A Political Christ

Ask twenty-five members of parish what a pastor/priest ought to do or be and you’ll get twenty-five answers. Ask at the seminary or a Circuit/District meetings and everyone will also give you a different answer. Attend one of our cult-like gatherings of like-minded (?) “confessional” (?) pastors, and once again the answer will be different. Within contemporary Lutheranism, the emphasis has always been on being faithful to the Confessions, the argument being that faithfulness to the Confessions is in fact faithfulness to Christ, for the Confessions themselves are believed to, among other things, present a faithful witness of Christ.[1] Continue reading A Political Christ

That Girl: Reminiscere 2015

It started innocently enough, all kids have dreams, and as parents we rarely give them a second thought. When the sleepwalking started she went to the doctor, who laughed it off and said “All kids do this from time to time.” Soon though the “visions” started to appear, and when she woke up, she would talk about the colors she “saw” on the living room walls in great detail; she never appeared troubled by the dreams or the night walks, simply fascinated. Continue reading That Girl: Reminiscere 2015

Eyes Without A Face

facelessI hate a Lent that dehumanizes humanity; a Lent that is strictly aesthetic and in so being ignores the reality of human flesh and bone, ultimately making it into yet another liturgically incarnation-free season of the church year. A Lent that is boneless and bloodless reduces “sin” to a metaphor, allows “temptation” to become philosophical, baptism to become strictly symbolic, the Eucharist to become both rote and ritualistic, and (paradoxically) ignores the Legion that lives in each of us. A Lent that is skinless and faceless preaches a formulaic grace that often appears to border on the idyllic, a God who is strangely distant, a penitential season sans any type of penance, and a Christ who was crucified as a man, but now seems to be oddly bodiless. Continue reading Eyes Without A Face

Reminiscere From a Former Life

Well sports fans this week’s lessons, both Old and New put us right in the middle of the squared circle and the bell has rung. I suppose if you’re a wrestler you stand a better chance of pinning your opponent if you know something about your adversary, but in Jacob’s case he didn’t even know he was going to have a match, let alone know anything about the man he was to fight. It reminds you of a WWF bout where one guy is wearing a mask. Continue reading Reminiscere From a Former Life

Invocabit 2015

Today we enter formally into the holy season of Lent, which is in reality nothing less than a season of Christian warfare,[1] and Christians are not the only people who enter into this holy season; there is one more person who enters this season, who delights in this season, and seeks nothing less than the ruination of your life. It was this way in the beginning and it will be this way no matter how advanced or technological or intelligent we believe ourselves to be; in fact your own disbelief of him-believing him to be a myth or relic of a bygone superstition-only delights him all the more, for what St. Peter wrote to his community still rings true today, and especially so during Lent: Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.[2] Continue reading Invocabit 2015

Ash Wednesday 2015

250px-King_of_Nineveh_003“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.’”[1]

Those were the instructions of the Lord to Jonah the son of Amittai, but this son of Amittai went the other way, to Tarshish, down to Joppa, onto a boat, all in an effort to flee from the Lord and his instructions. In this respect Jonah is not unusual for the call of the Lord to men then as well as men now is rarely greeted with Samuel’s “Speak, for Your servant hears,” and more often like the reply of Moses, “I am nobody.”[2] Continue reading Ash Wednesday 2015

First Sunday in Lent Ramblings

images“And he was with wild beasts and animals.”

 

The beauty of Mark’s gospel is its absolute abhorrence of bullshit. Mark portrays a Jesus hell-bent on mission: from birth to baptism to wild beasts of the desert in fifteen verses; from being incarnate by the Holy Spirit to be driven into the desert by the same Spirit; from being “well pleased” to being “well tempted”; from John who preached repentance to Satan who cried “Trust me.” There’s none of Matthew’s flashy dialogue and no smarmy quoting of scripture; there’s no artistic grandiosity, no pinnacles of the temple and Bournesque challenge to jump. Wild beasts and his own thoughts; an odd mixture of divine purpose and possibly human fear; the realization of his divinity and the very real knowledge that if attacked by a beast, he would in fact bleed. Divinity notwithstanding, he could be wounded. Continue reading First Sunday in Lent Ramblings