Monday, June 25, 2007

Liturgical Dance Conference

I’ve wanted for sometime now to tackle liturgical dance. Ever since my niece called from Concordia University Chicago and told me folks were prancing around in leotards in a midday chapel service, I’ve really had the urge to let loose on this one. But, I just couldn’t think up any way it was possible to deal with the seriousness of the issue without appearing just outright mean. I poke a lot of fun at things here, but I always try balance that out with a little humor. Even the site logo, which Morning Glory graciously helped me put together, combines both a serious theological side with snarky humor.

Then the email came.

Not everything I poke fun at here is forwarded to or even found by me. Every now and then a gem just simply pops into my email. I got placed (somehow, and not desired at first but later realizing that even heterodoxy can be a gift on some level) on several small group, church growth, everyone can be a priest spam lists. That’s where this one highlighting a liturgical dance conference came from. Sometimes real life is far more strange and convoluted than even the bizarro ideas crawling around my noggin could ever dream of. The thing that jumped out at me was one of the classes offered. I went ahead and circled the appropriate line in the enlarged section of the photo.

My commentary is short and it is this; Men, teaching other men, how to dance with men, for a man-god.

Anniversary Week, Part 6

Well, here’s the last holdover post for anniversary week. I’ve decided to share my little secret for long marriages with all of you (or “ya’ll” ‘round here in the haut south) readers of Putting Out The Fire.

I’ve taken a tactic out of the play book of Saddam Hussein. Every night Saddam rolls over, looks deep into the eyes of Satan, and says with a slightly squeaky voice “I luuuuuuuv you.”

Sure Saddam is a bad guy, but as a member of the priestly caste likes to remind me “Every now and then, even a blind squirrel can find a nut.”

So, honey, I luuuuuuuv you!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Anniversary Week, Part 5

After fifteen years, she still makes my Darkseid bright.
For those of you living on Earth Prime, under a rock, or if you just aren't sure which corner of the multiverse you inhabit, go here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Anniversary Week, Part 5

Happy Anniversary Missus. I luv ya!

Anniversary Week, Part 4

Riddle me this, would anyone like to guess how much I love the missus? The pictures are the hints...

Anniversary Week, Part 3

So, tomorrow is the big day. In the Small Catechism, Dr. Luther, under the table of duties reminds husbands:

Ye husbands, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered. 1 Pet. 3, 7. And be not bitter against them. Col. 3:19.

Why would he write such a statement? Well, he clearly had Saint Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians in mind:

Ephesians 5:23 "For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body."

If husbands are to honor their wives as Christ honors His bride, the Church, that is an awesome responsibility. For we, (husbands) are not being exhorted to love our wives but honor them, a much greater task. We all know we are to love our neighbors and those around us. But what does honor mean? In his explanation of the forth commandment Dr. Luther defines honor this way;

For it is a far higher thing to honor than to love one, inasmuch as it comprehends not only love, but also modesty, humility, and deference as to a majesty there hidden, and requires not only that they be addressed kindly and with reverence, but, most of all, that both in heart and with the body we so act as to show that we esteem them very highly, and that, next to God, we regard them as the very highest. For one whom we are to honor from the heart we must truly regard as high and great. LC Part1,106-107.

So we see honoring one’s wife is rated a little higher than just loving one’s wife. The Apology (defense) of the Augsburg Confession says this concerning marriage:

But ye shall reply in order to these figments. In the first place, it is necessary for the adversaries to acknowledge this, namely, that in believers marriage is pure because it has been sanctified by the Word of God, i.e., it is a matter that is permitted and approved by the Word of God, as Scripture abundantly testifies. For Christ calls marriage a divine union, when He says, Matt. 19, 6: What God hath joined together [let not man put asunder. Here Christ says that married people are joined together by God. Accordingly, it is a pure, holy, noble, praiseworthy work of God]. And Paul says of marriage, of meats and similar things, 1 Tim. 4, 5: It is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer, i.e., by the Word, by which consciences become certain that God approves; and by prayer, i.e., by faith, which uses it with thanksgiving AP XXIII,28-30.

In the past fifteen years I’ve tried to both honor and love my wife and for the most part I’ve done ok. But at the end of the day I know I always fall short of any law or commandment. Thankfully, I’m forgiven for that by my Lord being nailed to the cursed tree in my place as all of humanity’s propitiation. And thankfully, last time I chatted with the missus (I’m out of town this week) she forgives me for being me and is willing to spend another fifteen years with her husband. Thankfully! Luv ya missus!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Anniversary Week, Part 2

The Missus and I have been together for almost fifteen years and she still makes my eyes light up.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Lutheran Carnival LII

Lutheran Carnival LII is now up and running at Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength with a spotlight on one of my favorite theologians; Gerhard O. Forde. Please stop by, say howdy, and thank her for doing such a good job! The next host is Barb the Evil Genius.

Anniversary Week

Well, it’s anniversary week here at the Putting Out The Fire household. The missus and I will have been married for fifteen years on June 21st. And to start out the week let’s look at a fine quote from Dr. Luther:

"A good wife is not found accidentally and without divine guidance. On the contrary, she is a gift of God and does not come, as the heathen imagine, in answer to our planning and judging."

How true and profound these words are. Fifteen years ago my bride married a card carrying chip on his shoulder atheist. The fact that God, being merciful and by grace alone, used the missus as the instrument to bring me back to the Church, is proof that all did not go as I had planned.

I thank God for bringing me to faith in Christ in spite of my committing the one unforgivable sin, unbelief. Thank God for forgiving the “unforgivable” sin. And thank God for His gift of my wife!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The First Commandment, Comic Book Shops, And Sin

From the Small Catechism:

As the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to his household.

The First Commandment.

Thou shalt have no other gods.

What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Why bring this up? Well, last weekend my wife and I went to the local art museum to see an Egyptian exhibit that focused on, imagine this, tombs. I really had no desire to leave the house on a perfectly good Saturday being content to get caught up on some reading and all. But the missus want to see the exhibit because she like all things Egyptian and she assumed that maybe a DHD might even be on view. It wasn’t but the exhibit was ok without it. I’ve seen better exhibits but I thought it passable. And it was also good for the museum to see a bunch of slack jawed yokels walk around looking a public monies being spent. Everyone benefited.

After the exhibit the missus wanted to get some ice cream and what the missus wants she normally gets. So we went to a local Ben and Jerry’s and paid eight dollars for four scoops of ice cream. I cringed while handing over the cash as I know the local megastore only would charge me two dollars. One has to wonder if the megastores are really as evil as everyone charges. I'm suspecting they are not.

Anyhoo, it just so happens that the local comic book shop was less than a mile away and I thought I would save myself a trip the following week and drop in. That’s where it all went down, bad.

We walked in and briefly looked around at the table with Wednesday’s offerings (comic books always come out on Wednesday) and there really wasn’t a lot that caught my eye. But apparently, we caught everyone else’s eye. Even my wife noticed that it was noisy when we first walked in and then it got quiet, really, really quiet. So what was wrong?

I walked in with my wife, that’s what was wrong! I broke norms and I caused others to sin. Every fanboy knows that you don’t bring a date to a comic book shop! What was I thinking? The reason it got so quiet in there is that no longer were the customers (all male, imagine that!) looking for cool stuff, they were looking at my wife. They were breaking at least the tenth commandment which is explained this way:

The Tenth Commandment.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.
What does this mean?--Answer.

We should fear and love God that we may not estrange, force, or entice away our neighbor's wife, servants, or cattle, but urge them to stay and [diligently] do their duty.

Was that the worst thing going on, comic book geeks like myself ogling my cute wife? No! You would have had to be there to properly understand what was happening but they were looking at me differently as well. The customers were clearly confused and thinking to themselves “this guy walks in with a date so he’s not one of us. And yet he’s talking smack about Joe Quesada (EIC at Marvel Comics) so he must be one of us. Maybe he is the promised one who will show us how spend all our time reading comic books, playing Halo3 and talk to real girls? Maybe he is the chosen one!”
At the end of the day I realized the real sin was mine. I should have immediately demanded that they stop prostrating themselves and stand upright like men for crying out loud! But that’s not what I said and for that reason the sin is mine.

I allowed myself looked upon as something I wasn’t. We all want to be perceived as important or puffed up one way or another. When we decide that we know more than we really do we make ourselves out to be gods. We like to think that the Mormons and other sects have that little market cornered, but they don’t. Everyone likes to say we make money or “things” gods, but we all, because we are poor miserable sinners, often elevate ourselves to god-like status. Those who say they don’t haven’t seen a mirror in a while.

Adam’s sin wasn’t as my pastor is fond of reminding people a fall at all as many like to refer to it. Adam’s sin was an upward overreaching because he wanted to be like God. Just like Adam, I wanted the limelight and the attention that came with it.

I know that the self appointed saints of sanctification will probably have a field day with this one but who cares. I sin daily and I know it. That is why every time I make the sign of the cross I force myself to remember that Christ has made me his own in the waters of Holy Baptism. That is why every time I look at the corpus on the cross I’m reminded of the price of my sinful nature.

So I’ll repent and go back to trying to figure out this convoluted mess that is Countdown which I picked up last weekend. Hmm, why the heck would Jimmy Olsen have powers and where is Ray Palmer for crying out loud?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Rebaptizing Missions?

Several months ago I learned an important lesson. I had tried to convince a mission board to insert into it’s mission statement that the purpose of any mission is preaching purely the Word and administering of the Sacraments rightly. I used Scripture and I used our confessions as the reason that we should distinguish ourselves from the local nondenominational “deeds not creeds” Sunday gatherings.

The response from the committee was for the most part, negative. Of course nobody could argue with my concerns from a theological point of view. However, I was called a useless wordsmith who was wasting everyone’s time with bothersome dogmatic statements. “Everyone knows what we believe, so we don’t need to bother adding statements that confuse the unchurched seeker." Everyone knows what we believe and confess? Really? Do the "seekers" we are so quick to fill our sanctuarys with know what we believe? Do we even know what we believe and confess? Really?

In my mailbox this morning was the screenshot of Jefferson Hills Church website featuring their rebaptizing program titled “Dunked.” Jefferson Hills Church is a mission church of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Now we all know what our beloved synod believes teaches and confesses don’t we? Really?

In the third article of the Nicene Creed we confess that we “acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.” Sound like a very simple statement to confess doesn’t it?

So then why would Jefferson Hills Church invite people to be rebaptized? As a public confession? the Nicene Creed already confesses that only one baptism is necessary since God does not need do-overs. If the Lord of all that is marks you as His own and seals you as a child of Christ, then it is so. That is what he promises us and that is what he does.

Now, if your god cant do what he said he will do, and make it stick the first time, I would suggest that you turn from that false god and pay a visit to the one true God that all Christians confess in the Nicene Creed. That way you will be sure that you baptism “took” the first time and you wont have to redo it every time you are plagued with doubts. Really.

FYI: Jefferson Hills Church describes themselves this way: "Jefferson Hills Church is a Multi-Site Church specifically designed for people who don't go to church." I couldn't agree more.
Thanks Mr. A.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Mohammadians Building Death Star

Those peaceful Mohammadians over in the United Arab Emirates have just released the proposed design for the Ras al Khaimah Convention and Exhibition Centre in Dubai.

The project’s construction supervisor Mohammad al Vader is quoted as saying that project is expected to be completed ahead of schedule, one way or another.

Said one infidel from the el Jedi sect who is less than enthusiastic about the proposal “Sure it looks cool, but wait until some darn teenager finds that exhaust vent two meters wide....”

Friday, June 01, 2007

Vicar Of The Week

I like the priestly caste, I really do. And I normally only take swipes at the Ablaze! program, uh, movement when I do make snide comments. I’m not trying to be mean here but the picture in the post was just delivered to my inbox and it deserves a comment or two.

The picture is of a (nameless and faceless as I have no desire to embarrass him anymore than he should already be.) vicar, I like them guys too, teaching children. My question here is what level of hell is reserved for Madison Avenue marketers? My other question I might ask this vicar is did he reserve a spot on the back of his shirt for FireWater™ brand liquor? I know there’s room on one of his sleeves for “Got the J-dude?” (kids really like it when adults pretend to be hip and in the know! The name Jesus is so yesterday’s news.) I hope he didn't forget another Ablaze! rubberband for the left wrist.

This is just embarrassing! There was a time when this kind of shameless “advertising” was reserved for the sides of cars racing in a circle. If you want to be a priest, for crying out loud, at least dress like one instead of dressing up like a clown!
Update: this picture was not Photoshopped! It came from the front page of a district newsletter.