Jun 112018
 

1. The Dallas Star Telegram is reporting an estimated attendance of 35,000 for yesterdays Greg Laurie crusade, down from the almost 100,000 it pulled two years ago. I’m not sure what this means, if anything, but I suspect the days of this kind of event are passing away…

 

2. I didn’t watch the crusade,but did note that it was preceded that morning by a visit by Laurie to an SBC church and some reporters positioned it as preceding the SBC conference. It looks like Calvary Chapel is in Laurie’s rear view mirror…

3. Robert De Niro dropped an F bomb on Trump at an awards ceremony last night. While I appreciate the sentiment, such is utterly counter productive and simply reinforces hate on both sides…

4. If the only way to read the Bible was with a “literal” hermeneutic, I’d be an agnostic…

5. Being the cheery sort of fellow that I am, I’m listening to a (very) lengthy audiobook biography of Adolf Hitler. The author notes more than once that it seems uncanny how many times Hitler escaped death before he rose to prominence…almost supernatural. I have no idea what the hell to do with that…

6. Lebron James coming out wearing a cast after the sweep was a really bad optic. That’s a sentence that wouldn’t have passed an editors eraser ten years ago…

7. How do you decide what is “normative” in Scripture? …

8. Sunshine is the best anti-depressant…

9. I’ll keep saying this, (not to be a wet blanket but to ground people in reality)…when the Paige Patterson furor dies down and this convention is over, the SBC will be fundamentally unchanged. Nothing changes in an institution until you change the structure itself…

10. “Yes, immigration is a tricky issue…but using the separation of families as a threat and a tool is not. We can (and must) do better” Ed Stetzer…and me…

  51 Responses to “Things I Think…”

  1. No. 9

    Albert Mohler did an interview with NPR yesterday that is worth a listen…
    https://www.npr.org/2018/06/10/618738565/-metoo-at-the-southern-baptist-convention

  2. #5 – evil though he was, Hitler was given power by God’s design.
    The changing world dynamic today is fascinating, too. Kind of like watching two speeding trains coming toward each other on the same r.r. track… China has played us, before that Europe did… What is ahead i can’t imagine, but nations do move according to God’s design, tho seldom according to His will.
    John tells us that God is not willing that any of us should perish… but many have and many will…

  3. Re #1, Never attended one of these events. Isn’t it true that it’s basically a bunch of Christians coming out in huge numbers to hear a word by Greg and maybe a few other’s as well as a few very popular Christian bands? And isn’t is also true that someone counts how many attended and then Harvest can claim that 100’s of 1,000’s got saved? Again…

  4. covered,

    I was trying to be nice today… 🙂

    I have issues with the whole scene, but I guess it’s an overall positive for the kingdom…

  5. Part of the reason the attendance may have been down at the Harvest Crusade was due to the massive attendance last year. We sent a group of our youth from here (2 hours away) only to be denied entrance due to the crowd size. We didn’t bother sending anyone this year.

  6. Oops…I guess it was two years ago.

  7. “Re #1, Never attended one of these events. Isn’t it true that it’s basically a bunch of Christians coming out in huge numbers to hear a word by Greg and maybe a few other’s as well as a few very popular Christian bands? And isn’t is also true that someone counts how many attended and then Harvest can claim that 100’s of 1,000’s got saved? Again…”

    I’m a big proponent of having a date/time/location for one’s decision to recognize that Jesus has brought you to your unique crossroad of recognition of Who He is, what He has done, and what He wants to do in your life when you decide to be His follower. What I celebrate is that for some it’s a simple prayer with a friend, or a silent solo prayer in a sacred space, or the culmination of a catechism class, or a public traditional baptism, or standing, awestruck, under a sky full of stars.

    As for Harvest Crusade (an unfortunate name, “crusade”),
    I always think of Neil Diamond’s brilliant song.
    I don’t mean this as any disrespect in any shape of form, quite the opposite,
    its about the gathering of believers & seekers and if you can’t help but clap, sway & sing, well then, all the better!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhGMmmd9Ixs

    Hot August night
    And the leaves hanging down
    And the grass on the ground smelling sweet
    Move up the road
    To the outside of town
    And the sound of that good gospel beat
    Sits a ragged tent
    Where there ain’t no trees
    And that gospel group
    Telling you and me

    It’s love, Brother Love say
    Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show
    Pack up the babies
    And grab the old ladies
    And everyone goes
    ‘Cause everyone knows
    Brother Love’s show

    Room gets suddenly still
    And when you’d almost bet
    You could hear yourself sweat, he walks in
    Eyes black as coal
    And when he lifts his face
    Every ear in the place is on him
    Starting soft and slow
    Like a small earthquake
    And when he lets go
    Half the valley shakes

    It’s love, Brother Love say
    Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show
    Pack up the babies
    And grab the old ladies
    And everyone goes
    ‘Cause everyone knows
    ‘Bout Brother Love’s show

    Hallelujah, brothers
    Halle-hallelujah
    I said brothers
    (Hallelujah) Now you got yourself two good hands
    (Halle-hallelujah) And when your brother is troubled,
    You gotta reach out your one hand for him
    (Hallelujah) ‘Cause that’s what it’s there for
    (Halle-hallelujah) And when your heart is troubled,
    You gotta reach out your other hand
    (Hallelujah) Reach it out to the man up there
    (Halle-hallelujah) ‘Cause that’s what he’s there for

    Take my hand in yours
    Walk with me this day
    In my heart I know
    I will never stray
    Halle, halle, halle, halle, halle, halle, halle, halle

    Love, Brother Love say
    Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show
    Pack up the babies
    And grab the old ladies
    And everyone goes
    I say love, Brother Love say
    Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show
    (Halle, halle)
    Pack up the babies
    And grab the old ladies
    And everyone goes
    Love, Brother Love say
    Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show

  8. #9. This is a reasonable assumption. The S in SBC refered to slavery. This is a group that came into existence because of, and to further promote, violence and oppression.

    That history continued in a restricted way, up until modern times. If the Civil Rights Movement had failed, would the SBC continue to resemble Jim Crow?

  9. I don’t think it’s either fair or reasonable to bring that past up today.

    The SBC looks like every other independent group to me and that means that institutional change only comes with empty pews.

  10. I lived in Kansas in the 1960s and had my first exposure to a society that assumed Blacks were lesser citizens. But, that said, i did not see it in our Southern Baptist Church and i am sure skin color would not have affected your welcome. That said, the pastor warned us that the SBC was not homogenous and we could find ourselves visiting a church where we would be denied the communion table if we traveled further south.
    I had a young black fella knock on my door looking for work and as i handed him a checjk, i asked him if he’d have trouble cashing it. He replied that they knew him at the grocery store where he’d done some work. Later a neighbor let me know that she’d seen him working and did not approve of my giving him work.He did xlnt work.
    But what i’ve concluded over the years is that there are people walking this planet who have to feel superior. Sometimes it manifests in charity and sometimes in hate

  11. “Sometimes it manifests in charity and sometimes in hate”

    Amen…

  12. 1) I’m not one who would categorically say that an event/type of event where even a few people genuinely come to salvation should be done away with. At the same time, I think there are much more fruitful ways to utilize the resources involved.
    2) I don’t think there is a lasting role for Greg to fill in CGN, certainly not in the CCA. Before the split, the role I think he filled was simply conference speaker and a name with weight. That’s not belittling, that’s about as much as one could hope for back in the day.
    9) The only place I’ve ever seen/heard the name Paige Patterson is here.

  13. Coincidentally, I’ve also been listening to an audio bio of Hitler the past few days. (Rise & Fall). All those Hitler quotes sound very familiar.

    I don’t think Trump is at all as evil as Hitler.
    I don’t think Trump is nearly as smart as Hitler.
    But they have very similar personalities.

  14. Xenia,

    I’m still 35 hours away from the end…but I see some similarities…

  15. Corby,

    According to my sources, Laurie isn’t interested in either camp…at all.

  16. Xenia,

    I’m listening to “Adolf Hitler” by John Toland.

    I alternate between it and a bio of Charles Schultz… 🙂

  17. #12 Corby

    “The only place I’ve ever seen/heard the name Paige Patterson is here.”

    Google his name, click on “News”… it’s all over national media.

  18. I think De Niro’s comment about Trump is no different than if a conservative actor stood up a few years ago and called Obama the N word. I wonder the reaction if the conservative actor received a standing ovation?

    I think anyone who sees similarities between Trump and Hitler are sick in the head.

  19. 15 – Michael he can afford to in every respect!
    17 – Duane, not sure I want to… and funny, I thought it was a her, Paige.

  20. MLD,

    I think one makes comparisons with much caution.

    Both are nationalists, populists, and autocrats and understanding those dynamics is helpful.

    Hitler was uniquely evil, however…

  21. “Both are nationalists, populists, and autocrats and understanding those dynamics is helpful.”

    I exhibit those traits from time to time – I am no Hitler.

  22. MLD,

    I think I can safely speak for both Xenia and myself when I say we’re not making direct correspondence between the two…

  23. No, but just the mention of the 2 together is horrendous and lessens the evil of Hitler and the scandal of his acts.
    As someone who was raised Jewish just after WW2 I know how hurtful this can be (not to me).
    It’s like when people compare other mass killings and call it Holocaust – no, they are not the same. Even the word Holocaust was taken from it’s original context to describe the acts of Hitler as there was no other word to describe it.

    I would feel better, if people want to compare Trump to a bad guy, perhaps they could come up with an Al Capone likeness or something – Charles Manson – but save Hitler to remain on his own in history.

  24. Strangely, i see more similarities between Germany of the 1930s and the U.S. today than i do between Hitler and Trump… I don’t think there is a realization that the blue collar, average working man is barely able to make his wages cover his bills – the dollar is devaluing beyond reason… I’m not economically educated, so, while i see the result, i don’t know the causes… or who is manipulating what…
    There were Germans who tried to take Hitler out, however and i will confess that the intense hatred toward Trump from both within this nation and Europe had me expecting him to be assassinated in his first 6 mos. in office…. but i don’t think Trump is the cause of our state of affairs

  25. I took the following from the Harvest America website:

    Attendance:
    35,000+

    Unique Online Viewers
    Over 100,000

    Host Locations:
    6,630

    Professions of Faith So Far:

    2,332 – AT&T Stadium (7% of attendees)

    800 – Crossover Evangelism Teams

    875 – Online Responses to the Gospel (0.00875% of Unique Online Viewers)

    Host location reports are pending.

    My math may be off.

    I did not catch the “Crossover” portion of the Harvest America advertising here in Dallas. In looking at the website, the next “Crossover” is in 2019 in Birmingham. I take it that these events are once a year and focused on the south. Just a thought.

  26. Em@24… I was heartened to learn that my Mother’s family (contemporary ancestors) tried to take Hitler out….I don’t think it ended well for them, but it sure encouraged me a couple generations later!

  27. Linnea, that would be something to cause pride in your heritage.

  28. Covered, you are mostly correct. However, as Rick from Texas points out later, they don’t inflate the salvation numbers in the manner you illustrate.

  29. It’s a great day on the PhxP when both a video and lyrics of a Neil Diamond song are posted!! Thanks Guitar Dude!!!

    Where’s Bob Sweat?? 😃

  30. Harvest was here in Phoenix last year, at the Cardinal Stadium. With all the push going on all over this valley, you’d have thought the Pope was visiting. That said, attendance was still lower than anticipated. Considering it was the first time in Arizona, that Phoenix is the 6th largest city in the US, and that our stadium is air conditioned, that’s saying something.

    Maybe it’s time for Greg and his team to try something different. And I mean that with no disrespect. I’ve admired Greg for many years.

  31. #3 – I watched most of the Tony Awards last night as both of my girls are thespians. There wasn’t any span of 10 minutes that went by without someone mentioning diversity and how we need to love, love, love…especially those who are different from ourselves.

    Then De Niro F’s Trump and the place goes wild with applause, cheering and a standing ovation. So I guess it’s true, we need to love…especially those who are different from ourselves. That is unless, of course, those people happen to be REALLY different.

    I think we used to refer to that as a double standard.

  32. #4 – it is insane to think that one can have a purely literal hermeneutic of scripture.

  33. #8 – unless you live in the “Valley of the Sun,” where one longs for a little less brightness and anything below 103 is considered a more comfortable day.

  34. Well, it appears that I’ve got the closing shift tonight. So with that, I bid you all adieux and God’s blessings.

  35. Somethings to really think about, as for GL I think the marketing scheme is not working out and U will see a change in how he addresses his market share. What will really facilitate change as it always has and always will in every single situation is how the revenue flow is going. I always struggled with Hitler, it was quite common in my faith community to be told we were all little Hitler wannabees basically chomping at the bit in our unconverted state to slaughter millions with no mercy. Even as children we desire to kill if God would not restrain us from our psychopathic urges to slaughter everything. The other aspect was God allowed the Jews to be murdered in such horrid events to 1Bring glory to Himself and that God got glory out of what happened and it Glorified Him. 2 the Jews helped kill Christ and His blood was on them and on their children. 3 The Holocaust was a great evangelical tool for apologetics to show our total depravity. I mentioned when told that, that the entire world banded together to stop Hilter and many people of many faiths and nations fought very bravely and with great honor to stop that horror. I was rebuked for my emotionalism.

    I think cussing at people is not productive in such situations and causes far more heat than light. I also think that praying for people’s death and God’s wrath to come upon entire people groups is also counterproductive. I prefer to be cussed out and have it be done with.

  36. Linnea, i hope the time comes that you can compile your family history, there are some online publishers that are cheap and easy and, who knows, if you don’t record it there may be generations that will have the misconception that their ancestors were nazis.. i learned so much in writing about my maternal grandparents – one was one generation removed from Sweden and the other’s roots went all the way back to the pilgrims, further back than i’d have know without the search… discover that i’m a direct descendent of the explorer William Clark and that was fun to know, but mostly just ordinary souls living in historic times

    brian, you went to a bad, bad church-so-called … good to “to see you” here posting again 🙂

  37. #3,

    I suppose as a conservative christian I am supposed to be outraged, indignant, and offended, and play the “but what if so-and-so said such-and-such about Obama..” game. Honestly it was a thought that went through my mind. You know what else went through my mind?

    Meh.

    And this…

    How brave of him to attack Trump.

    Really. I’m gonna waste a bunch of emotional energy on something that doesn’t amount to anything in the long run. Just another culture war battle. Meh.

  38. ***Strangely, i see more similarities between Germany of the 1930s and the U.S. today than i do between Hitler and Trump… ***

    I think any comparison between the two is pretty tenuous. We’re talking about a Germany that had been decimated by WWI and was still suffering economically and socially as a result, vs a country that hasn’t fought a foreign power in our own soil since the 1800s and who is a world superpower. Yes, we’ve had economic downs but I don’t think it compares to those of post WWI Germany.

  39. Sadly, I see a number of similarities, but mainly in the emergence of an evangelical nationalism that is fueling, and being fueled by, the desire for prominence and power…

  40. I have the utmost respect for Greg Laurie. I believe he is very respected, and with so many “changes” with Pastors in OC over the past 15 years, he stands out as a Man of God, who has been very much used by God in these events. I guess my question is two fold. First, have these Crusades met a “saturation point” in terms of attendance in Stadiums. Second, what are costs for 35,000 plus attending an event like this at a massive Stadium such as ATT?

  41. All I can say is any comparison of America today to any form of Hitler’s Germany in the 30s is asinine. How many people were rushing to escape where they were to get into mid 30s Nazi Germany? No one – not one, let alone trying to do such by illegally crossing the borders.

    With all the words circling the globe about how terrible the USA is under the Trump administration, 1,000s weekly are fleeing where they are and risking life, limb and family to get here for the ‘good life’.

    Trump Derangement Syndrome makes some of you say the stupidest things.

  42. MLD,

    And those who are fleeing are being turned away in droves.
    Now, we have excluded those who come to escape domestic abuse and gang violence.
    The administration is also seeking to be able to deport documented, “legal” aliens.

    There is a strong case to be made that Hitler was a unique case in recent history.
    The social situations are different enough to make country comparisons tenuous at best.

    I think personality comparisons are worth looking at.

    It is also worth looking at whether a part of the church has sold it’s soul to political power.

  43. Michael, is there a time in history when part of the church has not sold it’s soul for political power? The RCC, Calvin’s Geneva etc?

    My point was, no matter how bad you wish to describe US policy, they still come. Hitler Germany? No one was attracted to come.

  44. For the record, while I am broken by what this country is doing, I don’t put the full blame on Trump.

    He was duly elected and represents the people who elected him.

    He …is us.

    Just please don’t try to sell me on the “Christian” merits of these policies.

    i know what it means to be a biblical alien in exile more than ever….

  45. “All I can say is any comparison of America today to any form of Hitler’s Germany in the 30s is asinine. ”
    perhaps, then, i wasn’t clear 🙂
    (asinine was a favorite word of my grandmother and she wasn’t using it in a complementary way when she labeled something “asinine” def: “extremely stupid or foolish”)

    i did not say that America today is comparable to Hitler’s Germany – rather, CONDITIONS in our country are comparable to what LED to Hitler’s rise to power… and i don’t say that flippantly, ignorantly, nor is it asinine.
    i do differ with anyone who thinks Trump is a Hitler (which was cleared up here). What i do see as a possibility is the electorate, looking for a savior from what is eroding this nation, being fooled by opportunistic, truly evil deceivers such as Hitler and company.

    My contemporaries, for the most part and those behind us, just retired, have paid for homes, good S.S. income and, if you worked for the government a very good pension… I don’t think older Americans realize what is happening “out there” in the workplace today…
    My daughter has a friend in his early 50s (in Medford Oregon), who lost his job, took out student loans to get a new job skill and is about to lose his house that he inherited from his parents…
    This same daughter has a highly skilled specialty, works for a poorly run, top heavy, national company that is paid by the Federal Government, but she doesn’t get paid when there are no patients,yet her bills come due irregardless. A fireman gets paid when on duty whether there’s a fire or not. A sales clerk gets paid whether customers come thru the door or not… But a corporation today, with a few exceptions, is a top heavy institution whose workforce – the ones doing the real work – are more and more sleeping in their cars…
    The morality of Germany was on skids and, it seems to be the case in our nation today…
    We are dancing around a financial collapse and, if that occurs we are ripe to welcome our very own dictator, who could well be as evil as Adolph H. and he could even present himself as a good church-goer… probably an evangelical one, but could be a Lute or a R.C. even 🙂

    it is the condition of this nation that compares to the condition of Germany when Hitler rose to power… things were bad in this nation at that time also, but something was different and i suspect it was the people..?.. dunno

    sorry about the caps, don’t know how to type emphasis here

  46. Em,

    That was gold.
    Medford, OR is my town…Phoenix is five miles south…

  47. Analyzing commonalities and dissimilarities of Hitler/Nazism/Third Reich and anyone/thing is risky because of the heinous acts of the former…yet, the analysis can yield valuable insights into both. I think investigation into the German church’ capitulation to the Nazi philosophies and practice can yield important lessons for Christians in the present and future. The German church behaved shamefully in the face of evil.

  48. thanks, Michael… i seem to think more clearly when i get my dander up 🙂
    Lynne thinks very highly of this fellow and his integrity, her heart breaks for him – must be at least 2 good guys down there in Medford… LOL

    the old saw that those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it is true, but it is hard to learn or even correctly interpret when one’s heart is involved, i know… and, if we are comfortable, we don’t much like to think about looming threats of any kind, i suspect – it isn’t just Seattle and San Francisco that are squeezing out the younger middle class – i might not be as aware, if i didn’t have children whose children are dealing with an eroding future

  49. Em, you daughter may have a labor case against the hospital – no one is allowed to ‘work off the clock’.

  50. MLD, i think there’s something fishy with this company, also… she doesn’t work for the hospital, btw… she used to and made a better wage, but the hosp. sold out to the national corp. (it was a dirty deal that had to line some politicians’ pockets we suspect) …

    i told her that they should all quit and offer their services as independent contractors, giving themselves a hefty pay hike in the process… there are very few RNs that can cut the mustard on this specialty for a variety of reasons, so the company couldn’t just go out and hire some unemployed nurses to replace them… so many people who are good at what they do get taken advantage of by those whose job skill is manipulation

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