Saturday, July 31, 2004

I watched the first few minutes of Kerry's speach last night and about fell asleep. I had to change the channel to something more exciting. Everything I have read just confirmed what I thought the speach would be like, but I was too bored to watch. Oh where, oh where did 30 years of his life go? I don't know why. It's like there's 30 years thet JFK doesn't want us to know about.

The New Republic (not exactly a Conservative bastion) takes on Kerry's speach.

This guy is tame in comparison.

His home paper slamed him.

The Kerry Speech.

It may well be true that, as a number of pundits have claimed, Kerry gave the best ***damned speech of his career last night. But that's a little like saying Yoko Ono's latest CD is her best-ever: It may well be technically true, but so what?

The man who would not be president.

The stumble.

Thank Instapundit again.

Friday, July 23, 2004

So, after the flap about calling Lutherans the real catholics, I now have to come up with something that will cause even more of an uproar. Actually, I didn't expect the uproar to come from whenence it came. I thought I might catch some flack from many of the "low-church" types within the LCMS. In the back of my mind, I knew the Catholics that read this blog might find that statement a little strange and maybe sacreligious. Oh well.

For Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous, you may e-mail me at either daniel dot sellers at gmail dot com or beerisforamateurs at yahoo dot com if you wish to post comments again.

French Maturity On Display

It feels so good to see the French this mad at an American.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

I can't win. Hus is wondering what my e-mail address is while smelling smoke (I feel bad for laughing again because I really shouldn't), Jim is confusing his instruments, and Paul is getting a crash course in Lutheranism. Just to let you know, you might want to start here.

I can sit around all day thinking of various topics and saying to myself, "I should post on that" and manage to completely forget about when I finally sit myself down in front of the computer.

Alright, I have one topic I have thought about a lot and this post is aimed at one very specific target: the Terrible Swede.

He has already proclaimed to the world that he is confessional. How wonderful it must be to be so clear, and then to, by your actions, declare yourself to be God. Now I know I have your attention. Everytime you call someone a name, everytime you tell someone to **** off, everytime you let a good argument get derailed because you can't control yourself, you are saying that that person has no right to live. How is that? You are cursing God's creation, saying what God declared, "good" is bad. YOU ARE ACTING LIKE GOD! Get off your narcissistic boat and start arguing without cussing. Your arguments might actually be more powerful without the swearing.

Edit: BTW -- I believe I am at least as guilty as the Terrible Swede with respect to my post. Repentance is a wonderful thing.

Since I have just shot down my best friend, I am now going to bed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Being true to my word, I am returning to my post on Lutheranism and Catholicism. First, a quick note: the post was not aimed at Roman Catholics, it just happened to hit you all in the crossfire. The post was actually aimed at Lutherans who are either having a bad case of amnesia or didn't know enough about the history of the Church to even have amnesia. Oh well.

As to the Lutheran Reformation actually being a conservative, one only has to look at where the Western Church was before the 8th Century and stare all the doctrinal innovations in the face to realize Luther was a conservative. Purgatory, Papalism, and Transubstantiation all emerged from the 9th Century onward. If we all are honest, all Luther did was try to pull the Church back to her early state. If you all want to see how he did it with the Eucharist, I suggest Martin Chemnit's book The Lord's Supper. Actually, it would be really nice if a few pastors here locally would read this classic and reevaluate how they are distributing God's body and blood (getting back to the original target of the argument).

Since I am on a roll with respect to Church history, I am going to fire another shot and, this time, I hope it hits.

One of the things that is indisputable in the history of the Church is how instruments were banned very early on. As a matter of fact, it has only been within the past 400 years when instruments became a regular part of the life of the Church. Organs were rare during the Reformation even though the instrument had been introduced almost 1000 years before in the West. The Council of Trent came very close to banning all instruments from Roman Catholicism. Only after Trent did organs and other instruments finally become common in the Church, and rightly so. The reasoning behind the ban had long since disappeared and the instrumentation introduced came from the high culture of the time and didn't carry any baggage.

So, why did the Church ban instruments in the first place? The instruments of the time had a lot of baggage with the, namely pagan baggage. Instruments were instrumental (pun intended) in the worship practices of the paganism that was common throughout the Roman Empire. The last thing an Early Christian needed was a reminder of that sex cult they left because a common instrument used in their orgies was brought into the Church. They took Paul seriously when he said (paraphrased) not everything that is permitted is good. They left their instruments to the side and, with it, the pagan influences.

So, now we have this question of CCM. One of the problems I see within this debate is how little thought is actually put into it by the proponents. They try to beat us into submission by using the Bible, but they do not look at the history of the Church as a guide. Apparently, they do not think that the Church triumphant has nothing to say to the Church Militant, yet the Church Triumphant is still the Church and we all ignore them at out own peril.

The Church took 1000 years to decide organs are OK, and they were developed within the Church itself. Within 30 years, we bring in a whole slew of instruments whose origins are not the Church or high culture but are from the pop culture. What baggage do these instruments carry? Pop culture is shallow. Pop music is shallow because the culture that produced it is shallow. Our pastors complain about how little decent modern material there is and then wonder why. If you're importing a medium into the Church that is shallow from the start, to wonder why you end up with shallow songs is like John Kerry wondering whether he served in Vietnam. Working with a shallow starting block is (as Larry the Cable Guy would say) like wiping before you poop: it doesn't make any sense, especially since the Gospel is so simple yet so deep. You end up with Law and Gospel lite. Some people never bothered to learn from the Early Church, whose cautious approach we should learn from.

I guess my sense of irony hasn't left either.
Allah is being bad once again.

Kerry-Edwards' Newest Campaign Poster!

Another Kerry-Edwards Campaign Poster!
Repristination Press publishes a prayer book called The Daily Exercise of Piety by Johann Gerhard which just might be the thing people wondering about the piety of prayer and how to pray are looking for. We have resources that fill the void, but there are not as readilly available as they should be.
One of the rules I enforce, no matter what, is that there shall be no anonymous posters. I allow pseudonyms as long as you also post an e-mail, but I despise anonymous posting in my comments. Thus, whoever it was posting anonymously, even though you were on my side, is banned from posting again unless you e-mail me telling me who you are. I saw this earlier but I didn't have the time to deal with it because I was at work.
As to my previous post, I didn't realize it would cause such an uproar. I am trying to catch up with all the arguments. Like I said, I really didn't have much of a chance to read them. I'll respond to you all when things calm down (maybe).

Monday, July 19, 2004

People are complaining about the funky-looking fonts I am using. Hopefully, this is the original font and size you are accustomed to.
Got a match?
John Huss
I shouldn't find this funny, but I do. If you don't get it, you need to reread your church history.
Speaking of Church History, I can tell you what most LCMS laymen know about church history.
Book of Acts
Paul beheaded by Nero (50/50 toss-up)
Luther nailing the 95 theses
Luther dies
Founding of the LCMS sometime in the 1800s (also 50/50 toss-up)
So, we are producing a whole slew of laymen who have absolutely no grounding in the who, what, when, where, how, and why of the Church, the community of believers that we all belong to. And we wonder why people keep trying to reinvent the wheel. How do programs like Ablaze end up being adopted by the Church? Because we do not know where we came from! It seems like, since the Reformation, we have been fighting to become more Protestant, all the while forgetting that Luther claimed the we are the real catholics. Everybody gets these wild ideas that Luther was a radical reformer who changed the face of theology forever while, in fact, all he was trying to do was recover the Church. It was Rome that was the radical reformer. Luther was a conservative, in the classical sense of the word. To claim he was a radical, like many of the people within the LCMS want to do, is ridiculous once you remember that truth. The true radicalism is found in Rome, Geneva, and Zurich, not Wittenburg. Anyone who thinks Luther was a radical should really stop trying to just consider him in light of his time, but in light of the whole of Church History. It is there that you see what Luther was doing.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

As I lie down in bed last night, I pondered the serious question of what would the blog of a mature layman of a congregation of the LCMS look like. I took my age into consideration, factored in a Monty Python and Blackadder quotient, integrated it all together and I basically came up with this: I need to be a little more serious and a lot less sarcastic. If anyone thinks that in trying to become more mature I can just rip out my extremely dry sense of humour is kind of like asking an elephant to become a mouse. It just doesn't work. I am silly. Get over it. What I can and will is improve my tone while writing and put a little more thought into things. I am reactionary in nature, and I know I can get downright mean and sarcastic. Be patient. I'm trying.
Three Walls Preventing Reform: What's preventing genuine reform toward orthodox Lutheranism in the LCMS? Getting back to real Lutheran missions and parish life...  

An Essay on the Reform of our Own Estate (Despite the Three Walls): A diagnosis and a bold alternative to institutional politics for confessional pastors and congregations...
Confessional Lutheran Ministerium (CLM): A brotherly association of orthodox pastors for theological study, confessional practice, support, missions and more, but not a new synod

Finally, because I am a little silly, I would like to leave you with this quote. 
... because I want to be young and wild, and then I want to be middle-aged and rich, and then I want to be old and annoy people by pretending that I'm deaf.

You have to love Blackadder.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

I'd be curious to know: How do you think a "mature LCMS layman" might blog differently than you do currently?
When I figure it out, I'll make sure to let you know.
I was at lunch today and, while in line at Quizno’s, I happened to see my pastor talking to one of the members of the church while eating. After paying for my food, I walked over to say hello. The normal chitchat ensued when the issue of the Terrible Swede’s blog and my blog came up. I have been much less of a problem to many of the local pastors because I just don’t talk about what is happening locally. My blog has a national audience and I don’t want to inflict local problems upon you all. It doesn’t mean there haven’t been exceptions, but, as a rule, I try to leave local problems alone.
So, what wisdom did my pastor impart on me? He asked me a simple question: do I want to continue blogging like a college student or am I finally going to start blogging like a mature LCMS layman? Because of that question, I asked myself another question: how does my blog reflect on my congregation? I am sure this will lead to more questions dissecting my words and myself.

Friday, July 16, 2004

I went for a bike ride today. While I was wheeling around, I saw this very cute pair of chocolate lab puppies. They ran up to the fence and barked at me. I rode along the fence and they ran after me. After a couple of seconds, the smaller of the two would play bite the bigger of the two and they began romping around, playing as only dogs can. It was extremely cute.
Maybe Josh is onto something here. I think the hymn parody from a while back says it all. Maybe we'll all have to travel down that road. Maybe not.
I've been so busy I haven't even had a chance to discuss a couple other major things that have happened in my life. I started a new job a couple of weeks ago. I am now a geotechnician for one of the bigger independent oil companies in Wichita. I'm learning a new language and I'm learning a lot about geophysics and the geophysical properties of rocks. I am enjoying the work so far, even though much of the work currently is just grunt work. Everyone in the company has to go through this. I'm willing to take my lumps.
Since I am taking flack from people for making fun (and allowing people to make fun) of Ablaze, (which is extremely childish on my part), all I need from someone who supports this program is a simple explanation: how does Ablaze not confuse law and gospel? If you can give me a good enough answer to that question, I will never speak of it again.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

I make a fairly normal post criticizing the whole Ablaze craze and the "mission-minded" mindset that goes with it and no one even tries to respond (even though Thomas made a good joke). Alright, time for a little satire. Let's let everyone make Ablaze jokes. I do admit it is a bad idea not because it pokes fun at that mindset (and the mindset deserves all the flack they are getting from me because I, someone who cannot read Greek, somehow has managed to read Greek better that over 50% of the synod in convention), but because me and my friends have made all the jokes already. I shouldn't have bothered. Unfortunately, some people don't want to see it as satire and want to make big fusses over a program which can't even take basic Biblical scrutiny. Those same people probably write nasty letters to the editor to The Door.
Not-so good news for Rev. McCain. It looks like he might have one more interm appointment (maybe) before he gets swept under by events. It will be unfortunate because Rev. McCain has had CPH in the black now for the past two years, at least. He has offered incredible confessional products and we should all be thankful for the service he has done for the LCMS and Lutheranism worldwide, as evidenced by all those British Lutherans on my blogroll.
On an unrelated note, if you are on my blogroll and haven't posted anything within the last, ohhh, say a month, you might want to post something soon because I am looking to see who I can delete to trim my blogroll down. I actually don't want to lose anyone, but I can't have people on my blogroll who don't want to blog. It kind of defeats the purpose of the blogroll.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Here comes another contest. The rules are simple. Make your best Ablaze blast. I've probably used them all, but I must make sure.

Monday, July 12, 2004

When you get a good night's sleep after a bottle of Chimay Ale that gets rid of the lactic acid that has made you crabby because of twelve hours of basketball, you tend to look at things just a little differently. Thomas too the time to send me an e-mail and my friend Ryan sent me an e-mail as well. They both told me the same thing, and it was a conclusion I had reached already without their help, but thank you for the e-mails. I'm staying. As I sat back and thought about it, things are not nearly as bad as they might look at first. We still have the seminaries, who both came out with opinions to the effect that the Dispute Resolution Panel decision in Benke's case was theologically unsound. John has an excellent point about the smaller synods we are in altar and pulpit fellowship around the world. So, I sit here like a fly on a garbage can, waiting. Patiently. Waiting.

Bunnie brings a little good news.

It seems my comment on the church not being mission-minded or purpose-driven (note on grammar: the first thing that stuck out to me about The Purpose Driven Life was the fact that the author failed to hyphenate the compound adjective purpose-driven. How do people get Ph.Ds without knowing basic grammar?). So, the good Lutheran question has to be asked: what do I mean? Do I mean missions are bad? No. Do I mean missions are not important? No. Do I mean missions don't have their place? No. Do I mean missions shouldn't be our top priority? Yes. For those who wish to beat me over the head with a stick, you might want to quit reading that lousy English Bible translation and actually pull out your Greek Bible before burning me on a stake like John Hus. Like Monty Python said, "Blessed are the Greek." Do you have Matthew 28:18-20 yet? No. OK, I'll wait.

You will notice that the first verb is very poorly translated in most English Bibles. There is no imperative verb there. There's no command, which makes you wonder why most English Bibles translate a command there. Hmmmmm. That's besides the point, however. What you do see is a verb representing something that happened in the past and that action is continuing to now. Rather than go, we are just going. We are going because that's just what we do. A healthy church will baptize and teach, not because of any command, but because it is its nature. It cannot be a church without baptizing and teaching. So, what does a church teach? Pure doctrine. A church cannot be healthy without having the foundation of doctrine to sit upon. An unhealthy church puts missions on par with pure doctrine, and I believe that is because that church is reading the great commission as law rather than gospel. So, if we're so healthy and doctrinally pure, why are we trying to set the world ablaze?
The official new release has been posted on the other blog.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

There is demand for what I think about what happened tonight. What I think is this simple. Unsere geliebte Synode ist tot.

Can These Bones Live? The Dilemma of Missouri's Confessional Remnant

There comes a time where you just have to decide enough is enough. Everyone needs to be prepared to shake the dust off your sandals and walk away. We might lose a lot because of this, but we are only called to be faithful, not to be mission-minded or to be purpose-driven, only to be faithful. To those of you who in England, we need the ELCE to stand strong with us on the long, hard road we are about to embark. It helps if we have friends. To those of you in WELS and the ELS, there is good news: the synodical conference may yet arise from the ashes of the LCMS. Monty Python may have gotten it right in this case: always look on the bright side of life.

Friday, July 09, 2004

It is time for me to really stir the pot and get everyone on edge.

In Statu Confessionis
For those who want more current updates about the convention, I direct you here and here.
I have forgotten that tomorrow I have a fundraiser I will be at all day, so I will be unable to blog much of anything on the crucial first day of the convention. I shall out up a summary on what has occurred with my patented commentary (not-so random Monty Python lines) on the day's events. Pray for all the participants involved and, God willing, we shall have a new SP tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Bush Lied! Bush Lied!

So many people are so intent on believing this that they cannot accept it when he tells the truth.

I love it when I find stories the National People's Radio will not cover and continue to bolster the claim that we were right to go to war. (Via Instapundit)

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Today was my first day at my new job. I moved about a ton of electric logs today. This is all pre-grunt work so I can start doing the real grunt work. How's that for irony. I currently have a fairly large collection of completion cards inhabiting my office that have to be moved. Thus, I moved the logs so I can move the cabinets holding the logs so I can move the completion cards to where the logs were. Now that I have the logs moved, I can now move all the cabinets and the completion cards. Joy.

The calm before the storm is here. The convention starts on Saturday. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

I dug into the depths of the internet. Me and my trusty machete cut our way through the jungles of blogdom. My e-mail response was underwhelming (4 so far). Even though only four people have decided it is worth the effort to talk to me, one of them runs a blog I didn't know existed and now is part of my ever-growing blogroll. Kiihnworld is the first ELS blog I know of. Now I have to find the first CotLC, CLC, and many other small synods that exist.

Another ELS blog that Kiihnworld directed me to is Norman Teigen's Weblog. The ELS has two blogs, WELS has only one. They are in altar and pulpit fellowship, however, so it really doesn't matter.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Another e-mail from CAT41
Alright, I'm going to do something that will get an underwhelming response, but I need to go ahead and ask for it anyway. Will you all please e-mail me at my new gmail address. you know, the daniel dot sellers at gmail dot com adress? One of the things I hoped this blog would generate was some e-mail. I've received maybe two or three pieces total since I began this adventure over a year ago.

Also, my posting will slow the next week or two. I have a couple of good reasons for this. First, I will begin at a new job soon so I need to focus on that rather than the internet. Secondly, my sister's boyfriend is in town. I have to have my baseball bat with me at all times. Thirdly, the synodical convention starts on July tenth and, as you might imagine, I'm going to be going gangbusters once it starts. I have one or two more posts (maybe, unless something big comes up) before the convention causes me to lose my mind. I'm going to subscribe to every major source of news for the convention I can find and give blanket coverage I can muster at my new job. There will be a lot of cutting and pasting, believe me. It will be the only way I keep my sanity.