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Month: September 2015

Of Mission fests and Bill Boards

I had the opportunity and the great pleasure to speak at the Minnesota North LLL convention held at St. John’s Lutheran Church outside of Perham and to preach at the mission fest at Trinity at New York Mills.  It was a great week end and a fun time but as I was reconnoitering the area to make sure that I could be where I was supposed to be on time I saw this sign on Highway 10 and almost drove off the road. I am sure that Sanford Health doesn’t went people driving off the road because of their bill boards but I had to turn around and go back and check this out.  I knew this person and still see her occasionally like at Christmas.  But a bill board is a whole different thing. Selfies are a way that we try and get noticed.  The selfie craze has reached strange proportions but here is something different.  An advertisement for a major company using the image of one of their employees.  You might be able to see the name of this person on the picture but she hasn’t given me permission to use her name so….. If you know who she is hash tag her or tag her or whatever it is that you do these days.  I think this is pretty neat.   Share this on:...

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Unreasonable Demands

This sign got me to thinking, which is sometimes a dangerous thing.  Thinking is hard work.  Thinking makes us ask questions and look for responses that are reasonable.  Sometimes thinking makes us seem unreasonable.  It makes us ask what some call unreasonable questions. Why this sign in this place?  The road did not seem anymore dangerous or difficult at this spot.  There was no more of a visibility issue at this spot than anywhere else as far as I could tell.  Why not 10 MPH?  12?  15?  What capricious will set this arbitrary limit? There is a lot of unreasonableness out there.  The answers to my question seem to be in a philosophical sense, unanswerable.  Someone set this speed limit, at this place, at this speed because they could.  It is like the answer that my parents gave when I asked the reason for some rule that they had laid down.  Why? was always answered with, “because I said so”. One of the universal issues that arise in questions of faith is the whys that we ask God.  Why did you do this, allow that, permit this. prohibit that?  The questions come back to the sinful mind as my parents answer, “because I wanted to”.   “Do what I say because I said so”.  It is not until the miracle of faith occurs that we can say with Peter, “because you say so”,...

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Getting Off the Train

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, once said it something like this. If you board the wrong train that’s heading in the wrong direction it does you no good to run down the corridor of the train in the opposite direction.   At some point you’ve got to get off the train and start walking in the right direction. The message of Jesus at the beginning of His ministry was “repent, the Kingdom of God is here”.  Repent means to turn or to get off the train and walk in the right direction.  Luther said that when Jesus said to repent he meant that our entire life is to be one of repentance. Share this on:...

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Confession and Salvation

I have been doing some research on Luther and the Reformation and the Rise of Islam.  I have been rather disparaging about our societies lack of knowledge about history and culture in general, and about religion in particular.  I am finding that Luther himself and the Reformers had to scramble to learn about the Islamic belief system because there was a general ignorance about Mohammed and the Ottoman Turks.  ” Many strange ideas about Muhammad circulated including the belief that he became a cardinal in the Catholic Church, then lost a papal election, and as a result sought revenge on Christianity. Another legend was that he was a magician who destroyed the Eastern Church.”  Adam Francisco writes that “the image of Islam throughout most of western Europe prior to and during the crusading period was severely distorted if not completely fictitious.”   Things hadn’t changed by Luther’s time and to his credit he pushed hard to get a copy of the Quran and have it translated into German so people could read it for themselves. He has an interesting take here………… ” (The Turk)..Lays waste to the Christian faith and our dear Lord Jesus Christ. For although some praise the Turk’s government because he allows everyone to believe what he will so long as he remains the temporal lord, yet this reputation is not true, for he does not allow Christians to come...

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Reality Check 3

I suppose some might say that I am Pope bashing.  I really do not intend to do that.  However there was a good question asked on one of the news channels this morning and that was “why doesn’t he talk about Jesus?”  I guess at the heart of my questions that is the big question .  Governments, political parties, politicians who take the words of Jesus and institutionalize and politicize them do more harm than good.  The visit of the Pope is trying to un – politicize mercy according to some.  Still others say that his visit is a flogging of the power structures.  The problem to my mind is that what passes for charity today always has strings and that many institutionalized forms of mercy are never meant to get people out of poverty, but to keep them there  more comfortably.  The United States has fought a war on poverty for one half of a century and there are more people in poverty in America than ever before.  Does anyone ever notice that every political season is a call to spend more on the poor and between campaigns more and more organizations rise up to do what the Government is failing to do even though it supposedly spends billions doing it. Every campaign season we are called upon to spend more on education and yet the radio waves are flooded...

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