Sunday, April 21, 2019

Christ is Risen!


Alleluia!

We finally get to say it and sing it again. I am looking forward to a joyous day today.

It's been a strange Lent for me though, I must say. I felt like I've been behind and trying to catch up the whole season, and so didn't get to soak it in as much as usual.

Also bidding farewell to a founding member of the church. We'll meet again. But her long struggle is over. She is at rest in Christ and I look forward to joining her in the resurrection.

Today the whole family is over for Easter dinner. That will be nice. Then golf tomorrow afternoon! That's kind of a tradition for me, though one that doesn't always happen. Take the afternoon after Easter to get out and walk around, get some fresh air, enjoy, decompress.

My father seemed to take another step down these past few weeks. He's 95 now. Wow. Will this be his last Easter with us? What other changes will this year bring?

Sometimes I forget how fortunate I am. Which is really silly. Incredible wife, wonderful family, good health.

Hope you have a wonderful celebration today of our Lord's resurrection!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Good Name for a Church

So I was thinking . . . I have a church in my circuit named Saint Stephen's. I wonder why they decided to name their church that? I am going to ask them tomorrow when I am with them. I am interested to hear their answer. They might not know why it was named that back in the day, but it will be interesting to think about and think up reasons why that is a good name for them today.

So I got to thinking about church names . . . Some churches are named after two people, for example, Sts. Peter and Paul. A quick Google search shows a bunch of them. They are put together because although they had a disagreement (see the book of Galatians), they also reconciled with one another. So why not a St. Paul and St. Stephen Lutheran Church? (A Google search showed only one church with this name, in Gloucester, England.) Why that name? Well, Paul was there while Stephen was being stoned, watching the clothes of those doing the deed and approving of it all. And yet while he was being stoned, Stephen look up to heaven and said with his dying breath: Lord, do not hold this sin against them (Acts 7:60). Against Paul. So what would naming a church with that name testify? That we are all about forgiveness.

Seems pretty good to me.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Evolution as Philosophy

It occurred to me the other day that evolution is not just a theory, but a philosophy. It's not just an explanation about how things might have come to be, but an entire worldview - a way of looking at all of life, and its meaning, purpose, and value.

When I mentioned that to someone, they said, "Of course." But I don't hear it spoken of that way. Maybe if we started to say that more and more, it might help people think a little differently and realize that as a philosophy it is incompatible with theology, which is an entirely different worldview.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

My Yesterday


So yesterday I had to report for Jury Duty! The trial I was considered for was a rape case that was going to last 3-4 days. Ugh. Even though attorneys usually don't like having pastors on their juries, I was a little worried. However, that, coupled with the fact that I have given pastoral counseling to women who have suffered sexual abuse over the years (but never to someone accused of sexual abuse) was enough to have me stricken by one (or both) of the lawyers. The guy next to me was a clinical psychologist who had treated patients in this situation also, and he was excused as well.

We were in the courtroom, though, for a good 1.5 hours, as the attorneys asked their questions and made their notes. What I thought was interesting and had never seen or heard before was that when one of the potential jurors wanted to explain something privately at the bench, the judge had a switch to turn on "white noise" through the speakers in the courtroom, to make sure no one else could hear. It worked. I heard nothing. But after a while, it got to be annoying.

Last night, then, I got to attend my youngest daughter's school orchestra concert. And, just like her big sister, she has ascended to principal, or first chair, in her orchestra. (Quite an achievement for a 7th grader in the Advanced Orchestra in her Middle School!) Below is a picture from the program. (Sorry the quality is not better, but it wasn't my idea to print this on red paper!)




Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ashes To Go? No!



You may have heard of it or seen it - a new fad for Ash Wednesday called "Ashes to go." A pastor or priest goes to a coffee shop, Metro Station, or some other public place and imposes ashes onto the foreheads of any who come and desire them. I think this is a really bad idea. Why?

Well, aside from the fact that I think it is feeding our society's appetite to be "spiritual but not religious" (aka the "I don't have to go to church" movement), this is the real, big problem with it: It gives the Law without the Gospel. Dust you are and to dust you will return, but then no forgiveness in Christ! No resurrection from the death of sin! The person leaves with a sign of sin and death imposed upon them, and the rest is up to them.

Yes, yes, if they are Christians perhaps they know the Gospel. But don't we proclaim it every Sunday because we need to hear it over and over again? Because our world catechizes us with the anti-Gospel? That's why we give it in the Lord's Supper, too!

As a theologian once said: The Gospel assumed is the Gospel denied. Let's stop this fad and instead proclaim the Gospel. Ashes are no good if Jesus doesn't wash them off of us.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Huh?

So I read two news stories today, which were quite different. In fact, diametrically opposed.

The first story stated that some are trying to normalize pedophilia, saying that it is just another "sexual orientation" that someone is born with and that cannot be changed. So who are we to say that is wrong? Along with this effort comes the desire to lower the age of consent from 18 to something less than that. And get this - if pedophilia gains status as an accepted sexual orientation, that is becomes a protected category under civil rights laws! (HT: Gene Veith)

The second story was a report about the Roman church's recent meeting on protecting children in the church. Out of that meeting was expressed the desire to raise the age of who is considered a minor from 14 to something older. One wonders why it was so low in the first place.

What a messed up, mixed up world we live in.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Been a While . . .

Yes, I'm still here. :-)  It's been a while since I posted. The "to do" list is long, keeps getting longer, and "blog" always gets pushed down the list of priorities. So, how about just a couple of random thoughts . . .

. . . Happy Birthday to my wife! We celebrated a couple of weeks ago. Last year, a big surprise party. This year, a quieter celebration.

. . . Happy Birthday to my daughter! She turned 21. We could not be with her as she is away at school, but proud of her.

. . . Abortion - how our country is divided! The March for Life is great, but New York passes a law allowing abortion at any time, the Virginia governor speaks of infanticide just because the baby isn't wanted (sounds like ancient Rome), and yet Missouri just passed the most restrictive abortion law of all the states! What's the answer? Change hearts, not laws.

. . . Speaking of the Virginia governor . . . Blackface in a 35 year old picture? Resign! Support for infanticide? Crickets.

. . . Speaking of Virginia politics . . . Governor with blackface? Resign! Lieutenant Governor accused of sexual misconduct? Resign! Attorney General with blackface? Resign! Oh wait. The next guy in line for Governor is a Republican? Never mind. Really?

. . . Death. Of a beloved professor at Patrick Henry College, where I do campus ministry. Unexpected in the night. Rough. Always be ready. You never know.

. . . Politics. When Republicans run the House, they act all civil and proper and the Democrats attacks them. When Democrats run the House, they act all civil and proper and the Republicans attack them. Can't they see the hypocrisy? Crazy. And some of the things being said? Crazier.

. . . Long, scraggly, unkempt beards. I just don't get it.