Thursday, October 20, 2016

The American Myth

Well it isn't entirely American, but it is bantered about as a matter of certainty that Americans are a good people. Its similar to the myth of the innocence of childhood. Clearly the 2-year old cherub smiling at their parents can't be all that bad. But every tantrum, every rude driver, and even the cultural references to "NY manners" reveal the ugly truth. We are only "good" sometimes, and even then not that good to most people. We often are only good for our own reasons. Its good to help the homeless, the hungry, and the downtrodden. But we often are good in our daily lives because we know our coworker will reciprocate, our spouse will do something special, or we know there is something we will get out of it, like a box of cookies for that cause. When the world claims we are all "good at heart", it is trying to convince itself that is true. Sometimes we succeed at telling ourselves that. But the truth is uglier - our best isn't enough, even for us. Only Christ can make a work a good work. Only His sacrifice can erase our guilt. Otherwise we try to convince ourselves we are good people. All the while feeling just a little dirty why doing so...

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Training up a child

Many of you struggle with children, especially boys, who know what to do but just don't get it done. It is a problem in my household, and many of the usual suspects (too much TV and video games) just aren't present. I have been walking through Proverbs with my oldest son, and doing so has given us time together. It also opens the door to discussions on laziness, wisdom, self discipline and others. It has made a positive effect on him, and I plan to continue with Ecclesiastes. If it was good enough for Solomon to write down and to be included in the Cannon, then it is good enough to teach your children wisdom. They might very well be the only kids in the area with that training. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Christ is Risen!

Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is Risen! Our hope is in Christ conquering death and providing the sacrifice for our wretched sin. Gone is the sure death of hell. Those who die in the faith sleep for a while, then rise on the last day to be with their Lord. Those who rise without Christ do so on their own, and suffer the wrath of a God who provided all and was rejected. Praise to God for all He has done. Praise the Lord!

Friday, March 18, 2016

"We are all Jews here"

Fairly recently there was a series of articles where the phrase "We are all Jews here" was uttered by a POW US MSgt in order to protect the Jews in his command from the horrors of the Nazi death camps during the waning days of WW2. With Lent, the phrase seems to have a different meaning. During the first Lent, when Christ was flogged, beaten, tried, convicted, and killed, we were truly "all Jews" then. Our sins were just as cruel as the Israelis and Romans were while killing the Messiah. We certainly didn't cast a stone or speak a word, but still our rejection of Jesus was as complete as the Israeli people's at that time and place. After the wonderful miracle of Easter and the Resurrection, the phrase "we are all Jews here" doesn't have any meaning. The previously rejected Christ returns, bringing salvation to all people who have Faith. It is no longer just the Israelis that have God's Word, but all people. The only thing that eternally matters is "Child of God." The WW2 phrase saved lives in the horrors of world war. But it is the saving act of God that saves us for eternity.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The reality of the "force"

All over the media is the latest Star Wars movie "The Force Awakens" which had a massive opening weekend. Personally, I enjoy the movie series, perhaps a little too much given the time I spent on it in my younger years. The idea of the "force" is intriguing- something that moves throughout all things in the universe that you can control. The reason why it is so intriguing is what it represents. And no I am not talking about the weird mitichlorian explanation. It is the desire of man to be his own god. Think of the aspects- the force is everywhere, allows you to sense things anywhere or any time, and you can control it for life or death. If you follow the movies and books, it is even rumored to allow a resurrection of sorts. All of these things are attributes of God, and not of man. They are the powers sinful man covets, which is why it is so enticing. The mysticism included in the jedi ("good") and sith ("evil") sides of the force (think yin and yang) provides enough of a structure that there are literally "jedi churches" and I suspect also "sith" variety as well. There are people worshiping a religion based on a fictional book for powers they cannot attain. Unfortunately, without Salvation through Faith, they will discover all too late that it was the work of the devil and the flesh that led them down the "dark path" to hell.

The Star Wars series is an enjoyable movie to me, but I also know what the false religion is that hides behind it. I strongly urge you to talk to your kids about it so they can learn about it. I also suggest waiting until your kids are old enough to have a clearer understanding of the fictional world and the real world. That distinction is quite important when dealing with matters that leech into critical understanding like Faith and sin. This might be a great opportunity to teach and enjoy a movie, so long as it is kept a movie and not a way of life.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Excellent blog post

"Sellers of Purple" has an excellent post about the difference between legalistic, man centered social churches and churches with the life-giving Word preached. While she mentions the LCMS, there are other church bodies with the same focus that are just as pertinent.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Vocation of Citizen

Lutherans teach a concept called "vocation" in which God utilizes us in this world to do His work. Luther wrote extensively on it, and I suggest reading his words and explanation as they are much clearer than can ever be posted on a blog. Some examples posted by the LC-MS are here, and there are books that can be ordered with further developments that I won't list here due to length. In the United States, Nov. 3 is an election day. Not all states have elections as each state has its own cycle. Virginia votes on local elections this year, and I believe at least a few others do as well. In any case, if there is an election for you, it is part of your vocation as a citizen to vote. Many people don't "get into" anything that isn't a major election, like governor or President. The truth is your vocation obligates you to weigh the candidates and vote accordingly regardless of the level of the election.

Please fulfill your vocation and vote if you have the opportunity.  If you don't, you can still fulfill your obligation as a citizen to encourage those who can vote to do so, and to be current on the issues important to your local, state, and national level government. Each level has different concerns and responsibilities, and those need to be weighed with thoughtful Christian consideration for what is the wisest course of action.