Things I Think

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104 Responses

  1. Reuben says:

    2, 3, and 5 just about made me cheer from the rooftop I am on.

    It is edging on delusional to believe that Romney is going to stop gays or abortion. Yet evangelicals will vote for a heretic to vote for such change.

    I have so much work to do today, it is insane. Back to it.

  2. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    I’ve come to a place of peaceful detachment from the whole mess…I will not support either candidate.
    Both sides feel they have the moral high ground and both sincerely care about their country and the issues we face.
    My job is to love them all and try to speak about the things that matter to me in a way that people can hear.
    Easier said than done…

  3. 1. Doubtful. The one’s who draw the biggest crowds and raise the most money will win the day. That’s not healthy.

    2. I don’t see how a Christian could self-identify with either party. However, I must be graceful towards my brothers who are involved in such.

    3. True. Furthermore, Republicans being in office doesn’t help the abortion rate. We must win the hearts and minds, especially of the young, if we want to change.

    4. The trick then, is to get your prayers lined up with God’s providential will. Then, you will always see answered prayers.

    5. Yep.

    6. Death anniversaries are rarely celebrated. Steve Jobs was no Elvis.

    7. Hmm. I’m thinking about that one. The internet does seem to have a huge “look at me” factor , inherently built in.

    8. The reaction to that debate should show everyone how shallow American politics is.

    9. I’m twice as poor this year as I ever have been. See how long my good mood lasts.

    10. Of course He does. That’s a good pastor that allows room for God to speak through his people, and recognizes that there is no special connection between a pastor and God, that isn’t also available to every believer.

  4. Xenia says:

    1. All of them in some fashion call for a “new” way of thinking about the church and even about Jesus. <<<

    I suggest books that call for a return to the ancient ways of thinking about church and Jesus.

    2. John MacArthur….

    …. is not someone I listen to.

    3. Gay marriage and abortion….

    … will not end until Americans renounce promiscuity. Doesn't matter who is President.

    4. I don’t see answers to prayer <<<

    I do, all the time!

    5. Ambition is the curse on the church.<<<

    That 's for sure.

    6. Steve Jobs death <<<

    May the Lord have mercy on his soul.

    7. Real life requires it multiple times a day.<<<

    Yep.

    8. I’ve noticed many Christians are more hopeful. I only get that way after church…<<<

    Absolutely. During the debate Romney referenced an individual in his pantheon of gods that he called "The Creator." Whoever this deity is, it's not the God who created all things visible and invisible.

    9. Costco and Wal Mart have their Christmas stuff out and my skin is already turning Grinch green.<<<

    Oh, just hum "Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Glory to the Newborn King" and you'll feel better.

  5. Michael says:

    As to #1…I do think we’re seeing a desire to return to something more ancient…more organic…more centered on Christ and community than personality.

    There will always be personality cults that carry Bibles, but I’m sensing a shift.

  6. filbertz says:

    I rarely read anymore…but M. L’Engle has been the author I’ve made the most room for.

    MacArthur is no better than any run-of-the-mill politician…unfortunately too many people are inhaling his weed.

    I’ll take “being stuck” with the Gospel any day. 🙂

    I imagine if I’d pray more, I’d see more answers to prayer…

    ambition…definitely a curse upon servanthood and self-sacrifice.

    Rom’bama are two sides of the same coin. Neither will help much; both could harm a lot.

    I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year. I look forward to Christmas this year because my boys may be back from Germany, Afghanistan, and Virginia (all in the service)

    The “gulf” between laity and clergy is most dangerous for the clergy…they have the most to lose.

  7. 1. For many of my generation all the newness is overhyped and the old ways are looked at. With all the “Christian” marketing going on, I only hope that Christians will see that the emperor has no clothes.

    2. I’m fairly certain Jesus would not agree with Republicans or Democrats. I think he’d call them all on their sin.

    3. I’d like to add that Christians acting as ambassadors to the world at large would help. We have to make clear compelling arguments for our case. I don’t think politicking will solve this problem.

    There are some VERY persuasive arguments against abortion, but I’ve found that many Christians haven’t learned them or don’t care to learn them. I studied some bioethics, including the abortion issue, but I have difficulty convincing our local pregnancy resource center to think about the philosophical issues regarding abortion. They are stuck in the mindset that the Bible is all that is needed.

    4. It’s funny to see how God provides. Sometimes in dumbfounding ways. Last Thursday, I had a phone call about a couch that needed to be picked up. Then, Friday morning before I unloaded the couch, a man who I’ve been working with mentioned that he and his daughter have a single chair in their house.

    5. Amen. Also, it hurts the church when we count nickels and noses to determine success.

    8. I was only slightly encouraged that politicians might actually have reasonable and rational minds, but then I resolved myself that in order to be a politician you must hold many unresolvable positions and lie through your teeth.

    9. Just be thankful you don’t work there. First shipments of Christmas inventory come in July. I’m 10 years removed from working for Wal-Mart and, honestly, I’ve only begun to enjoy Christmas in the last few years. I still hate crass consumerism.

  8. To your #1 – I think that today’s “popular” books are crap. For the past couple of years I buy only academic books First, the popular books are usually just edits of the author’s preaching, not well thought out. Keller, Piper, Furtick – all the same, just “off the top of the head thinking”

    I had a talk with my class yesterday warning them that they need to stay Lutheran and to do that they need to practice. I told them what they hear on the radio, see on TV and read from the local bookstores are dangerous… that all of the “christian” radio, TV stations and bookstores are own by the evangelicals and it is not in their best interests to indulge.

    (I didn’t mean dangerous in a “you are going to lose your faith” way – just in a “it ain’t Lutheran and it’s not worth spending time with”, kind of way.) 😉

  9. Xenia says:

    Speaking of old books and connecting it to Mr. Armstrong’s #3, here’s a snippet from a very early Christian writing, the Letter to Diognetus. If only these things could be said about us today!
    —-

    They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.

  10. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I think you have a point in that if any sect wants to keep the unique ideas that they bring to the table those ideas must be practiced.
    On the other hand, there are substantial ideas out there, even in evangelicalism.

  11. Em says:

    2- in fairness to John MacArthur, i should have been more precise yesterday … what he actually said (according to me) was that a Christian cannot *support the platform* of one of the two parties and he had, if memory serves me, some glancing blows for the other party, but his topic was “Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality” – if the link works:

    http://www.gty.org/video/Pulpit/V8290-448

    i apologize for my (usual) unscholarly lack of precision

  12. Ixtlan says:

    re #1.

    I don’t know if the church in America is on the verge of getting healthier. I actually think in many ways, we are further declining. Exhibit A, the cult of personality mentality that is soooo prevalent in much of the church.

    I like to spend time in Christian bookstores and look over all the new offerings that are out there to get God’s people on the latest bandwagon. It’s good for the publishers though, and for those pastors who take any opportunity toget more attention by placing themselves in the forefront of what is going on all the while their ghost writers are working away to produce the next wave of the latest and greatest. Most of who I read today are men who are either older than I or have departed this world.

    The church is a project oriented society that gets bored rather quickly. We always seem to need a cause to rally behind or an object or person that we can all feel good about hating. Add that to a culture that thinks ideals have a shelf life of about two years and you can understand why so much of Christian writing is attempting to reinvent the wheel. It is our version of modern ecclesiastical anthropology, which is a quick reflection of the longing in many people’s hearts, yet they have no knowledge of where to go or how to get there. Perhaps the monastics were really on to something after all.

  13. Michael,
    The problem is that folks are not usually able to distinguish between these. I have people come to me and say, “John MacArthur said on the radio_ _ _ _ . I didn’t know that.” and then I have to tell them why they didn’t know it.

    I wanted to make an impression on them, that what is floating through the airwaves is not always beneficial. So, hopefully now, because no one listens to me, when they listen or turn on TBN, they will filter a little.

  14. Thank you, Em, for the correction.

  15. Em says:

    “2. John MacArthur….

    …. is not someone I listen to.”

    and

    “MacArthur is no better than any run-of-the-mill politician…unfortunately too many people are inhaling his weed.”

    and

    ” I have people come to me and say, “John MacArthur said … then I have to tell them why they didn’t know it.”

    suit yourselves but perhaps your assessments are coming from listening to careless quotes from people like me – not from hearing him teach/preach … depends on one’s ears, perhaps? 🙂

  16. Michael says:

    Ixtlan,

    I sense a growing dissatisfaction with the church accompanied by some ideas about what it should like like from both the pulpit and the pew.
    We may not see it in our lifetimes, but I think there will be a massive restructuring movement that will actually get traction.

  17. Michael says:

    Em,

    I listened to MacArthur for years…even went to his church on a pilgrimage a few years back.
    He can be a prophetic voice at times…but he’s so harsh and doctrinaire that I can’t hear him anymore.

  18. Xenia says:

    Em, I don’t listen to Mr. MacArthur because I do not agree with his theology.

  19. Xenia says:

    And Em, don’t be too hard on yourself. I listened to him for years back in the day and formed my own opinions about his theology.

  20. As a clarification, I am speaking of “pop” Christianity, which is all we see and hear on the radio, TV and in the bookstores.
    I give my blessing to read anything from the academics of all persuasions – but most don’t want to go there, hence my warning.

  21. Xenia says:

    And another thing, Em. If you thought that’s what you heard him say about the Democrats, you were not the only one in radio-land who thought they heard something similar, even if that’s not exactly what he said. He said something close enough that you definitely came away with the impression you did and I suspect it reflects his true feelings on the subject.

  22. I appreciate Em’s push for accuracy. I feel that there have been far too many half truths pushed by both sides during this election season. Actual truth is a good thing.
    Some things about Macarthur I love. Some things , like this one, I have to shrug off and say, “that’s mac for ya.”

  23. Em says:

    well, MacArthur and any other that i listen to, – including the understandings of the Faith posted here -i listen to thru the filter of my own understanding of God formed thru the years – i cannot and have not ever followed any teachers unquestioningly, which precludes my declaration of allegiance down the line to the teaching of any organized church – i’m not declaring that i have “arrived” as a Believer – i have a long, long way to go

    yes, i approve of MacArthur’s teaching, i’ve really only listened to him with any regularity in the last couple of years (goaded by the disdain for him here) i think he’s good to listen to and to be challenged by – he’s a teacher that i think is worth my time

  24. Xenia says:

    Em, I understand and like Josh, I appreciate your concern to accurately relate what he said. He and I are so far apart in matters theological that the comment about the Democrats (quoted accurately or not) would be near the bottom of my list of things I disagree with MacArthur about!

  25. I will say something good about MacArthur. I still have about 2 dozen of his books and 400 of his tapes. When it comes to book introductions, and history, geography and culture of the biblical times I find him to be outstanding.There, got that out of m system;-)

    Em, when I used MacArthur in my example, I could have used any of the daily radio pastors.

  26. Em says:

    Xenia, would it be fair to say that the crux of our disagreement regarding the things of God spring from things liturgical? short answer? 🙂

  27. Bob Sweat says:

    “MacArthur is no better than any run-of-the-mill politician…unfortunately too many people are inhaling his weed.”

    Good one Fil!

    You guys know how I feel about Johnny Mac……………………………He had more credibility 48 years ago when he had his traveling gospel team.

  28. Xenia says:

    …in recent years many gullible Protestants have been drawn into either Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy…. <<<<

    A typical MacArthur statement.

  29. Xenia says:

    Em, I guess so. “Liturgical” encompasses many things so yes, that would be the short answer. Plus, he’s a Calvinist and a dispensationalist, which I do not agree with.

  30. Em says:

    MLD, i don’t listen to radio pastors … for the most part they are a compromising, moralizing, generalizing, platitudinalizing waste of my time – plus, the wailing, drumming music grates on my nerves 😆 … of course, i concede that there must be good teachers, i even love hearing some RC teaching – when Christ is glorified i don’t label the source and run from it

  31. Xenia says:

    Now I have to make a correction regarding MacArthur: my quote came from his “Grace to You” website but it was written by Phil Johnson.

  32. @Xenia #9

    I’ve read that quote probably more times that I’d like to admit. It definitely changed my view of things. It was one of the things that moved me slowly to the ministry I have now.

    One of the things I find in the early church is a strong commitment to principles by all and persuasive reasoning directed to rulers and intellects by some, the intellectuals of the day. It was a profound epiphany when I realized that some of the greatest thinkers in history were Christians.

    William Lane Craig wrote, “What evangelical scholars there are tend to be big fish in a very small pond. Their influence extends very little beyond the evangelical subculture.”

  33. MLD,
    I think John’s MacArthur’s introductions and outlines of passages of scripture are some of the best out there. I have most of his commentaries and I typically read the first 3-4 pages of a section and skip the rest.

  34. Em says:

    i will concede MacArthur’s adherence to his party’s line and that his defense is an offense to some good Christians … i’m in a position that just about every denomination will in time step on my faith toes … i wince and enjoy and i learn

  35. Em,
    ” for the most part they are a compromising, moralizing, generalizing, platitudinalizing waste of my time…

    those were the words rolling around my head when I wrote of “Pop”Christianity – but I didn’t know how to spell them. 🙂

    So you would agree with me then that I was correct to warn my class?

  36. Another Voice says:

    than to hate the “47%
    ——————————-
    My memory of Campaign 2012 as to the Body of Christ will be the gross misrepresentation and on occasion the outright falsehoods that are parroted straight from the most hyper-left partisan political websites, uttered by those who comfort themselves that they are a voice of truth and accuracy, and above the partisanship.

    “I thank thee Lord, that I am not like other men posting on Facebook…”

  37. Michael says:

    AV,

    I watched the video where he said it…how is that a misrepresentation?

  38. Ixtlan says:

    I like Johnnie Mac. Don’t always agree with him, but he usually teaches the Bible well.

    and filbertz…….. Everybody inhales something…..

  39. Michael says:

    “Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right. In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong.

    “And I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100 percent and that’s been demonstrated throughout my life. And this whole campaign is about the 100 percent. When I become president, it will be about helping the 100 percent.”

  40. Michael says:

    and my lasting memory of the right will always be the horrific things that were said about the unemployed as they tried to cut off those benefits…words that changed my life and the way I think about politics forever.

  41. Em says:

    politics ought to scare us … don’t want to open the door to God is the God of history and all things are working out according to His plan (i know they are), but right now we’ve got an enemy – spiritual wickedness in high places is not primarily located outside of mother earth IMHO
    since i am more ‘right’ than ‘left’ i apologize with tears for the wounding that self satisfied right wingers have inflicted – many of them thinking that they were supporting a good standard – there are those who did and do not realize that what has been going on isn’t what they think it is IMHO … and then there are the callous, the greedy and self-righteous, the pharisees among us, too … sigh

  42. Wenatchee The Hatchet says:

    I haven’t been a fan of MacArthur since a Pentecostal kid came across Charismatic Chaos and noticed that it didn’t fit his actual experience in Pentecostal settings.

    About 5, I take it book titles like “Rescuing Ambition” aren’t on the reading list?

  43. Michael says:

    Em,

    I’ve had three earthquakes in my adult life…one was getting kicked out of CC, the next was my first trip to Juarez, and the third was that debate over unemployment benefits.

    I’m deeply grateful for all three, though I only have formed scabs for two.

  44. Michael says:

    Wenatchee,

    I haven’t seen it yet…going to go look now.

  45. Michael says:

    Wenatchee snookered me… 🙂

  46. filbertz says:

    lxtlan,
    agreed, but I imagine Johnny Mac wouldn’t. 😉

  47. Lutheran says:

    #1

    Reason #29 for avoiding hate talk radio, Internet, etc. —

    Bill O’Reilly this weekend in a “mock” debate with Jon Stewart —

    this conservative culture warrior admitted:

    “You can make a lot of money by being an assassin”

    “They don’t even believe half the stuff (they say)”

    There are Americans who want to hear hate.”

    He said capitalism is behind it. It’s polluted the news process.

    I love it when someone, no matter their POV, tells the truth.

    I agree that the Church needs to and will shed this stuff if it hasn’t already.

  48. Chile says:

    1. “… it’s obvious that there is a real current of change running through the American church, much of it powered by a backlash against the politicization of the church …”

    I am not up to speed with what you are seeing. Care to unpack this?

    However, I did hear a very interesting and inspiring story. A man had been a youth pastor for a couple decades at a church, when that church began to implement changes that brought the church up to speed with trends in Evangelicalism. (read “cool” and “profitable”.) His take on it was that the ministry became a business and he found himself being forced to do things that brought more people and money into the church, but left “real” ministry by the wayside.

    He came to my town, to an unhealthy church in his denom, and he spotted the issues right away. He saw the same leanings towards profitability, increasing cool factor, and various distractions to occupy his time that diminish the ability to actually minister to the teens.

    The man decided not to take the youth leader position and thinks he will most likely get a job, so he can actually minister to teens without the distracting constraints he’s finding in churches these days.

    “Ministry is not something we go and do. Ministry is the Holy Spirit working in and through us.” — anonymous

  49. Michael says:

    Chile,

    It starts with the explosion of information available now for lay people to access.
    Not only can we learn theology and history at our leisure, we can share experiences, both good and bad.
    Those factors (and I believe the Holy Spirit working with them) has led to discontent with the status quo and a curiosity about other traditions and ways of “doing church”.
    People are seeking and finding ideas and practices they’ve never experienced before and seeing value in things previously scorned.
    No longer can one leader have the final say in what an honest seeker of truth hears or reads.
    It will take a couple of generations…but there will be a revival in the church.

  50. Chile says:

    “No longer can one leader have the final say in what an honest seeker of truth hears or reads.”

    Aw, yes. I see what you mean. This is refreshing!

  51. Em says:

    IMO & FWIW – “I’m deeply grateful for all three, though I only have formed scabs for two” …
    the goal is not scabs or scar tissue, but wisdom, which if one can get their bearings and focus on Christ, will come – the danger is cynism, which has been my weakness from day one of my realization that all that calls itself “church” is not holy by a long shot

  52. I think that the internet may have made it more like “and everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

  53. Gotta agree with MLD @52 on that one. The truth is not winning out in internet-land.

  54. Nonnie says:

    5. Ambition is the curse on the church.
    Yes! I just read where Dobald Trump spoke at Liberty University. That article gave me the creeps .

  55. Michael says:

    MLD, Josh,

    While there is some truth to what you are both saying, I’m still very excited about the internet.
    Giving everyone a voice is dangerous, but many of those voices will carry wisdom and truth…and there will always be a counter argument so that things can be measured.

  56. i was somewhat “there” when the Pentecostal movement broke out in the last century … in my unsaved view, being a kid listening to the adults in my house, it carried some pretty unsavory, exploitive baggage (& i had a grandpa who thought very highly of Aime Semple McPherson sp?) … and i was there when the tongues movement hit Hollywood Presbyterian and the Episcopal churches in So. Calif., i was a newbie Christian and so my only impression was, “what the heck?” … today i think that it was real and was a wake up call to a slumbering major segment of the Church, so i don’t agree with MacArthur’s teaching on the subject … but i think i might know where he’s coming from … take issue with him, be offended, but don’t write him off as a “hater” … another one of my opinions today and it’s time to quit … 🙂

  57. Sarah says:

    fil in #6: “I rarely read anymore…but M. L’Engle has been the author I’ve made the most room for.”

    This brought a smile to me on what has been a very crappy two days. Thanks!

  58. Lutheran says:

    Em,

    I find what you said to be really interesting.

    Just curious — were you raised in the Holiness tradition/movement?

  59. Em says:

    Lutheran, my grandparents were married in 1908 by a Holiness woman preacher: Reverend Madeline Southard – even tho i grew up in my grandparents’ home, i didn’t know any of this background until, with the help of some of my cousins, i compiled a history of our roots … Grandpa graduated from a Bible College and was one of the first leaders of the Nazarene movement in Colorado, but he left the ministry for reasons that i won’t go into here … at my mother’s request i was left to sort things out on my own, and i had a dismissive, if not argumentative, contempt for their faith, but Grandpa was a prayer warrior and my grandparents walked the talk – i will apologize to them in Eternity … my own spiritual life seemed to take root in the Presbyterian church … dunno

  60. Em says:

    post script – it might sound strange that i grew up in their house, but was not really taught in their faith, but it was a very large house, full of people coming and going – WW2 in Southern California had many family members involved in engineering and construction supporting the war effort – regular air raid drills, blackouts etc. – i didn’t really have much one on one interaction with them at all – in the balmy Southern California climate, it was a time when you could shoo a kid outside for the day and not worry about the neighborhood dangers that children face today

  61. So I wonder how that whole “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” went yesterday? Did any of the participating pastors endorse Obama?
    After spending their hour preaching politics and candidates, how many of these “decision theology” guys finished up by saying (after speaking for an hour about Romney) “would any of you like to know this Jesus? Let me tell you how…”

    What a bunch of clowns.

  62. Em says:

    MLD, pray for the clowns among us 🙂

  63. Lutheran says:

    Don’t bother, they’re here.

    🙂

  64. Lutheran says:

    if we don’t get some banking regulations in place, the last Wall Street debacle will look like child’s play. Let’s act like adults. No more bailouts for the banks.

    “A new study by economists Arnoud Boot at the University of Amsterdam and Lev Ratnovski at the International Monetary Fund finds that recent blow-ups in the banking sector — JPMorgan Chase’s $6.8 billion “London Whale” losses and that whole financial-crisis thingy, to name two — are not isolated events, but “a sign of deeper structural problems in the financial system.”

    The only prescription? Less trading by big dumb banks.

    “Without policy action, crises associated with trading by banks are bound to recur,” Boot and Ratnovski write in a blog post about the paper. “Even strong supervision will not be able to prevent them. Consequently, it appears necessary to restrict trading by banks.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/bank-trading-volcker-rule_n_1948922.html

  65. jlo says:

    @61, that’s just a regular Sunday at my old church.

  66. Em says:

    Lutheran, no, no, no … i didn’t say pray FOR clowns, i said pray for the ones that are … here 😆 …

  67. Em says:

    amen to #64 Lutheran … the banks are the epitome of greed – they’d run over your grandmother for the last dollar in her account and call it “sound accounting practices” … IMHO

  68. BrianD says:

    Rescuing Ambition is written by Dave Harvey, a hard-core Sovereign Grace guy.

    I wouldn’t read it if you gave it and a Blizzard to me for free.

  69. BrianD, nobody’s mentioned a Blizzard in a long time … maybe, i need to get one tonight 🙂 somebody save me! guess i’ll go eat some grape tomatoes instead …

    God keep

  70. You’ve heard the phrase, “chew up the meat and spit out the bones.” In this case, eat the Blizzard and toss the book.”

  71. DavidH says:

    #2 – I’m registered as “no party preference.” I’ve gotten a great deal of grief from friends and relatives for this non-affiliation. My friends from church are astounded that I won’t take a political stand and join the Republican Party. My dad’s side of the family is equally astounded that I won’t join the Democratic Party. So either way I’m an outcast.

    #3 – Michael, You put concisely, what I’ve been mulling over for a long time. Thanks.

    #8 – American politics has become cliche. And to use a tired cliche that suits it – “It’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” We’re just selecting different looking puppet heads.

    #9 – Michael, Are you going to put an inflatable Grinch on your lawn? I’ll join you.

  72. Ixtlan says:

    I find it interesting that some pastors who are really into the Pulpit Freedom Sunday do not allow any freedom of expression that isn’t in line with their “vision”.

  73. As for the election… yawn… nothing much is at stake… I am tired of hearing that it is the most important election of our times.

    The kingdom of God is stated in Daniel to be indestructible.

    It has survived Nero and Rome… Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao, and quite a few others…

    I think the kingdom will survive Romney and Obama

    Anyway

    What are the books in the stack that portend change…?

    I am always changing.

  74. BrianD says:

    “You’ve heard the phrase, “chew up the meat and spit out the bones.” In this case, eat the Blizzard and toss the book.””

    🙂

  75. Ixtlan says:

    Speaking of politics…….. I am starting to think Native Americans get it more than most of us…. this country is one big reservation

  76. A Believer says:

    Stand still Dread. It’s not easy hitting a moving target. 😉

  77. London says:

    “nothing much is at stake”….Ha! pretty sure Big Bird thinks differently….

  78. jlo says:

    I find it interesting that less than 1% of American pastors participate in pulpit freedom, it’s actually about 1/3 of 1%, 1400 out of 450,000.

  79. Rob Murphy says:

    On this year’s election, quoting my Dad: Both men are weak, broken, deceived and wrong headed. I am voting for the one that doesn’t believe in killing babies.

    I agree for the reason that God always condemns filling the land with innocent blood. God never ever advocates the sacrifice of children. “It was never on my mind to require such a thing” is what God says throughout the book of Jeremiah.

    I know that voting for any candidate who is weak, broken, deceived and wrong headed removes any ANY complaining from my cake-hole in the future. I cannot be surprised when a deceived person does something stupid: They are deceived. I voted for the candidate with the compromised intellect. I signed my name to their stupidity. We’re partners.

    My only voting qualifier is this: Does this person have any respect for the unborn? God does not want me to fill the land with innocent blood. I may have no impact on that by my vote, but I will not hold the coats of those who are proud that they support abortion. I will not lend the good name God has given me in Jesus Christ to those who love abortion.
    The unborn – If you won’t support their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness because there’s nothing in it for you, you eventually won’t support mine.

  80. Rob, and this is a serious question, why doesn’t the number of abortions go down drastically when a Republican is in office?

  81. Rob Murphy says:

    It’s not just a serious question, it’s a great question.
    You make an interesting framework by asking it, presupposing that only a Republican would advocate the decrease in the taking of innocent life.
    I would say that if a Democrat says that he/she is making “things” better, why haven’t abortions gone down when a Democrat is in office?
    All the evidence of increasing poverty and debt seem indicative that the results are not coherent to the marketing or the plan.

    Back to the question, and by asking it, you obviously agree that life is the most important issue, because you and others are unbothered by the fact that the number of poor and disenfranchised also goes up dramatically when Democrats are in office – which shows those issues are obviously secondary or tertiary at best. This question of life is given the onus, the weight of necessary proof that it is a valid single issue to base voting upon.

    I will then have to simply lean to the same philosophical resolution that those who support ideologies that do not seem to show fruition in the immediate: The outcome is not my responsibility – providing a framework for success is my responsibility. Which framework do I hold as being most important – continuing to drag my feet back to the square one of innocent life. I feed the poor as best I can. I give to those in need, I make my small sphere of influence a place of giving and generosity and have decided that I will only partner with those who value human life for the more ‘global’ issues I cannot have influence in.

  82. Wow, ask an honest question, get attacked in return.

    Yep, that’s about the speed of political discourse nowadays.

  83. Rob Murphy says:

    How is that an attack? Are you looking for reasons to be offended?

    I called it a great question.
    I answered it – I have no explanation for “why” abortions don’t decrease when those who purport to oppose it are elected to office.
    I am not bothered by the lack of “fruit” of my voting efforts, any more than those who believe Democrats are the only ones who care about the uninsured, the poor, the immigrant and the disenfranchised are untroubled by the increasing number of the poor, the disenfranchised and the uninsured and the lower quality of life for all, even the immigrant who came here for “something better.”
    There are those who are not bothered by their support of perceived ‘generosity and benevolence’ by the government and the very great likelihood that this method of generosity and benevolence is bankrupting the current government and the impending reality that if the government completely fails due to the current mismanagement, a vastly greater number of the poor and disenfranchised with both be added to the current number and receive No Help Whatsoever.

    My sole point is this: If even one child who would have been aborted is not aborted – if one more child makes it out of the womb alive, I will consider my vote a success. That’s my sole rubric of “proof” for why I vote the way I vote. Not all the babies were saved, but one was.
    It equals the way I live: If I can give one meal to one person who otherwise wouldn’t have eaten, my ‘giving’ is a success. I didn’t feed all the hungry, but I fed one. I didn’t fix citywide hunger, let alone statewide or national, but I fed one.

    Attacked? I really disbelieve things sometimes.

  84. Ok, given that I do find the abortion issue to be very important, I will ignore your first two paragraphs and try to continue the conversation.

    I agree that the issue of abortion is vital. It is the one reason that I could not vote Democrat. We probably agree on that.

    What I don’t understand, is that if you take numbers from the last 30 years or so, the abortion rates have remained static regardless of which party was in office. They actually dipped a tiny bit during Clinton’s run, but it was only a small amount, and thus, could be attributed to basically anything.

    I just wonder if the Republicans are lying to you. IT would seem if the most powerful man in the free world really wanted to do something about abortion, that he could make a dent. In fact, If he can’t even make a dent, how could I ever think I could make a dent? See, I think they are just playing for votes. If it was something they were serious about, it would be more than a campaign platform. Some action would take place.

    I think there has to be a better way to solve the abortion issue than the Republicans have ever shown me.

  85. “because you and others are unbothered by the fact that the number of poor and disenfranchised also goes up dramatically when Democrats are in office”

    That was the attack, and completely untrue on many levels. But who cares.

  86. Rob Murphy says:

    @84 – and I’m showing you the better way to solve the issue of hunger and poverty by my example. The sole measuring point to me is that if you get the issue of life wrong, you will get everything else wrong. If you support the murder of the unborn, you cannot expect anyone to believe there is sanctity in feeding a poor adult person, or clothing an adult person, or giving sanctuary to a politically oppressed adult person.

    And to believe that offering food to a poor adult person in the name of Jesus Christ while advocating killing a pre-born person is service to some higher ideal defies logic.

    Yet, left with no options to cure the horror of abortion (have you ever seen the cost of adoption?) on a local level other than support of local orphanages, pregnancy counseling services and monetary support for Moms – to – be in need, I do every measure I can to support the life of the unborn, and that includes my vote – in hopes that some day, this country will get it right.
    I don’t care who gets credit for ‘solving the abortion issue’, but one party thinks the issue is already solved and they do all they can to make sure it stays solved. And their solution is complete availability and financing of world wide abortion. They will never get anything else right.

    @85 – I guess I missed some lengthy discussions somewhere.

  87. Another Voice says:

    Josh, I’ll give you an answer, brother. You do ask a good question and if we flip the coin over we could easily ask why then do Democrats repeatedly use their support of abortion (a woman’s right to choose as it is phrased) in ads against Republican opponents in all but the reddest of states? Again, if there is no real difference when Republicans are in office, why the fear that abortion rights will go away if the Republican wins?

    The answer is Roe v Wade. There is only so much a President can do to limit abortions. One is the use of executive order as to banning federal funding for abortions overseas. Reagan put it in law, Bush Sr. continued, Clinton reversed it to allow abortions, Bush Jr. reinstated it, Obama reversed it again.

    You no doubt saw the battles over ending the so-called partial birth abortions, as well as the Born Alive Infant Protection Act which mandates care be given to a baby that survives an abortion attempt. Bush signed that into law – Obama voted against a similar bill as an Illinois state legislator. These battles of course are waged often on party lines, although many Democrats typically join the Republicans here.

    But Roe v Wade is where it all hangs. There are many states, typically led by Republicans, that already have laws on the books that were written to go into effect the moment the Supreme Court would one day overturn the federally protected Roe and put the matter back with the states.

    I fully recognize and agree that abortions should decrease as the gospel increases (so should divorce rates and adultery). However, I for one think that as long as the law allows such an ease and acceptance (and in many Democrat-led states even the funding) for abortion, then the fight is almost futile, except we take heart as Rob said over that one baby that might be saved.

    But laws do have a purpose and value. And that is why Roe as law of the land is such a big deal. Over 90% of abortions are of so-called “unwanted and inconvenience” babies.

    And true, Republican Presidents have screwed up royally on judicial picks on this issue. The retired Souter and O’Connor come to mind, and Kennedy is a wild card. Romney may screw up too, and if he does he will incur the wrath of people like me.

    But I know with certainty that Obama will not nominate a judge (look at the two he already put on the bench) that will overturn Roe. Not a chance

    You see, the parties typically differ as to HOW the nation should be run on issues of economics, defense and so forth. But on the issue of abortion, there is a clear demarcation. Yes, there are a handful of pro-life Democrats, though almost none at the national level, mostly state legislators in places like Oklahoma and Missouri. There are also pro-abortion Republicans in national offices in blue states, though at least these folks tend to support the judicial pro-life picks of a fellow-Republican President.

    Until Roe is overturned, it does not matter which party has the White House. But which party has the White House is direcly relevant to Roe one day being overturned.

  88. Xenia says:

    why doesn’t the number of abortions go down drastically when a Republican is in office?<<<

    Doesn't matter who is in office. When promiscuity rises, abortions rise.

    Quit promoting (by watching) TV programs that promote promiscuity. (Almost all of them.)
    Quit promoting (by buying and reading) modern novels that years ago would have been considered p0rnographic
    Quit supporting the movie industry
    Quit dressing your daughters like hookers
    Quit allowing your daughters to go out at night unchaperoned.
    Keep an eye on your daughters. Don't leave her to her own devices for hours
    Ditto with your sons.
    —–

    There was a time in human history when daughters were protected. Now they are dressed up like call girls and sent out into the world with a personal philosophy that says all sex is good and virginity is silly. <— As long as this philosophy prevails, there will be abortions, no matter who is elected.

    Disengage yourself from today's promiscuous culture.
    Be an engaging Christian.
    Love your neighbors
    Live simply.
    Teach this to others, who, after you've shown them the love of Christ, might actually listen to you.

    Or trust in a politician.

    "Place not your trust in princes or sons of men."

  89. @86 – Ok. I’m not saying you don’t care about abortion. Clearly you do, and you try and make a dent in your own world. That’s great, me too! The only question I asked, which wasn’t intended to offend is, why don’t the numbers go down when a Republican is in office? It’s baffling to me that so many people vote according to one issue, but that issue has never been greatly affected by the vote.

    AS far as 85, no lengthy discussions needed. You claimed, for whatever crazy reason, that I don’t care about poor and disenfranchised people. Again, that’s offensive, but that was never even the issue. I just wanted to know why Republicans haven’t been able to affect abortion rates.

  90. I think Xenia’s 88 is right on target.

    AV, I do appreciate that you at least offered an answer. There are a couple of things that don’t line up. For instance, you said:
    ” There is only so much a President can do to limit abortions. One is the use of executive order as to banning federal funding for abortions overseas. Reagan put it in law, Bush Sr. continued, Clinton reversed it to allow abortions, Bush Jr. reinstated it, Obama reversed it again.”

    But even this change did not affect abortion numbers the way you might think. Again, Abortions were down around 200,000 per year during Clinton’s reign. They went back up under Bush and stayed level under Obama. It seems that there should be a more effective way of attacking the problem, especially is that is the only issue so many people are voting on.

  91. Another Voice says:

    This article is six years old, but speaks to what I refer above. You will note the clear divide between so-called red, purple, and blue states.

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-04-16-abortion-states_x.htm

  92. “we could easily ask why then do Democrats repeatedly use their support of abortion (a woman’s right to choose as it is phrased) in ads against Republican opponents in all but the reddest of states? Again, if there is no real difference when Republicans are in office, why the fear that abortion rights will go away if the Republican wins?”

    Because they are slimy liar politicians who will do anything to get a vote.

  93. Another Voice says:

    Josh @90 – I admit those are very small numbers compared to what Roe allows. They are just about the only examples one can point to since Roe is such a dominant ruling nationwide.

    Xenia is very much correct. And of course it is hoped that the pro-life Christians would raise their children in such a manner.

    Considering though that minors can get abortions without parental consent, even the best parents have a tough battle.

  94. Another Voice says:

    The hardest challenge I feel I face as a parent is to make sure my children know that they can ALWAYS talk to me about ANYTHING.

    It is a hard challenge because I am teaching them right from wrong. I am placing limits on their freedom – that they can’t watch, listen, act and dress like all the other kids.

    My parents were good parents, though not Christian. I knew they were always there for me. However, I remember as a teenager thinking “there is no way I am telling Mom and Dad about this because they will freak out”

    Children of Christian parents face that battle. And Satan no doubt is whispering to them all along, “Oh no, you can’t tell your parents. They will be so upset. You’re supposed to be a Christian.”

    It’s brutal – and this is one of those areas where if people haven’t actually walked in those parental steps, they really don’t understand.

  95. Xenia says:

    You have to fear God more than you fear your children.

  96. Xenia says:

    (I did not mean “you” personally. I should have used the pronoun “we.”)

  97. Em says:

    reading down this thread, gathering my thoughts to say what i KNOW is the crux of the abortion issue and then i got to Xenia’s #88 and she said it for me …

    smart promiscuous people use birth control measures – dumb, careless or unlucky girls/women get impregnated, also called “unplanned” – how tidy; like it was a collision in an intersection or something

    we claim to be very aghast at the abortion rate and look the other way at what we know is, perhaps contribute to, the general atmosphere that is the root cause … we *hope* our children will be sexually pure, we think they understand what a rich privilege such a relationship is, how far beyond the orgasmic moment it extends and then we just sit back, shut up and wait it out … ? … maybe, we feel foolish trying to stop the tsunami … dunno

    in mid-20th century the attack began – to accuse our parents and their parents of being uptight, of not knowing how to enjoy the gift of life – it was time for change, for real living to begin: no absolutes, no moral absolutes, no fear and no consequences – well, i think time has proved that was a very poor theory and scientifically? it has happened before and, if the world holds together, will again – scientifically, it only proves the madness theory IMHO

    i should edit that, but i’m too tired of the whole thing to care whether it makes sense or not 🙄

  98. Em says:

    if one reads Xenia’s #95 96, it will be unnecessary to wade thru my #97 – yeah, what she said!

  99. Xenia says:

    contribute to, the general atmosphere that is the root cause<<<

    Em has hit the proverbial nail on the head.

    We like to think that we can amuse ourselves with immoral forms of entertainment and as long as it stays in our own living room it does not harm anyone but this is not true. What we sow we will reap and the reaping many not come in the form that we expect.

    If no one watched immoral TV shows the the networks would stop making them. Since almost 50 percent of the American population claim to be Protestant Christians and another large percentage are other forms of Christianity, obviously Christians make up a large percentage of the audience. If every Christian stopped watching today's perverted sitcoms and other god-mocking programs they'd go off the air. But we refuse to give up our right to be entertained and we tell ourselves it doesn’t hurt anyone. So the promiscuity-promotion continues, the mocking continues, right in our own living rooms. The advertisers are encouraged, Hollywood is encourage and our minds become so corrupted we can no longer recognize that we are watching “soft” p0rn every night.

    This miasma of promiscuity and perversion does not return void.

  100. Another Voice says:

    Xenia, polls about religious ID are rather meaningless today. There is a good chance I might have said ‘Christian’ if asked back in the day when there is no way I was saved – and I certainly was living a life of debauchery.

    If we look at exit polls for 2008, 39% of total voters (all candidates) attend church weekly or more than weekly. Likewise 44% don’t attend ever or at most a “few times a year”. 15% only said once a month.

    We also know that many people do not vote at all, but I think it is safe to say that those who regularly attend church and are serious about the things of the Lord vote in higher percentages than those who stay home. That lowers the national percentages even further.

    Now, keep in mind, those stats do not differentiate between those who go weekly to churches that PROMOTE sexual immorality either. The ones ordaining homosexuals and so forth. So we can reduce the numbers a little more. When all is said and done, people committed to holiness and the teaching of the Bible are a distinct minority in this country.

    Someone like Kanye West is a multi, multi, millionaire. Movies like The Hangover make millions as well. Maybe a few bucks comes from the pockets of people who are serious about the things of the Lord (or their kids), but not enough that these performers and films would stop being made.

    How many strip clubs are out there in America? Does anyone think that all of the strip clubs would close down for lack of business if the born again Christians would stop going?

    I don’t think it is accurate to blame God’s Church for America’s immorality. I don’t think Jesus does either.

  101. Em says:

    reading AV’s response to Xenia … i don’t think it is accurate to blame God’s Church for America’s immorality either … but how to take a firm and vocal (therefore obnoxious to some) stand against sin? … we’ve gotten too good at conceding that it is normal because we quote: “for all have sinned and come short,” glossing over what that flaw has cost God …
    if we fight against the tide, we are labeled “holier than thou” – we’d rather be labeled just about anything, but that …

    we aren’t to blame for the world’s condition or even our own town’s probably, but it doesn’t seem like we’re doing our business right, either – or so it seems to me tonight … dunno … just sayin, cuz talk is cheap, maybe – dunno

  102. Another Voice says:

    Em – I’ll fully admit that maybe I am confused.

    I thought the issue was initially abortion. And how society’s normalizing of sexual promiscuity, especially in the entertainment fields of influence, is a major culprit for the numbers of abortions.

    So far so good – but it seems we have swerved in the discussion.

    Is the suggestion being made that active, vocal, passionate, Christians who fight and cry over the death of the unborn baby in the womb are the SAME PEOPLE that allow their teenage girls to dress like sluts and their teenage boys to treat girls like sluts? To listen and watch all sort of sexual filth?

    The part of the Body of Christ that is living just like the world, watching the same sexual filth, is that same part that could care less about the baby in the womb, or supporting helping young girls keep their babies, or making young men step up to the plate and act like men.

    I’m willing to admit a large part of the Church is asleep, but not willing to admit that the ones that are awake are also the ones chiefly responsible for keeping the market alive for the filth.

  103. AV, FWIW, the “swerve” on my part at least was to question why we can focus on the abortion issue with an almost knee-jerk outrage, but we are so ineffective in protesting the crass atmosphere of style and conduct today which has created, among other problems, abortion’s popular acceptance and proliferation …

  104. Another Voice says:

    EM – Frankly I feel ineffective protesting the abortion outrage when it is placed by so many right alongside marginal tax rates or length of unemployment insurance as equal evils in splitting the vote.

    I think many of us do protest the crass conduct today – with about as much effect. The difference is we aren’t looking to legally change dress codes or censor what is allowed in music and movies.

    I don’t think it’s too much to ask though to seek the end of the legal murder of a few million babies.

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