Saturday, August 30, 2008

McCain, Palin, And The Sons Of Kobol

With McCain's choice of Sarah Palin for the office of vice president the republicans seem to be more than a bit excited about the upcoming election. I’ve already outlined who is my preference in this post: Roslin / Airlock. But is my preference all that different from the republican ticket?

A Boston Craigslist posting has drawn an interesting comparison:

The parallels continue! McCain is a military man who spent time in a Vietnam prison camp, the character of Col. Tigh is a military man who spent time in a Cylon prison camp. Sarah Palin comes from a family of school teachers, the character of Laura Roslin was school teacher before becoming Secretary of Education (and then later President).


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chronicles Of Narnia, Veggie Tales, And Teaching Children Part 2

In this post I’ll finish answering A.L.’s email question concerning Veggie Tales. A.L. had written me the following email (sorry for taking so long A.L.!):


Just out of curiosity - I know you like the "Chronicles of Narnia" SNL skit, but what is your take on the comparing and contrasting of Christ's sacrifice and the life of the Church with the Chronicles? I have an issue with it because I don't want my kids to see a lion in a movie and think "Gee, he's like Jesus!" Same thing with "Veggie Tales" - I don't want them to think a piece of asparagus died on the cross for them. A cartoon/fictional movie should be just that and shouldn't involve elements of our Faith because that's just like the Churches that lower themselves by bending with society for the sake of attracting the unchurched. I'm not a big CS Lewis fan to begin with, but I'd love to hear your opinion. I have relatives who are die-hard Veggie Tales fans and I think it's disgusting - hence my post about people who will try to influence my child's spirituality. These are the same people who have a problem with Harry Potter - although I see that as entertainment as I do Star Wars because it doesn't bring in Christianity at all. Let me know your take –


Most folks think I’m completely unqualified to give an opinion as I don’t have any children of mine own. However, I think not having kinder does allow me a certain unbiased perspective.

I think if you want to throw a tape of Veggie Tales in to entertain the little tykes, that’s ok, sort of. I see absolutely nothing wrong with Veggies Tales just as I see nothing wrong with Thomas the Tank Engine. In fact, I can barely see any difference between the two shows for the little ragamuffins. Why would I say that? Allow me to ‘splain myself.

There are just as many mentions of Jesus in Veggie Tales as in Thomas the Tank Engine. A.L., if you are looking to instruct your child(ren) in the Christian faith you would get more mentions of Jesus in either book by Joel Osteen, and believe you me, that ain’t much so I would probably avoid him as well. (I think Osteen mentioned Jesus, what was it, three times in his last book?) The question then becomes this; what does Veggie Tales teach and if Christ is absent, can the Christian faith be properly understood and taught?

Veggie Tales just as with Thomas the Tank Engine teach morality and nothing more. Yes, they have fruit and vegtables acting out Bible stories, but what is the value of any story that doesn’t point to the Crucified Lord’s salvific work that conquered sin, death, and the devil by offering up Himself as the atoning sacrifice on the cross? Let’s look at what Jesus himself says in John 5:37- 47:

And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. “I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

Christ clearly says all the Scriptures point to Him. The Pharisees read and knew their scriptures as well as anyone, but they couldn’t see Jesus in them. What value is the Torah and the prophets if they don’t declare the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world? No value at all if you ask me.

Jesus also taught on the road to Emmaus in Luke chapter 24:25-27:

Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

See A.L., the point of Scripture is to point to crucified and risen Jesus and His work. The question I have is why do some parents seem to think that Veggie Tales actually do that? Yes, they do teach kids to be good, nice and moral and not bow down to giant chocolate rabbits but the videos fail to point to Jesus. In this regard, as with all of God’s good and righteous Law we fail on every account, hence the need for Jesus.

I’ve heard more than one parent say they use Veggie Tales to supplement what their kids learn at church. With the state of Americanized Christianity being what it is, this is bit disturbing. A majority of churches and a goodly number of Lutheran churches as well, are not teaching even the basics of Christianity. With so many churches becoming seeker sensitive and more closely resembling Dr. Phil’s self help hour in order to find one’s purpose in life, why not sit down and actually teach your kid(s) instead of letting the talking vegetables do it?

I think that if you are just looking for entertainment, Veggie Tales will fit the bill, sort of. If on the other hand, you are looking for teaching that focuses on Christ and His gifts, Veggie Tales falls short of the hitting that mark and ends up smelling like rotten tomatoes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Bright Side Of Dating A Pentecostal

An evangelical friend of mine dropped a little bombshell on me last night. Here’s how the conversation went down;

The person, uh, that I’m, uh, dating.... is a little further out there than I am.

What do you mean they’re out there? You mean like Mormon out there, because that’s out there?

No, it’s not that…I..

Please tell me you’re not dating a Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon. Your not dating a Mormon are you? By all that's holy, please don’t tell me you’re dating a scientologist, do not do that!

No, no, it’s nothing like that. Well I’m, uh, dating a Pentecostal.

Oh. Really?


Well, at least that snake problem in the back yard should go away...

Yep, leave it to me to find the best possible construction in every situation.

Upon hearing this, my missus just rolled her eyes and said “you ain’t right...”

Friday, August 22, 2008

More LC-MS Walking Together Convolution Sausage

For your reading enjoyment here’s more on the LCMS convocation Walking Together;

Pastor Todd Wilken offers a counterproposal to the centralization of power that the task force has put forward for consideration.

Pastor William Weedon also opines with a good post that asks whether or not the proposal is “honoring the smallest of our parishes as in every respect the equal of our largest parishes”

I’ll answer Pastor Weedon’s question; it doesn’t. Larger congregations have been promoted in our beloved synod as better at “soul winning" based on “visible signs” in the official LCMS newspaper; the Reporter. The church growth model that has been rejected by the largest mega churches in the country as a failed policy that does not produce Christian disciples is still being held on to as the gold standard in the LCMS. The idea that a congregation is worth more representation because they have more members should give everyone pause. Under this line of thought, Jesus should have stopped all teaching and bowed to the will of the Pharisees and Sadducees as they held the majority of the positions of leadership. Instead, Jesus tells us that where ever two or three are gathered, there he is. (Matt 18:20). If we listen to the task force’s proposal, all I hear is their commentary on Matt 18:20 which says; that was Jesus’s church, ours, not so much.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

LCMS Church Governance Proposals By Dan Over At Necessary Roughness

Dan over at Necessary Roughness has a great post on the LCMS’s restructuring convocation. I’m too busy with a customer this week to keep track of what’s going on. Dan has graciously allowed me to copy his post in it’s entirety here at POTF. Thanks Dan for this thoughtful post;

The news broke on the Steadfast Lutherans site: the LCMS has published Walking Together — The LCMS Future: Proposals and Possibilities for Consideration and Discussion. It is available on the LCMS web site as a PDF.

Walking Together is a 6-page brainstorm of proposals for the LCMS. The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance has submitted this for consideration and discussion.

It is important to note that once the reader passes the Foundational section of the document at the top of page 2, there is no Biblical or Confessional justification for any of the ideas. In fact, the Book of Concord is completely missing, unless you count “Our confessional basis remains unchanged (LCMS Constitution, Article II).” This is therefore a document of left-hand governance that operates independently from theology. We have to be very careful not to imply that God has given his blessing to any of these ideas.

If you want to put the force of God behind something, you have to back it up specifically with the plain reading of scripture. Otherwise, it’s merely groupthink in God’s name.
I’m not a pastor or an expert in synodical governance, but there are some things that caught my attention.

Page 4:Larger congregations could get more delegates to district conventions. This is a change from equality among congregations.
The term of the Synodical President and other officers could go from 3 years to 6 years.
The Divine Call of the treasurer. Can a layman receive a Divine Call?
Communication with delegates using “secure electronic communication technology.” The LCMS is a public entity. Unless there are legal issues involved, communication should be open.

Page 5:There seems to be a lot of hurdles to get something discussed. It is desired that a congregation get its overture blessed by district convention and circuit forum before it goes national. That’s a good deal of bureaucracy. A lot of people have to be friendly to an overture.

Two-thirds votes for items of doctrinal significance. This is probably a good thing, but we have to worry about words that change meaning and thus change doctrine without a two-thirds vote.

At the end of Page 5, there is an implication of power that sounds less like a synod and more like a majesterium:

The task force proposal clarifies and affirms that the Synod expects every member congregation of the Synod to respect its resolutions and to consider them of binding force on the assumption that they are in accordance with the Word of God and that they are applicable to the condition of the congregation.

A synod is a group of members or congregations who agree. They are either in agreement or not; they cannot agree with “binding force.” If this is “walking together,” it must look like a three-legged race.

Indeed, let’s consider the proposals, but let’s do it recognizing that while this concerns the church, it concerns primarily the business of the church. We should continue to recognize the efficacy of God’s Word and Sacraments and pursue those activities which maximize preaching, teaching, and confessing.

Also, there are good posts by Rev. Todd Wilken over at Steadfast Lutherans, an uncredited post also over at Steadfast Lutherans, and Pastor Christopher Hall over at This Side of the Pulpit. Good posts all!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tasmanian Devils Are Evolving?

It is often said that you’re either a man of faith or a man of science. I happen to be both.

I’m a metrologist and that means when carrying out my vocation I get to deal with the measurement of mass and volume. Metrology is considered an exact and precise science. However, there are always uncertainties in measuring mass and it is my job to make uncertainties quantifiable and for the most part recordable. When my customers require it, I am capable of listing for them nearly every variable that will effect their measurements and recording it in a way that will keep their quality control departments confident that required standards are being met. Measurement uncertainty calculations can go on endlessly and are only limited to the amount of money a customer wishes to spend for me to measure and list things that can affect the final readings.

I’ve always been a man of science. I like knowing how and why things work the way they do. I like tangible and concrete realities. I am analytical to a fault and that is probably why I first worked in aviation and then ended up in the metrology field. Absolutes are always good and uncertainties absolutely drive a person like me crazy.

Even during my fifteen year stint as an atheist, I had problems with scientists laying claim to the both the age of the earth and evolution as fact. To my analytical mind, complex life forms evolving from nothing was an uncertainty that couldn’t be quantified. I wasn’t going to say that some god created everything but I certainly wasn’t going to say we had evolved from nothing either. What I always maintained as an atheist was that we were incapable as humans of ever finding out about our origins.

When I was down in Florida earlier this month I listened to a story on the news about a contagious form of cancer killing off the Tasmania Devil. This relatively new disease has researchers thinking that the Tasmanian Devils could be extinct in as few as twenty five years. Sounds pretty bad eh?

As it turns out the Devils have adapted to their impending demise by breeding as many as two years earlier than they had previously been observed in the wild or in captivity. From the AP:

In the past devils would live five to six years, breeding at ages two, three and four, but with the new disease, even females who breed at two may not live long enough to rear their first litter.

Jones, who has been studying the animals' life cycles since before the disease outbreak, noted that there has been a 16-fold increase in breeding at age one.

Says zoologist Menna Jones later in the article:

"We could be seeing evolution occurring before our eyes.”

We’re seeing evolution? Really? If I remember my science courses correctly, evolution takes place over huge periods of time, millennium even. For the current theory of evolution to work, the earth has to be billions of years old so that all the various species have time to adapt or evolve into their current form. Imagine the chaos that the Tasmanian Devil throws into the equation by evolving in a ten year span.

For years people of faith have been told to sit down and shut up when it came time to explain how things came to be. Men of science have told men of faith that the idea of creation was mere superstition refuted by science. Men of science have told men of faith that evolution completely disproves the idea of God creating everything in six days and animals in one.

So I wonder what explanation do the men of science have for the men of faith when evolution occurs within a ten year span? If I were only a man of science, I’d go get some help with my uncertainty budget from those faith people; they might be able to fill in some of the gaps causing havoc and uncertainty with my equations.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Random Find: Lutherans Put On Notice

I purchased a DVD set last week sold by the good folks over at Comedy Central. Included with the DVDs was an insert that featured items promoting the show The Colbert Report. I’ve seen the show once or twice but that’s it as I refuse to install cable or the internet in my home. I already have too many hobbies and 24 hour access to the blogosphere would be the end of me.

What caught my eye in the insert was the The Colbert Report: You're On Notice Dry Erase Board. The product description at the Comedy Central online store reads;

Sometimes, people just need to know when they've wronged you. So be just like Stephen and let them know with your very own "On Notice" Dry Erase board. Each board comes with its own pen and sticks to your refrigerator with magnets.

First on Colbert’s list; Lutherans. Oh yeah!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Church Hosts Drive-through Prayer Ministry

From the Reporter, the official newpaper of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod:

Church hosts drive-through prayer ministry

By Joe Lawlor

MT. MORRIS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (RNS) -- Hold the pickles, mustard, ketchup, tomatoes, buns, burgers and french fries.

The only item on the menu in the Cathedral of Faith Church of God in Christ parking lot is prayers.

On Saturday, July 26, the church held its second drive-through prayer service, and dozens of people lined up for a few minutes of soul-searching. Volunteers held up signs that said, "Pull over for Prayer!"

Customers didn't even have to get out of their cars. Those who pulled in filled out a form saying what they wanted to pray about and drove over to the other side of the church. Patrons rolled down their windows, and the Rev. Chris Martin or another minister held their hands and prayed while the cars idled.

Gail Liddell of Flint said she saw the signs and made a snap decision to pull in and pray for her 21-year-old daughter.

"She's in boot camp in the (U.S.) Army. She's stationed in South Carolina, where it's, like, 100 degrees," Liddell said. "She fainted three times from heat exhaustion, but this is something she really wanted to do."

Sharon Hill of Flint said someone approached her as she was leaving a grocery store, and she decided to stop at the church.

"My [31-year-old] brother had a heart attack, and he just got out of the hospital," Hill said, adding that she's been lax about going to church and she wants to start attending again.

Martin said jobs, personal finances, and health were the most frequent topics people asked to pray about.

"Taking the church to the people, to the streets, is what this is all about," Martin said. "Praying inside the church and having services is nice, but the real problems are out here."

Joe Lawlor is a correspondent for Religion News Service.

Posted Aug. 14, 2008

"Taking the church to the people, to the streets, is what this is all about," Martin said. "Praying inside the church and having services is nice, but the real problems are out here."


Isn’t that like a doctor saying that treating health problems in a hospital is “nice”, but we need to address terminal cancer at the bus terminals and homes where people live? A doctor would be guilty of malpractice if he didn’t tell his patient where to go to get well.

So, what does it say about the LCMS when it’s official newspaper is holding up as laudatory a congregation that publicly states that Christ’s gifts are nice but they don’t really address everyday concerns? Does this mean that your grandfather’s synod now believes that faith can come without the external Word, through their own preparations and works contrary to Scripture?

Again, wow.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

District Newsletters And Cynicism

I’ve noticed by reading newsletters sent out by my district that there is no verse in the Bible that can’t be used to encourage the raising money for synodical programs. A case in point might be the recent use of John 21:6 by the Southeastern district which reads;

Jesus said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

The newsletter continues;

Do you ever wonder what happens when the net is thrown out? What about the net of the Southeastern District? You are responding to the call to throw out the net and begin new mission work. Because of your response to Ablaze! for God's Mission (AFGM), new nets have been cast.

So, John 21:6 is all about Jesus telling us that we have to go out and do something fo His Church? Actually, no, that’s not the point of the verse at all. Maybe by looking at the first fourteen verses of chapter 21 instead of just one verse we might be able to get a better idea of what’s really happening;

John 21:1-14
After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.

So, Jesus isn’t telling the disciples to go out and raise a bunch of money for the church is He? In fact, the verse is really all about the resurrected Jesus revealing Himself to the disciples. Leave it to a bureaucracy to take Jesus filling the nets with fish and Jesus feeding His disciples breakfast and turn it into something that we can do for Jesus.

Gosh, if a slack jawed yokel like me can understand that it’s always Jesus doing the doing, why is my inbox always filled with emails that say otherwise? Aren’t there trained theologians working at the district and synodical level that can review this stuff over before it goes out?

I recently had lunch with two members of the priestly caste where I was told to beware the perils of blogging. “Ya know Frank, a few of our brothers, who were not always so cynical, started blogging and have become very cynical after doing such. We just wanted to warn you that there are downsides to blogging, like cynicism.”

I'm not too worried about losing my cheerful outlook because of my ranting on this blog. That being said, I’m starting to wonder if I need to stop reading my all my district and synod emails before I do become just a tad bit too cynical.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Jesus Action Figure

I just got done listening to yesterdays episode of Issues, Etc. where Pastor Todd Wilken discussed his Jesus action figure with gliding action. Too funny!

Here's the product description from Amazon;

Product Description

Everyone has a different take on Jesus. Muslims saw him as a prophet. Buddhists say he was enlightened. Hindus consider him an avatar (the incarnation of a deity in human form), while Christians hail him as the Son of God. But, wherever your theological compass points, you will agree that this is the coolest action figure ever made. Each hard vinyl Jesus Action Figure stands 5" (12.7 cm) tall with posable arms to reach toward the heavens and wheels in his base for smooth gliding action!

Yeah...smooth gliding action, just like in Matthew 29:10-22.

And Valerie, before you even think about it, I don’t think you would win the coveted “Uncle Frank’s Christmas Present of the Year Award” by getting me this. Just so you know...

For those of you who are new to Putting Out The Fire, Valerie, my favorite niece, is a three time winner, in fact...she's the only winner of the prestigious award. See what my favorite niece got me for 2005, 2006, and 2007.

The Coolest Thing…

My Southern Baptist coworker and I did make it back from Orlando safe and sound. We made back in two hours less time than it took to get down there. The folks at work eagerly inquired as to whether I was the one doing the driving upon hearing that little tidbit.

Apparently, I have something of a reputation for driving with little or no regard for the posted speed limits. This is of course nonsense. I do however, on occasion, have “flashbacks” that cause me to believe that I once more travel upon the German Autobahn. Thankfully, when I forget which country I’m driving in, the local constabulary has always been kind enough to remind me of mine error.

So, anyhoo, my coworker did talk, albeit briefly, the issues that he had questions about concerning Lutheran doctrine and practice listed here.

The coolest thing however was my coworker’s understanding of what it means to confess Christ. I was amazed at his comprehension of the historic church’s (and Lutheran) reading and understanding of Saint Paul’s epistle to the Romans chapter 10:8,9;

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

A goodly number of evangelicals cringe at my use of the words confess and confession. Too often this response is a knee-jerk reaction to anything that too closely resembles the Roman Catholic church. There has been more than one occasion where I got the look of death for even referring to myself as a small “c” catholic.

Being able to use the word confess, and being understood while using the word confess, was a refreshing and welcome change from what I’m used to. There are certainly a great number of differences between Lutherans and Southern Baptists, but when common ground can be found, it’s very, very cool.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Questions From A Southern Baptist… On The Long Road Home

I always try to visit, whenever possible, at least one congregation when I go out of town. I just think it’s fun to see all the little nuances and practices that make each congregation unique.

I took my Southern Baptist coworker to church with me this past weekend. He had never been to a Lutheran church before and his only knowledge of who Lutherans are and what we believe comes from an hour-long class given by his pastor.

On the ten hour drive down we did cover a great many topics where he had questions. We chatted about his misinformation on the Lutheran understanding of what Scripture says about the Eucharist. He was under the misconception that Lutherans believed in transubstantiation as the Roman church does. I certainly see where the differences can be blurred together or confused (ing). I did my best to explain the Scriptural and historic position of the church catholic that the Lutherans use to view the Sacrament. And yes I did explain why I believe that closed communion is the best and most loving practice. Boy howdy that was a fun conversation.

After we left church on Sunday my coworker had even more questions that were dealt with briefly on the way to lunch. The one we talked about at length was the matter of his perception that Lutherans don’t like standing for the singing of hymns and Scripture readings. I explained that not every congregation has the same practices and the one we visited was no exception. I made clear that in my congregation we always stood for opening hymns and that we knelt for confession and absolution as well as for the prayers of the church. He seemed to be a little more at ease after I put in plain words the varied differences in practice that are used that do not clash with theology. A quick lesson in adiaphra, that is to say, things that are done but not commanded by Scripture was a genuine hoot.

But my Southern Baptist coworker has still more question that we will need to cover in length. In the ten or eleven hours it takes to get beck home we will cover the following topics;

Do Lutherans sprinkle or dunk during baptism.

Why don’t aren’t Lutherans reading their Bibles during the lessons and Gospel readings as well as the sermons. “Don’t you want to check and see if what your pastor reads to you is really in the Bible and not just being made up?”

Why don’t Lutherans have alter calls or some kind of ceremony at the end of the worship service so that people can dedicate themselves to God?

“It’s just a remembrance, right?”

Oh yeah, it’s going to be a fun ride home.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Lack Of Posting And Texas Brouhaha

Sorry folks for the lack of posting this week. I’m down in Orlando at a metrology conference and my access to the web is a bit limited. I decided to save the company about thirty dollars a night by not staying on Disney property where the conference is being held so I can't access the hotel’s wireless. Oh well…

As far as I can tell, the biggest brouhaha in Lutheran circles this week is the decision to bring in a women worship pastor from outside the Lutheran church to lead the worship at a youth gathering down in Texas. In fact there are several individuals from outside Lutheran thought being brought in to lead youth ranging from the charismatic to nondenominational whose confession deny that Christ is present in, with, and under the Lord’s Supper as well as denying the Sacrament of Holy Baptism is anything but an ordinance with no regenerative effect.

There are several good posts addressing the matter over at Father Hollywood here, here, and here. Steadfast Lutherans have a post by Pastor Todd Wilken here and Pastor Timothy Rossow here. Pastor William Weedon also had a post here. Scott over at Stand Firm does exactly that right here. That great little firefly out on the west coast Lutheran Lucciola also chimmed in here.

If anyone has anymore information just forward it to me and I’ll try to post it in an update. Just remember that over the next few days I need to wait until I get back to the hotel to really get anything done…

Update: Dan over at Necessary Roughness chimes in on the matter with a post titled Need a Speaker or Teacher for Your Lutheran Youth Event. Good points Dan!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Thank You Issues, Etc.

A big thank you from Putting Out The Fire goes out to Issues, Etc. for picking this post as an inaugural Blog post of the week.

Thank you for such high accolades of my somewhat snarky post. I certainly don’t write what I write for any recognition. My thinking has always been if people like my stuff; that was fine, if they didn’t like my stuff; that was ok as well. Knowing that people that I look up to and respect actually read my drivel and sort of appreciate it…well, that just hurts my brain.

The good news for Issues, Etc. and those who listen to this great Christ centered, cross focused radio program is that by picking a post by a slack jawed yokel like me, the blog post of the week can only get better from here on out.

Thank you again for such a high honor.

Oh, one more thing… Pastor Wilken, the name is Gillespie, Frank Gillespie.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

My Visit With St. Luke’s

After doing a good bit of research, I choose St. Luke’s Lutheran Church over in Oviedo to visit this weekend while staying in Orlando for my metrology conference.

When I left the St. Luke's sanctuary I knew that I had been fed God’s Word. I found myself struggling to find any criticisms at all where I could back up an argument on theological grounds.

There were differences in style that I feel might take me some time to get used to. The method of singing the versified psalms and the choir’s anthem did contrast a bit with the historic hymnody which was exceptionally good.

My Southern Baptist coworker who joined me this morning thought there was an awful lot of sitting, and I would tend to agree. We did stand for the corporate confession and absolution of sins and the reading of the Gospel but remained seated for the opening hymn and prayers. I’m used to kneeling for prayer but I also understand that many sanctuaries simply don’t have kneelers.

There was an inclusion of the reading of the Small Catechism’s explanation of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism between the sermon and the offering that seemed out of place. St Luke’s is placing special emphasis this year on growing spiritually and catechetical instruction during the worship service is just one of the ways they are accomplishing this. In an age where so many churches are reducing their theological teachings to the lowest common denominator to become more seeker sensitive, I’m hard pressed to argue against this practice.

The highest compliment I can bestow on any congregation is that I heard Christ preached purely and received his Holy Supper rightly. St. Luke’s met all the previously mentioned criteria in spades.

The sermon was delivered by St. Luke’s brand new vicar. If this morning’s homily was any indication, this vicar is well on his way to becoming a fine proclaimer of God’s word.

Again, I enjoyed my visit to St. Luke’s and I left knowing that I was fed God’s Word. If I was required to move to the Orlando area, I could see myself becoming a member without any reservations whatsoever.

Thanks to everybody that commented and emailed me suggestions for my visit this week.