Every Mormon male has to spend a year as a missionary ringing doorbells. This requires a degree of dedication to one's faith, of self-discipline, and of humility which puts us Lutherans to shame, and can only admired and looked upon with awe.
However, there is a problem, which Pastor Hans Fiene's Irishmen Conall and Donall herein explain to a couple of Mormon missionaries who come calling.
Well, more than one, actually. But how's this for starters?
Warning, though: you may be left a little queasy by the name of the substance that's left when the calcium in your bones goes away. Sort of what I felt like when I found out that one of the participants in an autopsy is known as the "dinar."
Apparently that odd Luther song was only one of a series from a group called, aptly enough, "The History Teachers."
Having spent the evening listening to their songs dealing with everybody from Cleopatra to Charlemagne to Joan of Arc to William the Conquereor and Henry VIII, I've concluded that they, so to speak, rock.
Here's a mix of 55 of their songs. We begin in ancient India:
It seems that Joe Dziemianowicz,a gay writer for the New York Post, is all bent out of shape because Mets second baseman and Cub-killer Daniel Murphy says he's "100% opposed " to the gay lifestyle.
Note that Murphy said nothing about gay people, or about their orientation, over which they have no control. He merely expressed his personal beliefs concerning the morality of a set of behaviors. He singled no one out. He called nobody names.
Dziemianowicz cannot say the same thing. He libeled Murphy as a "bigot" and a "homophobe."
Now, don't get me wrong. Dziemianowicz has just as much right to disapprove of Murphy's attitude as Murphy has to disapprove of homosexual behavior. But neither has any right to call the other names. And I'm sorry, but moral disapproval of a behavior neither makes someone a bigot nor gives anyone else the right to abuse him for his opinion.
On the other hand, suggesting otherwise does make one a pompous, politicall…
I'm not going to say that I'm not discouraged by the two-games-to-none hole the Cubs are in right now, but I'm not going to panic about the NLCS, either. Yes, this situation has a familiar, sickening feel to it. Yes, I think of 1969 every time I see those Mets uniforms. Yes, the Marlins and the Padres are on my mind, too.
But a couple of things. First, this all is happening a year early. We were supposed to make our move in 2016, not 2015. To even be in the NLCS at this point is a bonus. It's gravy. If we lose- so what? This time "wait 'till next year" is a slogan that really does taste of hope rather than desperation. Next year, and many, many years to come.
Theo Epstein will make adjustments in the offseason whether we win or lose. Signing another big-name free-agent pitcher or two might be one way to go. And we continue to have a steady stream of fresh young talent coming up from perhaps the best farm system in baseball.
A Canadian friend says that Harper was unpopular with younger voters who didn't remember the premiership if the new Prime Minister's father, Pierre Trudeau- the "Canadian Kennedy-" back in the late sixties and the seventies and eighties. As has been said, those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.
When I was at Wartburg Seminary, I always found the emphasis on diversity and "inclusiveness" amusing. You see, the people who were so big on diversity and inclusiveness seemed to think that everybody should think exactly the way they did. There wasn't much diversity at all, and if you didn't fit into the mold you were not apt to feel very included.
Western Europe and increasingly the United States are secular. Or rather, Western Europe on one hand and America's cultural elites on the other are secular. As the late Richard John Neuhaus once observed, Sweden is the most secular country in the world, whereas India is the most religious. The problem in Americ…
They concede that he was a gifted writer who really knew how to tell a tale. But the thing is, he wrote from the point of view of the oppressor, rather than that of the oppressed. He sided with the Bad Guys.
But as Irving Kristol notes, there is one advantage to that perspective that makes him worth reading even by those who dislike his point of view. People in power have to deal with reality. They live, not in the world of theory or ideology, but of actual decisions with real and often far-reaching consequences that affect genuine human lives. Rebels and outsiders don't have to do that. They can afford to go off on tangents about the world as they wish it was. Those in power, on the other hand, are forced to deal with the world as it is, for better or for worse.
Kristol recalls John Kennedy's question as to whether his generation of Democrats was sufficiently in touch with the real world to govern. Kristol asks the same question about this…
I recently blogged about the Lutheran Service Book hymn "We Praise You and Acknowledge You" (LSB 941), sung to the beautiful tune of the English patriotic song "I Vow to Thee, My Country." Well, there's another hymn tune from the British Isles I'd love to see in our hymnal.
Several times over the years I've written this blog, I've mentioned my ancestor, Henry Joy McCracken, who was an early member if the United Irishmen and who led the Irish forces in the Battle of Antrim during Wolfe Tone's rebellion in 1798. After the defeat of the rebel forces at Antrim, he attempted to escape to America but was betrayed and hanged by the British at the Corn Market in Belfast on July 17. 1798.
Dealing with all of the heresy and deceit in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America during my years in the parish was emotionally draining I used to feel sorry for myself a lot. And then one year at the theological conference I attended in Chicago each year, a pastor from the State Church of Sweden spoke- and I realized that even with all the nonsense which just about defined the ELCA, I had it a great deal better than confessional pastors in Scandinavia.
Traditionally Lutherans decide with whom to practice intercommunion, common worship, and other forms of fellowship with on the basis of public doctrine. It is assumed that a person will not affiliate with a church body with whose official teachings he or she disagrees. Of course, that is not always the case. But the assumption is that it should be. The church one attends is, after all, a public confession that one shares the beliefs of that church. Where this is not the case, the confession being made by attending it is at best…
As I've said before, we don't deserve to be in the World Series this year. The Wild Card- even when my Cubs win it- is a joke. No team unable to achieve the best record of the teams playing (roughly) the same schedule over the course of the best possible test- the regular season- really has any right to be playing in October, in my book.
"Joke" rhymes with "choke." And one of the epic chokes of all time was in 1969, the year we DID deserve it.
The Cubs clearly had the best personnel in the National League that year. In terms of talent, only the Baltimore Orioles compared. But somehow, a much less talented New York Mets team pulled off an epic second half while the Cubs were shooting themselves in the foot again... and again... and again... and again...
I still remember that helpless, surreal feeling as routine grounders went through the legs of normally slick-fielding Cub infielders, and reliable hitters struck out, and somehow the team that had torn up the…
Unprecedented biblical and theological ignorance at least partially explains this strange case of national multiple-personality disorder. I can see only one other partial explanation for Americans' overwhelming endorsement of the resurrection of Christ, combined with majority support of what His teachings would consider murder.
That partial answer is the rapidly-metastasizing cancer of libertarianism and the cult of the individual. What the average American worships as God can be found in neither the Bible nor the Koran nor any other sacred text.
He (or she) can be found in the mirror. And after all, w…
In 1999, I realized, after serving The American Lutheran Church and its successor body, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,as a pastor for over twelve years that the ELCA was becoming less evangelical, less Lutheran, and less explicitly the Church year by year, and that the process was beyond the point where it could be reversed. I tried to warn my congregation. Few of them listened,
I left. I am now a layman in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Today, the ELCA is everything I had feared that it was becoming. Rather than rehearse the tale of its apostasy, I'll let the conversation between an ELCA bishop and a congregation many of whose members are disturbed by its increasing deviance from the Word of God and from the Lutheran Confessions tell the tale.
Suffice it to say that the performance of the bishop and the other representatives of the ELCA are essentially the same old, deceitful song-and-dance that I saw performed all those years ago. The steps haven't changed …
That the Faith has political implications- some of them leading to support for what are generally thought of as leftist causes- is beyond dispute by any thinking Christian. But when the salvation of souls is subordinated to the welfare of society, the Church is no longer doing its job.
...and yesterday's NLDS-clinching victory, every time the homer happy Cubs (who set an all-time MLB post-season record the night before by hitting six round-trippers) fell behind, they simply went yard.
Here are yesterday's three clutch dingers by Baez, Rizzo- and, once again, Schwarber. They're followed by another video of the final out, an interview with Cubs manager Joe Maddon- and a whole lot of happy Chicagoans celebrating.
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I didn't hear Jim Webb's quote on killing that enemy soldier the other night in the Democratic debate, but frankly it does strike me as slightly creepy- slightly- to be proud of killing anybody.
But in fairness, that's not actually what he said. He didn't say he was proud of killing even an enemy of his country. He said that he was proud that that enemy of his country was his enemy. And even if Sen. Webb wasn't proud of that, I would be proud of him. Proud, and grateful. I completely agree with David Harsanyi of The Federalist on that one.
From @TiqIQ: Cubs' current NLCS average ticket price on secondary market $1,325.93--which would be most expensive ever. (2nd-'12 SF: $687).— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 14, 2015
And I can remember (barely, it's true) when you could get into Wrigley for a regular season game for a little over five bucks. Of course, regular season games were the only kind they had!
I'm having a hard time believing it. And as I've made clear, I firmly believe that it shouldn't be happening. But the Cubs are going to the National League Championship Series, hopefully to play the Mets.
We have a score to settle for 1969.
But amid all the celebrating, there are a few things that need to be said about the Cardinals and their fans. My first congregation was in Webster Groves, a suburb of St. Louis. The first kid I confirmed there, Michael Greenway (and his wife Jaymie Moore Greenway) did me the honor of letting me marry them. They're not only Facebook friends, but I count them as good personal friends as well. I think the world of both of them.
Mike and I had a lot of fun giving each other a hard time about the Cubs vs. the Cardinals and the Blackhawks vs. the Blues. And since I made it a point to go to as many Cubs and Hawks games as possible when I was in St. Louis, I got to know what St. Louis fans are like generally.
Last night after the Cubs game I was at a desktop wallpaper site when I got a pop-up warning that my security was compromised. The bad syntax on the pop-up struck me as tipoff that the warning might not be legit.
I called the number listed. It connected me to an outfit called IntelliGeeks, people with heavy Indian accents supposedly in Hawaii. I foolishly gave them access to my computer and told me that there was malware on it and that my personal information was at grave risk. They wanted me to give them $299 to fix it.
I declined and called Apple today. They said that the things IntelliGeeks said showed that my computer was compromised were normal and that there was nothing wrong with my computer security. Checking into them online, I ran into several people who reported that they're scam artists who install malware themselves. Several people at Yahoo said that they'd them fix non-existent problems. The consensus is that they're scam artists.
I am painfully aware that even if we beat the Foul Fowl tomorrow, the Cards will still have a record one win better than ours- and I still think that means that they, and not my Cubs, should be advancing to the NLCS.
For that matter, I don't think there should even BE an NLCS. The Cards have the best record in the league. They should go to the World Series, period. Nobody else qualifies.
"I Vow to Thee, My Country" is one of the most beautiful of England's patriotic songs. Well, a version of the Te Deum has been set to its tune and included in the Lutheran Service Book, the most recent hymnal of the Missouri Synod and other conservative Lutheran bodies.
Here is Hymn #941 from the LSB, "We Praise You and Acknowledge You", sung as the recessional hymn at last year's Higher Things youth conference.
Incidentally, "I Vow to Thee My Country" is a song traditionally associated with Remembrance Day (the British equivalent of our Memorial Day) throughout the Commonwealth. These are its words:
I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
Lutheran Satire's take on the visit between Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew, with a guest apperance at the end by the Joint Declaration on the Doctine of Justification between the Roman church and the "Lutheran" World Federation.
Here's the thing: Neil DeGrasse Tyson and his colleagues are absolutely on the money in their claim that we should look to empirical, scientific studies as at least our provisional arbiter of truth concerning the natural world. The trouble is that the politicization of science has rendered so much of what passes as science these days unreliable. When the politics of both scientists and the journalists who report their findings to the rest of us create a bias of which they are unaware or refuse to acknowledge, the result stops being science.
A few days ago, I joined a Facebook group about an interest of mine called "Living History of Illinois and Chicago." It published a saccharine post about a monument in Hyde Park to Michele and Barack Obama's first date. I responded with two words: "Gag me."
This got me removed from the group.
Intolerance of dissent, it seems, is alive and well even in groups about Chicago's history. Emanuelism seems to reach that far.
My poor, poor hometown.
My poor, poor country.
ADDENDUM: In fairness, the group moderator explained that I was excluded because my response was not "on topic."
Funny. I thought it was. And I still think that was his real problem.
Look. I've been a Cub fan in principle all my life, and in practice since 1957. I take a back seat to nobody in my loyalty to my team. Gabby Hartnett was my distant cousin by marriage, for crying out loud. My dad lived across the street from the old Cubs Park on the West Side when they won the 1908 World Series. I can still recite the starting lineup from my first Cubs team: Walt "Moose" Moryn in left, Bobby Thompson in center, Lee Walls in right, Alvin Dark at third, Ernie Banks at short, Tony Taylor at second, Dale Long at first, Cal Neeman and Sammy Taylor splitting the catching chores.
But I remember too well when baseball was still baseball. Baseball is unique in that there's no such thing as an upset. Nobody even notices if, on any given day, the worst team in the major leagues beats the best. That's why the season is so long. You need 162 …