Saturday, March 31, 2007

how to offend everyone

The president of the leading Southern Baptist seminary has suggested that a biological basis for homosexuality may be proven, and that prenatal treatment to reverse gay orientation would be biblically justified.

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and one of the country’s evangelical leaders, posted the article on his personal Web site earlier this month.

Mr. Mohler said in the article that scientific research “points to some level of biological causation” for homosexuality.

That suggestion offended fellow conservatives, Mr. Mohler said. Proof of a biological basis would challenge the belief of many conservative Christians that homosexuality, which they view as sinful, is a matter of choice that can be overcome through prayer and counseling.

But Mr. Mohler said he was criticized even more strongly by supporters of gay rights, who were upset by his assertion that homosexuality would remain a sin even if it were biologically based, and by his support for possible medical treatment that could change an unborn child’s sexual orientation.

“He’s willing to play God,” said Harry Knox, a spokesman on religious issues for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group. “He’s more than willing to let homophobia take over and be the determinant of how he responds to this issue, in spite of everything else he believes about not tinkering with the unborn.”

The article, published on March 2, carried a long but intriguing title: “Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It?”

Mr. Mohler began by summarizing some recent research into sexual orientation and advising his Christian readership that they should brace for the possibility that a biological basis for homosexuality might be proven.

He wrote that such proof would not alter the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality, but said the discovery would be “of great pastoral significance, allowing for a greater understanding of why certain persons struggle with these particular sexual temptations.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

love vs. hate?

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
-- Elie Wiesel

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

sitting in church

Satan is not concerned with how many people gather in a service if all they do is sit and listen and leave. Satan does not care how much seed is sown as long as he can steal it away.
-- W. Oscar Thompson Jr., Concentric Circles of Concern

Sunday, March 25, 2007

FAITH Free Lutheran Church

This morning I visited FAITH Free Lutheran Church, 140 W. 44th Street, in Minneapolis; the congregation I served for six years. The present pastor is Greg Lenz, a gifted preacher, whom I met today for the first time.
The guest musician with the trombone in the picture is my friend, Carolyn Mathieson; at the piano, Ruth Holmaas.
As the church's web site says: "Welcome Home -- to the Lutheran Church you remember -- to the Living Congregation you're looking for!"
If you are seeking for a conservative, traditional, pietistic approach to Lutheran worship, this may be the congregation for you. To check out their web site, click here.

Friday, March 23, 2007

honest religion

Honest religion, more familiar than its critics with the distortions and absurdities perpetuated in its name, has an active interest in encouraging a healthy skepticism for its own purposes ... There is the possibility for religion and science to forge a real partnership against pseudo-science. Strangely, I think it would soon be engaged also in opposing pseudo-religion.
-- Carl Sagan

Thursday, March 22, 2007

surround yourself

Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who will argue with you.
-- John Wooden

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

food for thought

Statement from the leaders of the Episcopalian Church:
"We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done and is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion, and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence done to women and children as well as those who are persecuted because of their differences, often in the name of God. The (Primates') Communiqué is distressingly silent on this subject. And, contrary to the way (others) have represented us, we proclaim a Gospel that welcomes diversity of thought and encourages free and open theological debate as a way of seeking God's truth. If that means that others reject us and communion with us, as some have already done, we must with great regret and sorrow accept their decision."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Can small be beautiful?

The majority of our society seems to be on a quest for more & bigger. Despite increasing costs of land and building materials, new homes are larger than ever before. The rising price of fuel has not dampened enthusiasm of most drivers for pickup trucks and SUVs. How should we spend the resources God has given us? Perhaps, at least as far as houses are concerned, we could learn from the Japanese. click here

Monday, March 19, 2007

seeking God

It never ceases to amaze me that I can read a familiar Scripture passage and yet a phrase will jump out at me as if it was just inserted there for the first time. Today's example is from Hebrews 11:6:

And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Isn't it a comfort to know that the Lord will reward us who seek him? Let us continue to seek him!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Lenten thoughts

Read some Lenten thoughts by Abbot Thomas. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Are you listening?

If the God of the universe tells you something, you should write it down!
-- Henry Blackaby

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Every day has stress; some more than others. Last night I was telling my granddaughter that a helpful way to deal with it is to say a little prayer to Jesus asking for help.

Jesus said: "Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
-- Matthew 28:20

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Night Prayer

It was a blessing to attend Night Prayer at St. Matthew's yesterday evening. The following is one of the prayers from the service:

God, we have wounded your love.
O God heal us.
We stumble in the darkness.
Light of the world transfigure us.
We forget that we are your home.
Spirit of God, dwell in us.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Jeffrey Dahmer

I understand that the link to my posting yesterday is no longer valid and that the story has been removed to the "pay" section of the Star Tribune. The story was about a pastor who baptized Jeffrey Dahmer in prison. Dahmer was a mass murderer who was killed while in prison. Many "christians," including some clergy ostracized the pastor for baptizing such a murderer. The pastor told about how Dahmer was seeking redemption and thanked him for teaching him about God and Christ's forgiveness of sins.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


It is truly sad when even some clergy do not understand redemption. Click here

Night Prayer

From Night Prayer at St. Matthew's:
Lord, it is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.

Eternal Spirit,
Flow through our being and open our lips,
That our mouths may proclaim your praise.

Angels of God,
Guard us through the night
And quieten the powers of darkness.

Spirit of God,
Be our guide
Lead us to peace and to glory.

Praise to God who has created us,
Praise to God who has accepted us,
And praise to God who sends us into the world.
As it was in the beginning, is now and shall be for ever.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

How do we deal with doubt?

My own peculiar task in my Church and in my world has been that of the solitary explorer who, instead of jumping on all the latest bandwagons at once, is bound to search the existential depths of faith in its silences, its ambiguities, and in those certainties which lie deeper than the bottom of anxiety. In those depths there are no easy answers, no pat solutions to anything. It is a kind of submarine life in which faith sometimes mysteriously takes on the aspect of doubt, when, in fact, one has to doubt and reject conventional and superstitious surrogates that have taken the place of faith.
-- Thomas Merton

Friday, March 09, 2007


The desert fathers said that judging others is a heavy burden, while being judged by others is a light one. Once we can let go of our need to judge others, we will experience an immense inner freedom. Once we are free from judging, we will be also free for mercy. Let's remember Jesus' words: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged" (Matthew 7:1).
-- Henri Nouwen Society

Thursday, March 08, 2007

God's art & Ivars' Birds

You have probably noticed that in recent months I have posted more & more pictures of birds and nature scenes. My passion for photography of these subjects has prompted me to start a new blog, Ivars' Birds. This blog will be focused on the topic of nature photography, with emphasis on birds.

I hope that my growing experience in this field will encourage others with a similar inclination and that we will grow together sharing our experiences.

I will, of course, continue this blog and hope that you will visit both on a regular basis. You will find Ivars' Birds at:

All art worthy of the name is religious.
Be it a creation of lines and colors,
if it is not religious, it does not exist.
If it is not religious, it is only a matter
of documentary art, anecdotal art,
which is no longer art.

-- Henri Matisse

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image of God

There is no dichotomy between man and God's image.
Whoever tortures a human being,
whoever abuses a human being,
whoever outrages a human being,
abuses God's image.
-- Oscar Romero, martyr

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What is necessary for salvation?

Our traditional views deserve periodic examination so that we can be certain we have not strayed from the truth. One such examination is currently in Christianity Today by David P. Gushee. Read the article here.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Second Sunday in Lent

St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church
2323 Como Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108

God of the covenant,
in the mystery of the cross
you promise everlasting life to the world.
Gather all peoples into your arms,
and shelter us with your mercy,
that we may rejoice in the life we share in your Son,
Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and forever.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

end of tonight's total eclipse of the moon

. . . and the moon

will not shed its light.

Isaiah 13:10


mice are hungry also

And you are to make
images of your tumors
and images of your mice
that are bringing the land to ruin,
and you are to give honor
to the God of Israel;
perhaps he will lighten his hand
from upon you,
from upon your gods
and from upon your land.

I Samuel 6:5

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Friday, March 02, 2007


At last Monday's Night Prayer (see my February 27 post) I was impressed by the invitation to the Holy Eucharist (Communion) printed in the bulletin:

The table of bread and wine is the table of company with Jesus,
and all those who love him.
So come to this table you who have much faith,
and you who would like to have more;
you who have been to this sacrament often,
and you who have never been or not been in a long time.
You who have tried to follow Jesus;
and you who have failed;
come, it is Christ who invites us to meet him here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

more snow



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