,
    Sorry if you think turning over a bunch of kids to RCC priests for protection is a good Idea. I still have a conscience and a memory of the horror in SoCal – perhaps in the midwest the priests keep their pants on … not here.

  125. Em says:

    I’ve got to go tote hay out to a couple ingrate equines – this is such a sorrowful situation – the kids, not the horses – there is not one person here that I wouldn’t trust with my child and the fact that we are looking at and voicing concerns over different aspects of this doesn’t bother me one bit… maybe we should all be obnoxiously vocal about our disapproval of recreational drug use … the sins of our children are being visited on us, perhaps

  126. Xenia says:

    Then I am sure we would be safe placing the children in the care of the huge contingent of Lutherans who are working down on the border?

  127. Xenia – “Jean, it’s pretty hard to have a serious discussion with someone who equates children running for their lives with murderers and Gitmo detainees.”

    You have told an untruth and I am really disappointed. I made no such equation. I believe all people should be taken care of in our custody.

  128. Jean says:

    Em #119, There’s no doubt that governments have different responsibilities than individuals, and that both spheres are ordained by God. However, in democratic form of government, the government carries out its responsibilities in conformity with the will of the governed.

    In the OT, God gave civil law to the Israelites. In America, God’s civil laws can only be made manifest in America’s civil laws if His people vote in accordance with His values. I believe that the founders of our country by and large (but not perfectly by any means) set up our founding documents in fidelity to God’s values. Christians should not take this for granted and should place God’s will first in our participation in our democracy above any other loyalities.

  129. Xenia says:

    MLD, my apologies. You did not compare fleeing kids w/ murderers and Gitmo detainees.

    I don’t agree with your attitude but that little bit of snark on my part was uncalled for and wasn’t what you actually said.

  130. We are a Constitutional Republic – not a democracy. The Founders were in fact wise, because the Constitutional Republic restricts the abuses of a democracy … which many times is to override the “will” of the governed. The “will of the governed” cannot stand – otherwise we would still have slavery.

  131. Jean says:

    Xenia, I think it’s healthy to occasionally debate issues from all sides as a way to expose weak arguments and affirm strong ones, and for overall education. However, the debate breaks down quickly when one side resorts to ad hominem attacks. I’m not going to get into that kind of dialogue anymore.

  132. Jean, you had better break out the dictionary and look up ad hominem … unless you are speaking of a different blog.

  133. Steve Wright says:

    3) There is a breakdown in trust of our institutions. We no longer believe that governments are ordained by God for the good of the people. We are trying to destroy government institutions
    ———————————————–
    I don’t know about the truth and fear comment but this third item deserves response.

    The breakdown of trust is well deserved, but one could argue the founders themselves had zero trust in government, especially at the national level. Read their quotes. I certainly understand why so few people trust the church as an institution today. Government has an even worse record, as to the schools, as does the media and so forth.

    The second sentence is theoretical in nature. Who doesn’t believe in human government being ordained by God? Who is calling for anarchy? Nobody except maybe a random kook somewhere.

    The last sentence is more of the same. Destroy is a pretty harsh word and frankly a conclusion I can’t see anyone arriving at from people who, whether left or right, say they want to see the Constitution adhered to as the law of the land. Our government has three aspects to it as we all know. A separation of powers.

    I got an ad from Al Franken calling for a Constitutional Amendment to offset the Supreme Court. As is his right. I hear someone calling for the impeachment of Obama, per the Constitutional allowance for the same, as is their right. Nobody is trying to destroy the government.

  134. Since Xenia brought up the Lutherans earlier – I always liked this Clint Eastwood quote from Grand Torino

    https://search.yahoo.com/search?p=grand+torino+everyone+blames+the+lutherans+youtube&ei=UTF-8&fr=moz35

    Lutherans brought over 10s of thousands of refugees … legally. – but politics aside, the scene is funny.

  135. Jean says:

    Steve, when I see how the Cliven Bundy confrontation played out and the support he garnered for what he did,and the stand your ground laws and what they represent, I see an effort to delegitimize government institutions and law enforcement in particular.

    Other institutions, such as the EPA and the IRS and the Department of Education are being characterized by some segments of society as evil.

    I see an effort to destroy and see the possibility of anarchy as a potential outcome. I hope I’m wrong.

  136. Steve Wright says:

    I hope I’m wrong.
    ———————-
    No need to hope. You’re wrong, Jean.

    The IRS and the EPA are hardly the only things keeping us from anarchy as an alternative. 🙂

  137. London says:

    I live in New Mexico. We have some of the poorest conditions in the US. We have the worst child poverty rate in the whole damn country! We don’t need to be dealing with some other countries kids! We need to help ours first!
    This topic of saying that kids here illegally should be allowed, to stay ticks me off.
    I wish it didn’t, but it does.

  138. brian says:

    I won’t go into much of this, but the fear, hate, distrust, us vs them mentality is a staple of some “ministries” . I think about the Y2K debacle which was a total lie and it was never a danger, ever. But many ministries fed the fear and spewed out a bunch of anti government nonsense. I knew of several folks online who moved to other states, bought wind driven generators they could not afford etc. That could also be added to the Obama fema camps, Obama birther tripe, the 9-11 conspiracy, Jesuit conspiracies, the many conspiracies running around Jack Chick’s head, the Satanic ritual conspiracy with recovered memory which ruined many lives, etc. I mean this list goes on and on.

    Back when I was first a “Christian” the one thing that held me to the faith was fear, no not fear terror. There was the satanic abuse, the illuminati, the Jesuits, the ….. fill in the blank. When I was young, to my shame I bought into this utter nonsense. most all of it was a complete lie and total fiction. But it did rake in the cash with conference fees, books, video, cd, etc. I get it making bank is sacred. I do not disagree with that though I would not participate because I struggle with adding more fear to people.

    Most likely that makes me an apostate. I was online since maybe 1978/9 on the bbs circuite. Religion was big on the bbs’s and many tribal leaders staked out their fiefdom. The oneness folks, the pentecostals, the catholics, baptists, kjo folks, and the more crazy folks that said they were the true kingdom. People bought into in by the carload and I saw, even back then what a bunch of bunk this was/is. To may same I felt sorry for those that struggled and even more so to my shame I wanted to help. Just one example when harold camping started ranting about his end time nonsense I would call in usually to be given the dead air. A time I did get in was when I went off because he basically said a wife that was being abused should stay with the person abusing her because that is what the bible said she should do. I have no real date or actual audio though I searched for it. But that nonsense is at times preached, and it is utterly pathetic and stupid.

    I have never made bank off of Jesus, nor do I, but I do not fault those that do. I think most pastors should get a raise and better compensation for their families, better medical insurance etc. Being a pastor is not an easy job and you are a moving target for a marriage of doctrinal differences that may come up in your congregation. I find science far more merciful (even though that is not sciences primary goal. Its easy to vilify all of Christendom.

    I am a cynic I think all of us are corrupt starting with myself. But I have known many pastors and they are not corrupt, they care, they struggle, they differ, but they are not corrupt. What scares me is that they cant ask questions that fall outside their particular denominational perspectives and expect to keep their job. Take Evolution or the age of the earth or a vast majority of scientific “revelation” that we have now. They have to hold to the ivory tower and relinquish viability in the modern square.

    To be honest (though I could be and may wall be wrong but for sake of honesty) I believe it is impossible for a modern human to hold to a worldview that includes a literal rendering of Gen 1-11. I think the evidence is so overwhelming, but I can be wrong on this. But it is a biggie, if evolution is true, than we need to rethink our view of the atonement, the fall, etc. I dont think we are fallen in total depravity, we are wounded yes, scared and hurt, but we are not all of us God’s enemy. I know I am not, I have begged God for piece from day one. I will admit I do not expect that from Him even with the Cross of Jesus it would be utter hubris to expect anything from God.

    Look folks I wandered into this site so many years ago, I rant I rave and I am emotional, I do try to be polite but I do struggle. I understand I should not ever, that is not an option in the modern apologetic, but I struggle. Evolution has 100+ years of science behind it, the age of the earth 3 hundred plus struggling with the biblical text. A literal fall, a literal tower of babble, dont trust me just go look at it for yourself. I mean people of faith even fought with the fact that the Earth circulated around the sun, it can’t and never has. If one looks at the vastness of the universe, one can come to understand, we are not the pinnacle of this creation. I think God can be connected to all of His creation at the same time with the same intensity of involvement. I do believe God is sovereign. I believe God has the right to decide the fate of His creation, I just think He will decide to reconcile all of His creation.

    I have ranted here for years and I am thankful for that but it has cost me on a personal level which I gladly play. When I first became a Christian I just wanted to be a follower of Christ but it gets rather complicated when one really looks at it. So this is what I am left with, most of the people I have worked with throughout the years do not have the cognate ability to “accept” Jesus or the relational aspect I E baptism / eucharist to be involved in the liturgy so I held to universalism. I hope this explains some of my experiences, offered for what it is worth and it is not some emotionalistic clap trap to get attention, personally I wish I could just chuck the faith, like many I have dialoged with on line wish I would, but I cant and dont want to. Offered for what it is worth.

    This was not easy for me to post.

  139. Xenia says:

    I am a modern human who holds to a literal view of Genesis 1 and “we” most certainly do not need to rethink the atonement.

  140. I do love reading brian’s stuff – all of his experiences, the groups he has been involved with or have crossed his path.
    He reminds me of the guy who has bought every product offered up on a TV infomercial. 🙂

    PS – if macro evolution is true and Jesus is a descended ape, the only reconsideration of the atonement would be , there is none.

  141. PP Vet says:

    Here at PP, we very much discourage ad hominen and also ad feminem arguments.

    Please understand that it is equally wrong to resort to ad homonem, ad lesbonem, ad bionem, and ad transonem arguments.

  142. “I don’t think we are fallen in total depravity, we are wounded yes, scared and hurt, but we are not all of us God’s enemy.”

    If macro evolution is true and we are just the result of matter, time and random chance (the common definition of evolution) from what have we fallen, wounded, scared or hurt and why would we need rescue?

  143. I am against all ads, that is why I only watch from my DVR and fast forward through the ads.

  144. I don’t know why we say random chance as chance is random – but I am trying to sound scientific.

  145. PP Vet says:

    Yes, ad avoidinem is my standard practice as well.

  146. Jean says:

    Brian, #143,

    If you’re struggling with how to maintain your faith in Christ and in the inspiration of scripture in an age of modern science, you’re not alone. These are issues that many people think about and struggle with. Don’t give up!

    With regard to evangelical views on the issue of Adam, I comment the following book to you: “Four Views on the Historical Adam (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)”. The contributors include: Denis O. Lamoureux, John H. Walton, C. John Collins, and William Barrick. The book was published in 2013 and covers the spectrum of evangelical views about Adam. At a minimum you will realize there are a diversity of views within the evangelicalism.

  147. Jean says:

    My #151, “commend” not “comment”.

  148. Em says:

    heard this on the car radio this morning (loosely quoted)
    would you rather sit on a lake on 2″ of ice with a lot of faith or on 2′ of ice and just a little faith? his point was (or points were)… we don’t manufacture faith and we can’t expect God to override common sense…
    must be something useful in there somewhere…

  149. brian says:

    MLD you are a kick but you dont get it, you really dont, we are not descended from apes, we are actually apes, and primates. We are descended from a common ancestor. We are animals these are just words that describe our species, why does that bother people. I thought I had little faith, but I am beginning to understand this is not the case. Thanks MLD, I love reading your self serving tripe as well. 🙂 Oh look the smiley makes it ok, lol 🙂 🙂

  150. brian says:

    Jean I have read it thanks. I recommend this book and this websource

    The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

    Biologos.com

  151. Steve Wright says:

    Evolution has 100+ years of science behind it
    ——————————————
    That’s not even remotely true.

    Thus the need for new theories like punctuated equilibrium to try and “save” good old Darwin….there is a reason that true scientific evidence is causing more and more objective thinkers to embrace some sort of intelligent design.

    But we have gone through this before here….

    (P.S. First day was excellent at SPC)

  152. brian says:

    Oh please Steve yes it does. Talk origins, biologos etc has sufficient evidence to support that. Yes it is remotely true. provide evidence that it is not. Thanks.

  153. brian says:

    of course there is new refinements to the theory that is how it works, and we should be glad it works that way because it gives us answers to issues that can be refined. Michael once pondered why antibiotics were not written in holy writ so to speak, science answered those concerns funny how that works.

  154. Steve Wright says:

    brian, there is not enough time (assuming the current 4.5 billion year-old age earth), not enough fossil evidence (and what we have disproves rather than proves), and not enough positive mutations (as in almost never)…all easily measured scientific measures, to remotely support Darwinian evolution for ORIGINS.

    “Refinement to a theory” is a joke to describe what Gould pulled out of his rear-end to seek to save the theory among his scientific peers.

    True science, like antibiotics, focuses not on random chaos but the established laws of creation that we then harness for our benefit to the glory of God.

  155. Hey Michael, is this as good a place as any to with you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!?!?!
    =)

    Happy
    Happy
    Happy
    Happy…

  156. brian says:

    Steve we will have to agree to disagree but thank you for the response.

  157. brian says:

    Steve I thought I owed you this at least.

    Let me try to answer, Evolution does not deal with origins it deals with the diversity of species from a common ancestor. Please forgive this very loosely worded definition. Abiogenesis is quite different from the TofE. There is a great deal of evidence that supports the TofE in my opinion see the few links I listed above, talk origins, Biologos and basically every single biological textbook. Pastor Steve and I mean that with the deepest respect, give me a few days to get back to you on the rest of the issue, again thank you for your kind response. Have a nice day.

  158. Steve Wright says:

    Evolution does not deal with origins it deals with the diversity of species from a common ancestor.
    ————————————————
    I agree with this 100% as does every creationist I have ever met. Nobody denies the validity of evolution to explain the diversity of species – or put another way, nobody affirms that every species of living thing (and all the extinct ones) were created at Genesis One.

    So yeah, if THAT is what you reference when you talk about science, then there certainly is no debate to be had.

    The one slight change would be to make your word, ancestor, plural. The original ancestors (the plants and kinds of living creatures first created)

    But let’s not kid ourselves. 99% of the time that evolution is discussed, fought for, debated, in any sort of context with the Christian faith it is talking about origins. The means to explain how life happened in the first place….not to explain how the variety/similarity is found among finches.

  159. brian says:

    Actually Steve I wish you were right, take that for what its worth. For honesty because you have interacted with me in kindness as usual, I think all of everything comes from God, each breath, each cell that divides, every single good thing that happens is of God. I do reject, refuse, and reject that God can do evil, He may well “allow” it for a greater good but God is not the author of evil. Pastor Steve I am thinking hard on what you are saying, why I agree with you, beauty, poetry, music, morality, hope, love, beauty, grace, hope, wonderment, devotion, love, …… etc. So in many ways we agree. Thanks for the interaction. Have a nice day.

  160. brian says:

    Yes I agree evolution is often used as a club to make Christians look stupid. So yes we agree. There is just so much to read Pastor so yes I think we are coming to agreement on some issues. Again thanks.

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