“By so much more are the works of man mortal sins when they are done without fear and in unadulterated, evil self-security” (Luther, 1518).
Month: April 2005
Just kidding. But I have noticed that many visitors here come to us from the campuses of universities around the nation. That got me thinking, I wonder where everyone is from? So, if you’re inclined, post the state in which you currently reside. (I’m currently in Arkansas, but only for three more months.)
“Purpose Driven Fiction”
Love and Blunder recommends their pastor’s new blog, and after viewing it, I can’t disagree. Especially with this one! (Not to mention the quote of Walther, veritas odium parit–which is, by the way, actually a quote of Cicero quoting Terence. This from my learned cousin:
Reviewing Cicero’s dialogue on friendship, De Amicitia, I came upon the rest of that quote that Timothy brought to your attention:
obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit
“Flattery gets friends; the truth, hatred.”
Cicero is not the actual author; he quoted it from a
work by the playwright Terence.).
More Looney than Churchill
Dr. Mike Adams has a candidate for Looniest College Professor of 2005: Dr. Jane T. Christensen. She’s a professor at North Carolina Wesleyan College (undoubtedly a college “in the Wesleyan tradition”). I had read this column when it was published, but I didn’t realize it would become a national issue (I’ll rephrase: it’s only national on Fox News [look down the right side of the main page under “U.S. and World”–Martha MacCallum’s interview with Mike Adams from today]; you won’t find it on CNN or MSNBC).
First on the list of absurdities is her website. At the bottom , she claims that 100,000(!) Iraqi civilians have been killed by the U.S. I tried to click on the link for “details,” but unfortunately “The document contains no data” (just like the accusation, no doubt).
Read her e-mail to Mike Adams here. (Why is it that people who disagree with Adams, even and especially “educated” college professors, use so much profanity while making no coherent point? Perhaps that’s just it: they have no coherent point, so they must resort to name-calling and profanity.) By the way, while you’re there, read the rest of the mail and Mike Adams’ responses. You’ll laugh until you cry.
Our God is Better Than Your God
Katrina vanden Heuvel’s editorial in The Nation is nothing new among the shrill editorials of the left, intended to scare us all into fighting those big, bad people who would breach the “wall of separation,” but there is one quote that made me stop for a minute:
These are scary times. The nation is in the control of extremists who want to merge church and state. A line is crossed when religion demonizes politicians of certain religion–or no religion–and when the church-state separation is breached by people believing that their God is better than another God (sic) [emphasis added].
I suppose this makes sense in the fog of relativity in which the keepers of all that is good and tolerant live, but think about it for a second:
Is a god that demands the death of infidels “just as good” as the God who tells us to love our enemies?
Is a god of pure law, that demands you live up to certain standards before you get into paradise “just as good” as a God who demands certain standards (perfection) but fulfills them Himself in our place?
Is a god that simply “accepts” everyone, regardless of whether a person “believes” in that god “just as good” as a God who truly loves? (Think of it this way: are parents who let their children do whatever they want “just as good” as parents who don’t let their children run into the path of oncoming cars, for example?)
I’m sure the intelligent readers of this blog can come up with other examples. No, regardless of what Katrina thinks, not all gods are created equal–well, all gods are created equal, as in they’re created by humans. The God is not created by humans, making Him, naturally, better by definition.
The Heidelberg Disputation: Thesis VII
“The works of the righteous would be mortal sins if they would not be feared as mortal sins by the righteous themselves out of pious fear of God” (Luther, 1518).
This from a Good Friend of Balaam’s Ass (GFBA), taken in the town where he is living. He assures me that the picture is real and not technologically altered.
The first question I have is, better at what?
The second is like unto the first, is this a joke or a gimmick? We’ll probably never know unless someone reads this post who happens to attend the church. What’s sad is that I even have to wonder if this is really a joke…
Liturgy in the Local Congregation V
Introit (p. 16)
This Latin word means “entrance,” and this is the formal beginning of the service. You can imagine worshipers, after confessing their sins and receiving absolution, entering the building speaking or singing the Introit (always a Psalm or part of a Psalm). The Introit focuses the congregation’s attention on a particular theme. It is like the beginning of a bright thread that runs throughout the entire service, surfacing in hymns, Scripture, prayers, and sermon. It begins and ends with a verse which is called the “antiphon.” Prior to the second antiphon, all Introits conclude with the “Gloria Patri”: “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.” This ancient sentence points to God as the author of all Scripture, whether in the Old Testament or New, because He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13). During the Gloria Patri, you may bow in reverence for the Divine Name.
Our practice at First Lutheran is to read half-verses of the Introit “responsively,” or back and forth, between the Pastor and the congregation.
Kyrie/Gloria in Excelsis (pp. 17-19)
Kyrie is the only Greek liturgical word in our service, and it simply means “O Lord.” The Kyrie’s three petitions (requests) for mercy are not another confession of sins. It is a humble prayer of mercy for our general human weaknesses and recognition of our complete dependence upon God (see Matthew 9:27; 15:22; Mark 10:47; Luke 17:13; 18:35-43). It may originally have been part of a longer prayer requesting mercy for all types of people and things. It can easily be identified as Trinitarian: Lord, God the Father; Christ, God the Son; Lord, God the Holy Spirit.
Gloria in Excelsis are three Latin words taken from the first words of this hymn of praise: “Glory be to God on high.” The Gloria is divided into three sections. First is a section praising God the Father, which begins with the angels’ song of praise from Luke 2:14. The second section is a joyful reminder that we are here because of Jesus’ Incarnation and His mercy upon us in taking away our sins. Finally, it confesses that we believe in the Trinity, and that all three persons are to be praised for our salvation: “Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.”
The Heidelberg Disputation: Thesis VI
“The works of God (we speak of those that he does through man) are thus not merits, as though they were sinless” (Luther, 1518).
“Joys of the Ministry”
While I really need to be reading through my sermon for tomorrow, I put it off a few more minutes to browse Pastor Petersen’s blog. He has a short meditation on the “joys of the ministry” or the usage of that phrase by pastors.
I wonder if distributing Holy Communion and preaching might be added to the list? Granted, preaching is simply a particular and public form of “telling people about Jesus” but it is unique to the pastoral office. And Communion, though lay people (and vicars) occasionally assist, handing out physical forgiveness of sins to sinners must be a joy of ministry.