Get Adobe Flash player

Thank You Bill.


Bill Clinton might actually have touched on the truth a few times in this election.  Once when he called Obamacare the craziest thing he has ever seen, and now when he went after old, grey haired white folks who are worried about illegal immigration.  Who is going to pay for your Social Security?  Of course some of us asked that question years ago when Democrats pushed through the legal death of millions of children who, had they grown would right now be paying into Social Security.  The idea that we have to illegally transport folks into this country and prey upon their fears and poverty in their own countries to prop our old age, and allow the millennials to live in their parents basements should be rather ghastly to thinking human beings.

So from one grey haired white guy to another thank you Bill for actually being honest for a change.  Of course you don’t have to worry about your Social Security, you have the Clinton Foundation.  Maybe someday you can slip up and tell us the truth about that operation.

Share this on:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Bane of Systematic Thought.


The Alfred E. Smith banquet was hilarious.  It showed the deep divide and really personal hatred that exists in this election.  I don’t know which is worse, the feeling that the candidates over the last few years attacked each other on the stage and played golf together the next morning, or the feeling that it was a good thing they took the cutlery away before the speeches last night or the candidates might have stabbed each other.

The line that every one moaned at was the one in which hatred of Catholics was brought up at a Catholic fund raiser.  It came from  a leaked email that said that conservative Catholics exhibited an “amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy”.  Pretty wild stuff.  So I guess the Clinton team likes unsystematic thought.  Backward gender relations are an amazing descriptor for a man and a women getting married that was a “natural” standard for thousands of years.  It goes to show what several generations of public education has wrought.  These pseudo intellectuals have indeed a different reality.  They make fun of Thomism and ideas like subsidiarity and they show themselves to be the children of Hegel and Hobbes.  G.K. Chesterton got them just right.  This again from Wikipedia, not to be confused with WikiLeaks…..

“Since the modern world began in the sixteenth century, nobody’s system of philosophy has really corresponded to everybody’s sense of reality; to what, if left to themselves, common men would call common sense. Each started with a paradox; a peculiar point of view demanding the sacrifice of what they would call a sane point of view. That is the one thing common to Hobbes and Hegel, to Kant and Bergson, to Berkeley and William James. A man had to believe something that no normal man would believe, if it were suddenly propounded to his simplicity; as that law is above right, or right is outside reason, or things are only as we think them, or everything is relative to a reality that is not there. The modern philosopher claims, like a sort of confidence man, that if we will grant him this, the rest will be easy; he will straighten out the world, if he is allowed to give this one twist to the mind…”

As an unabashed Lutheran I have no truck with Thomism either.  Lutherans revel in paradox but not the type mentioned by Chesterton.  We are content to let God be God as He reveals Himself in the first commandment, and from there we recognize the radical nature of sin and grace.

There is not time or space to explain the theology of Thomas Aquinas.  People have spent their whole lives studying and teaching Thomism and never get to all of it, but to perhaps oversimplify it, Aquinas wants to “save” God’s justice and so brings in the idea of merits, which became the raison d’tre of the Reformation.  The great Reformation principle of “grace alone” ruins Thomism as a system.  Aquinas, like Einstein, wants to develop a theory of everything that explains everything.  Luther rejoices in paradox and never tries to resolve them.  He is content to let God be God and wait for the explanation in Heaven.  Aquinas wants to combine philosophy and theology and Luther is desperate to keep them separate.

So as a Lutheran let me leave you with a paradox from the Alfred E. Smith banquet.  The Catholic politicians seated in front and those that may have been in the audience have figured out a way to be members in good standing in the Catholic Church while at the same time ignoring some of the most important of the churches teachings, and to listen to nothing their priest says.


Share this on:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

“You could do worse, you always have!”

This presidential campaign from one perspective is absolutely hilarious.  If you have any sense of humor you have to sit back and laugh.  The so called press is truly apoplectic about Trump and have proven what many of us believe and that is that they are incapable of telling the truth about one of the parties.  The party that said there was no way that the Russians could have hacked emails are now convinced that the Russians are behind their nasty and embarrassing statements made public through WikiLeaks.  No one will admit there is voter fraud or voter intimidation even though there are folks out there on video admitting that they have committed fraud and will continue to do so again.  The comedy gets better when it is revealed that comedian Al Franken was probably elected by voter fraud and he was the deciding vote that made Obamacare the law of the land and now poor Minnesota is trying to make the best of a horrible situation.  Funny stuff coming from a state that is usually so busy trying to tell grocery stores they can’t use plastic bags and drivers bored to death in gridlock that they need to be nice to bicyclists, that the cost of heath care going through the roof because of something called the “Affordable Care Act” is last on a long list of issues.   All this stuff is of course considered off limits because we don’t want to besmirch the “sanctity of the electoral process”.  Now that should make peals of laughter ring through the land, but it gets better.  The hilarity really ensues when the stupid party lectures all of us on the fact that there can’t be voter fraud because Governors are in charge of elections.  Let’s see who are some famous governors?  Bill Clinton, George Wallace, Huey Long, Orville Faubus; right, there can’t be any shinanigans when governors are in charge.  But it gets even better!  A campaign bus dumped it’s full load of toilet contents on the street in a park somewhere and when people complained about it the campaign said that it was an “honest mistake”.  Besides the obvious reaction that this is what the campaigns have been doing to the whole country for a year, there is the less than obvious question of how many “dishonest mistakes” have they made?  But it gets even better.  This from Wikipedia – not WikiLeaks…………………….

The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner is an annual white tie fundraiser for Catholic charities supporting needy children, held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York on the third Thursday of October. It is organized by the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation in honor of former New York Governor Al Smith, the first Catholic presidential candidate; the dinner is hosted by the Archbishop of New York (currently Cardinal Timothy Dolan.)

 Alfred E. Smith in 1928.

The first dinner was in 1945, the year after Al Smith’s death. It is generally the last event at which the two U.S. presidential candidates share a stage before the election.[1] Apart from presidential candidates, keynote speakers have included Clare Boothe Luce, Bob Hope, Henry Kissinger, Tom Brokaw, Tony Blair, and many other prominent figures in government, business, the media, and entertainment.[2]

Ok you ask, why is this funny?  Because tonight is the dinner.  The candidate whose campaign has been shown to have nothing but contempt for Catholics will be there along with the guy that called her a “nasty women” last night, to which of course there was the collective gasp from the permanently disgruntled.  They are supposed to engage in “good natured sparring” and be funny.  By now we should all be rolling on the floor laughing so hard we can’t breath.  Just imagine this women who has no discernable sense of humor engaged in “good natured sparring” with a man who makes fun of everyone.  This could be the most classic “bit” yet.  Donna Brazile has remarked that the Russians probably doctored or wrote those leaked emails as she exhibited a hilarious mixture of righteous indignation and pure stupidity when she was asked why she leaked a debate question to a debate participant.  So maybe the Russians, well known for their sense of humor can leak a few jokes to Hilary so that she can engage in cute banter.

But it gets even better for me because for whatever kind of synapse overlap, I have been calling the Alfred E. Smith dinner the Alfred E. Neuman dinner (sometimes I just crack myself up.)  I spent valuable time this morning looking up why I might have made this mistake.  What kind of strange thing was going on in my brain that made me get this in my head?  My humor goes to the comedic styling of Dan Cole, the Common Man on KFAN radio out of Minneapolis, (my guess is that he doesn’t find Al Franken funny either although I could be wrong since he is a Minnesotan) and the high brow sophisticated humor of Mad Magazine.  That is where it came from.  Buried deep in my subconscious was the magazines mascot, Alfred E. Neuman running for president with an election placard that read — “You could do worse, you always have!”

Priceless.  Remember that when you cogitate the “sanctity of the electoral process”.

alfred e neumanYou could do worse – you always have.

Share this on:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Set Your Hearts on Things Above.

colossians 3

It is getting harder today to remember what the Apostle Paul said about us if we are believers.  He says in Colossians 3 that we died with Christ and the life we live we live in Christ who is seated at the right hand of God.  We should set our hearts and minds on things above where Christ rules.  It is getting harder and harder to do that because the world and our own flesh tend to want to navel gaze and focus on stuff that really is pretty silly.  When Paul says that we should “set our hearts” on things above it is truly an interesting concept.  The word Paul uses comes from two words put together.  The first comes from the description of areas around the heart and it gives us the concept of “insight”.  We look inward and our visceral reactions to something work out in action.   So the idea is that because we know in our hearts that Christ died and rose again and that we will appear with him in Glory our actions in this world are such that we live and act as folks who live in eternal life now.

My Greek grammar says that this word combines the visceral and cognitive aspects of thinking.  When we speak from the heart, our words should show that God who is greater than our hearts helps us focus.  When we viscerally react to what people say or do and want to react in anger we should “lift up our hearts” to where Christ is and let Him control the “words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts”.

This is heard to do today and it is especially hard in the politically charged atmosphere right now.  One of the reasons is that politicians are using the “insight” and the visceral reaction of Christians to injustice and need and corrupting it in service to a political philosophy that is un Christian.  They are using Christian values and Christian vocabulary to achieve their ends while behind the scenes mocking Christians.  When I set my mind on these things I am infuriated.  Applying Paul’s words I should look at Christ victory and interpret what I see in the light of His glory and grace and the belief that He controls all things for the church.  The clown show that is our politics is penultimate.


Share this on:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

A Debt One Owes To Love.

Luther young
Paul says in – Romans 13; 7Pay everyone what you owe him: taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. 8Be indebted to no one, except to one another in love, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law.  In response…..
“If there is anything in us, it is not our own; it is a gift of God. But if it is a gift of God, then it is entirely a debt one owes to love, that is, to the law of Christ. And if it is a debt owed to love, then I must serve others with it, not myself. Thus my learning is not my own; it belongs to the unlearned and is the debt I owe them…My wisdom belongs to the foolish, my power to the oppressed. Thus my wealth belongs to the poor, my righteousness to the sinners.” ― Martin Luther
Share this on:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Corruption defined…


Corruption defined from last week and the discussion of Luke 18 is “not fearing God or respecting people”.  For a long time poltical folks have shown that they don’t respect people.  They have certainly shown that they don’t believe that they govern by consent of the governed.  Thomas Jefferson put that little phrase into the Declaration of Independence.  It had been a political philosophy for hundreds of years and sat over and against the Divine Right of Kings.  When you rule as if you had the divine right to do so, or as if you were above the laws that you pass you are corrupt.  When you hide what is in legislation and behind legalistic jargon you show a lack of respect for people that have to live with the consequences of what you have done.  The rigging of elections is an example of corruption because it shows that you believe you know better about what should be than the people doing the electing.

Once again there is proof that dead folks are voting in Colorado, or at least registering to do so.  It is so common in Chicago that the State Legislature is thinking of moving election day to Halloween.  It happens frequently but of course we are told that it is not that common.  A more significant and troubling detail that might be missed is that the political party that doesn’t have the majority if the dead vote, is now strenuously objecting to talk about “voter fraud”.  To say that this has been a strange election cycle is monumentally understating the case.  When the target of voter fraud argues against “rigged elections”, we are indeed in the twilight zone.

Share this on:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Fear, Loathing, and on the Campaign Trail

Hunter Thompson started the fear and loathing bit.  He also showed how a journalists hatred of say, Richard Nixon, could cause him to rather have a “hopeless old hack”, or a man whose campaign “had the stench of death” be President than him.

There is a lot of fear and loathing out there.  Part of the reason is the  inability to figure out what is true anymore.  Just in the last two months we were assured that the Russians never hacked into someone’s email and now there is a campaign that is spouting that the Russians hacked precisely because they want one of the candidates to win.  So which is it?  Were the email servers hackable or not?

We were told that Obamacare was working fine and now all of a sudden even Minnesota wants out.  Those who predicted exactly what would happen with Obamacare are now sloughed off by a simple statement that “they never wanted it to work in the first place”.

We have been told that one candidate cut his political chops on the “racist lie” that the President wasn’t born in this country and now we find it really was the other candidate, Clinton, whose campaign started it as a part of a package that also included cocaine use and homosexual adoption.  How the cocaine and adoption were to be used by Democrats against Democrats  is never explained.

Meanwhile Republicans want to protect their leads in the House and Senate but they can’t name anything that Republican majorities in the House and Senate accomplished for the good of the country.  The feeling among many is that most Republicans will do exactly as the Democrats do, they are just slower about it.

There is also the wondrous spectacle of a man like Bernie Sanders who now knows for sure that the Democrat establishment was against him, crawling out his third, (count them three) homes to join in prattling about the marvels of a party that was doing everything it could to destroy him.  This wealth distributor who was not ashamed to openly proclaim that there is too much wealth concentrated among too few people might want to consider opening up one of his homes (did I mention that he has three) to his millennial followers so they could leave their parents alone.  At least let them have the basements Bernie.

The press and “media” have been in the bag for one political party or another since the days of Jefferson.  Now they are in the bag for only one party.  History shows that newspapers for instance, could be created rather quickly if there was the perception that the prevailing newspaper in a region was in the bag for one party.  Those days, like so much else, are gone for good.  Reading newspapers is a lost art, and explaining why the corruption of, oh let’s say the FBI, is a really bad thing can’t be accomplished in 140 characters.

There is the sense that the IRS, FBI, Department of Justice and Veteran Affairs have all been corrupted. And now we find out about the contempt in which “they” hold Catholics and Evangelicals.  It is a stunning state of affairs.  Catholic politicians have always had a loosy goosy connection with their faith.  They will piously pronounce on abortion that they are personally against it but that their personal opinion should not effect public policy.  Of course they are not shy about bringing their personal opinion to bear in policy about guns and the death penalty and a host of other social issues.  So called devout Catholics like Biden, Cuomo, Kaine, Heitkamp, and others learned how to check their religion at the door when they came to work.  The point that we learn is that morality without faith is frangible.  Republicans can be feckless as well but at least but their sins seem to be of omission rather than commission.

The fear and loathing, at least for about 46 percent of us on one side or another, seems to be that these denizens of the political shadows that have run this country for decades have managed in their wisdom to create a society that neither party will be able to govern.  They have created a situation where either sides ability to govern “with the consent of the governed” is going to be impossible.

Yesterdays blog was about corruption and the unrighteous judge and crazy women who keeps bugging him for justice.  That may be a great picture of what is in store for us as a country.  The folks with the loudest most obnoxious voices who threaten violence will probably prevail.  They will get what they want because that is what corrupt systems will give them, not out of justice, but fear.

By the way thanks to John Nordling and a devotion on Luke 18:1-8 found in the theological observer section of CTQ July – October 2015 for the thought starters.



Share this on:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

All That Corruption.


It occurred to me that Jesus is giving us a definition of corruption.  We are hearing about corruption all around us and yet no one can explain what it really is and Jesus has the judge in the Gospel lesson define it for us.  Some one is corrupt if they neither fear God nor respect men.

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

We are surrounded by folks who do not fear God and they certainly do not respect men.  The more folks cry for respect the less of it there seems to be around.



Lord’s question was intended originally to sum up the admirable pluck of that
importunate widow who wouldn’t take “No” for an answer from  What gets him to
yield is the unpleasant prospect of that woman shattering his blissful repose by her
incessant demands for justice. “Finally she’ll come and beat me down,” the ESV says.
But, as is usually the case, the original Greek is far more expressive: “she’ll come
and brow beat me,” BDAG suggests―or even, “she’ll come and give me a black eye
[ὑπωπιάζῃ]!” That’s why he yields. But there the comparison stops: “And shall not
the true God dispense justice for the sake of his elect who cry out to him night and
day, and shall he delay over them? I tell you that he shall wreak vengeance for them
in haste!”

Share this on:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Living With The Fears


Tomorrows Gospel  – Luke 18:1-8

18 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

Luther lumps Luke 18:8 with other texts of doom and destruction, such as 1 Thessalonians 5:2 (“the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night”). Luther writes: These are terrifying statements. But the smug and ungrateful world, the despiser of all the promises and threats of God, abounds with every kind of iniquity and daily becomes more and more corrupt. Now that the rule of the popes, who have ruled the world solely through the fear of punishment, is over, men, through their contempt of the sound doctrine, all but degenerate into brutes and beasts. The number of holy and godly preachers is on the decline. All men yield to their desires. . . . Furthermore, Christ Himself has foretold these developments, and so it is impossible for us to believe that He has lied. But if the first world, which had so large a number of most excellent patriarchs, became so pitiably depraved, how much more should we fear when the feebleness of our nature is so great? Therefore, may the Lord grant that in faith and in the confession of His Son Jesus Christ we may as quickly as possible be gathered to those fathers and die within twenty years, so that we may not see those terrible woes and afflictions, both spiritual and physical, of the last time. Amen.

Pretty sobering stuff that.  Yet Luther could so exuberantly call upon God and see joy even in the midst of terrifying events that he is quite content to pray praise and give thanks.  It is not a question of getting him on a bad day.  There is in Luther always a paradox.  He lives in the now and the not yet.  He is at the same time a saint and a sinner.  He lives eternal life now and translates present day reality into that reality.  In this little citation he really gives meaning to the explanation of the 7th petition of the Lord’s Prayer.




Share this on:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Project 24 Update part 2

lenkishon 6

lenkishon 5

These pictures give you some idea of the kind of country that the Lenkishon Project 24 center is being built on.  This is giraffe and zebra country and the famous ferralsol laterite earth.  I am happy to see this Project continuing and progressing so well.  It is a joint North Dakota and Minnesota North project.

Here is the report from the architect – it means nothing to me but ……

We carried out a site inspection on Tuesday 11th October, 2016 and compile the
following report.

Work Progress:
The roof cover to all units have been completed except for a small section of the
hall entrance lobby; Windows and external doors are 95% completed with the
outstanding expected to be completed by the end of the week; The main works ongoing
currently is internal plaster with the  dormitory at 80% complete, the hall and the
kitchen are expected to done by the end of the week; Ceiling brandering timber has
commenced at the dormitory and is at 30% . Overall project is at 75% completion

Materials on site:
There is sufficient cement lime and sand  on site to accommodate the plaster works,
however there is need to have on site timber for ceiling brandering.

Labour on site : there was adequate labour on site  undertaking the plaster works.
General workmanship is good.Pace of work is satisfactory and with timely supplies of
brandering timber,ceiling boards, window glass, paint, and electrical and sanitary
fittings, the project completion could be achieved by December 2016.
Kind Regards,

Share this on:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

please note:
Your comments are welcome but will be held until approved to avoid misuse. Comments posted by visitors to this site reflect the personal opinions of individuals and may not necessarily reflect the beliefs and practices or official positions of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. Individual articles from this blog may be reproduced by LCMS congregations (i.e., in church newsletters, bulletins, etc.) without writing for permission. Such reproductions, however, should credit the "Northern Crossings" blog as the source.
Site Tools