Things I Think…

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85 Responses

  1. Government cheese was my after school staple in high school, until I started working as a junior at 16. For some reason, my mother never checked that I had lunch and assumed I was being fed. It made for a long day. I loved the occasional batch that tasted more like cheddar. Grilled cheese, with BBQ sauce to give it an imagined meat taste.

    I found out recently that complaints by WTO nations resulted in the program being stopped.

  2. You just succinctly listed the types of thoughts that often careen around my cranium. I don’t want to go back in time. I don’t pine for the old days. But there are some things in our present/future that seem intent on killing us. We’re becoming more neurotic, hateful, disconnected. Rod Serling often had us pegged.

  3. Em says:

    Strange to read this as i woke up this morning thinking very similar thots… perhaps we all are. 🙍
    Michael has done a good job here describing where we’ve come from and summing up the shift in this nation… Do people without absolutes, like water, seek their lowest level?
    I remember as a child learning that there were people in a place called India that literally lived out their lives in the city streets and i recall being grateful that i was born in America… Now? Well, i’m just grateful that i’m not living on the sidewalk in Seattle…
    My heritage goes back to the time of the Pilgrims… The last of my ancestors to leave the other side of the Atlantic were some Swedes right after the Civil (civil?) War. All of them were dedicated, hard working people with tolerance for all people after the manner of Martin Luther King’s call, judging by the content of your character. There were bad actors, yes. It is a false accusation, however, that the whole of America was racially prejudiced. What it did take some time to understand was the affect that one’s environment had on the psyche.
    Please don’t think i’m saying we had a perfect nation, but we were in the process of building a very good one…
    Or so it seems to me….

  4. Xenia says:

    What does it mean to be an American.

    This is a light-hearted answer, but once coming home from Europe on an American airline, they served enchiladas for lunch. I said to my husband: We are home! American food!

    Silly, but at the time those enchiladas nearly brought tears to my eyes. Some tear up over the flag, I tear up over enchiladas.

    I have a European friend who enjoys mocking Americans. She talks about how Europe is “tribal” with a unifying culture and we here in America are mongrels with nothing to unify us at all. I can’t tell you how much this irks me. I began telling her how every American kid, no matter where their ancestors came from, eat Cheerios, watch Sponge Bob and like to skateboard. She scoffed. Now the things I listed are superficial for sure, but I think they *are* indicative of a deeper cultural cohesiveness that many want to deny us. Too much to go into here but I feel a paper about this coming on…. But Europeans love to mock Americans. I always end the discussion with “Yet here you are.”

    Remember *Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler? I came across a quote of his just this morning, oddly enough. He, writing in 1970, thought the world was changing so fast that it was going to have an effect on our mental stability. A lot of people wouldn’t be able to keep up. And how true it turned out to be. Why is my little town full of homeless people in their 60’s, hopelessly pushing their stolen grocery carts full of worthless debris up and down the streets? Why are so many of my friends, also in their 60’s, so mentally unstable now that I can’t even hold a conversation with some of them any more? Seriously, a good percentage of my life-long friends are… well, nuts. (I hope that word didn’t offend anyone.) Maybe *I’m* nuts, who knows. My opinion is that these people can’t cope with modern times, be it technology or social mores. They either chuck any attempt at a normal life by taking to the streets or retreating into some kind of mental fantasy world where no one expects you to know how to set up a WiFi system in your house.

    I think things were worse in the late 60’s- 70’s, when the whole nation was in an uproar over Viet Nam and race and gender issues. That’s when the seeds were planted; what we see now is the weed that grew.

  5. Michael says:

    Good stuff everyone…I’ll check in as I’m able…

  6. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    It seems as though much of what you’ve written revolves around the issue of “identity”. Identity as a culture in terms of a common ethic. Identity in terms of sexuality. Identity in terms of economics. Identity in terms of nationality. I think we once took identity for granted. Now identity is locked up with the tribe(s) you claim as your own. In some sense, we allow identity to be imposed upon us by others… If you are a teenager, slightly confused, with raging hormones, someone from a tribe will be there with a flag to hand you… If your confused about what it means to be an American these days, someone will surely hand you a red MAGA cap, or a pink knitted hat…

    I think these days it is about having the strength to not allow someone else to impose an identity upon you. It is, however, more and more difficult to do because real identity involves nuance and shading. That’s true, I believe, of the church. It’s also true of society at large…

  7. JM says:

    Welcome to your sixth decade, Michael!
    May this be a year of edifying surprises and unexpected blessings for you.

    OMG! The memories! I remember those shows! I even remember Red Skelton and Ed Sullivan and all those Westerns! My father would work on old TV’s that others tossed out until he got them to work for awhile. I remember holding bulky vacuum tubes in my hand while my dad tested them at the store. I also remember food surplus. The peanut butter tasted like peanut flavored Crisco and the cheese was like watered-down Velveeta. But it filled the tummy. My mother learned how to make beans and tortillas from our neighbor. Starch bloat never tasted so good!

    I also do not remember feeling at a loss about what I did not have. I learned to wax floors for the elderly to make money for school clothes, and even had a lawn-watering/mowing business during the summer for the richer folk who could get away from the almost 120 degree heat that summer always brought. I don’t even remember hating the richer people. I was glad that there were a few of them there because I could make school money. To get out of that place and the poverty it insured, I had to experience homelessness for awhile, but you did what you had to do back then.

    Sadly, during this time of homelessness, I landed at the “mother church” just after its leader was disqualified and his honey was paid off. From the frying pan to the fire. Being newly in the so-called Christian universe was an education and a wake up call. It forced me to contend with where I had placed my faith, hope and trust. It could not be in a man, a church or a denomination. It had to be solely in God through Christ. Very painful, but the best thing to ever happen to me. Partisanship seems to stunt growth anyway and is a bad master.

    Oi Vey! What does it mean to be an American? It would definitely have to be an opinion built upon how to best reflect Christ and honor secular officials within guidelines that the Bible prescribes. That might be a long answer. 🙂

  8. Em says:

    I think Xenia is correct observing when the seeds were planted…. Can we ask who planted them? And why?
    I recall Gen. Douglas MacArthur being fired by Harry Truman because MacArthur was insisting that China was the instigator of the Korean war and we shouldn’t call it a police action, stopping at the 38th (?) parallel, but should continue on in to China… Was that the beginning of the confusion as to who and what America is ? Dunno

  9. The New Victor says:

    Re: Xenia’s comment-

    My kid’s school is almost 90% Mexican, a lot of them immigrants. There are a few Filipinos, and there are the “token” white and black kids (less than 1 per classroom). All of these kids seem VERY American to me. Everyone’s into Pokemon (much to my chagrin), talking about current movies and TV shows of various types, and the ones that are ESL learn English quickly. Despite a large cohort likely speaking mostly or all Spanish at home, they all speak English to each other at school.

    Enchiladas… sigh. I started making my own (rolled corn tortillas with meat, sprinkled cheese and enchilada sauce, baked in the oven for about 1/2 hour, very easy to make), but then I realized I need to watch my weight.

  10. Xenia says:

    I think the birth control pill had a lot to do with it. It didn’t force the population to become promiscuous but it made it possible. Sex without consequences, and everyone’s dark fantasies can be made manifest.

    There’s a small book by the late Eugene Rose (Fr. Seraphim, in monasticism) called *Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age.* He gives the philosophical steps a culture goes through to reach the state we’re at today. He wrote it in the 1960’s.

    You can read it here:

    http://www.apostle1.com/seraphim-rose-nihilism1-orthodoxy-in-america3.html

  11. Em says:

    the birth control pill freed women more than we realize… even married and chaste women… and, it freed men from a sense of responsibility in many cases also… children were no longer a probable outcome of the enjoyment of the male female physical relationship…. strangely, that made the children who were born little treasures to be coddled and, almost, deified…. how did that happen?
    Yet, at the same time ,it created a sense of …?… we gave you a privileged childhood, but we don’t owe you anything else … you don’t like the world? you fix it, then. how did that happen?

  12. filbertz says:

    sadly, I remind us all that the vast number of christian denominations and sects, all with their distinctive ‘flags,’ preceded the modern phenomena Michael has mentioned. Perhaps our inability to tolerate and celebrate what unites us in faith is borne out in the larger population. We were divisive and petty first. May we be first in mending fences and pointing to a better way.

  13. Michael says:

    filbertz,

    I can’t figure out how that can happen at this point…

  14. Josh the Baptist says:

    A couple of caveats: 1.) Our culture is awful. 2.) Technology has placed the “awful-ness” in our faces 24-7, so it seems even worse.

    But our country has been jacked up since well before 1776. In ways, we are actually morally better now. Seriously, think about it.

    We are aliens in a strange world, for sure, but Jesus loves those abortionist , lgbt, (insert your hated group here), just like He loves me. He loves them so much that He died for them. I have to learn to love them too.

  15. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Yes He does, and yes, we do…

  16. CM says:

    Another factor in all of this something called “overchoice” or “choice overload”.

    Think how many TV channels, Internet pages, music choices, food choices, etc. we have now compared to even 10 years ago.

    This was brought up in Alvin Toffler’s 1970 book Future Shock. Overchoice is defined as:

    [Overchoice takes place when] the advantages of diversity and individualization are canceled by the complexity of buyer’s decision-making process.

    Instead of 3 or 4 TV channels, now you have hundreds….

  17. Jim says:

    Being an American means I don’t have to concern myself with royal weddings.

  18. Babylon's Dread says:

    Meanwhile I can drop a bucket load of stats and articles and evidence that the world is getting better.

    Wheat and tares?

  19. Steve says:

    Regarding being an American. I can’t think of a better place to live on earth. However that is now but things are changing quick and probably for the worse. MAGA should really be Keep America Great before it’s too late. Certainly not a perfect country and I know ultimately my citizenship is in heaven.

  20. London says:

    1. Agree
    2. I am younger than you but remember some of the same things.
    However, I lived in a mostly white, newly established suburb with two married parents. My dad, who never finished HS due to needing to quit school to help family, and my mom stayed home to raise us. She worked after we got older. Things were tough at times, but they got though. (and yep, government cheese)
    If I had been a person of color, poor(er), lived in the inner city, had immigrant or single parents I would have had a different experience.

    2. I think we don’t need to “affirm” someone else’s sexuality, but we do need to acknowledge it. There are gay people in the world. If they are American citizens they have the same rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as those of us who are straight. Unless there is going to be some kind of reduced tax burden for non CIS people, then there should not be reduced rights.
    3. Men are still men and women are still women. But now, there’s an acknowledgement that there’s trans people. They’ve always been around, we just didn’t know about them because we were young.
    One of my younger friends has a teen daughter who has decided she’s male instead. It is confusing for me to switch to “he” and to refer to this kid by a chosen male name. It is my job to respect and love, not to refuse to change so that I can be “right” by insisting on female pronouns. It makes me sad to see this kid go through the changes (none bodily yet thank God), but it would make me sadder to support this mom though her kid’s suicide or self harm.
    3a – We need to learn vocabulary. I don’t say “CIS” “gender fluid” or “binary” with my friends or in any off line conversation I’ve ever had. But I know what they mean. I look up the terms of “others” so that I can communicate with them if the opportunity arises. I follow “others” on Twitter so that I can understand their perspective. I try to engage as appropriate in conversations where I have questions or can offer support.
    4. Kids today are AMAZING! Bright, thoughtful, globally aware, not afraid to speak their minds,creative, inventive, and resourceful. There’s some little a-holes too. But, I think the future is going to be more amazing that we can even begin to imagine.
    5. We are in a time of paradigm shift, that is true.
    6. I think that having a wider representation of people in our government is going to lead to a set of laws that will in fact be better for the majority of people in this country. We can’t have what’s best for people decided without those people sitting at the table.
    7. There was also Equal Time laws on the books. You had to provide “both sides” of the story. Regan got rid of that law. Maybe it’s time to get it back on the books.
    8. I’m not sure what your point was here. Is it to say that systemic oppression doesn’t happen? Or that you just weren’t ever made aware of it before?
    9. I think we have to look at who is included in the “We” of your sentence and whether or not that national identity is something we should have been proud of in the first place if not every American has the same rights our identity is delusion.
    10. People need to be more involved in politics in this country. We need to take a more active role by voting, running, attending meetings, calling our representatives, volunteering to help campaigns etc. This country will become what we work for it to become.

    10a. It means that I live a privileged life. I have more opportunities than most of the rest of the world. I have a right to speak my mind. I have a right to practice (or not) the religion of my choice. I have an obligation to participate by paying taxes and by being involved in some way in community. I have an obligation to vote.

  21. London says:

    I obviously didn’t proof read before posting.

    Ignore that whole first response to 2. I was trying to figure out what to say. LOL

    sorry

    Back to my cave.

  22. Linnea says:

    Michael…great thoughts! I am taking a cooking class. One person in the class said “they” identified an non-binary and please refer to them as they/them. An older lady on the other side of the instructor said “what’s that?”. Sigh… this is world is so confused.

  23. Jerod says:

    More and more, being American means keeping my moral sodium content at biblical proportions.

  24. S barnard says:

    I believe in God, Christ, The Holy Spirit…….three in one. I have almost from the time I was born. I am 67. I am not comfortable other than what God calls for us to believe. A man and woman. I know others have wider views and sometimes my heart goes out to those that are different. Jesus loves us all. But the Bible tells to turn from your wicked ways. The road is narrow. Such were the days of Babel. (?). You know what l mean.! Men with men. That is not Gods Best. People are lost in this Big Wide World. Its scary to me. I came from a stable home with a mom and dad who loved me. How blessed l was. For me that was the norm where l came from. Tree lined streets, a car in each driveway, homes, blocks and blocks of them. Sorry folks…no government cheese. I never heard about that till l became an adult and thru the years met people who did. I grew up in a all white city, and if you weren’t you got run out by the police by 10 pm. This was back in the day. I was over protected and quite frankly about the age of 25 l started to get the whole picture. Thus, l am a disfunctional adult. As much as l want to be like most everyone else….there’s that part of me often times l can’t go, no matter how hard l try. I ate grape and lemon popsicles after school at the cafeteria. I listened to the Beach Boys. I was in 7th grade when John Kennedy was assinated. Sad Day!
    I remember watching the news about the Holocost on my grandmas black and white TV set. My father worked for lockeed in the secret part and couldn’t tell us what he was working on. He worked there his whole life. I loved Jesus my whole life. Went to Calvery Chapel CM. Oh…..what l know is Jesus Christ is all l need. The world is too big now. It was simple growing up. Its not simple anymore and Jesus is my friend. All l know is Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. Praise the Lord!!! Bless you.

  25. Jerod says:

    S barnard,

    I love your summary of your life!

    Ecclesiastes 12:
    12 Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

    13 Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
    Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
    14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.

    …fwiw, I remember the gov’t peanut butter – they were the worst pb&j’s ever – mixing that cement paste with the perfect, fresh boysenberry jam my mom canned was sad for a little kid
    :’-(

  26. Michael says:

    Linnea,

    My response to someone who wants me to change the appropriate pronoun when addressing them is “no”.
    I’m just not playing that game.
    When I worked at the bank we had a logger who would come in and demand to be called his female name…wearing a dress and logging boots.
    I called him by his legal name and appropriate pronoun…and he hated me.
    I still don’t care.

  27. Michael says:

    London,

    Well expressed as always.
    I disagree…we don’t “have” to acknowledge peoples sexual peccadillos…I don’t think it’s anyones business.
    Equal rights under the law…until the law demands that I affirm what my faith denies.
    I’m not changing my language to suit tiny minorities of people that attempt to enslave my conscience.
    There are genuinely “trans” people I’m sure…it has also become a dangerous fad that is going to bear horrible fruit in the lives of deceived kids.
    I agree that most kids are amazing…but this culture will ruin many before they get to show us all their gifting…

  28. Michael says:

    S barnard,

    You know what matters…blessings to you, my friend.

  29. Em says:

    S. barnard… Lockheed and a 10 o’clock curfew for black folk? Sounds like Glendale, CA… how my grandmother worried over that curfew… those hard working folk waiting at the bus stop, hoping it showed up in time (by sundown) or the police would take them to the city limits, down to Los Feliz Blvd and let them out there… today that seems hard to believe
    After she passed away, we found a newspaper clipping in my grandmother’s Bible – the first “negro” to buy property in Glendale. Nat King Cole… i know that was good, good news for Grandma

  30. Linnea says:

    Michael…I wish I could do that, but at work it is a non-starter!

    Em…oh my gosh! What a world your Grandma lived in.

    S. Barnard…familiar with that Lockheed division!

  31. Em says:

    Linnea, not the whole world … But when folks criticize our nation, i think they ought to stop and marvel at how far we’ve come…
    Still it seems like our Congress has been created today by Disney casting … and our business world ? Praying for some brave, competent mature people to take the reins again….

  32. Jean says:

    “Still it seems like our Congress has been created today by Disney casting”

    It probably does seem loony when people vote for representatives who advocate for cartoonish programs, such as:

    (1) a living wage for working people;
    (2) affordable healthcare for all Americans;
    (3) justice not predicated on race, income bracket or ethnicity;
    (4) high quality education for all Americans, so that anyone can participate in the American dream; and
    (5) an environment that protects air and water, so that our children can grow up without lead, mercury, and any number of carcinogens which make our people sick and diseased.

    If this is Disney casting, count me in.

  33. Em says:

    Jean, you love to distort, to put your spin on my comments … wondering if you can walk (or think) straight … LOL

  34. bob1 says:

    But when folks criticize our nation, i think they ought to stop and marvel at how far we’ve come…

    Yes, I agree. We’ve come some ways. But there’s still a ways to go.

    Did it ever occur to you that many times, folks who criticize our nation do so because they love what we stand for? And that they aspire that we live up to our promises? The
    desire to “Make it (our country) better” is not unpatriotic. I’d argue it’s just the opposite.

    Have a good evening.

  35. bob1 says:

    It also doesn’t help your cause to wonder if a brother in Christ is unable to think or walk straight just because their view of things differs from yours. Yeah, that makes me want to follow your lead…not.

  36. Em says:

    Bob1, i appreciate your point. Particularly if it looked like my point was that there was no room for more progress…
    As to Jean not walking or thinking “straight,” that was a jab intended tongue in cheek as he is prone to take my comments and spin them for his own agenda… perhaps you did not notice that i had not said anything denigrating his list of ideals?
    Talk is cheap and politicians use it for their own gain. I’m not impressed with the present crop’s ability or intentions…
    God give us discernment

  37. Em says:

    Let me add a post script to my 10:18… I am probably stating the obvious (i hope)
    It isn’t enough to vote for enthusiastic people, even if they say the right words. We have to find people who have wisdom, discernment to make the laws that run the nation. Remember those words that became famous when Obamacare was in the works? “We have to pass it to find what’s in it.” Say what? ? ?

  38. Xenia says:

    Talk is cheap and politicians use it for their own gain. I’m not impressed with the present crop’s ability or intentions…<<<

    Does that include Trump?

  39. Jean says:

    Over 113 million voters voted in the 2018 midterms. I understand they produced a net 40 gain for the Democrats in the House and a net 2 gain for the Republicans in the Senate.

    How can one tell which voters exercised discernment with their votes and which ones did not? Is it by looking at the candidates and deciding if a candidate met one’s own subjective criteria on issues or not?

    How does one know whether or not one’s own discernment is sufficient or lacking? How does one exercise discernment? What sources should one read or listen to?

    The results of the 2018 midterms have been assessed by pundits as a referendum on President Trump, resulting in a wave election against him. Are waves a characteristic of collective discernment?

  40. Xenia says:

    I ran into an old Calvary Chapel friend in the grocery store today. I hadn’t seen her in over a decade. After the first friendly greetings were out of the way, we kinda looked at each other and sized each other up. She spoke first, signaling that she was not Trumpite, testing my response. Were we going to able to renew our friendship or not? She was so relieved to learn that we were on the same page.

    If she had started in on The Sins of Hilary or gun-idolatry or “the problem on the border (always given with that knowing look) we could not have renewed our friendship. We ran through a list of old acquaintances… who had swallowed the Flavor-Aide and who hadn’t. It was like a science fiction novel. It was like The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

    How can I walk in friendship with someone who believes some of the whackadoodle things many Trumpist evangelicals believe? I can love them, I can bring them soup when they are sick, but I can’t walk hand in hand with them. We are not on the same path.

  41. bob1 says:

    How can one tell which voters exercised discernment with their votes and which ones did not?

    I think on some issues it’s pretty clear…enslaving another human being, for example. Today, damn near everyone would object to that.

    I think voting for individuals who are truth tellers is a good example of collective discernment. Since God is truth…

    One thing I often look to is the truth that all of us are made in the image of God. If that’s true, then everyone, regardless of race, religion, etc., need to be treated with decency and respect.

  42. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think anyone who meets an old friend and whose first instinct is to “size them up politically” may have their own whackadoodle traits.

    Seriously, some here have actually broken friendships over politics? If so, both sides of that friendship have “swallowed the Flavor-Aide.”

  43. Em says:

    We have an electoral college to avoid tyranny by the majority
    That doesn’t effect local representatives however. I may be confessing a character flaw here, but from childhood i have thought that the majority mindset was usually off… Yes, i realize that, if i am ever tried for murder a small group will be tasked with deciding my fate
    Sometimes people will differ on the way to achieve the same hoped for goals. That said, i cannot dismiss anyone because of their political routing… Our governments will fit right into God’s plan for the unfolding of history… AND i won’t, as bob1 thought i did to Jean, dismiss a fellow Christian for their political stand…
    I, however, do not base my righteousness on the my choice of political candidates … Unless a Herrod or a Nero shows up on the ballot, i guess. 🙆
    My generation corrected a few things, good luck with the aspirations of my children and granchildren’s generations…

  44. Michael says:

    We actually had the church split over Trump…not only split, but the long time relationships ended.
    In a small group, that is devastating.
    I learned my lesson…and agree wholeheartedly with Xenia.

  45. Jean says:

    Michael, what lesson did you learn?

  46. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I learned quite a few, some that I may not ever talk about here.
    I will note that the current political climate is driven by emotions and traditions injected with propaganda…and the result is that some become utterly immune to the Word of God as historically understood and practiced.

    I will also note that one should be careful when speaking of the U.S. as a “beast empire” in front of those folks…

  47. Jean says:

    “I will also note that one should be careful when speaking of the U.S. as a “beast empire” in front of those folks…”

    I can definitely see the hazard there, especially if that moniker was introduced in relation to only one particular administration.

  48. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – the church may have been split over Trump – some for him and some against – but the Church wasn’t split.

    I have many friends and family that are left wing loons – in fact coming from a Jewish family, it is their default position to be looney. To be clear, I haven’t missed a planned meal with them ever. Some of my best buddies from high school and college do not share my views and we have rolling FB disputes – but we get together twice a year for annual high school reunion and Superbowl Sunday (which I will miss tomorrow).

    So did your home church split? I do not know the political leanings of anyone at my church as it doesn’t get discussed – however I can guess on many who wear their veteran’caps and their phone ring tones are their military hymns. 🙂

  49. Michael says:

    Jean,

    It wasn’t used as applying only to Trump.

    MLD,

    Yes, the home group split. In a home group the “congregation” actually interacts and tries to apply what they’re learning to their lives together.
    It can get messy…when people think the Beatitudes sound “liberal’…

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, the question was did your actually split, like half the people walked away never to return – or did you just have political arguments and them break out the communion wine and relax watching old Friends reruns?

  51. Jean says:

    I believe that with access to vast amounts of uncurated theology through radio, TV, the internet and social media, the job of a pastor to inculcate orthodox theology in his flock and to protect them from false doctrine is more difficult than ever before, especially in light of the philosophical worldview that pervades our society.

  52. Duane Arnold says:

    I’ve found the job of a pastor, in large part, is helping people to live their faith… and helping people to die in that faith. Living and dying is a big part of the equation… at least in my experience.

  53. Jean says:

    Duane, I don’t disagree with that task, however, without the orthodox object in which to place one’s faith, the devil, the world, and our idolatrous flesh will fill the void. That sets up civil war. The battle of the faithful…against the faithful.

  54. Michael says:

    Duane,
    Exactly.

  55. Michael says:

    Jean,
    I assume that most pastors direct their people to faith in Christ.

  56. Jean says:

    Michael,

    I think it was you that taught me that the mind of Christ is divided. So which mind to most pastors direct their people to? I’m not trying to provoke an argument or be silly, but even Pilate asked “What is truth?” I think pastors need to answer the question broadly as well as narrowly for their flock.

  57. Michael says:

    Jean,
    I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about.

  58. Xenia says:

    MLD, you relish contention. I don’t.

  59. Xenia says:

    I wonder just how horrible a person’s opinions would have to be for fellowship to be broken, especially if they talked about them incessantly, as has been the case for me in real life. I for one will not tolerate degrading remarks made about certain ethnic groups or the glorification of the NRA. I won’t put up with pro-abortion advocates, either, if they insist on talking about it endlessly.

    It’s more than tolerating conversations, it’s also about condoning wickedness.

  60. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia, I do like relish – where was I contentious? My motto is “can’t we all just get along?”
    So we disagree – I don’t break fellowship with fellow Christians over politics.
    I may with baseball Giants fans, but that is a more serious issue.

  61. Xenia says:

    I refuse to dismiss this as “just politics.” “Just politics” is about taxes and the like. The stuff I am talking about gets to the heart of the individual and what s/he thinks about the people we are commanded to love.

  62. Xenia says:

    I have a a friend who begins each Trumpish hagiography with the statement that she completely separates her religion from her politics.

    I do not do this.

  63. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    And in America you are allowed your opinion and you have a constitutional right to assembly. If you what to break fellowship and long time relationships you can… and you can “size up” one another.

  64. Xenia says:

    Alright, MLD. Thanks for the discussion.

  65. Michael says:

    “I do not do this.”
    I don’t either.
    I don’t think we can…

  66. Michael says:

    I’m searching in vain for someplace where I taught that “the mind of Christ is divided”…so I probably taught no such thing.

    I would expect a retraction…

  67. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t do that either. My socio politics are totally informed by the historic Christian faith. So, we seem to be at a standstill that some here think worthy of separation.
    I am not that binary.

  68. Michael says:

    I didn’t ask for the separation.

  69. Xenia says:

    There is no point in trying to explain myself further, MLD. You do not understand what I said so leave it at that. It is not essential that you understand.

  70. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia, the only reason I worked the this was the challenging accusation you hurled my way.
    But no problem.

  71. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean (at 2.19)

    ” I don’t disagree with that task…”

    Ministry to the living and bringing comfort to the dying is not a task… it is the heart and soul of pastoral ministry. You only make it abundantly clear that you actually have no idea whatsoever of what pastoral ministry actually involves.

  72. S. Barnard says:

    Oh Em. I am so sorry you and your grandma went thru that. I really wasn’t aware of that as a kid. I found out when l got older. What went down in Burbank. It was the city right next to Glendale. I was born in Glendale . The first church l went to in Burbank was a Anglican Church like Michaels. St Jude. It is no longer there. My parents got married there. I love this blog. You are all special to my heart. Many blessing to you all.
    Susie😃

  73. Em says:

    Susie B., i married a Burbank boy that i met at Glendale College … grew up in Glendale, myself waaaay back in the 40s 🙂
    were you born at the Glendale Sanitarium or Memorial? 2 of my children were born at the Sanitarium
    agree this site is a welcoming and spiritually productive one … even when there’s angst … IMNSHO
    hope you continue to chime in on things here

  74. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane – I am a bit taken a back by your comment to Jean. Because he called something a pastor does a task, you go on about it as if he has “no idea whatsoever of what pastoral ministry actually involves.”

    Yet in your original comment @ 2:12, you called the role of the pastor a job – so what is the difference between a job (a hireling) vs someone carrying out various tasks?

  75. Duane Arnold says:

    Out of context… typical.

  76. Michael says:

    A hireling in the biblical sense is someone who engages in spiritual work only for financial gain.
    No one here has brought up hirelings in this thread.

    The LCMS evidently has a specific vision of what a pastor does that may or may not resemble what other traditions expect…mainly around the protection of LCMS doctrine.

    Doctrine is a part of my job…but by no means the main part of it.

    I was taught that my job was to teach people how to die…and how to live before that moment.

    I’m not interested in further conversation about the matter.

  77. Dan from Georgia says:

    Re: breaking fellowship with people of differing political opinions/choices…I have many friends and acquaintances who see things differently, and I am ok with that. Where I draw the line is when my faith is doubted or questioned because of my political views. And before someone says “I’ve not encountered that kind of accusation, so therefore it doesn’t happen…”, just take a look around at those in the Charismatic/Pentecostal camp…this kind of thinking is poisoning websites such as CharismaNews.

  78. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I was shocked (and I’m not easy to shock) at the split and the reasons behind it.
    It eats at me…but I also have to recognize that this mix of nationalism and Christianity is a powerful draw these days…and I will have no part of it.

  79. CM says:

    I suppose one way to deal with this mix of nationalism and Christianity is to use satire, as the following Babylon Bee links indicate:

    https://babylonbee.com/news/dozens-accept-america-lord-savior-first-baptist-dallas-service

    https://babylonbee.com/news/first-baptist-dallas-now-requiring-congregants-wear-maga-hats-to-participate-in-communion

    There are many more…

  80. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – Duane took Jean to “task” not for doctrine or what he knows about pastoral care – but for using the word task when all Jean was doing was talking casually and perhaps not ecclesiastically.

    I only pointed out that Duane did the exact same thing – sloppy speech – “I’ve found the job of a pastor, in large part,…” – job is is used casually in blog conversation. Perhaps in ecclesiastical speech, he should have used “calling” or something similar.

    My point is that Jean did not do anything differently than Duane to be charged with “having no idea whatsoever of what pastoral ministry actually involves.” – for using the word task? Come on!

  81. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I said I wasn’t interested in any more conversation on the matter.
    My days of contending with the LCMS contingent are completely over.

  82. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    what did my comment have to do with LCMS?

  83. Michael says:

    I’ve said what I have to say.
    Further discussion will either be private or moderated and I don’t really care which.
    It ain’t happening here anymore.

  84. Em says:

    our doctrines should be for ponder and edification – IMV – but only disrespect for the Lord Jesus Christ – who he is and what he’s done should draw that line in the sand…. or so it seems to me
    I’ve been following a Christian prayer request site this past week (not Michael’s) and we do have some cuckoos among us… sigh… It can be hard to heed the admonition to not label another professed Believer a fool 🙅

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