Wednesday, May 31, 2006

my preaching schedule

Next Sunday, June 4, I'll be preaching & leading the 9 a.m. service at Beaver Lake Lutheran Church in Maplewood. My Pentecost message will be Free at Last! based on Romans 8:1-10.
For a map of the Church's location, click here.
I look forward to seeing you!

God's creation at Springbrook Nature Center

"You're in my space!"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

more religious institutions may be in trouble

Lynette Petruska, a chaplain at the Roman Catholic Gannon University in Erie, Pa., says she was forced out of her job because she was a woman and because she objected to sexual harassment at the school. In 2004, a federal judge threw out her case because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the First Amendment give great leeway to religious institutions in hiring practices. Repeated court rulings have stayed out of similar employment cases because of what is known as the "ministerial exception."

Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit offered a "a carefully tailored version of the ministerial exception." When the employment issue is "religious belief, religious doctrine, or the internal regulations of a church," then courts have no business entering into the dispute, the judges ruled. But when the dispute is unconnected to those issues, employment discrimination "is simply the exercise of intolerance, not the free exercise of religion that the Constitution protects." The ruling explains further:

When a religious organization fires or demotes a woman on the basis of sex, it may be acting according to religious belief, religious doctrine, or church regulation (consider, for example, the Catholic Church's prohibition of female priests). In such a case, the religious organization would be immune from a Title VII suit. But a religious institution might also fire a woman because the individuals making the decision are, simply put, sexist. Religious doctrine and internal church regulation play no role in such a decision.

how the early Christians worshipped

Read Justin Martyr's account from 155 A.D.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

pass the baton

Last night we attended mass at St. Andrew's Church in Elk River to support friends who are mourning the death of their daughter; her 18th birthday was yesterday. In his homily, Rev. Korf talked about our obligation to pass the baton of our faith to younger generations. Let us do so! Afterward, with many of her friends, we released orange balloons (Kristin's favorite color) filled with personal notes & birthday messages and watched them rise to heaven and float toward the sunset. I wonder where they are now -- have they come back to earth?

I called to the Lord in my distress;
God answered and freed me.

Psalm 118:5 (Grail translation)

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Lord provides

How good you are, LORD, to all,
compassionate to all your creatures.
Psalm 145:9 (Grail)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Help from God

(Brother Lawrence explained) That we ought to act very simply towards God, speaking frankly to Him, and asking His help in things as they occurred; in his experience, God never failed to give it.
Brother Lawrence (1611-1691)

hang in there . . .

. . . the long weekend is almost here!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bike & biker blessing at Blue Cloud Abbey, May 20

Fr. Tom blessing the bikes & bikers from Aberdeen, South Dakota

Fr. Julius considers joining the group

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

it's good to be back

As much as I don't like to leave Blue Cloud Abbey, it's always good to be home again. Of course, our comfort is in knowing that the Lord is with us wherever we are.

I will give you glory, O God my king,
I will bless your name for ever.

I will bless you day after day
and praise your name for ever.
You are great, LORD, highly to be praised,
your greatness cannot be measured.
* * *
You are faithful in all your words
and loving in all your deeds.
You support those who are falling
and raise up all who are bowed down.
* * *
Let me speak your praise, O LORD,
let all peoples bless your holy name
for ever, for ages unending.

Psalm 145 (Grail translation)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Blue Cloud Abbey

I'm off to Blue Cloud Abbey in South Dakota for a few days -- so there will be a brief lapse in postings until next week. Allow me to leave you with a few lines from Psalm 84, the Grail translation:

How lovely is your dwelling place,
LORD, God of hosts.
My soul is longing and yearning,
is yearning for the courts of the LORD.

They are happy, who dwell in your house,
for ever singing your praise.

One day within your courts
is better than a thousand elsewhere.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

prayer for mercy

For this day's sins, O God, grant us mercy:
for sloth that wasted the hours or for haste which outran its benedictions;
for fear that frustrated bold hopes or dullness that took everything for granted;
for anger that burst forth destructively or indifference that smothered the soul;
for suspicion wrongly held or for trust cheaply betrayed;
for indecision which avoided the evil or for compromise which disguised it.
Dean Samuel Miller

going fishing

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

evening prayer

Tired now, I go to rest,
Jesus, Savior, ever blest,
In Thy name I close mine eyes;
Watch Thou by me till I rise.
Thou my best and kindest friend
Thou wilt love me till the end!
Let me love Thee more and more,
Always better than before.

J.K. Wilhelm Loehe

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

God's creation

As for God, his way is perfect. Psalm 18:30

Great and amazing are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, King of the nations! Revelation 15:3

Majestic God, we praise you for the wonder of creation, for the beauty and mysteries of our cosmos. Help us this day to see the
miraculous in what we call the ordinary -- the grace in that which we too often take for granted. Amen.

The above is from a daily e-mail devotional provided by the Moravian Church.

Monday, May 15, 2006

How not to run a Christian school

Perhaps there are lessons to be learned by other Christian schools/seminaries. more

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ten Commandments

Where I need the Ten Commandments is in my heart. It does no good for me to have it sitting in the Montgomery County Courthouse.
Mark Kellner, assistant director of the Adventist News Network

Friday, May 12, 2006

How to fill our lives with God's love & peace

Follow Paul's advice to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 13:11 TNIV):
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

where to find comfort when you have been wronged

It is easy to become discouraged and depressed when others do you wrong. This can be even more painful when it happens in the church -- not only at the hands (or mouths) of fellow members, but even the pastor or leaders of your denomination. Where do you turn? We know the answer, but it is good to be reminded in these words of Martin Luther.

In Jeremiah 31:16 it says: "Your works shall be rewarded"; and St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:58: "In the Lord your labor is not in vain." . . . God wants to wake us up and to strengthen us with this beautiful promise. Then we will not pay attention to the ingratitude, hate, envy, and contempt of the world, but pay attention to Him who says: "I am your God. If the world refuses to thank you and deprives you of your reputation and property, even of your body and life, just cling to Me, and find your consolation in the fact that I still have a heaven, with so much in it that I can easily recompense you and give you ten times as much as they can take away from you now."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

favorite prayer

Sister Annunziata could not say whether she had a favorite prayer. But she became so fascinated by a saying of Paul Claudel that she spent a whole week pondering it:
"God: the origin in which all things begin. The present, which carries everything. The end point, into which everything flows."
Simone Kosog Wisdom from the Monastery

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Fire & brimstone preacher?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

pay someone to worry for you

Abbot Thomas, Blue Cloud Abbey, writes about Fr. Tim who started Worry, Inc.
Get rid of your worries by clicking here.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Why is it the young who are always in a hurry?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dogma is an expression of ego

About a week ago, scholar and author, Karen Armstrong, was in town talking about her latest book, The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions, Knopf. She was asked, "You say in your book that religions are at their weakest when they become the most dogmatic. What do you think is the impulse behind the creation of dogma?"
"Egotism. When people propound their opinions, it's 'me, me, me' that they're talking about. When we think we're right and everybody else is wrong, it sounds like ego. And ego is the thing you have to transcend if you want to get in touch with God or nirvana or Brahman or the sacred. Compassion is the main keynote of Axial-Age religion. But people don't want to be compassionate; they want to be right."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Does God have a plan for you?

What do I want to do? -- and what does God want me to do? For seven years these are the questions that St. Francis of Assisi asked himself. Eventually, as he was sitting deep in prayer in a dilapidated church, he heard a decisive voice: "Francis, don't you see how broken down my house is? Go and rebuild it again!" Immediately it became clear to the saint what he had to do.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Need to calm down?

Nature is a very good tranquilizer.
Anton Chekhov

Monday, May 01, 2006


Give every day the chance to be the most beautiful in your life.
Mark Twain

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