Good Music 19

Bob Dylan. Modern Times. Vintage Dylan: long, rambling songs that get stuck in your head. I’d say it’s a good blend of the styles and songwriting on Time Out of Mind and Love and Theft.

Ray Lamontagne. Till The Sun Turns Black. This is good. Every song. Get it. Reminds me a little of Damian Rice, but also some good bluesy stuff. His style seems fairly unique to me.


If Only Our Adversaries Were Still Charging Us

“By means of God’s grace, we, too, intend to persist in this same confession until our blessed end and to appear before the judgment seat of our Lord Jesus Christ with a joyful, undaunted heart and conscience. And we further hope that from now on our adversaries will spare us, our churches, and their ministers that tiresome charge, in which they pretend that we are uncertain of our faith and for that reason have to make a new confession almost every year or month” (“Preface to the Book of Concord” in The Book of Concord Kolb-Wengert Edition [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000], 11).

Thanks for Telling Us

“Ferrysburg City Council is currently considering a ban on smoking, which would forbid people from doing so ‘everywhere there is a business, workplace (or) public space,’ said City Manager Craig Bessinger.

“Smoking, however, would still be allowed at restaurant or bars, and the ordinance would not regulate people’s private use, such as in their cars or when they are outside, Bessinger said.” (Grand Haven Tribune, p. 1, Tuesday, August 22, 2006).

Sign of the times: local government having to make clear that they will not control our personal lives.

My E-Mail

If anyone cares, this is the e-mail I sent to the NOW Dist. office:

I am writing to express my disappointment with the Northwest District’s endorsement of Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth. Clearly, Christians are required to be stewards of God’s good creation, but the exact and detailed form of that stewardship is not spelled out for us in the Scriptures. While conservation of energy, recycling, etc., are possible ways of being stewards, global warming is a controversial concept that often seems to have more to do with the politics of a certain segment of our culture and a certain political party. (Some websites that dispute the current publicity of global warming are these:,,, and Identifying the showing of An Inconvenient Truth (which I have not seen, so I am not commenting on its actual contents) as an important way to be a good steward runs the risk of
identifying the Northwest District with the Democratic Party–especially since Al Gore is not likely to be identified as an Independent or a Republican. Please note that I am not arguing one way or another on the actuality of global warming, but the point is that the concept is controversial and that Christians can be expected to reasonably disagree in good conscience. The Northwest District’s support of the film implicitly suggests that congregations that care about the environment will show the film and support its conclusions.

Please reconsider supporting this film, which support has politically partisan implications, and perhaps, instead, giving links to a number of different resources by which one might act in good stewardship of God’s good creation.

Thank you for your time,
St. Louis, MO

[Post #1000!] What Are We Now…

the ELCA or the Episcopalians? There’s no excuse for putting the weight of an official entity of the Missouri Synod behind public policy activity about which Christians can, in good conscience, disagree. It is not that Christians can disagree about being good stewards of the environment. Indeed, such stewardship is required of us by the first article of the Creed. However, what form that stewardship takes is not spelled out in the Scriptures in extensive detail.

It is ridiculous to suggest that not supporting Al Gore (who is likely to take credit for coining the term “global warming”) makes one a worse steward of God’s good creation. This is seriously out of line. See, the Left can coopt religious groups!

[See project details here. I’m not sure if this or this is the national organization. The latter is linked on the NOW Dist. site.]



I’ve begun Richard John Neuhaus’ Catholic Matters. As with most of his writings, it’s full of wit and nice turns of phrase. Though there is much to disagree with, here’s a nice quote: “It is said that a certain distortion of ecumenism has produced the ecumaniac. An ecumaniac is defined as someone who loves every church but his own” (p. 27).

(Although there is a wide gap ecclesiologically between Neuhaus and Lutherans, all one has to do is to substitute “Lutheran” for “Catholic” and one finds much that is applicable, however broad the Tiber remains. I’m sure that, progressing further, I’ll find other gems. And, of course, other pieces of coal.)


The Hubris! The Arrogance!

I expect, at any moment, to see all the anti-theocracy loudmouths denouncing Chris Bell for his violation of the Constitutional Wall Of Separation.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell invoked his Christian faith on Thursday, saying he is sure Jesus would have supported embryonic stem cell research.

“What would Jesus do? He would not let political objections stand in the way of healing the sick,” Bell said. “Stem cell research isn’t just a good idea, it’s a moral imperative.”

I mean, how can they let him get away with being so arrogant as to presume he has a direct line to Jesus? Clearly, he’s joined the ranks of Pres. Bush, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, et al. How else could he be so brazen as to betray the sacred Democratic ideals of non-invocation of deities to advance political positions?

Sorry, just living in my alternate political universe for a moment… “Bell said it is time Democrats also expressed their positions on issues as moral stands based on religious faith.” Just like President Bush did when he vetoed the stem cell bill a while back, right? Oh wait, the President didn’t bring Jesus into the conversation. Bell, you’d be crucified (excuse my religious imagery) if you were a Republican. Good thing you’re from the other party.