Friday, February 29, 2008

a book for thought

I haven't read it yet, but this NY Times review has piqued my interest in What the Gospels Meant by Garry Wills. It's the 3rd book in the series following What Jesus Meant and What Paul Meant. It is 209 pp, Viking, $24.95.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
-- Kierkegaard

Sunday, February 24, 2008


There may not be much theology in this, but I believe it is something worth thinking about:
Observe cats,
how they can sit for hours and just watch,
they are not stressed,
they do not panic.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

back to Beaver Lake

Pastor Charlie asked me to fill in for him this coming Sunday also. It is nice to do so several Sundays in a row -- it provides a certain sense of continuity.
I will be preaching on the Gospel text, John 4:5-42. The title of my message is Meeting Jesus.
For directions and times, please check Beaver Lake's web site. The Eucharist will be served at the second, contemporary worship service.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

tonight's eclipse of the moon

The planet, Saturn, is at lower left; the star, Regulus, at the upper right.
For another photo of the eclipse, check my other blog.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

weaker brothers (and sisters)

There has been a lengthy discussion on The Submerging Influence blog about whether Christians should refrain from alcohol. Some excerpts to pique your interest:

My father-in-law said something very wise to me many years ago. It is a statement that has lived with me throughout all of my theological education and into my pastorate: “Mature Christians don’t stumble. They just complain.” That was basically the gist of what he said, and the idea is that only new/immature Christians stumble in the way spoken of in Romans 14. Maturing Christians aren’t in danger of stumbling; they are just mad that you don’t agree with them.

That certainly seems to be the case in my experience. If a pastor goes around saying something like, “Beer is a gift from God meant to be enjoyed”, alcoholics don’t relapse back into drunken stupor. Instead, what happens is that people in the church who want to try to be holier than Jesus (he drank and made wine, remember?) start complaining that the pastor is encouraging people to sin.

Chuck Swindoll speaks on this passage admonishing people to be careful because there are “professional weaker brethren” out there. Mark Hitchcock warns that if we always submit to the weaker brethren, then the church will always be bowing to the “least common denominator” and our freedom will suffer.

Ultimately, the weak brother is weak because he is wrong about his convictions (those things really aren’t sinful) and because his weakness doesn’t help him restrain his flesh in the end. But, even though such a position sounds silly to the strong brother, those who are strong must not look down on the weak brother, but should accept him because he abstains in honor of the Lord.

The full blog entry & comments are found here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

understanding Eve

Adam said to God,
"I like Eve very much. I would like a second Eve."
God replied to Adam,
"Try to understand the Eve you already have
and you won't need another one."
-- Juris Rubenis Finding God in a Tangled World

Friday, February 15, 2008

If Jesus Were Here Today . . .

This Sunday I will be filling in for Pastor Charlie Brown. The Eucharist will be served at both services. The title of my message will be
If Jesus Were Here Today . . .
For directions & times check Beaver Lake's web site.


Do we see all there is to see,
or only all that the mind is prepared to comprehend?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Can't hear God?

Jesus lived.
"I will have nothing more to say about myself," God said.
-- Juris Rubenis Finding God in a Tangled World

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cherokee prayer

Oh Great Spirit,
Help me always
to speak the truth quietly,
to listen with an open mind when others speak,
and to remember the peace that may be found in silence.

Monday, February 11, 2008

don't hide it

You were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within you. It is not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as you let your own light shine, you unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
-- Nelson Mandela

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Are we answering the wrong questions?

Our lives as we live them seem like lives that anticipate questions that never will be asked. It seems as if we are getting ourselves ready for the question "How much did you earn during your lifetime?" or "How many friends did you make?" or "How much progress did you make in your career?" or "How much influence did you have on people?" or "How many conversions did you make?"
Were any of these to be the question Christ will ask when he comes again in glory, many of us could approach the judgment day with great confidence. But nobody is going to hear any of these questions. The question we all are going to face is the question we are least prepared for. It is: "What have you done for the least of mine?"
As long as there are strangers; hungry, naked, and sick people; prisoners, refugees, and slaves; people who are handicapped physically, mentally, or emotionally; people without work, a home, or a piece of land, there will be that haunting question from the throne of judgment: "What have you done for the least of mine?"
-- Henri J.M. Nouwen Seeds of Hope

Saturday, February 09, 2008

agree? -- or disagree?

Far too often, religious services in the USA are of the adults, by the adults and for the adults. And don't think young people aren't noticing.
Stephen Prothero, chair of Boston University's Department of Religion

Friday, February 08, 2008

correcting problems

When a young, musically talented monk pointed out to the abbot that an older monk was singing out of tune, and asked how he should correct this "problem", the abbot replied:
"Love him for twenty years, then tell him he is out of tune."

Thursday, February 07, 2008

the present

If we insist on living our lives for the future,
we stand the danger of neglecting the present.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

Lord, protect us in our struggle against evil.
As we begin the discipline of Lent,
make this season holy by our self-denial.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


St. Paul's Lutheran School in India

While I was attending seminary, more than 10 years ago, I had the privilege of studying with Rev. Luther Dasari. Luther had already been ordained in India, but came to the U.S. to broaden his education and seek support for his ministry.
Currently, Luther is president of the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations in India which plants new churches, maintains orphanages and "old people's homes," runs medical camps in areas without hospitals, and operates St. Paul's School, which emphasizes education for disadvantaged lower caste children.
A few days ago, I set up a new blog for the school; I urge you to check it periodically for up to date reports -- click here.
We're also in the process of setting up a non-profit corporation in Minnesota to assist transfer of donations to the school and AFLC - India. I will let you know as soon as it is established. In the meanwhile, do not hesitate to write to me for more information about ways how you can help.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

liturgical ethics

Like the book of Leviticus, the NT does not inculcate a system of natural ethics based on universal human values that promote harmony within the order of creation. Instead, the NT proclaims a system of liturgical ethics -- the ethics of holiness -- a heavenly lifestyle for God's people on earth. The NT presupposes that all Christians are involved in the Divine Service that is enacted by the church together with Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. They are all priests who serve together with Christ their High Priest. They are also God's earthly sanctuary, the temple of the living God.
-- John Kleinig

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Jesus in your life

The presence of the living Jesus in your life
does not contradict the Holy Scriptures;
it helps you understand them better.

-- Juris Rubenis Finding God in a Tangled World

Friday, February 01, 2008


When I was young and would visit some of my older clients, I couldn't understand why they didn't have some music playing or the TV on. As I grow older, I cherish the quiet. I long to shut out noise.

Discover peace in silence.
You will learn that it is possible to journey
through the haste and noise of life to placidity.

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