The Pastor Challenge


The Pastor Challenge

The Assist Pregnancy Center's Walk-Run-Ride for Life is coming up in May and this year I am challenging myself in order to challenge all of you! I am challenging myself to ride a "Metric Century" (100 kilometers) in four hours, and if I can ride farther than I ever have at one time before, I challenge all of you to support me more than ever before. I set my goal this year at $5,000, and our team (Lutherans for Life) at $7,500! If I can do it, you can do it. Assist helps so many mothers and babies, and they are expanding their facility to help even more - and so need our help more than ever, especially coming out of this pandemic. So please help! CLICK HERE to go to my sponsor page to sponsor me, or you can sponsor anyone else who joins the team, or the team as a whole.

Will you step up to the challenge??

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Golf!

So, one tradition I try to continue each year is to go golfing the Monday after Easter. It's good for me to unwind, walk around on a nice Spring day, and decompress a bit. I was able to get out this year and actually played pretty well. Actually, very well for me. I played the course we went to probably the best I've ever played on it. That was nice.

Then, my family and I discovered a disc golf course near our house, so we went there on Tuesday afternoon and played. So I guess you could say I "golfed" twice after Easter. ;-)  

Now, after a couple of days of rest, it's time to get back into the swing of things . . .


Thursday, April 1, 2021

Sacred Triduum

 
Begins today.
Holy Maundy Thursday Divine Service
Holy and Good Friday Tenebrae
The Great Vigil of Easter
Soak yourself in the Word of God and His gifts at the end of this Lenten season.
Hope to see everyone for these special services.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Palms

I wish I had taken a picture of our chancel at church yesterday. I love how it looks decorated with special palms. But here are a couple of other pictures from the ol' blogosphere. I am just amazed at what people are able to do with palms!





 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Two Good Quotes

Two good quotes for you this morning. First, from a book I am currently reading . . .

"In the liturgy, Christ's words are not mere quotations - He is present and speaks directly to us!"

And second, from the old blogosphere . . .

"Politicians want to speak on moral issues and bishops (read: church leaders) want to speak on political ones."


Sunday, March 21, 2021

My Ride Yesterday

Went for a long bike ride yesterday, getting ready for my "Metric Century" at the beginning of May. Here's the results:


I was hoping for 3 hours, so a little slower than I wanted. But I didn't want to push myself too hard yet. If I can add 11 more miles at this same pace, I'll meet my goal of 4 hours. Can I? I don't know. It'll be tough! But I'm going to try. And if you'd like to sponsor my ride to help the Assist Pregnancy Center, click on the link at the top of my blog and do so! :-)  Thanks!


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Happy Birthday

Today would have been my father's 97th birthday, although the last few years of his life, he never believed he was that old. I guess that's good - he didn't feel old. We would sometimes talk about him making it to 100. Sometimes he thought he would like to live that long, other times he thought not. We would usually look for cards that mentioned both St. Patrick's Day and birthday together. There are a few! He especially liked the Peanuts cards. They always made him smile. And he loved his Irish Potatoes! They were a nice dessert treat for his birthday. He had a niece that would always send him some. I remember when we first moved here that I went looking for Irish Potatoes in the stores, and no one knew what they were! I guess they are more regional, though you can find them here and there in the stores here now. Anyway, here's to my father on what will always be his day. The picture below is from the 90th birthday party we had for him when he moved down to live with us. :-)



Tuesday, March 16, 2021

40 Days Is a Long Time . . .

How you doing with you Lenten discipline? 40 days doesn't seem that long really, but it is! At least for me, it is hard to maintain my discipline and focus every year. Last year as part of my discipline, I wrote a devotion based on a hymn verse each day. I published those on this blog and people were expecting one each day, so that was good to keep me going. This year, it is not writing but some extra reading and study that I determined to do. No one would know if I miss and fall away from that, so hard to keep going! I've been doing pretty well so far. But it's not easy.

What got me thinking about this is a reading I did today which talked about Moses on Mt. Sinai for 40 days and nights, and the people of Israel getting tired of waiting for him. So, sometime into those forty days - we're not told how long - they gave up on him (the discipline of waiting for him) and got Aaron to build them the golden calf. I think I appreciate that more now. How hard 40 days is! But it is good at the same time. Basil the Great wrote about being "fortified by fasting" - which seems like an oxymoron! How can fasting strengthen and fortify you? Doesn't it weaken you? But there is a fortifying aspect to this, and to the 40 days of Lenten discipline.

So, a note of encouragement to you. Keep it up. Don't give up. Easter is coming! Passiontide starts this Sunday. Our joy is not far away . . .


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Reading

So, what I've been reading lately (besides theology!) . . .

I have always loved American History. I stumbled across a series on Ulysses S. Grant on the history channel some time ago and became interested in him. I have read a lot about the Civil War in the East, but didn't know much about the Western campaign, or Grant. So I asked for this biography for Christmas and finished it up right before Lent.

It is a large book, over 1000 pages and the print is small, but some of that is notes. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Chernow is a good writer. The sections on the western campaign during the war were good, but what I learned the most about was southern reconstruction after the War. This was one of Chernow's stated goals - to educate about that oft neglected area of history. It actually helped me not only to understand that era of our history, but to understand some of what is happening today in our country. Another thing I was struck by was how trusting a soul Grant was, and how that often got him into trouble - not militarily, but with his personal life, businesses he tried to run, and with his presidency. So, if you like American History or want to learn more about Grant and/or the Civil War, I would recommend this book.

One of the next books I read was quite different than that - a fun little novel, The Haunted Bookshop. I noticed it on our bookshelf. It was my mother's book and had her bookplate on the inside cover. It is an old book, so fun to read for the style of writing and the vocabulary. It's not long, so a quick read too. However, While I enjoyed most of it, I was disappointed by the ending - not so much how it ended, but that the ending was so abrupt. It reminded me of books that my children would read in elementary school, like the Magic Tree House books. You'd get to the end and everything would be explained, and to a pre-teen mind, it was probably all good. But for this book, I wish he had added about 75-100 pages at least, fleshed out the plot some more, and finished it up better. So not bad. A nice diversion while riding my bike. I don't read a lot of fiction, so it was a good change for me.

So then I decided to read some more fiction! This is the book I am currently reading, The Decameron, by Boccaccio. I bought this book some time ago and had read part of it before, but never the whole thing. Why did I think of this book now? Because the dog in The Haunted Bookshop was named Bock after Boccaccio! 

The premise of the book is that there is an epidemic - a highly contagious disease killing people in great numbers. (Sound familiar?) So ten young people (seven young women and four young men) get out of the city and cloister themselves in the country, away from the death and sadness to enjoy life. While they are there, they decide to tell stories to entertain themselves. This book is ten stories told per day for ten days - each person telling one story per day. I am not too far into the book yet - I've only finished the first day. But the stories are short and amusing. It is an old book, from 14th century Italy, so the times were quite different than today. But really, our human nature is not so different. I'm looking forward to reading the next 90 stories told!

 Finally, the last book I'll include here is Plato's Republic. Yeah, that's a bit of a change from the other books, huh! I had never read it before, but did now because we are probably going to enroll my daughter in a private Lutheran Classical education school and this is an important text for that. This is a difficult read (at least it was for me), but the general premise of the book is easy to grasp. It probably would have been easier for me if I wasn't exercising while reading it, but one only has so much time in the day! So now that I've read through it once, I'll probably go read some explanations of it and then read it again to digest it a bit more. But not right away - I'm reading my fun Decameron first, and then who knows what I'll feel like delving into after that? 


Saturday, February 20, 2021

What I Noticed . . .

Mark does not give us a lot of details about Jesus' temptation, like Matthew and Luke. OK - he doesn't give us ANY details! Only tells us that it happened. In fact, he doesn't even tell us how it turned out. Jesus just afterwards shows up in Galilee. So He came out alright.

Hmmm. That got me thinking . . . The shorter ending of Mark's Gospel is the same way, isn't it? There is no risen Jesus, but the young man/angel who is sitting there does say He is risen and then this little tantalizing nugget: go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.

Jesus, victorious over the devil in His temptation in the wilderness, shows up in Galilee. So too Jesus, victorious over sin, death, and hell in His resurrection, shows up in Galilee. Which is, of course, what He told them (14:28). 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Vaccines, Embryos, and Ethics - Updated

NOTE: I'll be leaving this post at the top of my blog given it's importance. But will also be putting up some new posts below it. So scroll down and see those too! :-)


There are Covid vaccines now being given in our country and in the world. Many people have questions about these vaccines, because some vaccines are researched and developed using tissue from aborted babies. If we are pro-life (and we are!), which vaccines use this tissue and which ones do not? Which vaccines can we use? Are we morally culpable if we receive a vaccine that had been developed unethically? What if we didn't know it?

Here are some resources for you to answer or help answer these questions.

Regarding vaccines and how they were researched and developed:

Covid-19 vaccines

List of other vaccines

These lists are from the reliable pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute.

Other reading:

How to think about moral complicity (from an LCMS scholar)

Information and writings from Lutherans for Life

What You Should Know about the Covid Vaccines (Dr. Grobien, LCMS Seminary Professor)

A Pastoral Letter on COVID and Vaccines (By me!)

A Pastoral Letter from LCMS President Matthew Harrison

LCMS COVID Vaccine Fact Sheet

COVID Vaccines and Fetal Cells: What's Ethical and What Isn't

(This last is from the Eternal Perspectives blog and is a very comprehensive article. Some of the information I have already linked to here, but there are some others links and videos as well. I have not watched them all so cannot vouch for them all, but lots of information here and this seems to me like a very sober and accurate assessment.)

The matter of moral complicity is a thorny and difficult issue to answer, and there are many things to take into consideration. So read and think about these things! 


Nailed It

The Synod referendum, that is. I predicted that 90% of the congregations who voted would approve. The count is now in: Yea - 3,371. Nay - 347. Approved by . . . 90.67%. 

So, for those of you old enough to remember . . .



Saturday, January 30, 2021

Birds of a Feather . . .


I only got four birds pictured here, but we had a bunch more this morning, all sitting around our bird bath (heated!) and taking LOTS of drinks. Very thirsty. It's cold, so most of the water that is around is frozen. I got this heated bird bath for Father's Day (I think). Glad to help our feathered friends. :-)


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Wait. What?

[Sadly,] just got this in an email from CPH . . .


It’s easier than ever to make use of the One and All Rejoice children’s hymnal. Add 181 new hymns to your library, along with 11 liturgies, 6 psalms, and an abundance of prayers and creeds. Create custom bulletins and inserts with your new hymns so the children in your congregation can sing praises this New Year!


Wait. What?? New creeds? No thank you! And just so you know, the children in my congregation already sing the hymns we sing as a congregation and it is a joy to hear their voices doing so!

We will not be purchasing this add on . . .


A Sad Day

A sad day for our children today. Their murder will continue. Sacrificed on the altar of false gods. It will probably become easier and our tax dollars pay for it. kyrie eleison


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Another Good Quote

Found over on Pastor Weedon's blog . . .

Tradition is a set of solutions for which we have forgotten the problems. Throw away the solution and you get the problem back. Sometimes the problem has mutated or disappeared. Often it is still there as strong as it ever was.
~ Donald Kingsbury

This reminds me of something GK Chesterton said about finding seemingly useless fences in fields (and I am greatly paraphrasing here!): there's a reason it's there, or there was. Before you remove it, find out why it was put there in the first place. Only then, once you know the facts, act. 

How rashly we often act today, thinking we know better and so much more than those who have come before us. Pretty prideful and arrogant. We could all use more humility, don't you think?