Thursday, November 30, 2006

21st Century Lutherans at the Confluence of Religion and Ethnicity

"A Mighty Fortress" Far from Lake Wobegon: Selected photographs and audio-visual recordings and hymnals from twenty different Lutheran services in the Twin Cities illustrate our increasing global urban lnadscape and challenge archaic assumptions of who Minnesotan Lutherans are.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Birthday Meme

Via several other bloggers

The Rules:
1) Go to Wikipedia
2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.
3) List three events that happened on your birthday
4) List two important birthdays and one death
5) One holiday or observance (if any)

Events: George Washington marries Martha Custis.
FM radio is demonstrated to the FCC for the first time.
Major league baseball player Jackie Robinson retires.

Birthdays: Walter Mondale, politician (a Minnesotan, of course)
Alfred Brendel, pianist (love his recordings of Schubert!!!!)

Death: George Washinton Carver, American educator

Observance: The eleventh day of Christmas in Western Christianity (which I still celebrate, because I don't believe in all this celebration before Christmas Day.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pastors in Worship

I attended a short worship/communion service today. There were 12 pastors and 5 lay people. Besides being a meaningful service, it was great because several of the pastors had great singing voices and they also were using their "public" voices during the worship, even as 11 of them were in the pews. So the Amens and other prayer words were loudly proclaimed.

Could it be that pastors wish that the usual lay people in the pews would speak up more?


Who'd have thought? The oldest mosque in the US is in Cedar Rapids, Ia. I just saw this on CNN. Sorry, I can't get a good link to this information. I think it will be shown again later in the evening.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Poetry about the Bible

I just posted a link (see side bar) to the Camp Loony Muse which has poetry on Biblical subject matter. I was moved by the directness and depth of the message of these poems. There is almost no informatin about the author, but he does provide a link to the ELCA, so that is a clue.

How's your knowledge of Middle East Geography

This quiz challenged me. Try it!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Raffles are gambling

After the Lutheran Zephyr posted regarding gambling, I found this joke and I couldn’t resist posting it. Did I tell you I hate raffles, especially in church.

Donkey Raffle

A Cajun named Jean Paul moved to Texas and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100.00. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day. The next day the farmer drove up and said, "Sorry, but I got some bad news. The donkey died."

"Well then, just give me my money back."

"Cain't do that. I went and spent it already."

"OK then, just unload the donkey."

"What ya gonna do with em."

"I'm gonna raffle him off."

"Ya cain't raffle off a dead donkey!"

"Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anyone he's dead."

A month later the farmer met up with the Cajun and asked, "What happened with the dead donkey?"

"I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at $2.00 apiece and made a profit of $898.00."

"Didn't no one complain?"

"Just the guy who won. So I gave him his $2.00 back."

Friday, November 17, 2006

is Sunday your Sabbath? What do you do?

The news story about the Lutheran woman who won a case because she didn’t want to be forced to work on Sundays interested me. Here are some thoughts that have been swirling in my mind regarding when we worship and if there are alternatives provided for worshipers. Don’t expect any logical conclusions or logical progressions of ideas here. Hey, I’m Lutheran; I live in the “tension” and in “the question.”

When I was a child, the pastor preached from the pulpit that women shouldn’t work, and people shouldn’t work on Sundays. Well, his wife was a nurse. When they needed her income because their boys would soon be going to college, she went to work. And being a nurse, she often had to work on Sundays. Of course, that was explained away as being one of those necessary jobs.

And, of course, when I was a child, most stores weren’t open on Sundays. Or evenings. People actually had to plan better. And the economy wasn’t as vigorous. I really don’t know how families got their business done. Dad would have taken the car to work, and by the time he was home, mom could shop, but many of the stores were closed.

Sunday worship was a given. Most churches I was aware of had at least two services on Sunday morning, so there was some choice and flexibility. Large churches had many Sunday services.

In the area where I currently live, most of the churches have only one Sunday morning service. My church has toyed with the idea of an alternative worship time for years, but there were always arguments against this, such as the pastor’s preaching not being as fresh, the organist had too far to drive to do it twice; we would lose the “sense of family” which one service provided. [Wednesday evening Lenten services are attended by a committed group of about 50 people.]

Meanwhile, the local Catholic Church with a priest who is already stretched by serving churches in two towns has provided a Saturday alternative mass for years.

And the culture has changed. The Big Box stores opened on Sundays.
The local stores have to be open at least a few hours on Sundays to keep from losing too much business. More restaurants are open on Sundays. Lots of people have developed a tradition of going out to eat after Sunday services. And we pick up groceries of the way home from church, as well. At the grocery store close to church, they have a predictable “Lutheran Hour” as well as a “Baptist Hour.”

We used to have a Sunday School class at church for teens. Now the conventional wisdom is that “they have to work on weekends.”

And people travel more on weekends.

Last year my pastor said to me, “People don’t go to church as much as they used to.” We all know that. But the next weekend, as I was eating in a restaurant on a Sunday morning because I was on my way to my daughter’s concert at a Lutheran College, I suddenly had this light bulb moment. Christians are contributing to this cultural change of people not attending church “because they have to work on weekends.”

That begs several questions for me: Are we commanded to worship on Sundays? Is an alternative worship time acceptable (to God) Biblically? Do our churches serve our populations by providing an alternative worship time?

Two other notes: While surfing some other Lutheran blogs, I ran across opinions about worshiping on other days being wrong. This made me wonder about doctrine of various churches on this point.

I recently received a book in the mail from an acquaintance called, “Ten Commandments Twice Removed” by Shelton and Quinn. This apparently has Seventh Day Adventist overtones, but doesn’t overtly say so. It does promote worship during the OT Sabbath day. On the back cover it says, “Is our defense of the Ten Commandments triggered simply by a sentimental interest of Christian culture? Is it possible the Church stands before God as guilty as our government for discarding the Decalogue?”

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lutheran Wins Religious Discrimination Case

It is good to see that a Lutheran person stood up for her convictions. It does make me think about how much we all seem to cave in to the society and culture in large and small ways. What have you been taught that is "Biblical" that you don't follow in your daily life? Or things you know are commanded in the Bible that you don't do? I'm not talking about the obvious "big sins," but the smaller things that have slid away in the rush of our daily life.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My Own.........

My own living room, my own bedroom, my own bed, my own space, my own noise, my own TV shows, my own radio show choices, my own food on my own plate, my own bath tub, ....
my own everything! I'm back home to my own (still cold) house!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Oh, Lord, I need patience and grace toward others!

I'm once again far from home, dealing with the family situation I've alluded to earlier. My family member has been moved to another care facility which, I hope, will work out well in the long run for her.

What is "the long run" when we are dealing with the elderly? The other person and I, who are in charge of all of this, have had to make decisions based on some assumptions and on input from the elderly person, even when we might not agree with it.

The "other person" has some different strengths and professional background than I do, so that part is working out well, since my work background is also helpful. However, the other person and I are driving each other crazy, due to our very strong foibles. I feel like I'm getting stuck doing things we should share, because she backs out. But, I'm holding to some boundaries of my own. Lord, help us both!

Yet, we are able to have moments of joy and laughter with our elderly loved one.

I am so looking forward to getting home again. Now I have to look at forecasts before I drive, darn it. The weather doesn't look good for driving this coming week.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The danger of spiritual isolation

Haggard and the Challenge of Finishing Well

"In his book The Making of a Leader, Dr. Robert Clinton of Fuller Seminary notes that few leaders finish well…including less than 30% of leaders in the Bible! Even many of the biblical figures who did finish well--Jacob, Moses, Aaron and David, to name but a few--experienced significant moral lapses in mid-race that undermined their ministries......."

Seven Deadly (Inward) Sins

The situation of Rev. Haggard somehow made me think of the Seven Deadly Sins, which I was able to look up on, see below. "Sin" is not listed in two encyclopedias I consulted.

The ancient Christians came up with this list that is certainly relevant in any era. It is interesting to me that it isn't exactly a parallel to the Ten Commandments, although several of these are are about "coveting" what others have.
Luther's explanations of the commandments explain not only what we are NOT to do, but also what we are TO DO. In that way, I find them a good summary to think of when I confess my sins of omission on Sunday mornings.

The short explanation of the Seven Deadly Sins, as listed below, shows that each has a spiritual dimension. They are sins that happen primarily within ourselves, in our own minds and hearts and spirits. In a superficial sense, they don't hurt other people, at least not in the short run.
I am also struck by the correspondence of these sins to the values that are encouraged in contemporary American culture. They may, in some respects, be the fuel of our economy. These Sins can put us on an unhealthy treadmill we can't escape, and which leaves us no time for Sabbath and spiritual reflection.

How do our American churches encourage these "values?"

Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.

Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation.

Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.

Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.

Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath.

Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.

Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.

Vatican Against Hanging Saddam

The Catholic beliefs on the sanctity of life extends to Saddam Hussein, who was condemned to be hanged.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Things I've Done and Back Again

Things I've Done


Between Oct. 20 and Oct. 29 I was away from home again, covering 1600 miles.  I’m still not back in the saddle, especially when I realize I will probably be making a 1000 mile round trip next week again. 

So, I’ve been enjoying reading blogs again, catching up when I can, but I haven’t had the emotional energy to post anything, which isn’t to say that I haven’t thought of anything.  I do feel strongly that my faith influences my life and my life influences how I think of God, so I’ve had a lot of timely thoughts, but no inner resources to do much except get the toilets cleaned, etc.


However, Anastasia and LP posted this list, which I found interesting.  I don’t have to think too much to do it.  I've bolded the things I have done. Everyone else who wants to play can play.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain (sort of, an easy mountain, Mt. Lassen)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula

07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise.
14. Seen the Northern Lights (just last month! But that wasn’t the only time.)
15. Gone to a huge sports game (and survived the crush afterwards)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars

20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk.
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales (almost, the raft ride was cancelled.)
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe.
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan (I’m counting this one because I’ve been to Korea which is even less visited than Japan.)
55. Milked a cow - I was in 4-H when I was a kid!!!
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient site (I’m counting ancient Native American burial mounds)
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo - yeah, one or two
81. Rafted the Snake River--no, but I kayaked Lake Yellowstone
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date (actually tried to avoid getting kissed, it was YUK)

89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house

91. Been in a combat zone  (The DMZ, officially still at war)
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently well enough to have a decent conversation
95. Performed in Rocky

96. Raised (raising) children (child)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication (letters to the editor???)
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart

111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone

114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol (would you believe I did this at a Lutheran Camp and at Luther League.  Times have changed, haven’t they?)
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the 118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days  (5 days)
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read - I didn't read Salinger until just a couple of years ago
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions (only went to one)
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream depressing though, that.
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair

147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life