Category Archives: 9 things

9 things (May 23)

1. Jesus said, “You shall know them by their fruits.” And yet, so many organizations that go by the name “church” continually ignore, cover up, and deny the fruits, embracing the wolf. I think it is time to name these organizations for what they are. If “the least of these” are not safe inside your walls, you are not a church, no matter how your PR firm spins it.

2. When one is cast out of a wolf-embracing organization, or has fled for their own safety, they have not left the church. They simply saw the fruits and realized that what they were in was not a church.

3. The SBC hasn’t been a church for a long, long time. Ever, really. An organization founded for the purpose of keeping slaves under control might say some good things from time to time, but so does the devil. You can’t tell a church by what is plastered on their website or printed in their bulletins. You will know them by their fruits.

4. I pray that the people of God who are still in bondage in the SBC will be able to flee and find safety.

5. I also pray that we all would see the warning signs before the candlestick is removed. If our “ministry” is more concerned about culture than the gospel; if our “ministry” is more concerned about keeping women in their place; if our “ministry” is based on money, power, numbers, and privilege; NOW is the time to repent and return to our former love.

6. Is anyone else extremely disturbed that so-called Christian leaders are denouncing winsomeness and kindness because of the “hostility” of the culture?? There are so many problems with this I don’t even know what to say. The outright exchange of the ethics taught by Jesus (and all of scripture) for the ethics of Fox News should shake us to the core. But it does expose the god that so many serve.

7. Placing one’s trust in strength or riches will always lead to oppression and robbery (Psalm 62). You will know them by their fruits. If there is oppression or robbery, there is no Biblical faith.

8. We are all sinners. If a church is doing its job, we will be made uncomfortable by our sins and urged to find cleansing and healing in Christ. But if your person, your dignity, your body, your worth and your voice are not safeguarded and protected, then you are not in a church.

9. Everyone is continually being catechized. It is the nature of being human. If you are being catechized by porn, you will not have a healthy view of relationships and sexuality. If you are being catechized by the media (whether right or left wing) you will make decisions based on fear. If you are being catechized by right wing nationalism, you will not understand Christianity and will find yourself worshiping another god. We become like the idols we serve (Psalm 115).

Read the Psalms.

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9 things (May 13)

Lots of celebrity pastors express concern (condemnation) for so many ex-evangelicals who are “deconstructing.” Pause. New subject. Josh Duggar’s pastor, a leading evangelical voice for a leading evangelical family, is begging the judge to allow Josh to return to his children. Let that sink in a little. There might be a connection.

For 40 years now, since the “moral majority” became a thing, the leading voices in evangelicalism have united for “traditional family values”. The result is that Anna Duggar does not believe that she has biblical grounds for divorce and that her children need a father like Josh. This makes me brutally sad. Perhaps Christians should unite over good exegesis, mercy for the oppressed, and being a voice for the voiceless.

Every time I think about writing something, I wonder if there is even a point. Then I remember that the battle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against demonic spirits in high places. So I breathe. Look to Christ. And say what has to be said, even if no one listens.

The most influential religion in America is no longer “moral therapeutic deism”, in my opinion. It has given way to Trumpism and “Christian” nationalism. These are the ugly stepchildren of Dominionism, the moral majority, and revivalism. This false religion, incidentally, grows from the same soil that bred Josh Duggar, just as the Bible said it would. But it has nothing to do with Christianity.

To Anna Duggar: You can do better.

The Bible says that we are “complete in Christ” (Col. 2:10). If this is the inerrant word of God, then it is true. If it is true, then your salvation does not depend upon your emotions, your mood, your works, your doubts, your fears, your anxieties, your questions. Flee to Christ. In Him, you have everything that you need for life and salvation.

Really. Everything. Please turn off the celebrity preachers telling you otherwise (Yes, I’m looking at John Piper). You have everything. This is the root of all joy, all love, all peace – and when you have love and joy and peace, everything else follows from there. In other words, you have life from Christ, for he paid it all.

We should normalize marking ourselves safe from celebrity preachers. There is money to be made and power to be wielded by convincing people that Christ is not enough. When Jesus is known, the religious experts of every age lose their power. This is the heart of persecution.

Go and listen to the preachers that say, “He must increase. I must decrease”. There are a few of them out there. They generally have tiny churches and wear clothes from Target and Penney’s, but they are at peace. They would also love to show you how to have peace with God.

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9 things (May 6)

1. Does anyone remember Beetle Bailey (the comic strip). I’m thinking specifically about the drawing of Beetle after Sarge gets done with him, crumpled into a heap on the floor. Anyway, some days that is exactly what fibromyalgia feels like. Today, for example.

2. When I was younger, memorization was never a problem. When I was about 8, I was playing a piece by Beethoven for a recital and I had the music out and ready. I was so nervous I forgot to take the music off the top of the piano, but I didn’t realize it until I was finished. Memory was so easy for me that my sight reading ability suffered tremendously. But now I’m old. Memory is harder now.

3. But I’m still doing it! I started plowing my way through Mendelssohn’s “Songs without Words” and loving every minute of it. It just takes me longer than it used to. The puzzles of great music are endlessly fascinating and bring peace and calm.

4. I wonder if we are thinking about holiness all wrong. We always think of it as basically synonymous with righteousness. But what if holiness is more related to being clean, clothed, beautiful, accepted, and welcomed in God’s presence? What if the Song of Songs was a book about holiness and its beauty? Of course, that involves righteousness, but it is so much grander, isn’t it?

5. The question I dread whenever I leave the house is this one: “So, what are you up to today? Any plans for the weekend?” When did they start doing this? Why should I tell a stranger my plans? Are they just a government or church spy making sure I’m complying with acceptable social mores? When did they add all of this pressure to every shopping trip?

6. Here’s a fact of dubious interest. If there is a movie that is considered “iconic” or “culture defining”, chances are quite high that I haven’t seen it.

7. Yesterday, the couple behind me at the line at the grocery store were looking at the gigantic display of M&M candies. I overheard the woman say, “No. No. I don’t do outside the box with M&Ms.” I felt that deeply. The same with potato chips, oreos, and Ice Cream. OK. Food. All food. Why does everything have to be extreme?

8. Related to number 7, the best coffee is the one that can be ordered with the fewest syllables. “I’ll have a coffee, please.” Few things were more satisfying than sitting at a Denny’s in the 90s with coffee and a cigarette.

9. One can be concerned about the consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade and believe that abortion is murder at the same time. Perhaps we should talk to each other instead of hurling anathemas.

That’s all for today. Carry on. Let this moment pass and don’t let worry cloud your hearts and minds.

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9 Things (April 28)

1. Sometimes grieving death isn’t the worst kind of grief. We grieve broken friendships, we grieve alienated children, we grieve a loss of health and vitality. We grieve the broken things of the past that we can’t fix. We grieve not having those things that others take for granted. We grieve poisonous relationships that force distance. Some of the hardest grief is the grief that one mourns alone.

2. One of my greatest griefs is watching the Church that I love being hijacked by domineering, unbelieving, cruel, racist, women-hating bullies. They pretend to be fighting the “reformed downgrade” and “feminism” but in reality they are fighting against the image of God in their neighbor and baptizing their pathologies.

3. The husband is not the savior of the wife in any way. Ephesians 5 says that he is to love his wife as Christ loves the church – and then the REST of it is about Jesus. If you want to know how to love your wife, learn about Jesus and how he loves his church. Read the Song of Songs and Philippians 2 for a start.

4. My wife was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome about 10 years ago. It was a blow and a relief. A blow because we partly knew that she would never be the same again and her mobility would decline. A relief because we finally had some answers. There were members of our church at the time, including an elder, who were offended that I asked for prayer for her “too much”. I still don’t know how to process that.

5.  I love Reformed theology as it is summarized in the Three Forms of Unity. This, to me, is what it means to be Reformed. However, there is a disconnect between the theology and the practice of the Reformed world. There is something in the culture of the Reformed world that breeds a very, very ugly spirit. Social media takes that spirit and makes it public.

6.  I read this week that 55 percent of Americans believe that the US Constitution is inspired by God. Either they have no idea what inspiration means, or they have a serious problem with idolatry. Either way, we have a huge problem.

7. Nationalism and Christianity are not compatible. They are competing religions. One seeks salvation in power and control. The other is proclaimed through weakness and the foolishness of the message preached. You cannot serve God and Mammon.

8. I long for the day when seminaries training pastors will not only teach languages and theology, but will also provide the guidance and space to begin their healing from past traumas. Until a man deals with his trauma honestly, he cannot be an effective pastor. Until he understands himself, he will invariably feed himself rather than the sheep.

9.  When one believes that God will only bless a nation based upon their national obedience, then one can easily justify the oppression and hatred of the sinner who won’t get on board. It is a scary place to be. Blessings for national obedience is not Christianity.

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9 things (April 6)

  • If the welfare of society, marriage, family, culture, and country are all dependent upon men being manly, here are two questions that must be asked: Who gets to define what being manly is? And this one: What do you do with those who don’t get on board?
  • My shoulder hurts. I put some cream on it. Its got arnica, hemp, menthol – some other stuff. So I’ve spend the whole afternoon saying to myself, “What is that smell? Oh, yeah.”
  • Last week, I was out of town withdrawing from the world. I deleted all of my social media apps from my phone. It was wonderful. I left them off of my phone and now am far more productive.
  • Yesterday, my pants rejected me. I was putting them on, and my foot got tangled up and down I went. I think I heard them whisper, “Not today, fat boy.” My pants hate me.
  • My wife thinks I’m curvy and spectacular, though. So there’s that.
  • If women were only given leadership roles because men failed to lead, then how do you explain Huldah? Josiah was king. Jeremiah and Zephaniah were the prophets. and Hilkiah the high priest. All of them were godly and faithful leaders.
  • People have all sorts of experiences and backgrounds. People come from all sorts of different cultures and have different ways of thinking. Christians must not base fellowship on political viewpoints, but on the unity of true faith. The unity of true faith is not the same as a political viewpoint.
  • Last week a man attended our church for the first time. He decided that he could not fellowship with us because of how we responded to COVID in 2020. It was his test of fellowship, so he asked. How did we let this happen?
  • While I was out of town, I went shopping for odds and ends, just for fun. I didn’t take my phone. It felt weird, but totally liberating.

Hold to Christ. He will hold you fast. Patiently await the day when all wrongs will be made right.

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9 things for Christmas

If you don’t have a problem with Donald Trump in the pulpit on Christmas Sunday, then you have no right to have a problem with Beth Moore. Nor do you have the right to complain about “taking Christ out of Christmas.”

If you are grieving this Christmas, grieve. God collects tears. God doesn’t rebuke you for mourning. God hears your cries even if you can’t say anything more than “help me help me help me help me.”

God became flesh; he is Immanuel. He knows what it is to feel sad, lonely, abandoned, despised, hurt and even dying. He bore it all so that we might live. Hold to that.

Mary wasn’t a girl. She was a bright, godly, intelligent, and incredibly courageous woman. The angel didn’t ask her father’s permission. Nor did he ask Joseph’s permission.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but if there is a leader in your church that is using the Christmas Story to perv on girls, then he is a wolf and a son of Belial. Please report him. Crush his head. No second chances. And yes, this happens.

I have no problem saying “Happy Holidays”; Christmas is a holiday; People carry burdens I know nothing about; And it is better to be kind than to win some kind of weird culture war, especially one that has Donald Trump in the pulpit.

If you say, “Happy Holidays”, you won’t be struck dead by lightening, you won’t take Christ out of Christmas, you won’t anger God – you will simply cause your neighbor to smile and say, “Happy Holidays” back. You’ll make a connection. For a moment, your heart will be lighter, and so will your neighbor’s.

There might be someone who will respond with “Don’t take Christ out of Christmas!” And then they’ll shout rather angrily “Merry Christmas!”, snort, and give you that look like they sure told you. But it is better to smile at that guy and ignore him than to become that guy yourself.

If you haven’t heard Andres Segovia play “Recuerdos de la Alhambra” by Francisco Tarrega then you haven’t really lived yet.

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9 things for December 8th

Gas prices are so high I just saw them out buying tacos with Snoop Dog. This might be the stupidest thing you read today, unless you follow “The Transformed Wife.”

Here is a note for those insiders (those with power, pastors, elders, ministry leaders, bosses): with the Duggers, Ghislaine Maxwell, Liberty University, and the Supreme Court taking over the news, people that you care about are triggered, anxious, worried. Their minds are full of trauma, recovered memories and they are seeing the face of their abuser everywhere on every news channel. Please be kind.

The primary horizontal relationship that the prophets spoke of is justice. Perhaps we shouldn’t mock and ridicule those who call out injustice. I do think, though, that it is OK to gently mock those who talk about “vertical” and “horizontal” relationships. It’s just silly.

Whenever you hide an ad on Facebook, you are asked to select a reason. In the pop down menu, you have several to choose from. None of them ever apply to why I actually hid the ad.

My disabled daughter paints my toenails and puts glitter on them. I let her do it because I enjoy the bonding time, I’m not a jerk, it calms her, and I don’t need to prove anything. It also, as a bonus, gives ammo to people who insist on hating me. I perversely enjoy that. “Yep. My toes are painted. And I’m also wearing a shirt with flowers on it. What’s your point?”

If sex in your relationship is used for currency, you are doing it wrong.

As far as I can tell, there is no material difference between a chocolate muffin and a chocolate cupcake. Perhaps when one is eating a cupcake for breakfast it soothes the guilt if you refer to said cupcake as a “muffin”.

Normalize cupcakes for breakfast.

An interesting observation – those who insist that a woman is responsible for a man’s lust are weirdly contradictory. On the one hand, they insist that the man is naturally the leader, is to be in charge of his home and she is to submit. But on the other hand, they insist that the man is not even in charge of his own heart, but is led about against his will by every woman he sees. There is something strange about that.

Have a joyous day and rejoice, because the Lord is rejoicing over you!

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