Sunday, July 28, 2013


A chaplain of the US Military has been censured for expressing his faith (  If that isn't military oxy-moronic.  Chaplains are there to express faith!

The MRFF is to be censured for hate speech.  The fact that it is hate speech aimed at Christians should make absolutely no difference.  To quote the MRFF, “Faith based hate, is hate all the same.”  His hate should not be tolerated either.  His assault on a military chaplain doing his duty is an act of “spiritual rape”and must be stopped immediately!

The Atheist faith -- or lack thereof -- is no less religious, and having it imposed on us in this nation is every bit as obnoxious as any other public establishment of religion!

It must stop.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Continuing Education

Pastors rise at convention to encourage the requirement of continuing education for all pastors.  I would like to know why.

"This is the only profession that does not require continuing education."

Okay.  There is nothing new about the Gospel.  Jesus has not come and updated and revised the good news.  Preaching and teaching has no necessary new stuff to it.

Mind you, I have regularly participated in continuing education, attending at least one theological conference of substance every year (a three day conference!) for the past twenty-four years, plus numerous seminars on counseling, family, ethics, pastoral conduct, and the like, presented by the Synod, districts, and various Lutheran organizations, often Recognized Service Organizations.  I don't object to continuing to study and learn.  I insist on it.

I object to being compelled to do so because the compulsion to do so is surely followed by the compulsion to do specific study, which amounts to indoctrination to the modern thought.

I left the Seminary persuaded that I knew what I needed to know to begin my ministry, and that I knew how to learn and find the stuff I discovered along the way that I still needed to know. I was proven correct in that persuasion.  I don't want somebody else telling me that I need to study what they choose in order to continue to serve the Lord and the parish to which He has called me.

If you want to continue your education, by all means, do so!  I have.  But don't make it a law that I should have to do what someone else chooses.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Stupid Politics

I am watching the convention of the Missouri Synod on computer.  It makes me happy that I am not actually there as a delegate.  Once again, the stupid politics of our Synod is standing in the way of listening to voice of the Synod.  Points of Order are being called every few minutes -- which generally are not points of order -- taking time from discussion and deliberation.  The discussions reveal that there is an expectation among an element of the convention delegates of sinister intent.  Every step of the business of the convention is being fought and hobbled by parliamentary procedures.  Something as simple as changing the name of the circuit counselor to its historic name of circuit visitor is debated for twenty minutes, with attempts to amend and to refer it back to committee.  The single point of the resolution is to change a job title.  It was finally adopted by a significant majority, which points out that all of the parliamentary maneuvering was simply to slow or stop the business of the Synod and to obstruct the peaceful work of the convention.

I have been to many conventions -- several as a delegate.  Each convention has the same bizarre behavior.  All that this obstructionist behavior accomplishes and stopping the Synod from working together and expressing their will -- leaving us in the hands of bureaucrats to make the decisions about who we are and what we can and will do.

The people of our Synod have been denied a voice in so many ways.  Nominations from the floor now must come from a pool of names already having been nominated.  Then the convention has to vote on each nomination individually just to get them on the ballot.  There is very little voice left, and the points of order and the calling of the question, and the motions to re-commit to the committee, just robs the people of the Synod of a voice.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A Dog's Life

I was walking my dog the other day when it struck me that the dog is a good illustration for man''s sinful nature.

My dog always wants to go outside of the permitted area. If he is on a leash, he is pulling it to the end and straining to go just a little father. If he is walking free around the yard, he is always wanting to go outside of the yard. It doesn't matter how large or small the yard is, he wants to be just a little father out than I want him to go. He is well trained to voice commands, but he is always testing the limits.

If I call him, he will ignore me as if he is deaf until I get close enough to grab him, or he will comply for a moment, and, when he thinks I am not paying attention, he will head right off in the direction I just called him from. I know that he is not deaf -- he can hear me open a bag of dog-treats (or animal crackers - his favorite!) from three rooms away! But if I call him for something he would rather not do, like a bath or a haircut, he feigns deafness almost perfectly.

He likes to dawdle to sniff and what-not for no apparent reason. If I am in a hurry, this dawdling is more important than otherwise. The dog is just contrary at times.

I asked him (yeah, like the animal can understand everything I say) why he always wants to go where I have made clear he is not supposed to go, and it struck me that all of his behaviors are like those of any person facing the law of God. We want to go where we are told not to go. We always want to test the limits. If nothing is permitted, we push to get away with something. If nothing seems to be forbidden, we go to outrageous lengths to find some way to offend or transgress. And we humans seem to be almost perfectly deaf to the Word of God, until we get into trouble, or we want something from Him very badly.

Seeing his behavior as an object lesson on human sin and contrariness has made it no easier to put with, it just makes me laugh at myself, and thank God that He is more patient and forgiving than I am often minded to be. In some ways, the situation reminds me of that poem, To a Louse, by Robert Burns - "O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us! "

 Sometimes I think that is why God gave me a dog.

The Natural Knowledge of God

The CTCR recently released the report on the Natural Knowledge of God called for by the Synod in Convention in 2007.  It took six years of study and writing to assemble what might just as well have accomplished by directing the Synod to read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, cited copiously by the report.

I have no argument with the report’s content or conclusions.  It is well written, if somewhat dense linguistically.  Your average layman will give up long before they get to the application of the sixty-some page report, but for those who make it all the way through, the ‘application’ section is written like a theological paper, as well.  The weakness of the report is that it is not easily accessible to the average reader, laity or clergy.  It should have ended with a short arch-books type of summary for the less cerebral reader.

The report not a fun read, even for one interested in the topic.  It held a treasury of quotes and analysis, and in that sense was a joy to behold.  Of course, there were issues and arguments that were missing, some old favorite chestnuts that one might wish to have seen, but in a report of this brevity, it is perfectly clear why some editorial choices had to made.  After reading the report, however, the first question to come to mind was “Now, what do I do with all of this in terms of witness?”.  Since that was the point of the report, one must wonder why it was entrusted to a body of the nature of the CTCR, and not assigned instead to a group of pastors who have to make what they present palatable and comprehensible to the common man in the pew.

Frankly, four pages ought to have accomplished what the entire report says – not in detail, but in substance.  Those four pages would have answered the original question of the Synod in convention more clearly and to greater profit, I suspect.  The discursus on the theological debates over the natural knowledge of God was informative, but did not really serve the question of how one might apply the natural knowledge of God to witnessing endeavors.  The short excepts (or so they seemed, although unattributed in the footnotes) from other writings seemed most to-the-point, as examples of using the ideas discussed in the report.  One could devoutly wish that there were more of them and less of the dense and stilted prose that made of the body of the document.