Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sola Jello

View the latest episode of the Winking Luther. Click here.

Lutherans & Methodists together

A working draft of a possible full-communion statement of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and United Methodist Church (UMC) is now
available. Read more ...

Big Bible Digs

Recent discoveries substantiate the Bible's accounts of David & Solomon. Read more ...

1st Black Archbishop

To the beat of African drums, a son of Uganda took his throne Wednesday as the first black archbishop in the Church of England. Read more ...


Father Murphy walks into a pub in Donegal, and says to the first man he meets, "Do you want to go to heaven?"
The man answers, "I do Father."
"Then stand over there against the wall."
The priest then asks the second man, "Do you want to go to heaven?"
"Certainly, Father," was the man's reply.
"Then stand over there against the wall," says the priest.
Then Father Murphy walks up to O'Toole and says, "Do you want to go to heaven?"
O'Toole answers, "No, I don't Father."
"I don't believe this. You mean to tell me that when you die you don't want to go to heaven?"
Says O'Toole, "Oh, when I die, yes. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Intelligent design

So far, Minnesotans aren't too excited about intelligent design vs. evolution in schools. Read more ...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

1st Sunday in Advent '05

Pastor Amy Thoren preaching on the Gospel for the 1st Sunday in Advent, Mark 13:24-37, at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, St. Paul, MN

Children's choir singing:
Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning

more from our hurricane pastor

Rev. David Johnson was recently in the Twin Cities presenting information about the effects of hurricane Katrina on his congregation in Alabame and the surrounding area. To read his message, click here.

Islam in Russia

To read about the recent growth of Islam in Russia, click here.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

No more speaking in tongues

The Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board has adopted a new policy that forbids missionary candidates from speaking in tongues. The policy, adopted Nov. 15 during the board's trustee meeting in Huntsville, Ala., reflects ongoing Southern Baptist opposition to charismatic or Pentecostal practices.

Wicca's World: Looking Into the Pagan Phenomenon has a very interesting article about the current status of witchcraft in the world. Click here & look for the Nov. 26, '05 posting. A few quotes:
A Dutch court has ruled that the costs of witchcraft lessons can be tax-deductible.
In England, Portsmouth's Kingston Prison has hired a pagan priest to give spiritual advice to three inmates.
The practice of witchcraft is attracting ever-growing numbers, particularly among young women.
None entered it in order to use spells to harm people. Most choose Wicca because they are dissatisfied with churches and organized religion and are looking for a spiritual experience they are unable to find elsewhere.
Wiccan women feel as if Christian churches treat them like second-class citizens, limited to teaching Sunday school.
Far from being a revival of some ancient paganism or matriarchal society, Wicca is a modern, male invention.
Sanders affirms that her investigations made her more appreciative of the spiritual hunger leading people to experiment with Wicca. At the same time she argues that Christianity offers all of what neo-pagans seek: a message true 2,000 years ago and still valid today.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Today, let us thank the Lord not only for his daily provision for us, but, more importantly, for the eternal salvation he offers through his Son, Jesus. Let us pray that all may be led to accept it.

The following is from
Once when I was in Victoria, I saw a very large house. They told me it was a bank, and that the white men place their money there to be taken care of, and that by and by they got it back, with interest. We are Indians, and we have no such bank; but when we have plenty of money or blankets, we give them away to other chiefs and people, and by and by they return them, and our hearts feel good. Our way of giving is our bank.
Maquinna, Nootka chief, early 19th Century

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Vatican's Instruction re gay priests

To read an advance, leaked, unofficial copy of the Vatican's Instruction for admission to Seminaries and Holy Orders of "candidates that have deep-seated homosexual tendencies," click here.

Reaction to Vatican's decree on gay priests

A new Vatican decree against gays in the priesthood has brought mixed reactions from U.S. Roman Catholic observers, with some seeing notable benefits and others predicting morale problems and a worsening clergy shortage. Read more ...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Vatican's position on ordaining gay priests

Practicing homosexuals, men with ''deep-seated'' gay tendencies, and those who support gay culture should not be allowed to enter the Roman Catholic priesthood. But those who have "clearly overcome'' homosexual tendencies for at least three years may proceed toward the priesthood. Read more ...


Today we received a Thanksgiving letter from Rev. Ojars Freimanis and his family in Latvia. Read it here.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

another sign that the apocalypse is nigh

ATTENTION CHRISTIANS!! Are you tired of your pastor translating the Word of
God (King James) into Greek and Hebrew?? Come to _____Church.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Seeing is believing?

For a demonstration that what we don't always see what we think we see, click here.

"Person" of the year

I think the "Person" of the Year should be God. On the one hand, more people seem certain they know God's will on the social issues of the day. On the other, all of us feel the need to find answers as we confront the "acts of God" dominating the news, like diseases and global catastrophes.

-- Former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley

Communion without wine?

A bill on its way to Wisconsin's governor would give prison inmates access to Communion wine. The Wisconsin Assembly voted Nov. 10 to let prisoners consume up to 2 ounces of wine as part of a religious service. Gov. Jim Doyle, has not said whether he will sign the measure, which passed with bipartisan support.

The threat of militant Islam

The extreme radicalisation of Islam is one of the greatest threats to world peace and national and international harmony, and demands a carefully gauged response from the West and from the leaders of Christian Churches. Anti-Christian violence in Pakistan is not new, but the latest outbreak is particularly disturbing. Read more ...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Presbyterian Church schism?

A Presbyterian church has ordained a gay man who refuses to commit to remaining celibate despite the denomination's ban on sexually active homosexual ministers. The prohibition has split the denomination, with some churches moving ahead with ordaining gays and other more traditional churches demanding those congregations be disciplined. Read more ...

Anglican Church schism?

Almost half the world's Anglican archbishops have mutinied over the divisive issue of gay clergy. Read more ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Christian Handbook

Hot on the heels of the very successful Lutheran Handbook, Augsburg Fortress has now published the non-denominational The Christian Handbook: An Indispensable Guide to All Things Christian.
It offers a refresher course on a variety of subjects:
+ How to Stay Alert in Church;
+ What to Bring to a Church Potluck (By Region);
+ Ten Ways to Live Your Faith All Week Long;
+ How to Memorize a Bible Verse;
+ How to Survive an Old Testament Plague;
+ The Seven Funniest Bible Stories.
The Christian Handbook also contains maps, charts, and other resources in
three user-friendly sections: "Church Stuff," "Everyday Stuff" and "Bible Stuff."


Religious podcasts are a big hit. Read more ...

All Things Lutheran

For a discussion group dealing with all things Lutheran, you may want to check out Luther Quest. I have not participated, but my off-hand impression is that most of the participants are rather conservative.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

New Revised Standard Version

The universally most accepted modern translation of the Bible will be available for your PDA from Olive Tree Software. According to Mr. Drew Haninger, President, "I have heard the NRSV being referred to as the '‘gold standard'’ among translations. Nothing would bring me greater pleasure than to serve the academic and Bible community by making the NRSV available in every known PDA format including Blackberry and the Smart Phone and with the best biblical language references and tools available!"” Although not yet listed on their web site, the translation will become available in about a week.


See stars being formed. Look & read ...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sunday morning St. Anthony Park Lutheran

music -- free; offering -- tithe; hearing your granddaughter sing -- priceless

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Have you noticed how many more people are riding scooters? If a bunch of them formed an "outlaw" group, would they be known as Heck's Angels?

Thoughts on Living Wills

Edited from
Living wills got a lot of attention as Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman, died a lingering death after her feeding tube was pulled.
One critic says those living wills are not always the answer to avoid a contentious end-of-life dilemma. Deborah Sturm, a registered nurse and member of National Association of Pro-Life Nurses, addressed the problems living wills pose.
A living will is a type of health-care advance directive: written instructions individuals establish regarding what they do or do not want for medical treatment in the event they cannot speak for themselves.
"The standard living-will documents that are advocated by those who support euthanasia have a general presumption for death," Sturm told ZENIT. "The language is often ambiguous and can be interpreted by a health-care provider in a variety of ways that a patient did not intend. Some living wills allow for the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration -- which, of course, includes food and water -- if a patient is comatose or vegetative," she said. "In other words, a living will can kill a person."
Sturm suggested seeking out living-will documents that have a "general presumption for life" from pro-life agencies such as National Right to Life, the International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force and the American Life League.
"All of these documents involve designation of a health-care proxy who speaks for the patient when they cannot speak for themselves," Sturm said. "The proxy should be someone who is knowledgeable about the patient's pro-life worldview and who is solidly grounded in a pro-life worldview themselves."

Friday, November 11, 2005

Vatican's policy on gay priests

A long-awaited Vatican document says practicing gays, those with ''deeply rooted'' homosexual tendencies or those who support gay culture cannot be admitted to the priesthood.

Any candidate with ''passing'' homosexual tendencies that were never acted on must have overcome them for at least three years for them to be ordained;the eight-page document from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education will be made public Nov. 29. Read more ...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Hebrew alphabet discovery

Archaeologists digging in July at the site, Tel Zayit, found an inscribed stone in the wall of an ancient building. After an analysis of the layers of ruins, the discoverers concluded that this was the earliest known specimen of the Hebrew alphabet and an important benchmark in the history of writing. Read more ...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

How much are we willing to do for our faith?

The N.Y. Times reports the following:

Xiaodong Li is Chinese. He is also a Christian, and that combination is dangerous. After he was arrested 10 years ago, Mr. Li said, he was tortured until he confessed to organizing an underground church. He was forced to clean public toilets 40 hours a week and given a date for a court hearing that was likely to end with two years in prison. With his hearing pending, Mr. Li fled to the United States.

Tragically, China considered Mr. Li a criminal for practicing his faith without official permission. Astonishingly, the United States government agreed.
Read more ...

Good questions

This could be worth looking at:
Frequently Avoided Questions: An Uncensored Dialogue on Faith by Chuck Smith Jr. and Matt Whitlock. Baker Books, Nov. 2005, ISBN: 0-8010-6543-7, $14.99.
In each chapter, Smith and Whitlock discuss the history of the Christian response ("old school") versus how Christians might respond today ("new school"). Their focus is an examination of both perspectives. They have also launched a blog ( to ignite further discussion on questions addressed in FAQ:

1. Why the Bible?
2. Do I Have to Go to Church?
3. Do I Have to Sell God?
4. Can Christianity Be Reduced to Steps?
5. Does God Speak outside the Bible?
6. Is Forgiveness Real?
7. What Makes the Christian Experience Unique?
8. Are Christians the Morality Police?
9. Do Good People Go to Hell?
10. Does the Bible Contradict Evolution?
11. Am I Supposed to Hate the World?
12. Are There Gay Christians?
13. Is It Wrong to Take a Job in a Bar?


An Anglican priest, upon arriving at a party, reached for a glass of
whiskey-and-soda sitting on the mantel, and proceeded to drink.
"GASP!", went one gentleman, "How can you drink after someone else?!!?"
The priest replied, "Well, I drink after several hundred people every
Sunday, and it has not hurt me yet!"

Which authors affect our literary culture? set out to identify the ten literary (as opposed to purely popular) writers whose work is having the greatest impact on our culture. You may be surprised by the conclusions. Read more ...

The Hurricane Pastor

My good friend and former associate, Rev. David Johnson, will be preaching at Emmaus Lutheran Church this Sunday. He will talk about his congregation's experiences during the recent hurricane season. Pastor David serves Zion Lutheran in Silverhill, Alabama.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


The Spirituality of Writing with R. Scott Colglazier, president of United Theological Seminary, at the Seminary, 3000 NW 5th St., New Brighton, on Friday 7:30-9 p.m. (free)
Soul Words: Praying With Poetry for people interested in expressions of God's mystery and majesty in poetic images, at St. Paul's Monastery, 2675 E. Larpenteur Ave., Maplewood, ($15) Nov. 10, 7-9 p.m.


Today I attended a most interesting presentation about angels by retired Methodist pastor, Jim Nelson. He discussed the effect of angels in contemporary society as well as angels in the three major religions. Rev. Nelson has an excellent sense of humor; he also brought along examples of angels in paintings, sculpture, and extra-Biblical literature. If you are ever looking for a good presenter for a Bible study, senior's group, or any other gathering, I can highly recommend him. I do not know what he charges, but his phone number is 952-884-8048.

How to make money representing Christians

Attorney Jay Sekulow who, through the ACLJ and a string of interconnected nonprofit and for-profit entities, has built a financial empire that generates millions of dollars a year and supports a lavish lifestyle — complete with multiple homes, chauffeur-driven cars, and a private jet that he once used to ferry Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Read more ...

Pope Urges Dialogue With Lutherans

Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that ecumenical talks with Lutherans had run into new challenges and called for greater efforts at dialogue in the years before the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Read more ...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The end of fall

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Defrocked Pastor Turns The Other Cheek

What is most remarkable about the Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud is her Christian response to the church that has discarded her. After Stroud announced to her United Methodist congregation that she was in a committed relationship with a woman, the local bishop filed a complaint against her last year. The church's lower court stripped her of her credentials as minister. Her home church immediately rehired her as a lay minister, but she can no longer perform baptisms or celebrate Communion. Still, a day after the United Methodist Church's Judicial Council defrocked her because she is openly a lesbian, Stroud said, “I love the Methodist church.”
Connie Schultz, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland

Will Methodists exclude gays from church membership?

Like other mainline denominations, the United Methodist Church, the country's third-largest denomination, has been struggling with the role of gay men and lesbians in the pews and in the pulpit. The church has traditionally welcomed gay people, though it does not ordain "self-avowed practicing homosexuals."

On Monday, the Church's Judicial Council, its equivalent of the Supreme Court, ruled that the Rev. Edward Johnson had rightfully used his pastoral discretion in refusing to accept an openly gay man as a member of his church in South Hill, Va. In response to the ruling, the Council of Bishops published a letter on Thursday to "the people of the United Methodist Church" stating that "homosexuality is not a barrier" to membership. Read more ...

Oldest Christian Church Discovered

Israeli archaeologists say they have discovered what may be the oldest Christian church in the Holy Land on the grounds of a prison near the biblical site of Armageddon. Read more ...

The Pope With Style

Pope Benedict XVI is developing a reputation as a clotheshorse with his taste for Prada shoes and designer
sunglasses. The Tablet, a Roman Catholic newspaper in England, points to the new pope's expensive sunglasses,
which Vatican officials say were a present. He has also been spotted in baseball caps and red shoes from Prada.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Blessing ceremony for same-sex partners

Sweden's Lutheran Church has authorized special church ceremonies for same-sex partners, but the ceremonies will not be traditional weddings. Read more ...

Science & Religion

Cardinal Paul Poupard, who heads the Pontifical Council for Culture, said today the faithful should listen to what secular modern science has to offer, warning that religion risks turning into ''fundamentalism'' if it ignores scientific reason. Read more ...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The best blogs

"With more than 14 million blogs in existence and another 80,000 being created each day, how is a person supposed to find the ones worth reading?" CNET answers its own question with a listing of 100 best blogs; I don't think there is one on the list about God/theology/religion.

More on Intelligent Design

The Discovery Institute, a leading proponent of intelligent design, says it warned a Pennsylvania school district now in court that it shouldn't institute a policy on the controversial concept because it could be found “somehow unconstitutional.”

To do: absolutely nothing

Can idleness be a virtue? -- perhaps even a necessity? Read more ...

Holy car! 1975 Escort fetches $690,000

The car keys to heaven? A Houston collector bought the only car Pope John Paul II ever owned, a 1975 powder-blue Ford Escort, for $690,000. Read more ...

Evolution of Confession

The Reformation of the Keys: Confession, Conscience, and Authority in Sixteenth-Century Germany by Ronald K. Rittgers, Harvard Univ. Press. Read a review by Matthew Lundin.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

free web hit counter