St. Augustine (354-430)

Today is the feast day of St. Augustine (not to mention the feast day of my birth). Say a prayer thanking God for the witness of this faithful doctor and father of the Church, and for his defense of orthodox Christianity in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries.

Timotheos

Stubble

Following up on our post regarding “liberals” and “conservatives” in the church (scroll down to find), here is a helpful excerpt from the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, a document included in the Book of Concord, the collection of the Lutheran confessions.

“Even though there are among these people [church] many weak ones who build upon this foundation [true knowledge of Christ and faith] structures of stubble that will perish (that is to say, certain useless opinions), nevertheless, because they do not overthrow the foundation, these things are to be both forgiven them and also corrected. The writings of the holy Fathers bear witness that at times even they built stubble upon the foundation but that this did not overturn their faith.”
Continue reading

This IS the Word of the Lord

Included in most liturgical worship services are the phrases, “This is the Word of the Lord,” and “Thanks be to God.” The former follows the reading of the appointed Scripture lessons for the day, and then the congregation responds with the thankful response.

In this world, we regularly hear about missionaries and common citizens being persecuted for teaching the Christian faith. Places of worship are being destroyed. In the United States, however, we are allowed to gather peacefully in order to hear God’s Word.

So next time you hear, “This is the Word of the Lord,” respond with the appropriate phrase with the appropriate amount of energy. For we are truly blessed to hear the Word of God.

“I Killed My Baby and I’m Proud”

That’s what the Planned Parenthood T-shirts should have said. (For some reason, PP is not selling the shirts anymore.) They wanted to “break the insidious silence” surround abortion and to combat the “shame” that “anti-choice” people create around these “choices” and the women who make them. To me, it sounds kind of like fan letters to Charles Manson. (You can buy an opposite message here.)
Mike Adams, after being told about this shirt, wrote one of the best columns I have read from him yet (and every one is good). Read the whole thing here.

Some especially poignant quotes:
“I think that America has been involved in an unjust war on the unborn for over thirty years.
I think that liberals are right when they say that a nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats those who cannot fend for themselves.
I think that I am lucky to have parents who are pro-life.
I think that many people who are “pro choice” are glad that they were born before 1973. Otherwise, they might not be able to make choices.”

“I think about my failed efforts to get campus feminists to debate the abortion issue on our campus. I think about a North Carolina chapter of Planned Parenthood that declined a campus debate on abortion saying, “It is our policy not to debate the abortion issue.””

“I think that those in Congress who voted against the ban on partial birth abortion should wear t-shirts saying “I have the blood of innocent children on my hands.””

And, the one most offensive to me because it applies to the largest so-called “Lutheran” church body in the United States:
“I think about American churches paying for the abortions of church employees.”

Timotheos

It’s All About Faith

Gustaf Wingren, in Luther on Vocation, includes in the last chapter a nice analysis of faith.
“It can be said that faith joins together two different aspects of existence, which exist regardless of faith and are real in themselves. The one is the work of Christ, his suffering and his vanquished grave, the work proffered to man through the gospel.
Continue reading

Front Groups and Defamation

I don’t know about you, but I’ve just about had enough of John Kerry (I know, I can’t believe it took this long, either). This ridiculous notion that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is a “front group” (yeah, like a money laundering business for the mob) for the Bush campaign is seriously out of control. CNN.com perpetuates the slander by implying that Benjamin Ginsburg, a lawyer for the Bush campaign, illegitimately advised the Swift Boat group on their ads. Even though there is no hard evidence that Ginsburg did anything differently than every other lawyer who tells 527 groups what they can and cannot do (including the lawyers for the Democratic party), the Communist News Network feels it’s newsworthy to impugn his motives. [Ginsburg resigned today.]
Kerry can’t handle the fact that pro-Bush 527s might actually have as much influence as Michael Moore and pro-Kerry groups like Moveon.org (which refuses to move on from 2000). Kerry has condemned neither of these, yet his campaign will not rest until Bush condemns the ads that support him.
Why can’t they just ask Bush to concede the victory now, because nothing else will satisfy them? Bush has called for an end to all 527s, something Kerry refuses to do. What’s good for the goose is apparently not good for the gander, if Kerry were writing proverbs.
Not one to hold back a single shred of dignity from the flames of hypocrisy, Kerry accuses the Bush campaign of descending into negativity! Even at the DNC, Kerry couldn’t hold to the promised positive environment. His discussion of the “issues” could not possibly have been further from the truth. He did not find himself able to come up with any positive discussion of what he plans to do as President; all he could accomplish was implication through defamation of President Bush. He has discussed no positive policy matters whatsoever. The closest he has come is to promise impossible, naive improvements such as health care for every single American and high-paying jobs for every American. If Kerry is elected, will his supporters overlook the inevitable failures when they hear of people still living in poverty without health care? More likely, they will blame such a discrepancy on President Bush, and attempt to convince us that Kerry never promised health care for every person (like Republicans), or that he never promised high-paying jobs for those who could not land such jobs by themselves. As Sean Hannity said, if Kerry gets elected, America will get what it deserves.

Timotheos

The 13 Pauline Epistles

Bo Reicke, in his book Re-examining Paul’s Letters: The History of the Pauline Correspondence, puts forth a list of the apostle Paul’s letters according to the time in which they were written. Reicke makes a solid case for this order:
2 Thessalonians
1 Thessalonians
Galatians
1 Corinthians
1 Timothy
2 Corinthians
Romans
Titus
Philemon
Colossians
Ephesians
2 Timothy
Philippians

How do I get in?

Like a lot of Americans, I have been watching the Summer Olympic Games in Athens. The swimming events have been the most enjoyable to watch. However, I have also noticed those other obscure events, such as the one that takes place on a trampoline. How did these “athletes” get involved in this sport? Was their talent discovered as they played as little children in their backyards? A more serious question, why didn’t I get to go to the Olympics for playing kick ball?

Good Music Acht

I know you have been recently thinking: What music can I get for the season of autumn? Glad you asked. You should pick up two albums, if nothing else. The first is the new one called Stripping Cane by a guy I’ve talked about before, and that is Jeffrey Foucault. Pure guitar strumming genius (and a nice cover of John Fogerty’s “Lodi”). Get it here for much cheaper than Barnes and Noble.
The second is a friend of Foucault’s, and no less a guitar player, named Peter Mulvey. Get his new album Kitchen Radio here. You can’t go wrong with these as the leaves change. Put them in your cd player and turn them up.

Timotheos