Things I Think…

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47 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    I read the article about Rob McCoy and was not terribly scandalized by it. It seems they are trying to walk a line between safety and obedience while exercizing freedoms that they believe they have. I wouldn’t do it for many reasons. However, we continue to gather with a team of 9 in a building that holds 600 and have live-streamed services. None of that team come into contact but risk is not eliminated. We also continue to minister to our congregation online about 6 days a week. We have provided zoom accounts for our leaders to hold their meetings. We have found an actual increase in connectivity though we all lose intimacy.

    We are supporting the legal and practical measures pretty strictly. Our office is open 4 days a week with a very skeletal staff and no one forced to be there.

    The financial concerns are without doubt real but we have not lost income in any high level yet. We also have increased our benevolence dramatically releasing checks to those we find in need in our community.

    People are remarkable in their capacity to love, share, give, help protect and find ways to bless. The untold story of the church in the outrage world we live in is that people are better than institutions. I support the public rebuke of evil. In addition I want to publicly acknowledge the beauty of the Lord and his people.

  2. Michael says:

    BD,

    That’s not a line I want to walk…
    I do want to say that I watched your message yesterday and was blessed by both your demeanor and content.
    I really appreciate what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

  3. Bride of Christ says:

    Ecclesiastes 7:16…. ” Do not be overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourselves? “

  4. Sarah Wolfe says:

    I love what you said Babylon’s Dread.

    Our church is moving similarly. Our greatest challenge at the moment here in Nashville is continuing to help those who lost everything in the tornado clean up their rubble and have somewhere to actually shelter in place. That was quite the one-two punch that week.

    There is one pastor in a suburb here who is continuing services, but for the most part I think the churches have moved to online. They have been doing drive up communion services at several places.

  5. DavidM says:

    Michael, I was unaware of the belief of Martin Luther regarding the source of the plague. Can you point me to some historical writings where I can read about that?

    Thank you.

  6. Michael says:

    DavidM,

    I think he talks about this in Tabletalk..

  7. Noelle says:

    I just wanted to offer an “ex-churched” perspective from someone who is still NoMansApologist
    When I see pastors acting like Jesus, it restores my faith in humanity, not the church.
    From an outside perspective, people like you and Dread are an exception to the rule rather than a representation of it.
    Real question;
    Since much of the modern day evangelical church is created by man yet *includes* holy text/ritual, why not burn the whole thing down and start from scratch?
    When good, honest Christ followers try to reform (again) that which has been lost, it feels like a dozen scalding drops of water trying to heat up a pool full of glacier water…
    I guess my thought is decided that the “church” is holy and deserves all of this energy in an effort to redeem or salvage it from itself, but is what we see in our country truly representative of the same church worth fighting for, found in scripture?

    I understand this sounds like anathema and sacrilege to many who read these words, but I would ask that any who read would try to do so after taking off lenses of presupposition.

  8. Michael says:

    Noelle, I’m in transit but I’ll answer soon…

  9. Noelle says:

    Be safe, friend. ❤️

  10. Babylon's Dread says:

    Thank you Michael that means a lot.

  11. pstrmike says:

    My understanding was that McCoy and Co. were just offering communion. It seems like a lot of effort to provide communion, particularly if my suspicions are correct, that McCoy holds to a memorial view. I could understand those who believe in the sacramental view doing this, not so much the memorial view. By their actions they imply that communion is necessary to some degree, and thereby having some form of sacramental importance.

    Nomans,
    Doesn’t sound like sacrilege to me. What you describe has been my angst for most of my life, and more so in the past 10-15 years. Even in saying that, I have come through, at least partially, to the other side and have gotten to the place where I really don’t care what people believe or where they go or don’t go. Do what you want and be accountable for your decision is essentially my creed these days. The very people who need such salvation usually don’t want it, that is, until they have suffered the afflictions of the few who hold the power. Even then, it’s not a guarantee. We had those discussions here for years now. Sounds cynical? it is, but it is also liberating for me.

    I see the church as holy, and yet the City of God and the City of Man not only exist side by side, they often intertwine with each other.

    I can only hope that I am providing an alternative, but I am also not the best qualified to make the judgment. Michael gave me a great compliment last year when he visited our church and told me it has some characteristics of an Anglican church. It was a blessing to receive the Body and Blood with him.

  12. Noelle says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful response, pstrmike.
    “The very people who need such salvation usually don’t want it, that is, until they have suffered the afflictions of the few who hold the power. Even then, it’s not a guarantee.”
    Could you expound here, in layman’s terms?
    Thank you.

  13. Michael says:

    Noelle,

    To be blunt, I’m not interested in reforming American evangelicalism.
    I’m very interested in rescuing people from it’s idolatries and abuses.
    The ancient church and the ways of the historic church, I would like to see restored, with some obvious exceptions.
    I also believe there is an ecumenical remnant of that which Christ established…but it is not in favor at this time.

  14. Noelle says:

    Michael, thank you for taking the time to answer. I appreciate your candor.

  15. Michael says:

    I’ll answer for pstrmike too…people love the idolatrous nonsense they call church until the system burns them to a crisp…and even then some return for more…

  16. Noelle says:

    This dynamic i understand as I’ve seen it first hand, unfortunately on many occasions.

  17. pstrmike says:

    Noelle,
    Basically, what Michael said.

    Part of our spiritual growth calls us into a place of greater shalom, but it is normal that such awareness does not happen without some trauma ( which can be spiritual abuse) that either spurs us forward or with some, can even be the cause toward regression.

  18. Noelle says:

    Pstrmike, I understand more clearly now.
    Thank you.

  19. Re #7: ugh. I had to reply to a 5G Facebook post from my ex’s cousin about this. My ex’s ex H replied with similar conspiracy stuff. Don’t know why she didn’t delete him, my ex did. Gave a short tutorial on the E-M spectrum and ionizing vs. Non-ionizing radiation, and told her that SARS-Cov-2 was more likely to get them than 5G.

    Re: The Rozells… your toughest callout of them yet. Maybe the good of the bad is that such intransigence is like metaphorically digging their own graves. Repentance would actually show character, just to comment on one aspect of it.

  20. Michael says:

    TNV,

    I call ’em as I see ’em… 🙂

  21. Babylon's Dread says:

    There is no system beyond the reach of the either the nail-scarred hand of Jesus or the grasping hands of lust, avarice and violence. Always those hands will be in the mix. This is indeed the story of humanity. This is indeed the work of Christ. Did not the lamb come to be crucified by those other hands? Does he not come still in the midst of it all and bid us follow.

    There is no haven of history wherein the human mess was so obscured by the glorious lamb that no room was left for lament. We search in vain for the spotless bride. There is only this, the water and the wine must do their work. I am ever riveted to the call of Christ washing with water and the word to present to himself a glorious bride. No doubt my contributions to this end have been as pale as the others. Somehow this thing continues.

    We do not yet see all things under his feet but we see Jesus crowned with honor with glory the one who tasted death for everyone. So expose all that is shameful, unworthy, and vile but he remains unspotted and undimmed in his omnipotent love. Were the worst of any of us known, none of us would trust the other or walk together without fear. So he goes on enduring the cross and despising the shame for us.

    It is holy week and I hope.

  22. Michael says:

    Wow.
    That was powerful… well said BD.

  23. Noelle says:

    Dread has always spoken my native tongue.
    I appreciate these words.
    Truly.

  24. pstrmike says:

    almost like the night crew of nights gone by, except nobody is fighting ……………………………

    Peace

  25. MM says:

    This:

    “I read the article about Rob McCoy and was not terribly scandalized by it. It seems they are trying to walk a line between safety and obedience while exercizing freedoms that they believe they have. I wouldn’t do it for many reasons. However, we continue to gather with a team of 9 in a building that holds 600 and have live-streamed services. ”

    What I hear McCoy an others saying is the secular politics are calling churches “non-essential.”

    This is a problem and a “slippery slope.”

    People’s ability to freely practice their faith is a foundation of the USA.

    Had the political leaders (yes the CDC and WHO are included in that description) been more church friendly these things would not have happened.

    When we use China as a model for successfully fighting the CV then, as people of faith, we step into their political/religious biases. For those unaware, the Central Government of China is not religion friendly and never has been.

    However, as BD stated I would have done things different, but I agree with McCoy’s sentiment and I don’t believe it can be easily swept away with the argument of “saving lives.”

    My two. Thanks.

  26. Duane Arnold says:

    I personally find McCoy’s actions to be reckless and antithetical to a Christian moral/ethical view of our responsibility to one another…

  27. MM says:

    Duane

    That’s not the point.

    It’s not a matter if you agree with his response to the issue, it’s about the geo politics and the role of church and faith in it.

    Personally I wouldn’t even have the “worship team” gathered to electronically hold a service.

    One of our local SBC churches has publicly provided food and delivery services for those in need. And there will be a huge need before the year is out.

  28. Duane Arnold says:

    Personal responsibility, especially on a pastoral level is exactly the point. It is not about geo-politics, national politics or local politics. It’s about the care we owe one another, especially as a pastor.

  29. MM says:

    Duane

    How do you feel about Bonhoeffer?

    Yes different time and a bit different politics, but the issue about church and faith in its midst hasn’t changed.

  30. Duane Arnold says:

    Bonhoeffer in the 30s? Bonhoeffer in the early 40s? Bonhoeffer in 1945? A public health crisis is not the same as premeditated, planned genocide.

    Again, this is about personal, pastoral responsibility.

  31. MM says:

    Pick one.

    Are you saying Bonhoeffer wasn’t personal responsible?

    Why can I go to a store, maintain my social distance and buy alcoholic products and yet be barred from a place of faith?

    One is essential and the other isn’t.

    Sounds like something my kids watched on Sesame Street.

  32. Duane Arnold says:

    Gatherings over a certain number have been proven to spread the virus. You are simply applying unrelated categories…

  33. MM says:

    Duane:

    Instead of closing the churches, why didn’t the political forces encourage the people of faith to join into the process?

    It appears to me that McCoy did his best to maintain the same prescribed social distance requirements the Governor of his state mandated.

    Again I would do things differently, but the point which remains is, what part the leadership of faith should have played in this? Instead they closed the them down.

    You can quote all the guidelines, debate the abilities of such to actually work, but when this is all over what will remain?

  34. Michael says:

    This isn’t complicated.
    The Gospel can be shared by virtual means.
    Food and drink cannot be.
    The stores are open, the church is closed.

  35. Michael says:

    “You can quote all the guidelines, debate the abilities of such to actually work, but when this is all over what will remain?”

    Same things that were there before.

  36. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael,

    I have almost no history of being in abusive churches or ministries, but I have to yell a hearty AMEN to your statement that the Rozells are simply not Christians. It’s just plain ludicrous to claim otherwise.

    Also re: the 5G/COVID-19 thing…sometimes you can’t fix stupid. There are more of these kind of people out there than we are comfortable with. Some people, with any and every kind of evidence presented to them, will just plain refuse to change their minds.

  37. Michael says:

    Dan,

    The pandemic has been politicized along with every thing else.
    I made the mistake of engaging one of the “patriotic evangelical”s last night and won’t make that mistake again.
    The temptation to completely withdraw from social engagement is starting to overwhelm me…

  38. Duane Arnold says:

    MM

    I would recommend Bonhoeffer’s ‘Ethics’. The overriding principle in the book is “ethical humility”, that is, each circumstance is approached on its own terms, which are not always the same. What is taking place now is about public safety. It is not about the persecution of the Church.

    A good article to read from a few years back is: https://www.christiancentury.org/article/2015-05/claims-bonhoeffer

  39. Michael says:

    If I were a younger man I’d write a book on false prophets and forgotten conspiracy theories…”From Jade Helm to the Blood Moon”…but I’m old now and just mock them in my car as I go…

  40. MM says:

    Duane

    I have the book, or at least did cleaned out my library last year, and I didn’t say this was about the “persecution of the church.”

    What I am pointing out is the slippery slope of social and political change. To become myopic in our vision because of this global, and I emphasize global, change we are doing ourselves a disservice.

    We take care of our circle, community and encourage others to do the same. The teachings of the Jesus are to care for the weak and in need, sometimes at a great cost to ourselves. But again that is not what I’m trying to point out.

    This is a historical moment in time which will be written about, discussed, debated and modeled for possibly centuries to come. What part did leaders of faith play in it and how were they approached by those with power?

    We will live through this and yes things will be different at all levels. That is an unavoidable truth.

    Blessing to you and peace in His name.

  41. Duane Arnold says:

    “What part did leaders of faith play in it and how were they approached by those with power?”

    A very mixed bag… some will be remembered with honor, and some with shame.

  42. pstrmike says:

    ” A public health crisis is not the same as premeditated, planned genocide. Again, this is about personal, pastoral responsibility.”

    This is the real issue here. This isn’t the Sanhedrin telling us we cannot speak in the name of Jesus, it is a public health crisis. If pastors disregard authority in this context, should anyone really be surprised if people in turn disregard their authority? Don’t they both come from the same Source?

  43. Michael says:

    “What part did leaders of faith play in it and how were they approached by those with power?”

    Why would we consult preachers about a public health crisis?
    Who are the ‘leaders of faith”?
    None of the currently recognized “faith leaders” speaks for my faith in any way, shape, or form.

  44. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    I think the point is, they weren’t approached because although they think that they have “a seat at the table”, they are largely irrelevant… except when their votes are needed.

  45. Michael says:

    I do know Paula White was selling anointed cloths that her and Trump prayed over…

  46. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    Just when I was starting to write, you had to tell me that 😂😫😂😫

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