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Showing posts from July, 2017

On the Feast Day of St. Robert Barnes

Today is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Robert Barnes, English Lutheran reformer and personal friend of Luther. I'm happy to note that, at long last, we have in the LSB a hymnal that includes a commemoration of Dr. Barnes. I wish more congregations were observing it this morning,

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 recommende…

The Left's crazy, partisan reaction to John McCain's sanity

Good news this morning: the Senate has killed the latest misbegotten bill to make our nation's health care crisis worse by replacing Obamacare with something even more inadequate. But over at the hyper-partisan left-wing "Huffington Post," Howard Fineman nonetheless manages to find a reason to find fault with John McCain's eloquent plea for bipartisan sanity in the midst of the Republican urge to deprive millions of Americans of affordable healthcare for sterile ideological reasons.

Fineman starts out by praising both the speech and McCain's willingness to deal with people such as, well, Fineman himself.But like a true hyper-partisan, Fineman then goes on to knock McCain for having voted to allow the measure to be debated in the first place. Given the similar and equally odd response of The Atlantic, another dependable organ of the ideologically purist left, this seems to be the standard way Democratic partisans are going to treat McCain's behavior. That res…

The biggest problem with the Trumpmeister?

Last night, when I heard the news about John McCain, I had just come from his official Facebook page (!) where turkeys from both ends of the political spectrum were talking trash about the man.

That, in itself, is something a guy should put on his resume. If extremists on both sides dislike you, you must be doing something right.

I did so in the full expectation that those same extremists would be even more ugly and more disgusting now that the news of the seriousness of the senator's condition has become public. I wish I had been surprised, but I we don't always get what we wish for. Just like the Democrats who cheered when they heard of Ronald Reagan's death and the Republicans who have been lying about Barack Obama's birthplace, religion, and economic philosophy ever since he became nationally known, people on Facebook and elsewhere who either dislike McCain for his moderation or for the political party he belongs to have been displaying their own ignorance, stupid…

Pray for John McCain

Senator John McCain- who, no matter what Mr. Trump says, IS a hero not only because of his Vietnam service and imprisonment but also because of his heroism in the Forrestal incident- has been diagnosed with a glioblastoma- a type of aggressively malignant brain tumor similar to the one which resulted in the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy fifteen months after diagnosis.

This great American is being trashed even now by hateful extremists on both the Left and the Right. Despite my lack of regard for Mr. Trump, I think well enough of him to believe that he wishes Sen. McCain well, and I hope that both Mr. Trump's supporters and their partisan adversaries will be able to give this American hero the respect he deserves and join with me in praying that somehow his life be spared so that he can continue to serve the nation with his characteristic courage, compassion, commitment, and intelligence- and a degree of moderation, goodwill and common sense that is all too rare in this hate-filled…

Our unstable president strikes again

Jon Huntsman called to see me. I said no, he gave away our country to China! @JonHuntsman — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2012

Today, President Trump nominated Jon Huntsman to be our Ambassador to Russia.

A good choice, but also an admission of how porous are the filters of the guy who as access to every vital secret America has. Or else his willingness to "give away our country" to Russia.

It's one or the other, I'm afraid. And if one wants to argue that he has learned and grown where Huntsman is concerned, at exactly what point do his supporters want us to believe he finally figured out what he was talking about? Tacitly accusing a man of treason and then appointing him as ambassador to an unfriendly country in which one has substantial business interests and with regard to which one is widely suspected of being compromised is not exactly the way to encourage confidence on the part of those Americans who actually pay attention to what Our National E…

POTUS should learn from Garry and Angela

Garry Kasparov obviously knows something about chess. After all, he's a former world champion.

The naturalized American citizen grew up in Azerbaijan under Russian rule and lived under it most of his life. So he kind of knows about Russian tyranny, too

He knows a great deal more than does the current administration, including the President, about the current Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin.   One of the things he knows is that when one validates a man who interferes with our elections, enables genocide in Syria, and invades neighboring nations, one becomes his accomplice.

Another is that when there are good reasons to wonder whether your own national administration is foolishly sharing information with that regime- whether through intentional collusion or through simple naivete and negligence- the real question isn't necessarily whether laws are being broken. The real question is whether the President's oath of office to faithfully discharge his duties and to "prese…

The Cubs just got better, but at a price. And it's worth it.

I cringe at the loss of mega-prospect Eloy Jiminez and possible future ace Dylan Cease, and I wonder whether Jose Quintana is going to be enough to put my Cubs over the top in their quest to repeat as world champions. I think they're going to need one more starting pitcher, which means one more trade, and right now third baseman Jeimer Candelario is the only top-five prospect they have at any position. I question what he would bring in a trade.

Of course, Jiminez had no future with the Cubs, who apparently are committed to Schwarber in left field despite his huge defensive downside. And it's hard to see Candelario displacing Kris Bryant. We'll see what Jedstein has in store but at the very least the Quintana trade puts us in good shape looking to 2018. That's especially the case since Quintana's contract- a big enough consideration that one writer said that it was nearly the equivalent of the Cubs getting another player- keeps him locked in at a reasonable price t…

Somebody needs to crown Steve King

You know, I'm quite strongly pro-life and anti-Planned Parenthood. But Rep. Steve King's proposal not only to build President Trump's useless and demagogic border wall with Mexico but to do so using funds from Planned Parenthood and food stamps makes me want to vomit.

The insensitivity to the plight of the poor exhibited by some in my former party astounds me. I suggest that Rep. King tries to live for a month- just one month- on what food stamps will buy him before making such an asinine suggestion.

It almost seems as if since Donald Trump's election more and more Republicans have just given up trying to sound like rational and thoughtful human beings.

I continue to be fascinated by the parallel between people on the right who want to save money by doing away with food stamps and people on the left who thinks that offing the kid is an acceptable solution to an unwanted pregnancy. The lack of proportion and simple human decency reflected by each of those positions only …

The growing false consensus on justification

In 1999, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and the Lutheran World Federation issued the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, which claimed to represent a resolution of the central issue of the Reformation, namely the question of whether we are saved by grace by faith alone, as Luther insisted, or by a combination of faith and works, as Roman Catholicism insisted.

It did no such thing. But now, it seems, the World Communion of Reformed Churches has signed on to the JDDJ.

On the basis of that "agreement," the Roman church declared that the condemnations of the Council of Trent sort of do not apply to Lutheranism, at least as represented by the churches of the LWF. Here is what Trent, in fact, condemned:

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 . . . let him be condemned.

Canon XII: I…

Just sayin'

No noteworthy baseball will be played anywhere in America until the Cubs play the O's on Friday. This hiatus is a chance for the world champions to catch their collective breath and for all of us to remember that Theo knows best, that Jed is on the phone, that the Goat is dead, and that these are not your fathers (or grandfathers', or great-grandfathers') Cubs.

The pitching is tired after two consecutive deep postseason runs and some of our starting pitchers need to actually be replaced. The position players are tired, too, and are just not beginning to hit their stride with their bats (nice especially to have Schwarber back and in his usual form after clearing his head down here in luxurious and serene vacation mecca of Des Moines for a bit). The bats, I'm really not worried about, there is going to be at least one and probably more than one major trade for pitching before the end of July, and I am very far from giving up.

Of course, it helps to be in a division in wh…

St. Johann Esch and St. Heinrich Voes, Martyrs

All praise for John and Henry
Whose witness to Your truth,
In fire and smoke foreshortened
Their brave and faithful youth.
But now, their pain is over;
They dwell with You above.
Lord, give us all such courage
To witness to your love!

On this date in 1523 two young Augustinian monks from Antwerp, Johann Esch and Heinrich Voes were burned at the stake at Brussels Belgium for embracing the teachings of Martin Luther.

Here is an article by Matthew Block of "The Canadian Lutheran" about the incident.

Esch and Voes were the very first martyrs of the Reformation and the subject of what is thought to be  Luther's very first hymn: