Things I Think…

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113 Responses

  1. Duane Arnold says:

    No. 2 in the list…

    Michael, I’ve resisted saying this for weeks… For anyone who has ever even opened a book on the early Church, one of the chief reasons Christians were persecuted was because they would not go through the symbolic rituals to show their allegiance to the state. Yet now, Christians are concerned about who does, or does not engage in patriotic rituals at a sporting event. Something here is very wrong…

  2. Michael says:

    Duane,

    i was listening to a book last night about the persecution faced by the early church…and that’s what sparked some of these thoughts.

    If I had any courage I’d say again that we have built idolatry into our national consciousness, but I’m not that brave…

  3. Babylon’s Dread says:

    The illusion of American greatness died ingloriously. Without virtue there is no beauty.

  4. Babylon’s Dread says:

    Having just departed my native home I can tell you that reason has left the building concerning the anthem. Faith was already gone.

  5. Michael says:

    BD,

    I think reason has left the building, period.

    Reason seems to be unreasonable these days…

  6. Duane Arnold says:

    To get a pass on being put to death, one only had to say “Kaiser Kurios” (Caesar is Lord) and drop a pinch of incense on some hot coals. By doing so, you acknowledged the “genius” of the emperor – i.e. that he was being guided by divine powers (sound familiar?)

    Christians died in their thousands for their non-compliance. They would only say, “Christus Kurios” (Christ is Lord).

    What is happening today is, in my view, an aberration.

  7. Jean says:

    #10,

    It is…

    Poorly…

  8. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    #9 is a snappy phrase but not true. The Jews missed the messiah (as opposed to their messiah) because their father is the devil and they are of the synagogue of satan.

    Those who were actually looking for the messiah were found by the messiah. You know my regular crew – the Apostle Paul, the Apostle Peter, me and Marty Goetz. 🙂

  9. CostcoCal says:

    No need to needlessly stereotype Christians as those who are concerned/miffed about “patriotic duties.” That’s an unfair generalization, in my opinion.

    It is a cultural issue and not religious. Reading various comments in the news and gauging feedback, there are as many “worldly” folk, who love their beer and football, peeved about the issue as there are “Christians.”

  10. Michael says:

    Costco,

    I didn’t see a stereotype.
    That thought was clearly written as a general response to a mostly false narrative.
    The question we should be asking is about how many other false narratives we’ve imbibed.

    I do recognize that over 80% of evangelicals voted for Trump and they approve of him by much more than the rest of the country.

    Nowhere have I written that they alone hold these views… nowhere .

    As I mainly write for a Christian audience I think that’s germane to most of our discussions.

  11. Michael says:

    This does give me the opportunity to speak to the power of the false narrative once again.

    Conservative media spent years talking about the “flood” of migrants entering the country illegally and the dire threat they posed.

    In reality, the migration had been going in reverse for years.

    They did manipulate the country into believing this bullspit…and that’s one of the reasons the country elected Trump…

    Narrative is a very powerful form of communication…

  12. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Has anyone seen a breakdown of how all Christians voted in the election – not just evangelicals but anyone who identifies as Christian? I haven’t – but then I have not looked very hard.

  13. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I’ll just go ahead and burn all the commentaries I have that speak of the nationalistic fervor and political expectations of the Messiah by Israel… at your word.

  14. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Pew and PRII probably have those numbers.

  15. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – well perhaps that’s not a bad idea. You may have missed where I said they missed “the” messiah because they were looking for “their” messiah.

    One other point, I used Jesus’ words for the Jewish messiah problem – John 8 and Rev 3

  16. CostcoCal says:

    Michael, I was referring to Duane’s post at #1. I am not sure Christians are the ones overly concerned about the NFL situation.

  17. Duane Arnold says:

    #16 CostcoCal

    Well, first they began questioning a player’s self-professed Christian faith… and it has gone on from there, including a number of the so-called Faith Advisory Council members.

    To be honest, as Christians I’m not sure we even have a dog in the fight. Hard to imagine Peter and Paul arguing about which of them was more loyal to the Roman Empire and the Emperor!

  18. Jean says:

    Michael,

    Your #9 is fine. It is supported, among other places, in Matt 11:3-6

    From Lutheran commentator, Kretzmman:

    “There is a distinct warning in Christ’s final sentence, against taking offense in Him and His work, for him that expected a temporal kingdom….”

  19. Xenia says:

    80+ % of white Evangelical “born-agains”* voted for Trump.

    I tell you what, if I hadn’t left them 15 years ago for reasons of theology, I would surely have left them over this.

    *All Christians are born again.

  20. John 20:29 says:

    Id like to think that we Christians could have a love for our country separate and apart from our real citizenship…
    That said, I was privileged to hear Chief of Staff Kelly’s words to the White House Press Corp last week… He made the case for a Nation in chaos…
    I seriously doubt that we will pull out of this tailspin by looking for enemies – as far as I can see the enemy is us

    First game of the World Serious is upon us … I so want to see Houston beat those Bums… err Dodgers

  21. Dan from Georgia says:

    Re number 2 and narratives: I for one am tired of the daily “narratives” that progressive Christians, for example. peddle on their twitter feeds and Facebook page and patheos blogs…yes the evangelical church has its issues, but it has almost become comical how they stumble over themselves to daily give evangelicals a black eye. I can say this because up until recently I was quasi-progressive, but just could no longer take the selective morality and self-righteousness blaring from their social media.

    Done ranting

  22. Michael says:

    Dan,

    Give us an example…I don’t read a lot of that.

  23. Michael says:

    “I’d like to think that we Christians could have a love for our country separate and apart from our real citizenship…”

    I think that’s possible and even normal.

    I don’t necessarily understand it, but I don’t have to… 🙂

  24. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I always go with the commentators vs. MLD… 🙂

  25. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael, I’ll respond more when back at home or work and at a computer.

  26. Dan from Georgia says:

    Not trying to avoid answering but need some time to collect examples, and get to a computer⚾️

  27. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean – Michael,
    I will admit that I need more help than just quoting Jesus as to why the the Jews missed the kingdom. So obviously the quotes stating they are of their father the devil and they are of the synagogue of satan not being good enough reasons – help me with Jean’s passage and show me from the text that the Jews missed the kingdom because they wanted to make Israel great again – ie. to receive an earthly political kingdom. I am baffled.

    “2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

  28. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I’m simply not going to argue over something that there is no known debate over.

    I would also hope that you are not saying that all Jews are the spawn of the devil…you need to clarify that.

  29. Xenia says:

    I would say that because of the things MLD said (Synagogue of Satan, etc.) they were blinded and believed the things Michael said (hoped to “Make Israel Great Again, etc).

  30. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – not all Jews. Those who believed God became Christians and those who did not remained sons of the devil.

  31. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I think you have that right…

  32. John Battler says:

    My father served 20 years in the service. Until the NFL shows respect I will not watch NFL football anymore. I am so tired of seeing disrespect and hypocrisy when people can make millions and dishonor soldiers who have fought for the freedom to even have an NFL…many whom can’t even stand or walk. Some don’t have legs, others have had mental problems and all the issues caused for fighting in wars. They are not so much dishonoring this country, but they are really dishonoring veterans who barely function sometimes due to war. Past, present, and future soldiers deserve our respect and honor.

  33. Jean says:

    The Jews were theologians of glory, no better and no worse than any other.

  34. Michael says:

    John,

    Help me understand this.

    Not one player has spoken of any intent to disrespect veterans.

    Further, explain to me how the flag suddenly represents veterans when in almost sixty years I’d never heard that.

    Veterans do deserve respect and honor…but how are public rituals now part of that?

    I suggest that this whole thing is made out of whole cloth to create political hay…

  35. Xenia says:

    Mr. Battler, I have asked this here before and I will ask you now:

    How is it that the US flag is the sole possession of disabled veterans?

    Does the flag not also represent

    Farmers?

    Environmentalists?

    Teachers?

    Pacifists?

    Liberals?

    African Americans who feel they are the victims of police harassment?

    Why only disabled veterans?

    And how have the recent spate of wars protected American freedom? Why did our regime change war in Iraq make America safe for football?

  36. Michael says:

    I have refused to pledge allegiance to the flag for decades because of religious conviction.

    I stand for the anthem only so as to not create offense.

    Insulting veterans has never crossed my mind…

  37. John 20:29 says:

    When a person is inducted into military service, no matter the reason that they have for being there, they are “owned” by the government (yes. in theory a Christian could refuse to carry out an order). The flag is often raised over ground won by the shedding of the soldier’s blood, the loss of lives, to honor the success of the mission… it is carried on every ceremony and is representative of the U.S. – our history, our ideals, not our shortcomings…
    True some are fanatically and mindlessly addicted to patriotism and we will never be a perfect country – our ideals become more clouded every day, but, however well intentioned your motives, if you can’t show ceremonial, traditional respect, as pretty much practiced world-wide, when the colors and the anthem of your nation are the ceremony in progress, simply don’t show up…
    Organize one of those marches down the interstate, if you wish, cause a traffic tie-up for your cause – inconvenience yourself and others – but honor the flag that honors the ones who’ve made that possible today

    Just saying .. again. 😯

  38. Michael says:

    I always seem to miss something in these conversations…I must have been raised poorly.

  39. John Battler says:

    My father a 20 year veteran was very offended, I can’t argue with him, he endured the Korean Conflict ant the Vietnam war. He is not disabled, but offended. There have been many solders offended by this. Michael, you nailed it, you stand so you won’t offend those around you. The NFL is losing a lot of money, so they know it is a bad strategy, so meetings are in progress to try to come up with a remedy. The fact is, many soldiers are offended. If one of you were sitting next to a veteran, would stand with him? What if he was disabled? Would you stand? I am thankful for the sacrifice made, and will not offend a soldier.

  40. Michael says:

    John,

    I know some vets who are not offended by anything expect the demand that they be offended.

    There is a point where part of what they defended was the right to protest…

    I confess that this is one argument I should stay out of as I simply don’t understand the furor.

    The NFL will be fine…the problems they have are ones they already had…mainly over saturation and a declining level of play along with the medical issues.

  41. Michael says:

    What’s interesting to me is that folks like Em and John’s dad inherently and instinctively believe something is wrong with the protests…and people like me have to get it explained to us to even make sense.

    Very big cultural difference…

  42. John 20:29 says:

    Michael, I suspect that the evils of our Vietnam conflict and so much military meddling in other nations since that time are what your generation sees – our politicians have made the connection very shabby – whatever the cost to.the individual service member…
    maybe we ought to protest flying the flag over the White House and the Capitol Bldg.

  43. London says:

    I’m offended that cops killed my friend from high school history class, because he was big, black and mentally ill. He had no weapon, he had a plastic knife he had used to stir the coffee he was holding.
    They murdered him in front of families with children.
    I honestly hope those soilders who are so “offended” that some football players are taking a knee are just as offended that unarmed black people, like my friend, are being killed in cold blood and no police are held accountable.
    Until they are just as offended by that, I respect and honor their service and freedom to be offended. However, I do not hold their opinion in any higher regard than anyone else’s.

  44. Anon says:

    John,

    With all due respect to your dad…

    We’re all offended at times, by things others do.

    That’s part of living in a pluralistic, democratic society.

    My dad fought in WWII. Don’t know what he’d say.

  45. Michael says:

    Em,

    That’s part of it…although I’m convinced that how this country treated Vietnam vets is a national disgrace.

    Beyond that, having studied for years how our government has stomped on the rights of other sovereign nations and peoples over the years I just have a hard time defending such things.

    The people of this country and the government are two different entities in my mind.

    Our founding documents are utter genius, however…never been anything remotely in the same class.

  46. John Battler says:

    My dad never said the protest were wrong, and never said they didn’t have the right to kneel. He is just exercising his rights to not watch, and so am I. Why do we go after those who are offended, and boycott and not those who choose to openly do their protest. If you watch a tv program that disrespected you loved one, would you continue to support it? I hope not….Wars are bad and handled wrong many times, but our soldiers need to be respected. Blessings

  47. London says:

    Our citizens need to be respected, not just veterans. Not only that, you are making up a story about why people are kneeling even though the very people kneeling are saying something different about why they are doing it.
    Of course you are free to not watch it. However, your reason for not watching, are made up and do not reflect the actions of those participating.

  48. John 20:29 says:

    Hmmm… The Bible in whatever form our denomination holds, what it teaches and where it has come from – the cost… do we, as Christians, say I will not honor the Book until the churches are purged of all evil doers? Too extreme an example? Maybe…

    At any rate, I fear that this nation has lost what made it unique – what Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address described that our forefathers set forth to build on this continent. is being lost in our criticisms, some valid and some not Critiques by those of us who presume/hope to be more noble, high minded and wise than those ambitious old privileged white guys with their plows and muskets …
    Can a nation of “helicopter mothers” right all our wrongs and set us back on a constructive and more righteous path? Are we confusing doing God’s work with attempting to do what God cant? Some would say that’s what an evangelical tries to do… It seems to me, tho, everyone now hopes to reform the world …dunno

    I apologize for presuming here on dear Michael with what is bothering me right now

  49. John 20:29 says:

    London, I think the kneelers have made it clear that they want more protection and respect for people of color…
    It’s not what they want that is in question

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I am sure Michael and others here know that I am fully supportive of the kneeling footballers. However, I have thought the protests are a hollow gesture because in the end they don’t ask any commitment from those they are protesting in front of. Its a passive gesture.

    That said, I don’t know that I agree with the subject of their protest… and I don’t need to. To those who do agree with the cause and tactic what have you done in protest? Anyone here take a knee at the beginning of a business meeting? How about other work situations where you would bring your company’s work to a halt for 90 seconds. Has anyone tried to recruit others to participate? Why not?

  51. Michael says:

    Em,

    You’re fine…I think we need to hear from everyone.

  52. Michael says:

    MLD,

    To be blunt, I don’t care.
    I care about the Vikings.
    I’m watching a football game and I use that time to go to the bathroom or get more coffee before kickoff.
    I ‘ll listen to social issue stuff another time.
    They’re just using their platform for what they care about…I care more about being ready for kickoff.
    That’s a poorer reflection on me than them.

    The “don’t protest at work” stuff doesn’t fly… if the employer allows it, I don’t care.
    I used to have a job where we took our breaks at the bar next door and I was always partially sloshed by the end of a shift.
    My boss encouraged it…said I was easier to get along with that way.
    Other bosses might not think it so good.
    None of their business.

  53. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, a protest is not really a protest if it is allowed.:-)

  54. London says:

    Em,
    I was addressing John

  55. John 20:29 says:

    Well the Dodgers took the first game tonight… I think it is fixed… 😇
    Did those players take a knee? I

    God keep all the good hearted Phxp peeps this night – may we all kneel before Him in His honor and in our humility

  56. John 20:29 says:

    Oh, okay, London. 😯
    You And your mom in my prayers tonight

  57. London says:

    Thanks.
    I should have put his name in my replies. Sorry for the confusion

  58. descended says:

    #8 Now, but not yet. The Happy Hope.

  59. Duane Arnold says:

    Tertullian asked “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” to mark the distance between Christian faith and philosophy. I wonder if we should be asking, “What has Rome to do with Jerusalem?” to mark the distance between Christian faith and nationalism.

    As an honest question – How do we reconcile Christian faith with nationalism or the rituals and pageantry surrounding nationalism?

  60. Dave says:

    #9 is a GEM !

  61. JoelG says:

    Looks like Kaepernik parlayed his “struggle” into a million dollar book deal. Sometimes it pays to be so discriminated against. Just ask Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. 😉

  62. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane,
    ” How do we reconcile Christian faith with nationalism or the rituals and pageantry surrounding nationalism?”
    How would you picture it? Would taking on the JWs doctrine on nationalism be acceptable? Zero nationalism, no recognition of the flag or anthem and refusal to participate in the armed services – or would it be more in line, where we pick and choose per our own conscience?

  63. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    Kaepernick lost money on that deal.
    Average salary for a starting NFL QB is around 20 million a year and rising.
    There is little doubt that he is now blacklisted…I know football and while he is the very definition of mediocre, he is better than 90% of current backups and a few starters.

    I’m not sure why we would castigate a person for speaking for those who are otherwise voiceless…unless we truly believe there is no systemic racism in this country at all as I have read from some lately. I think using ones platform in life for good is a civic responsibility.

    I think Kaepernick is ill informed on some things and some of his stuff has offended me…but he is paying the price to be who he is.

  64. JoelG says:

    All good points Michael. Another way to view it is NFL teams simply didn’t want the distraction of Kaepernick in the lockeroom. I think you’ve said this before and I agree that if the net outcome of ones cause is pissing the very people off who you’re trying to persuade because of misunderstandings what’s the point?

    I still think the better way for prominent black athletes to deal with systematic racism in our culture is to use their celebrity by working with with local government and law enforcement. I confess I don’t see the practical point of protests in general, MLK aside of course.

  65. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The kneeling protests keep the athletes from getting their hands dirty. They can say they did their part for social justice in the black community and then run back home to their posh gated communities. No muss no fuss.

    Back in the anti war protest days, we got our heads knocked around. Perhaps we should have just taken a knee before class and let the issue solve itself.

  66. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    As much as I’m annoyed by the whole topic (sports is my distraction from real life) there is a sense in which this protest has worked.

    We’re having the conversations, though, (as with most conversations these days), they are poor ones.

    NFL players have been dumping time and money into their communities for as long as I can remember and the league has been very supportive of our troops in particular.

    What’s really going on here is a battle for traditions…and those almost always end up bloody.

  67. JoelG says:

    Thanks for the pushback. You make good points. I’m 5 – 2 in my FFL league and don’t need this distraction, though. 😉

  68. Dan from Georgia says:

    Micheal (#23);

    Here are two examples from the Patheos Progressive Christian network of blogs:

    One and
    Two.

    In the spirit of honesty and full-disclosure, I do admit that there are many things I agree with in these two posts, as well as much of the writings of progressive Christians, but the overall theme is to control the narrative about a topic, and quite often their writings are directed at believers, particularly evangelicals.

  69. John 20:29 says:

    one thing we tend to forget when discussing injustice and persecution of a group of people is that, like the rest of humanity, those being persecuted are not all good guys…

    In the 1960s we were on the brink of what we are on the brink of now (maybe past the “brink” today) – we were facing overdue civil disobedience to the point of chaos and real destruction, when Martin Luther stepped up and directed the emotion to a constructive conclusion – he will go down in history as a pivot point in the stream, i think…
    does Kaepernick fit the MLK mold? i don’t think so at all… i think the guy is a rabble rouser with an iconoclast heart – a natural hater… could be wrong, but he was boring to watch throw a football anyway – IMHO 🙂 i think many of our pro athletes of color do feel used and abused – thing of it is, irregardless of your color when you are employed in the corporate world today, you probably are used and abused…

    but, perhaps, these kneelers will accomplish something similar to MLK and deflect another crisis point in American (U.S.) history in 2017… maybe
    and, to repeat myself, not all those claiming to be persecuted by white America are … life treats us badly and it isn’t fair and, sometimes, we ourselves are the cause of our miseries (Wednesday my scheduled reading for edification of my soul is in Proverbs, so i’ve just come from a reminder of our systemic foolishness)

    Michael will be sorry that he encouraged me back up there at no.52

  70. Dan from Georgia says:

    Sorry it too so long to respond Michael. My overall impression of the progressive Christian “movement”, so to speak, is that much of it seems to be reactionary towards the more conservative (theological) believers. Again, I have learned much from some of their writings in calling out what needs to be called out, but my growing disinterest in the stems from a sense that they see themselves as “better” and “superior” to evangelicals. Just my opinion.

  71. Duane Arnold says:

    #63 MLD

    ” How do we reconcile Christian faith with nationalism or the rituals and pageantry surrounding nationalism?”

    To be honest, I’ve not yet “squared the circle” on this one, which is why I asked the question.

    If I look to the early church, the objection to serving in the military was 1) killing 2) the oaths of allegiance that soldiers were expected to participate in – to the cohort standard, to the legion commander, the emperor, etc.. For about four centuries this was normative. Constantine’s reign ushered in a new reality, although it changed again as Arian emperors ascended the throne and then into the reign of Julian the Apostate.

    If, as many suggest, “Christendom” is over in the West, should the trappings of Christendom also come to an end? Should the state churches in England and Scandinavia be disestablished? Is the US truly “one nation under God”? I think we are living in a time in which some really basic questions need to be reconsidered… hence, my question.

  72. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I hear you.
    The problem I have is that both sides want to declare themselves holy without listening to the other.
    Pontificating is easy…solving things we pontificate about isn’t.

    I’m still hopeless addicted to the via media in most things…

  73. Michael says:

    Em,

    I can’t help but remind you that King was not well received by many when he was alive…

  74. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I wonder – does taking an oath or making a statement of allegiance to one entity for a certain purpose over ride any larger purpose?
    If we have sworn allegiance to Jesus Christ – I don’t know if we have or by what apparatus we did, but if we did, does that prevent oaths and allegiances to other “sub” categories?

  75. bob1 says:

    #74

    I can still remember hearing about King’s immorality, from of course, the right.

    Fact is, Hoover had it in bigtime for King, and he and his ilk were behind the incriminating King recordings. Hoover did everything he kid to discredit King and the leadership of the civil rights movement.

  76. Duane Arnold says:

    #75 MLD

    After Hindenburg’s death, members of the German armed forces were required to make a personal oath of allegiance to Hitler. Many soldiers and officers who were Christians did so. In retrospect, we are horrified. At the time, however, was the considered evil of that oath apparent? At the time did they see it in conflict with their allegiance to Christ? Nevertheless, it turned out to be exactly that. The signers of the Barmen Declaration certainly thought so after a year or two of reflection.

  77. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane,
    I was thinking of something a bit less dramatic than the constant History Channel version of all things Hitler.

    How about a Christian immigrant who becomes a naturalized citizen and the last step is an oath / allegiance to the US?

  78. Duane Arnold says:

    #78 MLD

    As a requirement of citizenship, I would think, “yes”. As I was driving in this morning, though, I had another thought. We expect all presidents to take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. It seems admirable. Yet for almost six decades, that Constitution enshrined slavery and the counting of slaves as three-fifths of a person. Suddenly that oath takes on a slightly different character…

  79. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    #79 Duane,
    Not really – you cannot think with a 21st century mind about what went into 18th and 19th century thought that developed certain standards.

    This is a problem I have with some of the current #metoo stuff. Going back to the 50s “Mad Men” culture or the 60s & 70s of the Playboy Clubs, Studio 54 or even the 1968 Summer of Love and then going back and trying to litigate – it was a completely different time and mindset and to say “well, they should have known better” – Perhaps they should have, I don’t thinks so, we were all crazy.

    The same with the steroid era in baseball – admit it, we all loved it … until we didn’t. What was it ’96, ’98 – me and my son followed Sosa and McGuire around the country so see them hit #60 and then see them break the record.

  80. Duane Arnold says:

    #80 MLD

    As I said at #72, we might want to consider the faith and practice of the early church with regard to these matters a bit more seriously…

  81. The New Victor says:

    The Three-Fifths Compromise wasn’t about “enshrining” slavery. I counted as one person each, slave-holding states would have had more legislative power in the Federal Congress.

  82. John 20:29 says:

    #74 – no need to remind me, Michael – I was there. 😊
    it was a true struggle in which there truly were black heroes who died at the hands of evil white men… as there were victims of evil white men going centuries before in our nation

    I erased the rest of my pontificating. on good and evil – suffice to say, it is not race dependent – neither the good or the evil

  83. John 20:29 says:

    Oaths of allegience? Our Lord summed that principle up very simply
    “Render into Caesar the thing that are Caesar’s…”. 😇

  84. Duane Arnold says:

    #82 The New Victor

    Yes, I know… but it was part of the compromise that allowed it to continue as an effective institution and, if I remember The Federalist Papers properly, was linked to when trade in slaves would be ended…

  85. Jean says:

    “Oaths of allegience? Our Lord summed that principle up very simply
    “Render into Caesar the thing that are Caesar’s…”. ”

    Yep, Caesar gets the coin. To clarify: not allegiance. That goes to God alone.

  86. JoelG says:

    Re: NFL protests and resulting boycott….

    Maybe it would be in the best interest of the players who choose to kneel to communicate why they are by means of a series of commercials and/or a website detailing examples of institutional racism and what/how they are hoping to change this situation. My dad is a conservative Christian without a racist bone in his body. But he is seriously considering boycotting his Seahawks over these protests. If there was an informative website to point to perhaps it would go a long way in helping some folks understand.

  87. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Michael! I for one don’t mind fining nuggets/blocks of truth in unexpected places, even from people I don’t always agree with. And sometimes those nuggets are hard truths to deal with because they come from another tribe/someone else’s echo chamber.

  88. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    That’s a good idea…

  89. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I spend most of my time on social media reading people I think couldn’t be more wrong.

    Sometimes…they make me wonder who’s really wrong wrong, or if there is a right…

  90. John 20:29 says:

    #86 – I differ with your assessment just a bit … Yes, our Lord was telling those Jews which coin belonged to whom … perhaps I am overstepping in extrapolating greater meaning … I don’t think so … we do have citizenship obligations to the country in which we live…
    If a foreign country attacks, I should not expect my neighbor to risk his life protecting mine because I am commanded by God to not kill – if my community has no fire department and is organizing a volunteer unit, God hasn’t instructed me to just let it burn because the earth is cursed .. etc

    dunno, tho … I am, after all an evangelical. 😀

  91. Jean says:

    The earth isn’t cursed. Where do you get this stuff?

    You used a text comparing a Christian’s loyalty to God vs. Caesar. God wins every time.

    Yes, a Christian has citizen obligations, subordinate always to the 1st Commandment.

  92. Jean says:

    My first sentence of 92 is wrong. The earth is cursed because of Adam.

  93. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I think it’s this verse…

    “And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;”
    (Genesis 3:17 ESV)

    We also know the creation groans along with us as we await redemption…it’s an interesting study.

    I wouldn’t say the earth is cursed, but it seems to be under the effects of sin.

  94. John 20:29 says:

    Jean, interesting thots… I thought that Jesus was telling them that the coin was part of the world of Caesar and they should use it to meet their obligations to that kingdom and that their temple taxes/tribute should be met with a different coinage… (drachma?)I
    There’s perhaps more than one principle being taught about the things of the world and the things of The Kingdom, God’s kingdom …?…

  95. John 20:29 says:

    Speaking of a cursed earth brings back a dear memory… I hated the chore of pulling weeds as a child and complained to my grandmother about God being mean to have created them… she informed me that we’d brought weeds on ourselves as part of the curse. 😇

  96. JoelG says:

    I saw this on Twitter from ESPN’s Adam Shefter. This is the kind of communication that’s needed to bridge the divide between protesters and boycotters, I think:

    “Anquan Boldin wrote this for Time magazine:

    “My life’s purpose became bigger than football in August, when I… fb.me/GdCfKXTa “

  97. John 20:29 says:

    Joel that was an interesting read with many good points… I don’t think we are looking at a situation with a simple solution – many changes come to mind and they all start with mentoring kids that, for a myriad of reasons, aren’t being parented well or mentored and affirmed by other solid citizens IMHO
    these kids develop an “us and them” outlook very early and grow up thinking that what they see in TV drama is the real world of “them” – my generation dropped the ball, not only dropped it, but seem to have lost it… dunno
    Churches send their teens on mission junkets south, but they don’t seem to have found a way to do the same thing in the inner cities in our own nation… I’m sure that there are some good, valid concerns… but the damage is seriously eroding for all of us … sigh

  98. JoelG says:

    Good points Em! Where I live there’s only about 15 minutes separating cultures that might as well be 1000 miles apart. How good would it be for white, middle class churches to start getting to know their brothers and sisters in the inner cities and hear their point of view?

  99. John 20:29 says:

    It’s shaky ground, how does one dialog with someone who thinks that you think that you are superior to them? Maybe rolling up our sleeves and working side by side? A project or projects of mutual benefit? Nothing cures a case of “victimitis” like successful hard work… 😉
    Dunno … words and theories are cheap, I guess

  100. TheRegulator says:

    Many of ya’all would get along fine with the JW’s …

    Flag salute. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that bowing down to a flag or saluting it, often in conjunction with an anthem, is a religious act that ascribes salvation, not to God, but to the State or to its leaders. (Isaiah 43:11; 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 John 5:21) One such leader was King Nebuchadnezzar of ancient Babylon. To impress the people with his majesty and religious ardor, this powerful monarch erected a great image and compelled his subjects to bow down to it while music, like an anthem, was being played. However, three Hebrews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—refused to bow to the image, even on pain of death.—Daniel, chapter 3.

    In our age, “nationalism’s chief symbol of faith and central object of worship is the flag,” wrote historian Carlton Hayes. “Men bare their heads when the flag passes by; and in praise of the flag poets write odes and children sing hymns.” Nationalism, he added, also has its “holy days,” such as the Fourth of July in the United States, as well as its “saints and heroes” and its “temples,” or shrines. In a public ceremony in Brazil, the minister general of the army acknowledged: “The flag is venerated and worshiped . . . just as the Fatherland is worshiped.” Yes, “the flag, like the cross, is sacred,” The Encyclopedia Americana once observed. “

  101. Michael says:

    Actually, I can’t think of anyone here who would get along theologically at all with JW’s.

    As a matter of conscious I don’t believe it proper to pledge allegiance to anything other than God.
    I also believe nationalism “can” quickly become idolatry.

    This analogy is about as accurate as saying that JW’s drive cars and so do I thus we agree on other matters…

  102. Scooter Jones says:

    I had a JW sub-contractor back in the day. We got along really well, we both liked McDonald’s 1/4 pounders with cheese.

  103. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, I asked the other day – how would you advise a Christian immigrant who is finishing up the citizenship process and the last step is to pledge allegiance to America.?

  104. Michael says:

    MLD,
    It’s a matter of personal conscience.
    I wouldn’t say anything unless I was asked.

  105. John 20:29 says:

    hmmm… i was a Brownie and a Girl Scout and took my oaths – admittedly that was in my presumptive God declining phase of life, but are Scout oaths verboten to Christian kids?

  106. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, well let’s play like it was you. You are a Christian from France. Do you take the pledge or get back on the plane?

  107. John 20:29 says:

    “I pledge allegiance to the flag and to the Republic for which it stands….” i guess i never thought that the allegiance that i was pledging superseded my allegiance to God and His kingdom… but then i am a product of a world in which nationalism seemed sensible… kind of a spin off or remnant of God’s intervention a Babel
    the thing that i don’t like about globalism is that it is an end around run attempt at defeating God’s plan for His Kingdom … or so it seems to me…

  108. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think we can have many allegiances to sub categories without infringing on my pledge to follow Jesus. I think I have one in place with my wife. If I were on the city council I would have no problem taking a pledge to the city and citizens who elected me.
    I would have an issue pledging to other gods or those who claim such for themselves.

  109. Michael says:

    MLD,
    I don’t feel like playing.
    I understand that it’s not a popular position.
    This has been my belief for a very long time and the current administration just puts an exclamation point behind it.
    I do not try to bind anyone else’s conscience on the matter.

  110. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, the final straw in the split of WELS with the LCMS was over scouts troops in the church and the oath. Which God were they making an oath to?

  111. bob1 says:

    I’m not a fan of JW beliefs, which I think are aberrant. However, I think we need to learn to separate the belief system from the individuals in it.

    However, they are consistent with regard to the flag. They were among the first ones to be persecuted and sent to death camps during the Nazi reign. They were also extremely brutally treated.

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