Saturday, January 31, 2004

The comments are moving back down to the bottom. Why? Becuase you read the post and then you want to comment. This is the last move. I'm leaving it here, and if you post something in the wrong comment, I'm deleating the comment in question.

Lessons from Luther on the Inerrancy of Holy Writ
Legal Hermeneutics and the Interpretation of Scripture
Make sure to stop by Thomas today to read up on the Feast of the Three Hierarchs.

There seems to have been a discussion breaking out about worship music while I was ill, and it is a discussion I wanted to engage in but probably would have made a fool of myself if I had. While composing this, I am listening to Arvo Part's I Am the True Vine, one of the most beautiful pieces of a capella music I have ever heard. It is as relaxing as chant, but the polyphony add to the relaxing qualities. I do have my favorites. Anyway, Josh and Chris the Welshman have both discussed this topic, and I encourage all to look there.

Long ago, (actually, my first post), I said, "... we don't want to have the same crap shoved down our throats six days a week by corporate radio shoved down our throat again on the seventh!" There is something to be said for music that doesn't imitate the culture. Partly, it is because of the style of music American Evangelicalism has lost the idea that God is transcendent and powerful. We no longer fear God. (Got to be Good Looking Cause He's so Hard to See) Instead, God is our buddy. There is hope, however.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Sorry about my last post. I stopped mid-sentence because I was at work and the person who uses the computer I was typing on came back from lunch. I was thinking about bribery, lying, and exploding whales. As you can see, I missed out on commenting on a lot of important news because I wanted to bevomit. That never happened. Anyway, now that I am feeling slightly more chipper, I'll try to keep up.
I've been contimplating exactly what I want to blog about. I'm in another one of these "too much to blog about but not enough sleep" phases. Since I was ill most of this week, I haven't really felt like blogging, even though things like bribery .

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

First, important buisness. Do not click here unless you have time to waste. Thank you Jonah Goldberg. Thank you from keeping my mind off the fact I feel like bespewing.

Secondly, I ask once again for people to please place your comments under the proper comments area. I am moving some of your posts around to the proper comments threads. (Why am I the only blogger, it seems, to have this problem?)

Third, I have to get a political rant off my chest. We just passed legislation to give seniors perscription drug coverage. There is a problem with seniors and drugs. The problem is the government meddled in the insurance buisness and that caused the problem. Huh? In the 90s, Congress passed a law limiting Medicare supplemental coverage to ten plans, and only a few of those plans had perscription drug coverage. Those plans were expensive and covered other things seniors may or may not have wanted. So, Congress caused the problem in the first place. Seniors could not just go out and buy whatever coverage they needed, and perscription drug prices continued to rise (another rant). So, the government caused this mess. What should we do??? Should we repeal the silly law that caused the problem in the first place? [sarcasm]Oh no! Government can do know wrong![/sarcasm] So we passed more laws to cover the fact the first law is extremely defective. To quote John Stosell, "Give me a break!"

Fourth, while I'm on perscription drugs, I'll tell you why our drug costs are insane. Other countries just refuse to pay market value for their drugs. It's that simple. So, while everyone else gets cheap drugs, those of us in the US get the shaft and end up paying the costs for the rest of the world. Should we import our drugs from Canada? Why not make the Canadians, Brits, French, and everyone else actually pay for the drugs. There is the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal." and, IMHO, those governments are stealing drugs by not paying for them.

Finally, in case you missed it, Wish found an error in my post. I said Holy Cross excomunicated George Tiller. Mr. Tiller (I refuse to call anyone like him who takes life "Doctor") left Holy Cross before they had the pleasure of excomunicating him. My appologies for the bad info.
I did send an e-mail to an old friend asking about my blog, and he gave me good advice. He thinks I need to chill on the ad homenin and the sarcasm. He (and my no longer banned friend Tim) are right. So gone are the all out attacks and radical sarcasm (crosses fingers). I am a sinner and, God willing, I will not slip back into my old ways. I am a sinner, and that's why I'm crossing my fingers.

Issues Etc. had to replay the second hour from last week because the questions on The Purpose-Driven? Life were so numerous. Good. It gave people who didn't hear the second hour a chance to see the major problems. (The first hour can be found here.) They were planning on talking about the Word-Faith Movement.

Predestination: The Great Doctrine of Comfort

The Power of the Gospel

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Light beer is light on taste. light on flavor, and light on beer. During prohibition, there was a saying about near beer: "The man who named it near beer is a porr judge of distance." Light beer=water. If I wanted to spend $10 on a case of water, I wouldn't buy water with the words "Natural Light" on the side. I would rather buy Evian because it actually tastes better. For those of you who are poor and can't afford those high-priced imports, I suggest saving your money and buying some decent beer. Buy microbrews if you can't stand sending your money to Ireland, England, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, etc. Since light beer is priced like Evian without the taste, it must be evil. When something from France tastes better than light American macrobrews, the American macrobrews must be evil because they are being beaten by the French. The Lord sayeth, "Drink real beer."

I have been thinking about a very deep question: Is Rick Warren a theologian of the Cross?
As someone who does believe the sermon is very important, reading a sermon by the presiding bishop of the ECUSA, Frank Griswald, is like, well, you take a look. If you ever need an example of gospel reductionism, this is it. At least as far as what I could pull out of it. The words "mindless psycobable" came to mind much of the time while I was reading. If any Lutheran pastor ever preached like this, I would probably shoot myself in protest.

I am currently listening to Felix Mendelsohn's Symphony #5 in D minor (Reformation). The last movement, especially, should warm any true Lutheran's heart. It is a theme and variation on Ein Feste Burg. I should revise that; it is a beautifully done theme and variation on Ein Feste Burg. If you read the biography, the man is extremely important in my mind. First, he was almost single-handedly responsible for reviving Bach. Secondly, the man taught and died in Lezpig. Why is this important to me? You tell me. Needless to say, Mendelsohn is also known for writing the most pagan of songs, The Wedding March. The irony of it is, Mendelsohn was Lutheran! Then again, I'm the one who would love to have Mache dict, mein Herze, rein in my wedding (whenever that happens).

Martin Chemnitz' Summary of the Holy Trinity from 1591. The Second Martin describes the doctrine of the Trinity.

The thought of me describing why light beer is evil still looms heavy...

Saturday, January 24, 2004

I am going through, finding some of the internet material out there describing Lutheranism, its history, and belief structure. As news is slow, I think this isn't a bad idea. After analyzing my output, I've spent a lot of time trying to describe what Lutheranism isn't rather than actually try to relay what Lutheranism is and its relationship to everyone else. Thus, I present a few articles for your thoughts and discussion.

Lutheran-Orthodox Dialogue in the Sixteenth Century. This site is maintained by the Rev. David Jay Weber. It lists various articles describing the initial contact between Constantinople and Wittenburg. This dialogue that occurred in the latter sixteenth century is the basis for all discussions between Lutherans and Eastern Orthodoxy since.

Ubi Christus, ibi ecclesia. Herman Saase, a man who I hope to read more of when I get the opportunity. Until then, this little gem is an excellent introduction to his writing.

All Theology is Christology. One of the best theologians in the Lutheran Church describes Christology and why it is so important.

On Being a Theologian of the Cross. A great article that just begins to touch base on what being a theologian of the cross means. Read his book and you will find even more depth.

If this doesn't work, my next post will be on why light beer is evil.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Captain Kangaroo, RIP
Since I had covered Lutherans and the Bible (or should Sirach be canonical), I thought the discussions here and here might be useful to some of you. Buried in there is the name of a book by Robert Preus that might help clear up the mess I started.

I also want to clear up a couple other rules of commenting on this blog. I do not mind if you use an alias as long as you supply an e-mail address. While I may not have said as much, the fact that East Coast Lutheran and Wish are not banned should be proof of that. Anonymous posters will be asked to identify themselves. (I know we all screw up. For instance, you're posting from the computer at work instead of home and you forget to type your name in.) If a response is not forthcoming within a day, you will be banned from commenting. Most importantly, the prior rules still apply.

Finally, in case you didn't notice, I changed the titles of the comments to reflect the questions asked by the keeper of the bridge of death in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I will probably rotate the titles every once in a while to different Monty Python quotes and maybe even song lyrics. I hope you like the changes!

Thursday, January 22, 2004

"God will not suffer man to have the knowledge of things to come; for if he had prescience
of his prosperity he would be careless; and understanding of his adversity he would be senseless."

You are Augustine!

You love to study tough issues and don't mind it if you lose sleep over them.
Everyone loves you and wants to talk to you and hear your views, you even get things like "nice debating
with you." Yep, you are super smart, even if you are still trying to figure it all out. You're also
very honest, something people admire, even when you do stupid things.

What theologian are you?

A creation of Henderson

How Josh ended up with Wesley, I'll never know. I'm happy with Augustine.
I forgot today is the 31st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, where the Supreme Court found a right that isn't mentioned in the Constitution. Anyway, I happen to live in Wichita, KS, and our local murderer, Dr. George Tiller, is having a sale on abortions (go to the bottom of the page). I can give a little background on Dr. Tiller. For those who don't know, he was once a member of the LCMS. I say once a member because Holy Cross excommunicated him. He then moved to Reformation ******** Church (E*CA) where his blood money helped build a new sanctuary. St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral happens to be next to Reformation, and I feel bad for those people because protests occur weekly at Reformation and tend to disturb the liturgy at St. George.

(Thanks to Karl and Mark Shea for the story link)
Chris Williams from across the pond now has his own blog. It looks like he's off to a good start. This continues the trend of me linking mainly to people named "Chris". So if your name is Chris and I haven't linked to your blog yet, I'm here for you.

Update: A Chris that I like but haven't linked to (Christopher Jones) is now on my blogroll. All the Fulness is now on my blogroll. If you haven't read him, you are missing out on some very good and interesting ideas. Highly recomended.
I have added a couple of excellent blogs outside of Lutheranism onto my blogroll. I am more selective of what blogs I link to than many people might think. I've read both blogs for the past couple of months, and I find all of them to be excellent. I have given many compliments about Karl's blog, and I am amazed at how consistent and excellent his posts are. While I cannot declare I agree with everything, he will make you think, and that is the best compliment I can give. Chris Burgwald's blog on Catholicism and politics is also a gem. Christopher Johnson (I am linking to a lot of guys named Chris) earned a place for his honest, conservative criticism of the ECUSA and is the place to go to keep up with news in the Anglican sphere.

Today, you might want to read Thomas' post on St. Maximus the Confessor.

Thomas also had a link, and I want to spread it. After Abortion is a must read.

"FOR DIPLOMACY TO BE EFFECTIVE, WORDS MUST BE CREDIBLE -- and no one can now doubt the word of America." -- George Bush, the State of the Union, January 20, 2004.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

First, a little blog business. I have had someone post anonymously and then accuse me of being arrogant. Confident, yes. Arrogant, far from it. I do, however, have a real problem with someone anonymously accusing me of being arrogant. If Mr. Anonymous does not reveal himself (awfully sexist of me to think this person is a man), he will find himself banned on Friday. I am enforcing a rule Josh has: no one posts anonymously. I do not mind if people challenge me, but I will not tolerate not knowing who is doing the challenging.

Issues Etc. Transcript on The Purpose-Driven Life

The Church of the Highest Common Denominator

Seeker Sensitive, Purpose Driven Churches (more than enough links to please everyone)

The Pop, The Fizz and the Purpose-Driven Biz (I-Monk)

Monday, January 19, 2004

I am not sorry for calling things as I see them and I am not sorry for criticizing The Purpose-Driven Life. Any book that has such a wide audience actually deserves serious criticism. If a popular book espouses bad theology, it would be unloving for me to just sit here, put my fingers in my ears, and pretend nothing is wrong. I believe the criticism stands on its own merits, and if people wish to take issue with my criticism, one should do more than make general allegations that I twisted quotes and I engage in ad homenin attacks, because that itself is not more than an ad homenin without evidence. I would also let it be known I have never said this blog is anything close to a Bible Study. I do not mind this certain person telling me how he actually feels (he has no reason to apologize for what he said tonight and, actually, he earned some of my respect), at least don't make false claims about my blog. I give my opinions and, if people do not like them, well, those people are wrong.

The problem with using satire and sarcasm is that it can go too far and people get mad. It is very easy and very tempting to go too far. I went too far. For that, I say my mea culpas and ask for forgiveness.

My comments on British comedies elicited some excellent comments and a new show I need to get a hold of somehow.
Father Ted sounds right up my alley.

Soon, I am going to begin linking to some non-Lutheran blogs. There is a lot of good stuff out there that isn't within the realm of Lutheranism, and a lot of stuff I seriously disagree with. The people on those blogs, however, make intelligent cases for their positions and it is always worth reading someone else's ideas, especially if they are within the catholic tradition. If you want Calvinism and Arminianism, Josh has the links. I, myself, will stick with Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, and maybe a conservative Anglican. Karl will top that list because, after reading him for a while, I think he's one of the best Christian bloggers period. One day, I hope my blog shows as much intelligence and readability as his blog does. And, in case you didn't notice, I think Josh is in that same class. Anyone who has read me for long enough, most of the time I am short on accolades and long on criticism. That alone should show you how much respect I have for those two gentlemen.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

I don't know how many of you would have eventually stumbled upon this yourselves (it is Lutheran), but in case you have not, here is the History of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain. This document comes from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England (ELCE) and is in full altar and pulpit fellowship with the LCMS. I know this because one of my cousins was in London for a semester in an exchange program and had to find a church. I am not sure where in London he worshiped, but I know if I ever vacation in England, I'll have a place to go.

I have something of an addiction to British comedy. This goes beyond Monty Python (BTW, I finally bought the DVD for The Meaning of Life) and into the realms of shows like Black Adder and Absolutely Fabulous or Are You Being Served. (I am linking to Amazon mainly to show everyone what I am talking about in case you've never seen these shows. I could care less if you actually buy them.) There is just something unique about these comedies that make them enduring to me. I can still pop in my Black Adder tapes and laugh just like I'm watching them for the first time. I believe, partly, it is because a television series might only have a six or eight show season and, thus, the writing is not diluted like it is on many American shows. This seems to produce much higher quality shows overall.

My pastor pointed out something last Sunday that I am now just getting around to exploring. In the Westminster Confession, the first article is Of the Holy Scripture, and the article goes on to tell us which books are part of the Bible and which are not. Compare this to the Augsburg Confession whose first article is Of God. If you look through the rest of the Book of Concord, you will not find one definition on what Scripture is. The closest thing I have in my library is Chemnitz's Enchiridion, and he lists the apocryphal books as well. (He lists them as apocryphal, but he lists them.) Lutherans have never officially defined what the Bible is! Thus, if a Lutheran Church or Synod defines what is in the Bible as its first article, you can immediately tell the church has been infected by Calvinism. Cool, huh?

Friday, January 16, 2004

For anyone who is interested in france, this article from a British magazine is required reading. It describes a bribery scheme in france that makes Tammany Hall look childish. This is just one more reason why I hate france.
An Appeal for Charity with Clarity: Observations and Questions on Terms and Phrases in Need of Clarification. Another excellent report on why DP Benke is wrong.

I have spead the good news of The Alcohol-Driven Life throughout the internet. The reaction, in general, is positive. If I get the chance this weekend, I might have a picture to contribute myself. I just need a certain friend of mine to bring his digital camera to poker tomorow along with some bottles. I shall contribute a bottle or two to the cause and we could cause an even bigger splash.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

How to truly be purpose-driven.

Thanks to Toth for the link via Josh.

The Terrible Swede hung that picture up at the University Lutheran Center. We'll see how long that last, and how long it will take me to replace it. I am evil. By the way, the Maker's Mark needs to be replaced by Jack Daniels. Why, you ask? Because Jack Daniels is Lutheran. He bought the distillery from a Lutheran pastor who also taught him how to make whiskey. Who knew the only significant piece of Lutheran history to come out of Tennessee dealt with a distillery. Everyone has this silly assumption we all brew beer. Our pastors love distilling as well. Too bad the county where JD is made is dry.

Now that Epiphany (the feast day, not the season) is over, all the confessional sites are rushing to update and catch up with everything that has happened in the past month or so. Check out my links.

Check out the newest confessional publication Lutherans United. Excellent info.

In case you're wondering, the Terrible Swede's "Swedish 'Jew' Fiiipino Lutheran" description is one giant inside joke that would take too much time and too much memory to explain. Just know, whenever I see it, I laugh.

Tim, if you are reading this, you're my brother.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

More Wisdom from the Apocrypha

Furthermore, anyone with a fit mind and good judgment, who considers the divine majesty of God and our weakness, easily understands how profitable and necessary it is to pray without ceasing [Luke 18:1, 1 The. 5:17], and how difficult it is to do so. When you stand before the Lord to pray, stand before him with great fear and desire. Break the chains of earthly anxiety from your heart. Fight manfully so that your speech may be holy and pure and unstained, and the gates of heaven will open before you in prayer. The angels will meet it in joy and carry it to the throne of the blessed Father. "Before offering prayer," says the wise man, "prepare your heart and do not be like a man who tempts the Lord." [Sir. 18:23]--The Daily Exercise of Piety, Johann Gerhard, Repristination Press, P. 11.

Update: If I had realized that the best way to generate traffic to this site was to try to judge confessionalism by how dark your beer is, I would have done it a long time ago.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

New Army Policy on the Wear of the Flag on Uniforms

Thanks to Merde in France
Chris Halverson was nice enough to stop by and say "hi!", so I am returning the favor and linking to his site. I did enjoy him calling my site his "bizzaro world". Chris, if you think I am your opposite, you really need to read Josh.

Considering this is a random page, Fearsome Viking hasn't updated, even though he took his computer to Oregon with him, and is apparently able to forward e-mails to me. I did like the postcard, however. Mt. St. Helens in one of her "not too happy" stages.

You know I am bored when I begining rambling on about beer. However, this is an interesting, if not somewhat convoluted article, on how feminism has ruined American Beer. After you finish reading that, I have a theory for you. Are you done? Get a beer from the fridge.

My theory says the more confessional a given male is, the more likely that male will consume dark beer. If you are holding a beer, the darker it is, the more confessional you are. The arch-confessionals will drink Guinness just to spite the confessionals. If you pulled out either a Zima or other malted beverages of that ilk, why? Do you have no respect for yourself? Bonus confessional points are made for the following: Whisk(e)y (double bonus for scotch, triple bonus for single-malt, double bonus for Irish whiskey), Long Island Iced Tea (automatic 4x), Martinis (even though we will suspect Anglican tendencies with this one), Bourbon, Vodka (quadruple bonus if you can use it for windshield wiper or brake fluid), and 100 proof schnapps of any flavor. Points removed for girlie drinks and any liqueur under 50 proof. Double points eliminated if the drink in question comes from France.

I am sure, using these basic concepts, I could come up with a test that would test how confessional a given person is.

I was once going to do a post describing the theology of Monty Python. Instead, I am directing you towards Strange Women Lying in Ponds. If you have to ask, you just don't get it.

Another Frenchman, err, woman, with her head screwed on straight. Via Instapundit.

AOL Radio finally got a metal channel for someone like me. That should tell you just about everything right there. I am really going to hell now. That devil music will infect my brain and make me less likely to buy into the "temporary Christian" stuff. Maybe metal does serve a good purpose in the church.

Finally, Operation Clambake. I figure that just linking to this site might increase my traffic by leaps and bound to attract angry Scientologists (an oxymoron. There's nothing even remotely scientific about scientology). How much are you going to trust a religion created by a man who believed humanity evolved from clams? He can't even get his wrong evolutionary tree right.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

I am going to hell. I know. I defended Josh. I offended people. Too bad.

Thomas has earned a place of honor on my blogroll. I admit, I listen to Jim Rome, so I find anyone who's willing to run smack against someone entertaining and, sometimes, extremely usefull. For seeing through the post-modernism of Wish and for calling Jonathan a "Peleagin pinhead," you earned your way on my blogroll. Considering how little traffic this blog seems to get, I don't know if it's a reward or a punishment, but either way, you earned it.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

I do want to say something before I make this post. In no way does this shake my faith in the infallibility of Scripture or in my church's ability to interpret Scripture. This is just me doing a little backtracking and research and trying to relieve some of the backlash Josh has been under for quite a while for not believing Genesis 1 and 2 must be taken literally. Some of what I am about to say is out of the mouth of one of the most confessional men I know, and some of it comes from my own research. I was preparing to jump into the fray with an earlier post, but, as usual, I was sidetracked.

If you go back to the early church and read much of the work of the ECFs (Early Church Fathers), you will see case after case where Genesis 1 and 2 were not interpreted in its most literal sense. From the little reading I have done on the subject, it seems the ECFs took a more allegorical approach to these passages. This is a very consistent pattern. Josh is not standing on shaky ground, but on one of the few consistent interpretations of the ECFs. As a matter of fact, their allegorical interpretations continue all the way into Genesis 7.

The question then becomes, if the LCMS inherited the faith from Luther who inherited it from Catholicism, where did this literal interpretation of Genesis come from? Mark Noll in his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind has an answer.

Modern creationists arose ... from the efforts of earnest Seventh-day Adventists who wanted to show that the sacred writings of the Adventist-founder Ellen G. White (who made much of a recent earth and the Noachian deluge) could provide a framework for studying the history of the earth. Especially important for this purpose was the Adventist theorist George McCready Price (1870-1963). who published a string of creationist works culminating in 1923 with The New Geology. That book argued that a "simple" or "literal" reading of early Genesis showed that God had created the world six to eight thousand years ago and had used the Flood to construct the planet's geological past. Price, an armchair geologist with little formal training and almost no field experience, demonstrated how a person of such belief could reconstruct natural history in order to question traditional understanding of the geological column and apparent indications for an ancient earth. Price's ideas were never taken seriously by practicing geologists, and they had little impact outside Adventist circles. The one exception was the [LCMS], where a few energized critics of the modern world found Price's biblical literalism convincing, despite the fact that on almost every other religious question the [LCMS] was about as far removed from Seventh-day Adventism [SDA] as it was possible to be.--p. 189-190.

I read this and went, "What?" The LCMS inheriting anything from SDA is enough to make even the most stern and confessional Lutheran to rethink what he believes. I need SDA theology like the third world needs cholera. I would rather take communion from Rick Warren than accept SDA doctrine unchallenged.

So now we are left with the "How old is the earth?" question to which I can answer, "I don't know." The age dates say ~4.5 billion years, but that is from dating meteorites and not earth rocks. The earliest date for an earth rock is ~ 4 billion years. You can debate the veracity of these dates all you want (I would). What does Genesis say? Mot much. It lists a genealogy, so you figure you could just calculate the times given and, abra cadabra, tell how old the earth is. Well, there are other genealogies in the Bible as well. They are found in Matthew and Luke, and we know both genealogies are incomplete. If those genealogies are incomplete, there is no reason to believe that the genealogy in Genesis is complete as well. There goes our calculator.

Calvin said something useful in his commentary on Genesis I think even Josh would agree with. "Genesis is not a scientific text." Amen.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Inigo Montoya

Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

This phrase should adequately describe what has happened the past two days. First the ugly. I have one comment on my last post, and I was trying to figure out what to do with it. I could 1) answer the comment within the comments thread or 2) answer the comment with a blog post or 3) ignore the comment or 4) let everyone else duke it out in the comments thread and sit back and watch. Option 4 intrigues me, especially since no real arguments have erupted in the comments yet. Actually, not much of anything has erupted in the comments. Anyway, I want to see if everyone else thinks I have misinterpreted Mr. Warren's words in my previous post.

The bad deals with the drama in my family. TNT claims that it knows drama, but they have never contacted my mom's side of the family. Believe me: we know drama. It happens every time we get together. At some point, Murphy's Law grabs hold and it goes downhill from there. Whoever said, "Murphy was an optimist" nailed these past two days. I was in Oklahoma City (for an event to be named in the Good) and, like every other gathering, the women were all arguing over who will do what and when and my aunt was about to blow a gasket trying to make things perfect. Drama. Other things occurred today, just compounding the already existing drama to new heights. And people wonder why I drink.

The Good is very good. My cousin was commissioned as a DCE in the LCMS. I am very proud of her and her accomplishment, and I pray God would bless her in her call and allow her, ultimately, to do what I believe is her strength. After commissioning her, we went out with a few of her other friends to a bar and killed off numerous brain cells while participating in karaoke. Metallica and G'n'R could have sounded much better. You know I'm tipsy when I'm chiding the audience for not forming a mosh pit. What did I expect? I'm in the land of Garth Brooks!!!

Update: I missed an excellent post on St. Stephens Musings. Well worth the read, and go ahead and look at his links as well. He has one of the best Christian blogs of any denomination out there.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I was going back through The Purpose-Driven Life, and I realized that to properly satirize this book, the satire should not be The Purposeless-Driven Life, but The Law-Driven Life. The key to the whole book is in one paragraph in the first chapter.

God has not left us in the dark to wonder and guess [about our purpose]. He has clearly revealed his five purposes for our lives through the Bible. It is our Owner's Manual, explaining why we are alive, how life works, what to avoid, and what to expect in the future. It explains what no self-help or philosophy book could know. (P. 20, 2nd full paragraph, bold emphasis mine)

The problem with satirizing this book is that the book is the ultimate satire of itself. I could not have said it better myself. The ultimate problem with this book (and the rest of the garbage that American Evangelicalism puts out) is that it assumes the Bible is a self-help book. The problem with that assumption is that it denigrates the primary purpose of the Bible: to reveal God's plan of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible is there to reveal the Gospel. If you start out with a bad assumption, it can be assumed most of the conclusions derived from that assumption are also bad. As far as I have read, this is true of this book. All that can, that will replace the Gospel is the Law. If Christ crucified is not our central focal point (the Theology of the Cross), the natural religion of man, the law (the theology of glory) will rush in to replace it. Ultimately, The problem with The Purpose -Driven Life is that it replaces the cross with two stone tablets and expect that to be enough motivation for us to live as Christians. Rather, they become two millstones hanging around our necks, trying to choke us. Only through a proper distinction between law and gospel can the millstone be lifted from our hearts and, thus, live a life of thanksgiving, not because the law commands us, but because we love our Lord. Then, and only then, do we live a truly purpose-driven life.

I have not mentioned a couple of wonderful books I received on Christmas Day. The first is The Defense Never Rests: A lawyer's quest for the gospel by Craig Parton. I cannot thank Mr. Parton enough for showing the insanity that is American Evangelicalism and why Lutheranism is the answer. It even goes into how the arts can be an apologetic tool and uses the example of J.S. Bach. The Fifth Evangelist is still proclaiming the cross of Christ long after he has fallen asleep. May God continue to bless our Church with great artists who proclaim the Gospel of Christ. The second book is On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflection on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518 by Gerhard O. Forde. I can hear the groans now. "Why are you reading a book by an ELCA professor?" I would like to mention this book was highly recommended by one of the most confessional men I know: Todd Wilken. Anyway, this book is slow reading, even though it is highly readable. Dr. Forde packs a lot into his writing, so you have to reread what he wrote to make sure you caught everything. Even so, the little I have read, is well worth your time. He makes the pertinent point that everyone is a theologian. We all think about God at some point. It is just most of us are, naturally, very bad theologians. We have a tendency to try to save ourselves by the law (the theology of glory) rather than receive the love of God through his Son's death (the theology of the cross). He uses the Heidelberg Disputation as the means of conveying what a theologian of the cross does. I will try to give a more complete review when the book is finished.

Have a Blessed Epiphany season. Speaking of which, Epiphany is possibly the most misunderstood and underappreciated season in the Church Year. Take some time to meditate on the fact Epiphany celebrates our savior revealed to the Gentiles. Search the Stars.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Monday, January 05, 2004

Holy Ridicule

In many respects, this is what my blog is aiming for. That, and pure sarcasm. For instance, since DP Benke is unrepentant and cannot seem to repent even though he has been reasoned with many times, he deserves a little satire and sarcasm. Our dear SP also deserves a few pin pricks to try to bring the person to repentance. I can hear it now: "Isn't that mean, Daniel?"

To quote Mr. Wilson, "Not really. Good satire isn't cruel since the target deserves it."

I do admit I can get out of hand sometimes with the satire and sarcasm, but it all has the purpose to try to shock the person and get him to actually think about what he is saying and compare it to scripture and the Confessions.

Speaking of sarcasm, after the Benke situation first came to light, the Kansas District was going to produce a Bible study defending Dr. Benke's actions. I wonder what happened to that? Hmmm...

The whole point of this post is to prepare the way for my next great endeavor on this blog: The Purposeless-Driven Life. Yes. I am going to find the most oddball translations and use them to defend the notion life is purposeless. Expect the book of Ecclesiastes to be taken out of context in this parody. Reason can only get you so far. Sometimes, you have to take out a serrated edge.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

In my random surfing while watching the NFL playoffs, I ran across one of the greatest art sites ever: The Museum of Depressionist Art. Look through their collection of very interesting and obnoxious pieces. This is art that I can understand.

Friday, January 02, 2004

A new year brings old problems back into the light, and, while we celebrate the circumcision of Jesus, let us ponder what the New Year will bring. Apparently, it's dragging everything from 2003 and bringing it into 2004. Yes, politics did not end last year. Oh, no. That would make the lodges unhappy. The nominations committee, which is elected by the districts, has eliminated most of the conservative nominees.

In other news, Rev. Charles Henrickson's paper presented at the Walther Conference is now online (Find it in Word format here).

I am going to completely change subjects and talk about something I have only hinted at before: college football. K-State is currently playing. El Roberson broke curfew, and he was not punished for it. He should not have been allowed to start, in the least, and probably should not even have played in the game. Coach Snyder stated (oops, started) Roberson. I always liked Coach Snyder, even though I am a much bigger Oklahoma fan. My grandfather went to K-State, so I have a fondness for the school. Coach Snyder has always been a disciplinarian, and a man who did not allow his players to get away with anything. That all is gone now. The man is no better than Coach Osborn or any other slimebag coach who will let his best players get away with murder (literally). Coach Snyder is now in my bad guy list. Licktwat.