Friday, March 27, 2009

BSG Fan Needs To Be Airlocked

Hey, I’m as much of a fan as the next guy (OK, maybe a little more than the average fan) of the Battlestar Galactica series but as I watched the embedded video all I could think of is that this guy would even be given a good old fashion shunning at Bi-monthly Science Fiction Convention (BiMonSciFiCon) held down at the Fairfield Inn off Airport Rd. held on the first and third Saturdays for his antics. If the folks wearing Vulcan ears think you need a shunning, you’re in trouble.

I would even go so far as to say that if Jonathan Mann showed up at a reputable convention (I know, I know, there are no reputable science fiction conventions) wearing those… shorts, I would venture to say that there would be loud calls for this guy to be airlocked. Truth be told, I can’t really say that I wouldn’t be leading the charge if I knew we were in close proximity to an airlock. Just so you know.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Time Out VIII

Dan over at Necessary Roughness has the newest Time Out posted. This episode’s reading is from Isaiah 53 and the hymn “Jesus I Will Ponder Now”.

Be sure to stop by, say howdy, and thank Dan for doing such a great job on Time Out VIII.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining

Every now and then during Lent, the penitential time of the liturgical church year, I find myself enjoying a hymn that would seem to go against the standard that I’ve set up as a guide for judging hymnody. I’ve said both in private as well as publicly on this blog that a hymn should always reflect the scripture readings. Is it possible though to have a good or even a great hymn that doesn’t just reflect ten to twenty verses of a given Gospel but an entire theme of a particular season? I’d have to say yes, absolutely yes.

One of my favorite hymn writers for the season of Lent is Paul Gerhardt. The thing I love about most of Herr Gerhardt’s hymns is how well he rightly focuses us on our utter depravity and need for the salvific work of Jesus’ cross at Calvary. Gerhardt’s hymns have a beautiful way of holding up the mirror that shows us the ugly side of sin that will only bring death deserved by the sin we all inherited from our father Adam. The other side to the great Gerhardt hymns is the certainty that we will end our journey at the foot of the cross that is our very salvation. Whether it’s willingly or whether it be kicking and screaming, we all wind up at Jesus’ cross.

Gerhardt’s hymn “A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining” is one of those lovely hymns that we sing during Lent that encompasses not one or two verses of Scripture but rather Christ’s entire journey, heavy laden with the sins of all the whole world, to His cross where He will offer himself up as an atoning sacrifice and our propitiation. Nailed to the cursed tree, He who created all that is, dies in our stead so that we might wear His righteousness as our own. What better story could we sing than that?

Here’s the text for Gerhardt’s beautiful and sublime hymn from page 438 of the Lutheran Service Book:

"A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth"

1. A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth,

The guilt of all sinners bearing;

And laden with the sins of earth,

None else the burden sharing!

Goes patient on, grow weak and faint,

To slaughter led without complaint,

That spotless life to offer;

He bears the stripes, the wounds, the lies,

The mockery and yet replies,
"All this I gladly suffer."

2. This Lamb is Christ, the soul's great Friend,

The Lamb of God, our Savior;

Whom God the Father chose to send

To gain for us His favor.

"Go forth, My Son," the Father said,

"And free my children from their dread
Of guilt and condemnation.

The wrath and stripes are hard to bear,

But by your Passion they will share

The fruit of Your salvation."

3. "Yes, Father, yes, most willingly

I'll bear what You command Me;

My will conforms to Your decree,

I do what have asked of Me”
O wondrous Love, what have You done!
The Father offers up His Son!

Desiring our salvation
O Love, how strong You are to save!

You lay the One into the grave

Who built the world’s foundations.

4. Lord, when Your glory I shall see

And taste Your kingdom's pleasure,

Your blood my royal robe shall be,

My joy beyond all measure.

When I appear before Your throne,

Your righteousness shall be my crown;

With these I need not hide me.

And there, in garments richly wrought

As Your own bride, shall we be brought

To stand in joy beside You.

Friday, March 20, 2009

CAnniversary Day 6

Today’s look back at the cancelation and resurrection of Issues, Etc. on Scott Diekmann’s blog Stand Firm concludes with a guest post by the host of the program himself, Pastor Todd Wilken. Pr. Wilken’s piece is a reminder that we should always look to Christ even if things appear to be not going the way we would like. The guy has class, plain and simple. I’m pretty sure if I was terminated during Holy Week for what was an ever changing list of reasons spewed out by bureaucrats, public relations officers, and lawyers, I would not be so polite with my verbiage as Pr. Wilken.

Scott also has a piece titled The Craig Chronicles which features Craig Fichtinger who is the board operator at Lutheran Public Radio. Craig armed with an MBA (and once again behind the scenes) gets to demonstrate his pecuniary talents. It should also be noted that he has also been known to once or twice to display his superior geographical acumen on the air if the people in booth ever forget how many continents there are.

Be sure to do yourself a favor and stop by for a visit at Stand Firm and say howdy to all the folks who bring us the best Christ-centered, Cross-focused radio program out there.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CAnniversary Day 4

Just a quick reminder that Scott Diekmann over Stand Firm is dedicating the entire week to the anniversary of the cancellation of Issues, Etc. one year ago today along with it’s subsequent resurrection on Pirate Christian Radio.

Today’s post is written by guest blogger Pastor Bill Cwirla who writes about the beasts of human institutions. A few days ago the guest post was written by the always edifying Dr. Rod Rosenbladt who the Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Apologetics at Concordia University in Irvine.

Please take a minute or two and visit Stand Firm, you’ll be glad you did!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Time Out VII

Dan over at Necessary Roughness has the newest Time Out posted and ready for your enjoyment. This episode features a reading from John 11:17-53 and one of my favorite hymns “O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken”.

Be sure to stop by, say howdy, and thank Dan for doing such a great job on Time Out VII!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Relevant Youth Ministry, Not!

I just saw a link to this hilarious video over at Steadfast Lutherans pointing out a great video posted over at Rev. Paul McCain’s Cyberbrethren and had to pass it on for everyone's enjoyment.

For the record, this is not how youth ministry is done at my congregation. If I ever tried to be this “relevant,” our kids would rightly run me off the property.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

CAnniversary Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow starts not only a look back at the infamous cancelation of Issues, Etc. during Holy Week one year ago but the show’s much heralded resurrection as well over at Scott Diekmann’s blog Stand Firm. For those of you unfamiliar with Scott, he is one of the smartest lay apologists out there that I know who also runs Sound Witness; an apologetics website dealing with everything from the emergent church, Jehovahs Witnesses, pop culture evangelicalism, and a variety of theological issues.

For the entire week of the anniversary of the cancellation of the "original" Issues, Etc. show Scott has invited guest bloggers to the always edifying Stand Firm blog to offer their insights regarding the cancellation of the show and it’s re-emergence. The week will be filled with their thoughts, plus a variety of audio and visual treats.

Remember, next week is indeed a celebration as we could have never had the resurrection of the program without it first being sacrificed for whatever reason that has been cleared by the appropriate lawyers, boards, and public relations officers.

Do yourself a favor and stop by for a visit and say howdy to all the folks contributing pieces for the CAnniversary week celebration!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today’s Desert Father Quote Of The Day

Today’s quote of the day comes from one of the desert fathers; Joseph of Panephysis:

Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, “Abba, as far as I can, I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and, as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?”

Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands toward heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, “If you want to, you can become all flame.”

–The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Joseph of Panephysis 7

It’s important to remember that the LCMS has invited many an emergent leader to speak at conferences, symposium, and youth worker retreats to get their input on how to reach out to young people. While the emergent “narrative” is difficult to nail down, one of the distinguishing marks of many emergents is a desire to return to the ways of the desert fathers in an ancient future method of contemplative worship.

While the emergent rejection of the vapid mega church anthropocentrism which more closely resembles self help daytime talk shows, like Dr. Phil or Oprah, should certainly be applauded, sitting around votives talking about how the desert fathers help us understand our part in God’s narrative isn’t exactly edifying either.

It may be tempting to jump on the emergent bandwagon as we watch the pendulum swing away from the destruction wrought by the church growth movement of the last twenty years but if our eyes aren’t fixed on Christ and Him crucified we’re just falling for yet another destructive fad. Sometimes, the enemy of our enemy is still our enemy.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Pronunciation: \ad-ˈmä-nish\
Function: transitive verb
1 a: to indicate duties or obligations to b: to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner

I was admonished on Sunday by my missus for not properly conducting a Sunday school class. We got a “bit” sidetracked when one of my students took us down the evolution bunny trail. My missus’ complaint was that she felt she was sitting in a science class and we shouldn’t be spending all our time addressing the problems with scientific models that claim with certainty to have proof for evolution as fact.

We talked about finding carbon 14 in diamonds when there should be none if diamonds are really as old as the models say. We talked about finding soft tissue from dinosaurs supposedly tens of millions of years of old. We talked a lot about the science of oil and how we find oil in places where there were no forests as well as the recent discovery of a bacteria in the Amazon that produces oil from decaying leaves that have just fallen off the trees.

I will never dismiss a question from our youth as long as it is remotely on topic. The first youth’s question concerning order from entropy and evolution was well within bounds of where i was at so I thought I would briefly take it up. The problem is that one question led to another and all these put together did take up a large segment of our class. My thinking was that since our kids hear that science is infallible I’d address the evolution issue by talking about science.

After class my missus informed me was not amused with our science lesson and admonished me to talk more about Jesus next time. She was clearly not pleased that I talked for some twenty odd minutes before I took up what a day means in Genesis. At the end of the day she was right and I do need to keep better control of the discussion so that all loose ends can be tied up in our allotted forty five minutes. A Sunday school class should clearly proclaim Christ and I did indeed get off track.

However, we’ll need to take up a few more science lessons as Christians don’t, or at least shouldn’t, hide from scientific topics and debate. I see way too many folks that are ignorant of all the cool new discoveries in the scientific realm or simply afraid to engage in a debate because of a fear of being labeled flat earth freaks. That is a sad state of affairs really as science is just now catching up to what creationists have confessed to be true all along.

Friday, March 06, 2009

POTF Logo Seen At Local Event

I was at a local chili cook-off last week and was about floored when I saw the youngest attendee wearing a onesie with my Putting Out The Fire logo embroidered on it. Hmm…the corruption of young minds begin early doesn’t it? I guess I’ll have to issue ‘em a junior firefighter badge soon. Then, when he’s old enough and talking we’ll get ‘em to recite the official Abaze!™ Firefighter’s™ oath.

The parents of the little ragamuffin and I agreed that the we should be calling such items part of the “Uncle Frank’s inactiveware ” collection.

Cool, ain’t it, seeing youngsters ready to step up to the plate and put out the fires of bad theology?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Time Out For Time Out

I asked in the last post “I wonder if anyone thought of doing an audio version of something like the TDP?” I was in fact asking a rhetorical question as I already had in mind someone who is providing just such a service for our edification.

Dan over at Necessary Roughness has a great series of posts that he calls “Time Out” which are sort of like a shortened audio version of the Treasury of Daily Prayer. Cool eh?

In the introduction to the series Dan explained what he was going for;

“Time Out” will be a reading from Scripture, the Book of Concord, or church fathers. Following that will be one or two hymns, as “live” and as fresh as I can make it. One might think of it as melodic sushi — perhaps some cutting, but no cooking. I am open to submissions from other musicians, provided that hymns are in the public domain and don’t contain any doctrinal errata. I would love to have performances with and from people I meet on the road.

So take a Time Out yourself and give Dan’s audio posts a try and I’d be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that you’ll enjoy his reading of Scripture and the doctrine of historic Christianity as well as his singing of beautiful Christ filled hymns.

Thank you Dan for giving us an audio equivalent of the TDP!

Time Out Part 1

And here is the newest edition Time Out Part 6

Monday, March 02, 2009

Lenten Hymnody From The Treasury of Daily Prayer

From the awesome Treasury of Daily Prayer:

Lord, ‘tis not that I did choose Thee;
That, I know, could never be;
For this heart would still refuse Thee
had Thy grace not chosen me.
Thou hast from the sin that stained me
Washed and cleansed and set me free
And unto this end ordained me,
That I ever live to Thee

- Lord, ‘Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee
Lutheran Service Book 573:1

I’m continually amazed as I travel though the historic Church year with the Treasury of Daily Prayer at how much the editors crammed in this book. What a true blessing this devotional resource is in it’s use of Psalms, Old and New Scripture readings as well as selected writings from church fathers and hymnody.

I wonder if anyone thought of doing an audio version of something like the TDP?