How Did the Reformation Ever Happen . . .

without The Bible: Faith and Work Edition?

The constant and everyday relevance of the Bible is why David Kim, Executive Director of the Center for Faith & Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, and I—along with the editors of Christianity Today and Zondervan—are working on a new Bible. We want something with staying power.

The Bible: Faith and Work Edition will be a unique and engaging combination of doctrine, application, and community that can find its home not only on your nightstand at home, but also on your desktop at work. Its goal is to equip Christians to meaningfully engage various aspects of their work—even those we might not even think could be relevant—with a renewed sense of the power and relevance of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

With over 20 years of experience pastoring people in communities that wrestle with questions about faith and work, Kim says,

What you will learn in the pages of this Bible is not a list of do’s and don’ts at work, but a theology that will hopefully rewire the way you understand the gospel and how it has everything to do with your work. Once you see the connection between faith and work, the work of Christ will become more beautiful, comprehensive, and necessary. I hope this Bible will bring to you an excitement to engage not only your work, but also the world around you, with a renewed sense of purpose grounded in the unique hope of the gospel.

Well, I for one haven’t read this edition of the Bible and already recognized how the gospel does and doesn’t apply. The gospel has provoked this post of sheer disbelief that Christians can be so full of themselves. I also know that the gospel has little to do with making split pea soup in the crock pot for this evening’s meal. I double dare Bethany Jenkins to tell me how justification by faith, sanctification, union with Christ EVEN, applies to dinner.

Apparently as well, the folks responsible for this Bible don’t understand that the gospel, properly understood as good news for what’s coming on judgment day, might actually yield second thoughts about this proposed edition of holy writ. (Where is Kathy Keller’s b-s detector when we need it?) But when you are in the bubble of Redeemerland and have the TKNY brand, you really do think your ideas can “impact” the church and the world more than anyone else (which so far mainly means selling more stuff than John Piper and Desiring God). I am sure that plenty of church officers at churches in small cities and suburbia come up with ideas about how their devotional gadget or technique will change the lives of everyone in the congregation and region. The problem for the Redeemerites is that their bubble of NYC and their ties to TKNY allow them to take silly notions and sell them to business executives (like book publishers) and magazine editors who want more readers.

Would anyone at Zondervan have taken this Bible proposal seriously if it had come from church staff, say, in Montgomery, Alabama?

222 thoughts on “How Did the Reformation Ever Happen . . .

  1. I think that I should give up my day job (pastoring) and simply point everyone to the ‘it will definitely make an impact’ and ‘be relevant 20 years from now’ Bible. Without a doubt it will be great, awesome, relevant, impacting (?), and applicable to each different person in each different corner of the globe for each different vocation. Does the Bible speak only to this one issue?

    I don’t know what’s worse – the hubris of the statements that ensure that this is the next big thing; that it’s impact will be felt by the masses and multitudes; or that this is called a “new Bible.” How about a new study Bible? At least call it what it is. Or are they planning a whole re-write; because if they are, I’d like to make some editorial suggestions on parts that I have difficulty with.

    Oh and when the masses and multitudes are in the hospital or they die, I hope that TKNY or Zondervan or Bethany Jenkins or CT send flowers, conduct a service or pay a visit. Maybe the new Bible will be capable of that as well.

    Sheesh is right. No wonder the sheep can be difficult to lead – they’re being lead into hundred different directions by the top men.

    Sorry for the bug…today it’s not in my nose!


  2. Imagine explaining “We want something with staying power” to Paul in reference to God’s Word. Lulz, right?


  3. Evangelical logic:

    1. The Bible has changed the way people think.
    2. C.S. Lewis quoted the Bible.
    3. C.S. Lewis changed the way people think.
    4. Evangelicals talk about C.S. Lewis.
    5. Ergo, evangelicals must be changing the way people think.

    or maybe:

    Evangelicals: Talking themselves into gospel absurdity since 2009.


  4. Scott,

    I am a fan of Lewis, but I made a vow to (all about) myself a while back that I would not recommend Mere Christianity to anyone unless that person was willing to read Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism immediately thereafter.

    When “Mere” becomes bigger/more important than Christianity, everything is at stake.


  5. JAS,

    I’m with ya; I like your approach. I really like Lewis; he has the most titles of anyone in my library. I find the evangelical fascination with him to be wonderfully ironic:

    1) Lewis was a layman in the Angelican church in the 20th century, so I expect some strange beliefs and lack of theological education. It seems that gospel centered types quote him more than Machen, Luther and Calvin combined.

    2) Lewis’ literary skills and criticism are phenomenal. For all the lip service evangelicals give to story, gospel story, human flourishing, culture, they have an absence of quotes from Experiment in Criticism, On Stories, Studies in Words, A Preface to Paradise Lost, etc. They don’t study the discipline that Lewis excelled at.


  6. Scott,

    I appreciate your last comment. Lewis was a terrific scholar and writer. I too wish that people would pay attention to his literary criticism. His English Lit in the 16th Century was a great influence on me.


  7. Evangelicals don’t read Lewis’ scholarship because they don’t have the skills to do so. Lewis’ deep and broad familiarity with the Greco-Roman Classics in particular began in childhood, and explains most of the graces and appeal of his style, as well as the strength of his reasoning. Other authors admired for their style make the same point ( None of the plots of his Narnia series are other than clever retellings of Vergil, Ovid, Homer, and Apuleius. Evangelicals generally don’t care about ‘secular’ learning with all those pagan gods and goddesses, and thus are more or less incapable of appreciating Lewis’ most accomplished scholarship.


  8. I guess Mark Jones won’t be using Bethany’s edition.

    The KJV is not my primary Bible. But my family and I will be keeping this new KJV study Bible close by. This significant accomplishment should impact individuals, pastors, households, and churches far and wide. A study Bible for the heart and mind.


  9. we could do like these guys and turn the bible into some sort of wiki project.

    or how about, let’s not and say we did.

    pinging dr. keller…

    another bible translation, dr. keller? really?


  10. Lewis’ Surprised By Joy was a profound book for me. One of the books that detracted me away from Piper’s Hedonism:

    Only when your whole attention and desire are fixed on something else-whether a distance mountain, or the past, or the golds of Asgard – does the “thrill” arise. It is a by-product. Its very existence presupposes that you desire not it but something other and outer.


  11. Do we want Christianity to be more “impactful” (spiritually-speaking, not necessarily culturally-speaking) in this nation? Here’s a suggestion: Plant more smaller churches pastored by faithful pastor-shepherds who neither aspire to nor desire to be celebrity preachers, and who faithfully preach the word, administer the sacraments, and (along with the elders) administer discipline.


  12. This piece strengthens my growing conviction is that few things have done more spiritual harm to the visible church in this nation than evangelical walmart-style megachurches pastored by entrepeneurial celebrity preachers. I also believe that if a church grows to a size where the pastor cannot possibly have meaningful personal pastoral contact with ALL congregants, then the church is simply too big and needs to plant a daughter congregation. How can the pastor of a 5,000 member megachurch (for example) ever hope to give an account for his sheep on the Last Day, as Scripture says he most certainly will (Heb. 13:17)?

    The American church has got to get over its addiction to the “bigger is better” myth.


  13. Christian Marketing Guru – The Bible: Faith and Work Edition will be a unique and engaging combination of doctrine, application, and community that can find its home not only on your nightstand at home, but also on your desktop at work

    Erik – My college roommate used to read his on the throne. Can I take this new edition of the Bible there, too?


  14. Christian Marketing Guru – With over 20 years of experience pastoring people in communities that wrestle with questions about faith and work, Kim says,

    Erik – What communities does that not happen in? Maybe Old Bob’s Alexian Village ministry? Maybe the cemetery? Or preschool?


  15. Christian Marketing Guru – Once you see the connection between faith and work, the work of Christ will become more beautiful, comprehensive, and necessary.

    Erik – Could Jesus have saved that crappy printer in “Office Space”?


  16. Can Jesus save the hell-hole that is the communal office refrigerator?

    If these people are urban sophisticates I’m Andy Warhol. These are middle class, white evangelicals raised where you and I were raised who have been imported to big cities against big cities’ wishes. It’s “The Beverly Hillbillies” with Jed & Granny coming not from the Appalachians but from Dubuque and Kankakee.


  17. D.G. – Would anyone at Zondervan have taken this Bible proposal seriously if it had come from church staff, say, in Montgomery, Alabama?

    Erik – How about a Toothless Redneck Work Bible for those laboring in the meth industry in Kentucky? Those guys have hit hard times since the good stuff’s been flowing up from Mexico. How about a Spanish language edition for them?

    You just can not make stuff this good up.


  18. I’ll wager these vocations will be included in the Redeemer story bible:

    Pastry chef
    Cupcake entrepreneur
    Investment Banker with a heart of gold
    Bicycle messenger
    Web designer
    Graphic designer
    Cool church adminisrator
    Foundation director
    Freelance (starving) copywriter
    Performance sculptor

    In other words, people just like us.


  19. Chortles is hinting in a humorous way at a really important point that is deadly serious.

    When we present work, which is a law-centered activity, as a gospel-centered activity, we do people a serious disservice and invite cynicism and disillusionment on both the part of the worker and the consumer of goods and services.

    Why? Because the only way that you can be truly “gospel-centered” in your work is if someone else is seriously subsidizing you:

    (1) You work a low-paying job but still live well and have plenty of time and energy to give because you have:

    (A) Inherited money
    (B) A spouse supporting you
    (C) Parents supporting you

    (2) You work for a church, a charity, a government … or a “ministry” like The Gospel Coalition, in which case you are being supported by either

    (A) the people in (1) above, or
    (B) People making their living in the capitalistic marketplace

    Now let’s talk about the capitalistic marketplace.

    Say you manage property for a living. Your job is renting property and collecting rents. Everything works well until someone can’t pay. This person is likely someone in need — they are unemployed or underemployed. Maybe they have more kids than they can afford. Maybe they have gone through a divorce. Maybe they have mental problems. Maybe they have serious battles with sin.

    Now what is your response going to be when they can’t pay?

    You are going to take them to court and get an eviction order from a judge. After that eviction order is issued, if the tenant has not moved out you are going to meet the Sheriff’s deputy or deputies there at the apartment and you are going to physically move that person’s worldly possessions to the curb while they watch. The Sheriff’s deputy, a man with a gun, is going to oversee the activity and, if the evicted tenant acts up, they will be taken to County jail.

    This is capitalism. The landlord is not being mean. He has investors and bankers to answer to. He has people filing lawsuits against him and looking to file lawsuits against him. He has politicians trying to curtail his business. He has local governments looking to tax his property as much as they can get away with, he has state and local governments looking to tax his profits, he has churches and charities asking for money, He has his own family to care for.

    Where is the gospel in this? Maybe after the Sheriff’s Deputy leaves and that evicted tenant is sitting there with his stuff by the curb, trying to protect everything from looters, you can get in your wallet and give him $5 to buy a sandwich.

    Now what will ensue in the lives of that employee if he thought his work was gospel-centered? What will happen in the life of that evicted tenant if he thought his landlord was gospel-centered? The whole relationship was not based on gospel, it was based on law.

    Now transfer this scenario to other industries. Manufacturing, agricultural production, retailing, package delivery — areas where most of us work. These are dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest activities and to think of them otherwise is not real — it’s not helpful.

    We find the gospel in the Church — it’s the refuge from all this. It’s unique. To try to transfer the gospel anyplace else is a fool’s errand and frankly a lie.

    If Bethany really worked on Wall Street she knows this. Either she spent very little time there or was scarred by it and is now doing penance for TKNY and trying to act like it was not so. TKNY may honestly not know how the capitalistic working world is because as a minister, he’s never lived it first hand.


  20. >>>>DGH: Michael H., Which one?<<<<

    Hopefully the one about the Gospel, sanctification, America's broken system of justice and what DGH is going to do about it. And this is a great place because comments are actually open!


  21. Look at the website for The Center for Faith and Work:

    Look at the types of jobs and activities being highlighted.

    This is yet another example of the utter absurdity of a church in NYC being the standard-bearer for the PCA.

    Yeah, the Roto-Rooter man who worships at the PCA in Charlotte could sure use an outing at the ballet to recharge his batteries for the next time he’s donning his hip-waders.

    The PCA should plant a church on Mars and use it as a benchmark for the whole denomination while they are on this track.


  22. Michael, maybe so, but Piper’s “Edwardsian” glasses are pretty thick and makes him see things that aren’t always there (e.g. Rick Warren).


  23. ec, $5? That’s all you can spare? How about chips and a beverage?

    You know, you’re making the world safe for Curt (even if I agree that our system of commerce is law, not gospel).


  24. Typing or speaking the words “we are working on a new Bible” should cause Christians to run for the nearest lightning rod. Lack of self-awareness alert. At least say it’s a study bible of some sort.

    To follow it up with “we want something with staying power,” well. The grass withers.


  25. EC —

    Maybe if the Roto-Rooter man didn’t work for such an evil, non-Gospel-centered (TM) corporation then he could at least apply to have his submission considered.


  26. “Storytelling and Meaning

    This Bible will include both doctrine and story, because we believe that reaching the mind with truth is just as important as reaching the heart with meaning. “For me,” C. S. Lewis wrote, “reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth, but its condition.” Stories have a way of implanting truth deep in our hearts.”

    I read this paragraph to mean that the authors think their Bible will be UNIQUE because it will incorporate “story” and “meaning” and stir the imagination with metaphor.

    Think on that for a moment. These authors are so dull, so pseudo-sophisticate, that they don’t realize that the Bible is the greatest story ever told. They don’t understand typology, metaphor, drama, are not secondary, but central to the Bible’s meaning, and this is precisely WHY the written Word of God actually does implant truth deep in our hearts.

    You wonder what they think is happen at the Lord’s Supper. Calculus?

    Sadly, they’re still hung over fundamentalists. They don’t know how to read the Bible. Why would I trust these guys to collect and add BETTER stories than what the Scriptures already contain.

    The hubris is bad. The ignorance is worse.


  27. Brian, ding, but quibble on describing the Bible as “the greatest story ever told.” That’s a Hollywood term and, like the efforts at TGC, betrays a subtle dissatisfaction with the Bible’s sufficiency. Sorry, back to the piling on.


  28. EC – spot on, man. And I thought the Apostle Paul already addressed the application of faith to work pretty concisely:

    1 Thessalonians 4:10-12: “But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”

    1 Timothy 6:6-8: “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”

    Seriously, stop trying to bring heaven down to earth. One of the consequences of the fall is that lots of things continue to suck, even when you’re a Christian. But we have that whole “Christ’s return, marriage supper of the lamb, New Heavens and New Earth” thing going for us, or so I thought.


  29. CT was given as a gift one year

    I gave each issue about 90 seconds to see if there was anything worth reading in it

    spent 5 minutes the whole year reading CT, not including the scan

    The Atlantic has been turning into a waste of time for the last few years as well…


  30. Christian publishers and Christian authors wanting to make a buck should not be surprising. Their claiming that what they are selling is new and improved should not be surprising either. It’s up to Christian consumers to be skeptical, something Christian consumers are notoriously bad at.


  31. Zrim, I know. But it’s not entirely untrue. I was going to go with “The Dogma is the Drama,” but thought I’d get demerits for being too close to Lewis via Sayers.

    Fact is, Lewis knew far better than this. The curse of celebrity intellectuals is to be adored by followers who don’t understand you [not that I’d know].

    For instance, I’m preaching four sermons through Luke 1 and 2 this month. This is an incredible narrative, wherein Luke powerfully hammers home the theme of promise and fulfillment between OT and NT by using the nativities of John and Jesus as types, with continuity and contrast, and Mary as a hero of the faith, “blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Mary is a type of the faithful Israelite.

    But eeevangelicals make a mash out of the narrative by drawing on an eclectic synthesis of all the stories, focusing on the history and the data of the virgin birth [important details, but supportive of the fulfillment/assurance of promises theme.]

    It’s their latent fundamentalist hermeneutic that drives them to reject the Bible as insufficient, thereby driving them to become worse than fundamentalists, even liberals and progressives.


  32. Brian, right, then with that hermeneutic they produce pop Xmas songs asking Mary if she knew her son was the fulfillment of all things. Well, if you actually read the text and paid attention then you wouldn’t be asking her, because it’s pretty clear she does. Then again, the point is to produce spiritual chills down the spine (and put Christ back in Xmas), so whatever.


  33. Zrim , are you reading the Christmas fund-raisers in your mailbox? From preacher-school Westminster California’s Robert Godfrey: “:…May I suggest that there is no greater cause than the preparation of those who are called to fulfill the Great Commission? That is why your financial support is needed. The proper preparation of men to expound the Gospel is foundational to missions, works of mercy, and Christian schools.” Off-subject here, but of interest though.


  34. nocable (satellite dish?), only every other fund-raiser. But sounds like due diligence per URCNA CO 14 (taking exception of which is enough to get one’s name scrubbed elder nomination slates, btw).


  35. D.G.,

    The retort — and it’s true — is that this system we have is frankly the best available in a fallen world. No other system creates as much material wealth. Now we can argue about how the material wealth should be divided up, but every other system is long on high ideals and short on stuff. In this life, people need lots of stuff.


  36. CW, I don’t think Ms. Jenkins will be sending any of us cupcakes so stop trying so hard.
    But I do wonder about royalties. If my story makes into the Bible, will I get royalties? Making it into the Bible is not reward enough when there’s other work to be done.


  37. Erik:
    ” No other system creates as much material wealth. Now we can argue about how the material wealth should be divided up, but every other system is long on high ideals and short on stuff. In this life, people need lots of stuff.”

    Wow Erik. How much stuff do people really need? Food and shelter. While Curt may think that covetousness is a good that’s no worse than bending over for stuff. Does it all heal on Sunday? Is Sunday the Preparation H for the fissures of the week?


  38. Erik PH,
    No and yes.
    “These are dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest activities and to think of them otherwise is not real — it’s not helpful.

    We find the gospel in the Church — it’s the refuge from all this. It’s unique.”

    A radical bifurcation that presupposes “dog eat dog” is law is just asinine. That’s compounded with believing the other side of the dichotomy necessarily negates capitalism. Law is more than mere procedural ism but includes loving neighbor, as in, no fraud, theft, or coercion. In your schema apparently those considerations are mute for business activities.

    I can understand why you need a Sunday liturgical salve to ease your conscience.


  39. Gassy,

    But evicting someone who doesn’t pay rent is perfectly legal — and necessary. If a landlord does not collect rent, employees don’t get paid, governments don’t get paid property taxes, and lenders don’t get paid principal and interest — which means the landlord is the one who gets evicted. Plus there are other landlords to compete with and if they are running a tight ship and you are not, they gain market share and you lose market share.

    In short, the system does not allow for much grace, and the gospel is all about grace.

    And the rental real estate example can be extrapolated all across the economy. We have a local grocery store chain filing a $40 million dollar bankruptcy. Other local chains, who managed their affairs more prudently, and doing fine and gaining market share because of the bankrupt chain’s mismanagement.


  40. Erik, my main pushback, though I agree with the general macro scenario you’ve laid out, is that the markets aren’t essentially free but highly regulated. And more and more, competitive advantage is realized NOT through prudence in financial affairs or operational efficiencies, but rather gaining influence in state legislatures and in congress or different gov. agencies. Merit still plays a role but crony capitalism is the surer bet.


  41. Sean,

    In some industries that does matter. Say it does and we plug an industry in which crony capitalism is a factor into my framework. What does gaming the political system to gain advantage over competitors have to do with the gospel? Once again, if we say they go hand-in-hand we are only breeding cynicism. Competitor A is led by an “upstanding Christian man”, curries favor with politicians, gets government contracts, and claims to be doing The Lord’s work. Competitor B loses out, even though they played fair. What is Competitor B’s impression of Christ & the gospel because of how Competitor A goes about business. Better to just leave Christ’s name out of it.


  42. In general, whenever a guy has a fish on his business card, it’s good to run away. You’re likely about to get fleeced if you do business with him.

    I’ll never forget the insurance salesman whose bid couldn’t hold a candle to the competition. Finally he resorted to, “But I tithe on my income”.

    So what, why can’t I just pay less and give the difference to the Church myself if I choose to?


  43. You get to the point after 20 years where you realize that while you have a right to expect honesty from every competitor — whether Christian or not — you really don’t have a right to expect Christians to compete any differently than non-Christians — whether it’s in sports or business. When you do — when you have pie-in-the sky expectations for people — you’re going to be let down. In our community, which isn’t that big — there are a lot of Christian businesspeople, most of whom are in only a few churches. In the early years when we were all coming up there were hurt feelings because expectations for one another were naive. Now that we’re all older there is respect and, for the most part, harmony. I’ve known Christian business people to help each other out in a pinch, but also to compete hard — even for each others’ employees and customers. In the early years business was discussed a lot in church and social gatherings. Now it’s discussed a lot less, and that’s probably healthy.


  44. Erik, I don’t take issue with your law-gospel distinction. I’m just adding some skepticism to the meritocracy of some of your examples. It’s more complex than someone does it well while another does it poorly. But, like I said, I agree with the overall structure.


  45. Sean,

    I agree that you can do it well and still lose — definitely. That just feeds back into my original point, though. There is not a lot of wiggle room in the capitalistic marketplace to be “doing the gospel” (or however Redeemer, TGC, TKNY, etc. is phrasing it). If you’re having to compete (unsuccessfully) against crony capitalists with advantages that you don’t have, you’re fighting for survival.

    No matter how you slice it, Redeemer, TGC, TKNY writing on work from NYC is likely not looking at reality.


  46. Erik, it’s like the rotisserie league scoring. It’s crony scoring on behalf of perimeter players who shoot threes. No ‘true’ basketball meritocracy. Yes, TKNY, soft and marshmallowy as it certainly is, seeks to put burdens on the backs of their congregants that they themselves can not keep and nary lift a finger from the perch of their not for profit, 501c3 protected royalties balcony to lessen the load they place on others.


  47. Erik PH,
    ditto Sean’s pushback, and let me extend it. Not only do we need to be aware of crony capitalism in the macro sense but in the micro sense as well. The attitude of “that’s just the way it is” when corporate policies override a christian ethic is no excuse for following the crowd. So when the renter has no resources to overcome the corporate power, because the system necessarily favors the corporate powers, then acquiescing to that advantage is wrong. Corporate power knows this and take advantage of their powers to the detriment of individuals. There certainly are cases where the corporate powers are rightfully able to exercise their rights and there are cases where corporate powers overwhelm the individual. Being able to distinguish between those cases is where the rubber meets the road.


  48. Gassy,

    So you would say when someone signs a lease for $750 per month what that really means is that a Christian landlord should accept $250 and be happy with it? Or zero? And he should be happy with that indefinitely? And if you are a maintenance man for that landlord, it’s o.k. to just let you go because, well, the rent’s not coming in so we have to let someone go. What if you as the fired maintenance man don’t have a Christian landlord who will let you stay where you live for free? Then what?

    What do you do for a living?

    And what does “corporate power” even mean? Most businesses in America are owned by families, not large corporations.


  49. While I’m not endorsing this particular Bible project, is there not room for seeing the gospel as applying to our work, indeed all that we do? For example, are our jobs not tools by which God can sanctify us? Does he not teach us patience, for instance, by having to put up with demanding supervisors, customers, or co-workers?

    It’s hard to provide specifics for what this would look like, but it seems to go too far to me to say there is no way that the gospel applies to our labor. Can there not be a middle way that avoids the false optimism of which Erik and others speak and the legalism that could result on the other side?

    Just thinking out loud here.


  50. Hey, you would still have a quorum of Spurs.

    I’ve never seen a team with such a high shooting percentage that is not high in rebounding as well. Usually they go hand-in-hand. Leave it to you to break the mold.

    I’m high in rebounds but low in free throw percentage (which makes sense — lots of bigs can’t shoot free throws) but I’m also low in blocks, which doesn’t make much sense.

    I’m mostly just ticked that I’m behind a guy who calls his team “Fehervar Videotoners”.


  51. Robert, I guess I would ask: what’s inadequate about GR to the task? Vanity of vanities, yet it’s better to enjoy and be thankful for the provision the creator has provided than not. Not exactly redemptive or otherworldly, but reconciled to the common inheritance, in this life.


  52. Robert,

    I think so, but I want to learn about it from people who have frankly spent years in the trenches. This probably is not TKNY and his associates, but I could be wrong.

    My experience is that those who have been there are pretty restrained and circumspect about the experience. Kind of like WWII veterans who actually saw combat.


  53. When it comes to economics, the Pope is not the only one who pontificates without much first hand experience. Protestant ministers who went from liberal arts college, to seminary, to the pastorate often have lots of opinions that are not backed up by any substantial non-ministerial work experience.

    This is where we often run into the Christian Plumbing nonsense.


  54. Sean,

    I’m including sanctification under gospel here. I don’t know what TKNY means by it. It just seems to me that if God is using the trials and tribulations of our labor to sanctify us, that there is a gospel way of looking at it. I think the problem might be when we try to nail down the particulars of what that looks like.


  55. Eric,

    I think so, but I want to learn about it from people who have frankly spent years in the trenches. This probably is not TKNY and his associates, but I could be wrong.

    My experience is that those who have been there are pretty restrained and circumspect about the experience. Kind of like WWII veterans who actually saw combat.

    Agreed. The person most qualified in your landlord example to pontificate on how the gospel applies to being a landlord is the Christian landlord, not the Christian pastor who doesn’t own any rental properties. The pastor could perhaps give some general principles that could be more specifically applied across the board to any vocation, but those in that vocation should be talking about it. Even then, one would have to be careful about legalism.


  56. Erik,

    Here’s a question I’ve had since you first gave your landlord example (which is great btw in pointing out the complexity of these things). Consider the deacon board at a local Presbyterian Church. There’s a man in the congregation who has come to the deacons for financial assistance. Maybe they’ve even given him some. He’s able-bodied and capable of working. It becomes clear, however, that he is unwilling to work. Eventually, the deacons have to cut him off (let he who will not work not eat).

    I know this is a church case and not a secular case, but in that instance are the deacons operating according to law or to gospel? It seems odd to me to say they are not acting according to the gospel. Could that then be applied in some way to the Christian landlord who has to kick a tenant out? I don’t know the answer. What do you think?


  57. Robert, I guess the lack of particulars is what bothers. Certainly, part of our consecration is to view life through the eyes of faith, but part of that ‘view of faith’ would seem to be the recognition of holy and common, sacred and secular, as we determine that distinction to be presented in scripture; difference of Noahic from Abrahamic for example. The rhetoric certainly appeals but it turns out that there’s not much there(lack of particulars and/or scriptural mandate). So, it quickly melts down into just so much sloganeering and trivializing of the ‘gospel’ and minimizing of the common realm-good but not holy.

    Then there’s Paul pounding away on the historic reality; ‘If Jesus be not raised from the dead(historic reality) your faith is in vain….we of all men are most to be pitied.. Paul didn’t seem to be impressed with the gospel’s power to transform the existence of every square inch of our lives. He seemed to keep it pretty cultic; 1 cor 5. Even the virtue of remaining sober, minding your own business, praying for the peace of the city because your(Xian) lot in this life is cast in with the common lot. Or we could go the immanentizing of the eschaton route where we head toward a triumphalistic model rather than a pilgirm one and an already/not yet scheme. Anyway, just talking out loud in response.


  58. Erik PH,
    poor spin.

    just acknowledge publicly that you acquiesce to the advantage corporate power has over the individual, as Sean pointed out, and spare us the corporate efficiency trope.


  59. Robert, but that would mean the gospel applies to my Christian walk. Fine. How does the gospel help me write a paper for the American Society of Church history on religion and foreign policy?


  60. Darryl,

    How does the gospel help me write a paper for the American Society of Church history on religion and foreign policy?

    Does it not give you a motive that a non-Christian doesn’t have. Is not your pursuit of the truth then motivated by a desire to bering glory to God?

    I’m not saying that the atheist historian lacks a desire to pursue the truth. Let’s imagine in this scenario that both of you are equally committed to reporting “just the facts, ma’am.” But one of the reasons you are committed to reporting the facts stems from your regeneration and desire to serve God in gratitude for your salvation. The atheist has no such motive. His desire to find the truth is born out of God’s common grace.

    Obviously, the gospel doesn’t automatically make you a better church historian as far as accuracy, etc. than the atheist. A Christian doctor isn’t automatically a better doctor because he is a Christian. That is where some of the “Christian” view of work and such will fall flat, but not everyone who is more Kuyperian in orientation will hold such nonsense. A true view of how the gospel impacts all of life will have to reckon with depravity and the already/not yet of the gospel.


  61. Robert, I don’t disagree about motives. But motivation is a long way from the actual work. The Bible/gospel tells me to work for the glory of God. Fine. The Bible/gospel doesn’t tell me how I am supposed to conduct my work.


  62. Robert – I’m including sanctification under gospel here. I don’t know what TKNY means by it. It just seems to me that if God is using the trials and tribulations of our labor to sanctify us,

    Erik – The problem is, I don’t think that this is going to be their perspective. They are going to come at it as if our vocation is just a part of how we go out as Christians and take life by the tail and just transform every doggone thing within our purview. Why? Because that’s just their way. They are Neocalvinists at heart — Every Square Inch and all that.


  63. Robert,

    On the Deacon question, we see a few people a year who round up enough money from local churches to put down a deposit and maybe pay their first month’s rent. They move in, but don’t put the utilities in their name. They don’t pay another dime, at which point they get kicked out within a month or so and then go presumably con another church and repeat the cycle with another landlord.

    In short, people who need rent money from a church for any length of time usually need a way better life plan. If you can’t even afford a place to live you are pretty down and out.

    It’s probably our duty as churches to let ourselves get conned from time-to-time, though.


  64. Oh Erik,
    The facile put down combined with the crowd pleasing basement spiel.

    You should ask diggy to add a “like” button… you’d never stop stroking yourself.


  65. I am enjoying the Diggy, Eric dialog. I’m wit ya, Diggy. Why not a discussion about the self-righteous prick in your congregation who has no clue about the havoc he is causing. Or, the boss you work for who knows he can lord it over his employees and get away with it. Is there a bible verse about hirelings and not eating?


  66. I know this is a church case and not a secular case, but in that instance are the deacons operating according to law or to gospel? It seems odd to me to say they are not acting according to the gospel. Could that then be applied in some way to the Christian landlord who has to kick a tenant out?

    Robert, but it seems odd to say when regulating believers’ lives by a principle of quid pro quo that it’s in accord with the gospel, which knows nothing of such a principle. Perhaps better to say that the deacons are regulating a specific instance by law in the greater context of gospel. The same, however, cannot be said of the Christian landlord who can only regulate by law in the greater context of law. The landlord has nothing to emulate from among the deacons, because while the deacons may say, “Pull your socks up, man, since you’ve been redeemed by God,” the landlord can only say, “Pay up, since you agreed to do so.”


  67. I meant I’m wit you, Gassy, not Diggy. I’m still not sure who Diggy is. I love how Chicago school econ types (along with Austrian libertarians) think they are the last word on economics. They like to take the moral ground approach too and imply that if you were’nt so lazy and got off your butt you could better yourself like they have. You might even be like them one day.


  68. John,

    If only it were a dialogue.

    I’m not sure sleeping in a parking garage qualifies you to weigh in on landlord/tenant issues. Are you at least paying the hourly rate?


  69. Notice Gassy doesn’t deny he’s living in mom’s basement.

    At least take out the trash and clean your room once in a while. And maybe buy some flowers for Mother’s Day.


  70. I’m calling Bethany so she can interview Gassy & John for that book on work.

    Bethany: Tell me how your work has furthered the Kingdom.

    Gassy: Well, I cut mom’s grass when I can get the mower started. Usually the string is too hard to pull, so I take $10 from her purse and have the neighbor kid do it.

    Bethany: Um, o.k. John, how about you?

    John: That’s really none of your business. What are you trying to do, judge me? Walk a mile in my mocassins, miss hoity toity. Besides, who says picking up cans isn’t work?

    Bethany: (I need to call Tim…)


  71. “I love how Chicago school econ types (along with Austrian libertarians) think they are the last word on economics.”

    But the point about the law-gospel distinction is that econs fall within the law and not the gospel … which is pretty obvious until when we actually apply it in the real world … that’s where the consistency issue comes up … IOW, whether the Chicago school or the Austrians, these are neither the gospel truth nor on the same par as the gospel truth.

    To put it another way, there is no such thing as economic truth comparable with gospel truth. The former is temporal and may have to be tweaked (or reformed if we are talking about communist systems) along the way; the latter is eternal and unchangeable …


  72. John,
    I can think of several verses that explain the spectacle.

    “Words from …the lips of a fool consume him; the beginning of his talking is folly and the end of it is wicked madness. Yet the fool multiplies words. No man knows what will happen, and who can tell him what will come after him?”

    “As a dog returns to it’s vomit, so fools repeat their folly.”

    “Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.”

    John- I’ll take the wisdom from the few words you give explaining your experiences compared to reading a blowhard putz prattle on endlessly


  73. Erik,

    I am not sleeping on top of a parking garage anymore. I am at the Salvation Army and I got 4 A’s this semester in my Chevy Chase like return to the local community college,ie. machine tooling I, blueprint reading for the machining trades, technology in American culture and Computer Applications (internet, Word, Excel and Powerpoint). I may be moving down by the river in a van soon with an ex-hooker turned Jesus freak- she is a great cook. How about them Apples?

    Gassy, appreciate the comment. I don’t think Erik realizes what a duesch-bag he often comes across as. One of the pit-falls of internet dialog. Yet he keeps on spouting like the everready battery toy.

    Jason, You Lutherans speak a foreign language that only you guys understand. I’ll have to think about what you said a little more. Maybe I will be able to make some sense out of it.


  74. A believer in my life got to pray with her surgeon, also a believer, just before surgery last week

    Both said it was something that doesn’t happen often enough

    the surgery went fine


  75. Thanks, DGH- I appreciate that! I was going to say she cooks those apples in her panties and bra but that might not be appropriate. What’s worse being a potty mouth or making lewd remarks?


  76. DGH, Am I supposed to infer from that, that you want to be the chaperone?- I do keep a stock of good Kentucky Bourbon on hand. She is more into MAD DOG 20/20 so you guys might not relate well together. You are kind of hard to figure out so I might be misinterpreting. I make a good mediator though- the irenic kind of guy that I am.

    Erik, ouch!!

    CW, I miss Doug, the theonomist perspective is always direct and to the point. No beating around the bush. I don’t think he would approve of my ex-hooker girlfriend though.


  77. john yeazel, i hear ya, bro. don’t worry about OL, the resident deacon at arms (yours truly) is reading this thread, and won’t let it get to wild. you can put the computer away and get back to your studied. i, along with the others gathered, am glad to hear things appear on the up and up for you. from one OL bro to another, cheers.


  78. thanks for the hot tip, john. working on this, around track 3, it’s great music to work to, in front of excel spreadsheets, my computer screen, and all that. peace out.


  79. D. G. Hart
    Posted December 7, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink
    Robert, but that would mean the gospel applies to my Christian walk. Fine. How does the gospel help me write a paper for the American Society of Church history on religion and foreign policy?

    Well, if you use your God-given reason and aren’t just a smug, do-nothing Bible-bot, there is much good counsel out there.

    To the objection from the text, “I say to you not to resist evil,” it is to be said, as Augustine says, that such precepts are always to be observed “in readiness of heart,” so that a man be ever ready not to resist, if there be occasion for non-resistance.

    But sometimes he must take another course in view of the common good, or even in view of those with whom he fights. Hence Augustine says: “He is the better for being overcome, from whom the license of wrong-doing is snatched away: for there is no greater unhappiness than the happiness of sinners, the nourishment of an impunity which is only granted as a punishment, and the strengthening of that domestic foe, an evil will.”


  80. ab,

    I’m not sure we have met. My musical tastes differ, plus you got to pay for those tracks. Not conducive to down by the river living. Thanks for the thought though. I am near my curfew time at the sally- got to go or I might find myself on top of the parking garage again. Not a good thought during wintertime.


  81. this one is on the voyager capsule sent out during the carter Administration. Nice to meet you. Lucky me, my wife insists on amazon prime. I’m around and like you, read many if not all of these comboxxes. Nice to “meet” you.


  82. John – I’m not sure we have met. My musical tastes differ, plus you got to pay for those tracks. Not conducive to down by the river living.

    Erik – Tape us the sound of a gurgling stream and crickets chirping.

    You need to make your way over to the Hawaiian shelters for the winter.



  83. Gassy,

    Since DGH rejected my chaperone offer I am still looking. You would have to pass a pretty severe and intensive interview process. Top on the list is that you have to view the Gospel as fantastically good news- no creeping Shephardism allowed. And you need to submit a 2500 word essay answering the following question: what is worse, sinners doing what is right in their own eyes or a one sinner magistrate?


  84. The same dynamic is happening between Erik and I as what happened between my brother and our family business. I better be careful, Erik has more money than I do. You never know what might happen when you piss someone off.


  85. Gassy,

    That interview was not very convincing and the acting was terrible. There are much better movie clips out there that expose what’s wrong with American corporate culture. A philosophy/MBA grad from Stanford recently wrote a book entitled, ASSHOLES, A THEORY OF SOCIAL BEHAVIOR. There was a whole chapter on, “Asshole Capitalism,” that is well worth reading. In short, his thesis was that in order to rise in the ranks of corporate culture you got to develop asshole character traits. Or, it’s the assholes who rise to the top.


  86. John- I don’t think satire films are trying to be believable.. My experience is that the incredible mind-numbing stupidity shown in the film is pretty close to reality.


  87. John & Gassy,

    You guys might consider roaming the streets of Iowa as opposed to wherever you’re at. You can get a nickel per can or bottle.

    Glad my taxes can keep you in Paxil & adult diapers.


  88. igasx,

    I was just trying to up the ante a bit. Erik is exerting prototypical and stereotypical wooden Reformed cliches about a revolt against maturity. You become more sanctified and well respected in the Reformed world by making such statements. A kind of supposed sophisticated ass-kissing routine. What a guy Erik is, eh? It may help him rise to the top of the heap while seeking to crush lowlifes like me.


  89. John, Kent likewise is all about protecting the brand regardless if the brand has some defects. Like being in a corporate environment, Kent does not tolerate any discussions about these defects in public.


  90. You two are giving Pope Francis a run-for-his-money in sticking it to the man.

    I guess if it’s working for you.

    Just don’t use it as a cover up as not being willing to deal with your own shortcomings and especially, sins.

    That’s when it gets dangerous.


  91. Just do demonstrate how much of this “corporate” b.s is b.s,, I work for a guy who grew up in small-town Iowa with his parents & 4 brothers in a trailer house. Dad was a road worker. He’s now a millionaire many times over. Bachelors and Masters in Engineering. Brothers are school teachers, builders, architects, and engineers. Some of the finest people I’ve ever known. I work for a husband and wife and, someday, their kids. It’s the American way and it’s a beautiful thing.

    Those who envy that can suck it.


  92. It’s my goal in life to try to introduce the thought of and encourage any youngster to study Engineering if they have the brains to do so.


  93. When introduced to someone who says “this is my son/daughter” I ask “do you like to do math???”
    and when they say “it’s my favourite subject” I smile.

    When they make a face and say they hate math, I feel like saying that at the age of 7 years old they are writing off 95% of the productive and useful upper-tier jobs in our society….

    ab, actuarial studies are good, but I can’t tie it into a child’s personality.

    Destructive brats who like to build and smash things, and have a brain, are perfectly geared toward Engineering studies. When they also play defensive back or crack heads in rugby with too much enthusiasm, they are well suited for lofty military college (studying Engineering.)


  94. PH- After reading the google reviews I’m not convinced he belongs on the pedestal you put him. I’m doubting he’ll be receiving any awards for business ethics. He seems like the type of guy who would bring someone to court for $50 even if he had been paid back.

    Your the guy who after reading Dickens thought, “dang, I like that Scrooge dude”.


  95. I know an actuary who retired at 60 because his pension grew to the point that the payouts were as big as his salary. Very solid guy. Spent a month in Australia with his wife last winter. Churchman and all-around good guy and example.


  96. Gassy,

    Yeah, “google reviews”. 9th commandment violations from people who hide behind fake names & anonymity — like you. Those are credible.

    You are now down there with the bottom of the barrel to ever comment on Old Life. Congratulations, that’s quite an accomplishment.

    How about you start using your real name if you’re going to continue this, chicken.


  97. Erik, the worst of all the worst hide behind portraits of Puritans from 400-600 years ago…

    and have a signature combining the terms Jesus, ruler, earth, right now in 2 inch high font


  98. Erik says: You two are giving Pope Francis a run-for-his-money in sticking it to the man. I guess if it’s working for you. Just don’t use it as a cover up as not being willing to deal with your own shortcomings and especially, sins. That’s when it gets dangerous.

    John Y: It is those kind of remarks that make me think we might be believing different Gospels. There is such a thing as believing a Gospel that hides behind a not committing the serious and obvious sins as other numb-nuts commit and looking at that as evidence of justification before a Holy God. The Scriptures make those comparisons a greater evil than those who constantly are committing the same sins over and over again. It seems the Scriptures look at those sins as a lot more serious than the obvious sins too. It makes us all equal opportunity and habitual sinners. That’s when it gets even more dangerous, ie. the comparisons. Erik types also like to constantly harp on those obvious sinners who like to blame others, are full of envy and play the victim stereotype. I guess if its working for you and helps in your upward mobility than keep on complaining about all the numb-nuts that you have to deal with on your rise towards your hard working wealth. Just remember that the numb-nuts may be back to haunt you one day. I’m patiently waiting for the day when that happen between me and my brother- to the tune of about 2 and half million dollars worth. I spent 20 years doing a lot more critical work than he did at the place and he has no trouble with me living on top of a parking garage and down by the river in a van. He also had no trouble taking the health insurance benefits away from both me and my other low-life brother. In fact, my other brothers wife died as a result of her not being able to get adequate health care for her health issues. He justifies it all on account of his superior morality and not committing the numb-nut obvious sins.


  99. What Gasbag doesn’t realize is that with Sean & Kent I have the equivalent of a Mossad agent & IRS auditor at my disposal.

    He’s messing with the wrong Presbyterian & Reformed goon squad.


  100. “Just remember that the numb-nuts may be back to haunt you one day.”

    Somehow I just can’t picture testicles in spectral form.

    This may be morphing into the greatest Old Life string since “Sweetbreads”.


  101. John,

    Why wait? If you’re out $2.5 million and have a legitimate case you can find an attorney who will work on contingency.

    If you’re full of crap they’ll laugh you out of their office.


  102. And I might add it is not easy changing careers when you are over 50 and you spent your whole life and training geared towards eventually running a family business. It does not easily cross over to other career fields. I won’t mention other stuff about family dynamics that perpetuated the problems and made it difficult to find jobs. However, you can fill in the blanks. My other brother got more screwed than I did because he was the one who really turned the family business around in the 80’s and 90’s. He basically allowed my moral high ground brother to put his kids through college while he was barely making it as a lousy school teacher and law school drop-out. He has not returned any kind of favor his way. Talk about duesch-bags. He likes to throw out the envy and victim words a lot too. He now is teaching others how to prosper with his internet scam business. He reads a lot of John Piper books too.


  103. John,

    And the question remains, did your brother throw you out because you had lowbrow behavior (i.e. sins) or did you have lowbrow behavior because your brother threw you out?

    If it’s the former, you need to go to him in repentance.

    If it’s the latter, he needs to go to you in repentance AND/OR you can get money from him for what he did to you.

    Even if it’s the latter, you shouldn’t let others’ sins excuse your own sins.

    The concern is that if you see yourself as a victim when you are not, you’ll never get better because you’re living in denial.


  104. I would if I had the money, Erik. He knows he can get away with it now. That may change one day if I don’t self-destruct before then due to not dealing with all of this in the right way. That is not easy to do either.


  105. John,

    “On Contingency” means that you need no money. The attorney will front all costs and take a % of the judgment/settlement in the end if they win. It works when you have a really good case. Go find out if you have a really good case or not.


  106. Thanks for the douchebag correction. Although my spell check is alerting me to an error with your correction. I believe the correct spelling is douche bag. I was on a different computer before. Now I feel stupid, Erik. Gee-whiz thanks a lot.


  107. My moral high ground brother already took his money and ran. I am trying to get my son to buy me out but he is still angry at me for not being able to pay off his college loans. Although I had to go to great lengths in order to get him hired there in the first place. It’s all complicated, Erik. Your advice is very unhelpful. It’s not like all that has already been tried.


  108. I should be happy and celebrating my effort laden completion and success of my first semester return to the local community college in town. It ain’t Harvard, I have to admit. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent there. Now I have got all this anger growing in me again. I thought I was done with that but I guess not. Erik made me do it.


  109. resident deacon at arms was out at lunch with wife and son, i don’t know what happened, but did someone say “sweetbread thread?”

    don’t go there..

    i can’t keep up with you all. see you in 2015 yo.


  110. John – My moral high ground brother already took his money and ran

    Erik – So where is your $2.5 million supposedly coming from?

    John – I am trying to get my son to buy me out but he is still angry at me for not being able to pay off his college loans

    Erik – Tell him to grow up. They’re his loans.

    John – Your advice is very unhelpful. It’s not like all that has already been tried.

    Erik – You’re welcome.


  111. John,

    Why would your son buy you out if your brother took all the money?

    What is there to buy you out of?

    How would your son have any money to buy you out if all he has is unpaid loans?

    It sounds like you need an accounting class.


  112. Erik,

    I am telling the story off the cuff and not filling in all the details. The history of all this expands over a period from about 1988 to the present. The 2.5 million is the difference from what he got over what I got during the times we both worked there. He did not start working there until 1989. I went back to school at Calvin and got my business degree from 1990 to 1994 while still selling for the company in Michigan and Northwest Indiana. I still own stock in the company. My brother is in the process of being bought out. The legal transaction has already been put into effect. My sons loans have already been paid off because of the salary he is now making at the company. He is now the CEO of the company. The company could buy me out too but there is still unresolved issues among us. It is to their advantage to keep me and my other brother at bay. Although my other brother has been bought out too. There are theological issues at work in all this too. They don’t like my gospel beliefs because it challenges how they have dealt with this whole mess. Its very complicated – like talking about the gospel to Catholics. We talk past each other without communicating.


  113. Erik – I read your bio section over at LC. You referred to yourself as an inactive elder. What’s that? I’m unfamiliar with that term. Does that mean you don’t get to vote during a consistory meeting?


  114. AB – You’ve promised to stay away (at least until 2015) several times . Why make that announcement only to return and post numerous, desultory comments?


  115. Michael,

    FYI, I became an of the OPC in 2011 when I changed the church I attend, from the OPC in San Jose, CA to a different congregation.

    There were 187 of us as of the GA report in 2014 that I linked to:

    The total number of deacons increased by 18 to 870, with 683 (79%) actively serving.

    Per that report, it appears the number of active elders in the OPC is about 75% / 25% active/inactive.

    So it’s not an uncommon thing, hope that helps. Cheers.


  116. no problem.

    ps, i have a history of posting too much, after i know my time is up. you can ask our host for further details if you like. nice to “meet” you. take care.


  117. Michael,

    “Ordained”, but not in office now. URCNA eldership is for terms, but apparently you keep the “status”. It’s like the Hotel California — you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.


  118. John,

    So you own stock in a closely held company and have no right to demand that you are bought out.

    Presumably you can demand dividends or distributions relative to your percentage of ownership?

    So why the need to sleep in shelters and on parking garages?


  119. Because my sons salary and the buy out of my brother are more important, in their minds, then buying my stock out. Plus they know I am in a desperate situation so they are offering me about a third of what the stock is worth. I am holding out in the hopes that I can survive this whole ordeal. I guess they don’t think I have been punished enough for my sins. Your continual probing has the implication that you would probably agree with them. So, this defense of myself is fruitless anymore. I’m done talking about it. I’m sure others will be happy about that.


  120. John,

    At this point I’m actually trying to help.

    If they’re buying your brother out, they’re establishing a price for the stock. You should have a right to know what that is.

    If they’re cheating you by paying out salaries that are higher than fair market value, you have a right to call them on that. That’s part of your equity they are taking.

    In short, you have rights as a stockholder and how they feel about you, your life choices, your religion, etc. are irrelevant.

    You should seriously speak to an attorney who might take your case on contingency.

    What percentage do you own?


  121. I have no problem with you or anyone else here, John, if they’re not copping an attitude.

    If I think someone is talking shite, though, I’ll tell them they’re talking shite.

    And I’ll do it for free.


  122. Erik,

    What was it I said that made you think I was talking “shite?” Was it the ex-hooker girlfriend rant, the down by the river in the van aspirations or the living on top of a parking garage in Savannah? I look at it now as part of my educational process. I have learned tons through this whole ordeal. I even saw people beat up by cops on several occasions. And I learned that there are lots of problems with the criminal justice system, rehabs and rehab facilities, shelters and salvation army run facilities. I also learned how brothers can cover their asses at small business’s if you give lawyers enough money.

    I think you are a CPA- correct? I appreciate the fact that I have finally gotten to the place where you are having an inkling (albeit guarded) of sympathy for my circumstances. Some don’t find it necessary for me to resort to all kinds of self-defense before I reach that point. I have found these are the ones who really understand the Gospel. They know that they deserve to be living on top of parking garage themselves but God has not ordained it to be so for them. I have also learned how to trust God’s providential working out of things. Although, unfortunately, I still resort to bitching and moaning when family issues start pressing in on me again. It tends to just gush out of me when my threshold level exceeds its limits.

    I still own 20% of the company, to answer your question. In my brothers zeal to “reform”me he took away the other 20% I was buying out from my sister. I was so guilt ridden back when he did it in 2002 that I did not even try to challenge what he did. I should have done something about that issue but I was under the illusion that things would eventually get better and get resolved. That is not what happened. My problems escalated and he took advantage of it. That’s the short version from my perspective. However, my guilt issues have been resolved but the family issues remain unresolved. I will eventually will go to court if I can’t stand the meager means I am living on now any longer. I am hoping that my family will eventually show a change of heart and help me out of this mess but that does not look like it will happen at this point. I really don’t want to go the legal route. It will be much to painful to do so.


  123. John,

    You’re cocky, probably out of hurt, but cocky nonetheless. Your current station in life should make you humble, but you’re not there yet. I want you to be humble so you can get better. It won’t happen as long as you’re cocky, though. Time is growing short.

    People who criticize those who are working hard and taking care of their business when they themselves are down-and-out are talking shite.

    Get back on your feet and then bring it all you want.


  124. I used to go to church with a defrocked Presbyterian minister who was twice-divorced and on his soon to fail third marriage.

    Held himself out as an expert on all things Reformed and was a constant critic of church leadership.

    Complete shite-talker.


  125. And you’re not cocky, Erik? My probationary period gets extended without your blessing. Where are the open arms? So the punishment stops and the open arms get extended when my cockiness is sufficiently humbled in your eyes?


  126. John – So the punishment stops and the open arms get extended when my cockiness is sufficiently humbled in your eyes?

    Erik – I rarely get on anyone around here that doesn’t bring the fight to me, either directly or indirectly.

    When they do, it’s game on.

    I’m cocky, but if someone makes a winning argument I’ll come around and admit it eventually.

    Witness Greg the Terrible on the sinfulness of nudity in movies.

    You have not made any winning arguments yet in my estimation.


  127. Erik,

    I’m confused- we probably have numerous arguments going on but what one do you want to focus on?
    I guess we are arguing about how punishment should be administered and when it stops- also, who gets to determine that? We also are arguing about the possibility that we believe different gospels and that has implications for the first argument. I will continue to press the issues if you want. I think we are beginning to get to important stuff.


  128. Erik says: You’re cocky, probably out of hurt, but cocky nonetheless. Your current station in life should make you humble, but you’re not there yet. I want you to be humble so you can get better. It won’t happen as long as you’re cocky, though. Time is growing short.”

    John Y: You are telling me in that statement that you question whether I am truly regenerate or not due to how you assess an attitude you think I have. My questioning whether you are believing the true Gospel lies in a completely different reason. I no longer judge by outward behavior. I judge by whether someone knows, understands and is believing what the Gospel is. A person who is believing that puts no trust in his outward conduct or any perceived inward attitude. You think I have no right to say anything about the Gospel until my inward attitude and outward conduct is agreeable to you. I don’t think we should be judging that way.


  129. John Y: I need to rewrite what I said to make it more clear. Beginning with the fifth sentence: A person who is believing the Gospel puts no trust in his outward conduct or any perceived inward attitude he thinks he might have. You think I should not be talking about the Gospel until my inward attitudes and outward conduct meets your perceived conditional standards. My outward conduct and inward attitudes can bring offense to the Gospel, and Paul exhorts us to be careful about that, however, we should not be judging by conditional standards alone.


  130. John,

    I can’t make this more clear. I’m really not trying to make any theological points with you. All I am saying is – now listen very carefully – people who are sleeping on top of parking garages and in shelters should not talk smack – about capitalism or anything else. Get yourself back into the mainstream of society and then maybe people will care what you think. As it is you have no credibility — like the thrice divorced pastor who wanted to tell me and everyone else how to be Reformed.

    You may be a nice guy, but you’re not an advice giver or prognosticator at this stage. Keep doing well in your classes and hopefully you will be again before too long.


  131. Erik,

    I can’t get no respect. I hate it when people condescend to me due to the circumstances I find myself in- that’s life. Hopefully, this time will pass soon. It is not easy to deal with. It is probably best for me to shut up for awhile. I guess I appreciate your way of expressing your concern. I can’t say your tone does not bother me but I probably should not have expected anything different from where the dialog sprang from. Since you have no desire to listen to what I have to say I will refrain from posting any comments your way. I wish I could say that I will stay away from oldlife but I find what goes on here more interesting than any other site I frequent. So I will probably keep coming back. No offense if you refuse to read what I have to say.


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