Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Monday, February 27, 2006
Where I Went This Weekend
This weekend my family and I went to Moline, Illinois. We went because a pastor friend of ours was installed as the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church. It was a nice service and very pretty church, they a very bright stained glass window of a cross above the altar. I had to laugh though, at one point towards the end of the service as other pastors gathered around to give their repsetive blessings upon Rev. Karsten. The phrase "jump in," "blood in blood out" came to mind. It looked like they were getting ready to beat him up as they stood in a semi-circle around him.
Moline, as a city, though did leave something to be desired. It wasn't what I would call a happening town, it looked like it might of been at one time, but not so much any more. We drove over to Davenport< Iowa Sunday morning and drove around there, too. Again, not much happening over there. We even went into one of the casinoes and checked it out. We left after about 20 minutes. It smokey and I didn't have a clue as to how to play any of the games (though I did win four dollars on a slot machine, but I haven't the foggiest how I did that). There was something else that was a bit disconcerting about the whole affair. As I walked around the place I saw all these people punching buttons on the slot machines, they reminded me alot of Skinner pigeons trying to get the food pellet. It was really uncomfortable. After we left we smelled like we'd been in a cigarette factory.
We drove home last night after the installation. It was late when we got home, but I'll tell you, it felt good being in my own bed. I slept like a rock.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Wonderin Before Wanderin
I have to wonder about myself sometimes. I am going away for the weekend; I am going to a town in Illinois, right on the border of Iowa to attend a pastorfriendofthefamily's installation. I'll be gone tomorrow (Saturday), Sunday, and come home Monday. Its not a big trip, but its enough that I have pack a few changes of clothes and think ahead as to what I may encounter weather-wise, etc. And yet, I put more thought into the books and cds I'm taking with me than what I am going to wear.
The books: Team of Rivals (just started), Searching for God Knows What (almost finished), and Through Painted Deserts (might as well read this I'm in the process of reading all of Donald Miller's stuff-- who know, a review may end up on the Luther Library).
Lutheran 'Nival XVIII
(Subtitles provided by White Zombie)
So, it seems the yours truly, the Disgruntled World Citizen, the only practitioner of the strange, yet fulfilling, version of Lutheranism called Loofrinism will be your guide through the wild and crazy world of the Lutheran Carnival, or as I like to call it the 'Nival!
So, seeing how I lost the first couple paragraphs of my first draft (because I hit the wrong button...) I'll give this another go. I've got some White Zombie in the cd player, I'm feeling we a bit "chuff" and I'll be turning 32 on Monday... what say we get this party started and see what happens...
Katie's Beer sends two posts about Dawn Eden. Don't worry, I hadn't heard of her either. It seems that New York Post took umbrage at Eden's writing about her Christian faith and her conservative view point. In her second post she continues her thoughts on Miss Dawn Eden's plight. TK asks this question: " Has the day finally come where a reporter can have opinions and beliefs and still be given a fair chance as a mainstream journalist?" Good question.
I am Legend
Dan, our own liturgical defensive lineman comes at us full throtle style with a couple entries. I, as a retail dawg, can totally dig on this entry. I sometimes I have to work on early Sunday afternoons and late Saturday nights, so I am unable to go to church. Dan has the same problem, not because he's a retail dawg, but because his line of work takes him to distant lands like Oklahoma where there is a dirth of Lutheran Churches.
And the Lutheran churches there are only have services on Sunday, that's all well and good, but it would seem that it might be a good idea to have a service on Thursday evening or something. Now, with this post Dan "identifies three parts of a worship service that a pastor can use to share Christ with the congregation. Dan advocates good worship practices with light humor and plenty of
Scripture references." (No, I don't think Dan is a robot, but he is the Liturgical Defensive line...)
Josh S. who writes over at Here We Stand sent this entry. This is one of those posts that you have to stop and read a couple times. Its got many levels. He does a nice job of defining and explaining what Forgiveness is. He makes it a point to say that "forgiveness" is different than "excusing," much like there is a difference between "speaking" and "talking" and "listening" and "hearing." Josh tells us that forgiveness takes more energy than excusing and then he discusses how that affects (positively) to his relationships. This one is a thinker.
More Human Then Human
Rev. Snyder comes at us with this post inwhich he tries his darnedest to explain in nice simple terms what the difference between the LCMS and ELCA is. Its complicated, but hey, if your faithful narrator and Carnival barker can get it he musta done good, right? Then, oh then my fun-loving droogies the Rev. springs THIS submission on us! I know this is a question I've often thought about. Where do we Lutherans get off thinking we can go right God and ask for forgiveness? The Rev. steps up and explains it all nice and simple like.
Rev. Snyder is a bloggin machine. Over at Aardie's Alley he breaks it down when it comes to the "Lutheran Presence" (am I allowed to get cheeky and call it the Real Presence) in the blog-o-sphere with a two part submission.
The first part being here and the second part being here. And then Rev. Snyder writes some thoughts on the goings on in South Dakota over abortions.
Then we are pointed to the Luther Library in which two bookreviews are highlighted. Emily gives high marks to this book and Polly gives her thoughts on this timely book. (Editorial note: I'm not sure, but I think that there must be many Rev. Snyders. He is prodigious in his literary output... and if I may say so myself it is all worth reading... I just hope there isn't a test later...) I hope he didn't mind me snaggin his little red-shirted Aardie... its just sa cuuuuute....
Greasepaint and Monkey Brains
I was originally going to call this part "La Sexorcisto," in good taste I did not, but you know, with a blog named Hot Lutheran on Lutheran Action you fairly beg for it, don't you? All kidding aside, though Sir Sean gives us a great explanation regarding the "holy howdy" (I chuckled over the term) or the Salutation in the divine service. Then Sean gives the old liturgical nod to Dan the Liturgical Defensive Lineman he says that this post is just top-notch and way cool, and you know, I have to agree.
Spider Baby (Yeah-Yeah-Yeah)
Theresa, who also writes Be Strong in the Grace hops back into the 'Nival with this entry which she describes this way "Did Jesus die for the opportunity to save us? Or did He die to save us? Lately, I've been seeing a bumper sticker which really irritates me." Uh-oh... I'll have to remember not to put that sitcker on my car! And finally, with
this post TK turns the spiritual mirror on herself and does some self-examination.
One Big Crunch
Rebecca, who has the pinkest blog on the net sent us this post she wrote in her explanation:
(I) reflect on relationships that seem tangled beyond repair. These relationships reveal to us that "we are in bondage to sin and unable to free ourselves." But it is in our needinessthat we encounter grace and the almighty power of God.Yeah, you got an Amen over here, sister.
Kelly sent us some artwork for enjoyment and edification (and trust me Kelly, yours truly needs all the edification he can get!) Wonderful work, gorgeous... There seems to be a lack of good Christian art now a days, well in my humble opinion Kelly fits the bill. Right on.
Blood, Milk, and Sky
Polly's entry almost got lost in the shuffle and for that I am very sorry, but I'm glad I caught it. She asks some good questions and brings up some good points. The kids in her town need comfort of God and Christ not the "psycho-babbling" tramau specalists...
El Phantasmo and the Chicken Run Blasto- Rama
And finally, since it is 12:13 am and I'm starting to get loopy I offer up my writings for critique. The first discusses my thoughts on faith through my cat. The second deals with thoughts I had while I was working on a reference assignment for one of mygraduate classes. I ask the question "what is a total Christian?" I don't know if I answer the question I pose to myself, but its something I wrestle with frequently. And last, but not least I offer one more in which I talk about my thoughts on two iconic images from the realm of Christian art.
So there it is. The newest Carnival. I hope through reading these posts you gain some insight into your world. May your faith be strengthened and your walk made smooth. Thanks for letting me host this week.
Blessings to you.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. -- Eph 3: 14-21
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
This is one of my favorite pictures of Jesus. Why? First of all it is all done in browns, but the other reason is the use of shadow and light. The artist (whose name I don't know) uses light and shadows to make a wafer and a chalice. The wafer is on the forehead and the chalice is on the temple.
I have seen this painting pretty much all my life. I've seen it on church walls, and living room walls. I've seen it on postcards and prayercards. I've seen it all over the place. One of my professors in college Dr. Duder, used the painting as an example of symbolism. Everytime I see this painting I stop and just wonder at it. If there is one "popular picture" that comes to mind when I read the gospels it is this one. For some reason this picture just seems to "fit" my idea of what Christ looked like. I realize that Christ was not a Blonde hair, blue eyed, German (believe it or not).
I need to do some research on the artist. I'm sure there is a story behind the painting. Just like there is a story behind the iconic praying hands. Which you can read here. The praying hands are important to me, too. I actually have a set of bookends of the praying hands. I inherited them somewhere along the way (they hold up my Shakespeare books). I think the reason that the hands intrique me is that I often find myself looking at others hands mainly because I am very conscious of my hands-- I have some warts on my hands and they make me selfconscious. I find myself keeping my hands in my pockets or hiding them somehow. I usually give my hand palm down when I shake hands.
I'm not sure where I was going with this, but suffice it to say that these two iconic images are important to me. For some reason I stutter a bit mentally when I see them. They are guides to, or maybe just place marks...
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
I am, at present, in the town library finishing up an assignment for one of my graduate classes for the week. The class I am working on right now is Reference in the Humanities. Basically, I am learning all about the information resources that can be used in reference servies in the library. This week's class focused on religion. This is one of the questions I had to answer:
Where could I find a well-written explanation and discssion of the sacraments of the Christian church? What I'm particularly interested in knowing is whether or not Protestants and Catholics have the same sacraments (and the same number of sacraments). Also, I'd like to know what the signifigance of each of the sacraments is. Does a person have to receive all of the sacraments to be a total Christian? What exactly is Extreme Unction? Does any other church, Christian or non-Christian, recognize this as a sacrament?
I have learned some interesting thigs because of this assignment. I've been doing web searches looking for the information. I have purposely stayed away from Lutheran resources, though, I think I am going to go back and look at some of them. I think it is important to branch out a bit and see what other religions and denominations have to say about things of this nature.
Here is one the sites I found that describes the signifigance of each sacrament. And what better place to find out about Extreme Unction than the Catholic Encyclopedia online?
As I look at this assignment one phrase really strikes fear in me. I look at this assignment as being a "real world" excercise. The phrase that scares me is: "Does a person have receive all the sacraments to be a total Christian?" Can you imagine the fear that someone might have if they asked that question? As Lutherans we have two Baptism and The Lord's Supper, or the Sacrament of the Altar. This whole question is very loaded and is wrought with potential pitfalls. It goes to prove, at least to me, how important it is to get right information to someone who needs it.
What exactly does it mean to be a "total Christian?" Am I a total Christian? I'm flawed, I know that, but I'm made pure by the Grace of God and my Salvation comes from God throgh His son Jesus Christ? Does the fact that I can make that statement and believe it whole heartedly make me a "total Christian?" I partake in the Sacrament of the Altar as often as I can, I pray regularly, and read the scriptures, do these things make me a "total Christian?" Or is it even simpler than that? Does the fact that I have faith in Jesus Christ make me a "total Christian?"
The "person" that asked this question is looking for some serious answers? What would I do in real life if something like this came up? How would I handle this? How would God work through me to minister to this patron? Would the answers I was able to find give comfort to the patron, or cause them more anxiety and perhaps drive them further from their own salvation?
Heady questions. Real heady.
Friday, February 10, 2006
I'm watching the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. Its fun to watch, actually. Right now I am seeing people dance around rings that are moving up and down a metal scaffolding... I assume they represent the medals.
There is something almost agan about the whole affair. I keep expecting to see a Druid or something suddenly flash into the arena. I watched as the Italian goddess walked slowly with the Italian flag to the center of the arena... she really was quite beautiful.
The rings just turned turned into the olympic rings. This is pretty spectaular.
And now we get the parade of nations.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
four for all
Four jobs that you have had in your life-Worked . . .
Four movies that you could watch over and over:
Four places that you've lived:
Hakensack, New Jersey
Four TV shows you love to watch:
Project Runway (I'm not really sure why, though)
Pretty much anything on VH1
I really don't watch much television... at least no show regularly
Four places you've been on vacation:
New York City
Four of your favorite foods:Hot chocolate made with milk
chocolate chip cookies
Steak, rare, so good it doesn't need seasoning
coffee ice cream
most any kind of cake (homemade preferably)
Four sites I visit (almost) daily :
iupui's class homepage
i tag no one, unless they want to partake, feel free.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Faith Through a Cat
Those of you have been reading this blog for any amount of time know that I write alot about faith, mine in particular. I write about faith because that is something I can connect to. I can hang my hat on that, if you will. I've been in my library most of the day working on various assignments I have for my classes on friday and I have found myself looking out the windows a often watching the world go by, but before I started my studying I took my fifteen minutes for Bible reading. I am currentl working my way through Luke (my favorte Gospel), again.
I was reading chapter 8 and this verse struck me: "'Where is your faith?' he asked his disciples." (v. 25). This verse come from the section regarding the storm that Jesus calmed. I was struck by the verse because that question can be and probably should be asked of me often, daily if necessary. Where is my faith? That is quite a question! I can point to my heart and my head, that is where my faith is, but I can also point to the Bible itself. I can point to my parents and I can point to my church, but I can also point to the tree outside the window and the sky above. And I can say that my faith surrounds me. I take great peace and comfort from the fact that I can see God's grace and love all around me.
I can see God's creation. I can touch it and smell it; I can even taste it if I want to-- I get a tremendous amount of joy and satisfaction from this, Genesis 1 is there for me to see. I have heard alot about the debate between "creationism" and "evolution" and to me there isn't much of a debate. I just can't accept the theor of evolution because it doesn't make sense. Rev. Steigemeyer over at Burr in the Burgh wrote about his cat recently. I, too, have a cat. A little, grey, long haired cat named Woody. I noticed something one day: his eyes are in the front of his head. Then I noticed something else: his lungs are in the middle and his stomach below them. He has intestines, a heart, and a tongue. In short he has all the same part (minus the testes) that I do and they are all in the same basic place that mine are, and that all happened by accident? The feline was birthed from the primordeal soup, too? Huh? I really couldn't grasp the evolution argument. I tried, I really did, but it just didn't make sense.
So, I have faith in something I can't see (Heb 11) and it is on that faith that I stand firm (Is. 7:9b). And it through that faith that I have salvation and will have eternal life (John 3:16-19). My faith in God and His son was strengthen immeasurably that day and for that I am truly thankful.
A few weeks back I bought a small, two tone leather covered NIV Bible. I bought it after I read the book Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. The reason I bought the Bible was that even though I have a couple Bibles already at home they are rather heavy and a bit bulky to take back and forth to work in my blue, canvas bag that I carry.
I decided that one of my fifteen minute breaks a day would be a good time to get into the Word and read. I use no pens, or pencils, or highlighters. I just read for fifteen minutes. I read Romans over the course of a couple days. I found myself rereading whole chapters two or three times, it sounds silly to say, but there really is a lot in Romans. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to wrap my brain around it all.
Last night I started reading my favorite gospel: Luke. I like Luke the best because it is a history, not a first person account. That comes in Acts. As I read Luke I made a connection that I've never really thought about. I always assumed that it was just Jesus and his apostles. I never quite relized that there may have been many more people with him. There may have been quite a few, how many? I don't know, but there must of been enough that Jesus realized that he was going to have have a "core group" to get things done. (That sounded horrible the way that was written... sorry).
I have had other ah-ha moments. A big one for me was when I decided that Jesus must of really looked like an average guy middle eastern guy. He was probably a short, dusky skinned guy (why else would the Jewish leaders need someone to betray him?) We've grown up with this image of Christ as a blonde, blue eyed, western European visaged guy, but I have sneaking suspicion that he was just your average, ordinary Hebraic fellow. I'd like to think he was a bit taller then everyone else, though.
To some people, saying that Christ was not caucasian is something akin to blasphemy. I'm not trying to do that, matter of fact, if it helps someone believe in Christ to think he was a white guy, so be it. The image I have is of a olive skinned middle eastern man who happened to have a rag tag group following him.
The more I read of the scriptures the more I need to know. I heard a phrase one time that went something like this: "the scriptures are shallow enough for a baby not to drown, but they are also deep enough for a the most learned man to never reach the bottom." That is a paraphrase, but the more I read the more I realize I don't know anything. I have barely scratched the surface and I think that's a good thing. There will always be more I can learn and more ways I can grow.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
STEELERS WIN! STEELERS WIN! STEELERS WIN!
THE BUS GOT HIS RING! ONE FOR THE THUMB! ONE FOR THE THUMB!
THE STEELERS WIN!
Sing along! "Heeere we go, Stillers, Heee-rrrree we go..."