Sunday, July 23, 2006

Today was a breath of fresh air. I went to a voters meeting and it went well. One of the biggest things I noticed was that with an all male vote, things went quickly. Admittedly, the most discussion was repairing the roof, but we went through quickly, didn't ask too many questions, and nothing was discussed that got really nasty. I came out of the meeting in a surprisingly good mood, which differs quite a bit from what I normally feel after a voters meeting.

I am slowly becoming more and more impressed by the WELS as I get more familiar with the synod. For instance, this article shows how the hymnal, Christian Worship (CW), has helped WELS accept some things that it would have never accepted not to long ago. For instance, WELSians in the past had a deep dislike of chanting of any kind. One of the things CW did was get the people chanting the psalms, and also get them chanting period. It also is helping overcome some of the disdain towards the pastor chanting. So, for all the things that may annoy me sometimes, there are good things happening.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I looked and suddenly realized I have not written anything of any substance for a while now. It's not that I don't have anything to say. I have a lot to say. It's just when I get to a computer, I have often forgotten what I want to say.

I have been thinking a lot about marriage lately which should surprise none of you since I am to be wed soon enough. I think back to how exactly things transpired, and I believe it was good for both of us. One of the best things about meeting someone over the internet, for all the bad that it can cause, is that you really get to know the person and become attracted to them because of factors other than looks. What is a shock is meeting the person in the flesh for the first time. I don't think I ever mentioned exactly how scared I was when I first saw her. It didn't hit me until I landed and had to get off the plane. I ran to the nearest bar for some liquid courage and waited.

I don't want to tell the whole story, but a word of advice to anybody who is thinking about or is pursuing a relationship over the internet: it takes a while to adjust to the person in real life. It is a funny thing, especially since we knew each other so well because of the many conversations Elle and I had before we met. When I had to leave the last time I went up and visited, I broke down. We were praying Compline together and I had a hard time making it through the service without crying. It was hard. I decided that would be the last time we would be apart and not know when we would be together again. I guess there is still one last goodbye, but that isn't really a goodbye. It's more like see you later.

I've probably said enough for now.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I have not been good and reminding everyone about this as of late, but I remembered tonight. Lutheran Carnival entries are due by 7 pm CDT (2400 UTC) tomorrow. If you have an entry, send it to lutherancarnival at gmail dot com. I'm sure Chaz will be happy to take it.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I apologize for not having responded to some of the comments made recently. In general, I don't respond to comments unless they are really good, very challenging, or they piss me off. When I do respond, I find writing a post to be the best way.

Remember what happened to 2/3 of the Magpies?

That's how WELS deals with people who want to be "catholic".

Caveat emptor!

I had no clue as to what the good Father was talking about, so I did a google search. For those (like me, for instance) who do not know what he was talking about, this little journal is what he is talking about. Apparently, it caused quite a stir within WELS, especially when you realize how small the synod actually is and how low church the synod acts. They called for chanting, weekly use of the Lord's Supper, and a host of other things that seem very normal to me but make most in the WELS creeped out. Would some of my fellow WELSians wonder about me when they see a crucifix hanging up on my wall? Probably.

I will take the warning to heart. You see, above all else, the weekly celebration of the Eucharist is on the top of my list of change. I believe if that changes, many other things will follow. I hope and pray.

But they'll have to acknowledge the divine institution of the Office of the Holy Ministry first... minor details like that, that are only there "so that we may obtain such faith" (AC V).

It's been a long time since the days of sending PMs on a bulletin board. Let me say something to you that I have heard from more than a few WELS pastors and maybe some in Missouri would agree. Both WELS and the LCMS say one thing but, overall, practice something else. WELS may in theory believe what it says, but in practice it all seems to be much more like the LCMS than any of you may realize. The LCMS has had a WELSian view of the OHM in her official practice since 1989. Lex ordandi, Lex credendi.

Indeed. And there is SO MUCH BETTER in the general Wichita area--Grace (LCMS) McPherson and Christ (LCMS) Hutchinson have been long time homes to many from Wichita, and they will be in the right place when Missouri finally completes its implosion, whereas the WELS will continue its self-satisfied slide until the few within her finally come out decades too late.

Pastor Stefanski, I did prayerfully consider going to Hutch for church. I also prayerfully considered my fiancee's view and some past baggage she carried with her. You neither know these things nor how they affected my decision. Things are not nearly as black and white as they may seem to you, and deciding to do what I did was so much tougher than you might think. As for the slide, it might happen, but I have good reason to believe such a thing has a very good shot at being reversed. Seeing many of the men coming out of WLC, I have good reason to be hopeful.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Eschatology is one of those topics that keeps coming up every once in a while. It is amazing how much time people spend thinking about the end and what is going to happen. Often times, they want to skip to the end and not give any thought to what happens when our own personal end comes. One of the things that Lutheranism is very strong on is personal eschatology, which deals with what happens to me. This doesn't tend to be emphasized in Dispensationalism, even though it is one of the most comforting doctrines to those in Christ.

I'm not here to discuss personal eschatology, however, but to discuss John and how John writes. Anyone who has read the Book of John knows how out of sequence some of the events seem to be when compared to the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). The clearing of the temple is early, rather than late. Things are all out of sequence. If you continue by reading 1 John, things start getting even wierder. He seemingly contradicts himself and continues to say the same thing over and over and over and over and over again. If you ever have the time, read 1 John in one sitting and note how many times he says the same thing. When we read Paul, we understand him because Paul, for all his Jewishness, still thought like a Westerner. John, on the other hand, thinks like a near Eastern man, and it shows. His ideas go in circles. He keeps telling us the same thing over and over again. We don't think like this. John wouldn't have been bothered if, when writing about Christ, he told the story out of sequence. It doesn't bother him that he thinks circularly.

It is here where we get to the question: how can a Dispensationalist think that the Apocalypse of St. John (Revelation) gives a linear time line when nothing else he has written resembles anything linear? A Dispensationalist commits the error of being a literalist while not being literal. A literal reading would take into account John's tendency to wonder and be non-linear. This isn't anything new. People have been looking to older writings to determine how to read newer writings by the same author for years. We do this with other Biblical writers. A Dispensationalist, however, doesn't let other writings by the same author to get in the way of a bad hermeneutic.