Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Estonian Archbishop dies

Jaan Kiivit, a former archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church for more than a decade, died Wednesday at age 65.

Expansion of intelligent design

Are you getting tired of reading about intelligent design? Well, it is being expanded, or you might say, being brought down to earth.

iPod worship

Don't worry about missing church. Download the service to your iPod.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Dave & Cindi and Katrina

Many of you know my former associate pastor & family. Dave & Cindi are currently serving a parish in Silver Hill Alabama. The following is their report on Katrina:

Family and Friends--
I think they said it was a storm with an eye of 902 microbars, the most intense storm ever recorded in the Gulf of Mexico. By now you have heard that it came ashore near New Orleans as a Category 4 hurricane, but the storm extended a couple hundred miles on all sides, definitely carrying hurricane winds perhaps 200 miles from its center. We were perhaps 150 miles from the storm center, but endured hurricane winds throughout the day even where we were. Mobile, about a half hour drive on the west from us, and Mobile Bay had major flooding, a storm surge may have reached 18 feet in the Bay--parts of Mobile were flooded and total rainfall exceeded 12 inches in less than 24 hours. Louisiana and Mississippi took major damage and the county immediately south of Mobile also took heavy hits, but the flooding along the coast of Alabama is significant. Those who experienced Hurricane George feel the flooding with Hurricane Katrina is worse; the extent of damage was worse than Camille 30 years ago.
We boarded up our windows yesterday and "hunkered" down through the storm. Our power was out for 6 to 7 hours, but a quick assessment tonight just before dark showed tree damage, but our house appears intact. There is a curfew on the coastal counties, so we have not been to our church to check for damage. Mobile is less than 30 miles away, but our rain level is reportedly less than 5 inches, so I suspect less damage on our side of the Bay, but rest assured that there is major flooding down here with much structural damage and likely loss of life along the shore counties in Mississippi especially and in the city of New Orleans. My sister's daughter Gail and family (Benny and Allison and Trey) all were able to get out of New Orleans and were at Margaret's in Lafayette, but we don't know what their home situation is.
The good Lord has seen us through safely and we will update you if and when we learn anything significantly different from this report.
--Cindi and Dave

Sunday, August 28, 2005

St. Paul's Lutheran School

Some of you have asked for an update on the cost of operating St. Paul's School in India. Current figures are posted on their web site's News Blog.
Please pray that these needs may be met.

God's creation at Bob's Cabins

It has become a tradition for us to spend a few days each summer at Bob's Cabins with our grandkids. The first time we were there I was concerned they might be bored without TV, computer, etc. However, they were quick to master the skills of throwing rocks in Lake Superior, chasing sea gulls, and just enjoying God's creation which I want to share with you too through these few pictures.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Anna, Alex & Kris exploring

End of the day.

The Milky Way.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Belated cardinal update

One left in the nest. (Note the one in front.)

Anxious father watching from a distance.

"Yes! We have left the nest!"

Friday, August 26, 2005

Presbyterian Gay Standards

After four years of studying the issue of homosexuality, a special task force of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has recommended that a ban on actively gay clergy be maintained, but local churches may have freedom to act otherwise. The task force said the church can no longer survive annual skirmishes over the gay clergy ban and said it should be maintained for the “peace, unity and purity” of the church. But, in an attempt to give greater flexibility to local churches, the panel said regional bodies should be able to waive those rules for gay clergy if they are otherwise qualified.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


For the next few days we will be heading up to Bob's Cabins on Lake Superior with the grandkids. (The pictures are from last year.) So -- there will be no postings on this blog until probably Thursday.
Keep the faith!
+ peace

How are you at the shofar?

The “Great Shofar Blast Off” is seeking the best rendition of Hebrew notes on the shofar, or ram's horn, which is blown on the Jewish high holidays to awaken Jews to new spiritual heights. Sponsored by the National Jewish Outreach Program, which last year held a contest for the best chicken soup in America, the event is intended to pique the interest of unaffiliated Jews. to Israel.

Need help in selling your house?

Check out this site for saintly help.

Friday, August 19, 2005

It's a good thing we don't see this in church bodies

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that, "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount." However, in government and
in corporate America, more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:
1. Buying a stronger whip.
2. Changing riders.
3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.
5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.
7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.
9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase dead horse's performance.
10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.
11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.
12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.
And of course....
13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

Gaza withdrawal

Thanks to Bridges for Peace for this link cointaining a photo essay of the expulsion of Jews from the Gaza strip.

Dealing with evil

Read how a pastor coped with learning that a long-time member of his church turned out to be the Kansas B.T.K. strangler.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Rev. Ojars Freimanis

Some of you may know Rev. Freimanis, a graduate of the AFLC Seminary in Plymouth, MN. This is a picture at his ordination in Riga, Latvia August 14th. Ojars' mother is on the left & Vineta's parents on the right. May the Lord richly bless Ojars as he continues his ministry.

Gone, but still here for your viewing pleasure

A new company plans to unveil new high-tech tombstones with embedded flat screen monitors that would allow visitors to play memorial videos of the deceased.

How do you make decisions?

One in six adults make moral decisions based on the content of the Bible, according to a new study conducted by the Barna Group, while about half of adults make their moral choices “on the basis of specific principles or standards they believe in.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Taize founder slain

The founder of the French religious Taizé Community, Brother Roger, was attacked and killed by a
mentally disturbed man during vespers. Roger, 90, was attacked during evening prayer today at
Taizé, near Cluny, in the eastern Burgundy region. Roger, a Protestant with a degree in theology,
devoted his life to the reconciliation between Christian denominations.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

another blog

Speaking of blogs, I love the title of this one; I just wish Harley would update it more often.

Palms & religion

If you're into mobile technology with Palm Pilots or other handhelds, you may be interested in the Mobile Ministry blog.

Putting Jesus in every mailbox

Read how the "Jesus" film is still being used by many churches.

School prayer

As a White House lawyer, Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts, supported efforts in Congress to roll back a Supreme Court ruling against school prayer, saying that any ban on voluntary prayer "seems indefensible."

Monday, August 15, 2005

Women in ministry

All women in ministry were honored at the 2005 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). This year marks the 35th anniversary of the
ordination of Lutheran women. The Rev. Elizabeth Platz was ordained Nov. 22, 1970,
in the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), an ELCA predecessor church body.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Sexuality proposals

Read about the ELCA's resolution of sexuality issues.

Jewish pullout from the Gaza et al

In one of the largest prayer gatherings ever to be held at the Temple Mount, multitudes of Israeli Jews poured into Jerusalem’s Old City Wednesday to cry out to the Lord to stop the implementation of the “disengagement” plan.

. . . more on Gaza

Now for the other view.

. . . trying to be in between

Read about the ELCA's campaign to achieve "justice in the Holy Land."

No more beer

The abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in western Belgium bottles beer to support itself. When the beer was voted to be the best in the world, it quickly sold out and the abbey had to close its shop.
"We are not brewers, we are monks. We brew beer to be able to afford being monks," said the abbey's abbot.
"Outsiders don't understand why we are not raising production. But for us life in the abbey comes first, not the brewery."


. . . I thought that would get your attention. You may be interested in some comments of mine on the topic of sin which I have posted on our site.

Cardinal update

"We're hungry!"

SASE: The Write Place reading

Last night, my friend, Jim, and I attended a reading by two well known area authors. The first to read was Professor Lon Otto, who teaches at St. Thomas. The second was our friend, Brother Benet, from Blue Cloud Abbey.
Br. Benet's most recent book is The View From a Monastery, a personal, mostly humorous, heartwarming insight into the lives of monks who have lived and died at Blue Cloud Abbey.
You can order a signed copy of the book from Br. Benet by writing to him at Blue Cloud Abbey, Box 98, Marvin, SD 57251-0098

Prof. Lon Otto

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Put the Bible on your iPod.

Leadership Principles to Live By

Borrowed from Eric Mack's blog:

Winking Luther

Webisode 2 is available.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

ELCA Assembly

The ELCA Assembly has adopted a proposal restructuring its organization. The ELCA will also publish a new book of worship "designed to bring unity in worship expressions while supporting variety and flexibility."
The sexuality proposals will be discussed and voted upon Friday.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Concerns over gays

Heated discussion took place at a hearing today at ELCA's assembly. Conflicting views were presented over blessing same-sex unions and ordination of non-celibate gays.

2 die for showing "Jesus" film

Two men showing the evangelistic “JESUS” film for Christian Life Bangladesh were killed in Faridpur. This is the second murder of Christian Life Bangladesh workers.

Walking on water

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the ELCA, told attendees that "walking on water is permitted
but not required at this assembly."

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Br. Rene Wilson, OSB, RN

Our good friend, Brother Rene, went to be with the Lord last Friday. We will remember his gentle nature, good humor, and great talents in so many areas. He will continue to be an inspiration and example to those of us who were fortunate to know him. May his memory be blessed. We look forward to seeing him again in the heavenly kingdom of our Lord.

You may read more about Br. Rene's life of service on the Blue Cloud Abbey web site.

a quilt designed & laid out for us by Br. Rene

We have triplets!! -- I think(?)

ELCA Assembly

If you are interested in what's happening at the ELCA Assembly, which started today, check their web site. You can also subscribe to daily e-mails. We will keep you posted of major events.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Stem cell research

Americans' support for stem cell research has grown significantly among major religious groups since 2002, with the notable exception of white evangelical Christians, according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Increased support for stem cell research has been particularly significant among white Catholics. Between 2002 and 2005, support for stem cell research among Catholics increased 18%. Support among the total population increased 14%, according to the nationwide sample of 1,502 adults.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

666 no more

Satanists, fear mongers, and cult leaders will have to change their messages, logos, etc. A fragment of the earliest manuscript from Book of Revelation has been translated to show that 616 rather than 666 is the mark of the beast.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The problems of trying to predict the end-times

For the past 30 years, Bob Lang has believed God to be close at hand as he worked alongside other Jewish settlers in claiming the land of the Bible. But now he's pleading with God to not be so distant. That's because Israel's planned removal of as many as 9,000 settlers from Gaza in mid-August seems irreconcilable with Lang's belief that God ordained these Jewish settlements to prosper. It's raising a vexing question for people everywhere who regard the state of Israel as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Jewish settlers aren't the only ones struggling to reconcile this historic episode with their worldviews. From factions of religious Jews in Israel and the Diaspora to Christian Zionists who believe the gathering of Jews in the Holy Land is helping prepare the way for their Messiah's return, the Gaza pullout represents a problematic detour from what they thought was God's plan.

Mother Cardinal update

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Messages from God

Former Senator George McGovern:
I'm not casting doubt on the power of prayer, although I've never been sure I was getting through. But if God told President Bush to send American troops to Iraq, he sent an entirely different message to the pope.

Ask God

One man's response to what he perceives to be a backward business climate in Michigan.

Intelligent design

President Bush said yesterday that "intelligent design" should be taught alongside evolution. Depending on how you define the terms, they do not necessarily have to be in conflict. (See Anselm's July 28, post on Evolution vs. Creationism.)

Monday, August 01, 2005

another sign that the apocalypse is nigh

“Left Behind” series co-authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins are among the top 10 best-selling authors cited in's 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame.

Conning church-goers

This book review is a good reminder that church-goers are not immune from deals that are too good to be true -- particularly when it comes to cars. Let me know if you read the book, God Wants You to Roll: The $21 Million "Miracle Cars" Scam.

ELCA & Sexuality

As the ELCA prepares to meet for its Churchwide Assembly, a number of relevant articles, particularly on issues involving sexuality, are available on the Journal of Lutheran Ethics web site.

(couldn't resist one more picture)

The picture is "diffused" since I'm shooting through the porch screen so as to not alarm the birds.

God's creatures

Mother Cardinal nesting near our deck. I'll keep you posted of developments.

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