78 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 2-11-20

  1. The good news is that Mr. P took less than half of his usual amount of pain meds yesterday and that was with the surgical pain. Please continue to pray this works. He also slept better than I have known him to sleep in the last few years.

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  2. Good morning,though I cannot see it. Little boy decided to join me this morning so Bible waits a bit. We are waiting for baby girl to wake up. Her mommy left for work. Twelve year old auntie is up and at em as she forgot to bring in the firewood last night. She is also taking the shower she forgot to get yesterday.

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  3. Pretty sure, praying for the peace of Jerusalem is not about dispensationalism or anything else other than God tells us to do so, for His purposes and our good. Sort of like praying for our enemies, praying for those in authority over us, praying for our neighbor. It may be something taken up as a banner by various groups but that does not take away from it. Maybe don’t need to be looking for the devil behind every tree.

    Yes, we should be vigilant to be wary of heresy and skewed theology, but most of us will find we have had some skewed theology at the end. As Janice has said gently and not so gently in an attempt to call off the dogs.

    I have noted that people who have been burned by bad theology can become hypervigilant. Not necessarily a bad thing, but, like somebody who has been quite ill and now fears all germs, may not be totally healthy either.

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  4. I like that Mumsee ❤️
    Morning! Snowy, icy and cold…oh…and beautiful!
    The caption for the header photo “I spy with my little eye”…wonder if there is a little mouse scurrying beneath his toes!?
    Good to hear Mr P is doing better! Continued prayers for his progress and healing….
    Today my Mother is 90 years young…she has outlived all of her family by many years and she continues to live on her own in our family home with her little dog Midge….

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  5. That header is a red-shouldered hawk. It is smaller than a red-tailed hawk, but we must be in prime breeding habitat for them, since it is now the species I usually see. I know there is a breeding pair that has part of their territory on my main walking trail; I’ve seen both birds at the same time and last year I heard about a nest (though I never managed to see it); I also saw one working on a nest, though unfortunately I may have accidentally scared it away from completing it. (It was on the edge of a restaurant parking lot, so if my presence bothered it, it probably wasn’t the best place for it, since that restaurant stays busy all afternoon and evening.) Anyway, I suspect I may see birds from as many as three different pairs as I walk. What’s funny to me is that two walking trails both start/end about two-thirds of a mile from me, each one on one or the other side of the street. Michelle went on one of those trails with me when she was here. Well, the trail she and I walked has a resident pair of red-tailed hawks, though I haven’t seen them very often. The other trail (the one I usually walk) has a resident pair of red-shouldered hawks, and I see one or the other of them often, and also see RSH other places than the trail.

    To get to the natural areas where I take most of my photos (including “my pond” and the two walking trails) includes walking along a patch of sidewalk that is between a business (closed on Saturday) and a creek that runs along the street. Between the sidewalk and the creek is a row of trees. Michelle may or may not remember that, but we walked under the trees as we walked down the sidewalk. Anyway, I was walking there Saturday and suddenly I noticed that the very next tree had a hawk in it. It wasn’t on the sidewalk side of the tree, but still it must have only been eight or ten feet from me, which is crazy close to a raptor. (They have excellent eyesight, and I’ve often had a hawk take off just because I zoomed the camera in to take a photo from a quarter of a city block away.) Now, what I read about this species is that they are a particularly shy species BUT that they sometimes nest in the suburbs, and when they do, they get used to people and ignore them. And I have photographed this species quite a few times within a mile from my home–which means I’m probably photographing the same few birds repeatedly, and they would have learned by now that I take a few photos and then move on. More than a year ago they stopped flying away when they see me, most of the time–but this was still crazy close.

    Well, I could see the bird really close to me, but it actually had a branch between me and its head, so I couldn’t see its head and of course couldn’t take good photos. So I stepped off the sidewalk into the parking lot, both to move a little farther away from it (and not scare it) and to get some photos of it. I got several photos of it sitting in a snow-covered tree, and i even called my husband to tell him about it, since it was such a sweet sight. I then walked the trail a bit, and two hours later I was coming back down the same patch of sidewalk, approaching the trees from the other direction, and I wondered if the hawk was still there. So I crossed the street slowly, and there in the last tree was this bird. (It had been in the next to the last tree.) It had several branches across it, so I couldn’t get anything close to an unobstructed view. But I knew how close I had been to it earlier, and suspected it would let me move around a little for a better view, so I did. This photo (and quite a few others) was the result. I managed to move to a place where it only had that one twig in front of it. Obviously this was taken with a zoom lens, but I was still very close to the bird–close enough I can zoom to get half the bird. (I got other shots that include the whole bird, or the part of it that shows, down to the talons.)

    This is as close as it’s possible to get to a wild bird of prey, and I will probably never have a better opportunity. It was gray, no sun, so unfortunately the detail isn’t so sharp that you can zoom in and see every feather with even more detail, as is sometimes the case. But neither is the bird thrown into silhouette in which its feather color doesn’t show, as can sometimes happen in morning light.

    After I took several photos, I walked around the long way to go through the parking lot rather than walk the sidewalk next to the tree. I suspected it probably wouldn’t fly, but if possible I avoid making a raptor fly, especially in winter. And treating them with such respect in the past probably got me this photo, this time! When I got back to the sidewalk, the other side of the second tree, I looked back to see the hawk from that side (though I couldn’t see it well), and I almost didn’t see a jogger who was coming along just then. The jogger ran past the hawk–and it flew. If I had still been on the other side of it five minutes later, I might well have gotten photos of it flying away (especially if I had noticed the jogger was coming, because then I would have moved the camera to action mode and focused to be ready for it to fly). Part of me is disappointed I missed those shots, since action shots are great and I can rarely be that close to the action and actually ready for it. However, I was happy that I didn’t spook the hawk, and happy that it knew I walked away rather than coming closer, so I’m also happy I wasn’t present when it did get spooked and thus possibly associated with it having to fly away.

    All in all, it was a remarkable opportunity, a gift from God on Saturday morning.

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  6. I missed the conversation on dispensationalist and thought of reopening it during my devotions this morning.
    But I changed my mind. Most dispensationalist believe the letters to the seven churches are segments of the church age. I think they were real churches and are not prophetic.
    The rest of the Book of Revelation is prophetic.
    Lots of godly men at Southwestern Seminary do not believe in a time of tribulation or that Israel still has a part of God’s plan.
    But Jesus said, Matt. 23:37f that Jerusalem would be desolate UNTIL you say, “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord”.

    And you can’t deny that Israel is unique in the world. Still a nation after being dispersed for centuries.
    This is a heavy subject and, at my age, I doubt that it will happen during my lifetime. But I suspect my grandkids will see the disruption in the world that is involved.
    There is a day of reckoning.
    But it turns out well in the end.
    And moving the US embassy to Jerusalem may be more significant than we presently realize.

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  7. And I have mentioned several times before: Zechariah 12 tells us of a battle that has not yet been fought. Where the governors of Judah are like a blowtorch in a woodpile. v.6.

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  8. The Israelis appear to be generally a group of people not demanding the death of every body who believes differently from them. It makes good sense as a nation wanting a presence in that area, to support them. Totally separate from any religious leadings other than supporting the persecuted.

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  9. This is the sole use in Scripture of the term “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” (I searched for “peace of Jerusalem.”) It is Psalm 122, NKJV, labeled “A Song of Ascents. Of David.”

    1 I was glad when they said to me,
    “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
    2 Our feet have been standing
    Within your gates, O Jerusalem!

    3 Jerusalem is built
    As a city that is compact together,
    4 Where the tribes go up,
    The tribes of the Lord,
    To the Testimony of Israel,
    To give thanks to the name of the Lord.
    5 For thrones are set there for judgment,
    The thrones of the house of David.

    6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
    “May they prosper who love you.

    7 Peace be within your walls,
    Prosperity within your palaces.”
    8 For the sake of my brethren and companions,
    I will now say, “Peace be within you.”
    9 Because of the house of the Lord our God
    I will seek your good.

    Notice how it ends, “Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good.” In other words, this is a Psalm about worship, sung as God’s people were heading to worship (a song of ascents), and as Jesus told the Samaritan woman, worship is no longer associated with one city. One can indeed pray for the peace of the city of Jerusalem, as well as for New York City, London, Mexico City, and any other city that comes to mind. But in the context of this particular Psalm, it is even more important to pray for the peace and purity of the church.

    Mumsee, when the dogs are barking to hear themselves make noise, you call them off. But when they are barking at the wolves, you don’t call them off. Some elements of dispensationalism get the gospel seriously wrong; this is dogs crying wolf because we’ve smelled them hanging around the sheepfold. Your role in the body at this point is caring for babies, and that’s an important role. But the role of those who would say, “Caution, error ahead” is no less important. Quite literally, this is my job–Christian publishers pay me to do this. And it isn’t always fun, but I heartily believe it is important.

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  10. From Hebrews 12, quoting Spurgeon:

    At the same time “This holiness is a thing of growth. It may be in the soul as the grain of mustard-seed, and yet not developed; it may be in the heart as a wish and a desire, rather than anything that has been fully realized, — a groaning, a panting, a longing, a striving.” (Spurgeon)

    iv. Spurgeon described four types of people who try to get on without holiness:

    · The Pharisee: Confident in outward ceremonies instead of true holiness.

    · The moralist: Feels no need for holiness because his life is so good.

    · The experimentalist: Their entire Christian life is lived inward, never looking to outward conduct but only to feelings.

    · The opinionist: Their Christian life is all about believing the right doctrines and is unconcerned about the way one lives.


  11. From Veith today:


    Criminalizing Christian Teachings about Sex

    Police in Finland are investigating the leader of an entire denomination for publishing a booklet that disapproves of homosexuality. The author of that booklet,which sets forth the Biblical teachings about sexuality, is also under investigation for the crime of “agitation against an ethnic group,” a statute which added “sexual orientation” to the list of protected classes. The maximum punishment is two years in prison.

    I have blogged about Christianity in Scandinavia and Finland in particular, based on what I learned during my speaking engagements in those regions. See my posts on the subject, for example, Confessional Lutheranism in Finland, Scandinavia’s Two Tracks of Christianity, and Challenges for Conservative Churches in Scandinavia.

    The police came for the Rev. Dr. Juhana Pohjola, Dean of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland. This is a church body that broke away from the established state church. It was started by members of independent mission organizations, which have become the home of evangelical, conservative Christianity in the nordic countries. The Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese is committed to confessional Lutheranism and is a member, along with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, of the International Lutheran Council.

    The church published a 24-page booklet entitled in English Male and Female Created He Them. (The link will take you to the English translation.) There is nothing hateful in the booklet. It simply lays out what the Bible says about sexuality, including the teaching that homosexuality is against God’s design. …

    … And pray for Christians in the United States of America. Our Constitution guarantees our freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press, giving us much greater legal protections than are common even in advanced democracies such as Finland. But we sometimes find it hard to stand up for our beliefs if they are merely unpopular. How would we bear up if our beliefs were to become criminalized?

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  12. Cheryl, Scripture serves a purpose, to point us to God, to tell us what God wants us to know. A lot of it has a current application for the times it was written (he was buried with no one’s regret) and a broader application for those who choose to hear (he was buried with no one’s regret and how does that impact my life today?) The Psalm was written for a certain time and purpose but that does not mean God cannot use it to encourage me to pray for Jerusalem and in so doing, I am reminded to pray for my own community, State, and country, as well as the peace of the body of believers around the globe. It is an encouragement to prayer.

    I am not a theologian. I have never studied theology and I don’t read a lot of theological stuff though I do read the Bible regularly. My calling is to love God and to serve Him. In that calling, I currently take care of babies, try to raise my children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, give some of my adult children words of encouragement in pointing them to God, write letters to random individuals who God seems to have placed on my heart as needing encouragement, and calling out error when I see it, in my local church body as well as a wider scope. My theology is to love God and love my neighbor.

    You are much better than me on the use of English and theology and photography and knowledge of birds and butterflies and other wildlife.

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  13. Mumsee, I refer to my past so that people may know that I have experience with what I am talking about and am not simply making up things. For me my past is truly in the past, but I also know my experiences were for a purpose and I should turn them to the benefit of others. As for hypervigilance, is that not what the Bible commands: “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil is as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8). Paul might have been accused of hypervigilance when he did not stop warning the Ephesian church of error, night and day, for three years (Acts 20:31). I am not here nearly so often as that, as my work takes me away for days at a time, and I really only started this topic yesterday

    If there is a Biblical problem with what I am saying, then I would appreciate feedback. But this group has always discussed difficult issues without flinching and comes from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

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  14. I appreciated your point, Roscuro, that we tend to understand Biblical concepts through the lens of our culture–and that we therefore may be interpreting events from a “skewed” perspective.

    I read an examination of the NT several years ago called “Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes,” and was horrified by how much I didn’t understand because of my culture. That’s part of what has sent me to Enduring Word Commentaries–which try to take a broader perspective on the Bible.

    Guzik, however, is using theologians from Luther on to interpret the Scriptures, but is also trying to place the chapters in historic context.

    This has been a real eye-opener as I read through the Epistles.

    So, thanks for reminding us Americans that while the truths remain true, they may be slightly obscure to our experiences.


  15. In other news, my daughter reported they’ve now transferred a patient with the coronavirus–so it’s a good thing they were prepared.

    She’s more concerned, however, about the “common” flu–which has already killed 10,000 people.

    I hope you all got your flu shot . . . I got mine a month ago.

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  16. Roscuro, understandable. And the weeping prophet Jeremiah comes to mind. There is a time for that. And I know you are very busy and struggling with your health.

    I suspect, from my own perspective and my own experience with hearing feedback on my words, that some of us would like to hear something positive said about the believers in this country and about men. Sometimes, my husband tells me I am being overly negative. I could come back with, but the children are persistently doing wrong. And he says, but they need to hear what they are doing right as well.

    So, tell us something good! Revelation tells us a positive about each church before the negative. So, maybe not a theological problem so much as a we are feeling battered and would appreciate a bit of encouragement.

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  17. I got a flu shot in September, pharmacy insisted it wasn’t “too” early. The year before i didn’t get to it until November.

    I appreciate the balance we have in our church — as a Reformed body, we’re clearly very serious about theology (and Paul’s letters to churches are continually addressing doctrinal issues). We tend to attract young seminarians who ask the most interesting questions in adult SS. We have at least one self-professing “dispensationalist,” or so he said at our last Q&A session on Sunday, but perhaps only partly in jest. Or not? 🙂

    But our pastor also stresses that we need to be careful not to limit our faith to having a “right” doctrine intellectually and nothing else, as Spurgeon also cautions in Michelle’s 10:46 comment. We are exhorted often from the pulpit to remember we are in a daily spiritual fight (it’s not so much a “walk” as it is a battle), always, throughout our lives, every day — that doctrines matters but so does behavior; the means of grace are to be actively used and holiness is to be whole-heartedly pursued.

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  18. I have not had the flu in 2, 3 or maybe 4 years, I think, though I have gotten some nasty cold viruses.

    I never used to get the flu but then it hit me a couple times in the past 5-8 years or so — leading me to believe my immune system isn’t maybe what it once was. That along with my, ahem, advancing age made me realize I should probably go ahead and just get the flu shot every year. I’m dubious as to its full effectiveness, depending on the year and which virus is going around, but i do believe they’re improving it and it should provide at least some protection, anyway.

    My dr is going to do a titer to see if I ever had the measles vaccine, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t (and I’ve never had the measles). I tried to get it last summer but all the pharmacies were out of it at that time and I’ve never tried since. I think it also isn’t that cheap? Not sure what is covered or not on my plan. I also need to get the shingles shot.

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  19. We also now have a (young) professor of theology from Westminster attending our church (with his adorable and tiny wife and little girl) which is interesting.

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  20. Now getting back to modern Israel, there are some thing that the dispensationalist lens is distorting. One is the idea that Israel is the democratic ideal in the Middle East.

    First of all, its election system is entirely different then the representation system that the UK, Canada, or the US uses. Each party in Israel has a ranked list of candidates, who are appointed to the Knesset in order of ranking, based on the percentage of the popular vote that party receives in the election. There are many parties, and no party receives the majority vote, resulting in the need for government coalitions. Right now, the government is at a standstill because the largest parties have not been able to form a coalition government. So, it is democracy in a completely different firm than we would recognize, and in that respe it is just as much a flawef democratic system as say, Lebanon’s election system, which allows for a democratic vote, but also has a quota system to ensure that each religion has a certain percentage of seats.

    When Netanyahu’s Likud party was in power, it formed a coalition with hard right parties. The hard right is a real and militant presence in Israel. The rabbinical school, which oversees marriages in Israel (there is no state marriage), is very hardline, and pursues openly racist and prejudicial policies. People who have lost birth records due to the Holocaust and other upheavals and who cannot prove their descent have been denied the right to marry. Israel may have provided refuge to Ethiopian Jews, but they suffer racial discrimination and been called things like ‘a plague’ by these purists, who insist the Ethiopians are not actually Jews. Christians are also actively persecuted by Orthodox Jews. Last year, a law was passed that declared Israel a uniquely Jewish homeland, furthering opening the door to systemic discrimination of certain groups.

    Then there is the Arab population. The Bedouin in the south have been forcibly settled and, like all forcibly settled nomadic populations, suffer economic hardship and stagnation. I would note that historical Israel had a permanent nomadic Semitic tribe who lived among them and who stayed nomadic upon principle, the Rechabites, who were given an unbroken line of descent for their fidelity and modern day Israel may well be unjustly treating their descendants. I would also not they were not the only non- Jewish group that remained within Israel and were considered part of the nation, such as the Gibeonites, known as the Nethinim or temple servants, who were also a protected people by God in Israel despite being of Canaanite descent. Yet modern day Israel seems determined not to extend welcome to the stranger as their ancestors were commanded. Former Israeli president Ehud Barack called Israeli policy towards the Palestinians ‘apartheid’ and critics from within Israel have echoed him. The Palestinians have also done wrong, but in the Second Intifada, three times as many Palestinians died as Israelis, and innocent Palestinian civilians continue to die without there being justice brought. Only last autumn, a Palestinian family was killed by an Israeli missile and the Israeli military fabricated a militant to justify the killing, something even the miltary’s supporters had to admit was a lie: https://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinians-say-family-of-6-killed-in-apparent-israeli-strike-on-home-in-gaza/. The law given to Noah concerning killing humans still applies and Israel will have to render account just as much as the Palestinian militants will.

    It would be fine if Israel was held to the same standards as any other country in the world. China has been called out for persecution of ethnic groups, so has Myanmar, and South Africa was sanctioned for Apartheid. But dispensationalist ideology seems to blind people to the fact that modern Israel is a flawed secular country, and that the rabbinical school, which that interferes so much in Israeli politics, does not base its views on Moses’ Torah, but on the much later Talmud, a document compiled in the centuries after Christ. Judaism as it is today is a far cry from what it was in the Old Testament, and the only difference between it and Islam in its determined rejection of the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ, is that Judaism is confined to those of Jewish descent. Ironically, dispensationalists will insist strongly that Muslims do not worship the same God as Christians. They are correct in the sense that God cannot be worshipped without acknowledging Jesus Christ, but that fact means that dispensationalists are deadly wrong in insisting that Judaism worships the same God as Christianity. As Christ warned in the closing verses of Revelation, both adding to and taking away from his words incurs his curse.


  21. Mumsee, I do tell you good things. I spent a long time talking about music the other day. Even in my critiques, I have told of the good examples that make me think things could be different. There are many things I cannot tell you, both good and bad, because I would be violating confidentiality. Healthcare workers live in strange twilight worlds, where the thing that takes up the most of their lives can hardly be talked about outside the confines of their work. So we have to talk on other things.

    Also, it is a relief to think of something entirely different. The amount of trauma healthcare workers see in any given day would be equal to any day in a war zone. Oh, we do not generally see awful injuries caused by violence, although I certainly have seen such injuries, but illness and disease has its own violence to inflict on the human body. Talking about the Bible and culture and history and geography are all welcome distractions.

    As for the implication that I spend a lot of time criticizing a) men, and b) the US, are you certain that is actually the case? I can only recall twice mentioning the US in a possibly unfavourable lighter in the past few months, once in giving historical context to the tragedy in Tehran, and once concerning duspensationalism. As for men, when exactly did I mention them unfavourably? If you are thinking of my words on the topic of the halftime show, I mentioned that porn was a growing problem for women and much of what I said about lust was applicable to both sexes; also, my favorable example of how things should be different was my father, a man.


  22. Roscuro, how are the American Christians doing? Anything good? Western Christianity? Of course, you have experienced a broader range of Christianity than some, though I doubt than all, on here. And we want to hear about that.

    I am afraid I don’t know the numbers, just feel that whatever is said, is countered. Not along the lines of, this is good but. Rather it seems like, this is bad and this is bad. For example, MIchelle (Sorry Michelle) may bring up an interesting site from which we may glean encouragement and Truth but it often gets a response of this is how it is wrong or this person is wrong etc. For me, it was Francis Chan. Several in my family have grown closer to God through his ministry but here he is considered the worst of the worst.

    Yes, call out legitimate heresy. Call out sin in the body. The world is laden with sin and not worth discussing other than briefly as that is not our calling. We are to call out the church in its error but, also, the word “edifying” comes to mind, and I am sure I will hear that other meanings of edifying include tearing down to build up.

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  23. Probably just me though I thought Janice was alluding to it yesterday. And she does not seem to be here today. I love you, Janice. Your words are important on here.

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  24. Yes, I am finally able to read through all of the comments except for the most lengthy. I was never a fast reader, but am slower now.

    Christians are called to encourage and edify other Christians. That is one way to witness to the world of our love for one another.

    It’s one thing to point out flaws in earthly systems and another to work toward solutions to those flawed systems mentioned. I’d be more interested in ways to positively influence a situation than to just hear things put down with that being the final word on it. It is rather depressing to hear something about my nation put down with no solutions given when we already have too much going wrong politically.

    As for not being able to talk about work details, working with people’s finances falls into that category. Oh, the stories we could tell, but we don’t. I think people understand how some things are off limits as topics even though they might be terribly fascinating.

    Now my phone is out of power, the new version of saved by the bell.

    Mumsee is working to solve some really tough problems that no one else will tackle. I am so thankful for her diligence. I love you, too, Mumsee. Our futures are in those babies♡

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  25. Mumsee, recently I left (by moving) a denomination that is now going through some fairly deep internal tension. Long story short, too many within it have accepted serious error. The latest round has to do with homosexuality (not accepting people having homosexual sex, but a whole lot of other things that seem troublesome and almost inevitably leading down the path of acceptance).

    If I was still in that denomination, and someone on here posted that they were concerned about some of the choices being made in that denomination, I would probably say either: (1) Yes, I am too. (Because I am.) or (2) I haven’t kept up with what’s going on–what is bothering you? (If I hadn’t.) I could also say (3) Actually, I am not bothered by what has been happening, because . . . (and go on to explain some background the other person might not know).

    The reason I stepped in and said something yesterday because it felt like the response was instead: Well, you Methodists aren’t really any better, and you people from Ireland always think you know better than the rest of us. It felt as though rather than actually discussing the subject, it was attack the people who are mentioning it. Not everyone is interested in discussing the errors of dispensationalism (or the prosperity gospel, another biggie), and I get that. But then, not everyone is interested in discussing cats. I rarely open a music video. Sometimes we just scroll past.

    Overall, I think we are more inclined on here to say “I’m praying for you” and “How is your daughter doing” and “That was really good news.” Personally I’m actually not all that optimistic about the state of the church in North America–but I’m fully confident in the God we serve, and I’m excited about the church where I am a member. When someone asks “What is the controversy surrounding so and so?” it seems fair to answer that question. The apostle Paul would have done so. But I can say “I’m troubled by some of the things Teacher X has said” without meaning to say “No one should ever listen to Teacher X, and I doubt he’s really a Christian.” I can even say “I think dispensationalism is error that actually gets the gospel wrong”–and I do believe that–without saying “No dispensationalist is a Christian.”

    If I come on here and say “I really love Teacher Z” and someone else said, “Are you aware he endorses polygamy?” and gives evidence that he does, I won’t take it as a personal slam, but as a warning. Sometimes I can’t post a reply right away, since my first response won’t necessarily be the wisest–as when a beloved sister referred to me and some others as yapping dogs for defending truth and defending another beloved sister. I had to step back and remember the woman’s reply to Jesus. But this is a group with a lot of history, and while we all know some of the others better than some, and probably “connect” better with selected others, I think we all love each other, and we should be able to assume goodwill. Some of us are more interested in the theological discussions than others are–but the discussions aren’t unimportant, and they need not be unloving.

    By the way, we do have the positive discussions, too–but this is such a range of viewpoints. I can come on here and say how wonderful it is to sing psalms without instruments, and how it avoids so many petty quarrels, etc. But if I do that, someone or other, maybe several people, isn’t going to say, “How lovely that she is speaking positively of the American church.” People are going to tell me that my church is old-fashioned, and going to accuse me of thinking my church is superior, etc. It’s natural give and take–and as long as it’s polite, it’s OK.

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  26. Mumsee, the small groups from my church which meet in homes have been reading Francis Chan, but after your experience here, I did not even mention that. I have not read his books, but someone at my church vetted the writings and thought they were worthwhile. The director of our Discipleship team is a woman M.D., a primary care physician, who makes many of those decisions so she is obviously someone with intelligence.


  27. Yapping dogs? Not at all. Guard dogs looking after the flock. But a better example might be police dogs. No, not policing the people, but when the dog is sent to catch the perp, he does not eviscerate, but only applies necessary force and can be called off. Typing while holding sleeping baby so other baby can sleep.

    Yes, this is a good place for discussion and some are better at it than others. But everybody’s input has value. We all can learn.

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  28. ~ Personally I’m actually not all that optimistic about the state of the church in North America–but I’m fully confident in the God we serve … ~

    Fully agree.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Quickly skimming (I will go back and read carefully), I see that there is interesting conversation going on. I just want to jump in here in case I run out of time later.

    I had forgotten to share a prayer request about a certain situation with you all yesterday. Today, I found out that it’s been taken care of. 🙂 Maybe tomorrow I will fill you in on what it was about.

    An interesting local news story: Yesterday a non-flying bald eagle who has lived at a rehabilitation center for several years was stolen or released from its aviary. There was concern that Atka had been stolen for his feathers, as there is a black market for them. Today, Atka was found on the grounds of the center. There is still an on-going investigation, though, because it looks like someone did this intentionally. Someone speculated that maybe they were trying to steal him but realized that was more difficult than they had planned on, and dumped him on the ground.



  30. Kizzie, out this way, we had a rehabilitative life long dweller released by the wind, in Montana. The hawk had been hit by a car and lost an eye and was nearly blind in the other. It was safely found and returned. A lot of caring people out there.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I am not overly optimistic about the church in this country either though I am optimistic, if we are not totally obliterated by nuclear bombs or some such, there will be a remnant. The church here has a lot of churchy people but so divided….

    And our understanding of persecution is not terribly good either. So don’t have the growth that comes with that. Not that I am asking for that.


  32. Poor Atka, the symbol for America?

    That is a great photo of the hawk in the header.

    We’ve had interesting birds around here, I suppose because of our crazy weather. One bird let me get relatively close, and then it hopped to another spot, and then went to the back yard. It’s movement really seemed like it was motioning me to follow it. I wondered if it was trying to get me away from its nest. I do put crumbs out frequently so I wondered, also, if that was why it seemed to exhibit a reserved friendliness. Maybe when some of the branches overhanging the roof were cut down it lost its nest. It was a fine curiosity to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Janice, the first stage to solving any problem is to see that it is a problem. It is very difficult to get to a solution stage when the reaction to saying there is a problem is to tell the person observing the problem that their opinion is unwelcome and it would be preferred that they talk about something else. I would be quite interested in pursuing meaningful solutions to problems that I bring up, but the discussion is seldom permitted that far.

    Mumsee, when you first brought up the name of Francis Chan here, you wanted opinions about him. That those opinions expressed turned out to be in unfavourable of Chan was in no way an attack on you.

    It will undoubtedly have been observed that discussions between Cheryl and I on here can get quite heated when we disagree. But we never personally attack each other. It is a rule of debate to argue against the point, never against the person. Like Cheryl, I have strong opinions. I often, as I did with Michelle’s links yesterday, write out posts in order to put into words and give shape to my initial reaction to what I am reading. Not infrequently, I will not post what I have typed, because a) I realized that my initial reaction was inaccurate; b) I do not want to stir up controversy over a minor matter; or c) I do not think that it is the right time to do so. If course, it cannot be seen that I self edit, but I do, constantly.

    I also try not to always be posting about issues. I have posted many good things about the churches I have attended, talked about mundane happenings in my family (I limit what I say to avoid intruding on their privacy – it is a delicate balance living as a single adult with two different families related to me under the same roof), talked about my interests (although that is difficult because my interests often lie in the issues I bring up, while others, like music, have technical aspects that are not easy to talk about without boring people). Many of my posts are liked, so I assume I am not constantly offending people. But this is also the remnant of the community in which I cut my debating teeth on World, where I learned to keep personalities out of arguments, and where I learned that any topic was up for debate if one had good arguments, so I also assume that it is not forbidden here.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. For the record, I post articles I think are interesting—whether I agree or not.

    I remember Lynn Vincent posted something once, sat back, and watched the feathers fly.

    Someone asked her why she brought up the subject and she replied, “I was just trying to start a fight.”

    Iron sharpens iron.

    I don’t take anything personally. Go ahead and disagree with me.

    Liked by 4 people

  35. I believe the bird was a mockingbird, but it may have been something else. I have sent cardinals here, too, and other smaller birds, perhaps chickadees. There used to be a brown thrasher, the Georgia state bird that lived on the ground between the houses, but I have not seen it lately.


  36. Differences and even division can be good in that they show we all consider the truth to be important. There have been a number of denominational splits over issues regarding sexuality (but really regarding the authority of Scripture). Live and let live? I’d say it is better to contend for the truth and, if that doesn’t work, to leave. Division, it is painful. But the purity of the church is an important matter to God.

    Neighborhood black-and-white cat — looks like Annie but is hated by Annie — was sniffing around in the patio a couple hours ago. When I slid open the door (thinking it was Annie), he took off like a rocket, slipping up under the back fence.

    Annie was napping inside the house.

    So I heard back from one of the la school board candidates (I’d emailed questions to all of them yesterday) who expressed surprise since our paper (apparently) had already endorsed one of the other candidates. How could she be sure, she wrote, I wouldn’t just slant the article to make that candidate look better?

    Truth is, I had no idea we’d endorsed in the race — reporters rarely keep up with the editorial page, which is an entirely different section and has a different role than straight reporters. My city editor also didn’t know we’d endorsed anyone (“I hate endorsements,” he said).

    So I emailed her back explaining (though it’s hard to believe) that her email was the first I’d heard we’d endorsed anyone — and I purposely was not looking up whom we endorsed now that she told me (simply it was “another” one of the candidates). I went on to explain what this/my story was to do (give voters a general bio sketch and positions on a few key issues for all the candidates, equally, no frills) and told her I hoped she’d answer the questions but otherwise I’d try to glean what I could from her website.

    I still have another election story to do (waiting for responses) along with the soap opera saga and the garden club’s five-year bureaucratic battle (recently won) to place a Blue Star Memorial on one of our main highways honoring those in the armed services.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. As an American I have not been offended by any posts here about the US. the US church, or US Christians. Good observations all around.

    Roscuro: “It will undoubtedly have been observed that discussions between Cheryl and I on here can get quite heated when we disagree.” For some reason that made me laugh. Undoubtedly, indeed. But I appreciate how civil the disagreement always is.

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Now it is obvious why I don’t discuss birds more. There are many I don’t recognize except to know they are birds! Wesley had all of the information like that memorized from his Golden/Peterson/Audubon guidebooks and the sounds of their calls, too, and for years he would tell me the names of things we saw so I did not carry all that info in my brain. Wesley made books of all the birds. He would draw, color, and label them with markers or paint. He made a book like that for my mother which my brother has somewhere. He also did fabulous artwork of sea creatures for his 4-H demonstrations. He always got blue ribbons for that. He did one about Arctic sea life and another on the Georgia Barrier Islands. And then he moved on to Forestry and study of trees. Because of homeschooling I had the joy of being involved in each challenge as he conquered learning about the natural world one category at a time.

    Liked by 4 people

  39. Serious question:
    Am I the only one left who doesn’t care about the outcome of the NH elections?
    Canadians needn’t reply. I know you may care even less, but I doubt it.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. I think that Wesley was able to get out from his obligation to do jury duty here. I was surprised to see that jury summons for him so soon after I had been there to take care of my obligation. I received my $15.00 check for that day. Is that the going rate everywhere for the first day of jury duty? It’s $25.00 per day after the first day.


  41. Art got home late after a long day. He said something a little unusual happened at the office. Two different clients who saw the other preparer, totally not connected to each other in any way, were each wearing identical shirts that matched the shirt Art wore today. Truly unexpected. It is a dress shirt that my brother gave Art for Christmas which is the George brand, probably from Walmart. It is a small burgundy check on a light background.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Cheryl, my husband would like to know what kind of tree the hawk is in. I sent the picture to him so he could do a sketch as he was home sick today and bored silly.


  43. Kare, I don’t know, but I can probably find out. There is a line of them outside a business, so perhaps someone who works there knows. If I can’t find out, perhaps I can send you a photo of the tree itself.


  44. Kare, I remembered that someone from my church works there, so I e-mailed her. Hopefully if she doesn’t know, she’ll know someone who does. 🙂


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