Lutheran Carnival is up!

March 13th, 2006

at Be Strong in the Grace!

Parking Lot Moose

March 11th, 2006

moose

I saw this young one in a parking lot in the middle of town. The poor guy was munching on bare trees.

Stupid Lyrics

March 10th, 2006

Stupid lyrics annoy me, so now I’m going to blog about them. The first installment is a real winner. Who Says You Can’t Go Home by Jon Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland is a song about how…well, about people saying you can’t go home. Going home is usually a nice theme, but with the following lyrics, it’s hard to take any part of that song with serious artistic merit.

“Like a blind dog without a bone, I was a gypsy lost in the twilight zone. I hijacked a rainbow and crashed into a pot of gold.”

Heh. Yeah. I don’t know, either.

I just have to brag…

March 9th, 2006

Check out who the gentlemen at Blogs4Bauer are using as an endorsement.

Hint: as of this posting, it’s the fourth one down.

I don’t know why they didn’t use the quote, “Anyway, this blog is going to the top of my list of very stupid links.” That list of very stupid links has some really good stuff on it!

The Value of the Law

March 9th, 2006

A tract was dropped off at my door a few nights ago by someone from the Anchorage Baptist Temple advertising a Faithbuilders‘ class. It is noble enough to want to build one another’s faith. What got me was the message inside:

HOW DO I GET SAVED?

Take God at His word and claim His promise for your salvation. Is there any reason why you should not accept Christ as your Savior now? No, there is no reason not to accept Christ as your Savior. Bow your head and pray this prayer.

“Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner. I am sorry for my sin, and ask you for mercy and forgiveness through the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe He died for me and rose again. I now accept Him as my Savior.”

Now that you have accepted Christ as your Savior and when you are willing to confess Him before God and man, contact us so we can rejoice with you! You may call or write to us at our address listed on the back. We will then send you some material that will help you grow in the Lord and enjoy your new life!

This tract is written for Jews (those who know the law and significance of blood sacrifice), being distributed to a Greek culture (one with very little exposure to the Word and even less of an understanding of God’s law and the significance of a blood sacrifice) yet somehow intends to create Christians. And then there’s the decision theology, of course.

How is an American in a post-Christian society supposed to have any clue what it means that Christ died for us and it is through His blood we are forgiven? And what does it matter that He rose again?

When “Why not?” becomes your sales pitch for the Gospel, you have seriously failed to present the Law. The scripture cited in the “Roman Road,” presented on the second page of the tract, is hardly enough law to drive me to complete and utter despair which is where I need to be for the Gospel to make any sense.

Jesus is not a fuzzy teddy bear who hands out lollipops in RainbowLand and He did not promise we will enjoy our new lives. What He said was more along the lines of, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) and, “All men will hate you because of me.” (Luke 21:17)

Without a gut-wrenching presentation of the Law, the Gospel simply cannot be.

My Crazy Neighbor

March 7th, 2006

I have a crazy neighbor. Nice crazy. Friendly crazy. She has a definite southern accent and with it, she turns up her music, opens her door and stands out on her balcony yelling (in the absolute nicest possible way, really) at passersby attempting to start up smalltalk conversations. “How you doin’? Did you go to work today? Awright, you have a good day!” and as they walk off, she laughs to herself. Sometimes it’s a genuine laugh and sometimes it’s the laugh of a madwoman.

She catches me at least once a day, “Hey! How you doin’?”

“I’m doing great, how are you doing?”

“I’m fine. How’s ya motha?”

“She’s doing well.”

“Tell her I say hi!”

“OK! Have a good day!” and by this time I’m in my apartment.

The cold weather we had this winter kept her inside most of the time but as it warms up, she’ll be back to her one-woman block parties.

Tabletalk

March 4th, 2006

Confessional Lutheran blogging (and blog reading) geeks chat here.

The Quotable Mark

February 28th, 2006

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

- Mark Twain

From Wikipedia on Pregnancy

February 27th, 2006

Baby kick

Bored with a Gospel that isn’t social?

February 25th, 2006

I posted previously on ChangePoint Church in Anchorage. Last Sunday they had a big front page story headlined, “Church as community partner,” which merits yet another post. I am willing to grant that the reporter was simply after information regarding the church’s role in the community and not what they actually teach and therefore left the gospel out of the story. What I see here is typical of what is going on with so many churches today - trying to be everything to everyone at the expense of the Gospel.

ChangePoint hired Wacky World, a themed enviroment design firm, to help remodel the new building they bought, specifically the children’s rooms. The rooms will be designed, “along various Alaskan motifs — one with a full-size Super Cub suspended from the ceiling, another with a replica of the Alaska pipeline that kids will be able to use as a slide.” Why?

Churches around the country are beginning to tap into the same things that make Disneyland so effective,” Merriner explains. “And that’s creating themed environments that really are great for kids of all ages. So while we’re holding church services, this will be full of hundreds and hundreds of kids.

Ahh, I see.

When asked why he goes to ChangePoint, retired sales manager, Marty Turnbow stated:

Going here, it was just a little bit different. In the sense that … it’s not just about coming and worshipping. It’s about helping other people in our lives. And that’s really a magnet for me, and that seems to be a magnet for a lot of people.

I would say the church is to be commended for their good works, but that’s all it seems to be about. From this article, and it could be due to its non-gospel focus, I am lead to wonder if change is a requirement, not the fruit, of forgiveness.

South Dakota House OKs Bill to Ban Nearly All Abortions

February 24th, 2006

Yippie!

Governor Mike Rounds has a spine:

“I’ve indicated I’m pro-life and I do believe abortion is wrong, and that we should do everything we can to save lives,” Rounds said. “If this bill accomplishes that, then I am inclined to sign the bill into law.”

The bill makes exceptions for pregnancies that threathen the life of the mother, but not for rape or incest. It takes guts to pass a bill that supports life no matter how that life was conceived.

It is scheduled to take effect July 1, but there will of course be the inevitable court battles. Planned Parenthood, which kills 800 babies each year in South Dakota, will likely be leading that fight.

Blah, Blah, Blah, Love, Blah, Blah, Blah

February 13th, 2006

Last year on Valentine’s Day, I posted this and I still think it’s an important enough message to post it again:

I love you.

We hear it a lot. It has all sorts of meanings. God’s definition is Christ on the cross. That’s love. It’s not a warm-fuzzy feeling. It’s gut-wrenching sacrifice. My pastor defined love as “giving to someone where they have a need.” That is what Christ did.

When I say “I love hiking,” “I love Chocolate Obsession soy ice cream,” or “I love having a car so I don’t have to take the bus,” what I mean is “I love myself and what these things do for me.” If these things fail to fulfill my need or perform as expected, I would toss them aside without a second thought.

My pastor advised women and young ladies that when a man says “I love you,” then tries to do with them what only their husbands would have a right to, “I love you,” is NOT what he meant. What he meant was, “I love myself and what you can do for me.” I hope the parallel here is obvious.

That’s not terribly romantic, is it? “Hey baby, I love myself and what you can do for me. Wanna go out?” What girl could resist that! The truth makes a big difference, doesn’t it?

Don’t buy the words, girls. Listen to the actions.

Lutheran Carnival XVII

February 12th, 2006

Lutheran Carnival XVII is up at Random Thoughts of a Confessional Lutheran.

Evolution Sunday

February 11th, 2006

According to Answers in Genesis, over 400 churches in 49 states will be celebrating the 197th birthday of Charles Darwin.

Two years ago, Prof. Michael Zimmerman at the University of Wisconsin (its Oshkosh campus)—and also its dean of the College of Letters and Sciences—began what became known as “The Clergy Letter Project.?

Using the university’s website, Zimmerman encouraged clergy across America to sign a letter that supports evolution and rejects the Genesis account of creation as literal history. As we posted this, over 10,200 clergy had signed this awful letter.

This short letter states:

Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others? is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.

Where to start?

“Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth.”

Huh?

“Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation.”

The Creation account and Noah’s Flood could not possibly have happened the way the Bible says? If these clergy deny biblical accounts in favor of taking on belief in a “science” which has divine intervention coming in the form of enormous amounts of time, what do they do with the parting of the Red Sea, a Virgin Birth, water turned into wine and the resurrection of Christ?

“…the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook.”

The Bible isn’t a science textbook. Teaching science is not the purpose of the Bible, but if we believe it is divinely inspired, why would we believe God made mistakes when He touched on sciences that He created? It just doesn’t make sense.

Entertainingly, while this professor is pushing the agenda that evolutionary “science” and religion can get along, leading evolutionist and atheist Richard Dawkins is on TV in the UK stating the exact opposite:

Dawkins (visibly angry at the Christian faith throughout his two-hour TV diatribe) stated: “People like to say that faith and science can live together side by side, but I don’t think they can. They’re deeply opposed. Science is a discipline of investigation and constructive doubt, questing with logic, evidence and reason to draw conclusions. Faith, by stark contrast, demands a positive suspension of critical faculties.?

Dawkins added, “Charles Darwin hit upon a truly brilliant idea that elegantly explains all of life on earth without any need to invoke the supernatural or the divine.?

Do you see the irony? The clergy supporting evolution, but the evolutionary, secular humanist insisting such a position is untenable. Dawkins has stated that evolution led him to his atheism.

More goodies from Dawkins’ TV special:

* “I want to examine that dangerous thing that’s common to Judaism and Christianity as well. The process of non-thinking called faith.?

* “The scriptural roots of the Judeo-Christian moral edifice are cruel and brutish.?

* “I think of religion as a dangerous virus. It’s a virus which is transmitted partly through teachers and clergy, but also down the generations from parent to child to grandchild. Children are especially vulnerable to infection by the virus of religion.?

* “When we look closely [at the Bible], you find a system of morals which any civilized person today should surely find poisonous.?

* “The God of the Old Testament has got to be the most unpleasant character in all fiction—jealous and proud of it, petty, vindictive, unjust, unforgiving, racist, an ethnic cleanser urging His people on to acts of genocide.?

* “In the New World [America], religion is free enterprise. Rival groups set up shop on every street corner competing to save people’s souls and collect their money.?

* Attending the service of a large church in Colorado which has an animated congregation, Dawkins says that he was almost reminded “of a Nuremberg [Nazi] rally … that [Nazi leader and propagandist] Dr. Goebbels would have been proud.? He later calls Christians who are involved in politics “Christian fascists.?

* “Evangelicals … are foisting evident falsehoods on their flocks. The evangelicals are denying scientific evidence just to support Bronze Age myths.?

In an article
by Answers in Genesis’ Pam Shepherd, the question, “So, why are there such differences between evolutionary scientists and creation scientists if both groups have the same evidence?” is asked and answered. Other gems from the article include:

“It is because a logical God created and ordered the universe that I, and other creationists, expect to be able to understand aspects of that universe through logic, careful observation and experimentation,? Lisle explains.

Lisle concludes the chapter by posing the question, “Why should there be laws of nature if there is no lawgiver??

“If our minds have been designed, and if the universe has been constructed by God, as the Bible teaches, then of course we should be able to study nature. Science is possible because the Bible is true,? says Lisle.

Happy Evolution Sunday!

Questions not to ask

February 2nd, 2006

I was surfing the net for interview advice for someone and came across a sweet list of questions not to ask the interviewer. The website says that these are questions that were actually asked by candidates.

The Dumb Dozen

12 Dumb Questions Candidates Actually Asked

1. Is it possible for me to get a small loan?

2. What is it that your company does?

3. Can I see the break room?

4. What are your psychiatric benefits?

5. How many warnings do you get before you are fired?

6. Can you guarantee me that I will still have a job here a year from now?

7. Would anyone notice if I came in late and left early?

8. What does this company consider a good absenteeism record?

9. The job description mentions weekend work. Are you serious?

10. What is the zodiac sign of the company president?

11. How do you define sexual harassment?

12. Will my office be near an ice machine?

The Best Valentine’s Gift, Ever

February 1st, 2006

Bittersweets. They are much like the candy hearts we are all so familiar with. They probably even taste like Pepto Bismal, just like the real ones! The messages written on them, however, are far more entertaining.

The first collection of candies is called “Dejected” and includes sayings such as:

I MISS MY EX
TABLE FOR 1
I CRY ON Q
U C MY BLOG?
ASYLUM BOUND
DIGNITY FREE
WE HAD PLANS
SETTLE 4LESS
NOT AGAIN

The second collection is called “Dysfunctional” and the sayings include:

RUMORS TRUE
PRENUP OKAY?
GAME ON TV
CALL A 900#
P.S. I LUV ME
DO MY DISHES
UWATCH CMT
PAROLE IS UP!
U+ME=GRIEF
I WANT HALF
BE MY PRISON
C THAT DOOR?

Here are some more suggestions for entertaining Valentine’s Day gifts from my post last year.

Now you have no excuse!

A Crushing Blow

January 31st, 2006

So Alito was confirmed by the Senate and two of my least favorite organizations are, to my delight, simply horrified:

Karen Pearl, interim president of PPFA, issued the following statement:

“Today’s vote is a crushing blow to the protections for women’s health and safety that American women and families have relied on for more than 33 years.

“We applaud those senators who held fast to their principles and voted against Alito’s nomination. However, the American public should be outraged that a majority of the Senate was willing to jeopardize our basic reproductive rights by voting for Judge Alito. Fair-minded Americans will remember this vote when their rights are taken away.”

Crushing blow? What an odd word to use in reference to someone who doesn’t want babies heads to be…well…crushed. And the blow is to…”protections” on which families - including the children who are murdered I suppose - have relied. How many thinking errors can you count in that quote?

While NOW has been fairly quiet since Alito’s confirmation, they did publish this delicious tidbit yesterday:

Supporters of women’s rights, civil rights and the separation of powers lost this pivotal battle because senators who should have been fighting for their constituents chose not to do so. But in the process we exposed the despicable agenda of the right wing, and their unrelenting determination to undermine our rights and liberties.

This is the first of many fights for the soul of our democracy, and we will eventually emerge victorious.

It’s good they see the pro-life fight as unrelenting and determined. I like that. That last sentence? It belongs in an over-dramatic-bargain-bin-barely-historical romance novel.

I am actually enjoying this little dose of schadenfreude.

Lutheran Carnival

January 31st, 2006

…has been up at the Swede’s place for a few days. I’m just lazy.

What a Way to Welcome the Weekend

January 28th, 2006

At 3:30am I awoke to my upstairs neighbor ralphing. Loud. Two hours later, he’s done ralphing but I’m still awake. The really gross thing is that I heard him ralph a couple times before I heard him get up and walk to his bathroom to continue. You know there’s going to be some clean-up going on. It struck images of this t-shirt in my head, although to the best of my knowledge, he isn’t a clown.

Here’s an Interesting Idea…

January 25th, 2006

Luther Library:

Luther Library will soon begin reviewing and recommending books for pastors, other church workers, and laity, especially, but not exclusively those holding a strong Lutheran confessional position.