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Showing posts from July, 2010

'This blessed martyr, St. Robertus'

Today is the 470th anniversary of the martyrdom of Robert Barnes, English Lutheran reformer and personal friend of Luther.

Barnes, who had served as an Augustinian prior, was one of the Cambridge scholars who gathered at the White Horse Inn for theological study and discussion. He received his Doctor of Divinity degree in 1523, and was arrested and brought before Cardinal Wolsey for preaching a Lutheran sermon in 1526. Given the choice of recanting or being burned at the stake, Barnes chose the former, and was committed once again to the Augustinian monastery. He escaped to Antwerp, however, and proceeded from there to Wittenberg, where he met Luther and was a guest in his home. While there, he also made the acquaintance of Stephen Vaughn, an agent of Thomas Cromwell. Barnes made a good impression on Vaughn, who recommended him to Cromwell. Commenting on a book Barnes had written, he wrote prophetically to the Protestant who would replace Wolsey as Henry VIII's chancellor, "L…

Harrison on the LCMS and inter-Lutheran cooperation

A short interview with LCMS President-Elect Matthew Harrison on his plans for the LCMS and on the short-term future of inter-Lutheran relationships.

T-Paw makes his case

Howard is still being Howard

It's not just that 'racist' is such an ugly word. It's an important concept in a society with a history as stained with racism as ours. That's why it's so tragic when it's trivialized by inappropriate use, whether the NAACP's recent slander of the Tea Party Movement itself (and not merely a minority of its members) as racist, or former Vermont Gov. Howard "I Have a Scream" Dean's slanderous use of the term to describe the recent reporting of Fox News on the admittedly grotesque Shirley Sherrod incident.

A classic song from my past

Lincoln Towing is a business concern in Chicago, where there are far more cars than parking places and a good buck to be made by impounding cars thought to be parked illegally, or something.

Below is the late Steve Goodman singing a song- local mid-Seventies references and all- that really makes me nostalgic for my home town.

But not for parking on the North Side.

Quinnipiac: Generic Republican would beat Obama

A Quinnipiac University poll shows that an unnamed Republican would defeat President Obama by ten points in 2012.

According to the poll, eight percent more think that Mr. Obama does not deserve a second term than say that he does .

By a ten point margin, Americans think that Mr. Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush. But by a two point margin, they think that the country would be better off had John McCain defeated Mr. Obama in 2008.

HT: Drudge

Leftist media conspired to kill stories about Obama's goofy pastor

An interesting piece of investigative journalism here on how several of the best-known liberal media outlets- including some on-line- conspired to kill the story about President Obama's nutty, racist long-time pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, during the last presidential campaign. Stories about Wright, whose anti-white, anti-American Sunday morning tirades had gone on for years, emerged at a time when the media were trying hard to sell the idea that Obama- whose voting record was among the farthest Left of any member of the U.S. Senate- was in fact a moderate. The effort continues to this day. Wright had baptized Obama's children and served as his minister for twenty years.
The outrage among the supposedly objective media was fascinating, especially given the eagerness with which it snapped up any damaging rumor about George W. Bush four years before- including the false story the reporting of which ended Dan Rather's career at CBS.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Joe Morgan: Santo, Wills belong in HOF. No kidding!

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan has a reputation- a very understandable reputation, from what I've heard from him over the years- as a Cub hater. That's why it's so surprising that he's come out strongly for Ron Santo's much-belated admission to the Hall.

It's ridiculous that Santo- probably one of the five best third basemen ever to play the game- wasn't admitted to the Hall years ago. He has the credentials. He has the numbers. And I have to agree with Morgan about something else: it's at least as absurd that Maury Wills wasn't elected to the Hall years ago.

The Tenth Doctor" is degenerating, as well as regenerating

I saw "The Waters of Mars" last night.

Appearances to the contrary, it is not a tale about some extraterrestrial branch of my family. Instead it's a BBC special episode of Doctor Who, laying the groundwork for the demise of the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and his regeneration into the Eleventh (Matt Smith).

Impressive. The Tenth Doctor- my favorite, and that of most Whovians, it seems- is clearly losing it. His hubris is contaminating his decisions, and his psychological deterioration is preparing the way for his coming regeneration in a manner unprecedented in the half-century history of the series.

Dr. Who has certainly come a long way since the charming but cheesy British series that debuted on the night that JFK was assassinated. It's become one of the best things on television, from the point of view of plot and writing as well as simple fun.

Further reflectons on Uwe Siemon-Netto, Gen. Giap and recent American wars

"No matter how well we do on the battlefield, some day we're going to have to go home- and they're still going to be there."--Unidentified junior NSA staffer to National Security Advisor Walt Rostow on why he was not cheered by "good news" from Vietnam. Cited by David Halberstam in The Best and the BrightestI recently blogged on a piece by Uwe Siemon-Netto on the insight into the democratic psyche which led North Vietnam's Gen.Vo Ngyen Giap to victory over the United States in the Vietnam War. Upon further reflection, though, it seems to me that two caveats need to be added to the point that democratic societies- as demonstrated by the Vietnam debacle, the current debate over our involvement in Afghanistan, and even our apparent victory in Iraq- lack the stomach for long-term sacrifice and commitment necessary to win conflicts not obviously and immediately related to their own national survival.

One of my pet peeves when it comes to Vietnam is the myth- …

Matt Harrison and the Two Kingdoms

Confessional Lutherans are rejoicing at the election of the Rev. Matthew Harrison as the new president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. At long last, the United States will once again have a major denomination presenting itself to the world as traditionally Lutheran.

I expect the LCMS to once again take on a... well, Lutheran flavor now. The Means of Grace will, at least officially, once again be the tools Missouri officially endorses for sharing Christ and His blessings, instead of human marketing and psychological manipulation. Small groups replacing Word and Sacrament ministry as the focus of the congregation's life, "contemporary" worship, the Ablaze!(c) "movement," and suchlike will no doubt continue, but at least such Reformed-style resorts to human manipulation in the place of a Lutheran reliance on the Means of Grace in the promulgation of the Gospel will no longer have the Synod's official endorsement. Hopefully Ablaze!(c) will, to coin a ph…

About time we internalized this lesson

Lutheran Journalist Uwe Siemon-Netto blogs on North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap's insight on the fatal flaw in the psychology of democracies when it comes to fighting long, drawn-out wars.

Giap parlayed this insight into victories over both France and the United States. He was one totalitarian who certainly had the number of the democracies. Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, and the other Islamofascists are counting on him being proven right once again today.

Like the man says: He who fails to learn from history is doomed to repeat it.

And repeat it. And repeat it. And repeat it....

Traditional Lutheran elected Missouri Synod president!

The church body in which I was baptized and confirmed took a major step toward becoming "your grandfather's Missouri Synod" again today.

The Reverend Matt Harrison, a confessional Lutheran, has been elected as the president of what was once a traditional Lutheran denomination, and which may soon be one again.

Harrison, who has served as the executive director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care since 2001, received 643 percent votes, or 54 percent, on the first ballot this afternoon. Incumbent President Gerald B. Kieschnick received 527 votes, or 45 percent. The Rev. Herbert C. Mueller Jr was elected First Vice President, receiving 631 votes, or 53 percent, to 339 votes, or 28 percent, for incumbent Dr. William Diekelman.

In 2001, following the death of confessional President Alvin Barry, Texas District President Kieschnick was narrowly and unexpectedly elected president to head the denomination, "sneaking in" between two confessional candidates some of whose sup…

Hawks keep Hammer- but was this "rope-a-dope" by Sharks' Wilson?

The Blackhawks have matched the Sharks' offer to defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

While I'm glad that Hammer will be back next year, the four year, $14 million contract means that the salary cap problem is back again. People are even saying crazy things about trading Antti Niemi, or letting him walk. Personally, I don't have enough faith in Corey Crawford or Cristobel Huet to even want to think about that. Of course, the could go out and pick up somebody like Tomas Vokun on the cheap. But how cheap would he be?

I really have to wonder whether Sharks GM and former Hawk star Doug Wilson ever really intended to sign Hammer to more than an offer sheet. After all, he's put the Sharks' chief rival in the Western Conference back up against the salary cap again by signing that offer sheet. Especially given the Sharks' own cap problems, I wonder whether that might not be what he had in mind all along.

If so, a hat tip to Doug- and a discouraged shake of the head to Stan Bowm…

"God told me." "Says who?"

A layperson at the LCMS convention in Houston has informed that august assemblage that his vote on a particular issue (which one isn't important) was dictated by a direct revelation from God. "God told me," he says.

Lutherans, of course, reject the idea of private communications from God- not because God isn't perfectly capable of communicating with us directly if He chooses to (just as He did in biblical times), but because any claim of divine revelation must face the very reasonable question, "Says who?" People perceive all sorts of things to be God's will. Many of these things contradict one another. It's one thing to say, "I believe that this is what God wants," based on a thoughtful reading of Scripture and a rational consideration of the matter under consideration. But to say "God told me" is to say something more than merely "I think this is what God wants." It's to claim inerrancy for one's perception. It…

Ouch! First Byfuglein, Eager, Sopel and Frasier, and now Versteeg, Ladd and Burrish

First the Hawks traded Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager and Brent Sopel to Atlanta., and Colin Fraser to Edmonton.
Now the Stanley Cup champs have traded Kris Versteeg to Toronto for prospects, and Andrew Ladd to Buffy, Eager and Sopel's new team for defenseman Ivan Visnevskiy and a second round pick in next year's draft.
Meanwhile, free agent Alan Burish has signed a two year contract with Atlanta.
In the short term, he Hawks have gotten considerably less formidable. The good news is that General Manager Stan Bowman has made out like a bandit with the prospects and draft picks resulting in prospects that the trade has yielded. In fact, many who follow such matters closely think that Bowman is handling the cap situation as a whole just fine.
The Hawks will contend for the Cup again next year, but the chances of their successfully defending it have certainly deterriorated. The good news is that the Bowmans are following the same formula with the Hawks that they successfully followed wit…

The paraments really should be red today

On July 1, 1523, two young Augustinian monks- Heinrich Voes and Johann von Esch (Hendrik Vos and Johann van den Esschen in Flemish)- were burned at the stake at Brussels, Belgium. Voes and von Esch were the very first martyrs of the Reformation. They died chanting the Te Deum.

The charges against Voes and Esch were that they taught the following:

1.That no on should be deterred from reading the works of Martin Luther;
2. That worldly authorities had no power over conscience;
3. That all Christians are priests;
4. That Christ is not sacrificed again during Mass;
5. That Scripture must be the foundation doctrine and practice (sola scriptura);
6. That Baptism, Communion and Confession are the only sacraments instituted by Christ;
7. That Jesus Christ Himself works good deeds through men; that men do not contribute except for allowing Christ to use them (a wonderful capsule statement of the Lutheran understanding of sanctification!);
8. That Christ did not appoint successors to Peter as …