Monday, October 31, 2005
I have often what was going through Martin Luther's mind on October 30, 1517, the night before he nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenburg Cathedral's front door. Do you think he knew what would happen? Any of the histories I've read of the opening moments of the Reformation always seem to say that Luther had no intention of starting a new religion, he just wanted to "reform" the Catholic church. I wonder, though, if somewhere in his mind he knew exactly what was going to happenL and explosion of ecumenical thought and reconoitering.
What thoughts did he have as he nailed that sheet of paper to the door. I have a feeling it was something to the effect of "whelp, that's that." And then he put away his hammer and clapped hs hands together to clean them, stepped back to look at his carpentry and then slipped back through the crowd.
Here's some Reformation Day links.
What exactly is Reformation Day?
What You Do, Do Quickly has some thoughts on ye olde Reformation Day. In this one he comments on Lutherans' identity. Reformation glee, I like that he uses the word "glee." I have often heard of Lutheran "guilt," but one doesn't often hear of Lutheran glee. Then there's Dan the football guy, over at Necessary Roughness who weighs in this post a great CliffNotes run down of Reformation Day and why it is important.
It was nice to have common cup communion today. I love it when a month has five Sundays. Today's communion was very special for a couple of reasons. They dedicated a new communion set. The set was given in memory of woman that was killed exactaly one year ago today in a car accident. She and her husband were on their way to a community Reformation Day observation service when their car was t-boned by a police car on its way to lend assistance to a high speed chase. Her husband was badly hurt, but survived.
We had some good "barn burning" hymns in church this morning and of course we sang A Mighty Fortress which of course is (as Dr. Middendorf, a former professor of mine at Con-You, Austin used to call it) Luther's greatest hit. I don't know about that, but I still think it is hard to sing. I like the tune, the words are wonderful, but I think its just hard to sing.
I have taken the day off tomorrow. I decided a few years ago that I thought Reformation Day counted as a religious holiday, so, I take it off every year. I read the 95 Theses and dip into one of Walther's books. I think this year I'll take a look at Law & Gospel. I also must confess, though, that I do at some point during the day have a beer, or two, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther. It seems only appropriate.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Playbook Tour Part II
I decided to take you on a tour of my Bible here is the first part.
This is the inside of the front flyleaf. On top is my Confirmation Verse, John 10:27-28.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.. For the longest time I didn't know my Confirmation verse. I found it quite by accident a few years back and I thought that it fit me pretty well.
The second verse written in block letter is 2 Thes.2:14: " He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." But, actually the whole section is worth putting in here:
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.To the right of the 2 Thes. quote is another that I wrote from 2 Cor5:7. It says "We live by faith, not by sight." These verses really seem to fit in with my thoughts and feelings about faith.
Under the 2 Thes. quote is a confession of faith I found somewhere in a bulletin somewhere along the way. And below that 1 Sam 3:4: "Then the Lord called Samuel." And then scrawled on bottom right corner this: "Did I learn this today or do I believe it?" For a while in college I was fighting with the difference between knowing something and believing something. I came to the conclusion that it was better to believe something than to know it. If I knew something it could probably be proved that it was wrong. Believing something was a much stronger thing. I don't quite remember the whole thought process behind it now, but at the time it made a lot of sense.
This is one of the most important parts of my Bible to me. This has been a lot of work for me. All these written down verses are verses that have really grabbed me as I've done my Bible readings. If they are highlighted or circled in red they really mean something to me. 2 Cor 12:1-10 is a biggie for me. We all have thorns... and man, do they hurt!
I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.
7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
This the page after the one above. I haven't done much to this one, yet, I'm actually kind of saving it because I'm sure my list of "important verses" will overflow the other page. However, there are two things that I need to point out. The only language I have ever actually been able actually grasp to the point of feeling somewhat comfortable with it (aside from English, that is, and that is probably suspect) is Hebrew. I don't know why, it might of been the professor I had when I was in the sem, but I think it just made sense to me. The little scrawl in the upper left corner says YHWH Shalom. It is from Judges 6:23, it means "The Lord is Peace." That is such a wonderful phrase. The other one is from Ezekiel 48:35-- YHWH SHAMAH. "The Lord is there." Another wonderful phrase. If I ever get a tattoo (which I doubt seriously) it will be that phrase in Hebrew on my left arm.
There's that YHWH Shamah, again. I guess I really dig that one. I have to "refresh" that one every once and awhile with a Sharpie marker. This one the outside front of my Bible. On the pages.
This one is on the top of my Bible. Isiah 7:9(b) rocked my world the first time I read it. I think it was the first verse I wrote on the outside of my Bible.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,. I remember having a "wow" moment when I read that for the first time. Really shook me in a good way. One has to have that rock under their feet. It has to be firm. You can only stand so long on a soft mushy place, or a slippery surface, but stand on a good solid rock, or concrete floor... you're there forever. You're not moving. Same thing here. Put your faith in Jesus Christ and you're not getting moved, buffetted, maybe, perhaps even knocked over once or twice, but you're still standing strong. Yeah, Is 7:9(b) is a big deal for me.
you will not stand at all.’
And then, finally, is this view. This is from the bottom of my Bible. Psalm 66:16-20:
Come and listen, all you who fear God;This is one of those "boo-yah" verses. Everytime I read this I just get this incredible smile on my face and feel like dancing with joy. The other verses I have highlighted are Psalm 109:9 "I am a man of prayer." 1 Thes. 2:5(b) "...God is our witness." And then, last, but certainly not least: Is 30:20,21.
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
and heard my voice in prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!
Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Monday, October 24, 2005
Lutheran Carnival IX
Teresa K. over at Be Strong in the Grace has done a bang up job on the Lutheran CarnivalIX. Speaking of the Lutheran Carnival Dan over at Random Thoughts needs some volunteers to host the Carnival. Let me tell, if you've been thinking about doing it, it is a blast! I've volunteered to do two more if Dan'll let me.
So, props go to Teresa K. She did a fantastic job.
Blessings to all.
Play Book Tour
(note: click on the images for bigger view. it might help)
Today, when I got home from work I had a sudden idea. I thought it would be fun to show all my cyber-Loofrin friends the inside of my Bible. That probably sounds funny and maybe a bit strange, but my Bible is very personal to me and I have worked very hard on it. I have never liked seeing pristine clean bibles, particularly if they are often read. I've never understood it when I flip through someone's bible and not see a single solitary note or underlining. I have always held to the "read, mark, and inwardly digest" aspect of Bible study. The first picture is from page 1898 of the Concordia Self-Study bible. It is James 1. I read James often, there is something about the book of James that really speaks to me. I probably should of scanned in James 2. That has some serious highlights, notes, and underlines.
Reading the bible is more than just sitting down and reading. It is one of the lines of communication from God to me, and my notes, underlines, arrows, and highlights are my way of conversing with him. They also are "landmarks" or "road signs." When I go back and reread a particular section I often reread the comments I left the last time I read. This helps me remember what I was feeling at the time or what I was thinking. And sometimes its good to reconnect. Call it a "journal" if you will. My father keeps a daily journal, he has for the last 53 years. Every day, religiously. I don't necessarily keep a daily journal, but I do keep write these notes as a reminder and a marking of being there before.
The next picture is the inside front cover of my Bible. I call it the "collage." It is mainly things I've picked up along the way. The "peace be with you" and the figure in the upper left corner came from a bulletin from a church service. The little purple sign came from some one I worked with at camp my first summer. It says: "The task ahead of you is never as great as the power behind you." I don't know if you can read the little hand written not on the far right side near the top. It says "we are Jesus action figures." Someone said that in a Bible study I attended one time and I thought it was just kind of cool. I think we were talking about missions or something along those lines. The "GIVE CALLHOON DA BALL" refers to a fireside nighttime devotion I gave one summer. The hand written note next to it says "Christianity is more about a full heart than a crowded head." That is a quote from Rev. Richard Noak who was the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Klein, Texas. See that yellow PC? That doesn't mean "politically correct," but it asks me if I'm meant to Preach Christ or Plant Corn. When I was stuggeling with the "call" a pastor friend told me a story that asked that question? Are you supposed to Preach Christ or Plant Corn? I ask myself that daily.
Yes, you do see duct tape, I duct taped the binding of my Playbook because it was getting weak and frayed...
Under the PC is another hand written note that says "To be saved... is nothing more than to be delivered from sin, death,and the Devil and into the Kingdom of Christ and live with him forever." That is a quote from page 439 of the Book of Concord (the Tappert edition). I just thought that was a beatiful way of looking at salvation. Again, a nice neat package. Something I can wrap my brain around.
The little hand written note under "calhoon" says "Do you have faith in your faith? Faith is as faith does." Next to that is W5H of ChiRoh, or the "who, what, when, where, why, and how of Christ." That is something I came up with one day to explain to myself how faith works and builds. An example: as Christians we fall into the Heb. 11:1 aspect of faith. We believe what we haven't seen. As we grow in our faith we understand Who Jesus was, Where He did his ministry, What He was (i.e. Christ/Savior), When He lived (2000 years ago), Where He did his ministry, and How He willing gave Himself as a sacrafice for us.... but, at least for me, its the WHY that I always struggle with. . Because of the "why" I have the John 15:18, 19 written on the first end page it says:
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
26 “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
I also have John 17 written there, too:
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
One of my favorite quotes I have in here is the one in upper left hand corner. It says "The news of the Gospel is too good not to be be true." Rev. Norb Fernhaber said that one day in sermon. That just struck me as an amazing thought.
The things written there mean different things to me for different reasons. Down in the lower left corner is this phrase, I got it from the movie The Hurricane: "Hate put me in this prison; love is going to bust me out." I though that was a great Gospel message.
The other thing I want to point out is the yellow box in the right side. It has the verse Jerimiah 29:11-14:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”This verse helped me get through a serious faith crisis at one point in my college career.
So, my Bible is mine. I have made it my own.
I'd love to read about your playbooks and how you use them. Blessings
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Thoughts on This Morning's Sermon
I was a bit concerned in church today. Durning the sermon the Senior Pastor quoted Phillip Gulley from the book What's So Amazing About Grace. Phillip Gulley is a Quaker minister from Indiana. Here is a synopsis from bn.com of the book mentioned in the sermon:
In What's So Amazing About Grace? award-winning author Philip Yancey explores grace at street level. If grace is God's love for the undeserving, he asks, then what does it look like in action? And if Christians are its sole dispensers, then how are we doing at lavishing grace on a world that knows far more of cruelty and unforgiveness than it does of mercy? Yancey sets grace in the midst of life's stark images, tests its mettle against horrific "ungrace." Can grace survive in the midst of such atrocities as the Nazi holocaust? Can it triumph over the brutality of the Ku Klux Klan? Should any grace at all be shown to the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed and cannibalized seventeen young men? In his most personal and provocative book ever, Yancey offers compelling, true portraits of grace's life-changing power. He searches for its presence in his own life and in the church. He asks, How can Christians contend graciously with moral issues that threaten all they hold dear?
I have never read the book quoted in the service, but I have read If Grace is True. And I almost couldn't get through it. I argued with the authors the whole way through the book. Here's why (again, taken fro bn.com):
Ordained pastors with backgrounds in traditional Protestant denominations, Gulley (Home to Harmony) and Mulholland (Praying Like Jesus) are now Quaker ministers and Universalists who believe that God will in fact save every person and banish no one to the fiery furnace. For every scriptural passage promoting "an eye for an eye," they counter with as many advocating "turn the other cheek." Jesus is deemed Lord and Savior, but his blood was not spilled to expiate human sins. As for the concept of free will-that is, each of us has to choose between accepting and rejecting God, thereby sealing our own fate-they argue that it is not up to us to choose salvation; God has already chosen to save everyone. Do the authors argue convincingly that each of us will end up in "heaven"? Yes. Will they convince all readers that there is no "hell" reserved for the likes of Hitler and Saddam Hussein? Probably not. Still, even those who believe in the absolute inerrancy of the King James version of the Bible will find something here to encourage them to rethink beliefs they have held for years.
(You should go here and read the reviews...)
Gulley's views on faith don't square with Lutheran Confessions. Grace is given freely, but through faith, not just because I'm a good person. That was hammered into my skull again and again after reading the Apology of the Augsburg Confession. No matter how you spin it, we recieve grace through Christ through faith. Its that simple. Gulley has totally gutted the Christian faith in his zeal to be "inclusive" and "universalist." He has taken Christ out of the equation.
*Correction* oops, I messed up. Thanks to Dave for finding and alerting me to it.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Just Catching Up a Bit
I must thank Cyber-stones. I seem to get more traffic to my blog from them any where else. I'm not sure why, but I do appreciate the fact that they have me listed on their "links we like" list, or whatever it is called. I'm surprised they link my blog because it certainly is not as erudite as others I read, sometimes, I think it's a bit childish and shallow.
Last night, when I came home from work I was informed that Starbucks will be putting quotes from Rick Warren on their coffee cups as part of their The Way I See It program. I don't very often go to a Starbucks coffee joint because I get my "fix" for halfprice when I'm at work. I have some serious sticker shock when I have to pay 1.62 for a "tall" a regular, run of the mill cup of coffee. I can handle 81 cents much better. The coffee seems to taste better when its cheaper any way.
Friday, October 21, 2005
This evening while I was working this lady came up to the customer service desk and asked if we had any books published by "CPH." I looked at her for a second blankly and then I asked if she meant Concordia Publishing House, the publishing house of the LCMS?" She nodded and said "yes."
I said we did carry a few and that there might be a few in the children's section I wasn't sure. She had a list of books she was interested in. Both dealing with death and the mourning process. It turned out we didn't and that we couldn't get them because, at least according my computer terminal, they were out of print. But I chatted with her for a few minutes and asked her if she was an member of the LCMS and she said she was. I asked her if she had seen the new Book of Concord the reader's edition. She gave me a blank look like I had suddenly grown two heads. She said "what is that?"
It was my turn to be a bit shocked. I explained to her that it was one book, next to the Bible that every Lutheran home should have. She had never heard of it. She asked me what it was and I told her that it was the book that held the basic outlines of Lutheran faith. She pursed her lips and said "hmm, my husband might like that." And then walked away.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
The last couple of nights I have been reading the book of Luke. I always read Luke and Acts as one book. From what I understand it is thought that Luke and Acts are written by the same author.
I like these books because they are historical in nature. The author researched and went to first hand sources. He compiled and produced something that just feels strong to me.
I just read Luke 11:1-4:
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
I have heard that Luther called the Lord's Prayer "a precious martyr." I have also heard this story, it very well may be apocryphal:
Two men are arguing about prayer. The first man challenges the second man to pray the Lords Prayer, and mean it. THe first man says "if you can get all the way through the Lord's Prayer without thinking about anything else I will give you a horse." The second man took the bet, he was a pious man who prayed regularly. So he began... "Our father, who art in Heaven..." and suddenly he stopped, sighed, and said "You win. I started to wonder what kind of horse you would give me."
I have often be guilty of that. I'll find myself in church praying and my mind starts to wander, or I'll be mouthing the words, but my brain is disengaged and before I realize it, I've missed it and I have martryed the Lord's Prayer,yet again.
I have often wished I could be like Tevia in Fiddler on the Roof his style of prayer is wonderful. He has conversations with God. He knows who his god is and isn't afraid to go to him with problems, or praise. Why is it that I can't do that, aside from the fact that people might look at me like I'm crazy...
But then there is those times when I feel a connection to God in a silent way. I can almost feel the Spirit working in me, it becomes almost a meditation for me and peace descends on me in ways I cannot explain.
I pray often, usually in the evening when I go to sleep, but I do pray thanksgiving for the new day in the mornings. But my usual "scheduled prayer time" is in the evening before bed. I pray laying down with my arms crossed over my chest. I often pray myself to sleep. It is comforting.
Prayer is something that certainly strengthens my faithlife and for that, I am most thankful.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Polly, over at Moss Back Meadow left the following message after reading this post:
"I live in a small town with a wonderful library that serves as the social hub of the town. Unfortunately, the library director is a flaming liberal. Many of the old favorite fiction books and some very interesting non-fiction has gone the way of the used book sale. In their place are the works of Michael Moore and Hilary Clinton and oodles of books on the environment.
I vote that you stay in the closet until you become the director someplace, and then purchase every conservative/orthodox Lutheran book you can find."
As some of you may know, I have just started working on my my Masters Degree in Library Science at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis).
If what Polly writes is true about the library director I am aghast. A librarian, in theory, should be unbiased in collection development. They should work hard to keep an even balance in the collection. This includes "liberal" and "conservative" view points. In my own fantasy world a library should be an intellectual market of give and take.
I absolutely cringe at the idea of censorship of any kind. When I hear of someone challenging a book because they feel it is "dirty" or "immoral" or "unsavory" my fists clench. I have never understood where someone gets off thinking that they know what is best for me or others. More often than not as soon as someone said I couldn't read, see, listen to, or watch something I went out of my way to see, listen to, read, or watch whatever it was they felt I shouldn't see, read, listen to, or watch.
It is my sincere hope that if I ever get into a position of Library Director or the like that I will keep the spirit of information and making-the-mind-up-for-oneself alive and well.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Full Throttled Religions
Well, my 'fessional Lutheran friends will be happy with me, I think. Last night I
re-purchased this book:
I'm not sure why. I read it once... okay, let me be truthful... I kind of skimmed it when I did my "time" at the Big House when I thought the good Lord was calling me to go the Preacher-man route. I did not particularly care for the book, and I got rid of it pretty much as soon as I could. But since I've started reading some Lutheran blogs the book The Hammer of God keeps popping up. It seems to be a "seminal" work so, I decided that I should probably pick it up and give it the "old college try" once again. So, I bought it and promptly put it on my book shelf to age. I'll get around to it, eventually.
Sadly, between work, school, and sleep my time has been pretty well monopolized and I haven't been able to keep up with my theological readings. My BoC sits quietely on my bedside table gathering dust, so too my Bible.
It is a beautiful day here in Indianapolis. The city is gearing up for the first of the three Monday Night football games. I believe the Colts are scheduled to beat the St. Louis Rams tonight. I hope its a good game. I was quite pleased the result of last Monday Night's game as my Steelers bested the Rams. If for no other reason it was fun to watch the chin of Bill Cower jut out about fifteen feet. Though, I am saddened by the fact that the Steelers lost yesterday. *shucks*
So there it is, the two great religions: Lutheranism and football all in one post. Can it get any better than that? I think not.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
While We're At It
Here's Something You Should Read
As some of you may or may not know I am currently working on a Masters Degree in Library Science. I have just started it, but I have already gotten an idea that my politics and my chosen profession may bump into each other. This article, which was first published in the newest issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education certainly piqued my interest it was written by David Durant, a librarian in Greenville, South Carolina, he blogs here at Heretical Librarian. It certainly was enlightening article.
I was told that I am suffering from "compassion overload" the other day. I was at work and talking to a co-worker and we got to talking about the news. A day or two prior the earthquake shook, rattled, and rolled Pakistan. The news coming out of Pakistan was bad. That's the only way to describe it. 20,000+ dead? I have a hard time wrapping my brain around that; I told my coworker that I found myself not really caring about it. She said she felt the same way, and that there is a "diagnosis" for something like that; i don't remember what she called it, but it was something like "compassion overload."
I'm sittin ghree in the library of IUPUI. I'm taking a break from reading things that have been put on reserve for one of my classes. Believe it or not library science reading is not very exciting reading.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Questions Answered, That is, If You Had the Questions to Begin With
I had a beer and wings lunch with Dave, over at "Hot Under the Collar." He is a fairly new Lutheran Blogger. We shared a mess of 30 wings and a pitcher of beer, a good lunch.
He started asking about my blog and how it came about and I figure if one has the questions many others might, too. So, I figure I might as well fill in the blanks.
Here is how I became a "loofrin." Its a cute story. Dave asked me how I came up with "disgruntled world citizen." I am not overly disgruntled about anything, actually. It started out as a handle I used on a chatline, msn, I think. I just came up with the name somewhere along the line.
Why am I Disgruntled World Citizen here if I'm not all that disgruntled? Well, I originally started this blog as a back up to my online diary that I have been keeping for almost five years. It was on the fritz for a while and I felt the need to continue writing, I found out this place. When I set it up I decided that I wanted it to be something different than the online diary, so I figured to do that I needed a different "handle," if you will. I was already using Disgruntled World Citizen, so I just continued using it here.
How did I come up with the blog title of "Full Throttle & an Empty Gas Tank?" That I'm not so sure. I think its the irony of the statement. You can't go full throttle anywhere with an empty gas tank. It started out as a title to a book of peotry I had written (not published). It seemed to fit better on a blog than on the cover of a book of poetry.
Why is the address to my blog "da-ipz" instead of "fullthrottle" or something like that? This, again, comes from the fact that this blog started as an extension of sorts of my online diary. The title of my online diary is The Intellectual Petting Zoo. So, I made the address "da-ipz.blogspot.com" because I knew I'd be able to remember that easier than anything else.
There you have it. Answers to questions you never knew you had.
Lutheran Carnival VIII
This week's Church Father props go to a Church Mother: Katie Luther. And I'm taking the easy way out. BeStronginGrace, a fantastic Lutheran blog already did the work for me, well her and Google . As I thought about this week's Lutheran Carnival I realized that I needed to find a "church father." The first person that popped into my head was Katie. Hey she had to be as strong willed and pig-headed as her husband. I can't imagine what stresses she had living, caring, and watching out for Martin. I honestly think she is an unsung hero of the Reformation. I mean, come on, her husband was under Papal ban and death sentence... I wonder if she bargained for THAT when she and her fellow nuns spirited themselves out of the convent in fish barrells... so, any way, this week's three cheers go to the Mother of the Lutheranism, Katie Luther.
So, lets get to it, shall we?
Rev. Peperkorn, over at Lutheran Logomaniac sent this post to me. It asks the question: what exactly does a pastor do that just isn't "feelin it," that is he needs to filled with the Word. He needs to hear it, not read it, but hear it, he needs to be in the pew to be filled. Rev. Chryst at preachrblog sent this its a story about what happened to him the first time he gave a "sermon." It is funny, sad, and scary all at the same time. And in some fashion its a story we can all relate to; I kind of dovetailed from that with this post.
Vicar Chaz , over at Drowning Myself Wherever I Can (ed note: give this guy a lifejacket we don't need him drownin any time soon) submitted his thoughts on Matthew 9:1-8 and marvels at the power given through the Office of the Keys. Then Chaz hits us with his thoughts on apostolic succession. (ed note: This Scaer the Greater you speak of, I assume this the Seminary prof at Ft. Wayne... he and my father are from the same church in Brooklyn, New York. Rev. Scaer's father was my father's childhood pastor).
Rev. Stiegmeyer who authors Burr in the Burgh, from Pittsburgh, PA (home of Greatest Team of all Time) has some pointers for new bloggers, but I'm sure "old bloggers" (a relative term, I know) can use them, too. Take notes, they'll be a test later.
Ryan who is doing God's work in Thailand sent this post he discusses "the ways in which Evangelicalism is veering more into Buddhist or Muslim territory than Scripture..." this post, in his words is "1 part satire, 3 parts serious Lutheran reflection." Some great food for thought in that one. This brings me to my friend and yours Teresa (aka:BeStronginGrace) up in the great white North tundra of Minni-SOH-tah... her thoughts on Ashley Smith, Rick Warren, the book A Purpose Driven Life and how the media's coverage of "evangelical Christians." The other submission for the week was this one. Talk about hard hitting. I had to read this one a couple times, there's alot there to chew on. Read it. Along those same linesBalaam's Ass asks the the question is Joel Osteena Christian? (ed note: I dunno, but he's a pretty good story teller, sort of).
Big Dan (aka the Big Daddy, aka the Enforcer of the Lutheran Carnival) contemplates Justice and weakness and the difference between "niceness" and stupidity.
Whew... time for some levity...
Since I'm talking about Dan, I might as well talk about his Grrrlfriend, Elle, the intollerant one. She seems to think that men shouldn't be in charge of merchandizing. (ed note: I'll tell ya Elle, I think I'd like to buy a truck just like that... I'm sold).
My new buddy Preacha-man Dave from Mooreseville writes about missing his baseballbox scores and more importantly his (and my)New York Mets. Next, he tackles the national pastime: Nascar and its liturgical aspects, sort of.
Having fun yet?
Erica over at Journalistic Jargon has a simple answer to those of us who forget to give our burdens and worries to Jesus and let him worry about them. (ed note: This is easier said than done for me, I needed to read this post. It came at a good time. Thanks Erica!)
Rev. Snyder at xrysosom answers questions about Faith and Holy Ghost and explains the meaning of the parable of the woman who stood up to Jesus and told him that even dogs get crumbs from the master's table (Mark 7:24-30). Interesting insights to both questions here.
The Aardvark uses the New Orleans Disaster as an object lesson about faith and equates it to rebuilding New Orleans on sinking sand. Then we get a History Lesson about one of the greatest female athletes of all time: Mildred Ella "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias (1911 – 1956). interesting stuff, these posts were. (ed note: if the Aadvark ever decides to make t-shirts with the cool aardvark mascot, I'll be first in line to buy one-- *hint*).
Dan writer of Necessary Roughness (I love the graphics, Dan, they crack me up). Sent two submissions. The first he discusses Oregon's assisted suicide law and how Oregon "got it wrong." His second submission discusses what the Holy Ghost does. He did his homework on both of them.
Jeremy, over at Living Among Mysteries discusses his thoughts on conversion stories, that is how someone got from place to another, or in his words "people moving from one tradition to another."
Rev. Klages and his wife Mrs. Klages, each sent submissions. The good Rev.'s submission dealt with something your faithful compiler had never heard of, a contraversy between Arians & Orhtodox Christians (its so much fun to learn new things! Thanks Rev!) Mrs. Klages' submission discusses differences between Protestants, Catholic, and Lutheran Jewlery. Click on "jewlery gallery" link to see some beautifully done necklaces.
Rev. Peterson who writesCyber Stones gives wonderful reasoned defense regarding common cup communion is better than individual cup. (ed note: i was thinking about this post this morning as I knelt down at the communion rail and reached for an individual thimble wine shooter...)
Rev. McCain, aka Cyberbretheren sent this post about "supposed" Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox "agreement" on salavation.
(*takes a breather*... whew this is hard work... okay, back to it).
John from Confessing Evangelical sent this post. He describes it thusly:
Reports that George W Bush claimed to have been told by God to invade Iraq, while probably "hogwash", prompt a post discussing what charismatic Christians usually mean when they say that God "told them" to do something, how God does in fact speak to us, and what he says when he does. You can tell God wants you to read this post by the deep sense of peace you just feel in your heart right now.
Andrew from God is the Pilot submission asks if God has changed? An interesting question, one worth pondering.
Earlier in the week, I asked these questions of myself. I looked into a mirror and did some reflection on my faith and Lutheranism.
The entry sent by Just Me the "Life of a Pastor's Wife at Lonsesome Grove" was heartbreaking. What happens when you feel out of sorts and there is nothing to hold on to and things you are comfortable with are suddenly not there...?
Brian Braatz: Nonpareil tackles an important societal question and how it relates to his beliefs.
And finally, Michael who writes Amore et Labor writes about an experience in getting duped. He got taken for $25. I'll let him explain it.
Whew... there it is. This weeks Carnival. This was great fun, work, but fun. If any of these posts have misrepresented by my comments I take full resposibility for them. I ask for forgiveness if I my silliness got in the way, I was having too much fun.
May God bless and keep you all.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
And So I Begin
It is 1021 am on sunday october 9, 2005. I have to be to church in 24 minutes, if I'm lucky and the traffic lights are all green I should be there in ten. I have skimmed through all the submissions for the Carnival and I must say they are all thought provoking. I'm looking forward putting this thing together. I'll work on it this evening and have the Carnival posted up sometime tomorrow evening. I believe I ended up with 25 submissions, tha should make Big Dan, the beer drankin' 'fessional loofrin happy. :D
Well, it is now 1025 am and I've to jet.
Blesings to all.
I am no orator...
For I have neither wit, nor words, worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech
To stir men's blood. I only speak right on.
I tell you that which you yourselves do know...
Julius Caesar (Act 3, scene 2, lines 229, 232-235
"...do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."
-- Matthew 10:19b-20
To many people the idea of talking to a group of people being a small group to a group of hundred or even thousands is enough to make them turn tail and run. How many times have we as Christians found ourselves in front of our peers or, in the scariest of circumstances, in front of people we don't know from Adam and given the unenviable task of talking to them and making some kind of sense.
That's pressure. Throw in the added "fun" of having to talk to a group about your faith or talk about a scripture verse and some people throw up the white flag and say "huh-uh, not me." I have read two entries about this very thing this week. Rev. Tom Chryst over at Preachrblog wrote about his first sermon he ever gave. He worked hard on it and it fell, well a bit flat. I know that feeling. I have had the opportunity to speak to fellow Christians about things of faith.
The first time I did it was at Camp Lone Star one Sunday morning. I don't even remember what I spoke about, but I remember I used two Power Rangers as examples. For some reason it ended up basically "be nice to each other and share your Power Rangers." It was bad. I don't remember anything about it other than being quite embarrassed.
But then there have been a couple times that Mattew 10:19 happened and man, oh man...
I can remember two distinct times when my mouth and the words coming from my mouth were not my own. They both took place when I was working at Camp Lone Star. The first happened at a night devotion. It was during the teen week, or "Discovery Week." I think it was a Wednesday night. The night before's devotion had been all Law, it was brutal and it made me mad. Talk about feeling hopeless. I knew that I had to do something because I knew that if I felt that way I did, I was darn sure the kids felt even worse. I was moody that whole day. I remember just clenching my jaw all day as I thought and prayed about what I was going to say. I wanted it to be simple. I got into the word and read and found a few passages that I thought might work. The night came I had a really big fire going in the fire pit. We were at one of my favorite night devotion sites: Sunset (I think that's what it is called). It is designed like a small ampitheatre. There is a big cross and a fire a deep fire pit and there are benches that are built into a hill that goes up from the pit. I remember starting out slow, tenative, stumbling over my words a bit and then suddenly everything came together. I rememember using my anger and fear from the last night's devotion and turning into something that wasn't mine. I don't think I was really there, it was spooky. The verses that I had picked out went out the window. They seemed to difficult. I needed these kids to come with me somewhere. I needed them to feel good about who Christ and what he did for them. I remember latching onto THE verse of the Bible: John 3:16. I latched onto it and just started to repeat it over and over again. It got louder and louder, it became a chant. The kids took it over. They needed to repeat that over and over again just as much as I needed it. We ministered to each other that night. Writing this I am transported to that night and I can't seem to get it right, the feeling I had that night... that "otherworldly, I'm not in charge anymore" feel. I actually have chills up and down my spine as I write this, it was that powerful to me. I remember just telling the kids how angry and upset I was about the devotion from the night before and I remember apologizing for it. But I kept hammering away at that wonderful verse. We yelled ourselves horse that night, at least I did. My throat was scratchy the next day, but I had purged whatever it was inside me that was angry. It was filled with something that to this day I can't explain. I don't like to use the word "possessed" to describe what happened that night, but it was something very close to it.
The other thing I remember is something much more quite, but no less powerful. It was a heart felt thank you. Every summer towards the end of the camp season we had a bar-b-que for a fundraiser and all the big muckity-muck supporters who had deep pockets were invited to a banquet at the local Knights of Columbus Hall. All that day I felt something that needed to be said, but I was not supposed to be presenting anything that night. But an opening came about. The person at the podium said something like "does anyone have anything to say?" And I stood up and started talking. Which was a bit strange because I don't usually say anything unless I absolutely have to. I have a stutter that I developed in high school that gets really bad when I'm very nervous, I don't talk in front of crowds very often because of it. But I just started thanking them for their generosity and telling them without them there would be no us and that with out God there would be no them. I even seem to recall using that exact bad grammar. This went on for a minute or two and remember being a bit choked up at the end of it. There was silence. I had said what needed to be said. It was out in the open. And I meant ever blessed word of it.
Its a scary thing to talk to fellow Christians, its even scarier to talk in front of fellow Lutherans. I have heard pastors say that they hated preaching in Chapel because they knew they were being critiqued hardcore. It made them nervous. I have often marveled a ministers and the fact that they have to "keep it fresh" every Sunday. I mean how many times have I heard the story of Lazurus or 10 talents? I know those stories by heart. I have heard at the very least 31 sermons (at least one for every year I've been alive). Its even harder for the layman to do.
I have gotten more confident about speaking in front of people, camp had a big part in that, I still stutter and stammer, but I get through it. I haven't had the opportunity to do it much lately, that's okay. It is still a struggle for me, I do it, but my heart beats so loudly as I do talk that sometimes I literally can not hear what I am saying. It is only afterward that I ask someone about it that I find out what I said.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
In This Case the "We" Should Probably Read "I"
I like watching my cat. I learn alot about things and can make "connections" about other things when I watch him just be a cat. Recently I started thinking about the relationship we have. That probably sounds silly, but its no sillier than talking about having a relationship with God, is it? I look at it this way: to my cat I am a god. He prays to me, or my father, when its time for him to eat, that is he meows his little furry head off until one of us breaks down and feeds him. When he is satisfied he thanks us by climbing out lap and purring. And if we don't do what he wants fast enough he will let us know by other means.
Isn't that way it is with our relationship with God? We pray to God and ask for daily bread and we receive it. When we are happy with things we like to curl up in God's lap and feel good about things. When things turn bad or we get tired of God we bite him and run away. We like it when God rubs our belly and picks us up, or scratches us behind the ears (in metaphysical sort of way, please understand), but when we get tired of it, we push him away. If we don't get what we want we sulk or give God dirty looks.
This is probably, in someway, heretical. Comparing the relationship I have with God to that of the relationship I have with my cat is probably overly simplistic, but it just kind of fits with my world view.
Well, my little four legged sinner is tearing around the house, I'll try and stop him.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
One Issue Country?
With the nomination of Harriet Mier to the Supreme Court and the resulting brouhaha over it I have come to the conclusion that this country is strictly a one issue country. That one issue is abortion. That one issue has become so ingrained in our national conscience. I realized the other day as I was listening to NPR that the code words for this issue are, in effect, "the issues" (when in fact there is only one), "liberal" (prochoice), "conservative" (prolife). Its almost funny to hear reporters, political pundints, and talking heads dance around the "a" word.
How do I feel about the appointment? I'm not really sure. At first hearing of it I did a "Huh? Who's that?" But I thought about it a bit and decided that maybe it was a good thing that Mier doesn't have the "judicial baggage" that comes with being a sitting judge, its not unprecedented that Supreme Court Justices have been plucked from the realms of lawyer-dom: example: Chief Justice Warren appointed by Eisenhower. He was the Govenor of California another example: President Taft who was appointed to the bench after his term, he never really wanted to be president, he had always had his eyes set on the bench of the Supreme Court. So, its not unusual, I think I heard the statistic that 36 justices haven't served as a judge at all.
I don't think these hearings will be the love fest that Chief Justice Roberts' were. Roberts had a solid judge-record. Nominee Mier? Its a bit more murky. I can tell you this, though Evan Bayh my "senator," who really wants to be your president will most likely vote against her because he needs to look like he's more liberal than he is-- you'll be hearing more from Senator Bayh in the next few years. He's going to make lots of noise to get noticed.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Questions I Ask Daily and my Mental Answers to Myself
"... Church is not only the fellowship of outward objects and rites, as other governments, but at its core, it is a fellowship of faith and of the Holy Spirit in hearts. Yet this fellowship has outward marks so that it can be recognized. These marks are the pure doctirne of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments in accordance with Gospel of Christ."
-- Apology of the Augsburg Confession
What is church? What is it? What does it mean? My beat up American Heritage Dictionary defines it this way:
1.Often Church All Christians regarded as a spiritual body. 2 A public building for worship 3. A congregation. 4. A religious service 5. Ecclesiastical power to distinguished from the secular; the seperation of church and state 6. The clergy.
When I say I belong to the Luthern Church Missouri Synod, what do I mean. Are those just words? Is there any meaning meaning behind them? What does it mean to be Lutheran? Am I a Lutheran Christian, or am I a Christian who happens to be a Lutheran? Do I put the Book of Concord ahead of the Bible or is it vice-versa?
Why? Am I worthy? Was Jesus really thinking about me when he spoke the words of John 17 when he prays:
I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
These questions are, in many cases rhetorical. They are my own personal faith gut check. I find myself asking these questions often. Not because I don't believe, but because I do, sometimes I think I become complacent in my faith and don't move forward enough in it. I don't work at it. I find myself just kind of sitting back and relaxing on what I have. I find myself sometimes looking for God when I know in my heart He already has me.
I think it is because of these questions that I read the Fifth Article of the Apology so slowly. It took me a good week and half to get through it. I read it at short intervals (usually on breaks at work) I had to let the mantras "faith alone" and "through faith you are justified by God' grace" sink in; and, when I read this:
The Gospel compels us to make use of CHrist in justification. THe Gospel teaches that through Christ we have acces to God through faith. It taches that we ought to set Him as Mediator and Atoning Sacrafice against God's anger. The Gospel teaches that through faith in Christ the gorgiveness of sins and reconcilliation are recieved, and the terros of sin and death are over come. Paul also says that righteousness is not of the Law, but of the promise... (p. 154, BoC, Reader's Edition).
What promise? Again, from the BoC: "The promise of grace in Christ is not in vain." Or better put in John 3:17:
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
I have the Promise in my heart and in my mind. Through grace I am saved. Simple. Clear cut. Why is it that I ask the same questions over again? Someone once told me that the stronger the faith the harder Satan works looking for a hole, a weak link in the armor of God:
...be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Eph 6:10-18a)
Its a twisty road my faith. It can be bumpy, too, but more than anything, it is comforting. And for that I am thankful.
Passing on the Info (thanks to Aardvark Alley for the Heads Up
On Being a Minister's Kid
*warning: this entry kind of bounces around*
Dave, who appears to be a "new" Lutheran blogger stopped by my blog recently and left a note on this entry. He wrote "Life in the fishbowl often makes PKs long for anonymity." This is true, I'm sure the same could be said for the president's two daughters, too. Whether pastors like to admit it or not their children are in a fishbowl. I can't say that I always liked what my father did, that is the profession he chose-- at times it might of "cramped my style" (though some of my friends might scratch their head and wonder to what style I am referring to.) As many Lutherans, particularly those that are in the LCMS know the "Lutheran world" is very small. It doesn't take long before people start making connections and realizing they know the same people. This happens a lot. I have a feeling that Dave and I know some of the same people. We might even have some of the same friends. It wouldn't surprise me at all. And there in lies another aspect of the fishbowl. This "six-degrees of seperation," or in the case of the LCMS "2 1/2 degrees..." can be quite bothersome. In my case I never know when someome might say "Hey, I know your father..." and boop, there it is. That fishbowl feel.
I'm not complaining. Trust me, that "someone may be watching me" sensation has probably kept me out of a lot of trouble. It probably saved a few brain cells, too.
I think it is quite telling, though when you look at statistics of the seminaries. There aren't many ministers sons who follow their father's footsteps. I tried, but it didn't work out for me the first time, I may go back again someday. Dave, it seems is a PK who did follow his father's footsteps and for that he should be congratulated and thanked. I have had many conversations with sons of pastors and I often ask them if they have ever thought about going to seminary. The vast majority look at me like I've got rocks in my head. Invariably, their eyes go wide and they take in a deep breath like they jumped into a pool of icey water. The answer I get from them: "hell, no." Why is that? Well, I think its because we have a different way of looking at ministry. Most people look at the pastoral ministry from the outside in, they see the pastor on Sunday in the pulpit and when they are sick in the hospital-- in short they only see them when they are being pastorly. What they don't see is the pastor at home... trying to figure out how to make the scripture readings into a sermon, they don't see the pastor running here and there, going to meeting after meeting and being worn out by it all. And, in my case, they don't see their fahter come home from a voters meeting defeated after they cut his salary by half because the church didn't have any money. They don't see him exhausted after Lent or Advent. They don't see the human, they don't see the man.
Being a pastor is hard work. Being a PK can be hard work, too.
I was talking to my mom yesterday, somehow the topic came up. Before they got married my father literally sat her down and told her that "we will never be rich, the church will have to come first, and when I decide its time to move we will." I admire my mom for taking that and still marrying my father.
I have been asked by friends and even people that, through conversation, find out that I am the son of a minister. Its funny sometimes. They feel sorry for me, like I lost something important by being a pk. They think I might of been sheltered or something along those lines. Trust me on this one, I wasn't.
There is one big thing, though, about being a PK that many people might not realize. The advice of "go to your pastor" when I had a problem that I needed spiritual advice I couldn't necessarily go to my pastor because he was my dad. There are just somethings that your dad doesn't need to know about.
My father is now retired. He has been retired for about four years. He was in the pastoral ministry for 40 years. The very fact that he became a Lutheran minister is an amazing thing: he was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York-- there aren't many Lutherans in Brooklyn. Sadly, his childhood church broke away from the Synod in the '70's during the Semin-Ex controversy. He graduated from Brooklyn College and went to Springfield, Illinois for seminary. He did his vicarage and had his first call in South Dakota. He moved to New Jersey in the late 60's, met and married my mother in '71, I came around in '74. We moved to Virginia when I was three or four. And then moved to New York (Westchester County) in '81, or so. Then in '86 we moved to Maryland and from Maryland we went to Texas where I went to Concordia University and did my stint at Concordia Seminary St. Louis. After my parents retired we moved to a town just south of Indianapolis.
Its been a good life. I have always had food on the table and clothes on my back. My parents have good health insurance from Concordia Health Plans (thank God for that!) We, as a family, are quite happy. The Lord has blessed us. The Lord has blessed me.
So, am I upset that I was a born into a minister's household? No. I am quite proud of being a pastor's son.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Full Throttled Organs
A few years we received in the mail a set of cd's from Thrivent. Enclosed were five cd's full of hymns. Each disk highlighted a century of Lutheran Hymnology. The first disk is 16th century, the second 17th, third 18th, and so on. There is a sixth disk that has a history of hymnology. I am not sure why we got it all I know is that I love it. I find that I am particularly addicted to disks three and four (17th and 18th century). As I type this I am listening to the 18th century disk.
I wrote a few a few posts back about my thoughts on hymns and how they make me feel. This disk I am listening to is just so beautiful, I believe I am listening to a Bach piece.
To me there is nothing quite as worshipful (if I may use that term) than a full throttled (dig the pun) organ filling a church with sound. I remember one night I was walking back to my dorm after working late at the library at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis (aka The Big House) I was walking across campus I heard the sound of the organ pulsating from the chapel. Someone was practicing for a Bach concert later on the week. I just stopped and listened and was transported. I don't think I have ever been so moved-- it was thrilling and enchanting and amazing all at the same time.
So, I find myself being drawn to these disks. I listen to them constantly. For some reason, the last two weeks these are the only disks I have listened to, they have filled my ears, my heart and my soul with... bliss... longing... comfort... I'm not quite sure of the word I am looking for, but it falls in that somewhere in the midst of those three...
Sunday, October 02, 2005
An Editorial that I Read in the Paper
Mole Hill Mountain
As the son of a minister I was brought up a certain way. I was brought up to have respect for my church and I was often told by my father that I was a model for other kids to follow, I do not know if I truly felt the same way, but that was one way, I think he used to keep me in line.
Most of my father's minsistry was in smaller congegrations, no more than 500 (at most) communicant memembers. The church he served in Maryland was small, but it was also in a small rural area as a result, more people knew who I was than I knew who they were. I was known as the "preacher's kid," seriously. As a result of this I knew, or was led to believe, that what I did not only refleced on me, but more importantly my father and his ministry. That is quite a burden to carry around as a kid, but I got through it and did the best I could with it. When I turned 21 I would not buy beer or go to a bar in the town we lived because I didn't want someone to see me and start a rumor that "the preacher's kid" is a drunk.
As I have grown I have come to the conclusion that there are basically three types of pk's. The first is most well known (if not the least true): the wild preacher's kid. I'm sure you've all heard the tag line "you know what they say about preachers' kids." I know I have. Okay, granted I like to jokingly say my "theme song" is "Son of a Preacherman," by Buffalo Springfield.
The second type of preacher's kid is the uber-reverant, looks-the-nose-at-folks type. I've known a few of these type, not many, thank goodness, but a few. They aren't fun to hang out with and can be downright frustrating. Luckily, this type is also a minority, at least in my experience.
The third category falls somewhere in between. This is my category. I can be a Hell raiser and I've done my fair share, but I can also be pious son of a gun, too. I was "trained" to be this type, I think. My parents were pretty easy going, but they trusted me and let me make my own decisions. Many people are shocked to learn that nothing was censored for me when I was a kid. Books, movies, music, etc. I could watch what I wanted to, read what I wanted to, listen to what I wanted to. I asked my parents about this one time because I have talked to other PK's whose parents did some serious censoring and, as a result, when they got under their parents' thumbs they went a bit overboard and found themselves in the first category. What my parents said was this "we figured you could figure out what was right and wrong. We knew you had a good basis in Christian faith and you could figure out what was God pleasing and what wasn't." They were right, to a point I suppose. They think I have strange tastes in movies and literature, but for the most part I stay away from unseemly things.
Another thing that was drilled into my head at early age was how to dress for church. Its not very often, but every once in a while I'll wear jeans to church (usually on a non-communion Sunday). The are clean jeans, but after weariing a shirt and tie all week sometimes a pair of jeans just makes me feel better. However, one thing I do not wear to church is sneakers. That is the absolute of absolutes when it comes to church-wear: no sneakers. Today, I wore a pair of black Doc Martens, a long sleeve blue shirt, and jeans. I was clean and casual and most importantly-- comfortable.
What brings this long winded entry? This: last week when I was worshipping at the church I grew up in the pastor's son was there. He is a teenager, a senior in highschool. They have a soundsystem that he was running which was cool, but I almost fell out of my pew when I saw him come to church. He was wearing a pair of shorts, athletic socks, a t-shirt, an Oklahoma University hat, and sunglasses. He wore the hat in church up the front, by the altar as he went in to get keys to open up the sound system. That struck my sensitivity level hard. That, to me, showed a lack of respect not only for his father's ministry, but also the church and its members. I had almost a visceral feeling. I felt like jumping up and knocking his hat off, for some reason I was really angry and irked. I leaned over to my mom and told her "good thing grandma Esthers, the Dillons, and the others aren't around to see that. They'd be pitchin fits." (All of them are actually in their heavenly reward).
I guess it just boiled down to respect for me. It went against "my training." I'm pretty sure that there aren't any stipulations about what to wear to church, its more important to be there than what it is you're wearing, but it just hit me in the "disrespect" section. And that bothered me.
No Tread on these Tires
Jason Mah-roan-eye, the Texas Mic wrote and interesting entry on something that has been happening to me lately, particularly this week:having too much (!) to blog about, but in my case I have about four of five different things I want write about. I just can't figure out how to get the tires on the road for any of them. A couple of things come from submissions I've read for this week's Lutheran Carnival a few others are just from observations and one of is left over from an experience I had last week when I was in Maryland.
Right now, though, none of that matters-- the Colts are the television and that is what's important right now.