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Out of the Heart.

The police say they are baffled and can’t find a motive.  Everyone is spending a lot of time trying to figure out what was on the mind of the shooter who killed all those people and wounded so many more in Las Vegas. I have been spending my time trying to figure out what is in the mind of people whose first reaction is that the folks who were shot probably deserved it because they were country music fans, and therefore gun toters, and probably voted for Trump.  While we ponder the evil that was in the heart and the mind of the shooter we might want to think about the evil that is in the heart and the mind of so-called decent, thoughtful, citizens like a lawyer for CBS. If that is the first thing in your mind I would suggest from a moral perspective, you are no better than the shooter. It was Jesus who said out of the heart comes evil thoughts, adultery, theft, murder, and all kinds of nastiness. It was Jesus who said you don’t actually have to shoot somebody and physically kill them, but harboring hate is the same as murdering them in your heart.
There’s an off a lot of handwringing and worrying about what is going on in this country. That may be a good thing, but I’m not sure we have enough couch time in the world to diagnose all the insanity.  Evil hearts are responsible and we don’t want to recognize that, so we look for excuses and scape goats.  Looking into hearts is bad business.  If Christ is not there it is only darkness and doom.

 

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The Politicization of Everything – Sports

Politicizing sports is nothing new.  There is a psychological boost that takes place when sports, which should be something to be enjoyed without consequences, except to maybe make you get out and try and work hard to be a fit athletic person too.  Sadly sport brings about wonderful ways for demagogues and the stupid to rouse and roil masses.  Hitler tried it and walked out when Jesse Owens won an Olympic medal in Munich.  The Russians are famous for politicizing sports and the Chinese and Koreans are not far behind.

The thing about making political statements in sports is you need to make it plain what you are doing so people understand.  The fact that we have all kinds of talking heads on TV bloviating over what the athletes are doing and why, shows the stupidity of it all.  What were the Green Bay Packers doing?  Were they protesting or trying to stop the protests?  Were they agreeing with what Kaepernick was trying to get too or not?  By the way does anyone know what Kaepernick was advocating?

Some said it is about free speech so let’s have an experiment.  Let’s take a team, any team and let half the players take a knee and the other half run onto the field covered in Confederate flags.  We will see soon how much this is about free speech.

 

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The Politicization of Everything – The Weather

I listened to years to a radio talk show host and enjoyed him very much.  He was a conservative and at the time I listened to him he was a lone voice in the media.  He grew in popularity and of course became the betenoire of the left and a thorn in the flesh of many politicians.  I had not heard him in a while but I knew he lived in Florida and I wanted to hear his perspective on getting ready for a hurricane.  He said that he has his own theories about the different paths that weathermen said a hurricane could go and he explained the different “spaghetti models” and how a problem with forecasting was the inability to take into account wind shear at the top of the clouds.  He also was joking about the notion that a week out before any landfall was possible people were complaining that bottled  water was sold out.  He told people that there is a miraculous thing in most homes called a faucet and if you turned it on in most places in America there was an unending supply of good water.  He told people to fill their tubs and take plastic bags and fill them 3/4 full of tap water and put the bags in the freezer and when the power when out, voila, they would have cold water.

He never said anything about climate change being a hoax.  He never said that people should not leave or that there was no danger.  He said none of those things and yet it was reported that he did.  On one news program with a panel everyone reported that this individual said things he never said.  One gentlemen reported that he had listened and that none of these things were said and the next person on the panel started talking as if the other panel member had never spoken.

This is not just fake news, these are outright lies.  Sadly there are audio tapes of these shows.  You can go back and listen and these people have made up their minds about climate “deniers” and the religion of “climate change” and they will not even take the time to check their stories.

If you are reading these blogs about the politicization of everything you will notice how politics and theology often cross wires and sometimes theology is used in a political sense and vice versa.  There is a reason for that and we will be looking at it soon.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Politicization of Everything – Disaster Relief

The news from Puerto Rico is all bad.  The fact that this is an island that has been hit by two major hurricanes makes help and aid extremely difficult to distribute.  I am guessing that it will begin to be asserted that the aid is slow and coming because these folks are minorities.  In fact I think it happened already that some politician said the issue is not relief but that the island has a lot of “brown people” and you know how much Republicans hate “brown people”.  This kind of foolishness has been going on for ages but it gets worse in times of disaster.  New Orleans was a prime example.  The accusation was the because the folks down there were mostly minorities the federal government was slow to act, when the reality was that the local mayor was incompetent.

When LCMS World Relief and Human Care went to help with clean up we were part of a pan – Lutheran response.  We collected money and helped raise volunteers but we were doing within a larger organization.  The politics came in when we sent volunteers to help in the clean up and they were given a list of things that they could not do.  They could not pray with the people that they were trying to help.  They could not pray together as volunteers in sight of the people that were being helped.  They could not hand out devotions or tracts.  They could not offer a witness as Christians.  The reason is not theological but political.  The efforts that it would take to pray and give out devotions or invite to a worship service could be seen by some as “coercive evangelism” and some who might come to church could be viewed as coerced into conversion.

I was very proud of our Board as we wrestled with the concept of human care and mercy.  We struggled with a theology of mercy so that we could get rid of the politics.  We went our own way and developed our own capacity to do disaster relief and we did it our way and continue to do so.  Our way has been considered by many to be a model program.  We work with the Pastors and congregations and then use them as a force multiplier to move into communities.  Their are statements we made about coercive evangelism.  WE do what we do in mercy work “because of what we believe, not so that you will believe”.  Because Christ rescued us and has shown us His love we love and want to help others.  If they come to faith because of our witness that is wonderful, but we help in time of disaster because that is what Christians do.

To politicize disasters is reprehensible.  To take faith and theology out of our life of mercy is worse.  We have spent years and thousands of dollars collecting blankets and school kits to send to the agency that wouldn’t let us pray.  I wonder if they would reject those gifts if they knew that before we sent them we sanctified them with the Word of God and Prayer?

For those of you interested in the Theology of mercy please go to

lcms.org and use the search program.

 

 

 

 

 

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Kissinger is Coming – Thank You Bob Wurl

 

Folks, please see attached schedule as we know it now for Kissinger’s time
following ND District Pastor’s convention in Minot.  MNN Pastors, please advertise
his presentation at Frazee to the congregations in your circuit and also the one at
Lutheran Island Camp to congregations in that area.  Thank you to all of you for
assisting in our efforts to get information out about Christ’s Care for Children:
Kenya (CCC: K) and Project 24.

We still have opportunities to plug something in on Friday (October 6)
afternoon/evening; Saturday (October 7) morning and Sunday (October 8) evening

If you need to contact me, cell phone is 701-640-3681 or email at
bwurl@lsbhank.com<mailto:bwurl@lsbhank.com>

Below is a brief bio for Kissinger and I’ve attached a photo  of Kissinger distributing Bibles, Hymnals, catechisms, etc to the children at Lenkishon – Lenkishon is the newest P24 center, dedicated this past
February and built through funding supplied by MNN and ND Districts as a result of
their 2012 district convention resolutions.

Mr. John Kissinger Nyang’au is the Director of the Project24 program in Kenya. He
has a background in teaching and counseling with a Bachelor’s degree in Project
Planning and Management from the University of Nairobi. Mr. Nyang’au has been the
director for Project24, a joint Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya – Lutheran
Church-Missouri Synod program since March of 2015. Project24 provides center-based
care during the school year in a school boarding facility operated by the Lutheran
Church for at-risk children across Kenya. He and his family live in Kenya.

John Kissinger Itinerary

October 4-9, 2017

Wednesday, October 4:  ND District Pastors Conference, Minot

Leaves conference with Rev. Mike Giddings

7:00 p.m. Presentation at Crosspointe Lutheran, Fargo

Overnight at Giddings

Thursday, October 5:

TBD:  Presentation at Grace Lutheran School, Fargo

5:00 p.m. Dinner with Rev. & Mrs John Beck, Frazee, MN

7:00 p.m. Presentation at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Frazee, MN

Overnight at Bob Wurl’s, Detroit Lakes

Friday, October 6:

11:30 a.m. Meet at MNN District Office, Lunch

Tentative – travel to and overnight at Lutheran Island Camp?

Saturday, October 7:

           5:00 p.m. Dinner & Presentation at Lutheran Island Camp

Overnight at Bob Wurl’s, Hankinson, ND

Sunday, October 8:

8:15 a.m. Worship at St John’s, Belford

9:45 a.m. Worship & Bible Study at Immanuel, Hankinson

TBD – evening presentation in SE Circuit? – travel to Drayton/Weinlaeder’s?

Overnight at Bob Wurl’s or Weinlaeder’s

Monday, October 9:

Departure for Kenya from Fargo, ND

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In Gathering at Trinity for LWML Sunday

Thanks to Trinity for the ingathering of guilt and blankets and layettes and school kits.

LWML historian Marlys Taege Moburg wrote

…the blessing of the LWML, now also known as Lutheran Women in Mission, goes far beyond the millions raised for missions. Its benefits can be seen in faith deepened through Bible studies, in confidence built through leadership training, in the befriending of career missionaries, in blankets and clothing gathered for the impoverished, in food shared with the hungry and, above all, in the friendships nurtured and the lives changed by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

 

 

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To Stupid to Survive

Mark Stein said yesterday that we have made ourselves a society that is too stupid to survive.  It may sound like hyperbole but history is replete with examples of societies that did not survive because they became stupid and lazy and simply degenerated.  The Roman Empire declined because it imploded, it’s politicians, emperors and civil servants became corrupt and incompetent and people lost trust in them.  Common sense acts that could have saved society were never contemplated and a casual reading of personal letters and correspondence of the ordinary people that made up a society are rather sad.  One comes away with the feeling that individual citizens had a distaste for life, ingratitude to parents for having given it, unwillingness to repeat the pattern on to a new generation and a kind of malaise that showed a tremendous lack of joy.  There is a sense that people were to a point where they felt that not only were their Gods unjust but the created order itself was corrupt and life was not worth living.  Rather than search for the good and work on doing what could be done they fell into a kind of self loathing.  The enemies that invaded actually seem to have the opposite attitude and actually took to the Gospel of Christ and became missionaries themselves.  They were anything but stupid.  They took the good and drove out the bad and moved forward forming a new civilization.  Of course there will be those who disagree with me but the Germanic invasion was probably the best thing that happened for the spread of the Gospel at least.

People have always questioned God’s goodness and sometimes the meaning of life itself as if they were being punished.  Old Testament lesson today reminds us by Ezekiel that God’s people were going around saying, “God is not just”.  In the Gospel, chief priests and elders question the authority of Jesus. They acted in stupid ways and it was nothing new.  What makes the world different today is that fact that the Gospel has been proclaimed and the Good News of Christ has been let loose in the world and it will speed on and conquer.  There is a malaise today that views the Gospel as bad news and the view seems to be spreading.

We won’t be using the lessons I mentioned in church.  We will celebrate LWML Sunday and we will show how God is faithful and has promised that His church will survive all the trials that the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh can throw at us.   We will celebrate the great example of the LWML and their joyful response to God’s mercy and love through their witness and their service.

 

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The Politicization of Everything – Dr. Seuss

I grew up on Dr. Seuss.  I never knew he was a racist.  I guess First Ladies Clinton, Bush and Obama never knew it either because they often read to students from Dr. Suess.  Once the current First Lady offered a gift to some schools of Suess books he suddenly has become racist.  Go figure.

Suess once commented that fantasy is a necessary part of living.  “It is a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope”.  If that is the case we have a lot of folks living in a fantasy world.  It may be a necessary part of life but once and a while you have to look at reality as well

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Politicization of Everything – Missions

President Trump spoke to the UN this week and he took on the North Koreans, the Iranians and the Venezuelans.  So the Iranian guy who heard Trumps speech said it belonged in medieval times.  Venezuelan guy says it was racist and probably sexist too.  Hillary said it was “dark and dangerous”.  Criticism from a theocrat who foments a religion that forces everyone that believes it to go back to the 4th century and from a worn out Marxist regime that cannot handle billions of dollars in oil wealth but goes bankrupt instead, and a worn out politician whose husband gave the North Koreans billions to start the nuclear race to begin with, tells us what a world we live in.   That criticism tells me the speech was about right.  The topper might have been the North Koreans who called the President a “dotard”.  This is quite hilarious in so many ways.  To think that the strange little man with the bad haircut views the President as a dotard, tottering around in his dotage is rich.  Even funnier was the fact that the press, who I believe are mostly ignorant, (the idea that they are deliberately obtuse has crossed my mind as well), had to scramble on google and actually read a dictionary to find out what he meant.

The humor in so much of this has to be sought or one might go a bit insane.  This world is indeed coming unglued and the politicization of all things is evidence of the insanity.  We need to get out of the past we are told while we dig up old antebellum antagonisms.  We need to rethink society and our values while chanting the same political slogans that started when I was wearing bellbottoms and old army fatigues.  We need to revamp the Church’s Creeds while trying to make everything gender neutral.

The crazy world we live in is a world to which we send missionaries.  So deeply entrenched in our politics is the racist, sexist, homophobia designations that it bleeds into our mission work and our pulpits.  The very concept of a missionary is considered by some to be colonialist and racist. Our missionaries go to places where other churches are trying to preach the Gospel of sexual expression rather than the Gospel of Jesus.  The global South and the  indigenous churches we deal with there are much more conservative than our more “enlightened” denominations in the States are, and it make for uncomfortable times.

One of the larger churches in Africa recently called for one of the larger Lutheran Churches in the US to “repent” over their stand on sexual issues.  It has become a political football when it should be a theological one but that is the nature of the beast.  The church whose work it is to call people to repentance has forgotten how to do so.  When was the last time you heard any church in this country call upon anyone to repent over anything except perhaps driving SUV’s or owning a confederate flag?

 

 

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LWML Sunday.

2017 marks two significant anniversaries: the 500th anniversary of Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses and the 75th anniversary of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. Confessing the faith has not gotten any easier since these two events occurred. In fact, it may be more difficult to speak and to live as Christians now – and the future may even more challenging. Yet God is faithful and has promised that His church will survive all the trials that the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh can throw at us. Building on God’s promises, we know that this is our time to be distinctly Lutheran. Since 1942, the LWML has affirmed each woman’s identity as a child of God and her relationship with Jesus Christ, encouraged and equipped Christian women to live out their lives in active mission ministries, and supported missions around the world through their sacrificial gifts of mites, tithes, offerings, and tireless service. Now is our time to “Be Ready to Confess!” faithfully and boldly of Christ’s redemptive work for us and for all the world.

LWML Sunday – October 1

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