One Year Down

Today is the one-year anniversary of this blog. I think I can speak for Michael as well, when I say ‘thank you’ for reading and commenting. I would also like to thank Joanna and World Magazine for allowing us to be part of their blogging family.
This is as good a time as any to reflect a minute on what the heck we’re doing here. (You can see the original post about our title here.)

This post is necessary partly because of some of the questions that have been raised about us recently, especially by certain commenters (a discussion that took place primarily here, in the last ten or so commments).

Part of this has to do with who Michael and I are, and part of it has to do with personal preferences. As you probably all know, we are seminarians at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. That knowledge has, occasionally, been used as a battering ram against us. In some comments, the formation of our pastoral character has been questioned. Now, this is partly correct: if someone believes we have sinned, we deserve to be called on that and given a chance to respond. This has happened, for instance, in the discussion regarding the name of our blog. However, attacks that have nothing to do with the content of this blog by people who, by their own admission, read this blog sporadically or when her friends are “upset”, are pretty well worthless. Comments like, “I hope no one ever has to hear you preach on forgiveness,” are, for one, baseless, and two, are evidence of a distinct lack of thoroughness in reading what we write.
Being seminarians, everyone has his or her own ideas about what that should look like. We have no problem with people saying what they expect of seminarians, but when those comments are demonstrably false, either by our words or actions, we have, I believe, a right to defend our character. Sometimes, in my case, this means a healthy dose of sarcasm. Certain people view that as being “defensive” and not following Christ’s command to turn the other cheek. But, by its very definition, the ridiculous deserves to be ridiculed.
Another thing with which a particular commenter took issue (as a smokescreen, in my opinion) was the fact that she does not see this blog as “Christ-centered” since our posts often do not include a direct or explicit reference to the fact that Christ died for sinners in order that they might be forgiven (the Gospel). Perhaps she should write a letter to World Magazine complaining about the same thing. But I suspect she will not do that because her personal feelings regarding her friend made her want to find a reason to criticize us.
But the more important issue is what it means to be “Christ-centered.” If one means that it is necessary to include a reference to the Gospel or forgiveness of sins in every post, I confess we are guilty. If it means that we should have a certain percentage of our posts that speak directly to the Gospel, that is a personal preference. (I count about 1/4 of our posts for March including such references, but apparently we did not fill the Gospel quota for this past month.) So then, what does it mean to say that we are, as I believe, Christ-centered? It means what it has always meant, that, ideally (perhaps we have failed at times), we would approach every post from the perspective that we are sinners who have been redeemed and covered with the blood of Christ. Since some people appear to be stuck in Second (Article) gear, while ignoring everything that might fall under the First Article of the Creed (everything that is not explicitly sinful in creation), I would not expect them to understand that we might profitably comment about things such as basketball and the end of Prohibition (to name two). In fact, everything is profitable as long as thanks is given to God and the thing is not made into an idol. (See 1 Timothy 4:1-5.)
I think it is near-blasphemy to say that the devil has created anything, so while he distorts and twists the good things in God’s creation, God is the creator of everything. The comment that we “don’t say Jesus enough” is similar to those well-intentioned, but misguided people who think that any musician who calls himself a Christian must include the “J-word” in each and every stanza or he is somehow betraying the Gospel of God. That is the argument of sects, not of true Christianity.
It is not true to say that we do not welcome criticism of this blog. What is every discussion we have had, if not a discussion of the merits or demerits of our opinions? I believe we have conducted ourselves honorably in those discussions, and there are very few things I like more than a deep theological discussion. On the other hand, there are those, who for personal reasons or otherwise, feel the need to resort to ad hominem (in the true meaning of those words) attacks, rather than offering cogent or constructive arguments for their points of view. That I cannot handle.
For what it’s worth, this blog is, as it says in the sidebar, hopefully a medium for finding and understanding more fully truth (or Truth). This will naturally include not only explicit references to the Truth, Jesus Christ, but also to small-t truth such as attempts to deny the value of life or marriage. It will also include posts on things that interest us, which, while not speaking directly to the reality of Jesus Christ’s forgiveness in our lives, do not deny that reality.
Thanks again for reading, and I invite thoughtful discussion of the purpose for this blog (not that we’ll take all your advice!)


Holy (Maundy) Thursday

O Lord God, who has left unto us in a wonderful Sacrament a memorial of Thy Passion, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may so use this Sacrament of Thy body and blood that the fruits of Thy redemption may continually be manisfest in us; Thou, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

God forbid that I should glory: save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Him is salvation, life, and resurrection from the dead: by Him we are redeemed and set at liberty.