Things I Think…

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54 Responses

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    #6…..I feel your pain

  2. Michael says:

    Dan,
    Pain is the right word…for another year and a half…

  3. Dan from Georgia says:

    In all seriousness though…I really liked what Matt Redmond said in his latest post. Too bad we Christians are selective in being salt and light.

  4. Dan from Georgia says:

    Why, when it comes to politics, do we act like the world…

  5. Michael says:

    Matt is awesome…I wish he had a higher profile so people could see what we’re really supposed to look like…

  6. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael….seriously, all is not right when the Motor City Kitties are ranked higher than the Vikes in the ESPN Power Rankings.

  7. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I’m rapidly becoming one of those old men who rooted for the same team all their life and died without seeing a championship.
    Hope deferred makes the heart sick…and so does watching Cousins… πŸ™‚

  8. Bob Sweat says:

    Amen to #9!

  9. Linn says:

    #8-Our Instagram, TikTok, click on Amazon because I need it now culture, can’t deal with long-term solutions or “deprivation” of our rights to not do sensible things. My parents grew up during the Depression and my mom, of the two, was the most deprived. Sunday night supper might be the berries you picked on the way home from church along the roadside, topped with milk and accompanied by bread. She never had a “bought” dress until she was in high school, didn’t wear shoes in the summer except into town so that she could have them for the following school year, and started cleaning houses at the age of 11 to buy her school supplies. The rest went to her mother (a widow with 10 kids). She survived it, thrived, and passed all the lessons down to me. A little cloth mask and six feet of distance seems a very small price to pay to avoid a potentially fatal illness (not to mention passing it on to others). The way things are going in some states, they may have an apocalyptic heath event before they understand that small sacrifices now will mean less COVID-19 (oh wait, it’s a hoax) in their futures.

  10. Mike E. says:

    I guess I’m seeing things a bit differently. Yes, there is much to be sad and perplexed and angry about. And yes, the church in America is in a bad place. But I have hope today. Hope for the church. And hope for America. Not because I think any of this is good. But I cling to the doctrine of providence and the sovereignty of God. Every bit of this seems so out of control. And in the realm of humans, it is. BUT GOD. It’s all (and I mean ALL) part of His divine plan. And we as believers can rest in that knowledge that our God’s will on earth and in Heaven, is now, and will continue to be, accomplished.

    And I even have hope in the church because I see there are still elements of the church out there loving others sacrificially. They just don’t get any headlines. Their headlines are written in heaven. Michael, you gave the example of Matt Redmond. I would add Mrs. Kate Bowler, who continues to pray and inspires others to pray for the sick and the weak and the oppressed. Jesus our Savior lives and is working through His true church. And His Kingdom will have no end.

  11. Michael says:

    Mike E.,

    I’m not optimistic about anything but the eschaton at the moment.
    Kate Bowler has been a lifeline for a bunch of us…

  12. Kevin H says:

    Michael,

    Don’t give up hope! It took my Eagles 52 years to win their first Super Bowl – longer than I’ve been alive. But they did it! (You may remember that one. πŸ™‚ )

    Now for the election and Christian interaction therein and a politics as a whole – I can’t give you much hope there.

  13. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    The Vikings are past 60 and so am I… πŸ™‚

  14. Mike E. says:

    Michael…difference between optimism and hope brother. And fancying myself a writer and an armchair theo, I’m always appreciative of new words. Eschaton. I suppose that’s where the word eschatology comes from. I hadda look it up. Which is good for me. Thanks as always. πŸ™‚

  15. Michael says:

    Mike E.,

    Hope is a necessity for life…I have some hope but I believe that the next few years will be unlike anything we’ve known before…I try to contain my apocalyptic thoughts online…

  16. Em says:

    1-can we say that no one holds a governing office outside the will of God? God help us…
    2-seems to me that most politicians sell their souls… God help us
    3-confess, confess, confess… and repent! ! ! God help us
    4-AMEN… God be merciful
    5-uhhh… Maybe?
    6-my mask bothers others as i wear one that supports a certain sheriff running for governor. 😁
    7-yes, but doesn’t mean it can’t happen … sigh
    8-well, they may yet have to endure. ..
    9-My kingdom is not of this world… Thank God (my app’)
    10-haven’t got any, so i may chug cranberry juice next week as this election IS a chaotic mess.. or so it seems to me

    Singing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus….”

  17. EricL says:

    Thanks for sharing Matt’s article. I’m avoiding much of the online slime until this election is past. I’m guilty of the awful “sin” of being a political moderate on many things who doesn’t toe the line on every issue. For that terrible truth, I’ve been called vicious things by the radicals of both sides.

    Funny aside, most radicals don’t even consider themselves radical. They think they are reasonable and logical and balanced. But test yourself: can you understand the other side of an argument and put yourself in the other person’s shoes? If you cannot, then admit that you are a radical on that issue.

    Personally, I find it easier to endure open-and-honest radicals who admit they think their viewpoint is the only acceptable one. It is harder to deal with the sanctimonious folks who are in denial of their own radicalization as they try to convert me to their side with as much heavy-handedness as a hellfire preacher in front of a brothel.

  18. Dread says:

    Have not seen tv or social media other than this site since July β€” I do see online news and YouTube lectures and interviews.

  19. Michael says:

    BD,

    You haven’t missed anything but what appears to be a long movie trailer for hell…

  20. Steve says:

    I take it your #10 is satire but I thought I would ask since the topic on the practice of communion has been at times quite serious if not contentious on this blog.

  21. Michael says:

    Steve,

    It’s a joke…but I really won’t blame anyone for drinking through the early days of next week…

  22. bob1 says:

    Maybe a drinking game…everytime the Donald uses the word “COVID” take a drink. You probably won’t last long. πŸ™‚

  23. Nancy Holmes says:

    I’m with Mike E. on “BUT GOD…”

    I can choose to follow my own cynical (after many years of many disappointments) analysis of life in this world. After all, a cynic is basically a disappointed idealist. Or I can choose to BELIEVE that God is for us, having so loved the entire world that He even gave us Jesus. Therefore He is ALWAYS in the business of bringing order out of chaos, healing the wounded and restoring justice to victims.

    It is not an easy choice for me. I have a bone to pick with the Almighty over His treatment of my friends, even allowing victims at all and the SLOWWWWness at which everything seems to happen in His eternal now–the world that we live in.

    I have to learn to operate my spiritual binoculars for the long view so I can use both eyes in depth, seeing the evil and the glorious good and believing that He is indeed the Final Arbiter and will in the end totally carry the victory.

    I believe that God is sovereign and providential, and that we have been given free will to believe that we can trust Him and have hope in Him, despite the wearying distractions that seem to so easily hinder us.

    We get to choose our basic attitudes about the results of the election and its consequences. Will we trust God or will we only trust our particular political party to save us?

  24. bob1 says:

    In addition to ‘COVID,’ if you really wanna get wasted fast, everytime
    he says ‘Deep State.”

  25. EricL says:

    By the way, my post above was not aimed at anyone in particular at this site (and certainly not our fair host). The “you” is meant to be a generic one- I guess apply if needed. Sorry for any possible misunderstanding. I’m just venting about this political season overall.

    Sometimes I wonder if we aren’t dealing with two viruses: COVID19 and ELECTION20.

  26. Nancy Holmes says:

    After I finished my last post, I got notice of this soul searching blog post that I would like to share.

    http://www.thistleandtoad.com/wwwthistleandtoadcom/writings/2020/10/28/e975mmd1t4dzjmcba9h4dd9f5mf4as

  27. Michael says:

    EricL,

    It’s all good…

  28. Bride of Christ says:

    Thank you, Nancy Holmes…I’m having a very apocalyptic feeling day due to the large fires just north of us in Irvine, California. So much smoke here in Oceanside, about an hour away from the fire, that my throat hurt after an evening walk last night. I read about two young fire fighters who were severely burned and in critical condition this morning and suddenly everything just seems too much to bear. I enjoyed reading your words of encouragement…thank you.

  29. Nancy Holmes says:

    Bride of Christ

    I am filled with sadness to hear of these wounded young heroes–I will certainly prayer God’s mercy and loving-kindness to them, whether they personally know Him or not. Thank God for His providence tho we struggle to assimilate these harsh times and events.

  30. Owen says:

    Michael, I gave up on politics a while ago, waiting until this s**tstorm passes… I’m not a drinker myself but I wouldn’t blame anyone who partakes more than usual in the next several days.

    Nancy Holmes mentioned “We get to choose our basic attitudes about the results of the election and its consequences.”. Agreed. At this point, I’m choosing the attitude of “this too shall pass”, and trusting the only One trustable.

  31. Steve says:

    I question if the outcome of the election will be actually determined before inauguration day in January. That’s a lot of drinking. We need to be sober minded as Christians because I think the party is just beginning.

  32. Michael says:

    Owen,

    My attitude mirrors yours, but I’m already having to deal pastorally with people whose eggs are all in the political basket and they’re tearing up homes as a result.
    I may need liquid reinforcement before this mess is finished…

  33. Mike E. says:

    Since I’ve been to rehab twice I think I’ll skip the drinking game. 🀣 As President Bush the elder used to say…”wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture…” Or was that Dana Carvey playing President Bush? This clip is particularly relevant for where we find ourselves today. To all you Trumpy’s…..I love you. β€οΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
    https://youtu.be/EfVAEcxv4vo

  34. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Matt Redmond’s recent post got me thinking (again) about how, whoever wins, Christians are obliged to consider Exodus 22:28 and Ecclesiastes 10:20. Reviling the leaders of the land has been part of American tradition for a long time. In a way … reviling the leaders we had was part of how the U.S. came to be. πŸ™‚

    What I’ve found depressing about the last twenty years is seeing an outworking of citizens, members of the press, and politicians choosing to deligitimate the institutions and norms of governance for the record when they don’t get the result they want and it has spanned the two-party system since the start of the century. Steve raises a good point, can we actually be sure the outcome will be settled by inauguration day? We’re living in an age in which a liberal cartoonist could ruefully note that Nixon’s concession speech to JFK was classier than what we’ve had in presidential politics in this century. That old Doonesbury strip has stuck with me.

    For me, a lot of things start to make more sense if I step back from any dispensationalist-futurist timelines of Van Impe or Lindsey from my Pentecostal years, and back away from the various forms of postmillenialist “optimism” I came across since becoming Reformed, and consider that the United States is merely the latest iteration of The Beast.

    The Christians who are fighting with each other over what kind of America we should be living in may be fighting over how to express their reverence for The Beast rather than for Jesus.

    Eschatological panic at the fall of Babylon is what we see world-loving people do in Revelation, lamenting the demise of the city. I’ve been thinking about how there is room to lament the demise of an empire that is another empire and yet celebrate God’s judgment on that empire. Lamenting the suffering of people while celebrating God’s judgment on powers is something I’ve had to consider more through my own Bible study and reading commentaries on prophetic books than anything I’ve heard from the pulpit during my life.

    People willing to tear up homes over politics are, for me, showing they venerate The Beast more than Jesus but my impression is that American Christians have rarely been told from the pulpit to even consider the possibility that the U.S. could be the latest iteration of The Beast. My church is starting into a series on Revelation and I picked up Beale’s shorter commentary, as I’ve been revisiting Revelation it struck me recently that Rev 13 got a lot of ink spilled from Americans who imagined that whatever The Beast is, it ain’t America, whose End Times destiny is something else besides being an iteration of The Beast. The folks who would say to that “So you hate America” are possibly venerating The Beast, for who is like The Beast, they said. The conceptual shift from that to “is there any nation as great as the United States” is a pretty small one. Stuff I’ve been thinking about a lot this particular election year. So I’ve been willing to tell friends who are Christians that I think the US is the latest iteration of The Beast and that we shouldn’t look at people who vote differently than we do (if they’re voting) as people who have betrayed Jesus. If people say “The Jesus I believe in wouldn’t let such terrible things happen to Americans to judge them” probably need to go revisit Revelation and think about it for a bit. People can vote for whoever it is they want to vote for and I’ve got enough friends and family across the red and blue, right and left I can appreciate what their reasons are. I can also see how the scriptural warning about idols that those who make them become like them has been proven true in American civic religion, with people acting like their idols toward each other. I can pray for whoever wins either way, and I’m going to make not reviling whoever wins a discipline either way.

  35. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think those who are having “household” political divisions or those who feel the need to drink their way through these elections (even figuratively) have long standing and previously undealt with emotional, spiritual and human issues which have not been dealt with.
    My goodness, it’s just regular election cycle – come on man!

    No one comes from a more diverse politically / religiously divided family than I do – New York Jews / Christians – very liberal / very conservative — who used to consider Thanksgiving meals as blood sport discussion time. But we don’t divide as family and friends.

    On Facebook – my biggest foil is my 93 yr old mother who I don’t think has ever hit the “like” button on any of my posts – definitely not my political or my Jesus is the only way to salvation posts and I don’t think she is a Dodgers fan. Maybe when I post on the grandkids. πŸ™‚

    My point is that this election itself is not dividing people and families – it is not causing people to drink – this is all caused by the baggage people choose to carry around – yes I said choose – and that they use the election as a match to cause disturbances they no longer wish to suppress.

    So if we are going to drink over it, let’s drink that we as free Americans get to have free elections every so often – cheers to another round.

  36. Mike E. says:

    MLD..I agree many folks choose to carry around emotional baggage. No doubt. But there are many who have not chosen for themselves…but are truly victims..I use that word fully knowing the cultural hatred for it. But it is true. Many are victimized by evil people. Pedophiles (NOT QANON CRAP) really do exist. So do narcissists, physical abusers, emotional abusers, etc. These cost lasting damage physiologically…i.e. can actually rewire the brain and mess with the central nervous system. A good example is Holocaust victims…you probably know some or even have them in your family. Many research studies have been done on the effects of emotional and physical trauma. And what happens is that current events trigger these deep emotional wounds for these unfortunate souls. So we agree fully that that’s pretty much what is happening to a lot of people. I think of Holocaust survivors when they see Neo-Nazis parading in the streets with swastika flags and a leader who calls them good people. Triggers indeed. Cheers indeed. Tears indeed.

  37. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Mike E – I agree to the extent that folks have hurts, but I was speaking in the context of divisions over elections. Do the Holocaust survivors divide among themselves because one candidate may win an election? I would guess not, and would put my money on the fact that they as a family would stick together and not divide.
    What Michael brings up are family and close friend relationships dividing and there I think is a different dynamic all together as I described above.

  38. Mike E. says:

    MLD–“What Michael brings up are family and close friend relationships dividing and there I think is a different dynamic all together as I described above.” And of course every person and situation is unique. So we really do agree in large measure. All I am saying is the evil in this world can trigger many folks, some folks who’ve been damaged in this way. What I think is important to recognize is emotional trauma is many times not chosen. So I just think it’s important for us as ministers of reconciliation to remember that this is the case in many situations. Of course not all. Congratulations to the Dodgers! My daughter lives near LA so I root for them for that reason. Blessings to you!

  39. Linn says:

    I recommend strong, black coffee (with a sidedcar just in case).

  40. Em says:

    Sitting here reading and drinking my morning “strong black coffee,” having just come from reading Amos 5 , i need some roses and sunshine….
    I hope there are green grass, blue skies and maybe some living water in Paradise….. πŸ™†. Snow? Uhuh
    God keep and keep us prayerful

  41. filbertz says:

    Thanks for your thoughts. I laughed aloud on your first one. “we all lost.” is so true.
    Copious amounts of communion wine–another enjoyable zinger. I’ve lessened my beer consumption, but have been saving some really nice whiskey that is beckoning to me for this weekend…
    If judgment starts in house, we’ve got a lot of housecleaning to do. Our voice is not nearly as critical as our deeds moving forward, in fact we need to re-earn the right to be heard. Talk is cheap; good deeds are invaluable.

  42. Owen says:

    Fil, your last paragraph makes a good focal point. Well said.

  43. bob1 says:

    We won’t be waiting until Inauguration Day for the winner of this election.

    It’ll be known by end of day Tuesday night.

    You heard it here first. πŸ™‚

  44. Linn says:

    ROFL!

    Hopefully, we’ll get it at least before Inauguration Day.

  45. Em says:

    bob1, “the fix is in?”. ? ? ?

  46. Dread says:

    fil

    I get the sentiment but there’s NO earning the right to be heard. And “re-earn” … we never had that. Isn’t that MAGA for church… I know and respect your heart but there’s no threshold of earning anything with either God or man. Nowadays the wokeness both condemns and requires your silence anyway.

  47. bob1 says:

    Em,

    No. Nothing nefarious.

    Just millions and millions of Americans voting. Period.

  48. Dread says:

    I think bob1

    Just predicted a massive Biden victory.

    A Trump win will not be visible by Tuesday unless it is a bigger shock than 2016.

    I was shocked more then than I would be now. I think he should be re-elected.

    I think we will be worse

  49. Dread says:

    worse if he is defeated…

  50. Xenia says:

    Bishop Irenei, that is!

  51. Em says:

    The world most likely is governed by fear… and lust, perhaps. But. ..
    The Church is or should be governed by fear of God where wisdom begins
    Good ponder, Xenia

  52. filbertz says:

    Dread, a point well-taken. I suppose what I am proposing is building (rebuilding) credibility. Perhaps Christians never had that either. A rather dismal thought…

    But in the meantime, I’ll still speak…words of encouragement, truth, and hopefully some hard won wisdom. The chips will fall where they may.

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