Things I Think

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165 Responses

  1. Paige says:

    Yes, amen….. the devices…. stealing relationships, and more..
    Yes, the instant experts…. I’m prolly one of those tool

    Being grouchy…. no. Realistic. Yes…. the real battle is staying hopeful and not surrendering the the unrelenting pressure of becoming cynical or bitter…. Be Still and Know that He Is God.

  2. Em says:

    Mostly amening as i read, but #8 ?
    No – those folk don’t count for a hill of beans (as my late grandmother would have phrased it)

    “Be still and know that I am God”. AMEN… long years ago i used to carry that in my wallet

  3. Michael says:

    When I was young and wanted to learn something…I didn’t Google it, I went to the library and ordered books.
    I then read the books as a beginning to having some measure of competence on a subject.
    When I advise people to do likewise today, I’m an “elitist”…

  4. Josh says:

    All true and all unfortunate.

    Thanks for bringing us down 🙂

  5. Michael says:

    Josh,

    It’s one of those days… 🙂

  6. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – your #8 makes you sound like an eternal optimist – you are expecting to be remembered and having left a legacy to be evaluated? LOL
    I am turning 70 this weekend and have long thought outside of my wife and kids – in 6 months, not even a memory.

    My theme song – Dust in the Wind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH2w6Oxx0kQ

  7. pstrmike says:

    ” When I first got online I truly believed that we would all become more informed and more educated, and as a result, become more rational and better able to address our problems.”

    I laughed and laughed at that one.

    It reminds me of my friend who went into rehab due to a severe cocaine addiction. When he was asked by a counselor why he entered rehab, he responded, ” I want to get back to the place where I can use recreationally again.” At that point, the counselor excused themself and went into the hallway and burst out laughing, then returned to the office and said, ” ok, now that I got that out of my system, let’s continue.”

  8. bob1 says:

    Good rantings, Michael.

    We live in an age of shallowness, for sure.

    It was Elie Wiesel who said, “Superficiality is the enemy of everything.”

  9. Jeff Sheckstein says:

    Sums up my opinion and estimation of all things academic, intellectual, etc. as found on the internet. Sorry I wasted my time earning a doctorate and liberal arts degree.

    Michael. This summary is so depressing I will, like a groundhog, return to my hole awaiting my trip to the promised land.

    Keep up the good work you schmu*k (tongue n cheek)

  10. Duane Arnold says:

    Jeff, bob1,

    Ditto…

  11. Duane Arnold says:

    MLD

    “…in 6 months, not even a memory.”

    Not so, on the anniversary of your demise, I’ll say a good Anglican Requiem Mass for you… You might get some extra points😇…

  12. Jerod says:

    Discontent …
    Shakespeare’s Richard III made that statement in want of war.

    To that, what do you think of David Horowitz warning christians that we live in a time which might turn to our real persecution in a very short time? (Sorry for the awkward phrasing)

  13. Jean says:

    “To that, what do you think of David Horowitz warning christians that we live in a time which might turn to our real persecution in a very short time? (Sorry for the awkward phrasing)”

    Sounds to me like a return to biblical Christianity. I wonder who’s up for that blessing?

  14. Em says:

    “I wonder who’s up for that blessing?”

    God is – stay close

  15. Michael says:

    “To that, what do you think of David Horowitz warning christians that we live in a time which might turn to our real persecution in a very short time?”

    The question assumes too much.
    It assumes that “Christians” are a homogeneous group that holds singular views on things.
    Five minutes here cures that idea…
    Second, it assumes a definition for “persecution”.
    People I don’t know saying mean things about me is not persecution.

    It is possible that at some point my constitutional rights will be abrogated because I hold to traditional Christian sexual doctrines.
    Many Christians do not hold to those views and should be good to go with those in power.

    The bigger issue to me is that I do believe there will be a vicious backlash against evangelicals when the political wind shifts.
    That may splash back on even those of us who have run out of curses to describe how we feel about Trump.
    The revenge factor when he is gone will be something fearsome…

  16. Josh says:

    pstrmike – that was a fantastic analogy 🙂

  17. bob1 says:

    “To that, what do you think of David Horowitz warning christians that we live in a time which might turn to our real persecution in a very short time? (Sorry for the awkward phrasing)”

    Sorry, not buying this particular narrative…

    Talk about shallow thinking.

  18. Michael says:

    I had to look up David Horowitz…now I have a headache.
    What a hoot…

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t see what is so strange about Horowitz’s comment. NT writers warned of similar as have those watching the scene in every generation.

    Does anyone know the context in which this was said?

  20. Michael says:

    The context is that he’s selling a book…and the concept is that the left is the devil.
    Standard fare these days on both sides…

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well because he is whacky is no reason to discount the message.
    Some of those OT prophets did things that would get them put I in a straight jacket today.

  22. Em says:

    Easy solition for Christians who hate Trump and fear getting caugt in the coming backlash…. Get neon lime green baseball caps wih red lettering that states: Christians Against Trump… Wear them at all times beginning now. 😇

    Always helpful, Em. LOL

  23. bob1 says:

    20-30 years ago someone with the hysterical POV of this guy would’ve been laughed at by intelligent, discerning folks. But now anything goes. All points of view are valid especially if you’re a Chicken Little member of the Perpetually Outraged Right, Outrage sells books etc.

    Still true that while all POVs are equal some are more equal than others.

  24. Jerod says:

    Bob1

    Normalcy bias?

  25. Jerod says:

    I think most in Christendom – distinguished from Christians, the Remnant, or what ever you like to call them/us – I think most have forgotten the lesson that our parents and grandparents thumped us on the heads with: “Ya know, kids in [3rd world country] hafta __________, so you should feel lucky, dew/eat yer ________,
    and I don’t wanna hear a peep outta yew.”

    Much of the Christian world has to go through
    real tribulations just for having a bible, let alone speaking about Jesus. I wonder if some can’t smell the saltiness of our church blowing away in the breeze? Most here lament the bland state of the church Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his flavor, with which shall it be salted? it is thereafter good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

  26. Michael says:

    Jerod,

    In this country today we have radically opposed opinions among “believers” on what the content of the Christian faith is and thus, radically different visions of who Jesus is.
    Persecution here will probably come from inside Christendom in association with a political power.

  27. Jean says:

    Not in disagreement with anyone, but Peter distinguishes between the persecution that comes from doing good vs. doing bad. He probably is tracking Jesus who said blessed are those who are persecuted for **righteousness sake. Shortly thereafter, Jesus teaches that the Church’s light shines through her **good works, which are seen by the world and by which the world gives glory to our Father who is in heaven.

    It will be interesting to understand what Christians are being persecuted for and whether their conduct is consistent with the biblical conduct Christians are called to.

    For example, Paul exhorts Christians in their relationships with unbelievers to “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Are are we doing in those areas?

  28. Cash says:

    “Persecution here will probably come from inside Christendom in association with a political power.” In my view, this has already started. Some Evangelicals who are part of the MAGA crowd endorse violence against any and all that disagree with them. Whether it be actual violence, such as Trump has encouraged, or simply the endless verbal attacks that come any time one is discussing a political or theological issue online.

  29. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    If there is to be persecution from church and government, I more fear the coalition of Nadia Bolz Weber and her Golden Vagina Coalition teamed up with a Bernie Sanders government than others.
    But really, churches colluding with government to close down and persecute churches is so Left Behind mentality.

  30. Jean says:

    MLD,

    I think some of the news outlets misrepresented Nadia. I understand it is a golden vulva, not a vagina.

  31. Michael says:

    The comments and proposals I’ve read from both Trump evangelicals and “progressive” Christians leaves me with no doubt that either side would do harm of some sort to the other if given the opportunity and cover of authority.

  32. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The difference is that I don’t see the MAGA preacher, Laurie, Paula White, Jerrfries etc closing down churches that publicly preach Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation, or any aspect of Jesus Christ and him crucified.

    I see the progressives as you call them no longer being friendly to such messages.

  33. Em says:

    What on the world is a golden….. never mind, i don’t think i need to know
    Religious people persecuting Christians? Try being one of the Jews in Israel today who has discovered that the promised jeshuah is our Jesus Christ…
    Looking at the world dynamic today, Orthodox Jew and Muslim are looking for a savior who easily fits the Biblical description of The anti-christ…
    are we there yet? Dunno, but i do pray for souls to enter into God’s salvation a little more intensely cuz…. We could be…
    Don’t let the Left Behind burn keep you from anticipating as you serve…
    I once sat in front of the television watching the progress of a tornado.. . My dear husband came into the room and said, “I think it’s time to wake the children and get into the shelter.”(our house had been built with a bomb shelter) … I answered, “Not now, it’s only about 3 miles from the house.” i was going to sit there and watch it on TV? There is a lesson in there somewhere. …
    No, i don’t mean we should hide from the storm or run to the hills, Lutes… 😏 still.. …?
    God keep

  34. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Neither side is friendly to the other and whichever side is empowered will cause great harm to both the church and the faith.
    The result is that we already are shrinking and I believe we haven’t seen even the beginning of the destruction to come.

  35. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, Nadia Bolz Weber is an apostate Lutheran pastor who challenge women to send in their purity rings. She then had them melted down and created a golden calf — ooops, wrong story. Created a golden female body part and presented it to Gloria Steinem.
    *** Note, even though she and her denomination recognized her as a pastor, God surely did not / does not. The same applies to the fake lady pastor bob1 referenced.***

  36. Em says:

    Thank you, MLD…. The inmates truly have taken over the asylum
    Think i will just keep my foot on the gas pedal and drive slowly on down the road… err somthing…

  37. Mud Man says:

    It is too easy to get mad at the internet and connectivity and I too often feel similar. But, I also know the current accessibility to information, scholarly and not so much, has never been greater in the history of humanity.

    I too have been a voracious reader since my youth and have more real books (mostly non-fiction) and electronic than most. However, even with all the access I have found the numbers who really care about research and the validity of their opinions really hasn’t changed at all.

    Remember what happened at the mountain of God when the people audibly heard God give the ten statements? They gave it over to Moses and told him to tell them what God had said. How true that is today; humanity hasn’t changed one lick at all! Just tell us what we need to know; until it conflicts with what I want.

    In the end I like the connectivity and I believe it is an important method of communication. Now if our “leaders” would stop wanting to be rock stars and actually teach something… Of course Moses also faced the same issues. I wonder if the ground will still open up these days?????

  38. Jtk says:

    Am I the only person who watched both “RBG” And “Gospel?” Or “Unplanned”

    I recently watch “Fahrenheit 11/9” and was both upset and encouraged.

    Can we still learn from those we disagree with?

  39. David H says:

    Information is not knowledge.

    The “Information Age” is going to go down in history as another “Dark Ages”.

  40. Michael says:

    JTK,

    I don’t go to any movie where the characters don’t fly in order to stay moderately sane.
    I follow a lot of people I disagree with on Twitter, so i can read the best arguments and find the best written position papers.
    Being a person of questionable character, I find that Christian movies and Christian music are both enemies of mind and soul…

  41. Michael says:

    Jean,
    That is who he is…his people don’t care.
    When the history of this time is written the “Q” phenomenon will keep shrinks busy for centuries…

  42. Jean says:

    Michael,

    I had never heard of the Q phenomenon until you just mentioned it and I looked it up. It helps me understand a few of the comments I read here. Thanks.

  43. Michael says:

    Jean,
    I don’t think we have any true blue Q here…maybe…

  44. CM says:

    I always that the Q stories were ones that starred John de Lancie….

  45. Reuben says:

    Books.

    I would go so far as saying some of them altered the course of my life. Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, Barth’s Systematic Theology, and Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion solidified most of my understanding of god, things I did not want to admit to be true. They tried too hard to candy coat it, as if they had the intention of keeping things just outside viewing range. Packer was the worst, and best at this. He always lets on that he knows, but seems to willfully overlook things to see the beauty of god rather than the evil.

    Christopher Hitchens’ book God Is Not Great, well, it solidified the conversion for me. Then I started reading Dennett, Dawkins, Harris, Tyson, and Krauss, my eyes were opened to things I never thought possible. Krauss especially has had a huge influence on my thinking. Karl Marx is the idealist that has solidified my social/political thinking. I even find solace in Mao Tse-tung when I wish to push through propaganda.

    I always know when people have not read these books, but rather quotations, because they never seem to know the broad principles, which they believe they have acquired through google searches. I also spot people from a mile away who have read some these authors, but write off the entire work as heathen garbage, and start into antiquated apologetics that were bunk 20 years ago, but regurgitated like a Manchurian Candidate. These are people who entirely miss the points because they don’t want the points to begin with.

    JTK, Michael Moore is the Rush Limbaugh of Liberals. Dinesh D’Souza types, who just lie and lie and lie, and genuinely expect people to believe it, but they preach to their own choirs, so they are both pointless/worthless in ideology and practice. Both are fabricators and spin doctors of the worst order. I would not consider Fahrenheit 11/9 a worthy piece of oppositional material by a damned sight.

  46. Reuben says:

    Forgot to mention Hawking. Brilliant.

  47. Jerod says:

    Mud Man

    Do you think the google-oriented folk vs research-oriented folk falls along that 80/20 principle?

  48. Em says:

    Reuben, most of the things in your post above i agree with, except….. 😏
    What your wise men observe should be attributed to Satan – once known as Lucifer until his ego got the best of him.
    God has chosen this earth as his venue to resolve Satan’s challenge…. Don’t underestimate the drama being played out here … or our part in the war.
    Could God have simply fried Lucifer? Yes, that would have proved His superior muscle, but not His superiority in totality.
    God took some mud, breathed life into it and told Satan, “Game on!” A game of life and death. Be a soldier, not a victim. 🙆
    that is how it looks from here. 🙂

  49. Jean says:

    The one mystery that atheists can’t solve is the origin of the universe – the “In the beginning.” Atheists have no answer to the question: Who or what brought matter from nothing? Atheism is too irrational for my taste; it requires unfounded faith that nothing could turn nothing into something m

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Reuben is an odd chap in that he hero worships the atheist / materialist writers he mentions while at the same time claiming he is not an atheist but is indeed an anti theist – he believes in a god, he just hates him / disagrees with him.
    Hence in reality, Reuben joins us in declaring atheism as wrong.

    Reuben, I have not read all you have listed but I have read, and they sit on my shelf, God is not great, the God Delusion and Harris’ book Letters to an Christian Nation.
    Hitchens was just mad at the Muslims for 911 and decided to get rich by nuking all religions, traveling around giving lectures and doing the dog and poney shows with Doug Wilson – total put on, I don’t think he believed any of it.
    Dawkins on the other hand was like many pissed at religion because some Anglican priest touch his pee pee at birding school. He even talks about it in the book.
    Sam Harris used to make some sense but now he is all into man has no spiritual side at all, that man has absolutely no ability at free will that we are just a mass of flesh flying through time and space being totally directed by circumstances.

    You can listen to Sam Harris as he is interviewed by Ben Shapiro – an Orthodox Jew.
    I heard a recording of Harris where a lady got up in the audience, told Harris she completely agreed with him about people having no capacity to choose between good and evil, but was concern what to tell her young son. Harris answered, ” you will need to lie to him.” My response is LOL.
    The books Reuben cherishes are just many in the pantheon of weak opinions – but Reuben may disagree. 🙂

  51. Reuben says:

    Jean, as MLD pointed out, I am not an Atheist. I am an Anti-Theist, and MLD described it as well as any I guess. I don’t have much in common with Atheists, and generally don’t like the loud ones. They argue a futile argument, and as such, are not typically able to answer questions. But…

    Lawrence Krauss, whom I mentioned, wrote a book called A Universe From Nothing, and it explains well how “something comes from nothing” in scientific observation, theory, and more testing, by explaining that there is always something, and nothing is a lie. CERN has obliterated these silly arguments of how the universe came to be even beyond what previous scientists had, and they did so without that even being the focus of the experiments. Just plain old science stuff. The Universe expands at an accelerating rate (answer that, oh wise christian apologetics wizzes), putting more distance between us and other gravitation casting bodies, stretching our galaxy, and billions more, ending the argument that it is all going to burn. It’s all going to fly apart freeze in more accurate terms, where tight clusters such as our solar system will crash into itself as a result of lesser galactic pull. There are phenomena observed where things pop into being, and moments later are gone, lending validity to the theory that space is not empty, not “nothing”, and the science marches on, destroying every argument that christian engineers and whatnot dream up as the next unanswerable question every single step.

    But why do I believe there are gods? Because billions of people make them real whether anyone likes it or not, me included. Those gods have power beyond governments and politics, shaping the very fabric of our worldviews and social structures. The two big ones in our world today, Christianity and Islam, are not the same gods, but people like to think they are, especially Muslims. Heritage may trump reality in such arguments, but I don’t care. If your christian god is the same today as yesterday and forever, Islam’s god throws too many questions into who the christian god is, vise versa, thus I like to say they are both messes who were too obsessed with sex, racism, and conquest as their only similarities.

    MLD does not like the fact that Dawkins speaks directly to evolution as observed for hundreds of years. He calls it opinion, citing sexual assault as Dawkins’ real problem. Ooookeydokey. He also claims Hitchens didn’t believe any of what he said, denying even his dying words, writing it off as being pissed about 9/11, but flatly denying any of what he wrote and debated prior. Krauss spoke directly from observable science and tests that he did IN ALL his books, building on Feynman who was unparalleled in the field, but I assume that too is opinion. Tyson, Dennett, Hawking, speaking directly from the observed and testable in their fields, proposing monumental theory (a word I guarantee you do not understand in the slightest) but that’s opinion? MLD and I have differing definitions of opinion. MLD is the type of guy who is stalwart in his theology, an admirable trait, and his namesake says as much. Luther was an opinionated man, but worthless to me as he was a filthy racist who built the theology behind Gott Mit Uns, undeniably. I will not fault MLD on that topic too much, as he comes from another era where that might have been acceptable. But if you knew him, you would think him an “Uncle Tom” of sorts. Plus MLD loved a Ford Taurus… 😛

    Jean, when I say, “…and start into antiquated apologetics that were bunk 20 years ago, but regurgitated like a Manchurian Candidate…”, this is precisely what I am talking about: “The one mystery that atheists can’t solve is the origin of the universe…” And it should be said, “Christians” can’t either. The stories you read in your book are only validated by your same book. I get the whole “scripture with scripture” thing, but dang, reality dictates your story is one among thousands, only differentiated from others in scale resulting from popularity. Let’s let the equipped adults mess with these topics while we play legos over there.

  52. Jean says:

    Reuben,

    “I am talking about: “The one mystery that atheists can’t solve is the origin of the universe…” And it should be said, “Christians” can’t either. The stories you read in your book are only validated by your same book.”

    It depends on what you mean by “solve.” If you mean that Christians cannot prove that the Triune God created the heavens and the earth through empirical methods, that is certainly true. Christians believe by faith that the Scriptures are the Word of God, and thus are true.

    Some Christians overstate what the Bible solves, while others understate what the Bible solves. For me the Scriptures reveal Jesus Christ as the Son of God and wholly man, who suffered and died for me, who rose for my salvation, and who is right now interceding for me at the right hand of the majesty of God. Moreover, I believe that all Scriptures is “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” I can’t prove these claims, but I trust them.

    The gift of Christ and His promises of liberty and life I hereby announce to you, Reuben. Jesus atoned for all your sins. In Christ, your sins are forgiven. Turn from your unbelief and enter His rest, while it is today.

  53. Reuben says:

    Did you just respond by witnessing to me?

  54. Em says:

    An expanding universe only demonstrates that what is out there is beyond our scope – what grabbed me some years ago were the words promising that the heavens will roll back like a scroll… Say what? Can’t wait to see that
    Tohu wa Bohu – out of nothing, something – is straight out of the book of Genesis BTW
    We choose whom to trust as credible, i guess … 😏 i was brn not trusting my fellow man (generic) too far . makes easier to trust an incredible God given Book, i guess. dunno

  55. Josh says:

    Reuben – Is your way better? And by that, I mean do you offer more happiness, peace, or anything like that?

    If I am delusional, but happy, there would have to be substantial motivation to break my delusion.

  56. Michael says:

    Josh,

    That’s an interesting question…because I engage with a number of folks who no longer practice the faith in order to keep their sanity.
    I think we over promise the benefits and minimize the potential for suffering…and that causes real confusion for people when the bottom drops out.

  57. Josh says:

    Right – And I am asking for better alternatives, I suppose.

  58. Michael says:

    Josh,
    I’m not proposing that there is a better alternative than Christ.
    I am proposing that there is often a disconnect between what we teach and what people experience that can create cognitive dissonance to the point of mental and spiritual despair.

  59. Josh says:

    Oh wait – you were answering me…I thought you were just saying it was an interesting question – because I though it was too.

    As far as your answer goes, I agree completely, and it has probably been my most unified message on this site. We have believed and preached incorrect definitions for words like “blessed”, and it has cause great damage.

  60. Josh says:

    As for someone like Reuben, who left the faith and promotes his new way, I was just curious if he has seen better results.

  61. Michael says:

    It is an interesting question…I’m spending a lot of time on it. I’m not sure the issue is with definitions as much as a narrative that seems to speak of a God who acts often on behalf of his people…and the expectations that creates.

  62. Josh says:

    As one who spent the first half of his life without Jesus, and the second half with, I can tell you definitively that life with Jesus has been better in every single way.

  63. Jean says:

    “As one who spent the first half of his life without Jesus, and the second half with, I can tell you definitively that life with Jesus has been better in every single way.”

    Amen and amen.

  64. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I have no reason to dispute your testimony…i can affirm it while also noting the issues others deal with.

  65. Josh says:

    Sure. Just giving one experience, and was asking Reuben for his.

  66. Mud Man says:

    Jerod:

    “Do you think the google-oriented folk vs research-oriented folk falls along that 80/20 principle?”

    I have no idea, but I do think that while technology and the manner in which we communicate changes humanity doesn’t. The main thing I like (and BTW also dislike) is the internet has ended the ability for a few to control the information flow to the many.

    I’m one of those who would rather live with risk than attempt to protect everyone from every possibility bad thing. It’s kind of like the Garden story, don’t eat from that tree, but they still had full access to it.

    Of course this Reuben guy has shifted the topic a bit on this thread and brought the attention to himself. What I find interesting in his rants/didactic comments is this, knowing the same things I come up with a different prospective on God than him. And while I can make room for his opinion it seems he can’t do the same for others.

    And I think that sums up the internet, we have to be right and want others to know we are right.

    Just my thoughts, another internet rant and in the end they really don’t matter at all.

    Jerod thanks for the question.

  67. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think atheists can be happier than Christians. Happiness is not the goal of Christianity – or at least it should not be.

    Happiness is the goal of atheism.

  68. Josh says:

    Well, if you want to win someone to you worldview, there better be some sort of advantage. I guess “truth” could be it, but if truth is going to ruin my life, I’ll stay delusional.

  69. Jean says:

    I think joy, peace and comfort are terms that Christians could embrace, rather than happy. The key is that Christians experience joy, peace and comfort not as the world does, so promoting these to unbelievers without full explanation can be very misleading.

  70. Josh says:

    Again, just in this thread, I was only asking Reuben if his new life had produced better results.

    I make no guarantee to anyone seeking happiness from Jesus. It has mostly worked out that way for me, but results may vary. I, however, have been much happier.

  71. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    Looking at the state of the Church, I sometimes think that I would be happier as a pagan! 😁

  72. Em says:

    Interesting comments, interesting read this morning

    If a man die, shall he live again? 1Cor. 15:19 says something to the effect that if in this life only we have hope we are to be pitied.. on the other hand…… 🙆

  73. Em says:

    For Be!ievers, as i read Dr Duane’s 10:35, the big question is – IMV – are we approaching the return of Christ – very soon….
    Or will we see a turn around in the Spiritual depth in the Church….
    As it is today, we do seem easy pickings for an antichrist, but God will not allow that, will He

  74. Josh the Baptist says:

    Duane – give it a shot and let me know.

  75. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    “To whom else would we go…” I’m afraid that I’m in for the long haul!

  76. Josh says:

    Me too, but it ain’t all that bad.

  77. bob1 says:

    What about the concept of flourishing? Is that what God desires for
    humankind?

    I recall an exposition in a book by a SBC professor/theologian about the Sermon on the Mount and if memory serves, I think he argued that “blessed” in the Beatitudes is better translated “flourishing.”

  78. Reuben says:

    Josh,

    I am going to take you through today, because the answer is certainly not what you are looking for, or at least what the typical Christian is looking for when they ask such a snide and backhanded question.

    I woke up at 1:30 in this morning in sheer anxiety knowing full well what had to happen. I made coffee and tried to work my way through what I was going to say to save myself from being reduced to tears again in my 7:00 appointment with my psychiatrist. I drank numerous cups of coffee, which probably only compounded the problem. I read, played angry birds, and finally finished the morning by checking in with my employees on what they were starting out with today, and walked into the office for the appointment. She asked me how the week had been, I replied that it had been a wreck. I had homework, and was to think back on my life outside the church life, like growing up, other jobs, etc. and we were to discuss that today. I left in tears again, because with every layer she walks me through, another layer is there underneath, and it is more potent and toxic than the last.

    To put this simply, there has been damage done in my life, all of it entirely linked to god and the church, of which I was a part day one. My parents were teaching Hebrew in Israel to missionaries who set out to save Jews from a false god, or whatever. It’s what they always told me anyway. My father was drafted because he chose to fulfill the dual citizen requirements, and that meant joining the IDF. I was born there sometime during all this, to Christian Missionaries. When they came back to the states, he became an associate pastor at a mega church before they were a thing. My mother and father were both on the worship teams as well, participants in almost all functions throughout the week, so I lived at church. My father became a senior pastor at a church he started about a decade later, so now I was at a tiny church all the time.

    Pastor’s kids know this life all too well, and it’s almost always the same story. There should be a blog…

    My interactions with my parents were strictly disciplinary, and I was damned well supposed to keep up appearances, regardless of the home life. There was physical violence regularly, something that took me decades to realize was not my fault, nor did I deserve it. My parents were very different people depending on location and company. I am vague in descriptors intentionally.

    I went from fire to fire, from Oneness Pentecostal Charismatic to Calvary Chapel which in those days was dead religion to me. I went from there to Vineyard, which is a book in and of itself. I went back to Calvary Chapel to rehab, and eventually started teaching kids, and it grew from there. You know the rest.

    Back to my day, my psychiatrist has been trying to pry out of me abuses inflicted on me for months, and there are some that I have left intentionally locked. Thus why I left in tears. I don’t know if I will get around to any of it, because at this point, I fear it would kill me.

    I went to work, and talked with a friend about how someone witnessed to me right here in this thread last night. This is someone who knows me fairly well, and he laughed. Nothing to piss a guy off worse than me being told that I need Jesus. I visited the sites my guys were working at, made some materials orders, invoiced a bunch of Marck work, and picked up 8 more buildings with an owner in an afternoon meeting, bringing my grand total of maintained and repaired HVAC square footage to just up over 3 million. A major win for the business. I need to start recruiting more help.

    However, I just drove home prior to catching up on this thread again in tears again.

    I have been diagnosed with “a form of” OCD, and I place that in quotes because it’s not always about ending the world when someone wears two colors that don’t match. I have also been diagnosed with CPTSD, and I will leave that to the googlers to read about.

    My “problems” will not be fixed overnight, nor will they be fixed in years. I spent 7 drinking like a fish to cover it, and as of April 1st, I am one year sober. This journey has only started.

    So while it may appear that you just had your gotcha moment, “ask the dumbass atheist how it’s going sans Jesus”, you are dead wrong. There is no point in my life that has not been infected by god, the church, or abuses Michael has faithfully brought to light here for years. I am a mess. A total dumpster fire. In the midst of it all, I have zero regret or shame in rejecting god and the church, and that is only in speaking of my life. I would not be able to stop writing today or tomorrow if I started into what I have seen countless others endure, and in many cases, far worse, dedicating a paragraph only to each. I have seen people commit suicide thanks to Jesus that Jean up there thinks is the answer to all my problems. I am getting real help now, rather than sitting in front of a Narcissistic pastor pouring my heart out only to be told to read more, pray more, fellowship more, blah blah blah…

    Hope that helps.

  79. Michael says:

    Rueben,

    Thanks you for your honesty, your heart, and the real effort you are making to discuss these issues in a way that people may hear you.
    I’m glad you’re still here…I only wish I had been more proactive in helping you before the crisis…

  80. London says:

    Rueben,
    Congratulations on the one year of sobriety!!!

  81. Josh says:

    “ask such a snide and backhanded question.”

    Why do you read so much into my question? That hurts. You are here promoting your lifestyle, and I am trying to hear you out.

    I will now go back and read the rest of your answer, but you read something into my question that simply was not there.

  82. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I don’t think Reuben is promoting a lifestyle…he’s simply sharing where he’s been and the result.
    I think we need to hear him.

  83. Em says:

    Rueben,FWIW, i would reject the “god” you’ve been subjected to also…. There is no shame and certainly no sin in that rejection… Consider yourself hugged 🙋 hugged with tears here also

    That said i hope that before too long you find The God of grace and mercy… The One who hates pride, hypocrisy and cruel rules and promises as much as you do

  84. Josh says:

    Michael, I legitimately asked to hear him, and he assumed I was being snide and backhanded, and looking for a gotcha moment. It is what it is. He does often promote his viewpoint, so I assumed he has good reasons for doing so.

    His answer is that Christianity made him miserable and that he is still suffering from it. I am legitimately sorry to hear about that. I assumed, incorrectly, that he would be happy to tell of how much better life is without Jesus. I wanted to hear it.

    But I can’t win. A very simple, honest question will always be taken as a sneak attack. Reuben should know as well as anybody that I usually just say what I mean.

    I do appreciate your honesty, Reuben. I am sorry that you are going through such a tough time.

  85. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I have people in my life right now who would tell you that the only thing that saved their life was leaving the faith.
    I don’t know how to answer them, how to help them, or why this happened to them
    All I know how to do is listen and love them and hope that God shows up in some way for them.

  86. Josh says:

    Right, which is basically what Reuben said. I hate to hear it. I don’t have answers either.

    I would amen one thing Em said “i would reject the “god” you’ve been subjected to also”.

    In fact, I have rejected that god. But I can’t lie. Jesus has been good to me.

  87. Jean says:

    bob1,

    “I think he argued that “blessed” in the Beatitudes is better translated ‘flourishing.’ ”
    Flourishing is well within the semantic range and context of the beatitudes. It is also consistent with the way in which the blessed man in Psalm 1 is described. In Psalm 1 it is said of the blessed man that “In all that he does, he prospers.”

  88. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I don’t want you to lie.
    I want you to continue to witness to the experience you’ve had.
    It’s as valid as the other stories we tell.

  89. Michael says:

    “In Psalm 1 it is said of the blessed man that “In all that he does, he prospers.”
    So…what do you do with all those brethren who are neither “flourishing” or “prospering”?

  90. Mud Man says:

    “I have people in my life right now who would tell you that the only thing that saved their life was leaving the faith.”

    This brings to mind a question, why did Abram leave his family and head into a place that wasn’t his?

    Of course the simple answer is God called him and we are only provided little snippets of his early life in the text. The rest I can only speculate about.

    Leaving the “faith” isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  91. Josh says:

    “all those brethren who are neither “flourishing” or “prospering”?”

    This is my point. Jesus says that being blessed means being poor in spirit.

    If we get the definitions wrong, we will definitely share the wrong message.

  92. Em says:

    More and more i am convinced that the Church is a special group of Believers…. Folk like to say, “I am a follower of Jesus.” Are they? Like the song says, are you prepared to ” March into hell for a heavenly cause? ” A bit extreme, but our Lord didn’t ave it easy – particularly among established religious leaders…
    Or so it seems to me………..
    i know i’ve avoided getting singed more than i should have….

  93. Michael says:

    A wealthy man and a beggar can both be poor in spirit…

  94. Jean says:

    “So…what do you do with all those brethren who are neither “flourishing” or “prospering”?”

    If they are brethren in Christ, then I would invite them to view the world and their circumstances through the lens of Scripture, which doesn’t lie or deceive.

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,”

    “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”

    Not some; every!

    What is needed is a metanoia.

  95. Michael says:

    “What is needed is a metanoia.”

    So brethren who can’t afford their medications or are living in some form of chronic affliction need converted?

  96. Jean says:

    A change of mind.

  97. Michael says:

    What do suffering brethren need to change their minds about?

  98. pstrmike says:

    This is a good discussion from many of you.

    Many of us have dealt with different forms of spiritual abuse. Years ago, I was tired of the drama, nonsense, narrow-mindedness and abuse within the church that I tried like hell to be an atheist. That didn’t work for me, and I ended up in recovery.

    Eventually, I gave the church another chance. I encountered things worse, much worse, the second time. It is only the inner witness within that keeps me from leaving; there is so much more to christianity than the inconsistencies and hypocrisies that abound. These things have a form of personal redemption in my recognition that except by the grace of God, there go I. But they have become the things that I do not have the luxury to spend much time focusing on today.

    It has been hard to stay in the game, but I know the alternative is worse.

    “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” ~ Tolstoy

    Congratulations on completing your first year Reuben, and you are right, this is where the work begins.

  99. Michael says:

    Well said, pstrmike…

  100. Jean says:

    “What do suffering brethren need to change their minds about?”

    You are contrasting suffering and flourishing, as though they’re incompatible. You wrote:

    “So…what do you do with all those brethren who are neither “flourishing” or “prospering”?”

    If I misread you, then I apologize and retract this comment. However, my point is that Christians flourish and prosper in the midst of (and despite) external suffering (provided it is not suffering for wickedness). Just as the satisfied and well off who are not in Christ suffer in the midst of (and despite) external prosperity.

    You seem to be entirely cognizant, in this conversation, of the prosperity of the flesh, when there is a whole other, more real, and more eternal, reality that Christians alone participate in and are cognizant of.

    Look, if you have God as your Father, and His Christ as you brother, if He has sent the Holy Spirit into to you to bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God, then, IMV, it is preposterous to not recognize yourself as flourishing, prosperous, and well off.

  101. Josh says:

    “A wealthy man and a beggar can both be poor in spirit…”
    Precisely!

    So the blessing is not having much, or having little. He’s talking about something else all together, but we look at the rich guy and say “He’s the blessed one.”

  102. Jerod says:

    ReubenSteuben

    Well, you’re having more fellowship, anyway, regardless of you’re hatred of God.

    Out of a purely curious point, no “gotcha coming” – when you say you hate God, do you lump Jesus in there as well?

    (some “gotcha” with a net, I “gotcha” with thread hanging off a twig tied to a crooked sewing needle)

  103. Jerod says:

    ugh…”your”, not “you’re” *smacks forehead*

  104. Jerod says:

    Yes, congrats on one year of Sobriety!!

  105. Reuben says:

    Jerod,

    I believe I covered this here before, so sorry to anyone who is about to pass over a repeat.

    Jesus said he and the father were one. Jesus said if any man would follow him, he should deny himself. He said he was truth and life, that nobody can get to god unless it is through him. Jesus said that he did not bring peace, but sword. Jesus said he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it, and that really only meant the end of killing your favorite goat for thought crimes. The god that said to turn the cheek, or give your cloak, is the same god who wiped out entire nations, racial genocides, infanticide, and literally burned a city to the ground with fire from above because god actually does hate fags. I am no subscriber to the Rachael Held Evans’s of the world who believe Jesus is cool with whatever, because the two gods would not be one god, they would be entirely different things. But that only scratches the surface in my mind, compared to the most preposterous assertion of the Bible that there is, that we were created filthy sick sinners, and ordered with the threat of eternal hell fire to be well, and only given one choice in how this could be accomplished, thus instantly damning billions and billions of people to eternal torture in one purely evil premise.The gospel is psychotic, vile, disgusting to ALL of humanity. I have four letter words for all that narcissistic insanity that I will not share here. God gets my one finger salute, no matter what form he is that particular day.

  106. Jerod says:

    …but, uh. God’s finger is bigger than your finger…

    Reuben,

    Well that was clear. So as a society of sycophantic narcissists emulating the Great Narcissist in the Sky,
    Is your materialist outlook okay with American Christianity getting its come-uppance in persecution? Or are you more, like, You’re Okay, I’m Okay?

  107. Reuben says:

    I don’t believe that many people have truly emulated your god… almost ever. Kim Jong-un is probably a better example of god than billions of humans. Joseph Stalin.

    I don’t get “materialist” in the context of your question, or what you even mean by it, but American Evangelicals, or just plain old Christians for that matter, have no foreseeable persecution on the horizon, unless you think the gay cake deal is actually universally persecutional nation wide (which it absolutely is not). Quite the opposite, I think Christianity has done a fine job of doing the persecuting since MURICA came to be, and now it seems we should probably just institute a Christian Sharia, and while we are at it, seal the southern boarder and ban Muslims.

    I am capable of separating the Christian from the god, and I think I do it well. I do not have hatred for Christians (well, maybe a few), I hate Christianity. And Islam.

  108. Em says:

    Rueben @ 5:22, if i was your mom (see God blessed you, cuz i’m not 😺)..
    If i was, i’d say, “Son, don’ t talk stupid!”
    I admit that i learned how to repair a plaster wall by kicking my toe through it when, coming home from running an errand, i told my husband how i’d almost rear ended a station wagon with no tail lights that stopped front of me on a 4 lane highway with traffic going 60 mph. As i skidded toward them i was looking at 2 kids in the back staring back at me. I aimed my car for the ditch, but there was a guy standing outside his car chatting with the folks stopped on the highway. The traffic on my left saw what was happening and slowed enough that i corrected and squeezed into the opening. Shaking, i pulled off road and saw the car that i’d almost destroyed, then pull around the corner and continue their conversation with the guy in the ditch. When i got home and told my husband, he intimated that i was exaggerating. I put my foot through the wall. sigh…
    I sense your hurt and frustration… but…. you need a way out – probably kicking a wall wouldn’t work … but…. 🙅

  109. Jerod says:

    So did you ever drop the Calvinist theology before deciding to give God the bird?

  110. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Why is it that when God plays God it is immoral, but when we do it isn’t?

    People shake their fist at God for allowing evil to go on while doing nothing – but when we look back in history where he did intervene, we call him a bastard.

  111. Josh says:

    Moving on from Reuben,

    Are the rest of us here so spiritual that we are saying happiness does not matter to us?

  112. Duane Arnold says:

    Just an observation (with apologies to Reuben) hate and love are part of the same continuum, not oppositional. The opposite of love – as in “I love God” – is not hate, but indifference.

  113. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I think we have to define terms like “happy”.
    We also have to define what our expectations are according to our understanding of Scripture.
    Jean said,
    “Look, if you have God as your Father, and His Christ as you brother, if He has sent the Holy Spirit into to you to bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God, then, IMV, it is preposterous to not recognize yourself as flourishing, prosperous, and well off.”

    That completely spiritualizes all the promises we think have a temporal application.
    It may be true, but I think we expect more than “spiritual” blessings.
    That may be the error…that’s the debate.

  114. Josh says:

    For my question, I’ll go completely outside of scripture. No spiritualizing at all.

    Some happiness synonyms would be – contentment, enjoyment, cheerfulness, satisfaction (from dictionary.com)

    You know, just the generally accepted idea of what it means to be happy.

    Is there not some element of decision making in our lives that asks, “would this make me happy”?

  115. Michael says:

    Is happiness a reasonable expectation for those in the faith?
    I think we all desire some form of happiness…but is it a reasonable expectation?

  116. Michael says:

    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
    (Galatians 5:22–23 ESV)

  117. Josh says:

    And those things listed as fruits of the spirit – don’t they lead to happiness?

  118. Michael says:

    Josh,

    When I think about this I’m drawn to the old Maslow hierarchy of needs in particular the bottom three.
    It’s hard to be “happy” when those basic needs are always in question…

    1. Physiological needs – these are biological requirements for human survival, e.g. air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, sex, sleep.

    If these needs are not satisfied the human body cannot function optimally. Maslow considered physiological needs the most important as all the other needs become secondary until these needs are met.

    2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.

    3. Love and belongingness needs – after physiological and safety needs have been fulfilled, the third level of human needs is social and involves feelings of belongingness. The need for interpersonal relationships motivates behavior

    Examples include friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance, receiving and giving affection and love. Affiliating, being part of a group (family, friends, work).

  119. Michael says:

    We can debate the inclusion of things like sex on the list, but those three classes define well the basis of “flourishing” and “prospering”.

  120. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael/Josh

    Francis of Assisi seemed perpetually happy… and, of course, he had nothing.

  121. Jean says:

    Following are three relevant points:

    1. “That completely spiritualizes all the promises we think have a temporal application.” This in my opinion is a deist analysis. Spiritual gifts (as in gifts from God by the Holy Spirit) have temporal application. I am a human being, living in time, physically. The gifts in the Gospel are real and impact me temporally.

    2. Happiness is subjective. Example: In some parts of the world, eating bacon would make a person very unhappy, whereas in other parts of the world, eating bacon may make someone very happy. When if hearing Christ’s absolution makes me happy? Is that not real happiness, just as temporal for me as riding in a Porsche 911 might be for someone else?

    3. Part of the fall is that our minds are corrupted by sin. Thus, unaided by God’s grace, we may call something happiness-producing which actually is death-producing. The Scriptures are legion on that point. Therefore, what is the Christian’s rule for determining happiness? Is it Oprah or is it the Word of God? For me, it is the Word of God.

  122. Michael says:

    Jean,

    You were the one making the deist application.
    Your basic message was that because someone is positionally flourishing spiritually, that that should reckon themselves as flourishing temporally.

  123. Michael says:

    “Is it Oprah or is it the Word of God? For me, it is the Word of God.”
    Aren’t you special.
    Like Oprah ever crosses the mind of anyone here…

  124. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    To go back one step on Josh’s original point. He was saying that for him to make a decision for God, there must be something in it for him. In this case he was speaking of happiness.

    So Josh, I must ask – when you are presenting Jesus to others, do you lead with happiness? Is it legit to start a “Jesus conversation” with would you like to be happy? If so, I have just the thing for you.

    Now not so much Josh, but isn’t this what we have seen in the past generation of typical American churchism? Come to our church and join our Happy Families – or hey look, come to Happy Church.

    In reality, there is only one thing you can get at church – the forgiveness of your sins – and this is the only place you can get it.

  125. Jean says:

    Michael,

    Not to argue. I don’t bifurcate my body and soul.

    Second, it is not me reckoning myself but God reckoning me.

    If the Holy Spirit says “Blessed is the man…his delight is in the law of the Lord” or “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” or “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it” or “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed,” who are we to argue? And I don’t see the proviso “positionally” in any of those verses.

  126. Jean says:

    We are dealing at some level with the veracity of Scripture. If Jesus says:

    “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

    Can we take him and/or Scripture at its word?
    Can we trust that our heavenly Father gives good things to those who ask him?
    Can we trust that what He calls good is what really is good?
    If such things really are good and coming from our Father, is that a basis for happiness?

  127. Michael says:

    “I don’t bifurcate my body and soul.”
    Those must be the same people here following Oprah…

    Jean, your position is that regardless of any desperate temporal circumstance, one is blessed.
    The only way that is true is in a spiritual sense, or a denial of common language usage.

  128. Michael says:

    Jean,
    You’re right…it is about how we interpret Scripture.
    What we end up having to do is calling obviously bad things good so as not to damage the narrative we chose.
    I refuse to do so.

  129. Jean says:

    “Jean, your position is that regardless of any desperate temporal circumstance, one is blessed.” Could it be that the temporal circumstance is not desperate? Does not Jesus unburden the heavy laden of his or her anxiety?

  130. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Really?
    Are you so very devoted to your interpretations that you can’t see the suffering of the world?

  131. Josh says:

    “To go back one step on Josh’s original point. He was saying that for him to make a decision for God, there must be something in it for him. In this case he was speaking of happiness.”

    Weird. Not at all what I said. Don’t even know how to unravel that.

  132. Jean says:

    So as not to hog the conversation, this will be my final comment for a while:

    “What we end up having to do is calling obviously bad things good so as not to damage the narrative we chose.”

    I have not been talking about “bad things” but our disposition in the midst of both the things that happen to (or are caused by) us in the world and what God gives and promises us in Christ. I favor rising in faith above the things of the world in the joy that comes from Christ.

    I can affirm that bad things happen, but they don’t define me or my disposition. They are given by God, rapped in mystery, for my ultimate good; so I trust my Savior that through bad things He is saving me. This is not my chosen narrative, but the narrative of Scripture.

  133. Jean says:

    Postscript:

    Thank you, Michael, for allowing me to participate. These are thought provoking and useful discussions.

  134. Kevin H says:

    I interrupt this squabble to declare that bifurcate is a funny looking word.

    Okay, carry on. 🙂

  135. Michael says:

    The” Christian speak” on this thread is so thick I can’t breathe.
    Pointless to continue.

  136. Michael says:

    Thank you, Kevin… 🙂

  137. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – not to cause trouble, but 4/8 10:04am your reply to my rebuttal against happiness as a goal ( I said happiness is the goal of the atheist) you replied;
    “Well, if you want to win someone to you worldview, there better be some sort of advantage…” and then you continued the defense and definition of happiness in subsequent posts.

    I am just asking if that is a legit witnessing point? Believe in Jesus and you will be happy – I’ve heard it many times and do not think it is legit as it is more bait and switch.

  138. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – sincere question. Because you suffer, and I don’t think anyone here denies you do, is it your contention or perhaps just feelings that God is holding back promises you think you have coming to you?

  139. Michael says:

    I do not think Christianity is a promise of happiness, but it does give a purpose for suffering.

  140. Josh says:

    I have purposefully avoided Christian speak, so I’ll assume that wasn’t aimed at me…

    I think Maslow’s Hierarchy is true in a “Natural law” sort of way. Seems like I remember “self-actualization” as the highest peak of his pyramid, and I never really knew what that was. 🙂

    But a difference in experience could then be related to: I’m a guy who has all of his basic needs met, and so the things that I am reaching for are different than the guy who doesn’t know where his next meal would come from.

    Happiness would probably not enter into his decision making, unless it was shaped like a cheeseburger. That makes sense, to me at least.

  141. Michael says:

    MLD,

    My personal afflictions are only part of my thought process.
    I’m a pastor…and I engage everyday with people who live lives of quiet desperation…hoping for some help from God.
    It is exhausting simply to minister to them…living in a constant state of affliction is soul crushing.
    Hope deferred…

  142. Josh says:

    “Well, if you want to win someone to you worldview, there better be some sort of advantage…”

    Which is completely true. If an atheist (or Buddhist for that matter) wants me to switch streams, he has to have something to offer. This is hypothetical, because I’m not switching, but I’m happy, content, and somewhat fulfilled in my present life. If someone tells me I need to change everything about my life, and it’s going to make me miserable, but I still need to do it…Well, I’ll just hold still.

  143. Em says:

    Never did like the contemporary use of the word “happy”….
    FWIW… If the Christian in his mortal years cannot define, separate soul and body in both function and value, life will be unnecessarily complicated. We cannot un-corrupt our dying mortal flesh. We should care for it wisely, yes. But for most it is a burden.
    Our real strength and staying power are found in Michael’ s 8:56 this morning….. IMX. 🙆

  144. Jean says:

    Josh @ 10:28:

    “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,”

    It’s really hard to evangelize “happy” people, because Christianity does not offer unbelievers more of what they currently perceive as happiness.

    They must be disabused of their worldview, before the Gospel becomes a source of joy and consolation.

    Church growth strategies try to append Christianity onto a fleshy worldview.

  145. Michael says:

    I think that the Gospel is a source of eschatological hope.
    That is a comfort for the afterlife…I don’t know how much it offers before then.
    For some, that’s more than enough.

  146. Josh says:

    Jean, it seems that you and MLD have taken my words in reverse.

    I was talking to Reuben about attracting a Christian away from Christianity, not evangelizing the lost.

    I think I agree with you.

  147. Michael says:

    I don’t think Reuben is looking for converts.
    He’s expressing what his experience has been in Christendom and the conclusions he’s drawn from that.

  148. Josh says:

    Right.

    And now I’m being misunderstood on all sides. Sorry .

    I’m trying to leave Reuben out of my conversation, and just speak hypothetically. And now trying to go back and fix what MLD twisted up.

    🙂

  149. Kevin H says:

    Josh,

    If you would use the word, bifurcate, it would probably clear up everything.

  150. Glen says:

    Kevin,

    You really have the gift of perspicacity.

  151. Kevin H says:

    Thanks, Glen. Everyone just seemed so flabbergasted and discombobulated that it was just one big cattywampus. I thought I would try to bring some acumen to the malarkey and cockamamie.

  152. Josh says:

    I just googled bifurcate.

    Does that count?

  153. Kevin H says:

    That’s more than I’ve done, Josh. 🙂

  154. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – I didn’t twist anything up.
    Look, at 10:28 you made an odd statement – “If someone tells me I need to change everything about my life, and it’s going to make me miserable, but I still need to do it…Well, I’ll just hold still.”

    But that is just what Jesus asked you to do in your pre “born again” days. He didn’t say follow me I have the happy plan for you. He said “take up your cross and follow me” – in other words, come along and be made miserable, take up your cross and follow me into death (as evidenced by the apostles life and death). Did you just “hold still”?

  155. Josh says:

    MLD, I’m not talking about my pre-born again days. I’m talking hypothetically if a person was to now try to convince me to leave Christianity.

    Why? What’s the upside?

    I’m not talking about evangelism, or a lost person being saved.

  156. Jean says:

    One of the reasons the prosperity gospel has taken off in contemporary Christianity is because of the spiritualization of the Gospel, which in this context means essentially that the Gospel has no power to impact the reality of a person’s life here and now. It is a form of denial of God’s activity in the world and of the present tense blessings promised in the Gospel.

    With that gap wide open, the prosperity preachers have jumped into the void and hijacked the Scriptures which promise those in Christ with flourishing, happiness and prosperity. Many falsehoods are built on a truth which is perverted.

    I would add that the denial of the Spirit’s work in the life of a Christian by some churches has also opened the floodgates of pentacostalism, which again is built on a truth, but perverted to extremes by some.

    If the word, pentacostal, didn’t carry so much freight, I would be happy to use it for the Spirit’s activity in Baptism, preaching, Absolution and Holy Communion. In the same way I think Christians are the only truly well off people on earth.

  157. Jean says:

    Pentecostal

  158. bob1 says:

    Best not to generalize about any group of brothers and sisters, Jean.

    There are still plenty of what I’d call biblical Pentecostals out there.
    And a lot of them are having a rough go of it, from what I hear.

    I’d bet many of us have been through a Pentecostal phase and while
    I’m not there today, the Lord used it to enrich my walk with Him.

  159. Jerod says:

    Still speaking with Reuben

    If listening

    Of Reuben if not

    I just wanted to tail off of Duane and be paradoxically encouraging

    It’s not okay to hate God, but since you hate him that’s okay for the time being, I think.

    I hope that makes sense. Life is a cookie.

  160. Em says:

    Bob1, i am glad you could follow Jean’s 3:29. It seemed a little disjointed to me. I never travelled in pentecostal circles. My daughter had a dear friend in high school whose mother wouldn’t let the girls associate outside of school because we didn’t have a “tongue.” That said, i have known dear people of that persuasion, both protestant and R. C., who have experienced stunning answers to their prayers,, so…? ? ?
    I was stupid tired yesterday, i’ll get a cup of coffee and reread Jean now. 🙆

  161. Jean says:

    bob1’s reading is not has sharp as it should be. I specifically said “by some.” There was no generalization by me.

  162. Reuben says:

    How can anyone ascribe happiness to Christianity? If you believe the Bible, and I assume you all still do, James clearly states, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Jesus states, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Trusting you all to understand context so the fool is not the one preaching.

  163. Jean says:

    Reuben,

    I’m sure you’re aware that the Greek word translated “peace” is the same word that is used in place of shalom in the OT LXX.

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