Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's The Hypocrisy, Stupid!

A recent article came out where Gene Robinson speaks about the problem of homosexual clergy (unfortunately Christian Post.com lost the link). One of the things that he points out is that there are many "gay" clergy actively working. I don't doubt it, clergy are sinners, too. Some, he says have active live-in partners. Apparently, something that is occurring in England according to his statements. Just to make it better their Bishops know about the situation and won't do anything. Yet, at the same time, if it ever comes out the bishop will be their worst enemy. Robinson laments the horrible pressure these poor homosexual priests face because of an unloving intolerant church.

The problem I see is not the church being unloving, it is the bishops engaging in active hypocrisy. Their public face says they are against active homosexuals serving but, they knowingly allow them to continue serving in secret. Oh, what tangled webs we weave.

If only they would wake up and realize that God doesn't change just because we find Him inconvenient. If these bishops really want to do their job they should be upholding the office of the keys and not condoning these sinful actions by their priests. But they don't, for they really do not believe in the Bible, instead they follow the ways of the world so they can seem loving. Then they add hypocrisy to their list of crimes against God by publicly condemning the very priests they supported in their homosexual lifestyle.

Monday, July 30, 2007

News Legend Dies

Marvin Zindler, age 85, passed away yesterday. Marvin was a colorful character and my introduction to the local news on KTRK in Houston, TX. First time I saw him I thought he was something of joke with an over the top delivery and bright blue tinted sunglasses. Dressed as he was I thought he was a parody of TV evangelists. As it turns out he was for real and I, who never watch consumer reports, started watching Marvin just because he was such a character. He made me laugh at a time when I was at my lowest, I was terribly homesick my freshman year of college. Those of you with a few years under your belt who are not from the Houston area might know him from a famous Broadway play turned Burt Reynolds - Dolly Parton movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. The play and movie were based on Marvin's first major news campaign the closing of the infamous Chicken Ranch, the site where the losing team treated the winners of the annual Texas-Texas A&M football game. While many will remember him because of these famous retellings, I will always remember him for his "Sliiiimme in the ice machine" reports. Well, Marvin I guess this is your last sign off "Marvin Zindler...Eyyyyyee Witness News!"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's all Greek to Me!

Mrs. Luther (Forty-Two), has decided that as part of her approach to homeschooling she is going to teach the children foreign languages. Now admittedly neither of are great shakes at any modern language, I only remember enough Spanish to ask two important questions, May I have a beer and where's the bathroom. However, we both have some knowledge of the classical languages and we were in a discussion as to which would be the most benefit and immediate use for young Lutherette. Well, I immediately thought as Latin is the language of the Antichrist not much use yet. So, I had to think is Hebrew of more immediate value or is Koine Greek? They each have their advantages and their disadvantages.

Hebrew is a straight forward language with an uncomplicated sentence structure. However, the Hebrews are worst than the Germans for forming compound words. One word easily expands into four words. Plus, you have Hebrew poetry which throws out all the grammatical rules plus some necessary words to ease understanding.

Greek on the other hand is a far more complex language. However, learning this language will prepare a person for learning more modern languages, plus you can read the New Testament, always good. I think I am leaning towards Greek and I think Mrs. L is too, but she is still waffling so I wouldn't be surprised to hear she wants to teach young Lutherette, Spanglish.

Anyhow, Greek does have a major advantage of Hebrew as far I am concerned and that is Concordia Seminary has all of Dr. Voeltz's Beginning Greek Lectures on video podcast at iTunesU. A tremendous help since while I do still try to practice reading Greek, I do not know it well enough to teach. If you are interested in things Theological Concordia's iTunesU page is worth checking out as they have a fast growing collection of audio and video resources.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Misgiving Gives Way

A while back I wrote about the fact I have been receiving numerous visitors looking for pictures of guns. For a while I was seriously considering removing the picture because they were just looking at the guns and the shear number overwhelmed my logs, that tends to happen when you sign up for a free service that allows you to look at the last 100 and you average 300+ hits a day. Any how, my misgivings are melting away because I have noticed a growing trend. People find me while looking for guns but now a growing number are clicking on topic categories, and to think I was considering removing those too. Needless to say, I have nothing against guns, they are tremendous fun to shoot at the range and I am not one to turn down great free advertising (My pic is the second listed on the first page of Google searches for guns) so the pic stays. I will look at this way for all who come looking for guns, I have good news for you.

BTW, major milestone we cleared 10,000 hits this week.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Thoughts on Deathly Hallows

Wow this was a real page turner, the only reason I put it down was because I was splitting time with my wife. I really enjoyed the fast paced action of the book but there were a few things I found lacking and in some cases disturbing

Spoilers - Highlight to see.

The deaths of Lupin and Tonks get a one line mention? What is that? Lupin was if not a major character he was a significant secondary character. I even missed it, my first clue was when Harry used the stone in the forbidden forest and Lupin appeared.

Did Mrs. Weasley use avada kadavra Bellatrix? Some people have already suggested as much. I don't think she did, even as mad as she was she would not resort to a spell she despised so strongly. I think it is more likely her spell was cast sufficiently strong that when it hit on the heart it stopped the heart. A legitimate idea since a sufficiently powerful physical blow can stop a heart.

This I found most disappointing, Harry's blase use of unforgivables. Rowling acted like these spells were unforgivable for a reason. That and it was completely unnecessary when he used crucio just because the guy spit on his prof.

Would Luther be Pro - Homosexual?

That is the argument of Mary Zeiss Stange, a professor of women's studies and religion at Skidmore College. She thinks Luther would abandon one of the most basic premises of his theology, every word in the Bible is spoken by God. I am not sure Mary has her head screwed on right. If Luther lived today we would still be under the thumb of Papa Pope and the old school RCC is very anti-homosexual. Some people shouldn't be given a pen and Mary is one of them. Any how my real reason for this post is to point you to an excellent refutation of her USA Today article.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Evangelism - It Is Not The Priority

I am big on evangelism, in fact that is my focus in my congregation, so it may be surprising to hear from me that evangelism is not the priority of the church. It is in fact, a priority. The church exists for two reasons to feed the sheep that Christ has already called to himself and to make new disciples. These two priorities should be maintained in balance. If they are not maintained in balance the church will suffer.

The two overarching priorities of the church are both interrelated and opposing at the same time. A paradox if you will. They are related in that they are both based in the Gospel. They are opposed because they are aimed at people with different needs. Those already called into Christ need to be feed with increasingly solid food. Whereas, the lost need to be nursed on milk often given in the guise of food they think they need or want. At the same time we expect a certain high level of conduct from Christ's sheep, uniformity in doctrine and practice for example. We cannot expect the same from the lost or new to the faith; they are not that far along the path of faith. So while we need to minimize roadblocks for the lost we need to maintain certain expectations for those in the faith. Maintaining this balance is very hard to do. In fact, you will often find books saying you need to focus on one or the other or you will fail. I refuse to accept that. We are not called to be half a church. So, accepting a half measure such as this is unacceptable even if the maintenance of both is near impossible. Are we not supposed to reflect Christ in our lives? Was he only half perfect? No, and neither should we settle for less because it is hard.

We must maintain balance. This means we need in place measures to help people along in faith. We need to help people move from breast milk to prime rib. We cannot expect people to instantaneously appreciate the rich liturgical traditions of the Lutheran Church. We may have to go with a theologically light but orthodox service to bring them in, but we should not satisfy ourselves with leaving them there as we so often do. We need to think of ways to move them along in their faith walk so that they are drawn into the more theologically rich traditions. We must maintain that balance seeking the lost and feeding the sheep.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Infants Learn Right and Wrong Early On

This is something we may not have thought about overly much, but I think we need to put some thought into it. Differing groups in their desire to abandon anything remotely Romanish have abandoned baptism as a vehicle of God's Grace and in doing so deny children in baptism. One of the excuses they have come up with is they don't know right from wrong.

I beg to differ. The Law is written upon every man's heart (Jeremiah 31:33). This is evidenced more or less by a young child's desire to please their parents. Though they fail frequently they want to honor their parents and they realize that to do that means doing things that make mom and dad happy. Thus they begin with the basic concept that what makes mom and dad happy is right and what makes them unhappy is wrong. Their understanding may not go beyond that level, we don't know since they are limited in communication abilities, but the basic principle is there. They understand the concept of right and wrong. So to argue ignorance of right and wrong is a foolishness at best, but then what is a person going to do when they have made human reason the vehicle of salvation and thus replaced God.

Nearly a Hat Trick

Well, last week I nearly turned the hat trick. All I needed was a wedding to make it complete, but it is done and I am back.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

When It Rains It Pours

This will be a week to remember. Senior Pastor and organist are on vacation(a problem caused by the two being married), so it is little old me on my own and boy it can't be busier. This week I have three funerals on Thursday and Saturday, and just to make it more fun, this seems to be the week everybody needs to talk to me. So, work on sermons is going at a snail's pace.

Oh yes, this is the week my parents came to visit, oh well they wanted to see their granddaughter more than me. With all that is going on I doubt I will be posting much this week.

Sorry to all of you who were hoping I would make the cry baby picture disappear off the front page.

Anyhow, pray for me and the families I will be ministering to this week.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Religiously Confused Priestette Suspended

Ann Redding, who recently announced that she is both Christian and Muslim, has been suspended for one year. I am guessing this is to give her time to contemplate her errors and that she could return in repentance. However, somebody who was already living in blatant disregard to a biblical mandate is unlikely to repentant over such a minor doctrinal issue as the divinity of Jesus (please note dripping sarcasm). I hope that she does realize her error and repents of her sin. I must also say that is nice to see that even the EC-USA has its limits on what sins they will tolerate.

What exactly do they mean by stricter?

A recent article in the ChristianPost.com, reports the rising tensions in the Church of Finland, a reportedly Lutheran church body. The main source of tension, a group of pastors becoming increasingly vocal in their opposition to women being ordained. These brave men are taking an increasingly unpopular stance and it would appear from the article are so firm in their stance as to refuse to work with any woman calling herself a pastor. Being that their church body is an organ of the state they have placed themselves in danger of legal action, because they are discriminating on the basis of gender. It is nice to see people standing up for what they believe despite the unpopularity of their position. With the likely actions they face these brave men need our prayers and support.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Science Catches Up With The Bible

Yesterday, it hit the news that a study shows, infants as young as six months are capable of lying. This study may finally help turn the tide against the mistaken notion that babies are so innocent. Now it is arguable if the actions described in the study "fake crying", etc. indicate deceptive behavior or not. What is definite is that the children are exhibiting self-centered behavior which is equally sinful. So, it would seem that science may finally be catching up with the Bible.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Churches and the Fourth of July

Yesterday, we had our freedom celebration (Fourth of July service). We had patriotic hymns and a video featuring pictures of family members who serve in the military, police, and fire departments followed by an old fashion picnic with American staples minus the apple pie. I wonder why nobody brought apple pie, we had hot dogs but no apple pie. I must look into that oversight.

I preached on the text from Romans 13 focusing on love is the fulfillment of the law. I worked on drawing the picture for people that love is not a nebulous feeling but an expression founded in sacrifice. However, we as sinful people are self-centered and when we are acting self-centered we are not going to make the sacrifice needed to express love and thus we will not experience love. For the law part I brought in the fact that if we love Christ we are going to show it by loving our neighbors drawing on the passage from Matthew 25 "that which you do to the least of these you do to me." My gospel handle was that Jesus took this message to heart and that he died for the benefit of the least of all. Then for some sanctification lessons I encouraged the people to turn to Christ to be the source of love by which they will love their neighbors.

Did your congregation do anything for the Fourth of July? If so what did you do?

Media Driven Confusion

The media is its own worst enemy in the fight against confusion. They have left the average person so confused on so many topics they have rendered people impotent and confused. If this is by design or by laziness or even ignorance on the reporters part is too be determined. Personally, I think it is a little bit of columns A, B, and C. Whatever the root cause, the result is the same people who are trying to say informed are left confused or worse misled against their core beliefs.

The chief instigators are the so called science reporters who, more often or not, are journalists who took intro to "Blank" courses and were drafted to report on science issues. They have just enough knowledge to confuse themselves but not enough to write a good article on the topic, and usually rely on what the source uses in terminology and definition. Thus they generally parrot information with out clarifying the usage. This causes problems with topics such as stem cells. Did the source mean adult, embryonic, or all the above? They compound the issue by regularly resorting to shorthand in order to meet space requirements leaving people even more confused. I am not even going to take into account the purposeful political rhetoric designed to mislead. But in their rush to get the story out in as concise a format as possible they are confusing people.

If I did not have the background I have I would be one of them. Thankfully, I do have that background, but I have to admit I am getting tired of having to mend the damage their inept articles are producing. Whatever you do don't get me started on the topic of them referring to the ELCA as the Lutherans.


Poorly researched/biased

confusing terminology