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Showing posts from April, 2005

A mistake we must not repeat

Given my readership, this will doubtless be the least popular entry this blog has ever featured. But this is something which I think needs saying- perhaps most of all to the kind of people who read this blog.

This afternoon I watched the 2001 remake of Brian's Song, the story of the friendship between Chicago Bears players Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo.

These men were my heroes. I well remember the day Brian Piccolo died. I knew he had cancer, but the news still shocked me. As a lifelong Bears fan, I'd always admired his ability to get an amazing amount accomplished with considerably less size, speed, and raw talent than one would expect to be required.

I learned of his death when I happened to see a newspaper headline while getting off a bus to take my pre-induction physical. It was 1970, the height of the Vietnam War.

Fortunately, I failed. It turned out I had high blood pressure. General Hershey didn't give up easily, but essentially the result of that exam meant that I wo…

A grave allegation proves groundless

Snopes.com, the urban legend debunking page, assures us that the headstone below is not really that of the late Johnny Cochrane.

SCOTUS's greatest hits

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution guarantees women the right kill their unborn children for pretty much any reason up until an arbitrary point in the pregnancy, after which they need a lame excuse.

It has also ruled that starving a person to death or depriving that person of water is not killing that person, but only withholding medical treatment.

That being the case, should it be any surprise that despite the clear botanical fact that, having a multiplicity of seeds, the tomato is a fruit, the Court ruled in Nix v. Hedden in 1893 that in the eyes of the law it is a vegetable?

The Court's logic, as it happens, was considerably more compelling than that of either Roe v. Wade or Cruzan v. Director. The ruling pointed out that the tomato is related to potatoes, eggplants, red peppers, and other members of the Solanaceae family traditionally used in appetizers and entrees, but not to the apples, peaches, berries, and other fruits customarily found in desserts. Ergo, …

Ah. That explains everything!

Bunnie has waded through the verbiage of the United Methodist decision to re-instate that lesbian pastorette, and figured out that ther grounds were that the United Methodists had never actually defined "practicing homosexual."

The definition of "sophistry" can be found here.

Or perhaps they reasoned that she must no longer be a practicing homosexual, because by now she must certainly have become proficient.

Or could the decision just be a transparently dishonest Post-Modernist, Nietschian exercise in interpreting "truth" as "the will to power," and mangling language and reality in whatever way is necessary to get, by hook or by crook, where you want to go despite the logical or moral obstacles?

History in Houston

History will be made tonight in Houston.

When Greg Maddux of my Cubs takes the mound this evening against Roger Clemens of the 'Stros, it will be the first time in 113 years that two 300-game winners have faced each other in the National League.

The last time this happened in the Senior Circuit was in July of 1892, when Philadelphia's TimKeefe and St. Louis' Jim "Pud'' Galvin faced each other twice. The American League had a far more recent such matchup, with California's Don Sutton facing Minnesota's Steve Carlton on Aug. 4, 1987.

An interesting piece of history. Perhaps more significant, though, is that-riddled by injuries though they are- the next three games will give the Cubs the chance to demonstrate beyond all doubt that they are the main competition to the evil St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.

The Cubs changed cable outlets this year, and our local provider- bereft of Cubs games- substituted those of those pestilential ruddy birds. We will pr…

Believe it or not, the ELCA knows what it's doing!

The logical untenability of the ***A's apparent decision to ordain some practicing homosexuals, but not all, is no accident. I have no doubt that the obvious inconsistency of the plan is part of the idea; when the absurdity and immorality of the policy from either side of the issue is pointed out, the camel's nose will be well and truly under the tent, and the "remedy" of simply ordaining all practicing homosexuals who would otherwise qualify will be urged as the logical solution.

And a few people will grumble- on the way to the post office, to send Higgins Road the checks which fund the apostacy.

The ELCAns' latest stunt is declaring "interim Eucharistic sharing" (kind of living together before getting married; the theologically incoherent practice of temporarily declaring pulpit-and-altar fellowship with a denomination of altogether incompatable confession, as a way of upping the temperature in the frog-pot a few degrees so that nobody will notice whe…

Canadian Conservatives' long night may be over

Canada's Conservative Party is about to force either a defeat of the Liberal minority government's budget, or a vote of "no confidence" over a corruption scandal. Either would result in an election, probably on June 27, which might well return the Canadian Right to power after a twelve-year eclipse. At one point, the Conservatives' predecessor party nearly disappeared completely from the Federal House of Commons.

The Conservatives currently enjoy a slight lead over the Liberals in the polls. If the Liberals, who have governed Canada since November of 1993, are ousted in favor of the Conservatives, Stephen Harper will become the first Prime Minister of the party which was formed before last year's election by a merger of the Canadian Progressive Conservative and Reform parties.

The Canadian Right has come a long way since Kim Campbell, the Progressive Conservative who was Canada's only woman Prime Minister, was ousted in 1993 by the Liberals, then led by Jea…

Hillary posturing on abortion? Say it ain't so!

Bunnie reports that the front-runner for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton- who recently made a great deal of noise about her respect for right-to-life groups, and her desire to find common ground with them- apparently doesn't respect them enough to be willing to meet with them.

I understand she's also being advised to opt out of the Iowa Caucuses because the Democratic Party in this state is so whacked out that in order to win them a Democratic presidential candidate has to practically run as Che Guevara.

John Kerry won here last year- and in the process rendered himself unelectable. So will Hillary, her supporters are said to fear.

Just in case you care about the Constitution...

Filibuster: The Image

Filibuster: The Reality
For decades, liberals have rightly criticized the filibuster, a technique whereby a minority in the U.S. Senate can prevent the majority from conducting business.

Despite its glorification by Frank Capra in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the filibuster has historically been anything but a means by which a principled and heroic minority can hold out against the arrogant power of an evil majority. Despite the heroic image of Jimmy Stewart standing alone against the corrupt and the powerful, it's most often been the corrupt and the powerful who have made use of the filibuster.

It isn't the Jeff Smiths who have historically used the tactic. It's the Strom Thurmonds and the Richard Russells and the bullies who wanted to keep African Americans "in their place."

The filibuster, you see, was traditionally used by white racists to prevent civil rights legislation the majority of senators wanted to pass from ever coming to a vote. T…

Who is the "brat?"

Once again, Air America- the not very successful but very sophomoric Left-wing radio network- has decided that the assassination of President Bush is an appropriate topic for humor.

The childish skit in question referred to the President (!) as a "spoiled brat!"

This is getting to be a pattern. They "jokingly" urged the President's assasination during last year's campaign as well. This time, though, they've stepped in it: the Secret Service is investigating them!

Incredible hypocrisy

I've just gotten a remarkable piece of (obviously) unsolicited e-mail calling upon me to contact my senators in an attempt to preserve that bastion of democracy, the filibuster, said to be essential to "protecting the rights of the minority against the majority."

Which is, of course, ridiculous. Its function has always been, in practice, to enable a fanatical, extremist minority to frustrate the will of the majority. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington aside, the chief use of the filibuster over the years has been to prevent the enactment of civil rights legislation, and its elimination has been a key item on the liberal agenda for a century.

Until now.

The hypocrisy of the extreme Left in seeking to prevent the President and Senate of the United States from restoring the Constitutional separation of powers by installing qualilfied judges who will fulfill their Constitutional roles, rather than usurping the role of Congress and legislating from the bench, is astounding.

The filibu…

Mother of Mercy, is this the end of "The Outfit?"

Chicago's "Outfit," once the nationally most powerful (and certainly the craziest) branch of American organized crime, has fallen on hard times in recent years.

The organization once headed by Al Capone and Tony Accardo and Sam Giancana is a shadow of its former self. And now, the reputed successor of these luminaries, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo,has been indicted on murder charges along with thirteen of his collegues in a move described by U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald as "putting a hit on the Mob."

The Outfit may be one of Chicago's more colorful traditions, but it is one my home town is better off without. May this be the coup de grace to a dying monster.

Doubletalk as ecumenism

Kudos to Confessing Evangelical for this expose' of the fraudulent Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, signed several years ago by Roman Catholic theologians and representatives of the "Lutheran" World Federation.

That expose' links to a helpful FAQ on this deceitful document at the webpage of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, thus inspiring me to do the same.

Pope Benedict played a leading role in this dubious exercise in weasel-words and double-talk, quite possibly believing in all innocence that he was "meeting the Lutherans half-way" in his willingness to revise the language- though not the substance- of Trent's heretical doctrine of justification.

I wonder if he realized that the Lutheranism of the people with whom he was dealing was about as genuine as his own willingness to make actual concessions!

Sasse on the Mistaken Assumption

Pr. Paul McCain's Cyberbrethren features a 54 year-old article by Hermann Sasse, confessor during the Nazi era in Germany and one of the greatest Lutherans of the Twentieth Century, on the Roman church's then-recent definition of the imaginary assumption of the Blessed Virgin bodily into heaven, and the background of Rome's Marian excesses in general.

Rightly called Theotokos ("the God-bearer") and "the mother of God" (since the human Baby to Whom she gave birth is, in fact, God as well as human), to a sad and shocking extent she replaced her Son in much of Catholicism's piety early on- even to the point of being fairly recently given the blasphemous title "co-redemptrix!"

How could this be? If there is anyone who can be depended upon for a cogent and historically insightful answer, it's Dr. Sasse!

Putin it mildly, this is not an encouraging remark

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a "geopolitical tragedy" whereby "tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory."

Putin is apparently referring to Russian nationals who lived in Russia's occupied neighbor states during the Soviet era. Frankly, however much we might sympathize with anyone who finds himself cut off from his or her native land, it's difficult to sympathize too much when they came to their present localities in the first place as agents of one of the most vile and vicious occupying powers in history.

A suggestion: at long last.....Russians, go home! The freedom of your host country is not a tragedy. The only tragedy is that you ever resided as a conqueror and an oppressor within her borders!

A reminder of the bottom line

Beggars All reminds us, amid all the pope-o-mania, just what Benedict XVI believes and confesses regarding what Martin Luther called "the article by which the Church stands or falls."

Here follow the definitions of The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent regarding justification by grace alone, through faith alone, for Christ's sake alone:
Canon IX “If anyone says that the ungodly is justified by faith alone in such a way that he understands that nothing else is required which cooperates toward obtaining the grace of justification and that it is in no way necessary for him to be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”

Canon XI “If anyone says that a man is justified either solely by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness or solely by the remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and charity which is poured out into their hearts by the Holy Spirit and stays with them, or also that the grace by which we are justified is o…

There you go!

The Right Reverend Robert Forsythe, Orthodox Anglican Bishop of South Sydney, has a rather cogent response to Pope Benedict's opinion that other Christian churches have "defects."

"What else would you expect a Roman Catholic to say?" Bishop Forsyth says. "I happen to think the same about his church."

As does this Lutheran.

Common sense, really. It is only in this psychotic modern age that it could be imagined that any denomination could regard any other denomination whose teachings differ in any respect from its own as anything but ... well, defective!

Disgusting

I don't know this publication, but despite its ideologically ominous name it has here said exactly what needs to be said about the smear tactics being used by the Far Left against Pope Benedict XVI.

By the way... the author is Uwe Siemon-Netto, the UPI Religion Editor- and a distinguished Lutheran journalist and author who is responsible for many significant works of late, includingThe Fabricated Luther, a response to the slander that Martin Luther was somehow a forerunner of the Nazis and at least partially responsible for the Holocaust because of anti-Semitic remarks he made as a crazy, sick old man during the last years of his life.

Tutu disapproves of Benedict XVI and disagrees with Jesus

As is apparent, I have lots of theological disagreements with Pope Benedict, many of which go directly to the heart of the Faith. I believe that many of his errors and those of the church he governs are deadly, from a spiritual point of view. Nevertheless, I honor him as an ally in the war against relativism and against what his predecessor called "the culture of death," and as an advocate for the increasingly unpopular practice of personal morality. I and many other confessional Lutherans said exactly the same thing about his precessor, John Paul II.

Benedict has long been an outspoken champion of the cause of decency. And if he has been possibly the most prominent single defender of traditional Roman Catholic theology in recent years (such was his job, after all), even in his defense of what I believe to be a disasterously flawed belief system he has displayed an intellectual and moral integrity which I can only admire.

Former Anglican bishop, outspoken heretic, and arch- …

A retraction- sort of

Seems a owe a certain lady in Rome an apology.

While blogging on Pope Benedict's election, I mentioned a crucifix I spotted on the FOX News feed from St. Peter's Square- a crucifix on which Mary seemed to be the crucified figure, with the Christ child clinging to her robes.

Well, the Des Moines Register ran a picture of the lady and her crucifix in this morning's paper, and I was wrong. The crucified figure is Jesus after all- but Jesus wearing, not a crown of thorns, but the kind of garish royal crown the Blessed Virgin is often portrayed with in Roman Catholic iconography. The BVM herself is the secondary figure I took for the Christ Child. She is wearing an identical crown, but standing at the foot of the cross to the Lord's right.

Now, one might still reasonably ask what business Mary has being any part of a crucifix. And what's with those crowns? Sadly, Mary is seen in Catholic theology as "co-redemptrix" with Jesus, a kind of secondary savior. The sw…

Looking backward from year 2015

I came across this while doing a Google search on Pope Benedict XVI. Obviously, this fictitious account features a very different individual bearing that name and title.

It's an interesting, half-serious look at the state of the Christian Church a decade hence. My favorite line: "Some uncharitable wags have already devised an acronym for this liberal Church of the future — CLOACA (the Catholic/Lutheran/Orthodox/Anglican Church of America)."

Uncharitable? I'd say it would be pretty apt, given the groups involved and their theology!

BVM appears on Chicago underpass

There's a water stain on the Fullerton Avenue underpass beneath the Kennedy Expressway back home in Chicago which supposedly resembles the Blessed Virgin Mary holding a rosary.

At least it's neither a scorch mark on a tortilla nor a rust stain on a refrigerator this time. Though I'm not sure this is much of an improvement.

Ironic that the election of a new pope should share the spotlight with this standard, recurring type of Catholic kitsch.

Laying it on a bit thick

Neil Caputo of FOX NEWS seems to think that the election of Pope Benedict XVI is somehow going to be good for the American economy. His reasoning- which seems to be shared by a great many of his collegues at FOX- is that his election has filled everyone, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, with joy, joy, joy, joy down in their hearts, and that everyone is so blissfully happy that they just can't wait to spend their money.

I think Caputo and his collegues vastly overestimate the degree to which non-Catholics even care who is pope, and certainly the impact Pope Benedict's election is going to have on people's lives generally.

This is not to say that the former Cardinal Ratzinger's stand against relativism is not welcome, or that his influence in the battle against the culture of death will not be helpful. But c'mon. You're laying it on a little thick, guys.

Kind of like you and the media generally have been ever since Pope John Paul II's death, with your non-stop r…

Consider my jaw to have dropped, and note that I am at a loss for words

There is simply no way to comment upon a statement by a Roman Catholic cardinal that the ThirdPerson of the Holy Trinity sometimes makes mistakes.

Like the author of the article linked to above, I suspect that someone else is responsible for the election of the evil men who have at times held the papacy.

Hat tip to Confessing Evangelical.

No, he doesn't!

"The Pope holds the position of Jesus Christ on Earth," an American seminarian just told Rick Leventhal of FOX News.

No, he doesn't!

The Lutheran Confessions assert that the Papacy as an institution- not any pope as an individual- is the Antichrist of II Thessalonians 2. Coupled with its condemnation of the Gospel- justification by grace alone, through faith alone, for Christ's sake alone- and given Paul's description of the Antichrist in that chapter:

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God...

such talk doesn't exactly help. But it does, again, help illustrate why- scholarly integrity aside- the adulation the media have showered upon the Catholic church and their uncritical acceptance of its hi…

Oh, yuck!

It didn't take long for the FOX News feed from St. Peter's Square to be marred by a particularly jarring illustration of exactly what's wrong with the institution Pope Benedict now heads.

A woman in the crowd held a large bronze crucifix- on which the crucified figure was not Jesus, but Mary.

The infant Jesus seemed to be clinging to her robes, like an afterthought.

I know. Catholics pray to Mary and the saints much as any Christian might ask his fellow believers here on earth to pray for him or for her. But the trouble is that even so, Jesus has always been relegated to the status of an afterthought as a result.

Habemus Papam!

Or rather, they have a Pope!

I was wrong about the length of the conclave; we'll know shortly about the new pope's identity and the name under which he will reign.

I suspect that the quick decision favors Ratzinger. But we'll see.

Welcome to the greatest city on Earth, Pastor Brontos!

Bloggin' Pastor Joel Brontos has accepted a call to suburban Chicago.

Pr. Brontos will be associate pastor and headmaster at St. Paul's Lutheran Church and School, Brookfield. Its pastor, the Rev. Walter Otten, is a powerful preacher and a warm supporter of the congregation where I was baptized and confirmed, Grace, at 28th and Karlov in the city.

Brookfield, of course, is the home of the larger of Chicago's two world-class zoos.

Three, if you count the City Council.

I envy Pr. Brontos the opportunity to root the Cubs home to a pennant.Cardinalidae delendae sunt! (Latin grammar corrected by Eric Phillips.)

Was his last name "Burns?"

A man undergoing emergency heart surgery in Seattle in 2003 caught fire on the operating table.

He died, but of his heart problem rather than his fire problem.

How does a person catch fire during a heart operation? Inquiring minds want to know!

Presumably it wasn't heartburn.

I wonder whether Gerald Kieschnick of Hearts Ablaze!(c) fame was anywhere in evidence.

If so, does this go on the Ablaze!(c) counter?

You can stop paying attention to the odds now

According to Paddy Power, Arinze (3-1) has now displaced Ratzinger, (11-2) - who has tumbled into a tie with Lustinger - as the favorite to be the next Pope.

Tettamanzi at 7-1 and both Hummas and Martini at 8-1 remain in the wings. Supposedly.

I still think it will be Ratzinger, with Tettamanzi as the likely alternative.

My guess is that Ratzinger's homily last night was seen as a campaign speech, given its emphasis on the very concerns he is famous for. In any case, now, I think,we have arrived at the point where we can safely ignore the speculation.

The only people who know what's going on are locked inside the Sistine Chapel, and they aren't talking.

The odds shift

My prediction remains Ratzinger being elected in three days, and taking the name John Paul III.

The current odds on the election of the various candidates are listed here.

Arinze of Nigeria is gaining- at least as far as the bookies are concerned- while the current favorite, Cardinal Ratzinger, seems to be losing steam, despite reportedly having about fifty of the seventy-eight votes needed for election lined up for him.

Current odds on the name the new pope will select (Benedict, for some reason, is the favorite, followed by John Paul, and then Pius) are given here.

Finally, odds on the length of the conclave will be found here.

"On the basis of our exit polls, CBS News projects Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as the winner in the papal election..."

Lutheran though I am, there's something about a papal conclave that always fascinates me. I'm a political junkie, of course, and combining that fascination with my theological interest as it does, the election of a new pope is something I always follow closely.

The process itself is interesting, taking place as it does in secret, and combining age-old ritual with personal politics of a kind found elsewhere perhaps only in the Iowa Caucuses (an event which has to be experienced to be truly appreciated, and one of the most worthwhile of the bonuses of living in the Hawkeye State). Although conducted under an oath of strict secrecy (the very word conclave comes from a Latin phrase meaning with a key, emphasizing the secrecy with which the process takes place), accounts- accurate or not- of what takes place within a conclave usually leak out. In the wake of the double election of 1978, Fr. Andrew Greeley wrote a fascinating book which claimed to be a blow-by-blow account of the co…

It's a sin to despair...unless it's at Despair.com!

Pr. McCain has also discovered the "de-motivational' posters at Despair.com.

I concur with him: the site is a riot. Motivational posters always hook my cynical streak, and should be parodied at every opportunity.

One thing the good pastor and I do not agree about is baseball. He has an inexplicable fondness for a certain obnoxious team whose members are reported by the media to be going into conclave tomorrow morning, for some reason.

Good thing he didn't spot this particular poster:

"I'm the Pope! I'm the Pope!"

While Time and Newsweek doubtless would have lionized them all had they been around at the time, Pr. Paul McCain's Cyberbrethren points out that sanctity has not always been a part of the job description for a Pope.

For example, when we call George Washington "the Father of his Country," the expression is not intended to be taken literally.

This would not necessarily be the case if one described, say, Pope Alexander VI that way.

Wonders never cease

Communist China is right about something.

I suppose it had to happen eventually.

Japan has never come clean about the Rape of Nanking and the other war crimes they committed against China during the Second World War. Japanese history books gloss over the whole matter.

There have been protests of late by the Chinese- some of them violent- over this matter. The Japanese government has demanded an apology (!) from the Chinese! Quite properly, Beijing has refused.

The protestors also want Taiwan returned. May their great-great grandchildren's great-great grandchildren never live to see it. But as far as the war crimes issue is concerned, China is spot on.

For a change.

Three Cheers for "Rooter!"

I am an unusually good reader. I have always been told that by teachers and by tests. I have noticed it myself. I will not mention the specific percentile at which I scored on the verbal section of the GRE, but I will note that it confirms that I am a good reader (even as my results on the math section make a compelling case that the two abilities are passed on through entirely different genes).

One evening during my freshman year in college, I was sitting in a dorm room reading a history textbook. History was, and is, a favorite subject; in fact, it was eventually my major. In high school, I often read history textbooks for pleasure. Why was it, I wondered, that I was having to work so hard to get through this material? The subject matter wasn't all that it was that difficult. In fact, I don't think there was much in that chapter that I didn't already know.

I'd noticed the phenomenon in high school, but usually only when reading Missouri Synod Lutheran theology books, w…

Bethel revisited

Bethel was a hospital operated by the Lutheran church in Germany during the 'Thirties for the mentally disabled. Hitler's goons decided that the compassionate, humane thing to do was to off the kids. You know. Sort of like Terry Schaivo.

The record of the German Lutherans in the Hitler era wasn't always anything to be proud of. But Bethel was an exception. For once, the Church stood up to Hitler.

In this country, we only kill sick women who can't speak for themselves, and babies who haven't been born yet. So far. But in the Netherlands, they kill babies who have already been born.

I understand they're considering The Horst Wessel Song as the new Dutch national anthem.

The irony, of course, is that the Dutch had first-hand experience with the regime that originated the concept of "life unworthy of life" back in the 'Thirties. Too bad the Dutch church today doesn't recall the example the German church set for it on this particular issue.

Amazing Disgrace

The effrontery of the ELCA Church Council is breathtaking. Its degree of unmitigated gall is just sinking in.

There is no way that its decision to accept applications from theoretically celibate homosexual clergy to be granted what amounts to a license to commit sodomy can be justified no matter how you look at it. If it's OK to grant the exemptions, it's as obvious as the nose on my face (and believe me, my nose is obvious!) that it is utterly immoral and illogical to retain the policy forbidding ELCA pastors to perform fellatio, cunnilingus, and anal intercourse with members of their own gender in the first place. If, on the other hand, God the Holy Spirit was justified in inspiring the Apostle Paul to write
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingd…

Well, they've finally done it

I'll blog more on this tonight, but Pr. McCain reports that The **CA has finally gone and done it.

While seeking to give the self-deceived as much room to rationalize as possible by declining to eliminate the prohibition against pastors having gay sex outright, the apostate "Evangelical" "Lutheran" "Church" in America has approved a procedure for granting "exemptions" to it. There will now be sexually active gay pastors in that body, with the denomination's full permission and approval to openly live in mortal sin.

I wonder whether "exceptions" for adultery and incest will be granted next.

I expect that my old congregations in Kellogg and Sully, Iowa are still in denial, right along with their co-religionists in this idolatrous cult of the Institution. It will be interesting to see how many people and congregations actually leave.

My guess is that it won't be many. Any faithful Christian who has been paying attention and has …

Wow!

LCMS considers fellowship with enthusiasts

Uh-oh!

April 11, 2005 ................... LCMSNews -- No. 25

AALC, LCMS plan talks to explore fellowship

Following a March 22 meeting in St. Louis, representatives of the American
Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC) and The Lutheran Church--Missouri
Synod have set dates for official theological discussions that could lead to
the establishment of altar and pulpit fellowship.

The meeting was the latest between the two church bodies since the formation
of the AALC. The AALC is made up primarily of congregations that chose not
to become members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America when it was
established in 1987. The AALC has 83 congregations and a baptized membership
of 11,732. Its headquarters are in Minneapolis.

In 1989, an agreement with the LCMS allowed AALC students to study for the
pastoral ministry at LCMS seminaries. The AALC established its own seminary
in 1991 and has talked with officials at Concordia Theological Seminary,
Fort Wayne, about relocating its seminary to that campus…

Sadly, not by grace alone

All the Fullness has a truly unfortunate post, in which the author attempts to make the case that the Eastern Orthodox teach that God saves us by grace alone.

Unfortunately, he fails to recognize that this teaching has been rejected, in so many words, by Eastern Orthodoxy ever since the correspondence between the theological faculty of the University of Tubingen and Patriarch Jeremias II in the late Sixteenth Century.

The paper linked to above, by Dr. Don Stuckwisch, is long and involved, but it's an excellent summary of exactly where the Lutheran Reformation and the Eastern Orthodox tradition stand in theological relation to one another.

There is a great deal that the two traditions have in common. Not the least of these things is the simliarities between Luther's doctrine of the unity of the believer with Christ and, properly understood, the Eastern Orthodox notion of theosis, or "divinization." I can well understand the attraction of many Lutherans to the church of …

A tale of Original Sin

Bunnie Diehl has an excellent summary of where this "God told me" nonsense- and the whole Pentecostal theology of glory, for that matter- leads.

Her godchild attempted to overrule her parents when instructed to go to bed by saying that Jesus wanted her to stay up with her crayons and coloring book. Of course, the little schwaermer didn't get away with it!

Innocent, sinless children. Right. Not on this fallen planet!

Our "curse" is indeed worse!

We have heard a great deal about the ""Curse of the Bambino" in the last twelve months. But the story of the Chicago Cubs version, "The Curse of the Billy Goat," is so much more colorful that it is worth a post.

The story is told here, at the website of the restaurant whose owner originally "cursed" the Cubs. He is also the inspiration for the Saturday Night Live sketch concerning Greek restaurant owners, cheeboogies, and no Pepsi, but rather Coke.

How sad.

I'm bummed. The Cubs farm team with my favorite name, the Lansing Lugnuts, have become a Toronto Bluejays affiliate.

That, and discovering that Sec Taylor Stadium, home of the the Cubs' Triple-A team here in Des Moines, has been renamed to honor one of my less favorite locally- headquartered corporations is too much bad news from the farm system in one week. But I shall continue to believe in the Cubs' future nonetheless.

Just so they don't do something really dumb, like trading Felix Pie or something.

Diatheke

Bunnie has referred us to another good one which she found over atConfessing Evangelical. It's an account of how considering the Lord's Supper in the light of Scripture turned a Presbyterian into a Lutheran.

A few years ago a decent version of the New Testament called the New EvangelicalTranslation (the rights to which where tragically sold to World Publishing, which turned it into the dumbed-down, inaccurate, and at some points heretical abomination ironically called God's Word) came along. Among its notes was a dissertation on the whys and wherefores of its seemingly idiosyncratic translation of the word diatheke (usually rendered "covenant," or, better, "testament" in the Words of Institution) as "last will and testament." It made a convincing case that the Sacrament is a particular kind of covenant which has specific biblical roots and significance, and that a full understanding of Christ's words required that translation.

Essentially, …

The successor of who?

While we're on the subject of the papacy, it's started: the ad nauseum repetition of the dubious notion that John Paul's successor will be, in any strictly historical sense, the 266th pope- and that the papacy, again in any strictly historical sense, dates back to the time of Peter.

To be sure, claims to being Peter's successor- whatever that means- come from Rome from very early on. But they rest entirely on tradition and political expediency, not on history.

They are sometimes even acknowledged by others. The same can be said of Rome's claims to unique authority. Given the geopolitical significance of Rome, neither a predisposition to grant Rome special status or an inclination, having done that, to seek theological justification for that political decision is surprising! These facts neither necessarily establish the validity of Rome's church-political claims, nor would necessarily invest a theoretical Petrine origin for the Roman see with any particular degree…

Looking for (divine) love in all the wrong places

Pastor Paul McCain'sCyberbrethen this morning features a sorrowful meditation on the funeral of Pope John Paul II- sorrowful not only because it marks the passing of a great champion of morality and of life itself, but because it centered on all the wrong things.

Some time ago an LCMS pastor on a list I subscribed to did a parody of one of the more popular of the shallow, not particularly Christian "contemporary hymns" that are all the rage these days. It went like this:
Our song is an awful song,
It's full of foam and fluff.
Of Christ, there's not near enough;
Our song is an awful song!"Of Christ, there's not near enough." That pretty much sums up the problem with the Pope's funeral Mass. Plenty of Mary- but not nearly enough of Christ.

The Pope's personal motto, totus tuus, bespoke his total abandonment of himself into the hands of...Mary. Indeed, Cardinal Ratzinger's prayer was conspicuous for the fact that it sought comfort and succor in…