Saturday, December 31, 2005

If you get your posts in by 7 pm CST today, they'll make it into the Carnival. The deadline is being extended due to the season. There's still time to get your submissions in at lutherancarnival DOT gmail Dot com.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The home of Random Thoughts has moved temporarilly to Anchorage. There will be posts on how wacky the days are in the winter, and how wonderful it is to be here with Elle and her family and friends. Anyway, this is the reason why blogging hasn't been a priority for the past week.

Friday, December 23, 2005

After many months, the so-called "Blog of the Week" (more like "Blog of the Months") finally changed, and I changed it because I admire the writer of this blog. He was the man to open my eyes to vocation and how everything we do is important, no matter how medial we may think the task is. How truly wonderful it is to know we have faithful laymen like him that understand the faith and to express it as clearly as he has. So now I award the Blog of the Week to Dr. Gene Edward Veith's blog Cranach.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Note: Don't take this post too seriously.

One of the things that we often forget is Christ's humanity. We see all the stories about him turning water into wine, walking on water, and raising himself from the dead. He did all those things, and he is God incarnate, but what about his humanity and, not only that, the fact he was a man. No one can sit here and tell me that Christ didn't ever eat something that didn't sit well with him. You can't tell me that he never had gas at some point with his disciples. You can't tell me that Christ never told Peter, "Pull my finger." You can't tell me Peter didn't pull his finger, because Peter is Peter. Peter was always the first to do such things. You can't tell me that Jesus and 12 other guys sat around a campfire for three years and never told a fart joke. If our savior can toss tables around in the temple, he can tell fart jokes.

Remember this the next time you see a WWJD bracelet.
If you don't remember what old school me is like, you might not want to read this post below. If you do remember what I was like, read on. It's time for a little old school sarcasm, satire, and snobbery.

Router: You want all LCMS churches to have the same liturgical style? I'm confessional as well, but WHY would you want that?

Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass; for the Mass is retained among us, and celebrated with the highest reverence.--Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV, Bente and Dau

4. Exclusive use of doctrinally pure agenda, hymnbooks, and catechisms
in church and school.--LCMS Constitution, Article VI, Conditions of Membership

Lord forbid I actually want us to uphold the documents people sign. I mean, please. Don't we know by now that signatures aren't worth the pieces of paper we wipe with.

This is the stuff we all, one way or another, signed on to. It may be through your congregation or some of my readers signed the dotted lines themselves. If you don't like what you signed, quit saying your confessional or even Lutheran.

Do you expect our inner city churches to be the same liturgically as our rural churches? C'mon. I'm high church too, but you also must be relevant to the community. Jeezers!

Hmm, that must be why the pastor who I helped as a volunteer at the last National Youth Gathering served a church in Harlem, used page 15, and chanted in front of his black church. The gall of such statements. Do you know what the underlying message is when you say things like that? The people of Harlem are too stupid to get the liturgy. Whenever I hear people spout off about how, "We have to meet people where they are, so we have to change worship," what you are really saying in a not so clear way is that, "I'm a lazy ass and I don't want to teach people the liturgy and they're too stupid to learn it anyway." Thanks for the Christlike attitude.


Confessionals are on the right track, too bad you aren't a Confessional, you are a legalist pointing your finger to the speck in someone's eye when you have a plank sitting in your own.

Oh, so Mr. expert on what Harlem needs is now telling me I'm arrogant? Wow. And he calls himself confessional? Apparently, your lack of knowledge of the confessions, the constitution, and of what Harlem needs means I'm an arrogant ass. I'd gladly join a group called, say, the Axis of Assholes, but that name is already taken. How about this: rather than call me arrogant, you actually go back, read the confessions, and begin applying them to your life rather than wasting my time that could have been better spent looking for the next great fart joke. Being high church doesn't equal being confessional. Actually, all you Ablaze(TM)! types that read my blog can try to explain to me how you can support this "movement" (I had one of those a little after noon today) without committing vile, sinful acts to the confessions. Tell me how having no emphasis on the sacraments can spread the Gospel. Tell me how withholding money from our partner synods unless they participate is good stewardship. Heck, you can try to tell me where the hell the money actually is. Oh, and please tell me why everytime I read about it, I get this funny feeling and want to stick my hands up in the air and start shouting indecipherable sounds.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

While I was surfing around, trying to find backup to my claim Ablaze(TM)! encourages Gospel reductionism (a claim I stand by), I realized more than anything what ultimately bothers me about it than anything: it is asacramental. Oh yes, you can read about baptisms and other such stuff on the site, but the whole driving force behind this isn't conversion as much as just "getting the message out" in a somewhat haphazard way. If your missiology is asacramental, even remotely claiming it is Lutheran or can be Lutheran is preposterous.

The best post on what missions are and what they are not I have seen yet.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Many people will start typing something, then edit it, and then retype it, and reedit it, and hocus pocus the post comes up on their blog. The there are people like me, who think of some topic that makes them angry and then just lets loose. Rarely do they edit their posts and normally it's full of typos and the writing doesn't turn out quite as clean and logically sound as one might expect. I have typed posts out before and heavily edited them (I do that with every The Scheister article (don't tell anyone)), but normally I type what I want to say on the fly (this post, for instance).

I hope everyone contributed to the Lutheran Carnival this cycle. If you haven't, why not?

There are many posts here on the Lutheran blogsphere where I about wanted to pound my head in with a hammer because I, for some reason, can't figure out what the author is talking about. At times, I wish I was better read in the classics and literature. I wish I was better read in general. Much of my theological education started only seven years ago when I finally got a Book of Concord as a graduation present.

The fact is, however, English is not my strong suit and it never will be. When people tell me there is some deep significance to a book, I kind of scratch my head and wonder because, most of the time, I see the book in question as a good story and am clueless as to what I was supposed to see. This is from a kid who spent considerable time in parochial schools.

OK, to give those whose blogs sometimes speak above my level an example of what I am talking about, let me quote from a paper I am currently reading.

The direction in which synorogenic foreland carbonate platforms backstep is dependent on the orientation of the carbonate platform margin and reef facies tracts with respect to an advancing orogenic wedge. If a platform margin trend is subparallel to the axis of the orogenic wedge and its adjacent foredeep, the entire margin will backstop as the orogenic wedge advances toward the platform. (citation omitted). In contrast, if the platform margin is oriented at a high angle to the orogenic wedge and foredeep axis, backstepping will be highly diacronous. (citation omitted).
Quoted from Dorbrek, S. L., 1995, Synorogenic carbonate platforms and reefs in foreland basins: controls on stratigraphic evolution and platform/reef morphology, in Dorbrek, S. L. and Ross, G. M. eds., Stratigraphic evolution of foreland basins: Tulsa, SEPM Special Publication 52, p. 141

In case you are wondering, yes, I completely understand the above paragraph. Of course, context helps but I would be violating all sorts of copyrights if I did that. I am going to go finish this paper (it is quite interesting and riveting to me)and call my girlfriend soon.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I put in a 10 hour day today. Boy does that suck...

Joy to the world! Ablaze!(TM) has come!
Let people come in droves!
They all

O come O come our dear Ablaze!(TM)
And save our Synod from its haze
Of doctrine once taught O so pure
And bring the numbers in for sure
Rejoice! Rejoice! Our dear Ablaze!
And save our synod from its haze

O come some wisdom from a book
The Purpose-Driven majesty
Toss gospel on its head and shake
O what a mess of things we make
Rejoice! Rejoice! Our dear Ablaze!
And save our synod from its haze

I'll keep working on it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

My internet is back up, and I'll start posting regularly tomorrow. It's kind of hard to post when you don't have the internet up. I've also tried to do my shopping on Amazon, so that's taking much longer than I thought.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

So, one might ask why I have such a bad attitude about Ablaze(TM)? I have a few simple reasons why I don't care for this program, or most other programs for that matter.

First off, where in the world is the accountability? The money going for this seems to go into this Ablaze(TM) pile and just magically disappears into nothingness. I haven't seen anyone be accountable for how any of this money is spent, and nobody seems quite sure what the money is being spent on. This is how Benny Hinn should be running his accounting, not the LCMS. If anyone can come up with even a general accounting of how the money is being spent, I'll shut up about this. Until then, anyone who supports this should really be asking why this information is not available. Believe me, I looked.

Secondly, the LCMS is using participation in Ablaze(TM) as a gateway to distribute money. If you are the head of a tiny synod in the middle of nowhere and you are part of the ILC, the money the Synod once gave you from the goodness of its heart now comes with the condition of submitting reports so it can count them and say what a good little synod you are. How nice. What ever happened to the idea of the giving money to poorer churches because they are the Body of Christ and not because we want to force our missions program down their throats. You know, the Greek churches sent money to the church in Jerusalem because they had some great missions plan and they got the Church in Jerusalem to participate, right?

Finally, what makes us think this model is going to work? Seriously, we can going around telling people about Jesus, but unless they realize their depravity, It's not going to get very far. They don't want to count the whole of the law and gospel being preached, just the Gospel. What kind of message is that?Let's not preach the whole reason we need Christ, just the good parts.

I think tomorrow will be either ESL blogging or Ablaze(TM) carols. I'll see what kind of mood I am in.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

You know, sometimes I wonder if I wasn't so harsh, if I would actually get through to people. I can't really change what I am. I did try to become a "kinder, gentler" blogger for a spell, but I realized that it wasn't meant to be. The reason behind it is because, when it comes to the LCMS, I am very unhappy with the direction the Synod has taken. This blog started off railing against the Synod and the politics being played by a certain District President (and friend of the ELCA since he decided to go commune at their altars) and his chief supporter and Synodical President (I may have to start saying NI! after their names as well) and the frustrations I was having with my then home church. It took a life of its own as the 2004 convention neared, and while this isn't quite the main focus of this blog now, I still keep up with it and occasionally post about it.

I've given a little thought to this and asked myself what kind of agenda is driving me (we all have agendas), I would list the following concerning the LCMS.

1) A return to the Word and Sacrament ministry, a ministry that will drive the culture, not bend to its every will.

2) Liturgical renewal, in the sense that I can go to an LCMS church anywhere and know what to expect. Right now, I can't go to a LCMS church without wondering if I will be confronted with high liturgical form or low liturgy-lite or wannabe Rick Warrens. We don't need to go back to page 5 and 15 (actually, I'd prefer if page 5 was burned and eviscerated from the minds of all LCMS church members). Pages 136, 158, and 178 would be OK.

3) Parents once again understanding their roles as the teachers of Lutheranism to their children. Too many expect Sunday School, VBS, and confirmation classes to get the job done and sin against their vocation by not passing on the faith themselves or by not educating themselves enough in the faith to even pass it on. This, as much as anything, is the reason why Lutheranism is in the crisis it is in.

4) Church discipline being used once again in a Biblical manner. And no, I don't mean District and Synodical Presidents, but also individual pastors and members. We do not use church discipline as a tool anymore, and it shows.

5) No more freaking positions. We have something like 14 or 15 called positions one can train for in the LCMS. It seems like every time we create a new title, we water down the Office of the Holy Ministry more and more.

These five points are just the starting point of my frustrations with my synod and with the many people within it. More than anything, the inconsistency within the LCMS drives me insane. I think tomorrow I'll shift my guns to Ablaze(TM) and give just a few reasons why I think the program needs to be burnt.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Lutheran Carnival XII is now up at Full Throttle and an Empty Gas Tank. Shame on me for not submitting a link. I need to get back to bugging everybody about submitting links. I'll start with myself.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Because you all know that, by my nature, I am maturely immature, I've just come up with another brilliant idea for another piece of satire (ed- What did you do? Shine a coprolite and call it a diamond? That would be really brilliant.{rollseyes}). This came to my mind as I was reading ELCA blogs. Anyway, I can take shots at a lot of mainline churches with this one, and make fun of Baptists at the same time. I just hope my execution of this idea is as good as the idea itself sounds. Anyway, I am going to listen to Bach's Magnificant and plot the silliness to come. Samuel Simon Schmucker will reappear shortly!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I read this post last night and about had an aneurysm. Ad hominen tu quoque is not an argument, but something a five year old will do when he gets into trouble. So President Barry had counting as part of his plan. Guess what: if he did implement such a thing, it is just as stupid of an idea as Ablaze(TM) is. What I remember of his plan was that it was "Get the message right Missouri! Get the message out Missouri!"

He asks what the problem with Ablaze(TM)? Two words: Gospel Reductionism. It is the same rotten theology that was being peddled by Seminex and others who seem to think that the law is something that can be ignored. Why is this? Ablaze(TM) encourages people to count times people proclaim the gospel to unbelievers. What is wrong with this? It doesn't encourage or even mention the proclamation of the law, which is just as important as the proclamation of the Gospel. Proclamation of the Gospel without the law is like near beer. Beer isn't beer without alcohol, and the Gospel isn't the Gospel without the Law. This isn't brain surgery, but simple Lutheran theology. The fact the current SP seems to have trouble with this and also has trouble with how to apply this to the mission field is disturbing. The fact so many Lutherans are also buying into this shows how a little leaven can ruin a whole lump or, in this case, Synod.

There is one other thing wrong with this: I don't have the burden of proof in this case. It is up to anyone who is doing something beyond what is handed down to us by the Church to prove he is right, not the other way around. It would do well for people to remember that, in most cases, us "ultra-conservatives" have 2000 years of history backing us up.