Thursday, November 30, 2006

St. Mary's Hospital, Rochester, Minnesota

Yesterday, I was back at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, visiting my sister-in-law's husband, Robert. Please remember him in your prayers as he fights depression and is anxious to return home.

I am more impressed with this hospital every time I visit. From reports, as well as my own observation, the staff is very kind and extremely understanding of the needs of patients, as well as visitors.

Christian symbols may still be found and the gift shop plays real Christmas music, not just the secular pap. The food in the cafeteria is quite good and inexpensive; there is even a small Starbuck's counter.

Scroll down to my November 4 & 5 posts for previously posted pictures.

The LORD will give them strength in their pain,
will bring them back from sickness to health.
Psalm 41:3 (Grail)

St. Mary's Hospital by moonlight

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

ambitious pastors

Something has happened in the past 30 or so years that has shifted our pastoral ethic from one of faithfulness to one of productivity and success. I believe this has stirred the fires of ambition. Given the nature of our American culture, this doesn't surprise me.
It also doesn't surprise me that the battle with ambition will be a ferocious one, for the tendency toward self-absorption plagues every one of us. … It would be so refreshing to hear Christian leaders in some panel discussion copping to the fact that they struggle with it and it often drives their ministry. We all know it's there. If only we could start being honest about it.

Kent Carlson, co-senior pastor of Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


The natives showed us
unusual kindness.
Since it had begun to rain
and was cold,
they kindled a fire
and welcomed all of us around it.
Acts 28:2

Monday, November 27, 2006


Tranquility comes through listening.

It is impossible to truly listen

while doing something else

at the same time.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

sermon highlight this morning

Truth sets you free, says the Gospel -- but not without a fight, say I.
Rev. Amy Thoren

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Live your life so that the fear of death can never enter your heart. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light. Give thanks for your life and your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. And if perchance you see no reason for giving thanks, rest assured the fault is in yourself.
Tecumseh (Shawnee)

The NET Bible

I finally got around to ordering the First Edition of The Net Bible. The First Edition designation is somewhat misleading since it was preceded by a Beta Edition, which I purchased several years ago and have extensively used. What makes this Bible unique are the 60,932 editors' notes; it is the only Bible which to my knowledge discusses in the notes the options for translating difficult or confusing passages and gives the editors' rationale for their selection. The notes also contain extensive references to the Greek and Hebrew texts. The actual translation can read somewhat clumsily at times, particularly in those passages which are very familiar to us. For example:
The LORD is my shepherd,
I lack nothing.
He takes me to lush pastures,
he leads me to refreshing water.
He restores my strength.
He leads me down the right paths
for the sake of his reputation.
Even when I must walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff reassure me.
You prepare a feast before me
in plain sight of my enemies.
You refresh my head with oil;
my cup is completely full.
Surely your goodness and faithfulness
will pursue me all my days,
and I will live in the LORD's house
for the rest of my life.
-- or --
For this reason the sovereign master himself will give you a confirming sign.
Look, this young woman is about to conceive and will give birth to a son.
You, young woman, will name him Immanuel.

This second passage, of course, is often the subject of arguments whether the young woman should be referred to as a virgin. Not only does the footnote go into great detail about this dispute, but there are many pages of introduction to the NET Bible that describe the various approaches to Bible translation. This introduction by itself is worth the price of admission, in my opinion.

The full text & notes are available as a free download on the Internet, or, you may simply read it on line. Take a look at it. I believe the NET Bible is a wonderful, unique tool for serious Bible study.

Friday, November 24, 2006

What leftovers?


Love is not a feeling,
but an act of will.
Sister Joan Noreen

Thursday, November 23, 2006

study of Scripture

If you wish to attain to the true science of the Scriptures, hasten first of all to acquire an unshakeable humility of heart. It is this that will lead you, not to the science that puffs up, but to that which illumines, by the consummation of charity.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


There are a lot of impossible, unspoken rules on Thanksgiving. We´re supposed to be thankful and eat a lot and drink a lot and be nice to each other. Teenagers are supposed to stop being sullen. Matriarchs are supposed to make a perfect turkey and some man is supposed to know how to carve it.
Joann Loulan, a family therapist

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

God's art

when religion loses its credibility

It was the title that caught my eye: 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You (But Can't Because He Needs the Job) Read about one of the things discussed by Baptist pastor, Oliver "Buzz" Thomas here

Monday, November 20, 2006


Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.

This is why

we have to head south

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Spiritual music and art

The beauty and grandeur of the faith resound in spiritual music and sacred art. Music and art touch our senses and help us to open our spirit and heart to God and his Word.
Benedict XVI

Sunday morning sunrise

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Liturgy of the Hours

This is a wonderful source for listening in on liturgical chant; the liturgy may be either downloaded or simply listened to on your computer. There is no better way to close the day than with the Vespers. click here

St. Katherine Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Arden Hills, Minnesota
 Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 17, 2006

understanding God's Word

[Marcella] understood that meditation does not consist in repeating the texts of Scripture . . . for she knew that she would only deserve to understand the Scriptures when she had translated the commandments into life.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

more for pastors

More from The Lutheran Handbook (see yesterday's posting):
* What if you forget your sermon notes at home? Remember, no one has ever complained that a sermon was too short.
* Some uses for OLD SERMON MANUSCRIPTS: +You can reuse old sermon manuscripts when you give devotions at the nursing home. +Save them to use as packing material when you leave your current call. +If you or your spouse enjoy scrapbooking, use decorative scissors on the edges. This will preserve them for your golden years. You will be shocked that you ever preached such heresy.

* One of the suggestions for handling ringing cell phones during the service: Equip ushers with squirt guns. Many older gentlemen appreciate a John Wayne-style gun belt to accompany their six-shooter. Younger ushers prefer Super-Soakers. Keep towels handy to dry the offender off and avoid hard feelings. (Program your own cell phone to play
A Mighty Fortress is our God.
* Some of the suggestions for getting out of a traffic ticket: +Always wear your clerical collar when driving. +Address the officer as "my child."
(ed. maybe not)

I got my deer

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

for pastors

It's always dangerous to go to the Luther Seminary bookstore. Among my finds yesterday was The Lutheran Handbook for Pastors which follows the extremely successful The Lutheran Handbook. The pastors' handbook is generally not as funny, but does have more useful suggestions. (There is also The Lutheran Handbook on Marriage.) A few of my favorite excerpts:
* You may be called to ordained ministry if you can ingest large quantities of low-grade coffee without becoming ill.
* Consider finding out the brand of your bishop's favorite candy and send him or her a case of it, especially if you might enter the mobility process in the near future.

* If you're bored with your preaching, there's a good chance others are too.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

church window

Monday, November 13, 2006

God's art

God has made everything beautiful in its time.
Eccl. 3:11

Sunday, November 12, 2006

traps in seeking God

We encounter many snares in our search for God. One of them is fundamentalism. A reader of Andrew Sullivan's blog writes:
While the faithful can simply say, "This is what I believe," a Fundamentalist must say "This is what I believe, and what you believe is wrong." A Fundamentalist defines himself by what he is not.

This is also a good working definition of original sin. At the beginning of his Ethics, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote (I'm grossly paraphrasing here) that before the Fall, man was aware only of God, and had no awareness of himself apart from God, as one who looks straight into the sun cannot see anything but the sun. The Fall came when man turned away from God and became aware of himself as something apart from God, as one who turns from the sun and sees his shadow is aware of himself only as an absence of light.

In the Old Testament, this is illustrated by Jonah, who (unsuccessfully) fled from God when commanded to go to Nineveh. In the New Testament, the parable of the pharisee and the publican makes the same point.

Seeing yourself only as what you are, rather than as what you are not, requires Christ-like humility. All who try will fail. The Fundamentalist embraces this failing and proclaims it as virtue. This is why Fundamentalist religion and Fundamentalist nationalism (jingoist patriotism) are such natural allies.

Sullivan adds:

Christianity can and will survive the fundamentalist temptation. It has in the past; and it will in the future. It's just the recognition of a lost spiritual compass that is hard.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Tranquility is not the same as laziness. Laziness is the habit of resting before you are tired.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

God's art

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded.
Isaiah 50:7

God's art

Sunday, November 05, 2006

“I seek the mercy of God and fellowship in this community.”

Yesterday at First Vespers of All Saints our little community welcomed Jeff Farmiloe and Daniel Jetty into the Novitiate. A year of discernment and prayer to see if God is calling them to our Benedictine way of life. It was a happy day for all of us. As we were practicing for the ceremony in the early afternoon Fr. Michael was sitting at the organ going over some music. The first thing I say to the two men in the ceremony is: “What is your request?” Before they could practice their line Fr. Michael piped up and said: “I’ll take a cheeseburger and fries.” Nothing like injecting a bit of humor into a serious moment. But the real answer is: “I seek the mercy of God and fellowship in this community.”

For all of us living this way of life as a Benedictine, and really for any Christian, that is a good response. We all should seek the mercy of God, for we are all sinners in need of mercy and forgiveness. And we all should seek to be in fellowship, in communion with others. We need others as we journey back to the Father and our heavenly homeland. We need others for support, encouragement, others for whom we can and ought to show compassion, care, forgiveness.

Abbot Thomas, O.S.B.

Fundamentalism or Atheism?

There is a third way: spiritual and religious humility.
Andrew Sullivan

now THIS is a hospital chapel

St.Mary's Hospital Chapel, Rochester, Minnesota

Saturday, November 04, 2006

St. Mary's

I've never posted to this blog w/my Palm Treo phone but I thought I'd give it a try while I'm sitting watch over my sister-in-law's husband, Robert, here at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester. Robert has suffered several strokes, but we're hoping he is in a recovery mode. Being here is a good reminder for me how fragile life is - how unimportant the football game on TV is. Please say a prayer for Robert & his wife, Judy. +peace

Friday, November 03, 2006


They operate from elsewhere,
Some hall in the mountains -
Quick visit, gone.
Specialists on branch ends,
craft union. I like their
clean little coveralls.

William Stafford

Mike's Birding & Digiscoping blog

God's art

Fox Sparrow on a frosty morning

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

more on "Jesus Camp"

Jesus Camp Clip - Becky Fischer speaks to kids

more on "Jesus Camp"

Jesus Camp

saving Holly

Andrew Sullivan writes in his blog:
I haven't seen "Jesus Camp," what with the book tour and all. But I intend to when this election is over. Here's a clip that is unsettling to me in a way I find hard to express. See for yourself: click here
What do you think?

Are you tired?

Jesus doesn't say, "Come to me all who are burdened and I'll give you more to do." He says he'll give you rest.
Rick Warren

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

free web hit counter