Monday, February 27, 2006

Before I die.......

There is a MEME going around that has as its first question:
7 Things to do before I die:

I decided not to do the MEME because I don't like to tag people, but somehow this question jolted me nonetheless. I am not a long-range goal-setter in any respect. I set personal goals each day that I rarely meet. This often makes me feel bad about myself. I try to be more realistic, but so far it hasn't happened. Maybe when I finally grow up.......???

But this question got to me. And I had two dreams that repeated one night. Usually the meaning of dreams isn't something that I even bother thinking about, but this time I KNEW that the question had triggered the dreams.

You see, when I set these various goals for a day, I find I am trying to cram several activities into the last two hours of each day. (I don't do well with mornings; I am busy for a number of hours in the middle of most days; after I cook supper, not much of the day is left.)

So what about my life? What do I want to cram into the last years of my life? There may be many years yet, or maybe just a few years or even a few days. I have physical limitations that will only get worse with age. There are many things I will never be able to do again. Just what is important to me?

The dreams had something to do with being at a retreat and needing to get ready to leave. I was trying to pack my suitcase. I was pushing and prodding and shoving all sorts of miscellaneous stuff into that bag. It was resisting the addition of more junk and clutter. It looked ready to pop.

As soon as I woke up I thought that the bag represented my life. Not that it has been a full life, but that I was trying to stuff in some extra things in my last years that should have been taken care of in an earlier part of my life if I had really intended to do them. I should have been more intentional about planning and carrying out certain goals in my life.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

"Christians" protest at the funeral of a fallen soldier

Regardless of how one feels about the war or about homosexuality, this crosses the line , in my opinion, when it comes to showing one's feelings.


Defining, refining faith by having it challenged

An atheist speaks to a class at a conservative Christian College in St. Paul

The atheist and the Christians

Here are the Arguments that won't work with this atheist

Seminary to host new exhibit on Jews in Germany

ST. PAUL/ Luther Seminary will be the first site in the country to host "Jews of the Luthertown Wittenberg in the Third Reich,"
summary news release

Churches trying to unite

Lutheran World Federation Welcomes Common Christian Assembly

ELCA news release

Hanson said, "One of the tensions in the global ecumenical movement today concerns the role of the Christian world communions and confessional bodies, and (whether) they are finally contributing toward the greater unity of the church or taking energy away from the ecumenical movement."

"Being Lutheran is to be ecumenical. I can't read the Augsburg Confession without thinking that this was a proposal for the unity of the church, at least the Western church at that time," said Hanson. The Augsburg Confession is a foundational document of the Lutheran Church.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Oh, great..... :-(

MSNBC Breaking News


White House: Bush didn't know of port deal until it was done. Details soon. -

The non-execution in California

Further information

This article gives the background of physicians participating in executions.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


SAN QUENTIN, Calif. - The planned execution of a man convicted of raping and murdering a 17-year-old girl was delayed until Tuesday night after two anesthesiologists refused to participate because of ethical concerns.

News, editorials, entertainment

This is my last paragraph from the previous post. I thought it deserves its own post.

My main gripe about the coverage of the Olympics and my main irritation with the new media, in general: There is no longer a distinction between reporting the news, providing commentary on the events of the day, editorializing about the news, and providing entertainment. Ok, lets the sports shows be entertainment, not just reporting. But let real news be reported as real news and real editorials be reported as real editorials.

Slanted Olympic Coverage?

Well, yes, the American media does slant their coverage toward their American viewers. People want to see the home team. I don't have a problem with that, but there are other good teams participating.

This is the first Olympics for which I have satelite TV, so I've been finding Olympic coverage on four channels belonging to NBC. It has been great to see live coverage in the mornings (my own private Breakfast in Italy!) I've tuned in to curling and found it fascinating because the commentators know what they are talking about and provide insight to the shot possibilities. And they are equally praising of good play by the other teams. This might be a hard sport to watch in person without that insight.

The TV coverage of the Cross Country Skiing has been better than in some past years, mainly because the course goes past areas that the cameras can cover.

Today one of the commentators was asking another commentator about the "dissappointing" results of some of the American skiers and skaters. He said something about a skater saying he would get 5 gold metals. The other commentator stated that the skater had never said that, rather the media had said that.

That is my main gripe about the coverage of the Olympics and my main irritation with the new media, in general: There is no longer a distinction between reporting the news, providing commentary on the events of the day, editorializing about the news, and providing entertainment. Ok, lets the sports shows be entertainment, not just reporting. But let real news be reported as real news and real editorials be reported as real editorials.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

What we might learn from the Olympics, Part 2

In Men's hockey, Canada lost to Switzerland and the USA just lost to Slovakia. Just change the names from the last post. Same lesson to be learned.

As they say, that's why you play the game, not just go by the statistics.

Unfortunately, the stakes are higher in war.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What we might learn from the Olympics

The US Women's hockey team just lost to the team from Sweden.  The US expected to win and move on to the Gold Medal Game.  Now they will be moving on to play for the bronze.
The lesson in this and in many of the other "upsets" of the Olympics is that the expected outcome isn't so obvious, especially if the obvious is predicted by biased analysts.
I seem to remember an easy victory predicted in Iraq. 
Maybe the only thing predictable is that nothing is certain.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

True Olympic Spirit

U.S. Gold Medalist Donates Award to Darfur Refugees

Listen to this story... by  

Joey Cheek of the U.S. celebrates his gold medal.

Joey Cheek of the U.S. celebrates his gold medal in the men's 500-meter speedskating competition in Turin, Feb. 13, 2006. Reuters


Morning Edition, February 14, 2006 · American speed skater Joey Cheek did something very unusual after winning the 500 meter race at the Winter Olympics. He announced he's contributing his $25,000 gold medal award from the U.S. Olympic Committee to refugees from Darfur. And he urged Olympic sponsors to support the same relief effort.

Friday, February 10, 2006


What do you think about church bazaars?  Do you buy things at them?  Do you expect low prices since the church women have made the stuff?  Do you think that the women who make and sell items for low prices are undervaluing their time and talent?  Or perhaps it is a good way to turn time into money???
Are they socially important to the church?  Financially? 
Are bazaars a way for people to feel that they are "serving" without really helping people? 

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Funeral for Mrs. King

If you had been allowed to speak at the funeral for Coretta Scott King, would you have included "political" issues?

The commentary this morning said some people are calling this a "Wellstone Moment." This is not a tribute to the late Senator Paul Wellstone, but rather a reference to the speaches made at his memorial service that were blatantly political. Blantant as in suggesting who the listeners should vote for 3 days hence.

Another issue: at a Christian funeral, should the speakers eulogize the deceased? Or should the preacher stick to the idea that the person is great only because of the Grace of God? I think that this is a culture/tradition issue, depending on the church/denomination.

What is blocking your progress?

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- A 93,000-ton cargo ship blocked the Suez Canal on Wednesday, stopping all transit of the waterway between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, a Suez Canal Authority official said.

Four tugs have been sent to re-align the Hong Kong-flagged Okal King Dor, which drifted at right angles to the canal about 10 kilometers (6 miles) south of the midway city of Ismailiya, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The ship was traveling north during a sandstorm when the incident happened at about 11 a.m. local time, the official said. It was not immediately clear what caused the ship to turn sideways in the canal, but the official said the high wind was a factor.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Keep to the same path.... matter how distant the goal. Posted by Picasa

New Blog, New Name, Same Blogger

Some issues came up with the other PS blog that I couldn't seem to correct, so I changed the name and reposted everything. So, Same path.....

Who is qualified? ......

In the sermon introduction last Sunday, the pastor listed the job descriptions of several of the Bible Heroes and the qualifications that they actually had before they got the job. Interesting contrast.

I saw one of our former pastors last weekend. He had been a carpenter before he became an ordained pastor. He never went to college. Who ever heard of a carpenter becoming a preacher?

God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called.

Originally posted 01/26/2006

Spiritual encouragement, vocation, church colleges .....

My husband and I are grads of Lutheran colleges, as are two of our children. The other child will graduate from a college of another Christian tradition. We are all "above average" intellectually and attend churches and volunteer in them.

So I guess the Lutheran colleges did their jobs: to educate us and to help build church leaders. I think often and with thankfulness of the Lutheran college I attended.

But think what a narrow segment of the population in general, and even the Lutheran population, attend Lutheran colleges. They aim to recruit the cream of the crop from high schools, maybe the top 10 or 20% of the class, and/or students that have other outstanding talents or interesting backgrounds. Given the cost of private college these days, only those people who qualify for lots of financial aid and know enough to apply for it, or those whose families have saved enough for college can afford to attend. [Or the student steps into a large loan with little education of what this means for the future. But that is the subject for another time.]

Some Lutheran denominations have a presence next to the campuses of larger state universities in the form of Lutheran Houses. How much outreach they provide I don’t know, but I did use one of these houses as a place to hang out at one university I attended.

What kind of support or encouragement do we give to the more “average” students attending state colleges? How about tech schools and smaller junior colleges? Do we encourage spiritual development in any way in students learning welding, electrician skills, police academy? Do we support a sense of vocation in those students to whom God has given great mechanical aptitude or those with an interest in hairdressing or cooking?

If someone has an obvious artistic talent or a gift of music, we might readily say that this comes from God and give that person (spiritual) vocational encouragement. Our Lutheran colleges are especially good in the area of music. But would we not want the mechanic who works on the Boeing 707 to also feel a sense of vocation or calling, and therefore be diligent in his/her work?

Even jobs that don’t take an education have value and should be honored. What hospital would keep a good reputation for very long if the cleaning staff wasn’t diligent?

People of God: let us honor all workers around us, encourage people spiritually by honoring their choice of job and vocation, encourage society to provide a living wage to all who do necessary work, no matter how “lowly.” And let’s encourage the Church to provide spiritual support and encouragement to all students, not just the top 20% of the high school classes.

Volunteer work and hobbies can also be part of a person’s vocation. Several times I have felt a strong call from God to volunteer in certain areas, mostly church related. Consequently, I don’t have a problem saying NO when I don’t feel called.

Originally posted 01/25/2006

Stewardship follow-up ....

The effort related in the Stewardship post was successful. About 6 dozen gifts of various sizes were received, totaling a few thousand dollars.

In some ways, this may undermine traditional stewardship education in that we didn't stress a regular commitment. But in another way, I feel that we made a start in educating people that gifts to the church which honor people don't HAVE to go to the memorial fund. They can go toward the "normal" mission of the church.

Originally posted 01/17/2006

Stewardship ...

There is a fine line between getting up and giving a Stewardship talk and getting up and doing a fund raising talk. I've been involved with the stewardship committee in my church for years and I've given many talks. I've always believed that the most important thing was education about stewardship, i.e. making conscious decisions about our time, talents and resources. But usually, we've felt we are preaching to the choir.

Today I gave a "temple talk" which is what we call our stewardship talks. I walked that line between education and fundraising. Our emphasis this year is that we might choose to honor someone by giving a gift to our church instead of giving them a Christmas gift. My talk was well received and I managed to throw in some humor, which I think makes it easier for people to listen and perhaps makes the talk more memorable, which is the point.

On the purely money side of things: Our treasurer told me she received 20 more of our special stewardship gift envelopes in the collection plate just today!

Originally posted 12/11/2005

RE: How long, oh Lord ..

Until you return? How long will Christians disagree? When will we learn to put our common faith ahead of our differences? When will we learn that we are saved by grace not by insisting on doctrine? Guide us as we learn to live together. Let us practice here on earth for the glorious reunion in Heaven.

Originally posted 12/09/2005

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Unfinished Church

This church is the "new" Lutheran Church in Alakmisy, Madagascar. The cornerstone says 1970. It is stalled due to lack of funds. The old Lutheran Church is still serving the worshipping community. The pastor and members desperately want funds to finish the building. Posted by Picasa