Saturday, October 29, 2005


My favorite holiday, Halloween, has been criticized by some Christians uncomfortable with its dark image. My solution is a new line of costumes featuring Bible verses. A few examples: Skeleton: “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones.” Matthew 23:27. Wolfman: “His whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau.” Genesis 25:25.
-- Doug Mendenhall

Thursday, October 27, 2005

So, these two priests walk into a bar ...

No joke. A Roman Catholic parish has booked four talks at a local bar in an effort to reach out to 20- and 30-somethings who don't go to church. Alcohol will be served. Read more ...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bible on your iPod

Zondervan, the world’s largest Bible publisher, has partnered with Talking Panda, a leader in software development for the iPod, to release the TNIV Audio Bible for iPod in February 2006. This marks the first audio Bible available in Apple retail stores.

Elaine Pagels

Don't miss the opportunity to hear the author of The Gnostic Gospels tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at Hamline United Methodist Church, 1514 Englewood Ave., St. Paul. Pagels, a professor of religion at Princeton University, will discuss Beyond Belief: A Different View of Christianity.
If I meet you there, I'll buy coffee afterwards.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


How can there be self help "groups"?


Harper San Francisco has signed a deal with a top Islamic scholar to publish a rare English translation of the Quran, complete with the most extensive commentary ever published on the Muslim holy book.


Polygamy on religious grounds is alive and well in the U.S. Read more ...

another sign that the apocalypse is nigh

The filmmakers of ''Left Behind: World at War'' preceded the movie's DVD release today with screenings at about 3,200 churches across the United States and Canada, hoping to build word-of-mouth for the straight-to-video sequel in Kirk Cameron's series of films about Armageddon. Read more ...

Is the Pledge of Allegiance consistent with Christian belief?

Read about one teacher's struggle.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Response to the post below

MANGER: Where Mary gave birth to Jesus because Joseph wasn't
covered by an HMO.

We don't know that for sure. It is possible that Mary was
just "outside the network." Or maybe she misread the contract and
did not see that it was actually for "mangered care" rather than
managed care. Because she did not read the fine print she probably
assumed that a "double-occupancy" room meant that you would be
sharing with another person- not a horse or a cow. You have to look
carefully at those HMO contracts. No co-pay though so that is a good
thing, we are told. Or perhaps Joseph was in fact covered by an HMO
but they were not in a state that extended coverage to unmarried
partners. Or it is possible that she used up all of her coverage
when the HMO paid for the Lamaze class that she and Joseph attended.

People see things differently. When I see that Mary was given a
place to flop out in the barn as a way of holding costs down, I
assume that she *does* have HMO coverage. However, if she had been
part of the British or Canadian health care systems she would have
gotten full coverage for free. Problem is, a two year waiting period
doesnt work all that well with pregnancies. So many choices in
health care these days.

Worship dictionary

BULLETIN: Your receipt for attending worship.
CHOIR: A group of people whose singing allows the rest of the Parish to lip-sync.
HOLY WATER: A liquid whose chemical formula is H2OLY.
HYMN: A song of praise usually sung in a key three octaves higher than that of
the congregation's range.
INCENSE: Holy Smoke!
JESUITS: An order of priests known for their ability to find colleges with good
basketball teams.
JONAH: The original "Jaws" story.
JUSTICE: When kids have kids of their own.
KYRIE ELEISON: The only Greek words that most worshipers can recognize besides
gyros and baklava.
MAGI: The most famous trio to attend a baby shower.
MANGER: Where Mary gave birth to Jesus because Joseph wasn't covered by an HMO.
The Bible's way of showing us that holiday travel has always been rough.
PEW: A medieval torture device still found in churches.
PROCESSION: The ceremonial formation at the beginning of worship consisting of
choir, pastor/priest, and late parishioners looking for seats.
RECESSIONAL: The ceremonial procession at the conclusion of worship led by
parishioners trying to beat the crowd to the parking lot.
RECESSIONAL HYMN: The last song often sung a little more quietly, since most of
the people have already left.
RELICS: People who have been going to Mass for so long, they actually know when
to sit, kneel, and stand.
TEN COMMANDMENTS: The most important Top Ten list not given by David Letterman.
USHERS: The only people in the church who don't know the seating capacity of a

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Oldest church

Where can you find a replica of what has been called the first Christian church built in North America? Find out here.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Cross of Glory

This Sunday I will be preaching at both services at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church in Mounds View. Come & visit; I would love to see you. For a map of the Church's location, click here.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

God bloggers

What would Jesus blog? That and other pressing questions drew 135 Christians to Southern California this weekend for a national conference billed as the first-ever for ''God bloggers,'' a growing community of online writers who exchange information and analyze current events from a Christian perspective. Read more ...

Friday, October 14, 2005

India's floods & relief efforts

We continue to pray & support the relief efforts in India for our brother Rev. Luther and his school and congregations. For more pictures see their site and photoblog.
Continue to pray for them; continue to support them.
Thank you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

E-mail from Estonia

Many who read this blog are familiar with Rev. Roland Tonisson from Estonia. While attending the AFLC Seminary, he lived at Faith, the church I served at the time. A few days ago I received an e-mail from him describing some major changes in his life.

Hello, Ivars! Thank you for holding me on the list of readers! It has always been very interesting to get to know your thoughts & some news from States and Minnesota.

How is Faith congregation doing? Greetings to them!

I have had some major changes in my life recently. I studied at the Estonian School of Diplomacy, transferred my credits, and got a masters degree in International Relations and European Investigations. I applied for a vacancy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and passed. Probably in November I will start there. I don't know, what position will be available. Anyway - they asked me if I was able to live without pork for 3 years, and "Do you like Arabic?"

But God knows what He has prepared for me. I just hope, that you won't see me on Al-Jazeera news, with a request to pull out Western troops. I am pretty sure, that my field of work will include relations between politics and religion. This I know the best, I think. Well, we will see. Speaking of this, I truly hope that Lord won't take me away from Europe, as He planned considering Nineveh. Days of His grace seem still to be here...

Well! Please remember me and my family in your prayers! I wish you, Ivars, all the best, and God's love in your days. With the best memories from Minnesota and Faith.


Sunday, October 09, 2005

Upcoming events

The liberal Episcopal Bishop & author, John Shelby Spong will speak on "The Use of the Bible in Public Life Today" Thursday, 11:30 a.m. at the Episcopal Church of St. James, 3225 E. Minnehaha Pkway., Minneapolis.
At 7 p.m. his topic will be "My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love and Equality" at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, 519 Oak Grove St., Minneapolis.

Prof. Timothy Polk of Hamline University will lead forums on the effects of fundamentalism in today's world at 7:15 p.m., Thursday and also on Oct. 20, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1917 Logan Ave. S., Minneapolis. The talks will expand on the topic discussed by Karen Armstrong earlier this month.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Creationism (intelligent design) vs. evolution

Interesting article about how both sides in the argument support their own conclusions by looking at the same evidence. Read more ...

another sign that the apocalypse is nigh

Ad in my local paper:
Grandma's Dead! Buy her car!
1970 Mercury
station wagon, very rare,
429ci police interceptor eng gd cond. 89K,
ND car $1500/651-xxx-xxxx

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The religious background of Harriet Miers, Supreme Court nominee

Ms. Miers, born Roman Catholic, became an evangelical Christian in her mid-30s and began identifying more with Republicans than with the Democrats who had long held sway over Texas politics. Read more ...

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Christian Paradox

America is simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behavior. That paradox—more important, perhaps, than the much touted ability of French women to stay thin on a diet of chocolate and cheese—illuminates the hollow at the core of our boastful, careening culture.
Read more ...

Opus Dei

Curious about Opus Dei? Read more ...

Best wishes . . .

. . . to Harley Johnson, now on the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod roster and serving in Carlos, Minnesota. Read more on his blog ...

Missouri Synod

Membership in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has continued its decades-long decline, with a loss of more than 25,000 people from 2003 to 2004, the denomination announced.

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