Things I Think

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65 Responses

  1. Ixtlan says:

    “1. Without a doubt, the biggest disaster to hit the church was the transformation from a familial model to a corporate one.

    In the Bible, we are fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters…in evangelicalism we are consumers and providers overseen by a board.”

    Excellent observation, Michael. When American evangelicalism stops trying to pattern themselves after Costco, then they will have something of substance. Until then, the best they can do is sell cheap hotdogs.

  2. Col46 says:

    Re: #1 – painfully true

  3. Xenia says:

    One of the problems demographers have in counting Orthodox Christians is that many parishes don’t count individual people, they count families.

  4. em says:

    #1 – just read this yesterday, quoting from KHouse research news:

    “In another new and disturbing paper that has been peer-reviewed and published, two philosophers recently profiled by Australia’s ABC network have taken what is already a runaway definition of “equality” to a whole new level of ridiculous.

    Professors Adam Swift of the University of Warwick and Harry Brighouse of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, think they’ve found the root source of inequality in society: the family.
    Swift stated, “If the family is this source of unfairness in society, then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.”

    oops, did we just out the devil’s end around run?

  5. Alex says:

    “10. I wonder if we would act differently if we viewed those who oppose biblical ethics and morality as a growing mission field instead of as the enemies of our faith…”

    Not possible b/c you don’t really have a “faith” in evangelicalism (in general)…you have an Apologetic.

  6. Alex says:

    Numero Uno is spot on and right as rain.

    It’s partly why I argue the “church” died long ago and there is nothing to save. It will continue its steady decline and Church Inc. sects will be competing for dwindling market-shares.

  7. em says:

    10. I wonder if we would act differently if we viewed those who oppose biblical ethics and morality as a growing mission field instead of as the enemies of our faith…

    worth thinking on… how do we do that? come let us reason? thinking….

  8. Michael says:


    It gets back to the scriptures about loving our enemies.
    We need to decide which kingdom we’re protecting as well…

  9. Michael says:


    That might be how it should be…it certainly shows what the Orthodox who do so value…

  10. Alex says:

    “2. They just opened a “sobering center” up the road from me. When I was young I believe that would have been called a “drunk tank”…”

    LOL, that’s our PC environment at work.

    “3. One of my long time online friends was fired from his pastorate last week. He was an excellent pastor and teacher with exemplary ethics. He didn’t look the part anymore….age and illness had affected the appearance, but not the effectiveness…but out the door he was cast. That congregation will now get the leadership they desire, but Saul may not be all they hoped for…”

    Gotta keep the Show interesting….

    “4. Summer always makes me feel irrational optimism…”

    That was a throw-away 😉

    “5. There is no metric that can measure the effectiveness of faithfulness…”

    Another filler 😉

    “6. I remember when I thought speaking in tongues was important to my spiritual health…”

    I remember when I thought the people around me who were speaking in tongues were well-intentioned lunatics.

    …I still do.

    “7. The shortest path to spiritual despair is to attempt in the flesh what can only be done by the Spirit…”

    “spiritual” cliche alert! Gag 🙂

    “8. There is no lack of stories about the church wherein Christians are doing loving, heroic, and self sacrificial acts all over the world and in the local assembly. There is a real lack of people who want to read them and acknowledge the good. This is a measure of our soul sickness…”

    The “church” pats itself on the back all the time. Read the so-called Christian “news” sources…like Christian Post and Christianity Today as well as a gazillion other Christian outlets. There is no paucity of Christians tooting their own good-works horns….

    “9. Do not waste your precious time reading books that will be in the cut out bin by winter…invest in that which is already proven to be worthy.”

    What about your book? 🙂

  11. Josh The Baptist says:

    So how was day 1 of Anglicanism?

  12. Michael says:


    Day 1 got derailed by one of those phone calls pastors get.
    I probably won’t speak about this too much here…it may be too deeply personal.
    We’ll see…

  13. Nonnie says:

    Number 10. Yes.

    Just yesterday I was convicted of how I was viewing people. I was finding myself sometimes mocking others, rather than being a person of compassion and grace, who sees broken people in need of a Savior.

  14. Alex says:

    It’s all talk, largely.

    I wish it weren’t so, but you folks (general you) prove the truth over and over.

    “Forgive and forget!” is the advice you (general you) dole out. “Let it go! Leave it to the Lord!” etc etc.

    …unless I offend you or someone else offends you.

    All Groups do it. Everyone is a hypocrite.

    Human nature. True doctrine and belief.

  15. em says:

    #12 – don’t speak about it, Michael…. just let your light shine … 🙂

  16. Michael says:


    We are people of faith and we all have sin and struggles in our lives.
    Me, more than most.
    Most of us are well aware of this…but we’re not going to get better by you taking over the blog and telling us we suck all day.
    People will simply move on to other forums where they can work out their faith and doubts without someone biting at them every other post.
    My belief is that most of those who read here want to be better, want to think, and want to walk in a way that makes a difference.
    It might be better to encourage that…

  17. Michael says:


    It’s an odd thing…I’m very emotional about the move.
    I’m not sure I understand me yet.

  18. Ixtlan says:

    I read here because I need help staying focused on where I want to go, the possibilities of godliness, both in my own life and the community[s] that I am involved with rather than being assimilated by the machine that wants me to go along with the flow things.

  19. Michael says:


    Me too…it is so damned easy to get absorbed by the machine for all of us.

    My heartbeat is to remind myself and others that we are to be a remnant…we are to salt the world, not be the world.

  20. Laura Scott says:

    A pretty cool pastor I know had much to say about #10 yesterday in his sermon. We often forget just what makes us family. As such, we can choose to band together and then choose to squabble as family does but in the end, we can forgive and remain family, which is always going to be one of our greatest sources of strength.

    We are not a pile of sinners who congregate together in this building and that; we are family both here and in heaven.

    We need to have a little more compassion and understanding when we act like the big family we are.

  21. Alex says:

    Well, then you support a big plank in my macro-Thesis…folks don’t want the Truth…and Delusion is the opiate of the masses.

  22. Michael says:


    It’s your truth, not mine.
    You’re free to speak your truth on your site all day long, but all it will do here is make this an empty, ineffective vehicle.
    I don’t believe that’s what you want for me or this community.

  23. Alex says:

    I don’t want to be an obstacle for your community, that is true.

    I’ll limit my truthful comments regarding this article to those already posted.

  24. Michael says:


    I think identifying as family is one of the most critical concepts of the faith and I’m very afraid that the corporate model has eclipsed it.

  25. Michael says:

    Thanks, Alex…

  26. Laura Scott says:


    That is why yesterday’s sermon was such a stand out; it made the point that we need to be diligent to remember who our family comprises, no matter what their labels are.

    The only real familial standard we need to have is that being of Jesus as Lord.

  27. EricL says:

    #1- Did we go from “family” model to “corporate” model, or was the predecessor the “academia” model? I ask that seriously, considering the older terms that were overridden: pastor’s study, church library, Sunday School, church hall or auditorium, and so on. Maybe this is a sickness that has been around longer than our latest iteration.
    #2- What if a local congregation opened that “sobering center”? Probably wouldn’t get much attendance on a voluntary basis though.
    #3- One of the greatest follies of today is our disregard of the experienced among us, preferring the young and beautiful.
    #4- Enjoy your season of optimism!
    #5- Be faithful nonetheless, for He watches and approves.
    #6- If that is your spiritual gift, then please use it for the benefit of the rest of us, but giftedness obviously doesn’t equate to spiritual health or maturity. That’s obvious from Scriptures and from watching numerous pulpits around the country.
    #7,8,10- Yup
    #9- Unless your read for entertainment, then enjoy!

  28. TonyP. says:

    Chaperoned/coached our Special Olympics team at the Summer Games. You want to reinforce or rekindle hope? Attend one (or ANY Special Olympics event) and watch those athletes compete. The joy, sportsmanship, and pride are astounding and humbling. It truly shows that we are ALL God’s children and none should be tossed away…I was blessed beyond measure. If you have a special needs child (like my boy who has Asperger’s Syndrome) I cannot think of a better place to help them to develop and be welcomed. It has helped my son in so many ways, and I have been given an opportunity that I never would have had taken or noticed had it not directly impacted my life.

    Blessings to all of you too….

  29. Josh The Baptist says:


  30. Kevin H says:

    Well, a TonyP. sighting always makes my day! Hope you are well.

    I have experienced Special Olympics only to a small degree, but yes, what a joyful experience. My college used to host a Special Olympics event once a year and the students got to sign up to be “buddies” with the individual athletes for the day. It was something I looked forward to every year.

  31. Babylon's Dread says:

    As per the family model I have written about how the loss of that model affected the renewal and how the corporate model was followed and IMO impacted the quenching of the Spirit in the Vineyard USA.

    As per tongues, I believe very strongly that tongues is important to my health… universally so. But I understand the opposite sentiment.

  32. em says:

    the crumbling of the institution we call ‘family’ is something that i’d never thought of in this aspect… the more i think on it… wow – we are so easily gotten off track; you’d think we were a bunch of sheep or something

    BD, i’m of the branch of the family that doesn’t recognize tongues as valid and never had one myself – but i know for a fact that it hit the Presbyterians and the Episcopalians and later some of the RC’s – a Roman Catholic woman that i was acquainted with held weekly prayer meetings in her home and one woman found herself speaking fluent Japanese – was that glossolalia? i don’t know … i do know that i had some very dear friends who had a prayer language and a lot of answered prayer… so that and transubstantiation are question marks for me … neither make sense 🙂

  33. OCDan says:

    Of course Michael runs this board, and there is free speech, but why do you come here Alex, let alone respond?

    If you don’t like the things that Michael thinks, don’t read them or comment.


    And another point, no matter your past, I find your complaints/comments/critic of the Bible/God/Christ/the Church/believers/Christianity to be wearing thin.

    Yes, I will take my own advice and stop reading/commenting on you after this.

    But you really need to give it up and get outside more.

    BTW, I have seen your website and understand your points, but for all your complaints with Christianity, from what I read by you, you are no better, at least in your heart. Your complaining/criticizing is all the proof I need.

    Same ‘ol, same ‘ol.

    Get over yourself dude.

    Yeah, I know you are going to tell me I have never walked in your shoes. Well, you don’t know me and there are thousands who have traveled far worse than you or I and have found Jesus and forgiveness.

    I only hope you may find the same.

    Rant off!

  34. Jim says:

    Here’s to irrational optimism!

  35. em says:

    TonyP? ah yes, i remember him well…Husband of one, father of two (i think) – with a preacher’s heart…

  36. Randy says:

    Hey, I resemble # 3 :-). Got to laugh!

  37. Michael says:

    Good to see Tony P !

  38. Michael says:


    I’m glad you can still laugh, my friend.
    You have been a mentor to many and I’m very saddened by this turn of events.

  39. em says:

    #4-it is hot!!! the sun wants to kill me, the weeds are growing like we’d planted and fertilized them, i look out the window and see a new crop of marmots frolicking freely, turning the horse paddock into a mine field of burrows, but it’s too hot to take the dog out to dispatch them and wildfire season is upon us, so it’s time to set up the evacuation plan… i need Michael’s optimism … or John Denver singing about being a country boy … maybe not, did anyone write a song about being a condo boy – or girl?

  40. Jim says:


    No one ever would even think “thank God I’m a condo guy/girl”.

  41. brian says:

    “In the Scriptures we are measured by growth in holiness and faithfulness, in church today, by numbers and profit. The family cares and nurtures, the corporation competes for market share.”

    AMED and absolutely. We are cogs in the machine and the very nano second we dont serve the machine we should be tossed off like a piece of trash. Yes living like this brings one no sense of peace or grace and all that other nonsense, it is good for profits and power and that is always good.

  42. The Dude says:

    9 and 10…..very much agree.

  43. em says:

    Jim … 🙂 right now, i think i would

  44. Alex says:

    OCDan, where’s the love bro? Forgive and forget and leave it to Jesus brother…so much bitterness and hate!

    I’ll add you to my prayer list


  45. Alex says:

    …and THANKS! That was great…you can cut the irony with a sword.

  46. Michael says:


    I think it hit 104 here…

  47. em says:

    hope you have a swimming hole, Michael… 104?

    confession – if i didn’t keep the door to my room closed to keep the cats out, the air conditioner would cool things off inside – and i did siy outside early this morning and it was just beautiful – just me and God and 2 ponies munching away… it’s not so bad… what am i griping about anyway?

  48. Muff Potter says:

    3. One of my long time online friends was fired from his pastorate last week.

    Don’t the people who do these kinds of things have any conscience any more? Or have they become so mired in the “schtick” of church polity that they can’t hear the voice of conscience any more?

  49. Alex says:

    OCDan said, “If you don’t like the things that Michael thinks, don’t read them or comment.”

    If you don’t like the things that I think, then don’t read or comment.

  50. Alex says:

    JERK! 🙂

  51. Alex says:

    …just pointing out the hypocrisy and duplicity…not offended at all.

  52. passin throgh says:

    Here’s what I think…

    It pays to play the religious card.

    George W. Bush was recently paid a cool $100,000 to speak at a fundraiser for a homeless group.

    Hey, don’t let it bother you. It’s the free market at work.

  53. brian says:

    “3. One of my long time online friends was fired from his pastorate last week. He was an excellent pastor and teacher with exemplary ethics. He didn’t look the part anymore….age and illness had affected the appearance, but not the effectiveness…but out the door he was cast. That congregation will now get the leadership they desire, but Saul may not be all they hoped for…”

    I have seen this happen so many times to some degree or another. One guy worked for a ministry for a huge part of his adult life, he gave up everything and did whatever they wanted. He did absolutely nothing wrong, broke no rules etc. He was given a really awful assignment up in the hills at some camp, but they said they needed him. So he sold his house moved into a rental and worked his heart out. The next camping season they got a hipster type at three or four times the amount and he got the boot, not even two weeks notice. He was gutted. No one wanted anything to do with him after that as well. The hipster guy punked out after about six months or so. Loyalty faithfulness etc, mean absolutely nothing at all in the machine.

  54. Neo says:

    Number 3… Been there, done that.

  55. I thought I read something today about family – but I don’t know where.

    The good Anglican Father Dudley’s Sunday message was on point. His very last comment is killer. (16 min)

  56. brian says:

    “George W. Bush was recently paid a cool $100,000 to speak at a fundraiser for a homeless group.”

    Good for him.

  57. Surfer51 says:

    Brian that is a great example of an oxymoron LOL

    I am sure mr. bush will reationalize his way around this one.

    I love it, he gets to enlarge his tent while speaking on behalf of those who help others who have no tents…a real disconnect.

    I wonder what his speech writers came up with?


  58. I am not defending George Bush here by any means, but if the story is true (and it is one of those”reportedly” stories by Salon) it needs to be looked at.
    1.) The homeless fundraisers hired Bush because they knew it would benefit their cause – this foundation is a full time fundraising organization who knows that a Bush speech will well fill the coffers more than just some Joe Blow.
    2.) But what about the donors who will not show up or donate unless you ply them with food, drink and a celebrity speakers.

    George Bush (or any celebrity speaker) are really doing a job to get people to open their wallets who otherwise would not do it.

    Now this could be looked at 2 ways (1) they are all crooks and (2) now that we know about this organization, how many of us sat down and wrote a check for the homeless?

    If you did not write a check, then you too have stolen from the homeless… hmmm, I should go on a speaking tour. 🙂

  59. charles says:

    Is Cannery Row considered cut out bin material?

  60. em says:

    couple of thoughts on Bush’s speaking fee… we don’t know what he does with that money… is it any lees honorable than having a charity that pays you or your family a big salary?
    why would anyone pay to hear Bush Jr. speak in the first place? or any other politician for that matter

  61. Charles says:

    They want to hear Bush speak because of his name and his legacy, another reason to get more bottom’s in the seats to open up the checkbooks.

    I have heard quite a few public speakers and most of them have the same story, believe in yourself, do it for the children, be generous blah blah blah, then afterwards there is a meet and greet where you can tell them how moved you were by their words.

    Best speaker I know of that did move me was Nick Vujucic

  62. Surfer51 says:

    Amen Charles,

    I have seen Nick bring tears to a room full of hard teens.

    Myself included.

  63. Surfer51 says:

    There you go being logical again.

  64. Surfer51 says:

    Looks like my comment got lost so here is the short version of my comment…

    Regarding thought 6:

  65. pstrmike says:

    a TonyP sighting. Good to see you!

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