Things I Think…

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32 Responses

  1. Xenia says:

    I haven’t had any arguments with my relatives, a large, diverse group of people who range from Marxists to right-wingers. We all know where each person probably falls on the continuum and since we love and respect each other, we never bring these subjects up. I come from a culture that prefers to avoid drama.

    Try to listen to the concerns of your opposite and look for the good in it. It’s there, I assure you. Talk about those things, not about the extreme things that will ruin a relationship. See if you can find things to agree about. In some cases, this won’t be possible and you might have to politely move away from that relationship until things settle down. Whatever you do, don’t burn any bridges behind you! Don’t say anything that might be considered unforgivable!

  2. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    #9 – staying home and watching the performance online (for a prolonged period) is no different than giving up on the Sunday service for kid’s soccer. Eventually you will give up your faith.

  3. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    The key is to love and respect each other…we’ve lost a lot of both…

  4. Xenia says:

    MLD, I agree.

    When the churches first closed, months ago now, my husband and I would find a Liturgy online to watch. We would get dressed, light some candles, fire up the incense, and pay strict attention. That didn’t last long. By the end of it, we were lounging on the couch in our pajamas eating scrambled eggs and checking out email. And the last time, we couldn’t even find a service to “watch.” Like Lutherans, we Orthodox participate in the Liturgy, “the work of the people.” Just watching a “show” doesn’t work for us.

  5. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think if you remove social media you will find that we have not lost neither love or respect. I have yet to go out in the real world shopping, going on my walks or doing any other interpersonal actions and had any other reaction than love and respect directed to me.
    I don’t think I have had a single political conversation outside of my home to be frank.

    Online, it may be a different story. Am I wrong, do some of you go about your daily business outside the home snarling at the people you encounter?

  6. Xenia says:

    AND, during that time we began skipping prayers, relaxed the fasts, and were generally heading downhill over here.

  7. Xenia says:

    The key is to love and respect each other…we’ve lost a lot of both<<<

    This is not true in my world.

  8. UnCCed says:

    Michael,
    I’m getting tired of reminding people-the threats we face today are the same as always:
    – Churches which don’t follow the Moses Model (if you’re not Calvary, don’t bother looking it up in the Bible-Moses didn’t even know about it).
    – Calvinism’s highly fatal effects to the soul.
    – The KJV is the only holy Bible (preferably black, Scoffield “study” Bible, real leather).
    – Being “unequally yoked” to the “old wineskins” of other churches.

    While the sarcasm is obvious, the reality of what many of us were taught and “trained” is true and hopefully brings some levity to these dreary times.

    Oh, and God calls 100s to start another “fresh work” near the beach in SoCal when the entire state of MI only had 1 CC.

  9. Em says:

    Thinkin worth thinking on, Michael… Thank you. . again. 💆

  10. Michael says:

    MLD,

    In my world, my godson is constantly stressed because people want to raise hell in the cafe about masks and then people want to raise hell with the people raising hell about masks.
    My friends and family in the medical field are all about to snap.
    I just got back from the pet food store were people were angry because there are shortages of some brands.
    There was almost an all out brawl in Walmart over frozen food yesterday.
    My parishioners that work with the public all hope there is a special place in hell for people who abuse clerks.
    Check out the real violent and petty crime rates for the last six months…it’s ugly outside your bubble.

  11. Jean says:

    Michael,

    Some of us from liturgical traditions have been saying the same thing as Trueman says in the following paragraph from his linked essay:

    “Surely that the theology of preaching as God’s confrontational presence in and through proclamation has at some point been supplanted in the minds of many by a notion that it is merely a transmission of information or a pep talk. And that listening as active, faithful response has correspondingly been reduced to a passive reception, of the kind that televisions and countless other screens have made the default position. To put it another way, it will reveal that preachers have become confused with life coaches or entertainers, and congregations have been replaced by audiences and autonomous consumers. Such a scenario will be apocalyptic. And in both senses of the word.”

    Here, though, Trueman sees this lecture/entertainment/passive type of sermon as an innovation which will lead to a material reduction in church attendance at those churches that embrace this style. It will be interesting to see if Trueman is correct. I have no particular reason to doubt him, but I also do not underestimate the creativity of theological entrepreneurs to figure out how to get or regain a crowd.

    But, what I thought I was going to get from that essay is what I Trueman did not say. I thought he was going to say that churches who deny Christ’s sacramental presence in church are prone to look for him in civil religion. In other words, people want a present, not absent, Christ, and if they won’t have him in the sacraments and in absolution and the proclamation of Christ (what Trueman calls “God who confronts his people with his presence through his word”), then they will look for him outside church in a charismatic political leader.

  12. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Excellent comment…

  13. Duane Arnold says:

    When so-called “worship” is reduced to a mini-rock concert with a TED Talk added at the end, there’s no reason not to search YouTube or Facebook to find what you need. When “Christian commitment” is measured by politics rather than faith, we’re no longer talking about Church…

  14. bob1 says:

    Jean,

    I wish I could say that I think going to a liturgical church makes a difference WRT civil religion.

    I go to a liturgical church. A large majority of the parishoners have been sucked into TrumpWorld.

    People are complicated. There are lots of “filters” most of us interpret things through. Our family, workmates, neighbors, and the media. Church is just one more. In my opinion, it’s peer influence that cuts it — sacramental church or not.

    Just my observation

  15. Jean says:

    Duane,

    The ecumenical Apostles Creed contains the following in Article III,

    “I believe in … the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints….”

    “the” = one
    “Holy” = set apart
    “Christian” = devoted to Jesus Christ; or His body of believers; or His assembly of believers
    “Communion of saints” = There is a communion/fellowship/common participation of believers (of those on earth and in heaven)

    I don’t see how the internet can substitute for the vision of the Creed. I could see in certain cases, such as a missionary in a hostile land, or during a pandemic in quarantine, but this would be temporary and/or not the norm of the vision in the Creed, nor what Christ creates by means of His Word and Sacraments.

    On the other point you made, I think that a study of OT Israel might shed some light and a warning on the matter of adultery concerning the bride and the Bridegroom.

  16. filbertz says:

    one of the greases for the skids of society is laughter and folks seem to have lost their senses of humor. There is so much around us that is absurd and silly that we should be howling with laughter instead of howling in anger…I suppose we pick our responses, so I choose to smirk, giggle, and smile.

    BTW, it was a choice made based on a decision to stop being so angry and volatile. There are options.

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael @12:01 – sounds like you live in a vicious town if you description is accurate.
    We went out today to the post office to mail a package. Everyone wore a mask, waited in line, I spoke to a lady in line about football (she had on a Cardinals mask) – then we went to a sandwich shop for lunch. Everton wore a mask in and out, stood on the diamond markings on the floor for distancing and sat at every other table.

    We are the most red county in AZ but Medford sounds too tough for me. 😉

  18. Michael says:

    I live in a town that has lost it’s sense of community…

  19. Xenia says:

    When so-called “worship” is reduced to a mini-rock concert with a TED Talk added at the end,<<<

    I used to talk about evangelical churches this way but I don't anymore.

  20. Em says:

    Today i listened to someone observe that obedient Noah persevered i construction of the Ark in a very hostile environment (over 100 years?)… The question was, didn’t he feel like a fool as people on the dry ground mocked him?
    Or Abraham asking permission to cross through foreign land that God had promised Abraham?
    PTSD? Perhaps it is no wonder that the Church feels that way now as sound teaching and exhortation gives way to pep rallies. It isn’t easy now, but…..
    Seems to me we should stand, but do so with compassion for each other now. God keep us, Holy Spirit make the promises in the Book our reality because we do know that our God DOES NOT LIE – not once… Pray? Yep

  21. Jim says:

    “There is so much around us that is absurd and silly that we should be howling with laughter instead of howling in anger…I suppose we pick our responses, so I choose to smirk, giggle, and smile.”

    Well said.

  22. Dan from Georgia says:

    #2. This is common among those pushing conspiracy theories. “Do the research” they say. Um…yeah. If its on the internet, it must be true.

    #’s 6 & 10…Amen.

  23. Xenia says:

    Duane, why? I thought the whole point of this thread was to encourage people to be respectful of others.

  24. Babylon's Dread says:

    The most absurd lie is that it cannot happen here… it is happening. It has already happened. The apostasy was in full bloom before covid… the polarization was exploding before Minneapolis.

    Worst of all we simply do not value the truth anymore, we don’t tell it, we don’t seek it, we don’t want it we don’t have an ability to know it. We are the people of the lie.

    Apostasy is here … anarchy is at the door… Donald J Trump came telling it like it is… and now no one can tell how anything is.

    God gives us over … we asked him to go away and he has gone. Life without him is hell.

  25. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Xenia’s question is noted.

  26. Duane Arnold says:

    Xenia

    “Why?”

    It is an apt description. As Michael said, “You can watch a performance more comfortably at home…” When “worship” is reduced to entertainment or performance, there are consequences, which is what Trueman was pointing out in his article.

  27. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    It may be an apt description but any implication that retaining the sacraments precludes a civic religion seems hard to sustain. The Anglican and Episcopalian legacies in US history don’t convince me that sacraments and liturgy are necessarily insurance against jingoistic civic religions (which don’t have to be theistic, since I would go so far as to suggest the whole Star Trek franchise is a kind of secularist civic religious riff on American exceptionalism, which doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy the original series. 🙂 )

  28. Duane Arnold says:

    WTH

    I would tend to agree with you and I will go a step further. There are sacramental folk on both the left and the right. On the left they can be as intensely jingoistic in terms of a progressive civic religion.

  29. CM says:

    WTH,

    Must…Speak with…..Dramatic….Pauses….

  30. Jean says:

    “It may be an apt description but any implication that retaining the sacraments precludes a civic religion seems hard to sustain.”

    This is not to argue with WTH or establish a rule in all cases, but just to further explain my earlier point.

    A true sacramental church sees Christ doing the saving through His appointed means, such as Baptism, Holy Communion, Absolution and proclamation. In these churches, Christ not only brings the kingdom of God, but elects people into to it through these appointed means.

    When a church turns to a charismatic leader or a government, or a political party, or a mob of protesters, or laws affirming someone’s preferred sexuality or gender, or what have you, for the very things that the Sacraments have been instituted by Christ to provide, that is, justification (i.e., I want to be declared in the right), redemption, peace of conscience, affirmation, equality of persons before God, community, etc., what you end up with to one degree or another, I would argue, is a rejection or loss of faith in the Sacraments.

    In can happen in a single man or woman’s heart or in a whole church body. It might begin with impatience, “Why is God not doing this or that?” or “Why is God taking so long?” So, then, since God is not making my life better, I will take matters into my own hands or pledge my allegiance to someone who will do what I was hoping God would do. How can a man or woman receive the body and blood of Christ in faith with such unbelief?

  31. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    I was piggybacking on Xenia’s question to Duane but I’m getting a sense we’re on adjacent pages if, perhaps, not precisely the same page.

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