Hi. My name is Matthew, and I am a "toxic" saint. I struggle with my faith [love] at times, and my head (I ask hard questions) sometimes too. Sometimes I struggle more than I love.

I came here simply to keep my mind (and my typing finger) active. I am not "lonely" because I have a wonderful wife who loves me (she is my best friend), two girls, and we are also in the process of adopting. I think my self-esteem is pretty good most days. I am a stay-at-home dad.

My true desire is to simply have an intelligent conversation about my life, my experiences, my faith [love], and my sometimes lack thereof. It's nice having someone to "bounce" things off of during the day... that is a little older than seven. My evenings and weekends are usually pretty full. I'll talk about anything. I have a cat, a dog, a car, a truck, a house, kids, a wife, guns, and have had 4 RVs. I like pizza and  I don't like most veggies. 8^) "Gun control" is being able to hit your target.

I like to talk with folks that can share without feeling compelled to "get me told" go all religious on me. I have lost two children.  NOTE: If you like to debate, I can do that ...but it tends to make me quite aggressive and blunt in my writing style. Moniti estis!

That being said, I will not delete this topic if you make me angry, hurt my feelings, disagree with me, don't take what I say as The Gospel, reject my advice, don't want my prayers (see below), or even if you make me cry. 8^) I expect the same.

That being said, my IQ is 137. I hold a BA in Criminal Justice (I know, it should be Criminal Punishment or Victim's Justice) and a minor in Sociology. For the record, I think Freud was half nuts. I changed my minor from psychology to sociology for that reason. I tend to think like a lawyer. I come from an educated, christian background. I like short sentences. 6^)

Attack my ideology if you like, but not me personally. If you think that you are God's gift of revelation/teaching, you will probably grow to hate me (which is fine by me). However, you can save me some time (and a red finger). Simply hate me now (I'm toxic) and go talk to someone somewhere else.  8^)

More about me? I have two "learning" disabilities, ADHD (can you tell) and dyslexia. However, I still know how to read The Bible for myself (with a fondness for the NA 26/27 Interlinear). I also know how to think for myself. I probably WILL NOT believe anything you say that The Bible says, unless it really does ...within The Writings "best evidence" context (and I do check everything).

Best evidence... "as close to the original as possible."

Because I can read, I am also aware that The Bible contains glosses. I am also aware that there is ongoing work to try and determine what the original text was. I am also aware that there are thousands of discrepancies, and that the original text is lost. What we have is only close. Look it up and see for yourself.

I'm much more concerned with how Jesus lived His life, than what is recorded that the apostles and disciples did after He left. I try and follow him, not them.

I will NOT believe that you hear God's voice every minute of every day. I used to think I did, and it lead to personal pride and [almost] the destruction of my life. Therefore, I will not receive any "word" you speak into my life. Jesus is The Word that I am interested in, and I have already received Him. 6^)

You are NOT welcome to pray for me ...unless you ask first, and I agree. I promise I will never "pray" for you (you know what I'm talking about). I totally reject those type of prayers. 8^P


Hi. My name is Matthew, and I am a "toxic" imperfect saint. PLEASE DO NOT reply to this post ...unless you think you can handle that. I always have Netflix.  8^)



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What, Marshall, signals to you that there is "danger of death" in what you have read in this blog thread? Please do not be cryptic. Clarity is crucial.

Marshall Diakon said:

What you may regard as "inappropriate" is echoed from John 8, and as I was directed.

Jim, because Matthew's life and care is at risk, please give foremost consideration & communications toward what is most crucial in love. If we do not directly warn others who are in danger of death, what then?


Matthew's conscience is not clear.
[II Corinthians 1; I Peter 3]

Matthew has identified with living "toxic"; with seeking to avoid shame (rather than being free from it); in a life-pattern of trusting himself and (at other times) unknown voices; a significant portion of his writing here volunteering to justify himself by excusing his actions of the past.

Matthew's rejection here of brother Paul's example to follow:
"However, since I am toxic ...I simply don't care all that much about what Paul had to say ...about what he thought the Jews should be doing ...over 2000 years ago. Paul himself said that he was chief sinner. Nah on following him. I'm already toxic on my own, I don't need sinner Paul's help! 8^)"
[I Corinthians 11:1]

Matthew's personal bitterness (as Marna has noted here, quoting):
"And now it truly sadens me to see that you call yourself 'toxic' and 'sharing' so much bitterness."
[Ephesians 4; Hebrews 12]


So then, I appeal to you and to heaven in that Matthew is of spirit within dire straights, living in regret, proceeding under his own strength while resisting the power that would accompany the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
[I Corinthians 2:4-5; II Corinthians 13; I Peter 1]

Marshall, thank you for responding to my urging you to review what you spoke to Matthew. We have different understandings of Matthew's statements regarding being "toxic". My understanding is that Matthew described himself as toxic in the sense that he doesn't see himself as fitting, or trying to fit, the common expectations/ definitions of Christendom as it is conveyed and "enforced" by typical churchianity. He would be, basically, a subversive, or toxic in that environment. I haven't interpreted the "toxic" statements as knowingly/ gladly embracing evil. Many of us, if I'm understanding him on that point, might be ill-fitting/ subversive/ toxic to the status quo.

I agree with you that Christ's commissioning of Paul gives Paul an authority on behalf of Christ that we must gratefully heed, as we do Christ Himself. There was opportunity for you to chat with Matthew on that matter! Instead, there was a quick declaration of lostness. 

Marshall, must we not be very careful to pronounce, as you have done publically, that one will die in his sins, based on a possible misconstruing of a person's words said in a particular context, on a blog? Surely, before coming to such a conclusion and declaration, one would undertake a much greater exploration, by a fuller personal engagement with the person for whom you have concern! And the tone might be considerably different than a "leave these words as a memorial for yourself: you will die in your sins." Would love issue forth in that manner, forsaking any attempt to encourage one that you consider "in dire straits, living in regret, proceeding under his own strength"? And are you quite sure that your application of Jesus' declaration in John 8 is absolutely appropriate in this context?

I am not attempting to support anything that Matthew has written in this blog thread. I am, however, presenting a strong appeal to be as discerning, careful and humble as possible. On this latter point, I take instruction from Galatians 6:1.

How do you receive these words?


I/we confess to being privy beyond this posted topic. Galatians 6:1 is sounding.

We (larger sense) are led by the Spirit of God to present men & women with option: to remain as they are in themselves, or to petition Christ for peace. From the Scriptures, and from the heart, there would be no expediency to enforce delay or soft-sell the crucial move: full repentance. Even if in instance I had presumed to offer Matthew life or death, the Holy Spirit is present guarding His own; will respond in accord with the word of Christ we bring; is compelling us to declare all He is bringing to us. Not only this, He knows all --- even this thread; its end from its beginning.

Yes, we may be regarded by some as subversive. However, Christendom has long been slow-poison to itself, and is coming to naught by it's own bad fruit & disfiguring devices. God forbid we would assume credit for the demise of thousands of pieces in self-destructive system!

Marshall, I don't know how to continue with this discussion right now, in a way that might be helpful.

1) I'm not doing well in figuring out what you're saying, particularly in the middle part of what you've written. It appears (I'm not sure) that you're saying that if there has been an overstepping of your authority, the Holy Spirit will protect the person who is the object of the error. It appears, also, that you are saying, however, that you have spoken the "word of Christ" and the Holy Spirit will act in accordance with what's been spoken. I think you're also saying that it's incumbent upon us to plainly speak what God has spoken. I've done my best to follow the syntax, and to paraphrase as closely as I can what my reading skills have yielded in reading your statements.

2) "Galatians 6:1 is sounding" is too cryptic for me to be certain of what you mean. I can think of a few possibilities, but I'd need help to know.

3) There are what I consider important questions in the third paragraph of my previous writing, that still, as far as i can see, have not been processed.

Here's where I am in this conversation:

I'm short on confidence that there is enough overlap in our respective assumptions about how to speak to others in a way that nurtures life. It seems, also, that we would need considerable amount of text-talk to explore how to discern appropriate application of scripture (even of John 8, or Gal 6:1). Furthermore, if you were "directed" to speak John 8 upon Matthew, it's difficult to enter a discernment "exercise" with you about that. Perhaps you had a partner in discernment before writing to Matthew?

Shall we leave this interaction as it is? You spoke to Matthew as you were "directed". I shared my concern and counsel about how it was done. We've all got some things to perhaps reflect upon in days ahead. But I suspect that we will not likely find further profit in further discussion on it -- at least not at the present time.

Do you concur, or is there something further that you wish to convey?


Marshall Diakon said:


I/we confess to being privy beyond this posted topic. Galatians 6:1 is sounding.

We (larger sense) are led by the Spirit of God to present men & women with option: to remain as they are in themselves, or to petition Christ for peace. From the Scriptures, and from the heart, there would be no expediency to enforce delay or soft-sell the crucial move: full repentance. Even if in instance I had presumed to offer Matthew life or death, the Holy Spirit is present guarding His own; will respond in accord with the word of Christ we bring; is compelling us to declare all He is bringing to us. Not only this, He knows all --- even this thread; its end from its beginning.

Yes, we may be regarded by some as subversive. However, Christendom has long been slow-poison to itself, and is coming to naught by it's own bad fruit & disfiguring devices. God forbid we would assume credit for the demise of thousands of pieces in self-destructive system!

Beautifully put, Jim. I too tried to work through the syntax, the grammar, to understand what Marshall was saying, to no avail. I pray that someday I have the grace to respond as you did. In the meantime...

I feel compelled here to reintroduce my thesis stated in my post, "The Elephant in the Chapel," thus: because of the centuries of devastation wrought by the savage wolves, any attempts to recreate a first century model of the visible church (as distinguished from the Bride) are futile. We are in a different time with vastly different conditions. It is the endgame, wherein our call is now first and foremost endurance—the one who endures to the end will be saved. (I have great confidence you are and will, Matthew. It matters not a whit whether I agree with you on this or that point of scriptural hermeneutics. What matters is agape expressed in action, not in pious-sounding speech. But back to my point...)

Here we have an example of what I tried to explicate. A brother curses another brother, condemning him to hell, in a manner so far removed from anything the Lord or his apostles ever did. If you recall, they continually spoke life and peace, but reserved condemnation for only one kind of person: the religious man, who acknowledges no sin on his own part but is quick to see the sin in others. Paul did not condemn the man who had his father's wife, but rather sought his restoration. Even if this meant the destruction of his flesh, Paul still looked beyond the grave to see this man in glory (1 Cor 5:5)

Not so with the pious among us, who can only see the sin in others, eager to prop themselves up in the lofty position of self-delusion by pronouncing judgment upon another. Do I commit the same error here? Perhaps, but alas (and to the main point of my Elephant post), there seems now no mechanism, no context any longer by which true discipline and true guarding of the flock by the shepherds can be effected. Where are the shepherds? Where indeed, is the flock?

I recently learned of a brother who set off on a journey, traveling for at least 6 years across the country, ostensibly insinuating himself into the various home churches he could find, no doubt living off the donations of those whose homes he stayed in (these homes, I might add, which often house the homeless and require a good deal of work-for-income and "sweat equity" to build and maintain; these homes, I say, which are but wood, hay, and stubble). He apparently was a self-appointed apostle of sorts, writing and speaking many things which sounded extremely spiritual. I say he apparently "was a self-appointed apostle of sorts" because I could find no record of his ever being sent (confer the definition for apostle) by anyone. He had no shepherds watching over his soul; no one to correct him when he went astray. And even in the homes he stayed in, in which someone did attempt to bring him to further maturity, he had an out. He could simply hit the road again and find some other home in which to speak his pious-sounding words. All the while the true Word of Wisdom spoke:

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.*

But again, alas, I am at a loss to find the context by which we can live in this kind of Wisdom. My elephantine post was an expression of this struggle to find it. The struggle continues. But is it despair? No, may it never be! The Lord has promised the restoration of all things, and He will bring it to pass. Maranatha.

*Note even here, with Paul excoriating these undisciplined busy-bodies, his main goal is life and restoration and peace. There isn't even a hint of a suggestion that these brothers' souls are in "danger of death"!

Hey Marc,

It is really good to see you here a bit more. I don't know if I mentioned this to you, but you are the reason that I came here to SimpleChurch.com. I was browsing the good ol' WWW and came across your Elephant topic. I saw the same unrest in you that I feel.

Then a really interesting thing happened. I shared where I thought the problem was, and you disagreed... becoming a "leaver" as I recall. 8^) Which, in my mind proves that we can have the fellowship you mentioned (and that I hope for) and not bite and devour one another.

Anyway, thanks for posting...




I have spent the past week tearing out rotted flooring from inside a bathroom, moving all of the plumbing lines, replacing flooring, framing new walls, moving the whole bathroom, installing new bath fixtures, and doing rewiring in the old house we live in. It is amazing how difficult it is to be a stay-at-home-dad, a carpenter, demolition man, plumber, and electrician all at once. 8^)

The kinda nice thing is, the city here allows for "recreational burning" ...so we have been able to make a little campfire on some of the nicer evenings and just have a really pleasant time as a family.

That being said, there is a problem. We have these two neighbor children that love to come over and play with our children. Their house is catty-corner to our fenced in back yard, so if we don't invite them over ...they stand in their yard and leer over at us. This is often done while pouting, with arms crossed.

An aside... They are mostly sweet, enjoyable children.

Anyway, we have addressed the invasion problem with their parents (even had to say to them, "Please wait for an invite from us to come over!") which has caused even more stress (children get their behaviors from their parents). They have even laughed at my wife (because she is specifying boundaries). This was a really stupid thing for them to do!!! 8^) My wife loves Jesus, but she wasn't "raised in church" (thank GOD!). There were some "new" words used that night. 8^@  

...but still they stand there, longing to invade!

So... we are looking at me having to install a privacy fence, which equals time and money. Any other suggestions... from those with some compassion in this area!?!

Easter blessings,


Hi  Matthew,

"....any other suggestions?" My only thought is too hurry up with an invitation. Should I mention that I tend to be wrong? One of Murphy's laws goes something like.... when there is a 50-50 chance, you'll be wrong 80% of the time.

and how about a picture of your house?



A public "You are welcome" and "Thanks for the kind words," Matthew.

I think I am what is called a lurker—I don't much care for having conversations via the Web. In this case however, I will respond to your last post publicly only because I have a growing sensitivity to this very topic, and my words may help others. A man whom I respect as a true pastor/elder directed me to some concepts about hospitality which have gained traction in my soul.

First, hospitality is one of the hallmarks of elders (see the "qualifications" lists).

Second, showing hospitality is NOT the same thing as entertaining.

Third, we are all called to it. Hebrews 13:2.

Fourth, the root meaning of "hospitality" is "love (phileo) of strangers (xenos)", which of course is the complete opposite of our natural, fleshy inclinations (confer: xenophobia).

Fifth, the ability to show hospitality is at the heart of true community. Those little urchins may very well be "angels," messengers sent by God for greater purposes.

Sixth, the call to show hospitality can be seen in much the same way as the call to a husband to love his wife as Christ loves the Church: we are asked to do the thing which goes completely against our natural inclinations, and thus we must die to our own agendas and see what God might have in store in so doing. No, it isn't easy. My wife enjoys the country setting we live in, as opposed to the suburban type most of our friends/acquaintances live in, because she doesn't like the thought of the constant stream of neighborhood kid foot traffic. I don't necessarily like the interruptions of my own kids in my home office! So, I certainly understand the feelings. There are a lot of feelings we have to die to when loving our wives and kids, aren't there?

Since you asked me to ask, can I pray for you and your wife that God will open your heart to these little strangers? You just never know where it might lead.

He is risen.

Hey Roy and Marc,

I guess I was hoping for more of a "The Army Surplus store in my neighborhood has a sale on Katyusha rockets" type of thing. 8^)

Oh well. Gonna spend some quality family time today (as if there were any other kind). 8^) More on the neighbor thing later ...but just a note, they are church-going-christians that have treated me like a free babysitting service for a year, while mistreating my wife. 8^P



Oh, and here is the house... hope it works

"they are church-going-christians that have treated me like a free babysitting service for a year, while mistreating my wife."

Well, why didn't you say that to begin with? Then I would've told you to quote Proverbs 25:17 to them before building the fence!

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